PC vendor troubled by Y2K lawsuit

Another Melbourne law firm has further highlighted the potential risks faced by the IT channel in relation to the year 2000 problem.

Augmenting a recent ARN investigation (Nov 18, p1), solicitor Steve White has also warned in the November White SW Computer Law Newsletter that Australian IT resellers should take note of the number of class actions currently before the US courts.

One such action commenced in the US in October in the Idaho District Court between Hannah Films ("Hannah") and Micron Electronics ("Micron").

Hannah alleges in its complaint, amongst other things, that Micron sold PCs that have year 2000 faults (this is acknowledged at Micron's Web site); that Micron should offer a free fix for the acknowledged faults in its PCs (as allegedly offered by companies such as Compaq, Dell and Hewlett-Packard) and that the year 2000 defects render the Micron PCs unfit for the ordinary purpose for which they were to be used. Hannah has brought the action on behalf of itself and all other persons or entities who purchased any PC from Micron which is not Y2K compliant and has not been repaired or updated free of charge by Micron.

According to White, the Australian Courts have not ruled on similar class actions to date, but legislation such as the Trade Practices Act 1976 gives consumers some scope for similar claims of goods being unfit for the ordinary purpose for which they are to be