Judge Looks to Expedite Microsoft Appeals Process

SAN MATEO (04/05/2000) - U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson has signaled that he may kick the Microsoft Corp. antitrust case immediately to the U.S. Supreme Court for consideration, bypassing the traditional appeals process.

Jackson indicated in meetings with parties on Tuesday that he wants to get the case quickly to an "appeals tribunal and plans to have the remedies phase over with in 60 days," said a law clerk at the District court.

Jackson reportedly is eager to expedite the appeal because of the negative impact the case could have on the economy.

During the Tuesday meeting, Microsoft indicated that it would have a summary response to Jackson's findings prepared within 10 days. After some back-and-forth, government parties agreed to recommend remedies to Jackson within 30 days, said the clerk.

In federal antitrust cases, the presiding judge or parties to the suit retain the right to petition the Supreme Court for consideration of the case. But the Supreme Court, of course, ultimately decides whether it will follow such recommendations.

If the Microsoft case does not go directly to the Supreme Court, it could take years for the case to wend its way through the appeals process at the U.S.

District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, said Emmett Stanton, an antitrust attorney with the Palo Alto law firm Fenwick & West.

Most appeals courts are now incredibly backed up and shorthanded, said Stanton.

He said in his California district, Stanton counts on one to two years for a case to make it through the appeals process.

Meanwhile, stocks on the NASDAQ exchange have yet to show signs of a significant rebound from the verdict, plunging for a second day on Tuesday.

Based in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft Corp. is at www.microsoft.com/.

The U.S. Department of Justice is at www.usdoj.gov/.

Judge Jackson's ruling can be viewed at

www.dcd.uscourts.gov/microsoft-conclusions.html.

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