SAP: We've spent millions so far on Waste Management suit

The fight revolves around a troublesome ERP project

SAP has engaged 25 to 30 contract attorneys and spent millions of dollars to defend itself against a lawsuit brought last year by Waste Management over an allegedly failed ERP implementation, according to a document filed April 2 in Harris County, Texas district court.

Describing its document discovery efforts as "Herculean," SAP said that sum -- which includes more than $1 million paid to an unnamed e-discovery software vendor -- does not include the cost of its outside counsel, which has spent "thousands of hours" reviewing documents and interviewed more than 100 SAP employees.

Waste Management sued SAP in March 2008, claiming more than $100 million in damages in connection with the ERP (enterprise resource planning) project. According to the trash-disposal company, SAP had said its software would be an "out of the box solution for Waste Management's business processes," but in reality it was not.

SAP has filed an answer to Waste Management's complaint, saying in part that the company breached its contracts with SAP by failing to "timely and accurately define its business requirements" and by not providing "sufficient, knowledgeable, decision-empowered users and managers" to work on the project.

Meanwhile, a stream of recent court filings in the case show the two sides accusing each other of slowing down the discovery process.

"SAP has consistently sought to delay the trial of this case by refusing to answer written discovery and refusing to produce fact witnesses for deposition," Waste Management charged in a document filed March 30.

But SAP fired back in the April 2 filing, claiming that Waste Management has shown "a complete lack of professionalism" and in terms of document production, is attempting to "sandbag" SAP.

"Waste Management is the one who started this lawsuit, yet it has still not substantially completed its production and just dumped over 8.6 million pages of documents on SAP in the last two weeks," it states.

Waste Management and SAP did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The trial date for the case is currently set for October, although SAP is asking the court to push the date back to 2010, according to another filing. Waste Management has weighed in against such a decision.

Meanwhile, SAP is continuing another expensive legal battle in a California federal court, fending off an intellectual property suit brought in 2007 by rival enterprise software maker Oracle.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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