According to John Murawski, a staff writer for the Raleigh News & Observer, when the answer is no for eighteen hours it can be an international lawsuit.
Apparently two years ago France’s third largest wireless phone service, Bouygues Telecom, experienced an 18 hour long system crash which silenced seven million of it’s customers for eighteen long hours.
According to the Raleigh N&O a local North Carolina newspaper, Bouygues Telecom is suing Morrisville, NC communications equipment manufacturer Tekelec which provides the telecommunications equipment for 38 percent of the world market and 78 percent of the U.S. market.
The article notes that Bouygues is still using communication equipment supplied by Tekelec. The normal outages that telecommunications providers have experienced with Tekelec equipment are in the range of five minutes per the article.
Bouygues apparently decided to give up the home court advantage of a French court in favor of a quicker resolution in the U.S. federal system.
Bouygues first filed suit against Tekelec in 2005. When Tekelec moved to North Carolina the suit was also moved to the court there.
Bouygues listed itemized damages of $144.35 million. This does not include any interest or punitive damages that may be sought.
Ten jurors and two alternatives will have an opportunity to here the complaints of Bouygues in the federal court in North Carolina. Jury selection is scheduled for March 2007 in Greenville, North Carolina.
Tekelec was quoted in the N&O article as Bouygues caused the outage with ‘bizarre’ and ‘nonsensical’ misuse of the equipment.
The Bouygues Group originally filed the complaint against Tekelec in the U.S. District Court for Central California near Tekelec prior headquarters. At that time Tekelec took the sued under advisement according to Mike Attar director of Investor Relations.
When the original suit was filed Tekelec reviewed the complaint and indicated that the amount of the suit was not justified. The report in Investors Business Daily on March 3, 2005 indicated that the problem originated between widely used industry standard algorithms and particular circumstances that existed in the Bouygues system.
It is noted in both the current article and in news articles that were published in March 2005, that Tekelec technicians worked closely with Bouygues Group technicians to identify and rectify the problems that caused the eighteen hour outage.
The French press gave Bouygues a severe ribbing in the cartoons over the surprising loss of normally reliable telecom access for such a long period.
With a reserve of several hundred million, the $140 million dollar lawsuit does not appear to pose a problem to Tekelec per the News & Observer article.