Here are key developments in the lawsuit that claims several Silicon Valley companies conspired to keep wages low by not hiring each other's employees. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh agreed to certify the case as a class-action lawsuit, enabling more than 60,000 workers to seek damages from the companies. 2009 -2010: U.S. Department of Justice investigates the employment and recruitment practices of six high-tech companies — Adobe Systems (ADBE), Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), Intel (INTC), Intuit (INTU) and Pixar — to see if the companies kept employee compensation at artificially low levels by agreeing not to solicit each other's employees, in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. September 2010 — Following its investigation, the department announces a settlement in which the companies agree to refrain from no-solicitation agreements for employees for five years. The six companies acknowledge that, starting in 2005, they agreed to not "cold-call" employees at selected competitors. The DOJ settlement provides no compensation to employees of the companies. May to July 2011 — Former software engineers file multiple lawsuits seeking class action status and charging Adobe Systems, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Pixar and Lucasfilm with conspiring to fix and restrict the pay of their employees and entering into "no solicitation" agreements with each other. The suits seek lost pay for the employees who were targeted by the alleged conspiracy. The five cases are initially filed in the Santa Clara County and Alameda County superior courts, but on July 19, 2011 are combined and moved to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. April 2012 — Judge Koh rejects the companies' bid to dismiss the proposed class action lawsuit. October 2012 — Judge Koh orders the companies to produce emails and other documents relating to the prior DOJ investigation. November 2012 — In a separate case, the U.S. Department of Justice and California Attorney General file lawsuits against eBay (EBAY) alleging that Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, conspired with the top executives of Intuit from 2006 to 2009 to not hire each other's employees. April 5, 2013 — Judge Koh issues an order allowing the case to proceed in seeking class-action status. Judge Koh's ruling outlines a number of instances in which high-tech leaders' emails revealed their agreements to not lure away each others' employees "to avoid bidding wars that could drive up wages" for all employees. July 2013 — Pixar, Lucasfilm and Intuit file documents for a preliminary settlement. Terms of the settlement are not disclosed. October 24, 2013 — The court grants class action status to the lawsuit, allowing the case to move forward with Adobe, Apple, Google and Intel as defendants. May 27, 2014 — Trial date for the case.
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