IBM hit by Y2K suit : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

IBM hit by Y2K suit By Lisa M. Bowman 12/22/98 07:53:00 PM /news/19981222/2178905.inp

Firm that sued Microsoft last week seeks class-action status in IBM suit.

IBM Corp. is the latest major company to find itself in the cross hairs of a Y2K liability fight.

Oakbrook, Ill., gynecologist Mario C. Yu has filed suit seeking class-action status on behalf of those who bought bundled software and hardware products from IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Raleigh, N.C.-based Medic Computer Systems Inc. -- specifically IBM's RISC 6000 computer running AIX 4.1 and version 7.0 of Medic's software. Medic makes products that track patient appointments and test results. The suit -- filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois -- claims health care providers could experience significant problems that could harm patients as a result of the non-compliant products. Attorneys called the problems related to the so-called Millennium Bug a "potential time bomb."

According to the suit, Yu bought the products on Dec. 10, 1996, and had them installed in 1997 for a total of $19,336. Yu did not become aware of a potential Y2K problem until November 1998, and two weeks ago, he was notified that he could have the problem fixed -- for $2,410, the suit claims.

Seeking injunction

Yu is seeking compensatory and punitive damages and is asking a judge for an injunction requiring the company to notify all licensees of pending problems and issue a patch. According to the suit, about 60,000 health care providers use Medic's software, but it's unclear how many of those use it on an IBM machine. Neither IBM nor Medic officials were immediately available for comment.

Yu is being represented by Chicago-based Gold & Rosenfeld and Gogel, Phillips & Garcia. Last week, the firms filed suit against Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq:MSFT) on behalf of a Naperville, Ill., consultant, claiming that its FoxPro development tool isn't Y2K compliant.

Companies increasingly fearful

Companies are becoming increasingly fearful of Year 2000 litigation, as the problem date looms closer.

Because many older systems read only the last two digits of the date, some may read "2000" as "1900" and malfunction. During a meeting with analysts earlier this year, Microsoft warned that upcoming Y2K suits could affect the company's stock in the coming quarters. Meanwhile, another medical company last week settled a Y2K suit filed against it. Medical Manager agreed to provide a Y2K-compliant upgrade for free to the plaintiffs.

And a high-profile Y2K contract dispute was settled Monday, when retailer J.Baker dropped its claim against Andersen Consulting involving a non-compliant system the consulting firm had recommended nearly 10 years ago.

===================================================================== guess this will be happening more and more, especially after 12/31/98.

Mike ==================================

-- Michael Taylor (, December 23, 1998


You know, it's really the suit itself that is troubling - I don't like the fact that somebody had to sue, but I know it happens.

Rather - consider that this is one application in one industry (health care) from one vender - on a product (health care, and billing too?) that is highly date dependent - for a fairly recent product release by a big company - and 60,000 small companies are affected.

It's starting......

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw GA) (, December 23, 1998.

Sorry - "it's not really the lawsuit that's ...."

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw GA) (, December 23, 1998.

I don't know about IBM and its software, but I do know Microsoft products. Microsoft sucks. I hope someone is able to stick it big to Microsoft and make it stick.

There is NO EXCUSE for a company like Microsoft, putting out basic products like operating systems, word processors, spreadsheets, and databases to not have at least the basic date function stuff squared away. They have had years to do it. And they haven't. All they have is lame potentially incompatible "windowing" of two-digit dates (assumes two digit dates before some arbitrary "pivot" date is 21st century, and the rest 20th century) for various products.

Microsoft spends more time trying to figure out how to kill the competition than in getting its stuff to work smoothly and reliably. They add more "features" (featuritis) before they even get the old features straightened out. Anyone that has tried to use Access for more than anything than what you might find in "Access for Dummies" knows what I'm talking about.

-- Poffed (, December 23, 1998.

Anybody want to join me in a class action against the bottom feeding scumbag Lawyers in this country who are exacerbating the y2k calamity with their phoney legalise and shackles on full disclosure. They sure are *NOT* part of the solution.

Case in point, Mr. and Mrs. prez.

-- Andy (, December 23, 1998.

Robert, I agree. I think this was a calculated move to be one of the first on the books before the "wave" really hits and the bottleneck breaks the system.

I'm truly worried about how any company, regardless of size, will manage to work through y2k when litigation threatens their very existance. What is the incentive to continue if it means that you'll be out of business because of legal exposure?

Yep, it's starting...

Let the march begin.

Mike ===============================================================

-- Michael Taylor (, December 23, 1998.

In the end, lawsuits will take years to move through the courts. Are the courts Y2k compliant? Will it even matter?

I've only met two lawyers I ever liked. Sad commentary. Because of the legalistic opportunists, it will be that much harder to flesh out viable Y2K information. Support you local investigative journalist!!!


-- Diane J. Squire (, December 23, 1998.

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