Y2K Suits Settled For $1.4 million



A settlement has been reached for all but two of the eight year 2000 lawsuits filed against Medical Manager Inc., a Tampa, Fla., developer of medical practice management software.

The settlement, announced yesterday, provides a free upgrade to a special year 2000-compliant version, 8.12, to doctors with earlier, noncompliant versions. It also awards $1.45 million cash to be split among attorney fees and doctors who already paid for year 2000-compliant version 9, although the doctors have the option of taking a free software module.

Legal fees totaled $825,000, to be shared among nine law firms, says Harris Pogust, a Pennsauken, N.J., attorney representing some of the plaintiffs. In all, about 15,000 doctors are members of the class-action suits, Pogust adds, but only 4,000 of those had upgraded to version 9. Their choice of taking a share of the remaining $620,000 in compensation for a forced upgrade to achieve year 2000 compliance, or a free module, was arrived at because Medical Manager argued that many of those doctors bought version 9 not because it was year 2000 compliant, but because they normally upgrade to new versions when they become available, Pogust says.

Version 8.12 will be available to all doctors with earlier versions, and does not require a hardware upgrade to a Pentium II class workstation, which version 9 requires.

Two of the lawsuits are opting out of the settlement, believing it is not fair, according to the attorney handling the cases. Terms of the settlement must still be approved by the Federal District Court for New Jersey.

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