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The start of Y2K lawsuit rush?

Two firms have been slapped with Year 2000-related lawsuits, fueling suspicions that the bug could trigger a rash of related lawsuits.

A medical equipment vendor and a major software maker have been slapped with Year 2000-related lawsuits in the past 24 hours, fueling suspicions that the millennium bug could trigger a rash of related lawsuits.

Medical Manager has been slapped by a class-action suit alleging that the company violated the New Jersey Unfair Trade Practices Act when the company marketed computer software without disclosing that the software was not able to process dates after 1999.

Software maker Quarterdeck is being sued for allegedly selling version 4.0 of its popular Procomm Plus software for Windows 95 between November 1996 and July 1997 without disclosing its non-Y2K compliant status.

According to the complaint filed against Quarterdeck, the company marketed the software to the public as a combined telecommunications application, Web browser, and fax management package, despite allegedly knowing, or being in the position where it should have known, that the program is not Year 2000 compliant.

The complaint filed against Medical Manager states that the company sold thousands of licenses for non-Y2K compliant versions of its Medical Manager software product, without disclosing that the software was unable to process dates after December, 31, 1999.

The software is a management system for physicians that covers patient care, clinical, financial, and management applications.

The complaint alleges that Medical Manager used "false and misleading representations and omissions of material facts regarding the defective nature of prior versions of the software until as late as November 1997."

Both complaints, filed by the law firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, allege that the companies neglected to give free software upgrades to correct the defect.

The two companies could not be reached for comment.

While few Y2K lawsuits have been filed so far, analysts expect a flood of new suits to be filed in the coming months.