NASHVILLE—IBM Corp. is calling Bridgestone Americas Inc.'s claims against it in a "breach of contract and fraud" suit regarding a recent SAP implementation "exaggerated, factually wrong and without merit."
Bridgestone Americas filed the suit Nov. 12 in U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee, alleging that an SAP system IBM had designed for Bridgestone in 2009-11 was "defective," resulting in damages of $200 million or more, and that it continues to suffer "injury to its reputation and customer relations."
Bridgestone is seeking treble damages, or $600 million from IBM, along with court costs, attorneys' fees, etc.
In its suit, Bridgestone accuses IBM of "fraudulently" representing material facts; of concealing material facts it had a duty to disclose; "knowingly" breaching "explicit contractual undertakings;" engaging in a course of "deceptive conduct" for its own economic advantage; dealing in bad faith; and committing "gross negligence" in the performance of its services.
In its response, IBM said:
"The claims against IBM are exaggerated, factually wrong and without merit. From the outset of this project, Bridgestone failed to meet critical commitments upon which IBM's performance depended.
"Ultimately, Bridgestone's repeated failures had a significant impact on the project's cost and schedule, and its decision to ignore IBM's warnings and prematurely roll out the implementation across its entire business negatively impacted its North America operations."
IBM—which claims it has implemented thousands of successful SAP projects and is consistently rated by independent analysts as the premier SAP implementation firm—said it "worked hard" to make this a successful project and regrets a dispute with a client.
"However, IBM is prepared to vigorously defend itself in this matter and demonstrate that Bridgestone's own errors made this a troubled project," IBM said.
A key point of contention appears to be Bridgestone's decision to roll out its SAP system on a widespread basis, a decision that IBM claims "ignored the clear and repeated recommendations from both IBM and members of its own IT staff" to implement a staggered rollout.
IBM also accuses Bridgestone of failing to supply the necessary software, hardware and network infrastructure for the system to operate properly, and of failing to approve "necessary design documents" for IBM to complete its work.
No hearing date is set as yet.