RIM might be sued for BlackBerry outages

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US and Canada based law firms are now exploring the possibility of a consumer lawsuit against RIM after the BlackBerry outages which took place recently, which obstructed emails and other instant messages sent by millions of users throughout the world for as many as three days. According to consumer lawyers, they are looking for consumers who might have common claims against the company in which case they might be able to group their cases together to form a single lawsuit.

Even as the outages were not as seriously harmful as tainted food or dangerous medication, it caused much discomfort and inconvenience to the users. Customers who were frustrated used message boards, blogs, Facebook and Twitter to complain about having lost important messages and missed important meetings during the last week.

The attorneys said that various law firms are looking into claims of breach-of-contract and consumer fraud. If the users decide to pursue a claim for breach-of-contract, they can argue that the company did not fulfill its obligations of providing services and the carriers for BlackBerry services could also be included as additional defendants. In case of a consumer fraud claim, the customers can argue that they were misled about how reliable the RIM networks are.

However, the chances of these users actually being successful in winning large damages are slim, as it will be very difficult to prove any damages more than the loss of service and the varying laws in different states make it unlikely for a nationwide class action for consumer fraud to materialize. However, some customers might still go forward with these plans.

RIM did not issue a statement over the situation. Even law firms based in Canada, where the RIM headquarters are situated, have been reported to be considering court cases against the mobile phone manufacturer. The MD of a consulting firm based in Toronto, Paul Battaglia, said that his firm is currently discussing the issue with other law firms considering their potential lead plaintiffs.

The problems began last week with a failure in one of RIM’s data centers in England and then spread all over the world before finally becoming functional again this Thursday. This wasn’t the first time that BlackBerry has suffered such an outage, as there have been a number of similar but short lived problems since 2007.

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