Brightpoint suing software vendor for negligence

Indianapolis-based Brightpoint Inc. is seeking millions of dollars in damages from a Massachusetts software provider that allegedly failed to deliver on contractual promises.

The distributor of wireless phones is suing Emptoris Inc. in Marion Superior Court, charging that the company committed fraud and negligence, as well as breaching its agreement and warranty.

Brightpoint is requesting reimbursement of roughly $3 million it paid Emptoris, in addition to damages related to the $2 million it spent to fix the software that “for the most part was a complete failure,” according to the Feb. 18 suit.

Citing company policy, a lawyer for Brightpoint declined to comment on the case. But the complaint makes clear Brightpoint’s dissatisfaction.

“Simply put, over the past two years, Emptoris has consistently over-promised and under-delivered in every aspect of its software and its services,” Brightpoint said in the court filing. “The software was such a failure and such an impediment to Brightpoint’s business that Brightpoint had no alternative except to stop using the software.”

Emptoris denies the allegations and is surprised to learn that a complaint has been filed, a company spokesman said via e-mail.

“Emptoris has more than 300 global companies as customers, and their success and results are a testament to the service Emptoris provides,” the spokesman said.

Those customers include American Express Co., The Boeing Co., ConocoPhillips Co., GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Kraft Foods Inc. and Motorola Inc.

Brightpoint’s formal relationship with Emptoris began in October 2008, when the two entered into a contract that called for Emptoris to provide Brightpoint with "spend management" and "spend analysis" software.

Brightpoint, which has acquired several companies in past years, was operating on many different sets of procurement and distribution systems, and sought the upgrade to streamline operations, the complaint said.

During installation, however, Brightpoint said it discovered that Emptoris had misrepresented its ability to cleanse data that Brightpoint had provided. Without that capability, Brightpoint charged, Emptoris was unable to implement the spend management platform as it claimed it could.

Formatting templates did not function correctly, Brightpoint said, and despite numerous complaints with ample notice, Emptoris could not fix them. As a result, Brightpoint was forced to contact Emptoris much more than it would have needed if the proper training had been provided, as promised, the company said.

When Emptoris did respond, the complaint alleges, it continually sent new consultants with little background on the project whose “solution” was to have Brightpoint resend data even though that was not the problem.

“Instead of correcting and curing the issues, Emptoris would fail again or exacerbate the situation to make it worse than it was before,” the suit said.

Ultimately, the relationship between the two broke down and nothing more has been done by Emptoris, said Brightpoint, which has quit using the software.

Brightpoint is seeking a jury trial.

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