from the now-the-dance-really-begins dept.
Reuters reports that Apple Inc, Google Inc, Intel Inc and Adobe Systems Inc are arguing in a court filing that witnesses at an upcoming trial over no-hire agreements in Silicon Valley should not be allowed to offer evidence that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was "a bully." "Plaintiffs' only purpose for offering this testimony would be improper to cast Mr. Jobs in a bad light," the companies said in the filing, adding that such evidence has no bearing on whether any defendant entered into an illegal conspiracy. "Free-floating character assassination is improper." Tech workers filed a class action lawsuit against the four tech companies in 2011, alleging they conspired to avoid competing for each other's employees in order to avert a salary war. Tens of thousands of workers stand to benefit if they win the case, which could yield over $9 billion in damages. In a joint court filing late last week, the companies told U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh that they were not seeking to bar Jobs' interactions with other witnesses about the no-hire agreements. However, opinions based on other evidence that Jobs bullied rivals should be barred.
All four companies previously settled with the US Department of Justice in 2010 after a DoJ investigation, agreeing not to enter into any future no-hire pacts, but because they settled the case, they argue that any evidence from the DoJ probe should be inadmissible as well. "To admit evidence of the DoJ investigation for any purpose would be unduly prejudicial because the jury might incorrectly assume Defendants have admitted to or been found guilty of antitrust violations."