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Apple CEO Cook Gets Deposition Order In Antitrust Case



The lawsuit before Judge Koh is a private lawsuit brought on behalf of employees that mirrors claims the companies settled with the U.S. Justice Department in 2010 following a probe. The case claims the companies agreed to refrain from placing “cold calls” to lure workers from competitors.

Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive officer, was ordered to give a deposition in a lawsuit claiming the iPhone maker and other technology companies violated antitrust laws by entering into agreements to not recruit each other’s employees, Bloomberg News reports.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, issued the order at a hearing yesterday over the objections of George Riley, a lawyer representing Apple. The other defendants in the case include Google, Intel , Adobe Systems, Walt Disney’s Pixar animation unit, Intuit  and Lucasfilm.

The lawsuit before Koh is a private lawsuit brought on behalf of employees that mirrors claims the companies settled with the U.S. Justice Department in 2010 following a probe. The case claims the companies agreed to refrain from placing “cold calls” to lure workers from competitors.

Koh told lawyers yesterday that Apple founder Steve Jobs was copied on e-mails at issue in the case, and that she found it “hard to believe” that Cook, as Apple’s chief operating officer at the time in question, wouldn’t have been consulted about such agreements.

The judge said she was disappointed that senior executives at the companies involved hadn’t been deposed before yesterday’s hearing over whether she should certify the case as a group lawsuit. The class would include different categories of employees whose incomes, their lawyers argue, were artificially reduced because of the collusion. Koh didn’t rule on class certification.

At Koh’s request, the lawyers also agreed that Google Chairman Eric Schmidt will be deposed Feb. 20. Lawyers for the employees will depose Intel Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini later this month, lawyers said.

Robert Mittelstaedt, a lawyer representing the companies, argued that the employees’ lawyers haven’t demonstrated that everyone in the proposed class was hurt by any such agreements, as is required for the group to be certified as a class.

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