Representing the Defendant, a Software Developer
An property and casualty insurance agency acting as a managing general agent for several insurance lines sold through sub-agents throughout the United States had agreed to license a comprehensive agency management system from a developer of such software specifically developed for managing general agencies. The agency signed a series of fixed-price license and service agreements based on an understanding (included in the legal agreements between the parties) that the software would meet a stringently defined and limited set of the agency's needs. During the course of the attempted implementation, the agency repeatedly requested additional features that it wanted the software developer to add, without increasing the price of the project. The software developer accommodated several requests but eventually refused to continue without an increase in the agreed upon fixed price. The insurance agency terminated the project and sued the software developer to recoup the payments it had made to date.
Expert was engaged by counsel for the software developer as a rebuttal witness to rebut the opinions offered by the expert for the insurance agency.
After the expert reviewed thousands of documents (proposals, specifications, e-mails, progress reports, deposition transcripts, etc.), interviewing key employees of the software developer and analyzing a demonstration of the insurance agency system, it was apparent that the software in question was able to meet the original set of software requirements and that the software developer had expended significant time and money attempting to provide the additional functionality requested by the agency.
The expert's review of the insurance agency's expert's report showed that he had not considered any of the relevant factors indicating that the agency had agreed to a limited implementation and was knew, prior to entering into the contract, that additional requests would result in additional cost. After submission of the expert's report, the opposing party withdrew it's expert from the litigation and the case was settled prior to trial.
Brooks Hilliard, CMC, CCP has been a consulting and/or testifying expert in more than 50 cases involving computer systems alleged to have software defects, faulty operation, and/or defective performance (engaged by counsel for both users and vendors). These assignments have involved some of the industry's largest software developers. Issues have covered software and/or system deficiencies, unreliable software and defective functionality, including matters involving installation, implementation, customization and development services provided by software firms and independent contractors.
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