On January 26, 2012, United States District Judge James Holderman issued an opinion granting Oracle’s motion to dismiss a complaint
seeking to collect from Oracle a judgment that the plaintiff received in an unrelated action for breach of contract against one of Oracle’s “business
partners.” The complaint, seeking relief under a single count of “Joint and Several Liability,” attempted to enforce the prior judgment against Oracle because of Oracle’s alleged partnership with the “business partner” without having to prove the underlying breach of contract allegations in the current action. Judge Holderman held that although a partner is liable under Illinois law for partnership debts, an alleged partner cannot be held liable for a judgment against one of its alleged partners when it is neither it nor the alleged partnership entity itself is a party to the underlying proceeding.
Judge Holderman explained that Illinois law “allow[s plaintiff to] recover from Oracle for the breach of contract if it can prove that Oracle and [the alleged partner] were partners. [The law] also would allow [the plaintiff] to recover from Oracle a judgment entered against the alleged Oracle/[business partner] partnership. Unfortunately, [plaintiff] seeks to do neither in the present lawsuit. Rather, it seeks to impose vicarious liability upon Oracle for a judgment to which it was not a party. While [Illinois law] allows [plaintiff] to bring a breach of contract action against Oracle, provided such a claim is timely, it does not allow [plaintiff] to proceed as it has attempted to do through its pending complaint.”
Stephen Rosenfeld and Rebecca Edwards were the Mandell Menkes lawyers representing Oracle in this matter.