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Fujitsu hard-drive settlement proposed

U.S. residents who bought certain hard drives could receive up to $45 for replacement costs and up to $1,200 for data recovery expenses.

U.S. residents who bought certain Fujitsu hard drives could receive up to $45 in drive replacement costs and as much as $1,200 in data recovery expenses, according to a proposed class-action settlement.

The lawsuit was filed against Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Hewlett-Packard and Gateway. It claims that certain Fujitsu Desktop 3.5-inch IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) hard drives bought in the United States had high rates of failure and problems with data integrity.

The defendants deny the allegations, but they have agreed to the settlement partly to avoid the time and costs of protracted litigation, according to court papers.

Under the proposed settlement, which was filed last month, Fujitsu would pay $42.5 million into a settlement fund.

A Fujitsu representative declined to comment Wednesday on the proposed settlement.

The agreement is subject to final court approval. A March 2 hearing in California's Superior Court for Santa Clara County is scheduled to determine issues such as whether the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate.

The drives involved in the lawsuit were sold starting in 2000 in computers and other systems under many manufacturers' brand names, and some drives were sold separately. According to the lawsuit, they contained a defective computer chip and a bug in the controller firmware. Firmware is programming that is inserted into programmable ROM, which thus becomes a permanent part of a computing device.

People can determine whether they own a Fujitsu hard drive covered by the proposed settlement by calling the settlement administrator at (800) 878-2618 for a list of model numbers. More information about the proposed settlement is available on the lawsuit's Web site.