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October 26, 1997

Judge to rule this
week on AOL service

By Timothy C. Barmann

On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Edward Clifton is expected to make a ruling on several motions by both AOL and Larry Groff, the Scituate man who filed a suit against the on-line service on behalf of all Rhode Island AOL users.

In his suit, Groff claimed that AOL oversold its service and didn't have the capability to handle the onslaught of new customers drawn by its $19.95 unlimited access introduced nearly a year ago.

Groff's attorney, George M. Prescott, of Lincoln, said Groff is seeking $200 in damages for each Rhode Island subscriber of AOL who was affected. The suit was filed under the state's "Unfair Trade Practice and Consumer Protection Act."

Prescott said the judge is expected to rule on a motion by Groff to certify the suit as a class action. AOL has filed a motion to dismiss the suit, he said.

Should the judge rule to certify the suit, Prescott said he would put an advertisement in newspapers seeking AOL subscribers affected by the company's congestion problems.