CAR_Public/021014.mbx               C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
              Monday, October 14, 2002, Vol. 4, No. 203

                           Headlines
                             
ALLOY INC.: Asks NY Court to Dismiss Consolidated Securities Fraud Suit
BIKEPRO INC.: Voluntarily Recalls 50,000 Baby Walkers For Injury Hazard
BOTTOMLINE TECHNOLOGIES: Asks NY Court To Dismiss Securities Lawsuit
BRIO CORPORATION: Recalls Plan Toys Caterpillars For Choking Hazard
CALIFORNIA: Ventura County Settles Inmates Suit Over Rights Violations

CATHOLIC CHURCH: Manchester Diocese To Settle Sexual Abuse Claims
CHICAGO CUBS: Fans Commences Consumer Fraud Suit Over Ticket Purchases
DOE RUN: Faces Five Suits Alleging Damages From MO Mining Facilities
DOLLAR TREE: Recalls 280,000 Animal Toy Sponges For Choking Hazard
DOLLAR TREE: Recalls 310,000 Polyester Pool Animals For Choking Hazard

EDISON SCHOOLS: Plaintiffs Decide To File Consolidated Suit in S.D. NY
EDISON SCHOOLS: Shareholder Derivative Suits To Be Consolidated in NY
EMULEX CORPORATION: Trial in Securities Suit Set July 2003 in C.D. CA
EXTREME NETWORKS: Asks NY Court To Dismiss Consolidated Securities Suit
GLAXO SMITHKLINE: Court Allows Ads Saying Paxil is "Non Habit-Forming"

HMO LITIGATION: Industry Fights Motion Seeking Claims Reconsideration
INTERNATIONAL PAPER: Faces Suit For Fixing Southeastern Timber Prices
OHIO: Two Women Sue Coroner For Keeping Body Parts After Autopsies
OPTICAL CABLE: Commences Implementation of Securities Suit Settlement
ORIENTAL INTERNATIONAL: Recalls 3,500 Baby Walkers For Injury Hazard

PARTY CITY: Securities Suit Remanded To Federal Court For Settlement
PARTY CITY: Employees Commence Overtime Wage Suit in CA State Court
PHILIP MORRIS COS.: Merrill Lynch Downgrades Biggest Cigarette Maker
PINNACLE SYSTEMS: Asks Court To Dismiss Amended Securities Fraud Suit
POULTRY INDUSTRY: Chicken Waste Removal Likely Litigation Alternative

SCHERING-PLOUGH: Faces Suit After CEO Makes Negative Earnings Comments
SOUTH CAROLINA: Patients File Suit V. Pharmacy Over Tainted Medicines
UNITED STATES: Settles Lawsuit Over Federal Plaza Protests With ACLU
UNOCAL CORP.: Engineer's Suit Sent To Appeals Court For Reconsideration
WAL-MART STORES: Former Employees File Suits, Alleging Wage Abuses

*Judges Called Upon To Ensure Fairness To All Parties in Class Actions

                     New Securities Fraud Cases

CONSECO INC.: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. IN
CONSECO INC.: Cauley Geller Commences Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. IN
DPL INC.: Wolf Popper Commences Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. Ohio
ESS TECHNOLOGY: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Securities Suit in N.D. CA
FLEMING COMPANIES: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Securities Suit in TX

MERRILL LYNCH: Finkelstein Thompson Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. NY
QUADRAMED CORPORATION: Charles Piven Commences Securities Suit in CA
SCHERING-PLOUGH: Wechsler Harwood Commences Securities Suit in NJ Court
WALT DISNEY: Johnson & Perkinson Commences Securities Suit in C.D. CA

                             *********


ALLOY INC.: Asks NY Court to Dismiss Consolidated Securities Fraud Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Alloy, Inc. asked the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York to dismiss the consolidated securities class
action pending against it and:

     (1) James K. Johnson,

     (2) Matthew C. Diamond,

     (3) BancBoston Robertson Stephens,

     (4) Volpe Brown Whelan & Company,

     (5) Dain Rauscher Wessels, and

     (6) Ladenburg Thalmann & Co., Inc.

The complaint purportedly is filed on behalf of persons who purchased
the Company's common stock between May 14, 1999 and December 6, 2000,
and alleges violations of Sections 11, 12(a)(2) and 15 of the
Securities Act, and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that, in connection with the
Company's initial public offering, the defendants failed to disclose
"excessive commissions" purportedly solicited by and paid to the
underwriter defendants in exchange for allocating shares of the
Company's common stock to preferred customers.

The suit further alleged agreements among the underwriter defendants
and preferred customers tying the allocation of the Company's IPO
shares to agreements to make additional aftermarket purchases at pre-
determined prices.

Plaintiffs claim that the failure to disclose these alleged
arrangements made the Company's prospectus incorporated in its
registration statement for our IPO materially false and misleading.

The Company believes that the allegations are without merit and intends
to defend vigorously against the plaintiffs' claims.  Motions to
dismiss the amended complaint have been filed by the underwriter
defendants and a liaison committee consisting of counsel for various
issuers litigating similar claims.



BIKEPRO INC.: Voluntarily Recalls 50,000 Baby Walkers For Injury Hazard
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Bikepro, Inc. is cooperating with the US Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC) by voluntarily recalling about 50,000 baby walkers.  
The baby walkers can fit through a standard doorway and are not
designed to stop at the edge of a step.  Babies using these baby
walkers could be seriously injured or killed if they fall down stairs.
        
The Company has not received any reports of injuries involving these
walkers.  This recall is being conducted to prevent the possibility of
injury.
        
The recalled walkers are intended for babies age 6 months or older.  
The walkers are blue, green, pink and yellow.  They have a musical
tray, a thick foamed padded seat and some are equipped with stoppers on
the side.  These model numbers are recalled:

     (1) 305,

     (2) 308RK,

     (3) 309STP,

     (4) 384,

     (5) 386,

     (6) 388,

     (7) 388STP,

     (8) 389STP,

     (9) 392STP,

    (10) 393STP,

    (11) 395 and

    (12) 399STP

The model numbers are located on the outside of each box.  The baby
walkers bear a warning label that states in part: "WARNING: NOTE: NEVER
LEAVE CHILD UNATTENDED" or "NEVER LEAVE YOUR BABY ALONE IN THIS BABY
WALKER" or "USE ONLY FOR CHILDREN WHO CAN SIT UNASSISTED."  The baby
walkers may bear a label stating "BEBELOVE."         
        
Independent discount stores located in Arizona, California, Colorado,
Texas, Michigan, Missouri and New York sold these baby walkers from
January 2000 through August 2001 for between $18 and $22.
        
For more details, contact the Company by Phone: 800-261-2559 between 9
am and 5 pm PT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.bikepro@yahoo.com.


BOTTOMLINE TECHNOLOGIES: Asks NY Court To Dismiss Securities Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Bottomline Technologies, Inc. asked the United States District Court
for the Southern District of New York to dismiss the consolidated
securities class action pending against it and:

     (1) Daniel M. McGurl,

     (2) Robert A. Eberle,

     (3) Fleetboston Robertson Stephens, Inc.,

     (4) Deutsche Banc Alex Brown Inc.,

     (5) CIBC World Markets, and

     (6) J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and

     (7) BancBoston Robertson Stephens

The suit asserts claims under Sections 11, 12(2) and 15 of the
Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.  The complaint asserts,
among other things, that the description in the Company's prospectus
for its initial public offering was materially false and misleading in
describing the compensation to be earned by the underwriters of the
Company's offering, and in not describing certain alleged arrangements
among underwriters and initial purchasers of the Company's common stock
from the underwriters.

This case is one of over 300 consolidated proceedings alleging similar
claims against underwriters, issuers, and individuals affiliated with
the issuers.  Counsel for all underwriters and all issuers have
separately filed motions to dismiss all of these related actions.  The
issuer motions address issues common to all or many issuers and
individuals affiliated with them.  Briefing on these motions is not
complete.

The Company intends to vigorously defend itself against this complaint.  
While this proceeding is in its early stages, the Company does not
currently believe that the outcome will have a material adverse impact
on its financial condition.


BRIO CORPORATION: Recalls Plan Toys Caterpillars For Choking Hazard
-------------------------------------------------------------------
BRIO Corporation is cooperating with the US Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC) by voluntarily recalling three lot numbers, about
1,000, of the Plan Toys pull-along caterpillars.  The antenna on the
pull toy can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.
        
The Company has not received any reports of injuries or incidents
involving these toys.  This recall is being conducted to prevent the
possibility of injury.
        
The recalled pull-along caterpillar is bright red and yellow and
was sold under the Plan Toys brand name.  The wooden caterpillar is
about 7-inches long and is pulled by a nylon string.  The caterpillar's
antenna are two blue protruding pegs that extend about 1/2-inch from
the head.  The recalled lot numbers are 0645917, 12142323 and 0724423
and are printed on the inside flap of the packaging.  A stamp on the
top of the tail end of the caterpillar displays the Plan Toys logo and
the words "Made in Thailand."
        
Specialty toy stores, Internet retailers and mail order catalogs
sold the caterpillar toys nationwide from January 2002 through
September 2002 for about $15.
        
Consumers should return the recalled toys to BRIO Corp., SAFETY RECALL
- Caterpillar, N120 W18485 Freidstadt Road, Germantown, Wis. 53022.  
For more information, contact the Company by Phone: 888-274-6869
between 8:30 am and 5 pm CT Monday through Friday.


CALIFORNIA: Ventura County Settles Inmates Suit Over Rights Violations
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Ventura County will pay $255,600 to settle a federal class action filed
by jail inmates who charge that the authorities violated their legal
rights by keeping them in custody for days without filing criminal
charges, the Associated Press Newswires reports.  The settlement has
been confirmed by lawyers and administrators for the Ventura County
Sheriff's Department.

Under terms of the agreement, which still must be approved in federal
court, 81 former inmates will be paid between $100 and 1,250 for each
extra day spent in jail.  Inmates who were never charged with a crime
will receive more money than those who were charged, convicted and
given credit for time served.  The most any one inmate will be paid is
$7,500, officials said.

State law requires that suspects either be arraigned on criminal
charges or released within 48 hours of arrest.  For years, however,
Ventura County law enforcement officers have re-arrested suspects while
they were still in custody, thereby giving prosecutors more time to
gather evidence to support charges.


CATHOLIC CHURCH: Manchester Diocese To Settle Sexual Abuse Claims
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester agreed to settle allegations
of sexual abuse filed by 16 people, the church said Thursday, according
to an Associated Press report.  Charles Douglas, lawyer for the 16
plaintiffs, said they hoped for a settlement.

The diocese, which covers New Hampshire, faces suits by more than 100
alleged victims of sexual abuse.  It also faces investigation by the
attorney general's office, relating to the way complaints were handled.  
The diocese's bishop John McCormack has also been heavily criticized
for the way sexual abuse claims were handled.  However, the diocese has
denied the charges, saying no active priest in New Hampshire is the
subject of credible molestation charges or allegations.

Mr. Douglas allegedly represents eight alleged victims of retired
priest Rev. Leo Shea.  Rev. Shea pleaded guilty in 1994 to sexually
assaulting a 14-year old boy.  The suit alleges Rev. Shea molested a
plaintiff at another priest's funeral around 1970 at St. Anthony's
church in Manchester, according to AP.  "Shea would chase the altar
boys around the church, corner them and attack them," Mr. Douglas
charged in the Hillsborough County Superior Court lawsuit.

The suit also mentions the Rev. Philip Breton of Assumption Parish in
Tilton and the Rev. Hubert Mann of St. Charles Parish in Dover as
having committed sexual offenses, but both have died, according to the
suit.

"At this point, we're willing to do anything we can to help bring
resolution for people," the Rev. Edward Arsenault, diocesan chancellor,
said in July, AP reports.  He has also said the church wanted any
settlements to include a "pastoral element" that lets the church try to
make spiritual, as well as monetary, amends.

"The accusations that have been made are about fractured relationships,
and Bishop (John) McCormack is committed to doing whatever we can do to
help heal those relationships," he said.


CHICAGO CUBS: Fans Commences Consumer Fraud Suit Over Ticket Purchases
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Chicago Cubs faces a class action filed by thousands of fans who
purchased tickets for more than face value from the "alter-ego"
subsidiary established by the team to compete with local ticket
brokers, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.  The suit, filed in
Illinois Circuit Court, asserts claims for:

     (1) consumer fraud,

     (2) deceptive business practices, and

     (3) violating the Illinois Ticket Scalping Act

The suit asserts that state law expressly forbids the owners and
managers of professional sporting or entertainment events from selling
tickets above their face value.  According to the Chicago Sun-Times
story, the Cubs violated this when they started placing tickets for
"original distribution sale" through Wrigley Field Premium Ticket
Services Inc., a Delaware corporation created last spring.

Cubs executive vice president Mark McGuire serves as president of
Wrigley Field Premium Ticket Services Inc.  Mr. McGuire is also the
Cubs' point man in protracted negotiations with City Hall to expand the
Wrigley bleachers and add more night games.

Thousands of tickets have been sold to others "in excess of the lawful
price," the suit states.  The suit seeks an injunction barring the Cubs
from engaging in the "unlawful" ticket-selling practice, and seeks $100
in damages for every ticket sold through Wrigley Field Premium Ticket
Services for more than the face-value price.

"People are paying more than what they can lawfully be charged," said
Paul M. Bauch, an attorney for the plaintiffs, according to the Chicago
Sun-Times.  "It also limits the supply of tickets in the market, which
tends to drive up prices."

Mr. McGuire refused to comment on the merits of the lawsuit, except to
say the Cubs were "comfortable with the setup" of the team's ticket-
selling subsidiary.  He said the surprise legal salvo could be linked
to the team's ongoing stalemate with the owners of rooftop clubs
overlooking Wrigley Field, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.


DOE RUN: Faces Five Suits Alleging Damages From MO Mining Facilities
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Doe Run Resources, Inc. faces five lawsuits, four of which are class
actions, alleging certain damages from discontinued mine facilities in
St. Francois County, Missouri.  

The first case seeks to have certified a class consisting of property
owners in Bonne Terre, Missouri, alleging that property values have
been damaged due to the tailings from the discontinued operations.  In
the second case plaintiffs seek to have certified a class of children
who lived or went to school or day care in Bonne Terre, Missouri or
whose mothers lived in Bonne Terre during their pregnancies.

The third and fourth cases are class actions for property damage and
medical monitoring concerning alleged damages caused by chat, tailings,
and related operations in six areas in St. Francois County.  

The fifth case alleges personal injury against two children living in
St. Francois County.

The Company is unable at this time to estimate the expected outcome of
and the final costs of any of these actions.  Therefore, there can be
no assurance that these cases would not have a material adverse effect,
both individually and in the aggregate, on the results of operations,
financial condition and liquidity of the Company.  The Company has and
will continue to vigorously defend itself against all these claims.


DOLLAR TREE: Recalls 280,000 Animal Toy Sponges For Choking Hazard
------------------------------------------------------------------
Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. is cooperating with the US Consumer Product
Safety Commission (CPSC) by voluntarily recalling about 280,000 animal
toy sponges. The eyes on the toys can detach, posing a choking hazard
to young children.  The Company has received one report of an eye
coming off.  No injuries have been reported.  This recall is being
conducted to prevent the possibility of injuries.
        
There are three types of sponge animals involved in this recall:
whales, turtles and fish.  The sponge animals are made of soft terry
cloth and have suction cups for attaching to tiled or smooth surfaces.  
The toys have a sewn-in label that reads in part, "DOLLAR TREE
DISTRIBUTION, INC.," "MADE IN CHINA" and "RN# 87254."
        
Dollar Tree, Only One Dollar, Only $1, Dollar Express and Dollar Bills
sold the stuffed animals nationwide from May 2001 through September
2002 for $1.
        
For more information, contact the Company by Phone: 800-876-8077
between 9 am and 5 pm ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's
Website: http://www.dollartree.com.


DOLLAR TREE: Recalls 310,000 Polyester Pool Animals For Choking Hazard
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. is cooperating with the US Consumer Product
Safety Commission (CPSC) by voluntarily recalling about 310,000 stuffed
polyester pool animals.  The seams can separate exposing the polyester
stuffing and foam beads.  The foam beads pose a choking hazard to young
children.
        
The Company has received one report of the seam ripping, exposing the
polyester stuffing and a plastic bag containing foam beads.  No
injuries have been reported.
        
There are eight types of stuffed polyester pool animals involved in
this recall: crab, duck, frog, octopus, seahorse, shark, turtle and
whale. The brightly colored stuffed animals have a sewn-in label that
reads in part, "DOLLAR TREE DISTRIBUTION, INC.," "MADE IN CHINA" and
"RN# 87254."
        
Dollar Tree, Only One Dollar, Only $1, Dollar Express and Dollar Bills
sold the stuffed animals nationwide from April 2002 through August 2002
for $1.
        
For more information, contact the Company by Phone: 800-876-8077
between 9 am and 5 pm ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's Web
site: http://www.dollartree.com.


EDISON SCHOOLS: Plaintiffs Decide To File Consolidated Suit in S.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in the securities class actions pending against Edison
Schools, Inc. and certain of its officers and directors have moved to
file a consolidated suit in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York.

These lawsuits are largely identical and each alleges that the Company
and certain of its officers and directors violated Sections 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  They seek an unspecified
amount of compensatory damages, costs and expenses related to bringing
the actions, and in a few instances, injunctive relief.

The plaintiffs allege that the Company's public disclosures from
November 1999 to March 2002 regarding its financial condition were
materially false and misleading because the Company allegedly
improperly inflated its total revenues by including certain payments,
including payments for teacher salaries, that were paid directly to
third parties by local school districts and charter school boards that
contracted with the Company.

Each of the lawsuits references the May 14, 2002, cease-and-desist
order issued by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on
consent against the Company.  Several of the lawsuits also mention two
restatements of the Company's financial statements, one regarding a
warrant purchased in 1998 by a philanthropic organization and the other
regarding a severance agreement between Edison and one of its senior
officers, made by Edison as a result of the May 14, 2002 cease-and-
desist order.

One lawsuit also contains an allegation that the Company, certain of
its officers and directors, and the investment banks that underwrote
its November 1999 offering of class A common stock violated Sections 11
and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 by issuing a prospectus containing
untrue statements of material fact or omissions of material fact,
regarding the Company's financial condition and its inclusion in its
stated revenue of certain payments made directly to third parties by
local school districts and charter school boards that contracted with
the Company.

In July 2002, several plaintiffs filed motions to be appointed lead
plaintiff and also moved to consolidate the ten lawsuits in one action.  
To date, there has been no ruling by the court on these motions.

The Company believes that it has strong defenses to the claims raised
by these lawsuits.  However, if the Company were not to prevail, the
amounts involved could be material to it.


EDISON SCHOOLS: Shareholder Derivative Suits To Be Consolidated in NY
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Three shareholder derivative lawsuits pending against Edison Schools,
Inc.'s officers and directors on behalf of the Company are set to be
consolidated in the Supreme Court for the State of New York, County of
New York.

Plaintiffs in these lawsuits contend that the Company's officers and
directors committed various common law torts against the Company in
connection with the allegedly improper inflation of the Company's total
revenues by including certain expenses, including teacher salaries,
that were paid directly by local school districts.

In particular, the plaintiffs allege that the officers and directors
named as defendants violated their fiduciary duties to the Company by:

     (1) failing to implement and maintain an adequate internal
         accounting control system;

     (2) causing the Company to conceal from the public its true
         financial condition; and

     (3) using material non-public information to sell shares of the
         Company's common stock and thereby reap millions of dollars in
         illegal insider trading gains.

The Company has negotiated a stipulation in the first two derivative
actions which allows:

     (i) plaintiffs until November 22, 2002 to file a consolidated
         amended complaint; and

    (ii) defendants until January 22, 2003 to file a responsive
         pleading to plaintiffs' consolidated complaint.

The Company is in the process of attempting to negotiate a comparable
stipulation in the third derivative action.  The Company believes that
its officers and directors also have strong defenses to these lawsuits.


EMULEX CORPORATION: Trial in Securities Suit Set July 2003 in C.D. CA
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Trial in the consolidated securities class action pending against
Emulex Corporation and certain of its officers and directors is
expected to commence in July 2003 in the United States District Court
for the Central District of California.

The consolidated suit was filed on behalf of purchasers of the
Company's common stock during various periods ranging from January 18,
2001, through February 9, 2001.  The complaints allege that the Company
and certain of its officers and directors made misrepresentations and
omissions in violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.

The Company moved to dismiss the suit, which the court denied in March
2002.  The defendants moved for reconsideration of that order, but the
court again denied the motion in an order dated May 3, 2002.  
Plaintiffs have commenced discovery.  The court has scheduled a trial
setting conference on June 6, 2003, with an expectation that the case
will be set for trial in July 2003.

As a result of these class actions, a number of derivative cases were
filed in state courts in California and Delaware, and in federal court
in California, alleging that certain officers and directors breached
their fiduciary duties to the Company in connection with the events
alleged in the federal suits.

The derivative cases filed in California state courts have been
consolidated in Orange County Superior Court and plaintiffs filed a
consolidated and amended complaint on January 31, 2002.  On May 10,
2002, the Orange County Superior Court ordered that the consolidated
actions be stayed pending resolution of the federal suit.  The
derivative suit in Delaware was dismissed on August 28, 2001.

On March 15, 2002, the United States District Court for the Central
District of California ordered that the federal derivative action be
stayed pending resolution of the federal class action.  The plaintiffs
in that action filed a motion for reconsideration of the stay order,
which was subsequently denied June 3, 2002.

The Company believes that the lawsuits are without legal merit and
intends to defend them vigorously.  However, the lawsuits are at an
early stage and it is not possible to predict whether the Company will
incur any material liability in connection with such lawsuits.


EXTREME NETWORKS: Asks NY Court To Dismiss Consolidated Securities Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Extreme Networks, Inc. asked the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York to dismiss the consolidated securities
class action pending against it on behalf of all persons who purchased
the Company's common stock from April 8, 1999 through December 6, 2000.  

The suit names as defendants the Company, six of its present and former
officers and several investment banking firms that served as
underwriters of the Company's initial public offering and October 1999
secondary offering.

The complaint alleges liability under Sections 11 and 15 of the
Securities Act of 1933 and Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934, on the grounds that the registration statement
for the offerings did not disclose that:

     (1) the underwriters had agreed to allow certain customers to
         purchase shares in the offerings in exchange for excess
         commissions paid to the underwriters; and

     (2) the underwriters had arranged for certain customers to
         purchase additional shares in the aftermarket at predetermined
         prices.

The Securities Act of 1933 allegations against the Company and its
officers are made as to the secondary offering only.  The amended
complaint also alleges that false analyst reports were issued.

The Company is aware that similar allegations have been made in other
lawsuits filed in the Southern District of New York challenging over
300 other initial public offerings and secondary offerings conducted in
1999 and 2000.

On July 15, 2002, the Company (and the other issuer defendants) filed a
motion to dismiss.  The Company cannot give any assurance that it will
prevail in the lawsuit.  Failure to prevail could have a material
adverse effect on the Company's consolidated financial position,
results of operations and cash flows in the future.


GLAXO SMITHKLINE: Court Allows Ads Saying Paxil is "Non Habit-Forming"
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Federal Judge Mariana Pfaelzer allowed GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) to
claim that its anti-depressant Paxil is not addictive in its
advertisements, rejecting a request by attorneys for a group of Paxil
users that advertisements stating that Paxil is "non-habit forming" be
permanently barred, Reuters reports.

Several Paxil users filed the suit against the Company in Los Angeles
federal court, alleging the Company deliberately downplayed the
severity of withdrawal symptoms from the drug.  Last month, Judge
Pfaelzer had granted a temporary injunction against the ads, but she
delayed the start date of the order until after hearings held this
week.

The Company earlier presented in court statements by the United States
Food and Drug Administration, saying it had previously reviewed in-
depth Paxil's side effects and concluded that the drug is not habit
forming and, as a result, the ads did not mislead.

A hearing on a bid to certify the case as a class-action lawsuit has
been scheduled for Nov. 18, according to Glaxo.  

"We are extremely pleased with the ruling," company spokesman Michael
Fleming told Reuters, adding that Glaxo has not yet decided whether to
resume running adds that say Paxil is non-habit forming.


HMO LITIGATION: Industry Fights Motion Seeking Claims Reconsideration
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Attorneys for 145 million managed care patients recently have asked a
judge to reconsider his rejection of their class action claims against
their insurers, the Associated Press Newswires reports.

Industry lawyers have responded that the decision rendered by US
District Judge Federico Moreno all but killed the patients' lawsuit.  
The same judge did, however, accept a companion class action brought by
more than 600,000 doctors.

Patients' attorneys told the judge in their motion for reconsideration
that he should have applied, in this decision-making, the rigorous
analysis required by the United States Supreme Court.  The patients
pointed out that, in contrast to the doctors' racketeering case, they
the patients are not seeking one trial uniting half of the nation's
population against the industry.

Instead, they envision six trials against Aetna, Cigna, Foundation,
Humana, Prudential and United.  Even if the trials are not permitted,
patients' attorneys asked for the right to pursue company-wide
injunctions to correct allegedly false corporate disclosures to health
plan subscribers.

Judge Moreno has rejected the patients' class action as unmanageable
and too individualized based on verbal company representations.   In
Humana's case, the lawsuit likely would cover 5.9 million patients, and
their attorneys said there was "not one shred of evidence of any
alleged oral disclosures."

Industry attorneys contend that the judge's decision rejecting the
patients' class action claims was right, but that he was wrong in
accepting the doctors' companion case.  The industry plans to file a
notice of appeal asking the 11th US District Court of Appeals to put
the case on hold until a full review has been made of the doctors'
case.

The doctors claim they have been routinely shortchanged in a profit-
driven system that makes it costly and time-consuming for them to
object when their claims are underpaid.  Among other things, the
patients claim the insurers over-promised and under-delivered, notably
when guaranteeing care for medical necessities.


INTERNATIONAL PAPER: Faces Suit For Fixing Southeastern Timber Prices
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Three South Carolina landowners have sued International Paper, saying
the Stamford, Conn.-based Company conspired to keep Southeastern timber
prices artificially low, the Associated Press Newswires reports.

The lawsuit, filed recently in US District Court in Columbia, South
Carolina, seeks three times the amount lost because of the alleged
price fixing.  The losses were not specified in the complaint.  The
lawsuit also seeks class action status against the Company, which
operates mills in Eastover and Georgetown, and is among the largest
purchasers of harvested pulpwood timber in South Carolina.

Under the Company's "quality supplier program," a small number of firms
enter into contract with International Paper to supply it with timber.  
Prices are then fixed by the Company, the lawsuit alleges.  Because of
the program, the Company no longer competes to buy timber tracts.  
Instead, it leaves purchasing to the selected companies, which then
sell the timber to the Company.  The suit further alleges that
participating companies also agreed not to compete with each other,
further hurting timber values.


OHIO: Two Women Sue Coroner For Keeping Body Parts After Autopsies
------------------------------------------------------------------
The Hamilton County Coroner says it sometimes is necessary to keep
brains removed during autopsies in order to complete tests to determine
cause of death, the Associated Press Newswires reports, referring to
the lawsuit recently filed against him by two women charging him with
keeping relatives' brains, without families' permission, after
performing the necessary autopsies.

Coroner Carl L. Parrott Jr. said that his office plans to implement a
policy change October 15, to inform relatives that they have the option
of delaying the funeral to wait for the organs.  Dr. Parrott said that
could involve a delay of one to two weeks.

The plaintiffs' lawsuit, filed in US District Court, in Cincinnati,
contends that the practice of keeping body parts violates court rulings
that families have the rights to the body parts.  The lawsuit asks for
unspecified damages and requests class action status on behalf of other
families whose relatives' body parts were removed by the coroner since
1991.  The lawsuit also lists the three county commissioners as
defendants.

The lawsuit's two lead plaintiffs say that their respective relatives,
a son and a father, died in 2000, and underwent autopsies by the
Hamilton County Coroner's office.  The two women did not learn the
men's brains had been removed until after they were buried, the lawsuit
says.

Dr. Parrott and other doctors who lead national and state coroners'
associations have said that removing and keeping brains and other body
parts is sound medical practice in investigating causes of death and
terminal illnesses.

"The standard of care around the nation is to retain organs because you
cannot make meaningful conclusions with an instant analysis," Dr.
Parrott said.  Coroners have a statutory obligation to try to determine
a cause of death in autopsy cases, Dr. Parrott said.  Organs, usually
brains, need to be kept for further analysis in five to eight percent
of the autopsies.  Some problems sometimes cannot be detected without
extended study of an organ, such as subtle lesions to a brain.

Attorney John Metz, who represents the two women plaintiffs, filed a
similar lawsuit in 1989, to challenge a former Hamilton County
coroner's practice of removing corneas for use as transplants, without
families' permission.  That lawsuit led to a ruling by the 6th US
Circuit Court of Appeals in 1991, that families have an enforceable
"property interest" in the bodies of loved ones.


OPTICAL CABLE: Commences Implementation of Securities Suit Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Optical Cable, Inc. has started preparing payments for settlement of
the consolidated securities class action pending in the United States
District Court for the Western District of Virginia against it and:

     (1) Robert Kopstein, former Chairman, President and Chief
         Executive Officer,

     (2) Luke J. Huybrechts and

     (3) Kenneth W. Harber

The consolidated suit, filed on behalf of purchasers of the Company's
common stock during the period ranging from June 14, 2000, through
September 26, 2001, alleges that the defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20 of the federal Securities Exchange Act of 1934 in making certain
alleged misrepresentations and/or omitting to disclose material facts.

On June 26, 2002, the Company issued a press release announcing that it
reached a tentative agreement to resolve the suit.  The settlement,
which is subject to final court approval, provides for a cash payment
of $700,000 and the issuance of warrants to purchase 250,000 shares
(adjusted for the 1-for-8 reverse stock split approved on July 30,
2002) of the Company's common stock at an exercise price per share
calculated in a manner intended to approximate market prices around
June 18, 2002, the date the Company entered into a memorandum of
understanding.

On July 22, 2002, the court entered an order of preliminary approval of
the proposed settlement, and had a final approval hearing for September
23, 2002.  The court has not yet released a decision.

The first installment, totaling $500,000, of the cash portion of the
settlement was paid prior to July 31, 2002, upon preliminary court
approval.  The second installment, totaling $200,000, of the cash
portion of the settlement is to be paid on November 1, 2002 (or upon
final court approval of the settlement and certification of the class,
if later).  The warrants will be exercisable for five years.  The
Company intends that the shares issuable upon the exercise of the
warrants will be registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as
amended.


ORIENTAL INTERNATIONAL: Recalls 3,500 Baby Walkers For Injury Hazard
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Oriental International Trading Company is cooperating with the US
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) by voluntarily recalling
about 3,500 baby walkers.  The walkers will fit through a standard
doorway and are not designed to stop at the edge of a step.  Babies
using these walkers can be seriously injured or killed if they fall
down stairs.
        
The Company has not received any reports of injuries involving these
walkers.  This recall is being conducted to prevent the possibility of
injury.
        
This recall includes the "Honey" model baby walker.  The walkers are
intended for a baby 5 months and older.  They were sold in blue, yellow
or pink with a padded seat and an activity tray.  Model numbers
included in the recall are 820, 860, 862 and 802.  The model numbers
are printed on the seat backs.  A warning label on the walker reads in
part, "WARNING: Suitable for babies between five and ten months old."
        
Independent discount stores located in Arizona, California, Texas,
Illinois, North Carolina and New York sold these baby walkers from May
2001 through June 2002 for between $18 and $22.
        
For more details, contact the Company by Phone: 866-666-9868 between 9
am and 5 pm PT Monday through Friday or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.bike-stroller.com.


PARTY CITY: Securities Suit Remanded To Federal Court For Settlement
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the
consolidated securities class action pending against Party City
Corporation to the United States District Court for the District of New
Jersey, for purposes of implementing the settlement of the suit.

The suit is pending against the Company, its former Chief Executive
Officer and its former Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice
President of Operations on behalf of persons who purchased or acquired
the Company's common stock during various time periods between February
26, 1998 and March 18, 1999.

The suit alleges, violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder, and sought unspecified damages.  The plaintiffs alleged
that defendants issued a series of false and misleading statements
and failed to disclose material facts concerning, among other
things, the Company's financial condition, adequacy of internal
controls and compliance with certain loan covenants during the class
period.

The plaintiffs further alleged that because of the issuance of a series
of false and misleading statements and/or the failure to disclose
material facts, the price of the Company's common stock was
artificially inflated.

In early 2000, defendants moved to dismiss the second amended complaint
on the ground that it failed to state a course of action.  In May 2001,
the district court granted the motion with prejudice.  The plaintiffs
promptly filed a notice of appeal to the United States Court of Appeals
for the Third Circuit.

In April 2002, the parties reached an agreement in principle to settle
the action.  The terms of the settlement are contained in the agreement
in principle, and include the settlement amount the Company is to pay,
which is not material to its results of operations or financial
condition, according to a disclosure to the Securities and Exchange
Commission.

The settlement provided for in the agreement in principle is subject to
certain conditions, including the negotiation of a definitive
settlement agreement and the approval of the terms of the settlement
agreement by the district court after notice to the members of the
class who have the right to object.  There can be no assurance that all
these conditions will be satisfied.


PARTY CITY: Employees Commence Overtime Wage Suit in CA State Court
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Party City Corporation faces a class action filed in Los Angeles
Superior Court by an assistant manager in one of the Company's
California stores for himself and on behalf of other members of an
alleged class of Party City store managers.

The plaintiffs claim the Company misclassified the class members as
exempt from California overtime wage and hour laws.  The class members
seek the disgorgement of overtime wages allegedly owed by the Company
to them but not paid and they also seek punitive damages and statutory
penalties.

If a class is certified, liability is found and a judgment is entered,
such a judgment may adversely affect the Company.  The Company intends
to vigorously oppose the suit.


PHILIP MORRIS COS.: Merrill Lynch Downgrades Biggest Cigarette Maker
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Philip Morris Cos. was downgraded by Merrill Lynch & Co. after a
California jury recently ordered the world's biggest cigarette maker to
pay $28 billion to punitive damages to a woman with lung cancer,
Newsday reports.

Merrill Lynch analyst Martin Feldman reduced his rating to "neutral"
from "buy," citing the jury's award to 64-year-old Betty Bullock, the
largest in history to an individual smoker, and the potential to lose
other cases after this one.  The points of law, which steered this case
to a jury victory will doubtless be applied in future class actions as
well as in other individual suits.  Philip Morris shares fell as much
as 6.1 percent.  The stock has declined 21 percent this year.

Mr. Feldman is the fifth analyst to downgrade the Manhattan-based
tobacco company since August 1.  The other analysts expressed concern
about litigation losses and increased competition.  Last Friday's
verdict ranks second only to the $145 billion a Miami jury told the
industry to pay in a class action in 2000.

Standard & Poor's reduced its outlook for the company and its Kraft
Foods Inc. unit to negative from stable, citing the Bullock verdict and
other lawsuit losses.

Awards of more than $1 billion are often reduced by trial judges or by
higher courts on appeal.  The industry has three more cases in
California in the coming months, however, Mr. Feldman said.  There is
no indication that the tobacco companies will win those suits, he said.


PINNACLE SYSTEMS: Asks Court To Dismiss Amended Securities Fraud Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Pinnacle Systems, Inc. asked the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California to dismiss the third consolidated
securities class action pending against it and certain of its officers
and directors.

The amended suit alleges that the defendants violated the federal
securities laws by making false and misleading statements concerning
our business during a putative class period of April 18, 2000 through
July 10, 2000.

Plaintiffs filed a consolidated amended complaint in December 2000, and
defendants thereafter moved to dismiss that complaint.  In May 2001,
the court dismissed the consolidated amended complaint and permitted
plaintiffs to file an amended complaint.  Plaintiffs then filed a
second amended complaint in June 2001.  Defendants thereafter moved to
dismiss that complaint.

In a written order dated January 25, 2002, the court dismissed the
second amended complaint and granted plaintiffs leave to amend.  On
March 22, 2002, plaintiffs filed a third consolidated amended
complaint, which defendants have moved to dismiss.

The Company is defending the case vigorously, but has not accrued any
liability related to this contingency since a liability cannot be
reasonably estimated.


POULTRY INDUSTRY: Chicken Waste Removal Likely Litigation Alternative
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Poultry companies will be asked to pay for removal of chicken waste
from sensitive watersheds as an alternative to litigation, Oklahoma's
environmental secretary says, according to a report by Associated Press
Newswires.

The companies have made it clear that "they will not accept technical
legal liability for the action of their contract growers," state
Secretary of Environment Brian Griffin said recently at the 23rd
Oklahoma Governor's Water Conference.

"That is a deal-breaker, a line in the sand," said Mr. Griffin.  "If we
force them to take that liability, they will fight that all the way to
the US Supreme Court."

For decades, contract chicken farmers have been applying chicken waste
to pastures as fertilizer.  Excessive phosphorus, which is linked to
the chicken waste, is blamed for degrading the water quality of
Oklahoma lakes and scenic rivers.

"There are a lot of things the companies can do with the waste - gasify
it, pelletize it, or compost it.  However, first you have to bank it,
get it off the fields to a safe storage area, then get it out of the
watershed," Mr. Griffin said.

Attorney Charles Shipley, who represents a class action brought against
poultry companies for waste pollution to Grand Lake, called Mr.
Griffin's plan "weak-kneed."

"Without having the poultry companies being held liable for the waste
generated by the contract growers for their industry, I think you get
less than half a loaf," Mr. Shipley said.  "We avoid actual relief by
avoiding the issue of their liability."

One of Tulsa's main drinking water sources, Lake Eucha, has been
affected by the phosporus loads, creating chronic taste and odor
episodes that have cost the city millions to treat.  Additionally, city
officials are suing the city of Decatur, Arkansas, and six poultry
companies.

Efforts to reduce the pollution in the Illinois River without
litigation have not improved the river.  Mr. Shipley said "instead of
seeing an improvement in water quality of the scenic river, we have
seen a deterioration, just the opposite."


SCHERING-PLOUGH: Faces Suit After CEO Makes Negative Earnings Comments
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Schering-Plough Corporation faces a securities class action, alleging
the Company cheated investors when its shares fell, following a meeting
with a big investor, Reuters reports.

The suit alleges that Company CEO Richard Kogan made negative comments
about the company's earnings last Tuesday in a meeting with Putnam
Investment Management money managers, one of Schering-Plough's largest
shareholders.  The Company allegedly violated the Securities Exchange
Act by unfairly distributing important information to certain investors
without releasing it publicly.

According to Reuters, Schering-Plough last Thursday night issued a
profit warning for 2002 and 2003 after the stock declined 20 percent in
three days with no explanation from the company.  Some angry investors
said the meeting with Putnam on Tuesday, followed by a closed-door
meeting with selected analysts on Thursday afternoon, allowed Mr. Kogan
to make negative comments to certain investors before it released its
outlook publicly.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the matter.  
Shares of Schering-Plough were down 4.3 percent, or 78 cents, at $17.31
in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.


SOUTH CAROLINA: Patients File Suit V. Pharmacy Over Tainted Medicines
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The South Carolina pharmacy that health officials say produced a pain
medicine suspected of contamination has been sued by a group of
patients who want a fund established to pay their medical expenses, the
Associated Press Newswires reports.  One patient died and two others
became ill with fungal meningitis, state health officials said.

The class action was filed recently in Wilson, North Carolina, where
one of the plaintiffs lives.  The lawsuit seeks to represent all the
estimated 870 patients in North Carolina, who received the steroid,
methylprednisolone, which the state Department of Health and Human
Services said was compounded by Urgent Care Pharmacy in Spartanburg,
South Carolina.

State and federal health authorities think the drug may have been
contaminated with a fungus during production and then shipped to pain
clinics in five states this summer.  The pharmacy's founder has said he
does not believe his Company was responsible for the contamination.

Clinics in Jacksonville, Pinehurst and Goldsboro used the drug, state
officials said.  Last week they sent letters to the patients who
received injections of the drug, notifying them of their exposure.

The lawsuit contends that everyone who had an injection of the steroid
has suffered mental anguish, and now must undergo tests to monitor
infection.  The lawsuit is seeking damages of less than $75,000 per
person from Urgent Care Pharmacy to establish the monitoring fund.

"What we are trying to do is set up some sort of court supervised
medical monitoring that will not cost these patients or their insurance
companies a dime," said Kim Wilson, a lawyer with Duffus & Melvyn,
which represents the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

State epidemiologist Dr. Jeffrey Engel said the US Food and Drug
Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the
South Carolina Board of Pharmacy are investigating Urgent Care
Pharmacy.


UNITED STATES: Settles Lawsuit Over Federal Plaza Protests With ACLU
--------------------------------------------------------------------
United States authorities have agreed not to restrict protests in
Federal Plaza downtown to one group at a time, thereby settling a class
action by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), lawyers recently
disclosed, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune.

Under terms of the proposed settlement, the US General Services
Administration, which manages federal property, may not deny a plaza
permit solely because another group holds a permit to use the site at
the same time.  The settlement protects the rights of counter-
demonstrators to hold protests when a group with a contrary view has
planned a rally, said Adam Schwartz, staff attorney for the ACLU of
Illinois.

US District Judge Ruben Castillo gave the settlement his preliminary
approval, and said, "Having the space across the street open is
important to the Constitution, which did not die along with many others
on September 11."  Judge Castillo said this while speaking from his
courtroom in the Dirksen Federal Building located across Dearborn
Street from the Plaza.

A hearing is scheduled for November 26, for any person opposed to the
settlement to present objections.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit in May 2001, after it was barred from
distributing bust cards explaining what to do if one was stopped by the
police at a rally against police brutality at the Federal Plaza the
previous autumn.

After the September 11 attacks, the ACLU amended the lawsuit to
challenge the General Services Administration's subsequent ban on
public rallies in Federal Plaza.  In March, the ban was lifted and most
of the concrete barriers ringing the plaza were removed.


UNOCAL CORP.: Engineer's Suit Sent To Appeals Court For Reconsideration
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
An Allentown engineer and inventor has won a round in a lawsuit that
alleges California fuelmaker Unocal Corp. stole his formula for a less-
polluting gasoline, the Allentown Morning Call reports.

The US Supreme Court sent the lawsuit, filed by William L. Talbert,
President of Talbert Fuel Systems Inc. back to a federal appeals court
in Washington, to reconsider the claims against Unocal in light of a
High Court ruling in May that broadened patent rights for inventors.

That ruling gave inventors wider latitude to sue makers of competing
products that are similar to the original patent but do not exactly
copy it.  Mr. Talbert's gasoline patent lawsuit is one of several
bounced back to lower courts because of the Supreme Court's decision in
May in Fesco Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki Co.  The High
Court ruling gives scope to the idea of bundling a number of inventors'
cases together.

The Supreme Court order represents the first major legal victory for Mr
Talbert, 70, since his lawsuit was filed in 1998.  A lower court had
dismissed the suit on the grounds that Unocal's gasoline had different
characteristics from Mr. Talbert's fuel, and the US Court of Appeals
for the Federal Circuit upheld that ruling in January.

A key claim of Mr. Talbert's claim is that the Company stole his idea
to make a cleaner-burning gasoline after he shared details of his then-
pending patent with Unocal in 1989.  The Company expressed no interest
in Mr. Talbert's invention, but got its own patent in 1994, on a form
of cleaner-burning gasoline designed to meet California's clean-air
mandates.

Mr. Talbert's legal team includes Harvard Law School professor Arthur
Miller and Melvyn I. Weiss of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, a
national law firm known for class-action securities litigation.  Mr.
Talbert's lawyers portrayed the case as a David versus Goliath match.

Lawyers for Unocal and another defendant, Tosco Corp., said the Supreme
Court order is narrowly focused and unlikely to change the outcome of
the Talbert case.


WAL-MART STORES: Former Employees File Suits, Alleging Wage Abuses
------------------------------------------------------------------
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the nation's No. 1 retailer, is facing wage
abuse suits across the United States, the Associated Press Newswires
reports.

The lawsuits are coming from current and former employees like Leona
Crawford, who used to work in a South Haven, Michigan, store.  Ms.
Crawford said she often had to work five hours more per week than for
which she was paid.  "It makes you feel you are a little worthless,
that you are being taken advantage of," Ms. Crawford, 50, told the
Detroit Free Press for a recent story.

Ms. Crawford accuses the retailer of holding down its labor costs by
forcing hourly employees to work for free.

Lawyers for seven former Wal-Mart workers from around the state of
Michigan will go to court November 5, to ask that their complaints be
made a class action, allowing thousands of past and current workers to
sue for unpaid wages.  Filed in September of 2001, in Saginaw, Circuit
Court, the lawsuit claims that the Company engaged in a "systematic
scheme of wage abuse against its hourly employees in Michigan."  
Similar suits are pending in about 29 other states as labor lawyers
take on the powerhouse retailer and union leaders try to organize its
work force.

Company spokesman William Wertz denies the allegations of widespread
abuses.  "Our associates are central to our business success, and it
makes no sense from a business standpoint to mistreat or cheat the
people we depend upon to provide the service our customers expect," Mr.
Wertz said.


*Judges Called Upon To Ensure Fairness To All Parties in Class Actions
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Every judge in America who presides over class actions has both the
right and the duty to review settlement agreements to ensure that
fairness is meted out to all parties, Mary Alexander, president of the
Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) writes in USA Today.

Since judges already have the power to control class action attorneys'
fees and to protect consumers' rights through oversight, perhaps the
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should cast its attention to other,
less-scrutinized problems, such as when defendants actually initiate
class actions and settle them, sometimes on the day of the filing, in
order to buy future immunity inexpensively, the story states.

In these "collusive" settlements, Ms. Alexander writes, defendants
organize mass fraud class actions to settle immediately for an
insignificant amount without a true adversary.  Punishing defendants
who wrongly take advantage of the class action system for their own
selfish ends would further the FTC's goal of protecting consumers.

Class actions, in which large groups of injured people join in a
single, economical lawsuit to seek compensation for their injuries and
seek, as well, a change in the behavior by the people or corporations
that caused the harm, provide a beneficial complement to government
enforcement actions and a superior remedy for injured consumers.  Class
actions also are more efficient and less expensive than a host of
individual lawsuits dealing with the same issues.

There is no more effective means of protecting the interests of
consumers in class actions than close judicial scrutiny to ensure that
the injured consumers receive just compensation.  So it is essential
that all judges be given the financial, administrative and legal
resources that permit them to eliminate case backlogs and give them the
time to closely monitor settlements case by case, Ms. Alexander writes.

The Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) has long maintained
that coupon-only class action settlements often do little to make
defendants pay back their wrongly obtained money and to compensate
plaintiffs for their losses.  Judges should consistently reject
settlements that fail to compensate the injured plaintiffs fairly or to
penalize the wrongdoers adequately, Ms. Alexander stated.

In addition, the Judicial Conference of the United States, has just
adopted a rule for federal courts that echoes ATLA's arguments, before
the US Supreme Court, that plaintiffs should have the right to "opt
out" of class-action settlements that do not benefit them.

                      New Securities Fraud Cases

CONSECO INC.: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. IN
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP initiated a securities
class action in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Indiana on behalf of all purchasers of the common stock of
Conseco, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: CNCE; formerly NYSE: CNC) from
October 30, 2001 and July 15, 2002, inclusive.

The complaint charges the Company and certain of its officers and
directors with issuing false and misleading statements concerning its
business and financial condition.  Specifically, the complaint alleges
that defendants disseminated a series of materially false and
misleading statements regarding problems with the Company's liquidity
and the Company's manufactured-homes financing business.  The
disclosure on the last day of the class period that the Company would
miss certain bond payments caused the price of Company stock to drop
11.5%.

The suit charges that defendants were in possession of materially
adverse information about the Company's liquidity problems and
manufactured-homes financing business but failed to fully disclose the
information to investors, causing the Company's stock price to become
artificially inflated, inflicting damages on investors.

For more details, contact Marc A. Topaz or Stuart L. Berman by Mail:
Three Bala Plaza East, Suite 400, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 by Phone:
888-299-7706 (toll free) or 610-667-7706 by E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com
or visit the firm's Website: http://www.sbclasslaw.com


CONSECO INC.: Cauley Geller Commences Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. IN
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP initiated a securities class action
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of
Indiana on behalf of purchasers of Conseco, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board:
CNCE.OB; formerly NYSE: CNC) publicly traded securities during the
period between October 30, 2001 and July 15, 2002, inclusive.

The suit charges the Company and certain of its 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.  Among other things,
plaintiff claims that defendants disseminated a series of materially
false and misleading statements regarding problems with the Company's
liquidity and the Company's manufactured-homes financing business.

The disclosure on the last day of the class period that the Company
would miss certain bond payments caused the price of Company stock to
drop 11.5%.  The suit charges that defendants were in possession of
materially adverse information about the Company's liquidity problems
and manufactured-homes financing business but failed to fully disclose
the information to investors, causing the Company's stock price to
become artificially inflated, inflicting damages on investors.

For more details, contact Jackie Addison, Heather Gann or Sue Null by
Mail: P.O. Box 25438, Little Rock, AR 72221-5438 by Phone: 888-551-9944
by E-mail: info@cauleygeller.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.cauleygeller.com


DPL INC.: Wolf Popper Commences Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. Ohio
------------------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Popper LLP initiated a securities class action against DPL Inc.
(NYSE:DPL), its Chairman Peter H. Forster, and two of its senior
officers, on behalf of purchasers of the Company's common stock from
March 30, 1999 through August 14, 2002, in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division.

The plaintiff alleges in the class action that, during the class period
(March 30, 1999 through August 14, 2002, inclusive), defendants falsely
represented that the Company's portfolio of financial assets,
comprising approximately 25% of DPL's total assets, were "highly
diversified both in terms of geography and industry" and were a hedge
against the Company's energy business. Defendants failed to disclose
that the Company's investment portfolio was highly concentrated in
Argentinian debt securities and other securities that were highly
risky.

The facts began to be revealed after the close of regular trading on
July 1, 2002, when the Company issued a press release announcing that
it was revising downward its estimate of earnings for the full year
2002, largely as a result of a $110 million, or $0.92 per share, write-
down of its financial assets. The write-down related primarily to
investments in Latin America.

The Company's results for the second quarter of 2002 were subsequently
reported on July 29, 2002 precipitating a review of its debt for
possible downgrading.  On August 14, 2002, the Company revealed further
information concerning the Company's investment portfolio and a
contingent obligation to fund up to another $430 million of
investments.

The plaintiff alleges that defendants engaged in this scheme to enrich
themselves.  For example, in 2000 Mr. Forster received $1.2 million for
managing the company's financial assets and $2.1 million when the price
of DPL common stock reached $26 per share.

During the class period, shares of DPL common stock closed at as high
as $33.68 per share.  When the truth about the losses in DPL's
portfolio of financial assets was revealed after the close of regular
trading on July 1, 2002, the price of DPL common stock fell to $21.57
per share. DPL common stock continued to decline as additional
information was revealed.  DPL common stock closed on October 2, 2002
at $16.60 per share.

For more details, contact Robert C. Finkel by Mail: 845 Third Avenue,
New York, NY 10022-6689 by Phone: 212-451-9620 or 877-370-7703 by Fax:
212-486-2093 or 877-370-7704 by E-mail: irrep@wolfpopper.com or visit
the firm's Website: http://www.wolfpopper.com.  


ESS TECHNOLOGY: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Securities Suit in N.D. CA
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP initiated a securities class action in the US
District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging claims
that ESS Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq:ESST) misled shareholders about its
business and financial condition.

Plaintiff seeks damages for violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 on behalf of all investors who
bought ESS Technology, Inc. securities between Jan. 23, 2002 and Sept.
12, 2002.

The complaint alleges that the Company disseminated false and
misleading statements concerning the Company's operations and its
prospects for 2002.  Taking advantage of the inflation in ESS stock,
certain of ESS's officers sold $1.8 million worth of their own ESS
stock at artificially inflated prices of as much as $25.78 per share,
while the Company itself sold $45.5 million worth of its own stock.

For more details, contact Marc A. Topaz or Stuart L. Berman by Phone:
888-299-7706 (toll free), 610-822-2221 by E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com
or visit the firm's Website: http://www.sbclasslaw.com


FLEMING COMPANIES: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Securities Suit in TX
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Schiffrin & Barroway LLP initiated a securities class action against
Fleming Companies, Inc. (NYSE:FLM) claiming that the Company misled
investors about its business and financial condition.  The complaint
was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas,
Texarkana Division on behalf of all investors who bought Company
securities between February 27, 2002 and July 30, 2002.

The complaint alleges that the Company beginning in early 2002, the
issued numerous positive statements regarding its "price-impact" retail
supermarket division.  These statements were made despite the fact that
the defendants knew, or recklessly disregarded, that the performance of
the Company's "price-impact" retail supermarket division was, in the
words of the defendants, "disappointing."  These statements falsely
portrayed the Company's business prospects and artificially inflated
and maintained the price of Company common stock.

The defendants capitalized on their false and misleading statements by:

     (1) lowering the interest rate and extending the maturity on $250
         million of the Company's debt;

     (2) raising over $155 million through the June 13, 2002 sale of 8
         million shares of the Company's common stock at $19.40 per
         share;

     (3) raising an additional $200 million through the June 13, 2002
         sale of Fleming Notes due 2010; and

     (4) using the proceeds of the June 13, 2002 securities sales to
         complete the purchase of Core-Mark International, Inc. and
         Head Distributing for $330 million in cash -- acquisitions
         described by the defendants as "key" to the Company's
         implementation of its strategic transformation into an
         efficient, national, multi-tier supply chain for consumer
         packaged goods.

Then, approximately six weeks after defendants sold $355 million worth
of Company securities, the Company announced after the close of trading
on July 30, 2002 in an abrupt departure to the repeated and positive
statements made by the defendants during the class period, that its
"price-impact" retail supermarket division was not only performing
poorly, but performing so poorly that the Company was considering
abandoning this line of business entirely.

The price of the Company's common stock dramatically declined on this
announcement, falling from $15.21 on July 30, 2002 to $13.75 on July
31, 2002, on huge trading volume of 3.9 million shares, and continued
to decline over the next two heavy trading days to a 52-week low of
$10.76 on August 2, 2002.

Since then, the price of Company common stock has never recovered, and
currently trades well below the $19.40 price at which Fleming sold 8
million shares to unsuspecting investors on June 13, 2002.

For more details, contact the Shareholder Relations Manager by Phone:
888-299-7706 (toll free)/ 610-822-2221 by E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com
or visit the firm's Website: http://www.sbclasslaw.com


MERRILL LYNCH: Finkelstein Thompson Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. NY
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Finkelstein, Thompson & Loughran initiated a securities class action
against Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. and the former head of its Internet
group, Henry Blodget, on behalf of purchasers of iVillage Inc. (Nasdaq:
IVIL) securities between November 9, 1999 and May 7, 2001, inclusive.

The suit, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York, alleges that Merrill Lynch and its well-known
Internet stock analyst Henry Blodget violated the federal securities
laws by knowingly issuing false and misleading analyst reports
regarding iVillage during the class period.

Based on e-mails and other internal Merrill Lynch communications, which
were made public as a result of the investigation conducted by the New
York State Attorney General, the suit alleges that the defendants
failed to disclose significant conflicts of interest between their
investment banking and research departments.

Specifically, the suit alleges that Mr. Blodget and other Merrill Lynch
analysts issued very favorable analyst reports regarding iVillage to
the public when they allegedly knew that the positive recommendations
were unwarranted and false.

The suit further alleges that, unbeknownst to the investing public,
Merrill Lynch's buy recommendations and price targets for these
companies were driven by its efforts to attract lucrative investment
banking business rather than by the companies' fundamental merits.

For more details, contact Conor R. Crowley or Halley F. Sexter by
Phone: 202-337-8000 or by E-mail: crc@ftllaw.com or hfs@ftllaw.com or
visit the firm's Website: http://www.ftllaw.com


QUADRAMED CORPORATION: Charles Piven Commences Securities Suit in CA
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, PA initiated a securities class
action on behalf of shareholders who acquired QuadraMed Corporation
(Nasdaq:QMDCE) securities between May 11, 2000 and August 11, 2002,
inclusive, in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California, against the Company and certain of its officers
and directors.

The action charges that defendants violated federal securities laws by
issuing a series of materially false and misleading statements to the
market throughout the class period which statements had the effect of
artificially inflating the market price of the Company's securities.

For more details, contact Charles J. Piven by Mail: The World Trade
Center-Baltimore, 401 East Pratt Street, Suite 2525, Baltimore,
Maryland 21202 by Phone: 410-986-0036 or by E-mail:
hoffman@pivenlaw.com


SCHERING-PLOUGH: Wechsler Harwood Commences Securities Suit in NJ Court
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Wechsler Harwood LLP initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the District of New Jersey on behalf of
purchasers of Schering Plough Corporation (NYSE:SGP) common stock for
the period between October 1, 2002 and October 3, 2002.

The complaint alleges that the Company, Richard Jay Kogan, its
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, and Putnam Investment
Management, LLC violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  

The defendants violated the Act as a result of Mr. Kogan, on behalf of
the Company, selectively provided non-public material, adverse
information about the Company's projected earnings to management of
Putnam at a luncheon meeting on October 1, 2002.  Mr. Kogan made
further selective disclosures of this non-public information to
analysts at mid-day on October 3, 2002.

It was not until approximately 11:00 p.m. on October 3, 2002 that the
Company publicly announced that its 2003 and 2004 earnings would be far
below analysts expectations.  As a result of the selective disclosure
by Mr. Kogan of this adverse, material, non-public information to
defendant Putnam and others, defendant Putnam and the others were able
to sell enormous amounts of Company shares before the general public
received such information, thereby enabling the tippees to benefit from
the receipt of their inside information to the detriment of plaintiff
and the Class.

From the time Putnam first learned of the material inside information
through the close of the market on October 4, 2002, Company stock
plunged from $21.80 per share to as low as $16.10 per share, a drop of
over 25%.

For more details, contact Samuel K. Rosen by Mail: 488 Madison Avenue,
8th Floor, New York, New York 10022 by Phone: 877-935-7400 by E-mail:
srosen@whesq.com or rpinon@whesq.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.whesq.com.


WALT DISNEY: Johnson & Perkinson Commences Securities Suit in C.D. CA
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Johnson & Perkinson initiated a securities class action on behalf of
all those who purchased Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) securities during
the period August 15, 1997 through May 15, 2002, in the United States
District Court, Central District of California.

The suit charges the Company and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of federal securities laws.  Plaintiff claims that the
defendants caused the Company's stock price to become artificially
inflated, inflicting damages on investors, by their material omissions
and the dissemination of materially false and misleading statements
concerning the existence, details, and potential effects of a pending
lawsuit over merchandising rights for products bearing the likeness of
"Winnie the Pooh" characters.

Those effects include the potential payout by the Company of hundreds
of millions of dollars in royalty payments in as well as the much more
serious threat of possibly terminating the Company's merchandising
agreement for Winnie the Pooh products, which represents several
billion dollars a year in revenue.

The suit alleges that for eleven years, the Company has been involved
in this bitterly contested lawsuit with hundreds of millions of dollars
at stake, but throughout they have never advised their stockholders of
its existence.  On May 15, 2002, defendants finally came clean about
the amount of claims involved and the potential fallout of the Pooh
litigation, and its stock price fell, reaching $13.77 on August 13,
2002, a decline of more than 40%.

For more details, contact Dennis J. Johnson or Jacob B. Perkinson by
Mail: 1690 Williston Road, South Burlington, Vermont 05403 by Phone:
888-459-7855 or by E-mail: JPLAW@adelphia.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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