(Bloomberg) Hewlett-Packard Co.’s plan to pay shareholders’ lawyers as much as $48 million to help sue former Autonomy Corp. executives was rejected by a judge who said such a provision shouldn’t be part of an accord shielding the company’s management from claims over the botched acquisition.

The lawyer fee arrangement with Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy LLP is “potentially fatal” to winning approval of a settlement that would protect Hewlett-Packard and target former Autonomy managers for investor claims over an $8.8 billion loss tied to the Autonomy purchase, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said Monday at a hearing in San Francisco.

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