Y2K Suit Hits IBM And Partner

A class-action year 2000 lawsuit was filed yesterday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against IBM and business partner Medic Computer Systems Inc. over their software bundle, which includes IBM's RS/6000 AIX version 4.1 and version 7.0 of Medic's software.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, an injunction ordering IBM and Medic to provide notice to all licensees that the bundled solution is not year 2000-compliant, and free software patches to fix the alleged year 2000 defects.

A free year 2000 compliance patch for AIX v. 4.1 is already available for downloading at IBM's Web site, according to an IBM spokesman, who declined to comment on the lawsuit.

While Medic brought its version 7.0 into year 2000 compliance at no cost to its customers, it is charging for an upgrade to the AIX operating system necessary to bring the software bundle into year 2000 compliance, according to Robert Rosenfeld, an attorney with Chicago-based Gold & Rosenfeld, one of the firms handling the case.

Dr. Mario Yu, a physician in Oakbrook, Ill., purchased the bundled IBM/Medic product in 1996 for $19,336, but was notified on Dec. 4, 1998, that a $2,410 upgrade to AIX v. 4.3 would be necessary to make the system year 2000 compliant, according to the complaint.

Medic's practice-management software is used in more than 11,000 medical practices, according to the company's Web site. Medic, acquired last year by Misys Group, had no comment on the lawsuit or the status of year 2000 compliance efforts with its products.

Gold & Rosenfeld also represents the two medical clinics that chose not to take part in the $1.4 million settlement recently reached between Medical Manager Inc. and six other clinics. The firm has also filed a year 2000 class-action suit against Microsoft over its FoxPro product.

"We're very active with the big boys," says Rosenfeld, adding that more year 2000 lawsuits will be filed soon.

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