×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

SCO Lawyers Ambush IBM Witness

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the what-is-this-case-about-again dept.

199

Mr. E. writes "In a sneaky legal maneuver, SCO's lawyers managed to ambush an IBM witness into having to give a no-holds-barred deposition in front of an unrelated court in another state. After SCO was limited in what they could depose Mr. Otis Wilson about by the Utah court, the company blindsided IBM with last-second subpoenas before a North Carolina court. IBM's lawyer was on vacation at the time, didn't give prior notice to big blue, and now they've won the right to ask him anything they want. They've asked him about whether he has a criminal record, about ex-wives, etc. and they have four hours in which to do so. According to PJ of Groklaw, 'I'd say [Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells] has thrown poor Mr. Wilson to the wolves in North Carolina and told him it's his own fault.' SCO, of course, is fishing for something — anything — they can use to stave off IBM's Motion for Summary Judgement which is fast approaching, and if they can somehow trip up Mr. Wilson, they might be able to do just that. However, there was at least one line of cold comfort in Magistrate Well's order '[T]he court wishes to note that its decision should not be viewed as any type of invitation to reopen the discovery process.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

199 comments

Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (5, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958576)

Seriously, SCO must be salivating at the prosect of this, its like a one last gasp hope.

One minor point though, how come IBM only have 1 lawyer, didn't they have a breeding program in the 60s and 70s?

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (3, Interesting)

Meshach (578918) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958609)

Salivating? I would say more like grabbing at straws in desperation

Pulling some underhanded almost unethical manuver like this really shows that SCO is coming undone at the seams.

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (5, Insightful)

Kesch (943326) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958639)

Really? I thought underhanded almost unethical manuvers were just signs of having good lawyers.

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (4, Insightful)

Meshach (578918) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958681)

I guess that depends on how "good" is defined ;)

Saddly that comment (even though it is a joke) reflect some truth in this matter. When I see laywers waiting until someone goes on vacation then springing some underhanded motion on them - that seems pretty low too me. It may be technically ethical but shows a real lack of character (or a sense or deperation).

Unfortunatly actions like that are often respected in situations like this one.

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (5, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959239)

It may be technically ethical

No, it's technically legal. It's by no means ethical.

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (4, Informative)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959227)

Well, that depends on how you define "unethical." In my opinion, my lawyer(s) not doing everything they are empowered to do to help me win my case is unethical. This guy, and IBM, have their own lawyers; they can handle their clients, while SCO's lawyers do what they can to help SCO.

It's like when people ask defense attorneys how they could defend people who almost certainly committed the crime. It's easy - we believe in an adversarial justice system, and the other side already has a lawyer who is obligated to prove his case.

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (5, Funny)

msaulters (130992) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959268)

The distinction between 'ethical' and 'legal' doesn't matter to me in this case. These people are simply DISHONORABLE. I move for a change of venue to a Klingon court.

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (0)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958908)

> Salivating? I would say more like grabbing at straws in desperation

"Oh great. Lawyers on crack."

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958939)

Pulling some underhanded almost unethical manuver like this really shows that SCO is coming undone at the seams.

"Captain's Log, 2368.7: Alien's posing as castaways on Anilorac 5 have turned out to be "attorneys" from a planet Cheron and claim to be have been in pursuit of another alien in sickbay found aboard a lost shuttle for the past 50,000 years. They have taken control of the Enterprise with something they called "Writs" and have used "Powers of Attorneys" to disable the Enterprise's self-destruct mechanism. We are currently unable to pursuade them or regain any control over the ship. I may have to ask Mr. Spock to kick them in the crotches if no other option presents itself."

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958615)

yes, but do to the limited genetic knowledge at the time, they split into either overly opinionated engineers who fight there point of view to the death regardless of facts, or MBA's who insist on have all possible knowledge from everyone before rendering an opinion.

It was a tragic period the explains a lot about IBM in the 1980's

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (1, Offtopic)

koh (124962) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958697)

they split into either overly opinionated engineers who fight there point of view to the death regardless of facts

Their. Not there. Please. Have mercy. Your UID is < 200000. You should be over 25 years old. Their. Please.

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (4, Funny)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958803)

You missed "due to", "on having all" and "1980s". Please turn in your grammar Nazi swastika.

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958866)

1980s is a tricky one. Back in the 1980s, I was taught to write 1980's, but AP style says that 1980s is ok. Ok, to make this a little less off topic... dude should respond *very slowly* at the deposition.

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958937)

Not exactly knowing much about the dude, but couldn't he use the 5th amendment when answering most of these questions? If he's not from NC, he could say that, being unfamiliar with local laws, he doesn't know what comments would or would not violate them, thus by saying nothing, he can't violate them.

Layne

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958959)

This is a civil suit, not a criminal trial. Fifth amendment doesn't apply here.

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958972)

> couldn't he use the 5th amendment when answering most of these questions?

The fifth amendment does not apply to civil proceedings, and it only applies to clear instances of self-incrimination regardless, not unsubstantiated speculations.

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958954)

"Their." "Not there." "Please." and "Have mercy." are not complete sentences.

Does it matter? FUCK NO! Just like it doesn't matter that they guy used there instead of their.

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15959283)

they guy???

Hi, geekoid.

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (4, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958792)

IBM is represented by Swaine, Cravath and Moore, LLP. Todd Shaughnessy just happens to be the lead attorney assigned to the SCO v IBM case, and he also was the guy that was representing Otis Wilson in North Carolina.

I think what it probably boiled down to was the Wilson didn't want to go to Utah to file the motion to quash, so Shaughnessy filed in NC, thinking that when the judge in N.C. came across the motion, he'd call Shaughnessy to find out what it was all about. Except Shaughnessy was on vacation when that happened, and well, the rest is history.

Re:Theres motherf*ckin snakes in the Court!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958873)

... how come IBM only have 1 lawyer, didn't they have a breeding program in the 60s and 70s?

That was subsequently supplanted by their teleportation [ibm.com] program from 1983 with increasing success & application.

It Could've Been Worse... (5, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958579)

The poor guy's search history might've been released by AOL.

Re:It Could've Been Worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958730)

I see offtopic and maybe troll but no flaimbait.

Re:It Could've Been Worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958754)

I see dead moderators...

He could just refuse to answer those questions... (4, Insightful)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958590)

Sure he COULD get into trouble, in reality he wont.

And since when does IBM have one lawyer ?

Re:He could just refuse to answer those questions. (1)

larien (5608) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958757)

Urm, isn't that contempt of court if the judge orders you to answer a question and you don't?

Re:He could just refuse to answer those questions. (1)

rmgrotkierii (190011) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958946)

The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
So no he won't be in contempt of court by pleading the "Fifth".

Re:He could just refuse to answer those questions. (4, Informative)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959187)

nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself

This is a civil case, not criminal. The way depositions work is that you answer all the questions asked and note objections at the time -- the judge will review objections after the fact and decide which portions of the deposition are admissible. But you can't refuse to answer questions wihtout risking contempt of court. Because of this, depositions are a favorite method of attorneys to harrass innocent people.

It seems like a sucky way to do things, but the alternative would be to perform all depositions with a judge there, which would probably require a hundred thousand new judges and every case would take even longer, or depositions would each take years to finish because every objection would have to stop the interview and then you'd wait for a ruling and then schedule another deposition to continue.

Re:He could just refuse to answer those questions. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959242)

SCO seem to be irritating the judge in Utah. IBM could try playing this card and get the North Carolina court (and judge) found in contempt of the Utah court for trying to alter the proceedings of the original case with this new nonsense of a case

You can do that, right?

Alternatively, he could just alternate between "I can't hear you", "I don't understand you", "I don't understand the question", "do you mean this or that?", answering something other than 'yes' or 'no' to a yes/no question, "sorry, pardon? I was distracted by that fly/laybird/pigeon", "I don't remember" and having his own lawyer shout 'objection' a lot.
Mix that up with a good dose of verbal acrobatics, a unscheduled power cut, dozens of toilet breaks, a quick dose of flu/chicken pox/bubonic plague, myriad bomb/fire alarms, the whole case getting lost due to a mysterious computer error, the electrical frequency in the building being increasing - making the clocks go 50% faster, a convenient paper cut and the SCO lawyers going down with food poisoning. The four hours will fly by!

IANAL, can you tell?

All Lawyers should be exterminated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958593)

With a little luck some of the highers up @ the Pentagon will realize this, and the Lawyer scourge can be eliminated forever.

Re:All Lawyers should be exterminated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958901)

I hear Cheney's working on that...

IANAL (2, Interesting)

A. Bosch (858654) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958596)

And neither is the writer on Groklaw who wrote the article: " IANAL. I am a journalist with a paralegal background"

I would love to read what other /. readers who actually are lawyers think.

Re:IANAL (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958728)

even when actual barred lawyers speak on such matters the whole IAALBIANY thing gets trotted out (i am a lawyer but i am not yours) besides if you really want to join the fun pop into Groklaw.net and have fun (unless you are a TSCOG employee then you can delete the two "fun" refs.

Re:IANAL (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958775)

I would love to read what other /. readers who actually are lawyers think.

Money money money money money money money money money money money money money...
Lawsuit, Lawsuit!
Money money money money money money money money money money money money money...
Lawsuit, Lawsuit!
Money money money money money money money money money money money money money...
Lawsuit, Lawsuit!
Money money money money money money money money money money money money money...
A judge! Juuudge! Juuudge! Ooooooh, it's a judge! It's some
.
Money money money money money money money money money money money money money...
Lawsuit, Lawsuit!
Money money money money money money money money money money money money money...
Lawsuit, Lawsuit!
Money money money money money money money money money money money money money...
Lawsuit, Lawsuit!
Money money money money money money money money money money money money money...
A judge! Juuudge! Juuudge! Ooooooh, it's a judge! It's some...

  / to the tune of "Badger badger badger"

Re:IANAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958777)

I would love to read what other /. readers who actually are lawyers think.

Ehh... I wouldn't trust the advice or opinion of any lawyer who has time to troll Slashdot at 5:33 pm on a Tuesday.

Re:IANAL (1)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958811)

If they can bill you for "thinking about your case" while sitting on the toilet, I'm pretty sure they could bill you for doing so while trolling the Slashdot threads.

Re:IANAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15959046)

I would love to read what other /. readers who actually are lawyers think.

I would expect they think, no way are they giving out valuable legal analysis without the customary $200/hr fee.

This is a website. You want a laywer? Hire one.

He did it to himself... (4, Informative)

Kr3m3Puff (413047) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958606)

The whole point, while I understand, is that he went to a North Carolina judge versus Judge Wells and the North Carolina judge didn't understand the case and opened the witness up to whatever SCO wanted for 4 hours. While this plays well for SCO, it really is the poor guys fault for finding a lawyer and a judge who shouldn't have stuck their nose in the business.

Re:He did it to himself... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958713)

Mod up, parent actually read link, submitter idiot, editor illiterate, etc.

Re:He did it to himself... (5, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958872)

The whole point, while I understand, is that he went to a North Carolina judge versus Judge Wells and the North Carolina judge didn't understand the case and opened the witness up to whatever SCO wanted for 4 hours. While this plays well for SCO, it really is the poor guys fault for finding a lawyer and a judge who shouldn't have stuck their nose in the business.
Your description is not 100% accurate. SCO first went to the NC court. Wilson's (and his lawyer's) mistake was in not asking the the NC judge to pass it back to Utah.

Re:He did it to himself... (5, Insightful)

LinuxGeek (6139) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959109)

Yes, he (Mr. Watson) went to a NC judge about a flawed subpoena from SCO that ordered him to appear the next day at an unspecified location.

8. Although counsel for SCO had provided a copy of a subpoena that purported to require Mr. Wilson to appear for a deposition on January 27, 2006 (with no location for the deposition specified), counsel for SCO did not provide me or file with the Utah court a return of service for that subpoena. Mr. Normand did not inform me that Mr. Wilson had been served with that subpoena until the day before the January 26 telephone conference, and less than two days before SCO purportedly intended to depose Mr. Wilson. Because of this, and because IBM objected to SCO taking Mr. Wilson's deposition, we had not made arrangements to appear for the deposition on January 27.


My understanding from several legal professionals that I know is that you can safely ignore a defective subpoena and Mr. Watson may have been better off if he had ignored it completely instead of going before a NC court. He threw himself into the shark pool with no protection and the SCO attorneys swam in for the kill.

The SCO gang seem to be very skilled liars and even appear to derive great satisfaction while doing so.

Re:He did it to himself... (1)

doodlebumm (915920) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959291)

If he's smart, he'll talk VERY slowly. That should reduce the time they have to the equivalent of 30 minutes.


Wasn't there some show that did a spoof like that? Took the guy for.....ever to say only a couple of words.

IBM's Lawyer? (2, Insightful)

Distinguished Hero (618385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958630)

IBM's lawyer was on vacation at the time, didn't give prior notice to big blue, and now they've won the right to ask him anything they want.
IBM's lawyer? Why exactly does a company like IBM only have one lawyer, and why is he/she the sort of person who just runs off without telling anyone beforehand?

Re:IBM's Lawyer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958760)

If I was IBM I'd pay my lawyers overtime to get them to stay. Alternativly I'd trick 'em into signing something giving away their holiday time.

Re:IBM's Lawyer? (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959161)

But then you would need a lawyer to write that document,
and then you would need to have that lawyer on staff to
make sure it was enforced, and that new lawyer would probably
ask the lawyer that was the target of this action to write
it for him as a professional courtesy, that would that
document mean then?

Re:IBM's Lawyer? (5, Informative)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958779)

IBM's lawyer? Why exactly does a company like IBM only have one lawyer, and why is he/she the sort of person who just runs off without telling anyone beforehand?

The article summary is poorly worded. Shaughnessy (the lawyer) was the only one that was part of an earlier teleconference and could rebut (from first hand knowledge) SCO's account. And he had no idea what was going on because Wilson (the retired guy who's being disposed) had taken it to an unrelated court in another state (presumably, the state where he lives) without telling the right people. So it was, I gather, just him and SCO's lawyers, and he let them tell the court that Shaughnessy really wasn't representing him anyway, being IBM's lawyer and not his.

Even the best lawyer can't be expected to hear an ex-employee starting to stick their foot in it in an other state, dive into a phone booth, come out in a cape and fly to the other side of the country in time to stop them. Heck, even the NSA would be hard pressed to pull it off.

The moral of the story: if you're involved in a multi-year litigation with known bad apples, don't do random stuff at the bidding of the opponent's lawyers without at least telling your own side's lawyers.

--MarkusQ

Stupidity VS bribery (2, Funny)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958821)

Why does everyone assume he was stupid? Maybe he was bought off and "threw the game" so to speak for SCO?

Throwing the game vs. Embarrassing yourself (2, Interesting)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959064)

Why does everyone assume he was stupid? Maybe he was bought off and "threw the game" so to speak for SCO?

Because there are lots of easier ways to "throw the game" than submitting yourself to hours of interrogation about your arrest history, prior relationships, etc. He could, for example, have done it just be being a little too rabidly pro-IBM in the deposition as originally outlined (responding with things like "While I wouldn't claim that IBM invented electricity, they were certainly the first to make good use of it!").

Besides, no one is saying that he's stupid (by all accounts, he's not), just that he was perhaps a little too trusting. It is, after all, a little difficult to get your mind around just how underhanded SCO really is. He can be forgiven for assuming that they really aren't as underhanded as laywers in the movies, when (as it turns out) they're worse.

--MarkusQ

Re:IBM's Lawyer? (5, Informative)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959048)

Wilson (the retired guy who's being disposed) had taken it to an unrelated court

No, SCO filed first in the unrelated North Carolina state court to force the deposition to take place there, thereby arming the hidden legal trap they had set. When Wilson responded to that court, he walked into the trap. The judge in that court closed the trap by changing the deposition rules set by the original federal court, instead of just ordering the deposition take place in the manner that the federal court directed.

This modification of rules essentially removed the content restrictions from the deposition. This allows SCO to ask Wilson about anything, including new subjects that were not introduced in the original discovery of facts phase in the SCO vs IBM case, which has (or was supposed to have) ended. This means that SCO has a chance to use this deposition as an extension of the discovery phase, thereby allowing SCO to further delay the SCO vs IBM case, and delay even explaining exactly and specifically what their case is about.

The federal judge who set the initial rules for the deposition ruled that the deposition should be allowed to proceed because the state judge substituted a time restriction of 4 hours for the original restriction on content that stated no new subjects were to be introduced in the deposition (Wilson had been deposed previously). The federal judge's ruling went further and seemed to criticize Wilson for actually responding to the state court's order. Imagine that, actually responding to a court order directed AT YOU!

There's more, but the fact is that it was SCO that took it to the state court, not Wilson.

Re:IBM's Lawyer? (2, Insightful)

monkeydo (173558) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959099)

Poorly worded is an understatement. I have no idea what this sentence means: "IBM's lawyer was on vacation at the time, didn't give prior notice to big blue, and now they've won the right to ask him anything they want."

So, an attorney who represents IBM went on vacation without telling his employer, and now his employer can ask with whatever questions it wishes. Which leads me to wonder why he went on vacation without telling his employer, and why his employer wants to depose him.

Some days I just wish people would just stop using pronouns.

I read the Groklaw article as well, and I'm no more enlightened than I was an hour ago. The article is as incomprehensible as the summary. I understand the legal process quite well, and I still have no idea what is going on here. If I'm going to have to read the last six months of Groklaw, and all of the court filings to understand what happened, then what's the point of posting this on /.? Presumably the Groklaw groupies (the only ones who have any idea what any of this is about) have already seen this.

I once tried to read a few of the articles at Groklaw about this, and all I got is, "SCO bad, SCO lawyers stupid, IBM good."

Edting butchery... or a brainfart. Either way... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15959501)

> "IBM's lawyer was on vacation at the time, didn't give prior notice to big blue, and now they've won the right to ask him anything they want."

That was an edit by Zonk unless I had a serious brain fart while writing. I don't remember writing that quite the same way. Basically, the same firm is representing Otis as well as IBM at one point, but Otis has his own lawyer now. There were some things said in NC that Otis' lawyer didn't have the first-hand knowledge to rebut and the only fellow who could've was an IBM lawyer on vacation that this guy couldn't get ahold of. It was SCO that gave a last-second notice to IBM (and I'm not sure it can be termed "improper" ... underhanded, sneaky, last-minute, etc., sure, but the Court accepted it, so I can only presume that it was "proper" for those purposes, however distateful I find it to be).

If I had to reword it, I'd say something like: "The only IBM lawyer who could rebut SCO's allegations was on vacation at the time because SCO only gave last-minute notice to IBM, and now SCO has won the right to ask the witness anything they want, in spite of Magistrate Judge Wells' ruling to the contrary.

- Mr. E.

Re:IBM's Lawyer? (2, Interesting)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958951)

Even if they did only have one lawyer, he deserves a vacation. (And yes I know that there are more lawyers involved and the he was only needed here because of his specific history in the case.)

However, as with almost 100% of the people in the IT industry, why didn't he have a contact phone number. I have a cell phone that people can contact me at, even on vacation. 99.99% of the time, work respects my vacation and does not call. Those times they do, they are really stuck. It is part of the job, and the higher up the tree you get (or the closer to the root depending on how you like to look at it ;-), the more so. Now I am not saying lawyers suffer the same kind job 'realities' (for want of a better word) as IT folk, but when a guy who is one of the active lawyers defending against a multi-billion dollar law suit goes missing, even while on vacation... I would be thinking about whether his long term career plans at IBM are being revisited right now.

Sssllloowww.... (4, Funny)

bobwoodard (92257) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958695)

He'd... better... talk... reeeaaaallll... sssllllloooooowwwwww....

Re:Sssllloowww.... (2, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958985)

Joke all you want, but one of the things that people get coached on when preparing for depositions is how to say a lot of stuff without really saying anything.

However, four hours can stretch into a pretty long time when it's just a bunch of people sitting there asking you questions; I don't think you can really take up quite that much time by filibustering.

The real problem with an open deposition like this, as opposed to one where the topics or even questions are set out beforehand, is that it's a lot harder to prepare the witness for one; SCO's lawyers' goal is probably just to get him to slip up and say something that they can use to further delay proceedings. If the guy's not careful, it could definitely happen.

Re:Sssllloowww.... (1)

spamchang (302052) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959414)

mod the parent to insightful, rather than funny. IBM better close up tight with its legal thinking; it's lucky 4 hrs is all SCO got. i'm sure the witness could also "no comment" or defer with some filibuster-type answer if the judge doesn't swallow an SCO pill and hold any non-immediate or non-relevant answer as contempt of court. (contempt of SCO, sure.) sure hope IBM's lawyers will be on hand to object at anything that constitutes brand-new discovery. if not, maybe they can give a legal crash course to the witness.

How is this news? (1)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958726)

Lawyers being sneaky? I don't believe it. Someone wake me when there is a conclusion to this sad, sordid affair...long about the 5th of Never, I should think. Nothing to see here; move along.

Re:How is this news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15959404)

Lawyers being sneaky?


No, this isn't about lawyers being sneaky, this is about SCO kicking Lord Vader's tauntaun and then scratching the paint on his Tie fighter.

Seriously, SCO has already twisted the dragon's tail. They're just begging for an encore now. They have some sort of sick death wish.

Not 1 lawyer, just sneaky tricks (3, Insightful)

larien (5608) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958736)

For all those saying that IBM only had one lawyer, read the article:
The trick, I gather, is to be the only one prepared to speak to the judge. While Mr. Wilson was trying to find his own lawyer, and did, and the lawyer needed time to get up to speed and evaluate how to handle the matter, SCO was telling the judge that IBM's Todd Shaughnessy was kinda sorta if not exactly representing Wilson. And compounding the problem, Shaughnessy, the only lawyer in the teleconference with Wells on January 26, and hence the only one who could rebut SCO's Normand as to what happened, was on vacation and unreachable. And from all I can see, by the time he came back, the North Carolina judge was already persuaded by SCO's whining about unfairness.
In short SCO said "this is the guy representing the proposed witness" - added to that, it sounds like the IBM lawyer who was on holiday was the only one who could represent otherwise or some other legal shenanigans.

SCO pulled a fast one and got away with it - this time. Doesn't mean that they'll win, but it sounds like they just might be able to drag it out a bit longer, unfortunately.

Re:Not 1 lawyer, just sneaky tricks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958921)

SCO pulled a fast one and got away with it - this time.

And now what will the judge think when this is revealed?

I Miss SCO-A-Day News (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958763)

They were the good ol' days when we had something to laugh about on a daily basis -- whether Darl issued another encyclical, DiDio and the Yank-and-Grope guys threw more FUD, or when they outed Linux as the secret love child of Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. Good times. Even watching SCO stock tank was fun. Did their earnings go down yet? Did their strange math make it seem like they're getting new money coming in? Has the SEC looked into their supposed pump/dump scheme yet? Hella good times.

Now we're down to some lawyers having their way with a guy for 4 hours. That doesn't even make reality TV, guys. Really. So la-dee-da...just let me know to whom I write this check for $699 for my copy of Ubuntu, mmmkay?

Don't ever think of representing yourself in court (5, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958769)

That isn't what the victim did in this case, but look at the nature of the maneuvering: "The problem, according to Judge Wells, is that Mr. Wilson submitted himself to the North Carolina court by submitting a motion to quash there." In other words, you can get yourself in trouble by saying "go away" in the same place that someone said "come here!".

If you ever get the idea that law is a logic system and you can handle a court case without an experienced and street-smart lawyer, remember that you might be up against dirty tricks from veterans who are on their home turf. Never fight a wizard in his keep. Always remember how bad it can be just to have your lawyer on vacation.

I don't have any trouble (5, Funny)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958868)

fighting a wizard in his keep. I just have my rouge hide in the shadows for a critical hit in round 3, my warrior hacks away with his axe, the Ranger with his bow, one wizard heals, one protects and one casts Gotterdamurung every turn. I find the same strategy works aganst lawyers, only they've got more HP.

Re:I don't have any trouble (4, Funny)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959002)

Your rouge, huh? Well, my Mascara of Smiting will spank your hiding in shadows rouge every time.

Your Honour.. (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958774)

SCO Attorney: "Let the record show that Mr. Wilson likes chocolate ice cream, baseball and buys his underwear at J.C. Penney. Which I think speaks for itself in regards to the nefarious activities of IBM!!!"

Judge: "I'd say it speaks volumes what a loonie lot you are. I find for IBM"

The real issue here (IMO at least) (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15958781)

I think the real point is the quality of the US courts, which is IMO very poor if you actually have situations where people resort to these kind of tactics in order to stand a chance. The really disturbing part is that they can get away with all this in some cases, as proven many times in the past.

So... Because the husbands nephew wife's maid brother-in-law kitchenworkers bankrupt boss has said something bad with regards to paying alimony its becoming obvious that this husband has come into contact with negative influences regarding the alimony he needs to pay. And so, the poor crying blond woman (sob, sob ) simply has the RIGHT that he'd be put into custody right to the moment where has paid up in full extend PLUS the costs of procecution. Btw; did we ever mention the fact that the husband once visited Saudi Arabia? Well, if that isn't convinving evidence, I don't know what is.

If it convinces the jury its good.. I'm glad that in civilized countries people are tried by the law. Its one of the reasons this soap opera never got a stage overseas since it was laughed out of courtroom, accompanied with the threat of a major fine for slander if they tried something like this again without some solid facts to back it up.

Re:The real issue here (IMO at least) (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959042)

Sorry. I'll take a jury of my peers over an elected lawyer any day of the week.

Why can't the poor shmuck... (3, Interesting)

bjanz (573487) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958794)

...just keep repeating "I don't remember" to any question he doesn't want to answer for 4 hours? I mean, ok, so he gives his address, the names of his kids, the type of car he drives... the obvious stuff. The stuff he can't get wrong. But, for things where he could get tripped up on, can't he simply say "I can't remember"?

Re:Why can't the poor shmuck... (2, Informative)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959188)

Probably because it's a crime to lie in a deposition. If he suddenly "remembers" all the answers were the case to get to trial, he'd be spending a goodly amount of time in jail--plus his testimony would be tossed.

Whatever happened to taking the 5th? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15959394)

Doesn't a person maintain the right to Not say anything, even when they have done nothing wrong?

If he has to save information for the next court trial,
couldn't he 'take the 5th' for this deposition to Every single question,
or is that just Hollywood's take on civil rights?

Re:Why can't the poor shmuck... (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959297)

You can only get away with doing that if you're involved in national level politics in some deeply icky way.

Re:Why can't the poor shmuck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15959349)

Why can't the poor shmuck......just keep repeating "I don't remember" to any question he doesn't want to answer for 4 hours?


Probably because he is not a republican.

What does this accomplish? (4, Insightful)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958806)

I mean really, all SCO can do is be an ass to an IBM guy. I mean, they wouldn't need to pull something like this to ask remotely relevant questions, and since IBM isn't gonna settle to save this guy some embarassment, all SCO gets to do is what they always do: be petty, retarded dumbasses.

legal procedure or fierce battle? (2, Funny)

thanasakis (225405) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958817)

"Lawyers Ambush Witness", "sneaky legal maneuver", "blindsided IBM", "has thrown poor Mr. Wilson to the wolves", "is fishing for something", "trip up Mr. Wilson", "one line of cold comfort" etc....

I love it when a boring legal procedure takes such epic proportions. The narrator really knows his job!..

except (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15959142)

"is fishing for something" isn't so epic.

Re:legal procedure or fierce battle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15959276)

> I love it when a boring legal procedure takes such epic proportions. The narrator really knows his job!

Thanks man, it was a real challenge, but it was fun :-)

- Mr. E.

Advice for Mr. Wilson (4, Funny)

toupsie (88295) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958825)

If they have only 4 hours to depose you, talk v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. Your name is Otis so no one can hold that against you -- plus you are in North Carolina so no one will notice...

Wait... (2, Insightful)

starseeker (141897) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958909)

They haven't asked him anything yet, have they? The article seems to say they COULD ask him about anything. I would hope that ex-wives (if any) would be off the table - trying to personally attack someone for things not related to the issue at hand would strike me as a very poor use of the time SCO has been given. How would that help their case?

Let's wait for the outcome of this. I rather doubt we need to make too much of the "they can ask ANYTHING" part of this - if we do let's wait for the actual event. Certainly SCO has done enough to anger the geek community without us needing to throw any more fuel on the fire. Only pursue them for the poor behavior they have actually demonstrated - I can't imagine why we would need anything else.

Re:Wait... (1)

VEGETA_GT (255721) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958962)

Certainly SCO has done enough to anger the geek community without us needing to throw any more fuel on the fire.
Wait, so you want me to stop adding gas to the fire ??? but dam look at the size of this thing, and if it gets a little (very little) bigger we can toss ALL of SCO in at once, and we all want to see that >:)=

Re:Wait... (4, Informative)

Pop69 (700500) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958981)

You must not have read the transcript of his prior deposition where SCO/Caldera DID in fact ask him about ex-wives, criminal records, if he had ever been fired from a job for misconduct, etc.

Re:Wait... (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959010)

Right. This is the part I didn't get. Why would SCO care about asking some ex-employee of IBM about his personal life? I would think they would try to ask him things about the case itself and try to get him to contradict his previous testamony or testamony from someone else from IBM.

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15959160)

If you had RTFA, you would have found:
Otis Wilson is a witness whose earlier testimony at the prior deposition was so devastating to SCO. Wilson was in charge of the licensing department at AT&T for years, and he clearly testified that his understanding of the contract between IBM and AT&T was that "we did not intend to exercise any control or restriction on those products that did not contain portions of the software products;" As for methods and concepts, he said that this phrase was removed from IBM's contract and that AT&T did not seek to enforce rights to methods and concepts of UNIX.
So Wilson was an ex-employee of AT&T, not IBM and he is the foremost expert on the intention of the contract SCO is using to sue IBM (SCO alleges they now own the AT&T contract).

SCO wants to smear Wilson by any means necessary because his testimony wipes out their entire case against IBM.

Re:Wait... (1)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959169)

It's a tactic. You see, Mr. Wilson didn't work for IBM. He worked for AT&T, and the thing he knows about is the terms under which that company licensed Unix. Since these terms don't support the kind of control SCO wants over IBM's Unix-based products (even assuming they owned Unix, something they're going to have considerable trouble proving because they probably don't) SCO really wants to impeach his testimony. They can do this in two ways. They can either get this retired, elderly gentleman so flustered that he has trouble recalling some of the details on which he was earlier deposed and contradicts himself. Or they can try to impeach his character and make him out to be untrustworthy. Either will serve their purpose.

Re:Wait... (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959246)

This is the part I didn't get. Why would SCO care about asking some ex-employee of IBM about his personal life? I would think they would try to ask him things about the case itself and try to get him to contradict his previous testamony or testamony from someone else from IBM.

Because asking embarassing questions is a time-honored way for lawyers/police to upset and frustrate the interview subject. The hope is that once the person isn't thinking logically and carefully, they can be tricked into saying something stupid, or something that can be twisted, or something that can undermine their credibility. It's also a great way to discourage witnesses from participating in cases where you can't undermine their testimony, so your best bet is to try and prevent it.

Re:Wait... (4, Interesting)

rkhalloran (136467) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959342)

You didn't see the initial transcript. They asked about his marital history, military service, arrest record, etc. Reason? Otis Wilson was *THE* AT&T UNIX contracts manager, signed off both IBM and Sequent's contracts, and his previous testimony knocks SCOX's "derivative works" argument into the sewer from whence it came. The SCOundrels are attempting to trip him up under grilling to discredit it. If you read the first transcript, though, he kept calm and collected while skewering all of SCOX's arguments, which apparently infuriated the SCOX attorney to no end.

SCOX DELENDA EST!!

Re:Wait... (1)

Parallax Blue (836836) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959379)

Of course they'll try to dig up any juicy tidbits they can. Why? Simply put, credibility. If his character is damaged, his credibility is damaged as well. It's probably unlikely that sort of maneuver would work in this situation, but they can still try.

Ambush... (-1, Flamebait)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958947)

I'd like to ambush SCO *AND* their lawyers...

With a .357 long-barrel Magnum at point-blank range - to the head. This was low. If they were anywhere near me, I wouldn't hesitate.

Re:Ambush... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15959077)

Save that kind of lawless immoral rhetoric for people like Jack Thompson.

It's a Trap! (2, Funny)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#15958949)

After SCO was limited in what they could depose Mr. Otis Wilson about by the Utah court, the company blindsided IBM with last-second subpoenas before a North Carolina court.

I bet they already arranged his flight [snakesonaplane.com] to North Caroilina, too!

The Monica Lewinski gambit (0, Flamebait)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959049)

Clinton was being deposed on Paula Jones (who later said she was used and dumped by the Arkansas Project actors) and the lawyers got a free pass to depose him on whatever they chose by fibbing to the judge about the relevance to Jones. Lewinsky was only pertinent to destroying Clinton, not the case at hand. They had a party. (And Clinton still managed to dodge the bastards by having the judge rule "sex" as intercourse. Technically, he did not lie. And I'd still like those two bastard lawyers to be brought up on charges for lying as officers of the court. But Clinton got fined instead. A lot of white-hooded types in Arkansas government didn't like Clinton, and got their vengeance that day.)

There are certain types of lawyers that would be considered dangerous sociopaths in any other venue but their day jobs.

I sense some exaggeration (1)

TekPolitik (147802) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959351)

They've asked him about whether he has a criminal record, about ex-wives, etc. and they have four hours in which to do so

Unlikely - I'm sure the rules of evidence still apply to a deposition, so these questions would still be impermissible on grounds of lack of relevance. The Groklaw article does not say they have asked these things, but that they could - on the latter it seems to me Groklaw is likely wrong.

Groklaw also makes some allegations of abuse of process that don't appear to be matched by the record. If there has been such flagrant abuse of process this may be subject to disciplinary proceedings against the lawyers involved.

Re:I sense some exaggeration (2, Informative)

rkhalloran (136467) | more than 7 years ago | (#15959490)

Obviously you didn't look through the initial deposition. They DID ask him about his arrest record, military service, marital history, income sources, etc. Given that this man was the AT&T UNIX contracts manager, signed off on both the IBM & Sequent SysV deals, and said in the first deposition that AT&T had clearly stated in 1985 they had no interest in any licensee's code as long as it didn't incorporate SysV source within , SCOX HAS to discredit him somehow or have their case torpedoed. So they're going to grill him again and hope he trips up somewhere in the four hours. Given his utter composure and clear recollections the first time around, they're probably wishing a stroke on him as we speak.
SCOX DELENDA EST!!
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...