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Court Says Daniels Does Not Have To Testify In IBM Case

IBM and the state of Indiana are suing each other for a cancelled contract that IBM had to process welfare applications.

The Indiana Supreme Court has said Governor Mitch Daniels will not have to testify in a suit between the state and IBM.

Indiana contracted with IBM to process welfare applications, but Governor Mitch Daniels cancelled the contract in 2009 after citing problems with the process. IBM and the state are now suing each other, trying to reclaim costs.  The technology company wanted to question Daniels, and a trial judge agreed, allowing the governor to be deposed. Now, the Supreme Court has over-ruled the lower court.

Jay Lefkowitz represented IBM in front of the Supreme Court on Monday. He says Daniels was deeply involved in the IBM contract.

“We’re entitled to question the governor about that evidence that he has material evidence that’s relevant – directly relevant – to the contract case here,” he says.

But Peter Rusthoven says that is, in his words, “flatly wrong.” Rusthoven represented the state and says if the governor is compelled to testify, it opens a door that should not be opened.

“You can make this argument about any of the thousands and thousands of cases where the state is either sued or being sued,” he says. “The governor is the chief executive, he’s the ultimate decision-maker. That doesn’t mean that he has relevant evidence for which he can be compelled to testify.”

The Court issued a short order containing the ruling Monday. A full explanation of its decision will be released later.

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