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Justices rule governor doesn't have to testify in IBM case

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On the same day it heard arguments, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed a Marion Superior judge’s ruling and held that Gov. Mitch Daniels does not have to testify or be deposed in an ongoing lawsuit over the cancelled contract to modernize the state’s welfare system.

The justices issued an order Monday afternoon in the case of State of Indiana v. International Business Machines Corporation, No. 49S00-1201-PL-15, which follows a ruling from Judge David Dreyer in December that Daniels shouldn’t be excused from appearing for a deposition because nothing in state statute, court precedent or public policy warrants that.

During the arguments, an attorney representing the state argued that the law protected Daniels from having to testify and that the state had provided more than 50 other employees for depositions in his place. But IBM’s attorneys argued that Daniels has specific detailed knowledge about the deal that others didn’t and he should be required to share that information.

Within hours of hearing the case, the justices said that making Daniels give a deposition is contrary to Indiana Code 34-29-2-1 that protects the governor and other high-ranking officials from testifying in civil cases. The order signed by Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard said a written opinion will follow to explain more fully the Supreme Court’s decision reversing the trial court’s order. Justice Frank Sullivan concurred in result.

A trial is scheduled before Dreyer Feb. 27 in the case. The state had agreed to pay IBM $1.37 billion over 10 years to modernize Indiana’s welfare system, but Daniels canceled the contract in 2009 because of complaints about the automated system. The state sued IBM in May 2010 to take back the $437 million it paid the company. IBM countersued, saying the state still owes the company about $100 million.

Last month, Dreyer awarded small victories to each side. He ruled the state should pay IBM $40 million in subcontractor assignment fees and capped the damages the state can seek at $125 million, but he declined to dismiss the case in IBM’s favor on a request for $43 million in deferred fees and for the state to return computers and equipment used in the project.

 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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