‘Infosys victory may deter copycat lawsuits’

15WASHINGTON: The Infosys victory in federal court in Alabama may deter potential copycat lawsuits against Indian companies and the mere possibility of litigation should not scare away businesses from investing in the US, an eminent Indian American lawyer has said.

“Infosys’s victory in federal court may very well have a chilling effect on potential copycat lawsuits against Indian companies,” a Birmingham-Alabama-based attorney with Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker, Jagdesh Kirpalani, told PTI after a federal court dismissed harassment charges against the IT major by one of its American employee ? Jack ‘Jay’ Palmer.

Noting that some blogs and news outlets misapprehended the litigation as a whistleblower case, he said the plaintiff’s case against Infosys was not a whistleblower, or qui tam, action.

“Simply put the plaintiff’s case was an employment case alleging claims founded in contract and tort. The plaintiff failed to establish that Infosys breached a contract with him.

“The plaintiff did not present any conduct on the part of Infosys that rose to the level of an intentional infliction of emotional distress. Accordingly, the court threw out the plaintiff’s claims as insufficient,” he said.

US District Judge Myron H Thompson said, “Judgment is entered in favor of defendants Infosys Technologies Limited Incorporated and Infosys Limited and against plaintiff Jack ‘Jay’ Palmer, Jr., with plaintiff Palmer taking nothing by his complaint.

“It is further ordered that costs are taxed against plaintiff Palmer, for which execution may issue.”

Referring to the order Kirpalani said, “The plaintiff brought state law claims against Infosys over which the federal court exercised diversity jurisdiction.

“Although the matter was pending in federal court, because the case involved state law claims, the court was required to apply Alabama law to the plaintiff’s causes of action.”

He said the court found that the plaintiff lacked the proof necessary to prevail on his claims at trial, thus, the court entered a judgment in favor of Infosys.

Hopefully, one of the points Indian companies will take away from this result is that the system of justice in the US is both fair and efficient, said Kirpalani, whose practice is focused on advising entrepreneurs and established businesses on international business transactions and economic development.

He has a particular concentration on Indian companies doing business in the Southeast and domestic companies doing business in India and Asia.

“American federal courts do not express preferences for domestic litigants over foreign litigants or vice versa,” Kirpalani added.

Thus, he said, the mere possibility of litigation should not scare Indian business away from continuing to invest in the US. -PTI

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