CAR_Public/010206.MBX               C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

              Tuesday, February 6, 2001, Vol. 3, No. 26

                             Headlines

BENEFICIAL NATIONAL: Star Vision Dish System Buyer Sues under TILA, RICO
CREDIT CARDS: Asso. Says Retailers against Acceptance Rules Too Diverse
CRITICAL PATH: Berman DeValerio Announces Securities Lawsuit in CA
CRITICAL PATH: Cauley Geller Files Securities Suit in California
CRITICAL PATH: Charles J. Piven Announces Securities Lawsuit in CA

CRITICAL PATH: Faruqi & Faruqi Announces Update On Securities Suit in CA
CRITICAL PATH: Girard & Green Announces Securities Lawsuit Filed in CA
CRITICAL PATH: Kirby McInerney May Expand Period in Securities Suit
CRITICAL PATH: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in California
CRITICAL PATH: Shalov Stone Announces Securities Lawsuit Filed  in CA

CRITICAL PATH: Wolf Haldenstein Announces Securities Lawsuit Filed in CA
EN POINTE: Finkelstein, Thompson Files Securities Fraud Suit in CA
EN POINTE: Krause & Kalfayan Files Securities Fraud Suit in California
EXXON MOBIL: Plaintiffs In Baton Rouge Fire Lawsuits Seek Joint Trial
FIRST LENDERS: Penalty Imposed for Plaintiff Atty's Vexatious Conduct

HAMILTON BANCORP: Cauley Geller Announces Securities Lawsuit in Miami
HAMILTON BANCORP: Marc S. Henzel Announces Securities Suit Filed in FL
MYLAN LAB: United Wisconsin Agrees to Pay 25 Mil in Price-Fixing Suit
NOVELL INC: Jury Trial Begins for Antitrust Suit Filed By Lantec in 1995
NOVELL INC: Seeks Dismissal of Amended Securities Complaint in Utah

NY CITY: Dept of Parks and Recreation Accused of Employment Bias
POSTAL SERVICE: Agrees to Pay 2.4 Mil 'Regarded As' Claims under ADA
PPA: Gancedo & Nieves Announces Lawsuit Against Drug Makers
QUALCOMM INC: 2nd Amended Complaint over Employment Termination Filed
QUALCOMM INC: Trial Set for Non Opt-out Ex Staff’s Contract Claims

RENT-A-CAR: Car Rental Firms Need License To Sell Insurance, Panel Holds
SALMONELLA OUTBREAK: Orange Juice Maker Faces $5M Payout in Aussi Case
SLAVERY REPARATION: Chicago Tribune Tells of Reasons Cited By Advocates
SOTHEBY'S: Guilty Plea Brings Collusion Case Closer to End
STATE FARM: Agents Sue in CA over Compulsory Contract Affecting 7,500

WIRE TRANSFER: Settlement Reached Re Alleged Failure to Disclose Mark-up

                               *********

BENEFICIAL NATIONAL: Star Vision Dish System Buyer Sues under TILA, RICO
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Turner purchased a satellite dish system from Star Vision
Inc., prompted by an advertised price of 39.95 for the monthly service
charges. Beneficial National Bank and Star Vision provided financing for
the purchase through an "Excel" credit card issued by Beneficial, which
could be used only to purchase goods and services from Star Vision. Along
with the Excel card, Turner received a Truth in Lending Act disclosure
statement, but did not read or rely on the statement.

When Turner received the satellite system, the invoice reflected a
monthly bill of 48.36, as did the subsequent Excel bill from Beneficial.
Turner filed a class action against Beneficial, alleging that its failure
to disclose the true cost of financing the purchase violated the TILA,
the RICO Act and Alabama fraud laws. Turner sought certification of a
national class as to her TILA and RICO claims, and a subclass as to her
state law claims.

The U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama denied class
certification on all three claims. The District Court found that class
certification of Turner's claim for statutory damages under the TILA was
barred because Beneficial paid out 500,000 in statutory damages in a
prior class action for the same violation. The District Court also found
that Turner's lack of detrimental reliance on the disclosure statement
was fatal to her bid for class certification of her claim for actual
damages under the TILA, as well as certification of her RICO and state
law claims.

Turner alleged that Beneficial engaged in a pattern of mail and wire
fraud in violation of RICO. The court noted that under Pelletier v.
Zweifel, 921 F.2d 1465 (11th Cir. 1991), a RICO plaintiff has standing to
sue "only if his injury flowed directly from the commission of the
predicate acts." "[W]hen the alleged predicate act is mail or wire fraud,
the plaintiff must have been the target of the scheme to defraud and must
have relied to his detriment on misrepresentations made in furtherance of
the scheme," the court stated. The court noted that this "substantive
requirement" applies to class actions. The court also concluded that
"justifiable reliance" is an essential element of a state fraudulent
suppression claim. Thus, the court concluded that the District Court did
not err in denying certification of Turner's RICO and state law claims.

Opinion by: Judge Rosemary Barkett.

Attorney for Turner: Knox McLaney, McLaney Associates P.C., Montgomery,
Ala.

Attorney for Beneficial: Burt Rublin, Ballard Spahr Andrew & Ingersoll,
Philadelphia. (Civil RICO Report, February 01, 2001)


CREDIT CARDS: Asso. Says Retailers against Acceptance Rules Too Diverse
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Visa and MasterCard began arguing in court on Monday that the group of
merchants collectively challenging the associations' debit card
acceptance rules is so diverse -- encompassing all four million U.S.
retailers that accept bank cards that it should not qualify as a single
class.

The hearing in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York is
expected to mark the beginning of round two of the associations' efforts
to fend off their critics.

Round one took place last summer in U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of New York, in Manhattan, when the Justice Department
prosecuted an antitrust case against Visa and MasterCard. Judge Barbara
S. Jones has not yet issued a decision, and it is possible, observers
say, that since the case involves some overlapping issues with the
retailers' suit, Judge John Gleeson, who is presiding over the upcoming
case, may wait to hear Judge Jones' ruling.

At the hearing, an appeals court judge will hear oral arguments in the
appeal by Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard International of the class-action
status of the so-called Wal-Mart lawsuit.

The retailers who sued over debit card rules were certified as a class in
February of 2000 by Judge Gleeson of U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of New York, in Brooklyn.

The class includes the nation's largest merchandisers -- such as Wal-Mart
Stores Inc. and Sears Roebuck & Co. -- as well as mom-and-pop stores.
"Their interests are completely different," Noah Hanft, general counsel
for MasterCard, said in a telephone interview.

But the retailers, in their original complaint filed in 1997, said they
were seeking class-action status partly because smaller merchants could
not afford to fight the debit card rules on their own, and "the damages
suffered by certain members of the class are small in relation to the
expense and burden of individual litigation." The retailers say there are
no conflicts of interest within the class, and that all of them suffer to
some degree from the higher rates that Visa and MasterCard charge for
their signature-based debit cards.

The merchants are challenging the "honor all cards" rule that requires
stores that take Visa and MasterCard brand credit cards to accept those
brands of debit cards as well. The Visa and MasterCard debit cards --
also known as offline debit cards, or signature-based cards -- are more
expensive for retailers than online, or PIN-based debit cards, which are
processed by the regional electronic funds transfer networks.

Merchant fees on PIN-based debit cards run around 10 to 12 cents per
transaction. The fee for the signature-based Visa check card is 1.25% of
the transaction cost plus 10 cents. For the signature-based MasterCard
debit product, it is 1.36% of the transaction cost plus 10 cents.

The retailers say PIN-based debit cards work faster and produce fewer
chargebacks and less fraud. "No one is saying offline debit should not
exist," said Lloyd Constantine, lead counsel for the plaintiffs. "They'd
probably take it at lower prices. They don't want offline debit at these
prices, and it's being shoved down their throats."

The outcome of the decision on the class certification will determine how
quickly a trial will move forward. If the class certification stands, it
will take some months for the litigants to contact all the retailers who
would be eligible to participate as part of the class, which would put
the trial date off into the future.

Last week, MasterCard released a legal draft to the press, titled "A Case
for Reversal," summarizing its appeals arguments. MasterCard will argue
that merchants in the class cannot prove common economic harm resulting
from the alleged tying-in practice between debit and credit cards.

"Some merchants can take online debit with PIN capabilities, and some can
only take offline debit cards," Mr. Hanft said. "A merchant who can only
take offline debit is going to be very happy to take more transactions."
While merchants are obliged to accept signature-based debit cards,
nothing is stopping them from encouraging people to use the cheaper
PIN-based cards, which many of them do. "Merchants are free under our
rules -- many, in fact, do prompt for a PIN," he said.

Kelly Presta, a spokesman for Visa, said that the procedure is "only one
stop on the road to determining who will decide what form of payment
consumers can use at the checkout counter." He accused "Wal-Mart and the
trial lawyers" of "trying to take away the choice of how consumers pay at
the checkout counter. We believe the decision to use cash, check, credit
cards or debit cards, should be made by the customer, not the trial
lawyers."

Debit cards are also an issue in the Justice Department antitrust case.
In that case, Judge Jones will have to decide on the specific issue of
whether debit cards and credit cards are in the same product market or
not. If Judge Jones decides they are not, that ruling will support the
retailers' argument that the card associations are tying two separate
products together by linking credit card acceptance with debit card
acceptance.

The central issues in the Justice Department case, however, are the
governing structures of Visa and MasterCard and whether collaboration
between the two companies has stifled competition and innovation in the
cards business.

The plaintiffs in the Wal-Mart case are asking for the right to accept
Visa and MasterCard debit cards but to reject signature-based debit
cards. They are also seeking monetary damages, including interest and
attorneys' fees.

John C. Coffee, a Columbia law professor with expertise in class-action
suits, said that classes seeking damages have to prove the commonality of
their case under more rigorous standards than a class seeking only an
injunction. "The defendants will say that individual issues predominate
over the common issues, because this is a very diverse or heterogeneous
class," Mr. Coffee said.

Last November the associations tried unsuccessfully to have Wal-Mart
dismissed from the case. Visa and MasterCard argued that Wal-Mart had
suppressed a piece of evidence, an employee-training videotape that
instructed cashiers to prompt debit card users to use personal
identification numbers.

While Judge Gleeson denied the associations' motion for dismissal, the
tape was submitted to the court as evidence. The associations argue that
the tape is proof that merchants have ample leeway in payment card
choices. "That training film is relevant to the case," Mr. Hanft said.
The tape demonstrated "how to move people to pay with a PIN card."

Wal-Mart argued that it did not suppress the tape, but mislabeled and
misplaced it. Mr. Hanft said the tape "materialized only after we sought
a sanction."

MasterCard said it also plans to argue that the size of the class would
be unprecedented for an antitrust case, and to protest "the
unmanageability of such an enormous class."

Mr. Coffee said the major obstacle to class certification is not the size
of the class, but whether there are internal divisions. "This is
essentially an antitrust claim that you're tying one product that's less
desirable to the product where you have great market power, your credit
card," Mr. Coffee said. "I don't see internal divisions within the class
from that perspective." (The American Banker, February 5, 2001)


CRITICAL PATH: Berman DeValerio Announces Securities Lawsuit in CA
------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Berman DeValerio & Pease LLP on February 4 said that it
is pursuing a class action on behalf of shareholders of Critical Path,
Inc. (Nasdaq: CPTH) who suffered damages as a result of the company's
alleged fraud.

The class action, filed on February 2 in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California, charges violations of section
10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. It was brought on behalf of
all investors who purchased Critical Path common stock between April 20,
2000 and February 1, 2001 (the "Class Period").

The action charges that Critical Path and some of its top officers misled
investors about the company's revenues and earnings and that the company
failed to follow generally accepted accounting principles when preparing
its financial statements. On February 2, 2001, the company announced it
had discovered "a number of transactions that put into question the
company's financial results." In addition, the company stated that its
2000 fourth quarter results may be "materially misleading" and that two
senior officers were placed "on leave."

As a result of the announcement, Critical Path's shares fell 67% from a
closing price of $10.06 on February 1 to $3.86 on February 2, before
trading in the stock was halted on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Contact: Berman DeValerio & Pease LLP Chauncey D. Steele IV, Esq.,
800/516-9926 bdplaw@bermanesq.com. or Donica Patel, Esq., 415/433-3200


CRITICAL PATH: Cauley Geller Files Securities Suit in California
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP announced on February
3 that it has filed a class action in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California on behalf of all individuals and
institutional investors who purchased the common stock of Critical Path,
Inc. (Nasdaq: CPTH), between November 2, 2000 and February 1, 2001,
inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Critical Path and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
Critical Path provides e-mail hosting services to a variety of
organizations, including Internet service providers, Web hosting
companies, Web portals, and corporations. The complaint alleges that many
of these types of companies were new and were suffering from a downturn
in Internet-related funding which began in the spring of 2000. By
September 2000 at the latest, the problems many of these companies were
having raising money had reached crisis levels. Defendants had also known
for months that new accounting regulations would negate the Company's
ability to continue to recognize up front license fees in Q4 2000. The
complaint alleges that Defendants knew this would severely impair
Critical Path's future revenue growth and impair their ability to make
future stock sales and extract future bonuses which were tied to the
Company's performance. Thus, according to the complaint, defendants
continued to make positive but false statements about Critical Path's
business and future revenues during Q4 2000. As a result, Critical Path's
stock traded as high as $48.

On January 18, 2001 after the market closed, Critical Path announced that
in the fourth quarter 2000 it would report a multi-million dollar loss.
This was directly contrary to what Critical Path's CEO had told
shareholders and analysts just weeks before. Then, on February 2, 2001,
Critical Path announced that the Company's results reported on January
18, 2001, were materially misstated. This disclosure shocked the market,
causing Critical Path's stock to decline to less than $4 per share in
pre-market trading. Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP has substantial
experience representing investors in securities fraud class action
lawsuits such as this. The firm has offices in Florida, Arkansas and
California, but represents shareholders from throughout the nation. If
you have any questions about how you may be able to recover for your
losses, or if you would like to consider serving as one of the lead
plaintiffs in this lawsuit, you must meet certain requirements and take
appropriate action by April 3, 2001. You are encouraged to call or e-mail
the Firm or visit the Firm's website at www.classlawyer.com. CAULEY
GELLER BOWMAN & COATES, LLP Sue Null, Charlie Gastineau or Jackie Addison
Toll Free: 1-888-551-9944 E-mail: info@classlawyer.com

Contact: Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP Sue Null or Charlie
Gastineau, 1-888-551-9944


CRITICAL PATH: Charles J. Piven Announces Securities Lawsuit in CA
------------------------------------------------------------------
Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. advised investors that on February
2, 2001, it filed a class-action lawsuit charging Critical Path, Inc.
(NASDAQ:CPTH) with securities fraud in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California. The suit seeks damages for
violations of federal securities laws on behalf of all investors who
bought Critical Path, Inc. common stock between April 20, 2000 through
and including February 1, 2001 (the "Class Period").

On February 2, 2001, prior to the opening of trading, Critical Path
issued a press release announcing that it has commenced an investigation
of certain financial reporting matters and that it has "placed two
executives on leave." The Company went on to state that is had discovered
"a number of transactions that put into question the company's financial
results." After this announcement, the price of Critical Path shares fell
roughly 61% from $10.07 to $3.94.

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


CRITICAL PATH: Faruqi & Faruqi Announces Update On Securities Suit in CA
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The following announcement was issued by the law firm of Faruqi & Faruqi,
LLP:

Notice is hereby given that on February 2, 2001, a class action lawsuit
was commenced in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California on behalf of all purchasers of Critical Path, Inc.
(NASDAQ: CPTH) common stock between June 15, 1999, and February 2, 2001,
inclusive (the "Class Period").

The Complaint charges Critical Path and certain of its executive
officers, and the Company's auditor, PriceWaterhouseCoopers ("PWC"), for
violations of the federal securities laws, including Sections 10(b) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. Among other things,
plaintiff claims that the defendants issued a series of materially false
and misleading statements in press releases and SEC filings concerning
the Company's business and prospects for 2000 and beyond. As a result,
the price of Critical Path's common stock was artificially inflated
throughout the Class Period, allowing Critical Path's top insiders to
sell over $21 million worth of their own Critical Path shares at prices
as high as $78.00 per share.

On January 18, 2001, the Company shocked the market when it disclosed it
would in fact report a loss for the Fourth Quarter 2000, as opposed to
positive earnings which it had been touting for months. Although these
losses were allegedly attributed to higher acquisition costs, accounting
changes, and the dot-com bust, the partial truth was revealed when on
February 2, 2001, the Company announced that it may have "materially
misstated" its Fourth Quarter 2000 results. Besides discovering a number
of transactions that put into question the Company's financial results,
the Company's Board of Directors has formed a special committee of the
Board to conduct an investigation into the Company's revenue recognition
practices and has further placed two executives, President David Thacher
and Vice President of Worldwide Sales, William Rinehart, on
administrative leave. As a result, the NASDAQ Stock Market halted trading
of the Company's shares. Prior to the halt, shares of the Company fell
over 60% in pre-market trading to $3.88 per share.

Contact: Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP, New York Anthony Vozzolo, Esq.
877/247-4292 or 212/983-9330


CRITICAL PATH: Girard & Green Announces Securities Lawsuit Filed in CA
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The San Francisco law firm Girard & Green, LLP, in association with
co-counsel, has filed a shareholders class action in federal court,
Kessler v. Critical Path, Inc. et al., following recent announcements by
Critical Path, Inc. that its reported fourth-quarter results may be
materially incorrect.

On January 18, 2001, Critical Path, a Web messaging software company
based in San Francisco, reported fourth-quarter results that included
revenue of $52 million. On February 2, 2001, Critical Path announced it
had discovered past transactions calling its financial results into
question. The company also announced that its reported fourth-quarter
results may have been materially misstated. In addition, Critical Path
said its board of directors had formed a special committee to investigate
the company's revenue recognition practices. Critical Path also disclosed
that the board had placed the company's president, David Thatcher, and
vice president of worldwide sales, William Rinehart, on administrative
leave.

On February 2, 2001, NASDAQ halted trading in Critical Path's stock.
Before the halt, the price of the stock had fallen over 60 percent, to
approximately $ 3.90.

The Kessler lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division. The suit
is brought on behalf of a plaintiff class consisting of all people who
acquired Critical Path common stock at any time from November 30, 2000
through February 1, 2001, and who suffered damages as a result. The
complaint alleges that during this period, Critical Path, David Thatcher,
and William Rinehart knowingly or recklessly issued statements that
misled the public and market about the company's fortunes, and inflated
the price of its stock. The complaint alleges that these Defendants thus
violated the federal securities laws and are liable to the class members
for damages. Girard & Green, LLP has filed the complaint in association
with the New York law firm Shalov Stone & Bonner.

For more information, please contact attorney Robert A. Jigarjian at
Girard & Green, LLP by telephone (415/981-4800) or e-mail
(raj@classcounsel.com).


CRITICAL PATH: Kirby McInerney May Expand Period in Securities Suit
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Kirby McInerney & Squire, which on February 2, 2001, commenced a
securities class action suit against Critical Path and certain of its
senior officers and directors, announced that, upon further
investigation, it expects to expand the class period to begin earlier
than previously announced.

The complaint charges Critical Path and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Act of 1934 arising from
defendants' issuance of materially false and misleading financial
information concerning the company's revenues and earnings. In a February
2, 2001 press release, Critical Path admitted that previously announced
operating results were in fact "materially misstated". Critical Path also
admitted: (i) that although an investigation of the company's revenue
recognition practices had "just begun"; (ii) Critical Path had
"discovered a number of transactions that put into question the Company's
financial results"; and (iii) two senior Critical Path executives (the
company's President and its Vice President of worldwide sales) had been
placed on administrative leave. As a result of these admissions, the
company's shares (before trading in Critical Path was halted by Nasdaq)
lost nearly two-thirds of their value in a single day. The suit seeks to
recover losses suffered by investors who purchased Critical Path
securities.

Contact: KIRBY McINERNEY & SQUIRE, LLP Ira Press, Esq. Gretchen Becht,
Paralegal 212/317-2300 or 888/529-4787 (Toll Free) gbecht@kmslaw.com


CRITICAL PATH: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in California
----------------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss (http://www.milberg.com/criticalpath/)announced on
February that a class action has been commenced in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of
purchasers of Critical Path, Inc. (NASDAQ:CPTH) common stock during the
period between November 2, 2000 and February 1, 2001 (the "Class
Period").

The complaint charges Critical Path and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
Critical Path provides e-mail hosting services to a variety of
organizations, including Internet service providers, Web hosting
companies, Web portals, and corporations. The complaint alleges that many
of these types of companies were new and were suffering from a downturn
in Internet-related funding which began in the spring of 2000. By
September 2000 at the latest, the problems many of these companies were
having raising money had reached crisis levels. Defendants had also known
for months that new accounting regulations would negate the Company's
ability to continue to recognize up front license fees in Q4 2000.
Defendants knew this would severely impair Critical Path's future revenue
growth and impair their ability to make future stock sales and extract
future bonuses which were tied to the Company's performance. Thus,
defendants continued to make positive but false statements about Critical
Path's business and future revenues during Q4 2000. As a result, Critical
Path's stock traded as high as$48.

On January 18, 2001 after the market closed, Critical Path announced that
in the fourth quarter 2000 it would report a multi-million dollar loss.
This was directly contrary to what Critical Path's CEO had told
shareholders and analysts just weeks before. Then, on February 2, 2001,
Critical Path announced that the Company's results reported on January
18, 2001, were materially misstated. This disclosure shocked the market,
causing Critical Path's stock to decline to less than $4 per share in
pre-market trading.

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


CRITICAL PATH: Shareholder Action Filed By Schiffrin & Barroway in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The following statement was issued on February 5 by the law firm of
Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP:

Notice is hereby given that a class action lawsuit was filed in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of California on
behalf of all purchasers of the common stock of Critical Path, Inc.
(Nasdaq: CPTH) from November 2, 2000 through February 1, 2001, inclusive
(the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Critical Path and certain of its officers and
directors with issuing false and misleading statements concerning its
business and financial condition. Specifically, the complaint charges
that Critical Path, a provider of e-mail hosting services to a variety of
organizations, including Internet service providers, Web hosting
companies, Web portals, and corporations, misled investors about the
Company's revenues and earnings and that the Company failed to follow
generally accepted accounting principles when preparing its financial
statements. The complaint alleges that many of these types of companies
were new and were suffering from a downturn in Internet-related funding
which began in the spring of 2000. By September 2000 at the latest, the
problems many of these companies were having raising money had reached
crisis levels. Defendants had also known for months that new accounting
regulations would negate the Company's ability to continue to recognize
up front license fees in Q4 2000. Defendants knew this would severely
impair Critical Path's future revenue growth and impair their ability to
make future stock sales and extract future bonuses which were tied to the
Company's performance. Nevertheless, defendants continued to make
positive but false statements about Critical Path's future revenues
during Q4 2000, which resulted in Critical Path's stock trading as high
as $48.

On January 18, 2001 after the market closed, Critical Path announced that
in the fourth quarter 2000 it would report a multi-million dollar loss.
Then on February 2, 2001, Critical announced that the Company's results
reported on January 18, 2001, were materially misstated. This disclosure
shocked the market, causing Critical Path's shares to fall 67% from a
closing price of $ 10.06 on February 1 to $3.86 on February 2, before
trading in the stock was halted on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

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


CRITICAL PATH: Wolf Haldenstein Announces Securities Lawsuit Filed in CA
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP announces that it has filed a
class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California on behalf of purchasers of the securities of
Critical Path, Inc. ("Critical Path" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: CPTH -
news) between June 15, 2000 and February 1, 2001, inclusive (the "Class
Period"), against defendants Critical Path, David Hayden, David Thatcher,
Douglas Hickey and the Company's auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The case name and index number are Cohn v. Critical Path, Inc., David
Hayden, David Thatcher, Douglas Hickey and PricewaterhouseCoopers
(01551-SC). The case is before Judge Conti. A copy of the complaint filed
in this action is available from the Court, or can be viewed on the Wolf
Haldenstein website at www.whafh.com.

The complaint alleges that Critical Path, certain of its officers and
directors, and the Company's auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, violated
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Critical Path touts itself as a
leading provider of complete end-to-end Internet messaging and
collaboration solutions for Internet service providers ("ISPs"),
telecommunications providers, web hosting companies, web portals and
corporations. The Company provides services and products, both on a
hosted and licensed basis, that enables its customers to provide
feature-rich e-mail, messaging, collaboration and directory services to
their customers and employees. The complaint alleges that defendants
artificially inflated the price of Critical Path stock throughout the
Class Period by disseminating false and misleading statements concerning
the Company's business and revenues for 2000 and beyond in order to
unload over $21 million worth of common stock. The complaint further
alleges, amongst other things, that defendants concealed the fact the
Company's future revenues would decline due to the fact that many of the
Company's customers needed to cut capital expenditures.

On January 18, 2001, after the market closed, Critical Path announced
that the Company would report a loss in the fourth quarter 2000, as
opposed to positive earnings which it had been touting for months, as
well as a loss for the first quarter 2001, allegedly due to: higher costs
from the Company's acquisition of PeerLogic, Inc.; dot-com customers
going out of business; and an accounting change that required the Company
to defer $7 million in licensing revenue. This was directly contrary to
what Critical Path had been telling the investing public throughout the
entire Class Period. Indeed, this disclosure shocked the market, causing
Critical Path's stock to plummet $11 per share, or 55%, from $20 per
share to close at $9 per share on January 18, 2001, making it the
second-largest percentage decliner in U.S. markets that day, on volume of
more than 38 million shares, inflicting hundreds of millions of dollars
of damage on plaintiff and the Class. Defendants' misconduct wiped out
millions of dollars in market capitalization as Critical Path stock fell
from its Class Period high of approximately $78 per share, as the truth
about Critical Path, its operations and prospects began to reach the
market.

Further, on February 2, 2001, the Company disclosed the full extent of
its fraud when it announced over the PRNewswire that its Board of
Directors formed a special committee to conduct an investigation into the
Company's revenue recognition practices. According to published reports
and the Company's press release, the Company has discovered a number of
transactions that put into question the Company's financial results. On
January 18, 2001, the Company had announced fourth quarter results of $52
million in revenue and net loss, excluding special charges, of $11.5
million. This information had caused the stock to decline substantially.
The Company, however, now believes that these results were "materially
misstated" and it further cautioned that its investigation has just
begun. The Company also announced that the Board of Directors placed on
administrative leave David Thatcher, the Company's president, and William
Rinehart, the vice president of worldwide sales.

Contact: Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP, New York Fred Taylor
Isquith, Esq., Gregory M. Nespole, Esq., Brian S. Cohen, Esq. or George
Peters 800/575-0735 classmember@whafh.com, whafh@aol.com,
nespole@whafh.com, Gnespole@aol.com, www.whafh.com


EN POINTE: Finkelstein, Thompson Files Securities Fraud Suit in CA
------------------------------------------------------------------
Finkelstein, Thompson & Loughran has filed a securities fraud class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of California on behalf of persons who purchased the common
stock of En Pointe Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: ENPT) during the period
between December 7, 1999 and April 13, 2000, inclusive.

The complaint charges that certain of the Company's insiders conspired
with Hampton-Porter Investment Bankers, LLC and other stock promoters to
artificially inflate the share price of En Pointe common stock, in order
to reap over $50 million in proceeds from insider sales of the stock. The
complaint alleges that Hampton-Porter pushed the stock on clients, and
refused to accept sell orders, while simultaneously feeding the market
false information concerning the Company's business operations.

The complaint further alleges that defendants misled the market
concerning En Pointe's ownership of SupplyAccess, Inc. and the business
prospects of SupplyAccess. In particular, Defendants concealed the fact
that En Pointe was poised to proceed with a supplemental private
placement offering which would reduce the Company's ownership in
SupplyAccess to a minority position, and further misrepresented that
SupplyAccess competed with Ariba and CommerceOne in the "B2B" market,
when in fact it did not.

On April 13, 2000, En Pointe revealed that, pursuant to a private
placement of preferred stock, its ownership interest in SupplyAccess had
fallen below 50%, and it was no longer the majority owner of
SupplyAccess. In reaction to this news, the Company's share price
plummeted, falling $14.63, or 53 percent, to $ 12.88 on April 13, 2000.
Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of all investors who
purchased En Pointe common stock during the Class Period and who suffered
damages as a result, and is represented by the law firm of Finkelstein,
Thompson & Loughran, of Washington, DC, among others. Finkelstein,
Thompson & Loughran has over thirty years of securities litigation
experience, has broad experience in representing defrauded investors in
shareholder class actions, and has been appointed to lead positions in
many such actions in federal and state courts throughout the United
States.

Contact: Donald J. Enright of Finkelstein, Thompson & Loughran,
888-333-4409, or 202-337-8000, or dje@ftllaw.com


EN POINTE: Krause & Kalfayan Files Securities Fraud Suit in California
----------------------------------------------------------------------
On February 2, 2001, Krause & Kalfayan filed a securities fraud class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of California on behalf of a Class of persons who purchased the
common stock of En Pointe Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: ENPT) during the
period between December 7, and April 13, 2000, inclusive (herinafter the
"Class Period").

The complaint alleges that certain of the En Pointe's insiders conspired
with Hampton-Porter Investment Bankers, LLC and other stock promoters to
artificially inflate the share price of En Pointe common stock, in order
to reap over $50 million in proceeds from insider sales of the stock. The
complaint alleges that Hampton-Porter pushed the stock on clients, and
refused to accept sell orders, while simultaneously feeding the market
false information concerning the Company's business operations.

The complaint further alleges that defendants misled the market
concerning En Pointe's ownership of SupplyAccess, Inc. and the business
prospects of SupplyAccess. In particular, Defendants concealed the fact
that En Pointe was poised to proceed with a supplemental private
placement offering which would reduce the Company's ownership in
SupplyAccess to a minority position, and further misrepresented that
SupplyAccess competed with Ariba and CommerceOne in the
Business-to-Business market, when in fact it did not.

On April 13, 2000, En Pointe revealed that, pursuant to a private
placement of preferred stock, its ownership interest in SupplyAccess had
fallen below 50%, and it was no longer the majority owner of
SupplyAccess. In reaction to this news, the Company's share price
plummeted, falling $14.63, or 53 percent, to $ 12.88 on April 13, 2000.

Contact: Patrick N. Keegan, Esq. of Krause & Kalfayan, 619-232-0331,
pkeegan@krausekalfayan.com


EXXON MOBIL: Plaintiffs In Baton Rouge Fire Lawsuits Seek Joint Trial
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in multiple lawsuits stemming from a 1993 fire at Exxon Mobil
Corp. plants have asked a federal judge to combine their complaints into
a class-action case involving nearly 12,000 people. The request follows
last month's failure of settlement talks in cases involving the August
1993 fire at the Exxon Chemical Co. Americas and a separate accident at
another Exxon Mobile plant near Baton Rouge in 1994. Only the first fire
was covered by the request filed on February 2 by Denham Springs lawyer
Calvin Fayard.

Certifying class action status would save time for U.S. District Judge
Ralph Tyson and Magistrate Stephen C. Riedlinger, who is handling
pretrial preparation, because they would not have to deal with multiple,
similar claims, Fayard said.

No hearing date has been set for Fayard's request.

The fire began during the early morning hours when a pipe that was part
of an asphalt processing unit split. The fire burned out of control for
nearly three hours.

U.S. District Judge Frank Polozola, who presided over the cases until
removing himself last month, declared in December that the settlement
talks had failed.

Tyson, assigned the case after Polozola's recusal, asked Fayard and
attorneys for Exxon to re-argue class-action status.

Last August, Polozola and State District Judge Mike Caldwell dealt Exxon
a legal setback. Exxon sought to hold Foster Wheeler Co. liable for the
pipe that split and caused the 1993 fire.

Exxon claimed Foster Wheeler made an inadequate product that resulted in
the fire. Polozola and Caldwell ruled the statute of limitations to sue
over the faulty part had expired, leaving Foster Wheeler without any
legal liability in the case. (The Associated Press State & Local Wire,
February 3, 2001)


FIRST LENDERS: Penalty Imposed for Plaintiff Atty's Vexatious Conduct
---------------------------------------------------------------------
After segregating the additional costs and fees incurred by a defendant
because of the unreasonable and vexatious conduct of plaintiffs' counsel,
a federal court appropriately imposed a monetary sanction under 28 USC
1927. (Lee, et al. v. First Lenders Insurance Services Inc., et al., No.
00-1240 (8th Cir. 1/9/01).)

Kenneth Ray Lee, and eight other car purchasers, sued First Lenders
Insurance Services Inc. in the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota
alleging violations of the federal RICO Act, the Truth In Lending Act and
various state law. Attorneys Thomas J. Lyons, Richard G. Nadler and
Steven T. Appelget represented the purchasers in the putative class
action.

In January 1995, Lyons ended his association with Nadler. Then, Nadler
filed a memorandum to support the purchasers' motion for class action
certification. In mid-September, Lyons and Thomas J. Lyons & Associates
substituted as the purchasers' counsel of record. Lyons withdrew the
motion and requested a continuance to prepare a third amended pleading.
Lyons represented to the court he would reformulate the class
certification with the assistance of a new "national class counsel."
Lyons never filed the amended pleading.

The District Court granted summary judgment to First Lenders and two
other defendants. They moved for sanctions against Associates under 28
USC 1927. The court granted 15,000 to each defendant.

On appeal, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded
the award because the District Court failed to provide an adequate basis
for its decision. On remand, the District Court found Lyons' filing "of a
class action complaint, and permitting the action to proceed with
discovery and motion practice for over a year and a half, before
abandoning the class claims without explanation, unreasonably and
vexatiously multiplied the proceedings." It again awarded 15,000 to First
Lenders.

On appeal, Associates argued the class action claim was asserted with
inadequate prefiling investigation, and thus, Associates was only subject
to sanctions under Fed. R. Civ. P. 11, and not Section 1927. Relying on
Peterson v. BMI Refractories, 124 F.3d 1386 (11th Cir. 1997), the 8th
Circuit stated there was a causal nexus between counsel's objectionable
conduct and the multiplication of the proceedings, as required by Section
1927.

Next, Associates argued the District Court's factual findings were
erroneous because Lyons did not file the certification motion. However,
the 8th Circuit ruled that the District Court properly noted that Lyons
never formally withdrew as counsel. Thus, Lyons was still responsible for
the filings.

Associates also contended First Lenders failed to demonstrate a
"financial nexus" between the amount it claimed in costs and attorney's
fees, and any excess costs and fees incurred as a result of Lyon's
vexatious conduct. The 8th Circuit agreed that the court must separate
the two types of costs and fees. However, "the task is inherently
difficult, and precision is not required," the 8th Circuit opined. The
District Court conservatively imposed the sanction award after it
discounted First Lenders' alleged costs and fees by 82 percent.

The 8th Circuit held that the award was not an abuse of discretion and
affirmed the District Court's award. (Civil RICO Report, February 01,
2001)


HAMILTON BANCORP: Cauley Geller Announces Securities Lawsuit in Miami
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP announced on February
3 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. (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 Sue Null or Charlie
Gastineau, 1-888-551-9944


HAMILTON BANCORP: Marc S. Henzel Announces Securities Suit Filed in FL
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for
the Southern District of Florida, on behalf of purchasers of the
securities of Hamilton Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq: HABK) between April 21,
1998 and December 22, 2000, inclusive.

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. Plaintiff is
represented by The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel. If you are a member of
the class described above, you have until March 13, 2001, to participate
in the case and ask the Court to appoint you as one of the lead
plaintiffs for the Class. In order to serve as lead plaintiff, however,
you must meet certain legal requirements. You do not need to seek
appointment as a lead plaintiff in order to share in any recovery.

Contact: Marc S. Henzel, Esq. of The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel,
888-643-6735 or 215-625-9999, or fax, 215-440-9475 or e-mail,
Mhenzel182@aol.com


MYLAN LAB: United Wisconsin Agrees to Pay 25 Mil in Price-Fixing Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
United Wisconsin Services, Inc., a Milwaukee-based health insurer, has
entered into a Stipulation of Settlement with Mylan Laboratories, Inc.
which, subject to court approval, will settle class action litigation on
behalf of health insurers and other third party payers concerning prices
paid in 1998 and for the generic versions of the prescription drugs
lorazepam, and clorazepate.

Pursuant to the agreement, Mylan will pay $25 million and a third party
will pay an additional $285,000 to settle all claims of third party
payers for payments made on behalf of users of lorazepam and clorazepate
in 19 states and the District of Columbia. In a separate class action
lawsuit, in which United Wisconsin Services is not a party, Mylan has
agreed to pay $10 million to settle third party payer claims in the other
31 states. Mylan has also agreed to settle separate lawsuits brought by
the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys generals.

United Wisconsin Services sued in the United States District Court for
the District of Columbia in May 1999, charging Mylan with violating
various states' antitrust and consumer protection laws by conspiring with
raw material suppliers to corner the market for the active pharmaceutical
ingredients used to make generic lorazepam and generic clorazepate.
United Wisconsin charged that this prevented Mylan's competitors from
manufacturing generic lorazepam and generic clorazepate, enabling Mylan
to raise prices for these drugs dramatically, at the expense of consumers
and third party payers. United Wisconsin Services was later joined in the
lawsuit by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas and Carefirst Blue Cross Blue
Shield (Washington, D.C.).

United Wisconsin Services is a provider of managed healthcare services
and employee benefits products through its subsidiaries, Blue Cross &
Blue Shield United of Wisconsin, Inc., Compcare Health Insurance
Corporation, Unity Health Plans Insurance Corporations and Valley Health
Plan Incorporated. United Wisconsin Services serves markets in Wisconsin
and 39 other states and provides managed care benefits to persons in all
states.

"We must do what we can to hold down the skyrocketing cost of
pharmaceuticals," said Thomas R. Hefty, chairman, president and CEO of
United Wisconsin Services Inc. "When drug companies engage in unfair
trade practices, it's important for us to do something about it."

United Wisconsin Services has been a leader among managed care companies
in using litigation to redress unfair trade practices which increase
prescription drug costs to the United States healthcare system. United
Wisconsin is currently prosecuting three other class action lawsuits
concerning unfair trade practices which increased prices paid by
consumers and third party payers for the prescription drugs Cardizem CD
(diltiazem hydrochloride), Hytrin (terazosin hydrochloride), and Coumadin
(warfarin sodium). United Wisconsin Services is represented in these
class action cases by the law firm of Lowey Dannenberg Bemporad &
Selinger, P.C., White Plains, New York.

Headquartered in Milwaukee, United Wisconsin Services operates
Wisconsin's largest health maintenance organization system, and it
includes CompcareBlue, Unity Health Plans and Valley Health Plan. The
company also has substantial specialty insurance products and services
operations.


NOVELL INC: Jury Trial Begins for Antitrust Suit Filed By Lantec in 1995
------------------------------------------------------------------------
In January 2001, Novell is scheduled to begin a jury trial in a suit
filed against Novell by Lantec, Inc. The suit was filed in January 1995
in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah claiming alleged
anti-trust violations arising from Novell's acquisition of the GroupWise
technology. Novell intends to vigorously defend against the claims.
Novell says that while there can be no assurance as to the ultimate
disposition of the lawsuit, the company does not believe that the
resolution of this litigation will have a material adverse effect on its
financial position, results of operations, or cash flows.


NOVELL INC: Seeks Dismissal of Amended Securities Complaint in Utah
-------------------------------------------------------------------
As previously reported in the CAR, in February 1998, a suit was filed
against Novell and certain of its officers and directors, alleging
violation of federal securities laws. The lawsuit was brought as a
purported class action on behalf of purchasers of Novell common stock
from November 1, 1996, through April 22, 1997.

                               Update

The Federal District Court recently dismissed the original complaint.
However, the plaintiffs have filed an amended complaint in the U.S.
District Court for the District of Utah in an effort to remedy
inadequacies in the original complaint; Novell intends to seek dismissal
of the amended complaint and believes that the case is without merit. If
the case continues, Novell intends to vigorously defend against the
allegations.


NY CITY: Dept of Parks and Recreation Accused of Employment Bias
----------------------------------------------------------------
A federal agency has found "reasonable cause" to believe that New York
City's Department of Parks and Recreation has illegally discriminated on
the basis of race and national origin in assigning and promoting
employees.

The finding by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission came in
response to complaints filed in March and April 1999 by 20 current and
former Parks Department employees, all of whom are black or Hispanic.

They accused the department of creating a dual employment structure in
which job openings were not posted, other Civil Service procedures were
ignored and minority workers were repeatedly denied promotions and raises
awarded to less-experienced whites. They also said they felt the
department retaliated against them after they complained of disparate
treatment.

The investigation by the E.E.O.C.'s New York district office found that
the department's "supervisory lines of authority are almost completely
segregated by race and color," and that whites were promoted at
significantly higher rates than minority workers were. It also said that
in three cases the department retaliated against workers who had
complained of discrimination by forcing one worker to resign and by
giving poor evaluations to two others.

Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern said that the report was "completely
unfounded" and that the agency had ignored evidence provided by his
department. "The idea that we would discriminate against people on the
basis of race is repulsive," Mr. Stern said. "If I didn't know what a
farce the whole thing was, I'd be really offended."

It is standard practice for the E.E.O.C. to neither confirm nor deny the
findings of an investigation until conciliation between the parties is
tried. If conciliation fails, the federal agency could take the
department to court. Lawyers for the complainants provided a copy of the
findings, which they are to announce at a news conference.

Eleven of the 20 complainants are preparing to file a class-action suit
against the Parks Department, the city and Mr. Stern, claiming violations
of federal civil rights laws. And the United States attorney for the
Southern District has been investigating the charges to determine whether
the Justice Department should join the lawsuit.

The employees' lawyers say the Justice Department's response will be a
test of the stated commitment by the new United States attorney general,
John Ashcroft, to protect the civil rights of all Americans. "This is a
case where the federal government should not sit back and let private
attorneys do all of the work," one lawyer, Lewis M. Steel, said.

The E.E.O.C. would not say how common "reasonable cause" findings are
against public agencies. But the department's Web site says that it made
such findings in only 8.4 percent of more than 57,000 similar cases
involving public and private employers in fiscal year 2000, and even
fewer in previous years.

Mr. Steel and another lawyer for the workers, Cynthia Rollings, said they
had not heard of a similarly broad finding against a public agency in
decades of handling employment discrimination cases.

Mr. Stern is to appear before the City Council to answer a subpoena
ordering that he document how his department spent the more than $5
million it has raised since 1994 through mandatory donations from groups
seeking to use city parks for events. Mr. Stern has said that the money
went to nonprofit foundations. The complainants' lawyers said they would
try to determine whether any of the funds were used to to supplement the
salaries of selected white employees. Mr. Stern said that that occurred
only when city employees also did foundation work.

A spokeswoman for the mayor, Sunny Mindel, would not comment on the
E.E.O.C. findings, saying only: "Henry Stern does a magnificent job
maintaining the parks. They are in better shape now than ever. By
anyone's measure New York City parks are better because of him."

But the employees who joined in the E.E.O.C. complaint and documents
provided by their lawyers paint a different picture of the agency, which
has more than 2,000 employees and a yearly budget of $160 million. Almost
all the employees in the department's upper echelons are white. All the
complainants, most of whom said they received good evaluations, described
being frustrated in their efforts to gain promotions that nearly always
went to white colleagues, often those with less experience.

One complainant, Carrie Anderson, said she had received only one
promotion in more than 30 years with the agency, despite holding a
college degree and repeatedly applying for posted jobs. She still earns
less than $40,000 a year. In many cases, she said, the jobs she applied
for were given to white employees, and in other cases, positions for
which she might have applied were not posted.

The Parks Department's own statistics show that whites received 38 of 53
promotions in 1998, and 46 of 65 in 1999. "We promote on the basis of
performance, not on the basis of ethnicity," Mr. Stern said. "We do not
promote by quota as they might wish." He named several black employees in
what he described as important positions and added that one of his top
employees is married to a black woman.

Ms. Anderson and the other complainants focused much of their ire on a
program established under Mr. Stern called "Class of," in which 30 to 40
young, mostly white appointees are recruited each year from elite
colleges and given prestigious positions like chief of staff and
speechwriter. They are also quickly promoted and awarded raises, the
complainants said.

Mr. Stern said that those employees were hired at $26,000 and were given
a $5,000 raise after a year.

Longtime minority employees say they were never given the chance to apply
for the same jobs and were told that wage freezes were in place when they
requested raises. After decades with the agency, some still earn $31,000
or less.

Another complainant, Walter Beach III, who was chief of recreation for
Brooklyn Parks before resigning in 1999, described the indignity of
training "Class of" employees who then were promoted over more
experienced black employees. "You get angry at everybody, you get upset,"
he said.

The commission found that Mr. Beach was forced to resign in retaliation
for requesting that claims of discrimination be investigated.

Mr. Stern said that Mr. Beach had been asked to resign because he had
been caught gambling in Atlantic City when he was supposed to be at work.
Earlier, parks officials had told the E.E.O.C. only that Mr. Beach had
filed an inaccurate time sheet. Mr. Stern called the "Class of" program
one of his proudest accomplishments, and said anyone attacking it showed
"a deep misunderstanding of merit selection."

The E.E.O.C. report stated that all Parks Department recreation center
directors and managers are white, which Mr. Stern said was not true. The
complainants' lawyers agreed last night, and said that portion of the
report appeared to be incorrect. The issue, they said, was that the
department seemed to assign white directors to centers in predominantly
white areas, and black or Hispanic directors to minority neighborhoods.
The E.E.O.C. found that almost no white employees report to minority
supervisors.

The complainants pointed out that all of the chiefs of operations and
maintenance in the boroughs are white, while only the lower ranking posts
of recreation chief was sometimes filled with minority workers. Mr. Stern
said that much of the agency's personnel patterns simply reflected the
workers' personal preferences.

This is not the first time questions have been raised about the
department's employment practices. In the past, individual lawsuits by
minority workers were settled out of court. And a 1996 report by the city
comptroller, Alan G. Hevesi, on discrimination complaints and
investigation practices in city agencies noted that the "most serious
problems, like squashing complaints and insufficient investigations,"
were at the Parks and Sanitation Departments. In 1997, the city's Equal
Employment Practices Commission said it had found significant
underrepresentation of blacks and Hispanics in many jobs and managerial
positions at the Parks Department.

Mr. Stern's eccentricities, such as giving employees nicknames, have been
well chronicled, and so has his proclivity for racially questionable
remarks. He described those comments as "irreverent."

But for some employees, Mr. Stern crossed the line from irreverence to
insensitivity. Mr. Beach described one going-away party for a "Class of"
employee headed to Yale Law School. He quoted the commissioner as saying
the outgoing employee would be with important people like the
"Rockefellers and DuPonts," as well as with "the quota kids." (The New
York Times, February 5, 2001)


POSTAL SERVICE: Agrees to Pay 2.4 Mil 'Regarded As' Claims under ADA
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Practitioners doubtful about the emergence of "regarded as" claims in
Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act cases should note
an agreement filed with a federal District Court on Jan. 18, pursuant to
which the U.S. Postal Service is set to pay approximately 2 million to
more than 200 job applicants who claimed that they were denied positions
because they were regarded as disabled. The settlement contemplates
individual payments ranging from 3,000 to 52,000 to 234 individuals who
applied for data entry jobs.

The sizable settlement, which is subject to court approval, was reached
to resolve two separate lawsuits filed by William H. Ewing of
Philadelphia's Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott LLC. The suits, filed in a
Pennsylvania federal District Court, stemmed from a decision by the
Postal Service to take data entry jobs that had been filled via a
contractor, Dyncorp, and move them in-house. Individuals who performed
the job for the contractor and wanted to do so directly for the Postal
Service were subjected to pre-employment, pre-offer medical examinations
and inquiries, the complaints alleged. Following the examinations and
inquiries, 234 applicants were deemed to be "medically unsuitable" for
the data conversion operator jobs that they had already been performing.
Many of the rejected applicants had a history of either carpal tunnel
syndrome or back injury, Ewing said.

"When these plaintiffs came to us, I couldn't believe my ears," Ewing
said. "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 initially filed suit in March 1998 on behalf of eight named
plaintiffs. Efforts to have the case certified as a class action stalled
in June 1999, leading Ewing to file a separate suit on behalf of 80 of
the job applicants. Another 146 applicants, who were attempting to join
the class in the first suit, are also included in the settlement.

Each of the plaintiffs alleged two claims for relief: one relating to the
allegedly illegal pre-offer screening and another asserting a wrongful
failure to hire based on perceived disabilities.

If the settlement is approved, the Postal Service will pay an aggregate
of 2,047,000 to the plaintiffs, with widely varying amounts going to each
of them. In addition, the agreement calls for a payment of attorney's
fees in the amount of 400,000. The parties do not anticipate any
difficulties in having the agreement approved, Ewing said.

Adapted from Disability Compliance Bulletin, an LRP publication. (Federal
EEO Advisor, February 2, 2001)


PPA: Gancedo & Nieves Announces Lawsuit Against Drug Makers
-----------------------------------------------------------
Gancedo & Nieves LLP on February 2 issued the following clarification to
its previously issued press release, "Gancedo & Nieves LLP Announces
Class Action Lawsuit Against Bayer Corporation, Bristol Myers,
Shering-Plough, Smithkline Beecham, Warner-Lambert and Others":

Gancedo & Nieves recently announced the filing of a class action lawsuit
against makers of over-the-counter cold remedies and weight-loss products
because they contain phenylpropanolamine (PPA), a drug found to cause
strokes, brain hemorrhages, heart damage and other health problems.
Listed among the products were Warner-Lambert's Halls Mentho-Lyptus and
Sinutab. These products should not have been included in the list.

Contact: Gancedo & Nieves LLP, Pasadena Tina B. Nieves or Hector G.
Gancedo, 626/685-9800 or Rumbaugh Public Relations Diane Rumbaugh,
805/493-2877 rumbaugh@earthlink.net


QUALCOMM INC: 2nd Amended Complaint over Employment Termination Filed
---------------------------------------------------------------------
As previously reported in the CAR, 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 the Company 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.

                                Update

On November 17, 2000, the Court granted QPE's motion to dismiss the
complaint based solely on the allegations in the complaint as to all
causes of action, permitting plaintiffs the opportunity to file an
amended complaint. On December 1, 2000, plaintiffs served the First
Amended Complaint, raising identical causes of action. Subsequently, the
parties stipulated to allow the plaintiffs to file a Second Amended
Complaint in lieu of having QPE file a demurrer to the First Amended
Complaint. The plaintiffs have done so and the Company is in the process
of responding to the complaint.

The company says that 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: Trial Set for Non Opt-out Ex Staff’s Contract Claims
------------------------------------------------------------------
As previously reported in the CAR, 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.

The complaint and subsequent amendments, filed in the California Superior
Court in San Diego state several causes of action against the Company
arising primarily out of breaches of the Company's 1991 Stock Option plan
and upon various allegedly fraudulent behavior by the Company. On
September 15, 2000, the Court certified the case as a class action, and
subsequently approximately 206 individuals in the potential class opted
out of the class.

                                Update

On December 8, 2000, the Court granted summary judgment as to all class
members who had not opted out and who had participated in the Retention
Bonus Plan, dismissing all claims filed on their behalf, leaving
approximately 35 plaintiffs remaining in the case.

On January 19, 2001, the Court decertified the class action as to all
claims except for plaintiffs' claims based upon alleged breach of the
plaintiffs' stock option agreements. The contract claims are currently
scheduled to proceed to trial on February 16, 2001.

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.

On December 14, 2000, 77 former QUALCOMM employees who had opted out of
the above-referenced Sprague v. QUALCOMM lawsuit filed a lawsuit against
the Company in the District Court for Boulder County, Colorado, alleging
claims for intentional misrepresentation, nondisclosure and concealment,
violation of C.R.S. Section 8-2-104 (obtaining workers by
missrepresentation), breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant
of good faith and fair dealing, promissory estoppel, negligent
misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, violation of California Labor Code
Section 970, violation of California Civil Code Sections 1709-1710,
rescission, violation of California Business & Professions Code Section
17200 and violation of California Civil Code Section 1575. 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.


RENT-A-CAR: Car Rental Firms Need License To Sell Insurance, Panel Holds
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A suburban lawyer can proceed with a consumer fraud claim alleging that a
car rental company violated state law by selling supplemental automobile
insurance without a license, a state appeals court decided on February 2.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Appellate Court reversed and
remanded a lower judge's ruling dismissing a lawsuit brought by Gary A.
Newland against Budget Rent-A-Car Corp. and two related entities.

Daniel A. Edelman, Newland's attorney, called the panel's decision
significant. I think it's an important holding that someone who is
required to have a professional license and doesn't have one cannot
profit from the unlicensed transactions," said Edelman, a name partner in
Edelman, Combs & Latturner in Chicago.

Newland rented a car from Bargain Auto Rental Inc., a Budget licensee, in
October 1997. Newland bought supplemental personal accident and cargo
insurance" as part of the rental contract, according to an amended
complaint, which sought class-action status. The insurance premium
amounted to about $ 10 per day, Edelman estimated.

At issue in the case is section 492.2 of the Insurance Code. Section
492.2 states: No person shall act as or hold himself out to be an
insurance producer unless duly licensed in accordance with this article
for the class or classes of insurance as to which he acts or holds
himself out as an insurance producer."

The lawsuit maintained that the defendants' misconduct resulted in unjust
enrichment and sought return of the insurance premiums. The second count
of the amended complaint asserted, based upon the Illinois Consumer Fraud
and Deceptive Practices Act, that the defendants engaged in deceptive
practices by selling insurance without a license.

The defendants sought to dismiss the amended complaint, contending that
section 492.2 didn't apply. The defendants offered an alternative
argument that Newland had failed to state a claim under the unjust
enrichment and consumer fraud theories.

In May 1999, Cook County Circuit Judge Lester D. Foreman dismissed
Newland's case with prejudice, finding that section 492.2 didn't apply.

After Foreman's ruling, the General Assembly enacted a new section of the
Insurance Code, specifically requiring that car rental companies obtain a
limited license to sell insurance (215 ILCS 5/495.2 (West Supp. 2000)),
Feb 2's decision noted.

Newland appealed Foreman's ruling to the 1st District, urging the panel
to hold that section 492.2 requires a car rental company to have a
license to sell supplemental rental insurance. The defendants countered
that section 5/6-305 (f) of the Illinois Vehicle Code precludes a finding
sought by the plaintiff.

“We find that the clear language of section 492.2 of the Insurance Code
suggests that the plaintiff is correct," Justice Robert Chapman Buckley
wrote for the panel.

Section 6-305 (f) provides that items and services for which rental
agencies may impose an additional charge include, but are not limited to,
optional insurance and accessories requested by the renter...."

The panel rejected the defendants' contention that the language in
section 6-305 (f) exempts car rental companies from the licensing
requirement. Justices Calvin C. Campbell and Michael J. Gallagher joined
in the 10-page opinion. Gary Newland v. Budget Rent-A-Car Systems Inc.,
et al., No. 1-99-1798. “We find that section 6-305 (f) of the Vehicle
Code and section 492.2 of the Insurance Code can be construed and that no
conflict exists," the panel said.

The defendants' attorney, Barry L. Kroll of Williams, Montgomery & John
Ltd. in Chicago, declined comment because he had not yet reviewed Feb 2's
decision. (Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, February 2, 2001)


SALMONELLA OUTBREAK: Orange Juice Maker Faces $5M Payout in Aussi Case
----------------------------------------------------------------------
An orange juice company liable for a salmonella outbreak in Adelaide in
1999, which was previously reported in the CAR, faces a $5 million
compensation payout to an estimated 500 people.

A provisional settlement plan was outlined by the Federal Court for the
class action against Knispel Fruit Juices, which trades under the name
Nippy's, over the outbreak in March 1999.

The court is expected to give approval to the plan on March 22.

Nippy's admitted in court earlier this year it had released juice
contaminated with a strain of salmonella and was liable to pay damages to
those who suffered illness as a result of drinking the juice.

Lawyer for those taking the class action, Peter Humphries, said the
action covered all those adversely affected by the outbreak, even if they
had not indicated they wanted to be involved with the court case.
"There's been a settlement plan for distribution to the class members and
they have the opportunity of opting out if they don't agree with it, or
they can stay in the plan," he said.

Mr Humphries said most cases were relatively minor and would be settled
by a payout of $2,000, for those who recovered within four weeks, $3,000
for eight weeks, or $4,000 for those who took up to 12 weeks to recover.
They would also be paid medical and legal costs and would be compensated
for loss of income.

Mr Humphries said there were about 60 more serious cases, in which people
had suffered permanent adverse effects, such as food intolerance or a
skin rash, as a result of the salmonella.

He said payouts for those cases would range from $10,000 to $100,000,
with the total payout faced by Nippy's expected to be about $5 million.

Mr Humphries said the minor cases should be settled by the middle of this
year, while time frames for the major cases would vary. "It will just
depend on the circumstances - for children, they may have to wait for a
while to see how they recover," he said. (AAP Newsfeed, February 5, 2001)



SLAVERY REPARATION: Chicago Tribune Tells of Reasons Cited By Advocates
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Many white Americans just don't get the concept of paying reparations for
racial slavery. Why, they ask, should I be taxed, solicited or be any way
inconvenienced for something neither my ancestors nor I had anything to
do with?

Had they attended the recently concluded National Reparations Conference,
pulled together by Ald. Dorothy Tillman (3rd), they may have heard an
answer to their questions. Maybe not.

By its very existence, the well-attended, three-day conference revealed
that many African-Americans get it. The surging popularity of reparations
seems to be inversely proportionate to the falling fortunes of
affirmative action, which, with its compensatory logic, was a pale
euphemism for reparations.

But the pace of its approval has been accelerated by several factors,
including the success Holocaust victims have had in winning compensation
for slave labor during the Nazi era; growing research revealing slavery's
many corporate benefactors; and the stubborn persistence of the wealth
gap between black and white Americans.

The notion of reparations for slavery is not new. On Jan. 16, 1865, Gen.
William T. Sherman issued Special Field Order No. 15, which awarded all
the Sea Islands, south of Charleston, S.C., and a significant portion of
coastal lands to newly freed slaves to homestead. Each freedman was
eligible for 40 acres of "tillable ground." The order became known as the
"40 Acres and a Mule Proclamation." The order was transformed into Senate
Bill No. 60 and although it passed both houses on Feb. 10, 1866,
President Andrew Johnson vetoed it.

That was the last time, the U.S. government thought seriously about
compensating the African-American progeny of enslaved Africans for nearly
300 years of slave labor. Since that time, U.S culture has formed a
formidable scab of denial over the angry wound of slavery and Jim Crow
apartheid. So impenetrable is this scab, many white Americans either are
mystified by blacks' disproportionate miseries or they attribute them to
some intrinsic quality (be it genetic or cultural). Blacks often are
urged to "get over" race; that is, accept racial inequities as a state of
nature and shut up about it.

A more honest reckoning of our history would reveal the difficulty of
transcending race without some attempt repair the damage done by racial
slavery and the structures of racism erected to justify it. After all,
African-Americans were created in the crucible of slavery and socialized
for centuries by white supremacy. And although most Americans may have
had little to do with the cause of that problem, all of us have a stake
in its solution.

That answers the question posed in the beginning of the column, and it
doesn't even address the issue of unjust enrichment that has drawn the
attention of a number of attorneys currently working on a reparations
class-action suit. J.L. Chestnutt, one of the attorneys involved said,
"If we get this together, it would be the mother of all civil-rights
lawsuits." Chestnutt was instrumental in helping to win a 1998
class-action suit for black farmers against the U.S. Department of
Agriculture for past discrimination.

There are many logistical problems involved with this enterprise, for
example: who's eligible? How will the resources be distributed? Some of
those issues were explored at the conference but, for the most part,
advocates seem concerned mainly with making a compelling argument on the
need for reparations.In the last two years those arguments have convinced
the city councils of Detroit, Chicago, Nashville, Dallas, Cleveland,
Washington D.C. and other smaller cities, to register their support for a
languishing congressional bill that, among other things, examines the
need for reparations. The bill, introduced annually by Rep. John Conyers
(D-Mich.) since 1989, seeks to "establish a commission to examine the
institution of slavery ... and economic discrimination against
African-Americans ... to make recommendations to the Congress on
appropriate remedies."

Tillman, who earned her stripes in the civil-rights struggle, deserves a
few more for helping to push America in the right direction once again.
(Chicago Tribune, February 5, 2001)


SOTHEBY'S: Guilty Plea Brings Collusion Case Closer to End
----------------------------------------------------------
With a federal judge's acceptance of a plea deal in which the auction
house Sotheby's admitted its guilt in a price-fixing conspiracy and
agreed to pay a $45 million fine, the Justice Department investigation
and the civil suits that have stemmed from the case are ending.

But even as lawyers begin winding down their work, questions remain,
particularly in the criminal investigation, about the collusion between
Sotheby's and its competitor, Christie's. The most prominent is whether
A. Alfred Taubman, Sotheby's former chairman and the company's
controlling shareholder, will face an indictment stemming from the
collusion, which involved fixing commission rates paid by many customers
through much of the 90's.

While Mr. Taubman has denied any wrong doing, the Justice Department is
said to have been meeting with his lawyers for several weeks.

Also at issue in the criminal inquiry is when the collusion began. In
spelling out the terms of a $512-million civil settlement agreed to by
the two auction houses, David Boies, a lawyer for the 130,000 customers
represented in the class-action suit, said he believed that collusion had
begun either in early 1992 when Sotheby's and Christie's decided to raise
the fees they charged buyers or that, at the very least, the companies
colluded to maintain their charges in the years that followed.

But Sotheby's lawyer Steven A. Reiss of Weil, Gotshal & Manges said
Sotheby's has maintained that there was no collusion over buyer's fees,
but only over seller's fees beginning in 1995. Mr. Reiss called the
amount that Sotheby's has agreed to pay "extraordinary," adding that the
auction house's half of the settlement exceeds the $22 million he
estimates were the damages to its customers. Mr. Taubman has agreed to
pay $156 million of Sotheby's $256 million share of the settlement.

Rather than paying their settlement entirely in cash, Sotheby's and
Christie's initially offered to pay $100 million in certificates that
future sellers could use toward commission fees and other charges. This
has triggered a dispute over the value of the coupons.

Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the Federal District Court in Manhattan,
initially skeptical of the value of the coupons, commissioned an analysis
that determined the value of the certificates should be increased to $118
million.

Last month, under pressure from Mr. Boies's firm, Boies, Schiller &
Flexner, the auction houses agreed to increase the value to $125 million.

Some auction-house customers said the certificates were a benefit for
sellers because their cash value was 80 cents to the dollar. "I'll be
happy to buy them from anyone who wants to sell them," said Michael R.
Zomber, a fire arms and armor dealer from Culver City, Calif.

But Thomas R. Broussard, speaking on behalf of some auction house
customers at the hearing, called the certificates nothing but a
"marketing tool" that would "continue the duopoly." "Phillips is trying
to get into this market," Mr. Broussard said, referring to a third
auction house that is challenging Sotheby's and Christie's, but which
would have no reason to honor the coupons. "How are they going to
compete," he said, "if we don't just get cash?"

Objections were also raised to Judge Kaplan's decision to dismiss three
lawsuits brought against the two houses by buyers at foreign auctions.
Judge Kaplan said the claims had no merit.

For all the arguing, there were no complaints from customers about the
amount of the settlement. As the hearing was nearing its end, the judge
spoke about his unusual decision to hold an auction in which law firms
hoping to be named lead counsel submitted bids that were weighed in terms
of which would likely return the most money to the plaintiffs.

The average bid envisioned a settlement of $130 million, the judge said,
hundreds of millions less than the final figure the judge is considering.
The bid by Mr. Boies and his partner Richard Drubel was so advantageous,
the judge said there was a savings in legal fees of tens of millions of
dollars, which he called "successful beyond my imaginings." (The New York
Times, February 5, 2001)


STATE FARM: Agents Sue in CA over Compulsory Contract Affecting 7,500
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Preservation of trade secrets and rights of access to customers are among
the issues under dispute in a lawsuit filed by agents against State Farm
in California.

In papers filed with the California Superior Court in Sacramento, 20
agents are seeking an injunction to prevent State Farm from firing them
or their employees for not signing a Licensed Staff Agreement.

Under the agreement, assert the agents, employees would enter into a new
three-party contract in which:

   -- All information concerning the agent's policyholders would be
       considered a trade secret.

   -- Employees would be barred from dealing with those policyholders
       for one year after leaving the company.

   -- State Farm would be allowed to terminate the employee at any time
       for any reason.

The company imposed a deadline of Dec. 31, 2000 for signing the contract
or all company dealings with the employee would be terminated.

The agents are seeking the injunction to prevent the Bloomington,
Ill.-based company from imposing the termination date while the agents
seek legal remedy to allow negotiation of the contracts, said
Washington-based attorney William P. Tedards Jr., one of the lawyers
representing the agents. State Farm calls the contracts non-negotiable,
Mr. Tedards said.

While the case is being heard, State Farm agreed not to terminate any
agents or employees until Jan. 31, 2001, the court filing said.

This is the first agent class-action suit taken against State Farm,
according to Mr. Tedards, and purports to represent more agents
throughout the country. The changes could affect up to 7,000 agents
within the State Farm network, Mr. Tedards estimated.

The new contract is anti-competitive since it does not allow the agents
to present more competitive policies and rates to their former State Farm
customers if they leave the company, the agents contend. The contract
would also impose control over an agent's employees by State Farm without
the agent's consultation, the agents charge.

Since the mid-1980s, State Farm has gradually changed its relationship
with State Farm's direct agents, according to Mr. Tedards. Originally
termed independent contractors, he contends that the company is working
to impose more controls over the agents and turn them into company
employees who work on commission.

"The company has decided that the agent system is obsolete," said Mr.
Tedards. "The company is using a variety of techniques to get to a new
place. Instead of buying out contracts, they began to pressure the agents
to conform to where they wanted to go."

Officials at State Farm said they had just received the request for an
injunction and that it is under review by the company's legal team.

"This is the same group of agents that challenged us before on
independent contract issues, and they have been unsuccessful in the
past," said a State Farm representative, Zoe Younker. "They feel they
should keep control, but ultimately it comes down to who controls the
business, State Farm or the agency." "We plan to defend ourselves
vigorously," said Bill Sirola, a representative in State Farm's regional
office in California. (National Underwriter Property & Casualty-Risk &
Benefits Management, January 22, 2001)


WIRE TRANSFER: Settlement Reached Re Alleged Failure to Disclose Mark-up
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois approved the
settlement of class actions against money transfer companies alleging
their failure to disclose the exchange rate mark-up to their customers
violated the RICO Act and common law. (In re Mexico Money Transfer
Litigation, Nos. 98 C 2407, 98- C 2408 (N.D. Ill. 12/27/00).)

Western Union Financial Services Inc., Orlandi Valuta, Orlandi Valuta
Nacional, First Data Corp. and Integrated Payment Systems Inc. provide
electronic fund transfers for clients seeking to transmit money to
various locations in Mexico. The companies charge customers a transaction
fee or service charge. The companies also collect the difference between
the foreign exchange rate they charge their customers and the more
favorable rate they pay for pesos. In numerous nationwide class actions,
plaintiffs sued the companies, challenging their practice of recovering
this additional compensation without disclosing it. The complaint alleged
violations of the RICO Act, breach of contract, fraud through
misrepresentation, fraud through omission, conversion, breach of
fiduciary duty, discrimination and restitution.

The plaintiffs alleged the companies' "failure to disclose the existence
of the [foreign exchange] spread to their customers [was] fraudulent and
that the fraud [was] exacerbated by misleading advertising in which
Defendants emphasize[d] the transaction fee in a way that suggest[ed]
this [was] the only revenue they receive[d] for each exchange."

The parties sought the District Court's final approval of their agreement
to settle the lawsuits. The terms of the settlement provide for
distribution of discount coupons to class members; a cy pres fund; and
injunction requiring disclosure of the foreign exchange revenue; and an
award of attorney's fees. (Civil RICO Report, February 01, 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
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to be
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