Tyco ‘document dumping’ deal reached

Both sides in a class-action suit against Tyco International have reached an agreement over the issue of “document dumping,” which has held up the three-year-old case.

The suit – filed in U.S. District Court in Concord in 2002 — has rolled on, even after the conviction and sentencing of former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski and CFO Mark Swartz, on charges that they looted their own company while its national headquarters was still located in Exeter.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys have charged that Tyco has have dumped more than 77 million pages, without providing workable access to a database covering the documents.

Plaintiffs also charged that a Tyco attorney had a conflict of interest because he did not disclose that his family and a law partner own a substantial part of Amici LLC, the Armonk, N.Y., firm that produces the documents and controls the database.

Amici would be paid as much as $3.4 million to produce the documents, the plaintiffs charged.

Attorneys for the firm dismissed the charges as “legal wrangling” and said that there were no ethical or legal violations.

Plaintiffs wanted Amici out of the picture, but the agreement simply assures that shareholders will be able to work with Amici, and be able to search the database more easily. The agreement does not specify the amount to be charged for access to the documents themselves.

The next major legal hurdle for the shareholders’ lawyers will be a court ruling on whether plaintiffs are representative class. Usually, after such a ruling, a settlement is reached, though sometimes a case goes to trial. – BOB SANDERS

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