Saying that he used the mistakes of previous antitrust trials as a guide, the judge in Microsoft's historic antitrust case said this week that he purposefully avoided "Vietnam morasses" by keeping the trial short. U.S. District Court judge Thomas Penfield Jackson addressed a session of the American Bar Association's annual meeting, comparing the 76-day Microsoft trial to the 13-year IBM and 8-year AT&T antitrust fiascos.
"Whatever was done in those cases was something I was going to try and avoid," he said. " Allowing \[the case\] to wander just virtually guarantees that it is not going to come to fruition anytime soon."
Jackson says that he set a firm trial dates, not allowing it to get stuck in an endless discovery of evidence phase. He also limited witnesses for both sides and used other measures to ensure a speedy trial. Jackson also presided over a famous case against General Motors in the 1980's, where the government sought a ruling forcing the carmaker to recall certain vehicles.
"Antitrust cases are by nature more complex than most other civil litigation," he said. "Complex litigation is in and of itself a species of litigation that requires special protection.