State of Indiana v. International Business Machines Corporation - 11/25/13

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Monday  November 25, 2013 
1:30 PM  EST

1:30 p.m. 49A02-1211-PL-875. Indiana Supreme Court courtroom. In December 2006, the State of Indiana, on behalf of its agency the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, entered into a ten-year, $1.3 billion contract with International Business Machines Corporation.  The contract sought to modernize and improve the State’s failing welfare system in part by reducing the need for face-to-face meetings with caseworkers.  However, less than three years into the ten-year contract, the State terminated the contract citing IBM performance issues and transitioned to a hybrid system.  The parties then sued each other for breach of contract in Marion Superior Court.

The trial court granted IBM summary judgment for $40,000,000 in Assignment Fees.  And after a six-week bench trial in 2012 involving 96 witnesses and 7500 exhibits, the court found that the State did not terminate the contract for cause and awarded IBM an additional $9,510,795 for equipment costs, $2,570,621 in other contract claims, and $10,632,333 in prejudgment interest, bringing the total to $62,713,749.  The State now appeals raising four issues, including 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 cross-appeals arguing that it is entitled to an additional $43,416,738 in Deferred Fees and $931,928 in Change Order fees. 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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