Microsoft To Pay $113M to Calif. Lawyers

The award for fees and costs comes in a case in which Microsoft agreed to allocate $1.1 billion for California consumers--after a small San Francisco law firm sued in state court here alleging the company inflated prices by monopolizing the preinstalled software market from 1995 to 2001.

The deal enables anyone who bought a computer in California to get vouchers worth $5 to $29 per Microsoft product. Two-thirds of the unused settlement is earmarked for poor California schools.

The attorneys who sued Microsoft here had requested $258 million in fees and costs, up to $3,000 an hour for one of the lead attorneys, Eugene Crew of San Francisco.

San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Paul Alvarado, in a ruling last week, said the attorneys were entitled to about 58 percent of the request. He said some of their legal documents mirrored the federal government's successful monopoly case, and briefs from others who had sued Microsoft in other states.

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Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft had urged the judge to award opposing attorneys about $75 million to end a case that took four years to litigate, but said the larger award was fair.

In all, dozens of attorneys and their assistants billed for 209,000 hours of work. The case is Microsoft 1-V Cases, 4106.

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