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SCO Lawyers Ambush IBM Witness 199

Posted by Zonk
from the what-is-this-case-about-again dept.
Mr. E. writes "In a sneaky legal maneuver, SCO's lawyers managed to ambush an IBM witness into having to give a no-holds-barred deposition in front of an unrelated court in another state. After SCO was limited in what they could depose Mr. Otis Wilson about by the Utah court, the company blindsided IBM with last-second subpoenas before a North Carolina court. IBM's lawyer was on vacation at the time, didn't give prior notice to big blue, and now they've won the right to ask him anything they want. They've asked him about whether he has a criminal record, about ex-wives, etc. and they have four hours in which to do so. According to PJ of Groklaw, 'I'd say [Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells] has thrown poor Mr. Wilson to the wolves in North Carolina and told him it's his own fault.' SCO, of course, is fishing for something — anything — they can use to stave off IBM's Motion for Summary Judgement which is fast approaching, and if they can somehow trip up Mr. Wilson, they might be able to do just that. However, there was at least one line of cold comfort in Magistrate Well's order '[T]he court wishes to note that its decision should not be viewed as any type of invitation to reopen the discovery process.'"
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SCO Lawyers Ambush IBM Witness

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  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:30PM (#15958576) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, SCO must be salivating at the prosect of this, its like a one last gasp hope.

    One minor point though, how come IBM only have 1 lawyer, didn't they have a breeding program in the 60s and 70s?
    • by Meshach (578918) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:35PM (#15958609)
      Salivating? I would say more like grabbing at straws in desperation

      Pulling some underhanded almost unethical manuver like this really shows that SCO is coming undone at the seams.
      • by Kesch (943326) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:39PM (#15958639)
        Really? I thought underhanded almost unethical manuvers were just signs of having good lawyers.
        • by Meshach (578918) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:46PM (#15958681)
          I guess that depends on how "good" is defined ;)

          Saddly that comment (even though it is a joke) reflect some truth in this matter. When I see laywers waiting until someone goes on vacation then springing some underhanded motion on them - that seems pretty low too me. It may be technically ethical but shows a real lack of character (or a sense or deperation).

          Unfortunatly actions like that are often respected in situations like this one.
          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by SpaceLifeForm (228190)
            But how did they know he was on vacation?
            Was SCOX tipped off by NSA?
          • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @07:24PM (#15959239) Homepage
            It may be technically ethical

            No, it's technically legal. It's by no means ethical.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by ClickOnThis (137803)
              It may be technically ethical

              No, it's technically legal. It's by no means ethical.

              Well, it may or may not be considered "technically ethical" based on the strict definition of "ethics" as a system of rules or principles that attempts to define "morality". On the other hand, "technically moral" is just an oxymoron. See this movie [imdb.com] for a good illustration of the difference.

              That said, I do agree that what SCO did is neither ethical nor moral.
            • What does a lawyer give to his dieing mother for a bday present?

              A) A 10% discount on his services for doing the Will.

              Dont even ask what prosecuting DA lawyers give. I just feel sorry for their wifes, oh the pain for them in bed.
        • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @07:21PM (#15959227)

          Well, that depends on how you define "unethical." In my opinion, my lawyer(s) not doing everything they are empowered to do to help me win my case is unethical. This guy, and IBM, have their own lawyers; they can handle their clients, while SCO's lawyers do what they can to help SCO.

          It's like when people ask defense attorneys how they could defend people who almost certainly committed the crime. It's easy - we believe in an adversarial justice system, and the other side already has a lawyer who is obligated to prove his case.

          • by msaulters (130992) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @07:31PM (#15959268) Homepage
            The distinction between 'ethical' and 'legal' doesn't matter to me in this case. These people are simply DISHONORABLE. I move for a change of venue to a Klingon court.
            • by debrain (29228)

              The distinction between 'ethical' and 'legal' doesn't matter to me in this case. These people are simply DISHONORABLE. I move for a change of venue to a Klingon court.

              Haha. You make a great distinction, actually. It is legal, clearly. It could be construed as ethical because lawyers are supposed to zealously represent their clients - it's how the advocacy system attempts to resolve disputes over conflicting interests. SCO's lawyers are representing their interests by exploiting an evidentiary opportunity. B

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by mkoenecke (249261)
            Reminds me of a wonderful quote from a book I have somewhere: "Our adversarial system is founded upon the curious premise that, from the clash of lies, truth will emerge."

            By the way, your opinion is not shared by the ABA's Model Code of Professional Responsibility or my own state (Texas) code. Springing something on opposing counsel when you have been notified of his vacation is not only unethical, but sanctionable.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ackthpt (218170) *

        Pulling some underhanded almost unethical manuver like this really shows that SCO is coming undone at the seams.

        "Captain's Log, 2368.7: Alien's posing as castaways on Anilorac 5 have turned out to be "attorneys" from a planet Cheron and claim to be have been in pursuit of another alien in sickbay found aboard a lost shuttle for the past 50,000 years. They have taken control of the Enterprise with something they called "Writs" and have used "Powers of Attorneys" to disable the Enterprise's self-destruc

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by geekoid (135745)
      yes, but do to the limited genetic knowledge at the time, they split into either overly opinionated engineers who fight there point of view to the death regardless of facts, or MBA's who insist on have all possible knowledge from everyone before rendering an opinion.

      It was a tragic period the explains a lot about IBM in the 1980's

    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:02PM (#15958792) Homepage Journal
      IBM is represented by Swaine, Cravath and Moore, LLP. Todd Shaughnessy just happens to be the lead attorney assigned to the SCO v IBM case, and he also was the guy that was representing Otis Wilson in North Carolina.

      I think what it probably boiled down to was the Wilson didn't want to go to Utah to file the motion to quash, so Shaughnessy filed in NC, thinking that when the judge in N.C. came across the motion, he'd call Shaughnessy to find out what it was all about. Except Shaughnessy was on vacation when that happened, and well, the rest is history.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by darkmeridian (119044)
      This is hardly as bad as you would think it is. Federal rules of discovery allow only seven hours of deposition per witness before the deposing party requires leave of court. (That assumes the opponent does not consent to the extension.) It is not unprecedented to see witnesses stall during depositions. Mr. Wilson has four hours of questioning left, and that'll go really quickly. Witnesses are instructed before depositions to ask the questioner to clarify each question so as to remove all ambiguity. Then th
  • by creimer (824291) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:31PM (#15958579) Homepage
    The poor guy's search history might've been released by AOL.
  • by Tweekster (949766) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:32PM (#15958590)
    Sure he COULD get into trouble, in reality he wont.

    And since when does IBM have one lawyer ?
    • Urm, isn't that contempt of court if the judge orders you to answer a question and you don't?
      • by Anonymous Cowpat (788193) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @07:25PM (#15959242) Journal
        SCO seem to be irritating the judge in Utah. IBM could try playing this card and get the North Carolina court (and judge) found in contempt of the Utah court for trying to alter the proceedings of the original case with this new nonsense of a case

        You can do that, right?

        Alternatively, he could just alternate between "I can't hear you", "I don't understand you", "I don't understand the question", "do you mean this or that?", answering something other than 'yes' or 'no' to a yes/no question, "sorry, pardon? I was distracted by that fly/laybird/pigeon", "I don't remember" and having his own lawyer shout 'objection' a lot.
        Mix that up with a good dose of verbal acrobatics, a unscheduled power cut, dozens of toilet breaks, a quick dose of flu/chicken pox/bubonic plague, myriad bomb/fire alarms, the whole case getting lost due to a mysterious computer error, the electrical frequency in the building being increasing - making the clocks go 50% faster, a convenient paper cut and the SCO lawyers going down with food poisoning. The four hours will fly by!

        IANAL, can you tell?
        • The four hours will fly by!

          t=0
          SCO lawyer: Did IBM steal any code?
          t=+10 seconds
          Wilson: Hmmm, let me thing about that...
          t=+3hrs 45 seconds
          Wilson: Well i think you will find...
          t=+4hrs
          IBM lawyer: Thats time for today, see you next time shall we?
        • Just dont answer anything in court, and screw the court and get a contempt charge if IBM
          will pay 1million in gold coins (ie NO tax trail, Oh did I just break the patriot act? wow who cares, im not in usa, and ill never visit either)
      • by cdrudge (68377)
        I think what he was getting at is that if Otis Wilson answers a question differently, then there COULD be a problem. However if SCO asks all the same questions again and Wilson answers the same way, then there wouldn't be a problem. The problem is that there has been significant time between his first deposition and this one. Can you remember EXACTLY what you said 2 years ago about an event that happened a decade or two ago? SCO will try to jump on any discrepancy where Wilson either omits something dur
        • and the lawyers will be asking every question "backwards" because they already know the answer so that you initially say the wrong thing. Trying to trick you with your own words. Then they can pick apart the testimony and point to every difference as "lies".
  • IANAL (Score:2, Interesting)

    by A. Bosch (858654)
    And neither is the writer on Groklaw who wrote the article: " IANAL. I am a journalist with a paralegal background"

    I would love to read what other /. readers who actually are lawyers think.
    • Re:IANAL (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:58PM (#15958775)
      I would love to read what other /. readers who actually are lawyers think.

      Money money money money money money money money money money money money money...
      Lawsuit, Lawsuit!
      Money money money money money money money money money money money money money...
      Lawsuit, Lawsuit!
      Money money money money money money money money money money money money money...
      Lawsuit, Lawsuit!
      Money money money money money money money money money money money money money...
      A judge! Juuudge! Juuudge! Ooooooh, it's a judge! It's some
      .
      Money money money money money money money money money money money money money...
      Lawsuit, Lawsuit!
      Money money money money money money money money money money money money money...
      Lawsuit, Lawsuit!
      Money money money money money money money money money money money money money...
      Lawsuit, Lawsuit!
      Money money money money money money money money money money money money money...
      A judge! Juuudge! Juuudge! Ooooooh, it's a judge! It's some...

        / to the tune of "Badger badger badger"
    • "$600 please" (Score:3, Insightful)

      Don't expect a real lawyer to give you a real opinion without getting hit in the pocket.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WindBourne (631190)
      If you wish to read what lawyers are thinking, go to the groklaw.net. While she may be a paralegal, she is the one causing a great deal of chaos with this trial. So much so, that SCO has gone to great lengths to stop her. In fact, she has been so on target, that several lawyers that I know are busy following the site for ideas on how to proceed witht their trials.
  • by Kr3m3Puff (413047) * <me.kitsonkelly@com> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:34PM (#15958606) Homepage Journal
    The whole point, while I understand, is that he went to a North Carolina judge versus Judge Wells and the North Carolina judge didn't understand the case and opened the witness up to whatever SCO wanted for 4 hours. While this plays well for SCO, it really is the poor guys fault for finding a lawyer and a judge who shouldn't have stuck their nose in the business.
    • by Otter (3800)
      Mod up, parent actually read link, submitter idiot, editor illiterate, etc.
    • by whoever57 (658626) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:17PM (#15958872) Journal
      The whole point, while I understand, is that he went to a North Carolina judge versus Judge Wells and the North Carolina judge didn't understand the case and opened the witness up to whatever SCO wanted for 4 hours. While this plays well for SCO, it really is the poor guys fault for finding a lawyer and a judge who shouldn't have stuck their nose in the business.
      Your description is not 100% accurate. SCO first went to the NC court. Wilson's (and his lawyer's) mistake was in not asking the the NC judge to pass it back to Utah.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Alchemar (720449)
        Post is also missing a few facts. As I understand it SCO filed the supeona with a deposition in two different cities to show up at the day after the supeona was servered in an effort to make the guy "jump" and do the quickest thing possible because he only had one day to get it before a judge. Even though the rest of the people that were served just skipped the deposition and then filled a complaint with the Utah Judge, he got in touch with a lawyer that was not the primary lawyer for the case and not ful
        • I don't see how the deposition can be valid? essentialy SCO made the play "out of bounds" so because he went to that judge to answer it, it counts now. I suppose it's similar to "sports" rules, but the other court had already said NOT to do this. I'd suppose the guy will be depositioned, but the Utah judge could throw out the entire testimony for going "behind her back"
    • by LinuxGeek (6139) * <djand@nc.gmail@com> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:57PM (#15959109)
      Yes, he (Mr. Watson) went to a NC judge about a flawed subpoena from SCO that ordered him to appear the next day at an unspecified location.

      8. Although counsel for SCO had provided a copy of a subpoena that purported to require Mr. Wilson to appear for a deposition on January 27, 2006 (with no location for the deposition specified), counsel for SCO did not provide me or file with the Utah court a return of service for that subpoena. Mr. Normand did not inform me that Mr. Wilson had been served with that subpoena until the day before the January 26 telephone conference, and less than two days before SCO purportedly intended to depose Mr. Wilson. Because of this, and because IBM objected to SCO taking Mr. Wilson's deposition, we had not made arrangements to appear for the deposition on January 27.


      My understanding from several legal professionals that I know is that you can safely ignore a defective subpoena and Mr. Watson may have been better off if he had ignored it completely instead of going before a NC court. He threw himself into the shark pool with no protection and the SCO attorneys swam in for the kill.

      The SCO gang seem to be very skilled liars and even appear to derive great satisfaction while doing so.
      • I think the SCO lawyers could get Saddam Hussein of any charges and win back iraq from usa easily.

        Failing that, someone would make sure they 'retire' early.

        Now who is going to get the SCO vs real humans movie rights deal.
  • IBM's Lawyer? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Distinguished Hero (618385) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:38PM (#15958630) Homepage
    IBM's lawyer was on vacation at the time, didn't give prior notice to big blue, and now they've won the right to ask him anything they want.
    IBM's lawyer? Why exactly does a company like IBM only have one lawyer, and why is he/she the sort of person who just runs off without telling anyone beforehand?
    • Re:IBM's Lawyer? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MarkusQ (450076) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:59PM (#15958779) Journal
      IBM's lawyer? Why exactly does a company like IBM only have one lawyer, and why is he/she the sort of person who just runs off without telling anyone beforehand?

      The article summary is poorly worded. Shaughnessy (the lawyer) was the only one that was part of an earlier teleconference and could rebut (from first hand knowledge) SCO's account. And he had no idea what was going on because Wilson (the retired guy who's being disposed) had taken it to an unrelated court in another state (presumably, the state where he lives) without telling the right people. So it was, I gather, just him and SCO's lawyers, and he let them tell the court that Shaughnessy really wasn't representing him anyway, being IBM's lawyer and not his.

      Even the best lawyer can't be expected to hear an ex-employee starting to stick their foot in it in an other state, dive into a phone booth, come out in a cape and fly to the other side of the country in time to stop them. Heck, even the NSA would be hard pressed to pull it off.

      The moral of the story: if you're involved in a multi-year litigation with known bad apples, don't do random stuff at the bidding of the opponent's lawyers without at least telling your own side's lawyers.

      --MarkusQ

      • Why does everyone assume he was stupid? Maybe he was bought off and "threw the game" so to speak for SCO?
        • Why does everyone assume he was stupid? Maybe he was bought off and "threw the game" so to speak for SCO?

          Because there are lots of easier ways to "throw the game" than submitting yourself to hours of interrogation about your arrest history, prior relationships, etc. He could, for example, have done it just be being a little too rabidly pro-IBM in the deposition as originally outlined (responding with things like "While I wouldn't claim that IBM invented electricity, they were certainly the first to mak

      • Re:IBM's Lawyer? (Score:5, Informative)

        by pallmall1 (882819) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:46PM (#15959048)
        Wilson (the retired guy who's being disposed) had taken it to an unrelated court

        No, SCO filed first in the unrelated North Carolina state court to force the deposition to take place there, thereby arming the hidden legal trap they had set. When Wilson responded to that court, he walked into the trap. The judge in that court closed the trap by changing the deposition rules set by the original federal court, instead of just ordering the deposition take place in the manner that the federal court directed.

        This modification of rules essentially removed the content restrictions from the deposition. This allows SCO to ask Wilson about anything, including new subjects that were not introduced in the original discovery of facts phase in the SCO vs IBM case, which has (or was supposed to have) ended. This means that SCO has a chance to use this deposition as an extension of the discovery phase, thereby allowing SCO to further delay the SCO vs IBM case, and delay even explaining exactly and specifically what their case is about.

        The federal judge who set the initial rules for the deposition ruled that the deposition should be allowed to proceed because the state judge substituted a time restriction of 4 hours for the original restriction on content that stated no new subjects were to be introduced in the deposition (Wilson had been deposed previously). The federal judge's ruling went further and seemed to criticize Wilson for actually responding to the state court's order. Imagine that, actually responding to a court order directed AT YOU!

        There's more, but the fact is that it was SCO that took it to the state court, not Wilson.
        • No, SCO filed first in the unrelated North Carolina state court to force the deposition to take place there, thereby arming the hidden legal trap they had set.

          Interesting. I was basing my statement on Shaughnessy's declaration:

          ...SCO had provided a copy of a subpoena that purported to require Mr. Wilson to appear for a deposition on January 27, 2006 (with no location for the deposition specified),...

          And Wells's order:

          By petitioning the court in North Carolina to quash his deposition, Mr. Wilso

          • because SCO filed the supeona from the NC court in the first place. He hurried and ran to that court to answer the supeona. He was supposed to ignore the supeona, kind of like an out-of-bounds in tennis. If he had not "hit" the ball, it would have been "out". It seems awfuly foolish that a court would fall for this, especially when they argue the case is already being overseen by another court. The system is seriously broken.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by monkeydo (173558)
        Poorly worded is an understatement. I have no idea what this sentence means: "IBM's lawyer was on vacation at the time, didn't give prior notice to big blue, and now they've won the right to ask him anything they want."

        So, an attorney who represents IBM went on vacation without telling his employer, and now his employer can ask with whatever questions it wishes. Which leads me to wonder why he went on vacation without telling his employer, and why his employer wants to depose him.

        Some days I just wish peo
      • his error was in not requesting a stay [he attempted to quash instead] from the nc judge while they took the issue back to wells in utah.

        sum.zero
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Even if they did only have one lawyer, he deserves a vacation. (And yes I know that there are more lawyers involved and the he was only needed here because of his specific history in the case.)

      However, as with almost 100% of the people in the IT industry, why didn't he have a contact phone number. I have a cell phone that people can contact me at, even on vacation. 99.99% of the time, work respects my vacation and does not call. Those times they do, they are really stuck. It is part of the job, and the

  • by bobwoodard (92257) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:47PM (#15958695)
    He'd... better... talk... reeeaaaallll... sssllllloooooowwwwww....
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kadin2048 (468275)
      Joke all you want, but one of the things that people get coached on when preparing for depositions is how to say a lot of stuff without really saying anything.

      However, four hours can stretch into a pretty long time when it's just a bunch of people sitting there asking you questions; I don't think you can really take up quite that much time by filibustering.

      The real problem with an open deposition like this, as opposed to one where the topics or even questions are set out beforehand, is that it's a lot harde
    • by spamchang (302052)
      mod the parent to insightful, rather than funny. IBM better close up tight with its legal thinking; it's lucky 4 hrs is all SCO got. i'm sure the witness could also "no comment" or defer with some filibuster-type answer if the judge doesn't swallow an SCO pill and hold any non-immediate or non-relevant answer as contempt of court. (contempt of SCO, sure.) sure hope IBM's lawyers will be on hand to object at anything that constitutes brand-new discovery. if not, maybe they can give a legal crash course
  • by larien (5608) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:52PM (#15958736) Homepage Journal
    For all those saying that IBM only had one lawyer, read the article:
    The trick, I gather, is to be the only one prepared to speak to the judge. While Mr. Wilson was trying to find his own lawyer, and did, and the lawyer needed time to get up to speed and evaluate how to handle the matter, SCO was telling the judge that IBM's Todd Shaughnessy was kinda sorta if not exactly representing Wilson. And compounding the problem, Shaughnessy, the only lawyer in the teleconference with Wells on January 26, and hence the only one who could rebut SCO's Normand as to what happened, was on vacation and unreachable. And from all I can see, by the time he came back, the North Carolina judge was already persuaded by SCO's whining about unfairness.
    In short SCO said "this is the guy representing the proposed witness" - added to that, it sounds like the IBM lawyer who was on holiday was the only one who could represent otherwise or some other legal shenanigans.

    SCO pulled a fast one and got away with it - this time. Doesn't mean that they'll win, but it sounds like they just might be able to drag it out a bit longer, unfortunately.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:55PM (#15958763)
    They were the good ol' days when we had something to laugh about on a daily basis -- whether Darl issued another encyclical, DiDio and the Yank-and-Grope guys threw more FUD, or when they outed Linux as the secret love child of Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. Good times. Even watching SCO stock tank was fun. Did their earnings go down yet? Did their strange math make it seem like they're getting new money coming in? Has the SEC looked into their supposed pump/dump scheme yet? Hella good times.

    Now we're down to some lawyers having their way with a guy for 4 hours. That doesn't even make reality TV, guys. Really. So la-dee-da...just let me know to whom I write this check for $699 for my copy of Ubuntu, mmmkay?
  • That isn't what the victim did in this case, but look at the nature of the maneuvering: "The problem, according to Judge Wells, is that Mr. Wilson submitted himself to the North Carolina court by submitting a motion to quash there." In other words, you can get yourself in trouble by saying "go away" in the same place that someone said "come here!".

    If you ever get the idea that law is a logic system and you can handle a court case without an experienced and street-smart lawyer, remember that you might be up against dirty tricks from veterans who are on their home turf. Never fight a wizard in his keep. Always remember how bad it can be just to have your lawyer on vacation.
  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @05:58PM (#15958774) Homepage Journal

    SCO Attorney: "Let the record show that Mr. Wilson likes chocolate ice cream, baseball and buys his underwear at J.C. Penney. Which I think speaks for itself in regards to the nefarious activities of IBM!!!"

    Judge: "I'd say it speaks volumes what a loonie lot you are. I find for IBM"

    • realize that whatever they ask is considered "public" testimony, same as in court, and anybody can publish it on the internet without reprecussion because it's a "public" document. Hence, the Lawyers try to ask very personal, very demeaning questions with the weight of the court, knowing they can turn around and use the information for "blackmail" legally because they can mail this to wives, girlfriends, churches, employers... and make your life more messy.
  • by bjanz (573487) <bhjanzNO@SPAMccsneinc.com> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:02PM (#15958794) Homepage
    ...just keep repeating "I don't remember" to any question he doesn't want to answer for 4 hours? I mean, ok, so he gives his address, the names of his kids, the type of car he drives... the obvious stuff. The stuff he can't get wrong. But, for things where he could get tripped up on, can't he simply say "I can't remember"?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dhalka226 (559740)
      Probably because it's a crime to lie in a deposition. If he suddenly "remembers" all the answers were the case to get to trial, he'd be spending a goodly amount of time in jail--plus his testimony would be tossed.
    • You can only get away with doing that if you're involved in national level politics in some deeply icky way.

  • by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:04PM (#15958806)
    I mean really, all SCO can do is be an ass to an IBM guy. I mean, they wouldn't need to pull something like this to ask remotely relevant questions, and since IBM isn't gonna settle to save this guy some embarassment, all SCO gets to do is what they always do: be petty, retarded dumbasses.
  • by thanasakis (225405) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:06PM (#15958817)
    "Lawyers Ambush Witness", "sneaky legal maneuver", "blindsided IBM", "has thrown poor Mr. Wilson to the wolves", "is fishing for something", "trip up Mr. Wilson", "one line of cold comfort" etc....

    I love it when a boring legal procedure takes such epic proportions. The narrator really knows his job!..

  • by toupsie (88295) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:08PM (#15958825) Homepage
    If they have only 4 hours to depose you, talk v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. Your name is Otis so no one can hold that against you -- plus you are in North Carolina so no one will notice...
    • I was thinking along the lines of taking something to make him ill; if memory serves me correctly a small amount of peanut oil injected into the gluteus maximus tends to cause people to spike an outragious temperature, and some syrup of epicac for vomiting should be enough to get someone out of the deposition and in to the hospital! Give him extra points if he actually vomits on the SCO lawyers.
  • Wait... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by starseeker (141897) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:23PM (#15958909) Homepage
    They haven't asked him anything yet, have they? The article seems to say they COULD ask him about anything. I would hope that ex-wives (if any) would be off the table - trying to personally attack someone for things not related to the issue at hand would strike me as a very poor use of the time SCO has been given. How would that help their case?

    Let's wait for the outcome of this. I rather doubt we need to make too much of the "they can ask ANYTHING" part of this - if we do let's wait for the actual event. Certainly SCO has done enough to anger the geek community without us needing to throw any more fuel on the fire. Only pursue them for the poor behavior they have actually demonstrated - I can't imagine why we would need anything else.
    • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Pop69 (700500) <[billy] [at] [benarty.co.uk]> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:36PM (#15958981) Homepage
      You must not have read the transcript of his prior deposition where SCO/Caldera DID in fact ask him about ex-wives, criminal records, if he had ever been fired from a job for misconduct, etc.
      • No, I hadn't. Ugh. Well, I guess the pay for crawling around in the gutter is good...

        On the other hand, if he answered all of those questions already honestly and in the negative, it would still seem to me like a waste of time. If they already tried that attack (it was allowed in circumstances where they DIDN'T have free reign? Wow) and he met it, why would they think it would succeed the second time around, when he's even more prepared for it having heard it the first time?
      • he should move for 4 hours with the SCO lawyer after the deposition! then he can answer a different lawyer truthfully he beat a lawyer to death!
    • by soft_guy (534437)
      Right. This is the part I didn't get. Why would SCO care about asking some ex-employee of IBM about his personal life? I would think they would try to ask him things about the case itself and try to get him to contradict his previous testamony or testamony from someone else from IBM.
      • It's a tactic. You see, Mr. Wilson didn't work for IBM. He worked for AT&T, and the thing he knows about is the terms under which that company licensed Unix. Since these terms don't support the kind of control SCO wants over IBM's Unix-based products (even assuming they owned Unix, something they're going to have considerable trouble proving because they probably don't) SCO really wants to impeach his testimony. They can do this in two ways. They can either get this retired, elderly gentleman so fluster
      • by NMerriam (15122)
        This is the part I didn't get. Why would SCO care about asking some ex-employee of IBM about his personal life? I would think they would try to ask him things about the case itself and try to get him to contradict his previous testamony or testamony from someone else from IBM.

        Because asking embarassing questions is a time-honored way for lawyers/police to upset and frustrate the interview subject. The hope is that once the person isn't thinking logically and carefully, they can be tricked into saying someth
    • Re:Wait... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rkhalloran (136467) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @07:46PM (#15959342) Homepage
      You didn't see the initial transcript. They asked about his marital history, military service, arrest record, etc. Reason? Otis Wilson was *THE* AT&T UNIX contracts manager, signed off both IBM and Sequent's contracts, and his previous testimony knocks SCOX's "derivative works" argument into the sewer from whence it came. The SCOundrels are attempting to trip him up under grilling to discredit it. If you read the first transcript, though, he kept calm and collected while skewering all of SCOX's arguments, which apparently infuriated the SCOX attorney to no end.

      SCOX DELENDA EST!!
  • by SeaFox (739806) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @06:31PM (#15958949)
    After SCO was limited in what they could depose Mr. Otis Wilson about by the Utah court, the company blindsided IBM with last-second subpoenas before a North Carolina court.

    I bet they already arranged his flight [snakesonaplane.com] to North Caroilina, too!

  • Don't forget to pay your $699 licensing fee you cock-smoking teabaggers.
  • They've asked him about whether he has a criminal record, about ex-wives, etc. and they have four hours in which to do so

    Unlikely - I'm sure the rules of evidence still apply to a deposition, so these questions would still be impermissible on grounds of lack of relevance. The Groklaw article does not say they have asked these things, but that they could - on the latter it seems to me Groklaw is likely wrong.

    Groklaw also makes some allegations of abuse of process that don't appear to be matched by the re

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rkhalloran (136467)
      Obviously you didn't look through the initial deposition. They DID ask him about his arrest record, military service, marital history, income sources, etc. Given that this man was the AT&T UNIX contracts manager, signed off on both the IBM & Sequent SysV deals, and said in the first deposition that AT&T had clearly stated in 1985 they had no interest in any licensee's code as long as it didn't incorporate SysV source within , SCOX HAS to discredit him somehow or have their case torpedoed.
    • they got the judge in NC to issue a "blanket" deposition because his lawyer wasn't available on short notice to explain the case. It was a case of "hurry up judge, he's trying to pull a fast one" The judge allowed it because it was in his court, then later limited the time to 4 hours after he realized he'd been played. There's not disciplinary issues... Yet. This still has to be admited as evidence to the Correct court in Utah... she may not be so pleased with them because they went around her express or
  • If I were him I'd...

    ...talk...

    ...real...

    ...slow...

    ...and...

    ...elaborate...

    ...to.....

    ...death...

    ...every...

    ...trival...

    ...question.

    (LAMENESS FILTER FILLER: ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQURSTUVWXYZ)

  • but seeing as SCO kinda blind-sided him into testifying and they get 4 hours with him...

    Can he get up on the witness stand and complain to the judge how his sore throat he woke up with that morning is killing him, and he'd be happy to testify -

    But... *scribble* *scribble*

    would have to *erase* *erase*

    write *line out* *re-write last two sentences*

    his testimony *writes to the bailiff - Can I get another eraser, please?*

    out?

  • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @09:34PM (#15959745)
    I don't see how they can get away with this. One federal judge made a ruling, no more depositions, so they went to another court and asked for something they shouldn't have asked for. Because the Courts can't/won't communicate about cases, the judge allowed the deposition "to be fair". This is just like being a little kid running to daddy when mommy says no to a cookie.. I can't believe that a federal judge would allow this.
  • That make him real sleepy (or at least tell them he did). Then talk real slow and fall asleep a lot. If he says he was so worried about his legal problems that he couldn't sleep until the deposition started, what could they do?
  • They can't attack the position, so they attack the lawyer!?
  • While SCO asked for this, the order comes from a judge and he had discretion in what to do. Looks to me like the judge had an ax to grind and has been taking out his personal issues on the witness.
  • Seems like he could hem and haw for four hours if need be: "Geez, I KNOW the answer to this, hold on a sec, it's coming to me... Geez, RIGHT on the tip of my tonge. MAN, I can PICTURE it, but I just can't remember how to say it.... Lemme see here..."

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