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Ford Motor Credit Co. v. Swarens, 447 S.W.2d 53 (Ky. App. 1964) (full-text).

Factual Background[]

A finance company wrongfully repossessed the plaintiff's car after he had proven on two occasions that he was current in his payments by showing cancelled checks to agents of the defendant. The finance company defended on the basis that an admitted error with respect to the plaintiff's account had occurred as a result of a computer error.

Appellate Court Proceedings[]

The court rejected this defense stating:

Ford explains that this whole incident occurred because of a mistake by a computer. Men feed data to a computer and men interpret the answer the computer spews forth. In this computerized age, the law must require that men in the use of computerized data regard those with whom they are dealing as more important than a perforation on a card. Trust in the infallibility of a computer is hardly a defense, when the opportunity to avoid the error is as apparent and repeated as was here presented.


"It is clear, therefore, that excessive reliance on computer data without proper safeguards to ensure the reliability and accuracy of the information may constitute the failure to exercise due care, and in some cases may even result in the award of punitive damages."[1]