Indiana governor and potential presidential candidate Mitch Daniels has been the target for renewed calls for deposition by IBM lawyers at the Marion Supreme Court.
The feud concerns a battle between Indiana state and the computer firm over the premature cancellation of a $1.37 billion project to automate welfare intake in Indiana, with both sides demanding reparations following its scrapping.
The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration is currently suing IBM for $437 million due to the 10 year project being binned after the three years, while IBM seeks $50 million in deferred payments and equipment costs, as well as the deposition of the governor following the failure of the project.
So far the governor has been protected by old laws that state that high ranking officials cannot be individually targeted by court subpoenas, though now it has been claimed that Daniels, who IBM believes will be too busy to give a deposition once he is on the campaign trail, was privy to information that other officials would have no knowledge of.
“He made the key decisions all the way,” IBM attorney Steven McCormick said, according to the WSJ. “We’re concerned that any delay will be met with, ‘Well, now it’s too late.'”
According to IBM, Daniels sent 930 emails which “illustrate the cradle to grave, preconception to afterlife” of his involvement in one of the biggest outsourcing deals in state history.
McCormick pointed specifically to a request for information to an aide for information over whether one of the call centres which were part of IBM’s contract had received an unexpectedly high number of phone calls as a ploy by a state employee’s union to disrupt the controversial plans.
“The governor was to be familiarised with all aspects of modernisation,” McCormick said, adding that he “was not only the chief decider, he was the chief cook, he was the chief bottle washer”.
However, state lawyers are steadfast in denying any deposition, stating that “the governor has never been called to testify” in the past, so there is no reason that rules should be changed.
Marion Superior Court Judge David Dreyer is now expected to rule on the case following IBM’s 2009 dismissal in the next two weeks.