CAR_Public/010312.MBX               C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

               Monday, March 12, 2001, Vol. 3, No. 49

                             Headlines

AMERITECH CORP: Suit over Sales Taxes on Tel Services Survives Dismissal
BARR LABORATORIES: Settlement of Patent Issues Leads to Antitrust Suits
BROADCOM CORP: Abbey Gardy Files Securities Suit in California
BROADCOM CORP: Barrack Rodos Files Securities Suit in California
BROADCOM CORP: Cauley Geller Expands Period for Securities Suit in CA

BROADCOM CORP: Milberg Weiss Expands Period for Securities Suit in CA
BROADCOM CORP: Shareholder Lawsuit Filed in CA by Weiss & Yourman
CREDIT CARDS:  Attorneys' Exchange May Be Rehearsal for Antitrust Suit
CREDIT CARDS: Customers Can Sue Chevy Chase Bank Over Rate Hike
FORD MOTOR: Lawyers Ask $3 Bil for Damages Due to Fauty Ignition Part

HIP IMPLANT: CEO Says Sulzer Sufficiently Insured to Cover All Claims
Kerr-Mcgee: Sued in Mississippi for Creosote Syndrome
NIKE JORDAN: Lawyer Alleges Design of Sports Shoes Is Too Cutting Edge
NORTEL NETWORKS: Burt & Pucillo Announces Securities Lawsuit Filed in NY
PACIFIC LUMBER: To Pay Millions In 1996-97 Humboldt Landslide Suit

PARTY CITY: Faces 12 Securities Suits in N.J. at Early Stage
SMART WORLD: Bragar Wexler Announces Commencement of Securities Lawsuit
TOBACCO LITIGATION: 70-Year-Old Ex-Smoker First To Receive Compensation
UNITED-US: Air Deal Stuck with Fed Regulators, May Need Changes
WILLIAM GOREN: Sentence Due for Securities Fraud; Millions Are Missing

* Census Data for N.J., WI and MS Finds Diversity Spreading to Suburbs
* Japan Needs More Lawyers, L.A. Times Presents a Changing Situation

                              *********

AMERITECH CORP: Suit over Sales Taxes on Tel Services Survives Dismissal
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Ameritech Corp. that alleges
thousands of Wisconsin customers were illegally charged sales taxes on
certain telephone services.

The class-action lawsuit, filed on behalf of three Milwaukee residents,
alleges millions of dollars in sales taxes were illegally collected on
certain phone services for more than nine years.

Ameritech, the largest telephone company in the state, had requested the
lawsuit dismissed. Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Callaway rejected
the request last Tuesday March 6.

The state Department of Revenue also is named in the suit.

The dispute is over whether sales taxes can be imposed on items such as
the local line charge, wiring maintenance plans, fees for a non-published
number and services such as caller ID. Ameritech has said it is simply a
billing agent for sales taxes imposed by the state. On the Net: Ameritech
Corp.: http://www.ameritech.com/
Wisconsin Department of Revenue: http://www.dor.state.wi.us/
(The Associated Press State & Local Wire, March 9, 2001)


BARR LABORATORIES: Settlement of Patent Issues Leads to Antitrust Suits
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) Class Action Suits

Barr Laboratories Inc. has been named as a defendant in several actions
related to its settlement of the Cipro patent challenge.

The following complaints represent indirect purchaser class-action
complaints alleging violation of federal antitrust laws and/or state
antitrust and consumer protection laws on the grounds that the 1997
Bayer-Barr settlement agreement was allegedly anti-competitive.
Plaintiffs seek to recover overcharges paid as a result of the allegedly
anti-competitive activities and, where appropriate, treble damages.

The following plaintiffs have filed, on the dates indicated, class-action
complaints against Bayer and Barr in state court: Patricia Nelson et al
filed in Minn. District Ct. (11/15/00); Maurice Stewart et al filed in
the District of Columbia Superior Ct. (12/18/00). The following actions
have been removed to or have been filed in U.S. District Courts: Mark
Aston (C.D. Cal. 10/10/00); Donna Franck et al (M.D. Fla. 10/13/00); John
Coleman (S.D. Cal. 10/16/00); David Green (E.D.N.Y. 10/16/00); Adele
Brody (S.D.N.Y. 10/18/00); Ellen Relles et al (C.D. Cal. 10/24/00); Greg
Amluxen (E.D. Penn. 10/24/00); Rebecca Sandhaus (D. Kan. 10/26/00);
Charles McKenzie (D. Arizona 10/27/00); For Love & Money Inc. d/b/a RX
Jennifers Pharmacy (S.D. Ill. 10/27/00); Shosana Samole (N.D. Cal.
10/31/00); Barbara Meyers (E.D. Wis. 11/6/00); Barry Garber (N.D. Cal.
11/7/00); John Irons (C.D. Cal. 11/10/00); Caroline M. Loesch et al (S.D.
Fla. 11/13/00); Peggy Lee (N.D. Cal. 11/14/00); Mary Ann Scott (N.D. Cal.
11/22/00); Kimberly McCullar (N.D. Cal. 12/12/00); Madeline Eisenhauer et
al (E.D.N.Y. 12/15/00).

The following complaints represent direct purchaser class action
complaints alleging violation of federal antitrust laws on the grounds
that the 1997 Bayer-Barr settlement agreement was allegedly
anti-competitive. Plaintiffs seek to recover overcharges paid as a result
of the allegedly anti-competitive activities and, where appropriate,
treble damages. The following plaintiffs have filed class-action
complaints against Bayer and Barr, which have been removed to or filed in
U.S. District Court: CVS Meridian, Inc. et al (S.D.N.Y. 10/18/00);
Arthur's Drug Store, Inc. (S.D.N.Y. 12/4/00).

Tamoxifen Citrate Class Action Suits

The following complaints represent putative consumer class action
complaints, brought under federal and nineteen state anti-trust statutes,
arising out of Zeneca's and Barr's 1993 settlement of a patent
infringement action. The complaints allege that the 1993 settlement
insulates Zeneca and the Company from generic competition and enables
Zeneca and Barr to charge artificially inflated prices for Tamoxifen
citrate. Plaintiffs seek to recover both Barr's and Zeneca's profits and
treble damages for the alleged anti-trust violations. The following are
the plaintiffs that have filed actions in state court: Koonan filed in
Calif. State Ct. (12/8/00). The following are plaintiffs that have filed
in U. S. District Court: Joblove (E.D.N.Y. 10/6/00); Knee (E.D.N.Y.
11/8/00); Bennish (E.D. Mich. 11/9/00).

The following complaints represent putative third-party payor class
action complaints, brought under federal and nineteen state anti-trust
statutes, arising out of Zeneca's and Barr's 1993 settlement of a patent
infringement action. The complaints allege that the 1993 settlement
insulates Zeneca and the Company from generic competition and enables
Zeneca and Barr to charge artificially inflated prices for Tamoxifen
citrate. Plaintiffs seek to recover both Barr's and Zeneca's profits and
treble damages for the alleged anti-trust violations. The following are
plaintiffs that have filed in U. S. District Court: Allied Services
Division Welfare Fund (E.D.N.Y. 11/1/00); DeJesus as Trustee for Local
485 Health & Welfare Fund (E.D.N.Y. 12/13/00). Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
Class Action Suits


BROADCOM CORP: Abbey Gardy Files Securities Suit in California
--------------------------------------------------------------
Abbey Gardy, LLP announced on March 9 that a class action has been
commenced in the United States District Court for the Central District of
California on behalf of purchasers of Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM)
common stock during the period between July 31, 2000 through March 6,
2001 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Broadcom and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Broadcom is a
provider of highly integrated silicon solutions that enable broadband
digital transmission of voice, video and data to and throughout the home
and within the business enterprise. The complaint alleges that during the
Class Period, defendants made positive but false statements about
Broadcom's results and business, while concealing material adverse
information about agreements with certain companies it acquired, which
essentially resulted in Broadcom buying its own revenues. As a result,
Broadcom's stock traded at artificially inflated levels, permitting the
three individual defendants to sell more than $45.8 million worth of
their Broadcom stock.

Then, on 2/27/01, The Wall Street Journal published an article on
Broadcom questioning the company's accounting treatment for its revenue
and warrant arrangements. Broadcom's stock immediately dropped, falling
16% to $53, before closing at $53.625 on 2/27/01, and falling to $49.25
on 2/28/01.

Contact: Courtney Lynch, clynch@abbeygardy.com, or Stephanie Amin,
samin@abbeygardy.com, of Abbey Gardy, LLP, 800-889-3700


BROADCOM CORP: Barrack Rodos Files Securities Suit in California
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Counsel for Class Plaintiff, Barrack, Rodos & Bacine, on March 9 issued
the following:

Barrack, Rodos & Bacine announced that a class action has been commenced
in the United States District Court for the Central District of
California on behalf of purchasers of Broadcom Corporation ("Broadcom")
(Nasdaq: BRCM) common stock during the period between July 31, 2000 and
March 6, 2001 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Broadcom and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Broadcom is a
provider of highly integrated silicon solutions that enable broadband
digital transmission of voice, video and data to and throughout the home
and within the business enterprise. The complaint alleges that during the
Class Period defendants made positive but false statements about
Broadcom's results and business, while concealing material adverse
information about agreements with certain companies it acquired, which
essentially resulted in Broadcom buying its own revenues with warrants.
As a result, Broadcom's stock traded at artificially inflated levels,
permitting the three individual defendants to sell $45.8 million worth of
their Broadcom stock.

Then, on 2/27/01, The Wall Street Journal published an article on
Broadcom entitled "Warrant Deals Raise Concerns on Broadcom," in which
analysts and accounting experts questioned the "legitimacy" of the
transactions and termed the agreements "troubling." Broadcom's stock
immediately dropped, falling 16% to $53, before closing at $53.625 on
2/27/01, and falling to $49.25 on 2/28/01. Then, on 3/6/01, Broadcom
updated its outlook for 2001, indicating that 1stQ 01 revenues would be
only $315-$325 million and $.08-$.09, respectively, and also revealed
that it may change its accounting for warrants issued in connection with
acquisitions. On this news, Broadcom's stock dropped to as low as
$39-7/8.

Contact: Counsel for Class Plaintiffs, Barrack, Rodos & Bacine,
Shareholder Relations Manager, 800-417-7305 or 215-963-0600, or fax,
888-417-7306 or 215-963-0838, or mgoldman@barrack.com


BROADCOM CORP: Cauley Geller Expands Period for Securities Suit in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP announced that it had
filed a class action in the United States District court for the Central
District of California on behalf of all individuals and institutional
investors that purchased the common stock of Broadcom Corporation
(Nasdaq: BRCM) between October 18, 2000 and February 26, 2001, inclusive
(the "Class Period"). The Class Period is being expanded to include
purchases between July 31, 2000 and March 6, 2001, inclusive.

The complaint charges that the company and certain of its officers and
directors violated the federal securities laws by providing materially
false and misleading information about the Company's business and
financial condition, and as a result of these false and misleading
statements the Company's stock traded at artificially inflated prices
during the Class Period. Specifically the complaint alleges that during
the Class Period, defendants made positive but false statements about
Broadcom's results and business, which essentially resulted in Broadcom
buying its own revenues. As a result, Broadcom's stock traded at
artificially inflated levels, permitting the three individual defendants
to sell $45.8 million worth of their Broadcom stock.

Then, on 2/27/01, The Wall Street Journal published an article on
Broadcom entitled "Warrant Deals Raise Concerns on Broadcom," in which
analysts and accounting experts questioned the "legitimacy" of the
transactions and termed the agreements "troubling." Broadcom's stock
immediately dropped, falling 16% to %54, before closing at $53.625 on
2/27/01, and falling to $49.25 on 2/28/01. 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 May 4, 2001. You are encouraged to call or
e-mail the Firm or visit the Firm's website at www.classlawyer.com.

Contact: Sue Null or Charlie Gastineau, both of the Law Firm of Cauley
Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP, 888-551-9944


BROADCOM CORP: Milberg Weiss Expands Period for Securities Suit in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss (http://www.milberg.com/broadcom/)announced on March 8
that a class action has been commenced in the United States District
Court for the Central District of California on behalf of purchasers of
Broadcom Corporation ("Broadcom") (Nasdaq: BRCM) common stock during the
period between July 31, 2000 and March 6, 2001 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Broadcom and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Broadcom is a
provider of highly integrated silicon solutions that enable broadband
digital transmission of voice, video and data to and throughout the home
and within the business enterprise. The complaint alleges that during the
Class Period, defendants made positive but false statements about
Broadcom's results and business, while concealing material adverse
information about agreements with certain companies it acquired, which
essentially resulted in Broadcom buying its own revenues. As a result,
Broadcom's stock traded at artificially inflated levels, permitting the
three individual defendants to sell $45.8 million worth of their Broadcom
stock. Then, on 2/27/01, The Wall Street Journal published an article on
Broadcom entitled "Warrant Deals Raise Concerns on Broadcom," in which
analysts and accounting experts questioned the "legitimacy" of the
transactions and termed the agreements "troubling." Broadcom's stock
immediately dropped, falling 16% to $53, before closing at $53.625 on
2/27/01, and falling to $49.25 on 2/28/01. Then, on 3/6/01, Broadcom
updated its outlook for 2001, indicating that 1stQ 01 revenues would be
only $315-$325 million and $.08-$.09, respectively, and also revealed
that it may change its accounting for warrants issued in connection with
acquisitions. On this news, Broadcom's stock dropped to as low as
$39-7/8.

Contact: William Lerach or Darren Robbins of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes
& Lerach LLP, 800-449-4900, wsl@milberg.com


BROADCOM CORP: Shareholder Lawsuit Filed in CA by Weiss & Yourman
-----------------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq:
BRCM) and certain officers in United States District Court for the
Central District of California on behalf of shareholders of Broadcom who
acquired their shares between July 31, 2000 and March 6, 2001.

According to the complaint, the Company's reported revenue growth of 129%
and 132% for the third and fourth quarter of fiscal 2000, respectively,
over the prior year, as well as sequential quarterly revenue growth of
30% and 18%, were materially false and misleading because defendants
overstated the Company's true revenues, growth rates and other financial
performance by failing to properly disclose and account for the fact that
the Company had purchased part of its revenues by giving customers
millions of dollars worth of warrants for Broadcom stock in return for
their orders. Specifically, the complaint alleges that, during its
acquisitions of other companies, Broadcom had these companies go to their
customers and get agreements for future product orders in return for
warrants for the stock in the companies, which Broadcom agreed to and did
convert to warrants for its own stock as part of the acquisitions.
Furthermore, Broadcom would not account for these customer warrant
transactions in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principals
("GAAP").

Contact: Weiss & Yourman (Los Angeles), 800-437-7918, info@wyca.com


CREDIT CARDS:  Attorneys' Exchange May Be Rehearsal for Antitrust Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The class action suit against Visa and MasterCard by a group of merchants
led by Wal-Mart may still lack an opening date, but rehearsals have begun
in earnest.

A dry run of sorts took place last Wednesday March 7. While far from the
courtroom, the exchange -- which took place under the protective auspices
of the American Bar Association's antitrust section -- offered a window
into the arguments likely to emerge in the battle over the associations'
merchant interchange fees.

Participants included Stephen V. Bomse, an outside counsel for Visa
U.S.A. who helped defend the association in last summer's antitrust trial
brought by the Justice Department. He also represents Visa in the
as-yet-unscheduled Wal-Mart civil trial.

On the other side were Alan S. Frankel, an economist who directs the Law
and Economics Consulting Group in Evanston, Ill., and David A. Balto, the
Federal Trade Commission's assistant director of the office of policy and
evaluation.

The arguments Mr. Balto and Mr. Frankel made against interchange may well
recur in the retailers' lawsuit, which was first brought by Wal-Mart but
has attained class action status. Visa and MasterCard have appealed that
status.

Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard set the rates of interchange -- a fee, based
on a percentage of the transaction cost, that a merchant's acquiring bank
must pay to the customer's card-issuing bank -- and the retailers contend
that the rates they set for signature-based debit cards are unfairly
high.

Mr. Balto said that interchange was created to help card-issuing banks
recover costs they incurred through losses, float, and fraud, but that
historical justifications are irrelevant now that transactions have
migrated from paper to electronics. Interchange rates are no longer "a
neutral transfer" of money between issuers' banks and merchants' banks,
he said.

"Visa had a really good story in the 1970s, when most transactions were
on paper, but now the risks of loss are negligible," Mr. Balto said.

Mr. Bomse, a partner at the San Francisco firm Heller Ehrman White &
McAuliffe LLP, called interchange a necessary "mechanism" underpinning
the card-based payments system. He argued that the payments system is a
"two-sided market" consisting of merchants and cardholders, and said,
"Interchange fees are simply a matter of an interdependent payments
system."

"Look," Mr. Bomse said. "Visa and MasterCard are great deals. They are
amazing products that confer enormous benefits to both cardholders and
merchants. Maybe we ought to be awarding medals rather than threatening
treble damages," which is what the retailers' lawsuit seeks.

Mr. Balto was the official moderator of the American Bar Association
forum, which was held at the Washington law offices of Arnold & Porter
and transmitted by video to law firms in other cities, and Mr. Bomse and
Mr. Frankel were the official guest speakers. But arguments were made by
all three, before an audience that included Melvin A Schwarz, lead
prosecutor in the Justice Department's unresolved antitrust case against
Visa and MasterCard; Marcy Wilkov, in-house counsel for American Express;
and Brian P. Brosnahan, another Heller Ehrman lawyer who represents Visa.

Mr. Frankel, an economics consultant who has worked extensively with the
banking and credit card industries and the Justice Department, argued
that interchange gives the card associations a license to collect taxes.

"The issuing banks are collecting a monopoly tax from the entire retail
economy, in essence for doing nothing," he said. "And they get revenue
and kickbacks for credit card users."

Mr. Frankel said bank card issuers earn a reputed $14 billion in profits
annually from interchange fees. "It's a brilliant scheme," he said. "This
makes the Microsoft case look small in comparison."

Furthermore, Mr. Frankel charged, because merchants pass the cost of
interchange back to their customers, people who pay by cash and check
effectively subsidize credit card users. "And who's paying cash?" he
asked. "The poorest people in our economy are paying Visa's interchange
fee. You don't hear Visa talking about this unless David (Balto) or I
bring it up."

Mr. Bomse -- who has handled cases for Visa since 1980 and quipped,
"Representing Visa means always having to say you're sorry" -- rebutted
Mr. Frankel's accusation that interchange was "wasteful, rent-seeking
behavior."

The real question, Mr. Bomse said, is why proprietary networks such as
the one run by American Express can also set interchange rates without
being sued. American Express' rates are higher than those of Visa or
MasterCard. "Is American Express subject to these kinds of damages for
behaving in the same way? If not, why is Visa?" Mr. Bomse asked.

Mr. Frankel responded, "Saying, 'We should be able to act like American
Express' isn't much of a defense." He said that since Visa wields more
market power than American Express, the situations are different.

Moreover, American Express does not issue debit cards, which are at the
heart of the retailers' lawsuit. The merchants are challenging Visa and
MasterCard rules that require them to accept those brands of debit cards
as a condition of accepting those brands of credit cards. They say these
rules violate an antitrust law that forbids companies to tie one product
to another.

The merchants would prefer to accept PIN-based debit transactions which
carry fees of around 10 to 12 cents per transaction. The fee for the
signature-based Visa check card is about 1.25% of the transaction cost
plus 10 cents, and MasterCard's signature-based debit product charges
about 1.36% of the transaction cost plus 10 cents. The prices vary on the
basis of merchant volume and other factors.

Retailers often try to coax customers at the point of sale to use the
PIN-based products. This practice is called "steering," which Mr. Bomse
said is permitted under Visa rules. But opponents of the associations
have said that before the Federal Trade Commission and others began
looking into the retailers' claims, Visa's rules prohibited steering.

Mr. Frankel said that though retailers may steer consumers toward using
the less expensive products, the banks and associations are doing the
opposite. He said he recently got a mail offer from Bank One Corp. that
entered cardholders in a sweepstakes only when they used their
signature-based debit cards.

"Consumers are rewarded for using the most expensive, and not the least
expensive, system," Mr. Frankel said. (The American Banker, March 9,
2001)


CREDIT CARDS: Customers Can Sue Chevy Chase Bank Over Rate Hike
---------------------------------------------------------------
Maryland's highest court ruled unanimously on March 8 that a group of
credit card customers could sue Chevy Chase Bank over its 1996 decision
to increase its interest rates above 24 percent after it promised it
wouldn't.

The decision by the Court of Appeals of Maryland centered on an
arbitration issue. It said consumers did not waive their right to a trial
when the bank sent out a "change of terms" notice to cardholders saying
all disputes would be resolved through arbitration instead of the courts.

The consumers allege that the bank breached its promise that interest
rates "will never exceed 24 percent" -- the maximum rate permissible
under Maryland law. In January 1996, the bank relocated its home office
to Virginia, where there are no state limits on interest rates. It soon
began raising its rates, charging some consumers 27 percent or 28
percent, even on balances accrued before the company moved to McLean, the
suit said.

The bank tried to block the suit, citing the arbitration clause, and a
local judge in Baltimore agreed. But the high court struck down the
provision because the arbitration clause said the process would be
started "at the request and expense of the claiming party" -- something
the cardholders didn't seek.

The case will now go back to a lower court, which will hear the breach of
contract dispute on the credit card interest rate.

The high court's narrowly crafted opinion affects only Maryland consumers
and companies. But lawyers on both sides of the issue said that they
expect it to be cited in dozens of other cases around the country.
Consumer advocates are challenging the mandatory arbitration provisions
now being written into many consumer contracts by banks, auto dealers and
retailers.

Businesses argue that arbitration provisions limiting a consumer's
ability to file suit help resolve disagreements faster and less
expensively than the courts. Consumer advocates say arbitration can cost
consumers thousands of dollars and limit the gathering of evidence that
could give consumers a better chance of winning a case. Court opinions
have varied widely on these provisions.

Lawyers predict that consumer advocates will cite the Maryland ruling
because the court said federal arbitration law does not preempt Maryland
law. Under federal law, consumers usually cannot appeal a court
arbitration order until a final decision is issued in the case. But the
Maryland court ruled that consumers can immediately appeal a Maryland
court order requiring arbitration -- as was done in the Chevy Chase case
-- even before the arbitration process has begun.

Paul Bland, an attorney for Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, which filed
the case on behalf of the Chevy Chase cardholders, hailed the decision as
a "real victory for cardholders who will now have their day in court
instead of in an arbitration process they never agreed to." Bland
estimated that several hundred thousand cardholders will be eligible to
be part of a class-action suit.

Leslie A. Nicholson, executive vice president and general counsel for
Chevy Chase Bank, said that while the bank "respectfully disagrees with
the court's narrow reading of the arbitration clause, the bank continues
to believe this matter will be concluded in the bank's favor when the
case returns to the trial court. The bank complied with applicable
federal and state laws in amending its cardholder agreements in early
1996 and these amendments were not even challenged by the plaintiffs
until 1999."

Alan Kaplinsky, a attorney in Philadelphia who represents several
financial institutions, said he was "disquieted" by the court's finding
that the federal arbitration provisions do not apply to appeals of state
court arbitration rulings.

But he said he thought the ruling was a "nonevent" because its key
argument in striking down the arbitration provision would not apply to
most such clauses.

Chevy Chase Bank had sold its credit card assets to First USA by the time
the cardholder suit was filed in 1999. But it contended that the dispute
had to be resolved through mandatory arbitration, as required by the
agreement it sent to cardholders in early 1996.

The Circuit Court of Baltimore agreed, with Judge Joseph H. Kaplan ruling
that the arbitration clause "provides a fair and cost-efficient arena to
solve problems between the parties."

The case now returns to Kaplan's court. (The Washington Post, March 09,
2001)


FORD MOTOR: Lawyers Ask $3 Bil for Damages Due to Fauty Ignition Part
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Attorneys pressing a class-action lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. over a
faulty ignition part are asking an Alameda County Superior Court judge to
order the carmaker to pay about $3 billion in damages. "We're asking for
$1,000 in statutory damages each for (an estimated 3 million Ford owners
in California)," plaintiffs' attorney Paul Nelson said.

Judge Michael E. Ballachey made a historic ruling in October, ordering
the automaker to recall a faulty ignition part called the thick film
ignition, or TFI. The judge found that Ford knew that the
distributor-mounted TFI would heat up and fail, causing stalling, but
that it did nothing about it.

Ballachey is supposed to preside over a jury phase of the trial to
determine the amount of punitive damages, if there are any.

However, Nelson said, according to state law in this type of case, the
plaintiffs can collect either statutory or punitive damages. Because the
judge already has found the auto giant guilty under the state Consumers
Legal Remedies Act, he can award the $1,000 minimum statutory amount to
each class member, according to the plaintiffs' motion filed March 5 in
Alameda County. The actual damages can be taken care of through the
recall, which is being worked out by a court-appointed referee, Nelson
said.

Ford attorney Richard Warmer said he is working on a reply to the
plaintiffs' motion. "I don't think it'll be appropriate until we state
our position (in court papers)," Warmer said.

Ballachey is expected to rule on the issue on March 23.(The San Francisco
Chronicle, March 9, 2001)


HIP IMPLANT: CEO Says Sulzer Sufficiently Insured to Cover All Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Sulzer AG unit Sulzer Industries chief executive officer Fred Kindle said
the divestment of Sulzer Infra and Sulzer Textil will be concluded by the
middle of next year. Speaking at the company's full-year results
conference, Kindle said the group also intends to reduce the size of its
management and to slim down its board of directors. Commenting on the
recent recall of 25,000 deficient hip implants in the U.S., Sulzer unit
Sulzer Medica AG chief executive officer Andre Buchel said the company is
sufficiently insured to cover all claims. Moreover, Buchel said he is
convinced that class actions and lawsuits filed in connection with the
recall will prove unfounded. (AFX European Focus, March 9, 2001)


Kerr-Mcgee: Sued in Mississippi for Creosote Syndrome
-----------------------------------------------------
In a class action complaint filed earlier this month in federal court in
Mississippi, Plaintiffs charge that years of toxic creosote contamination
by the Kerr-McGee wood treatment plant in Columbus, Mississippi have
caused Creosote Syndrome illnesses and property damage in that community
of 250,000 residents. The complaint was filed by Lundy & Davis, L.L.P.,
Roda & Nast, P.C. and Bennett Lotterhos Sulser & Wilson, P.A.

The Columbus operation is one of six plants in Kerr-McGee's Forest
Products Division, which collectively treat about 40 percent of railroad
crossties sold in the United States. The Columbus wood treatment plant
has been in operation since 1928.

The Mississippi plant applies creosote chemicals to wooden railroad
crossties. According to the complaint, up until the mid 1970s, PCP
(pentachlorophenol) and creosote, were used. The use of PCP was later
discontinued, and coal-tar creosote is now used. The complaint alleges
that creosote is toxic to humans, and additional toxic substances are
produced through the treatment process.

The class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of numerous Columbus
residents who allege that Kerr-McGee should take responsibility for
contamination of the environment. According to Louisiana lawyer, Hunter
Lundy, Plaintiffs' counsel in the suit, "The contamination from
operations at Kerr-McGee occurs at numerous points during the wood
treatment process. Drips, spills, leaks, accidents, air emissions and
waste disposal practices throughout the years and continuing into the
present have led to widespread contamination of the plant site and
neighboring community."

"Ask any resident of Columbus and he or she can tell you about the strong
creosote odor that permeates the air throughout Kerr-McGee's neighborhood
and the surrounding area," said Dianne M. Nast, a Pennsylvania attorney
who is one of co-counsel to Plaintiffs in the suit. "This odor is caused
by creosote vapors, a toxic substance released into the air at the
plant," Nast said.

Uncontrolled releases of creosote waste have spread from the plant into
the environment, the complaint alleges, and large, open ditches transport
waste products from the plant to the Lauxapalilla Creek. "Sediment and
soil in the ditches and on the banks have been significantly contaminated
as a consequence of Kerr-McGee's waste discharge practices," explains
Mississippi attorney Richard (Dick) Bennett, a co-counsel to Plaintiffs.
"Children who have played in this ditch have been exposed to dangerous,
toxic substances," Bennett said.

Residents living in close proximity to the plant have a Creosote Syndrome
disease rate much higher than in a similar population not exposed to
creosote, according to the complaint. Health problems typical of Creosote
Syndrome include respiratory diseases and reproductive and neurological
disorders, according to the complaint.

The complaint also alleges that the value of property owned by class
members in the affected area has been substantially diminished because of
Kerr-McGee's environmental contamination.

The complaint seeks money damages and class-wide medical monitoring.

Contact: Hunter W. Lundy of Lundy & Davis, L.L.P., 337-439-0707, or fax,
337-439-1029, or Dianne M. Nast of Roda & Nast, P.C., 717-892-3000, or
fax, 717-892-1200, or Richard T. Bennett of Bennett Lotterhos Sulser &
Wilson, P.A., 601-944-0466, or fax, 601-944-0467


NIKE JORDAN: Lawyer Alleges Design of Sports Shoes Is Too Cutting Edge
----------------------------------------------------------------------
On Jan. 31, 14-year-old Aaron Farquharson was playing basketball during
gym class at Miami Palmetto Senior High School. He was wearing a new pair
of Nike Jordan Trunner 2000 cross-training sports shoes, which he had
received for Christmas.

At one point during the game, he jumped for a rebound. A thin piece of
metal on the outside of one of his heels had come loose and protruded
from the shoe, forming a sharp edge. As Farquharson returned to earth,
the sliver of metal allegedly stabbed his calf, causing a gash that
required 14 stitches.

Since then, Nike USA Inc. has acknowledged the perils of this line of
shoes. On Feb. 22, the company announced a nationwide recall of its
Jordan Trunner LX and Jordan Trunner 2000 cross-training shoes, offering
a store credit to anyone who returned the footwear. The shoes cost $ 100
to $ 125 a pair. Nearly 300,000 pairs have been sold.

Feeling he deserved more than a store credit as compensation,
Farquharson's father, Leonard, a Miami-Dade police officer, called
Kendall attorney John W. McLuskey, a partner at the nine-lawyer firm
McLuskey McDonald & Payne.

McLuskey promptly shipped young Farquharson's shoe to David Fried, a
sports shoe expert in New York. "Our expert took one look at the sneaker
and could tell that whoever designed it was not thinking straight,"
McLuskey says. "This kind of accident was bound to happen."

So, just four days after Nike announced its recall, McLuskey filed a
negligence and product liability suit in U.S. District Court in Miami
against the Beaverton, Ore.-based company.

The suit alleges that Nike "breached its duty of reasonable care" by
negligently designing, constructing, manufacturing, testing and
inspecting the shoes. "As direct cause of the negligence of Nike,
plaintiffs suffered the injuries and damages," the suit states. The suit
also alleges that the "shoe was defective in manufacture in that it
failed to keep the sharp metal strip in the heel area of the shoe from
protruding from the shoe so as to create a sharp knife-like edge which
caused injury when coming in contact with human flesh."

McLuskey hasn't specified any damage figure yet. He hopes to get the suit
certified for class-action status nationwide, which is why he filed it in
federal court.

This isn't the first time Nike has had to recall a line of shoes because
of a wayward piece of metal. In 1998, the company took back 350,000 pairs
of the Nike Air Face Up basketball shoes because a decorative metal rivet
on the outside of the shoe tended to bend and form a sharp edge. The
company had received nearly 40 reports from young basketball players who
complained about cuts on their lower legs. No class-action suit emerged
from that recall.

Ken Jiles, a spokesman for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in
Washington, D.C., says Nike complied fully with federal law by publicly
announcing its most recent recall and offering a refund.

Officials at Nike's corporate headquarters did not return phone calls
seeking comment about the recall or about the Farquharsons' suit.

So far, the Farquharsons are the only clients named in McLuskey's
would-be class-action suit. But the Kendall attorney says he's confident
more will turn up. McLuskey hasn't previously handled a class-action suit
for a plaintiff, though he says he's helped defend insurance companies
against class-action suits.

McLuskey plans to place newspaper ads around the country looking for
people injured by the Nike shoes. He claims he's not looking for a big
payoff. "I really see this as almost a pro bono matter," he says, adding
that he took the case for the sake of "consumer rights."

cross-training shoes, offering a store credit to anyone who returned the
footwear. The shoes cost $ 100 to $ 125 a pair. Nearly 300,000 pairs have
been sold.

Feeling he deserved more than a store credit as compensation,
Farquharson's father, Leonard, a Miami-Dade police officer, called
Kendall attorney John W. McLuskey, a partner at the nine-lawyer firm
McLuskey McDonald & Payne.

McLuskey promptly shipped young Farquharson's shoe to David Fried, a
sports shoe expert in New York. "Our expert took one look at the sneaker
and could tell that whoever designed it was not thinking straight,"
McLuskey says. "This kind of accident was bound to happen."

So, just four days after Nike announced its recall, McLuskey filed a
negligence and product liability suit in U.S. District Court in Miami
against the Beaverton, Ore.-based company.

The suit alleges that Nike "breached its duty of reasonable care" by
negligently designing, constructing, manufacturing, testing and
inspecting the shoes. "As direct cause of the negligence of Nike,
plaintiffs suffered the injuries and damages," the suit states. The suit
also alleges that the "shoe was defective in manufacture in that it
failed to keep the sharp metal strip in the heel area of the shoe from
protruding from the shoe so as to create a sharp knife-like edge which
caused injury when coming in contact with human flesh."

McLuskey hasn't specified any damage figure yet. He hopes to get the suit
certified for class-action status nationwide, which is why he filed it in
federal court.

This isn't the first time Nike has had to recall a line of shoes because
of a wayward piece of metal. In 1998, the company took back 350,000 pairs
of the Nike Air Face Up basketball shoes because a decorative metal rivet
on the outside of the shoe tended to bend and form a sharp edge. The
company had received nearly 40 reports from young basketball players who
complained about cuts on their lower legs. No class-action suit emerged
from that recall.

Ken Jiles, a spokesman for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in
Washington, D.C., says Nike complied fully with federal law by publicly
announcing its most recent recall and offering a refund.

Officials at Nike's corporate headquarters did not return phone calls
seeking comment about the recall or about the Farquharsons' suit.

So far, the Farquharsons are the only clients named in McLuskey's
would-be class-action suit. But the Kendall attorney says he's confident
more will turn up. McLuskey hasn't previously handled a class-action suit
for a plaintiff, though he says he's helped defend insurance companies
against class-action suits.

McLuskey plans to place newspaper ads around the country looking for
people injured by the Nike shoes. He claims he's not looking for a big
payoff. "I really see this as almost a pro bono matter," he says, adding
that he took the case for the sake of "consumer rights." (Miami Daily
Business Review, March 8, 2001)


NORTEL NETWORKS: Burt & Pucillo Announces Securities Lawsuit Filed in NY
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pursuant to Section 21D(a)(3)(A)(i) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934, Notice is hereby given that on March 7, 2001, a class action
lawsuit alleging violations of the federal securities laws was filed in
the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
against Nortel Networks Corporation (NYSE:NT) and certain of the officers
and directors of that Company. The action is captioned Smith v. Nortel
Networks Corporation, et al., Civil Action No. 01cv1361, and is brought
on behalf of a class of persons who purchased the common stock of Nortel
Networks Corporation ("Nortel" or the "Company") during the period from
November 1, 2000 through and including February 15, 2001 (the "Class
Period").

The complaint charges that Nortel and certain of its officers and
directors 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 financial information concerning the demand for the
Company's product. Specifically, the complaint asserts that during the
Class Period, Nortel touted strong revenue and earnings guidance for
first quarter and fiscal year 2001. On January 18, 2001, Nortel issued a
press release announcing that it would "continue to outpace the market
and gain profitable market share" despite the "tightening of capital
within the telecom sector." All along, however, the complaint alleges,
that Nortel executives knew that the Company was experiencing a
substantial shortfall in sales and earnings due to decreased orders from
its customers.

The complaint alleges that on February 15, 2001, after the close of
trading and just 28 days after issuing a bullish first quarter forecast,
defendants issued a stunning press release dramatically lowering Nortel's
guidance for first quarter and fiscal year 2001 because of decreased
demand for its product. On February 16, 2001, the stock plummeted as much
as 36% to $19.50 on enormous trading volume in excess of 20 million
shares, finally closing at $20.02 - erasing nearly $33 billion in market
capitalization.

Moreover, the complaint alleges that, during the Class Period but before
the devastating announcement on February 15, 2001, Nortel's senior
management sold substantial amounts of Nortel stock, reaping proceeds of
over $7 million from insider sales.

Contact: Burt & Pucillo, LLP, West Palm Beach Michael J. Pucillo or Wendy
H. Zoberman 561/835-9400 or 800/349-4612 law@burt-pucillo.com or
burtpucill@aol.com


PACIFIC LUMBER: To Pay Millions In 1996-97 Humboldt Landslide Suit
------------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific Lumber Co. has agreed to pay $3.3 million to the victims of a
catastrophic mudslide on the steep slope of a clear-cut mountain that
wiped out nearly half of the Humboldt County hamlet of Stafford.

The mudslide, wide as a football field and 25 feet high, caught residents
by surprise during a torrential rainstorm on Dec. 31, 1996, and Jan. 1,
1997. It destroyed seven houses.

Pacific Lumber, Humboldt County's biggest employer, initially denied that
its logging operation on the watershed above Stafford was the cause of
the mudslide, but settled just as the trial was to have begun in Eureka
before visiting Judge Frank Petersen.

Michael R. O'Neal -- also known as "Mountain Mike" -- lead plaintiff
among the 26 who will share in the settlement, said that he feels
vindicated.

"Pacific Lumber went in there three times and clear-cut on what was
practically a vertical slope, and they said it was our fault," he said.
"We put a dent in them. At least it'll deter them before they start
logging over other people's houses."

The settlement includes $150,000 to be paid by Barnum Timber, which owns
the land below the area clear-cut by Pacific Lumber. As part of the
settlement, Pacific Lumber will install lights at the base of the
mountain.

In the wake of the landslide, Pacific Lumber has installed a pond and
levee system aimed at preventing a reoccurrence of mudslides on the
still-unstable slope that could damage some of Stafford's remaining
houses.

The ancient redwood in which Julia (Butterfly) Hill made her epic
two-year tree sit to protect logging excesses stands near the top of the
hill where the mudslide occurred.E-mail Eric Brazil at
ebrazil@sfchronicle.com. (The San Francisco Chronicle, March 9, 2001)


PARTY CITY: Faces 12 Securities Suits in N.J. at Early Stage
------------------------------------------------------------
Party City Corp. has been named as a defendant in twelve class action
complaints. The Company's former Chief Executive Officer and former Chief
Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Operations have also
been named as defendants. The complaints have all been filed in the
United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The
complaints were filed as class actions on behalf of persons who purchased
or acquired Party City common stock during various time periods between
February 1998 and March 19, 1999. In October 1999, plaintiffs filed an
amended class action complaint and in February 2000, plaintiffs filed a
second amended complaint.

The second amended complaint alleges, among other things, violations of
sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule
10b-5 promulgated thereunder, and seeks unspecified damages. The
plaintiffs allege that defendants issued a series of false and misleading
statements and failed to disclose material facts concerning, among other
things, the Company's financial condition, adequacy of internal controls
and compliance with certain loan covenants. The plaintiffs further allege
that because of the issuance of a series of false and misleading
statements and/or failure to disclose material facts, the price of Party
City common stock was artificially inflated.

Defendants have moved to dismiss the second amended complaint on the
ground that it fails to state a cause of action. The Court has not yet
issued a decision with respect to the motion to dismiss. Because this
case is in its early stages, no opinion can be expressed as to its likely
outcome.

On April 23, 1999, plaintiff Emil Asch, Inc. ("Emil Asch") filed a
complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
New York against the Company and co-defendants Amscan, Inc., Hallmark,
Inc., and Rubie's Costume. The complaint alleges five claims which
pertain to price discrimination under the Robinson-Patman Act, unfair
competition, tortious interference with contractual relations, and false
and deceptive advertising. Plaintiff seeks damages of $2 million, as well
as treble and punitive damages for certain counts.

On February 3, 2000, Emil Asch amended its complaint by adding Ron's: The
Party Store, Inc., as an additional plaintiff to the suit. The amended
complaint asserts the same causes of action against the same defendants
and seeks the same damages that were sought in the original complaint.
The Company has answered the amended complaint, and discovery is
proceeding. At this point, no opinion can be expressed as to the likely
outcome of the litigation.

The Company's management is unable to express a view on the likely
outcome of these litigations because they are in their early stages, they
could have a material adverse effect on the Company's business and
results of operations.


SMART WORLD: Bragar Wexler Announces Commencement of Securities Lawsuit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Bragar Wexler Eagel & Morgenstern, LLP has commenced a
class action on behalf of a purchaser and all other similarly situated
purchasers of Smart World Technologies, LLC securities from November 1,
1999 through June 29, 2000, inclusive (the "Class Period"). The Complaint
seeks remedies for violations of Section 12(a)(1) and (a) (2) of the
Securities Act of 1933 against the defendants as control persons pursuant
to Section 15 of the Securities Act.

The Complaint alleges that during the Class Period, the Company failed to
register the Company's offering of securities with the Securities and
Exchange Commission as required by Sections 6 and 7 of the Securities
Act, and no exemption from registration was applicable to the Company's
securities offering. In addition, the Complaint alleges that in
connection with the offering, the Company made misstatements of material
facts, and omitted material facts from its disclosures required so as not
to make the disclosures misleading, all in connection with the Company's
financial condition, and prospects for financing the Company's business.
On June 29, 2000, the Company and two of its subsidiaries filed for
protection under the Bankruptcy Code.

Contact: Bragar Wexler Eagel & Morgenstern, LLP Paul D. Wexler, Esq.,
212/308-5858 Wexler@BragarWexler.com


TOBACCO LITIGATION: 70-Year-Old Ex-Smoker First To Receive Compensation
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Grady Carter, a 70-year-old ex-smoker who lost a lung to cancer, proved
the tobacco industry and legal analysts wrong when he walked away from
his lawyer's Jacksonville office last Thursday March 8 with a $ 1.1
million check from Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.

Carter, a retired air-traffic controller who used to live in Plantation,
is the first person to collect money from a tobacco company after beating
them in court. A jury awarded him $ 750,000 in compensatory damages in
1995, and that amount continued to accrue interest as the case wound its
way through the appellate courts.

Carter was pragmatic about his victory. "I've lost a lung and Brown &
Williamson lost $ 750,000, so I think I came out on the short end of the
deal," he said during a telephone call from his Orange Park home last
Thursday evening.

Carter's lawyer, who handed the check over to his client during a news
conference, was more grandiose. "Brown & Williamson has tried everything
to stop this from happening and they couldn't. Try as they might, they
were ultimately, and for the first time, held responsible for the damage
caused by their product," said Woody Wilner, Carter's attorney.

But a Brown & Williamson spokesman urged Carter not to spend the money.
The Florida Supreme Court upheld the verdict against the cigarette maker,
but the company still plans to appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court, said
Mark Smith, a company spokesman. The cigarette maker claims it should
have been exempt from liability because of the warning labels on
cigarette cartons, Smith has said.

But Wilner scoffed at that argument. He considers the case over.

On March 7, the state Supreme Court refused to allow the cigarette maker
to avoid paying Carter while the company pursues the federal appeal. And
on March 8, Carter's lawyers accepted a wire transfer from the company
for the full $ 1,087,191. The company must also pay Wilner's fee.

Wilner took the case in 1995, after several attorneys refused to take on
the tobacco company.

Carter, who started smoking as a teen in the late 1940s, was finally able
to kick the habit in 1990. But the following year, after coughing up
blood, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

About two years later, he fumed as he sat before his television and
watched executives from the world's largest cigarette companies testify
before Congress that their products were not addictive. "I knew how hard
it was for me to quit, and I felt I had to do something about it," Carter
said.

But many lawyers were not willing to use their own money to take on
tobacco. Others before them had tried, only to run out of cash as the
tobacco companies, which had deeper pockets, dragged the cases out
through the appeals courts. Finally, Carter found Wilner, who had handled
some asbestos cases and in the process come across documentation about
the hazards of cigarette smoking.

"My goal was for the cigarette company to say that nicotine was addictive
and that smoking did cause severe medical problems," said Carter. "At my
trial they said it wasn't addictive and it had not been proved that
tobacco caused health problems, but I knew better."

And Wilner said that he and the other lawyers in his firm who worked on
the case were the first to bring forth evidence about the hazards of
cigarettes that had been discovered by tobacco industry scientists who
later became whistleblowers. And the legal team also presented evidence
showing there were safer alternatives the tobacco companies had chosen
not to employ, Wilner said.

"And I'm proud to say it was right at that point where things started
changing very rapidly for the cigarette industry," he said.

Last year, in the statewide class action case against the industry, a
jury in Miami-Dade Circuit Court ordered the country's five largest
cigarette manufacturers to pay a record $ 145 billion to Florida's sick
smokers. Brown & Williamson, based in Louisville, Ky., was one of the
firms to lose in that case. The industry is appealing it.

Anti-tobacco activists hailed Carter's payout as pivotal. "What this
means is that the tobacco industry and their friendly Wall Street
analysts, who have been saying for years that plaintiffs' lawyers will
never get involved in these cases until someone actually sees the money,
are going to have to change their tune," said Richard Daynard, president
of the Tobacco Control Research Center at Northeastern University in
Boston. "Today, they paid."

Carter, who has to have a checkup every three months and worries every
time he has a slight cough, said he didn't enter this courtroom battle
for the money. His plea is much more personal. "If anyone out there is
smoking, please stop. If you haven't started, don't," he said.
(Information from The Associated Press was used to supplement this
report, published in (Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), March 9, 2001)


UNITED-US: Air Deal Stuck with Fed Regulators, May Need Changes
---------------------------------------------------------------
Stuck in a lengthy holding pattern with federal regulators, United
Airlines' long-pending merger with US Airways may not fly until more
changes in the deal are made, analysts say.

The latest delay in the nearly 10-month-old merger review process,
announced earlier this week, has increased skepticism on Wall Street that
the biggest-ever airline merger will be consummated as proposed.

US Airways' stock price, considered a barometer of market confidence in
the deal's ultimate approval, fell sharply.

Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Tallamona declined comment on reports
in USA Today and The Washington Post that the $4.3 billion deal appears
to be in antitrust trouble. But the department's request Tuesday for more
information about the deal, extending the review period indefinitely
beyond an April 2 target date, has some industry experts assuming the
worst.

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta indicated last week that an
in-depth analysis will be made on the competitive aspect of all mergers.
While Justice Department regulators have the final say, analysts suggest
that DOT's additional scrutiny could be a determining factor.

``The current thinking is that the deal's not going to be rejected
outright, it will just be continually postponed,'' Ray Neidl, an airline
analyst for ING Barings, said from London.

``United probably wants US Air enough to make more concessions. But maybe
at some point it'll come down to the fact that, at $60 a share, it's just
not worth doing the deal,'' he said.

In an effort to ease anti-competitive concerns and ensure government
approval, United agreed in January to sell some US Airways assets to
American Airlines, including half of US Airways' Washington-New
York-Boston shuttle. There has been speculation of more selloffs coming.

Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based United issued a statement labeling as ``not
based on fact'' reports that the deal is in jeopardy because it would
enable the merged airline to dominate East Coast routes and several major
airports.

United, the world's largest airline, said additional new competition from
both it and American in key East Coast markets, where currently Delta Air
Lines and US Airways are strong, ``would benefit consumers and
communities.''

Another potential obstacle to a smooth implementation of the merger is
ongoing labor trouble. The International Association of Machinists and
Aerospace Workers, which represents about 60,000 United employees,
opposes the merger. And members of the Association of Flight Attendants,
who want their current contract with United re-examined, say they could
strike if the merger is approved.

United said any strike or slowdown by the AFA would violate federal labor
law, and the airline promised to seek damages and an injunction against
the union and participating flight attendants.

Analysts and other experts can only guess at the regulators' final
decision, and opinions remain split.

Julius Maldutis of CIBC World Markets thinks that while American's
acquisition of Trans World Airlines is likely to obtain approval because
it involves a failing airline, the United-US Air deal is unlikely to pass
muster.

``The fact of the matter is it would create a carrier that would have
significant market dominance,'' he said.

Robert Milmore of Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder said there are ``too many
moving pieces,'' including ongoing labor woes at United, for the Justice
Department to rush a decision by an arbitrary deadline.

``It still can get done,'' he said of the United-US Air deal. ``But it
may take some more divestitures.''

Neidl said that before this week he thought the merger had two chances in
three to succeed, but now he puts the odds of passing at ``even money.''

On the Net:  http://www.united.com
http://www.usair.com(The Associated Press, March 8, 2001)


WILLIAM GOREN: Sentence Due for Securities Fraud; Millions Are Missing
----------------------------------------------------------------------
From 1983 to 2000, William Goren stole more than $30 million from
investors on Long Island and in Queens. His favorite targets were widows
and retired couples, like Helga and Simon Novack, Holocaust survivors who
gave Mr. Goren their life savings. Mr. Goren spent $2.5 million of the
money he stole on his home, according to authorities. He spent $680,000
on his cars. He spent $650,000 on vacations. He spent $306,000 on
jewelry.

Mr. Goren, who pleaded guilty to securities fraud in September, was
scheduled to be sentenced March 9 in Federal District Court in Central
Islip. He is expected to receive a sentence of about six years under a
plea agreement.

But prosecutors say they still cannot account for millions of dollars
that Mr. Goren stole, money that could ensure Mr. Goren, 54, a
comfortable retirement when he leaves prison.

The people whom Mr. Goren defrauded would like to know what happened to
the money he stole, all of it. And they worry that if they do not get an
answer now, before he is sentenced, they will never know. "Since William
Goren embezzled our money, our everyday lives have become terribly
difficult," Mrs. Novack wrote in a letter to Judge Thomas C. Platt, who
is overseeing the case. "It would be an embittering experience were this
perpetrator to go free after five or six years. It would be an even
greater travesty were he to then enjoy the proceeds of his crimes."

Mr. Goren operated one of the longest-running Ponzi schemes in the
nation's history from his brokerage office in Melville, N.Y., according
to prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission. In a Ponzi
scheme, a promoter pays back his initial investors with money he has
raised from new investors. Eventually, the promoter can no longer find
enough new investors to pay off the people who have already put up money,
and the scheme collapses.

Mr. Goren told some investors they were buying high-risk, high-return
promissory notes. But most victims thought they were buying brand-name
mutual funds or money market funds, which are intended for risk-averse
investors. In fact, Mr. Goren spent most of the money on himself, his
office or ill-fated business ventures, prosecutors say.

Over all, investors lost $32.7 million, according to records provided to
Judge Platt by the S.E.C. and by Richard L. Stone, the receiver who took
control of Mr. Goren's assets. Jeremy Temkin, Mr. Goren's lawyer, would
not comment on the case and said that Mr. Goren would not be available
for comment.

"He ruined hundreds of lives, and in many cases the victims were elderly
or retired," said Sigmund Wissner-Gross, a lawyer for the investors
defrauded by Mr. Goren, who are bringing a class-action lawsuit charging
that Fleet Bank and other third parties aided Mr. Goren's fraud. Fleet
declined comment on the charges.

Mr. Wissner-Gross said he was concerned that federal prosecutors had not
done enough to make sure that Mr. Goren had given up all the money he
stole. "I'm not yet persuaded that a full investigation has been done to
determine the location of that money," he said. Mr. Goren carried large
amounts of cash and frequently traveled overseas, giving him many
opportunities to hide money, Mr. Wissner-Gross said.

Until earlier this month, Mr. Goren was unable to account for more than
$8 million of the money he stole, according to court records. In the last
two days, that figure has been cut to less than $2 million, according to
people close to the case, who said Mr. Goren had accounted for more money
spent between 1983 and 1995.

David Pitofsky, the assistant United States attorney overseeing the case,
said his office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had tried to
investigate whether Mr. Goren had hidden any money. "I'm satisfied that
the investigation was as complete as it could be and didn't turn anything
up," he said. Mr. Goren was required to swear that he had not hidden any
assets, and if he is discovered to have lied, he could face additional
charges, Mr. Pitofsky said.

Federal sentencing guidelines call for Mr. Goren to be imprisoned for 63
to 78 months, according to the September plea agreement, although Judge
Platt could impose a different sentence. Mr. Goren's recommended sentence
was lightened because he cooperated with prosecutors and the receiver,
Mr. Pitofsky said. (The New York Times, March 9, 2001)


* Census Data for N.J., WI and MS Finds Diversity Spreading to Suburbs
----------------------------------------------------------------------
From the Northeast to the Midwest and Deep South, racial and ethnic
diversity once concentrated in the nation's cities has spread
significantly into suburbs and small towns, according to the 2000 census
data for New Jersey, Wisconsin and Mississippi. "The new diversity is
different from the old," said James W. Hughes, dean of the Edward J.
Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at New Jersey's Rutgers
University. "We're seeing both concentration in cities and dispersion
across the suburbs."

All three states mirrored the national trend of burgeoning Hispanic and
Asian populations relative to much slower growth rates among whites and
blacks. In New Jersey, non-Hispanic whites has declined by 2.8 percent,
or 161,757 people, since 1990.

The Hispanic populations in Mississippi and Wisconsin more than doubled
over the decade, while New Jersey's long-established Hispanic presence
grew 51 percent, to 1.1 million -- accounting for more than half of the
state's population growth since 1990, according to data released.

The number of Asians in all three states rose more than 80 percent, and
in New Jersey, with a 93 percent increase, Asians were the
fastest-growing racial minority.

Officials attributed the dispersion of racial and ethnic minorities to
the spread of job opportunities as the economy strengthened throughout
the 1990s.

By far the largest growth among Hispanics in New Jersey came in more
urban areas near New York. But it was evident also in fast-growing,
suburban Somerset County, which was once exclusive "horse country."

Somerset County provides a microcosm of the diverse growth patterns.

Known as the nation's medicine chest because of its concentration of
pharmaceutical companies, the county's population grew about 24 percent
over the decade as high-tech and science-oriented businesses expanded,
followed by residential and commercial growth.

Racial and ethnic minorities flocked to job opportunities in the
high-paying high-tech sector and the minimum-wage service industries.

Over the decade, Somerset had the state's fastest-growing Hispanic
population and second-fastest-growing Asian population. Its black
population also grew by more than half.

The county's Asian growth was mirrored in wealthy Montgomery Township,
where school enrollment swelled from 1,522 in 1991 to more than 4,000
this year.

The township approved $ 34 million for school construction in a
referendum in the mid-1990s and another $ 70 million last fall.

Meanwhile, there was a large influx of Hispanics in older, middle-class
North Plainfield borough.

Over the decade, the borough hired its first Hispanic police officers and
a Spanish-language translator in the borough hall. Failing downtown
businesses reopened as Spanish-style restaurants, said borough business
administrator John Katilas.

In all three states, growth occurred much faster in small to mid-sized
towns than larger cities, continuing the suburbanization trend evident in
the 1990 census.

But none of their cities hemorrhaged as much as they did in the 1980s.
Milwaukee lost 5 percent of its population and Mississippi's capital
city, Jackson, lost 6 percent, but Newark, which lost more than 16
percent in the 1980s, held almost even in the 1990s.

The census shows New Jersey's largest city shrank 0.6 percent.

State labor commissioner Mark Boyd said immigration was largely
responsible for the leveling-off of New Jersey's urban population. He
said the state's many ethnic communities served as magnets.

Mayor Sharpe James, who believes Newark was undercounted in 1990, said
many residents were too fearful of the government to fill out census
forms, despite a vigorous campaign to get them to comply. He said he will
join with Los Angeles in a class action suit demanding a recount based on
statistical sampling. (The Washington Post, March 09, 2001)


* Japan Needs More Lawyers, L.A. Times Presents a Changing Situation
--------------------------------------------------------------------
For centuries, Japan's harmonious methods for settling disputes helped
shape the nation's cultural identity. And as recently as the 1980s, the
country credited its relative paucity of lawyers as one reason Japan Inc.
was drubbing the rest of the world.

Of course, Japan today, with its struggling economy, is no longer so
fearsome. And it might be sheer coincidence, but suddenly the Japanese
need lawyers -- so desperately that they're offering special payments to
attorneys willing to move to the country's mostly rural lawyer-free
zones.

That's right, subsidies for lawyers. While small towns in America often
help foot the bill for doctors willing to move to their communities,
Japan is doing the same for lawyers, guaranteeing them an annual income
of as much as $ 150,000.

Masaki Kunihiro, 54, was the first to sign up under the so-called
Sunflower Fund program. He had visions of a quiet, rustic life when he
moved to Hamada, on the Japan Sea, last year. After decades spent in
Kyoto and Tokyo, he looked forward to lots of time to read, hike and grow
vegetables. He has managed to start a small garden, but his books remain
unpacked eight months later as he deals with an enormous pent-up demand
for legal services. "The first day I arrived in my office, there were 15
people waiting," Kunihiro said. "It's been a veritable flood ever since."

The ability of the Japanese to mediate and compromise their way to
agreement and consensus paid huge dividends in the years after World War
II by skirting obstacles to economic progress. While Americans, in
particular, learned to sue anything that moved, Japan made its way in the
global marketplace unburdened by the costly delays of lawsuits.

Humorist Russell Baker once suggested that, to level the playing field,
the United States send Japan a lawyer every time Japan sends the United
States a car.

Evidence suggests, however, that the Japanese are quick to fight for
their rights in court if given half a chance. As cost and regulatory
barriers fall, the number of shareholder, copyright protection, civil and
criminal lawsuits has more than doubled since 1990.

Some recent examples: Shareholders have filed a $ 1.7-billion
class-action suit against Sumitomo Corp. over its massive copper-trading
losses. Mitsubishi Motors stockholders are contemplating a suit over the
auto maker's two-decade-long cover-up of consumer complaints. And
Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank and Cosmo Securities have settled shareholder suits
alleging management misdeeds out of court.

That said, the Japanese doubt they will ever become as litigious as
Americans.

"I think Japanese people have more common sense," said Etsuko Asanaka, a
secretary at the Iwami Legal Counseling Center in Shimane prefecture.
"I've heard that some Americans sue fast-food restaurants if they spill
coffee on themselves. Japanese know how to take responsibility."

Japan has just 4% as many lawyers as the United States. Japan has set a
goal of reaching France's level of one lawyer per 1,900 people. That
compares with its current level of about one per 7,155 people and
America's world-beating one lawyer per 295 people.

The relative scarcity of lawyers here is the result not only of a
consensus-driven society but also of a long-running resistance by lawyers
themselves to any efforts to expand their numbers, introduce substantive
reforms or make the law accessible to the masses. The bar exam has a 3%
pass rate; law school graduates routinely try five or six times before
they succeed. Much routine legal work is done by nonlawyers.

Thus, though lawyers in America have an image problem, in Japan they
enjoy a kind of rarefied stature, in part because there are so few of
them.

"I've never seen an attorney," said Noriaki Miyakoshi, a 30-year-old
employee of a government agency. "I'm not even sure I know very much
about them."

Marc Galanter, a University of Wisconsin law professor who is compiling a
book of lawyer jokes, says he has searched for years for a Japanese
lawyer joke without success.

The Sunflower Fund was started by Japan's National Federation of Bar
Assns. to address a growing demand for legal services in remote areas.
About 68 of Japan's 315 court districts have just one lawyer or none at
all. The fund estimates that, even in the most remote areas, lawyers will
make $ 45,000 a year. To lure them there, it guarantees them an
additional $ 105,000 in income and as much as $ 35,000 for office space,
computers and staff.

Among the perks, as outlined in bar association publications: Be a big
deal in a small town. Enjoy great scenery. Fish. Play lots of golf.

Even so, it hasn't been an easy sell. About 60% of Japanese lawyers are
concentrated in Japan's two main cities of Tokyo and Osaka, and few seem
eager to move to the sticks.

"When we try and recruit people, most say they don't want to go," said
Toshikazu Nagaoka, an attorney and a Sunflower Fund administrator.

Lawyer Mika Matsumoto, 26, agreed to spend two years in snowy Hokkaido,
Japan's northernmost island, in the small town of Mombetsu. Her mission:
to shine a legal light where none had shown before. As far as anyone can
tell, she said, Mombetsu had never had a lawyer.

Matsumoto said she heard about the Sunflower Fund and figured everyone
would jump at it. "I was so surprised to find I was the only one to
apply," she said.

People in Mombetsu, meanwhile, are excited she's coming. They're doing
everything possible to make sure she doesn't change her mind. During a
recent look-see trip, town elders spent the entire time downplaying the
cold weather, treating her at the best restaurants, talking up local
attractions.

Matsumoto, an avid skier, figures she'll make more money than she would
working in a city, gain valuable experience and have fun at the same
time.

Back in Hamada, meanwhile, Kunihiro hasn't had to take advantage of the
bar association's income guarantee. With his heavy workload, he's pulled
down $ 180,000 in his first six months.

One problem with the Sunflower system, funded by a monthly $ 8.40
contribution from each of Japan's 17,000-plus attorneys, is that it takes
two lawyers to argue a civil case, but many districts have only one. "We
have to start somewhere," said administrator Nagaoka.

In the past, in lieu of attorneys, Japan tended to rely on go-betweens to
settle disputes. That might mean bringing in a neighbor to help resolve a
petty dispute or a local dignitary for more substantive problems.

Despite the image of social harmony such a system evokes, critics say it
often has resulted in powerful adversaries exploiting weaker players who
were expected to suffer in silence, no matter how great the injustice.

"The system was used to protect the powerful," said Eric Feldman,
associate director of New York University's Institute for Law and
Society.

In the last decade, however, Japan's view of legal services has changed,
sociologists and legal experts say. Increasingly, mediators are
ill-equipped to handle complex technical and financial disputes. More
people distrust bureaucrats, politicians and corporations, so ordinary
Japanese are less willing to forgo their rights or suffer indignities
quietly. And the weak economy has pushed people further into debt,
spurring use of bankruptcy law.

A few of the 60 cases Kunihiro has so far accepted include land disputes
going back generations. More common are so-called sarakin problems, the
Japanese term for the often-rapacious loan companies that sprouted like
mushrooms during the 1990s to lend people money at exorbitant rates as
the economy tanked.

In Hokkaido, lawyer Matsumoto says relieving hard-working locals of their
debt burdens is her highest priority. With the closest lawyer more than
100 miles away, the Mombetsu area has long been "sarakin heaven," she
said. "With no one watching them, they did whatever they wanted."

To some extent, however, the paltry number of Japanese lawyers is
deceiving. Almost as many people study undergraduate law here as attend
U.S. law schools. But many end up doing legal work at banks and other
enterprises, never becoming full-fledged attorneys. Only attorneys can
file suits and appear in court.

Robert Grondine, Tokyo-based partner with the New York law firm White &
Case and president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, says the
barriers to lawyers reflect in part a fear of change, a desire to
maintain the status quo and a bid to protect the livelihoods of a
privileged few.

One unfortunate side effect has been a social dependence on organized
crime for help in settling thorny disputes, Grondine says.

Recently, however, as legal demand from Japan's own companies and
citizens has exploded, politicians, bureaucrats and the bar association
have become more open to reform. Under discussion now is a doubling of
law school graduates, introduction of a partial jury system, faster
handling of cases so they don't take up to 20 years to resolve and making
sure that judges have a legal rather than a bureaucratic background.

But reform comes slowly in Japan. In a stinging critique, attorney
Shumpei Uemura criticized judges for making decisions that lacked common
sense, and called for them to be "chosen from the ranks of lawyers." That
was in 1898. (Makiko Inoue in The Times' Tokyo bureau contributed to this
report, published in Los Angeles Times, March 9, 2001)


                             *********


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