Hewlett-Packard Bid to Query Former Executives Denied

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) lost a bid for a Texas court order allowing it to question under oath two former information technology workers who were among 18 people that quit the company in November to join General Motors Co, (GM)

Judge Tim Sulak in Austin denied H-P’s request with permission to renew it at a later date “based on additional or future developments” in a case docket entry on Jan. 23.

“The sudden departures affected at least four teams within H-P’s IT organization, and H-P expects that additional resignations will follow,” company lawyers said in court papers filed last month seeking pre-lawsuit depositions of the two executives. Six subordinates left with one man, Gregg Hansen, while three more workers quit with the other, Todd MacKenzie, according to Hewlett-Packard.

GM, based in Detroit, is hiring about 7,500 information and technology workers over a five-year period in a shift to move that work in house in lieu of using outside contractors.

“We’re looking for talent, is the short answer, and we’re looking for the best talent,” GM Chief Information Officer Randy Mott told reporters on a Jan. 10 conference call.

Michael Thacker, a spokesman for the Palo Alto, California- based computer and printer maker, declined today to comment on the judge’s ruling.

“H-P failed to advise the court that the loss of these 18 employees is minuscule compared to the tens of thousands of jobs H-P is slashing across its workforce,” lawyers for the men said in opposition papers filed with Sulak on Jan. 22.

“Hansen and MacKenzie did not orchestrate the departures of the 16 other H-P employees, which had nothing to do with anything Hansen or MacKenzie (or any other former HP employee) said or did,” their attorneys said.

The case is Hewlett-Packard Co v. Hansen, D-1-GN-12-004027, District Court of Travis County, (Austin).

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris in Chicago at aharris16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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