Microsoft has made a strong argument against the $97 million attorneys fees requested by Townsend and Townsend and Crew in its California antitrust consumer class action against Microsoft. T&T&C seeks another $197 million for 34 other firms that worked on the case. (The Recorder, Microsoft Says Class Fee Request Doesn’t Compute, 02-23-04)
Microsoft says that the class action settlement merely piggybacked on the U.S. government’s antitrust case in U.S. v. Microsoft and other private litigation. (As we reported here last June, the FTC has made similar arguments against enormous fee requests in piggy-backed cases, as well as all-voucher cases, such as this California class action.)
According to the article, Townsend is seeking a 5.75 multiplier on its lodestar of $16 million, while Microsost says the multiplier should be no more than 1.5 on a portion of the thousands of claimed hours. The Recorder article offers many more details.
The Law.com Daily NewsWire says that major competition over lawyer fees is coming soon to Chicago, as Detroit’s largest firm, Dykema Gossett, is acquiring a 78-lawyer Chicago firm (bringing its total to over 400 lawyers) — and, “says it plans to keep average partner rates near $300 an hour — about half of big firm rates” in Chicago.
This warms my antitruster-consumer-advocate heart. Any chance of trickle-down competition for the masses?
Last week, my municipal police force finally decided to enforce the NYS ban on hand-held cellphone use while driving; and it made national news! As Reuters/msnbc.com reported on Feb. 20th, Andre Gainey was arrested for watching the porn movie “Chocolate Foam” while driving his Mercedes Benz in Schenectady, New York. This sudden incentive for law enforcement will not surprise anyone familiar with the recent history of the Schenectady Police Department, whose members seem inordinately interested in strip joints, lap dancing and similar but tawdrier pursuits (especially in their off hours).
Check out the MSNBC report for more fun details of the arrest. (Civic pride forces me to correct one error: Schenectady is a City, not a Town). Myself, I’m sipping regular-old, healthy hot cocoa, and hoping there will soon be a cellphone crackdown on the soccer moms and college students who endanger my life daily on the roads of this poor little burg.