CAR_Public/001127.MBX              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

            Monday, November 27, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 230

                             Headlines

BENEFICIAL CORP: M.D. AL Certifies Claims over Non-Filing Insurance Fees
BINDLEY WESTERN: Sp Ct Concludes Drug Price-Fixing Suit in Re Brand Name
BURNHAM PACIFIC: Investors May Appeal against Securities Suit Dismissal
BURNHAM PACIFIC: MD Suit Accuses of Continuing Stockholders’ Meeting
GOODYEAR TIRE: Cohen Milstein Files Suit in IL on Behalf of Consumers

HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Favor of Account Holders over Survivors Criticized
INMATES LITIGATION: Court Removes Ron Welch As Attorney For HIV Inmates
LOCKE LIDDELL: Law Firm's Alleged Role In Fraud Scheme Spawns Suit
MISSISSIPPI: Education Leaders & AG Defend Desegregation Suit Settlement
PAYDAY: SHC Corp. Reveals Allegations of Violations under TILA and FDCPA

PLUG POWER: Securities Suits in New York Consolidated
QUESTAR MARKET: TX Ct OKs Settlement with Royalty Owners Filed 1995
TD WATERHOUSE: Alleged of Keeping Clients' Money from Nortel Spinoff
TURBODYNE TECHNOLGIES: SEC File Reveals Securities Suit and SEC Study
U.S. GOVT: Settlement Makes Vast Changes In Car Seizures At Border

VINING-SPARKS: Lutheran, Investors Complain of Sinking Investments
ZIMBABWE POLICE: High Court Orders Squatter Eviction, Despite Protest
ZIMBABWE POLICE: Mugabe Backers Halt Sp. Ct. Squatter Eviction Hearing
Y2K LITIGATION: Dictiaphone Corp Faces AL Suit over Recording System

                           *********

BENEFICIAL CORP: M.D. AL Certifies Claims over Non-Filing Insurance Fees
------------------------------------------------------------------------
An Alabama federal judge has certified a class action brought under RICO
and the Truth in Lending Act against Beneficial Corp. and its subsidiaries
over the lender's alleged practice of assess ing fees for non-filing
insurance and applying those fees to other ends. The court concluded that
the representative plaintiff satisfied the requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P.
23(a) in conditionally certifying the matter as a Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(2)
class suit. In re Consolidated "Non-Filing Insurance" Fee Litigation, MDL
No. 1130 (M.D. Ala., Aug. 24, 2000); Christ v. Beneficial Corp. et al., No.
CV-98-CL-859-N (M.D. Fla., Aug. 24, 2000).

The assessment of NFI fees by lenders, a practice authorized by the Truth
in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. @ @ 1601 et seq., and most states, is done to
cover the risk that the lender will fail to perfect a prioritized security
interest in the borrower's collateral. Multiple challenges to Beneficial's
practices have been consolidated in a multidistrict litigation proceeding
in the Middle District of Alabama before Judge U.W. Clemon.

Among those actions is a 1998 complaint originally filed in the Middle
District of Florida by Kenneth Christ, a restaurant manager who procured a
$1,954 consumer loan from the subsidiary Beneficial Florida Inc. in
September The amount financed in the loan included an NFI fee of $14, and
the loan document indicated that the loan had been secured by Christ's car
and certain household goods.

In October 1995, Christ took out a second loan from BFI to refinance the
initial loan; while the loan was again secured by Christ's goods and car,
no NFI fee was assessed. Christ refinanced with BFI a second time in June
1998, and assumed that there would be no NFI fee; however, another $14 fee
was disclosed on a page separate from the two pages which he signed.

In his complaint, Christ asserted that the NFI fees were not used to
purchase valid NFI insurance, but default insurance instead. He alleged
that the fees collected by Beneficial's subsidiaries were being returned to
Beneficial in one form or another, and that he sought to have the practice
enjoined.

In weighing Christ's bid to certify a national class of BFI borrowers,
Judge Clemon first found the evidence to show that the numerosity
requirement of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a) had been satisfied. "Plaintiffs reside
in all of the 50 states; the proposed class consists of thousands or tens
of thousands of Plaintiffs; and joinder of such a large number of claims is
clearly impracticable," he wrote.

The judge also found multiple common questions of law and fact raised by
the complaint: "Is NFI, as utilized by the Defendants, really NFI Is the
Defendant's NFI really default insurance Was the purpose of the Defendants'
use of NFI to increase their income and profits Was the Defendants' use of
NFI a scheme and artifice to defraud," he queried.

Judge Clemon was unmoved by the defense contention that Christ's claims
were based on Florida law, and that a class suit would implicate the
insurance laws of 50 states. "Plaintiff's claims and those of the putative
class turn on federal laws: TILA and RICO," he stated. " F ederal law
controls the claims alleged by the putative class, and it supersedes the
laws of the individual states."

As to the typicality requirement, the court noted that "Christ's incentive
and motivation to litigate the absent class members' claims is co-extensive
with his own." The defense asserted that Christ is current with his
payments, and therefore atypical of class members who are in default; Judge
Clemon responded that the class definition "specifically excludes
transactions which are in substantial default."

With respect to whether Christ would adequately represent the absent class
members' interests, the judge found him to have "no interests which
conflict with or are antagonistic to the interests of the absent class
members," and his attorneys to be "eminently qualified, thoroughly
experienced, and uniquely capable of representing their clients in this
action."

Judge Clemon then found the matter properly certifiable as a Fed. R. Civ.
P. 23(b)(2) action. " T he relief that Christ seeks is quintessentially
declaratory and injunctive, rather than damage-oriented," the court wrote.
"Individual damages for the TILA and RICO violations pale into
insignificance when compared with the declaratory and injunctive relief to
which the class would be entitled, should it prevail. While acknowledging
the weight of precedent rejecting the availability of injunctive relief
under RICO, the judge found the class "would at a minimum be entitled to a
declaration that the Defendants' conduct violates that statute."

The plaintiffs are represented by Lanny S. Vines of Birmingham, Ala.

The defendants are represented by Douglas Campbell of McGuireWoods in
Atlanta; Clarence Small of Christian & Small in Birmingham; James C.
Huckaby Jr. of Haskell, Slaughter in Birmingham; J. Mark White of White,
Dunn & Booker in Birmingham; Fenton Erwin Jr. of Erwin & Bernhardt in
Charlotte, N.C.; and John W. Denney of Denney, Pease, Allison & Kirk in
Columbus, Ga. (Bank & Lender Liability Litigation Reporter, October 19,
2000)


BINDLEY WESTERN: Sp Ct Concludes Drug Price-Fixing Suit in Re Brand Name
------------------------------------------------------------------------
In a consolidated class action filed in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of Illinois in 1993, Bindley Western Industries
Inc., other pharmaceutical wholesalers and pharmaceutical manufacturers
were named as defendants, In re Brand Name Prescription Drugs Litigation,
MDL 997. Plaintiffs alleged that pharmaceutical  manufacturers and
wholesalers conspired to fix prices of brand-name prescription drugs sold
to retail pharmacies at artificially high levels in violation of the
federal antitrust laws. The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief,
unspecified treble damages, costs, interest and attorneys' fees. The
Company denied the complaint allegations.

Several of the manufacturer defendants and the class plaintiffs have
reached settlement agreements.  Under these agreements, the settling
manufacturer defendants retain certain contingent liabilities under the
October 21, 1994 agreement discussed below. The trial against the remaining
defendants, including the Company, began on September 14, 1998. On November
30, 1998, the Court granted all remaining defendants' motions for judgments
as a matter of law, dismissing all In re Brand Name Prescription Drugs
class claims against the Company and other defendants. The class plaintiffs
appealed the Court's ruling and, on July 13, 1999, the appeals court
dismissed the wholesalers, including the Company, from the case.

On February 22, 2000,  the United States Supreme Court denied the
plaintiffs' petition for certiorari, thus concluding the In re Brand Name
Prescription Drugs class action litigation.

The Company was also a defendant in approximately 115 additional cases
brought by plaintiffs who "opted out" of the federal class action described
above. One hundred eleven of these complaints contained allegations and
claims for relief that were substantially similar to those in the federal
class action. The four remaining complaints added allegations that the
defendants' conduct violated state law. The damages period in these cases
began in October 1993. The Company also denied the allegations in all of
these complaints.

On November 6, 2000, the Court held that no reasonable jury could predicate
a finding of liability against the wholesalers (including the Company) and,
therefore, granted the wholesalers' motion for summary judgment.

On November 20, 1997, two additional complaints were filed in the MDL 997
proceeding by Eckerd Corporation and American Drug Stores naming certain
pharmaceutical manufacturers and wholesalers, including the Company, as
defendants. These complaints contain allegations and claims for relief that
are substantially similar to those in the federal class action. The Company
has denied the allegations in these complaints. No trial date has been set
in these cases.

On July 1, 1996, the Company and several other wholesalers were joined as
the defendants in a seventh amended and restated complaint filed in the
Circuit Court of Greene County, Alabama, Durrett v. The Upjohn Company,
Civil Action No. 94-029. An order dismissing the action and taxing costs
against the plaintiffs was entered by the Circuit Court on November 29,
1999. In a consolidated class action filed in the United States District
Court for the Northern District of Illinois in 1993, the Company, other
pharmaceutical wholesalers and pharmaceutical manufacturers were named as
defendants, In re Brand Name Prescription Drugs Litigation, MDL 997.
Plaintiffs alleged that pharmaceutical  manufacturers and wholesalers
conspired to fix prices of brand-name prescription drugs sold to retail
pharmacies at artificially high levels in violation of the federal
antitrust laws. The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief, unspecified treble
damages, costs, interest and attorneys' fees. The Company denied the
complaint allegations.

Several of the manufacturer defendants and the class plaintiffs have
reached settlement agreements.  Under these agreements, the settling
manufacturer defendants retain certain contingent liabilities under the
October 21, 1994 agreement discussed below. The trial against the remaining
defendants, including the Company, began on September 14, 1998. On November
30, 1998, the Court granted all remaining defendants' motions for judgments
as a matter of law, dismissing all In re Brand Name Prescription Drugs
class claims against the Company and other defendants. The class plaintiffs
appealed the Court's ruling and, on July 13, 1999, the appeals court
dismissed the wholesalers, including the Company, from the case. On
February 22, 2000,  the United States Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs'
petition for certiorari, thus concluding the In re Brand Name Prescription
Drugs class action litigation.

The Company was also a defendant in approximately 115 additional cases
brought by plaintiffs who "opted out" of the federal class action described
above. One hundred eleven of these complaints contained allegations and
claims for relief that were substantially similar to those in the federal
class action. The four remaining complaints added allegations that the
defendants' conduct violated state law. The damages period in these cases
began in October 1993. The Company also denied the allegations in all of
these complaints. On November 6, 2000, the Court held that no reasonable
jury could predicate a finding of liability against the wholesalers
(including the Company) and, therefore, granted the wholesalers' motion for
summary judgment.

On November 20, 1997, two additional complaints were filed in the MDL 997
proceeding by Eckerd Corporation and American Drug Stores naming certain
pharmaceutical manufacturers and wholesalers, including the Company, as
defendants. These complaints contain allegations and claims for relief that
are substantially similar to those in the federal class action. The Company
has denied the allegations in these complaints. No trial date has been set
in these cases.

On July 1, 1996, the Company and several other wholesalers were joined as
the defendants in a seventh amended and restated complaint filed in the
Circuit Court of Greene County, Alabama, Durrett v. The Upjohn Company,
Civil Action No. 94-029. An order dismissing the action and taxing costs
against the plaintiffs was entered by the Circuit Court on November 29,
1999.


BURNHAM PACIFIC: Investors May Appeal against Securities Suit Dismissal
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
In 1999, a class action lawsuit was filed against Burnham Pacific
Properties Inc. and its Board of Directors. The complaint alleged that the
Board of Directors and the Company violated their fiduciary duties by
adopting a shareholder rights agreement, responding to Schottenstein's
proposal inappropriately, and adopting various severance arrangements. On
June 12, 2000, the Court dismissed the complaint, and denied plaintiffs'
request for leave to amend. Counsel for plaintiffs have expressed an intent
to appeal the Court's dismissal of the lawsuit. The Company believes that
any appeal would be without merit and intends to vigorously defend against
the lawsuit. However, there can be no assurance that such defense will be
successful.

                         Derivative Action

In February 2000, a derivative lawsuit was filed. On May 2, 2000, the
plaintiff filed an amended complaint. The amended complaint contains claims
similar to those asserted in the pending class action lawsuit described
above. It names as defendants the Company's Board of Directors and four of
its officers and naming the Company as a nominal defendant. The allegations
contained in the derivative complaint are similar to the allegation in the
pending class action lawsuit described above. The Company believes that the
plaintiff has not properly complied with the requirements for bringing a
derivative action, and has filed a motion asking the Court to dismiss the
suit. That motion is pending.

On August 9, 2000, a complaint was filed in San Diego Superior Court. The
suit was purportedly brought on behalf of the Company as a derivative
action and simultaneously on behalf of the Company's shareholders as a
class action. The complaint appears to raise similar issues to those raised
by the prior-filed class action and derivative lawsuits described above.
The Company believes the complaint is without merit and intends to
vigorously defend against it.


BURNHAM PACIFIC: MD Suit Accuses of Continuing Stockholders’ Meeting
--------------------------------------------------------------------
On June 14, 2000, The Schottenstein Stores Group, Inc. and certain of its
affiliates commenced an action against the Company and certain of its
directors in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.
The Complaint in the Maryland action alleges that the Company and its
directors violated their fiduciary duties by, inter alia, continuing the
date of the annual meeting of stockholders to October 18, 2000, adopting a
shareholder rights agreement, failing to adequately respond to plaintiff's
prior acquisition proposal, and adopting certain severance and other
compensation arrangements. On July 31, 2000, the Company and the directors
filed a Motion to Dismiss all claims in the litigation, which motion
remains pending.


GOODYEAR TIRE: Cohen Milstein Files Suit in IL on Behalf of Consumers
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Representing consumers nationwide who own or owned various models of
Goodyear and Kelly-Springfield light truck and recreational vehicle tires,
the law firms of Carey & Danis, LLC and Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll,
PLLC filed a class action lawsuit on November 16, 2000 against the Goodyear
Tire & Rubber Company and the Kelly-Springfield Tire Company in the Circuit
Court of the Third Judicial Circuit of Madison, County, Illinois.

The suit alleges that various models of Goodyear and Kelly-Springfield Load
Range E, Load Range D, light truck and recreational vehicle tires were
defective and not fit for their ordinary and intended use and did not
perform in accordance with the reasonable expectations of ordinary
consumers. According to Joseph Danis of Carey & Danis, "We believe that
Goodyear and Kelly-Springfield have been aware of this problem for years
and, indeed, have made a design change to address the defect. Moreover, in
a tacit recognition of the severity of the problem, the defendants have
engaged in a 'silent recall' of the defective tires." Gary Mason, a partner
with Cohen Milstein, added that, "despite this 'silent recall,' the
defendants have left millions of tires on the road in which the defect has
not been addressed or corrected."

Contact: Carey & Danis, LLC Joseph P. Danis 314/725-7700 Michael J.
Flannery 314/725-7700 OR Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll, PLLC Gary E. Mason
202/408-4600, Alexander E. Barnett, 202/408-4600

[Note: Report on the Silent Recall of Tires is found in the November 8
         issue of the CAR.]


HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Favor of Account Holders over Survivors Criticized
---------------------------------------------------------------------
More than two years after UBS and Credit Suisse, the two largest Swiss
banks, agreed to pay Dollars 1.25bn (Pounds 880m) to Holocaust survivors,
the US judge handling the settlement finally ratified a plan for
distributing the money to claimants.

But although the banks have now paid all of the money to the court, no
claimant has yet received any payments. The delays, caused both by the slow
working of American class action law and the exceptional complexity of the
case, have infuriated the plaintiffs, several of whom complained to the
judge at a special hearing in Brooklyn earlier this month.

Lawyers on both sides believe it could take two or three more years before
all the money is paid out.

Edward Korman, the judge who mediated the settlement, last year appointed
Judah Gribetz, a New York lawyer and Holocaust historian, to draw up a plan
of distribution. Mr Gribetz's plan took more than a year to research and
proposed a complicated division.

The bulk of the money, Dollars 800m, is to be distributed to holders of
Swiss bank deposits and their heirs. They are to receive the full value of
their deposits, which will be multiplied by 10 to account for inflation in
the years since the second world war.

A second class of people whose assets were looted by the Nazis and possibly
fenced through Switzerland will receive Dollars 100m, of which 90 per cent
goes to Jewish victims and their heirs, with the remainder to Romanies,
Jehovah's Witnesses, the disabled and homosexuals. Mr Gribetz suggested
that priority should go to the neediest.

People who worked as forced labourers during the war, either for Swiss
companies or for German companies that used Swiss banks, are to receive a
minimum of Dollars 500 and a maximum of Dollars 1,000 per person.

A final class covered refugees, who were either turned back at the Swiss
border during the war or were mistreated once they had entered. Those
denied entry will receive up to Dollars 2,500 and no less than Dollars
1,250. Those detained and abused within Switzerland will be paid between
Dollars 250 and Dollars 500 each.

Mr Gribetz sent questionnaires to 564,000 potential claimants in more than
100 countries. His report was completed two months ago and translated into
21 different languages. Copies were sent to 675,500 people and
organisations.

The judge approved Mr Gribetz's plan on Wednesday, November 22, saying that
it was "not only fair and equitable, but also as meaningful as possible
given the number of potential claimants and the limited sum to be divided
among them".

He had heard impassioned testimony from Holocaust survivors at the Brooklyn
hearing. Greta Beer told him: "For the first time in my life I am at a loss
for words. The banks have come forward with money which is now in your
hands. Don't procrastinate. Our voices are getting so much quieter."

Gizella Weisshaus, the survivor of Auschwitz who brought the first lawsuit
against the banks but has since disowned the action and sued her own
lawyer, said: "This is justice here? This is robbery! I'm telling you I
don't believe I'll ever get justice or that any of the Holocaust survivors
will ever get justice."

A rabbi speaking later told the judge he would pray for God to "guide those
survivors who are too distraught to recognise the kindness you are doing
for them".

Several lawyers also lodged objections to Mr Gribetz's allocation plan.
Lawyers for both sides believe that Mr Gribetz has drastically
overestimated the amount of money that can be returned to deposit holders.
This could delay payments to survivors who suffered looting of assets.

Robert Swift, one of the leading lawyers for the plaintiffs, said in court:
"I believe there's a serious overvaluing of the deposited assets claims. At
the time we negotiated the settlement agreement we were firmly focused on
an amount of Dollars 71m for deposited assets."

He added that subsequent reports suggested the figure was higher than this
"but not to the extent of Dollars 800m".

Steven Whinston, another attorney for plaintiffs, said: "We believe that at
most there will be 16,000 accounts that will find an heir. Using Mr
Gribetz's statistics this will provide at most somewhere under Dollars 400m
for deposited assets."

He said the allocation plan had underestimated the death toll during the
war, which meant that many accounts would have no claimants and no heirs.

He added: "The problem with assigning this money to deposited assets claims
is that these moneys will not be distributed now.

"The fear I have is that we will be back in this court room in two years'
time with a huge amount left in the fund, and a vastly smaller number of
Holocaust survivors to distribute it to." (Financial Times (London),
November 24, 2000)


INMATES LITIGATION: Court Removes Ron Welch As Attorney For HIV Inmates
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A federal appeals court in New Orleans replaced long-time prisoners rights
attorney Ron Welch as lawyer for a group of inmates with HIV. The CAR in an
earlier edition reported on attempts to oust him.

The American Civil Liberties Union had sought to represent the inmates,
claiming Welch was not adequately representing inmates with the AIDS virus.
"We are pleased and gratified with the decision," said David Ingebretsen of
the ACLU in Jackson. "Our thoughts are with our clients who have waited so
long for this."

A federal judge in Mississippi sided with Welch.

Since February 1999, the ACLU's National Prison Project has been fighting a
legal battle to oust Welch. It will replace Welch with a team of lawyers.

In a two-to-one decision, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court
of Appeals said Welch's relationship with the HIV inmates had deteriorated
and Welch should be replaced.

A dissenting appeals judge said they should have allowed the Mississippi
judge's decision to stand or should have given Welch a chance to face his
accusers in an open hearing.

Department of Corrections Commissioner Robert Johnson said regardless of
the ruling, his department "intends to cooperate with those individuals who
represent the HIV/AIDS inmate population." "MDOC is committed to and has
placed a priority on identifying and providing proven therapeutic treatment
for these inmates as well as programs that will allow the inmates to become
productive citizens when released from the department," he said.

Welch, of Jackson, Miss., said at a June hearing the ACLU sought to take
control of a class-action lawsuit involving the HIV inmates in late 1998,
during a period when Welch had not heard from the prisoners.

A medical expert has testified that during the period in question, covering
more than a year, prison doctors provided poor and outdated HIV treatment
to inmates.

Welch said he had interpreted the absence of contact with the inmates as a
meaning there were no problems.

Welch said he worked to improve conditions for HIV inmates. He said a few
inmates influenced others to reject his work. "No matter what I did, I
couldn't win," Welch said. Welch said the ACLU influenced inmates with
candy and cash in their accounts.

Jane Hicks, a Jackson lawyer with the ACLU, said the HIV inmates wanted to
be represented by other attorneys. "It's about the rights of inmates to
choose their counsel," Hicks said.

Inmates with HIV at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman signed a
petition in December seeking Welch's removal.

Welch said he received a letter from an inmate in March 1997 complaining
about medical treatment. He said he was pursuing an administrative remedy
that eventually made medical treatment for all state inmates the
responsibility of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

The medical center in July 1998 began to provide treatment to state
prisoners, including those with HIV. In March 1999, however, an expert for
the ACLU testified at a lower court hearing that prisoners continued to
receive substandard treatment that he described as dangerous.

Combination therapy, a treatment that substantially prolongs the lives of
many people with HIV, was widely accepted by the medical community by late
1996. In June 1997, the National Institutes of Health issued guidelines for
combination therapy in treating HIV.

In July, a federal magistrate ordered the state Corrections Department to
implement the new therapy and report its progress to the court. (The
Associated Press State & Local Wire, November 22, 2000)


LOCKE LIDDELL: Law Firm's Alleged Role In Fraud Scheme Spawns Suit
------------------------------------------------------------------
A class action filed in Texas state court claims that a law firm and one of
its former attorneys helped a con man run a pyramid scheme involving
unregistered securities and bank bonds that caused a number of individuals
and companies to lose money. The suit's allegations echo those of a federal
suit currently pending against the defendants in New York. Mortenson v.
Locke Liddell & Sapp et al. , No. GN002674, complaint filed (Tex. Dist.
Ct., Travis County, Sept. 8, 2000); see Ivor Wolfson Corporation SA v.
Locke Liddell & Sapp LLP, in Bank & Lender Liability LR, May 24, 2000, P.
8.

The Class Action

On Sept. 8, 2000, a putative class-action suit was lodged in Travis County
District Court, naming the Dallas law firm of Locke Liddell & Sapp as a
defendant along with Phillip Wylie, an attorney formerly employed by the
firm. The suit was filed by Janet Mortenson, in her capacity as the court
appointed permanent receiver of several of companies owned by Brian R.
Stearns, an individual who, prior to his arrest in the fall of 1999, held
himself out as a successful trader of medium-term notes. Mortenson's
co-plaintiffs include Charles H. Priess, Donnie Proctor and Kalrton
Steffens, individuals who invested with Stearns. Mortenson also brings the
action for Stearns personally. The suit seeks to represen t a class
investors who were defrauded by Stearns with the alleged assistance of
Locke Liddell and Wylie.

The complaint states that the misrepresentations, acts and omissions of
Locke Liddell and Wylie caused Stearns and his companies to become
insolvent and unable to repay the plaintiff investors. The defendants are
alleged to have assisted Stearns in the perpetration of a complex pyramid
or Ponzi scheme and the sale of unregistered securities. The action
contends that Stearns, a convicted felon with a history of financial scams,
posed as a successful businessman and lured investors with the promise of
high rates of return within short periods of time. He hired Wylie and Locke
Liddell's predecessor firm, Locke Purnell Rain & Harrell, to handle his
business matters and provide a facade of legitimacy to his scheme, the
action claims.

The IOLTA Account

Wylie, the suit says, proceeded to draft the documents used by Stearns to
attract investors, set up corporations, act as the liquidator or guarantor
of bonds, and negotiate deals for Stearns. He also arranged for funds
invested with Stearns to be placed in Locke Liddell's IOLTA account, a
trust account for client funds set up under the Interest on Lawyers' Trust
Accounts program. The funds were then transferred from the firm's account
directly to Stearns and were never placed in legitimate investments, the
suit asserts. Instead, Stearns used the money to live a lavish lifestyle
and to occasionally pay off investors with funds received from new
investors. Wylie and Locke Liddell negligently represented Stearns and his
companies because they never advised their clients to register their
securities, to refrain from selling unregistered securities or to stop
misusing the invested monies, the plaintiffs state.

Further, Wylie vouched for Stearns, calmed irate investors and delayed and
misled securities regulators while Stearns continued to pocket invested
monies via the IOLTA account, the action argues. Wylie even helped Stearns
purchase a jet using money from the IOLTA account, the plaintiffs assert.
The IOLTA account was also used to channel funds to investors who
threatened to alert securities officials to Stearns' actions, the
plaintiffs aver. According to the suit, $26 million passed through the
firm's account in a nine-month period, with the money going directly to
Stearns or to disgruntled investors.

Wylie and Locke Liddell never questioned why the money needed to be
funneled through the firm's IOLTA account, nor did they perform due
diligence to learn that bonds securing investors' returns did not exist.
Neither defendant investi gated Stearns to learn of his criminal
background, questioned Stearns' use of multiple Social Security numbers and
birth dates, or took steps to learn that several companies Stearns claimed
to own did not exist. The complaint also asserts that Wylie and Locke
Liddell knew what Stearns was doing and acted to assist him in pulling off
the ruse. Both defendants knew that their legal representation was
assisting Stearns in the commission of fraudulent and illegal conduct, the
plaintiffs claim, yet the defendant never told Stearns to stop his actions.
They also failed to inform the victims of the scheme of what was happening
and they never alerted the authorities. Instead, the defendants engaged in
a conspiracy to defraud the investors that they helped lure into the Ponzi
scheme, the action argues.

Relief Sought

The suit states that the Stearns companies that have been placed in
receivership suffered a loss of all funds fraudulently diverted to Wylie,
Locke Liddell and others, and further asserts that the receiver is entitled
to recover, for the benefit of investors, all such funds along with the
attorneys' fees paid by the Stearns companies to the defendants. The
plaintiff investors aver that they have lost principal, interest and
income, together with their credit reputation, retirement funds, homes and
property. Wylie and Locke Liddell are jointly and severally liable for all
damages, according to the complaint.

The complaint raises causes of action for violations of the Texa s
Securities Act, securities fraud, aiding the sale of unregistered
securities, aiding a breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy to breach
fiduciary duty and commit securities fraud, negligent legal representation,
breach of express and implied warran ties, conspiracy to commit fraud, and
breach of lawyers' duty to non-clients. The plaintiffs request, inter alia,
general and special damages, punitive damages, the imposition of a
constructive trust, attorneys' fees, interest and costs. The complaint does
not provide an estimate of the amount of the damages.

The plaintiffs are represented by R. James George Jr., Todd S . George and
Nanneska N. Hazel of George & Donaldson in Austin, Texas, and Michael
Shaunessy of Bickerstaff, Heath, Smiley, Pollan, Kever & McDaniel, also in
Austin.

The New York Action

The class action is similar to a federal suit currently pending against
Locke Liddell in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
On Nov. 19, 1999, two foreign corpora tions headquartered in the Channel
Islands filed suit against Locke Liddell, Wylie, Refco Securities Inc. and
one of its brokers, Jonathan Slavin. The suit, Ivor Wolfson Corporation SA
et al. v. Locke Liddell & Sapp LLP et al., No. 99 CIV. 11471, seeks to
regain over $20 million in loans made to Stearns by Ivor Wolfson
Corporation SA, a Panamanian company, and Tremmer Limited, a corporation
organized in the British Virgin Islands.

According to the complaint, Richard J.S. Prosser, an officer of EFG Reads
Trust Co. Ltd., which manages the Wolfson and Tremmer companies, entered
into a deal with Stearns and Wylie, under the terms of which Wolfson would
loan Stearns $20 million, in order to be repaid $40 million in one year.
Stearns was to secure the repayment with a $40 million Federal Home Loan
Bank bond he claimed he owned. Wylie and Stearns then met with Prosser, who
attended the closing without counsel, and suggested that the loan and
security documents be revised. The revisions were actually insufficient to
grant Wolfson a security interest in the FHLB bond, and Stearns most likely
did not even own the bond at the time, according to the suit.

Prosser also attended a meeting held at Refco Securities, where he, Stearns
and Stearns' associates met with Slavin. At the meeting, Prosser was told
that the Wolfson lien that would be placed against the FHLB bond would be
electronically imposed and shown on computer because the bond did not have
a certificate and was instead carried on the "book-entry" system of the
Federal Reserve Bank, the complaint alleges. The suit further contends that
a valid lien could not be imposed electronically and at no time did Slavin
or any other Refco employee inform Prosser of this fact.

The plaintiffs assert that Prosser was provided with numerous documents
purporting to show that the FHLB bond had been purchased, that the lien was
in place in the electronic fashion, and that Slavin and Refco had control
over the lien file. The complaint also states that prior to the execution
of the loan documents, Wylie made changes to the documents and proposed
that the money be placed in the Locke Liddell client trust account instead
of the Refco account.

Prosser then received word from a Refco officer that Stearns' account had
been closed and the FHLB bond had never been placed in an account there.
Stearns assured Prosser that there was a misunderstanding over Refco's role
in the loan project, adding that a company called Trans-Global Asset
Management Group Inc. would control the lien file. Prosser, believing
Trans-Global was an independent company rather than an entity owned by
Stearns and incorporated by Wylie, agreed.

The suit also states that Tremmer advanced $6 million to the Locke Liddell
client trust account, for a loan alleged to be secured by shares of
Trans-Global stock, evidenced by a certificate. Stearns represented that he
had an account containing unencumbered Barclays Bank bonds, which had been
transferred to Trans-Global in order to guarantee the stock issue.
Eventually Prosser discovered that the Wolfson and Tremmer loans had never
been repaid and the Barclays Bank bonds were never actually pledged for
security.

The suit asserts causes of action for fraud, conspiracy to defraud, aiding
and abetting fraud, fraudulent concealment, breach of warranty and
negligent misrepresentation against all four defendants, and further
asserts that Wylie and Locke Liddell breached their fiduciary duty. Wolfson
requests no less than $40 million and punitive damages. Tremmer brought
causes of action for fraud, conspiracy to defraud, aiding and abetting
fraud, fraudulent concealment, negligent misrepresentation, breach of
fiduciary duty and breach of warranty against Wylie and Locke Liddell. The
complaint requests $8.4 million on Tremmer's behalf together with
punitives, costs, interest and attorneys' fees. (Bank & Lender Liability
Litigation Reporter, October 19, 2000)


MISSISSIPPI: Education Leaders & AG Defend Desegregation Suit Settlement
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Higher education officials and the Mississippi attorney general defended
the state's counteroffer to a desegregation suit settlement posed by
advocates for black universities. The state College Board offered
plaintiffs in the 25-year-old Ayers case about $400 million, an amount that
was half of what was asked for, said U.S. Rep Bennie Thompson.

College Board President Carl Nicholson Jr. of Hattiesburg said the
counteroffer to upgrade the state's three historically black universities
was fair. "We believe it is ... a very good offer," he said.

Thompson disclosed the amount of the counteroffer, along with criticism for
the proposal which fell far short of the $800 million plaintiffs had
sought. "I would not accept the College Board's settlement offer as the
gospel for settling Ayers because it leaves many critical issues
unaddressed," Thompson said.

Bargaining talks are set to resume in a matter of days.

Asked about the $400 million figure as the amount in the board proposal,
Attorney General Mike Moore said it was "in the ballpark," but he would not
be more specific about the plan. "I believe the College Board proposal is a
very sound and substantial proposal," Moore said.

Nicholson said the counteroffer had to be balanced with the state's fiscal
constraints. "I can't say the specifics," Nicholson said. "We start
negotiations and proceed ahead next week."

Officials say the costs of a board plan would be spread out over 15 years.
Both sides agree on one thing: A settlement isn't near. Said Thompson:
"There is still a lot of work that all of us will have to do if a
settlement is to come." Said Moore: "There is still a long way to go."
Familiar with the details of both plans, Moore said, "Neither side gets
everything they want."

The state Legislature in January will be asked to pay for an Ayers
settlement. "If it (the settlement) is too low, we will raise it," said
state Rep. George Flaggs Jr., D-Vicksburg.

One of the differences is plaintiffs seek to create a Jackson State
University law school to help increase the number of African-American
lawyers in Mississippi.

College Board members say a JSU law school would be expensive and question
its need in a state with a public law school at the University of
Mississippi in Oxford and a private law school at Mississippi College in
downtown Jackson.

Experts say it would cost $25 million to $50 million to create a new JSU
law school, but it would take several years to become nationally
accredited.

Before a settlement is crafted, U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers Jr. has
emphasized that JSU, Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State universities
must do a better job of attracting white students as a part of a solution
to the case. "Judge Biggers has made it pretty clear," Moore said.

But plaintiffs say the issue Biggers is raising about white students was
not the intent of the original lawsuit Jake Ayers Sr. filed in 1975. Ayers
said he wanted to abolish funding inequities for the three historically
black universities that were left behind following decades of neglect.

In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered Mississippi to eliminate
segregation remnants at its eight universities. Since Ayers' lawsuit, Moore
said there have been increases in the number of black students at the
state's five historically white universities. (The Associated Press State &
Local Wire, November 23)


PAYDAY: SHC Corp. Reveals Allegations of Violations under TILA and FDCPA
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sonoma, which has been acquired by SHC Corp., owns 80% of the outstanding
capital stock of Payday. Payday is a defendant in two federal cases
asserting various violations of the Truth in Lending Act ("TILA"), Fair
Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), state consumer fraud claims and
unconscionability claims. One case is a class action. Both cases are in the
process of having settlement agreements signed. The first case, not the
class action case, requires the Company to pay an aggregate of $9,600. The
class action settlement requires the Company to pay an aggregate of
approximately $15,000 and must be approved by the court. The Company cannot
predict whether or not the court will do so.


PLUG POWER: Securities Suits in New York Consolidated
-----------------------------------------------------
Plug Power Inc. reports in its SEC filing that, on or about September 14,
2000, a purported shareholder class action complaint was filed in the
federal district court for the Eastern District of New York alleging that
Plug Power and various of its officers and directors violated certain
federal securities laws by failing to disclose certain information
concerning its products and future prospects. The action is entitled
Plumbing Solutions v. Plug Power Inc., et al., CV-00-5553.

The action was brought on behalf of a purported class of purchasers of Plug
Power, Inc. stock who purchased the stock between February 14, 2000 and
August 2, 2000. Subsequently, thirteen additional complaints with similar
allegations and class periods were filed. By order dated October 30, 2000,
the court consolidated the complaints into one action, CV-00-5553.

Plug Power believes that the allegations in the complaints are without
merit and intends to vigorously defend the claims. Plug Power does not
believe that the outcome of these actions will have a material adverse
effect upon its financial position, results of operations or liquidity;
however, litigation is inherently uncertain and there can be no assurances
as to the ultimate outcome or effect of these actions.


QUESTAR MARKET: TX Ct OKs Settlement with Royalty Owners Filed 1995
-------------------------------------------------------------------
On November 21, 2000, a district court judge in Texas County, Oklahoma,
signed an order giving preliminary approval to the settlement reached by
Questar Market Resources Inc. and its affiliated defendants and Union
Pacific Resources Company and its affiliated defendants in Bridenstine v.
Kaiser-Francis Oil Company. Under the terms of the settlement, the Company
and the UP defendants agreed to pay $22.5 million ($16.5 million by Questar
Market Resources and $6 million by UP defendants) to plaintiffs to resolve
all of the issues pending in the litigation against them. The company says
payment of the settlement will not have a material adverse impact on the
Company's financial results for 2000.

Questar Market Resources and the UP defendants settled the matter without
acknowledging any liability or wrong-doing.  The case, which was originally
filed in August of 1995, is a class action on behalf of all royalty owners
for gas volumes produced from wells connected to an intrastate pipeline
system in Oklahoma commonly referred to as the Beaver Pipeline System. The
litigation covered 17 years and involved both tort and contract claims;
estimates of damages claimed by the plaintiffs were as high as $80 million
plus punitive damages. The Company, through its subsidiary, Questar
Exploration and Production Company, and the UP defendants acquired the
properties that were involved in this lawsuit in 1994.


TD WATERHOUSE: Alleged of Keeping Clients' Money from Nortel Spinoff
--------------------------------------------------------------------
TD Waterhouse Investment Services Inc. is being sued for negligence, breach
of trust and breach of fiduciary duty on allegations it kept money that
should have gone to clients from the BCE Inc. spinoff of Nortel Networks
Corp. earlier this year.

TD denied it has kept the cash payouts from its clients.

The discount brokerage, a subsidiary of Toronto-Dominion Bank, has more
than one million customer accounts in Canada. BCE is the country's most
widely held stock, suggesting if there were a problem, it could affect tens
of thousands of investors.

Under the Nortel distribution in May, BCE shareholders were to get 1.570386
Nortel shares for each BCE share they owned. BCE said it would convert any
partial shares to cash rather than issue fractions.

But instead of passing the cash along to its clients -- who owned the BCE
shares -- TD Waterhouse converted the funds 'to its own use, without legal
authority,' according to the lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Court of British
Columbia.

It has been structured as a national class action, meaning it is open to
people across the country.

The brokerage denies the allegations. 'It is our understanding that the
fractional payouts related to the BCE-Nortel distribution were paid out,
and that it was done correctly,' said Lisa McCarney, a TD spokeswoman. 'We
are not aware of any complaints since the distribution took place, and that
was in June.'

But David Klein, the Vancouver lawyer bringing the class-action, said his
client held 100 shares of BCE divided evenly between two accounts. That
means he was owed 78.5193 new Nortel shares, and $41.06 in each of the two
accounts.

He has received 78 Nortel shares in each account, but no credit for any
cash.

'People trust their brokers to manage their accounts and give them all the
appropriate credits,' Mr. Klein said. 'Most people would miss an item this
small, which is very unfortunate.

'We all make mistakes - but this mistake was brought to the company's
attention five months ago and they haven't corrected it.'

Mr. Klein said he has no idea how many clients may be affected. 'It is our
understanding that about 500,000 Nortel shares were distributed to
shareholders of BCE,' he said. 'We have no idea how many of those were TD
Waterhouse clients.'

The statement of claim says the brokerage has demonstrated such 'arrogant,
high-handed and abusive conduct' that it should be ordered to pay punitive
and exemplary damages as well as paying the money that is owed.

The suit was filed on Wednesday November 22, and there were attempts to
serve TD Waterhouse on November 23. Ms. McCarney said the brokerage had not
been served by late afternoon.

'As soon as we receive it, we will review it and take the appropriate
action.' (National Post (formerly The Financial Post), November 24, 2000)


TURBODYNE TECHNOLGIES: SEC File Reveals Securities Suit and SEC Study
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The CAR previously reported on the securities complaints filed in
California against the company. In its recent SEC filing, Turbodyne
Technologies Inc. reports on the consolidated class action lawsuit was
filed against the Company on January 25 of 1999, in the United States
District Court, Central District of California, Case No. 99-00743WMB,
requesting damages in an amount to be proven at trail. The Company has
filed three motions to dismiss, of which two have been granted by the Court
without prejudice. The third motor was granted in part and denied in part.
This case is still in the very early stages, with no discovery having yet
taken place.

                              SEC Investigation

In June 1999 the Company received a formal request for production of
documents from the SEC. There is an ongoing investigation of the Company’s
press releases and related activities (including the sale of unregistered
shares).

Some testimony has been given to the SEC, but several witnesses are yet to
testify.


U.S. GOVT: Settlement Makes Vast Changes In Car Seizures At Border
------------------------------------------------------------------
A settlement in federal court here will force the U.S. government to
overhaul the way it handles car seizures at border crossings and will let
people petition to have their vehicles returned. The agreement resolves a
class action lawsuit filed on behalf of people who said the government took
their vehicles for no good reason and gave them next to no chance to get
them back.

As many as 130,000 people across the West, including foreigners, who had
vehicles seized from June 10, 1989, through Sept. 17, 1999, will be allowed
to submit petitions to recover their vehicles or be compensated for them.
Many said their cars were seized after they gave rides across the border to
friends or family who, unknown to them, had immigration problems. One
family's van was taken when they got lost on country roads near the border
while on a picnic. Most who had their vehicles impounded were accused of
transporting illegal aliens, but some said the government never told them
why it was taking their cars.

At least 1,300 of the cars were seized between Seattle and the Canadian
border, where widespread complaints prompted the lawsuit in 1994. Examples
were also cited from the Mexican border.

The settlement was presented to U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly on
November 20. He is expected to sign it. Zilly ruled last year that the
owners had been denied due process and ordered the Immigration and
Naturalization Service to change its procedures.

It does not require the government to say its past seizure practices were
unfair, said Deputy Chief John Bates of the U.S. Border Patrol in Blaine.

Instead, the settlement forces the government to standardize its practices,
he said.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service will now have to:

- Tell people why their cars are being seized.

- Establish probable cause that the owner knew a passenger could not
   legally enter the United States.

- Provide the reasons for the penalty, including information about
   evidence against owners, when owners try to recover their vehicles.

Robert Pauw, the Seattle lawyer who represented the car owners, said there
was no way to calculate the combined value of their loss.

"Some lost vehicles that were worth $20,000, others (were) worth only a few
hundred dollars," he said. "But for any person who loses their vehicle it
can really disrupt their lives." (The Associated Press State & Local Wire,
November 22, 2000)


VINING-SPARKS: Lutheran, Investors Complain of Sinking Investments
------------------------------------------------------------------
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod -- conservative in theology and in money
management -- is embroiled in a controversy over losses by investors in
programs intended to help their denomination.

The church's foundation, its investment arm, alleges that risky investments
made by a former employee through a brokerage cost the church $ 40 million.
The foundation is suing Vining-Sparks Securities Inc., of Memphis, Tenn.,
the brokerage, seeking actual damages of $ 40 million plus unspecified
punitive damages.

Meanwhile, the foundation, based in Sunset Hills, is among the targets of
some investors who are trying to get certification for a class-action
lawsuit in St. Louis County Circuit Court to try to recover their money.

No trial date is set in the foundation's suit, filed June 26 against
Vining-Sparks in U.S. District Court in St. Louis.

"For many, many years," the foundation has had conservative investment
guidelines, Marc Marmaro of Los Angeles, one of the foundation's lawyers,
said.

The suit said, "Chief among the foundation's investment objectives is that
a fair return on investments be achieved without taking undue, unnecessary
or uncalculated risks."

Regardless, Fred Sticht, through his job as a foundation investment
manager, concealed from the investment committee his investments in risky
securities, the suit alleges. Sticht, who has moved to Paducah, Ky., is not
a defendant in the federal civil suit.

In court documents, Vining-Sparks denies the foundation's claims.

The brokerage's lawyer, Frank Watson III, of Memphis, said that Sticht has
confirmed he was fully aware of the nature of the foundation's investments.

Sticht also contends that none of his colleagues at the foundation nor any
of its investors complained about the successful investment strategy
between 1994 and 1997, Watson said.

It was only after some of the investments lost money "that the foundation
claims it was oblivious to the investment activities of its officer and
seeks to hold Vining-Sparks liable," Watson said.

Pending before U.S. District Judge Carol E. Jackson is Vining-Sparks'
motion to dismiss the foundation's suit.

In the related suit pending in St. Louis County, trust investors have asked
a judge to give class-action status to a suit against both the foundation
and Vining-Sparks.

Also named as defendants are Norman D. Sell, the foundation's former
president; Wayne Price, the foundation's senior vice president; and Sticht.

Fifteen investors were named as plaintiffs in the initial suit, filed Sept.
21 by St. Louis area attorneys Joseph P. Danis and Evan D. Buxner, and by
the Cincinnati law firm of Strauss and Troy. That number increased to 18 in
an amended petition filed recently.

The suit notes that the Synod Foundation is a financial manager, an
investment adviser or a trustee for various life income trust agreements,
charitable gifts and foundations. The Synod Foundation deals in cash,
securities and real estate in trust.

Donors retain a life interest in the income generated on the trust assets,
with the remainder passing to a charity upon termination of the trust, the
suit said. The income investors get is related to the investment
performance of the funds.

The Synod Foundation also is custodial trustee for Lutheran congregations,
colleges, seminaries and retirement and worker benefit plans.

The investors accused the synod, its officers, Vining-Sparks and Sticht of
an "unlawful scheme" to mismanage and waste the assets "of plaintiffs and
class."

The assets were recklessly invested, the petition said, alleging that more
than 500 trust investors and 4,000 trust beneficiaries have lost more than
$ 40 million.

By March 1998, 40 percent of the foundation's fixed income portfolio had
been placed in the high-risk ventures, the suit said. The suit seeks actual
and punitive damages.

Marmaro said that in about two weeks, the foundation will file in the
federal suit sworn statements from officials who said Sticht never revealed
to them his strategy of high-risk investments.

"In fact, he concealed that activity," Marmaro said.

The foundation will show that the investments were unsuited to the
investment strategies of religious and charitable institutions, he added.
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 22, 2000)


Y2K LITIGATION: Dictiaphone Corp Faces AL Suit over Recording System
--------------------------------------------------------------------
In July, 1999, Bruce Hilt d/b/a Integrated Resources, Inc. filed a
complaint in the Middle District of Alabama against the Company and Pitney
Bowes Credit Corporation.

Plaintiff commenced this action in Alabama State Court as a purported class
action for similarly situated persons within the State of Alabama.
Plaintiff alleges that the Company's recording system he leases from Pitney
Bowes Credit Corporation is not Y2K compliant and will not function after
December 31, 1999. The complaint seeks damages of less than $74,000 per
class member and alleges that there are hundreds of potential class
members. In August, 1999, the Company and Pitney Bowes removed the action
to Federal Court, in part based on the new Federal Y2K Act, 15 U.S.C. (S)
6601, et seq. (the "Y2K Act"). Plaintiff has filed a motion to remand the
case to State Court, which is fully briefed and before the Court.

Plaintiff to date has not moved to certify the case as a class action. In
October, 1999, the Company and Pitney Bowes filed a motion to dismiss the
action. Plaintiff has not yet responded to the motion to dismiss, and no
hearing date has been set by the Court.

The Company intends to continue to vigorously defend this action. Although
the litigation is in its preliminary stages, the Company believes that it
has meritorious defenses to this case, especially in light of a remedy that
has been offered to plaintiff, and does not believe that a class should be
certified.


ZIMBABWE POLICE: High Court Orders Squatter Eviction, Despite Protest
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Zimbabwe's Supreme Court last Friday November 24 reiterated its order for
police to evict squatters from 1,600 white-owned farms, after supporters of
President Robert Mugabe stormed the court room and delayed the hearing for
more than one hour.

The nation's highest court nullified a lower court ruling that had
attempted to contradict the order to evict black squatters led by
self-styled veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war.

Militant war veterans had tried to block the hearing. They led about 100
supporters of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party into the court, dancing, beating a
drum, and chanting in Shona: "The white man tried to stop us from getting
our land."

Doors to the court had been locked shortly before the hearing, but police
opened them, allowing the protesters to enter as the hearing was due to
begin.

The protesters danced on court room benches and beat on tables while waving
professionally lettered placards with slogans like: "Impeach the court
judges, not our president," and "Zimbabwe will never be a colony again."

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has launched
proceedings to impeach Mugabe on the grounds he violated the constitution
and acted unlawfully by encouraging violence during the run-up to June
elections.

The protesters then followed lawyers for the white farmers out of the court
and across the street to an office building, while yelling at white
passersby, "Return to your country."

Once the lawyers were inside the building, the protesters joined another
group of about 100 in front of the Supreme Court, where they protested for
at least another hour.

The protest marked the latest bizarre twist in an intensifying legal battle
over land reform in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe's government has launched a controversial program to seize
commercial farmland, much of it owned by the white minority, to settle
black peasant farmers.

Under the "fast track" land reform scheme, land was to be taken from white
farmers and resettled with landless blacks before the beginning of the
rainy season earlier this month.

The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), which represents mostly white farmers,
has challenged the legality of Mugabe's scheme before the Supreme Court.

The nation's top court has ruled in favor of the farmers, declaring the
land reform scheme unconstitutional and ordering police to remove the
squatters, who have occupied some 1,600 farms since February.

The squatters and the self-proclaimed war veterans who have led them have
had the government's open support.

But two black peasant farmers have filed class-action cases at the High
Court one of which earlier this month won an order telling police at least
temporarily not to evict the squatters.

Friday's hearing was to consider that High Court order, which confounded
legal experts here by attempting to overrule the nation's highest legal
authority.

Farmers say they would support a more orderly land reform scheme.

They claim the government has targetted them and their black laborers
because they were believed to support the year-old MDC.

The MDC became the ruling party's first real opposition in 20 years in the
June elections, when it won nearly half of contested parliamentary seats.
(Agence France Presse, November 24, 2000)


ZIMBABWE POLICE: Mugabe Backers Halt Sp. Ct. Squatter Eviction Hearing
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Protesters supporting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe blocked a Supreme
Court hearing Friday over an order to evict squatters from white-owned
farms, as a legal battle over land reform intensified. About 100 supporters
of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party stormed into the court, dancing, beating a drum,
and chanting in Shona: "The white man tried to stop us from getting our
land."

Doors to the court had been locked shortly before the hearing over a lower
court order that attempted to overrule an earlier Supreme Court decision on
the squatters. Police unlocked the door, allowing the protesters to enter
as the hearing was due to begin.

A new hearing was not immediately scheduled. The protesters followed
lawyers for the white farmers out of the court and across the street to an
office building. Once the lawyers were inside the building, the protesters
joined another group of about 100 in front of the Supreme Court.

The protest marked the latest bizarre twist in an intensifying legal battle
over land reform in Zimbabwe. Mugabe's government has launched a
controversial programme to seize commercial farmland, much of it owned
the white minority, to settle black peasant farmers. The Commercial
Farmers' Union (CFU), which represents mostly white farmers, has challenged
the legality of Mugabe's scheme before the Supreme Court. The nation's top
court has ruled in favor of the farmers, declaring the land reform scheme
unconstitutional and ordering police to remove squatters who have forcibly
occupied 1,600 white-owned farms since February. The squatters have been
led by self-styled veterans of the 1970s liberation war, with the
government's open support. But two black peasant farmers have filed
class-action cases at the High Court one of which has won an order that
attempts to overrule the Surpeme Court on the squatter evictions.

Friday's hearing was due to consider that High Court order, which has
confounded legal experts here by attempting to overrule the top court's
decision.

Under the "fast track" land reform scheme, land was to be taken from white
farmers and resettled with landless blacks before the beginning of the
rainy season earlier this month. Farmers say they would support a more
orderly land reform scheme, but say the government has targetted them and
their black laborers because they were believed to support the year-old
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The MDC became the ruling party's first real opposition in 20 years in the
June elections, when it won nearly half of contested parliamentary seats.
(Agence France Presse, November 24, 2000)


                             *********


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

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

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

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without prior
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to be
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