Judge tells Microsoft to pay state's legal fees

Massachusetts is to receive nearly $1m in attorneys' fees in its antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft, under a federal judge's...

Massachusetts is to receive nearly $1m in attorneys' fees in its antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft, under a federal judge's order. The amount is less than half of what the state had originally asked for.

US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that Microsoft must pay Massachusetts, the lone remaining state appealing against the judge's November 2002 antitrust ruling, around $967,014.52 in fees.

The Massachusetts Attorney General's Office had asked for $1,992,075 in attorneys' fees and another $20,302 in other expenses and costs.

Kollar-Kotelly rejected all of Massachusetts' request for expenses and costs.

Microsoft argued that Massachusetts should not be entitled to the attorney's fees for the parts of the antitrust lawsuit it did not win.

The software company added that Massachusetts did not keep detailed enough records on some of its claims for court costs.

The fees awarded to the state were calculated based on the prevailing billing rates for antitrust lawyers in the Washington DC area, as is permitted by law, rather than the actual salaries of state assistant attorneys general, said Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly.

"I am pleased that Microsoft will pay for the costs associated with this antitrust action and look forward to upcoming arguments in the federal appeals court," Reilly added.

"This case has serious implications for competition and consumers and will have a significant impact on the future direction of our economy."

Microsoft also issued a statement on the judge's ruling. "We are pleased with the court's opinion to reduce Massachusetts' request for legal fees by over half," the statement said.

"We respectfully disagreed with Massachusetts' request for fees on the basis that they did not prevail on the vast majority of their original claims. Our priority is to move past this case and to build more constructive relationships with state governments."

Grant Gross writes for IDG News Service

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