Willamette Associate Professor of Law David Friedman commented on the resolution of the Oregon v. Oracle lawsuit in a September 15 Associated Press story.
The lawsuit has been the topic of national news since 2014. Oregon paid software giant Oracle $240 million to create its Cover Oregon health care exchange website — a website the state said never worked or enrolled a single person. That problem resulted in Oregon joining the federal exchange instead in order to comply with the Affordable Care Act.
In the lawsuit, the state sought $6 billion in punitive damages. Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced a settlement September 15 in which the state accepted a package worth $100 million, $25 million of which will be cash to reimburse the state’s legal fees. Oracle will also contribute $10 million to a state technology education program and offer the state six years of unlimited Oracle software and technical support, a deal that is worth an estimated $60 million.
Most of the money used to initially pay Oracle came from federal funds designated to help states comply with the Affordable Care Act. Friedman said that is likely why the settlement mainly involves non-cash value.
“The government would say, ‘Thank you for being our collection agency. We’re going to take that back,” he said. “That’s why this is coming out as credits and things that are a bit to the side of the direct verdict. Oracle has probably convinced them that this is their best shot at collecting the best value.”
The settlement ends years of litigation four months before a costly trial would have occurred. Friedman said as Brown runs for a second term, she can now put this fight behind her.
“This was going to go on and on forever and ever,” he said. “A lot of people can claim victory over this.”
About David A. Friedman
David A. Friedman is an associate professor of law at Willamette University College of Law, where he teaches commercial law, business law, torts, and consumer trade practices law and his scholarship focuses on behavioral economics, contract theory, advertising law, and public health. Friedman received the Jerry E. Hudson Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012. His publications have appeared in leading law journals and large-circulation public media.
About Willamette University College of Law
Opened in 1883, Willamette University College of Law is the first law school in the Pacific Northwest. The college has a long tradition at the forefront of legal education and is committed to the advancement of knowledge through excellent teaching, scholarship, mentoring and experience. Leading faculty, thriving externship and clinical law programs, ample practical skills courses, and a proactive career placement office prepare Willamette law students for today's legal job market. According to statistics compiled by the American Bar Association, Willamette ranks first in the Pacific Northwest for job placement for full-time, long-term, JD-preferred/JD-required jobs for the class of 2014 and first in Oregon for the classes of 2012, 2013 and 2014. Located across the street from the state capitol complex and the Oregon Supreme Court in downtown Salem, the college specializes in law and government, law and business, and dispute resolution.