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May 14, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:02pm

SEAGATE LOSES LATEST ROUND OF AMSTRAD COURT BATTLE

By CBR Staff Writer

Seagate Technology Inc has been ordered by The High Court of Justice in London to pay damages in excess of 80m pounds ($128m) to UK personal computer builder Amstrad Plc for supplying faulty disk drives over five years ago. The ruling shocked Seagate’s chief executive officer Al Shugart, who in quotes made to the Wall Street Journal described the judge as having his wig on too tight, causing brain damage and saying it was a home court decision. Alan Sugar, Amstrad’s boss immediately countered and suggested that Shugart was risking further censure from the court and even possible contempt of court proceedings and added He seems to be suffering with the same problem as the disk drives he shipped us – memory loss. Sugar went on, regarding his comment about a home court decision, someone should remind him that we originally started this action in California. Seagate forced us to close the Californian action and fight it in England. The court made the decision on Friday, and follows five years of legal wrangling between the two companies. Seagate Technology, the Scotts Valley, California-based manufacturer of personal computer disk drives is to pay damages of 57m pounds together with interest of 23m pounds on the award. Amstrad maintains that in 1988 Seagate supplied it with faulty disk drives for the Amstrad PC2386 range of computers and that the subsequent problems devastated sales of this and future products, irrevocably damaging Amstrad’s reputation. Seagate is less than happy with the ruling and is currently believed to be considering an appeal. Seagate is no stranger to the courts, fighting several legal actions in recent months. The company has been identified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for potential involvement in sites containing hazardous waste with a further $16 million at risk in this action, some of which it hopes to redeem from the company it bought the manufacturing sites from, Ceridian Corp, previously Control Data. Amstrad is bringing a similar case against the disk drive maker s Western Digital Corporation due to commence in September, this time in the Californian courts. The drama has already commenced with Western’s original lawyers having been kicked off the case for becoming party to confidential information. Western is appealing. Wall Street seemed to forgive Seagate immediately and its share price showed nothing more than usual daily fluctuation.

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