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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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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