Judge sets date for PeopleSoft versus Oracle trial

Judge sets date for PeopleSoft versus Oracle trial

While Oracle prepares to face off with the U.S. Department of Justice in June in a California court battle over its proposed acquisition of PeopleSoft, its legal team will also need to plan for a November confrontation with PeopleSoft in another California courtroom.

Judge Ronald Sabraw set last week a Nov. 1 date for the start of a jury trial on PeopleSoft's lawsuit charging Oracle with libel and unfair competition. Sabraw previously rejected Oracle's attempt to have the case dismissed. PeopleSoft claims that Oracle's hostile, US$9.4 billion offer is intended primarily to disrupt its business.

Oracle's long-running takeover campaign is keeping swarms of lawyers busy. PeopleSoft filed its suit against Oracle last June, days after Oracle first initiated its bid. After Sabraw ruled out dismissal, Oracle responded in late March with a cross-complaint, charging PeopleSoft and members of its board with acting illegally in refusing to consider Oracle's offer, and in implementing a controversial "customer assurance plan" promising buyers large payouts if PeopleSoft is bought by a company that fails to meet certain development and service benchmarks.

PeopleSoft and Oracle are also locked in legal battle on the other side of the country, in Delaware's Chancery Court. In that case, Oracle is challenging the legality of PeopleSoft's "poison pill," a provision in its bylaws that would allow the board to block a takeover even if shareholders voted to allow it.

Discovery in that case is under way, and is being coordinated with discovery in the Alameda case, PeopleSoft said Monday in a regulatory filing. No trial date has yet been set on the Delaware case.

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