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Jury awards $61M to Sunshine Mills over botched ERP project

Jaikumar Vijayan | Dec. 6, 2010
Pet food maker claimed Ross Systems defrauded the company with false claims

During the trial, jurors heard how one Ross sales agent involved in the Sunshine sale typically would find out what potential customers were interested in and then rig the demonstrations to make it appear that the software fit their needs. McDowell said. Internally, such demonstrations were even jokingly called 'Murrayware' with reference to the sales agent's name, he said.

During testimony, jurors also heard how Ross employees described Sunshine employees as being "incompetent" and "clueless" people who were barely able to run the business, much less the software, McDowell said.

Ken Thompson, general counsel for Ross today argued that the jury award was not supported by the facts. "We certainly intend to avail ourselves" of all available legal options he said.

Rodriquez, Ross' president, added that her company has more than 1,000 satisfied customers, and she expressed confidence that the verdict will be overturned. "We hope the legal system will do the right thing," she said.

Numerous similar lawsuits have been filed in recent years by organizations frustrated over failed ERP projects. Earlier this year, California's Marin County sued Deloitte Consulting LLP for $30 million over one such effort. The lawsuit accused Deloitte of misrepresenting its skills and capabilities when originally pitching for the project in 2004.

Just two months prior to that lawsuit, another battle between SAP and one of its customers, Waste Management was quietly settled for an undisclosed amount.

Waste Management had earlier sued SAP for fraud after incurring what it said were significant damages from a $100 million ERP project that it said had turned out to be a complete disaster.


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