$1.1 Billion Settlement to Be Distributed After Eighteen-Month Appellate
SAN FRANCISCO, July 26 LAWFUEL – Press Release Service — Attorneys for California’s
businesses and consumers announced today that a $1.1 billion antitrust
settlement with Microsoft Corporation is now available for distribution
after an eighteen-month appellate court battle. Beginning in August, 2006, vouchers worth hundreds of millions of dollars will be sent to Californians who previously made claims for their share of the settlement. The vouchers can be redeemed for cash anytime during the next four years as businesses and consumers purchase computer hardware or software from a wide variety of eligible products offered by any competitor in the computer industry.
A unique feature of the settlement gave businesses and consumers the
option to donate two thirds of their settlement benefits to California’s
public schools by simply declining to make a settlement claim. Because of
their generosity, vouchers worth hundreds of millions of dollars also will be distributed to California’s public schools beginning in September.
Those vouchers will allow schools that serve a high percentage of underprivileged students to purchase much needed computer hardware, software, training and services.
The $1.1 billion settlement was approved by Superior Court Judge Paul
Alvarado in July 2004. However, distribution of the settlement proceeds was held up by the appeal of a single class member who declined to make a claim for his share of the settlement but objected to the donation of any portion of his unclaimed benefits to the public schools. His appeal was rejected by the California Court of Appeals and the California Supreme Court. Last week he failed to meet the deadline for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which finally clears the way for distribution of the settlement proceeds.
Eugene Crew and Richard Grossman, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs
who filed the antitrust case against Microsoft expressed their satisfaction with the final result. “We filed this case in 1999 because we saw an opportunity to use our expertise in technology and antitrust law to obtain justice for the millions of California consumers and businesses that were overcharged for their software as a result of Microsoft’s illegal
monopoly,” said Grossman.
“We are delighted that our seven year-legal
battle is finally paying off for California’s businesses, consumers and
schools.” Crew added, “I have devoted my entire career to the enforcement
of our nation’s antitrust laws. This certainly is a great day for antitrust enforcement in the State of California.” Crew and Grossman are partners in the San Francisco office of Townsend and Townsend and Crew which was
appointed by the California Superior Court to oversee the antitrust class
action against Microsoft on behalf of the California’s businesses and
consumers. They recently settled another case against Microsoft on behalf
of California’s state and local government entities for $70 million.