CAR_Public/000821.MBX              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Monday, August 21, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 162

                              Headlines

BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE INC: Lawsuit in Illinois Seeks Fast Payment
BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE: Punitives of $100M Awarded to Former Mechanic
CALIFORNIA SOFTWARE: Cauley & Geller Files Securities Suit in California
CALIFORNIA SOFTWARE: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Fraud Suit in CA
DETROIT FLOODS: Cities May Pay Homeowners' Claims with Higher Taxes

ERON MORTGAGE: Scam Victims Get Supreme Court Hearing in Canada
FIRESTOEN: Ford Shows Frustration with Pace of Tire Recall
FIRESTONE: Emergency Hearing for Florida Tire Owners Canceled
GEORGIA POWER: Appoints Diversity Executive in the Face of Lawsuit
HMOs: Humana Makes Case for Dismissal; Patients Seek Change in Practice

INMATES LITIGATION: Florida Accused of Using Pepper Spray Wantonly
MISSOURI: Taxpayers May Get Bigger Hancock Refunds
MONY GROUP: 1 Claim in Goshen Case Re Insurance Policies in 80s Remains
MONY GROUP: Policyholders Sue in New York for Membership Interest
NATIONWIDE LIFE: Contests Ohio Lawsuit over Deferred Annuity Contracts

NBTY, INC: Finkelstein Thompson Files Securities Fraud Suit in New York
NY CITY: Class Certified for Abrupt Transfer of Nursing Home Residents
RECORDING COMPANIES: Might Have Cheated Consumers; Agrees to End MAP
SANTA MONICA: CA Town Told to Comply With Ban on Fees at ATM
U.S., PHILIPPINES: $103B Sought for Hazardous Waste at Old Military Base

UNITED AIRLINES: To Waive Changing Flights Penalties to Soothe Customers

                              *********

BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE INC: Lawsuit in Illinois Seeks Fast Payment
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A lawsuit has been filed against Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. seeking fast
payment for Illinois owners of defective Firestone tires so they can be
replaced immediately. The lawsuit, filed in Peoria County Circuit Court on
Thursday, alleges Firestone violated its tire warranties and violated the
Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

Firestone's offer to replace the defective tires by paying its customers a
$ 100 reimbursement, is too limited, the lawsuit says, because it applies
only to certain tires and sets time limits.

All tire customers need "an immediate cash payment," so the faulty tires
can be replaced from any manufacturer, it says. Or they should be
reimbursed if they already have bought new tires. Phased recalls also will
take too long and expose drivers to danger, the lawsuit says.

Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone/Firestone earlier this month recalled
all P235/75R15-size radial ATX and ATX II tires and Wilderness AT tires of
the same size made at its plant in Decatur.

Most of the 6.5 million tires are on Ford vehicles, notably the Explorer
sport utility vehicle. Most of the complaints about the tires involved
tread separation that sometimes caused blowouts and rollovers.

Attorneys who filed the lawsuit include Art Greenberg, whose 6-year-old
granddaughter and son-in-law died in a June 18 accident in Texas attributed
to a faulty Firestone tire. His daughter, Nina Dunavan, 39, is recovering
from the accident, which has left his family devastated, Greenberg said.

The Texas accident has nothing to do with the Peoria lawsuit, Greenberg
said, but has heightened his concern about the Firestone tire recall. The
lead plaintiff in the lawsuit is Esther Siewert-Sitzmor. Dan Cusak, an
attorney handling the case, said he is looking for additional plaintiffs.
Cusak said he owns two vehicles with the defective tires, but did not want
to sue on his own behalf. He plans to replace his tires immediately, he
said, and advises others to do likewise. (The Associated Press State &
Local Wire, August 18, 2000)


BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE: Punitives of $100M Awarded to Former Mechanic
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A Missouri jury has awarded $ 105 million to a former mechanic who became
permanently disabled when the rim of a tire he was inflating exploded.
Dorman v. Bridgestone/ Firestone Inc., No. 962-07052 (Mo. Cir. Ct. St.
Louis City May 23).

The plaintiff was injured when the tire rim's side base separated from the
rim itself while the plaintiff was inflating the tire using a pressure that
was within the manufacturer's specifications. The force of the explosion
caused the plaintiff to suffer multiple fractures and brain injuries.

Represented by Jeffrey Lowe of St. Louis' Simon, Lowe & Passa-nante, he
sued the tire maker, alleging that the multipiece rim was dangerous and
defective. He also brought charges of failure to warn, and produced
documentation that the defendant knew of the defect in the rim but
continued to manufacture it. The defendant, represented by Robert Horn of
Kansas City, Mo.'s Horn, Aylward & Bandy and by Thomas Stewart of St.
Louis' Holloran & Stewart, moved for summary judgment, arguing that the
side ring had been discarded after the accident and that the plaintiff
could thus not prove that the defendant manufactured the ring that injured
him; the trial court granted the motion. An appellate court reversed and
remanded, finding that the plaintiff had produced sufficient evidence from
which a jury could reasonably determine that the defendant manufactured the
rim. (Product Liability Law & Strategy, July 2000)


CALIFORNIA SOFTWARE: Cauley & Geller Files Securities Suit in California
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The law firm of Cauley & Geller LLP announced on August 18 that a class
action lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the
Central District of California on behalf of purchasers of California
Software Corp. (NASDAQ:CAWC - news and CAWC.OB - news) publicly traded
securities during the period between Feb. 9, 2000 and Aug. 6, 2000 (the
"Class Period").

The complaint charges California Software and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
California Software describes itself as the international leading provider
of IBM Midrange migration software solutions marketed under the brand name
BABY. These products support the migration of IBM AS/400 screens and
applications into PC-LAN business environment and has more than 100,000
installations in 56 countries. The complaint alleges that in early 2000,
the insiders sought to inflate California Software's stock price so they
could: (a) complete a $9 million private placement to fund the Company's
operations, planned acquisitions and to inflate the book value of
defendants' shares; (b) obtain listing on NASDAQ and the American Stock
Exchange in order to legitimize the Company and the shares defendants were
peddling; and (c) use the Company's shares as currency to fund the
acquisition of Hotel Information Systems Inc. in a stock-for-stock
acquisition.

The complaint further alleges that to portray the Company as a financially
viable company, during the Class Period the individual defendants caused
California Software to issue false financial results and make false
statements about its results and demand for its new products, including its
BABY product, causing its stock to trade at artificially inflated levels.
Then on Aug. 7, 2000, California Software admitted that its fiscal 1999 and
first quarter 2000 results had been false, that its previously reported
revenues had been improperly recognized. On these shocking disclosures,
California Software's stock trading dropped to $1-1/32 on Aug. 9, 2000
after trading at $14-3/8 months earlier.

Contact: CAULEY & GELLER LLP Sue Null, 888/551-9944 info@classlawyer.com


CALIFORNIA SOFTWARE: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Fraud Suit in CA
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Milberg Weiss (http://www.milberg.com/calsoftware/)announced on August 17
that a class action has been commenced in the United States District Court
for the Central District of California on behalf of purchasers of
California Software Corp. (NASDAQ:CAWC and CAWC.OB) publicly traded
securities during the period between Feb. 9, 2000 and Aug. 6, 2000 (the
"Class Period").

The complaint charges California Software and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
California Software describes itself as the international leading provider
of IBM Midrange migration software solutions marketed under the brand name
BABY. These products support the migration of IBM AS/400 screens and
applications into PC-LAN business environment and has more than 100,000
installations in 56 countries. The complaint alleges that in early 2000,
the insiders sought to inflate California Software's stock price so they
could: (a) complete a $9 million private placement to fund the Company's
operations, planned acquisitions and to inflate the book value of
defendants' shares; (b) obtain listing on NASDAQ and the American Stock
Exchange in order to legitimize the Company and the shares defendants were
peddling; and (c) use the Company's shares as currency to fund the
acquisition of Hotel Information Systems Inc. in a stock-for-stock
acquisition.

The complaint further alleges that to portray the Company as a financially
viable company, during the Class Period the individual defendants caused
California Software to issue false financial results and make false
statements about its results and demand for its new products, including its
BABY product, causing its stock to trade at artificially inflated levels.
Then on Aug. 7, 2000, California Software admitted that its fiscal 1999 and
first quarter 2000 results had been false, that its previously reported
revenues had been improperly recognized. On these shocking disclosures,
California Software's stock trading dropped to $1-1/32 on August 9, 2000
after trading at $14-3/8 months earlier.

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


DETROIT FLOODS: Cities May Pay Homeowners' Claims with Higher Taxes
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Metro Detroit residents worried about their basements filling up with storm
water soon may have other worries: higher property taxes or sewer fees.
That's because cities across Metro Detroit that battle storm runoff could
get stuck paying millions of dollars in flood claims -- about $1 million
each so far this year for Inkster, Garden City and Warren -- now that the
state's largest insurer of local governments has decided to stop coverage
for those losses.

The cost of homeowners' claims and lawsuit settlements may have to be
passed on to residents through higher taxes and water or sewer fees, city
officials warn.

Trenton resident Tracey Duda doesn't care who pays the claims, as long as
she doesn't have to. Duda, 28, had to throw out a computer system,
entertainment center and two sofas when three feet of sewage seeped into
her finished basement in June. "It's not fair that they are using our
basements as a retention center," said Duda, who with other Trenton
residents has filed a lawsuit against the city for flood damage.

It is Metro Detroit's aging infrastructure, in part, that's to blame for
persistent basement and street flooding throughout the region every time
there is heavy rain.

The problem is only going to get worse as more land is developed and there
are fewer open spaces to soak up excess rain water. Meanwhile, in many
Metro Detroit communities the most obvious solution -- to rebuild their
overloaded sewer systems -- is too expensive.

But city officials argue it's Mother Nature who's to blame, not
municipalities. "If a city inspects your house and says that everything is
OK, and then a tornado comes and blows the roof off, you wouldn't blame the
city for the damage," said Dearborn Heights Mayoral Assistant Kurt Heise.
"We don't have a problem if it's our fault, but when there's a storm that
overtaxes the system, it's somewhat unfair to put the blame on us."

The Michigan Municipal Liability League reversed its policy of covering
cities' basement damage claims because the cost is becoming prohibitive,
said Frank Murphy, the league's director of risk management. "We're seeing
a blizzard of claims every time it rains and it's hard," said Murphy, who
added that at least five $1-million lawsuits are pending across the state.
He expects that number to climb over the next few years.

                    Settlements Total $15M

In the two past years, basement-flooding settlements in Metro Detroit
suburbs have totaled $15 million, estimated Steve Liddle, of the Detroit
firm Macuga, Swartz and Liddle, which has represented thousands of people
suing Dearborn Heights, Grosse Pointe Woods, Warren, Inkster and other
cities over flooding.

Some of the recent lawsuit settlements include: In June, Dearborn Heights
paid $3.25 million to 150 residents who claimed severe basement flood
damage following a February 1998 storm that dumped 4 inches of rain in a
few hours. The city is insured by the Michigan Municipal Management Risk
Management Authority, which plans to continue covering flood damage until
at least next year. But the company is considering dropping the coverage if
lawsuits continue to increase, Heise said. Risk Management Authority
representatives could not be reached for comment. That June storm also
caused damage in Inkster and Garden City, where nearly 200 residents filed
and won class-action lawsuits for $800,000 and $1.4 million respectively.

Communities insured by the municipal league will continue to have basement
flooding coverage until the end of their policies. Then they can pay extra
for $ 75,000 to cover claims.

That's not nearly enough to cover the large lawsuits popping up, Heise
said. "It will eventually get to a point where no insurance provider will
cover basement flooding and municipalities will have to take lawsuit
settlements out of their general fund or put it on property owners' taxes,"
Heise said.

Chuck Hersey of the Southeastern Michigan Council of Governorments thinks
communities such as Fraser will be caught in a "virtual Catch-22" -- either
facing state fines for illegally discharging sewage into waterways or
costly lawsuits when that sewage finds its way into residential basements.
Either way, he said, the taxpayer may end up paying. "This is something
that needs to be stopped before it trickles down to the taxpayers," he
said.

                          Some Move Away

Jeanne Jones is so tired of basement flooding in her Farmington Hills
community that she is selling her home and moving to Livingston County,
where she'll have a septic tank. Jones, a car dealership owner, also is
part of a class-action lawsuit against Farmington Hills. A judge ruled in
in favor of the plaintiffs, but the city is appealing that decision.

After sewage flooded her basement, Jones said she had to replace thousands
of dollars in damaged items. "It is good that some cities now have to pay
for it because it is their responsibility to take care of their residents,
not the residents' (responsibility)," she said.

But officials of Michigan municipalities argue that basement flooding from
heavy rains -- an act of nature -- shouldn't be cities' responsibilities.

The Michigan Supreme Court in April disagreed, siding with homeowners. But
the court ruling did not not address claims involving acts of nature.

Given the court ruling, municipalities and insurers are lobbying state
lawmakers for a law that would relieve them of responsibility for basement
flooding damages after such downpours.

Legislators, including state Sen. George Hart, D-Dearborn Heights, aren't
making any promises. Cities in Hart's district are among the worst for
flooding in Metro Detroit. He said he would have to examine carefully any
legislation.

The only solution is to rebuild sewer systems from the ground up, contends
Liddle, the attorney representing homeowners. "There are problems of inflow
and infrastructure of the system which means their sewers have holes in
them," he argued. "They're trying to blame this on an act of God, but there
is no way that 4 inches of rain equals 8 or 10 feet of sewage in someone's
basement. They think private citizens should pay for having to clean up
feces, urine and anything else found in water in their basement and they're
wrong.

                       Pricey Settlements

Some Metro Detroit cities have paid out big bucks for basement flooding
lawsuits:

    * Dearborn Heights: 156 residents awarded $3.25 million.

    * Warren: 175 residents awarded $1.575 million.

    * Garden City: 98 residents awarded $1.39 million.

    * Grosse Point Woods: 44 residents awarded $1 million.

    * Inkster: 103 residents awarded $835,000.

    * Redford: 22 residents settled for $203,000.

Source: Law firm of Macuga, Swartz and Liddle


ERON MORTGAGE: Scam Victims Get Supreme Court Hearing in Canada
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Supreme Court of Canada is giving investors who lost $ 222-million in a
massive mortgage scam the chance to argue the B.C. government should cover
their losses. The high court on August 17 granted investors in Eron
Mortgage Corp. leave to appeal a lower-court ruling that tossed out their
class-action lawsuit against the B.C. registrar of mortgage brokers. The
decision by Canada's highest court keeps alive the hope of 3,350 investors
that they'll get their retirement nest eggs back. Lawyers on both sides say
the court will also clarify just how much responsibility Canada's
regulators have to protect individual investors. (National Post (formerly
The Financial Post), August 18, 2000)


FIRESTOEN: Ford Shows Frustration with Pace of Tire Recall
----------------------------------------------------------
Ford Motor Co. executives last Thursday August 17 expressed frustration
with the pace of the Firestone tire recall, as Texas officials
investigated the latest death of a Ford Explorer passenger killed when a
tire on the sport-utility vehicle blew. Ford Chief Executive Jac Nasser
said the automaker, whose Explorer is cited in most of the accidents in a
federal investigation, was mulling several steps to speed up the
replacement of millions of tires. Nasser said in an interview with USA
Today that Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.'s promise to have the recall finished
by next spring was "unacceptable," and Ford would consider paying for
rental cars and taking other steps for Ford customers too worried to wait
until dealers can get replacements.

Texas officials, meantime, were investigating the death of Gary Haas, 42, a
Tampa heart surgeon, killed when the right rear tire of the 1996 Ford
Explorer he was riding in blew.

The accident is similar to dozens of others linked to the Explorer and the
Firestone tires under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration.

Firestone said last Thursday it would continue to repay customers who have
recalled tires replaced at stores other than Firestone or Ford dealers,
lifting the deadline it set a day earlier.

Firestone had offered to reimburse customers up to $100 per wheel for tires
replaced outside the Ford-Firestone network between Aug. 9 -- when the
recall was announced -- and when Bridgestone/Firestone ran newspaper ads
explaining the recall.

But Bridgestone/Firestone executive vice president Gary Crigger said
Thursday that reimbursements would continue indefinitely. "We are
continually evolving this process," said Christine Karbowiak,
Bridgestone/Firestone vice president of public affairs. "It is a very large
recall. We are identifying improvements along the way." Crigger and
Karbowiak said Bridgestone/Firestone's decision had nothing to do with a
restraining order a Kentucky judge released late August 16 evening telling
the company to lift the deadline. The order had been requested from lawyers
representing two owners of recalled tires who weren't able to get
replacement tires. Karbowiak said the company had not been aware of the
order when it made the decision to lift the deadline.

The NHTSA has reports of at least 62 deaths, more than 100 injuries and 779
complaints linked to failures of the recalled tires. According to data
released by NHTSA, 484 of the 779 complaints involved the Explorer.

Lobbyists for Ford continued meetings with congressional staff members in
Washington to try to head off hearings on the tires. "We are in the
preliminary phases of what may become a full blown investigation," Ken
Johnson, a spokesman for Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), the chairman of the
House subcommittee on consumer protection, said.

Separately, two SUV owners filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court on
August 17 accusing Bridgestone/Firestone of negligence and fraud and
alleging that the tire manufacturer knowingly sold unsafe tires.

The plaintiffs' vehicles are both outfitted with Firestone P235/75R15
Wilderness AT tires. The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of
everyone in Illinois who purchased Firestone P235/75R15 Wilderness AT
tires, Firestone P235/75R15 radial ATX or radial ATX II tires. Among other
things, the suit says every consumer who purchased the tires should receive
a new set of tires, a full refund for the tires or a credit toward the
purchase of new tires. (Chicago Tribune, August 18, 2000)


FIRESTONE: Emergency Hearing for Florida Tire Owners Canceled
-------------------------------------------------------------
An attempt to get a speedy hearing Friday on a lawsuit that would cover all
Florida motorists with recalled Firestone tires was thwarted when the
company moved the case from state to federal court.

Attorneys for the tire owners asked a federal judge to immediately send it
back to state court, but U.S. District Judge Paul Huck had a full calendar
and it was uncertain when he would have time to review the request.

The case was filed as a class-action, with the attorneys hoping a state
trial judge would let it represent all Florida motorists involved. Circuit
Judge Philip Bloom had scheduled an emergency hearing Friday on a request
to force Nashville-based Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. to pay to replace
recalled tired with non-Firestone brands, but the session was canceled
based on the change in courts. "It was definitely to be expected that
Firestone would remove" the case to federal court, said attorney Greg
Glasser, who filed a competing lawsuit and showed up for the canceled
hearing. "My off-the-cuff view of it would be that it'll stay in federal
court."

Parties in lawsuits are allowed to switch cases to federal court when they
raise federal legal questions. The other side can ask to send a case back,
but a decision on that question normally follows a series of court filings
over a period of weeks.

Attorney Hugh Whiting, representing Bridgestone/Firestone, said, "We will
pursue what should be an appropriate process with the appropriate courts."

Tire owners asked for an emergency order to force Firestone to issue
vouchers for new tires, allowing replacements with competitors' tires at
Firestone's expense up front.

Firestone has said it will reimburse customers $100 per tire for tires
replaced outside its network, but consumers have been asked to take the old
tires to Firestone stores and apply for reimbursements.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating 62
deaths and 100 injuries that could be linked to the 6.5 million tires now
being recalled. The agency has received more than 750 complaints.

On the Net: Bridgestone/Firestone: www.firestone.com

(The Associated Press State & Local Wire, August 18, 2000)


GEORGIA POWER: Appoints Diversity Executive in the Face of Lawsuit
------------------------------------------------------------------
Georgia Power Co. has named a vice president for diversity action, three
weeks after three employees sued the utility claiming racial
discrimination, which was reported in the CAR. Jim Davis will fill the new
position and will continue to serve as the utility's senior vice president
for corporate relations. He will report directly to David Ratcliffe, chief
executive of Georgia Power. "It's good that the company is finally
admitting it has problems," said Steven J. Rossenwasser, an attorney for
the employees.

"But internal changes without external oversight aren't good enough. The
company can't be trusted to change itself." The lawsuit against Georgia
Power, the state's largest utility, and Southern Co., its parent, claims
the company systematically discriminates against African-American workers.
About 1,800 of Georgia Power's 8,700 workers are African-American, and
lawyers for the plaintiffs are seeking class-action status.

The suit was filed July 27 in Fulton County Superior Court by three Georgia
Power employees, and four more workers have joined since then. Georgia
Power reacted quickly after the suit was filed. Ratcliffe promised
employees "swift and effective action" against racial discrimination and
named Juanita Baranco, one of Georgia Power's three African-American board
members, to co-chair a diversity council with him.

"Jim Davis will help find where our diversity problems are," John Sell, a
Georgia Power spokesman, said. "Once the problems are identified, we'll
devise solutions to identify them."

Davis joined Georgia Power in 1972 after earning a bachelor's degree from
Claflin College in South Carolina and a master's degree from Georgia Tech.
He serves on numerous volunteer boards and received the Atlanta Urban
League's 1999 community service award.

Rossenwasser, a lawyer at Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, the firm representing
the Georgia Power employees, said the changes announced so far are
inadequate. Rossenwasser, whose firm also represents employees who sued
Coca-Cola for racial discrimination, said Georgia Power's actions "fail to
address compensation" he believes current and former employees are owed.
"The company can't ignore the fact it owes African-Americans for past
discrimination," he said.

Other Georgia companies including Coca-Cola, Home Depot and Waffle House
face racial discrimination claims. (The Atlanta Journal and Constitution,
August 18, 2000)


HMOs: Humana Makes Case for Dismissal; Patients Seek Change in Practice
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A Miami federal judge could decide whether to dismiss a massive,
class-action lawsuit against Humanas health maintenance organization filed
on behalf of millions of patients nationwide. Humanas motion to dismiss the
case, along with several other actions expected August 17, are the most
recent developments in the nations latest big class action, following the
suits on Big Tobacco.

Dozens of lawyers, including David Boies, who helped win a verdict to break
up Microsoft, and Richard Scruggs, best known for fighting Big Tobacco,
will appear before U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno as they take on
Humana and the nations HMOs.

A number of class-action suits against Humana were consolidated this year
under Moreno. And plaintiffs -- represented by some 40 law firms from
around the country -- have added six other HMOs to their case. They are
awaiting word from the Federal Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
on the additional consolidations.

The lawsuits, filed on behalf of a potential 80 million subscribers, seek
nothing less than to change the way HMOs do business -- the same way Big
Tobacco lawsuits sought to alter the way cigarettes are marketed and sold.
They allege that HMOs secretly provided financial incentives to doctors to
steer patients to cost-cutting treatments.

Moreno will hold three hearings on the topic. He will hear a motion from a
Broward ophthalmologist who is joined by the Broward County Medical
Association in a lawsuit against Humana. Dr. Seth Cutler alleges that
Humanas reimbursement practices have hurt the doctors and their ability to
provide medical care to their patients. He is seeking to remand the suit to
state court.

Also, Moreno will hear a bevy of requests from two other defendants,
Foundation Health Systems and Pacificare Health Systems. The requests
include returning their cases to Mississippi court, where rulings have been
more favorable to them; dismissing their cases; and remitting the case for
arbitration.

But lawyers say the most significant action of the day comes at 9:30 a.m.,
when lawyers for Humana will argue for a dismissal of the entire
class-action case. Moreno, who has promised litigators a speedy ruling,
could make a ruling on the spot.

Humanas plea for dismissal centers on the argument that no injury has
occurred to a patient -- that the case merely states that an injury could
occur because of Humanas cost-cutting practices. The company, along with
the other HMOs, will waste no time bringing up a recent victory for HMOs in
the courts. Lawyers for Humana, the law firm OMelveny & Myers of
Washington, D.C., and Adorno & Zeder of Miami, have already sent Moreno a
copy of a ruling by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.
The court upheld a lower court dismissal of a complaint against Aetna that
had sought class-action status and had alleged violations of the Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (a significant part of the Miami
cases). That case alleged Aetna attracted potential customers by saying it
was dedicated to quality medical care, then encouraged systemwide
cost-cutting.

Furthermore, in June the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that patients cant sue
HMOs in federal court for restricting medical care out of cost concerns
because thats precisely why HMOs were created.

The anti-HMO lawyers in Miami, aware of the impact the most recent case
could have on their own, sent a 10-page brief to Moreno laying out how
their case is different. Our case is broader, said Sid Backstrom, an
associate of Scruggs, adding that his case alleges extortion of doctors and
that Humana took money under false pretenses, among other charges.

Are the anti-HMO lawyers concerned about the fact that the courts have
ruled in favor of HMOs of late? I wouldnt say were worried, said Backstrom.
Obviously you want every ruling to go your way. (Broward Daily Business
Review, August 17, 2000)


INMATES LITIGATION: Florida Accused of Using Pepper Spray Wantonly
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Corrections officials deny any abuses, saying the spray is vital for order
and guards' protection. Soon after his appointment as head of Florida's
prison system last year, Michael Moore decreed that more prison officers
should be equipped with pepper spray to subdue unruly inmates. Now inmates
are claiming that officers too often douse them indiscriminately and use
the painful chemicals for punishment, instead of preventing violence. The
complaints have come from prisons throughout the state but have reached a
peak at Florida State Prison, where 17 inmates are protesting with a hunger
strike that began a week ago.

"The horror being inflicted on prisoners is on fast-forward again.
Prisoners are being terrorized with mace on a level that is equal to
chemical warfare," Florida State Prison inmate Sylvester Shuler wrote in a
letter. The Times in recent days has received at least five such letters,
either directly from inmates or through anxious inmate relatives and
friends. The letters allege that abuse of inmates has recently spiked at
Florida State Prison, especially with the use of chemicals.

Department of Corrections officials dismissed the hunger strike as "a
publicity stunt" and strongly denied any mistreatment of inmates at Florida
State Prison or excessive use of pepper spray in the prison system. "We use
chemical agents to avoid the need for hands-on force. We have prevented
some injuries, I'm sure," said Director of Institutions Stan Czerniak. "It
is a very, very dangerous environment in there. Our officers are assaulted
on a fairly regular basis."

At Florida State Prison, known for housing the "worst of the worst"
inmates, officers have used pepper spray and tear gas on inmates 119 times
in the past six months.

Comparative numbers were not immediately available, but Corrections
spokesman C.J. Drake said that as chemical use at Florida State Prison
increased over the past year, assaults by inmates have dropped. "There's a
correlation there," Drake said.

Pepper spray can cause painful burning, eye irritation, choking and
vomiting. It has become standard issue for officers in many law enforcement
agencies, though law enforcement in the United Kingdom won't use it because
of health concerns.

Some inmate advocates question whether it's often unnecessarily used.
Amnesty International, the human rights group, wants an independent
national review of how law enforcement agencies use pepper spray, saying
that it's often misused.

Florida prisons use both pepper spray and tear gas on inmates. Officials
say they use the chemicals most often on inmates who already are locked up
in disciplinary confinement, because those are the ones who most frequently
act up.

"These are the people who are locked up in their cells 24 hours a day,
seven days a week. They'll yell and scream or kick their cell because they
want something. The (officers) use the spray just to shut them up," said
Miami attorney Peter Siegel, who is handling a class action lawsuit over
Florida's confinement practices. "Rather than using it as a matter of last
resort when all else fails, they use it as a matter of first resort to
punish them," Siegel said.

Czerniak said even inmates locked in the cells can't be allowed to be
unruly, or the behavior will spread to other cells. In most cases, he said,
inmates are warned repeatedly to behave or else risk getting sprayed.
Usually, officers must get permission from medical staffers and supervisors
before using pepper spray, and even then the inmate is given a chance to
comply with orders and avoid the chemicals.

As of August 17 afternoon, 17 inmates were on the hunger strike, receiving
water and being offered meals three times a day. The number of strikers has
shifted several times, with a high of 31, since the strike started Aug. 10.
Authorities did not know what prompted the strike, though it began the same
day the Department reported using pepper spray to subdue an inmate who bit
an officer while being escorted from the law library. Also, two different
inmates wrote the St. Petersburg parents of Florida State Prison inmate
Troy Hall, claiming that on Aug. 8 they saw officers repeatedly spray him
with chemicals and beat him while he was handcuffed. Prison officials
denied that, and found no records of force being used against Hall on Aug.
8.

Florida State Prison has been under intense scrutiny since the July, 1999
death of inmate Frank Valdes, for which four officers are awaiting trial on
second degree murder charges. (St. Petersburg Times, August 18, 2000)


MISSOURI: Taxpayers May Get Bigger Hancock Refunds
--------------------------------------------------
Missouri taxpayers could receive an additional $500 million in refunds from
the state depending on the outcome of a lawsuit over how the state
calculates revenue. Lawyers for business groups and taxpayers said during
the evidence phase of the class-action lawsuit that more should be included
in those calculations.

The attorneys argued before Cole County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Brown
that the state failed to consider tax credits to companies and individuals.
Further, the attorneys say a Missouri Supreme Court ruling last year on a
state conservation sales tax opened the door for additional refunds.

If the lawsuit is successful, about $300 million more in refunds would come
from the addition of tax credits and about $240 million would be generated
from the conservation sales tax. The lawsuit was filed against the state,
the Missouri Department of Revenue, which collects taxes and issues
refunds, and the state Office of Administration.

"We think the Supreme Court has ruled on this," Jim Owen, an attorney for
the plaintiffs, said during a break in the hearing. "We are representing
taxpayers."

State Budget Director Mark Ward said he doesn't believe taxpayers are
entitled to additional refunds. The lawsuit was filed against the state,
the Missouri Department of Revenue, which collects taxes and issues
refunds, and the state Office of Administration. (The Associated Press
State & Local Wire, August 18, 2000)


MONY GROUP: 1 Claim in Goshen Case Re Insurance Policies in 80s Remains
-----------------------------------------------------------------------Since
late 1995 a number of purported class actions were commenced in various
state and federal courts against the Company alleging that the Company
engaged in deceptive sales practices in connection with the sale of whole
and universal life insurance policies from the early 1980s through the mid
1990s. Although the claims asserted in each case are not identical, they
seek substantially the same relief under essentially the same theories of
recovery (i.e., breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation,
negligent supervision and training, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust
enrichment and violation of state insurance and/or deceptive business
practice laws). Plaintiffs in these cases (including the Goshen case) seek
primarily equitable relief (e.g., reformation, specific performance,
mandatory injunctive relief prohibiting the Company from canceling policies
for failure to make required premium payments, imposition of a constructive
trust and creation of a claims resolution facility to adjudicate any
individual issues remaining after resolution of all class-wide issues) as
opposed to compensatory damages, although they also seek compensatory
damages in unspecified amounts. The Company has answered the complaints in
each action, (except for one being voluntarily held in abeyance), has
denied any wrongdoing and has asserted numerous affirmative defenses.

On June 7, 1996, the New York State Supreme Court certified one of those
cases the Goshen v. The Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York and MONY
Life Insurance Company of America, the Goshen case, being the first of the
aforementioned class actions filed, as a nationwide class consisting of all
persons or entities who have, or at the time of the policy's termination
had, an ownership interest in a whole or universal life insurance policy
issued by the Company and sold on an alleged "vanishing premium" basis
during the period January 1, 1982 to December 31, 1995.

On March 27, 1997, the Company filed a motion to dismiss or, alternatively,
for summary judgment on all counts of the complaint. All of the other
putative class actions have been consolidated and transferred by the
Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to the United States District
Court for the District of Massachusetts, or are being voluntarily held in
abeyance pending the outcome of the Goshen case.

On October 21, 1997, the New York State Supreme Court granted the Company's
motion for summary judgment and dismissed all claims filed in the Goshen
case against the Company on the merits. On December 20, 1999, the New York
State Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of all but one of the claims
in the Goshen case (a claim under New York's General Business Law), which
has been remanded back to the New York State Supreme Court for further
proceedings consistent with the opinion. The Company intends to defend
itself vigorously against the sole remaining claim. The Company tells
investors there can be no assurance that the present litigation relating to
sales practices will not have a material adverse effect on the Company.


MONY GROUP: Policyholders Sue in New York for Membership Interest
-----------------------------------------------------------------
On March 27, 2000, the MONY Group and MONY Life Insurance Company were
served with a complaint in an action entitled Calvin Chatlos, M.D. and
Alvin H. Clement, On Behalf of Themselves And All Others Similarly Situated
v. The MONY Life Insurance Company, The MONY Group Inc., And Neil Levin,
Superintendent, New York Insurance Department, filed in the Supreme Court
of the State of New York, County of New York.

The action purports to be a class action on behalf of all persons or
entities who had an ownership interest in one or more in-force life
insurance policies issued by MONY Life Insurance Company as of November 16,
1998. Plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that the New York
Superintendent of Insurance and the Company violated Section 7312 of the
New York Insurance Law in connection with its demutualization. Plaintiffs
also allege that the Company breached its contractual obligations and
alleged fiduciary duties to its policyholders in connection with the
demutualization. Plaintiffs seek damages against the Company for wrongfully
denying them a fair and equitable amount for their membership interests.
The Company tells investors it believes that the claims are without merit
and intends to defend itself vigorously.


NATIONWIDE LIFE: Contests Ohio Lawsuit over Deferred Annuity Contracts
----------------------------------------------------------------------
On October 29, 1998, the Company was named in a lawsuit filed in Ohio state
court related to the sale of deferred annuity products for use as
investments in tax-deferred contributory retirement plans (Mercedes
Castillo v. Nationwide Financial Services, Inc., Nationwide Life Insurance
Company and Nationwide Life and Annuity Insurance Company). On May 3, 1999,
the complaint was amended to, among other things, add Marcus Shore as a
second plaintiff. The amended complaint is brought as a class action on
behalf of all persons who purchased individual deferred annuity contracts
or participated in group annuity contracts sold by the Company and the
other named Company affiliates which were used to fund certain tax-deferred
retirement plans. The amended complaint seeks unspecified compensatory and
punitive damages. No class has been certified. On June 11, 1999, the
Company and the other named defendants filed a motion to dismiss the
amended complaint. On March 8, 2000, the court denied the motion to dismiss
the amended complaint filed by the Company and other named defendants. The
Company intends to defend this lawsuit vigorously.


NBTY, INC: Finkelstein Thompson Files Securities Fraud Suit in New York
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Finkelstein, Thompson & Loughran has commenced a class action lawsuit on
behalf of purchasers of the securities of NBTY, Inc. (Nasdaq: NBTY) between
January 27, 2000, and June 15, 2000, inclusive (the "Class period"). The
action is pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of New York against defendants NBTY, Scott A. Rudolph (Chairman,
President and Chief Executive Officer), William Shanahan (Vice President),
Glenn Cohen (Director), Harvey Kamil (Executive Vice President, Chief
Financial Officer and Secretary) and Arthur Rudolph (Director).

The complaint charges that defendants violated sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder,
by failing to disclose certain known adverse factors to the market between
January 27, 2000 and June 15, 2000. For example, as alleged in the
complaint, by the start of the Class Period, NBTY was being adversely
affected by several undisclosed adverse factors including: (i) that sales
at the Company's Vitamin World stores were declining as demand for
nutritional supplements was weakening, and contrary to defendants' Class
Period representations, the Company was not immune to negative
industry-wide trends; (ii) that the Company's financial results were being
negatively impacted by fluctuations in the value of the British Pound; and
(iii) that the Company did not derive any meaningful benefit from its
"vertical integration" efforts -- acquisitions of nutritional supplement
companies in different segments of the supplement business.

On June 15, 2000, the Company announced that while it was too early to
assess total sales for its Vitamin World operations for the full third
quarter of June 30, 2000, same-store sales for the two months of April and
May were up 2% -- as compared to 11% for the same period in the prior year.
The Company also noted that "the weakness in the pound sterling is
currently expected to have a negative impact upon (its) financial statement
arising out of the operation of its Holland & Barrett stores in the United
Kingdom." In response to these announcements, the price of NBTY common
stock declined, precipitously falling 36% from $11.06125 per share to
$7.06125 per share.

Contact: Donald J. Enright or Shannon P. Keniry, 888-333-4409, or
202-337-8000, or email: contact@ftllaw.com, both of Finkelstein, Thompson &
Loughran


NY CITY: Class Certified for Abrupt Transfer of Nursing Home Residents
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A federal district judge has granted class certification in a lawsuit
brought by the former residents of a nursing home operated by the city of
New York who were summarily evacuated, without prior notice, from the home
due to a purported emergency. Brown et al. v. Giuliani, as Mayor of New
York City et al., No. 98 Civ. 7743 (VM) (S.D.N.Y., June 29, 2000). U.S.
District Judge Victor Marrero also rejected, in part, a motion to dismiss
filed by defendant Antonia Novello, the commissioner of the New York State
Department of Health.

Two former residents of Neponsit Health Care Center, a nursing home
operated by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. in a building
owned by the city of New York, filed the class action lawsuit following the
transfer of all the residents from the home in September 1998 to other
facilities.  HHC and the city claim that the emergency evacuation was
required due to structural defects in the building, which jeopardized the
safety of the residents and precluded any prior notice of the transfers.
HHC later permanently closed the facility. Following an investigation, the
Health Care Financing Administration concluded that the claimed structural
defects did not warrant an emergency evacuation and issued fines against
HHC. The lawsuit was filed against Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, HHC Chairman
Luis Marcos and Commissioner Novello.

In a prior ruling, the district court ordered that DOH be joined as
necessary party to the litigation after finding that federal and state
Medicaid laws require DOH to give notice and conduct hearings for patients
prior to their transfer from a facility like Neponsit. The court also
directed DOH to send letters advising the former Neponsit residents of
their right to a hearing.

Commissioner Novello filed a motion to dismiss the two claims against her
for an order to hold hearings regarding the transfers, and for damages
arising from violations of the plaintiffs' rights under federal law and the
Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Novello argued that the first
claim is moot, and the second claim is precluded because it improperly
seeks monetary damages against her for constitutional violations under 42
U.S.C. @ 1983.

Judge Marrero agreed that the damages claim should be dismissed because
Section 1983 bars damages claims against state agencies and state
officials. A state official can only be sued under Section 1983 if the
official is sued in her personal or individual capacity, he said. The suit
here, he said, is brought against Novello in her official capacity as
evidenced by the fact that should the plaintiffs prevail, it would be the
state and not Novello personally who would be liable for the damages.

As to Novello's motion to dismiss the claim seeking to compel her to hold
hearings, Judge Marrero denied it on the grounds that the motion was
"premature." Novello argued that the claim was moot because DOH had agreed
to hold the hearings and had sent notices to the former residents. Judge
Marrero, however, found that the issue was not moot because DOH had not yet
held the hearings nor was there any guarantee that they would hold the
hearings in compliance state and federal laws.

Judge Morrero granted the plaintiffs' motion for class certification. The
proposed class, comprising of all 282 individuals who resided at Neponsit
at the time of the evacuation, met all of the requirements under Fed. R.
Civ. P. 23, he said. The claims of the proposed class arose out of the same
experience -- the evacuation -- and are based on the same legal theories,
he said. He rejected the defendants contention that class certificationis
an unnecessary "mere formality" because they would treat the class members
the same based on the outcome of the case. The doctrine of stare decisis
may not protect the class members who are elderly and disabled and may not
survive the completion of the litigation, Judge Morrero said. (Nursing Home
Litigation Reporter, July 27, 2000)


RECORDING COMPANIES: Might Have Cheated Consumers; Agrees to End MAP
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The Federal Trade Commission has declared the end of the $17 compact disc.
On May 10 the FTC announced that it had reached separate agreements with
the recording industry's five largest companies that will put a stop to
minimum advertised price (MAP) programs. The agreements end a two-year
industrywide investigation. The FTC says that the companies, which control
85 percent of U.S. CD sales, might have cheated consumers out of as much as
$480 million when they ended the price war of the mid-nineties by requiring
discount retailers like Target and Wal-Mart to advertise CDs at or above
MAPs in exchange for substantial advertising money. The restrictions
applied even to advertising paid for entirely by the retailers.

The companies have agreed not to enter into MAP agreements in the future,
though they will pay no fines and did not admit to any wrongdoing.

For the Federal Trade Commission (Washington, D.C.) in-house: Assistant
Director - anticompetitive practices, William Lanning; lead attorneys James
Frost and Karin Richards, and staff attorneys June Casalmir, Kent Cox,
Jeffrey Goodman, Geoffrey Green, Veronica Kayne, Kristin Malmberg, and
Karen Mills.

For Bertelsmann Music Group, Inc. (New York) in-house: Vice president-legal
and business affairs Denis Kellman and director-legal and business affairs
Deirdre McDonald. Mayer, brown & platt (chicago): Robert Bloch, Scott
Perlman, and associate Michael Lackey, Jr. (Mayer, Brown9 s team is located
in the firm9s D.C. office.) The firm is BMG's regular outside counsel.

For Emi Music Distribution (New York) in-house: Vice president - Legal &
Business Affairs Dina Hellerstein. Weil, Gotshal & Manges (New York):
Irving Scher and associate August Horvath. The firm is EMI9s regular
outside counsel. for sony coRporation of america (new york) rosenman &
colin (new york): H. Paul Burak, James Calder, Lisa Weiss, and associate
Jennifer Brewster Arlin.

Rosenman's lawyers represented Sony in antitrust discussions with the FTC
over a potential merger between The Columbia House Company, which the
company jointly owns with Time Warner Inc., and CDNow Inc.

For Time Warner Inc. (New York) in-house: Vice president and associate
general counsel Edward Weiss, Warner Music Group general counsel David
Johnson, and Warner Music Group Vice President and Associate General
Counsel Paul Robinson. Cravath, Swaine & moore (new York): Robert Joffe and
associate Gary Bornstein. Cravath9s attorneys represented Time Warner in
the Columbia House- CDNow antitrust talks.

For Sony And Time Warner Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton (New York):
George Cary and associate Patricia McDermott. Cary and McDermott work in
the firm9s Washington, D.C., office. They represented both companies in the
unsuccessful Columbia House-CDNow deal.

For Universal Music And Video Distribution (New York) in-house: MCA Records
Inc. attorney Harvey Geller. munger, tolles & olson (los angeles): Glenn
Pomerantz and associates David Rosenzweig and Sean Gates. The firm is
Universal's regular outside counsel.

FTC v. BMG, EMI, Sony, Time Warner, and Universal (The American Lawyer,
July 2000)


SANTA MONICA: CA Town Told to Comply With Ban on Fees at ATM
------------------------------------------------------------
A federal judge demanded August 17 that Santa Monica, Calif., leaders
comply with his June order that suspended the city's ordinance prohibiting
banks from charging fees at automated teller machines.

Bank of America and Wells Fargo have not opened their ATMs to outside
customers despite U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker's order
nullifying Santa Monica's ordinance banning the fees. Instead of dropping
the surcharges, those banks prohibited customers who do not bank with them
from using their machines.

The council adopted an ordinance last year outlawing the fees, which range
as high as $2.50 a transaction. The banks do not charge such fees to their
own customers.

The legal tussle erupted after Santa Monica passed a resolution suspending
the ordinance last month. But the banks, citing various legal precedents,
said the council had to pass an ordinance, not a resolution, for the fee
ban to become legally abolished. Without such passage, the banks could
become subject to private, class-action suits that could cost them
millions, the banks' attorneys said.

Walker gave the council until Nov. 2 to pass an ordinance instead of a
resolution, and held off on a possible contempt-of-court order pending the
council's action.

Santa Monica's attorney Marsha Jones Moutrie said she would pass along
Walker's wishes to the council, but said she did not have the authority to
order the council to take any action.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to review Walker's order
that suspended the ordinance in a case widely watched by the banking
industry. Walker said the National Banking Act allows the federal
government, not states and local governments, to mandate banking laws.

San Francisco voters approved a similar ordinance in November. But it never
took effect and was not involved in the decision. (AP Online, August 18,
2000)


U.S., PHILIPPINES: $103B Sought for Hazardous Waste at Old Military Base
------------------------------------------------------------------------
More than 100 people filed suit last Friday August 18 against the United
States and the Philippines, seeking $103 billion in damages for deaths and
illnesses they say were caused by hazardous waste at former American
military bases. The suit seeks $1.1 billion from the Philippine government
for allegedly failing to enforce environmental laws and $102 billion from
the United States for illnesses near Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval
Base. It lists 122 plaintiffs who live near the former bases, used for
decades by the U.S. military until it left in 1992.

''We have two kinds of victims in this toxic waste contamination. One is
the environment and the other is the human victims,'' said Alex Lacson, a
Filipino attorney who filed the class-action suit.

Merli Baldonado, executive director of the left-wing Task Force on Bases
Cleanup, said more than 100 people living near contaminated areas have
died, mainly from cancer, since 1996. Baldonado said close to 300 others
are suffering from diseases linked to the presence of nitrates, mercury,
lead, chromium and cadmium in contaminated areas.

Philippine Health Secretary Alberto Romualdez has confirmed toxic
contamination in at least 16 places in Clark and 10 in Subic, but so far a
direct link to cases of cancer and other diseases among people living near
the areas has not been established.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Tom Skipper said he could not comment before seeing
a copy of the lawsuit. U.S. officials have offered to help solve the
Philippines' environmental problems, but insisted Washington has no legal
obligation to clean up toxic wastes left at the former bases. (AP Online,
August 18, 2000)


UNITED AIRLINES: To Waive Changing Flights Penalties to Soothe Customers
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Attempting to control damage caused by labor problems that led to four
months of flight delays and cancellations, United Airlines says it will
waive penalties for passengers changing flights and give away more frequent
flier miles.

United is in contract negotiations with the Air Line Pilots Association and
its machinists. UAL Corp., United's parent, said it would fall short of
third-quarter earnings projections announced last month. UAL stock has
dropped 23 percent since April.

A union spokesman said negotiators had made progress on scheduling pilots
of smaller planes and on job security issues. The airline faces several
lawsuits, the latest by a woman who accused United of breach of contract. A
class-action suit filed in Chicago seeks damages for thousands of
passengers.

United canceled 230 of the 2,400 flights it operates daily around the world
on August 17 because of rainy weather on the east coast and in the Midwest.
The airline has canceled nearly 6,000 flights since its 10,500 pilots began
refusing overtime after their contract expired in July 12. The pilots deny
they are engaged in an organized job action. "This summer has been an
extremely difficult one for United's customers and employees," said
United's senior vice president-marketing Graham Atkinson. "Our overwhelming
priority at this point is restoring the airline's reliability to acceptable
levels."

Recognizing what travelers have had to endure, United is trying to build
goodwill by doubling frequent flier miles for Mileage Plus Premier members
who fly 25,000 to 50,000 miles a year. The airline also will not levy the
usual $75 service charge for changing or canceling a flight for customers
ticketed for travel before September 30. Travel must be completed by March
31, 2001. (United Press International, August 18, 2000)


                              *********


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

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

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

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