Friday, October 20, 2006, 10/20/2006 04:53:00 PM

IBM's Motion to Dismiss Granted Against Butera & Andrews For Alleged Violations of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

By Todd
On a case we earlier reported here, the law firm Butera & Andrews sued International Business Machines Corp. for alleged violations of, among other things, the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Butera & Andrews' law firm computer system was allegedly targeted for a hacking effort by someone who utilized an IP address that, as a computer forensic and security review revealed, indicated the hacking effort came from an IBM facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Butera & Andrews had no information to suggest that IBM had authorized, directed or ratified such conduct, of course, and did not allege as much in their complaint filed in federal court in the District of Columbia.

IBM moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted. IBM argued that 18 U.S.C. sections 1030(a)(2) and 1030(a)(5) require intentional acts and that, therefore, Butera & Andrews' claims must fail because the face of the complaint did not allege any intentionality on IBM's part but merely implied that perhaps a rogue IBM employee was engaged in cyberspace criminal activity on his or her own. The federal court agreed with IBM and dismissed Butera & Andrews' entire complaint, holding that an intentional act must be alleged and respondeat superior liability is not enough to state a claim against IBM for violations of the Act.

The decision is currently cited as Butera & Andrews v. International Business Machines Corp., 2006 WL 2971107 (October 18, 2006 D.D.C.).

Have a good weekend.

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