CAR_Public/010503.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

               Thursday, May 3, 2001, Vol. 3, No. 87

                            Headlines

ALASKA AIRLINES 261: No punitive damages in tragedy for Old Int'l Treaty
DIGEX, INC: DE Ct Finalizes Settlement with Worldcom Stock & Atty. Fees
DUKE ENERGY: Offers CA Secret Deal to End Lawsuits over Price Gouging
FIRST UNION: James, Hoyer Announces Suit for MBNA Credit Cards
GEORGIA: Farmers in Southwest Note Inequities In Drought Fund

HOME DEPOT: MA Consumer Wins Ct Victory and AG Support on Item Pricing
LITTLE SWITZERLAND: Seeks to Settle DE Suit re Proposed DRHC Merger
McDONALD'S: Lawsuit Could Include Huge Hindu/Strict Vegetarian Class
McDONALD'S: Sued for Allegedly Using Beef Fat to Make French Fries
MICROSOFT CORP: Judge Lets Lawyers Keep Money in Temp Workers Case

MONACO COACH: Residents Seek $33 Mil from Recreational Vehicle Factories
MONY GROUP: N.Y. Court Throws Out Lawsuit Contesting Demutualization
PENN TREATY: Mark McNair Files Securities Lawsuit
PURCHASEPRO.COM: Securities Lawsuit Commenced in NV By Abbey Gardy
SOTHEBY'S, CHRISTIE'S: Former Auction House Heads Indicted on Antitrust

U.S. AGGREGATES: Cauley Geller Files Securities Lawsuit in CA
VANS INC: Footwear Store Managers Sue over “Salaried Exempt” Status

                          *********

ALASKA AIRLINES 261: No punitive damages in tragedy for Old Int'l Treaty
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A federal judge dealt a crushing blow to the families of those killed in
the crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 when he ruled on May 1 that they
cannot collect punitive damages from the airline because of a 72-year-old
international treaty.

U.S. District Judge Charles Legge's ruling that the 1929 Warsaw
Convention limits damages that can be collected from airlines protects
Alaska from potentially staggering penalties in the flurry of lawsuits
that followed the Jan. 20, 2000, tragedy that killed all 88 aboard.

However, Legge left the door open for the families to collect damages for
any injuries their loved ones endured as the San Francisco-bound MD-80
jetliner plummeted from the sky before slamming into the sea off the
Ventura County coast.

Attorneys for the victims' families found victory in that and said they
would appeal the ruling prohibiting punitive damages.

"It gives us a chance to compensate these families for the suffering that
the victims endured in that aircraft as it plunged toward the water,"
said Paul Hedlund, an attorney representing 14 victims.

The National Transportation Safety Board is still trying to determine
what went wrong, but reportedly is focusing on a mechanic's decision not
to replace a worn component in the tail assembly before the doomed
flight.

                 Two Other Alaska Air Cases

In a case unrelated to the crash, the Federal Aviation Administration
proposed fining the airline $211,000 for allegedly allowing a damaged
MD-80 jet to make 47 flights before being repaired 11 days later. That
jet sustained landing gear damage in Sacramento on March 30, 1999.

Alaska officials noted that the FAA action is only a proposed penalty.

In a third case involving Alaska, Administrative Law Judge Patrick
Geraghy in Seattle revoked the license of mechanic John E. Nanney of
Tracy. Geraghy concluded that Nanney falsely reported that a throttle
problem on an MD-80 airliner had been repaired on Dec. 1, 1998, in
Oakland.

Nanney denied any wrongdoing during May 1 hearing in Seattle, claiming he
signed the paperwork after another mechanic made the repair -- a practice
common in the airline industry, said Nanney's attorney, Steven Bauer of
San Francisco.

"Our defense was that John didn't lie on any maintenance record at all,"
Bauer said, vowing to appeal. "The judge's decision, we believe, was
illogical."

In a statement, Alaska declined comment on Nanney but said it was
revising its maintenance manual to clarify that "supervisors may indeed
sign for mechanics" once verifying the work has been done.

                1929 Treaty Set Damage Cap

In May 1's ruling pertaining to the crash of Flight 261, Legge said
lawsuits stemming from the crash are governed by the Warsaw Convention,
an international treaty. Flight 261 left Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, bound
for San Francisco.

Under that treaty and others, victims' families are awarded $140,000 plus
lost wages and noneconomic damages that include loss of consortium and
companionship.

But Legge said he may allow the plaintiffs to recover millions of dollars
for the injuries their loved ones suffered as the plane shook and rolled
through the sky before its plunge to the sea.

His decision effectively means that what caused the air disaster may be
left in the hands of the National Transportation Safety Board. However,
attorneys for the victims hope to pursue punitive damages and perhaps
determine the cause of the crash from lawsuits filed against Boeing Co.
and McDonnell-Douglas Corp., the jet's manufacturers that merged in 1997.
Chronicle staff writer Chuck Squatriglia contributed to this report. (The
San Francisco Chronicle, May 2, 2001)


DIGEX, INC: DE Ct Finalizes Settlement with Worldcom Stock & Atty. Fees
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
In furtherance to the previous report in the CAR on the settlement
hearing, the Court order entered upon the conclusion of the hearing is
presented below:

            IN THE COURT OF CHANCERY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE
                      IN AND FOR NEW CASTLE COUNTY

                            :
                            :
IN RE: DIGEX, INC.          :        CONSOLIDATED
SHAREHOLDERS LITIGATION     :        CIVIL ACTION NO. 18336 NC
                            :
                            :

                        ORDER AND FINAL JUDGMENT

        A hearing (the "Settlement Hearing") having been held before this
Court (the "Court") on April 6, 2001, pursuant to the Court's Order of
March 5, 2001 (the "Scheduling Order"), upon a Stipulation of Settlement
dated March 2, 2001 (the "Stipulation") in the above-captioned
consolidated action (the "Action"), which is incorporated herein by
reference; it appearing that due notice of said hearing has been given in
accordance with the aforesaid Scheduling Order, the respective parties
having appeared by their attorneys of record; the Court having heard and
considered evidence in support of the proposed settlement embodied in the
Stipulation (the "Settlement"); the attorneys for their respective
parties having been heard; an opportunity to be heard having been given
to all other persons requesting to be heard in accordance with the
Scheduling Order; the Court having determined that notice to the
shareholders of Digex, Incorporated ("Digex") and the Class (as defined
below) preliminarily certified, pursuant to the aforesaid Scheduling
Order, was adequate and sufficient; and the entire matter of the proposed
Settlement having been heard and considered by the Court;

        IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED, this 6th day of
April, 2001, that:

        1. Unless otherwise defined herein, all defined terms shall have
the meaning set forth in the Stipulation.

        2. On or before March 7, 2001, the Notice of Pendency of Class
and Derivative Action, Proposed Settlement, and Settlement Hearing (the
"Notice") was mailed or otherwise delivered to the members of the Class,
as provided for in the Scheduling Order, and as stated in the proof of
mailing filed with the Court by Digex. In addition, on or before March
12, 2001, a Summary Notice was posted and/or published as set forth in
the Scheduling Order. The form and manner of notice given to the Class
(as defined below) is hereby determined to have been the best notice
practicable under the circumstances and to have been given in full
compliance with the requirements of due process and of Court of Chancery
Rules 23 and 23.1.

        3. Due and adequate notice of the proceedings having been given
and a full opportunity having been offered to the members of the Class to
participate in the Settlement Hearing, or object to the Settlement, it is
hereby determined that all members of the Class are bound by the Order
and Final Judgment entered herein.

        4. Based on the record of the Action, each of the provisions of
Court of Chancery Rule 23(a) has been satisfied and the Action has been
properly maintained according to the provisions of Court of Chancery
Rules 23(b)(l) and (b)(2) (with no opt-out rights). Specifically, this
Court finds that (a) the Class contemplated in the Action is so numerous
that joinder of all members is impracticable, (b) there are questions of
law or fact common to the Class, (c) the claims of the representative
plaintiffs are typical of the claims of the Class, and (d) the
representative plaintiffs have fairly and adequately protected the
interests of the Class. The Action is certified as a class action,
pursuant to Court of Chancery Rules 23(a), (b)(1) and (b)(2), on behalf
of a class composed of all record and beneficial owners of Digex Class A
common stock (other than the defendants in the Action and their
affiliates) at any time during the period from and including August 31,
2000 through and including the Effective Date, as that term is defined in
the Agreement and Plan of Merger among WorldCom, Wildcat Acquisition
Corp. and Intermedia Communications, Inc. dated September 1, 2000 (as
amended, the "Merger Agreement") (annexed as Exhibit A to the
Stipulation) including their respective successors in interest, assignees
or transferees, immediate and remote (the "Class"), and the law firm of
Grant & Eisenhofer, P.A. is permanently certified as lead counsel for the
Class ("Lead Counsel").

        5. The Stipulation and the Settlement are approved as
substantively and procedurally fair, reasonable, adequate and in the best
interests of Digex and the Class, and the parties to the Stipulation are
directed to consummate the Settlement in accordance with the terms and
conditions set forth in the Stipulation. The Court is aware that the
Settlement Payment may be made pursuant to Section 3(a)(10) of the
Securities Act of 1933.

        6. The Court recognizes that if, between the date of the
Stipulation and the Effective Date, the outstanding shares of WorldCom
common stock shall have been changed into a different number of shares or
different class[es] by reason of any reclassification, recapitalization,
split-up, subdivision, stock dividend, exchange of shares or similar
adjustment, or if any such transaction shall be declared with a record
date within such period, the WorldCom common stock to be paid as the
Settlement Payment as provided in the Stipulation shall be
correspondingly adjusted. In the event of such a transaction, the Average
Price shall be calculated using the trading prices of the WorldCom
security or securities equivalent to one share of WorldCom common stock
prior to such transaction.

        7. The Court is aware of the possibility set forth in Paragraph 6
herein, and, for good cause shown, hereby finds: (a) that the impact, if
any, that it would have upon the form of consideration to be paid by
WorldCom to the class would not significantly or materially alter the
terms of the Stipulation; (b) that it would not materially impact the
class members' decision whether to approve the Settlement; (c) that no
additional notice to the class is required and that no additional period
for objection will be permitted; and (d) any transaction described in
Paragraph 6 herein does not impact the Court's finding that the
Stipulation and Settlement are substantively and procedurally fair,
reasonable, adequate and in the best interests of Digex and the Class.

        8. The Action and all complaints filed in the Action and in the
Consolidated Actions are dismissed in their entirety with prejudice on
the merits, with each party to bear its own costs (except, with respect
to costs, as otherwise provided in the Stipulation).

        9. All claims, demands, rights, actions or causes of action,
liabilities, damages, losses, obligations, judgments, suits, matters and
issues of any kind or nature whatsoever, whether known or unknown,
contingent or absolute, suspected or unsuspected, disclosed or
undisclosed, hidden or concealed, matured or unmatured, that have been,
could have been, or in the future can or might be asserted in the Action
or in any court, tribunal or proceeding (including, but not limited to,
any claims arising under federal or state law relating to alleged fraud,
breach of any duty, negligence, violations of the federal securities laws
or otherwise) by or on behalf of Digex or by or on behalf of any member
of the Class and any or all present, past and future shareholders of
Digex, whether individual, class, derivative, representative, legal,
equitable or any other type or in any other capacity against the Parties,
or any or all of their respective past, present or future officers,
directors, stockholders, representatives, families, parent entities,
associates, affiliates, subsidiaries, employees, financial or investment
advisors, consultants, accountants, attorneys, law firms, investment
bankers, commercial bankers, engineers, advisors or agents, heirs,
executors, trustees, general or limited partners or partnerships,
personal representatives, estates, administrators, predecessors,
successors, and assigns (collectively, the "Released Persons") which have
arisen, could have arisen, or may arise out of, or relate in any manner
to, the allegations, facts, events, transactions, acts, occurrences,
statements, representations, misrepresentations, omissions or any other
matter, thing or cause whatsoever, or any series thereof, embraced or set
forth in any complaint filed in the Action or any of the Consolidated
Actions, or otherwise related, directly or indirectly, to the Merger
between WorldCom and Intermedia, to any provision of the Merger Agreement
(including, but not limited to, those relating to the approvals pursuant
to Section 203 previously granted to WorldCom by the Digex Board of
Directors in connection with the Merger Agreement and the Merger), or to
any offering or proxy material, public filings or statements (including,
but not limited to, public statements) by any of the defendants or their
representatives in the Action or any of the Consolidated Actions or any
other Released Persons in connection with the Merger or Merger Agreement
(collectively, the "Settled Claims"), shall be and hereby are fully and
completely discharged, dismissed with prejudice, settled, released and
enjoined; provided, however, that nothing herein shall release the
Parties, as that term is defined in the Stipulation, from their
obligations under the Stipulation, or alter, amend, or in any way affect
the obligations of Digex, Intermedia and WorldCom described in paragraph
10 below following the words "provided, however," and that the Settled
Claims shall not include an action or proceeding to enforce compliance
with the terms of the Settlement.

        10. Digex, Intermedia and WorldCom are deemed to have released
each other (as well as each of their respective affiliates, parent
entities, subsidiaries, directors, officers, agents, attorneys,
investment advisors, investment bankers and consultants) from any claims
of any nature relating to or arising out of the matters alleged in any
complaint filed in the Action or any of the Consolidated Actions;
provided, however, that nothing herein shall alter, amend or in any way
affect, the rights and obligations of Digex, Intermedia and WorldCom in
connection with ongoing contractual arrangements between or among them,
including by way of example but not limited to the following: the
Parties' obligations under the Stipulation; the Merger Agreement (as
amended by the First Amendment and by subsequent amendments thereto); the
Fourth Amendment to Credit Agreement entered into as of October 31, 2000
among WorldCom, Intermedia, Digex and others; the Guaranty entered into
as of October 31, 2000 among WorldCom, Intermedia, Digex and others; the
Digex Borrowing (or Side) Letter Agreement dated November 20, 2000 among
WorldCom, Intermedia, and Digex (and any and all other related
agreements); the Commercial Agreements, as that term is defined in the
Stipulation (as well as any other commercial agreements between WorldCom
and Digex); the Consent-to-Disclosure Letter Agreement dated October 13,
2000 between WorldCom and Intermedia; the Note Purchase Agreement between
Intermedia and WorldCom dated October 31, 2000, as amended; and the
related Registration Rights Agreement of November 22, 2000.

        11. All Defendants named in the Action or any of the Consolidated
Actions are deemed to have released each of the named Plaintiffs and
their attorneys from any claims of any nature relating to or arising out
of the Action, the Consolidated Actions, or any matters alleged in any
complaint filed in the Action or in the Consolidated Actions.

        12. Digex, all members of the Class, and all present, past and
future shareholders of Digex, or any of them, are permanently barred and
enjoined from commencing, prosecuting, instigating, continuing, or in any
way participating in the commencement or prosecution of any action
asserting any Settled Claims, either directly, representatively,
derivatively or in any other capacity against any Released Persons which
have been or could have been asserted, or which arise out of or relate in
any way to any of the transactions or events described in any complaint
filed in the Action or any of the Consolidated Actions, including, but
not limited to, any and all claims which seek to challenge, or otherwise
call into question, the validity or effectiveness of the approvals
previously granted to WorldCom pursuant to Section 203 of the Delaware
General Corporation Law ("Section 203") in connection with the Merger and
Merger Agreement.

        13. WorldCom, Inc. ("WorldCom") and its subsidiaries shall not be
subject to any restrictions on "business combinations" (as defined in
Section 203) with Digex, or any of its subsidiaries, pursuant to Section
203 in connection with or by virtue of WorldCom's acquisition of
Intermedia Communications, Inc. and indirect acquisition of Digex stock
as a result of the Merger Agreement or the transactions contemplated
thereby.

        14. Nothing in this Order and Final Judgment shall be construed
as a presumption, concession or admission by any of the parties to the
Stipulation or the Action of any fault, liability or wrongdoing as to any
facts or claims alleged or asserted in the Action, or any other actions
or proceedings, and shall not be interpreted, construed, deemed, invoked,
offered, or received in evidence or otherwise used by any person in any
action or proceeding, whether civil, criminal or administrative, for the
purpose of establishing any fault, liability or wrongdoing as to any
facts or claims alleged or asserted in the Action.

        15. The Court hereby concludes that there is no just reason for
delay and directs that this judgment be entered as final in accordance
with Court of Chancery Rule 54(b). The fact that the Court shall
separately address and determine Plaintiffs' counsel's application for an
award of attorneys' fees and expenses through the entry of a separate
Award of Attorneys' Fees and Reimbursement of Expenses shall not affect
the finality of this judgment.

        16. If for any reason the Merger between WorldCom and Intermedia
is not consummated pursuant to the Merger Agreement,1 this Order and
Final Judgment shall be vacated upon application of any party to the
Action or the Stipulation pursuant to Delaware Court of Chancery Rule
60(b)(6).

        17. Without affecting the finality of this Order and Final
Judgment in any way, the Court shall separately address Plaintiffs'
counsel's application for an award of attorneys' fees and expenses, and
reserves jurisdiction over all matters relating to the administration and
consummation of the Settlement in accordance with the Stipulation.


                                       /s/ William B. Chandler, III
                                       --------------------------------
                                       Chancellor

--------------
1 Copies of the Merger Agreement and the First Amendment are on file with
the Court as Exhibits A and B to the Stipulation.


          IN THE COURT OF CHANCERY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE
                   IN AND FOR NEW CASTLE COUNTY

                             :
                             :
IN RE                        : DIGEX, INC.
                             : CONSOLIDATED SHAREHOLDERS LITIGATION
                             :    CIVIL ACTION NO. 18336 NC
                             :
                             :

       AWARD OF ATTORNEYS' FEES AND REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES

        A hearing having been held before this Court on April 6, 2001,
pursuant to the Court's Order of March 5, 2001 (the "Scheduling Order")
in the above-captioned consolidated action (the "Action"); it appearing
that due notice of said hearing has been given in accordance with the
aforesaid Scheduling Order; the respective parties having appeared by
their attorneys of record; the Court having entered an Order and Final
Judgment in the Action; the Court having heard and considered evidence in
support of Plaintiffs' Motion for an Award of Attorneys' Fees and
Expenses (the "Fee Application"); the attorneys for their respective
parties having been heard; an opportunity to be heard having been given
to all other persons requesting to be heard in accordance with the
Scheduling Order; the Court having determined that notice to the
shareholders of Digex, Incorporated ("Digex") and the Class (as defined
in the Stipulation of Settlement dated March 2, 2001 (the "Stipulation"),
preliminarily certified, pursuant to the aforesaid Scheduling Order, was
adequate and sufficient; and the entire matter of the Fee Application
having been heard and considered by the Court; for good cause shown,

        IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED, this 6th day of
April, 2001, that:

        1. Unless otherwise defined herein, all defined terms shall have
the meaning set forth in the Stipulation.

        2. The attorneys for the Plaintiffs and the Class are awarded
attorneys' fees and reimbursement of expenses equal to 7.5% of the number
of shares of WorldCom stock to be contributed by WorldCom to the
Settlement Fund pursuant to the Stipulation, which amount the Court finds
to be fair and reasonable, to be paid out of the Settlement Fund as
provided in the Stipulation. Lead Counsel to the Class is directed to
distribute the award of attorneys' fees to any of the counsel to
plaintiffs whom Lead Counsel believes in good faith to have assisted in
the prosecution and settlement of this Action, in such amounts as Lead
Counsel in good faith believes reflect the contributions of such counsel
to the prosecution and settlement of the Action.

        3. The Court hereby concludes that there is no just reason for
delay and directs that this Award of Attorneys' Fees and Reimbursement of
Expenses be entered as final in accordance with Court of Chancery Rule
54(b).

        4. If for any reason the Merger between WorldCom and Intermedia
is not consummated pursuant to the Merger Agreement, this Award of
Attorneys' Fees and Reimbursement of Expenses shall be vacated upon
application of any party to the Action or the Stipulation pursuant to
Delaware Court of Chancery Rule 60(b)(6).


                                         /s/ William B. Chandler, III
                                         -------------------------------
                                         Chancellor


DUKE ENERGY: Offers CA Secret Deal to End Lawsuits over Price Gouging
---------------------------------------------------------------------
A North Carolina energy company that has been accused of price gouging
approached Gov. Gray Davis' office with a secret deal to end all state
investigations and lawsuits, according to a newspaper report.

The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that Charlotte-based Duke Energy
has offered to make some possible monetary concessions if the state drops
its investigations and lawsuits into the company's pricing practices.

The offer was made in a secret 17-page letter sent in March from Duke
Energy to Barry Goode, the governor's attorney, said Steve Maviglio, a
spokesman for Davis.

"The letter asked that the state drop all investigations and take other
steps," Maviglio said. "The governor has not seen the letter and never
agreed to any part of it."

Goode, who signed a confidentiality agreement when he received the
letter, forwarded it to Attorney General Bill Lockyer, whose office is
investigating possible illegal practices by power generators, Maviglio
said.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has accused Duke Energy, along
with a dozen other energy generators, of overcharging for power. The
commission has ordered Duke Energy to rebate $20 million for electricity
sold since January if it cannot justify its prices.

Duke Energy charged more for power in January and February through
so-called "credit premiums," which were levied because of the risk of
nonpayment from cash-strapped Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern
California Edison, said Tom Williams, a spokesman for Duke Energy North
America. PG&E recently filed for protection from creditors in Bankruptcy
Court.

Duke Energy is still owed about $100 million by the state's power
manager.

"We said a month ago we'd be happy to forgive or consider forgiving the
credit premiums if we got paid for the power," Williams said.

Duke Energy wants to end litigation against the company and discussions
with Gov. Davis' office have been "very preliminary," Williams said.

"The sense was that things could all be combined at some point - it was
conceptual," Williams said. "We have done nothing wrong, but we want to
get things moving. We have a big stake in this state."

Duke Energy supplies about 5 percent of California's power and the
utility is spending $500 million to modernize its Moss Landing plant
south of San Jose, which is expected to provide 30 percent of
California's new generation in 2002. The company has spent more than $1
billion in California since the state deregulated its energy market in
1996.

Michael Aguirre, a former federal prosecutor who is representing
California ratepayers in a class-action lawsuit, criticized the secret
dealing between Duke Energy and the Davis administration.

"They are getting together with nobody else involved to undo other
people's rights," he said.

Aguirre said it was doubtful that Duke Energy and the governor could
terminate lawsuits and investigations being conducted by various
agencies, including one underway by the state Public Utilities
Commission.

"What is troubling is that the governor would engage in the kind of
collusive behavior we suspect the alleged price fixers are engaged in,"
Aguirre said. "It raises the specter that the governor is not acting in
the public interest." (The Associated Press State & Local Wire, May 2,
2001)


FIRST UNION: James, Hoyer Announces Suit for MBNA Credit Cards
--------------------------------------------------------------
The following was released on May 2 by James, Hoyer, Newcomer &
Smiljanich, P.A.:

Credit card holders of First Union/MBNA credit cards were overcharged
millions of dollars for cash advance fees, according to a class action
lawsuit filed this week.

The fees involved charges exceeding an eighty dollar transaction maximum
for cash advances, according to the lawsuit, which was filed by the Tampa
law firm of James, Hoyer, Newcomer & Smiljanich, P.A.

MBNA is the nation's largest independent issuer of credit cards and
manages First Union's credit cards. First Union is the nation's sixth
largest bank.

Additionally, the suit challenges a newly announced and soon to be
effective arbitration provision that MBNA is unilaterally imposing on its
cardholders. The arbitration clause attempts to prohibit any and all
class actions by customers. If customers do not agree to arbitration,
they are being told that they must go to Delaware if they want to bring
any lawsuits against MBNA.

The Plaintiff is a retired Sarasota physician who discovered that he was
overcharged several times when he advanced funds from his credit card to
his checking account. The suit was filed Monday in Circuit Court in
Sarasota County, Florida, and seeks damages on behalf of the class of
plaintiffs who have been overcharged for cash advances on their First
Union credit cards. The suit also asks the Court to declare the
arbitration provision invalid.

Referring to the arbitration issue, Attorney Terry A. Smiljanich said,
"This company is attempting to tell its customers, 'Heads we win, tails
you lose.' It is trying to erect a shield against any class actions, and
is taking away important rights of its cardholders."

James, Hoyer, Newcomer & Smiljanich P.A. has offices in Tampa and St.
Petersburg. It specializes in class action insurance and consumer fraud,
and whistleblower cases.

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


GEORGIA: Farmers in Southwest Note Inequities In Drought Fund
-------------------------------------------------------------
Many southwest Georgia farmers are complaining about inequities in a
program started by the state this year to pay farmers not to irrigate
their crops to conserve water in the Flint River basin.

Dozens of farmers eligible to receive some of the $4.5 million fund were
passed over, while some who did not qualify were paid.

"It's been a hairball from the beginning, and it just keeps on growing,"
Marion County extension agent Jimmy Howell said. "I think they've got a
lot of egg right between their eyeballs."

"They" are officials of the state Environmental Protection Division,
which administers the program. The agency acknowledges mistakes were
made, but it has no plans to correct them.

"There's nothing we can do this year. We are legally bound as to who gets
the money," said EPD senior geologist Rob McDowell, who oversaw the
certification process.

Some farmers in the 32-county area were barred because of mistakes in
maps and human and computer errors. Others who had never irrigated were
allowed into the program, and others may have been paid for more land
than they actually have, farmers say.

Farmers dealing with drought and dropping prices have been surviving on
crop insurance payments. They see the $100 to $200 an acre they could get
for not irrigating as sure profit.

"We just want a fair shake," said Webster County farmer Dave Wills, who
wasn't allowed into the program.

Wills is filing a lawsuit in Superior Court in Atlanta, seeking
class-action status for every farmer in the Flint River Basin who was
barred from participating in the program. He believes between 100 and 400
landowners were wrongly disqualified.

The Legislature first authorized the Flint River Drought Protection Act
last year to prevent the Flint from dropping during severe droughts.

Funding for the program comes from Georgia's share of the national
tobacco settlement. The law provides that each year by March 1, the EPD
director determines whether a summer drought is likely.

EPD Director Harold Reheis declared that a drought appears imminent this
year. Farmers holding some 1,500 irrigation permits were initially
eligible to apply.

But there were restrictions. Under EPD's rules, which aims to keep the
Flint River flowing, only farmers who irrigate from streams that flow
year-round could qualify.

Reheis' drought declaration touched off a scramble by EPD to verify
irrigation pumping stations and map the acreage. If EPD officers were
unable to find pumps or contact farmers, the land was declared
ineligible.

Fifteen field technicians fanned out to locate 1,491 sites in just over
two months. With the planting season drawing near, there was simply not
enough time to correct all the mistakes, said EPD's McDowell.

Farmers who wanted to take advantage of the program were allowed to bid
on how much money they would require to hold their land out of irrigation
for this year. The state accepted bids of up to $200 per acre.

The state paid farmers for only 219 of the 1,491 irrigation permits.

Charlie Williams of Americus irrigates 300 acres that the state said were
ineligible.

"They just apologized, but said they didn't have time to catch everybody.
That's not really fair when it's government money."

Wills' suit asks the court to either reopen the auction to farmers who
were disqualified, or order the state pay each qualified farmer $200 an
acre to remove land from irrigation.

EPD officials say they did the best job they could under the
circumstances.

"I think we did an extraordinary job given the time we had and the
resources we had. I'm not agreeing with or denying there were
inaccuracies," Reheis said. (The Associated Press State & Local Wire, May
2, 2001)


HOME DEPOT: MA Consumer Wins Ct Victory and AG Support on Item Pricing
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Prodded by a Dorchester consumer on a crusade, a top aide to Attorney
General Thomas F. Reilly said she plans to start enforcing item pricing
in Massachusetts after making minor changes in the regulation.

The decision was a major setback for Massachusetts retailers, who say
stamping prices on individual items in their stores is a waste of
personnel and a major cause of pricing errors. The executive director of
the Retailers Association of Massachusetts predicted complying with
Reilly's decision will cost retailers more than $1 billion and raise
prices.

For Colman M. Herman, Reilly's decision was the end of a personal
campaign that started almost two years ago when the freelance writer
filed a suit against Home Depot charging the Atlanta-based retailer with
failing to item price. He won a $25 small-claims judgment, and kept suing
until a Quincy District Court judge ordered the retailer to comply with
the item pricing regulation at its Quincy store.

"This is a victory not just for me but for all consumers in
Massachusetts," Herman said. "With the attorney general's recommitment to
item pricing, we get back an invaluable tool that will help us not get
ripped off at the cash register."

Herman went to court originally only when his efforts to get the attorney
general to enforce the state's own regulation failed. He even wrote
Reilly at home. Herman's court victories spurred Home Depot and retailer
groups to pressure Reilly to revamp or abandon the regulation, prompting
an internal review.

Alice Moore, chief of Reilly's public protection bureau, said she had met
extensively with consumer advocates and retailers over the past several
months and talked to shoppers on her own at a CVS store downtown.

In the end, she and Reilly sided with the consumer advocates. Moore said
she concluded that consumers want and need prices marked on individual
items in stores to make sure they are being charged the correct price and
to comparison shop.

Retailers had argued that regulators should mandate checkout scanner
accuracy rather than rely on a 30-year-old item pricing regulation. Moore
said technology advances may make clerks with price guns unnecessary
sometime in the future, but she said that moment hasn't arrived yet.

"The first line of consumer protection is the item pricing regulation
right now," Moore said.

Moore said she plans to make a number of "clarifications" in the
regulation, exempting items sold by length, area, or weight; items that
have to be retrieved by store staff, and small items sold next to the
cash register.

Moore said retailers statewide soon will receive notification of the
changes and then be given 90 days to comply. (Supermarkets are covered by
a separate item-pricing law enforced by the state's Division of
Standards.  "We expect compliance," Moore emphasized, noting that
retailers who continue to ignore the regulations will be prosecuted.

Similar warnings have been issued in the past. In 1996, the attorney
general's office put stores on notice that the item-pricing regulation
was a priority. Two years later a survey by the attorney general's office
indicated Home Depot was ignoring the law while Kmart and Wal-Mart were
haphazardly complying. Still, no charges were filed.

Home Depot's local attorney, Robert Sherman, said the retailer will
comply at all of its Massachusetts stores with whatever regulation Reilly
issues.

Home Depot is appealing the District Court judgment against its Quincy
store. Herman, meanwhile, has filed a class-action lawsuit against the
home improvement chain. Presumably, both suits would become moot if Home
Depot comes into compliance.

"I just hope that attorney general Reilly will now enforce the modified
regulation," Herman said. "If not, I will be back." (The Boston Globe,
May 2, 2001)


LITTLE SWITZERLAND: Seeks to Settle DE Suit re Proposed DRHC Merger
-------------------------------------------------------------------
On March 22, 1999, a class action complaint was filed in the United
States District Court for the District of Delaware (Civil Action No.
99-176) against the Company, certain of its former officers and
directors, DRHC and Stephen G.E. Crane.

The complaint alleges that such defendants violated federal securities
laws by failing to disclose that DRHC's financing commitment to purchase
the Company's shares expired on April 30, 1998 before the Company's
stockholders were scheduled to vote to approve the proposed merger
between the Company and DRHC at the May 8, 1998 special meeting of
stockholders (the "Financing Disclosure Allegations"). The plaintiffs are
seeking monetary damages, including, without limitation, reasonable
expenses in connection with this action.

The plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 10, 1999 and the
Company filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's amended complaint on
December 7, 1999. On January 28, 2000, the plaintiffs filed their
opposition to the motion to dismiss.

In March 2001, the District Court, among other things, granted the
Company's motion to dismiss with respect to certain allegations in the
amended complaint that the defendants violated federal securities laws by
failing to disclose the status of the Company's relationship with a
particular watch vendor; however, the District Court denied the motion to
dismiss with respect to the Financing Disclosure Allegations. In
addition, the District Court dismissed the claims against defendants DRHC
and Stephen G.E. Crane.

The Company has entered into discussions to settle this action. However,
there can be no assurance that these discussions will result in a
settlement of this action, or that any settlement will be on terms
favorable to the Company.


McDONALD'S: Lawsuit Could Include Huge Hindu/Strict Vegetarian Class
--------------------------------------------------------------------
A class-action lawsuit could eventually include a large number of Hindus,
strict vegetarians who allegedly were misled into eating McDonald's
french fries cooked in oil that included animal fat, it was reported.

A Seattle lawyer filed suit in King County, Washington Tuesday alleging
that McDonald's included animal fat in the oil that was used to prepare
french fries that were billed as being acceptable to vegetarians.

"They shouldn't be deceiving people," attorney Harish Bharti told the
Seattle Times. "I am going to go forward and stop this giant."

Bharti's suit contends that McDonald's misrepresented its popular fries
as containing no meat products for more than 10 years when they were
actually cooked in oil containing beef fat.

The Times said that if the suit is allowed to go forward, the class could
eventually include a "huge" number of plaintiffs from the U.S. Hindu
community who do not eat meat for religious reasons.

McDonald's had no immediate comment on the lawsuit, however Bharti said
he had proof of his allegations in the form of an e-mail sent by a
McDonald's customer-service employee to Hitesh Shah, a vegetarian
customer who wanted to confirm that french fries were indeed purely
vegetarian.

McDonald's staff member Megan Magee allegedly wrote, "For flavor
enhancement, McDonald's french-fry suppliers use a minuscule amount of
beef flavoring as an ingredient in the raw product."

The e-mail allegedly said that beef was among the "natural flavors"
listed in the ingredients. (United Press International, May 2, 2001)


McDONALD'S: Sued for Allegedly Using Beef Fat to Make French Fries
------------------------------------------------------------------
McDonald's has been accused of using beef fat in the preparation of
french fries while claiming they are fried in vegetable oil.

A lawsuit for unspecified damages was filed on behalf of two Hindus and
one non-Hindu vegetarian in King County Superior Court.

Attorney Harish Bharti, who believes the case is the first of its kind in
the United States, asked that the case be certified as a class action on
behalf of any vegetarian who ate McDonald's fries after 1990 believing
they contained no meat.

The lawsuit says McDonald's "intentionally failed to publicly disclose
its continued use of beef tallow in the cooking process under the guise
of 'natural flavor."'

Officials at McDonald's corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., did
not respond to a request for comment Tuesday, The Seattle Times reported.

The case arose from the concerns of Hindus, who refrain from eating beef
for religious reasons, Bharti said.

McDonald's announced in 1990 that only pure vegetable oil would be used
to make french fries.

But in the book, "Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American
Meal," Eric Schlosser wrote that McDonald's could still be using tallow,
or beef fat, despite listing the ingredient as "natural flavor."

According to an e-mail printed in the American newspaper India-West on
April 6 and cited by Bharti, that scenario was confirmed by Megan Magee,
an employee in McDonald's customer satisfaction department.

According to the lawsuit, Magee told Hitesh Shah, a vegetarian, on March
28 that "for flavor enhancement, McDonald's french-fry suppliers use a
minuscule amount of beef flavoring as an ingredient in the raw product."

Magee's e-mail went on to say that the beef is among the "natural
flavors" listed as ingredients.

"We're sorry if this has caused any confusion," Magee wrote.

"This is pretty outrageous behavior," Bharti said. "Hindus and
vegetarians all over the world feel shocked and betrayed by McDonald's
deception and ultimate greed." (The Associated Press State & Local Wire,
May 2, 2001)


MICROSOFT CORP: Judge Lets Lawyers Keep Money in Temp Workers Case
------------------------------------------------------------------
A federal judge has ruled that attorneys who represented temporary
workers who sued Microsoft Corp. in a class-action lawsuit are entitled
to $27 million in fees and expenses, rejecting a request by some of the
plaintiffs to reduce the lawyers' compensation.

The ruling last week by U.S. District Judge John Coughenour said the
lawyers took extraordinary risks and performed capably, and were
therefore entitled to received the planned 28 percent of the $96 million
settlement in the case.

The preliminary settlement was reached in December in the case in which
as many as 12,000 former employees alleged they were hired as temporary
or contract workers so the company didn't have to pay benefits.

Some of the plaintiffs, including Donna Vizcaino, one of the 18 whose
names appeared on the class action suit, challenged the lawyers' fees in
a lawsuit filed in February. (AP Online, May 2, 2001)


MONACO COACH: Residents Seek $33 Mil from Recreational Vehicle Factories
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Recreational vehicle factories have become some of the biggest toxic air
polluters in Lane County.

The boxy, warehouse-style plants don't fit the traditional image of
industrial polluter.

Yet, the county's RV industry has grown to the point where it vents into
the air close to 250 tons a year of invisible toxic fumes from painting,
fiberglass manufacturing and wood lacquering. These emissions are mostly
toluene, styrene and xylenes -- all declared hazardous air pollutants by
Congress in 1990.

Homeowners in a Coburg subdivision next to Monaco Coach Corp.'s RV paint
spraying booths earlier this year sued the company in U.S. District Court
alleging that the 130 tons a year of chemical fumes vented by the plant
are a nuisance that stinks up their neighborhood. When the spray booths
are running, fumes waft around the homes with a tell-tale odor akin to
freshly applied nail polish.

The 25 neighbors are seeking $ 33 million.

One of the plaintiffs, Brian Pech, said he brings his children, ages 4 to
16, indoors when the fumes hit the subdivision. Pech and other parents
worry the chemicals may harm their kids. "It's the great unknown," Pech
said.

"What are we sending them out into?"

Barbara Pettit, who lives three blocks south of the plant and is not
involved in the lawsuit, said the fumes give her "extreme headaches" that
last for hours. They also irritate her throat and send her into coughing
fits, she said.

"People can't sit on their front porch anymore," added Pettit, who has
lived in the same house for 19 years. "You sure can't go out in the back
yard and have a barbecue."

Monaco is fighting the suit and says it is breaking no laws. The company
also says it is seeking ways to cut fumes from the spray booths, which it
started up in 1999 as part of an expansion.

But the Coburg plant isn't the only RV factory emitting big volumes of
toxic fumes. Monaco's Springfield fiberglass plant emits about 35 tons a
year of hazardous fumes, mainly styrene. Monaco says it wants to increase
that to 60 tons a year. The company opened the plant just four years ago.

Fast-growing Country Coach in Junction City, meanwhile, emits about 66
tons a year of hazardous chemical fumes.

In the absence of significant government restrictions, the RV companies
have been largely free to increase toxic air emissions as their coach
production has grown during the past decade. And the local industry has
ballooned. It's gone from a few hundred employees producing a few hundred
coaches a year, to 4,000 workers turning out thousands of RVs. Lane
County is now one of the nation's RV manufacturing hubs.

Yet, there's much uncertainty about whether the vented chemicals are safe
for neighbors. No legally enforceable government limits exist for these
fumes in residential areas.

Monaco argues that the fumes from its Coburg factory are so diluted that
they pose no danger.

But others are leery.

At the Lane Regional Air Pollution Authority, which enforces federal and
state air pollution laws locally, regulators are alarmed by the growing
emissions, particularly from Monaco's Coburg plant, which is so close to
homes.

"We simply don't know what the effects are on susceptible groups --
children, the elderly, people with respiratory problems," said Brian
Jennison, LRAPA's director.

Yet, the agency, citing an absence of tough federal rules, says it is
largely powerless to clamp down on the fumes.

Jennison said he'd like Monaco and Country Coach to install incinerators
to burn up the fumes, essentially eliminating them.

But both companies say the equipment is too expansive and is unwarranted.
The financial stakes for the companies are huge. Monaco says it would
cost $ 7 million or more to install a fume collection and burning system
at its Coburg factory.

State and federal laws do not require the devices.

LRAPA could create its own rules, Jennison said. But he said that would
draw fire from pro-development politicians and from RV companies and
their employees. "There is not a climate right now (in Lane County) which
is supportive of proposing broad, sweeping regulatory restrictions,"
Jennison said.

The substances the plants are emitting are among 189 chemicals that
Congress in its 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act declared hazardous.
The amendments directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to force
industry to cut emissions of these pollutants.

But, hampered by lack of funding and criticism from industry, the EPA 10
years later has still not adopted rules that would limit toxic airborne
fumes from paint booths at RV factories and other similar businesses
nationwide.

Late last year, however, the agency did issue tentative rules that
alarmed the RV industry because they might require many RV plants to add
fume incinerators.

Those rules "could force manufacturers into collection (and incineration)
equipment, and that could cause the industry a lot of problems," said
Bruce Hopkins, a vice president at the Virginia-based Recreational
Vehicle Industry Association. "It's that kind of thing that we're trying
to steer clear of."

With Monaco in the vanguard, the industry is pushing for special
regulations to exempt RV plants from burners.

The way the 1990 law was written, some industries can escape installing
fume burners, while others can't. The double standard has little to do
with the hazard level of the fumes. Rather, it has to do with each
industry's traditional practices. Industries that have a history of
pollution control are held to a higher standard than industries that
historically have not curbed their fumes.

For example, under rules the EPA has drafted for the plywood and
composite wood products industry, burners would be mandatory at mills
nationwide -- including many in Oregon and Lane County -- to incinerate
toxic air emissions such as formaldehyde and methanol.

The industry would have to spend more than $ 100 million a year to
comply, said Mary Ann Kissell, an environmental specialist with the EPA
who is preparing the rules.

But Monaco and the RVIA are arguing that because RV factories nationwide
have never used incinerators, they should not be required to do so now.

"I know of no end-of-pipe controls (incinerators) being used by any
recreational vehicle manufacturer," Kurt Anderson, Monaco's environmental
manager, wrote to the EPA this month.

The struggle between Monaco and its neighbors, and the lobbying at the
EPA, are part of the nation's long war over air pollution.

For decades, health and environmental advocates have urged Congress to
cut air pollution. In 1970, Congress told the EPA to limit emissions of
individual air toxics. But because industry emits complex brews of many
chemicals, and because the health effects of many chemicals are unclear,
the EPA became mired in disputes with businesses. In a decade, the EPA
set limits on only a handful of compounds.

In the 1980s, advocates renewed their push. That bore fruit with the 1990
Clean Air Act amendments. Passed by a Democratic Congress and signed by
President Ronald Reagan, the law took a novel approach. It directed the
EPA to survey all industries for hazardous air emissions. Then, the EPA
was to delineate groups of similar businesses that emit similar toxics
and write customized rules for each group. The law directs the EPA to
figure out what the best emissions controls are in each industry group --
the controls used by the cleanest 12 percent of companies -- and set that
as the standard for the rest of the group to follow.

If the EPA wants tougher standards than those in the top 12 percent, it
must evaluate the financial burden to industry.

The law directed the EPA to tackle the most dangerous pollution first.
So, the agency looked at, for example, emissions from coke ovens at
metals factories and fumes from pesticide factories.

All this has taken much longer than the EPA expected.

RV plants and the hundreds of other types of businesses that do painting
or fiberglass work were pushed to the back of the line.

Patricio Silva, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an
environmental group, says lack of money and staff has hamstrung the EPA.
"Hostile members of Congress have tried to starve the agency of adequate
funds to complete these obligations," he said.

David Paul, an attorney representing the Coburg residents against Monaco,
said he's not impressed with EPA's efforts.

"We've been waiting for 20 years to see adequate federal regulation of
hazardous air pollution, and I don't think it's happened yet," he said.
"There are improvements being made, but they're woefully inadequate in
terms of where we need to be."

The EPA admits it has fallen behind.

Just how quickly the agency continues to move on air toxics and what
kinds of rules it formally proposes will tell much about the
environmental priorities of President George W. Bush.

EPA spokesman Dave Ryan said that if states or local agencies are
unhappy, they can create their own rules. "The states can set tougher
standards than the feds. They're always free to do that," he said.
'07webtext:

So far, it looks like the Clean Air Act rules will be kind to the RV
industry.

The industry's fiberglass-making factories -- including the Monaco
factory in Springfield -- would be largely exempt from having to install
burners to eliminate fumes, under recently proposed EPA rules.

The agency in a survey found that virtually no fiberglass makers
nationwide used burners to incinerate fumes and instead just vented them
into the air. So, the EPA proposed rules that would require fume
incinerators at only a handful of the very largest of the 433 fiberglass
factories the EPA surveyed. Any fiberglass factory emitting less than 100
tons a year of toxic fumes would be exempt from incinerator requirements.
Those plants would instead have to use specified types of coating
equipment, and coating compounds with set percentages of styrene and
other toxics.

The RV industry admits to being caught flat-footed by rules the EPA
suggested late last year for factories where paint spraying is done.

Hopkins, the RV industry official, said his trade group didn't know the
EPA was working on the rules until Monaco manager Anderson sounded the
alarm.

In its quest for special rules for RV factories, the industry argues the
EPA's survey of companies that do paint-booth spraying neglected to
include the RV industry.

The EPA admits it largely overlooked RV factories and is now mulling the
industry's request. The agency expects to formally propose rules later
this year.

LRAPA officials say they fear that the EPA won't require burners for RV
paint-booth fumes. In the case of RV factories, the 1990 Clean Air Act
amendments will probably end up creating air emissions standards that
"are not terribly difficult for the industry to meet," LRAPA director
Jennison said.

At plywood mills, it's a different story. In its survey of that industry,
the EPA found that 20 percent or more of those mills nationwide already
have fume burners. So, the agency is now proposing that all the mills
that emit more than minimal amounts of hazardous fumes must have burners.

"It's not a level playing field by any means," said Corey Unfried,
environmental manager for Willamette Industries Inc., which is spending $
28 million to install burners at 13 mills nationwide, including two in
Lane County.

Monaco estimates it would cost $ 7.1 million for a fume incineration
system at its main Coburg paint shop, plus $ 250,000 a year for energy
costs and the like. The capital cost at the Springfield plant would be at
least $ 1.6 million, plus $ 120,000 or more in annual expenses, Monaco
says.

Country Coach estimates it would cost $ 8.2 million to buy burners for
the painting, fiberglass and other operations at its Junction City
complex, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars more to install and run.

Neighbors of the Coburg plant argue that Monaco and its CEO, Kay Toolson,
have the money to do the work. Monaco is one of the most financially
successful RV companies in the nation. Last year, it racked up a profit
of $ 43 million on sales of $ 900 million. It paid Toolson $ 1.4 million
in salary and bonus.

"Companies make choices. We need to look at what financial choices Monaco
has made," said Paul, the residents' attorney.

Monaco responds that burners are not warranted and that Toolson is paid
"based on competitive market forces and our company's performance."
(Business reporter Joe Harwood of The Register Guard contributed to this
story, The Register Guard, April 30, 2001)


MONY GROUP: N.Y. Court Throws Out Lawsuit Contesting Demutualization
--------------------------------------------------------------------
MONY Group Inc. (NYSE: MNY) said a lawsuit that had challenged its 1998
demutualization was dismissed by a New York court. "The documentary
evidence shows that plaintiffs were provided with all the information
required by the conversion law...the plaintiffs have failed to allege
facts to show MONY violated any fiduciary duty," New York Supreme Court
Justice Ira Gammerman said in his opinion, according to MONY.

Shareholders Calvin Chatlos and Alvin H. Clement brought the lawsuit,
which sought class-action status and was filed with the law firm of
Milberg, Weiss, Bershad, Hynes and Lerach, who could not be reached for
immediate comment.

"The dismissal of this lawsuit recognizes that we took appropriate steps
to ensure MONY's conversion was fair and equitable to our valued
policyholders and complied with the laws governing the demutualization
process," Michael I. Roth, chairman and chief executive officer, said in
a statement. "MONY's transition to a publicly traded stock company has
enabled the company to grow, thereby serving the best interests of our
policyholders, many of whom became shareholders." MONY declined to
comment further.

In November 1998, the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York converted
to a stock life insurer and was renamed MONY Life Insurance Co., a
subsidiary of MONY Group Inc. MONY Life Insurance Co. is rated A
(Excellent) by A.M. Best Co. (By Meg Green, senior associate editor,
BestWeek: meg.green@ambest.com) (BestWire, May 02, 2001)


PENN TREATY: Mark McNair Files Securities Lawsuit
-------------------------------------------------
The Law Office of Mark McNair announced that it has filed a securities
class action lawsuit against Penn Treaty American Corporation (NYSE:
PTA). The complaint is on behalf of shareholders who purchased the stock
between November 7, 2000 and March 29, 2001.

The complaint alleges that Penn Treaty, which underwrites and sells
insurance products through its subsidiaries, with defrauding investors by
issuing false and misleading statements about the company's financial
health. According to the lawsuit, Penn Treaty, which underwrites and
sells insurance products through its subsidiaries, was experiencing a
tremendous growth in sales. However, the Company repeatedly said it had
adequate reserves for the increased level of business. But, in effect,
Penn Treaty sold itself out of existence because its premiums grew by 22%
during the fourth quarter of 2000, but the Company had just $17.2 million
in capital instead of the $40 million in reserves required by regulators.
On March 30, 2001, Penn Treaty issued a news release saying that, among
other things, its reserves had sunk so far below the statutory minimum
that it faced possible liquidation and that its independent accountants
were questioning the company's ability to remain a viable entity. After
the announcement, Penn Treaty stock suffered a 42% decline.

Please contact Mark McNair with any questions at 1819 Pennsylvania Ave.
N.W. Suite 550, Washington, D.C., 20006 by telephone at 877-511-4717, via
email at wmmcnair@justice4investors.com or visit the website
http://www.justice4investors.com.


PURCHASEPRO.COM: Securities Lawsuit Commenced in NV By Abbey Gardy
------------------------------------------------------------------
A securities class action lawsuit was commenced on behalf of all persons
who acquired Purchasepro.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: PPRO) ("Purchasepro" or the
"Company") common stock between February 12, 2001 and April 25, 2001 (the
"Class Period"). A copy of the complaint is available from the Court or
from Abbey Gardy, LLP. Please visit Abbey Gardy's website at
http://www.abbeygardy.comor contact them by phone at 800-889-3701 or by
email at nkaboolian@abbeygardy.com.

The case is pending in the District Court of Nevada (Case Number:
CV-S-01-0489-KJD-RJJ). Named as defendants in the complaint are
Purchasepro and Charles Johnson, Jr., Purchasepro's Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer.

The Complaint charges defendants with violations of Sections 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder. The complaint alleges, among other things, that the
defendants issued materially false and misleading information that
misrepresented the Company's financial condition and prospects. The
complaint alleges that defendants improperly recognized revenue in order
to artificially inflate the price of Purchasepro's common stock. The
complaint further alleges that defendant Johnson was motivated to inflate
the price of Purchasepro's stock because he had used his stockholdings as
collateral to borrow million of dollars and would be force to sell his
stock if the loan to value ratio was less than 25%.

Defendants' misrepresentations caused the price of Purchasepro common
stock securities to be artificially inflated throughout the Class Period.

Contact: Maria Ciccia, mcriscitie@abbeygardy.com, or Nancy Kaboolian,
nkaboolian@abbeygardy.com, both of Abbey Gardy, LLP, 800-889-3701


SOTHEBY'S, CHRISTIE'S: Former Auction House Heads Indicted on Antitrust
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A federal grand jury has indicted the former chairmen of the world's two
biggest auction houses, Sotheby's Holdings and Christies International,
on anti-trust charges, the Justice Department said.

The charges against Alfred Taubman and Anthony Tennant were related to
commission rates charged to sellers in the United States and elsewhere
between 1993 and 1999.

According to the indictment, the two former executives conducted a
six-year international conspiracy to set the rates for commissions and
face maximum penalties of three years in prison and a $350,000 in fines
if convicted.

Both men have consistently denied their guilt since the scandal came to
light last year.

After that commission-setting scandal erupted last year, Taubman stepped
down as chairman of venerable Sotheby's and has been considering the sale
of his controlling share in the 257-year-old auctioneering company.

In October, Diana Brooks, former chief executive and president of
Sotheby's, pleaded guilty in a U.S court to conspiring with executives at
rival auction house Christie's to fix commission prices during the
mid-1990s. She testified that Taubman ordered the meetings with Christies
executives.

Brooks has offered to cooperate in the continuing investigation in
exchange for avoiding prison.

In related news, both auction houses agreed in April to pay more than
$512 million to various former clients in settlement of a class-action
lawsuit over price setting. (United Press International, May 2, 2001)


U.S. AGGREGATES: Cauley Geller Files Securities Lawsuit in CA
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP announced on May 1
that it has filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District
Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of purchasers of
U.S. Aggregates, Inc. (NYSE: AGA) publicly traded securities during the
period between April 25, 2000 and April 2, 2001, inclusive (the "Class
Period"), and who suffered damages thereby.

The complaint charges U.S. Aggregates and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. U.S.
Aggregates is a producer of aggregates, which consist of crushed stone,
sand and gravel, and constitute a basic construction material.
Approximately two- thirds of the Company's products are used for the
construction and maintenance of highways and other infrastructure
projects.

On April 3, 2001, U.S. Aggregates issued a press release entitled, "U.S.
Aggregates, Inc. Reports Preliminary Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2000
Results; Restates Earnings for First Three Quarters of 2000; Reaches
Interim Agreement With Senior Secured Lenders; Delays Filing Form 10-K
for 2000; Sells Certain Construction Materials Operations in Utah," which
stated in part, "The Company will restate its earnings for the first
three quarters of 2000. For the first quarter, the Company will restate
its net loss of $2.6 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, to a net loss
of $5.1 million, or $0.34 per diluted share. For the second quarter, the
Company will restate its net income of $6.8 million, or $0.45 per diluted
share, to net income of $3.1 million, or $0.20 per diluted share. For the
third quarter, the Company will restate its net income of $5.5 million,
or $0.36 per diluted share, to net income of $1.7 million, or $0.11 per
diluted share. The restatement relates primarily to the reclassification
of certain capitalized items to operating expenses, the recognition of
certain additional operating expenses, and the establishment of a reserve
for self-insurance claims."

On this news, U.S. Aggregates shares dropped to $4.30, or more than 79%
lower than the Class Period high of $20-1/4.

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


VANS INC: Footwear Store Managers Sue over “Salaried Exempt” Status
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Lawrence Franco, Darin Campbell on behalf of themselves and all others
similarly situated vs. Vans, Inc. and Vans Footwear International Inc.,
Superior Court for the County of Orange, Case No. 01CC03995.

On April 4, 2001, the Company, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Vans
Footwear International, were served with a complaint alleging that
certain current and former store managers of the Company were improperly
classified as "salaried exempt" under California law. The complaint seeks
class action status and an unspecified amount of damages for unpaid
overtime wages, penalties as provided under California law, and
attorney's fees. The Company is reviewing the complaint and believes it
has meritorious defenses to the allegations made therein.


                             *********


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

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

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

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

The CAR subscription rate is $575 for six months delivered via e-mail.
Additional e-mail subscriptions for members of the same firm for the
term of the initial subscription or balance thereof are $25 each.  For
subscription information, contact Christopher Beard at 301/951-6400.


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