Judge rules on summary judgment motions in IBM case

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The State of Indiana may be on the hook to pay IBM $40 million in subcontractor assignment fees per the contract it had with IBM to update the state’s welfare system, a contract the state cancelled in October 2009 because it wasn’t happy with results.

Marion Superior Judge David Dreyer issued several rulings Wednesday in the lawsuit stemming from the cancelled contract between the state and IBM. The state hired IBM in 2006 but cancelled the contract three years later and sued IBM to try to recover the millions it paid before ending the contract, plus triple damages. IBM countersued for breach of contract, arguing the state still owed around $100 million.

Dreyer rejected the state’s contention that IBM isn’t entitled to the $40 million in subcontractor assignment fees. The contract between the state and IBM said that the “state shall pay” IBM those fees, and there is no dispute that the state accepted assignment of the subcontracts at issue. The Family & Social Services Administration believes this ruling is an error and plans to appeal, according to a spokeswoman.

IBM also asked for $43 million in deferred fees due to the termination of the agreement as well as $9.3 million for equipment the state has but did not pay IBM for, but Dreyer denied summary judgment on those issues.

Dreyer ruled in favor of the state on IBM’s argument that its poor performance could be excused because of the economic downtown and flooding that occurred after the contract was signed. He found that any contention by IBM at trial that the economy or the flooding rendered its performance “impossible” or otherwise justifies any failure by IBM to meet contractual obligations are precluded as a matter of law.

There are also disputes of material fact as to whether there was a breach of the contract, so Dreyer denied the state’s motion for summary judgment on the matter.

The court has ruled the state is limited to recovering no more than $125 million in damages; if the state can’t prove IBM breached the contract, it could owe the company $100 million per a termination clause.

An issue that arose from this case is whether Gov. Mitch Daniels can be deposed. Dreyer originally ruled Daniels doesn’t have to be deposed, but later ruled that he can be. That issue will be before the Indiana Supreme Court Feb. 13.

The case is set to go to bench trial Feb. 27.



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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.