Anti-Poaching Lawsuit Wants Steve Jobs’ Personality Excluded

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Witnesses should not be allowed to offer evidence that Steve Jobs’ personality was that of a “bully”, four major tech companies argued in a court filing, reports < em>Reuters. The companies are in the hot seat over their no-hire agreement with each other.

In a joint court filing late last week, the companies told U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California that they were not seeking to bar Jobs’ interactions with other witnesses about the no-hire agreements. However, opinions based on other evidence, like Walter Isaacson’s bestselling biography about Jobs, should be barred.

“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,” they wrote.

Tech workers filed a lawsuit against Google, Apple, Intel, Adobe, and others back in 2011, claiming they collaborated on an anti-poaching agreement to prevent a salary war. The trial will kick off at the end of next month on behalf of about 60,000 workers, and some say damages could exceed $9 billion.

The case is largely based on email exchanges between high-level executives, including Steve Jobs and ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Some of the targeted companies have already settled the lawsuit: Walt Disney Co’s Pixar and Lucasfilm unit, as well as Intuit Inc., have agreed to pay $9 million and $11 million respectively.