CAR_Public/000301.MBX                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

               Wednesday, March 1, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 43

                             Headlines

ACXION CORP.: Will Move to Dismiss Shareholder Suit in Time
AMC ENTERTAINMENT: Justice Department Takes Lead in ADA Litigation
AMERCO: U-Haul Overtime Pay Trial Set to Begin in July, 2000
AURORA FOODS: Weiss & Yourman Files Securities Lawsuit in California
BILLING CONCEPTS: Shareholders Appeal Order of Dismissal to 5th Circuit

BLACK SLAVERY: The Boston Globe Report on Reparations Debate
BMC SOFTWARE: Rabin & Peckel Announces Securities Suit Filed in TX
CARNIVAL CORP: Milberg Weiss Announces Securities Suit in Florida
CENTURY BUSINESS: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Suit in Maryland
CENTURY BUSINESS: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Suit in Maryland

CHARLESTON: Drug Testing Pregnant Women Draws Supreme Court Review
COCA-COLA: Black Employees Begin to Mobilize; Release Form at Issue
COMPAQ COMPUTER: Admits Data-Eating Glitch in Computers
ILM SENIOR: Shareholders' Counsel Awarded $950,000 for Fees
INACOM CORPORATION: Milberg Weiss Announces Securities Suit in Nebraska

JDN REALTY: Donovan Miller Announces Securities Lawsuit in Georgia
JDN REALTY: Weinstein Kitchenoff Commences Securities Lawsuit in GA
MANHATTAN INVESTMENT: Finkelstein & Krinsk Looks into Securities Fraud
MASTERPIECE TECHNOLOGY: Vows to Defend Unseen Shareholder Suit
NATHAN'S FAMOUS: Texas Court Rejects Shareholder Class Certification

PASMINCO SMELTERS: Aussi Law Firm Launches Suit on Lead Poisoning
PRIME SUCCESSION: Family Service Counselors Get Back Pay for OT
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Philip Morris VP Says Co. Open to Some Regulation
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Virginia Seeks Cap on Tobacco Bond

* US Consumer Product Safety Commission Announces Recall of Products

                           *********

ACXION CORP.: Will Move to Dismiss Shareholder Suit in Time
-----------------------------------------------------------
On September 20, 1999, ACXION, CORP. and certain of its directors and
officers were sued by an individual shareholder in a purported class
action filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Arkansas. The action alleges that the defendants violated
Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933 in connection with the July 23,
1999 public offering of 5,421,000 shares of the common stock of the
Company. In addition, the action seeks to assert liability against the
Company Leader pursuant to Section 15 of the Securities Act of 1933. The
action seeks to have a class certified of all purchasers of the stock
sold in the public offering. Two additional suits were subsequently
filed in the same venue against the same defendants and asserting the
same allegations. The cases are in their infancy and no substantive
filings have been made subsequent to the initial complaints. The Company
believes the allegations are without merit and the defendants intend to
vigorously contest the cases, and at the appropriate time, seek their
dismissal.


AMC ENTERTAINMENT: Justice Department Takes Lead in ADA Litigation
------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 29, 1999, the Department of Justice ("DOJ") filed suit
against the Company in the United States District Court for the Central
District of California, United States of America v. AMC Entertainment
Inc. and American Multi-Cinema, Inc. The complaint alleges that the
Company has designed, constructed and operated two of its motion picture
theatres in the Los Angeles area and unidentified theatres elsewhere
that have stadium-style seating in violation of DOJ regulations
implementing Title III of the ADA and related "Standards for Accessible
Design" (the "Standards"). The complaint alleges various types of
non-compliance with the DOJ's Standards, but relates primarily to issues
relating to lines of sight. The DOJ seeks declaratory and injunctive
relief regarding existing and future theatres with stadium-style
seating, compensatory damages and a civil penalty.

The current DOJ position appears to be that theatres must provide
wheelchair seating locations and transfer seats with viewing angles to
the screen that are at the median or better, counting all seats in the
auditorium. Heretofore, the Company has attempted to conform to the
evolving standards imposed by the DOJ and believes its theatres are in
substantial compliance with the ADA. However, the Company believes that
the DOJ's current position has no basis in the ADA or related
regulations and is an attempt to amend the ADA regulations without
complying with the Administrative Procedures Act. The Company has filed
an answer denying the allegations and asserting that the DOJ is engaging
in unlawful rulemaking. A similar claim has been made by another
exhibitor, Cinemark USA, Inc. v. United States Department of Justice,
United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Case
No. 399CV0183-L. Although no assurances can be given, based on existing
precedent involving stadiums or stadium seating, the Company believes
that an adverse decision in this matter is not likely to have a material
adverse effect on its financial condition, liquidity or results of
operations. However, there have been only a few cases involving stadiums
or stadium seating.

On November 30, 1998, Cyndi Soto filed suit in the United States
District Court for the Central District of California, Cyndi Soto v.
American Multi- Cinema, Inc. and JANSS/TYS Long Beach Associates,
CV989547SLRNBX, alleging that one of the Company's theatres violated the
ADA and California law by failing to remove certain barriers to access.
The suit seeks an unspecified amount of general, special and punitive
damages under California law and an injunction requiring the Company
remove the alleged barriers. The Company has filed an answer denying the
allegations in the Soto suit. On March 4, 1999, William P. Storrs filed
a purported class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for
the Southern District of Texas, William P. Storrs v. AMC Entertainment,
Inc., Case No. H-99-061, alleging that sight lines at a Houston area
megaplex violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and Chapter 121 of
the Texas Human Resources Code. The suit seeks injunctive, declaratory
and monetary relief. The Court has stayed the suit pending resolution of
the Department of Justice litigation filed in California referred to
above.


AMERCO: U-Haul Overtime Pay Trial Set to Begin in July, 2000
------------------------------------------------------------
On June 24, 1997, five current and/or former Moving Center General
Managers (GMs) and one Area Field Manager (AFM) filed suit in Marin
County Superior Court, Case No. BC 203532, entitled Sarah Saunders, et
al. vs. U-Haul Company of California, Inc., claiming that they were
entitled to be compensated for all overtime hours worked in excess of
forty hours per week. In addition, these Plaintiffs sought class action
status purporting to represent all persons employed in California as
either a salaried GM or AFM since September 1993.

On September 30, 1997, a virtually identical lawsuit was filed in Los
Angeles County Superior Court, Case No. BC 178775, entitled Wyatt
Crandall vs. U-Haul International, Inc. and U-Haul Co. of California.
This action did not include AFMs, but did purport to be brought on
behalf of GMs and GM trainees.

These cases were consolidated by the Court in Los Angeles on October 15,
1998. On June 10, 1999, Plaintiff's motion to certify the AFMs as a
class was denied and the motion to certify the GMs as a class was
granted. Notice of class certification was mailed on or about August 24,
1999. The class opt-out period ended on October 11, 1999. Trial is set
for July, 2000.


AURORA FOODS: Weiss & Yourman Files Securities Lawsuit in California
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Weiss & Yourman filed a class action lawsuit in U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of
purchasers of Aurora Foods, Inc. common stock between April 28,
1999, and February 18, 2000, inclusive.

According to the complaint, during the Class Period, defendants
issued to the investing public financial statements and press
releases concerning Aurora's financial condition and performance
which were false, misleading, deceptive and failed to conform with
both mandatory Securities and Exchange Commission guidelines and
Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures. As a result of these false
and misleading statements, the market price of the Company's
securities were artificially inflated during the Class Period.

For more information regarding this action, please contact
plaintiffs' counsel Ronald T. Theda, Esq. of Weiss & Yourman,
telephone at 800-437-7918 or e-mail at wyinfo@wyca.com


BILLING CONCEPTS: Shareholders Appeal Order of Dismissal to 5th Circuit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A lawsuit was filed on December 31, 1998, in the United States District
Court in San Antonio, Texas by an alleged stockholder of BILLING
CONCEPTS CORP. against the Company and various of its officers and
directors, alleging unspecified damages as a result of alleged false
statements in various press releases prior to November 19, 1998. In
September 1999, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of
Texas entered an order and judgment dismissing the plaintiff's lawsuit.
The plaintiff noticed an appeal of that decision on September 29, 1999.
Although no assurances can be given, the Company believes it has
meritorious defenses to this action and intends to defend itself
vigorously.

Separately, Billing Concepts reports that it is cooperating with the
Federal Trade Commission's ("FTC") Bureau of Consumer Protection ("BCP")
regarding BCP staff requests for industry and customer specific
information from the Company relating primarily to the alleged cramming
of charges for non-regulated telecommunication services by certain of
its customers. Cramming is the addition of charges to a telephone bill
for programs, products or services the consumer did not knowingly
authorize. In connection with the Company's responses to the ongoing
informational requests, the BCP staff has proposed a complaint against
the Company. The BCP staff alleges that it can impose a variety of civil
remedies on the Company, including consumer redress or other equitable
relief as well as restrictions on the way the Company processes charges
for enhanced services. The Company disputes the BCP staff's alleged
basis for liability and is reviewing the BCP staff's allegations to
ensure that corrective action has already been taken. BCC has and will
continue to cooperate and engage the BCP staff in good faith
negotiations. The Company is unable to predict what action, if any, the
FTC will take regarding the BCP staff's proposed complaint or what, if
any, financial impact would result.


BLACK SLAVERY: The Boston Globe Report on Reparations Debate
-------------------------------------------------------------
An article on The Boston Globe says that a group of prominent black
academics is looking into a possible class-action lawsuit on behalf of
descendants of those injured by slavery, a sign that the issue of paid
reparations for American slavery could be moving from the fringes of
black political debate into the mainstream civil rights agenda.

Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree Jr., Harvard Afro-American
Studies chairman Henry Louis Gates Jr., and many other black
intellectuals say they are considering legal and legislative action to
secure reparations for the descendants of enslaved blacks. Other groups,
such as Japanese-Americans interned during World War II, have turned to
the courts to right historical wrongs. Activists since Emancipation have
argued that America should be made to pay for the horrors it visited
upon its first black residents. But until now, the issue has largely
been championed by a small band of politicians and left-wing activists,
and the country's potential debt for slavery has not been tested in the
courts. "We are looking at what's the viability of legal action and
political viability of legislative action, and then more morally, how
can we get beyond the history of slavery to think of ways to
comprehensively remedy it," Ogletree said.

Gates said he is planning to ask the board of the Harvard's W.E.B Du
Bois Institute to examine the issue.

Some critics, though, worried that an organized demand for payment,
whether in the form of a lawsuit or federal legislation, would be so
divisive that it could set back race relations at a time when many
blacks are overcoming some of the social and economic disadvantages of
the past. "I agree with some of the policies that are being discussed,"
said Kwame Anthony Appiah, a professor at Harvard University and a board
member of the Du Bois Institute. But "guilt-tripping on a whole is not
an effective way to make political policies successful."

Some legal scholars questioned whether Ogletree and others would be able
to successfully sue so long after the events, with all of the direct
victims long dead. "There is a difference between the people actually
enslaved and those bringing the lawsuit," said Jules Coleman, a Yale Law
School professor. "The question is: Would the courts recognize the
latter?"

Harvard-trained attorney Randall Robinson, who helped rekindle interest
in the idea of reparations with his book "The Debt: What America Owes
Blacks," said slavery is a human rights crime dating from the day
Africans were first forcibly brought to the colonies until 1965, after
the Voting Rights Act was passed. "We are not just talking about slavery
but the century of discrimination that followed," he said. Robinson said
the 40 race riots, 4,700 or more lynchings, as well as more
institutional discrimination such as redlining - all, he argues,
extensions of slavery - have accounted for an estimated $1.4 trillion
loss in wealth for African-Americans. "It is no surprise that blacks are
on a whole poorer than whites," said Robinson, president of Trans
Africa, who led the fight against South African apartheid. "The genesis
in the poverty gap can be found in slavery and sustained by laws."

Past demands for reparations have never gained much political currency.
While a Massachusetts state senator, William Owens repeatedly demanded
reparations be paid to blacks - while others, including some black
political opponents in his district, argued that the cause was fruitless
and emblematic of an outmoded '60s style of activism.

But rap group Public Enemy wrote songs about reparations, bringing the
cause onto the college-radio scene. US Representative John Conyers, a
Detroit Democrat, has also pushed a reparations bill in Congress for a
decade.

Now, said Conyers, "It is coming out of the eccentric phase and being
considered something that really ought to be given serious scrutiny and
examination."

In January, Robinson called a number of well-known scholars from the
nation's top schools as well as mainstream civil rights leaders to
discuss the issue in Washington. Among dozen of supporters who are
joining Ogletree are Dorothy Height, director of the National Council of
Negro Women; Christopher Edley Jr., professor at Harvard Law School,
actor Danny Glover; and political consultant Ronald Walters. "I don't
think there is any question they have given this issue new altitude,"
said Robinson of the academics. "I think there is a broader consensus
than assumed in the black community."

If the effort moves forward, though, it's not clear what its proponents
would demand. They could ask for a cash settlement of some kind, but,
more likely, said Robinson, they would ask for broader programs to help
blacks. Everyone agreed that a legal case would be daunting. "My sense
is the court route is the rougher route, because the US government has
to allow itself to be sued before we can pursue it," said Robinson.

The case, said some, might involve other countries. "I advocate European
and American governments engaged in the slave trade to forgive debt for
all African nations and, secondly, subsidizing drug-related treatment
for HIV-positive victims," Gates said.

Ogletree said his goal is not to make people rich but to close the book
on one of the most painful chapters in history. "This is not a situation
of someone sitting at the mailbox waiting for a check; that trivializes
the broad purpose," said Ogletree. "The real point is to put closure to
a very sorry period in our history." (The Boston Globe, February 29,
2000)


BMC SOFTWARE: Rabin & Peckel Announces Securities Suit Filed in TX
------------------------------------------------------------------
Rabin & Peckel LLP announces that a class action has been commenced in
the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, on
behalf of purchasers of BMC Software, Inc. common stock during the
period from July 29, 1999 through January 4, 2000, inclusive (the "Class
Period").

The Complaint alleges that BMC and certain of its officers and directors
violated section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. In
particular, it is alleged that defendants issued a series of false and
misleading statements concerning, among other things, strong sales of
BMC's existing software products, the successful integration of its
acquisition of Boole & Babbage and New Dimension Software earlier in
1999, strong demand for its mainframe MIPS software, notwithstanding a
slowdown in sales of IBM mainframes computers and the lack of customer
deferrals of orders or purchases due to Y2K concerns, which would result
in 25%-30% EPS growth for BMC during FY00-FY01 and 3rd and 4thQ FY00 EPS
of $0.52-$0.55 and $0.58-$.064, respectively. The Complaint alleges
that, as a result of these material false and material misstatements,
BMC's stock price was artificially inflated throughout the Class Period.

Contact: Joseph V. McBride, Rabin & Peckel LLP, 275 Madison Avenue, New
York, NY 10016, by telephone at (800) 497-8076 or (212) 682-1818, by
facsimile at (212) 682-1892, by e-mail at email@rabinlaw.com


CARNIVAL CORP: Milberg Weiss Announces Securities Suit in Florida
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP filed a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Florida on behalf of all persons who purchased the
common stock of Carnival Corporation between February 25, 1999, and
February 16, 2000, inclusive.

The complaint charges Carnival, including certain of its officers
and directors, with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as well as Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder. The complaint alleges that defendants issued a series of
materially false and misleading statements concerning the Company's
business, financial condition, earnings and prospects. Specifically,
the complaint alleges that defendants failed to disclose the
Company's severe and pervasive safety, maintenance and regulatory
problems associated with its Carnival Cruise Line Ships. Despite the
numerous operational problems plaguing the Carnival Cruise fleet,
the Company continued to tell the marketplace that such incidents
were "isolated." Meanwhile, defendant insiders unloaded their own
stock during the Class Period, reaping total proceeds of $11.5
million.

For additional information on the above-mentioned suit, please
contact, at Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, in Boca Raton:
Kenneth Vianale or Maya Saxena at 5355 Town Center Road, Suite 900,
Boca Raton, Florida 33486, by telephone 561-361-5000, or in New
York: Steven G. Schulman or Samuel H. Rudman at One Pennsylvania
Plaza, 49th Floor, New York, New York 10119-0165, by telephone 800-
320-5081 or via e-mail at endfraud@mwbhlny.com or visit website at
http://www.milberg.com


CENTURY BUSINESS: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Suit in Maryland
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP announces that
on February 28, 2000, the firm filed a class action lawsuit in the
United States District Court for the District of Maryland on behalf of
investors who purchased securities of Century Business Services, Inc.
(NASDAQ: CBIZ) between November 9, 1999 and January 28, 2000 inclusive
(the "Class Period"), against Century and certain of its officers and
directors.

The Complaint charges Defendants with violations of Sections 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder. The Complaint alleges that during the Class Period,
defendants issued false and misleading statements and misstatements, and
failed to disclose certain adverse information concerning the Company's
internal financial reporting structure.

As a result of its aggressive acquisition campaign during 1997 and 1998,
Century did not have in place adequate internal controls and management
reporting structures to assure that it timely reported material changes
in its operation results. During the fourth quarter of 1999, Century's
Senior Executives and managers were not reviewing, receiving and/or
preparing timely reports and thus were recklessly disregarding
significant increases in expenses and significant decreases in revenues
in Century's various business units. On January 31, 2000, in a
conference call, the Company's Board Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer admitted that Century's financial reporting system was so
grossly deficient that monthly financial results were not available to
management until the 20th to 25th day of the succeeding month and that
Century did not have in place a centralized management group for
reviewing whether the businesses were varying from their plans and
budgets. The mere diversion of senior management's would not have been
as devastating to the Company, however, if it had in place timely and
sufficient means of reporting and analyzing the Company's financial
results on a monthly basis. The false and misleading statements and
material omissions were designed to and did deceive the investing
public, caused the market price of Century's securities to be
artificially inflated, and caused plaintiff and other Class members to
purchase Century securities at artificially inflated prices.

Contact: Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP at 270 Madison
Avenue, New York, New York 10016, by telephone at (800) 575-0735
(Michael Miske, George Peters, Fred Taylor Isquith, Esq., Shane T.
Rowley, Esq., Gregory M. Nespole, Esq.), via e-mail at
classmember@whafh.com with reference made to Century Business, or visit
the firm's website at http://www.whafh.com


CENTURY BUSINESS: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Suit in Maryland
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP filed a
class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
District of Maryland on behalf of investors who purchased securities
of Century Business Services, Inc. between November 9, 1999 and
January 28, 2000 inclusive.

The complaint charges Century and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder. The complaint alleges that during the Class Period,
defendants issued false and misleading statements and misstatements,
and failed to disclose certain adverse information concerning the
Company's internal financial reporting structure.

As a result of its aggressive acquisition campaign during 1997 and
1998, Century did not have in place adequate internal controls and
management reporting structures to assure that it timely reported
material changes in its operation results. During the fourth quarter
of 1999, Century's Senior Executives and managers were not
reviewing, receiving and/or preparing timely reports and thus were
recklessly disregarding significant increases in expenses and
significant decreases in revenues in Century's various business
units. On January 31, 2000, in a conference call, the Company's
Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer admitted that Century's
financial reporting system was so grossly deficient that monthly
financial results were not available to management until the 20th to
25th day of the succeeding month and that Century did not have in
place a centralized management group for reviewing whether the
businesses were varying from their plans and budgets. The mere
diversion of senior management's would not have been as devastating
to the Company, however, if it had in place timely and sufficient
means of reporting and analyzing the Company's financial results on
a monthly basis. The false and misleading statements and material
omissions were designed to and did deceive the investing public,
caused the market price of Century's securities to be artificially
inflated, and caused plaintiff and other Class members to purchase
Century securities at artificially inflated prices.

Contact: Michael Miske, George Peters, Fred Taylor Isquith, Esq., Shane
T. Rowley, Esq. or Gregory M. Nespole, Esq., all of Wolf Haldenstein
Adler Freeman & Herz LLP at 270 Madison Avenue, New York, New York
10016, by telephone at (800) 575-0735, via e-mail at
classmember@whafh.com or visit the firm's website at
http://www.whafh.com


CHARLESTON: Drug Testing Pregnant Women Draws Supreme Court Review
------------------------------------------------------------------
The Supreme Court agreed on February 29 to decide whether a South
Carolina public hospital conducted unconstitutional searches when it
tested pregnant women's urine for drugs so it could report illegal drug
use to the police.

The case is an appeal on behalf of 10 women who were arrested as a
result of the policy, some while they were still weak and bleeding from
childbirth, and who later sued. It presents the Supreme Court a narrow
but important aspect of a legal and public policy debate that began in
the peak years of the crack epidemic of the 1980's: the extent to which
a state may intervene to protect fetal health, and the circumstances
under which pregnant women may be held criminally responsible for
behavior that endangers their fetuses.

A federal appeals court ruled last year that while the urinalysis was a
search, it was not unconstitutional because it was justified by "a
special need beyond normal law-enforcement goals," namely protecting the
health and safety of fetuses and newborn babies.

In their appeal, lawyers for the women are arguing that this conclusion
amounts to a drastic expansion of what the Supreme Court has previously
treated as a "special-needs exception" to the Fourth Amendment's
prohibition against unreasonable searches.

"Nearly every application of the criminal law serves some health or
safety purpose" and so could be placed outside the protection of the
Fourth Amendment under this approach, the women's brief said.

The appeal is supported by a coalition of public health groups, which
told the justices that women who need prenatal care the most will be
deterred from seeking it if their drug abuse is treated not as a medical
problem but as a criminal one.

None of the women who filed the lawsuit were actually prosecuted, and
the particular program they are challenging ended in the mid-1990's,
after suits were filed and the United States Department of Health and
Human Services began an investigation.

However, Lynn Paltrow, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers and director of
National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a program of the Women's Law
Project in Philadelphia, said today that drug testing of pregnant women
remained widespread in South Carolina under the State Supreme Court's
interpretation of the state child endangerment law as applying not only
to children but also to viable fetuses. The United States Supreme Court
refused two years ago to review that state court interpretation.

"No other state has gone as far as South Carolina," Ms. Paltrow said in
an interview, adding: "No other state has made it a crime to be pregnant
and addicted. These women had a health problem and needed medical care,
but they were taken to jail."

The lead plaintiff in the case, Crystal M. Ferguson, tested positive for
cocaine during a prenatal visit to the hospital at the Medical
University of South Carolina, in Charleston, in June 1991. She agreed to
attend a drug abuse counseling program, but tested positive again when
she gave birth in August. She was arrested three days later.

According to the city's statistics, 30 women were arrested under the
program. Charges against all but two were dropped when the women entered
treatment. Some of the women were taken from their hospital rooms in
handcuffs or leg shackles. The plaintiffs are seeking damages and an
injunction against future drug testing.

Analytically, the case is quite similar to a Fourth Amendment case the
Supreme Court accepted for review on whether police checkpoints that
subject motorists to drug-detecting dogs are constitutional. The lower
court in that case, Indianapolis v. Edmond, rejected the government's
argument that the need to detect and deter drug trafficking was a
"special need" that justified the warrantless searches.

In the new case, Ferguson v. City of Charleston, No. 99-936, the city
asserts that the hospital adopted its policy, in cooperation with the
police and the local prosecutor's office, in 1989 in the face of "an
epidemic of cocaine use" among its maternity patients.

"The clinical necessity for the drug screens, the health problems
associated with maternal cocaine use and the astronomical economic costs
of caring for infants suffering from the effects of cocaine use by their
mothers all created special needs beyond normal law-enforcement goals,"
the city maintains.

That was the analysis endorsed in a 2-to-1 decision by the United States
Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, which affirmed a
jury's verdict in favor of the hospital.

The hospital did not test all its patients, instead singling out those
it regarded as most likely to be using drugs. The criteria included
having received no prenatal care, or care that was late or incomplete;
displaying certain physical symptoms; unexplained preterm labor, and
known drug or alcohol abuse in the past. Many of the public hospital's
patients are poor and black; of the 10 plaintiffs, nine are black and
one is white.

As the crack epidemic hit its peak, states adopted varying approaches to
the issue of drug use by pregnant women. Because a number of state
courts ruled, unlike the South Carolina Supreme Court, that a fetus
could not be considered a child for purposes of prosecuting pregnant
women under child abuse laws, some prosecutors argued that mothers
delivered illegal drugs to their newborn babies through the umbilical
cord during the brief moments between birth and the cutting of the cord.

A woman was convicted in Florida under this theory in 1989, but the
Florida Supreme Court overturned the conviction three years later,
ruling unanimously that when the State Legislature made "delivery" of
illegal drugs a crime, it did not contemplate a prosecution of this
sort. (The New York Times, February 29, 2000)


COCA-COLA: Black Employees Begin to Mobilize; Release Form at Issue
-------------------------------------------------------------------
For the first time since the racial discrimination lawsuit was filed
nearly a year ago, black employees at Coca-Cola appear to be mobilizing.

Up until two weeks ago, most African-American employees sat on the
sidelines while lawyers battled in court and a few local civil rights
leaders expressed support for the suit.

But now, more black employees may be getting involved, primarily because
the massive job cuts under way at Coke has changed the dynamics of the
situation. For laid-off African-American employees, the suit and the job
cuts have become intertwined, forcing them to make a difficult decision.

An organizer expects hundreds of current and former employees to meet on
Saturday, March 4, at St. Philip A.M.E. Church in Decatur to discuss
what may become a galvanizing issue as the layoffs and lawsuit play out
in the ensuing months. This will be the second such meeting at the
church since mid-February, when some 150 employees attended, according
to a court document filed in the case recently. On the upcoming agenda:
how to get the company to change its position on a key issue. After the
closed-door meeting, organizers are to meet with the media.

At the heart of the issue is a release form, or waiver, that all
laid-off Coca-Cola employees must sign to get enhanced severance
benefits from the company. To qualify for the substantially better
benefits package, employees must relinquish their rights to sue the
company in the future.

This comes at a particularly bad time for African-American employees who
were hoping to benefit from the racial bias suit if it gets certified as
a class-action case down the road. That decision, which a judge will
make, is at least several months away. But the layoffs are happening now
--- so is the need to make a decision on signing the release form.

"The Coca-Cola Co. is an unfriendly place to work for black employees,"
said Larry Jones, who up until two weeks ago was a human resources
manager at the company. He is now the chief organizer behind the
employee meetings. "Finally, we have an opportunity with this lawsuit to
at least get something out of this company," Jones said. "Now comes the
realignment and the release. And lo and behold, the Coca-Cola Co. has
devised a diabolical scheme that says we're going to get you again."

Essentially, Jones said, employees who felt they were discriminated
against by the company had been expecting some redress through the suit.
Now that potential redress is out the window if they sign the waiver.

The suit, filed by eight current and former employees, claims that Coca-
Cola has discriminated against African-Americans in pay, promotions and
performance evaluations.

The company, which has strongly denied the suit's allegations, says it
is only doing what is standard operating procedure for employers in
these situations. "As always, the company's goal is to be fair and
equitable to all employees, " said Coca-Cola spokesman Ben Deutsch. "The
realignment process, along with the difficult decisions that go along
with it, is specifically designed to avoid the very thing that the
plaintiffs allege the company of doing --- discriminating against its
employees. For the waiver process to be fair and equitable, it must be
made available to everyone as a condition for enhanced benefits."
Deutsch pointed out that laid-off employees will receive regular
severance benefits without signing a release form.

Employment experts said it is common for companies to offer enhanced
severance benefits in exchange for eliminating future legal problems
through a release form.

Deutsch added that the company has been using such release forms for at
least eight years. What's more, U.S. District Judge Richard Story ruled
that the company was within its legal rights to do what it's doing after
the plaintiffs' lawyers challenged the release form.

But the company's legal victory could turn into a significant employee
relations and public relations problem. That's partly because Jones, a
15-year company veteran who is not a stranger to such issues, has become
fully engaged in what he views as a cause.

Jones, a 53-year-old Snellville resident, has been involved in other
causes. In 1983 in Virginia's Henrico County, Jones ran for supervisor
to challenge an all-white board. He lost, but his effort to win black
representation helped spur a federal suit that resulted in new voting
districts, including one creating a 60 percent black majority.

In 1990, Jones became a witness in an employment discrimination suit
against Circuit City. He had applied for a job with the retailer, and
during an interview he said a senior Circuit City official made several
negative comments about African-Americans.

Jones is not a plaintiff in the suit against Coca-Cola. Neither Jones
nor plaintiffs' attorney Cyrus Mehri would comment on when they
initially came in contact with one another. But Jones said he organized
the Feb. 12 meeting at his church after scores of confused employees
asked for help in deciding what to do about the release form. "For some
strange reason, people always come to me," Jones said.

Since the judge's ruling on the validity of the release form advised
employees to contact the plaintiffs' attorneys if they had questions,
Jones did just that. He asked plaintiffs' attorneys to attend the
meeting to field the questions he was getting from colleagues.

Two days after the meeting at St. Philip, where Jones is an associate
pastor, he said he spoke with company President Jack Stahl. At that
meeting, Jones said he told Stahl he would like the company to change
the release form to specifically exclude the racial bias suit. That way,
black employees wouldn't have to make what was turning into a
gut-wrenching decision.

Jones said Stahl told him he would communicate Jones' concerns to senior
management and the company's general counsel. On the same day, Jones
said, he was told by a human resources director that he had nothing to
worry about when layoffs were announced the next day. But that turned
out to be false. Jones was laid off Feb. 15, along with about 500 other
employees. He claims it was in retaliation for both the meeting he
organized at his church and for going to Stahl.

The company, however, denies that Jones was laid off inappropriately.
"Larry Jones' termination had absolutely nothing to do with the meeting
he held at the church or any actions he took thereafter," Deutsch said.
The decision to lay off Jones was made on Feb. 8 --- before either the
church meeting or Jones' meeting with Stahl, Deutsch said. "The
decisions made in the evaluation process prior to the layoffs were based
solely on the needs of the business and a fair assessment of the skills
and performance of each affected employee," he said.

Regardless of who is right on that issue, there's a bigger one. Jones is
now openly organizing employees to try to change the company's position
on the release form. Deutsch said if Coca-Cola created a legal exclusion
for the bias suit, it would be discriminating against other employees
who are being asked to give up all their potential claims.

With the failure of his meeting with Stahl, Jones said, he and other
employees will be "pursuing other avenues," including a "national
strategy." He would not elaborate but said options would become clearer
after the 3 p.m. meeting Saturday, which plaintiffs' attorneys will
attend. At 5 p.m. Saturday, Jones has called a news conference for the
front steps of the church.

The issue is probably not going to go away soon because the company is
in the middle of its cutback process, with more layoffs to come. In
North America, the company has eliminated 1,600 jobs, with another 1,700
to go.

Whatever comes out of Saturday's meeting is likely to fuel further
employee gatherings in the future. "We're going to have one every
month," Jones said. (The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, February 29,
2000)


COMPAQ COMPUTER: Admits Data-Eating Glitch in Computers
-------------------------------------------------------
After months of denying that its computers had problems similar to those
that forced Toshiba Corp. into a $ 2.1-billion settlement last year,
Compaq Computer Corp. has begun notifying as many as 1.7 million
Presario desktop PC owners that they may have a data-eating glitch.

Compaq said it posted a software "patch" for the problem on its Web
site. It also has begun sending out postcards to PC owners, according to
a spokesman for an owner who is suing. But Houston-based Compaq, the
world's largest personal computer company, said that it has received no
consumer complaints traceable to the problem, that the fixes are
unnecessary, and that it has no intention of settling a class-action
lawsuit filed against it in federal court in Beaumont, Texas.

Recent testing by Texas lawyer Wayne Reaud and other lawyers for the
plaintiffs, conducted as part of early settlement talks, found problems
in several models of the Presario. The problem is in the computers'
floppy drive controllers, which can erase data without warning if
several devices are operating simultaneously. The designer of the
chipsets called the computer industry's attention to the problem about
10 years ago, but Toshiba and others continued to use the devices.

A spokesman for the plaintiffs said that Compaq's free software patch
will not be enough, and that the lawyers will push for a combination of
hardware repairs or replacements and cash reimbursements like those
offered to owners of Toshiba laptops. (Los Angeles Times, February 29,
2000)


ILM SENIOR: Shareholders' Counsel Awarded $950,000 for Fees
-----------------------------------------------------------
On May 8, 1998 Andrew A. Feldman and Jeri Feldman, as Trustees for the
Andrew A. & Jeri Feldman Revocable Trust dated September 18, 1990,
commenced a purported class action on behalf of that trust and all other
shareholders of the ILM SENIOR LIVING, INC., and ILM II in the Supreme
Court of the State of New York, County of New York naming the Company,
ILM II and their Directors as defendants. The class action complaint
alleged that the Directors engaged in wasteful and oppressive conduct
and breached fiduciary duties in preventing the sale or liquidation of
the assets of the Company and ILM II, diverting certain of their assets.
The complaint sought compensatory damages in an unspecified amount,
punitive damages, the judicial dissolution of the Company and ILM II, an
order requiring the Directors to take all steps to maximize Shareholder
value, including either an auction or liquidation, and rescinding
certain agreements, and attorney's fees. On July 8, 1998, the Company
and its co-defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on all counts.

On December 8, 1998, the Court granted the Company's dismissal motion in
part but afforded the plaintiffs leave to amend their complaint. In
doing so, the Court accepted the Company's position that all claims
relating to the derivative actions were filed improperly. In addition,
the Court dismissed common law claims for punitive damages, but allowed
plaintiffs to amend their claims to assert claims alleging that the
defendants injured shareholders without injuring the Company as a whole.

On January 22, 1999, the Feldman plaintiffs filed an amended complaint,
again purporting to commence a class action, and adding claims under
Section 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and
Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. Even before the Company and the Board
of Directors responded to that amended complaint, the Feldman plaintiffs
moved for leave to file a second amended complaint to add claims
directed at enjoining the announced potential merger with Capital Senior
Living Corporation and, alternatively, for compensatory and punitive
damages. At a hearing held on March 4, 1999 relating to the motion for
leave to file that second amended complaint and to expedite discovery,
the Court granted leave to amend and set a schedule for discovery
leading to a trial (if necessary) in the summer of 1999.

On March 9, 1999, the Feldman plaintiffs filed a second amended
complaint, which included claims for injunctive relief and, in the
alternative, damages in an unspecified amount. In response to the
Company's motion to dismiss the second amended complaint filed by the
plaintiffs, on June 7, 1999 the Court issued an order dismissing the
plaintiffs' federal security claims but denying the motion to dismiss
plaintiffs' claims for breach of fiduciary duty and judicial
dissolution, which motion was addressed to the pleadings and not to the
merits of the action.

On June 21, 1999, the Company and its co-defendants answered the second
amended complaint and denied any and all liability and moved for
reconsideration of the portion of the Court's June 7, 1999 order denying
their motion to dismiss. In response to discovery requests, the Company,
ILM II and others produced documents to the plaintiffs and depositions
of current and former directors and others were taken. Discovery was
completed as of July 1, 1999.

On July 2, 1999, the parties to this action came to an
agreement-in-principle to settle the action. On August 3, 1999, the
parties entered into a Stipulation of Settlement and on August 11, 1999,
the Court signed an order preliminarily approving the Stipulation and
providing for notice of the Stipulation to the proposed settlement
class.

On September 30, 1999, the Court conducted a hearing and on October 4,
1999 issued an order certifying a settlement class and approving the
proposed settlement as fair, reasonable and adequate, subject to the
condition that certain modifications be made to the Stipulation of
Settlement and any related documents filed with the Court on or before
October 15, 1999.

On October 15, 1999, the parties entered into a revised Stipulation of
Settlement and filed it with the Court, which approved the settlement,
by order dated October 21, 1999. In issuing that order the Court entered
a final judgment dismissing the action and all non-derivative claims of
the settlement class against the defendants with prejudice. In its
October 4th order, the Court also denied the application by plaintiffs'
counsel for payment of attorneys' fees and expenses, without prejudice
to renewal within 14 days upon reapplication therefor. On or about
October 14, 1999, plaintiffs' counsel reapplied to the Court for fees
and expenses. A hearing was held November 5, 1999, in which the Court
granted the application for attorney's fees in the amount of $950,000
and costs in the amount of $182,000. Under the Stipulation, if the
proposed merger is consummated, Capital Senior Living Corporation is
responsible for payment of such attorney's fees and expenses sought
under this application, and if the proposed merger with Capital Senior
Living Corporation is not consummated and if the Company and ILM II
enter into a transaction having similar effect to the merger with a
third party, then the Company and ILM II are responsible for such fees
and expenses.


INACOM CORPORATION: Milberg Weiss Announces Securities Suit in Nebraska
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach gives notice that a class action
lawsuit was filed on February 24, 2000, in the United States District
Court for the District of Nebraska, on behalf of all persons and
entities who purchased or otherwise acquired the common stock of Inacom
Corporation (NYSE: ICO), between October 9, 1998 and January 4, 2000,
inclusive (the "Class Period"), including those who acquired Inacom
stock as a result of the stock-for-stock merger with Vanstar.

The complaint charges Inacom and several of its senior officers and
directors with violations of Sections 11, 12 and 15 of the Securities
Act of 1933 as well as Sections 10(b), 14(a)(9) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.
Specifically, the complaint alleges that Inacom issued materially false
and misleading statements regarding its ability to recognize growth and
remain profitable in light of significant changes in manufacturers'
distribution of computers, which defendants knew or recklessly
disregarded. As a result of these materially false and misleading
statements, among others, plaintiff alleges that the price of Inacom
common stock was artificially inflated during the Class Period.

Contact: Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP Shareholder Relations
Dept. E-Mail: endfraud@mwbhlny.com 1-800-320-5081


JDN REALTY: Donovan Miller Announces Securities Lawsuit in Georgia
------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Donovan Miller, LLC, filed a class action lawsuit in
the United States District Court for the Northern District of
Georgia, Atlanta Division against JDN Realty Corporation, and
certain of its Officers and Directors, on behalf of all persons who
purchased JDN securities between March 31, 1997 and February 11,
2000, inclusive.

The complaint alleges that, during the Class Period, JDN and the
five officer defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by, among other things, issuing
materially false and misleading statements to the investing public
which concealed the fact that certain real estate transactions,
including undisclosed compensation arrangements and related party
transactions were not accurately recorded in the Company's
accounting records or disclosed in the Company's audited financial
statements. The complaint further alleges that the price of JDN's
shares was artificially inflated as a result of defendants'
omissions of material fact.

For more inquiries on the above-mentioned lawsuit, please contact
Michael D. Donovan at Donovan Miller, LLC, 1608 Walnut Street, Suite
1400, Philadelphia, PA 19103, by telephone at 800/619-1677 or
215/732-6020, by e-mail at mdonovan@dmlaw.com or dmlaw@erols.com or
visit website at http://www.dmlaw.com


JDN REALTY: Weinstein Kitchenoff Commences Securities Lawsuit in GA
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Weinstein Kitchenoff Scarlato & Goldman Ltd. commenced a class
action lawsuit on behalf of purchasers of the common stock of JDN
Realty Corporation between March 31, 1997, and February 14, 2000 in
the United States District Court for the Northern District of
Georgia.

The complaint charges JDN, its chairman and chief executive officer
with violating the federal securities laws by materially misstating
JDN's financial statements. On February 14, 2000, the Company
revealed that it would restate its financial results because certain
real estate transactions recorded on the Company's financial
statements failed to account for "unreported compensation" made to
two JDN executives. The complaint alleges that defendants knew, or
were reckless in not knowing that JDN's reported financial results
were misstated. As a result of the misstatements, JDN's stock price
was artificially inflated during the Class Period.

Please contact either Paul Scarlato, Esquire, or Mark Goldman, Esquire
of Weinstein Kitchenoff Scarlato & Goldman Ltd., by toll free at
888-545-7201 or
by e-mail at pscarlato@wksg.com or msgoldman@wksg.com


MANHATTAN INVESTMENT: Finkelstein & Krinsk Looks into Securities Fraud
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Finkelstein & Krinsk announces that it is pursuing an aggressive
investigation of the activities of Manhattan Investment Fund Ltd.,
Deloitte & Touche, Bear Stearns, and Fund Administration Services (an
Ernest & Young affiliate located in Bermuda), concerning allegations of
fraud and other violations of the federal securities laws.

Based upon representations of its manager Michael W. Berger, Manhattan
reported gains of up to 27 percent a year since its inception in 1996,
with claimed assets of $426 million by the end of August 1999. Far from
these extraordinary results, however, according to the Securities &
Exchange Commission, the truth was "a massive fraud," involving phony
investment reports sent to Manhattan's administrators and auditors, who
purportedly ignored "red flags" indicating the existence of the fraud.
Investors reportedly lost more than $300 million as Manhattan actually
lost money every year it was in business.

Contact: Jeffrey R. Krinsk of Finkelstein & Krinsk, 501 West Broadway,
Suite 1250, San Diego, CA 92101, by phone (toll free) 877-493-5366,
e-mail - fk@class-action-law.com, or fax 619-238-5425.


MASTERPIECE TECHNOLOGY: Vows to Defend Unseen Shareholder Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
"Apparantely a lawsuit has been filed against the Company by a
shareholder, Russell Koch, for enforcement of an option agreement,"
Masterpiece Technology Group, Inc., says in its latest annual report
filed on Form 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
"Management has not seen this lawsuit and cannot therefore comment on
its content or validity, but intends to vigorously defend against the
allegations," the Company adds.


NATHAN'S FAMOUS: Texas Court Rejects Shareholder Class Certification
--------------------------------------------------------------------
On January 5, 1999, Miami Subs (an affiliate of NATHAN'S FAMOUS, INC.)
was served with a class action lawsuit entitled Robert J. Feeney, on
behalf of himself and all others similarly situated vs. Miami Subs
Corporation, et al., in Circuit Court, in Broward County, Florida, which
was filed against Miami Subs, its directors and Nathans in a Florida
state court by a shareholder of Miami Subs. Since that time, Nathans and
its designees to the Miami Subs board have also been served. The suit
alleges that the proposed merger between Miami Subs and Nathans, as
contemplated by the companies' non-binding letter of intent, is unfair
to Miami Subs' shareholders based on the price that Nathans is paying to
the Miami Subs' shareholders for their shares and constitutes a breach
by the defendants of their fiduciary duties to the shareholders of Miami
Subs. The plaintiff seeks among other things:

(1) class action status;

(2) preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against consummation of
    the proposed merger; and

(3) unspecified damages to be awarded to the shareholders of Miami
    Subs.

On March 19, 1999, the court granted the plaintiff leave to amend his
complaint. The plaintiff then filed an amended complaint. Miami Subs
moved to dismiss the complaint on April 13, 1999. Nathans and its
designees on the Miami Subs' board moved to dismiss the complaint on
April 29, 1999. The court denied the motions. On February 4, 2000, the
court held an evidentiary hearing. As a result of the hearing, the court
struck the class action allegations from the plaintiff's complaint.
Accordingly, the case will proceed as an individual, not as a class
action. Nathans intends to defend against this suit vigorously.


PASMINCO SMELTERS: Aussi Law Firm Launches Suit on Lead Poisoning
-----------------------------------------------------------------
According to AAP Newsfeed, Sydney law firm Coleman and Greig has started
a class action against Zinc and lead miner Pasminco Ltd and its smelters
at Cockle Creek in New South Wales and Port Pirie in South Australia for
emitting toxic fumes into the air and allegedly causing lead poisoning.
The Federal Court action, the report says, would allege Pasminco
wrongfully caused and permitted emissions of noxious fumes, vapours and
gases, lead, sulphur dioxide and other toxic pollutants into the air,
the law firm said.

Documents were filed with the Federal Court and the matter was listed
for a directions hearing on April 6 with Justice Kevin Lindgren.

The first complainants are Roslyn Cook, and her eight-year-old daughter,
Samantha, who lived near the Cockle Creek smelter between 1989 and 1998.
The court will hear that lead in Samantha's blood reached more than
three times the recommended safe level while she lived near the smelter.

Pasminco said it would vigorously defend the allegation its smelters
were poisoning the people and air of two Australian towns. Pasminco
spokesman David Lambert said the company did not accept allegations it
had abused a duty of care to residents living near the Port Pirie
smelter.

Coleman and Greig solicitor Paul Gambin said pollutants from the
smelters could cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, asthma, behavioural
problems, organ damage, tumours and cancer. "These smelters are spewing
out lead particles which land on the local community and children are
the worst affected as when it's (lead) ingested it gets deposited into
bones and teeth and causes catastrophic injuries," he said. The smelters
also impacted on the value of property in the areas, he said.

He said the matter had the potential to be one of the largest class
actions ever in Australia. "The phone has been ringing off the hook
today and we've got a team of four lawyers dedicated to the matter," he
said. "Potentially thousands of people could have been affected
personally or with a decline in the value of their home."

The action was open to anyone born in Cockle Creek or Port Pirie in the
past 21 years as well as any adults living within a five-kilometre
radius of the smelters in the past six years.

There was also an application before the Federal Court for orders to
restrain Pasminco from operating until it corrected the emission levels.
(AAP NEWSFEED, February 29, 2000)


PRIME SUCCESSION: Family Service Counselors Get Back Pay for OT
---------------------------------------------------------------
Prime Succession Inc. has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit
brought by family service counselors who alleged the company's
compensation policies unfairly denied them overtime wages and violated
other federal compensation laws. As part of the settlement, an
independent administrator will examine the claims of each family service
counselor and determine how much each should receive. The administrator
will look at hours worked, the documentation supporting the hours
worked, and the total pay received. The company has agreed to pay 100
percent of the assessments made by the claims administrator.

Any employee who objects to the administrator's findings can take the
claim to arbitration. The final determination for each employee is
subject to court approval.

The family service counselors accused the company of deducting 23 from
their weekly wages to cover operational expenses, including phone bills
and utilities. Their actual job function was not sales, but a mixture of
clerical and sales. In addition, the employees were not independent
contractors, but full-time employees.

The clerical elements of the work included answering telephones,
handling customer complaints, flagging graves and typing letters.
Employees said commission earnings were calculated as part of their
hourly wage rate instead of as supplemental earnings. As a result, the
employees said they rarely received any overtime pay and often were not
even paid minimum wages for their non-exempt clerical work.

                        Collecting Payment

Employees who feel they are entitled to payment from Prime Succession
should return an Inclusion Request form to the claims administrator as
soon as possible. The court imposed a 30-day limit, or by early March.

The claims administrator will then send a Proof of Claim form, which
must be returned within 30 days of receipt. The claims administrator
then has 30 days to send the form to the court, recommending approval or
disapproval of payment. Once the court certifies the claims, they should
be paid by Prime Succession within two weeks.

When the court approves the final payments, the claims against the
company will be dismissed. Prime has agreed to pay 238,300 to cover
legal fees for the lawyers who presented the class action lawsuit. The
court approved that payment. (Death Care Business Advisor, February 23,
2000)


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Philip Morris VP Says Co. Open to Some Regulation
---------------------------------------------------------------------
A top executive of the Philip Morris Companies, the nation's largest
cigarette maker, said that it would no longer oppose some government
regulation of the tobacco industry.

The company's senior vice president, Steven Parrish, said the company
still opposed efforts by the Food and Drug Administration to classify
nicotine as a drug and cigarettes as drug-delivery devices.

But Mr. Parrish said the company would be willing to talk with federal
officials like those at the F.D.A. and others, including antismoking
advocates, about regulating cigarettes in such areas as marketing and
selling to young people, disclosing ingredients and conducting research
on safer products.

Mr. Parrish's comments come as Philip Morris tries to recast its
tarnished image and are the strongest indication yet that the cigarette
giant would accept some government regulation.

"We believe that there should be be some discussion about what is the
right way to regulate tobacco," said Mr. Parrish, who is expected to
outline the company's position in a panel discussion at a meeting of
experts on smoking and health in California.

Two antismoking advocates who were told of the company's stance
expressed sharply different views. Dr. David A. Kessler, the former head
of the F.D.A., said in a telephone interview that he welcomed the step,
calling it historic. "Of course, you need to look at this with a degree
of skepticism," said Dr. Kessler, the dean of the Yale Medical School.
"But the fact that Philip Morris has said that this product needs to be
regulated is historic." Matthew Myers, the executive director of the
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an advocacy group in Washington, said he
was highly suspect of the company's position, which he said he viewed as
a pre-emptive strike. "I think that Philip Morris believes that
cigarettes will be forced to accept some form of government regulation
and what they are trying to do is foreclose government action," Mr.
Myers said.

At the moment, however, the major problems faced by Philip Morris and
other cigarette makers are in the courtrooms rather than legislative
forums. A Miami jury is expected to award punitive damages soon against
the tobacco industry in a major class-action lawsuit brought on behalf
of Florida smokers. Also, the United States Supreme Court is expected to
soon decide the issue of whether the F.D.A. was given authority by
Congress to regulate the tobacco industry. Arguments in that case were
heard last year and most justices appeared skeptical of arguments by the
government that Congress had delegated that power to the F.D.A.

Mr. Parrish said he believed it was important to begin a public
discussion about the best way to regulate tobacco soon after the Supreme
Court made its decision. "We want to be an interested party with a seat
at the table," Mr. Parrish said.
Mr. Parrish said Philip Morris was still opposed to regulating nicotine
as a drug, but he added: "We ought to take a step. Here is a product
that is addictive. So what is the right way to regulate tobacco as
tobacco rather than to characterize it as something that it is not, a
medical device or pharmaceutical?"

Opponents of smoking have long taken the position that nicotine is a
drug and should be regulated as one.

The comments of the Philip Morris official are part of a recent effort
by the cigarette maker to recast its image after being battered in
courtrooms and public forums as the battle over cigarettes intensified
in recent years. The effort includes several initiatives intended to
convince the public that the company is willing to address the problems
associated with its products.

Last year, when it started a new Internet site, Philip Morris
acknowledged for the first time that scientific evidence showed that
smoking causes lung cancer and other deadly diseases, after decades of
disputing the findings of the surgeon general.

The company also recently announced that after a decade of research it
had developed a new type of cigarette paper that would reduce the
likelihood of fires being started by dropped cigarettes. (The New York
Times, February 29, 2000)


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Virginia Seeks Cap on Tobacco Bond
------------------------------------------------------
Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) says tobacco giant Philip Morris has
friends in high places.

The paper says that in Virginia, where almost 7,000 people are employed
by the cigarette maker, Gov. Jim Gilmore wants to protect Philip Morris'
assets from what some estimated could be an industry-crippling judgment
to come out of an ongoing statewide class-action trial in Miami.

Gilmore confirmed that he introduced legislation that would place a $ 25
million cap on the bond that companies would be required to post should
they have to appeal a court judgment against them in Virginia, or any
other state. The measure, which some legal experts call
unconstitutional, breezed through the Virginia House on Feb. 14 with no
opposition, and is headed for the state Senate. The bill does not
specifically name Philip Morris, or any other company.

Should the Miami jury award sick Florida smokers a huge punitive award,
which some tobacco lawyers estimate could be as high as $ 300 billion,
the cigarette makers would have to post the full amount of the judgment
plus 10 percent as a bond pending appeal, said Gregory Maxwell, a
Jacksonville lawyer who has brought cases against cigarette companies.

The bond would ensure the money is there to pay the smokers, should the
tobacco giants lose their appeals.

Virginia's governor told The Virginian-Pilot the bill was meant to
protect the thousands who work in the industry that pumps over a billion
dollars into the state's economy. But legal experts say the measure is
pointless. A spokesman for the governor confirmed he met with Philip
Morris representatives before submitting the measure, according to
Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL).

The U.S. Constitution's "full faith and credit" clause requires all
states to honor judicial judgments from other states, said Richard
Daynard, a law professor at Northeastern University in Massachusetts.
The Virginia legislation is "clearly intended to protect a local company
from one of the consequences of doing business interstate," which is a
flagrant violation of the Constitution's Commerce Clause, said Daynard,
an anti-tobacco activist.

Tobacco interests gave a total of $ 323,259 to Gilmore's election
campaign and his inaugural, according to published reports, and Philip
Morris contributed $ 129,894, or 40 percent of that money, Sun-Sentinel
(Fort Lauderdale, FL) reports.

Philip Morris and other tobacco firms have been carefully planning for
the eventuality of a big verdict they fear is coming in the Florida
case, said Maxwell, the Jacksonville attorney, according to Sun-Sentinel
(Fort Lauderdale, FL). The same jury decided last year that the tobacco
companies conspired to mislead the American public about smoking's
harmful effects for decades. "I think perhaps they want to erect some
barriers or some roadblocks to the execution of a judgment, and the
action in Virginia was certainly done to impede or prevent the
plaintiffs in the (Florida) case from executing on Philip Morris assets
in Virginia," Maxwell said. But Philip Morris is a huge company with
many assets in several states, he said.

Clark Freshman, a law professor at the University of Miami, said the
proposal is "silly for many reasons." Even if it passed, a Florida judge
could issue an order circumventing the governor's measure in Virginia,
Freshman said.

Also on trial in Florida are R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Brown & Williamson
Tobacco, Lorillard Tobacco, the Liggett Group, as well as the Council
for Tobacco Research and the Tobacco Institute Inc.

In July, the jury found that the nation's five largest cigarette makers
produce a product that causes emphysema, lung cancer and other
illnesses. In the trial's second phase, which began Nov. 1, the same
jury is determining whether or not to aware compensatory awards to three
individuals and, if so, punitive damages.

Virginia was not the first tobacco state to consider legislation
protecting Big Tobacco.

Last December, the North Carolina legislature considered but did not
pass a bill that would have placed a $ 100 million cap on what companies
there would have to bond if they must pay a large judgment, said Edward
L. Sweda, senior attorney with the Tobacco Products Liability Project at
Northeastern University in Boston. R.J. Reynolds is based in North
Carolina.

"And I wouldn't be surprised if (the issue) popped up in Kentucky, since
Brown and Williams is based there," Sweda said. "And all this because of
what's going on in one little courtroom down in Miami. Obviously that
trial has enormous ramifications." "And clearly the industry expects to
lose phase two and the arguments on punitive damages," Sweda said. The
tobacco companies, their lawyers and the lawyers for the smokers in the
Florida case are under a gag order and cannot comment. (Sun-Sentinel
(Fort Lauderdale, FL), February 29, 2000)
(Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), February 29, 2000)


* US Consumer Product Safety Commission Announces Recall of Products
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Product: Mountain Bikes

Dynacraft Industries Inc., of San Rafael, Calif., is voluntarily
recalling about 19,000 mountain bikes. These are "Vertical XL2" mountain
bikes with chrome-colored frames. The model name is written on the bike
frame in yellow and black lettering. A label affixed to the frame near
the crank reads "Model No. 8526-26" and "99.10.11," which shows they
were manufactured the week of October 11, 1999. Only bikes with this
date code are part of this recall. Another nearby label reads "Dynacraft
Industries," and "Made in China." Target stores nationwide sold these
mountain bikes from November 1999 through February 2000 for about $140.

  Problem: The front suspension forks on these bikes might not have been
welded properly, and can break apart during use, resulting in serious
injury to the rider.

  Incidents: Dynacraft has received eight reports of injury to riders
when the front forks on these bikes broke apart. Injuries included cuts,
bruises, back strain and chipped and lost teeth.

  What to Do: Stop riding these bikes immediately and take them to the
Target store where purchased for a choice of a free replacement fork or
a free replacement bike. For more information or to receive a free
replacement fork by mail, call Dynacraft Industries Inc. at (800)
551-0032 between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. PT Monday through Friday.

Product: Champion Power Strips

Frieder Inc., of Bedford Heights, Ohio, is recalling about 35,000
Champion Brand Tools 6-outlet power strips. It is a 125-volt power strip
made in China, and bears no UL listing. The back of the strip has a date
code indicating it was manufactured on 4/97. Writing on the cord
includes "Chang RVV 300/500V." "Champion Quality Tools" and model number
"10741" are written on the packaging. Discount outlets nationwide sold
the power strips from January 1997 through July 1998 for about $3.

  Problem: The wiring in these power strips is undersized and poses
shock, electrocution and fire hazards.

  Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

  What to do: Consumers should immediately stop using these power strips
and return them to the store where purchased for a refund or send them
to Frieder for a refund plus postage. For more information, consumers
should call Frieder at (800) 321-8192 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET
Monday through Friday.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's
hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or
visit CPSC's web site at http://www.cpsc.gov/talk.html.For information
on CPSC's fax-on-demand service, call the above numbers or visit the web
site at http://cpsc.gov/about/who.html.To order a press release through
fax-on-demand, call (301) 504-0051 from the handset of your fax machine
and enter the release number. Consumers can obtain this release and
recall information at CPSC's web site at http://www.cpsc.gov.To
establish a link from your web site to this press release on CPSC's web
site, create a link to the following address:
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml00/00072.html.


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

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