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IBM escapes one Y2K lawsuit

IBM has escaped one squall in the legal storm surrounding the Year 2000 technology problem.

IBM has escaped one squall in the legal storm surrounding the Year 2000 technology problem.

The Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, has dismissed the class action lawsuit brought against Big Blue and Medic Computer Systems by Mario C. Yu, M.D, a physician in obstetrics and gynecology.

Back to Year 2000 Index Page As earlier reported, the class action suit was brought on behalf of all persons and entities that purchased the bundled solution comprised of IBM's RS/6000 computer system containing the AIX o/s v.4.1 and the Medic application software v.7.0 dated July 7, 1997. The complaint alleged that the bundled solution was not Y2K-compliant.

Medic makes products that track patient appointments and test results.

"We are very pleased that this matter has been put to rest," said Medic CEO Mike O'Leary in a statement. "The 7.0 version of +Medic PM is and has been a completely Y2K-compliant practice management system. As a company, we are dedicated to providing our clients with the high-quality products and services they need through and beyond the year 2000."

The suit was filed by the Chicago-based law firm Gold & Rosenfeld on behalf of Mario C. Yu, a physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, and all other similarly situated persons and entities who purchased the bundled suite.

Yu sought to recover compensatory, punitive, and injunctive relief on behalf of all class members. Specifically, the plaintiff wanted an injunction ordering IBM and Medic to give "effective and meaningful notice" to all registered users of the defective product, and to provide a patch, at the software company's cost, to fix the problem.

The complaint alleged that the defendants either knew or should have known that the bundled suite was not Y2K compliant, and accordingly would fail on and after January 1, 2000. The judge disagreed and dismissed the case.

The Year 2000 glitch can cause computers to read 2000 as 1900, since most older computers were programmed to read a two-digit year date. That bug could cause machines to either crash or transmit bad information.

The Medic/IBM package performs a number of "critical" functions. These include tracking patient actions, appointments, and lab test results.

Yu specifically used the product for scheduling patients for breast exams and follow-ups for any potential cancer risks or treatment. He also used it to schedule patients for examining patients for potential cervical cancer risks as well.

Neither IBM nor Yu and his lawyers were immediately available for comment.

The case dismissal comes as legislation to limit such lawsuits arising from Y2K is stymied in Congress because of White House threats to veto two separate bills that would cap the amount of damages any plaintiff could get from a lawsuit. Congress is set to take up the controversial legislation when it returns from recess later in the month.