The Joseph Saveri Law Firm filed an antitrust class action lawsuit in September 2016 on behalf of current and former LG and Samsung employees against the two electronics giants in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The suit, Frost v. LG Corporation, et al., seeks monetary damages for current and former LG and Samsung employees. It alleges that LG and Samsung entered into an illegal no-poaching agreement, barring them from hiring one another’s employees and limiting workers’ access to mobility and compensation. Both companies are Korea-based electronics companies with an established presence in Silicon Valley, and both target high technology workers in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Employees blame LG and Samsung for restricting employee mobility, wages, benefits, and other compensation, and say these impacts have been heightened by the companies’ substantial similarities.

“Electronics giants LG and Samsung have conspired to enhance their profit margins through this illegal no-poaching agreement,” says Joseph Saveri, counsel for the plaintiffs. “Meanwhile, their employees have found themselves in a stagnant work environment with limited opportunity for growth, unable to switch companies or to demand higher wages.”

No-poaching agreements have come under fire since 2010, when the U.S. Department of Justice began investigating Google, Intel, Apple, Adobe, Lucasfilm, Intuit, and Pixar for allegedly agreeing not to hire each other’s employees. The firm previously served as co-lead counsel for a class of workers challenging these companies’ agreements, and reached a total settlement of $435 million.

Appellate Proceedings

On January 22, 2020, oral argument (the firm’s Steven Williams represented Plaintiffs-Appellants) took place before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit:

On March 3, 2020, the Ninth Circuit upheld the District Court’s decision that Plaintiffs failed to put forth in its complaint direct evidence of an agreement among Defendants sufficient to support the existence of an antitrust conspiracy. Plaintiffs contended that a heightened pleading standard a civil plaintiff would likely never be able to meet without further discovery should not be applied. In a split decision, the Court held that binding legal precedent required application of the heightened pleading standard.

On May 1, 2020, Plaintiffs-Appellants filed a Petition for Rehearing En Banc. The Court has ordered Defendants-Appellees to respond. On May 11, 2020, the American Antitrust Institute filed an Amicus Brief in support of Appellants’ Petition for Rehearing En Banc.