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Dell accused of defying court order

By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Dell Inc, has been accused of refusing to comply with court orders to reveal secret documents in an ongoing dispute with a client over allegedly faulty computers.

In a Thursday filing to a U.S. district court in North Carolina, Advanced Internet Technologies (AIT) has accused Dell (DELL, Fortune 500) of continuing to withhold documents and internal e-mail transactions revealing that the company knew there were problems with its OptiPlex computers.

"AIT is in possession of at least one document showing that Dell senior executives were involved in the development of 'talking points' designed to minimize to Dell's customers and shareholders the full extent of capacitor failures in the OptiPlex computers," read the latest filing.

Dell spokesman Jess Blackburn denied the allegations.

"We disagree with AIT's contention that we violated the discover order and will be filing our response with the court soon," wrote Blackburn in an e-mail to CNNMoney.com. "We take all court orders and our obligations to comply with them very seriously."

The dispute dates back to a period from 2003 to 2005, when Dell sold computers with faulty capacitors that allegedly caused most motherboards on two OptiPlex models to break.

Advanced Internet Technologies, based in Fayetteville, N.C., is in the process of suing Dell for damages from the breakdown of nearly 2,000 OptiPlex systems that it had leased to clients. The company has said that it lost nearly $16 million from cancelled contracts and $22 million on discounts it offered to hold onto spurned customers.

"AIT has sought documents on this issue from the outset of discovery, but Dell has consistently resisted providing documents relating to its decision to withhold, withdraw, or purge OptiPlex computer[s] containing defective capacitors," Advanced Internet Technologies said in the filing. To top of page

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