Appellate arguments in cancelled IBM contract set for Nov. 25

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A panel on the Indiana Court of Appeals will hear arguments later this month on whether the state should have to pay more than $62 million to IBM after cancelling its billion-dollar contract with the company to modernize Indiana’s welfare system.

The state entered into the contract with IBM in 2006, but less than three years into the agreement – which included reducing the need for face-to-face meetings with caseworkers – the state terminated the contract, citing performance issues. IBM and the state each sued the other in Marion Superior Court.

IBM won a $40 million summary judgment in assignment fees, plus nearly $12 million for equipment costs and other contract claims after a six-week bench trial last year. With prejudgment interest, the total the state owes IBM is now more than $62.7 million.

The state is raising four issues on appeal: whether the trial court erred in concluding that it did not terminate the contract for cause, whether the assignment fees are an unenforceable penalty, whether it is liable to IBM for the equipment that it kept after termination of the contract, and whether IBM is entitled to prejudgment interest against the state, a sovereign entity.  

IBM is cross-appealing, arguing that it is entitled to an additional $43.4 million in deferred fees and $931,928 in change order fees.

Arguments will be before Judges John Baker, Ezra Friedlander and Nancy Vaidik in the Indiana Supreme Court courtroom. The arguments are scheduled for 1:30 to 3 p.m.


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