Compaq served with similar lawsuit to Toshiba

Compaq has confirmed it has been served with a similar lawsuit to the one settled by Toshiba late last week relating to alleged flawed components in laptop computers.

The lawsuit, which Compaq received today, alleges the vendor sold computers and devices containing floppy diskettes and drivers that failed to detect data error, said Compaq spokesman Alan Hodel in a phone interview.

He pointed out the lawsuit's similarity to the Toshiba case settled last week which related to a "condition" in the floppy disk controller circuitry in Toshiba notebooks with the potential to cause the loss of or corruption of data stored on a floppy disk.

The class action lawsuit against Compaq is titled Thurmond and Lapray vs. Compaq, according to Hodel. Like the Toshiba suit, the case against Compaq was filed in the US District Court in Beaumont, Texas, he added.

Calling the lawsuit's claims "vague" and completely baseless," Hodel said that Compaq intends to vigorously defend itself against the suit. He added that the Toshiba lawsuit related to microcode issues specifically relating to Toshiba laptops, while the Compaq suit doesn't contain that level of specificity.

"The complaint filed against Compaq appears to be a copycat suit filed in an attempt to exploit the recent settlement by Toshiba," Hodel said, adding that the company is confident that Compaq products don't have the problem described in the complaint.

Toshiba announced late Thursday that it is establishing a $US1 billion fund related to a settlement agreement in the lawsuit filed against the company earlier this year in Beaumont, Texas. However, last week the Japanese vendor didn't admit any legal liability and denied the issue of the floppy disk controller represented a flaw in its notebooks, although Toshiba notebooks destined for the U.S. market will feature new floppy drive controllers as of November 8.

A report on today's Dow Jones newswire values Toshiba's settlement at $2.1 billion and said that more than 5 million Toshiba laptops will be affected.