Harbinger Capital [corporate website] filed $1.9 billion dollar lawsuit Friday against Deere & Co [corporate website] and global positioning system (GPS) companies, including Garmin International and Trimble Navigation Ltd. [corporate websites], claiming the defendants bankrupted the wireless company LightSquared [corporate website]. Harbinger claims in the suit [Reuters report] that it never would have invested in Lightsquared had the GPS industry disclosed the potential interference problems associated with GPS equipment manufactured between 2002 and 2009. The charges include fraud and negligent misrepresentation. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] in Manhattan.
The multifaceted role of GPS systems is currently generating much litigation in the US. Last August the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text, PDF] to compel the FBI to release two memoranda detailing the agency's policy on GPS tracking. Last June a lawyer for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] defended [JURIST report] the warrantless use of global positioning system (GPS) devices on suspects' vehicles. The US Supreme Court last January ruled [JURIST report] in United States v. Jones that the government's attachment of a GPS device to a vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle's movements, constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment.