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Judge nixes class action suit in employee poaching case for now

Judge Lucy Koh is not yet sold on the idea of a class action lawsuit in a poaching case involving Google, Intuit, Apple, and other tech players.

A federal judge has decided not to elevate an antitrust lawsuit over non-poaching agreements to class action status. But the ruling is far from final.

In a decision announced today, U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh said there was not yet enough evidence to turn a present civil suit against seven technology companies into a class action lawsuit, according to Reuters.

The case refers to a civil suit filed in 2011 by five workers against Google, Intuit, Apple, Intel, Adobe, Pixar, and Lucasfilm, claiming that the companies tried to keep down wages through non-poaching agreements.

Six of the companies involved settled a Justice Department complaint over the allegations in 2010. The civil suit was launched in 2011 and named Lucasfilm as a seventh defendant.

The decision made today doesn't mean the companies are off the hook.

Judge Koh said that a great deal of evidence has been presented since she started hearing arguments over whether to elevate the case to class action status, Reuters noted. As such, she's giving the plantiffs another shot to convince her that a class action suit is warranted.

Class action status would open up the lawsuit from just the five workers to an untold number of employees who could claim they were hurt by the non-poaching agreements. Such a suit could also end up costing the companies a hefty amount of money should Koh ultimately rule against them.