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Siebel lawsuit could take aim at county judge

By rgordon
Thursday, July 19th, 2007 at 5:56 pm in Uncategorized.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Carol Mittlesteadt may spend her days presiding over the court, but she may soon also find herself in it.

In it, no less, with the billionaire founder of the San Mateo-based software company Siebel Systems as the plaintiff she’ll face.

Tom Siebel In a ruling made by the California Supreme Court Monday, Tom Siebel, the former chairman and CEO of the company (shown here), was given the go-ahead to sue Mittlesteadt and another attorney – E. Rick Buell II – for “malicious prosecution” stemming from a fraud suit settled in 1999. When the suit was filed, Mittlesteadt was a civil litigator.

According to The Recorder, a Northern California legal newspaper, the court “all but opened the courthouse door for the former Silicon Valley executive by unanimously ruling that a settlement in an underlying fraud suit constituted a favorable judgment that allows Siebel to sue the attorneys who brought the case.”

Siebel, according to The Recorder, is suing Mittlesteadt and Buell “for malicious prosecution after Siebel’s company paid to settle a fraud suit with their client, Debra Christoffers, in 1999.”

The Supreme Court rejected arguments made by the defendants that the “ruling would discourage settlements, increase malicious prosecution actions and disrupt the attorney-client relationship,” the Recorder said.

Siebel Systems was sold for $5.8 billion to Oracle, the Redwood Shores-based enterprise software behemoth, in 2006. Siebel founded his company, which made customer relationship management (CRM) software, in 1993. According to Forbes.com, Siebel has an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion, and was number 242 on its list of the 400 Richest Americans.

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