CAR_Public/021126.mbx                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
              Tuesday, November 26, 2002, Vol. 4, No. 234

                              Headlines                            

AIRLINE LITIGATION: Appeals Court Certifies Hidden-City Ticketing Suit
ARKANSAS: Homeowners Can't Opt Out Of Property Suit, Judge To Preside
AUTO INSURERS: Faces More Lawsuits Filed For Withheld Auto Deductible
CHECK INTO CASH: Faces Suit Over Excessive Loan Fees in Kentucky Court
CROWN VICTORIAS: Texas to Release Probe Results in Patrol Car Blow-up

DELTA FINANCIAL: NY Court Briefs Appeal of Refusal To Dismiss Lawsuit
DELTA FINANCIAL: Enters Settlement in Securities Fraud Suit in E.D. NY
FAIRMARKET INC.: NY Court Dismisses Officers From Securities Fraud Suit
FLORIDA POWER: Agrees To Settle Age Discrimination Suit With Employees
GAMBLING INDUSTRY: Gamblers Lose Legal Effort to Avoid Online Debts

GRI COMMUNICATIONS: Negotiates For Settlement of NY Securities Lawsuit
HMO LITIGATION: Appeals Court To Review Certification of Doctors' Suit
HOLLAND AMERICA: To Face More Litigation Over Norwalk Virus Outbreak
PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES: New Bill Protects Firms From Thimerosal Suits
IKO MONROE: Settles With MI Residents Suit Over Factory's Strong Odor

IMMERSION CORPORATION: Enters Settlement Discussion For Securities Suit
INDIAN FUNDS: Interior Department Official In Trust Fund Case Retires
INTERNATIONAL SPECIALTY: Faces Lawsuits Over Stock Agreement in DE, NJ
KINDRED HEALTHCARE: Labels "Without Merit" Securities Suits in W.D. KY
KINDRED HEALTHCARE: Insufficient Liability Reserve Irks KY Shareholders

MCGRAW HILL: California Lt. Gov. Files Energy Prices Antitrust Lawsuit
MERCATOR SOFTWARE: CT Court Grants Preliminary Approval To Settlement
MERCATOR SOFTWARE: Faces Shareholder Derivative Suit in CT State Court
OPLINK COMMUNICATIONS: NY Court Dismisses Officers, Directors From Suit
PROCOM TECHNOLOGY: Faces Two Securities Fraud Suits Pending in S.D. NY

SOUTH CAROLINA: Department Of Juvenile Justice Wants End Of Oversight
SRI SURGICAL: Asks FL Court To Dismiss Consolidated Securities Lawsuit
SUN PIPE: Judge Denies Class Certification For Gas Line Rupture Lawsuit
SWITZERLAND: Swiss Finish Referendum Over New Rules For Asylum Seekers
UTAH: Judge To Order State To Provide Funds For Family Service Program

VERISIGN INC.: Plaintiffs To File Amended Securities Lawsuit in N.D. CA
VICTORIA'S SECRET: Agrees To Pay $4.25M To Settle Overtime Wage Suit
WAL-MART STORES: Unions Stage Rallies Seeking Better Wages, Benefits
WEBMETHODS, INC.: Asks NY Court To Dismiss Securities Fraud Lawsuit
WORLDCOM INC.: Asked To Show Documents To State Pension Fund In Lawsuit

                     New Securities Fraud Cases

ALLEGHENY ENERGY: Marc Henzel Launches Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
BROADWING INC.: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Fraud Suit in W.D. OH
ELECTRONIC DATA: Alfred Yates Launches Securities Fraud Suit in E.D. TX
SMARTFORCE INC.: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Securities Suit in NH
TENET HEALTHCARE: Marc Henzel Launches Securities Fraud Suit in C.D. CA

                            *********


AIRLINE LITIGATION: Appeals Court Certifies Hidden-City Ticketing Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A lawsuit accusing three major airlines of overcharging passengers by
prohibiting "hidden-city ticketing" may proceed as a class action, a
federal appeals court ruled, according to the Associated Press
Newswires.

A three-judge panel of the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the
decision of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
to certify the lawsuit against Northwest Airlines, Delta Airlines and
US Airways as a class action.

Attorneys Nelson Chase and Norman Volk filed the lawsuit in 1996,
claiming the airlines violated federal antitrust laws by prohibiting
hidden-city ticketing.  Hidden-city ticketing as defined by
hometravelagency.com:  "A stratagem used to get a lower airfare when
the fare for a flight from A to C with a stop in B is cheaper than a
flight directly from A to B.  The passenger who wants to travel to B,
buys a ticket from A to C and then gets off at B."

Airlines tolerated the practice "for some time, (but) in recent years .
have found various means to prohibit the practice," the appeals court
said in upholding a Detroit federal judge's ruling that certified the
suit as a class action.

Mr. Chase, who had been one of the plaintiffs' attorneys, said that the
lawsuit was meant to force the airlines to allow hidden-city ticketing,
and to compensate passengers allegedly overcharged because of airline
policies against the practice.

The plaintiffs, including those added to the case as part of the class
action, seek nearly $1 billion in damages, according to the lawsuit.  
However, the number of people eligible for damages has not yet been
determined.

Some airlines have penalized travel agents who book such tickets for
clients, and, if they determine a passenger has used the attic, will
cancel the ticket and require rebooking at much higher cost.  Southwest
Airlines is among the major airlines that does not prohibit or penalize
hidden-city ticketing.


ARKANSAS: Homeowners Can't Opt Out Of Property Suit, Judge To Preside
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Arkansas Supreme Court says property owners cannot opt out of a
property tax class action in Benton County and the high court also
denied a motion to order Circuit Judge Tom Keith to recuse himself from
the Amendment 59 case, the Associated Press Newswires reports.

Lawyers representing the taxpayer class filed an appeal that challenged
Judge Keith's ruling that taxpayer can decide not to participate in the
lawsuit.  The high court said that even those who chose to opt out of a
taxpayer case would still benefit from a ruling in favor of the class.

"Because all citizens are parties to the constitutionally created
class, the right to opt out is not applicable in a tax case relating to
illegal-exaction," Associate Justice Jim Hannah wrote.  Each property
owner is now included in the lawsuit.

Amendment 59 caps property tax increases at 10 percent per year.  The
lawyers for the taxpayers contend that Benton County raised rates
faster, thereby violating the amendment.

The high court affirmed Judge Keith's ruling that allowed government
lawyers and a representative to talk to taxpayers about the case,
saying "that communication with the affected citizens must be
unfettered to determine whether any alleged illegal exaction may have
been voluntarily paid, and therefore not subject to the suit."

The appeal to the Supreme Court also had asked the high court to remove
Judge Keith from the case because the judge is a property owner in the
county.  The high court ruled that Judge Keith did not have to recuse
from the case, because being a property owner and relative of a
property owner is not the interest of the type that disqualifies a
judge.  

"Where a judge has no interest in an action beyond that of a general
interest that any other taxpayer has, then he or she does not have the
personal or pecuniary interest that disqualifies a judge," Associate
Justice James Hannah wrote.

Attorney David Matthews, who represents the cities of Rogers, Siloam
Springs and Gravette, has estimated that if rollback refunds become a
reality, the defendant governments could have to pay property owners
between $30 million and $50 million.


AUTO INSURERS: Faces More Lawsuits Filed For Withheld Auto Deductible
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Lawyers in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver have filed three separate
lawsuits against COSECO Insurance Company, Commercial Union Assurance
Company Limited/CGU International Insurance PLC and Guarantee Company
of North America, reports Canada News Wire.

Car owners who held policies with the insurers may be eligible for a
refund of their insurance deductible as a result of their car being
written off as a total loss.  Each lawsuit seeks damages in the amount
of $50 million.

McNally Cumin Allchurch (Calgary), Koskie Minsky (Toronto) and Klein
Lyons (Vancouver and Toronto) have filed the lawsuits against the
insurers on a joint basis.  The claims allege that the insurers
retained the salvage obtained from the cars, but did not pay the car
owners the actual cash value of the car, having withheld the
deductible.  An Ontario Court of Appeal ruling states that car owners
must be paid the actual cash value of their car, not the actual cash
value less the deductible.

William McNally of McNally Cumin Allchurch stated "the Supreme Court of
Canada has decided that they do not want to tinker with an Ontario
decision on the same issue.  It means for all intents and purposes that
it is the law of the land."

The three law firms also have filed similar claims against a number of
private and public insurers across Canada.


CHECK INTO CASH: Faces Suit Over Excessive Loan Fees in Kentucky Court
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A class action was filed recently against Check Into Cash of Kentucky,
in Jefferson Circuit Court in Louisville, for allegedly charging
excessive fees for short-term loans, thereby violating consumer-
protection laws enacted in the 1990s, The Associated Press reports.

The Cleveland, Tennessee, company provides short-term cash advances.  
Typically, in exchange for cash, a customer issues a check that the
company agrees to hold for up to 14 days, for a one-time fee.  That fee
constitutes an illegally high rate of interest, according to Robert
Roark, a partner in the Lexington law firm of Walther, Roark, Gay &
Todd.  The firm filed the lawsuit on behalf of Sandra S. Fuqua of
Louisville and "others similarly situated."

In 1998, the Kentucky General Assembly passed a law stipulating that
cash-advance transactions were not subject to state usury laws, and
that charges were considered fees not interest.   The law did ban
rollovers, however, in which consumers could renew the advances again
and again, and capped the fee at $15 per $100 advance.

In 1999, however, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that transactions
prior to April 14, 1998, when the 1998 law described above took effect
were subject to Kentucky's usury laws.

According to lead plaintiff Sandra Fuqua's lawsuit, she borrowed $100
from the Louisville branch of the company to pay personal bills, for
which she wrote a check for $119 to reflect Check Into Cash's fee.  
Later, she increased the loan to $200 upon renewing it, and continued
to renew the loan, paying $38 each time, until she stopped doing
business with the company some time in 1997.

The lawsuit contends that Check Into Cash "loaned money to thousands of
Kentucky consumers at usurious and exorbitant rates of interest over 50
times greater than permitted by law."  The lawsuit claims the 19
percent interest charge for the short-term loans was an annual rate of
494 percent.

The complaint asks the court for injunctive relief, civil penalties,
principal and interest on consumer loans, compensatory and punitive
damages, as well as attorney's fees and court costs.


CROWN VICTORIAS: Texas to Release Probe Results in Patrol Car Blow-up
---------------------------------------------------------------------
City Attorney Meleine Johnson, in Dallas, Texas, said recently that she
will announce soon the results of an investigation of the death of a
police officer who was killed when his Ford Crown Victoria patrol car
was struck from behind then exploded into flames, The Fort Worth Star-
Telegram reports.

Ms. Johnson will discuss the city's course of action in response to the
accident.  Officer Patrick Metzler, 31, died after a Jeep Wrangler
crashed into the back of his patrol car.  He died of smoke inhalation
and burns, according to the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office.  
Jeffrey Goddard of Dallas, the driver of the Wrangler, was later
charged with intoxication manslaughter.

Since 1992, 14 officers and four civilians have been killed in
accidents in which Crown Victoria gas tanks exploded - most recently in
Phoenix and Corpus Christi.

A Corpus Christi attorney who has filed a lawsuit that seeks to force
Ford to make safety modifications to the vehicles was in Dallas during
the past week.  David Perry, who is known as a leading lawyer in Crown
Victoria cases, represents Nueces County in a class action filed on
behalf of all Texas cities and counties.  Mr. Perry declined to comment
on whether he will be involved in whatever actions Dallas is
contemplating.

Officer Metzler's car was not equipped with a safety shield recommended
by the manufacturer in September, to help prevent gas tank explosions,
city officials said.  However, the car was one of 927 city-owned Crown
Victorias that had undergone another procedure that involves grinding
off the tips on rear-axle bolts to eliminate points that could puncture
gas tanks in high-speed rear-end crashes.

A spokeswoman for Ford has said that the Company is offering to put
shields around potentially dangerous gas tanks on 350,000 police
vehicles across the nation.

Officer Metzler was escorting a work convoy at about three to five
miles per hour along U.S. 75, when the accident occurred, according to
an accident report.  Witnesses told police that Mr. Goddard seemed to
be racing with a motorcycle, at high speed, and was switching lanes,
when he came upon the convoy.  Mr. Goddard struck the back of Officer
Metzler's squad car, which "exploded into flames upon contact,"
according to the report.

The report lists speeding, driver inattention, alcohol and failure to
heed warning signs as factors contributing to the accident.  Mr.
Goddard, 23, remains jailed at the Lew Sterrett Justice Center on the
intoxication manslaughter charge.  His bail is set at $100,000.


DELTA FINANCIAL: NY Court Briefs Appeal of Refusal To Dismiss Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Nassau County has fully
briefed the appeal filed by Delta Financial Corporation of the court's
refusal to dismiss a class action pending against the Company.

The suit was commenced in New York County State Court in March 1999,
alleging that the Company had improperly charged certain borrowers
processing fees.  The complaint seeks certification of a class of
plaintiffs, an accounting, and unspecified compensatory and punitive
damages (including attorneys' fees), based upon alleged:

     (1) unjust enrichment,  

     (2) fraud, and

     (3) deceptive trade practices

The Company later filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, which was
opposed by plaintiffs and denied by the court.  The Company then filed
a motion to change venue, which the court also denied.  The Company
appealed this decision, and in March 2000, the Appellate Court granted
the appeal to change venue from New York County to Nassau County.  

The plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification, which the court
granted.  The Company appealed the decision but the appellate court
upheld the lower court's decision.  The Company then filed a motion for
summary judgment to dismiss the complaint, which was denied by the
court in October 2001.  

The Company appealed that decision, and the trial court agreed to stay
discovery in the action pending the result of that appeal.  The appeal
has been fully briefed and was argued in September 2002.  

The Company believes that it has meritorious defenses and intends to
defend this suit, but cannot estimate with any certainty its ultimate
legal or financial liability, if any, with respect to the alleged
claims.


DELTA FINANCIAL: Enters Settlement in Securities Fraud Suit in E.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Delta Financial Corporation entered a settlement agreement in the
securities class action filed in the United States District Court for
the Eastern District of New York, alleging violations of the federal
securities laws in connection with the Company's initial public
offering in 1996 and its reports subsequently filed with the Securities
and Exchange Commission.   

The complaint alleges that the scope of the violations alleged in the
consumer lawsuits and regulatory actions brought in or around 1999
indicate a pervasive pattern of action and risk that should have been
more thoroughly disclosed to investors in the Company's common stock.  

The Company later asked the court to dismiss the suit in its entirety,
but the court denied the motion.  In October 2002, the Company executed
a settlement agreement with plaintiffs and its insurer, pursuant to
which the Company denied all wrongdoing, and its insurer agreed to
resolve the litigation on a class-wide basis with plaintiffs.

The Company expects that a fairness hearing will be scheduled within
the next several months, at which time the Company further anticipates
that the court will approve the settlement.  In the event that the
settlement is not approved, the Company believes that it has
meritorious defenses and intends to defend this suit, but cannot
estimate with any certainty its ultimate legal or financial liability,
if any, with respect to the alleged claims.


FAIRMARKET INC.: NY Court Dismisses Officers From Securities Fraud Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
dismissed Fairmarket, Inc.'s officers as defendants in the consolidated
securities class action filed on behalf of purchasers of the Company's
common stock between March 14, 2000 and December 6, 2000.  The suit
initially named as defendants the Company and:

     (1) Scott Randall, former President, Chief Executive Officer and
         Chairman of the Board of the Company,

     (2) John Belchers (former Chief Financial Officer of FairMarket),

     (3) US Bancorp Piper Jaffray Inc.,

     (4) Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and

     (5) FleetBoston Robertson Stephens, Inc.

The suit alleges that certain underwriters of the Company's initial
public offering solicited and received excessive and undisclosed fees
and commissions in connection with that offering.  The lawsuits further
allege that the defendants violated the federal securities laws by
issuing a registration statement and prospectus in connection with the
Company's initial public offering, which failed to accurately disclose
the amount and nature of the commissions and fees paid to the
underwriter defendants.

In October 2002, the court entered an order dismissing the claims
asserted against certain individual defendants in the consolidated
actions, including the claims against Mr. Randall and Mr. Belchers,
without any payment from these individuals or the Company.

The Company intends to vigorously defend the remaining claims asserted
against it in the actions.


FLORIDA POWER: Agrees To Settle Age Discrimination Suit With Employees
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Florida Power Corporation reached a settlement with more than 100
former employees who sued the company over age discrimination, the
Associated Press Newswires reports.  Neither side would disclose the
settlement amount, which was reached with the help of a mediator.

In all, 113 workers settled after the lawsuit was filed last Monday in
federal court.  Three people declined to settle and their suits are
pending.

The US Supreme Court had rejected a broad class action in the same
dispute in April.  In August, Florida won the first of 11 planned age-
discrimination suits against the utility in US District Court in Ocala.  
The following month, US District Judge William Terrell Hodges rejected
a request from the 12 plaintiffs in the first trial for a retrial

Judge Terrell later suggested that the two sides submit to mediation.  
After entering into talks with mediator Michael Smith, the two sides
reached the settlement earlier this month.

The workers were laid off in 1994, as part of cutbacks at the St.
Petersburg utility.  More than 70 percent of those laid off during
reorganization in the 1990s were older than 40.  Florida Power said
pending deregulation pushed officials to make severe cutbacks.  A
thousand jobs were eliminated.


GAMBLING INDUSTRY: Gamblers Lose Legal Effort to Avoid Online Debts
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Two gamblers who lost a combined $17,000 to online casinos cannot avoid
paying their debts by blaming credit-card companies, a federal appeals
court in Louisiana ruled recently, according to The Baton Rouge
Advocate.

Larry Thompson and Lawrence Bradley filed a class action in 2000,
against Visa, MasterCard and the banks that issue their cards, arguing
the institutions are guilty of racketeering by reason of their engaging
in a worldwide illegal gambling system.  Mr. Thompson and Mr. Bradley
also sued the operators of the unnamed online casinos.

A three-judge panel of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a
district court's dismissal of the lawsuit, ruling recently that Mr.
Thompson and Mr. Bradley "got exactly what they bargained for --
gambling 'chips' with which they could place wagers," the panel wrote.

Using a MasterCard, Mr. Thompson bought gambling credit at two online
casinos and lost $1,510.  Mr. Bradley, similarly, used a Visa card and
lost $7,048.

In their lawsuit, they said the banks and credit-card companies showed
"a pattern of racketeering and/or the unlawful collection of unlawful
debt."  They sought damages and a judgment saying their gambling debts
were illegal and therefore unenforceable.


GRI COMMUNICATIONS: Negotiates For Settlement of NY Securities Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
GRI Communications, Inc. is participating in negotiations for the
settlement of a consolidated securities class action pending in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
against it, certain of its officers and the underwriters of its
December 14,1999 initial public offering:

     (1) CIBC World Markets Corp.,

     (2) Prudential Securities Incorporated,

     (3) DB Alex.Brown, as successor to Deutsche Bank, and

     (4) U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, Inc.

The suit alleges claims against the defendants under Sections 11 and 15
of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and under Section 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.  The
consolidated suit also alleges claims against the underwriter
defendants under Section 12(2) of the Securities Act of 1933.

The claims made in the suit are substantially similar to the claims
made in the over three hundred other amended complaints filed in the
coordinated matter captioned In re Initial Public Offering Securities
Litigation.

Citing several press articles, the consolidated suit alleges that the
underwriter defendants used improper methods in allocating shares in
initial public offerings, and claim the underwriter defendants entered
into improper commission agreements regarding aftermarket trading in
the Company's common stock purportedly issued pursuant to the
registration statement for the initial public offering.

The suit also alleges market manipulation claims against the
underwriter defendants based on the activities of their respective
analysts, who were allegedly compromised by conflicts of interest.  The
plaintiffs in the consolidated suit seek damages as measured under
Section 11 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Act of 1933, pre-
judgment and post-judgment interest, and reasonable attorneys' and
expert witnesses' fees and other costs; no specific amount is claimed
in the plaintiffs' prayer in the consolidated suit.

By order of the court, no responsive pleading is yet due, although
motions to dismiss on global issues affecting all of the issuers have
been filed.  During October 2002, the Company's officers and directors
who had been named as defendants in the In re Initial Public Offering
Securities Litigation were dismissed without prejudice upon order of
the presiding judge.

In addition, the parties have been participating in mediation and
certain settlement proposals have been made or are being considered,
which could include dismissal of the issuer defendants, including the
Company.  There can be no guarantee that the parties will be able to
reach agreement on either a partial dismissal or a global resolution of
the claims involving the issuer defendants.

The Company's management believes that the lawsuit is without merit and
does not believe the outcome of this consolidated lawsuit will have a
material adverse effect on the Company's financial condition, results
of operations or cash flows.


HMO LITIGATION: Appeals Court To Review Certification of Doctors' Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
An Atlanta Appeals court has handed health management organizations
(HMOs) an important legal victory, agreeing to decide whether the
healthcare industry has to defend a class action brought by 600,000
doctors nationwide, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Legal experts have said that if the class action were allowed to
proceed, the HMOs would be under pressure to pay out mountainous
settlements to the country's physicians, because it would be too risky
to go to trial.

"This is a big win for the HMOs," said Houston attorney Barbara
Radnofsky, chairwoman of the American Bar Association's committee
managed care litigation.  "The implications of class-action
certification to any defendant can be so devastating.  In this case, it
is the sword of Damocles hanging over the industry."

Two years ago, doctors sued 10 of the largest HMOs, accusing them of
engaging in a racketeering conspiracy by wrongly delaying and denying
reimbursement of health care costs.  The physicians also allege the
HMOs fraudulently have rejected expensive but necessary treatments for
their patients. Initially, doctors in five states, including Georgia,
filed the lawsuit.

In September, US District Judge Federico Moreno of Miami certified the
class action on behalf of 600,000 doctors nationwide.  The judge said
the plaintiff doctors "have done more than just allege a common scheme;
they have demonstrated facts which support its existence."

Judge Moreno also set a trial date for next spring and ordered the HMOs
to begin turning over truckloads of documents, including billing claims
submitted by hundreds of thousands of doctors since 1990.

In an order recently issued by a three-judge panel of the 11th US
Circuit Court of Appeals, the court unanimously agreed that Judge
Moreno's approval of the class-action case would be reviewed.  It could
take up to a year for the appeals court to decide the issue.

Jeffrey Klein, a New York attorney representing the HMOs, said the
industry believes that payment disputes between HMOs and doctors should
"be resolved in individual negotiations, which are much less costly for
all concerned."


HOLLAND AMERICA: To Face More Litigation Over Norwalk Virus Outbreak
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The Holland American cruise-ship line continues to be vulnerable to a
contagious stomach virus, and while at present date the possibilities
of class actions are not voluminous, enough already have been filed to
suggest more suits may be forthcoming, the Associated Press Newswires
reports.

Holland America temporarily pulled the ship, the Ryndam, from service
for a week in July to disinfect it.  The ship had 388 reported cases of
a Norwalk-like virus.  A lawsuit seeking class action status has been
filed in Vancouver, British Columbia on behalf of the Ryndam
passengers.

In all, 454 passengers and 70 crewmembers have become sick over four
sails on the Amsterdam, also a Holland America cruise ship.  The ship
has had a total of 7,648 passengers and crewmembers during that period.  
Passengers on later cruises were notified of the virus before sailing.  
One person who became ill aboard the Amsterdam sued the Company last
week, but company officials declined comment on the lawsuit.  It is
still early, as far as filing lawsuits are concerned, for passengers of
the Amsterdam.  Passengers aboard the Amsterdam who became ill were
given a full refund and a 25 percent credit on a future cruise.  The
cruise line also paid for their travel expenses to return home.

Most recently, passengers and crew on the Disney Cruise Line ship Magic
became ill on Wednesday and Thursday of last week as it sailed in the
Bahamas.  The US Centers for Disease Control said it received a report
late Thursday of 175 cases of vomiting and diarrhea among passengers,
and 12 among the crew.

Disney officials ordered the ship to be cleaned and disinfected at sea.  
Facilities on Disney's private island and at its terminal at Port
Canaveral, also will be disinfected, along with the buses that shuttle
passengers from Orlando to the port.  Spokesman Mark Jaronski said
there are no plans to cancel any scheduled cruises aboard the Magic.  
"The plans right now are to sail again on Saturday, but in the end, we
are going to do what is right for our guests," Mr. Jaronski said.

The Disney announcement came on the same day the troubled Holland
America Line cruise ship Amsterdam returned to port, awaiting top-to-
bottom scouring after more than 500 people caught a contagious stomach
virus on four separate voyages.  The Amsterdam will remain in port
indefinitely.   A trip scheduled to depart Thursday night was canceled
so officials can conduct a thorough 10-day cleaning.

Holland America officials said 58 passenger and 18 crewmembers
developed symptoms similar to the Norwalk-like virus during the 10-day
voyage which ended last Thursday.  Eighty-seven of the ship's
passengers left the ship at various ports in the Caribbean and were
flown home.

Many passengers said they resented not being told of the virus and the
precautions until just before they boarded the ship just outside Fort
Lauderdale.  Passengers were not offered an option of postponing or
canceling their trip without losing their full fare.

"There should have been full disclosure.  As far as I am concerned,
they put us in harm's way," said Joseph Carbonell of New Britain,
Connecticut.  The Norwalk virus, spread through food and water and
close contact with infected people, or things they have touched, can
cause diarrhea, stomach pain and vomiting for up to two days.


PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES: New Bill Protects Firms From Thimerosal Suits
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Three sections tacked on at the last minute to the 484-page Homeland
Security bill, which creates a huge new federal Homeland Security
Department, protects Eli Lilly & Co. and other pharmaceutical firms
from liability by lawsuit for damages allegedly caused by childhood
vaccines, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.  This rider particularly
limits the right to sue of parents who claim their children were
damaged by the use in vaccines of the mercury-based vaccine
preservative Thimerosal.

Hundreds of families have joined in class actions against Lilly,
seeking damages for the condition of autism, which, they say, afflicted
their children after they were vaccinated with vaccines containing
Thimerosal.  None of the lawsuits against Lilly has gone to trial, and
all these existing class actions will be thrown out after President
Bush signs the Homeland Security bill already passed by Congress.

Critics say the protection given to Eli Lilly and other firms is a
brazen example of a favor the White House and Republicans congressional
leaders granted to a huge campaign donor, through use of a legislative
device that short-circuits the usual hearings and debate on
legislation.

Defenders of the legal protection for pharmaceuticals say the families
of autistic children may be able to get payments through the existing
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.  The defenders also say
the new limits on lawsuits is part of the battle against greedy trial
lawyers in search of big damage awards from juries.

In order that families of children may get better use from the Vaccine
Compensation Program, Michael Bender of the Mercury Policy Project, a
small group based in Vermont, said some Republicans are talking about
changing the statute of limitations for filing claims under the Vaccine
Compensation Program from three years to six years.  

Mr. Bender fears, however, that because some parents of autistic
children don't understand for many years that their children are
affected, they may end up now having no legal recourse at all, "because
Congress has cut their legs out from under them."

Before passage of the Homeland Security bill, if the Vaccine
Compensation Program rejected the Thimerosal claims, families could
file lawsuits. The provision involving Thimerosal, which is no longer
used in vaccines, was one of several that made for a dramatic last day
of Senate debate on the bill creating the new Homeland Security
Department, one of the President's top legislative priorities for 2002.

No definite link has been made between the preservative Thimerosal and
rising diagnosis of autism among young children.


IKO MONROE: Settles With MI Residents Suit Over Factory's Strong Odor
---------------------------------------------------------------------
A class action filed by residents of the City of Monroe, Michigan, over
a strong odor emanating from the factory of a roofing manufacturer has
led to a $525,000 settlement, the Associated Press Newswires reports.

Residents in the city's northwest neighborhood, living near the former
IKO Monroe Inc. plant, hired attorneys over an alleged "strong odor"
emitted by the plant, which permeated the neighborhood.  

"We couldn't open our windows, we couldn't mow our lawns; it was
ghastly, just horrific," neighborhood resident Linda Compora told The
Monroe Evening News.

Attorneys for the residents are still working out who will receive
money from the settlement.  It could be up to 150 people who have owned
property or lived near the factory.  As part of the settlement, IKO did
not have to admit any wrongdoing.

The City of Monroe also sued the Company over a city ordinance, and a
judge ordered the firm to fix the problem in 90 days.  Before the 90
days elapsed, the Company ceased operations at the plant.


IMMERSION CORPORATION: Enters Settlement Discussion For Securities Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Immersion Corporation is engaged in settlement negotiations in the
consolidated securities class action pending in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York, under the
auspices of a mediator.  The suit names as defendants the Company and:

     (1) Louis Rosenberg (former Chief Executive Officer, President and
         Chairman of the Company),

     (2) Victor Viegas (current President, Chief Executive Officer and
         Chief Financial Officer),

     (3) Bruce Schena (former Chief Technology Officer and Director),   
         and

     (4) certain underwriters of the Company's November 12, 1999
         initial public offering.

Subsequently, two of the individual defendants stipulated to a
dismissal without prejudice.  The case is purportedly brought on behalf
of all persons who purchased the Company's common stock from November
12, 1999 through December 6, 2000.  

The lawsuit has been consolidated for pretrial purposes with similar
lawsuits relating to more than 300 other initial public offerings
conducted in 1999 and 2000 before the Honorable Judge Shira A.
Scheindlin.

The complaint alleges violations of 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 prospectus incorporated
in the registration statement for the Company's initial public offering
failed to disclose, among other things, that:

     (i) the underwriter had solicited and received excessive and
         undisclosed commissions from certain investors in exchange for
         which the underwriter allocated to those investors material
         portions of the shares of the Company's stock sold in the
         offering; and

    (ii) the underwriter had entered into agreements with customers
         whereby the underwriter agreed to allocate shares of the
         Company's stock sold in the offering to those customers in
         exchange for which the customers agreed to purchase additional
         shares of the Company's stock in the aftermarket at pre-
         determined prices.

The amended complaint appears to allege that false or misleading
analyst reports were issued.  The suit does not claim any specific
amount of damages.

On July 15, 2002, the Company (as well as the other issuers and their
affiliated individual defendants) filed a motion to dismiss.  The
motions were heard on November 1, 2002 and are currently under
consideration by the judge.

Settlement discussions with the plaintiffs are being conducted under
the auspices of a mediator.  The Company is considering a settlement
proposal presented by the mediator.


INDIAN FUNDS: Interior Department Official In Trust Fund Case Retires
---------------------------------------------------------------------
A top Interior Department official, who a federal judge said deceived
him about the department's failure to reform a trust fund for Native
Americans, recently announced his retirement, The Washington Post
reports.

Neal A. McCaleb, assistant secretary for Indian affairs, said he was
proud of a 35-year track record of trying build "real and lasting
economic opportunities for American Indian people."  Mr. McCaleb said
that his efforts during the Bush administration were hampered by a
long-running class action filed by Indian plaintiffs who are seeking an
accounting of hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties from Native
American lands held in trust by the government.  The lawsuit began
before his appointment to the Department of Interior.

"Unfortunately, the litigation has taken first priority in too many
activities, thus distracting attention from the other important goals
that could provide more long-term benefits for Indian Country," said
Mr. McCaleb, who will leave December 31.  Mr. McCaleb, a member of the
Chickasaw tribal nation, was appointed by President Bush in April 2001
and confirmed by the Senate on June 29 of that year.

Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton accepted his retirement "with great
reluctance, deep regret and a sense of personal loss."

Dennis M. Gingold, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the Indian Trust
Fund class action, said he was happy to see Mr. McCaleb go.  "It is
unfortunate that we could not get someone to take a position as
assistant secretary who . understood his obligations," Mr. Gingold
said.  "The fact that he is leaving does not mean he is not going to
continue to be part of this litigation.  I assure you, he will be."

The Interior Department's inability to keep track of how much in
royalties for use of their lands is owed each of more than 300,000
Indians ranks as one of the biggest accounting failures in government
history.

In September, US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth held Mr. McCaleb and
Secretary Norton in contempt, ruling that they had failed to abide by a
three-year-old court order to begin a historical accounting of the
trust fund.  Judge Lamberth found, also, that they:

     (1) had concealed the department's actions on the project;

     (2) did not inform the court of a computer programs failure;

     (3) filed false quarterly reports about reform efforts and

     (4) lied about computer security of trust fund data

Judge Lamberth held President Clinton's interior and treasury
secretaries, Bruce Babbitt and Robert E. Rubin, respectively, in
contempt in the same case three years ago.


INTERNATIONAL SPECIALTY: Faces Lawsuits Over Stock Agreement in DE, NJ
----------------------------------------------------------------------
International Specialty Products, Inc. faces several class actions
relating to its agreement with its Chairman of the Board Samuel J.
Heyman on a transaction whereby the holders of the Company's publicly
traded shares (other than Mr. Heyman) would receive $10.30 in cash per
share.

Subsequent to the announcement, six purported class actions were filed
in Chancery Court in New Castle County, Delaware, and one purported
class action was filed in the United States District Court for the
District of New Jersey against the Company and the individual members
of the Board of Directors.  

These various actions allege generally that the defendants breached
their fiduciary duties to the Company's public shareholders with
respect to the proposed transaction and seek to enjoin or rescind the
transaction and obtain unspecified damages and attorneys' fees.

The Company intends, and has been advised that the individual directors
also, intend to vigorously defend against these purported class
actions.  The Company believes the ultimate outcome of these various
actions will not have a material adverse effect on the Company's
business, financial position or results of operations.


KINDRED HEALTHCARE: Labels "Without Merit" Securities Suits in W.D. KY
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Kindred Healthcare, Inc. faces several securities class actions filed
in the United States District Court for the Western District of
Kentucky, Louisville Division, on behalf of purchasers of the Company's
common stock from August 14,2001 to October 10,2002.  The suits name as
defendants the Company and certain of its current and former officers
and directors.

The complaint alleges that from August 14, 2001 to October 10, 2002 the
defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange Act by,
among other things, issuing to the investing public a series of
allegedly false and misleading statements that inaccurately indicated
that the Company was successfully emerging from bankruptcy and
implementing a growth plan.

In particular, the complaint alleges that these statements were
materially false and misleading because they failed to disclose that
the 2001 Florida tort reform legislation had resulted in a marked
increase in claims against the Company in Florida, and also because the
statements reflected a materially understated reserve for professional
liability claims.

The complaint further alleges that as a result of the purportedly false
and misleading statements:

     (1) the price of the Company's common stock was artificially
         inflated;

     (2) the investing public was deceptively induced to purchase the
         stock at those inflated prices; and

     (3) the defendants profited by selling shares at those prices.

The suit seeks an unspecified amount of monetary damages plus interest,
reasonable attorneys' fees and other costs, and any other equitable,
injunctive or other relief that the court deems just and proper.

After October 16, 2002, several other purported class action
complaints, which assert essentially similar allegations as those
contained in the Massachusetts State Carpenters Pension Fund complaint
discussed above, also were filed against the same defendants in the
United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky,
Louisville Division.

The Company believes that the allegations in all of these purported
class action complaints are without merit.


KINDRED HEALTHCARE: Insufficient Liability Reserve Irks KY Shareholders
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Kindred Healthcare, Inc. faces a shareholder derivative lawsuit filed
in November 2002 in the Jefferson Circuit Court in Kentucky, charging
the Company (as a nominal defendant) and certain of its officers and
directors with breach of fiduciary duties for insider selling and
misappropriation of information.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that each of the individual
defendants knew that the price of the Company's common stock would
dramatically decrease when the truth regarding the Company's inadequate
reserves for professional liability risks was disclosed and that the
individual defendants' sales of the Company's common stock with
knowledge of this material non-public information was a breach of their
fiduciary duties of loyalty and good faith.

The suit seeks to impose a constructive trust in favor of the Company
for the amount of profits each of the individual defendants or their
firms received from their November 2001 sales of the Company's common
stock, as well as reasonable attorneys' fees and other expenses.

The Company believes that the allegations in the complaint are without
merit and intends to defend this action vigorously.


MCGRAW HILL: California Lt. Gov. Files Energy Prices Antitrust Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Two energy publications, published by the McGraw-Hill Co., worked with
energy companies to produce and publish false natural-gas prices, in
order to inflate natural-gas and electricity prices in the state,
California Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante charged in a lawsuit seeking
class status, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Energy companies gave false information on cost and volume of natural-
gas trades to "Gas Daily" and "Inside FERC," which are published by
McGraw-Hill's Platts unit, the lawsuit says.  Reported prices are used
to compile energy indexes to which billions of dollars in contracts are
pegged.

In addition to McGraw-Hill, the lawsuit names as defendants:

     (1) El Paso Corporation,

     (2) Sempra Energy,

     (3) Williams Companies,

     (4) American Electric Power Co.,

     (5) Aquila, Inc.,

     (6) Reliant Resources, Inc.,

     (7) Duke Energy Corporation,

     (8) Dynegy, Inc. and

     (9) Mirant Corporation

The lawsuit was filed this week in Los Angeles Superior Court.  The
lawsuit also accuses the New York publisher's energy publications of
conspiring with the energy firms and "knowingly reporting false
information."  Mr. Bustamante is seeking to recover damages and to
prevent "unlawful, fraudulent, unfair business acts and practices."

The Platts unit has said it was aware some energy traders misreport
prices, but that it was careful to weed out prices that seemed out of
line.

"The claims made are baseless and the lawsuit is without legal merit,"
said McGraw-Hill spokesman Brian Jones.  "We will aggressively defend
ourselves and expect to prevail."

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Commodities
Futures Trading Commission are investigating natural-gas price
reporting.


MERCATOR SOFTWARE: CT Court Grants Preliminary Approval To Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
granted preliminary approval to a settlement proposed by Mercator
Software, Inc. to settle a consolidated securities class action pending
against it and:

     (1) Constance Galley, and

     (2) Ira Gerard

Several suits were commenced between August 23, 2000 and September 21,
2000 on behalf of all persons who purchased the Company's common stock
from April 20, 2000 through and including August 21, 2000.  These suits
were later consolidated.

Each complaint in the consolidated action alleges violations of Section
10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder,
through alleged material misrepresentations and omissions and seeks an
unspecified award of damages.  The lead plaintiffs later filed an
amended complaint in the consolidated matter with substantially the
same allegations.

The Company believes that the allegations in the amended complaint are
without merit and intends to contest them vigorously.  Management
believes that this lawsuit is covered by insurance.  

In October 2002, the Company entered into a stipulation of settlement
to settle this litigation.  Pursuant to this stipulation, filed with
the court and subject to final court approval and notice to the class,
the Company's directors and officers liability insurance carrier will
pay the entire $8.2 million to resolve all claims related to this
litigation without any admission of liability by the Company.

On October 28, 2002, the court preliminarily approved the settlement
and set a hearing date of December 20, 2002 for consideration of final
approval.  During this notice period, members of the class may opt out
of the settlement to avoid being bound by it.  


MERCATOR SOFTWARE: Faces Shareholder Derivative Suit in CT State Court
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Mercator Software, Inc. faces a shareholder derivative action was filed
in Connecticut Superior Court, naming as defendants the Company, and
directors:

     (1) Constance Galley,

     (2) James Schadt,

     (3) Dennis Sisco, and

     (4) Ernest Keet

The complaint in the derivative action alleges, among other things,
that the defendants made material misrepresentations and omissions to
the investing public during the period from April 20, 2000 through
August 21, 2000, and asserts claims for:

     (i) breaches of fiduciary duty,

    (ii) gross negligence, and

   (iii) breach of contract

The Company believes the derivative action is without merit and intends
to contest it vigorously.  There can be no guarantee as to the ultimate
outcome of this proceeding or whether the ultimate outcome may have a
material adverse effect on the Company's consolidated financial
position or consolidated results of operations.


OPLINK COMMUNICATIONS: NY Court Dismisses Officers, Directors From Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
entered an order dismissing certain of Oplink Communications, Inc.'s
officers and directors as defendants in the consolidated securities
class action pending against them and the Company.

The suit alleges that the Company, certain of its officers and
directors and the underwriters of its initial public offering violated
the federal securities laws because the Company's IPO registration
statement and prospectus contained untrue statements of material fact
or omitted material facts regarding the compensation to be received by,
and the stock allocation practices of, the IPO underwriters.

Similar complaints were filed in the same court against numerous public
companies that conducted IPOs of their common stock in the late 1990s.  
In August 2001, the IPO Cases were consolidated for pretrial purposes
before United States Judge Shira Scheindlin of the Southern District of
New York.  Judge Scheindlin held an initial case management conference,
at which time she ordered, among other things, that the time for all
defendants to respond to any complaint be postponed until further order
of the court.  Thus, the Company has not been required to answer the
complaint, and no discovery has been served on the Company.

In accordance with Judge Scheindlin's orders at further status
conferences in March and April 2002, the appointed lead plaintiff's
counsel filed amended, consolidated complaints in the IPO Cases on
April 19, 2002.  Defendants then filed a global motion to dismiss the
IPO Cases on July 15, 2002, as to which the Company does not expect a
decision until late in calendar 2002.

On October 9, 2002, the court entered an order dismissing the Company's
named officers and directors from the IPO Cases without prejudice,
pursuant to an agreement tolling the statute of limitations with
respect to these officers and directors until September 30, 2003.

The Company believes that this litigation is without merit and intends
to defend against it vigorously.  This litigation, however, as well as
any other litigation that might be instituted, could result in
substantial costs and a diversion of management's attention and
resources.


PROCOM TECHNOLOGY: Faces Two Securities Fraud Suits Pending in S.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Procom Technology, Inc. faces two identical securities class actions
filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York, on behalf of purchasers of the Company's common stock from
December 9,1999 to September 20,2000.  The suit names as defendants the
Company and:

     (1) Alex Aydin, and

     (2) Alex Razmjoo

The complaints allege violations of Section 10(b) and 20(a) and Rule
10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Specifically, plaintiffs
allege that the defendants violated federal securities laws by:

     (i) failing to fully and timely disclose purported problems with
         the Company's "alliance" with Hewlett-Packard along with the
         effect of such problems on its business prospects, and

    (ii) overstating the Company's receivables during the class period

The Company believes that it has substantial and meritorious defenses
to each of the claims and intends to vigorously defend the actions.  
However, there can be no assurance that it will prevail in defending
these actions.  The Company's defense of these actions may result in
the diversion of management's time and attention and cause the Company
to incur potentially significant legal expenses.


SOUTH CAROLINA: Department Of Juvenile Justice Wants End Of Oversight
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Department of Juvenile Justice wants to end 12 years of federal
court supervision of its juvenile detention facilities, according to a
report by the Charlotte Observer.

Juvenile Justice officials said recently that they have asked a federal
judge to dismiss a class action because conditions in the detention
facilities have improved.  The chairman of the Senate Corrections and
Penology Committee does not think the request will be granted.  "The
last official word we had in those (the Committee's) hearings, they
weren't even close," said Mike Fair, R-Greenville.  "My sense is that
the court is just as frustrated as ever."

A 1990 class action by six juveniles alleged overcrowding, physical
abuse and inadequate medical care at the agency's three juvenile
detention centers.  A consent decree was issued in 1995, as a plan to
improve conditions.  And the agency has remained under court oversight
since then.

A panel appointed by US District Judge Joseph Anderson reported last
year that conditions at the detention facilities had improved, but the
agency still needed to address problems, including low staffing.

Director of the agency, Gina Wood, however, says that she is confident
that the agency has documented and demonstrated to the satisfaction of
the court that "In all aspects, the agency greatly exceeds all
constitutional conditions declared in the 1995 decree."

Gaston Fairey, the lawyer representing the juveniles disagrees.  "I
think Judge Anderson has made it very clear that he does not think they
(the Department of Juvenile Justice) were anywhere near compliance," he
said.

Lawmakers held hearings earlier this year following reports by The
Greenville News that the state paid $1.1 million in the past two years
to settle nine claims and lawsuits alleging that children as young as
10 years of age had been sexually assaulted by other juveniles in state
detention facilities.

Mr. Fairey subsequently filed lawsuits alleging that a dozen juveniles
have been sexually or physically assaulted by other juveniles at state
facilities and that the agency was negligent in not preventing such
attacks.

Miss Wood and agency representatives told lawmakers that the agency
confirmed five sexual assaults and 227 cases of lesser sexual
misconduct involving juveniles last year.


SRI SURGICAL: Asks FL Court To Dismiss Consolidated Securities Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
SRI Surgical Express, Inc. asked the United States District Court for
the Middle District of Florida to dismiss the consolidated securities
class action filed against it and certain of its officers and directors
on behalf of purchasers of the Company's common stock during the period
from March 30, 2001 through April 1, 2002.

The suit alleges violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated under that
act, alleging among other things, that during the class period the
Company and the individual defendants made materially false statements
concerning the Company's financial condition and its future prospects.

The Company later asked the court to dismiss the suit with prejudice,
which remains pending.  This motion filing postpones any discovery in
this case until after the court rules on the motion.  

The Company believes that it has substantial defenses to this matter,
which it will assert vigorously.  However, it cannot determine the
impact that this matter will have on the Company.


SUN PIPE: Judge Denies Class Certification For Gas Line Rupture Lawsuit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A federal judge has denied the attempt of a Jackson County,
Pennsylvania woman to force the Sun Pipe Line Co. to establish a
medical monitoring program for residents affected by a gas line rupture
two years ago, The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader (PA) reports.

Attorneys for plaintiff Tina Wall sought class certification for her
lawsuit against Sun Pipe Line Co., a move that would have included
about 500 people, who the attorneys said lived within a half mile
radius of the spill off Huntsville Road.  The lawsuit sought to require
the company to implement a program that would test her and other
residents for potential health problems that might develop as a
consequence of the rupture of the company's gas line.

A faulty valve was blamed for the January 19, 2000, rupture that caused
about 4,500 to 5,000 gallons of gasoline to spew into the air,
contaminating the soil of nearby homes and two nearby creeks.  The
rupture also caused a vapor cloud to spread over the Back Mountain
area.  

Ms. Wall also has a personal injury claim pending against Sun Pipe Line
in the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania,
alleging she suffered health problems from the contamination.

In his ruling, US District Judge James Munley denied the class status,
saying the case did not meet the standards required.  Class actions are
typically granted when the number of potential plaintiffs is so large
that litigating the cases separately would be too cumbersome.  The
originating or lead plaintiff also must show their claims are
representative of the entire class.

In Ms. Wall's case, Judge Munley said she is not representative of
other residents because she allegedly suffered a personal injury,
whereas other residents have not claimed injury to date.

Michael Nast of Lancaster, one of Ms. Wall's attorneys, is reviewing
the order to determine, what if any, action to take.  Mr. Nast said the
ruling affects only the class action portion of the lawsuit.  Ms.
Wall's personal injury claim remains.

Sun Pipe Line has admitted liability for the rupture.  It settled
claims with 17 owners who claimed property contamination, bought the
homes of eight owners, and paid $95,000 to the nine who chose to stay.  
In addition, all property owners received $50,000 "inconvenience pay."


SWITZERLAND: Swiss Finish Referendum Over New Rules For Asylum Seekers
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Swiss went to the polls Sunday on a nationalist plan which would
introduce stringent new asylum laws and which, according to the
government and other critics, would set the neutral nation on a
collision course with the rest of Europe, according to a report by Dow
Jones International News.  Any wholesale refusal of refugees, which
this new plan may engender, will result in lawsuits by refugee advocacy
groups, and possibly with countries to whom the refugees will be
returned.

The proposal "against abuse of the right to asylum" drawn up by the
Swiss People's Party, would require that anyone arriving at Swiss
borders via a persecution-free country, in practice all of
Switzerland's European neighbors, would automatically be denied refugee
status and sent back across the border.

The key word here is "via."  Interpreting the word "via" in the
referendum, in its usual narrow and common use, would mean entering
Switzerland through a bordering European country, all of which are
persecution-free, thereby causing the refugee to be returned across
Switzerland's border. In the process of interpreting the language of
the referendum, many legal scholars no doubt will open up a broader
interpretation of the word "via" in this context.

The most recent opinion poll indicated a slight majority of voters
favored the crackdown.  Switzerland's economic turndown and the
involvement of a minority of asylum seekers, mainly from the Balkans
and West Africa, in drug trafficking and crime have prompted a growing
anti-immigrant backlash.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers issued a stinging
denunciation ahead of the vote, saying Switzerland would end up with
the toughest anti-immigrant legislation in Europe.

The four-party coalition government fears the proposal will backfire,
because asylum-seekers simply will refuse to say which country they
passed through: Italy, France, Germany or Austria. Swiss authorities
will not know to which country to deport them.

Refugee workers say the proposal would force asylum-seekers into crime
by denying them work and slashing their welfare benefits.

The anti-immigration People's Party collected the 100,000 signatures
needed for a referendum back in 1999, when Switzerland was being
swamped with people fleeing the war in Kosovo.  The People's Party won
15 Parliament seats at the last election in 1999, a rise of 50 percent,
and is now the second biggest party behind the left-of-center Social
Democrats.

The government worries that the measure will further tarnish
Switzerland's image after the many allegations that it profited from
trade with Hitler and the unclaimed bank deposits of Holocaust victims.
It also is edgy about recently filed US class actions against Swiss
companies accused of involvement in apartheid-era South Africa.


UTAH: Judge To Order State To Provide Funds For Family Service Program
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Utah lawmakers are looking at every segment of the state's budget to
make the books balance.  However, if the Division of Child and Family
Services (Division) does not get more resources, a federal judge could
step in and order that the programs be funded, Associated Press
Newswires reports.  A federal court settlement mandates wholesale
foster care system reforms in Utah.

Judge Campbell has the power to order the funding because the state, in
an accord signed by Governor Michael Leavitt, agreed to make specific
improvements to the child welfare system stemming from a 1993 class
action.  In 1993, the National Center for Youth Law, in Oakland,
California, filed a class action against the Division on behalf of
children in foster care in Utah.  The center cited the cases of 17
children who had been abused and neglected in foster care.  The center
claims that Utah's child welfare system is so dangerous to children
that it is unconstitutional.

The case was settled in 1994, but the Division was unable to implement
the federal-mandated improvements.  In response, another agreement, the
Milestone Plan, was ordered in 1999.

US District Judge Tena Campbell made it clear that she thinks more
money is needed to pay for as many as 20 new trainers and refill 47
caseworker positions that have been lost due to earlier state budget
cuts.  Those positions could cost the state another $3.5 million.  
Lawmakers have said they will need to trim $80 million to $140 million
from the overall 2003 budget.

Instead of mandating additional funding, however, Judge Campbell
ordered the Division, the National Center for Youth Law and a federal
court monitor, who annually reviews the Division's progress, to come up
with a plan that would resolve the Division's inability to comply with
the settlement.  Specifically, Judge Campbell ordered the groups to
negotiate a plan that would address the need for training caseworkers.

John F. O'Toole, director of the National Center for Youth Law, said
that attorneys can get together and decide how to proceed, but they do
not have the ability to fund their agreements.  There is a lack of
will, he said.

Perhaps reflective of this lack of will is an action taken by the
Legislature this past spring when illegally removed the $200,000 for
the federal court monitor.

Alain Balmanno, an assistant attorney general representing the Division
in the case said that lawmakers would have to sign off on any agreement
that called for spending more than $500,000.  Despite these concerns,
the Division agreed to begin negotiations with the National Center for
Youth at a meeting set for December 16.  Judge Campbell has scheduled a
status hearing on the negotiations for January 28.

The Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune have contributed to this story.


VERISIGN INC.: Plaintiffs To File Amended Securities Lawsuit in N.D. CA
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in the securities class actions filed against Verisign, Inc.
are expected to file a consolidated amended suit this month in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Beginning in May of 2002, several suits were filed against the Company
and certain of its current and former officers and directors, alleging
violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act
of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, on behalf of a class of
persons who purchased the Company's stock from January 25, 2001 through
April 25, 2002.

Parallel derivative actions have also been filed against certain of the
Company's current and former officers and directors in state courts in
California and Delaware.  The Company is named as a nominal defendant
in these actions.

Several of these derivative actions were filed in Santa Clara County
Superior Court of California, and these actions have since been
consolidated under the heading In re VeriSign, Inc. Derivative
Litigation, Case No. CV 807719.

The consolidated derivative action seeks unspecified damages for
alleged breaches of fiduciary duty and violations of the California
Corporations Code.  The Company and the other Santa Clara County
defendants demurred to these claims on October 9, 2002.

Another derivative action was filed in the Court of Chancery New Castle
County, Delaware, Case No. 19700-NC, alleging similar breaches of
fiduciary duty.  Defendants moved to dismiss these claims on November
4, 2002.  

The Company and the individual defendants dispute all of these claims.


VICTORIA'S SECRET: Agrees To Pay $4.25M To Settle Overtime Wage Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Victoria's Secret Stores Inc. agreed to pay $4.25 million to settle a
class action brought by the company's California store managers who
claimed the lingerie retailer failed to pay them for having to
undertake extra work of a non-managerial nature.

The lawsuit alleged that the Ohio-based company had a corporate
practice of authorizing inadequate staffing levels that resulted in
placing customer service and non-management duties onto store managers.  
Since they were not engaged in their supervisory or managerial
activities, the plaintiffs were entitled to overtime compensation.

The settlement was reached with the help of a mediator and was approved
last Thursday by a Santa Barbara Superior Court judge.


WAL-MART STORES: Unions Stage Rallies Seeking Better Wages, Benefits
--------------------------------------------------------------------
A coalition of unions and nonprofit groups staged rallies at Wal-Mart
stores in 100 cities in 40 states to protest labor practices at the
nation's largest retailer, the Associated Press Newswires reports.

In Oklahoma City, protesters gathered outside a Wal-Mart Store and
marched with signs reading, "End Corporate Greed" and "Workers Helping
Workers.  Jim Curry, Oklahoma state president of the AFL-CIO
participated in the protest.  In Columbia, South Carolina, protesters
stood near a highway holding signs bearing phrases like "living wages"
and "affordable health care."

Wal-Mart, which now has more than 1.3 million employees, says it offers
unrivaled career opportunities and treats workers well.  "Behind that
smiley face (on a clerk in the store) is a single mother who makes
$7.50 an hour and can't afford health insurance because Wal-Mart
charges her $400 a month for it," said Rian Wathen of United Food &
Commercial Workers Local 700 in Indianapolis.

Wal-Mart spokesman William Wertz said the workers are non-union by
choice, but organizers say the company keeps unions out by
intimidation.  In fact, 31 National Labor Relations Board cases
involving Wal-Mart are pending before administrative law judges, NLRB
spokesman David Parker said.

Wal-Mart also is fighting state and federal lawsuits filed by workers
who accuse the company of forcing them to work hours off the clock.  
More than 400 employees from 24 of Wal-Mart's Oregon stores are
involved in a class action in court now that alleges the retailer
cheated employees out of overtime pay.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is the world's largest private company with 3,200
U.S. stores and 1,100 other locations worldwide.  The company posted
$218 billion in sales last year.


WEBMETHODS, INC.: Asks NY Court To Dismiss Securities Fraud Lawsuit
-------------------------------------------------------------------
webMethods, Inc. asked the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York to dismiss a securities class action
filed on behalf of purchasers of the Company's common stock between
February 10, 2000 and December 6,2000.

The suit names as defendants the Company, several of its executive
officers at the time of the Company's initial public offering and the
managing underwriters of the Company's initial public offering as
defendants.  

The complaint, as amended, alleges that the Company's initial public
offering registration statement and final prospectus contained material
misrepresentations and omissions related in part to certain commissions
allegedly solicited and received by the underwriters, and tie-in
arrangements allegedly demanded by the underwriters, in connection with
their allocation of shares in the Company's initial public offering.

This case is at an early stage and has been consolidated with similar
actions.  Management believes that the claims against the Company and
its officers are without merit, and intends to defend against the
complaint vigorously.


WORLDCOM INC.: Asked To Show Documents To State Pension Fund In Lawsuit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Worldcom, Inc., which has said its accounting misstatements may total
more than $9 billion, has been ordered by a federal judge, in a recent
and unusual ruling, to provide some of its internal documents to
lawyers for a state pension fund that is suing the company for
securities fraud, the Times Union (Albany, NY) reports.

US District Judge Denise Cote, citing the "unique circumstances" of the
class action, ordered the nation's second-largest long-distance phone
company to provide lawyers for the New York State Common Retirement
Fund with documents that WorldCom already has surrendered to federal
investigators.  The pension fund says it lost $306 million as a result
of WorldCom's collapse.

The ruling is unusual because, under federal law, companies sued in
securities suits are not required to surrender internal documents until
after the judge decides on the defendant's motion to dismiss the case.  
The Company has yet to make such a motion.

"Based upon the unique circumstances of this case, the documents
requested by the Common Retirement Fund must be produced in order to
prevent undue prejudice to the interests of the putative investor
class," Judge Cote wrote.  "Plaintiffs are not in any sense engaged in
a fishing expedition or abusive strike suit."

Judge Cote did not identify the documents in her 13-page ruling, other
than to say that WorldCom already had provided the requested documents
to the US Congress, the Department of Justice and the Securities and
Exchange Commission.  She also told the Company to surrender documents
that it has provided to lawyers for the company's board of directors.

Lawyers at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering are preparing a report on the
case for the Board's Special Investigative Committee.  The Company
opposed the retirement fund's request, as did the Company's former
auditor Arthur Andersen LLP, which is also being sued in the case.

Judge Cote also, this month, ordered WorldCom to start settlement talks
with shareholders suing the company.  The judge said, she also will
order WorldCom to begin talks, in a separate case brought by the
company's workers, who allege the firm breached its duty under its
retirement plan.

                     New Securities Fraud Cases

ALLEGHENY ENERGY: Marc Henzel Launches Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class action
on behalf of purchasers of Allegheny Energy, Inc.'s (NYSE:AYE) common
stock from April 23,2001 through October 8,2002 in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York, against the
Company and certain of its officers and directors.

On March 16, 2001, Allegheny Energy's subsidiary Allegheny Energy
Supply Company, LLC announced that it completed its acquisition of
Global Energy Markets (G.E.M.) from Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.  The
complaint alleges that the Company made false and misleading statements
during the class period in that it omitted to state that its revenues
(and revenue guidance) materially depended on illusory, revenue
creating "wash transactions" with Enron, and other deceptive energy
trading practices.

At no point did Allegheny Energy disclose to the investing public that:

     (1) the surge in its revenues was attributable to G.E.M.'s
         practice of engaging in deceptive and illusory trades; and

     (2) that after the Enron story broke, Allegheny Energy could no
         longer engage in these deceptive trading practices as
         successfully, and that revenues would drop as a result.

On September 25, 2002, the Company sued Merrill Lynch for fraud and
breach of contract related to the G.E.M. acquisition.  In that lawsuit,
Allegheny Energy alleged that it overpaid for G.E.M. because the unit's
financial reports had been inflated by sham trades involving Enron.

The Company admitted that G.E.M engaged in a significant amount of wash
or round trip energy trades with Enron, and perhaps others.  The
Company further admitted that the effect of those trades was to
artificially inflate revenues, trading volumes and growth rate.

The Company's September 25, 2002 admissions set a chain of events in
motion, which would result in the Company's stock's tumble from a high
of $12.85 on September 25, 2002 to $3.80 on October 8, 2002 -- a drop
of $9.05, or 70%.

On October 1, 2002, Moody's downgraded Allegheny Energy's credit to
junk status.  The Company, in a press release, reassured investors that
this would not trigger any default or prepayment of the firm's debt.  A
week later, on October 8, 2002, the Company announced that it was in
technical default under its credit agreements.

For more details, contact Marc S. Henzel by Mail: 273 Montgomery Ave.,
Suite 202 Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004, by Phone: 888-643-6735 or 610-660-8000
by Fax: 610-660-8080, by E-mail: Mhenzel182@aol.com or visit the firm's
Website: http://members.aol.com/mhenzel182.  


BROADWING INC.: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Fraud Suit in W.D. OH
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class action
in the United States District Court, Western District of Ohio, on
behalf of purchasers of the securities of Broadwing, Inc. (NYSE:BRW)
between January 17, 2001 and May 20, 2002, inclusive.

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 between January 17, 2001 and May 20, 2002 thereby artificially
inflating the price of Broadwing securities.

The complaint further alleges the Company, together with its
consolidated subsidiaries, purported to be a full-service, local and
national provider of data and voice communications services.  
Throughout the class period, as alleged in the complaint, defendants
represented to investors:

     (1) that Broadwing's business was strong;

     (2) that it had unique attributes that set it apart from its
         competitors in the industry and that immunized it from the
         adverse effects of the industry-wide downturn and related
         "bandwidth glut";

     (3) that the Company was successfully achieving strong financial
         results and executing on its business plan; and

     (4) that the Company's goodwill asset was reasonably valued at
         $2.2 billion.

As alleged, these statements were materially false and misleading
because they failed to disclose, among other things, that:

     (i) the Company was not increasing its revenue by winning over new
         customers with unique and superior service offerings but
         rather through the use of one-time transactions with other
         carriers and sham swap transactions that had no economic
         substance;

    (ii) Broadwing's broadband revenue flow was extraordinarily
         unreliable because it was derived in large part from its
         competitors who were themselves vulnerable to the
         telecommunications industry downturn; and

   (iii) the Company's reported goodwill and shareholder equity were
         grossly over-valued.

On May 20, 2002, Broadwing's disclosed its' revenue was derived from
one-transactions with its competitors.  Broadwing's share price
plummeted 30% on these reports and related concerns about the quality
of Broadwing's revenue reporting and liquidity, to close at $3.70 down
$1.58 from the previous days closing price of $5.28.

For more details, contact Marc S. Henzel by Mail: 273 Montgomery Ave,
Suite 202 Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004-2808, by Phone: 888-643-6735 or
610-660-8000 by Fax: 610-660-8080 by E-mail: Mhenzel182@aol.com or
visit the firm's Website: http://members.aol.com/mhenzel182.  


ELECTRONIC DATA: Alfred Yates Launches Securities Fraud Suit in E.D. TX
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Office of Alfred G. Yates, Jr. initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas,
Texarkana Division on behalf of purchasers of the securities of
Electronic Data Systems Corporation (NYSE:EDS) between April 19, 2002
and September 24, 2002, inclusive.

The suit alleges that the Company, James E. Daley and Richard H. Brown
violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, by issuing a series of
material misrepresentations to the market between April 19, 2002 and
September 24, 2002, thereby artificially inflating the price of EDS
securities.

The complaint alleges that, throughout the class period, defendants
issued numerous statements which highlighted the Company's strong
financial performance and reassured investors that the Company's
"business and financial fundamentals are sound" and the Company's
balance sheet is "rock solid."

As alleged in the complaint, these statements were materially false and
misleading because they failed to disclose and/or misrepresented the
following adverse facts, among others:

     (1) that the Company's program to "manage" its future stock
         issuance under its employee stock option program was
         essentially an unhedged bet on the price of EDS common stock,
         which was exposing the Company to substantial liabilities
         which were not reflected in the Company's financial
         statements;

     (2) that the Company was recording and reporting as assets (e.g.
         accounts receivable) and as revenue, purported receipts from
         contracts structured as percentage-of-completion payment
         arrangements where the requirements of Generally Accepted
         Accounting Principles (GAAP) for such recording were not met
         and where sufficient evidential matter did not exist to
         support the claimed positive impact on EDS's books;

     (3) that the Company improperly recorded revenue on contracts for
         software that did not meet GAAP requirements for such revenue
         recognition;

     (4) that the Company was experiencing difficulties with certain of
         its European contracts such that these contracts were not
         performing according to the Company's expectations; and

     (5) as a result of the foregoing, defendants' statements
         concerning the Company, its earnings, accounting practices and
         prospects were lacking in a reasonable basis at all relevant
         times.

On September 18, 2002, EDS shocked the market by announcing that it
expects "revenues and earnings for its third quarter of 2002 to be
lower than company guidance."  In response to this negative
announcement, the price of EDS common stock dropped sharply, falling
from $36.46 per share to $17.20 per share, on extremely heavy trading
volume.

Then, on September 24, 2002, certain analysts downgraded their rating
on EDS stock, citing the Company's obligations on certain put contracts
and that in order to close out the position, EDS would have to pay $225
million.  In response, EDS issued a press release in which it
acknowledged that it had borrowed money in the commercial paper markets
to close out the put contracts.

In later public comments, an EDS spokesperson confirmed that the
Company borrowed $225 million.  In response to these announcements, the
price of EDS common stock plunged further, falling from the previous
day's close of $16.52 per share to close at $11.68 per share.

For more details, contact Alfred G. Yates, Jr. by Phone: 800/391-5164
or 412/391-5164 or by E-mail: yateslaw@aol.com


SMARTFORCE INC.: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Securities Suit in NH
------------------------------------------------------------------
Schiffrin & Barroway initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court, District of New Hampshire against defendants
SmartForce PLC d/b/a Skillsoft, and executives William McCabe and
Gregory Priest, on behalf of all persons who purchased and/or acquired
American Depository Shares (ADSs) of SmartForce PLC d/b/a Skillsoft
between October 19, 1999 through and including November 18, 2002.

The suit seeks to recover damages caused by the defendants' violation
of federal securities laws.  Specifically, this class period includes:

     (1) all purchasers of SmartForce PLC's ADSs from October 19, 1999
         through September 6, 2002, trading under the ticker symbol
         SMTF;

     (2) all persons who acquired shares of SmartForce PLC's ADSs as
         part of the merger between SmartForce PLC and Skillsoft
         Corporation completed on or around September 6, 2002; and

     (3) all purchasers of SmartForce PLC's ADSs after September 6,
         2002 when it began doing business as "Skillsoft" trading under
         the ticker symbols (Nasdaq: SKILD) and then (Nasdaq: SKIL).

The complaint charges that during the class period, the defendants and
its predecessors issued and/or failed to correct false and misleading
financial statements and press releases concerning the Company's
publicly reported revenues and earnings directed to the investing
public.  Specifically:

     (i) SmartForce improperly recognized revenue under a reseller
         arrangement, resulting in the booking of revenue before it was
         received from the resellers;

    (ii) SmartForce recognized revenue for software sales upon
         shipment, even though the payment schedules for those
         contracts extended over several years;

   (iii) SmartForce recognized revenue in connection with other
         customer contracts upon execution of those contracts, even
         though the terms were four to five years in length;

    (iv) lastly, SmartForce improperly accounted for bad debt, causing
         an increase in its reserve.

On November 19, 2002, SmartForce shocked the market by announcing that
it intended to restate the historical financial statements of
SmartForce for 1999, 2000, 2001 and the first two quarters of 2002.  In
the process of preparing the closing balance sheet of SmartForce as of
September 6, 2002, SmartForce identified several accounting issues that
required the pre-merger SmartForce financial statements to be restated.

In response to this announcement, the market reacted sharply and
swiftly.  The shares of SmartForce dropped 33.7% to close at $3.07.

As a result of the restatement, SmartForce was forced to delay the
release of its operating results for the quarter ended October 31,
2002.  SmartForce stated that it could not currently determine when it
would be in a position to file the Form 8-K amendment and report its
third quarter results.

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


TENET HEALTHCARE: Marc Henzel Launches Securities Fraud Suit in C.D. CA
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class action
in the United States District Court for the Central District of
California on behalf of purchasers of Tenet Healthcare Corporation
(NYSE:THC) publicly traded securities during the period between October
3, 2001 and October 31, 2002.

The complaint charges the Company and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
Tenet, through its subsidiaries, owns or operates general hospitals and
related health care facilities serving communities in the United
States.

The complaint alleges that during the class period, defendants
represented that the Company's favorable financial results were due to
its commitment to quality and cost-effective care.  Throughout the
class period, defendants repeatedly stated that Tenet's financials were
strong, the Company's stellar bottom line was attributed to its state-
of-the-art facilities and high-quality patient care, and that Tenet was
consistently achieving record results.

Defendants actually knew that the quality of Tenet's profits, were
inflated by, among other things, wrongfully inducing patients into
undergoing unnecessary and invasive surgeries.  Defendants knowingly or
in conscious disregard for the truth, engaged in a scheme to cause
patients to undergo unnecessary invasive coronary procedures.  The
scheme included unnecessary heart catheterizaton, including angiogram
and intravascular ultrasound, stent placement, angioplasty, coronary
artery bypass surgery and heart valve replacement surgery.

On October 31, 2002, The Associated Press issued a press release
entitled, "Tenet Healthcare Stock Plunges After Report of
Investigation." The press release stated in part: "Shares of Tenet
Healthcare Corp. plunged more than 26 percent Thursday after federal
prosecutors in Sacramento filed an affidavit regarding alleged false
billing by two doctors at the company's hospital in Redding, Calif. The
stock was also hurt by a rumor, denied by the company, that the FBI had
searched its corporate headquarters in Santa Barbara, Calif."

These disclosures shocked the market, causing Tenet's stock to decline
to less than $29 per share before closing at $28.75 per share on
October 31, 2002, on volume of more than 50 million shares.

For more details, contact Marc S. Henzel by Mail: 273 Montgomery Ave,
Suite 202 Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004-2808 by Phone: 888-643-6735 or
610-660-8000 by Fax: 610-660-8080 by E-mail: Mhenzel182@aol.com or
visit the firm's Website: http://members.aol.com/mhenzel182.  


                                          
                               *********



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

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

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

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to be
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