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8/27/2007
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IBM Server Worth $1.4 Million Falls Off Forklift

Federal contractor T.R. Systems says its workers were moving the server from a freight truck into its warehouse in Alexandria, Va., when the mishap occurred.

An IBM server worth $1.4 million was wrecked after it fell off a forklift during shipping. Now the customer is suing -- claiming that the computer maker failed to properly package the high-end business system.

Federal contractor T.R. Systems says its workers were moving the server from a freight truck into its warehouse in Alexandria, Va., when the mishap occurred. "The rear wheels of their forklift hit the raised surface at the entry door of the warehouse, causing the forklift to rock, and subsequently causing the server to rock," T.R. Systems says in court papers filed last month.

"As a result of the rocking motion, the base of the pallet and the crate broke and the crate fell onto the curb, damaging the server packed inside," the contractor states in papers filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va.

T.R. Systems claims IBM refused to take back the damaged server or send technicians to inspect or repair it. As a result, the company claims it was forced to purchase a replacement server from IBM following the October incident. The server was ultimately bound for T.R. Systems' customer the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

In its lawsuit, T.R. Systems claims its own clumsiness isn't to blame for the server's destruction. "The damages sustained by T.R. Systems was due to the poor workmanship and/or defective packaging design and methods used by IBM," the company argues in court papers.

T.R. Systems says IBM failed to pack the server into a palletized crate "that was strong enough to support the substantial height and weight of the server." Court papers do not specify an IBM server model number.

In a statement, IBM officials said "we will defend ourselves vigorously" in the case. The company declined to elaborate or discuss details of its shipping policies.

T.R. Systems is seeking damages in excess of $1.4 million.

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