Feeds

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

Everywhere, kidnappers' ears prick up...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Holy vintage vehicles! Earliest known official Batmobile goes on sale
Riddle me this: are you prepared to pay US$180k?
Bible THUMP: Good Book beats Darwin to most influential tome title
Folio Society crowns fittest of surviving volumes
'Open source just means big companies can steal your code.' O RLY?
Plus: Flame of the Week returns, for one night only!
U wot? Silicon Roundabout set to become Silicon U-BEND
Crap-spouting London upstarts to get permanent road closure
Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG
Stick it on the steering wheel and wait for the airbag to fire
NEWSFLASH: It's time to ditch dullard Facebook chums
Everything hot in tech, courtesy of avian anchor Regina Eggbert
'It is comforting to know where your data centres are.' UK.GOV does NOT
Plus: Anons are 'wannabes', KKK says, before being pwned
Criticism of Uber's journo-Data Analytics plan is an Attack on DIGITAL FREEDOM
First they came for Emil – and I'm damn well SPEAKING OUT
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.