/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/000608.MBX                  C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

                  Thursday, June 8, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 111


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Boiler Inspection Act Preempts Claims Vs. GM Corp.
BANK ONE: Late Fees Action on Credit Card Unit Dismissed
BANK PLUS: Will Sell MMG Credit Card Portfolio; ADC Settlement Executed
CENTURY BUSINESS: Reports on Stockholder Suit Filed in March in Ohio
CINAR CORP: Former VP Sues TV Outfit for Exercise of Stock Options

CYBER-CARE INC: Keller Rohrback Investigates on Securities Fraud Claims
FEN-PHEN: 2 Cases Settle After Judge
Orders AHP to Disclose Settlements
HMO: Aetna Seen to Have Pit Bull Litigation, Slow-to-Settle Policy Out
I STAT: Awaits Ruling Re Common Law Fraud in Stockholder Suit in NJ
INMATES LITIGATION: 9th Cir Restores Suit on Denial of AIDS Medication

ORLANDO DEPT: Children Torn From Homes, Complaint Says
PIZZA HUT: Former Restaurant General Managers Sue for OT & Vacation Pay
PROFIT RECOVERY: Berman DeValerio Files Securities Suit in Georgia
PROFIT RECOVERY: Chitwood & Harley Announces Securities Suit in Georgia
SCB COMPUTER: May Be Delisted From NASDAQ, Announces Berman, DeValerio

SECURITY GUARDS: Homeless Residents' Harassment Claims Stayed thru Sept
SMITHKLINE BEECHAM: 1992-93 Major Media Coverage Bars 1997 Lawsuit
TACO BELL: Restaurant General Managers' Suit in CA to Be Tried in 2001
U S WEST: Retirees Hopeful about Pensions with Acquisition by Qwest
UNION PACIFIC: Lawsuit Disposition for Eunice Train Derailment Begins

VISA, MASTERCARD: Actions in Card Probe May Point to New Suit


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Boiler Inspection Act Preempts Claims Vs. GM Corp.
Boiler Inspection Act Preempts Asbestos Claims Against Railroad. The
California Supreme Court has upheld the dismissal of claims against a
locomotive manufacturer for asbestos-related injuries, finding that the
federal Locomotive Boiler Inspection Act preempts all state law claims
regarding materials used in the manufacture of locomotives. Scheiding v.
General Motors Corp., No. S073196 (Calif. March 9).

The plaintiffs -- former railroad employees and their families and
survivors -- sued the defendant, alleging that the locomotives it made were
defective because they released asbestos fibers into the air. The five
cases, concerning railroad employees who worked in and around locomotives
from the 1940s through the 1980s, were consolidated by the trial court;
plaintiffs' attorneys included Gregory R. Ellis, Joan Wolff and Gerald
Clausen of San Francisco's Wolff, Ellis & Clausen.

The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant, which was
represented by David M. Heilbron, Leslie G. Landau and Robert A. Brundage
of San Francisco's McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, ruling that the BIA
preempted the plaintiffs' state law claims of false representation,
negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, strict liability
and wrongful death. On appeal, the state high court ruled that the BIA
completely occupies the field of locomotive equipment and safety, and thus
preempts all state law claims relating to the "design, the construction and
the material of every part of the locomotive and tender and of all
appurtenances." The court cited several cases that gave the BIA a "broad
preemptive sweep" to ensure the uniformity of railroad operating standards
throughout the country. (Product Liability Law & Strategy, May 2000)

BANK ONE: Late Fees Action on Credit Card Unit Dismissed
A class action filed on behalf of customers against Bank One Corp.'s First
USA credit card unit was dismissed Monday by a federal judge here.

The suit accused the Wilmington, Del., issuer of wrongfully charging late
fees ranging from $25 to $35 and taking too long to post credit card
payments. After late fees mounted, the lawsuit contended, First USA raised
interest rates on those credit cards. First USA faces similar lawsuits in
Washington and Oregon.

Richard Freese, a Birmingham, Ala., attorney represented customers in the
suit. (The American Banker, June 7, 2000)

BANK PLUS: Will Sell MMG Credit Card Portfolio; ADC Settlement Executed
Bank Plus Corporation (Nasdaq: BPLS) announced on June 6 that its
wholly-owned subsidiary Fidelity Federal Bank, FSB has executed a
definitive agreement to sell the MMG Direct, Inc. ("MMG") credit card
portfolio and the Bank's credit card servicing center located in Beaverton,
Oregon. The buyer is an international financial services company with
substantial subprime credit card operations. The Bank anticipates that the
transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, will be completed in
June 2000, although no assurances can be given that the sale will be
completed, or if completed, will be completed in June 2000.

In March 2000 the Bank established a valuation allowance to reduce the
carrying value of the MMG portfolio to its estimated sales value, and the
Bank does not anticipate that any additional writedowns to the MMG
portfolio will be necessary upon completion of the sale. The estimated loss
on the sale of the Beaverton servicing center and other transaction costs
are expected to total approximately $4 million.

Fidelity and the buyer have also entered into a separate agreement where,
upon completion of the purchase transactions, the buyer will begin
servicing the Bank's American Direct Credit, Inc. ("ADC") credit card
portfolio. In addition, under the servicing agreement the buyer has a one
year option to purchase the ADC portfolio, subject to certain conditions
which include the ability of the Bank to terminate the option. The option
to acquire the portfolio is subject to the review and approval or
non-objection by the Office of Thrift Supervision ("OTS"), which the
Company anticipates would be granted only if the Bank was able to maintain
a sufficient level of regulatory capital after recognizing the loss which
would result from a sale of the ADC portfolio. Based upon current
information that loss could approximate the percentage loss recorded on the
MMG portfolio sale.

As of May 31, 2000 total outstanding balances in the MMG and ADC portfolios
were $78.4 million and $77.0 million, respectively, and together they
accounted for 92% of the total outstanding balances in Fidelity's credit
card portfolio.

                ADC Consumer Litigation Settlement Status

Fidelity has executed definitive settlement agreements related to the
various individual and purported class action lawsuits filed in Alabama
relating to the ADC credit card portfolio. The OTS has provided its
non-objection for substantially all of the agreements. OTS non-objection on
the remaining agreements is expected soon.

The definitive settlement agreement for the lawsuit filed against the Bank
on behalf of the purported class of Alabama plaintiffs to whom Fidelity
issued credit cards in the ADC affinity program, which, among other things,
is subject to court approval, includes the release by the class members of
all claims against Fidelity, Bank Plus and ADC, as well as any future
purchaser or transferee of the ADC credit card portfolio.

The Bank has also negotiated an agreement in principle to settle
substantially all of the various ADC portfolio-related individual lawsuits
filed in Mississippi. This settlement is subject to the execution of a
definitive agreement by the parties involved and non-objection by the OTS.

There can be no assurance that (i) settlement agreements acceptable to the
Company will be executed in Mississippi (ii) outstanding settlements will
receive non-objection from the OTS (iii) the Alabama class action agreement
will be confirmed by the court or (iv) new lawsuits of a similar nature
will not be filed in the future.

Bank Plus Corporation is the holding company for Fidelity Federal Bank,
FSB, which offers a broad range of consumer financial services, including
demand and time deposits and mortgage loans. In addition, through its
affiliate Gateway Investment Services, Inc., a NASD-registered
broker/dealer, Fidelity provides customers of the Bank with investment
products, including mutual funds, annuities and insurance. Fidelity
operates through 31 full-service branches, 30 of which are located in Los
Angeles and Orange counties in Southern California.

CENTURY BUSINESS: Reports on Stockholder Suit Filed in March in Ohio
In its report to the SEC, Century Business Services Inc. reports that on
March 2, 2000, an additional purported stockholder class-action lawsuit -
Marsh, et al. v. Century Business Services, Inc., et al. - was filed in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio against
Century and certain of its current and former directors and officers. The
plaintiffs in this case made similar allegations for the time period from
March 4, 1999 to January 28, 2000.

There has been no discovery. Century and the named director and officer
defendants deny all allegations of wrongdoing made against them and intend
to vigorously defend each of these lawsuits.

CINAR CORP: Former VP Sues TV Outfit for Exercise of Stock Options
A former senior Cinar Corp. exec is suing the company, the latest in a long
list of legal troubles for the Canuck TV outfit. Louis Fournier, who left
his position as vice president of distribution at Cinar in February, has
filed a lawsuit over stock options that he has been unable to exercise.

Fournier, now president of youth and animation at rival Montreal production
company TVA Intl., attempted to exercise the options in February when he
exited Cinar. In a prepared statement, Cinar execs said, "the company
intends to defend itself vigorously with respect to such claim."

Cinar, which is already facing several class-action lawsuits filed on both
sides of the border earlier this year, is also being sued by four former
owners of HighReach Learning, a publisher of kids educational materials
acquired by Cinar in 1998 (Daily Variety, May 26). Michael Mayberry, Sharon
Mayberry, Phillip Kelley and Kathy Kelley are suing Cinar and majority
shareholders Ronald Weinberg and Micheline Charest in an attempt to recover
losses related to the stock-purchase agreement inked when Cinar took over
HighReach two years ago.

                                Taxing Position

Meanwhile, Cinar announced that chief financial officer Jeff Gerstein is
instead to assume full-time tax responsibilities for Cinar as veepee of

Cinar is in negotiations with Canada Customs and Revenue regarding alleged
fraud of the film and TV tax-credit system.

Cinar has been accused of putting phony Canadian names on scripts actually
written by Americans in order to fulfill Canadian-content quotas and obtain
tax credits for its productions.

In addition, Cinar continues to negotiate with Globe-X Management in the
Bahamas to try to recover the outstanding $ 76 million of an unauthorized $
122 million investment made with the Nassau firm. On May 31, $ 10 million
of the investment matured, but Cinar has yet to recover the sum because
Globe-X told Cinar it needs five business days to process the transaction.
(Daily Variety, June 07, 2000)

CYBER-CARE INC: Keller Rohrback Investigates on Securities Fraud Claims
Seattle's Keller Rohrback L.L.P. is investigating securities fraud claims
against Cyber-Care Inc. (Nasdaq:CYBR) and its Chairman and CEO on behalf of
all persons who purchased shares of Cyber-Care common stock between
November 4, 1999 and May 12, 2000, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The Class Shareholders allege that Cyber-Care and its Chairman and CEO made
materially false and misleading statements and omitted to disclose material
facts regarding Cyber-Care's operations and prospects during the Class
Period. Specifically, shareholders assert that defendants failed to
disclose, among other things, that since Cyber-Care's Electronic HouseCall
System "EHC" had not yet received FDA approval, it could not be sold or
marketed in any way, and that to the extent Cyber-Care was announcing sales
or agreements to buy, Cyber-Care was in violation of governmental
regulations. In addition, defendants touted multi-million dollar contracts
with companies that lacked the financial means to enter into such

In May 2000, it was revealed that the United States Food and Drug
Administration was investigating Cyber-Care for violation of federal rules
prohibiting the sale and regulating the marketing of non-FDA approved
products. It was also disclosed that an analyst who issued a "Strong Buy"
rating for the Company and issued a target price of $52 per share was in
fact employed by Cyber-Care's own publicity company. In response, the
Company's stock fell to $ 8.50 per share -- far from its Class Period high
of $40 in February 2000.

Contact: Keller Rohrback L.L.P. Jen Veitengruber, 800/776-6044
investor@kellerrohrback.com www.SeattleClassAction.com

FEN-PHEN: 2 Cases Settle After Judge Orders AHP to Disclose Settlements
The suits of a Georgia woman who died from primary pulmonary hypertension
and another woman suffering from the usually fatal disease were settled
shortly after a state court judge twice ordered American Home Products
Corp. to disclose the settlement agreements it has reached with diet drug
plaintiffs in other litigation around the country. Damiani v. American Home
Prods. Corp. P. 6. (Source: Diet Drugs Litigation Reporter, June 2000)

HMO: Aetna Seen to Have Pit Bull Litigation, Slow-to-Settle Policy Out
When Aetna Inc. fired its healthcare unit's Chief Litigation Officer David
F. Simon May 2, it turned a page in the legal history of managed care.
Simon is described as combative, abrasive and unbending in interviews with
11 former colleagues and adversaries.

Five years ago, those were key ingredients in a management tonic that
Hartford's Aetna prescribed for itself when it bought US Healthcare, the
aggressive Blue Bell, Pa. HMO founded by druggist-turned-billionaire
Leonard Abramson. But with public pressure mounting to remove barriers to
HMO lawsuits, Aetna is now actively working to rebuild bridges with
doctors, policyholders and the public. As a result, abrasiveness is out, as
Simon and other key executives from US Healthcare are now learning.

As chief legal officer, Simon was famously quick to sue and slow to settle,
according to a former Aetna in-house lawyer. Simon's departure came just
after the surprise retirement announcement of Aetna US Healthcare president
Michael CardilloQa move that company insiders more realistically describe
as an ouster. In addition, Cardillo's top field executive Timothy Nolan
left in January. With those departures, Aetna appears to be reclaiming its
traditional, noncombative, identity, while purging key members such as
Simon and Cardillo from the five-year-old U.S. Healthcare management team.

Most significantly, in February Aetna's board forced the departure of CEO
Richard L. HuberQa former banking executive whose controversial public
statements placed him closer to US Healthcare's brash style. Huber and
Simon were succeeded by two veterans as smooth as the previous two were
rough, men with blue-chip credentials. Longtime board member William
Donaldson became CEO and chairman. He is a former president of the New York
Stock Exchange and founder of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Edward Shaw
replaced Simon as general counsel. He's a 13-year veteran of New York's
former Millbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and the former general counsel of
Chase Manhattan Corp.

Shaw said Simon's speedy removal was not a reflection on his performance. "
All managed-care companies have witnessed an explosion in litigation. As
the largest, we get our fair share, which means more than anybody else,"
Shaw said.

Nonetheless, Shaw indicated a stronger desire to solve controversies
without resorting to court battles. He acknowledged the perception that
Aetna has been "tougher on our contract negotiations with our
providersQhospitals, physiciansQand that we would tend to litigate things
when there are differences of opinion, rather than try to resolve them and
compromise." Although Shaw was not critical of Simon, one former colleague,
who spoke on a not-for-attribution basis, said Simon had maintained an
aggressive and unbending style, imported from US Healthcare, that damaged
Aetna's reputation with the public and in the medical and political

Donaldson's goal is to eliminate pent-up popular frustration that could
lead to additional large jury awards against HMOs, or to government
countermeasures, including legislation authorizing lawsuits against HMOs.
William J. Sweeney, of New Britain's Sweeney & Griffen, is a former
president of the Connecticut Trial Lawyer Association. He agrees that
Simon's tough-guy stance with doctors and with lawyers has helped make
Aetna a defendant "that everybody loves to hate."

Aetna recognizes that, and Simon's recent firing, along with the exits of
Cardillo and Huber are part of a deliberate corporate plan, Sweeney
asserts. "The health-care business is about relationships," he says. Those
range from hard-to-quantify relations with doctors, relationships with
consumers who have few clear ways of knowing what they're buying and
relationships with the public at large, which include future customers and

As a rich industry that stood low in public esteem, managed care became a
litigation magnet. Top plaintiff veterans, flush with victory in the fight
against Big Tobacco, have to date filed six actions against Aetna US
Healthcare in the past year, to the dismay of Wall Street insiders, already
worried that states or Congress could give policyholders the power to sue

The class actions remain stayed while a test case is considered by the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In Maio v. Aetna US Healthcare,
Aetna argues that statements about delivering quality health care were not
promises, and should only be regarded as so much "puffing."

Of all the cases Simon's law department oversaw, one in particular stands
out. Michael J. Bidart, the trial lawyer from Claremont, Calif., is the man
Huber called an ambulance-chaser, without evident basis. Indeed, Bidart
says he first met his future client, David Goodrich, at Pepperdine School
of Law, where they were both students. Goodrich, a state prosecutor,
developed stomach cancer, which was eventually fatal. During the course of
his treatment, Aetna declined to authorize expensive procedures it deemed
experimental. Bidart says Aetna sped a letter to Goodrich's deathbed to
inform him of its decision to limit coverage. Says Bidart: "He went to his
grave believing he'd left his wife with about $750,000 in medical bills."
Of Teresa Goodrich, David's widow, Bidart says, "She was a saint." Despite
the grim facts and high medical bills, Simon's defense team never offered
Teresa Goodrich more than $1.2 million, Bidart says, and that was rejected
as inadequate. The case failed to settle, and the jury's whopping $120
million verdict, of which $116 million was punitive, was evidence that
"ordinary people are mad at HMOs," Bidart said. The amount is currently on
appeal, and Aetna lawyers predict that it will be substantially reduced.

Damage Control Donaldson isn't waiting for appellate courts to trim Aetna's
attitude. In an unusual speech May 10 to Connecticut doctors, he introduced
a theme of respect and conciliation without a word of blame to be found. He
acknowledged that Aetna's relationship with physicians had been
"contentious, to say the least." As the industry leader, "Aetna has become
the 'lightning rod' for all that is right, and all that is wrong, with
managed care. Moreover, Donaldson vowed new flexibility; less red tape and
confrontation. "There are those who say the pendulum has swung too far,"
Donaldson said. "I agree with them. I think it's time to bring it back to
center." (The Connecticut Law Tribune, June 5, 2000)

I STAT: Awaits Ruling Re Common Law Fraud in Stockholder Suit in NJ
The Company is a defendant in a class action complaint entitled Susan
Kaufman, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v. STAT Corporation, William P. Moffitt, Lionel M. Sterling, Imants R.
Lauks and Matthias Plum, Jr. The class action was brought by Susan Kaufman
on her behalf and on behalf of all purchasers of the Company's Common Stock
between May 9, 1995 and March 19, 1996.

The complaint, which was filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey in
Mercer County on June 19, 1996, alleges New Jersey common law fraud and
negligent misrepresentation, and is predicated on a "fraud on the market"
theory in connection with certain sales of i-STAT stock by the Company's
chief executive officer, chief technology officer and two outside directors
during a nine-month period. The plaintiffs seek unspecified compensatory
damages, interest and payment of all costs and expenses incurred in
connection with the class action.

The Company believes the complaint is without merit and, on April 28, 1998,
the Court entered summary judgment in favor of all the defendants. The
plaintiffs have appealed and on August 10,1999, the Appellate Division of
the Superior Court filed an opinion sustaining the trial court's
determination as to the negligent misrepresentation claims but reversing as
to the common law fraud claims. The Company appealed the reversal and a
hearing certification of the appeal was held at the New Jersey Supreme
Court on May 1, 2000. A decision is expected within several months. Should
the plaintiff prevail on this issue, it could have a material and adverse
impact on the financial position, results of operations and cash flows of
the Company.

INMATES LITIGATION: 9th Cir Restores Suit on Denial of AIDS Medication
Calling the he received "far from the medical norm," the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has reversed a defense summary judgment in a
suit by an AIDS-infected man who says his AIDS "cocktail" medication
regimen was rendered ineffective when he was denied the treatment for two
days after arriving at the Pierce County, Wash., jail. Sullivan v. County
of Pierce et al., No. 98-35399 (9th Cir., Apr. 21, 2000).

Robert M. Sullivan, described in court papers as being in the "final stages
of AIDS," was arrested on an outstanding bench warrant and placed in the
custody of the Pierce County, Wash., Department of Corrections on March 8,
1996. Sullivan says that despite notifying jail personnel of his crucial
need to continue the medication, he did not receive it for at least two
days after his arrival.

Sullivan lodged a federal civil rights negligence suit against Pierce
County, county corrections chief Mark French, county jail health services
manager Julie Lord, and his attending physician, Kenneth Ritter, M.D. The
suit alleged that his viral load skyrocketed after missing his medication
and that subsequently, the "cocktail" of drugs no longer had an effect.

Judge Robert J. Bryan of the Western District of Washington found the
defendants protected by qualified immunity and granted their motion for
summary judgment.

Upon Sullivan's appeal, the Ninth Circuit reversed in an unpublished
opinion, holding that remaining questions of material fact precluded a
summary judgment grant. The panel said such questions involved the level of
the defendants' deliberate indifference to Sullivan's medical needs in
spite of his stated requirement to remain on his course of medication.

The appeals court said the record plainly shows that Sullivan was deprived
of his medication for "at least 48 to 72 hours" although corrections
officials knew he was "in the final stages of AIDS and that he was in dire
need of that medication -- in particular, his protease inhibitor,

The panel observed that other areas of dispute include the fact that
although corrections officials knew that their internal pharmacy did not
stock Invirase, they allowed Sullivan to be incarcerated, even though the
Pierce County jail's medical staff had the authority to turn him away.

In addition, the Ninth Circuit said that despite Sullivan's medical status
upon his arrival, Ritter described his condition as involving "no urgent
problem" and took no action to see that Sullivan received the appropriate

In testimony, Sullivan's treating physician, the Pierce County jail's head
physician, as well as the booking nurse for the facility, said the Ninth
Circuit, each stated it was common medical knowledge that AIDS patients
taking a protease inhibitor as part of their medication cocktail "had to
remain in strict compliance with that regimen at all times and without
exception, lest the cocktail become ineffective."

In remanding the case, the appeals court cited a 1999 federal court
decision from Maine in which it was determined that the defendant
corrections health provider could be found in deliberate indifference to a
inmate's medical needs in a case where an HIV-positive detainee was
deprived of his strict HIV medication regimen despite repeated reminders to
prison medical personnel of his needs. McNally v. Prison Health Services,
46 F. Supp.2d. 49 (D. Me., 1999); see AIDS LR, Jan. 25, 1999, P. 8.

The panel added that while notes on Sullivan's medical records indicated on
the day he was admitted that he needed "meds started," the jail's booking
nurse two full days before she contacted the facility's head physician to
obtain permission to have Sullivan's family bring medication from home.

The Ninth Circuit also rejected defense claims that municipal liability had
not been shown because Sullivan had not offered requisite evidence of a
"policy of inadequate medical treatment" for inmates. As part of an earlier
class action settlement, in which Lord and French were deposed, observed
the panel, "the County stipulated that policies regarding medical treatment
and the provision of medication violated inmates' constitutional rights.

The panel also reversed Judge Bryan's dismissal of Sullivan's associated
state law claims, noting that they had been voided based solely upon the
dismissal of Sullivan's federal civil rights claim. (AIDS Litigation
Reporter, June 5, 2000)

ORLANDO DEPT: Children Torn From Homes, Complaint Says
A group of irate parents filed a $500 million federal class-action lawsuit
Tuesday against the state Department of Children & Families, contending the
agency consistently tramples on their constitutional rights.

The 59-page complaint, filed by attorney Robert Dowd in U.S. District Court
in Orlando, says Children & Families has "engaged in a systematic process
by which the families, parents, children and citizens of the state of
Florida have been terrorized, traumatized and torn asunder." It also says
parents are routinely deprived of due process in the effort to reclaim
their children.

The suit names 13 families and 50 anonymous children as plaintiffs, and
targets as defendants a number of caseworkers and juvenile-court judges.
Children & Families Secretary Kathleen Kearney also is named in her current
job, in her former job as a Broward County juvenile judge and as an
individual. No court date was set for the suit.

The suit also asks for $500 million in damages for the wronged families,
but Dowd said that number is as much of an attention-getter as a demand. "I
want the kids back, period," the Orlando lawyer said. "I don't need
negotiations. I want the kids back." Dowd said many of the families, who
hail from all over the state, came to him, and he expects more to be added
to the suit.

Among the families is that of Joseph McKean, grandfather of Kayla McKean,
perhaps the highest-profile child-abuse case of the decade. Kayla was 6
when her father, Richard Adams, beat her to death for soiling her pants in
November 1998.Adams was convicted in Kayla's death last month and sentenced
to life in prison. Joseph McKean has since become a staunch critic of
Children & Families, going so far as to ask legislators to remove his
granddaughter's name from a reform law passed in the wake of her death. The
lawsuit alleges that Kayla's mother, Elisabeth McKean, has been a target of
Children & Families because of her father's activism.

McKean said all he wants is to get the attention of Kearney and Gov. Jeb
Bush, to persuade them to examine the department's practices more closely.
He said he's flooded with phone calls from parents desperate to win back
their children. "I'm not going to sit by and just let these people suffer,"
McKean said. "I want to do something constructive."

Another plaintiff in the suit, Shannon Musso of Osceola County, reiterated
McKean's plea for more oversight for Children & Families. Nearly two years
have passed since the agency took away her 3-month-old son and 18-month-old
daughter and placed them in foster care. Since then, Musso said,
caseworkers have told her she "fits the profile" of a woman with Munchausen
Syndrome by proxy, in which a caregiver harms a child in order to get
attention. Musso said she has experts who can prove she hasn't hurt her
son, but has never been able to get that information in front of a judge.
"The entire petition they filed is based on nothing but lies and fraud,"
Musso said. "I just want my baby back, before my son is too old to bond
with his parents, before they do too much damage to my daughter's head."

Yvonne Vassel, a spokeswoman for the Children & Families office in Orlando,
said she can't comment on open cases because of confidentiality laws. But
she said the department's efforts to protect children will not be affected
by the suit. "These cases will continue to go through the system," she
said. "We can't ignore our role with child welfare because we have a
lawsuit against us. We have to handle each case with care and in as
judicious a manner as we possibly can." (The Orlando Sentinel, June 7,

PIZZA HUT: Former Restaurant General Managers Sue for OT & Vacation Pay
On May 11, 1998, a purported class action lawsuit against Pizza Hut, Inc.,
and one of its franchisees, PacPizza, LLC, entitled Aguardo, et al. v.
Pizza Hut, Inc., et al. ("Aguardo"), was filed in the Superior Court of the
State of California of the County of San Francisco. The lawsuit was filed
by three former Pizza Hut restaurant general managers purporting to
represent approximately 1,300 current and former California restaurant
general managers of Pizza Hut and PacPizza. The lawsuit alleges violations
of state wage and hour laws involving unpaid overtime wages and vacation
pay and seeks an unspecified amount in damages. On January 12, 2000, the
Court certified a class of approximately  1,300 current and former
restaurant general managers. This lawsuit is in the early discovery phase.

PROFIT RECOVERY: Berman DeValerio Files Securities Suit in Georgia
Profit Recovery Group International, Inc. (Nasdaq: PRGX) was named as a
defendant in a shareholder class action filed in the United States District
Court for the District of Northern District of Georgia. The action, brought
by Berman, DeValerio & Pease, LLP, www.bermanesq.com, seeks damages for
violations of the federal securities laws on behalf of all investors who
purchased Profit Recovery common stock between February 16, 2000 and March
29, 2000 (the 'Class Period").

The lawsuit charges Profit Recovery and certain of its officers, with
violations of the federal securities laws by issuing materially false and
misleading financial statements for the Company's 1999 fiscal fourth
quarter on February 16, 2000. On March 29, 2000 Profit Recovery announced
that it would restate its reported fourth quarter financial results due to
improperly recording revenue. Profit Recovery's common stock plunged from
$26 per share to $18 3/8 per share on March 30, 2000.

Contact: Patrick T. Egan of Berman, DeValerio & Pease LLP, 800-516-9926 or

PROFIT RECOVERY: Chitwood & Harley Announces Securities Suit in Georgia
Law firm Chitwood & Harley Martin D. Chitwood gives notice that a class
action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Georgia on behalf of all persons who purchased the
stock of Profit Recovery Group International, Inc. (NASDAQ: "PRGX") between
February 16, 2000 and March 29, 2000, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges PRGX and certain of its officers and directors with
violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The complaint alleges that
defendants issued a series of materially false and misleading statements
concerning the Company's publicly-reported revenues and earnings. As a
result, PRGX's stock price was artificially inflated throughout the Class

Contact: Chitwood & Harley Martin D. Chitwood, Esq. M. Krissi Temple, Esq.
(888) 873-3999 or (404) 873-3900 mkt@classlaw.com

SCB COMPUTER: May Be Delisted From NASDAQ, Announces Berman, DeValerio
According to a press release by Berman, DeValerio & Pease LLP, SCB Computer
Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: SCBI) which is a defendant in a shareholder class
action lawsuit filed in the United States for the Western District of
Tennessee, Western Division at Memphis, may be delisted from the NASDAQ
exchange as a result of the accounting irregularities which are the subject
of the shareholder action. The investor action seeks damages for violations
of the federal securities laws on behalf of all investors who purchased the
common stock of SCB Computer Technology between August 19, 1997 and April
13, 2000 (the "Class Period").

The lawsuit charges SCB Computer Technology and certain of its directors
and officers with issuing a series of false and misleading financial
statements and press releases concerning the Company's publicly reported
revenues and earnings. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the
Company's financial statements issued during the Class Period overstated
its revenues, income and earnings through improper accounting in violation
of GAAP. SCB Computer Technology's outside auditors have resigned and SCB's
financial statements will be restated as a result. Due to these false and
misleading statements, the Company's stock traded at artificially inflated
prices during the Class Period.

Contact: Berman, DeValerio & Pease LLP Patrick T. Egan or Michael Sullivan
(800) 516-9926 bdplaw@bermanesq.com

SECURITY GUARDS: Homeless Residents' Harassment Claims Stayed thru Sept
Lawyers representing homeless residents have once again agreed to stay a
suit against downtown property owners stemming from alleged conduct by
private security guards on Los Angeles streets.

As previously reported in the CAR, in that class-action lawsuit, filed last
November, 12 homeless residents claimed they had been harassed and
assaulted by private security guards working for four Business Improvement
Districts (BID) downtown. The property owners and security companies denied
any wrongdoing but agreed to mediate the dispute in an attempt to avoid

Both sides committed to an interim agreement under which BID security
patrols would not photograph or unlawfully search homeless residents or
tell them to "move along" from public property.

That pact expired in April, but was recently extended through September. As
part of the extended agreement, both sides will continue to meet monthly,
and the Inner City Law Center will keep monitoring the conduct of the BID
security guards.

The new interim agreement does not preclude the homeless plaintiffs from
moving ahead with their lawsuit if the agreement breaks down this summer.

"We need to get a sense of the level of compliance over the summer months
when there are more people out on the streets," said Dan Marmalefsky, one
of the attorneys representing the homeless. (Los Angeles Times, June 7,

SMITHKLINE BEECHAM: 1992-93 Major Media Coverage Bars 1997 Lawsuit
Major media coverage in 1992 and 1993 of allegedly fraudulent billing
practices by the nation's largest clinical laboratories bars an August 1997
lawsuit against defendant Smithkline Beecham Clinical Laboratories Inc.,
because the plaintiff insurers knew or should have known of the challenged
practices by 1993, and Connecticut has a three-year statute of limitations.
Blue Cross of California v. Smithkline Beecham Clinical Laboratories Inc. -
U.S. District Court (Master Docket No. 3:97CV1795) - March 31, 2000.

This is a consolidated action for legal and equitable relief in which the
plaintiffs, thirty-seven health care insurers, four health care plans, and
six individuals, claim that the defendant, SmithKline Beecham Clinical
Laboratories, Inc. (SBCL), engaged in, inter alia, fraudulent billing
practices. The second amended complaint and the amended class action
complaint assert causes of action pursuant to the Racketeer Influenced and
Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. 1961 et seq., ("RICO"), the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq. ("ERISA"), the
Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Statute, 18 Pa. Stat. Ann. 4117(a)(2) and
under state common law tenets sounding in fraud and unjust enrichment.

On July 2, 1999, the court dismissed the RICO action asserted in counts I,
II, and III of the second amended class action complaint, the ERISA action
asserted in count IV of the second amended class action complaint to the
extent the claims were asserted by 31 of the plaintiff-insurers, and count
V alleging federal common law claims. Further, the court dismissed counts I
and III of the consolidated class action complaint alleging causes of
action under RICO and federal common law, respectively, and dismissed
counts IV, V and VI of the consolidated class action complaint to the
extent those claims were asserted by the four plaintiffs-employee benefit

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), SBCL now moves for
summary judgment on the plaintiffs-insurers' state law claims set forth in
counts VI, VII and VIII of the second amended complaint. SBCL argues that
these claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The
issues presented are: (1) whether count VI, which alleges violations of the
Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Statute, 18 Pa.Stat. 4117(a)(2), is barred by
Pennsylvania's two-year statute of limitations governing fraud claims; (2)
whether count VII, which alleges common law fraud, is barred by
Connecticut's three-year limitation period governing fraud claims; and (3)
whether count VIII, which seeks recovery under the equitable doctrine of
unjust enrichment, should be dismissed when related legal claims are

For the reasons hereinafter set forth, counts VII and VIII are time-barred,
and count VIII is properly dismissed on grounds that the related legal
claims are time-barred. Accordingly, the motion is granted.

On August 19, 1997, thirty-seven insurance companies ("the
plaintiffs-insurers") initiated this lawsuit against SBCL. SBCL is a
subsidiary of SmithKlein Beecham plc, a British corporation and
incorporated in the state of Delaware. SBCL owns and operates one of the
nation's largest chains of clinical laboratories.

On September 19, 1998, the plaintiffs-insurers filed their second amended
complaint against SBCL. The gravamen of the second amended complaint is
that from 1989 to 1995, SBCL engaged in fraudulent billing practices that
resulted in millions of dollars in losses to the plaintiffs-insurers.
Specifically, the plaintiffs-insurers allege that SBCL exploited the health
care payment system in five fundamental ways: (1) SBCL billed the
plaintiffs-insurers for tests that physicians did not order or intend to
order and billed for tests that it had led physicians to believe would not
result in separate charges ("add-ons"); 2) SBCL offered physicians
discounts for certain test packages, but billed the plaintiffs-insurers for
the full price for supposedly discount test packages ("selected
discounts"); 3) SBCL billed the plaintiffs-insurers separately for
expensive constituents of test panels that should have been billed at a
single composite rate ("unbundling"); 4) SBCL performed and billed for more
expensive tests than were ordered ("upcoding"), and in some cases
performed; and 5) SBCL inserted fabricated diagnosis codes to obtain
reimbursement from third party payers ("code jamming").

Without admitting any of the alleged conduct, SBCL has provided the court
with an abundance of undisputed evidence indicating the above enumerated "
challenged activities" were widespread in the clinical laboratory industry
and known to the plaintiffs-insurers long before the filing of the original
complaint. In this regard, between 1990 and 1993, the national media and
various professional organizations had released to the public volumes of
information concerning fraudulent billing practices by several national,
clinical laboratories, to include SBCL.

Specifically, as early as May, 1990, the Office of the Inspector General ("
OIG") was investigating National Health Laboratories ("NHL"), one of the
nation's largest clinical laboratories, for "false billing and improper use
of panel testing." NHL publicly acknowledged the OIG investigation in
December 1990. Media coverage of the grand jury inquiry continued into the
summer of 1992. In September 1992, the media reported that NHL was
negotiating with federal officials to settle the probe of its laboratory
billing practices, including its billing for tests containing improperly
added profiles. At the same time, the National Health Care Anti-Fraud
Association ("NHCAA") issued a "Fraud-Alert" to its members, including
plaintiffs-insurers BC/BS Texas and BC/BS New Jersey, informing them that
several unidentified clinical laboratories were "unbundling" certain tests
and billing them separately from profiles in order to "generate substantial
additional revenue for the laboratories."

In December 1992, the New York Times, among others, reported that NHL had
settled the action. In announcing the settlement on December 8, 1992, the
U. S. Attorney in San Diego stated that the government was "investigating
other companies for similar activity." The U.S. Attorney further stated
that the "criminal practices that *NHL* has admitted are not unique to
*NHL*. Indeed *he* would go so far as to say that, in one form or another,
these are industry-wide practices."

In January 1993, in the aftermath of the NHL settlement, several of the
nations largest private health insurers, including the lead plaintiff in
this case (Blue Cross of California), asserted publicly that they would be
"taking a closer look at claims for lab tests as a result of the *NHL*
case." As one industry consultant remarked, NHL "put** up the antennae of
every insurance company in the nation."

In February 1993, the press reported that the Justice Department was
probing another top U.S. laboratory company MedPath, Inc. Several months
later, in June 1993, CNN ran a special high-profile "investigative" report
on the clinical laboratory industry. The report described how the major
laboratories billed for test profiles, and alleged that they often
"unbundled" tests. The report also stated that "sources tell CNN that five
other large medical labs are also now under investigation on similar fraud
charges by state and federal authorities across the country." Moreover, the
CNN report quoted an NHL spokesman who said that its billing techniques
were "common industry practice."

In July 1993, the Justice Department announced that it had reached
settlements with Med-Chek Laboratories for the same "unbundling" practices
engaged in by NHL.

On August 16, 1993, the Wall Street Journal ran a front-page story
detailing how the government had built its case against NHL and the impact
the prosecution had in sparking equally aggressive investigations of
clinical laboratory testing and billing practices. The article also
reported that several other clinical laboratories were under investigation,
and that these laboratories were employing the same billing practices as
NHL. Less than two weeks later, SBCL publicly acknowledged that it had
received an OIG investigative subpoena as part of an industry-wide probe of
laboratory billing practices. One of the named plaintiffs-insurers herein
and member of the NHCAA2, BC/BS of Texas, admitted that on August 27, 1993,
it had actual knowledge of "certain aspects" of SBCL's improper billing
practices". This information led BC/BS Texas to become suspicious of SBCL's
billing, and it commenced an investigation.

In early September, 1993, two more of the nation's largest clinical
laboratoriesQUnilab and MetpathQagreed to pay the federal government $39.8
million to settle charges that they had improperly "added-on" tests.

On September 19, 1993, the CBS television program, 60 Minutes, aired a
story called "Blood Money," which discussed the NHL and Metpath settlement.
The story sought to explain the billing practices that precipitated those
settlements, and attempted to "sting" NHL and SBCL by having a program
producer fill a prescription for a blood test profile, along with a
complete blood count and thyroid test, at NHL and SBCL testing facilities.
The SBCL facility purportedly "added-on" a test for Magnesium, an
allegation made on camera.

The plaintiffs-insurers, for their part, all have standard practices and
procedures designed to detect billing irregularities, and "may have found
some errors and difficulties with claims submitted by SBCL" long before
they filed the present action. Four of the plaintiffs-insurers, BC/BS of
Texas, Golden Rule, Guardian, and John Deere, maintain that they contacted
SBCL about billing irregularities discovered between 1992 and 1995, and
assert that in response, SBCL denied any fraudulent acts. Discussion: SBCL
first argues that the plaintiffs-insurers' remaining state law claims set
forth in counts VI and VII are barred by the applicable statute of
limitations. Specifically, SBCL asserts that the undisputed facts
demonstrate that the plaintiffs-insurers knew, or should of known, of
SBCL's challenged billing and coding practices by 1993. Because the
plaintiffs did not file their original complaint until August 19, 1997,
SBCL asserts that: (a) count VI, which alleges violations of the
Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Statute, 18 Pa.Stat. 4117(a)(2), is barred by
Pennsylvania's two-year limitation on fraud claims; and (b) count VII,
which alleges common law fraud, is barred by Connecticut's three-year
limitation an fraud claims.

The plaintiffs-insurers respond that SBCL is not entitled to summary
judgment because SBCL has failed to prove either that they knew or should
have known of SBCL's fraudulent schemes prior to August 19, 1994, and, in
any event, SBCL's own active, fraudulent concealment of its schemes tolled
the statutes of limitations. The court agrees with SBCL.

Ordinarily, the statute of limitations begins to run "when the plaintiff
knows or has reason to know of the injury which is the basis of *the*
action." Williams v. Perry, 960 F. Supp. 534, 538 (D. Conn. 1996); Pierce
v. Salvation Army, 674 A.2d 1123, 1125 (Pa. Super. 1996)(cause of action
for fraud does not accrue until the fraud has been discovered). A plaintiff
that does not have actual knowledge of the injury may nevertheless trigger
the running of the limitations period if the plaintiff "should have known"
of the injury. Dodds v. CIGNA Securities Inc., 12 F.3d 346, 350 (2d Cir.
1993). "The means of knowledge are the same thing in effect as knowledge
itself." Wood v. Carpenter, 101 U.S. 135, 143, 25 L.Ed. 807 (1879).

Consequently, when circumstances suggest to a person that he may have been
defrauded, a "duty of inquiry" arises and knowledge of the alleged fraud
will be imputed to him. Armstrong v. McAlpin, 699 F.2d 79, 88 (2d Cir.
1983). Such suggestive circumstances are known as "storm warnings" of
possible fraud. Ciccarelli v. Cichner Systems Group, Inc., 862 F. Supp.
1293 (M.D.Pa. 1994); accord In re Integrated Resources, 815 F. Supp. 620,
639 (S.D.N.Y. 1993); Quantum Overseas, N.V. Touche Ross & Co., 663 F. Supp.
658, 663-64 (S.D.N.Y. 1987). Storm warnings need not provide notice of the
entire fraud to constitute inquiry notice. Dodds v. Cigna Securities, Inc.,
12 F.3d 346, 352 (2d Cir. 1993). Once on inquiry notice, the plaintiff has
an obligation to discover the fraud with reasonable diligence. Stone v.
Williams, 970 F.2d 1043, 1049 (2d Cir. 1992)(citing Campell v. Upjohn Co.,
676 F.2d 1122, 1128 (6th Cir. 1982)). "The test as to when fraud should
with reasonable diligence have been discovered is an objective one."
Armstrong, 699 P.2d at 88.

Where, on the other hand, a defendant deliberately conceals material facts
relating to his wrongdoing, time does not begin to run until the plaintiff
discovers, or by reasonable diligence could have discovered, the basis of
the lawsuit. Barrett v. United States, 689 P.2d 324, 327 (2d Cir. 1982).
Deliberate concealment requires "clear, concise and unequivocal evidence"
of conduct directed to the very point of "obtaining a delay in asserting
the cause of action." Gibbons v. NER Holdings, Inc., 983 F. Supp. 310, 317
(D. Conn. 1997); see also Bohus v. Beloff, 950 F.2d 919, 925-26 (3d Cir.
1991); Pocahontas Supreme Coal Co. v. Bethlehem Steel, 828 F.2d 211, 219
(4th Cir. 1987) (claim of fraudulent concealment cannot "rest on no more
than an alleged failure to own up to illegal conduct.")

In this case, the plaintiffs filed the original complaint on August 19,
1997. Count VI, which alleges violations of the Pennsylvania Insurance
Fraud Statute, 18 Pa.Stat. 4117(a)(2), is governed by Pennsylvania's
two-year limitations period governing fraud claims.3 Count VII, which
alleges common law fraud, is governed by Connecticut's three year
limitation on fraud claims. Consequently, the Pennsylvania statutory claim
and the common law fraud claim are time-barred if the challenged billing
practices were "knowable" to the plaintiffs before August 19, 1994 (or 1995
for count VI alone).

The court concludes that because the plaintiffs-insurers knew or had reason
to know of SBCL's challenged practices prior to August 19, 1994, and there
is no evidence of active, fraudulent concealment, counts VI and VII are
time- barred. The undisputed evidence demonstrates that between 1990 and
1993, the national media and various professional organizations released to
the public volumes of information concerning fraudulent billing practices
by several national, clinical laboratories, to include SBCL. This highly
publicized information disclosed federal government investigations and
settlements with several national laboratories for some of the same conduct
as alleged in the within action, to include "unbundling," and "add-ons."
Moreover, federal prosecutors were quoted as saying that these practices
were "industry-wide" and that SBCL had become the subject of a federal
investigation for irregular billing practices. Indeed, one of the
plaintiffs-insurers herein, BC/BS of Texas, admitted to having actual
knowledge of at least some of SBCL's irregular billing practices as early
as August, 1993. BC/BS of Texas, as well as other plaintiffs-insurers
herein, were members of the NHCAA, an organization where members share
information to aid in the investigation of health care fraud.

The court presumes that this highly publicized, industry-wide information
was known to the plaintiffs prior to the end of 1993. See In re Integrated
Resources Real Estate Ltd., Partnerships Sec. Litig., 815 F. Supp. 620, 640
(S.D.N.Y. 1993)("sophisticated investors legally may be presumed to know of
information in the public domain, such as newspapers and magazine
articles."); Seibert v. Sperry Rand Corp., 586 F.2d 949, 952 (2d Cir. 1978)
(plaintiff shareholders presumed to know information in public domain);
Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. Federated Dep't Stores, Inc., 723 F. Supp. 976
(S.D.N.Y. 1989) (plaintiffs should have known about "general publicity" in
the press and the financial community); Bibeault v. Advanced Health Corp.,
1999 WL 301691 at *5 (S.D.N.Y. May 12, 1999) ("when the facts giving rise
to a fraud action are in the public domain, courts regularly impute
constructive knowledge to the plaintiffs for the purpose of triggering the
statute of limitations.")

With deference to the rule that a "storm warning" need not provide notice
of the entire fraud to constitute inquiry notice, the court concludes that
the cumulative affect of the above information constitutes a "storm
warning" of sufficient magnitude to place the insurers on inquiry notice of
SBCL's potentially fraudulent billing practices no later than the end of

As set forth supra, if SBCL fraudulently concealed material facts relating
to its wrongdoing, the limitations period would not begin to run until such
time as the plaintiffs-insurers discovered, or by reasonable diligence
could have discovered, the basis of the lawsuit. Barrett, 689 F.2d at 327.
In this case, however, the plaintiffs-insurers have failed to offer any
evidence that SBCL actively concealed the challenged activities. In this
regard, four of the plaintiffs-insurers, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas,
Golden Rule, Guardian, and John Deere, maintain that they contacted SBCL
about billing irregularities discovered between 1992 and 1995, and assert
that in response, SBCL denied any fraudulent acts. Because, however,
fraudulent concealment cannot "rest on a failure to own up to illegal
conduct," Pocahontas, 828 P.2d at 218-19, the plaintiffs-insurers are not
entitled to a tolling of the limitations period. In sum because the
plaintiffs-insurers knew or had reason to know of SBCL's challenged
practices prior to August 19, 1994, and there is no evidence of active,
fraudulent concealment, counts VI and VII are time- barred. 2. Count VIII

SBCL next argues that count VIII, which seeks relief under the equitable
doctrine of "unjust enrichment," is properly dismissed because under
Connecticut law, a claim sounding in equity is barred if a plaintiff's
related legal claims are time-barred. The plaintiffs-insurers respond that
there is simply no authority for SBCL's proposition and, in any event,
actions in equity are not governed by a statute of limitations. The court
agrees with SBCL.

In Connecticut, claims for "unjust enrichment" are considered "equitable"
rather than "legal" causes of action. See e.g. Meaney v. Connecticut
Hospital Assoc., 250 Conn. 500, 511, 735 A.2d 813 (1999). Where a plaintiff
pursues an action for fraud based on both "legal" and "equitable"
principles, it is well settled that "equity will withhold its remedy if the
legal right is barred by the relevant statute of limitations." Campbell v.
New Milford Bd. of Educ., 36 Conn. Super. 357, 364 n.5, 423 A.2d 900, 905
(Conn. Super. 1980); see also Williams v. Walsh, 558 F.2d 667, 671 (2d Cir.
1977) (affirming summary judgment on "equitable" claim where legal claims
dismissed on limitations grounds). Here, the "equitable" claim for unjust
enrichment is based on the same conduct as the "legal" claims set forth in
counts VI and VII. Because the court has concluded that counts VI and VII
are time-barred, the court will exercise its equitable powers to withhold
relief on the claim for unjust enrichment. Accordingly, summary judgment is
granted with respect to count VIII. Conclusion

For the foregoing reasons, the defendant's motion (document no. 225) is
granted. 2The NHCAA exists to educate its members in the "detection *and*
investigation of health care fraud" and to provide an "information-sharing
network to aid in the investigation of health care fraud."

Pursuant to the choice of law rules of Connecticut, count VI is governed by
a Pennsylvania limitations period. See Rogers v. Grimaldi, 875 F.2d 994,
1002 (2d Cir. 1989)(forum state's choice of law rules govern pendent state
law claims in a federal question case). Under the Connecticut rule,
limitations periods are set by the law of the forum state. Baxter v. Sturm
Ruger & Co., Inc., 230 Conn. 335, 339, 644 A.2d 1297, 1299 (1994) (under
the " general rule," limitations period is set by "lex fori"). An exception
to this general rule, however, requires that the limitations period of a
foreign state apply if (1) the foreign state created the cause of action
statute, and (2) the limitations period is substantive. See Feldt v. Sturm,
Ruger & Co., 721 F. Supp. 403, 406 (D. Conn. 1989) (applying Georgia
limitation in suit where Georgia statute created the cause of action). A
statute of limitations is "substantive" with respect to a right or claim
that was not present at common law. Id. (cause of action did not exist
under Georgia common law). Count VI is created by a Pennsylvania statute,
and its limitations period is "substantive" because the statute gives
insurers new "rights" to seek treble damages and to prove fraud claims by a
preponderance of the evidence, a less stringent standard than the standard
at common law which requires one to prove fraud by "clear and convincing"
evidence. See e.g.,Wexco, Inc. v. IMC, Inc., 820 F. Supp. 194, 203 (M.D.Pa.
1993); Majestic Box Co., Inc. v. Frank, 1998 WL 720463 at *2-3 (E.D.Pa.
Sept. 2, 1998). The limitations period governing Count VI is, accordingly,
substantive and is thus set by Pennsylvania law. The Pennsylvania insurance
fraud statute does not provide its own limitations period and courts have
not ruled on the appropriate limitation. Under Pennsylvania law, a cause of
action based on a statute that lacks an express limitation provision is
governed by the limitation period covering the most "analogous" enumerated
claim. Menchini v. Grant, 995 F. 2d 1224, 1229 (3d Cir. 1993). The cause of
action with a specified limitations period that is most "analogous" to the
plaintiffs' insurance fraud claim is common-law fraud. See e.g., Menchini
v. Grant, 995 F.2d 1224, 1229 (3d Cir. 1993). Accordingly, Count VI is
governed by Pennsylvania's two year limitation on claims for common law
fraud. See 42 Pa. Stat. 5524(7) (two-year limitation on claims for
"tortious conduct" including "deceit or fraud"). Whether or not count VII
is asserted under Connecticut law, it is a common law claim, and therefore
is governed by the Connecticut, three year limitations period for
common-law fraud. See Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-577. (The Connecticut Law
Tribune, May 8, 2000)

TACO BELL: Restaurant General Managers' Suit in CA to Be Tried in 2001
On October 2, 1996, a class action lawsuit against Taco Bell Corp.,
entitled Mynaf, et al. v. Taco Bell Corp. ("Mynaf"), was filed in the
Superior Court of the State of California of the County of Santa Clara. The
lawsuit was filed by two former restaurant general managers and two former
assistant restaurant general managers purporting to represent all current
and former Taco Bell restaurant general managers and assistant restaurant
general managers in California.  The lawsuit alleges  violations of
California wage and hour laws involving unpaid overtime wages. The
complaint also includes an unfair business practices claim. The four named
plaintiffs claim individual damages ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 each.
On September 17, 1998, the court certified a class of approximately 3,000
current and former assistant restaurant general managers and restaurant
general managers. Taco Bell petitioned the appellate court to review the
trial court's certification order. The petition was denied on December 31,
1998. Taco Bell then filed a petition for review with the California
Supreme Court, and the petition was subsequently denied. Class notices were
mailed on August 31, 1999 to over 3,400 class members. The original trial
date of July 10, 2000 has been continued to January 15, 2001.

U S WEST: Retirees Hopeful about Pensions with Acquisition by Qwest
Retirees of U S WEST (NYSE: USW) said on June 6 they are "hopeful" about
the pension/benefit safeguards that were included in Minnesota Public
Utilities Commission decision to approve the acquisition of U S WEST by
Qwest Communications International (NYSE: Q).

"We are disappointed that the Commission didn't order all the safeguards we
had requested," said Jim Norby, president of the 14-state Association of U
S WEST Retirees. "But the Commission has clearly indicated that it expects
US WEST and Qwest to continue honoring historic commitments to retirees,
and especially to ensure that our pension and health plan benefits will not
be reduced."

Norby said that the Association has never opposed the acquisition itself,
as shareholders and as loyal former employees who helped build the company.
"Our only concern is still the potential misuse of ratepayer-approved
money, including a pension-fund surplus of $5.7 billion, to enhance
shareholder earnings and executive compensation." The Association also has
opposed use of U S WEST pension funds for Qwest employees, who do not have
a pension fund.

In June 6's decision, the Minnesota Commission approved the acquisition
after the company settled differences with 12 other intervenors. The
retirees comprised the only intervenor with which U S WEST refused to
mediate issues. The Retiree Association has charged the company with
breaking historic promises by building a huge pension surplus to enhance
earnings and executive pay, with no significant pension increases since

Arnie Albrecht, retired U S WEST regulatory chief for Minnesota and leader
of a team that filed a detailed document with the MPUC in January, said:
"We are not asking for anything unreasonable. We keep hearing that ERISA
precludes state jurisdiction, and will take care of us all. That is an
outmoded view, and the U. S. Supreme Court has given states wider authority
in several ERISA decisions. Customer money was collected by the state, for
specific use by pensioners, and that is a key issue." ERISA is the 1974
federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

"Qwest and U S WEST have said that a combined pension/benefits program has
not been determined," said Norby. "That is strange at best, because it's
inconceivable that use of $14 billion (the fund and $5.7 billion surplus)
isn't part of the deal." He added: "This isn't just about U S WEST.
Retirees of IBM, Bell Atlantic, Prudential, and other companies, are
voicing similar concerns, and that is why we are joining them in the
national Coalition for Retirement Security, to add our voice to theirs, and
to seek legislation protecting America's pensioners."

Norby announced at the Association's annual meeting on May 26 that the
retirees would be joining that national group, and also outlined several
initiatives for the year 2000, including an accelerated membership drive to
recruit all 45,000 retirees, after quadrupling membership in just one year,
to 16,000.

At the annual meeting, Norby also called for: organizing a shareowner
voting bloc of retirees; pushing for election of a retiree shareholder to
the Qwest Board of Directors; initiating a class-action lawsuit if other
means fail, and increasing political activism.

"U S WEST keeps contending that pensions and what they carefully call
'earned benefits' are fully protected by ERISA," said Norby. "But ERISA has
been amended to include more holes than a screen door, all letting
corporations do the very things we're concerned about." He also alluded to
a federal district court ruling in Denver that allows U S WEST "to change
the Pension Plan language any way it wants to."

Of the eight states requiring acquisition approval, only Arizona has not
yet ruled on the deal, and that decision is expected in July. Other states
that have approved it, some with qualifications requiring minor
pension/benefits safeguards, are Colorado, Washington, Iowa, Wyoming, Utah
and Montana. The recent Montana decision included requirements for
pension/benefits safeguards, but with no strong legal-enforcement measures.

"U S WEST vigorously opposed our intervention in these eight states, but
regulators recognized that we had something to say," said Norby. "That, in
itself, is a victory. We have shined the spotlight on potential disaster
for pensioners of U S WEST and other companies, and we have only begun to
seek legally binding assurances. The company continues to say we are
'playing on the fears of retirees.' By that, they admit that retirees have
fears, and well they should."

UNION PACIFIC: Lawsuit Disposition for Eunice Train Derailment Begins
Lawyers representing people seeking damages as a result of the May 27 train
derailment in Eunice met with a federal judge Monday to figure out how best
to try the suits.

At least 15 separate lawsuits have been filed in or moved to U.S. District
Court since a Union Pacific train derailed and some of its hazardous cargo
caught fire. Thousands were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses.
Attorneys for Union Pacific asked for all the suits, many originally filed
in state district court, to be moved to federal court. On Monday U.S.
District Judge Richard T. Haik consolidated the suits into one, Eunice
attorney Kent Aguillard said. About 2,000 people - business owners or
residents - have joined one of the 15 lawsuits filed as of Monday,
Aguillard said.

Two more suits were filed Tuesday in federal court in Lafayette.

After Haik consolidated the suits, he told the attorneys involved to form a
committee to handle the case for now, Aguillard said. The attorneys
compiled a list of 12 to serve on the committee. Of that, six are attorneys
who practice in Eunice, Aguillard said. The others are from Opelousas, New
Orleans, Lafayette and Denham Springs, he said.

The interim steering committee is headed by Denham Springs attorney Calvin
Fayard, Aguillard said. Fayard handled the class action lawsuit following a
1982 train derailment in Livingston Parish and was considered by the others
on the committee to be an expert on how to handle this type of case,
Aguillard said.

The committee plans to further divide itself into subcommittees to handle
all aspects of the class-action suit - discovery, investigation, legal
research, class notifications and public relations, Aguillard said.

A team of investigators hired by the attorneys visited the crash and
clean-up site Tuesday to inspect and catalog information for the
plaintiffs' records, Aguillard said. A judge had ordered Union Pacific not
to dispose of any material until plaintiffs' attorneys could visit the site
to do things such as take soil and water samples, Aguillard said.

Haik is still taking applications from attorneys who want to be on the
permanent committee, which will be named later, Aguillard said. Some of the
attorneys involved, including Aguillard, also were evacuated from their
homes. "Five years from now, we're still going to be here," Aguillard said.
(The Associated Press State & Local Wire, June 7, 2000)

VISA, MASTERCARD: Actions in Card Probe May Point to New Suit
With its antitrust trial against Visa and MasterCard only five days away,
the Department of Justice appears to be stepping up its investigation of
the credit card companies' debit card policies, which raises the question
of whether the government will file a second lawsuit against the card

Over the past couple of months, credit card lenders -- including Citigroup
-- have received subpoenas from the government requesting documents about
debit cards, say sources close to the banks. The government has also been
working closely with lawyers for major U.S. retailers that have filed a
class action against Visa's and MasterCard's debit rules and prices.

This is the first time Citigroup, which does not offer Visa or
MasterCard-branded debit cards, has been asked for records in the debit
card investigation, said a source close to the banking company. The timing
seems curious, some legal experts say, because the Justice Department has
been investigating Visa's and MasterCard's debit card rules since January
1999, when the matter was transferred there from the Federal Trade
Commission, and because the antitrust case against the card associations is
scheduled to begin June 12.

Gina Talamona, a Justice Department spokeswoman, confirmed that the agency
is continuing its investigation.

There are a number of possible reasons, political ones included, that the
government is turning its attention to debit cards with the prosecution of
its credit card case so near. Some experts in antitrust speculate that the
government is turning up the heat to force a settlement with Visa and
MasterCard, but most say there will not be a settlement. A more likely
explanation, they say, is that the government is using the debit
investigation to reinforce the credit card suit.

Several antitrust experts said the government could file a separate lawsuit
to focus on debit cards. That could happen if, for example, the judge
presiding over the credit card suit, Barbara S. Jones, gave some indication
that the government has a strong case. The Department of Justice "could
say, 'We are prepared to sue on the debit card issue; you might as well
settle now,'" said an antitrust attorney who did not want to be named.

"There may be some political leveraging going on here. Lawyers are always
looking to settle," said Lawrence J. White, a former chief economist with
the Justice Department who now teaches economics at New York University's
Stern School of Business.Political maneuverings aside, there is little
doubt of the government's keen interest in antitrust issues relating to
debit cards. In January 2000 the government won the right to obtain the
discovery documents in what is known as the Wal-Mart lawsuit -- the
retailers' class action attacking the Visa and MasterCard debit card rules.
It is scheduled to go to trial in November.

The retailers object to the "honor all cards" rule that requires merchants
accepting Visa and MasterCard to take those brands of debit cards, too. The
merchants say interchange rates on Visa and MasterCard-branded debit cards
are too high, and that they would prefer not to accept these cards. The
rates are higher for these signature-based cards than for other debit
cards, which are authenticated with a personal identification number and do
not bear the association logos. Merchants say the associations should lower
their rates for debit card transactions, in part because they are less
risky than credit card purchases.

In the trial to start next week, the government is seeking to overturn card
association rules prohibiting member banks from issuing competing card
brands -- such as American Express and Discover -- and to change the
governance of the associations to ensure that each of the largest issuers
is aligned with either Visa or MasterCard instead of both.

The government's debit card focus is sharpening, several sources confirm.
Lloyd Constantine of Constantine & Partners, the New York law firm
representing the retailers, said members of his staff speak with government
officials several times a day.

And an attorney on the bank card side who did not want to be identified
said, "Somebody is looking at debit cards" at the Department of Justice,
"and that person is leading a different team from the team working on the
trial." Still, "It's hard to imagine going through years of litigation and
bringing yet another case," said Anita Boomstein, a partner at the New York
law firm Hughes, Hubbard & Reed.

Others see debit cards entering the government's arguments in the credit
card trial in several ways. For one thing, the complaint notes that
American Express and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter are excluded from the debit
market because they are unable to issue cards through banks.

In the meantime, momentum is building against Visa and MasterCard from
other corners. On Monday three New Yorkers filed an antitrust suit against
the card associations accusing them of forcing consumers to pay higher
retail prices -- echoing the charges in the Wal-Mart case. Another consumer
suit, filed against Visa and MasterCard this year in California, focuses on
foreign currency conversion fees. That suit says the companies charge
exorbitant fees for purchases made abroad. (The American Banker, June 7,


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

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