CAR_Public/000512.MBX                 C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

                  Friday, May 12, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 93

                                 Headlines

ADVANCED LIGHTING: Plans Vigorous Defense of Shareholders' Suit in Ohio
ASDAR INC: Intends to File to Dismiss Shareholders' Action in 1998
BAXTER HEALTH: Sp Ct Refuses to Disturb Blood Product Settlement Ruling
BENNY'S RESTAURANTS: Hagens Berman Announces Lawsuit on OT Pay
BURLINGTON NORTHERN: Some Take Money from Rail Co. for Chemical Spill

CLARK REFINGING: Liability for ’94 Malfunction Not Fully Established
COCA-COLA: Boycott Organizers to Target Sprite in 10 Cities
DREYFUS CORP: Fined $2.95 Mil for Fooling Investors
EUROTUNNEL: Small Shareholders Seek Redress; Moves in France Begin
FOREST CITY: Construction Workers Sue over Asbestos, Mold, Mildew

FOREST CITY: Lawsuit in Oregon over Pay Dismissed
FOREST CITY: Seven Hills Homeowners Sue Partnership over Golf Course
HAYES LEMMERZ: Minority Shareholders File Suit over Stock Offer
HMO: Aetna Indicates Relaxation of Policies in Connecticut
HOGGSBREATH BAR: Popular Restaurant Struggles after Hep. A Outbreak

LOCKHEED MARTIN: Black Employees File Suits Alleging Discrimination
MP3 COM: Tells Investors of Copyright Infringement Lawsuits
PLAYCORE, INC: Sued in Wisconsin over Chartwell Merger Agreement
PROVANTAGE HEALTH: Investor Sues over Sale to Merck
RE-ARREST POLICY: Lawsuit Says Philadelphia Policy Unconstitutional

SOLUTION 6: Australian Software Firm and US Elite Merger Plan Quashed
SPECIALTY EQUIPMENT: Sued for Seeking Approval for Incentive Plans
TENNESSEE DEPT: Group Files Fed Suit for Overhaul if Foster Care System
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Bush Signs Legislation to Help Avoid Bankruptcy

                               *********

ADVANCED LIGHTING: Plans Vigorous Defense of Shareholders' Suit in Ohio
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
In April and May 1999, three class action suits were filed in the United
States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, by certain alleged
shareholders of the Company on behalf of themselves and purported
classes consisting of Company shareholders, other than the defendants
and their affiliates, who purchased stock during the period from
December 30, 1997 through September 30, 1998 or various portions
thereof. The named defendants are Advanced Lighting Technologies Inc.
and Wayne R. Hellman, its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

The lawsuits are now pending, in an action captioned In Re Advanced
Lighting Technologies Securities Litigation (99 CV 836), before a single
judge who has required the plaintiffs to file a single consolidated
complaint on or before September 30, 1999. The complaints allege
generally that certain disclosures attributed to the Company contained
misstatements and omissions alleged to be violations of Section 10(b) of
the Securities Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5, including claims for "fraud
on the market" arising from alleged misrepresentations and omissions
with respect to the Company's financial performance and prospects and
alleged violations of generally accepted accounting principles by
improperly recognizing revenues. The complaints seek certification of
their respective purported classes, unspecified compensatory and
punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest and attorneys' fees
and costs. The Company and Mr. Hellman believe that these claims lack
merit and they intend to vigorously defend these actions.


ASDAR INC: Intends to File to Dismiss Shareholders' Action in 1998
------------------------------------------------------------------
In May, 1998, certain shareholders sued Asdar, its former Secretary, and
the directors of the Registrant and asked the court to appoint a
receiver to manage the affairs of the Company. The Court denied
plaintiffs motion to appoint a receiver and plaintiff's counsel has
since withdrawn from the action. The Company intends to file the
appropriate pleadings to dismiss the entire action.


BAXTER HEALTH: Sp Ct Refuses to Disturb Blood Product Settlement Ruling
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to disturb earlier court rulings
rejecting "bait and switch" claims by 14 disgruntled members of the
landmark $640 million hemophilia products class settlement. The
petitioners refused to sign off on the arrangement because it contained
a release they said would have resulted in forfeiture of their legal
rights beyond the boundaries described in settlement notification
documents. Tallakson et al. v. Baxter Health Care Corp. et al., No.
99-1140 , review denied (U.S., Mar. 20, 2000).

The appellants maintained that they should be allowed to press their
individual actions against the manufacturers of the tainted blood
products they or their deceased relatives received. Because they
declined to sign a release provided by the defendant pharmaceutical
companies, the appellants claim their participation in the $100,000
per-person deal was voided and their freedom to litigate individually
protected.

The release contained significant differences when compared with the
original settlement approved on May 8, 1997, by U.S. District Judge John
Grady of Chicago, the appellants said. Judge Grady oversaw the
multi-district litigation proceeding related to the thousands of
individual HIV-infection suits filed nationwide.

The petitioners added that the defendants, the plaintiffs' steering
committee and the court itself acted to hasten approval of the agreement
before the then-pending U.S. Supreme Court decision in Amchem Prod. Inc.
v. Windsor, 521 U.S. 591, 117 S. Ct. (1997). Those parties, the
plaintiffs said, knew that the awaited Amchem ruling would impose class
settlement standards that could not be met by the proposed deal.

The appellants said, after indicating their interest in joining the
settlement as approved by Judge Grady, defendant Baxter Health Care
Corp. and others provided them with a release that was "extraordinary"
in that it contained a "stand alone" settlement document "complete with
all terms, many of which are difficult to reconcile with the settlement
that was the subject of the notice given to class members."

They complained, for example, that the settlement notice had not
adequately apprised class members that they would agree to extinguish
all claims for any injury derived from factor concentrates, such as
hepatitis, not just HIV infection. While the settlement notice
guaranteed that claimants would have no liability for any subrogation
liens that might be asserted against medical providers, the release
placed the obligation "squarely upon the shoulders of the releasor."

While the original settlement had originally preserved a claimant's
right to pursue third-party remedies, the petitioners said, the release
mandated a waiver of all claims against the United States and/or any
other political subdivision.

The appellants particularly disagreed with what they described as a
coercive passage in the release indicating that class members agreeing
to the settlement were doing so of their own free will and not as a
result of the May 8, 1997, settlement order entered in the MDL
proceeding.

Before the district court, the appellants unsuccessfully sought relief
from the May 8 order, arguing that the release constituted a changed
circumstance, which made continued enforcement of the order
unconscionable. The district court rejected their claims that their
signatures on the release would have effectively resulted in their
swearing under oath that their acceptance of the settlement "was not
premised upon the fairness finding that produced the May 8 order" and
their agreement to accept the settlement was not the product of duress
stemming from an anti-suit injunction contained in the May 8 order.

Neither condition was true, the appellants maintained. They argued that
they could not have known of either stipulation "at the time they
opted-in to what they thought was a class action settlement, approved by
a court upon whose findings on which they thought they were entitled to
rely."

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district
court's decision in favor of the defendants.

Opposing the petition for U.S. Supreme Court review, the fractionators
said the case did not warrant review because the appellants failed to
avail themselves of a mechanism allowing "late opt-outs in extraordinary
circumstances" as outlined by Judge Grady in a clarifying order issued
May 15, 1997. "Petitioners bandy about the concepts of due process and
Article III jurisdiction in an attempt to evade the final judgment that
approved the class and settlement," argued Baxter and the other
respondents in a reply brief filed Feb. 7, 2000. The arguments the
petitioners attempted to raise here were not properly presented "on the
anomalous facts of this case," the respondents said. "This is not a case
in which absent class members sought to challenge fundamentally unfair
provisions of a class settlement of which they were unaware until after
the final judgment was entered," the respondents told the high court.
"Petitioners received notice of the proposed class and settlement, chose
to forego individual litigation and to participate in class settlement,
and filed claim forms seeking payment under the terms of that
settlement."

The respondents told the court that the settlement agreement, which the
petitioners continue to criticize, "expressly provided that claimants
would be required to sign releases in order to receive payment." The
district court, they said, "carefully reviewed the terms of the
releases, the settlement agreement, and the final judgment approving the
class settlement, and concluded that the releases were consistent with
the settlement."

In addition to Baxter, the respondents included Bayer Corp., Alpha
Therapeutic Corp. and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Inc.

The petition was filed by Marc J. Bern of Napoli, Kaiser & Bern in New
York and Robert E. Arceneaux of Barham & Arceneaux in New Orleans.

Fred Magaziner and Richard A. Berkman of Dechert, Price & Rhoads in
Philadelphia represent Baxter. Alpha is represented by Philip S. Beck
and Andrew Goldman of Bartlit, Beck, Herman, Palenchar & Scott in
Chicago. Armour and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer are represented by Sara J.
Gourley, Eugene A. Schoon, Susan A. Weber and Catherine V. Barrad of
Sidley & Austin in Chicago. Bayer is represented by Geoffrey R.W. Smith
of Washington, D.C. (Pharmaceutical Litigation Reporter, May 2000)


BENNY'S RESTAURANTS: Hagens Berman Announces Lawsuit on OT Pay
--------------------------------------------------------------
Denny's Holdings and Denny's, a restaurant chain subsidiary of Advantica
Restaurant Group (Nasdaq:DINE), is the target of a proposed class action
lawsuit brought by restaurant managers in Washington state, claiming
Denny's routinely used tactics that forced its managers to work overtime
without pay.

The suit, filed earlier this month in Superior Court of Washington and
for King County in Seattle, states that Denny's intentionally
understaffed its restaurants and required managers and general managers
to work more than 40 hours per week without overtime pay, as required by
the state's Minimum Wage Act (MWA).

The suit also claims that Denny's deliberately misclassified salaried
employees as managers -- exempting them from overtime -- while managers
actually spent more than 40 percent of their time on duties that hourly
or job code employees performed, such as cooking, cleaning, dishwashing,
serving, and cashiering.

"Denny's has shown that the company policy in Washington is to exploit
its management for profit, by understaffing its restaurants and then
backfilling restaurant help with the managers," said plaintiff's
attorney Steve Berman. "They have abused the position of manager as a
tactic to avoiding paying overtime."

According to the suit, a single Denny's restaurant typically retains
three managers to provide 24-hour, seven-day-a-week coverage of the
restaurant. When the duties are evenly distributed among three managers,
the work schedule is comprised of at least 56 hours per week.

The suit also claims that it was common for Denny's to experience high
turnover of managers, so when a general manager or manager quit or was
terminated, the remaining two managers had to cover the vacant manager
position until filled, often for several weeks.

Lead plaintiff Robert Husted of Port Orchard, Wash., claims he routinely
worked a minimum of 50 hours a week, and averaged 58 to 65 hours per
week. Denny's regularly scheduled Husted to work 10 days in a row, and
as many as four weeks straight without a day off.

According to the MWA, executive or administrative employees in
retail/service settings cannot work more than 40 percent of the time in
non-management duties. However at Denny's, the suit claims, managers
spent more than 50 percent of their time performing non-managerial
tasks.

Hourly workers are required to be paid one and one-half times their
regular rate as required by the MWA Revised Code of Washington.

The class action is open to all individuals who worked as managers after
January 1, 1994 at Denny's Inc., Denny's Holdings or any Denny's
restaurant located in Washington state, and were not paid overtime for
more than 40 hours a week. The plaintiff group could include several
hundred members.

"It's ironic that Denny's was cited by Working Woman magazine as a Top
25 company for women executives, when they are treating their salaried
managers with such little regard," added Berman.

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


BURLINGTON NORTHERN: Some Take Money from Rail Co. for Chemical Spill
---------------------------------------------------------------------
A railroad company involved in a chemical spill has paid claims totaling
nearly $300,000 to people who said they were inconvenienced or made sick
by the accident. Those payments cover only those who were willing to
deal directly with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Co., rather
than take the company to court in hopes of a big payday.

The company faces at least three class-action lawsuits, the latest of
which was filed by a group of lawyers including Johnnie Cochran. One was
filed in U.S. District Court while the others were filed in state court.
The two state lawsuits probably will be moved to federal court, where a
judge may consolidate all three, said one of the attorneys, Ed Jones of
Patterson. The lawsuits are seeking damages for everything from lost
income for those who had businesses in the affected area to emotional
stress caused to those who live nearby.

Those who sought a quick payoff from the company lamented that their
financial needs were too urgent to wait in hope for a lengthy legal
proceeding to play out. "They're basically getting us to sign over our
rights," said Whitney Lee, who elected to seek a claim from the company.
"We're not looking for tomorrow. We're looking for today."

Claim checks have averaged about $287 each, company officials said. To
get a check, the person with a claim had to sign a release form
excluding them from ever making another claim against the company, said
Larry Mayronne, senior director at BNSF's office in Fort Worth, Texas.

The May 3 spill involved an industrial solvent known as xylene and
forced about 2,000 people from their homes or businesses for about a
day.

Mayronne said adjusters have rejected a number of suspicious claims. One
man came in with a receipt for a 25-cent hotdog and wanted the railroad
to pay, Mayronne said. But since the man could not prove he lived in the
affected area, he left without the quarter, Mayronne said. Another
party, after standing in line for hours, told an adjuster they had to
leave all their clothes at home when their neighborhood was evacuated,
and bought $1,000 in clothes for work the next day. They had no receipts
and were not reimbursed, Mayronne said. (The Associated Press, May 10,
2000)


CLARK REFINGING: Liability for ’94 Malfunction Not Fully Established
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Clark Refining & Marketing Inc. is the subject of a purported class
action lawsuit related to an on-site electrical malfunction at Clark
R&M's Blue Island Refinery on October 7, 1994, which resulted in the
release to the atmosphere of used catalyst containing low levels of
heavy metals, including antimony, nickel and vanadium. This release
resulted in the temporary evacuation of certain areas near the refinery,
including a high school, and approximately fifty people were taken to
area hospitals. Clark R&M offered to reimburse the medical expenses
incurred by persons receiving treatment.

The purported class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of various named
individuals and purported plaintiff classes, including residents of Blue
Island, Illinois and Eisenhower High School students, alleging claims
based on common law nuisance, negligence, willful and wanton negligence
and the Illinois Family Expense Act as a result of this incident.
Plaintiffs seek to recover damages in an unspecified amount for alleged
medical expenses, diminished property values, pain and suffering and
other damages. Plaintiffs also seek punitive damages in an unspecified
amount.

As of December 31, 1999, the Company had accrued a total of $36.4
million for legal and environmental-related obligations that may result
from the matter above and other legal and environmental matters and
obligations associated with certain previously owned retail sites. Clark
R&M says while it is not possible at this time to establish the ultimate
amount of liability with respect to the Company's contingent
liabilities, the Company is of the opinion that the aggregate amount of
any such liabilities, for which provision has not been made, will not
have a material adverse effect on its financial position; however, an
adverse outcome of any one or more of these matters could have a
material effect on quarterly or annual operating results or cash flows
when resolved in a future period.


COCA-COLA: Boycott Organizers to Target Sprite in 10 Cities
-----------------------------------------------------------
A former Coca-Cola employee organizing a boycott against the soft-drink
giant to protest alleged racial discrimination by management said the
effort would begin in earnest this week in 10 large U.S. cities. The
initial focus will be on getting fellow blacks to stop drinking Sprite,
said Larry Jones, leader of the Committee for Corporate Justice. The
group also hopes to persuade businesses to switch their Coke vending
machines to those from rival Pepsi. So far, 15 businesses and churches
in metro Atlanta have agreed to remove Coke machines, Jones said.

"This is a boycott ordained of God," said Jones, who lost his job as a
Coke human resources manager in layoffs earlier this year. "This boycott
is about consumers who believe as we do that there is no room for
discrimination in the workplace," Jones said Wednesday as he stood
before about 50 protesters gathered under a giant neon Coke sign at the
company's museum in downtown Atlanta.

Eight black current and former workers sued the company last year,
alleging they were denied raises, promotions and fair performance
reviews because of their race. They are seeking to include as many as
2,000 others in a class action.

Coke denies the discrimination claims and has been working to settle the
suit. Coke spokesman Ben Deutsch said the company is "disappointed" by
the boycott. "We take all comments and concerns voiced by our current
and former employees seriously, but we do not think this action is
justified," Deutsch said.

The group will target its boycott at the 10 markets where the group says
Coke sells the most to blacks. They are: Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit,
Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, St. Louis and
Washington. Sprite will be the first product targeted because blacks
make up 36 percent of the soft drink's consumer base, he said. A Coke
spokesman was unable to confirm that figure. (The Associated Press, May
11, 2000)


DREYFUS CORP: Fined $2.95 Mil for Fooling Investors
---------------------------------------------------
Dreyfus Corp. was hit with a $2.95 million fine after regulators
concluded it had lied about the performance of one of its mutual funds.

The manager of the funds, Michael Schonberg, was fined $50,000 and
suspended from the securities industry for nine months for trading
securities held in the fund for his own account. Schonberg resigned from
Dreyfus, but neither the man nor the company admitted or denied any
wrongdoing.

The fines settled separate investigations brought by the Securities and
Exchange Commission and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. "This
case should serve as a warning to both investors and fund companies,"
said Spitzer.

Both the SEC and the AG's office became suspicious when Dreyfus ran ads
in fall 1996 stating that its Aggressive Growth fund had returns of more
than 80 percent in its first year. But Dreyfus did not disclose that
much of the gain came from one-time investments in initial public
offerings - and was thus unlikely to be repeated. In fact, the
performance was not repeated. In 1997, the fund fell 15.8 percent, and
in 1998, it dropped 36.6 percent. "If a deal sounds too good to be true,
it probably is," said Spitzer. "Investors should ask their brokers what
the composition of their funds is, and fund companies have an obligation
to let the public know the risk involved with certain investments."

Working with Washington regulators during their concurrent
investigations, Spitzer let the SEC pursue charges against Schonberg,
the Dreyfus fund manager alleged to have made inappropriate trades for
his own account.

Schonberg, who was responsible for making the buy and sell calls for the
Aggressive Growth fund, was said to have been buying stocks for his own
account before buying them for the fund. The fund's actions may have
made his own personal stake more valuable. Dreyfus put Schonberg on paid
leave in 1998 when these allegations first arose and accepted his
resignation this week, according to a Dreyfus spokeswoman.

Although the $2.95 million fine settles the SEC and Attorney General
probes, Dreyfus cannot yet put this matter behind it.

It still faces a class-action lawsuit from shareholders who believe they
suffered financial losses because of actions taken by Dreyfus management
between October 1995 and June 1998. "We are in the process of certifying
the class, which we expect to be in the thousands of people," said Lee
Shalov, a partner with Shalov, Stone & Bonner, a law firm in New York.

"We are seeking to cover the losses sustained by the misrepresentation
by Dreyfus, but we are not currently asking for punitive damages," said
Shalov, who said he could not estimate the potential liability for
Dreyfus until he knows exactly how many shareholders will join the
class-action lawsuit. The fund company is owned by the Mellon Financial
Corp.

But it was not the only portfolio manager censored by officials for
lying about performance. A San Francisco hedge fund manager, Ballybunion
Capital Partners' Michael Higgins, has been charged with raising $7.6
million by lying about his performance record, according to federal
prosecutors.

Higgins solicited investors by telling them his fund had impressive
gains when it actually sustained severe losses, the San Francisco U.S.
Attorney's office said. Even when the assets in the fund dwindled to
$750,000, Higgins continued to tell investors that the fund had more
than $7.5 million. (The New York Post, May 11, 2000)


EUROTUNNEL: Small Shareholders Seek Redress; Moves in France Begin
------------------------------------------------------------------
Small shareholders will press for compensation from Eurotunnel after
moves began in France to prosecute the tunnel operator's chiefs and
financiers, including the architect of the project, Sir Alastair Morton,
over the controversial 1994 rights issue worth pounds 858m .

Christian Cambier heads an association representing many of the 786,000
small shareholders, who lost a fortune when share prices collapsed. He
envisaged an American-style class action for damages. Senior politicians
are likely to be questioned after the decision by an examining
magistrate, Dominique de Talence, to initiate legal proceedings that
could lead to the prosecution of the co-presidents of Eurotunnel until
1994, Andre Bernard and Sir Alastair Mor ton, chairman of the Strategic
Rail Authority.

Sir Alastair said: 'I advise everyone not to expend too much time and
energy on the latest news. A full response has already been given by
Eurotunnel. The process has gone on for six years and may continue for
years." Sir Alastair said he understood the magistrate was making
inquries on a number of fronts, including payment made to him while
co-chairman and the possibility of insider dealing. 'The inquiry into
insider trading involves parties outside the company, not me.'

Among charges being considered against the two men and chairman, Patrick
Ponsolle, are publishing false information on company prospects and
falsifying accounts to make the share issue more attractive.

If the judge decides there is a case to answer, they could be tried
along with senior executives of Indosuez, Credit Lyonnais, Tiger Fund
Management and SBC and three other Eurotunnel officials - Alain
Bertrand, Georges Chazot and Graham Corbett.

The investigation arises from a report by two financial experts, Andre
Dana and Michel Levasseur, into the circumstances of the 1994 increase
of capital. Insiders were said to have sold their shares in the run-up,
knowing that predictions on Eurotunnel's profitability and traffic were
doctored.

The most misleading announcement concerned the opening of the Eurostar
service. This was scheduled for summer 1994 in the prospectus but,
immediately the share offer closed, French-state railways SNCF announced
that the Eurotunnel link between London and Paris had been delayed for
at least six months. (The Guardian (London), May 11, 2000)


FOREST CITY: Construction Workers Sue over Asbestos, Mold, Mildew
-----------------------------------------------------------------
On September 21, 1999, a complaint was filed in state court in Los
Angeles County against Forest City Enterprises, Inc., Forest City
California Residential Development, Inc., and Forest City Residential
West, Inc. Plaintiffs are 63 construction workers who claim to have been
exposed to asbestos and mold and mildew while engaged in renovation work
at a construction site in Washington ("the Washington claims"). Three of
the plaintiffs also claim to have been exposed to lead paint and
asbestos at a construction site in California. Plaintiffs seek damages
for unspecified personal injuries, lost income, and diminished earning
capacity and also seek punitive and treble damages. Defendants filed a
motion to dismiss or stay the Washington claims on the grounds that
Washington was a more appropriate forum in which to hear these claims.
On February 25, 2000, the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles
granted defendants' motion and severed the Washington claims from the
California claims and stayed the Washington claims so that they can be
tried in Washington, which the Court found to be the more appropriate
forum. The Company will continue the defense of the California claims in
the State of California court system.


FOREST CITY: Lawsuit in Oregon over Pay Dismissed
-------------------------------------------------
An action was filed in August 1997 against Forest City Trading Group,
Inc. and 10 of its subsidiaries, all of which are in the business of
trading lumber. The complaint alleged improper calculation and
underpayment of commissions and other related claims. On September 11,
1998 Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Class Certification. On December 8,
1998 the court posted an order denying class certification. On April 5,
1999 the original four Plaintiffs filed a notice of dismissal of this
lawsuit without prejudice in state court. On April 16, 1999, the case
was re-filed in Federal court against Forest City Trading Group, Inc.
and four of its subsidiaries. On November 30, 1999, the U.S. District
Court for the District of Oregon dismissed the federal claims with
prejudice and the state law claims without prejudice. The time to appeal
has expired. There will be no further report on this case if no new
developments take place.


FOREST CITY: Seven Hills Homeowners Sue Partnership over Golf Course
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The Company, through its subsidiaries, owns a 14.6% interest in the
Seven Hills housing development located in Henderson, Nevada, which is
owned by the Silver Canyon Partnership ("Silver Canyon") and is being
developed next to a golf course. In August 1997, a class-action lawsuit
was filed by the current homeowners in Seven Hills against the Silver
Canyon Partnership, the golf course developers and other entities,
including Forest City Enterprises Inc. In addition, separate lawsuits
were filed by some of the production home-building companies at Seven
Hills against some of the same parties, including the Company. Each of
these lawsuits sought a commitment for public play on the golf course,
as well as damages and, in October 1998, the court granted play rights.
In February 1999, the owner of the golf course filed a cross-claim
against the Silver Canyon Partnership and the Company. Silver Canyon has
since settled with the Plaintiff homeowners and with certain of Silver
Canyon's insurance carriers and the Company has been released. In
addition, Silver Canyon has reached settlement agreements with the owner
of the golf course and with one of the production home builders which
are expected to be executed in the near future. These settlements
include a release of the Company. The Company was dismissed as a
defendant in the other two lawsuits filed by the production builders,
and subsequent to the dismissal of the Company, Silver Canyon reached
settlement in principle in connection with one of the production home
builder lawsuits. The remaining lawsuit is set for trial in June 2000
against Silver Canyon. Silver Canyon believes it has meritorious
defenses and intends to vigorously defend the lawsuit.


HAYES LEMMERZ: Minority Shareholders File Suit over Stock Offer
---------------------------------------------------------------
The SEC filing by Hayes Lemmerz International Inc. reminds investors
that on January 9, 2000, JLL Fund II, on behalf of itself, TSG Capital
Fund II, L.P. , CIBC WG Argosy Merchant Fund 2, L.L.C. , certain members
of and interests associated with the Lemmerz family, Ron Cucuz, Chairman
and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, and certain other
stockholders of the Company, sent a letter to the Board of Directors of
Hayes Lemmerz offering to acquire all of the outstanding shares of the
Company’s Common Stock not owned by the Stockholders for a price of $21
per share in cash in a merger transaction. The Stockholders currently
own in excess of 75% of the Company&’s outstanding Common Stock.

The Stockholder Offer stated that the Stockholders were only interested
in acquiring the Shares and that the Stockholders had no interest in
selling their equity interest in the Company.

The Board of Directors held a meeting on January 10, 2000 and appointed
a Special Committee composed of the independent directors of the Company
(John S. Rodewig and Ray H. Witt) to consider the Stockholders&’
proposal. The Special Committee has retained Wasserstein Perella & Co.
as its financial advisor and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz as its
counsel. The Special Committee is evaluating the proposal, but has not
yet made any recommendations regarding the Stockholder Offer.

In response to the Stockholder Offer, four lawsuits have been filed in
the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and are being
consolidated into a single action. Plaintiffs allege, among other
things, that the price of $21 per share is unfair and inadequate and
that the Stockholders are breaching their duties as controlling
stockholders. Plaintiffs have named the Company, all of its directors
and Joseph Littlejohn Levy Inc. as defendants in this action and are
seeking to have the action declared a class action on behalf of all of
the Company’s minority shareholders. The action is in the early stages
of discovery.


HMO: Aetna Indicates Relaxation of Policies in Connecticut
----------------------------------------------------------
Less than a month after signing a landmark deal that changes how it does
business with doctors and consumers in Texas, the health insurance giant
Aetna Inc. said that it planned to relax some managed-care policies in
Connecticut.

The move is part of the company's efforts to make changes one market at
a time to business practices and policies that landed Aetna and its
managed-care industry peers at the center of criticism from those who
say they are more concerned with profits than members' health needs.

Eager to mend battered relations with doctors and deflect a series of
class-action lawsuits and other legal entanglements, Aetna announced
seven policy changes at Aetna US Healthcare, its health insurance unit,
during a meeting of the Connecticut State Medical Association.

They include the elimination of capitation agreements for primary care
physicians with small practices, relaxing its mandatory "all products"
requirement and allowing specialists to act as primary care physicians
for very sick patients.

Connecticut's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, who has been
investigating Aetna, said the changes were "a good start." But he said
the company should end its practice of paying a fee for each patient,
which "wrongly shifts the risk of health care to physicians and their
patients." (The New York Times, May 11, 2000)


HOGGSBREATH BAR: Popular Restaurant Struggles after Hep. A Outbreak
-------------------------------------------------------------------
The once-popular Hoggsbreath bar and restaurant is suffering in the wake
of a hepatitis A outbreak that became public about three weeks ago.

The gathering spot that Tom Duray and his wife, Jocelyn, bought 24 years
ago used to ring sales of $40,000 to $45,000 a week. But weekly receipts
have dropped to about $6,000 to $7,000 since the Minnesota Department of
Health announced April 14 that five Hoggsbreath employees and a customer
had confirmed cases of hepatitis A. "You can have a very good business,
and you can be operating it for many, many years. But something like
this can turn it all upside down in one day and you can have no business
at all," Duray said.

The state health department says 36 people associated with the
Hoggsbreath have been diagnosed with hepatitis A. Nine were workers and
27 were patrons.

And a class-action lawsuit filed April 27 in Ramsey County District
Court alleges that the Hoggsbreath "failed to discover and prevent" the
contamination of its food or beverages.

Duray insists that numerous inspections never found any of the
Hoggsbreath's equipment to be tainted, and the establishment never was
ordered to close. A health department official said risk at the
Hoggsbreath was eliminated when employees were given the hepatitis
vaccination. It may never be known how the initial infected employee, a
line cook, got the virus. Hepatitis A is spread through contact with
fecal material from an infected person, or consumption of contaminated
food or water.

Duray, 46, has spent much time trying to apologize to customers for the
embarrassment and inconvenience they have suffered. The recent dearth of
business has meant 15 people were laid off and hours were drastically
cut for the rest of the 60-person Hoggsbreath staff. Duray hopes the
move is temporary. "Things like this are virtually devastating to
family-owned businesses, because they don't have the huge corporate
backing of the Applebee's and the T.G.I. Fridays," he said.

At least one other local restaurant operator can relate to the
Hoggsbreath's troubles. It took well over a year for business to return
to normal after Trigger's restaurant was hit with a shigellosis outbreak
in August 1998, said Terry Correll, general manager of the longtime
establishment at the Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club in Prior Lake. Duray
knew his business would be seriously affected by the public announcement
of the hepatitis A infection. Within hours of the April 14 release, news
crews were in front of the Hoggsbreath interviewing customers as they
tried to enter the bar. Sales volume began to drop that Friday night.
For the next week, business was about 10 percent of normal, Duray said.
It has improved to about 30 percent of normal in recent days, he said.
If business remains at its current level, the Hoggsbreath would be able
to remain open for only two to four more months, Duray estimated. (The
Associated Press, May 9, 2000)


LOCKHEED MARTIN: Black Employees File Suits Alleging Discrimination
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Eleven black Lockheed Martin employees have filed two lawsuits claiming
that they have had to endure racial taunts and discrimination in pay and
promotions. The lawsuits ask the U.S. District Court to permit two
class-action cases on behalf of blacks at the defense contractor's
plants one for salaried employees and one for hourly workers. The
plaintiffs' lawyers said they have more than 100 complaints of
discrimination at plants from South Carolina to Texas.

The lawsuits said qualified blacks at Lockheed's Marietta, Ga., plant
have been denied promotions, raises and training while getting
substandard salaries and being denied chances for overtime pay. The
plaintiffs also allege they were exposed to slurs and have received
''back to Africa'' tickets and nooses placed on their lockers.

Tom Burbage, the top executive at the suburban Atlanta plant, said he
could not deny that some of the incidents could have occurred but ''we
don't tolerate it.''

The plaintiffs' legal team, which includes Los Angeles lawyer Johnnie
Cochran Jr., is also suing the International Association of Machinists &
Aerospace Workers, claiming that union officials either allowed or
collaborated in discrimination.

Burbage said the company is willing to continue to negotiate a
settlement with the workers and the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission. The EEOC notified Lockheed Martin last year that its
investigation indicated violations might have occurred. ''To date, the
EEOC has not shared with us the basis for these findings,'' the company
said in a statement Wednesday.

Lockheed Martin, which employs 149,000 workers worldwide at more than
900 plants, submitted a resolution proposal two weeks ago. The details
of the offer are confidential, but the plaintiffs' attorneys
characterized it as inadequate.


MP3 COM: Tells Investors of Copyright Infringement Lawsuits
-----------------------------------------------------------
MP3 Com Inc., which has been the targe of lawsuits over music copyright
infringement, as reported in the CAR, reports on these lawsuits in its
file to the SEC.

The Company says that on January 21, 2000, ten major recording companies
filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against MP3.com in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The
complaint alleges that MP3.com, in connection with its
recently-introduced My.MP3.com service, made unauthorized copies of
approximately 45,000 audio CDs in violation of the Copyright Act. The
complaint further alleges that offering the new My.MP3.com service,
which allows a user to listen, via the Internet, to the tracks of
certain commercial audio CDs of his or her choosing, constitutes
unauthorized copying and willful infringement of plaintiffs' copyrighted
sound recordings. Plaintiffs seek damages (including statutory damages
of up to $150,000 per violation) and injunctive relief prohibiting
MP3.com from operating its My.MP3.com service or any other service that
uses reproductions of plaintiffs' copyrighted sound recordings. In
February 2000, MP3.com filed an answer to the complaint denying each of
the substantive allegations therein, and the plaintiffs moved for
summary judgement. In March 2000, MP3.com filed materials in opposition
to the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgement, and a hearing on the
motion was held by the court on April 14, 2000. The court was expected
to provide a ruling on the motion on April 28, 2000.

On March 14, 2000, two large music publishing companies filed a
copyright infringement lawsuit against MP3.com in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York. The complaint
alleges that MP3.com, in connection with its recently-introduced
My.MP3.com service, made unauthorized copies of approximately 45,000
audio CDs in violation of the Copyright Act, and that MP3.com, in
connection with the streaming of audio content to users of the
My.MP3.com service, continues to make unauthorized digital phonorecords
in violation of the Copyright Act. The complaint further alleges that
MP3.com's actions constitute unauthorized copying and willful
infringement of plaintiffs' copyrights. Plaintiffs seek damages
(including statutory damages of up to $150,000 per violation) and
injunctive relief prohibiting MP3.com from operating its My.MP3.com
service or any other service that uses unauthorized reproductions of
plaintiffs' copyrighted works.

On April 12, 2000, several artists filed a class action lawsuit in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
against MP3.com and several major recording companies that claimed to
own copyrights in sound recordings featuring the artists. The complaint
alleges that the recording company defendants are claiming, their
separate lawsuit against MP3.com (filed on January 21, 2000, rights in
plaintiffs' recordings that they do not possess. In particular, the
complaint alleges that the recording company defendants do not possess
any copyright protections with respect to plaintiffs' pre-1972 published
and pre-1978 unpublished recordings, do not possess the right to
digitally transmit plaintiffs' pre-1996 recordings over the Internet,
and do not possess the right to control the conversion of plaintiffs'
recordings into mp3 files. The complaint further alleges that MP3.com
has used the names and likenesses of plaintiffs without their consent or
authorization and in a deceptive manner, in violation of the federal
Lanham Act, the New York Civil Rights Law, and unspecified unfair
competition and misappropriation laws. In their prayer for relief,
plaintiffs ask to have their class action certified, to be awarded
unspecified damages and attorneys' fees, to have the defendants enjoined
from using plaintiffs' names and likenesses to promote downloading music
over the Internet, and to receive declaratory relief regarding
plaintiffs' rights in their pre- and post-1972 recordings.

MP3.com believes that it has meritorious defenses to the plaintiffs'
claims, including the fair use doctrine, based in part on the belief
that these services augment the market for music and music CDs, and we
intend to vigorously defend against such claims.

MP3.com says it cannot assure investors that the company will be
successful in defending these lawsuits. The compay says it may be
required to pay license fees or substantial damages, including
statutory, punitive or other damages that far exceed the resources and
overall market capitalization of our company and may also be required at
any time by the courts to cease all operations of the My.MP3.com,
Instant Listening, Beam-it or other services. Furthermore, the Company's
insurance coverage and other capital resources may be inadequate to
cover anticipated costs of the lawsuit or any possible settlements or
licenses. If successful, any of these lawsuits could seriously harm the
company's business by forcing it to cease providing services to
consumers or requiring the company to pay monetary damages. Even if
unsuccessful, these lawsuits still can harm the company's business
severely by damaging reputation, requiring us to incur legal costs,
lowering our stock price and public demand for our stock, and diverting
management's attention away from primary business activities in general.



PLAYCORE, INC: Sued in Wisconsin over Chartwell Merger Agreement
----------------------------------------------------------------
PlayCore, Inc. (Amex: PCO), a commercial and consumer playground
equipment and backyard products company, in its May 11 announcement on
first quarter results, also announces that a complaint was filed in Rock
County, Wisconsin state court against the Company and its board of
directors.

The Company was informed on May 4, 2000 that a complaint was filed on
April 17, 2000, three days after the public announcement that the
Company had entered into a definitive agreement and plan of merger with
a newly-formed affiliate of Chartwell Investments II LLC. The complaint
was filed as a purported class action on behalf of holders of Company
common stock. The complaint alleges that the Company's board of
directors, by entering into the agreement and plan of merger with the
Chartwell entity, violated its fiduciary duties to Company stockholders.
Neither the Company nor, to the Company's knowledge, any of its
directors have been served with the complaint. The Company believes that
the plaintiff's claims are without merit, and intends to defend the
action vigorously.

On April 14, 2000, the Company announced that it had entered into a
definitive agreement and plan of merger with an affiliate of Chartwell
Investments II LLC providing for the acquisition of all of the
outstanding shares of PlayCore, Inc. for $10.10 per share in cash. The
tender offer for the common stock of PlayCore was initiated on April 20,
2000 and is expected to close on May 18, 2000.


PROVANTAGE HEALTH: Investor Sues over Sale to Merck
---------------------------------------------------
ProVantage Health Services Inc. directors gained extra benefits for
themselves as part of a purchase agreement, an investor alleges in a
class-action lawsuit. Merck & Co.'s Medco division sais it wants to buy
ProVantage for $222 million, or $12.25 a share. ProVantage, which
provides health benefit management services for about 5 million people,
began as a unit of ShopKo in 1994.

The lawsuit, filed in Circuit Court by James Jorgensen, of Dunbar
alleges ProVantage and six officers and directors did not seek competing
bids and structured the transaction to benefit themselves, Merck and
ShopKo Stores Inc., which owns 64.5 percent of ProVantage.

The lawsuit was filed by Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP, of
San Diego. It does not detail how any of the defendants would benefit
more than other shareholders. The lawsuit claims the defendants "stood
on both sides of the transaction and engaged in self-dealing and
obtained for themselves personal benefits, including personal financial
benefits not shared equally by plaintiff or the class."

John Nelson, investment director of small company stocks with the state
Investment Board, said the board would not join the class action. He
recently sold out of his position in ProVantage.

"I'm assuming there's no foul play because ShopKo has blessed this
deal," Nelson said. "They own so much I don't think they'd do it unless
they thought they were getting a good deal at this time."

ProVantage went public in an initial public offering in July 1999 at $18
a share. The price went as high as $22 before dropping as low as $6.37
March 7. The lawsuit described Merck's price of $12.25 a share as
inadequate. The lawsuit, filed in Circuit Court by James Jorgensen, of
Dunbar alleges ProVantage and six officers and directors did not seek
competing bids and structured the transaction to benefit themselves,
Merck and ShopKo Stores Inc., which owns 64.5 percent of ProVantage.
(The Associated Press, May 11, 2000)


RE-ARREST POLICY: Lawsuit Says Philadelphia Policy Unconstitutional
-------------------------------------------------------------------
A coalition of criminal defense lawyers joined forces on May 10 to file
a federal class action challenging a recently enacted policy of the
Philadelphia District Attorney's Office to re-arrest some defendants
immediately after a Municipal Court judge dismisses the charges.

At issue in the case is the constitutionality of the D.A.'s
interpretation of a new court rule Rule 143 of the Pennsylvania Rules of
Criminal Procedure. The suit says that prior to the enactment of Rule
143, DA Lynne Abraham's office recognized that it needed prior court
approval before making a re-arrest in a case where charges had been
dismissed. But in mid-April, the suit says, Abraham instituted a policy
of re-arresting defendants "without probable cause or judicial
approval."Once re-arrested, such defendants are detained pending
arraignment up to 48 hours and face the possibility of higher bail or
stricter bail restrictions.

Attorneys David Rudovsky and Jules Epstein of Kairys Rudovsky Epstein
Messing & Rau, along with First Assistant Defender Charles Cunningham
and Assistant Defender Bradley S. Bridge of the Defender Association,
argue that the policy violates the Fourth and 14th amendments to the
U.S. Constitution. They also argue that Abraham's interpretation of Rule
143 is flawed and that her policy doesn't even comply with the new rule.

Abraham's spokeswoman, Cathie Abookire, said she has not yet seen the
lawsuit, but that the office plans to defend its interpretation of the
new rule. Abookire said the rule is being enforced only in the five
satellite district courts and that experienced assistant district
attorneys are making the decisions on when to re-arrest a defendant
whose charges are dismissed." Every case does not warrant this,"
Abookire said. Although she has not yet seen the lawsuit, Abookire
confirmed that the lead plaintiff, Robert Stewart, was subjected to the
new rule. According to the suit, Stewart was arrested on March 23, 2000,
and charged with aggravated assault. He was released on bail.

At a preliminary hearing on April 28, the aggravated assault charge was
dismissed and the matter remanded to the Municipal Court for trial on
simple assault. The suit says detectives from the DA's Office
immediately re-arrested Stewart who is now in custody on new bail
imposed at arraignment on the same charges that were dismissed at the
preliminary hearing. But Abookire pointed out that Stewart was also
charged with possession of an instrument of crime and that the Municipal
Court judge did not dismiss that count. By re-arresting, she said, the
prosecutor was ensuring that the case would be transferred to Common
Pleas Court.

Abookire explained that prior to Rule 143, re-arrests followed one of
two tracks, depending on the circumstances.In cases where the Municipal
Court judge dismissed for "lack of prosecution," such as the failure of
a police witness to appear in court, the prosecutor was required to
return to Municipal Court to seek approval for the re-arrest. But in
cases where the charges were dismissed for lack of evidence, the
prosecutor was required to seek the approval of a judge on the Court of
Common Pleas, she said. The new rule eliminated those requirements by
vesting the District Attorney's Office with the power to approve the
re-arrest on its own, she said.Rule 143, which was passed by the
Pennsylvania Supreme Court, is captioned "Reinstituting Charges
Following Withdrawal or Dismissal."

The rule reads: "(A) When charges are dismissed or withdrawn at, or
prior to, a preliminary hearing, the attorney for the Commonwealth may
reinstitute the charges by approving, in writing, the refiling of a
complaint with the issuing authority who dismissed or permitted the
withdrawal of the charges."(B) Following the refiling of a complaint
pursuant to paragraph (A), if the attorney for the Commonwealth
determines that the preliminary hearing should be conducted by a
different issuing authority, the attorney shall file a Rule 23 motion
with the clerk of courts requesting that the president judge, or a judge
designated by the president judge, assign a different issuing authority
to conduct the preliminary hearing.

The motion shall set forth the reasons for requesting a different
issuing authority."Defense lawyers say Abraham has misinterpreted the
rule as one that permits her prosecutors to re-arrest defendants and
commit them to custody without judicial approval or a showing of
probable cause even after a judge has ordered them discharged based on a
finding of no probable cause.Her office, the suit says, has made the
re-arrests "without complying with the mandates of Rule 143," since
prosecutors have neither "approve[d] in writing the refiling of a
complaint" nor refiled the original complaint with the "issuing
authority who dismissed ... the charges." In a brief supporting their
request for an injunction, they argue that "to the extent that the
issuing authority refuses to accept such a refiling as improper for lack
of a showing of probable cause, the sole remedy for the [DA's Office] is
an appeal of this decision to the Court of Common Pleas."Under Abraham's
policy, they says, "this system of re-arrest can continue for as many
times and as many preliminary hearings as the Commonwealth as the
[prosecutors] unilaterally determine, all in disregard of a judicial
determination of no probable cause."The case, Stewart et al. v. Abraham,
00-cv-2425, has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III.
(The Legal Intelligencer, May 11, 2000)


SOLUTION 6: Australian Software Firm and US Elite Merger Plan Quashed
---------------------------------------------------------------------Solution
6 Holdings Ltd has suffered yet another setback to its expansion plans
with the termination of its planned merger with US-based Elite
Information Group Inc. The end of the deal finishes a horror fortnight
for the Australian software firm. But analysts say that despite the
latest setback, Solution 6 is unlikely to lose its competitive edge as
one of Australia's leading technology players.

Solution 6 said that it and Elite had decided to quash the $150 million
deal, after continuing problems with the review of the transaction by
the US Federal Trade Commission. Late last week, the FTC's Bureau of
Competition advice that it would recommend a challenge to the deal.
Solution 6 chief financial officer Tom Montgomery said the opposition to
the deal, meant it "became clear to Elite and ourselves that the process
would continue to be drawn out. "...We both thought it would not make
sense to continue," he told AAP.

Solution 6 had to extend the offer several times for the FTC review,
which came after a US law firm filed a class action against both
companies. "We are disappointed with the FTC's position and regret that
the two companies were not able to join forces to bring continuing
innovation to the professional service market," Solution 6 chief
executive Chris Tyler said.

One analyst, who did not wish to be named, said the move meant Solution
6 would not have as much access to the larger end of the US legal
software market. "Becuause Elite was particularly strong in the large
firm end (of the US legal software market), the acquisition of Elite
would have given Solution 6 80 per cent of that market," he told AAP.
"It would have given them a large market share." Mr Montgomery added
that the company would now use its CMSData Corp to grow in the US. "It's
very well positioned, its product is very functional and it's been very
well received in the marketplace...it's a great platform to go forward
with," he said. But the analyst said that CMSData would have to expand
its marketing abilities to be able to be effective. "Instead of buying
itself a market share solution in America, Solution 6 knows that it must
go back to building it organically, which will take more time. "So, that
is a negative for Solution 6, but it's something the market's been
warned about over the last week or so...," he said.

Solution 6 has suffered several setbacks in its global expansion plans,
with the company's takeover of UK-accountancy software firm Pegasus plc
falling through earlier in the year, and its planned merger with Sausage
Software looking increasingly precarious. Mr Montgomery added that
although Solution Six had $100 million left over from the Elite deal, it
was not in any active dicussions with other companies in the US at the
moment. "...Currently at this point in time there's no active
discussions being conducted in the US..." he told AAP. The analyst noted
that despite a cooling-off on the acquisition trail, Solution 6 was
still a very strong company. "Nothing has fundamentally has changed for
Solution 6, apart from these deals falling over," he said. "Solution 6
is still a very large organisation in terms of the scope of its business
and the staff who work there...if you look at the pool of talent,
Solution 6 has got a huge advantage over other companies," he said.
Solution 6 shares closed down 42 cents to $3.00. (AAP Newsfeed, May 11,
2000)


SPECIALTY EQUIPMENT: Sued for Seeking Approval for Incentive Plans
------------------------------------------------------------------
Specialty Equipment Companies Inc. and certain of its current and former
directors are named as defendants in an action filed by Virginia A.
Noerr, who claims to own shares of the Company's common stock. The
action "Noerr v. Greenwood et al.," C.A. No. 14320, is pending in the
Court of Chancery for the State of Delaware in and for New Castle
County, Delaware. Plaintiff purports to bring this action both as a
class action on behalf of all stockholders of record on April 2, 1993
and derivatively for the benefit of the Company.

Plaintiff's complaint, which has twice been amended, asserts that (i)
the defendants breached their fiduciary duties to the Company by
soliciting stockholder approval of the Company's Executive Long-Term
Incentive Plan and Non-Employee Directors Long-Term Incentive Plan by
means of a misleading proxy statement and (ii) the Board breached its
fiduciary duty in approving such option plans. The complaint seeks an
order declaring the stockholder approval of those option plans void,
canceling the options granted thereunder, enjoining the directors from
exercising any such options, imposing a constructive trust for the
benefit of Specialty upon any profits the individual named defendants
may have made through exercise of their options, requiring an accounting
in connection therewith, and awarding unspecified damages plus
plaintiff's attorneys' fees and expenses in an unspecified amount.

The most recent amended complaint was filed after the court granted in
part the defendants' joint motion to dismiss the complaint, striking
certain non-disclosure claims; the court's order, however, denied the
remainder of defendants' motion to dismiss. Specialty and the individual
defendants believe that the allegations made in the complaint as amended
are without merit and are factually incorrect and Specialty intends to
contest these allegations vigorously. The individual defendants have
each made demand upon Specialty for indemnification with respect to this
action. Management believes that if Specialty were liable to the
individual defendants for indemnification, the uninsured portion of such
liability would not be material.


TENNESSEE DEPT: Group Files Fed Suit for Overhaul if Foster Care System
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A children's advocacy group that has won court-ordered changes in foster
care systems in New York and elsewhere filed a federal class-action
lawsuit on Thursday to force an overhaul of Tennessee's foster care
system.

The suit says thousands of Tennessee children are languishing in foster
care, in violation of federal law, neither being returned to their
parents nor being made available for adoption. Many are kept in
emergency shelters for months, the suit says, and some 2,000 children
have been moved from home to home 10 or more times. The complaint also
says no concerted effort is being made to find adoptive parents for many
of the children.

Marcia Robinson Lowry, executive director of the group, Children's
Rights, said the Tennessee Department of Children's Services was "a
grossly mismanaged and overburdened child welfare system."

The suit, filed in Federal District Court in Nashville on behalf of
eight juvenile plaintiffs whom it named as well as all of the more than
10,000 foster children in Tennessee, asks the court to find the state in
violation of federal laws, including the Adoption and Safe Families Act
of 1997, which limits the time a state can hold children in foster care
without either making them available for adoption or reuniting them with
their parents.

Children's Rights is asking the court to order the state to begin
negotiations with the group on how the system should be overhauled.

The suit also says the problems it outlines are even more acute for
African-American children, and asks for additional relief for them.

Gov. Don Sundquist, a Republican who was named as a defendant along with
the state's children's services commissioner, George Hattaway, would not
comment on the suit. But the governor's spokeswoman, Beth Fortune, said,
"This administration has made many efforts to improve the foster care
system in Tennessee."

Ava Philson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Children's Services,
said the agency had responded over the years to complaints about the
system.

In 1998, Ms. Philson said, the Legislature approved $19 million in extra
money that helped the department hire more case managers and case
workers. She said 36 additional lawyers were hired, almost tripling the
number who represent children in efforts either to reunite them with
their parents or have them adopted.

In January 1999, Ms. Philson said, the department hired the Child
Welfare League of America to assess the program and develop ways to
change it. She also said the department installed a computer system last
fall to allow case managers to better track children in the system.

Ms. Lowry said these efforts were not enough. "Given how long the state
has known about the very serious problems and ongoing harm to children,"
she said, "these efforts are really too little too late."

Children's Rights is involved in litigation or settlement talks with
nine other state or city child welfare systems. A suit by the group led
to a court order that put the foster care system in Washington, D.C.,
under court receivership. In New York City, a December 1998 settlement
of a Children's Rights suit established an expert panel that evaluates
and monitors the system.

But some advocates for foster children said they believe that the kind
of large class-action suits that Children's Rights brings are not the
answer, either.

"Nobody's saying there are not problems in these foster care systems,"
said Doug Lasdon, executive director of the Urban Justice Center in New
York, "but a humongous, global lawsuit that does not present concrete
remedies is unlikely to change the system."

Dean Hill Rivkin, a professor of public interest law at the University
of Tennessee here, said the suit was "the first legal challenge to the
state's foster care system as a whole," and called it "long overdue."

According to the complaint, Brian A., the first plaintiff in the suit,
is a 9-year-old who has been in foster care for four years and has been
living in an emergency shelter near Memphis for the last seven months.
Denise E., 8, who the suit says was placed in foster care after being
removed at birth from her mother, was visited once by a case manager
during her first week of life, but never since then, and has not
received any services to monitor her care, needs or development.
Pseudonyms were used for the eight named plaintiffs. "The stories in the
lawsuit are emblematic of the problems across the state," Professor
Rivkin said. (The New York Times, May 11, 2000)


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Bush Signs Legislation to Help Avoid Bankruptcy
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Gov. Jeb Bush signed legislation that protects tobacco companies from
huge damages awarded in lawsuits brought by individuals who are sick
from smoking.

The new law, signed Tuesday, covers several key areas intended to help
the companies avoid bankruptcy as they pay Florida's settlement, which
is estimated to be $17.4 billion over 30 years. The money has been
earmarked for programs that help children and the elderly.

First, the bill allows legislators to begin securitizing, or selling,
the future tobacco income. It's doubtful this option would occur any
time soon as the bill calls for the Legislature's approval, which could
not occur until the next session in the spring of 2001. However, the
governor could call a special session to authorize securitizing the
income.

The bill also caps the amount tobacco companies must put up for a bond
while they appeal rulings in individual and class action lawsuits at
$100 million or 10% of the company's net worth, whichever is less. A
special task force could be appointed to study other options to protect
the settlement money, according to the signed legislation. (The Bond
Buyer, May 11, 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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