CAR_Public/000425.MBX                  C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

                  Tuesday, April 25, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 80

                                 Headlines

AK STEEL: USWA Members Join Securities Lawsuit
ASARCO INC: Arsenic and Lead Contamination on Maury Island Spurs Suit
CINAR CORP: Misses Financial Results Deadline; Plans Biweekly Updates
CONSECO INC: Moody's Downgrades Bonds to Junk Bond Status
DAVIDIAN SIEGE: Judge Finds No Firearm Flashes at Waco

EFTC CORPORATION: Discloses Comprehensive Securities Suit Settlement
GAS SUPPLIERS: Suit Alleges Fee Is Mask for Higher Propane Prices
HMOs: Standard & Poor's Outlook in 2000 - Stable; Problems in Regions
HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Austrian Ambassador Tells Austrians about US Suits
KITTY HAWK: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in Texas

KITTY HAWK: Troubled Cargo Airline Fires Chief Executive
LOS ANGELES: Fd Suit Filed for Victims of Police Abuse in Rampart Case
MAJOR LEAGUE: Cleared of Antitrust Claims on Single Entity Structure
MICROSOFT CORP: Consumers Sue in Washington D.C. for Antitrust
PEAK INT'L: Claims and Plaintiffs Added to TrENDs Investors' Complaint

PENNCORP FINANCIAL: Pays Share of Securities Settlement into Escrow
PENNCORP FINANCIAL: Still Cooperating with 1998 SEC Investigation
PRESS RELEASES: The Right Spin, Even a Lie, Can Make Stock Price Soar
SECURITY LIFE: Policy Exchange Program Meets Opposition
SEROLOGICALS CORP: Cauley & Geller Files Securities Lawsuit in Georgia

SEROLOGICALS CORP: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in Georgia
TEXAS BIOTECH: Burt & Pucillo Announces Deadline for Claims over IPO
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Pompano Beach Second-Hand Smoke Problem Cited
VISIONAMERICA: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Lawsuit in TN
WARNER-LAMBERT: Fed Suit over Diabetes Drug Rezulin Filed in PA

WATER HEATERS: National Settlement Affirmed; Claims by End of Year
WINN-DIXIE: Closing Stores and Cutting After Internal Upheaval

                              *********

AK STEEL: USWA Members Join Securities Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------
The United Steelworkers of America (USWA) announced on April 20 that
eligible locked-out members of Local 169 will be joining the class
action lawsuit filed by Milberg Weiss, alleging that AK Steel (NYSE:
AKS), Armco Steel and high-ranking officials of both companies broke
federal securities laws. According to a press statement by Milberg
Weiss, the complaint focuses on the companies' misrepresentation of the
facts regarding AK Steel's ability to settle contracts in late 1999, the
impact of the lockout of 620 workers in Mansfield, Ohio, the effects of
increasing prices in the steel industry and a different cost structure
that was supposed to increase earnings in 2000.

The complaint further alleges that the reason for these
misrepresentations was to artificially inflate AK Steel's stock price in
order to acquire Armco for less AK shares in the stock-for-stock
transaction that occurred in late September 1999.

"It has been our belief all along that AK hyped its stock to inflate
prices," said Mark Robertson, president of Local 169. "Finally, someone
else has picked up the ball and chosen to run with it." "Many of our
members are eligible to join this suit, and they will certainly
cooperate with Milberg Weiss to bring AK Steel to justice," Robertson
said.


ASARCO INC: Arsenic and Lead Contamination on Maury Island Spurs Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
In light of a recent report reveling widespread arsenic and lead
contamination of Vashon Island and Maury Island, two Maury Island
residents on April 24 filed a proposed class action lawsuit demanding
that the owners of the nearby smelter pay for long-term health
monitoring and monetary damages for those affected. The suit was filed
in US District Court of Western Washington by Seattle attorney Steve
Berman.

The suit claims that the Asarco Inc, the owners of the smelter, knew for
years that the plant was dumping a poisonous mix of arsenic, lead and
cadmium and heavy metals on residents downwind of its Ruston plant. The
smelter operated continuously for nearly 100 years before its closure in
1985. The plaintiffs live just a few miles south, across Dalco Passage.

The suit seeks to force Asarco to pay for long-term healthcare
monitoring for residents of Vashon and Maury Islands, as well as
compensation for homeowners. If the court approves the class, the
lawsuit would include residential property owners on Vashon or Maury
islands who live within the plume area' of the Asarco smelter, as well
as any property owner in the area with soil contaminated with arsenic or
lead. The islands are home to more than 10,000 people. The smelter
operated continuously from 1889 to 1985, smelting high-arsenic copper
ore.

According to a report issued April 19, the Asarco plant was a
contamination heavyweight, responsible for nearly 25 percent all arsenic
emissions in the United States. The report was conducted by the Seattle
& King County Public Health, the Washington State Department of Ecology
and the Washington State Department of Health. The report disclosed that
soil samples on the islands contained arsenic levels up to 23 times the
state's required residential cleanup level of 20 parts of arsenic per
million parts of soil. The study also found lead contamination up to
five times the level at which cleanup is required, 250 parts per
million. "The state found lead levels in some areas as high as 1330
parts per million. Researchers have shown that lead levels much lower
than this have the potential to cause tremendous damage to children,"
Berman said. "This is a parent's worst nightmare."

According to the report, long-term, low-level exposure to lead can lead
to reduced intelligence, delayed development and a myriad of other
health problems. The health affects of arsenic, according to the study,
can cause liver cancer, kidney cancer and colon cancer. Women exposed to
even small amounts of the substance can experience spontaneous
abortions, Berman noted. "The truly horrible aspect is that the lead and
arsenic still sits in the soil, dormant -- it won't go away."

The report warns parents in the affected areas to keep their children
away from bare soil, and to avoid activities that disturb the soil,
including gardening. The report also warns against consuming food,
beverages or chewing gum while gardening or near any soil disturbance.
"This is an very disturbing for any parent; not only are they upset
about the possibility that their children have been exposed to hazardous
materials, now they are told that they have to keep their kids from
playing where dust and dirt are present," Berman added.

The federal government previously held Asarco responsible for the
contamination of an area immediately surrounding the Ruston plant,
ordering the company to remediate an area encompassing a two-mile radius
of the plant but did not examine the surrounding areas. Berman noted
that the company must have had knowledge that the damage from the
smelter extended beyond the two-mile radius. "Did Asarco think that the
particulates spewing forth from of the smokestack magically dropped from
the sky at the two-mile point?"

Asarco Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Grupo Mexico S.A. de C.V.,
with headquarters in New York. The named plaintiffs in the suit are
south Vashon Island residents Craig and Donna Gagner with their
six-year-old son.

To learn more about the proposed class action, visit
http://www.hagen-berman.comand the report, published by Public
Health-Seattle & King County, is available at for viewing or downloading
at http://www.metrokc.gov/health/hazard/soilsamples.htm

Contact: Hagens Berman Steve Berman, 206/623-7292
steve@hagens-berman.com or Media Only: Firmani & Associates Inc. Mark
Firmani, 206/443-9357 mark@firmani.com


CINAR CORP: Misses Financial Results Deadline; Plans Biweekly Updates
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Promises updates every two weeks MONTREAL (Reuters) - Cinar Corp. has
not been able to prepare its year-end and first-quarter results in the
required time, preventing its stock from trading on the Toronto Stock
Exchange and Nasdaq.

The beleaguered producer of popular children's TV programs said on April
20 the company's objective is to prepare and file audited financial
statements on or before June 30, and related continuous disclosure
documents shortly thereafter.

The Montreal-based company, under investigation by police for alleged
tax-credit fraud and financial irregularities, said it had not met the
April 18 regulatory deadline for reporting its 1999 results, and would
not meet the April 29 deadline for reporting first-quarter 2000 results.
''We are keenly aware that our shareholders are anxious to receive
accurate financial information on the company," president and chief
executive Barrie Usher said in a statement. ''We have taken special
measures to produce statements as quickly as possible. "

As required by the Quebec Securities Commission, Cinar said, it will
publish news releases every two weeks to update investors on its
progress in revising its financial statements. The securities watchdog
has issued a cease-trading order on Cinar shares.

Cinar's founding couple - Micheline Charest and her husband, Ronald
Weinberg resigned last month after the company disclosed that $122
million in company funds had been invested, without board approval, in
offshore investment firms in the Bahamas. The news sent the stock into a
70 per cent tailspin and triggered several class-action lawsuits from
disgruntled shareholders. The stock closed at $7 (U.S.)on Nasdaq March 8
before being halted indefinitely pending more information about the
financial irregularities.

Cinar acknowledged it will have to restate financial results for the
last three years because of the alleged illegal use of government tax
credits and royalties claims. According to court documents, top
management of Cinar allegedly replaced U.S. authors' names on program
scripts with Canadian names in order to obtain the tax credits.

Cinar hired PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP last month to help prepare the
restated results. (The Toronto Star, April 21, 2000)


CONSECO INC: Moody's Downgrades Bonds to Junk Bond Status
---------------------------------------------------------
A rating agency's downgrading of Conseco Inc.'s bonds to "junk bond"
status is the latest blow to the Carmel-based financial services
company. Last Thursday's decision by Moody's Investors Service sent the
price of the company's shares to a nine-year low of $4.87 on
heavier-than-average trading before recovering to $6.62 at closing, down
25 cents from the day before.

Moody's cut its ratings on Conseco's senior debt to Ba1, or
non-investment grade, from Baa3, citing concerns about the company's
financial flexibility. "The harsh reaction by the credit and equity
markets to the company's (plan) to sell its consumer finance business
has narrowed Conseco's access to those markets over the near term,"
Moody's said.

In response, Conseco executives issued a statement saying preliminary
results for the first quarter showed solid growth for its insurance and
lending units. Final results are expected to be released April 28.

In documents filed April 14 with the Securities and Exchange Commission,
Conseco said it deducted $11.9 million from its profits last year to
cover possible repayment problems, as the shares lose value and the
loans become more difficult to pay back.

Two weeks ago, two stockholders filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S.
District Court alleging key Conseco executives misled investors about
the value of its consumer finance division. Conseco executives announced
March 31 they plan to sell Conseco Finance, including the former Green
Tree Financial Corp. it paid $6 billion for two years ago.

Ratings go a long way toward determining how much a company must pay to
borrow money, which they often do by issuing bonds. Lower ratings signal
to investors that the company is less secure than those with higher
ratings, and investors then demand to be paid more in interest when
buying that company's bonds.

Last week, Standard & Poor's lowered the ratings on the insurer's
corporate credit and senior debt to triple B minus from triple B plus.
It also lowered Conseco's preferred stock rating to double B from triple
B minus. And it cut Conseco's commercial paper rating to A-3 from A-2.
(The Associated Press, April 21, 2000)


DAVIDIAN SIEGE: Judge Finds No Firearm Flashes at Waco
------------------------------------------------------
A preliminary review of infrared videotapes made during the final hours
of the Branch Davidian siege found no firearm muzzle flashes from either
ederal agents or sect members, a judge said at pretrial hearing on pril
24. U.S. District Judge Walter Smith described the court experts'
findings for attorneys for the plaintiffs and the government at the
beginning of a pretrial hearing to determine whether key evidence
gathered after the fiery raid was mishandled.

Davidian leader David Koresh and some 80 followers died during the April
19, 1993, fire that occurred several hours into an FBI tear-gassing
operation intended to end the sect's 51-day standoff. The
governmentcontends their deaths, whether from fire or gunshot wounds,
came by their own hands. The plaintiffs argue in their wrongful death
lawsuit that government gunfire cut off the Davidians' only avenue of
escape from the fire. They also contend the FBI's on-scene commanders
did little to prepare for the possibility of fire despite Attorney
General Janet Reno's order that they be ready for all emergencies.

The judge told the lawyers that the review of the infrared videotape
detected about 57 ''thermal events,'' defined as flashes of light
signifying heat. There ''were no muzzle blasts either from Branch
Davidians or government agents,'' Smith told attorneys. He added that
the only person detected on the tape was a Branch Davidian who was on a
roof.

''You get good news. You get bad news .... This is not going to result
in a dismissal of the case,'' Michael Caddell, lead attorney for the
Branch Davidians, said about the preliminary findings. Caddell also said
there was ''a suspicious pattern'' in the audio portion of the infrared
videotape. Several portions of the tape are missing audio, and on one
section of the tape someone is heard asking that the audio be turned
off, the lawyer said. Smith cautioned that he does not consider the
report to be incontrovertible evidence.

Preliminary results from a recent court-ordered simulation of the siege
showed that flashes caught on the original infrared videotape were most
likely sunlight reflecting off debris, not government gunfire as
plaintiffs claim. Experts expect to submit their analysis of that
simulation to the court by May 8.

Smith also was expected to review the plaintiffs' complaint that the
government withheld, destroyed or tampered with crucial evidence in
their wrongful-death lawsuit. The plaintiffs' attorneys filed a motion
in March that accuses the government of:

  -- Never returning a roll of film confiscated from the Texas Rangers
showing bodies and weapons found inside a concrete bunker. ''The absence
of these photographs makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to
determine if any of these persons were shot outside of that room and
moved into it prior to or after the fire,'' the motion said.

  -- Representing as originals audio recordings made from listening
devices planted inside the compound during the siege. An analysis the
plaintiffs commissioned suggests the tapes are copies. The tapes which
the government has relied on for proof that the Davidians spread fuel
and started the fire also bear signs of being recorded with multiple
recorders, the plaintiffs' tape expert concluded.

The government has called the allegations baseless and says the
accusations relied on incomplete, illogical or scientifically invalid
analyses. But in a response filed one week ago, the government
acknowledged it is missing 30 original negatives from the first of at
least seven rolls of film shot by an FBI photographer who circled 1,000
feet above the complex in a surveillance aircraft.  The government,
however, has prints of the missing negatives and the original contact
sheet of the negatives.

The trial on the lawsuit is set to begin June 19. (AP Online, April 24,
2000)


EFTC CORPORATION: Discloses Comprehensive Securities Suit Settlement
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Two legal proceedings, one in Colorado State court, the other in U.S.
District Court, were filed against EFTC Corporation (a Denver-based
independent provider of high mix electronic manufacturing services to
original equipment manufacturers in the computer peripherals, medical
equipment, industrial controls, telecommunications equipment and
electronic instrumentation industries) and certain of its officers,
directors and shareholders during September and October 1998. The
proceedings arise in connection with the decrease in the trading price
of the Company's common stock that occurred in August 1998 and make
substantially the same allegations.

While both proceedings are in the pre-trial stage and the Company
therefore cannot make any assessment of their ultimate impact, the
Company believes the allegations made in the proceedings to be totally
without merit. Grayck, et al. v. EFTC, et al. Joshua Grayck, Philip and
Angelique Signorelli, William McBride, Mark Norris, Michael Keister, and
Aiming Kiao v. EFTC Corporation, Jack Calderon, Gerald J. Reid, Stuart
W. Fuhlendorf, Brent L. Hofmeister, August P. Bruehlman, L. Reid, and
Lloyd McConnell (United States District Court for the District of
Colorado, Case No. 98-S-2178).

Plaintiffs are shareholders of EFTC who originally filed this lawsuit on
October 8, 1998. Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on January 22,
1999. Plaintiffs allege that during the class period April 6, 1998 to
August 20, 1998, defendants made false and misleading statements
regarding EFTC's business performance, implementation of a new computer
system, manufacturing quality systems, operating margins, relationships
with its largest customers, and future prospects for earnings growth.

The Grayck Plaintiffs allege that defendants disseminated or approved a
prospectus in connection with the Company's June 1998 secondary
offering, as well as certain other press releases and financial reports
which contained misrepresentations and material omissions and also
concealed materially adverse financial information.

The amended complaint alleges violations of Section 10(b) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder,
as well as Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933. In addition,
plaintiffs allege that by reason of their positions as officers and/or
directors of EFTC, Messrs. Calderon, Reid, Fuhlendorf and Hofmeister had
the power and authority to cause EFTC to engage in the wrongful conduct
alleged in the complaint. Plaintiffs allege, therefore, that EFTC and
these individual defendants violated Section 20(a) of the Securities and
Exchange Act of 1934 and Section 15 of the Securities Act of 1933.

The Grayck Plaintiffs ask for: (a) certification of the complaint as a
class action on behalf of all persons who purchased or otherwise
acquired the common stock of EFTC between April 6, 1998 and August 20,
1998; (b) an award of compensatory and/or rescisionary damages,
interest, costs and attorneys' fees to all members of the class; and (c)
equitable relief available under federal and state law. EFTC and its
co-defendants deny the allegations of the amended complaint. Defendants
filed a motion to dismiss the case on March 8, 1999. That motion is
pending.

                   Anderson, et al. v. EFTC, et al.

Craig Anderson, Todd Sichelstiel, Phillip and Angelique Signorrelli,
Christy J. Baldwin and Patricia Conlon v. EFTC Corporation, Jack
Calderon, Gerald J. Reid, Stuart W. Fuhlendorf, Brent L. Hofmeister,
August P. Bruehlman, Lucille A. Reid, Lloyd A. McConnell and Salomon
Smith Barney ( District Court for the County of Weld, Colorado, Case No.
99-CV-962).

Plaintiffs are shareholders of EFTC who filed this lawsuit originally in
the District Court for the County of Weld, Colorado. The Plaintiffs
allege that during the class period April 6, 1998 to August 20, 1998,
defendants made false and misleading statements regarding EFTC's
business performance, implementation of a new computer system,
manufacturing quality systems, operating margins, relationships with its
largest customers, and future prospects for earnings growth. Plaintiffs
allege that defendants disseminated or approved a prospectus in
connection with the Company's June 1998 secondary offering, as well as
certain other press releases and financial reports which contained
misrepresentations and material omissions and also concealed materially
adverse financial information.

The complaint alleges violations of Sections 11-51-501(1)(a, b, and c)
and 11-51-604(3) of the Colorado Securities Act. In addition, plaintiff
alleges that by reason of their positions as officers and/or directors
of EFTC, Messrs. Calderon, Reid, Fuhlendorf, Hofmeister, Bruehlman,
McConnell, and Ms. Reid are controlling persons of EFTC and, therefore,
that these defendants violated Section 11-51-604(5) of the Colorado
Securities Act. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants conduct occurred
in connection with the offer, sale or purchase of EFTC securities in the
secondary offering in violation of Section 11-51-604(4) of the Colorado
Securities Act.

The Anderson Complaint seeks the following relief: (a) certification of
the complaint as a class action on behalf of all persons who purchased
or otherwise acquired the common stock of EFTC between April 6, 1998 and
August 20, 1998; (b) an award of compensatory and/or punitive damages,
interest, costs and attorneys' fees to all members of the class; and (c)
equitable relief available under state law. Defendants removed the case
to federal court on January 11, 1999. The federal court remanded the
case to state court on February 14, 2000. Defendants deny the
allegations of the complaint.

                       Comprehensive Settlement

The parties to these legal proceedings have reached an agreement to
settle both legal proceedings. The settlement is subject to court
approval. The proposed settlement provides for the Company to contribute
$3.1 million in cash and 1.3 million shares of the Company's common
stock and its insurer to contribute $2.9 million into a class settlement
fund. Notice of the settlement has been filed in both state and federal
court requesting a stay of all proceedings pending the submission of
settlement documents to the courts.


GAS SUPPLIERS: Suit Alleges Fee Is Mask for Higher Propane Prices
-----------------------------------------------------------------
A group of Madison County residents who sued propane gas suppliers
alleging the suppliers improperly inflated prices have had their lawsuit
moved to federal court here.

The lawsuit contends the companies are charging a bogus "environmental
regulatory fee" of at least $1.50 even though no local, state or federal
agency requires collection of such a fee. Also, they say, propane gas
burns cleanly and has not been associated with any negative
environmental impacts for which such a fee would be necessary.

The plaintiffs' lawsuit initially was filed in Madison County but a
judge said last Thursday April 20 the case belonged in federal court.
Rick Woods, representing the county residents, said he would try to have
the case sent back to Madison County.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status for all customers of Cornerstone
Propane Partners, which operates in a number of Arkansas cities. The
suit claims a variety of propane gas companies conspired to charge the
fee, which ranges from $1.50 to $2.83. Woods said that fee is really a
guise to charge customers more. He said his firm has documents
indicating all the companies issued letters to their managers, directing
them to charge the fee, and mandating a $1.50 minimum.

Targeted in the suit are nearly 40 companies from across the state,
including common names such as Synergy and EmpireGas. The companies have
filed documents generally denying the Madison County residents' claims.
"It is the plaintiffs ... belief that the environmental regulatory fee
is added to consumer bills in an attempt to make the defendants propane
gas prices appear to be lower than competitors in the industry and is
intended to deceive consumers," the suit states.

If class action is granted and the plaintiffs are victorious, attorneys
are suggesting a fund be established to refund all consumers affected by
the fees. (The Associated Pres, April 21, 2000)


HMOs: Standard & Poor's Outlook in 2000 - Stable; Problems in Regions
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's ratings outlook for the health insurance and managed
care industries in 2000 is stable. However, problems persist in certain
regions of the country, particularly New England, Texas, and Florida.

Standard & Poor's expects the financial strength of health plans and
health insurers to continue improving because of hefty premium increases
mplemented in the latest round of contract renewals. However, rigorous
tate regulations, threats of health care legislation at the federal
evel, improved bargaining power of hospitals and physician providers in
ome regions, and class action lawsuits filed against managed care
ompanies may cloud the industry's overall financial improvement.

Industry consolidations, a trend likely to continue in 2000, have been
due primarily to many health plans' weak financial strength, stemming
from poor underwriting performance from 1995 through 1998. As the
industry experiences continued consolidation and stock conversions,
improved capitalization and stronger earnings are expected to drive
rating enhancements.

Earnings improvements in 2000 are expected to be a direct result of not
only rational-and substantially higher-premium pricing, but also of
health insurers' and managed care providers' sharp focus on cost
containment. These businesses have implemented a variety of strategies
to reduce administrative expenses and combat rising drug costs. In 1999,
here was an increasing focus on changing benefit plans, such as by
djusting pharmacy benefits to a three- tier structure or narrowing the
ormulary list, and developing medical management programs as a means of
ontrolling health care costs.

Cost containment has not only focused on lowering health care costs, but
as also heavily emphasized reducing administrative costs. The move
toward higher premium pricing has encountered relatively little
resistance, as employer purchasers have reluctantly accepted the
increases. Furthermore, the highly publicized financial failures among
health insurers and managed care organizations have heightened the
importance to consumers of health plans having adequate financial
strength.

A full list of Standard & Poor's financial strength ratings on managed
care and health insurance companies, by state, can be found on the
ratings service's Web site at http://www.standardandpoors.com/ratingsTo
ccess the list from the main page, select Insurance Ratings, then
Insurer Financial Strength Ratings.


HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Austrian Ambassador Tells Austrians about US Suits
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Austrian Ambassador Peter Moser is trying to make his countrymen
understand that American lawyers pose a serious threat with class-action
lawsuits that make claims that many Austrians consider "outrageous" and
"bizarre."

Mr. Moser even found himself the target of a lawyer's anger after
Austria's Profil magazine inaccurately portrayed him as trivializing a
class-action suit against Austria on behalf of Holocaust victims. The
magazine quoted Mr. Moser as saying, "If you drink bad coffee and find
yourself a good lawyer . . . instant millionaire." He was referring to a
1996 lawsuit in which a New Mexico woman won $2.7 million from
McDonald's after she spilled hot coffee on herself.

Mr. Moser told Embassy Row hat he used that lawsuit as an example of the
serious nature of American litigation, not to belittle the Holocaust
compensation suit filed by New York lawyer Edward Fagan. He is suing
Austria for $18 billion on behalf of Holocaust victims.

The ambassador, also a lawyer, said Austria has no tradition of
class-action or product-liability lawsuits, so he tried to explain the
significance of the two related legal tools in the magazine interview.
But Profil quoted him only on the remark he made about the coffee, he
said.

Austrian leaders have denounced Mr. Fagan's lawsuit as "bizarre" and
"outrageous." The compensation demanded would equal about 10 percent of
Austria's gross domestic product. "My message was, 'You have to take
this seriously,' " Mr. Moser said. "I tried to explain to Austrians that
even a spilled cup of coffee can make you a millionaire." Mr. Moser said
he also discussed how "product-liability has fine-tuned the class-action
suit." He reviewed the legal actions taken against the automotive,
tobacco and gun industries.

Mr. Moser is also trying to make Americans understand that Austria is
taking action to compensate Holocaust victims.

Among other actions, Austria established a compensation fund in 1995,
extended citizenship to Austrians forced into exile during the war and
contributed $26 million to Jewish groups for social services, primarily
in Israel. (The Washington Times, April 21, 2000)


KITTY HAWK: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in Texas
--------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit was filed on April 19, 2000, in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, on
behalf of all persons who purchased the stock of Kitty Hawk Inc.
(Nasdaq: KTTY or KTTYE) between April 22, 1999, and April 11, 2000,
inclusive (the "Class Period").

Contact: Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP, Shareholder Relations
Dept., endfraud@mwbhlny.com or 800-320-5081 Website at
http://www.milberg.com


KITTY HAWK: Troubled Cargo Airline Fires Chief Executive
--------------------------------------------------------
The founder of cargo airline Kitty Hawk Inc. was removed Thursday as
chairman and chief executive a week after the company said it was
running out of cash. Kitty Hawk's stock price went into a tailspin after
the announcement that it would miss a $17 million interest payment.

Last Thursday April 20, directors removed M. Tom Christopher from the
top jobs at Kitty Hawk, based at Dallas-Fort Worth International
Airport. He will remain a director. Kitty Hawk president Tilmon Reeves
will replace Christopher as chairman and chief executive while the board
searches for a permanent replacement, the company said. The company also
said two directors have resigned from the board in the past nine days,
and it named vice president of finance Drew Keith to replace chief
financial officer Paul Tate, who resigned April 11.

The company also said it has hired Seabury Advisors and Seabury
Securities to help it restructure debt.

Kitty Hawk announced April 11 that it would be forced to restate 1999
earnings and report a larger first-quarter loss than analysts had
expected in the first quarter. The company blamed its problems on soft
sales of freight services and heavy aircraft-maintenance costs.

The company serves about 45 U.S. cities and operates in South America
and the Pacific Rim. It has struggled since it acquired a money-losing
airfreight carrier as part of a 1997 acquisition. It closed a charter
passenger-service line and eliminated jobs.

Kitty Hawk has said it does not plan to file for bankruptcy, although
analysts have questioned that claim. Investors have filed a class-action
lawsuit against the company in federal court in Dallas, charging the
company violated federal securities law by providing false and
misleading information about its financial results.

Kitty Hawk employs about 2,300 workers, including 300 in the Dallas-Fort
Worth area. (The Associated Press, April 21, 2000)


LOS ANGELES: Fd Suit Filed for Victims of Police Abuse in Rampart Case
----------------------------------------------------------------------
All three of the name partners in Yagman's new ally -- O'Neill, Lysaght
& Sun -- are former federal prosecutors and their 15-year-old Santa
Monica firm has a reputation for success in complex, high-stakes civil
litigation. Four of the firm's partners served as counsels to the
Christopher and Webster commissions, which investigated the LAPD after
the 1991 beating of motorist Rodney G. King and after the 1992 riots,
respectively.

April 20's suit contends that cases seeking damages for Rampart-related
violations are appropriate for a class action because they involve
common questions of law and fact as to patterns and practices of
defendants from the Police Department and the City Council.

As an incentive for other potential claimants to join a so-called
"global settlement," Lysaght said he has urged the city attorney to
forgo procedural defenses -- such as those involving the statute of
limitations -- against any plaintiff who enlists in the proposed class.
Yagman argued that both plaintiffs and the city would benefit from a
mass settlement. "This would be potentially beneficial to plaintiffs
because it will allow them to receive fair and prompt compensation for
their injuries and avoid going through a long, hard-fought legal process
whose prospects are always uncertain for all parties." He said the city
would gain some certainty over how much it would have to pay out over a
period of time and avoid "going into perpetual debt." In that regard,
the U.S.

Supreme Court in the past three years has thrown out two massive class
action settlements of asbestos litigation on the grounds that the
interests of the class members diverged too much for the class to be
valid. Columbia University law professor John C. Coffee Jr., an expert
on class actions, said the Rampart initiative might be looked at
skeptically by a federal judge because of those decisions. "The
principal problem is a lack of factual homogeneity," Coffee said. "To
the extent that there is not a centrally coordinated conspiracy of
high-ranking police officers, rather than a loose network of officers
who have an understanding that they can break the law, class
certification seems inappropriate," Coffee said. Nonetheless, Lysaght
said he thought that hurdle could be overcome. It is difficult to assess
the prospects of the initiative at this point.

Several other lawyers have filed federal civil suits as well and might
advise their clients not to participate. Mike Qualls, a spokesman for
the city attorney's office, said that although the office had not yet
seen the suit, attorneys in the office's police division have reached a
preliminary conclusion that "Rampart cases are not appropriate for class
relief because they involve such varied fact situations." Lysaght said
he has met several times with ranking officials in the city attorney's
office. "The conversations were detailed and substantive," though
nothing has been agreed to, the lawyer said. "Discussions have been had
with and continue to be underway with the city attorney's office about
agreeing to have one federal judge act as a settlement judge for all
Rampart-related litigation to assist in resolving the great majority of
cases," he said. Plaintiffs who do not want to participate in a class
action would be permitted to opt out of the settlement and pursue their
cases individually.

Police misconduct specialist Stephen Yagman has formed an unusual
alliance with a law firm composed of highly regarded civil litigators,
and last Thursday April 20 the new partners filed a federal class action
suit on behalf of all people whose civil rights allegedly were violated
by the LAPD in the course of the Rampart scandal.

The named plaintiff in the case is Darryl Fitzpatrick, 34, who according
to the suit was arrested on Aug. 14, 1999, and vastly overcharged. The
suit states that although Fitzpatrick had less than half an ounce of
marijuana in his car, a group of Rampart officers claimed that they
found four small bags of marijuana and 22 empty plastic bags in his car.
Fitzpatrick, who was on parole at the time, was charged with a felony
count of transporting illegal substances and a felony possession count.
Those charges could have resulted in a sentence of 25 years to life
because Fitzpatrick had prior convictions, according to the suit.
Consequently, the suit alleges that Fitzpatrick decided to plead
guilty--though to the significantly lower charge of driving a vehicle
without the owners' consent. He served three months in jail, according
to Yagman, who said his client is still on parole.

The suit alleges that individuals victimized by Rampart officers were
subjected to excessive force, the planting of false evidence,
fabrication of evidence, filing of false police reports by officers and
perjured testimony by the same officers. The suit also alleges that the
wrongful conduct of the officers "could not have occurred without the
participation or deliberate indifference and/or willful blindness of the
non-police defendants." Yagman now represents eight individuals, who
allege in federal lawsuits that their rights were violated by LAPD
officers involved in the Rampart corruption scandal. The Venice-based
lawyer and his new partners are attempting to establish a so-called
"settlement class" in which the city of Los Angeles would agree to fund
a pool of money to be divided by plaintiffs who allege Rampart-related
violations of their civil rights, according to attorney Brian C.
Lysaght.


MAJOR LEAGUE: Cleared of Antitrust Claims on Single Entity Structure
--------------------------------------------------------------------
In a decision hailed as a significant victory by Major League Soccer and
one that might have repercussions in other sports, a federal judge has
ruled that MLS' "single entity" structure is legal. The ruling by Judge
George O'Toole Jr. in Federal District Court in Boston dismissed two of
five items in a class-action lawsuit filed three years ago by MLS
players, who contended that the system under which the league owns all
12 teams and all player contracts violates federal antitrust laws.

The decision "essentially dismissed the heart of the plaintiffs'
lawsuit," Mark Abbott, the league's chief operating officer, said.

Attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who represents the eight MLS players who filed
the suit and whose law firm also has represented NFL and NBA players in
antitrust suits, told the Associated Press he will appeal O'Toole's
23-page ruling.

Asked how much defending the suit had cost MLS, Abbott said, "I don't
have the exact number, but it's multimillions of dollars so far. The NFL
Players Assn. reportedly had been funding the suit, but Abbott said he
doubted many MLS players fully supported it. "I think, frankly, that the
vast majority of our players were not really engaged in this lawsuit,"
he said. "It was a few players and obviously, some outside advisors who
had great interest in it.=94 "We think the vast majority of the players
want to sit down with the league and negotiate and help build the
league, as opposed to doing destructive things to the sport of soccer."

The three remaining issues in the lawsuit are seen as minor by MLS and
have to do with licensing, transfer fees when players are traded, and
the alleged monopoly power of MLS as the only Division 1 league
sanctioned by U.S. Soccer. Trial date for those elements was set for
Sept. 18. (Los Angeles Times, April 21, 2000)


MICROSOFT CORP: Consumers Sue in Washington D.C. for Antitrust
--------------------------------------------------------------
the law firm of Hall, Estill, Hardwick, Gable, Golden & Nelson announces
hat a class action lawsuit was served upon Microsoft Corporation's
egistered agent in the District of Columbia. Plaintiffs Kenneth V.
ummins and Nelson F. Rimensnyder brought the suit on their own behalf nd
behalf of others similarly situated in the District of Columbia as
urchasers of Windows 98. The complaint was filed in D.C. Superior Court
n April 13. The complaint alleges that Microsoft violated D.C. antitrust
law due to its unlawful pricing of Windows 98. The Class seeks amages
consisting of three times the difference between the monopoly rice paid
by the Class for Windows 98 and a competitive price for indows 98.

Both plaintiffs are end user licensees of Windows 98. Both plaintiffs
are residents of Washington D.C. The Class sought to be certified
consists of all end user licensees of Windows 98 residing in the
District of Columbia now or at the time they became end user licensees
of Windows 98.

The complaint alleges that Microsoft created and maintained significant
barriers to entry into the market for operating systems for Intel-based
personal computers. The complaint alleges that Microsoft possessed
monopoly power in the market for operating systems for Intel-based PCs.
The complaint further alleges that Microsoft licensed its Windows 98
operating system for Intel-based PCs, without regard to competition, and
t an unlawful monopoly price in excess of that which Microsoft would ave
been able to charge in a competitive market. "Microsoft has greatly
overcharged the people of the District of Columbia," the Plaintiffs'
ttorney Donald Dinan said. Mr. Dinan added, "This monopolistic pricing
cheme is hurting the availability of computers in our schools and for
our poorest citizens."

On Monday, April 3, 2000, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson issued
conclusions of law in the antitrust case brought by the United States,
nineteen states, and the District of Columbia. The Court concluded that
Microsoft had monopoly power in the worldwide licensing of
Intel-compatible PC operating systems under federal antitrust law and
under the laws of the nineteen states and the District of Columbia. In
Judge Jackson's findings of fact, issued last year, he cited Microsoft's
own study which says that the company could have charged $49 for an
pgrade to Windows 98 from Windows 95, but instead Microsoft charged $89
because it was the "revenue-maximizing price."

The attorney of record for the class is Donald R. Dinan of the law firm
of Hall, Estill, Hardwick, Gable, Golden & Nelson. Mr. Dinan has broad
experience in litigation for private law firms, worked at the
International Trade Commission, and teaches law at Georgetown
University. Mr. Dinan can be reached at (202) 973-1200 and at
DDinan@hallestill.com.

Contact: Donald Dinan of Hall, Estill, Hardwick, Gable, Golden & Nelson,
202-973-1200


PEAK INT'L: Claims and Plaintiffs Added to TrENDs Investors' Complaint
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Investors who blame the law firm of Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ)
for hedge fund activity that eroded their holdings in Trust Enhanced
Dividend Securities (TrENDs) have added several new claims and lead
plaintiffs, including a retirement plan, to their proposed class action.
Dorchester Investors et al. v. Peak International Limited et al., No.
99-CV-4696 (S.D.N.Y., amended complaint filed Jan. 27, 2000); see Bank &
Lender Liability LR, July 21, 1999, P. 10.

Lead plaintiff Dorchester Investors is suing British Virgin
Islands-based Peak International Ltd. and New York brokerage DLJ for
allowing hedge funds to short sell the stock underlying the Trust
Enhanced Dividend Securities (TrENDs). The "shorts" allegedly dove the
price of the TrENDS down by 75 percent.

Dorchester's first amended complaint adds one new claim and seven new
lead plaintiffs.

The new claim alleges violations of the Investment Company Act, Section
34(b), for false statements and material omissions made in TrENDs
registration statements and prospectuses.

Appointed lead plaintiffs, in addition to Dorchester, are Stanley
Benerofe, Jeffrey Blaine, Steven Stone, Carole Stone, Bret Lambert,
Helene Sterman and the Mr. Weiser & Co. Retirement Plan & Trust.

TrENDs are debt securities linked to non-dividend paying company stock.
They are created through closed-end trusts, which use the company stock
to purchase U.S. Treasuries. The Treasuries, in turn, are used to pay
trust unit holders, e, the TrENDs holders, quarterly dividends.

At maturity, TrENDs are exchanged for shares of the company's stock
based on the performance of that stock over a set period of time. Thus,
the stock performance serves as a derivative factor.

The plaintiffs allege that the TrENDs were created by DLJ as a way of
getting back $55 million the brokerage loaned to T.L. Li, a principal
stockholder of Peak International. The TrENDS were based on the
performance of Peak International stock.

Allegedly never disclosed to the plaintiffs was the fact the TrENDS were
offered to DLJ's hedge fund customers, which had the cash to arbitrage,
i.e., buy the TrENDS and short sell the underlying Peak International
stock.

According to the amended complaint the undisclosed hedge fund activity
drove the price of the TrENDS down from $15.75 per share to under $4 a
share, and the price of Peak International stock down to less than $2 a
share from a high of $25 a share.

The suit makes further claims for fraud under Sections 11, 12 and 15 of
the Securities Exchange Act, and seeks class certification, unspecified
compensatory and punitive damages, and attorneys' fees and costs.

The Dorchester plaintiffs are represented by Paul D. Young and Michael
Swick, Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach in New York, and Lawrence G.
Soicher, Law Offices of Lawrence G. Soicher in New York. (Bank & Lender
Liability Litigation Reporter, March 15, 2000)


PENNCORP FINANCIAL: Pays Share of Securities Settlement into Escrow
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Dallas-based PennCorp Financial Group, Inc., the principal subsidiaries
of which are Southwestern Life Insurance Company and Security Life and
Trust Insurance Company, markets and underwrites life insurance,
accumulation products and fixed benefit accident and sickness insurance
to lower and middle-income markets throughout the United States and
Canada.

During the third quarter of 1998, the first of ten class-action
complaints was filed in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York against the Company and certain of its
current or former directors and officers. During a pre-trial conference
on November 9, 1998, all parties agreed to the consolidation of all of
the actions and the Court appointed lead plaintiffs on behalf of
shareholders and noteholders.

The Court also approved the selection of three law firms as co-lead
counsel for shareholders and noteholders. A consolidated and amended
complaint was filed on January 22, 1999. A First Consolidated Amended
Class Action Complaint naming, as defendants, the Company, David J.
Stone, formerly a director and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and
Steven W. Fickes, formerly a director and President and Chief Financial
Officer was filed on March 15, 1999.

The Complaint alleges that defendants violated the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934. Among other things, plaintiffs claim that defendants issued
a series of materially false and misleading statements and omitted
material facts regarding the Company's financial condition, including
the value of certain of its assets, and failed to timely disclose that
it was under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Plaintiffs seek to recover damages in unspecified amounts on behalf
of themselves and all other purchasers of the Company's common stock and
purchasers of the Company's subordinated notes during the period of
February 8, 1996, through November 16, 1998.

During a conference on March 19, 1999, defendants sought and were
granted permission to file, and subsequently filed, a motion to dismiss
the Complaint. Although there are no assurances that the motion to
dismiss will be granted, management believes that there are meritorious
defenses to the action that were raised in connection with the motion,
including whether the Complaint adequately pleads scienter (i.e., intent
to defraud) as required under the Private Securities Litigation Reform
Act of 1995.

The Company has notified its primary and excess carriers of directors
and officers liability insurance of the existence of the claims set
forth in the Complaint, and the total potential insurance available is
$15.0 million of primary and $10.0 million of excess coverage,
respectively, for securities claims. The primary insurance coverage
requires the Company to bear 25% of: (i) all expenses and (ii) any
losses in excess of a $1.0 million retention amount. The primary and
excess carriers have reserved their rights under the policies with
respect to coverage of the claims set forth in the Complaint. As
explained below, the primary insurer has agreed in principle to
contribute to a settlement of the litigation.

Following settlement discussions with the Plaintiffs' counsel and
representatives of the primary insurance carrier and their counsel, the
parties to the Complaint entered into a Memorandum of Understanding
dated November 11, 1999 containing the essential terms of a settlement.
The Memo states that $9.0 million of cash plus interest accruing through
the date of consummation of the settlement, will be paid in full and
final settlement of all claims set forth in the Complaint. Of that sum,
$1.5 million plus interest will be paid by the Company and $7.5 million
plus interest will be paid by the Company's outside directors and
officers liability insurance carrier. The Settlement is conditioned
upon, among other things, confirmatory discovery, execution of a
definitive settlement agreement and related documents, notice to the
Company's shareholders of the Settlement and final approval by the
United States District Court (with all time to appeal such approval
having run or any appeals having been resolved in favor of approval of
the Settlement). During the three months ended December 31, 1999, the
Company paid the $1.5 million liability related to the settlement to an
escrow account.


PENNCORP FINANCIAL: Still Cooperating with 1998 SEC Investigation
-----------------------------------------------------------------
On July 30, 1998, the SEC notified PennCorp Financial Group, Inc., the
principal subsidiaries of which are Southwestern Life Insurance Company
and Security Life and Trust Insurance Company, that it had commenced a
formal investigation into possible violations of the federal securities
laws including matters relating to the Company's restatement of its
financial statements for the first six months of 1997, and for the years
ended December 31, 1994, 1995 and 1996. The Company and its management
are fully cooperating with the SEC in its investigation.


PRESS RELEASES: The Right Spin, Even a Lie, Can Make Stock Price Soar
---------------------------------------------------------------------
On Apr. 8, the Securities & Exchange Commission filed a suit against a
Los Angeles tree trimmer, Stephen Sayre, for posting fake press releases
on message boards on behalf of eConnect, a micro-cap Net stock. The suit
alleges that Sayre put out phony ''buy recommendations'' under the name
Independent Financial Reports and posted them on Internet message
boards. Those press releases were also distributed by Business Wire, a
paid Internet news service, and ended up on news services like Bloomberg
and investor Web sites like Marketwatch.com and TheStreet.com.

''We're pleased that the SEC is helping us guard information we're
distributing to consumers,'' says a Business Wire spokesman. An eConnect
spokesman denies that the company has any relationship with Sayre.

Once a relatively mundane communications device, a press release now has
the might to dramatically drive the price of a stock. As a result, more
companies are designing press releases with that goal in mind. But it's
not just edgy or pushing-the-truth headlines from lesser-known companies
that are designed to spike share prices. Stock analysts say established
companies are also playing fast and loose with press-release language,
especially those involving earnings reports. They may exclude entire
unprofitable subsidiaries, or leave out key information -- such as
certain losses -- in order to appear rosy to investors. This has
captured the SEC's attention. ''While we don't regulate press releases,
we are on guard for fraudulent and manipulative statements,'' says Chris
Ullman, an SEC spokesman. But even the SEC admits this is a gray area
and difficult to police.

To be sure, stocks have always risen or fallen on news, but the Internet
has fundamentally changed the way news is delivered. Average investors
now get ''news'' over the Internet as soon as -- or in some cases before
it is posted on traditional wire services such as Dow Jones & Co. or
Reuters Group PLC. But often the ''news'' is merely paid press release
distributed through Internet news services such as PR Newswire and
Business Wire. That's why many companies, especially Net-related and
biotech companies that trade more on promise than profits, are able to
put out a steady stream of releases to pump up their stocks. ''Investors
are increasingly putting as much credence in paid releases posted on the
Internet as they do in real journalism,'' says Gerald S. Schwartz,
president and CEO of G.S. Schwartz & Co., a New York public-relations
firm.

Some companies are considered press-release ''blasters'' -- they put out
a press release almost every day. ''Companies create questionable new
'divisions,' 'mergers,' and 'products' just to stay on investors' radar
screens,'' says Robert V. Green, an analyst at financial Web site
Briefing.com Inc.

In fact, a pending class action against eConnect, filed by investors,
alleges that one press release announced a false strategic alliance with
a financial concern. Another allegedly announced the false acquisition
of a sports company. An eConnect spokesman explains: ''Shareholder suits
are not uncommon when there is a precipitous drop in the stock price.''
The SEC has also sued eConnect and its president, Thomas S. Hughes, on
the grounds that the company itself had issued numerous ''false and
misleading'' press releases. ''eConnect and Hughes neither admit nor
deny guilt,'' says the eConnect spokesman.

Some companies argue that their releases are misunderstood. On Monday,
Mar. 6, millions of investors were convinced that a small Seattle
biotech company, NeoRx Corp., had found the cure for cancer. So they
pounced on the stock, driving the price up from $ 21 a share all the way
to $ 70. On that day, NeoRx's volume reached 17 million -- up from an
average daily volume of 850,000. CANCER CURE. What caused the frenzy was
a company press release headlined ''NeoRx Reports Cure of Lung, Breast,
and Colon Cancer in Pre-Clinical Animal Studies Using a Single Dose of
Pre-Target Technology.'' Investors zeroed in on two key words: ''cure''
and ''cancer.'' ''The release did not make it clear that validation from
human trials could take years,'' says Dayton Misfeldt, an analyst at
Roth Capital Partners. NeoRx' CEO, Dr. Paul G. Abrams, as well as his
public relations firm, deny crafting a press release that would move the
stock. In fact, Abrams went on CNBC that day: ''I explained that it was
the first step of a multistep process that would involve testing of
humans over several years,'' he said.

A common ploy for companies is to announce that a larger company will be
using its services or has been taken on as a client. ''You'd think the
two companies are getting married,'' says Green. ''But often, just one
employee has signed up for a company's service.''

On Mar. 28, ZixIt Corp., an Internet privacy-and-security company partly
owned by H. Wayne Huizenga, announced in a press release: ''The Perot
Group Adopts ZixMail for Secure Internet Communications.'' The stock
spiked $ 16 a share on the news, and closed at its 52-week high of $
96.50.

As it turned out, only one executive of the Perot Group had registered
for the ZixIt service. What's more, investors confused the Perot Group,
a small investment concern owned by Ross Perot, with Perot Systems, the
giant 7,000-employee systems-integration company also owned by Ross
Perot.

The next day, ZixIt issued a clarifying press release: ''Our prior press
release should not be interpreted to imply deployment or endorsement of
the ZixMail service by the Perot Group, Mr. Ross Perot personally, or
Perot Systems Corp.'' Since that release, ZixIt's stock has fallen more
than 50%, trading at around $ 43 a share.

ZixIt's CEO, David P. Cook, says the head of Perot's investment group
demanded a retraction of ZixIt's press release. ''It's my understanding
that they held a short position in ZixIt stock,'' says Cook. ''It was
either run a clarification, or they were going to put out their own
press release saying we wouldn't run a clarification.'' A Perot Group
spokesman responds: ''We don't comment on our investments.'' Cook
maintains that the initial press release was accurate.

Years ago, PR agencies that accepted a client's stock as payment were
considered little more than stock promoters. Even the most legitimate
public relations agencies now commonly accept client equity payments.
''You have a vested interest and a bigger concern for the client,''
explains Schwartz. All of this is no doubt contributing to another
problem: the growing trend of obfuscating earnings in press releases.
Notes Charles Hill, director of research at earnings-research firm First
Call Corp.: ''Companies are increasingly using press releases to get you
to view their numbers more favorably than they really are.''

On Mar. 2, Staples Inc. put out a press release playing up the
profitability of its brick-and-mortar division while ignoring
Staples.com. Staples Inc. owns 88% of Staples.com, and it has applied
for its own tracking stock. Nevertheless, on the same day, the dot-com
issued a separate release headlined: ''Staples.com Revenue Grows More
than 450% for Fourth Quarter and Year.'' Buried in the press release was
a fourth-quarter profit loss of $ 9.8 million.

Others such as the Walt Disney Co. and Ziff-Davis have used similar
earnings-release strategies. ''Investors must look beyond press releases
and review a company's filings with the SEC, which subscribe to
generally accepted accounting principles,'' says the SEC's Ullman.

But as press release language gets murkier and murkier, one thing is
crystal clear: Investors who buy on PR sparks are likely to get burned.


SECURITY LIFE: Policy Exchange Program Meets Opposition
-------------------------------------------------------
In May 1998, the North Carolina Attorney General's Office initiated an
inquiry concerning certain life insurance products historically sold by
Security Life and Trust Insurance Company and representations allegedly
made by Security Life's agents and officers with respect to not charging
insurance charges after the eighth policy year for non-smoker insureds.
The NCAG indicated that Security Life may be estopped to change its
current practice of not charging the cost of the insurance for
non-smoking policyholders because of certain representations made by
agents and officers of Security Life.

Although Security Life has not charged the cost of insurance charges for
non-smoker policyholders who reached their ninth policy year, this
practice is not guaranteed under the life insurance contracts. The
contracts specifically allow Security Life the right to change the cost
of insurance rates in accordance with the parameters set forth in the
insurance contracts.

Security Life has responded to the NCAG's inquiry by denying that it is
estopped from changing the cost of insurance rates based on the alleged
representations, and continuing to reserve its contractual rights to
charge the cost of insurance rates in accordance with the parameters set
forth in the insurance contracts.

In June 1998, the NCAG informed Security Life that it could not
adjudicate this matter and left it mutually unresolved. In June 1999,
the North Carolina Department of Insurance ("NCDOI") asked Security Life
about the status of its current practice of not charging cost of
insurance charges after the eighth contract year for non-smokers on
these same insurance products and requested to be informed if Security
Life changes its current practice.

Security Life has responded to the NCDOI's inquiry by verifying that no
decision has been made to date to change such current practice and such
practice has not changed; and affirming that the NCDOI would be notified
in the event this current practice changes.

The Company has initiated an exchange program which enables
policyholders of such life insurance products to terminate their
policies and, in exchange for the termination of the original policy and
a release, obtain either (i) the refund of all premiums paid and other
consideration or (ii) another Security Life product. On November 5,
1999, Security Life was served with an Original Petition filed in state
court in Dallas County, Texas, asserting a class action concerning such
policies.

The petition alleges that Security Life has waived the right to charge
cost of insurance charges after the eighth year on such non-smoker
policies and to increase cost of insurance charges on such smoker
policies. The petition alleges Security Life made these waivers through
its marketing pieces and signed statements by its officers. The petition
also alleges that not all of the facts were outlined in the Company's
communication to its policyholders outlining the exchange program and
therefore alleges Security Life's exchange program is deceptive. The
petition asks for declaratory judgment concerning the rights of the
Plaintiffs, and the class of policyholders of such policies and for
attorney's fees. It, among other things, asks for an injunction to
prevent Security Life from charging cost of insurance charges for such
non-smoker policies or increasing cost of insurance charges on such
smoker policies after the eighth contract year. It also asks the Court
to rule the releases signed by such policyholders under the exchange
program be declared null and void and those policyholders who signed the
releases be given the option of reinstating the prior policies.

Security Life denies the allegations in the petition and intends to
vigorously defend this lawsuit. The trial court in which this case is
pending has granted class certification in at least one other lawsuit
involving similar types of claims. There can be no assurances that the
exchange program will be successful or that the Company will resolve
these matters on such life insurance products on a satisfactory basis,
or at all, or that any such resolution would not have a material adverse
effect on the Company's financial condition, results of operations or
cash flows.


SEROLOGICALS CORP: Cauley & Geller Files Securities Lawsuit in Georgia
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Cauley & Geller, LLP announced that it has filed a class
action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of
Georgia, Atlanta Division on behalf of all individuals and institutional
investors that purchased the common stock of Serologicals Corporation
(Nasdaq:SERO) between April 27, 1999 and April 7, 2000, inclusive (the
"Class Period").

The complaint charges that the Company and certain of its officers and
directors violated the federal securities laws by providing materially
false and misleading information in the Company's financial statements.
Specifically, the Complaint alleges that the Company materially
overstated its revenues, income and earnings in its financial statements
issued during the Class Period. As a result of these false and
misleading statements the Company's stock traded at artificially
inflated prices during the Class Period. When the truth about the
Company was revealed, the price of the stock dropped significantly.

Contact: Cauley & Geller, LLP, Boca Raton Sue Null or Sharon Jackson
Toll Free: 888/551-9944 Email: Cauleypa@aol.com


SEROLOGICALS CORP: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in Georgia
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach gives notice that a ss
action lawsuit was filed on April 21, 2000, in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division,
on behalf of all persons who purchased the stock of Serologicals
Corporation (Nasdaq: SERO) between April 27, 1999, and April 7, 2000,
inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Serologicals 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. In
particular, the Complaint alleges that the Company's financial
statements issued during the Class Period were materially false and
misleading because the Company materially overstated its revenues,
income, earnings.

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


TEXAS BIOTECH: Burt & Pucillo Announces Deadline for Claims over IPO
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Pursuant to an order of the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York, purchasers of Texas Biotechnology
Corporation units (AMEX:TXB) in that Company's initial public offering
on December 15, 1993 and in open market transactions through and
including September 29, 1994, are advised that they have until May 5,
2000, to submit their claims for losses incurred on purchases of TXB
Units during that period.

A settlement in the amount of $800,000 is currently under consideration
for approval by the Court.

Contact: Burt & Pucillo, LLP, West Palm Beach Michael J. Pucillo,
561/835-9400 or 800/349-4612 e-mail address: law@burt-pucillo.com
Website: http://www.butpucillo.com


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Pompano Beach Second-Hand Smoke Problem Cited
-----------------------------------------------------------------
An article on the Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), April 21, 2000
raises the question of what recourse non-smokers have against
second-hand smoke. It has been complained that smokers act like they
have all the rights in the world to smoke wherever they want, and they
are not happy that they cannot smoke inside most public buildings.

The article shows the suggestion of whether a class-action suit should
be started against everyone who smokes, and whether non-smokers should
band together to sue people who get compensation for illness caused by
breathing second-hand smoke, considering thew damage second-hand smoke
and burning cigarettes tossed cause, and how many fires have been caused
by cigarettes tossed from cars on the highways. (Sun-Sentinel (Fort
Lauderdale, FL), April 21, 2000)


VISIONAMERICA: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Lawsuit in TN
------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway announces that earlier this year,
investors represented by Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP filed a class action
lawsuit in Federal Court in Memphis, Tennessee on behalf of all
purchasers of the common stock of VisionAmerica, Inc. (Nasdaq: VSNA)
from November 5, 1998 through March 24, 2000, inclusive (the "Class
Period").

The complaint charges VisionAmerica and certain of its officers and
directors with violating the federal securities laws by issuing false
and misleading information about the Company's financial condition.

Contact: Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP Marc A. Topaz, Esq. Robert B. Weiser,
Esq. 888/299-7706 (toll free) or 610/667-7706 info@sbclasslaw.com


WARNER-LAMBERT: Fed Suit over Diabetes Drug Rezulin Filed in PA
---------------------------------------------------------------
A federal class-action lawsuit claims that Warner-Lambert Co. and its
subsidiary, Parke-Davis, withheld information about the adverse effects
of the diabetes drug Rezulin. The lawsuit, filed last Thursday April 20
in Philadelphia on behalf of a Lancaster County Rezulin user, seeks
class-action status for more than 1 million Rezulin users in the United
States.

Warner-Lambert in March complied with a Food and Drug Administration
request to withdraw Rezulin after the drug was linked to 61 deaths and
seven liver transplants. The drug went on the market in 1997.
Warner-Lambert has said it strictly adhered to FDA regulations. The
company acknowledged some adverse effects with Rezulin but said it
adequately warned patients of the risks and would vigorously defend all
lawsuits. Similar suits were filed earlier this month in Detroit and New
Jersey. (The Associated Press, April 21, 2000)


WATER HEATERS: National Settlement Affirmed; Claims by End of Year
------------------------------------------------------------------
Consumers have until the end of the year to file claims for repairs on
more than 14 million water heaters under a nationwide settlement. U.S.
District Judge Howard F. Sachs last Friday April 20 approved a
settlement between consumers and 99 percent of the manufacturers of
water heaters.

Sachs' decision affirmed preliminary approval he gave the settlement in
November, which allowed manufacturers to begin repairs on water heaters
made between 1993 and 1996 that have a defective piece of plastic called
a dip tube. The tube, which funnels cold water to the bottom of a water
heater, can break apart, hurting the heater's performance and clogging
plumbing, faucets or appliances with plastic chips.

Two dozen class-action suits have been filed against the water heater
manufacturers and Perfection Corp., which made the defective dip tubes
manufacturers used, since last year. Manufacturers that sold the
defective water heaters under several brand names were Rheem
Manufacturing Co., A.O. Smith Corp., Bradford White Corp., American
Water Heater Co. and Lochinvar Corp. State Industries also sold some
defective water heaters, but it stopped using Perfection's dip tubes
before the other manufacturers did.

Perfection said it could not agree to the suit because of a dispute with
its insurers over covering the costs. Under the settlement, new water
heaters will be installed if pieces of the dip tube can't be removed.
Otherwise, a new dip tube will be installed. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
April 24, 2000)


WINN-DIXIE: Closing Stores and Cutting After Internal Upheaval
--------------------------------------------------------------
Last year the company took steps to put past troubles behind it. The
company paid $ 33-million to settle a class action racial discrimination
suit filed on behalf of African-American store employees. It sold all of
its 74 stores in Texas and Oklahoma to Kroger. Davis, who ran the
company for a decade, stepped outside the company's ranks to hire
Rowland as CEO to implement a long-term fix. It may not be enough, said
some observers.

With revenue down, the grocery chain also will close 114 stores and a
division headquarters and distribution center in Tampa. After months of
internal upheaval and little improvement at the cash register,
Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. outlined deep cuts that will cost 11,000 workers
their jobs at the nation's sixth-largest supermarket chain.

The latest round of restructuring will shutter 114 unprofitable stores
in the 1,189-store chain and close the chain's oldest division
headquarters and distribution center, in Tampa. About 200 workers at the
Tampa facility will lose their jobs by June. It's the nation's biggest
job reduction since Hechinger Inc., a Washington, D.C., home improvement
chain that ran Builders Square in Florida, closed 89 stores last
September.

The disappearance of Winn-Dixie's Tampa Division ends an organization
set up in 1931 to serve Winn-Dixie's first expansion beyond Miami. With
the Kash n' Karry warehouse on Harney Road now vacant, the closing means
Tampa will have lost two of its three major supermarket distribution
center operations in three years. The only one left belongs to B&B
USave, a grocery wholesaler and small supermarket chain.

Jacksonville-based Winn-Dixie will take up to $ 550-million in pretax
charges to pay for the cuts, which are supposed to help save $
400-million in annual expenses.

Calling the company's third quarter performance "disappointing and
unacceptable," Al Rowland, a former Albertsons executive brought out of
retirement to cure Winn-Dixie's long-running ills, outlined his first
broad plan to overhaul and streamline the operation:

Close 9 percent of the company's stores within 12 months. The company
will not identify the stores until affected employees are told.
Winn-Dixie's stores are spread through 14 states reaching as far north
as Ohio and west to Louisiana. The Tampa division, which stretches from
the bay area south to Naples, has about 100 stores.

Eliminate the jobs of about 8 percent of the company's 132,000
employees. About 9,600 of the 11,000 jobs being cut are in stores being
closed. The rest are at three of the company's 10 regional headquarters
that are being eliminated, including Tampa, and at soap and bag
factories that are being closed in Jacksonville. Winn-Dixie will begin
getting its private label bags and detergents from contractors, like
most other grocers.

Remodel 600 stores to meet the company's newer Winn-Dixie Marketplace
prototype of larger stores that are fully equipped with service
departments. The company's buying and distribution systems are being
centralized to be more efficient.

Do housecleaning on high-level management, including early retirement
for 10 senior vice presidents. Among them is former Tampa Division chief
Robert Sevin. Sevin's successor in Tampa, Mark Sellers, will take over
as president of an enlarged Orlando division that will supply Florida
west coast stores from existing warehouses in Orlando and Sarasota.

Buy back company stock for the second time in six months. Authorized for
purchasing and retiring up to 10-million more shares, the buyback is
intended to keep the company's sagging stock price from falling too far
too fast.

Still, Winn-Dixie earnings are not covering the company's monthly
dividend, which may have to be cut, said Ed Comeau, an analyst with
Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette.

"Today's grocery business is probably the most competitive in our
75-year history," said A. Dano Davis, Winn-Dixie chairman and third
generation of the founding Davis family that controls about 40 percent
of the company's stock. "Implementation of our restructuring plan will
help ensure continued growth and improved performance."

That would be a switch from the company's recent past. Annual earnings
declined each of past three years and in the first three quarters of the
fourth. The company's operating margin was 1.47 percent in the 1999
fiscal year, compared with 6.23 percent at rival Albertson Inc. and 6.92
percent at Safeway Inc. Davis stepped aside as chief executive last fall
after the company's $ 3.5-billion investment in newer and bigger stores
failed to bring in enough new customers to meet the company's profit
goals.

The Winn-Dixie story remained the same in the third quarter that ended
April 5, the company reported Thursday. Revenue was $ 3.2-billion, down
$ 4.2-million from the same quarter in 1999. Net income was $
10.3-million, or 7 cents a share, down from $ 58.8-million or 40 cents a
share. Sales in comparable stores open more than a year slipped 1.6
percent. "Winn-Dixie is caught in a classic squeeze," said Neil Stern, a
retail consultant with McMillan & Doolitle in Chicago. "They are not as
big or differentiated as Safeway or Kroger and are having a difficult
time competing against Wal-Mart and others."

In Florida, where Winn-Dixie has more than a third of its stores, the
chain has been losing market share to Publix Super Markets Inc. and Kash
n' Karry. In other states, Winn-Dixie has been giving up market share to
Kroger and others. No other supermarket in the country is confronted
with direct competition from as many of Wal-Mart's 650 supercenters as
Winn-Dixie.

Tom Olson, publisher of Food People, a trade publication, said "I think
Al Rowland is there to buff up Winn-Dixie for a sale," he said. Added
Chuck Gilmer, editor of the Shelby Report of the Southeast, an industry
trade paper: "This isn't a restructuring as much as a retrenchment in
their core markets. Winn-Dixie's real challenge is to get people back in
their stores." (St. Petersburg Times, April 21, 2000)


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