Feeds

Lawyer admits tampering in MSN, Best Buy case

Falsified docs on his own. Honest

High performance access to file storage

A Best Buy lawyer has admitted to falsifying court documents in the longstanding racketeering case against Microsoft and Best Buy, which recently reached a Superior Court in Seattle.

A nationwide class-action suit, filed in 2003, accuses the two companies of conspiring to secretly register thousands of Best Buy customers for Microsoft’s MSN online service.

As reported by the Associated Press, a lawyer with the Minneapolis firm representing Best Buy admitted to altering emails and a paper memo before turning them over to the suit's plaintiffs - though he claims to have acted alone, without the knowledge of either Best Buy or his firm.

"When you have an attorney who openly admits to tampering with discovery documents, it's going to effect the credibility of his client, and there's a danger this could bleed over into Microsoft's side of things as well - particularly if the documents involve cross-licensing agreements between Microsoft and Best Buy," says Sean Dwyer, a partner with the New York law firm Havkins, Rosenfeld, Ritzert & Varriale who specializes in racketeering. The court has not released the documents.

The outcome of the case is still very much in the balance, but under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, the same law that famously brought down several members of the Gambino crime family late last year, Microsoft and Best Buy could be liable for far more than the funds they’re accused of pilfering.

"The racketeering laws allow plaintiffs to collect three times their damages plus attorney fees," says Robert Schwinger, a RICO specialist with the with international firm Chadbourne & Parke. "Collectively, that’s a sizable amount."

According to the suit, between 1998 and 2003, Best Buy surreptitiously registered more than 100,000 customers for a trial version of MSN, failing to explain that their credit cards would be charged after the trial expired. Meanwhile, Microsoft is accused of allowing this practice to continue after it received complaints.

Naturally, Microsoft had agreed to pay Best Buy for each person it registered for MSN.®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.