CAR_Public/010215.MBX                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

              Thursday, February 15, 2001, Vol. 3, No. 33

                             Headlines

ALABAMA GOVERNOR: 2nd Suit Filed over Cuts in Ed. Budbe ACLU Joins Fray
AXS-ONE: Former Computron Settles SEC Investigation
CHS: Shareholders of Bankrupt Co. Get Settlement Money from Insurer
COMPUTER LEARNING: Bankruptcy Plan Puts Fate of Fees in Limbo
CORRECTIONS CORP: Gets Final Ct Approval of Securities Suit Settlement

EXXON MOBIL: Gas Station Dealers Sue for Payment for Discounts Promised
FALK, TRANSOUTH: Hard Job Giving out Money; Few File Settlement Claims
GEORGIA-PACIFIC: Named in Lawsuit for Migrants' Wages for Planting Trees
HIP IMPLANTS: Lawsuit Filed in San Francisco; Hundreds Need Surgery
HMOs: Aetna Responds to Lawsuit By Connecticut State Medical Society

IBP, INC: Harvey Greenfield Announces Securities Suit Filed in S. Dakota
MARKETING SERVICES: Brodsky & Smith Announces Securities Suit in Fd Cts.
MICRON ELECTRONICS: MN Suit over Faulty Computers Is in Discovery Stage
MICROSOFT, COREL: DOJ Probes on Alliance Before Arguments on Competition
NETWORK ASSOCIATES: LeBlanc & Waddell Announces Securities Lawsuit in CA

NICE SYSTEMS: Abraham & Paskowitz Announces Securities Suit Filed in NJ
NICE SYSTEMS: Kirby, McInerney Retained To Commence Securities Lawsuit
ORACLE CORP: Vigorously Defends Shareholder Suit in CA Re Apr to Dec 97
PLC SYSTEMS: Announces Settlement of Securities Lawsuit in MA
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Judge Certifies Light Cigarette Smokers' Suit V. PM

TOBACCO LITIGATION: Lawyer Seeks Part of the Pie for Doing Referral
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Miami Judge Dismisses Atty's Claim for Referral Fee

                                *********

ALABAMA GOVERNOR: 2nd Suit Filed over Cuts in Ed. Budbe ACLU Joins Fray
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The American Civil Liberties Union has joined the fray over cuts in
Alabama's education budget, representing a coalition of poor school
districts suing Gov. Don Siegelman over the issue.

The lawsuit in Montgomery County Circuit Court claims the cuts defy a
U.S. Supreme Court ruling that ordered the state to provide "adequate and
equitable" education. The high court had found Alabama's system of
education funding unconstitutional.

The spending cuts "further exacerbate failures of the system that the
(Supreme Court) has already recognized and already ordered the state to
remedy," said ACLU executive director Olivia Turner.

The suit was filed last Friday February 9 by Alabama Coalition for
Equity, which includes the Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Hale, Lawrence,
Pickens and Sumter county school systems and the Russellville city school
system.

The Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program and a class of plaintiffs
representing school children are also part of the suit.

The suit is the second against Siegelman since his Feb. 2 order to cut
6.2 percent, or $266 million, from the state education budget. ACLU
lawyers have asked a judge to consolidate the cases.

The Alabama Association of School Boards and the Mobile and Pike County
school boards also sued Siegelman. Circuit Judge Tracy McCooey was
scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday morning on the first lawsuit.

Siegelman has said he is sympathetic with the goals of the first lawsuit.
But he was mandated by law to order cuts because of looming red ink in
the education budget and it remained unclear how the budget deficit might
be repaired.

The ACLU sued in 1990 in an effort to have the state's method of
education funding declared unconstitutional because of its inadequacy and
unfairness. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the ACLU and the
Legislature responded in 1995 by changing the way the state funds public
schools.

However, Turner said the issue of inadequacy state education funding was
never addressed, despite a 1997 order to begin working on a plan. (The
Associated Press State & Local Wire, February 14, 2001)


AXS-ONE: Former Computron Settles SEC Investigation
---------------------------------------------------
Accepting an Offer of Settlement submitted to it by AXS-One Inc.,
formerly known as Computron Software, Inc. (AMEX:AXO), regarding events
that led Computron to restate earnings for the periods ending December
31, 1992 through September 30, 1996, the Securities and Exchange
Commission has issued a cease and desist order prohibiting the company
from committing or causing any future violations of the securities laws.

The company has also agreed, as it has in the past, to cooperate with the
SEC in any investigations or proceedings relating to these matters. The
SEC did not impose any fines on the company.

The company's financial statements from these accounting periods were
previously the subject of securities class action litigation that was
fully settled in 1998. There have been no allegations made of any
improper conduct by the company for the periods after September 30, 1996.
In 1997, the company hired senior executives with significant experience
in the software industry and improved its financial and accounting
processes, controls, reporting systems and procedures.

The company has not admitted or denied any wrongdoing. The company is
unable to determine at this time the expenses that it may hereafter incur
in connection with any cooperation with the SEC, including any expenses
it may incur under the indemnification provisions of its certificate of
incorporation and Delaware law.

"We are pleased that the SEC accepted our Offer of Settlement and that we
can now finally put the last vestiges of the difficulties surrounding the
company prior to 1997 behind us," said John Rade, CEO and President of
AXS-One. "We have a new management team, strong competitive products and
in my opinion a bright future. This settlement removes one final
distraction."


CHS: Shareholders of Bankrupt Co. Get Settlement Money from Insurer
-------------------------------------------------------------------A
trustee for creditors of bankrupt Miami computer distributor CHSs
Electronics failed Monday to stop shareholders from getting first crack
at a $ 20 million settlement.

The trustee had asked a bankruptcy judge to stop CHSs insurance company
from paying $ 11 million to shareholders suing in a class action. The
trustees attorney, Berger Singermans Anthony J. Carriuolo, argued the
insurance money shouldnt be allowed to go to the shareholders until a
district court ironed out an overall settlement. Also, Carriuolo said,
the court should step in because the amount of the policy isnt enough to
pay creditors.

Creditors are claiming $ 800 million.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Mark ruled that the trustee didnt have a
right to oppose the settlement. Marks also said that insurance companies
by law are required to pay out on a first-come-first-serve basis -- no
matter the claims of creditors.

There is no reason to stay the distribution of insurance proceeds, even
if [the trustee] has a claim that may exceed the $ 20 million original
settlement, Mark said.

The once high-flying CHS filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in
early 2000. CHS once ranked in the Fortune 500 list and held the
distinction of being one of the largest publicly held Hispanic companies.

CHSs primary insurance company agreed to the $ 11 million settlement in
April 2000, according to Ronald G. Neiwirth, attorney for the plaintiffs.

CHSs problems began in early 1999 when it was forced to restate its
revenues and earnings after it discovered that the head of its European
subsidiary had been overstating the value of manufacturers rebates.
(Broward Daily Business Review, February 13, 2001)


COMPUTER LEARNING: Bankruptcy Plan Puts Fate of Fees in Limbo
--------------------------------------------------------------
When Jerry Mathews arrived for classes at the Computer Learning Center in
Schaumburg on Jan. 22, he and about 150 other students found the doors
locked.

When an administrator finally came to the door, the students were told
that all 23 technical schools in the Manassas, Va.-based chain were
suspending operations and probably going into bankruptcy court. As a
result, any tuition already paid might be lost.

"It's a joke. They closed, and now they don't care about us anymore,"
said Mathews, 24, who paid $5,200 for a seven-month course. He is paying
back a $7,000 federal loan by working as a part-time store manager.

About 450 students from the school's downtown Chicago and Schaumburg
locations were in limbo when the troubled school filed for bankruptcy
protection. The filing came soon after federal education officials
determined that the school had violated federal student aid rules and
demanded repayment of more than $187 million. Computer Learning Centers
Inc., with reported annual revenue of $131 million, is appealing that
ruling by the U.S. Department of Education. "We're being set as a poster
child for a message that is still not clear," said John Corse, the
president and chief executive officer of the company.

Illinois education officials have been fielding hundreds of calls from
students. Like Mathews, many are outraged that they may not get refunds,
are still paying off student loans and don't have grade transcripts to
help them transfer to another school or get a job.

Frank Swanson, an Elk Grove man who worked nights as a security guard,
saidit has been hard to get information about where to go for help with
federal loans. "I'm just mad no one realized this until late," said
Swanson, 25. State officials usually take possession of a closing
school's student records to avoid such problems. With Computer Learning
Centers, however, efforts were thwarted because the school initially only
suspended operations, officials said. Then the school did not notify
state officials about the imminent closing or plans to file for
bankruptcy.

"It's been a long saga trying to work with the school," said Sheila
Radford-Hill, who heads the Illinois Board of Education's division that
oversees technical schools. "This case is having a significant impact
because of the number of students and the number of dollars they have
paid into tuition. This is a campus where some students have paid
$16,000."

State officials are trying to get the school's records so they can give
them to students, Radford-Hill said. According to information posted on
Computer Learning Centers' Web site, the school has not determined how to
proceed with transcripts. It also is trying to line up "third parties" to
continue classes, which were canceled several days before the bankruptcy
filing. Students who do not continue classes could apply to have federal
grants forgiven, officials said.

On Jan. 25 Computer Learning Centers filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy
protection in Alexandria Va., a process that--unless a company can
resolve problems and settle with creditors--usually leads to a company's
liquidation. Among those creditors would be students and employees.

In December the U.S. Department of Education determined that the company
had been violating rules governing federal student loans by, in effect,
basing recruiters' salaries on how many students they enrolled, Corse
said. That ruling contributed to the bankruptcy filing, he said. Since
1992, federal rules have prohibited such commission-based salaries
because some schools would enroll unqualified students solely to get the
federal revenue. At Computer Learning Centers, federal aid accounts for
about two-thirds of tuition revenue. On Dec. 8, federal regulators said
school officials must repay a portion of the federally backed student
financial aid received since the recruitment policy was instituted in
1994. The repayment is estimated at more than $187 million. Corse said
federal regulators overlooked other criteria--such as teamwork and
aptitude--that also determined a recruiter's salary and had been
considered in the past. Federal regulators have said that those criteria
were negligible in determining how much money a recruiter earned.

The federal determination is the most recent legal trouble for the
company. In March 1998 the Illinois attorney general sued it after
investigating about 45 complaints from students who believed they had
been misled about class sizes, job placement statistics, the ability to
transfer credits and the quality of instruction.

While denying wrongdoing, school officials reached a settlement three
months later, agreed to pay more than $500,000 in fines and gave refunds
to dissatisfied students. The company also was required change teaching
and marketing practices and hire an ombudsman to handle students' claims.
Later in 1998, students in six states, including Illinois, filed
class-action lawsuits against the company. So far, the school has paid
out $7.5 million in settlements, according to federal regulators.

Many recent students said they were unaware of the ongoing legal turmoil.
"I finally got talked into and encouraged myself to go back to school,"
said Swanson, a former Marine still paying $200 a month for student
loans. "Then it goes bankrupt." The school has a March 5 meeting with
creditors in Virginia. (Chicago Tribune, February 14, 2001)


CORRECTIONS CORP: Gets Final Ct Approval of Securities Suit Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Corrections Corporation of America, formerly Prison Realty Trust, Inc.
(NYSE:CXW), announced today that it has received final court approvals of
the revised terms of the definitive agreements with respect to the
settlement of a series of class action and derivative lawsuits brought
against CCA by current and former stockholders of CCA and its
predecessors. The final terms of the settlement provide for the "global"
settlement of all outstanding stockholder litigation against CCA and
certain of its existing and former directors and executive officers.

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

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

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

Other than with respect to the issuance of the common stock and the
promissory note by CCA, the original settlement agreements have not been
altered by the terms of the revised settlement agreements, including the
requirement that CCA pay approximately $47.5 million in cash insurance
proceeds to the plaintiffs.

The promissory note will be due January 2, 2009, and will 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 CCA'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 CCA. To the extent the highest average trading
price of the common stock does not reach the designated "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.

CCA previously announced on January 19, 2001, that it had obtained
preliminary court approval of the terms of the definitive settlement
agreements. The terms of the definitive settlement agreements described
above with respect to the issuance of the common stock and the promissory
note replace all previously existing obligations of CCA, under the
provisions of the original settlement agreements and a Memorandum of
Understanding between the parties, to issue shares of its common stock
and/or other indebtedness to the plaintiffs in the litigation.

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


EXXON MOBIL: Gas Station Dealers Sue for Payment for Discounts
Promised-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Exxon Mobil and some 10,000 gas station dealers have squared off for a
second time in a class-action suit alleging the oil giant failed to pay
millions of dollars in discounts promised to its struggling dealers from
1982 to 1994.

Attorneys for both sides presented closing arguments Tuesday in Federal
District Court in Miami and jury deliberation is expected to get
underway. The first trial, held in the same court also with U.S. District
Judge Alan S. Gold presiding, ended in a mistrial in September 1999 after
jurors became deadlocked. The latest trial began Jan. 16.

The suit centers on whether Exxon violated its sales agreement to give
its dealers less than two pennies back on each gallon of gasoline sold
for cash payments that was supposed to offset the 3 percent fee charged
to dealers for the use of credit cards to purchase gasoline at the pump.

Attorneys representing the Exxon dealers from 35 states have asked for $
500 million in compensatory damages.

Eugene Stearns, attorney for the dealers, said that on the surface, the
oil company promised to help nationwide dealers, struggling with falling
profit margins because of a glut of stations and strong competition from
independent dealers. But in reality Exxon had a "secret business plan" to
whittle down the number of dealers, Stearns said. Each dealer was making
$ 9,000 too much a year, company documents show.

Although Stearns conceded that the discounts were delivered briefly in
the beginning, the discounts never materialized in most of the 12 years
of this program. The dealers did not realize what was happening for
years, then a November 1990 National Dealer Advisory Council held a
meeting and later wrote Exxon--"you have abandoned us." Some 5,000 out of
7,000 dealers nationwide went out of business. Dealers filed suit in
1991.

"Follow the money; who got it and who didn't?" Stearns said. "Exxon got
the money and the dealers didn't."

But Exxon attorney Larry Stewart insisted that dealers received the
discount and saw profit margins rise during the 12 year period of the
discounts, and credited the Exxon business plan with helping dealers
survive the tough market.

"They the dealers got competitive," Stewart said. "They were able to go
out in the street and fight."

The Exxon side also said while its books were opened, there was no
examination of the finances of the small dealers.

"There are very few companies that would come out unscathed if they were
treated the way Exxon has been treated," Stewart said. (The Miami Herald
February 14, 2001)


FALK, TRANSOUTH: Hard Job Giving out Money; Few File Settlement Claims
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Where have all of Charlie Falk's customers gone?

Only 545 former customers of the used-car dealer have stepped forward to
claim part of a $ 6 million class-action fraud settlement in Norfolk's
federal court. That's about one-sixth of the 3,000 claims that were
expected.

At a hearing Tuesday, several lawyers struggled to explain why they have
found so few people eligible for the settlement from TranSouth Financial
Corp.

One reason: Many folks who lived here from 1988 to 1993, the period
covered by the settlement, are long gone and have no forwarding
addresses. Another reason: Charlie Falk has been less than forthcoming
with his customer records, the customers' attorney said. That brought a
stinging rebuke Tuesday from a judge who ordered Falk to find the records
and turn them over within 10 days.

"I don't care if someone in Charlie Falk's office has to stop selling
cars!" Magistrate Judge James E. Bradberry told Falk's attorney, nearly
shouting. "I expect that Charlie Falk's records will be made available."

The outburst came as lawyers and judges put the final touches on the
settlement, ending one of the longest-running, most complex civil cases
in Norfolk's federal court.

Filed in 1993, the lawsuit claimed that Falk and TranSouth swindled
thousands of customers who bought used cars, lost them to repossession,
then found themselves on the hook for large court judgments. Charlie Falk
settled its part of the case within a year by forgiving $ 10.5 million in
defaulted loans to customers and paid $ 400,000 in damages, mainly for
legal fees.

But the case against TranSouth lingered for years, bouncing five times
between Norfolk and a Richmond appeals court. Late last year, TranSouth
agreed to its own settlement. The company agreed to pay $ 1,350 to each
of about 3,000 former Falk customers. After expenses, each customer would
get $ 1,296. Under that arrangement, the final payout was expected to be
about $ 4 million to the customers and about $ 2 million to the
customers' attorneys.

But the total payout will be much smaller if fewer than the expected
3,000 customers file claims, which now seems likely. Those customers who
do file claims would not get bigger shares of the $ 4 million. Instead,
each claimant would get the same $ 1,296, but TranSouth would keep the
remainder.

On Tuesday, District Judge Raymond A. Jackson approved the settlement,
calling it "fair, adequate and reasonable." He noted that the case has
dragged on for nearly eight years. It was settled only after intensive
mediation by Bradberry. "It's time for this case to be put to rest,"
Jackson told the lawyers Tuesday.

But implementing the deal has been difficult. Both sides agreed to a list
of 2,054 customers who qualified for the settlement. They called it "the
A List." The lawyers also listed about 5,000 more customers who might
qualify. They called it "the B List."

A claims administrator -- Barry Roberts, vice president of First Union
Bank in Jacksonville, Fla. -- mailed 7,200 claim notices for former Falk
customers. The claims deadline was set for Feb. 23. Then a strange thing
happened: Very few claims were filed, only 302 from the A list and 243
from the B list. It was far less than the 3,000 both sides expected. One
problem was finding current addresses for the customers. More than 1,000
notices bounced back as undeliverable. "That's a large number," Bradberry
said Tuesday, but "it's not terribly unusual in a case that goes back as
far as this case." Roberts said he used Social Security numbers, and
checked credit reports and the post office's change-of-address database
to find customers. "That is a very, very comprehensive attempt," he said.

The customers' attorney, Kieron F. Quinn of Baltimore, was skeptical. The
number of bounce-backs "doesn't seem reasonable to me," he said. Quinn
asked for a new round of notices through the Social Security
Administration, but Bradberry refused, saying that could delay the
settlement by months or years. Instead, Bradberry ordered one final round
of notices, using new addresses, to the 1,061 former customers whose mail
bounced back, and he set a new deadline for them. He also ordered Falk to
find and deliver additional customer records. He was adamant, at times
almost angry. "I think the presence of Mr. Falk's records will be very,
very helpful," Bradberry said.

As the hearing ended, Quinn thanked the judges for pushing the settlement
that, he said, will help "people of modest means who were taken advantage
of." Jackson replied, "The court needs no thank-yous. That's what the
court's here to do." (Virginian-Pilot, February 14, 2001)


GEORGIA-PACIFIC: Named in Lawsuit for Migrants' Wages for Planting Trees
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Outside the Pine Tree Motel, under the reddish glow of a neon sign, Ruben
and 10 other Mexican workers pile into a van at 5:30 a.m. and head to a
warehouse an hour away, where they load thousands of pine seedlings into
a trailer.

Then it is back in the van for the long trip to the fields, where the day
is spent poking holes in the ground and planting thousands of seedlings.
It is not until well after dark that they return to the motel, shoulders
aching, boots caked with mud.

Ruben is one of more than 15,000 workers, most of them Mexican, who come
to the United States each year on temporary visas to plant tens of
millions of trees. These modern-day Johnny Appleseeds, whose numbers have
more than doubled in the last three years, journey north in the hope of
earning more than the $5 a day they earn back home. Federal officials say
these migrants are often paid far less than they are due because of
widespread violations of wage and hour laws.

It is these violations that make Ruben and those like him a concern not
just for labor groups and the government but also for President Vicente
Fox of Mexico, who, when he meets with President Bush on Feb. 16, is
expected to press Mr. Bush to expand the number of these workers allowed
in the United States and to provide them more protections.

Traditionally, poor whites have done the work of replanting American
forests. In the last 10 years, however, the forestry business, like other
industries that depend on unskilled labor, has turned largely to
immigrants on temporary visas to do the arduous work.

Although Mexican migrants plant as far north as Maine and Washington
State, they are concentrated in the South. They typically replant fields
that were clear-cut months earlier and often work for contractors that
plant for big corporations.

Back in his motel after work, Ruben, who spoke on the condition that his
last name not be used, said he regularly worked a 70-hour week but
usually made less than $300, which works out to about $4.30 an hour, well
below the $5.15 federal minimum wage. "Sometimes it just doesn't seem
worth it," he said. "We work hard, and we're not getting much."

Convinced that wage violations are widespread, lawyers are pressing three
class-action lawsuits on behalf of thousands of immigrant forestry
workers. The suits are directed against Georgia-Pacific, International
Paper and Champion, acquired by International Paper last year,
corporations that rely on the contractors for tree planting.

The contractors say that the workers exaggerate hours. Michael
Economopoulos, executive director of the South Eastern Forestry
Contractors Association, said, "There are probably abuses out there, as
in any industry, but I don't think there are wholesale abuses going on."

Advocates for the workers disagree. "They're robbing these workers
blind," said Mary Bauer, legal director of the Virginia Justice Center.
"The number of people involved and the number of violations are beyond
anything I've ever seen."

Labor Department officials, echoing some of the suits' accusations, said
companies often flouted record keeping and wage and overtime laws by
counting only the hours workers planted and not those spent loading
seedlings and driving to the fields.

The large corporations being sued argue that they are not responsible for
the actions of the contractors. "We do not directly employ these seasonal
migrant workers," said Jack Cox, a spokesman for International Paper. "We
have contractors who employ these workers."

Federal rules require that tree planters in the H-2B temporary visa
program in Arkansas be paid $8.43 an hour and receive time and a half for
every hour worked in a week over 40. But tree planters, called pineros in
Spanish, and several foremen here in south-central Arkansas, produced pay
records showing that the migrants often make less than $5 an hour, when
they include the time it takes to pick up the seedlings and drive to the
fields. Even though the workers often work 60, 70, even 80 hours in a
week, they said, overtime is hardly ever paid.

"The office often wrote 40 hours, but many times the pineros worked more
than 50," said Miguel Lopez, a foreman for a contractor in Arkansas.
Though he praised his current employer, Mr. Lopez said he was convinced
that a previous contractor he worked for, F & K Enterprises, underpaid
its workers. Mr. Lopez made available wage records from F & K showing
that no crew member worked more than 40 hours a week, a virtual
impossibility, he said, given the nature of the workday.

Kerry Stanley, an owner of F & K, declined to comment. In documents from
the class-action lawsuits, F & K executives said that many workers
exaggerated their hours. They also said they told foremen not to work the
planters more than 40 hours a week and acknowledged that they never paid
overtime.

The planting companies often recruit their workers by sending foremen to
Mexico and running radio commercials there. Though recruiters tell
workers that they can make big money, the pineros say, the pay falls far
short of expectations.

So does the job itself, workers said. Once they reach the field at
daybreak, the pineros fill saddlebags with 800 to 1,000 seedlings. They
strap the bags, which weigh 40 pounds, to their waists. Using
three-foot-long metal poles, they make thin, six-inch holes in the
ground. They bend to place the seedling into the hole, making sure the
roots are straight. The holes need to be eight feet apart. A proficient
worker can plant six or more trees a minute.

Lawyers involved in the class-action suits are seeking millions in back
pay from employers they accuse of keeping inaccurate records and
violating wage and overtime laws. Though the contractors hire the workers
directly, the suits are against the large corporations that often own the
forested land. The migrants' lawyers contend that the corporations are
joint employers and should be held responsible for any wage violations
and back pay.

"This is one of the clearest cases of joint employment I've ever seen,"
said Gregory Schell, a lawyer with Florida Legal Services. "The forestry
companies often own the land. They send their foresters to the fields to
make sure the planting is done right. They tell the foremen what to do."

The forestry companies deny responsibility. "In all our contracts with
these companies," said Mr. Cox of International Paper, "we have
provisions that they have to agree to abide by all applicable labor
laws."

Gregory Guest, a Georgia-Pacific spokesman, said the contractors were the
planters' employers. When the company finds contractors not complying
with the law, "we take the appropriate action and that can include
terminating the contractor."

One worker staying at the Pine Tree Motel said he feared he might not
clear $1,500 for three months' work after expenses. Frustrated, he said
he might not return next year.

"Every year they promise us it's going to get better, but it doesn't," he
said. "But they know that they can always get new people who don't know
what they're getting into." (The New York Times, February 14, 2001)


HIP IMPLANTS: Lawsuit Filed in San Francisco; Hundreds Need Surgery
-------------------------------------------------------------------
At least 341 people have required surgery after receiving faulty
prosthetic hips, leading to a class-action lawsuit Tuesday in San
Francisco against the manufacturer, several other legal actions and a
recall of unused devices.

The prosthetic hips, manufactured by Sulzer Orthopedics, were implanted
in thousands of patients throughout the United States from 1997 to late
2000. According to patients and attorneys who are suing the company, they
sometimes fail to attach to patients' bones, rendering their legs nearly
useless and prompting severe pain in the groin, leg or hip area.

"I was told if I had this hip replacement I'd be as good as new," said
arthritis sufferer Rhonda Silva, one of about 15 plaintiffs in a
class-action suit filed in San Francisco against Sulzer on Tuesday. "It's
ruined my entire life."

The Austin, Texas-based company in December voluntarily recalled
thousands of the prosthetic hips not yet implanted in patients, and it
has told doctors to replace only those prostheses that have failed. The
device is known as the Inter-Op hip shell.

Sulzer, which also has headquarters in Switzerland, has apologized to
patients and last month revamped its cleaning procedures to make sure
that residue is not left on its prostheses. The company makes about 12%
of the artificial hips used in the United States.

The problems have been scattered throughout the country, although a
significant number of the potentially damaged prostheses were distributed
in Texas, Florida, Arizona and California, a Sulzer spokesman said.

Lawsuits have been filed in several other states besides California.

The company blames a new manufacturing process, which left an oily
residue on an unknown percentage of the 17,500 high-tech Sulzer hips that
doctors have implanted since 1997. The residue is said to prevent the
devices from properly bonding to patients' bones.

"The oil fills the pores in part of the prosthesis and it's like trying
to attach something to an oily chalkboard," said Robert Romano, a
Teaneck, N.J., attorney whose firm has also filed a class-action suit.
"You're just not going to be able to get a grip."

Silva and the other plaintiffs in the San Francisco suit are seeking
unspecified damages from Sulzer, along with funding to monitor the
medical conditions of patients who have not displayed symptoms of faulty
hip replacements.

The plaintiffs will try to find out exactly when Sulzer knew about the
problem, said Richard Heimann, the San Francisco-based lead attorney.

"We had some reports from physicians of this phenomenon occurring, and so
we looked into it," Sulzer spokesman Jim Johnson said.

According to both Romano and the company, symptoms that an artificial hip
has not properly grafted to a patient's pelvic bone usually begin to show
up within three to six weeks of surgery, although it can be as long as
six months.

Key signs, Romano said, are pain in the groin, inner thigh and buttock,
as well as pain while walking or putting weight on the hip. Another sign
is the inability to exert resistance with the leg.

Perhaps because it was marketed as a device that lasts longer than most
hip replacements, a significant number of middle-aged arthritis sufferers
have been affected, along with elderly patients.

Silva, of Oakland, had exercised daily and run a small company before a
crippling case of arthritis forced her to walk with a cane. There was
just one cure, her doctors said: a hip replacement.

But a few weeks after the 48-year-old public relations executive had the
surgery last April, she said, she collapsed in pain more excruciating
than any she had ever felt. Somehow, she said, the synthetic hip that had
replaced her own deteriorating joint had separated from the pelvic bone
to which it had been grafted. Her leg was no longer fully anchored to
anything within her body.

Her doctors recommended another cure: Replace the replacement. But Sulzer
had not yet recalled the faulty hip and Silva's new hip came from the
same batch as her old one, she said. The operation failed again.

Now, Silva is scheduled for a third surgery--with a new doctor whom she
has instructed not to use a Sulzer hip.

Cherie Lewis, who is also a plaintiff in the San Francisco lawsuit, was
progressing well after her Oct. 30 hip replacement in Contra Costa
County, where she lives and works as a sales manager.

Like Silva, she was working with a physical therapist, and she had almost
reached the point where she was allowed to put her full weight on her new
hip.

Then, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, she woke up in pain. Her doctors
didn't know what it was, she said. They increased her dose of painkillers
and told her to cut out the physical therapy.

It wasn't until December, Lewis said, that she learned about the faulty
hips. She received a replacement hip last month.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration is monitoring the recall to make
sure that Sulzer is taking the proper steps to remove the problem
prosthetics from the market. FDA spokeswoman Sharon Snider said the
regulatory agency learned about the faulty hips from officials at Sulzer.

"We're in touch with the company, and we're looking to see what their
recall strategy is and whether it's adequate," Snider said.

                        Artificial Hip Recalled

Sulzer Orthopedics, a manufacturer of artificial joints, is recalling one
of its prosthetic hip implants--the Inter-Op hip shell. How the implant
works:

* Hip implant replacement surgery creates an artificial joint that
  imitates the ball-and-socket structure of the hip joint.

* The surgeon inserts a shell with a smooth plastic lining into the
   pelvis socket.

* The ball part of the thighbone is replaced with a metal ball mounted
  on a stem, which is fitted into the thighbone.

* The implant is supposed to integrate with the natural bone structure.

The part being recalled is Sulzer's metal shell, which in some cases is
failing to attach to patients' bones. (Los Angeles Times, February 14,
2001)


HMOs: Aetna Responds to Lawsuit By Connecticut State Medical Society
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Statement in Response to Connecticut State Medical Society Lawsuit

     Hartford, Conn., Feb. 14, 2001 -- During the past year, Aetna has
been working diligently to address many of the concerns of physicians in
Connecticut and around the country. In fact, Aetna Chairman William H.
Donaldson initiated discussion with the Connecticut State Medical Society
within 60 days of being appointed, and we have continued a constructive
dialogue that has led to important changes in Connecticut and across the
country. As recently as one week ago, we had a discussion with the CSMS
leadership, and absolutely nothing was said about the issues involved in
this litigation. They specifically indicated that they were pleased with
our evolving relationship and looked forward to the additional
initiatives that we are working on together. So we are surprised and
disappointed that the parties have chosen to use litigation, which is
costly, cumbersome and adversarial, instead of raising these issues
directly with us.

    While we have not yet seen the litigation, it appears that it is
similar to claims made in purported class-action suits filed around the
country since late 1999. These complaints seek to engage in a policy
quarrel with the managed care system. The U.S. Supreme Court recognized
in a unanimous decision last June (Pegram v. Herdrich) that for over 27
years, Congress has promoted the formation of HMOs. The Court emphasized
that the choices inherent in the managed care system properly should be
made by legislatures and admonished the courts not to get involved in
these essentially legislative questions.

    For our part, we will continue to pursue changes to our business
consistent with the evolution of markets and the best interests of our
various constituents. We believe that suits such as this one are without
legal merit and we will, of course, vigorously pursue our defense.


IBP, INC: Harvey Greenfield Announces Securities Suit Filed in S. Dakota
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The following is an announcement by the Law Firm of Harvey Greenfield:

Notice is hereby given that a class action lawsuit was filed in the
United States District Court for the District of South Dakota brought on
behalf of all purchasers of common stock of Iowa Beef Processors Inc.
(NYSE: IBP) who purchased or acquired shares of IBP between February 7,
2000 and January 25, 2001, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The Complaint alleges, among other things, that IBP and certain of its
top officers issued false and misleading public statements about IBP's
earnings and revenue during the Class Period in its public filings with
the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and press releases.

Plaintiff alleges that on January 25, 2001, IBP belatedly disclosed that
the SEC had sent IBP's lawyers a comment letter on December 29, 2000,
citing 45 apparent instances of improper accounting in financial reports
filed by the Company, including the accounting at its DFG Foods
Subsidiary ("DFG").

As a result, in a press release on January 26, 2001, IBP announced that
it would take a pre-tax charge of at least $47 million against year 2000
earnings to compensate for the accounting errors involving DFG, and that
it may need to further adjust its financial results to reflect impairment
of goodwill or other long-lived assets associated with DFG.

The public dissemination of materially misleading financial information
caused IBP's common stock to be artificially inflated throughout the
Class Period. The market price of IBP stock dropped almost $4.00, or
about 15%, following the Company's belated disclosure of the accounting
irregularities.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss this action or your rights
with regard to this litigation, you may contact Harvey Greenfield, Esq.
at the Law Firm of Harvey Greenfield, 60 East 42nd Street, Suite 2001,
New York, NY 10165, telephone 212-949-5500, or toll free 877-949-5500,
facsimile 212-949-0049, or by e-mail at hgreenf@banet.net.


MARKETING SERVICES: Brodsky & Smith Announces Securities Suit in Fd Cts.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Brodsky & Smith, L.L.C., of Bala Cynwyd, PA, on February 13 announced
that class action lawsuits involving the purchase of the stock of
Marketing Services Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:MSGI) during the period 01-01-99
to 11-30-00 have been initiated in federal courts across the country
alleging violations of the federal and/or state securities laws for the
following proposed time period:

The class has not been certified by the court for this stock, and until
certified, an investor is not represented. You have the right to be
represented and participate as a plaintiff in this lawsuit if you
purchased the above-named stock during the identified proposed class
period.

Contact: Brodsky & Smith, L.L.C. Jason L. Brodsky or Evan J. Smith,
877/LEGAL90 jbrodsky@brodsky-smith.com


MICRON ELECTRONICS: MN Suit over Faulty Computers Is in Discovery Stage
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Company is defending a consumer class action lawsuit filed in the
Federal District Court of Minnesota based on the alleged sale of
defective computers. No class has been certified in the case. The case
involves a claim that the Company sold computer products with a defect
that may cause errors when information is written to a floppy disk.
Substantially similar lawsuits have been filed against other major
computer manufacturers. The case is currently in the early stages of
discovery, and we are therefore unable to estimate total expenses,
possible loss or range of loss that may ultimately be connected with the
matter.


MICROSOFT, COREL: DOJ Probes on Alliance Before Arguments on Competition
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Department of Justice confirmed that it has launched an investigation
into Microsoft's alliance with Corel Corp. to determine whether the deal
could reduce competition in the market for office software packages.
"We're looking into the transaction," said Gina Talamona, a Justice
Department spokeswoman.

The investigation was first reported in the online edition of Wall Street
Journal early Wednesday. The Justice Department served Microsoft a civil
subpoena on the Corel matter three weeks ago.

News of the latest government scrutiny of the software giant comes less
than two weeks before Microsoft and the Department of Justice begin oral
arguments on Feb. 26 and 27 in the company's appeal of the government's
ruling last year that the software giant should be broken into two
companies.

But Talamona denied the Journal's report that it was investigating
Microsoft's $1.1 billion buyout of Great Plains Software announced in
December. She noted that the deal was undergoing routine antitrust
review.  "We never opened an investigation into Great Plains," she said.

                       Issues of Competition

Last October, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft made a $135 million
investment in Corel, its long-time adversary in the market for
word-processing and spreadsheet software. Under the arrangement, both
companies said they would jointly develop and market new products related
to Microsoft's .Net platform, which aims to take its existing software to
the Internet and develop new, Web-based services. In addition, Microsoft
and Corel said they would settle undisclosed legal issues.

Microsoft Office dominates the market for office software such as word
processing, spreadsheets and graphics, with a 90 percent share.

Justice's investigation into the alliance was unexpected because the 24
million shares of Corel's convertible preferred stock that Microsoft
purchased did not carry voting rights, thus skirting automatic federal
review.

Corel's WordPerfect Office software is important for competitive reasons
because it is also available in a version based on the Linux operating
system, which competes with Microsoft Windows.

On Jan.23, Corel said it planned to spin off its Linux Distribution
system and retain an interest in the prospective new entity, but that it
would continue to develop its WordPerfect application for the Linux
operating system.

Microsoft spokesman Jim Cullinan said the company is fully cooperating
with the Justice Department's investigation, adding that, "Nothing in the
agreement prevents Corel from developing other software platforms."

Taking into the account the prevalent suspicion about Microsoft's
business activities among its competitors and on Capitol Hill, antitrust
lawyer Steven Mahinka of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Washington, D.C. said
the Justice Department's investigation should not come as much of a
surprise.
"Microsoft is not going to get the benefit of the doubt," he commented.

The Corel deal is seen as a test case for the new Bush administration in
its handling of Microsoft given that the subpoena was signed by a Clinton
appointee Douglas Melamed, who became antitrust chief after Joel Klein
resigned last year.

President Bush is expected to name Charles James, who has served
high-level positions at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade
Commission, to the post. James, head of antitrust practice at the
high-powered Washington law firm Jones, Day Reavis & Pogue, is believed
to not favor a breakup of Microsoft and will probably not take any action
on the case until after an appeals court ruling expected by June.
(CBS.MarketWatch.com.)


NETWORK ASSOCIATES: LeBlanc & Waddell Announces Securities Lawsuit in CA
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of LeBlanc & Waddell, LLC, (http://www.lw-law.net)on
February 13 announced that a Class Action Complaint has been filed
against Network Associates, Inc. (Nasdaq:NETA), accusing the company of
inflating its stock price by improperly booking revenue.

The class action, filed in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California, seeks damages for violations of federal
securities laws on behalf of all investors who bought Network Associates
common stock between July 19, 2000 and Dec. 26, 2000.

Network Associates is a Santa Clara-based provider of network security
and availability solutions for e-business. According to the complaint,
Network Associates misled investors by recognizing revenue when it
shipped software to its distributors instead of waiting until it was
shipped to end-users. The complaint also accused Network Associates of
"channel stuffing" - overselling to its distributors to pad short-term
results.

On Dec. 26, 2000, the company issued a press release reporting a
fourth-quarter sales shortfall of $120 million due to returns of excess
inventory by its distributors. In addition, Network Associates announced
that henceforth it would book revenue only after software was shipped to
end-users. The company also said it was replacing it's CEO, CFO and
president. As a result, Network Associates shares lost 62% of their
value.
Contact: LeBlanc & Waddell LLC, Baton Rouge Chad A. Dudley, 225/768-7222
cdudley@lw-law.net http://www.lw-law.net


NICE SYSTEMS: Abraham & Paskowitz Announces Securities Suit Filed in NJ
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Abraham & Paskowitz announces that a class action lawsuit
was filed on February 13, 2001, on behalf of all purchasers of the
American Depositary Shares of Nice Systems, Ltd. (Nasdaq:NICE) between
February 16, 2000 and February 8 2001, inclusive.

A copy of the complaint filed in this action is available from Abraham &
Paskowitz by calling toll free, 1-800-938-0015, or by making a request
via e-mail to classattorney@aol.com.

The action, which has not yet been assigned a docket number, is pending
in the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, located at
the Martin Luther King Building and U.S. Courthouse, 50 Walnut Street,
Newark New Jersey 07101. The Court may be reached by telephone at
973-645-3730. A further notice to class member will be published by us
once the case has been assigned a docket number and a presiding U.S.
District Judge.

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 materially false and misleading statements to the
market. Specifically, defendants failed to properly account for revenues
or prematurely recognized revenues in its fiscal year ending December 31,
1999 and in the first three quarters of the year 2000. The Company also
failed to accurately disclose its difficulties in integrating
acquisitions made during the year 2000, and the affect a necessary
reorganization was having on its ability to obtain and close contracts.
On February 8, 2001, however, defendants shocked the market by announcing
that revenues had been improperly booked in 1999 and in the first three
quarters of 2000, and that the Company would be restating those financial
results. In addition, the Company disclosed a material workforce
reduction, drastically reduced revenue expectations, and expected
substantial losses related to a reorganization. The Company further
announced that its Chairman of the Board was resigning from that
position. In response to this announcement, the Company's common stock
fell approximately 30% from its closing price on the previous day.

Contact: Abraham & Paskowitz, New York Laurence Paskowitz or Jeffrey
Abraham, 800/938-0015 classattorney@aol.com


NICE SYSTEMS: Kirby, McInerney Retained To Commence Securities Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP has been retained to bring
a class action lawsuit on behalf of all purchasers of Nice Systems Ltd.
(Nasdaq: NICE) securities from February 16, 2000 through February 8,
2001, inclusive (the "Class Period"). The action will charge Nice Systems
Ltd. ("Nice" or the "Company") and certain of its officers with
violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 by reason of material misrepresentations and omissions.

The complaint will allege that, during the Class Period, defendants Nice,
Nice Chairman Benjamin Levin and Nice Chief Financial Officer Yuval Yanai
misstated the Company's financial results for 1999 and 2000. As a result,
the Company's stock price was inflated throughout the Class Period. The
true state of the Company's finances was revealed on February 8, 2001,
when the Company admitted that previously-reported financial results had
been materially misstated as a result of the improper booking of millions
of dollars of revenue from consignment sales. The Company also announced
the resignation of its chairman Benjamin "Benny" Levin. In reaction to
this announcement, Nice's share price fell more than 30% in a single day,
to $12.75 per share. The lawsuit will seek to recover losses suffered by
individual and institutional investors who purchased or otherwise
acquired publicly traded securities of the Company during the class
period, excluding the defendants and their affiliates.

Contact: KIRBY McINERNEY & SQUIRE, LLP Ira M. Press, Esq. Mark A.
Strauss, Esq., (212) 317-2300 or Toll Free (888) 529-4787 E-Mail:
sanwar@kmslaw.com


ORACLE CORP: Vigorously Defends Shareholder Suit in CA Re Apr to Dec 97
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shareholder class actions were filed in the Superior Court of the State
of California, County of San Mateo against the Company and its Chief
Financial Officer and former President and Chief Operating Officer on and
after December 18, 1997. The class actions were brought on behalf of
purchasers of the stock of the Company during the period April 29, 1997
through December 9, 1997. Plaintiffs allege that the defendants made
false and misleading statements about the Company's actual and expected
financial performance, while selling Company stock, in violation of state
securities laws. Plaintiffs further allege that the individual defendants
sold Company stock while in possession of material non-public
information. Discovery is ongoing in these actions.

The Company believes that it has meritorious defenses to these actions
and is vigorously defending them.

A related shareholder derivative lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court
of the State of California, County of San Mateo on November 17, 1998. The
derivative suit was brought by Company stockholders, allegedly on behalf
of the Company, against certain of the Company's current and former
officers and directors. The derivative plaintiffs allege that these
officers and directors breached their fiduciary duties to the Company by
making or causing to be made alleged misstatements about the Company's
revenue, growth, and financial status while certain officers and
directors sold Company stock and by allowing the Company to be sued in
the shareholder class actions. The derivative plaintiffs seek
compensatory and other damages, disgorgement of compensation received and
temporary and permanent injunctions requiring the defendants to
relinquish their directorships. On January 15, 1999, the Court entered a
stipulation and order staying the action until further notice.


PLC SYSTEMS: Announces Settlement of Securities Lawsuit in MA
-------------------------------------------------------------
PLC Systems Inc. (Amex: PLC), the leader in carbon dioxide (CO2)
transmyocardial revascularization (TMR), on February 14 announced that
the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts has
issued final approval of the settlement of the securities class action
litigation against the Company.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the plaintiff class members
and their attorneys will receive a total of $1.5 million. PLC Systems'
insurance carriers will fund the entire $1.5 million settlement.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Judge Certifies Light Cigarette Smokers' Suit V. PM
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Judge Nicholas G. Byron, by court order filed February 8, 2001, certified
a class action suit brought on behalf of Cambridge Lights and Marlboro
Lights cigarette smokers in the Third Judicial Circuit Court for Madison
County, Illinois. The suit alleges that Philip Morris engaged in
deceptive conduct in connection with the promotion and sale of these
so-called "light" cigarettes. The Court explains that the "gist of
plaintiffs' claims is that these light cigarettes are by nature of their
design not significantly lighter than regular cigarettes and that any
person who purchased defendants' light cigarettes did not get what the
defendants purported to sell; i.e. a 'light' cigarette containing
significantly lower tar and nicotine than regular cigarettes."

The complaint accuses Philip Morris of misleading consumers by packaging
cigarettes as "Lights" and claiming that these cigarettes contain "lower
tar and nicotine than regular cigarettes." The complaint states that
Philip Morris failed to disclose certain material information regarding
their claims of low tar and nicotine in their "light" cigarettes. In
particular, the complaint states that Philip Morris failed to disclose
that the so-called low tar and nicotine content in their "light"
cigarettes depends more upon the existence of additional ventilation
holes in the filter of the cigarette than the actual content of the
cigarette tobacco. In theory, the vent holes allow air to mix with the
cigarette smoke inhaled by the consumer and thereby dilute the tar and
nicotine content of smoke per puff. Defendants rely on tar and nicotine
measurements obtained from industry "smoking machines" to designate their
ventilated cigarettes as "light." As the complaint explains, however, the
vent holes are placed on the filter and are virtually invisible. As a
result, consumers -- unlike the industry smoking machines -- block the
vent holes with their lips and fingers, thereby receiving more tar and
nicotine than the machines. The complaint states that Philip Morris
failed to disclose that consumers could not achieve the lower tar or
nicotine in "light" cigarettes if they inadvertently blocked some or all
of the vent holes with their lips or fingers.

Plaintiff and the Class, which includes all residents of Illinois who
purchased and consumed Cambridge Lights and Marlboro Lights cigarettes,
seek economic damages in the form of a refund of purchase costs. The
Class as defined does not include smokers who have claims for personal
injury resulting from the purchase or consumption of cigarettes. In fact,
the Court specifically held that, "the consumer fraud claims brought by
plaintiffs are distinct from any personal injury claims relating to the
smoking of cigarettes that Class members may have against defendants." As
a result, the Court concludes that "claims for personal injury and/or
addiction are not and could not be included in this action and are,
therefore, specifically preserved."

Similar claims have been made against Philip Morris in suits filed in
Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and
Tennessee. Similar suits have also been filed against R.J. Reynolds and
Brown & Williamson.

Plaintiff and the Class are represented by the following law firms, among
others: Carr, Korein, Tillery, Kunin, Montroy, Cates, Katz & Glass, LLC
(Stephen M. Tillery); Newman & Bronson (Mark I. Bronson); Finkelstein,
Thompson & Loughran (William P. Butterfield); Sheller, Ludwig & Badey
(Stephen Sheller); William, Cuker & Berezofsky (Esther Berezofsky);
Smoger & Associates, P.C. (Gerson H. Smoger); Bonnet, Fairbourn, Friedman
& Balint (Van Bunch). For more information regarding this case or similar
cases filed across the country, please call toll free 800-874-9094.

Source: Finkelstein, Thompson & Loughran

Contact: Richard M. Volin of Finkelstein, Thompson & Loughran,
202-337-8000


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Lawyer Seeks Part of the Pie for Doing Referral
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Drop Stanley Rosenblatts name around Miami and many people recognize him
as the man who brought Big Tobacco to its knees, first on behalf of
flight attendants, then on behalf of Florida smokers.

But mention Peter Schwedock, and many might be hard-pressed to place the
name.

Rosenblatt and wife Susan are best known as having taken on Americas
cigarette makers single-handedly. But Schwedock says that had he not been
the first to refer those flight attendants to the Rosenblatts, the two
lawyers never would have collected $ 49 million in attorney fees and
expenses.

Schwedock says he is entitled to a piece of the pie.

Today, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Thomas Wilson Jr. is scheduled to hear
arguments on whether Schwedock has a case. In December, Circuit Judge
Robert Kaye, who presided over both tobacco suits brought by the
Rosenblatts, said he didnt.

The dispute between Schwedock and the Rosenblatts erupted in October.
Thats when Schwedock sued the Rosenblatts, claiming that they broke a
written contract requiring the husband-and-wife legal team to give
Schwedock a portion of the money. The millions they received were part of
a historic agreement that also required Big Tobacco to pay $ 300 million
to fund a research foundation.

Schwedock says there would never have even been a class action had he not
introduced the Rosenblatts to the lead plaintiff, Norma Broin.

Broin, an American Airlines flight attendant turned anti-tobacco zealot,
met Schwedock years ago while he was helping flight attendants win
workers compensation claims.

Schwedock says he was representing flight attendants who had been
grounded because they had been suffering from severe sinus problems --
the apparent result of inhaling secondhand smoke in the days when smoking
was allowed aboard airliners. The flight attendants were angry because
they were not being paid for their sick days.

Thats how I first got involved in secondhand smoke, Schwedock said. Then
I started thinking about a class action.

But when Schwedock met Broin, who was diagnosed with lung cancer, he
says, he knew he had something really big.

She was the catalyst, Schwedock said.

So, Schwedock, who had worked with the Rosenblatts in the past,
introduced them to Broin.

Broin had become a spokeswoman in the anti-secondhand smoke movement and
her name also was known in the airline industry.

With Broin as a plaintiff, Schwedock said he convinced the Rosenblatts to
put together what eventually became a nationwide class-action lawsuit
against Big Tobacco on behalf of some 60,000 other flight attendants,
said David Goodwin, an attorney with Akerman Senterfitt in Miami who
represents Schwedock.

But Schwedocks involvement didnt end there. Goodwin claims his client
also provided the Rosenblatts with critically important information on
flight attendants which allowed the attorneys to build an army of
plaintiffs for their lawsuit.

The press release that went out after the complaint was filed [in 1991]
started out saying that Stanley Rosenblatt and Peter Schwedock have filed
an historic lawsuit. Schwedock was listed as co-counsel, Goodwin said.

But in court papers, the Rosenblatts claim that Schwedock wasnt all that
involved in the case, which dragged on for seven years.

Furthermore, they claim that the contract they signed with Schwedock,
Broin and her husband, Mark Elroy Broin, is incomplete in that it fails
to provide for any particular attorneys fee or division of fees.

Stanley Rosenblatt declined to comment for this article.

Schwedock admits the contract was left blank, but it was because Stanley
said, I will take care of you.

Besides, he notes, Stanley Rosenblatts signature is on the contract, as
is the Broins.

But the Rosenblatts claim that Schwedock should have spoken up in 1998
when the settlement agreement was being approved by the court, not a year
later.

At no time during the proceedings did the plaintiff ever file or submit
any request for payment of attorneys fees in connection with services he
allegedly rendered in the flight attendant class action, wrote Rosenblatt
in a motion to dismiss the suit against him.

The claim for fees, he wrote in his motion, was clearly an after thought.
The Rosenblatts allege that had the plaintiffs known of such a claim,
they might not have approved the deal and they have since filed
affidavits opposing any referral fee.

Goodwin claims his client had no obligation to speak out during the
settlement agreement talks because his deal was with the Rosenblatts, not
with the flight attendants.

The point is, the deal was the deal, he said. When the monies were
finally paid in the fall of 1999 to Mr. Rosenblatt, Mr. Schwedock went
over there to get his portion of the fee and Mr. Rosenblatt stonewalled
him.

Last November, the Rosenblatts took their concerns about Schwedocks claim
to Kaye, who oversaw the settlement agreement. The judge first agreed
with Goodwin, noting that the dispute was between his client and the
Rosenblatts and therefore belonged before Wilson, who was assigned to the
case.

But less than a month later, Kaye reversed himself and denied Schwedocks
request, saying it was untimely and an unenforceable and invalid claim.

For one judge to cross division lines is shocking, Goodwin said.

In his motion to vacate Kayes ruling, Goodwin argues his clients claim is
the result of a valid Florida Bar approved contract for legal services
signed by Peter Schwedock, signed by the Broins and signed by Stanley M.
Rosenblatt.

The only link to the class-action case, argues Goodwin, was made by the
Rosenblatts through their rhetoric, imagination and unwillingness to
share their enormous fee.

portion of the money. The millions they received were part of a historic
agreement that also required Big Tobacco to pay $ 300 million to fund a
research foundation.

Schwedock says there would never have even been a class action had he not
introduced the Rosenblatts to the lead plaintiff, Norma Broin.

Broin, an American Airlines flight attendant turned anti-tobacco zealot,
met Schwedock years ago while he was helping flight attendants win
workers compensation claims.

Schwedock says he was representing flight attendants who had been
grounded because they had been suffering from severe sinus problems --
the apparent result of inhaling secondhand smoke in the days when smoking
was allowed aboard airliners. The flight attendants were angry because
they were not being paid for their sick days.

Thats how I first got involved in secondhand smoke, Schwedock said. Then
I started thinking about a class action.

But when Schwedock met Broin, who was diagnosed with lung cancer, he
says, he knew he had something really big.

She was the catalyst, Schwedock said.

So, Schwedock, who had worked with the Rosenblatts in the past,
introduced them to Broin.

Broin had become a spokeswoman in the anti-secondhand smoke movement and
her name also was known in the airline industry.

With Broin as a plaintiff, Schwedock said he convinced the Rosenblatts to
put together what eventually became a nationwide class-action lawsuit
against Big Tobacco on behalf of some 60,000 other flight attendants,
said David Goodwin, an attorney with Akerman Senterfitt in Miami who
represents Schwedock.

But Schwedocks involvement didnt end there. Goodwin claims his client
also provided the Rosenblatts with critically important information on
flight attendants which allowed the attorneys to build an army of
plaintiffs for their lawsuit.

The press release that went out after the complaint was filed [in 1991]
started out saying that Stanley Rosenblatt and Peter Schwedock have filed
an historic lawsuit. Schwedock was listed as co-counsel, Goodwin said.

But in court papers, the Rosenblatts claim that Schwedock wasnt all that
involved in the case, which dragged on for seven years.

Furthermore, they claim that the contract they signed with Schwedock,
Broin and her husband, Mark Elroy Broin, is incomplete in that it fails
to provide for any particular attorneys fee or division of fees.

Stanley Rosenblatt declined to comment for this article.

Schwedock admits the contract was left blank, but it was because Stanley
said, I will take care of you.

Besides, he notes, Stanley Rosenblatts signature is on the contract, as
is the Broins.

But the Rosenblatts claim that Schwedock should have spoken up in 1998
when the settlement agreement was being approved by the court, not a year
later.

At no time during the proceedings did the plaintiff ever file or submit
any request for payment of attorneys fees in connection with services he
allegedly rendered in the flight attendant class action, wrote Rosenblatt
in a motion to dismiss the suit against him.

The claim for fees, he wrote in his motion, was clearly an after thought.
The Rosenblatts allege that had the plaintiffs known of such a claim,
they might not have approved the deal and they have since filed
affidavits opposing any referral fee.

Goodwin claims his client had no obligation to speak out during the
settlement agreement talks because his deal was with the Rosenblatts, not
with the flight attendants.

The point is, the deal was the deal, he said. When the monies were
finally paid in the fall of 1999 to Mr. Rosenblatt, Mr. Schwedock went
over there to get his portion of the fee and Mr. Rosenblatt stonewalled
him.

Last November, the Rosenblatts took their concerns about Schwedocks claim
to Kaye, who oversaw the settlement agreement. The judge first agreed
with Goodwin, noting that the dispute was between his client and the
Rosenblatts and therefore belonged before Wilson, who was assigned to the
case.

But less than a month later, Kaye reversed himself and denied Schwedocks
request, saying it was untimely and an unenforceable and invalid claim.

For one judge to cross division lines is shocking, Goodwin said.

In his motion to vacate Kayes ruling, Goodwin argues his clients claim is
the result of a valid Florida Bar approved contract for legal services
signed by Peter Schwedock, signed by the Broins and signed by Stanley M.
Rosenblatt.

The only link to the class-action case, argues Goodwin, was made by the
Rosenblatts through their rhetoric, imagination and unwillingness to
share their enormous fee. (Broward Daily Business Review, February 13,
2001)


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Miami Judge Dismisses Atty's Claim for Referral Fee
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Thomas Tam Wilson Jr. on Tuesday dismissed,
without prejudice, a lawsuit filed by Miami attorney Peter Schwedock
against anti-tobacco lawyers Stanley and Susan Rosenblatt.

As the Review reported, Schwedock, filed suit against the Rosenblatts
last October claiming that they owed him a referral fee for being the
first to bring to the Rosenblatts several flight attendants who
eventually became the name plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against
Big Tobacco.

The Rosenblatts argued that because the $ 49 million they received in
attorney fees and costs were the result of a deal they struck with
cigarette makers, and because all of the court proceedings related to
that case had been before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Robert Kaye, that he
should be the one to hear the Schwedock case.

Indeed, last December, Kaye ruled against Schwedock, saying the request
was untimely and an unenforceable and invalid claim.

Schwedocks attorney, David Goodwin, of Akerman Senterfitt in Miami has
filed a motion before Kaye for a rehearing and to have his December order
vacated. That motion is set to be heard Feb. 23.

Noting that the issues were already before Kaye, Wilson said he saw no
purpose in having two litigations going at the same time. (Miami Daily
Business Review, February 14, 2001)


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