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Disney film units settle Silicon Valley anti-poaching lawsuit

By Dan Levine

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co's Lucasfilm Ltd and Pixar units have settled a lawsuit accusing them and other technology companies of conspiring not to poach each others' employees, resolving their part in a case that involves some of Silicon Valley's biggest names.

The settlement was disclosed in a Friday court filing that did not elaborate on terms of the deal. Disney was not immediately available for comment.

This year, a U.S. judge in San Jose, California ruled that the lawsuit, brought by five tech employees alleging a broad industry conspiracy, cannot proceed as a class action but left the door open for workers to eventually sue as a group.

The case has been closely watched by Silicon Valley, with much of it built on emails among top executives, including the late Apple chief executive Steve Jobs and former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt.

If the plaintiffs win class certification, then they would have more leverage to extract large financial settlements than if they were to sue individually.

The plaintiffs claim the companies' agreement to refrain from recruiting each others' employees drove down wages in Silicon Valley.

Other defendants in the case include Adobe Systems Inc, Intel Corp and Intuit Inc.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)

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