A seven-year class action antitrust lawsuit that was filed on behalf of consumers in the State of Iowa has been settled by Microsoft Corporation for $180 million.
The jury ruled against Microsoft and agreed that it had used monopolistic actions to overcharge Iowa residents for its software programs, such as Windows and Office. The consumers who participated in the class action suit will be eligible for refunds from US$16 per copy for Windows software claims and US$29 per copy for Microsoft Office claims.
What has the citizens of Iowa in a huge upheaval, however, is that a huge amount of the settlement -- $75 million – will be paid to the attorneys and their firms who prosecuted the case against Microsoft. The two attorneys who presented the majority of the case were awarded individual fees that calculate out to an hourly rate of about $1,072 per hour.
All of the attorneys, law clerks and other members of law firms who worked on the case against Microsoft claimed hours totaling more than 117,000 hours in preparing for and presenting the case, with the average hourly rate being paid to them at $640 per hour. So, the average Iowan consumer will probably net less than $100, and the attorneys will walk away with the lion’s share of the settlement. The attorneys have argued that they took the risk and would have been out of pocket over $8 million if they had lost the case.
Somehow, this just doesn’t sound like justice to us, especially in a consumer class action claim.