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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. 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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