CAR_Public/000609.MBX                     C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

                     Friday, June 9, 2000,  Vol. 2,  No. 112

                                   Headlines

AMAGASAKI: Govt Lost Pollution Suit; Drivers to Pay Higher Tolls
CAPTEC NET: Stockholders Sue over Proposed Merger; Agreement Terminated
COCA-COLA: Sanctions Warned Documents Not Yielded
DIAMOND CAB: Suit Says Dispatchers Refuse to Send Taxis to SE D.C.
DONNA KARAN: Workers Say Chic Togs Were Made in Manhattan Sweatshops

HOOTERS INC: Canadian News Cites Settled US Suit By Male Re Hiring Bias
HOPWOOD: TX University Race-Based Admissions Policies Argued in Court
JIM WALTER: Georgia Residents Who Went Bankrupt Sue Tampa Homebuilder
MIAMI-DADE SCHOOL: Alleged of Life Threatening Fire & Safety Violations
MICROSOFT CORP: Foreign Companies to Join in Antitrust Suit in MD

MOBIL OIL: Australian Action over Contaminated Aviation Fuel Goes Ahead
PERFORMANCE TECHNOLOGIES: Faruqi & Faruqi Files Securities Suit in NY
RANDOM SEARCHES: Suit Challenging Practice in Schools Certified
ST. FRANCIS: Hospitals' Pact to Coordinate Service an Antitrust Issue
TERAYON COMMUNICATIONS: Finkelstein & Krinsk Investigates on Securities

TOBACCO LITIGATION: FL Judge to Hear Expert Witness
TOBACCO LITIGATION: FL Jury Must Award Lump Sum, Not Structured Payout
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Teacher Pension Dumps Stock for Bankruptcy Threat
UNITED INSURANCE: Defends African Americans' FL Suit over Premium Rates
VISA, MASTERCARD: Win Right to Appeal in Stores' Suit

                                      *********

AMAGASAKI: Govt Lost Pollution Suit; Drivers to Pay Higher Tolls
----------------------------------------------------------------
Drivers face the prospect of having to fork out higher tolls on parts of
the Hanshin Expressway as the government tries to tackle pollution
problems plaguing Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture.

The national government's first-ever plan to eliminate pollution in a
single designated area arises from the January loss of a lawsuit that
cost taxpayers a large slice of a 210 million yen payout and demanded
the curbing of emissions of some particles usually produced by
diesel-powered vehicles.

Though the government bodies involved in devising the plan put off
deciding how to deal with diesel-powered vehicles -- one of the greatest
pollutants on the roads -- local governments across the land are
expected to adopt pollution control measures mimicking the move.

Amagasaki residents, who successfully sued the government and the
expressway operator after falling ill because of the adverse affects
excessive traffic had on the environment, hailed parts of the plan. But
they also savaged other aspects of the proposal. "We're grateful merely
for the fact that the government has decided to do something," Mitsuko
Matsu, the leader of the Amagasaki litigants, said. "But they haven't
banned diesel-powered vehicles, which have been the fundamental problem.
I get the feeling it's some kind of cheap trick."

Five central government bodies -- the Transport, International Trade and
Industry, and Construction ministries, and the Environment and National
Police agencies -- came up with a system they refer to as environment
road pricing.

It will target the Hanshin Expressway's Kobe route, which runs above
Route 43 in Amagasaki and the cities of Nishinomiya and Ashiya that lie
to its west. A fiscal '98 test revealed that only 28.6 percent of points
along the road met nationally acceptable levels of harmful objects
emitted by cars and known as Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM). The
national average is 35.7 percent.

Amagasaki residents sickened by SPM sued the government in a battle
fought out in the Kobe District Court.

On Jan. 31, the court ruled that their poor health resulted from air
pollution. It ordered the national government and the Hanshin Expressway
Public Corp. that runs the Hanshin Expressway pay 210 million yen to the
plaintiffs and limit the amount of SPM being emitted on the
thoroughfare.

The crux of the government's idea to limit pollution lies in getting
vehicles to avoid using the Hanshin Expressway's Kobe route in favor of
a coastal route. Government officials are currently carrying out a
feasibility study into the effects that greater traffic levels on the
coastal route would have on regular roads. If the government adopts the
environment road-pricing system, it could be as early as April that
large-scale vehicles such as trucks would have to either pay more than
the existing 1,400 yen toll to use the Kobe route, or receive a discount
for traveling along the coastal route. (Mainichi Daily News, June 8,
2000)


CAPTEC NET: Stockholders Sue over Proposed Merger; Agreement Terminated
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On April 24, 2000 Captec Net Lease Realty, Inc. was notified that two
lawsuits had been filed against the Company in the Court of Chancery of
the State of Delaware in and for New Castle County.

   Steiner v. Beach, et al., C.A. 18005NC (Delaware Chancery Court)

A complaint was filed by William Steiner, a stockholder of the Company,
individually and on behalf of an alleged class consisting of the public
stockholders of the Company, other than the defendants and any person
related to or affiliated with the defendants, against the Company,
Captec Financial Group, Inc., Captec Net Lease Realty Advisors, Inc. and
each of the Company's directors individually in the Court of Chancery of
the State of Delaware in and for New Castle County.

The allegations of the complaint arise from a December 20, 1999 Omnibus
Agreement and Plan of Merger by and among the Company, Captec
Acquisition, Inc., Financial Group and Advisors, which provides for the
merger of Acquisition with and into Financial Group and of Advisors with
and into the Company. The complaint alleges, among other things, that
the defendants breached their fiduciary duties and other common law
duties owed to the Steiner Alleged Class in approving the Merger, the
Merger is unfair to the Company's stockholders, and the Steiner Alleged
Class will be irreparably damaged if the Merger is consummated. The
complaint seeks a declaration that the suit is properly maintainable as
a class action, the certification of Mr. Steiner as representative of
the Steiner Alleged Class, a preliminary and permanent injunction
against the Merger, rescission of the Merger in the event the Merger is
consummated prior to disposition of the claim, and compensatory damages
and reasonable attorneys fees and expenses incurred by the Steiner
Alleged Class.

    Bailey v. Beach, et al., C.A. 18006NC (Delaware Chancery Court)

A complaint was filed by John W. Bailey, a stockholder of the Company,
individually and on behalf of an alleged class consisting of the public
stockholders of the Company, other than defendants, against the Company,
Financial Group, Advisors and each of the Company's directors
individually in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware in and
for New Castle County.

The complaint alleges, among other things, that the defendants breached
their fiduciary duties to the Bailey Alleged Class, the defendants
failed to disclose material facts about the Merger in seeking
stockholder action with respect to the Merger, the Merger is unfair to
the Company's stockholders, and the Bailey Alleged Class will be
irreparably damaged if the Merger is consummated. The complaint seeks a
declaration that the suit is properly maintainable as a class action,
the certification of Mr. Bailey as representative of the Bailey Alleged
Class, a preliminary and permanent injunction against the Merger, an
order compelling the defendants to correct misrepresentations and
omissions in the defendants' disclosures to stockholders concerning the
Merger, an order compelling the defendants to seek, consider and develop
alternatives to the Merger that would provide the best value available
to the public stockholders, rescission of the Merger in the event the
Merger is consummated prior to disposition of the claim, and
compensatory damages and attorneys fees and expenses incurred by the
Bailey Alleged Class.

On May 1, 2000, the Company, Acquisition, Financial Group and Advisors
executed an agreement terminating the Merger Agreement.


COCA-COLA: Sanctions Warned Documents Not Yielded
-------------------------------------------------
A federal magistrate has lost patience with Coca-Cola Co. and says the
company may face sanctions if it doesn't turn over documents by Friday
to lawyers representing plaintiffs in a discrimination lawsuit.

In another development, relations between two law firms representing two
groups of minority employees against Coke are growing openly
contentious. The plaintiffs' firm that has complained Coca-Cola is
withholding documents now faces accusations from Florida lawyer Willie
Gary that it won't share documents with him. Gary represents three
employees jettisoned in April from the potential class action suit.

A year ago, U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story ordered Coca-Cola to
give plaintiffs' lawyers an employee data base that includes information
on compensation, promotions, demotions and transfers of current and
former employees. Story ordered the company to make the information
available by July 1, 1999. Abdallah v. The Coca-Cola Co., No.
1:98-CV-3679, May, 25, 2000.)

The company never produced the information, according to plaintiff's
attorneys H. Lamar Mixson and Jeffrey O. Bramlett of Atlanta's
Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore.

                          Sanctions Motion Granted

Now U.S. Magistrate E. Clayton Scofield III has granted a six-month-old
motion filed by the firm that asks for sanctions. Scofield ordered
Coca-Cola to certify by Friday "that it has made full and complete
production as required, or show cause, upon penalty of sanctions, why it
has not done so." He scheduled a hearing on the matter for June 23.

Coca-Cola lawyer Michael W. Johnston of Atlanta's King & Spalding
declined comment. But in a response to a subsequent sanctions motion
filed by the employee's legal team, Coke lawyers claimed that Bondurant,
Mixson's attorneys "deliberately misconstrue the 'facts' in order to
contend that Coca-Cola has stonewalled . To the contrary, Coca-Cola has
worked diligently to comply and has devoted extensive time and effort to
the identification, collection, review and preparation of documents for
production."

Bondurant, Mixson lawyers also are fighting with Coca-Cola to depose
company director Herbert Allen, president and chief executive officer of
the New York investment banking firm Allen & Co. Company lawyers are
seeking a protective order to quash Allen's deposition, claiming the
employees' attorneys are seeking to depose Allen "for no apparent reason
other than to harass Mr. Allen and Coca- Cola and to once again generate
headlines."

Allen chairs the board's compensation committee, which approves salaries
for officers and employees eligible for stock options.

The hardball litigation continues despite ongoing attempts to settle the
discrimination suit through mediation, says Bramlett. Efforts to reach
an agreement through court-ordered mediation have not forestalled the
plaintiffs' pursuit of class action status and their lawyers'
preparation for a court battle should mediation fail, Bramlett says.

"There are two tracks," he says. "One is the mediation track. One is the
litigation track."

Meanwhile, Gary, who represents four of the original plaintiffs in the
suit against Coca-Cola, filed a motion demanding that his clients'
former lawyers release hundreds of pages of documents and investigative
files compiled during the two years since the suit was filed.

"Ethically, when attorneys either release their clients or clients
release their attorneys, all the files need to be transferred to the new
counsel," says Gary associate Tricia "C.K." Hoffler. "Our position is we
didn't get all the files we needed to get."

"From our standpoint, it's very inappropriate what they've furnished ..
We can't imagine why they haven't. We did what ethically we felt we
needed to do."

Bramlett insists that his firm has given Gary "all the documents that
relate to the claims of the individuals he represents," including their
deposition transcripts and interrogatory responses.

But, he acknowledges, "We have not turned over to Mr. Gary's firm the
information that we have generated on behalf of the class," much of it
information that Coca-Cola, reluctantly released as part of discovery.

Bramlett says the problem is that, using a court order issued last year
as its authority, soft drink company executives and their lawyers have
classified most of the information as confidential. "We think all the
stuff should be on the public record, anyway," Bramlett says. "But we're
prohibited by the court from turning it over."

Bramlett says that when he and his co-counsel suggested to Gary "that he
join with us in challenging the breadth of the court's order. Instead,
he has turned his attack on us instead of the company. And we will deal
with it in due course." (Fulton County Daily Report, June 8, 2000)


DIAMOND CAB: Suit Says Dispatchers Refuse to Send Taxis to SE D.C.
------------------------------------------------------------------
A civil rights group filed a federal racial discrimination lawsuit
against Diamond Cab Co. of D.C., alleging that the firm's dispatchers
routinely fail to provide cabs for black Southeast Washington residents
calling for service.

The class-action lawsuit, brought by The Equal Rights Center and two
black Southeast Washington residents, came after a series of test calls
last year to Diamond's dispatchers showed a huge gap in response between
predominantly white areas in Northwest and predominantly black areas in
Southeast, civil rights advocates said.

David Berenbaum, executive director of the center, said the lawsuit is
unique because it involves allegations about company-controlled
dispatching, rather than the practices of individual drivers on the
streets. For years, black D.C. residents have complained about their
difficulties in hailing cabs at curbside, particularly at night.

"Here we have a record based on testing the company directly," Berenbaum
said. "This is not an issue of driver availability. Here we have a
dispatcher making a decision as a company representative that
intentionally discriminates in the marketplace."

Diamond, the oldest cab company in the District, says in the Yellow
Pages that it offers 24-hour, radio-dispatched service to "DC & the
entire Metro area." With 295 cabs, Diamond is one of the city's largest
providers of dispatched service.

Philip Lebet, Diamond's acting chief dispatcher, said the company does
not discriminate against anyone and expressed surprise at the
allegations. "Nobody told us we're being sued, and we're not aware
there's any problems," Lebet said. "Do we engage in that kind of
conduct? Of course not. That's against the law." Lebet said people
throughout Washington have to wait longer for cabs these days because of
a shortage of drivers and increased demand. But he said those problems
extend to all parts of the District, not just the Southeast quadrant.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, accuses Diamond Cab of
violating the federal Civil Rights Act and local laws. Federal civil
rights laws cover the actions of private businesses that offer services
to the public; in this case, Diamond is accused of refusing to serve
people because of their race. The D.C. code calls for taxicab companies
to provide service to all people and to all parts of the city, and the
D.C. Human Rights Act also bars companies from engaging in
discrimination.

The suit seeks an unspecified amount of money in damages and a court
order requiring Diamond Cab to provide equal service to all parts of the
city.

The tests were done by volunteers who called Diamond's taxi dispatchers
at roughly the same time from locations in Northwest and Southeast.
According to the lawsuit, all 14 requests for service in Northwest
resulted in Diamond cabs. But in Southeast, the lawsuit said, only one
cab showed up in 14 attempts. According to the lawsuit, "the results of
the study demonstrate an unmistakable and egregious pattern of racial
discrimination, as well as discrimination on the basis of residence."

In many cases, callers in Southeast were promised cabs but none showed
up, the lawsuit said. In others, Diamond's dispatchers said no cabs were
available, referred callers to other companies or simply hung up, the
lawsuit alleged.

Berenbaum said tests of other D.C. cab companies turned up indications
of similar problems. For example, he said Yellow Cab Co. of D.C. showed
up nine of 11 times in neighborhoods in Northwest, but three of 11 times
in Southeast. By contrast, Capitol Cab Cooperative Association Inc.
responded to seven of nine calls from Southeast, he said, but appeared
only five of 12 times in Northwest.

The Equal Rights Center is pursuing an industry-wide investigation, and
further legal action is possible, Berenbaum said.

Vaughn Williams, president of Yellow Cab Co., said that his dispatchers
try to serve callers in Southeast but that they cannot control the
actions of drivers, who own their own cabs. Despite company policy,
"many drivers don't want to work Southeast," and they roam in Northwest
instead, Williams said.

"If there are no drivers in Southeast, we can call a job until we're
blue in the face, but nobody is there," said Williams, adding that he
would be willing to work with The Equal Rights Center and others to find
a solution to the problem.

In the action against Diamond, the two named plaintiffs are Lamont
Mitchell, a special assistant to Mayor Anthony A. Williams for East of
the River Neighborhood Revitalization, and Viola Bowen, a retired Navy
employee. Berenbaum said other named plaintiffs will likely be added as
more complaints are reviewed.

"I think the taxicab industry is the last bastion of segregated life in
Washington," said Mitchell, 44. "You can go and buy a $ 200,000 or $
300,000 home, go to Howard University or Georgetown, but you can't catch
a cab ride home."

Mitchell, whose job calls upon him to promote development in Southeast
Washington, said he has called Diamond's dispatchers repeatedly over the
years, only to get the same response. "They promise you they're going to
come, and they don't come," he said.

Bowen, 82, said she waited in vain for 90 minutes last month after
calling a Diamond dispatcher for a taxi to take her from her home on
Alabama Avenue SE to a downtown department store, where she wanted to
buy a white dress for her granddaughter to wear at a high school
graduation ceremony. She finally gave up, she said, and wound up giving
her granddaughter money so that the teenager could buy the dress
herself.

"If you have a doctor's appointment, or some other place you want to go,
it's very stressful when they don't show," Bowen said. "It's not a good
feeling."

Taxi companies frequently have been accused of racial discrimination in
the District and other major cities. Phil Pannell, a Southeast
Washington community activist who leads the Ward 8 Democrats, said he
hoped the lawsuit would change the way Diamond and other cab companies
in Washington do business. Pannell, who is not part of the suit, said,
"I can now see why we don't see Diamond cabs in Ward 8 that often. I've
had problems myself."

The Equal Rights Center, a nonprofit civil rights group formed last
year, crafted the lawsuit with pro bono assistance from the law firm of
Crowell & Moring and the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
and Urban Affairs. The lawyers committee pursued a discrimination suit
against other taxicab companies in Washington a decade ago.

"Think how many people have missed airplanes or trains or appointments
because of this," said Roderic V.O. Boggs, executive director of the
lawyers committee. "In most of these cases, they say they will come, and
they don't do it." (The Washington Post, June 8, 2000)


DONNA KARAN: Workers Say Chic Togs Were Made in Manhattan Sweatshops
--------------------------------------------------------------------
A group of garment workers sued Donna Karan International in federal
court Wednesday, saying the designer's chic togs were made under
sweatshop conditions in Manhattan's Fashion District.

The employees, mostly Chinese immigrants, said they were forced to work
long hours with no overtime pay. Some claimed they were paid less than
minimum wage. "Donna Karan has been treating workers like slaves, "Sau
Kwan Yu of the Chinese Staff and Workers Association said at a news
conference. "We want to see a 40- hour workweek and a living wage."

Five plaintiffs filed the class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in
Manhattan on behalf of what they said were about 300 workers, many of
them women, who sew Donna Karan garments in New York. They alleged
abuses in at least two Fashion District factories, but lawyer Ken
Kimerling said he believed there were several others.

The factories were run by companies working on contracts for Donna Karan
International, but Kimerling said the designer's representatives knew
about the long hours and lack of overtime pay.

"They have people in those factories every day,"said Kimerling, legal
director at the Asian-American Legal Defense and Education Fund. "They
know how much they're paying for those garments."

Donna Karan International issued a statement saying it could not comment
on the lawsuit because it had not yet reviewed it.

The statement also said the company expected its contractors to follow
labor laws and"proper ethical standards,"and that it had set up a
factory compliance program"to promote adherence to these standards." "As
a company founded by a woman and an employer of a great many women at
all levels, we are always working toward the advancement and further
empowerment of women, both inside and outside our organization."

Donna Karan was among five clothing retailers who agreed in October to
settle a lawsuit over working conditions at factories in Saipan.

Zeng Liu, 47, a plaintiff who worked for 2 1/2 years making Donna Karan
garments at an Eighth Avenue factory called Jen Chu, said the company
retaliated against workers who complained by shutting down several weeks
ago and leaving 1 NEW3 them jobless. An affiliated company, Jen Jen
fashions, continues to produce Donna Karan garments, Kimerling said.
Zeng said he often worked more than 70 hours a week for $ 8.50 an hour,
but was not given overtime pay. (The Record (Bergen County, NJ), June 8,
2000)


HOOTERS INC: Canadian News Cites Settled US Suit By Male Re Hiring Bias
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The Hooters restaurant chain is no stranger to controversy, nor is it
one to success. The Atlanta-based Hooters Inc. operates more than 250
franchise restaurants around the world. There are 10 locations in
Canada, including two in the Ottawa area. Hooters Inc. opened its first
restaurant in Clearwater, Florida, in 1983. There are franchises in at
least 40 U.S. states, four Canadian provinces and eight other countries,
including, Britain, Mexico and Singapore. The chain employs about 15,000
people, two-thirds of which are waitresses, also known as ''Hooters
Girls.''

Many have criticized Hooters for its portrayal of women. The Hooters
girls -- invariably young and buxom --wear uniforms that consist of
tight-fitting tank tops and shorts.

But regardless of criticism, business has been good for the Hooters
chain, including the franchise in Bells Corners that opened in April
1999. ''A lot of people, when we came to Ottawa, hadn't been in a
Hooters before,'' said Leighton Rae, general manager of the restaurant.
''It took off a lot better than expected. We've been going solid ever
since we opened.''

Mr. Rae said some people, who have never been to a Hooters, get the
wrong idea about the restaurant. He denied his restaurant is harmful.
''We attract all kinds of clientele,'' said Mr. Rae. ''Mostly men.
However, our family business is taking off.'' Mr. Rae said the Cornwall
students' punishment was in appropriate. ''I thought it was a little bit
blown out of proportion,'' he said. ''I hope the teachers of that school
do as well. It's more of a lack of supervision on the teachers' part
than it really is us. We just kind of got dragged into this.''

As for the hiring criteria for waitresses, Mr. Rae said physical
appearance is not No. 1 on the list. ''We want to create a very fun
atmosphere,'' he said. ''The biggest thing is have the right attitude
and a great personality and a big smile.'' Looks are a factor in the
hiring process, he said, but that's normal at every restaurant. He
admitted ''our uniforms fit an athletic figure.''

The recent suspensions are the latest in a long list of controversies
that have surrounded the restaurant chain. Last year, Edmonton lawyer
Suzanne Dawson filed a formal attempt to block Hooters Inc. from
securing a Canadian trademark, claiming the name was derogatory and
offensive. No ruling has been made.

In a U.S. ruling in 1997, Hooters Inc. settled a class-action suit filed
by a group of men who weren't hired because of their gender. The chain
agreed to pay the plaintiffs $3.75 million. The ruling allowed Hooters
restaurants to continue to hire an exclusively female staff, as long as
it provided other jobs for male employees.

Then in 1997, Gabriella Petivoky, Miss Canada International, had her
crown revoked for taking a job at a Hooters restaurant in Surrey, B.C.
The Hooters Inc. Web site dismisses charges of sexism: ''Hooters girls
have the same right to use their natural female sex appeal to earn a
living as do super models Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campell.'' (The
Ottawa Citizen, June 8, 2000)


HOPWOOD: TX University Race-Based Admissions Policies Argued in Court
---------------------------------------------------------------------
A court decision which has become synonymous with affirmative action
policies in Texas universities will be argued Wednesday, but attorneys
on both sides are unsure if the issues for which the controversial case
is known will surface in court.

The case known as Hopwood, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
decision that effectively ended affirmative action in Texas
universities, will be argued in court for the fourth time. Attorneys for
the University are hopeful that the three-judge panel will question the
constitutionality of a ruling that said the UT School of Law was
prohibited from using race-based admissions policies.

"The argument will probably be most about whether the students were
admissible even without affirmative action programs, and the damages
awarded," said Doug Laycock, a UT professor of Law who has been involved
in the case since the early stages. "Our guy will certainly go in to
describe our side of the case, but the main point of the oral argument
is to answer questions."

U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks made the decision after the 5th
Circuit Court ruled that the law schools racial classifications did not
serve the state's interest. Now, UT attorneys are saying Sparks, in his
ruling, overstepped his constitutional duty by not ruling in accordance
with the precedent established by Bakke vs. the UC-Davis Medical School.

"There's an injunction in the case that is similar to the one ruled
unconstitutional in Bakke," said Allan VanFleet, an attorney with Vinson
& Elkins, L. L. P., a firm assisting the University in its appeal. "The
prior panel overstepped its constitutional grounds. They need to follow
[the U.S.] the Supreme Court's ruling in Bakke." Bakke is a U.S. Supreme
Court ruling that said specific racial quotas are forbidden, but that
schools may use race as a factor for admissions.

Doug Cox, a Washington, D.C. attorney who will represent the plaintiffs,
Cheryl Hopwood and Douglas Carvell, said he does not believe issues of
affirmative action will arise during the arguments. The court, he said,
made their decision regarding that issue in 1996. "Those were subjects
from the last case," Cox said. "The state of Texas has tried to raise
those issues again by asking the court to hear this case en banc, but
the court voted against deciding the case that way."

If the court were to listen to the case en banc, a full panel of 15
judges not three would hear and rule on the case. Van Fleet, who said
the case deserves the attention that would be given by a full court,
said an appeal for an en banc hearing would be probably end in favor of
the plaintiff. In addition to the issues that have sparked so much
controversy among legal experts nationwide, there are appeals from both
sides, claiming the compensation was decided incorrectly on Sparks.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court in 1996 decided that the law school's
affirmative action policies were unconstitutional, but Sparks awarded
the plaintiffs only one dollar each an amount far from the $ 5 million
each plaintiff requested.

Cox's concern for the case, he said, is seeing that the plaintiffs are
awarded compensation in line with that of most favorable civil rulings.
"Hopwood and Carvell are basically seeking the remedies that are
ordinarily available to civil rights case winners," said Cox. In
addition to the damages usually awarded to civil court victors, Hopwood
is seeking admission into the UT law school and money for emotional
damages that Cox said incurred due to her rejection by the law school.
Cox said experts and friends of Hopwood have testified that she was a
different person after not being accepted to the school.

Sparks ruled in 1998 that the students would not have made it into the
school even under a race neutral system of admissions, thus he awarded
the students only nominal damages.

While UT counsel will argue that the 5th Circuit Court should affirm
that ruling, they have taken issue with the approximately $ 775,000 in
lawyer and court fees that was awarded. Oral arguments will be held
Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. in New Orleans. Each side will have 20
minutes to argue their cases. (Source: U. Texas-Austin, 2000 Daily Texan
via U-Wire)


JIM WALTER: Georgia Residents Who Went Bankrupt Sue Tampa Homebuilder
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Two Georgia residents who bought houses from Jim Walter Homes Inc. and
later went bankrupt have filed suit against the Tampa homebuilder,
claiming it broke Georgia law by secretly charging them for
collection-related legal fees.

The suit, filed late last month in Cobb County Superior Court, claims
Jim Walter Homes and an affiliated company without warning charged Joann
Davis and Tommy C. Roach for legal fees incurred while trying to collect
on their late mortgage payments. The companies added $ 475 to the
principal of Davis' loan for the fees and $ 810 to Roach's principal but
didn't notify them, the suit says.

Georgia law requires lenders to notify borrowers that they have 10 days
to make payment or assume the lenders' legal fees, the suit says.

Without specifying a dollar amount, the suit seeks reimbursement of the
fees, compensatory and punitive damages, and attorneys' fees.

A spokesman for the companies' parent, Walter Industries Inc. of Tampa,
said the suit was without merit. "We'll contest it," David L. Townsend
said.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs have asked the court for class-action
status. If granted, other Georgia customers of Jim Walter Homes could
potentially join the suit. (St. Petersburg Times, June 08, 2000)


MIAMI-DADE SCHOOL: Alleged of Life Threatening Fire & Safety Violations
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The parents of four Miami-Dade County Public School students have filed
a class- action lawsuit in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court on behalf of
all parents with children in public schools. The lawsuit asks the Court
to order the Miami-Dade School Board to immediately rectify fire and
safety code violations at numerous local public schools that have been
cited by local fire officials as life threatening to students, teachers
and other school employees.

The Miami-Dade County Fire Marshal and other similar fire authorities
have cited numerous public schools in Miami-Dade County for violations
of State of Florida Fire Safety Standards, including inoperable fire
alarm systems, locked gates which are supposed to be fire exits, and
classrooms without fire exits. Under current State law the County Fire
Marshal or other fire authorities have no enforcement power over fire
code violations in public schools. A recent Fire Marshal's inspection
found the "vast majority of public schools in Miami-Dade are not safe
and secure and in compliance with SREF regulations," and "almost half
the public schools within Miami-Dade have been cited for failure to
maintain and inspect fire alarms."

The class-action suit alleges that the Dade County School Board
uniformly places children in "imminent danger of substantial physical
harm." The violations were found at schools located in Dade's
unincorporated area, and numerous cities including Miami Beach, Coral
Gables, Surfside, El Portal, and North Bay Village.

Contact: Adorno & Zeder P.A., Miami Sarah N. Artecona, Marketing
Director, 305/860-7017 Email: sna@adorno.com


MICROSOFT CORP: Foreign Companies to Join in Antitrust Suit in MD
-----------------------------------------------------------------
A proposed class of foreign companies has joined the burgeoning class
action consumer's antitrust suit against Microsoft Inc. currently
pending in U.S. District Court in Maryland.

Attorneys Michael M. Baylson, Melissa H. Maxman, Edward G. Biester III,
John C. Ryan, Sandra A. Jeskie and Julie S. Lu of Duane Morris &
Heckscher in Philadelphia filed the suit on behalf of two British
companies and one Swiss company.The suit, filed on Tuesday, mirrors the
suit already lodged by the U.S. Justice Department in which U.S.
District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson of the District of Columbia has
ruled that Microsoft must be split in two because it engaged in illegal
monopolizing tactics.

While Judge Jackson's case has garnered most of the media attention, all
of the private lawsuits against Microsoft have been assigned to Chief
U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz of Maryland under the
Multi-District Litigation program. So far, all of the suits have been
filed on behalf of American companies and consumers. More than 90 of the
100-plus suits are brought on behalf of "end users," or ordinary
consumers, many of whom seek to represent a class of consumers from
their own state, often bringing both federal and states antitrust
claims.

The remaining suits were brought on behalf of "direct purchasers,"
companies involved in computer hardware or software sales that contract
with Microsoft to re-license large quantities of its Windows operating
system. Now, three European companies are taking a seat at the table,
seeking to represent a class of "all persons and entities outside the
United States ... who purchased a license to use and resell any of the
following: MS-DOS, Windows 95, upgrades to higher MS-DOS versions,
upgrades to or of Windows 95, Windows 98, or other software products in
which MS-DOS or Windows has been incorporated in full or in part,
directly from Microsoft, or from any subsidiary, affiliate or authorized
dealer thereof, at anytime during the period from Jan. 1, 1990 to the
present." The three companies are Silverware Ltd., based in Reading,
Berkshire, England; Data Unit AG, based in Sursee, Switzerland; and
Datacrown Ltd., based in Todmorden, Lancashire, England.

In an interview, attorney Maxman said that the end-user lawsuits face
significant hurdles due to federal antitrust caselaw that makes it
difficult to establish standing as an indirect purchaser.But the suits
brought by computer sales companies are not likely to have that problem,
she said, since they can show that Microsoft strictly controlled the
channels of commerce and forced most retailers to purchase Microsoft
software through a small number of authorized direct purchasers.The suit
says Microsoft is the world's largest independent software company with
fiscal 1999 revenues of $ 19.75 billion. The company's net income
reached $ 7.785 billion in fiscal 1999, up from $ 4.490 billion the
prior year.Joining the Philadelphia lawyers in bringing the suit are
attorney Eric J. Sinrod of the Duane Morris office in San Francisco and
James P. Ulwick of Kramon & Graham in Baltimore. (The Legal
Intelligencer, June 8, 2000)


MOBIL OIL: Australian Action over Contaminated Aviation Fuel Goes Ahead
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A $100 million Supreme Court class action by those affected by the
contaminated aviation fuel crisis can go ahead, the Victorian Court of
Appeal ruled. The court had been asked to rule on the Supreme Court's
powers to determine class actions. Mobil Oil Australia had argued that
the Supreme Court's rules on class actions were unconstitutional and
that the case against it should be thrown out. However, in a 3-2
majority the Court of Appeal ruled the action could resume and referred
the case back to the original judge who began hearing it earlier this
year. The action is scheduled to resume on June 16 before Justice John
Hedigan. The appeal by Mobil, before five judges, had stalled the claim
over the contaminated fuel crisis, which grounded thousands of light
aircraft in December and January.

A Victorian Supreme Court ruling on class actions was a major step
forward in winning compensation for victims of the Mobil fuel
contamination crisis, law firms said. The Full Court of Appeal rejected
3-2 Mobil's appeal against the Victorian Supreme Court's rules for
running class actions.

Law firms Slater & Gordon and Maurice Blackburn Cashman, who represent
hundreds of Australian businesses and individuals affected by last
summer's fuel crisis, have welcomed the decision. The Mobil class action
will now go back to the Supreme Court on June 16. Slater & Gordon
partner, Peter Gordon, said lawyers would be seeking to have the issues
of liability tried as soon as possible. "We have always said there is a
strong case against Mobil," Mr Gordon told reporters. "We are delighted
to say that this class action, grounded of course for the last five
months, is now flying high. "We've got the green light to go ahead with
this class action and the hundreds of aircraft owners and affected
people in this class action will now have an opportunity to have their
compensation claims expeditiously processed."

Maurice Blackman Cashman partner, Bernard Murphy, said Mobil's plan had
crash landed. "It's a very bad day for Mobil," Mr Murphy told reporters.
"They've spent half a million dollars on trying to delay this case and
they've been brought to a screeching halt. "And now, rural and regional
small businesses who've suffered losses of hundreds of millions of
dollars will be able to pursue these claims," he said.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority earlier this year issued a formal
directive grounding thousands of small aircraft which had used Mobil
aviation gasolene through November 21 and December 23 last year. The
fuel came from Mobil Altona refinery in Victoria. Comment was being
sought from Mobil. The ruling also could have implications for other
class actions, such as the Melbourne Aquarium legionella case. (AAP
Newsfeed, June 8, 2000)


PERFORMANCE TECHNOLOGIES: Faruqi & Faruqi Files Securities Suit in NY
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP announces that on May 24, 2000, a
class action lawsuit was commenced in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of New York on behalf of all purchasers of
Performance Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: PTIX) common stock between
February 2, 2000, and May 19, 2000, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The Complaint charged Performance Technologies and certain of its
executive officers with violations of the federal securities laws,
including Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 and Rule 10b-5. Among other things, plaintiff claims that
defendants issued a series of materially false and misleading statements
in press releases and SEC filings concerning Performance Technologies'
revenues and earnings. As a result, the price of Performance
Technologies' common stock was inflated throughout the Class Period.

Contact: FARUQI & FARUQI, LLP ANTHONY VOZZOLO, ESQ. MS. LANA YAMNIZKI,
Shareholder Relations Manager 877/247-4292 or 212/983-9330 Fax:
212/983-9331 FaruqiLawAV@aol.com)


RANDOM SEARCHES: Suit Challenging Practice in Schools Certified
---------------------------------------------------------------
A girl in the Little Rock School District who is challenging random
searches in schools will be allowed to represent all of the district's
secondary students, a federal judge says.

The judge has granted class-action status to a lawsuit filed by the
anonymous girl. The suit, filed on June 1, 1999, claims the district's
random searches violate the Constitution's guarantee against
unreasonable searches and seizures.

U.S. District Judge Stephen M. Reasoner, in a written order filed
Tuesday, said the suit will now represent all students in the seventh
grade or higher as of the 1999-2000 school year.

The original plaintiff was identified in the suit only as "Jane Doe,"
who as a minor was represented through her parents, "Mr. and Mrs. John
Doe."

According to the suit, the girl was among a classroom of students at an
unidentified school who were subjected in the fall of 1998 to a random
search for weapons. No weapons were turned up in the search, but a small
container of marijuana was found in the girl's purse.

The girl was prosecuted in juvenile court, the suit said, where a
negotiated plea of guilty was entered to a misdemeanor charge. She was
placed on probation, given a curfew, had her driver's license suspended
and was subjected to periodic drug screens, the suit said.

According to the suit, the random searches are done with "an
identifiable group of students," such as those in one particular bus,
classroom, lunch period or row of lockers.

In the girl's case, the suit said, all students in the class had to
empty their pockets and put the contents on a table, along with purses
and book bags. They were then told to leave the room and be scanned by a
metal detector, while school authorities searched the purses and bags.

The suit seeks an injunction against such searches and a declaration
that they are unconstitutional. (The Associated Press State & Local
Wire, June 8, 2000)


ST. FRANCIS: Hospitals' Pact to Coordinate Service an Antitrust Issue
---------------------------------------------------------------------
A district court found that two hospitals had violated the antitrust
laws by agreeing to coordinate their service offerings and engaging in
joint negotiations with purchasers of their services. The Federal Trade
Commission proposed to settle a challenge to similar conduct of a
surgeons' association. Other interesting antitrust developments reported
recently included an appellate ruling that expert evidence was
inadequate to uphold a large verdict against a dominant manufacturer,
and the beginning of the remedy phase of the case brought against
Microsoft Corp. by the Antitrust Division and several states.

                                 Conspiracy

A district court ruled that two nonprofit hospitals in the same local
area had violated the antitrust laws by forming a joint venture to
coordinate their activities. The court stated that the activities at
issue, including joint negotiation with third-party payors and
agreements not to compete for patients, were per se unlawful. The fact
that the formation of the venture had been approved by state authorities
was held insufficient to confer state action immunity. The court
observed that the activities approved by the authorities did not include
joint negotiations with respect to the full array of hospital services
the joint venture sought to make available, and the state had not
actively supervised the activities in question. State of New York v. St.
Francis Hospital, 2000-1 CCH Trade Cas. P 72,860 (S.D.N.Y.) (New York
Law Journal, May 25, 2000)


TERAYON COMMUNICATIONS: Finkelstein & Krinsk Investigates on Securities
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Finkelstein & Krinsk, is pursuing an aggressive investigation of the
activities of Terayon Communications Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: TERN)
between at least February 2, 2000 and April 11, 2000, concerning
allegations of artificial inflation of the Company's stock price and
other violations of the securities and other laws.

Certain shareholders have alleged that Terayon disseminated materially
false and misleading statements to the public, concerning, among other
things, the certification of the Company's proprietary S-CDMA cable
modem technology by CableLabs (the industry regulating organization),
the Company's financial condition and the effects of each on the
Company's operations. These shareholders further allege that the Company
deceived the investing public regarding Terayon's business, new product
capabilities and acceptability as an industry standard technology,
foreseeable product demand, growth, operations and the intrinsic value
of Terayon common stock. It is also alleged that the Company's
activities allowed Company insiders to sell over 71,000 shares of their
privately held Terayon common stock while in possession of materially
adverse, undisclosed information, allowing them to reap proceeds of at
least $ 15.9 million.

Contact: Jeffrey R. Krinsk, Esq., of Finkelstein & Krinsk, toll free --
877-493- 5366, 619-238-1333


TOBACCO LITIGATION: FL Judge to Hear Expert Witness
---------------------------------------------------
Reversing himself, a state judge in a Florida class-action suit against
the tobacco industry said Tuesday he will allow an expert witness to
testify about tobacco companies international operations. Miami-Dade
Circuit Judge Robert Kaye had ruled Monday that the jury would only be
allowed to hear testimony about the companies domestic operations to
determine their value for assessing punitive award.

On Tuesday, Judge Kaye told the lawyers before the start of the trial
that he wanted to hear all the expert testimony. The witness, University
of Miami law school professor George Mundstock, told the judge outside
the presence of the jury Monday that for purposes of determining
punitive damages, Philip Morris Cos. had a value of $ 118 billion
including domestic and international operations. The judge ruled Tuesday
he wants the jury to hear all of Mundstocks testimony valuing the worth
of the companies, including international operations.

While the ruling applied only to Philip Morris, lawyers said it would
affect four other tobacco company defendants as well. Other defendants
include R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc. Brown & Williamson, a unit
of British American Tobacco PLC; Lorillard Tobacco Co., a unit of Loews
Corp.; and Brooke Group Ltd.s (NYSE: BGL) Liggett unit. (Broward Daily
Business Review, June 7, 2000)


TOBACCO LITIGATION: FL Jury Must Award Lump Sum, Not Structured Payout
----------------------------------------------------------------------
For a second time, a Florida law that does not allow a judgment against
a company to be so high as to be economically crippling came to the aid
of the tobacco companies on trial in a Miami-Dade Circuit courtroom.

In a day of victories for Big Tobacco, a circuit court judge ruled
Wednesday that a jury must award a lump sum to sick Florida smokers as
opposed to an amount that could be paid over a number of years, called a
structured payout. "That would be plowing new ground if we have a
structured issue," Judge Robert Kaye said. He said the law focuses on a
company's present ability to pay.

The industry asked the judge to rule on the same question a month ago,
but he waited until the question came up during questioning of
University of Miami law school finance professor George Mundstock, one
of two finance witnesses for the statewide class of smokers.

In this, the third phase of the first statewide class action to ever go
to a jury, the six jurors must decide how much the tobacco companies
should be ordered to pay as punishment for producing a product that
sickened or killed 300,000 to 700,000 Floridians, and for conspiring to
hide the health risks.

Stanley Rosenblatt, a lawyer for the sick smokers, asked Mundstock about
Philip Morris, the largest tobacco company, which claims its book value
is $ 6.4 billion. However, Rosenblatt asked, "their ability to pay can
exceed the value of the company based upon its future expected cash
flow?" Mundstock agreed. "The longer they have to pay, the more money
there is available for these defendants, given their ability to generate
cash," Mundstock said. "These companies are cash cows."

And that prompted lead tobacco lawyer Dan Webb, who is representing
Philip Morris, to ask the judge to either declare a mistrial, or at
least instruct the jury that Rosenblatt's suggestion of a structured
payout is not permitted under state law. "You can't structure a
verdict," Webb said. "But Mr. Rosenblatt says he would like to offer
evidence that he'd agree to spreading out payment over a period of years
so the jury will goose up the amount of punitive damages."

State law does not allow that, Webb said. And it also does not allow a
judgment so high that it would economically cripple a company, he said.
For that reason, and to protect a $ 14 billion state settlement with the
tobacco companies, the Legislature changed the amount the tobacco
companies would have to post as an appeal bond. Under previous law, the
tobacco companies would have been required to post about 120 percent of
the punitive award, which could have been billions of dollars. The
Legislature lowered it to $ 100 million maximum. (Sun-Sentinel (Fort
Lauderdale, FL), June 8, 2000)


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Teacher Pension Dumps Stock for Bankruptcy Threat
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Reacting to concerns that the tobacco industry could declare bankruptcy,
the investment committee of the state's huge teachers pension fund voted
Wednesday to dump virtually all of its tobacco holdings.

The decision by the $ 110-billion State Teachers Retirement System paves
the way for the fund to divest itself of roughly $ 238 million in
tobacco stocks. That represents less than 0.35% of the system's equity
holdings.

State Treasurer Phil Angelides, who sits on the CalSTRS board, had
pushed for the change because of the unprecedented barrage of litigation
and regulatory action engulfing the tobacco industry. "It was the right
thing to do," Angelides said after Wednesday's vote. "These investments
don't make sense from an investment standpoint or given the ill effects
the products are having on society."

The change also had been sought by teachers groups, which raised
concerns about the ethics of investing members' money in tobacco
companies. Both the Los Angeles teachers union and its statewide
counterpart, the California Teachers Assn., had called for the system to
sell its tobacco stocks. "It just goes to show that a small group of
dedicated concerned teachers can change the world," said Gary Krane,
co-director of Teachers for Socially Responsible Investment.

The decision to keep or sell an additional $ 11 million in tobacco
stocks, which are actively managed, will be left to fund managers who
are given the discretion to buy, sell or hold investments.

Members of the investment committee voted 9 to 0 Wednesday in favor of
unloading the bulk of the system's tobacco stocks, with a proxy
representing the state's director of finance abstaining from voting. "We
feel it's the duty of CalSTRS to insure that investments are made in the
best financial interest of California's retirees," finance department
spokesman Sandy Harrison said. "We don't want to support something which
might weaken that requirement."

The CalSTRS board adopted a divestment policy last month that requires
that an industry meet at least three of four economic risk factors, such
as the significant threat of industry-wide bankruptcy filings, in order
to be considered for divestment. The policy does not apply to countries
or companies.

State Controller Kathleen Connell, who sits on the investment committee,
said she felt comfortable that the new policy would avoid setting a
precedent for additional divestment actions. "I don't think we're going
to have a slippery slope here," Connell said. Connell emphasized that
her vote in favor of selling the CalSTRS tobacco holdings was based
solely on sound fiscal policy as opposed to the social issues raised by
teachers.

Before the vote, CalSTRS chief investment officer Patrick Mitchell
described the change as prudent given that the fund's consultants had
previously determined that CalSTRS' portfolio would perform the same
with or without tobacco stocks.

But more important, Mitchell said, was the threat of bankruptcy facing
the tobacco industry. Lawyers representing the tobacco industry are
currently trying to avert a potentially crushing punitive-damage award
in a class-action lawsuit filed in Florida on behalf of 500,000 sick
smokers. "However remote you think that possibility is," Mitchell told
committee members, "there certainly is a dark cloud currently hanging
overhead."

Once the bankruptcy threat is past, Mitchell told committee members,
they should consider restoring tobacco stocks to the fund's portfolio.

A spokesman for Philip Morris declined to comment. CalSTRS tobacco
holdings include nearly $ 144 million in Philip Morris stocks.

In a related matter, the committee voted to take no position on
legislation by Assemblyman Wally Knox (D-Los Angeles) to prohibit new or
additional investments in tobacco companies by CalSTRS or the $
175-billion California Public Employees Retirement System.

CalPERS' investment committee is also undergoing a review of its tobacco
holdings and is scheduled to discuss the topic at a June 19 meeting.
Proposals for CalPERS to unload its tobacco stocks are expected to face
tough scrutiny by several board members. (Los Angeles Times, June 8,
2000)


UNITED INSURANCE: Defends African Americans' FL Suit over Premium Rates
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
As disclosed in Unitrin Inc.'s report to the SEC, in October 1999, the
Florida Department of Insurance filed and served a subpoena upon
Unitrin's subsidiary, United Insurance Company of America, in connection
with that Department's investigation into the sale and servicing of
industrial life insurance and small face amount life insurance policies
in the State of Florida.

Subsequently, on December 15, 1999, a purported nationwide class action
lawsuit was filed against United in the United States District Court for
the Middle District of Florida (wilson, et al. v. United Insurance
Company of america), on behalf of "all African-American persons who have
(or have had at the time of the Policy's termination), an ownership
interest in one or more Industrial Life Insurance Policies issued,
serviced, administered or purchased from United...."

Plaintiffs allege discrimination in premium rates in violation of 42
U.S.C. Sec. 1981 in addition to various state law claims. Unspecified
compensatory and punitive damages are sought together with equitable
relief. United filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on march 14, 2000;
the Florida Department's investigation is continuing. The Company
believes that United has a number of meritorious defenses in these
matters and, accordingly, that resolution of these matters will not have
a material adverse effect on the Company's financial position.


VISA, MASTERCARD: Win Right to Appeal in Stores' Suit
-----------------------------------------------------
Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard International won the right Wednesday to
appeal the class-action status that a lower-court judge has granted in
the lawsuit filed against them by the nation's largest retailers.

The merchants, who are trying to get the card associations to change
their rules on debit card acceptance and pricing, gained class-action
status for their suit in February from a judge in U.S. District Court
for the Eastern District of New York. Class-action status significantly
raised the stakes in potential damage awards: The retailers are seeking
damages of $63 billion, and that is before any possible trebling.

The class-action certification made four million retailers plaintiffs
against Visa and MasterCard, not just the 19 that originally filed suit
in 1996.

But Wednesday's ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second
Circuit gives Visa and MasterCard another chance to persuade the court
that the case -- known as the Wal-Mart suit, for its original lead
plaintiff -- should be denied class- action status. Other retailers that
have been involved from the start include The Limited Inc. and Sears
Roebuck & Co.

"It's a small procedural victory for Visa and MasterCard," said Robert
E. Litan, a former deputy assistant attorney general in the antitrust
division of the Justice Department. Mr. Litan, a director of economic
studies at the Brookings Institution, said, "Even if there is not class
action, Wal-Mart and Sears have enough clout to litigate this."

MasterCard International issued a statement that said, "MasterCard is
pleased with this development and fully expects that it will be
established that this lawsuit is without merit." A Visa spokesman said,
"We are very encouraged with today's initial victory."

The ruling from the appeals court came just a day before a pretrial
hearing in the Department of Justice's separate antitrust lawsuit
against Visa and MasterCard.

This case, which is scheduled for trial next week, is to be heard in
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and is not
legally linked to the retailers' suit. However, Justice Department
attorneys have asked lawyers for the retailers to share information and
have indicated that debit cards are a subject the government intends to
address.

The retailers are challenging Visa's and MasterCard's "honor all cards"
rules, which stipulate that merchants who take credit cards must also
take debit cards. The merchants say the interchange fees for debit cards
are too high.

In February Judge John Gleeson of the Eastern District federal court
said the retailers' case deserves class-action status. But in a legal
process known as interlocutory appeal, he also recommended that a court
hear arguments to appeal his decision.

In his decision, Judge Gleeson wrote: "This litigation poses enormous
financial risks for the defendants, risks that are obviously increased
drastically by certification of the class."

Wednesday's ruling raised a number of questions, including whether the
Nov. 27 trial date will be pushed back. Such an outcome could only be
good news for Visa and MasterCard as they square off in court with the
Justice Department. The government's case focuses on the card
associations' credit card policies and governance.

"I would expect Visa and MasterCard to ask the court to delay the trial,
and I think there is a good argument that the court not try the case
without the certification questions being resolved," said Craig
Wildfang, a former special counsel to the assistant attorney general in
the Justice Department.

Mr. Wildfang of the Minneapolis law firm Winthrop & Weinstein, was a
member of the team investigating Visa and MasterCard for the Justice
Department. He said an appeal can typically take up to a year to be
heard.

On the other hand, he said, once a trial date is set, judges are
reluctant to change it. Moreover, the appeals court may expedite its
hearing to accommodate the Nov. 27 trial date.

Lloyd Constantine, principal of the New York law firm Constantine &
Partners and lead counsel for the retailers, said he does not expect the
the trial.

"If Visa and MasterCard win the appeal, the trial will go forward on
behalf of the retailers named in the lawsuit," Mr. Constantine said. If
the retailers lose, he said, he will request a hearing before the U.S.
Supreme Court. (The American Banker, June 8, 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
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Washington, DC. Theresa Cheuk, Managing Editor.

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

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