Unlimited liability

My expert legal friend Dai Davis of law firm Brooke North LLP drew my attention to a recent ruling in a legal case involving a claim by BSkyB against EDS, who supplied them with a customer management system that failed to work. It’s an interesting case because it involves a claim of £700m, which was substantially higher than both the £48m cost of the system and the agreed £30m limit of liability. 
BSkyB successfully claimed that EDS’s salesmen had made negligent and fraudulent representations about their ability to perform the project within the stated timescales. This effectively removed the agreed limit of liability. Salesmen who like to bend the truth a little should take note. 
The ruling might encourage other unhappy IT buyers to ‘have a go’. But this type of claim is certainly not for the feint hearted. The legal costs are substantial. This case, one of the most expensive in UK legal history, involved 500,000 documents and 70 witnesses. The judgment was given nearly 18 months after the trial ended, in a document 468 pages long. An appeal is also likely. 
There are obvious learning points for both buyers and sellers from this case. But the real winners from such cases are, as ever, the lawyers.