We previously blogged about how Federal District Judge Koh ordered four leading tech companies to come up with more money to settle a class-action lawsuit that accuses them of conspiring against their own employees.
On September 4, 2014, the companies appealed that ruling to the Ninth Circuit saying the judge was “untethered to — and actually at odds with” the sober realities of the case. They are demanding that the higher court reverse the decision.
The companies said the judge was committing a “clear legal error” in a case that offers a vivid view of Silicon Valley that is at odds with its portrayal by public relations firms.
The companies filed a petition for writ of mandamus — a procedure that asks the appeals court to tell Judge Koh she is wrong.
The companies argue that the case against them is weak, and cite as evidence the plaintiffs’ lawyers, who earlier acknowledged the risks in their case as a reason for settling instead of going to trial.
Without a reversal, the companies said, “this fundamentally erroneous ruling will evade appellate review, irreparably harm plaintiffs, absent class members, and defendants, and make it significantly more difficult for parties to settle class actions in future cases.”
If a settlement cannot be reached, a trial will take place early next year. The companies argue this is another reason to reinstate the original settlement. The extensive media coverage of Judge Koh’s critical comments, they said, is “threatening to taint the jury pool and prejudice defendants’ ability to obtain a fair trial.”