Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter

Competing narratives and yes, your wiseassery really will get brought up in court

It's interesting skimming through the competing trial briefs in the Optumsoft vs. Arista case. They're documents 216 and 218 in the electronic case filings here: Both lawyers are, unsurprisingly, very good at explaining why the other side's position is completely unreasonable and contradictory.

It bears repeating that you should treat company email very, very seriously. Ken's comment unearthed in discovery:

Moving forward, any project involving moving code out of //src/tacc will probably need Henk’s approval or something like that. All the more reason to not add any code there ever again.
is dissected at length and held up as an example of Arista's bad faith. (The Optumsoft narrative is that Arista is trying to pretend that only changes made in that directory are "improvements" to TACC, the software under dispute. Arista's actual claim is more subtle than that.)

Now, I know Ken from Stanford, and used to work for Henk. (In fact, I think I know everybody who testified in this case except the expert witnesses.) Ken almost certainly didn't mean "let's violate our agreement by not providing Optumsoft any of the required improvements." The email is in keeping with Ken's approach to technical issues --- "how can we fix the process to remove cause for future disputes?" --- but uses a hyperbolic tone that is easily misconstrued.

It is also a bit amusing, as the recipient of some jeremiads from David, to see them being brought up in the trial record.

I don't think it's a good idea to stress over how every email you write might look in court. But when you *know* there's a dispute, you should probably assume that any email discussions about that dispute can and will be dragged into the light.
Tags: law
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