/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/010703.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

               Tuesday, July 3 2001, Vol. 3, No. 129


AVENUE A: Closing London Office Amidst Legal Troubles Over U.S. IPO
CHINADOTCOM CORPORATION: Schiffrin Barroway Brings Lawsuit In S.D. NY
CHINADOTCOM CORPORATION: Cauley Geller Files Securities S.D. NY Suit
CHRONIMED INC.: Berman DeValerio Files Shareholders Suit In Minnesota
CHRONIMED INC.: Lowey Dannenberg Begins Securities Suit In Minnesota

DIGITAS INC.: Stull Stull Commences Securities Suit In S.D. New York
ESSO AUSTRALIAN:Faces Biggest Damage Suit In Australian Legal History
GASOLINE LITIGATION: Senate Panel To Probe High Prices Of Gas In U.S.
HOLOCAUST LITIGATION: Austrian Envoy Calls For End Of U.S. Lawsuits
HOUSING LITIGATION: Homeowners Take $41 Million In Settlement Fees

J.C. PENNEY: Sued In TX For Not Honoring Insurance Guarantee, Others
LONDON LIFE: Settles "Premium Offset" Policy Suit For $180 Million
MCI WORLDCOM: Court Orders Halt On Fiber Optic Cable Installation
MONEY CONCEPTS: Accepts $5 Million Liability For Deceased Ex-adviser
MORGAN STANLEY: Settles Swindling Charge In California For $23M

MUSE TECHNOLOGIES: Faces Massachusetts Suit For Securities Violations
NATIONAL WESTERN: 12,000 Policy Customers File Suit For Over-billing
PURDUE PHARMA: Six Kentucky Residents Seek $300M For OxyContin Use
RED CROSS: Ontario Judge Okays $79M Settlement Of Tainted Blood Suit
RENT-WAY INC.: Investors File Lawsuit For Accounting Inaccuracies
STARBUCKS: Ex-manager Sues Coffee Shop Giant For Not Paying Overtime
WYNDHAM INTERNATIONAL: Sued In FL For Energy Surcharges On Bills


AVENUE A: Closing London Office Amidst Legal Troubles Over U.S. IPO
Avenue A, Inc. (Nasdaq:AVEA), a digital marketing services and
technology company announced late last week that it plans to close its
16-person office in London, England.

The Company has served clients in the United Kingdom from that office
since September 2000. It will complete work on current campaigns for
its clients in the UK over the next several months.

Accordingly, this move will enable the Company to streamline its
operations and focus resources on greater growth opportunities in its
U.S. business.

The Company also confirmed its intention to begin marketing its Atlas
Digital Marketing Suite during Q3 of this year.

Meanwhile, it will provide updated financial guidance during its Q2
earnings conference call, which is scheduled for July 27, 2001 at 11
a.m. EST.

The Company recently announced it is the subject of several class
action lawsuits in New York over its Initial Public Offering held from
February to December last year.

CHINADOTCOM CORPORATION: Schiffrin Barroway Brings Lawsuit In S.D. NY
Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP filed a class action lawsuit last week in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on
behalf of all purchasers of the common stock of chinadotcom corp.
(Nasdaq: CHINA) from July 12, 1999 through December 6, 2000, inclusive.

For further details, contact: Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP through Marc A.
Topaz, Esq. or Stuart L. Berman, Esq. by Mail: Three Bala Plaza East,
Suite 400, Bala Cynwyd, PA  19004 by Phone: 1-888-299-7706 (toll free)
or 1-610-667-7706 or by E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com

CHINADOTCOM CORPORATION: Cauley Geller Files Securities S.D. NY Suit
Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP filed a class action in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf
of purchasers of Chinadotcom Corp. (Nasdaq: CHINA) securities during
the period between July 12, 1999 and December 6, 2000, inclusive.

The complaint charges the following defendants with violations of
Sections 11, 12(a) (2) and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section
10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated

     (i) Chinadotcom, Lehman Brothers, Inc.,

    (ii) Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc.,

   (iii) BancBoston Robertson Stephens,

    (iv) Merrill Lynch, Pierce Fenner & Smith Inc.,

     (v) Raymond Ch'ien,

    (vi) Peter Yip,

   (vii) Zhou Shun Ao, and

  (viii) David Kim

For more information, contact: CAULEY GELLER BOWMAN & COATES, LLP
through its Client Relations Department: Jackie Addison, Sue Null or
Charlie Gastineau by Mail: P.O. Box 25438, Little Rock, AR 72221-5438
by Phone: 1-888-551-9944 (toll free) or by E-mail: info@classlawyer.com

CHRONIMED INC.: Berman DeValerio Files Shareholders Suit In Minnesota
Berman DeValerio & Pease filed a shareholders suit against Chronimed
Inc. (Nasdaq: CHMD) last week accusing the company of defrauding its
The lawsuit is pending in the United States District Court for the
District of Minnesota and is filed as 01-CV-1175 dsd/jmm.

It seeks damages for violations of federal securities laws on behalf of
all investors who bought Chronimed stock between October 27, 1999 and
June 13, 2001.

The complaint accuses Chronimed, a Minnetonka-based pharmaceutical and
patient management services company, of issuing false and misleading
financial statements to the investing public during the Class Period.

Form more information, contact: Chauncey D. Steele IV, Esq. or Jeffrey
C. Block, Esq. of Berman DeValerio & Pease LLP by Mail: One Liberty
Square, Boston, MA 02109 by E-mail: bdplaw@bermanesq.com or by Phone:
(800) 516-9926

CHRONIMED INC.: Lowey Dannenberg Begins Securities Suit In Minnesota
Lowey Dannenberg Bemporad & Selinger, P.C. filed a securities class
action lawsuit on behalf of all persons who acquired Chronimed, Inc.
(NASDAQ: CHMDE) common stock between October 27, 1999 and June 13,

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the
District of Minnesota under the caption 01-CV-1183 MJD/JGL.

It seeks damages for violations of federal securities laws on behalf of
all investors who bought Chronimed stock during the Class Period.

Named as defendants in the complaint are Chronimed and certain
executive officers of Chronimed: Maurice R. Taylor II, Henry F.
Blissenbach, and Gregory H. Keane.

For additional information, contact: Lowey Dannenberg Bemporad &
Selinger, P.C. through Richard Bemporad or David C. Harrison by Phone:

DIGITAS INC.: Stull Stull Commences Securities Suit In S.D. New York
Stull, Stull & Brody filed late last week a class action lawsuit in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, on
behalf of purchasers of Digitas, Inc. (NASDAQ:DTAS) common stock
between March 13, 2000 and June 26, 2001, inclusive.

The complaint alleges that the following defendants violated the
federal securities laws by issuing and selling Digitas common stock
pursuant to the March 13, 2000 IPO without disclosing to investors that
some of the underwriters in the offering, including the lead
underwriters, had solicited and received excessive and undisclosed
commissions from certain investors:

     (i) Digitas, Inc.,

    (ii) David W. Kenny,

   (iii) Kathleen L. Biro,

    (iv) Michael Goss,

     (v) Michael Ward,

    (vi) Michael E. Bronner,

   (vii) John L. Bunce, Jr.,

  (viii) Orit Gadiesh,

    (ix) Philip U. Hammarskjold,

     (x) Patrick J. Healy and

    (xi) Arthur Kern

The complaint further alleges that defendants violated the Securities
Act of 1933 because the Prospectus distributed to investors and the
Registration Statement filed with the SEC in order to gain regulatory
approval for the Digitas offering contained material misstatements
regarding the commissions that the underwriters would derive from the
IPO transaction and failed to disclose the additional commissions.

For further details, contact: Tzivia Brody, Esq. at Stull, Stull &
Brody by calling toll-free 1-800-337-4983, or by e-mail at
SSBNY@aol.com, or by fax at 212/490-2022, or by writing to Stull, Stull
& Brody, 6 East 45th Street, New York, NY 10017.

ESSO AUSTRALIAN:Faces Biggest Damage Suit In Australian Legal History
Esso Australian Ltd. faces what is now shaping up to be the biggest
class action for damages in Australian legal history, News Interactive
reported recently.

In addition, it is also facing fines of up to $2.75 million after a
Victorian Supreme Court jury found it guilty on all counts for
violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

An explosion in September 1998 in the Longford gas processing plant of
the company killed two workers and cut gas to more than a million
Victorian homes and businesses for two weeks.

Esso, a unit of Exxon Mobil Corporation, had pleaded not guilty on 11
charges of breaching the health and safety act.  But a jury found it
guilty last week.

According to lawyers, the verdict makes success more likely in the
unprecedented class action that now involves 20,000 claimants.

Experts say it could cost the company more than $1.4 billion.

GASOLINE LITIGATION: Senate Panel To Probe High Prices Of Gas In U.S.
A U.S. Senate panel will conduct an inquiry on July 17 to get to the
bottom of the "artificially high" prices of gasoline in the country,
particularly in California, the Union-Tribune reported.

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has invited lawyer
Tim Cohelan to appear before the panel and turnover documents that may
be relevant to its investigation.

Cohelan is the same lawyer who unsuccessfully filed a class action
lawsuit against Chevron, Exxon and other petroleum companies alleging
antitrust activities.

Last month, the California Supreme Court threw out the Aguilar et al.
v. Arco et al. lawsuit, ruling unanimously that the suit's allegations
of unfair competition and unlawful conspiracy by nine major refiners to
set gas prices contained "no triable issue of material fact."

"I'll offer observations about how oil companies have enough
connections to control (fuel) supplies and make agreements which keep
gas prices higher than they should be," said Cohelan.

"The same problems we've had in California with high gas prices are
just starting to spread across the country," he said.

The senate inquiry comes as the California Attorney General's Office
continues its long-running investigation into oil company pricing
policies in the state.

The investigation was started in 1999 after gas prices spiked in San
Diego, San Francisco and other areas, the Union-Tribune said.

HOLOCAUST LITIGATION: Austrian Envoy Calls For End Of U.S. Lawsuits
An Austrian envoy called for the end of lawsuits in the U.S. that are
delaying further the payment to Holocaust survivors who were used as
forced laborers and slaves in wartime Austria, the Associate Press
reported recently.

Envoy Ernst Sucharipa labeled the delay as irresponsible.  He said the
payment program could start in a month if pending cases are voluntarily
dismissed immediately.

There are presently five pending cases in the United States from about
a dozen filed since 1998.  Three of the cases are expected to be
dropped, while plaintiffs in the two cases are pressing ahead with the
suits because they feel the compensation agreement inked last January
was too small.

Under the agreement, the Austrian business and government will pay more
than $327 million to some 150,000 people used as slaves and forced
laborers in wartime Austria.

Both have also pledged $150 million for Holocaust-era seizures of
apartments and businesses; more than $200 million for other property
and unpaid insurance policies; and $112 million for social benefits
such as health care for elderly survivors.

The agreements also provided for the dismissal of lawsuits already
filed by survivors in the U.S.

Some 16,000 applications from former forced laborers have been approved
and are awaiting payment.

The largest single number of those are Poles, followed by Czechs,
Ukrainians and about 1,000 from other parts of the world.

HOUSING LITIGATION: Homeowners Take $41 Million In Settlement Fees
Some 5,000 homeowners in 15 Santa Clarita Valley housing developments
will benefit from a $41 million settlement approved last week by a
state court to be paid primarily by builders and plumbers who installed
homes with defective foreign-made galvanized steel water pipes.

The class action lawsuit litigated on behalf of the homeowners by the
Los Angeles law firm Quisenberry & Kabateck LLP alleges that the
developers, suppliers, plumbing contractors, manufacturers and water
softening companies are liable for construction defect, strict product
liability, negligence and other causes of action for the use of
galvanized pipes in the Santa Clarita Valley potable and plumbing

"This case sends a strong message to the construction industry that you
can be held responsible for cutting corners to save a buck," said Brian
Kabateck, lead counsel and partner at Quisenberry & Kabateck LLP.

"Not only is the case a victory for homeowners, but also a testament to
the determination and skill of Ron Hartmann, a Quisenberry & Kabateck
attorney, who pieced together a random series of plumbing issues to
discover a pattern of consumer abuse," added Kabateck.

Years after their homes had been built, residents in several Santa
Clarita Valley Developments, including Northbridge, Mountainview,
Stevenson Ranch, Shadow Hills, Saugus Canyon, North Bluffs, Hillcrest,
Crown Villas North, Arroyo West, Las Ventanas, Canyon Park Village,
Siena Villas, Ridgeview, Evergreen and Valencia Summit, began to detect
such problems as pin hole leaks, brown rusty water, premature pipe
corrosion and deterioration.

The damage resulted in some homeowners having to replace their entire
plumbing systems, and ceilings that collapsed because of leaks.

"It was clear that the problems with the defective pipes were not
limited to one house here and one house there. It was a defect that
needed a community-wide resolution," said Ron Hartmann, attorney for
the class action with Quisenberry & Kabateck LLP.

"Corrosion problems could have been avoided if builders had used
another type of pipe," he said.

The foreign-made galvanized steel pipes prematurely corrode when they
come into contact with water, and as the corrosion progresses, holes
appear in the pipes. The homes included in the class action were built
approximately between 1986 and 1994.

"It's been a long battle and we are so happy that our fine team of
attorneys were able to settle this case," said John Kelley, homeowner.
"The nightmare we have had to endure will now finally come to an end."

The $41 million is to be paid by large and small builders throughout
the valley including The Newhall Land and Farming Co., American Beauty
Homes, Dale Poe Development, Larwin Co., Pacific Bay Homes and three
dozen others, as well as pipe manufacturers, suppliers, contractors and
water softening companies.

J.C. PENNEY: Sued In TX For Not Honoring Insurance Guarantee, Others
Plano, Texas-based retailer J.C. Penney and its partner, Dutch
insurance giant AEGON, have been named as defendants in a class-action
lawsuit filed on behalf of a Corpus Christi woman who unknowingly was
billed for insurance premiums on her credit card for six years.

In August 1999, Marguerite York was seriously injured after being
struck by a car. Her son discovered a $100,000 insurance policy that
his mother unknowingly had been paying for since 1993.

Despite specific language that protected Mrs. York if she was "struck
by a land vehicle," her claim was automatically rejected.

Mrs. York's attorneys say her case represents the tip of the iceberg.

"J.C. Penney engaged in a 14-year telemarketing scam that victimized
millions of elderly residents, as well as low-income minorities," says
Houston attorney David Berg, a founding partner in the law firm of Berg
& Androphy and lead counsel for Mrs. York.

"Contrary to the express purpose of an insurance policy, J.C. Penney's
main business seems to be to deny, rather than honor, legitimate
claims," he said.  

The lawsuit, filed in Corpus Christi State District Court, seeks class
action status for millions of potential plaintiffs who were unaware
that monthly policy premiums were being charged to their credit cards.

A potential subclass of plaintiffs includes customers who discovered
they had the insurance but had their claims rejected.

According to the 13-page complaint, telemarketers began contacting
customers in 1987 about the "ADD" insurance program with the promise
that they would receive information in the mail, but were under no
obligation to purchase insurance.

However, customers of the direct response solicitation program were
enrolled automatically. In fact, no signatures were required to
activate the policy.

Some customers were told that premiums for the first three months would
be paid for them. What they were not told was that the defendants made
withdrawing from the program nearly impossible, and any refunds were
"capped" at two or three months, no matter how long premiums had been

The lawsuit names the following defendants:

     (i) J.C. Penney Company, Inc.;

    (ii) J.C. Penney Direct Marketing Services, Inc.;

   (iii) J.C. Penney Life Insurance Company;

    (iv) Quest Membership Services, Inc.;

     (v) AEGON, N.V.;

    (vi) AEGON USA, Inc.;

   (vii) AEGON Group; and

  (viii) AEGON Special Markets Group.

In addition, the lawsuit alleges that defendants engaged in deceptive
trade practices, insurance code violations, fraud, negligent
misrepresentation, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and gross

Plaintiffs are seeking compensation and punitive damages.

For additional information, contact: David Berg by Phone: 713/529-5622,
or call Mike Androvett at 800/559-4534 or pager 800/943-1502. Consumers
can gain additional information about the case by e-mailing questions
to creditclass@bahou.com

LONDON LIFE: Settles "Premium Offset" Policy Suit For $180 Million
London Life Insurance Company has agreed to settle a class action
lawsuit covering 500,000 clients for $180 million, Globe and Mail
reported last week.

The settlement includes enhanced benefits and a review process to deal
with individual claims.

This case was brought by clients who bought the insurer's "premium
offset" policies between 1980 and 1995.

According to the report, the policies were designed so that the monthly
premiums would disappear after a short period, provided interest rates
remained level or fell.

But rates jumped, leaving many customers facing premiums they didn't
expect, the report said.

The agreement still needs court approval in Ontario, British Columbia
and Quebec.

MCI WORLDCOM: Court Orders Halt On Fiber Optic Cable Installation
Telecommunications giant MCI WorldCom was ordered last week to stop a
fiber optic cable installation project, and to remove its equipment and
supplies, PR Newswire reported.

In a class action lawsuit by landowners, the court found that MCI
WorldCom's fiber optic installation was a "willful trespass."

The court cited earlier decisions in which the plaintiff and other
landowners had already proven that they owned the land. The court order
also quoted a document in which MCI WorldCom acknowledged that it had
not been authorized to enter the plaintiffs' land.

Fiber optic cables have come under increasing legal attacks in recent

According to the landowners' attorneys, more than 50 class actions have
been filed nationally on behalf of landowners on pre-existing railroad,
pipeline and utility rights of way, which often are preferred by
telecom companies.

In many cases courts have held that adjacent landowners own the land
under railroads and other utilities, and only they can grant rights to
fiber optic cable companies.

MCI WorldCom claims to have more than 45,000 miles of fiber optic cable
in the United States, and it is defending nationwide and statewide
landowner class actions in Washington, D.C., Indiana and elsewhere.

A similar class action arising on the very same railroad right of way
was certified as a nationwide class against AT&T earlier. AT&T has
agreed to pay an average of $45,000 per mile to landowners to settle a
part of that lawsuit.

Nels Ackerson, a Washington, DC lawyer who leads a group of four law
firms that represent landowners in these class actions said: "This
temporary restraining order raises a whole new dimension in these

"MCI WorldCom, AT&T, Sprint and other telecom companies have paid
railroads and utilities but have ignored the landowners. They face
hundreds of millions in damages, but even that pales in comparison to
the billions of their wrongful profits from exploiting land that
belongs to others. Now telecom companies are on notice that they face
losing part of their core business," he said.

Sallie Peeler, the homeowner who brought the lawsuit said: "MCI
WorldCom's behavior has been outrageous. They never contacted me. I
first saw the construction workers peering through the bushes at me and
my children.

"When I saw the construction crew behind my house, I told them I owned
that land and they had to get off. I read my deed to them. They still
refused and just kept on drilling," she said.

"The telecommunications companies are just going to have to learn that
their days of sneaking away with people's property are over," said
Henry Price, the Indianapolis lawyer who appeared in court to argue for
the temporary restraining order.

"This temporary restraining order shows that landowners have the right
to stop construction in its tracks," he said.

The four law firms representing landowners in this and other right of
way class action lawsuits are the following:

     (i) The Ackerson Group, Chartered, in Washington, DC;

    (ii) Price, Potter, Jackson & Mellowitz, P.C. in Indianapolis, IN;

   (iii) Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis, Lightfoot, P.C. in
         Washington, DC; and

    (iv) Zelle, Hofmann, Voelbel, Mason & Gette, LLP in Minneapolis,
         MN, Boston, MA, San Francisco, CA, Los Angeles, CA, and
         Dallas, TX.

MONEY CONCEPTS: Accepts $5 Million Liability For Deceased Ex-adviser
Money Concepts Financial Services agreed to shoulder the $5 million
settlement reached with fifty clients who were swindled by a former
financial adviser.

According to The Plain Dealer, the suit, which was granted class action
status in February, stems from a discovery that Chardon financial
adviser Gregory Shefchuk misappropriated nearly $6 million in mutual
funds contributions.

Shefchuk committed suicide after the court issued a warrant for his

Money Concepts has to honor the settlement payment after the court
found it to be responsible for monitoring Shefchuk, and the 14 mutual
funds and seven banks with which he did business.

The Plain Dealer said Shefchuk was able to hide that he was
misappropriating funds by having the mutual funds send quarterly
statements to him, rather than his clients.

Shefchuk then sent falsified statements to the clients that didn't
reveal that he had been withdrawing money from the accounts.

MORGAN STANLEY: Settles Swindling Charge In California For $23M
Morgan Stanley & Co. has reportedly settled a class action suit that
charged the investment company of being involved in swindling money
from trust funds for victims of traffic crashes, botched medical
procedures and industrial accidents.

Citing documents filed last week in court, the Los Angeles Times said
the settlement amounted $23 million.

Accordingly, Morgan did not admit liability.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge must approve the settlements before
payments can be made. A hearing is scheduled for July.

MUSE TECHNOLOGIES: Faces Massachusetts Suit For Securities Violations
Muse Technologies, Inc. recently revealed that a securities class
action suit was filed against it on June 13, 2001.

According to a report filed by the company with the Securities and
Exchange Commission recently, the suit alleges violations under
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and
other provisions.

The suit is currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the
District of Massachusetts against the company and some of its former
and current officers and directors.

NATIONAL WESTERN: 12,000 Policy Customers File Suit For Over-billing
National Western Life Insurance of Austin is facing a class action
lawsuit alleging that the company over-billed policies covering
children, according to a recent report appearing in the Austin

Plaintiffs' attorneys estimate that as many as 12,000 customers may
join the class action.   

Roger Williams, National Western's lawyer, said the company will appeal
the class action certification.

The lawsuit arises from the original complaint by Kilgore resident Ella
Mae Rowe, whose National Western policy contained a clause covering her
children, stating that when a child turned 25 the policy and the
premiums would end.  

Rowe contends billing procedures made it difficult to determine what
premiums were being paid for different types of coverage.  

"The statement did not separate the premium for the insured and the
premium for the children," said Austin attorney Joe Longley, who is
working with San Antonio lawyer Wade Caldwell, who represents Rowe.

National Western says it is the client's responsibility to tell the
company when coverage should end; in part because the coverage is
broader than just the children listed on a customer's initial

Children born or adopted later would be covered by National Western's
policies without the need for clients to submit a new application.  

PURDUE PHARMA: Six Kentucky Residents Seek $300M For OxyContin Use
Six residents of Middlesboro, Kentucky have sued Purdue Pharman, a
Stamford Connecticut firm that manufactures and markets OxyContin,
seeking $300 million in damages.

In a report by the Associated Press, the suit is accordingly set to
gain class action status.

The suit also included as defendant Ali Sawaf, a physician serving time
in jail for illegally prescribing the highly addictive painkiller.

The suit was filed in Clay County Circuit Court.

OxyContin, intended for use by terminal cancer patients and chronic
pain sufferers, has been linked to at least 120 overdose deaths

Seven people who are former addicts or relative of addicts have also
filed a suit earlier in Lee County, Virginia.

The suit, which seeks class-action status for other victims, alleges
the drug's makers aggressively marketed the painkiller while
downplaying its risks, the news agency said.

RED CROSS: Ontario Judge Okays $79M Settlement Of Tainted Blood Suit
Ontario Justice Warren Winkler has approved a $79 million settlement
between the Red Cross and the class action plaintiffs who had been
infected with hepatitis C through use of tainted blood, according to a
report in the National Post.

Justice Winkler said he found this settlement, which is intended for
people left out of a federal-provincial package, to be "fair,
reasonable and in the best interests of the class as a whole."  

Members of the class who accept the offer must waive the right to
further legal action, and the settlement must still be approved by
courts in Quebec and British Columbia, where similar class actions have
been launched.

If the settlement is approved in the other two provinces, payments will
be made to about 5,000 to 7,000 people across Canada who were left out
of the $1.5 billion federal-provincial compensation package put
together in 1998.

Mike McCarthy of the Canadian Hemophilia Society said that the victims
will get payments of $5,000 up front and could end up with perhaps
$7,000 or $8,000 in total over 10 years.  

RENT-WAY INC.: Investors File Lawsuit For Accounting Inaccuracies
Rent-Way, Inc., an Erie, Pennsylvania-based company and the nation's
second-largest rent-to-own chain, consisting of a network of 1,135
stores, must cut $129 million from its earnings for the past three
years because of false accounting entries allegedly made by top
officials, according to a recent Associated Press report.

A class action lawsuit has been filed by investors, claiming Rent-Way's
stock was inflated because of the accounting inaccuracies.  

The recent disclosures sent the company's stock from $23.44 a share in
October to a recent figure of $9.15.  

The lead plaintiff in the suit, New York financial services firm Cramer
Rosenthal McGlynn, claims its clients lost $10.1 million.

The Florida State Board of Administration, which manages trust funds,
filed the second-largest claim for $6 million.

The company's investigation has discovered that top executives hid $98
million in losses in more than a dozen categories in its ledger.  

The company has fired corporate controller Matthew Marini. Jeffrey
Conway, the former president and chief operating officer, resigned at
the company's request.

Chief executive officer William Morgenstern said that the company's
"long-range plans haven't changed, but we also know we have to regain
our credibility."  

The company also said it has closed some of its stores and laid off
workers and plans to change its pricing and reduce inventory.

Rent-Way still faces an investigation by the federal Securities and
Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation over the
handling of its books.

STARBUCKS: Ex-manager Sues Coffee Shop Giant For Not Paying Overtime
A former manager of Starbucks has filed a class-action lawsuit recently
in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland, stating that the Seattle-
based coffee chain, failed to pay him overtime for "work weeks" that
routinely totaled more than 40 hours, according to an Associated Press

James Carr, 49, who worked as a manager from October 1999 through
January 2001, alleged that although he was a manager and was paid a
fixed salary, most of his time was spent doing the tasks of hourly

Carr said he received no additional compensation for these tasks.

Erin Day and Arthur Lazear, Carr's attorneys, contend the failure to
pay the overtime for such work constitutes a violation of California's
Business and Professional Code.  

Day estimates that at least 250 other California Starbucks coffee shop
managers were also denied overtime pay.

A spokeswoman for Starbucks said she would not comment because she had
not studied the suit's allegations.  

Starbucks has 30 days to file a written response with the court.

WYNDHAM INTERNATIONAL: Sued In FL For Energy Surcharges On Bills
Wyndham International chain of hotels is facing a class action for
billing customers energy surcharges without prior notice, The Miami-
Herald reported.

The practice has also prompted the Attorney General of Florida to
investigate other hotel establishments.

Two men who checked in at Wyndham Harbour Island-Tampa and Wyndham
Grand Bay-Coconut Grove brought the suit in Florida.

They alleged that the Tampa hotel added a $2.75 energy surcharge while
the Miami Hotel charged $2.81.

Accordingly, neither man was informed about the surcharge when
reservations were made when they checked in.

Lawyer Jon Herskowitz, who represents the two men, said the additional
charge constitutes a deceptive and unfair trade practice.

Several other top hotel chains will be investigated by the Florida
Attorney General.

Subpoenas have been issued to Fort Lauderdale Airport Hilton, JW
Marriott Hotel in Miami, Radisson Suites in Palm Beach, Embassy Suites
Hotel in Palm Beach Gardens, the Comfort Inn in Palm Beach Lakes,
Hilton Hotels Corp., Marriott International, Wyndham International,
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Lodgian, Inc.


S U B S C R I P T I O N   I N F O R M A T I O N

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc., Trenton, New Jersey, and Beard Group, Inc.,
Washington, D.C.  Enid Sterling, Larri-Nil Veloso and Lyndsey Resnick,

Copyright 2001.  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.

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Additional e-mail subscriptions for members of the same firm for the
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