Vizcaino v. Microsoft Corp., 290 F.3d 1043 (9th Cir. 2002)

In this class action, eight former “freelance” Microsoft workers alleged that the company had improperly deprived them of employee benefits, including participation in the Employee Stock Purchase Plan. Nine years after the case was filed, the parties settled the matter when Microsoft agreed to pay approximately $97 million into a settlement fund. Plaintiffs’ attorneys then applied for an award of 28% of the fund — over $27 million. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the award of attorneys’ fees after evaluating the favorable results plaintiffs’ attorneys had achieved in the case. The Court further held that a 3.65 multiplier (the multiple of the fees awarded over the attorneys’ actual investment of time in the litigation) was appropriate.