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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?