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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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

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  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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