Private attorneys seek $8.3M in Miss. case

JACKSON, Miss. (Legal Newsline) – Attorneys for the state of Mississippi who engineered a $40 million settlement with Microsoft are seeking $8.3 million in fees.

Two out-of-state firms and four Jackson attorneys would split the amount, the Mississippi Litigation Review recently reported. The lawsuit was settled in June and alleged the company monopolized the computer market in the state.

The report adds that attorneys said they spent more than $1.7 million litigating the case.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood hired Houston firm Susman Godfrey and New York firm Boies Schiller. Also hired were Jackson attorneys Brent Hazzard, Precious Martin, John Gadow and Richard Schwartz.

The settlement, announced Thursday, provides $60 million in vouchers to consumers, businesses, governments and public schools for use in buying Microsoft products. The $40 million for the State is the most paid to a state government in any of Microsoft’s 22 similar antitrust settlements with other states.

In June, state Auditor Stacey Pickering said the attorneys fees need to be doled out through the Legislature, not court order.

“The attorneys deserve compensation for their work on this case, but those funds, according to State law, must be appropriated by the Legislature,” said Pickering, already embroiled in a dispute over the issue.

The State of Mississippi agreed to a $100 million settlement over back taxes allegedly owed by Worldcom in 2005 and was represented by admitted felons Joey Langston and Timothy Balducci, both of whom later pleaded guilty to attempting to bribe a judge.

Pickering said the attorneys in the Worldcom case were paid about $2,000 per hour, based on the information he could gather. Pickering said Hood did not comply with a request for a complete listing of hours and work performed.

Hood refused to defend the Auditor’s office in the dispute with Langston and Balducci. Langston was a major campaign contributor of his.

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