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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Richard Hagstrom lightens Microsoft's wallet

An Iowa judge has approved a $179.95 million class-action settlement against Microsoft brought by Minneapolis attorney Richard Hagstrom and Iowa lawyer Roxanne Conlin. The settlement was announced last spring but just approved last week. The terms of the deal, according to the Associated Press, include:

-- $75 million in legal fees and costs (over and above the $179.95 for class members);
-- Cash to individuals and vouchers to government and business claimants;
-- $1 million to the Iowa Department of Education to administer the funds;
-- $1 million to Iowa Legal Aid for a program to reduce domestic violence; and
-- Two cy pres funds for the Iowa public schools for computers and software.

The settlement resembles the 2004 settlement Hagstrom negotiated in Minnesota, for which he was named a Minnesota Lawyer Attorney of the Year.

In that case, Microsoft agreed to provide Minnesota consumers and businesses with $174.5 million in vouchers for technology purchases from any manufacturer. Unclaimed vouchers were donated to Minnesota schools. In addition, Hagstrom negotiated cash payments of $2.5 million to the Minnesota Legal Aid Society and $2.5 million in cash and the same amount in technology vouchers to the University of Minnesota.

That case was the first state suit against Microsoft to go to trial, as well as the first “indirect purchaser” class action — that is a suit on behalf of consumers who did not purchase goods directly from the manufacturer being sued — certified in Minnesota.

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