CAR_Public/030225.mbx                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
               Tuesday, February 25, 2003, Vol. 5, No. 39

                              Headlines                            

AGENT ORANGE: Supreme Court To Mull Reopening Agent Orange Settlement
CALIPER TECHNOLOGIES: NY Court Dismisses Consolidated Securities Suit
CARNIVAL CORPORATION: Settles FL Consolidated Securities Suit For $3.4M
CORNING INC.: Discovery Continues in Consolidated Securities Suit in NY
CORNING INC.: NY Court To Hear Plaintiffs' Motion To File Amended Suit

DAIMLERCHRYSLER AG: NJ Federal Court Allows Antitrust Suit To Proceed
DAIMLERCHRYSLER AG: Mercedes Unit May Appeal Suit's Class Certification
DOV PHARMACEUTICAL: Court Certifies Settlement Class in Securities Suit
eBAY: CA Activist Groups Ask For Removal of "Racially Offensive" Items
FASTFOOD LITIGATION: Amended Suit Filed Against McDonald's Corporation

FLORIDA: Punitive Damages Allowed In Families' Suits V. Two Cemeteries
GLOBAL SOURCE: FDA Orders Seizure of Dietary Supplement Products in FL
HMO LITIGATION: Doctors, Insurers To Argue on RICO, Arbitration Pacts
HUFFY CORPORATION: CA Court Approves Settlement For Overtime Wage Suits
ILLINOIS: Injury Lawsuit Over Deadly Chicago Club Stampede Gains Ground

INTERSTATE BAKERIES: Investors Sue Wonder Bread Over False Statements
LOEWS CINEPLEX: Labels Moviegoers Suit As "Frivolous," "Without Merit"
MASSEY ENERGY: Agrees To Settle US' Worst Blackwater Spill In Kentucky
PURDUE PHARMA: Marketing Pushed OxyContin Use Beyond Cancer Pain Relief
RHODE ISLAND: Pyrotechnics Starts Fire in Rhode Island Club, 85 Killed

SOUTH DAKOTA: Judge To Hear Motion To Dismiss Beef Producer's Lawsuit
TEXAS: Businesses Warned Against Statewide Gasoline Price-Fixing
UNITED STATES: Lawsuit Charges US Marshals Service With Discrimination

* Slave Reparations Issues Divides Americans As Lawsuits Increase


                     New Securities Fraud Cases

COSI INC.: Milberg Weiss Commences Securities Fraud Lawsuit in S.D. NY
INTERSTATE BAKERIES: Schatz & Nobel Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in MO
LEXENT INC.: Cauley Geller Lodges Securities Suit in DE Chancery Court
NAM TAI: Paskowitz & Associates Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
NAM TAI: Brian Felgoise Commences Securities Fraud Lawsuit in S.D. NY

WESTAR ENERGY: Schatz & Nobel Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in KS Court

                            *********

AGENT ORANGE: Supreme Court To Mull Reopening Agent Orange Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The US Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on whether two
Vietnam veterans can reopen a 1984 Agent Orange class action settlement
and sue the chemical companies that made Agent Orange, the Akron Beacon
Journal (OH) reports.

"We want to see if we can reopen the case for all Agent Orange veterans
who came down ill (after the 1984 settlement)," said Joseph Isaacson,
one of the two Vietnam veterans seeking to reopen the case.  In 1984,
neither Mr. Isaacson nor Daniel Stephenson, the second Vietnam veteran,
who is co-plaintiff in this lawsuit, was ill and could not claim to
have been injured by Agent Orange.

The chemical companies argued that the 1984 class action settlement has
ended their liability.  They said the companies had set aside $180
million to compensate anyone injured by the end of 1994 and to pay for
programs to benefit all veterans.  Their attorneys argued that veterans
who became sick after 1994 benefited from the programs the settlement
funded.

A federal judge agreed, and has ruled that the two men's damage claims
were pre-empted by the 1984 class action settlement agreed to by Dow
Chemical Co., Monsanto and other companies that supplied the military
with Agent Orange, a chemical used in Vietnam to strip away the dense
jungle foliage that provided cover for enemy forces.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling, triggering an
appeal to the Supreme Court, which accepted the case.  Stephen Murray,
Jr., an attorney representing Mr. Stephenson, said the Supreme Court
has held in previous cases, that class-action settlements, designed to
handle huge numbers of similar damage claims, do not preclude people
from claiming damages for injuries that surface later.

The Product Liability Advisory Council, a corporate advocacy group, has
argued in court briefs that the 2nd Circuit's ruling "could, in
principle, threaten to upset the finality of every class-action
settlement or judgment ever rendered."

Joseph Isaacson, 54, discovered in 1996, that he had non-Hodgkins
lymphoma, a form of cancer that has been connected with Agent Orange
exposure.  Following chemotherapy, his cancer is now in remission.  
Daniel Stephenson was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a bone marrow
cancer, and underwent a bone marrow transplant.


CALIPER TECHNOLOGIES: NY Court Dismisses Consolidated Securities Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
dismissed all claims against Caliper Technologies Corporation in the
consolidated securities class action lawsuits filed pending on behalf
of its shareholders.

Several suits were filed in June 2001, against the Company and:

     (1) David V. Milligan,

     (2) Daniel L. Kisner and

     (3) James L. Knighton

The suits were later consolidated, and the consolidated suit alleged
claims against the defendants under Sections 11 and 15 of the
Securities Act of 1933, and under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as well as Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder.

The consolidated lawsuit also names certain underwriters of the
Company's December 1999 initial public offering of common stock.  The
suit alleges that these underwriters charged excessive, undisclosed
commissions to investors and entered into improper agreements with
investors relating to aftermarket transactions, an earlier Class Action
Reporter story states.

Additionally, the plaintiffs were not granted permission to replead the
claims against the Company.  The Company was one of hundreds of other
public companies and numerous underwriters that are parties to the "In
Re Initial Public Offering Securities Litigation."


CARNIVAL CORPORATION: Settles FL Consolidated Securities Suit For $3.4M
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Carnival Corporation agreed to settle the consolidated securities class
action filed against it and four of its executive officers on behalf of
purchasers of the Company's common stock between February 25, 1999 and
February 16, 2000, in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Florida.

The suit alleges that statements made in the Company's public filings
relating to compliance with applicable safety regulations were in
violation of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5
thereunder.  The suit also alleges violations by the individual
defendants as controlling persons under Section 20(a) of the Exchange
Act.  

In September 2002, a magistrate judge recommended that the Company's
motion to dismiss the suit be granted and that the plaintiffs' amended
complaint be dismissed without prejudice.  The magistrate judge found
that the amended complaint failed properly to allege a cause of action
under the securities laws.  However, because it was dismissed without
prejudice, the plaintiffs may file a new amended complaint.

On January 16, 2003, the parties executed a memorandum of
understanding, which is an agreement in principle to settle the suit.  
The settlement is subject to the parties preparing a formal stipulation
of settlement, performing confirmatory discovery and obtaining judicial
approval.  The memorandum of understanding requires certification of a
temporary settlement class consisting of all persons who purchased the
Company's common stock between July 28, 1998 and February 28, 2000.  
The agreed upon settlement amount is $3.4 million, of which a
substantial portion will be covered by insurance, and which includes
plaintiffs' attorneys fees.  Allocation of the settlement monies
amongst the class members is to be determined by the plaintiffs'
counsel.  Currently, no date has been set for the hearing confirming
the settlement and the parties are finalizing the stipulation of
settlement and discovery schedule.


CORNING INC.: Discovery Continues in Consolidated Securities Suit in NY
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Discovery is continuing in the consolidated securities class action
filed in 1992 against Corning, Inc. and certain individual defendants
by a class of purchasers of Company stock who allege misrepresentations
and omissions of material facts relative to the silicone gel breast
implant business conducted by Dow Corning.  

This action is pending in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York. The class consists of those purchasers
of Company stock in the period from June 14, 1989, to January 13, 1992,
who allegedly purchased at inflated prices due to the non-disclosure or
concealment of material information.  No amount of damages is specified
in the complaint.  

In 1997, the court dismissed the individual defendants from the case.  
The Company then filed a motion for summary judgment requesting that
all claims against it be dismissed.  Plaintiffs requested the
opportunity to take depositions before responding to the motion for
summary judgment.  

The discovery process is continuing and the court has set no schedule
to address the still pending summary judgment motion.  The Company
intends to continue to defend this action vigorously.  Based upon the
information developed to date and recognizing that the outcome of
litigation is uncertain, management believes that the likelihood of a
materially adverse verdict is remote.


CORNING INC.: NY Court To Hear Plaintiffs' Motion To File Amended Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Western District of New York
is set to hear on March 2003 the plaintiffs' motion asking for leave to
file an amended complaint against Corning, Inc. and three of its
officers and directors.

Several suits were commenced alleging violations of the US securities
laws in connection with the Company's November 2000 offering of 30
million shares of common stock and $2.7 billion zero coupon convertible
debentures, due November 2015.  In addition, the Company and the same
three officers and directors were named in lawsuits alleging selective
disclosures and non-disclosures that allegedly inflated the price of
the Company's Common Stock in the period from September 2000 through
July 9, 2001.  

The plaintiffs in these actions seek to represent classes of purchasers
of the Company's stock in all or part of the period indicated.  In
August 2002, the court entered an order consolidating these actions for
all purposes, designating lead plaintiffs and lead counsel, and
directing that a consolidated complaint be served within sixty days.
The consolidated amended complaint was served at the end of October
2002.  The defendants have until February 10, 2003 to answer, move or
respond.  The order further sets a schedule for briefing a motion to
dismiss and provides that a motion to certify the action as a class
action shall be filed after all motions to dismiss are resolved.  

Another lawsuit has been filed, also in the Western District of New
York, on behalf of participants in the Company's Investment Plan for
Salaried Employees, on behalf of participants in the Plan who purchased
or held Company stock in a Plan account.  The defendants in that action
responded with a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on a variety of grounds.  
On December 12, 2002, the court entered judgment dismissing the claims
as to each of the defendants.  On December 19, 2002, plaintiffs filed a
motion to open the judgment and for leave to file an amended complaint.  
This motion will be scheduled for a hearing in March 2003.  Management
is prepared to defend these lawsuits vigorously and, recognizing that
the outcome of litigation is uncertain, believes that these will be
resolved, net of applicable insurance, without material impact on the
Company's financial statements.


DAIMLERCHRYSLER AG: NJ Federal Court Allows Antitrust Suit To Proceed
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court in New Jersey ruled that a lawsuit
alleging price-fixing against Mercedes-Benz USA, a unit of
DaimlerChrysler AG, may proceed as a class action, according to a
report by The Wall Street Journal.

The lawsuit, which was filed in 1999, alleges that Mercedes fixed
prices in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  The law firm of Cohen
Milstein Hausfeld & Toll, which represented plaintiffs in their request
for certification, said the complaint was filed on behalf of people who
purchased or leased Mercedes automobiles in the three-state area from
1991 through 1999.  The Justice Department is investigating the
allegations.

Mercedes has said the lawsuit is based on allegations made by a dealer,
adding that the automaker had been trying to terminate its business
relationship with the dealer, implying the dealer has his own agenda.  
Prices paid by customers in the three-states during the period,
"fluctuated significantly," Mercedes said.


DAIMLERCHRYSLER AG: Mercedes Unit May Appeal Suit's Class Certification
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) will vigorously fight the certification of
the antitrust class action by the United States District Court of New
Jersey, because not only is the main claim without merit, but the
certification as a class action, is unwarranted based on the facts and
the law, the Associated Press Newswires reports.

The lawsuit alleges that MBUSA joined 24 independent Mercedes-Benz
dealers and a Long Island, New York, accounting firm in a price-fixing
scheme designed to increase prices for consumers.  The suit seeks
treble damages for alleged overpayments made by Mercedes-Benz customers
in the New York region between 1992 and 1999.

MBUSA said it likely will appeal the class certification order.  
However, even if the class remains certified, MBUSA said it eventually
would be vindicated by facts.  Class certification is not a judgment on
the merits of the case, but a ruling on how the lawsuit will proceed.

MBUSA said it wants to appeal the certification because it believes
there is no basis for class certification since there was no credible
evidence of common injury presented to the court.  The plaintiffs'
expert failed to conduct even the most rudimentary analysis of the
issues important to class certification.  According to MBUSA, for
example, the plaintiff never examined actual pricing information
produced by the dealers and never even considered the extent of
competition from other luxury brands.

The allegations of price fixing, as well, also ignored the realities of
the competitive markets in which MBUSA competed, said the defendant.
MBUSA adds the prices actually paid by customers in the New York region
fluctuated significantly during the period under scrutiny.


DOV PHARMACEUTICAL: Court Certifies Settlement Class in Securities Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
certified a settlement class in the consolidated securities class
action filed against DOV Pharmaceutical, Inc. arising from or relating
to the Company's April 25, 2002 initial public offering of 5 million
shares of common stock.

Since April 29, 2002, a number of lawsuits alleging violations of the
securities laws have been filed in the US District Court for the
Southern District of New York and the US District Court for the
District of New Jersey against the Company and certain of the Company's
officers, directors and underwriters.  These lawsuits were consolidated
in the Southern District of New York, entitled In re DOV
Pharmaceutical, Inc. Securities Litigation, Case No. 02-CV-3271 (RWS).

The settlement class includes all persons and entities who purchased
the common stock of DOV in, or traceable to, DOV's April 25, 2002 IPO
through and including December 20, 2002 and suffered damages.  

A hearing will be held on April 16, 2003 at noon before the Honorable
Robert W. Sweet, US District Judge for the Southern District of New
York, to determine whether an order should be entered:

     (1) finally approving the proposed Settlement of the claims
         asserted by plaintiffs in this action against Defendants DOV,
         Bernard Beer, Barbara G. Duncan, Zola Horovitz, Mark Lampert,
         Arnold S. Lippa, Daniel S. Van Riper, CIBC World Markets
         Corporation, and Lehman Brothers, Inc., on the terms set forth
         in the Stipulation of Settlement dated December 20, 2002;

     (2) dismissing this action with prejudice; and

     (3) awarding fees and reimbursement of expenses to co-lead counsel
         for lead plaintiffs and the class.

For more details, contact the Claims Administrator, In re DOV
Pharmaceutical, Inc. Securities Litigation, by Mail: c/o Berdon LLP,
P.O. Box 9014, Jericho, NY 11753-8914 by Phone: (800) 766-3330 by Fax:
(516) 931-0810 or visit the Website: http://www.berdonllp.com/claims.  


eBAY: CA Activist Groups Ask For Removal of "Racially Offensive" Items
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Southern California activist groups asked internet auctioneer eBay to
refrain from allowing "racially offensive" items to be sold on their
site, the Associated Press reports.  

Earl Ofari Hutchinson of the National Alliance for Positive Action says
the group wants eBay to take out items that are demeaning to blacks,
stating that the Company is violating its own policy that discourages
sellers from listing items that promote racial intolerance.  eBay
allegedly has not responded to fax and e-mail complaints from his group
about listings that include a racial slur.

"When African-Americans look at this and say it's offensive, why is
there no response?" Mr. Hutchinson, president of the Inglewood, Calif.-
based racial and social justice public advocacy group told AP.  "It
just shows there's contempt for the wishes and desires of African-
Americans."

In May 2001, eBay began banning the sale of Nazi, Ku Klux Klan
artifacts as well as belongings from notorious criminals, to avoid
legal problems in other countries.  It has recently deleted listings
for items billed as debris from the space shuttle Columbia.  Recently,
Yahoo! has faced litigation over the sale of Nazi artifacts on its
auction pages.

eBay's offensive material policy states the company will "judiciously
disallow listings or items that promote or glorify hatred, violence, or
racial intolerance, or items that promote organizations (such as the
KKK, Nazis, neo-Nazis, and Aryan Nation) with such views," AP states.  
However, David Pilgrim estimates he has bought about 1,000 racist
collectibles on eBay for the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia
located on the Ferris State University campus in Big Rapids, Michigan.  
The museum displays about 4,000 items and has about 3,000 more in
storage.

"I hate the fact that people buy them," said Mr. Pilgrim, who is black.
But "people have the right to sell."

eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove told AP he's unaware of the alliance's
efforts to reach the company.  eBay removes listings using words in
ways that are "abusive or offensive or degrading or in any way
disparaging," Mr. Pursglove said.


FASTFOOD LITIGATION: Amended Suit Filed Against McDonald's Corporation
----------------------------------------------------------------------
An amended lawsuit seeking to hold McDonald's Corporation responsible
for overweight children now claims that the fast-food chain is selling
products that are less healthful that an ordinarily knowledgeable
customer would suspect, The Wall Street Journal reports.  The new suit
is seeking class action status.

Judge Robert Sweet of the US District Court in Manhattan dismissed a
similar suit last month, but in his ruling he gave the plaintiffs'
lawyer Samuel Hirsch instruction about drafting an amended complaint in
such a way that it might not be dismissed.  The judge gave the
plaintiffs, parents of two overweight Bronx, New York, teenagers, 30
days to file the amended complaint with a stronger allegation that
McDonald's deceives its customers.

The amended complaint was filed Wednesday in a federal District Court
in Manhattan.  The new complaint claims that Chicken McNuggets, Filet-
O-Fish and other items on McDonald's menu contain ingredients beyond
"the ordinary and customary knowledge" of consumers.  The complaint
alleges that McDonald's has misled customers with advertising campaigns
billing its fatty cuisine as "substantially healthier or not as
detrimental to one's health, when in fact, said products were
hazardous."

The Company called the suit "senseless" and "a serious disservice to
anyone who is looking for real answers and information about healthy
lifestyles, energy balance and personal responsibility."


FLORIDA: Punitive Damages Allowed In Families' Suits V. Two Cemeteries
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The 1,400 families suing Menorah Gardens cemeteries in Palm Beach and
Broward Counties, Florida, will be allowed to ask for punitive damages
in their lawsuits over burial problems and grave desecrations, Circuit
Judge Leonard Fleet ruled recently, the Associated Press Newswires
reports.  However, Judge Fleet still has not ruled on whether he will
permit the families to form a group and sue in a single class action,
and no decision on this issue is expected before April.

The families are claiming that there is evidence that cemetery crews
dug up at least three graves to make room for new burials and dumped
the remains in nearby woods.  Families say state investigators have
confirmed two instances of such treatment with DNA tests.  The nature
of the evidence and the number of desecrations it supports are
important to Judge Fleet in making his decision about authorizing a
class action.  

Will the quality of the evidence, together with the number of cases it
supports, justify an extrapolation that there are many more cases of
the same kind, justifying the conclusion that there is a common ground
upon which the families stand?  The answer "yes" would allow Judge
Fleet to certify the families as a class.

Judge Fleet, on the issue of punitive damages, said, "When we are
dealing with dead bodies, we enter in an area that is different from
all other concepts known in Florida jurisprudence."

The judge decided that both the Florida company and its parent, Service
Corporation International of Houston, must face claims for compensatory
as well as punitive damages, although SCI blames the gravediggers for
the problems.  Families have not specified any dollar amounts.

After hearing three days of company testimony, Judge Fleet expressed
concern about current SCI operations, more than a year after the
lawsuit was filed.  Rusty Scott, SCI's managing director had taken
months to create a new layout book and maps for the Palm Beach cemetery
based on burial records, ground probes, radar tests and other work.  A
similar book and maps are being prepared for the Broward cemetery.

Judge Fleet, referring to Mr. Scott's layout book and maps, said Mr.
Scott was "very accomplished at bringing order out of chaos."  However,
while cemetery records "may now be in a more reliable state," they are
based on records "admittedly in disarray."

Therefore, said Judge Fleet, he was left with "serious doubt as to both
their integrity and their reliability (the new layout book and maps) in
determining who is buried in any given grave."


GLOBAL SOURCE: FDA Orders Seizure of Dietary Supplement Products in FL
----------------------------------------------------------------------
At the request of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), US Marshals
seized dietary supplement products from Global Source Management and
Consulting, Inc., in Sunrise, Florida.  US Marshals seized 450 bottles
and 57,000 bulk capsules worth nearly $19,000 after FDA determined that
these products claimed to treat a variety of medical conditions.  Such
unapproved drug claims violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

The seizure included almost 20 different products that were sold to
consumers under the names Vitamin Hut and RX for Health through retail
booths and by mail order.  The food and drug laws do not allow dietary
supplements to make any claims that the products will cure, mitigate,
treat, or prevent disease.  Moreover, the labeling must be truthful and
not misleading.

Because these products make disease claims on the labels and in
promotional catalogs, FDA considers these products to be unapproved new
drugs.  Before an unapproved new drug product may be marketed, it must
be shown to be safe and effective and approved by FDA.  Drug product
labeling must also include adequate directions for use, which the
seized products' labeling did not provide.

"FDA is absolutely committed to ferreting out and removing from the
marketplace any products that make false and misleading claims," said
FDA Commissioner Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D.  "This is not only
central to our public health mission of protecting consumers from
unsafe products, but also to the agency's renewed efforts to help
ensure that consumers and health professionals receive better
information about the products FDA regulates."

Last year FDA inspected more than 80 dietary supplement firms, several
of which voluntarily corrected identified violations.  FDA will
continue to identify and take appropriate enforcement actions against
dietary supplement products that make disease claims in their labeling.

FDA's investigation of Global Source Management and Consulting, Inc.,
revealed numerous violations including claims to prevent various
cancers and to treat arthritis.  Following the investigation of the
firm's marketing practices, the agency advised the firm that many of
its products made drug claims and are subject to be regulated as drugs.
Despite the FDA's warnings, the firm failed to comply.  During
subsequent inspections FDA inspectors obtained copies of product labels
and promotional catalogs that contained the offending illegal claims.  
To date FDA has received no reports of illnesses associated with taking
the products that were seized today.


HMO LITIGATION: Doctors, Insurers To Argue on RICO, Arbitration Pacts
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Doctors and HMO insurers have been fighting over issues for a decade.  
They are now about to meet before the US Supreme Court to present their
arguments over one dispute, which involves more the sanctity of
contracts than the quality of health care, the Hartford Courant
reports.

For the Supreme Court, the only issue when it hears the oral arguments
on Monday, will be whether to uphold or reverse two lower court
decisions that held that the RICO statute trumps the arbitration
agreements embedded in the contracts between the doctors and the
insurers.  

The case is a slice of a massive class action filed in Miami, Florida
that initially involved as many as 600,000 doctors and more than a
dozen insurers.  The lawsuit is really about the bitter relationship
between doctors and insurers since managed care became the American way
of healthcare - a way of healthcare, which the doctors think has robbed
them of control over their medical practices.

Federal District Court Judge Federico Moreno, in Miami, has dismissed
some of the doctors' complaints and ruled that others must be settled
by arbitration in accordance with the terms of the parties' contracts.  
However, Judge Moreno has allowed a smaller number of doctors to
proceed with the part of their complaint that alleges that arbitration
agreements improperly deny them of the triple damages available under
the racketeering statute, formally known as the Racketeer Influenced
and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Moreno's decision,
saying "the RICO claims in this case are based on a statutory remedy
Congress has provided to any person injured as a result of illegal
racketeering activities."

The issue out of which the Rico statute versus arbitration agreement
question has been distilled, involves late payment of fees by the
insurers to the doctors.  Most states require insurers to pay the
doctors within 30 to 45 days.  However, according to papers filed with
the High Court, insurers have engaged in a massive nationwide scheme to
"deny, delay and diminish" payments due the doctors.  The doctors say
that insurers use commercially available claims processing software to
artificially reduce payments.   The insurers say they process hundreds
of thousands of claims a year "and it is inevitable that disputes
occasionally will arise."   Therefore, say the insurers, they are ready
to employ the established grievance procedure that is available to
doctors even before they reach arbitration.

A decision by the Supreme Court that indeed, as the 11th Circuit Court
of Appeals said, the RICO claims are based on a statutory remedy
granted by Congress and cannot be denied by the substitution of other
remedies, would allow all the doctors to press ahead in another court
with their payment dispute, under the racketeering statute.


HUFFY CORPORATION: CA Court Approves Settlement For Overtime Wage Suits
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles preliminarily
approved a settlement proposed by Huffy Corporation to end two class
actions relating to the Company's divestment of its Washington
Inventory Service subsidiary in November 2000.  The suits are:

     (1) Perez v. Washington Inventory Service, filed in the Los
         Angeles, California Superior Court, and

     (2) Miranda v. Washington Inventory Service, filed in the United
         States District Court for the Central District of California

Both cases were filed on behalf of current and former WIS employees by
the same plaintiffs' counsel and involve alleged violations by WIS of
different aspects of state and federal wage and hour laws, an earlier
Class Action Reporter story states.  The Perez case has been certified
as a class action, and the plaintiffs are seeking class action
certification in the Miranda case.

The Company is not a named defendant in the Perez case but is a named
defendant in the Miranda case.  The Company is potentially obligated to
indemnify WIS Holdings Corporation for some portion of any liability it
or WIS incurs in both cases.

After protracted negotiations and on advice of counsel, a settlement
was negotiated and preliminarily approved on January 28, 2003 by the
court.  A one-time charge to discontinued operations of $7,914 million
or $0.43 per common share was taken in the fourth quarter of 2002 to
fully resolve this matter.


ILLINOIS: Injury Lawsuit Over Deadly Chicago Club Stampede Gains Ground
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Twenty-one people died in a Chicago nightclub, known as E2, during a
stampede which started when security guards at the night club responded
to a minor disturbance by using pepper spray on the patrons at the
crowded night club, according to a reading of the recently filed court
documents, in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.  Several
people became seriously ill from the spraying, experiencing various
respiratory problems, including shortness of breath and vomiting.  
These events, plus the spraying itself, caused the crowd of more than
1,100 patrons to attempt to escape through the exit doors of the
Epitome restaurant and the night club.

The night club is located on the second floor of the South Michigan
Avenue building, patrons attempted exiting, therefore, by way of the
stairs.  When the exit doors were found locked, blocked or barricaded,
allegedly by an unknown Chicago police officer, the patrons piled up at
the bottom of the stairs, where 21 died from crushing injuries and/or
suffocation, and numerous others suffered injuries from the affects of
the crushing of piled-up bodies, the court documents allege.  

The court document used was the complaint brought by Irene Jefferson,
Special Administrator of Estate of Danielle Latrice Greene, deceased,
represented by attorney Melvin Brooks, against the owners of the club
and building, and others.

Five victims or their relatives already have filed lawsuits against the
owners of the club and the building.  One of the plaintiffs is seeking
to have all the defendants' assets put in a common fund to be
"equitably divided" among the victims and their families, the Chicago
Sun-Times reports.

"Realistically, at the end of the day, these defendants are going to
have to be liquidated to satisfy the amount of injuries here," said
Michael Kanovitz, a partner in the law firm of Loevy & Loevy.  Mr.
Kanovitz already has filed a lawsuit seeking class action status
against the owner Dwain Kyles and others associated with the club and
the building at 2347 South Michigan Avenue.

The suit has been filed on behalf of Paul Daval, a South Side man,
whose back was injured while he was "trampled" during the melee.  The
lawsuit demands that all of defendant Dwain Kyles' assets, and those of
the other defendants, be put in a common fund to be divided among the
injured and relatives of the dead.

"We should marshal what is available among these defendants, and then
it would be up to the courts and the parties to divide it to make sure
everyone gets compensated equitably," said Mr. Kanovitz.

One of the large issues being investigated, upon order of Mayor Daley,
after the death of 21 victims, is how and why the club was able to
operate for months in defiance of a court order closing the second-
floor club.  The order was issued in July, by Cook County Judge Daniel
J. Lynch, because of nearly a dozen fire and building code violations,
cited against the night club E2.  However the club remained open, the
Chicago-Sun Times reports.

At a court hearing last week before Judge Lynch, City Corporation
Counsel Mara Georges was able to get the whole building closed, because
"a crack has been discovered at the truss," said Ms. Georges.  "It
compromises the whole building."  Nothing was said about this defect
being new.

However, to remember the victims, Mayor Daley said he had asked all
churches, synagogues and other houses of worship to ring their bells 21
times  - once for each victim - at noon Sunday, February 23.


INTERSTATE BAKERIES: Investors Sue Wonder Bread Over False Statements
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Investors filed a class action against Interstate Bakeries Corporation,
the makers of Wonder Bread, on behalf of anyone who owned Interstate's
stock between September 17 and December 17 of last year, claiming that
the Company made false, misleading statements which resulted in the
artificial inflation of its stock last fall, the Associated Press
Newswires reports.

More specifically, the lawsuit says that officers of the company,
including Chairman Charles Sullivan and Chief Financial Officer Frank
Coffey, misled investors during a September 17 conference call last
year when Mr. Coffey said cake sales were bouncing back after having
dipped because of the warm weather.

The lawsuit says that at the time of the alleged false statement, the
Kansas City-based company "was actually experiencing a negative
variance with respect to cake sales as compared with the prior year."  
However, December 17 arrived, the day "the truth begins to emerge," the
day of another conference call, the suit states.  During that call, Mr.
Coffey, talking to the analysts, said, "If we have to point to one
culprit for the quarter that caused most of the profit shortfall, I
would point to cake."

Additionally, on December 17, when the analysts sought more information
during the conference call, James Elsesser, who had been a board member
since 1995 and had become chief executive officer on October 1, said,
"You know, basically, the second week of September there was a negative
variance vs. the prior year."  Mr. Elsesser is also named as a
defendant.

The lawsuit contends the company executives knew during the September
17 conference call that sales of snack cakes had slipped and were not
recovering.  Additionally, says the lawsuit, officials said during the
September 17 conference call that Interstate could and would
selectively and strategically increase prices of certain bread
products.  However, the lawsuit contends, those pricing decisions
actually had been made at the local level.  Such decisions in the
Southeast had a dramatic negative negative impact on sales and profits.

Interstate Bakeries has 62 bread and cake bakeries around the country.  
Its brands include Hostess, Wonder and Dolly Madison.


LOEWS CINEPLEX: Labels Moviegoers Suit As "Frivolous," "Without Merit"
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Loews Cineplex Entertainment faces a class action filed by Chicago
resident Miriam Fisch in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois on
February 18, 2003.  

The suit was filed over commercials run before the start of the movie.  
The suit, which also names theatre chain Classic Cinemas as defendant,
asserts that commercials belong on TV, not on the movie screen.  The
suit further asserts that start-time delays from the on-screen ads are
a waste of the moviegoers' time, an earlier Class Action Reporter story
states.  

The suit seeks damages of $75 for each person in the class action, and
ask that the commercials be dropped, or that movie ads at least give
the actual start times for movies so you can come in after the
commercials and not miss any of the movie.  The lawsuits don't take
issue with movie previews, which also run before the feature.

"We believe that this lawsuit is frivolous and completely without
merit.  The exhibition business has a long tradition of providing
information, entertainment and advertisements prior to feature films,
including previews for upcoming motion pictures.  In fact, the movie-
going public has come to expect this type of content prior to viewing
the main feature.  We are committed to providing our patrons with the
best overall movie-going experience and believe that this pre-feature
content on the whole enhances that experience," the Company said in a
statement.


MASSEY ENERGY: Agrees To Settle US' Worst Blackwater Spill In Kentucky
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The largest group of plaintiffs to sue Martin County Coal Corporation,
whose corporate parent is Massey Energy Co., has reached a settlement
with Martin and Massey over the nation's worst blackwater spill,
attorneys said recently, The Lexington Herald Leader reports.

Donald Blankenship, chairman of Massey, and John W. Kirk of
Paintsville, a plaintiffs' attorney, declined to comment on the
settlement amount.  However, a news release sent by Kirk's law office
recently to a local paper said, "various sources have opined that the
figure could range between $5 million and $50 million."

In a separate news release, Mr. Blankenship said that the settlement
"covers nearly all of the remaining plaintiffs" and is "another
important and positive step towards final resolution of all the matters
related to the Martin County slurry spill."

This settlement is the third one reached among at least nine lawsuits
filed against Massey after the October 11, 2000 spill that poured 306
million gallons of gooey coal waste into about 70 miles of
Eastern Kentucky waterway.  No one was injured and no homes were
damaged by the spill.  However, streams were blackened and creek
bottoms and yards were covered with up to seven feet of sludge.

In addition to the settlement payouts that will be forthcoming after
the settlement gets final approval from the court, Massey officials
said they already have spent $46 million to clean up the spill.  In
August, the company agreed to pay $3.25 million in penalties and
damages to the state of Kentucky.  Those penalties came on top of an
earlier $325,000 fine imposed by the state Fish and Wildlife Service.  
These sanctions are the largest related to coal-mining activities ever
collected by Kentucky, according to some regulators.

Mr. Kirk, a plaintiffs' attorney, said the settlement is signed and a
Martin County judge will be notified in court of the agreement on
February 28.  Mr. Kirk said different clients will receive different
amounts of money.

"We took the position there were people with different classes of
damage," Mr. Kirk said, "but nobody will be excluded."


PURDUE PHARMA: Marketing Pushed OxyContin Use Beyond Cancer Pain Relief
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Purdue Pharma is the maker of OxyContin, which is a highly profitable
narcotic painkiller, whose original purpose was to ease the pain
endured by cancer patients.  However, according to documents recently
released by the drug company, it has been marketing the drug for uses
far outside the original purpose, promoting its use, in fact, to treat
illnesses such as arthritis and back pain, the Orlando Sentinel
reports.  These documents may be the basis for successful pursuit of at
least some of the class actions among the more than 600 lawsuits filed
against Purdue, according to Paul Hanley, a New York lawyer assisting
with some of these lawsuits.

Purdue had sought to keep secret the documents relating to the
company's current aggressive marketing plans for OxyContin's use by
patients having less-threatening ailments, such as back pain and
arthritis, as well as the documents pertaining to future marketing of
the drug to targets such as obstetricians and sports medicine
specialists.  However, a circuit judge in Broward County, Florida,
ordered the company to release these documents, as a result of a
lawsuit brought by the Orlando Sentinel and the South Florida Sun-
Sentinel.

Investigators and lawyers from around the country are in the process of
obtaining copies of Purdue's marketing plans for use in a number of
investigations and lawsuits, all seeking evidence that Purdue has
intentionally pushed OxyContin for purposes broader than those for
which the drug was intended.

According to the released marketing plans, Purdue recognized early on
that non-cancer patients represented a larger, more lucrative market
and sought to expand the use of its time-release pain-killing pills.  
Some of the areas contemplated for expanded usage by the marketing
plans were back pain and osteoarthritis, as indicated above, as well as
neuropathic pain and post-operative pain.  According to the plans,
"Future growth of OxyContin Tablets will be achieved through targeted
efforts to penetrate: primary care, rheumatology, OB/GYN, surgical and
sports/physical medicine/rehabilitation."

Thomas Abrams, the Food and Drug Administration's director of drug
marketing, faxed a "warning letter" last month to Purdue saying recent
ads in the Journal of the American Medical Association violated
regulations.  "Your journal advertisements omit and minimize the
serious safety risks associated with OxyContin and promote it for uses
beyond which have been proven safe and effective," Mr. Abrams wrote.  
He also said the ads "grossly" overstated the safety profile of
OxyContin by not referring to the "serious, potentially fatal risks"
associated with the drug.

Purdue discontinued the ads and called the FDA's letter, "the result of
an honest misunderstanding which we regret."  The marketing plans of
Perdue might be used by some attorneys to call into question the candor
of this statement.

Before the marketing plans were revealed, several states investigated
Purdue, but the company has been successful in fighting most of the
lawsuits.  For a while it seemed that the investigation by Florida's
former Attorney General Robert Butterworth might go somewhere, as he
launched a highly publicized investigation in 2001, into how the drug
was marketed.  His office requested thousands of pages of documents
from Purdue.  However, it is unclear whether many people were
interviewed.

The investigation was dropped when Purdue pledged $2 million to help
Florida develop computer software to monitor prescriptions.  Assistant
Attorney General Jody Collins said, "You sometimes come to a point
where there is an offer on the table that benefits the state of Florida
. You say, this is something you can't pass up."

When asked about Florida patients who may get the drug inappropriately,
she said that is a matter for the FDA to handle.  OxyContin has been
the subject of great debate.  Federal officials have said no drug in
the past 20 years has been so abused in such a short time.  A Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA) official testified last year that such
problems were due, in part, "to aggressive marketing and promotion" of
the drug.  In the Appalachian region, for example, abuse of the drug
and addiction became such a problem that it became known as "hillbilly
heroin."

The DEA has asked Purdue to market the drug only to pain specialists
and to modify the company's claim that OxyContin may be less prone to
abuse than similar narcotics.  However, DEA officials can only make
recommendations.

Now that documents revealing Purdue's intention to market its drug
beyond the usage for which it was approved are public, now that both
the investigators and the lawyers are "circling," the landscape may
change.


RHODE ISLAND: Pyrotechnics Starts Fire in Rhode Island Club, 85 Killed
----------------------------------------------------------------------
85 people were killed and 160 were injured when a fire erupted in a
Rhode Island nightclub, during a rock band's pyrotechnics display, the
Associated Press reports.  Frantic mobs rushed to escape the inferno,
and many died due to a stampede, others through smoke exhalation.

The tragedy occurred during a concert of 80's hard rock band, Great
White, which had just started playing when giant pyrotechnic sparklers
on stage began shooting up and igniting the ceiling above the crowd.  
The fire quickly spread through the low-ceilinged building, filling it
with thick black smoke.  The entire club was engulfed in flames within
three minutes.  Many of the customers thought the pyrotechnics were
part of the act.  

Club officials told AP the pyrotechnics were used without permission.  
Kathleen Hagerty, a lawyer representing club owners Michael and Jeffrey
Derderian said, "No permission was ever requested by the band or its
agents to use pyrotechnics at The Station, and no permission was ever
given," she said.

The band denied the allegations.  The band's singer, Jack Russell, said
the manager checked with the club before the show and the use of
pyrotechnics was approved, AP states.  Paul Woolnough, president of
Great White's management company, said tour manager Dan Biechele
"always checks" with club officials before pyrotechnics are used.

"I'm not going to reply to those allegations, but I do know that the
club would have been informed, as they always are," Mr. Woolnough said.  
Mr. Biechele could not immediately be located for comment.

The owner of a well-known New Jersey nightclub said Great White failed
to tell him they were using pyrotechnics for a concert there a week
ago, AP states.  "Our stage manager didn't even know it until it was
done," said Domenic Santana, owner of the Stone Pony in Asbury Park.
"My sound man freaked out because of the heat and everything, and they
jeopardized the health and the safety of our patrons."

Firefighters searched through the building.  "They are still pulling
bodies out," Gov. Don Carcieri told AP after rushing back to the state
from a Florida vacation.  "This building went up fast - nobody had a
chance."

Fire Chief Charles Hall said the club recently passed a fire
inspection, but didn't have a city permit for pyrotechnics.  Most of
the bodies were found near The Station's front exit, some of them
burned and others dead from smoke inhalation.  Chief Hall also told AP
some appeared to have been trampled in the rush to escape.  "They tried
to go out the same way they came in. That was the problem," Mr. Hall
said. "They didn't use the other three fire exits."

"As much as we can prepare for anything like this the stark reality is
hard to imagine," Dr. Joseph Amaral, a surgeon and the hospital's
president told AP.  "One of the most remarkable things for me is the
degree of inhalation injuries that everyone sustained."

The fire came less than a week after 21 people were killed in a
stampede at a Chicago nightspot, AP states.  The worst nightclub fire
in the United States was Nov. 28, 1942, when 491 people died at
Boston's Coconut Grove nightclub.


SOUTH DAKOTA: Judge To Hear Motion To Dismiss Beef Producer's Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
A federal judge will listen to a group of meatpackers presenting their
arguments why he should dismiss the beef producers' lawsuit against the
meatpackers, which contends the meatpackers manipulated the prices paid
the beef producers in the spring of 2001, the Aberdeen American News
reports.

According to the plaintiffs, the four major US meatpackers knowingly
used false pricing reports during April and May 2001 to drive down beef
prices paid to the producers of beef.  The US Department of Agriculture
used the information supplied by the packers and unwittingly reported
the price of boxed beef was falling sharply that spring, while, in
fact, it actually was rising, the plaintiffs contend.  Boxed beef
prices are those paid to packers for their finished products.  When the
pricing error was discovered, live cattle prices jumped immediately by
$40 to $50 a head.  By that time plaintiffs had been paid the depressed
price caused by the meatpackers' successful manipulation.

The suit is on behalf of all the beef producers who sold cattle to the
four packers during April and May 2001.  The defendants are:  

     (1) Tyson Foods;

     (2) Excel Corporation, a division of Cargill;

     (3) ConAgra Beef Company and

     (4) Farmland National Beef Packing Co.  

The plaintiffs are seeking damages estimated at $40 million, based on
the price jump per head of cattle when the false pricing was discovered
and adjusted.  The packers in effect pocketed that $40 million, say the
plaintiffs.

The meatpackers entered their motion to dismiss the complaint, which
was filed in July of last year in US District Court in Aberdeen, S.D.  
Judge Charles B. Kornmann will hear oral arguments on the motion to
dismiss, but it is expected Judge Kornmann will take the motions under
advisement and issue a written decision later.


TEXAS: Businesses Warned Against Statewide Gasoline Price-Fixing
----------------------------------------------------------------
Texas Governor Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott issued a
warning today to Texas businesses against gasoline price-fixing.  A
possible war in Iraq, a stagnant U.S. economy, a strike affecting the
Venezuelan oil market, a colder than normal winter in the northeast,
among other factors, have pushed refined oil prices higher.  However,
the state leaders say nothing accounts for the unwarranted spikes some
consumers have seen across the state recently.

Governor Perry said, "A sudden increase in gas prices, as consumers
have experienced in recent days, concerns all Texans.  We have heard
complaints of gasoline selling in Texas for well over $2 per gallon.  
The vast majority of Texas companies conduct their businesses legally
and ethically.  However, complaints received in our offices will be
investigated by the Attorney General, and I stand firm with General
Abbott in warning companies against trying to exploit consumers."

Attorney General Abbott said, "Texas has always had a very competitive
oil and gas market, and we encourage that.  But we will not tolerate
underhanded business dealings intended to reap big profits by
exploiting the national mood of uncertainty.  My office will make every
effort to ensure that pricing is fair among businesses in this sector,
and if it is not, we stand ready to use the state's antitrust laws to
stop it."

The two leaders noted that the preliminary investigation will focus on
gasoline producers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers.  Governor
Perry and Attorney General Abbott urge businesses to use restraint in
the pricing of fuels in the face of uncertainty nationwide.


UNITED STATES: Lawsuit Charges US Marshals Service With Discrimination
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The US Marshals Service has been named in a class action filed by four
plaintiffs, in the United States District Court in Boise, Idaho,
accusing the agency of discrimination in an attempt aimed at
reclassifying dozens of court security officers as medically unfit for
their jobs, Associated Press Newswires reports.

The lawsuit claims the Marshals Service and six companies that provide
courthouse security on contract have required 68 security officers to
repeat medical screenings in violation of the Americans With
Disabilities Act.

A spokesman for the Marshals Service said the tougher testing is part
of the agency's effort to bolster security at courthouses and other
federal buildings following the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah
Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

"We certainly understand how this could lead to some problems for our
employees, but we have to stick to our major consideration her, which
is safety," said Dave Turner, a spokesman for the US Marshals.  "We are
not backing off the standards because of lawsuits."

Most of the federal courthouse security officers are retired police
officers working a second career.  They are not sworn deputy marshals,
but they are armed and trained to handle courtroom disruptions and
immediate threats.  The latest complaint is based on a recent rule
change related to hearing and other health standards, said Robert C.
Huntley, attorney for the plaintiffs.  In a number of cases, the agency
has refused to let the security officers take their hearing tests while
wearing their hearing aids."

Mr. Turner, spokesman for the US Marshals, explained what may seem a
strange rule.  After the mayhem of Oklahoma City, the Marshals Service
was asked to design a standardized health screening process, which,
admittedly, is more stringent.  "The difference in the standards is
that they (the security officers) have to be able to perform in a
crisis situation," Mr. Turner said.  "It is difficult for people
wearing hearing aids to discern people screaming when you have alarms
going off."


* Slave Reparations Issues Divides Americans As Lawsuits Increase
-----------------------------------------------------------------
In August of last summer, thousands gathered at the Capitol in
Washington, D.C., in support of federal compensation for slavery.  The
theme was "Reparations Now:  They Owe Us."  Many of the speakers
demanded a national dialogue on the subject of compensating the
descendants of slaves for the years of free labor as well as the legacy
of inequity that burdens today's society, according to a report by the
Detroit Free Press.

Before the rally took place, the gathering momentum of the reparations
issue had shown itself in a flurry of federal lawsuits that had been
filed by direct descendants of slaves seeking compensation from
corporations that profited from the slave trade.  Some of the
corporations targeted in the lawsuits included FleetBoston Financial,
Aetna, New York Life Insurance, the railroad CSX and Lloyd's of London.

The issue, complex and emotional, divides not only blacks and whites,
but divides black Americans as well.  A poll conducted around a year
ago found that nine out of 10 white Americans are against government
Payments, while slightly more than half of black Americans support
them.  About 62 percent of white Americans oppose corporate payments,
and 68 percent of blacks support these types of payments.

Randall Robinson, an author and one of the leading voices in favor of
reparations, believes them to be a "debt" owed by the nation to blacks
for the toll that slavery took on the community.  Mr. Robinson argues
the debt must be paid, otherwise the issue of race, which depends on
"closing the yawning economic gap between blacks and whites," will
never be resolved.

"Black people worked long, hard, killing days, (for) years, centuries,
and they were never paid," Mr. Robinson wrote in "The Debt," his book,
written in 2000, which many say has energized the debate.  "The value
of their labor went into other pockets - plantation owners, Northern
entrepreneurs, state treasuries, the US government."

There are the critics of reparations, one of the leaders being David
Horowitz, who say that the demands for reparations create divisiveness
and deepen mistrust between blacks and whites.  "Nothing good can come
of it.  It just breeds bad feelings.  This is a hate-America movement,
said Mr. Horowitz.  "It causes people to look into the past instead of
the future."

Some of the opposition to looking back is revisited regularly at the
House of Representatives.  US Representative John Conyers, D-Michigan,
introduced, in 1993, a resolution to establish a commission to study
the effects of slavery.  So far, Mr. Conyers has not been successful in
getting his resolution considered by the House.  Undiscouraged, he
continues to introduce it.

However, the voices for reparations have grown louder, and, in the past
ten years, mainstream activists have taken up the cause.  In several
large cities, resolutions have been passed supporting reparations.  
Among such supporters, the argument, basically, is that more than 200
years of slavery, followed by years of legal segregation and
discrimination, created an economic and psychological divide between
blacks and whites.  Only some form of restitution can help close the
gap, the supporters argue.

Paul Anthony Dottin, the first graduate of the Public Intellectuals
Program at Florida Atlantic University, and author of "The End of Race
As We Know It: Slavery, Segregation and the African American Quest for
Redress," seemed to see compensation as a factor of healing.  "You
can't fully redress these transgressions, but you can compensate it, so
that descendants have the means to move forward," he said.

Some reparations activists believe that compensation should come from
the US government, reasoning that this country's economy was, in large
part, built on slave labor.  However, Mr. Horowitz says suing the
federal government doesn't make sense - it was the states of the
Confederacy that were responsible for slavery.  "But there is no one
alive now who was responsible for slavery," Mr. Horowitz argued.  

He urged the reparations supporters to view the US government programs
such as welfare, affirmative action and education subsidies for inner-
city schools, as de facto compensation for the historical inequities.

Still, the reparations activists move on.  One of them is Deadria
Farmer-Paellmann, who has brought class actions against firms that are
derived from corporations that directly benefited from slavery.  For
example, she traced Aetna's records back to the 19th century, showing
that the firm sold policies insuring slave property for the slaves'
owners.  After the discovery was publicized, Aetna issued an apology,
but no compensation was forthcoming.

Reparations activists could derive support from a growing body of legal
precedent.  Last August, a number of the class actions that had been
filed by reparations activists received a legal boost for a ruling by a
Miami federal judge.  In that case, Hungarian Jews were seeking redress
from the US government for its alleged role in seizing property during
World War II.  The judge's ruling approved strategies to get around the
government's claim of immunity -- the kind of help reparations
activists need for pushing their claim against the US government.

Government compensation for harms inflicted has historical precedent.  
Japanese Americans received payments from the United States for
internment during World War II, German Jews received $60 million from
the German government for Nazi persecution and the Inuit Indians were
compensated by the government of Canada.


                     New Securities Fraud Cases


COSI INC.: Milberg Weiss Commences Securities Fraud Lawsuit in S.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP initiated a securities class
action on behalf of purchasers of the common stock of Cosi, Inc.
(NASDAQ: COSI) between November 22, 2002 to February 4, 2003 inclusive,
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York against the Company and:

     (1) Andrew M. Stenzler (CEO and Chairman),

     (2) Jonathan M. Wainwright, Jr. (President) and

     (3) Kenneth S. Betuker (CFO)

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 November 22, 2002 to February 4, 2003.  
As alleged in the complaint, the Registration Statement and Prospectus
for the Company's November 22, 2002 IPO contained several sections
which discussed the Company's plans for growth and described how the
proceeds raised from the IPO would enable the Company to implement
these plans.

The complaint further alleges that similar representations were made by
defendant Stenzler in an interview broadcast on CNNfn.  These
statements were materially false and misleading, according to the
complaint, because:

     (1) they failed to disclose that the funds raised by the IPO would
         be insufficient to implement the Company's expansion plan,
         contrary to defendants' Class Period representations; and

     (2) at the time of the IPO, defendants should have known that the
         costs of expansion would be greater than the cash available to
         the Company (which included working capital and proceeds from
         the IPO), making it highly improbable that the Company would
         be able to successfully continue to open numerous new stores
         at such a rapid pace.

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: Cosicase@milbergNY.com or visit the
firm's Website: http://www.milberg.com   


INTERSTATE BAKERIES: Schatz & Nobel Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in MO
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Schatz & Nobel PC initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Western District of Missouri on behalf of
all persons who purchased the common stock of Interstate Bakeries
Corporation (NYSE: IBC) from September 17, 2002 through December 17,
2002, inclusive.

The suit alleges that IBC, a baker and distributor of fresh bakery
products, and certain of its officers and directors made material
misrepresentations concerning IBC's business and operations during the
class period, including material misrepresentations s about the
performance of IBC's critical snack cake business.  These material
misrepresentations caused the price of IBC stock to be artificially
inflated throughout the class period, and enabled officers and
directors of IBC to sell approximately $11 million worth of IBC stock
at artificially inflated prices.

For more details, contact Nancy A. Kulesa by Phone: 1-800-797-5499 by
E-mail: sn06106@aol.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.snlaw.net


LEXENT INC.: Cauley Geller Lodges Securities Suit in DE Chancery Court
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Cauley Geller Bowman Coates & Rudman, LLP filed a securities class
action in the Delaware Court of Chancery on behalf of all individual
and institutional shareholders of Lexent, Inc. (Nasdaq: LXNT).  The
complaint names as defendants Kevin M. O'Kane, the Chief Executive
Officer and Vice Chairman of Lexent, and Hugh J. O'Kane, the Company's
Chairman.

The suit charges that the defendants violated their fiduciary duties in
connection with their recent offer to acquire the remaining shares of
the Company they don't already own for $1.25 per share in cash.  Kevin
M. O'Kane and Hugh J. O'Kane collectively own approximately 52% of
Lexent's outstanding shares, and are the only members of the Company's
Board of Directors.

For more details, contact Jonathan M. Stein by Mail: One Boca Place,
2255 Glades Road, Suite 421-Atrium, Boca Raton, Florida 33431 by Phone:
(888) 262-3131 by Fax: (561) 750-3364 by E-mail: info@cauleygeller.com
or visit the firm's Website: http://www.cauleygeller.com


NAM TAI: Paskowitz & Associates Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Paskowitz & Associates initiated a securities class action on behalf of
purchasers of the common stock of Nam Tai Electronics, Inc. (NYSE: NTE-
News) between July 29, 2002 and February 14, 2003, inclusive, in the
United States District Court, Southern District of New York against the
Company and certain of its officers and directors.

The suit alleges that defendants violated Section 10(b) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by issuing false and misleading
statements regarding its financial performance, and failing to issue
timely reports concerning adverse developments in certain material
litigation.  Adverse news regarding Nam Tai was released by the Company
after the close of trading on February 14, 2003.  In reaction to this
unexpected bad news, Nam Tai shares fell significantly, closing at
$27.65 per share on February 18, 2003, down $5.76, a decline of more
than 15%.

For more details, contact Laurence Paskowitz by Phone: 1-800-705-9529
or by E-mail: classattorney@aol.com.  



NAM TAI: Brian Felgoise Commences Securities Fraud Lawsuit in S.D. NY
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Brian M. Felgoise, PC initiated a securities class
action on behalf of shareholders who acquired Nam Tai Electronics, Inc.
(NYSE:NTE) securities between July 29, 2002 and February 14, 2003,
inclusive, in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York, against the Company and certain key officers and
directors.

The action charges that defendants violated the 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 Brian M. Felgoise by Mail: 261 Old York Road,
Suite 423, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, 19046, by Phone: 215-886-1900 or
by E-mail: goise@comcast.net


WESTAR ENERGY: Schatz & Nobel Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in KS Court
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Schatz & Nobel, PC initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the District of Kansas on behalf of all
persons who purchased the common stock of Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE:
WR) and on behalf of those who purchased Western Resource Capital I
Cumulative Quarterly Income Preferred Securities Series A (NYSE: WR--
pa) from March 30, 2001 through December 26, 2002, inclusive.

The suit alleges that Westar, a consumer services company, and certain
of its officers and directors issued materially false and misleading
statements.  Among other things, defendants failed to disclose that:

     (1) Westar had engaged in certain trades that may have violated
         Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) affiliate
         transaction rules, specifically that these transactions
         involved power sales from one Cleco affiliate to Westar and
         then back to another or the same Cleco affiliate, these
         transactions totaled approximately $19.8 million from 2000 to
         2002; and

     (2) as a result of improper accounting practices regarding
         Westar's 88% ownership of Protection One, a provider of
         property monitoring services, first and second quarter 2002
         financial results had to be re-audited and restated.

On December 26, 2002, Westar acknowledged in a press release that it
had received on December 16, 2002, a subpoena from FERC, seeking
details on trades with Cleco and its affiliates.

For more details, contact Nancy A. Kulesa by Phone: 1-800-797-5499 by
E-mail: sn06106@aol.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.snlaw.net


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Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
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Copyright 2002.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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