Pollys, this thread deserves a little more thought and attention from you.

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-- (mass@delusions.com), May 07, 1999


I think they're too busy playing CYA on the other threads...

-- a (a@a.a), May 07, 1999.

Well, let's see. I don't really think many people believe it'll be a non-event. Even P. deJager, whom you people roundly condemn as a Polly these days, has said that three days' preparation is really no preparation at all; I agree with that.

It's no secret that ambulance chasers lawyers very often (always?) ask for 10, 20, 30 times more damages than is realistic; it's not hard for $$ to pile up in lawsuits. Also, in litigation, not only the actual dollar amounts asked for in damages are at issue; there are also court costs, judicial system maintenance costs, lost productivity costs, legal fees apart from damage judgments, outside consulting and investigative costs, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Gross Domestic Product in the U.S. for fiscal year 1998 was $8,511,000,000,000 (eight trillion, five hundred eleven billion dollars -- U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis).

With a low litigation figure given in the article of $200 billion and a high figure of $1 trillion, it seems reasonable to use an average figure of $600 billion, for purposes of discussion; $600 billion ($600,000,000,000) is 7.05% of the above GDP figure for fiscal 1998. (I used the good calculator this time) A sizeable chunk, 'tis true. But not The End Of The World As We Know It. Not all of that money would be paid out all at once; court battles / appeals / countersuits / counterjudgments can take years, as we all know. Just as Y2k failures will be spread out over time, as Gartner has said, the flow of litigation money paid out in damages will be spread out even further. Those things that do fail won't just all go "kerflooey" at the stroke of midnight December 31st; neither will all of the lawsuits' monetary effects be felt during the first part of 2000. Some, maybe many, suits won't be settled till halfway to 2010, or beyond.

And the $200 billion to $1 trillion range is if (that word again) Congress doesn't intervene. Let's hope they do, and that the idiots will stop trying to add their own little pork barrel/local interest/special interest measures to versions of the bill(s). And that the Senate and the Adulterer-in-Chief will wake up to what an unchecked flood of litigation could do to "the economy, stupid".

-- Chicken Little (panic@forthebirds.net), May 07, 1999.

Lets take a closer look. I would venture to say Y2k court cases will be won on the basis of negligence or misrepresentation causing catastrophic business loss.

The courts will be flooded with cases and the frivolous ones will be quickly weeded through and discarded, leaving the most serious.

$600 billion dollars in exposure is an incredible sum, even cross- cutting through various industries. I would say the lawyers arguing for protection are anticipating a middle of the road level 4-7 event, not the end of the world and not a bump in the road. There is also quite a bit of discussion about limiting exposure to reduce/eliminate punitive damages. The $200 billion to 1 trillion dollar figure may be including potential punitive damages, but then again, it may not.

-- (mass@delusions.com), May 08, 1999.

Wait a minute! Something does not compute. If y2k is a non-event, why all the fuss about Daddy Government stepping in to protect against lawsuits? One would think that if Corporate America has this problem in hand, they would not be squandering their political capital by trying to force congress to protect them from the y2k phantom. Am I missing something? Diogenes Pedon

-- John A. Shaffer (jas11@psu.edu), May 09, 1999.

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