Re: Should ATM service provided be held liable?

From: Walter Roberson (
Date: 06/22/05

Date: 21 Jun 2005 22:31:27 GMT

In article <d99ltn$dh6$>,
Unruh <> wrote:
| (Walter Roberson) writes:

|>In article <>,
|> <> wrote:
|>:Should producers of software based services such as Automated Teller
|>:Machines (ATM) be held liable for economic injuries suffered when their
|>:system fails?

|>What kind of "economic injuries" ? Is it an "economic injury" if an
|>ATM takes itself out of service and the customer has to spend
|>4 cents on gas to get to the next one down the road?

|None of these would be regarded as economic injury by any court I do not

It would be an "economic injury", it just isn't one that the courts
are likely to find the ATM company to be at fault for. But that's
under -current- laws, and the OP was asking a hypothetical question
about a potential future in which "economic injuries" had stronger, more
explicit, legal protections. Before we can comment on whether such
a thing would be just, reasonable, or politically realistic, we need
to know what the OP meant by "economic injuries".

:Nor would this be. The customer has the duty to make sure that if some time
:is important to him that he take into reasonable sources of delay. A lineup
:at an ATM is a reasonable and forseeable source of delay.

IMHO, the possibility that the ATMs might be out of order completely
(or locked for the night, or removed from service the morning before)
would also be "reasonable and forseeable". I know, though, Bill, that
you've done quite enough computer work to know that users/customers
develop very different perspectives about "reasonable" than developers.

I am sure you've experienced for yourself that the more reliable
you make a program or network or computer system, that the more
upset people become when it is temporarily non-functional or
mal-functional. And probably you've observed yourself that some of the
people you work with no longer know how to do their work without email.
A -relatively- reliable technology becomes a crutch, and people start
suffering "economic damage" when teh crutch slips, because the people
have forgotten what things were like before.

I hear that cable TV companies really get an earful when the cable signal
goes out...

Any sufficiently old bug becomes a feature.