Plaintiff’s attorneys are seeking an $8.3 million attorney’s fee following a $40 million settlement between Microsoft and the State of Mississippi stemming from allegations that Microsoft monopolized the personal computer market in Mississippi. Here is a copy of the Petition to Approve Fees. The amount of the attorney’s fee must be approved by the trial court in the case.

Plaintiff’s counsel who stand to benefit in the case are Brent Hazzard of Jackson, Susman Godfrey of Houston, Boies Schiller of New York, Precious Martin of Jackson, John Gadow of Jackson and Richard Schwartz of Jackson.

The Petition states that the requested fee represents 7.5% of the total gross settlement. According to the Petition, Plaintiff’s counsel paid over $1.7 million in out-of-pocket expenses over the course of the litigation and expended millions of dollars worth of attorney time in the case. Mississippi State Auditor Stacey Pickering filed an objection to the fee claiming that a special legislative appropriation is required to pay Plaintiff’s counsel the fee specified in their contract with Attorney General Hood.

The dispute seems to be political. A 7.5% contingency fee is not a big fee. Mississippi Republicans have been critical of A.G. actions going back to the days of Governor Fordice trying to stop the tobacco litigation asserted by Attorney General Mike Moore. It would be interesting to see what would happen if a Republican became Attorney General. Would Republicans continue to criticize the A.G. hiring outside counsel to represent the State? Or would the criticism end and the only real difference be the political affiliation of the outside lawyers being hired by the A.G. to represent the State?