CAR_Public/030109.mbx                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
                Thursday, January 9, 2003, Vol. 5, No. 6

                              Headlines                            

BRISTOL-MYERS: Agrees To Settle Antitrust Lawsuits Over Buspar, Taxol
CALIFORNIA: Pressure Mounting To Amend Stiff Consumer-Protection Law
CANADA: Amazon.com Internet Privacy Settlement Funds Planned Net Clinic
COMPACT DISCS: Consumers Asked To Avail of CD Price-Fixing Settlement
CRACKER BARREL: GA Judge Says Bias Lawsuit Should Not Get Class Status

ENRON CORPORATION: Vinson & Elkins Deny Role in Securities Violations
ENRON CORPORATION: TX Court Postpones Securities Trial Until Sept. 2003
GERBER SCIENTIFIC: Plaintiffs Voluntarily Dismiss Securities Fraud Suit
INDIAN FUNDS: Indians Present Document Essaying $137B Trust Fund Losses
INDIANA: State To Return $720T In Overpayments to Food Stamp Recipients

INDONESIA: Workers Join Protests Against "Release & Discharge" Policy
KENTUCKY: Lawsuit To Be Filed V. Louisville Police Over Fatal Shooting
LOUISIANA: Ferriday Town Faces Suit Over 1999 Water Interruption Notice
MCKESSON CORPORATION: Court Dismisses Several Claims in Securities Suit
MICHAELS STORES: Canadian Employees Commence Suit Over Unpaid Overtime

NEW JERSEY: City Officials Defendants in Rent-Control Violations Suit
NEW JERSEY: Agrees To Pay $775,000 To Settle Racial Profiling Lawsuits
PNC BANK: Plaintiffs Appeal RICO Violations Suit Decertification
PURDUE PHARMA: OH Court Asked To Grant Certification to Oxycontin Suit
SUN RISE: Voluntarily Recalls 2.8T Bicycles For Accident, Injury Hazard

THRIVENT FINANCIAL: Fraud Suit Filed For Life Insurance Policyholders
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Trial Set For Suit Over Dangerous Product Knowledge
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Group says States Failing To Use Settlement Money
VISUAL NETWORKS: MD Court Dismisses Appeal of Securities Suit Dismissal
WASHINGTON: WA Court Dismisses Public Utility Suit V. Energy Companies

XEROX CORPORATION: Retirees May Be Owed Additional Pension Funds  

                     New Securities Fraud Cases

ANNUITY AND LIFE: Bernstein Liebhard Commences Securities Lawsuit in CT
CREDIT STORE: Finkelstein & Krinsk Commences Securities Suit in S.D. CA
MOTOROLA INC.: Bernstein Liebhard Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY
SEPRACOR INC.: Shapiro Haber Launches Securities Fraud Suit in MA Court

                            *********

BRISTOL-MYERS: Agrees To Settle Antitrust Lawsuits Over Buspar, Taxol
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company reached agreements in principle to settle
substantially all antitrust litigation surrounding two of its products,
the anti-anxiety drug BuSpar and the anticancer drug Taxol, for $670
million, Dow Jones Newswires reports.  

29 states commenced an antitrust suit against the Company in December
2001 for allegedly keeping a cheaper generic version of BuSpar off the
market, resulting in consumers and taxpayers allegedly being forced to
pay higher prices for the drug as a result of anticompetitive actions.  
The suit charged the Company with violating federal and state antitrust
laws by obtaining a new patent extending BuSpar's exclusive hold on the
market.

The same plaintiffs also filed an antitrust suit in June over Taxol,
alleging the company illegally delayed for years generic competition,
costing states and patients billions of dollars.  The suit followed one
seeking class-action status that was filed in 2001 by Miami attorney
Michael Criden on behalf of a group of plaintiffs, Dow Jones Newswires
reports.

In a statement, the Company revealed it would shell out around $535
million to resolve claims brought by direct and indirect purchasers of
the product, competitors and state attorneys general.  The Company
further said that while "it stood behind its actions and believed they
were entirely lawful, it decided that it would be prudent to enter into
settlements to put the uncertainty and risk of this litigation behind
the company."

The firm added, "Some terms and conditions remain to be finalized, and
certain settlements require court approval.  Among the provisions
remaining to be negotiated are the terms for incorporating certain
claimants, including a number of health insurers, into the existing
framework."

The Company also said final approval by the state attorneys general
involved "is contingent upon further agreements on terms of injunctive
relief."


CALIFORNIA: Pressure Mounting To Amend Stiff Consumer-Protection Law
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Pressure is mounting to amend one of California's stiffest consumer-
protection laws, amid charges that it allows attorney to file frivolous
lawsuits, thereby effectively extorting money from businesses, the Los
Angeles Times reported.  Changes may limit class action activity.

Anaheim Assemblyman Lou Correa (D) plans to hold hearings on the matter
and said he would introduce legislation that would change portions of
the Unfair Competition Act.  Meanwhile a top trial lawyers group, long
a defender of the act, said it is time to make reforms.

The act was designed to help consumers fight unfair business practices
by prohibiting such things as false advertising and price-fixing.  It
allows plaintiffs to file lawsuits even if they have not been directly
harmed by the alleged wrongdoing.  Business groups, however, have long
criticized the act, claiming it allows attorneys to shake down
merchants with false claims.

Supporters of the act have successfully fought efforts to amend the law
over the years, arguing that it gives consumers the ability to
"prosecute" unfair business practices that district attorneys don't
have time to pursue.  Now, even the leader of the Consumer Attorneys of
California, Bruce Brusavich, said he would support changes, saying some
attorneys are abusing the act.  He said many of his colleagues have
cited a Beverly Hills law firm that over the last year has filed
thousands of lawsuits against Southern California restaurants, nail
salons and auto-repair garages.

The Beverly Hills law firm is the Trevor Law Group, which says those
businesses are cheating the public.  The lawsuits accuse restaurants of
not meeting health codes, garages of selling used parts as new and
similar violations.  However, defendants say the lawyers are cooking up
frivolous lawsuits based on government records of routine citations
just to pressure businesses to settle for about $2000.

Mr. Brusavich says that at latest count there are five law firms that
are taking advantage of a wonderful consumer-protection statute.  "We
are encouraging the attorney general and the State Bar to crank up
their investigation into the groups.  Meanwhile, we are seeing if there
is a legislative way to take the extortion incentive out of this law,"
he said.

Robert Cartwright, who preceded Mr. Brusavich as president of Consumer
Attorneys of California, said, "Nothing is perfect in this world, but
for the most part it is a good law . (It) protects consumers against
wrongful conduct by institutions.  People who don't like to be held
responsible for tobacco, toxins or pollutants or who are perpetrating
financial fraud, don't like this law."

Taking the first step toward new changes in the law, Assemblyman Lou
Correa plans to hold a January 10 hearing on complaints from business
owners.  Mr. Correa said he would propose changes to the act based on
testimony given at the hearing.


CANADA: Amazon.com Internet Privacy Settlement Funds Planned Net Clinic
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The University of Ottawa (U of O) secured funding through Amazon.com
for the creation of an Internet policy "litigation" clinic, a first of
its kind in Canada devoted to defending the public interest in areas
where technology and law intersect, the Toronto Star reports.  The
clinic, spearheaded by U of O law professor Michael Geist, will operate
under the umbrella of the Ontario Research Network for E-commerce, a
four-university consortium that also includes Carleton University,
Queen's University and McMaster University.

The Ontario research network is supplying part of the clinic's $500,000
budget, but Amazon.com, through a special fund set up as part of a U.S.
class action privacy settlement, will contribute a major portion of the
funding.  The clinic is the first Canadian recipient of the Amazon.com
fund, the Toronto Star states.

"There are many issues related to the Internet and technology that are
increasingly coming onto the legal scene in Canada, and there hasn't
been a source that anybody can turn to and say, I need help," Mr.
Geist, who specializes in Internet law and serves as technology counsel
to Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, told the Star.  "The goal here is to
provide a voice for Canadians that sometimes isn't heard."

In addition to helping educate the public on Internet policy issues,
the clinic will participate on behalf of the public in government
consultation processes and will support legal cases - on a pro bono
basis - touching everything from domain-name disputes and digital
copyright challenges to privacy infringement and e-commerce rules.

Similar clinics have been set up in the United States at Harvard
University, Stanford University and Berkeley at the University of
California.  The Ottawa clinic, to be launched this spring, will serve
as a training ground for law students.

"If somebody's looking to launch a complaint with the privacy
commissioner but doesn't know how, or has launched a complaint and
isn't satisfied with the outcome and wants to go to court, that's where
we would get involved," Mr. Geist stated.

The clinic's advisory board includes Mark Rotenberg, executive director
of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C., and
Diane Cabell, associate director for the Berkman Center for Internet &
Society at Harvard Law School.


COMPACT DISCS: Consumers Asked To Avail of CD Price-Fixing Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Few consumers have taken advantage of the $143 million settlement
offered by top US distributors of compact discs (CDs) and music
retailers for a lawsuit alleging the Companies conspired with retailers
to set music prices at a minimum level to raise the retail prices for
CDs, the Associated Press reports.

The suit was commenced by 41 states and commonwealths, alleging record
companies conspired with music distributors on CDs bought between 1995
and 2000.  The Companies later opted to settle rather than wage a
costly legal battle.  

Under the settlement, the Companies opted to pay US$143 million in cash
and CDs.  Customers can get payments for as much as $20, depending on
how many share the settlement amount.  However, by the end of December,
only about 30,000 people nationwide had applied for a piece of the pie,
a tiny fraction of the number the settlement could handle.

"The response thus far has been fairly abysmal," Washington Attorney
General Christine Gregoire, who's been on morning radio shows to
promote the settlement, AP reports.  The settlement's Web site has been
up for a month, and legal notices have been published in TV Guide,
Parade and other national magazines, but the response rate has been
very low, said Tina Kondo, a senior assistant attorney general in Ms.
Gregoire's office.  "I guess people don't like to read legal notices,"
she said.

Ms. Gregoire and other officials hope a radio advertising campaign set
to launch soon will boost interest in the settlement.  Anyone who
bought a CD, cassette tape or vinyl record at a retail store between
1995 and 2000 is eligible. The application window closes March 3.

The music distributors participating in the deal are:

     (1) Bertelsmann Music Group,

     (2) EMI Music Distribution,

     (3) Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Corporation,

     (4) Sony Music Entertainment,

     (5) Universal Music Group,

     (6) Trans World Entertainment,

     (7) Tower Records and

     (8) Musicland Stores, a division of Best Buy Co. Inc.


CRACKER BARREL: GA Judge Says Bias Lawsuit Should Not Get Class Status
----------------------------------------------------------------------
African-American employees of restaurant chain Cracker Barrel Old
Country Store faced another setback as a federal magistrate in Atlanta,
Georgia recommended that class action status be denied in a lawsuit
filed, alleging the Company segregated black from white workers and
gave them "back of the house" assignments such as cook and dishwasher.

Several similar suits were filed against the Company on behalf of
employees at Cracker Barrel locations in Alabama, Georgia, Florida,
North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and the District of Columbia, the
Associated Press reports.  In October, a federal appeals court ruled
that a separate discrimination suit against the company could not
include an additional 40 plaintiffs and the NAACP.  The would-be
plaintiffs claimed black customers were subjected to racial slurs and
served food taken from the trash.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Grant Morris, noted that the latest
decision must be approved by the presiding judge in the case.  "That is
clearly the important decision we are waiting for," Mr. Morris told AP.
"It's not necessarily a setback."

The Company praised the decision, saying "There is simply no evidence
Cracker Barrel engages in a pattern of discrimination against African-
American employees . Indeed, quite the opposite is true. We treat all
of our employees with dignity and respect."


ENRON CORPORATION: Vinson & Elkins Deny Role in Securities Violations
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Vinson & Elkins categorically denied knowingly participating in any
fraud against Enron shareholders, in a legal papers filed in the United
States District Court in Texas, the Houston Chronicle reports.  The
Houston law firm was named as defendant in a purported securities suit
over the collapse of the energy giant, also the firm's largest client.

The suit charges the firm with committing fraud, because it should
should have recognized the transactions as being illegal and refused to
represent Enron, especially in creating off-the-book partnerships.  The
suit further states that the lawyers gave false legal opinions, helped
structure transactions that appeared to independent but were controlled
by Enron insiders, and helped prepare false submissions to the
Securities and Exchange Commission.

The firm's response was delayed because US District Judge Melinda
Harmon did not rule until December on the dozens of requests from
defendants seeking to be dismissed from the case, the Houston Chronicle
states.  Vinson & Elkins had hoped it would be dismissed because of a
US Supreme Court case often interpreted as absolving law firms in
securities cases because they are considered enablers, not
perpetrators.  However, Judge Harmon refused to let the law firm and
most other defendants out of the suit.

In the 135-page response filed Tuesday, the firm said it had done
nothing wrong.  It further said the firm did not approve the business
transactions, but only prepared documents at the request of the client
and its accountants.  The firm notes it was hardly a "general counsel"
for Enron and didn't participate in internal management or board
deliberations.  It was one of many outside law firms Enron hired for
various kinds of work, including litigation and regulatory compliance
issues.

"Vinson & Elkins had a minimal role in the 68 Enron disclosures that
the complaint alleges are fraudulent; in many instances, it had no role
at all and never even saw the asserted false statements before they
were made," stated the law firm response, filed by attorney Joe Jamail.  
The response states that the firm played no role in three core issues:
the questioned related-party transactions, overall securities
disclosures and the accounting treatments at issue, the Houston
Chronicle states.


ENRON CORPORATION: TX Court Postpones Securities Trial Until Sept. 2003
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A Washington County judge postponed a trial on an Enron securities
class action until September, which would still make it the first such
case to be tried, the Houston Chronicle reports.  Defense attorneys had
sought an even longer delay, claiming they could not be ready in less
than a year.

"You can't try this case in two weeks or two months," said Craig
Smyser, a lawyer for former Enron Chief Financial Officer Andrew
Fastow. "It's an immense financial and human problem."

State District Judge Terry Flenniken disagreed. "I can tell you this.
It is not going to be three or four months. This is no California."

Attorney George Fleming wanted the judge to stick to his original trial
date of March.  Mr. Fleming represents about two dozen local investors
who bought Enron stock after hearing then-Chairman Ken Lay extol the
company at a Brenham business lunch.

"We're ready to go," Fleming said. "We'll put Lay, (former CEO Jeff)
Skilling, Fastow, (former Arthur Andersen partner David) Duncan and
others on the stand."

Going to trial in about eight weeks would seem to be impossible because
a federal court order has frozen discovery proceedings for months, the
Chronicle states.  The Brenham case is still scheduled ahead of other
major state and federal lawsuits.  US District Judge Melinda Harmon
oversees a conglomeration of about six dozen Enron cases in two would-
be class-action suits on behalf of shareholders and former employees.

Judge Harmon has already said she will be setting a new trial date, but
it won't be in 2003.

In February, the judge will hear Andersen's motion to bring a lot more
parties into the Brenham lawsuit, including most of the financial
institutions sued in the federal shareholder case, plus former Enron
executive Michael Kopper, who has pleaded guilty to fraud and money
laundering.  Andersen says they should be brought in because a jury
might find them culpable also, the Chronicle reports.


GERBER SCIENTIFIC: Plaintiffs Voluntarily Dismiss Securities Fraud Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Louisiana Municipal Police Employees' Retirement System, lead
plaintiff in the consolidated securities class action against Gerber
Scientific, Inc., agreed to voluntarily dismiss the suit filed in the
United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.

The suits were filed on behalf of a proposed class of purchasers of the
securities of the Company between May 27, 1999 and April 12, 2002
seeking to pursue remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  
The first lawsuit was filed shortly after the Company announced, on
April 15, 2002, that it expected to take a $12.0 million pre-tax charge
in its fiscal fourth quarter, the period ending April 30, 2002, and
that the Company was conducting an internal review of its financial
reporting for the period January 1, 1998 through April 30, 2002 in
response to an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission
into its inventory and reserve accounting practices.  In this
announcement, the Company stated that once its investigation had been
completed, the Company would likely restate its financial results for
the appropriate periods, according to an earlier Class Action Reporter
story.

The Louisiana Municipal Police Employees' Retirement System has
determined that the claims against Gerber Scientific, Inc. and its
officers and directors should be dismissed.  The plaintiffs and lead
counsel believed that this course of action was consistent with their
fiduciary responsibilities under the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995.  Accordingly, on December 17, 2002, the Louisiana
Municipal Police Employees' Retirement System, through its counsel,
entered into an agreement with the defendants to voluntarily dismiss
this action, without prejudice.  On December 24, 2002, Judge Janet C.
Hall approved the voluntary dismissal and ordered that the action be
dismissed without prejudice.

For more details, contact Eitan Misulovin by Phone: (212) 554-1484 or
by E-mail: eitan@blbglaw.com


INDIAN FUNDS: Indians Present Document Essaying $137B Trust Fund Losses
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
American Indians gave Federal Judge Royce Lamberth a detailed
accounting based on private historical records asserting that the
government has cheated them out of as much as $137.2 billion over the
past 115 years, the New York Times reports.

The detailed filing is the latest development in the class action filed
on behalf of more than 300,000 American Indians against the United
States government over royalties earned on tribal land.  The suit
alleges that the government has lost or stolen millions of dollars
earned from oil and mineral, timber and grazing leases, proceeds of
which go into a trust fund for the Indians' benefit.  The suit, filed
in June 1996, has become increasingly bitter, the New York Times
states, with documents being destroyed and the secretaries of the
interior and treasury being held in contempt of court.

The filing gave the idea of how much the Indians lost.  Before that,
evidence was largely anecdotal.  "We just knew there was a lot of money
missing," Tex Hall, president of the National Congress of American
Indians and the head of his tribe, the Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation
in North Dakota told the NY Times.  "Elders would come to me and say,
'Tex, I got money last year but didn't get any this year.' There was so
much variation in the system that we know something was wrong."

The filing detailed private records of oil extraction and mineral
mining going back to the late 19th century, and states that the
government had stolen, lost or misallocated tens of billions since it
was given responsibility for managing assets on Indian lands in 1887.  
The lawyers said that if all the figures were added up they would hit
$137.2 billion, the NY Times reports.

Government officials disputed the figure.  Steven Griles, the deputy
interior secretary who manages the trust-fund issue, told the Times,
"Nobody has shown me that there has been a loss. They haven't provided
one shred of evidence."

The Interior Department also filed a brief yesterday that shows only
how it intends to reform trust fund management and account for the
money in the fund.


INDIANA: State To Return $720T In Overpayments to Food Stamp Recipients
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration will return about
$720,000 to more than 3,000 Hoosiers who had been overpaid in food
stamps and then forced to repay the difference to the government, the
Indianapolis Star reports.

The Indiana Civil Liberties Union (ICLU) filed the suit on behalf of
two food stamp recipients, alleging the state violated federal law by
collecting overpayments that resulted from government mistakes.  The
suit was dismissed in January 2002, but the United States 7th Circuit
Court of Appeals reinstated the suit.

The state had contended the collections are permitted under the 1996
federal food stamp law, which allowed agencies to correct overpayments
by reducing monthly food stamp allowances.  Last month, US District
Judge Larry McKinney ordered the state to stop several steps it had
taken to recover overpayments, including involuntarily reducing food
stamp allotments, intercepting federal tax returns and taking federal
pay or unemployment benefits from food stamp recipients, the
Indianapolis Star reports.

Matt Raibley, manager of the family support services section, told the
Star 3,416 letters would be mailed out by today telling people they can
join the lawsuit.  The state also posted notices at all county offices;
the notices will stay up until June 20.


INDONESIA: Workers Join Protests Against "Release & Discharge" Policy
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Thousand of workers from both private and state companies have joined
protest against the Indonesian government's release and discharge
policy, which releases debtors from possible criminal charges, the
Jakarta Post reports.  The workers said they might resort to a
nationwide strike or sue the government to annul the decision.

Labor unions of state utility companies, such as telecommunications
company PT Telkom and PT Indosat, electricity company PT PLN, oil and
gas company Pertamina and railway company PT KAI, as well as unions
from state- and private-owned banks and even a union representing
workers from Japanese companies, signed a petition on Tuesday against
the government's release and discharge, or R&D, policy.

Nazir Syarief, representing labor unions at state companies like PT
Indosat and PT Telkom, said the petition was the first step in a
campaign to revoke the R&D policy.  "Our last resort would be to cease
services -- no power, no long-distance calls, even if it's just for an
hour," mr. Nazir told the Post.

The government's R&D policy allows ex-bankers who have admitted to
abusing about US$10 billion in state funds to avoid legal prosecution
if they repay some of the money and other debts to the government.  The
policy has been met with protests and criticism.  Union members said
the policy smacked of injustice.  Last week, non-governmental
organizations threatened to sue President Megawati Soekarnoputri if she
insisted on releasing debtors from possible criminal charges, the Post
states.

"The government should instead make a list of rich corruptors and force
them to return the money," Mr. Nazir said.

Coordinator of the Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW), Teten Masduki,
who helped arranged the press meeting for the petition signing, said
the petition would enhance the campaign against the R&D policy.  "We
may not be staging mass demonstrations on the streets, but we'll make
sure the government hears our voice," he told the Post.

Labor unions joining the anti-R&D protest marks a shift from their
previous concerns on the sale of state companies.  Meanwhile, it also
signals a more unified front amid growing protests against President
Megawati over what they described were her insensitive policies, the
Post states.


KENTUCKY: Lawsuit To Be Filed V. Louisville Police Over Fatal Shooting
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Kentucky lawmaker Paul Bather said a class action will mostly likely be
filed against the Louisville Police Department, over the fatal police
shooting of James Taylor, 50, by Louisville Police Officer Michael
O'Neill on December 5,2002, WLKY (Kentucky) reports.

Mr. Taylor was handcuffed in his home on East St. Catherine Street when
Mr. O'Neill fired at him 12 times, hitting him with all but one of the
gunshots, WLKY NewsChannel 32 reported.  Since then, almost-daily
protests have taken place at LPD headquarters since.  Demonstrators
said they'll protest until they get justice.  The police investigation
has been turned over to the commonwealth's attorney.


LOUISIANA: Ferriday Town Faces Suit Over 1999 Water Interruption Notice
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The town of Ferriday, Louisiana faces a class action filed on behalf of
water customers were inconvenienced by a 124-day boil water notice.  
The class includes anyone - residents, business owners or operators,
employees of those businesses, hospital patients or students - who got
his or her water from the Town of Ferriday Water Plant during the time
of the notice, which ran from August 20 to December 22, 1999, the
Natchez Democrat reports.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the class certification and
last July, the state Supreme Court denied writs of review from the
suit's three defendants, the Town of Ferriday, engineers Owen and White
Inc. and U.S. Filter Wastewater Group Inc., the company that made
Ferriday's water plant.

Before the legal heat gets turned up, attorney Chuck Norris is giving
potential plaintiffs a chance to remove themselves from the suit.  
Because the suit has been class certified, anyone who fits the
description approved by Johnson is eligible to receive damages if the
lawsuit is successful.  There is no need to "sign up" as a plaintiff.  
However, for those who would rather not have anything to do with
anything remotely litigious, Mr. Norris is required to allow members of
the class to opt out, the Natchez Democrat states.

Because many people may not know that they are plaintiffs or even that
the suit was class certified, Mr. Norris is publishing, per court
order, a detailed notice spelling out all qualifying factors and
instructions for opting out in local newspapers.  The deadline for
getting off the list of plaintiffs is February 24, but Mr. Norris said
he doesn't anticipate any contraction of the plaintiff pool, which has
been estimated at 4,000 people.  He further said he hopes the suit will
go to trial as early as the first half of 2004, but the courts are hard
to predict, and the legal process is never fast.


MCKESSON CORPORATION: Court Dismisses Several Claims in Securities Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Northern District of
California dismissed several of the securities fraud claims pending
against drug wholesaler McKesson Corporation, in a class action
relating to its 1999 acquisition of HBO & Company, Reuters reports.

The court dismissed with prejudice claims based on any conduct or
statements by the Company prior to the acquisition HBO, a healthcare
software company.  The court also dismissed with prejudice claims
against all present and former outside directors of McKesson who had
been named in the case.  The Company has thirty days to respond to the
rulings in the suit, which was commenced after it was forced to restate
earnings in April of 1999 following its discovery HBO had overstated
its profits.

However, the court allowed other claims against the Company to go
forward. Although the court found the complaint did not adequately
allege the Company was negligent in failing to uncover fraud at HBO
prior to the merger, the court declined to dismiss claims against
McKesson and one former and one current officer of the company based on
post-merger proxy materials, a company statement said, according to a
Reuters report.


MICHAELS STORES: Canadian Employees Commence Suit Over Unpaid Overtime
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Arts-and-crafts retailer Michaels Stores, Inc. faces a class action
filed by a group of Canadian retail store managers, alleging the
Company owes them thousands of dollars worth of underpaid overtime, the
Toronto Star reports.  According to the suit, the Company owes anyone
who has worked as a manager or assistant manager in its stores
additional pay at overtime rates for any hours worked beyond 44 hours a
week.

The suit charges the Company with violating the Employment Standards
Act when it failed to pay its management staff overtime rates for hours
worked beyond 44 hours a week.  Overtime rates are 1.5 times regular
pay rates.  Under the act, managerial staff is exempt from overtime
rates except where those managers spend most of their time performing
non-supervisory tasks, such as stocking stores shelves, working the
cash register, arranging displays and selling products.  The lawsuit
alleges Company management staff spent most of their time on those
types of non-managerial duties.  The lawsuit also alleges the managers
and assistant managers at Michaels Stores were required to work as many
as 50 to 60 hours at peak times such as Christmas at regular rates of
pay, the Toronto Star states.

The number of people affected is relatively small, probably a couple of
hundred, but the amount of money owed each individual could be
"substantial," their lawyer, David Thompson, of the Hamilton law firm
Scarfone Hawkins LLP told the Star.

He added that the suit is the second time the world's largest arts-and-
crafts retailer has faced allegations of unpaid overtime claims.  Last
June, the company announced it would take a US$3.2 million charge
against earnings after settling a similar dispute with employees of its
California stores.  

Thompson said several retailers in the United States are facing similar
claims and, although this appears to be the first one in Canada, he
believes there are probably more instances of it in Canada. "I suspect
it's rampant in retail because of the nature of the business," he told
the Star.

The suit, filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, launched on
behalf of James Cotton of Burlington, who joined Michaels shortly after
it entered the Canadian market in 1993.  He had worked in a variety of
positions, including store manager, before leaving the company last
July.

The Company has not yet responded to the statement of claim, Mr.
Thompson told the Star.  A spokesperson for the Irving, Texas-based
firm said late yesterday that it believes the case has "absolutely no
merit."


NEW JERSEY: City Officials Defendants in Rent-Control Violations Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Attorney Flavio Komuves, 32, is spearheading a lawsuit against 100
landlords in New Brunswick, New Jersey, including the mayor and a city
councilman, for some $7 million in rent-control violations, the Star-
Ledger (Newark, NJ) reports.

The city's rent-control problem exploded at the height of campaign
season last year, when a band of activists discovered the city
administration had failed to enforce the rent-control ordinance for
years, allowing landlords, including Mayor James Cahill, Councilman
Joseph Schrum and 98 other landlords, to raise rents without filing the
mandatory paperwork.

Mr. Komuves did not appear to think the matter should end with the
mayor's apology, a payback to the previous year's tenants and a
successful "squelch" by the city administration of an attempt by the
activist group to tighten the rent-control laws so as to avert a repeat
of such violations.

Mr. Komuves filed a lawsuit against the 100 violators, including the
mayor and the councilman.  He has requested class action status for the
lawsuit, seeking permission to sue on behalf of thousands of unnamed
tenants for what he estimates is $21 million.  A Superior Court judge
is considering the request.  The lawsuit asserts that the defendants
are required under the law to pay tenants triple damages on the
improper increases dating back for the past six years.

Mr. Komuves admits the lawsuit is "a bold stroke."  It could put a
significant amount of money back in the pockets of the plaintiffs,
while netting Mr. Komuves and his West Windsor law firm, Buchanan
Ingersoll, a large fee and priceless publicity.  However, Mr. Komuves,
who has a history of liberal politics, says, "There are opportunities
not only to do something socially just, but that make a lot of sense
from a business standpoint."


NEW JERSEY: Agrees To Pay $775,000 To Settle Racial Profiling Lawsuits
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The State of New Jersey agreed to pay a dozen motorists for more than
US$775,000 to settle some of its most infamous racial-profiling cases,
the Newark Star Ledger reports.

The state will pay $200,000 each to lawyers Felix Morka and Laila
Maher, who filed a lawsuit in 1997 over allegations that two state
troopers assaulted them during a 1996 traffic stop.  Other minority
motorists later joined the suit, saying they were victims of
discriminatory profiling.  The suit helped galvanize the public against
racial profiling and inspired reform.

Another plaintiff, Elmo Randolph will receive $75,000.  Mr. Randolph,
an East Orange dentist who says he's been pulled over by police about
100 times over the years because he was black and drove a luxury car,
however, does not believe the settlement will help eradicate racial
profiling.  If anything, he said, it will quiet critics' voices.

"Ultimately, they never offered an apology to anyone," Randolph, who
has testified often about his experiences with State Police troopers,
in court and in legislative hearings told the Star Ledger.  "The idea
was, 'We'll pay you this, and go away.' By settling these cases, the
discussion stops. They pay, the discussion stops, they go on."

The settlement agreement is part of the almost US$19 million the
All told, the agreement brings to nearly $19 million the amount New
Jersey has paid to settle racial-profiling lawsuits since the state
acknowledged the practice in the late 1990s.  The largest by far was
the $12.9 million the state agreed to pay in February 2001 to four
minority men, three of whom were wounded by troopers in the April 1998
Turnpike shooting that triggered a public uproar over racial profiling,
the Star Ledger reports.

The agreement was negotiated by Douglas Wolfson, director of the Civil
Division in the Attorney General's Office, and Neil Mullin and William
Buckman, attorneys who represented the plaintiffs.  The ACLU plans a
Monday news conference at its office in Newark to announce the
settlement.

State officials say just a handful of racial-profiling lawsuits are
pending, according to the Newark Star Ledger.  However, many critics
expect more claims to be filed as a result of a decision by the
Attorney General's Office last year to dismiss dozens of criminal
complaints in cases weakened by racially motivated policing.

"New Jersey is the racial profiling state, and making amends to its
victims is an important step to reform," said Deborah Jacobs, executive
director of the ACLU of New Jersey.  "But until we can address police
culture, policies and practices to the extent that people are no longer
victimized based on their skin color on New Jersey roads, there will be
more litigation and more publicity around this issue."

First Assistant Attorney General Peter Harvey disagreed, saying many of
the old cases would be weak. Thanks to successful reforms, new claims
are negligible, he said.  "The State Police is a much different
organization on the road today than it was in 1999," Mr. Harvey told
the Star Ledger.

The other plaintiffs and their settlement amounts are:

     (1) Herbert Morton, $50,000;

     (2) Kane Bragg, $25,000;

     (3) James Coffee, $34,650;

     (4) Pompeii Conover, $30,800;

     (5) William Eason, $34,650;

     (6) Christopher Good, $30,800;

     (7) John Okoli, $25,000;

     (8) Lloyd Permaul, $25,025, and

     (9) Avery Woods, $44,402


PNC BANK: Plaintiffs Appeal RICO Violations Suit Decertification
----------------------------------------------------------------
A group of homeowners and property owners from Pennsylvania and
neighboring states, who are plaintiffs in the federal civil class
action against PNC Bank, N.A. have filed an appeal to the US Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit, relating to a lower court's decision
decertifying the suit.  

The plaintiffs allege a pattern of corporate corruption and
racketeering, undertaken over ten years, from 1986 to 1996, by PNC
Bank, N.A., a subsidiary of PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.  PNC,
and its predecessor, First Eastern Bank, and other defendants, centered
on the Valley of Lakes real estate development (a/k/a "Eagle Rock
Resort"), a massive 4000+ acre recreational subdivision, located near
Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

The plaintiffs allege that the bank conspired with the former
developer, Frank Cedrone of CBG Ltd., to conceal the insolvency of CBG,
which defaulted on virtually all of its promises to build the premier
real estate development in the Northeast, such as by failing to
complete the promised lake, the Arnold Palmer golf course, and complete
the water, sewer, and road systems.

Worse, after the developer declared bankruptcy, the plaintiffs allege
that the bank secretly, and illegally, siphoned off millions of dollars
from the developer's bankruptcy estate, from 1992 to 1996.  The
plaintiffs allege that the bank concealed millions of dollars from the
bankruptcy court and trustee by misrepresenting to the bankruptcy court
that it was not receiving any money from the estate, when it was
actually secretly receiving millions of dollars per year from payments
that the property owners made on their purchase money mortgages to a
N.J. agent of the bank, who wired the funds to the bank from a bank
account at the DIME Savings Bank of New York.  The bank siphoned off
approximately:

     (1) $1,118,595.87 in 1992,

     (2) $921,567.30 in 1993,

     (3) $581,696.71 in 1994,

     (4) $439,709.98 in 1995,

     (5) $376,113.95 in 1996 and

     (6) $46,236.29 in 1997

Worse yet, the plaintiffs allege that in order to operate the
development, while starving the bankruptcy estate of millions of
dollars, the bank hired a "managing company," defendant MLA Management
Associates Inc. (MLA), to shut down the development's facilities, and
provide hardly any maintenance, while forcing the property owners to
pay maintenance fees for services not rendered.  Further, the
plaintiffs allege that the developer retaliated against them for
attempting to associate in order to seek help, such as by fining them
for criticizing his rule.

The developer even denied the Pennsylvania State Police access to the
development.  Some of the homeowners' children were repeatedly chased
by snow plows, driven by the developer's employee, but the State Police
was not allowed in the development.  A number of the Plaintiffs lost
their life savings as a result of the pattern of racketeering.

The case was certified as a class action on June 19, 1996 on behalf of
approximately one thousand individuals and families.  The plaintiffs
are appealing a later ruling of the US District Court for the Middle
District of Pennsylvania which granted summary judgment to the bank,
and decertified the case as a class action, on September 30, 1999.  
While the district court found that the evidence against the bank could
support a finding of aiding and abetting of racketeering, it held that
aiding and abetting of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations
Act (RICO) is no longer actionable in the Third Circuit.

At the same time that the plaintiffs are proceeding with their appeal,
the remainder of their RICO case against the bank's agent, MLA, and the
former developer, who defaulted on all claims, is proceeding to trial
before a jury in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.


PURDUE PHARMA: OH Court Asked To Grant Certification to Oxycontin Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed against Purdue Pharma asked an Ohio
federal court to grant nationwide class certification to the suit,
relating to alleged physical harm brought by the Company's painkiller
Oxycontin, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.  The four plaintiffs said
that their lawsuit would protect the interests of anyone in the country
who has been harmed by the drug.

The lawsuit alleges the Company sold the drug without proper
restrictions on its use.  The suit further asserts that the Company
should pay for prescription monitoring programs that would track
Oxycontin prescriptions, making it possible for law enforcement to find
out if someone is obtaining multiple prescriptions.  The suit also
seeks a medical monitoring program to track the effects of the drug on
those who use it.

If the lawsuit is certified as a national class action, all such claims
against the drug manufacturer would be consolidated into the Cincinnati
case, the Cincinnati Enquirer states.  Judge S. Arthur Spiegel will
decide later this year whether to grant class action certification.


SUN RISE: Voluntarily Recalls 2.8T Bicycles For Accident, Injury Hazard
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Sun Rise Bicycle Industrial Co., Ltd. is cooperating with the US
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) by voluntarily recalling
about 2,800 bicycles.  The frames on these bicycles can break, which
can cause riders to lose control and crash.  Raleigh America has
received 13 reports of frames breaking including one incident where a
consumer reported a broken heel.  
        
The recall involves the 2002 Diamondback X-10 and X-20 Bicycles. These
are full-suspension, Y-frame mountain bikes.  They are either silver
and black or black and blue.  "Diamondback" and  "X10" or "X20" are
written on the down and bottom tubes.
  
Authorized Diamondback dealers sold the X-10 and X-20 bicycles
nationwide from September 2001 through October 2002 for about $550 for
the X-10 and $770 for the X-20.
        
For more details, contact the Company by Phone: (888) 805-6396 between
7 am and 5 pm PT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.diamondback.com.  


THRIVENT FINANCIAL: Fraud Suit Filed For Life Insurance Policyholders
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Thrivent Financial, formerly Lutheran Brotherhood faces a class action
filed on behalf of its Midwest policyholders, who bought whole or
universal life policies as far back as 1982, the Star Tribune reports.

Nearly 500,000 Thrivent Financial clients have been invited to join the
suit, which accuses the Company of issuing fraudulent vanishing premium
policies.  The suit alleges the Company mislead customers by telling
them that their premiums would be invested, build cash value and
eventually vanish after a set number of years.  As interest rates fell
in the 1990s, the value of the policies failed to grow as expected and
many lost value, according to the suit.  The suit seeks more than $60
million in damages.

The Company has denied wrongdoing and said it will contest the suits in
court.  "There has been no determination that we engaged in the acts
alleged or violated any laws," Dave Westmark, the firm's senior
associate general counsel told the Star Tribune.

A similar lawsuit seeking class action status was filed against the
firm in California last week.  According to the plaintiffs, almost
164,000 customers bought policies that failed to perform as promised
after 1993, the court's cutoff year.  Thousands of additional
policyholders will be included in the suit if they bought policies
after 1982 and changed payment or dividend options after 1993, the Star
Tribune states.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Trial Set For Suit Over Dangerous Product Knowledge
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A trial date of January 21 has been set in a class action in Louisiana,
filed seven years ago, charging the tobacco companies with manipulation
of nicotine levels and marketing to children, among other things,
Associated Press Newswires reported.  Civil District Judge Richard
Ganucheau, who officially retired from duty on December 31, received a
special appointment to hear the case, which will probably take months
to try.

Jurors were chosen more than a year ago to hear the statewide class
action.  The lawsuit, filed in 1996, does not seek individual damages,
saying instead that the tobacco industry should pay for programs to
help smokers quit and for programs, as well, to monitor the health of
current and former smokers.

The Louisiana Supreme Court, in a November hearing, set up a plan for
presentation of the case.  The court ruled that the first phase would
concentrate on such issues as the marketing of cigarettes to children,
alleged manipulation of nicotine levels, whether industry officials
knew they were making a dangerous product and whether they engaged in
fraud and conspiracy.

If the jurors decide that the companies are liable, the jurors would
then decide what kinds of monitoring and stop-smoking programs should
be available and what members of the class qualify.  Tobacco companies
contend that smoking is a matter of personal choice and that medical
programs proposed to help smokers have not been proven to work.  The
first scheduled witness, Dr. Davis Burns of the University of
California-San Diego School of Medicine, has testified in many other
lawsuits against tobacco companies.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Group says States Failing To Use Settlement Money
---------------------------------------------------------------------
A health advocacy group says that many state governments are using
money they won in a landmark $246 billion tobacco settlement forged in
1998 to plug fiscal deficits rather than fund anti-smoking programs,
Reuters states.

According to a study by the American Lung Association, cash-strapped
states are reneging on promises to spend the money on programs to
prevent and stop smoking.  Twelve states and the District of Columbia
are cashing in their tobacco settlement altogether, issuing bonds
backed by the money to help close billion-dollar budget shortfalls,
said the "State of Tobacco Control" report.  "They are raiding tobacco
funds to cover budget shortfalls, and denying themselves a sound
investment in their citizens' health," association president John
Kirkwood told Reuters.  Mr. Kirkwood further warned that the states
will ultimately be left without funds to address the continuing
epidemic of smoking-related illnesses, which his group says causes
about 440,000 deaths a year in the United States, if the money is all
spent.

The group also complained that many states are not passing strict
enough laws to ban indoor smoking.  Forty-three states and the District
earned an "F" for smoke-free air laws.  Only six states - Arkansas,
Indiana, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Mississippi - got a grade of
"A" from the association for tobacco program funding.  Thirty-two
states and the District of Columbia received an "F," Reuters states.

Overall, the states are spending about $698 million annually on smoking
education and quit-smoking programs.  That's only a fraction of the
$9.8 billion a year the states are getting from the settlement,
Kirkwood said.  That amount is also less than half the $1.6 billion the
states should be spending under guidelines laid out by the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control, he added.

"It's a short-term view," Mr. Kirkwood told Reuters. "Good public
policy requires a longer view of things."

States that have decided to sell bonds backed by the settlement funds
will forego future tobacco settlement payments in favor of a smaller,
lump sum now. The lung association said those states will receive only
30 to 40 percent of the original settlement amount.  Nevertheless, Mr.
Kirkwood said, the tobacco settlement money is an irresistible target
to many cash-strapped states.


VISUAL NETWORKS: MD Court Dismisses Appeal of Securities Suit Dismissal
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of Maryland dismissed
the pending appeal of the dismissal of the securities class action
pending against Visual Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: VNWK) and Scott
Stouffer, chairman of the board and the former chief executive officer.

In July, August and September 2000, several purported class action
complaints were filed against the Company and Scott Stouffer, chairman
of board and former chief executive officer.  These complaints have
since been combined into a single consolidated amended complaint. The
complaint alleges that between February 7, 2000 and August 23, 2000,
the defendants made false and misleading statements that had the effect
of inflating the market price of the Company's stock, in violation of
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, an
earlier Class Action Reporter story states.

On August 20, 2002, United States District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow
entered an order in the United States District Court for the District
of Maryland dismissing the consolidated securities class action
complaint filed against the Company and Mr. Stouffer.  On September 17,
2002, the plaintiffs appealed the District Court's decision to the
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The plaintiffs recently decided to withdraw their appeal and filed a
consent motion to have the appeal dismissed.  The United States Court
of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit granted the plaintiffs' motion.  The
Fourth Circuit's decision ends the matter.

"We are extremely pleased with the plaintiffs' decision to end their
pursuit of an appeal. As we've said before, these complaints were
without merit and we now have this behind us once and for all," said
Peter J. Minihane, Visual Networks' interim president and chief
executive officer, in a statement.

For more details, contact Angela Tandy, Director, Corporate
Communications, of Visual Networks, Inc. by Phone: 1-301-296-2741 or by
E-mail: atandy@visualnetworks.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.visualnetworks.com


WASHINGTON: WA Court Dismisses Public Utility Suit V. Energy Companies
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court in Washington dismissed a class action
filed by the Sonomish Public Utility District against several energy
firms, alleging that the companies used unfair business practices to
drive electricity prices to record levels, the Walnut Creek Journal
reports.

The lawsuit was one of several complaints involving the California
wholesale electricity market that was granted class-action status,
Richard Wheatle, spokesman for Reliant Energy, one of the defendants in
the suit, told the Journal.  Snohomish attorneys argued in court papers
that the energy companies manipulated the wholesale market to drive up
rates, forcing the utility to "pay prices for electricity in excess of
rates that would have been achieved by competitive market."  The
Washington utility claimed the companies violated California's
antitrust and unfair competition laws.

Federal Judge Robert H. Whaley ruled that the suit belonged in front of
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), not a court.  The
lawsuit was filed in Washington, but hearings were held in San Diego,
California in December.  The judge said the case, which sought to
recover the difference between the market price and a "just and
reasonable" rate for electricity, would have to be decided by FERC,
which has the authority to set rates.  FERC is considering similar
cases, including two filed by the utility, Judge Whaley noted in his
order.

The dismissal is important because "reaffirms the jurisdiction of FERC
in its ratemaking authority and oversight of how rates are set in the
wholesale market," Mr. Wheatley added.  Officials with Snohomish Public
Utility District didn't immediately return calls for comment, the
Walnut Creek Journal reports.


XEROX CORPORATION: Retirees May Be Owed Additional Pension Funds  
----------------------------------------------------------------
Xerox Corporation may have shorted thousands of its retirees and former
employees by miscalculating their lump-sum retirement benefits, their
plight indicating only the tip of an iceberg of stunted retirement
payouts to employees of other firms, the Deseret News reports.

A federal judge issued a ruling in a class action against the company's
retirement plan, which orders the Company to pay $300 million in back
benefits and interest to about 13,000 former employees to compensate
for its error.  Xerox has appealed the ruling.  However, if it is
upheld, employees who left or retired from Xerox since January 1, 1990,
and who took their pension in a lump sum rather than in monthly
payments, may be eligible for additional payments ranging from less
than $1,000 to more than $100,000.  These are estimates given by Steven
Katz of the law firm Carr Korein Tillery LLC, in Belleville, Illinois,
one of the lead attorneys in the class action.

Although this lawsuit concerns only Xerox, the issue of how payouts
from cash-balance retirement plans are calculated could affect millions
of Americans.  Since the mid-1980s, hundreds of companies have switched
from traditional pension plans, which generally provide a lifetime of
monthly payments based on the employee's work history, to cash-balance
plans, which offer departing employees a cash payment.

When workers leave their jobs before normal retirement age and take a
lump-sum payout from their plan, complicated and controversial
actuarial calculations kick in to determine exactly how big the payout
should be.  The US Department of Labor audited a sampling of 60 cash-
balance plans and discovered that in 13 cases, workers who left before
normal retirement age did not receive all the benefits to which they
were entitled.

                     New Securities Fraud Cases

ANNUITY AND LIFE: Bernstein Liebhard Commences Securities Lawsuit in CT
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP initiated a
securities class action in the United States District Court for the
District of Connecticut on behalf of all persons who purchased or
acquired Annuity & Life Re (Holdings), Ltd. (NYSE: ANR) securities
between April 19, 2000 and November 19, 2002, inclusive.

Plaintiff alleges that throughout the class period, defendants caused
Annuity to make materially false and misleading public statements
concerning the Company's earnings and expenses, which figures were
misstated due to the Company's failure to properly account for:

     (1) embedded derivatives in certain reinsurance contracts;

     (2) minimum interest guarantee expenses; and

     (3) a $19.5 million reserve of minimum interest guarantees

On July 25, 2002, defendants disclosed that Annuity would have to
restate its financial statements for fiscal 2001 and the first quarter
of fiscal 2002 because separate accounting was required for its
embedded derivatives, which are derivative contracts that exist as part
of securities.  The understated expenses, misclassified reserve, and
the fact that fiscal year 2000 and second quarter fiscal year 2002
financial statements would also have to be restated was not disclosed.  
After this partial disclosure, Annuity stock fell almost 50%, from
$12.87 per share on July 25, 2002 to $6.30 per share on July 26, 2002.

The full truth came out on November 19, 2002.  On that date, Annuity
announced that it was going to restate its financial results not only
for fiscal year 2001 and the first quarter of 2002, but for fiscal year
2000 and the second quarter of 2002 as well.  Defendants revealed that
Annuity's $19.5 million reserve would have to be re-classified and that
its minimum interest payments were wrongfully characterized as
reductions in liability rather than as expenses.

After the November 19th announcement, the price of Annuity stock
dropped another 40%, on enormous volume twenty times larger than that
of November 19th, from a close of $4.08 per share on November 19, 2002
to a close of $2.24 per share on November 20, 2002.

For more details, contact Linda Flood, Director of Shareholder
Relations by Mail: 10 East 40th Street, New York, New York 10016 by
Phone: (800) 217-1522 or (212) 779-1414 by E-mail: ANR@bernlieb.com or
visit the firm's Website: http://www.bernlieb.com  


CREDIT STORE: Finkelstein & Krinsk Commences Securities Suit in S.D. CA
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Finkelstein & Krinsk initiated a securities class action against
certain of the officers and directors of The Credit Store, Inc. (AMEX:
CDS) for violations of the federal securities laws, in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of California on behalf
of purchasers of Company securities between April 16, 2001 and August
19, 2002.

The complaint charges certain of Credit Store's former and/or current
officers and directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act
of 1934 and, specifically, alleges that Kevin Riordan, Jay Botchman and
certain other past officers and directors made false statements or
omitted material information about Credit Store's business and
financial results causing its stock to trade at artificially inflated
levels during the class period.  The Credit Store represented itself to
be a technology and information based financial services company
providing credit card products to consumers having insufficient
financial credentials to otherwise qualify for an unsecured credit
card.

In truth, the success of the Credit Store and the financial performance
represented to its public investors were materially false and dependent
on inaccurate assessments of Company business.  The Credit Store
created and used, inter alia, wholly owned satellite companies that
served as devices to provide inaccurate financial accounting and
disguise the deteriorating financial condition of the Company.

The true cash flow for the Credit Store and multiple operating
difficulties were being concealed during the class period.  This
allowed the improper diversion of Company assets and liabilities
through mismanagement that improperly benefited Company insiders.  

On August 19, 2002, Credit Store filed a voluntary petition under
Chapter 11 of Title 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.  Absent
this bankruptcy filing the Company would be a named defendant.  

For more details, contact Mark L. Knutson or Jeffrey R. Krinsk by
Phone: 619/238-1333 or 877/493-5366 by E-mail: fk@classactionlaw.com


MOTOROLA INC.: Bernstein Liebhard Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP initiated a securities class action
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York on behalf of all persons who purchased or acquired Motorola, Inc.
(NYSE: MOT) securities between February 3, 2000 and May 14, 2001,
inclusive.  Carl F. Koenemann is named as Defendant in the action.

The suit alleges that defendant violated Section 10(b) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and breached his fiduciary duty to the
Class by issuing a series of materially false and misleading statements
about the Company's financial results.  The complaint alleges that
Motorola's vendor financing commitments -- including over $1.7 billion
in vendor financing to a customer in Turkey -- were never properly
disclosed.  The complaint alleges that as a result of these false and
misleading statements, the price of Motorola common stock was
artificially inflated throughout the class period causing Plaintiffs
and the other members of the class to suffer damages.

For more details, contact Ms. Linda Flood, Director of Shareholder
Relations by Mail: 10 East 40th Street, New York, New York 10016 by
Phone: (800) 217-1522 or 212-779-1414 or by E-mail: MOT@bernlieb.com.  


SEPRACOR INC.: Shapiro Haber Launches Securities Fraud Suit in MA Court
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Shapiro Haber & Urmy LLP initiated a securities class action with an
expanded class period of May 17, 1999 through March 6, 2002 in the
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts on
behalf of purchasers of Sepracor, Inc. (NASDAQ: SEPR) common stock.

The suit charges the Company and certain of its current and former
officers with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934, and SEC Rule 10b-5.  The complaint asserts that
the defendants misrepresented and concealed facts concerning Sepracor's
most important product, Soltara, an antihistamine for which the Company
had applied for FDA approval.  The complaint charges that defendants
falsely represented:

     (1) that there was no evidence that Soltara caused cardiac
         effects;

     (2) that Soltara had been tested at maximum exposure in patients;
         and

     (3) that the FDA had told Sepracor that the safety testing of
         Soltara was sufficient to allay any concerns about cardiac
         effects from the drug.

The complaint further alleges that on March 6, 2002, at the end of the
class period, defendants disclosed that their prior representations
were untrue, and that the FDA had declined to approve Sepracor's
application to market Soltara due to the facts defendants had
misrepresented.  These disclosures caused the market price of Sepracor
stock to fall precipitously.

For more details, contact Ted Hess-Mahan or Liz Hutton by Mail: 75
State Street, Boston, MA 02109, by Phone: (800) 287-8119 by Fax:
(617) 439-0134, or by E-mail: cases@shulaw.com.  

                 
                              *********


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
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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