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             Thursday, November 30, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 233


ASARCO INC: Appeals Court Upholds Ruling for Dismissal of Pollution Suit
AT&T: Shareholders Sue Over Allegedly Misleading Profit Growth Forecasts
BICE RESTAURANT: Workers Settle Alleged Overtime Wage Violation Suit
BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE, FORD: Miami Lawyers to Lead in Tire Suits
DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Analysts Say Kerkorian Case Not Seen To Burden Results

DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Charles J. Piven Files Private Securities Suit
DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Detroit Free Press Portrays Company Chairman Schrempp
DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Kirby McInerney Retained to Commence Securities Suit
DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Legal Woes Intensify In Wake Of Kerkorian Suit
DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Lawsuit in Delaware

DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Wolf Haldenstein Commenced Securities Suit in Delaware
ELECTRICITY SUPPLIERS: Lawsuit Seeks Refund for California Users
FERDINAND MARCOS: US Judge Throws Out $150M Settlement of Lawsuit
FLEETWOOD SAUSAGE: Settlement Reached in Salami E. Coli Case
FORD MOTOR: Judge Ford to Determine If Judge Ballachey Is Too Biased

GRAND COURT: Creditor Wants to File Class Action Lawsuit
INDIAN GRAVES: Judge Postpones Trial As Lawyers Try to Reach Settlement
LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES: Two lawsuits Filed after Announcement of Q3 Results
MASS MUTUAL: Class Certified in NJ Policyholders’ Vanishing Premium Case
PHILIP SERVICES: NY Ct Dismisses Investors Suit For Forum Non Conveniens

POLICE PROFILING: Disclosure May Prompt Dismissal of Cases and Review
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: A Quick Look at Swarm Of Suits Brought By FL Vote
SOTHEBY'S, CHRISTIE'S: Judge Halts Questioning of Key Witnesses
TIME WARNER: FTC Prepares Suit to Block AOL Merger


ASARCO INC: Appeals Court Upholds Ruling for Dismissal of Pollution Suit
A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling that dismissed a
lawsuit against the owners of the former Asarco Inc. lead refinery.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the class-action
lawsuit did not state a claim that could be heard by the federal courts.

The 1997 class-action lawsuit alleged pollutants from the company's
former lead refinery contaminated the property of thousands of people in
Nebraska and Iowa.

Asarco agreed earlier to tear down and clean up the site on the Missouri
River, which housed a lead plant since 1885.

The lawsuit sought to represent 30,000 residents in eastern Omaha,
western Council Bluffs, Iowa, and part of Carter Lake in Iowa.

The lawsuit asked that Asarco reimburse the residents for the cost of
cleaning up their property, for the nuisance of living near contaminated
property and for a medical fund to cover the costs of monitoring
residents' health. (The Associated Press State & Local Wire, November 29,

AT&T: Shareholders Sue Over Allegedly Misleading Profit Growth Forecasts
A class action lawsuit has been filed against AT&T Corp, to seek damages
for allegedly knowingly misrepresented its business and its ability to
achieve profitable growth, law firm Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, PC said.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, represents
shareholders of AT&T who bought the stock between Oct 25 1999 and May 1
2000 inclusive.

The suit claims that AT&T knowingly or recklessly issued false and
misleading statements that misrepresented AT&T's business, operations,
new acquisitions and earnings growth and its ability to achieve
profitable growth, the law firm said.

As a result of such misinformation, AT&T's stock traded at artificially
inflated prices throughout the class period, it said.

At&T allegedly issued statements which mislead investors about AT&T's
Concert joint venture, AT&T's Business Services corporate long-distance
segment and AT&T's accelerating revenue growth made between 25 Oct 1999
and May 2 2000 which were false due to undisclosed problems, according to
the law firm.

These problems were exacerbated by AT&T's loss during 1999 of two large
U.S. government long-distance contracts (the FTS 2000 contracts) and a BP
Amoco PLC contract worth 650 mln usd per year, it said.

As a result of these negative factors, AT&T's competitive position was
impaired and AT&T CEO C Michael Armstrong knew by Oct 25 1999 that AT&T's
Business Services unit's revenues were being materially adversely
affected, it added. (AFX.COM, November 29, 2000)

BICE RESTAURANT: Workers Settle Alleged Overtime Wage Violation Suit
A group of Bice Restaurant workers settled a wage violation class action
Monday for $ 197,428. According to attorney Jac A. Cotiguala, the 172
plaintiffs in the Cook County action were not paid time-and-a-half for
overtime. The settlement was approved by Circuit Judge Lester D. Foreman.
Angela Boldini, et al. v. Bice of Chicago Inc., et al., No. 99 CH 10919.

In addition to Cotiguala, the plaintiffs were represented by his
associate, Luanne M. Galovich, and David Porter, a sole practitioner.

The defense was represented by Janet M. Kyte, a partner in Altheimer &
Gray. (Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, November 28, 2000)

BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE, FORD: Miami Lawyers to Lead in Tire Suits
Two prominent plaintiffs lawyers in Miami -- Mike Eidson and Victor Diaz
-- have been appointed lead co-counsel for all Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.
and Ford Motor Co. personal-injury cases in a consolidated federal case.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker in Indianapolis last week approved
the two lawyers, following a vote by the more than 50 lawyers with
consolidated personal-injury cases against the two companies.

The appointment of two Miami lawyers to one of the largest class actions
in history boosts the reputation of the Miami bar, which has already
gained a national reputation for filing and winning massive class-action
and tort cases, says Weston lawyer Roy Oppenheim, who has a Firestone
case in state court.

Florida already plays a major role in these Firestone cases; the majority
of them were filed here, says Oppenheim. They should have assigned a
judge from here, too. It speaks volumes about our bar here that they
chose these lawyers.

Eidson, 54, of Colson Hicks Eidson, and Diaz, 40, of the firm Podhurst
Orseck Josefsburg, will serve as lead counsel for more than 100 personal
injury or wrongful death cases against the tire company and the
automaker. Meanwhile, John W. Don Barrett of Lexington, Miss., the main
lawyer in a $ 1.19 billion class-action suit against State Farm Mutual
Auto Insurance Co., was named lead counsel for the class-action cases
against Firestone. Unlike the personal injury cases, those plaintiffs are
seeking only compensation for their potentially faulty tires.

Eidson has five Firestone cases in state court and 22 in federal court.
Eidson is also on the steering committee for a massive class-action
lawsuit in federal court in Miami against the nations health maintenance
organizations. Diaz was one of the main plaintiffs lawyers suing American
Airlines involving a crash in Cali, Colombia. He has more than 60
Firestone cases in federal court.

Eidson and Diaz collaborated previously on a Brothers to the Rescue case
and a plane crash case.

Its too much work for one person, said Eidson. Victor has a lot of these
cases and he and I can get along fine.

Added Diaz: We decided to join forces rather than compete.

The jockeying among attorneys to serve as lead counsel was fierce, said

Its a very prestigious, very high-profile case, he said. Theres been
enormous media interest in the case. This case could have a significant
affect on public safety in the future.

The case will sometimes be a full-time job, said Eidson, who will be
assisted by another lawyer and a paralegal at his firm. He and Diaz will
be responsible for communicating with all the personal injury lawyers in
the case on a daily basis and coordinating strategy and discovery with
them as well as with lawyers who have cases in state court. In addition,
they will have to be present at all hearings in Indianapolis. The next
one is Dec. 6.

Yet he and Diaz agreed to waive all fees associated with acting as lead
counsel and only to accept payment for expenses (thats in addition to
whatever contingency fee they will receive if they win the cases). They
did so, in part, to be able to direct the case and the discovery, said

Its unusual, but I thought we were going to have to do all this discovery
anyway, since we have so many cases, he said. These lawyers are friends
of mine, and Im sure they will share and help me on the next case.

Diazs colleague, Aaron Podhurst, said they also agreed to waive fees to
gain a unanimous vote by the other lawyers.

At certain times you have to waive fees for being lead counsel, said
Podhurst. Theyre going to be paid sufficiently from their cases.

Added Diaz: Its the right thing to do.

The public wrangling over millions in attorney fees in the state of
Florida lawsuit against Big Tobacco did not factor into his decision,
said Eidson. (Broward Daily Business Review, November 28, 2000)

DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Analysts Say Kerkorian Case Not Seen To Burden Results
The 9 bln usd lawsuit filed by Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp against
DaimlerChrysler AG is not expected to have any financial impact on the
German-U.S. carmaker's 2000 results, analysts said.

Some analysts even consider that the Tracinda case is positive for
DaimlerChrysler's shareholders because it puts pressure on the company to
speed up the restructuring of Chrysler Corp.

"This suit will not be a burden on the company's financial result. What I
see as negative is that it generates bad publicity for the company," said
analyst Christian Breitsprecher of Deutsche Bank Research.

Analysts said they do not foresee DaimlerChrysler setting aside
provisions for this year to cover potential risks from the suit.

"The impact on the balance sheet is nil. There is no direct impact on the
profit and loss statement," said analyst Francois Colli of Banque
Nationale de Paris.

Breitsprecher of Deutsche Bank said the company can only set aside
provisions if it thought there were financial risks arising from the

DaimlerChrysler has said it is evaluating the case but noted that the
allegations "appeared completely unsubstantiated".

Analysts believe that while the case has no legal merit, it puts Chrysler
problems back in the limelight. "It's drawing the public back to that
part of the business that is not doing well," said analyst Steven Reitman
of Merrill Lynch.

Tracinda filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Delaware against
DaimlerChrysler and senior DaimlerChrysler executives alleging
misrepresentation in the 1998 merger between Chrysler and Daimler-Benz.

Tracinda wants compensation totalling about 9 bln usd in various types of
damages and also calls for the merger to be unwound.

Speculation that Chrysler would be sold off has been rife even before the
case was filed but talk on Chrysler's future as an independent company
has been so persistent that it prompted DaimlerChrysler to reiterate
oncethat the U.S. unit is not for sale.

"The speculation that Chrysler will be divested and broken up can have a
little positive effect on the share price," Breitsprecher said.

Other analysts said the lawsuit is also generating another advantage for
shareholders -- it puts a sense of urgency in DaimlerChrysler's efforts
to turn around Chrysler.

"This is good news for shareholders because this is going to increase the
pressure on management to fix things quickly in the U.S.," according to
BNP's Colli.

Colli said he believes Kerkorian, which owns about 3.7-4 pct
DaimlerChrysler shares, is only using the lawsuit as a means "to get
better performance of the stock".

"He's not going to kill the company. Otherwise he's shooting his own
foot. The case is just a pretext more than anything else," Colli said.

Most analysts believe the Tracinda case will eventually be settled out of
court but that it could trigger a flood of similar complaints from other
former Chrysler shareholders.

"The burden on DaimlerChrysler is not in economic terms. This 9 bln usd
will never materialise at all as compensation," Breitsprecher said.

"It is possible that the current case will trigger more complaints. If
the Tracinda case is settled out of court, then other former Chrysler
shareholders would also want to have something for themselves,"
Breitsprecher said.

A day after Tracinda filed the case, former Chrysler Corp shareholders
also filed a case against DaimlerChrysler alleging it made "material
misrepresentations and omissions arising from Daimler-Benz AG's
acquisition of Chrysler" in Aug 1998.

A DaimlerChrysler spokesman said "it is not unusual for a lawsuit by a
shareholder to be followed by others, even to the point of a class-action

Other analysts said the lawsuit is negative for the company because it is
diverting management's attention from the more important tasks, such as
fixing Chrysler and Mitsubishi Motors, where it holds 34 pct stake.

"It's drawing away management resources at a time when they're needed
most," said analyst Steven Reitman of Merrill Lynch. (AFX - Asia,
November 29, 2000)

DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Charles J. Piven Files Private Securities Suit
Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. announced that a private securities
action requesting class action status has been initiated by shareholders
on behalf of purchasers who held shares of Chrysler on August 6, 1998 and
exchanged those shares for shares of DaimlerChrysler AG (NYSE:DCX) as a
result of a merger between Chrysler and Daimler-Benz AG.

No class has yet been certified in the above action. Until a class is
certified, you are not represented by counsel unless you retain one. If
you purchased stock during the class period, you have certain rights.

If you were a purchaser of the common stock of the company listed above
during the period indicated and want to discuss your legal rights, you
may contact Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. who will, without
obligation or cost to you, attempt to answer your questions.

Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven has been involved in securities
litigation for over ten years. You may contact Law Offices Of Charles J.
Piven, P.A. at The World Trade Center-Baltimore, 401 East Pratt Street,
Suite 2525, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, by email at pivenlaw@erols.com or
by calling 410/332-0030.

Contact: Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A., Baltimore Charles J.
Piven, 410/332-0030 pivenlaw@erols.com

DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Detroit Free Press Portrays Company Chairman Schrempp
Long before the historic 1998 deal that created DaimlerChrysler AG,
Juergen Schrempp portrayed himself to the financial media as a defender
of shareholder value, a report on Detroit Free Press says. Then chairman
of Daimler-Benz AG, Schrempp bragged he was merging U.S. financial focus
with European social awareness.

Yet Schrempp, vilified in the $ 8-billion lawsuit filed Monday by
billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, broke one of the cardinal rules of
U.S. capitalism: He didn't keep a large, sometimes cranky, shareholder

According to those close to Kerkorian and former DaimlerChrysler
executives, Schrempp turned down -- often abruptly -- Kerkorian's offers
to meet in Europe and Las Vegas and talk about the company Kerkorian
owned 4 percent of.

Now, Schrempp will get introduced to U.S.-style litigation and all the
bad publicity, copycat suits and prospects of class-actions and
allegations of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission violations that
are sure to follow.

The suit, which names Schrempp, DaimlerChrysler, Daimler-Benz, and two
other top Daimler officials, charges the companies and individuals with
fraud and seeks a dismantling of the $ 34-billion deal that created the
world's fifth-largest automaker in 1998.

In the suit, Kerkorian claims the deal was falsely portrayed as a merger
when it actually was the acquisition of Chrysler Corp. by Daimler-Benz.
Kerkorian claims he never would have approved an acquisition and that
shareholders would have made more money in an acquisition.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware by the
Kerkorian-owned Tracinda Corp.

Coupled with a falling stock price and other poor financial results, the
suit may test Schrempp's standing with DaimlerChrysler's management board
and its other large shareholders. German boards have a reputation for
greater patience than their U.S. counterparts.

"I think Schrempp is on his last legs, especially with this suit filed. I
was over in Germany earlier this year and I've never seen that much
impatience with him and the situation at DaimlerChrysler," said a
recently ousted DaimlerChrysler executive who asked to remain anonymous
to protect his separation package.

Schrempp's unwillingness to meet with Kerkorian isn't the only reason for
the suit. Kerkorian, who owns 33-million shares in DaimlerChrysler, has
seen the stock drop 49.3 percent this year. The value of Kerkorian's
stake in DaimlerChrysler has dropped from $ 2.57 billion, when the market
opened this year, to $ 1.3 billion at the close of trading Tuesday in New

Finally, there are Schrempp's quotes in the Financial Times of London on
Oct. 30 that he never intended there to be a "merger of equals." Schrempp
has never disclaimed the quotes and in fact apologized for them to senior
Chrysler managers last week at a meeting at Chrysler Group headquarters
in Auburn Hills.

"Those quotes, assuming they are right, just show that he lied all along
to us. He never intended any 'merger of equals,' even though he spent
hours telling all of us about the merger advantages we'd see," said Seth
Glickenhaus, founder of Glickenhaus & Co., a New York investment firm
that owns 202,000 shares of DaimlerChrysler. Glickenhaus said his firm
wants to join the lawsuit.

"Schrempp never tried to keep American investors like us or Kerkorian
happy or informed."

Other shareholders didn't wait long to agree as one filed a lawsuit,
virtually tracking Kerkorian's suit word-for-word, seeking class-action
status. Investor Stanley Kops, who filed in the same Delaware court,
seeks to represent people who owned Chrysler stock when the merger was
announced and exchanged it for shares in the new company.

One thing that Glickenhaus and other U.S. investors in DaimlerChrysler
say time and again is they never heard from Schrempp and never were able
to get to sit down and talk about the company. "I think all Kerkorian
wanted was to be informed on what was going on," said Marvin Behm, auto
analyst for Fitch Inc., a New York credit-ratings agency. "If you look at
Kerkorian's history with Chrysler before he tried to buy them in 1995,
the one thing he always pushed for was more communication. He wanted them
to tell him what was going on and they usually did."

Kerkorian, who attempted a hostile takeover of Chrysler Corp. for $ 23
billion in 1995, tried to set up a meeting with Schrempp in May in
Berlin. Schrempp canceled abruptly, according to Kerkorian's longtime
attorney Terry Christensen.

"He just canceled at the last minute," Christensen said of Schrempp. "We
just thought that was rude."

Another Chrysler executive said Kerkorian twice invited Schrempp to Las
Vegas, where Kerkorian is majority owner of the MGM Grand Hotel and
Casino. Schrempp declined both times. "He just blew Kirk off," said the
former Chrysler executive. "That happened with several U.S. shareholders.
I'm not sure why you wouldn't meet with Kerkorian. He's a smart guy who
has made a lot of money."

Forbes magazine says Kerkorian is the 30th-richest American with a net
worth in excess of $ 7.8 billion.

The lawsuit pits Kerkorian against the closely knit hierarchy of
Germany's staid business community -- including DaimlerChrysler's largest
shareholder, Deutsche Bank, which has traditionally taken a more
hands-off approach toward its ownership.

Deutsche Bank owns 119.9-million shares, or 12 percent, of
DaimlerChrysler. The second-largest shareholder is the Kuwait Investment
Authority, which owns 7.3 percent of the company or 74-million shares.
Kerkorian is the third-largest owner.

Deutsche Bank stood behind the embattled automaker Tuesday. Bank
spokesman Ronald Weichert said the bank remains solidly behind
DaimlerChrysler management, a point it publicly reiterated two weeks ago
when Chief Executive Officer Rolf Breuer admitted disappointment in the
stock price but said he was confident Schrempp could turn business
around. (Detroit Free Press, November 29, 2000)

DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Kirby McInerney Retained to Commence Securities Suit
The law firm of Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP has been retained to
commence a class action lawsuit on behalf of all investors who tendered
their shares of Chrysler Corporation ("Chrysler") securities in
connection with the November 16, 1998 Daimler-Benz A.G. (now known as
DaimlerChrysler AG (NYSE: DCX)) acquisition of Chrysler.

The action will allege that defendants Daimler-Benz and DaimlerChrysler
AG, along with Jurgen Schrempp, its chairman/CEO and certain other
officers and/or directors, made false and misleading pronouncements prior
to the takeover of Chrysler in order to induce shareholders of Chrysler
to tender their shares to Daimler-Benz.

Specifically, the complaint will allege that in public statements and in
filings made with the SEC prior to transaction that created
DaimlerChrysler, Mr. Schrempp assured Chrysler and its shareholders that
the proposed deal would be a true "merger of equals." Chrysler
shareholders were led to believe that a "merger of equals" would entail
that Daimler-Benz and Chrysler would operate as two equal companies and
Chrysler's management would continue to run DaimlerChrysler's U.S.

However, as Mr. Schrempp admitted in an October 30, 2000 interview with
the Financial Times, defendants never intended the transaction to be a
merger of equals and never intended to have Chrysler run as an
independent and co-equal operation. Indeed, Mr. Schrempp disclosed to the
Financial Times that his intention from the beginning was to make
Chrysler a mere "division" of DaimlerChrysler. Mr. Schrempp also
acknowledged in the interview that "If I had gone and said Chrysler would
be a division, everybody on their side would have said: 'There is no way
we'll do a deal.' But it's precisely what I wanted to do. From the start
structure, we have moved to what we have today." Defendants' plan
culminated on November 17, 2000, when Mr. Schrempp fired James P. Holden
from his post as Chief Executive officer of DaimlerChrysler's North
American operations.

The lawsuit will assert claims under section 10(b) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and sections 11 and 12(a)(2) of the Securities Act
of 1933. Plaintiff has retained as counsel the law firm of Kirby
McInerney & Squire, LLP.

Contact: Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP Mark A. Strauss, Esq. Shan Anwar,
Paralegal 212/317-2300 or Toll Free (888) 529-4787 sanwar@kmslaw.com

DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Legal Woes Intensify In Wake Of Kerkorian Suit
A New York law firm filed a class-action lawsuit Tuesday against
DaimlerChrysler AG, alleging that the company and its top officials
defrauded investors by misrepresenting the 1998 takeover of Chrysler
Corp. as a "merger of equals."

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of all Chrysler shareholders who tendered
their shares in the merger, comes a day after billionaire investor Kirk
Kerkorian filed a similar lawsuit that seeks $8 billion in damages.

The firm of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz is representing a
Philadelphia law firm's profit-sharing plan that holds DaimlerChrysler
shares. Jeff Smith, a lawyer for the firm, said Kerkorian's suit on
Monday spurred the filing.

"We are relying on many of the facts in Mr. Kerkorian's case," Smith

Other shareholder lawsuits are expected to follow in the wake of
Kerkorian's suit that charged DaimlerChrysler Chairman Juergen Schrempp
with masterminding Daimler-Benz AG's $36-billion acquisition of Chrysler
under the guise of a merger of equals.

Kerkorian's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware, seeks at
least $2 billion in actual damages and $6 billion in punitive damages,
and asked the court to dismantle the historic combination of Chrysler,
the former No. 3 U.S. automaker, and Daimler-Benz, the maker of
Mercedes-Benz luxury cars.

A press release issued Monday by Tracinda Corp., Kerkorian's investment
arm, had mistakenly set the total damages sought at $9 billion.

DaimlerChrysler has 20 days to respond to Kerkorian's complaint after its
receives a notice. While the automaker has not filed its legal response,
a DaimlerChrysler executive said Tuesday that Kerkorian's suit is
"without merit."

In an interview, Christoph Walther, DaimlerChrysler's senior
vice-president for communications, said that Kerkorian deputy James
Aljian participated in high-level decisions as a member of the
"shareholder committee" created after Daimler acquired Chrysler.

"Mr. Aljian was a member of the shareholder committee until yesterday
afternoon, and he was involved in all the decisions since the merger,"
Walther said. "We think (the lawsuit) is completely without merit. We

But a lawyer for Kerkorian said Aljian had no legal authority or
influence to stem Daimler's domination of Chrysler, including the firing
of several senior American executives.

"The supervisory board and the management board run the company," said
Terry Christensen, a lawyer for Kerkorian in Los Angles. "Jim Aljian was
never on either one of those boards."

The shareholder committee, comprised of former Chrysler and Daimler-Benz
directors, was established to protect the interests of Chrysler
shareholders and provide a U.S. voice in Stuttgart-based
DaimlerChrysler's corporate governance practices.

DaimlerChrysler's stock -- which has fallen 47 percent this year --
dropped $ 1.73 Tuesday to $39.52 in trading on the New York Stock

While Kerkorian, the company's third-largest shareholders with a
4-percent stake, is attacking Schrempp, the company's biggest German
shareholder remained staunchly in his corner.

Germany's Deutsche Bank AG, which owns 12 percent of DaimlerChrysler,
reaffirmed its support Tuesday for Schrempp and the Chrysler Group

The pledge comes amid growing questions about how long Deutsche Bank and
the Kuwaiti Investment Authority, which holds 7.4 percent of
DaimlerChrysler, will support Schrempp and his plan.

Company officials insisted Tuesday that the structure now deplored by
Kerkorian and thousands working in Chrysler's Auburn Hills headquarters
evolved over time with the blessing of Chrysler executives on the
management board and former Chrysler directors sitting on the governing
supervisory board.

"It's not clear if this is the opening salvo in a wider war or is
Kerkorian just another disgruntled shareholder who happens to own a lot
of stock," said Stephen Girsky, auto analyst for Morgan Stanley Dean

"What can he really do here? He only owns 4 percent of the company,
whereas he used to own 15 percent of Chrysler." (The Detroit News,
November 29, 2000)

According to the Financial Times (London), lawyers acting for Tracinda
Corporation, the third-largest investor in DaimlerChrysler, said two
other institutional shareholders were supporting their Dollars 8bn
damages claim against the German-US automotive company.

Tracinda, controlled by Kirk Kerkorian, the reclusive US billionaire,
said on Monday it was seeking damages and compensation from
DaimlerChrysler and its senior executives over an alleged fraud in the
1998 merger of Daimler-Benz and the Chrysler corporation.

DaimlerChrysler has vowed to fight the action, which alleges that
Daimler-Benz did not intend to treat Chrysler as an equal partner.
"Having read the complaint, we still believe this case is completely
without merit," the company said.

In California, meanwhile, Terry Christensen, an attorney for Mr
Kerkorian, said: "We have been contacted by two other investors to voice
support for our action."

One of those investors is understood to be Glickenhaus & Co, the New York
investment house.

A preliminary hearing is expected in the US district court in Delaware in
the next two months.

The lawsuit was launched against the group following a recent purge of
Chrysler management, a falling share price and comments by Jurgen
Schrempp, DaimlerChrysler chairman, suggesting that he had always
expected Chrysler to assume divisional status in the enlarged company.

DaimlerChrysler is expected to ask the court to dismiss the claim.

Senior officials said the company did not believe the US Securities and
Exchange Commission would have approved the original terms of the deal if
it had been seen as a Daimler takeover of Chrysler.

Nevertheless, lawyers for Mr Kerkorian said they would launch a discovery
process, involving depositions from senior DaimlerChrysler executives and
the scrutiny of internal management documents, if the court decided there
were grounds to hear the case. Mr Christensen predicted the process could
last 60-90 days.

Legal experts, however, consider Mr Kerkorian would have difficulty
winning the case if it reached court. Although the scale of the damages
claimed was "breathtaking", Tracinda faced a number of obstacles,
according to one lawyer.

The burden of proof necessary to demonstrate fraud would be very high. Mr
Schrempp's comments about Chrysler's divisional status - particularly in
an interview with the Financial Times - have been seized upon by Tracinda

But these would have to be analysed in context and it was far from
obvious that they demonstrated fraudulent behaviour, the lawyer said.

Last night, the legal domino effect from the lawsuit began to emerge , as
Milberg Weiss, the large US law firm, announced it was filing a suit
seeking class action status on behalf of all former shareholders in

The complaint charges that defendants DaimlerChrysler, Daimler-Benz and
Mr Schrempp, misrepresented aspects of the 1998 merger. (Financial Times
(London), November 29, 2000)

DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Lawsuit in Delaware
The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP announces that a
class action lawsuit was filed on November 28, 2000, on behalf of all
former shareholders of Chrysler Corporation ("Chrysler") who held shares
of Chrysler on August 6, 1998 and exchanged those shares for shares of
DaimlerChrysler AG ("DaimlerChrysler") (NYSE: DCX) as a result of a
merger (the "Merger") between Chrysler and Daimler-Benz AG. A copy of the
complaint filed in this action is available from the Court, or can be
viewed on Milberg Weiss' website at:
http://www.milberg.com/daimlerchrysler/The action is pending in the
United States District Court for the District of Delaware, against
defendants DaimlerChrysler, Daimler-Benz AG, and Juergen Schrempp
(Co-Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chairman of DaimlerChrysler, Chief
Executive Officer and Chairman of Daimler-Benz AG).

The complaint charges that defendants violated Sections 10(b), 14(a) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rules 10b-5 and 14a-9
promulgated thereunder, and Sections 11, 12(a)(2) and 15 of the
Securities Act of 1933. The complaint concerns material
misrepresentations and omissions arising from Daimler-Benz AG's
acquisition of Chrysler in 1998. Specifically, as alleged in the
complaint, defendants promised and assured that Chryslers's well-regarded
management team would remain in control of the Chrysler operations as
part of a "merger of equals." In truth and fact, as alleged in the
complaint, defendants never intended to honor any such commitments but
used them as a device to secure shareholder approval for the merger, and
then steadily and surreptitiously eroded Chrysler's independence and
eviscerated its management team. The complaint alleges that Chrysler's
operations have languished as a satellite of Daimler-Benz's Stuttgart
headquarters, causing the trading value of the securities issued in
connection with the merger to decline substantially in value, reflecting
the inflated value of the securities Chrysler shareholders received and
the unfairness of the exchange ratio, which, among other things,
incorporated no premium for Chrysler's sale of control.

Contact: Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP Steven G. Schulman or
Samuel H. Rudman, 800/320-5081

DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Wolf Haldenstein Commenced Securities Suit in Delaware
Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP commenced a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware
on behalf of all investors who tendered their shares of Chrysler
Corporation securities in connection with Daimler-Benz A.G. (now known as
DaimlerChrysler AG) acquisition of Chrysler (NYSE: DCX - news). A copy of
the Complaint may be reviewed on the firm's webpage at www.whafh.com or
call Gregory M. Nespole, Esq. to discuss the matter.

The complaint charges that defendants Daimler-Benz AG ("Daimler-Benz")
and DaimlerChrysler AG ("DaimlerChrysler") engaged in a concerted fraud
orchestrated by defendant Jurgen Schrempp, the long-time chairman and
chief executive officer of Daimler- Benz, and implemented by that
company's executive inner circle, including defendants Manfred Gentz and
Hilmar Kopper in order to induce Chrysler shareholders to tender their
shares of Chrysler to Daimler-Benz.

As detailed in the complaint, Mr. Schrempp knew that Chrysler's directors
and shareholders would never approve a transaction if he told the truth,
namely, that a foreign corporation was seeking to acquire complete
operating control of one of America's "Big Three" auto manufacturers.
Thus, Mr. Schrempp falsely told Chrysler and its shareholders that
Daimler- Benz contemplated a true "merger of equals" in which
Daimler-Benz and Chrysler would operate as two equal companies with
Chrysler's management continuing to run U.S. operations and having parity
in all respects with Daimler-Benz's management, including equal
representation on the management team of the combined companies.

Daimler-Benz's assurances formed the foundation for the board's and
shareholder's decision to vote in favor of the business combination
between Daimler-Benz and Chrysler for two principal reasons. First, the
value of the stock which Plaintiff and all Chrysler shareholders would
receive as part of the merger depended on the continued leadership of
Chrysler's management team, which had brought Chrysler back from
bankruptcy to an extremely profitable operation in only a few short
years. Second, the price or exchange ratio for a "merger of equals" was
well below the price or "acquisition premium" which would have been paid
to all shareholders of Chrysler, if the transaction had been viewed by
Wall Street as a traditional takeover. Had investors known the truth,
they would never have agreed to vote all of this shares for the merger.

Having secured the approval of Chrysler's board of directors, Mr.
Schrempp with the assistance of Messrs. Gentz and Kopper, solicited all
of Chrysler's public shareholders by causing Daimler-Benz and
DaimlerChrysler to prepare and file a registration statement with the SEC
in August 1998 that repeated and reinforced all of Daimler-Benz's earlier
promises to Chrysler and plaintiffs. The strategy succeeded because, at a
meeting held in September 1998 in Wilmington, Delaware, Chrysler's
stockholders approved the merger by a wide margin and the transaction
closed in November 1998.

Unbeknownst to investors, defendants never intended the transaction to be
a merger of equals and never intended to have Chrysler run as an
independent and co-equal operation. To the contrary, defendants always
intended to relegate Chrysler to the status of a "division," and always
intended to replace Chrysler's management with executives from
Daimler-Benz's headquarters in Stuttgart. This plan culminated on Friday,
November 17, 2000, when Mr. Schrempp fired James P. Holden from his post
as chief executive officer of Chrysler's operation in North America, and
replaced Mr. Holden with Dieter Zetsche and Wolfgang Bernhard, two of Mr.
Schrempp's former confederates. All told, by Thanksgiving, Mr. Schrempp
had fired almost all of Chrysler's top executives and now feels free to
exercise openly his control over the combined companies. His cavalier
attitude toward the American executives who believed his prior promises
and the welfare of Chrysler's employees has so devastated the company
that Mr. Schrempp has been forced to apologize to over 400 of Chrysler's
managers to maintain order and in an effort to prevent the further
downward spiral of DaimlerChrysler's stock which has dropped
approximately 18% in the last three weeks.

Importantly, in an interview with the Financial Times, published on
October 30, 2000, Mr. Schrempp confessed that he lied because he knew
that Chrysler's management never would have approved the transaction if
they were told that he planned to relegate Chrysler to a mere "division"
of DaimlerChrysler along with other operations of pre-merger
Daimler-Benz. Cynically describing his strategy of deception, Mr.
Schrempp is quoted as saying:

"Me being a chess player, I don't normally talk about the second or third
move. The structure we have now with Chrysler (as a standalone division)
was always the structure I wanted . . . . We had to go a roundabout way
but it had to be done for psychological reasons. If I had gone and said
Chrysler would be a division, everybody on their side would have said:
'There is no way we'll do a deal.' But it's precisely what I wanted to
do. From the start structure, we have moved to what we have today."

Plaintiff seeks actual damages which include the acquisition premium that
defendants denied investors, under Section 10(b) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934; an award of "rescissory" damages representing the
difference between the value of the common stock of Chrysler that
investors exchanged in the merger and the present value of the stock that
investors now own in DaimlerChrysler, under Sections 11 and 12(a)(2) of
the Securities Act of 1933; to award of compensatory and punitive damages
in an amount sufficient to punish and make an example of defendants for
lying to Chrysler's shareholders and the investing public at large, under
common law fraud and conspiracy; and to unwind the transaction in order
to allow Chrysler once again to exist as an independent corporation owned
by Chrysler's shareholders and to return all value, including
distributions, which DaimlerChrysler caused Chrysler to transfer since
the merger, under Section 14(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

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

ELECTRICITY SUPPLIERS: Lawsuit Seekd Refund for California Users
An advocacy group unveiled plans Tuesday for a statewide initiative that
would limit how much profit electricity suppliers can make, require them
to refund to consumers part of what they earned this year and essentially
re-regulate the energy markets.

The measure by long-time consumer advocate Harvey Rosenfield and his
Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights also would ban utilities from
billing consumers billions of dollars for last summer's power costs,
while bolstering the government's ability to seize power plants and
high-voltage lines from utilities and power suppliers through eminent

Blaming the 1996 state law that loosened government control over the sale
of electricity, Rosenfield said runaway electricity prices could plunge
California into a recession or worse if state officials allow what he
called "this foolish and stupid mistake to continue....We want to take
this system back out of the hands of greedy private interests."

In a separate action Tuesday, power suppliers were served with a class
action suit that also seeks refunds for all California electricity users.
It accused the firms of having "unlawfully manipulated the California
wholesale electricity market" to boost prices.

Although the suit filed in San Diego County Superior Court doesn't
specify the amount of refunds sought, it mentions estimates that power
firms overcharged Californians by $ 4 billion last summer.

Tuesday's double-barreled assault on suppliers prompted a decidedly cool
response from Richard Wheatley, a spokesman for Houston-based Reliant

He said the suit lacks merit and noted that several studies by energy
officials have found no proof that power suppliers did anything illegal.
Moreover, he characterized the proposed initiative as a misguided effort
that could make it harder for California to convince companies to build
more in-state generating plants.

"This would serve to be a disincentive to do business in the state,"
Wheatley said.

The consumer group presented only sketchy details of the proposal, but
said they planned to study the issue and provide a more elaborate
description when the initiative is filed.

They said they would immediately file papers with California Secretary of
State to set up an initiative campaign committee and would probably begin
seeking signatures in several months to qualify it for the 2002 election

It couldn't be voted on sooner because there are no statewide elections
before then, they said. Besides, they said, they hoped that announcing
the measure now would prompt the state legislature and Gov. Gray Davis to
pass laws to achieve the same results. If that happens, they said, they
promised to back off the initiative.

Davis is expected to announce his plans for easing the state's
electricity troubles later this week. But in response to Rosenfield's
proposal, Davis spokesman Steve Maviglio said only that "Gov. Davis
inherited this problem and is working hard with all parties to fashion an
appropriate solution."

Senate President pro Tem John Burton, D-San Francisco, reacted favorably
to the initiative idea, noting that the threat of a ballot measure might
prompt politicians and power company officials to work harder to find a
legislative solution.

But Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte, one of the co-authors of the
bill that de-regulated the energy industry, said imposing new government
restrictions on electricity sales is no answer. "The way you move to the
lowest possible price of power for consumers is by having a competitive
market place," he said.

No matter what the legislature and Davis pass, Rosenfield vowed to go
ahead with the initiative unless lawmakers stop taking contributions from
power or utility firms. They also said they won't tolerate any deal
requiring consumers to compensate utility firms for the unanticipated
high cost of wholesale power last summer.

That didn't sit well with Pacific Gas & Electric Co., which wants to
charge its consumers $ 3.4 billion for its summer expenses. Even so, PG&E
spokesman Ron Low said Rosenfield has some good ideas, including setting
limits on how much profit power suppliers can earn. "The wholesale market
is clearly broken and all parties need to work together and act
responsibly so that we can fix it," Low said. (San Jose Mercury News,
November 29, 2000)

FERDINAND MARCOS: US Judge Throws Out $150M Settlement of Lawsuit
A federal judge said he will throw out a $150 million settlement of a
lawsuit filed by victims of human rights abuses under former Philippine
President Ferdinand Marcos unless the late dictator's estate comes up
with the money plus interest within four months.

U.S. District Judge Manuel Real's decision Tuesday came at the request of
plaintiffs, who complained the Philippine government has blocked the
possibility of transferring the money from Marcos' frozen Swiss bank
accounts to pay their claims.

Dismissal of the settlement will restore a $1.9 billion judgment awarded
by a federal jury in Hawaii in 1995 against the Marcos estate. Including
interest, that award now stands at $2.9 billion, attorneys for the human
rights victims said.

Real faulted embattled Philippine President Joseph Estrada in part for
the settlement's apparent collapse.

''Estrada said he would settle this case two years ago and had failed to
fulfill his commitment,'' the judge said. ''I cannot any longer trust the
Philippine government.''

Marcos was president from 1966 until a popular revolt ousted him in
February 1986. He and his family were driven into exile in Hawaii. Marcos
and his wife, Imelda, are alleged to have amassed billions of dollars
during his 20 years in power.

The class-action lawsuit by 9,539 Filipinos against the Marcos estate was
filed in 1986, three years before he died.

In 1995, a Honolulu jury found Marcos responsible for summary executions,
disappearances and torture. The judgment was upheld by the 9th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals in 1996, but the plaintiffs had trouble
collecting money in foreign accounts with contested ownership. Under the
settlement approved by Real last year, the $150 million was to be taken
from $570 million of Marcos' frozen Swiss bank deposits held in an escrow
account in a Philippine bank.

But the payoff has been tied up in Philippine courts and Estrada is now
fighting impeachment charges over allegations he received millions of
dollars in payoffs from illegal gambling and kickbacks from tobacco
taxes. ''Our clients in the Philippines are very certain that they want
the settlement terminated,'' said Robert Swift, an attorney for the
plaintiffs. ''It was a settlement predicated upon the immediate payment
of money.''

James Linn, an attorney for the former Philippine first lady, said there
was a chance the estate could come up with the $150 million settlement
plus $12 million in interest. ''Mrs. Marcos and her family are trying.
They want the thing settled,'' Linn said. (AP Online, November 29, 2000)

FLEETWOOD SAUSAGE: Settlement Reached in Salami E. Coli Case
A settlement has been reached in a class-action lawsuit filed against
Fleetwood Sausage Co. after an E. coli outbreak last year.

About 143 people got sick after eating dry-cured Hungarian salami, but no
one died.

Lawyer David Klein said people who were mildly sickened will get about
$2,600 to $4,875 plus expenses, while those who became seriously ill can
seek greater sums to be determined in mediation or binding arbitration.

Fleetwood recalled all its salami products within Canada, Alabama,
Florida, northern California and Seattle after the outbreak and has
switched to a full cooking process that kills all bacteria. (The
Associated Press State & Local Wire, November 29, 2000)

FORD MOTOR: Judge Ford to Determine If Judge Ballachey Is Too Biased
The Judicial Council tapped a Sacramento Superior Court judge to
determine whether Alameda County Judge Michael Ballachey is too biased to
hear a class action against Ford Motor Co.

The council assigned Sacramento Superior Court Judge James Ford to hear
the disqualification motion made by Ford's attorneys. Judge Ford is
assigned to the matter from Nov. 28 until Dec. 12. It was unclear late
Tuesday when the judge will hear argument.

Ballachey was assigned to two related cases where a class of plaintiffs
seek millions in damages from Ford. In a bench trial, Ballachey
determined that the automaker committed fraud and violated state unfair
competition law. A retrial by a new jury -- after the first hung -- would
decide whether Ford hid information from consumers, violating the
Consumers Legal Remedies Act.

Ford's lawyers allege that Ballachey's order in the bench trial, which
berated Ford for hiding an ignition system defect and recalled 1.7
million cars, shows that Ballachey may not be impartial for the remaining
trial. Ballachey's lawyers say that the automaker is merely shopping for
a new judge for the jury trial. (The Recorder, November 29, 2000)

GRAND COURT: Creditor Wants to File Class Action Lawsuit
In a memorandum circulated to various parties-in-interest in the on-going
chapter 11 restructuring of Grand Court Lifestyles, Inc., Murray Shelton
(561/499-8957 or LShel2001@aol.com) indicates that he wants fellow
creditors to "contact me as soon as possible regarding the possibilities
of collaborating together on a class action lawsuit against Grand Court
Lifestyles, Inc."

Grand Court Lifestyles, Inc., filed for chapter 11 protection in Newark,
New Jersey, in March. At that time, the Company reported $319 million in
assets and $283.6 million in liabilities. Grand Court syndicates and
manages 56 senior living communities and has a portfolio of about 100
multifamily properties, all of which are owned by limited partnerships.
However, none of these partnerships are currently part of the chapter 11
proceeding. Jack Zackin, Esq., of Sills Cummis Zuckerman Tischman Epstein
& Gross P.C. in Newark, N.J., represents the debtor along with colleague
Andrew Sherman, Esq.

INDIAN GRAVES: Judge Postpones Trial As Lawyers Try to Reach Settlement
The trial of a tribal lawsuit over eroding American Indian grave sites
along the Missouri River was postponed Tuesday after lawyers for both
sides asked for more time to try reach a settlement.

U.S. District Judge Charles Kornman rescheduled the trial, set to begin
Wednesday, in Aberdeen, S.D., for Jan. 22.

``I view that as a positive sign,'' said Michael Swallow, an attorney
representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

In the lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers, the tribe contends
erosion from water releases on the river has exposed as many as 100
American Indian graves.

Swallow said there have been ``extensive talks'' about a settlement,
which he hoped could be reached before the new trial date. He would not
elaborate on talks. Cheryl Dupree, an attorney representing the corps,
declined to comment.

On Nov. 6, Kornmann issued a temporary restraining order requiring the
Army Corps of Engineers to maintain the current water level at Lake Oahe,
one of South Dakota's key reservoirs on the Missouri.

To make up for lost hydroelectric power at Lake Oahe, the corps released
more water from Garrison Dam in North Dakota.

The tribe filed the lawsuit in hopes of protecting the buried descendants
of Chief Mad Bear, the leader of a band of Hunkpapa Lakota Indians. In
August, remains were discovered near Wakpala, S.D., when water levels
dropped in Lake Oahe.

Tribal members contend poor management of the Missouri River has led to
human remains being exposed and left open to looters.

A similar discovery in December 1999 near the Fort Randall Dam led to a
court fight between the corps and the Yankton Sioux Tribe.

Earlier this month, the Yankton tribe and the corps agreed to temporarily
cover but not remove exposed human remains found last year near Fort
Randall Dam.

In both cases, tribes have discovered remains from graves that were
supposedly moved more than 40 years ago, before the Missouri River dams
were built. (AP, November 28, 2000)

LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES: Two lawsuits filed after Announcement of Q3 Results
Two groups of investors claim Lucent Technologies misled shareholders
when it reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings in October.

The class-action lawsuits seek compensation for investors who bought
Lucent stock after the company announced its fourth quarter results Oct.
23 and before Nov. 20 - the day Lucent revised its revenues by $125
million because of an accounting error.

One suit was filed last week by Dennis Johnson, a lawyer in South
Burlington, Vt. It seeks unspecified damages for shareholders who lost
money when the Murray Hill-based company's stock began to fall.

The other suit was filed by Kirby McInerney & Squire, a Manhattan law
firm. It claims former Lucent Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rich
McGinn was motivated to report inflated revenues and earnings to maintain
his position as investors grew dissatisfied

A Lucent spokesman on Tuesday declined to comment on the lawsuits. McGinn
could not be reached for comment.

Lucent's shares have decreased in value by 78 percent in the past year.
(The Associated Press State & Local Wire, November 29, 2000)

MASS MUTUAL: NJ Vanishing Premium Policyholders Certified As Class
The Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County has
certified a class of New Jersey policyholders of Massachusetts Mutual
Life Insurance Company ("Mass Mutual") who were victims of Mass Mutual's
alleged vanishing premium scheme in connection with the sale of Mass
Mutual whole life policies from January 1, 1985 through December 31,

A court-approved Notice describing the certified class and policyholders'
rights in the class action will be mailed in the next few weeks to Mass
Mutual policyholders in New Jersey who are potential members of the
certified vanishing premium class. A complete copy of the court-approved
Notice was published in the Star Ledger on November 27, 2000.

The lawsuit charges that Mass Mutual committed consumer fraud and
fraudulent misrepresentation in connection with the sale of whole life
policies to New Jersey residents who are members of the certified
vanishing premium class. Specifically, Mass Mutual is accused of selling
whole life policies to New Jersey class members by way of vanishing
premium sales illustrations utilizing what Mass Mutual called the N-Pay
(including Flex-Pay) concept. According to the complaint, these vanishing
premium sales illustrations falsely portrayed that dividends on the whole
life policies were expected to accumulate in sufficient amounts so that
class members' out-of-pocket cash premiums would end or "vanish" at a
certain time. The complaint also alleges that Mass Mutual's vanishing
premium sales illustrations also pitched the likelihood that dividends
would decrease and that more out-of-pocket cash premiums than illustrated
would be required as nothing more than a mere hypothetical possibility.
The lawsuit charges that, in reality, Mass Mutual knew at the time it
disseminated these vanishing premium sales illustrations (but did not
disclose) that a dividend reduction was nearly certain to occur and that
policyholders would thus be required to pay more out-of-pocket cash
premiums than Mass Mutual's vanishing premium sales illustrations showed
would be required.

The lawsuit alleges that, after class members purchased whole life
policies utilizing Mass Mutual's vanishing premium sales illustrations,
dividends did decrease significantly and New Jersey class members have
been required to pay more out-of-pocket cash premiums than illustrated.
According to counsel for the class, Bruce D. Greenberg, Lite DePalma
Greenberg & Rivas, LLP and Joseph N. Kravec, Jr., Specter Specter Evans &
Manogue, P.C., "(t)his lawsuit was brought to recover the premiums Mass
Mutual deceived its policyholders into believing would vanish.' We are
pleased that this case will be allowed to proceed on behalf of all New
Jersey residents who were victimized by Mass Mutual's vanishing premium
scheme so that their losses may be redressed."

Contact: Lite DePalma Greenberg & Rivas, LLP, Newark, NJ Bruce D.
Greenberg, 973/623-3000 or Specter Specter Evans & Manogue, P.C.,
Pittsburgh, PA Joseph N. Kravec, Jr., 800/642-5297 or 412/642-2300
e-mail: jnk@ssem.com Website: www.ssem.com

PHILIP SERVICES: NY Ct Dismisses Investors Suit For Forum Non Conveniens
In case of alleged securities fraud by Canadian company, Second Circuit
reverses dismissal on forum non conveniens grounds because majority of
allegedly defrauded investors were U.S. based and had bought stock within
U.S. In the following direct action and not-yet-certified class action,
the plaintiffs allege that officers of a Canadian corporation perpetrated
federal securities fraud and other offenses. (Plaintiffs in both actions
are jointly referred to here as "plaintiffs").

Philip Services Corporation is a metal processing company based in
Ontario, Canada which is now in bankruptcy proceedings. Between 1992 and
1997, the company bought 15 American metal processing facilities in the
U.S. and raised capital through its stock offerings in the U.S. and
Canada. The company aggressively marketed its stock in the U.S. through
"road shows," press releases and filing financial reports with the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Through stock offerings in
1997, the company raised $ 380 million of which $ 284 million came from
U.S. investors.

As it turned out, the company had to drastically downgrade its initially
reported earnings for years 1995-1997, and these lower earnings soon
became multi-million dollar losses. This caused the company's share price
to plummet from $ 13-1/8 in January 1998 to below $ 2 eight months later.
The plaintiffs alleged that the company officers had intentionally rigged
the finances to overstate the company's value. For example, they failed
to report several transactions, overstated inventories, and improperly
deferred losses. Of the fourteen director-officers being sued, ten are
Ontario residents.

A New York federal court dismissed both cases on grounds of forum non
conveniens. The plaintiffs appealed, claiming that the district court
failed to defer to the plaintiffs' choice of forum, mischaracterized the
transactions as international, and did not give enough weight to the U.S.
interest in enforcing its securities laws. The U.S. Court of Appeals for
the Second Circuit reverses and remands to the district court for further

The U. S. Supreme Court began shaping the modern doctrine of forum non
conveniens in Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 485 (1947) (an
interdistrict transfer case). The Second Circuit continues to apply the
Gilbert test, as elaborated for international purposes in Piper Aircraft
Co. v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235 (1981), and its own precedents.

The threshold question in the forum non conveniens analysis is whether
plaintiffs have one or more adequate alternative fora. A movant can meet
this test if the defendant is amenable to process there (or voluntarily
submits to it), if the forum permits litigation of the subject matter, if
it provides enough procedural safeguards, and if its domestic law offers
an adequate remedy.

The U.S. Supreme Court established the "fraud on the market" theory in
Basic Inc. v Levinson, 485 U.S. 224, 247 (1988), creating a presumption
in actions under Section 10(b) or Rule 10b-5 that a stock price
accurately reflects all information available in the marketplace.
Therefore, a plaintiff in such an action does not have to prove specific
reliance on false information.

Plaintiffs claim that Canadian securities law does not recognize a "fraud
on the market" theory and that this renders Ontario an inadequate forum.
According to the plaintiffs, some of them could not claim reliance on the
defendants' statements under any other fraud theory and could therefore
not recover damages in Ontario. Under these circumstances, an Ontario
court would deny class certification.

The Court refuses to consider the first argument (1) because plaintiffs
raised it for the first time on appeal, and (2) because it brings up
complex questions of foreign law.

"Concededly, some plaintiffs who would have a remedy in American courts
under the fraud on the market theory will be unable to prevail in Canada.
But it is far from obvious, especially on this record, who those
plaintiffs are or how to distinguish them from others who might succeed
in Ontario. ... If the issue had been raised below, the district court
would have been in a better position to address it than we are,
particularly with respect to the definition of the proposed class and

"Plaintiffs did raise the second, procedural issue of whether Ontario law
would permit class certification in the district court. The court
correctly found that procedural differences do not make Ontario an
inadequate forum. ..." [Slip Op. 21-23] The Court therefore concludes
that Ontario is an adequate forum for the plaintiffs.

The Court then applies the Gilbert criteria to the choice between Ontario
and New York. Gilbert establishes a presumption in favor of the
plaintiff's chosen forum when weighing the public and private interest
factors that favor each location. Here, the district court failed to give
proper weight to the plaintiffs' choice of forum. The court mistakenly
assumed that, where plaintiffs proceed in a representative capacity,
their choice of forum gets "less weight" than would be the case for an
individual plaintiff.

Furthermore, in the Court's view, the "public interest" factors weigh in
favor of New York. For example, the U.S. has a local interest in this
lawsuit because U.S. investors have allegedly suffered harm from
purchases they made in the U.S. The presence of a few Canadian investors
does not change the result. Moreover, Ontario would probably apply
American law as to at least some of the claims, and an American court
would likely apply Canadian law to claims by non-resident class members
because they bought securities outside the U.S. Thus, the interest in
avoiding the application of foreign law favors neither forum.

The "private interest" factors also favor New York. The parties can ship
the necessary documents from Canada without too much difficulty, and
Ontario witnesses can fly to New York City in about three hours. The
Court notes, however, that there may be some problems with compelling
unwilling Canadian witnesses to testify in New York. In sum, the Court
finds that the plaintiffs' choice of forum deserves deference under
Gilbert, and the public and private interest factors have not overcome
this strong presumption.

Citation: DiRienzo v. Philip Services Corp., Nos. 99-7825 & 99-7776 (2d
Cir. November 8, 2000). (International Law Update, November, 2000)

POLICE PROFILING: Disclosure May Prompt Dismissal of Cases and Review
The disclosure Monday that New Jersey's top law enforcement officials
have known for years of widespread racial profiling could lead to the
dismissal of dozens of pending criminal cases, increased scrutiny of
Justice Peter G. Verniero of the State Supreme Court and a ratcheting up
of investigations of the state's record in singling out minorities as
drug and crime suspects, state officials said.

A spokesman for Attorney General John J. Farmer Jr. said that Mr. Farmer
would soon begin to review 105 pending criminal cases arising from
traffic stops by the state police, who were shown in documents released
by Mr. Farmer Monday to have engaged in widespread singling out of
minorities for traffic stops.

Most of the subsequent arrests were for drug or weapons possession, and
the defendants all say that the evidence was tainted by the racial nature
of the traffic stop. It is not clear how many criminals might try to
overturn existing convictions, alleging they resulted from illegal racial

Meanwhile, at the State House, politicians were gearing up for a Senate
Judiciary Committee hearing into the state's history of racial profiling,
and in particular into the role of Mr. Verniero, who was New Jersey's
attorney general from 1994 to 1998 and is now a Supreme Court justice.

Allegations that the state engaged in racial profiling were beginning to
surface in court complaints at the time of his confirmation, but Mr.
Verniero testified that he had no statistical knowledge of the practice.
Since then, the state has acknowledged that the practice was common among
state police officers patrolling the New Jersey Turnpike.

Mr. Verniero is subject to reconfirmation in 2006, after seven years on
the bench, and William L. Gormley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee,
said that the justice might be called as a witness when the profiling
hearings begin in February. "What I have said all along is that no one is
above the law," Mr. Gormley said.

While the political pot simmers, the legal fallout from Monday's
disclosure that racial profiling was common knowledge among senior law
enforcement officials approached a boil.

Chuck Davis, a spokesman for Mr. Farmer, said that the attorney general
would soon review 105 criminal suits and 5 civil suits against the state
and its police to determine whether any of the arrests could be shown to
have been the result of racial profiling. That could result in the
dismissal of some criminal cases and the settlement of civil suits.

"It doesn't mean we're going to dismiss any or all," Mr. Davis said. "He
said he will review the cases and make a determination."

But Joel Harris, first assistant public defender, said Mr. Farmer's list
did not include 20 cases from Middlesex County alone. With them and other
cases still surfacing from other counties, Mr. Harris said, there are
probably 180 in which criminal defendants say they are victims of racial

The cases will be considered by Judge Walter Barisonek of State Superior
Court, who has been charged by the Supreme Court with conducting all
pretrial hearings on the cases.

In each criminal case, Mr. Harris said, motorists and passengers who had
been stopped on the highway and charged with possession of contraband are
raising a racial profiling defense, maintaining that the evidence against
them is inadmissible because the practice of singling out minorities for
stops is unconstitutional.

In the civil cases, some of which are being supported by the American
Civil Liberties Union, motorists who were stopped and not charged have
accused the police of illegally singling them out because of their race
or ethnicity.

Work on developing the tainted evidence defense cannot wait for Mr.
Farmer's review of the cases, Mr. Harris said.

"It would be nice if we could wait for the attorney general to review
them and make a determination," he said. "If, in fact, he dismisses all
of these we wouldn't have to go through all of the material we have. But
there are time constraints that Judge Barisonek has imposed on us, so we
don't have the liberty of waiting." The judge has set a Jan. 23 hearing
on the consolidated criminal cases.

One of the first issues that will likely come up in the hearings concerns
the exact legal status of racial profiling. Defense lawyers uniformly
maintain that the practice violates the equal protection clause of the
Bill of Rights, but Mr. Farmer on Monday said that the issue was far from

This prompted State Senator Wayne R. Bryant of Camden to call for a law
explicitly outlawing the practice and setting penalties for violations of
the law.

"I think that's the only way you really end up making folks focus on
this," Mr. Bryant said. "If you violate somebody's civil rights, you will
face the consequences."

Meanwhile, William Buckman, a defense lawyer who pioneered the racial
profiling defense in a 1996 Gloucester County case, said he had begun
hearing from prison inmates hoping to have their convictions overturned
by using the same defense.

He said he could not yet say what the prospects for overturning existing
convictions were, nor guess how many convicts in prisons might have cases
matching the pattern of the tainted traffic stop.

"I am selectively looking into these cases and my conscience dictates
that I'll get involved in some of them," Mr. Buckman said. But he said he
had to focus first on pending cases he was trying to get dismissed.

In addition, Mr. Buckman is part of a class action suit, brought in
cooperation with the A.C.L.U., on behalf of people stopped for wrongful
reasons and not charged. He said he was trying to have a court certify
all motorists stopped under potentially tainted circumstances classified
as a group, which is a prelude to bringing the widest possible case.

At any trial that results, Mr. Buckman said, he would try to use the
state's own knowledge of the practice of racial profiling to convict it.
(The New York Times, November 29, 2000)

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: Florida Vote Brings A Swarm Of Suits
It's the first presidential election in the nation's history to be
contested in court. Lawyers for both sides are fighting a dozen lawsuits
now pending in state and federal courts. Even a ruling by the U.S.
Supreme Court might not stop all the legal wrangling. In the latest
twist, Vice President Al Gore proposed a new seven-day deadline for
completing all recounts. At the same time, his lawyers have urged a state
judge to speed up their case.

                          Gore's Challenge

The Gore camp sued Monday in a state circuit court in Tallahassee to
contest Florida's official results. They say Sunday's certified vote
totals "include illegal votes and do not include legal votes that were
improperly rejected." At issue are some 14,500 ballots - the so-called
"undervotes" - in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. The Gore camp says
these ballots could give Gore as many as 1,600 more votes. Gore needs
only 538 votes to beat Bush. Gore's lawyers have asked the circuit court
to: Force a hand count of the 10,500 Miami-Dade County disputed ballots
that machines counted as a "no vote." Disputed ballots from about 20% of
the county's precincts had been counted when the county ended its hand
count last week, saying it couldn't meet the Florida Supreme Court's
Sunday deadline. Those precincts yielded 160 more Gore votes that were
not included in the final tally. Force yet another hand count of 4,000
disputed ballots in Palm Beach County. Gore's camp argues that ballots
with any indentation - the so-called "dimpled chad" - should count as a

The county canvassing board, at the direction of Circuit Judge Jorge
Labarga, looked for other evidence as to how a voter intended to vote.
Appoint a "special master" to oversee the counting of disputed ballots.
Force Nassau County to accept the revised vote totals from its machine
recount. The county certified vote totals from its first machine count
after finding that 200 ballots were left out of the recount.

The Gore camp says the county illegally ignored the recount, which would
have cut Bush's lead by 51 votes. Force Florida to include the results of
the revised counts in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties in its
official vote tallies. They are asking the court to declare Gore and Joe
Lieberman the rightful winners when that is done.

Some analysts doubt that Gore could pick up as many votes as his camp
claims. Brian Kalt, assistant professor of law at Michigan State
University, says Miami-Dade's partial hand count gave Gore more votes
because it included the most heavily Democratic precincts. "Gore would
have not gotten more votes (in Miami-Dade). He would have ended up losing
votes," Kalt said. By Kalt's reckoning, Bush would have gained 304 votes

                      'Independent' Lawsuits

Other suits by voters could swing the race toward Gore. Jacobs vs.
Seminole County Canvassing Board et al. A circuit court in Orlando
scheduled to hear on Wednesday a plea to toss out 17,000 absentee ballots
from Seminole County. The plaintiff charges that the ballots were tainted
when the county canvassing board let GOP workers add voter ID numbers to
4,700 absentee ballot applications. Under Florida law, only family
members or guardians can do so. The local GOP says a place for voter ID
numbers was left off the form. The Gore camp has kept its distance from
this case. Republicans are trying to get it dismissed or moved to a Leon
County court.

McCauley vs. Bay County Canvassing Board.

Cynthia McCauley, a Florida resident, claims that bundles of absentee
ballots were illegally turned in at the Bay County polls on Election Day.
Bay County's 12,000 absentee ballots went 3-to-1 for Bush. McCauley wants
some or all of the 12,000 tossed out. Her suit was moved to Leon County
on Nov. 21.

Rogers vs. Election Canvassing Commission of Florida.

Six Florida voters have filed a class-action suit against the state and
Palm Beach County, claiming that the county's infamous "butterfly ballot"
was illegal and confusing. The suit demands a re-vote in Palm Beach
County. On Nov. 20, a Palm Beach circuit judge ruled he couldn't order a
revote. An appeals court sent the suit to the Florida Supreme Court on
Monday. That court has not said when it will rule.

On a quieter front, three Texans have sued to block Bush's election,
claiming that his running mate, Dick Cheney, isn't really a Wyoming
resident. The lawsuit cites the 12th Amendment, which forbids a state's
electors from voting for "inhabitants" of their state for both president
and vice president. The suit claims that Cheney is a Texas resident and
that he and Bush can't get the state's 32 electoral votes. It was filed
hours after a similar Florida lawsuit was dismissed. Before joining the
Bush ticket, Cheney was chairman of Halliburton Co., a Dallas-based
energy services firm. He represented Wyoming in Congress from 1977 to
1989. Bush Hedges His Bets Bush is claiming victory, but hasn't dropped
his legal options. His legal staff has expanded to fend off all
challenges. And his appeal before the Supreme Court in Bush vs. Palm
Beach County Canvassing Board will be heard on Friday.

The court will decide whether the Florida Supreme Court overstepped its
bounds when it forced the secretary of state to accept vote counts beyond
Florida's Nov. 14 deadline. The Bush camp says the court "changed the
rules" after the election was held, a violation of federal statute. At
the same time, Bush is keeping alive his challenge to manual recounts. At
Bush's request, the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta has
postponed oral arguments in the two cases until Dec. 5. The Bush camp
also is suing five Florida county canvassing boards to force them to
count 130 overseas military ballots not counted because they lacked
postmarks. (Investor's Business Daily, November 29, 2000)

SOTHEBY'S, CHRISTIE'S: Judge Blocks Questioning of Key Witnesses
Expressing impatience with the pace of the criminal investigation of
collusion between Sotheby's and Christie's auction houses, a federal
judge in Manhattan  nonetheless prohibited lawyers in a civil suit from
questioning key figures in the government's four-year-old case.
Questioning of subordinate figures can proceed, he ruled.

Government lawyers argued that the questioning would disrupt their
investigation. "Why are we still here fooling around with this, and why
is it going to take another two months?" Federal District Judge Lewis A.
Kaplan asked John J. Greene, the government antitrust prosecutor who is
heading the Justice Department investigation.

"How, four years later the government has not made up its mind if it's
bringing a criminal case, that is staggering," the judge said. "My
concern here is that the government can't seem to get off the dime."

Mr. Greene replied that he needed until at least Feb. 28 to complete his
inquiry because "there are people who we need to talk to outside the
jurisdiction, and they don't jump when we say jump."

It was the third time in six months that investigators sought a freeze in
the discovery process in a civil case stemming from the same accusations
of price-fixing by the auction houses. Through the process, potential
criminal defendants are seeking to use the looser rules of civil
procedure to gain access to documents and other evidence that possibly
could be helpful to them.

The prosecutors were seeking to freeze discovery proceedings in an
continuing class-action suit filed on behalf of foreign buyers and
sellers who say they were cheated by the actions of the auction houses.

The arguments suggested that the government was still some distance from
making a case against its sole declared target, A. Alfred Taubman,
Sotheby's largest shareholder who resigned as its chairman last February.

The chief witness against him, Diana D. Brooks, the former president and
chief executive of Sotheby's, pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to
fix sellers' fees. She has agreed to become a witness against Mr.
Taubman. Since that plea on Oct. 5, however, prosecutors have not met
with Ms. Brooks to gather more information, people involved in the case

Still, Mr. Greene argued, in papers filed in court last week, that there
were witnesses pertinent to the case who had to be questioned and that if
Mr. Taubman's lawyers deposed them in the civil case, "it will be a
heightened opportunity for perjury, manufactured evidence, witness
intimidation and unfairness -- the dangers sought to be avoided by the
restrictive discovery rules governing criminal cases."

Yet James P. Rouhandeh, of Davis Polk & Wardwell, the law firm
representing Mr. Taubman argued in court that "we don't believe a stay of
any kind is necessary."

Referring to the discovery that has taken place in the case thus far, he
said, "There has been no indictment, nothing untoward found in

Mr. Rouhandeh also made reference in court to possible "destruction of
documents." He would not comment on what these documents were, although
he said they were thought to have been destroyed this calendar year.

The key witnesses the judge said cannot be questioned until Feb. 28 are
Ms. Brooks; Christopher M. Davidge, Christie's former chief executive;
Christopher Burge, Christie's honorary chairman in America; Stephen Lash,
Christie's chairman in America; Lord Hindlip, Christie's chairman
worldwide; Francois Curiel, deputy chairman of Christie's; and Irmgrad
Pickering, one of Mr. Davidge's former assistants. Lord Camoys, a former
Sotheby's board member, was also on the list, but he was said to be in
failing health.

Lawyers for Mr. Taubman are also trying to obtain documents from an
internal investigation that Christie's conducted with its outside
counsel, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. But Clifford H. Aronson, a
lawyer for Skadden, Arps, said the papers were "attorney work product"
and therefore privileged. Mr. Rouhandeh argued, however, that information
from these documents was used in a written submission that Christie's
London lawyers made to the European Union in connection with a possible
investigation. This, his argued, constituted a waiver of confidentiality.

As far back as last May, Mr. Greene asked Judge Kaplan to keep
confidential a package of documents turned over last January by Mr.
Davidge. The documents, about 500 pages in all, are said to include
records of conversations about prices and company policies between Mr.
Davidge and his superior at the time, Sir Anthony Tennant, then chairman
of Christie's, and their counterparts at Sotheby's, Mr. Taubman and Ms.
Brooks. By providing the government with these documents Christie's has
received conditional amnesty and has agreed to cooperate with the
investigation. (The New York Times, November 29, 2000)

TIME WARNER: FTC Prepares Suit to Block AOL Merger
Time Warner Inc. [TWX] is balking at federal regulators' demands to make
its news and entertainment content available to America Online Inc.'s
rivals as part of a condition for the approval of the companies' merger
plans, according to USA Today.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, the newspaper said AOL and Time
Warner are prepared to go to court, even at the risk if delaying their
merger, for what they believe is their right to do as they please with
Timer Warner's trove of movies, music, magazines and TV programming.

Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission, one of the government's
antitrust authorities, is preparing to sue AOL and Time Warner to block
the deal if it doesn't get concessions it says are needed to preserve

The FTC is still reviewing details of Time Warner's agreement to open its
high-speed cable lines to rival Internet service providers. A decision is
expected by Dec. 15, the newspaper said Wednesday.

The FTC's condition would probably force Time Warner to provide rival
Internet service providers with its content on the same terms it offers
to AOL, the newspaper said. The companies said they would not withhold
Time Warner content -- which ranges from Madonna's music to Bugs Bunny
cartoons -- because they want to reach a wide audience. However, analysts
told the newspaper, they likely would want to distribute the content to
AOL first. (Reuters, November 29, 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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