13 February 2004 Fujitsu Systems is appealing to the House of Lords to reverse a decision to send an £11 million (€16.2m) case with the Co-operative Group back to the High Court for a re-trial.
Fujitsu’s bid follows a successful appeal by the Co-op, in which it had argued that the judge in the original case had been biased.
But lawyers acting for Fujitsu will argue that despite the controversial comments from Judge Richard Seymour QC in the original case, the overall outcome was still correct and should stand.
Judge Seymour had been stinging about the Co-op’s conduct and had accused Co-op management from the CEO downwards of taking part in a conspiracy to undermine Fujitsu and of lying in court. He even criticised the tone of correspondence from the Co-op to Fujitsu as “just plain bad manners”.
However, even if Fujitsu is successful in its bid to have its case put before the House of Lords, it is unlikely to be heard before the end of the year.
The dispute between the two companies erupted after the Co-operative Group claimed that an electronic point of sale (EPOS) system implementation being handled by Fujitsu — then called ICL — was not up to an acceptable standard and had, in any case, been delivered late.
Fujitsu had refused to pay penalties demanded by the Co-op and the judge in the original case had backed Fujitsu, ruling that the two companies had failed to agree to penalty clauses for late delivery.
Co-op wins retrial against ICL over ‘biased’ judge (23 December 2003)
Rules of engagement (September 2003)
IT service contracts rarely go without a hitch. In light of the Co-op’s failed lawsuit against ICL, Bill Gilliam, IT litigation specialist at law firm Eversheds, advises on tactics for handling the inevitable disputes.