CAR_Public/030217.mbx                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
                Monday, February 17, 2003, Vol. 5, No. 33

                            Headlines                            

AT&T CORPORATION: Appeals Court Allows Suit Filing To Settle Disputes
CARDIZEM CD: Andrx, Aventis To Settle Antitrust Suit For $80 Million
CREDIT SUISSE: Deems Its Erasure of E-Files Will Not Affect Discovery  
FORD MOTOR: LA Officer Files Suit Over Shields For Crown Victoria Cars
LANTRONIX INC.: Plaintiffs File Amended Securities Lawsuit in C.D. CA

LANTRONIX INC.: Asks CA Court To Dismiss Shareholder Derivative Lawsuit
MEASUREMENT SPECIALTIES: Plaintiffs Brief Motions To Dismiss Fraud Suit
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Religious Order, Private School Faces Sexual Abuse Suit
OPLINK COMMUNICATIONS: NY Court Dismisses Officer, Directors From Suit
RAYOVAC CORPORATION: To Ask WI Court To Dismiss Securities Fraud Suit

READ-RITE CORPORATION: Plaintiffs Appeal Dismissal of Securities Suit
READ-RITE CORPORATION: Plaintiffs Appeal Defendant's Dismissal in Suit
TOBACCO LITIGATION: WA Court Refuses To Certify Underage Smoking Suit
UNUM PROVIDENT: Shareholders File Suit Over False Financial Statements
WORLDCOM INC.: UofC Regents Commence New Securities Fraud Lawsuit in CA

YOUNG'S JK: Voluntarily Recalls 500 Cigarette Lighters For Fire Hazard

                     New Securities Fraud Cases

ATMEL CORPORATION: Stull Stull Commences Securities Lawsuit in N.D. CA
BLOCKBUSTER INC.: Charles Piven Commences Securities Lawsuit in N.D. TX
BLOCKBUSTER INC.: Brodsky & Smith Lodges Securities Lawsuit in N.D. TX
BLOCKBUSTER INC.: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Suit in N.D. TX
BIO-TECHNOLOGY GENERAL: Cauley Geller Commences Securities Suit in NJ

MICHAELS STORES: Reinhardt & Anderson Lodges Securities Suit in N.D. TX
MOTOROLA INC.: Bull & Lifshitz Commences Securities Lawsuit in S.D. NY
ROBERTSON STEPHENS: Weiss & Yourman Launches Securities Suit in N.D. CA
SAWTEK INC.: Chitwood & Harley Commences Securities Lawsuit in M.D. FL
SAWTEK INC.: Brodsky & Smith Commences Securities Fraud Suit in M.D. FL

SAWTEK INC.: Cauley Geller Commences Securities Fraud Suit in M.D. FL
SAWTEK INC.: Charles Piven Commences Securities Fraud Suit in M.D. FL
UNUM PROVIDENT: Charles Piven Launches Securities Fraud Suit in E.D. TN
WESTAR ENERGY: Bernstein Liebhard Commences Securities Suit in KS Court

                            *********

AT&T CORPORATION: Appeals Court Allows Suit Filing To Settle Disputes
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco agrees with
plaintiff Consumer Action, a consumer advocacy group that brought the
class action against AT&T Corporation, that the Company cannot force
its California customers to settle billing disputes through binding
arbitration, or prevent them from filing class actions, according to a
report by Reuters English News Service.

The Ninth Circuit's decision upheld a ruling by the US District Court
for the Northern District of California.  Both courts agreed that
although federal laws cover the rates, terms and conditions of long-
distance service, state law governs issues of "contract formation and
breach."  For this reason, said the appeals court, California consumer
protection laws would cover AT&T customers in that state.  The Ninth
Circuit disagree with the district court on the issue of time
restrictions:  The appeals court said customers must file their claims
within two years from the time the dispute arises.

Darcy Ting, a California resident, and the advocacy group Consumer
Action had filed a class action in state court on behalf of California
consumers, claiming that the legal remedies set forth in the customer
service agreements violated California's consumer protection laws.  The
customer service agreements included such provisions as a binding
arbitration requirement, a limitation on the kinds of damages available
in California courts and a confidentiality rule preventing customers
from publicly discussing current or completed arbitration cases.

Consumer Action contended in its lawsuit that AT&T's customer service
agreements violated California consumer laws by mandating that
customers decide their billing or contract disputes through arbitration
rather than in the courtroom.

The issues between the two parties, Consumer Action and AT&T, could be
resolved into a single question - are AT&T's customer service
agreements covered under federal law or California consumer protection
laws?  AT&T said its consumer contracts are grounded in federal law.  

The Company further asserted that California's consumer protection
laws, being state laws, are not applicable to the services AT&T
provides, which are essentially interstate services.  "You can't run an
interstate business if each of the different states can impose
potentially radically different requirements on how you do business."

AT&T's customer service contracts have their origin in an action taken
by the Federal Communications Commission on July 31, 2001.  At that
time the Commission ended a requirement that long-distance rates and
terms of service be set according to certain tariffs that had been
federally imposed.  The Commission, therefore, required companies to
make contracts with their customers.  AT&T thereupon included the
customer service agreements, briefly described above, in its bills and
other mailings to customers.  AT&T said it would consider its options;
one of them being that it could appeal to the Supreme Court.


CARDIZEM CD: Andrx, Aventis To Settle Antitrust Suit For $80 Million
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Two drug companies have agreed to pay $80 million to settle claims of
conspiring to prevent a generic version of a popular blood pressure
medication from reaching the market, the law firm of Berman DeValerio
Pease Tabacco Burt & Pucillo announced today.

The agreement settles claims brought on behalf of consumers and most
indirect purchasers, including health insurers, who allegedly were
forced to pay artificially high prices for the drug Cardizem CD.

Berman DeValerio, co-lead counsel for plaintiffs, filed the case in
1998 on behalf of Aetna US Healthcare and others who were injured by
the conduct.  State attorneys general, who in 2000 brought a companion
case on behalf of consumers in their states, also negotiated the
settlement.

Drug manufacturers Aventis Pharmaceuticals and the Andrx Corporation
have agreed to pay $80 million in a groundbreaking settlement that, for
the first time, will give consumers direct compensation in a generic
drug case.  The average consumer will be able to recover 20% of the
money spent on the drug during a 14-month period in 1998 and 1999 -
several hundred dollars for some individuals.

"This was a classic example of a powerful drug company using money and
muscle to keep profits high at the expense of consumers, who were
forced to pay inflated prices for a drug they needed," said Joseph J.
Tabacco, Jr., a partner at Berman DeValerio.  "When pharmaceutical
companies violate antitrust laws, everyone pays -- from individuals to
governments to health insurance companies."

According to the complaint, Hoechst, a drug company acquired by Aventis
in 2000, paid Andrx $100 million beginning in 1998 not to market a
generic version of Cardizem CD.  That meant consumers had to buy the
more expensive brand-name drug for at least an extra year.  The two
drug companies did not admit guilt and denied any wrongdoing.

For more details, contact Richard Lorant by Phone: (617) 542-8300 or
(617) 230-0903


CREDIT SUISSE: Deems Its Erasure of E-Files Will Not Affect Discovery  
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Investors have brought a massive class action against some 55
securities firms and more than 300 companies that issued shares in IPOs
during the stock-market bubble, alleging they, the investors, overpaid
for shares because the firms manipulated the companies' stock prices by
requiring recipients of IPO shares to buy additional stock at higher
prices once trading began, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In a letter to Judge Shira Scheindlin of the US District Court for the
Southern District of New York, banking firm Credit Suisse disclosed to
Judge Scheindlin that the firm mistakenly and inadvertently taped over
75 electronic files that could be relevant to the civil class action.  
The taping over, or erasure, was reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The letter to Judge Scheindlin said the 75 e-files, which contained
certain "documents, presentations (and) spreadsheets" were erased in a
mix-up by information-technology employees.  They were created, said
the letter, between 1998 and 2000, within the firm's investment-banking
division in New York, and not printed and saved elsewhere.  The letter
was written by Robert McCaw, a member of the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler
& Pickering, engaged by Credit Suisse as its outside law firm.

In a statement, Credit Suisse said, "Given the multiple sources of
relevant material and the very limited amount of data inadvertently
lost, we do not believe this incident will affect the quality of
information available for discovery in this civil litigation.  Credit
Suisse said it still has all the material it produced for a regulatory
probe, which the firm settled  in January 2002, without admitting or
denying wrongdoing, that dealt with the issue of whether it improperly
had shared profits with customers who got hot IPOs."

The erasure, or taping over, of the 75 electronic files that could be
relevant to the investors' civil class action before Judge Scheindlin,
is not the first "snafu" related to document retention involving Credit
Suisse.  The investment bank's technology banker Frank Quattrone faces
a federal obstruction-of-justice probe for urging members of his group
in the firm's Palo Alto, California, office, to "catch up on file
cleanup" shortly after being reminded of pending regulatory probes of
the firm's IPO allocations.  Although Credit Suisse rescinded that
e-mail instruction from Mr. Quattrone, the US attorney's office in
Manhattan, is probing whether the e-mail(s) containing such instruction
amounted to an attempt to obstruct the probes.


FORD MOTOR: LA Officer Files Suit Over Shields For Crown Victoria Cars
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Ford Motor Company faces a class action filed by a New Orleans,
Louisiana police officer in state district court, alleging that the
Ford Crown Victoria's police car's shields designed to protect the fuel
tanks are inadequate, the Associated Press reports.

At least a dozen officers nationwide have been killed in crashes
involving the Crown Victoria since 1983.  In September, the Company
agreed to pay for shields in 350,000 patrol cars after agencies
complained the cars are prone to burst into flames in high-speed, rear-
end collisions.  Lawsuits have also been filed against the Company in
several states.  

Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputy Joseph Ragas filed the suit, alleging
the upgrade to the fuel tank is "insufficient, inadequate and may
increase the risk" of injury or death.  If certified as class action,
other law officers could join the suit as plaintiffs.

A similar suit was filed January 30 in New York City federal court by
the National Police Association, which also claimed that the Company
failed to fix the defect, Reuters reports.  The Company has denied the
charges.


LANTRONIX INC.: Plaintiffs File Amended Securities Lawsuit in C.D. CA
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in the securities class actions filed against Lantronix,
Inc. filed an amended lawsuit in the United States District Court for
the Central District of California.  The suit also names as defendants
certain of the Company's current and former officers and directors.

The suit alleges violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and
was filed on behalf of persons who purchased or otherwise acquired the
Company's common stock during the period of April 25, 2001 through May
30, 2002, inclusive.

The complaints allege that the defendants caused the Company to
improperly recognize revenue and make false and misleading statements
about the Company's business.  Plaintiffs further allege that the
Company materially overstated its reported financial results, thereby
inflating the Company's stock price during its securities offering in
July 2001, as well as facilitating the use of the Company's stock as
consideration in acquisitions.

The amended complaint continues to assert that the Company and the
individual officer and director defendants violated the 1934 Act, and
also includes alleged claims that the Company and these officers and
directors violated the Securities Act of 1933 arising out of the
Company's Initial Public Offering in August 2000.  The Company has not
yet answered, discovery has not commenced, and no trial date has been
established.


LANTRONIX INC.: Asks CA Court To Dismiss Shareholder Derivative Lawsuit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Lantronix, Inc. asked the Superior Court of the State of California,
County of Orange to dismiss the shareholder derivative complaint filed
against it (as a nominal defendant) and certain of the Company's
current and former officers and directors.  The complaint alleges
causes of action for:

     (1) breach of fiduciary duty,

     (2) abuse of control,

     (3) gross mismanagement,

     (4) unjust enrichment, and  

     (5) improper insider stock sales

Discovery has not commenced and no trial date has been established.  
The Company filed a demurrer/motion to dismiss on October 26, 2002.  
The basis of the demurrer is that the plaintiff does not have standing
to bring this lawsuit since plaintiff has never served a demand on the
Company's Board that the board take certain actions on behalf of the
corporation.  Prior to the hearing on the demurrer, derivative
plaintiff filed an amended complaint.  The Company has not yet
responded to the amended complaint.  Discovery has not yet commenced
and no trial date has been established.


MEASUREMENT SPECIALTIES: Plaintiffs Brief Motions To Dismiss Fraud Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Parties in the consolidated securities class action filed against
Measurement Specialties, Inc. are currently briefing motions to dismiss
the suit in the United States District Court for the District of New
Jersey.  The suit names as defendants the Company, certain of its
present and former officers and directors, and the underwriters in the
Company's August 2001 public offering and former auditors.

The lawsuit alleges violations of the federal securities laws
including, among other things, that the registration statement related
to the Company's August 2001 public offering and the Company's periodic
SEC filings misrepresented or omitted material facts and that certain
of the Company's officers made false or misleading statements of
material fact.

The underwriters have made a claim for indemnification under the
underwriting agreement.  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.  However, if the Company were to lose this
lawsuit, judgment would likely have a material adverse effect on its
consolidated financial position, results of operations and cash flows.


NEW HAMPSHIRE: Religious Order, Private School Faces Sexual Abuse Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Bishop Guertin High School and The Order of the Brothers of the
Sacred Heart, which runs the New Hampshire school, faces a class action
filed by two local men in Hillsborough County Superior Court in
Manchester, alleging a member of the order sexually abused them while
attending the school in the 1970s, the Telegraph reports.  The suit
names as defendants the School and:

     (1) The Order of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart,

     (2) Bro. Guy Beaulieu,

     (3) Bro. Leo Labbe,

     (4) Bro. Roland Dupuis and

     (5) Bro. Roger Argencourt

Lead plaintiff John Hamilton, 43, claimed Bro. Beaulieu abused him
while he was a freshman in 1973.  Co-lead plaintiff Mark Sullivan, 40,
claims he was sexually abused by Bro. Beaulieu in the arts-and-crafts
room in 1977.  The third plaintiff, Michael O'Rourke, 39, of Wolfeboro,
claims he was sexually abused in the senior lounge while enrolled as a
freshman in 1977-78.
  
According to the suit, Bro. Beaulieu admitted to having sexual contact
with 17 or 18 Bishop Guertin students as well as four or five other
minors who were not students.  He also testified that he tried to
seduce another 50 to 75 students but was unsuccessful, the Telegraph
states.

Dozens of people with similar complaints could join the suit, according
to Manchester attorney Peter Hutchins, who filed the claim.  Anyone who
was abused as a minor in New Hampshire by an employee of Bishop Guertin
or the order could potentially become a plaintiff, Mr. Hutchins said.  
"Because of the lax nature and tolerant attitude of the order, school
and (other) defendants toward sexual abuse, and because of the tendency
of sexual abusers to have multiple victims over time, there is no
reason to believe that the total number of class members will far
exceed the individual victims of this sexual abuse that have been
identified to date," the suit states, the Telegraph reports.

David Pinsonneault, who represents the school and the order, told the
Telegraph he hadn't received a copy of the suit.  "The order and the
school have always striven to do the right thing in all of these
cases," Mr. Pinsonneault said.  "We will deal with these cases fairly
and that's all I can say."


OPLINK COMMUNICATIONS: NY Court Dismisses Officer, Directors From Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
dismissed Oplink Communications, Inc.'s officers and directors as
defendants in the consolidated securities class action pending against
them, the Company and the underwriters of the Company's initial public
offering (IPO).

The suit alleges the defendants violated the federal securities laws
because the Company's IPO registration statement and prospectus
contained untrue statements of material fact or omitted material facts
regarding the compensation to be received by, and the stock allocation
practices of, the IPO underwriters.  The plaintiffs seek unspecified
monetary damages and other relief.

Similar complaints were filed in the same court against numerous public
companies that conducted IPOs of their common stock in the late 1990s.  
In August 2001, the suits were consolidated for pretrial purposes
before United States Judge Shira Scheindlin of the Southern District of
New York.  Judge Scheindlin held an initial case management conference
on September 7, 2001, at which time she ordered, among other things,
that the time for all defendants to respond to any complaint be
postponed until further order of the court.  Thus, neither the Company
nor any of its officers or directors have been required to answer the
complaint, and no discovery has been served on the Company.

In accordance with Judge Scheindlin's orders at further status
conferences in March and April 2002, the appointed lead plaintiff's
counsel filed amended, consolidated complaints in the IPO Cases on
April 19, 2002.  Defendants then filed a global motion to dismiss the
IPO Cases on July 15, 2002, as to which the Company does not expect a
decision until early 2003.

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

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


RAYOVAC CORPORATION: To Ask WI Court To Dismiss Securities Fraud Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Rayovac Corporation intends to ask the United States District Court for
the Western District of Wisconsin to dismiss the consolidated
securities class action pending against it and certain of its current
and former executive officers and directors:

     (1) Kenneth V. Biller,

     (2) Kent J. Hussey,

     (3) David A. Jones,

     (4) Scott A. Schoen,

     (5) Stephen P. Shanesy,

     (6) Thomas R. Shepherd,

     (7) Randall J. Steward,

     (8) Warren C. Smith, Jr., and

     (9) Merrell Tomlin

The consolidated suit alleges alleging that the defendants violated
Sections 11, 12(a)(2) and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 and Sections
10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder.

The suit generally alleges that defendants made various false and
misleading statements, which had the alleged effect of artificially
inflating the price of Company stock during the period from April 26,
2001 until September 19, 2001.  Plaintiffs allege that statements by
Rayovac during this period in press releases, SEC filings and investor
conference calls regarding current sales and forecasted growth were
false and misleading due to alleged failures to disclose, among other
things:

     (i) alleged improper sales practices in purported violation of
         generally accepted accounting principles;

    (ii) failure to establish sufficient reserves for doubtful
         receivables;

   (iii) declining demand; and

    (iv) risks of doing business in Latin America

The time to respond to the consolidated suit expires on February 14,
2003.  The Company and the individual defendants believe the claims to
be "meritless."


READ-RITE CORPORATION: Plaintiffs Appeal Dismissal of Securities Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in the consolidated securities class action against Read-
Rite Corporation and certain of its officers and directors appealed the
United States District Court for the Northern District of California's
ruling dismissing the suit.

The suit alleges that the defendants made false and misleading
statements about the Company's business condition and prospects,
alleged violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC Rule 10b-5, and sought an unspecified
amount of damages.

In October 2000, following a motion for dismissal by defendants, the
court ordered that both the suit be dismissed with prejudice and
without leave to amend.  The plaintiffs thereafter filed
notices of appeal, which have been consolidated.

The Nevius and Ferrari plaintiffs filed their opening appellate briefs
in July 2002, defendants filed their reply brief in September 2002.  
Oral arguments on the appeals were heard in the United States Court of
Appeal for the Ninth Circuit on December 5, 2002.  The Company is now
awaiting the outcome of the appeal.

There has been no discovery to date in the suit and no trial is
scheduled.  The Company believes the Company and the individual
defendants have meritorious defenses to the lawsuits.  Accordingly,
both on its own behalf, and pursuant to indemnification agreements
between the Company and the named individual defendants, the Company
intends to continue to defend each of these actions vigorously, and
believes the final disposition of the claims in the suit will not have
a material adverse effect on the Company's business, results of
operations and financial condition.


READ-RITE CORPORATION: Plaintiffs Appeal Defendant's Dismissal in Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Superior Court of the State of California, Santa Clara County has
yet to hear the plaintiffs' appeal of the dismissal of Read-Rite
Corporation and certain of its officers and directors as defendants in
a class action, alleging that the defendants made false and misleading
statements about the Company's business condition and prospects.

In May 1997, the court sustained the demurrer of certain defendants to
the entire complaint, and sustained the demurrer of the remaining
defendants, including the Company, to certain causes of action in the
complaint.  The remaining causes of action in the suit allege violation
of the California Corporations Code.

The remaining defendants answered the complaint.  On November 14, 2000,
the remaining defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings
asking to extinguish the state claims under the doctrine of "res
judicata."  A hearing on that motion occurred on January 22, 2001.  In
April 2001 the court entered an order granting that motion.  Final
judgment in favor of the remaining defendants was entered on May 23,
2001.  Plaintiffs thereafter served a notice of appeal in July 2001.

The plaintiffs and the defendants have exchanged briefs on the matter.  
The Company believes it and the individual defendants have meritorious
defenses to the lawsuit.  The Company further believes the final
disposition of the claims in these lawsuits will not have a material
adverse effect on the Company's business, results of operations and
financial condition.

TOBACCO LITIGATION: WA Court Refuses To Certify Underage Smoking Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Washington federal judge Gladys Kessler denied class certification for
a lawsuit filed against four of the nation's biggest tobacco companies,
on behalf of millions of underage smokers 22 years of age or younger
who began smoking before they were legally allowed to buy cigarettes,
CSNewsOnline reports.  The suit names as defendants:

     (1) Philip Morris Companies,

     (2) R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.,

     (3) Brown & Williamson and

     (4) Liggett Group Inc.

The suit alleges that the Companies conspired to deceive the public
about the health risks and addictive nature of smoking.

Judge Kessler wrote in her opinion that the differences between class
members were too great for the cases to be heard together, according to
Reuters.  Judge Kessler said the case could disintegrate into countless
mini-trials.  "In addition, a damages determination as to each class
member would also be a highly individualized and excessively time-
consuming process," she wrote.

Judge Kessler said the complaint revealed virtually nothing about
Nadiyah Simms and Elred Lewis Bruce, the two plaintiffs named on the
suit seeking class certification, CSNewsOnline reports.  She wondered
whether their parents or friends smoke and that they knew about the
health risks of smoking when they first began purchasing cigarettes,
the report said.


UNUM PROVIDENT: Shareholders File Suit Over False Financial Statements
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Unum Provident Corporation, the nation's largest disability insurer, is
being sued by its shareholders in a lawsuit seeking class action, which
contends that the company issued false and misleading financial
statements that artificially boosted Unum's stock price, The Wall
Street Journal reports.

The complaint was filed in Federal Court in Chattanooga, Tennessee, by
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP, a New York class action law
firm on behalf of one named plaintiff.  The complaint alleges the
Company did not properly record impairments in its investment portfolio
and operated "denial factories" -- that is, groups of claims agents
whose objective it was to reject claims -- in its insurance operations.   
Both these activities served to "inflate" the firm's results, claims
the complaint.  Milberg Weiss is seeking additional plaintiffs who
purchased Unum Provident shares between May 7, 2001, and February 4,
2003.

A Company spokesman said the Company has not yet reviewed the complaint
and would therefore make no comment.  The Company is also facing
regulatory examination in connection with how it handles disability
claims.


WORLDCOM INC.: UofC Regents Commence New Securities Fraud Lawsuit in CA
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The University of California board of regents filed a lawsuit against
three investment firms, seeking to recover about $353 million that they
lost by investing in WorldCom, Inc. stock, Reuters reports.  

The suit names as defendants Citigroup, Inc., C.N., Salomon Smith
Barney, Inc. and Arthur Andersen LLP.  The Board purchased 10.2 million
shares of WorldCom stock between 1998 and 2000, based on "false
representations," the suit states.  The university later sold off the
nearly worthless shares in July 2002.

Earlier, the University withdrew from a New York federal class action
against WorldCom, Inc.  They believe that they would get a bigger
judgment in California courts rather than as part of NY lawsuit, where
the university would have to vie with thousands of other investors who
lost money on their WorldCom investments.

WorldCom, the second-ranking U.S. long-distance telephone company,
filed the world's largest bankruptcy in July, saying it had improperly
booked expenses to boost cash flow and profits as part of a $9 billion
accounting scandal, Reuters reports.

"The professors and employees of the state university system feel very
strongly that they should be judged by their peers in state courts and
should not have to travel to distant courts for justice," the regents'
attorney, Joe Cotchett, of Cotchett, Pitre, Simon & McCarthy of
Burlingame, California, told Reuters.

Spokesmen for the three financial firms being sued were not immediately
available to comment, Reuters states.


YOUNG'S JK: Voluntarily Recalls 500 Cigarette Lighters For Fire Hazard
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Young's JK Inc. is cooperating with the United States Consumer Product
Safety Commission (CPSC) by voluntarily recalling about 500 novelty
cigarette lighters.  These lighters do not have child-resistant
mechanisms, as required by federal law.  

Young children can ignite the lighters, presenting fire and burn
hazards.  The Company has received one report of a 2-year-old using one
of these lighters to ignite an upholstered chair.  The fire resulted in
the death of a 6-year-old. The 2-year-old is permanently brain-damaged.
        
The refillable, dolphin-shaped cigarette lighters are butane gas-
fueled and made of metal.  There are three models involved in this
recall.  One of the lighters features a dolphin with a large ball and
is labeled "1988.8 Young's Wholes 14.9."  Another lighter features a
single dolphin and is labeled "00005011 $14.00 EA."  The last model
features two dolphins and a ball, and has no label.
        
Gas stations, smoke shops, grocery, gift and liquor stores sold the
lighters in Oregon and Southwest Washington from 1996 through October
2001 for between $8 and $20.
        
For more information, contact the Company by Phone: (503) 998-9801
between 8 am and 5 pm PT Monday through Friday.

                     New Securities Fraud Cases

ATMEL CORPORATION: Stull Stull Commences Securities Lawsuit in N.D. CA
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Stull Stull & Brody initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf
of purchasers of Atmel Corporation (NasdaqNM: ATML) securities between
January 20, 2000 and July 31, 2002, inclusive.

The suit charges that the Company and its Chief Executive and Chief
Financial Officers violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10-b(5).  The action alleges that
defendants issued a series of false and misleading statements
concerning the Company's financial condition, resulting in plaintiff
and the class purchasing their Atmel stock at artificially inflated
prices.

Specifically, the suit charges that defendants repeatedly issued press
releases announcing "record" revenues, all the while knowing that the
Company should not have been recording revenue from the sale of
defective chips to its customers, including Seagate Technology Inc.,
the world's largest manufacturer of hard disk drives.  

The suit alleges that if the Company had properly recorded revenue
during the class period, and not included the sales of defective chips,
Atmel's stock would have traded at lower prices during the class
period.  The suit further alleges that on July 31, 2002 the truth
regarding Atmel's business practices became known when it became public
that Seagate had sued Atmel for selling Seagate defective chips.  The
suit charges that as a result of defendants' actions, plaintiff and the
Class were damaged.

For more details, contact Michael Braun or Patrice Bishop by Phone:
888-388-4605 by E-mail: info@secfraud.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.secfraud.com.  


BLOCKBUSTER INC.: Charles Piven Commences Securities Lawsuit in N.D. TX
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities class
action on behalf of shareholders who purchased, converted, exchanged or
otherwise acquired the common stock of Blockbuster, Inc. (NYSE: BBI)
between April 24, 2002 and December 17, 2002, inclusive, in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas
Division.

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


BLOCKBUSTER INC.: Brodsky & Smith Lodges Securities Lawsuit in N.D. TX
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Brodsky & Smith, LLC initiated a securities class action on behalf of
shareholders who purchased the common stock and other securities of
Blockbuster, Inc. (NYSE:BBI) between April 24, 2002 and December 17,
2002, inclusive, in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Texas, Dallas Division against the company and certain of
its officers and directors.

The action charges that the Company issued a series of materially false
and misleading statements regarding Blockbuster's business and
financial condition during the class period.  Specifically, the suit
alleges that at the time that the false and misleading statements were
made, defendants omitted, inter alia:

     (1) adverse facts regarding the negative impact that declining DVD
         prices was having on the Company's business;

     (2) that Blockbuster was unable to effectively compete with other
         retailers for sales of DVDs;

     (3) that growth at certain Blockbuster stores was below the growth
         rate that had been promised to investors; and

     (4) that Blockbuster was experiencing problems with certain movie
         studios with whom Blockbuster had a profit-sharing
         relationship.

As a result of the foregoing, Blockbuster lacked a reasonable basis for
its earnings projections and positive statements about the Company at
all times.

For more details, contact Marc L. Ackerman or Evan J. Smith by Mail:
Two Bala Plaza, Suite 602, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004, by Phone:
877-LEGAL-90 by E-mail: clients@brodsky-smith.com


BLOCKBUSTER INC.: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Suit in N.D. TX
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP initiated a securities class action in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas
Division on behalf of all purchasers of the common stock of
Blockbuster, Inc. (NYSE:BBI) from April 24, 2002 and December 17, 2002,
inclusive.

The complaint charges Blockbuster, Inc. and certain of its officers and
directors with issuing false and misleading statements concerning its
business and financial conditions.  Specifically, the complaint alleges
that throughout the class period, as alleged in the suit, defendants
issued numerous positive statements regarding the Company's financial
performance and its future prospects.

The suit alleges that these statements were each materially false and
misleading when made as they misrepresented and/or omitted the
following adverse facts which then existed and disclosure of which was
necessary to make the statements made not false and/or misleading,
including:

     (1) that Blockbuster's business was being negatively impacted by
         declining DVD sale prices.  As the prices of DVDs declined,
         consumers began to purchase DVDs from a variety of retail
         outlets, instead of renting them, thereby causing Blockbuster
         to experience declining rental sales;

     (2) that Blockbuster was unable to effectively compete with other
         retailers of DVDs as many of those retailers offered DVDs as
         loss leaders -- selling the DVDs below or at cost -- in order
         to entice shoppers into the store.  As a result, Blockbuster
         was experiencing declining DVD sales as it lost sales to mass
         merchandisers; growth at stores that were open for more than
         one year was slowing to such an extent that the same-store
         growth rates that defendants had promised investors would not
         be realized;

     (3) that Blockbuster was experiencing problems with certain of the
         movie studios with whom it had profit-sharing arrangements.  
         In particular, Blockbuster was being accused by Buena Vista of
         breaching the terms of its revenue sharing agreement with it.
         After the class period, Buena Vista brought suit against
         Blockbuster for $120 million and alleged breach of contract;
         and

     (4) as a result of the foregoing, defendants' lacked a reasonable
         basis for their earnings projections and positive statements
         about the Company at all times.

On December 18, 2002, Blockbuster shocked investors when it slashed its
earnings estimates and cut its growth rate for same-store sales and
attributed the revisions to the negative impact of lower DVD prices
which was increasing sales of DVDs and decreasing rentals.  In
response, the price of Blockbuster common stock declined precipitously,
falling from $19.40 per share to $13.64 per share on extremely heavy
trading volume.

Prior to the disclosure of this adverse information to the market, the
individual defendants and certain other high-level executives of
Blockbuster sold their personally-held Blockbuster common stock to the
unsuspecting public, reaping proceeds of more than $25 million.

For more details, contact Marc A. Topaz or Stuart L. Berman by Phone:
1-888-299-7706 (toll free) or 1-610-667-7706 by E-mail:
info@sbclasslaw.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.sbclasslaw.com


BIO-TECHNOLOGY GENERAL: Cauley Geller Commences Securities Suit in NJ
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Cauley Geller Bowman Coates & Rudman, LLP initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the District of New
Jersey on behalf of purchasers of Bio-Technology General Corporation
(Nasdaq: BTGC) publicly traded securities during the period between
April 19, 1999 and August 2, 2002, inclusive.

The suit charges Bio-Technology and certain of its executive officers
with violations of federal securities laws.  Among other things,
plaintiff claims those defendants' material omissions and the
dissemination of materially false and misleading statements concerning
Bio-Technology's revenue and earnings caused the stock price to become
artificially inflated, inflicting damages on investors.

The suit alleges that, in order to inflate the price of the stock,
defendants caused the Company to falsely report its earnings during
1999, 2000 and 2001 through inappropriate revenue recognition
practices, including recognizing revenue where significant
uncertainties existed relating to realization of the invoiced amounts.

The suit charges that on August 2, 2002, defendants announced that
reported financial results for fiscal year 1999, 2000 and 2001 would be
restated to eliminate revenue that had been improperly recorded.  The
Company has now restated its results for each of the years ended
December 31, 1999, December 31, 2000 and December 31, 2001.

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


MICHAELS STORES: Reinhardt & Anderson Lodges Securities Suit in N.D. TX
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Reinhardt & Anderson initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Texas on behalf of
purchasers of Michaels Stores, Inc. (NYSE:MIK) stock during the period
between August 8, 2002 and November 7, 2002.

The complaint charges Michaels Stores 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 repeatedly
represented that Michaels Stores' financial condition was strong and
that the Company was increasing its market share and would continue to
do so in the foreseeable future.  The Company was persistent in its
claims despite a known downturn in the consumer-goods markets and a
very difficult earnings environment.  In fact, throughout the class
period, defendants consistently appeared at analyst conferences and in
other public forums and made very positive statements about Michaels
Stores.

Thus it was only on November 7, 2002, when the Company released results
for its third quarter 2002, that investors learned the following:

     (1) Defendants" claims that Michaels Stores' purported "record
         setting" growth was the result of systems and/or
         infrastructure upgrades, or any other improvements made by
         defendants, were false;

     (2) Many of Michaels Stores' customers were already curtailing
         their spending for hobby and entertainment -- or discretionary
         purchases -- by the inception of the class period and, as a
         result, Michaels Stores was experiencing the same adverse
         market conditions which were negatively impacting the
         Company's competitors;

     (3) The Company was not "in great shape," it did not have
         "considerable momentum" and was not proceeding according to
         guidance sponsored or provided by defendants; and

     (4) Notwithstanding defendants' efforts to create the materially
         false impression that the Company had achieved record results
         in the fiscal second quarter, the truth was that Michaels
         Stores was already suffering from the same adverse market
         conditions other retailers were experiencing.

In all, during the class period, at the time that Michaels Stores was
being adversely affected by the aforementioned factors, but prior to
any disclosure to the market, certain of the defendants sold more than
$15.3 million worth of their personally held Michaels Stores common
stock while in possession of material adverse information.  In fact,
the CEO and President of the Company sold over 125,000 shares of his
privately held Company shares during the class period for over $5.8
million in proceeds.

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


MOTOROLA INC.: Bull & Lifshitz Commences Securities Lawsuit in S.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Bull & Lifshitz LLP initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf
of purchasers of Motorola, Inc. (NYSE:MOT) common stock between
February 3, 2000 and April 6, 2001, inclusive.

The suit alleges that defendant 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 February 3, 2000 and April 6, 2001, thereby artificially
inflating the price of Motorola securities.  Throughout the class
period, as alleged in the complaint, defendant issued numerous
statements and filed reports with the SEC which described a $1.5
billion agreement between Motorola and Telsim, under which Motorola
would provide infrastructure, handsets and associated services to
enable Telsim to expand its countrywide global system for mobile
communications network in Turkey.

As alleged in the complaint, these statements were materially false and
misleading because defendants failed to disclose, among other things:

     (1) the extent to which the Telsim transaction was being supported
         by vendor financing;

     (2) the level of risk which Motorola was exposed to by providing
         such vendor financing; and

     (3) that the vendor financing was secured primarily by a pledge of
         the Telsim's stock.

For more details, contact Peter D. Bull or Joshua M. Lifshitz by Phone:
(212) 213-6222


ROBERTSON STEPHENS: Weiss & Yourman Launches Securities Suit in N.D. CA
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Weiss & Yourman initiated a securities class action lawsuit in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of California
against Robertson Stephens on behalf of purchasers of Corvis (Nasdaq:
CORV) securities between August 22, 2000 and January 29, 2001,
inclusive.

The suit charges that Robertson Stephens analyst Paul Johnson issued
false and misleading "Buy" recommendations on Corvis, maker of optical
networking equipment, while privately advising a group of Robertson
Stephens limited partnerships (in which he himself had invested) to
sell their Corvis shares.

The suit alleges that, based on defendants' recommendations, Corvis
securities sold at artificially inflated prices during the class
period.  Plaintiff and the rest of the class, whether or not they
relied on these recommendations, purchased their Corvis shares at
prices that were artificially inflated by them and were damaged
thereby.

For more details, contact Weiss & Yourman - Los Angeles by Phone:
(800) 437-7918 by E-mail: info@wyca.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.wyca.com


SAWTEK INC.: Chitwood & Harley Commences Securities Lawsuit in M.D. FL
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Chitwood & Harley LLP initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Middle District of Florida on behalf of
persons who purchased Sawtek, Inc. securities, currently a subsidiary
of TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc. (Nasdaq:TQNT), on the open market from
January 27, 2000 through May 24, 2001.

The suit charges the Company and certain of its executive officers with
violations of federal securities laws.  Among other things, plaintiff
claims defendants' material omissions and the dissemination of
materially false and misleading statements concerning the Company's
business operations and financial performance caused its stock price to
become artificially inflated, inflicting damages on investors.  The
Company designs, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of
electronic signal processing components, based on "surface acoustic
wave" or SAW technology, primarily for use in the wireless
communications industry.

The complaint alleges that, during the class period, defendants
misrepresented the Company's financial performance by improper "channel
stuffing" -- inflating revenue by shipping more products than
distributors could sell -- and by disseminating false and misleading
statements concerning the Company's revenue and business prospects
despite a widespread downturn in the wireless and telecommunications
markets.

The Company's financial performance was revealed on May 23, 2001, when
defendants acknowledged that the Company's projected results for the
quarter ending June 30, 2001 would fall well below the Company's
previously issued revenue guidance.  By the close of trading on the
next day, May 24, 2001, the Company's stock price had plunged more than
seventeen percent (17%) from the previous day's close as a result of
this news.

For more details, contact Jennifer Morris by Mail: 1230 Peachtree
Street, Suite 2300, Atlanta, Georgia 30309 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


SAWTEK INC.: Brodsky & Smith Commences Securities Fraud Suit in M.D. FL
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Brodsky & Smith, LLC initiated a securities class action on behalf of
shareholders who purchased the common stock and other securities of
Sawtek, Inc. currently a subsidiary of TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc.
(Nasdaq:TQNT) between January 27, 2000 and May 24, 2001, inclusive, in
the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
against the company and certain of its officers and directors.

The action charges that the Company violated federal securities laws by
issuing a series of materially false and misleading statements
regarding Sawtek's business and financial condition during the class
period.  Specifically, the suit alleges, inter alia, that during the
class period, defendants misrepresented Sawtek's financial performance
by improper "channel stuffing," that is inflating revenue by shipping
more products than distributors could sell and by disseminating false
and misleading statements regarding the Company's business prospects.

For more details, contact Marc L. Ackerman or Evan J. Smith by Mail:
Two Bala Plaza, Suite 602, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004, by Phone:
877-LEGAL-90 or by E-mail: clients@brodsky-smith.com


SAWTEK INC.: Cauley Geller Commences Securities Fraud Suit in M.D. FL
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Cauley Geller Bowman Coates & Rudman, LLP initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Middle District of
Florida on behalf of all persons who purchased securities of Sawtek,
Inc. currently a subsidiary of TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc. (Nasdaq:
TQNT), between January 7, 2000 and May 24, 2001, inclusive.

The suit charges Sawtek and certain of its executive officers with
violations of federal securities laws.  Among other things, plaintiff
claims that defendants' material omissions and the dissemination of
materially false and misleading statements concerning Sawtek's business
operations and financial performance caused Sawtek's stock price to
become artificially inflated, inflicting damages on investors.

Sawtek designs, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of
electronic signal processing components, based on "surface acoustic
wave" or SAW technology, primarily for use in the wireless
communications industry.  The complaint alleges that during the class
period, defendants misrepresented Sawtek's financial performance by
improper "channel stuffing" -- inflating revenue by shipping more
products than distributors could sell -- and by disseminating false and
misleading statements concerning the Company's revenue and business
prospects despite a widespread downturn in the wireless and
telecommunications markets.  

Sawtek's actual financial performance was revealed on May 23, 2001,
when defendants' acknowledged that the Company's projected results for
the quarter ending June 30, 2001, would fall well below the Company's
previously issued revenue guidance.  By the close of trading on the
next day, May 24, 2001, Sawtek's stock price had plunged more than
seventeen percent (17%) from the previous day's close as a result of
this news.

For more details, contact Samuel H. Rudman or David A. Rosenfeld 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


SAWTEK INC.: Charles Piven Commences Securities Fraud Suit in M.D. FL
---------------------------------------------------------------------
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 Sawtek, Inc., currently a
subsidiary of TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc. (NASDAQ: TQNT ), between
January 27, 2000 and May 24, 2001, inclusive, in the United States
District Court for the Middle District of Florida against the Company
and certain of its executive officers.

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, PA 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


UNUM PROVIDENT: Charles Piven Launches Securities Fraud Suit in E.D. TN
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven initiated a securities class action
on behalf of shareholders who purchased, converted, exchanged or
otherwise acquired the common stock of UnumProvident Corporation (NYSE:
UNM) between May 7, 2001 and February 4, 2003, inclusive, in the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee 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 by E-mail: hoffman@pivenlaw.com
or visit the firm's Website: http://www.pivenlaw.com


WESTAR ENERGY: Bernstein Liebhard Commences Securities Suit in KS Court
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz LLP initiated a securities class action
in the United States District Court for District of Kansas, on behalf
of all persons who purchased or acquired Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR)
securities (the "Class") between March 30, 2001 and December 26, 2002,
inclusive.

On December 26, 2002, Westar acknowledged in a press release that it
had received a subpoena from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
(FERC) seeking details on power trades with the Cleco Corporation
(Cleco) and its affiliates.  In addition to seeking details on trades
with Cleco and its affiliates, the FERC also requested documents
concerning power transactions between Westar's system and marketing
operations, and information on power trades in which Westar or other
trading companies acted as intermediaries.

In or about November 2002, Cleco publicly disclosed that it and its
affiliates had engaged in certain trades that may have violated FERC
affiliate transaction rules. The affiliate transactions involved power
sales from one Cleco affiliate to Westar and then back to another or
same Cleco affiliate.  The transactions totaled approximately $3.4
million of revenues in 2000, $12.6 million of revenues in 2001, and
$3.8 million of revenues in 2002.  These types of transactions are
called "roundtrip" trades and are pre-arranged business deals between
companies, which violate state and federal laws together with affiliate
regulations recognized by the FERC.  These roundtrip trades caused
Westar's financial information to be artificially inflated during the
class period.

The December 26th disclosure caused the price of Westar stock to fall
by 7.6% percent in one business day, from a closing price of $10.80 per
share on December 27, 2002 to a closing price of $9.98 per share on
December 30, 2002, on unusually high trading volume.

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


                              *********


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
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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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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to be
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