Update (July 31, 2014): It seems that Carlson, Inc. made a small fortune by starting with a larger fortune, then spending years fighting with and blaming IBM for problems in an attempt to wiggle out of Carlson’s own contractual obligations to IBM (that is, paying a steep early termination fee for their multi-year project).
At least, this is how U.S. District Court Judge Joan N. Ericksen (D. Minn.) called it in her findings of fact, conclusions of law, and judgment after a bench trial following about four years of litigation…
Carlson alleged in its complaint that IBM damaged Carlson in an amount more than $200 million. Carlson argued at trial that it was entitled to $67.4 million (at p. 47). Carlson lost at trial. Judge Ericksen ruled that Carlson should recover nothing and that Carlson owes IBM $14,232,000 (plus prejudgment interest (10% per annum!) (at p. 48 and 54)).
Judge Ericksen leveled some fairly caustic criticism on Carlson’s trial counsel, suggesting they had left a “glaring hole” in Plaintiff’s case (at p. 30) by failing to offer evidence that IBM failed to achieve 1,074 tasks that were on its SOW (“Statement of Work”). She suggested that Carlson counsel’s explanation for the lapse (not enough time) was “outlandish” (at p. 30) and that, instead of providing the necessary evidence, Carlson “spent a good deal of its time at trial mining for innuendo in an inordinately long series of emails and Sametime chats among managers…” (Id.)
Judge Ericksen’s critique of Carlson’s experts was no more glowing. “Andriole provides no meaningful or helpful analysis.” Carlson’s damages expert did not impress the Court much either (at p. 47).
Readers: do not overindulge in feelings of superiority or schadenfreude for plaintiff’s counsel. There but for the grace of God….etc. Instead, though, take a little time to pick up some civil litigation pointers and have a little sympathy for plaintiff’s counsel’s years of unsuccessful but undoubtedly hard work? After all, remember: things can change on a dime on appeal.
Apparently not. United States Court Judge Susan R. Nelson (D. Minn.) has thrown out a putative class action against a lock manufacturer who, it is alleged, has made and sold a few lock models that are “stupidly simple” to pick.
The issue: no standing. That is, in the Court’s view, based on recent U.S. Supreme Court precedent, the plaintiffs have suffered no injury (or “no present injury in fact for purposes of standing”). Really?
Steve Wells went before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit this past week in fighting for Bruce Webster, who appears to have been mentally retarded when he committed the crime for which he was convicted. Nevertheless, he sits on death row. This is not supposed to happen in the United States of America. (See, also, “A sentence of death shall not be carried out upon a person who is mentally retarded.” 18 U.S.C. 3596(c)).
But Webster’s lawyers had made the argument that Webster was mentally retarded and the jury rejected that argument.
Then, after Webster’s appeal rights were exhausted, newly discovered evidence came to light: independent diagnoses by government physicians of mental retardation before Webster allegedly committed the crime for which he was sentenced. (The diagnosis was in the context of a social security claim.)
Can Webster get into court again? How many appeals is he entitled to have?
This question might sound easy to some readers but it is, in fact, extremely difficult.
As discussed below, there are significant problems with relying on reputation. There are even problems with relying on a lawyer’s “track record.” The best answer is for consumers of legal services to shop around, talk to more than one lawyer and ask them all hard questions — questions about your legal matter, about their experience or expertise, about their resources and your needs, and their explanation or justification of their fees.
Derek Boogaard, Dead at the Age of 28
Two years ago, Minnesota Litigator noted the work of sports law specialist, William A. Staar, about a new wave of litigation over head injuries.
Today the NHL heard from an old alum, Jon Rohloff of Cohasset, Minnesota who played for the Boston Bruins 1994-1997.
It’s a class action. It is in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota where the case has been assigned to Judge Donovan W. Frank.