Oracle wins partial victory in school's software project lawsuit

But Oracle still faces breach of contract claims by Montclair State University

A judge has tossed out some of the claims brought against Oracle by Montclair State University in New Jersey over an allegedly failed ERP (enterprise resource planning) software project.

Montclair's claims of fraudulent inducement and negligent misrepresentation have been dismissed by Judge Freda Wolfson, according to a recent filing in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

The judge dismissed Montclair's allegations on grounds they failed to "state a claim," or provide sufficient facts upon which the court could grant relief under existing law. But Wolfson's opinion preserved Montclair's breach of contract claims against Oracle.

Montclair State first sued Oracle in May 2011, saying that a PeopleSoft project that was supposed to cost about US$20 million and take roughly two years to complete ended up in disarray.

Oracle also initially claimed that the overwhelming majority of Montclair State's business processes could be handled by the base Oracle PeopleSoft system, versus additional customizations, but that turned out to be far from the case once work started, according to the school.

But in a counterclaim, Oracle argued that Montclair State officials didn't understand what steps were required for a successful project and were difficult to work with. "Instead of cooperating with Oracle and resolving issues through discussions and collaboration, MSU's project leadership, motivated by their own agenda and fearful of being blamed for delays, escalated manageable differences into major disputes," Oracle said in a court filing at the time. Montclair's actions have amounted to a "scorched earth" campaign meant to deflect blame from Montclair to Oracle, the vendor alleged.

A spokeswoman for Montclair State didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Wolfson's ruling. Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger declined to comment.

This is far from the first ERP software project to suffer problems serious enough to spark litigation. Other high-profile cases include Waste Management's lawsuit against SAP, as well as Marin County, California's action against Deloitte and SAP.

ERP projects are complex affairs that require customers, systems integrators and software vendors to each play important roles. But a number of persistent dynamics can cause matters to go awry, according to one expert.

"Most CFOs and CIOs are painfully aware of the risks associated with ERP implementations and most are even more aware that a botched deployment will likely cost them their jobs." said Eric Kimberling, president of Panorama Consulting Solutions, in a Wednesday blog post, which didn't specifically mention the Oracle-Montclair dispute.

However, "when forced to choose, speed and cost will almost always trump business results," Kimberling added.

"Unrealistic expectations" on the part of customers, driven by vendor boasting, can prove problematic, according to Kimberling.

"They too often hear (and believe) the sales hype from ERP vendors that their software can be implemented in relatively little time, cost, and risk," he wrote. "While our experience and research shows that the average implementation takes 14 months and significantly longer for larger and multi-national companies, it is not uncommon for software sales reps to suggest that their software can be implemented in just several months."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?