CAR_Public/020910.mbx                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
              Tuesday, September 10, 2002, Vol. 4, No. 179

                              Headlines

APROPOS TECHNOLOGY: Asks NY Court To Dismiss Securities Suit in S.D. NY
AVENTIS CROP: Crawfish Farmers, Rice Farmers Allowed To Sue Together
BIOPURE CORP.: Court Dismisses Without Prejudice Securities Fraud Suit
CATHOLIC CHURCH: Retired Monsignor Removed Over Charges of Sex Abuse
DYNEGY HOLDINGS: Arguments For Consumer Suit Dismissal Pending

ENDO PHARMACEUTICALS: Plaintiffs Drop Charges in PPA Suit in W.D. WA
ENDO PHARMACEUTICALS: Discovery Upcoming in PPA Suits in Lousiana
FARMING INDUSTRY: Farmers Sued For Hiring From "Forced Labor" Camps
FLEMING COMPANIES: Investors Charge Company Execs Mislead Them
FRUIT COMPANIES: Appeals Court Revives Wage-Fixing, Racketeering Suit

GOODYEAR CORP.: AARP Offers To Help Older Workers in Age Bias Suit
HAWAII: Auditor Hits Education Dept's Student Support Services Program
JAPAN: Atomic Bomb Survivors Demand More Compensation From Government
JAPAN: Indonesians Commences Suit For Losses Over Dam Construction
LANTE CORP.: Asks NY Court To Dismiss Consolidated Securities Suit

LANTE CORP.: Faces Shareholder Suits Over SBI Acquisition in DE Court
LANTE CORP.: Asks IL State Court To Dismiss Suit Over SBI Acquisition
MINNESOTA: Federal Suit Accuses College Agency of Racial Discrimination
MISSISSIPPI: Death Row Inmates Want January Trial Date For Lawsuit
NEW MEXICO: Farmers Set To File Suit Over Crop Losses Due To Herbicides

NICOR GAS: Faces Consumer Suit Over Performance Based Rate Plan in IL
NORTHWEST PIPELINE: Moves For Dismissal of Natural Gas Royalties Suit
NUANCE COMMUNICATIONS: Securities Suit Numbers Growing in NY, CA
PAINT INDUSTRY: Defense Challenges Lead Hazard Witness Testimonies
PONZI SCHEME: Suit Accuses Three Banks Of Aiding Ponzi Operator Slatkin

REGENERATION TECHNOLOGIES: Plaintiffs Voluntarily Dismiss Suits in FL
SECURITIES LITIGATION: Ohio Drops Out Of Suits To Pursue Other Action
SIRENZA MICRODEVICES: Asks NY Court To Dismiss Securities Suit in NY
SONUS NETWORKS: Mounting Vigorous Defense V. Securities Suits in MA
STONE CONTAINER: Court Allows Cardboard Price-Fixing Suit To Proceed

SUNBEAM CORPORATION: Announces Settlement Terms In SEC's Fraud Suit
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Flight Attendant Loses Claim Against Big Tobacco
WISCONSIN: Agrees To Milwaukee's Foster Care Reform To Settle Suit

                      New Securities Fraud Cases

CAPITAL ONE: Mark McNair Commences Securities Fraud Suit in E.D. VA
CITIGROUP INC.: Kaplan Fox Commences Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
EL PASO: Mark McNair Commences Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. Texas
HEALTHSOUTH CORPORATION: Wechsler Harwood Files Securities Suit in AL
HEALTHSOUTH CORPORATION: Kirby McInerney Lodges Securities Suit in AL

HOUSEHOLD INTERNATIONAL: Wolf Haldenstein Lodges Securities Suit in IL
HPL TECHNOLOGIES: Kaplan Fox Commences Securities Fraud Suit in N.D. CA
HPL TECHNOLOGIES: Abbey Gardy Commences Securities Suit in N.D. CA
MERRILL LYNCH: Cohen Milstein Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
MERRILL LYNCH: Bernstein Liebhard Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. NY

SALOMON SMITH: Bernstein Liebhard Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY
SONUS NETWORKS: Schatz & Nobel Launches Securities Fraud Suit in MA
VIVENDI UNIVERSAL: Schatz & Nobel Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY

                            *********

APROPOS TECHNOLOGY: Asks NY Court To Dismiss Securities Suit in S.D. NY
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Apropos Technology, Inc. asked the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York to dismiss the consolidated securities
class action pending against it, certain of its current and former
officers and the underwriters of its initial public offering (IPO).

The suit alleges, among other things, that the underwriters of the
Company's IPO improperly required their customers to pay the
underwriters excessive commissions and to agree to buy additional
shares of the Company's stock in the aftermarket as conditions of
receiving shares in the Company's IPO.  The lawsuit further claims that
these supposed practices of the underwriters should have been disclosed
in the Company's IPO prospectus and registration statement.

The Company understands that various other plaintiffs have filed
substantially similar class action cases against approximately 300
other publicly traded companies and their public offering underwriters
in New York City, which along with the case against the Company have
all been transferred to a single federal district judge for purposes of
coordinated case management.

On July 15, 2002, the Company, together with the other issuers named as
defendants in these coordinated proceedings, filed a collective motion
to dismiss the consolidated amended complaints against them on various
legal grounds common to all or most of the issuer defendants.  This
motion is currently pending.

Although legal proceedings are inherently uncertain and their ultimate
outcome cannot be predicted with certainty, the Company believes that
the claims against it are without merit, and intends to defend the
litigation vigorously.


AVENTIS CROP: Crawfish Farmers, Rice Farmers Allowed To Sue Together
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The claims of crawfish farmers and rice farmers who say they lost money
because they used the seed, trademarked as Icon, can reasonably be
tried together, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles,
Louisiana, has ruled, Associated Press Newswires reports.  The Third
Circuit's ruling upholds a decision handed down in July 2001, by state
District Judge James T. Genovese of St. Landry Parish.

"That is a major victory for the plaintiffs, so we can proceed in an
orderly fashion and only do the common issues one time," recently said
attorney Dawn Barrios of New Orleans.

Icon is rice treated with the pesticide fipronil to control rice
weevils, a scourge of one of Louisiana's biggest cash crops.  Among
plaintiffs are farmers who raise both rice, crawfish or both, and who
say they suffered financially from use of Icon.

The farmers say the pesticide killed their crawfish.  Manufacturer
Aventis Crop Science USA, Icon's distributor, says that drought, not
Icon, was the culprit.  Therefore, Aventis says it will ask the 3rd
Circuit to reconsider the decision by a three-judge panel.  If
rejected, Aventis will ask the state Supreme Court to hear the case,
Gary A. Bezet, attorney for the Company, said.

Mr. Bezet said he believes a class action will be unworkable.  "I
believe it will be impossible for a jury, on a statewide basis, to
allocate what percentage of the drop in crawfish product was
attributable to Icon and what percentage to drought," he said.  There
were huge differences in crawfish production just among eight farmers
who gave sworn pretrial statements, he added.


BIOPURE CORP.: Court Dismisses Without Prejudice Securities Fraud Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A district judge dismissed a class action against Biopure Corporation
and Carl W. Rausch, its former chairman and chief executive, Dow Jones
Business News reports.  In a recent press release, the Company said
that Senior District Judge Edward Harrington dismissed the case with
prejudice, which means that the shareholders cannot refile the claims.  

The lawsuit was a consolidated series of lawsuits by eight shareholders
alleging that the Company made misleading statements regarding the
timing of its filing of an electronic Biologic License Application with
the Food and Drug Administration for Hemopure, a human blood
substitute.

Judge Harrington ruled that the plaintiffs did not present adequate
evidence to show that the Company knowingly issued misleading claims.


CATHOLIC CHURCH: Retired Monsignor Removed Over Charges of Sex Abuse
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The Diocese of Manchester, in New Hampshire, revoked the ministerial
rights of a retired monsignor, after finding that allegations of sexual
abuse made against him were credible, the Associated Press Newswires
reports. The church also faces a potential class action with about 50
members.

Monsignor Roland Tancrede, who had been filling in at St. Pius X Church
in Manchester may no longer perform Mass or wear his priestly collar,
spokesman for the Church said recently.  The Rev. Edward Arsenault,
chancellor for the diocese and pastor of St. Pius, has informed
parishioners about the allegations, according to Patrick McGee, a
spokesman for the church.

Monsignor Tancrede is one of the priests named in three new lawsuits
filed last week in Hillsborough County Superior Court on behalf of
individuals alleging they were sexually abused as children by Roman
Catholic priests.  An anonymous plaintiff alleges Monsignor Tancrede
abused him from approximately 1956 through 1959, while he was an altar
boy at Holy Rosary Church in Rochester.

Mark Abramson, the complainant's lawyer, said Msgr. Tancrede admitted
to church authorities that the allegations were true.  The diocese
would not address whether the monsignor admitted to sexual misconduct.

In addition to the lawsuit naming Monsignor Tancrede, Mr. Abrahamson
also filed new lawsuits alleging that the Rev. Leo Landry assaulted a
boy between 1969 and 1970, at St. Kieran's Church in Berlin.  Rev.
Landry, who has been named in other lawsuits, was assigned to the
Manchester Diocese, but was not a diocesan priest, and left the diocese
in 1972.

In the third case filed recently, former altar boy Ryan Metivier of
Newfield, Maine, alleges he was abused by the Rev. Joseph Maguire,
between the ages of 9 and 15 at St. Joseph's Church in Dover.  Rev.
Maguire, who is named in at least one other suit, was included on a
list.  Bishop John B. McCormack released last February of 14 priests
removed from duty because of abuse allegations.  The three recent
lawsuits are among 54 Mr. Abramson has filed against the diocese.

All of the plaintiffs' lawyers have been in negotiations with church
lawyers in an effort to reach an overall settlement in the cases.


DYNEGY HOLDINGS: Arguments For Consumer Suit Dismissal Pending
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
California is set to hear arguments for the dismissal of a consolidated
class action against Dynegy Holdings, Inc. this September 19, 2002.

Six class action lawsuits were initially filed against various Dynegy
entities based on the events occurring in the California power market.  
The complaints alleged violations of California's Business and
Professions Code, Unfair Trade Practices Act and various other
statutes.

The plaintiffs allege that the defendants, including the owners of in-
state generation and various power marketers, conspired to manipulate
the California wholesale power market to the detriment of California
consumers.  Included among the acts forming the basis of the
plaintiffs' claims are the alleged improper sharing of generation
outage data, improper withholding of generation capacity and the
manipulation of power market bid practices.  All six lawsuits were
later consolidated.

Subsequent to the consolidation two defendants filed cross complaints
against a number of corporations and governmental agencies that sold
power in California's wholesale energy markets.  Four cross defendants
removed the six cases to the United States District Court for the
Southern District of California (San Diego).

Following removal, certain cross defendants filed motions to dismiss
the cross complaints, which motions are currently pending.  The
original plaintiffs in the six consolidated complaints have filed
motions to remand the consolidated cases back to state court, which
motions are currently pending.

The defendants in the six consolidated cases have filed motions to
dismiss the complaints based on the filed rate doctrine and preemption
defense, which motions are currently pending.  

If the court decides that it has jurisdiction over the claims, the
defendants' motion to dismiss will be heard as soon as possible after
September 19th.


ENDO PHARMACEUTICALS: Plaintiffs Drop Charges in PPA Suit in W.D. WA
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The plaintiffs in the class action filed against pharmaceutical
companies in the United States District Court for the Western District
of Washington agreed to dismiss Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. as a
defendant.

The suit was originally commenced in November 2001 against eleven
pharmaceutical companies in the United States District Court in
Louisiana.  The suit alleges that the defendants failed to adequately
warn plaintiff of the hazards of the use of the subject products
containing PPA and that as a result of this failure to warn, plaintiffs
suffered injury.

In December 2001, the action was transferred by order of the United
States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to the Western
District of Washington.  On June 5, 2002, the presiding judge granted
defendants' motion to strike the class action allegations contained in
the plaintiff's complaint, thereby rendering the suit an individual
action by the named plaintiff.

In discovery obtained from the named plaintiff, it appears that the
named plaintiff never actually used or consumed a PPA-containing
product manufactured or sold by the Company.  Accordingly, the named
plaintiff agreed to dismiss its claims against the Company and, on July
25, 2002, a notice of dismissal was filed with the court.


ENDO PHARMACEUTICALS: Discovery Upcoming in PPA Suits in Lousiana
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. faces several class actions relating to its
products containing phenylpropanolamine (PPA).  The suits are filed in
various courts:

     (1) four in the United States District Court for the Eastern
         District of Louisiana,

     (2) one in the United States District Court for the Western
         District of Louisiana, and

     (3) one in the United States District Court for the Middle
         District of Louisiana

According to each of these six complaints, each of the defendant
pharmaceutical companies allegedly manufactured and sold products
containing phenylpropanolamine (PPA).  Each complaint alleges that the
defendants failed to adequately warn plaintiff of the hazards of the
use of the subject products containing PPA and that as a result of this
failure to warn, plaintiffs suffered injury.

To date, the Company has not been served with a summons in any of the
six cases.  Each of these six cases are in the process of being
transferred to the United States District Court for the Western
District of Washington by order of the United States Judicial Panel on
Multidistrict Litigation.  Once the transfer is complete, the
plaintiffs' claims in those cases will become subject to discovery.



FARMING INDUSTRY: Farmers Sued For Hiring From "Forced Labor" Camps
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Ten farmers are being sued by an advocacy group for hiring migrant
field hands from a family accused by the federal government of forcing
hundreds of undocumented workers into virtual slavery in two camps in
western New York, Associated Press Newswires reports.

Farmworker Legal Services, a nonprofit group that pushes for fair
treatment for migrant workers is seeking unspecified financial damages
in a class action recently filed in federal court, that also targets
the camp operators.

The farmers, who operate in Orleans and Genesee counties, in New York
State, think they are being used as scapegoats.  If any workers were
mistreated, they maintain they knew nothing about it.

Some farmers only hired work crews for a few days during peak harvest
season "and now they are being blamed for things they had no knowledge
of and nothing to do with," Gary Fitch of Agricultural Affiliates, a
farm employers' association, said in Thursday's Buffalo News.

Farm labor contractor Maria Garcia-Botello, 52, and five other people
were charged in June with trafficking and holding workers in forced
labor and, among other things, breaking transport safety rules
protecting seasonal workers.


FLEMING COMPANIES: Investors Charge Company Execs Mislead Them
--------------------------------------------------------------
Former Furrs Supermarkets Inc. CEO Thomas Dahlen has been named in a
lawsuit seeking class action status against his new employer, food
distributor Fleming Cos., according to a report by the Albuquerque
Journal.  The Company bought most of bankrupt Furrs assets and then
sold them.  Fleming's chief executive and chairman Mark Hansen and
chief financial officer Neal Rider also have been named in the lawsuit.

The complaint, filed in federal court in Texas, alleges that beginning
in early 2002, the defendants misled the investors by issuing positive
statements about the Company's discount retail supermarket division.  
Mr. Dahlen, until recently, headed that division, which is
characterized by no-frills, warehouse-style stores.

"These statements falsely portrayed Fleming's business prospects and
artificially inflated and maintained the price of Fleming common
stock," said Arkansas law firm of Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates LLP, in
a news release.  

The suit also asserts that the statements enabled the Company to raise
$155 million through the June 13 sale of eight million shares of stock
at $19.40 per share and to raise an additional $200 million through the
June 13 sale of notes.  The Company then used the proceeds of the June
13 stock sale to complete the purchase of Core-Mark International Inc.
and Head Distributing for $330 million in cash.

However, on July 30, the Company announced that the division was
performing poorly, and that it was considering abandoning this part of
its business.  The result of this announcement was that the price of
Company stock fell from $15.21 on July 30 to $10.76 by August 2.

The Company reported retail sales down 12.6 percent for the first half
of this year, compared with same time last year.  The Company blamed
decline on costs associated with store remodelings, lower meat prices
and heightened competition.


FRUIT COMPANIES: Appeals Court Revives Wage-Fixing, Racketeering Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
A federal appeals court has revived a racketeering lawsuit that accuses
two Selah fruit companies of intentionally hiring illegal immigrants to
depress wages in the orchard and the warehouse, the Associated Press
Newswires reports.

"Any time you have a work force of people who know they are not in the
country legally, the employers can take advantage of that," said Steve
Berman, a Seattle lawyer representing the plaintiffs.

The civil lawsuit was filed against Zirkle Fruit Co., Matson Fruit Co.
and the Selective Employment Agency.  US District Judge Fred Van Sickle
of Spokane dismissed it last year, and it was revived recently by a
three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San
Francisco.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of Olivia Mendoza and Juan Mendiola, both
former employees of Zirkle Fruit, accuses the two fruit companies of
using the Selective Employmnet Agency to hire illegal immigrants who
would work for wages below minimium standards.

"If they were not able to hire illegal aliens and pay them less than
minimum wage, there would have been an active market that would drive
salaries up," Mr. Berman said.  The lawsuit contends Selective
Employment was a front to protect the two companies from the US
Immigration and Naturalization Service and further contends that
Selective Employment recruited illegal immigrants, primarily from
Mexico, in response to the dictates of the two fruit companies.

Steve Berman said that he will seek to have the lawsuit certified as a
class action.  He said the legal discovery process will help determine
how many past and present employees might be affected by the lawsuit
and whether other growers could be added as well.  The lawsuit does not
yet ask for specific damages.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to US District
Court in Spokane, saying the plaintiffs should have a chance to show if
employees' wages were driven down by hiring practices.


GOODYEAR CORP.: AARP Offers To Help Older Workers in Age Bias Suit
------------------------------------------------------------------
The nation's largest advocacy group for people age 50 and older is
throwing its support behind a group of Goodyear salaried workers and
former employees, who say the Akron company is targeting older workers
for dismissal, the Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio) reports.

AARP, formerly known as the American Association for Retired Persons,
said it will provide its legal resources in a lawsuit against the tire
company.  Lawyers say they expect to file the case in Summit County
Common Pleas Court as early as next week, and will seek class action
status.  The Washington-based AARP, with more than 35 million members
across the country, is one of the nation's largest and most influential
special interest groups.

A few months ago, the Company began firing an undisclosed number of
salaried workers who received low marks for two connected years in
their performance evaluations.  Some of those workers have said the
grading system unfairly forces managers to give low grades to a certain
number of people.   A disproportionate number of people who get the low
grades are older workers, they say.

"This case will send a clear message that performance rating schemes
that target older workers for unfair treat are illegal and will not be
tolerated," said Laurie McCann, an attorney with AARP Foundation
Litigation.

The Company's system, instituted two years ago, forces supervisors to
issue a certain percentage of high, low and medium grades to workers.  
At the Company, supervisors are supposed to give the top 10 percent of
their department A's, the middle 80 percent B's and the bottom 10
percent C's.  The grades affect promotions and raises.

The AARP has fought similar battles before and won.  Last year, it
joined a lawsuit against Ford Motor Co.'s performance evaluation
system.  The end result was that Ford modified its grading system, and
later agreed to pay the workers $10.6 million in damages.


HAWAII: Auditor Hits Education Dept's Student Support Services Program
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Hawaii's Department of Education (DOE) US$12 million-a-year program to
address the social, emotional and physical needs of students to keep
them from "falling between the cracks" got bad marks Thursday from
state Auditor Marion Higa, the Associated Press reports.

The DOE rushed what was a pilot program into a statewide program "to
take advantage of the funding opportunity available through the Felix
consent decree," said Ms. Higa.  Ms. Higa indicated in an audit report
that the rushed expansion of the Comprehensive Student Support System
(CSSS) "resulted in a multi-million-dollar system that lacks
accountability and effectiveness measures and experiences difficulty in
implementation."

The 1994 consent decree resulted from a 1993 class action, filed by the
mother of Jennifer Felix (therefore, the Felix consent decree), which
claimed the state was violating federal law by not providing adequate
services to children who need mental health services in order to
participate in public education.

"Realizing that additional funding for student support could be
obtained through the decree, the department convinced the federal court
monitor that CSSS would provide the system of care required by the
decree," said Ms. Higa.

Under the threat of a federal contempt order against the state under
the consent decree, the DOE got the Legislature to fund 420 CSSS
positions statewide in the 2000-2001 fiscal year, Ms. Higa noted.  
"Without the lesson learned from a completed demonstration project,
CSSS has resulted in an inadequately planned, ill-defined and difficult
to implement system," she added.

The DOE has created over 500 new staff positions without clearly
defining their roles, and the department "continues to fund CSSS under
the pretext that it has established the system of care required by the
Felix consent decree," Ms. Higa said.

The report says the DOE created the student support positions without
clear responsibilities and did not make sure the staff was qualified.  
Some principals have used the support services staff for other
purposes, such as doing clerical work, the report said.

In her response, Superintendent of Education Patricia Hamamoto
acknowledged the expansion was rushed and said efforts are already
underway to address the shortcomings outlined by the Attorney General's
report.


JAPAN: Atomic Bomb Survivors Demand More Compensation From Government
---------------------------------------------------------------------
A group of Japanese survivors of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and
Nagasaki a half-century ago applied recently for increased compensation
from the Japanese government, the Associated Press Newswires reports.

The 62 survivors, mostly cancer patients, say Tokyo has shortchanged
many victims of the bombings by excluding them from payments earmarked
for a minority with lingering symptoms of radiation sickness.

"This is a new movement because the government needs to recognize more
people," said Michiko Kakezuka of the Japan Confederation of A-Bomb and
H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, the group leading the drive.  If their
demands are rejected, the applicants, who live across Japan, may file a
class action against the government, said Ms. Kakezuka.

The government currently recognizes 285,620 people as survivors of the
1945 US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and has even given
them a special name, "hibakusha."  However, only 2,000 survivors are
recognized as suffering radiation sickness.  They receive 139,600 yen
($1,183) each month.  The rest receive a monthly payment of 34,330 yen
($290) and are eligible for numerous benefits, including free medical
exams, even if they are not ill.

The standard for the categorization is derived by determining how far
away a person was from ground zero at the time of the blasts. The group
says the standard "too simplistic."

The number of survivors is, of course, dwindling.  This year, 4,977
names of victims of long-term illnesses were added to a memorial in
Hiroshima.  That put the number of Hiroshima victims at 226,870.  
Approximately, 230,000 persons were killed or injured in the initial
explosions or immediate aftereffects of the bombings of the two cities.

The government has taken on the task of caring for the bombing
survivors.  Benefits include nursing home care and medical checkups.  
Families are reimbursed for funeral expenses.

Researchers have concluded that the bombs have not caused genetic
defects among the children of survivors.  However, there remains in the
medical community speculation that increased cancer rates could show up
once the second generation reaches age 50.

Survivors and their families are also tainted by prejudice.  In Japan,
where it is common for families to have detectives investigate the past
of a prospective mate, the presence of a "hibakusha" in the family tree
can spoil a potential match because of irrational fears that the
prospective mate may be harboring some sort of genetic disease.


JAPAN: Indonesians Commences Suit For Losses Over Dam Construction
------------------------------------------------------------------
Almost 4,000 Indonesians filed a class action in Tokyo District Court
against the Japanese government, relating to the construction of the
Kotopanjang Dam in Indonesia.  The suit also names as defendants:

     (1) Tokyo Electric Power Services,

     (2) the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and

     (3) the Japan Bank for International Cooperation

The villages seek 19.3B yen in compensation for losses allegedly caused
by the Kotopanjang Dam project in Indonesia which was financed by
Japanese aid, lawyers representing the plaintiffs told AFX news- Asia.  
"Local residents have not received adequate compensation for the damage
they have suffered because of the dam construction," said Fumio Asano,
a Japanese lawyer representing the group.  "The project damaged the
natural environment and threatens endangered animals."

The suit alleges that thousands of people were forcibly resettled or
lost part of their property due to the 31.2-bln-yen hydropower project
financed with Official Development Assistance (ODA), as Japan's aid is
formally known, AFX news reports.  The case is the first ever brought
by local residents against the Japanese government and aid
organisations over their responsibility for the impact of ODA, lawyers
for the plaintiffs said.

One of the plaintiffs, farmer Masrul Salim, 49, told AFX he and others
were promised they would be moved to new farms with rubber trees and
oil palms. "But those properties were not good enough for farming," he
said through an interpreter.  He added that the Indonesian government
only paid out about USD$2 per palm tree to farmers losing their land to
the reservoir.  "Three harvests from one palm tree would give us 10
times more than that amount," he said.

Adhel Yusirman, an Indonesian lawyer representing the group, told AFX
the plaintiffs would file a similar suit against the Indonesian
government in October and would try to "expose those who received
unfair benefits through the project."  

"The Indonesian government tricked the village residents with promises
that they never kept. But the residents only saw their community
destroyed and were harmed economically," he said.

JBIC issued a statement saying it would discuss how to deal with the
case after reviewing the lawsuit.  "The project is doing what it was
intended to do, but we realise there is room for improvement regarding
the lives of relocated residents," JBIC said.  A spokesman for Tokyo
Electric Power declined to comment, saying that they have not studied
the lawsuit yet.  Officials at JICA were unavailable for comment,
according to an AFX report.


LANTE CORP.: Asks NY Court To Dismiss Consolidated Securities Suit
------------------------------------------------------------------
Lante Corporation asked the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York to dismiss the consolidated securities
class action pending against it, certain of its present and former
officers and directors and the managing underwriters of its February
2000 initial public offering:

     (1) Credit Suisse First Boston Corp.,

     (2) Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc. and

     (3) Thomas Weisel Partners, LLC

The complaint seeks unspecified damages as a result of various alleged
securities law violations arising from activities purportedly engaged
in by the underwriters in connection with the Company's initial public
offering.  Plaintiffs allege that the underwriter defendants agreed to
allocate stock in the Company's initial public offering to certain
investors in exchange for excessive and undisclosed commissions and
agreements by those investors to make additional purchases of stock in
the aftermarket at pre-determined prices.

Plaintiffs allege that the prospectus for the Company's initial public
offering was false and misleading in violation of the securities laws
because it did not disclose these arrangements.

The Company believes that it has various meritorious defenses to the
claim and will defend itself accordingly.  The action is being
coordinated with over three hundred other nearly identical actions
filed against other companies before one judge in the US District Court
for the Southern District of New York.

On July 15, 2002, the Company and the individual defendants moved to
dismiss all claims against them.  The court has not ruled on this
motion.  Discovery is stayed pending the outcome of the motion to
dismiss.


LANTE CORP.: Faces Shareholder Suits Over SBI Acquisition in DE Court
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Lante Corporation faces several class actions filed in the Court of
Chancery in New Castle County, Delaware, following the commencement of
a merger with SBI Acquisition Corporation.  The suits name as
defendants the Company and current and former members of its board of
directors.

The complaints are essentially identical and allege, among other
things, in connection with the Company entering into an acquisition
agreement and plan of merger dated as of July 18, 2002 with SBI, that:

     (1) the Company and the other defendants breached their fiduciary
         duties to its public stockholders; and

     (2) the Acquisition Agreement may have been entered into for the
         purpose of enriching the Company's management and principal
         stockholders at the expense of its public stockholders.

The plaintiffs allege that the purported breaches of fiduciary duty
resulted in an agreement to sell the Company at an inadequate price per
share.

The Company believes that the allegations in the complaints lack merit,
and intends to defend these actions accordingly.  Answers to both
complaints were filed on the Company's behalf and on behalf of the
current directors on August 12 and 13, 2002.  In addition, separate
motions for judgment on the pleadings were filed on the Company's
behalf and on behalf of its current directors on August 13, 2002.


LANTE CORP.: Asks IL State Court To Dismiss Suit Over SBI Acquisition
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Lante Corporation asked the Circuit Court of Cook County (Chancery
Division), Illinois to dismiss the class action pending against it, its
current directors and SBI Acquisition Corporation (SBI).

The complaint alleges, among other things, that the directors breached
their fiduciary duties and duty of disclosure to the Company's public
stockholders, and that SBI aided and abetted the directors' breach of
their fiduciary duties.

The Company believes that the allegations in the complaint lack merit
and intends to defend this action accordingly.  A motion to dismiss
this action was filed on the Company's behalf on August 8, 2002 and the
plaintiff filed a response on August 12, 2002.  The court scheduled the
hearing for the motion on August 15,2002, but has yet to release a
decision.


MINNESOTA: Federal Suit Accuses College Agency of Racial Discrimination
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The state agency that handles financial aid for Minnesota college
students is accused of discrimination in a class action filed in
federal court, according to a recent report by the Associated Press
Newswires.

The recently filed lawsuit accuses unnamed officials within the Higher
Education Services Office (HESO) of discriminating against minority
employees and retaliating against both minority and white employees
when they spoke out against the alleged treatment.

The lawsuit names two plaintiffs and acknowledges at least 13 others
who were or are HESO employees since August 1996.  The agency's
director, Robert Poch, said the office would work through the legal
process to address the allegations, though he said he had not yet
thoroughly reviewed them.

The alleged mistreatment covers such things as discipline, handling of
complaints, pay, compensation, hiring and promotional and advancement
opportunities.

The lawsuit notes a February 28 determination by the US Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission that reasonable probable cause
existed to believe employees had been subjected to discrimination and
retaliation.  John Klassen, plaintiffs' attorney, said that the EEOC
findings are significant.

The lawsuit seeks to make HESO conform to state and federal laws
barring discrimination, as well as seeking compensatory damages,
punitive damages and attorney fees for the plaintiffs.


MISSISSIPPI: Death Row Inmates Want January Trial Date For Lawsuit
------------------------------------------------------------------
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is asking federal court to
speed its review of a lawsuit filed against the Mississippi Department
of Corrections (MDOC) on behalf of five death row inmates alleging
dangerous and intolerable living conditions that violate the inmates'
constitutional rights, the Associated Press Newswires reports.  A
motion will be filed requesting class-action status for the case.

In its recently filed motion in US District Court, in Aberdeen, the
ACLU requested a trial for January 6 to 8, on behalf of inmates Willie
Russell, Sherwood Brown, Kelvin Jordan, John Nixon and Paul Woodward,
alleging that the living conditions of these inmates at the state
penitentiary at Parchman violate their constitutional and statutory
rights.

Margaret Winter, associate director of the ACLU's National Prison
Project, said she thought four months should give the MDOC enough time
to interview plaintiffs' experts who toured the prison August 8 and
prepare their arguments.  However, said Ms. Winter, "If the judge says
we should do it sooner (than the January trial date), I think we should
do it sooner.  We want to have the trial as quickly as we could
possibly have it.  Conditions are dangerous and intolerable all the
year round."

"We do not believe they (the ACLU) laid out the proper grounds for an
expedited motion, and we plan to succeed on the merits of the case,"
said Jennifer Griffin, director of communications for the corrections
agency.

The inmates' complaints include excessive heat, filth, uncontrolled
mosquito infestations and inadequate water supply.  All five of the
inmates have been housed at the Delta prison for five years or more.


NEW MEXICO: Farmers Set To File Suit Over Crop Losses Due To Herbicides
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Farmers who suffered crop losses due to herbicide contamination say
they have no choice but to sue, the Associated Press Newswires reports.

The group of farmers has scheduled a meeting with an attorney and plans
to file a lawsuit against the people or agencies they say are
responsible for contaminating their irrigation water.  Several
laboratories have confirmed the presence of the herbicide tebuthiuron
in the soil.  This herbicide is used to control woody plants in areas
not used for crops.

The crops, irrigated with water from the Black River, began dying in
late July, officials said.  Contamination of the Black River water
diversion dam and irrigation ditches followed a heavy rain in July.

LizBeth Walker, district conservationist for the Natural Resources
Conservation Service, said the agency and the US Bureau of Land
Management spread the herbicide July 8.  Damage to cotton and alfalfa
crops have been reported, and farmers are worried about what will
happen if they get more rain and whether the herbicide could reach the
wells.

"No one has dealt with contamination of irrigation water on this
scale," said Woody Houghton, an agent with the Eddy County Agriculture
Extension Service.  Mr. Houghton said he is having trouble convincing
the federal Risk Management Agency that the crop damage is a result of
contaminated irrigation water.

"The risk management people in Washington said that no matter what
happens, you will most probably have to get legal counsel," Mr.
Houghton told farmers at a recent meeting.   He further said, "If you
choose to do this, it would be better to do it as a class action
rather than to file suit individually."


NICOR GAS: Faces Consumer Suit Over Performance Based Rate Plan in IL
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Nicor Gas Company and it parent Nicor, Inc. face a class action filed
in the in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, on behalf of all
customers of Nicor Gas who at any time from January 2000 through the
present were subject to Nicor Gas' performance-based rate (PBR) plan.

The plaintiff alleges claims for:

     (1) breach of contract,

     (2) unjust enrichment, and

     (3) violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive
         Practices Act, and

The suit further alleges that the class sustained damages as a result
of Nicor Gas improperly enriching itself by manipulating the benchmark
under the PBR.

The Company is unable to predict the outcome of this litigation or its
potential exposure related thereto and has not recorded a liability
associated with this contingency.


NORTHWEST PIPELINE: Moves For Dismissal of Natural Gas Royalties Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Northwest Pipeline Corporation asked Kansas state court to dismiss a
nationwide class action, which names the Company and other pipeline and
gathering companies as defendants.

The suit alleges that the defendants have engaged in mismeasurement
techniques that distort the heating content of natural gas, resulting
in an alleged underpayment of royalties to the class of producer
plaintiffs.

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss under Rules 9b and 12b of the
Kansas Rules of Civil Procedure.  Oral argument was held in November
2001 and the decision is still pending.  Many of the defendants filed a
motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.  In the next
several months, the defendants will contest contesting certification of
the plaintiff class.


NUANCE COMMUNICATIONS: Securities Suit Numbers Growing in NY, CA
----------------------------------------------------------------
Nuance Communications, Inc. faces several securities class actions
pending in the United States District Courts in New York and
California, on behalf of purchasers of the Company's securities between
April 12, 2000 and December 6, 2000, inclusive.  The suits name as
defendants the Company, certain of its officers and directors, and its
underwriters.

The complaints allege that defendants violated the federal securities
laws by issuing and selling the Company's common stock pursuant to the
April 12, 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.

The Company believes that the allegations against it are without merit.  
An unfavorable resolution of the lawsuits could have a material adverse
effect on its business, results of operations, or financial condition.


PAINT INDUSTRY: Defense Challenges Lead Hazard Witness Testimonies
------------------------------------------------------------------
Lawyers for former manufacturers of lead paint attacked the credibility
of an expert witness for the state of Rhode Island in its landmark
lawsuit against the industry, Associated Press Newswires reports.  The
trial began Wednesday and is expected to last six to nine weeks.

Pediatrician Philip Landrigan had told jurors on Wednesday that
undisturbed lead paint is still a health hazard and that removing it is
the only sure solution.  However, paint company attorneys, in their
cross examination, showed an excerpt of testimony Dr. Landrigan gave in
1994 in a Philadelphia court in which he said if lead paint is intact
or covered, then it is not dangerous.

"On the other hand, if it is flaking or broken, it is a hazard," Dr.
Landrigan told a jury in the failed 1994 class action by a neighborhood
against a plant that manufactured lead chemicals.

Dr. Landrigan works at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.  
He has studied lead poisoning in children for decades, and worked on
lead issues at the federal Centers for Disease Control in the 1970s.  
Dr. Landrigan insisted that what he said in 1994 is not inconsistent.  
He said lead paint that is intact or covered could be seen as benign
for "a moment in time," but all it takes to expose the paint is for a
child to slam a tricycle into a wall for a window to be opened.

The distinction is key to the state of Rhode Island's attempt to
convice the six-person civil jury that lead paint in older buildings
throughout Rhode Island is a public nuisance, caused by paint companies
that made or sold the paint.  A verdict against the companies
ultimately could cost them millions of dollars.
         `
Rhode Island is the first state to bring a lawsuit against lead paint
companies to trial.  The Superior Court case is being watched by other
states and cities poised to follow in Rhode Island's footsteps should
it prevail.

If Rhode Island wins, Connecticut and West Virginia are almost certain
to take legal action, while Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire
and Ohio are contemplating lawsuits, according to the Alliance to End
Childhood Lead Poisoning.

The companies named in the lawsuit are:

     (1) American Cyanimid Co.,

     (2) Atlantic Richfield,

     (3) ConAgra Grocery Products Co.,

     (4) Cytec Industries Inc.,

     (5) Dupont Co.,

     (6) Millenium Inorganic,

     (7) NL Industries Inc. and

     (8) Sherwin-Williams Co.

Lead paint has been banned since 1978, after studies showed it caused
harm to young children, who swallow or inhale paint chips or dust.  
Health problems include behavioral disorders, brain damage and even
death.

Yet the paint still exists in may older houses and buildings.  Rhode
Island has one of the greatest concentrations of housing with lead
paint in the country and the highest percentage of child lead poisoning
in the nation.

Lead paint remains on about 330,000 properties in Rhode Island, nearly
80 percent of the state's housing stock, according to state records.  
The properties include private homes, hospitals, schools, churches and
other public buildings.

The state said nearly 35,000 Rhode Island children under six years old
had elevated blood-lead levels in 2001.  The most recent national
statistics compiled since 1994, show 4.4 percent of US children have
elevated levels of lead.

Paint companies don't dispute that lead paint has harmed children.  
However, they contend the paint is confined to deteriorated, older
housing and can be prevented through proper upkeep and better
enforcement of state laws.  Forty to 50 lawsuits have been filed since
19890 by individuals and communities against lead paint companies.  All
have failed.


PONZI SCHEME: Suit Accuses Three Banks Of Aiding Ponzi Operator Slatkin
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Investors duped by confessed Ponzi scheme operator Reed Slatkin sued to
recover $250 million plus damages from three banks they say aided and
abetted him, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In a lawsuit seeking class action status, filed in US district court in
Los Angeles, the trustee of Mr. Slatkin's bankruptcy estate and
investors sued Union Bank of California, Comerica Bank, and Bank of
Orange County.  The plaintiffs alleged the institutions provided false
information to Mr. Slatkin's clients and helped him prolong his
unlicensed "investment club" during a 15-year period by providing him
loans and huge overdrafts.

Mr. Slatkin, a co-founder of Earthlink Inc., pleaded guilty to 15
charges of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy last March, after
having earlier declared bankruptcy.  Portraying himself as a masterful
investor and technical analysis whiz, Mr. Slatkin attracted seven-
figure investments from such people as Fox News anchor Greta Van
Susteren and former Capitol Records chairman Hale Milgrim, only to sink
most of it into under-performing real estate and technology start-ups
that failed.

The lawsuit further alleges that during the course of their
relationship with Mr. Slatkin, the banks provided false statements and
valuations on accounts held by Mr. Slatkin's investors and made
millions of dollars of loans and overdrafts to Mr. Slatkin himself,
allowing him to repay the investors with fictitious returns on their
investments.  The lawsuit also claims the banks made more than $1
million in fees from helping Mr. Slatkin conduct his business.

An official for Comerica Bank did not return a phone call seeking
comment.  Bank of Orange County did not have any immediate comment.
Union Bank said it does not comment on ongoing litigation, according to
a Wall Street Journal report.


REGENERATION TECHNOLOGIES: Plaintiffs Voluntarily Dismiss Suits in FL
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in the securities class actions pending against Regeneration
Technologies, Inc. have voluntarily dismissed the suits, pending in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

The suits were launched after the Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC) announced that it was commencing an informal inquiry over the
Company's annual consolidated financial statements.  The suit names as
defendants the Company and certain of its current and former officers
and directors.

The Company understands that other similar lawsuits were filed that
were not served upon the Company.  The Company understands that all but
one of these unserved lawsuits have been dismissed by the plaintiffs.  


SECURITIES LITIGATION: Ohio Drops Out Of Suits To Pursue Other Action
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Ohio Attorney General Betty D. Montgomery said the state would pursue
new legal action to recover investment losses suffered by state pension
funds, the Akron Beacon Journal reports.  Ms. Montgomery opted out of
federal class action litigation against Enron and Worldcom in order to
pursue more effective recovery actions in state court, her office said
in a statement.

Ohio pension funds and the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation lost
more than $500 million combined after investing in the companies based
on their fraudulent accounting information.

"Pursuing recovery in state court, under state law, gives us three
important advantages," said Ms. Montgomery.  "We improve the likelihood
to recover real dollars; we move our case more quickly through the
system, and most importantly, we have complete control over our
lawsuit.  Outside interests will not trump what is best for Ohio
pensioners."

Under laws governing federal class action litigation, Ohio would have
been able only to pursue the companies and their principal officers.  
Under state law, Ohio will be able to pursue third party defendants,
including investment banks and underwriters that aided and abetted to
artificially inflate the value of Enron and WorldCom stock, the
Attorney General said.

Other states that also have decided to pursue the two bankrupt
companies in state court are California, Illinois, West Virginia and
Alabama.


SIRENZA MICRODEVICES: Asks NY Court To Dismiss Securities Suit in NY
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Sirenza Microdevices, Inc. asked the United States District Court for
the Southern District of New York to dismiss the consolidated
securities class action pending against it, various of its officers and
certain underwriters.

The suit alleges that various underwriters engaged in improper and
undisclosed activities related to the allocation of shares in the
Company's initial public offering, including obtaining commitments from
investors to purchase shares in the aftermarket at pre-arranged prices.

Similar lawsuits concerning more than 300 other companies' initial
public offerings were filed during 2001, and this lawsuit is being
coordinated with those actions.  

In July 2002, an omnibus motion to dismiss was filed in the coordinated
litigation on behalf of the issuer defendants, of which the Company and
its named officers and directors are a part, on common pleadings
issues.  The Company believes that the allegations against it are
without merit and intends to defend the litigation vigorously.

However, there can be no assurance as to the ultimate outcome of this
lawsuit and an adverse outcome to this litigation could have a material
adverse effect on the Company's consolidated balance sheet, statement
of operations or cash flows.  Even if the Company is entirely
successful in defending this lawsuit, it may incur significant legal
expenses and its management may expend significant time in the defense.


SONUS NETWORKS: Mounting Vigorous Defense V. Securities Suits in MA
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Sonus Networks, Inc. faces several securities class actions pending in
the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts on
behalf of purchasers of the Company's common stock from December
11,2000 to January 16,2002.

The suits charge the Company, certain of its officers and directors and
a former officer of violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) and rule
10b(5) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The complaints are
essentially identical and allege that the Company made false and
misleading statements about its products and business.

The Company believes the claims are without merit and that it has
substantial legal and factual defenses to these accusations.


STONE CONTAINER: Court Allows Cardboard Price-Fixing Suit To Proceed
--------------------------------------------------------------------
A class action accusing paper-products makers of plotting for two years
to manipulate production and raise prices of cardboard for boxes used
to ship nearly all US-made goods, has received a go-ahead from a
federal appeals court, the Associated Press Newswires reports.

The ruling came in an appeal by the paper-products makers of an earlier
decision by US District Judge Jan E. DuBois, certifying the lawsuit as
a class action.  A three-judge appellate panel rejected the
manufacturers' arguments Judge DuBois had ignored individual issues
that made a class action inappropriate.

Plaintiffs' attorney Eugene A. Spector said that if there is no appeal,
the plaintiffs would take steps to notify potential class members of
their eligibility to join in the civil antitrust lawsuit.  Members of
the class will include customers that bought boxes or corrugated
cardboard from the manufacturers from October 1, 1993 through November
30, 1995.

Mr. Spector said that because cardboard container are so widely used,
the number of customers charged higher prices because of the alleged
conspiracy could number "at least in the hundreds; I would guess in the
thousands."  While the dollar amount of damages to be sought has not
been calculated, said Mr. Spector, "it is an industry that has a broad
array of customers who have been harmed."

Plaintiffs, led by Winoff Industries Inc., allege in their lawsuit that
as prices declined in the early 1990s due to excess inventory of the
linerboard used to make corrugated sheets and boxes, the largest
linerboard manufacturer, Stone Container Corp., led a twofold plan by
manufacturers to reduce inventories.

The lawsuit further contends that, through the alleged conspiracy by
Stone Container and other manufacturers, 435,000 tons of linerboard
were withdrawn from the market by late 1993, and inventories were cut
to less than a five-week supply.  A series of price increases in the
industry then raised linerboard prices in the eastern United States
from $290 or less per ton in late 1993, to $530 per ton by April 1995,
the lawsuit alleges.

Stone Container entered into a consent decree in 1998, to settle
Federal Trade Commission charges that it tried to bring about price
increases by temporarily shutting down some of its linerboard mills in
1993, and purchasing excess linerboard from competitors.  Stone
Container denied any unlawful actions, but agreed not to urge
competitors to raise or fix prices in return for an agreement by the
government to drop the case.


SUNBEAM CORPORATION: Announces Settlement Terms In SEC's Fraud Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Both Albert "Chainsaw" Dunlap and Russell Kersh, former executives of
the now-bankrupt Sunbeam, received from SEC a  "mere slap on the
wrist," as settlement in the agency's fraud suit against the two former
officers, because, say close-to-the-scene observers, Mr. Dunlap had
paid $15 million and Mr. Kersh $250,000 to settle Sunbeam's class
actions, according to a recent report by Barrons.

Mr. Dunlap and Mr. Kersh were charged with restructuring reserves,
faking sales, channel stuffing and other accounting misrepresentations
to artificially boost financial results during their two-year tenure at
Sunbeam.  The pair agreed, as part of the settlement, to a permanent
injunction against ever violating federal antifraud statutes.  They
agreed to a ban on ever serving as officers or directors of any public
company and also agreed to pay fines of $500,000 for Mr. Dunlap, and
$200,000 for Mr. Kersh.  In reaching this consent decree, neither man
admitted or denied any wrongdoing.

An SEC official says the penalties fit the crime, because neither "had
made much from their Sunbeam caper," because their salaries were modest
by today's engorged standards, and the pair held on to their options
and stock during Sunbeam's descent into oblivion.  In other words, Mr.
Dunlap and Mr. Kersh had pumped but not dumped Sunbeam stock.

Three other Sunbeam officers and Sunbeam's former accounting partner
Arthur Andersen have refused to settle SEC charges and are to be tried
next year.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Flight Attendant Loses Claim Against Big Tobacco
--------------------------------------------------------------------
A jury recently rejected a claim against four tobacco companies by a
former flight attendant who blames her sinus problems on secondhand
smoke in airline cabins, according to a report by Associated Press
Newswires.

The trial grew out of a 1997 class action settlement between four
leading cigarette makers and nonsmoking attendants.  Defendant tobacco
companies are:  

     (1) Philip Morris,

     (2) Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.,

     (3) Lorillard Tobacco Co., and

     (4) RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co.   

The settlement set up the structure for a long series of compensatory
damage trials for the flight attendants, of which Suzette Janoff's is
but one.  About 1,800 other claims are awaiting trial on the
compensatory damage issue, punitive damages are not allowed.

The six-member jury panel agreed that Suzette Janoff suffers from
sinusitis, rhinitis, allergies and other ear, nose and throat problems,
but concluded her on-the-job exposure to smoke was not the cause of
these ills.

"All the questions were answered in the medical records," said Anthony
Upshaw, attorney for Louisville, Kentucky-based Brown & Williamson
Tobacco Corp.  "That's all it took."  

Neil Kodsi, attorney for R.J. Reynolds, agreed with Mr. Upshaw's
observation.  He said the verdict should send a message to others
considering secondhand smoke claims that juries will scrutinize the
medical evidence.

Three previous trials on the attendants' claims have ended with a $5.5
million verdict, a decision favoring tobacco and a mistrial.  President
William Ohlemeyer of Philip Morris said the majority of the other
attendants' claims are similar to Ms. Janoff's, and he expects more
verdicts in favor of the industry.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Leslie Rothenberg conceded making mistakes by
allowing the jury to consider whether Ms. Janoff and the airline were
negligent.  Ms. Janoff's attorneys plan to file new motions with the
trial judge, but said they have not decided yet whether to appeal.


WISCONSIN: Agrees To Milwaukee's Foster Care Reform To Settle Suit
------------------------------------------------------------------
The state of Wisconsin has agreed to reform foster care in Milwaukee in
order to settle a nearly decade-old federal lawsuit, officials said
recently, according to an Associated Press Newswires report.

The agreement would require the state to reduce caseloads for social
workers, speed up adoption paperwork and reduce abuse in foster homes.  
The agreement stems from the class action lawsuit filed in 1993,
alleging that the foster care system denied children their
constitutional rights, because it allowed them to languish in the
system, sometimes for years, without being reunited with their parents
or adopted.

Marcia Robinson Lowry, director of Children's Rights Inc., a nonprofit
group that filed the class action, said that the agreement does not
guarantee that things are going to be better for children right away,
"but it certainly sets the state on the right course."

"There was no disagreement between the state and the county that the
system had run into absolute crisis," said Susan Dreyfus, administrator
of the state Division of Children and Family Services.  The state took
control of the system from Milwaukee County in 1998.

US District Judge Randolph T. Randa is expected to rule on the
agreement within the next few weeks.  His approval would end the long
pending lawsuit.

                      New Securities Fraud Cases

CAPITAL ONE: Mark McNair Commences Securities Fraud Suit in E.D. VA
-------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Office of Mark McNair initiated a securities class action
against Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE:COF), on behalf of, and seeks
damages for shareholders who purchased the stock between January 15,
2002 and July 16, 2002, in the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Virginia.

The complaint alleges that the Company issued numerous press releases
regarding its performance, which represented that it was experiencing
quarter after quarter of record earnings and revenue growth while
maintaining "stringent risk management practices" and adequate loan
loss reserves.

On July 16, 2002, the Company revealed that it had entered into an
agreement with regulators, which required it:

     (1) to boost reserves by $247 million in the second quarter of
         2002; and

     (2) institute infrastructure reforms in order to deal adequately
         with its high rate of growth, especially in the subprime
         market.

In reaction to the announcement, Company stock plummeted by 39%,
falling from $50.60 per share on July 16 to $30.48 by the close of July
17 on extremely heavy volume.

For more details, contact Mark McNair by Mail: 1101 30th Street PN.W.
Suite 500, Washington, D.C, 20007 by Phone: 877-511-4717 or
202-872-4717 by E-mail: wmmcnair@justice4investors.com or visit the
firm's Website: http://www.justice4investors.com.  


CITIGROUP INC.: Kaplan Fox Commences Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP initiated a securities class action against
Citigroup, Inc. and its Chairman and CEO, Sanford I. Weill, (NYSE:C),
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York.  This suit is brought on behalf of all persons or entities who
purchased or otherwise acquired the Company's common stock between July
24, 1999 and July 22, 2002, inclusive.

The complaint alleges that the Company and Sanford I. Weill violated
the federal securities laws.  Specifically, the complaint alleges, that
during the class period, defendants failed to disclose material facts
concerning the Company's relationship with Enron Corp.  The Company
never disclosed that it was structuring financing deals for Enron so
that Enron could falsify its financial statements and defraud its
investors.

After Enron's collapse, the Company continued to misrepresent its
potential Enron-related exposure by failing to disclose the true extent
of its potential legal liability arising out of its finance
transactions with Enron.

As a result of defendants' failure to disclose the true nature of the
Company's relationship with Enron, Company stock price was artificially
inflated during the class period trading as high as $57.  Upon news
that the Senate Committee found evidence that Citigroup was involved in
Enron's collapse, the stock fell to $27 on trading of 121 million
shares.

For more details, contact Frederic S. Fox or Hae Sung Nam by Mail: 805
Third Avenue, 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10022 by Phone: 800-290-1952 or
212-687-1980 by Fax: 212-687-7714 by E-mail: mail@kaplanfox.com or
visit the firm's Website: http://www.kaplanfox.com


EL PASO: Mark McNair Commences Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. Texas
------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Office of Mark McNair initiated a securities class action
against El Paso Corp. (NYSE:EP), on behalf of, and seeks damages for
shareholders who purchased the Company's stock between January 29, 2001
and May 29, 2002.  The class also includes holders of Coastal Corp.
securities who acquired the Company's common stock as a result of its
acquisition of Coastal.  The suit is pending in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

The suit alleges that the Company and certain of its officers and
directors violated federal securities laws by issuing a series of
materially false and misleading statements to the market.  The suit
also alleges that the Company manipulated both energy prices and
accounting regulations in order to report materially inflated revenues
from its energy-trading operations and to hide billions of dollars of
debt in off-balance sheet partnerships.

On May 29, 2002, the Company announced a "strategic repositioning" and
downsizing plan to limit its investment in and exposure to energy
trading.  As a result, Company shares fell 23%.  One week later, the
Company disclosed that it received an informal inquiry from SEC staff
regarding the issue of "round-trip" trades.

For more details, contact Mark McNair by Mail: 1101 30th Street PN.W.
Suite 500, Washington, D.C, 20007 by Phone: 877-511-4717 or
202-872-4717 by E-mail: wmmcnair@justice4investors.com or visit the
firm's Website: http://www.justice4investors.com.  


HEALTHSOUTH CORPORATION: Wechsler Harwood Files Securities Suit in AL
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Wechsler Harwood LLP filed a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, on behalf
of persons who purchased or otherwise acquired the securities of
HealthSouth Corp. (NYSE:HRC) during the period from January 14, 2002,
through August 26, 2002.  The suit names as defendants the Company and:

     (1) Richard M. Scrushy, CEO and Chairman of the Board of
         Directors,

     (2) Weston L. Smith, CFO and

     (3) William T. Owens, President and COO

The complaint asserts securities fraud claims under sections 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder.  The complaint alleges that the Company and its
officers made materially misleading statements and omitted to disclose
material adverse information about the Company's operations and
prospects during the class period.

In particular, in addition to other facts, the complaint alleges that
the Company misled the market concerning expectations for revenues and
earnings by failing to disclose the impact on its operations of certain
Medicaid reimbursement policies and, thereby, reimbursement rates to
the Company.

Due to facts known to the Company concerning the Medicaid reimbursement
policies and rates, the Company knew throughout the class period that
it was in no position to meet the revenue and earnings guidance it had
given to investors.  Thus, those claims were knowingly or recklessly
made without any reasonable basis.

Meanwhile, during the class period, Company insiders, and in particular
Mr. Scrushy, sold nearly $100 million worth of Company stock.  As a
result of defendants' allegedly deceptive acts, the market price of
Company securities was allegedly artificially inflated during the class
period.

For more details, contact David Leifer by Mail: Wechsler Harwood LLP
Shareholder Relations Department re: HealthSouth Corp.
dleifer@whhf.com, at Wechsler Harwood LLP, 488 Madison Avenue, New
York, New York 10022 by Phone: 877-935-7400 by E-mail: dleifer@whhf.com
or visit the firm's Website: http://www.whhf.com


HEALTHSOUTH CORPORATION: Kirby McInerney Lodges Securities Suit in AL
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Kirby, McInerney & Squire LLP initiated a securities
class action on behalf of purchasers of the securities of Healthsouth
Corporation (NYSE:HRC) between January 14, 2002 and August 26, 2002
inclusive, in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Alabama.

The complaint charges that 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 materially false and misleading
statements to the market between January 14, 2002 and August 27, 2002.

According to the complaint, throughout the class period, the Company
issued press releases and filed reports with the SEC announcing
impressive revenue and earnings growth and repeatedly assuring the
market that the Company was well on its way to meeting its financial
targets for the year 2002 and that its fundamentals were strong.

According to the complaint, these and other statements were materially
false and misleading because they failed to disclose that the Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had issued directives
reclassifying certain categories of reimbursements, which would have a
materially negative impact on the Company's business.

The suit further alleges that defendants failed to disclose these
facts, which had been known to them for many months, in order to allow
certain Company executives to sell (collectively) millions of shares of
the Company's stock at artificially inflated prices and so that the
Company could commence a $998 million note exchange/offer on more
favorable terms than if the truth regarding the CMS directives and
their impact on the Company was known publicly.

The note exchange/offering was commenced on August 27, 2002 - one-day
before the Company disclosed the negative developments for the first
time.  According to the complaint, on August 27, 2002, the Company
shocked the market by issuing a press release announcing that CMS
directives issued on July 1, 2002 concerning reimbursements may result
in a $175 million shortfall in EBITDA from previously issued financial
guidance for 2002 and that it could not provide further guidance for
2002 and 2003 because of uncertainties posed by the directives.

In addition, the Company announced that it would spin-off its surgery-
center division as part of a massive restructuring undertaken to deal
with the developments and that defendant Richard Scrushy would be
replaced as CEO by defendant William Owens.

In response to this disclosure, Company stock plummeted by over 43% to
close at $6.71 per share in a single day on extremely high trading
volume.

For more details, contact Ira M. Press or Mark A. Strauss by Mail: 830
3rd Ave., New York, NY 10022 by Phone: 212-371-6600 by Fax:
212-751- 2540 or visit the firm's Website: http://www.kmslaw.com


HOUSEHOLD INTERNATIONAL: Wolf Haldenstein Lodges Securities Suit in IL
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Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois, Eastern Division, on behalf of purchasers of the securities
of Household International, Inc. (NYSE: HI) between October 23, 1997
and August 14, 2002, inclusive, against the Company and certain of its
officers and directors.

The complaint alleges that defendants violated the federal securities
laws by issuing materially false and misleading statements throughout
the class period that had the effect of artificially inflating the
market price of the Company's securities.

On August 14, 2002, the same day the Company's CEO and COO had to
certify the authenticity of their financial statements, the Company
publicized the restatement of its financial statements during the class
period.  In particular, discussions with its new auditor, KPMG,
regarding the amortization of assorted credit card co-branding,
marketing and affinity agreements directed Household to restate
earnings by $386 million.

The suit alleges that the Company also manipulated its reported results
during the class period by "re-aging" negligent accounts.  Account re-
aging concerns the practice of resetting accounts that would be
delinquent to current.  This manipulated the reserve ratio of non-
performing assets and reserve ratio to charge-offs and initiated assets
to be overstated and charge-offs to be understated.  The Company's re-
aging policies led their figures to understate the Company's
delinquency and charge-off experience.

For more details, contact Fred Taylor Isquith, Gustavo Bruckner,
Michael Miske, George Peters or Derek Behnke by Mail: 270 Madison
Avenue, New York, New York 10016 by Phone: 800-575-0735 by E-mail:
classmember@whafh.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.whafh.com. All e-mail correspondence should make reference  
to Household.


HPL TECHNOLOGIES: Kaplan Fox Commences Securities Fraud Suit in N.D. CA
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Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP initiated a securities class action against
HPL Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:HPLAE) and certain of its officers and
directors, in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California, on behalf of all persons and entities who
purchased or otherwise acquired Company securities between July 31,
2001 and July 18, 2002, inclusive.

The complaint alleges that the Company and certain of its officers and
directors violated the federal securities laws by issuing false and
misleading statements, including false financial statements, during the
class period.

On July 31, 2001, the Company became a public company through an IPO of
6 million shares at $11.00 per share, raising proceeds of $69.1
million.  The IPO was accomplished pursuant to a Prospectus and
Registration Statement filed with the SEC.  Those documents provided
the details of the Company's revenue recognition policy, which
purported to be in conformance with SEC guidelines for software revenue
recognition.

In each of the Company's four subsequent quarterly reports (its first,
second, third, and fourth quarter reports of its fiscal year ended
March 31, 2002), it reported increasing net sales and income, and made
positive statements attributing its increasing revenues to the ongoing
need for its software.

As a result of the Company's false financials and false and misleading
statements, its stock traded as high as $17.85 per share during the
class period.  During this period, defendants sold 85,500 shares of
their individual shares.  Also during the class period, the Company
acquired three companies using its stock as consideration.

On July 19, 2002, the Company announced that it was looking into
"financial and accounting irregularities involving revenue reported
during prior periods."  The Company stated, in part, "the Company
believes that a material amount of revenue was improperly recognized
during one or more earlier periods in connection with sales to an
international distributor."

As a result of defendants' false and misleading statements, the
Company's stock plunged 72%, to as low as $4 per share, before trading
was halted.  Trading in the stock has not resumed.

For more details, contact Frederic S. Fox, Jonathan K. Levine or Donald
R. Hall by Mail: 805 Third Avenue, 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10022 by
Phone: 800-290-1952 or 212-687-1980 by Fax: 212-687-7714 by E-mail:
mail@kaplanfox.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.kaplanfox.com


HPL TECHNOLOGIES: Abbey Gardy Commences Securities Suit in N.D. CA
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Abbey Gardy LLP initiated a securities class action against HPL
Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq:HPLAE) David Lepejian, and Ita Geva, in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of California,
San Jose Division, on behalf of all persons or entities who purchased
the Company's securities during the period from July 31, 2001, the day
the Company commenced trading on the Nasdaq to July 19, 2002,
inclusive, the day the Company announced that it had initiated an
investigation into financial and accounting irregularities.

The suit alleges that 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 during the class period, thereby artificially inflating the
price of the Company's common stock

For more details, contact Nancy Kaboolian by Phone: 800-889-3701 or
(212) 889-3700 by E-mail: nkaboolian@abbeygardy.com or visit the firm's
Website: http://www.abbeygardy.com


MERRILL LYNCH: Cohen Milstein Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
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Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll initiated a securities class action in
the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
on behalf of persons who purchased the securities of iVillage, Inc.
(Nasdaq:IVIL) during the period from November 9, 1999, through May 7,
2001.

The suit names Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. as a defendant, along with
Merrill's former star internet analyst, Henry Blodget.  iVillage is not
named as a defendant. The complaint asserts securities fraud claims
under sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The complaint alleges that as a result of defendants' deceptive and
manipulative acts, the market price of iVillage securities was
artificially inflated during the class period.  The complaint alleges
that defendants accomplished this by issuing Merrill Lynch analyst
reports regarding iVillage that recommended the purchase of iVillage
common stock, and set price targets for iVillage common stock, that
were materially false and misleading, lacked any reasonable factual
basis, and were contrary to the actual beliefs held by the analysts.

In addition, the complaint alleges that when issuing their iVillage
analyst reports, defendants failed to disclose material conflicts of
interest that arose as a result of their use of Mr. Blodget's
reputation, influence and favorable stock coverage in order to curry
favor with Internet companies and obtain their investment banking
business for Merrill Lynch.

According to the complaint, defendants maintained at least an
"ACCUMULATE/BUY" recommendation on iVillage throughout the class period
in order to obtain and support lucrative financial deals for Merrill
Lynch.

For more details, contact Steven J. Toll or Katrina Jurgill by Mail:
1100 New York Avenue, NW West Tower, Suite 500 Washington DC 20005 by
Phone: 888-240-0775 or 202-408-4600 by E-mail: stoll@cmht.com or
kjurgill@cmht.com or visit the firm's Website: http://www.cmht.com


MERRILL LYNCH: Bernstein Liebhard Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. NY
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Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP initiated a securities class action
on behalf of all persons who acquired Exodus Communications, Inc.
(NASDAQ: EXDS) common stock between December 8, 1999 and June 19, 2001,
inclusive, in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York.

The complaint alleges that Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. and Henry Blodget
urged investors to purchase Exodus stock when defendants knew or
recklessly disregarded that such purchases were not a good investment.  
The complaint alleges that defendants:

     (1) issued "Buy" recommendations about Exodus without any rational
         economic basis;

     (2) failed to disclose that they were issuing "Buy"
         recommendations to obtain investment banking business; and

     (3) concealed significant, material conflicts of interest that
         prevented them from providing independent objective analysis.

Between March 24, 2000 and September 26, 2001, Company stock dropped
from approximately $173.32 per share to less than $1 dollar per share.  
During this time period, Merrill Lynch repeatedly reiterated its Near-
Term Buy/Long-Term Buy recommendation.  After the NASDAQ suspended
trading in Exodus common stock on April 26, 2001, Exodus voluntarily
de-listed from NASDAQ and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy shortly
thereafter.

For more details, contact Linda Flood by Mail: East 40th Street, New
York, New York 10016 by Phone: 800-217-1522 or 212-779-1414 by E-mail:
EXDS@bernlieb.com or visit the firm's Website: http://www.bernlieb.com.


SALOMON SMITH: Bernstein Liebhard Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY
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Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz LLP initiated a securities class action
on behalf of all persons who acquired Level 3 Communications, Inc.
(NASDAQ: LVLT) common stock between January 4, 1999 and June 18, 2001,
inclusive, in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York.  The suit names as defendants:

     (1) Salomon Smith Barney Inc.,

     (2) Jack Grubman and

     (3) Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., Inc.

The defendants allegedly urged investors to purchase Level 3 stock when
they knew or should have known that such purchases were not a good
investment.  The complaint alleges that defendants:

     (i) issued "Buy" recommendations about Level 3 without any
         rational economic basis;

    (ii) failed to disclose that they were issuing "Buy"
         recommendations to obtain investment banking business; and

   (iii) concealed significant, material conflicts of interest that
         prevented them from providing independent objective analysis
For more details, contact Linda Flood by Mail: 10 East 40th Street, New
York, New York 10016 by Phone: 800-217-1522 or 212-779-1414 by E-mail:
LVLT@bernlieb.com or visit the firm's Website: http://www.bernlieb.com.


SONUS NETWORKS: Schatz & Nobel Launches Securities Fraud Suit in MA
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Schatz & Nobel, PC initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the District of Massachusetts on behalf of
all persons who purchased or otherwise acquired the common stock of
Sonus Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS) from December 11, 2000 through
January 16, 2002, inclusive.  Also included are all those who acquired
Company shares through its acquisition of Telecom Technologies, Inc
(TTI).

The suit alleges that the Company, a provider of packet voice
equipment, and certain of its officers and directors made materially
false and misleading statements during the class period.  It is alleged
that the Company failed to disclose that products being sold to Qwest
International, Inc. (Qwest) would not be operational within Qwest's
timeframe and as a consequence, Qwest would have to acquire products
from competitor Nortel.

The suit also alleges that the highly-touted Qwest deal was actually a
quid pro quo deal in which the Company had agreed to purchase a $20
million Irrevocable Right of Use from Qwest in return for Qwest's $20
million order.  Additionally, the Company's products were allegedly
deficient in quality, did not have sophisticated network management and
configuration capabilities, and were not "carrier class," as the
Company had claimed.

As a result, the Company disclosed on January 16 that revenues for 2001
were only $173 million, as opposed to class period assessments
exceeding $200 million.

For more details, contact Nancy A. Kulesa by Phone: 800-797-5499 by E-
mail: sn06106@aol.com or visit the firm's Website: http://www.snlaw.net


VIVENDI UNIVERSAL: Schatz & Nobel Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Schatz & Nobel PC initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf
of all persons who purchased or otherwise acquired publicly traded
securities and the American Depository Shares (ADSs) of Vivendi
Universal, S.A. (NYSE: V) from April 23, 2001 through July 2, 2002,
inclusive.  Also included are all those who acquired Company securities
through its acquisition of USA Networks and Houghton Mifflin.

The suit alleges that the Company, one of the world's largest media
companies, and its former CEO, Jean Marie Messier, took the Company on
an acquisition binge that resulted in the Company amassing
approximately $18 billion in debt.  The complaint also alleges that the
Company represented that it was successfully implementing recent
mergers and that it was not as susceptible to economic problems as
competitors.  

These false statements artificially inflated the price of the Company's
ADRs to as high as $68.80 per ADR and allowed the Company to complete
additional acquisitions in its buying spree between 1998 and 2001.  
Late in June 2002, news from inside the Company indicated that the
Company's debt was at alarming levels. The price per ADR continued to
slide until, on July 3, 2002, Mr. Messier was forced to resign.  On
this revelation, the price of the Company's ADRs plummeted to $15.65.
The collapse wiped out billions of dollars in Company shareholder
value.

For more details, contact Nancy A. Kulesa by Phone: 800-797-5499 by E-
mail: sn06106@aol.com or visit the firm's Website: http://www.snlaw.net


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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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