Feeds

MS cites kidnap fears in bid to keep execs' wealth out of court

Everywhere, kidnappers' ears prick up...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Minnesota's class action against Microsoft, scheduled to go to trial on March 1st, is showing unexpected potential. Yes, it is yet another everyday story of (allegedly) overcharging folk, but Microsoft has been attempting to stop details of how rich its witnesses are coming out in court, and the rival attorneys have been scrapping in the hallways.

According to the Star Tribune, plaintiffs' attorneys wished to tell jurors all about the Microsoft stock owned by the present and former employees that Microsoft intends to call as witnesses. Microsoft's attorneys however argue that "some of those witnesses fear their children might be kidnapped if their vast wealth -- in some cases hundreds of millions of dollars -- were disclosed."

Which is a peculiar argument, really. Even not very efficient kidnappers who don't do their background reading homework will probably have grasped that most senior Microsoft execs are as rich as Croesus, and spectacularly useless kidnappers who can at least hobble their way through the local press are now - thanks to Microsoft's attorneys - well-aware that the witnesses the company proposes to call are dripping with the stuff.

So it's a silly argument that destroys itself. But the argument that knowledge of the worth of the witnesses might prejudice the jury is more credible, and is currently being considered by the judge, on the basis that although it is relevant, it could be prejudicial. So can the ordinary citizenry be trusted to be impartial when confronted by vast wealth, or will it automatically leap to the conclusion that it was dishonestly obtained? We may have a zeitgeist issue do nos jours brewing here.

As regards the scrapping, a Microsoft attorney told plaintiffs' attorneys they should be ashamed of themselves, while the latter claim Microsoft is trying to suppress evidence that Microsoft has already been ruled an illegal monopoly by a federal court. Tame stuff, but if they're cross enough to abuse one another in front of reporters, then we could yet see fisticuffs. ®

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
Japanese artist cuffed for disseminating 3D ladyparts files
Printable genitalia fall foul of 'obscene material' laws
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Brit Rockall adventurer poised to quit islet
Occupation records broken, champagne corks popped
Accused! Yahoo! exec! SUES! her! accuser!, says! sex! harassment! never! happened!
Allegations were for 'financial gain', countersuit claims
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land
Bold, barmy Brit adventurer Nick Hancock escapes North Atlantic islet
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.