IBM Wants Judge to Toss Out SCO Lawsuit
Published: September 28, 2006
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
The ongoing $3 billion lawsuit that Unix distributor The SCO Group filed in March 2003 against IBM continued to grind toward trial this week--maybe. IBM filed five different motions for summary judgment to get all ten of SCO's remaining claims against Big Blue dismissed. SCO fired back, asking the court for some summary judgments of its own on counterclaims that IBM initially filed in the summer of 2003.
If you have a few days to read some real dry legal documents, you can get all of the briefs that were filed this week at the Groklaw site, which is maintained by Pam Jones and which does a terrific job keeping up to speed on lawsuits and legal issues surrounding high tech companies. The listing of the documents filed this week can be found here.
I'll give you the short version of what is going on. U.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball, who is in for the District of Utah, is presiding over the case. By asking for summary judgment, both parties are asking the court to rule from the bench, claiming that the issues are so clear that matters do not need to be decided by a jury. The motions to dismiss allow a judge to weed out erroneous or superfluous claims and focus the case; it also is a chance for a party to convince a judge that a claim is unfounded and therefore not worthy of going to trial. In essence, IBM has asked Judge Kimball to throw out SCO's claims, and SCO has asked the judge to rule in its favor on its claims against IBM. It will be interesting to see what the judge does.
At the end of January 2007, the two parties will be given an opportunity to get together to try to settle this matter. A five-week jury trial will begin February 26, 2007. The trial was originally scheduled to begin in April 2005, was then pushed by SCO to November 2005, but then Kimball pushed the trial date out in July 2005 to give IBM's chairman and chief executive officer, Sam Palmisano, more time to prepare for his deposition.
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