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BlackBerry Outage Leads to Proposed Class Action

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on October 27, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Attorneys filed the first known BlackBerry class action in Quebec Superior Court on Tuesday. Plaintiffs requested permission to represent all Canadian residents affected by this month's worldwide service outage.

Named plaintiff Michael Blackette is unhappy with Research in Motion's "expression of appreciation" for consumer patience. The company has offered affected subscribers $100 worth of free premium apps and technical support.

He wants cash money.

Granted, Blackette is only entitled to about $1.25 in prorated damages, according to the Montreal Gazette. He requested such a discount from his service carrier, who refused and directed him to RIM.

Recall that all BlackBerry data is routed through and encrypted by RIM servers before it is accessed by service carriers. A failure within those servers is what caused the two-day outage.

A number of American law firms are also contemplating BlackBerry class actions. As suggested by Blackette's attorneys, individual damages would be minimal, but a class action could net a large payout. That number has been estimated to be between $15 and $26 million, reports Reuters.

However, American lawyers must contend with the recent Concepcion ruling, which could force U.S. BlackBerry users to file individual arbitration claims. It would be nearly impossible for consumers to band together, making action less likely.

It would also be difficult to prove other damages, as the BlackBerry is not the only mode of communication.

Regardless, some attorneys and users will likely push forward and file a U.S. BlackBerry class action. But instead of money, they will seek to change RIM's policies, and force the company to take precautions so such an outage does not happen again.

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