Y2K bill up for final vote in Congress

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Legislation based on an agreement reached by the White House and lawmakers that looks to limit lawsuit arising from the Year 2000 technology heads for a final vote today in Congress.

The measure aimed at evading a legal firestorm sparked by the Y2K glitch is guaranteed a victory in the House today, closely followed by vote in the Senate, Senate staffers said

Clinton's signature is likely, as was expected on Tuesday when legislators fell over themselves to announce a compromise agreement with the administration.

Republican Senate staffers told CNET News.com the agreement still stands and negotiations have ended.

The agreement is based on the Y2K Act which would limit Y2K lawsuits by providing disputing parties with a 90-day "cooling-off" period to mitigate their grievances out of court; set some caps on punitive damages for small businesses; protect government entities including municipalities, school, fire, water, and sanitation districts from punitive damages; and protect those not directly involved in a Year 2000 bug failure.

The new measure would make it harder to file class-action lawsuits. In addition, the two sides agreed to increase the monetary threshold for class-action lawsuits from $1 million to $10 million before a case can be moved to federal court.

The final compromise also added some consumer protection language that says in most cases a defendant is liable only for that proportion of the damage he causes. The measure ensures, for example, that consumers can get full benefits in cases of bad faith.

Passing the measure would bring to an end a lengthy stalemate among senators over how to limit what some consider a potential flood of litigation that could arise from Y2K problems--which by some estimates could cost $1 trillion and cripple the economy...

-- regular (zzz@z.z), July 01, 1999

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