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September 21, 2010 10:46 AM

So Much for the Hurd-HP Bloodbath

Posted by Zach Lowe

Those of you gearing up for a nasty lawsuit between Hewlett-Packard and its ex-CEO, Mark Hurd, must be disappointed this morning upon reading the news that the two sides have settled the case two weeks after H-P filed it. 

Under the terms of the deal, H-P will drop its claim that Hurd's new job at Oracle puts him in a position in which he will inevitably violate confidentiality agreements he signed while at  H-P. In exchange, Hurd will give up nearly 350,000 shares of H-P stock, valued at about $14 million, he received as part of a severance package, according to The Recorder, one of our sibling publications. Hurd also received a $12 million payment as part of his severance, The Recorder says. 

The settlement brings an end to a chain of events that started in early August, when Hurd left the company under immense pressure after an unknown actress and sometime consultant to H-P accused Hurd of sexual harassment. An internal investigation led in part by Covington & Burling cleared Hurd of sexual harassment but found evidence of improper payments to the accuser, according to our prior reporting. Hurd left the company on August 6, prompting an angry letter from Oracle chief Larry Ellison, who claimed H-P had made a grave mistake. Ellison hired Hurd a couple of weeks later. 

H-P sued within 24 hours of that hiring, accusing Hurd of failing to notify them of his intent to bolt to a competitor and placing himself in a job in which he would disclose confidential H-P information. Experts told The Recorder that H-P would have a hard time winning a suit alleging future violations. Monday's settlement means we won't get a chance to see what H-P's lawyers could pull off in court. 

H-P turned to a huge team of lawyers for counsel in the case: Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Seyfarth Shaw, and the noted San Jose, Calif.-based-based lawyer Allen Ruby. 

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