Oracle asks judge to fine state $100K
State government Cover Oregon contractor claims state released confidential excerpts of company documents misleading public
Software giant Oracle wants the state of Oregon to pay a $100,000 fine for unwittingly releasing a brief containing excerpts of internal company documents that the company calls misleading.
The company, now battling the state in court over who is to blame for the $300 million Cover Oregon website that didnt work, says the state released a copy of a legal filing to the press that did not competently black out the excerpts from internal documents, and claims the move must have been intentional.
It defies credulity to believe the states attorneys unwittingly applied incompetent redactions to their motion, Oracles new motion said. Even if the redaction failure was not intentional, it certainly was reckless.
The company also is citing a story published by the Portland Tribune to argue that a judge should deny a state motion that would allow some of the software developers internal documents become public.
It is completely improper to require Oracle to defend itself in a trial by newspaper where rules of civil procedure and evidence do not apply, the companys lawyer argued.
The latest dispute stems from the states Jan. 13 motion claiming that Oracle had improperly labeled documents as confidential that showed the company had lied to the public about the quality of its work on the website project. The motion blacked out excerpts from the documents in question.
On Feb. 22, the Tribune published an article based on an unredacted copy of the motion. Oracles motion says the article was a result of the states release of the poorly redacted document, and that the article presented misleading excerpts in a way that could bias potential jurors. The company claimed the Tribune story must be the result of a tip.
In the unredacted motion, the state presented an excerpt of a November 2013 email indicating an Oracle programmer felt an army of 200 programmers for the company was rapoing an apparent typo the state of Oregon on something that will never work well.
The company has declined to release documents to provide context for the excerpts, but says the programmer was referring to the then-state of the website and the need to upgrade a certain piece of Oracle software. State officials had been complaining of deficiencies in that piece of software for at least six months, documents show.
When read in its entirety, the motion said, the email reflects banter (albeit colorful banter) among junior Oracle developers in which they are strategizing about how to ensure the State makes a change that will produce a long-term benefit.
Soon after the redacted document was sent to The Oregonian, the Portland Business Journal and the Tribune, the states lawyers alerted the firm to the mistake.
Oracles lawyer then demanded the states lawyers immediately notify reporters that confidential information had been disclosed and to ask reporters to delete the brief and not report on it. The state instead sent out an email urging reporters to refer to a second copy of the brief, which it described as the final version.
If the state had complied with Oracles request to alert the reporters to the presence of confidential information, it would have likely prompted them to write a story revealing it, said Judson Randall, a former reporter and president of the freedom of information group Open Oregon. Reporters had no obligation to delete the poorly redacted brief or comply with a confidentiality order that they didnt sign.
You cant unring the bell, Randall said.