Y2K and Immunity From Litigation

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At the end of a recent essay, PNG stated:

"Competent management is timely due diligence to avoid the avoidable. Crisis management of the avoidable is negligence."

I find myself in complete agreement with this statement and therefore find very little reason to support 'blanket' immunity from litigation based on actual Y2K-related failures.

I am not a lawyer and haven't enjoyed the times I've had to support one.

But this idea of blanket immunity from actual Y2K related failures is nothing short of a double-standard. On the one hand, we are being told by many in government, in business and indeed, on this forum, that Y2K is 'non-event'. We are told that very few disruptions will occur and that we shouldn't waste time with 'frivolous preparations'. We are told that nearly everyone is finished with their remediation. We are told that those of us who advocate personal and community preparations are simply 'fear mongers'.

And yet, at the federal level and in dozens of state legislatures across this country, lawmakers are rushing to inact immunity from litigation from Y2K-related failures. Federal, state and local governments and big businesses tell us on the one hand that nothing serious will happen. But with the other hand, they are saying if something does happen, 'they' should not be held accountable.

I respectfully disagree. Clearly, the Y2K computer problem is well known and well understood. Businesses and governments simply cannot claim force majure (forces beyond the control of the business/government) on this issue. If a dead tree in my yard falls on top of my neighbor's house and damages it, I am liable. Especially, if my neighbor has warned me several times that the tree was in danger of falling on his house and needs to be removed.

If I get drunk and commit a crime, the ploice do not arrest the bottle of alcohol and judge does not sentence the bottle to 30 days in jail. Am I not held responsible for my negligent actions or inactions?

Why should business be any different? No good reason that I can see.

Let me be clear here. I'm not talking about frivolous lawsuits. We already have laws on the books dealing with the filing of frivolous suits. I'm talking about damages directly caused by actual Y2K related failures.

If I get drunk and rob a bank, should I be let off the hook because I was 'on track' to quit drinking? Sure I got started late and missed my first couple of counseling sessions but I had good intent to quit drinking. See, I scheduled an appointment. Am I not 'on track' for a sucessful rehab program? I'd like to see the lawyer who could successfully argue that one to the judge.

Can anyone tell me why businesses and goverments should not be held to the same standard of responsibility that I am in my personal life?

I understand that Senator Bennett supports such legislation but my inclination is to say that if Y2K is 'no big deal', then there should be no blanket immunity from litigation due to what, at this point in time, is clearly willful negligence.

You simply can't have it both ways.

-- Arnie Rimmer (Arnie_Rimmer@usa.net), May 24, 1999


And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, listen carefully for the sound of old men in expensive suits squirming in their chairs and clearing their throats.

-- Gia (Laureltree7@hotmail.com), May 24, 1999.

If you re REALLY QUIETE, you might hear the glass shatter at North Pointe, here in Cleveburgh, the home of the largest law firm in the world.


-- Chuck, a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), May 25, 1999.

Get ready the lawyers are stocking up on pens and paper. The courts will be so tangled with Y2K; I can just see the suits and counter- suits lining up.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), May 25, 1999.

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