RIM might face court case for disrupted service

Some law firm in the United states is thinking of pressing charges against the recent Research In Motion Ltd for last week’s outage.  The said outage has crippled email and messaging services for tens of millions of users around the world.

Consumer lawyers trying to find out if customers have common claims against the BlackBerry manufacturer and might join force so that they could present a single lawsuit.

Although the outage is not as serious as a dangerous medication or tainted food, it causes some inconvenienced also angered all its customers.  Irritated BlackBerry users, turning to blogs, message boards, Twitter and Facebook, protested against losing crucial emails and had caused them to miss meetings last week.

According to one attorney, they are choosing between two charges such as breach-of-contract or consumer-fraud claims.

A breach-of-contract claim could dispute the company failed in its commitments in providing service and could include carriers for BlackBerry service as extra defendants, said attorneys exploring litigation against RIM.

A consumer-fraud claim could concentrate on whether customers got deluded about the trustworthiness of RIM’s networks.

However, consumers could face obstacles to winning massive damages. It is going to  be tricky in proving damages outside loss of service and varying state laws make the probability of bringing a countrywide consumer-fraud class action remote.

A U.S. Supreme Court consumer class-action decision in April, in a case called Concepcion vs AT&T, could also regulate any BlackBerry outage proceedings. The verdict made it more challenging for consumers in suing if a contract they signed with a company insists that disputes be settled all through negotiation on an individual basis.

Jonathan Tycko, who is a partner with Tycko & Zavareei in Washington who brings consumer class actions, believes one of the toughest battles in any court case, in opposition to RIM, is going to be whether the claims against RIM are subject to the negotiation clauses.

Mark Baumkel, a partner with the law firm Baumkel & Associates in Bingham Farms, Michigan say they may wind up following consumer-protection ruling class-action cases in one or more states.  Since the time of the disruption in service is remarkably short, the damages for consumers in each state may not combine to vast amounts of money.

Paul Battaglia, managing director of Toronto-based Trilogy Class Actions, a consulting firm that connects consumers with class-action attorneys think law firms in Canada, somewhere RIM headquartered, are also thinking about charging,

The problem last started with a failure in RIM’s European data center and extends across the world before it manages to recover on Thursday.