Gartner took a hard swipe at NetScout Systems yesterday, claiming the information technology company is relying on "unnecessary, repetitious, scandalous, impertinent [and] immaterial" allegations to build a case against it and "poison the mind of the jury and the court."

In the latest action in what promises to be a lengthy legal fight, Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner took off its gloves to deliver a stinging blow to Westford, Mass.-based NetScout.

Gartner Claims it's a Simple Case

NetScout filed a lawsuit in August over allegations of "corporate defamation" arising out of Gartner's business research practices. NetScout doesn't like being called a "challenger" rather than "leader" in one of Gartner's Magic Quadrant (MQ) industry reports, especially because it thinks its ranking is based, in part, by its unwillingness to "pay to play."

In a 62-page request to revise the complaint filed yesterday in Connecticut Superior Court, Gartner attorneys Frederick Gold, Andrew Zeitlin and Diane Polletta argue that NetScout has intentionally muddied a straightforward case.  

NetScout, they argue, is disgruntled over an option Gartner expressed in an MQ published last March. The vendor "alleges that the reason behind Gartner's supposedly unfavorable opinion" stems from its failure to "pay Gartner sufficient sums for consulting services to earn Gartner's highest praise." The filing continues:

The case is really that simple. But rather than plead a simple case, [NetScout] has larded its complaint with references to law that does not apply; industries that are not involved; historical scandals that are irrelevant; and nonparties having nothing to do with the dispute."

NetScout attorneys Michael Blanchard and Jason Frank could not be reached for comment this morning.

Analyzing Allegations

Attorneys typically file a request to revise to try to separate claims, obtain a more complete or particular statement of allegations, or to delete what they consider impertinent allegations so they can more effectively prepare for trial and challenge the legal sufficiency of the adverse party’s claims.

Gartner attorneys are specifically grieved by references NetScout makes in the lawsuit to similar business practices by financial analysts on Wall Street, claiming the vendor's attempt to "bootstrap its allegations against Gartner to allegations involving unrelated entities operating under separate rules in a distinct industry is plainly improper."

The attorneys asked the court to rule on 39 proposed revisions that they claim are everything from irrelevant to defamatory, adding: "When, finally, the plaintiff's allegations — which are in any event untrue — have been stripped to their factual essentials, they will become an empty shell stating no valid claim."

Attorneys for both Gartner and NetScout are scheduled to meet with Connecticut Superior Court Judge Charles T. Lee for a status conference on Nov. 14.