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Judge: $324M Settlement In Silicon Valley Tech Worker Case Not Enough 150

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-news-for-the-lawyers dept.
itwbennett writes: "A proposed $324.5 million settlement of claims that Silicon Valley companies (Adobe, Apple, Google, and Intel) suppressed worker wages by agreeing not to hire each others' employees may not be high enough, a judge signaled on Thursday. Judge Lucy Koh didn't say whether she would approve the settlement, but she did say in court that she was worried about whether that amount was fair to the roughly 64,000 technology workers represented in the case. Throughout Thursday's hearing, she questioned not just the amount but the logic behind the settlement as presented by lawyers for both the plaintiffs and the defendants."
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Judge: $324M Settlement In Silicon Valley Tech Worker Case Not Enough

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  • Misleading summary (Score:4, Interesting)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:44AM (#47282023) Homepage Journal

    All the judge did, was ask whether historical fines to other companies are an appropriate precedent for Apple, Google, and the rest. This isn't "questioning the amount and logic" but regular old due diligence.

    • by SpzToid (869795)

      It isn't as if another version was already submitted earlier, perhaps with a better summary for the editors to use:

      http://slashdot.org/submission... [slashdot.org]

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If you're not aware of this, then know this:

        (like most media outlets) Slashdot is pretty fucking corrupt. I've seen countless cases where people submit great articles, then a friend of the editors submits the same thing but pure garbage by comparison and it flies up almost instantly.

        It makes some sense since knowing the submitter helps them do a quicker assessment of the value of the story, but in the end, it leads to a really shitty environment that discourages contributions.

        Factor in the stupid not-approp

      • by Walking The Walk (1003312) on Friday June 20, 2014 @01:31PM (#47283101)

        It isn't as if another version was already submitted earlier, perhaps with a better summary for the editors to use:

        http://slashdot.org/submission... [slashdot.org]

        The accepted story was submitted by itwbennett [slashdot.org], and links to a story on itworld.com. I think it's a fair assumption that it was submitted by Amy Bennett [itworld.com], ITworld's Managing Editor. According to her achievements, she's had 2^9 submissions accepted, from which we can conclude that Slashdot editors probably prioritize her submissions. I imagine her submissions are fairly well written, link to a somewhat reputable source, and have already been deemed interesting enough to the IT crowd for a story on ITworld. So they get fast-tracked, and other worthy submissions are reviewed later, deemed to be duplicates, and discarded.

        Would be nice if her submissions lead off with the fact that she was the managing editor for ITworld though, just to make it clear that she's just trying to feed traffic to her own site. (Which is a valid action if the story is original and interesting, but should require a disclaimer.)

      • It isn't as if another version was already submitted earlier, perhaps with a better summary for the editors to use:
        http://slashdot.org/submission... [slashdot.org]

        This is a different thing. The link you give is about the proposed settlement. The article here is about the judge questioning the current settlement offer.

    • Accurate summary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Piata (927858) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:51AM (#47282099)
      She questioned the amount, the logic behind the amount and why the plaintiff's lawyers didn't feel a jury would find the emails a convincing argument for collusion. Not sure how you didn't find the summary accurate. I know it's a rarity on slashdot but this one is pretty spot on.
      • "Would X convince jurors" isn't actually a particularly applicable concern for approving a settlement. It reads a lot more like the judge having thoughts about the details of the case.

    • All the judge did, was ask whether historical fines to other companies are an appropriate precedent for Apple, Google, and the rest. This isn't "questioning the amount and logic" but regular old due diligence.

      So the judge ASKED about the fine, and that's not QUESTIONING the fine?
      Apparently you can't read.

      • "Judge: $324M Settlement In Silicon Valley Tech Worker Case Not Enough"

        Overstatement.

      • Questioning and asking are two completely different things, otherwise one wouldn't "ask a question", one would either ask or question.

        To question something is to doubt the premises that lead to a given statement. To ask something is to enquire about something. When one has doubts a conclusion (i.e.: questions), one normally asks to ascertain the veracity of the conclusion. This leads to the construct "to ask a question" as in "to resolve a doubt".

        Simon

  • More (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sycodon (149926) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:50AM (#47282075)

    The point of "punitive damages" is to punish the company...duh. But, how do you do that?

    Just taking their money isn't enough, especially in the case of these companies. You can take astronomical amounts and it would be a drop in the bucket to them. What is $400 million to a company with billions in cash?

    What you need to do is hurt them bad enough to affect their stock price. Then everyone takes notice. Board members have their positions threatened, when that happens, executives are fired, etc. THAT'S punishment.

    • Re:More (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sexconker (1179573) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:59AM (#47282201)

      The point of "punitive damages" is to punish the company...duh. But, how do you do that?

      Just taking their money isn't enough, especially in the case of these companies. You can take astronomical amounts and it would be a drop in the bucket to them. What is $400 million to a company with billions in cash?

      What you need to do is hurt them bad enough to affect their stock price. Then everyone takes notice. Board members have their positions threatened, when that happens, executives are fired, etc. THAT'S punishment.

      Round up everyone in the company involved in the decision, freeze their assets, throw them in jail pending their criminal case, hold a trial, and imprison them further upon their inevitable conviction, then liquidate their assets and distribute to the affected parties. Oh wait, that would be justice.

      • Re:More (Score:5, Funny)

        by paiute (550198) on Friday June 20, 2014 @12:12PM (#47282337)

        Round up everyone in the company involved in the decision, freeze their assets, throw them in jail pending their criminal case, hold a trial, and imprison them further upon their inevitable conviction, then liquidate their assets and distribute to the affected parties. Oh wait, that would be justice.

        Put the Duke brothers' seats on the exchange up for sale at once. Seize all assets of Duke & Duke Commodities Brokers, as well as all personal holdings of Randolph and Mortimer Duke.

      • Re:More (Score:5, Interesting)

        by timeOday (582209) on Friday June 20, 2014 @12:58PM (#47282751)
        Too much money and power are in on the take. Apple is worth about 12% of the entire Nasdaq [bloomberg.com], so Apple + google is about 20% of the whole enchilada. In my Fidelity-managed 401K index fund, for example (that is, basically my life's savings), Apple is my #1 holding, right above Exxon, Google, and Microsoft. So 2 of those 4 would be directly impacted, and Microsoft would no doubt feel some fallout (through rising salaries for their talent).

        In a true democracy this argument should not bear much weight, since MOST (over 50%) of all stock is owned by only 1% of citizens. Most of us have a tiny slice, and I (for example) would benefit much more from higher wages in the tech sector than from a little more growth in my 401K. But in general, we small-potatoes shareholders (that is, almost all shareholders) are too short-sighted to take a hit now for the long-term economy.

        More ominously, real influence is proportional to the wealth of a group rather than how many people are in it. Even if you convinced the bottom 99% of voters, you would still only have a minority of shares.

        The reason I dwell on this is because I think the same logic, exactly, explains why the bank bailout occurred and the implosion of Wall Street had no real corrective result on the US economy or the distribution of wealth.

      • by swb (14022)

        I think if you could get the managers somehow personally responsible, the ideal justice would be letting the court seize assets of its choosing from the managers.

        Don't just let them write a check to settle the matter, but let the court's special master come into their homes and choose things to sell on the open market at public auction to raise the cash. The defendant would be barred from bidding and the winning bidders must agree they may not give or sell the items to the defendant.

        There's a special humil

        • by rnturn (11092)

          ``There's a special humiliation in seeing your home stripped...''

          Yep... how would you like to face your neighbors after they've watched the contents of your home carted away for auctioning off?

          Not having closely followed this case/trial (where's Groklaw when you need it) but surely there was an email trail that led to this decision/settlement. Either one that was revealed in court or one that would have named names that would have been revealed during the discovery phase. Extract all the names of those

          • by swb (14022)

            What's missing from punishing the very rich isn't the taking of their money -- they have so much, they wouldn't miss it. It's not a punishment.

            What's missing is the humiliation of their possessions being taken from them against their will in public view.

      • by Sarius64 (880298)
        It would be very interesting to see the difference between American and H1B workers. Make sure they include an investigation to find out why people haven't showered in a week, too.
    • Again, more reason for fines to be based as a % of net worth and not simply hard cap values. A fine of a year of the company's average income or 10% of their net worth will actually hurt a company and force it to pay heed to the laws. As it stands, these companies have saved more and thus made more by breaking the law than they will ever be hurt by fines....
    • No. The point of punitive damages is to change the managers' behavior. What you suggest would hurt the stock holders and the customers (let's be real, the cost of a judgement gets passed on to them), neither of which were involved in the misdemeanor. How much money was "saved" by the illegal collusion? How often would companies expect to get away with such behavior? These two are critical in determining the correct fine. If they can't expect to get away with it, the penalty should be "a little" higher
      • Re:More (Score:4, Insightful)

        by SydShamino (547793) on Friday June 20, 2014 @01:12PM (#47282905)

        There is nothing that civil law can do that is punitive to the managers. They didn't do anything; the company did things, and they are merely one of the louder of the company's schizophrenic voices. To get at them where it matters (their wallet), you'd have to go after company assets and hope it indirectly affects them as the parent suggests.

        Only criminal law could pierce that veil and go after them directly, and while that can be quite punitive, it's not bloody likely.

      • by sycodon (149926)

        Who highers the middle managers?
        The Executives.
        Who hires the Executives?
        The Board (more or less)
        Who hires the Board?
        The Stockholders.

        You hurt the Stock holders, they in turn hurt the board, they in turn hurt the executives and they in turn hurt the middle managers.

        In order for shit to flow downhill, you have to top load it and technically, the stockholders are the top.

      • As far as stockholders and customers go, they benefited by having employees' compensation illegally reduced. It seems reasonable that they should bear some of the burden for redress.

      • by sjames (1099)

        What you suggest would hurt the stock holders

        You mean the negligent absentee owners who slept at the switch while all this happened under their noses? They SHOULD be hurt. Let that happen a few times and perhaps stockholders will wake up and start providing a moral compass to corporations again.

    • Re:More (Score:5, Informative)

      by Cabriel (803429) on Friday June 20, 2014 @12:57PM (#47282739)

      Given that $324 million for 64 000 employees means just a hair over $5000 per person, I'd have to say the judgement should have been closer to $3 Billion. Or, if you really want to talk punitive, $32 Billion.

    • by afidel (530433)

      Well, you have to figure the wage suppression was worth significantly more than $5,000 per worker, heck it was probably worth between 2 and 4 times that per year and the case involves at least a half decade of bad actions, so make it 10k per worker per year and that works out to ~3.2B. It's certainly not going to bankrupt these companies but it will affect their quarterly results which might be enough to get folks attention.

      • by whoever57 (658626)

        Well, you have to figure the wage suppression was worth significantly more than $5,000 per worker, heck it was probably worth between 2 and 4 times that per year and the case involves at least a half decade of bad actions, so make it 10k per worker per year and that works out to ~3.2B.

        In this case, I believe that the lawyers are putting their interests above that of the clients. An average person in the class is making well over $100k. For that person, which is better: $5k guaranteed or a 25% chance of $

        • Exactly my thinking also. The multimillion dollar legal fees are the driving force and as usual in class actions, the class members get peanuts (not to defame actual peanuts, they are quite nourishing).

          Or the plaintiffs' lawyers already received a "pre-settlement bonus" from the defendant companies' petty cash boxes.

          Either way, the plaintiffs got screwed.

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        but it will affect their quarterly results

        I don't know about that - they can just bring back some of their off-shored profits tax-free to cover the loss.

    • The point of "punitive damages" is to punish the company...duh. But, how do you do that?

      Just taking their money isn't enough, especially in the case of these companies. You can take astronomical amounts and it would be a drop in the bucket to them. What is $400 million to a company with billions in cash?

      What you need to do is hurt them bad enough to affect their stock price. Then everyone takes notice. Board members have their positions threatened, when that happens, executives are fired, etc. THAT'S punishment.

      First of all, this a settlement proposal, not damages.

      Second, while punitive damages take into account the financial capability of the defendant they also have to have some reasonable relationships to the actual damages the defendants suffered as well. If we assume that the $325K represents actual damages, punitive damages of $1.3 billion might be considered legally acceptable. While that is a large number, divided by 4 defendants with very deep pockets it's still less than they pay for a few acquisitions.

      P

    • Not to mention that this looks way short of compensatory damages. We're talking about 64K workers having their salaries artificially suppressed for quite a few years. I'd be astonished if the average impact was less than $10K/person, and $324 million is about $5K/person.

    • I think that fines should be a percentage of the company's total profit instead of a fixed dollar amount. That way, no matter how big or small the company is, if they commit a crime, they are punished in proportion to the severity of the crime. Any company being fined 20%-30% of their profit will think twice before pulling shit like this. The shareholders will make sure of it.
  • Surprise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hondo77 (324058) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:50AM (#47282081) Homepage
    The proposed settlement mainly benefits the lawyers and not the people damaged. What a surprise.
    • by Uberbah (647458)

      Surprise, sheep trained to complain about lawyers will "ba" on command. A class action gets you some compensation with zero risk, financial investment, or loss of time from yourself.

      Don't like getting something for nothing? Hire your own damn lawyer and pay for his staff to rummage through thousands of documents to make your case.

  • $324.5 million / 64000 workers = $507.03

    These tech workers are getting fuck either way.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Etherwalk (681268)

      $324.5 million / 64000 workers = $507.03

      These tech workers are getting fuck either way.

      $5070. It almost certainly isn't enough to make the engineers whole, but it is more than nothing and not completely unrespectable. (They didn't lose their entire salary, but did lose some money.)

      It is a *settlement* proposal, though. It's not supposed to be enough to make them whole--just more reasonable for both sides than fighting.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Not even close reasonable; the lawyers are going to take half.

        Then the government is going to take 33%.

        That leaves the engineers with about a week of salary--probably actually less.

        6 months salary for the ones who didn't loose their jobs+ 1 year of compensation for any who lost their job because of this + lawyers fees would be reasonable.

        • by Etherwalk (681268)

          Not even close reasonable; the lawyers are going to take half.

          Then the government is going to take 33%.

          That leaves the engineers with about a week of salary--probably actually less.

          6 months salary for the ones who didn't loose their jobs+ 1 year of compensation for any who lost their job because of this + lawyers fees would be reasonable.

          Lawyer's fees generally come out of the pocket of the side hiring the lawyers--it doesn't go into the calculation, unless we change that rule on a systemic level.

          Six months *may* be reasonable, but it's a math problem, and a very speculative one--what would their salaries have been *without* the anti-competitive practices?

          • by tomhath (637240)

            Lawyer's fees generally come out of the pocket of the side hiring the lawyers

            This is a class action lawsuit. The plaintiff's lawyers will get the biggest share of the settlement.

        • by gnupun (752725)
          According to this article [lawyers.com], lawyers take more or less 25% of the total award. So the lawyers make $81 million, whereas the plaintiffs make $324M x 0.75 / 64,000 = $3800 each, roughly.
      • by sjames (1099)

        Lets say me and my friends decide to harass you, so I grab your iPhone and spike it on the pavement. You threaten to sue so I peel off a couple 20s and a 10, stuff it in your shirt pocket and say get lost. Do you feel compensated or insulted further?

        • by Etherwalk (681268)

          Lets say me and my friends decide to harass you, so I grab your iPhone and spike it on the pavement. You threaten to sue so I peel off a couple 20s and a 10, stuff it in your shirt pocket and say get lost. Do you feel compensated or insulted further?

          Class actions are usually more about incentivizing the company not to do it again than they are about paying people a few bucks.

          • by sjames (1099)

            As I walk away do you think to yourself "He'll never do THAT to anyone again!"?

            How about when you hear someone paid me $200 to smash your phone in the first place?

    • Missed a decimal place there buddy, it's $5070.31
    • Well...saying people with salaries approaching or exceeding six figures are "getting fucked" is a bit of an exaggeration.

      • and besides, if someone steals your money from you, to give it to their shareholders or bosses, you're getting fucked...even if you can handle the loss better than others.

      • By that logic, we should take all corporate officers making over $1M/year, and dump 90% of their assets into the settlement fund. Since they're ten times as well off as the people you mentioned, obviously calling that "getting fucked" is a bit of an exaggeration.

    • That assumes there'd be enough sniping to up the wages of 64,000 workers. I doubt there's that much exchange; most of these people have standing because they could have been affected, even if they in reality would never have been impacted.

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        It's not just sniping. It's knowing that employees can't leave for better money and not that you don't have to bother giving raises.

    • Re:$507.03 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mikael (484) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:58AM (#47282181)

      Something significant would be a decades worth of pay-rises for each employee affected.

      That would be $10,000 x 10 x 64000 = $6.4 billion

    • $324.5 million / 64000 workers = $507.03

      These tech workers are getting fuck either way.

      I think you need to multiply that number by 10.
      Then divide it by 10 again since the lawyers will take 90% of it.

  • My my! All that trouble, wages screwed with and people's lives treated like they were, you get $5070 and some change. Good day. HAHA. Glad they rejected the settlement.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:54AM (#47282135)

    That's about $5000 per employee, much less than the costs to the businesses otherwise.

    Try $6.5 billion...then they will think twice about this crap.

    • by gnupun (752725)
      $10,000 to 20,000 per employee per year of collusion + lawyer expenses + fines. The collusion began in 2005 and the class action suit was filed in 2011 -- 7 years of abuse. So the settlement should be at least:

      7 x 10,000 x 64,000 = $4.48 billion to $9 billion.

      • by afidel (530433)

        Then figure treble damages as a punitive fine (obviously not if they settle, but if they're found criminally liable) and it starts to add up to real money, even to companies of this size.

  • by ChrisKnight (16039) <.moc.leehwtsohg. .ta. .nilrem.> on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:58AM (#47282185) Homepage

    The actions of this cabal of companies has had a lasting effect on everyone working the tech sector. The normal cycle of hiring employees out of their existing position with an offer of more money helps to drive the average salary for a position up. Years of refusing do to that caused average salaries to stagnate. When I was offered a position at Apple in 2007 I scoffed at the rate I was offered, and I was told that Apple prided themselves in paying industry median salaries. What they neglected to mention was that they were actively working to keep the industry median down. I never took the position at Apple, and am not eligible in the suit; but that doesn't mean I wasn't affected. Many companies gauge offer salaries and raises against industry salary reports like those generated by Glass Door and other wage survey groups. Because some of the biggest employers in tech were working to keep wages down, and their rates significantly contributed to those salary reports, they effectively kept an entire employment sector's wages low.

    How do you compensate for that? You can't. No court settlement will make up for the damage caused by this.

    • Shouldn't this be a case of criminal collusion? At the very least it seems punitive damages are appropriate, and those could far exceed the nominal damage done.

  • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:58AM (#47282189) Journal

    Lucy Koh is still a judge?! My god, our legal system is a shithole.

  • by Irate Engineer (2814313) on Friday June 20, 2014 @12:00PM (#47282215)

    You're assuming that entire settlement goes to the plaintiffs. The lawyers will get several 10s of millions of that first.

  • by sjbe (173966) on Friday June 20, 2014 @12:13PM (#47282349)

    So that settlement works out to roughly $5000 per worker before lawyer's fees, which are sure to be substantial. Sounds a bit light to me, especially given the amount of cash the relevant companies have in the bank.

    • So that settlement works out to roughly $5000 per worker before lawyer's fees, which are sure to be substantial. Sounds a bit light to me, especially given the amount of cash the relevant companies have in the bank.

      Agreed. I'd say the minimum amount those workers were hurt by this would be in the $10k range each. Probably more like $20k. Companies don't violate anti-trust law to save a couple of grand...

      Does anyone know if if the settlement is supposed to in any way be punitive? If the workers are just supposed to get back what they lost, then I'd say something in the $1billion range would make sense. But if this is meant to be punitive, it should be doubled at least.

      • Does anyone know if if the settlement is supposed to in any way be punitive?

        Settlements are almost by definition not punitive. It's an agreement between the two parties. The defendant gives less than what might happen if there was an actual ruling by a judge/jury. The plaintiff takes a certain but lesser amount rather than taking an all or nothing risk with a ruling.

  • by Chas (5144) on Friday June 20, 2014 @01:02PM (#47282785) Homepage Journal

    Basically 324.5 mil, divided by 64,000 people comes out to $5070.31.
    The lawyers involved will probably get at least half. So these tech workers' compensation works out to a measly $2500 or so?
    These companies made BILLIONS. And these workers were denied opportunities to advance their careers that could have worked out to SIGNIFICANTLY more than $2500. Hell, that's a fricking Christmas bonus.

  • by Moof123 (1292134) on Friday June 20, 2014 @01:14PM (#47282923)

    The settlement is weak. Nobody responsible is going to jail. The theme just repeats itself. Those in power can either drag things out so long, or be claimed to be too "big to prosecute" by Eric Placeholder's DOJ (bought and paid for by corporate sponsors, funny that...) and never have any real punishment brought on them of consequence.

    If the precedent goes on too long where too many angry screwed peons do not have any sense of justice, you may see vigilantism kick in. Screwed workers who feel they have little left to lose might start going postal after realizing that their American Dream is just such a farce.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Let's play with financial data for a moment, shall we?

    Revenue in FY2013:
    Google: $59.8B
    Apple: $170.9B
    Intel: $52.7B
    Adobe: $4B
    Total: $287.4B
    Settlement: $0.324B (0.11% of yearly revenue)

    Median US household income: ~$52K
    0.11% of that: ~$57

    So, this is the equivalent of a regular Joe breaking the law for 7 years and, when caught, being fined $57.

    Is this a deterrent or an encouragement?

  • Justice in this case might look simple -- take a bunch of money from the companies and give it to the employees that would have earned it (and penalties, of course). The problem is, this affects a bunch of innocent bystanders. These are top stocks in this country. Lots of retirement funds are wrapped up in these stocks. If you penalize the companies the "rightful" amount, you will definitely harm their stocks, which means members of the police retirement fund in Maine (across the country) stand to lose
    • by RavenLrD20k (311488) on Friday June 20, 2014 @02:52PM (#47283891) Journal

      Them's the breaks. When shit like this starts sending quakes through the portfolios of the general population *MAYBE* it'll be enough to wake up the collective to say "Hey! What the Fuck?!" and break apart some of this complacency iceberg we have going on.

    • by omnichad (1198475)

      So you're a "too big to fail" supporter? In other words, the key to avoid punishment for anything is to also be an 800lb gorilla?

      Multiplying damages by 10 is barely over 1% of these companies' combined annual income. Apple has piles and piles of cash they aren't even doing anything with. I'm sure the others aren't hoarding to the same degree, but they won't be bankrupted by this. And their stock value doesn't crash from this.

      • by asylumx (881307)
        It's not about me or what I support & don't support, it's about finding the best solution to problems. If people would get over this "you vs. me" mentality perhaps we could stop squabbling over these false dichotomies and actually come up with solutions.

        So, yes, sometimes it's possible that an entity exists that is so big and important that losing it would harm far more people than its existence harms. Perhaps it *is* OK to keep that entity there, at least until some support is built around it so t
  • are also heavy users of H1-B visas which also depress wages. I say fuck them all. But I don't know how to actually go about fucking them over.

  • This will get turned over on appeal. We're talking about the courts in Silicon Valley which aren't real courts.

    • You can't appeal a settlement. You can appeal a verdict, but a settlement is an agreement to drop the case and not have a verdict.

  • It's not to late to file letters with the court dropping out of the class to pursue your own case because the settlement doesn't fit what you think is fair.

    If enough people protest the settlement and drop out they will be forced to redo it.

  • $320 million will just about cover the plaintiffs' legal expenses.
    • by Uberbah (647458)

      Strangely enough, if you don't like getting something for free via a lawsuit that you don't have to pay for nor spend any time on, you can always hire your own attorney and file your own case.

      • by overshoot (39700)

        How much does a plaintiff "get for free" if the settlement just covers legal expenses?

        Not my first rodeo, Chief. I've seen some of those class-action settlement checks, and the bank charged more than the face value of the check to cash them.

        • by Uberbah (647458)

          Not my first rodeo, Chief.

          Not mine either, Junior. The wolves wouldn't spend so much time telling the sheep what's good for them if a good chunk of them weren't rubes willing to fight against their own interests....in this case bleating about how much lawyers make instead of the company that ripped people off.

          Give the money to the lawyers, burn it in the street, line it with birdcages, give it to a Colombian drug lord - it's money out of the hands of the entity that screwed over their employees, customers,

          • by overshoot (39700)

            Give the money to the lawyers, burn it in the street, line it with birdcages, give it to a Colombian drug lord - it's money out of the hands of the entity that screwed over their employees, customers, etc, in the absence of any other action.

            If all you want from the case is to punish the conspirators (presumably to discourage them from doing it again) then it would be a good ideat to hit them for at least what they got from screwing the employees. Which, apparently, was something like an order of magnitude larger. $324 million is, like the drug lords put it, just the cost of doing business.

            If, on the other hand, there is some remote notion of compensating the people who actually got screwed, a settlement that got them, like, some money might

            • by Uberbah (647458)

              If all you want from the case is to punish the conspirators (presumably to discourage them from doing it again) then it would be a good ideat to hit them for at least what they got from screwing the employees. Which, apparently, was something like an order of magnitude larger. $324 million is, like the drug lords put it, just the cost of doing business.

              Of course it would. But $324 millions is a hell of a lot more than zero, which is what the state was asking for. But that's the point of whining about tort

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