Feeds

Oracle's Ellison spanked for withholding evidence in shareholder suit

The missing Softwar tapes

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

A federal judge has upbraided Oracle CEO Larry Ellison for withholding evidence in a class-action suit brought by company stockholders.

Yesterday, Bloomberg reports, US District Court Judge Susan Illston ruled that Ellison failed to preserve or intentionally destroyed emails and audio recordings that should have been turned over to the suit's plaintiffs. She stopped short of sanctioning the world's fourteenth richest man, but she did say that jurors should assume the missing evidence would have the boosted the stockholders' case.

According to Illston's ruling - provided here (PDF) by the Wall Street Journal - Ellison was obligated to preserve his emails after the suit was filed in March 2001. But in the end, he gave the court only 15 messages.

Ellison and his Oracle co-defendants did produce 1,650 Ellison emails from the files of other company employees. But the judge says this merely muddied the waters.

"It could have been helpful to plaintiffs to demonstrate that certain emails were discovered in Ellison's files," Illston wrote. "Otherwise, for instance, Ellison could argue that he never actually read or received an email that was sent to him, and thus had no knowledge of its contents.

"Moreover, having established with certainty that numerous emails were not produced from Ellison's email files - because the emails were produced from other files or accounts - it is impossible to know whether additional unproduced emails were also deleted or not turned over."

The defendants also requested 135 hours of Ellison interviews recorded by Matthew Symonds, author of the book Softwar: An Intimate Portrait of Larry Ellison and Oracle. But, says the judge's ruling, Symonds asked a computer repair shop to destroy the laptop storing the interviews.

Ellison did hand over some transcripts of the interviews, but none from 2001. With their suit - originally brought by the Nursing Home Pension Fund - shareholders accuse Oracle, Ellison, and other execs of falsifying financial results for the company's 2001 second and third fiscal quarters.

"The court believes it is appropriate to infer that the e-mails and the Softwar-related materials would demonstrate Ellison's knowledge of, among other things, problems with the [Oracle software] Suite 11i, the effects of the economy on Oracle's business and problems with defendant's forecasting models,'" Illston said.

Trial in the case is scheduled for March. Ellison settled a similar shareholder suit in 2005, donating $100m to charities and forking over $22m in attorney fees. ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
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.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.