/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/000406.MBX                  C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

                  Thursday, April 6, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 68


BASF CORP: Judge Dismisses Farmers' Herbicide Deceptive Selling Lawsuit
CINAR CORP: Founders in Talks to Sell Stake; CanWest at Table
CONNECTIX CORP: Device that Emulates Sony Playstation (R) Ruled As Fair
ECONNECT, INC: The Pomerantz Firm Announces Securities Lawsuit
FOOD LION: Shareholders Ask Supreme Court to Review Dismissal

KPMG: Summary Notice of Fairness Hearing Re Piper Jaffray (PJIGX)
MICROSOFT CORP: Judge Proposes Expedited Appeal, Makes Tight Schedule
MICROSOFT CORP: Legal & Tech Experts Voice Concern; Battle Just Begun
NETWORK ASSOCIATES: 9th Cir Decides Not to Intervene in Securities Suit
NEW ENGLAND: Goodman & Nekvasil Files Securities Suit in Florida

NINA BRINK: World Online Shares Fall As Chairwoman Under Legal Threats
PEAPOD INC: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in Illinois
SAFETY-KLEEN CORP: Berman DeValerio Files Securities Suit in SC
SANTA CLARA: County in CA Forced to Pay $ 4.5 Mil in Back Wages for OT
SECURITY AGENCIES: Unsuccessful Job Applicants Sue over Polygraph Exams

TOBACCO LITIGATION: B&W Issues Statement Re Denial of Class in CA Ct
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Bill to Cap Tobacco Damage Bond Passed in NC
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Jury Asked Not to Let Makers 'off the Hook'
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Trial To Enter Deliberations Phase
TRW VEHICLE: Redidents in Mesa, Arizona Sue over Toxic Emissions


BASF CORP: Judge Dismisses Farmers' Herbicide Deceptive Selling Lawsuit
--- --------------------------------------------------------------------

Farmers plan to appeal the dismissal of a lawsuit accusing the chemical
giant BASF Corp. of deceiving the farmers by selling one herbicide as
two separate products, charging a premium for the one marketed as
stronger. The farmers from around the country contend Mount Olive,
N.J.-based BASF used bogus marketing practices for its Poast and Poast
Plus products, which kill weed grasses.

Norman County District Judge Michael Crocker dismissed the class-action
lawsuit March 2, ruling that the company had complied with state and
federal rules, according to Douglas Nill, a Minneapolis attorney
representing the farmers.

Nill said on April 5 that the farmers will appeal. "The fact that the
company complied with federal and state labeling and registration
processes is in no way a defense to their deceptive and fraudulent
formulating, pricing and marketing schemes," Nill said.

Although the products were marketed for different uses, they were
registered with the Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 for use on
the same crops, Nill has said. He contends the labeling and pricing
violate New Jersey's consumer protection act, which can be applied in
any state. He said some farmers figured out from the labels that the
products were the same and used the cheaper herbicide instead. But
others thought Poast Plus was stronger and paid $4 an acre more. "They
knew farmers relied upon the label," Nill said.

The farmers were seeking an undisclosed amount of damages. (The
Associated Press, April 5, 2000)

CINAR CORP: Founders in Talks to Sell Stake; CanWest at Table
--- ----------------------------------------------------------
Micheline Charest and Ronald Weinberg, the ousted chief executives of
Cinar Corp., have begun talks with some of Canada's top entertainment
firms to sell their majority stake of the Montreal animator, sources

Firms said to be looking at buying the assets of the embattled company
include CanWest Global Communications Inc. and Alliance Atlantis
Communications Inc. Some U.S. firms are also said to be interested,
including Nickelodeon, the number one children's cable network in the
U.S. and Saban Entertainment, both of which Cinar currently has
distribution deals.

The couple, who co-founded Cinar, were in Toronto to meet with CanWest
executives and are expected to set up meetings with other companies such
as Alliance Atlantis and possibly Nelvana Inc., another Canadian
animator. However, it is understood Nelvana is not interested in
purchasing Cinar's assets.

While the talks are said to be preliminary, they are the first step in
the company's attempt to salvage its assets, with the goal of getting
shareholders the best return for the stock, which has fallen nearly 75%
since Cinar's troubles began last fall.

The company is facing allegations of tax fraud, for prompting Canadians
to say they were authors of scripts actually written by Americans, as
well as a scandal involving the unauthorized investment of $122-million.
(All figures in U.S. dollars.)

Mr. Weinberg and Ms. Charest, as well as the company's former senior
executive vice-president, Hasanain Panju, have been fired as a result of
the improper investments made to Norshield Investments Inc., a Bahamian
money management firm. The company's stock has been halted for weeks on
the Toronto Stock Exchange, as well as the Nasdaq, where its volume is
much higher, with regulators requesting more information on the
whereabouts of the improper investments.

As sale talks progress, Cinar would sign what is known as lockup
agreements, to provide exclusivity when dealing with potential suitors.
This could also create a bidding war which would drive up the price of
the assets.

One analyst estimated in early March that Cinar's library might be worth
about $150-million, based on about $100,000 an episode.

Mr. Weinberg and Micheline Charest, who are married, own a 62% voting
stake in the company. Other major shareholders, who are also said to be
interested in selling the company's assets, include Fidelity Management
& Research Co., with 15%; John McStay Investments, with 8%; Edgemont
Asset Management, with 4.5%; and Alliance Capital Management with 4%.

One major shareholder said the desire is to sell the company as a whole,
not in parts. 'I don't want to see this thing unravel,' said the
shareholder who did not want to be named.

CanWest, through its division called CanWest Entertainment -- one of
Canada's largest production, distribution and financing companies of
movies and television programs -- is believed to be interested in
Cinar's extensive library of shows. CanWest's long-term strategy is to
acquire more libraries to build content.

Meantime, Alliance Atlantis would be interested in expanding its
children's programming division following the launch this fall of its
new label called AAC Kids. Alliance Atlantis already handles such
children's programming as the Academy Award-winning Boys and Girls,
based on the short story by Canadian author Alice Munro and the Daytime
Emmy Award nominated shows Curse of the Viking Grace and Lost in the
Barrens, based on novels by Farley Mowat.

Both CanWest and Alliance Atlantis are said to be leery still of
acquiring Cinar given its current troubles, which includes a number of
class action lawsuits in North America, but are consulting lawyers to
make arrangements for any possible liabilities to be excluded from the
deal. (National Post (formerly The Financial Post), April 05, 2000)

CONNECTIX CORP: Device that Emulates Sony Playstation (R) Ruled As Fair
--- --------------------------------------------------------------------

A panel of the Ninth Circuit has allowed Connectix Corp. to resume
selling its Virtual Game System, finding that Connectix's copying of
certain elements of plaintiff Sony Computer Entertainment's software was
permissible reverse engineering and, therefore, a fair use under the
Copyright Act. Sony Computer Entertainment v. Connectix. P. 67.

Minn. Class Action Hits Microsoft with Price-Fixing, Restraint of Trade
ClaimsA consumer class action, filed in state court under the Minnesota
Antitrust Act, has charged software giant Microsoft Corp. with
monopolization in order to fix prices and restrain trade in the
operating systems market. It also alleges Microsoft engaged in contracts
in unreasonable restraint of trade to suppress and restrain trade and
innovation in the market for Internet browsers or other application
programming interfaces. Rubbright Group v. Microsoft. P. 68.

Firm Asks Supreme Court to Review Antitrust Ruling in Favor of DECSMS
Systems Maintenance Services has filed a petition for writ of certiorari
asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision affirming summary
judgment in favor of Digital Equipment Corp. in an antitrust dispute
involving the servicing of Digital computer equipment. SMS Sys.
Maintenance Serv. v. Digital Equipment Corp. P. 69.

Court Refuses to Dismiss Infringement Suit for Lack of Jurisdiction,
VenueThe Eastern District of Wisconsin has refused to dismiss for lack
of personal jurisdiction and lack of venue a copyright and patent
infringement suit filed by a Milwaukee software company. PKWare Inc. v.
Meade. P. 71.

Mass. Ct. Refuses to Grant Judgment in Patent Dispute over CAD
SoftwareThe District of Massachusetts has refused to grant summary
judgment to either party in a patent dispute concerning the design of a
template and digitizing tablet to simplify the operation of computer
aided design software. Baystate Tech. v. Bowers. P. 73.

E-mail Service Enjoined from Using 'CoolMail' TrademarkA company that
purchased rights to the mark "Coolmail" from an individual who used the
mark on free software distributed over the Internet has senior rights in
the mark, a federal judge in Florida has ruled. Even though the software
on which the mark "Coolmail" was first used was free, it was still
"transported in commerce" under the Lanham Act, the judge said.
Planetary Motion v. Techsplosion. P. 74.

Lack of Timely Assurances Fails to Justify Breach of Contract ClaimEven
though By-Lo Oil Co. felt compelled to spend $175,000 on a new computer
system when the vendor of its computer software, ParTech, failed to
respond to By-Lo's request for assurances that the software was Y2K
compliant, the Eastern District of Michigan dismissed By-Lo's breach of
contract suit against Par-Tech. By-Lo Oil Co. v. ParTech. P. 75.

GAO Finds Lapses in FAA Security In Y2K Remediation EffortsMincing no
words, the U.S. General Accounting Office has issued a report concluding
that the failure of the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct
background searches on foreign nationals who participated in the FAA's
Y2K remediation efforts could mean that the air traffic control system
may be more susceptible to intrusion and malicious attacks. P. 76.

Advisory Board Finds Unforeseen Benefits of Y2K EffortsNow that Y2K has
passed virtually glitch-free, some assert with the wisdom of hindsight
that governments spent millions of dollars and hours of manpower for
naught. Not so, concludes a report issued by an Intergovernmental
Advisory Board. P. 77.

ShinMaywa Industries Rebuts Insurers' Amicus ArgumentsShinMaywa
Industries, the defendant fighting an insurance coverage lawsuit by
Transportation Insurance Ltd., fired back at arguments made by the
Insurers Year 2000 Roundtable in the answer brief it filed in response
to the insurers' amicus curiae brief. Transp. Ins. v. ShinMawya Indus.
Ltd. (Software Law Bulletin, April 2000)

ECONNECT, INC: The Pomerantz Firm Announces Securities Lawsuit
--- -----------------------------------------------------------
Pomerantz Haudek Block Grossman & Gross LLP
(http://www.pomerantzlaw.com)announces the Class Period for purchasers
of the common stock of the below listed security:

ECONNECT, INC. (OTC Bulletin Board:ECNC) Class Period: February 22, 2000
and March 13, 2000, inclusive

Contact: Pomerantz Haudek Block Grossman & Gross LLP Andrew G. Tolan,
Esq., 888/476-6529 (888/4-POMLAW) agtolan@pomlaw.com

FOOD LION: Shareholders Ask Supreme Court to Review Dismissal
--- ----------------------------------------------------------
The shareholders of Food Lion Inc. claim the Fourth Circuit erred when
it dismissed their securities fraud class action against the supermarket
chain and have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the panel's
treatment of the "fraud on the market" presumption. Longman et al. v.
Food Lion Inc., No. 991313, petition for certiorari filed (U.S., Feb. 3.

"The Fourth Circuit's ruling, if it is allowed to stand, promises
effectively to eliminate the fraud on the market presumption in that
jurisdiction," according to the shareholders. The presumption relieves a
plaintiff from proving actual reliance on a corporation's public
misrepresentations by assuming the information is absorbed by the market
and reflected in the stock price.

In 1992, David Longman filed suit against Food Lion, alleging the chain
and its president, Tom E. Smith, expressly denied widespread illegal
labor practices that resulted in artificially inflated profits and stock
prices. The class period ran from May 7, 1990, to Nov. 5, 1992.

In 1998, the Middle District of North Carolina ruled the illegal labor
practices were fully disclosed to the public by Sept. 11, 1991, when the
United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) announced it had filed a
complaint against the company with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

The court then dismissed the complaint, ruling that the investors who
purchased Food Lion stock after that date did not justifiably rely on
the alleged material omissions. Those investors who purchased before
Sept. 11, 1991, were barred by the statute of limitations from pursuing
their claims.

A divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
affirmed, concluding the claims were well known to the market before the
end of the proposed class period and, therefore, Food Lion's omissions
were not material.

                       Longman's Argument

Longman originally sued Food Lion shortly after a Nov. 5, 1992, "Prime
Time Live" broadcast exposed the illegal labor practices. The day after
the program aired, Food Lion's Class A stock fell approximately 11
percent and its Class B stock fell about 14 percent. The DOL also
initiated its own suit against the company within a few days.

At the time, Food Lion had in place a time-management system called
"Effective Scheduling" that required employees to perform specific
duties within certain times. If employees failed to complete the tasks
during the allotted time, they either finished the work "off the clock"
or took the chance of being fired.

Food Lion "continually and vociferously" denied reports of the labor law
violations, the plaintiff says. When the union first called for a
boycott of Food Lion stores in 1990, Longman asserts the company issued
a press release portraying its employees as well-compensated and working
in positions that were highly sought after by the work force.

By the time the UFCW filed its complaint in 1991, the union said Food
Lion derived 37 percent of its after-tax profit from illegal work.

However, Food Lion attempted to discredit the union's motives, stating,
" O ur employees' hard work and company efficiencies in operations
result in lower prices which threaten unionized competitors." Longman
says leading market analysts discounted the union's 1991 suit as mere
harassment, and some even said it was a good time to buy the stock.
Paine Webber reported the UFCW had targeted Food Lion for unionization
but had not been successful with its employees.

Due to the controversy regarding the allegations, Longman argues Food
Lion's offenses were not disclosed to the public in a credible fashion
until the "Prime Time Live" report. In 1993, Food Lion agreed to pay the
DOL $16.2 million for its violations of federal labor laws.

"The Fourth Circuit's ruling that the presumption of reliance on a
corporation's misrepresentations may be rebutted by establishing the
existence of any contrary public statement, regardless of the market's
view of the credibility of its source, cannot be harmonized with
relevant decisions of this Court," Longman argues.

He also says the holding directly conflicts with other circuit court
decisions, including Schneider v. Vennard (In re Apple Computer Sec.
Litig), 886 F.2d 1109 (9th Cir., 1989), cert. denied, 496 U.S. 943
(1990). In that case, Longman says, the Ninth Circuit emphasized that
any statement refuting a corporation's claims which are published by
sources not deemed credible by the investing public should not operate
to rebut the fraud on the market presumption.

Food Lion's denial of its labor practices (along with the analysts'
reports) affected the total mix of information available to investors,
says Longman. Given the contradictory information being provided to
investors, the petitioner argues the court erred in allowing the food
store chain to rebut the fraud on the market presumption.

Longman is represented by David M. Clark and John F. Bloss of Clark
Bloss & McIver in Greensboro, N.C. (Securities Litigation & Regulation
Reporter, March 22, 2000)

KPMG: Summary Notice of Fairness Hearing Re Piper Jaffray (PJIGX)
--- --------------------------------------------------------------
The following was released April 4 by Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P.
and Head Seifert & Vander Weide:


MAY 9, 1994:

This Notice is given pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and the March 15, 2000 Order of the United States District
Court for the District of Minnesota, Fourth Division. The purpose of
this Notice is to inform you that the action brought in the Court as a
class action on behalf of the purchasers of PJIGX during the period July
1, 1991 through May 9, 1994, inclusive, has concluded in a proposed
settlement of $13,900,000, before any award of attorneys fees and costs.
The action alleged violations of the federal securities laws. You may
have already participated in a settlement with the Piper Jaffray
Defendants. This is a separate settlement of claims against KPMG Peat
Marwick. If you purchased PJIGX during the period July 1, 1991 through
May 9, 1994, inclusive, you may be eligible to share in the settlement,
and your rights will be affected by the proposed settlement. On March
29, 2000, a Notice, including a Proof of Claim and Release, was mailed
to potential class members. That Notice contains important information
regarding the rights of class members and a form that must be completed
to share in the settlement. If you believe you are a member of the class
as defined above, and if you have not received a copy of the Notice by
mail, you may request a copy free of charge by mailing your request to:
Claims Administrator, KPMG Litigation, P.O. Box 2370, Minneapolis, MN

2, 2000.

Lead counsel for the Plaintiff Class in this matter are Lockridge
Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P., 100 Washington Avenue South, Suite 2200,
Minneapolis, MN 55401 and Head Seifert & Vander Weide, One Financial
Plaza, Suite 2400, 120 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402.


For more information, please contact the Claims Administrator, in
writing, at the address listed above.



Contact: Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P., Minneapolis Gregg M.
Fishbein, Esq. (612) 339-6900

MICROSOFT CORP: Judge Proposes Expedited Appeal, Makes Tight Schedule
--- ------------------------------------------------------------------
The presiding judge in the Microsoft antitrust case, meeting with
lawyers for both sides in Washington on April 4, said he wanted to put
the remedy phase of the case on a "fast track" and consider encouraging
the litigants to appeal the outcome directly to the Supreme Court,
according to a transcript of the meeting. One day after he issued his
judgment that found Microsoft in broad violation of the nation's
antitrust laws, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson laid out a tight schedule
for filings from both parties every 10 or 15 days "under a genuine fast
track which would enable us to conclude the remedy phase within 60 days"
of Monday, he said.

No decisions were made, and at one point Judge Jackson discussed
possibly bypassing the appeals court and encouraging the Justice
Department to take the case directly to the Supreme Court, under a law
that allows that procedure in antitrust cases of national importance. "I
would be remiss if I didn't tell you that I will be inviting from the
government a motion to provide for direct review in the Supreme Court,"
he said.

Lawyers for both sides raised questions about the various ideas,
suggesting that they were not sure what the law permitted. At the same
time, Microsoft faces the threat of a rising wave of consumer
class-action cases and other private lawsuits.

During the meeting, Judge Jackson said: "My transcendent objective is to
get this thing before an appellate tribunal -- one or another -- as
quickly as possible because I don't want to disrupt the economy or waste
any more of yours or my time on a remedy if it's going to come back

In the remedy phase, the court will decide what penalty, or remedy, is
assigned to Microsoft. Ideas range from moderating the company's conduct
to breaking the company up.

The judge issued his verdict on Monday, just 48 hours after settlement
talks broke down. In his conversations with the lawyers on Wednesday, he
asked them to give him the last offers each side had made in the talks,
an idea that both sides resisted. David Boies, the lead government
lawyer, noted that offers discussed in mediation talks are often of a
different character than those offered to a trial judge. Both sides were
also concerned about making their last offers from the settlement talks
part of the public record of the trial, to which Judge Jackson said he
would be willing to take them under seal. No decisions were made, and
the lawyers left to discuss the questions with others at the Justice
Department and Microsoft.

If the case were sent directly to the Supreme Court, the court could
presumably refuse to accept it, thereby sending it to the Court of
Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Apart from the appeals process, Microsoft could face a raft of suits
from the private sector. With Judge Jackson having ruled on Monday that
Microsoft was a "predatory" monopolist that repeatedly violated
antitrust laws, private plaintiffs have a far less daunting challenge in
suits already filed -- and in actions being considered by companies that
believe they have suffered from abuse of Microsoft's market power. "This
is now an awfully big invitation to plaintiffs' lawyers," said John C.
Coffee Jr., a professor at the Columbia University law school. "We may
have reached a point for Microsoft, as there was in the tobacco cases,
that basic attitudes have shifted, and a powerful defendant is no longer
seen as invulnerable."

Some of Microsoft's leading rivals, and even its biggest customers,
could bring private suits, according to legal experts. But they will
almost surely hold off, at least until they see what sanctions the
courts approve against Microsoft -- sanctions that could, among other
things, limit its ability to retaliate.

Judge Jackson's judgment was not surprising, after his findings of fact
in November sided with the version of the case presented in court by the
Justice Department and 19 states. But this week's ruling was a crucial
step because it means that many of his findings -- that Microsoft is a
monopoly, for example -- may be accepted as proof by other courts in
private suits.

Several companies that could now step forward as plaintiffs sent
witnesses to Judge Jackson's courthouse to testify on behalf of the
government, including Netscape Communications, America Online, Sun
Microsystems, Apple Computer and I.B.M. In his ruling, the judge cited
those companies as suffering from Microsoft's "oppressive thumb on the
scale of competitive fortune."

The judge ruled, for example, that the company not only used its market
power to defend its monopoly in operating systems but also illegally
tried to monopolize the market for Internet browsing software. The
principal victim of that tactic was Netscape, the pioneer in the browser
market, which was acquired by America Online in late 1998. That judgment
makes it far easier for America Online to sue for damages.

Because the judge ruled that Microsoft's monopoly power allowed it to
overcharge for Windows, the big personal computer makers including Dell,
Compaq, Gateway and I.B.M. could have cause to file suit. If they won,
such judgments could yield hundreds of millions of dollars each for big
PC makers that use Windows. The treble damages in private antitrust
cases would cover every PC a company sold over four years, the statute
of limitations in such cases. "Microsoft could find itself in a very
tight pincer here, since these companies could regard it as being in
their fiduciary interest to file private suits," said Herbert Hovenkamp,
a professor at the University of Iowa law school.

Sun Microsystems, lawyers say, is probably the most likely to file a
private suit against Microsoft. It is a bitter direct competitor and has
little to lose. For all the others, the calculation would be more
complicated because they rely in one way or another on Microsoft's

Most of the companies named in Judge Jackson's ruling declined to
comment on the possibility of private antitrust suits against Microsoft.
Still, an executive at one of the companies said, "It is clearly
something we will consider, but there has been no substantive internal
discussion of that yet."

And the companies may decide against suing Microsoft for other reasons.
First, parts of Judge Jackson's legal conclusions -- though not his
findings of fact -- could be reversed on appeal. And second, the
companies may not see it as in their long-term interest to bring suit
against Microsoft, even if they do not fear retaliation from Microsoft.

RealNetworks, which makes software for playing multimedia programming on
personal computers, was mentioned by Judge Jackson as among the targets
of Microsoft's tactics. Yet Rob Glaser, chairman of RealNetworks, said
that he had no plans to sue.

"While I think Microsoft has behaved unethically at times and this judge
found that it broke the law, my focus is going to be on doing everything
I can to make sure RealNetworks remains ahead of Microsoft in our
business," Mr. Glaser said. "The government was absolutely right to
prosecute Microsoft. But it doesn't make sense for us."

But companies are not the only potential litigants. More than 100
class-action suits have already been filed against Microsoft in two
dozen states, nearly all in the aftermath of Judge Jackson's powerfully
worded findings of fact last November. Those suits, legal experts say,
were the early starters as plaintiffs' lawyers maneuvered for leadership
positions in what are likely to become a broader class-action assault.

More consumer class-action suits are expected, and lawyers involved in
the early cases said Judge Jackson's rule was a significant victory.
"We're very pleased with the way the government case came out," said
Leonard B. Simon, a partner at Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach in
San Diego, whose firm has brought many prominent class-action cases.
"This is very good news for the consumer class-action cases."

But while the ruling in the government case makes things easier for
private antitrust plaintiffs, it by no means ensures that they will win
in court. The consumer class-action suits mainly contend that Microsoft,
as a monopoly, was able to overcharge for its industry-standard Windows
operating system, which runs the basic operations of nearly 90 percent
of all PC's sold today.

Judge Jackson ruled that Microsoft had the ability to "price
substantially above the competitive level." And in his November
findings, he noted an internal Microsoft pricing study that said the
company could have charged $49 for a retail upgrade from Windows 95 to
Windows 98 but that the company chose to charge $89 instead because it
was the "revenue-maximizing price."

Microsoft replies that the numbers cited in the study were arbitrary
numbers, and that it could have also charged far more for the Windows
upgrade. In the class-action confrontation, Microsoft says it has the
money and the patience to withstand what it regards as an opportunistic
assault on a deep-pocketed corporate target. In addition, the company's
executives express confidence in their legal position. "These
class-action cases are just piling on," William H. Gates, Microsoft's
chairman, said in an interview over the weekend. "There is no economic
theory to show that ours was not the aggressive price for Windows."

Indeed, while Judge Jackson's ruling places Microsoft's liability firmly
into the legal record, the class-action suits must still prove damages
-- that is, what impact Microsoft's abuse of its market power had on
consumers. And even the class-action advocates recognize that. "The
ruling in the government case simplifies our job, but it does not make
it easy," said Terry Gross, a lawyer in San Francisco. "We're up against
one of the most powerful defendants in the world."

The private litigation promises to be a marathon effort. A group of
seven federal judges, called the Multi-District Litigation Panel, held a
hearing last week in Palm Springs, Calif., on where to combine all the
federal class-action suits. That initial decision is expected soon. But
it is only a starting point.

California is the leader among the states in class-action cases. The
more than two dozen cases filed to date have been consolidated in the
San Francisco Superior Court. (The New York Times, April 5, 2000)

MICROSOFT CORP: Legal & Tech Experts Voice Concern; Battle Just Begun
--- ------------------------------------------------------------------
In the wake of U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's verdict
Monday that Microsoft illegally used anticompetitive practices to
maintain its monopoly, several local business and technology leaders
opined on the day's developments, including the speculation that Jackson
will order Microsoft to be broken up.

Russ Gullotti, chairman and CEO of National Computer Systems in Eden
Prairie, said he was troubled by the ruling. "I generally do not like to
see the courts involved in the running of a business. Business and
government work on two different planes, and they work at totally
different speeds," Gullotti said. "This is far from over, and by the
time the appeals are done, the marketplace is going to look far
different than it does today. But finding Microsoft guilty of antitrust
violations is not the big news. The big news will be the penalty."

Minneapolis attorney Vance Opperman said the possible Microsoft breakup
order would be an inappropriate action. "I don't think these kinds of
remedies fit very well in the fast-paced economy we have today. What
does fit is private enforcement of antitrust laws," Opperman said.

He said Microsoft's antitrust lawyers must be telling Chairman Bill
Gates that if a breakup is ordered, Gates "should go to the court of
appeals on an expedited basis because there is no chance that those
remedies will be upheld. You can impose meaningful, but short of
breakup, remedies."

Moreover, Microsoft's near-monopoly of its Windows desktop operating
systems isn't so significant anymore, Opperman said. "It's no longer as
important as it was five years ago to control the first screen on a
desktop. It's the Internet and no longer Windows."

Michael Lindsay, co-leader of Dorsey & Whitney's antitrust practice
group, said that the ruling is likely to provide precedent for future
antitrust litigation and that it has significant ramifications for the

"There are two areas of importance here: First, what does this case say
for all of antitrust law _ how transportable are the principles of this
decision to other cases?" Lindsay said. "This case is going to be
appealed, so it's not all that transportable until all is said and done
by the appellate court, and perhaps the Supreme Court. "The second area
is not just the law, but what's going to happen in the computer world,
and obviously the market has reacted to the uncertainties," he said.

"There's a wide range of possible remedies, ranging from some form of
compulsory licensing to predisclosure of product changes to the breakup
of the company into 'Baby Bills.' "

Minneapolis attorney and antitrust expert Brad Clary said the battle has
only just begun. "This is just round six in a 15-round heavyweight fight
that's nowhere near over. There are lots of heavy blows being exchanged,
and at the moment the plaintiffs just scored some big points, but who
knows what the final decision will be," Clary said. "One problem [Judge
Jackson] has got, and he concedes this, is that the Federal Court of
Appeals in the D.C. Circuit previously ruled in a different Microsoft
matter that there was a functional integration between Microsoft's
operating system and some of its other technology. So it will be very
interesting to see what the D.C. Circuit does with the bundling of the
operating system and the browser."

Ashok Kumar, a technology analyst at U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray,
predicted that Microsoft's likely appeals in the antitrust case could
take so long that the outcome won't matter anymore. "By then the world
as we know it could be completely different," Kumar said.

For Microsoft, the adverse court ruling was only part of the problem,
Kumar said. Microsoft management has spent so much time on the court
case that "management has been off the ball in terms of opportunities."
In addition, Microsoft has lost considerable talent because of the
antitrust suit and because of the lure of dot-com start-up companies, he
said. (Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), April 4, 2000)

NETWORK ASSOCIATES: 9th Cir Decides Not to Intervene in Securities Suit
--- -------------------------------------------------------------------
The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided last week not to
intervene in a highly publicized securities fraud class action against
Network Associates Inc. With an order denying mandamus, the case now
goes back to Northern District Judge William Alsup, while the law behind
his controversial ruling granting lead plaintiff status to a small,
local investor remains untested by higher courts.

Alsup's order was hailed as groundbreaking by some and assailed by
others. The judge granted lead plaintiff status to a retired attorney
claiming $30, 000 in stock losses over the protests of larger,
institutional investors who claimed they lost millions. Before Alsup's
ruling, judges routinely conferred lead plaintiff status to the
investors who suffered the greatest losses.

The case has been on hold since Feb. 14, when a Ninth Circuit motions
panel asked appellants to file further briefs in support of their writ,
but the arguments didn't persuade the court to take action. The
appellate court rarely suspends a district court case midway through to
hold a hearing on a judge's order.

"Petitioners have not demonstrated that these consolidated cases warrant
the intervention of this court by the extraordinary remedy of mandamus,"
the three-judge panel wrote. Senior Judges Joseph Farris and William
Canby Jr., along with Judge William Fletcher, comprised the panel.

Alsup and the Securities and Exchange Commission also filed briefs in
the case, Vatuone v. Network Associates, 99-1729.

If the Ninth Circuit had weighed in on the case, it would have been the
first appellate court to test the strength of Alsup's order, which has
since been mirrored by other judges. (The Recorder, April 4, 2000)

NEW ENGLAND: Goodman & Nekvasil Files Securities Suit in Florida
--- -------------------------------------------------------------
Goodman & Nekvasil, P.A., and James, Hoyer, Newcomer, & Smiljanich,
P.A., have filed a securities class action complaint against New England
International Surety, Inc. ("New England"), in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of Florida, on behalf of
persons between January 1, 1997, and the present who purchased
promissory notes guaranteed by New England. These notes include, but are
not limited to, notes issued by Pacific Air, Canko Environmental
Technologies, Inc., RMW/Corlogic, Inc., Caffe Diva Group Ltd., Technical
Support Services, Tri-National Development Corp., South Mountain Resort
& Spa, Inc., Sun Broadcasting Systems, Inc., Alumalex, Sebastian
International Enterprises, Inc., World Vision, Ameritech Petroleum,
Inc., and Lomas DeLaBarra Development, Inc./Uraguay.

The complaint alleges that New England violated the federal securities
registration laws by offering and selling unregistered guarantees to
investors which induced them to purchase unregistered promissory notes.
The complaint also alleges that New England fraudulently induced the
investors to purchase these unregistered securities by failing to
disclose that these securities were not registered, that New England had
not adequately investigated the issuing companies, and that New England
did not have sufficient financial backing in the event the issuing
companies failed. Many of the issuing companies have now failed, New
England is not honoring its guarantees, and, as a result, the investors
have suffered substantial losses.

Contact: Goodman & Nekvasil, P.A., Clearwater Joel A. Goodman, Esq.,

NINA BRINK: World Online Shares Fall As Chairwoman Under Legal Threats
--- -------------------------------------------------------------------
Shares in Dutch Internet company World Online dropped nine percent on
Wednesday, as lawyers said European and US investors were considering
bringing lawsuits against chairwoman Nina Brink. Both Brink and the
Internet access company have attracted fierce criticism following
revelations that Brink had sold around 10 million shares of her shares
at the end of last year, before the March flotation.

The shares closed down 9.37 percent at 16 euros from Tuesday's close,
having fallen around 14 percent during the session -- and well down on
the flotation price of 43 euros. The wider market closed down 2.33
percent. World Online stock has lost around a third of its value since
the company listed the shares at 43 euros on March 17 in a much-hyped

Lawyer Oscar Hammerstein said disgruntled investors had asked if there
were grounds for legal action against Brink, and banks ABN Amro and
Goldman Sachs, which handled World Online International's flotation last

There was concern that two prospectuses issued before and during the
flotation contained different sets of figures. "For the time being, we
are making inquiries," said Hammerstein. "We have to see if the facts
presented in the prospectus are consistent with the truth, if nothing
more should have been brought to the attention of the public before the
flotation." He said the number of investors who had contacted his office
had risen to nearly 200 by Wednesday. "There were only small investors
at the beginning, but now we also have two large European institutional
investors," he said, without naming them.

World Online spokeswoman Margaret van Kempen said: "We want to study the
situation very closely." The company has asked Brink not to speak to the
media since the row erupted.

Meanwhile, Dutch shareholders association VEB said it did not rule out a
lawsuit against Brink. VEB chairman Peter Paul de Vries said their own
lawyers were looking at the possibility of launching a lawsuit against
Brink. "Besides, we have contacted Messrs Gerard Spong and Oscar
Hammerstein, who are looking into the possibilities of a class action on
behalf of a number of Dutch investors," De Vries added.

Earlier, the newspaper De Volkskrant reported that Dutch investors had
hired lawyers Gerard Spong and Oscar Hammerstein to investigate a civil
claim for damages. Newspapers have reported that Brink some of her stock
at 50 euros per share to US fund manager Baystar Capital late last year,
and the fund then sold 1.2 million shares a few seconds after the stock
started trading. (Agence France Presse, April 5, 2000)

PEAPOD INC: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in Illinois
--- --------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit was filed on March 21, 2000, in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, on behalf of all
persons who purchased the stock of Peapod Inc. (Nasdaq: PPOD) between
November 8, 1999, and March 16, 2000, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Peapod and certain of its officers and directors
with violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The complaint alleges
that defendants issued materially false and misleading statements
concerning the Company's ability to continue funding its ongoing

Contact: Steven G. Schulman or Samuel H. Rudman, both of Milberg Weiss
Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP, 800-320-5081, or endfraud@mwbhlny.com
Shareholder Relations Dept. 800-320-5081, E-Mail: endfraud@mwbhlny.com

SAFETY-KLEEN CORP: Berman DeValerio Files Securities Suit in SC
--- ------------------------------------------------------------
Berman, DeValerio & Pease LLP announces that Safety-Kleen Corporation
(NYSE:SK) has been charged with violating the federal securities laws in
a class action filed against the company in the United States District
Court for the District of South Carolina. The action seeks damages for
violations of the federal securities laws on behalf of all investors who
purchased Safety-Kleen common stock between November 13, 1997 and March
3, 2000, including those shareholders who acquired the securities of
Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc. in the 1998 merger between
Safety-Kleen and Laidlaw.

The action alleges that Safety-Kleen and certain of its officers
materially overstated the company's revenues and earnings. It further
alleges that the company and its officers failed to reveal the true
state of the company's deteriorating financial condition until March 6,
2000, when Safety-Kleen announced that it "has initiated an internal
investigation of its prior reported financial results and certain of its
accounting policies and practices following receipt by the Company's
Board of Directors of information alleging possible accounting
irregularities that may have affected the previously reported financial
results of the Company since fiscal year 1998." Two days later, on March
8, 2000, Safety-Kleen's auditor stated that it had withdrawn its prior
opinions on the company's financial statements for the fiscal years
ended August 31, 1999, 1998, and 1997.

Contact: Berman, DeValerio & Pease LLP Chauncey D. Steele IV, (800)
516-9926 bdplaw@bermanesq.com

SANTA CLARA: County in CA Forced to Pay $ 4.5 Mil in Back Wages for OT
--- -------------------------------------------------------------------
A federal appellate court has ruled that Santa Clara County must pay up
to $ 4.5 million in back wages to mid-level managers and nurses who were
wrongly denied overtime pay by the county. The ruling by the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals applies to about 400 nurses and managers, who
would be paid overtime for work performed beginning in 1991 and ending
in 1997 if, as expected, the decision stands. If the judgment stands,
the nurses would get up to $ 1.5 million, and the managers about $ 3
million, according to the plaintiffs' attorneys.

The county plans to ask the court to review its decision or allow a new
panel of federal judges to reconsider the case. But sources familiar
with the case said the court is unlikely to side with the county, which
also lost in a lower court.

Attorneys for the workers criticized county officials for ignoring
warnings in 1991 that they were violating labor laws. "We are, of
course, thrilled by the court's ruling," said attorney Carol Koenig, who
represented 333 nurses. "It's been a long, hard battle -- a battle that
could have been avoided if only the county had changed its policy almost
nine years ago when we warned it that its classification of the nurses
as exempt employees was illegal. "Unfortunately, the county did not
listen, not even after the Department of Labor stepped in and told the
county that it was not compliance with the law...."

County Counsel Ann M. Ravel denied the accusation, saying the county
still believes the workers were not entitled to overtime pay. "We view
the court's ruling as a very narrow interpretation of the law, so we are
going to seek review," Ravel said.

The case comes down to a dispute over a technicality in federal labor
law. Salaried workers are supposed to receive their full wages even if
they only work a few hours in a particular week. But when the county
punished 53 of the 400 workers by suspending them for part of a week, it
docked their wages by the number of hours they were off duty, rather
than giving them full pay. Under county ordinance, workers can be
suspended for a range of reasons including insubordination, excessive
absences and failure to perform job duties. In effect, the county
classified them as salaried workers not entitled to overtime pay, but
treated them as hourly workers when it came to discipline.

The county offered to make good on its mistake by paying the 53 workers
their full weekly wages for the time they were suspended, Ravel said.
Under a U.S. Supreme Court decision, some employers have the right to
use "a window of corrections" to fix their mistakes. Paying the workers
those weekly wages would have been less costly for the county than
paying overtime for the entire group covered in the lawsuit during the
5[ years they were denied it under the discredited discipline policy.
But the federal appeals court sided with an earlier ruling by a district
court, which found the county was not entitled to use the window because
it had a practice and pattern of making the impermissible deductions.
(San Jose Mercury News, April 5, 2000)

SECURITY AGENCIES: Unsuccessful Job Applicants Sue over Polygraph Exams
--- --------------------------------------------------------------------

Seven unsuccessful applicants for federal jobs filed a lawsuit against
the security agencies that rejected them for failing mandatory polygraph
exams. Croddy et al v. FBI et al. The plaintiffs' attorney may seek to
expand the case into a class action lawsuit. Filed in U.S. District
Court in Washington, the applicants sued the Secret Service, the FBI and
the Drug Enforcement Administration to have their records and names
cleared and their applications reconsidered.

Attorney Mark Zaid, of the Washington law firm of Lobel, Novins &
Lamont, said the polygraph tests unjustly ruined the applicants' chances
at federal employment. They have consequently been ostracized by other
agencies to which they applied.

Each applicant failed the polygraph exam when asked if he had ever used
illegal drugs. Although the applicants never failed a drug test nor had
anyone confirm prior drug use, the agencies denied their applications
based on the polygraph results, Zaid told FEDHR. Polygraphs, he said,
"are the only part of the process that has no supportive basis. Even
drug tests have a science to them."

Three of the seven applicants still work as law enforcement officers.
Another is a teacher, he said. Jim Davis, unit chief for the FBI's
national press office, said bureau applicants are judged on a number of
criteria. However, how they answer a question during the polygraph exam
could cost them a job. Despite agency claims that prospective employees
are considered on the basis of the entire application process, Zaid said
his clients' chances at federal jobs were gone when they failed the lie
detector test.

Davis said the FBI receives 20,000 to 25,000 applications a year and
hires no more than 1,000 people. Although he couldn't confirm that the
applicants in the lawsuit were turned away because of a failed polygraph
test, he said many prospective agents are passed over every year.

The DEA has been using the polygraph exam in its hiring process since
1994 and has no plans to eliminate it. Terry Parham, chief spokesman for
the agency, said DEA has the authority through a presidential directive
to use the device because of the nature of the work. However, a failed
polygraph exam would not necessarily result in an applicant being denied
a position in the agency, Parham said. The applicant in the lawsuit
failed a number of the DEA's criteria if he was denied a job, Parham
said. "The polygraph exam is one of several screening tools that are
utilized by the DEA," he said.

Zaid said that if he receives enough interest in the case he would
request that the judge expand it into a class action lawsuit. So far 40
to 50 more former applicants have approached him, he said.

Should the case become a class action lawsuit, it would encompass every
applicant who was denied a federal job for failing a polygraph exam in
the last six years, Zaid said. (Federal Human Resources Week, March 30,

TOBACCO LITIGATION: B&W Issues Statement Re Denial of Class in CA Ct
--- -----------------------------------------------------------------
Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation issued the following statement
regarding a state court ruling in San Diego, California, denying class
certification for Daniels, et al. v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco, et al.
The suit was filed on behalf of California residents who began smoking
as minors:

"Yesterday's decision by the state court of California is yet another
demonstration that smoking and health lawsuits cannot be maintained as
class actions. The court's decision continues the trend of no federal
and most state courts refusing to certify a class action in a smoking
and health case.

"In the complaint, plaintiffs sought relief for alleged unfair business
practices under California statutes. In his opinion, State Judge Ronald
S. Prager rejected the plaintiffs' application for class certification
holding that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate a reason that would
'warrant the imposition of the financial and administrative burden
naturally associated with a class action.'

"This state court opinion mirrors Brown & Williamson's position that the
facts involving each individual's smoking and health experiences are
unique and should be handled as such, and illustrates that smoking and
health lawsuits should not be treated as class actions.

"This marks the twenty-second case in which a U.S. court has denied
class certification."

Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation is headquartered in Louisville,
Ky. The company's major brands include KOOL, LUCKY STRIKE, CARLTON,

For additional information on related subjects and issues, visit:

SOURCE Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation

TOBACCO LITIGATION: Bill to Cap Tobacco Damage Bond Passed in NC
--- -------------------------------------------------------------
A bill shielding cigarette-makers from a potentially devastating
judgment in a Florida lawsuit cleared the Legislature on April 5 less
than four hours after a special session began. The bill would cap at $25
million the bond tobacco companies would need to post for any punitive
damages a Florida jury might award sick smokers. The Senate approved the
bill 48-2 and the House passed it 114-1. The measure must next go to
Gov. Jim Hunt for his signature.

Under Florida law, a defendant must post a bond equal to the damages
levied while appealing a case. Tobacco companies are facing possible
punitive damages of $300 billion in Florida, where a jury began
considering compensatory damages.

''North Carolina has been well-served by tobacco,'' said Sen. Ham
Horton, a Republican. ''A six-person jury in Florida ... is on the verge
of bringing a gigantic industry to its knees.''

The House committee also unanimously adopted a resolution urging tobacco
companies to buy more domestic leaf to help farmers.

The Florida jury found in July that cigarette companies _ including R.J.
Reynolds Tobacco Co. of Winston-Salem, Liggett Group of Durham and
Lorillard Tobacco Co. in Greensboro made a deadly product. Other
defendants are Philip Morris Inc., Brown & Williamson and the industry's
Council for Tobacco Research and Tobacco Institute. The jury is now
considering how much in compensatory damages to award three
representative plaintiffs in the class action. If it awards compensatory
damages, it then will weigh punitive damages for about 500,000 smokers.

Three states already have approved laws limiting the bond cigarette
companies would have to post. Virginia and Georgia approved a $25
million limit; Kentucky set it at $100 million. Tobacco industry lawyers
say the shield laws are legal and necessary to preserve North Carolina
companies' right to appeal without going broke.

But several constitutional law experts say such a law would violate the
Constitution's ''Full Faith and Credit Clause,'' which requires states
to honor one another's court decisions. Some also say the law may
violate constitutional rules affecting interstate commerce. (AP Online,
April 5, 2000)

TOBACCO LITIGATION: Jury Asked Not to Let Makers 'off the Hook'
--- ------------------------------------------------------------
A jury that has ruled against the tobacco industry once should not let
cigarette makers off the hook when considering a $13.2 million damage
claim in the case of three smokers with cancer, their attorney said.

After jury instructions Wednesday, the compensatory damage question will
be before the same panel that decided last July that the industry
fraudulently conspired to produce a deadly product. "Your Phase One
verdict would be rendered meaningless were you to let these companies
off the hook," smokers' attorney Stanley Rosenblatt told the jurors
before resting the five-month damage case. "We want you to find that
when an industry is fraudulent and they misrepresent and they conceal
and they engage in a conspiracy and they do it intentionally, there will
be consequences," he said.

The jury faces a complicated 18-page verdict form on the claims of Mary
Farnan, 44, Frank Amodeo, 60, and the late Angie Della Vecchia, who died
last year at 53. Doctors testifying for the smokers blamed decades of
smoking for their diseases.

Despite the jury's earlier findings against the nation's five biggest
cigarette makers, Rosenblatt charged near the end of seven days of
closing arguments that the industry will never admit a disease link in
the three smokers or anyone else.

The industry offered alternative explanations, such as scar cancer in
Della Vecchia; bronchioalveolar cancer, a form of lung cancer the jury
did not attribute to smoking, in both women; and occupational exposure
to wood dust in Amodeo, a clock maker.

Medical bills, lost income, lost services, pain and suffering can be
factored into the verdict for damages from lung cancer that spread to
the brain in Farnan and Della Vecchia and throat cancer in Amodeo. If
any money were awarded, the jury would hear more testimony and be asked
to set punitive damages for an estimated 500,000 sick Florida smokers
covered by the landmark class-action suit.

The industry, which already owes states about $250 billion on lawsuit
settlements with states, fears a $300 billion punitive award. But by
Florida law, a punitive verdict cannot bankrupt a company.

The defendants are Philip Morris Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Brown
& Williamson, Lorillard Tobacco Co., Liggett Group Inc. and the
industry's Council for Tobacco Research and Tobacco Institute.

On the Net:
   Trial transcript service: http://www.engle.cc
   Philip Morris: http://www.philipmorris.com
   R.J. Reynolds: http://www.rjrt.com
   Brown & Williamson: http://www.bw.com
   Lorillard: http://www.lorillard.net/
   Liggett: http://www.brookegroup.com
   American Lung Association: http://www.lungusa.org/tobacco
   Action on Smoking and Health: http://www.ash.org/

(The Associated Press, April 5, 2000)

TOBACCO LITIGATION: Trial To Enter Deliberations Phase
--- ---------------------------------------------------
Feeling that lawyers for the five top tobacco companies portrayed his
clients as money-grubbers in search of a big payout, Miami attorney
Stanley Rosenblatt went on the defensive Tuesday. Of course the ailing
Floridians suing the tobacco industry want money from the
cigarette-makers as compensation for their pain and suffering; it is
their only legal remedy, Rosenblatt said. It is not as if the sick
smokers can burn down Philip Morris in retribution, he said.

In concluding his closing arguments, Rosenblatt, who represents the
smokers involved in a statewide class-action lawsuit against the tobacco
industry, called cigarettes "the only legal product in America that,
when used as directed, will kill its customers." Rosenblatt wants
tobacco to pay his clients $ 10 million to $ 14 million in compensatory

Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Robert Kaye is expected to give last
instructions before the six-member panel begins deliberating a verdict
for the second phase of this landmark trial. In the first phase, the
same jury found that the tobacco companies produce a dangerous product
that causes cancer and several other diseases. Now the jurors must
decide whether three plaintiffs who are representing the entire class of
smokers, as many as 500,000 people, contracted cancer because they
smoked for decades. If the jury finds there is a link between their
smoking and cancer, it must decide whether the three should be
compensated for past and future lost wages, medical bills and the
emotional suffering caused by their illnesses.

The plaintiffs are Mary Farnan, a nurse who has had cancer in both lungs
and her brain; Frank Amodeo, an Orlando clock maker, whose throat cancer
rendered him unable to eat or drink anything for the past 12 years; and
Angie DellaVecchia, a housewife who died last summer of the lung cancer
that spread to her brain.

If the jurors grant compensatory damages, they will be asked in the
third phase to determine whether the tobacco companies should be ordered
to pay punitive damages to the entire class. Dan Webb, an attorney for
tobacco company Philip Morris, said he thought that award could be as
much as $ 300 billion.

The tobacco companies argued that the plaintiffs did not prove
definitively that smoking caused their illness and that their decision
to smoke was a personal one, not motivated by cigarette advertisements.
"There isn't a human being on the planet who will ever pass their test,"
Rosenblatt said of the cigarette companies. "They will never, ever, ever
pin (cancer) on cigarette smoking."

Without discussion, Kaye rejected one of several mistrial motions by the
industry after Rosenblatt called cigarette-makers "fundamentally
dishonest" and accused them of using a "bag of tricks."

The defendants are Philip Morris Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Brown
& Williamson, Lorillard Tobacco Co., Liggett Group Inc. and the
industry's Council for Tobacco Research and Tobacco Institute.

TRW VEHICLE: Redidents in Mesa, Arizona Sue over Toxic Emissions
--- -------------------------------------------------------------
A class action suit was filed on April 4 in Maricopa County Superior
Court against TRW Vehicle Safety Systems, Inc., a manufacturer of
automobile airbags, alleging that toxic emissions from TRW's plant in
Mesa, Ariz., have caused health problems for residents living near the
plant, and that TRW concealed information about the potential health
risks of its emissions.

Claimants in the suit have reported suffering from various ailments,
including upper respiratory distress, impairments such as fatigue,
sleepiness, confusion, dizziness, memory loss, heart problems, brain
lesions, chronic diarrhea, spontaneous miscarriage and various forms of
cancer. The suit also alleges animals and plant life have been injured
or destroyed through significant exposure to TRW's toxic emissions.

According to the suit, TRW Vehicle Safety Systems violated a number of
state laws, including negligence. The suit alleges TRW knowingly engaged
in hazardous activity that placed the defendants in unreasonable risk of
harm, and that TRW's conduct and activities were gross and wanton in

"It's clear that TRW has endangered this community while reaping
substantial profits," said plaintiffs attorney Steve Berman of Hagens
Berman & Mitchell. "As a result of their blatant misrepresentations, TRW
has irrevocably altered people's lives and their livelihoods."

TRW is a complete manufacturer of air bag systems. The propellant used
by TRW to rapidly inflate air bags includes the chemical sodium azide, a
highly toxic poison that can be ingested, inhaled and even absorbed
through the skin. The suit claims that between 1991-99, numerous fires,
explosions and releases have occurred at the plant, emitting sodium
azide and its derivations into the air, exposing the community to toxic

According to the suit, TRW has and continues to publicly proclaim that
the toxic chemical substances emitted from its air bag facility pose no
health concern. According to TRW, in fires involving sodium azide, the
sodium azide is completely combusted and the only substance released is
sodium hydroxide, which is converted to sodium carbonate, a less harmful
substance, after contact with the carbon dioxide in the ambient air. The
1997 Arizona Toxic Release Inventory Report lists TRW as the seventh
largest releaser of toxic chemicals in the state of Arizona.

Despite TRW's claims, a report conducted for the City of Mesa by CH2M
Hill, Inc., an environmental project development firm, concluded that
TRW would have no way of knowing to a certainty that all of the "sodium
hydroxide is converted to sodium carbonate" every time there is an
explosion. Another report published by the National Institute of
Occupational Safety and Health confirms that TRW released toxic
substances without the ability or willingness to analyze what the
exposed levels are.

Plaintiff's requests include the institution of medical monitoring for
the claimants, that TRW cease operations that release toxic substances
into the air, and that a supervised fund be created to pay for medical
screening and monitoring.

Contact: Hagens Berman Steve Berman, 206/623-7292 or Hagens Berman &
Mitchell Steve Mitchell, 602/840-5900 or Firmani & Associates (Media)
Mark Firmani, 206/443-9357 mark@firmani.com


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

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

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