CAR_Public/010122.MBX               C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

              Monday, January 22, 2001, Vol. 3, No. 15

                             Headlines

ALLSTATE INSURANCE: Law Journal Says Battles Rage Re "Do I Need an Atty"
ATCHISON CASTING: Schiffrin & Barroway Announces on Shareholders' Suit
CHEMICAL FIRE: Six Oshkosh Motorcycle Club Members Sue Clariant, Hydrite
COAL SLURRY: 'Civil Action' Lawyer Taking On Coal Sludge Plaintiffs
CORRECTIONS CORP.: Ct Preliminarily OKs Revised Pact for Securities Suit

EBAY INC: Judge Dismisses Claims Alleging Phony Sports Memorabilia
EDISON INTERNATIONAL: Douglas A. Ames Commences Securities Suit in CA
ESSO: Asserts State Was Negligent in Australia’s Longford Explosion
GENERAL MOTORS: Accused Of Conspiring With Car Dealers To Defraud Buyers
GPU, INC: $700 Mil Sought for Power Outage; Co. Seeks Decertification

INTRENET INC: Trucking company, facing investor Suits, files for Ch. 11
PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL: Agrees to Settle Securities Suit in Florida
PLAINS ALL: SEC Report Says TX Suit Re Unauthorized Trading Pending
PLAINS ALL: Securities Derivative Suits in DE Being Consolidated
POSTAL SERVICE: Agrees to Pay 234 Workers Rejected on Medical Grounds

SOTHEBY'S: Former Chief Surrenders Stock Options to Buy 2 Million Shares
TIME WARNER: Court Won't Hear Appeal against Verdict in Six Flags Case
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Judge Will Hear Request for Mistrial
WATER CONTAMINATION: 3rd Suit in E. Coli Claims Kidney Transplant Needed

* Bill of Rights May Close Loophole Re Long-Term Temporary Workers

                              *********

ALLSTATE INSURANCE: Law Journal Says Battles Rage Re "Do I Need an Atty"
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A federal court action in Hartford, the "Insurance Capital," may show just
how far insurers can go to discourage accident victims from hiring lawyers.
For Allstate Insurance Co., of Northbrook, Ill., the issue is a matter of
free speech and cost control. But for plaintiffs' lawyers across the
country, Allstate's aggressive "Do I Need an Attorney" campaign is
insultingly deceptive and fraudulent.

Senior U.S. District Judge Peter C. Dorsey is currently studying Sandra L.
White, et al. v. Allstate. New London attorney Robert I. Reardon Jr. has
requested certification of the case for a national class action.
Plaintiffs' lawyers estimate that hundreds of thousands of people might
qualify for the national class. So far, at least 47 plaintiffs in 22 states
have filed independent lawsuits, claiming they trusted Allstate and are
worse off for doing so.

In scripted phone calls and direct mailings, Allstate touts the advantage
of speedy settlement and warns consumers that lawyers deduct a fraction of
the settlement as a fee.

Reardon's suit, which has four named plaintiffs, asks Dorsey to certify the
case as either a statewide or national class action. "My understanding is
that our case is the furthest along of any case in the United States right
now, in terms of the class certification process. We hope the judge will
act on our application very soon," said Reardon in an interview with the
Connecticut Law Tribune. A former president of the Connecticut Trial
Lawyers' Association, Reardon attacked the Allstate campaign through the
state legislature, courts and agencies.

A 1998 legal opinion from Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal
found Allstate's letters violate state law, prompting Allstate to halt its
campaign in Connecticut.

Yet elsewhere, battles still rage. On Nov. 30, 2000, in Richmond, Va., the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld a West Virginia finding in
Allstate Insurance Co. v. The West Virginia State Bar, concluding Allstate
is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law with its advice.

Charleston, W. Va. trial lawyer James C. Peterson initiated that case. In
1998, Peterson also attempted the first national class action against
Allstate, filing in Illinois because, Peterson said, "We felt it would be
fair that Allstate has to face the music in its home state."

A state judge in Chicago refused to certify a class last April 26, on
multiple grounds. Peterson said in an interview that he's encouraged by the
4th Circuit ruling and is about to file his own national case against
Allstate. He'd also join one in Connecticut if it is certified. "The
lawsuit has to be national, because the conduct is national," said
Peterson. "It makes no difference to me whether it's in West Virginia,
Connecticut or Illinois."

Like Reardon, Peterson represents individual plaintiffs who claim the
Allstate campaign cost them time, money and legal rights. The recent
plaintiffs' victory in the 4th Circuit, the highest court to rule so far,
has rekindled interest in a national case. The unauthorized practice of law
that the federal court found "is a misdemeanor in West Virginia," said
Peterson, "and it's prima facie proof of negligence by Allstate. I intend
shortly to file a nationwide class action here in West Virginia as well."

                         Victim As Customer

Allstate's controversial campaign grew from its 1995 "Claims Core Process
Redesign," which targeted soft-tissue injury claims, where damage and
damages are hardest to prove. Allstate trained adjusters with a 500-page
text that explained how to gain victims' trust and win settlements. A copy
of the manual, obtained by The Law Tribune, states that, in accidents
valued between $1,500 and $15,000, do-it-yourself clients averaged
settlements of $3,464 and clients with attorneys averaged $7,450. It
disclosed that a claimant with a lawyer would typically "settle for two to
three times more than unrepresented claims." Through spokespersons,
Allstate has defended its practices as cost control and marketing.

In an interview with The Law Tribune in 1996, Allstate spokesperson
Stephanie Kossler said accident victims "hopefully are beginning to learn
they can work with us directly. They will be treated fairly and equitably."
The Allstate form letter says claimants are to be regarded practically as
customers of the company. Ultimately, said Kossler, if the settlement
experience is positive, claimants might become customers. "They'd say, Why
don't I become an Allstate insured?' It's a great opportunity for us," she
said.

In Hartford the state's largest law firm, Day, Berry & Howard, is defending
Allstate. Day, Berry Litigation Section heads Thomas J. Groark and Peter M.
Holland sought to dismiss the White case in 1999 on grounds that "Allstate
has no common law or statutory duty to settle fairly with third-party
claimants." Allstate's courtroom argument doesn't blur the roles of
claimant and " customer." In court, the third parties were simply legal and
economic adversaries. The insurer argued the third-party plaintiffs are
neither policyholders nor judgment creditors, and thus have no rights
against Allstate under Connecticut's Unfair Trade Practices Act or the
Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act.

Dorsey refused to throw out the case. He found the state's unfair trade
practices act did apply, and deferred ruling on the insurance act.

The pleadings, according to Day, Berry lawyers, are currently under seal.
(The Connecticut Law Tribune, January 22, 2001)


ATCHISON CASTING: Cauley Geller Announces Securities Lawsuit in Kansas
ATCHISON CASTING: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in Kansas
ATCHISON CASTING: Cauley Geller Announces Securities Lawsuit in Kansas
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP announced that a class
action has been filed in the United States District Court for the District
of Kansas on behalf of purchasers of Atchison Casting Corp. (NYSE: FDY)
publicly traded securities during the period between January 8, 1998 and
November 2, 2000 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Atchison and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Atchison
manufactures highly engineered metal castings and forgings that are used in
a wide variety of products, including cars and trucks, and gas, steam and
hydroelectric turbines. The complaint alleges that on November 2 and 3,
2000, in a series of announcements, Atchison announced that (i) the CFO of
its Pennsylvania plant had been terminated; and (ii) it was conducting a
formal investigation into its revenue recognition practices in order to
determine whether certain overstatements of its revenues were done
"deliberate[ly]." Then on December 21, 2000, Atchison stated that its past
5 years of financial reports were false.

Contact: Sue Null or Charlie Gastineau, both of Cauley Geller Bowman &
Coates, LLP, 888-551-9944, or info@classlawyer.com


ATCHISON CASTING: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in Kansas
---------------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss (http://www.milberg.com/atchison/)announced on January 18
that a class action has been commenced in the United States District Court
for the District of Kansas on behalf of purchasers of Atchison Casting
Corp. (NYSE:FDY) publicly traded securities during the period between Jan.
8, 1998 and Nov. 2, 2000 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Atchison and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Atchison
manufactures highly engineered metal castings and forgings that are used in
a wide variety of products, including cars and trucks, and gas, steam and
hydroelectric turbines. The complaint alleges that on Nov. 2 and 3, 2000,
in a series of announcements, Atchison announced that: (i) the CFO of its
Pennsylvania plant had been terminated; and (ii) it was conducting a formal
investigation into its revenue recognition practices in order to determine
whether certain overstatements of its revenues were done "deliberate[ly]."
Then on Dec. 21, 2000, Atchison stated that its past 5 years of financial
reports were false.

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


ATCHISON CASTING: Schiffrin & Barroway Announces on Shareholders' Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP announced that a class action
lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of
Kansas on behalf of all purchasers of the common stock of Atchison Casting
Corporation (NYSE: FDY) from January 8, 1998 through November 3, 2000,
inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Atchison Casting and certain of its officers and
directors with issuing false and misleading statements concerning the
Company's financial condition. Specifically, the complaint alleges that on
November 2, 2000, Atchison president Hugh Aiken announced that a new CFO at
its Pennsylvania Foundry Group unit had uncovered accounting irregularities
at the Pennsylvania unit. On November 3, 2000, Atchison announced that
these irregularities affected the Pennsylvania unit's receivables,
payables, operating expenses and prepaid expense accounts, and possibly
others. As a result, Atchison announced that it will delay its first
quarter results while its board of directors conducts an investigation and
that it may be required to restate earnings for prior fiscal years.
Atchison further suggested that pretax earnings between fiscal 1996 and
2000 may have been cumulatively overstated by $19 million. On December 21,
2000, Atchison announced that pretax earnings between fiscal year 1996 and
2000 may have been cumulatively overstated by approximately $23-$25
million, rather than the $19 million previously announced. Immediately
following the Company's December 21st announcement, Atchison's common stock
fell 19% in one day.

Contact: Marc A. Topaz, Esq. or Robert B. Weiser, Esq., of Schiffrin &
Barroway, LLP, 888-299-7706 or 610-667-7706, or info@sbclasslaw.com


CHEMICAL FIRE: Six Oshkosh Motorcycle Club Members Sue Clariant, Hydrite
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Six members of an Oshkosh motorcycle club have filed a lawsuit, claiming
they suffered respiratory injuries as a result of fumes released during a
December chemical fire.

Robert Elliott, the attorney who filed the lawsuit, said the six were
exposed to the fumes because they were unaware the area was being evacuated
after a railroad box car near a Hydrite Chemical Co. plant caught fire Dec.
16. All six were attending a Christmas Party at the Zodiac Motorcycle Club
clubhouse. "They were overlooked by emergency personnel and weren't
evacuated," Elliott said. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two Oshkosh
couples, Paul and Cynthia Asik, and Jerry and Jodi Krueger, and Butte des
Morts residents Carl Cihlar and Valerie Gahagan.

Elliott said all of his clients required medical treatment after they were
exposed to the fumes, and some continue to suffer from the effects of their
exposure.

The lawsuit was filed in Winnebago County Circuit Court against Clariant
Corp. and Wisconsin Central Railroad as well as Hydrite.

All three companies were negligent in the packaging, storage or handling of
a box car of sodium hydrosulfite that sat on a railroad siding behind
Hydrite Chemical's plant for about a week prior to the fire, the lawsuit
claims.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for
injuries, pain and suffering caused by exposure to the fumes as well as
compensation for future medical care.

Connie Knight, director of communications for Clariant, the chemical's
manufacturer, said company officials only recently received notice of the
lawsuit and could not comment on it until after the complaint is fully
reviewed by the company.

Dave Mueller, a spokesman for Hydrite, said the firm does not comment on
pending litigation. Ann Thoma, a spokeswoman for Wisconsin Central, said
she had no informtion about the suit and thus declined immediate comment.

The lawsuit asks Judge Robert Haase to allow the matter to be tried as a
class action.

Meanwhile, Emery Coonen, general manager of emergency services for Superior
Special Services, which helped put out the fire, estimated cleanup and
containment costs could be more than $3 million.

Coonen did not say during a Winnebago County Local Emergency Planning
Committee briefing in Winneconne whether that figure included residents'
claims.

Residents in more than 700 homes were evacuated between Dec. 16 to 19. (The
Associated Press State & Local Wire, January 19, 2001)


COAL SLURRY: 'Civil Action' Lawyer Taking On Coal Sludge Plaintiffs
-------------------------------------------------------------------
A lawyer made famous by the movie and book, "A Civil Action," is taking on
another environmental case in eastern Kentucky.

Attorney Jan Schlichtmann is now co-counsel for hundreds of residents
filing suit over the Oct. 11 coal slurry spill near Inez. The spill from an
impoundment at Martin County Coal sent 250 million gallons of thick, black
waste down two streams and into neighboring properties.

Martin County attorney John Kirk said he contacted the firm Schlichtmann
works for when he realized he would need help representing the hundreds of
affected residents.

Schlichtmann was the focus of Jonathan Harr's best seller, "A Civil
Action." It detailed Schlichtmann's controversial case on behalf of eight
families in Woburn, Mass. The lawsuit against W.R. Grace and Beatrice Foods
alleged that the companies leaked toxins into drinking water that were
linked to a variety of health problems, including a dozen cases of
childhood leukemia.

The nine-year legal battle ended in an $8 million settlement from W.R.
Grace and a not-guilty verdict for Beatrice. The book was later made in to
a movie starring John Travolta as Schlichtmann.

Schlichtmann's firm was also involved in litigation following the Exxon
Valdez spill. Kirk says he, Schlichtmann and a team of lawyers will
represent hundreds of residents directly affected by the spill in a mass
tort action against Martin County Coal, Massey Energy and Massey's former
parent company, the Fluor Corp.

Kirk says several hundred more indirectly affected by the spill may be part
of a class-action suit.

The spill killed fish and other aquatic life along Coldwater and Wolf
creeks and cut off drinking water supplies to residents along about 60
miles of the Big Sandy River and its tributaries in Kentucky and West
Virginia. (The Associated Press State & Local Wire, January 19, 2001)


CORRECTIONS CORP.: Ct Preliminarily OKs Revised Pact for Securities Suit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Corrections Corporation of America (formerly Prison Realty Trust, Inc.)
(NYSE: CXW) announced on January 19 that it has received preliminary court
approval of the revised terms of the definitive settlement agreements
regarding the settlement of all outstanding stockholder litigation against
CCA and certain of its existing and former directors and executive
officers. The stipulations of settlement, as amended, provide for the
"global" settlement of a series of class action and derivative lawsuits
brought against CCA by current and former stockholders of the company and
its predecessors. The hearings for final court approval of the revised
settlement are scheduled to be completed in early to mid-February, 2001.

Pursuant to the revised terms of the settlements, the Company will issue
the plaintiffs:

* an aggregate of 46,900,000 shares of the Company's common stock; and

* a subordinated promissory note in the aggregate principal amount of
   $29.0 million.

The promissory note will be due January 2, 2009, and accrue interest at a
rate of 8.0% per annum. All principal and interest due under the note will
be payable in one lump sum at maturity; provided, however, that should the
average trading price of the Company's common stock meet or exceed a
"termination price" equal to $1.63 per share for 15 consecutive trading
days at any time prior to the maturity date of the note, all amounts
outstanding under the promissory note will be deemed fully satisfied
without further action by the Company. To the extent the highest average
trading price of the common stock does not reach "termination price" during
the period, the amount to be paid under the note will be reduced by the
amount the shares of stock issued to the plaintiffs appreciate in value
pursuant to a calculation to be made at the time of the maturity of the
note.

The Company had previously announced the provisions of a Memorandum of
Understanding with respect to the revised terms of the settlements
providing for the issuance of 51,500,000 shares of the Company's common
stock and a 6.0% subordinated promissory note due in 2005. The number of
shares and the terms of the note were adjusted in order for the Company to
comply with the rules of the New York Stock Exchange and obtain the consent
of its bank lenders.

The issuance of the shares of common stock and promissory note described
above by the Company will be in lieu of the requirement of the original
settlement agreements that the Company issue the plaintiffs 17,235,715
shares of its common stock at an agreed value of$4.375 per share. Under the
terms of the settlement agreements, these shares were subject to a stock
price guarantee of $ 4.375 per share, which would have required the Company
to pay or issue, at its option, cash or additional shares of common stock
to the plaintiffs if the trading price of the Company's common stock did
not reach $4.375 per share for a specified number of trading days during
the period from the completion of the settlement through August 31, 2001.
As a result, the Company, which expected to satisfy the stock price
guarantee in additional shares of common stock rather than in cash, would
have been required to issue an indeterminate number of shares of its common
stock based on the continued trading price of the Company's common stock
through August 31, 2001.

Also, as part of the revised settlement, the deadline for submitting a
Proof of Claim and Release Forms by claimants who have not already done so
has been extended to March 12, 2001.

No other terms of the original settlement agreements have been altered by
the terms of the revised settlements, including the requirement that the
Company pay approximately $47.5 million in cash insurance proceeds to the
plaintiffs.

Further details on the revised settlement can be found in the Supplemental
Notice of Pendency of Class Actions, Proposed Settlement Thereof,
Settlement Hearing and Right to Share in Settlement Fund, which is
available from the Settlement Administrator.

The Company is the nation's largest provider of detention and corrections
services to governmental agencies, with approximately 61,000 beds in 68
facilities under contract for management in the United States and Puerto
Rico. The Company's full range of services includes design, construction,
ownership, renovation and management of new or existing jails and prisons,
as well as long distance inmate transportation services.


EBAY INC: Judge Dismisses Claims Alleging Phony Sports Memorabilia
------------------------------------------------------------------
A San Diego judge dismissed a $100 million class-action lawsuit against
eBay Inc. on January 18, saying the online auction company was not liable
for the sale of phony sports memorabilia on its site.

Judge Linda B. Quinn said eBay did not vouch for the authenticity of
supposedly autographed baseballs, pictures and other items available on the
site, but rather allowed vendors to describe the merchandise themselves.

EBay has long argued that while it discourages fraud and reports bad deals
to authorities, it cannot be held liable for others' dishonesty. The San
Jose-based company contends it is more like a flea market that provides
stalls to vendors than a real-life auctioneer.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit said they lost at least $10 million buying
bogus memorabilia on eBay. They contend that by creating general categories
such as ''Sports: Autographs,'' eBay indicated the items' were authentic.

The judge sided with eBay, writing: ''A category label is not a description
of a specific collectible ... it is the Web site user who decides which
category he or she will assign to her item.''

Jim Krause, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said he would try to change
Quinn's mind in a hearing Tuesday and would appeal if that fails. He said
eBay should be held to the same standard as Christie's, Sotheby's and other
traditional auction houses.

EBay CEO Meg Whitman, who announced the ruling during a conference call
with investment analysts, said she was pleased with the decision. (AP
Online, January 19, 2001)


EDISON INTERNATIONAL: Douglas A. Ames Commences Securities Suit in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------------
A securities fraud class-action lawsuit has been commenced on behalf of
purchasers of the publicly-traded common stock of Edison International
(NYSE: EIX).

The case is pending in the United States District for the Central District
of California, Case No.: CV-00-11516 AHM (RZx). Named as defendants in the
Complaint are Edison International and its wholly owned electric utility
subsidiary, Southern California Edison Company. The Complaint charges
defendants with violations of the Securities Act of 1934 and Rule 10(b)(5)
promulgated thereunder.

The Complaint alleges securities fraud by Edison with respect to Edison's
massive over-reporting, up to the staggering amount of $2.358 billion, of
income on Edison's financial statements for the second and third quarters
of the year Its wholly owned subsidiary, So. Cal. Edison, has been
purchasing electricity at double or triple the price it can sell it for
under a rate freeze required under California's electricity deregulation
law. Yet Edison essentially accounted for this $2.358 billion in
"undercollections" as revenue on its income and balance sheets.

As charged in the Complaint, Edison falsely reported stronger earnings of $
606 million for the nine-month period ending September 30, 2000. As alleged
in the Complaint, Edison, the parent company, has actually sustained a
nine-month net loss of One Billion, Seven Hundred Fifty-Two Million ($1.75
billion).

Contact: Douglas Ames or Jacqui Parry of the Law Offices of Douglas A.
Ames, 714-536-7244


ESSO: Asserts State Was Negligent in Australia’s Longford Explosion
-------------------------------------------------------------------
GPU, Inc. reports to the SEC that, as a result of the September 1998 fire
and explosion at the Longford natural gas plant in Victoria, Australia,
Victorian gas users (plaintiffs) have brought a class action in the
Australian Federal Court against Esso Australia Limited and its affiliate
(Esso), the owner and operator of the plant, for losses suffered due to the
lack of natural gas supply and related damages. The plaintiffs claim that
Esso was, among other things, negligent in designing, maintaining and
operating the Longford plant and also assert claims under Australian fair
trade practices law.

Esso has joined as third party defendants the State of Victoria (State) and
various State-owned entities which operated the Victorian gas industry
prior to its privatization, including Transmission Pipelines Australia
(TPA) and its affiliate Transmission Pipelines (Assets) Australia (TPAA).

GPU, Inc., through GPU GasNet, acquired the assets of TPA and the shares of
TPAA from the State in June 1999.

Esso asserts that the State and the gas industry were negligent in that,
among other things, they failed to ensure that the gas system would provide
a secure supply of gas to users and also asserts claims under the
Australian fair trade practices law. In addition, GPU GasNet and other
private entities (Buyers) that purchased the Victorian gas assets from the
State have joined Esso as third party defendants. Esso asserts that if the
gas industry is liable as alleged, that liability has been transferred to
the Buyers as part of the State's privatization process.

Under the acquisition agreement with the State, GPU GasNet has indemnified
TPA and the State against third party claims arising out of, among other
things, the operation of TPA's business. TPA and the State have commenced
proceedings against GPU GasNet to enforce the indemnity in respect of any
liability that may flow to TPA as a result of Esso's claim.

GPU GasNet and TPAA have filed answers denying liability to Esso, the State
and TPA, which could be material. GPU GasNet and TPAA have notified their
insurance carriers of this action. The insurers have notified GPU GasNet
that they have formed the preliminary view that GPU GasNet is not entitled
to coverage under the liability policy. GPU GasNet believes that it is
entitled to coverage, and discussions with the insurers are continuing.


GENERAL MOTORS: Accused Of Conspiring With Car Dealers To Defraud Buyers
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A suit filed on behalf of three Arkansans claims that General Motors
Acceptance Corporation and some car dealers are conspiring to defraud car
buyers by charging higher interest on vehicle loans.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court by lawyer Tom Thrash of Little Rock
says GMAC inflates the interest rates on its car loans and then pays part
of the extra money to dealers.

The suit claims that, since the actions aren't disclosed to a buyer, it's a
deceptive trade practice.

Thrash has asked that it be granted class-action status, possibly to
include millions of car buyers in the country. No action has been taken on
that request. Similar suits have been filed in at least five states,
targeting other companies such as Ford Motor Credit Co. and Nissan Motor
Acceptance Corp.

Little Rock lawyer William Edwards Jr., who represents GMAC, defended the
practice and said the suit should be dismissed .

"It's a common practice," Edwards said. "GMAC doesn't conduct business
differently from any other financing institution or bank."

The trade magazine Automotive News says dealerships generate tens of
thousands of dollars a year with the practice. Dealers say the practice
compensates for offering customers the convenience of dealer-arranged
financing.

Thrash said he plans to file documents supporting his request for
class-action status within 45 days. He wants to include everyone who
financed a car through GMAC in the past 10 years.

"We think it meets the criteria" for class-action status, he said.

Thrash and other lawyers are also seeking class-action status for similar
cases in Tennessee. A hearing on that request is pending but probably won't
be held before one on the Arkansas lawsuit, he said.

Edwards said GMAC will fight any attempt to certify the lawsuit as a class
action. Car buyers should pursue their claims individually in state courts,
he said. (The Associated Press State & Local Wire, January 19, 2001)


GPU, INC: $700 Mil Sought for Power Outage; Co. Seeks Decertification
---------------------------------------------------------------------
In July 1999, New Jersey experienced a severe heat storm that resulted in
major power outages and temporary service interruptions, which affected
JCP&L's service territory. As a result, the NJBPU initiated an
investigation into the reliability of the transmission and distribution
systems of all New Jersey utilities and their response to power outages.
This  investigation was essentially completed in April 2000, resulting in
Phase I and Phase II Reports. Both Reports contain, among other things,
recommendations as to certain actions that should be undertaken by JCP&L,
and were adopted by NJBPU orders requiring JCP&L to act on the
recommendations and to report back on such implementation. The NJBPU order
adopting the Phase II Report stated that there is not a prima facie case
demonstrating that, overall, JCP&L provided unsafe, inadequate or improper
service to its customers.

In addition, two class action lawsuits were commenced in New Jersey
Superior Court in July 1999 against GPU, Inc. and JCP&L, seeking both
compensatory and punitive damages for alleged losses suffered due to
service interruptions.

The GPU defendants originally requested the Court to stay or dismiss the
litigation in deference to the NJBPU's primary jurisdiction. The Court
denied the motion, consolidated the two actions, and certified them as
class actions on behalf of a class that includes JCP&L customers as well as
"all dependents, tenants, employees, and other intended beneficiaries of
customers who suffered damages as a result" of the outages.

In January 2000, the Appellate Division agreed to review the trial court's
decision on primary jurisdiction. In June 2000, the Appellate  Division
affirmed the trial court's decision recognizing, however, that future
developments in the case may require a reference of certain issues to the
NJBPU. The Appellate Division also stated that the NJBPU's findings could
be probative but not determinative of at least some issues in the
litigation.

Appelate Court findings and Ruling has previously been cited in the CAR.

                               Update

In response to GPU's demand for a statement of damages, the plaintiffs have
stated that they are seeking damages of $700 million, subject to the
results of pre-trial discovery. GPU has notified its insurance carriers of
the plaintiffs' allegations. The primary insurance carrier has stated that
while the substance of the plaintiffs' allegations are covered under GPU's
policy, it is reserving its rights concerning  coverage as circumstances
develop. In September 2000, GPU received from its primary insurance carrier
the initial indemnification payment for certain expenses incurred by GPU
relative to these lawsuits.

In October 2000, the GPU defendants filed a motion in the trial court,
seeking decertification of the class.


INTRENET INC: Trucking company, facing investor Suits, files for Ch. 11
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Intrenet Inc., which abruptly shut down its trucking operations Jan. 2 for
lack of money and is being sued by investors, announced last Friday January
19 it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Management said Intrenet needed court protection while it continues to
close operations and liquidate assets.

John P. Chandler has been removed as president and chief executive and quit
Intrenet's board, management said. Thomas J. Noonan Jr., the chairman,
assumed the additional duties of president and chief executive.

Intrenet, based in suburban Cincinnati, is a holding company for its
trucking subsidiaries. Management said its business units, Advanced
Distribution Systems Inc. of Columbus; Eck Miller Transportation Corp. of
Rockport, Ind.; INET Logistics Inc. of Denver; and Roadrunner Trucking Inc.
and Roadrunner Distribution Services Inc., both of Albuquerque, also filed
separate Chapter 11 petitions.

An investor's lawsuit filed recently accuses Intrenet of deliberately
misleading investors and overstating the company's income and earnings by
improper accounting practices in 1998 and 1999. The 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 Feb. 19 and Oct. 13, 2000.

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.

PR Diamonds demands a jury trial and unspecified money damages.

Intrenet's and its trucking units ceased operations Jan 2. because of 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 have said they do not expect any company assets will be
available, after liquidation, for distribution to shareholders. (The
Associated Press State & Local Wire, January 19, 2001)


PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL: Agrees to Settle Securities Suit in Florida
------------------------------------------------------------------
As previously reported in the CAR, on November 23, 1999, a lawsuit was
filed in the District Court for the Middle District of Florida as a
purported class action initiated by George Taylor, a former Phoenix
employee. Initially, Phoenix International Ltd. Inc. and its chief
executive officer were named as defendants.

The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that Phoenix and its chief
executive officer improperly recognized revenues, overstated revenues and
failed to disclose that our revenues were allegedly in decline, all of
which allegedly caused our stock price to be higher than it otherwise would
have been during the class period. The lawsuit alleges that these purported
actions violate Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and
Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.

On May 5, 2000, the plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint which, among
other things, (1) adds four additional investors as named plaintiffs and
proposed class representatives; (2) expands the purported class period to
the period from May 5, 1997 to April 15, 1999; and (3) adds Phoenix's
president as an additional named defendant. Phoenix and the other two
defendants filed Motions to Dismiss, which were denied by the Court without
opinion in August 2000. The parties are beginning to conduct discovery.

Phoenix's insurance carriers have denied coverage for the claims in this
lawsuit.

                               Update

On October 24, 2000, Phoenix entered into an agreement in principle to
settle the consolidated securities class action litigation with a
settlement class comprising shareholders who acquired Phoenix common stock
during the period between May 5, 1997 and August 22, 2000. The settlement
is subject to certain customary conditions, notice to the proposed
settlement class, confirmatory discovery and preliminary and final court
approval.


PLAINS ALL: SEC Report Says TX Suit Re Unauthorized Trading Pending
-------------------------------------------------------------------
According to the company's report filed with the SEC, on November 29, 1999,
a class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for
the Southern District of Texas entitled Di Giacomo v. Plains All American
Pipeline, et al.

The suit alleged that Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. and certain of its
general partner's officers and directors violated federal securities laws,
primarily in connection with unauthorized trading by a former employee. An
additional nineteen cases were filed in the Southern District of Texas,
some of which name the company's general partner and Plains Resources as
additional defendants.

Plaintiffs allege that the defendants are liable for securities fraud
violations under Rule 10b-5 and Section 20(a) of the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934 and for making false registration statements under Sections 11
and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933.

The court has consolidated all subsequently filed cases under the first
filed action described above. Two unopposed motions are currently pending
to appoint lead plaintiffs. These motions ask the court to appoint two
distinct lead plaintiffs to represent two different plaintiff classes: (1)
purchasers of Plains Resources common stock and options and (2) purchasers
of the company's common units. Once lead plaintiffs have been appointed,
the plaintiffs will file their consolidated amended complaints. No answer
or responsive pleading is due until thirty days after a consolidated
amended complaint is filed.

                    September 2000 Announcement

According to Canada Newswire of September 14, 2000, Plains All announced
that it had reached a settlement in principle which, upon satisfaction of
the conditions, would resolve all class action securities claims made
following the announcement of the unauthorised trading loss in November
1999. The announcement as conveyed in the Newswire does not reveal the name
of the lawsuit. The recent SEC filing as cited above does not mention this
"Settlement in Principle."


PLAINS ALL: Securities Derivative Suits in DE Being Consolidated
----------------------------------------------------------------
On December 3, 1999, two derivative lawsuits were filed in the Delaware
Chancery Court, New Castle County, entitled Susser v. Plains All American
Inc., et al and Senderowitz v. Plains All American Inc., et al. These
suits, and three others which were filed in Delaware subsequently, named
our general partner, its directors and certain of its officers as
defendants, and allege that the defendants breached the fiduciary duties
that they owed to Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. and its unitholders by
failing to monitor properly the activities of its employees. The derivative
complaints allege, among other things, that Plains All American Pipeline
has been harmed due to the negligence or breach of loyalty of the officers
and directors that are named in the lawsuits.

These cases are currently in the process of being consolidated. No answer
or responsive pleading is due until these cases have been consolidated and
a consolidated complaint has been filed.


POSTAL SERVICE: Agrees to Pay 234 Workers Rejected on Medical Grounds
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. Postal Service has agreed to pay more than $ 2.4 million to settle
a suit brought by workers who said they were rejected for jobs they had
been doing for years because they were "regarded as" disabled. Under the
settlement, $ 400,000 will be paid to plaintiffs' attorneys William H.
Ewing of Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, who filed the suit along with
former Eckert attorney Lewis Rosman, now an assistant city solicitor.

The plaintiffs in the suit, Knee v. Henderson, had been working as data
conversion operators at a facility in York County operated by Dyncorp under
a contract with the Postal Service.When the Postal Service decided to bring
the jobs in-house in 1996, it offered the Dyncorp employees the opportunity
to apply for the positions. After giving the applicants medical
examinations, the Postal Service rejected 234 of them on the ground that
they were "medically unsuitable" even though they had all been performing
exactly the same job successfully for Dyncorp.

The settlement, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, must
be approved by the court. The Postal Service agreed to pay $ 2.047 million
to the 234 rejected applicants and an additional $ 400,000 in legal fees.
The settlement also requires the Postal Service to provide training in
Rehabilitation Act requirements to the top human resources official in its
Allegheny area and each district within that area, and to comply with the
requirements of that law when it does future hiring. After receiving their
rejection notices from the Postal Service in 1996, some of the rejected
applicants organized and filed discrimination complaints with the York
Human Relations Commission and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission.

When the EEOC refused to take up the case, some of the rejected applicants
hired Ewing to file a class action suit on their behalf.

The suit alleged that the Postal Service violated the Rehabilitation Act
and the Americans With Disabilities Act when it treated the applicants as
"medically unsuitable" even though they had demonstrated their ability by
performing the same job for Dyncorp. It also alleged that the Postal
Service violated federal law by requiring the applicants to undergo medical
examinations before it made them conditional offers of employment.

In June 1999, a federal judge refused to certify the case as a class action
on behalf of all the 234 applicants. In September 1999, another 80 rejected
applicants filed their own suit under the caption Snyder v. Henderson,
making the same claims as the plaintiffs in the Knee case.The Knee case was
scheduled for trial in May 2000, but trial was postponed because settlement
negotiations were underway.

Although a settlement was struck months ago, it was not announced until
January 18 because it had to go through several layers of government review
before receiving final approval from the Justice Department. Ewing said
that the settlement shows that federal disability discrimination laws have
teeth."This settlement shows that the federal laws protecting against
disability discrimination really have meaning. Employers cannot reject
applicants on the basis of stereotypes or unfounded beliefs about
disabilities without suffering the consequences," Ewing said. "When these
plaintiffs came to us, I couldn't believe my ears. They had been doing
precisely the same job successfully for Dyncorp, and some of them had even
won awards for their speed and efficiency. But the Postal Service said they
were 'medically unsuitable' and rejected them," Ewing said.

Some of the workers were found to be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome,
he said, while others were diagnosed with back problems and one was found
to have a mental disability."Even though the Postal Service denies that it
did anything wrong, we are pleased that it has agreed to compensate these
individuals and to provide additional training to its managers so that they
are aware of the legal requirements in the future," Ewing said.

The Postal Service was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate
Mershimer of the Middle District of Pennsylvania and Kevin A. Calamoneri of
the Postal Service's St. Louis law office. (The Legal Intelligencer,
January 19, 2001)


SOTHEBY'S: Former Chief Surrenders Stock Options to Buy 2 Million Shares
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Diana D. Brooks, the former president and chief executive of Sotheby's,
surrendered options last month to buy about two million shares of stock in
the auction house. The market value of the options is about $11 million.

At the time she resigned, Ms. Brooks volunteered to give back all but a few
of her options. The company then asked for the return of all the options as
partial payment for damages stemming from her role in a price-fixing scheme
that has cost the auction house tens of millions of dollars in fines and
lawsuit settlements. It also ensures that she will not profit from any
increase in Sotheby's stock.

Ms. Brooks pleaded guilty in October to violating federal antitrust laws by
colluding with her counterpart at the rival Christie's to fix the
commission fees charged to customers. Sotheby's also pleaded guilty. The
scheme, which went on through much of the 1990's, is said to have cost
customers hundreds of millions of dollars in overcharges.

By surrendering her options to Sotheby's, Mrs. Brooks has not foreclosed
the possibility that the company will approach her for further
compensation, people close to the auction house said.

Alfred Taubman, the company's largest shareholder and former chairman, has
denied wrongdoing in the matter but nonetheless has agreed to pay $156
million of Sotheby's $256 million share of the settlement of the
class-action suit filed on behalf of more than 100,000 customers. He has
also agreed to pay $30 million to settle a lawsuit by shareholders who said
that the company's dealings with Christie's depressed Sotheby's stock and
clouded its prospects. These payments have settled all potential claims
against him.

Foreign buyers and sellers are suing Sotheby's and Christie's for damages,
too.

People close to Ms. Brooks said she agreed to relinquish her options to
resolve the problem stemming from the case and to put the issue behind her.

Officials at Sotheby's declined to discuss the return of the options but
issued a statement that said: "Diana Brooks did not exercise any Sotheby's
stock options either in 1999 or 2000 and therefore has not received any
benefit from them. The resolution of all financial issues relating to Mrs.
Brooks resides with the Independent Committee of Sotheby's board of
directors which will finalize its conclusions following resolution of the
litigation arising out of all antitrust matters." (The New York Times,
January 19, 2001)


TIME WARNER: Court Won't Hear Appeal against Verdict in Six Flags Case
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The state's top court has refused to hear Time Warner's appeal of a record
$454 million verdict over alleged mismanagement of Six Flags Over Georgia
amusement park.

A Gwinnett County jury awarded investors of Six Flags Over Georgia the
largest civil award in state history in December 1998 after finding that
Time Warner Inc. sought to depress the park's value and withheld money and
information from the partnership that owned it. Time Warner held the
controlling stake in the group.

Investors alleged that Time Warner intentionally drove down the value of
the park in order to try and acquire it at a reduced price. They said Time
Warner tried to make the park unattractive to potential bidders by buying
up land around the park so that it couldn't expand and by refusing to add
new rides or make improvements.

The jury awarded plaintiffs $197 million in compensatory damages and $257
million in punitive damages after a six-week trial.

Last July, the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld the verdict.

After the verdict was upheld, Time Warner president Richard Parsons called
it ''unfortunate'' and said the verdict was ''unfounded and the result of a
profoundly unfair trial.''

Time Warner appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Time Warner and its partners sold the Six Flags chain of theme parks in
February 1998 to Premier Parks, an Oklahoma City-based amusement park
operator, for $1.9 billion. Premier has since changed its name to Six Flags
Inc. (AP Online, January 18, 2001)


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Judge Will Hear Request for Mistrial
--------------------------------------------------------
A judge has agreed to hear tobacco companies' request for a mistrial after
a witness in a lawsuit against them gave what attorneys called improper
testimony.

Judge Arthur Recht had banned any discussion of addiction from testimony in
the trial, a condition the smokers who filed the lawsuit agreed to because
it would allow the lawsuit to have class-action status.

But tobacco attorneys said a former Phillip Morris researcher violated the
judge's order when Paul Hulsey, an attorney for the smokers, asked him to
define ''exit brands.''

William Farone, who worked for the company from 1977 to 1984, said exit
brands are the lower-tar varieties of cigarettes that smokers often use
when trying to quit.

Tobacco attorneys complained to the judge that the testimony ''squarely
introduced'' the issue of addiction and asked for a mistrial. Recht told
jurors not to return until Tuesday and advised lawyers on both sides to
return to court Monday for arguments on the motion.

The judge had previously ruled that attorneys should not argue over whether
the plaintiffs were addicted to cigarettes, only whether they had been
exposed to them.

The lawsuit could lose its class-action status if the issue of addiction
were in play because attorneys on both sides could argue about whether each
of the 250,000 plaintiffs was addicted. If the lawsuit lost class-action
status, it would only apply to the two smokers named in the complaint.

The lawsuit, which targets R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris, Brown &
Williamson, Liggett and Lorillard, is the first class-action lawsuit of its
kind in the country to make it to trial.

R.J. Reynolds attorney Jeff Furr said Farone's reference would remain in
jurors minds and force him to address the issue of addiction.

Hulsey said his team will spend the next few days researching a way to keep
the case alive.

''This is the last thing I wanted to happen,'' Hulsey said.

The plaintiffs say they have smoked the equivalent of a pack a day for five
years but have no apparent tobacco-related illnesses. They are asking the
companies to pay for annual medical tests to detect lung diseases.

Cigarette makers contend the tests demanded in the lawsuit are experimental
and so far unproven in diagnosing smoking-related illnesses early enough to
make a difference. (AP Online, January 19, 2001)


WATER CONTAMINATION: 3rd Suit in E. Coli Claims Kidney Transplant Needed
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The E. coli outbreak at the Merrymead Farm in Worcester and the subsequent
mishandling of the situation by the Montgomery County Health Department
sparked a third lawsuit earlier this month.

Jeffersonville residents Richard and Patricia Jacobs claim their 3 year-old
daughter, Erin, now needs a kidney transplant as a result of complications
from the E. coli bacteria infection. They filed their lawsuit in Montgomery
County Court. The family is represented by attorneys Bernard W. Smalley and
Elizabath T. Allison of Feldman & Smalley in Philadelphia.

Named as defendants in the litigation are: Merrymead Farm, a popular dairy
farm and petting zoo on Valley Forge Road; the county health department;
Robert W. Gage, the former health director who submitted his resignation in
November at the request of the county commissioners; and Kelly La Verdure,
a former health department disease intervention specialist who was fired by
the commissioners in the wake of the county's in-house investigation of the
matter.

Richard Jacobs took Erin and her sister to the petting zoo on Oct. 22, at
which time the young girl came into contact with the animals, including the
cows and calves in the petting zoo. She was subsequently infected by the
bacteria. In a draft report on the outbreak, the federal Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention last month said the cows and calves were the
source of the E. coli infection.

The lawsuit maintains that both the farm and the county health department
were aware of the E. coli problem well before Oct. 22 but made no effort to
shut down the petting zoo or quarantine the animals until Oct. 28, at the
end of the farm's busy Halloween season. The lawsuit also said that health
department officials failed to notify the public of the problem in a timely
fashion. County health officials did not publicly announce there was a
problem at the farm until a hastily called press conference on Nov. 2 in
response to a television news report of the problem one day earlier.

Among the injuries Erin Jacobs has suffered as a result of the infection,
according to the suit, are: kidney failure, end-stage renal failure, the
need for dialysis; pancreatitis, colitis, hypertension, anemia,
peritonitis, multiple blood transfusions, vomiting and diarrhea. She also
needs a kidney transplant, according to the lawsuit. There are 61 confirmed
or suspected cases of the E. coli infection stemming from the farm,
according to county health officials.

All but five of the 61 cases involve children, including some like Erin who
developed kidney failure. To date, there have been no reported deaths. Two
lawsuits, including one that seeks class-action status, have already been
filed in the matter. (The Legal Intelligencer Suburban Edition, January 17,
2001)


* Bill of Rights May Close Loophole on Long-Term Temporary Workers
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
For five years, Susan Coles worked as a bus driver for King County.
Classified as a temporary employee, she received no medical benefits,
vacation or sick leave.

The Seattle woman eventually joined a class-action lawsuit against the
county and won a share of an $18.5 million settlement, including back pay
and compensation for employee benefits.

On January 18, legislation was introduced in the Senate Labor and
Industries Committee to close a loophole that has allowed use of long-term
temporary employees, or "permatemps," who receive no employee benefits.

Business leaders said the measures will hurt employment agencies and small
businesses.

The hearing drew a packed audience of temporary workers, employment agency
officials and small business owners.

Some witnesses said they had been permatemps at Microsoft, which paid $97
million last year to settle a federal lawsuit challenging the practice.
Microsoft also made some internal changes to address the concerns.

Senate Bill 5259 would guarantee basic workplace rights for the state's
temporary workforce, said Marcus Courtney, who worked at Microsoft as a
permatemp test engineer for several years and then helped found the
pro-union Washington Alliance of Technology Workers in 1998.

"Temporary workers are paid less, have access to fewer benefits, face
greater job insecurity and have fewer rights on the job than their
full-time counterparts," Courtney said. "Every sector of our economy has
temporary workers."

Some temporary workers toil next to permanent employees for years, doing
exactly the same job for less pay and no benefits, he said.

According to the Employment Security Department, about 150,000 people work
at short- and long-term temporary jobs in Washington, or about 4 percent of
the state's workforce.

The Senate legislation would create a sort of bill of rights for temporary
workers.

Temporary-service agencies would be required to provide information on new
job assignments to prospective employees, including job descriptions, rate
of pay, work schedules, and health and safety hazards. Agencies also would
have to disclose how much they are being paid.

Workers would be allowed to refuse assignments without reprisal when the
job might expose them to danger, require too much travel, or cause them to
cross a picket line during a strike.

A sore spot for Tacoma-based Labor Ready, one of the nation's largest temp
agencies, is the proposed ban on charging employees for cashing their
paychecks. Labor Ready charges $1.50 and change - paying only in bills -
when workers use its automatic teller machines to cash their checks. A
company spokesman said the fees recover the check-cashing costs.

Under a companion bill, Senate Bill 5033, temporary employees would have
access to personnel files kept by the agencies and their client companies.

Philip Gains, a former high-tech contractor with Microsoft, said he was
never allowed to see the files kept on him because of his temporary status.

"I don't get to know what the employer thinks of me," Gains said. "I am
denied the right to see my own files."

Under state law, employers must permit permanent employees to inspect their
personnel files.

Business leaders say they don't like government telling them what to do,
and they don't like the fines proposed in the new legislation. The proposal
calls for a state penalty of $5,000 or more if a company denies a worker
access to his or her personnel file.

The proposed legislation is supported by the Seattle-King County Building
and the Construction Trades Council and opposed by the Association of
Washington Business.

The committee took no action on the bills. (The Associated Press State &
Local Wire, January 19, 2001)


                             *********


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

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

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

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without prior
written permission of the publishers.

Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to be
reliable, but is not guaranteed.

The CAR subscription rate is $575 for six months delivered via e-mail.
Additional e-mail subscriptions for members of the same firm for the
term of the initial subscription or balance thereof are $25 each.  For
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                    * * *  End of Transmission  * * *