Settlement Proposed in Fujitsu Hard Disk Suit

A proposed settlement to a lawsuit against Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Hewlett-Packard, and Gateway could cost Fujitsu $42.5 million to satisfy claims that the company's hard drives were unreliable.

The class-action lawsuit was filed last year in California Superior Court for the County of Santa Clara in San Jose. Plaintiffs claimed that Fujitsu's 3.5-inch 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 are affected by the lawsuit.

The defendants in the case deny all the claims, but are settling the case to stave off further litigation costs, according to court documents.

Drive Damages

Under the terms of the settlement, users who purchased the Fujitsu drives either as a boxed product or in PCs from HP or Gateway will receive up to $45 per hard drive if they have documentation showing they incurred expenses in replacing the Fujitsu drive. Users who currently have a Fujitsu drive and wish to replace it are also eligible to participate.

If users lost data due to a faulty hard drive, and can demonstrate they incurred costs in trying to recover that data, they can receive up to $1,200 or the cost of the recovery, whichever is less.

Customers who think they might be entitled to participate in the class action can visit a Web site to find out more information about the proposed settlement, or to download a free utility to check if their hard drive is one of the models covered by the settlement.

A hearing will be held on March 2, 2004 at the Santa Clara County Superior Court to finalize the settlement, according to court documents.

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