J Baker, a large US clothes retailer, is demanding that Andersen Consulting reimburse it for the cost of installing and running a mainframe package that was introduced nearly 10 years ago because it is not millennium compliant. In retaliation, Andersen has filed a lawsuit asking for a declaratory judgement that it has fulfilled its contractual obligations. The move is an important test case to establish whether consultants, IT vendors or customers will be held liable for the installation of non-Year 2000 compliant systems. A spokesman at Andersen said: "We've been forced into this situation by J Baker's actions, the latest of which was hiring a contingency law firm." He added that Andersen had worked closely with J Baker's senior management for two years on the CBA Genesis system, completed in 1991. According to Andersen, however, J Baker is now arguing that it would have insisted in 1989 that the application be millennium compliant if the consultants had brought up the issue. Andersen dismissed these claims as groundless.
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