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Blank Rome Files Vague, Redacted Bills for March and April. Finally. - Update: May-July
Tuesday, November 16 2010 @ 02:30 AM EST

Blank Rome has finally filed its bills for March and April. Yes. March. April. I'd suggest they'd rather we not watch them in real time. Or too closely period. The SCO bottom line does look better, one assumes, if bills for March through November are not yet included in the spreadsheet.

What stands out, though, is these are the first bills I recall in the bankruptcy that are redacted in places.

The filings:

11/15/2010 - 1198 - Monthly Application for Compensation of (Fifth) of Blank Rome LLP for the period March 1, 2010 to March 31, 2010 Filed by Edward N. Cahn, Chapter 11 Trustee for The SCO Group, Inc., et al.. Objections due by 12/6/2010. (Attachments: # 1 Notice # 2 Exhibit A # 3 Exhibit B # 4 Certificate of Service) (Fatell, Bonnie) (Entered: 11/15/2010)

11/15/2010 - 1199 - Monthly Application for Compensation of (Sixth) of Blank Rome LLP for the period April 1, 2010 to April 30, 2010 Filed by Edward N. Cahn, Chapter 11 Trustee for The SCO Group, Inc., et al.. Objections due by 12/6/2010. (Attachments: # 1 Notice # 2 Exhibit A # 3 Exhibit B # 4 Certificate of Service) (Fatell, Bonnie) (Entered: 11/15/2010)

March's bill was for $156,449 plus expenses, all during the thick of the second SCO v. Novell trial, and the jury ruled on the copyright ownership issue in Novell's favor on March 30th. Also, there was a lot of activity in March about Ralph Yarro and his gang loaning SCO money. You see on March 4, for example, that H. Jackson is involved in all that. So he's still in place.

The judge had issues he alone would decide, and that didn't happen until June, so April was very busy for the parties, trying to get his attention. But it wasn't as busy a month. The bill is for $55,370.50. Otherwise April was mostly about the sale of mobility assets to Darl McBride and Novell's interest in getting paid the constructive trust money put into escrow lo these many moons ago. If you recall, SCO finally paid them over to Novell in June, $625,486.90, and in the bill for April, you get to see the back story.

By vague, I mean entries like ones that say things like "Review Documents" or "Respond to Emails". Or this one:

Mar 11 10 - Review and approve extension of consulting agreement for former employee - B. Fatell - 0.20
To which one can only ask, which former employee?

And in the April's Exhibit A, late in April we see notations about Novell and "settlement" discussions. It isn't made clear whether this is referring to the matters pending the judge's decision or if it's more activity about the escrow funds. If you recall, SCO and Novell had agreed that SCO didn't have to pay until all appeals were over, so it is very possible that the notations about settlement have to do with that. I wondered how Novell got them to pay up prior to the second appeal being decided, but you see entries about Novell phoning them and discussing their point of view, which very likely was that since there were no further appeals of the issue that caused SCO to owe the money, namely the Sun license, it was time to pay up at last.

But it's also the case that parties typically do discuss the possibility of settling a case rather than leaving it to a judge or jury. Most cases are settled rather than decided, actually. So it's also possible that they discussed settling everything.

The reason parties would rather settle things themselves are complex, but explaining it lightly you could say that the likelihood of professionals figuring out what is fair and what will make both sides happy, relatively speaking, are greater than any judge getting it just right as far as making them both happy. So rather than take chances, it's not uncommon to see the parties trying to work things out just before or during a trial, when both sides usually know which way it's likely to go. And the best legal advice is always to stay out of courtrooms, if you can. But the main advantage is if there is a settlement, then there's no further appeals. That's a great savings in money for the parties, and a huge incentive to try to work out a deal.

In this case, we know there was no settlement of the trial issues. The judge ruled, in Novell's favor, and now SCO has appealed, forcing Novell to spend money to file its opposition brief and show up for oral argument, so if there was a settlement discussion, I would guess it would be about avoiding an appeal on Novell's part. On SCO's side, they'd just lost the jury trial, so a settlement probably didn't draw them as much as the appeal, it being essentially their only hope left. SCO has already paid its lawyers through the appeal, but Novell hasn't. So Novell's lawyers would be almost delinquent not to at least try to settle. Probably after the jury ruled in Novell's favor, they imagined SCO might finally be in a more reasonable frame of mind and call it a day. Nope.

Since we know SCO did pay Novell the trust money in June, that all tilts toward the discussions being about the escrow funds. But honestly, it could be either.

I can't explain who L. Casey is. Can anyone? I see in March Fatell had to try to get an official copy of the patent. No one could find it at SCO. As you see all that was involved in selling that patent, as reflected just in the March bill, you'll see why you need a lawyer for transactions -- who else could bear to do all that detail work?

I see a March 31 entry about an offer from G. McDaniel of Computer Systems, mentioned in connection with the mobility assets sale, so that may be who Darl was competing against.

Also, as I mentioned, this is the first bill that is redacted. On April 21, 22, and 23, there are notations about escrow money transferring from [redacted] to SCO's account and then transferring the deposit from [redacted] to SCO from escrow account and then from [redacted] back to [redacted] from escrow account. What is less clear is whether this was about the sale of the patent or the sale of the mobility assets. I'd guess the former, but it's just a hunch. My guess is based on the feeling that the buyer of the patent may not wish the world to know about it, whereas Darl was publicly known to be buying the mobility assets.

Finally, on March 12, we see Ms. Fatell conferring several times with the new US Trustee's Office representative assigned to the case. They talked about "revised agenda, amended notice, and service of same." But I would opine that it wasn't really just about that. You do want to schmooze, if you can, with the new kid on the block, particularly when the new kid can make your life unpleasant. Remember they sat at the same table at the first hearing the new US Trustee lawyer attended? The prior US Trustee never did that. Well, that's just smart lawyering. You want to be liked as a person, so your client will benefit. I can't find fault with that. But I did notice the notation and smiled.

Update:

Here's May's also:

11/16/2010 - 1200 - Monthly Application for Compensation of Blank Rome LLP (SEVENTH) for the period May 1, 2010 to May 31, 2010 Filed by Edward N. Cahn, Chapter 11 Trustee for The SCO Group, Inc., et al.. Objections due by 12/6/2010. (Attachments: # 1 Notice # 2 Exhibit A # 3 Exhibit B # 4 Certificate of Service) (Fatell, Bonnie) (Entered: 11/16/2010)

It's only for $14,039.50, approximately half of it for Ms. Fatell's activity. My favorite entry:
May 04 1- - Telephone call with H. Jackson regarding theories to pursue - Fatell - 0.30
What exactly is H. Jackson's job title at SCO, again? Has anyone ever revealed it? Why is she calling him about possible settlement theories to pursue? Is he running the SCO show now? Anyway, it makes clearer that the discussions with Novell were about the trust funds, and you see a stipulation being drawn up on May 26 and a "detailed email" to Ryan Tibbitts that same day, and then the following day there's a notation about releasing the funds to Novell. So whatever the theories were, they didn't prevail if they were pursued. And that's about it for May.

Update: And now June and July:

11/16/2010 - 1201 - Monthly Application for Compensation of Blank Rome LLP (EIGHTH) for the period June 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010 Filed by Edward N. Cahn, Chapter 11 Trustee for The SCO Group, Inc., et al.. Objections due by 12/6/2010. (Attachments: # 1 Notice # 2 Exhibit A # 3 Exhibit B # 4 Certificate of Service) (Fatell, Bonnie) (Entered: 11/16/2010)

11/16/2010 - 1202 - Monthly Application for Compensation of Blank Rome LLP (NINTH) for the period July 1, 2010 to July 31, 2010 Filed by Edward N. Cahn, Chapter 11 Trustee for The SCO Group, Inc., et al.. Objections due by 12/6/2010. (Attachments: # 1 Notice # 2 Exhibit A # 3 Exhibit B # 4 Certificate of Service) (Fatell, Bonnie) (Entered: 11/16/2010)


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