CAR_Public/030128.mbx                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

               Tuesday, January 28, 2003, Vol. 5, No. 19

                              Headlines

AGENT ORANGE: Veterans Assured Benefits For Cancer Linked With Chemical
AUSTRALIA: Victoria Government Faces Potential Lawsuit Over Bush Fires
BANANA WORKERS: New Orleans Judge Opens Way For Health Lawsuit V. Firms
BAPTIST FOUNDATION: Investors Receive Securities Suit Settlement Checks
CALIFORNIA: Public Housing Unit Agrees To Open Disabled Waiting List

CANADA: Pension Groups, Mutual Funds To Lobby For Corporate Governance
CINAR CORPORATION: Settlement To Yield About $38M To Suing Shareholders
COLORADO: Court Approves Hospital Monitoring Pact in Inmate Care Suit
COOPER INDUSTRIES: Erin Brockovich Working On Chemical Pollution Suit
EPHEDRA: 7-Eleven To Stop Carrying Herbal Product Due To Health Risks

FLORIDA: In Bind After Ruling Declares Predator Law "Unconstitutional"
FLORIDA: Appeals Court Allows Cutting of Trees To Arrest Canker Disease
GENERAL MOTORS: Appeals Court Rejects Plan To Settle Defective SUV Suit
ILLINOIS: Chicago Residents Assert Resettling Plan Fosters Segregation
KOREA: Chamber of Commerce Head Opposes Introduction of Class Actions

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE: Proposed Cap On Litigation Damages Sparks Debate
MINNESOTA: Small Percentage Of Students in Test Mix-up Suit Make Claims
MISSOURI: Judge Delays Hearing in University of MO Tuition Fee Lawsuit
RENT-A-CENTER INC.: Judge Grants Certification To Overtime Wage Lawsuit
SANDPIPER COVE: Sued For Wrongfully Denying Homeless Woman Shelter

TENET HEALTHCARE: Two Women File Suit Over Price Gouging, Overcharges
TIM HORTONS: Voluntarily Recalls 6,500 Travel Mugs For Burn Hazard
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Plaintiffs Present Argument in LA Smoker's Lawsuit
UNITED KINGDOM: NHS Sued Over Taking of Children's Organs For Research
UNITED STATES: Will Not Appeal Ruling Giving Farmer $6.6M in Bias Suit

WEST VIRGINIA: Partial Settlement Proposed In Water Pollution Suit

*Securities Activism Spreads, D&O Liability Insurance Makes Way To Asia
*Drug Firms Fight Discount Initiatives For Low, Modest Income Consumers

                     New Securities Fraud Cases

CLEARONE COMMUNICATIONS: Cauley Geller Commences Securities Suit in UT
MOTOROLA INC.: Wolf Popper Commences Securities Fraud Suit in N.D. IL
MOTOROLA INC.: Wechsler Harwood Commences Securities Lawsuit in S.D. NY
MOTOROLA INC.: Wolf Haldenstein Commences Securities Lawsuit in N.D. IL
TELLIUM INC.: Bull & Lifshitz Commences Securities Fraud Lawsuit in NJ

TRANSKARYOTIC THERAPIES: Chitwood & Harley Lodges Securities Suit in MA
TRANSKARYOTIC THERAPIES: Wolf Popper Commences Securities Lawsuit in MA
WESTAR ENERGY: Milberg Weiss Launches Securities Fraud Suit in KS Court

                              *********


AGENT ORANGE: Veterans Assured Benefits For Cancer Linked With Chemical
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Exposure to high levels of Agent Orange, the widely used defoliant in
the Vietnam War, is associated with an increase in the incidence of a
form of leukemia, researchers have determined, according to a report
from the New York Times.

A report from the Institute of Medicine has found that veterans exposed
to Agent Orange three decades ago were at greater risk for chronic
lymphocytic leukemia CLL), a fast-moving and deadly cancer.  As a
result of the study, the Veteran Affairs Department announced recently
that it would extend benefits to veterans with the disease.

Until now, the relationship between Agent Orange and CLL has been
murky.  About 7,000 cases were diagnosed were diagnosed last year in
the United States, presenting researchers with a small sample from
which to draw conclusions.  The panel at the Institute of Medicine,
which Congress finances as part of the National Academy of Sciences,
was alerted to take another look and a different tack when researchers
noted that CLL, although classified as leukemia, shared many traits
with Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, both of which had
been linked to herbicide exposure.

"The similarities between CLL and lymphomas, long known to be
associated with exposure to the types of chemicals used in Agent Orange
and other defoliants, began to raise questions about whether CLL should
be considered separately from other forms of leukemia," said Irva
Hertz-Piciotto, professor of epidemiology, who was chairwoman of the
panel.  "The data are sufficient to support a link between herbicide
exposure and this type of cancer."

Because of the findings, veterans will not have to prove that their
illnesses stemmed from Agent Orange exposure.  Evidence of military
service and a physician's diagnosis of CLL will be sufficient to
qualify the veteran for treatment. Depending on the severity of the
disability, veterans will be entitled up to $2,300 a month.

This finding is the latest link between battlefield exposure to
chemicals and clusters of disease among veterans.  Agent Orange, which
American forces sprayed from planes to clear Vietcong jungle haves in
South Vietnam and parts of Cambodia, has been associated with other
cancers, diabetes and birth defects.  About 10,000 veterans receive
disability benefits because of their exposure to dioxin in Agent Orange
or similar chemicals.


AUSTRALIA: Victoria Government Faces Potential Lawsuit Over Bush Fires
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Victorian State Government and the Department of Sustainability and
Environment face a potential class action to be commenced by angry
northeast property owners who were victims of bush fires, the Courier
Mail reports.

The Department allegedly allowed forest fuel loads to reach what they
say are dangerous levels.  Homeowner Monty Skehan claims that
mismanagement of neighboring Mt. Pilot National Park was directly
responsible for the devastating fire that destroyed his home and
property.

The farmer told the Courier Mail he was prepared to fight for
compensation after Tuesday night's blaze tore out of the national park
and razed his property.  "I'm considering taking the whole State
Government to the Supreme Court over this," Mr. Skehan said from his
Wooragee farm, about 260km northeast of Melbourne.  "The greens and the
politicians are the ones who burnt down my house."

Hundreds of farmers whose land adjoins national parks could possibly be
involved in the suit, Mr. Skehan added.  "It's about time somebody took
a stand against (the Government), so a class action is a possibility,"
he said. "It's 1000 per cent total irresponsibility and mismanagement."

Eldorado deer farmer Bob Gentleman has been fighting for years to
retain access to government land next to his property, but he said
since it was declared a national park a lack of firewood collection and
backburning had created a major hazard, the Courier Mail states.   With
a scorched property and huge financial losses, Mr. Gentleman said legal
action may be his only option.  "We've looked at it before, but now
might be the time to do something about it," he said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Sustainability and Environment said
landholders' concerns would be dealt with once the fire risk abated.
"We understand the community's concerns about the loss of assets
through bushfires," she told the Courier Mail.  "But currently we are
focusing on putting out these fires.  But we would like to speak to all
members of the community about any concerns they have."


BANANA WORKERS: New Orleans Judge Opens Way For Health Lawsuit V. Firms
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A ruling by a federal judge in New Orleans, has opened the way for a
lawsuit brought by 3,000 Central America banana workers seeking
millions in damages, The New York Times reports.  This would be the
first time one of these cases has been tried in the United States.

The plaintiffs claim the pesticide dibromochloropropane, or DBCP, has
caused them to suffer from such medical problems as sterility, cancer
and birth defects in children.  The pesticide was banned in much of the
United States in 1977, when it was found to cause sterility, but has
continued to be used in the banana plantations of Central America that
supply the American supermarkets.

For two decades, say the workers, their efforts to win compensation for
the damage done by DBCP have been frustrated by the legal tactics of
the American chemical and fruit companies.  Now they are getting their
day in court in the United States.  Additionally, the United States
Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on whether or not to allow
other DBCP lawsuits to be tried in state courts.  The companies named
as defendants are giants of the chemical and fruit industries:

     (1) Shell Oil,

     (2) Dow Chemical,

     (3) Occidental Chemical,

     (4) Dole Food,

     (5) Del Monte Fresh Produce, and

     (6) Chiquita Brands International

Tens of thousands of workers still have lawsuits pending in Central
America.  The companies have always argued that the cases should be
heard in the country where the purported injuries occurred, a tactic
that for years put the litigation in limbo.

"Courts in foreign countries are not up to the task of handling these
kinds of cases," said Alejandro Garro, a professor of Latin American
law at Columbia University, who has testified on behalf of the banana
workers.  "These countries have 19th-century legal structures and have
no system in place to deal with extremely technical class action
lawsuits involving thousands of workers."

However, that obstacle has at least partially crumbled in Nicaragua,
where pressed by labor unions, the government in 2000, passed a law for
DBCP victims that requires corporate defendants to put up a bond of
$100,000 a case within three months of being served.  In all, the law
has led to the filing of over 400 cases, seeking more than $9.6 billion
in damages on behalf of 7,000 plaintiffs.

Last month, after a trial in which the companies refused to take part,
a Managua court ordered Shell, Dole and Dow to pay $489.4 million to
450 workers.  Lawyers for the plaintiffs say they will try to get
American courts to enforce the judgment.


BAPTIST FOUNDATION: Investors Receive Securities Suit Settlement Checks
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Investors in the defunct Baptist Foundation of Arizona began receiving
settlement checks amounting to 30% of their original investments last
week, the Arizona Daily Sun reports.  The checks were part of a $217
million fraud settlement with the foundation's former accounting firm
Arthur Andersen, LLP, which was supposed to be due last fall.

Lawsuits against the Foundation was commenced after it filed for
bankruptcy in 1999, the largest by a non-profit agency in US history.
The collapse cost about 11,000 investors, most of them elderly,
approximately US$585 million.  Combined with a $16.5 million settlement
announced last week in a separate class-action lawsuit, investors stand
to get roughly half of their money back, according to officials with
the Baptist Foundation of Arizona Liquidation Trust.  Distributions
from the settlement approved last week are expected to begin after the
agreement clears a 30-day appeals period.

The check 84-year-old Betty Piccoli received Friday amounted to about a
third of her and her husband's original investment in the Foundation,
the Arizona Daily Sun.  After more than three years of complicated
legal proceedings related to the foundation's failure, the Tucson
investor said she was happy with what she received.  "That's wonderful
-- I'd take $10 if I could get it," she told the Sun.

Now that the disbursements have gotten underway, many investors say any
feeling of relief is tempered with disappointment.  "Let's face it,
this is cash money I had at the time," Franklin D.R. Kestner Sr. of
Tucson, lead plaintiff in the first class action suit against the
Baptist Foundation in 1999, told the Sun.  Mr. Kestner, 70, said
investors lost untold thousands in earning potential on their original
investments.


CALIFORNIA: Public Housing Unit Agrees To Open Disabled Waiting List
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The Richmond Housing Authority lost a legal battle with a disabled
woman, Frances Foster, 60 and disabled, who alleged she was turned down
for public housing despite the authority's mission to place both
seniors and people with disabilities in three apartment buildings, the
Contra Costa Times reports.  Ms. Foster filed a class action against
Richmond Housing Authority.

According to the terms of a settlement approved by US District Judge
Phyllis Hamilton, the agency will open up the list to disabled people
for six weeks, with Ms. Foster's name at the top of the list.  Under a
law passed 10 years ago, public housing authorities may redesignate
senior/disabled housing for seniors only.  However, the authorities
must submit a plan to the US Department of Housing and Urban
Development providing alternative housing for disabled applicants.
Richmond did not do this, said Fred Nisen, an attorney with Protection
and Advocacy Inc.

Under the terms of the settlement, not only will the Richmond Housing
Authority open its waiting list on February 15, for a minimum of six
weeks, with Ms. Foster's name at the head of the list, but the
authority must also pay Ms. Foster an undisclosed amount in damages and
her legal expenses.

Ms. Foster's complaint suggested that the authority had a pattern of
denying housing to the disabled, documenting that a nonprofit
organization, Human Rights Inc., had sent "testers" to request
placement on a list for disabled housing.  In all three instances, the
testers were told the lists were closed to those with disabilities.
There is a move among disabled rights advocates to effect legislative
change, said Mr. Nisen, Ms. Foster's attorney.  That would be a
difficult mission, he said.


CANADA: Pension Groups, Mutual Funds To Lobby For Corporate Governance
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Some of the country's biggest pension and mutual funds are formalizing
their alliance to better champion shareholders' right, among other
aspects of improved corporate governance, the National Post reports.

The Canadian Coalition for Good Governance will announce next week it
has incorporated and is hiring permanent staff to push its agenda for
improving the way companies are run.  With a total of $400 billion
under management, and with members such as The Ontario Municipal
Employees Retirement System and Templeton mutual fund, Brian Gibson, a
spokesman for the Coalition, said the group has significant heft and
has played a part in getting some major corporations to improve their
governance.  For example, it helped persuade some banks to begin
separating the chairman and chief executive roles, and convince Nortel
Networks Inc. to improve its option expensing.

"We are having some very tough discussions with a few companies that
have issues," Mr. Gibson said of the group, which was founded last year
but was hitherto a loose grouping.

Mr. Gibson said one of their major areas of concern is pension reform.
The Coalition is urging that liabilities or deficits be included in
balance sheets, that pension costs and income be shown separately in
income statements and that mechanisms be put in place to assure
assumptions such as pension fund returns are reasonable.

The Coalition has other issues as well.  For example, it has undertaken
a lobbying campaign for legal reforms to facilitate shareholder class
actions by making it easier to prove damages resulted from fraud or
negligence.  More generally, Mr. Gibson said, the Coalition is well
positioned to augment other regulators, such as the provincial
securities commissions, because it can use its extensive share
ownership to discipline companies, even replacing directors if it so
chooses.

Douglas Hyndman, chairman of the British Columbia Securities
Commission, said the Coalition is a welcome ally.  "I think it is an
encouraging development that the institutional investors are taking a
proactive role to get out there and influence governance and financial
reporting," he said.


CINAR CORPORATION: Settlement To Yield About $38M To Suing Shareholders
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Troubled film company Cinar Corporation announced its third lawsuit
update in two weeks, said an agreement in principle will give the
equivalent of about $38 million to class action claimant shareholders
in Canada and the United States, The Toronto Star reports.

Cinar said courts in Canada and the United States have approved the
settlement. The company said that the Company's contribution to this
settlement will be approximately $14.6 million.  The balance of the $38
million settlement will be paid by others, whom Cinar did not identify.

As part of the lawsuit update, Cinar said it had expanded a lawsuit
filed in 2001, against two ousted executives to about $88 million from
$28.6 million.  That legal action was against co-founder Ronald
Weinberg and others, accusing them of investing $122 million in
Bahamas-based investment fund Globe-X without the knowledge or
permission of the other members of Cinar's board.


COLORADO: Court Approves Hospital Monitoring Pact in Inmate Care Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
United States District Judge Lewis T. Babcock approved the agreement
forged by Colorado state officials and patients of the Colorado Mental
Health Institute, for the settlement of a 1999 class action, seeking to
make wide-ranging improvements in the conditions at the hospital, and
in the care and treatment of patients, the Pueblo Chieftain Online
reports.

The suit alleged that the patients were being warehoused and given
inadequate treatment.  Therefore, some patients were being kept
unfairly at the hospital longer than they would have served in prison
for their crimes, their lawyers contended.

Under the agreement, two outside experts will monitor the Institute
until the agreement expires in December 31,2006.  The agreement also
covers all patients who have been involuntarily committed to the state
hospital's forensic unit because they have been found innocent of
crimes due to insanity.  The agreement eliminated a five-week trial,
which was due to start this month.

"The institute must be run in a way that does afford to the patients
the rights they are entitled to under the law," Judge Babcock said at
the end of a 30-hour hearing when he approved the agreement between
patients and state officials, the Pueblo Chieftain states.

Don Abram, a former Pueblo District Court judge and a retired US
District Court magistrate judge, urged Judge Babcock to approve the
agreement.  Judge Babcock appointed Mr. Abram to protect the interests
of patients, the Pueblo Chieftain reports.

"I am thoroughly convinced that these (state) agencies and the
attorneys for these agencies are deeply concerned, are dedicated to
carrying out the agreement," Mr. Abram said. "I'm convinced they will
follow through."

Under the agreement:

     (1) the daily average census is to be limited to 278 patients;

     (2) if a new forensic facility is not funded by June 30, 2005, the
         average daily census in the maximum-security building will be
         reduced to 72 patients from 80, and in the medium-security
         building to 80 patients from 80;

     (3) an intensive community placement program is required.  Fifteen
         patients will reside in community placement housing within a
         year;

     (4) the governor's budget for 2003-2004 includes funding for an
         additional 14.6 full-time equivalent employees;

     (5) beginning April 30, there will be at least 1.3 direct-care
         staff, not including psychiatrists, per patient. The ratio is
         to be 1.35 staff per patient by July 1, 2004;

     (6) CMHIP will continue to recruit psychiatrists until there is a
         ratio of one psychiatrist for each 17.4 patients;

     (7) individual psychotherapy will be increased;

     (8) each patient will be provided with a plan for care and
         progression toward possible release.

The lawsuit may be reopened or a new one filed if patients and their
attorneys believe the CMHIP does not comply with the agreement.  The
judge said Mr. Abram will continue to be paid by the state to protect
the patients' interests for at least 18 months.


COOPER INDUSTRIES: Erin Brockovich Working On Chemical Pollution Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Environmentalist-also-celebrity Erin Brockovich may join the legal
battle involving a company accused of polluting the Dayhoit community
with cancer-causing chemicals, the Associated Press Newswires reports.
Disgruntled plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit against Cooper Industries
over the alleged chemical pollution have asked Ms. Brockovich to help
them.

Ms. Brockovich, the subject of the film "Erin Brockovich," featuring an
Academy Award-winning performance by Julia Roberts, is a lawyer's
assistant who helped win $333 million compensation from Pacific Gas and
Electric Co. for residents whose water was contaminated by a
carcinogen.  Ms. Brockovich is working now with the same California law
firm, Masry and Vititoe, to sign on litigants to a proposed federal
lawsuit against Cooper Industries.  The Company already has made
settlement offers to many of the 3,000 plaintiffs in an earlier filed
case, which blamed the Company for polluting Dayhoit with
polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.  The judge in the case authorized
the settlement offer procedures.

In September, Harlan County Circuit Judge Ron Johnson approved a deal
allowing Cooper Industries to work out individual settlements with the
3,000 plaintiffs who may have been adversely affected by the
contaminants.  Dayhoit residents and others who frequented the
community were asking for $500 million in the class action.

Some of these plaintiffs, dissatisfied with the offers, contacted Ms.
Brockovich.  Ms. Brockovich, not one to waste time, now has more than
100 clients in and around Dayhoit signed up to join a proposed federal
class action against Cooper Industries.  A new lawsuit, however, would
threaten the settlements being reached in a lawsuit filed five years
ago in Harlan Circuit Court.

Edward Masry, Ms. Brockovich's employer and lead counsel for law firm
Masry and Vititoe, said of the case:  "It's got the odor of a . case
that may not have been handled properly; this is what attracted our
attention."

Ms. Brockovich says contaminants from the factory may have caused more
damage than previously believed.  "You definitely have a groundwater
and surface water contamination," she said.  "I am really concerned
that individuals who are significantly damaged have been jilted by the
law."


EPHEDRA: 7-Eleven To Stop Carrying Herbal Product Due To Health Risks
---------------------------------------------------------------------
7-Eleven Corporation and a major dietary supplement supplier, EAS, are
ending sales of products containing ephedra, an herbal stimulant that
some experts link to heart attacks and strokes, the Associated Press
Newswires reports.  The announcement will be made Wednesday this week.

The supplement, which is often used for weight loss or quick energy,
has come under increasing scrutiny.  Critics have asked the Food and
Drug Administration to ban sales of ephedra, and the product has been
the subject of personal injury lawsuits.

The decisions by convenience-store giant 7-Eleven and supplement
distributor EAS is another strike against the supplement, which gained
fad status a couple years ago and remains popular.  David Lumley, Chief
Executive and President of EAS, said the liability, insurance and
regulatory issues surrounding ephedra were overwhelming.


FLORIDA: In Bind After Ruling Declares Predator Law "Unconstitutional"
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Florida recently joined a number of states running into a
constitutional quandary trying to protect the children and the public
from pedophiles and rapists released from prison and living "amongst
us," The Palm Beach Post reports.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal said in its recent ruling on the
subject that Florida's law requiring sexual predators to register is a
violation of the right of due process protected by the 14th Amendment.
The three-judge panel indicated a hearing is necessary to determine
whether a defendant is likely to repeat his offense, before requiring
registration.  After legal challenges to similar laws, Connecticut,
Alaska, Michigan, Hawaii and Indiana, have shut down their Web sites
that inform the public of people who have been convicted of a sex
crime.

The Florida Legislature could change the law to require hearings, but
that could open up the legal equivalent of Pandora's box.  What
criteria, for example, would a judge use to determine whether a felon
should get the label of sexual predator?  Florida's statute for
registering sexual predators was enacted in 1997, and was based on New
Jersey's "Megan's Law," named after a 7-year-old girl who was murdered
by a paroled sex offender.

The appellate court's decision affects only the 3,600 felons who have
been determined to be "sexual predators."  It does not include 28,000
persons who have been given the less serious designation of "sexual
offender."

In October, two local attorneys filed a civil class action in federal
court on behalf of those 28,000 sexual offenders, asking for an
injunction to shut down the Web site run by the Florida Department of
Enforcement.  The appeals court decision definitely helps us, said one
of the attorneys, Cindy D'Agostino.  "But, we have to go one step
further and get the Department of Law Enforcement's Web site shut
down," she said.

Meanwhile, the whole issue of registration of sex offenders is in front
of the Justices of the US Supreme Court.  Connecticut and Alaska have
appealed decisions striking down their sexual offender registration
laws.  Ms. D'Agostino is looking forward to receiving guidance from the
High Court on this issue.


FLORIDA: Appeals Court Allows Cutting of Trees To Arrest Canker Disease
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Thousands of healthy backyard fruit trees again face the state of
Florida's hatchet - a necessary sacrifice to spare Florida's citrus
industry, an appeals court ruled recently, according to a report by The
Palm Beach Post.

The 4th District Court of Appeal stood by the state law requiring the
Department of Agriculture to destroy not only citrus trees infected
with canker but also those that grow near them in an effort to prevent
the spread of the disease.  In the ruling, the appeals judges cited a
previous case calling the $9.1 billion citrus industry one of
"Florida's greatest assets."  The appeals judges quoted, "Its promotion
and protection is of the greatest value to the state."

The agriculture will still need search warrants to enter private
properties to look for infected citrus trees, and it will be permitted,
as well, to exercise the contentious 1,900-foot-rule.  This rule, also
enacted into the state law, allows the department to destroy not only
infected trees, but also healthy citrus trees that grow within 1,900
feet of an infected tree.

A plant pathologist, Timothy Gottwald, determined that because canker
is spread by wind-driven rain, destroying all citrus trees within 1,900
feet of an infected tree would capture 95 percent of all canker spread.
Canker is a bacterial disease that causes brown lesions on citrus
leaves and fruit, eventually causing the citrus to drop prematurely.
It is not harmful to humans.  The ruling will not be final for at least
15 days, the time allotted for either side to request another hearing
before the appeals court.

The appeals court's decision quashes a May 2002 ruling by Broward
County Judge J. Leonard Fleet, who halted the citrus canker removal
program by preventing state workers from entering private property
without search warrants.  Judge Fleet said the state's methods violated
homeowners' constitutional protection against illegal search and
seizure.  The appeals court agreed with Judge Fleet on one significant
point: that area-wide searches are unconstitutional.

"The 4th District Court of Appeal made it very clear in their opinion
that one of the reasons why they found the statute constitutional is
because homeowners have a right to seek compensation in the courts, and
that is what we are doing," said Robert Gilbert.

Mr. Gilbert is one of the attorneys involved in the related lawsuits in
which property owners are seeking substantial compensation for their
destroyed trees.  Mr. Gilbert has filed a class action on behalf of
affected homeowners in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.  He has filed
similar paperwork in Palm Beach County Circuit Court.


GENERAL MOTORS: Appeals Court Rejects Plan To Settle Defective SUV Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States 1st Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a plan that
would have allowed owners of GMC and Chevrolet pickups with sidesaddle
gasoline tanks to take part in a cash alternative rather than receive
certificates from General Motors worth $1,000 off a new GM vehicle, the
Advocate Online reports.

The class action, filed in 1993 in 18th Judicial District Court, claims
that several models of GMC and Chevrolet pickups were flawed because
sidesaddle gas tanks built outside the truck's frames are vulnerable in
crashes.  A 1999 settlement agreement called for the pickup owners to
receive a certificate good for $1,000 off the price of a new GM
vehicle.  In April 2001, GM sent out letters to 5.8 million pickup
owners, telling them how they could receive a certificate.  At the same
time, the class-action attorneys sent a letter announcing how pickup
owners could sell those certificates for $100 each, the Advocate Online
reports.

Certificate Redemption Group of Houston had offered to buy the
certificates, and in turn, the group would sell them to companies or
individuals.  GM has objected to the organized effort to create a
secondary market, claiming "impermissible" and "substantive" changes to
the settlement agreement, the Advocate Online states.

The plaintiffs' attorneys contended that GM, "upon realizing that its
class settlement would be too effective at compensating too many
settlement class members," was seeking to block an organized secondary
market for the certificates.

The appeals court was asked to decide whether a trial court's order
approving the cash alternative plan violated the settlement agreement.
The court ruled that participation in the cash alternative offer would
preclude "manual delivery or actual physical possession" of the
settlement certificate by the settlement class member.  According to
the Advocate Online, the appeals court reversed the trial court's order
permitting a settlement class member, who has not actually received his
certificate, to request within the first 15 months that it be made
available to class-action attorneys and reissued in the name of a third
person designated by CRG.

"Once the settlement class member has received his consumer
certificate, we find nothing in the language of the settlement
agreement that would prohibit Class Counsel from performing this
transitional function on the settlement class member's behalf," the
judgment states.


ILLINOIS: Chicago Residents Assert Resettling Plan Fosters Segregation
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A lawsuit was recently filed on behalf of thousands of public housing
residents who say they were steered to mostly black, high-crime,
impoverished neighborhoods, when they were forced to move as part of a
plan to demolish the city's high-rise housing projects.

The suit charges the housing authority did not provide adequate
relocation services or counseling to families displaced by the
demolition.  The suit contends the housing authority has violated the
Fair Housing Act and the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  The lawsuit was filed
by the National Center on Poverty Law, the Chicago Lawyers' Committee
for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Business and Professional People
for the Public Interest.

Representatives for the advocacy groups said, at a recent news
conference, that they wanted the housing authority to start a program
to adequately help families forced to move, as the authority continues
its job of razing the housing projects that have been trouble-ridden
eyesores for decades.

The lawsuit names as defendants both the housing authority and its
Chief Executive Officer, Terry Peterson.  In a written statement, the
housing authority said it concurred with the advocacy groups that the
housing authority must improve the relocation process for the
residents, but did not agree that a lawsuit was the best way to use
their resources.  Instead, the resident leadership and the housing and
social services should be working together to "develop meaningful
solutions."

The lawsuit contends the authority promised residents it would help
them move to more economically and racially diverse neighborhoods, that
the authority and an advisory counsel for tenants entered into a
contract that promised help in finding housing in low-poverty or
racially diverse areas of the city that were not less desirable
neighborhoods than where the residents were already living and even
these objectives had not been met.

Residents say that now that their old neighborhoods are slowly
gentrifying, they are being forced to move to locations where gangs,
crime and drugs are major concerns.  Clyde Murphy, spokesman for the
Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said that
relocation had led to the "wholesale re-segregation of the African-
American population in Chicago."


KOREA: Chamber of Commerce Head Opposes Introduction of Class Actions
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Korea Chamber of Commerce in Korea (KCCI) chairman Park Yong-sung said
that he was against the introduction of limited class action lawsuits
in securities, which President-elect Roh Moo-hyun pledged to launch
soon after taking office in February in order to reform family-run
conglomerates, or chaebol, the Korea Times reports.

At an annual seminar of the Korea Employers Federation, Mr. Park said,
"It has become impossible for chaebol family owners to dominate
management _ not because of regulatory controls by government agencies
or checks by civic groups, but the force of securities market."

He went on, "Even chaebol chairman could face being ousted at a
shareholders' meeting due to his mismanagement.  The best way to
improve the corporate governance of Korean companies is to develop
conditions enabling market mechanisms to function well, rather than to
adopt new institutions like the class action lawsuits."

A family owner himself, the Doosan Heavy Industries chairman, noted
that chaebol reform should be left to hands of companies themselves,
minimizing government intervention, the Korea Times states.  Regarding
labor market issues, he welcomed Mr. Roh's assurance that he would
expand labor flexibility.

This assurance indicated that Park would not change his hard-line
stance toward the two-year long labor conflict at Doosan Heavy
Industries, while Roh indirectly asked Doosan management to actively
engage in resolving the current labor dispute on Tuesday.  The labor
conflict at Doosan escalated after Bae Dal-ho, a boiler plant worker of
the company, self-immolated on January 9, discouraged by the company's
harsh measures for union workers, such as garnishing wages and seizing
property.  The umbrella labor union and civic groups has demanded
Park's apology for Bae's death and his resignation from the post of
KCCI chairman, the Korea Times states.

He also claimed the next government has to bring more flexibility into
the labor market to reduce the number of non-regular workers, saying
that companies would prefer temporary workers to permanent ones under
situation where it is almost impossible for companies to layoff
workers.


MEDICAL MALPRACTICE: Proposed Cap On Litigation Damages Sparks Debate
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Joined by doctors and business interests, Republican lawmakers pushed
Missouri's state legislature to cap damages in medical malpractice
cases and other lawsuits as well, The Kansas City Star reports, and in
the process provided a microcosmic view of the debate ready to heat up
in the United States Congress.

Citing steep increases in malpractice insurance premiums, and even
lawsuits over spilled coffee, the Republicans lined up behind tort
reform bills, one of which they called "The Job Creation and Healthcare
Protection Act."  Senator Delbert Scott, a Republican, is sponsoring a
Senate bill that would lower the current cap on non-economic damages in
a medical malpractice case from $547,000 to $250,000.  Senator Scott's
bill also would cap punitive damages in all lawsuits to no more than
three times compensatory damages.  The senator said high jury awards in
malpractice cases had made insurance rates for doctors go through the
roof.

Representative Richard Byrd, a Republican from St. Louis County and an
attorney, is the sponsor of a similar House bill that would place
limits on damages in malpractice suits as well as restrictions on class
action lawsuits.  Both bills also attempt to limit venue shopping, a
practice that has allowed trial attorneys to shift lawsuits to cities
where juries award more in damages, said Senator Scot and Rep. Byrd.

However, Senate Minority Leader Kenneth Jacob, a Democrat and an
attorney, said Republicans had misdiagnosed the problem.  The reason
malpractice insurance rates are going up is because insurance companies
have poorly invested large reserves in the bond market.  An October
2002 report from the Missouri Hospital Association said that one key
reason for the rise in premiums was "declining income from the bond
portfolio of insurers."

James Boggs, president of the trial lawyers association and an attorney
in Kansas City, agreed that reform of the insurance industry is what is
really needed to reduce malpractice rates.  He said tort reforms have
not made premiums come down in other states and they won't work in
Missouri either.  Instead, the state should pass legislation requiring
insurance companies to justify their rate increases.


MINNESOTA: Small Percentage Of Students in Test Mix-up Suit Make Claims
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
About one-tenth of the Minnesota students who were wrongly given
failing scores on a basic skills test have asked for a piece of the $7
million settlement with the company that was in charge of the testing
and the errors in the test scoring, the Associated Press Newswires
reports.

Nearly 8,000 students were told they had failed the year 2000
mathematics test because of the scoring error, which was caused by a
misaligned scoring key.   As a result, about 50 of the students were
not allowed to graduate.

Students still have three weeks to submit claims.  A final settlement
hearing was held recently in Hennepin County District Court, Minnesota
between the students' attorneys and the test company, NCS Pearson.  No
one objected to the settlement, which will provide $4.5 million in
attorneys' fees and up to $7 million for the students.

Judge Allen Oleisky said it appears the settlement and claims process
is going smoothly and that a bigger response is expected from the
involved students before the February 14 deadline.  The judge also
expects that more will file as more publicity gets out.

Award amounts vary from $362.50 for any student wrongly given a failing
score to $16,000 for seniors who were not allowed to participate in
their school's graduation ceremonies.  Most students are expected to
get tax-free payments of less than $1,000.


MISSOURI: Judge Delays Hearing in University of MO Tuition Fee Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
St. Louis County Circuit Judge Kenneth Romines delayed a hearing to
determine damages in the University of Missouri tuition lawsuit, the
Columbia Daily Tribune states.

An earlier Class Action Reporter story states that last month, Judge
Romines decided in favor of the suit's plaintiffs, who alleged that the
university's four campuses - Columbia, St. Louis, Kansas City and Rolla
- violated a statute by charging tuition to in-state undergraduate
students.  The suit is based on an obscure 1939 law that states
qualified youths living in Missouri who are over the age of 16 shall
not be charged tuition for undergraduate programs.

In 1986, the Board of Curators changed a flat-fee approach and began
charging students "an educational fee" for each credit hour they took.
Judge Romines ruled that the terms "educational fee" and "tuition" are
synonymous, despite arguments by former university President Manuel T.
Pacheco to the contrary, thus the university had been breaking the law
since 1986.  The ruling affects tuition only back to 1993 because of a
five-year statute of limitations.

The postponement allowed the university to appeal Judge Romines'
December 6 finding that the four-campus system illegally charged
tuition to Missouri residents from 1986 to 2001, the Daily Tribune
reports.  UM asked for the chance to immediately appeal in a motion
filed earlier this month with the court, arguing that reviewing its
records to determine how many students attended the four campuses, and
when and how much they paid, would be an arduous process that could be
moot if the December 6 decision is overturned on appeal.

Plaintiffs' attorney Robert Herman could not be reached for comment,
the Columbia Daily Tribune reports.


RENT-A-CENTER INC.: Judge Grants Certification To Overtime Wage Lawsuit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A judge has approved class action status for a lawsuit filed by former
Rent-A-Center employees who allege they were forced to work unpaid
overtime, the Associated Press Newswires reports.  The lawsuit claims
the company failed to pay them all the wages due them under state law,
to provide legally required lunch breaks and rest period and to pay
wages upon firing.

The lawsuit filed by three former Portland, Oregon-area employees
follows a nationwide trend of workers' wage claims filed against large
companies.  "People work through their breaks; they don't get paid for
all the time they work," said A.E. "Bud" Bailey, attorney for the
plaintiffs.

In granting class action status, Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge
Jan Wyers opened the lawsuit to all hourly employees who worked at
Rent-A-Center stores in Orgon, between August 1995 and August 2001.
The chain operates 19 stores in the state.  So far, workers from six
stores in Oregon have filed 96 affidavits alleging wage violations.
"It is pretty clear from the sheer number of affidavits that this is a
corporate-wide problem," said Mr. Bailey.

The stakes are high for the company.  Under Oregon law, it could be
liable for all unpaid wages, plus penalty wages.  According to Mr.
Bailey, Rent-A-Center, which promises same-day delivery of appliances
and furniture, required workers to spend their lunch and break periods
driving trucks, answering phones or waiting on customers.  Company
managers deducted hours from time slips and unduly pressured store
managers to avoid paying overtime, according to affidavits filed in the
case.  The Texas-based retailer only recently created its own personnel
department under pressure from federal regulators.


SANDPIPER COVE: Sued For Wrongfully Denying Homeless Woman Shelter
------------------------------------------------------------------
Sandpiper Cove apartments in Galveston, Texas faces a class action,
alleging that the complex wrongfully denied a person a place to live.
Lone Star Legal Aid filed the suit in County Court-at-Law No. 3, making
it the third suit filed against the federally subsidized apartment
complex in the last 60 days, the Galveston Daily News reports.

Earlier, Lone Star filed similar suits, alleging that Sandpiper
management denied shelter to a homeless woman and her three children
without providing an explanation or written denial as required by
federal law.

Hicks, manager of Sandpiper Cove, said she was not the manager of the
complex when the plaintiffs in the lawsuits were denied residency.
Today, Ms. Hicks told the Daily News, she strictly is following federal
guidelines.

However, plaintiffs' attorney Steve McIntyre said the owners and
operators of the complex could correct their prior actions against the
plaintiffs in all three lawsuits and they have not made any attempt to
do so.  "This is the third lawsuit filed in the last 60 days concerning
the illegal way poor applicants for shelter are being denied a home,"
Mr. McIntyre told the Daily News.  "If there are anymore illegal
denials someone may consider a class action lawsuit or complaint with
HUD."

Mr. McIntyre said it's his understanding that the unmarried woman in
the most recent case was denied residency because of questions about
the identity of her children's father.


TENET HEALTHCARE: Two Women File Suit Over Price Gouging, Overcharges
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Two women filed a class action against Tenet Healthcare Corporation,
alleging price-gouging and hidden costs, The San Luis Obispo Tribune
reports.  The Company owns Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San
Luis Obispo.

Susan Moran of Atascadero and Nancy Ferreira of Cambria, in their class
action, claim that the Company charged "grossly excessive prices" for
prescription drugs and services and charged as well for unnecessary and
unwarranted procedures.  They sued the nation's second largest hospital
chain in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.  The lawsuit seeks an
unspecified amount of punitive damages, restoration of amounts on bills
deemed excessive and an end to Tenet's current billing practices.

According to the lawsuit, among other things, Ms. Moran was checked
into Sierra Vista Hospital, part of Tenet's hospital chain for excision
of a benign breast mass.  Her bill included, among other things a
charge of $59 for a marker pen used to denote the area of excision.  In
a separate visit, Ms. Moran was charged $80,000, when her daughter gave
birth and spent four days in the hospital.

According to the lawsuit, among other things, Ms Ferreira went to
Sierra Vista for what was diagnosed as a migraine in March.  She claims
she was overcharged for morphine, a spinal tap, saline solution and an
IV tube.  Richard Akel, a San Francisco-based attorney representing the
plaintiffs, did not say how Tenet's prices compare to other hospitals',
but he did say that the matter had been researched.

Many more patients could benefit from the lawsuit if the Company is
found liable for damages.  The suit charges that the hospital chain
engaged in fraud, deceit and unfair competition.  The suit comes as
Tenet faces scrutiny from state lawmakers and the US Department of
Justice for its billing practices.  In the past, Tenet has acknowledged
aggressive pricing and announced in December that they have adopted a
more conservative approach to billing.  However, also in December, The
Tribune reported that Tenet's two local hospitals mark up prices for
drugs, treatment and other expenses more than almost every other
hospital in the state.


TIM HORTONS: Voluntarily Recalls 6,500 Travel Mugs For Burn Hazard
------------------------------------------------------------------
Tim Hortons is cooperating with the US Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC) by voluntarily recalling about 6,500 travel mugs
distributed in the United States.  The lids on some of the mugs can
detach allowing hot liquid to leak, posing a burn hazard to consumers.
The Company has received 14 reports of the lids detaching while mugs
were filled with hot liquid. One consumer reported hot liquid spilling
onto his hand and chest.

This recall involves 15-ounce stainless steel travel mugs with a black
handle and a black lid.  The words "Always Fresh Tim Hortons
Coffee" are printed on the mug.  The distributor's name, "Thermo-
Serv(r)," is stamped on the bottom.  The travel mugs were manufactured
in China.

Tim Hortons stores in New York, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia,
Kentucky, Maine and Canada sold the mugs from October 2002 through
January 2003 for about $15.

For more details, contact the Company by Phone: (888) 601-1616 between
8:30 am and 5 pm ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.timhortons.com


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Plaintiffs Present Argument in LA Smoker's Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The first week of a trial of a class action, held in Louisiana, wrapped
up with the plaintiffs trying to make their case for regular medical
monitoring of smokers at the expense of defendant cigarette makers,
Associated Press Newswires reports.

The state court lawsuit also seeks quit-smoking programs funded by the
tobacco companies.  If the industry is found liable for manufacturing a
dangerous product, up to 1.5 million Louisiana residents could be
covered.

Dr. David Burns, a smoking expert from the University of Southern
California at San Diego, ended the first week's testimony when he was
asked if the tobacco industry could have mitigated the danger of
smoking on the public.  "The most important thing they could have done
is tell the truth," Dr. Burns said Friday.

The plaintiffs contend that cigarette-makers hid the dangers of smoking
from the public, manipulated nicotine levels to keep smokers hooked and
targeted youths with advertising campaigns designed to cultivate new
generations of smokers.

The tobacco industry has long denied such allegations.  During opening
arguments to the jury last week, defense attorneys said the plaintiffs
would not be able to prove the tobacco industry was responsible for
smoking.  In addition, there is no need for additional quit-smoking
programs, and routine medical monitoring is of questionable value, if
not outright dangerous, to smokers and former smokers, the industry
argued.

The lawsuit seeks no individual payments for smokers.  There has been
no estimate of what a loss would cost the industry.  However, a smaller
class action in West Virginia that sought only medical monitoring
carried a potential price tag of hundreds of millions of dollars.  The
tobacco industry won that lawsuit.

The plaintiffs contend that medical monitoring will help doctors
diagnose such diseases as heart failure, lung cancer and emphysema
early enough to save lives.  The tobacco industry says such testing is
unreliable and would subject scores of people to unnecessary follow-up
biopsies, some of which could be life-threatening in themselves.

Dr. Burns said that medical monitoring was especially vital in early
detection of lung cancer.  Recovery rates can run as high as 85 percent
if the disease is detected in its early stages.  Detected later, he
said, "the prognosis is pretty grim."

Testimony will resume Tuesday.  The first phase of the trial is
expected to range from six months to a year.  If the industry is found
liable, other phases will be held to determine such issues as the
responsibility of individual smokers and to establish how much the
industry would have to pay to set up the programs.


UNITED KINGDOM: NHS Sued Over Taking of Children's Organs For Research
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United Kingdom's National Health Services (NHS) might face a class
action filed by more than 2,000 parents around the country, following
the systematic stripping of organs from their children for research
purposes, The Observer reports.


The NHS had offered families of dead children of stripped of their
organs by pathologists GBP1,000 in compensation - an offer received
with fury by the families.  The amount was five times less than the sum
offered to families involved in the similar Alder Hey organs scandal.
The parents' group had hoped to settle the case out of court, but this
failed when the families saw the total offer of 2 million and decided
this was an unreasonably small amount compared with the Liverpool
cases.

The parents involved in the Alder Hey scandal were offered a deal last
year which is likely to be accepted by the end of next week, giving
bereaved parents an average of 5,000 in damages, the Observer stated.
It follows the discovery in 1999 that Dutch pathologist Dick Van Velzen
took thousands of organs out of children without their parents'
knowledge, and stored them in his laboratory.

The National Committee Relating to Organ Retention (Nacor), which is
fighting the case for 2,065 other families whose children died at 27
hospitals, is dismayed at the cash offer.  National coordinator Ruth
Webster told the Observer, "It is not money we are after, but a
recognition of what we have been through."

She added the group had made many non-financial recommendations,
rejected by the NHS, such as producing a memorial rose bush that
parents could plant at the graves of their children.  "Now that we're
likely to be in the High Court this summer over this, it will end up
costing the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds more,' Ms. Webster told
the Observer.

A spokesman for the NHS Litigation Authority told the Observer, "We
would naturally have preferred to settle this through mediation rather
than in court . The nationwide group is different in several respects
to the Alder Hey group, although we applied identical principles to
both. We felt the nationwide group had a significant proportion of
claimants whose cases were not likely to succeed.  It is a difficult
and untested area of the law.  We offered to them what we felt was a
very reasonable figure in the circumstances, but they do not see it in
the same way."


UNITED STATES: Will Not Appeal Ruling Giving Farmer $6.6M in Bias Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said it will pay a
black farmer $6.6 million for discriminating against him in denying him
federal farm loans, the Associated Press News reports.  Although
plaintiff's case was brought by him as an individual - he opted out of
the earlier class action and sought a judgment - the judge's appraisal
of the USDA's way of doing business with the plaintiff, which he
described as thoroughly discriminatory, has had reverberations not only
through the department but also through the black farming community.

Department officials had been considering for a month whether to appeal
a judge's decision, which ordered the USDA to pay Will Sylvester
Warren, of Southampton County, Virginia, for 17 years of
discrimination.  Finally, Alisa Harrison, a department spokeswoman,
confirmed the department will not appeal and will pay Mr. Warren the
$6.6 million.

Black farmer groups say the USDA's decision to pay Mr. Warren without
battling the finding of discrimination, gives them hope that the
department, along with the judges, adjudicators and arbitrators who
hear their cases, will be more sympathetic.

Thousands of black farmers across the country alleged in a class action
that they routinely were denied loans because of their race.  As part
of the settlement of this class action, in 1997, the department agreed
to allow farmers to seek a $50,000 settlement in cases where the
government determined discrimination had happened.  So far, the USDA
has paid $634 million in 12,690 cases, and denied 8,540 cases.

"I think this (the Warren case) opens up the door to give all of those
people (in the class action) a fair trial," said John Boyd, head of the
National Black Farmers Association.  Most black farmers are upset with
the results of the 1997 settlement, arguing the department did not
discipline the loan agents blamed for discrimination but went on to
unfairly reject thousands of cases.

Thomas Burrell, president of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalist
Association, said he would like to see the 1997 settlement thrown out,
letting the farmers start anew.  Mr. Burrell cited the judgment in the
Warren case, and said the judgment in that case provides the basis for
someone to revisit the 1997 decision.


WEST VIRGINIA: Partial Settlement Proposed In Water Pollution Suit
------------------------------------------------------------------
A proposed settlement in a class action over exposure to an unregulated
chemical would drop all claims against the Lubeck Public Service
District (PSD) and give plaintiffs $160,000, the Associated Press
Newswires reports.

The lawsuit filed by the Washington/Lubeck area residents against
Washington Works DuPont and the PSD alleged the presence of the
unregulated chemical ammonium perfluorooctanoate, also called C8, in
area water supplies, a condition which damaged the residents' health.
According to terms of the settlement, the $160,000 would be used to pay
costs of the litigation, but not attorney fees.  Further, the LSD would
make witnesses and evidence available to plaintiffs as they pursue the
lawsuit against the company.

The proposed settlement also provides that the PSD preserves its claims
against co-defendant E.I. DuPont De Nemours & Co. (DuPont), which the
PSD may prosecute in a separate action or in connection a law suit
pending in US District Court.  The plaintiffs have asked Wood County
Circuit Court Judge George W. Hill to conduct a hearing on their motion
seeking approval of the proposed settlement.  No hearing date has been
set.

The plaintiffs' lawsuit claims C8 exposure has made them ill and
increased their risks of cancer and other diseases.  They are seeking
funds from DuPont Co. for medical testing and monitoring, as well as
monetary damage for injuries and property damage.  C8 is used by DuPont
to manufacture fluoropolymer resins in a plant located in Wood County.


*Securities Activism Spreads, D&O Liability Insurance Makes Way To Asia
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The recent accounting scandals in the United States have forced
insurance companies to pay out millions of dollars to cover the costs
of executives and directors defending themselves, largely from irate
shareholders, according to a report in the Far Eastern Economic Review.

In the largest settlement to date, New York-based travel and real
estate services company Cendant, paid $3.2 billion in 2000.  Much of
that money came from its directors' and officers' liability insurance,
or D&O coverage.  The settlement of Enron's many class actions is
expected to exceed the Cendant figure.  Amidst the wreckage, the
insurers are looking for new markets, and they appear to have found one
ready to sign on, in China.  Insurers like AIG and Chubb have begun to
offer D&O products there.

China has two stock markets with 1,200 listed companies, and an
investor community 66 million strong and growing.  Early this month,
the nation's highest court ruled that shareholders can file individual
or class actions against Chinese listed companies for making false
financial statements.  Around 900 shareholder lawsuits are currently
awaiting their day in court.

Last year, the leading D&O insurer in the US, Chubb Group, partnered
with Shenzhen-based Ping An Insurance to offer D&O products.  Together,
they conducted a city-to-city roadshow, from Shenzhen to Beijing,
educating company officers about D&O insurance that protects them
against personal-liability claims for negligence while doing their job.

However, the insurers are ever mindful of the enormous risks involved
in insuring directors whose accountability has been traditionally to
themselves and the government.  Therefore, the insurers are promoting
the cause of good corporate governance.

"At first, they (the directors and officers) think it is coverage for
all fines and penalties, but it is not," said Chin T. Feng, who is
regional manager of Chubb Insurance's executive and financial-risk
products.  So, Mr. Feng continues, "We explain it is for non-
intentional acts.  It is a learning process for them."

So far, Chubb has underwritten a modest eight D&O policies in China, to
companies ranging from marine operations and hotel management to
technology.

The impetus for D&O interest in Asia came in 1997, when, following the
Asian Crisis, directors across the region were sued by shareholders.
Directors at Samsung Electronics, for instance, were sued for $259
million in 1999.  D&O insurance got its start in the United States as
early as the 1940s.

Following the passage of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act
of 1995, which was expected to reduce the number of frivolous claims
against executives, insurers rushed into the D&O insurance market
offering competitively low premiums, broader coverage and extended
contracts.

Companies eagerly purchased the insurance, executives took for granted
that their personal liabilities were covered, and, in a bull market,
shareholders had little about which to complain.  However, in the
spring of 2000, the Internet bubble burst, stock markets plunged and
securities class action litigation increased dramatically.  In the next
year, accounting scandals at Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Tyco and
others opened the floodgates to yet more securities lawsuits.
September 11 also proved disastrous for the insurers.

This combination of events over the past three years has left corporate
executives seeking more comprehensive insurance coverage just when some
insurers are retreating from the D&O business and even attempting to
rescind outstanding policies, citing "material misrepresentation" by
those insured.  Some who remain in the field are restricting coverage
and significantly raising premiums.

The critical importance of a corporation being able to obtain adequate
D&O coverage has been expressed by Scott A. Ernst, a vice-president of
Bollinger Tech, a U.S.-based insurance brokerage.  "Especially for
companies looking to grow, to take the next big step, part of that is
its ability to attract directors to the board who can help get the
company on a successful track.  People of that stature will not put
their personal assets at risk to serve on a board," Mr. Ernst said.  At
this time, at least, corporations that aspire will have to set aside
large sums of money to finance the kind of D&O coverage that will
enable them to recruit high quality, independent directors to serve on
their corporate boards.


*Drug Firms Fight Discount Initiatives For Low, Modest Income Consumers
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Faced with soaring drug expenses and no federal action to halt the
escalation, consumers and states - led by the New Englanders - are
mounting a revolt, which might more accurately be called enacting
initiatives in the public interest, The Boston Globe reports.  So far,
the drug industry has countered the moves step by step.

For example, the state of Maine thought it had found ways to get
affordable drugs to hundreds of thousands of citizens without drug
coverage, but the pharmaceutical industry has blocked the two
initiatives in court.  Maine has taken its battle to the US Supreme
Court where the drug makers mounted a pivotal challenge to the most
expansive drug-price control program in the country.  Maine RX would
use the state's Medicaid buying power to force drug-makers to give deep
discounts to about 325,000 residents without drug coverage.

However, industry lawyers got a court order blocking the Maine program
shortly after lawmakers approved it in spring 2000, saying it would
violate laws governing Medicaid and interstate commerce.  So, the legal
battle continues.  Nonetheless, Hawaii has just approved a similar
program, and Massachusetts and 27 other states have filed legal
arguments in support of Maine.

"States have stepped into the vacuum," said Cheryl Rivers, executive
director of the National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug
Prices.  "It is like a tidal wave wearing down a retaining wall.  The
dam is broken if Maine RX is upheld."

National spending on prescription drugs topped $140 billion in 2001,
growing at twice the rate of other health costs, according to the
federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  Greater use of
drugs, price increases and a shift to newer more expensive medications
all contributed to the rise.  For the consumer, the average price of a
prescription drug rose 10 percent in 2001, putting the medicines out of
reach for some older people and many others without drug coverage.

However, Congress has deferred action on adding a drug benefit to
Medicare and has shown no interest in price controls.  The new Senate
majority leader William Frist of Tennessee, says prescription drug
legislation is not his top priority.

Drugmakers argue that the costs are driven by the expense of developing
Drugs, any price controls would shut down the pipeline.  While the
companies support a Medicare drug benefit, they seniors already can get
help through discount programs in 27 states, new discount cards issued
by the drug manufacturers and charity programs.

For many consumers, those programs do not go far enough.  An increasing
number of consumers, therefore, are turning to Canada, where government
controls keep prices much lower, so that drugs made in the United
States and shipped to Canada cost Americans less than the same items
purchased at the corner drug store.  Canadian pharmacies estimate that
Americans spent about $1 billion on prescriptions in Canada last year,
in person or via the Internet or mail.

Some drug companies are trying to cut off that outlet.  Merck, Wyeth
and Lilly all recently warned Canadian wholesalers that sales to
Americans violated their contracts.  Glaxo Smith Kline told pharmacists
and wholesalers in Canada last week that anyone caught selling Glaxo
products to Americans would be cut off from future supplies.

State legislatures have become another front battling for the consumer.
So far, Maine has attempted to go the furthest.  Under Maine RX, the
state sought to force drug companies to lower their prices for the
uninsured, threatening to restrict Medicaid patient's access to the
pharmaceutical companies' drugs, or have state officials set the
prices.  A federal court upheld the RX program.  The Pharmaceutical
Research and Manufacturers of America took Maine and its program to the
Supreme Court, and is awaiting a ruling.

The industry is also fighting programs in Michigan and Florida,
although it has lost in the early rounds.  It truly is a revolt against
an industry that does not see the social link between its product and
those who must use that product.


                     New Securities Fraud Cases


CLEARONE COMMUNICATIONS: Cauley Geller Commences Securities Suit in UT
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP initiated a securities class action
in the United States District Court for the District of Utah, Central
Division, on behalf of purchasers of ClearOne Communications, Inc.
(Nasdaq: CLRO) publicly traded securities during the period between
April 17, 2001 and January 15, 2003, inclusive.

The complaint charges the Company 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
ClearOne's shares to trade at artificially inflated levels through the
issuance of false and misleading financial statements.  As a result of
this inflation, ClearOne was able to complete a private offering of 1.2
million shares, raising proceeds of $25.5 million on December 11, 2001.

On January 15, 2003, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a
complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Utah
seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent
injunctions against ClearOne, Frances M. Flood, the Company's Chairman,
CEO and President, and Susie S. Strohm, the Company's CFO and Vice
President of Finance.

The stock dropped below $1.50 per share on this news, more than 90%
lower than its class period high.

For more details, contact Jackie Addison, Heather Gann or Sue Null by
Mail: P.O. Box 25438, Little Rock, AR 72221-5438 by Phone:
1-888-551-9944 by E-mail: info@cauleygeller.com or visit the firm's
Website: http://www.cauleygeller.com/library/user--images/clearone.pdf


MOTOROLA INC.: Wolf Popper Commences Securities Fraud Suit in N.D. IL
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Popper LLP initiated a securities class action against Motorola,
Inc. (NYSE:MOT), Christopher B. Galvin and Karl F. Koenemann, on behalf
of persons who purchased the Company's common stock on the open market
from February 3, 2000 through May 14, 2001.  The action was filed in
the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The complaint alleges that during the class period, defendants made
numerous false statements about transactions between Motorola and
Telsim Mobil Telekomunikasyon Hizmetleri A.S., a wireless
telecommunications carrier with operations in Turkey.  On February 3,
2000, Motorola announced that it had entered into a three-year
agreement to provide products and services to Telsim, and further
stated "that revenue from this supplier agreement could be at least
$1.5 billion."

Motorola failed to disclose that the sales to Telsim was predicated
upon Motorola providing Telsim with $1.7 billion in vendor financing,
in effect, loaning Telsim the money used to purchase Motorola products
and services - and forcing Motorola to bear the enormous risk of
default.  Defendants further failed to disclose the deterioration of
the relationship between Motorola and Telsim (placing the likelihood of
payment in greater jeopardy); and also failed to disclose that the
Company had, through similar vendor financing arrangements, provided
its customers with an aggregate of $2.9 billion in vendor financing for
purchases of Motorola products.

On March 29, 2001, Motorola disclosed in a Proxy Statement filed with
the SEC that its vendor-financing commitments totaled $2.6 billion, of
which $1.7 billion related to "a single customer in Turkey" (Telsim).
On April 6, 2001, reports detailing Motorola's credit problems caused
shares of Motorola stock to decline by twenty three percent (23%).  In
mid-May 2001, Motorola's quarterly SEC filing disclosed that Motorola
had loaned Telsim $2 billion in vendor financing.  Motorola also
disclosed that Telsim had failed to make a scheduled payment of $728
million. Telsim eventually defaulted on its obligations to Motorola.

For more details, contact James A. Harrod by Mail: 845 Third Avenue,
New York, NY 10022 by Phone: 212-451-9642 or 877-370-7703 by Fax:
212-486-2093 by Fax: 877-370-7704 by E-mail: irrep@wolfpopper.com or
visit the firm's Website: http://www.wolfpopper.com


MOTOROLA INC.: Wechsler Harwood Commences Securities Lawsuit in S.D. NY
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Wechsler Harwood LLP initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf
of all persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired
Motorola, Inc. securities (NYSE:MOT) between February 3, 2000 and May
14, 2001, both dates inclusive.  Carl F. Koenemann, the Company's CFO
during the class period, is the named 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.  In particular, it is alleged
that Motorola's vendor financing commitments were never properly
disclosed, including over $1.7 billion in vendor financing to a single
customer in Turkey.  The suit 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 plaintiff and
the other members of the class to suffer damages.

Specifically, as alleged in the complaint, defendants issued a press
release on February 3, 2000, stating that Motorola and Telsim signed a
$1.5 Billion GSM deal.  This press release was false and misleading
because it failed to disclose that as part of the Telsim deal, Motorola
had agreed to provide at least $1.5 billion in vendor financing.  While
vendor financing was a recognized practice in the industry and Motorola
had previously disclosed that it often agreed to provide vendor
financing, the February 3 press release did not disclose and defendants
concealed for several months: the extent to which the Telsim
transaction was being supported by vendor financing, the level of risk
which Motorola was facing by providing such vendor financing; or that
the vendor financing was secured primarily by a pledge of the stock of
Telsim.  This information was material to an investor in assessing the
potential value of the Telsim deal to Motorola and to the level of risk
being incurred by Motorola.

On March 30, 2001, Motorola filed its Proxy Statement on SEC Schedule
14A. The 2001 Proxy Statement stated for the first time that Motorola
had provided over $1.5 billion of vendor financing in connection with
the Telsim deal.  Because the foregoing information regarding Telsim
was buried deep within the 2001 Proxy Statement it took analysts some
time to process the information.  Disclosure of Motorola's material
financing commitment to Telsim in light of shifting capital markets
drove the market price of Motorola's common stock down sharply.
Motorola's common stock fell from a closing price of $14.95 per share
on April 5, 2001 to close at $11.50 per share on April 6 - a 23% drop
in one day.  Trading volume was extremely heavy at 64 million shares
traded.  By July 2001, Telsim eventually did default on the $2 billion
loan from Motorola.  The Company subsequently filed a lawsuit in the
Southern District of New York against Telsim in January 2002.

For more details, contact Craig Lowther by Mail: 488 Madison Avenue,
8th Floor, New York, New York 10022 by Phone: (877) 935-7400 by E-mail:
clowther@whesq.com or visit the firm's Website: http://www.whesq.com


MOTOROLA INC.: Wolf Haldenstein Commences Securities Lawsuit in N.D. IL
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois, on behalf of all persons who purchased the securities of
Motorola, Inc. [NYSE: MOT] between February 3, 2000 and May 14, 2001,
inclusive against the Company and certain of its officers and
directors.

On February 3, 2000, Motorola issued a press release in which it
announced that Motorola would provide products and services to Telsim
Mobil Telekomunikasyon Hizmetleri A.S. (Telsim), a Turkish cellular
phone system operator controlled by Turkish citizen Kemal Uzan, his
sons Hakan and Cem, and various members of his immediate family.  The
press release, however, failed to disclose that Motorola's deal with
Telsim required Motorola to provide the Turkish company with $1.7
billion in vendor financing.

On March 29, 2001, Motorola filed its Form Def 14A Proxy Statement with
the SEC in which the Company partially disclosed the magnitude of its
vendor financing commitments.  On April 6, 2001, shares of Motorola
stock dropped twenty three percent.  Six weeks later, Motorola revealed
that $728 million of the Telsim loan was past due and that Motorola
actually had loaned Telsim $2 billion in vendor financing - $300
million more than had been disclosed.

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


TELLIUM INC.: Bull & Lifshitz Commences Securities Fraud Lawsuit in NJ
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Bull & Lifshitz LLP initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the District of New Jersey against Tellium,
Inc. (Nasdaq:TELM) common stock between May 17, 2001 and February 1,
2002, inclusive.

The complaint charges Tellium and certain officers with issuing false
and misleading statements in connection with its initial public
offering (IPO).  Tellium's press releases and SEC filings were also
false and misleading.

For more details, contact Peter D. Bull or Joshua M. Lifshitz by Mail:
18 East 41st Street, New York, NY 10017 or by Phone: (212) 213-6222


TRANSKARYOTIC THERAPIES: Chitwood & Harley Lodges Securities Suit in MA
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Chitwood & Harley LLP initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the District of Massachusetts on behalf of
persons who purchased Transkaryotic Therapies, Inc. (Nasdaq:TKTX)
securities, or who sold put options, on the open market from January 4,
2001 through January 14, 2003.

The complaint alleges that during the class period, defendants made
misrepresentations and nondisclosures of material fact to the investing
public concerning TKTX's prospects for FDA approval for the marketing
of TKTX's Replagal enzyme therapy for the treatment of Fabry disease.
In fact, the suit alleges, defendants knew by virtue of their ongoing
communications with the FDA that the FDA considered TKTX's data on the
primary pain reduction endpoint of TKTX's Phase II study to be
uninterpretable, and further that the FDA considered that TKTX's
cardiac and renal data did not support approval.

More specifically, according to testimony at the January 14, 2003
Advisory Committee hearing, in a letter dated December 22, 2000, the
FDA had advised TKTX that ``the clinical study data (from the Phase II
studies) had not provided substantial evidence of efficiency and fully
detailed the facts leading to that conclusion.  (The FDA's Center for
Biologics Evaluation and Research) recommended that additional clinical
studies be conducted.''

The true facts began to emerge, the suit alleges, after the close of
the securities markets on October 2, 2002, when TKTX admitted that the
FDA had determined that TKTX's data on pain reduction was
"uninterpretable," and that TKTX had determined not to rely on that
data to seek FDA approval for marketing of Replagal.  Rather,
defendants stated that TKTX would rely primarily on its data for
cardiac and renal improvement in Phase II tests for patients receiving
Replagal.

However, at the January 14, 2003 Advisory Committee meeting, the FDA
further confirmed that it had informed TKTX that the renal and liver
data did not support approval as early as December 2000.  On January
15, 2003, TKTX closed at $6.49, more than 85% below its class period
high.

Motivation for TKTX to make the materially false and misleading
statements during the class period is supported by the need to sale
$267 million in common stock in secondary public offerings during the
Class Period and by substantial insider trading.  Defendant Richard F.
Selden, for example, was motivated to sell 90,000 shares of his
personal holdings of TKTX common stock during the class period for
total consideration of $2,800,000.

For more details, contact Jennifer Morris or Lauren S. Antonino by
Mail: 1230 Peachtree Street, Suite 2300, Atlanta Georgia by Phone:
888-873-3999 or 404-873-3900 by E-mail: jlm@classlaw.com or visit the
firm's Website: http://www.classlaw.com


TRANSKARYOTIC THERAPIES: Wolf Popper Commences Securities Lawsuit in MA
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Popper LLP initiated a securities class action against
Transkaryotic Therapies, Inc. (Nasdaq:TKTX), in the United States
District Court for the District of Massachusetts, on behalf of persons
who purchased TKT securities, or who sold put options, on the open
market from January 4, 2001 through January 14, 2003.

The complaint alleges that during the class period, defendants made
misrepresentations and nondisclosures of material fact to the investing
public concerning TKT's prospects for FDA approval for the marketing of
TKT's Replagal enzyme therapy for the treatment of Fabry disease.

In fact, the suit alleges, defendants knew by virtue of their ongoing
communications with the FDA that the FDA considered TKT's data on the
primary pain reduction endpoint of TKT's Phase II study to be
uninterpretable, and further that the FDA considered that TKT's cardiac
and renal data did not support approval.

More specifically, according to testimony at the January 14, 2003
Advisory Committee hearing, in a letter dated December 22, 2000, the
FDA had advised TKT that "the clinical study data (from the Phase II
studies) had not provided substantial evidence of efficiency and fully
detailed the facts leading to that conclusion.  (The FDA's Center for
Biologics Evaluation and Research) recommended that additional clinical
studies be conducted."

The true facts were first revealed after the close of the securities
markets on October 2, 2002, when TKT admitted that the FDA had
determined that TKT's data on pain reduction was "uninterpretable," and
that TKT had determined not to rely on that data to seek FDA approval
for marketing of Replagal.  Rather, defendants stated that TKT would
rely primarily on its data for cardiac and renal improvement in Phase
II tests for patients receiving Replagal.

At the January 14, 2003 Advisory Committee meeting, the FDA further
confirmed that it had informed TKT that the renal and liver data did
not support approval as early as December 2000.  On January 15, 2003,
TKT closed at $6.49, more than 85% below its class period high.

TKT was motivated to make the materially false and misleading
statements during the class period, among other things, to sell $267
million in common stock in secondary public offerings.  Defendant
Richard F. Selden was similarly motivated to sell 90,000 shares of his
personal holdings of TKT common stock during the class period for total
consideration of $2,800,000.

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


WESTAR ENERGY: Milberg Weiss Launches Securities Fraud Suit in KS Court
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP initiated a securities class
action on behalf of purchasers of the securities of Westar Energy Inc.
(NYSE: WR) between May 15, 2001 to December 26, 2002, inclusive, in the
United States District Court for the District of Kansas, against the
Company and:

     (1) David C. Wittig (CEO, President and Chairman until November
         2002),

     (2) Paul R. Geist (CFO until January 2003) and

     (3) James A. Martin (Treasurer)

The complaint charges that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder, by issuing a series of materially false and misleading
statements to the market between May 15, 2001 to December 26, 2002.
According to the complaint, throughout the class period, Westar issued
quarterly press releases, and filed financial reports with the SEC,
which reported its financial results for the respective quarter.  The
reports represented that the financial information contained therein
were presented in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting
Principles and that the reported financials fairly presented the
Company's financial condition.

These statements were materially false and misleading, according to the
complaint, because they failed to disclose that the Company was
engaging in bogus, round trip energy transactions, whereby the Company
sold energy and simultaneously bought it back for the same
consideration, recognizing the trades as revenue.  The Company's
reported financial results for the first and second quarters of 2002
were further materially false and misleading, the complaint alleges,
because the Company failed to disclose that it had under-reported by
tens of millions of dollars, a goodwill impairment charge relating to
Westar's acquisition of Protection One, which artificially inflated the
Company's reported financial results.

On December 26, 2002, the Company announced that the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission issued a subpoena relating to round trip trades
between Westar and one of its trading partners.  In reaction to this
announcement, the price of Westar common stock dropped as the markets
digested this disclosure, falling from a December 25, 2002 close of
$11.20 per share, to close at $9.98 per share on December 30, 2002, a
decline of 10.8% over three trading days on unusually heavy trading
volume.

For more details, contact Steven G. Schulman or U. Seth Ottensoser by
Mail: One Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th fl., New York, NY, 10119-0165 by
Phone: (800) 320-5081 by E-mail: westar@milbergNY.com or visit the
firm's Website: http://www.milberg.com


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

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

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

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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