/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/000504.MBX                  C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

                   Thursday, May 4, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 87


AT HOME: Contests CA Suit against Cable Companies over Antitrust
BANK OF HEMET: Settles CA Lawsuit with Inland Savings Shareholders
COREL CORP: Ex-director Says Inprise Duped; Wants Merger Called off
ETRADE SECURITIES: Online Broker Fined for Customer Complaint Data
FEN-PHEN: Judge Weighs Approval of Multibillion Dollar AHP Settlement

FUNCO INC: Barnes & Noble Unit Wins Battle for MN Video Games Retailer
GORAN CAPITAL: '96 FL Suit Re Insurance Vs. Superior Guaranty Pending
GORAN CAPITAL: DOI in CA Reviews Brokers Fees by Independent Agents
GORAN CAPITAL: Faces Lawsuit by Stockholders in Indiana
GORAN CAPITAL: IGF Contests CA Suits over Product Discontinued in '98

GORAN CAPITAL: Superior Guaranty Sued in FL, '99 over Interest Charges
INMATES LITIGATION: Dekalb Case Okayed by Ct but May End for Atty Pay
INMATES LITIGATION: Parole Board Sued over Lengthy Hearing Backlog
ON-POINT TECHNOLOGY: Weiss & Yourman Files Securities Suit
SECRET SERVICE: Black Agents File Federal Suit over Racial Slurs

SUNSET LIFE: Supreme Ct Oks Suit over Deceptive Practice in Policy
TAYLOR ANN: NY Securities Suit Filed in '96 Still Pending under Appeal
TOBACCO LITIGATION: House Passes Bond Bill to Give FL Leeway for Trade
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Senate Passes Bills to Protect FL Money


AT HOME: Contests CA Suit against Cable Companies over Antitrust
Fred and Roberta Lipschutz, Arthur Simon and John Galley, III, as named
plaintiffs, filed a class action against At Home Corp, AT&T, Service Co
L.L.C. and entities affiliated with eight other cable companies in the
United States District Court for the Central District of California on
November 10, 1999. The complaint alleges violations of the federal
antitrust laws. The plaintiffs seek an injunction prohibiting the
alleged acts, damages (including treble damages), costs and attorneys'

At Home filed an answer to the complaint in this matter on January 21,
2000, denying the allegations of unlawful conduct in the complaint. The
Company says that if they do not prevail in this action, they may be
required to pay substantial damages, or may be forced to alter the way
th ey do business. Management believes either of these results could
seriously harm the company92s business and could encourage others to
initiate litigation on similar legal theories in the future.

GTE Internetworking Incorporated and GTE Intelligent Network Services
Incorporated filed a lawsuit against TCI (now a subsidiary of AT&T),
Comcast Corporation and At Home in the United States District Court for
the Western District of Pennsylvania on October 25, 1999. The complaint
alleg es violations of the federal antitrust laws. GTE is seeking an
injunction prohibiting continued performance under At Home's exclusive
distributio n and sales arrangements with our cable partners, damages
(including treble damages), costs and attorneys' fees. At Home filed an
answer to the complaint in this matter on December 15, 1999, which was
amended on December 21, 1999, denying the allegations of unlawful
conduct in the complaint.

            Other Litigation Seeking Corporate Change

Sheldon Pittleman and Ralph Zonies each filed derivative lawsuits on
beha lf of Excite@Home against AT&T and Messrs. Armstrong, Petrillo,
Roberts, Woodrow, Doerr, Hearst, Bell, Malone, Shaw and Jermoluk, all of
whom were directors of At Home Corp. when the lawsuits were initiated on
October 15 , 1999, in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware.

At Home was named as a nominal defendant in each complaint. Each
complain t alleges breaches of fiduciary duty to Excite@Home and its
public stockholders. The company has not yet filed responsive pleadings
in eithe r matter. Each of Messrs. Pittleman and Zonies seeks an
injunction requiring At Home to alter its corporate governance,
including appointing new, unaffiliated directors, as well as payment of
monetary damages, costs and attorneys' fees.

BANK OF HEMET: Settles CA Lawsuit with Inland Savings Shareholders
The Bank of Hemet (OTCBB: BHEM.OB) Tuesday announced that it has
settled  a class action lawsuit filed by former Inland Savings and Loan
(Inland) shareholders on terms which are not material to the Bank's
business, results of operations, or financial condition.

The Bank issued preferred stock to Inland shareholders in connection
with the 1992 acquisition of Inland. The preferred stock was
automatically converted to the Bank's common stock in 1995. In 1997 the
named plaintiff s sued the Bank and certain of its directors regarding
the manner in which the Bank implemented the conversion, as governed by
certain provisions of the merger agreement.

The settlement is subject to approval by the Superior Court of Riverside
County, California.

COREL CORP: Ex-director Says Inprise Duped; Wants Merger Called off
Inprise Corp. should withdraw from its controversial merger with
Ottawa-based Corel Corp. because the California-based software maker was
'duped' by the Canadian company and Inprise management 'failed
miserably  in their due diligence concerning the Corel merger,' alleges
a former direct or and major shareholder of Inprise.

In an amended legal complaint, Robert Coates, a Dallas-based investor
who is the second largest shareholder in Inprise, alleges 'it is
apparent tha t Corel faces a cash crisis' and, as a result, provides an
opportunity for Inprise to withdraw from the merger agreement. 'Given
the misleading financial information and projections Corel provided,
Inprise should be considering claims against Corel, and not payment of
any termination fee, ' states the complaint.

In his amended legal document, filed with the Court of Chancery in
Delaware, Mr. Coates said despite conflicting responses from Inprise
abou t the impending 'liquidity crisis at Corel,' to his knowledge the
Inprise board was 'not advised that Corel might run out of cash in the
second quarter of fiscal 2000' at the time the company's directors
approved the Feb. 7 merger proposal.

Mr. Coates, who resigned from the board of Inprise hours before the
directors approved the union with Corel, raised further questions
concerning the 'accuracy of the Corel reports, financial statements and
financial projections.' He cited Corel's shocking cash-deficiency
warning filed 10 days ago in a 10-Q regulatory filing with the U.S.
Securities an d Exchange Commission stating it could run out of cash in
the next three months if the deal is not completed.

That warning came on the heels of the company's surprising first-quarter
losses. After conflicting comments from Inprise officials last week,
Dale Fuller, interim chief executive officer at Inprise, admitted 'we
were extremely surprised' by Corel's first-quarter results and
statements concerning its cash position. Mr. Fuller conceded the board
was re-evaluating the deal to determine whether its fair to Inprise
shareholders, but he cautioned 'we will continue to perform under the
merger agreement.'

Even so, Mr. Coates claimed in his legal challenge that 'Corel's cash
crisis constitutes a change, event or development that is having or
could be reasonably expected to have a material adverse effect on
Corel.' He added: 'Put simply, the imminent threat of running out of
money can reasonably be expected to have a significant impact on the
business and financial condition of a public software company.'

Consequently, he said, the cash-deficiency warning may be contributing
to the precipitous fall in the stock prices of both companies since the
deal was announced. Corel's stock price closed at $7 11/16 on the Nasdaq
while Inprise ended the day at $6 1/16. (All figures in U.S. dollars.)

Under the terms of the original agreement, Inprise shareholders are to
receive 0.747 Corel common shares for each of Inprise stock they hold.
At the time the transaction was announced on Feb. 7, Corel was trading
in th e $20 range and Inprise had a value of $12.94. At the time, the
deal would have pegged a value of $14.94 for each Inprise share. Mr.
Fuller said Inprise shareholders are expected to vote on the proposed
merger in mid-summer.

As a result of Corel's share price meltdown, Mr. Coates said that rather
than buying Inprise at a modest premium, Corel will be able to buy
Inpris e, which has $240-million in cash on its balance sheet, at a
discount if the merger is allowed to proceed. 'These further adverse
developments at Core l underscore that it would be a blatant breach of
fiduciary duty for the Inprise directors to proceed with the merger.'

Officials at Inprise did not return calls and a Corel spokeswoman said
th e company had no comment because they had not been served with the
amended complaint.

Mr. Coates launched his original complaint two weeks ago against Mr.
Fuller, William Miller, chairman of the board and directors David Heller
and William Hooper, as well as Corel. A class-action lawsuit was also
fil ed last week by a U.S.-based shareholder against Inprise and its
directors. (National Post (formerly The Financial Post), May 03, 2000)

ETRADE SECURITIES: Online Broker Fined for Customer Complaint Data
The brokerage industry's self-policing division said it has fined online
broker ETrade Securities Inc. $20,000 for allegedly failing to respond
promptly to requests for information related to customers' complaints.
NA SD Regulation, the enforcement arm of the National Association of
Securities Dealers, said Tuesday it also censured ETrade, based in Menlo
Park, Calif.

ETrade, one of the biggest online brokerage firms, neither admitted to
no r denied wrongdoing in agreeing to the fine and censure in a

NASD Regulation said from April through June of last year, it made 17
requests for information related to customer complaints it had received
about ETrade, and that in each case ETrade "failed to provide further
information or respond in a timely fashion." "Prompt response to
regulators' inquiries about customer complaints has to be front and
cente r for all firms," Barry Goldsmith, NASD Regulation's executive
vice preside nt of enforcement, said in a statement. "Brokerage firms
need to devote the resources that are necessary to handle all aspects of
their securities business."

ETrade was hit with two class-action lawsuits filed by investors last
yea r after software problems caused its computers to shut down on three
separa te occasions. Other online brokerage firms experienced similar

ETrade has said its rapid growth has made it challenging for the firm to
handle the flow of customers' trading requests.

Any case against an online brokerage would be hard to win, some legal
experts argue, because prior to opening an online trading account,
investors sign disclaimers that acknowledge the risks associated with
Internet investing. That means a case against an online firm would have
t o prove that the company was negligent in some fashion not covered in
the disclaimer.

For example, an investor claiming damages in the wake of a computer
crash would have to prove that the brokerage firm failed to maintain its
system s according to standards that would have prevented the shutdown.

Evidence that a firm failed to maintain a proper backup system, or that
i t cut important corners in order to reduce system overlap, might be
grounds for damages, according to some experts. But taking on a big
brokerage fir m likely would be a lengthy and expensive battle. (The
Associated Press, May 3, 2000)

FEN-PHEN: Judge Weighs Approval of Multibillion Dollar AHP Settlement
A federal judge is weighing whether to approve a $3.75 billion national
settlement of health claims against the diet drug combination fen-phen.
Opponents call the deal inadequate and want U.S. District Judge Louis
Bechtle to throw it out. "The plan is illegal and unfair," said Edward
F. Blizzard, an attorney for a group of fen-phen users who object to the
settlement. "The amounts being offered to settle these claims are
inadequate to compensate people for their injuries."

Bechtle, who began hearing testimony on the settlement Tuesday, gave
preliminary approval to the deal last November and is expected to decide
at the end of the two-week hearing whether it will stand.

The drug's maker, American Home Products, and plaintiffs' attorneys who
favor the settlement worked out the deal last October.

"The settlement is the result of a dedicated effort between plaintiffs'
attorneys and American Home Products to create a comprehensive and
equitable plan," said Louis L. Hoynes Jr., American Home's senior vice
president and general counsel.

More than 9,000 lawsuits have been filed against Madison, N.J.-based
American Home, maker of fenfluramine, the "fen" in the fen-phen
combination. The company sold the drug under the brand name of Pondimin
a nd also made Redux, a chemical cousin.

The drugs were withdrawn in September 1997 after a Mayo Clinic study
link ed the fen-phen combination to potentially fatal heart valve
damage. The second drug in the combination, phentermine, was not linked
to the problems.

Under the settlement, the fen-phen users would get a maximum of $1.5
million, though most would get far less, depending on their level of
injury and how long they took the drugs. The settlement also includes
money for their future medical monitoring.

Of 6 million people who took fen-phen before it was pulled from the
market, 45,000 have refused the multibillion-dollar settlement and
retain the rig ht to sue for punitive damages. Those who remained in the
class action suit may still reject the settlement and sue for
compensatory damages but are forbidden from collecting punitive damages.
(The Associated Press, May 3, 2000)

FUNCO INC: Barnes & Noble Unit Wins Battle for MN Video Games Retailer
Electronics Boutique bowed out of a game of corporate Pac-Man late
Tuesday, leaving Funco Inc. to be gobbled up by Babbage's Etc. After
matching its rival's offer of $ 21 a share, or $ 135 million,
Electronics Boutique sai d it would not raise its bid to compete with a
bid of $ 24.75 a share, or $ 161.5 million, last week by Babbage's, a
unit of Barnes & Noble. "Electronics Boutique indicated at the outset of
its intended acquisition of Funco that it would not undertake any action
that would dilute its earnings," the company said Tuesday in a prepared

But Electronics Boutique could have gone higher without diluting
earnings , said Tom Emmel, a securities analyst with John G. Kinnard &
Co. "I'm surprised they didn't at least match Babbage's offer," Emmel

The archrivals both had considered Funco's 401 stores critical to their
strategy to become the dominant specialty retailer of electronic games
an d equipment, he said. Both retailers needed to increase their size
and both were interested in entering the used video game and equipment
business -- a field in which Funco is the acknowledged expert.

If anything, Emmel argues that Electronics Boutique needed the deal more
than Babbage's, which already enjoys some economies of scale as a unit
of Barnes & Noble, the giant bookseller.

Electronics Boutique, based in West Chester, Pa., has 628 stores that
sel l new video games and equipment. Babbage's Etc., based in Grapevine,
Texas, has 475 stores (under five different names) that sell computer
software a nd electronic games and equipment.

Stan Bodine, Funco's president, said late Tuesday that his company is in
discussions with Babbage's, and has until Friday to accept or reject its
"unconditional offer." "We have to work out the details of a merger
agreement, and then review it with our board of directors," Bodine said.

The saga of the Eden Prairie-based retailer of new and used video games
and equipment began April 3, when Funco said it had agreed to sell its
shares to Electronics Boutique for $ 17.50 each, nearly half again
higher than t he price at which the shares had been trading. Babbage's
Etc. then came in April 6 with an offer of $ 21 a share. Electronics
Boutique matched on April 20; Babbage's raised again April 26.

Until the bidding war erupted for Funco's stock, its shares had traded
as low as $ 10 a share earlier in February. Funco shares closed trading
Tuesday up 6 cents to $ 24.63 a share. The Electronics Boutique
announcement came after the stock markets closed.

Earlier Tuesday, Funco said that a shareholder has sued the company and
its directors for "breach of fiduciary duty," arguing that its merger
agreement with Electronics Boutique is designed to deter higher offers.
Funco shareholder David Van Essen is seeking class-action status for the
lawsui t. Funco officials and securities analysts are mystified by the
lawsuit, pointing out that there are two bidders vying to buy the
company. (Saint Paul Pioneer Press, May 3, 2000)

GORAN CAPITAL: '96 FL Suit Re Insurance Vs. Superior Guaranty Pending
Goran Capital Inc. discloses in its report to the SEC that its insurance
division Superior Guaranty is a defendant in a case filed on November 26
, 1996, in the Circuit Court for Lee County, Florida entitled Raed Awad
v. Superior Guaranty Insurance Company, et al., Case No. 96-9151 CA LG.
The case purports to be brought on behalf of a class consisting of
purchasers of insurance from Superior Guaranty. Plaintiffs allege that
the defendant charged premium finance service charges in violation of
Florida law. Superior Guaranty believes that the allegations of
wrongdoing as alleged  in the complaint are without merit and intends to
vigorously defend the clai ms brought against it.

Goran Capital Inc. is a Canadian federally incorporated holding company
principally engaged in the business of underwriting property and
casualty insurance through its insurance subsidiaries Pafco General
Insurance Company, Superior Insurance Company and IGF Insurance Company,
which maintain their headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana, Atlanta,
Georgia an d Des Moines, Iowa, respectively. Goran owns approximately
67.2% of a U.S. holding company, Symons International Group, Inc. SIG
owns IGF Holdings, Inc., Superior Insurance Group Management, Inc.
(formerly, GGS Management Holdings, ("GGS Holding") and Superior
Insurance Group, Inc. ("Superior Group") (formerly, GGS Management, Inc.
("GGS")) which are the holding company and management company for the
insurance subsidiaries. The Company's other subsidiaries include Granite
Reinsurance Company Ltd. ("Granite Re", Granite Insurance Company
("Granite"), a Canadian federall y licensed insurance company and Symons
International Group, Inc. - Florida ("SIGF"), a surplus lines
underwriter located in Florida. In 1997, the Company announced its
intention to discontinue the operations of SIGF wit h a sale of such
operations completed effective January 1, 1999.

               Nonstandard Automobile Insurance

Pafco, Superior, Superior Guaranty Insurance Company ("Superior
Guaranty" ) and Superior American Insurance Company ("Superior
American") are engaged in the writing of insurance coverage for
automobile physical damage and liability policies. Nonstandard insureds
are those individuals who are unable to obtain insurance coverage
through standard market carriers due  to factors such as poor premium
payment history, driving experience or violations, particular occupation
or type of vehicle.

GORAN CAPITAL: DOI in CA Reviews Brokers Fees by Independent Agents
The California Department of Insurance (CDOI) has advised the Company
that it is reviewing a possible assessment which could total $3 million.
The Company does not believe it will owe anything for this possible
assessment. This possible assessment relates to brokers fees charged to
policyholders by independent agents who placed business with Superior.
The CDOI has indicated that such broker fees charged by the independent
agent to the policyholder were improper and has requested reimbursement
to the policyholders from Superior. The Company did not receive any of
such brokers fees. Although the assessment has not been formally made by
the CDOI at this time, the Company will vigorously defend any potential
assessment and believes it will prevail.

GORAN CAPITAL: IGF Contests CA Suits over Product Discontinued in '98
IGF is a party to a number of pending legal proceedings relating to an
agricultural business interruption product that was offered in 1998 (the
"Discontinued Product") which is no longer being written.

IGF remains a defendant in six lawsuits pending in California state
court (King and Fresno counties) having settled four other suits
including two declaratory judgment actions that were brought by IGF in
Federal District Court in California. In addition, IGF has settled 13
arbitration proceedings involving policyholders of the Discontinued
Product and has n o outstanding arbitrations relating to this product.
The first of these proceedings was commenced in July 1999. All discovery
in the remaining proceedings has been stayed pending a June hearing on
IGF's appeal of an order denying a dismissal of the cases and a
remanding of these disputes  to arbitration as called for in the policy

The policyholders involved in the open proceedings have asserted that
IGF is liable to them for the face amount of their policies, an
aggregate of approximately $14.7 million, plus an unspecified amount of
punitive damag es and attorney's fees. As of December 31, 1999, IGF had
paid an aggregate o f approximately $7 million to the policyholders
involved in these legal proceedings. The Company believes that it has
meritorious defenses to any claims in excess of the amounts it has
already paid and that the loss payments made and LAE reserves
established with respect to the claims fro m the Discontinued Product as
of December 31, 1999, are adequate with regar d to all of the policies

INMATES LITIGATION: Dekalb Case Okayed by Ct but May End for Atty Pay
The future of a prisoners' suit against the DeKalb County sheriff over
ja il conditions is in doubt after a key loss this week at the Georgia
Supreme Court.

Inmates suing Sheriff Sidney Dorsey won on one point at the high court:
keeping their proposed class action alleging inadequate medical care and
brutality at the DeKalb facility before the judge to whom it was first
assigned, DeKalb Superior Court Judge Hilton M. Fuller Jr.

But DeKalb County carried the day on the critical issue of whether the
county must pay for the prisoners' lawyer. So while the case may be back
before Fuller, the court's ruling on attorney pay could spell an end to
t he civil litigation, given that the inmates' lawyer has said he can't
handle the complicated case pro bono.

In its unanimous decision, the Supreme Court first ended what had
amounte d to a judicial tug-of-war over the case, leaving it in Fuller's

Monday's decision, written by Justice Carol W. Hunstein, said Fuller
shou ld retain jurisdiction despite an order from the chief judge of
DeKalb Superior sending one issue to an outside judge. Then, the court
held Full er was wrong to order DeKalb County to pay the prisoners'
lawyer and wrong t o hold the county in contempt for its refusal to do

Regardless of the worthiness of a cause, a trial court has no authority
t o appoint counsel for an indigent civil litigant unless there is clear
constitutional or statutory authority to do so, Hunstein wrote for the
court. Presiding Justice Norman S. Fletcher and Justice Leah W. Sears
concurred on the pay issue in the judgment only.

First one inmate, and then 14, sued Dorsey in 1998, alleging that
inmates routinely were denied medical care, proper food and were targets
of brutality by prison officials.

Dorsey denied all allegations but Fuller evidently decided the claims
merited investigation. Acting ex parte and with no clear precedent,
Fulle r appointed Decatur sole practitioner Robert L. McGlasson III to
look into conditions at the jail (assisted by a paralegal and/or
investigator). Fuller then set fees for their services and sealed his

After McGlasson had filed an amended complaint on behalf of a putative
class of inmates, Fuller, in a Sept. 29 ruling, ordered DeKalb County,
which was not a party to the suit, to pay the plaintiffs' legal tab of
$23,400 within 10 days.

DeKalb filed a formal "protest" of the order, relying on a 1990 Georgia
Supreme Court decision involving a judicial-county official funding
dispute in Chatham County, and moved to recuse Fuller from hearing its

The case of McCorkle v. Judges of Superior Court, 260 Ga. 315 (1990) set
up a procedure to resolve disputes involving court funding. When Chatham
County officials cut funding for two court clerk positions, the local
ben ch ordered those positions funded. The Supreme Court, however, said
that the judges should have mandated the funding administratively by
issuing a certificate of need, not a court order. Then, the court said,
the county could file a "protest" and recuse the local judges since they
would have  a vested interest in funding court functions.

                       Fuller Funding Flap

When the funding dispute arose in DeKalb last year, here's what

    Fuller refused to remove himself from hearing the protest. The
county then approached DeKalb Superior Court Chief Judge Robert P.
Mallis who entered an order recusing Fuller and assigning the protest
action to Rockdale Superior Court Chief Judge Sidney L. Nation.

    Nation ruled in DeKalb's favor on the protest, but in the meantime,
Fuller, refusing to acknowledge Mallis' order removing him, held the
county in contempt of court.

    In its appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court, the county argued that
Fuller erred in his contempt finding since he had no jurisdiction over
the case once the county had filed its protest.

    The justices, however, found otherwise. Nothing in McCorkle, wrote
Hunstein, "supports DeKalb's position that a superior court is divested
o f its jurisdiction over a case merely because a county chooses to file
a protest over an expenditure ordered by the superior court judge to
whom t he case was assigned." Nor did McCorkle change the procedural
rules on motions to recuse, she continued, adding that DeKalb's motion
was untimely and legally insufficient to warrant recusal.

    Therefore, Hunstein wrote, Mallis had no authority to issue any
order reassigning the case since it was under Fuller's exclusive
control. At the same time, however, Fuller had no authority to order
DeKalb to pay the plaintiffs' legal bills, Hunstein wrote. Consequently,
he erred in holding the county in contempt for its failure to pay.
Courts have inherent powers to take actions necessary to discharge their
duties, she wrote, but no statute, case law or constitutional provision
authorizes a trial judge to appoint counsel for a civil petitioner. The
examples cited by McGlasson, where appointed counsel handle civil
matters-such as termination of parental rights or adjudications of
delinquency-are all authorized by state statute, Hunstein wrote. Absent
such authority, Fuller could not order DeKalb to pay nor hold the
county  in contempt for its refusal to do so, she concluded. McGlasson
previously ha s stated in court that he couldn't handle the extensive
discovery the case would require working alone for no pay.

Dorsey's attorney, David F. Walbert, of counsel to Middleton, Mathis,
Adams & Tate, says Fuller's reliance on the inherent powers of the court
to order payment of the fees, simply didn't fit the case. "I could see
no authority in Georgia law for doing it," Walbert says. "It was one of
the clearest issues I've been involved with on appeal in 25 years."

                         A Partial Win

County Attorney Jonathan A. Weintraub says he feels vindicated on the
pay issue. There's no authority for requiring a county to pay for a
lawyer for someone who wants to sue a constitutional officer such as
Dorsey, Weintraub says, and no money in the budget for that, either. Had
the court ruled otherwise, he says, the county could be deluged by
requests for appointed counsel in situations such as when indigent
battered women seek to divorce their husbands. Weintraub says he has no
idea what will happen in the litigation next, but adds the county is
ready for discovery, despite McGlasson's statement that he won't be able
to conduct discovery pro bono. But he says he will ask the justices to
reconsider their ruling on the recusal issue, adding that the decision
raises questions about how to app ly McCorkle. McCorkle, Weintraub says,
stands for the proposition that a judge who orders a county expenditure
can't then rule on a protest to that expenditure. (Fulton County Daily
Report, May 3, 2000)

GORAN CAPITAL: Faces Lawsuit by Stockholders in Indiana
The Company is a defendant in a case filed on February 23, 2000, in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
entitle d Robert Winn, et al. v. Symons International Group, Inc., et
al., Cause No. IP 00-0310-C-B/S. Other parties named as defendants are
SIG, three individuals who were or are officers or directors of the
Company or of SI G, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP and Schwartz Levitsky
Feldman, LLP.

The case purports to be brought on behalf of a class consisting of
purchasers of the Company's stock or SIG's stock during the period
February 27, 1998, through and including November 18, 1999. Plaintiffs
allege, among other things, that defendants misrepresented the
reliability of the Company's reported financial statements, data
processing and financial reporting systems, internal controls and loss
reserves in violation of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 ("1934 Act") and SEC Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The
individual defendants are also alleged to be liable as "controlling
persons" under Section 20 of the 193 4 Act. Defendants' response to the
complaint is not yet due. However, the Company believes that the
allegations of wrongdoing as alleged in the complaint are without merit
and intends to vigorously defend the claims brought against it.

GORAN CAPITAL: Superior Guaranty Sued in FL, '99 over Interest Charges
Superior Guaranty is a defendant in a case filed on October 8, 1999, in
the Circui t Court for Manatee County, Florida entitled Patricia Simmons
v. Superior Guaranty Insurance Company, Case No. 1999 CA-4635. The case
purports to b e brought on behalf of a class consisting of purchasers of
insurance from Superior Guaranty. The Plaintiff alleges that the
defendant charged interest in violation of Florida law. Superior
Guaranty believes that the allegations of wrongdoing as alleged in the
complaint are without merit a nd intends to vigorously defend the claims
brought against it.

INMATES LITIGATION: Parole Board Sued over Lengthy Hearing Backlog
State prisoners Tuesday filed a class-action lawsuit against the New
Jersey State Parole Board, claiming its backlog of parole hearings
violates state law and federal due process protections. The inmates,
whose numbers could reach over 1,000, asked U.S. District Judge Joel A.
Pisano to order the board to meet the mandatory deadlines for providing
reports and hearings  as set by the New Jersey Parole Act.

A Philadelphia-based prison reform group," .. And Justice for All,"filed
the lawsuit on 1 NEW3 behalf of the inmates, claiming board members
"appe ar to be acting in an arbitrary, capricious, abusive, and
vindictive manner." "The Parole Board has been promising compliance for
over a year with little results,"said a lawyer for the group, Philip
Stephen Fuoco.

"They have been given every opportunity to do the right thing. The
Parole Board's repeated failure to meet their own self-imposed dates for
compliance shows the need for the federal court to step in and defend
the constitutional rights of the class."

Group co-founder Elaine G. Selan said the lawsuit was inspired by the
four-year struggle of co-founder and inmate Atiba Kwesi to obtain timely
parole hearings. He became eligible for parole in 1995, and his
individua l lawsuit is now in settlement talks, Selan said.

In a statement, Kwesi, serving time at Riverfront State Prison in Camden
for armed robbery, said no state agency oversees the Parole Board,"so it
appears they can function with little or no accountability."

A message seeking comment from the executive director of the Parole
Board , Robert Egles, was not immediately returned.

State prisons currently hold 23,689 inmates, with about 7,000 other
state prisoners housed in county jails and halfway houses, according to
the sta te Department of Corrections. Of that number, Selan believes
that at least 1,000 have been held in prison for up to a year past their
parole eligibility date without having a report done or a hearing. "It
got to su ch a point that the Parole Board was so behind that they
turned off their telephones"last year, she said."They wouldn't answer
them. It would just ring and ring and ring."

After defense lawyers complained, the board installed an automated
answering system, Selan said.

The Parole Act mandates that prisoners must be seen by the board on or
before their eligibility date, Selan said. That is violated in many
cases , she said. In addition, Selan said many of those who appear
before the boa rd are referred for an"in-depth psychological
evaluation,"which she said should be requested by the board before the
inmate is up for parole. "It can be another year until that evaluation
is done 1 NEW3 and prisoners ge t back in front of the board,"Selan

No hearings were immediately scheduled before Pisano, who sits in
Camden. (The Record (Bergen County, NJ), May 3, 2000)

ON-POINT TECHNOLOGY: Weiss & Yourman Files Securities Suit
A class action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of
purchasers of On-Point Technology Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:ONPTE) common
sto ck between August 19, 1997 and April 7, 2000.

The defendants include On-Point and certain officers and directors. The
complaint charges that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
th e Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10-b(5) by rendering false
and misleading statements and/or omissions concerning the present and
future financial condition and business prospects of the company, as
well as the financial benefits that would enure to On-Point and its
shareholders. Specifically, the defendants published false and
misleading financial statements, including financial statements that
overstated fiscal year 19 97 earnings by approximately $1.4 million, or
approximately 800%, fiscal yea r 1997 revenues by approximately $3
million, fiscal year 1998 earnings by approximately $2.1 million, and
fiscal year 1998 revenue by approximately $1.6 million. The defendants
also failed to disclose that there were substantial operating losses for
fiscal year 1998, and that the Company's accounting practices throughout
the Class Period failed to conform with generally accepted accounting
principles ("GAAP").

Contact: Weiss & Yourman (New York Office) Joseph H. Weiss or James E.
Tullman, 888/593-4771 or Mark A. Gordon (Los Angeles Office)
800/437-7918 http://www.wyca.comwyinfo@wyca.com

SECRET SERVICE: Black Agents File Federal Suit over Racial Slurs
The Washington Post (5/3, Miller) reported, "For more than 26 years,
black Secret Service agents have complained internally about the
agency's hirin g and promotional practices. They intend to strike back
with a Federal class action lawsuit seeking millions of dollars in
damages and a court order that would require the Secret Service to
initiate employment reforms."

The suit "is a follow-up to a complaint filed in February with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission [which has been reported in the CAR].
Attorneys for the agents said they have come up with new evidence since
then, and that they believe they will get quicker results by moving to
US District Court." Ten current and former agents "are joining in the
federal suit, including three agents who were part of the earlier EEOC
complaint. They charge they were denied promotions, given dead-end
assignments, unfairly disciplined, and subjected to repeated racial
slurs in what they called a long-standing hostile work environment."

SUNSET LIFE: Supreme Ct Oks Suit over Deceptive Practice in Policy
Sunset Life Insurance Company, through its agents, allegedly induced
life insurance policy holders to reinvest the cash value of their
policies into new policies issued by Sunset. Despite alleged
representations that such reinvestment would result in higher benefits
with no increase in premiums , this positive outcome was allegedly not
forthcoming. Policyholders allegedly were eventually obligated to pay
increased premiums or forfeit their policies.

Mina Wilner was the victim of such an alleged deception. She sued Sunset
for deceit, breach of fiduciary duty and other causes of action. Wilner
subsequently amended her complaint to add class action allegations and a
prayer for injunctive and declaratory relief. She subsequently amended
the complaint again to add a cause of action for violation of the unfair
competition law.

The trial court sustained Sunset's demurrer to the class action
allegatio ns without leave to amend, but overruled its demurrer to the
unfair competition claim.

Wilner appealed the trial court's order sustaining the demurrer. Sunset
filed a petition for writ of mandate challenging the trial court's order
overruling its demurrer to the unfair competition claim.

The court of appeal reversed the trial court order sustaining the
demurrer, holding that Wilner alleged facts sufficient to support her

First, the court found, Wilner alleged facts sufficient to describe an
"ascertainable class." Wilner alleged she was bringing the class action
on behalf of all persons residing in California who purchased
"universal" li fe insurance policies from Sunset as the result of
fraudulent or deceptive sales practices during the last 15 years. The
court found these allegatio ns sufficed to describe an ascertainable

Further, the court found that Wilner established a "well-defined
community of interest in the questions of law and fact involved." Wilner
offered proof that Sunset made false representations to the prospective
buyers, with knowledge of their falsity. She also offered proof that
these representations were intended to and did induce reasonable
reliance by th e prospective buyers, who suffered damages as a result.

The court rejected Sunset's contention that Wilner could not prove this
second element because each purchaser entered into a separate
transaction at a different time and proof of the fact of representation,
its falsity, and reliance as to the named plaintiffs will not supply
proof of these elements as to the absent members of the class.

The court found that it was not determinative that each transaction was
consummated separately, so long as Wilner succeeded in alleging the same
pattern of misconduct as to all the purchasers.

Wilner met this burden, the court said. She alleged that the material
representations made to those who ultimately purchased replacement
universal life policies always were the same. Wilner also alleged that
these were misrepresentations, or falsehoods. Wilner additionally
alleged that Sunset withheld the same material facts from all purchasers
and concealed the same actionable conduct from them. Finally, she
alleged intent to induce reliance as to all purchasers, as well as all
purchasers ' reliance on Sunset's deception.

The court found it was not necessary that each buyer have sustained the
same damages, so long as the nature of the damages was similar. The
court concluded that Wilner established a reasonable possibility that
she could prove a community of interest as to the fraud claims, apart
from the individual damages suffered. The court found, on this record,
that the trial court abused its discretion in sustaining Sunset's
demurrer without leave to amend.

The court denied Sunset's petition for writ of mandate, holding the
trial court did not err in overruling Sunset's demurrer to Wilner's
cause of action for violation of California's unfair competition law.
The court found the pattern of deliberately deceptive behavior alleged
by Wilner wa s more than adequate to support this cause of action.

The case is Supreme Court Case No. S087351. Petition filed: April 6,
2000. Counsel for petitioner Sunset Life Insurance Company: Kent Keller,
Barger & Wollen, 515 S. Flower St., 34th Fl., Los Angeles, CA
90071-2200, 213-680-2800. Counsel for respondent Mina Wilner: Kenneth R.
Chiate, Pillsbury Madison & Sutro, 725 S. Figueroa St., Ste. 1200, Los
Angeles, C A 90017-2513 (California Supreme Court Service, April 14,

TAYLOR ANN: NY Securities Suit Filed in '96 Still Pending under Appeal
On April 26, 1996, a purported class action lawsuit was filed in the
Unit ed States District Court Southern District of New York, against
Taylor Ann Stores Corp., the Company's wholly owned subsidiary
AnnTaylor, Inc., certain officers and directors of the Company and Ann
Taylor, Merrill Lyn ch & Co. and certain affiliates of ML&Co. (Novak v.
Kasaks, et. al., No. 96 CIV 3073 (S.D.N.Y. 1996)).

The complaint alleged causes of action under Section 10(b) and Section
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, by alleging
tha t the Company and the other defendants engaged in a fraudulent
scheme and course of business that operated a fraud or deceit on
purchasers of the Company's common stock during the period commencing
February 3, 1994 through May 4, 1995, due to alleged false and
misleading statements about the Company and Ann Taylor. The complaint
sought, among other things, certification as a class action on behalf of
all purchasers of common sto ck during the period commencing February 3,
1994 through May 4, 1995, the awarding of compensatory damages to the
plaintiffs and purported members  of the class, the awarding of costs,
including pre-judgment and post-judgmen t interest, reasonable
attorneys' fees and expert witness fees to the plaintiffs and purported
members of the class and equitable and/or injunctive relief.

On November 9, 1998, the District Court issued an order granting the
defendants' motion to dismiss the amended complaint with prejudice, for
its failure to plead fraud with particularity. On or about December 15,
1998, the plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal to the United States Court
of Appeals for the Second Circuit, seeking review of the District
court's order. The Court heard oral argument on this appeal on September
15, 1999. ML&Co., its affiliates and the two directors who previously
served on the Company's Board of Directors as representatives of certain
affiliates of ML&Co. (the "settling defendants"), reached a settlement
with the plaintiffs, which provides, among other things, for the
establishment of  a settlement fund in the amount of $3,000,000 plus

On or about December 14, 1999, the District Court entered an Order and
Final Judgment approving this partial settlement, dismissing the amended
complaint with prejudice as to the settling defendants, and barring and
enjoining any future claims by, among others, the remaining defendants
against the settling defendants for contribution.

The appeal as against the remaining defendants, including the Company,
is pending before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. As a result, any
liability that may arise from this action cannot be predicted at this
tim e. The Company believes that the amended complaint is without merit
and intends to continue to defend the action vigorously.

TOBACCO LITIGATION: House Passes Bond Bill to Give FL Leeway for Trade
The state House passed a bill Wednesday to give Florida leaders leeway
to trade half of the state's tobacco billions for other investments. The
88- 29 vote sent the bill to the Senate, which has rejected the strategy
as too risky and too expensive. "We have a long way to go in negotiating
between the two chambers," said Rep. Carlos Lacasa, the Miami Republican
shepherding the bill. "And those negotiations will commence today."

Lawmakers don't have a whole lot of time to work out a compromise: The
two-month legislative session is scheduled to end Friday.

Under a 1997 settlement with the tobacco industry, Florida is supposed
to get as much as half a billion dollars a year - forever. The estimate
over 25 years is $13 billion. But concerns have surfaced - stoked by
statement s from cigarette-makers - that new lawsuits against the
industry, including a massive class-action lawsuit pending in Miami,
could bankrupt the companies.

Gov. Jeb Bush suggested lawmakers consider giving the state authority to
sell bonds with some of the tobacco money in order to diversify and
prote ct the settlement, which Florida has largely dedicated to services
for children and the elderly.

The House measure (CS-HB 1721) does just that. Lacasa explained the
House bill simply: "The bill authorizes the sale of bonds," he said.
"Those bon ds would be paid by tobacco settlement payments, which we
receive on an annu al basis. Whatever remaining amounts after bond
payments will be used for appropriations."

The Senate has taken a different approach with a package of bills it
passed Tuesday, including one that would set up a task force to study
proposals on how to protect the tobacco dollars. Another bill would cap
the bond amoun t the companies would have to put up to appeal the
damages in the Miami cla ss action suit at $100 million or 10 percent of
their net worth. Another Senate measure is designed to protect the
tobacco principal with a propos ed constitutional amendment that would
have to be approved by voters. Under the amendment, the interest could
be spent but the principal could only b e used in emergencies.

The Senate also passed a bill to levy a wholesale tax on all cigarette
companies except those paying Florida as part of the settlement. The
idea is to keep companies from going out of business only to be replaced
by new companies selling cigarettes that don't have to pay into the

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, cited a Senate study that
concluded the diversification envisioned in the House bill could cost as
much as $12 billion. "I don't think that's a real good deal," she said.

Lacasa said he couldn't imagine where she got that figure, saying he was
"completely confident" the state would make money - maybe as much as $5
billion over the next 32 years. Even if the tobacco companies stay in
business forever, it makes sense to diversify the investments, he said.
" No one in their right mind would have a portfolio worth half a billion
dolla rs a year from one source, making one payment a year on 12-31 each
year," he said. "If we can securitize these proceeds, we can then use it
in our portfolio in a diverse way." On the Net: Florida Legislature:
http://www.leg.state.fl.us(The Associated Press, May 3, 2000)

TOBACCO LITIGATION: Senate Passes Bills to Protect FL Money
The state Senate has passed a package of bills meant to protect the
money Florida gets each year from embattled cigarette makers. The
legislation sent to the House Tuesday May 2 is aimed at addressing fears
stoked by industry statements that an impending punitive damage award in
a class action suit in Miami could bankrupt the tobacco companies.

Florida expects to get more than $13 billion from the industry over 25
years thanks to its 1997 settlement of a lawsuit meant to reimburse the
state for treating sick smokers. Bankruptcy filings by the tobacco
companies could jeopardize the industry's settlement payments to
Florida, which is counting on the money to pay for programs for children
and the elderly.

One of the bills passed by the state Senate on Tuesday would cap the
bond amount the companies would have to put up to appeal the damages in
the Miami class action suit at $100 million, or 10 percent of their net
worth. With no debate, the Senate passed that measure 37-2, sending it
to the House. The Senate also unanimously passed measures to protect the
princip al that comes in from the industry by specifying that it must go
to a certai n fund and can't be raided except in emergencies, and to set
up a task forc e to study the issue.

It also passed a measure to levy a new wholesale tax on all cigarette
companies except those paying Florida as part of the settlement. The
idea is to keep companies from going out of business only to be replaced
by ne w companies selling cigarettes that don't have to pay into the
settlement.  On the Net: Florida Legislature: http://www.leg.state.fl.us
(AP Online, May 3, 2000)


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc., Princeton, NJ, and Beard Group, Inc.,
Washington, DC. Theresa Cheuk, Managing Editor.

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

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