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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hagstrom’s agenda: Microsoft does not pass go

Minneapolis attorney Richard Hagstrom does not care what Peter Lattman or anyone else at the Wall Street Journal Law Blog has to say about anything, let alone the $75 million fee that Microsoft Corp. has agreed to pay Hagstrom and the other plaintiff’s counsel in an antitrust class action in Iowa against the software behemoth. Lattman hasn’t shown much interest in Hagstrom’s point of view in the past, he told Minnesota Lawyer. “He has one agenda and one agenda only.”

In this and in other cases against Microsoft, Hagstrom has argued that the company charges too much for software because it is virtually a monopoly.

The WSJ appears to take a dim view of the case -- who knew? In reporting the fee award the WSJ quoted earlier remarks made in connection with another case by Microsoft lawyers about plaintiff’s lawyers and boundless greed and pointedly noted that the named plaintiffs in the case will receive $10,000.

Microsoft will also pay up to $180 million to consumers who claim their refunds. The company will donate 50 percent of the unclaimed refunds to purchase computers for rural and disadvantaged schools in Iowa In addition, it will make payments of $1 million to the Iowa Department of Education to administer the computer vouchers and $1 million to the Iowa Legal Aid Society. Hagstrom pointed out that Microsoft agreed to the fee award, probably because it had paid its own lawyers a lot more. Over 100,000 hours have been clocked on the Iowa case, which has lasted more than six years.

Hagstrom is now heading north into Canada to take on Microsoft, where he says the antitrust law is “fairly similar.”

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