/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/000315.MBX                 C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

                Wednesday, March 15, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 52


9 NET: Concentric Network Corp. Moves to Dismiss Junk Fax Lawsuit
AOL: Ohio Joins States Covered by Suits Charging 5.0 Damage Computers
BRICK: Ap Ct Denies Appeal of Appoint of Lead Plaintiff against Texlon
BUDGET RENT-A-CAR: Tells Ct Racial Bias Suit May Cost It $350M Plus
CARNIVAL CORPORATION: Stull, Stull Files Securities Suit in Florida

EFI: Asks Sp Ct to Reverse Cert. for Securities Suit in Parallel Action
ERON MORTGAGE: Canadian Ap. Ct. Disclaims Registrar's Duty to Investors
FAMILY GOLF: Rabin & Peckel Announces Securities Suit Filed in New York
FEN-PHEN: American Legal Network Alerts Users of March 30th Deadline
FEN-PHEN: Judge in Dakota Orders AHP CEO to Testify; Trial on April 3

FLIR SYSTEMS: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in Oregon
FLIR SYSTEMS: Schubert & Reed Plans to File Shareholder Suit
HASS: NJ Ct OKs Suit Filed '96 for Medical Monitoring Re Toxic Waste
ICN PHARMACEUTICALS: Heightened Pleading Standards Do Not Apply to SEC
INFORMATION MANAGEMENT: Berman, DeValerio Files Securities Suit in CT

LOS ANGELES: Justice Officials and Police to Discuss Rampart Scandal
NEFF CORP: Stockholders Allege Proposed Buyout Is a Sweetheart Deal
PUBLIC SERVICE: Vigorously Defends Lawsuits over Royalties in Kansas
SAFETY-KLEEN: Cohen, Milstein Files Securities Suit in SC
SAFETY-KLEEN: Discovers Accounting Irregularities; Cash Tight

SOTHEBY'S HOLDINGS: Burt & Pucillo Files Securities Suit in New York
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Australian Ct Dismisses Suit by Lung Cancer Victims
TOBACCO LITIGATION: BAT Can't Claim Lack of Personal Jurisdiction in NY
TYSON: NY Court Rejects Claim That Boxer's Bite Was a Rip-off
VANTAGEMED CORP: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in California

VANTAGEMED CORP: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Suit in TN
WEYERHAEUSER CO: Faces CA Property Owners' Suit over Hardboard Siding
WEYERHAEUSER CO: Faces TX Suit over Hardboard Siding
WEYERHAEUSER CO: Lawsuits over Hardboard Siding Filed in SC, IA and OR
WEYERHAEUSER CO: PA Suits Allege Price-Fixing of Linerboard

WEYERHAEUSER CO: Wins WA Case over Hardboard Siding; Appeal Pending

* Proposed EEOC Regulation May Allow Employees to Sue Despite Waiver


9 NET: Concentric Network Corp. Moves to Dismiss Junk Fax Lawsuit
Concentric Network Corp. has fired back at the class action lawsuit by
John Levine seeking to end junk faxes, filing a motion to dismiss that
argues that the lawsuit has no merit as a class action, that Concentric
is not a proper defendant, and that the cause of action, if any, belongs
in small claims court. Levine v. 9 Net Avenue Inc. et al., Docket No.
L-7965-99 (NJ Super. Ct., motion to dismiss filed Jan. 18, 2000); see
Telecommunications Industry LR, December 1999, P. 14.

Levine's suit, brought against 9 Net Avenue Inc., and Concentric Network
Corp. as its successor, alleges that the defendants have violated the
Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. Section 227 (TCPA), by
sending unsolicited advertisements by facsimile to businesses and
individuals for the purpose of promoting 9 Net Avenue's business. It
alleges that the unsolicited faxes were sent to "hundreds and
potentially thousands" of recipients throughout the country.

9 Net Avenue filed its answer in December, denying the allegations of
the complaint and asserting numerous affirmative defenses. Among the
defenses cited, 9 Net Avenue asserted that the TCPA did not permit class
actions and that there were questions of fact and/or law not common to
the class. Concentric responded to Levine's complaint with a motion to
dismiss, claiming that Levine's conclusory allegations fail to state a
claim for successor liability. Concentric also argues that it bought 9
Net Avenue four months after the alleged faxes were sent, and that
Concentric purchased only the assets of the company, not its
liabilities. The nature of its acquisition did not come within the "mere
continuation" exception under New Jersey, which creates successor
liability, said Concentric. Finally, Concentric adds, the TCPA does not
permit class actions, and limits individual damages to $500.

John Levine answered Concentric's motion first by addressing the charge
that his complaint set forth only conclusory allegations regarding the
nature of Concentric's liability. To the contrary, Levine argues, the
complaint sets for the several factual allegations delineating how
Concentric succeeded to the liabilities of 9 Network Avenue when it
acquired its assets. Also, contrary to Concentric's assertions, Levine
argues that Concentric falls squarely within the exception recognized by
state law because it plainly is a "mere continuation" of 9 Network's
business. Levine also countered Concentric's argument that the TCPA does
not allow class actions, citing several cases in other states in which
classes have been certified. "Nothing in the language of the Act or the
legislative history suggests that an aggrieved class of consumers,
subjected to the identical abuses of the Act by the same company over
the same period of time, should not be able to join forces to protect
their statutory rights in a manner which is most economical to each of
the members of the class," he argued.

The lawsuit remains to be certified as a class action. Levine is
represented by Kurt Anderson, Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, P.C.,
Middletown, NJ. 9 Net Avenue is represented by Brian D. Spector, Spector
& Ehrenworth, P.C., Florham Park, NJ. Concentric Network Corp. is
represented by Jeffrey J. Greenbaum, Sills Cummis Radin Tischman Epstein
& Gross, Newark, NJ. (Telecommunications Industry Litigation Reporter,
February 2000)

AOL: Ohio Joins States Covered by Suits Charging 5.0 Damage Computers
America Online (NYSE:AOL), the world's largest Internet service
provider, is again the target of a class-action lawsuit for its latest
version AOL 5.0 which critics claim causes damage to users' computers.
AOL was hit with a class-action lawsuit filed on March 13 in Ohio,
allowing Ohio residents the opportunity to join the class-action
lawsuits that have sprung up against AOL across the country.

The proposed class-action lawsuit was filed in Hamilton County Court in
Cincinnati, Ohio under the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act. The
lawsuit claims that AOL knowingly released AOL 5.O so that, without
warning, it made major changes to users' computers, rendering them
unstable and, in some cases inoperable. The suit also claims that AOL
effectively barred customers from connecting with competing ISPs.

Attorney Steve Berman, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ohio residents who
have installed AOL 5.0 and have experienced difficulty connecting to
competing ISPs. The Ohio class-action filing comes on the heels of
similar lawsuits filed in Washington, Arizona, California, Colorado, New
Jersey, and Oregon. "Since we filed our initial complaint in Washington,
we have literally received hundreds of calls and e-mails from
disgruntled AOL users from all across the country asking how they could
join the AOL lawsuit," Berman said. "We've recently filed complaints in
a number of states, including a national class-action suit, but could
well continue to expand our efforts to other states," Berman said.

The suit claims the Internet giant failed to divulge to its users that
the AOL 5.0 upgrade would make dramatic changes to the users' operating
systems and would interfere with the user's ability to connect to the
competing ISP networks. "AOL 5.0 promised users 500 free hours of
faster, better Internet access," Berman said. "But in reality, many
novice users found that once they installed AOL 5.0, removing the
software was nearly impossible. This was a brazen attempt by AOL to hold
these customers hostage as long as they wanted to connect to the

According to Berman, named plaintiff Connie Kinser installed AOL 5.0 and
immediately began experiencing problems. In addition to fatal error'
messages, Kinser was unable to connect with any other ISP. After
spending days trying to undo the changes caused by AOL, Kinser resorted
to purchasing a new computer rather than pour additional resources into
correcting the problems.

The class, if approved, would represent all AOL users in Ohio who
subscribe to the service and installed AOL 5.0. According to Berman, the
exact number of people affected by this is yet unknown, but could number
in the tens of thousands.

Contact: Hagens Berman Steve Berman, 206/623-7292
steve@hagens-berman.com or Mark Firmani, 206/443-9357 (MEDIA ONLY)

BRICK: Ap Ct Denies Appeal of Appoint of Lead Plaintiff against Texlon
The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has dismissed the Florida State
Board of Administration's (FSBA) appeal of the district court's appoint
of other shareholders as lead plaintiff in the securities class action
against Texlon Corporation. The circuit court concluded it did not have
jurisdiction, because the selection was not an appealable final
judgment. Florida State Board of Administration v. Brick et al., Nos.
99-4173 & 99-4174 (6th Cir., Feb. 8, 2000).

The Sixth Circuit, along with the Tenth and Second Circuits, has now
declined to review orders appointing lead plaintiff under the Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

Texlon, a Delaware corporation, designs and manufacturers wireless and
mobile information systems. A total of 27 class actions have been filed
against the company alleging it made false and misleading statements
regarding its financial condition in violation of Sec. 10(b)(5) of the
Exchange Act.

The FSBA appealed the district court orders appointing William Hayman
and Arthur Hayman as lead plaintiff, as well as the consolidation of the
underlying actions. The Council of Institutional Investors supported
FSBA's position that the circuit court could consider its appeals.

FSBA asserted the orders are final, because it "is out entirely, and the
district court made it abundantly clear that FSBA cannot revisit the
lead plaintiff issue or even participate as a party plaintiff in class
proceedings below." FSBA argued that the circuit court should review the
denial of its motion for appointment as lead plaintiff under the
"collateral order exception" to the final judgment rule.

However, the court found that the harm FSBA claims it will sustain since
it has not been appointed lead plaintiff, is not significant. The court
said consolidation of the suits did not "dispose" of FSBA's action and
FSBA could continue to participate in the litigation as a class member.
FSBA is not "out entirely," the court said, and there is clearly further
action to be taken in the district court with respect to its claims.

FSBA also asserted its situation was distinguishable from the Second
Circuit's rulings in Metro Services Inc. v. Wiggins, (2nd Cir., 1998).
In that case, argued FSBA, the district court indicated its appointment
of lead plaintiff would "be subject to continuing reassessment
throughout the course of the litigation."

Although the Sixth Circuit agreed the language in the respective orders
differed, it said there was no reason why the district court could not
reassess its appointment if necessary.

In the alternative, FSBA argued the "pragmatic finality" doctrine
permitted an immediate appeal. According to the opinion, this doctrine
takes a practical and nontechnical approach to finality in unique
situations where an order will have irrevocable consequences.

The court said the "nebulous" doctrine had not been adopted in the Sixth
Circuit and that in extreme circumstances, mandamus was the appropriate
relief. However, the court also concluded that there was no basis for a
writ of mandamus as the district court did not abuse its discretion or
usurped judicial power.

The FSBA is represented by Arthur M. Kaufman, David C. Weiner, and
Andrew S. Pollis of Hahn, Loeser & Parks in Cleveland; Catherine A.
Murphy and Thomas A. Dubbs of Goodkind, Labaton, Rudoff & Scharow in New

Telxon Corporation is represented by Steven J. Miller and Drew A. Carson
of Goodman, Weiss & Miller in Cleveland. (Securities & Commodities
Litigation Reporter, February 24, 2000)

BUDGET RENT-A-CAR: Tells Ct Racial Bias Suit May Cost It $350M Plus
The following was released by Charfoos & Christensen, P.C.:

In a stunning declaration, Budget Rent-A-Car Corp. has advised the
Federal District Court in Detroit that a pending class action racial
discrimination suit could cost it more than 350 million dollars,
according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern

The lawsuit, filed by Charfoos & Christensen, P.C., charges Budget with
racial discrimination for its "Cost Recovery Program" implemented in
Detroit between 2/1/96 and 11/1/97. Under the program, Budget targeted
34 zip codes in the Detroit market and charged renters from those zip
codes higher prices and denied them promotional rates. The majority of
the zip codes were populated primarily by African-American and 91% of
the affected renters in these zip code areas were African-American.
Budget intended to implement the program nationally but stopped when the
original suit was filed in 1997.

The case, which was originally filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, was
removed by Budget-Rent-A-Car to Federal Court because, as Budget
claimed, "the injuries alleged are more likely than not to result in a
jury verdict for each Plaintiff ... well in excess of $75,000.00."

"Since at least 4,779 renters were affected, this could lead to a
potential liability of more than 350 million dollars," says Ann Mandt,
one of the attorneys representing the Plaintiff's class.

"Although Budget believes its exposure is enormous, our goal is not to
achieve unreasonable financial benefits and we think it is unlikely that
each Plaintiff would receive more than $25,000.00. We are much more
concerned about sending a message to Budget and other American
corporations that racial profiling has no place in our society", Mandt
said. "Budget's Cost Recovery Program was nothing more than a
sophisticated method of racial discrimination which was intended to
drive African-Americans away from its rental counters, and this is
intolerable in America," Mandt said.

Contact: Ann K. Mandt, Esq., or J. Douglas Peters, Esq., of Charfoos &
Christensen, P.C., 313-875-8080

CARNIVAL CORPORATION: Stull, Stull Files Securities Suit in Florida
The law firm of Stull, Stull & Brody gives notice that a class action
lawsuit was filed on March 13, 2000, in the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Florida on behalf all persons who purchased
the common stock of Carnival Corporation, (NYSE:CCL) between February
25, 1999, and February 16, 2000, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Carnival, including certain of its senior officers
and directors with violations of Section 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and 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 market place that such incidents were "isolated." Meanwhile,
defendant insiders unloaded their own stock during the Class Period,
reaping total proceeds of 411.5 million.

As a result of these materially false and misleading statements and
omissions, plaintiff alleges that the price of Carnival common stock was
artificially inflated during the Class Period.

Contact: Stull, Stull & Brody, New York Tzivia Brody, Esq.,
1-800-337-4983 Fax: 212/490-2022 E-mail: SSBNY@aol.com

EFI: Asks Sp Ct to Reverse Cert. for Securities Suit in Parallel Action
Electronics for Imaging Inc. (EFI) has petitioned the Supreme Court of
California to reverse an appellate court decision allowing class
certification for a securities fraud suit in state court when a
duplicate proceeding has already been certified in federal court. EFI
asserts a writ of mandate from the trial court's order is necessary to
avoid a waste of judicial resources as well as the possibility of
inconsistent rulings in the separate forums. Electronics for Imaging
Inc. et al. v. Superior Court of CA, No. S085353 (CA Sup. Ct., petition
for review filed Jan. 24, 2000).

"The Court of Appeal's refusal to grant writ relief puts Petitioners in
the position of defending two parallel class actions in separate forums,
forces both the state and federal courts to devote substantial resources
to the resolution of a single dispute, and creates the possibility of
inconsistent rulings in the separate forums," EFI asserts.

The parallel actions currently pending against petitioner EFI are Steele
et al. v. EFI , No. 403099 (CA Super. Ct., complaint filed Dec. 15,
1997) and Bader et al. v. EFI , No. 97-4739 (ND CA, complaint filed
Sept. 15, 1998). Although the federal complaint was filed later than the
state action, the class period of April 10, 1997 through Dec. 11, 1997
is the same for both suits. (The suits were initiated prior to passage
of the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998.)

Both complaints accuse petitioners of making a series of false and
misleading statements concerning EFI's future business and financial
prospects. These allegations are virtually the same, the company says,
and the same lawyers represent both classes.

The only material difference between the federal and state action is
that the state suit asserts violations of CA Corp. Code Secs. 25400 and
25500 and CA Civ. Code Secs. 1709 through 1710, while the federal
complaint limited its claims to federal securities law violations.

EFI subsequently asserted a counterclaim against the shareholder
plaintiffs requesting a declaration that the allegations contained in
the federal complaint do not constitute violation of California state
law. As a result, claims under both federal and state securities laws
are now at issue in the federal action.

In June of last year, EFI moved to compel certification of a plaintiff
class in the federal action, which was opposed by the investors. The
shareholders then moved to dismiss petitioner's counterclaim and to
voluntarily dismiss the federal action. This motion was opposed by EFI.

In November, District Court Judge Charles A. Legge refused to dismiss
the federal action or the counterclaims and granted EFI's motion to
certify the class. The following month, Superior Court Judge John W.
Runde also certified a class in the state action. On Jan. 14, 2000, the
California Court of Appeals denied EFI's request for a writ of mandate.

Citing Schneider v. Vennard, (CA Ct. App., 1986), EFI argues a trial
court may not certify a class in a securities action where a parallel
federal action involving the identical class has already been certified
and where the federal action is more inclusive. All claims, both state
and federal, can be resolved in the federal action, whereas the state
court can only address the CA Corp. Code claims. EFI says the federal
action is the superior forum for adjudication of the issues.

In addition, having only one proceeding will actually benefit the
plaintiff shareholders, EFI contends. "If two parallel class actions are
permitted to proceed, the potential recovery for class members would be
significantly diminished because there would be irreversible and
duplicate attorneys fees, court costs and notices mailed to nationwide
classes," the company argues.

EFI is represented by Boris Feldman, Douglas J. Clark, Mark D. Flanagan
and David L. Lansky of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Palo Alto,
CA. (Securities & Commodities Litigation Reporter, February 24, 2000)

ERON MORTGAGE: Canadian Ap. Ct. Disclaims Registrar's Duty to Investors
The B.C. Court of Appeal has dismissed a class action suit alleging that
the province's Registrar of Mortgage Brokers owes a duty of care to the
investing public to ensure the honesty of all brokers. The claim is part
of the fallout from the multi-million dollar collapse of B.C.-based Eron
Mortgage Corporation.

Eron raised more than $240 million from investors between January 1993
and October 1997. The registrar suspended its licence, froze its bank
accounts and put the company into receivership on Oct. 3, 1997 after
discovering numerous financial irregularities. Court-appointed receiver
PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. estimates less than $72 million will be
recovered leaving close to 3,000 investors almost penniless. Eron
president Brian Slobogian is believed to be in the United States.
Vice-president Frank Biller, has since declared bankruptcy.

The B.C. Securities Commission banned Slobogian from trading for life
and Biller for 10 years. They were also fined a total of $1.8 million
although there is little hope of collecting the money. The commission
found Eron placed investors' money into mortgages that were not properly
secured. It also found Eron used the funds of later investors to pay off
existing investors when their mortgages failed. The RCMP is
investigating the case.

Eron investor Mary Francis Cooper launched the class action claiming the
Registrar of Mortgage Brokers knew by August 1996, more than a year
before he shut the company down, that Eron's operation violated the
Mortgage Brokers Act.

Cooper's lawyer, David Church, said the case is headed to Ottawa. "We
have instructions to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada
and are proceeding with that as quickly as possible,"he told The Lawyers
Weekly. "There is one passage [in the ruling] where Justice Mary Newbury
almost requests the Supreme Court of Canada to look at the matter, which
is indicative, I think, of how the provincial courts of appeal and lower
courts may be concerned about this issue."

Justice Newbury noted the issue has not been considered by the Supreme
Court of Canada. "If this decision is appealed,"she wrote, "it is to be
hoped the question of duty of care will engage the interest of the
Supreme Court of Canada and that lower courts will be given clear and
practical guidance regarding cases of this kind which seem to be arising
with increasing frequency."

Cooper alleged the registrar owed a duty to the investing public to
suspend or cancel Eron's mortgage broker's licence as soon as he became
aware of the violations. But Justice Newbury said Cooper's claim did not
meet the first branch of the Anns test.

The House of Lords decision in Anns v. Merton London Borough Council,
[1977] 2 All E.R. 492, sets out a two-part test for determining the
existence of a duty of care. In the first part, a plaintiff must
establish a "relationship of proximity"with the defendant such that the
damage was reasonably foreseeable. Under the second part of the test,
the court must consider any policy arguments that might limit the duty
of care.

Justice Newbury found no relationship at all between Cooper and the
registrar. "The plaintiff does not even allege that she was aware of the
registrar's existence or functions,"the judge said. "This is not
surprising since, as a practical matter, an investor would not normally
turn to the registrar for assistance in deciding whether to invest funds
via, or with, a particular broker."

Justice Newbury emphasized that Cooper did not allege any
misrepresentation or misconduct. "The only connection between the
plaintiff and the defendants is the fact that the plaintiff invested in
a company that was within the registrar's authority and had been
licensed by him to carry on business as a mortgage broker."

The judge said Cooper's case established only foreseeability. "No
relationship of the kind normally necessary to ground liability for
negligence is alleged; no reliance in fact is pleaded; and any reliance
would not have been reasonable."

She also ruled Cooper's claim failed on the second branch of the Anns
test because it potentially created unlimited liability, something the
courts will not allow. "The potential liability would be virtually
indeterminate, given that the [Mortgage Brokers] Act imposed no
limitation on, and the registrar had no means of controlling, the number
of persons who could invest or lend money via a mortgage broker or the
amount of money that could be advanced."

She said allowing Cooper's claim could turn the registrar - and by the
principle of vicarious liability, the government - into a guarantor of
all mortgage investments.

Justice Mary Southin concurred with Justice Newbury. In a separate
concurring ruling, Justice Carol Huddart said the registrar had
discretion to act in the public interest, which was not necessarily the
same as an investor's interests. "The important function of the
registrar is to balance the various private interests his decision will
affect so that the marketplace works honestly, openly and thereby
efficiently, in the interest of the public as a whole." Asking a court
to adjudicate every time the registrar makes a decision would mean
substituting the court's discretion for the registrar's discretion, she
said. She added that the courts can impose a private law duty of care on
a government official only if "the taxpayers have, through their elected
representatives, agreed to be responsible for private loss to persons
caused by a regulator's choice to act or not act made in the public

The appeal court's ruling follows a defence motion to dismiss Cooper's
claim on the grounds that it disclosed no cause of action. The decision
overturns a B.C. Supreme Court decision that allowed Cooper's case to
proceed. (The Lawyers Weekly, March 17, 2000)

FAMILY GOLF: Rabin & Peckel Announces Securities Suit Filed in New York
A putative class action has been commenced in the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of New York, on behalf of all purchasers
of Family Golf Centers, Inc. common stock during the period May 12, 1998
through August 12, 1999, inclusive.

The Complaint alleges that FGCI and certain of its officers and
directors violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by issuing a
series of false and misleading statements concerning the Company's
growth and future profitability by failing to reveal problems associated
with certain of its acquisitions.

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, or by e-mail at email@rabinlaw.com

FEN-PHEN: American Legal Network Alerts Users of March 30th Deadline
The American Legal Network, a consortium of independent lawyers and law
firms, is reminding users of the diet drug that they must decide by
March 30th if they want to participate in the class action settlement,
which the Network says is believed to be the largest personal injury
settlement against any single company in U.S. history. The settlement
pact and matters related to the settlement have been covered in the CAR.

The American Legal Network says that a court supervised mass media
campaign has been launched to generate awareness among fen-phen users
about the $3.75 billion settlement and advise them to seek legal counsel
prior to the March 30th filing deadline. The Network believes that many
of the 6 million people who must make a decision by March 30th are
unaware or uncertain of what steps to take to choose appropriate legal
counsel to help them with the decision.

The Network says that medical and legal details concerning fen-phen are
available at their Website, http://www.americanlegalnetwork.comand
fen-phen users can also contact a Network lawyer in their area for a
free consultation by calling toll-free 1-888-774-2000.

FEN-PHEN: Judge in Dakota Orders AHP CEO to Testify; Trial on April 3
Fleming & Associates, L.L.P., lead counsel for two severely injured
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, women who ingested Fen-Phen, has successfully
petitioned the court to order John R. Stafford, chairman, president and
CEO of American Home Products Corporation (NYSE: AHP) (AHP), to undergo
an immediate deposition by plaintiffs' attorney George M. Fleming. The
ruling was handed down during a pre-trial motion hearing on March 10 by
Circuit Court Judge William J. Srstka, Jr. in South Dakota District
Court. The case is slated for trial on April 3, 2000 in Sioux Falls.

At the end of last year, AHP was ordered by the District Court of
Montgomery County, Texas, to produce Stafford for deposition in another
Fleming & Associates Fen-Phen case, but American Home Products reached a
confidential settlement agreement with the plaintiffs while the ruling
was being appealed by AHP in the Texas Supreme Court, thus avoiding the
court's ruling.

"So far, Mr. Stafford has avoided revealing the truth under oath
regarding what AHP really knew about the health risks of the Fen-Phen
diet drug combination, as the company continued to amass huge profits
through the national pushing of Pondimin and Redux," Fleming said. "We
think it's about time that the public hears the truth. This deposition
will shed light on the cold fact that AHP knowingly injured countless
men and women who took these drugs."

Stafford's court-ordered deposition must occur prior to the start of the
trial involving the two formerly healthy women from Sioux Falls. Fleming
& Associates filed the case on behalf of primary pulmonary hypertension
(PPH) patient Patricia Buol, who is now awaiting both a heart and a lung
transplant as a result of taking Fen-Phen for approximately six months.
The other Fen- Phen victim is Julie Plummer, a Gateway Computer
employee, who has suffered severe heart valve damage and has already
undergone extensive surgery for heart valve replacement.

The lawsuit is one of some 3,200 lawsuits around the country against
American Home Products involving use of the diet drug.

Contact: D'Lisa R. Simmons, Fleming & Associates, L.L.P., 713-621-7944,
800-654-7139, d'lisa-simmons@fleming-law.com

FLIR SYSTEMS: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in Oregon
Milberg Weiss (http://www.milberg.com/flir/)announced that a class
action has been commenced in the United States District Court for the
District of Oregon on behalf of purchasers of FLIR Systems Inc.
(Nasdaq:FLIR) common stock during the period between Feb. 8, 2000 and
March 3, 2000 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges FLIR and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. FLIR is involved
in the design, manufacture and marketing of thermal imaging and
broadcast camera systems for a wide variety of applications in the
commercial and government markets. The complaint alleges that on Feb. 8,
2000, FLIR announced its expected results for the fourth quarter ended
Dec. 30, 1999, including net earnings of at least $0.57 per share, later
telling analysts that demand and order rates were still strong and the
company would report revenues of approximately $57 million. Although
these amounts were a shortfall from previous expectations, FLIR
management told analysts it expected to make up the shortfall in the
following quarter. As a result of management's positive statements,
FLIR's stock price did not collapse but declined only to the $14 range,
later recovering most of its losses and increasing to $17-1/2 per share.
Then on March 6, 2000, FLIR admitted that its fourth quarter 1999
results would be much lower than previously forecast due to "accounting
errors," simultaneously announcing the immediate resignation of the
company's Chief Financial Officer. On these shocking disclosures, FLIR's
stock price declined to as low as $9 per share from $17-1/8 in its most
recent trading session.

Contact: Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach William Lerach,
800/449-4900 wls@mwbhl.com

FLIR SYSTEMS: Schubert & Reed Plans to File Shareholder Suit
Schubert & Reed LLP plans to file a shareholder class action against
FLIR Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: FLIR) and certain of its officers and
directors alleging violations of federal securities laws on behalf of a
proposed class of purchasers of FLIR common stock between April 28, 1999
and March 3, 2000, inclusive (the "Class Period").

Based on the investigation of counsel, the Complaint will allege
violations of Section 10 and 20 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. On March 6, 2000, FLIR Systems,
Inc. announced that it expected revenue and net earnings for the fourth
quarter to be "materially below" the Company's previous expectations of
$0.57-$ 0.59 for the fourth quarter, announced just weeks earlier, and
that a loss for the quarter was "possible." FLIR also announced that its
Vice President of Finance and CFO "resigned" following the discovery of
"several errors" in its accounting records, including errors in
consolidating entries made for its subsidiaries in both the U.S. and
Europe, and that correcting these errors would have the effect of
reducing revenue and net earnings relative to the Company's previously
announced expectations. FLIR said that it would delay announcement of
its financial results for the fourth quarter and 1999 until after the
completion of the year-end audit of its financial statements, which it
expected no later than the end of March. On news of the irregularities,
FLIR lost more than 40% of its value in a single day's trading, closing
at $10.

Contact: Juden Justice Reed, Esq. of Schubert & Reed LLP, 415-788-4220,
or fax, 415-788-0161, or mail@schubert-reed.com

HASS: NJ Ct OKs Suit Filed '96 for Medical Monitoring Re Toxic Waste
A New Jersey judge has certified a class action that seeks medical
monitoring for Gloucester County residents who fear that they were
poisoned by toxic waste dumped at one of New Jersey's worst Superfund
sites. Superior Court Judge John Holston certified the class on Jan. 27,
more than three years after the suit, Wilson v. Hass, L-1375-95, was
filed, in July 1996. The suit asks for creation of a fund "to defray or
reimburse the cost of diagnostic evaluation or medical monitoring of the
health of the persons exposed to high or elevated toxic discharge." (The
National Law Journal, February 21, 2000)

ICN PHARMACEUTICALS: Heightened Pleading Standards Do Not Apply to SEC
In what is believed to be the first ruling of its kind, the Central
District of California has refused to dismiss the Securities and
Exchange Commission's securities fraud suit against a corporate officer
of ICN Pharmaceuticals, concluding the heightened pleading standards of
the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act do not apply to the
agency's enforcement actions. SEC v. ICN Pharmaceuticals. (Securities &
Commodities Litigation Reporter, February 24, 2000)

INFORMATION MANAGEMENT: Berman, DeValerio Files Securities Suit in CT
Berman, DeValerio & Pease LLP announces that a shareholder of
Information Management Associates, Inc. (NYSE: IMAA) has filed a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of
Connecticut. The shareholder seeks damages for violations of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and has brought the lawsuit on behalf of
all investors who purchased Information Management common stock during
the period August 12, 1999 through November 18, 1999.

The action alleges that, during the Class Period, Information Management
and certain of its officers overstated revenues and earnings by
improperly recognizing revenue on "sales" where the customer had no
obligation to pay for the product.

Contact: Chauncey D. Steele IV, Michael G. Lange, Berman, DeValerio &
Pease LLP, One Liberty Square, Boston, MA 02109, E-Mail:
bdplaw@bermanesq.com telephone: (800) 516-9926 Website:

LOS ANGELES: Justice Officials and Police to Discuss Rampart Scandal
High-ranking U.S. Justice Department officials are in Los Angeles to
determine why the police department has not moved forward with
anticipated changes in the wake of a corruption scandal in its Ramparts
Division, according to the Los Angeles Times, Monday, March 13.

Justice Department officials concerned about civil rights violations
arising from the scandal would meet with Police Chief Bernard Parks and
other city leaders in two days of talks, the report says. The meetings
come two weeks after the department released a 362-page report on the
Ramparts Division scandal, in which officers allegedly shot and framed
innocent victims, planted evidence and lied on the witness stand. Head
of the Justice Department's civil rights division, Bill Lann Lee, wanted
to determine why the Los Angeles Police Department had not implemented
long-anticipated changes following the scandal and to find out how it
planned to move forward on key reforms, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Justice Department has been monitoring the Los Angeles Police
Department since 1996 to determine whether incidents involving excessive
force fall into any recognizable pattern, according to the Times. The
oversight was authorized under a 1994 federal law.

NEFF CORP: Stockholders Allege Proposed Buyout Is a Sweetheart Deal
Angry stockholders are alleging insider dealing at Neff Corp., saying
the company's proposed management buyout is a sweetheart deal that
cheats smaller investors. Last month, Neff announced plans to buy out
its public shareholders at $ 9 a share, well under the company's initial
public offering price of $ 14 per share in 1998. Neff President and
Chief Executive Kevin Fitzgerald will head the buyout group, along with
General Electric Capital, which already owns a stake in Neff. Under
terms of the proposed buyout, controlling shareholders will get a better
deal than other stockholders.

Jorge Mas, Juan Carlos Mas and Jose Ramon Mas -- sons of the late Jorge
Mas Canosa and 63 percent owners of Neff -- would receive $ 9 a share
for about 4.7 million shares of stock. But the remaining 7.1 million
shares would be redeemable at $ 13 a share at a future date or in a new
buyout. The $ 13 price is a 44 percent premium over the $ 9 offered to
other shareholders.

Shareholders are irate over the company's lack of communication. Neff
has failed to issue timely information on the company's activities and
has failed to provide reports on board meetings requested by
shareholders. "I don't know how they can go public at $ 14 and sell off
two of their best money-making assets and have the nerve to sell at $
9," said Chris Tilley, a shareholder in Sterling, Va. "How would the SEC
allow it?"

Tilley is one of three shareholders who filed a class-action lawsuit
against Neff, the three Mas brothers, Fitzgerald, and board members
Arthur B. Laffer and Joel-Tomas Citron. The lawsuit was filed Feb. 29 in
Delaware, where the company is registered.

Citron is president and chief executive of MasTec, a Miami builder of
telecommunications and cable television cable systems, which is also
majority- owned by the Mas family. Laffer, who became well known for
providing inspiration for former President Ronald Reagan's supply-side
economics, also is a MasTec board member.

The lawsuit alleges that shareholders "have suffered and will suffer
irreparable damage unless defendants are ordered to put the company up
for auction in order to maximize shareholder value." Buyers jumped into
Neff when its stock was first publicly issued, and the price rose to $
18 a share last summer after the company announced it had hired an
investment banker to look for a buyer. But no deal resulted, and the
stock sank as low as $ 6. When Neff announced Feb. 28 that management
would pay $ 9 for the company, shareholders bitterly complained the
company should have found a more generous buyer.

One shareholder, Kern Minehan, who lives in Surrey, N.D., said he
purchased stock last July after Fitzgerald announced that plans to sell
the company were nearing completion. "I buy into this at this point
because I figure, hey, the CEO of the company said this, it must be more
or less accurate," Minehan said. The buyout offer must still gain board
approval. (The Miami Herald, March 14, 2000)

PUBLIC SERVICE: Vigorously Defends Lawsuits over Royalties in Kansas
On June 28, 1999, a complaint was served on Public Service Co of New
Mexico, alleging violations of the False Claims Act by the Company and
its subsidiaries, Gathering Company and Processing Company (collectively
called Company, for purposes of this discussion), by purportedly failing
to properly measure natural gas from Federal and tribal properties in
New Mexico, and consequently, underpaid royalties owed to the Federal
government. A private relator is pursuing the lawsuit. The complaint was
served after the United States Department of Justice declined to
intervene to pursue the lawsuit. The complaint seeks actual damages,
treble damages, costs and attorneys fees, among other relief.

This case was consolidated with approximately 70 others, asserting
similar claims against other defendants in other jurisdictions, and
transferred to Federal District Court for the District of Wyoming by the
Federal Multi-District Litigation panel (MDL Panel), recaptioned as In
re: Natural Gas Royalties Qui Tam Litigation, MDL Docket No. 1293. The
Company joined 250 other defendants in a motion to dismiss the complaint
for failure to plead properly in November 1999. The motion is set for
oral argument on March 17, 2000.

A class action lawsuit  against 233  defendants,  including the Company,
captioned  Quinque  Operating  Co. et al. v. Gas  Pipelines,  et al.,
C.A.  No. 99-CV-30,  was filed in the state district court for Stevens
County,  Kansas by representatives of classes of gas producers,  royalty
owners, overriding royalty owners and working interest owners, alleging
that the defendants, all engaged in various aspects of the natural gas
industry, mismeasured natural gas and underpaid royalties for gas
produced on non-federal and non-tribal lands. The claims for relief are
based on Kansas state law, including a breach of contract claim. They
are factually similar, however, to the allegations of In re: Natural Gas
Royalties Qui Tam Litigation. The Quinque complaint seeks actual
damages, treble damages, costs and attorneys fees among other relief.

The Quinque case was removed to the United States District Court for the
District of Kansas. Thereafter, several defendants moved the MDL Panel
to transfer the case to the United States District Court for Wyoming and
to consolidate it with the In re: Natural Gas Royalties Qui Tam
Litigation. Plaintiffs have filed objections to the motions to
consolidate and transfer and have filed with the U. S District Court in
Kansas a motion to remand the case to state court. Both matters are
awaiting decision.

The Company is vigorously defending this lawsuit and is unable to
estimate the potential liability, if any, or to predict the ultimate
outcome of this lawsuit.

SAFETY-KLEEN: Cohen, Milstein Files Securities Suit in SC
The law firm of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C. on March 13,
2000, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
District of South Carolina, on behalf of purchasers of the common stock
of Safety-Kleen Corporation (NYSE:SK) during the period between July 7,
1998, and March 6, 2000, inclusive.

The complaint charges Safety-Kleen and certain of its directors and
executive officers with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The complaint alleges that
the defendants issued materially false and misleading financial
statements that materially overstated the Company's revenues, income and
earnings during the Class Period. Additionally, the complaint alleges
that the Company announced on March 6, 2000, that a committee had been
formed to investigate possible accounting irregularities in its reported
financial results since 1998 and that the Company's top officers had
been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the
investigation. Safety-Kleen's stock dropped more that $2.00 per share
and has declined over 89% from its class period high of$19.25.

Contact: Andrew N. Friedman, Esq. or Robert Smits Cohen, Milstein,
Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C. 1100 New York Avenue, N.W. Suite 500 - West
Tower Washington, D.C. 20005 Telephone: 888/240-0775 or 202/408-4600
email address: afriedman@cmht.com or rsmits@cmht.com

SAFETY-KLEEN: Discovers Accounting Irregularities; Cash Tight
Safety-Kleen Corp. has announced that it has discovered "accounting
irregularities" affecting financial results for the past three years and
will continue an investigation of its policies. The company said on
Monday that it may have to borrow money or sell assets to continue
funding operations. The company also said it is trying to renegotiate
some loan agreements.

Safety-Kleen's largest shareholder, Laidlaw Inc., urged the company to
finish its investigation as quickly as possible to remove uncertainty
about the company. Burlington, Ontario-based Laidlaw owns 44 percent of
Safety-Kleen. (Chicago Tribune, March 14, 2000)

SOTHEBY'S HOLDINGS: Burt & Pucillo Files Securities Suit in New York
Pursuant to Section 21D(a)(3)(A)(i) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934, a class action lawsuit alleging violations of the federal
securities laws was filed on March 10, 2000, in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York against Sotheby's
Holdings, Inc. The action is brought on behalf of a class of persons who
purchased the common stock of Sotheby's Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:BID) during
the period from February 11, 1997 and January 29, 2000 (the "Class

The complaint alleges that Sotheby's and certain of its officers and
directors violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 by
issuing materially false and misleading information concerning Sotheby's
business and financial condition during the Class Period. Specifically,
the complaint alleges that Sotheby's misrepresented the extent to which
its revenue and earnings were the product of an illegal price-fixing
conspiracy with its primary competitor, and misrepresented the extent to
which prices were competitive in the auction industry.

The action was filed by the firm of Burt & Pucillo, LLP ("Burt &
Pucillo") of West Palm Beach, Florida. Contact: Burt & Pucillo, LLP,
West Palm Beach Michael J. Pucillo, 561/835-9400 or 800/349-4612 e-mail:
law@burt-pucillo.com or burtpucill@aol.com website:

TOBACCO LITIGATION: Australian Ct Dismisses Suit by Lung Cancer Victims
Australian Federal Court has dismissed a class action suit by six
smokers against tobacco companies Philip Morris, WD and HO Wills, and
Rothmans. The majority decision by the three-judge court agreed with the
tobacco companies' argument that the class action didn't comply with
Federal Court rules.

Lawyers for the litigants, who were seeking unspecified damages, said
they will appeal.

Six people, who all claim claim they have all contracted lung cancer
because of the actions and conduct of Australia's three largest tobacco
companies, began the class action last year to sue the companies for
damages, alleging breach of the Trade Practices Act with misleading and
deceptive conduct and negligence. Two of the plaintiffs have since died.

Rothmans and Wills are both owned by the trading company British
American Tobacco Australasia.

Philip Morris (MO) spokeswoman Nerida White said the Court's decision
confirmed the company's belief that class actions are inappropriate and
litigation should be determined on an individual-by-individual basis.

TOBACCO LITIGATION: BAT Can't Claim Lack of Personal Jurisdiction in NY
A New York federal court has ruled that BAT Industries PLC (BAT), the
British parent company of Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. (B&W), may
not claim lack of personal jurisdiction to shield itself from class
action claims filed in New York. Simon et al. v. Philip Morris Inc. et
al. , No. 99 CV 1988 (ED NY, Jan. 4, 2000); see Tobacco Industry LR,
Dec. 27, 1999, P. 4. The class action was brought on behalf of lung
cancer victims against tobacco companies in the Eastern District of New

The suit asks the court to certify the named plaintiffs as
representatives of a class consisting of all residents of the United
States who have a 20 pack-year history of cigarette smoking and who had
a timely claim as of April 9, 1999, for lung cancer allegedly caused by
smoking. Like most other personal injury suits filed against tobacco
companies, the New York class action alleges that the major tobacco
companies conspired to: (1) conceal and misrepresent the health hazards
of smoking; (2) conceal the fact that nicotine in cigarettes is
addictive; and (3) conceal the fact that the companies have manipulated
the nicotine levels of their products.

BAT is a holding company based in London that derives its revenue from
tobacco manufacturing subsidiaries. The class action names BAT as a
defendant in the suit because one of its subsidiaries, B&W, has a strong
market presence in the state of New York. The suit claims BAT instructed
its subsidiaries to perpetuate their fraudulent position on the health
risks of smoking and prohibited them from designing and manufacturing a
less harmful product.

BAT moved to dismiss the claims against it, alleging that the conduct
alleged in the class action involved its subsidiaries and the plaintiffs
produced no evidence of independent wrongdoing by BAT. The court found
the plaintiffs had made a prima facie showing of conspiracy by BAT, and
noted that the record contained a large amount of evidence showing BAT
was involved with the tobacco conspiracy alleged by the suit. "Awareness
on the part of BAT of the effects of its acts in New York may be
inferred. BAT's concealment of information and enforcement of a code of
silence on its subsidiaries were undertaken to protect its American
subsidiary, B&W. To accomplish this, it knowingly supported the efforts
of the United States tobacco industry as a whole to attempt to make
cigarette smoking palatable to the American regulatory authorities and
general public while hiding from smokers and potential smokers around
the country, including New York, what it knew about the dangerousness of

The plaintiffs were represented by Steven E. Finemann and Robert J.
Nelson of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein in New York. The
defendants were represented by Joseph M. McLaughlin, Robert M. Neumann
and Michael P. Panagrossi of Simson, Thacher & Bartlett in New York.
(Tobacco Industry Litigation Reporter, February 25, 2000)

TYSON: NY Court Rejects Claim That Boxer's Bite Was a Rip-off
Pay-per-view customers who felt cheated when the June 28, 1997, boxing
match between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson ended prematurely after
Tyson bit his opponent's ear have lost a bid to bring a lawsuit against
the controversial fighter. Castillo et al. v. Tyson et al.; Abate v.
Tyson et al., Nos. 3133 and 3134 (NY Sup. Ct., App. Div., Jan. 20,
2000); see Sports & Entertainment LR, July 1997, P. 4.

A New York appellate court, in rejecting the proposed class action,
ruled that the breach of contract suit lacked merit.

Plaintiffs Damian Castillo and Catherine M. Abate claimed that they were
entitled to view a "legitimate heavyweight title fight" fought in
accordance with the rules and regulations of the governing boxing
commission. In wishing to represent all New York fans who had paid
$49.95 to watch the fight, the plaintiffs sued Tyson and his promoters,
as well as a number of fight telecasters, asking for their money back
because the match ended in an early disqualification.

New York County Supreme Court Judge Charles Ramos dismissed the lawsuit
after finding that the plaintiffs had failed to state a cause of action.
The fight fans were not in contractual privity with any of the
defendants, the appellate division said, affirming, nor can they claim
that they were third-party beneficiaries of one or more of the contracts
that the defendants entered into among themselves.

"Nothing in these contracts can be understood as promising a fight that
did not end in a disqualification," it said. "The rules of the governing
commission provide for disqualification, and it is a possibility that a
fight fan can reasonably expect," the five-judge panel continued. "The
plaintiffs could not reasonably rule out such a possibility by the
boxer's and promoters' public statements predicting a 'sensational
victory' and 'the biggest fight of all time.'"

The panel also rejected the plaintiffs' claim for unjust enrichment.
"The plaintiffs," it said, "received what they paid for, namely, 'the
right to view whatever event transpired.'"

Jay L.T. Breakstone in New York argued for the plaintiffs. Lawrence I.
Weinstein, Joseph D. Pizzurro and Stuart J. Baskin in New York
represented the Tyson defendants. (Sports & Entertainment Litigation
Reporter, February 2000)

VANTAGEMED CORP: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in California
Milberg Weiss (http://www.milberg.com/vantagemed)announced that a class
action has been commenced in the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of California on behalf of purchasers of VantageMed
Corporation (Nasdaq:VMDC) common stock pursuant to VantageMed's February
15, 2000 Initial Public Offering.

The complaint charges VantageMed and certain of its officers, directors
and its underwriters with violations of the Securities Act of 1933.
VantageMed provides healthcare information system and services to
automate administrative, financial, clinical and management functions
for physicians, dentists, and other healthcare providers and provider
organizations. On February 15, 2000, VantageMed completed an IPO of
3,000,000 shares of stock at $12 per share pursuant to a Registration
Statement/Prospectus. The offering provided that VantageMed would
receive $33.48 million in net proceeds and the underwriters would
receive $2.52 million. The complaint alleges that the Registration
Statement/Prospectus was false and misleading, failing to describe the
fact that the Company had been delayed in introducing a new version of
its most important product, Ridgeway medical management, which delay
would adversely affect the Company's future results.

On March 9, 2000, VantageMed revealed information that showed that the
positive statements in the Registration Statement/Prospectus were false
when made. On March 9, 2000, VantageMed issued a press release which
disclosed that 1stQ 2000 results would be below forecasts due to a delay
in the market introduction of the new version of its Ridgemark product,
a medical management system. The Company also filed the press release
with the SEC as a supplement to its Prospectus. While this supplement
corrected the Prospectus it did not do so until after public
shareholders had paid millions for VantageMed stock based on a defective
Prospectus. VantageMed's stock price reacted swiftly and negatively to
these revelations, falling to as low as $4-1/2 on huge volume of 3
million shares, $7-1/2 below the offering price just three and a half
weeks earlier. Public investors who purchased shares in the IPO based on
VantageMed's representations, paying $12 per share for VantageMed stock,
have suffered tens of millions of dollars in damages.

Contact: Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP William Lerach,
800/449-4900 wsl@mwbhl.com

VANTAGEMED CORP: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Suit in TN
The law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP announces that a class action
lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District
of Tennessee on behalf of all purchasers of the common stock of
VantageMed Corp. (Nasdaq:VMDC) pursuant to the Company's initial public
offering on February 15, 2000.

The complaint charges VantageMed and certain of its officers and
directors with issuing a false and misleading Registration Statement and
Prospectus for the IPO of VantageMed common stock.

Contact: Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, Philadelphia Marc A. Topaz, Esq.
Stuart L. Berman, Esq. 1-888-299-7706 (toll free) or 1-610-667-7706 Or
by e-mail at info@sbclasslaw.com

WEYERHAEUSER CO: Faces CA Property Owners' Suit over Hardboard Siding
In June 1998, a lawsuit was filed against the company in Superior Court,
San Francisco County, California, on behalf of a purported class of
individuals and entities that own property in the United States on which
exterior hardboard siding manufactured by the company has been installed
since 1981. The action alleges the company manufactured and distributed
defective hardboard siding, breached express warranties and consumer
protection statutes and failed to disclose to consumers the alleged
defective nature of its hardboard siding. The action seeks compensatory
and punitive damages, costs and reasonable attorney fees.

In December 1998, the complaint was amended narrowing the purported
class to individuals and entities in the state of California. In
February 1999, the court entered an order certifying the class. The
company has been unable thus far to obtain a reversal of the

WEYERHAEUSER CO: Faces TX Suit over Hardboard Siding
A lawsuit was filed against the company in District Court, Johnson
County, Texas, in June 1999. The case purports to be a class action on
behalf of persons who own structures in the state of Texas with exterior
hardboard siding manufactured by the company. The complaint alleges
defective design, misrepresentation, negligence, breach of express
warranty and fraudulent concealment. The complaint seeks unspecified
compensatory damages.

WEYERHAEUSER CO: Lawsuits over Hardboard Siding Filed in SC, IA and OR
In July 1999, a lawsuit was filed against the company in the Court of
Common Pleas, Beaufort County, South Carolina. The suit purports to be
filed on behalf of all owners of residential structures or other
buildings with hardboard siding manufactured by the company. The
complaint alleges breach of express and implied warranties, defective
design and manufacture, fraud and violation of South Carolina's unfair
trade practices act. The plaintiffs seek compensatory damages, treble
damages and attorneys' fees.

The company is a defendant in two other cases, one in Iowa and the other
in Oregon, that purport to be statewide class actions with similar
allegations. The company is a defendant in approximately 25 other
hardboard siding cases primarily involving multi-family structures and
residential developments.

WEYERHAEUSER CO: PA Suits Allege Price-Fixing of Linerboard
In May 1999, two civil antitrust lawsuits were filed against the company
in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Both suits
name as defendants several other major containerboard and packaging
producers. The complaint in the first case alleges the defendants
conspired to fix the price of linerboard and that the alleged conspiracy
had the effect of increasing the price of corrugated containers. The
suit purports to be a class action on behalf of purchasers of corrugated
containers during the period October 1993 through November 1995. The
complaint in the second case alleges that the company conspired to
manipulate the price of linerboard and thereby the price of corrugated
sheets. The suit purports to be a class action on behalf of purchasers
of corrugated sheets during the period October 1993 through November
1995. Both suits seek damages, including treble damages, under the
antitrust laws.

WEYERHAEUSER CO: Wins WA Case over Hardboard Siding; Appeal Pending
In September 1998, a lawsuit purporting to be a class action involving
hardboard siding was filed against the company in Superior Court, King
County, Washington. The complaint was amended, in January 1999, to
include individuals and entities that own homes or other structures in
the United States on which exterior hardboard siding manufactured by the
company at its former Klamath Falls, Oregon, facility has been installed
since January 1981. The amended complaint alleges the company
manufactured defective hardboard siding, engaged in unfair trade
practices and failed to disclose to customers the alleged defective
nature of its hardboard siding. The amended complaint seeks compensatory
damages, punitive or treble damages, restitution, attorney fees, costs
of the suit and such other relief as may be appropriate. In July 1999,
the company's motion for summary judgment was granted in this case. The
plaintiffs filed a petition for reconsideration which was denied in
January 2000. The plaintiffs have appealed this decision.

* Proposed EEOC Regulation May Allow Employees to Sue Despite Waiver
Under a proposed regulation making its way through the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission, signing a waiver in exchange for severance pay
may no longer be an impediment to litigation.

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1998 opinion in Oubre v .
Entergy Operations Inc., 522 U.S. 422, the EEOC has indicated that it is
set to agree with the court's ruling that if a waiver is not knowing and
voluntary an employee does not have to tender back severance in order to
sue his employer.

And although a conservative contingent of the court -- Chief Justice
William Rehnquist and Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia --
sized up the ruling as a windfall for plaintiffs, the majority held that
companies could not use "tender back" as a means to evade compliance
with 1990's Older Workers Benefits and Protection Act.

Plaintiffs lawyers and the EEOC say companies that issue fair and proper
releases -- releases that comply with the Supreme Court's
knowing-and-voluntary standard -- will create an affirmative defense,
shielding them from legal action.

But defense attorneys say not only will the ruling saddle employers with
the cost of fighting meritless claims, but workers will suffer because
companies will simply stop offering severance.

'It doesn't seem right' Defense lawyers like de Bernardo say the EEOC
proposed regulation 165.23 will in all likelihood open the door to
frivolous claims by plaintiffs lawyers who will have little to lose by
suing an employer under the 1967 Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
De Bernardo sees the policy as discouraging settlement and encouraging
litigation. "Now they can take the money and keep it -- it's the best of
both worlds [for plaintiffs lawyers]," says de Bernardo. Conceptually,
says de Bernardo, the idea of protecting aging workers from termination
is a good one. "The problem is in the execution," he says. "There has to
be a level playing field."

Calling the policy essentially a no-lose situation for plaintiffs, the
Littler Washington, D.C., partner says the rule will only result in more
litigation, more acrimony, and fewer resolutions in an area of law that
already accounts for one-third of the federal court backlog. And because
the OWBPA only comes into play when a waiver is used, de Bernardo says
companies will simply stop offering severance. "There is a potential
chilling effect on employers offering severance," he says. "It is less

The American Corporate Counsel Association, the 11,000-member in-house
bar, agrees. In a letter to the EEOC, the corporate counsel organization
argues that the regulation will destroy a waiver's value to the
employer, run counter to applicable case law, and undermine amicable
settlement of employment disputes. "This regulation prevents finality
and undermines the system by allowing disgruntled employees with
spurious claims to fight on endlessly. That's the opposite of what we
all intended, isn't it?" wrote Steven Allen Bennett, chairman of ACCA's
policy committee. Bennett argues that an employer pays for a release to
avoid the costs and inconvenience of a lawsuit. Under the proposed
regulation, even if a company has an airtight defense, it is still
subject to that expense.

Bennett further asks the EEOC to implement some consequence to bringing
a frivolous claim -- either requiring the employee to pay back the
consideration, or if the release provides, the employer's costs and
attorneys fees.

Proponents of the regulation, on the other hand, say empowering
employees to take legal action without forfeiting pay is what Congress
intended when it wrote the OWBPA statute. And lawyers like Alan Exelrod,
a partner at San Francisco's Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & True -- who won a
similar action in federal court four years ago -- say the practice of
bringing a claim without tendering back payment is not new. "Having this
will help with some judges [who aren't clear on the statute]," Exelrod
says. As for the defense argument, Exelrod says: "All they have to do is
comply with the act."

Plaintiffs attorney Phil Horowitz, a partner with S.F.'s Lawless,
Horowitz & Lawless, says employers can protect themselves fully by just
following the law. "The issue never arises if they follow the
requirements," he says.

Horowitz adds that the law is very straightforward, but employers often
choose to ignore it. Now, he says, employers and their attorneys are
upset because breaking the law has become inconvenient for them. In
fact, Horowitz says the OWBPA rules should be applied to all
discrimination cases.

As for the defense bar's argument that denying employers the finality of
their bargain goes against the statutory scheme of the OWBPA, Horowitz
calls that "malarkey." "Why would Congress say [unfair] releases are not
valid if they didn't mean it?" he asks.

The EEOC's position is that "an individual alleging that a waiver
agreement was not knowing and voluntary under the OWBPA is not required
to tender back the consideration as a precondition for challenging the
waiver agreement." The agency further maintains that the regulation
poses little threat to companies offering fair and voluntary waiver
agreements. In its notice of proposed rulemaking, the EEOC says: "The
statute does not envision a waiver agreement as a bar to litigation, but
rather suggests that a waiver is an affirmative defense."

Nevertheless, EEOC assistant legal counsel Carol Miaskoff says although
a final rule should be approved by an EEOC panel later this year, she
could not predict what the final regulation will look like.


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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