Fujitsu hard disk lawsuit delayed

An Australian class action against Fujitsu has been put on hold after changes to provisions relating to third party funding of such actions.

However, it will be filed in the Federal Court before Christmas.

The local development comes in the wake of news from the US that Fujitsu has offered to pay $US42.5 million in damages in a proposed out-of-court settlement to a class action lawsuit filed against the hard drive vendor in October 2002.

However, the US settlement may have little bearing on the outcome to the Australian proposed class action suit, according to Louise Steer, of Sydney law firm, Selby Levitt Solicitors and Attorneys.

The US class action lawsuit was filed against Fujitsu Computer Products, HP and Gateway in October last year. Plaintiffs claimed that Fujitsu's 3.5-inch integrated drive electronics (IDE) hard drives used a defective chip, and that Fujitsu and the other PC vendors misled customers about the viability of those products.

Fujitsu's MPG3 series and MPF3 series hard drives were affected by the lawsuit.

The defendants in the case denied all the claims, but were settling to stave off further litigation costs, according to court documents. The US settlement is expected to be finalised in March 2004.

Australian resellers are also seeking compensation. Many of them are currently engaged in launching a similar class action lawsuit against Fujitsu in Australia.

When contacted by ARN, Fujitsu refused to comment.

For more on this story, see this week's ARN.

(Tom Krazit contributed to this report.)

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