CAR_Public/000216.MBX                 C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

               Wednesday, February 16, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 33

                              Headlines

ASHANTI GOLDFIELDS: Dumps CFO; Shareholders to Meet; Board to Change
BLUE SQUARE: Supermarket in Israel Will Contest Suit over Water in Meat
CHILDREN'S HOMES: Damning Report Prompts U.K. Lawsuit & System Overhaul
COTTER CORP: 10th Cir Overturns Rule on Negligence in Uranium Mill Case
DOUBLECLICK: Online Agency Fights Back Charges of Invading Privacy

FORD CONSUMER: Cir Ct Says Atty. Fees Can't Be Aggregated for Fd Amount
FOSTER CARE: FL Case for Children Brings Changes; May End Peacefully
INMATES LITIGATION: Prisons & Phone Companies Sued for Kickback Scheme
JDN REALTY: Abbey, Gardy Files Securities Suit in Georgia
LEGATO SYSTEMS: Curtis Trinko Files Securities Lawsuit in CA

LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES: Wechsler Harwood Files Securities Lawsuit in NJ
ONYX ACCEPTANCE: Decries Merit of Investors' Lawsuit
POLICY MANAGEMENT: Bernard M Gross Files Securities Lawsuit in SC
SGL CARBON: Ct Rules out Ch 11 Protection; May Resolve Antitrust Claims
SUNRISE INTERNATIONAL: Contests DE Securities Suit Re Merger Agreement

SYKES ENTERPRISES: Lowey Dannenberg Files Securities Lawsuit in FL
TOBACCO LITIGATON: Publicly Displayed Papers Show Secret Talk on Prices
WAR VICTIMS: Australians Back CA Suit Vs. Japanese Firms Re Slave Labor
YIELD BURNING: Lawyers for FL County & Broker Dealers Argue on Markups

                           *********

ASHANTI GOLDFIELDS: Dumps CFO; Shareholders to Meet; Board to Change
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Ashanti Goldfields Co. Ltd., which faces a securities lawsuit launched
by Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, as reported earlier in the CAR,
ditched its chief financial officer, Mark Keatley, on February 14 as the
Ghana government convened talks in Accra to seek a new board line-up for
the troubled mining company. Ghana's biggest company, which lost a court
battle with dissident shareholders last week, said Mr. Keatley would
step down after the next annual general meeting on April 26. Disgruntled
investors, led by Adryx Mining & Metals Ltd., had demanded Mr. Keatley
be fired after $570-million of gold hedging losses that brought the firm
to the brink of default.

The company also confirmed the resignation of Richard Kwame Peprah, the
Ghanaian finance minister, as chairman and said that Phillip Tarsh, its
senior independent non-executive director, would take over as acting
chairman.

Ashanti is under mounting pressure after an Accra court ruling ordered
it to hold an extraordinary shareholders' meeting -- scheduled for March
3 -- to consider demands for board changes and the sale or partial sale
of assets.

Both the dissident shareholders and the government say the firm has
mismanaged a liquidity crisis caused by a rapid increase in gold prices
last October. 'Why did management wait so long to implement solutions
which they were advised of last year? Because of delay, Ashanti is
currently engaged in very delicate negotations with the members of its
banking syndicate,' the government said in a statement.

Ashanti, which was blocked by the government from pursuing its favoured
option of merging with Lonmin PLC, said the comments from the
government, which holds a 20% stake and a golden share in Ashanti, were
regrettable.

Shares in the company, which were floated at US $20 in 1994, sank to a
new low of $2 as the market fretted that its future was now hanging in
the balance.

Ashanti had been due to sign a $100-million (US) loan on February 10 to
pay for work on the promising Geita gold project in Tanzania, in which
it aims to sell a 50% stake. But that refinancing plan was thwarted by
the court ruling that barred it from any new financial transactions
until after the shareholders' meeting.

The wrangling in court has also put back the sale of the Geita stake.
Ashanti had requested binding bids from potential buyers -- thought to
include Barrick Gold Corp. and AngloGold -- by Feb. 11. But on February
14 it said the timetable would have to be delayed until current
uncertainties were resolved.

Time is also running out, once again, on its exemption from paying
margin calls on its derivatives book. Earlier this month, Ashanti's
counterparty banks agreed a further rollover of the deadline, but only
until Feb. 17. (National Post (formerly The Financial Post), February
15, 2000)


BLUE SQUARE: Supermarket in Israel Will Contest Suit over Water in Meat
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Blue Square-Israel Ltd. (NYSE: BSI) announced on February 15 that it has
received a copy of a complaint which claims to be a class action suit
against a meat producer, the Company, and other major supermarket
chains, including the Company's subsidiary, Blue Square Israel
Properties and Investments Ltd., and others. The complaint alleges that
excess water was unlawfully used in frozen meat products of the meat
producer, which were retailed by Blue Square and other major supermarket
chains. The damages claimed total approximately NIS 198 million.

The Company is currently studying the complaint, and intends to defend
itself vigorously against the charges.

Blue Square is a retailer in Israel. It currently operates 165
supermarkets under different formats, each offering varying levels of
service and pricing.


CHILDREN'S HOMES: Damning Report Prompts U.K. Lawsuit & System Overhaul
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A massive overhaul of the care system was being set in place after the
publication of a damning report into the UK's biggest child abuse
scandal on February 15.

The report of a public inquiry into North Wales children's homes found
horrific evidence of widespread sexual and physical abuse of hundreds of
youngsters in several homes over two decades. At least 12 victims have
committed suicide after enduring years of systematic rapes and beatings
at the hands of those who were supposed to protect them.

Hundreds of former residents have now joined a class action lawsuit
which is expected to result in multi-million-pound compensation
settlements.

The report said there was a "climate of violence" and a "cult of
silence" at children's homes in the area which "shattered" the lives of
hundreds of the most vulnerable youngsters.

More than 200 people are criticised in the report, although just 25 have
been convicted of offences against children between 1974 and 1996. And
an urgent search has been ordered to track down 28 people whose
whereabouts are not known and who are named in the report as being
unsuitable to work with children.

Every local authority, police force and voluntary organisation in the
country has been given until February 17 to check past and present
employment records and inform the Department of Health if any of the 28
has ever worked for them.

Entitled Lost In Care, the 500,000-word report, written by former High
Court judge Sir Ronald Waterhouse, included 95 conclusions and 72
recommendations. Social workers, care home staff, local authorities,
police and the Welsh Office were severely criticised by Sir Ronald and
the other two members of the inquiry panel. It called for the setting up
of an independent children's commissioner to protect the rights of
youngsters. And it recommended that every social services authority
should be required to appoint a Children's Complaints Officer to deal
with allegations of abuse. One of the many criticisms of the inquiry was
that the people to whom the children in the homes should have been able
to complain were those who were abusing them.

Health Secretary Alan Milburn announced the establishment of a national
Children's Rights Director to "police" independent regulation and
inspection of children's homes. Mr Milburn said the key roles of the
position would be to police the independent regulation and inspection of
children's homes, to make sure that views of children in various
settings such as children's homes and fostering agencies were given
proper consideration, and to gather and act on significant evidence
which might help local authorities or other providers to improve the
services and support given to children. He added: "Protection of
children from dangerous individuals is the top priority for social care
services. We must satisfy ourselves that those people who have abused
children are not in a position to do so now."

The main allegations of abuse centred on the Bryn Alyn and Bryn Estyn
children's homes in Clwyd, now the county of Flintshire. Deputy head of
Bryn Estyn Peter Howarth was jailed for 10 years in 1994 after being
convicted of sexual offences against seven boys. Housemaster Stephen
Norris was jailed for a total of 10 years for sexual offences against
boys at Bryn Estyn and the Cartrefle children's home, where he had
previously worked. Bryn Alyn home's owner, John Allen, was jailed for
six years in 1995 for sexual offences against six boys. The report said
the convictions were "a mere sample" of Allen's overall offending.

The inquiry heard how Peter Howarth drew up a list of "bum boys" to
visit his flat every evening in their pyjamas whom he sexually
assaulted. The report said: "The consequences of the abuse by Howarth on
his victims were immeasurable and remain so. "Their lives were grossly
poisoned by a leading authority figure in whom they should have been
able to place their trust. "They felt soiled, guilty and embarrassed and
were led to question their own sexual orientation. "Most of them have
experienced difficulties in their sexual relationships and their
relationships with children ever since and many have continued to rebel
against authority. "Even more seriously, their self-respect and ability
to look forward to the future has been shattered."

The inquiry also heard how another Bryn Estyn worker, Paul Wilson,
physically abused youngsters at the home. Witnesses told how he beat
them black and blue, capsized canoes and held them underwater, terrified
them when they were rock climbing by dropping the rope and leaving them
dangling over the edge, and in one case knocking an injured boy's
crutches from underneath him. The report said: "For very many residents
Wilson caused or contributed to substantial distress and unhappiness
that has lingered, in some cases, for as long as two decades."

The report says "manifestly unsuitable" staff were recruited to work in
the homes, and inspection and complaints procedures were "grossly
inadequate". Local authorities and social services did not have
effective leadership or management structures and failed the children in
their care, according to the report.

"The cumulative effect of social services failings ... amounted, in our
judgment, to abuse of those children, and the lamentable result was that
many of them emerged from care unfitted to meet the demands of adult
life, without adequate continuing support and filled with resentment
about their treatment in care," the report said. The Welsh Office's
response to allegations of persistent abuse in children's homes was
"inappropriately negative and inadequate", it added.

The report also highlights poor funding, which meant low-paid and
unqualified staff were employed to care for some of society's most
vulnerable children. But it discounted claims that the abuse was part of
an organised "paedophile ring" in the north-west of England.

The report concluded: "The picture that we have given of a community
home in which two of the most senior members of staff were habitually
engaged in sexual abuse of many of the young residents is truly
appalling."

Children had complained as early as 1978 about abuse, but four damning
reports in the early eighties about the state of homes in Clwyd were
suppressed by the council.

It was only in 1996, after a string of high-profile prosecutions of
former staff at the children's homes, that the then Welsh Secretary,
William Hague, ordered the public inquiry.

Social worker Alison Taylor had acted as a whistleblower on the abuse as
early as 1986 but her repeated calls for investigations were ignored
until 1990. She told North Wales police of her concerns in 1988 but the
investigation was "sluggish and shallow", the inquiry found.

Ms Taylor was sacked from her job after raising concerns, but February
15's report says she is "wholly vindicated" in her role.

One of the report's recommendations was that workers should be able to
make complaints without fear of reprisals - and that failure of staff to
report suspected or actual abuse by a colleague could be made a
disciplinary offence.

The report may also come in for criticism from some victims for not
"naming names" in many of the allegations relating to people not charged
with offences. (Press Association Newsfile, February 15, 2000)


COTTER CORP: 10th Cir Overturns Rule on Negligence in Uranium Mill Case
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A federal appeals court overturned a $2.9 million judgment for a group
of Canon City residents who sued the owners of a uranium mill, ruling on
February 11 that a lower court erred when it said the issue of
negligence had been decided in a previous trial. The 10th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals ordered a new trial in the case, which pits 14 people
from four families in the Lincoln Park neighborhood against the company
they claim contaminated their property and their bodies. Lincoln Park is
on the southern edge of Canon City in southern Colorado.

In 1998, after testimony from witnesses who said toxic waste from the
Cotter Corp. mill made its way into groundwater, gardens and homes in
Lincoln Park, a U.S. District Court jury awarded the plaintiffs $1.45
million in compensatory damages and the same amount in punitive damages.

The award came after the district court ruled that negligence had been
established in a previous trial involving eight other Lincoln Park
residents and barred Cotter from arguing the issue again. The appeals
court said that was a mistake and overturned the ruling. "We believe
that the jurors closed their minds to the evidence, went into the jury
room and said, 'All we have to do is decide on the money," said Cotter
lawyer John Watson.

The appeals court also sided with Cotter on another issue, affirming the
district court's rejection of the plaintiffs' claim for damages for
emotional distress caused by their increased fear of cancer.

The Cotter mill, which opened in 1958 and closed in 1987, produced
uranium fuel for nuclear power plants. The process created dust and
liquid waste that eventually contaminated the area, triggering its
designation in 1984 as a Superfund site eligible for federal cleanup
funds.

The plaintiffs have suffered from illnesses including cancer and
arthritis. One woman who did not smoke died of lung cancer, and an
expert testified that handicapped rodeo rider Jack Hadley's abnormal
bony body growths were caused by his mother's exposure to molybdenum
while pregnant.

According to the appeals court ruling, about 500 Lincoln Park residents
originally sued Cotter in 1989, alleging its negligent operation of the
mill damaged their health and property. Watson said the number was about
550.

After class action status was denied, eight plaintiffs convinced a jury
in 1994 that Cotter was negligent but did not establish that the
negligence caused exposure to hazardous materials requiring future
medical monitoring. They did not claim physical illness or injuries.

According to Watson, three of the eight plaintiffs received no money,
and the other five were awarded a total of less than $200,000. He said
the 10th Circuit Court rejected an appeal in 1995 and the rest of the
plaintiffs then settled.

The 14 new plaintiffs - the first of four groups totaling 67 people -
then sued and won the $2.9 million judgment in July 1998. Cotter
appealed on several grounds, and the payment to the plaintiffs was
automatically stayed pending the 10th Circuit Court's decision.

According to Watson, the district judge barred the jury from hearing
defense testimony about toxicity levels of water and soil samples, and
claimed the jury ignored a state Health Department study that found few
risks, if any, from the contamination.

Lakewood-based Cotter has resumed production of uranium oxide, or
yellowcake, at the mill since getting the go-ahead from the state last
spring. Also last year, concern over contaminated water delayed a
decision to remove Lincoln Park from the list of Superfund sites until
at least 2001. (The Associated Press, February 12, 2000)


DOUBLECLICK: Online Agency Fights Back Charges of Invading Privacy
------------------------------------------------------------------
Accused of invading people's privacy, the DoubleClick online advertising
agency is fighting back. In a campaign announced February 14, the
company portrays itself as a consumer-friendly company that goes out of
its way to protect consumers' anonymity on the Web.

But DoubleClick's announcement only inflamed privacy advocates, who said
the effort avoids the key issue of which the ad agency is accused:
linking Web information users believed was anonymous _ such as online
shopping habits with a database of names and personal details.

The clash underscores an increasing controversy between a marketing
industry eager to harness the Internet's power to reach custom
ers and those who fear the intrusion to people's confidential
information, such as spending habits, health status and food
preferences.

The New York-based DoubleClick is the nation's largest Internet ad
agency, electronically inserting advertisements on about 1,500 Web sites
on behalf of online advertisers.

But last fall, the company landed in hot water with privacy advocates
when it bought direct marketing company Abacus for $1.7 billion. What
irked them was DoubleClick's plans to cross-reference information
obtained by Web ''cookie'' technology with consumer information from the
Abacus marketing database.

A cookie is a small file that a Web site deposits on your hard drive,
often with a unique number that identifies the user's computer. The next
time someone using that computer goes back to the site, the site will
recognize the computer.

DoubleClick, targeted in a lawsuit filed last month and a complaint
filed with the Federal Trade Commission last week, stands accused of
seeking to build virtual dossiers on unwitting consumers' buying habits
and identities, with the intent to sell the data to advertisers who can
barrage people with ads.

The new DoubleClick measures include placing its own banner
advertisements on Web sites, part of an ''Internet Privacy Education
Campaign'' that the company says makes it easier for Web users to ''opt
out'' of giving marketers confidential details about their shopping
habits. The banner ads, a total of 50 million impressions, will be
placed over the next few months, DoubleClick president Kevin Ryan said
in a teleconference.

DoubleClick also said that PricewaterhouseCoopers would start conducting
independent audits of its privacy practices.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center, an advocacy group based in
Washington, filed the complaint last week with the Federal Trade
Commission. The group also is pushing for federal legislation that would
regulate the use of personal information and cookies on the Internet.

It followed a similar move late last month by Harriet Judnick, a
California woman who sued in Marin County Superior Court saying the
cross-referencing between the DoubleClick and Abacus databases was being
done without users' consent. She is seeking class-action status on
behalf of all people in the state.

The conflict puts DoubleClick at the vortex of a wider debate over how
far businesses should go to target consumers.

Privacy advocates say the notion of the Internet as a free-flowing forum
for ideas and information is giving into a harsher reality: Business
wants to know where you go, what you look at and, most importantly, what
you're likely to buy. ''The critical issue is what will be the future
advertising model for the Internet,'' said Marc Rotenberg of the
Electronic Privacy Information Center.

DoubleClick defends its practices, saying its ads ensure that the Web
remains free for consumers to use. ''We strongly believe that effective
advertising is key to keeping the Internet free to consumers ... and
strongly believe that consumers want to receive information about goods
and services that interest them,'' said Ryan. (AP Online, February 15,
2000)


FORD CONSUMER: Cir Ct Says Atty. Fees Can't Be Aggregated for Fd Amount
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Credit life insurance purchasers' share of potential attorney's fees
under Georgia's Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
could not be aggregated to satisfy the 75,000 amount-in-controversy
jurisdictional requirement because the right to attorney's fees
represented a separate and distinct interest, not a collective benefit.
Darden, et al. v. Ford Consumer Finance Company Inc., et al., No.
98-9412 (11th Cir. 1/12/00).

Ralph Darden and Otis Lee and Cora Ivory purchased credit life insurance
from Associates Financial Life Insurance Co. in connection with their
15-year loans obtained from Ford Consumer Finance Co. Premiums were
charged for the credit life insurance with a 10-year term and added into
the principal amount borrowed. Thus, through Ford, the Ivorys and Darden
paid the premiums in full to Associates.

Claiming Ford and Associates violated Georgia law by selling and
financing credit life insurance for 15-year loans without the necessary
authorizations or licenses from the Georgia Department of Insurance, the
consumers filed suit in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Ga. They
alleged breach of legal and private duty, conversion and a violation of
the state's RICO act.

                            Jurisdiction

The defendants moved to dismiss the class action and removed the case to
federal court based on diversity jurisdiction. The consumers opposed the
removal, contending that the amount in controversy did not exceed
75,000. Associates and Ford countered that given the consumers' demand
for attorney's fees under RICO, the claims of the class could be
aggregated to satisfy the amount-in-controversy requirement. The U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Georgia denied the motion to
remand and granted the defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to
exhaust administrative remedies under the Georgia Insurance Code.

The consumers appealed the jurisdiction issue regarding the amount in
controversy to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They stipulated
also that each class member would neither request nor accept damages in
excess of 75,000, exclusive of interest, costs and attorney's fees.

Circuit Judge Hull explained that the claims for compensatory damages of
the individual plaintiffs could not be aggregated to establish the
required amount in controversy. At least one class member must have a
damage claim of greater than 75,000 for federal diversity jurisdiction,
he added. Because "no one asserts that any individual Plaintiff's damage
claim, added to that individual Plaintiff's share of attorneys' fees
under the RICO statute would be enough to satisfy the amount in
controversy," the only issue to resolve was if all of the consumers'
shares of attorney's fees awarded under the state's RICO statute could
be aggregated.

                     Separate and Distinct Interest

The 11th Circuit stated that for attorney's fees to be aggregated in a
class action to satisfy the federal amount in controversy requirement
there must be "a single title or right in which all plaintiffs have a
common and undivided interest," therefore, separate and distinct claims
could not be aggregated. The court looked to state law and the purpose
of the attorney's fees award under Georgia's RICO statute.

Georgia's RICO statute provides, "Any person who is injured by reason of
any violation of Code Section 16-14-4 shall have a cause of action for
three times the actual damages sustained and, where appropriate,
punitive damages. Such person shall also recover attorneys' fees in the
trial and appellate courts and costs of investigation and litigation
reasonably incurred. The defendant or any injured person may demand a
trial by jury in any civil action brought pursuant to this Code
section." The 11th Circuit held that this statutory language clearly
indicates that the statutory award of attorney's fees represents a
separate and distinct interest awarded to compensate each injured civil
plaintiff. The legislature did not intend for the award of attorney's
fees to penalize a party.

Because each plaintiff had a separate and distinct interest in the award
of attorney's fees under Georgia law, the 11th Circuit held their share
of attorney's fees could not be aggregated to satisfy the
amount-in-controversy requirement. The court ruled that the consumers
were only joining together in a class action to enforce their individual
rights.

In conclusion, the 11th Circuit ruled the District Court lacked subject
matter jurisdiction and vacated that court's order denying the
consumers' motion to remand. The 11th Circuit directed the District
Court to remand the action to the Superior Court. (Consumer Financial
Services Law Report, February 9, 2000)


FOSTER CARE: FL Case for Children Brings Changes; May End Peacefully
--------------------------------------------------------------------
For 16 months, the state's social services department and child
advocates have wrangled over allegations that Broward County's foster
children are at best ignored, at worst abused.

Now it appears that the conflict laid out in a federal class-action
lawsuit may be coming to a peaceful close. The Department of Children &
Families has scheduled a "major announcement" related to the suit for
this morning at the state Attorney General's Office in Fort Lauderdale.
Both DCF Secretary Kathleen Kearney, a former Broward dependency judge,
and plaintiffs' attorneys will attend, a department spokeswoman said.

The Youth Law Center, a San Francisco-based nonprofit agency, filed the
suit in October 1998 charging that eight of Broward County's foster
children were in more danger under the state's care than they were in
their allegedly abusive or neglectful homes. One plaintiff, an
11-year-old girl, was lured away from an overcrowded foster home and
gang raped by three men.

In March 1999, U.S. District Judge Frederico Moreno granted the suit
class-action status. The suit now covers 1,400 foster children. For
months, both sides have been quietly working on how to avoid a scheduled
Feb. 28 trial.

Plaintiffs' attorneys have said the department was underfunded,
overburdened with cases and unable to provide safe, stable, appropriate
placement for the county's most vulnerable children. That left children
exposed to physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

A month after the suit was filed, a Broward grand jury released its
report on the county's child protection system. What they found appalled
them: department workers buckling under a load of 40 to 50 cases each;
foster homes crammed with children; rampant child-on-child abuse;
distrust between the courts and the department; and an indifferent
administration.

Catastrophe, the grand jury said, was imminent. "There is agreement from
Dependency Court Judges, District employees and other persons familiar
with the child welfare system that the problems facing the Department
and District Ten are so extensive and so pervasive that they threaten to
collapse the entire system and that serious intervention is imperative,"
the report stated.

The lawsuit grabbed state government's attention like nothing else
could. It also prodded the local community into action. "We've always
been screaming we've got a serious issue here in foster care and now
it's been acknowledged that truthfully there is a problem," said Ellyn
Okrent, program director at Kids in Distress, which provides shelter,
foster care and counseling services to abused and neglected children.
"There's been significant administration change. There's been a lot of
community talk in terms of making this a priority. It has caused a lot
of attention."

Starting in July 1999, The Broward Sheriff's Office began taking over
child abuse investigations, another Children & Families division
lambasted by the grand jury for putting children at risk. They now
investigate about 1,000 reports of abuse and neglect a month.

Meanwhile, numerous volunteer committees made up of business leaders,
government representatives and social workers have since popped up,
eager to tackle the problem. They are busily working to lobby the
Legislature for more money, special pilot projects and more focus on
prevention programs to halt the stream of children coming into care.

The department, too, has changed some of its ways. "They're trying to
hold foster parents to only two children in each home," Okrent said.
"They're monitoring much more closely." But while a sea change may be
evident within the department's structure, problems continue to plague
the system.

The district's backlog of open child abuse cases has swelled from 1,000
in 1998 to 4,000 early this year. Now that department investigators are
no longer taking on new cases, and volunteers have stepped forward to
help, the backlog is slowly shrinking. Department officials expect to
close out all their cases by July.

The district still can't account for 77 children who they say have
either run away or are simply missing. In 1998, it was 80. More than 30
foster children have been sexually assaulted by other foster children
during the past six months.

Foster care workers are still overwhelmed by cases, although the load
has diminished to an average of 26 per caseworker. And the district
remains woefully void of shelter space.

At any given time, about 180 children need emergency shelter in Broward
County. Yet the district only has 55 emergency shelter beds in both
facilities and homes. Meanwhile, traumatized children plucked from their
homes often wait for hours in department offices while placement workers
scramble late into the night to find them a bed. A rare few with no
place else to go have been forced to sleep on couches and cots in the
district's assessment center, said Jim Walker, head of child welfare.
Foster homes too are full, with 46 of the department's 384 homes over
capacity. The rest of the 224 homes are run by private nonprofit
agencies.

But even with those challenges, Walker, who used to work for the state
Attorney General's Office compiling reports on foster care cases, said
the department is better off than it was 16 months ago. "When I look at
what concerns I raised and I look at where we are at this point, I think
we have come a long ways."

Some say no matter what the final outcome, that is this lawsuit's
legacy. "These children for the most part are silent and invisible,"
said Marcia Robinson Lowry with Children's Rights Inc., a national
children's advocacy group. "[Changing that] requires the kind of
external pressure and publicity for something to happen, for
appropriations to increase, for management changes to be made." "That's
one of the things the lawsuit does provide focused, sustained
pressure, hopefully used constructively." (Sun-Sentinel (Fort
Lauderdale, FL), February 15, 2000)


INMATES LITIGATION: Prisons & Phone Companies Sued for Kickback Scheme
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Four private prison operators in 33 states have received "commission
kickbacks" from at least two companies that provide inmate telephone
service, a national class-action lawsuit alleges.

The suit charges that Evercom Systems of Texas and PCS America of
Oklahoma, among others, conspired with the nation's largest private
prison operators to establish monopolies over prison phone services.

The prisons received kickbacks up to 60 percent of the gross revenue
from collect calls, said Mark Donatelli, one of three attorneys that
filed the suit.

"The kind of money being generated by this is just unbelievable, and it
bears no relation to the cost of providing phone service," Donatelli
said. "It is strictly a commission kickback for providing a monopoly."

The private prison operators named in the suit run more than 200 prisons
in 33 states. They include Wackenhut Corrections Corp., Correctional
Services Corporation, Corrections Corporation of America and Cornell
Corrections.
(Source: The Albuquerque Journal, published in Corrections Professional,
February 11, 2000)


JDN REALTY: Abbey, Gardy Files Securities Suit in Georgia
---------------------------------------------------------
Abbey, Gardy & Squitieri, LLP announced on February 15 that a class
action is being filed in the United States District Court for the
District of Georgia on behalf of all persons who bought securities of
JDN Realty Corp. during the period February 15, 1997 to February 14,
2000 (the "Class Period"). The Complaint charges JDN and certain of its
officers with concealing the fact that certain officers received
undisclosed compensation in connection with certain real estate
transactions.

Contact: oshua N. Rubin, Esq., Abbey Gardy & Squitieri, LLP., 212 East
39th Street, New York, NY 10016, Telephone: 800-889-3701 or 212-889-3700
Fax: 212-684-5191 E-mail: jrubin@a-g-s.com Web: http://www.a-g-s.com


LEGATO SYSTEMS: Curtis Trinko Files Securities Lawsuit in CA
------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Curtis V. Trinko, LLP filed a securities lawsuit in
the United States District Court of the Northern District of California,
on behalf of all individuals who purchased or otherwise acquired shares
of Legato Systems, Inc. between the dates of October 20, 1999 and
January 19, 2000, inclusive.

The class action asserted claims under the federal securities laws,
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, 15
U.S.C. ss.ss. 78(j)(b), 78(t)(a), and Rule 10b-5 (17 C.F.R. ss.
240.10b-5) in connection with the issuance by Legato Systems, Inc. of a
series of materially misleading financial statements and press releases
concerning Legato's publicly reported revenues and earnings.

The Plaintiffs allege that the statements disseminated by Legato and the
Director Defendants were false and materially misleading when made by
virtue of the Company's announcement on January 19, 2000 that it would
restate financial results for the third and fourth quarters of fiscal
year 1999. Throughout the Class Period, Legato reported artificially
inflated revenues and earnings by recognizing revenue in violation of
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Such improperly recorded
revenues should not have been recorded because the earnings process was
not complete. In total, the Company improperly recognized $19 million
during the third and fourth quarters of 1999. In the wake of the adverse
announcement of January 19, 2000, Legato's stock price plummeted as much
as 48%, falling from a closing price of $53 5/8 on January 19, 2000 to
as low as $28 in early trading on January 20, 2000, causing substantial
damages to Plaintiff and the Class.

Contact: plaintiffs' counsel, Curtis V. Trinko, of the Law Offices of
Curtis V. Trinko, LLP, 16 West 46th Street, New York, New York 10017,
(212) 490-9550, Joseph J. Tabacco, Jr., of Berman DeValerio & Pease,
LLP, One Liberty Square, Boston, MA 02109, (617) 542-8300, or Andrew M.
Schatz of Schatz & Nobel, P.C., 330 Main St., Hartford, CT 06106 (860)
493-6292.


LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES: Wechsler Harwood Files Securities Lawsuit in NJ
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Wechsler Harwood Halebian & Feffer LLP commenced a class action lawsuit
in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey on
behalf of all persons who purchased the common stock of Lucent
Technologies, Inc. between October 27, 1999 and January 6, 2000,
inclusive.

Contact: Craig Lowther, Shareholder Relations Department at Wechsler
Harwood Halebian & Feffer LLP, 488 Madison Avenue, New York, New York
10022 at (toll free) 1-877-935-7400 or e-mail at clowther@whhf.com or
visit website at http://www.whhf.com


ONYX ACCEPTANCE: Decries Merit of Investors' Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------
Onyx Acceptance Corp. said that a class-action lawsuit filed against the
company and some officers "has no foundation and is without merit." The
suit claims the company misled investors and artificially inflated its
stock price.

The lawsuit was filed after Onyx, a Foothill Ranch auto finance company,
restated its financial results for 1996, 1997 and parts of 1998. The
company attributed the restatement to an accounting change adopted to
conform with new standards set by the Securities and Exchange
Commission. (Los Angeles Times, February 15, 2000)


POLICY MANAGEMENT: Bernard M Gross Files Securities Lawsuit in SC
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Bernard M. Gross, P.C filed a class action lawsuit in
the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina on
behalf of a class consisting of all persons who purchased the common
stock of Policy Management Systems Corporation from October 22, 1998
through and including February 9, 2000, inclusive.

The complaint charges Policy Management Systems Corporation and certain
of its officers with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as well as Section 10b-5. The complaint
alleges that defendants issued a series of materially false and
misleading statements regarding the Company's financial condition,
products, technologies and financial statements. Before the disclosure
of the adverse facts described above, certain members of the Company's
senior management sold their personally-held Policy Management common
stock to the unsuspecting public generating proceeds of over $13
million.

For additional information concerning this lawsuit, please contact Susan
Gross, Esq. (susang@bernardmgross.com) or Tina Moukoulis, Esq.
(Tina@bernardmgross.com) of Law Offices Bernard M. Gross, P.C.,
telephone at 800/849-3120 or 215/561-3600 or visit website at
http://www.bernardmgross.com


SGL CARBON: Ct Rules out Ch 11 Protection; May Resolve Antitrust Claims
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
SGL Carbon Corp., Charlotte, N.C., said that it does not expect the U.S.
Court of Appeals' recent negative decision to have an impact on the
company's efforts to resolve the remaining claims in graphite electrodes
antitrust litigation.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that SGL Carbon had not been
eligible for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Protection, which it filed for in the
course of the antitrust allegations. The Appea1s Court said that the
company did not face immediate financial difficulty and that it had
abused bankruptcy laws.

SGL Carbon, the U.S. unit of SGL Carbon AG, Wiesbaden, Germany, said it
expected to be out of Chapter 11 by mid-January and that it would have
the remaining 4 percent of claims resolved expeditiously.

Nearly two dozen U.S. steel companies filed a civil lawsuit against four
producers of graphite electrodes in spring 1998. Those same producers
were already the targets of U.S. and European Union price-fixing
investigations and related class-action lawsuit.

The companies, which in addition to SGL included UCAR International
Inc., Danbury, Conn., Carbide/Graphite Group Inc., Pittsburgh and Showa
Denko Carbon Inc., Ridgeville, S.C., later paid antitrust fines and
agreed to numerous settlement with plaintiffs.

As reported in the CAR, last month the company said that the signing of
final settlements with class-action plaintiffs in antitrust litigation
in the United States paved the way for its emergence from bankruptcy
(AMM Online, Dec. 9). As a result of the settlement, SGL Carbon Corp.
had resolved more than 96 percent of all claims in the U.S. through
out-of-court settlements.

After the signing of the agreement, the company obtained an order from
the U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del., authorizing the company to
solicit creditor votes on its plan for bringing the Chapter 11 case to a
close. The company's disclosure statement -- the information provided to
creditors regarding the plan--had been approved previously.

SGL Carbon manufactures, markets and distributes carbon and graphite
products, principally graphite electrodes, used in electric-furnace
steelmaking, and specialty graphite products. (American Metal Market,
January 7, 2000)


SUNRISE INTERNATIONAL: Contests DE Securities Suit Re Merger Agreement
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Sunrise International Leasing Corporation (Nasdaq: SUNL) announced on
February 14, 2000 that one of its stockholders filed a complaint as a
class action in the Court of Chancery for the State of Delaware against
it and its directors. The complaint alleges breach of fiduciary duty by
Sunrise's directors in connection with Sunrise's recently announced
merger with The King Management Corporation. The complaint seeks damages
and an order of the Court to Sunrise's directors to carry out their
fiduciary duties.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Sunrise's stockholders will
receive $5.25 per share in cash. Sunrise believes the terms of the
proposed merger with The King Management Company are fair, from a
financial point of view, to Sunrise and its unaffiliated stockholders
and believes that the complaint is without merit. Sunrise plans to
vigorously defend its position.

Sunrise International Leasing Corporation was established in 1989 and is
based in Golden Valley, Minn. It offers leasing options to
manufacturers, distributors, resellers and to end users. Sunrise's
common stock is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol
"SUNL."


SYKES ENTERPRISES: Lowey Dannenberg Files Securities Lawsuit in FL
------------------------------------------------------------------
Lowey Dannenberg Bemporad & Selinger, P.C. filed a securities class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle
District of Florida against Sykes Enterprises, Inc. and certain of the
Company's officers and directors on behalf of purchasers of Sykes common
stock during the period July 26, 1999 through February 6, 2000,
inclusive.

Plaintiff's complaint alleges that defendants violated the federal
securities laws by issuing to the investing public false and misleading
financial statements and press releases which overstated Sykes' reported
revenues and earnings, and misled the marketplace as to its purportedly
rapid growth and prospects. On the morning of February 7, 2000, Sykes
disclosed that fourth quarter 1999 results were significantly below both
market expectations and its results for fourth quarter of 1998. The
shortfall was due in major part to revenue recognition issues which
required Sykes to delay recognizing revenues, and to restate downward
its previously reported results for the second and third quarters ended
June 30 and September 30, 1999. As a result, Sykes' net income for these
quarters was reduced by 67%. Sykes further conceded that in light of the
restatement, it expected 2000 earnings of about $1.10 per share, well
short of analysts' expectations of $1.53 per share. On February 7, 2000,
the market price of Sykes' common stock, which had traded as high as $51
per share during the Class Period, plunged to$14-1/4 per share, thereby
culminating in a decline of more than 70% in value over a three-week
period.

For more inquiries concerning the above-mentioned lawsuit, please
contact David Harrison, Esq. Lowey Dannenberg Bemporad & Selinger, P.C.
The Gateway, 11th Floor One North Lexington Avenue White Plains, NY
10601-1714 telephone 914-997-0500 telecopier 914-997-0035 e-mail at
dharrison@ldbs.com or visit website at http://www.ldbs.com


TOBACCO LITIGATON: Publicly Displayed Papers Show Secret Talk on Prices
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The world's two largest tobacco companies discussed pricing and ways to
share markets in Guatemala and Costa Rica, according to a February 15
report in the Financial Times. Executives from Philip Morris Cos. and
British American Tobacco Co. Ltd. talked about policies to avoid
''destabilization'' of one of the markets during a 1992 meeting at a
hotel outside London, the newspaper said. It cited minutes from the
meeting that referred to ''good cooperation between both companies.''

The document came to light since the U.S. Justice Department filed a
class-action lawsuit last week that accuses major American cigarette
manufacturers of meeting secretly to illegally fix prices they charge
wholesalers.

The six pages of notes, marked ''secret,'' are among some 8 million
pages of documents that have been displayed publicly at a depository
that British American Tobacco set up in Guildford, Surrey, near London.
The company put the documents on display after major tobacco companies
settled lawsuits filed against them by all 50 U.S. states. Under that
1998 settlement, the companies agreed to pay states $ 246 billion for
the cost of treating smoking-related illnesses.

Philip Morris acknowledged that it has discussed pricing ''on a few
occasions'' with BAT representatives in Latin America. ''These
discussions took place only where permitted by law and often at the
request of local governments,'' spokeswoman Elizabeth Cho said from the
company's New York headquarters.

BAT spokeswoman Jody Humble called the report ''an old story'' about a
document that first surfaced in late 1998, during litigation brought
against the company by the Washington state attorney general. ''These
issues were looked at the time, and the review indicated that we didn't
have a problem,'' she said. (AP Worldstream, February 15, 2000)


WAR VICTIMS: Australians Back CA Suit Vs. Japanese Firms Re Slave Labor
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Australian prisoners of war forced to work on the infamous Burma Railway
backed a class action on February 15 against Japanese companies believed
to have profited from slave labour. As World War II diggers in Sydney
came to lay wreaths and observe a minute's silence in memory of fallen
soldiers, veterans said they would welcome the chance to hit guilty
Japanese companies in the hip pocket.

Among those companies named in the class action were Mitsubishi,
Kawasaki and Mitsui. Melbourne law firm Glennon, Burstyner & Co is
acting for the former prisoners of war.

Victorian POWs were due to meet in Melbourne on February 15 to discuss
the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles on December 7.

Lawyer acting for the POWs, Henry Burstyner, said the action would be
for millions of dollars and he expected there to be between 6,000 and
10,000 people eligible for compensation.

Mr Burstyner was the first lawyer to successfully force a Swiss bank to
return dormant funds to a Sydney man.

Dr Rowley Richards, 83, said he had given money to help get the class
action off the ground. "No amount of money they can be fined or have to
pay us is going to replace 7,000 lives nor be compensation for the
cruelty and starvation," Dr Richards said. "Our prime objective is to
get it out in the open and make these people accountable. "Obviously, it
would have been better had it happened sooner, because a lot more people
would have benefited," he said.

After working on the Burma Railway, Dr Richards said he was handed over
as slave labor to a Japanese company in Sakato. "We had the coldest
winter in 70 years, and the winter was virtually over before they
provided us with any heating," he said.

Reg Mahoney, a member of the Australian Eighth Division, said his two
years working on the Burma Railway were hell. "We had five kilometres to
walk from the camp to the railway line, then slaving for up to 16 hours
a day and another five kilometres back to the camp," he related. "And my
ration was a pint of rice a day," the 85-year-old said. "It was a living
hell."

Mr Mahoney said for years he had attempted to get some compensation for
his suffering but he had been unsuccessful. He welcomed this opportunity
to join the class action. "Indeed, I'll be looking to join them. "We owe
it to all our mates who didn't come back. "So many died from Japanese
brutality and starvation," he said. (AAP Newsfeed, February 15, 2000)


YIELD BURNING: Lawyers for FL County & Broker Dealers Argue on Markups
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Lawyers in the Collier County, Fla., yield-burning class action suit
squa red off on February 11 on a panel designed to help shed some light
on the contentious issue for Florida public finance officials.

While refusing to discuss details of the case, both the lawyer for the
clerk of Collier County, who filed the suit, and the lawyer for one of
the 15 broker-dealer defendants laid out their differing points of view
on yield burning, which occurs when broker-dealers charge municipal
issuers excessive markups when selling them Treasury securities to fund
the escrow accounts associated with advance refundings. The practice was
allegedly widespread in the market in the first half of the 1990s.

The penalty for yield burning can be the loss of tax-exempt status for
the bonds, although several federal agencies and more than a dozen
brokerage firms are in negotiations aimed at reaching a "global"
settlement of all federal claims.

Even if the threats to the bonds' tax-exempt status is resolved,
however, many of the issuers in attendance during the session at a
Florida Government Finance Officers Association meeting still wanted to
know whether dealers who engaged in yield burning betrayed a
responsibility to the issuer.

Paul Saltzman, general counsel for The Bond Market Association, the
trade group of municipal broker-dealers, argued that issuers bear
ultimate responsibility for what happens in their deals. "How about the
issuer being responsible for the issuer's actions?" remarked Saltzman,
who was also on the panel. "At some point people have got to take
responsibility for their own actions."

Saltzman threw himself into the thick of the debate over the merits of
the different yield-burning suits, and for the most part sided with the
industry perspective that sees limits on the fiduciary duties of the
dealers. In addition, Saltzman reminded the audience that it's the
financial adviser who is usually being paid to look out for the issuer
on these matters.

"An underwriter actually has an adversarial relationship," added Samuel
Winer, a lawyer with Foley & Lardner in Washington, D.C., which is
representing Dain Rauscher Inc. in the Collier case and also represents
Everen Securities Inc. in a case pending in Chicago. In addition, Winer
said the standard for reasonable markups has been tightened over the
years. "The stand in the early '90s indicated that markups greatly in
excess of what we're talking about now would not be criticized," he
said.

But Louis Gottlieb, a lawyer at Goodkind Labaton Rudoff & Sucharow in
New York, which is representing the clerk of Collier County, argued that
the SEC has indicated that everyone in an escrow deal bears some level
of responsibility to make sure the borrower is not getting ripped off.
Gottlieb referred to the shingle theory, which holds that when you hang
your shingle to say you're in business, you take on a level of fiduciary
duty to your clients. "There is an implied duty to reveal markups when
markups are excessive," he said.

However, Saltzman said that was an outdated standard, since the Supreme
Court has rejected that theory. (The Bond Buyer, February 15, 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.   Romeo John D. Piansay, Jr., editor, Theresa Cheuk,
Managing Editor.

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

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