CAR_Public/010116.MBX                   C L A S S  A C T I O N  R E P O R T E R

                 Tuesday, January 16, 2001, Vol. 3, No. 11

                                  Headlines

COMPUTER LEARNING: Some Students Say They Didn't Learn What Was Paid for
DOJ: NTEU, Justice Agree On 'Core Issues' In 'Special Rates' Pay Case
EMPLOYEE TRUST: Accused of Shortchanging Beneficiaries of Death Benefits
GATEWAY, INC: Wolf Haldenstein Commences Securities Fraud Suit in CA
GENERAL MOTORS: Buyers in Defect Case Argue against Forced Arbitration

HAMILTON BANCORP: Cauley Geller Announces Lawsuit Filed in Florida
HAMILTON BANCORP: Milberg Weiss Announces Lawsuit Files in Florida
HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: AP Reports on Clinton Administrationís Work This Week
INTRENET INC: Investor Sues Defunct Trucking Co. over Misrepresentation
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: NAACP and Civil Rights Groups Announce on Lawsuit

QUALCOMM INC: Defends Employment Termination Suit Filed Feb 2000 in CA
QUALCOMM INC: Former Staff Sue for Benefits after QPE Ceased Operations
QUALCOMM INC: Settlement with Former Employees Voided Due to Opt-outs
STRIP SEARCH: New York's Closed Lawsuit Serves Is Noteworthy Experience
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Medical Testimony Expected in W. Va. Smokers' Suit

U OF MISSISSIPPI: Jackson State Loses Request For Law School
WATER CONTAMINATION: Ontario E. Coli Victims Argue for Class Cert.
Y2K LITIGATION: Most of Fraud Claim against Lucent Stays; Others Tossed

* Accessible Technology Clock Starts On Section 508 Compliance
* CARE States Opposition to Sen. Holden's 2nd Crash Parts Bill

                                 *********

COMPUTER LEARNING: Some Students Say They Didn't Learn What Was Paid for
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gerard Robinson saw the commercials advertising Computer Learning Centers
for years. So when he decided to improve his skills -- hoping to land a
promotion or even start his own business some day -- the school came to
mind as a perfect fit.

For six months ending last October, Robinson, a computer network
administrator at a Frederick engineering firm, kept a record of the
problems he encountered at the Laurel campus where he was taking an
evening network technology course. They included computer breakdowns,
missing teachers, and others that he said prevented him from learning
what he needed to know. "If I had known this, I would have just driven
down the road and thrown [$ 10,000] out the window," he said. "That's
what this has been like."

Helped by federal student aid and riding a wave of demand for high-tech
talent and hordes of workers eager to improve their careers, Computer
Learning became one of the best-known names in the computer training
business in the late 1990s.

But with Computer Learning's huge growth in recent years came problems
with students and regulators that called into question Computer
Learning's business practices, culminating in a recent decision by the
U.S. Department of Education to demand the return of $ 187 million in
financial aid the company and its students have received since 1994.

And despite attempts by a new chief executive to mend the company's
practices as well as its balance sheet, students at Computer Learning's
Laurel campus interviewed in recent weeks continue to cite problems with
the company's teaching, tools and administration.

According to a half-dozen students who took one particularly troubled
course at Laurel last year, the company hasn't lived up to its promise
and isn't making good on its mistakes.

Alex Teitelbaum, regional manager for Computer Learning, said the
students brought their problems to the attention of the administration
last fall, and he said they were resolved. "I guess what's surprising is
I've talked with local management at length. . . . I don't see what the
issues [still] are."

Other students from the Laurel campus described conditions similar to
those that Robinson noted. Their chief complaints are that they haven't
been taught what they expected and have not had the hands-on experience
they need, so they cannot take certification exams necessary for many of
the high-paying technical jobs they seek.

After students read Computer Learning chief executive John L. Corse's
claim that administrative and sales tactics cited by the Education
Department had been remedied, about a dozen came forward to The
Washington Post to say they are not getting what they bargained for.

Teitelbaum, however, referred to letters given to students late last year
stating that they could retake the classes free if they felt they hadn't
learned anything. Most students declined, saying they couldn't commit to
another 16 weeks of class.

"Who has time to come back to this school?" said Juliet Gomez, who left
in November without graduating. "If they had their act together, we
wouldn't have to keep coming back."

Gomez twice was offered free classes at Computer Learning to make up for
what she considers a broken teaching system. Gomez took a "computer
electronic tech" course from March 1997 to July 1998. "They were just
beginning to form CLC in Laurel back then, so we had no tools, had to
share computers, not enough teachers," she said.

Computer Learning allowed students to retake several sections of the
course free until 2000.

Gomez, 39, who works full-time as an executive assistant at
PricewaterhouseCoopers, decided to try again. She returned to Computer
Learning in May to take Hardware I, hoping that things had changed. She
said the problems recurred. "I was shaking my head saying I can't believe
I'm back in this again," she said.

Computer Learning had more than 9,500 students enrolled in its 25
training centers nationwide in the first nine months of 2000. The company
has grown quickly since 1996, reaching $ 129 million in revenue in the
year ending last October.

The company trains people seeking certification as network engineers,
particularly for such programs as Microsoft Windows NT and Novell. The
company also offers classes designed to develop proficiency in
programming languages such as Java, C++ and HTML.

The first serious trouble for Computer Learning came in May 1999 when the
Maryland Higher Education Commission ordered it to pay a $ 60,000 fine
and refund $ 650,000 to 900 former students at the Laurel campus who
could not pass entrance exams, did not have high school diplomas or
lacked other qualifications.

"They had deviated so far [from state education standards] that we no
longer approved it," said Judy Hendrickson, director of academic affairs
at the commission. Hendrickson said she was not aware of any written
complaints from Computer Learning students recently. "I'm surprised to
hear this," she said of the student complaints. "We will certainly
research it and look into it."

Chief executive Corse said most of the problems and lawsuits in Maryland
and other states were settled. He has appealed the $ 187 million claim by
the Education Department, which said the company violated the Higher
Education Act by paying recruiters a commission for each student they
brought in. The school said it was unaware of rules prohibiting
commissions.

If the company loses the appeal and must repay the money, Computer
Learning probably would be put out of business. It doesn't have the cash
to pay the claim, and if the Education Department stops funding its
financial aid program, its main source of income would cease.

Corse said he expects the appeal to be resolved this week.

Stephanie Robinson, who is not related to Gerard Robinson, is a night
student taking Windows NT classes at Laurel. She has taken the same five
classes since late March as Gerard, each lasting eight weeks, including
Introduction to Computers, Desktop Systems, and Hardware I and II. She is
now in Data Communications, where "we're actually learning something."

The Hardware I class, which started in July, had to be restarted four
times, she said, because one teacher left, two different substitutes came
in, then another full-time teacher was hired. In Hardware I, she said,
there were 15 students working on 10 computers most of the time. In
Hardware II there were 14 students working on five computers, she said.

She said night students often use the computers on which day students
practice, leaving some of them with blank hard drives. The night students
"spend more time fixing than learning," she said.

The classes that are supposed to prepare students for a test required for
so-called A+ certification are the first four classes: Intro, Desktop and
Hardware I and II. "We didn't learn enough because we didn't have
hands-on experience," Robinson said. "Nobody took the exam because we
couldn't pass it. We didn't know that much."

After Hardware II ended in October, the students met with administration.
They were given a letter that said that when they graduate at the end of
May, they can come back and take Desktop and the two hardware courses
free.

But most of the students have full-time jobs and families, and don't have
time to take the classes again. "We lost about six months of our lives
doing something stupid," Stephanie Robinson said.

Teitelbaum, Computer Learning's regional manager, said: "I would
characterize this as something like we had issues, we responded and like
in any education system, you have people that are at some point
dissatisfied."

Stephanie Robinson, a program support assistant with the Education
Department, has three sons under age 14. With classes after work three
days a week, she usually doesn't get home in time to spend evenings with
her children. "I'm sacrificing a lot for this," she said.

Gerard Robinson, who has a 4-year-old son, said he spends many hours
commuting between work and class, and also says he has spent evenings and
weekends at home teaching himself what he should have learned in class.

"I wouldn't recommend [CLC] to my worst enemy," said Raymond Willey, a
night student who works full-time at Curtis Propeller Service in Temple
Hills. "None of the equipment ever works, and a lot of the stuff is
outdated."

Corse said many students complain, but said the complaints are usually
unfounded or quickly resolved. "We work very hard with these students,"
he said.

Teitelbaum said the students "we're vocal at the end of the summer. And
the school director and national director of school relations went in and
addressed their issues." At the end of a class in November, students were
given a survey to fill out. Teitelbaum said most of the surveys came back
to administration with "a very high level of satisfaction."

The U.S. Education Department has not received complaints from students,
spokesman Karen Freeman said. (The Washington Post, January 15, 2001)


DELCO REMY: Stockholders Sue in DE Seeking to Enjoin Court Square Offer
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
On December 28, 2000, Perry Fuller, Henry Rose and DPM Limited
Partnership each filed separate complaints (the "Claims") in the Court of
Chancery of the State of Delaware, New Castle County, as a result of
Court Square's initial communication to Delco Remy International Inc of
its intention to make the Offer on December 22, 2000. Each plaintiff of
the Claims is a stockholder of the Company and is seeking class action
certification on behalf of the stockholders of the Company. Court Square,
the Company and the individual members of the Company Board are named
defendants in the Claims.

The Claims allege, among other things, that the timing of the tender
offer is intended to "freeze out" the Public Stockholders to the benefit
of Court Square without paying an adequate or fair price. The plaintiffs
of the Claims have demanded certain remedies including a preliminary and
permanent injunction of the transactions that are contemplated by the
Offer. Court Square and the Purchaser do not believe that the Claims have
any merit and Court Square will vigorously defend the Claims and seek
their dismissal. The company says there can be no assurance, however,
that Court Square will be successful in its defense against the Claims.
The Purchaser's obligation to purchase and pay for the Shares is subject
to certain conditions which are applicable to these Claims.


DOJ: NTEU, Justice Agree On 'Core Issues' In 'Special Rates' Pay Case
--------------------------------------------------------------------- The
National Treasury Employees Union and the Department of Justice have
reached agreement on the "core issues" in a long-standing special rates
pay class- action suit.

The parties appeared in federal court Dec. 18 at a status hearing to
determine how special rates employees who were denied or given
significantly lower pay increases between 1982 and 1988 would be
compensated.

NTEU President Colleen Kelley said the union and the DOJ "are committed
to promptly produce a written agreement" that will result in payment of
back pay to the more than 188,000 current and former federal employees
affected.

Another status hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 12.

"This battle has been in the federal courts for a long time," Kelley
said, "and we intend to keep it before the court until affected federal
workers and retirees get their money."

The class action suit stems from a 1982 Office of Personnel Management
regulation that denied or minimized pay increases for special rates
employees. In 1998, a federal judge determined the provision was illegal.

Since then, NTEU and the DOJ have been working to develop a plan for the
government to pay back compensation to affected employees.

Special-rate employees are paid at higher salary levels for working in
jobs that are hard to fill because of the position's duties or location.
(Federal Human Resources Week, January 8, 2001)


EMPLOYEE TRUST: Accused of Shortchanging Beneficiaries of Death Benefits
------------------------------------------------------------------------The
Department of Employee Trust Funds shortchanges some beneficiaries owed
death benefits, a Shorewood woman claims in a class action lawsuit.

Mary Fazio claims in the lawsuit filed in Dane County Circuit Court that
the department wrongly refused to pay her interest from the date her
husband died to the date she received her $ 506,570 death benefit from
his Wisconsin Retirement System account. Fazio's husband died on Jan. 2,
1999, but she didn't get the lump sum benefit until Dec. 21, 2000,
according to the lawsuit.

''The DETF has been unjustly enriched by the value of the use of such
funds,'' the lawsuit says. ''That value should, in equity, be distributed
to the plaintiff as the rightful owner of such funds.'' Fazio says she
wants to pursue the lawsuit as a class action ''since it is believed
there are hundreds or thousands of members of the plaintiff class whose
identity are not yet known,''

David Stella, administrator of the department's Division of Retirement
Services, said the issue raised by the lawsuit applies to death benefits
paid to beneficiaries of system members who reached the minimum
retirement age and died while employed. He said the department has
determined that state law doesn't authorize it to pay interest on such
benefits. (Wisconsin State Journal, January 13, 2001)


GATEWAY, INC: Wolf Haldenstein Commences Securities Fraud Suit in CA
-------------------------------------------------------------------- Wolf
Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP commenced a class action lawsuit in
the United States District Court for the Southern District of California
on behalf of all persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired
the common stock of Gateway, Inc. (NYSE: GTW - news) between October 13,
2000 and November 29, 2000, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Gateway and certain of its officers and directors
with issuing false and misleading statements concerning the Company's
business and financial condition. Specifically, the Complaint alleges
that during the Class Period, Gateway consistently proclaimed that the
price of its common stock was "undervalued" when in fact, the Company
knew that its growth was slowing and that it would fail to meet analysts'
consensus estimates.

On November 29, 2000, when the Company disclosed to the public what
defendants had known all along, the market price for Gateway's common
stock fell precipitously, erasing billions of dollars in market
capitalization.

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


GENERAL MOTORS: Buyers in Defect Case Argue against Forced Arbitration
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in a defect case against General Motors Corp. argue in the
Michigan Court of Appeals that GM may not force their federal warranty
law and state lemon law claims into arbitration. Abela et al. v. General
Motors Corp., No. 229434, appellee brief filed (Mich. Ct. App., Sept. 20,
2000).

The suit involves GM's "New Vehicle Purchase Program," under which
employees, retirees and surviving spouses may buy a GM car and receive
certain discounts. Under an arbitration clause, buyers were required to
submit any warranty dispute to arbitration and could not bring a lawsuit.
Violation of the rule could warrant loss of program privileges, repayment
of funds or termination.

In 1999, Barbara Abela bought a new Chevrolet Crew Cab pickup truck under
the program. After experiencing repeated problems with the truck's engine
which could not be repaired despite four attempts by GM -- Abela filed a
state court suit against the automaker alleging breach of warranty under
the Michigan Uniform Commercial Code and federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty
Act, and violation of the state lemon law.

GM responded with a motion to compel arbitration, at which point Abela
filed a class-action complaint charging that the program violated
Magnuson-Moss, the lemon law and the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.

In February 2000, the state attorney general directed GM to discontinue
the arbitration clause in the program. GM revised the clause, but
retained provisions requiring binding arbitration of express warranty
claims under Magnuson-Moss, and requiring consumers to waive their lemon
law right to a judicial remedy.

In August 2000, the trial court granted Abela summary judgment, finding
the arbitration clause illegal under Magnuson-Moss and the lemon law. GM
appealed.

                       The Plaintiffs' Response

Abela and the class say Magnuson-Moss provides that consumers may be
required to initially resort to alternative dispute resolution such as
arbitration, "as opposed to being required to only or finally resort to
such mechanisms." The brief states, "Every published federal court
decision on the issue supports the trial court's holding that
Magnuson-Moss claims may not be forced into arbitration."

In addition, Abela argues, "The lemon law provides that no right
protected under it may be waived. One of the many rights it protects is
the right to take a Lemon Law claim to court."

The plaintiffs also reject GM's contention that because it withdrew and
amended the clause before the summary judgment hearing, its legality
should not have been considered. The brief states, "In light of the fact
that GM could easily re-instate the clause at any time, and for more than
a year GM had imposed its Original Arbitration Clause upon plaintiff and
other employee/consumers in violation of Michigan law, the trial court
was surely correct in addressing it."

The plaintiffs are represented by E. Powell Miller and Gerald Mantese of
Mantese, Miller & Mantese in Troy, Mich.; Christopher M. Lovasz and Mark
Romano of Consumer Legal Services in Garden City, Mich.; F. Paul Bland of
Trial Lawyers for Public Justice in Washington, D.C.; and state attorney
general Jennifer M. Granholm of Lansing, Mich.

GM is represented by S. Thomas Wienner and Seth D. Gould of Feeny Kellett
Wienner & Bush in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and Carol H. Lesnek-Cooper of
General Motors Corp. in Detroit. (Automotive Litigation Reporter,
December 5, 2000)


HAMILTON BANCORP: Cauley Geller Announces Lawsuit Filed in Florida
------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP announced on January
13 that it has filed a class action in the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, on behalf of all
individuals and institutional investors who purchased the securities of
Hamilton Bancorp, Inc. ("Hamilton" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: HABK)
between April 21,1998 and December 22, 2000, inclusive (the "Class
Period").

The case number is 01-0156-CIV-Gold, and the Honorable Alan S. Gold is
the Judge presiding over the case.

The Complaint alleges that defendants violated the federal securities
laws by issuing a series of material misrepresentations to the market
during the Class Period, and as a result, the price of Hamilton
securities were artificially inflated during that time. Specifically, the
complaint alleges that the Company repeatedly reported "record" financial
results during the Class Period, causing the stock to reach a high of $29
per share in January 1999. On November 2, 2000, the Company reported its
financial results for the third quarter of 2000 and disclosed that its
results were impacted by an increase in the provision for loan losses of
$11.5 million, a write-down of an investment security of $4.3 million,
and one-time provisioning for legal reserves of $3.3 million. The
complaint charges that in response to this disclosure, the Company's
stock plummeted over 35%. This, however, was not the full extent of the
Company's problems. The complaint further alleges that on December 22,
2000, after the close of the market, the Company shocked investors by
announcing that it would be restating its previously reported financial
results for fiscal years 1998, 1999 and a portion of fiscal 2000. In
response to this announcement, on December 26, 2000, the next trading
day, the price of Hamilton common stock traded at slightly over $6.50 per
share, well below its Class Period high.

Contact: CAULEY GELLER BOWMAN & COATES, LLP for media: Sue Null or
Charlie Gastineau, 1-888-551-9944


HAMILTON BANCORP: Milberg Weiss Announces Lawsuit Files in Florida
------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP announces that a
class action lawsuit was filed on January 12, 2001, on behalf of
purchasers of the securities of Hamilton Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: HABK)
between April 21,1998 and December 22, 2000, inclusive.

A copy of the complaint filed in this action is available from the Court,
or can be viewed on Milberg Weiss' website at:
http://www.milberg.com/hamilton/.

The action, numbered 01-0156-CIV-Gold, is pending in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division,
located at 301 N. Miami Ave, Room 150, Miami, FL 33128, against
defendants Hamilton, Eduardo A. Masferrer, John M.R. Jacobs and Maria
Ferrer-Diaz. The Honorable Alan S. Gold is the Judge presiding over the
case.

The Complaint alleges that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder, by issuing a series of material misrepresentations to the
market between April 21, 1998 and December 22, 2000, thereby artificially
inflating the price of Hamilton securities. Specifically, the Company
repeatedly reported "record" financial results during the Class Period,
causing the stock to reach a high of $29 per share in January 1999. On
November 2, 2000, the Company reported its financial results for the
third quarter of 2000 and disclosed that its results were impacted by an
increase in the provision for loan losses of $11.5 million, a write-down
of an investment security of $4.3 million, and one-time provisioning for
legal reserves of $3.3 million. In response to this disclosure, the
Company's stock plummeted over 35%. This, however, was not the full
extent of the Company's problems. On December 22, 2000, after the close
of the market, the Company shocked investors by announcing that it would
be restating its previously reported financial results for fiscal years
1998, 1999 and a portion of fiscal 2000. In response to this
announcement, on December 26, 2000, the next trading day, the price of
Hamilton common stock traded at slightly over $6.50 per share, well below
its Class Period high.

Contact: Kenneth J. Vianale or Maya Saxena 5355 Town Center Road, Suite
900 Boca Raton, Florida 33486 or Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP
Steven G. Schulman or Samuel H. Rudman, 800/320-5081
hamiltoncase@milbergNY.com www.milberg.com


HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: AP Reports on Clinton Administrationís Work This Week
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A remarkable international campaign to compensate victims of the
Holocaust 50 years after the fact proves "there's no statute of
limitations on human rights violations," says the lead U.S. envoy in the
effort.

Clinton administration officials are working to the last minute this week
and urging the Bush administration to follow through - on the half-decade
campaign that has won billions of dollars for the aging survivors of Nazi
brutality.

Though it is far from finished, the re-examination of history and
recalculation of what's owed victims has altered the story of how the
world dealt with one of the darkest chapters of the 20th Century.

"It proved there's no statute of limitations on the violation of human
rights," said Stuart Eizenstat, the Clinton administration's point man on
Holocaust issues. "It provided a lesson ... on what happens when the rule
of law breaks down and when good people and good countries sit on the
sidelines and let ... injustices occur," he said.

History still will show Adolf Hitler's forces in the 1930s and '40s
slaughtered 6 million Jews and 5 million others, enslaved 12 million and
plundered Europe.

But an addendum written in the last few years also will show private
organizations and governments worked in the late 1990s to, as Eizenstat
says, "bring some measure of justice to a million victims."

Nations searched their archives, some searched their souls - 20 set up
Holocaust commissions - in an extraordinary re-examination of what
happened during the Third Reich and what was still owed to its victims.

There's plenty left to be done. A U.S. commission reports Tuesday to
President Clinton on inadequacies in the American government's handling
of looted gold, art, and other assets that came under its control after
the war. It will include recommendations for further work. Also, on
Tuesday and Wednesday, Eizenstat hopes to finish negotiating an Austrian
payment for stolen Jewish property. On Thursday, he'll try to complete a
French plan to compensate families whose bank accounts were confiscated
during the collaborationist Vichy regime. "We're in sort of an emergency
mode ... to conclude these last two negotiations under the wire,"
Eizenstat said of the French and Austrian proposals.

Eizenstat steps down Saturday with the Clinton administration upon the
inauguration of President-elect Bush. He has urged Colin Powell, the
nominee for secretary of state nominee, to continue the State
Department's Holocaust office and push implementation of programs
negotiated over the last few years but not yet paying money that was
pledged.

The Bush transition team had no immediate comment on how it will handle
the issue.

Eizenstat believes the exercise is unprecedented. "The most important
accomplishment was that it happened at all after the events had receded
into the mist of history," he said.

The United States took a lead in the effort - which sometimes strained
relations with European allies - as did the World Jewish Congress and the
Conference for Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. U.S. lawyers
assembled class action suits on behalf of survivors.

The new round of scrutiny and demand for payments was made possible
partly by the end of the Cold War and release of long-secret documents.
Renewed interest in World War II, growing attention to human rights and a
host of other factors combined with long-silent victims finally talking
about what they endured. Others made renewed demands to a world perhaps
more ready to listen, advocates say.

The campaign was unwelcome in many quarters. Settlements were made in
return for legal peace - the U.S. government promised to discourage its
courts from entertaining future lawsuits.

The first big fight was the 1996 claim against Swiss banks, which
eventually agreed to a $1.25 billion settlement. The case tarnished
Switzerland's reputation as a neutral wartime country that had helped
save Jews, adding revelations that its banks profited from the Holocaust
by keeping assets of slain Jews, acting as Hitler's banker and
trafficking in plundered gold. "It was like throwing a pebble into the
pond and having the ripples go out," said Greg Bradsher, the National
Archives' lead historian on Holocaust-era issues. "People researching
Swiss banks were the ones who stumbled on things about Ford and slave
labor" - bolstering a lawsuit against Ford Motor Co.'s wartime German
subsidiary and others that used concentration camp labor for little or no
pay.

Eventually, Germany and Austria and their corporations agreed to
compensate forced laborers and European insurance companies agreed to
address dormant policies of those who died in the Holocaust. Though
Austria and Germany had paid other postwar compensation, it was judged to
be insufficient or to have left out certain categories of victims. (The
Associated Press, January 15, 2001)


INTRENET INC: Investor Sues Defunct Trucking Co. over Misrepresentation
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Intrenet Inc., a trucking company that shut down operations earlier this
month, deliberately misled investors and misrepresented the company's
income and earnings by improper accounting practices, an investor charges
in a lawsuit. Stockholder PR Diamonds Inc. asked U.S. District Judge S.
Arthur Spiegel to declare the lawsuit a class action to represent all
investors who bought Intrenet's stock between last Feb. 19 and Oct. 13.

The number of those investors is uncertain but is in the hundreds, the
plaintiff's lawyers said. Intrenet, which traded on the Nasdaq Stock
Market, had at least 15 million shares of common stock outstanding.

The lawsuit alleges Intrenet's management knowingly or recklessly
misrepresented the company's net income and earnings in 1998 and 1999. It
names the company, Chief Executive John P. Chandler and board Chairman
Eric C. Jackson.

"In truth, the company's earnings were lower than had been represented by
the company because defendants had improperly inflated net income by
approximately $ 1.3 million, in violation of generally accepted
accounting principles," the lawsuit states.

PR Diamonds demands a jury trial and unspecified money damages.

Intrenet, based in suburban Milford, announced Jan. 2 that it and its
subsidiary trucking companies were ceasing operations immediately due to
a lack of money. Management also blamed the closing on increasing fuel
prices and problems keeping drivers. The company laid off most of its
1,700 employees, retaining a minimal staff to close operations and
liquidate assets. Intrenet officials said they do not expect any company
assets will be available, after liquidation, for distribution to
shareholders. (The Associated Press State & Local Wire, January 12, 2001)



PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: NAACP and Civil Rights Groups Announce on Lawsuit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 10, 2001 NAACP AND NATIONAL CIVIL
RIGHTS GROUPS FILE FLORIDA VOTING RIGHTS LAWSUIT TO ELIMINATE UNFAIR
VOTING PRACTICES

     WASHINGTON, D. C. - The National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People (NAACP), along with The Advancement Project, American
Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights
Under Law, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and People for the
American Way Foundation today filed a historic lawsuit in Florida to
eliminate discriminatory and unequal voting policies and practices from
Florida's electoral system.

     The lawsuit was announced at simultaneous press conferences in
Washington, DC and Miami, Fla.

     Kweisi Mfume, NAACP President & CEO, said the lawsuit is part of an
effort to "restore justice to the thousands of black and other voters who
were denied the right to have their vote counted on November 7, 2000."
Mfume said: "There was evidence of massive voter disenfranchisement of
people of color during the presidential election, The election in Florida
was conducted in a manner which was unfair, illegal, immoral and
undemocratic."

     Starting on Election Day, the NAACP national and Florida offices, as
well as many other civil rights organizations, received calls from black
voters and others who had been turned away from the polls or had trouble
casting their ballots. Civil tights, lawyers were immediately sent to
Florida to interview witnesses and on November 11, 2000, the NAACP held a
hearing in Miami to highlight the extent of the violations of state and
federal law.

     Today's lawsuit stems from that investigation and alleges that the
disparate and unfair voting practices across the state resulted in the
invalidation of a disproportionate number of ballots cast by black voters
for President, the wrongful purge of black voters from official voter
lists, a failure to properly process registrations of black voters, and
the establishment of unjustifiable barriers to black voters. This lawsuit
seeks fundamental change to the voting practices in Florida to make them
fair and equal for all Floridians. Specifically, it asks that election
practices in Florida, which result in the denial of the right of Florida
citizens to vote on account of race, color or any other discriminatory
manner be stopped immediately and that fair and non-discriminatory
procedures be put into place by the state of Florida. "The people's vote
is the people's voice, but in Florida thousands of African American and
Haitian American voices were silenced on November 7," said Ralph G. Neas,
President of People For the American Way Foundation. We're involved in
this court action to make sure that Florida officials who failed the
voters on Election Day know that they must correct the problems that
caused these injustices and make it their top priority to assure that
they are never repeated."

     "Black voters in Florida came out in record numbers on November 7th
to exercise their constitutional rights to vote," said Barbara Arnwine,
Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
"It is shameful that qualified voters were prevented from voting or from
having their vote count because they were purged from registration rolls
or because they used voting machines that did not accurately record a
vote. These measures have become the literacy tests of the new
millennium. These and other practices unlawfully suppressed the black
vote. We need to ensure that in our democracy this unfair
disenfranchisement never happens again."

     Theodore M. Shaw, Associate Director-Counsel, the NAACP Legal
Defense Fund, said: "It is ironic that the Supreme Court, in rendering
its decision regarding the election, cited the Equal Protection clause of
the U. S. Constitution. That amendment was adopted to protect recently
freed slaves, yet thousands of African Americans were denied the vote in
Florida, That is why we are going to court - to ensure that the Equal
Protection clause serves its original purpose. Whatever other purposes it
might serve, it certainly should serve its original purpose to protect
African American voters from disenfranchisement.

     "Many of the plaintiffs and thousands of Africa n American class
members made extraordinary efforts to vote but were disenfranchised by
illegal purges, poorly trained poll workers and other discriminatory
practices," said Penda Hair, Co-Director of the Advancement Project, a
Washington, D. C. based social and legal action group. "This lawsuit
challenges Florida State and local officials to fix their discriminatory
voting system and to ensure that such abuses never again deny the
precious right to vote."

     "Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's decision halting the manual
recount focused more on dimpled chads than disenfranchised voters," said
Steven R. Shapiro, Legal Director of the national ACLU. "But despite its
limited focus, the Court nonetheless made clear that every vote must be
given equal weight under the Constitution. By bringing this lawsuit, we
are doing nothing more than taking the Supreme Court at its word."

     Founded in l909, the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People (NAACP) is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights
organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout the
United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in
their communities, conducting voter mobilization arid monitoring equal
opportunity in the public and private sectors. (Presidential Campaign
Press Materials, January 10, 2001)


QUALCOMM INC: Defends Employment Termination Suit Filed Feb 2000 in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------------- On
February 2, 2000, Thomas Durante, James Curley, Curtis Parker and Joseph
Edwards, filed a putative class action against the Company, ostensibly on
behalf of themselves and those former employees of the Company whose
employment was terminated in April 1999.

Virtually all of the purported class of plaintiffs received severance
packages at the time of the termination of their employment, in exchange
for a release of claims, other than federal age discrimination claims,
against the Company.

The complaint was filed in California Superior Court in and for the
County of Los Angeles and purports to state ten causes of action
including breach of contract, age discrimination, violation of Labor Code
ss. 200, violation of Labor Code ss. 970, unfair business practices,
intentional infliction of emotional distress, unjust enrichment, breach
of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, declaratory relief and
undue influence. The complaint seeks an order accelerating all unvested
stock options for the members of the class.

On June 27, 2000, the case was ordered transferred from Los Angeles
County Superior Court to San Diego County Superior Court. On July 3,
2000, the Company removed the case to the United States District Court
for the Southern District of California. Although there can be no
assurance that an unfavorable outcome of the dispute would not have a
material adverse effect on the Company's results of operations, liquidity
or financial position, the Company believes the claims are without merit
and will vigorously defend the action.


QUALCOMM INC: Former Staff Sue for Benefits after QPE Ceased Operations
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
In fiscal 1994, a subsidiary of the Company and a subsidiary of Sony
Electronics Inc. (Sony Electronics) entered into a general partnership,
QUALCOMM Personal Electronics (QPE), to manufacture CDMA consumer
equipment for cellular, PCS and other wireless applications. The Company
owns 51% of the venture and consolidates QPE in its financial statements.
Sony Electronics' 49% general partnership share in QPE is presented as a
minority interest in the Company's financial statements. In February
2000, the Company sold its terrestrial-based CDMA wireless consumer phone
business. As a result, QPE has no on-going operations.

On June 13, 2000, Van May, Ruth Ann Feldman, Jeffrey Alan MacGuire and
Maurice Clark filed a putative class action lawsuit in San Diego County
Superior Court against Qualcomm Inc. and against QUALCOMM Personal
Electronics (QPE), ostensibly on behalf of themselves and other former
employees of QPE who were offered benefits in QPE's Performance Unit
Plan. The complaint purports to state seven causes of action, including
breach of contract, violation of California Labor Code Section. 970,
fraud, unfair business practices, unjust enrichment, breach of the
covenant of good faith and fair dealing and declaratory relief. Although
there can be no assurance that an unfavorable outcome of the dispute
would not have a material adverse effect on the Company's results of
operations, liquidity or financial position, the Company believes the
claims are without merit and will vigorously defend the action.


QUALCOMM INC: Settlement with Former Employees Voided Due to Opt-outs
---------------------------------------------------------------------
On May 6, 1999, Thomas Sprague, a former employee of the Company, filed a
putative class action against the Company, ostensibly on behalf of
himself and those of the Company's former employees who were offered
employment with Ericsson in conjunction with the sale to Ericsson of
certain of the Company's infrastructure division assets and liabilities
and who elected not to participate in a Retention Bonus Plan being
offered to such former employees. The case was previously reported in the
CAR.

The complaint was filed in California Superior Court in and for the
County of San Diego and purports to state eight causes of action arising
primarily out of alleged breaches of the terms of the Company's 1991
Stock Option Plan, as amended from time to time. The putative class
sought to include former employees of the Company whom, among other
things, "have not or will not execute the Bonus Retention Plan and
accompanying full and complete release of QUALCOMM."

The complaint seeks an order accelerating all unvested stock options for
the members of the class. Of the 1,053 transitioning former employees who
had unvested stock options, 1,016 elected to participate in the Retention
Bonus Plan offered by QUALCOMM and Ericsson, which provides several
benefits including cash compensation based upon a portion of the value of
their unvested options, and includes a written release of claims against
the Company.

On July 30, 1999, plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint
incorporating the allegations set forth in the original complaint, adding
two new causes of action and expanding the putative class to also include
those former employees who chose to participate in the Bonus Retention
Plan. In October 1999, the court sustained the Company's demurrer to the
plaintiffs' cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty. Counsel for the
putative class filed a Second Amended Complaint, including substantially
the same allegations as the First Amended Complaint, on November 1, 1999.

On March 10, 2000, counsel for plaintiffs and QUALCOMM filed a
Stipulation of Settlement with the court that would allocate a settlement
payment of $9 million, which will be funded by third parties, to all
plaintiffs who do not elect to opt out of the settlement on or before
April 17, 2000.

                                  Update

The number of employees electing to opt out exceeded the limit, and the
Company elected to void the settlement. On September 15, 2000, the Court
certified the case as a class action. Although there can be no assurance
that an unfavorable outcome of the dispute would not have a material
adverse effect on the Company's results of operations, liquidity or
financial position, the Company believes the claims are without merit and
will vigorously defend the action.


STRIP SEARCH: New York's Closed Lawsuit Serves Is Noteworthy Experience
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Nobody who has endured a strip search is likely ever to forget it.
Anybody who has endured one knows the humiliation, degradation and sense
of loss of control that the experience induces. Strip searches serve at
least two purposes for law enforcement: They establish whether the person
searched has contraband and they establish that the searcher is in
control.

So it shouldn't have taken a lot of high-priced legal talent for
officials of New York City's Department of Correction to figure out that
subjecting suspects in minor offenses like disorderly conduct and subway
turnstile-jumping to invasive strip searches might violate the 4th
Amendment ban against "unreasonable searches and seizures."

But it wasn't until a class-action lawsuit was filed against them that
officials of the department abandoned the policy. Too late,
unfortunately, for an estimated 50,000 people who were strip-searched.
And too late for New York City's taxpayers, who learned that settling the
suit will cost them up to $50 million.

There's no evidence that other custodial officials, whether in big cities
or small towns, routinely do what New York's did from July 1996 until at
least May 1997. But the Big Apple's experience ought to be noted by
others and serve as a caution.

In a sense, the New York experience was an aberration and the result of
inertia. The city's Department of Correction, which normally handles
convicts in the city's penal facilities, took over processing of suspects
in jails and lockups in the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens after the
police officers who had handled such duties were dispatched to street
duty.

Correction officers brought to the handling of suspects the same
practices they employed in handling convicts. But while the latter have
been tried and found guilty of crimes, the former are, by definition,
only suspected of violations--and in Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's New York,
many of those were quite minor offenses.

No surprise, then, that a woman never previously arrested should have
been outraged at having to strip to the skin and let her breasts be
touched by an officer. No surprise that, when the first individual
lawsuit went to trial, an outraged jury awarded $5 million in punitive
damages (later overturned on appeal).

No surprise that New York wanted to close the books on the class action.
And so it has. (Chicago Tribune, January 15, 2001)


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Medical Testimony Expected in W. Va. Smokers' Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Medical testimony is likely to dominate the second week of a
precedent-setting lawsuit filed by West Virginia smokers against five
cigarette makers.

The trial is set to resume Tuesday morning, with the smokers' lawyers
continuing to present witnesses in an attempt to prove that annual
medical monitoring of healthy smokers could lead to lifesaving early
detection of lung and pulmonary problems.

The class-action lawsuit is the first of its kind to go to trial in the
United States. It covers more than 250,000 West Virginians who have
smoked the equivalent of a pack a day of cigarettes for five years since
1995, but who do not currently have a tobacco-related illness.

The smokers want a court-supervised and industry-funded medical board
created so they can get free annual health tests. The cigarette makers
contend the tests are experimental and so far unproven in changing the
outcome for anyone who becomes sick.

Four of the five defendants collectively have 96 percent of the U.S.
cigarettes market share: Philip Morris Inc. of New York; Brown &
Williamson Tobacco Corp. of Louisville, Ky.; R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. of
Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Lorillard Tobacco Co. of New York.

Liggett Group Inc. of Mebane, N.C., whose top executive is expected to be
a key witness for the smokers, is also a defendant.

A pulmonologist explained the benefits of spirometry, in which patients
blow into a tube attached to a machine measuring lung function. Dr.
Dominic Gaziano said the machine can detect weakening function even
before a person feels symptoms.

The other tests the smokers want are computerized tomography scans, or CT
scans, which rely on technology similar to X-rays to generate a
three-dimensional image of human organs.

In his opening statements, attorney Paul Hulsey said the spirometric
tests should be done on healthy smokers every year, starting at age 45.
The CT scans should be done annually, starting at age 50.

"The doctors will testify it can help in the early detection of lung
cancer," Hulsey said. "The defendants will argue the tests are only
worthy if they cure a 'statistically significant' number of people.

"We have to prove it's a reasonable program, and our doctors will say
that if it saves one life, it's reasonable. If it extends one life, it's
reasonable. ... If it gives folks a little extra time to put their
affairs in order, it's reasonable," he said.

"We believe early detection gives people the best opportunity to get
effective treatment to extend their lives. It will give the best outcome
we can hope for under the circumstances."

Lawyers for the cigarettes challenge the effectiveness, accuracy and
safety of the tests, contending they don't diagnose soon enough to make a
difference. They say quitting is the only thing healthy smokers can do to
improve their chances at longer and better lives. (The Associated Press
State & Local Wire, January 15, 2001)


U OF MISSISSIPPI: Jackson State Loses Request For Law School
------------------------------------------------------------
A federal judge overseeing Mississippi's long-running college
desegregation suit says historically black Jackson State University
cannot justify the need for a law school. The ruling, by U.S. District
Judge Neal Biggers Jr., comes as parties continue settlement talks in the
case.

The law school, which would be the third in the state, had been a
bargaining point in the plaintiffs' $800 million settlement proposal.
"The feeling is that (black) people are underserved by the two law
schools," Sen. Hillman Frazier, D-Jackson, said.

The University of Mississippi operates the state's only public law school
in Oxford. Mississippi College, a Clinton-based private institution,
maintains a law school in downtown Jackson.

The Mississippi College law school enrollment trends "indicate that the
demand for legal education in the Jackson area is satisfied and that a
stable and continuing demand for a public law school at JSU does not
exist," Biggers wrote in a five-page ruling. Biggers also said enrollment
data did not warrant expansion of the Ole Miss law school to Jackson to
increase white enrollment at historically black JSU. He said that the Ole
Miss law school has promoted diversity, and that minority enrollment and
applications have increased in recent years.

Black enrollment at the Ole Miss law school and at Mississippi College is
about 10 percent, reports show. (State-Times/Morning Advocate (Baton
Rouge, LA.), January 13, 2001)


WATER CONTAMINATION: Ontario E. Coli Victims Argue for Class Cert.
------------------------------------------------------------------
Victims of Ontario's tainted-water tragedy kick off a week of crucial
arguments over whether they can sue collectively for $ 250 million in
damages.

The decision on whether the class-action suit against 14 defendants,
including the Ontario government, should be certified will then be up to
Superior Court Justice Warren Winkler. "This is the kind of lawsuit for
which the legislation was designed," says Scott Ritchie, a lawyer
representing the plaintiffs.

                          Won't Help Victims

But Ontario, Walkerton's municipality and others facing the suit argue
that a class action is the wrong way to help victims.

Seven people died and 2,300 more fell ill last May as a result of
drinking tap water contaminated with E. coli bacteria. Defendants say
they prefer the government's no-fault compensation initiative, which the
province says has been endorsed by the judge who led the inquiry into
Canada's tainted-blood tragedy, Horace Krever.

Plaintiffs argue a trial would determine who was to blame for the
disaster and hope for a certification decision by mid-April. (The Toronto
Sun, January 15, 2001)


Y2K LITIGATION: Most of Fraud Claim against Lucent Stays; Others Tossed
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Two companies that purchased or leased telephone equipment from Lucent
Technologies that was not Y2K-compliant can proceed with most of their
claims for violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, a federal
judge in California has ruled. The plaintiffs met the Y2K Act's high
pleading standard for fraud claims and avoided, for now, dismissal based
upon a one-year statute of limitations contained in their sales or lease
contracts with the defendants, U.S. District Judge Thelton E. Henderson
ruled. MediMatch Inc. et al. v. Lucent Technologies Inc. et al., No.
C-99-3198 TEH, motion to dismiss granted in part and denied in part (N.D.
Cal., Oct. 24, 2000).

Judge Henderson granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the plaintiffs'
claims for breach of the implied warranty of merchantability and for
violation of California's Unfair Competition Law.

MediMatch Inc. and International Trading & Exchange Inc. sued Lucent and
its financing company, Newport Communications Financing Corp., alleging
the defendants sold or leased telecommunications equipment during the
early and mid-1990s, knowing the equipment would not work after Dec. 31,
1999, and refused to repair or replace the defective equipment unless the
plaintiffs paid additional charges. The suit seeks class-action status.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss under the Y2K Act, 15 U.S.C. @
6607, which was designed to cut down on the volume of Y2K-related
litigation by imposing certain pleading standards and other requirements
in cases involving Y2K defects.

With one exception, Judge Henderson said the plaintiffs met the act's
requirements.

First, he said, they adequately pleaded their fraud claim, which under
the Y2K Act requires a showing of a "strong inference" that each
defendant acted with intent to defraud. This is a higher standard than
the "particularity" requirement of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
"Plaintiffs have pled specific facts indicating defendants' knowledge of
an easily understood problem, that defendants continued to sell their
products without warning of their potentially limited life-spans, that
defendants' knowledge and actions were highly material to plaintiffs'
alleged injuries and that plaintiffs and other customers were in fact
injured by their acquisition of these products," the judge said. "A
reasonable person could find that this sequence of events creates a
strong inference of an intent to defraud."

Next, Judge Henderson said the plaintiffs adequately pleaded facts
supporting their contention that the alleged defects in the Lucent
equipment were "material." He rejected the defendants' argument that
because the plaintiffs removed and replaced the non-compliant equipment
before Jan. 1, 2000, the plaintiffs could not say with certainty the
defects were material. If the plaintiffs had done nothing, said the
judge, they would have been criticized for failing to mitigate damages.
"The Court finds that plaintiffs have provided specific information as to
how the Y2K defects would affect their equipment, and that plaintiffs
have shown materiality by clearly describing the importance of the
equipment to their particular business operations," the judge held. Judge
Henderson said the plaintiffs failed to provide adequate information
about their damages, as required by the Y2K Act. Although they set forth
in detail how much they paid for the noncompliant equipment, they failed
to provide any evidence of how much they paid to obtain compliant
equipment. Judge Henderson gave the plaintiffs leave to amend on this
point.

                         Statute of Limitations

Judge Henderson next declined to dismiss the complaint on the basis of a
one-year statute of limitations contained in the plaintiffs' contracts
with the defendants. Applying the discovery rule, the judge said the
clock started running when the plaintiffs discovered, or with reasonable
diligence should have discovered, their claims. On the sparse record
developed so far, the judge was unwilling to state as a matter of law
that plaintiffs' suit was filed too late. The plaintiffs argued that they
did not know their equipment would have problems until Lucent informed
them about the Y2K defect in September 1998 (for MediMatch) and June 1999
(for International Trading). The defendants contended that the plaintiffs
should have known about the problem much earlier because Lucent had
posted information on its Web site.

Judge Henderson said the earlier time frame for knowledge of the Y2K
defect applied to knowledge within the technology industry, and noted
that the plaintiffs' businesses are not technology-related. The
plaintiffs would have had no reason to be checking the Web sites of their
office supply vendors prior to being notified of the Y2K defect, said the
judge.

Judge Henderson went on to dismiss International Trading's claim for
breach of implied warranty of merchantability, finding that the company
agreed to a disclaimer of all warranties in its purchase contract with
Lucent.

Finally, he threw out claims of unfair competition under California law,
because he said the parties' contracts clearly state that New Jersey law
applies.

Lucent is represented by Timothy P. Crudo and Dana N. Linker of Latham &
Watkins in San Francisco and James E. Tyrell Jr., Joseph E. Hopkins and
Scott Louis Weber of the firm's Newark, N.J. office. Newport
Communications Financing Corp. is represented by D. Ronald Ryland and
Kimberly Fineman of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton in San Francisco
and James J. Mittermiller of the firm's San Diego office. MediMatch is
represented by Barry R. Himmelstein and Melanie M. Piech of Lieff,
Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein in San Francisco. (Computer & Online
Industry Litigation Reporter, December 5, 2000)


* Accessible Technology Clock Starts On Section 508 Compliance
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Access Board has released the long-awaited Section 508 amendment to
the Rehabilitation Act under which all federal agency information systems
must be accessible to persons with disabilities. Agencies now have six
months to adapt their procurement offices and mindsets to the new
regulation or risk the possibility of civil action. Included under the
amendment are "computers, software and electronic office equipment." The
rule also applies to new Web pages set up by an agency.

Doug Wakefield, accessibility specialist for the board, said agencies
have the six-month window to familiarize themselves with accessible
technologies before they begin purchasing them. After six months,
departments that fail to conform would be subject to civil lawsuits.

Rebecca Ogle, executive director for the Presidential Task Force on
Employment of Adults with Disabilities, said the civil penalties were a
necessary addition to the regulation. Since there is no other enforcement
authority, the fear of an individual or class action lawsuit might be
sufficient to prompt an agency to begin buying accessible technologies.

Wakefield said although he is optimistic agencies will comply, he does
expect to see some class action suits filed against resistive agencies.
In addition to the civil penalties, the Justice Department will conduct a
government-wide survey every six months on agency compliance. Although
the DOJ can't punish agencies for not abiding by Section 508, the survey
report will be provided to Congress and the White House. "Just the fact
that someone is doing a survey and watching raises awareness," Wakefield
said. (Federal Human Resources Week, January 8, 2001)


* CARE States Opposition to Sen. Holden's 2nd Crash Parts Bill
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE), representing many
companies in the Montana Automotive Aftermarket, among them: NAPA, Midas,
CARQUEST, Checker Auto Parts and Jiffy Lube, [January 15] as in the last
Montana legislative session, stated its strong opposition to Sen. Ric
Holden's second attempt to introduce a car parts monopoly bill, SB 86.

"Despite Rep. Paul Sliter's crash parts bill, HB 506, having a class
action lawsuit immediately filed against it, the State of Montana and
former Insurance Commissioner O'Keefe, Sen. Holden has introduced yet
another crash parts bill that will hand a legislative monopoly on vehicle
crash parts to the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and the
Montana auto body shops, stated Sandy Bass-Cors, CARE's executive
director.

Following the contentious defeat of Montana crash parts bills, HB 181,
sponsored by Rep. Paul Sliter and SB 263, sponsored by Sen. Ric Holden,
HB 506, also sponsored by Rep. Sliter was signed into law by then-Gov.
Marc Racicot. Following HB 506's signing, the National Association of
Independent Insurers and several out-of-state glass shops filed a class
action law suit on the following grounds: (1) Abridgement of First
Amendment Rights (HB 506 prohibits insurers from recommending certain
repair shops) and (2) Interference with Interstate Commerce law. This
bill is still in litigation.

"Senate Bill 86 calls for what many have interpreted as 'intimidation
tactics' by requiring that motoring consumers sign a waiver in order to
accept an aftermarket crash part, but are not required to sign a waiver
for an OEM part. In addition, SB 86 proposes that the U.S. Dept. of
Transportation become a certifier of parts, which would create more
Washington federal involvement and interference in an area that should be
left to consumer choice.

"Many aftermarket parts are manufactured by the same manufacturer of OEM
parts. Therefore, to claim that legislation is needed to control and
protect consumers from aftermarket crash or hard parts is a bogus claim,
perpetuated by those whose only desire is to have higher markups and thus
charge more for parts. Rural motoring taxpayers and those with fixed- and
low-incomes will be hurt the most by the higher prices, higher insurance
premiums and the anticipated longer wait to receive parts," claims
Bass-Cors.

Crash parts bills have gone down in flames in every state but one,
including the two in Montana. There is no need for Sen. Holden to burden
the motoring taxpayers of Montana with car parts monopoly legislation,"
concluded Bass-Cors.

The Senate Business and Labor Committee will conduct a hearing on SB 86
on Jan. 16th.


                                  *********


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

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

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

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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