Hood, Microsoft settle for $100M

John O'Brien Jun. 15, 2009, 3:13pm


JACKSON, Miss. (Legal Newsline) - In a settlement that will give consumers $12 vouchers, the State of Mississippi will receive $40 million from Microsoft and lawyers will receive another $10 million.

The settlement, announced Thursday, provides $60 million in vouchers to consumers, businesses, governments and public schools for use in buying Microsoft products. The $40 million for the State is the most paid to a state government in any of Microsoft's 22 similar antitrust settlements with other states.

"I hope all Mississippi residents, businesses, schools county and local governments will obtain a voucher for each computer or Microsoft software they purchased and use the voucher(s) as a discount on the purchase of any type of software or hardware," Hood said.

"Additionally, the money that will be going into the state coffers will really help in this economically challenged time."

Another $8 million could be paid to the State if all vouchers are not claimed.

State Auditor Stacey Pickering said the $10 million in attorneys fees needs to be doled out through the Legislature, not court order.

"The attorneys deserve compensation for their work on this case, but those funds, according to State law, must be appropriated by the Legislature," said Pickering, already embroiled in a dispute over the issue.

The State of Mississippi agreed to a $100 million settlement over back taxes allegedly owed by Worldcom in 2005 and was represented by admitted felons Joey Langston and Timothy Balducci, both of whom pleaded guilty to attempting to bribe a judge.

Pickering said the attorneys in the Worldcom case were paid about $2,000 per hour, based on the information he could gather. Pickering said Hood did not comply with a request for a complete listing of hours and work performed.

Hood refused to defend the Auditor's office in the dispute with Langston and Balducci. Langston was a major campaign contributor of his.

The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson obtained a copy of the settlement agreement. Harry Susman of Susman Godfrey in Houston represtented the State, and the Mississippi political Web site Y'All Politics noted the settlement provided for $10 million in attorneys fees.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at john@legalnewsline.com.

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