CAR_Public/000710.MBX                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

                Monday, July 10, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 132

                               Headlines

ADVANCED TECHNICAL: Berman DeValerio Files Securities Complaint in GA
ALLIANCE SEMICONDUCTOR: Contests Securities Suit Filed in CA in 1996
AMERICAN ELECTRIC: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Lawsuit in New York
AMERICAN ELECTRIC: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Lawsuit in New York
BERNAL: TX Supreme Court Overturns Certification in Toxic Tort Case

ENTRUST TECHNOLOGIES: Milberg Weiss Files Files Securities Suit in TX
EYE BANKS: Agree to Settle Lawsuit over Corneas from Corpses
FIRSTWORLD COMMUNICATIONS: Schiffrin & Barroway File CO Securities Suit
HARMONIC, INC: Dreier Baritz Files Securities Complaint in California
HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Austria Approves Compensation Fund for Slave Labor

INMATES LITIGATION: Suits Filed in Seven States over High Phone Costs
MEGO FINANCIAL: 9th Cir OKs Fairness Ruling on Shareholder Settlement
PACIFIC GAS: CA Ct OKs Dismissal of Housing Complex Toxic Injury Case
ROAD PROJECTS: Judge Adjourns Ruling on Sacramento Citizens' Suit
SMITH-GARDNER: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Lawsuit in Florida

TAINTED BLOOD: Monroe Area Hospitals, Blood Banks Face Hep. C Lawsuits
TURBODYNE TECHNOLGIES: Amended Securities Lawsuit in CA at Early Stage
U.S. FRANCHISE: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in Georgia
VIAGRA COVERAGE: Admin. Remedies Must Be Exhausted Before Judge Can Sue
VISA, MASTERCARD: Retailers' Antitrust Suit Delayed; No Tria Date Set

VISUAL NETWORKS: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Lawsuit in Maryland
WHITWORTH ENERGY: Owner and Broker Barred from Securities Industry

                               *********

ADVANCED TECHNICAL: Berman DeValerio Files Securities Complaint in GA
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Advanced Technical Products, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATPX) and its wholly-owned
subsidiary Alcore, Inc. were named as defendants in a shareholder class
action filed in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Georgia. The action, brought by Berman, DeValerio & Pease,
LLP, www.bermanesq.com, seeks damages for violations of the federal
securities laws on behalf of all investors who purchased ATP common stock
between April 22, 1998 through and including March 3, 2000 (the "Class
Period").

The lawsuit charges Advanced Technical Products, Alcore and certain
former officers of Alcore, with violations of the federal securities laws
by issuing materially false and misleading financial statements
concerning Advanced Technical Products. The Company has restated its
financial statements for the year-end 1998 and its first three fiscal
quarters of 1999. The restatement resulted in a substantial reduction to
the Company's previously reported earnings.

Contact: Berman, DeValerio & Pease LLP Alicia M. Duff, (800) 516-9926
bdplaw@bermanesq.com


ALLIANCE SEMICONDUCTOR: Contests Securities Suit Filed in CA in 1996
--------------------------------------------------------------------
In March 1996, a putative class action lawsuit was filed against the
Company and certain of its officers and directors and others in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of California,
alleging violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 (the "Exchange Act") and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The
complaint alleged that the Company, N.D. Reddy and C.N. Reddy also had
liability under Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act.

The complaint, brought by an individual who claimed to have purchased 100
shares of the Company's common stock on November 2, 1995, was putatively
brought on behalf of a class of persons who purchased the Company's
common stock between July 11, 1995 and December 29, 1995. In April 1997,
the Court dismissed the complaint, with leave to file an amended
complaint. In June 1997, plaintiff filed an amended complaint against the
Company and certain of its officers and directors alleging violations of
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange Act.

In July 1997, The Company moved to dismiss the amended complaint. In
March 1998, the court ruled in defendants' favor as to all claims but
one, and dismissed all but one claim with prejudice. In April 1998,
defendants requested reconsideration of the ruling as to the one claim
not dismissed. In June 1998, the parties stipulated to dismiss the
remaining claim without prejudice, on the condition that in the event the
dismissal with prejudice of the other claims is affirmed in its entirety,
such remaining claim shall be deemed dismissed with prejudice. In June
1998, the court entered judgment dismissing the case pursuant to the
parties' stipulation. Plaintiffs have appealed the court's ruling
dismissing the claims and the parties have filed appeal briefs.

The Company intends to continue to defend vigorously against any claims
asserted against it, and believes it has meritorious defenses. Due to the
inherent uncertainty of litigation, the Company is not able to reasonably
estimate the potential losses, if any, that may be incurred in relation
to this litigation.


AMERICAN ELECTRIC: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Lawsuit in New York
---------------------------------------------------------------------
On June 23, 2000, a complaint was filed, alleging violations of the
federal securities laws by American Electric Power Company (NYSE: AEP)
and certain of its officers and/or directors. The class action was
commenced in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
New York on behalf of purchasers of American Electric Power securities
during the period between July 25, 1997 and June 25, 1999, inclusive.

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 materially false and misleading statements to the
market. A copy of the complaint can be obtained from the Court, or can be
viewed on Milberg Weiss' website at http://www.milberg.com/aep/

Contact: Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP, New York Steven G.
Schulman or Samuel H. Rudman Phone Number: (800) 320-5081 Website:
http://www.milberg.comEmail: AEPcase@milbergNY.com


AMERICAN ELECTRIC: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Lawsuit in New York
------------------------------------------------------------------------
On July 7, 2000, Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP filed a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of New York on behalf of investors who bought American Electric
Power Company (NYSE:AEP)  stock between July 25, 1997 and June 25, 1999,
inclusive (the "Class Period").

The lawsuit charges American Electric and several of its top officers
with violations of the securities laws and regulations of the United
States. The complaint alleges that defendants issued a series of false
and misleading statements concerning the Company's operations and
finances. Specifically, American Electric is alleged to have misled the
market concerning the existence and impact of problems at one of its
nuclear power plants. Upon the disclosure of the truth concerning the
power plant, the Company's stock price declined 14% on heavy trading
volume.

Contact: Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP (800) 575-0735 Michael
Miske or Fred Taylor Isquith, Esq. www.whafh.com whafh@aol.com or
classmember@whafh.com


BERNAL: TX Supreme Court Overturns Certification in Toxic Tort Case
-------------------------------------------------------------------
In a ruling that may make it difficult in the future to certify class
action suits in personal injury cases, the Texas Supreme Court has
overturned certification of a class of 904 plaintiffs claiming harm when
a slop tank at a refinery exploded, sending plumes of toxic smoke into
the air. Southwestern Refining Co. et al. v. Bernal et al., No. 98-0154
(Tex., May 11, 2000).

The petition for review was sought by Southwestern Refining Co. after the
state trial court certified the class and the state appeals court
modified the certification order to require determination of the
plaintiffs' actual damages before punitive damages were assessed.

                                 Background

In 1994, a slop tank at a Southwestern refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas,
exploded, resulting in soot and ashes descending into the surrounding
neighborhood. Four nearby residents sued the company and four other
defendants for extreme fear, mental anguish, personal injuries and
property damage caused by the toxic exposure.

After an additional 900 claimants joined the lawsuit, the plaintiffs
moved to certify the personal injury claims as a class action. The trial
court granted the motion under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. The
court established a three-phase trial with:

Phase One
Liability;

Phase Two
If liability is found, punitive damages for the certified class; and

Phase Three
The individual members of the class that were actually injured and,
therefore, entitled to punitive damages.

Southwestern brought an interlocutory appeal seeking to reverse the
certification order arguing that the prerequisites to class
certification, most notably that common issues predominate over
individual ones, were not met.

                           Appellate Decision

The appeals panel modified the court ruling to add a phase for actual or
economic damages. This ruling brought the class in line with the Texas
Supreme Court ruling in Transportation Insurance Co. v. Moriel, 879
S.W.2d 10 (Tex., 1994), which said liability and actual damages have to
be determined before it can be decided whether to award punitive damages.

Southwest appealed to the state high court, arguing that no class action
is maintainable because individual issues predominate over common issues.
The defendant also claimed that punitive damages for an entire class
cannot be tried until the jury determines actual damages for the entire
class.

The Texas Supreme Court agreed with Southwestern and ruled that the
company is entitled to an individual determination of liability and
damages for each of the 904 plaintiffs.

Justice Albert Gonzales wrote the majority opinion for the court. Two
justices dissented, saying that although they disagreed with
certification, the state supreme court should exercise judicial restraint
because interlocutory appeals are final in the court of appeals and the
supreme court does not have jurisdiction to judge the merits of the class
certification order.

Christopher Kesler of Fleming & Associates in Houston represented the
plaintiffs. Frank Weathered of Dunn & Weathered in Corpus Christi, Texas,
represented Southwestern Refinery Co. (Toxic Chemicals Litigation
Reporter, June 16, 2000)


ENTRUST TECHNOLOGIES: Milberg Weiss Files Files Securities Suit in TX
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss (http://www.milberg.com/entrust/)announced on July 7 that
a class action has been commenced in the United States District Court for
the Eastern District of Texas on behalf of purchasers of Entrust
Technologies Inc. ("Entrust") (Nasdaq:ENTU) common stock during the
period between April 19, 2000 and July 3, 2000 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Entrust and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Entrust develops,
markets, and sells products and services that allow enterprises to manage
trusted, secure electronic communications and transactions over networks.
The complaint alleges that defendants misrepresented the revenues that
Entrust was deriving from its public key infrastructure business which
together with defendants' false representations that Entrust would post
2Q 2000 EPS of $0.08, operated to artificially inflate the price of
Entrust stock to a Class Period high of $ 82-3/4 on 6/30/00. This upsurge
in Entrust's stock caused by defendants' false and misleading statements
enabled Entrust to complete the $703 million stock-for-stock acquisition
of enCommerce. On 7/5/00, two business days after the acquisition of
enCommerce was completed, Entrust revealed that it was in fact suffering
a huge decline in revenues, was not posting earnings per share growth,
and contrary to defendants' repeated assurances, Entrust was forced to
reveal the problems it had been experiencing during the Class Period in
attempting to grow its business. This announcement caused its stock price
to drop to as low as $34-3/8 (or over $40 per share) on record volume of
19 million shares on 7/5/00, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in
damages to members of the Class.

Contact: Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP William Lerach,
800/449-4900 wsl@mwbhl.com


EYE BANKS: Agree to Settle Lawsuit over Corneas from Corpses
------------------------------------------------------------
Hamilton County and two eye banks have tentatively agreed to pay more
than $ 5 million to settle a lawsuit against the former county coroner
for allowing corneas to be taken from about 600 corpses without the
permission of next of kin.

Under the proposed settlement, the county would pay $ 4.95 million and
the eye banks $ 300,000 to 545 plaintiffs, officials said.

The settlement is subject to approval by the county commission and a
federal judge.

Deborah Brotherton of suburban Cincinnati sued in 1989 after discovering
from an autopsy report that her husband's corneas had been taken after
his death in 1988. The lawsuit later became a class-action to include
other families with similar claims.

Coroner Frank Cleveland's policy from 1985 through 1991 was to allow
corneas to be taken unless expressly denied by the deceased's next of
kin. The county's lawyers argued that Cleveland was following state law.

But a federal appeals court ruled in 1999 that Cleveland's 1 policy
violated federal law. (The Record (Bergen County, NJ), July 7, 2000)


FIRSTWORLD COMMUNICATIONS: Schiffrin & Barroway File CO Securities Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for
the District of Colorado on behalf of all purchasers of the common stock
of FirstWorld Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq:FWIS) pursuant or traceable to
the Company's initial public offering ("IPO") on March 8, 2000.

The complaint charges FirstWorld and certain of its officers and
directors with issuing a false and misleading Registration Statement and
Prospectus for the IPO of FirstWorld common stock. The complaint alleges
that, as a direct result of the falsity of the Registration Statement and
the Prospectus, FirstWorld's IPO was sold at a price far exceeding the
true value of the stock at that time.

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


HARMONIC, INC: Dreier Baritz Files Securities Complaint in California
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Dreier Baritz & Federman filed a securities class action lawsuit on
behalf of purchasers of the publicly-traded securities of Harmonic, Inc.
(Nasdaq: HLIT), between March 27, 2000 and June 26, 2000, inclusive (the
"Class Period"), in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California.

The complaint charges Harmonic and certain of its directors and executive
officers with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule
l0b-5 promulgated thereunder. The complaint alleges that the defendants
misled the market by projecting 2000 EPS of at least $1.19. These
projections were materially false and misleading because, among other
things, they were based on unreasonable and false assumptions of the
revenues Harmonic would receive from its largest customer, AT&T, and its
newly acquired C-Cube division. Defendants were aware that revenues from
AT&T and C-Cube were declining rapidly, yet they failed to disclose this
information in order to permit Harmonic to complete its acquisition of
C-Cube's Divicom business with inflated stock. When the truth was
revealed, Harmonic's stock dropped to $22-11/16 from a Class Period high
of $102.

Contact: William B. Federman of Dreier Baritz & Federman, 405-235-1560,
or fax, 405-239-2112, or wFederman@aol.com


HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Austria Approves Compensation Fund for Slave Labor
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Austria's parliament unanimously approved a dlrs 415 million fund to
compensate aging victims who were forced into hard labor by the Nazis
during World War II. Members of parliament from all four political
parties expressed their support for the fund. They said it is a gesture
but one that can never truly make up for the suffering of the estimated
150,000 people thought to be alive today who worked as slave and forced
laborers in Austria.

The restitution law is also ''an act of liberation'' for Austrians, who
shared responsibility with Germany for the events of the past, said
Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel.

Under the law setting up the fund, one-time payments will range up to
about dlrs 7,250 for slave laborers those forced to work in Nazi
concentration camps. Those forced to work in factories would receive
about dlrs 2,420, while agricultural laborers would get about dlrs 1,380.
Women who gave birth while serving as forced laborers in Austria would
receive an extra dlrs 345.

Maria Schaumayer, the Austrian envoy responsible for negotiating the
establishment of the fund, told the Austria Press Agency she was pleased
by the law's passage in the 183-seat parliament. ''The first chapter is
closed,'' she said.

The fund will be financed by both the Austrian government and businesses
that profited from the laborers. Officials said they hope the first
payments can be made before the end of the year.

The German parliament last Thursday passed a similar bill, setting up a
dlrs 5 billion fund to compensate slave and forced laborers who worked on
their territory during World War II.

Austria's fund was criticized by American attorney Ed Fagan, who has
filed a class-action lawsuit in New York in the name of Holocaust and
slave labor victims. He has demanded that Austrian banks and companies
pay damages of dlrs 18 billion.

But Schaumayer defended the agreement, saying, ''The reconciliation fund
is an instrument to make amends and humanitarian payments to the greatest
number of victims possible _ according to my intentions 100 percent. That
is a number that could never be reached through a lawsuit.'' (AP
Worldstream, July 7, 2000)


INMATES LITIGATION: Suits Filed in Seven States over High Phone Costs
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Inmates in seven states are suing over the high cost of making phone
calls from prison. They are challenging the deals under which a state or
county government gets as much as 60 cents on the dollar from a telephone
company that is given exclusive rights to handle all calls from behind
bars.

AT&T Corp. spokesman Tom Hopkins said that the highinmate rates in
Indiana, $3.95 for the initial long-distance hookup, plus 69 cents a
minute are necessary to pay for the accompanying security measures.

But critics consider the leasing commissions legalized kickbacks and
point to Nebraska, where inmates' long-distance collect calls cost just
19 cents a minute while being subject to similar security controls.
''It's gouging and profiteering,'' said Stephen Seliger, a Chicago lawyer
involved in class-action lawsuits against three states and Corrections
Corp. of America, a company that runs 70 prisons nationwide.

Class-action lawsuits have been filed in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New
Mexico, New York, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

The contracts have become a significant source of revenue for states.
Indiana took in $6.3 million last year from all state pay phones, most of
them in prisons. New York made $25 million; California $24 million; and
Illinois $12 million.

While some states, including Oregon, Florida and New York, require that
at least some of the state's profits pay for inmate-related programs,
others do not. The 53 percent cut of revenue that Indiana gets under its
contract with AT&T goes into the state's general fund to pay for
everything from renovations to the Statehouse to Y2K computer compliance.

Nebraska has never accepted commissions. It has a contract with Sprint
that allows for the same security measures common in other states
including prisoner ID numbers, pre-approved call lists and monitoring of
the calls, all of which must be collect. ''We decided that we didn't want
to make money at the expense of the inmates,'' said Steve King, a
Nebraska Corrections Department spokesman.

In Indiana, 38-year-old Selena Kingsley racked up $7,000 in phone bills
during the four years her husband was imprisoned on drug charges. She
said she still owes the phone company, and the costs ruined her
financially. ''They espouse this theory of wanting to keep families
together, and the only way we had to keep in contact was the telephone,''
she said. ''The phone companies have got you. They know you'll accept the
calls.'' (AP Online, July 7, 2000)


MEGO FINANCIAL: 9th Cir OKs Fairness Ruling on Shareholder Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------------
he Ninth Circuit upheld a Nevada federal judge's fairness ruling
regarding the $1.725 million shareholder class action settlement reached
by Mego Financial Corp. The panel rejected the challenges raised by a
protesting shareholder and found the trial judge properly determined the
settlement to be fair, given the difficulties of proving the case. In re
Mego Financial Corp. Securities Litigation; Dunleavy et al. v.
Nederlander et al. v. Nadler, No. 99-15361 (9th Cir., May 22, 2000).

                            Restated Earnings

The class claims brought against the real estate loan financier Mego
Financial Corp. stemmed from its November 1995 disclosure that its 1994
reported net income had been overstated. Two separate class actions were
filed that month by Christopher Dunleavy, who had purchased 100 shares of
Mego stock on Nov. 9, 1995, and by A. Peyser, who had recently purchased
1,500 shares of the stock. The suits identified classes of shareholders
that purchased Mego common stock between January 1994 and Nov. 9, 1995.

Michael Nadler, a purchaser of 100,000 shares of Mego during the class
period, filed his own class suit in the wake of Mego's March 1996
disclosure that its earnings had been overstated for each year between
1992 and 1994. Nadler brought the complaint after the District of Nevada
rejected his bid to intervene in the prior suits. Nadler's complaint was
ultimately consolidated with Dunleavy and Peyser's.

Mego, Dunleavy and Peyser submitted a memorandum of understanding to the
court below in May 1997, outlining the terms of the settlement. Nadler
lodged objections to the agreement in August 1998, complaining that its
terms denied compensation to any class member that paid less than $6.125
a share; a price that had not been attained by Mego stock until late in
the class period. U.S. District Judge Lloyd D. George held the settlement
to be fair in October 1998, and Nadler appealed.

                            Lack of Evidence

In its review of the lower court's assessment of the settlement terms,
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit first considered the
strength of the plaintiff's case, and found it to be wanting. The panel
noted the lower court's observations that the core of the class suits
went to the assertion that the Mego officer defendants profited by
artificially inflating the stock price. The trial judge, continued the
appellate court, found no evidence that these individual defendants sold
their shares or profited from the alleged inflation during the relevant
period.

The Ninth Circuit also agreed with Judge George's findings as to the
reasonableness of the settlement amount. While Nadler asserted that the
class lost an estimated $12 million, the lower court found his counsel to
have failed to consider "account market fluctuations, possible variations
in the dimensions of the class, the volatility of stock and the
substantial rebound in Mego stock after its initial decline." Even if
Nadler's methodology were sound, the Ninth Circuit concluded, a
settlement of one-sixth the potential recovery would be fair and
adequatein light of the difficulties of proving the case.

While agreeing with Nadler's contention that extensive formal discovery
had not been completed, the panel upheld the lower court's conclusion
that the plaintiffs had sufficient information to make an informed
decision regarding the settlement. "The district court noted that Class
Counsel conducted significant investigation, discovery and research, and
presented the court with documentation supporting those services," the
panel wrote.

The Ninth Circuit further observed that only one of the 5,400 potential
class members who received notice of the settlement chose to opt out, and
that Nadler represented a mere handful of objectors at the fairness
hearing.

                           Additional Issues

Lastly, the panel upheld the rejection of Nadler's assertion that class
counsel were in collusion with the defendants. While the class plaintiffs
did vigorously contest his intervention, the Ninth Circuit observed,
Nadler did file his claims after the effective date of the Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA), "and he arguably would have
placed the class on a different statutory footing."

The appellate panel next upheld the plan of distribution approved by the
district judge. In so ruling, the Ninth Circuit compared the plan's
methodology with the method of calculating damages stated in the PSLRA.

Section 78u-4(e) of the act, observed the court, "essentially caps a
plaintiff's damages to those recoverable under the rescissory measure.
Thus, if the mean trading price of a security during the 90-day period
following the correction is greater than the price at which the plaintiff
purchased his stock then that plaintiff would recover nothing under the
PSLRA's limitation on damages."

The Ninth Circuit found the sole real distinction between the
methodologies of the plan and the PSLRA to be that the plan sets the
recoverable market value as the value on the date the corrective
information was disclosed. "This result is actually more advantageous to
the plaintiffs," the panel wrote.

The appellate court also affirmed the trial court's certification of the
plaintiff class. While Nadler asserted a conflict of interest between the
class representatives and purchasers, such as himself, who bought stock
prior to April 1995, the Ninth Circuit deemed the conflict "illusory."

The panel concluded, "The early purchasers could never get out-of-pocket
damages because they, including Nadler, did not file suit prior to the
effective date of the PSLRA. Therefore, while they would have been free
to bring a class action suit against Mego, it would have been subject to
the PSLRA, which would have limited their damages to the rescissory
measure of damages."

The Ninth Circuit also rejected Nadler's assertion that class counsel
failed to prosecute the action vigorously on the class' behalf. "There
were many reasons not to pursue further litigation," wrote the court.
"Complex litigation is inherently uncertain and Plaintiffs would have had
much difficultyproving scienter."

Richard G. McCracken of McCracken, Stemerman, Bowen & Holsberry in Las
Vegas, and David B. Kahn and Mark E. King of David B. Kahn & Associates,
Ltd. in Northfield, Ill., represented Nadler. Patricia I. Avery of Wolf,
Popper, Ross, Wolf & Jones in New York represented Dunleavy and Peyser.
Andrew C. Houston of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York
represented the director appellees. (Securities Litigation & Regulation
Reporter, June 21, 2000)


PACIFIC GAS: CA Ct OKs Dismissal of Housing Complex Toxic Injury Case
---------------------------------------------------------------------
A California appellate panel, affirming a state superior court decision,
granted Pacific Gas & Electric Co. dismissal of a class action personal
injury suit brought by a group of 190 residents of a public housing
complex who claimed they were harmed by exposure to chemicals at the
site. Lawrence et al. v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. et al., No. A080941
(Cal. Ct. App., 1st Dist., May 15, 2000) .

Because the state's lower court granted the pretrial motions of Pacific
Gas & Electric Co. for the exclusion of the expert witnesses, the
appellate court said the plaintiffs could not meet their burden of proof
to show that any individual plaintiff's illness or injury was due to
exposure to chemicals at the public housing site.

                                Background

The public housing complex, Midway Village, is bounded by property owned
by PG&E whose predecessor operated a gas manufacturing plant which is
thought to have produced a harmful chemical, polynuclear aromatic
hydrocarbons (PNA).

The discovery of these chemicals in the soil on the northern edge of the
complex in 1990 led to this action in which the Midway Village residents
claimed that they were injured. Among the injuries claimed were
unexplained nosebleeds, persistent skin rashes and respiratory problems.

                            Expert Witnesses

Superior Court Judge Joseph Bergeron dismissed the lawsuits because he
found the plaintiffs' expert, Rosemarie Bowler, Ph.D., who undertook a
health study at Midway, had not measured individual exposure for each
participant, had not reviewed any medical records and had no medical
evaluations conducted on the plaintiffs.

Another plaintiff expert, Rudolf Von Burg, Ph.D., could not state that
the plaintiffs' injuries had been caused by a medical certainty from
exposure to the chemicals.

The appeal court panel upheld the lower court decision because "the law
requires specificity in connecting an individual's symptom or illness to
that particticular individual's exposure to the toxic substance."

PG&E was represented by Stephen Jones in San Francisco. John Burris in
Oakland, Calif.,and Charles Bonner in Sausalito, Calif., represented the
plaintiffs. (Toxic Chemicals Litigation Reporter, June 16, 2000)


ROAD PROJECTS: Judge Adjourns Ruling on Sacramento Citizens' Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Lawyers for public transportation agencies and private highway builders
argued that the legal challenge to major components of a $400 million
road construction plan for the Sacramento region cannot be sustained
under the federal Clean Air Act.

The act does not allow citizen lawsuits such as the one brought by
environmental and transportation activists seeking to halt 59 major
projects, the lawyers told U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton in
support of a motion to dismiss the suit. But Joseph Brecher, attorney for
the coalition of plaintiffs, countered that the defendants were engaging
in semantics and invoking "dubious procedural grounds" to rid themselves
of the suit.

At the close of the hearing, Karlton took the motion under submission and
will rule later. He also took plaintiffs' motions for a preliminary
injunction and summary judgment under submission.

The lawsuit alleges that the transportation plan was approved by local,
state and federal officials based on erroneous assurances from the
Sacramento Area Council of Governments that the plan meets nitrogen oxide
emission limits developed under terms of the Clean Air Act. SACOG said
increased traffic caused by the plan would be offset by less pollution
due to stricter state emission rules. But those assurances were based on
projections of emission reductions from the California Air Resources
Board in 1994 that proved to be too optimistic, the suit says.

Targeted projects include the controversial widening of Watt Avenue at
the American River, car-pool lanes for Highway 50 and Interstate 80, and
the addition of new lanes to crowded portions of Antelope Road, Greenback
Lane and Sunrise Boulevard.

The suit seeks to stop 22 projects in unincorporated Sacramento County;
12 in the city of Sacramento; 10 in Placer County -- including eight in
Roseville; six in Citrus Heights; five in El Dorado County; two in
Folsom, and two in Yolo County.

SACOG attorney John Kennedy argues that private citizens may sue under
the Clean Air Act "only for repeated or ongoing violations of an emission
standard or limitation." Case law does not allow a citizen lawsuit over a
government determination that a local plan conforms to an emission
limitation, Kennedy said.

Joining Kennedy in this argument was David Williamson, attorney for a
national advocacy group that includes highway builders. "Congress didn't
grant citizen-suit jurisdiction for a determination," Williamson told
Karlton. "There is no emission limitation currently being exceeded here.
A conformity determination is not a source of pollution."

But Brecher argued that the limitation is "a living, breathing number
that has to be achieved" when all of the new and improved roads are
completed. "If you're going in the opposite direction, that is a present
violation." A citizen should not have to wait until the air is even more
poisonous before a suit may be filed, he said.

Referring to the fact that the Sacramento metropolitan area has been
designated a "severe nonattainment area" for ozone under Clean Air Act
standards, Brecher said, "The reason this area is out of attainment year
after year is because these projects are allowed to proceed willy-nilly."

Williamson pointed out that if Karlton were to halt the projects, "It
would create a hat full of contract disputes between our members and
numerous municipalities." If the plaintiffs' theory is believed,
Williamson said in a brief filed earlier, all 194 road and transit
projects in the Sacramento plan "were somehow illegally approved." Thus,
he said, an injunction "would arguably halt the construction of
approximately $400 million worth of planned transportation improvement
projects, many of which reportedly are in full swing, and some of which
have already been completed. "This uncertainty would wreak devastating
economic and practical harm on (contractors) by continually interfering
with construction contracts."

Brecher, however, in his memorandum in support of a summary judgment,
said, "By pushing ahead with their highway construction program . . . the
defendants exhibit an arrogant contempt for the mandate of the law and a
reckless disregard for the health and welfare of the citizens of the
Sacramento area."

Williamson, both in his brief and at the hearing, argued that, in keeping
"with the logic of Congress' system of forward-looking air quality and
transportation planning, if the old emissions factors relied on in the
July 1999 conformity determination were, for some reason, inaccurate,
that inaccuracy will be corrected in the October 2000 . . .
determination."

Brecher scoffed at that reasoning as "smoke and mirrors." "At some point,
every square inch of the Sacramento area will be paved over and there
won't be a next time around," he said. (Sacramento Bee, July 6, 2000)


SMITH-GARDNER: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Lawsuit in Florida
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP, announces that a class action
is being commenced on behalf of purchasers of the securities of
Smith-Gardner & Associates, Inc. (NASDAQ:SGAI) between October 27, 1999,
and June 16, 2000, 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
Southern District of Florida, against defendants Smith-Gardner, Gary G.
Hegna (the Chief Executive Officer), Martin K. Weinbaum (Chief Financial
Officer), Allan Gardner (Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer), and
Wilburn Smith (Co-Founder and Executive Vice President).

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 materially false and misleading financial
statements. The class period commences on October 27, 1999, when
defendants issued a press release announcing "record results." The
Company continued to issue "record" financial results causing
Smith-Gardner stock to reach a high of over $21 per share in February
2000. The statements made by the Company, however, failed to disclose
material adverse facts about its financial condition, such as: (a) many
of its Internet related business customers faced severe cash flow
problems making near term revenue and earnings growth unlikely; (b)
defendants had not adopted a conservative reserve account to provide for
doubtful accounts and would soon be forced to take a significant charge
against earnings to supplement those reserves; and (c) defendants knew
but failed to disclose that Research and Development spending was
inadequate and would have to be increased significantly.

On June 16, 2000, the Company shocked investors by announcing that it
expected to lose between $0.13 and $0.16 per share in the second quarter
of fiscal year 2000. On the same day, the stock price plummeted over 50%,
to close at $4.91 per share. Smith-Gardner insiders, however, did not
share the investing public's losses. Company insiders sold over $35
million worth of Smith-Gardner stock at prices as high as $21.69 per
share.

Contact: Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP (800) 575-0735 Fred
Taylor Isquith, Esq., Michael Miske or George Peters
classmember@whafh.com, whafh@aol.com or www.whafh.com


TAINTED BLOOD: Monroe Area Hospitals, Blood Banks Face Hep. C Lawsuits
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Six northeastern Louisiana residents claim in lawsuits filed here that
they contracted hepatitis C from blood transfusions in the late 1970s and
the 1980s. Named in the lawsuits are LSU Medical Center-Monroe (formerly
E.A. Conway Hospital), Glenwood Regional Medical Center, St. Francis
Medical Center, Lifeshare Blood Centers, Interstate Blood Bank of
Louisiana Inc., and unnamed blood banks.

The Shreveport law firm of Nelson, Hammons & Self filed the six lawsuits
in 4th Judicial District Court, seeking unspecified damages. Victoria
Johnson and Laurie Ann Hart Landry, both of West Monroe, Kay W. Breed of
Oak Grove, and Monroe residents Joyce Evelyn Vernon, Debbie Hargis and
Laura Milton are the plaintiffs.

Hepatitis C is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver that can
develop into cirrhosis or even cancer of the liver. Shreveport attorney
John Hammons describes hepatitis C as "a very insidious disease" and that
symptoms may appear up to 30 years after the transfusions.

"Hepatitis C was not even identified until 1988. It took two years to
develop a test and in 1990, the day the drug and food administration
approved the test for use in blood centers, Lifeshare started testing
that day," said Lifeshare's Kenneth Hudson, quality assurance coordinator
in Monroe and Shreveport. "Basically these lawsuits are trying to hold us
responsible for something we didn't know existed at the time," he said.

Hammons counters that the medical community and blood centers have known
since 1960 that there was a correlation between blood donors with
elevated liver enzymes and liver complications in patients receiving
blood. "They knew for 20 to 25 years that certain units of blood had a
significant chance of causing liver disease, but sold and administered it
anyway. Back then they called it hepatitis non-A and non-B," Hammons
said.

Glenwood Administrator Ray Ford said the hospitals and blood centers
should not be held liable for something they did not realize existed.

Clark Cosse', vice president of legal and governmental affairs for the
Louisiana Hospital Association, said the hospitals are only being sued
"because they have the deep pockets. The blood centers are basically
nonprofit and they don't have a lot of money even if they win their
case." Cosse' said the state Legislature passed a bill two years ago to
lessen the affects of hepatitis C lawsuits on hospitals in the state.

He said some of the cases involve blood transfusions given as far back as
the 1940s. He said the recent lawsuits have been filed because the law
states all old cases must be filed by July 1, 2000. The law also states
"strict liability must be proven," Cosse' said. "That would be like if a
nurse used an infected needle or things like that," he said. Cosse' also
said the law requires a plaintiff to prove the virus was received through
a transfusion. Cosse' said a class action lawsuit was filed in June 1999
in Orleans Parish Civil Court with more than 200 plaintiffs.

Hammons, who said he is currently representing 80 to 100 hepatitis C
cases, said he did not choose to enter his clients in the class action.
Hammons said he filed a hepatitis C lawsuit in the early 1990s, Branch
vs. Willis Knighten Hospital in Shreveport, that has been upheld by the
Supreme Court. The court ruled the statute of limitations had not expired
even though the plaintiff was infected in 1976. Hammons said the court
ruled the plaintiff filed a timely lawsuit after finding out in 1991 that
he had hepatitis C. (The Associated Press State & Local Wire, July 7,
2000)


TURBODYNE TECHNOLGIES: Amended Securities Lawsuit in CA at Early Stage
----------------------------------------------------------------------
In January through March of 1999, six purported class action complaints
were filed against the Company and certain of its officers and directors
in the United States District Court for the Central District of
California, as follows:

ABBREVIATED CASE NAME                   CASE NO.       DATE FILED
---------------------                   --------       ----------
Takeda, et al. v.
Turbodyne Technologies, et al.     CV-99-00697-MMM       01/22/99

Zaks, et al. v.
Turbodyne Technologies, et al.      CV-99-00743-MMM       01/25/99

Lincscott, et al. v.
Turbodyne Technologies, et al       CV-99-00933-MMM       01/28/99

Siebert, et al. v.
Turbodyne Technologies, et al.      CV-99-01288-MMM       02/08/99

Gentile, et al. v.
Turbodyne Technologies, et al.      CV-99-02194-MMM       03/01/99

Giammarco, et al. v.
Turbodyne Technologies, et al.      CV-99-02751-MMM       03/16/99

On June 4, 1999, the court entered an order consolidating these six
actions for all purposes under the caption In Re Turbodyne Technologies,
Inc. Securities Litigation, Master File No. CV-99-00697-MMM (BQRx) (the
"Consolidated Action"). By the same order, the court appointed the
"Kadner-7 Group," comprised of Ralf Kadner, Gordon Williamson &
Associates, Louis T. Inglehart, Ronald Shoen, Gunther Wrieden, Combined
Atlantic Carriers and Dennis Jones, as Lead Plaintiffs pursuant to the
provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, 15
U.S.C. sec. 78u-4(a)(3)(B), and approved the Lead Plaintiffs' selection
of lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the Consolidated Action.

On August 9, 1999, the plaintiffs filed their consolidated class action
complaint, which is now the operative complaint in the Consolidated
Action. The Consolidated Action purports to be brought on behalf of
individuals claiming to have purchased Common Stock of the Company during
the time period from March 1, 1997 through January 22, 1999. Plaintiffs
seek unspecified damages arising from alleged misstatements concerning
such matters as the technological capability and actual and potential
sales of the Company's Turbopac(TM) product, and the demand for and
market acceptance of the Turbopac(TM) and other Company products.
Plaintiffs allege that these alleged misstatements caused the Company's
stock price to be "artificially inflated" during the purported class
period.

The Company has tendered these actions to its insurance carriers who have
appointed counsel to represent the Company and the other defendants in
these actions.

The Company has filed a motion to dismiss which was granted by the court
without prejudice. On or about May 4, 2000 plaintiffs filed an amended
complaint The Company is reviewing the amended complaint to determine
whether to file another motion to dismiss the complaint. Since this
action is in the very early stages of litigation, the Company is unable
to assess the likelihood of an adverse result, and there can be no
assurances as to the outcome of the action.

                           SEC Investigation

In June 1999, the Company received a formal request for production of
documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). The
SEC indicated that its inquiry should not be construed as an indication
by the SEC or its staff that any violations of law have occurred, nor
should it be construed as an adverse reflection on the merits of the
Company's securities or any person or entity.


U.S. FRANCHISE: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in Georgia
--------------------------------------------------------------
On May 18, 2000, a complaint was filed, alleging violations of the
federal securities laws by U.S. Franchise Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: USFS)
and certain of its officers and/or directors. The class action was
commenced in the United States District Court for the Northern District
of Georgia, Atlanta Division, on behalf of purchasers of U.S. Franchise
Systems securities during the period between May 6, 1999 and October 29,
1999, inclusive.

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 materially false and misleading statements to the
market. A copy of the complaint can be obtained from the Court, or can be
viewed on Milberg Weiss' website at http://www.milberg.com/usfs/

Contact: Steven G. Schulman or Samuel H. Rudman One Pennsylvania Plaza,
49th Floor New York, NY 10119-0165 Phone Number: (800) 320-5081 Website:
http://www.milberg.comEmail: USFranchisecase@milbergNY.com


VIAGRA COVERAGE: Admin. Remedies Must Be Exhausted Before Judge Can Sue
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
When U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David A. Scholl was informed by his insurer
that it would pay for four Viagra pills each month, he should have
appealed that decision to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management instead
of refiling his class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court, a federal
judge has ruled.

In a 12-page decision filed on July 6, U.S. District Judge Joseph J.
Farnan ruled that Scholl has not yet exhausted his administrative
remedies before the OPM and therefore is not entitled to bring suit yet.

According to the suit, Scholl was diagnosed as suffering from erectile
dysfunction. His physician prescribed Viagra as a treatment. At first,
Scholl's insurer, QualMed Inc., denied coverage for the prescriptions,
but later said it would make a coverage decision by "early summer" of
1998. By August 1998, QualMed said it would deny the coverage, and Scholl
appealed the decision to OPM. OPM determined in January 1999 that Viagra
is a covered benefit. QualMed later said it would retroactively apply a
new Viagra policy but limited coverage to just four pills per month.
Scholl filed suit, arguing that QualMed adopted its position without
regard to his doctor's determination as to the appropriate number of
pills to treat the condition. And since the decision was limited only to
Scholl, the suit said it had not provided any relief for the members of
Scholl's putative class. Lawyers for OPM moved to dismiss the suit,
arguing that Scholl had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies
under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Act.

Judge Farnan of the District of Delaware, who was specially assigned to
hear the case so that it could be decided by a judge outside the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania, found that the exhaustion requirement in FEHBA
is "a practical rule designed to provide the courts with the benefit of
an agency's expertise." Farnan agreed that Scholl failed to exhaust
because he filed suit immediately after receiving the decision from
QualMed that limited his coverage to four pills per month." In the
court's view, the proper next step was not to bring an action in federal
court. Rather, Scholl should have appealed to OPM about what he
considered to be an improper, unilateral limitation on his prescription,"
Farnan wrote. Farnan emphasized "the key role played by OPM in the FEHBA
regulatory scheme." OPM, he said, "is not a rubber stamp for the
insurance company." And QualMed, he noted, "could not provide insurance
under FEHBA without first agreeing that it would abide by OPM's
interpretation of its insurance plans."

Farnan found that an appeal by Scholl to OPM could result in two possible
outcomes an affirmance of QualMed's decision or a decision that no such
limitation applies.

As a result, Farnan said, "resort to the administrative process is not
futile." Scholl's first appeal was successful, Farnan noted, and resulted
in an "immediate reversal" of QualMed's decision that Viagra was not
covered at all. That decision, he said, showed that "the statutory and
regulatory machinery was working as intended." Scholl insisted that he
should still be allowed to sue QualMed because it was ignoring a final
decision of the OPM. Farnan disagreed, saying "Scholl's lawsuit did not
permit OPM the opportunity to pass on the extent of coverage, and
accordingly, the court cannot agree that QualMed is ignoring a final
agency determination." (The Legal Intelligencer, July 7, 2000)


VISA, MASTERCARD: Retailers' Antitrust Suit Delayed; No Tria Date Set
---------------------------------------------------------------------
While Visa USA and MasterCard International were busy fighting a Justice
Department antitrust lawsuit, the judge in another antitrust case filed
against the card giants postponed a summary judgment hearing scheduled
for Aug 4 as well as the Nov 27 trial date.

Judge John Gleeson did not establish a new trial date for the case, known
as the Wal-Mart suit. That case, pending in US District Court for the
Eastern District of New York, was brought by the largest retailers in the
United States, including Sears, Roebuck and Co and The Limited Inc The
retailers are challenging Visa's and MasterCard's "honor all cards"
rules, which require merchants who take credit cards to also take debit
cards

In June Visa and MasterCard won the right to appeal Judge Gleeson's
decision to certify the case as a class action The judge was apparently
concerned that the Court of Appeals would not have rendered a decision on
the merchants' class-action status before he heard the summary judgment
arguments in Augus. (The American Banker, July 7, 2000)


VISUAL NETWORKS: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Lawsuit in Maryland
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP and the Law Offices of Charles
J. Piven announce that a class action was commenced on behalf of
purchasers of the common stock of Visual Networks, Inc. during the period
between February 7, 2000 and July 5, 2000 inclusive, (the "Class
Period"), who suffered damages caused by defendants' violation of the
federal securities laws. 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
District of Maryland against defendants Visual and its Chief Executive
Officer Scott Stouffer.

During the Class Period, defendants issued to the investing public false
and misleading statements concerning the Company's prospects for the
growth of its revenues going forward, prospects in connection with its
acquisition of Avesta Technologies Inc. ("Avesta") and with respect to
the sale of the Company's core products. Moreover, the Company omitted to
state material information concerning integration related problems being
experienced following the Avesta transaction necessary to be issued in
order to make prior statements not misleading.

Once the Company disclosed the true state of its affairs with respect to
the Avesta integration problems and weakening revenues, its common stock
plummeted nearly 54% or $14.50 points.

Contact: Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP Gregory M. Nespole,
Esq. Fred T. Isquith, Esq. Michael Miske George Peters 800/575-0735
classmember@whafh.com whafh@aol.com nespole@whafh.com Gnespole@aol.com or
our website at www.whafh.com


WHITWORTH ENERGY: Owner and Broker Barred from Securities Industry
------------------------------------------------------------------
Judge Robert G. Mahony has barred the co-owner of Whitworth Energy
Resources Ltd., and the investment adviser who sold its oil and gas
offerings, from having any further association with broker-dealers.
According to the decision, their violation of the anti-fraud provisions
of federal securities law was egregious and included violations of the
preliminary injunction entered against them. In re Anderson and Kerns.
(Securities Litigation & Regulation Reporter, June 21, 2000)


                              *********


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

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

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

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without prior
written permission of the publishers.

Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to be
reliable, but is not guaranteed.

The CAR subscription rate is $575 for six months delivered via e-mail.
Additional e-mail subscriptions for members of the same firm for the
term of the initial subscription or balance thereof are $25 each.  For
subscription information, contact Christopher Beard at 301/951-6400.


                    * * *  End of Transmission  * * *