Unisys appeals RACV case

Unisys Australia has lodged an appeal with the Victorian Supreme Court after bearing the brunt of a multimillion dollar law suit decided late last month.

The Victorian Supreme Court had found in favour of a former Unisys client, RACV, which claimed the IT service provider engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct during a tender for an imaging system implementation. RACV claimed the response times requested in its tender were not met -- and was subsequently awarded more than $4 million in damages.

Unisys has spent the past few weeks formulating its appeal, which has been lodged on the grounds that Justice Hansen was incorrect in deciding Unisys had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, and misinterpreted Unisys' contractual obligations during the implementation.

Unisys also claims Justice Hansen made numerous findings based on evidence not presented in the courtroom. Scott Mortimer, subsidiary general counsel for Unisys Australia, said the company is unable to discuss the exact content of this evidence until it has been heard in the Court of Appeal. But he did say Unisys alleges this evidence was submitted before the trial, but was not read or relied upon by either of the parties during the trial.

Additionally, Unisys claims that the system it delivered could have worked with a further $40,000 investment in disk storage. "The nub of the decision was not about response times, but rather that Unisys would create an online system where all documents would be stored online," Mortimer said. "The expert witnesses from both parties agreed that 12 gigabyte [cache] would have been sufficient."

Mortimer said it was unclear from the contract as to whether RACV or Unisys would have been responsible for the $40,000 cost of the disk storage, but Unisys was not given the opportunity to offer the solution. "This kind of thing is normally added towards the end of the implementation," he said. "The contract was terminated while we were still adding functionality and running small-scale tests."

RACV public affairs spokeswoman Bronwyn Thwaites said RACV plans to respond vigorously to the appeal. "We are very disappointed Unisys has decided to appeal," she said. "We believe the appropriate judgement was handed down."

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