You are here:HomeNews CenterInsurance News2003Microsoft Facing Product Liability Lawsuits

Microsoft Facing Product Liability Lawsuits

A lawyer specializing in product liability lawsuits filed a case last week in State Superior Court in Los Angeles charging Microsoft with violating California's consumer...
October 7, 2003

A lawyer specializing in product liability lawsuits filed a case last week in State Superior Court in Los Angeles charging Microsoft with violating California's consumer protection laws by selling software that fails to protect computers from viruses and worms. The lawsuit, seeking class-action status, represents an effort to hold the company liable for the security weaknesses that have caused computers and networks to crash.  Although no software company has so far been held subject to product liability law, trial lawyers expect similar class actions to be filed against Microsoft.  Jeffrey D. Neuburger, a technology lawyer, says that a judgment holding a software company liable for security problems would be a new application of the principles of product liability.

What It Means to Agents: This is something to keep an eye on. The reason: Microsoft platforms are the operation platforms of choice for many agency systems. No doubt Microsoft will argue, accurately, that no software product or manufacturer is immune to these issues and that as a result, users have a responsibility to be alert to virus threats. When these occur, users are advised by their virus protection services about what actions they should take, and Microsoft makes patches and alerts quickly available.

This legal action emphasizes the continuing need for PIA members to be vigilant and prepared to protect their systems. In addition, some PIA members insure software-related services and this litigation may affect those clients.