CAR_Public/030116.mbx                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
               Thursday, January 16, 2003, Vol. 5, No. 11

                            Headlines                            

AMERICAN POWER: Recalls 900,000 Back-up Power Devices For Fire Hazard
BIO-TECHNOLOGY GENERAL: Faces Several Suits For Securities Violations
DRYVIT SYSTEMS: TN State Court Reviews Proposed Settlement of EIFS Suit
FEDERAL EXPRESS: Appeals CA Court's Judgment in Consumer Fraud Lawsuit
FEDERAL EXPRESS: IL Court Grants Approval To Surcharge Suit Settlement

HARLEY-DAVIDSON: WI Court Reinstates Suit Over Defective Cam Bearings
HAWAII: Court Upholds Ruling For Plaintiffs in Medical Insurance Suit
HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.: Misled Probers About Computer Defects, CA Claims
INNOVA INC.: Recalls 8,700 Ultratex Thermal Frying Pans For Burn Hazard
MSC INDUSTRIAL: Plaintiffs File Consolidated Securities Suit in

ORACLE CORPORATION: Court Cancels Hearing For Second Amended Fraud Suit
OREGON: Advocates Sue Over Eviction of Tenants From State Care Centers
QUICKEN LOANS: Settlement With FTC Highlights Buyers, Borrowers Rights
SBC AMERITECH: Shelter Receives Phone Cards Donated By Suit Claimants
STARMEDIA NETWORK: NY Court Dismisses Three Execs From Securities Suit

STARMEDIA NETWORKS: NY Court Grants Approval To Securities Settlement
SUPREME COURT: To Hear Nike Lawsuit Over Commercial Free Speech Rights
TAIWAN: Legislation Instituted To Allow Filing of Civil Class Actions
TENET HEALTHCARE: Faces Suits For Securities Act Violations in CA, NY
TRANSACTIONS SYSTEMS: Faces Securities Fraud Lawsuits in Nebraska Court

                     New Securities Fraud Cases

HOTELS.COM: Charles Piven Commences Securities Fraud Suit in N.D. Texas
MERILL LYNCH: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Fraud Lawsuit in S.D. NY
RURAL CELLULAR: Reinhardt & Anderson Lodges Securities Suit in MN Court
TEXTRON INC.: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Fraud Suit in RI Court
TXU CORPORATION: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Suit in N.D. Texas

                           *********

AMERICAN POWER: Recalls 900,000 Back-up Power Devices For Fire Hazard
---------------------------------------------------------------------
American Power Conversion Corporation is cooperating with the US
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) by voluntarily recalling
about 900,000 back-up power supply devices.  These devices are
primarily used to protect computers in case of a power failure.  The
power supply device can fail, causing the unit to overheat, which may
pose a fire hazard to consumers.  
        
The Company has received six reports of units overheating resulting in
the melting of the unit's outer casing and three reports of minor
property damage.  No injuries have been reported.
        
The recalled Back-UPS(r) CS Uninterruptible Power Supply devices
include the Back-UPS CS350 and the Back-UPS CS 500 models.  The model
number can be found on the front of the unit, along with the words,
"Back-UPS CS" and "APC."  In addition, one of the following numbers
shows up on the bar code label located on the bottom of the unit:
BK350, BK500, BK500BLK. The recalled power supply devices also have one
of the following serial numbers - AB0048 through AB0251, BB0104 through
BB0251, and JB0125 through JB0251 - which can be found on the bottom of
the unit.  Units with an "R" at the end of the serial number within the
above ranges are not part of this recall.    
        
Retailers, computer and electrical distributors, and catalogs
nationwide sold the power supply devices from November 2000 through
December 2002 for between $70 and $130.
        
For more information, contact the Company by Phone: (888) APC-RELY
(272-7359) between 9 am and 5 pm ET Monday through Friday or visit the
firm's Website: http://www.apc.com/rely.


BIO-TECHNOLOGY GENERAL: Faces Several Suits For Securities Violations
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Pharmaceutical firm Bio-Technology General Corporation faces several
securities class actions filed in the United States District Court for
the District of New Jersey on behalf of those who bought Company
securities from April 19, 1999 to August 2, 2002.

The plaintiffs allege the company and some of its officers caused its
shares to trade at artificially inflated levels by issuing false and
misleading financial statements including improper revenue recognition
practices.

"Neither BTG nor any of its officers have been served but, if served,
we intend to vigorously defend this matter," the Company said in a
statement.


DRYVIT SYSTEMS: TN State Court Reviews Proposed Settlement of EIFS Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Jefferson County, Tennessee State Court is looking over various
modifications and clarifications to a settlement proposed by Dryvit
Systems, Inc. to settle a class action filed on behalf of all persons
who, as of June 5, 2002, in any State other than North Carolina, in
whole or in part, with Dryvit exterior insulated finish systems (EIFS)
installed after January 1, 1989, except:

     (1) persons who, prior to June 5, 2002, have settled with the
         Company, providing a release of claims relating to Dryvit
         EIFS;

     (2) persons who have not obtained a judgment against Settling
         Defendant for a Dryvit exterior insulated finish systems EIFS
         claim, or had a judgment entered against them on such a claim
         in Settling Defendants' favor; and

     (3) any employees of Dryvit

Nationwide notice to all eligible class members began on June 13, 2002.  
Any person who wished to be excluded from the settlement was provided
an opportunity to individually "opt out" and not be bound by the final
order.

A fairness hearing was held on October 1, 2002, for the court to
determine whether the proposed settlement is fair, reasonable and
adequate.  A continuation of the fairness hearing was held on December
16, 2002 to address various modifications and clarifications to the
proposed settlement.  The modifications and clarifications are
currently under review by the court with a final decision expected
during the third quarter of fiscal 2003.  If the court grants final
approval of the settlement and there are no appeals, all other pending
attempted state EIFS class actions will be dismissed.


FEDERAL EXPRESS: Appeals CA Court's Judgment in Consumer Fraud Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Federal Express Corporation appealed a United States District Court in
San Diego, California's judgment against it in a class action,
generally alleging that customers who had late deliveries during the
1997 Teamsters strike at United Parcel Service were entitled to a full
refund of shipping charges pursuant to the Company's money-back
guarantee, regardless of whether they gave timely notice of their
claim.

At the hearing on the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, the
court ruled against the Company. The judgment totaled approximately
US$68 million, including interest and fees for the plaintiffs'
attorney.  The Company denied any liability with respect to this claim.  
The Company appealed the judgment to the US Court of Appeals for the
9th Circuit and expects a ruling in the next 12 to 18 months.  No
accrual has been recorded as the Company believes the case is without
merit and it is probable it will prevail upon appeal.


FEDERAL EXPRESS: IL Court Grants Approval To Surcharge Suit Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Illinois State Court granted preliminary approval to a settlement of
the Illinois fuel surcharge class action filed against Federal Express
Corporation, alleging that the Company imposed a fuel surcharge in a
manner that is not consistent with the terms and conditions of its
contracts with customers.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, the Company will issue
coupons to qualifying class members toward the purchase of future
Company shipping services.  The coupons will be subject to certain
terms and conditions and will be redeemable for a period of one year
from issuance.  A hearing to consider objections to the proposed
settlement was held on December 12, 2002.

The Company expects the court to issue its ruling on January 31, 2003
on whether to grant final approval to the settlement.  The ultimate
cost to the Company under the proposed settlement agreement will not be
material.


HARLEY-DAVIDSON: WI Court Reinstates Suit Over Defective Cam Bearings
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals reinstated a class action filed against
Harley-Davidson, Inc., alleging that 100,000 Harley-Davidson
motorcycles are equipped with defective engines, the Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel reports.

The appeals court reversed a February ruling by then Milwaukee County
Circuit Judge William Haese that dismissed the claims and denied class
certification of the lawsuit, attorneys for the plaintiffs said in a
statement issued Tuesday.  The appeals court sent the case back to the
trial court, where it will seek class certification.

The suit was filed on behalf of about 100,000 people who own 1999 or
early 2000 models with twin cam 88 or twin cam 88B engines.  The suit
alleges that the cam bearing is defective and asserts various legal
theories.  The suit sought unspecified compensatory and punitive
damages for affected owners, an order compelling the Company to repair
the engines and other relief, according to an earlier Class Action
Reporter story.

The Company said it will appeal the decision.  "We believe that the
reversal by this intermediate level appellate court is in error, and
the company is reviewing its options, including the filing of a
petition for review by the Wisconsin Supreme Court," Harley spokesman
Joe Hice told the Journal Sentinel.


HAWAII: Court Upholds Ruling For Plaintiffs in Medical Insurance Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Supreme Court upheld a lower court's 1996 decision
that the state discriminated against more than 300 disabled Hawaii
residents by denying them medical insurance coverage, the Honolulu Star
Bulletin reports.

The plaintiffs filed the suit seeking to recover damages from the state
for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the
Rehabilation Act of 1973.  The state allegedly unlawfully denied them
benefits from August 1994 through March 1996.  Federal judge Alan Kay
ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.  The state later appealed the
decision to the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals.

Meanwhile, individual cases of class members went to trial while others
settled with the understanding that the state could appeal the decision
on the state's liability, Cori Lau, attorney for the plaintiffs, told
the Honolulu Star Bulletin.  At least 22 cases that went to trial and
were appealed were put on hold until a determination was made in the
appealed liability case decided by the 9th Circuit Court.  An
additional 100 have already settled, but the state has not evaluated
that amount.

The Supreme Court denied yesterday the state's petition to review the
federal appellate court's ruling.  "By the Supreme Court's denial of
the right to review, they are in fact saying, 'We don't want to address
it,' and the 9th Circuit decision stands," said Attorney Lau. "It's a
vindication and really shows that the courts agreed the state did
discriminate against the disabled . I think (the plaintiffs) are
grateful for that fact, but the fact remains they haven't been
compensated."

Although no one would give a figure on how much it would cost the
state, the action means the state will have to pay judgments in the 22
cases and set figures to pay in the settled cases.  The remaining cases
of about 200 would have to go to trial or be settled.

In a written statement, the Attorney General's Office said, "The State
of Hawaii is disappointed that the Supreme Court has decided not to
hear our challenge to the constitutionality of federal court suits for
damages against a state under the Rehabilitation Act.  The Supreme
Court is reviewing, in a case from California, the constitutionality of
federal court suits for damages against a state under Title II of the
Americans with Disabilities Act."


HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.: Misled Probers About Computer Defects, CA Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------------
California's attorney general accused the Palo Alto, California based
Hewlett-Packard Company and its lawyers of misleading investigators and
using other improper tactics to frustrate state and federal probes into
potential defects embedded in millions of computers sold over the years
by the company and other manufacturers, The Wall Street Journal
reports.  These state and federal probes by regulators, as in the Wall
Street/securities investigations, have the potential to uncover
evidence useful to the customers who bought the computers in question,
thereby leading to consumer class actions.

The issue, which came to light in recently unsealed court documents,
revolves around $27.5 million in consulting fees Hewlett-Packard paid
to Phillip Adams, a computer expert who, earlier, had alerted law
enforcement officials about suspected flaws in floppy-disk drives that
can randomly delete or alter data without the user's knowledge.

As state and federal officials investigated Mr. Adams' allegations, Mr.
Adams abruptly switched sides and signed a lucrative consulting
agreement to help defend Hewlett-Packard in certain future litigation.  
Mr. Adams also handed over his patented software "fix" to the company
and pledged that he would not assist private plaintiffs' lawyers
seeking damages from Hewlett-Packard, according to documents that
became public recently in the Superior Court of California in San
Francisco.

A spokesman for California Attorney General William Lockyer said the
state was going after the "truly extraordinary conduct" of Hewlett-
Packard and Mr. Adams "to prevent whistle-blowers from switching sides
in a case midstream, colluding with the defendants" for financial gain
"and then undermining" state cases.

A spokeswoman for Hewlett-Packard said the company continues to believe
it "acted entirely ethically and in the best interest" of consumers by
signing the agreement with Mr. Adams and making his software fix
available to consumers.

In a legal memorandum, recently unsealed, Gregory Phillips, Mr. Adams'
lawyer, criticized California for "wasting its litigation resources on
punishing " Hewlett-Packard and failing to focus "on those computer
companies that have failed to acknowledge and remedy the defect."  Mr.
Adams also has made charges against California and federal officials,
alleging that they illegally used his patented software to detect
defects and fix them, without paying him a fee.

Mr. Adams' early self-styled whistle-blowing efforts, among other
things, helped spark Toshiba Corp. to agree to a $2.1 billion
settlement of class action claims involving some computer glitches.  
Under state and federal laws, Mr. Adams received millions of dollars as
his share of the overall Toshiba class action settlement that included
California and the federal government.

Mr. Adams stood the chance of collecting much more if the pending
government investigations, based in part on information received from
Mr. Adams, resulted in financial settlements with other companies,
following the pattern of the Toshiba settlement.




INNOVA INC.: Recalls 8,700 Ultratex Thermal Frying Pans For Burn Hazard
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Innova, Inc. is cooperating with the US Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC) by voluntarily recalling, for replacement, about
8,700 Ultrex Thermal/Double Wall frying pans.  The pans can explode or
separate when preheated, used on high heat, or used for frying, which
can pose a serious burn hazard from hot oil or food contents spilling
onto consumers.
        
Innova has received 16 reports of these frying pans exploding,
including two consumers who received burns from hot oil and eight
reports of property damage.  
        
The pans were manufactured in China and include an 8-inch omelet
pan with stick handle and lid, an 8-inch fry pan with stick handle and
no lid, a 9 1/2 -inch fry pan with buffet handles and lid, and an 11
1/2-inch deep chicken fryer with stick handle and helper handle and
lid.  The outside of the pan is stainless steel and the inner surface
has a black, non-stick coating.  The pans have "DESIGNED IN THE USA,
GOURMET QUALITY, ULTREX DOUBLE WALL, STAINLESS STEEL, INNOVA INC.,
DAVENPORT IA" engraved on the bottom.
        
HSN LP (Home Shopping Network) sold the pans nationwide from October
2001 through September 2002 for between $20 and $50 individually and
between $150 and $300 as a set.
        
For more details, contact the Company by Phone: (800) 845-7447 between
8 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.hsn.com.   


MSC INDUSTRIAL: Plaintiffs File Consolidated Securities Suit in
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in the securities class actions against MSC Industrial
Direct Co., Inc. filed a consolidated amended securities suit in the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.  The
suit also names as defendants the Company's directors and certain of
its officers.

The consolidated suit seeks unspecified damages based on his
allegations arising from the Company's announcement that it would
restate its consolidated financial statements for fiscal years 1999
through 2001 and the first three quarters of fiscal 2002.  Plaintiff
alleges that during the periods affected by the restatement, the
Company, its directors and certain of its officers violated Sections
10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder, by materially misleading the investing public
by making false statements in order to inflate the price of the
Company's common stock.  A lead plaintiff, International Association of
Machinists National Pension Fund, was named on November 6, 2002.


ORACLE CORPORATION: Court Cancels Hearing For Second Amended Fraud Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Judge Martin Jenkins canceled a hearing for oral arguments in the
securities class action against Oracle Corporation, alleging the
Company used overpayments from some of its customers to improperly
inflate its sales, ZDNet reports.

Judge Jenkins said he would make a decision based on written materials
provided by the plaintiffs and the Company, rather than listen to oral
arguments at a hearing that was planned for Tuesday.  No date has been
set for Jenkins' decision.

The suit was filed on behalf of purchasers of the Company's stock
during the period December 15, 2000 through March 1, 2001 and alleges
that the defendants made false and misleading statements about the
Company's actual and expected financial performance and the performance
of certain of its applications products, while certain individual
defendants were selling Company stock.  The suit further alleges that
certain individual defendants sold Company stock while in possession of
material non-public information.

The initial lawsuit and an amended complaint were dismissed. Judge
Jenkins is now considering a second amended complaint that was filed in
October, ZDNet reports.  The latest amendment contains new information
about Oracle customers who were allegedly overcharged and cites
interviews with dozens of unnamed former and current employees.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs declined to comment.

Though attorneys for the plaintiffs declined to comment, Oracle
spokeswoman Jennifer Glass told ZDNet the company expects to be cleared
of the allegations.  "The case has been dismissed twice already," she
said.  "We have thoroughly reviewed their allegations and have
confirmed that the conclusions reached in the complaint are completely
wrong."



OREGON: Advocates Sue Over Eviction of Tenants From State Care Centers
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The state of Oregon and the county of Multnomah faces a class action
filed on behalf of nearly 100 residents of state care centers, to stop
the state from evicting them from their care centers, Oregon Live
reports.

In November of last year, the state ordered the William Elaine Care
Center in Portland and the Hoodview Residential Care Home in Gresham
closed, as part of the Legislature's across-the-board cuts to general
fund programs.  The cuts, which also affect some beds at the Pioneer
Guest Home in Enterprise, would force residents with severe mental
illness - some as old as 75 - out of centers that provide 24-hour
supervised care.

The suit, which names former Gov. John Kitzhaber, the state departments
of Administrative Services and Human Services, and Multnomah County,
seeks to halt the closures or force the state to provide equivalent
service elsewhere.

Advocates and state officials say it is one of the first in a wave of
lawsuits they expect in response to cuts to the current operating
budget approved by the governor and the Legislature last year.   
"People are in desperate straits, and if there is possible legal
relief, they have to look for that," Bob Joondeph, executive director
of the Oregon Advocacy Center, the nonprofit group representing the
plaintiffs told Oregon live.

State lawyers are reviewing the complaint and had no comment on it,
said Kevin Neely, a spokesman for the Department of Justice.  County
officials also were reviewing the suit and did not comment, according
to Oregon Live.

The suit comes at the time when the state is formulating last-ditch
plans to save the two centers by having them downsize dramatically to
capture federal funding.  Hoodview owner Dennis Murphy told Oregon Live
the necessary renovations would be too expensive and traumatic for the
residents, most of whom have lived in the homes for 10 to 23 years.

"I am not going to cooperate anymore," Mr. Murphy, who has owned
Hoodview for 24 years, said.  He vowed to continue offering care even
if state funds run out -- until his personal line of credit is
exhausted.  Both Hoodview and William Elaine Center are former homes
for the elderly that now provide some of the least expensive
residential care for people with severe mental illness.

The closures drew the attention of seven prominent Oregon attorneys who
filed the lawsuit for the Oregon Advocacy Center.  At a news conference
Monday, plaintiffs' attorneys accused the state of abandoning its
wards, Oregon Live states.

"It is inconceivable that the citizens of Oregon, through their
government, would choose road repairs, ads for gambling and other
conveniences of living over human life itself when reducing
expenditures," attorney Charles J. Merten said.  "We believe that
choice to be impermissible, immoral and illegal. "


QUICKEN LOANS: Settlement With FTC Highlights Buyers, Borrowers Rights
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A seemingly low-key settlement by the Federal Trade Commission with
mortgage company Quicken Loans Inc. has broad significance for home
buyers and borrowers in 2003, the Chicago Tribune reports.

For consumers the message is:  Every time the consumer or borrower
gives permission to anyone to access his/her credit files, he/she is
protected by federal law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which is
overseen by the Federal Trade Commission.  That law is designed to help
the consumer spot and correct factual errors or omissions in the
consumer's credit files.  The message to the lender is:  Every time the
lender obtains and evaluates a consumer's credit data, the federal
government expects each and every lender to provide basic protections
to that consumer.

Specifically, if the applicant's files contain negative information
that makes it impossible for the lender to offer his/her best loan
deal, the lender must immediately provide a federally mandated "adverse
action" notice to the consumer.  That notice, in turn, will alert the
consumer that something could be "fishy" in his/her credit files.

The FTC settlement with a prominent mortgage originator, Quicken Loans
Inc., arose out of allegations that the lender's online pre-approval
system for a mortgage failed to provide shoppers the adverse action
notice required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  The language used by
Quicken, that the shopper had "unique" borrowing needs requiring
additional discussions offline, did not provide shoppers the adverse
action information required by that law, said the FTC.  Two of the
largest users of credit data, mortgage investors Fannie Mae and Freddie
Mac, were both hit with class-action lawsuits recently, alleging
violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Adverse action notices are important because they force the lender to
take the first step in giving the consumer the information he/she needs
to alert the consumer that there may be something erroneous or which
needs fixing by him/her, such as divulging to the consumer the name,
address and telephone number of the source of the negative credit
information.


SBC AMERITECH: Shelter Receives Phone Cards Donated By Suit Claimants
---------------------------------------------------------------------
A shelter for battered women has received sacks of donated SBC
Ameritech prepaid phone cards in the mail since word spread that the
cards could be donated to charities, the Associated Press Newswires
reports.

The phone cards are good for 37 minutes of local phone calls made on
Ameritech pay phones.  The company sent the cards to eligible customers
as part of a class action settled over inappropriate charges.

Other charitable organizations also have received scores of phone cards
since the newspaper article ran January 3.  The Christian Center, a
shelter for the homeless, also has received about 400 phone cards, said
Kevin Guion, assistant director of the center.

Mary Jo Lee, executive director of Alternatives Inc., the shelter for
battered women, said she knew many people were angered by Ameritech's
decision to issue the phone cards as a settlement.  "I think that by
donating the cards, that has eased some of their frustrations," she
said.  "They realize, 'Ok, I can do a good thing with this.' "


STARMEDIA NETWORK: NY Court Dismisses Three Execs From Securities Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
dismissed three of Starmedia Network's executive officers from the
consolidated securities class action filed against them, the Company
and each of the underwriters who participated in the Company's May 25,
1999 initial public offering.

The consolidated suit sought unspecified damages for alleged violations
of Sections 11, 12 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933, Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder in connection with the Company's initial public
offering.  The suit alleges that the underwriters charged the Company
excessive commissions and inflated transaction fees not disclosed in
the registration statement and allocated shares of the Company's
initial public offering to favored customers in exchange for purported
promises by such customers to purchase additional shares in the
aftermarket, thereby allegedly inflating the market price for the
Company's common stock.

The suit has been consolidated with hundreds of other securities class
actions commenced against more than 300 companies and approximately 40
investment banks in which plaintiffs make substantially similar
allegations as those made against the Company with respect to the
initial public offerings at issue in those cases.  All of these actions
have been consolidated under the caption In re: Initial Public Offering
Securities Litigation, 21 MC 92 (SAS).

On October 9, 2002, all claims against individual defendants were
dismissed without prejudice.  The Company has joined in a motion to
dismiss filed on behalf of all the issuer defendants.


STARMEDIA NETWORKS: NY Court Grants Approval To Securities Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
granted final approval to the settlement of a consolidated securities
class action filed against StarMedia Networks, Inc.  The suit relates
to an announcement it made in November 2001 that it had commenced an
investigation into the facts and circumstances related to its Mexican
subsidiaries' accounting irregularities. The company revealed it was
likely a restatement of its audited financial statements for the year
ended December 31, 2000 and its unaudited financial statements for the
quarters ended March 31, 2001 and June 30, 2001, would be necessary.

The lead plaintiffs and all defendants have executed a settlement
agreement that resolves all claims in the consolidated action.  The
settlement amount will be paid by the Company's directors and officers'
liability insurance carrier.  To date, no party has sought to appeal
the district court's final approval of the settlement.


SUPREME COURT: To Hear Nike Lawsuit Over Commercial Free Speech Rights
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Supreme Court will take another look at the free-speech rights of
companies, agreeing to review a case in which Nike Inc. defended itself
against criticism that its factories in developing exploit workers, The
Wall Street Journal reports.

Even though the Constitution's First Amendment bars laws "abridging the
freedom of speech," commercial advertising always has been an
exception, generally requiring that such speech cannot be false or
misleading.  During the last few decades, however, the High Court has
loosened some restrictions on commercial speech.  Now, the Nike case
gives the justices the opportunity to push the line further.

The Nike case began in 1998, when Marc Klasky, a California resident,
sued the Beaverton, Oregon, sneaker company in a San Francisco court
under a California law regulating unfair competition and unfair
competition and false advertising.  Mr. Klasky alleged that Nike's
defense to charges that it operated sweatshops violated the law.  Nike
countered that its statements in news releases, letters to editors and
op-ed pieces are protected by the First Amendment.

Although two California lower courts dismissed the case, the state's
top court said Nike communications were "directed by a commercial
speaker to a commercial audience," adding that the statements were
"commercial speech for purposes of applying state laws barring false
and misleading commercial messages."


TAIWAN: Legislation Instituted To Allow Filing of Civil Class Actions
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Taiwan's legislature completed a major piece of legislation as part of
moves to streamline Taiwan's civil litigation system and to better
protect the parties involved in civil lawsuits.  The legislation
involves amendments and revisions of more than 200 articles of the Code
of Civil Procedure, designed to protect the weak and underprivileged,
eTaiwan.com reports.

Non-profit corporations may act as plaintiffs and file lawsuits against
other companies demanding compensations on behalf of consumers or
individuals suffering from inferior products and services.  The package
passed its third reading as a compromise of different versions of
amendments proposed by the executive branch and lawmakers of both the
ruling and the opposition parties.  Many revisions were raised in
response to resolutions adopted by the National Judicial Reform
Conference in July 1999.

To reduce the number of lawsuits, individuals whose interests were
damaged by other parties for the same cause may form a group or
designate a legal organization to proceed with their lawsuits.  They
may also make public their appeals for other victims to join in their
demand for compensations, eTaiwan.com reports.  

Under the new law a court judge may designate lawyers on behalf of
consumers in their joint appeals for compensations from the parties
that have damaged their rights and interests, eTaiwan.com reports.  In
order to prevent the waste of judicial resources, the court may also
take the initiative in persuading the parties involved in a civil
lawsuit to settle their dispute out of court.  At the end of the first
trial, the two parties may also agree to appeal their case to the
Supreme Court, instead of the Taiwan High Court, for a final settlement
of their dispute.

These amendments are important in that it could help the general public
suffering from pollutions and the families of victims of major traffic
accidents stand up against large companies, and negotiate with them on
terms for compensations as groups.  "I am glad that this work is done
as the result of more than 19 years of consultations between the
executive and legislative branches on how to improve our litigation
system, a spokesperson of the Judicial Committee on Judicial Affairs
told eTaiwan.com.


TENET HEALTHCARE: Faces Suits For Securities Act Violations in CA, NY
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Tenet Healthcare Corporation faces several securities class actions
filed in the United States District Courts for the Central District of
California and the Southern District of New York on behalf of all
persons or entities who purchased the Company's securities during the
various class periods specified in the complaints:

     (1) The vast majority of the cases allege a class period from
         October 3, 2001 through October 31, 2002;

     (2) One case alleges a class period beginning on June 26, 2000 and
         ending on November 7, 2002;

     (3) Another case alleges a class period from October 3, 2001
         through November 7, 2002;

     (4) Another case alleges a class period from July 26, 2000 through
         November 11, 2002.

The complaints charge the Company and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10(b)-5.  The complaints seek
compensatory damages, attorney's fees and injunctive relief.  

While the specific factual allegations vary slightly in each case, the
complaints generally allege that defendants falsely represented the
Company's financial results by failing to disclose that they were
inflated by:

      (i) wrongfully inducing patients into undergoing unnecessary
          invasive coronary procedures at Redding Medical Center,
          alleged to be a "key profit center" for the Company and

     (ii) the Parent's policy of charging "too aggressive" prices that
          enabled it to obtain excessive Medicare outlier payments.

One of the cases alleges a class period from the opening of trading on
October 31, 2002 through the halt of trading at 2:41 p.m. on October
31, 2002.  The plaintiff alleges that the defendants failed to disclose
that the FBI executed a search warrant at Redding Medical Center on
October 30, 2002 until the afternoon of October 31, 2002, even though
such information allegedly would have been material to investors
purchasing stock on October 31.

The parties to the cases filed in the Central District of California
have agreed to the consolidation of those cases and the court has
entered an order consolidating the cases.  In addition, the parties
have stipulated to the transfer of the two cases currently pending in
the Southern District of New York to the Central District of
California.  The procedures of the Private Litigation Securities Reform
Act (PLSRA) apply to these cases.  Pursuant to those procedures,
defendants anticipate that various plaintiffs' counsel will file
motions on behalf of parties seeking to be designated "lead" plaintiff,
with the moving counsel appointed lead class counsel.  After the
appointment of lead plaintiff and lead counsel, a consolidated amended
complaint will be filed.  The parties have agreed that no response to
the complaints listed above will be due from the Company or the other
defendants until after a consolidated amended complaint is filed.  
Under the PLSRA, discovery is stayed until a motion to dismiss is
denied or defendants' file an answer to the consolidated amended
complaint. The Company believes the allegations in these cases are
without merit and anticipates that additional cases with similar
allegations may be filed.


TRANSACTIONS SYSTEMS: Faces Securities Fraud Lawsuits in Nebraska Court
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Transaction Systems Architects, Inc. faces three securities class
actions filed in the United States District Court in Nebraska.  The
suit also names as defendants certain of the Company's former and
present officers and directors.

Based on the complaints which are publicly available, the Company
understands that the plaintiffs allege violations of Sections 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder,
on the grounds that certain of the Company's Exchange Act reports and
press releases contained untrue statements of material facts, or
omitted to state facts necessary to make the statements therein not
misleading, with regard to the Company's revenues and expenses during
the class period.

The complaints allege that during the purported class periods, the
Company and the named officers and directors misrepresented the
Company's historical financial condition, results of operations and its
future prospects, and failed to disclose facts that could have
indicated an impending decline in the Company's revenues. The class
periods stated in the two complaints are January 21, 1999 through
November 18, 2002 and December 29, 1999 through August 14, 2002.

These lawsuits are at preliminary stages.  The Company is currently in
the process of preparing to respond to the claims made in the lawsuits.
The Company intends to defend the foregoing lawsuits vigorously, but,
since the lawsuits have only recently been filed, the Company cannot
predict the outcome and is not currently able to evaluate the
likelihood of success or the range of potential loss, if any, that
might be incurred in connection with such actions.  However, if the
Company were to lose these lawsuits or if they were not settled on
favorable terms, the judgment or settlement may have a material adverse
effect on the Company's consolidated financial position, results of
operations and cash flows.

                     New Securities Fraud Cases

HOTELS.COM: Charles Piven Commences Securities Fraud Suit in N.D. Texas
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, PA initiated a securities class
action on behalf of shareholders who purchased, converted, exchanged or
otherwise acquired the common stock of Hotels.com (Nasdaq:ROOM) between
October 23, 2002 and January 6, 2003, inclusive, in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Texas against the Company
and certain of its officers and directors.

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

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


MERILL LYNCH: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Fraud Lawsuit in S.D. NY
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class action
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York, on behalf of purchasers of shares of Merrill Lynch Focus Twenty
Fund, all four share classes (NASDAQ: MAFOX, MBFOX, MCFOX, MDFOX) from
the Focus Twenty Fund's initial public offering (which took place on or
about March 3, 2000) through December 23, 2002, inclusive against:

     (1) Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.,

     (2) Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc.,

     (3) Merrill Lynch Focus Twenty Fund, Inc., and

     (4) other Merrill Lynch-affiliated entities

The suit alleges violations of Sections 11, 12 and 15 of the Securities
Act of 1933 and of the Investment Company Act of 1940.  The
relationships among the defendants include that the defendants are:

     (i) the underwriters for the common stock of certain of the
         companies in the Focus Twenty Fund's portfolio;

    (ii) the investment bankers and corporate finance specialists for
         certain of the companies whose securities are in the fund's
         portfolio;

   (iii) seeking to obtain additional investment banking business from
         these present and former clients and from other companies
         whose shares also were/are in the Fund's portfolio;

    (iv) the issuers of the shares in the Fund;

     (v) preparing and publicly disseminating research reports and
         recommendations on many of the companies whose shares were in
         the Fund's portfolio; and

    (vi) the broker for certain members of the class.

This action arises as a result of the issuance by the defendants of
shares in the Fund, and concerns material misstatements and omissions
by defendants in the Prospectus and other incorporated documents,
relating to defendants' conflicts of interest, which include but are
not limited to the following:

      (a) defendants failed to disclose and omitted material
          information that Merrill Lynch had had investment banking
          relationships with, including having brought public, certain
          of the companies whose securities were part of the Fund's
          portfolio.  Defendants disclosed neither this general fact
          nor the identities of the particular companies with which it
          had investment banking relationships;

     (b) defendants failed to disclose and omitted material information
         concerning that Merrill Lynch was continuing to seek
         investment banking relationships with many of the companies
         whose securities were part of the Fund's portfolio; and

     (c) defendants failed to disclose and omitted material information
         concerning that a material part of the total compensation paid
         to Merrill Lynch research analysts was based upon obtaining
         investment banking business for Merrill Lynch and not upon the
         accuracy of their research about a given company.

Hence, Merrill Lynch and its affiliated companies including the Fund
recommended investments in and/or invested in companies in order to
enhance Merrill Lynch's opportunity to obtain investment banking
business from those companies (without regard to whether they were good
investments for the investors including plaintiffs and the class).

For more details, contact Tzivia Brody by Mail: 6 East 45th Street, New
York NY 10017 by Phone: 1-800-337-4983, or by E-mail: SSBNY@aol.com


RURAL CELLULAR: Reinhardt & Anderson Lodges Securities Suit in MN Court
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Reinhardt & Anderson initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court of Minnesota on behalf of investors who acquired
shares of Rural Cellular, Inc. (Nasdaq:RCCC) between May 7, 2001 and
November 12, 2002 against individual directors and officers of the
Company.

The complaint charges Rural Cellular and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The
complaint alleges that during the class period, defendants caused Rural
Cellular's shares to trade at artificially inflated levels through the
issuance of false and misleading financial statements.  Then, on
November 12, 2002, after the market closed, defendants revealed that
Rural Cellular's fiscal 2001 through Q2 2002 results had been
materially misstated and would have to be restated.

Rural Cellular has now admitted that it inappropriately recorded
transactions included in its FY 2001 through Q2 2002 results, and has
restated those results to remove millions in improperly reported income
(which illegally decreased the Company's losses) such that its FY 2001
through Q2 2002 financial statements were not a fair presentation of
Rural Cellular's results and were presented in violation of Generally
Accepted Accounting Principles and SEC rules.

For more details, contact Garrett D. Blanchfield by Phone: 888-253-5139
or 651-227-9990 by Fax: 651-297-6543 or by E-mail:
g.blanchfield@ralawfirm.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.ralawfirm.com.  


TEXTRON INC.: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Fraud Suit in RI Court
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class action
in the United States District Court, District of Rhode Island, on
behalf of purchasers of the securities of Textron, Inc. (NYSE: TXT)
between October 19, 2000 and September 26, 2001, inclusive, against the
Company and:

      (1) Lewis B. Campbell,

     (2) John A. Janitz,

     (3) Theodore R. French and

     (4) Terry D. Stinson

The complaint 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 October 19, 2000 and September 26, 2001, thereby
artificially inflating the price of Company securities.

The complaint alleges that, throughout the class period, Textron failed
to disclose that the V-22 Osprey, a military aircraft that it was
manufacturing, suffered from structural defects that required that it
be substantially redesigned which would delay full-scale production of
the Osprey for years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars in excess
of the costs allocated to the project for the purpose of calculating
profit and loss.

On September 26, 2001, as alleged in the complaint, Textron issued a
press release over the Business Wire in which it reduced its guidance
for the third and fourth quarters of 2001, and announced that it
expected a third-quarter loss of $0.25 per share, compared to the
consensus forecast of earnings of $0.71 cents per share.  The complaint
alleges that the Company attempted to blame its poor performance on
"the slowdown in the U.S. economy" and "the impact of events on
September 11."

However, as alleged in the complaint, Textron was also forced to admit
that its reduced earnings were resulting from "a number of significant
adjustments at Bell Helicopter and other Textron businesses," including
a special charge of approximately $0.52 per share resulting from
"stretched out production schedules and additional costs to make design
changes in the V-22 and H-1 government programs."

In the same press release, the Company announced the abrupt departures
of defendant Janitz as Textron Chief Operating Officer, and defendant
Stinson as Chief Executive Officer of Bell Helicopter.  On this news,
Textron shares dropped to a year-low price of $33.04 per share, down
23% from the previous day's closing price of $43, on relatively heavy
trading volume of 4,393,200 shares traded.

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


TXU CORPORATION: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Suit in N.D. Texas
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class action
in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
on behalf of purchasers of TXU Corporation (NYSE: TXU) publicly traded
securities during the period between April 25, 2002 and October 11,
2002.

The complaint charges TXU and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  TXU provides
electric and natural gas services, merchant energy trading, energy
marketing, telecommunications and energy-related services.  The
complaint alleges that during the class period, defendants represented
that the Company could succeed in the competition created by
deregulation.  Defendants then represented that TXU's European
operations were improving, it would succeed competition in the U.K.
market and it was on track to report EPS of $4.35+ and $4.60+ in 2002
and 2003, respectively.  As a result of these allegedly false
statements, TXU's stock traded at artificially inflated levels, as high
as $56 per share.

Due to this inflation, defendants were able to complete a secondary
offering of 11.8 million shares of common stock, priced at $51.15 per
share and 8.8 million units of FELINE PRIDES (equity linked debt
securities), raising nearly a billion dollars in much needed financing.  
Subsequent to the offering, defendants needed to maintain a high stock
price to avoid triggering additional debt and the conversion of
preferred stock into common stock pursuant to a partnership agreement.

On October 4,2002, TXU issued an earnings warning, indicating that due
to customer attrition and ongoing problems in Europe the Company would
report 2002 EPS of only $3.25.  On this news, the Company's stock price
declined to $27 per share, from more than $40 per share the prior week.
However, the stock remained inflated as defendants concealed the
extreme liquidity problems from which the Company was suffering.
Defendants even assured the market that the Company was strong
financially and that the dividend was "sound and secure."

Then, on October 14,2002, before the market opened, TXU stunned the
market with news that it was cutting its dividend 80%, to $0.125 per
share and would no longer support its European operations.  The
Company's stock price immediately collapsed on this news to as low as
$10.10 per share before closing at $12.94, a one day drop of 31%, on
volume of 39 million shares.

For more details, contact Marc S. Henzel by Mail: 273 Montgomery Ave.,
Suite 202, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 by Phone: 610-660-8000 or 888-643-6735
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
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic re-
mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without prior written
permission of the publishers.

Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to be
reliable, but is not guaranteed.

The CAR subscription rate is $575 for six months delivered via e-mail.  
Additional e-mail subscriptions for members of the same firm for the
term of the initial subscription or balance thereof are $25 each.  For
subscription information, contact Christopher Beard at 240/629-3300.

                  * * *  End of Transmission  * * *