SALEM, Ore. (CN) – Oracle sued Oregon again in fallout from the botched Cover Oregon health care exchange website, seeking enforcement of an alleged $25 million settlement with the state.
Oracle sued the state in Marion County Court on Jan. 21, claiming Oregon has a duty to dismiss Oracle executives from prior litigation over the failure of the Cover Oregon website.
Oregon hired Oracle to build the Cover Oregon website, which never took off, despite receiving more than $300 million in federal money.
The company and state have butted heads in court for two years, with suits and countersuits in multiple venues.
In March last year, Oracle claimed former Gov. John Kitzhaber’s advisers persuaded him to get rid of Cover Oregon to divert criticism during his re-election campaign. A judge in Multnomah County dismissed that case, finding the advisers’ advice was free speech.
Kitzhaber resigned in February 2015, in a political scandal involving his use of emails and his fiancée’s being awarded a state contract as a consultant.
Then in November, Oracle sued again, claiming the new governor, Kate Brown, violated public records laws by refusing to release Kitzhaber’s personal emails.
Oracle’s newest lawsuit claims it entered into a settlement agreement with Gov. Brown’s former chief of staff Brian Shipley last October, and the agreement should be enforced.
Shipley and Brown’s general counsel Misha Isaak met with Oracle Senior Vice President Ken Glueck and executive vice president Dorian Daley in May to discuss the outstanding lawsuits, according to Oracle’s complaint.
The settlement issues were not resolved, and Shipley and Isaak said the governor would “go public” with the settlement if Oregon’s attorney general objected to its terms, the complaint says.
Then in October, Shipley and Glueck allegedly negotiated settlement terms over the phone.
Among other things, Oracle says, it agreed to give the state $15 million in software licenses and hosting services in exchange for dismissals of claims against Oracle executives. It also agreed to enter into a technology partnership for high school computer science education.
Shipley told Glueck, “Yes. We have a deal” when he asked if the state would accept the settlement, “thereby consummating the settlement agreement,” Oracle says in its new complaint.
But Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum disputed that there was a settlement, saying only the attorney general – not Shipley – had the power to make such a deal. She called the alleged settlement an “entire figment of their imagination and designed to protect their bosses at the highest level.”
“This latest lawsuit is a true act of desperation on Oracle’s part,” Rosenblum told the Willamette Week.
“After losing twice to remove the Oracle executives from the lawsuit, they are so desperate that they are trying a third time by claiming the executives’ dismissal was part of a settlement of the state’s lawsuit against Oracle for bungling Oregon’s health exchange website.”
Oracle’s newest complaint seeks a judgment enforcing the terms of the alleged settlement agreement.
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