CAR_Public/000120.MBX                 C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

                Thursday, January 20, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 14

                                Headlines

AMERITECH: CUB Alleges of Duping Phone Customers into Expensive Service
FREEMARKETS INC: Kirby, McInerney Files Securities Lawsuit in PA
HMO: 2 Doctors Sue Humana for Reducing Physician Payments Unfairly
KNEPPER & MOGA: IL Suit against Law Firm over Debt Collection to Go on
LAW SCHOOL: Admission Council Sued Again for Bias against the Disabled

MANHATTAN INVESTMENT: Berman DeValerio Makes Securities Investigation
MITSUBISHI MOTOR: Black Employees Charge of Racial Bias at IL Plant
MOBIL OIL: Chronology Of the Aviation Fuel Crisis
MOBIL OIL: Fuel Test Still Days Away; AOPA Expresses Disappointment
NETWORK SOLUTIONS: Sp Ct Denies Thomas Petition over Registration Fees

PAYDAY LENDER: Edelman, Combs Files Suit in Hammond V. Advance America
SKECHERS U.S.A.: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Suit in California
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Florida Jury Hears About Smoking Woman's Cancer
TOYSRUS.COM: Sued Again over Late Deliveries of Net Ordered X’mas Gifts
TRUCKING COS: Truck Drivers at CA Port Are Contractors, Ct Rules

TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Alfred G. Yates Files Securities Lawsuit in Florida
WAR VICTIMS: Foley Backs Japan; Treaty Bans Claims by Slave Laborers
WORKERS’ UNIONS: 2 CA Suits Attack Compulsory Fees from Nonmembers
Y2K LITIGATION: CA Ct Oks Quadramed to Force for Arbitration under Act

* Lawmakers Again Propose Fee Limits for Copying Medical, Legal Records

                            *********

AMERITECH: CUB Alleges of Duping Phone Customers into Expensive Service
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Chicago-area phone customers are being duped by Ameritech to buy service
packages that cost them more than the basic rate, consumer advocates at
the Citizens Utility Board charged in a complaint on January 18 to the
Illinois Commerce Commission. CUB is asking the ICC to order Ameritech
to stop what it calls deceptive practices and to pay refunds to
overcharged customers.

Ameritech derided CUB's allegations as "ludicrous and totally without
merit," and characterized the complaint as a "publicity stunt."

The consumer advocacy group said Ameritech has promoted confusion among
its customers in order to mislead them. "Illinois has the most confusing
telephone rate structure of any place in the country," said Martin
Cohen, CUB's executive director, "and Ameritech takes advantage of the
confusion to overcharge customers and line its pockets."

Cohen said that two Ameritech calling packages -- CallPack and
SimpliFive -- are easy to understand but are more expensive for most
Illinois customers than the company's complex standard charges that vary
by distance and time of day.

SimpliFive charges customers a nickel a minute for calls made to
locations morethan eight miles away. CallPak customers pay a set amount
for a number of calls--such as $10 for 100 calls--and a fixed amount
after that, such as a dime a call.

Customers who make many lengthycalls to locations more than 15 miles
away will save money with both of these plans, but only about 5 percent
of Ameritech's customers fit that profile, said Cohen. An average
customer could spend as much as $150 more each year on local phone
service by selecting these plans, he said.

The complaint doesn't seek an end to the offering of the two calling
packages, but rather an end to Ameritech's promotion of them as money
savers.

Cohen said that although both plans have been available for years, CUB
believes that Ameritech has stepped up a misleading campaign in the
months since it was acquired by San-Antonio based SBC Communications
Inc.

Ameritech denied in a January 18 statement that it is promoting the
plans more aggressively now, saying that its sales representatives are
not encouraged to market special plans to customers who won't benefit.
"Customers are more aware of calling plans today," said Ameritech's
statement, "because of the explosion in plans offered in our industry."

CUB's allegations echo consumer fraud charges lodged against Ameritech
three years ago.

In 1997 Ameritech paid $266 million to settle a class action suit that
alleged the company was charging customers for its "Linebacker" service
without their knowledge. That service, which cost $3 to $5 a month, is
an insurance against the relatively rare occurrence of phone line damage
inside a customer's residence.

Ameritech executives said in 1997 that they chose to settle rather than
pay the expense of defending themselves in a court, and they denied
wrongdoing. While some Linebacker customers received cash settlements
from that case, most received credits for service such as calls from
payphones, three-way conference calls and the like.

CUB won't settle for anything less than cash rebates to customers who've
been overcharged due to misleading marketing of SimpliFive and CallPack,
said Robert Kelter, a CUB attorney. (Chicago Tribune, January 19, 2000)


FREEMARKETS INC: Kirby, McInerney Files Securities Lawsuit in PA
----------------------------------------------------------------
Kirby, McInerney Squire, LLP commenced a securities lawsuit on behalf of
all purchasers of FreeMarkets, Inc. securities between December 10, 1999
and January 4, 2000 in the United States District Court for the Western
District of Pennsylvania. The action asserts claims against FreeMarkets,
Inc. and certain of its officers for violations of Sections 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by reason of material
misrepresentations and omissions.

On December 10, 1999 FreeMarkets' shares soared 600% on its IPO, rising
from $48 to $280 per share, and in subsequent weeks rose to a high of
$341.87 per share. On January 4, however, FreeMarkets announced that it
had lost all its business with General Motors, its second largest
client. This news shocked the market, sending FreeMarkets' share price
plummeting more than $60 in one day and causing its shares to lose over
45% of their value since January 3, 2000. The complaint alleges that
FreeMarkets' officers and directors in fact knew of the impending loss
of General Motors throughout the Class Period, but chose not to disclose
this adverse information in their IPO prospectus so as not to endanger
the company's IPO. As a result, investors who bought FreeMarkets common
stock in the class period purchased their shares at inflated prices,
prices that evaporated once the truth about the loss of General Motors
finally became known to the public on January 4, 2000.

For more details on this securities suit, you may contact Ira Press,
Esq. Danielle Feman, Paralegal KIRBY McINERNEY SQUIRE, LLP, 830 Third
Avenue 10th Floor New York, New York 10022, telephone: (212) 317-2300 or
Toll Free (888) 529-4787 or via e-mail: kms@kmslaw.com


HMO: 2 Doctors Sue Humana for Reducing Physician Payments Unfairly
------------------------------------------------------------------
Two doctors and the Broward County Medical Association sued Humana Inc.
on January 18, saying that Florida's third-largest HMO routinely and
unfairly reduces physician payments.

The suit attacked a practice known as "downcoding," in which health
maintenance organizations decide that a service, such as an office
visit, was not as difficult as the doctor said it was, and lower the
reimbursement.

The medical association said that it had received more than 150
complaints from its 1,500 members and from doctors around the state who
had been downcoded on a regular basis by HMOs, including Humana. "It's
been a systematic effort by the insurance companies. Humana was, I
think, the worst offender," said Vincent DeGennaro, a surgeon who is
president of the association. The Florida Medical Association may join
the suit later, its president said.

Patients are not forced to pay more because of the payment cuts. But the
association said doctors who are downcoded regularly may feel pressure
to steer patients away from complex but necessary medical care, in fear
they will not be paid for it. "These aren't a few individual doctors
suing over a little bit of money, they're doing it to protect the
practice of medicine," said Michael J. Ryan, a lawyer for the doctors.
The lead attorney is state Sen. Walter "Skip" Campbell, D-Coral Springs,
who has been active in HMO regulation.

Humana spokeswoman Pam Gadinsky declined to comment on the suit. She
said some doctors submit excessive bills and the health plan changes the
coding to keep costs in line. "It's called right-coding, not
downcoding," she said. "We are reviewing claims in the ordinary course
of business. We are doing nothing wrong here. We are reviewing those
claims that are billed by physicians at a higher-than-average frequency
than other physicians."

The suit is the third major legal action against Humana, a Louisville,
Ky., company with 650,000 members in the state, $ 9.84 billion in
revenue and $ 91 million profit in the year ending on Sept. 30.

Two weeks ago, a Palm Beach County jury awarded $ 79.6 million to a
9-year-old Loxahatchee girl with cerebral palsy, saying Humana unfairly
cut off special care coverage. Humana plans to appeal.

In October, Humana was one of five HMOs named in a Mississippi
class-action suit by patients. The suit accuses the health plans of
denying care by paying incentives to doctors to reduce care.

Another downcoding suit was lodged in August against United Healthcare
by a doctors group. Physician complaints about downcoding began
increasing early last year. The Broward medical association logged more
than 130 from February to June, then stopped counting.

One came from Seth Cutler, a Sunrise ophthalmologist who is being
dropped by Humana on Jan. 31 and is a plaintiff in the suit with Harold
Landa, an Oakland Park internist. The suit said Cutler billed Humana for
office visits that he coded as so-called level five, meaning they
involved lengthy or complex diagnoses. But routinely, the plan downcoded
the bill to level two, three or four, and paid about $ 20 to $ 60 less
per visit, his lawyers said.

In July, Humana sent letters to 90,000 doctors in Florida, Texas and
Kentucky, saying the company was challenging the high proportion of
level four and five billings.

Physician groups angry at the second-guessing complained to the Florida
Department of Insurance, which warned Humana in September that automatic
downcoding is illegal. Each case is supposed to be reviewed
individually. (Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), January 19, 2000)


KNEPPER & MOGA: IL Suit against Law Firm over Debt Collection to Go on
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A plaintiff who filed suit against a law firm after receiving what he
determined was a misleading debt collection letter can continue with a
class action seeking relief under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(FDCPA), the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
has held. The ruling denies the defendants' motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim. Miller v. Knepper & Moga, P.C. et al., No. 99
C 3183 (ND IL, Oct. 21, 1999).

The law firm of Knepper & Moga, P.C. forwarded a form letter to
plaintiff Jimmie Miller on Jan. 20, 1999, in order to collect a debt
allegedly owed to a hospital. Miller subsequently filed a class action
suit against the firm and its owners, James A. Knepper and Greg M. Moga
III, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Miller asserted that the letter he received violated the FDCPA, 15
U.S.C. Sec. 1692 et seq., because it was a misleading or deceptive
attempt to collect a debt.

Miller took the position that the letter, while attempting to collect
for the hospital, purported to represent his best interests. He further
asserted that to the unsophisticated consumer, the letter suggested that
the firm would offer advice and establish an attorney-client
relationship. By suggesting that it would give the debtor advice and act
in his or her best interests, the firm was undertaking representation of
both the debtor and the creditor in violation of the FDCPA, Miller
claimed.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.
They argued that the complaint did not state which section of the FDCPA
was violated, and that the letter was not misleading under the
unsophisticated consumer standard. The defendants also claimed that no
one would believe that the letter represented the interests of any
entity other than the hospital.

The district court denied the motion. The judge stated that although the
plaintiff did not cite the exact section of the FDCPA he claimed was
violated, that fact was not fatal. The judge explained that a complaint
does not have to identify the applicable statute or law at issue in
order to raise a proper claim for relief. Further, the plaintiff's brief
stated that Sec. 1692e(10) of the FDCPA was violated, the judge said,
and an allegation that a debt collection letter was misleading under
that section was a common claim.

The judge went on to discuss the unsophisticated consumer standard,
which protects the uninformed consumer while shielding debt collectors
from liability for unrealistic interpretations of collection letters.
The judge asked whether an unsophisticated consumer would know that the
defendants were interested only in collecting for the hospital when, at
the same time, they offered counsel to the debtors.

After going through the letter in detail, the court held that the
letter's wording created a claim for relief under the FDCPA. The
defendants were not entitled to dismissal. (See Document Section C for
the opinion.) (Professional Liability Litigation Reporter, December
1999)


LAW SCHOOL: Admission Council Sued Again for Bias against the Disabled
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law School Admission Council has been hit with another suit alleging
it discriminates against disabled students who need accommodations when
they take the LSAT this time broadening the scope to include those with
mental disabilities.

Last month, the U.S. Justice Department filed suit against the Newtown,
Pa.-based testing service alleging that it discriminated against
students with physical disabilities who wanted extra time to take the
test. Brought under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act,
the suit says several students with cerebral palsy or rheumatoid
arthritis who presented medical documentation along with their requests
for extra time were rejected by LSAC even though their requests were
never reviewed by anyone with appropriate medical expertise.

Now, attorney David Ferleger has filed a class action suit on behalf of
three students who say they were similarly denied their requests for
testing accommodations. Although Ferleger's suit echoes many of the
allegations made in the Justice Department's suit, it also promises to
expand the scope of the case by adding claims from those with mental
disabilities such as manic depression, attention deficit disorder,
learning disabilities and narcolepsy. The suit says LSAC violated the
ADA when it denied requests for accommodations either for extra time, a
separate testing room or expanded breaks by flatly rejecting the
student's medical evidence.

By opening the door on mental disabilities, Ferleger's suit is sure to
complicate the litigation because testing experts say it is much more
difficult to devise an accommodation that will still yield an accurate
test result. The DOJ limited its suit to LSAC's policies on
accommodating students with physical disabilities, effectively dodging
the more difficult question of how to accommodate those with cognitive
or mental disorders. Ferleger's descriptions of one of his clients'
disabilities illustrates just how complicated the suit has now became.
In outlining the effects of bipolar disorder, Ferleger says the
disability "affects ... thinking processes and substantially limits the
major life activities of thinking, learning, concentration, expression
and other basic life functions." But Ferleger insists that the students
with mental disabilities start from the same position as those with
physical disabilities since they all must request a testing
accommodation and back up their requests with medical reports. "LSAC
acts like a kingdom unto itself, making itself judge and jury about
applicants' disabilities," Ferleger said. "By ignoring medical reports
from students' own doctors, LSAC is shutting out some of America's great
lawyers of the future."

LSAC has vehemently defended its policies and criticized the DOJ suit as
an attempt to expand the ADA beyond what Congress intended."The Justice
Department appears to be more interested in making headlines than in
enforcing the ADA in the manner that Congress intended," LSAC President
and Executive Director Philip D. Shelton said in a recent statement. The
statement said the DOJ's suit misstates the facts and seeks to impose
new duties not required by the law."This is an attempt to regulate
through intimidation. But even more worrisome for us is the false
perception it creates for persons with disabilities who might be
considering law school. LSAC has provided accommodations to thousands of
disabled law school applicants and will continue to do so," Shelton
said. (The Legal Intelligencer, January 19, 2000)


MANHATTAN INVESTMENT: Berman DeValerio Makes Securities Investigation
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Berman DeValerio & Pease LLP announced on January 19 that it is
currently investigating certain persons and entities involved with the
Manhattan Investment Fund, Ltd for possible violations of the federal
securities laws. According to recent news reports, the Fund has
misrepresented its financial condition to investors since its inception
in 1996. Berman, DeValerio & Pease LLP has extensive experience in
prosecuting investor class actions involving financial fraud, and has
successfully prosecuted securities, antitrust and consumer class actions
since 1982. The firm has been designated as lead counsel by federal and
state courts across the country.

Contact: Michael Lange, Esq. at Berman, DeValerio & Pease, LLP, One
Liberty Square, 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02109, at 800-516-9926 or
617-542-8300, or by e-mail at mlange@bermanesq.com and for more
information about the Berman, DeValerio & Pease LLP, you may visit the
firm's website at http://www.bermanesq.com



MITSUBISHI MOTOR: Black Employees Charge of Racial Bias at IL Plant
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Black employees of Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America have filed
a class-action lawsuit in federal court accusing the Japanese automaker
of allowing racial discrimination at its central Illinois assembly
plant.

Mitsubishi paid a record $34 million fine in 1998 to settle sex
discrimination charges in a suit filed by female employees at the
Diamond Star plant in Normal, Ill.

Lawyers for nine black workers filed suit in U.S. District Court in
Peoria, Ill., late January 18 claiming blacks had been denied
promotions, raises and job training because of their race. The suit,
which seeks unspecified damages, says black employees were given the
least desirable and most difficult work assignments and were subjected
to racial slurs and taunts on a daily basis.

"One African-American employee even received a doll's head tied to a toy
truck, burlesquing the racially motivated dragging death of James Byrd,
an African-American, in Jasper, Texas," the suit charges. Some black
employees said they were physically intimidated, that Ku Klux Klan
symbols were scribbled on plant walls, and that their toolboxes were
ransacked and power tools sabotaged.

The suit comes a month after a three-member review board assigned to
monitor Mitsubishi for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
praised the automaker for ending sexual harassment and discrimination.

In 1998, Mitsubishi settled a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the
EEOC on behalf of more than 300 women who claimed they were groped and
subjected to lewd jokes while on the job. Some of the same attorneys
involved in the sex discrimination lawsuit, who also represented 27
women who received $9.5 million in a separate settlement, filed the
racial discrimination lawsuit.

In September 1998, Mitsubishi paid $3 million to settle a disability
discrimination case involving 87 workers.

Mitsubishi spokeswoman Gael O'Brien said discrimination has no place at
Mitsibushi. "We have policies and procedures to address any violations
to our zero-tolerance policy," O'Brien told the Peoria Journal Star.
"Our policies and procedures for investigating any complaints have been
scrutinized both internally and by third parties, and these policesare
working."  (United Press International, January 19, 2000)


MOBIL OIL: Chronology Of the Aviation Fuel Crisis
-------------------------------------------------
A chronology of the aviation fuel crisis published in the AAP Newsfeed
on January 19, 2000:

December 23: Engine failure in an aircraft taking off from Moorabbin
sparks fuel contamination fears. Other aviation incidents also being
investigated in relation to fuel contamination.

December 24: Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) orders owners of
piston-engine planes using Mobil 100/130 avgas after November 21 to
drain and flush fuel systems.

January 7, 2000: Mobil recommends customers not fly after further
reports of rough running and engine failure in aircraft already cleared
to fly. Planes checked and a second contaminant is discovered.

January 8-9: CASA suggests caution in flying based on Mobil's advice
that CASA merely order additional fuel system cleaning.

January 10: CASA issues grounding directive for planes fuelled with
Mobil avgas between November 21 and December 23. About 5,000 light
planes grounded bringing most of general aviation to a halt.

January 11: Costs tipped to hit $100 million. CASA defends its delay in
grounding aircraft. Acting Prime Minister John Anderson calls for
mediation between Mobil and the general aviation industry for financial
assistance for affected companies. Labor and the Australian Democrats
call for an independent inquiry.

January 12: Companies begin standing down staff. CASA begins trialling a
fuel purity test. Mr Anderson rejects calls for inquiry apart from the
Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation.

January 13: CASA director Mick Toller says he is not satisfied Mobil's
fuel test is reliable.

January 14: Mr Anderson says Mobil has a moral obligation to assist
affected companies. He writes to banks and airports to help aircraft
operators.

January 15: Commonwealth Bank establishes an emergency rescue package
for aircraft company customers. Regional and rural airports say they are
hurting. The industry says the crisis is costing $50 million a month.

January 16: Mr Anderson announces petrochemical expert Professor David
Trimm will assess the accuracy of Mobil's fuel test.

January 17: Mr Anderson announces he had given Mobil until the next day
to come up with an assistance package.

January 18: Mobil announces $15 million package. Class action is
launched in the Federal Court in Sydney. Fuel test is delayed when
Professor Trimm discovers a new substance in the fuel.

January 19: CASA says the test could take another week to finalise. (AAP
Newsfeed, January 19, 2000)


MOBIL OIL: Fuel Test Still Days Away; AOPA Expresses Disappointment
-------------------------------------------------------------------
A test to clear 5,000 grounded light planes has been delayed several
days by the discovery of a mystery white gunk in contaminated Mobil
aviation fuel. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is examining
aircraft in Western Australia - which has been largely unaffected by
Australia's worst ever fuel contamination crisis - in the hope of
finding the white goo in fuel tanks there. Finding the substance in WA
would mean it was unrelated to the contamination problem and the
clearance test could go ahead.

Petrochemical expert David Trimm - called in to validate Mobil's fuel
test - discovered the white substance on January 18, the second
white-coloured goo found, meaning piston-engined aircraft must remain
grounded. Professor Trimm said he expected the test would be available
within days, but could not give the green light until he knew whether or
not the a second white substance was harmless. He was 99.5 per cent
certain the test would detect the presence of the original black
contaminant - ethylene diamine (EDA) - and the first white substance -
formed by reaction between carbon dioxide and EDA.

Prof Trimm began analysing the first sample of the new mystery white
gunk at the University of New South Wales where he heads the School of
Chemical Engineering and Industrial Chemistry.

He believed the goo was unrelated to the contamination. "My gut feeling
is that it's not connected with the problem," he told reporters. "I
think it is something else (but) I do not dare take the risk of
validating the test until I know."

Planes would have to be re-tested after they were given the all-clear as
traces of contaminant may become absorbed in the surfaces of fuel tanks,
and slowly leach out.

He said the test still had minor technical problems. In the test, avgas
is extracted with water and EDA transferred into the water. A drop of
the water is placed on filter paper with the reagent fluorescamine. EDA
then showed up by a fluorescent glow under UV light. But Prof Trimm said
the water used must also be tested separately first.

CASA director Mick Toller said the authority was rounding up fuel
samples. "It's safe to say that basically that's an excellent test for
checking aircraft which have been contaminated after they've been
cleaned and it gives us all the necessary indicators to say which
aircraft should be cleaned."

Mr Toller warned frustrated pilots against home remedies. "It is a great
temptation ... to get the garden hose out and to wash the system out and
I think that's a dangerous process to go through," he said.

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) president Bill Hamilton
said the delay was tremendously disappointing. "We expected to have good
news by January 18 afternoon - it was bad news," he told ABC Television.
The lack of a fail-safe test to check which light planes were free of
contamination and safe to fly was tremendously disappointing, the
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).

Mr Hamilton said the $15 million compensation package announced by Mobil
was merely immediate relief. "It's disaster relief, like bushfire or
flood relief, no more than a starting point," he said. "The $15 million
that Mobil has offered so far is purely immediate for relief, (for)
people who've really got their backs against the wall."

Mr Hamilton said AOPA was holding talks with Mobil on longer-term
relief. "We'll also propose what AOPA has called the aviation recovery
trust as something we're encouraging Mobil to fund, an industry trust to
help get everything back on its feet both in the short term and in the
long term," he said.

Mr Hamilton said a class action, started this week, was a measure of
aircraft operators' sheer frustration after almost a month of fuel
problems.

Among those affected by the crisis were very small airlines using
piston-engine aircraft, charter operators, crop dusters, fire and rescue
services, flying schools and clubs and private pilots. Mr Hamilton said
the fuel crisis would take longer than a week to resolve.

Opposition Leader Kim Beazley urged all banks to follow the Commonwealth
Bank's lead in assisting aircraft owners and operators. He said Mobil's
package was a good start but not enough. Mr Beazley said the government
could offer limited assistance to the industry but it was up to Mobil
and the banks to resolve the issue.

Commercial law firm Ebsworth & Ebsworth, which launched a Federal Court
class action on behalf of aircraft operators, said many affected people
were not covered by Mobil's package.

Partner Simon Liddy said an aerial photographer had approached the firm
and farmers relying on aircraft to transport perishable goods were
suffering financially. "It is in no-one's interest to have a long
drawn-out legal process. We are hopeful that fair compensation will be
delivered quickly to those affected," Mr Liddy said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority's (CASA) handling of the
avgas crisis will come under scrutiny on January 20 when the Senate
Transport Committee grills officials.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said a test developed to
detect contamination in fuel systems had proven inadequate for a second
mystery white substance uncovered on January 18, leaving up to 5,000 of
the piston-engined aircraft grounded. CASA aviation safety director Mick
Toller said the test would show if an engine was clean but said
petrochemical expert Professor David Trimm had found the test did not
show what substances might still be present in dirty engines. (AAP
Newsfeed, January 19, 2000)


NETWORK SOLUTIONS: Sp Ct Denies Thomas Petition over Registration Fees
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Network Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: NSOL), the world's leading registrar of
domain names, acknowledged on January 18 the U.S. Supreme Court's denial
of a petition by William Thomas, et al, challenging the company's right
to charge fees for its registration services. The Court's denial ends a
series of legal actions that started in October 1997.

"The Supreme Court's denial of the Thomas petition is consistent with a
line of Federal District Court decisions including decisions from the
Second, Seventh, Ninth and District of Columbia Circuits validating
Network Solutions' key Internet functions," said Jim Rutt, chief
executive officer, Network Solutions, Inc. "Consistently, the courts
have affirmed Network Solutions' role in providing Internet
infrastructure and domain name registration services and charging fees
for such services. We are extremely pleased with this decision as it
relates to both Network Solutions and the National Science Foundation."

About the Thomas Case On October 17, 1997, Network Solutions was served
with a class action suit by six named plaintiffs. The suit alleged
anti-competitive activities and cited various alleged violations by the
National Science Foundation and/or Network Solutions. The suit sought
restitution of all registration fees paid by all registrants and the
elimination of the 30 percent Intellectual Infrastructure Fund, which
was discontinued April 1, 1998. Federal District Court Judge Hogan
dismissed the entire case in the District of Columbia District Court,
issuing a final judgment on August 18, 1998. On October 23, 1998, the
plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal from the final order. The judgment
of the Court of Appeals was entered on May 14, 1999. The petition for a
writ of certiorari was filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on October 6,
1999. All briefs were filed by December 8, 1999. On January 18, 2000,
the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for a writ of certiorari.

Founded in 1979, Network Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: NSOL) pioneered the
development of registering Web addresses ending in .com, .net, .org and
.edu and is the world's leading Registrar with more than 6.5 million net
registrations. Network Solutions additionally plays a critical role in
the infrastructure of the Internet through its Registry services.
Network Solutions' Registry customers include all the Registrars of
domain names ending in .com, .net and .org. For more information, see
the website http://www.networksolutions.com


PAYDAY LENDER: Edelman, Combs Files Suit in Hammond V. Advance America
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Chicago law firm of Edelman, Combs & Latturner says on January 19 it
has filed a class action lawsuit against another Indiana high-interest
"payday lender," ADVANCE AMERICA CASH ADVANCE CENTERS OF INDIANA, INC.

The complaint alleges violation of the Truth in Lending Act and the
Indiana Uniform Consumer Credit Code in connection with a series of 280%
to 500% "payday loans." The case is Wallace v. Advance America,
2:00CV123JM (N.D.Ind.). It was filed in the federal district court in
Hammond.

The Indiana Uniform Consumer Credit Code (i) prohibits lenders from
charging interest of more than 36% per annum interest, (ii) allows a
flat fee not exceeding $33, and (iii) prohibits lenders from using
multiple agreements to obtain more finance charges than would otherwise
be permitted. Plaintiff alleges that by imposing a finance charge that
purports to be justified by the $ 33 exception to the general 36%
limitation on a series of two-week loans -- producing finance charges in
the hundreds of dollars and an effective annual percentage rate of over
280% -- Advance America violated the Uniform Consumer Credit Code.

A survey conducted by the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions
disclosed that the average payday loan borrower "rolls over" her loan
about 10 times, so that the loan actually remains outstanding 5-6 months
(5,350 borrowers obtained 54,508 loans and rollovers, with the average
loan/rollover lasting 13.67 days). The average annual percentage rate
was 498.73%, or more than 10 times the 36% maximum. The average finance
charge was $27.29 for each loan or rollover, showing that the lenders
tried to use the $33 exception on each loan/rollover. One borrower
"rolled over" her loan 66 times, or for about three years. A survey
conducted by the Illinois Department of Financial Institutions produced
similar results. "Payday lenders" are thus well aware of the fact that
borrowers generally will not pay their loans off in two weeks.

Similar lawsuits are pending against Ace Cash Express, E-Z Payday Loans,
and Fast Cash USA in federal district court in Indianapolis. Rowings v.
Ace Cash Express, Inc., IP 99-1887-C-B/S; Livingston v. Fast Cash USA,
Inc., IP99-1226-C-B/S; Rowings v. DSA, Inc., d/b/a E-Z Payday Loans, IP
00-0060-C-B/S.

Contact: Daniel A. Edelman of Edelman, Combs & Latturner, 312-739-4200,
800-644-4673, or fax, 312-419-0379


SKECHERS U.S.A.: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Suit in California
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman Herz LLP, commenced a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Central District of
California on behalf of all persons who purchased or otherwise acquired
Skechers' common stock issued in Skechers' June 9, 1999 initial public
offering (IPO), or thereafter on the open market prior to July 6, 1999.

Defendants commenced the IPO pursuant to a Registration Statement and
Prospectus that failed to disclose material facts concerning Skechers'
then current business and operations and artificially inflated the value
of Skechers' common stock. By doing so, defendants were able to complete
the IPO and obtain approximately $70 million in proceeds. Defendants'
conduct also caused considerable damage to the Class when the truth
concerning Skechers' business and operations was finally revealed to the
market.

The action asserts claims for violations of sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and rule 10b-5 of the Securities and
Exchange Commission, as well as sections 11, 12(2) and 15 of the
Securities Act of 1933, by reason of material misrepresentations and
omissions during the Class Period concerning claims asserted against the
Company by a competitor.

For more details on this securities suit, you may contact Wolf
Haldenstein Adler Freeman Herz LLP at 270 Madison Avenue, New York, New
York 10016, by telephone at (800) 575-0735 (Gregory Nespole, Esq.,
Michael Miske via e-mail at nespole@whafh.com or through their website
at http://www.whafh.com


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Florida Jury Hears About Smoking Woman's Cancer
-------------------------------------------------------------------
A Florida housewife "bought into" the glamour of cigarette advertising
at age 11 and died of cancer that spread from her lungs to her brain,
bones and liver, her attorney said on January 18 in opening statements
of her damage case.

Attorneys for the tobacco industry offered two types of cancer not
caused by smoking as the culprit in Angie Della Vecchia's case, the
third life story to be heard by a jury that decided in July that
cigarettes are a defective and dangerous product.

An estimated 500,000 sick Florida smokers hope to be awarded as much as
$ 300 billion in punitive damages if the jury rules in favor of
compensatory damages in the landmark class-action case.

"Angie Della Vecchia bought into the misrepresentations, the
misstatements of fact" by the tobacco industry, said Stanley Rosenblatt,
attorney for the smokers. "She simply was in awe of grown-up smoking ...
That's what the tobacco companies wanted her perception to be and they
succeeded." (Press Journal (Vero Beach, FL), January 19, 2000)


TOYSRUS.COM: Sued Again over Late Deliveries of Net Ordered X’mas Gifts
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A second lawsuit has been filed against Paramus-based Toys"R"Us Inc. and
its Internet division, Toysrus.com Inc., over late delivery of Christmas
gifts ordered over the Internet.

The suit, which seeks class-action status, was filed in Superior Court
in Hackensack by a Princeton law firm representing a Toysrus.com
customer in Alabama. The suit follows one filed this month on behalf of
a Washington State resident. It also is seeking class-action status on
behalf of all customers who did not receive their purchases by the
guaranteed delivery time.

The latest suit accuses Toysrus.com of making"no effort to meet their
self-imposed guaranteed deadline when it became readily apparent that
the plaintiffs would not receive their orders."

Toysrus.com had guaranteed that all orders placed on the Web site before
Dec. 14 would be delivered by Christmas. The lawsuit seeks refunds,
litigation costs, and "further relief as this court may deem just and
proper"for the Toysrus.com customers.

Rebecca Caruso, spokeswoman for Toys"R"Us, said that company executives
have not seen the latest lawsuit, but that the Washington State suit"has
no merit... and we certainly have no reason to believe that this one
does, either."Because she hasn't read the suit, "it would not be
appropriate for me to discuss specifics,"Caruso said, adding,"When it
comes to our dot.com business... we're continually looking at ways to
improve the 1 NEW3 business and serve our guests."

The Toysrus.com site reportedly had sales of $ 39 million from Nov. 1 to
Dec. 25. Total Internet retail sales for the last quarter of 1999 are
estimated at $ 7 billion, three times the total from the last quarter of
the previous year, according to Harris Interactive, a market research
firm in Rochester, N.Y.. As Internet shopping becomes more widespread,
the focus is shifting from mostly marketing, that is, luring customers
to the Web site, to service issues such as delivery. For example, the
spring convention of Shop.org, a trade association of 300 on-line
retailers, is devoted to "back-end solutions, the whole subject of
delivery," a spokesman said.

He noted that the point-and-click environment of Internet commerce
creates expectations of speedy service that did not exist with
mail-order sales. (The Record (Bergen County, NJ), January 19, 2000)


TRUCKING COS: Truck Drivers at CA Port Are Contractors, Ct Rules
----------------------------------------------------------------
In a ruling that could hamper efforts to unionize truck drivers at the
nation's ports, a three-judge panel has found that drivers who haul
goods from Los Angeles harbor are independent contractors and not
trucking company employees.

The complex class-action lawsuit was filed by Los Angeles attorney Fred
Kumetz on behalf of hundreds of drivers, mostly immigrants from Mexico
and Central America.

It alleged that three major trucking companies improperly classified
drivers as independent contractors to avoid paying for state benefits.
The lawsuit also claimed that the companies overcharged drivers for
insurance.

A private panel of retired judges, sitting for the Superior Court of Los
Angeles and the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board under a special
fast-track arrangement, sided with the trucking companies in ruling that
the drivers were properly classified as independent contractors.

The case had been closely watched across the country because nearly all
ports classify drivers the same way. And the ruling has stopped labor
campaigns in their tracks because independent contractors cannot form or
join unions.

At the Los Angeles port alone, there have been at least three
significant efforts to unionize truck drivers in the last 20 years. All
failed due to the independent contractor classification.

"This has monumental significance for any city that has a port," said
attorney Bob Millman, who represented Intermodal Container Service Inc.,
Interstate Consolidation Inc. and Cartage Service. "It would not be
economically feasible to treat these people as drivers. The cost of
goods would just go skyrocketing."

Evidence introduced at trial showed the drivers named in the suit took
in about $ 40,000 to $ 70,000 a year but also spent thousands on
insurance, fuel, equipment and maintenance. One of the named drivers,
Luis Montoya, testified that he preferred being an owner-operator
because he could make more money that way.

Kumetz said that he would probably appeal the case and that there have
been conflicting opinions from the state Workers' Compensation Appeals
Board and National Labor Relations Board. "It's extremely confusing," he
said. "That's why we need a published opinion from the Court of Appeals
or the California Supreme Court that will enlighten everybody as to what
the law is."

Millman said the case is likely to "have a major chilling effect" on
efforts by labor unions to organize port drivers.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has been gearing up for a
large-scale organizing drive that would coordinate actions at ports
nationwide. Ed Berk, a lead organizer in that effort, said he hadn't yet
read the preliminary ruling handed down, but said he was moving ahead
with scheduled meetings with drivers. "I don't think they're going to
throw in the towel on this one court case," he said. (Los Angeles Times,
January 19, 2000)


TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Alfred G. Yates Files Securities Lawsuit in Florida
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Office of Alfred G. Yates Jr. filed a class action lawsuit in
the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on
behalf of all persons who purchased or otherwise acquired common stock
of Tyco International, Ltd. between December 10, 1998 through December
8, 1999, inclusive.

The complaint alleges that Tyco mislead investors by misrepresenting the
financial condition and business prospects of the Company in order to
inflate the price of the Company's stock. When Tyco finally revealed its
true financial predicament, the price of the stock dropped
significantly, harming investors. Plaintiffs also allege that prior to
the disclosure of the adverse facts, certain insiders took advantage of
the inflated stock price by selling 1.5 million shares of Tyco common
stock to the investing public, reaping over $170 million in insider
trading profits.

For more information on the above mentioned securities lawsuit, you may
contact Alfred G. Yates, Jr., Esq., 519 Allegheny Building, 429 Forbes
Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219, telephone toll free at
800-391-5164, or 412-391-5164, or via e-mail at yateslaw@aol.com or fax
at 412-471-1033.


WAR VICTIMS: Foley Backs Japan; Treaty Bans Claims by Slave Laborers
--------------------------------------------------------------------
U.S. Ambassador Thomas Foley backed Japan's position that the treaty
formally ending World War II bans claims for compensation from Americans
used as slave laborers in Japan.

A number of U.S. prisoners of war accuse some of Japan's biggest
companies of using them as wartime forced labor and are suing for
compensation. Many of the veterans filed claims in California after a
1999 state law extended the deadline for such actions.

But on January 17, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said the peace treaty
allows for no further discussion of compensation.

Foley said on January 18 that the ministry's comments are not likely to
raise tensions between the two countries. He said there was much
suffering during the war, but the treaty with Japan explicitly renounces
claims against Japan an accord different from the one allies reached
with Germany.

The companies include Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Mitsui and Co.,
Mitsubishi International Corp., Nippon Steel Corp., Showa Denko and
Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha Ltd. The companies say the issue of reparations
was covered in the 1951 peace treaty signed in San Francisco. The
companies also say the statute of limitations has long since run out.

Germany is setting up a fund to compensate victims of Nazi forced labor.
Up to 2.3 million people, mostly non-Jews from Eastern Europe, forced to
work under the Nazis could be eligible for payments. German firms that
used slave and forced labor sought the fund largely to receive
protection from class-action lawsuits. (AP Online, January 19, 2000)


WORKERS’ UNIONS: 2 CA Suits Attack Compulsory Fees from Nonmembers
------------------------------------------------------------------
The National Right to Work Foundation launched an attack on the use of
compulsory union fees for political activities on two fronts on January
18, filing separate class action suits in federal court in Sacramento
and San Francisco.

One lawsuit was filed against union, state and city officials on behalf
of about 160 San Francisco firefighters, the other on behalf of 10,000
employees of the California State University and University of
California systems who have refused to join their unions.

Both suits challenge the unions' right to take union fees from
nonmembers, alleging it violates the First Amendment by forcing
employees to pay for the union's political activities. They also say
employees have not been given the required information and audits
detailing how the fees are spent.

U.S. District Judge William Shubb in Sacramento refused to grant a
January 18 temporary restraining order to block withholding from
employee paychecks without a full hearing. Attorneys for the employees
will still seek to overturn the law and ask for a preliminary injunction
February 7.

The Virginia foundation, a nonprofit that advocates against compulsory
unionism, filed about 50 similar lawsuits nationwide last year. It was
successful last month in blocking the California State Employees
Association from taking about $1.2 million in monthly fees from more
than 30,000 state employees.

Randy Wanke, a spokesman for the foundation, said it was coincidence
that the suits were both filed on January 19, but that it illustrates
how prevalent the problem is.

"The court has said these individuals do not have to pay for a union's
political activities," he said. "It seems like at every turn you have
people trying to skirt these rules to bankroll their political
activities."

Unions for both the firefighters' and university employees' unions were
authorized to take a portion of fees from nonmembers starting this
month.

Firefighters Local 798, which represents about 1,700 firefighters and
paramedics, reached an agreement with the city last July allowing it to
deduct a portion of union fees from nonmembers' salaries starting this
month. The contribution is estimated at about 80 percent of the $598
annual member dues.

Tyrone Pruitt, president of the San Francisco Black Firefighters
Association, and one of 11 firefighters bringing the suit, said he is
not anti-union. Rather, he said, the local and national unions that
their money would support do not represent their interests. "It is not a
money issue. It is about the principle. It is about the issues," he
said. "They are sending that money to national groups that are fighting
the very issues we are trying to help across the country to establish
diversity."

The union maintains that all firefighters should pay dues because they
get the benefits negotiated by the union. Union officials did not return
repeated phone calls and a spokesman in the mayor's office said he could
not comment because they haven't see the suit yet.

The university employees are also facing forced deductions this month
under a new law, passed last fall, that allows unions to deduct a "fair
share" of fees from the paychecks of about 75,000 nonunion employees.

Labor leaders had lobbied legislators and the governor for the law,
arguing that it is only fair to expect everyone to pay for the
representation that the unions provide for all 93,000 employees even
though only 20.5 percent of the employees are dues-paying members.

Under the law, the 74,000 employees not currently paying dues would
either have to join the union or have fees equaling 67 to 95 percent of
the standard union dues deducted from their paychecks.

Full union dues are about $450 to $550 annually for employees. Even a
reduced share of that means annual revenue of about $45 million for the
20 unions representing employees at the two university systems.

However, Dylan Carp, a staff attorney for the Right to Work Foundation,
contends that the employees were never given a say. The unions, he said,
would base the fees on their 1998 expenditures but have failed to show
how much was spent on various activities.

"It permits the state and the unions to take money from dissenting
nonunion employees to pay for the union's political activity," Carp
said. "The Supreme Court has held that the union can only charge
nonunion employees for the union's activities for collective
bargaining."

Anne Giese, counsel for CSEA, said that the union is preparing to send
out audits of its expenditures to all of the affected employees. (The
San Francisco Chronicle, January 19, 2000)


Y2K LITIGATION: CA Ct Oks Quadramed to Force for Arbitration under Act
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A defendant in a Year 2000 lawsuit has the right, under the Y2K Act, to
force the plaintiff to arbitrate the dispute, a federal judge in
California has ruled, granting the defendant's motion to stay pending
the completion of alternative dispute resolution procedures. Preferred
MSO of America-Austin LLC v. Quadramed Corp., No. 99-7705 AHM (CD CA,
Nov. 3, 1999).

Plaintiff Preferred MSO of America-Austin LLC filed a class action
lawsuit in state court against Quadramed Corp. in January 1999. The suit
accused Quadramed of refusing to fix Y2K problems in its DOS-based
EZ-CAP software program and instead forcing customers to upgrade to a
Windows version.

Shortly after the Y2K Act was signed in July 1999, Quadramed removed the
suit to federal court and moved for a stay pending arbitration. The Y2K
Act includes provisions to encourage the resolution of Y2K disputes
without litigation, and specifies certain procedures plaintiffs must
follow in order to file suit. MSO argued that it should not be required
to go along with Quadramed's desire for alternative dispute resolution
(ADR), because the offer was only for MSO's individual claims, not those
of the class, and because Quadramed has repeatedly refused to repair the
software.

However, U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz found the Y2K Act requires
the plaintiff to participate in ADR. Such a requirement comports with
the act's purpose of minimizing Y2K litigation, the judge said. He
rejected MSO's attempt to force Quadramed to engage in ADR on the class
claims, saying:

To condition a defendant's right to the statutorily-mandated ADR
mechanism upon his willingness to negotiate claims of
yet-to-be-certified class members might invite abuse; some plaintiffs
seeking to avoid the application of this feature of the Y2K Act might
routinely sue on behalf of an ostensible class, hoping either that a
defendant would not seek ADR or that the terms of any settlement would
be more favorable.

Judge Matz entered a 60-day stay, starting from Aug. 19, 1999, the date
when Quadramed first requested arbitration. The judge tolled the 60-day
period from Sept. 7, 1999 (the date MSO rejected the ADR request), until
Nov. 3, the date of the order on the motion for a stay and to compel
arbitration. (See Document Section C for the opinion. Call 877-595-0449
for the 18-page complaint.) (Computer & Online Industry Litigation
Reporter, December 7, 1999)


* Lawmakers Again Propose Fee Limits for Copying Medical, Legal Records
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Lawmakers are trying again this year to cap fees for copying medical and
legal records after last spring's legislation was quashed by a
California-based health care information technology company, officials
said on January 18. Lawmakers in both the Senate and House introduced
legislation to restrict fees for copying medical records to a $ 25
handling charge for processing a request and 37 cents per page. The
bills are Senate Bill 1350 and House Bill 3112.

Both bills would apply the same maximum charges to records of attorneys,
as well as health care practitioners, clinical psychologists and
clinical social workers. The charge for copies made from microfiche or
microfilm could not exceed $ 1 per page.

Last spring's proposal -- Senate Bill 480 -- was agreed on by several
health care and attorney groups, but stalled in the Senate after lawyers
for San Rafael, Calif.-based QuadraMed opposed it, according to Jim
Collins, executive director of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.

Besides ITLA, the failed measure was negotiated and agreed on by the
Illinois State Bar Association, Illinois State Medical Society, Illinois
Hospital Association and Association of Health Information Outsourcing
Services, representing businesses that copy medical records.

Collins suggested that the failed measure would have passed but for
QuadraMed's opposition. Officials with the remaining groups could not be
reached for comment. Collins said he couldn't say whether the new
measures stood a better chance of winning passage, but suggested that a
recent appeals court decision and rumors that some lawyers are
considering a class-action suit against QuadraMed have changed the
legislative climate.

The 1st District Appellate Court ruled that section 16 of the Workers'
Compensation Act (820 ILCS 305/16) does not require a person issuing an
Illinois Industrial Commission subpoena to pay any per-page copy fees or
retrieval fees. Ernestine Clayton v. Ingalls Memorial Hospital, No.
97-L-51313.

Collins said some lawyers in Illinois were considering a class-action
law suit against QuadraMed for charging outrageous" fees. Collins
referred questions to Cleveland, Ohio-based attorney Tim Collins, who
handled a similar suit. Tim Collins, who is not related to Jim Collins,
could not be reached for comment. Legislation is available online at
http://www.legis.state.il.us(Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, January 18,
2000)

                               *********


S U B S C R I P T I O N  I N F O R M A T I O N

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc., Princeton, NJ, and Beard Group, Inc.,
Washington, DC.  Theresa Cheuk and Peter A. Chapman, editors.

Copyright 1999.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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