CAR_Public/020211.mbx                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
               Monday, February 11, 2002, Vol. 4, No. 29

                            Headlines


APPLICA CONSUMER: Recalls 2.1 M Wide-Slot Toasters Due To Fire Hazard
AUTOZONE INC.: Two Workers Sue For Alleged Overtime Wage Violations
COOPER TIRE: Settling Lawyers Rebut Arguments Opposing Suit Settlement
GREEN LAKE: Plaintiffs Withdraw Suit Over Green Lake Sewer Line Project
HENRY SCHEIN: Physicians File Suit For Increase In Flu Vaccine Price

HOUSEHOLD INTERNATIONAL: Predatory Lending Victims File Fraud Suit
INTEGON GENERAL: Appeals Court Allows OEM Insurance Suit To Proceed
KANSAS: Hutchinson Residents Sue Over January 2001 Yaggy Gas Leak
METLIFE INC.: $200M Racial Discrimination Case Settlement Likely
MICROSOFT CORPORATION: Justice Dep't Reveals Comments on Settlement

NICOR GAS: Settles IL Mercury Contamination Suit For $1.85 Million
NORTH CAROLINA: Lawsuit Drafted To Stop Mental Health Services Cuts
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Tobacco Companies For Litigation Reimbursements

                       Securities Fraud

ELAN CORPORATION: Glancy Binkow Initiates Securities Suit in S.D. NY
ELAN CORPORATION: Weiss Yourman Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY
ELAN CORPORATION: Lowey Dannenberg Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY
ELAN CORPORATION: Schoengold Sporn Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY
EMEX CORPORATION: Asks For Dismissal of Securities Suit in S.D. NY

ENRON CORPORATION: Executives To Appear Before House Energy Committee
GLOBAL CROSSING: Schiffrin Barroway Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. NY
GLOBAL CROSSING: Cauley Geller Initiates Securities Suit in W.D. NY
GLOBAL CROSSING: Berger Montague Commences Securities Suit in C.D. CA
GLOBAL CROSSING: Lovell Stewart Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY

HANOVER COMPRESSOR: Schiffrin Barroway Lodges Securities Suit in TX
HANOVER COMPRESSOR: Scott Scott Commences Securities Suit in S.D. TX
INTIMATE BRANDS: Shareholders Sue To Block The Limited, Inc. Merger
MCLEOD USA: Schatz Nobel Initiates Securities Fraud Suit in N.D. Iowa
ONYX ACCEPTANCE: Plaintiffs Appeal Dismissal of Securities Suit in CA

REGENERATION TECHNOLOGIES: Kirby McInerney Files Securities Suit in FL
SUPREMA SPECIALTIES: Two Law Firms Initiate Securities Suit in NJ
WILLIAMS COMPANIES: Berman DeValerio Files Securities Suit in N.D. OK
WILLIAMS COMPANIES: Glancy Binkow Initiates Securities Suit in N.D. OK
WILLIAMS COMPANIES: Rabin Peckel Commences Securities Suit in N.D. OK

WILLIAMS COMPANIES: Abbey Gardy Initiates Securities Suit in N.D. OK
                             
                            *********

APPLICA CONSUMER: Recalls 2.1 M Wide-Slot Toasters Due To Fire Hazard
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Applica Consumer Products, Inc. is cooperating with the US Consumer
Product Safety Commission (CPSC) by voluntarily recalling about 2.1
million VersaToast wide-slot toasters.  The Company made and sold these
toasters under the Black & Decker brand. The heating element in these
toasters can continue to operate after use, posing a fire hazard.

The Company is aware of nine reports of fires associated with these
toasters after a period of non-use, resulting in minor property damage
to kitchen cabinets. One minor injury was reported, but it has not been
confirmed and is under investigation.

The recall includes both two-slice and four-slice Black & Decker
brand VersaToast wide-slot toasters.  "BLACK & DECKER,"  "VersaToast"
and "WIDE SLOT" are written on the side of the toaster near the cooking
controls. The toasters have either white or black plastic enclosures.
They have model number T1200, T1250, T1400 or T1450 written on the
bottom of the toaster.

Discount department stores, including Wal-Mart, Service Merchandise,
Kohl's Department Stores and Bradlees, sold the toasters nationwide
from June 1999 through January 2002. The two-slice toasters sold for
between $10 and $20. The four-slice toasters sold for between $18 and
$30.

For more information, contact the Company by Phone: (866) 264-9230 or
visit the firm's Web site: http://www.householdproductsinc.com


AUTOZONE INC.: Two Workers Sue For Alleged Overtime Wage Violations
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Nationwide auto parts chain, Autozone, Inc. faces a class action filed
by two of its workers in Suffolk Superior Court, alleging that the
Company neglected to give them overtime pay as mandated by state law,
according to a Boston Herald report.

Employees Edward Cove and Joseph Swift filed the suit, which states
that the Company pays its Massachusetts workers time-and-a-half for
work on Sundays, but did not provide extra overtime pay if Sunday hours
cause a worker to work more than 40 hours in a week.

Plaintiffs' lawyer Richard Gelb notes that people who work 32 hours
from Monday to Friday, then eight hours on Sunday get 1.5 times their
hourly wages for the Sunday work. Someone who works 40 hours from
Monday through Friday and eight hours on Sunday also gets time and a
half for the Sunday shift, but nothing more, Mr. Gelb told the Boston
Herald.  Massachusetts' Division of Occupational Safety has also issued
an opinion in October, saying workers in such situations should get
both overtime pay as well as the Sunday premium.

Ray Pohlman, Company spokesman, told the Herald it is Autozone's policy
not to comment on pending litigation.


COOPER TIRE: Settling Lawyers Rebut Arguments Opposing Suit Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the historic class action suit against
Cooper Tire and Rubber Company have filed their rebuttal to issues
raised by objectors to the settlement of the suit.

"We believe this is a good, historic settlement, and the objectors
haven't raised any issues to change that," said John E. Keefe, Jr., co-
lead counsel for the plaintiffs, along with Allan Kanner, a New Orleans
attorney.

The objectors were heard last week by Superior Court Judge Marina
Corodemus in New Brunswick as part of a final approval hearing on the
proposed settlement.  Mr. Keefe said "None of the objectors raised any
meritorious issues.Our rebuttal underscores what the Court saw first
hand: none of these objectors had anything to add to the process.
They're just speculating."

The settlement, if approved, would provide an enhanced warranty for
owners of the tires. Any tire owner who experiences separation caused
by manufacturing defect would receive a free replacement tire,
including wheel balancing and disposal of the old tire.  The proposed
settlement also calls for the Company to institute an extensive
consumer education program and to implement an enhanced finishing
inspection program in its manufacturing process.  The settlement could
affect as many as 40,000 people who own up to 170 million tires and
could have a value to the consumer of up to $1 billion.

Mr. Kanner pointed out that none of the objectors thought the proposed
settlement was so bad it should be thrown out. "Nobody said `Don't do
it,' or `It's too early,' or that the class attorneys weren't prepared
or that we didn't do vigorous advocacy," he said. "And they all
admitted that the deal has value. They just wanted to `tweak' the deal
and get a little more. A settlement is a compromise, and it has to be
evaluated as a compromise."

Mr. Keefe noted that New Jersey law requires that settlements in such
cases be looked at in terms of value to the consumer, not the cost to
the company. "Another very important aspect is that the company has
agreed to change its processes going forward to help ensure that people
don't get defective tires in the future," he said. Judge Corodemus
reserved decision. She is expected to issue her ruling in about a
month.

For more information, contact John Keefe by Phone: (732) 224-9400 or
Allan Kanner by Phone: (504) 524-5777


GREEN LAKE: Plaintiffs Withdraw Suit Over Green Lake Sewer Line Project
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Green Lake shore residents withdrew the class action they filed against
the Green Lake Sanitary District in state court, seeking to block the
extension of a sanitary sewer line through their property, according to
The Northwestern.

Property owners on the south and southeast shores of the lake sued the
District, accusing them of not providing public input and forcing the
project on them.  Assessments to property owners for the $2.5 million
project ranged from $4,000 to $17,000.

Last month, however, the Green Lake County Circuit Court refused to
stop construction of the sewer line, ruling that the Sanitary District
complied with the open meetings law in notifying the public of
meetings. The Court also ruled that Sanitary District Commissioner
Richard Mrazik, who owns properties in the construction areas, did not
violate the Wisconsin Code of Ethics for local government officials by
voting on the sewer project.

Plaintiffs' attorney Rob Charles told the Northwestern, the plaintiffs
decided the remedy they'd get "wouldn't be worth the expense and
heartache of going to a jury trial."  He added individual property
owners with relatively new sewer systems, however, may apply for
credits against those assessments.

The Sanitary District Administrator welcomed the decision of the
plaintiffs, saying "We are pleased that we prevailed.What we're
interested in at this point is continuing work on the project and
seeing it successfully implemented."

However, Commissioner Mary Jane Bumby said the District followed the
letter of the law, but certainly not the spirit in getting the sewer
extension.  She said "(The sanitary district) got their sewer, but the
people are upset about it."  She also opposes the way the project went
though, she said, without clear information disseminated to the public
and excessively high assessments to property owners.


HENRY SCHEIN: Physicians File Suit For Increase In Flu Vaccine Price
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Pharmaceutical distributor Henry Schein, Inc. and subsidiary, Caligor,
faces a class action filed by West Morris Pediatrics Group in Superior
Court, Morristown, charging the Company with breach of contract, unjust
enrichment and violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

The suit contends that the Company increased the price of a flu vaccine
by 80% before delivery for the 2001-2002 flu season.  The suit further
states that West Morris Pediatrics contracted with Caligor sales
representatives around November 2000 to buy vials of vaccine at a
guaranteed, "pre-booked" price of $35.99 per vial."

According to a Daily Record News report, West Morris agreed to buy
about 30 vials, each containing 10 doses, for $35.99 per vial. When
delivery time arrived in the fall of 2001, West Morris learned that the
original price would not be honored and the vaccine would be delivered
only if the group agreed to pay $64.95 per vial for the vaccine, the
suit stated.

Lawyer for the plaintiffs, Eric Katz, told the Daily Record News that
physicians around the country who contracted at the original price were
offered the chance to back out of the contract. However, this option
was unrealistic because by the time Caligor contacted them "most if not
all competitively priced vaccine supplies were already exhausted."

Mr. Katz added there was no reason given for the increase in the
vaccines price.  The difference in price was about $869 for West Morris
Pediatrics.  He said the amount is not extreme for individual clients,
but is tremendous in the context of hundreds or thousands of other
physicians in the nation who believed they were "pre-booking" vaccine
prices.


HOUSEHOLD INTERNATIONAL: Predatory Lending Victims File Fraud Suit
------------------------------------------------------------------
A nationwide community group and two alleged victims of predatory
lending practices filed a class action recently, in Alameda Superior
Court in California, accusing Household International, Inc., one of the
nation's largest lenders of defrauding borrowers.  The plaintiffs asked
that the borrowers get their interest and fees back, along with any
profits the Court determines the lender obtained by unfair or deceptive
advertising, the Associated Press recently reported.

The suit covers what the plaintiffs estimate is $2 billion in secured
loans to tens of thousands of borrowers over the last four years by
the Company and its subsidiaries, Household Finance Corporation of
California and Beneficial California Inc.  The lawsuit follows a suit
by California regulators that led to a $12 million settlement with the
firms last month.  Allegations similar to those of the regulators, and
the plaintiffs in the instant lawsuit, prompted a new state law that
took effect this year.

The deceptive advertising alleged in the lawsuit included "telling
people they will be saving money when in fact it's going to cost them
more," said Lisa Donner, Director of the Financial Justice Center for
ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which
filed the suit.  

The suit charges Household International with enticing mostly low-and-
moderate-income borrowers into overpriced loans that often exceed the
value of their homes.

The individuals who filed the suit include Julio and Irene Reyes of
Bakersfield, who allege they cashed in a $5,000 check they received
from the Company three years ago.  They eventually got a second
mortgage on their home to pay off the debt, refinanced again and allege
that they finally wound up owing the Company a $129,185 first mortgage
at 12.4 percent and a second $10,500 "revolving" home loan at 23.9
percent.

The Reyes' allege they were not told about finance charges, mortgage
insurance, above average interest charges, a "balloon" payment that
would come due on the revolving loan after 15 years, or that the
combination along with substantial prepayment penalties would leave
them unable to pay off their loans by borrowing from another company.

Suzanne Alexander, of Orangevale, who heads ACORN'S Predatory Lending
Committee, alleges in the lawsuit that she started in April 1999, with
a $6000 Beneficial debt consolidation loan.  By June 2000, she alleges
she owed Beneficial $127,135.48, including the original loan, her first
mortgage and additional debts.

The California subsidiaries last month agreed to pay about $12 million
to settle state regulators' allegations that they deliberately
overcharged tens of thousands of California customers.  Additionally,
the Companies agreed to reimburse an estimated 60,000 consumers a
projected $3 million for what the California Department of Corporations
called a "pervasive pattern of abusive lending practices" that included
excessive late fees, recording fees, repossession fees, penalties and
interest payments.

The Companies will pay the State an estimated $8.9 million, including
triple damages for some violations and the maximum possible penalty for
others.  The Company also agreed to take steps against further
overcharges, agreed to an outside audit of its California businesses
and to let regulators review its loan files at a specially created
office.  State regulators said they sought the high penalties because
the Companies repeated practices they promised to halt in 1998.

Suzanne Alexander's testimony about her Beneficial loan helped prompt
California to enact a new state law this year imposing additional
restrictions.  In addition, Governor Gray Davis announced an $11
million program last month to crack down on predatory lenders.

"Recent events have shown how tricky the financial services marketplace
can be for the ordinary consumer," California Corporations Commissioner
Demetrios A. Boutris said in a recent statement.  "If this suit helps
bring about a more transparent and efficient marketplace, the
department is all for it."

Meanwhile, Company spokeswoman Megan Hayden said she couldn't comment
on a suit she had yet to see, but this "sounds like a lot of the so-
called predatory lending allegations they have leveled against us
before."  

Ms. Hayden said the Company has been trying to talk with community
groups such as ACORN for a year.  "With ACORN, our efforts have been
met with factually misleading allegations instead of constructive
solutions," she said.


INTEGON GENERAL: Appeals Court Allows OEM Insurance Suit To Proceed
-------------------------------------------------------------------
The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that a class action can
proceed against Integon General Insurance Corporation.  The Appellate
Court decision paves the way for the plaintiffs to seek damages due to
the use of inferior replacement parts in the repair of their
automobiles.

In July 1998, Roy Sweeney of Broward County, was involved in an
accident resulting in damage to his car. The driver of the other car
was insured by IGIC. On March 16, 2000, Mr. Sweeney filed a suit
claiming that inferior parts were used in repairing his car rather than
better quality and more expensive original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
parts.  According to the suit, the use of non-OEM parts violates the
obligations IGIC owes to its' policyholders and others whose cars are
damaged by IGIC policyholders.

The suit also alleges that failure to use OEM parts raises safety
concerns for drivers and passengers, decreases the worth of the car,
and in some cases, may void the automobile manufacturer's warranty.

For more information, contact Cory Rubal of Searcy Denney Scarola
Barnhart & Shipley by Phone: 1-561-686-6300


KANSAS: Hutchinson Residents Sue Over January 2001 Yaggy Gas Leak
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Residents of Hutchinson, Reno County, Kansas have filed a suit against
the owners of the Yaggy natural gas storage, after leaking gas from a
cavern at the storage flowed in Hutchinson and caused explosions that
claimed two lives, the Hutchinson News reports.

The plaintiffs have now organized a town hall meeting on February 19 to
discuss the suit's progress.  The meeting is restricted to current and
potential class members, or any or all citizens of Reno County, said
Kansas City attorney John Edgar, who heads a legal team, which also
includes attorneys from Wichita and Hutchinson. Signatures will be
required at the door to gain admission.

The suit has yet to be certified as a class action by Reno County
District Court Judge Richard Rome.  According to Mr. Edgar, the conduct
of defendants Kansas Gas Service and Westar Energy will weigh heavily
on the class certification, along with "economy" to the class members.  
He tells the Hutchinson News, "Did the conduct of the defendants affect
numerous people in the same way?.Is a class action in this case
efficient? Many of the people involved sustained relatively small
damages, so it wouldn't be efficient for them to individually sue."

In addition, Mr. Edgar said Kansas Gas has shown little interest in
paying those small damage claims.  "It's kind of funny how the gas
company has settled the larger claims," he said. "I mean, they don't
want to see these people and they don't care. They don't want to
settle."

Stan Juhnke, another attorney for the plaintiffs, says a class action
is an economical way of dealing with the claims.  "They're usually a
situation, like this one, where for each individual involved to bring a
suit would be cost-prohibitive," he said. "It would tend to clog the
courts for years and years."

The Company has not commented on the suit's allegations.


METLIFE INC.: $200M Racial Discrimination Case Settlement Likely
----------------------------------------------------------------
MetLife, Inc. is setting aside about $200 million to cover expected
costs of reimbursing nonwhite customers who allegedly were victims of
past racial discrimination by the Company, according to people familiar
with the plans, in a recent report by The Wall Street Journal.  

The New York-based life insurer has been engaged in talks in recent
weeks about settling both the class action suit brought by African-
American policyholders and an investigation by the New York State
Insurance Department.  The suit is pending in Federal Court in
Manhattan, and US District Court Judge Harold Baer Jr. ruled that there
was enough evidence to allow the case to go forward to trial.  

The investigation and the lawsuit involving the Company is part of a
broad nationwide effort by insurance regulators and lawyers for
policyholders to obtain redress for nonwhites who were charged
discriminatory rates and sold inferior policies because of practices
prevalent in the insurance industry into the 1960s.

Although terms of the settlement have not entered the final stage,
talks have progressed to the point where an agreement is likely, making
it necessary for the company to establish a formal reserve.  The
announcement may come next Tuesday, when the Company is due to announce
its fourth quarter and full year earnings.

In front-page articles in 2000 and 2001, The Wall Street Journal
reported that the Company, at least into the 1950s, had used race as
the basis for selling non-Caucasians policies that cost more and
offered less benefits than those sold to whites.  Many of these
policies are still in force, and information made public so far
indicates that well over a million policyholders, or their heirs,
likely were affected.

The Company has said it was cooperating with the New York
investigation, but until recently was vigorously contesting the class
action.  Asked about the settlement talks and plans for establishing
the reserve, Company spokesman John Calagna said, "We have no comment."

The Company itself has not disclosed any specific numbers.  However, in
depositions in the class action, Company officials have said it sold
far more policies to blacks than any other major life insurer through
the first half of the 20th centruy because, unlike its competitors
then, the Company actively marketed to blacks.

The reserve is expected to cover the anticipated cost of reimbursement
to customers and their heirs, as well as other expenses such as legal
fees, administrative costs and any potential fines.

A New York Insurance spokeswoman declined to comment on the
likelihood of a settlement, and said, "It's our policy not to discuss
anything about pending investigations."

To date, the largest settlement in the series of suits and
investigations stemming from the inquiries into racial discrimination
in selling life insurance was $215 million by Houston-based American
General Corporation in 2000.  The Company admitted that until earlier
that year it had continued to collect higher premiums from blacks than
whites on identical policies issued through the early 1960s.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, internal Company documents
showed that, until the early 1950s, it had charged higher rates
to blacks than whites on small policies known as "industrial" life
insurance.  After that, the documents show, the Company continued to
use race as a base for funneling nonwhites to smaller, more costly
policies.


MICROSOFT CORPORATION: Justice Dep't Reveals Comments on Settlement
-------------------------------------------------------------------
The Justice Department finally released the public comments it received
by e-mail about their settlement of the federal antitrust class action
against Microsoft Corporation, with nine other states.  However, the
Department stated that of the more than 30,000 messages they received,
only 10% were substantive, according to Associated Press.

The Department said that it received around 7,500 comments from people
in favor of the settlement, and around 15,000 comments from those who
opposed it.  Another 7,000 comments were regarded as opinions, like "I
hate Microsoft."  The rest ranged from form letters from advocacy
groups in support and opposing the settlement, "spam" e-mail, and even
pornography.

The Department solicited public comment to comply with federal law,
which requires such comment period before a federal judge decides on
the settlement's fairness.  Federal Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is
scheduled to review the settlement at a March hearing.

Federal law also requires the government to publish the comments in the
Federal Register, which the Department estimates will cost about $4
million and cover 10,000 pages, according to Associated Press.  The
Department foresees their response to each comment will be finished by
the end of the month.  Given the volume of the comments received, the
Department also asked the Federal Judge handling the case to allow it
to publish them online and on CD-ROM.

According to AP, only a tenth of the more than 30,000 messages were
classified by the Department as "containing a degree of detailed
substance."  Department lawyers wrote, "These substantive comments
range from brief, one or two page discussions of some aspect of the
(settlement) to 100 or more pages, detailed discussions of numerous of
its provisions or alternatives."

As for the other comments, "The United States proposes not to publish
such submissions or to provide them as part of its filing to the
court," Justice Department lawyers wrote.


NICOR GAS: Settles IL Mercury Contamination Suit For $1.85 Million
------------------------------------------------------------------
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Paul Biebel, Jr. approved a $1.85
million settlement to the class action filed against Nicor Gas by
residents of suburban Chicago whose homes were contaminated with
mercury a year and a half ago, the Chicago Tribune reported.

In the summer of 2000, mercury was located in more than a thousand
homes where the Company contractors spilled the contaminant while
removing old gas regulators.  Eleven suits were filed accusing Nicor
Gas and its contractors of negligence.  The suits were later put on
hold, as the Company engaged in settlement negotiations with the
plaintiffs.

Under the settlement, the plaintiffs will receive payments of at least
$400 each.  The Chicago Tribune states that about 170 of these
households, which were forced to leave their homes while Company crews
cleaned them, will be eligible for a share of a $1 million relocation
payment fund. Each individual payment would vary from a few thousand
dollars to more than $10,000, attorneys said.

Judge Bieber said he found the settlement to be "fair, reasonable and
adequate," allowing the Company to take a significant step towards
resolving the charges.

However, the Company expects to face several other suits in the future
as 160 customers indicated they will not participate in the settlement.  
Lawyer Sean Kasserman told the Chicago Tribune "Most of my clients have
decided that the amount of money offered to them would not adequately
compensate them."  Attorneys for the dissenting plaintiffs said the
settlement figures were too low, citing the risks associated with
mercury exposure.  Mr. Kasserman also emphasized they will pursue the
"health" issue in court, saying "We'll find out more about the adverse
effects (of mercury), short-term and long-term."

Nicor Gas attorney Russ Strobel hailed the settlement, "We want to
close this chapter.The settlement is a gesture of good faith and
respect for our customers."


NORTH CAROLINA: Lawsuit Drafted To Stop Mental Health Services Cuts
-------------------------------------------------------------------
A group composed chiefly of retired public mental health workers is
drafting a class-action lawsuit against North Carolina's Department of
Health and Human Services (DHHS), in an effort to keep mental health
reforms from being instituted as proposed, The News & Observer
(Raleigh, NC), reported recently.  The suit, which represents patients
as well as employees, will be filed this week in Wake County Superior
Court.

The group, denoted as Friends of Public Mental Health of North Carolina
Inc., contends that the State's plan to reform mental health services
will gut services to patients and result in lost jobs for public health
workers, most of whom are State and local government employees.  The
lawsuit will ask the Court to stop the State from moving forward with
the plan, calling, instead, for small pilot projects to determine what
works.  "The fact of the matter is, we're almost desperate to find some
means to stop this train before there's a huge train wreck," said
Michael L. Unti, a Raleigh lawyer representing the group.

The group has been a vocal opponent of the State's reform efforts since
plans were first announced.  As proposed by DHHS Secretary Carmen
Hooker Odom, mental health services would move from State control to
community control.  County governments would decide whether to set up a
mental health board or join with other counties to form a board.  In
most cases, the boards no longer would offer treatment and services,
but would instead contract with private agencies to provide services.

The idea of private agencies as providers is the component of the
State's plan, which is opposed by the mental health group which fears
that private agencies will be motivated by money, not patient
progress.  Dr. Thomas Smith, a retired psychiatrist and one of the
group's leaders, numerated his concerns about the plan in a 13-page,
single-spaced thesis.  He warns that:

     (1) private companies will offer a patchwork of services that
         patients would not be able to figure out;

     (2) private companies will turn away poor patients or people
         without insurance; and

     (3) they would leave town when money grew tight

"A strong impetus for the new plan comes from private contractual
entrepreneurs who look to make a financial `killing' in the process,"  
Mr. Smith wrote.  "Have we, the public, learned nothing from such major
private sector experiences as the recent astronomical airport security
boondoggle?"

Mr. Smith and his group also worry that public health professionals,
psychiatrists, counselors and social workers, no longer would have
jobs when county governments become contracting agents instead of
treatment providers.  

Ms. Hooker Odom said such concerns are unfounded, because new
opportunities would arise in private companies.  Moreover, she said,
"How the network is established is important in how it meets the needs
of clients, not by whether it's offered by public or private
organizations."

Mr. Smith's group also contends that the State's plans for reform will
double the cost of mental health services, which now cost $1.7 billion.
Ms. Hooker Odom said that she never suggested reforms would be cheap.
She said whatever savings are realized by less reliance on mental
hospitals and other residential centers, would need to be plowed back
into the programs.

"What I have said is that we need to allocate resources to better serve
people," she said, noting that a 1999 US Supreme Court decision called
for community programs, not big institutions, to treat mental health
needs.  Ms. Odom's plan was, in large part, a direct result of that
ruling.  Last summer, the US Department of Justice announced a civil
rights investigation into the mental hospitals, prompting the State's
General Assembly to pass a bill calling for reform in the State's
system.

The new reforms are threatened not only by the lawsuit brought by the
Friends of Public Mental Health, but by a tight state budget.  Ms.
Odom said she hopes the $48 million set aside by the General Assembly
last year for mental health programs will not be tapped instead to help
balance the budget.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Tobacco Companies For Litigation Reimbursements
-------------------------------------------------------------------
The four major tobacco companies that were charged in the landmark West
Virginia medical monitoring class action want the lawyers who filed the
suit to reimburse their expenses for photocopying, transcripts, visual
displays and other aids, according to the Associated Press.

The four companies, Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson
and Lorillard, filed the motion before Ohio County Circuit Judge Arthur
Recht, asking for a total of $304,667, including $75,630 for
depositions from the smokers' witnesses and $45,411 for depositions of
their own witnesses.

The suit was commenced last year by 250,000 healthy West Virginian
smokers, requesting that the companies be forced to pay for a medical
monitoring program to earlier detect smoking-related diseases such as
emphysema or lung cancer.  The suit also contended that the companies
made a defective product, and were negligent in their efforts to make a
better one.  In November, jurors rejected the suit, saying that
cigarettes are not defective, and their makers have not been negligent
in designing or manufacturing them.

Deborah McHenry, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers told AP, "I've just
never seen anything like it."  She added West Virginia law does not
support the arguments for reimbursement. In her response to the
petition, McHenry urged Judge Recht to consider the impact such an
award might have on other cases, saying "If this is the road we're
going down in litigation, it would have a tremendous chilling effect."

No hearing date on the petition has been set.


                            Securities Fraud


ELAN CORPORATION: Glancy Binkow Initiates Securities Suit in S.D. NY
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Glancy & Binkow LLP commenced a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf
of a persons who purchased Elan Corporation, PLC (NYSE: ELN) American
Depository Receipts (ADRs) between January 2, 2001 and January 29,
2002, inclusive.

The suit charges the Company and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of federal securities laws. Among other things,
plaintiff claims that defendants' material omissions and the
dissemination of materially false and misleading statements regarding
the nature of the Company's revenues and earnings caused Company stock
price to become artificially inflated, inflicting enormous damages on
investors.

For further details, contact Michael Goldberg or Lionel Z. Glancy by
Mail: 1801 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 311, Los Angeles, California
90067 by Phone: (310) 201-9150 or (888) 773-9224 or by E-mail:
info@glancylaw.com


ELAN CORPORATION: Weiss Yourman Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Weiss and Yourman initiates a securities class action against Elan
Corporation (NYSE:ELN) and certain of its officers and directors in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, on
behalf of purchasers of the Company's securities between December 21,
2000 and February 1, 2002.

The suit charges the defendants with violations of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and alleges that defendants issued false and
misleading statements that artificially inflated the stock.

For more information, contact David C. Katz, James E. Tullman and/or
Mark D. Smilow by Mail: The French Building, 551 Fifth Avenue, Suite
1600, New York NY 10176 by Phone: (888) 593-4771 or (212) 682-3025 by
E-mail: info@wynyc.com


ELAN CORPORATION: Lowey Dannenberg Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Lowey Dannenberg Bemporad & Selinger, PC initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York on behalf of purchasers of the securities of Elan Corporation
PLC (NYSE: ELN) from April 23, 2001 through and including February 4,
2002, inclusive.

The suit alleges that defendants violated the Securities Exchange Act
of 1934 by issuing materially false and misleading statements and
failing to disclose material information during the class period,
thereby artificially inflating the price of Company securities.

Specifically, the suit alleges that the Company concealed joint
ventures, recognized income from companies in which it had invested
(so-called "round-trip" revenue), and concealed material related-party
transactions.

On January 30, 2002, this conduct was revealed by an article in the
Wall Street Journal and in response, Company ADRs dropped to as low as
$22.40 on volume of more than 37 million shares (from a close the
previous day of $35.20) and closed at $29.25.

Thereafter, on February 4, 2002, the Company reported its financial
results for the year ended December 31, 2001, reflecting net charges of
$196.4 million for asset write-downs and rationalization and
integration activities. The Company also disclosed that if certain off-
balance sheet arrangements (pursuant to which it guaranteed the
indebtedness of certain entities) were consolidated as of December 31,
2000 and 2001, the effect on net income would be a loss of $333.4
million (instead of $294.5 million reported) and gain of only $211.4
million (instead of $347.7 million reported) in those years
respectively.

In response, Company ADRs lost over 50% of their remaining value,
dropping to $14.84 per share from a close of $29.95 on volume of over
54 million shares.

For more information, contact David Harrison or Michelle Rago by Mail:
The Gateway, 11th Floor, One North Lexington Avenue, White Plains, NY
10601-1714 by Phone: 877-777-3581 (toll free) by E-mail:
ldbs@westnet.com or visit the firm's Web site: http://www.ldbs.com


ELAN CORPORATION: Schoengold Sporn Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Schoengold & Sporn, PC initiated a securities class action on behalf of
all persons and entities that purchased the publicly traded securities
of Elan Corporation, PLC (NYSE:ELN) during the period from April 23,
2001 through and including February 3, 2002.  The suit is pending in
the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York,
against the Company and certain of its officers and directors:

     (1) Donal J. Geaney,

     (2) Thomas Lynch and

     (3) Shane Cooke

Throughout the class period, it is alleged that defendants made
materially false and misleading statements and press releases
concerning its publicly reported revenues and earnings and thus
artificially inflating the market price of the Company's securities.

On January 30, 2002, an article by Jesse Eisinger in The Wall Street
Journal entitled "Research Partnerships Give Irish Drug Maker Rosy
Financial Glow," reported that the Company's public filings and
published financial reports during the class period contained
misleading accounting practices that falsely inflated its net income
and shareholder equity.

The article revealed that:

     (i) the Company was funding Company -controlled joint ventures and
         recording payments as "revenue" but not recording the
         ventures' losses; and

    (ii) recording one-time gains as operating revenues.

The Company has vehemently denied any improper accounting practices.

Moreover, on February 4, 2002, in its detailed reckoning of its fourth-
quarter and full-year 2001 results, the Company shocked the investing
public by including a profit warning of what would happen if the
Company included losses and debt for two off-balance-sheet entities
which contained its investment in biotechnology companies.

It also warned that its earnings would have been significantly lower if
the losses from the two off-balance sheet entities were included on its
financial statements, suggesting that last year's profit would have
been $211.4 million, or $0.59 per share, instead of the reported $347.7
million, or $0.97 per share.

Furthermore, if the two off-balance sheet entities were included, the
Company's total debt would have been $3 billion, approximately $1
billion more than currently shown on its balance sheet. The Company
further stated that its net income for the fourth quarter fell 84% to
$8.5 million, or two cents per share, from $54 million, or 15 cents per
share.

In response to this admission that its previously reported net income
was dramatically overstated and that its debt was dramatically
inflated, the Company's shares plunged more than 50% from $35.2 on
January 29, 2002 to $14.85, a 52 week low, on January 30, 2002 with
over 54 million shares trading in a single day.

For further details, contact Jay P. Saltzman or Ashley Kim by Mail:
19 Fulton Street, Suite 406, New York, New York 10038 by Phone:
(212) 964-0046 or (866) 348-7700 by Fax: (212) 267-8137 or by E-mail:
Shareholderrelations@spornlaw.com


EMEX CORPORATION: Asks For Dismissal of Securities Suit in S.D. NY
------------------------------------------------------------------
Emex Corporation asked the US District Court for the Southern District
of New York to dismiss the securities class action commenced in June
2001 by a shareholder who purchased the Company's shares in April and
May 2001.

The shareholder alleged that he relied on a press release issued by the
Company concerning project financing for the construction of a natural
gas conversion plant for its Blue Star subsidiary to purchase the
stock. The suit alleged that the press release overstated the role of
Credit Suisse First Boston Corporation in the potential financing and
was therefore false and misleading.

Two additional suits were commenced in June and July, 2001, based on
similar allegations.  These suits were later consolidated into on
action in October 2001.  An amended suit was later filed, which
substantially repeated the allegations of the original complaints and
referred to another Company press release which the plaintiffs alleged
contained misleading statements.

The suit named as defendants the Company and:

     (1) Walter W. Tyler,

     (2) Milton E. Stanson,

     (3) Vincent P. Iannazzo,

     (4) David H. Peipers,

     (5) Universal Equities Consolidated, LLC and

     (6) Thorn Tree Resources, LLC

The dismissal motion is pending in court.


ENRON CORPORATION: Executives To Appear Before House Energy Committee
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Executives of fallen energy trader, Enron Corporation, are due to
appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss the
results of its investigation into the Company's collapse, according to
a Reuters report.  

Earlier, Committee Chair Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-Louisiana, revealed that
their initial invetigation has "uncovered substantial evidence of
illegal activity" with regard to the Company's accounting practices.
The probe found that former chief executive Jeffrey Skilling, former
Chairman and CEO Kenneth Lay and the Company's directors failed in
their oversight duties. It also said former Chief Financial Officer
Andrew Fastow and others enriched themselves with shady partnerships
that damaged the once-mighty energy giant.

Mr. Skilling's spokeswoman Judy Leon told Reuters Mr. Skilling had no
plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to testify to avoid self-
incrimination, and would appear before the committee Thursday with no
guarantees of immunity from prosecution.

Mr. Lay, on the other hand, backed out of voluntary testimony before
two congressional committees this week but was later subpoenaed to
appear on February 12 and 14.  Mr. Fastow asked to be released from a
subpoena requiring him to appear at the hearing Thursday, but the
request was rejected.  Lawyers for Mr. Fastow and Michael Kopper, a
former employee also criticized in the probe, say both will invoke
their Fifth Amendment rights, Reuters reported.

Former Enron employee Donna Muniz told Reuters she would just like to
hear her former bosses' explanations, "I would just like to hear their
stories.I don't want to hear a lot of pointing fingers. I just want
them to tell basically what they feel happened and let other people
decide whose fault it is."

Rod Jordan, Co-Chairman of the Severed Enron Employees Coalition, said
the main thing he wants to hear from Lay, Skilling and anyone else is
"the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, which will be
unusual in this Enron thing."


GLOBAL CROSSING: Schiffrin Barroway Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. NY
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP initiated a securities class action in the
United States District Court for the Western District of New York on
behalf of all purchasers of the common stock of Global Crossing, Ltd
(NYSE: GX) (OTC Bulletin Board: GBLXQ) from April 28, 1999 through
October 4, 2001, inclusive.

The suit alleges that certain of the Company's officers and directors
violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The suit charges that
during the class period, defendants issued false and misleading
statements, press releases, and SEC filings concerning the Company's
financial condition, as well as its ability to generate sufficient cash
revenue from new revenue sources considering the failing market for
broadband access.

Prior to the disclosure of the Company's true financial condition, the
defendants and other Company insiders sold holdings of its common stock
for proceeds of more than $149 million. In addition, during the class
period defendants caused the Company to sell notes on favorable terms
to itself, which generated $1 billion in investor capital.

In October 2001, the Company announced that cash revenues in the third
quarter would be approximately $1.2 billion, $400 million less than the
$1.6 billion expected by analysts and forecast several times earlier in
the year by defendants. In addition, the Company and the defendants
stated that they expected recurring adjusted EBITDA to be
"significantly less than $100 million" compared to forecasts of $400
million made several times earlier in the year. Following this series
of announcements, the Company's share priced plummeted nearly 50% to
$1.07 per share on extremely heavy trading volume.

Subsequently, with its stock trading at well under a dollar per share
of common stock, the Company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection
on January 28, 2002 after becoming unable to service its debt.

For more information, contact Marc A. Topaz or Stuart L. Berman 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


GLOBAL CROSSING: Cauley Geller Initiates Securities Suit in W.D. NY
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP commenced a securities class action
in the United States District Court for the Western District of New
York on behalf of purchasers of Global Crossing, LTD. (NYSE: GX; OTC
Bulletin Board: GBLXQ) common stock during the period between April 28,
1999 and October 4, 2001, inclusive.

The suit charges certain of the Company's officers and directors
violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, alleging that during the
class period, defendants issued false and misleading statements, press
releases, and SEC filings concerning the Company's financial condition,
as well as its ability to generate sufficient cash revenue from new
revenue sources considering the failing market for broadband access.

Prior to the disclosure of the Company's true financial condition, the
individual defendants and other insiders sold holdings of Company stock
for proceeds of more than $149 million. In addition, during the class
period defendants caused the Company to sell notes on favorable terms
to itself, which generated $1 billion in investor capital.

On October 4, 2001, the Company announced that cash revenues in the
third quarter would be approximately $1.2 billion, $400 million less
than the $1.6 billion expected by analysts and forecast several times
earlier in the year by defendants. In addition, the Company and the
defendants stated that they expected recurring adjusted EBITDA to be
"significantly less than $100 million" compared to forecasts of $400
million made several times earlier in the year.  Following this series
of announcements, Company share price plummeted nearly 50% to $1.07 per
share on extremely heavy trading volume.

Subsequently, with its stock trading at well under a dollar per share
of common stock, the Company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection
on January 28, 2002 after becoming unable to service its debt.

For further details, contact Jackie Addison, Sue Null or Shelly
Nicholson by Mail: P.O. Box 25438, Little Rock, AR 72221-5438 by Phone:
1-888-551-9944 or by E-mail: info@classlawyer.com


GLOBAL CROSSING: Berger Montague Commences Securities Suit in C.D. CA
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Berger & Montague, PC filed a securities class action against certain
of the officers and directors of Global Crossing, Ltd. (NYSE: GX) in
the United States District Court for the Central District of
California, on behalf of all persons or entities who purchased the
Company's common stock during the period from January 2, 2001 through
October 4, 2001.

The suit charges certain of the Company's officers and directors with
violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act
of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder by the Securities and
Exchange Commission. The suit alleges that during the class period,
defendants issued false and misleading statements and press releases
concerning the Company's financial statements, their ability to offset
declining wholesale demand for bandwidth capacity with higher-margin,
customized data services and its ability to generate sufficient cash
revenue to service its debt.

During the class period, before the disclosure of the true facts, the
defendants and certain Company insiders sold their personally held
common stock generating more than $149 million in proceeds and the
Company raised $1 billion in an offering of senior notes.

However, the full extent of the Company's cash flow crisis and its
failure to compete in the market for customized communications services
began to emerge on Oct 4, 2001. On that date, the Company announced
that: cash revenues in the third quarter would be approximately $1.2
billion, $400 million less than the $1.6 million expected by a
consensus of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call.  The
cash revenue shortfall was purportedly the result of a "sharp fall-off"
in wholesale IRU sales to carrier customers.

The Company further announced that it expected recurring adjusted
EBITDA to be "significantly less than $100 million," compared to
forecasts of $400 million. Following these announcements, Company share
price plunged by 49% to $1.07 per share.

For more information, contact Sherrie R. Savett, Barbara A. Podell or
Kimberly A. Walker by Mail: 1622 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
by Phone: (888) 891-2289 or (215) 875-3000 by Fax: (215) 875-5715 by E-
mail: InvestorProtect@bm.net or visit the firm's Web site:
http://www.bergermontague.com


GLOBAL CROSSING: Lovell Stewart Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Lovell & Stewart, LLP lodged a securities class action on behalf of all
persons who acquired the common stock of Global Crossing Ltd. (NYSE:GX)
between August 13, 1998 and February 6, 2002, inclusive.  The suit is
pending in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York

The lawsuit asserts claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated by the SEC
thereunder and seeks to recover damages.  The suit alleges that certain
current and former officers and directors of the Company violated the
federal securities laws by failing to disclose that the Company's
earnings were artificially inflated by:

     (1) the inclusion in revenues of sums not actually received in
         cash;

     (2) counting as revenues exchanges of bandwidth capacity with
         other communications companies;

     (3) booking "up front" revenue from twenty-year contracts known as
         indefeasible rights of use or "IRUs" even though the Company
         had deceptively entered into offsetting contracts for rights
         of use,

     (4) misleadingly accounting for purchases of capacity from other
         companies that effectively offset the above-mentioned "IRUs"
         as capital expenditures, thereby artificially lowering the
         Company's operating expenses, and

     (5) failing to disclose that the Company's artificially inflated
         earnings were part of a course of conduct calculated to enable
         top management to cash out of their own positions in Company
         stock at artificially inflated prices.

The suit further alleges that the Company's auditors, Arthur Andersen
LLP, violated the federal securities laws by issuing unqualified audit
opinions on the Company's revenues and earnings reports that Andersen
knew or recklessly failed to discover were false and misleading.

The suit alleges that the foregoing misstatements and omissions of
material facts in violation of the federal securities laws had the
effect of artificially inflating the Company's share price. Company
stock traded as high as $23.75 in 2001, but closed at $0.30 on February
6, 2002 after the truth concerning its misleading IRU accounting became
known to the market.

Before the market for Company stock collapsed, however, insiders
managed to sell over $1.3 billion of their own stock at artificially
inflated prices.

For more information, contact Christopher Lovell or Christopher J. Gray
by Phone: 212/608-1900 or by E-mail: sklovell@aol.com


HANOVER COMPRESSOR: Schiffrin Barroway Lodges Securities Suit in TX
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP commenced a securities class action in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas -
Houston Division on behalf of all purchasers of the common stock of
Hanover Compressor Company (NYSE: HC) from November 8, 2000 through
January 28, 2002, inclusive.

The suit alleges that certain of the Company's officers and directors
violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The suit charges that
during the class period, defendants issued false and misleading
statements, press releases, and SEC filings concerning its financial
condition. These statements had the effect of artificially inflating
the price per share of the Company's common stock and other securities.

The Company's true state of fiscal affairs was in fact substantially
different than reported to the markets. On January 28, 2002, the
Company would reveal various investments and joint ventures for which
it never recorded the investment amount or purchase price, but for
which the Company recorded revenue from in order to bolster its claims
of growth.

Specifically, the true facts, which were known by the defendants during
the class period but concealed from the public, were:

     (1) the $16 million in revenue and $2.6 million in net income
         recognized in 3rd and 4th Quarters associated with the Hampton
         Roads fabrication project should not have been recognized;

     (2) the registration statement omits the Hampton Roads project and
         incorporates the Company's false and misleading 3rd and 4th
         Quarter 2000 financial results; and

     (3) the Company's financial statements for Q101 through Q301 were
         false in that the revenue and EPS were overstated and they
         failed to disclose the impact of the questionable Hampton
         Roads joint venture.

For more information, contact Marc A. Topaz or Stuart L. Berman 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


HANOVER COMPRESSOR: Scott Scott Commences Securities Suit in S.D. TX
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Scott + Scott LLC initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of Texas on behalf of
purchasers of Hanover Compressor Company (NYSE:HC) publicly traded
securities during the period between Nov. 8, 2000 and Jan. 28, 2002.

The suit charges the Company and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, alleging
violations of the federal securities laws arising out of defendants'
issuance of false financial statements and other false and misleading
statements about the Company's operating performance.

The true facts, which were known by the defendants during the class
period but concealed from the public, were:

     (1) the $16 million in revenue and $2.6 million in net income
         recognized in the 3rd and 4th Quarters associated with the
         Hampton Roads fabrication project should not have been
         recognized as it did not reflect the percentage of the
         project's completion;

     (2) the Company's "former majority partner" in the Hampton Roads
         project was actually replaced on March 19, 2001, not July
         2001;

     (3) defendants "paid off" the investor in Hampton Roads the sum of
         $1 million in exchange for the investor's signature on the
         sham transaction documents on or before Sept. 30, 2000, in
         order for the Company to use the same to inflate its revenue
         and earnings as early as 3rd Quarter 2000;

     (4) defendants issued a "side letter" to the Hampton Roads
         investor offering to loan up to $40 million to the joint
         venture in order to induce the investor to enter into the
         agreement by Sept. 30, 2000;

     (5) in winter 2000, defendants actually knew that the Hampton
         Roads project completion date had been pushed out to 2003 or
         2004, not 2001;

     (6) the registration statement omits the Hampton Roads project and
         incorporates the Company's false and misleading 3rd and 4th
         quarter 2000 financial results;

     (7) the Company's financial statements for 1st to 3rd Quarters
         2001 were false in that the revenue and EPS were overstated
         and they failed to disclose the impact of the dubious Hampton
         Roads project. Moreover, these statements (in addition to the
         registration statement/prospectus) concealed the fact that the
         investor in the transaction advised defendants in February
         2001 that it sought to back out of the venture; and

     (8) on Feb. 6, 2001, the investor in Hampton Roads demanded a
         refund of his $4 million.

Further, in a secret "behind-the-scenes" type transaction, the Company
refused to refund the money directly to the investor. Instead,
defendants forwarded the money to a company related to the investor so
that the transaction would go uncovered.

Finally, defendants arranged for the "related company" to issue a
promissory note to the Company in the amount of $4 million (the same
amount as the refund) which it agreed in an oral "side agreement" not
to insist upon payment.

For more information, contact Neil Rothstein, David R. Scott or James
E. Miller by Phone: 1-800-404-7770 by E-mail:
nrothstein@scott-scott.com, drscott@scott-scott.com or
jmiller@scott-scott.com or visit the firm's Web site:
http://www.scott-scott.com


INTIMATE BRANDS: Shareholders Sue To Block The Limited, Inc. Merger
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of Intimate Brands, Inc., the parent company of Victoria's
Secret and Bath & Body Works, have filed at least 11 securities suits
in Delaware Chancery Court, seeking to block The Limited Inc.'s plans
to acquire the company.

The Limited, Inc., which owns 84% of the Company, earlier proposed to
swap stock with more than 4,100 holders of the Company's share and
merge the two companies.  Under the proposal, Company shareholders
would get 1.046 shares of Limited stock for each of their shares.

The suits allege that the sale undervalues their stock is and is
"grossly unfair" to shareholders.  Company directors allegedly "failed
to put (the company) up for auction in response to Limited's offer and
have thereby allowed the price of Intimate Brands stock to be capped."

Investment partnership Harbor, which owns an unspecified number of
Company stocks, filed one of the suits. Individuals and entities, such
as a trading company and a religious school, filed the others.  
Harbor's suit points out that the Company has not appointed "any truly
independent person or entity" to negotiate on behalf of shareholders,
the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Limited spokesman, Anthony Hebron said their officials expect the
Company to form a special committee of its Board to evaluate the stock
offer.  The Company has not responded publicly to the offer but is
obligated under SEC regulations to respond to the offer by February 19.

Through a spokesman, the Company said any comment on the proposed
merger would come from the Special Committee, but didn't say when a
meeting would be convened.  According to the Columbus Dispatch, a
number of the Company's largest institutional investors declined
comment on the proposed merger and ensuing lawsuits, as did several
large investors in Limited.


MCLEOD USA: Schatz Nobel Initiates Securities Fraud Suit in N.D. Iowa
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Schatz and Nobel PC commenced a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa on behalf of
all persons who purchased common stock of McLeodUSA, Inc. (formerly
Nasdaq: MCLD; now OTC Bulletin Board: MCLDQ) between January 30, 2001,
and December 3, 2001, inclusive.

The suit alleges that the Company, a provider of communications
services to business and residential customers in the Midwestern and
Rocky Mountain regions of the United States, and several members of its
top management misled the investing public during the class period
about the financial vitality of the Company.

In order to maintain the value of its stock and complete the
acquisition of Intellispan, the Company made several false
representations, including statements that:

     (1) it would complete construction of its national network;

     (2) the Company had the financial wherewithal to continue its
         business plan through 2003; and

     (3) financial statements which failed to properly write down the
         value of impaired assets.

On October 3, 2001, the truth was partially revealed when the Company
announced it was abandoning plans to build a national network and was
taking a $2.9 billion write down of goodwill and other long-lived
assets. Finally on December 3, 2001, the Company admitted it could not
continue operating without a drastic recapitalization plan which would
result in a significant dilution of common stock value.

The price of the Company's common stock fell 98%, from a class period
high of $20.75 to only $0.41 per share.

For more information, contact Andrew M. Schatz, Patrick A. Klingman or
Wayne T. Boulton by Phone: 800-797-5499 by E-mail: sn06106@aol.com or
visit the firm's Web site: http://www.snlaw.net.


ONYX ACCEPTANCE: Plaintiffs Appeal Dismissal of Securities Suit in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in the securities class action against Onyx Acceptance
Corporation appealed a California federal court's decision dismissing
the suit, which alleges violations of federal securities laws.

The suit was commenced in January 2000 against the Company and certain
of its officers and directors in the United States District Court for
the Southern District of California, alleging violations of Section
10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934.  The
charges arose from the Company's use of the cash-in method of measuring
and accounting for credit enhancement assets in its financial
statements.

The Company stated that its previous use of the cash-in method of
measuring and accounting for credit enhancement assets was consistent
with then current generally accepted accounting principles and
accounting practices of other finance companies.

As required by Financial Accounting Standards Board's Special Report,
"A Guide to Implementation of Statement 125 on Accounting for Transfers
and Servicing of Financial Assets and Extinguishment of Liabilities,
Second Edition," dated December 1998 and related statements made by the
staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Company
retroactively changed the method of measuring and accounting for credit
enhancement assets to the cash-out method and restated its financial
statements for 1996, 1997 and the first three fiscal quarters of 1998.

The Company intends to vigorously defend against such proceedings, but
warns that an adverse outcome to the litigation could materially and
adversely affected its business and financial position.


REGENERATION TECHNOLOGIES: Kirby McInerney Files Securities Suit in FL
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Kirby McInerney & Squire LLP commenced a securities class action in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida on
behalf of all purchasers of Regeneration Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:
RTIX) during the period from May 2, 2001 and January 31, 2002.

The suit charges the Company as well as its Chief Financial Officer and
its Vice President of Sales and Marketing, with violations of Sections
10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The violations,
as the complaint alleges, stem from the issuance of allegedly false and
misleading financial statements and financial projections during the
class period, which had the effect, during the class period, of
artificially-inflating the price of Company shares.

On February 1, 2002, the Company issued a press release disclosing a
number of surprises concerning the Company, including:

     (1) that it would be delaying its planned announcement of its
         financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of
         2001;

     (2) that, rather than reporting a profit for the fourth quarter
         and year of 2001 (as defendants had led the market to expect),
         the Company expected to report a loss for both the fourth
         quarter and full year of 2001;

     (3) that the delay in releasing these surprising and worse-than-
         expected financial results was a result of "certain inventory
         issues that were identified in the process of completing the
         preparation of (the Company's ) annual financial statements
         for the year ended December 31, 2001;"

     (4) that release of the Company's fourth quarter and full year
         financial results could be delayed several weeks "while
         management completes its evaluation" of the inventory issues;

     (5) that the Company was also "evaluating whether these issues may
         affect its previously reported quarterly financial results;"
         and

     (6) that the Company's Chief Financial Officer and its Vice
         President for Sales and Marketing had left employment with the
         company, effective immediately.

After disclosure that the Company's current financial results would not
be as expected (i.e., a loss rather than a profit), and that
previously-reported financial results might not be what they seemed
(i.e., an accurate financial summary of the company's operations),
Company shares swiftly lost more than 50% of their value before Nasdaq
halted trading in the stock several hours later, falling $5.19 per
share (from the previous day's closing price of $10.15 per share) to
last trade at $4.96 per share on February 1, 2002.

For more information, contact Ira M. Press or Orie Braun by Mail: 830
Third Avenue, 10th Floor - New York, New York 10022 by Phone:
212-317-2300 or visit the firm's Website: http://www.kmslaw.com


SUPREMA SPECIALTIES: Two Law Firms Initiate Securities Suit in NJ
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Goodkind Labaton Rudoff & Sucharow LLP and Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP
commenced a securities class action filed on behalf of all persons and
entities who acquired the common stock of Suprema Specialties, Inc.
(NASDAQ:CHEZ) during the period of August 8, 2001 to December 21, 2001
inclusive.  The suit is pending in the United States District Court for
the District of New Jersey against the Company and:

     (1) Mark Cocchiola, CEO and President and

     (2) Steven Venechanos, former CFO

The suit charges defendants with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b(5) promulgated
thereunder by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Plaintiff
alleges that during the period of August 8, 2001 to December 21, 2001
inclusive, defendants issued a series of material misrepresentations to
the market in press releases and SEC filings thereby artificially
inflating the price of Company securities.

Specifically, the complaint charges that defendants issued quarterly
and annual press releases and filed reports with the SEC favorably
portraying the Company's business and financial condition. The suit
also charges that the representations were materially false and
misleading because the Company was using suspect accounting practices
in reporting its financial performance, which distorted its reported
financial statements.

In November 2001, the Company commenced a secondary offering of common
stock pursuant to a registration statement filed with the SEC
containing allegedly misleading financial information. In the secondary
offering, the Company and certain shareholders including, defendants,
Cocchiola and Venechanos sold a total of 4,050,000 shares at a price of
$12.75 per share.

Subsequently, on December 21, 2001, the Company issued a press release
announcing that it is conducting an internal investigation into the
Company's previously filed financial statements and that defendant
Venechanos has resigned from his position as Chief Financial Officer.
Immediately after this announcement, the Nasdaq Stock Exchange halted
trading in Company stock pending its receipt of additional information.
Company stock has not resumed trading.

For more information, contact Emily Komlossy or Stacey Fishbein of
Goodking Labaton Rudoff and Sucharow by Mail: 100 Park Avenue, 12th
Floor New York NY 10017-5563 by Phone: 212-907-0700 or by E-mail:
ekomlossy@glrslaw.com or sfishbein@glrslaw.com or contact Nadeem Faruqi
by Mail: 320 East 39th Street New York, New York 10016 by Phone: (212)
983-9330 by E-mail: nfaruqi@faruqilaw.com or visit the firm's Web
sites: http://www.glrslaw.comor http://www.faruqilaw.com.


WILLIAMS COMPANIES: Berman DeValerio Files Securities Suit in N.D. OK
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Berman DeValerio Pease Tabacco Burt and Pucillo initiated a securities
class action against Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB), its top
officers and its underwriters, claiming that regulatory documents filed
by the company violated federal securities laws, in the U.S. District
Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

The suit seeks damages on behalf of investors who bought the Company's
notes in or traceable to its January 7, 2002 offering. These notes were
convertible into common stock and known as FELINE PACS--NYSE:WMB--pi--.
Unlike other recent class actions filed against the Company, this suit
focuses narrowly on the January 7 offering.

The suit alleges that documents filed by the Company in connection with
its offering failed to adequately disclose more than $2.4 billion in
credit, support and lease obligations that it had at the time of the
offering. The suit also says that those documents incorporated by
reference previous financial filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission that had not properly accounted for these obligations.

Specifically, the complaint says that the Company had provided credit
support and lease guarantees for certain debt and obligations of
Williams Communications Group, Inc. (WCG), a former subsidiary spun off
in March 2001. Although the offering documents including the prospectus
and prospectus supplement, disclosed those contingent obligations, they
misleadingly described them as a "risk," when it was clear by the time
of the offering that WCG could not meet its obligations, would default
on its debt and that the Company would be responsible for $2.15
billion, plus $250 million in other expenses omitted from the
prospectus.

The Company also failed to account for these obligations in its earlier
financial reports, which were incorporated by reference into the
offering documents, the complaint says.

On January 29, 2002, just three weeks following the offering, the
complaint says, the Company stunned investors by announcing that it was
delaying the release of its fiscal 2001 financial results to account
for the $2.4 billion obligation, which included $250 million in costs
that were not even mentioned in the offering documents. The disclosure
devastated Company stock prices and hence the value of its FELINE PACS,
which were tied to the price of that stock.

For more information, contact Michael G. Lange or Steven Morris by
Mail: One Liberty Square, Boston, MA 02109 by Phone: (800) 516-9926 by
E-mail: law@bermanesq.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.bermanesq.com.


WILLIAMS COMPANIES: Glancy Binkow Initiates Securities Suit in N.D. OK
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Glancy & Binkow LLP commenced a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma on behalf
of all persons who purchased securities of Williams Companies, Inc.
(NYSE: WMB) and Williams Communications Group, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) between
July 24, 2000 and January 29, 2002, inclusive.

The suit charges the two companies and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of federal securities laws. Among other
things, plaintiff claims that defendants' material omissions and the
dissemination of materially false and misleading statements regarding
the nature of both companies' revenues and earnings caused their stock
price to become artificially inflated, inflicting enormous damages on
investors.

For more information, contact Michael Goldberg or Lionel Z. Glancy by
Mail: 1801 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 311, Los Angeles, California
90067 by Phone: (310) 201-9150 or (888) 773-9224 or by E-mail:
info@glancylaw.com.


WILLIAMS COMPANIES: Rabin Peckel Commences Securities Suit in N.D. OK
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Rabin and Peckel LLP initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma on behalf
of purchasers of Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE: WMB) securities in or
traceable to the January 7, 2002 offering.  The suit was brought
against the Company, its officers and directors, and the underwriters
of the offering.

The suit alleges that defendants violated the Securities Act of 1933
because the registration statement and prospectus filed by the Company
in connection with the offering failed to adequately disclose more than
$2.4 billion in credit, support and lease obligations.

In particular, the complaint alleges the Company had provided credit
support and lease guarantees for certain debt and obligations of
Williams Communications Group, Inc. (WCG), a former subsidiary spun off
in March 2001.  The Company represented those contingent obligations as
a "risk," when at the time of the offering WCG could not meet its
obligations and would default on its debt and that the Company would be
responsible for $2.15 billion, plus $250 million in other expenses
entirely omitted from the prospectus. The Company also failed to
account for these obligations in its earlier financial reports, which
were incorporated by reference into the offering documents.

On January 29, 2002, the Company stunned the market by announcing that
it was delaying the release of its fiscal 2001 financial results to
account for the $2.4 billion obligation.

For more information, contact Eric Belfi or Maurice Pesso by Mail: 275
Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016 by Phone: (800) 497-8076 or
(212) 682-1818 by Fax: (212) 682-1892 or by E-mail: email@rabinlaw.com.


WILLIAMS COMPANIES: Abbey Gardy Initiates Securities Suit in N.D. OK
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Abbey Gardy LLP commences a securities class action on behalf of all
person who acquired common stock of Williams Companies, Inc. (NYSE:WMB)
and/or Williams Communication Group, Inc. (NYSE:WCG) during the period
between July 24, 2000 and January 29, 2002, inclusive.  The suit was
filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of
Oklahoma.  Named as defendants are:

     (1) Williams Companies, Inc.,

     (2) Williams Communications Group, Inc.,

     (3) Keith E. Bailey,

     (4) Howard E. Janzen, and

     (5) Scott E. Schubert

The suit alleges that the defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder, by issuing a series of material misrepresentations to the
market between July 24, 2000 and January 29, 2002, thereby artificially
inflating the price of WMB common stock and WCG common stock.

Specifically, the suit alleges that WMB and WCG issued a series of
statements concerning their businesses, financial results and
operations which failed to disclose:

     (i) that the spin-off of WCG from WMB was not in the best
         interests of both WMB and WCG shareholders as the primary
         motivation for the spin-off of WCG was to allow WMB to shore
         up its balance sheet so that it could then issue more stock
         and/or debt to acquire companies using its common stock as
         currency and protect its debt rating;

    (ii) that WCG was operating at levels well below company-sponsored
         expectations, such that revenue projections were overstated,
         and costs and expenses were understated, and also such that,
         in an effort to control costs, defendants would soon have to
         take actions which would have a further adverse impact on
         WCG's profitability;

   (iii) that approximately $2 billion of WCG debt that was guaranteed
         for payment by WMB around the time of the spin-off was
         improperly footnoted by WMB as a mere contingent obligation of
         WMB, which was materially false and misleading because the
         declining financial condition of WCG made it increasingly
         certain that WMB would be forced to pay on such guaranties,
         for which it did not adequately reserve;

    (iv) that WCG's assets were permanently impaired and had to be
         written-off and that WCG avoided taking such write-offs on its
         own books through the series of financial machinations
         described in the complaint;

     (v) that WMB was carrying on its financial statements receivables
         from WCG that were impaired, not collectible and should have
         been written-off in whole or in substantial part. Rather than
         writing off these impaired assets, which amounted to tens of
         millions of dollars, WMB agreed to extend up to $100 million
         of WCG's receivables with an outstanding balance due on March
         31, 2001, to March 15, 2002; and

    (vi) that the sale and leaseback of WCG's office properties in or
         about September of 2001 was a non-arm's length transaction at
         an inflated value for the properties whose motive and intent
         was to funnel monies to WCG and avoid forcing WMB to perform
         its guaranties and thereby adversely affect its results and
         debt ratings.

For further details, contact Nancy Kaboolian or Jennifer Haas by Phone:
(800) 889-3701 or by E-mail: JHaas@abbeygardy.com or
nkaboolian@abbeygardy.com.

                              *********


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
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Beard Group, Inc., Washington, D.C.  Enid Sterling, Aurora Fatima
Antonio and Lyndsey Resnick, Editors.

Copyright 2002.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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