Tyco responds to ‘dumping’ charge

[Updated] Tyco International Ltd. “dumped” more than 77 million pages of documents in the lap of plaintiffs engaged in an ongoing class action being heard in U.S. District Court in Concord, plaintiffs are charging in a filing in the case. Some 27 millions pages came during the last two months, after the deadline, they say.

The filing, an attempt to set the agenda for two-hour discovery conference that took place on Oct. 11, also charges that Tyco’s New York attorney, David Boise, did not disclose that his family and a law partner own substantial part of Amici LLC, the Armonk, N.Y., firm that produces the documents.

Amici overcharged plaintiffs for the documents, which were not properly indexed and usually not relevant, the filing said. Electronic data was translated at extra cost into paper format that were of “terrible” quality, with some 431,294 pages consisting “of one long string of letters that contains every word in the text joined together with no spaces.”

The plaintiffs had already paid more than $666,000 for the documents and expect to pay nearly $4 million, of which $3.4 million will go to Amici.

The plaintiffs want their money back, Amici out of the picture, and better document production in the future.

Boise is a prestigious lawyer who advised the U.S. Justice Department in its Microsoft antirust suit and was the lead counsel for Vice President Al Gore in connection with the 2000 election Florida vote count.

“This is simply legal wrangling by courtroom opponents,” said the company in a statement released to the NHBR Daily on Oct. 12. “No one at the firm who referred a vendor to a client ever had an interest in or connection to that vendor. Nationally recognized legal ethics experts familiar with the facts have concluded that there are no ethical or legal violations. To avoid future controversy, the firm has implemented new procedures to ensure that any interests, however remote, are disclosed to clients.”

Calls to Amici about the filing were not returned. Neither were calls to Jennifer Eber, the Concord attorney who filed the motion on behalf of the plaintiffs.

The class action suit against Tyco and its accounting firm, Price Waterhouse — first filed in federal court in Concord in 2002 — still goes 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.

The plaintiffs are participants in various retirement plans sponsored by Tyco. They claim that their life savings took a hit based on Kozlowski and Swartz’s actions. – BOB SANDERS

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