CAR_Public/010424.MBX               C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

               Tuesday, April 24, 2001, Vol. 3, No. 80

                             Headlines

ACCELERATED NETWORKS: Edward J. Carreiro Announces Securities Lawsuit
AUSLANDER: 11th Cir Vacates Class Cert. Order in FL Medicaid Waiver Case
BANKERS TRUST: NY Court Certifies Class in Securities Litigation
BOWMAN: Ct Certifies Class Challenging Omission Of Interest, Late Fees
CISCO SYSTEMS: Charles J. Piven Announces Initiation of Securities Suit

CISCO SYSTEMS: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in California
COLUMBIA HOUSING: Complaint Alleges Section 504 Access Violations
CREDIT BUREAU: Debtor Under Chapter 13 Retains Possession Of FDCPA Claim
DUPONT CO: To End Sales Of Fungicide Benlate in the Face of Litigation
GENERAL MOTORS: Asks Ct To Nix Certificate-Buying Plan in Ignition Case

INMATES LITIGATION: CA Hit With Largest Ever Suit Over Conditions
INMATES LITIGATION: DeSoto May Be Violating Federal Order On Crowding
LIFE INSURANCE: Judge OKs $3.2 Mil Settlement for Retired FBI Agents
ORTHODONTIC CENTERS: Wechsler Harwood Files Securities Suit in Louisiana
REDIFF.COM: HK Internet Tycoon's Educational Credentials Subject of Suit

RENT-A-CENTER: Contests NY Suit over Interest v. Acquired Thorn Americas
RENT-A-CENTER: IL Suit Alleges Gender Bias Following Thorn Acquisition
RENT-A-CENTER: MO Judge Will Hear Employee Racial Bias Case on April 27
RENT-A-CENTER: WI A.G. Alleges Disguised Sale; Pre-Trial Set for August
SENSORMATIC ELECTRONICS: Cauley Geller Announces Securities Suit in FL

SENSORMATIC ELECTRONICS: Charles J. Piven Announces Securities Suit
SENSORMATIC ELECTRONICS: Schiffrin & Barroway Files FL Securities Suit
VERSATA, INC: Cauley Geller Announces Filing of Securities Suit in CA
VERSATA, INC: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in California
WARNACO GROUP: Lovell & Stewart Files Securities Lawsuit in New York

* L.A. Times Says Exotic Dance Clubs Are A Hotbed For Labor Disputes

                          *********

ACCELERATED NETWORKS: Edward J. Carreiro Announces Securities Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Law Offices of Edward J. Carreiro, of Hatboro, PA, on April 20 announced
that a class action lawsuit has been filed against Accelerated Networks,
Inc. and its officers resulting from violation of the federal and/or
state securities laws for those individuals who purchased the Accelerated
Networks, Inc. stock in the following class period of 6/22/00 - 4/17/01

Contact: Law Offices of Edward J. Carreiro Edward J. Carreiro, Esquire,
215/672-7600


AUSLANDER: 11th Cir Vacates Class Cert. Order in FL Medicaid Waiver Case
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a petition for an
interlocutory appeal and vacated a District Court's order granting class
certification. The case involved the alleged denial of services under
Florida's Home and Community Based Medicaid Waiver Program. Murray v.
Auslander, 20 NDLR 81 (11th Cir. 2001) (No. 00-11955).

                         Background

Individuals with developmental disabilities filed a class action suit
alleging that a state health care administration agency and others
violated the ADA, Social Security Act and 14th Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution by denying them services for which they were eligible under
the state's home- and community-based waiver program. Specifically, the
plaintiffs claimed that services were denied on the basis of funding
concerns rather than medical necessity concerns. The District Court
granted class certification. The defendants sought an interlocutory
appeal of the class certification decision. The Appeals Court granted
permission to appeal.

            Class Definition Requires Clarification

Because the court found that factual proffers had not been examined
sufficiently, it remanded the case and directed the District Court to
conduct an evidentiary inquiry as to whether at least one named class
representative had standing to bring a nonmoot claim. The court then
determined that the District Court did not abuse its discretion in
concluding that the plaintiffs' claims for injunctive and declaratory
relief satisfied the commonality and typicality requirements for class
certification. However, the District Court did abuse its discretion by
not exempting the plaintiffs' damages claim from class treatment under
Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3) since the claim for damages predominated over
the claims for equitable relief. Further, the court directed the District
Court to clarify the class definition to include "only those individuals
whom the state already has determined or will determine to be eligible
and qualified to receive a medically necessary [home- and community-based
waiver] service." Finally, the court declined to address the issue of
whether the class should be decertified because it was subsumed within
another class action lawsuit. The court instructed the District Court to
avoid certifying a class that overlaps with certified classes in other
related litigation. Therefore, the court vacated the judgment of the
District Court and remanded the case. (Disability Compliance Bulletin,
April 20, 2001)


BANKERS TRUST: NY Court Certifies Class in Securities Litigation
----------------------------------------------------------------
On February 9, 2001, in connection with a class action entitled Buxbaum
et al. v. Deutsche Bank AG et al., 98 Civ. 8460 (JGK), the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered that the
parties disseminate notice to all persons and entities who sold the
common stock or call options or purchased put options of Bankers Trust
Corporation during the period from October 26, 1998 through November 20,
1998, inclusive (the "Class Period"), informing them that the action was
certified as a class action. The notice also informed potential class
members: (1) that the above referenced class action is pending before the
Honorable John G. Koeltl in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York; (2) how the Action may affect their
rights; and (3) the steps they may take in relation to the Action.

The Court had earlier certified the Action to proceed as a class action
on November 3, 2000, on behalf of the class defined above. Excluded from
the class are: defendants Deutsche Bank AG and Rolf-Ernst Breuer; members
of the immediate family of the individual defendant; any parent,
subsidiary, affiliate, officer, or director of defendant Deutsche Bank
AG; any entity in which any excluded person has a controlling interest;
and the legal representatives, heirs, successors, and assigns of any
excluded person.

Also, the Notice approved by the Court states that this is not a
settlement of a Class Action. There is no claim form to be filled out or
mailed at this time. However, the Notice advise that if you are a
potential class member you must save your trade confirmations or
brokerage statements showing your trading in Bankers Trust Corporation
Securities during the Class Period, or else you may jeopardize your
ability to obtain your share of any money that may be obtained for the
class.

Contact: Nadine Thomas of Garden City Group, Inc., 516-465-5160


BOWMAN: Ct Certifies Class Challenging Omission Of Interest, Late Fees
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A debt collector could not use the bona fide error defense to escape
liability for a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act where
the debt collection letter stated the unpaid balance but did not include
the accrued interest or late charges. The U.S. District Court, Northern
District of Illinois certified a class challenging a collection letter
that omitted the accrued interest and late charges in the balance owed.
(Wilkerson v. Bowman, et al., No. 00 C 5199 (N.D. Ill. 3/26/01).)

Bowman, Heintz, Boscia & Vician, a partnership of attorneys, sent a
letter to Karla Wilkerson, seeking to collect on an unpaid installment
note she executed to obtain financing from General Motors Acceptance
Corp. Although the letter stated a figure as the unpaid balance, it
included blank spaces for the accrued interest and late charges.
Wilkerson sued the individual partners in the law firm, alleging the
collection letter violated the FDCPA because it did not state the amount
of the debt as of the date of the letter. Wilkerson moved for class
certification.

                         FDCPA Violation

In arguing the letter violated the FDCPA, Wilkerson relied on Miller v.
McCall, Raymer, Padrick, Cobb, Nichols & Clark LLC, 214 F.3d 872 (7th
Cir. 2000), in which the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded,
"The unpaid principal balance is not the debt; it is only a part of the
debt; the Act requires statement of the debt."

The lawyers argued Miller did not control this case because the law firm
only sought to collect the principal. Thus, they maintained there was no
need for them to disclose precise figures for interest and late charges.
Disagreeing, the District Court stated, "there may be as much harm in
overstating a debt as in understating it." The court concluded the letter
violated the FDCPA.

                        Bona Fide Error

As the District Court noted, a debt collector may not be held liable for
an FDCPA violation if the debt collector shows the violation was
unintentional. Claiming the bona fide error defense, the law firm
maintained they were "not seeking to collect any amounts on a pre-suit
basis other than the principal, and the letter gave an exact figure for
this amount."

The District Court observed that lawyers, in a sophisticated debt
collection law practice, prepared and reviewed the letter.

The court further noted the statute requires disclosure of the amount of
the debt, not "the amount sought" or "the amount to be collected."
Therefore, the court found the bona fide error defense was not applicable
because the error was not unintentional.

                      Class Certification

Wilkerson sought to certify a class of all Illinois persons who received
a similar form collection letter from the law firm.

The lawyers argued Wilkerson did not meet the requirements of Fed. R.
Civ. P. 23(b)(3). They claimed individual issues would predominate over
common issues because it was not clear whether each potential class
member's debt was non-business related.

"The court suspects that in this case the process of determining whether
the debts at issue are consumer debts should be relatively
straightforward," Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer stated. "If there is genuine
confusion over this issue, class members can be asked a single question
to determine whether they are entitled to relief." The District Court
granted Wilkerson's motion for class certification. (Consumer Financial
Services Law Report, April 16, 2001)


CISCO SYSTEMS: Charles J. Piven Announces Initiation of Securities Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. on April 21 announced that a
private securities action requesting class action status has been
initiated on behalf of purchasers of CISCO SYSTEMS, INC. (NASDAQ: CSCO)
during the period August 10, 1999 through and including February 6, 2001.

No class has yet been certified in the above action. Until a class is
certified, you are not represented by counsel unless you retain one. If
you purchased the stock listed above during the class period, you have
certain rights. To be a member of the class you need not take any action
at this time, and you may retain counsel of your choice.

Contact: Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A., Baltimore Charles J.
Piven, 410/986-0036 pivenlaw1@erols.com


CISCO SYSTEMS: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in California
----------------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss (http://www.milberg.com/cisco/)on April 20 announced that
a class action has been commenced by an institutional investor in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of California on
behalf of purchasers of Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) common stock
during the period between August 10, 1999 and February 6, 2001 (the
"Class Period").

The complaint charges Cisco and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Cisco and its
subsidiaries are engaged in selling products for networking for the
Internet. The complaint alleges that by the beginning of the Class Period
in 8/99, Internet Service Providers and competitive local telephone
companies had technology to deploy but little capital, and Cisco used
this as an opportunity to increase its sales by providing capital
financing to such companies but making such financing conditional upon
the purchase of large amounts of Cisco product. Through this alleged
manipulation and the shipment of defective or incomplete products, as
well as Cisco's failure to adequately accrue for excess and overvalued
inventory and uncollectible finance receivables, Cisco was able to report
"record" earnings each quarter during the Class Period. Defendants thus
made positive but false statements about Cisco's products, financial
results and business during the Class Period. As a result, Cisco's stock
traded as high as $82.

The inflation in Cisco's stock price was essential to its main corporate
strategy, that of growth through acquisition, which Cisco accomplished
through the exchange of inflated Cisco shares. In addition, each of the
defendants had the motive and the opportunity to perpetrate the
fraudulent scheme and course of business described herein in order to
sell $595 million worth of their own Cisco shares at prices as high as
$80.24 per share, or 84% higher than the price to which Cisco shares
dropped after the end of the Class Period, as the true state of Cisco's
business and prospects began to reach the market.

After completing more than 20 major acquisitions between 9/99 and 2/01,
by issuing more than 400 million shares of Cisco stock, and selling more
than 10 million shares of their personal Cisco holdings, on 2/6/01, Cisco
announced extremely disappointing 2ndQ F01 results, including EPS of only
$0.18. This disclosure shocked the market, causing Cisco's stock to
decline to less than $30 per share before closing at $31-1/16 per share
on 2/7/01, on record volume of more than 279 million shares, inflicting
billions of dollars of damage on plaintiff and the Class. Cisco later
admitted that 3rdQ F01 sales would be less than $4.8 billion, or lower
than any quarter since the 2ndQ F00. Defendants' misconduct has wiped out
over $400 billion in market capitalization as Cisco stock has fallen 84%
from its Class Period high of $82 per share as the truth about Cisco, its
operations and prospects began to reach the market. On 4/16/01, Cisco
announced a$2.5 billion write-down of inventory (or 90% of its inventory
as of 1/31/01) of components in its service business. This was one of the
largest inventory write-downs in U.S. history. Cisco stock has dropped to
as low as $13-3/16.

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


COLUMBIA HOUSING: Complaint Alleges Section 504 Access Violations
-----------------------------------------------------------------
A federal mandate requiring 5 percent of public housing units to be
accessible to people with mobility impairments is at the heart of a class
action suit filed against the District of Columbia Housing Authority. The
suit reminds practitioners that Section 504 can come into play in the
housing context, in cases where the allegedly inaccessible dwellings are
public housing units.

Lawyers at Washington's University Legal Services Inc., which is the
protection and advocacy program for the District of Columbia, filed the
federal lawsuit late last month. Pursuant to Department of Housing and
Urban Development regulations that implement Section 504, the suit
explains, at least 5 percent of newly constructed public housing must be
accessible to people with mobility impairments. In addition, another 2
percent of public housing units must be accessible to people with visual
and hearing impairments.

According to the complaint, which also asserts claims against the
authority's executive director, the defendants have failed these
requirements miserably. In addition to six individual plaintiffs, the
complaint includes claims on behalf of Capital Area ADAPT, a
Washington-based advocacy organization.

Five of the six individual plaintiffs are identified as wheelchair users.
Three of the six currently reside in inaccessible public housing, the
complaint says, while three represent a class of people with mobility
impairments who are currently on a waiting list for accessible public
housing. Two of the latter three are residing in nursing homes, while one
is currently participating in a transitional housing program. The nursing
home residents are being unnecessarily segregated due to the lack of
accessible housing, the suit charges.

The authority's failure to ensure accessibility comes despite receiving
substantial federal funding to construct and renovate is public housing
projects, the suit claims.

"The tragedy is the Housing Authority spent millions of federal dollars
over the past few years to renovate many of the district's public housing
units, but they just disregarded federal accessibility laws," said
Marjorie Rifkin, an attorney at University Legal Services. "As a result,
people with disabilities are literally shut out of bathrooms, unable to
come and go as they choose, and otherwise forced to live in nursing
homes, shelters and other institutions while they languish on waiting
lists."

The suit also says the authority has failed to offer enough accessible
public housing units with an adequate number of bedrooms. "Consequently,"
it says, "plaintiffs are faced with a Hobson's choice of living in
inaccessible housing with their families, or accepting accessible units
too small to accommodate their families."

As relief, the plaintiffs are seeking class certification and declaratory
relief. They also want an order that enjoins the defendants to assure
compliance with Section 504 and the implementing regulations, and they
are seeking attorney's fees and costs.

Although compensatory damages are an available remedy under Section 504,
they are not being sought. "The most meaningful relief for the plaintiffs
here is to get accessible units," Rifkin explained. "They need places
where they can live."

Housing cases presenting Section 504 claims are uncommon but by no means
unprecedented. In July 2000, for example, a federal District Court in
Pennsylvania determined that the Philadelphia Housing

Authority violated Section 504 and implementing regulations by failing to
provide an adequate number of accessible public housing units. The
plaintiffs' lawyer in that case, Stephen F. Gold of Philadelphia, called
the ruling in ADAPT of Philadelphia v. Philadelphia Housing Authority, 18
NDLR 234 (E.D. Pa. 2000), the first of its kind in the nation. Gold is
cocounsel in the new suit against the District of Columbia Housing
Authority, as is David Kahne. (Disability Compliance Bulletin, April 20,
2001)


CREDIT BUREAU: Debtor Under Chapter 13 Retains Possession Of FDCPA Claim
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A debtor who files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy has standing to sue debt
collectors for deceptive practices so long as his claim is listed on his
bankruptcy schedule or plan. Campion, et al. v. Credit Bureau Services
Inc., No. CS-99-0199-EFS (E.D. Wash. 3/16/01).

Michael Campion sued Thomas J. Miller and his wife, Credit Bureau
Services Inc., and Darlene M. Bright and her husband in the U.S. District
Court, Eastern District of Washington under the Fair Debt Collection
Practice Act and the Washington State Consumer Protection Act. In his
class action, Campion alleged the defendants engaged in unlawful and
deceptive means to collect his debt by making a false representation
regarding the legal status of his debt.

Specifically, his complaint alleged the defendants sent affidavits for
writ of garnishment to class members, attempted to collect money held by
writ of garnishment without first obtaining a judgment on the
garnishment, retaining funds acquired by the writ, and attempted to
collect attorney's fees and costs incurred for garnishment proceedings.
The class claimed, "Defendants' affidavits in support of writs of
garnishment misrepresented the 'legal status' of unawarded attorney fees
and costs by describing them as 'judgment' amounts."

Miller moved to dismiss, arguing Campion lacked standing to sue. Miller
pointed out that Campion filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 13, but did
not list a cause of action against him on the schedule or plan. The
schedule did list Campion as the named plaintiff in a FDCPA suit against
the credit bureau. The court declared, "neither the Order confirming
Chapter 13 plan nor the confirmed Chapter 13 plan, withdraws [Campion's]
possession of any of the property of his bankruptcy estate. The plan
provides that the property of the estate shall revisit in [Campion] upon
dismissal or discharge only."

"Accordingly," the court found, "[Campion] remained in possession of all
legal claims that could be brought for the benefit of his bankruptcy
estate, whether or not they are embraced by the FDCPA claim listed in
[the] schedule of assets and liabilities." The court pointed out that
even though Campion did not know all the parties to his claim, this did
not prevent the unnamed defendants from being part of the suit. The court
denied Miller's motion.

The court then examined whether the court satisfied Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a)
prerequisites of typicality, commonality, numerosity and adequacy of
representation required for class certification. Campion sought to
certify two different groups. The first, the affidavit class, consisted
of consumers sent a writ of garnishment that was not returned. The
second, the collection class, consisted of consumers from whom the credit
bureau collected fees. Campion claimed the defendants collected or
attempted to collect fees without first obtaining a judgment on the
garnishment answer that awarded those fees, costs and money to the
defendants.

In regard to the typicality prerequisite, the court stated, "Campion's
[are] identical to the claims of the collection class. However," the
court explained, "Campion's claim is not typical of those of the
collection class because the collection class claims are based on and
arise from a significantly broader course of conduct than the conduct
from which [Campion's] claim arises."

Bright argued the conduct giving rise to Campion's claims was rare. She
stated garnishee-defendants infrequently remitted money directly to the
credit bureau without being first ordered to do so by a pay order or
judgment. Bright pointed out the credit bureau obtained judgments "after
the fact" in some cases where consumers remitted money when no pay order
or judgment required it. However, the credit bureau could not obtain a
judgment from Campion because he filed for bankruptcy.

The court concluded, "Campion's claims [are] based on conduct which is
rare compared to the conduct from which the claims of the collection
class members arise." The court found no evidence that other collection
class members had claims arising from the same situation as Campion's.
The court ruled his claims were not typical of the collection class and
denied certification.

The court found the affidavit class satisfied Rule 23 (a). It next
examined whether Campion met Rule 23(b)(3)'s requirements that the class
members had common questions of law or fact that predominated over
questions affecting individual members. The court found these common
questions predominated:

Whether the affidavits sent to the class members in support of the writs
of garnishment misrepresented the "legal status" of unawarded attorney's
fees and costs by describing them as "judgment" amounts.

Whether the writs involved concerned obligations incurred for personal,
family or household purposes, and not for business purposes.

Whether the affidavits were delivered to the debtor class members.

Whether the affidavits were sent within the statute of limitations period
for the FDCPA, the WCAA and the WCPA.

The court granted class certification under Rule 23(b) to the affidavit
class. (Consumer Bankruptcy News, April 17, 2001)


DUPONT CO: To End Sales Of Fungicide Benlate in the Face of Litigation
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Faced with years of litigation and hundreds of millions of dollars in
potential liability, DuPont gives up one of its best-selling products.

After a decade of fighting hundreds of claims of health and crop damage,
DuPont Co. is abandoning Benlate, the most widely used fungicide in the
world.

The chemical giant announced it will stop sales of the product Dec. 31.

DuPont "is no longer willing to bear the high and continuing costs of
defending the product in the U.S. legal system," James Borel, vice
president and general manager of DuPont crop protection products, said in
a statement.

The Wilmington, Del., company said it still believes Benlate is safe when
used as directed.

Benlate was blamed in 1991 for causing massive crop damage in 40 states,
including Florida, where officials said it was responsible for the
biggest man-made agricultural disaster in state history.

DuPont responded by pulling Benlate DF - a granulated form of the
fungicide - off the market in March of that year. The majority of
lawsuits have focused on that product. The company has continued to
produce a powdered Benlate formulation.

DuPont paid out more than $ 500 million in voluntary settlements to
Florida growers before declaring in 1992 that its scientists had absolved
the fungicide of any role in crop damage. All told, the company has spent
$ 1.3 billion in legal and recall expenses, according to DuPont
officials.

Among them:

   -- $ 12.3 million awarded in February to an Ecuadorean shrimp farming
company that claimed Benlate runoff from a banana plantation poisoned its
shrimp.

   -- $ 69 million awarded by a Texas jury last April to Pecan growers
whose crops were damaged.

   -- $ 4 million awarded in 1996 to a Miami boy born without eyes after
his mother said she was sprayed with the fungicide while pregnant. That
case, which was overturned on appeal, is now before the Florida Supreme
Court.

"I think it's about 15 years too late," said James Ferraro, who
represented the Miami boy, as well as dozens of other children born
without eyes whose cases are being tried in Delaware and West Virginia.

"It would have been helpful, as far as the health cases, if they had made
it known that pregnant women should stay miles away from that stuff," he
said.

The judicial stakes have grown higher over the years, with initial claims
of crop damage mushrooming into cases involving personal injury, fraud
and racketeering. Those claims were based on court rulings in several
states that charge the chemical giant with hiding evidence the product
may have been contaminated with a powerful weedkiller.

DuPont also is facing litigation in Florida on charges that it paid $ 6.4
million to plaintiffs' lawyers on the side as they were settling a case
against the company in 1996.

More than 100 lawsuits await trial.

Benlate generates about $ 90 million in annual sales, according to DuPont
officials.  (CHART) Timeline August 1990 - A Leesburg nurseryman notifies
DuPont that Benlate-treated plants are stunted, deformed and dying. March
1991 DuPont pulls Benlate DF off the market in the wake of massive crop
damage in 40 states. November 1991 - Health complaints from people
exposed to Benlate-treated land begin to trickle into the state
Agriculture Department. November 1992 - DuPont announces its own research
has absolved the fungicide of any role in crop damage. It maintains
Benlate does not cause health problems. April 1993 - A state
health-effects committee asks the Legislature to appropriate $ 60,000 to
perform medical tests on 40 affected growers and farmworkers. The money
never materializes. April 1993 - A federal inquiry into the fungicide
runs out of steam after Environmental Protection Agency Administrator
William Reilly leaves the agency to join DuPont's board of directors.
March 1995 - The state health department asks the National Institute of
Environmental Safety and Health to study the toxicology of contaminants
added to Benlate. The study is never funded. December 1993 - Three state
workers get sick while taking environmental samples at a Benlate-treated
plant nursery. September 1996 - The sick workers ask the Florida
Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a criminal
investigation into whether key administrators within state agencies
conspired with DuPont to cover up possible environmental and health
effects of Benlate. The investigation is never conducted. November 1999 -
A federal inquiry is instigated by a family physician who documented
illnesses in the neighborhood surrounding the nursery where the workers
got sick. The investigation continues. April 2001 - DuPont announces it
will stop making Benlate. Source: Tribune research Information from
Bloomberg News Service was used in this story. Jan Hollingsworth can be
reached at (813) 259-7607. (The Tampa Tribune, April 20, 2001)


GENERAL MOTORS: Asks Ct To Nix Certificate-Buying Plan in Ignition Case
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Two days after a pair of mailings went out to notify owners of 5.8
million flawed Chevrolet and GMC pickups of a settlement in a
long-running class-action lawsuit, General Motors went back into court to
stop the plaintiffs' attorneys from announcing a plan to buy the
certificates.

The attorneys' dispatches - along with information on a Web site and a
toll-free phone number - went out the same day that GM sent the
settlement letter telling truck owners how to apply for a certificate
good for $1,000 off any new GM or Saturn vehicle. The class-action suit
claims that GM and Chevrolet C- or K-series pickups made between 1973 and
1987 and R- and V-series trucks made from 1987 to 1991 are flawed and
dangerous because of "sidesaddle" gasoline tanks installed outside the
trucks' frames.

In papers filed in the 18th Judicial District Court in Iberville Parish,
GM attorneys argued that the plaintiffs' attorneys' mailing violated the
settlement agreement and rulings by both 18th Judicial District Judge
Jack Marionneaux and a state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal panel.

"Class counsel are trying to short circuit, and thus violate, the
certificate issuance procedures," the memorandum says.

The attorneys' "cash alternative" letter to truck owners says that a
Houston company, Certificate Redemption Group, will buy the $1,000
certificates for $100. Under the settlement agreement, the certificates
may be transferred, but their value is halved.

Certificate Redemption Group offers, in the attorneys' mailing, to buy
the certificates for $100 each. The group will, in turn, sell the
certificates to fleet buyers to use as discounts or to GM dealers to
offer as incentives to buyers.

GM objected to a similar letter the plaintiffs' attorneys included in the
original settlement packet and won an appeal on that point in the state
1st Circuit last year.

"The materials disseminated by class counsel are deceptive and misleading
as to the terms of the settlement. Further, their endorsement of CRG as
the 'exclusive secondary market-maker' is not provided for in the
settlement agreement and is contrary to final orders of this court and
the 1st Circuit," GM's counsel wrote. "The bottom line is that class
counsel must comply with the settlement agreement."Marionneaux did not
rule on GM's request "to the best of my knowledge," Iberville Parish
Clerk of Court J.G. "Bubbie" Dupont said.

GM's attorneys asked Marionneaux to order the plaintiffs' attorneys to
tell pickup owners that the certificates cannot be sold or transferred in
the way the "cash alternative" states, that the "cash alternative" is not
part of the settlement and to disclose any agreements between CRG and the
plaintiffs' attorneys.

Certificate Redemption executive James Dawley countered that without his
company, GM stood to pay little if few coupons are redeemed.

"Class-action settlements too often ignore the little guys, and they get
nothing from these multimillion-dollar settlements," said Dawley, the
firm's chairman and chief executive. "If GM continues to try to prevent
the operation of a secondary market, the class members may lose again.

"In previous certificate settlements, typically no more than 10 percent
of the class members have redeemed their certificates," he added.
"Apparently, that is what GM is counting on to keep their exposure down
in this lawsuit."In the lawsuit, plaintiffs alleged the fuel tanks are
prone to blow up in collisions, driving down the trucks' value. The
owners did not claim to have suffered damages from explosions or fires.

In 1994, GM agreed to spend $51 million on a safety-program plan in
exchange for the federal government dropping its investigation and a
proposed recall of the C-K model trucks built between 1973 and 1987.
After the 1987 model year, the trucks were redesigned, and the gas tanks
were moved inside the frame.

Similar settlements of two other suits were rejected by federal courts in
Texas and Philadelphia before a Louisiana judge made the GM settlement
final in 1999. GM paid 200 attorneys for the plaintiffs $27 million in
legal fees.

Five months after signing off on the settlement, Marionneaux gave the
plaintiffs' attorneys permission to include in mailed notices to truck
owners that Certificate Redemption would pay them $100 for the
certificates. Marionneaux rejected GM's objection.

In its court filing, GM asked the court to rule that Certificate
Redemption's plan violates the settlement's terms, thus forcing the
company to halt its online and telephone pursuit of the coupons.
(State-Times/Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA.), April 21, 2001)


INMATES LITIGATION: CA Hit With Largest Ever Suit Over Conditions
-----------------------------------------------------------------Prisoners'
rights advocates are accusing California of systematically ignoring the
medical needs of the state's 160,000 prisoners in a suit billed as the
largest class-action ever filed over prison conditions.

The case was filed in early April in a San Francisco federal court. It
contends the state delays or fails to perform necessary medical tests or
to act on the test results. It also claims the state delays or bars
treatment by outside doctors or specialists and ignores the orders of
inmates' doctors.

The lawsuit also questions the system's reliance on medical technical
assistants 3/4 nurses trained as corrections officers 3/4 to make initial
decisions on whether inmates need treatment.

In the suit, nine inmates and their lawyers claim the system's health
care suffers from poor training, staff shortages, delays in access to
doctors and tests, interference by COs and defective care for
HIV-positive prisoners. Overall, the inmates say prison health care is so
inadequate it violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual
punishment.

The nine inmates named as plantiffs in the lawsuit include Raymond
Stoderd, a prisoner at California State Prison at Corcoran, who has
advanced AIDS and says his pain medication was cut off eight times,
causing severe withdrawal symptoms. An inmate at Salinas Valley State
Prison, Joseph Long, is a paraplegic who says he suffers from frequent
bladder infections. He says the system has delayed his treatment for
seven months. Paraplegic Gilbert Aviles, an inmate at the California
Substance Abuse Facility at Corcoran, should have his catheter changed
every 14 days, but says it has been left unchanged for as long as two
months.

The suit represents all 160,000 inmates within the California prison
system. It seeks a statewide injunction requiring improvements in the
system and damages for the nine plaintiffs.

The Prison Law Office is a non-profit group that advocates for the rights
of California prisoners.

                  About the Prison Law Office

The Prison Law Office strives to improve the living conditions of
California state prisoners by providing free legal services. For more
than 20 years, this non-profit law firm, just outside the gates of San
Quentin, has been in the forefront of legal efforts to enforce the
Constitution and other laws inside California's prisons.

With a small staff of attorneys and support personnel, the Prison Law
Office represents individual prisoners, engages in class action and other
impact litigation, educates the public about prison conditions and
provides technical assistance to attorneys throughout the country.

According to the organization, California's prisons remain dangerously
overcrowded at 191percent of design capacity, with more than 160,000
prisoners crammed into 33 institutions. The organization says basic
necessities of life, such as medical and mental health care, often are
lacking. Prisoners with disabilities are not recognized as disabled, and
many are not provided reasonable accommodations as required by the
Americans with Disabilities Act. (Corrections Professional, April 20,
2001)


INMATES LITIGATION: DeSoto May Be Violating Federal Order On Crowding
---------------------------------------------------------------------
With an average of 50 or more excess inmates most days, the DeSoto County
Jail appears to be violating a 1998 U.S. District Court order aimed at
curbing jail crowding.

Jail conditions were highlighted last week when five employees resigned,
citing stress related to the crowding as one of the reasons.

The jail, which has a capacity for 177 inmates, handles an average of 230
prisoners on weekdays and as many as 270 on weekends, said Sheriff's
Office Chief Deputy Charles Brown.

The court order stems from an ongoing class-action lawsuit that began in
1971 and established guidelines for county jails holding state inmates.

Sheriff's office officials, who oversee the jail, acknowledge that it's
crowded, but they say their hands are tied.

"If a judge orders us to hold them (state inmates), there's nothing we
can do but to hold them," Brown said.

Sheriff James Albert Riley, noting a jail expansion is in the works, said
the situation is under control.

"Overcrowding is just a part of handling a jail," Riley said. "Yes, we
have some people sleeping on floors. We have overcrowding, but it's
controllable. We are not bad off."

The sheriff's assessment doesn't satisfy attorney Ron Welch, who
represents state inmates at more than 70 county jails and ensures the
jails are meeting guidelines set in the court order.

The case started in 1971 when several inmates at the Mississippi State
Prison at Parchman claimed abuse, neglect and hazardous living conditions
because of crowding and inadequate staff.

At the time, Mississippi's prison system consisted of about 160 employees
and 1,900 inmates - all housed at Parchman. To ease crowding and improve
jailer-inmate ratios and relations, the state prison system added 7,000
beds and farmed out some of its inmates to county jails.

DeSoto County is one of 71 jails the state prison system uses to house
inmates.

"Having an overcrowded jail is unacceptable and throws off the order you
can maintain in the jail as a whole," Welch said. "As far as I'm
concerned, the crowding affects the quality of the jail. It's no place to
have a working program for state inmates."

If the jail doesn't alleviate the crowding in 30 days, it could stand to
lose its state inmates, he said.

Mississippi Special Assistant Attorney General Joe Goff said state
corrections officials are heading to DeSoto County this week to remove 39
state inmates, which would bring the count to 26.

"The DeSoto County Jail has 30 days to remove excess state inmates, and
we are removing those extra inmates in that grace period," Goff said. "So
the jail is not out of compliance of the court order as it applies to the
state inmate population." (The Associated Press State & Local Wire, April
23, 2001)


LIFE INSURANCE: Judge OKs $3.2 Mil Settlement for Retired FBI Agents
--------------------------------------------------------------------
A federal judge approved a $3.2 million class-action settlement Monday
that will restore previously promised life insurance benefits from the
Life Insurance Company of North America for 1,184 retired FBI agents. The
settlement provides premium refunds and increased death benefits for
agents who retired after January 1, The settlement answered complaints
from the agents who found that their premiums doubled and benefits
reduced by 20 percent after they left the FBI. The insurance was not a
government retirement benefit, and they had paid for the group life
coverage themselves.

"They felt they had been promised a certain amount of life insurance when
they retired," said attorney Terry Smiljanich of the James, Hoyer,
Newcomer & Smiljanich P.A. law firm, which represented the former agents.
"Now all that has been restored." U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew
approved the settlement Monday. The terms drew no objections from the
class of retired agents who were represented. Two of the class
representatives were retired FBI agents Michael Lunsford and Robert
Ulmer, who now work as investigators for the Pinellas- Pasco State
Attorney's Office.

Contact: Terry Smiljanich of James, Hoyer, Newcomer & Smiljanich P.A.,
813-286-4100, or tsmiljanich@jameshoyer.com


ORTHODONTIC CENTERS: Wechsler Harwood Files Securities Suit in Louisiana
------------------------------------------------------------------------
You are hereby notified that a class action against Orthodontic Centers
of America, Inc. (NYSE: OCA) and certain of its officers and directors
was filed on April 9, 2001 in the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Louisiana by a client of Wechsler Harwood Halebian &
Feffer LLP www.whhf.com.

The suit is on behalf of shareholders who purchased or otherwise acquired
the securities of OCA between April 27, 2000 and March 15, 2001 (the
"Class Period").

The complaint alleges that OCA and certain of its directors and executive
officers violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act
of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The complaint alleges that
during the Class Period the defendants issued materially false and
misleading financial statements contained in filings with the Securities
and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") and press releases, that, inter alia,
overstated the Company's financial condition by inflating revenue in
violation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ("GAAP").

In particular, plaintiff alleges that defendants "front-loaded" OCA's
revenue by improperly recognizing service fee revenue in the first month
of patient services on contracts that typically spanned at least 26
months. In addition, defendants improperly inflated OCA's fee revenue by
recording amounts equal to a portion of operating losses incurred by
start-up affiliated companies.

The combined effect of these practices caused the Company to recognize as
much as 33% of total contract revenue in the first month of patient
services while actually recording a negative revenue figure in the last
month of service. It is alleged that to conceal the negative effects of
OCA's revenue recognition practices, defendants had to and did acquire
new "Affiliated Orthodontic Centers." Plaintiff further alleges that
during the Class Period, defendants misrepresented that OCA's accounting
and reporting polices were in conformity with GAAP.

It is also alleged certain of the individual defendants, aware that the
Company would be required to change its accounting methods to show
significantly lower results of operations, registered to sell and/or sold
millions of shares of OCA common stock at inflated prices before the end
of the Class Period.

On March 16, 2001, OCA announced that as a result of SEC inquiries and
reviews of the Company's SEC filings, OCA must change its revenue
recognition policy to conform to GAAP. The Company stated that "(b)ased
on its preliminary unaudited analysis" the Company's revenues, net
income, and earnings per share ("EPS") were overstated by as much as 10%,
26%, and 26%, respectively, for the year 2000.

On this news, the Company's stock plummeted, dropping $4.70 per share or
20% in inter-day trading on March 16, 2001 before closing at$21.50 or
down $1.70 per share or 7% from its previous day's close. The common
stock of OCA traded as high as $35.313 per share during the Class Period.

Plaintiff seeks to recover on behalf of all those who purchased or
otherwise acquired the securities of OCA during the Class Period, and is
represented by the New York law firm of Wechsler Harwood Halebian &
Feffer LLP, which has extensive experience representing shareholders in
class actions and has been recognized by the courts.

Contact: Wechsler Harwood Halebian & Feffer LLP Patricia Guiteau,
877/935-7400 pguiteau@whhf.com


REDIFF.COM: HK Internet Tycoon's Educational Credentials Subject of Suit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
As part of the grounds for a class action lawsuit, disgruntled investors
in Rediff.com, an Indian Web site, have cited a false claim by the
company that Richard Li, the Hong Kong Internet tycoon, graduated from
Stanford University in the United States.

The suit alleges the Nasdaq-listed company, where Mr Li is non-executive
director, failed to mention e-mail software problems and the impending
termination of important advertising contracts in the prospectus for its
listing in June last year. It also misstated Mr Li's educational
credentials, it is alleged. 'This misled purchasers of the IPO to believe
Rediff had put together a superb management team when in fact it had
not,' allege Lovell & Stewart and Sirota & Sirota, the lawyers for the
investors.

Mr Li has admitted he did not complete a computer engineering degree at
the university as had been claimed by several companies with which he is
involved. (National Post (formerly The Financial Post), April 23, 2001)


RENT-A-CENTER: Contests NY Suit over Interest v. Acquired Thorn Americas
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The plaintiffs filed this class action Colon v. Thorn Americas, Inc.) in
November 1997 in New York state court. Thorn Americas removed the case to
the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Plaintiffs
filed a motion to remand, which was granted. The plaintiffs acknowledge
that rent-to-own transactions in New York are subject to the provisions
of New York's Rental Purchase Statute but contend the Rental Purchase
Statute does not provide Thorn Americas immunity from suit for other
statutory violations.

Plaintiffs allege Thorn Americas has a duty to disclose effective
interest under New York consumer protection laws, and seek damages and
injunctive relief for Thorn Americas' failure to do so.

In their prayers for relief, the plaintiffs have requested the following:

   * class certification;

   * injunctive relief requiring Thorn Americas to (A) cease certain
     marketing practices, (B) price their rental purchase contracts in
     certain ways, and (C) disclose effective interest;

   * unspecified compensatory and punitive damages;

   * rescission of the class members contracts;

   * an order placing in trust all moneys received by Thorn Americas in
     connection with the rental of merchandise during the class period;

   * treble damages, attorney's fees, filing fees and costs of suit;

   * pre- and post-judgment interest; and

   * any further relief granted by the court.

This suit also alleges violations relating to excessive and
unconscionable pricing, late fees, harassment, undisclosed charges, and
the ease of use and accuracy of its payment records. The plaintiffs did
not specify a specific amount on their damages request.

The proposed class includes all New York residents who were party to
Thorn Americas' rent-to-own contracts from November 26, 1991 through
November 26, 1997.

Rent-A-Center says it is vigorously defending this action.

In November 2000, following interim appeal by both parties, the company
obtained a favorable ruling from the Appellate Division of the State of
New York, dismissing Plaintiff's claims based on the alleged failure to
disclose an effective interest rate. Plaintiff's other claims were not
dismissed. Plaintiff moved to certify a state-wide class in December
2000. Discovery is now underway. The Company intends to vigorously oppose
class certification.

This matter was assumed by Rent-A-Center pursuant to the Thorn Americas
acquisition, and appropriate purchase accounting adjustments were made
for such contingent liabilities.


RENT-A-CENTER: IL Suit Alleges Gender Bias Following Thorn Acquisition
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Wilfong, et. al. v. Rent-A-Center, Inc./Margaret Bunch, et. al. v.
Rent-A-Center, Inc.

In August 2000, a putative nationwide class action was filed against the
company in federal court in East St. Louis, Illinois by Claudine Wilfong
and eighteen other plaintiffs, alleging that Rent-A-Center engaged in
class-wide gender discrimination following its acquisition of Thorn
Americas. In December 2000, a similar suit filed by Margaret Bunch in
federal court in the Western District of Missouri was amended to allege
similar class action claims.

The allegations underlying these matters involve charges of wrongful
termination, constructive discharge, disparate treatment and disparate
impact. With respect to the Wilfong matter, the plaintiffs, in their
prayer for relief, have requested class certification, injunctive relief,
compensatory and other monetary damages of $410,000,000, unspecified
punitive damages, attorney's fees, filing fees and costs of suit,
pre-judgement interest, and any further relief granted by the court. In
the Bunch matter, the plaintiffs make similar requests for relief,
although no specific amounts are claimed as actual damages. In addition,
the company has recently been advised that the U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission has filed a motion to intervene in the Wilfong
matter.

Although these cases are in the early stages, the company believes the
claims are without merit.


RENT-A-CENTER: MO Judge Will Hear Employee Racial Bias Case on April 27
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
In May 1999, the plaintiffs filed a putative nationwide class action in
federal court in Missouri, alleging that Rent-A-Center discriminated
against African Americans in its hiring, compensation, promotion and
termination policies. Plaintiffs alleged no specific amount of damages in
their complaint. Members of the regional class defined in the company's
completed settlement of the Allen v. Thorn Americas, Inc. litigation
would not be included in the Murray case.

Discovery directed to the issue of the appropriateness of class
certification has been completed and the plaintiff's motion to certify
the class has been fully briefed. The court has called for oral argument
on the motion for class certification, which has been scheduled for April
27, 2001. The company anticipates a decision on this motion by late June
2001. Rent-A-Center believes plaintiffs' claims in this suit are without
merit. However, there can be no assurance that Rent-A-Center will be
found to have no liability.


RENT-A-CENTER: WI A.G. Alleges Disguised Sale; Pre-Trial Set for August
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
On August 4, 1999, the Wisconsin Attorney General filed suit against
Rent-A-Center and our subsidiary ColorTyme in the Circuit Court of
Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, alleging that our rent-to-rent transaction
violates the Wisconsin Consumer Act and the Wisconsin Deceptive
Advertising Statute.

The Attorney General claims that the company's rent-to-rent transaction,
coupled with the opportunity afforded its customers to purchase rental
merchandise under what it believes is a separate transaction, is a
disguised credit sale subject to the Wisconsin Consumer Act. Accordingly,
the Attorney General alleges that Rent-A-Center has failed to disclose
credit terms, misrepresented the terms of the transaction and engaged in
unconscionable practices. The company currently operates 27 stores in
Wisconsin.

The Attorney General seeks injunctive relief, restoration of any losses
suffered by any Wisconsin consumer harmed and civil forfeitures and
penalties in amounts ranging from $50 to $10,000 per violation. The
Attorney General's claim for monetary penalties applies to at least 4,500
transactions through September 30, 2000.

Since the filing of this suit, the company has attempted to negotiate a
mutually satisfactory resolution of these claims with the Wisconsin
Attorney General's office, including the consideration of possible
changes in our business practices in Wisconsin. To date, the company has
not been successful, but our are ongoing. The company indicates that if
it is unable to negotiate a settlement with the Attorney General, it
intends to litigate the suits.

Discovery is underway, and a pre-trial conference has been set for August
2001. The company believes its ultimate resolution will not have a
material adverse effect upon it.


SENSORMATIC ELECTRONICS: Cauley Geller Announces Securities Suit in FL
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP announced that a class
action has been filed in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of Florida on behalf of purchasers of Sensormatic
Electronics Corp. (NYSE: SRM) securities during the period between
January 12, 2001 and April 9, 2001, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Sensormatic and certain officers and directors with
violating the federal securities laws by issuing a series of materially
false and misleading statements to the market between January 12, 2001
and April 9, 2001 concerning its supposedly strong and growing sales and
lucrative new contracts with massive clients. These statements, as
alleged in the complaint, were materially false and misleading because
they failed to disclose that demand for Sensormatic's products was
sluggish throughout the Class Period, and the Company was deeply
discounting its products to inflate sales. On April 10, 2001, Sensormatic
issued a press release announcing that its third quarter of 2001 revenue
had declined from the third quarter of 1999, and that it would miss
securities analysts' earnings estimates by 66%. In response to this
announcement, Sensormatic's stock price dropped by 31% in one day to $ 13
per share on heavy trading volume. Prior to the disclosure of the true
facts about Sensormatic's business, certain Sensormatic insiders sold a
total of over $ 5.5 million of their personally held Sensormatic stock.

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


SENSORMATIC ELECTRONICS: Charles J. Piven Announces Securities Suit
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. on April 21 announced that a
private securities action requesting class action status has been
initiated on behalf of purchasers of SENSORMATIC ELECTRONICS CORP. (NYSE:
SRM) who purchased the common stock of Sensormatic Electronics Corp.
during the period January 12, 2001 through and including April 9, 2001.

No class has yet been certified in the above action. Until a class is
certified, you are not represented by counsel unless you retain one. If
you purchased the stock listed above during the class period, you have
certain rights. To be a member of the class you need not take any action
at this time, and you may retain counsel of your choice.

Contact: Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A., Baltimore Charles J.
Piven, 410/986-0036 pivenlaw1@erols.com


SENSORMATIC ELECTRONICS: Schiffrin & Barroway Files FL Securities Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP announced on April 23 that a
class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for
the Southern District of Florida, located at 301 N. Miami Ave., Miami,
Florida, on behalf of all purchasers of the common stock of Sensormatic
Electronics Corp. (NYSE: SRM) from January 12, 2001 through April 9,
2001, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Sensormatic Electronics and certain of its officers
and directors with issuing false and misleading statements concerning its
business and financial condition. Specifically, the complaint alleges
that defendants stated they had strong and growing sales and lucrative
new contracts with massive clients. Defendants, however, failed to
disclose that demand for Sensormatic's products was sluggish throughout
the Class Period, and the Company was deeply discounting its products to
inflate sales. On April 10, 2001, Sensormatic issued a press release
announcing that its 3Q 2001 revenues had declined from its 3Q 1999, and
that it would miss securities analysts' earnings estimates by 66%. As a
result of this announcement, Sensormatic's stock price dropped by 31% in
one day. Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of class members
and is represented by the law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, who has
significant experience and expertise prosecuting class actions on behalf
of investors and shareholders. For more information on Schiffrin &
Barroway, or to sign-up to participate in this action online, please
visit www.sbclasslaw.com.

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


VERSATA, INC: Cauley Geller Announces Filing of Securities Suit in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP announced on April 20
that a class action has been filed in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California on behalf of purchasers of
Versata, Inc. (Nasdaq:VATA) securities during the period between March 2,
2000 and March 29, 2001, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Versata and certain former officers and directors
with violating Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. The complaint alleges that the defendants made material
misrepresentations and omissions of material facts concerning the
Company's business performance during the Class Period. In particular, on
March 29, 2001, Versata announced that it would file a Notification of
Late Filing of its Annual Report on Form 10-K, for the year ended
December 31, 2000, with the SEC. The delay was attributed to an ongoing
inquiry into improper recognition of revenue during the 2000 fiscal year.
Kevin Ferrell, CFO during the 2000 fiscal year, left the Company on
February 7, 2001. John A. Hewitt, Jr., president and CEO during the 2000
fiscal year, left the Company on March 29, 2001 without explanation, as
did Peter Harrison, Sr. VP - Sales. During the Class Period, certain of
the Company's officers and directors, including President and CEO Hewitt,
sold 295,000 shares of the Company's stock at allegedly inflated prices
(as high as $24.97) for insider trading proceeds in excess of $3.7
million. On new of the revenue recognition problems and executive exodus,
Versata shares fell more than 72% in a single day, until NASDAQ halted
trading, requesting further information from the Company. On March 29,
2001, Versata common stock closed at $0.28, down $0.75 from the prior
day's close of$1.03, and down from a 52 week high of $83. Trading in the
Company's stock remains halted while NASDAQ seeks further information.

Contact: Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP, Little Rock Media: Charlie
Gastineau or Sue Null, 888/551-9944 Jackie Addison, 888/551-9944 E-mail:
info@classlawyer.com


VERSATA, INC: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in California
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss (http://www.milberg.com/versata/)on April 20 announced
that a class action has been commenced in the United States District
Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of purchasers of
Versata, Inc. (NASDAQ:VATA) publicly traded securities during the period
between March 2, 2000 and March 29, 2001 (the "Class Period"), including
those who acquired their shares in connection with the Company's Initial
Public Offering on March 2, 2000.

The complaint charges Versata and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Versata provides
a comprehensive suite of software and services that enable its customers
to rapidly deploy e-business software applications that can be modified
quickly to meet constantly changing business requirements. To date,
Versata has been licensing its products and providing services to over
500 customers around the world. The complaint alleges that during the
Class Period, Versata made false statements about its business and
prospects and reported favorable but false financial results causing its
stock to trade at artificially inflated levels of as high as $100-15/16
per share.

Then, on March 29, 2001, Versata shocked the investment community with an
announcement that its reported financial statements were under
investigation. On this news, Versata's shares plummeted to as low
as$0.28, or 99% lower than its Class Period high of $100-15/16.

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


WARNACO GROUP: Lovell & Stewart Files Securities Lawsuit in New York
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Lovell & Stewart, LLP ((212) 608-1900 or
www.lovellstewart.com) filed a class action lawsuit on April 20, 2001 on
behalf of all persons and entities who purchased, exchanged or otherwise
acquired the common stock of Warnaco Group Inc. (NYSE: WAC) between
September 29, 2000 and April 18, 2001, inclusive. The lawsuit asserts
claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated by the SEC thereunder and seeks to
recover damages. Any member of the class may move the Court to be named
lead plaintiff. If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the
Court no later than June 20, 2001.

The action, Herbert Black v. Warnaco Group Inc., et al., is pending in
the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (500 Pearl
Street, New York, New York), Docket No. 01-CV-3346 (MGC) and has been
assigned to the Hon. Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, U.S. District Judge. The
complaint alleges that Warnaco Group Inc., Linda Wachner (Chairman,
President and Chief Executive Officer), William S. Finkelstein (Director,
Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer of the Calvin Klein
Jeanswear/Underwear units and former Chief Financial Officer), and
Stanley P. Silverstein (Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary)
have a duty of full, corrective and timely disclosure. The complaint
alleges that defendants' disseminated materially false and misleading
statements concerning Warnaco's operations and financial performance.

The complaint alleges, among other things, a failure to divulge promptly
certain necessary charges relating to reserves, operating shortfalls,
restructuring, changing inventory accounting, and a restatement for prior
years. Additionally, it was not until this week that Warnaco revealed an
SEC inquiry into "whether there have been any violations of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 in connection with the preparation and
publication of various financial statements and reports." During the
Class Period, Warnaco stock lost more than 88% of its value with share
price dropping to a low of $0.65 after reaching a Class Period high of
$5.93. As a result of this decline in the value of Warnaco shares,
investors have lost, in the aggregate, hundreds of millions of dollars.

Christopher Lovell, the senior partner at Lovell & Stewart, has been
appointed lead counsel or co-lead counsel in numerous significant class
actions, including actions involving reportedly the largest class action
recoveries in history under three separate federal statutes (the Sherman
Antitrust Act, the Commodity Exchange Act, and the Investment Company Act
of 1940). These record-breaking recoveries for class plaintiffs included
the $1.027 billion recovery in In re: NASDAQ Market-Makers Antitrust
Litigation and a $145.35 million recovery in 1999 in In re: Sumitomo
Copper Litigation, a class action against various parties who conspired
to manipulate the worldwide copper and copper futures markets for their
own profit.

Contact: Lovell & Stewart, LLP Christopher Lovell Robert Rodriguez
212/608-1900 sklovell@aol.com


* L.A. Times Says Exotic Dance Clubs Are A Hotbed For Labor Disputes
--------------------------------------------------------------------
When Alicia Cadena strolls onto the stage of a club near LAX, wearing her
thigh-high vinyl go-go boots and neon-green hot pants, she expects to
make bank. Any self-respecting exotic dancer would after a five-minute
shimmy, swivel and strip routine that leaves no questions about her ample
anatomy.

For young women like Cadena, who make their money peeling away their
G-strings and teasing off their tops, stripping is a job--a job as real
as waitressing and one with some parallel compensation issues.

Strippers -- like waitresses -- are considered employees under federal
law, meaning they're owed an hourly wage and expected to pay taxes on
their earnings from tips. Most exotic dancers don't get to keep much of
the tip money that club patrons give them, though. That despite a new
California law that took effect Jan. 1, which says dancers are entitled
to keep 100% of cash tips from customers.

Many clubs continue to take as much as half of dancers' gratuities and do
not pay them an hourly wage. That has made exotic dance clubs a hotbed
for labor disputes in recent years.

It's a high-stakes game for everyone involved. The adult entertainment
industry is a multibillion-dollar-a-year business involving about 3,000
exotic dance clubs and tens of thousands of dancers nationally. Several
thousand of those dancers are in California.

Nationwide, the courts have ruled in dozens of lawsuits and continue to
handle cases filed by dancers claiming unfair employment practices. In
California, the state Labor Commission has handled about 100 complaints
from dancers in the last few years.

"I have witnessed other girls not even making $ 40 for one night's
shift," said Cadena, 32, who has been dancing seven years. "That's not
even minimum wage."

Cadena usually ends her work shift with $ 400 or more in cash--bills
she's collected from the stage floor at the end of her strip routines and
retrieved from her string bikini during private dances. Many dancers are
not as financially successful. After paying stage fees and tipping club
staff, they may leave with next to nothing.

"This is an industry that is going to have to be brought into compliance
kicking and dragging," said Miles Locker, chief counsel for the state
Labor Commission, the agency charged with enforcing AB 2509, the new law.

The new law amends Section 350 of the Labor Code, inserting new language
regarding dancers' tips. The amendment reads: "Any amounts paid directly
by a patron to a dancer . . . shall be deemed a gratuity."

Supporting the change were dancers' lobbying groups and state agencies
that wanted to make clubs accountable for the mostly cash income the
clubs were taking in, according to Locker. " These clubs are used to
making lots of money off the dancers, and they don't want that situation
to change."

In fact, two dance clubs in San Diego contend the new law is
unconstitutional and filed suit against the Labor Commission in February.
The suit claims that the law treats the exotic dance club industry
differently than other industries and that it interferes with the
contracts clubs have with their dancers.

" AB 2509 is just a way of trying to steal money from the club," said
George Mull, counsel for CB & DM Entertainment Inc. and Jolar Cinema in
San Diego, the two clubs that filed the suit.

Most clubs set fees for the services their dancers provide--such as a lap
dance in which the dancer straddles the customer and moves provocatively
for the length of one song. The customer pays the dancer, and most clubs
then take a 50% cut--their fair share, they say, for providing the venue.

"It's ridiculous to look at this as a tip," said Mull. "Most men that
have gone to a club, if they asked a girl to come over and do . . . table
dances and at the end said, 'Here's $ 7,' she'd say, 'No. The stated
price is $ 20.' It's not a tip. You can't just change the name of
something and have it be different than what it is."

Whether that money is a tip or a fee is at the heart of the issue in
California. A larger issue nationally is whether the dancers should be
classified as employees.

The majority of dance clubs, in California and nationwide, consider their
dancers to be independent contractors or tenants, not employees. As such,
they do not pay their dancers by the hour or provide other employee
benefits, such as workers' compensation or disability. Many clubs even
charge them to perform.

A lawsuit filed by dancers says that Deja Vu, a national chain of exotic
clubs based in Lansing, Mich., charges a stage fee of $ 50 to $ 100 just
to come to work, fines them for being late, chewing gum on stage or
failing to smile during performances. In addition, the suit says the
clubs require dancers to tip a minimum of $ 10 to each waitress,
bartender, deejay and parking attendant, to purchase a $ 10 "ladies
drink" during each shift, and takes a 40% cut of the money dancers earn
from lap dances.

"As soon as you walked in, you were in the negative," said Cadena, who
worked for Deja Vu in North Hollywood in 1998 but now works at the
Century Lounge near LAX, one of a small number of area clubs that pay an
hourly wage and grant other employee benefits.

In December 1998, Cadena and a handful of other dancers filed eight
separate class-action lawsuits against various clubs where they are not
treated as employees--including Deja Vu, Bob's Classy Lady and Industrial
Strip, all clubs where Cadena had worked in or near North Hollywood in
the '90s. Eleven other lawsuits involving 30 clubs and potentially
thousands of women are pending on the same issue in California courts.
But even if the dancers win, there's no guarantee anything will change.

"They always rule in favor of the dancers. The laws are on the book,"
said Johanna Breyer, co-founder of the Exotic Dancers Alliance, an
educational outreach group in San Francisco. "While the courts are saying
go ahead and pay these people and you can't do X, Y and Z, they're still
not complying with the laws and nobody's telling them to do anything
about it unless a dancer complains."

A former exotic dancer, Breyer filed a complaint with the state Labor
Commission against the Bijou Group and Mitchell Brothers' O'Farrell
Theater in San Francisco in 1993. She was also part of a class-action
lawsuit against the same theaters in 1994. In 1998, the plaintiffs won a
$ 2.85-million settlement for back wages and stage fees.

While that money was paid and the clubs' employment practices changed as
a result of the suit, some clubs that have lost in court defy the court's
orders, leaving it up to the dancers to seek compliance. "It's an
enforcement issue," said Breyer.

But there's only so much the Labor Commission can do.

"We're an agency that has limited resources, and there are an awful lot
of different types of employees who are in other industries that are the
victims of unlawful employment practices. We can't take our field staff,
who are trying to improve conditions in the garment industry or among
agricultural workers, and abandon those areas to focus on another
industry," Locker said. "We're doing the most we can."

In the absence of effective enforcement, the policing is left up to the
dancers, who are often afraid to complain because they fear they will be
blacklisted. "Unionization is one of the best ways to ensure compliance
because that way the workers are keeping the owners in check," said
Breyer.

Still, she admits it's a difficult task. Of the tens of thousands
throughout the country, only one club is unionized--dancers at the Lusty
Lady in San Francisco joined the Service Employees International Union in
1996.

"I think it goes back to the fear and intimidation tactics of the
management," said Breyer, who is no longer a dancer but continues to work
on behalf of dancers as director of social services at a health clinic
for sex workers.

Cadena hasn't let that stop her. She continues to dance at a handful of
venues she describes as more dancer-friendly.

"The clubs have done wrong by not paying us minimum wage," said Cadena,
who became an exotic dancer to help finance her college education and is
one semester short of earning her commercial music degree. "We deserve
it." (Los Angeles Times, April 23, 2001)


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