A high-profile lawsuit pitting Accenture against former client Hertz has moved into a new stage, with lawyers for the international consulting firm indicating they plan to file for dismissal of all claims. The suit filed in April claims Accenture failed to deliver a revamped website and mobile app as contractually stipulated.
According to a letter to the judge in the case from the law firm Wiggin and Dana, which is representing Accenture, the defendant will also “assert counterclaims” including those regarding “past-due invoices” in the contract. The initial suit claimed Hertz has already paid more than $32 million dollars to Accenture’s digital division despite the fact the company has not completed the work.
The letter, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on Friday, is embedded at the bottom of this story.
“Accenture has notified the court that it intends to file a motion to dismiss in the Hertz lawsuit,” said a company spokesperson. “Accenture continues to believe that the allegations in this lawsuit are without merit.”
Hertz declined to comment. Wiggin and Dana did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Brown Rudnick, the law firm representing Hertz.
The letter to Judge William H. Pauley III specifically requests “a pre-motion conference regarding Accenture’s forthcoming motion to dismiss” all claims in the April suit, which accused Accenture of breach of contract and alleged failure to complete the full scope of the work it agreed to when the relationship with Hertz began in 2016.
According to the letter, the work, which consisted of redesigning the car rental provider’s “website, apps, digital marketing and related services,” unfolded in two phases, the first of which “proceeded relatively smoothly.” The letter acknowledges that Phase 2 included “some delays and setbacks,” which required the parties to adjust the statement of work twice as planned launch dates came and went.
The letter claims that Hertz and Accenture agreed on these changes to the contract and that the client paid for the first extension period. When Accenture asked to be paid for the second period, however, Hertz claimed it was not obligated to pay “due to perceived deficiencies in Accenture’s work on earlier phases of the project.” It followed by suing the firm to prevent further requests for payment, stating in its own filing that Accenture “never delivered a functional website or mobile app.”
The letter continues, “Accenture intends to assert counterclaims, including for payment of these past-due invoices.”
It goes on to specifically address Hertz’s claim that Accenture violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA), arguing that “a party’s alleged failure to fulfill its contractual obligations is not itself a ‘deceptive act or unfair practice'” and that Accenture’s alleged breach of contract does not amount to such an offense because the law requires the plaintiff to prove the existence of a deceptive or unfair practice in addition to causation and actual damages inflicted.
Hertz’s claims, the letter states, are “no more than assertions that Accenture failed to fulfill some of its contractual obligations under the [statement of work].” Accenture will argue that it successfully provided all services required and that Hertz “has alleged no reason why Accenture’s actions were unfair or deceptive independent of the requirements of the [statement of work].”
Beyond the FDUTPA, the letter also states that Accenture will move to have all other claims in the suit dismissed.
The agreement that governed the relationship between Hertz and Accenture, the letter states, “provides that Accenture’s sole liability for any claim related to its work ‘shall be the payment of direct damages’ and that any damages are capped at the fees or expenses Accenture received in connection with the applicable [statement of work].” It goes on to state that Hertz’s suit does not clarify how much money the company seeks, but that the total “appears to encompass more than direct damages” and seeks more than the total paid to Accenture.
The letter also states that the first change request amendment barred any claims “arising out of or related to the need to provide services beyond” the project’s initial estimated launch date of December 2017. “Any claims related to delays in the project’s launch or damages for the same should therefore be dismissed,” the letter reads.
Pauley has not yet responded to the letter.