CAR_Public/000615.MBX                  C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

                  Thursday, June 15, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 116

                                 Headlines

AUTO INSURANCE: State Farm Returns $1 Bil to Policyholders in 49 States
BANK ONE: NY Fd Judge Rejects Hedge Fund as Shareholder Lead Plaintiff
CENDANT CORP: Ex-Executives Plead Guilty to Inflating Revenues
CHIPPEWA, OTTAWA: Sarnia Landowners Awarded Costs; Govt to Pick up Tab
CITRIX SYSTEMS: Barrack Rodos Files Securities Lawsuit in Florida

CITRIX SYSTEMS: Cauley & Geller Files Securities Lawsuit in Florida
COCA-COLA: Deadline for Employees to Expand Racial Bias Suit Looms
COLUMBIA LABORATORIES: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in Florida
CYBER-CARE, INC: Chitwood & Harley Files Securities Lawsuit in Georgia
DUGGINS: LA Ct OKs Case on Deceptive Atty. Letterhead Debt Collection

EASTMAN CHEMICAL: Faces 20 Suits Alleging Price-Fixing of Sorbates
EVANS SYSTEMS: Announces Dismissal of Securities Fraud Lawsuit in TX
FIRSTPLUS FINANCIAL: TX Bankruptcy Ct Declines Class on Charges Mark-up
FLOORING AMERICA: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Suit in Georgia
GEORGIA PACIFIC: Expects More Asbestos Related Suits in Coming Years

GEORGIA PACIFIC: Faces Suits on Sanitary Paper Prices; Settles with FL
GEORGIA PACIFIC: Resin Manufacturing Plan Subject of Lawsuit in Ohio
HAROLD RUTTENBERG: Officers of Bankrupt Just for Feet Sued in AL
NY BOARD: NYMEX Sues NYBOT Alleging $5 Million CEA Margin Violation
NY LIFE: Sprenger & Lang Files Pension Suit Re Assets of Plan

RACING CHAMPIONS: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Suit in Illinois
TESORO PETROLEUM: Seeger Weiss Files Securities Complaint in Texas
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Judge Tells CEO State Settlements Arn't Punishment
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Philip Morris CEO Says Market Is Shrinking
VARI-L COMPANY: Cauley & Geller Files Securities Lawsuit in Colorado

VARI-L COMPANY: Dyer & Shuman Files Securities Lawsuit in Colorado

* Corporate Leaders Meet in Detroit to Examine Media's Role in Lawsuits

                                   *********

AUTO INSURANCE: State Farm Returns $1 Bil to Policyholders in 49 States
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the largest U.S. auto and
home insurer, said it will return slightly more than $1 billion to its
automobile insurance policyholders for 1999.

The insurer said policyholders in 49 states, the District of Columbia
and three Canadian provinces will receive the dividend announced Monday.
State Farm has returned a total of $3.3 billion to its policyholders
since 1991. Dividends are a one-time return of premiums based on recent
financial results. (The Detroit News, June 13, 2000)


BANK ONE: NY Fd Judge Rejects Hedge Fund as Shareholder Lead Plaintiff
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A Chicago federal district judge has rejected the application of Thales
Fund Management LLC for lead plaintiff in a consolidated Bank One
shareholders suit, finding the financial activities of the hedge fund
placed it outside the "most adequate plaintiffs" designation. In re Bank
One Shareholders Class Actions et al., No. 00-CV-880, opinion filed
(N.D. Ill., May 8, 2000).

In his ruling, Northern District of Illinois Judge Milton I. Shadur said
he based his decision in large part on an opinion by District Judge
David Hamilton in Sakhrani v. Brightpoint Inc., 78 F. Supp. 2d
845,849-54 (S.D. Ind., 1999).

Thales had sought to become lead plaintiff of 26 consolidated class
actions brought by shareholders against Bank One. Thales alleges it lost
$1.5 million on the bank's stock.

Instead, Judge Shadur chose a group of six pension funds that purchased
77,200 Bank One shares. The pension group, as it is known by the court,
must now decide which of three law firms to chose for its counsel, i.e.,
the group's original counsel -- Schoengold & Sporn and Quinlan & Crisham
or a low bidder, Wechsler Harwood & Fiffer.

In rejecting Thales as lead plaintiff, Judge Shadur noted that Thales
"is an institutional investment manager (a hedge fund) that engaged in
extensive day trading, first shorting Bank One stock (presumably because
it was regarded as overvalued at market price) and then buying to cover
the short position."

"In addition to that trading pattern," he continued, " T hales is not
simply a buyer for its own account, standing instead in the place of
whatever number of investors are participants in its managed fund.
"Taken all in all, this Court does not view that posture as qualifying
Thales for the 'most adequate plaintiffs' designation in preference to
the handful of institutional investors who makeup the Pension Group with
greater aggregate claimed losses," the judge concluded. (Derivatives
Litigation Reporter, June 5, 2000)


CENDANT CORP: Ex-Executives Plead Guilty to Inflating Revenues
--------------------------------------------------------------
Three former executives at franchising giant Cendant Corp. pleaded
guilty Wednesday to inflating revenues in an accounting scandal that led
to the largest-ever settlement in a shareholder class-action suit.

All three held senior financial posts at CUC International of Stamford,
Conn., which merged with HFS Inc. of Parsippany, N.J., to create Cendant
in December 1997. Cendant is now based in New York.

Under oath, they said their actions were done at the behest of their
superiors at CUC and that they will cooperate in a continuing
investigation that involves the FBI and the Securities and Exchange
Commission. ''It was a culture that had been developed over a period of
years. It was ingrained ... ingrained in us by our superiors,'' said one
of those pleading guilty, Cosmo Corigliano, CUC's former chief financial
officer.

The defendants said CUC's quarterly earnings were inflated in the two
years leading up to the merger through improper accounting methods,
including underfunding a reserve on membership cancellations and drawing
money from a merger account in efforts to boost revenues. ''Don't we
call that 'cooking the books?''' U.S. District Judge William H. Walls
asked Casper Sabatino, a CUC accountant in charge of external reporting.
''Yes, sir,'' Sabatino replied. ''Honestly, your honor, I thought I was
doing my job.''

Also pleading guilty was Anne Pember, CUC's former controller, who said
their actions led CUC to overstate its operating income by $116 million
in the two years before the merger, and Cendant to overstate its
operating income by $170 million for 1997.

Corigliano, 40, of Old Saybrook, Conn., who became Cendant executive
vice president for international operations after the merger, pleaded
guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud.

Pember, 40, of Madison, Conn., who became Cendant's senior vice
president for accounting, pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

Sabatino, 47, of Sherman, Conn., who became Cendant's vice president for
business development, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting wire fraud.

All remain free on $100,000 bond pending sentencing Sept. 12, when each
faces a term of up to several years in prison.

Shares of Cendant, which were trading around $40 when the scandal was
revealed in early 1998, were trading up 18.875 cents to $12.438
Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. In December, accounting firm
Ernst & Young LLP agreed to pay Cendant shareholders $335 million to
settle a lawsuit brought against it in connection with accounting
irregularities. Also that month, Cendant said it would pay its
shareholders $2.83 billion to settle similar allegations. Lawyers for
the shareholders say the settlement was the largest ever achieved in a
securities class-action lawsuit.

Cendant has acknowledged that CUC used irregular accounting practices to
inflate earnings. Ernst & Young was the accounting firm representing CUC
at the time but has since severed ties. Cendant is the franchiser of
brand names such as Ramada, Avis and Century 21. CUC was a direct
marketing firm that sold memberships in discount buying clubs. (AP
Online, June 14, 2000)


CHIPPEWA, OTTAWA: Sarnia Landowners Awarded Costs; Govt to Pick up Tab
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A group of Sarnia landowners who have, so far, successfully defended
their title against a Chippewa aboriginal land claim have been awarded
party-and-party costs. And if the Chippewas don't pay, the federal
government has been ordered to pick up the tab.

In a recent costs order, Justice Archie Campbell of the Ontario Superior
Court said there is "uncertainty" about whether costs are enforceable
against the Chippewas of Sarnia band.

The uncertainty stems from, inter alia, the proposition that a Native
band's assets may not be exigible because of s. 89 of the Indian Act,
which says that "real and personal property of an Indian or a band
situated on a reserve is not subject to charge, pledge, mortgage,
attachment, levy, seizure, distress or execution in favour or at the
instance of any person other than an Indian or a band."

Justice Campbell said it would be "unconscionable if the innocent
landowners could not recover their costs from the Chippewas and had no
other alternative recourse."To provide such alternative recourse, he
ordered that "any unsatisfied balance shall be paid to the landowners by
Canada."

However, he also directed Canada to take the solicitor/client costs it
owes to the Chippewas (awarded because Canada brought and lost a summary
judgment motion with "no reasonable chance of success,") and pay the
money instead to the landowners, "to the extent necessary and
possible."If that doesn't cover it, Canada must make up the difference.

Justice Campbell also noted that "each party fought hard but fair, and
there was no allegation or evidence of bad faith by any party in the
conduct of the litigation or any conduct that unduly delayed or
prolonged the proceedings."

The costs award follows Justice Campbell's judgment released April 30,
1999, in which he held that while a four-square-mile chunk of Sarnia had
never been properly surrendered, the present-day landowners'title was
clear because of the "good faith purchasers for value without
notice"doctrine.

The Chippewas'claim, he said, crystallized into a damages claim against
the Crown.

He also found that the Chippewas are "strangers to this land and have no
communal memory or oral history of wrongful dispossession,"and that
"without speculating on what might be argued or decided in the ongoing
damage action, it is uncontradicted that they received for the land
substantial if not full payment in trust at a price thought by some at
the time to be fair and by their expert witness today to be reasonable.
There is no evidence of fraud."

Virtually all of Justice Campbell's findings are now being challenged at
the Ontario Court of Appeal. (The Lawyers Weekly, June 16, 2000)


CITRIX SYSTEMS: Barrack Rodos Files Securities Lawsuit in Florida
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Counsel for Class Plaintiff, Barrack, Rodos & Bacine announced on June
13 that a class action has been commenced in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Florida on behalf of all persons who
purchased the common stock of Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS) between
October 20, 1999, and June 9, 2000, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges the Company and its senior officials with
violating Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, by disseminating false and
misleading statements about the Company's business and financial
condition during the Class Period. Specifically, the complaint alleges
that the defendants failed to disclose that the Company had been
experiencing a shift from sales of software in "shrink-wrap" boxes
toward a paper/electronic licensing model, which had a negative impact
on revenue growth; slower than reported expansion of core business with
large enterprise accounts; and slower than reported expansion of the
Company's business in certain markets, including Asia. When the company
announced that its 2Q of 2000 results would be far lower than investors
had been led to believe, the market price fell over 40% to $22 per share
in one day.

Contact: Counsel for Class Plaintiffs, Barrack, Rodos & Bacine,
Shareholder Relations Manager, 800-417-7305, or 215-963-0600, or fax,
888-417-7306, or 215-963-0838, or e-mail, msgoldman@barrack.com


CITRIX SYSTEMS: Cauley & Geller Files Securities Lawsuit in Florida
-------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Cauley & Geller, LLP announced on June 13 that it has
filed a class action in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of Florida on behalf of all individuals and
institutional investors that purchased the common stock of Citrix
Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:CTXS) between October 20, 1999 and June 9, 2000,
inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges that the Company and certain of its officers and
directors violated the federal securities laws by providing materially
false and misleading information about the Company's financial condition
and future growth potential. Specifically, the complaint alleges that on
January 19, 2000, the Company reported record operating results and
stated that customer demand for the Company's product was favorable,
when in fact, the Company knew or recklessly disregarded that the
Company's true financial condition was deteriorating and that its
seemingly stellar growth was not likely to continue into 2000. As a
result of these false and misleading statements the Company's stock
traded at artificially inflated prices during the class period. When the
Company revealed that its first quarter financial results would be lower
than the market had been led to believe, the price of the stock dropped
significantly.

Contact: CAULEY & GELLER, LLP, Boca Raton Sue Null or Sharon Jackson
Toll Free: 888/551-9944 E-mail: cauleypa@aol.com


COCA-COLA: Deadline for Employees to Expand Racial Bias Suit Looms
------------------------------------------------------------------
Attorneys for current and former Coca-Cola employees faced a Wednesday
deadline to file a legal brief that would expand a pending racial
discrimination lawsuit into a class action. According to the lawsuit
filed in U.S. DIstrict Court early last year by four workers, the
soft-drink company discriminated against blacks in hiring, promotion and
employee evaluations.

Last-minute negotiations were underway between attorneys for the workers
and for Coca-Cola. The plaintiffs want to expand the lawsuit to cover
2,000 former and current employees nationwide.

If attorneys for the workers file a brief asking for the lawsuit to be
turned into a class action, the company would have 75 days to respond
before a judge makes a decision. Coca-Cola and attorneys for the black
workers have been meeting with a mediator for the past two months to try
and resolve the lawsuit.

The company has denied the allegations of discrimination, but has said
that it is prepared to reach a fair settlement in the case. The workers'
attorneys have been pushing for a monetary settlement that would
compensate current and former workers. They are also seeking changes in
company policies to benefit future workers. (United Press International,
June 14, 2000)


COLUMBIA LABORATORIES: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in Florida
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP announces that
a class action lawsuit was filed on June 13, 2000, on behalf of
purchasers of the securities of Columbia Laboratories Inc. (NASDAQ:COB)
between November 8, 1999, and June 9, 2000, inclusive. A copy of the
complaint filed in this action is available from the Court, or can be
viewed on Milberg Weiss' website at:
http://www.milberg.com/columbialabs/

The action, numbered 00-2112, is pending in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division,
located at 701 Clematis St., West Palm Beach, FL 33401, against
defendants Columbia, William J. Bologna (Chief Executive Officer since
January, 2000, and Director), David L. Weinberg (Chief Financial
Officer), and Norman M. Meier (President and Chief Executive Officer
until January, 2000). The Honorable James Lawrence King is the Judge
presiding over the case.

The complaint charges that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder, by issuing a series of material misrepresentations to the
market between November 8, 1999, and June 9, 2000. For example, as
alleged in the complaint, on November 8, 1999, defendants reported that
the Company's operating results for its third fiscal quarter improved
over the comparable 1998 period, and stated that a Swiss company,
Ares-Sereno, had paid $68 million to the Company for the marketing
rights to the fertility drug Crinone which was manufactured by Columbia.
Defendants knew, or recklessly disregarded, that the statement was false
because Ares-Sereno did not have a finalized license to market the drug,
and because additional profitability from Crinone could not be
recognized until the second half of fiscal 2000. Defendants further
represented, in the Company's March 16, 2000 Annual Report to
Shareholders, that the Company was optimistic that a double blind
testing of the Company's anti-AIDS spreading drug,"Advantage-S", would
prove the drug's effectiveness in the fight against the spread of AIDS.
In fact, the Company knew, or recklessly disregarded, that it had no
basis for its optimistic statements regarding the Advantage-S study.
When the Company reported, on June 12, 2000, that the Advantage-S study
revealed the drug to be no more effective at stemming the spread of the
AIDS virus than the placebo, the Company's stock price dropped by 55%.
As an explanation, defendants stated that because the study was "double
blind," they could not, and did not, know of its results until its
completion.

Contact: Steven G. Schulman or Samuel H. Rudman Phone number:
800/320-5081 Email: Columbiacase@milbergNY.com Website:
http://www.milberg.comor Kenneth J. Vianale or Maya S. Saxena
561/361-5000


CYBER-CARE, INC: Chitwood & Harley Files Securities Lawsuit in Georgia
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Chitwood & Harley has filed a securities class action lawsuit against
Cyber-Care, Inc. (Nasdaq: CYBR), on behalf of everyone who purchased or
otherwise acquired the stock between December 10, 1999 and May 19, 2000,
inclusive, (the "Class Period"), in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Georgia.

The complaint charges Cyber-Care and certain of its directors and
executive officers with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The complaint alleges that
the defendants violated the securities laws by disseminating a series of
false and misleading statements concerning the business and financial
operations of Cyber-Care which inflated the trading price of Cyber-Care
common stock throughout the Class Period. In particular, defendants
misrepresented that its Electronic Housecall ("EHC") Systems was market
ready, and that the Company had received hundreds of thousands of orders
for the product. In fact, the EHC System was not market-ready, but was
still in a testing phase, the FDA had not approved the EHC System for
marketing or sale, and the purported orders were merely vague
expressions of interest.

Contact: Chitwood & Harley Martin D. Chitwood Leigh C. Freer
888/873-3999 or 404/873-3900


DUGGINS: LA Ct OKs Case on Deceptive Atty. Letterhead Debt Collection
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana recently
certified a class on a debtor couple's claim that a collection service
violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by using attorney
stationery to send a collection letter signed by a non-attorney. (Cope,
et al. v. Duggins, et al., No. 98-3599 (E.D. La. 4/13/00).)

James and Jeanne Cope received a letter that sought to collect a debt
owed to De La Salle High School. The letter was on letterhead from the
law firm of David D. Duggins but was signed by Glenn Laigast, who is a
collection supervisor. The letter stated that the Copes owed 2,065,
including 413 in assessed attorney's fees.

The Copes sued Duggins, Laigast and others in federal court claiming the
debt collection letter violated the FDCPA. First, the Copes alleged that
the defendants assessed attorney's fees without their or the court's
consent and prior to the involvement of an attorney. Although the Copes
admitted that the terms of their obligation to the school permitted the
assessment of attorney's fees, they argued that the defendants
unilaterally set the amount of fees to be paid at 25 percent. Second,
the Copes alleged that the defendants deceived them and violated the
FDCPA by using attorney stationery to send a collection letter signed by
a non-attorney.

The Copes moved the court to certify a class of plaintiffs with similar
claims. The court determined that the Copes satisfied the requirements
of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 on the attorney letterhead deceptive practices
claim, but not on the attorney's fees claim.

On the letterhead claim, the court held that the Copes satisfied the
"numerosity" requirement because they averred that letters were sent on
at least 100 accounts for at least three of the defendants' different
clients. The defendants did not dispute the Copes' estimation of at
least 300 class members. The court held that the Copes satisfied the
"commonality" condition because they identified at least one significant
question of law or fact that affects all potential class members -
whether the defendants violated the FDCPA by using a debt collection
letter prepared on attorney letterhead and signed by a non-attorney. The
court stated, "While [the Copes] may or may not have a valid cause of
action under the FDCPA, they need only present a common factual and
legal issue to certify a class."

According to the court, the Copes satisfied the "typicality" requirement
because all potential class members allegedly received the same letter.
The Copes also demonstrated, the court said, that they may fairly and
adequately protect the interests of the class because "they are
knowledgeable, have no conflicting interests with other class members,
and are represented by qualified and competent counsel." Finally,
although the FDCPA provides for money damages as opposed to injunctive
relief, the court held that the Copes satisfied the requirements of Rule
23(b) because the question of whether the letter prepared by a
non-attorney and distributed on attorney letterhead predominated over
any individual class member questions. Further, the Copes demonstrated
that a class action was the most efficient mechanism for managing
numerous claims involving small amounts.

The court declined to certify the class on the attorney's fees claim
because it found that each debtor agreed to separate terms and
conditions in relation to their debts. "To determine whether the
defendants properly assessed attorneys fees in each case, the Court will
need to examine the terms of each debt agreement," the court said.

Judge Fallon delivered the opinion of the court. O. Randolph Bragg of
Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates Ltd. in Chicago, and Steven R. Conley in
New Orleans, represented the Copes. David S. Daly of Baus, Hammond &
Daly L.L.P. in New Orleans, represented the defendants. (Consumer
Financial Services Law Report, May 30, 2000)


EASTMAN CHEMICAL: Faces 20 Suits Alleging Price-Fixing of Sorbates
------------------------------------------------------------------
The Company, along with other companies, is currently a defendant in
twenty antitrust lawsuits brought subsequent to the Company's plea
agreements as putative class actions on behalf of certain purchasers of
sorbates in the United States and Canada.

In each case, the plaintiffs allege that the defendants engaged in a
conspiracy to fix the price of sorbates and that the class members paid
more for sorbates than they would have paid absent the defendants'
conspiracy.

Six of the suits (five of which have since been consolidated) were filed
in Superior Courts for the State of California under various state
antitrust and consumer protection laws on behalf of classes of indirect
purchasers of sorbates; six of the proceedings (which have subsequently
been consolidated or found to be related cases) were filed in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of California under
federal antitrust laws on behalf of classes of direct purchasers of
sorbates; two cases were filed in Circuit Courts for the State of
Tennessee under the antitrust and consumer protection laws of various
states, including Tennessee, on behalf of classes of indirect purchasers
of sorbates in those states; one case was filed in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York (and has been
transferred to the Northern District of California) under federal
antitrust laws on behalf of a class of direct purchasers of sorbates;
one action was filed in the Circuit Court for the State of Wisconsin
under various state antitrust laws on behalf of a class of indirect
purchasers of sorbates in those states; one action was filed in the
District Court for the State of Kansas under Kansas antitrust laws on
behalf of a class of indirect purchasers of sorbates in that state; one
case was filed in the Second Judicial District Court for the State of
New Mexico under New Mexico antitrust laws on behalf of a class of
indirect purchasers of sorbates in that state; one lawsuit was filed in
the Ontario Superior Court of Justice under the federal competition law
and pursuant to common law causes of action on behalf of a class of
direct and indirect purchasers of sorbates in Canada; and one suit was
filed in the Quebec Superior Court under the federal competition law on
behalf of a class of direct and indirect purchasers of sorbates in the
Province of Quebec.

The plaintiffs in most cases seek treble damages of unspecified amounts,

attorneys' fees and costs, and other unspecified relief; in addition,
certain of the actions claim restitution, injunction against alleged
illegal conduct, and other equitable relief. Each proceeding is in
preliminary pretrial motion and discovery stage, and the only proposed
class which has been certified is a conditional settlement class
relating to other defendants in the federal direct purchaser cases
pending in California.

The Company intends vigorously to defend these actions unless they can
be settled on terms acceptable to the parties. These matters could
result in the Company being subject to monetary damages and expenses.
The Company recognized charges to earnings in the fourth quarter 1998,
the fourth quarter 1999, and the first quarter 2000 for estimated costs,
including legal fees, related to the pending sorbates litigation
described above. Because of the early stage of these putative class
action lawsuits, however, the ultimate outcome of these matters cannot
presently be determined, and they may result in greater or lesser
liability than that currently provided for in the Company's financial
statements.


EVANS SYSTEMS: Announces Dismissal of Securities Fraud Lawsuit in TX
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Evans Systems Inc. (OTCBB:EVSI) announced on June 14 that the federal
securities class action filed against the company and three of its
officers and directors in July 1999 in the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Texas has been dismissed with prejudice.
The court concluded that the plaintiffs, a small group of disgruntled
shareholders, failed to plead any facts supporting their claim that the
company or its officers and directors violated the federal securities
laws. The law firm of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP represented Evans
Systems and its officers and directors.


HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Breakthrough in Germany May Speed Process in Austria
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Austria said Tuesday that a breakthrough in Germany's efforts to
compensate Nazi-era forced laborers would speed up its own restitution
process and lead to payments within months. Austria has drafted
legislation, backed by all four parliamentary parties, to set up a $418
million fund for people forced to work for the Nazis.

The U.S. administration assured Germany late Monday that U.S. courts
would dismiss future claims from people the Nazis forced to work during
World War II. This so-called legal peace removed the last obstacle to
Germany setting up a $4.9 billion compensation fund.

"This is an important point for Austria as it was always our stance that
we need legal closure to be sure that payments by industry and the
taxpayer will be once and for all," said Maria Schaumayer, Austria's
envoy on Nazi-era labor issues. "If this can be done according to the
German-American model, this is very good for the victims because it
would enable us to synchronize with the parliamentary process and reach
some date in late autumn to start up the reconciliation fund."

Schaumayer dismissed criticism from lawyers representing Holocaust
victims that Austria's compensation discriminates against Jews because
it does not cover laborers who were worked to death in concentration
camps. Slave laborers must seek compensation from Germany. "The Germans
have taken responsibility for all concentration camps on whatever
territory--Austria did not exist during '38 to '45," she said.

Austria was part of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich from 1938 to 1945. It has
passed a series of restitution laws since World War II, but there has
never been a comprehensive settlement.

U.S. Holocaust lawyer Ed Fagan, who filed an $18 billion class-action
suit against Austria in a U.S. court in April, said the government had
underestimated the number of forced laborers and was not giving property
restitution enough attention. "The Austrian federal government will
continue to treat the claims of Jewish Holocaust victims as a
low-priority issue," Fagan said after meeting Austrian envoy Ernst
Sucharipa. (Chicago Tribune, June 14, 2000)


FIRSTPLUS FINANCIAL: TX Bankruptcy Ct Declines Class on Charges Mark-up
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas recognized that
it took the minority position when it refused to certify a class for
filing proofs of claims against a bankrupt lender. (Kahler, et al. v.
FirstPlus Financial Inc. (In re: FirstPlus Financial Inc.), No.
99-31869-HCA-11 (Bankr. N.D. Tex. 4/26/00).)

Charles Kahler and other consumers filed a class action alleging the
mortgage originators, FirstPlus Financial Corp. and Capital Direct
Funding Group Inc., improperly marked up charges for third-party vendor
services. Specifically, they contended the mortgage originators: charged
"excessive loan fees and interest; misrepresented that consumers were to
receive competitive interest rates; improperly charged borrowers for
third party related loan expenses (i.e., credit reports, appraisals,
mortgage insurance, and flood certification); received kickbacks from
some third party service providers; and manipulated and withheld loan
disclosure documents to hide effective interest rates, loan costs, and
fees."

The plaintiffs raised nine separate causes of action under the Real
Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Truth in Lending Act, the
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, the California
Consumer Legal
Remedies Act and other provisions of California law, including fraud and
conversion.

                           Proof of Claim

Fed. R. Bankr. P. 3001(b) requires creditors, or their authorized agent,
to file a proof of claim. However, courts are divided as to whether a
class representative is an authorized agent permitted to file class
proofs of claims.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the filing of class
proofs of claim is at a court's discretion if the class representative
obtains authorized agent status through Rules 9014 and 7023. Rule 9014
says in a contested case a court "may at any stage in a particular
matter direct that one or more of the other rules ... shall apply." Rule
7023 makes Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 23, governing class actions, applicable to
bankruptcy proceedings. The 7th Circuit allows a class representative to
become an "authorized agent" by applying Rule 7023 to the Code's proof
of claim provision.

Other courts, however, follow Rule 3001(b) and the principles of agency
to the letter, holding that an authorized agent is one who performs a
delegable act, which the creditor could do himself. An agent is not
"authorized" if he first files a proof of claim and then notifies the
creditor.

The Texas bankruptcy court considered the appropriateness of a class
action in a bankruptcy proceeding when the Kahler plaintiffs moved for
class certification. Judge Harold C. Abramson opined, "The chief purpose
of a class action outside the bankruptcy context - to avoid litigation
in a multiplicity of fora - is of little concern in the bankruptcy
context since the Bankruptcy Court has jurisdiction over all claims
against the Debtor. Also, while there is a deterrent effect to class
actions outside of bankruptcy, deterrence is less likely in bankruptcy
because the incentive to monitor is destroyed by the lack of available
funds, by the fact that the equity interests have been wiped out, and by
the fact that the reputations of the managers have been tarnished no
matter what happens in the class action."

                           Authorized agent

Admitting it was adopting the minority view, the Dallas bankruptcy court
held that Rule 3001(b) requires an authorized agency relationship to
file a proof of claim and a class representative does not qualify as
"authorized agent." Without the required agency relationship, the court
ruled the class proof of claim was defective and could not be extended
to anyone other than the named plaintiffs. The court barred the claims
of any party who did not file an individual proof of claim and who
received actual notice of the claims bar date.

                               Rule 23

As previously stated, class actions apply to bankruptcy proceedings
under Rule 7023. Thus, the Texas bankruptcy court addressed numerosity,
commonality, typicality and adequacy of representation. It concluded
that the Kahler class only demonstrated adequacy of representation.

Although the plaintiffs claimed they satisfied the numerosity prong of
Rule 23 because the proposed class had 30,000 potential members, the
court held otherwise. It reduced the number of plaintiffs to 50 after
determining class proofs of claims were inapplicable, only 2,000
individuals filed proofs of claim and only 50 of those claims remained
after the claims adjudication process. Joinder of 50 claims, said the
court, was not impractical.

The court also held that the class failed to fulfill Rule 23's
commonality and typicality elements. It ruled individual issues
predominated because "each ... class member will have to prove the
particular way in which they were defrauded and ... their reliance upon
that fraud."

                         Individualized analysis

Despite holding that the class failed Rule 23(a), the court nonetheless
analyzed the motion for certification under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b). It
considered whether a class action would be superior to resolving the
plaintiffs' RESPA, TILA, RICO and state fraud claims on an individual
basis. With regard to the plaintiffs' contentions that the mortgage
originators violated the RESPA by paying yield spread premiums to third
parties for services not actually performed, the court held it would be
required to examine the defendant's conduct in each loan transaction. A
case-by-case analysis of the loans would also be necessary to determine
if a class member's claim complied with the act's one-year statute of
limitations, said the court. According, Judge Abramson denied the motion
for class certification of the RESPA claims.

The court also ruled a TILA action is not suited for class treatment
because individualized proof in necessary to obtain recession of the
contract and to challenge the adequacy of the disclosures given in each
transaction.

The proximate causation prerequisite for filing a RICO claim defeated
the plaintiffs' charge that a class action was the superior device to
resolve their disputes. In the memorandum opinion, Judge Abramson said
each class member would have to prove his mortgagor originator's conduct
was the legal cause of his alleged injury to bring a RICO action.

Finally, the court said given the many debtors, assignees and
intervenors involved, "Individualized inquiries must be made as to which
or any or all of these defendants may be liable, to whom they may be
liable, and for how much."

William Hirsch and Barry Himmelstein of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann &
Bernstein in San Francisco and Marc Spector of Dallas represented the
plaintiffs on brief. Trey Monsour and Maxim Litvak of Verner, Liipfert,
Bernhard, McPherson & Hand of Houston represented FirstPlus on brief.
William L. Stern of Severson & Werson in San Francisco represented Bank
One Corp. and Residential Funding Corp., on brief along with Judith Ross
of Thompson & Knight in Dallas. Steven Linkon of Wolf & Richards in
Newport Beach, Calif., represented PSB Lending Inc. (Consumer Financial
Services Law Report, May 30, 2000)


FLOORING AMERICA: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Suit in Georgia
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, on behalf of all
purchasers of the common stock of Flooring America, Inc., (Nasdaq: FRA)
from November 11, 1999 through May 22, 2000 inclusive (the "Class
Period").

The complaint charges Flooring America and certain of its officers and
directors with issuing false and misleading statements concerning the
Company's financial condition.

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


GEORGIA PACIFIC: Expects More Asbestos Related Suits in Coming Years
--------------------------------------------------------------------
In its report filed with the SEC, Georgia Pacific Corp. sayst that the
Corporation and many other companies are defendants in suits brought in
various courts around the nation by plaintiffs who allege that they have
suffered personal injury as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing
products. These suits allege a variety of lung and other diseases based
on alleged exposure to products previously manufactured by the
Corporation. In many cases, the plaintiffs are unable to demonstrate
that they have suffered any compensable loss as a result of such
exposure, or that any injuries they have incurred in fact resulted from
exposure to the Corporation's products.

The Corporation generally settles asbestos cases for amounts it
considers reasonable given the facts and circumstances of each case. The
amounts it has paid to date to defend and settle these cases have been
substantially covered by product liability insurance. The Corporation is
currently defending claims of approximately 43,700 such plaintiffs as of
April 1, 2000 and anticipates that additional suits will be filed
against it over the next several years.


GEORGIA PACIFIC: Faces Suits on Sanitary Paper Prices; Settles with FL
----------------------------------------------------------------------
In May 1997, the Corporation and nine other companies were named as
defendants in a lawsuit brought by the Attorney General of the State of
Florida alleging that the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to fix the
prices of sanitary commercial paper products, such as towels and
napkins, in violation of various federal and state laws. Shortly after
the filing of this suit, approximately 55 similar suits were filed by
private plaintiffs in federal courts in California, Florida, Georgia and
Wisconsin, and in the state courts of California, Wisconsin, Minnesota
and Tennessee.

On July 28, 1999, the Corporation and the Attorney General of the State
of Florida entered into a Settlement Agreement pursuant to which the
State has dismissed its claims against the Corporation. The Agreement
provides that the Corporation continues to deny that there is any
evidence that it engaged in the alleged price-fixing conspiracy. In
addition, the Corporation agreed to donate an immaterial amount of real
property to the State of Florida. As part of the formation of the joint
venture with Chesapeake, the Corporation and Wisconsin Tissue assigned,
and Georgia-Pacific Tissue agreed to assume, the liabilities of both
companies in connection with these antitrust cases. The Corporation and
Wisconsin Tissue have denied that they have engaged in any of the
illegal conduct alleged in these cases and intend to defend themselves
vigorously.


GEORGIA PACIFIC: Resin Manufacturing Plan Subject of Lawsuit in Ohio
--------------------------------------------------------------------
On May 6, 1998, a lawsuit was filed in state court in Columbus, Ohio,
against the Corporation and Georgia-Pacific Resins, Inc. (GPR), a wholly
owned subsidiary of the Corporation. The lawsuit was filed by eight
plaintiffs who seek to represent a class of individuals who at any time
from 1985 to the present lived, worked, resided, owned, frequented or
otherwise occupied property located within a three-mile radius of the
GPR's resins manufacturing operations in Columbus, Ohio.

The lawsuit alleges that the individual plaintiffs and putative class
members have suffered personal injuries and/or property damage because
of (i) alleged "continuing and long-term releases and threats of
releases of noxious fumes, odors and harmful chemicals, including
hazardous substances" from GPR's operations and/or (ii) a September 10,
1997 explosion at the Columbus facility and alleged release of hazardous
material resulting from that explosion. Virtually all activity in this
case has been stayed pending a decision on a motion by plaintiffs for
reconsideration of a case management order issued by the court.

The Corporation has denied the material allegations of this lawsuit. The
Company says it is premature to evaluate the claims asserted in this
lawsuit, but believes it has meritorious defenses.

Prior to the filing of the lawsuit, the Corporation had received a
number of explosion-related claims from nearby residents and businesses.
These claims were for property damage, personal injury and business
interruption and were being reviewed and resolved on a case-by-case
basis. On January 12, 2000, five plaintiffs, including one of the class
representatives in the state class action, filed a lawsuit against the
Corporation and GPR pursuant to the citizen suit provisions of the
federal Clean Air Act and the Community Right-to-Know law. This suit
alleges violations of these federal laws and certain state laws
regarding the form and substance of the defendants' reporting of
emissions and violations of permitting requirements under certain
regulations issued under the Clean Air Act. This suit seeks civil
penalties of $25,000 per day, per violation, an injunction to force the
defendants to comply with these laws and regulations, and other relief.
The defendants have denied the material allegations of the complaint and
have sought a ruling from a federal appeals court to the effect that the
regulations under which the alleged violations of the Clean Air Act are
premised are not applicable to them. While it is premature to completely
evaluate these claims, the Corporation believes it has meritorious
defenses.


HAROLD RUTTENBERG: Officers of Bankrupt Just for Feet Sued in AL
----------------------------------------------------------------
Goodkind Labaton Rudoff & Sucharow LLP announced on June 13 that
pursuant to Section 21(D)(a)(3)(A)(i) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934, notice is hereby given that a class action lawsuit was filed on
May 24, 2000 in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Alabama, Southern Division in Birmingham, Alabama on behalf
of all persons who purchased the 11% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2009
(the "Notes") of Just For Feet, Inc. between April 12, 1999 and November
1, 1999 (the "Class Period").

The Complaint names as defendants against Harold J. Ruttenberg, Helen
Rockey and Randall L. Haines (collectively, the "individual defendants")
senior officers and/or directors of the Company, and Bank of America
Securities LLC f/k/a NationsBanc Montgomery Securities LLC
("NationsBanc") an underwriter of the April 12, 1999 Note Offering (the
"Offering"), individually and as a representative of the defendant class
of underwriters. The Complaint has been assigned to the Honorable U.W.
Clemon and has been designated as case number CV-00-C-1404-S. It is
possible that the case may be transferred to the Honorable H. Dean
Buttram, Jr., who is presiding over the common stock class actions, as
discussed below. The Company is not named as a defendant as it is or was
the subject of bankruptcy proceedings.

The Complaint alleges that the defendants violated Section 12(2) of the
Securities Act of 1933 (the "1933 Act") and that the individual
defendants violated Section 15 of the 1933 Act. The Complaint further
alleges that the defendants violated Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act
and Rule 10b-5 thereunder and that the individual defendants violated
Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act. The Complaint alleges that the
Offering Memorandum for the Offering contained materially false and
misleading statements and/or omissions regarding, among other things,
the Company's inventory and inventory controls. The Complaint also
alleges that these false statements and/or omissions effectively allowed
Just For Feet to sell the $200 million of Notes.

Specifically, the Complaint alleges that the Offering Memorandum
contained materially false and misleading statements and/or omissions.
For example:

The Offering Memorandum indicated that the Company utilized
sophisticated information systems to monitor or track its inventory on a
daily basis and to send purchase orders and receive invoices from
vendors electronically on a daily basis. Yet, at least one subsequent
press report indicated that the Company's information systems were in
chaos.

The Offering Memorandum indicated that the Company's purchasing systems,
internal controls and management information systems were adequate.

The Offering Memorandum omitted the material fact of the Company's
excess inventory. The Complaint alleges that on June 14, 1999,
approximately two months after the Note Offering, the Company filed a
Form S-4 with the SEC in which it revealed that it had $50 million or
more in excess inventory as of May 1, 1999. The Complaint alleges that
the Company had material excess inventory at the time of the Offering.

The Complaint also alleges that the Company made several materially
false and misleading statements and/or omissions during the Class
Period, after the Offering. For example:

In a May 25, 1999 press release, the Company mentioned that it was
planning to significantly reduce inventories, but failed to reveal the
extent of the inventory and inventory control problem. In connection
with this news the Notes dropped to 76 1/4 on May 27 from 92 on May 25,
1999.

In a June 16, 1999 article defendant Rockey falsely characterized the
Company's inventory and inventory control problems as "one time" in
nature, suggesting that the problem would pass.

In a press release dated August 26, 1999 the Company announced various
management changes to assist it in becoming "the dominant player in the
athletic footwear retail market place." The Complaint alleges that this
statement was false and misleading as there was no reasonable basis to
assert that the Company would revive itself, let alone become the
dominant player, particularly in light of the fact that the Company
declared bankruptcy approximately nine weeks later.

The Complaint also alleges that the Company made a false and misleading
statement on October 4, 1999 wherein it indicated that it would make its
November 1, 1999 Coupon Payment on the Notes.

On November 2, 1999 the Company announced that it would file a plan to
reorganize under bankruptcy court protection. In connection with this
news the Notes closed at 8, down from 15 the prior day.

There are also at least two class action lawsuits filed on behalf of
Just For Feet common stockholders. Those cases are also in the Northern
District of Alabama, Southern Division in Birmingham, Alabama and they
are styled as Peter H. Burke, et al. on behalf of themselves and all
others similarly situated against Harold Ruttenberg et al. CV
99-BU-3097-S and George W. Massey on behalf of himself and all others
similarly situated v. Harold Ruttenberg, et al. CV 99-BU-3129-S
(collectively the "common stock class actions") The common stock class
actions, among other things, propose a different class period than the
Complaint, name certain defendants which are not named in the Complaint
and do not name certain defendants which are named in the Complaint. The
common stock class actions also assert a theory or theories of liability
which vary in certain respects from the theories of liability alleged in
the Complaint. The Noteholders believe that the differences between the
common stock class actions and the Noteholders' claims warrant a
separate class and separate class counsel for the Noteholders. Counsel
has informed the Court that they will agree to the coordination of the
instant case with the common stock class actions for purposes of
discovery. The cases may ultimately be consolidated for purposes of
discovery.

The plaintiffs are AAL High Yield Bond Fund, located in Appleton,
Wisconsin, which is part of a family of mutual funds affiliated with Aid
Association for Lutherans, and Delaware Delchester Fund, headquartered
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which is a mutual fund affiliated with
Delaware Management Holding, Inc.

Plaintiffs are represented by the law firms of Goodkind Labaton Rudoff &
Sucharow LLP and James L. North & Associates in Birmingham, Alabama.

Contact: Goodkind Labaton Rudoff & Sucharow LLP Thomas A. Dubbs, Esq.
212/907-0700 Internet address: dubbst@glrs.com


NY BOARD: NYMEX Sues NYBOT Alleging $5 Million CEA Margin Violation
-------------------------------------------------------------------
The New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) has filed a $5 million proposed
class action against the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT), alleging that
the NYBOT violated the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) by seizing assets
from the segregated customer accounts of a futures commission merchant
(FCM). The seizure was allegedly made to a cover a margin call for
several million dollars in only one of the FCM's customer accounts. New
York Mercantile Exchange et al. v. New York Board of Trade et al., No.
00-CV-3739, complaint filed (S.D.N.Y., May 17, 2000).

FCM's are companies that handle futures-contract trades for customers
and guarantee their customer's financial obligations, including margin
calls, on the NYBOT and other derivatives exchanges. Under the rules of
the NYBOT, all FCM customer accounts are liable for any of an FCM's
margin deficiencies, even if the deficiency is isolated to only one FCM
customer account.

In the case at bar, First West Trading Inc. was unable to make a $6
million margin call based on losing NYBOT options trades. First West was
one of at least 15 customers of New York City-based FCM Klein & Co.
Futures Inc., which did not have the financial resources to cover the
deficiency in the First West account.

According to the suit filed in the Southern District of New York, NYBOT
and clearing agent New York-based Clearing Corp., which makes sure
payments are made on all trades conducted on the NYBOT, seized as much
as $6 million from the segregated accounts of the other Klein customers
to make up the First West deficiency.

The lead plaintiff in the suit, NYMEX, claims its interests have been
affected by NYBOT's action because the CEA gives NYMEX regulatory
authority over FCMs. The complaint goes on to allege that NYBOT's
seizure violates CEA @ 4d, which prohibits FCMs from using funds in one
segregated customer account to pay off financial obligations in another
segregated customer account. NYMEX says its proposed class action seeks
to represent Klein's customers as well as the customers of any other
FCM's who have either had their assets seized, or been threatened with
asset seizure by NYBOT and Clearing Corp.

The suit makes claims for violation of CEA @ 4d, breach of fiduciary
duty and conversion, and seeks class certification, a permanent
injunction preventing the seizure of segregated customer accounts, at
least $5 million in damages, attorneys' fees, and other costs.

The NYMEX plaintiffs are represented by Martin I. Kaminsky, Edward T.
McDermott, W. Hans Kobelt, and Justin Y.K. Chu, Pollack & Kaminsky, New
York. (Derivatives Litigation Reporter, June 5, 2000)


NY LIFE: Sprenger & Lang Files Pension Suit Re Assets of Plan
-------------------------------------------------------------
Sprenger & Lang announced that James A. Mehling, a former Vice President
of New York Life Insurance Company (NYL), filed a class action lawsuit
in federal district court in Philadelphia June 14, charging his former
employer with improperly manipulating the assets of its own pension and
401(k) plans for corporate gain, and illegally firing him in an effort
to prevent him from blowing the whistle on the fraudulent scheme.

The suit, brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations Act (RICO) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act
(ERISA), seeks hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and
disgorgement of ill-gotten gains.

The suit alleges a decade-long scheme by NYL and its top officials to
exploit the assets in the plans to help establish NYL in the lucrative,
but highly competitive institutional mutual fund business. The suit
contends that in 1991, rather than create and finance their proposed new
line of institutional mutual funds using their own capital, NYL raided
its pension plans and converted hundreds of millions of dollars of the
plans assets into seed money for the new funds, called the MainStay
Institutional Funds.

The self-dealing scheme continued in 1994 and 1995, the suit alleges,
when NYL created additional MainStay institutional funds, this time
using hundreds of millions of dollars from employees pension and 401(k)
plans. Since then, the MainStay institutional funds have depended on the
continued use of the plans assets for their very existence because their
fees are too high and their performance too spotty to attract sufficient
outside investors. Without those captive assets of the Pension and
401(k) Plans, according to the suit, the MainStay institutional funds
would collapse.

The suit contends that NYLs use of plan assets to further its corporate
business objectives violated the duties of loyalty and due care that
ERISA imposes on plan fiduciaries. According to Eli Gottesdiener, a
partner with the Washington, D.C. office of Sprenger & Lang, No prudent
and loyal fiduciary would have placed the assets of the plans,
especially the pension plans, in even the lowest-cost mutual funds.
Although a mutual fund may be an appropriate investment vehicle for
relatively small investors, it is entirely inappropriate for large
pension plans like the multi-billion dollar NYL Pension Plans, which can
obtain expert, individualized investment management services for a
fraction of the cost of even the least expensive mutual fund.

The suit contends that NYL engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity
in violation of the federal RICO statute. Jennifer C. Jaff of Sprenger &
Lang explained, The self-dealing here is breathtaking. NYL created the
MainStay institutional funds out of whole cloth using the pension and
401(k) plans assets. In fact, 60%, 70%, 80%, even 90% or more of the
assets of some of the funds came from the plans. In the aggregate, one
half of the money in the funds comes from the plans. NYL intentionally
converted its employees retirement assets, using them to prop up its
sagging proprietary mutual funds. If thats not self-dealing, I dont know
what is.

The suit accuses NYL of making hundreds of millions of dollars from the
scheme and intentionally concealing it from the plans participants,
government regulators, and outside investors alike. According to
Gottesdiener, In addition to collecting tens of millions of dollars in
excess fees and expenses from the pension and 401(k) plans over the past
10 years, NYL has made tens of millions of dollars more from outside
investors, mostly third-party 401(k) plans. To the extent that the
MainStay funds have been able to attract outside investors at all, it is
largely because of the illusion NYL was able to create, using the plans
assets, that the market thought the funds were good investments.

The suit alleges that total losses to the plans from NYLs self-dealing
scheme run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mehling seeks on behalf of himself damages for the losses he sustained
as a result of NYLs termination of his employment as a result of its
concern that he would blow the whistle on the illegal operation. Clyde
W. Waite, a partner in the firm of Stief, Waite, Gross, Sagoskin &
Gilman, commented that Jim Mehling spent ten years building up NYLs
business. He was a loyal employee with a spotless record of truly
unparalleled achievement. In fact, only six days before Mehling was
fired, NYLs CEO wrote to him praising his accomplishments during the
previous year. NYLs fear that he was about to blow the whistle is the
only plausible explanation for his firing.

The four employee benefits plans at issue are the two in-house pension
plans and the two in-house 401(k) plans, one of each for employees and
the others for agents. The two pension plans currently have combined
assets of $3 billion, of which $1.75 billion is invested in MainStay
funds. The two 401(k) plans currently have combined assets of
approximately $1.1 billion, of which half is invested in MainStay funds.

The action is filed by a trio of law firms with nationally-recognized
experience in class actions, ERISA, RICO, and complex litigation:
Sprenger & Lang, PLLC, a Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis, Minnesota
firm; Stief, Waite, Gross, Sagoskin & Gilman of Bucks County,
Pennsylvania; and Sandals, Langer & Taylor, based in Philadelphia.

Copies of the Complaint, links to the firms websites, and other
information are available on a website dedicated especially to the suit:
www.newyorklifesuit.com.

Contact: Sprenger & Lang, PLLC Eli Gottesdiener, Esq. Jennifer C. Jaff,
Esq. 202/265-8010 or Stief, Waite, Gross, Sagoskin & Gilman Clyde W.
Waite, Esq. 215/968-3900 or Sandals, Langer & Taylor Alan Sandals, Esq.
215/419-6505


RACING CHAMPIONS: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Suit in Illinois
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP, announces that a class action
is being commenced on behalf of purchasers of the common stock of Racing
Champions Corporation (NASDAQ: RACN - news) between February 1, 1999,
and June 23, 1999, inclusive. A copy of the complaint filed in this
action is available from the Court, or can be viewed on the Wolf
Haldenstein website at www.whafh.com.

The action is pending in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, located at the Dirksen
Bldg., 219 S. Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL, 60604, against defendants
Racing Champions, Robert Dods (Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and
President,) Curtis Stoelting (Chief Financial Officer,) and Victor
Shaffer (Director.)

The complaint charges that defendants violated sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder, by issuing a series of material misrepresentations to the
market between February1, 1999, and June 23, 1999, thereby artificially
inflating the price of Racing Champions common stock.

For example, as alleged in the complaint, on February 23, 1999, the
Company reported seemingly record earnings for its 1998 fiscal year, and
represented that the Company would continue to experience growth in
1999. These statements were materially false and misleading when made
because defendants did not disclose, and knew or recklessly disregarded,
that the Company's sales were then being negatively impacted by the
competition from Star Wars related merchandise and as a result, sales of
the Company's products were declining significantly. When Racing
Champions revealed, on June 23, 1999, that it was expecting a per share
loss of $0.30 to $0.35 for its second fiscal quarter of 1999, Racing
Champions common stock dropped by 60%. Defendants attributed the loss to
poor sales, and the taking of a $6.4 million restructuring charge in
connection with a corporate acquisition.

Contact: Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP, New York Gregory M.
Nespole, Esq., Michael Miske 800/575-0735 classmember@whafh.com
whafh@aol.com nespole@whafh.com Gnespole@aol.com


TESORO PETROLEUM: Seeger Weiss Files Securities Complaint in Texas
------------------------------------------------------------------
Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 78u-4(a)(3)(A)(i), Seeger Weiss LLP hereby gives
notice that on June 14, 2000, a class action lawsuit was filed in the
United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, San
Antonio Division, on behalf of all persons who purchased the publicly
traded securities of Tesoro Petroleum Corp.(NYSE:TSO - news; "Tesoro" or
the "Company"), from January 3, 2000, through May 3, 2000, inclusive
(the "Class Period"), and who were damaged thereby.

Tesoro is a natural resource company engaged in petroleum refining,
distribution, and marketing of petroleum products, marine services, and
the exploration and production of natural gas and oil.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, the Company and
several of its officers and directors violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. On May 3, 2000,
the Company announced its financial results for the first quarter of
2000. Tesoro's CEO admitted that the results were below analysts'
expectations because the indicator of Tesoro's refining profit margins
that had been posted on the Company's website did not reflect the
volatility of oil prices during the quarter. He also admitted that the
Company had failed to adjust the "discount factor" used to account for
variations when oil prices became volatile. As a result, analysts and
the investing public were misled by the indicator margins posted on
Tesoro's website and incorrectly believed that the Company's average
margins were higher than they actually were, and the Company's stock
price was artificially inflated.

Contact: Seth A. Katz, Esq. Seeger Weiss LLP One William Street New
York, New York 10004 E-Mail: skatz@seegerweiss.com Tel.: (212) 584-0700


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Judge Tells CEO State Settlements Arn't Punishment
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A judge sternly warned the head of the nation's No. 1 tobacco company
that he could not consider as punishment billions of dollars being paid
to settle state lawsuits.

Stanley Rosenblatt, the attorney representing sick Florida smokers,
asked Philip Morris President and CEO Michael Szymanczyk if the tobacco
industry should be punished for creating a defective product and hiding
the truth about the risks of smoking. "Unless punishment already
occurred, I would agree," Szymanczyk said. "In this case I believe it
already has been determined."

Szymanczyk was referring to a 1998 agreement in which cigarette makers
paid $ 254 billion to settle state lawsuits.

Circuit Judge Robert Kaye said the settlement "was a voluntarily agreed
resolution to the case ... This case is about punishment."

When Rosenblatt again asked if the industry should be punished,
Szymanczyk said "Not in this case because my understanding of punitive
damages is to change behavior and punish."

Szymanczyk returned to the stand for a third day on Wednesday,
testifying that a company computer website is not aimed at attracting
underage smokers. He will be followed on the stand by Nicholas Brookes
of Louisville, Ky.-based Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. Three other
tobacco CEOs also are scheduled to testify.

Szymanczyk admitted that smoking is addictive, but not under
Rosenblatt's definition of addiction as being a habit one cannot quit.
"Most people who want to quit smoking can quit," Szymanczyk said. He
said he defines addiction as a repetitive behavior that people have
difficulty stopping. "Smoking is addictive as the word is commonly
used," he said. (The Associated Press State & Local Wire, June 14, 2000)



TOBACCO LITIGATION: Philip Morris CEO Says Market Is Shrinking
--------------------------------------------------------------
The head of the nation's No. 1 tobacco company testified Wednesday that
cigarettes are a declining business and that his company is spending
millions to keep its share of a shrinking market.

Testifying in the class-action lawsuit brought by sick Florida smokers,
Philip Morris President and CEO Michael Szymanczyk said the $67 million
his company spent last year advertising Marlboro cigarettes was aimed at
keeping its current smokers from switching brands.

The company spent millions more advertising its other brands and on
promotional activities, such as coupons. "Manufacturers, retailers,
wholesalers - all you can do is compete over a portion of a shrinking
pie," Szymanczyk said under cross-examination by smokers' attorney
Stanley Rosenblatt.

The attorney questioned Szymanczyk's assertion about the industry being
in decline. He quoted stock analysts who advise clients to buy tobacco
stocks and a federal government report that showed teen smoking
increased during the 1990s.

The pair also clashed over a Philip Morris program that the company says
spends $74 million annually to end teen smoking. Szymanczyk says he
doesn't want teen-agers to smoke.

Rosenblatt questioned the company's sincerity, saying that since 90
percent of smokers acquire the habit before their 18th birthday, Philip
Morris would eventually go out of business if no teens smoked. "If
that's what happens, that's what happens," Szymanczyk said. Ending teen
smoking "is the right thing to do."

Rosenblatt then asked Szymanczyk why the company doesn't voluntarily
fold if it agrees smoking is hazardous to its customers' health. He
replied that the other tobacco companies would simply take over Philip
Morris' market share and 400 billion cigarettes would still be sold in
the United States annually. "We think the responsible thing to do is to
try to reduce the harm caused by our product," said Szymanczyk, who has
previously testified about company efforts to create a less carcinogenic
cigarette.

Szymanczyk spent his third day on the witness stand Wednesday. He will
be followed on the stand by Nicholas Brookes of Brown & Williamson
Tobacco Corp. Three other tobacco CEOs also are scheduled to testify.
The other CEOs expected to testify are Andrew Schindler of R.J. Reynolds
Tobacco Co., Martin Orlowsky of Lorillard Tobacco Co. and Bennett LeBow
of Liggett Group Inc.

The CEOs will tell the jury about how their companies have reformed in
the face of lawsuits and public criticism. Their testimony is part of a
bid to dissuade the jury from requesting billions of dollars in punitive
damages on behalf of 300,000 to 500,000 sick Florida smokers.

The appearance of Szymanczyk (pronounced sih-MAN-sihk), and the planned
testimony of the other tobacco CEOs, underscored the trial's importance.
Tobacco executives generally keep low public profiles and rarely testify
under oath. The other CEOs expected to testify are Andrew Schindler of
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Martin Orlowsky of Lorillard Tobacco Co. and
Bennett LeBow of Liggett Group Inc. The other CEOs expected to testify
are Andrew Schindler of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Martin Orlowsky of
Lorillard Tobacco Co. and Bennett LeBow of Liggett Group Inc. (The
Associated Press, June 14, 2000)


VARI-L COMPANY: Cauley & Geller Files Securities Lawsuit in Colorado
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The Law Firm of Cauley & Geller, LLP announced on June 14 that it has
filed a class action in the United States District Court for the
District of Colorado on behalf of all individuals and institutional
investors that purchased the common stock of Vari-L Company, Inc.
(Nasdaq: VARL) between December 17, 1997 and May 17, 2000, inclusive
(the "Class Period").

The complaint charges that the Company and certain of its officers and
directors violated the federal securities laws by providing materially
false and misleading information about the Company's financial
condition. Specifically, the Company, on May 17, 2000, revealed that it
would be restating its previously reported financial results for the
period ended December 31, 1997, and potentially other periods as well.
In addition, during the Class Period insiders sold massive amounts of
stock, reaping substantial proceeds as a result of the inflated value of
Vari-L's stock. After the Company's announcement, Vari-L shares fell
roughly $5 per share from their May 16 close of $16.188, to close at
$11.25 on May 22, 2000, a drop of roughly 35%, as the market fully
absorbed the impact of these disclosures.

Contact: Cauley & Geller, LLP, Boca Raton Sue Null or Sharon Jackson
Toll Free: 1-888-551-9944 E-mail: Cauleypa@aol.com


VARI-L COMPANY: Dyer & Shuman Files Securities Lawsuit in Colorado
------------------------------------------------------------------
Dyer & Shuman, LLP announced that a class action has been commenced in
the United States District Court for the District of Colorado on behalf
of purchasers of VARI-L Company, Inc. (Nasdaq:VARL) publicly traded
securities during the period between January 20, 1998 and May 17, 2000
(the "Class Period").

The complaint charges VARI-L and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the federal securities laws by making
misrepresentations about VARI-L's business, earnings growth and
financial statements and its ability to continue to achieve profitable
growth. By issuing these allegedly false and misleading statements,
defendants artificially inflated VARI-L's stock price from just $5 in
1998 to a Class Period high of $36-7/16 on December 23, 1999, allowing
VARI-L's top insiders to sell or otherwise distribute 583,000 shares of
their VARI-L stock at as high as $27 per share, for over$10 million,
before the true facts about VARI-L's troubled operations, diminished
profitability and false financial statements were revealed and VARI-L's
stock collapsed to as low as $9-1/4 per share.

Contact: Dyer & Shuman, LLP, Denver Jeffrey A. Berens, 303/861-3003,
800/711-6483 fax: 303/830-6920 JBerens@DyerShuman.com


* Corporate Leaders Meet in Detroit to Examine Media's Role in Lawsuits
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Corporate leaders, worldwide news organizations and attorneys from
across the United States are meeting in Detroit to discuss the media's
often-controversial role in class-action lawsuits. Representatives from
Daimler/Chrysler, Nissan, General Motors Europe, Dateline NBC and
PricewaterhouseCoopers will gather on June 16 at the Courtyard by
Marriott from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. as part of a program sponsored by the
American Bar Association.

"Detroit is the perfect venue for this type of discussion," says Darrell
Grams, a presenter and partner in the law firm of Brown McCarroll & Oaks
Hartline in Austin, Texas. "Since many class-action lawsuits are leveled
against auto manufacturers, it's important that they recognize and
understand the media's role in these types of cases."

Mr. Grams, who represents Fortune 500 companies in complex business
cases, says many large corporations, including auto manufacturers,
regularly choose to ignore threatening lawsuits until it's too late.
"Unfortunately," Mr. Grams says, "the public often hears about
class-action lawsuits through the media's interpretation. What we're
trying to do is to show corporate leaders how they can handle these
controversies with as little damage to their reputations as possible."

Merrie Spaeth, former Director of Media Relations to the White House for
President Ronald Reagan, will present how to best handle crisis
communications in the event of a corporate lawsuit. A panel discussion
on the impact of media coverage in products liability cases will follow.

One of the most controversial issues in international law will take
center stage during the program's afternoon session when a group of
panelists will examine how the European legal community is working
toward developing a single legal system for handling products liability
cases. Mr. Grams says many U.S. corporations have been reluctant to
begin overseas operations because of the many products liability laws
currently in effect in Europe.


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

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

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

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