International Business Machine charged in federal court today that the Justice Department is trying to bury IBM's defense in the 10 year old anti-trust suit with "impossible and v astly expensive" requests for documents.
IBM today asked the court to quash a government subpoena that the computer giant claims wouls require it to produce by April 9, five billion pages of documents housed in 2,000 separate locations throughout the world. On April 9 the Justice Department wants to take a deposition from IBM Chairman Frank Cary.
The company estimates it would cost more than $1 billion and "almost $62,000 man years of effort," to comply with the government's request.
IBM counsed Thomas D. Barr, in a slashing attack on the Justice Department, told the court that "in the present context, where Mr. Cary is expected to testify within weeks, it is obvious that the draftsman of the Cary subponea either intended that it not be complyed with or that Mr. Cary not be able to testify at anytime in the foreseeable future."
Barr said that the government's latest request for documents -- as part of its process of "discovery" -- is part of a "continuing effort to prejudice IBM's defense and to end this case in a stalemate by forcing upon IBM impossible and vastly expensive discovery burdens."
In a 25-page deposition Barr many times cites claims by Assistant Attorney General John H. Shenefield that the so-called discovery process is too often abused and makes anti-trust cases unwieldy.
The IBM anti-trust case, which was filed by the Justice Department hours before pormer President Lyndon Johnson loft office, is by far the longest and biggest anti-trust trial in history.