IBM / IBM Japan interrogatories: “in the mail” (mid April update)

For those of you following me on the issue: counsel for IBM USA, who is also counsel for IBM Japan, let me know that a response to my twenty questions (the interrogatories) is on its way to me by U.S. mail. I received a PDF “courtesy copy” this evening.

It’s really disappointing to see basic questions (e.g. who within company decided to end the employment relationship) objected to. Even more, that questions which have to be asked, in order to determine who a John Doe is, were also objected to.

In New York, tortious interference with contractual relations has these elements:

1) The existence of a valid contract between plaintiff and a third party;

2) The defendant’s knowledge of that contract;

3) The defendant’s intentional procuring of the breach;

4) Damages.

Foster, 87 N.Y.2d 749-50; Restatement (Second) Torts §766 (P.S. lawyers and others reading me on a search: do your own homework, right? Discussion not meant to convey legal advice.)

In order for someone to be a “John Doe” for the tort, a number of questions have to be asked around the simple topic of “who was John Doe?” These go to things like corporate form (to determine which company was the third party). Did the actor have any power over a related subsidiary company? Was the actor aware that there was another employment agreement? Et cetera.

It sounded, from reading the thing that came as PDFs, that IBM’s counsel just wants me to guess who did it. What’s worse is, they leave out good guesses, like: the human resources director for IBM Japan, who now works for IBM USA in New York. (So, personal jurisdiction in New York.) They leave the name out. Just object.

This is why, when big corporations complain about litigation in American society, it’s a lot of crap. They make the litigation. If you use alternate remedies, like administrative proceedings, they have reasons not to cooperate there. Then, if you do file to get what is owed you, they slow-train it. If you seek discovery on basic information, they object. Then, they complain about litigation getting in the way of their business. They basically want to operate above the law, or, as their own private law.

Well, what I got was not good enough, obviously. So, the page turns and the next chapter gets written.


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