Filings, Dismissals and Losses.

12-Jan-01 - Microsoft's legal department doesn't need "busy work" - they've got plenty of real work to keep them busy.

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Class Action Suits

12-Jan-01 - Microsoft got another parcel of 38 class action suits tossed out of court. All of these were blatant lawyer gold digging expeditions, and all were tossed out of court on a technicality. A court ruling called Illinois Brick holds that buyers can't claim damage or compensation from anti-trust violators unless they bought the product directly form said anti-trust violators. Most Windows users got Windows from an OEM or other party.

This doesn't let Microsoft entirely off the hook, because 15 states, including California, have subsequently passed laws allowing indirect damages, so 25 of these class action suits are still active. It's a real stretch, though, to consider these suits as having merit.

Anti-Trust Action

12-Jan-01 - The Department of Justice filed its rebuttal to Microsoft's appeal, including effective handling of the issue of judge Jackson's after the trial comments. Many consider Microsoft's "the judge was mean to us" appeal rather weak in the first place.

For those interested, links to downloads of .pdf files for both Microsoft's and the DOJ's filings can be found in this article at The Register.

Should Bush's appointee for attorney general, John Ashcroft, be approved, this is not necessarily a good thing for Microsoft. Ashcroft is said to be somewhat of a hawk on anti-trust issues, and grilled Microsoft pretty hard in the Senate hearings. The last thing Billy needs right now is a Republican attorney general who's an anti-trust hawk who's annoyed with Microsoft.

Employee Relations

13-Dec-00 - Microsoft has agreed to pay $97 million to settle a lawsuit by "permatemp" employees. These are employees who worked for Microsoft long term (often years) doing the same kind of work as permanent employees, yet who did not receive any of the benefits given to permanent employees. This is not the first permatemp case Microsoft has lost.

Dec-00 - A racial discrimination lawsuit filed against Microsoft achieved class action status, and has is gathering plaintiffs. The suit has been assigned to the same judge, Thomas Penfield Jackson, who presided over the anti-trust action and ordered Microsoft to be split in two.

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