Clinton signs Y2K Act into Law

US President Bill Clinton signed into law on Tuesday the so-called Y2K Act, a bill designed to reduce frivolous lawsuits related to year 2000 computer problems.

"This is extraordinary, time-limited legislation designed to deal with an exceptional and unique circumstance of national significance - the Y2K computer problem," Clinton said in a White House statement.

The act will help prevent companies that have taken reasonable steps to avoid year 2000 problems from being dragged through the courts unnecessarily, while providing adequate protections for consumers, the president said.

"Responsible companies fear that they will spend millions or more defending Y2K suits, even if they bear little or no responsibility for the harm alleged. Frivolous litigation could burden our courts and delay relief for those with legitimate claims," the president said.

Before it was approved by the US Congress, Clinton had threatened repeatedly to veto the bill if lawmakers didn't modify it to provide greater protection for consumers. In the end a compromise was reached and the Congress approved the bill on July 2.

Clinton said on Tuesday that terms of the statute should be interpreted narrowly to create uniform federal rules for Y2K actions. The bill also shouldn't trample on state laws that don't conflict with the bill's provisions, he said.

The White House is on the Web at http://www.whitehouse.gov/

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