SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A federal judge awarded less than half the requested attorneys' fees in a class action accusing Acer of making and selling computers that lack the memory to run the pre-installed operating system.
Lead plaintiffs Lora and Clay Wolph claimed the defect causes the computers to freeze, crash, require rebooting and load slowly.
Microsoft Windows Vista Premium, the pre-installed operating system, requires 2 gigabytes of Random Access Memory (RAM) to run properly, but the computers have just 1 GB total, according to the 2009 complaint against Acer America Corp.
Buyers claimed they were forced to spend extra memory on additional RAM and could not uninstall Vista Premium "without experiencing other significant difficulties." They said Acer refused to provide alternative operating systems, such as Windows XP.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White rejected the computer maker's motion to reconsider his order granting class certification.
The two parties reached a settlement on Jan. 16, and White preliminarily approved a revised settlement on April 11.
The class then asked the judge to approve the final settlement and award attorneys' fees for three law firms.
Though White said the final settlement would come in a separate order, he approved attorneys' fees of $943,217, costs of $171,768 and incentive awards of $4,000 - lower than requested.
"In total, the court finds that it would have been reasonable to spend 1,750 hours on litigating and settling this action, which is a reduction of 62 percent from the requested 4,633.2 hours," he said.
The proposed settlement was submitted in August and is awaiting final approval.
It offers four options to class members for relief, depending on their specific situations: receiving a 16 GB USB flash drive with ReadyBoost technology that increases a computer's speed and performance; a check for $10 or up to $100 in reimbursement for past repairs; or a 1 GB or 2 GB laptop dual in-line memory module that allows computers to operate with at least 2 GB of RAM.
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