Lawyers acting on Sky Broadcasting’s £709 million lawsuit" href="http://www.cio.co.uk/news/2784/sky-raises-eds-legal-costs-to-21m/?otc=44" target="_blank">British Sky Broadcasting’s £709 million lawsuit against IT supplier EDS have reportedly criticised the judge for not delivering a verdict 15 months after the case finished in court.
A source close to the case said the judge, Mr Justice Ramsey, has “repeatedly” told both parties that a judgement was imminent, most recently in September, it was reported in The Lawyer.
But the source complained that the ruling remained “nowhere to be seen”, in spite of the case having its last court hearing in July 2008.
“Maybe it’s because it’s such an important case, but it’s still a year whichever way you look at it,” the source was reported as saying.
Sources close to both sides' legal firms told CIO sister title Computerworld UK that neither BSkyB or EDS' legal firms or the clients themselves had been the source of the report. BSkyB added that it had not been identified as criticising the judge.
An enquiry with the office of the judge had also not produced a response at the time of writing, and case administrators at the Technology and Construction Court were unable to say when a judgement would be reached.
SkyB is seeking" href="http://www.cio.co.uk/news/3204707/sky-high-on-investments-into-hd-and-network-services/?otc=44">BSkyB is seeking £709 million in damages from EDS, after the supplier allegedly acted “dishonestly” and fraudulently exaggerated its abilities in 2000 when pitching for a £48 million contract to build a customer relationship management system.
The claim is based on allegedly lost benefits as a result of delays, and costs BSkyB said it incurred to put the project back on track, but EDS calls the size of the claim “absurd and extravagant”.
EDS said BSkyB did not know what it wanted from the system, and that the extent and complexity of BSkyB's requirements "kept on emerging like handkerchiefs from a magician's sleeve" during the roll-out.
The judgement is highly anticipated by outsourcers and their customers, with industry experts suggesting that outsourcing could change as a result of the verdict.
Nigel Roxburgh, research director at the National Outsourcing Association, previously told CIO sister title Computerworld UK that if the case is upheld in favour of BSkyB, “it could lead to a real scratching of heads, particularly among lawyers”.
Such a verdict could mean that conversations and emails between parties conducted before a contract is signed and during rollout, are legally-binding statements, he said. Such communication came up extensively in witness questioning in court.
This would be a dangerous situation for outsourcers, Roxburgh warned. “If other representations become more important than contracts themselves, it could indicate that contracts effectively have no value,” he said.
If the court rules in EDS's favour, Roxburgh said, suppliers would have a court precedent to support the argument that contract terms are the only legally binding statements. Entire Agreement Clauses, which exist in most supplier contracts and insist that only terms in the contract are legally binding, would stand.
It is also possible that BSky B could be awarded only part of its claim.
After the hearings finished, experts criticised the fact that the parties had not successfully mediated the problem since BSkyB launched an initial, much smaller £49 million claim in 2002.
Amanda Bucklow at mediation firm In Place Of Strife said that even “a long and extraordinary mediation process would have taken only a few days and cost a lot less” than the legal fees spent by both parties, reportedly totalling over £70 million.