Feeds

Lawyer admits tampering in MSN, Best Buy case

Falsified docs on his own. Honest

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

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.®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
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.