PracticePeople In PracticeFewer Y2K cases brought this year.

Fewer Y2K cases brought this year.

Only 74 cases filed in US state and federal courts by 30 June 1999 can be attributed to the Year 2000 computer bug, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Not counting multiple cases filed against the same defendant, the number of cases filed comes down to 45. And, surprisingly, the number of new cases is falling: in the first half of 1999, 13 cases were filed, compared to 21 in the second half of 1998, excluding multiple filings. “With the exception of insurance cases, we may find that there is a lull in the number of cases filed between now and the end of 1999,” said Philip Upton, a PwC partner and author of the report. “The plaintiffs’ bar appears to be taking a wait-and-see approach.” However, Upton added: “A trend may be developing whereby companies are claiming from their insurers the hundreds of millions of dollars they spent preventing a Y2K failure. Ironically, these cases do not depend on the insured suffering any actual Y2K failures.” The PwC report predicts that the damages sought in cases involving actual system failures are likely to be significantly greater than the settlements seen so far. PwC’s 1999 Y2K Litigation Report uses information generated from the firm’s Y2K litigation web site (www.pwcy2K.com). So far, it only reviews Y2K cases filed prior to President Clinton’s 20 July signing of The Year 2000 Information Readiness and Responsibility Act, which requires prospective plaintiffs to give 30 day notice to potential defendants, so that the latter have an opportunity to rectify a problem.

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