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Attorneys' fees dispute hearing gets underway

JACKSON — A Mississippi Supreme Court hearing pits attorneys for Republican state Auditor Stacy Pickering against Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood over the constitutionality of a law that allows Hood to hire private lawyers to represent Mississippi in lawsuits.

The high court scheduled a hearing in the case today. Pickering challenged a judge’s decision last year upholding $10 million in fees paid to lawyers for handling a state lawsuit against computer software manufacturer Microsoft.

Microsoft is not a party to Pickering’s lawsuit.

Microsoft reached a $100-million settlement with the State of Mississippi in 2009. It agreed to pay $10 million to private lawyers hired by the Attorney General’s Office to handle the case.

Pickering sued, arguing the fees should be paid with money appropriated by the Legislature.

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