Attorney Fees

$75 M Payday Before Judge

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An Iowa judge will decide today whether to approve $75 million in attorney fees for two lawyers who settled a class action lawsuit against Microsoft for nearly $180 million.

Microsoft has not objected to the fees for Des Moines lawyer Roxanne Conlin and Minneapolis lawyer Richard Hagstrom of Zelle, Hofmann, Voelbel, Mason & Gette, the Associated Press reports. The case went before the Iowa Supeme Court three times for rulings on various issues.

Their suit claimed Microsoft engaged in anti-competitive conduct that allowed it to raise prices. Consumers who bought the company’s software between 1994 and 2006 are entitled to $10 to $29 a copy, depending on the type of software they bought.

Conlin, identified in an ABA Journal article as a “million-dollar solo,” told AP that the law firms spent 117,000 hours of time and $8 million in costs on the case over a seven-year period. “We took the risk of walking away with $8 million in debt,” she said.

Eight Iowans have filed letters of opposition to the fees. In one of them, Mike DeWitt of Gladbrook called the payday “an obscene amount of money.”

While Microsoft is not objecting to the Minnesota fees, it is contesting Hagstrom’s quest for $24 million in a similar lawsuit in Wisconsin that did not obtain class-action status. Hagstrom claims his firm spent 6,820 hours on the case there, but the software maker says it doubts the firm worked even 20 percent of the time claimed.

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