CAR_Public/001227.MBX               C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Wednesday, December 27, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 249

                             Headlines

ANIKA THERAPEUTICS: Satcon Technology Inc. Reporst on Securities Suits
CA UTILITIES: Electrical Storm Brings Flood Of Work For Attorneys
DIASENSOR COM: Reports on Settlement of PA Securities Suit and Subpoenas
DIGI INTERNATIONAL: Appeals Filed against Securities Suit Dismissal
DONNA KARAN: Faces Shareholder Suit Over LVMH Offer

FIRESTONE INC: Scrambles for Confidence; Finger-Points at Failure
HASTINGS ENTERTAINMENT: Faces Six Securities Lawsuits in Texas
LOUISIANA: Impact Of Oyster Bed Ruling Weighed
NASDAQ PRICE-FIXING: Settlement To Reach Entitled Investors Soon
POLYPHASE CORP: Seeks Injunction on Rearguments of NV Securities Suits

SEDGWICK COUNTY: Jail Officers May Sue for Overtime Pay
U-M: Minorities Set to Testify at Alleged Entry Discrimination Suit
UNIFY CORP: Reports on Recent Investors’ Complaints Filed in California
WESTERN AUTO: Fed Judge in Tampa Certifies Black Employees' Suit

                               *********

ANIKA THERAPEUTICS: Satcon Technology Inc. Reporst on Securities Suits
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Sean F. Moran, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, is named as a
defendant in three shareholder class action complaints filed in the
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

The complaints, captioned RO NEMETH-COSLETT V. ANIKA THERAPEUTICS, INC.,
J. MELVILLE ENGLE AND SEAN MORAN (filed on or about June 8, 2000), MARK
CASAZZA V. ANIKA THERAPEUTICS, INC., J. MELVILLE ENGLE AND SEAN MORAN
(filed on or about June 26, 2000), and RODNEY M. ROCKEFELLER AND LARA LEE
ROCKEFELLER V. ANIKA THERAPEUTICS, INC., J. MELVILLE ENGLE AND SEAN MORAN
(filed on or about August 2, 2000), allege violations of the federal
securities laws by Anika Therapeutics, Inc., J. Melville Engle, who
serves as Anika's Chief Executive Officer, and Sean F. Moran, who served
as Anika's Chief Financial Officer from February 1993 to January 2000.
The complaints allege a two-year putative class period through May 30,
2000, and allege that Anika and the individual defendants violated the
federal securities laws by making material misrepresentations and
omissions that relate to Anika's press releases and historical financial
statements for 1998 and the first three quarters of 1999.

Anika has previously reported publicly that it was the subject of an
informal investigation by the SEC as disclosed by Anika in March 2000,
which later became a formal investigation by the SEC as disclosed by
Anika in May 2000. Anika has reported that in connection with the formal
investigation, the SEC has required Anika to provide information in
connection with certain revenue recognition matters. Anika has reported
that these matters related to Anika's historical accounting for sales of
its product under a long-term supply and distribution agreement. In March
2000, Anika restated its financial results for 1998 and the first three
quarters of 1999 to change its revenue recognition policy under this
long-term supply contract.


CA UTILITIES: Electrical Storm Brings Flood Of Work For Attorneys
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The crisis involving the state's power supply has led to a flurry of
litigation by consumers and utility companies. It's also sparked
investigations by state and federal agencies and intense negotiations
among the various stakeholders over how to cope with power shortages and
skyrocketing costs.

This activity has meant a flood of work for attorneys.

"I've never been this busy, except when I've been in trial," said Marie
Fiala, a partner at Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe, who represents
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. "Things are changing very fast. What we're
dealing with are true emergencies."

Two of California's three investor-owned utilities -- PG&E and Southern
California Edison Co. -- recently filed suit against members of the state
Public Utilities Commission demanding the right to pass on billions of
dollars in electricity costs to consumers.

On the consumer side, two class actions were filed in federal court in
San Diego against electricity suppliers. The suits claim the suppliers
manipulated the wholesale market causing consumers to be overcharged
billions of dollars.

In addition to these court battles, attorneys are assisting various
entities in negotiations with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
and the California Public Utilities Commission on how to resolve the
crisis. Lawyers are also helping utilities push for an end to the freeze
on retail rates as well as caps on wholesale electricity prices and
retroactive refunds from generators. For their part, the electricity
generators oppose price caps and contend that additional power plants are
needed to resolve the current crisis.

The FERC, CPUC and the California attorney general's office also have
launched separate investigations to determine the reason for electricity
shortages and dramatic price hikes. "The future of the state's economy is
dependent on finding a solution to the problem," Fiala said.

Consumer groups and attorneys representing utility companies attribute
skyrocketing energy costs primarily to the deregulation of the California
energy market, which went into effect in March 1998.

Legislation mandating deregulation, AB 1890, required the state's three
investor-owned utilities -- PG&E, Southern California Edison and San
Diego Gas & Electric -- to auction off their electricity generating
plants. The law further specified that the utilities must sell all of
their generation to and buy all their energy from the California Power
Exchange, which sets daily prices for power. This market structure,
attorneys for the utility companies say, is what caused the current
emergency.

"There was a belief that if utilities sold generators to a third party
and set up an auction to buy the power back, competitive forces would
keep prices low," said Stan Berman, a partner in Heller's Seattle office.
But he said demand for electricity grew as industry blossomed and more
people moved into the region. At the same time, he said, new power plants
were not constructed.

Once generators "figured out they could charge whatever they wanted and
buyers had to buy, that was the end of the story," Berman said.

Berman, who was an assistant general counsel with the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission before joining Heller last year, believes
regulation is needed to limit how much generators can charge. While the
FERC has not considered setting price caps, it has introduced stopgap
measures to address the crisis, including eliminating the requirement
that utilities sell and buy electricity through the power exchange.

In an effort to recoup the difference between what they pay for
electricity and what they charge customers -- which PG&E estimates is
currently $4.6 billion PG&E and Southern California Edison filed suits in
San Francisco and Los Angeles federal court, respectively. They seek a
court order permitting them to boost retail rates to recover the losses
they've incurred from the wholesale price hikes. Since then, PG&E
requested a 17 percent rate increase for residential customers, but the
CPUC has countered with a proposal for a 10 percent hike.

Under the deregulation law, retail rates are frozen until March 2002 or
earlier if utilities recover so-called stranded costs -- money they
invested in plants and other facilities before deregulation. A
competitive transition charge is included in residential bills to cover
this cost.

Fiala said the CPUC told PG&E and Edison that they would not be permitted
to recover the costs they've incurred while the rate freeze was in
effect.

PG&E is paying "25 to 30 cents per kilowatt hour wholesale but is only
able to collect 5 cents per kilowatt hour," Fiala said. "As a matter of
fairness," she added, referring to utility companies and their
shareholders, "one subset of the public should not be subsidizing
California power consumption."

The state's third investor-owned utility, San Diego Gas & Electric, paid
off its stranded costs this summer. When the wholesale price of
electricity went up, it passed the costs on to consumers. Residents of
San Diego saw their bills triple or quadruple. In response, two class
actions were filed in San Diego Superior Court last month seeking to
obtain more than $1 billion in consumer refunds.

Going to court "is a sledgehammer solution," said Leonard Simon, partner
in the San Diego office of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach.
Plaintiffs are saying "'give us our money back.'" Simon is lead attorney
in one of the class actions, Hendricks v. Dynergy Power Marketing Inc.,
758565.

Plaintiffs in a similar class action, Gordon v. Reliant Energy Inc.,
758487, claim they were overcharged $4 billion. James Krause, of San
Diego's Krause & Kalfayan, who is representing the plaintiffs, said
electricity producers appear to have received confidential information on
a real-time basis in order to manipulate the market.

But attorneys for the electricity generators say the current pricing
levels are justified. They say the current crisis is due to energy supply
problems and reliance on the spot market.

"Demand has grown and resources have not kept pace, that's the
fundamental problem," said Norman Pedersen, a partner in the Los Angeles
office of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue and counsel to several generators,
including Williams Energy Services Co.

Utilities and consumer groups contend that the huge spike in wholesale
electricity rates is unjustified. Last December "we were paying
approximately $35 per megawatt hour, which translates to 3.5 cents per
kilowatt hour," said Southern California Edison spokesperson Steven
Conroy. The company is now paying as much as $1,400 per megawatt hour,
which would be equal to about $1.40 per kilowatt hour. "Is that a
reasonable amount of profit to be made?" Conroy said. "I don't think so."

Fiala added that generators have been making profits of 300 percent to
500 percent beyond their historic levels. Houston-based Reliant Energy
reported a 642 percent jump in operating income from its domestic
wholesale energy business this year. During the third quarter, income
totaled $319 million, compared with $43 million in the same period last
year.

Terry Houlihan, a partner at McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen who
represents Reliant, argued that the electricity price was set by the
market, not the generators. "Market-set prices are inherently fair, he
said. "That's the whole basis of our economic system."

As to utility company requests to cap wholesale prices, Houlihan said
such a measure would discourage investment in new plants, which are
necessary to solve the supply problem. Whatever action is taken in the
immediate future, energy attorneys are likely to remain busy. "Unless the
FERC or the court steps in," Heller's Berman said, the crisis " will keep
going." (The Recorder, December 26, 2000)


DIASENSOR COM: Reports on Settlement of PA Securities Suit and Subpoenas
------------------------------------------------------------------------
In April 1996, the Pennsylvania Securities Commission commenced a private
investigation into sales of the company’s common stock in our public
offering in an effort to determine whether any sales were made improperly
to Pennsylvania residents. Dissensor Com Inc. says the comapny cooperated
fully with the state and provided all of the information requested.

In May 1996, Diasensor, along with BICO and BICO's individual directors,
including David Purdy, Fred Cooper, and Anthony J. Feola, who are also
Diasensor’s officers and directors, were served with a federal class
action lawsuit based on alleged misrepresentations and violations of
federal securities laws. In 2000, the company agreed to settle the
lawsuit but denies violations of the securities laws. The parties reached
a settlement, and BICO has paid an aggregate of $2,150,000 toward the
settlement to date. An additional $1,300,000 is due in June 2001.
Diasensor says the company does not know whether the class action
plaintiffs have been formally notified of the settlement, or if they have
accepted its terms, but believes the existing settlement agreement will
end this matter.

In April 1998, Diasensor, along with Diasensor’s corporate affiliates,
were served with subpoenas requesting documents in connection with an
investigation by the U.S. Attorneys' office for the U.S. District Court
for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The company tells investors it
continues to submit various scientific, financial and contractual
documents in response to their requests.


DIGI INTERNATIONAL: Appeals Filed against Securities Suit Dismissal
-------------------------------------------------------------------
As previously reported in the CAR, between January 3, 1997 and March 7,
1997, the Company and certain of its previous officers were named as
defendants in putative securities class action lawsuits filed in the
United States District Court for the District of Minnesota by 21 lead
plaintiffs on behalf of an alleged class of purchasers of the Company's
common stock during the period January 25, 1996 through December 23,
1996. The putative class actions were thereafter consolidated (Master
File No. 97-5 DWF/RLE). The Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint
(Consolidated Amended Complaint) alleges that the Company and certain of
its previous officers violated the federal securities laws by, among
other things, misrepresenting and/or omitting material information
concerning the Company's operations and financial results.

On February 25, 1997, the Company and certain of its previous officers
also were named as defendants in a securities lawsuit filed in the United
States District Court for the District of Minnesota by the Louisiana
State Employees Retirement System (Civil File No. 97-440, Master File No.
97-5 DWF/RLE) (the Louisiana Amended Complaint). The Louisiana Amended
Complaint alleges that the Company and certain of its previous officers
violated the federal securities laws and state common law by, among other
things, misrepresenting and/or omitting material information concerning
the Company's operations and financial results.

In a decision issued on May 22, 1998, the Court dismissed without leave
to replead all claims asserted in both cases, including all claims
asserted against defendant Gary L. Deaner, except for certain federal
securities law claims based upon alleged misrepresentations and/or
omissions relating to the accounting treatment applied to the Company's
AetherWorks investment. The Court also limited the claims asserted in the
Louisiana Amended Complaint to the 11,000 shares of the Company's stock
held subsequent to November 14, 1996, for which the Louisiana Amended
Complaint claims damages of $184,276 and seeks an award of attorneys'
fees, disbursements and costs. The Consolidated Amended Complaint seeks
compensatory damages of approximately $43.1 million, plus interest,
against all defendants, jointly and severally, and an award of attorneys'
fees, experts' fees and costs.

                                Update

On August 17, 2000, the Court granted defendants' motions for summary
judgment and dismissed with prejudice the Consolidated Amended Complaint
and the Louisiana Amended Complaint. Although the 21 lead plaintiffs in
the consolidated putative class actions had previously moved for class
certification, the Court dismissed the actions before ruling on that
motion.

On September 1, 2000, the Louisiana State Employees Retirement System
filed an appeal from the Court's August 17, 2000 decision. On September
14, 2000, the 21 lead plaintiffs in the consolidated putative class
actions filed an appeal from both the Court's May 22, 1998 and August 17,
2000 decisions. The two appeals have been consolidated for briefing and
argument, with briefing scheduled to be completed in January 2001, and
oral argument to be held thereafter.


DONNA KARAN: Faces Shareholder Suit Over LVMH Offer
---------------------------------------------------
A Donna Karan International Corp. shareholder has sued the company and
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the French luxury-goods company that
has offered  to buy Donna Karan, on the grounds that LVMH's proposed $195
million acquisition   price is "unfair and inadequate."

Designer Donna Karan and her husband, Stephan Weiss, agreed to sell the
company's trademarks, which they own through closely held Gabrielle
Studio, to LVMH of Paris  for $450 million. The agreement was made in
tandem with LVMH's offer to acquire   publicly traded Donna Karan
International for $195 million, or at $8.50 a share,   which was a 74%
premium to the company's Dec. 15 closing price.

In the suit filed on Dec. 21 in Delaware Chancery Court, a Donna
Karan      shareholder, E. Janet Allred, is seeking to enjoin the sale of
trademarks to LVMH, a deal that some observers say separates the publicly
traded company from its most   important asset. The plaintiff accuses Ms.
Karan and Mr. Weiss of "preferring their own interest to realize the
maximum value on the sale of the trademarks," noting   that their deal
with LVMH had "effectively thwarted" the company from being shopped to
other buyers in order to "maximize shareholder value."

In the suit, the plaintiff also contends that the $195 million offer for
the    publicly traded company is inadequate, saying that some Wall
Street analysts and   portfolio managers estimate that the company should
garner a higher price, with one estimate between $14 to $15 a share.

The plaintiff, who is seeking class-action status for the suit, named
as      defendants Ms. Karan, Mr. Weiss, John Idol, who is Donna Karan's
chief executive,  and LVMH, which "knowingly aided and abetted the
breaches of fiduciary duty, committed by the individual defendants." (The
Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2000)


FIRESTONE INC: Scrambles for Confidence; Finger-Points at Failure
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.'s finger-pointing about tire failures linked
to 148 U.S. traffic deaths may wind up minimizing the company's
liability, but marketing experts say the public bickering is killing the
already ailing brand. The Nashville, Tenn.-based unit of Japan's
Bridgestone Corp. issued before the holidays a blizzard of statements
pinpointing manufacturing difficulties and design flaws as the so-called
"root cause" of the problem tires.

Firestone ran full-page ads proclaiming, "Firestone. A New Beginning."
The tiremaker recounted its recent actions "to regain our customers'
confidence and not disappoint them again." Publicity Is Step One "It's a
first step toward rebuilding consumer confidence in the Firestone brand
and explaining the steps we are taking to regain our customers'
confidence," Bridgestone/Firestone spokeswoman Jill Meyer told Reuters.

Firestone's release of the results of a four-month investigation into the
tire failures also laid blame on Ford Motor Co.'s popular Explorer sport
utility vehicle, on which many of the 6.5 million recalled tires were
mounted. In so doing, the tiremaker ignited another round of
finger-pointing between the two companies after a period of relative
calm. "Firestone continues to be unable to elevate its brand above the
skirmish with Ford," said John Grace, of Interbrand, a New York branding
firm. Grace and other branding experts believe the company must stop
blaming Ford publicly if it hopes to regain consumers' trust. New Chief
Executive "Whether or not Ford was guilty or wrong, by constantly
pointing the finger, (consumers) became suspect of their brand," he said.

Some of Firestone's public relations problems were alleviated in October
when it elevated John Lampe to chief executive of the unit. "Mr. Lampe is
doing a credible job in taking full responsibility," Grace said. But
Lampe's efforts were thwarted somewhat by comments from Yoichiro Kaizaki,
president of the Japanese parent, when he denied its U.S. tires had
serious design flaws and blamed many of the failures on outside factors.

Suzanne Hogan, senior partner at Lippincott & Margulies, a New York brand
strategy firm, said the renewed rancor only hurts the Firestone brand. "I
think their actions tend to support the previous behavior that got them
into trouble to begin with. It's almost a repeat of what we saw a couple
of months ago," she said, adding that the company seems to lack basic
knowledge of crisis management. Focus On Safety Hogan said the best
direction for Firestone to take now is to emerge as a leader in tire
safety, an approach the company seems to be attempting with its
announcement of new quality measures. Those will be followed up with an
advertising campaign in 2001 from Gray Worldwide of New York stressing
its quality message.

According to Advertising Age, the campaign will draw from the idea,
"Working hard to earn your trust every day." Avoid Bickering But Hogan
said the company cannot succeed in any consumer communications if it
continues its contentious statements. "If you're communicating one thing
to the public and your behavior shows something else, that's a huge
misalignment."

In response, Firestone's Meyer said: "We've had two major priorities,
which are to carry out the recall as quickly as possible and to determine
the root cause of any problems. From there, the next goal is to rebuild
the Firestone brand." Most Tires Replaced Bridgestone/Firestone says
about 90% of the tires have been replaced. Don Barrett, lead council in a
class action suit representing 180 cases against Firestone, said part of
the media blitz was aimed at containing the scope of the company's
recall. "They're doing an all-out publicity blitz to accomplish that," he
said. David Lubars, president and creative director of Publicis unit
Fallon, Minneapolis, said that although he sympathizes with the company's
need to reduce its legal exposure, the continued bickering only delays
the process of healing the brand. (Investor's Business Daily, December
26, 2000)


HASTINGS ENTERTAINMENT: Faces Six Securities Lawsuits in Texas
--------------------------------------------------------------
On March 7, 2000, the Company announced that its fourth quarter and
fiscal 1999 results (and the previous four fiscal years' results) would
be negatively impacted by certain accounting adjustments. Following the
Company's initial announcement in March 2000 of the requirement for the
accounting restatements, six purported class action lawsuits were filed
in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
against the Company and certain of the current and former directors and
officers of the Company asserting various claims under Sections 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Although four of the
lawsuits were originally filed in the Dallas Division of the Northern
District of Texas, all of the five pending actions have been or will be
transferred to the Amarillo Division of the Northern District and should
be consolidated. One of the Section 10(b) and 20(a) lawsuits filed in the
Dallas Division was voluntarily dismissed. On May 15, 2000, a lawsuit was
filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of
Texas against the Company, its current and former directors and officers
at the time of the Company's June 1998 initial public offering and three
underwriters, Salomon Smith Barney, A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc. and Furman
Selz, LLC asserting various claims under Sections 11, 12(2) and 15 of the
Securities Act of 1933.

None of the six pending complaints specify the amount of damages sought.
The company says it is not feasible to predict or determine the final
outcome of the proceedings or to estimate the potential range of loss
with respect to these matters, but expects that an adverse outcome with
respect to such proceedings could have a material adverse impact on the
Company's financial position, results of operations and cash flows.


LOUISIANA: Impact Of Oyster Bed Ruling Weighed
----------------------------------------------
A decade ago, a wall of Mississippi River water and mud came gushing into
the prime oyster grounds of Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes in
southeastern Louisiana, near New Orleans.

It was the result of a project designed to replenish wetlands with the
sediment-rich water. However, the short term effect was to ruin oyster
beds.

Now, five oyster harvesters stand poised to collect a $48 million
taxpayer-financed settlement. If the judgment awarded recently by a
Plaquemines Parish jury survives a planned appeal, and if its logic is
applied to the additional 125 claimants in a class-action suit, it could
cost the state more than $700 million.

"It's an incredible dilemma facing our state," Department of Natural
Resources Secretary Jack Caldwell said. "It's totally unrealistic to
expect the taxpayers of Louisiana to pay $21,345 for every acre of oyster
lease" that falls in the path of diversion projects, he said, citing the
jury's figures.

Caldwell said the judgment threatens the Davis Pond diversion, planned to
open next summer. Despite a new program to compensate oyster harvesters
in advance, they could choose to opt out of the program in hopes of suing
later, Caldwell said.

"Basically, the state can't afford to go forward with coastal restoration
if this is what's going to happen," said Andrew Wilson, the state's
attorney in the case.

If so, the settlement is a spiked bed of the state's own making, say
oyster industry advocates and attorneys for the oyster harvesters in the
6-year-old lawsuit. Caernarvon was an experiment on a scale never before
attempted, capable of rerouting unheard-of amounts of fresh water and
silt through the marsh in hopes of building land and restoring fisheries,
including, in the long run, oyster beds. In general, the oyster industry
supports diversions. But state officials knew the potential for
destroying valuable oyster grounds in the short run, and did nothing to
relocate or compensate oyster farmers in the path, plaintiff's attorneys
argued.

State officials learned their lesson. The state has created a $7.5
million fund to pay oyster harvesters in the path of the Davis Pond
diversion project.

Attorney Phillip Cossich said Caldwell's dire predictions, both for the
astronomical damage award and for the future of diversions, are "just
somebody saying the sky is falling."

Not every leaseholder will get $21,000 per acre; each case must be taken
on its merits. And oyster harvesters should have no grounds to sue if, as
planned with Davis Pond, the state will pay to relocate leases before the
fresh water is let loose.

"This should not harm freshwater diversions statewide," Cossich said.
"The state has plans to compensate people up front now."

Many liken the situation to a new interstate coming through a
neighborhood: The state can take your property in the name of the public
good, but it has to pay fair market value for it. The state did not offer
to pay the Caernarvon oyster harvesters, plaintiff's attorneys said, and
to date has never offered a settlement despite repeated overtures to
negotiate.

Under the Davis Pond relocation plan, oyster farmers have four options:
Take a one-time payment and give up the beds; exchange them for other,
equally valued grounds; have the state pay to move their oysters to a new
location; or stay and take their chances.

The plan has wide support within the industry, said Mike Voisin, a member
of the state Oyster Task Force, a state-appointed advisory board
primarily of oyster industry officials. As it applies to the Caernarvon
case, however, it's about a decade late.

"In my personal opinion, the state could have resolved this a long time
ago and been able to deal with a lot less of a challenge than they are
now," he said. "This was the guinea pig project. There were smaller
diversions in the area, but nothing like Caernarvon. And they (the oyster
harvesters) were the guinea pigs."

A statement by the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana concurred,
saying, "If the verdict stands, this a self-inflicted wound." Still, the
nonprofit group urged the state to appeal and to reform policies that
leave the state vulnerable to such "crippling judgments." (The Associated
Press State & Local Wire, December 26, 2000)


NASDAQ PRICE-FIXING: Settlement To Reach Entitled Investors Soon
----------------------------------------------------------------
Investors waiting for a piece of the historic $1 billion settlement of
the Nasdaq Stock Market price-fixing case can soon expect their payments.
But not necessarily  in time to pay some Christmas bills.

Settlement lawyers said that checks were about to be mailed ("on or
about Dec. 23," technically) to the approximately 1,249,500 claimants, in
keeping  with past guidelines about timing. Nasdaq investors who filed
claim forms by the   Dec. 8, 1999, deadline were told that the
distributions would be made "by year end  2000." However, with the busy
holiday mailing season, it could be several days or  even into the new
year before investors actually receive their checks.

The payout is part of the widely publicized settlement of
price-fixing      allegations made in the mid-1990s against securities
firms that act as market makers for Nasdaq stocks. Under the settlement's
terms, investors who traded shares on   Nasdaq from 1989 to 1996 were
able to claim part of the $1.027 billion collected   from the group of
Wall Street firms that settled the charges. (Nasdaq itself wasn't
accused, and the firms settled without admitting or denying wrongdoing.)

The price-fixing case dates back to 1994, when a study by two professors
showed  that spreads, the difference between the prices at which Nasdaq
market makers buy  and sell stocks, were unusually wide. The study led to
a civil lawsuit, a government crackdown on Nasdaq trading, an eventual
restructuring of the Nasdaq and the     settlement.

"This is the largest antitrust recovery ever, in terms of how much was
paid," said Arthur Kaplan, one of the attorneys overseeing the process.

Claim checks will range from just $25 in some cases to more than $11
million,   which is the largest single recovery, by one unidentified
institution.

The total distributions mailed to claimants, after expenses and fees have
been   deducted, will be about $896,233,301. Individual investors can
expect to receive   approximately 2.47 cents a share, or a minimum of $25
a claimant, depending on    whichever is greater. Meanwhile,
institutional investors can expect to receive about 1.65 cents a share.
Individual investors get a higher per-share compensation, to   make up
for the advantage institutional investors generally have in the market.

However, about 85% of claimants were individual investors. The number of
valid   claims filed was approximately 1,551,650, out of a total of about
1,635,952 claims. The number of claims is greater than the number of
claimants because in       circumstances where multiple brokerage
accounts were involved, claimants were    permitted to file more than one
claim.

"Class members are effectively recovering full damages. That's a great
result in  any settlement, and extraordinary result in a class action
involving more than one  million claimants," Mr. Kaplan said.

Claims administrators attribute the number of valid claims to innovations
in the  facilitation of claim filing. Most class members received claim
forms that already  had all of their transactions in class securities
filled in for them from      information provided from computerized
records by defendants and other brokerage   firms, said Mr. Kaplan. "It
is the first time we are aware of this being done in any major antitrust
class action," he said. "This case led the way in terms of utilizing
computerized records to reconstruct transactions and facilitate recovery
by large  numbers of claimants."

To be eligible for a slice of the settlement pie, investors must have
traded one  of 1,659 Nasdaq stocks. The list of those stocks includes
names such as Microsoft  Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Intel Corp., but
not every stock is covered for the  entire seven-year claim period.
Investors in the big Nasdaq stock Intel, for     example, can make claims
for trades executed in May through December of 1989, and  June 1990
through May 1994. (The Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2000)


POLYPHASE CORP: Seeks Injunction on Rearguments of NV Securities Suits
----------------------------------------------------------------------
During fiscal 1997, five substantially identical complaints were filed in
the United States District Court for the District of Nevada against the
Company and certain of its current and past officers and directors. The
complaints each sought certification as a class action and asserted
liability based on alleged misrepresentations that the plaintiffs claimed
resulted in the market price of the Company's stock being artificially
inflated. Without certifying the cases as class actions, the District
Court consolidated the cases into a single action.

In March 2000, the District Court dismissed the plaintiffs' claims
against one of the Company's officers and directors and restricted the
plaintiffs from pursuing a number of their claims against the other
defendants. The Court also granted the remaining defendants leave to file
motions for summary judgment. Motions for summary judgment were
thereafter filed, pointing out that there was no evidence to support the
plaintiffs' claims. In November 2000, in a lengthy decision addressing
the plaintiffs' claims against each of the remaining defendants, the
District Court granted the motions for summary judgment, thereby
disposing of all of the claims asserted by the plaintiffs. Without
presenting any new evidence or any new arguments for the Court to
consider, the plaintiffs have sought reargument of the summary judgment
motions. The defendants have responded and have requested that the
District Court impose sanctions against plaintiffs' counsel pursuant to
the applicable securities laws.

The Company and its subsidiaries are involved in certain legal actions
and claims arising in the ordinary course of business. However,
management believes (based, in part, on advice of legal counsel) that
such litigation and claims will be resolved without material effect on
the Company's financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.


SEDGWICK COUNTY: Jail Officers May Sue for Overtime Pay
-------------------------------------------------------
Sedgwick County jail officers say the county is not moving fast enough in
trying to resolve pay issues that could cost more than $1.3 million. The
officers want higher base pay, plus back pay for alleged violations of
federal laws governing overtime pay. Sedgwick County officials have said
they are working to solve the problems.

Cpl. Randy Stroud told county commissioners that he and other detention
officers in the Sheriff's Department may file a class-action lawsuit in
federal court based on the overtime pay. The officers also are seeking to
organize a union, he said. "We have a right to be heard," Stroud said.

The officers are being heard, but threats of a lawsuit will not advance
their cause, county manager Bill Buchanan said. More than 300 of the 517
Sheriff's Department employees work in the jail.

A recent survey showed that compared to communities such as Des Moines,
Lincoln, Neb. and Charlotte, N.C., Sedgwick County's deputies are paid 6
percent to 7 percent below the market rate. The survey also showed the
pay difference between road-patrol and jail deputies was wider than
normal.

Road-patrol deputies traditionally are paid 3.5 percent more on average
in the county's pay survey, but the difference is more than 15 percent in
Sedgwick County. The county now pays road-patrol deputies $28,000 to
$40,500 a year, while jail officers earn $24,000 to $35,000.

Fixing the pay issue immediately would cost at least $1.3 million,
Buchanan said, money which is not in the 2001 budget. The county's
finance department is studying how to boost deputies' pay without hurting
other county services, he said. (The Associated Press, December 25, 2000)



U-M: Minorities Set to Testify at Alleged Entry Discrimination Suit
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Students say criteria used for law school entry discriminate. A courtroom
of University of Michigan students applauded when a federal court judge
ruled that he would hold a trial about the legality of the University of
Michigan Law School's admissions policy, the second of two affirmative
action lawsuits against the college.

The students had spent three years hoping for that decision, though it
didn't rule on the policy itself.

With the case against the Law School admissions program going to trial
next month, these students -- part of a group of defendants intervening
on U-M's side -- will be able to tell for the first time in court how
they believe the admissions criteria discriminate against minority
students. Their argument is different from the university's, which
contends that affirmative action is needed to get a diverse enrollment
that benefits the education of all students.

The intervening defendants say that affirmative action is needed to
offset discrimination students face before applying to law school,
including standardized tests they consider culturally biased. "It will be
the first time the racism of the basic admissions criteria will be
exposed," said Miranda Massie of Detroit, lawyer for the intervenors. "It
will be at the center of the legal debate on affirmative action."

These arguments come at a time when law school administrators have
started considering other ways to judge applicants besides grades and
test scores. Earlier this month, the Law School Admissions Council, which
administers the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), launched a $10-
million initiative encouraging schools to rework their policies to
attract a more diverse pool of students. They encouraged admissions
officials to place less emphasis on the test and grades and more weight
on personal background.

"I'll be testifying to register why there is a need for affirmative
action, about how I've been affected by racism," said Agnes Aleobua, a
U-M sophomore from Detroit who plans to speak at this winter's trial
about problems at Cass Tech High School that kept her from getting higher
grades. She said minority students are further discriminated against in
college and in standardized tests for law school.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ordered a trial on three issues:

* How much weight the law school gives to an applicant's race.

* Whether the law school uses a double standard that favors less-
   qualified minority applicants.

* Whether race should be considered to offset disadvantages minority
   students face in test scores and grades.

He must also decide whether having a diverse student body justifies using
affirmative action.

Earlier this month, a different federal judge ruled without a trial that
U- M's undergraduate admissions program is legal, but struck down a
former policy that set aside spots for minorities. He cited evidence that
U-M put in the record to show the importance of a diverse class.

The pending class-action suit was brought by a 47-year-old Plymouth
Township woman who says white applicants are discriminated against in
favor of less-qualified minority students. The law school "employs a
systematic double standard" based on race, said Kirk Kolbo, lead attorney
for the plaintiff.

"We have said since the beginning that race is one factor we use," said
Law School Dean Jeffrey Lehman. "It sometimes makes a difference, but
that does not mean it is a ... double standard."

During the trial, the intervening defense team expects to call current
U-M law students and prospective applicants to describe bias they've
faced. Students from schools in Texas and California, states which have
struck down affirmative action, also are expected to testify about
problems they've encountered at colleges that don't have the policies.

"This is a new justification for taking race into account in law school
admissions as a way of equalizing the disadvantages that minority
students have in comparison to whites," said Bob Sedler, a Wayne State
University constitutional law professor. "The intervenors are going to
have to prove that minority students as a group are at a competitive
disadvantage with white students. "This is the first time this issue will
have been litigated." (The Detroit News, December 24, 2000)


UNIFY CORP: Reports on Recent Investors’ Complaints Filed in California
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The company reports that beginning on July 31 and through October 2000, a
series of purported class action complaints were filed in the U.S.
District Court, for the Northern District of California, against Unify
and certain of its present and former directors and officers. The
plaintiffs in each of these actions claim to be suing on behalf of a
class of persons who purchased the Company's Common Stock during periods
specified in the complaint.

The class periods generally alleged are May 19, 1999 to July 28, 2000.
The complaints allege that Unify and certain of its former executives
caused materially false and misleading financial statements to be issued
for the fiscal year 1999 and for each of its first three fiscal 2000
quarters. The complaints allege that, as a result of Unify's alleged
misrepresentations and omissions, the price of Unify's stock was
artificially inflated during the class period, allowing company insiders
to sell their stock at artificially high prices and causing investors to
buy the stock at artificially high prices. The complaints seek an
unspecified amount in damages. These actions have not yet been
consolidated.

From August through October 2000, four shareholder derivative actions
were filed three in the Superior Court of the State of California and one
in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The
plaintiffs in these actions claim to be suing on behalf of the Company.
These actions name as defendants certain of the Company's present and
former officers and directors, and names the Company as a nominal
defendant.

Additionally, in October 2000, a shareholder derivative action was filed
in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California,
against certain present and former officers and directors of Unify. The
complaints allege substantially the same conduct, and concern the same
time period, as the shareholder class actions filed in U.S. District
Court. The complaints allege that, as a result of this conduct, certain
of the Company present and former officers and directors breached their
fiduciary duties to Unify and engaged in improper insider trading. The
complaint seeks an unspecified amount in damages and injunctive relief.


WESTERN AUTO: Fed Judge in Tampa Certifies Black Employees' Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Three ex-Western Auto employees who are black allege a pattern of racial
bias.

During her nine years at Western Auto, Briget Drayton worked in the
store's lowest-level job of cashier, repeatedly asking to be considered
for training and promotions. Instead, the black woman said she had
watched white men get promoted. She said she got paid less than white men
in the same position, including those who were just hired. And, she said,
she took a leave of absence after managers made disturbing remarks about
her race. "You people are so stupid," she said a white assistant manager
once had told her. Another time, she said, a white employee had told her,
"N-----s just make me sick." After she complained to higher managers, she
said, nothing was done.

Drayton and two other former St. Petersburg store employees sued Western
Auto now part of the retail giant Advance Auto Parts - for racial
discrimination in 1998.

This month, their suit got a huge boost. A federal judge in Tampa
certified the suit a class action, allowing the company's former black
employees and job candidates from around the nation to join. At least
1,000 people have been identified as members of the class, but that could
change, according to court documents. In the next few months, U.S.
District Court Judge Richard Lazzara is expected to authorize attorneys
to begin contacting those employees, probably through letters or
advertisements.

Attorneys for Advance Auto of Roanoke, Va., declined to comment on the
case. But in court documents the company repeatedly denies the
accusations.

Jim Wade, company president and chief financial officer, also declined to
comment except to say the allegations were made before Advance Auto took
over Western Auto. "It doesn't relate to Advance Auto," Wade said. "We at
Advance pride ourselves on our employee relations."

The suit was filed on behalf of Drayton, Wanda Gibbs Mitchell and Anthony
Rich - former employees who had worked at the Western Auto store on 34th
Street N in St. Petersburg.

As a class action, though, the suit could include black workers in
Western Auto's retail division or those who applied for jobs there since
July 7, 1994.

In the Western Auto case, the former employees claim the company
discriminated against black workers by:

* Assigning them to jobs with limited promotional opportunities.

* Denying them full-time status.

* Paying black workers less.

* Retaliating against black employees who complained about the policies.

* Western Auto also matched workers to the racial makeup of the
   customers, meaning it confined black employees to stores in black
   areas of a city.

"You shop where you're comfortable, I shop where I am comfortable and
that - I mean, we've proven - I mean, that from a business standpoint
it's a no-brainer," regional vice president Don Lockard said in a 1998
deposition.

The suit, originally filed in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court and then
transferred to federal court in Tampa, was brought against both Western
Auto, which no longer exists, and Advance Auto Parts.

The Sears-owned Western Auto, which also operated Parts America stores,
merged with Advance Auto Parts in 1998. Advance Auto touts itself as the
second-largest automotive parts retailer in the nation, with more than
1,750 stores and 23,000 employees in 37 states. The company has about 40
stores in Florida.

Drayton, Mitchell and Rich had jobs that were phased out when Western
Auto became Parts America, court documents say. Drayton was a cashier for
nine years; Mitchell, a cashier for 13 years; and Rich, a mechanic for
almost three years. At the time they filed suit, none of company's top 85
executives were black and fewer than 2 percent of 600 store managers were
black, court records say.

The plaintiffs are asking that the company stop engaging in
discrimination, set up programs to provide opportunities for minorities
and restore black workers to the jobs and salaries they would have had if
not for discrimination. The three also are requesting compensatory and
punitive damages for themselves.

In court documents, the company unsuccessfully argued that the case
should be dismissed or at least not certified a class action for many
reasons: The former employees' statute of limitations had expired; they
are not entitled by law to be rehired because they are not claiming they
were fired based on discrimination; and the burden is extreme and would
seriously disrupt operations.

Advance Auto also said that Western Auto's retail division no longer
exists and that the company would have to restructure the business to
comply with demands. "Advance is an innocent employer," court documents
say. "There is no claim, much less than evidence, that Advance ever
discriminated against plaintiffs or any members of the putative class."
(St. Petersburg Times, December 26, 2000)


                                *********


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

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