Chapter 37 – Our Damages

The essence of our major claims were for profit losses that arose when we could no longer produce reports after M’s last day. We dealt with such tremendous volumes of data that in order to process the data and generate reports we had what is called stored procedures.

A stored or saved procedure is nothing more than code that is written and saved and executed when you want to do so. The stored procedure could be anything, but for us it was basically instructions to go to a specified data base, to pull specific data in that database and then to present in a format that is also predefined. A predefined format would for example include rows and column names, dates and times, quantities and descriptions of events. Any we would typically do for the day and for the month. All in all lets say we had 100,000 events each day that needed be categorized, calculated, summarized and presented, each and everyday and sent at say 1 am. You can imagine that without stored procedures you could not generate the reports on command.

So, leading up to M’s departure we requested that this body of stored procedures and the written explanation on how to do process the data be provided to us, that our other employees in the IT department be trained on the use of the stored procedures and that they be able to competently deal with the data once M was no longer with us. But that did not happen.

Immediately before M’s final day, Chris C, our newly appointed Manager and long time member of the IT department came to me and said he would not be able to do the processing. He did not know how. A month before he had told me no sweat and I took him at his word. But now he claims he cannot do it. I asked to see the stored procedures but he could not identify the file. We did have written processing procedures but they were not working. This programming was in Foxpro, the programming language M knew. But it seems Chris never learned how to program nor did the other member of our IT staff. That was contrary to their resume’s. We had no interest in wanting to have an IT department that was a 3-legged chair with two-legs missing. But that is what we had.

As a result, we had to shut down for a week. Our clients demanded that. We hired an IT Foxpro expert out of Chicago and he first attempted to help us remotely, but was unable to find stored procedures programming on our servers…not any where. Chris C was unable to identify where they should be or were and it was not successful. So the IT expert named Jaime got on a plain and spent 3 days with us. He wrote the programs, the stored procedures, generated a working procedures manual and we were able to come back up. Our loss of revenue and direct costs were in excess of $100,000. Jaime testimony is here R – Gedye. His testimony confirmed that of three other employees that no Foxpro files were found and as a result we lost a lot of money.

And so we asserted those claims. M took a position that there were no stored procedures. He just did it every night. Chris C took a position that our stored procedures were there but that the processing had changed and he did not know how to fix it and even tried to deny that we went down for a week. Jaime testified and said it would have been impossible to process this amount of data nightly without stored procedures…impossible. And he further confirmed that he searched all servers and computers for the Foxpro programming code and found no such programs. There were Foxpro files, but they were product and report files or incomplete program files, but nothing that was identified as an executable file. We even searched the computer M returned to us, but no active files. There were hundreds of files that had been deleted but again nothing that represented stored procedures. This was infuriating. So many people were hurt.

But Bill Crow says in spite of the testimony and the fact that we were down for a week, that there was no compelling evidence that M withheld program files from us. I remain speechless over this conclusion. Every program written for us by M during his employment was owned by us. And yet Crow concluded that nothing was written. We had 4 witnesses on this issue. They had one…maybe two if you count Chris. By the way Chris quit 30 days after this.

Our other Damage claim was the cost of litigation in New Jersey. Our employment agreement with M made it clear that both the location and jurisdiction of law was in Oregon. He was advised by his counsel on this at the time of signing. Moreover the agreement required he participate in Mediation in Oregon which they refused to do. And so we had costs to defend in New Jersey. Another $100,000. Even though the arbitrator did not have a right to set aside this agreement, he did so. We were denied the recovery of our costs to defend the claim in New Jersey and send it back to Oregon for arbitration, even though we were successful in that pursuit. On the one had I understand this in part because our agreement specifically precluded and denied legal fees.

The one claim we were awarded was the cost we incurred for the transcripts. M was suppose to pay half. He did not. We were billed the whole thing and it appeared we were obligated to pay for it by our former attorney. We were granted a judgement of $4,300 or so. Thank you Mr. Crow.

So in the end we suffer well over $200,000 in damages. Our reputation was tarnished with the shutdown, a problem we would experience again. And from the time M left to the time we completed the arbitration it was seven years, a long time in the life of a small business.

 

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