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1998-05-09 08:35:57


Fishing for Class Action Lawsuits: Big, Big Fishes


Class action lawsuits against companies that charge for y2k-compliant upgrades. So, if a company requires users to buy an upgrade to get 2000-compliant software, it gets sued. It apparently must offer the upgrade for free. If juries back the plaintiffs, this will damage the software industry: no sales of upgrades. But if they don't offer upgraded software, and the old software fails (which it will), they will get sued in 2000. It's another of many Catch-22's in the y2k world.

It's the tip of a very large litigation iceberg. There is so much money at stake that y2k will jam the courts in 2000, assuming that there is still a court system.

Every IOU will become a "Who Owes Me What?" in 2000. Do not, under any circumstances, become a creditor. You may have to wait for years to collect.

This was reported by the ITAA's Year 2000 Outlook (May 8).

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Intuit Inc. and Symantec Corporation are the targets of class action lawsuits.

Issokson v. Intuit Inc., Case Number CV773646, California Superior Court, Santa Clara County, alleges that the software firm is making customers upgrade to Quicken 98 to achieve Y2K compliance. The suit was filed on April 29 by the Milberg Weiss law firm.

Cameron v. Symantec, filed March 4, in the California Superior Court, Santa Clara County, Case Number CV 772482, says, among other causes of action, the firm breached its implied warranty of merchantability by failing to certify Norton AntiVirus products prior to Version 4.0 as Y2K compliant and by failing to remedy the alleged Y2K defect at no charge. The suit was filed by Lake Oswego, Oregon attorneys Merrisa Coleman and Roy Thompson.

Jacob Pankowski, an attorney with the Washington DC law firm of McKenna & Cuneo, suggests that such suits will rapidly become commonplace. "It’s what I’ve been telling clients for months. It appears that plaintiffs’ firms will use a form complaint. They will canvass software companies looking for those with Y2K upgrades. Then they will recruit plaintiffs willing to be named in a class action. This appears to be the tip of the iceberg, and I expect many more such class actions to follow."

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