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Order for IBM to pay subcontractor in state suits affirmed

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An appeals court Tuesday affirmed trial court orders that IBM pay a subcontractor for costs it incurred related to lawsuits over the failed $1.3 billion Family and Social Services Administration modernization contract.

The panel upheld Marion Superior Judge David Dreyer’s ruling that ACS Human Services LLC was entitled to receive from IBM $709,398.95 in costs related to discovery and production of documents. The trial court also later imposed sanctions of $425,178.85 against ACS, reducing total net damages payable to ACS from IBM to $284,219.15.

ACS and IBM each appealed the ruling on abuse-of-discretion bases. IBM claimed ACS was so closely linked to IBM that it was not entitled to payment of costs related to third-party participation in discovery, and that the court’s award was unsupported by the evidence. IBM sought almost $900,000 in sanctions against ACS.

ACS’ cross-appeal asserted it was entitled to more than $1.67 million, that sanctions against the company in favor of IBM were impermissible under Indiana Trial Rules, and that the company didn’t engage in sanctionable conduct, among other arguments.

The court rejected arguments on appeal from both sides. In an opinion written by Judge L. Mark Bailey and joined by Judges Cale Bradford and Melissa May, the judges agreed that both sides impermissibly asked the court to reweigh the evidence.

“Thus, as we did with IBM’s appeal, we decline ACS’s invitation to second-guess the trial court’s judgment, and affirm the trial court’s determination of the amount of sanctions to be paid by ACS,” Bailey wrote in International Business Machines Corporation v. ACS Human Services, LLC, 49A02-1301-PL-49.

“The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it awarded ACS some, but not all, of the damages it requested as a result of its participation in discovery as a non-party under Trial Rule 34. Nor did the trial court abuse its discretion when it awarded IBM some, but not all, of the attorneys’ fees and other damages it incurred as a result of ACS’s failure to comply with the trial court’s discovery orders. We therefore affirm the trial court’s orders on both matters.”

The decision came one day after a separate panel heard arguments in the appeal of Dreyer’s award of $62 million in favor of IBM in a related case, State of Indiana v. IBM.

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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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