CAR_Public/000721.MBX               C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

               Friday, July 21, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 141

                             Headlines

ANICOM, INC: Wolf Popper Files Suit in IL over Securities Law Violations
AUTO INSURANCE: Aftermarket Auto Parts Shifting Gears in Canada
BREAST IMPLANT: Canadian Health Department Not Criminally Negligent
BREAST IMPLANT: FDA Study Shows High Rupture Rate of Silicone Gel
CINAR CORP: Will Tell Quebec Court Investors Suit on Damages Premature

CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE: Bartell Sued over Bias for Exclusion from Plan
DOT HILL: Announces Preliminary Settlement for Shareholder Lawsuit
FIRSTWORLD COMMUNICATIONS: Barrack Rodos Files Securities Suit in CO
FRONTIER INSURANCE: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in New York
HMOs: Los Angeles Times Says Transfer of "Covered Lives" on the Upswing

HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Japan Times Talks about Remembrance & Responsibility
MAINE: State Asks for Dismissal of Lawsuit over Services to Children
NASCAR WINSTON: Lawsuit Alleging Price-Fixing of Vendors Settled
PACIFIC RIM: Employer Appeals ALJ Decision on Non Compensable Claims
PINNACLE SYSTEMS: Cauley & Geller Files Securities Suit in California

PINNACLE SYSTEMS: Cauley & Geller Files Securities Suit in California
PINNACLE SYSTEMS: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in CA
PINNACLE SYSTEMS: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Suit in CA
RYLAND GROUP: Residents Edgy over Danger of Sinkholes
TELXON CORP: 1993 DE Derivative Action Intervened; Ct Decision Pending

TELXON CORP: Contests Derivative Suit in DE over Sale of Aironet Stock
TELXON CORP: Motion to Dismiss Stockholder Suit in Ohio Remains Pending
TELXON CORP: Resolves Lawsuit in DE over Symbol Technologies' Offer
WINGER: Bondholders Sue Accountants and Underwriters of Safety-Kleen
Y2K LITIGATION: Nevada Physician Sues Infocure

* USA Today Says Regulators Struggle to Diagnose Sick Buildings

                                *********

ANICOM, INC: Wolf Popper Files Suit in IL over Securities Law Violations
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anicom, Inc. (Nasdaq: ANIC) and certain of its senior officers have been
charged with violations of the federal securities laws by Wolf Popper LLP
in a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of all persons who purchased
Anicom common stock from April 28, 1998 through July 18, 2000, filed in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The Complaint charges that defendants artificially inflated Anicom's stock
price by improper accounting practices which misrepresented the Company's
net assets. Defendants have announced an investigation of certain
accounting matters, including possible accounting irregularities, which
could result in revision of previously issued financial statements and that
Anicom's publicly reported 1998 and 1999 financial statements should not be
relied upon. It is currently believed that the total effect of these
accounting revisions and charges could be as much as $35 million. The
president and chief financial officer of the Company have taken
administrative leave pending completion of the investigation, and an
interim President and Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer
have been appointed.

The Complaint alleges that Defendants' statements regarding the Company's
1998 and 1999 financial results, their repeated statements concerning the
record financial results, the strength of the Company's balance sheet and
financial condition, and various other statements concerning being on
target for achieving quarterly results and analyst projections, positive
trends, current financial strength, growth and impressive growth
performance, anticipated earnings and earnings per share, and expected
financial results, were materially false and misleading because defendants
knew or recklessly disregarded that the Company's reported financial
results and growth, were attributable to improper accounting practices
which resulted in overstatement of net assets.

Contact: Robert C. Finkel, Esq., or Douglas Rotela, Investor Relations
Representative, both of Wolf Popper LLP, 212-451-9620, or 212-451-9625, or
877-370-7703, or fax, 212-486-2093, or 877-370-7704, or
IRRep@wolfpopper.com


AUTO INSURANCE: Aftermarket Auto Parts Shifting Gears in Canada
---------------------------------------------------------------
Legal action against insurance companies in the U.S. for alleged
unauthorized use of aftermarket parts in vehicle repair have bubbled up
into Canada. Within months of a successful $1.2 billion class action in
Illinois against State Farm Insurance, similar suits have been filed in
Quebec against AXA Canada, Groupe Desjardin and ING Canada, and in Ontario
against Liberty Mutual for the use of non original equipment manufacturer
(OEM) crash parts. Claim managers see this "additional cost factor" as
being the single biggest obstacle to curtailing auto expense claims. CU
investigates. ABSTRACT:

Legal action against insurance companies in the US for alleged unauthorized
use of aftermarket parts in vehicle repair have bubbled up into Canada.
Within months of a successful $1.2 billion class action in Illinois against
State Farm Insurance, similar suits have been filed in Quebec against AXA
Canada, Groupe Desjardin and ING Canada, and in Ontario against Liberty
Mutual for the use of non-original equipment manufacturer (OEM) crash
parts. Claim managers see this "additional cost factor" as being the single
biggest obstacle to curtailing auto expense claims. The situation is
explored. (Canadian Underwriter, May, 2000)

A side from the obvious threat of increased auto repair costs, legal action
against the use of aftermarket parts, in other words non-original
manufacturer vehicle components, raises questions over the need and
effectiveness of third party certification among suppliers of aftermarket
parts in Canada. "From a Canadian perspective, I'm a bit concerned about
what has happened in the U.S.," says Terry Squire, president and CEO of
Co-operators Insurance.

But, as Squire points out, the Illinois litigation was not so much putting
of termarket parts on trial as it was determining whether State Farm had
authorized the use of "like kind and quality" parts to restore damaged
vehicles to "pre- loss condition." The clear answer to that one from the
Illinois jury was a resounding "NO".

At least one Toronto-based lawyer familiar with the case suggests
otherwise. The court received a paper trial of internal State Farm memos
uncovering incidents of substandard parts at several Asian manufacturers.
The so-called "Taiwanese tin." "You can't control quality without
investigating and putting things down on paper," he observes. "If anything,
State Farm was, perhaps, overly cautious."

Cautious or not, the most damaging memos in the State Farm litigation
centered around a clumsy attempt to purge desks and files of old memos
linked to the substandard quality of of termarket parts prior to pre-trail
discovery. State Farm is appealing the verdict. Nevertheless, the chill
against non-OEM parts is setting in on both sides of the border. State Farm
and Liberty Mutual, for example, have each voluntarily suspended the use of
some, or all, aftermarket crash parts, an action which State Farm estimates
has already cost an additional US$4.8 million in the first month of the ban
(State Farm is estimated to have saved US$234 million in 1997 through the
use of alternative parts).

Sam Mercanti, president and CEO of Carstar Automotive Canada, a chain of 90
body shops, estimates that up to 12 rests on aftermarket parts. "If we're
not allowed to use aftermarket parts, the cost of the average repair would
go up," he bluntly states. In addition, the threshold for writing off older
vehicles would be lowered as a result.

                        Keeping a Cost Perspective

The Alliance of American Insurers (AAI) recently reported that the cost of
rebuilding a 1999 Toyota Camry with parts supplied by the car company would
cost just over US$100,000, compared with an average sticker price of
approximately US$23,000. It's a statistic that Al Webe, general manager of
Pro Body Parts in Winnipeg, suggests should be taken with a "grain of
salt", but says that it points to the high cost differential in aftermarket
versus OEM parts nevertheless. "Prior to aftermarket parts, OEM
manufacturers had total control over pricing. They didn't start keeping an
eye on price increases until they had to compete with the aftermarket,"
Mercanti recalls.

Costa Kaskavaltzis, manager of automotive engineering and research at ICC,
argues this is only part of the story. "What people are ignoring is that a
very good case can be made that the presence of alternatives to OEM parts
are keeping the price down. Where there is no aftermarket supplier for a
given part, the price of that part is naturally going to be higher."

According to the AAI, the cost of an OEM fender for a 1992 Toyota Camry has
dropped steadily from US$253 in 1992, when no of termarket alternative was
available, to US$146 in 1999, compared with $56 for the generic. The cost
of the OEM fender actually increased in 1993 and 1994 when it would have
still been considered improper to replace a damaged manufacturer's part
with a non-OEM crash part. "When a car is one year old, the of termarket
part is not like minded quality because the original part is still new,"
says Jerry Dalla Corte, vice president of claims for the Dominion of
Canada. "I don't think anybody will argue about using a quality aftermarket
part for a car that is eight years old. The issue is the difference between
one year and eight years. There's a lot of room in between."

                           Dispelling the Myths

Adding space to the "in between room" of the debate - and further fuelling
the potential for more lawsuits in the future - is the general lack of
understanding of the aftermarket auto parts market. "The biggest problem is
the perception of aftermarket parts, propagated by our competition in all
of their marketing and advertising strategies," Weber claims.

Kaskavaltzis agrees. "It's a lack of information similar to the [scare]
when mandatory seat belting was introduced in Ontario and Quebec in the
1970s. There's room for more information. The Insurance Bureau of Canada
(IBC) has asked its Ontario claims committee to develop a position on the
issue. But Kaskavaltzis argues that scientific investigation of OEM versus
generic parts is also needed. "Nobody has really studied a large sample of
OEM parts," he adds.

His argument appears to be supported by the fact that once all the dots
have been connected, claims on both sides of the parts issue can be linked
to specific interests. For example, the Insurance Institute for Highway
Safety (IIHS) recently reported that the source of a car's cosmetic crash
parts is irrelevant to crash worthiness. The institute tested a 1997 Toyota
Camry from which the front fenders, door skins, and front bumper cover were
removed. The original equipment hood was replaced with a certified hood
from an aftermarket supplier. The test results then were compared with
results from an earlier test of a 1997 Camry with its original-equipment
parts intact. Both the Camry vehicles tested performed well in 40 mph
frontal offset impacts. Both earned good crash worthiness ratings according
to the institute's evaluation procedures (earlier tests have been conducted
on a 1987 Ford Escort, and a 1995 Vauxhall Astra in England with similar
results). "There essentially was no difference in crash worthiness
performance. In both cases, the vehicles were rated good. The cosmetic
parts didn't influence the results," Brian O'Neill, president of the IIHS
says. Naturally, the institute is wholly supported by automobile insurers.

                     Cost-Saving Or Efficiency Loss

According to a recent survey by Industrial Marketing Research in the U.S.,
400 independent and 100 dealer affiliated collision repair shops claim that
non-OEM parts take 34% more time to fit correctly, and have a return rate
for vehicles repaired that is nearly twice that of OEM crash parts. This
study was commissioned by Ford and General Motors.

Clearly there is an opportunity in Canada for some organization to step up
and set standards for parts in general, so consumers will know exactly what
they are getting, although most would caution against provincial
legislatures smothering the industry with regulation. "I don't think the
government can do a better job policing than the industry can," Dalla Corte
says. "You can't wander in piecemeal. You're either in or out, and they'd
have to be in all the way I don't see the advantage."

Squire argues that government intervention could lead to a regulated
monopoly. "If you take the position that you are never going to use
anything but original parts, the OEM manufacturer has a monopoly. That's
not a good practice. We have an obligation to safety, and we've got to
control pricing."

Squire says that policing is up to the industry. Co-operators, for example,
backs the use of alternative crash parts with a warranty, which is not
included with OEM parts. "We make the effort to do the right thing and then
we guarantee it. There's no incentive to use [inferior] parts."

Still, a national certification program similar to the Washington-based
Certified Automotive Parts Association (CAPA) is a good idea according to
Mercanti, provided that it is weighted by an independent third party such
as Anderson Consulting or KPMG. "This would make the business easier," he
says.

Last year, the ratio of complaints to the 2.4 million parts CAPA certified
amounted to .08% according to the association's 1999 annual report.
Approximately 78% of complaints were filed by body shops, with close to 25%
of all complaints involving poor fit.

But, while a national certification program may make business "easier", it
is by no means "liability proof" as the State Farm case clearly
illustrates. Described positively as the "grand daddy" of certification
programs by Kaskavaltzis, CAPA, which certifies a broad range of non-load
bearing metal and plastic parts, was founded in 1987 by approximately 24
insurance companies and is reported to receive close to 50% of its funding
from the insurance industry, making it an easy target in litigation.

In the State Farm case the jury heard of at least one known incident where
a non-certified part received a CAPA label, and read a rough draft of the
memo from State Farm to CAPA saying, "look through all your old stuff and
dump it. You won't ever miss it."

                       Testing Beyond Certification

Dominion Insurance insists on CAPA certification. But even here there are
strict limitations. "We want to make sure aftermarket parts have gone
through some testing," Dalla Corte says. "As a minimum, CAPA certification
brings a certain level of confidence. But it shouldn't be relied on
singularly as a means of determining whether the part should be used. It
takes a skilled technician to know whether a part fits. If the part doesn't
fit, even if it is CAPA certified, don't use it."

It is unclear what the impact of Canadian litigation will have on the use
of aftermarket parts in this country. The standard to launch a class action
suit is higher in Canada, and most of the award against State Farm was
punitive in terms of communication. "If everything follows the State Farm
decision, there will be a price increase that customers will have to deal
with. But there is a lot of road to travel," Dalla Corte notes.

How much of an increase is open to speculation. In the meantime, one of the
more positive aspects of the State Farm judgement is an obligation to
communicate. "The onus as insurers is to communicate better with our
customers," Dalla Corte points out. "There needs to be a little more time
spent saying, 'here's your estimate, here's what we're going to do, and
here's what we're going to use'."

Of course, even communication can be a double-edged sword. "You talk to one
body shop who will say these parts are no good. Another will swear by of
termarket parts," according to Kaskavaltzis. "The consumer doesn't want
aftermarket parts until they are the ones paying for the repair." (Canadian
Underwriter, May, 2000)


BREAST IMPLANT: Canadian Health Department Not Criminally Negligent
-------------------------------------------------------------------
A more than two-year investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has
concluded that the federal Health Department isn't criminally negligent in
its handling of breast implants.

"To charge Health Canada with criminal negligence, the RCMP would have had
to prove that the department was reckless or negligent in dealing with the
potential risk of breast implants," Superintendent Wayne Watson, head of
the RCMP commercial crime unit, announced June 2 at national headquarters
in Ottawa.

"In fact, our investigation revealed that Health Canada took steps to
obtain more data on the implants as problems with them were brought to
their attention," Watson said. "I'd also like to stress that the scope of
the investigation was restricted to determining whether Health Canada was
criminally negligent," he said. "The focus was not whether the implants
were harmful to the recipients."

                             Complaint Filed

The Mounties launched their investigation in February 1998 after a
complaint from a British Columbia woman with faulty implants. Then in April
1998, five Quebec recipients of defective breast prostheses filed a similar
complaint with the provincial police force - which in turn forwarded its
file to the RCMP.

During their exhaustive investigation, the Mounties interviewed witnesses
in three countries - including scientific and medical experts, lawyers,
government officials and implant distributors. They also analyzed more than
50,000 documents.

                              Agency Sued

While the investigation was winding down in March, Health Canada was hit
with a lawsuit claiming the federal department failed to protect Canadian
from medical devices - such as breast implants - which might cause harm
(Manon Doyer, et al. v. Health Canada and Attorney General of Canada, No.
500-060000097-002, Que. Super.; See March 2000, Page 13).

Doyer, who headed a successful class action lawsuit against former implant
manufacturer Dow Corning in 1994, alleges in the Quebec Superior Court suit
that Ottawa breached its legal obligations to ensure the life and security
of all Quebec breast-implant recipients. At least 40,000 of the prostheses
have been implanted in Quebec women. (Mealey's Breast Implants, June, 2000)



BREAST IMPLANT: FDA Study Shows High Rupture Rate of Silicone Gel
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The Food and Drug Administration has presented a recently completed study
on the frequency of follow-up surgeries in women who have breast implants.
The study, performed in Birmingham, Ala and delivered at the Sixth World
Biomaterials Congress, showed a high rate of follow-up surgeries due to
rupture of the implants.

The women in this study were identified because they had been in a National
Cancer Institute study on women with breast implants. Those who responded
to a questionnaire in the NCI study were eligible for this study if they
still lived in Alabama. Nine hundred and seven (907) women were interviewed
about surgeries in which implant(s) had been removed.

The study, performed in two parts, involved women whose first breast
implants were received before 1988, the majority of whom had silicone
gel-filled implants. The women responded to a telephone questionnaire in
which they described why they had the surgery, whether they had any past
surgeries, and whether or not their implants were found to be ruptured
after the surgeries. The women were also asked why they had their implants
removed, and if an implant rupture was suspected prior to the surgery. If
the women reported that their implant surgery was for a suspected implant
rupture, they were asked about symptoms they may have had, and whether they
knew of a possible cause of the rupture.

The FDA received permission from 215 of the women to obtain the medical
records for the surgeries they described. At least one surgical record was
obtained for each of 165 of these women. The agency then examined the
records to determine how often breast implant rupture was reported in the
surgical record.

One-third of the women in the study (303) reported that they had had at
least one surgery in which their implant was removed or replaced. The most
common reason for surgery (i.e., for 103 of these women) involved problems
with the implant that affected the breast. These problems included
suspected implant rupture, pain, capsular contracture, displaced implant,
seroma (a collection of serum below the skin), hematoma (hemorrhage under
the skin with blood clots forming), infection, and extrusion (implant
pushing through the skin).

The second most common reason for surgery (i.e., for 92 of the 303 women)
to remove the breast implant was concern over the safety of silicone. Other
reasons for surgery included disease or symptoms which women or their
physicians thought were related to the implant, or because of planned or
staged surgeries (e.g., to replace the tissue expander, or because a woman
wanted a different size of implant).

Seventy-three of the 303 women reported that a suspected breast implant
rupture was the reason they had surgery. Seventy percent of these women
suspected that their implants were ruptured because of breast pain, chest
pain or other upper body pain, and 58 percent of these women reported
suspecting implant rupture because of changes in the shape of their
breasts.

Of the 303 women reporting additional surgeries, 171 reported that at least
one of their implants was found to be ruptured or leaking. Of the 165 women
for whom a medical record had been collected, 85 reported that they had a
ruptured implant. However, only 69 of the medical records indicated that
there was a ruptured implant. There are several possibilities for the
discrepancy. One is that the researchers could have collected a medical
record for a different surgery than the one reported; another is that the
physician may not have recorded whether it was ruptured; or, finally, a
woman may have mistakenly reported that her implants were ruptured when
they were not.

For the 303 women who reported a second surgery, the average time for the
surgery was 11.5 years after the first breast implants were implanted.

In the second part of the study, 344 women with silicone gel breast
implants received magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations to detect
possible implant rupture. The women, selected randomly from the first part
of the study, were invited to have MRI exams when they were called to be in
the study until all the MRI appointments planned for the study had been
filled. The study had funding for up to 400 MRI exams to be accomplished at
a particular MRI facility that was under contract for a certain period of
time. Eighty percent of the 445 women invited to have an MRI accepted and
had the examination. Women were invited for the MRI exam without regard to
whether they had symptoms of breast implant rupture. Therefore, those who
accepted the appointments and came were no more likely to think their
breast implant was ruptured than women who declined the examination or did
not come to their appointments.

The 344 women who received MRI examinations had a total of 687 implants.
The average age of the women in the MRI cohort was 51 <> 8 years.
Most women in this cohort (82 percent) had single-lumen gel breast implants
and the remainder had double-lumen gel breast implants (silicone and
saline). For the 677 implants for which this information was available, the
average implant age was 17 <> 3 years.

Three independent radiologists reviewed the results of all of the women's
MRIs. They determined whether each implant was intact, indeterminate
(suspicious for rupture) or ruptured. The agreement among the radiologists
was very high.

                          The Study's Results

At least two of the three study radiologists agreed that 378 of the 687
implants were ruptured (55 percent). This means that 69 percent of the 344
women had at least one ruptured breast implant. The radiologists further
observed that silicone gel had leaked outside the capsule that forms around
the implant in 85 of the 687 implants (12 percent). Of the 344 women, 73
(21 percent) had silicone gel outside the capsule in one or both breasts.

Factors that were associated with rupture were the age of the implant, the
implant manufacturer, and whether the device was implanted above or beneath
the chest muscles. "There is, in my view, an extraordinary failure rate,"
says Eugene Goldberg, director of the Biomaterials Center at the University
of Florida in Gainesville. In an analysis of 43 studies involving nearly
10,000 silicone-gel breast implants that had been removed because of
complications, Mr. Goldberg found similarly high failure rates. About a
third ruptured within five years, half within 10, and more than two-thirds
by the time they'd been in place 17 years. Even implants with intact shells
leak silicone, says Mr. Goldberg. "It is clear that the so-called gel,
which is mostly fluid, swells the shell, weakens the shell and diffuses
through the shell into the surrounding tissues," he says. "That goes on
from the very beginning of implant placement."

                      Limitations of the Study

The study had limitations, however. For example, the 907 women in this
study were a subset of 1247 women in the Birmingham area who were part of
an NCI study on breast implants. The authors were unable to obtain
interviews with all of the 1247 women in NCI's cohort. It is not known
whether this subset is representative of women with silicone gel-filled
breast implants. In addition, researchers were unable to retrieve any
medical records for nearly half of the women who reported a surgery related
to their breast implants. It is unknown whether the women whose records
were collected were representative.

Furthermore, only women who were at two plastic surgery practices were
included in the study, and the results of the study might have been
different if patients from other parts of the United States had been
included. Also, 20 percent of those invited to have the MRI did not have
the examination, and even though MR imaging is considered the best method
for imaging breast implants for rupture, it is not perfect. Finally, there
were many types of silicone gel-filled implants included in the study.
Nevertheless, taking these limitations into consideration, the MRI
examination revealed that the majority of the women in the cohort had at
least one ruptured implant.

The FDA conducted this study because of concerns about the frequency and
results of rupture. Rupture is a concern because rupture of silicone
gel-filled implants may allow silicone to migrate through the tissues. The
relationship of free silicone to development or progression of disease is
unknown. Furthermore, rupture indicates device failure--the implant is no
longer performing as intended.

The study, whose authors are S. Lori Brown, Ph.D., MPH, and Gene Pennello,
Ph.D., of the Office of Surveillance and Biometrics, Center for Devices and
Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, was funded by the Office
of Women's Health, of the FDA, the Office of the Commissioner, the National
Cancer Institute at the NIH, the Office of Research on Women's Health at
the NIH, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Ilan Reich, Inamed's president and co-CEO, said the study was not germane
to Inamed's silicone breast implant products, which are currently sold
throughout the world. "Virtually all of the women in the FDA study had
first- or second- generation implants with thinner shells, and which were
not manufactured under the strict quality-control standards that today
govern all medical device manufacturers. Those products were discontinued
by the mid-1980s, and nearly all of the manufacturers from that era are no
longer in this business," said Mr. Reich.

"Furthermore, there have been significant advances in plastic surgery
techniques since 1992. This has helped reduce the problems associated with
the implants that were the subject of the FDA study, where the average life
of the implants was 17 years."

If McGhan's implants rupture, the company will provide a replacement
implant free of charge. If they rupture within 10 years of implantation,
McGhan also will pay up to $ 1,200 toward the surgical costs of replacing
them. After a decade, it's up to women to pay the medical costs.

The warranty applies to all saline implants but only silicone-gel implants
implanted after Sept. 30, 1997, the date McGhan resumed selling them in the
United States. after the FDA's ban. Women who received silicone implants
before the ban received a settlement from a class action lawsuit.

According to Mr. Reich, Inamed is using MRI testing to study the true
rupture rate for its silicone implants. This testing is part of Inamed's
core clinical trial of nearly 1,000 women, which is scheduled for
presentation to the FDA by late 2002. "Until that study is completed by
Inamed and evaluated by the FDA, no relevant comparison can be made in the
rupture rates of various generations of silicone implants."

Reich concluded, "Inamed has long been at the forefront of developing new
technologies to address the rupture and capsular contracture issues which,
in the past decade, has led to the portrayal of first- and
second-generation silicone implants as being injurious to women's
health.... [S]everal years ago Inamed introduced in Europe a
fourth-generation silicone implant, the Style 410, which contains a
cohesive silicone gel filler that does not leak if the shell ruptures.

"This product is designed to squarely address one of the issues in the
recent FDA study, where women and their doctors were unaware that silicone
gel had leaked outside the capsule which forms around an implant. Later
this year, Inamed will begin another core clinical trial, which will also
include MRI testing, to enable it to apply for FDA approval to sell the
Style 410 in the United States as well."

David Feigal, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological
Health, commented, "This [study] lays out a number of issues that
manufacturers are going to have to address in order to make the case that
the product should be on the market." (Medical Legal Aspects of Breast
Implants, June 2000)


CINAR CORP: Will Tell Quebec Court Investors Suit on Damages Premature
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Cinar Corp. will argue in a Quebec court that any class-action lawsuit
against it by investors claiming damages for heavy stock losses is
'premature.'

Cinar, whose stock plunged after news of a police investigation for alleged
tax fraud and improper offshore investing, makes the claim in court
documents filed this week as part of the legal process to determine whether
or not a class-action suit petition from a Quebec investor rights' lobby
group can proceed.

The Association de protection des epargnants et investisseurs du Quebec
filed the request last March 8 on behalf of Louis-Antoine Methot and all
those who hold Cinar shares directly or indirectly through mutual funds. It
seeks damages based on individual investor losses.

'The members of the class have not suffered a loss and may not suffer a
loss,' Cinar claims in its contestation document, adding 'the events
described in the motion have changed substantially since it was filed, and
continue to evolve.'

'At present, it is unknown at what price the shares of Cinar will resume
trading, and it is impossible to predict whether the shares of Cinar will
recover to their previous value or even increase in value beyond the levels
they had previously attained,' Cinar states. 'Any speculation by the
petitioner that they might not is pure speculation.'

'As such it cannot be said that the purported class has suffered a loss of
any sort at the present time.'

Various regulatory agencies, including the Toronto Stock Exchange and the
Nasdaq electronic exchange, have issued cease trading orders against Cinar
pending the filing of financial reports.

Paul Unterberg, lawyer for the Quebec class-action suit, said he hopes to
examine Cinar executive Barrier Usher, the vice-president of finance who
became Cinar chief executive and is now its vice-president of taxation,
before next week.

A court meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday to decide on a schedule for
examinations and, possibly a date for hearings on the class-action petition
request. (National Post (formerly The Financial Post), July 20, 2000)


CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE: Bartell Sued over Bias for Exclusion from Plan
----------------------------------------------------------------------
In a case that could have broad impact on contraceptive coverage
nationwide, Planned Parenthood filed a class-action lawsuit Wednesday
charging that a company whose health insurance plan covers most
prescription drugs, but excludes contraceptives, is illegally
discriminating against its female employees.

"It's sex discrimination when male employees get their basic health care
needs covered by insurance, but women are forced to pay for their own,"
said Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of
America.

The case, brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, was filed in
federal court in Seattle on behalf of Jennifer Erickson, a pharmacist at
the Bartell Drug Co., and all other female employees of the company, which
operates 45 drugstores in Washington.

Erickson, who is 26, married and spends more than $ 300 a year out of
pocket on her own contraception, said she had become increasingly troubled
by the inequity as she had to tell women who came to the store that their
insurance would not pay for contraceptive prescriptions. "It really makes
you sad, and then you realize your own company doesn't cover it either,"
Erickson said.

Mike McMurray, Bartell's vice president for marketing, said the company's
health benefit program is "lawful and nondiscriminatory." "No medical
benefits program covers every possible cost," he said, going on to add that
Bartell, for example, does not pay for infertility drugs, Viagra or
cosmetic surgery.

The issue of contraceptive coverage has been a rallying point for women's
rights activists for several years - especially since many employers who do
not pay for contraception moved quickly to provide coverage for Viagra,
which, at nearly $ 10 a pill, is used to combat impotence.

Though almost all traditional indemnity insurance plans provide coverage
for some prescription drugs, only about half cover contraceptive methods
available by prescription, all of which are prescribed for women. And only
about a third cover the pill, which costs about a dollar a day. Even among
HMOs, which offer the most comprehensive coverage, only 39 percent cover
prescription contraceptives, and 7 percent do not cover the pill.

As a result, a study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute found, women of
reproductive age typically spend 68 percent more on out-of-pocket health
care than men.

Sylvia Law, a New York University law professor, said the case filed
Wednesday "could be an important one." "Even though the verdict will only
be legally binding on this one employer, if we win," she said, "it puts
everyone who doesn't provide contraceptive coverage on notice that their
employees could sue." (The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), July 20, 2000)


DOT HILL: Announces Preliminary Settlement for Shareholder Lawsuit
------------------------------------------------------------------
Dot Hill Systems Corp. (NYSE: HIL), a leading independent provider of
storage and storage area network (SAN) solutions, announced on July 20 that
it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with plaintiffs'
counsel in the class action shareholder lawsuit entitled Lawrence Milman,
et al. v. Box Hill Systems Corp., et al. The MOU outlines a settlement and
release of all claims against all defendants in the action, including Box
Hill Systems Corp. (a predecessor to Dot Hill), certain officers and
directors of Box Hill and the underwriters of Box Hill's initial public
offering. The action alleges violations of federal securities laws.

Dot Hill expects the financial impact of the settlement arrangements on the
Company (and Box Hill) to be immaterial. While agreeing to the settlement
arrangements, both Box Hill and Dot Hill continue to assert that
plaintiffs' claims are unfounded and that none of the defendants engaged in
any wrongdoing with respect to Box Hill's initial public offering and
plaintiffs' claims.

At this point, the settlement agreement is not final and is subject to a
number of future events including approval of the settlement by the Court.
Further, individual plaintiffs have the right to "opt out" of the
settlement arrangements.

Dot Hill Systems Corp. provides of carrier-class data storage solutions and
services for Internet-generation applications.


FIRSTWORLD COMMUNICATIONS: Barrack Rodos Files Securities Suit in CO
--------------------------------------------------------------------
A class action has been commenced in the United States District Court for
the District of Colorado on behalf of all persons who purchased the common
stock of FirstWorld Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: FWIS) issued in
connection with the Company's March 8, 2000, initial public offering
("IPO") and prior to July 6, 2000.

The complaint charges that the Company and certain of its officers and
directors violated the federal securities laws by 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 Prospectus, FirstWorld's IPO was sold at
a price far exceeding the true value of the stock at that time.

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


FRONTIER INSURANCE: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in New York
-------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP announces that a
class action lawsuit was filed on July 19, 2000, on behalf of purchasers of
the securities of Frontier Insurance Group, Inc. (NYSE: FTR) between August
5, 1997 and April 14, 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/frontier/

The action, numbered 00 Civ 5361, is pending in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York, located at 300 Quarropas
Street, White Plains, NY 10601, against defendants Frontier Insurance
Group, Inc., Harry W. Rhulen (President and Chief Executive Officer as of
January 29, 1998), Peter L. Rhulen (Director), Mark H. Mishler (Vice
President - Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer until February 2000 when
he became Executive Vice President and President of Frontier Insurance
Company) and Patrick W. Kenny (Executive Vice President). The Honorable
Barrington D. Parker, Jr. 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
August 5, 1997 and April 14, 2000, thereby artificially inflating the price
of Frontier common stock. For example, as alleged in the complaint, on
December 4, 1997, Frontier announced that it expected to boost the scope of
its medical malpractice business through the acquisition of Western
Indemnity Insurance Company. In fact, as revealed on April 14, 2000, the
increase in the Company's medical malpractice business resulted from the
Company's relaxation of underwriting standards, loosening of policy terms
and predatory pricing - not simply by its acquisition of Western's medical
malpractice business. On April 14, 2000, the Company announced a revision
of its previously reported 1999 results causing its stock to close at $1
per share, a decline of more than 97% from the class period high of
$38.6875 per share.

Contact: Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP Steven G. Schulman or
Samuel H. Rudman (800) 320-5081 frontiercase@milbergNY.com
http://www.milberg.com


HMOs: Los Angeles Times Says Transfer of "Covered Lives" on the Upswing
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
In the last month, managed care plans nationwide have moved to cancel or
transfer coverage for more than a million patients. Last week, for
instance, the nation's second-largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group,
announced it will sell to Blue Shield the policies of 225,000 of its least
profitable California customers. Blue Shield would be able to increase fees
or reduce coverage for these patients, something that would be legally
tougher for UnitedHealth to do.

Transfers of what health insurers refer to as "covered lives" are on the
upswing because companies are seeking to divest themselves of expensive
patients to offset health care costs rising well ahead of inflation. Part
of the impetus is new state mandates requiring them to provide specific
benefits. For example, the nation's largest health insurer, Aetna Inc., was
zinged Tuesday by Wall Street after announcing that second-quarter profits
will be well below expectations; the company blamed new services mandated
by various states.

Consumer advocates are urging President Clinton to rein in some of the
terminations and transfers by requiring Medicare HMOs to serve all markets
they are currently serving. Clinton, however, is unlikely to touch the
issue out of concern he would be accused of meddling in the free market.
Congress is just as unlikely to provide leadership, which leaves it up to
state regulators.

Daniel Zingale, director of California's newly created Department of
Managed Care, does not have the authority to bar health plans from entering
or exiting markets because of perceived profitability. However, Zingale can
impose conditions. He should at least require UnitedHealth to promise that
the deal won't unduly disrupt patient care--for instance, forcing women in
late pregnancy to switch doctors. More broadly, Zingale should use his
authority to ensure that HMOs are not promising benefits that they know
they can't cost-effectively deliver.

Some consumer advocates say that United's sale to Blue Shield is an example
of bait-and-switch, that companies woo patients with promises of good
coverage, skim off the low-cost patients, then sell the high-cost ones--the
chronically ill, for instance--to a company not bound by the original
generous coverage terms. HMO sales practices are also the subject of a
class-action lawsuit in California, and the courts have precious little
experience in dealing with such issues. Companies seeking to thwart such
lawsuits as well as patients who expect a right to stability therefore have
an interest in vigorous oversight by the Department of Managed Care.

California's previous managed care regulator, the Department of
Corporations, proved unable to monitor basic HMO economics. California's
new regulators must not repeat the failure. Assessing the fiscal health and
care-providing ability of hugely complicated HMO companies is no easy feat,
but it's the only way to protect patients and preserve the credibility of
managed care. (Los Angeles Times, July 20, 2000)


HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Japan Times Talks about Remembrance & Responsibility
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Germany is closing one of the last chapters of its Nazi past this week. The
establishment of a 10 billion deutsche-mark fund (Yen 520 billion) to
compensate those who were slave laborers during World War II will, in the
words of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, set down "a durable marker of
historic and moral responsibility." It is a long-overdue gesture and one
that Japan should note. The campaign to win compensation for the injustices
committed during that war will soon focus on this country.

There are more than 1 million survivors of Nazi enslavement or forced
labor. Most of the 240,000 surviving slave laborers, who were held in
concentration camps, are Jewish; many of them have already received some
payment from the German government for the sufferings inflicted upon them
by the Nazis. Another 750,000 to 1 million former forced laborers, who were
in detention camps, are Central and Eastern Europeans who are not Jewish.
Although the German government already paid out about Dollars 60 billion in
compensation for Nazi crimes, payments made to the East European victims
were kept by the communist governments during the postwar era. It is
estimated that 80 percent of the payouts from the new fund will go to
non-Jewish people. Indeed, the new fund is historic because it recognizes
and compensates those victims for the first time.

The fund, to be called "Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future," was
set up after two years of difficult negotiations. Each former slave laborer
will receive DM15,000; each forced laborer will be paid DM5,000. The cost
of the fund will be split between the German government and German
industry. Mr. Schroeder said the government will provide its DM5 billion
immediately so that the payouts could begin this year.

On the other side of the ledger, 3,127 German businesses have pledged DM3.2
billion, falling short of the agreed contribution. Several hundred
companies have refused to take part, although there is hope that they will
join later, when the victims withdraw lawsuits as called for in the
agreement. Mr. Schroeder has said that even firms founded after World War
II should join in, noting that "it lies in all our interests."

He is right. One does not have to believe in collective guilt to accept
that all Germans can participate in this effort. Compensating the victims
of the Nazi era is the right thing to do, especially as the number of
survivors dwindles. As Mr. Schroeder explained, there is "a moral
imperative" to provide the money quickly and give at least some token
recompense.

Mr. Schroeder deserves much credit for this deal. His predecessor, Mr.
Helmut Kohl, was considerably less enthusiastic. Mr. Schroeder, by
contrast, pledged to solve this problem shortly after taking office in
1998, and pushed negotiators during the contentious talks.

The other spur was the threat of class-action lawsuits against German
firms. Lawyers working in the United States on behalf of the victims
launched an offensive against all companies that they could identify as
having profited from crimes committed during World War II. The campaign
began in the mid-1990s, when the World Jewish Congress took on Swiss banks
for their role in laundering Nazi gold and refusing to release funds from
the accounts of Holocaust victims. U.S. politicians were willing to help by
banning those companies from doing business in lucrative markets.

The German decision to settle means that the activists are now turning
their attention elsewhere. They say their next target will be Austria, a
country that prefers to see itself as the Third Reich's first victim rather
than as its accomplice.

While the Jewish groups are unlikely to focus on Japan during their
campaign this country had no stomach for persecuting Jews during the war -
efforts to seek justice for wartime labor practices will intensify. Thirty
lawsuits have been filed in California courts by former U.S. prisoners of
war seeking compensation for forced labor performed for Japanese companies.
Other states are considering similar legislation to enable the lawsuits.
Both the U.S. and Japanese governments are critical of the cases, and they
may have been pre-empted by the terms of the 1951 San Francisco peace
treaty.

That may be irrelevant. The cases may not be valid in a court of law, but
the court of public opinion is another matter. Japanese companies once
benefited from forced labor, and their attempts to hide behind legal
shields have little or no bearing in an age of international business and
increasing consumer activism. As Mr. Schroeder explained, it is in the
interests of every German to draw a line under the activities of a half
century ago; the logic is equally compelling for Japan. (The Japan Times,
July 20, 2000)


MAINE: State Asks for Dismissal of Lawsuit over Services to Children
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Maine officials are asking a federal court to dismiss a class action
lawsuit that accuses the state of failing to adequately care for children
with serious mental and behavioral problems. Maine has launched a broad
effort to improve services for children, and the claims filed last month
were resolved in 1997 by a previous lawsuit, according to attorneys for the
state.

Advocacy groups that filed the class action suit were angered by the
motion, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

William Kayatta Jr., a Portland attorney representing the children, said
the services the state is asking for more time to provide should have been
provided years ago. He also said the state's five-year plan for improving
the services, which is in its second year, is not moving fast enough. He
said the delays are hurting one of the state's most vulnerable populations.

Assistant Attorney General Christopher Leighton defended the state's
response to the lawsuit. "The common sense view here is that we were sued,
and we responded and greatly expanded the programs," he said. "That we are
even involved in litigation is very frustrating, because so much effort and
so much money has gone toward helping these children."

The lawsuit claims that hundreds of children with behavioral and mental
health problems are not receiving the state services that Medicaid entitles
them to. A state survey in March found that more than 500 children are not
getting the in-home care they need, since the state doesn't have enough
in-home care providers.

The suit names the Department of Human Services and the Department of
Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services as
defendants.

Kayatta is lead attorney for the plaintiffs, working with the Maine Equal
Justice Project and the Disability Rights Center of Maine.

The state says it has dramatically increased services since the previous
lawsuit, with the number of children receiving behavioral services jumping
from 65 in fiscal 1997 to 1,164 in fiscal 1999. The services cost the state
just $ 236,127 in 1997, compared to $9.3 million in 1999.

But Kayatta said that the programs the state has put in place are not
working. "That state is planning to take more time to get these kids the
care they need than it will take to widen the Maine Turnpike," he said.
"These kids can't wait." (The Associated Press State & Local Wire, July 20,
2000)


NASCAR WINSTON: Lawsuit Alleging Price-Fixing of Vendors Settled
----------------------------------------------------------------
Purchasers of merchandise from vendors at NASCAR Winston Cup stock car
races in the 1990s, you may have overpaid. A class-action suit alleging
price-fixing by vendors has been settled, and those who were affected by
the artificially high prices may be eligible for reimbursement.

The suit pertains to vendor sales at Winston Cup races or supporting events
between Jan. 1, 1991, and Dec. 31, 1999.  Purchasers have been advised to
Call 1-800-848-4718 or go to stockcarnotice.com (The Atlanta Journal and
Constitution, July 20, 2000)


PACIFIC RIM: Employer Appeals ALJ Decision on Non Compensable Claims
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The Schaeffer ambulance case and related litigation have become infamous in
the California workers' comp industry, resulting in at least 25 lawsuits
alleging misclassification of medical legal expenses.

But a new set of class action suits, focusing on unit stat report changes
regarding non-compensable claims, were dealt a small blow earlier this year
by the Department of Insurance's administrative law judge when he ruled in
favor of an insurer. Los Angeles attorney Barry Kramer, representing Simi
Corporation, an employer, recently filed an appeal of the ALJ's decision in
Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The case on appeal concerns a decision that supports Pacific Rim Assurance
Company's refusal to file loss-revision reports for three workers' comp
claims Pacific Rim had reported to the Workers' Compensation Insurance
Rating Bureau. The Bureau's Classification and Rating Committee ruled
against Simi Corp., which argued that the carrier should have filed loss
revision reports after the three claims were found to be non-compensable.

The ALJ earlier in March sided with the C&R committee, much to the dismay
of Simi and Kramer. Kramer has filed other class action cases with
allegations similar to those of Simi Corp.

Kramer thinks the ALJ erred in his decision. "The decision doesn't hold up
to scrutiny and the opinion has so many holes in it," Kramer last week told
the Executive. "And even though the opinion is non-citable, people are
citing it regularly."

Kramer says that the ruling states that compensation was paid to one of
three applicants when it actually wasn't. He says that such a factual error
by the ALJ throws a great deal of doubt on the whole basis of the opinion.
"The decision is good news to the industry from the standpoint of numerous
class action lawsuits that are pending which have as their basis unit stat
non-compliance," says Heywood Friedman, a Westlake Village insurance
defense attorney specializing in workers' comp matters. "The decision
renders a whole genre of so-called non-compensable claims inactionable."

While Kramer would not say how many class action cases he has going,
Friedman estimates the number at about six or seven. He says one insurer
has already paid $25 million to settle one of those cases out of court.

The three claims in question occurred in 1991 and they went before the
Workers' Compensation Appeals Board after the employees filed complaints.
Pacific Rim, according to the ruling, paid medical compensation to each
claimant and reported the claims as compensable in its unit statistical
reports to the Bureau.

But after Pacific Rim paid medical it denied the claims and the claimants
never pursued their cases before the WCAB. Pacific Rim closed the three
files between October 1993 and April 1994.

In September 1997 Simi Corp. wrote the Bureau complaining that Pacific Rim
improperly reported the claims as compensable in unit stat reports and
never submitted revisions to the Bureau, effectively driving up Simi's
Experience Mod.

The C&R committee ruled against Simi, writing: "Absent formal, official
action by a tribunal of competent jurisdiction (such as the Workers'
Compensation Appeals Board or a reviewing court) dismissing a claim, a
claim is not 'officially closed' to qualify as non-compensable."

The ALJ agreed with the Bureau's interpretation of what constitutes a
"closed claim" as well as what constitutes a "non-compensable claim." "They
closed them as compensable even after the applicants abandoned the claims,"
Kramer says. "If an adjuster fails to put in a closing entry, whatever is
on the computer at the time of closing gets reported unless an affirmative
step is taken it gets closed as compensable."

Kramer says that Pacific Rim's practice is rife in the industry. Kramer
would not give out the case number of his recent filing in Los Angeles
County Superior Court to this reporter. The Executive will have further
updates on Kramer's class action cases as they become available.

The conflict has apparently caused the Bureau to look at current
definitions of non-compensable claims. To that it is proposing changes to
statutes concerning what constitutes such claims. Brenda Keys, counsel for
the WCIRB, said last week that Bureau staff has offered up a three-pronged
definition:

Cases before the WCAB or other court of jurisdiction that are dismissed by
a ruling.

Claims that are denied as non-compensable, and are then filed with the WCAB
but claimant fails to prosecute. Keys said in cases like this it's "not
fair to report it as compensable."

If a claim is denied and isn't filed with the WCAB, after the statute of
limitations expires in 15 months, then it can be considered
non-compensable.

But it is the Bureau's instructions carriers have followed in the past when
filing unit stat reports that helped spawn the Schaefer Ambulance class
action cases. (Workers' Comp Executive, July 19, 2000)


PINNACLE SYSTEMS: Cauley & Geller Files Securities Suit in California
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Cauley & Geller, LLP announced on July 20 that it has filed
a class action in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California on behalf of all individuals and institutional
investors that purchased the common stock of Pinnacle Systems, Inc.
("Pinnacle" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:PCLE) between April 18, 2000 and July
10, 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 financial statements regarding the Company's revenues.
Specifically, the complaint alleges that defendants' false and misleading
statements concerning the revenues to be derived from its streaming media
products, which would result in 4th Q and Fiscal 2000 (to end 6/30/00) EPS
of $.17 and $.58, artificially inflated the price of Pinnacle stock to a
Class Period high of $ 30-5/8. The inflated stock price allowed certain
Company insiders to sell $2.1 million worth of stock to the unsuspecting,
investing public and enabled Pinnacle to complete the $24 million
acquisition of the Avid Sports business. On 7/11/00, shortly after the
acquisition was completed on 6/30/00, Pinnacle revealed that it was in fact
suffering a huge drop in revenues and exposed the problems Pinnacle had
been experiencing during the Class Period in successfully selling its
products. This announcement caused its stock price to drop to as low as
$8-13/16 on record volume of 23.7 million shares on 7/11/00 causing
hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to members of the Class.

Contact: Cauley & GELLER, LLP, Boca Raton Sue Null, Jackie Addison or
Sharon Jackson, 888/551-9944 E-mail: Cauleypa@aol.com


PINNACLE SYSTEMS: Cauley & Geller Files Securities Suit in California
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Cauley & Geller, LLP announced on July 20 that it has filed
a class action in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California on behalf of all individuals and institutional
investors that purchased the common stock of Pinnacle Systems, Inc.
("Pinnacle" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:PCLE) between April 18, 2000 and July
10, 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 financial statements regarding the Company's revenues.
Specifically, the complaint alleges that defendants' false and misleading
statements concerning the revenues to be derived from its streaming media
products, which would result in 4th Q and Fiscal 2000 (to end 6/30/00) EPS
of $.17 and $.58, artificially inflated the price of Pinnacle stock to a
Class Period high of $ 30-5/8. The inflated stock price allowed certain
Company insiders to sell $2.1 million worth of stock to the unsuspecting,
investing public and enabled Pinnacle to complete the $24 million
acquisition of the Avid Sports business. On 7/11/00, shortly after the
acquisition was completed on 6/30/00, Pinnacle revealed that it was in fact
suffering a huge drop in revenues and exposed the problems Pinnacle had
been experiencing during the Class Period in successfully selling its
products. This announcement caused its stock price to drop to as low as
$8-13/16 on record volume of 23.7 million shares on 7/11/00 causing
hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to members of the Class.

Contact: Cauley & GELLER, LLP, Boca Raton Sue Null, Jackie Addison or
Sharon Jackson, 888/551-9944 E-mail: Cauleypa@aol.com


PINNACLE SYSTEMS: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in CA
-----------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss (http://www.milberg.com/pinnacle/)announced on July 19 that
a class action has been commenced in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of California on behalf of purchasers of Pinnacle
Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:PCLE) common stock during the period between April
18, 2000 and July 10, 2000 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Pinnacle and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Pinnacle designs,
manufactures, markets, and supports computer-based video post-production
products to serve the broadcast, desktop and consumer markets. The
complaint alleges that defendants' false and misleading statements
concerning the revenues to be derived from its streaming media products,
which would result in 4thQ and Fiscal 2000 (to end 6/30/00) EPS of $.17 and
$.58, artificially inflated the price of Pinnacle stock to a Class Period
high of $30-5/8. This upsurge in Pinnacle's stock caused by defendants'
false and misleading statements allowed the insiders to sell 78,000 shares
of their Pinnacle stock for proceeds of $2.1 million and enabled Pinnacle
to complete the $24 million acquisition of the Avid Sports business. On
7/11/00, shortly after the acquisition was completed on 6/30/00, Pinnacle
revealed that it was in fact suffering a huge drop in revenues and exposed
the problems Pinnacle had been experiencing during the Class Period in
successfully selling its products. This announcement caused its stock price
to drop to as low as $8-13/16 on record volume of 23.7 million shares on
7/11/00 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


PINNACLE SYSTEMS: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Suit in CA
------------------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of California on behalf of all purchasers of the
common stock of Pinnacle Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: PCLE) from April 18, 2000
through July 10, 2000 inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Pinnacle and certain of its officers and directors
with making false and misleading statements concerning the revenues to be
derived from its streaming media products, which would result in 4Q and
fiscal 2000 EPS of $.17 and $.58, which artificially inflated the price of
Pinnacle common stock. While Pinnacle's common stock was trading at
artificially inflated levels, insiders sold Pinnacle stock for proceeds of
over $2 million.

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


RYLAND GROUP: Residents Edgy over Danger of Sinkholes
-----------------------------------------------------
Homeowners in Crystal Oaks say they were kept in the dark about the
possibilities of sinkholes, such as the ones that appeared in a stormwater
retention area.

LECANTO - Crystal Oaks subdivision residents, furious about the recent
appearance of two gaping sinkholes in a controversial retention pond area,
mobilized around their attorney Wednesday and made angry accusations of
being duped by the developers.

Dorothy Mitchell said she and her husband, Richard, moved to Heather Ridge
20 months ago to escape the congestion of South Florida. Heather Ridge is a
gated subdivision within Crystal Oaks. "I'd wake up every morning and think
I was in paradise," she said.

Now her sense of salvation is tempered by feelings of betrayal. Pointing to
a house that once served as the sales office, she said, "my husband sat in
this house and said, "What's the possibility of sinkholes?' Our salesman
said, "No, no, no.' "

Fifty-six residents filed a suit against the current owners last month
claiming Ryland Group, Inc. and Ryland Communities, Inc. committed fraud by
not informing them about the sinkholes when they were buying their homes
between 1996 and 1999. The suit, which seeks class-action status for
homeowners in both Heather Ridge and Hunter Ridge, another subdivision in
Crystal Oaks, said sinkholes have been a recurring problem at the retention
area.

The residents' attorney, Daniel Pilka of Brandon, is telling them that they
are liable for the repairs under the covenant agreement signed with Ryland.
The deal went into effect in June.

Pilka, who showed up with a hydrogeologist hired by the residents, said the
cost of repairs "could go six figures." Originally he was scheduled to
visit with residents on Friday but said he came earlier after sensing their
urgency.

Pilka said he has a Monday meeting with legal counsel for Ryland and would
broach the subject of the company financing the cost of filling the
sinkholes. The two largest sinkholes are at least 40 feet deep and open up
into limestone caverns.

There is evidence of at least two more sinkholes, one of which opened into
a 15-foot-deep pit Tuesday afternoon, residents said. Yellow police tape
surrounds the sinkholes.

"I would much rather get this resolved than get involved with protracted
litigation," said Pilka, the residents' attorney. "You have the duty to
advise of anything detrimental to the value of their property. By and
large, these people bought into the community without knowledge of prior
activity. I don't know that many people that would have bought that
headache." Pilka, who represents the Heather Ridge Homeowners Association,
said his mother lives in Heather Ridge and is one of the plaintiffs.

Ryland spokeswoman Anne Madison would not respond Wednesday to specific
questions about the lawsuit. But she said the company, which has built 800
homes in west Florida, is interested in cooperating. "We have a strong
record of meeting our commitments to our home buyers," she said. "We hope
to reach a resolution in this situation as well."

Ryland purchased Crystal Oaks in late 1998 from Regency Communities Inc.
Citrus County, in general, is susceptible to sinkholes, said the residents'
hydrogeologist, Jeff Trommler. Caverns of limestone extend throughout the
area like a honeycomb, he said. Rain leaking through fissures in the
limestone, eventually causes the walls to collapse. "It's a beautiful
sinkhole," he said. "Because it's so close to the surface you can really
see the formations."

But the sinkholes are only going to get bigger in the near future and
should be filled quickly, he said after touring the site. He said the
probable solution is to fill the holes with dirt and clay. Pilka said he
asked Trommler to develop a repair plan, although both agreed nothing can
guarantee they will not reopen. "You couldn't line up enough cement trucks
to fill it," Trommler said.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District, which permitted the
retention pond, will be sending a site inspector to Crystal Oaks, surface
water regulation manager Wojciech Mroz said. "This is not the first time
the sinkhole opened over there," he said.

Residents claimed Wednesday the retention pond was built too big, enabling
the developer to concentrate more houses. But Mroz said the placement of
retention ponds is an issue worked out between the developer and the
county. Swiftmud's job is to determine whether the proposed pond will
handle the amount of expected stormwater runoff.

Pilka said while agencies and governments are protected by sovereign
immunity, he will review the development documents to see whether the pond
was properly designed and permitted.

John Mazza, one of the plaintiffs, is pointing fingers at everyone. "I
still say they got away with murder between Swiftmud and the county," he
said. "If I can't sell my house without divulging the information, they
should have the same obligation."

Salesman Samuel Carre would not comment at length about the claims the
Mitchell make against both him and the developers. He eventually hung up on
a Citrus Times reporter. "I sold a lot of houses over there," Carre said.
"We were never told what was happening by the company."

Homeowners association president Sarah Mason does not buy his excuse. "He
was on site," she said. "He didn't need to be told by the company. They
were filling these things (sinkholes) up by the cover of darkness. I think
he's just as dishonest as the rest of them." (The New York Times, July 20,
2000)


TELXON CORP: 1993 DE Derivative Action Intervened; Ct Decision Pending
----------------------------------------------------------------------
On September 21, 1993, a derivative Complaint was filed in the Court of
Chancery of the State of Delaware, in and for Newcastle County, by an
alleged stockholder of the Company derivatively on behalf of Telxon. The
named defendants are the Company; Robert F. Meyerson, former Chairman of
the Board, Chief Executive Officer and director; Dan R. Wipff, then
President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer and
director; Robert A. Goodman, Corporate Secretary and outside director;
Norton W. Rose, then an outside director; and Dr. Raj Reddy, outside
director. The Complaint alleges breach of fiduciary duty to the Company and
waste of the Company's assets in connection with certain transactions
entered into by Telxon and compensation amounts paid by the Company. The
Complaint seeks an accounting, injunction, rescission, attorney's fees and
costs. While the Company is nominally a defendant in this derivative
action, the plaintiff seeks no monetary relief from the Company.

On November 12, 1993, Telxon and the individual director defendants filed a
Motion to Dismiss. The plaintiff filed its brief in opposition to the
Motion on May 2, 1994, and the defendants filed a final responsive brief.
The Motion was argued before the Court on March 29, 1995, and on July 18,
1995, the Court issued its ruling. The Court dismissed all of the claims
relating to the plaintiff's allegations of corporate waste; however, the
claims relating to breach of fiduciary duty survived the Motion to Dismiss.

On October 31, 1996, plaintiff's counsel filed a Motion to Intervene in the
derivative action on behalf of a new plaintiff stockholder. As part of the
Motion to Intervene, the intervening plaintiff asked that the Court
designate as operative for the action the intervening plaintiff's proposed
Complaint, which alleges that a series of transactions in which the Company
acquired technology from a corporation affiliated with Mr. Meyerson was
wrongful in that Telxon already owned the technology by means of a
pre-existing consulting agreement with another affiliate of Mr. Meyerson;
the intervenor's complaint also names Raymond D. Meyo, President, Chief
Executive Officer and director at the time of the first acquisition
transaction, as a new defendant. The defendants opposed the Motion on
grounds that the new claim alleged in the proposed Complaint and the
addition of Mr. Meyo were time-barred by the statute of limitations and the
intervening plaintiff did not satisfy the standards for intervention. After
taking legal briefs, the Court ruled on June 13, 1997, to permit the
intervention. On March 18, 1998, defendant Meyo filed a Motion for
Judgement on the Pleadings (as to himself), in response to which Plaintiff
filed its Answer and Brief in Opposition. The Motion was argued before the
Court on November 4, 1998, and was granted from the bench, dismissing Meyo
as a defendant in the case.

The defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on November 15, 1999,
and the plaintiff filed a cross Motion for Summary Judgment on December
7,1999. The Motions were argued before the Court in February 2000.
Following the hearing, the parties submitted supplemental briefs, the last
of which was filed on March 6, 2000. The parties are awaiting the Court's
decision on the cross motions for summary judgment. No trial date has been
set.

The defendants believe that the post-intervention claims lack merit, and
they intend to continue vigorously defending this action. While the
ultimate outcome of this action cannot presently be determined, the Company
does not anticipate that this matter will have a material adverse effect on
the Company's consolidated financial position, results of operations or
cash flows and accordingly has not made provisions for any loss or related
insurance recovery in its financial statements.


TELXON CORP: Contests Derivative Suit in DE over Sale of Aironet Stock
----------------------------------------------------------------------
On December 30, 1999, a Derivative Complaint was filed in the Court of
Chancery of the State of Delaware, in and for Newcastle County, by an
alleged stockholder of the Company derivatively on behalf of Telxon. The
named defendants are the Company; the then directors of the Company,
Richard J. Bogomolny, John H. Cribb, Robert A. Goodman, Raj Reddy, Frank
Brick and Norton Rose; Robert F. Meyerson, former Chairman of the Board,
Chief Executive Officer and director; and Telantis Venture Partners V Inc.,
an affiliate of Robert F. Meyerson.

The Complaint alleges that Telxon's sale of stock in its then Aironet
Wireless Communications, Inc. subsidiary to Meyerson interests constitutes
a waste and gift of Telxon assets in breach of the defendant directors'
duties of care and to act in good faith. The Complaint also alleges that
the defendant directors' opposition of an alleged offer by Symbol to
acquire the Company in the Spring of 1998 violated their duties of loyalty,
good faith and due care and wasted Company's assets. The Complaint seeks an
order rescinding the Aironet stock transactions (or in the event such
relief cannot be granted, recissory damages), requiring the defendants
other than the Company to account for Telxon's losses in connection with
the alleged wrongs (including the funds spent resisting the alleged Symbol
bid) and awarding plaintiff its attorneys' fees and expenses. While the
Company is nominally a defendant in this derivative action, the plaintiff
seeks no monetary relief from the Company.

On March 8, 2000, all defendants except Messrs. Goodman and Meyerson
answered the complaint and moved for judgment on the pleadings. Messrs.
Goodman and Meyerson have filed motions to dismiss. In addition, all
defendants have moved to stay discovery. All of these motions are currently
being briefed, and no hearing date has been scheduled for any of the
motions.


TELXON CORP: Motion to Dismiss Stockholder Suit in Ohio Remains Pending
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
From December 1998 through March 1999, a total of 27 class actions were
filed in the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, by
certain alleged stockholders of the Company on behalf of themselves and
purported classes consisting of Telxon stockholders, other than the
defendants and their affiliates, who purchased stock during the period,
from May 21, 1996 through February 23, 1999 or various portions thereof,
alleging claims for "fraud on the market" arising from alleged
misrepresentations and omissions with respect to the Company's financial
performance and prospects and an alleged violation of generally accepted
accounting principles by improperly recognizing revenues. The named
defendants are the Company, former President and Chief Executive Officer
Frank E. Brick and former Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Kenneth W. Haver. The actions were referred to a single judge. On February
9, 1999, the plaintiffs filed a Motion to consolidate all of the actions
and the Court heard motions on naming class representatives and lead class
counsel on April 26, 1999.

On August 25, 1999, the Court appointed lead plaintiffs and their counsel,
ordered the filing of an Amended Complaint, and dismissed 26 of the 27
class action suits without prejudice and consolidated those 26 cases into
the first filed action. The appointed lead plaintiffs appointed by the
Court filed an Amended Class Action Complaint on September 30, 1999. The
Amended Complaint alleges that the defendants engaged in a scheme to
defraud investors through improper revenue recognition practices and
concealment of material adverse conditions in Telxon's business and
finances. The Amended Complaint seeks certification of the identified
class, unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, pre- and
post-judgment interest, and attorneys' fees and costs. Various appeals and
writs challenging the District Court's August 25, 1999 rulings were filed
by two of the unsuccessful plaintiffs but have all been denied by the Court
of Appeals.

On November 8, 1999, the defendants jointly moved to dismiss the Amended
Complaint. The Court held a case management conference on November 16, 1999
at which it set a conditional schedule. Briefing of the defendants' motion
to dismiss and the plaintiffs' opposition thereto was completed January 18,
2000. The motion to dismiss remains pending, and all discovery remains
stayed pending the Court's ruling on the motion. A motion filed by the
plaintiffs on November 16, 1999 to lift the discovery stay to allow the
serving of discovery requests on a non-party has been denied by the Court.
The defendants believe that these claims lack merit, and they intend to
vigorously defend the consolidated action.

By letter dated December 18, 1998, the Staff of the Division of Enforcement
of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "Commission") advised the
Company that it was conducting a preliminary, informal inquiry into trading
of the securities of the Company at or about the time of the Company's
December 11, 1998 press release announcing that the Company would be
restating the revenues for its second fiscal quarter ended September 30,
1998. On January 20, 1999, the Commission issued a formal Order Directing
Private Investigation And Designating Officers To Take Testimony with
respect to the referenced trading and specified accounting matters,
pursuant to which subpoenas have been served requiring the production of
specified documents and testimony. The Company and its current and former
independent accountants are also currently assessing the effects of recent
comments issued to the Company by the Commission's Division of Corporation
Finance as part of its ongoing review of various accounting matters in the
Company's previous filings with the Commission, including, but not limited
to, the recognition of revenues from the Company's indirect sales channel
and the timing of charges which the Company recorded during fiscal 1999,
1998 and 1997 for inventory obsolescence, severance and asset impairment.


TELXON CORP: Resolves Lawsuit in DE over Symbol Technologies' Offer
-------------------------------------------------------------------
On May 8, 1998, two class action suits were filed in the Court of Chancery
of the State of Delaware, in and for the County of New Castle, by certain
alleged stockholders of Telxon on behalf of themselves and purported
classes consisting of Telxon stockholders, other than defendants and their
affiliates, relating to an alleged offer by Symbol Technologies, Inc. to
acquire the Company. Named as defendants were Telxon and its Directors at
the time, namely, Frank E. Brick, Robert A. Goodman, Dr. Raj Reddy, John H.
Cribb, Richard J. Bogomolny, and Norton W. Rose. The plaintiffs alleged
that on April 21, 1998, Symbol made an offer to purchase Telxon for $38.00
per share in cash and that on May 8, 1998, Telxon rejected Symbol's
proposal. Plaintiffs further alleged that Telxon has certain anti-takeover
devices in place purportedly designed to thwart hostile bids for the
Company. Plaintiffs charged the Director defendants with breach of
fiduciary duty and claimed that they entrenched themselves in office. On
February 10, 2000, the plaintiffs filed a notice for the dismissal of the
action without prejudice, which was approved by the Court on February 17,
2000.


WINGER: Bondholders Sue Accountants and Underwriters of Safety-Kleen
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Two institutional investors claiming more than $30,000,000 in damages filed
a class action lawsuit on July 18, 2000, captioned American High Income
Trust, et ano. v. Winger, et al., C.A. No. 00-661, in the United States
District Court For The District Of Delaware. This class action is brought
on behalf of those who purchased or acquired certain bonds issued by
Safety-Kleen Corp. or its predecessor Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc.
("LES") in initial offerings and/or on the secondary market from April 17,
1998 through March 6, 2000 (the "Class Period") in reliance upon the
Company's materially false and misleading financial statements. These bonds
include the 9-1/4% senior notes of the Company due in 2008 (the "2008
Bonds") and the 9-1/4% senior notes due in 2009 (the "2009 Bonds"),
collectively, the "Bonds."

This action is brought against certain of Safety-Kleen's officers,
directors, controlling shareholders, accountants and underwriters. The
Complaint alleges Safety-Kleen's audited financial statements for the years
ended August 31, 1999, 1998 and 1997 were false and misleading, and had to
be withdrawn by Safety-Kleen and its auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
The Complaint further alleges that some or all of these financial
statements were included in the Offering Memoranda, Prospectuses and
Registration Statements that were used in connection with the sale of the
Bonds. Additionally, the complaint alleges that the defendants continued to
disseminate false information regarding Safety-Kleen throughout the Class
Period, thereby artificially inflating the price of the Bonds in the
aftermarket. The Complaint asserts causes of action under Section 11 of the
Securities Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 77k; Section 12(a)(2) of the Securities
Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 77l(a)(2); Section 15 of the Securities Act, 15
U.S.C. Section 77o; Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. Section
78j(b) and Rule 10b-5, 17 C.F.R. 240.10b-5, promulgated thereunder; Section
18 of the Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 78r; and Section 20(a) of the
Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 78t(a).

Any class member may, within 60 days of the date of this notice, move the
Court to serve as lead plaintiff of the purported class. To be a member of
the purported class, as distinct from lead plaintiff, you need not take any
action at this time. Anyone seeking further information about this case is
advised to examine the complaint filed in the clerk's office of the Court.
For additional information, you may contact counsel for the institutional
investor plaintiffs in this action: Stuart M. Grant, Grant & Eisenhofer,
P.A., 1220 N. Market Street, 5th Floor, Wilmington, Delaware 19801, or
telephone 302-622-7000.

Contact: Stuart Grant, Esq. of Grant & Eisenhofer, 302-622-7000


Y2K LITIGATION: Nevada Physician Sues Infocure
----------------------------------------------
On behalf of himself and other medical professionals like him, Las Vegas
physician Jeffrey Arenswald, M.D., has filed a class-action lawsuit against
Infocure Corp., alleging that the software company engaged in deceptive
practices. Arenswald v. Infocure Corp., Docket No. 36-000524-103, complaint
filed (Nev. Dist. Ct., Clark County, May 10, 2000).

The complaint alleges that throughout the 1990s, Infocure's predecessor,
Medical Software Management Inc. (MSM), sold an operating system, the IBM
RS 6000 System, to medical and health care professionals, even though the
hardware was defective. Infocure also sold its own Kl'ron software, which
offered an integrated physician's practice management system encompassing
patient care and clinical, financial and management applications. In 1998,
MSM began informing purchasers of the IBM RS 6000 that they would need to
replace it with a Y2K-compliant system, and offered to sell them a
Hewlett-Packard system. In a subsequent letter, MSM informed its customers
that it would no longer continue to support the IBM system after June 30,
1999.

When Infocure took over MSM, it advised Kl'ron licensees that the company
was offering a new IBM or Hewlett-Packard system to replace the defective
RS 6000, and would support the new IBM system; what Infocure neglected to
do, however, was tell licensees that a free patch was available from IBM to
fix the problem with the RS 6000 system. The result, Arenswald alleges, is
that each of the members of the class was induced into purchasing a new
computer system, unaware that a free solution to the problem was available
to them.

The complaint asserts that there are hundreds if not thousands of potential
class members, whose identities would be discernible from records in
Infocure's possession. Because of Infocure's ongoing deceptive
representations, the members unnecessarily spent tens of thousands of
dollars to replacethe IBM RS 6000. Arenswald alleges that after he spent
over $31,000 on the IBM system, he was told it would cost him almost
$25,000 to purchase a replacement system from MSM; he ended up entering
into a lease with another company, at a cost of $930 per month.

The complaint seeks class certification, compensatory damages and
injunctive relief including disgorgement, establishment of a constructive
trust and restitution. (Computer & Online Industry Litigation Reporter,
July 5, 2000)


* USA Today Says Regulators Struggle to Diagnose Sick Buildings
----------------------------------------------------------------
While offices lack federal standards for air, ill workers are dismissed as
disgruntled.

Brenda Minner says she was a healthy woman in her late 40s when she began
working for Greenwood Trust Co. in the early 1990s. She went to her job
every day at the bank's offices in New Castle, where it issues the Discover
Card. But after a while, she says, she began feeling sick and eventually
developed chronic respiratory distress, infections, chemical sensitivities,
and brain and muscular disorders. She went on disability leave in February
1994, and today, at 53, she considers herself a virtual invalid. Minner
says she was diagnosed with sick building syndrome, a hard-to-define
condition that government and health experts link to indoor air quality.
Greenwood Trust denies that its building had anything to do with her health
problems.

The dispute illustrates a complex issue that employers and their workers
have increasingly been forced to deal with in the past three decades.

But illnesses caused by an unhealthful office environment remain hard to
prove, in part because the federal government has yet to set standards to
enforce office air quality despite efforts by the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA).

"It's a very big concern to occupants of buildings," says Harry Neill, a
certified industrial hygienist and vice president of Exton, Pa.-based
environmental consulting firm 1Source Safety and Health Inc.

And the concerns are legitimate, OSHA officials say. The agency estimates
that about 1.34 million office buildings in the USA have problems with air
quality, and 21 million U.S. workers -- about 30% of all office employees
-- will be exposed to health problems.

However, some building owners and companies say that complaints of sick
buildings can stem from bad labor relations or otherwise disgruntled
employees. "Indoor air quality is an issue that we take extremely serious,
although the motivations for some of the claims for sick building syndrome
are not always well-founded but are really nothing more than a guise for
other difficulties that individual tenants may have," says Gerry Lederer of
the Building Owners and Managers Association International.

                            Complex Conditions

Sick building syndrome is a condition in which the occupants of a building
experience acute health and comfort problems that seem to be linked to
being in the building, but whose cause isn't known. By comparison,
building-related illness involves symptoms that can be clinically diagnosed
and linked directly to the source.

Both conditions are thought to stem from pollutants and bad ventilation or
circulation, allowing airborne contaminants, mold, fungi and bacteria to
linger or grow and be inhaled by occupants.

"The difficulty with sick building syndrome is that it can be manifested in
so many different ways," says William Bahnfleth, professor of architectural
engineering at Pennsylvania State University.

Government officials and health experts say sick building syndrome and
building-related illness are a backlash from developments in technology,
the growth of white-collar jobs and office complexes, and a desire to save
money on energy costs.

In response to the 1970s energy crisis, ventilation requirements were
changed to conserve fossil fuels, and many builders created airtight
buildings with windows that don't open.

Builders began relying more on sophisticated heating, ventilation and
air-conditioning (HVAC) systems to bring in and circulate air. But many of
the systems have not always been designed, maintained or operated properly,
experts say, leading to unhealthful conditions.

"A new building that's airtight has to be operated differently than a
building that was made in the 1950s," says George Yocher, an environmental
epidemiologist for the Delaware Division of Public Health's four-person
environmental health unit. His team primarily works with residences and
small businesses.

At the same time, more Americans are spending their days in closed offices
with few or no windows, working on computers or other office equipment.
They are exposed to gases and volatile organic compounds such as
formaldehyde from various pollutants. These include cleaning solutions,
adhesives, new carpeting, photocopier and printer toner, and car exhaust
and other fumes from outside that enter through HVAC vents.

Minner says she became ill as a result of working in the New Castle
Corporate Commons offices. She and two former co-workers sued six years
ago, seeking damages of about $ 20 million in a class-action lawsuit. The
case was settled in May, a few weeks before it was scheduled to go to
trial. Financial terms were not disclosed. Minner says she cannot comment
further on the case because of the settlement.

Bank officials also won't talk, for the same reason. But Greenwood Trust
president Nathan Hill previously denied any problems with the building,
which he said undergoes annual air-quality inspections by specialists. "If
there was anything wrong with this building, and I felt that there was
anything wrong with it, it wouldn't make sense for me to have my office in
it and to spend all of my working hours in it," he said several months ago.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization
estimate that up to 30% of all new and remodeled buildings worldwide will
have air-quality problems that can lead to sick building syndrome or
building-related illness.

                        Zeroing in on Office Air

About 57 of 1,000 exposed employees will have severe headaches, OSHA says,
and about 85 of 1,000 exposed employees will have severe respiratory
problems.

"It's not a bullet in the brain," says John Sullivan Jr., associate dean of
the College of Medicine and director of the Toxic Exposures Clinic at the
University of Arizona. "It's not a heart attack. It's not cancer. But it
can produce misery in the workplace."

Complaints have become so common that 37 of 53 states and territories have
designated staffers to handle them. And an industry of consultants --
mostly for larger companies that can afford them -- has cropped up to
investigate and resolve problems.

"We see an awful lot of complaints," says Edward Montz, president of
Pottstown, Pa.-based environmental consulting firm Indoor Air Solutions.

His firm has been hired by hundreds of companies. "I can go into any
building and find air-quality parameters that are outside normal ranges."

During the past decade, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and
Health (NIOSH), an agency of the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, has conducted more than 1,500 evaluations of indoor air quality
in office complexes, schools and hospitals in response to complaints.

NIOSH and consultants have found problems stemming from deficiencies in
ventilation systems, overcrowding and even microbiological growth. A major
problem is the growth of molds or fungi behind plaster or other wall
coverings or between floors.

"I've seen mushrooms literally several inches high growing in the inside
lining of ductwork," Montz says. "The facilities managers can't believe it
when we show it to them."

Investigations typically involve extensive interviews with building
occupants, medical testing to determine specific problems, examination of
employees' medical records, walk-through tours with building managers,
observation of work habits and air testing for specific contaminants.

Recommendations for resolving the problems include better maintenance,
cleaning and proper operation of HVAC systems; increased ventilation; air
cleaning; and education of building management.

"Many (building managers and owners) are in a state of denial," Montz says.
"They can't believe that they've got as serious a problem as they've got."

                             Treatment Cost

Besides suing or filing complaints, building occupants are limited in their
recourse, mostly because of the lack of regulations governing whether
buildings are "sick."

NIOSH investigates complaints, but it is more of a research institution
that studies problems and makes recommendations rather than a regulatory
agency that takes action.

OSHA, an arm of the U.S. Department of Labor, traditionally has focused on
industrial and manufacturing buildings.

Since 1994, it has tried to regulate indoor air quality in office
buildings, too. But its efforts have been stymied, officials say, primarily
because of concerns about the cost to companies.

The agency plans to seek more input this year on the proposed standards,
which would set minimum requirements for fresh air to be brought into
buildings.

OSHA estimates that compliance with the proposed standards would cost about
$ 8.1 billion annually but would yield cost savings of more than $ 15
billion a year.

For example, OSHA says, the rules are expected to prevent 3 million severe
headaches and 4.5 million upper-respiratory symptoms, which cost money to
treat.

In the meantime, regulators and consultants have tried tweaking industrial
standards to apply in office buildings, with limited success.

Also, many builders and facility managers follow air-quality and
building-management standards published by the American Society of Heating,
Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers and by the Building Owners and
Managers Association. But those standards don't carry the force of law.
(USA Today, July 20, 2000)


                              *********


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by Bankruptcy
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Washington, DC. Theresa Cheuk, Managing Editor.

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

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