Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/03/dell_new_orleans_cctv_conspiracy_lawsuit_jury/

Dell hit by $12.8m camera conspiracy verdict

Not so big and easy now

By Austin Modine

Posted in Bootnotes, 3rd November 2009 19:21 GMT

A New Orleans jury has found Dell liable for $12.8m in damages on conspiracy and unfair competition charges in a lawsuit about the city's problem-plagued crime camera program.

The eponymous computer vendor was sued by local CCTV vendors, Southern Electronics Supply and Active Solutions, in a hideously complex lawsuit alleging the two firms' proprietary camera system was ripped off by the Big Easy's former technology chief, Greg Meffert and others. It also claims conspiracy with Dell to sell the system.

Southern Electronics and Active had sought $3.6bn in punitive damages in the lawsuit, but the jury rejected the misappropriation claim. However, it did find Meffert and other City Hall insiders plotted with Dell to interfere with the CCTV firms' contract with the city.

Dell was assigned 35 per cent of the blame and Meffert 20 per cent, the balance of the damages award, totalling $10m, being assigned to five other parties. Separately, Dell was found responsible for $2.8m in damages to Southern and Active for breaching a nondisclosure agreement and giving false promises to work together.

A Dell spokeswoman told El Reg the company is still considering whether or not to appeal the verdict. She added that the company disagrees with the jury's decision, even though the sum awarded was significantly less than the billions the plaintiffs were seeking, and maintained Dell never acted illegally or unethically in its work for the city of New Orleans. ®

This story was updated to include a response from Dell.