December 2007 Archives

December 18, 2007

Killing Me (Micro)Softly

bill-gates.jpgHow much was a Minneapolis law firm awarded in legal fees for suing Microsoft? $65 million. That's how much judges awarded the Zelle Hoffman law firm in three antitrust cases against the software giant.

How much do Zelle Hoffman's top attorneys charge per hour? $750. How much does Microsoft's top attorney charge per hour? $1000.

How much was the Townsend and Townsend law firm awarded in legal fees for winning a lawsuit against Microsoft? Approximately $30 million. How much did the law firm request? $92.5 million.

Why are these fee awards so astronomical?
(a) The judges who make these awards use Macs and hate PCs
(b) The judges can't figure out how to use Excel spreadsheets
(c) The judges are basing the awards on Bill Gates hourly rate, or
(d) The judges are making the awards in Bill Gates dollars.
Actually, it's none of the above. Judges use what's called a 'lodestar' calculation. The attorney hours are multiplied by the attorney's hourly rate and that number is multiplied by the lodestar (which is supposed to represent the "risk" of suing Microsoft and losing).

What was the lodestar sought by the Townsend law firm? 5.5. In other words, a Townsend lawyer who charges $500 an hour would have earned $2,500 an hour. What lodestar did the judge award? 2.0, so that same Townsend attorney would only earn $1,000 an hour. "Obviously, we're disappointed," said Townsend's lead attorney. Yeah, obviously.

What did consumers get as a result of the Microsoft lawsuit? Vouchers for Microsoft products worth $5 for each copy of Microsoft Word they purchased, $16 for each copy of Microsoft Windows and $29 for each copy of Microsoft Office. Hmm. Maybe that explains why Bill earned $291,549,774.24 today.

December 11, 2007

Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's 2007

rod.jpgHow much was Rod Stewart ordered to pay for canceling a 1999 New Year's Eve concert? A jury ruled that the 'Do Ya Think I'm Sexy' singer must return a $2 million advance and pay an additional $1 million in legal fees, interest, and penalties for failing to show up at a Las Vegas gig. (Stewart canceled due to throat surgery.)  How much additional money did Stewart and his legal team have to pay after being held in contempt of court? $150,000. Maybe that's why the case dragged on for seven years (and no, that's not one dog year!)

How much does it cost for a blogger to defend a libel lawsuit? $93K, according to celeb blogger Perez Hilton, who's seeking to recover his attorney fees from Samantha Ronson, Lindsay Lohan's BFF and stepdaughter of Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones (and no, she's not the daughter of former David Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson). Ronson accused Perez Hilton of libel (something to do with Ronson's involvement in Lohan's DUI case) and the case was tossed out. Now, Hilton wants Ronson to pay his attorney fees.  What's the hourly rate for a blogger's attorneys? Perez Hilton paid between $275 and $375 an hour.

How much does it cost to defend yourself in an RIAA file-sharing lawsuit? $114,363.18, according to attorneys for Debbie Foster, who successfully defended herself in a lawsuit in which the recording industry accused her of illegal downloading. Foster's request for legal fees from the RIAA was whittled down to $68,685.23 by a judge who determined that an attorney should handle this kind of dispute in 339 hours and should charge $175 an hour. (Besides SecondLife, where can we find that attorney?)

How much does it cost to sue an English rock band for firing you? £250K. That's how much ex-Oasis bass player Tony McCarroll paid his attorney for settling a lawsuit against his former bandmates. Legal fees ate up almost half his settlement (£550-£600K) from the band. That's unfortunate, but it certainly doesn't merit his being labeled the "stupidest man in showbiz."