Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

This is just absurd.

I honestly do not understand why the plaintiffs would settle this case. There are multiple emails that proposing the conspiracy, executing the conspiracy, expanding the conspiracy, and warnings to the ringleaders of the conspiracy (i.e. Jobs, Schmidt, Whittman, Lucas, etc.) being told explicitly what they were doing was illegal, and then actively taking actions to cover it up. (Specifically I refer to Eric Schmidt's email in which he said regarding the Apple-Google agreement, "I don't want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later".)

The only way you can prevent this, and other kinds of organized and large scale fraud is through confiscation of revenue on a massive scale. To make the companies hurt and to directly effect the officers of the companies. Otherwise, these settlements are simply noise, and a chalked up as a cost of doing business.

Here's some numbers to keep in mind, when the settlement is announced. Google $16.86 BILLION in revenue Q4-2013 Apple $37.5 BILLION ($7B profit) Q4-2013 eBay $4.5 BILLION Q4-2013

Unless the settlement is in the tens-of-billions of dollars, it's nothing. (Bonus points, if they settle, "while admitting no guilt.")




OK, that's freaky. I read the HN comments first, then the original article. By the time I read the original article, it had been updated to quote the HN thread:

  On Hacker News, the grumbling about the settlement was 
  immediate. “I honestly do not understand why the 
  plaintiffs would settle this case,” one poster wrote. But 
  some saw another side: “What did the engineers risk with 
  this lawsuit? Nothing. What did the law firm risk? 
  Getting paid peanuts for hundreds of hours they spend on 
  the case if they lose.”
I did not know that the NY Times had started updating their articles with quotes from discussions about the same articles. Do they base which quotes they choose on your referrer? Will I see different quotes if I view this linked from Reddit?


I read the article first, and thought they were referring to another older HN thread on this topic. Thanks for pointing this out. It's a bit hard to believe (and insane) that they're updating their article real-time. And they've not even marked it as an edit.


Also note how cavalierly and routinely the Times (and most other "traditional" publishers) avoid actually linking to this thread, or basically anything other than internal links to other Times articles.


I honestly do not understand why the plaintiffs would settle this case.

Lawyers? Maybe they did the math and realized they could pocket $XXX million to $1 Billion if they settled.

On the other hand, engineers might get a $10 Adwords coupon or a free song on iTunes.


The attorneys are probably making a simple calculation:

a) Take a $1b settlement today, yielding $500m for attorneys.

b) Take a chance on a $5b judgement that is then challenged with years of appeals and possibly reduced arbitrarily by a defendant-friendly judge down the road.

The law firm probably is just happy to get the money.


Bingo, that was my reasoning too. Bird in hand and all. Probably that's enough money to make every lawyer in their firm a millionaire (not that it's divided evenly) so why take the chance?


That's the problem with commission-based sales (like a real estate agent or a headhunter). They say "My fee is a % of the sale, so I want the best price!", but really it's in their best interests to close as soon as possible.

So, the lawyers could get their fee RIGHT NOW, or wait years til they get paid and do lots of extra work. Clearly, the lawyers maximize their fee per hour worked by settling now, rather than having years of trials and appeals.


Except that appeals work is significantly cheaper than a large lawsuit at the district court, because it often focuses on legal error. They don't relitigate the case.

Also, attorneys don't take appeals work on contingency, so you don't often see as many appeals.

The only people what you are suggesting maximizes for is the plaintiffs.

You also act as if the lead plaintiffs in cases like you suggest are blameless. The attorneys are not the ones agreeing to settle, and they actually can't do things without the okay of their plaintiffs.


> The attorneys are not the ones agreeing to settle, and they actually can't do things without the okay of their plaintiffs.

What is the mechanism for making strategic decision for a class action suit? Do the plaintiffs hold a vote? Is the vote usually "we, the lawyers, have decided to settle for $x, either agree or sue on your own" or "should we settle for $x or keep pressing?"


Except that appeals work is significantly cheaper than a large lawsuit at the district court, because it often focuses on legal error. They don't relitigate the case.

You still ignored his main point, get the money now without delay and without the possibility of appeals court striking it down or lowering the amount won--if they win. Appeal after appeal can take a few years.

The attorneys are not the ones agreeing to settle, and they actually can't do things without the okay of their plaintiffs. Can they "strongly suggest" it to the plaintiffs?


"You still ignored his main point, get the money now without delay and without the possibility of appeals court striking it down or lowering the amount won--if they win. Appeal after appeal can take a few years."

Lawyers don't get money unless clients want the money and are willing to settle. Period. The clients agree because they don't want this risk. They don't want to wait 7 years. It's easy to blame lawyers because they are essentially enablers, but ...

Behind every crappy settlement is a crappy plaintiff. There may be a shady lawyer somewhere, but laying the blame solely on the lawyer is silly.

For anyone who thinks the settlement is unfair, besides objecting, they can opt out. If he really thinks it is so cheap, easy, and low risk to win a lawsuit, he should do it.

"The attorneys are not the ones agreeing to settle, and they actually can't do things without the okay of their plaintiffs. Can they "strongly suggest" it to the plaintiffs? "

They can give their plaintiff candid advice, which is usually "This will take 3-7 years of your life, decide whether you'd rather spend that sitting in depositions or with a small amount of money"

The vast majority of good class action attorneys are fine with either. They can often win much larger amounts than the settlement amounts to. No court in the world would let them drop out of the lawsuit at this point (fun fact: You can't withdraw in most cases unless the judge lets you, and the judge is not going to let you just because you didn't settle)

I'm not going to claim there isn certainly a cottage industry of suing to settle in certain areas. Trotting out this lawsuit as an example of that (when for example, we still don't even know the settlement amount) seems silly.


Any engineers who are unhappy with the settlement can opt out and sue on their own.


With what? Google, Apple et al can spend $100 Million in a heartbeat, where's an engineer going to find $xx millions to spend so can possibly win $100K or so?


If you want to make the decisions you've got to also be the one supplying the cash.


In finance we call this the golden rule. He who has the gold makes the rules.


Yes indeed. I almost mentioned that in those exact words. :)




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: