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RIM hit with lawsuit over BlackBerry outage

Lawsuit filed in Canada seeks compensation in the form of refunds for customers affected by the days-long outage.

Research In Motion is facing a possible class action lawsuit in Canada over the global outage that struck BlackBerry customers last month.

The suit (PDF), which seeks class action status, was filed yesterday in Quebec Superior Court "on behalf of individuals who have BlackBerry smartphones and who pay for a monthly data plan but were unable to access their email, BlackBerry Messenger service ("BBM"), and/or Internet for the period of October 11 to 14, 2011," according to a statement by the Consumer Law Group, the Montreal-based law firm that filed the suit.

"The class action involves RIM's failure to take action to either directly compensate BlackBerry users or to indirectly compensate BlackBerry users by arranging for wireless service providers to refunds their customers and to take full responsibility for these damages," the firm said.

RIM said it could not comment on the lawsuit because it had not yet been served with a copy. "RIM will formally respond to the matter in due course," a representative said.

The outage began October 10 when the company's e-mail, messaging, and Web service went down across the world, starting in Europe, the Mideast, and Africa and eventually spreading to the U.S. and Canada. The company said the outages were caused by a "core switch failure within RIM's infrastructure" and that the failover to a "back-up switch" failed to function properly.

RIM eventually restored service on October 13, and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis issued a video apology to customers, and the company offered its customers $100 worth of premium apps for free. Enterprise users were also offered one month of free technical support.

The outage--the worst in the company's 12-year history--came at the worst possible time for RIM. It is facing stiff competition from rivals, such as Apple and Google, and it's been losing market share.