Judge rejects $324.5M settlement of case casting Apple, Google as leaders of jobs conspiracy

A federal judge has rejected as too low a $324.5 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit alleging Google and Apple conspired with several other technology companies to block their top workers from getting better job offers.

The Friday ruling by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh breathes new life into a 3-year-old case that paints a sordid picture of late Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs and other prominent Silicon Valley executives, including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Koh believes the more than 60,000 workers represented in the lawsuit should receive at least $380 million.

The settlement, from April, would have been paid by Apple, Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. The suit alleged they and other companies secretly agreed not to recruit each other's workers.