Yes! I just received my High-Tech Antitrust Settlement Check! If you’ve been paying careful attention to my recent cash flow updates, you would have seen a hint about this. I was hoping for a windfall so I can use it to beef up our liquidity and contribute a little extra to our tax advantaged accounts. I knew this settlement would come around the end of the year and I have been eagerly waiting for it.
(Sorry, I deposited the check right away and forgot to scan it. This was the previous check.)
High-Tech Antitrust Litigation
So what’s this lawsuit about? Basically, the management of the companies named in this lawsuit had a verbal agreement to avoid recruiting from each other. This agreement limits employees’ mobility and represses their wages. The Department of Justice filed a complaint against these companies alleging violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act in September, 2010. The civil class action lawsuit followed in May 2011 on behalf of over 64,000 employees of Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Pixar, and Lucasfilm. In October 2013, Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Intuit agreed to pay $20 million in damages. This year, the rest of the companies settled for $415 million! That’s 20 times more than the first settlement, but it’s still a tiny drop in the bucket for those companies. They really should have paid through the nose for violating the Antitrust Act. Then again, I’m a disgruntled employee so my opinion is a bit biased.
I received $1,340 from the first $20 million settlement so I had high hopes for this much bigger settlement. It seems like simple math. If the settlement is 20x bigger, then I should get 20 x $1,340, right? That’s around $27,000. I guess not because my check was just $7,000. That’s a nice Christmas bonus from my former employer, but I’d love to see how they calculated this payout. I also heard from a reader whose check was just 28% larger than the previous check. That doesn’t sound right at all.
Ahh… I see. I just checked the settlement FAQ and it looks like the Settlement Administrator will reserve $250
million thousand to resolve any disputes. So this check is just a fraction of the settlement*. We’ll get the rest of the settlement sometime next year. I’m guessing we’ll get $10,000-$15,000 next time. (Oops, I didn’t read the document carefully enough. See the first comment below for a better explanation. The next check will be a very small check.)
*I believe the lawyers will receive a little over $40 million from the settlement. The payment will be deducted from the $415 million settlement.
How will we spend our $7,000 windfall?
Unfortunately, we won’t be able to splurge this windfall. Last time, we were able to go for a luxurious spa date, but this time we’ll just put it in the bank. Our liquidity is very low right now. We only have $6,000 in our cash fund and we need to beef that up to at least $15,000 as soon as possible. The last few months were tough and we drained our savings account to pay for our Costa Rica trip, the property taxes, and fix up the duplex, to name a few. Next year, we need to be better prepared for the end of the year. I want to build up $25,000 in cash by November so we won’t run low again.
Did you receive your settlement check? You can share anonymously here so we can compare. What will you do with this windfall?