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Tuesday, June 29, 1999 Published at 21:10 GMT 22:10 UK


Curbs set for Y2K bug lawsuits

President Clinton: Keen to protect consumers

The White House and Congress have agreed on legislation aimed at reining in lawsuits arising from the Year 2000 computer bug.

The business community and high tech groups have backed the bill, which they say could save them from being hit for billions of dollars because of Y2K-related computer problems.

The bill will give companies 90 days to fix computers before lawsuits can be filed and will encourage mediation efforts.

It will cap punitive damages for small businesses and ensure that in most cases defendants will only be held liable for the share of damage they caused.

Intense discussions

In one of the last issues worked out, the threshold for a class action lawsuit was raised from $1m to $10m.

White House chief of staff John Podesta said on Tuesday that he was ready to recommend that President Bill Clinton sign the legislation which was finally agreed after several days of intense negotiations.

President Clinton had voiced support for legal protections but had threatened to veto the bills coming out of the House and Senate because he said they did too little to protect consumer interests.

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