CAR_Public/030313.mbx                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
                Thursday, March 13, 2003, Vol. 5, No. 51

                            Headlines                            


ALASKA: Defense Presents Arguments In Sockeye Salmon Price-Fixing Trial
AUCTION HOUSES: Sotheby's, Christie's Settle Antitrust Lawsuit
BASF CORPORATION: MN Appellate Court Grants $53 Million to US Farmers
CAPSTEAD MORTGAGE: NY Court To Rule on Securities Suit Dismissal Motion
CENTERPOINT ENERGY: Reliant Energy Dismissed From Antitrust Lawsuit

CENTERPOINT ENERGY: To Ask For Dismissal of Unfair Business Suits in CA
CENTERPOINT ENERGY: Denies Allegations in Consumer Lawsuits in TX, LA
EMPIRE HEALTHCHOICE: NY Court Dismisses Suit V. Conversion Legislation
FLORIDA: Homeowners File Suit Over Rock Mine Blasting, Damages To Homes
GEORGIA POWER: Asks GA Court To Dismiss Some Claims in Clean Air Suit

HAWAII: Agrees to Settle Medicaid Discrimination Suits For $7 Million
HECLA MINING: Coeur d'Alene Plaintiffs File Amended Lawsuit in ID Court
INTERPUBLIC GROUP: Asks Court To Dismiss Consolidated Securities Suit
INTERPUBLIC GROUP: Seeks Transfer of Securities Fraud Suits To NY Court
INTERPUBLIC GROUP: Faces Shareholder Derivative Lawsuits in NY Courts

MAJOR AUTOMOTIVE: NY Court Approves $4.45M Securities Suit Settlement
MERCURY INSURANCE: Objects To Findings In Favor of Consumers in Lawsuit
NICOR INC.: Plaintiffs Voluntarily Dismiss Lawsuit Over PBR Plan in IL
OCEAN ENERGY: Faces Shareholder Fraud Suit Over Merger in TX Court
ONEOK INC.: KS Residents Commence Suit Over January 2001 Gas Explosions

PUGET SOUND: Named As Defendant in Suits V. Power Companies in OR, WA
RELIANT ENERGY: To Ask For Dismissal of Wholesale Prices Lawsuit in OR
RELIANT ENERGY: To Ask CA Court To Dismiss Consumer Antitrust Lawsuit
RELIANT ENERGY: Expects Securities Fraud Suits To Be Consolidated in TX
RELIANT ENERGY: TX Appeals Court Reverses Judgment in Three Cities Suit

SOUTHERN POWER: Asks Georgia Court To Dismiss Securities Fraud Lawsuit
SYCAMORE NETWORKS: NY Court Dismisses Several Claims in Securities Suit
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Judge To Wait 30 Days To Rule In Philip Morris Case
UNITED STATES: EEOC Says Agriculture Dept Should Improve Response Time
WORLD WRESTLING: NY Court Dismisses In Part Securities Fraud Lawsuit

                     New Securities Fraud Cases

ALLOY INC.: Brodsky & Smith Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. New York
ASTROPOWER INC.: Bernstein Liebhard Commences Securities Lawsuit in DE
ASTROPOWER INC.: Brodsky & Smith Files Securities Lawsuit in Delaware
ATMEL CORPORATION: Emerson Poynter Files Securities Lawsuit in N.D. CA
BAYER AG: Wolf Popper Lodges Securities Fraud Lawsuit in S.D. New York

MICROTUNE INC: Schatz & Nobel Lodges Securities Lawsuit in E.D. Texas
PROVIDENT FINANCIAL: Berger & Montague Files Securities Suit in S.D. OH
PROVIDENT FINANCIAL: Brodsky & Smith Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. OH
PROVIDENT FINANCIAL: Faruqi & Faruqi Files Securities Suit in S.D. Ohio
ROYAL AHOLD: Rabin Murray Commences Securities Fraud Lawsuit in S.D. NY

SAWTEK INC: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Suit in M.D. Florida

                            *********


ALASKA: Defense Presents Arguments In Sockeye Salmon Price-Fixing Trial
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The president of Trident Seafoods, Chuck Bundrant, was the first person
to testify for the defense in the class action filed on behalf of some
4,500 fisherman claiming that the Seattle processors and the Japanese
importers had conspired to fix the price of sockeye salmon.  Mr.
Bundrant testified that no other processor or importer told him what
price to pay Bristol Bay sockeye salmon harvesters, the Associated
Press Newswires reports.

The fishermen contend that the processors and the Japanese importers
conspired to fix prices in the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery
from 1989 to 1995.  The fishermen are seeking more than US$1 billion in
damages.  The trial began February 3, and is expected to last three
months.

Mr. Bundrant said no one told him how much to pay the fishermen for raw
fish, and he denied colluding with other processors to control prices.  
"Trident fishermen are not dependent on us.  We are dependent on them,"
Mr. Bundrant told the jurors.  "Our goal is to make all Trident
fishermen feel that we have made their business more profitable and
efficient."

The processors say world market conditions, not a conspiracy, lowered
prices to fishermen.  In some years, particularly 1989, efforts to
negotiate a better price for Bristol Bay sockeye in Japan cost Trident
millions of dollars in losses, Mr. Bundrant said.

"Their job is to buy cheap," Mr. Bundrant said of the importers.  "My
job is to sell as high as I can.   It is not an easy chore."  

Bristol Bay sockeye from 1989 through 1995, amounted to only about 15
percent of Trident's process seafood, he added.  Answering questions
from Stephan Susman, an attorney for the fishermen, Mr. Bundrant said
that his Company and other processors verified prices with each other
between 1989 and 1995.  Mr. Bundrant said he did not recall his own
participation.

"Price verification was common," he said.  "I just don't recall any
particular incident."

Witnesses for the fishermen testified that price information was common
knowledge, that therefore there was no apparent need for processor
executives to be conferring with each other.


AUCTION HOUSES: Sotheby's, Christie's Settle Antitrust Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Sotheby's announced that, together with Christie's, it had entered into
an agreement, subject to court approval, to settle the Kruman case, an
antitrust class action seeking damages through the United States Courts
for auctions that took place between 1993 and 2000, outside the United
States.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Sotheby's and Christie's
will each pay $20 million.  The settlement agreement also provides that
the threatened claim in England by a law firm on behalf of certain
sellers at auctions held by the Company and Christie's in England will
not be pursued, and that a purported class action commenced against
Sotheby's and Christie's in Canada will be dismissed because those
claimants and potential claimants will be compensated through the
Kruman settlement.  Moreover, buyers and sellers who participate in the
Kruman settlement must agree not to pursue similar claims against
Sotheby's and Christie's in jurisdictions outside the United States.

The $20 million settlement will be recorded within special charges in
Sotheby's results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2002
and will be funded in two payments of $10 million each upon preliminary
and final court approval.

The Kruman Litigation includes all buyers participating at auctions
outside the United States between January 1,1993 and February 7, 2000
and all sellers participating at auctions outside the United States
between September 1, 1995 and February 7, 2000.


BASF CORPORATION: MN Appellate Court Grants $53 Million to US Farmers
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Minnesota Court of Appeals approved a Norman County (MN) jury award
and judgment of $53 million against New Jersey-based BASF Corporation
for defrauding farmers in the sale of a herbicide in a national class
action tried in Ada.  After a five-week trial that concluded on
December 6, 2001 a jury unanimously found that BASF committed consumer
fraud in the sale of Poast herbicide sold in all 50 states from 1992-
96.

The suit alleged that BASF defrauded thousands of American farmers by
marketing the same herbicide as different products -- Poast and Poast
Plus -- at radically different prices.

"BASF concealed from farmers and state regulatory authorities that the
cheaper product, sold to soybean growers, was approved by the EPA for
use on the same crops as the more expensive product sold to growers of
'minor' crops such as sunflowers, sugarbeets, potatoes, vegetables and
fruits," said Minneapolis attorney Douglas Nill, who, with attorneys
Hugh Plunkett and Robert Shelquist, represents the farmers.

BASF's marketing misconduct was egregious, said Mr. Nill.  "The jury
heard evidence that BASF deceived and lied to state regulatory
authorities, food processors, farmers and others to conceal a federal
regulatory action, namely, the EPA registration of Poast Plus for the
same crops as Poast, using the same safety data. BASF threatened,
encouraged and allowed the criminal prosecutions of farmers for 'off-
label' use of cheaper Poast Plus as a marketing 'strategy'. BASF
considered the 'risk' of farmers discovering the truth, and whether
United States farmers could be 'controlled in future' if BASF's
fraudulent marketing and pricing schemes for Poast and Poast Plus were
discovered."

BASF's appeal of the jury verdict attracted national attention from
business stalwarts.  Submitting "friend of the court" briefs to the
Minnesota appellate court on behalf of BASF were CropLife America,
National Association of Manufacturers and American Chemistry Council,
AEI-Brookings Joint Center of Washington, D.C., Product Liability
Advisory Council, Washington Legal Foundation, and U.S. Chamber of
Commerce.

The State of Minnesota, through Attorney General Mike Hatch, and the
American Sugarbeet Growers' Association joined the appellate fray with
"friend of the court" briefs on behalf of farmers.  

"The chemical corporations are nervous because BASF admitted during
trial that the entire industry is engaged in these marketing games,"
said Mr. Nill.  "The entire industry is engaged in a charade of selling
the same product as different products for different uses, while
exploiting regulations intended to protect the safety of people and the
environment, to extract higher prices from segments of the consumer
market."

BASF threatens to continue its appeal of the jury verdict to the
Minnesota and US Supreme Courts.  "BASF repetitively argues frivolous
defenses rejected by Minnesota and all appellate courts," said Mr.
Nill.  "BASF will continue its paper blizzard strategy to hold its ill-
gotten money and delay payment to injured farmers."

Mr. Nill says the 11 Minnesota, Montana and North Dakota farmers who
represent the class will seek a pro rata distribution of damage funds
to injured farmers across the United States who can be located and
submit claims.

A pro rata distribution of the common fund to injured class members
after a jury verdict and judgment is the required approach, says Mr.
Nill.  Any remaining funds would be provided to charitable or non-
profit organizations that assist farmers.

Farmers who purchased Poast from 1992-1996 should locate invoices and
other proof of purchase and contact Douglas Nill by E-mail:
dnill@farmlaw.com or visit the firm's Website: http://www.farmlaw.com


CAPSTEAD MORTGAGE: NY Court To Rule on Securities Suit Dismissal Motion
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court in New York will issue a decision this
month on the two-year-old motion to dismiss filed by Capstead Mortgage
Corporation in relation to the consolidated securities class action
pending against it and certain of its officers alleging, among other
things, that the defendants violated federal securities laws by
publicly issuing false and misleading statements and omitting
disclosure of material adverse information regarding the Company's
business.

The amended complaint claims that as a result of alleged improper
actions, the market prices of the Company's equity securities were
artificially inflated during the period between April 17, 1997 and June
26, 1998.  The amended complaint seeks monetary damages in an
undetermined amount.

In February 2001 the Company filed a motion to dismiss all allegations
against it and the named officers.  In April 2001 the plaintiffs
responded to the Company's motion to dismiss and the Company filed its
reply to the plaintiffs' response in May 2001.

On February 6, 2003 the court entered an order stating that it will
issue a decision on the motion to dismiss no later than March 7, 2003.  
The Company believes it has meritorious defenses to the claims and
intends to vigorously defend the actions.  Based on available
information, management believes the resolution of these suits will not
have a material adverse effect on the Company's financial position.


CENTERPOINT ENERGY: Reliant Energy Dismissed From Antitrust Lawsuit
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Centerpoint Energy's predecessor Reliant Energy was dismissed as
defendant in several suits filed in several state courts alleging
violations of state and federal antitrust laws.  The suit also names as
defendants:

     (1) Reliant Resources,

     (2) Reliant Energy Services, Inc.(Reliant Energy Services),

     (3) Reliant Energy Power Generation, Inc. (REPG),

     (4) several other subsidiaries of Reliant Resources,

     (5) two former officers and one present officer of some of these
        companies, and

     (6) other companies that own generation plants in California and
         other sellers of electricity in California markets

While the plaintiffs allege various violations by the defendants of
antitrust laws and state laws against unfair and unlawful business
practices, each of the lawsuits is grounded on the central allegation
that the defendants conspired to drive up the wholesale price of
electricity.  In addition to injunctive relief, the plaintiffs in these
lawsuits seek treble the amount of damages alleged, restitution of
alleged overpayments, disgorgement of alleged unlawful profits for
sales of electricity, costs of suit and attorneys' fees.

All of these suits originally were filed in state courts in San Diego,
San Francisco and Los Angeles Counties.  The suits in San Diego and Los
Angeles Counties were consolidated and removed to the federal district
court in San Diego, but on December 13, 2002, that court remanded the
suits to the state courts.  

Prior to the remand, Reliant Energy was voluntarily dismissed from two
of the suits.  Several parties, including the Reliant defendants, have
appealed the judge's remand decision.  The United States court of
appeals has entered a briefing schedule that could result in oral
arguments by summer of 2003.  Proceedings before the state court are
expected to resume during the first quarter of 2003.


CENTERPOINT ENERGY: To Ask For Dismissal of Unfair Business Suits in CA
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Centerpoint Energy's predecessor Reliant Energy and several of its
subsidiaries intend to ask the San Francisco federal and state courts
to dismiss a class action filed against them alleging,
violations of state laws against unfair and unlawful business
practices.  The suit names as defendants:

     (1) Reliant Energy,

     (2) Reliant Resources,

     (3) Reliant Energy Services and

     (4) other subsidiaries of Reliant Resources

The suits were filed relating to transactions in the markets for
ancillary services run by the California independent systems operator,
charging unjust and unreasonable prices for electricity, in violation
of antitrust laws in connection with the acquisition in 1998 of
electric generating facilities located in California.

The complaints variously seek restitution and disgorgement of alleged
unlawful profits for sales of electricity, civil penalties and fines,
injunctive relief against unfair competition, and undefined equitable
relief.  Reliant Resources has removed the two state court cases to the
federal district court in San Francisco where all three cases are now
pending.

Following the filing of the Attorney General cases, seven additional
class action cases were filed in state courts in Northern California.  
Each of these purports to represent the same class of California
ratepayers, assert the same claims as asserted in the other California
class action cases, and in some instances repeat as well the
allegations in the Attorney General cases.  

All of these cases have been removed to federal district court in San
Diego.  Reliant Resources has not filed an answer in any of these
cases.  The plaintiffs have agreed to a stipulated order that would
require the filing of a consolidated complaint by early March 2003 and
the filing of the defendants' initial response to the complaint within
60 days after the consolidated complaint is filed.  In all of these
cases filed before the federal and state courts in California, the
Reliant defendants have filed or intend to file motions to dismiss on
grounds that the claims are barred by federal preemption and the filed
rate doctrine.


CENTERPOINT ENERGY: Denies Allegations in Consumer Lawsuits in TX, LA
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Centerpoint Energy Resources Corporation faces several lawsuits filed
in Texas and Louisiana Courts on behalf of natural gas consumers.

The first suit was filed in October 2002, in the Texas District Court
in Wharton County, naming the Company, Centerpoint Energy, Inc., Entex
Gas Marketing Company, and others as defendants.  The suit alleged:

     (1) fraud,

     (2) violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act,

     (3) violations of the Texas Utility Code,

     (4) civil conspiracy and

     (5) violations of the Texas Free Enterprise and Antitrust Act

The plaintiffs seek class certification, but no class has been
certified.  The plaintiffs allege that defendants inflated the prices
charged to residential and small commercial consumers of natural gas.

In February 2003, a similar suit was filed against the Company in state
court in Caddo Parish, Louisiana purportedly on behalf of a class of
residential or business customers in Louisiana who allegedly have been
overcharged for gas or gas service provided by CERC.  The plaintiffs in
both cases seek restitution for the alleged overcharges, exemplary
damages and penalties.

The Company denies that it has overcharged any of its customers for
natural gas and believes that the amounts recovered for purchased gas
have been in accordance with what is permitted by state regulatory
authorities.


EMPIRE HEALTHCHOICE: NY Court Dismisses Suit V. Conversion Legislation
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The New York Supreme Court dismissed the class action filed by the
Consumers Union of the U.S., Inc., the New York Statewide Senior Action
Council and several other groups against:

     (1) the State of New York,

     (2) the Superintendent of Insurance,

     (3) the New York Public Asset Fund,

     (4) Empire HealthChoice HMO, and

     (5) its board of directors

The suit challenges the State's Conversion Legislation on several
constitutional grounds, including that it impairs the plaintiffs'
contractual rights, it impairs the plaintiffs' property rights without
due process of law, and constitutes an unreasonable taking of property.  
In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the Company violated Section 510
of the New York Not-For-Profit Corporation Law and that the directors
of HealthChoice breached their fiduciary duties, among other things, in
approving the plan of conversion.

The complaint sought a permanent injunction against the conversion or
portions thereof, including a redirection of the proceeds received from
the sale of shares by the Company's largest stockholder, The New York
Public Asset Fund, to uses that are charitable in nature.

In September 2002, the Company and the state defendants moved on
several grounds to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint in its entirety.  In
the Company's motion, it argued first, that plaintiffs' entire
complaint should be dismissed because the issue of how best to use the
Company's value to advance the public's health and welfare raised by
the complaint is a non-justiciable political question that is the sole
province of the Legislature and beyond review by the courts.

Second, the Company argued that plaintiffs' constitutional claims based
upon violations of the contracts, due process, and takings clauses
should be dismissed because plaintiffs failed to allege a state action,
a cognizable property or contractual right, or that the procedures
pursuant to which any conversion would take place do not comport with
due process safeguards.  The Company argued further that plaintiffs'
state law claims should be dismissed because:

     (i) the Conversion Legislation supersedes any state provisions
         allegedly violated;

    (ii) plaintiffs failed to plead that our board of director's
         decision to pursue the conversion constitutes a breach of
         fiduciary duty;

   (iii) plaintiffs did not plead all of the elements of constructive
         trust against any defendant; and

    (iv) plaintiffs' allegation that the Conversion Legislation does
         not apply to the Company is contradicted by the statute itself
         and by the decision of the New York Superintendent of
         Insurance to approve the plan of conversion, which allegation
         plaintiffs seek to withdraw

Pursuant to a motion filed by plaintiffs, the New York Supreme Court
issued a temporary restraining order enjoining and restraining the
transfer of the proceeds of the sale of common stock by the selling
stockholders in the Company's initial public offering to The New York
Public Asset Fund or The New York Charitable Asset Foundation or to the
State or any of its agencies or instrumentalities.  

The court also ordered that such proceeds be deposited with the
Comptroller of the State of New York pending the outcome of this
action.  The court did not enjoin the Company or the other defendants
from completing the conversion or the initial public offering or the
receipt by WellChoice of the net proceeds from its issuance and sale of
shares in the initial public offering.

A court conference was held on November 26, 2002, at which time the
motion to dismiss and the motion to convert the temporary restraining
order into a preliminary injunction were deemed submitted.  On March 6,
2003, the court delivered its decision dated February 28, 2003, in
which it dismissed all of the plaintiffs' claims in the complaint.  The
decision grants two of the plaintiffs, Consumers Union and one other
group, leave to replead the complaint, if they so choose, within 30
days of the decision to allege that the Conversion Legislation violates
the State Constitution on the ground that it applies exclusively to the
Company.  Pending this 30-day period, the temporary restraining order
remains in effect and the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary
injunction is deferred.


FLORIDA: Homeowners File Suit Over Rock Mine Blasting, Damages To Homes
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Homeowners in northwest Miami-Dade county believe blasting in a nearby
rock mine is damaging their homes, fracturing ceilings, splintering
doorways, and cracking patio floors, among other things, The Miami
Herald reports.

Some 150 homeowners turned to the courts in 1999, after insurers hired
by the rock mining industry investigated and, without exception,
dismissed the blasting at the rock mining pits as the cause of the
damages.  Rock miners in Miami-Dade county run a billion-dollar
industry, employing thousands of people and supplying more than half
the limestone used for construction projects statewide; they have a
long history of policing themselves.

So the homeowners filed a class action that sought millions in damages
and is still pending.  Other suits have been brought against the
industry by homeowners from West Kendall to Miramar.  Proving the
assertion of damage by the blasting and getting reimbursed for repairs
is a long, tedious process.

That may be about to change.  A bill establishing an easier, cheaper
claims process for homeowners is moving through the state Legislature,
miraculously without notable opposition.  The bill has passed two
Senate committees and a full Senate vote should happen soon.  In the
House, a companion bill will be coming up for its first committee vote.

The legislation would create a streamlined system that would enable the
settlement of disputes between homeowners and rock miners in months,
not years.  The cost would be a fraction of the attorney fees involved
in court battles.  Opposition to this bill, as indicated above, is hard
to find, The Miami Herald reports.  Rock miner, homeowner, legislators
of both parties, all seem to agree such a system of settlement is
needed.

The mining industry, although attached to the argument that factors
such as settling of a new house and shoddy construction practices
caused the cracks, supports the claims process because of the potential
savings in legal costs.  Important to the process is the fact that the
state has provided by legislation that independent seismologists, not
those with ties to the miners, should decide whether the intensity of
miners' dynamite blasts exceed legal limits.

At the present time, the bill provides that they would start with
negotiations between the accused mining company and the complaining
homeowners and would go to an administrative law judge if no agreement
is reached.  For the first time, rock miners would be required to carry
a $100,000 bond to cover damages.

Michael Pizzi, president of an advocacy group called Citizens Against
Blasting and a Miami Lakes councilman, firmly supports the bill.  He
does not approve some of its provisions, such as the possibility that
homeowners would have to reimburse miners for court costs if an
administrative judge finds the industry is not at fault.

Mr. Pizzi's organization is the driving force behind the instituted
class action.  The Miami Herald reported that sources familiar with the
progress of the lawsuit told the newspaper that a tentative settlement
has been reached which would award the roughly 150 homeowners a
collective sum of more than $1 million.  One of the conditions of the
settlement, sources said, is that a formal claims process be enacted.


GEORGIA POWER: Asks GA Court To Dismiss Some Claims in Clean Air Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Georgia Power Company asked the United States District Court in Georgia
to dismiss several of the claims in a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club,
Physicians for Social Responsibility, Georgia ForestWatch, and one
individual, alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at the Company's
Plant Wansley facility.

The complaint alleges Clean Air Act violations at both the existing
coal-fired units and the new combined cycle units.  Specifically, the
plaintiffs allege:

     (1) opacity violations at the coal-fired units,

     (2) violations of a permit provision that requires the combined
         cycle units to operate above certain levels,

     (3) violation of nitrogen oxide emission offset requirements, and

     (4) violation of hazardous air pollutant requirements

The civil action requests injunctive and declaratory relief, civil
penalties, a supplemental environmental project, and attorneys' fees.  
The Clean Air Act authorizes civil penalties of up to $27,500 per day,
per violation at each generating unit.

The Company filed a motion to dismiss the allegations regarding
emission offsets and hazardous air pollutants.  While the Company
believes that it has complied with applicable laws and regulations, an
adverse outcome could require payment of substantial penalties.  The
final outcome of this matter cannot now be determined.


HAWAII: Agrees to Settle Medicaid Discrimination Suits For $7 Million
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett and the law firm of Alston Hunt
Floyd & Ing announced the settlement of all class actions, damage
actions and appeals, and all matters arising out of the State's 1994
reforms to its Medicaid program.

The settlement calls for the State to pay $7 million to approximately
200 disabled persons and their attorneys, in addition to several
hundreds of thousands already paid in settlement to over one hundred
members of two plaintiff classes.  This ends a series of cases in which
federal courts held the State liable for discrimination against
disabled persons under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the
Rehabilitation Act of 1974, and follows on the January 13, 2003 refusal
by the United States Supreme Court to review a Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals ruling affirming damage judgments in favor of four Hawaii
residents denied Quest medical and dental benefits.

"We are pleased that the State has acknowledged its responsibility for
not giving the disabled the same benefits it gave to other Hawaii
residents," said Shelby Anne Floyd, lead attorney for the plaintiffs.
"Without Governor Lingle's personal efforts to reach a fair settlement,
the State might have been liable for much more in damages."

State Attorney General Bennett stated, "The team of Deputy Attorneys
General who have excellently litigated these cases for many years, have
always acted diligently and in full accord with their legal and ethical
duty to fully protect the State and the interests of all of Hawaii's
citizens.  This settlement is, I believe, in the best interests of both
the State of Hawaii and the Plaintiffs.  I am pleased that on payment
of the amount agreed upon, the State will have fulfilled all of its
responsibilities in this matter, and will have no further obligations
in terms of time, money, or expending any other resources."

Both Floyd and the State Attorney General said they appreciated the
diligent efforts of the federal court, and particularly the efforts of
Judge Barry Kurren in helping to make this settlement.  The settlement
is contingent upon funding by the Hawaii Legislature, as a part of a
bill in this legislative session.


HECLA MINING: Coeur d'Alene Plaintiffs File Amended Lawsuit in ID Court
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in the class action against Hecla Mining Company and other
corporate defendants filed an amended suit in the Idaho District Court,
County of Kootenai.

The complaint seeks certification of three plaintiff classes of Coeur
d'Alene Basin residents and current and former property owners to
pursue three types of relief:

     (1) various medical monitoring programs,

     (2) real property remediation and restoration programs, and

     (3) damages for diminution in property value, plus other damages
         and costs

On April 23, 2002, the Company filed a motion with the court to dismiss
the claims for relief relating to any medical monitoring programs and
the remediation and restoration programs.  At a hearing before the
court on the Company and other defendants' motions held October 16,
2002, the judge struck the complaint filed by the plaintiffs in January
2002 and instructed the plaintiffs to re-file the complaint limiting
the relief requested by the plaintiffs to wholly private damages.  The
court also dismissed the medical monitoring claim as a separate cause
of action and stated that any requested remedy that encroached upon the
Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) cleanup in the Silver Valley
would be precluded by the suit.  

The plaintiffs re-filed their amended complaint on January 9, 2003.  As
ordered by the court, the amended complaint omits any cause of action
for medical monitoring and no longer requests relief in the form of
real property remediation or restoration programs.  

The Company believes the complaint is subject to challenge on a number
of bases.


INTERPUBLIC GROUP: Asks Court To Dismiss Consolidated Securities Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. asked the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York to dismiss the
consolidated securities class action pending against it and certain of
its present and former directors and officers.

Several of the Company's stockholders filed lawsuits shortly after the
Company's August 13, 2002 announcement regarding the restatement of its
previously reported earnings for the periods January 1, 1997 through
March 31, 2002.  The court later ordered these actions consolidated.  
The purported classes consist of Company shareholders who purchased
Company stock in the period from October 1997 to October 2002.  

Specifically, the consolidated amended complaint alleges that the
Company and certain of its present and former directors and officers
allegedly made misleading statements to its shareholders between
October 1997 and October 2002, including the alleged failure to
disclose the existence of additional charges that would need to be
expensed and the lack of adequate internal financial controls, which
allegedly resulted in an overstatement of the Company's financial
results during those periods.  

The consolidated amended complaint alleges that such false and
misleading statements constitute violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.  The
consolidated amended complaint also alleges violations of Sections 11
and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 in connection with Interpublic's
acquisition of True North Communications, Inc.  No amount of damages is
specified in the consolidated amended complaint.  

On February 6, 2003, defendants filed a motion to dismiss the
consolidated amended complaint in its entirety.  On February 28, 2003,
plaintiffs filed their opposition to defendants' motion.  The motion is
currently pending.


INTERPUBLIC GROUP: Seeks Transfer of Securities Fraud Suits To NY Court
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Interpublic Group of Companies sought for the transfer of two state
securities class actions to the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York.

The suits were filed against the Company and certain of its present and
former directors and officers by purchasers of the Company's stock
shortly after the Company's November 13, 2002 announcement regarding
the restatement of its previously reported earnings for the periods
January 1, 1997 through March 31, 2002.  The purported classes consist
of Company shareholders who acquired stock on June 25, 2001 in
connection with the Company's acquisition of True North Communications,
Inc.

These lawsuits allege that the Company and certain of its present and
former directors and officers allegedly made misleading statements in
connection with the filing of a registration statement on May 9, 2001
in which Interpublic issued 67,644,272 shares of its common stock for
the purpose of acquiring True North, including the alleged failure to
disclose the existence of additional charges that would need to be
expensed and the lack of adequate internal financial controls, which
allegedly resulted in an overstatement of the Company's financial
results at that time.

The suits allege that such misleading statements constitute violations
of Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933.  No amount of
damages is specified in the complaints.  These actions were filed in
the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.   

In December 2002, defendants removed these actions from Illinois state
court to the United States District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois.  Thereafter, on January 10, 2003, defendants moved to
transfer these two actions to the Southern District of New York.  
Plaintiffs have moved to remand the actions to Illinois state court,
and have opposed defendants' motion to transfer.  Those motions are now
pending.


INTERPUBLIC GROUP: Faces Shareholder Derivative Lawsuits in NY Courts
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Interpublic Group of Companies faces an amended shareholder
derivative lawsuit filed the New York Supreme Court, New York County.  
The suit was filed on the behalf of the Company against its board of
directors and its auditors.  The suit alleges breach of fiduciary
duties.

A similar suit has been filed in the United States District Court for
the Southern District of New York against the same defendants.  The
suit makes the same breach of fiduciary duty claims and adds a claim
for contribution and forfeiture against two of the individual
defendants pursuant to Section 21D of the Exchange Act and Section 304
of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  The complaint does not state a specific
amount of damages.  

Defendants intend to move to dismiss these derivative actions.  While
the proceedings are in the early stages and contain an element of
uncertainty, the Company has no reason to believe that the final
resolution of the actions will have a material effect on its financial
position, cash flows or results of operations.


MAJOR AUTOMOTIVE: NY Court Approves $4.45M Securities Suit Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Major Automotive Companies, Inc. (Nasdaq SC: MAJR) announced that
the settlement of a class action against the Company and several of its
current and/or prior directors and/or officers, captioned In re
Fidelity Holdings, Inc. Securities Litigation, has been approved by the
United States District Court Eastern District of New York.

Accordingly, the settlement fund will be fully funded with payment of
$4,450,000 from the Company's insurance carrier and such funds will be
distributed, after payment of legal and administrative expenses, to
claimants who have not validly excluded themselves and who submit valid
claims.  There will be no further costs to the Company in connection
with this action and all prior costs have been reflected in the
Company's previously issued financial statements.

The court, in approving the settlement, found it to be "fair,
reasonable and adequate."  The Company entered into the settlement
agreement solely for the purpose of settling this litigation. The
Notice of Pendency previously sent to potentially eligible claimants,
stated that neither the Company nor any of its directors or officers
have admitted any liability or wrongdoing.

For more information, contact the claims administrator by Mail:
Fidelity Holdings Security Litigation, c/o The Garden City Group, PO
Box 9000 #6051, Merrick, New York 11566-9000 or visit the firm's
Website: http://www.majorworld.com/  


MERCURY INSURANCE: Objects To Findings In Favor of Consumers in Lawsuit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Mercury Insurance Company has objected to the findings of fact and
conclusions of law favoring the plaintiffs in a class action filed
against it, Mercury Casualty Company, and California Automobile
Insurance Company in the Superior Court for the City and County of San
Francisco.

The suit, initially filed in June 2000 on behalf of the general public,
the plaintiff is asserting unfair trade practices claim under Section
17200 of the California Business and Professions Code.  Specifically,
the case involves a dispute over the legality of broker fees (generally
less than $100 per policy) charged by independent brokers who sell the
Company's products to consumers that purchase insurance policies
written by the California Companies.

The plaintiff asserts that the brokers who sell the Company's products
should not charge broker fees and that the Company benefits from these
fees and should be liable for them.  The plaintiff is seeking an
elimination of the broker fees and restitution of previously paid
broker fees.

Following a four-day trial, in December 2002, proposed findings of fact
and conclusions of law in favor of the plaintiff were issued stating
that the Company's brokers are indistinguishable from agents and should
not charge broker fees, and that the broker fees are attributable to
the Company, suggesting the Company could be held responsible for
restitution.

The Company filed objections to the proposed findings of fact and
conclusions of law and requested a hearing.  A hearing on the Company's
objections was granted and is scheduled for March 18, 2003.  The
Company intends to continue to vigorously defend this case.


NICOR INC.: Plaintiffs Voluntarily Dismiss Lawsuit Over PBR Plan in IL
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the class action filed against Nicor
Gas Company and the North Illinois Gas Company, in the Circuit Court of
Cook County, Illinois, on behalf of all customers of Nicor Gas who at
any time from January 2000 through the present were subject to Nicor
Gas' performance based rate (PBR) plan.  The named plaintiffs alleged
breach of contract, unjust enrichment and violation of the Illinois
Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act, and that the class
sustained damages as a result of Nicor Gas manipulating the benchmark
under the PBR plan.  The named plaintiffs sought, on behalf of
themselves and the purported class, compensatory damages, prejudgment
and post-judgment interest, disgorgement of all profits, and
restitution to plaintiffs and the purported class.

The Company filed a motion to dismiss this action on September 24,
2002.  The plaintiffs later voluntarily dismissed the case, but
indicated an intent to bring their claims before the International
Criminal Court.  

The Company is unable to predict the outcome of any such proceeding or
Nicor's potential exposure related thereto and has not recorded a
liability associated with the potential outcome of this contingency.


OCEAN ENERGY: Faces Shareholder Fraud Suit Over Merger in TX Court
------------------------------------------------------------------
Ocean Energy, Inc. and all the members of its board of directors faces
a class action filed in the District Court of Harris County, Texas,
generally alleging that the 0.414 exchange ratio is inadequate and
unfair to the Company's common stockholders and he defendants breached
their fiduciary duties to Ocean stockholders, including the duty of
care and the duty of loyalty, or aided and abetted in the breach of
those fiduciary duties, by, among other things:

     (1) failing to conduct a "full and fair auction process or active
         market check;"

     (2) agreeing to the terms of the merger agreement, including a
         non-solicitation provision and the termination fee that is
         payable by Ocean to Devon under certain circumstances;

     (3) failing to make an informed decision;

     (4) failing to ensure that conflicts of interest are resolved in
         the best interests of the Company's public stockholders;

     (5) personally benefiting from the merger; and

     (6) not appointing "any truly independent person or entity" to
         negotiate on behalf of Ocean stockholders

The complaint seeks class action status.  It also seeks injunctive
relief against completing the merger or, if the merger is completed,
rescission of the merger, monetary damages in an unspecified amount and
recovery of the plaintiff's costs and attorneys' fees.  The Company
believes that the lawsuit is without merit and intends to defend
against it vigorously.  However, the Company can provide no assurance
that additional claims may not be made or filed the substance of which
is similar to the allegations described above or that otherwise might
arise from, or in connection with, the merger agreement and related
transactions.


ONEOK INC.: KS Residents Commence Suit Over January 2001 Gas Explosions
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
ONEOK, Inc. faces a class action filed in the District Court of Reno
County, Kansas relating to the gas explosions occurring in Hutchinson,
Kansas in January 2001.  The suit also names as defendants:

     (1) Kansas Gas Service Company, Inc.,

     (2) Western Resources, Inc.,

     (3) Mid Continent Market Center, Inc.,

     (4) ONEOK Gas Storage, LLC,

     (5) ONEOK Gas Storage Holdings, Inc., and

     (6) ONEOK Gas Transportation, LLC

The suit seeks recovery on behalf of residents of Reno County, Kansas,
who have suffered or will suffer damage and/or economic losses relating
to personal property and displacement costs.

The Company has not been served in this matter.


PUGET SOUND: Named As Defendant in Suits V. Power Companies in OR, WA
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Puget Sound Energy faces two class actions, along with thirty other
defendants, one filed in the United States District Court in Seattle
and the other in Multnomah County Circuit Court in Oregon.

The Company was served with the complaint and summons in the Washington
federal court case on February 3, but as of March 7, 2003, has not been
served in the Oregon case.  Nonetheless, Reliant Energy Services, one
of the defendants, removed the suit to Oregon federal court on February
5, 2003.

The complaints allege that they are brought on behalf of all retail
customers in Washington and Oregon, respectively, and seek relief
against the defendants (each of which is a seller of electric energy at
wholesale in certain markets) for "unfair or deceptive acts," "fraud by
concealment," negligence and for an accounting. No specific amounts
of damages are pled in the complaints.

The Company cannot predict the outcome of any of these ongoing
proceedings relating to the western power markets, or whether the
ultimate impact on PSE will be material.


RELIANT ENERGY: To Ask For Dismissal of Wholesale Prices Lawsuit in OR
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Reliant Energy, Reliant Resources and several other Reliant
subsidiaries intend to ask the United States District Court in
Portland, Oregon to dismiss a class action filed on behalf all Oregon
purchasers of electricity and natural gas.  The suit, initially filed
in Oregon State Court, also names as defendant several other
electricity generators and marketers.  

In December 2002, a nearly identical lawsuit on behalf of consumers in
the State of Washington was filed in federal district court in Seattle.  
Reliant Resources has removed the Oregon suit to federal district court
in Portland.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants manipulated wholesale power prices
in violation of state and federal law.  The plaintiffs seek injunctive
relief and payment of damages based on alleged overcharges for
electricity.

It is anticipated that before answering the lawsuits, the defendants
will file motions to dismiss on the grounds that the claims are barred
by federal preemption and by the filed rate doctrine.


RELIANT ENERGY: To Ask CA Court To Dismiss Consumer Antitrust Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Reliant Energy will request that the Los Angeles County Superior Court
in California to dismiss a class action filed in November 2002 by
California Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, on behalf of purchasers
of gas and power.  Reliant Energy, Reliant Resources and
several Reliant Resources subsidiaries are named as defendants, along
with other market participants and publishers of some of the price
indices.

The suit alleges violations of state antitrust laws and state laws
against unfair and unlawful business practices based on an alleged
conspiracy to report and publish false and fraudulent natural gas
prices with an intent to affect the market prices of natural gas and
electricity in California.  The complaint seeks injunctive relief,
compensatory and punitive damages, restitution of alleged overpayment,
disgorgement of all profits and funds acquired by the alleged unlawful
conduct, costs of suit and attorneys' fees.

The parties have stipulated to a schedule that would require the
defendants to respond to the complaint by March 31, 2003.  The Reliant
defendants intend to deny both their alleged violation of any laws and
their alleged participation in any conspiracy.


RELIANT ENERGY: Expects Securities Fraud Suits To Be Consolidated in TX
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Reliant Energy and its subsidiaries expect that several class actions
filed against them in the United States District Courts in Houston,
Texas and Illinois will be consolidated.

Fifteen class actions were filed in May, June and July 2002 on behalf
of purchasers of securities of Reliant Resources and/or Reliant Energy.  
These suits were later consolidated, naming as defendants:

     (1) Reliant Resources,

     (2) certain of Reliant Resources' executive officers,

     (3) Reliant Energy,

     (4) the underwriters of the Reliant Resources Offering, and

     (5) Reliant Resources' and Reliant Energy's independent auditors

The consolidated amended complaint seeks monetary relief purportedly on
behalf of three classes:

     (i) purchasers of Reliant Energy common stock from February 3,
         2000 to May 13, 2002;

    (ii) purchasers of Reliant Resources common stock on the open
         market from May 1, 2001 to May 13, 2002; and

   (iii) purchasers of Reliant Resources common stock in the Reliant
         Resources Offering or purchasers of shares that are traceable
         to the Reliant Resources Offering

The plaintiffs allege, among other things, that the defendants
misrepresented their revenues and trading volumes by engaging in round-
trip trades and improperly accounted for certain structured
transactions as cash-flow hedges, which resulted in earnings from these
transactions being accounted for as future earnings rather than being
accounted for as earnings in fiscal year 2001.

In February 2003, a lawsuit was filed by three individuals in federal
district court in Chicago against CenterPoint Energy and certain former
and current officers of Reliant Resources for alleged violations of
federal securities laws.  The plaintiffs in this lawsuit allege that
the defendants violated federal securities laws by issuing false and
misleading statements to the public, and that the defendants made false
and misleading statements as part of an alleged scheme to inflate
artificially trading volumes and revenues.  In addition, the plaintiffs
assert claims of fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation and
violations of Illinois consumer law.

The defendants expect to file a motion to transfer this lawsuit to the
federal district court in Houston and to consolidate this lawsuit with
the consolidated lawsuits described above.  The Company believes that
none of these lawsuits has merit because, among other reasons, the
alleged misstatements and omissions were not material and did not
result in any damages to any of the plaintiffs.


RELIANT ENERGY: TX Appeals Court Reverses Judgment in Three Cities Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Texas Appeals Court in Houston reversed a trial court's judgment
against Reliant Energy and Houston Industries Finance, Inc. (formerly a
wholly owned subsidiary of Reliant Energy) in the class action filed by
the cities of Wharton, Galveston and Pasadena for themselves and a
proposed class of all similarly situated cities in the Company's
electric service area, alleging underpayment of municipal franchise
fees.

The plaintiffs claim that they are entitled to 4% of all receipts of
any kind for business conducted within these cities over the previous
four decades.  A jury trial of the original claimant cities (but not
the class of cities) in the 269th Judicial District Court for Harris
County, Texas, ended in April 2000 (the Three Cities case).

Although the jury found for the Company on many issues, it found in
favor of the original claimant cities on three issues, and assessed a
total of $4 million in actual and $30 million in punitive damages.  
However, the jury also found in favor of the Company on the affirmative
defense of laches, a defense similar to a statute of limitations
defense, due to the original claimant cities having unreasonably
delayed bringing their claims during the 43 years since the alleged
wrongs began.  

The trial court in the Three Cities case granted most of the Company's
motions to disregard the jury's findings.  The trial court's rulings
reduced the judgment to $1.7 million, including interest, plus an award
of $13.7 million in legal fees.  In addition, the trial court granted
the Company's motion to decertify the class.  Following this ruling, 45
cities filed individual suits against the Company in the District Court
of Harris County, Texas.

On February 27, 2003, the state court of appeals in Houston rendered an
opinion reversing the judgment against the Company and rendering
judgment that the Three Cities take nothing by their claims.  The court
of appeals found that the jury's finding of laches barred all of the
Three Cities' claims and that the Three Cities were not entitled to
recovery of any attorneys' fees.  The judgment of the court of appeals
is subject to motions for rehearing and an appeal to the Texas Supreme
Court.


SOUTHERN POWER: Asks Georgia Court To Dismiss Securities Fraud Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Southern Power Company asked the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Georgia to dismiss a consolidated securities class
action filed against the Company, certain of its former and current
senior officers, Mirant Corporation (which the Company acquired), 12
underwriters of Mirant Corporation's initial public offering, and
certain Mirant officers.

The original lawsuit against Mirant and its officers was based on
allegations related to alleged improper energy trading and marketing
activities involving the California energy market.  The suit was later
amended to be based on allegations related to alleged improper energy
trading and marketing activities involving the California energy
market.  The consolidated suit alleged false statements and omissions
in Mirant's prospectus for its initial public offering and in
subsequent public statements by Mirant, and accounting-related issues
previously disclosed by Mirant.

The lawsuit purports to include persons who acquired Mirant securities
on the open market or pursuant to an offering between September 26,
2000, and September 5, 2002.  The amended complaint does not allege any
improper trading and marketing activity, accounting errors, or material
misstatements or omissions on the part of Southern Company but seeks to
impose liability on Southern Company based on allegations that Southern
Company was a "control person" as to Mirant.

On February 14, 2003, the Company filed a motion seeking to dismiss all
claims against it.  However, the final outcome of this matter cannot
now be determined.


SYCAMORE NETWORKS: NY Court Dismisses Several Claims in Securities Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
dismissed in part the consolidated securities class action filed
against Sycamore Networks, Inc., several of its officers and directors
and the underwriters for the Company's initial public offering (IPO) on
October 21, 1999.

The suit, filed on behalf of persons who purchased the Company's common
stock between October 21, 1999 and December 6, 2000, alleges violations
of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934, as amended, primarily based on the assertion that the
Company's lead underwriters, the Company and the other named defendants
made material false and misleading statements in the Company's
Registration Statements and Prospectuses filed with the SEC in October
1999 and March 2000 because of the failure to disclose:

     (1) the alleged solicitation and receipt of excessive and
         undisclosed commissions by the underwriters in connection with
         the allocation of shares of common stock to certain investors
         in the Company's s public offerings; and

     (2) that certain of the underwriters allegedly had entered into
         agreements with investors whereby underwriters agreed to
         allocate the public offering shares in exchange for which the
         investors agreed to make additional purchases of stock in the
         aftermarket at pre-determined prices.

The amended complaint alleges claims against the Company, several of
the Company's officers and directors and the underwriters under
Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act.  It also alleges claims
against the Company, the individual defendants and the underwriters
under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act.  

The action against the Company is being coordinated with approximately
three hundred other nearly identical actions filed against other
companies.  The actions seek damages in an unspecified amount.

In October 2002, the court dismissed the individual defendants from the
case without prejudice based upon stipulations of dismissal filed by
the plaintiffs and the individual defendants.  A motion to dismiss
addressing issues common to the companies and individuals who have been
sued in these actions was filed on July 15, 2002.  An opposition to
that motion was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs and a reply brief was
filed on behalf of the defendants.

On February 19, 2003, the court denied the motion to dismiss with
respect to the Company.  The Company believes that the claims against
it are without merit and intends to defend against the complaints
vigorously.  The Company is not currently able to estimate the
possibility of loss or range of loss, if any, relating to these claims.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Judge To Wait 30 Days To Rule In Philip Morris Case
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
When Madison County, Illinois, Circuit Court Judge Nicholas Byron, who
has overseen the bench trial between plaintiff smokers and cigarette
maker Philip Morris, told lawyers for both sides early last week that
he might rule after closing arguments this Monday, the stock price of
Philip Morris' parent company dropped.  However, Judge Byron has now
told the lawyers that his verdict will be delayed for at least 30 days
while he takes post-trial motions, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

The class action against Philip Morris claims that the cigarette maker
falsely marketed Marlboro Light and Cambridge Light cigarettes as being
lower in tar and nicotine, even though the company knew that the
smokers would inhale more deeply or smoke more cigarettes to compensate
for the lower nicotine level.

Lawyers for plaintiffs plan to ask Judge Byron to assess at least $21
billion in compensatory and punitive damages, a figure that would set a
record for the St. Louis area, even if the judge approved only a tenth
of the request.  Philip Morris officials deny the charges and say that
the case should never have been certified a class action because fraud
claims inherently involve individual knowledge and perception.

Some Illinois legislators have proposed a law that would cap at $100
million the amount of money a tobacco company would have to post to
appeal a billion-dollar verdict.  The bill has passed the Illinois
House and is pending in the Senate.

In a number of ways, the light-cigarettes case has broken ground for
tobacco litigation nationwide and for the circuit court in Madison
County.  Unlike other lawsuits against tobacco companies that claim
personal injuries from smoking, this case is based on the idea that
consumers suffered economic damage by spending their money to buy a
product they believed was safer than regular cigarettes, but not
receiving the product they bargained for.

Edward L. Sweda Jr., a senior lawyer with the Tobacco Products
Liability Project at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston,
said that regardless of the outcome, the trial "will provide a good
road map" for both plaintiffs' and defense lawyers in similar cases
pending in other states.

The case also has the distinction of being the first class action to go
to trial as a way of resolving the issues.  Until the light cigarettes
case, the parties resolved their issues by reaching a settlement
agreement.

On Friday morning, several of the plaintiffs' expert witnesses
participated in a telephone media conference in which they repeated
their testimony that Philip Morris knew light cigarettes were only
lighter than regular ones when going through the government-mandated
machine tests, but not when actually used by the smokers, who puffed
harder to obtain more nicotine, and smoked more cigarettes to get it as
well.

If Judge Byron rules in favor of the plaintiffs and hands down a record
verdict, the case will not be resolved for years.  William Ohlemeyer,
vice president and associate general counsel for Philip Morris USA, has
said that the Company would appeal an adverse verdict, taking it to the
US Supreme Court if necessary.

Many persons who have not followed the trial closely, but know the
judicial system well, said that plaintiffs' attorneys have but a
slender chance of collecting a huge award.

John Kirkston, editor of the Cook County (Illinois) Jury Verdict
Reporter, said, "I would be very surprised if a multibillion-dollar
verdict on something like this, stood."


UNITED STATES: EEOC Says Agriculture Dept Should Improve Response Time
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says the Agriculture
Department is slow in responding to civil rights complaints by its
employees, resulting in the delay of investigations and settlements,
Associated Press Newswires reports.

The EEOC's report says the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) needs
to improve its tracking system of complaints because on average it
takes 559 days for the department to investigate a complaint, although
government agencies are supposed to review and investigate cases within
180 days.

Lawrence Lucas, president of an advocacy group that represents USDA
workers, the Coalition of Minority Employees, says the EEOC review
highlights the department's history of failing to stop discrimination
against its workers as well as against farmers who are minorities.

The report also criticized USDA for letting its general counsel's
office, which defends the department against complaints, take the lead
in investigating discrimination accusations.  This practice "impedes
opportunities for settlement," the EEOC said in its report.  The EEOC
also said that the general counsel's office should not be advising the
agency's civil rights office on how to handle civil rights cases.

Alisa Harrison, a department spokeswoman, said, "There will be a
firewall put in place this week," she said.  "In other words, those
people (the general counsel) will not be advising our civil rights
department."

A promise also came from Lawrence Lucas, who said he and other
advocates will monitor the Department to see whether it keeps its
promise.  "The Office of General Counsel is really our main obstacle to
a better civil rights process at USDA," Mr. Lucas said.  "We are going
to fight against them until this changes.

David Grinberg explained the function of the report.  The EEOC
routinely checks on federal agencies to help them improve their
response within the complaint process.  However, departments do not
face any penalties for failing to respond to the Commission's review.


WORLD WRESTLING: NY Court Dismisses In Part Securities Fraud Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court dismissed several claims in the
securities class action pending against World Wrestling Entertainment,
Inc., alleging violations of the federal securities laws.  The suit
also named as defendants:

     (1) Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc.,

     (2) Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Incorporated,

     (3) Credit Suisse First Boston Corporation,

     (4) WIT Capital Corporation,

     (5) Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corporation,

     (6) Chase H&Q (Hambrecht & Quist LLC),

     (7) Vincent K. McMahon,

     (8) Linda E. McMahon and

     (9) August J. Liguori

The complaint alleges, inter alia:

     (i) claims under Section 11 of the Securities Act against all
         defendants,

    (ii) claims under Section 12(2) of the Securities Act against the
         Underwriter Defendants,

   (iii) claims under Section 15 of the Securities Act against the
         Company and the Individual Defendants,

    (iv) claims under Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule
         10(b)(5) against all defendants, and

     (v) claims under Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act against the
         Individual Defendants

According to the allegations of the suit, the underwriter defendants
allegedly engaged in manipulative practices by pre-selling allotments
of shares of the Company's stock in return for undisclosed, excessive
commissions from the purchasers and/or entering into after-market tie-
in arrangements which allegedly artificially inflated the Company's
stock price.  The plaintiff further alleges that the Company knew or
should have known of such unlawful practices.

The Company denies all allegations against it, believes that it has
meritorious defenses on plaintiffs' claims, and intends to defend this
action vigorously.  The Company understands that nearly 1,000 suits
with similar claims and/or allegations have been filed over the past
couple of years against companies which have gone public in that
general time period.  All of these claims have been consolidated before
the same judge in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York.

The Company was part of a motion to dismiss filed on behalf of all
issuers on July 15, 2002.  On February 19, 2003, the court issued its
ruling granting in part and denying in part the issuers' motion.  
Specifically, the court granted the motion dismissing the Section 10(b)
claims against the Company and denied the motion as to Section 11
claims against the Company.  The Company cannot at this time predict
the likely outcome of this litigation.


                     New Securities Fraud Cases


ALLOY INC.: Brodsky & Smith Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. New York
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Brodsky & Smith, LLC initiated a securities class action on behalf of
shareholders who purchased the common stock and other securities of
Alloy, Inc. (Nasdaq:ALOY) between August 1, 2002 and January 23, 2003,
inclusive.

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York against the company and certain of its
officers and directors.  Alloy is a teen-focused media company and
direct marketer that targets Generation Y consumers, i.e. the
approximately 60 million people in the United States between the ages
of 10 and 24.

The complaint alleges that by issuing a series of materially false and
misleading statements to the market regarding Alloy's business and
financial condition, between August 1, 2002 and January 23, 2003, the
Company, Matthew C. Diamond (CEO), James K. Johnson Jr. (President and
COO) and Samuel A. Gradess (CFO) violated the Securities Exchange Act
of 1934.

The complaint alleges that Alloy claimed that its merchandising and
advertising segments complemented one another in a way that gave it an
edge over competing teen retailers and media businesses, thus enabling
it to succeed despite difficult market conditions in the second half of
2002.  

Alloy failed to advise investors, however, that the Company faced
fierce competition for the youth market and the weak economy had forced
it to cut its prices and increase operating expenses, e.g. by offering
free shipping and deep discounts, thereby eroding Alloy's gross profit
margin.

On January 23, 2003, the Company shocked the market by announcing that
EBTA for its fiscal fourth quarter ending January 31, 2003 would be $11
million to $12 million instead of the previously projected $15 million
to $16 million and that fiscal 2002 EBTA would be in the range of $30
to $31 million instead of the previously forecast $34 million to $38
million.  On this news, the Company's share priced plummeted by 49%, or
$4.57, from the previous day's closing price of $9.10.

For more information, 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


ASTROPOWER INC.: Bernstein Liebhard Commences Securities Lawsuit in DE
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP initiated a securities class action
on behalf of all persons who acquired securities of AstroPower, Inc.
(NASDAQ: APWR) between February 22, 2002 and August 1, 2002, inclusive.  
The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
District of Delaware against the Company, Allen M. Barnett, and Thomas
J. Stiner.

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 material misrepresentations to the
market during the class period, thereby artificially inflating the
price of AstroPower securities.

Specifically, the Complaint alleges that throughout the class period,
AstroPower, self-described as the world's largest independent
manufacturer of solar electric power products, and one of the world's
fastest growing solar electric power companies, reported strong revenue
and earnings growth.  The Company represented that:

     (1) it was ramping up production while remaining cost efficient;

     (2) it had sufficient expertise to adjust solar product capacity
         to demand; and

     (3) it had minimized the risk of oversupply, inventory buildup,
         and/or price and margin erosion.

However, in fact, the Company was unable to effectively manage its
expanding and increasingly complex operations; it was, inter alia,
unable to allocate resources among its various manufacturing facilities
to effectively meet regional demand or to tailor its production
capacity to actual demand.  Consequently, during the time that the
Company was stating that it was well positioned to take advantage of
the increased demand for solar products, it was actually losing ground
to more effective competitors, especially in Europe, which was the
Company's largest market.

Additionally, to maintain the illusion that its operations were
successful, the Company reported artificially inflated revenue and
earnings by improperly recording revenue.

The truth was revealed on August 1, 2002 when, after the close of
trading, the Company announced its results for the second quarter ended
June 30, 2002.  Analysts were stunned.  Reported revenue had not grown
but was approximately $4.9 million below analysts' consensus estimate.
Contrary to class period statements, the Company's ramp up to meet
increased demand was not low risk but resulted in an inventory glut,
which included $2 million in inventory which the Company described as
"stranded."  On this news, AstroPower's share price plunged 48%, or
$7.12, to $7.77, its lowest price in almost three years.

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


ASTROPOWER INC.: Brodsky & Smith Files Securities Lawsuit in Delaware
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Brodsky & Smith, LLC initiated a securities class action on behalf of
shareholders who purchased the publicly traded securities of
AstroPower, Inc. (Nasdaq:APWR) between February 22, 2002 and August 1,
2002, inclusive.  The case is pending in the United States District
Court for the District of Delaware against the Company and certain of
its officers and directors.  AstroPower develops, manufactures, markets
and sells a range of solar electric power generation products.

The complaint alleges that by issuing a series of materially false and
misleading statements to the market regarding AstroPower's business and
financial condition, between February 22, 2002 and August 1, 2002, the
Company, Allen M. Barnett (CEO and President) and Thomas J. Stiner
(CFO), violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The complaint alleges that throughout the class period, AstroPower
claimed that it was well positioned to take advantage of the increasing
demand for solar power products and that, throughout the class period,
the Company reported strong revenue and earnings growth.  As a result
of these statements and reports, which were disseminated to the
investing public, on March 28, 2002, the Company's per share stock
price reached a class period high of $27.00.

The complaint further alleges that throughout the class period, the
Company was unable to effectively manage its expanding and increasingly
complex operations.  Consequently, during the time that AstroPower was
stating that it was well positioned to take advantage of the increased
demand for solar products, it was in fact losing ground to more
effective competitors.

Additionally, throughout the class period, AstroPower reported
artificially inflated revenue and earnings by, inter alia, recording
revenue in advance of shipment, contrary to its stated principles of
revenue recognition.

On August 1, 2002, after the close of trading, AstroPower announced its
results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2002.  Analysts were
stunned.  Reported revenue and net income had not grown and revenue of
$20.4 million was approximately $4.9 million below analysts' consensus
estimate.  On this news, AstroPower's share price plunged 48%, to
$7.77, its lowest price in almost three years.

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


ATMEL CORPORATION: Emerson Poynter Files Securities Lawsuit in N.D. CA
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Emerson Poynter LLP initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf
of purchasers of Atmel Corporation's (Nasdaq:ATML) publicly traded
securities during the period between January 20, 2000 and July 31,
2002, inclusive.

The complaint charges Atmel Corporation and certain of its officers and
directors with issuing false and misleading statements concerning its
business and financial condition.  Specifically, the complaint alleges
that defendants caused Atmel's shares to trade at artificially inflated
levels through the issuance of false and misleading financial
statements, while concealing that Atmel was selling defective chips to
its customers which would lead to product recalls, repairs and loss of
customer relationships.

On July 31, 2002, media reports indicated that the Company had been
sued by a major customer, Seagate Technology Inc., for selling
defective chips which led to defects in millions of disk drives.  On
this news, the Company's stock price declined to $2.96.

For more information, contact Tanya Autry by Phone: (800) 663-9817 or
by E-mail: shareholder@emersonfirm.com.


BAYER AG: Wolf Popper Lodges Securities Fraud Lawsuit in S.D. New York
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Popper LLP filed a securities fraud class action complaint against
Bayer (AG) Aktiengesellschaft (NYSE:BAY), and certain present and
former members of its Board of Management, on behalf of purchasers of
Bayer AG American Depositary Shares (ADRs) from May 26, 1999 through
February 21, 2003.  (Prior to January 23, 2002, Bayer AG ADRs traded on
the NASDAQ under the symbol BAYZY.)  The case is pending at the US
District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The complaint alleges, among other things, that throughout the class
period defendants misrepresented Bayer AG's success in marketing it's
Baycol cholesterol lowering drug.  Defendants' statements were
materially false and misleading because Bayer AG's own scientists were
stating internally that Baycol, when administered with other popular
medications or at high dosages, caused unacceptable risk of serious
side effects.

In fact, throughout the class period Bayer AG was informed that
patients taking Baycol were experiencing serious and life threatening
side effects.  Baycol was belatedly withdrawn from the market in August
2001 after the FDA raised serious concerns about the safety of Baycol
in light of reports of Baycol patients dying.

The true facts concerning defendants' knowledge of the dangers of
Baycol and the Company's potential liability to Baycol patients were
not completely disclosed until February 22, 2003, in connection with
court filings in various personal injury actions commenced against
Bayer AG by persons who had been prescribed Baycol and had suffered
severe side effects.  These court documents demonstrated defendants'
early knowledge of the risk of serious or life threatening side effects
to patients taking Baycol, including the knowledge that patients taking
Baycol were found to have 5 to 10 times the chance of developing a life
threatening illness -- rhabdomyolysis -- as patients taking other
similar medicines.

The price per share of Bayer AG ADRs fell approximately 17% when Baycol
was withdrawn from the market in August 2001.  Following the February
22, 2003 disclosure of the true state of defendants' knowledge of the
dangers of Baycol, Bayer AG ADRs declined an additional 27%, from
$17.15 per share to $12.58 days after the revelation -- more than 68%
below the trading price at the beginning of the class period ($39.75).

For more details, contact Michael A. Schwartz by Mail: 845 Third
Avenue, New York, NY 10022-6689 by Phone: 212-451-9668 or 877-370-7703
by Fax: 212-486-2093 or 877-370-7704 by E-mail:
mschwartz@wolfpopper.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.wolfpopper.com  


MICROTUNE INC: Schatz & Nobel Lodges Securities Lawsuit in E.D. Texas
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Schatz & Nobel, PC filed a securities fraud suit in the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on behalf of all
persons who purchased the common stock of Microtune, Inc. (Nasdaq:
TUNE) from April 22, 2002 through February 20, 2003, inclusive.

The suit alleges that Microtune, a radio frequency silicon and systems
company, and certain of its officers issued materially false and
misleading statements concerning Microtune's business condition.  
Specifically, defendants failed to disclose that Microtune's new
technology was not successful and the bulk of its earnings were
generated by low-tech products, which had dropped dramatically in
price.

Additionally, the Company was experiencing shortfalls due to
competitors' successes.  Defendants also concealed that many Microtune
customers who had agreed to take receipt of the Company's products were
receiving generous credit as an inducement and/or were unable to pay
for the products when they were shipped.  Finally, Microtune's
valuation of its Transilica acquisition was overvalued by more than $50
million.

On February 20, 2003, Microtune issued a press release announcing its
4thQ 02 results and stating that 2002 results would be much lower than
predicted.  Additionally, the release stated that an Audit Committee
would conduct an inquiry of the events that led to material negative
charges in the 4thQ 02.  On this news, Microtune stock fell to $1.18.
During the class period, Microtune traded as high as $13.81 per share.

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


PROVIDENT FINANCIAL: Berger & Montague Files Securities Suit in S.D. OH
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Berger & Montague, P.C. filed a securities class action
suit against Provident Financial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: PFGI) and certain
of its principal officers in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of Ohio on behalf of all persons or entities who
purchased Provident securities between March 30, 1998 and March 4,
2003, inclusive.

The suit alleges that Provident and certain of its officers violated
Section 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by
issuing false and misleading statements concerning its business and
financial condition.  Specifically, the complaint alleges that, during
the class period, defendants issued numerous statements and filed
annual reports with the SEC that described the Company's purported
financial performance.

These statements were materially false and misleading because they
failed to disclose and/or misrepresented inter alia that the Company
failed to properly account for auto financing leases, thereby causing
it to overstate its earnings.  On March 5, 2003, before the market
opened, Provident shocked the market by announcing that it would be
restating its financial results for fiscal years 1997 through 2002,
leading it to substantially reduce its previously-reported earnings and
earnings per share.

The Company stated that the restatement is due to accounting errors for
"nine auto lease financing transactions originated between 1997 and
1999."  In response to this announcement, the price of Provident stock
plummeted from $28.07 per share on March 4, 2003 to $22.46 per share on
March 5, in heavy trading.

For more details, contact Sherrie R. Savett, Michael T. Fantini or
Kimberly A. Walker by Mail: 1622 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
by Phone: 888-891-2289 or 215-875-3000 by Fax: 215-875-5715 by E-mail:
InvestorProtect@bm.net or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.bergermontague.com


PROVIDENT FINANCIAL: Brodsky & Smith Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. OH
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Brodsky & Smith, LLC initiated a securities class action on behalf of
shareholders who purchased the common stock and other securities of
Provident Financial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:PFGI) between April 14, 1998
and March 4, 2003, inclusive.  The case is pending in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division,
against the company and certain of its officers and directors.

The complaint alleges that by issuing a series of materially false and
misleading statements to the market regarding Provident's business and
financial condition, between April 14, 1998 and March 4, 2003, the
Company, Robert L. Hoverson (President) and Christopher J. Carey (CFO)
violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The complaint alleges, inter alia, that financial reports filed with
the SEC during the class period were materially false and misleading
because they failed to disclose that the Company had improperly
accounted for certain auto lease financing transactions, thereby
materially inflating Provident's reported earnings throughout the class
period.

These facts came to light on March 5, 2003, when the Company announced
that Provident had improperly accounted for nine auto lease financing
transactions originating between 1997 and 1999 in a manner which
inflated its reported earnings from 1997 through 2002, inclusive.  In
response, the price of Provident common stock plummeted, falling 20% in
one day, from a March 4, 2003 close of $28.08 per share to $22.46 on
March 5, on unusually heavy trading volume.

For more information, 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


PROVIDENT FINANCIAL: Faruqi & Faruqi Files Securities Suit in S.D. Ohio
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on behalf of
all purchasers of Provident Financial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:PFGI)
securities between March 30, 1998 and March 5, 2003, inclusive.

The complaint charges defendants with violations of federal securities
laws by, among other things, issuing a series of materially false and
misleading press releases concerning Provident's financial results and
business prospects.  Specifically, the complaint alleges that Provident
failed to disclose that the Company inappropriately accounted for
certain auto lease financing transactions, thereby materially inflating
the Company's reported earnings throughout the class period.

On March 5, 2003, however, the Company announced that it had improperly
accounted for a number of auto lease financing transactions originated
between 1997 and 1999 in a manner which inflated reported earnings from
1997 through 2002, inclusive.  Moreover, the Company revealed that the
transactions were improperly reported as "off-balance sheet"
transactions and that it would be restating its operating results for
the years 1997 through 2002.  Upon this revelation, Provident's common
stock fell nearly 20% in a single day.

For more details, contact Anthony Vozzolo by Phone: (877) 247-4292 or
(212) 983-9330


ROYAL AHOLD: Rabin Murray Commences Securities Fraud Lawsuit in S.D. NY
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Rabin, Murray & Frank LLP filed a securities class action complaint in
the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York,
on behalf of all persons or entities who purchased Koninklijke Ahold,
N.V. securities (NYSE:AHO) during the period from March 6, 2001 through
February 21, 2003, both dates inclusive.  The suit names as defendants
the Company and:

     (1) Hendrikus de Ruiter,

     (2) Cees H. van der Hoeven,

     (3) Adriaan Michiel Meurs,

     (4) James L. Miller,

     (5) William John Grize, and

     (6) Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

The Complaint alleges that defendants violated the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934 by making a series of materially false and misleading
statements concerning the Company's financial results during the Class
Period.  In particular, it is alleged that during the class period the
Company had overstated the earnings of its U.S. Foodservice unit by
over $500 million and now has to restate its financial statements for
2001 and 2002.

The suit alleges that as a result of these false and misleading
statements the price of Ahold securities were artificially inflated
throughout the class period causing plaintiff and the other members of
the class to suffer damages.

For more details, contact Eric J. Belfi or Sharon Lee by Mail: 275
Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, by Phone: (800) 497-8076 or
(212) 682-1818, by Fax: (212) 682-1892, or by E-mail:
email@rabinlaw.com.  


SAWTEK INC: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Suit in M.D. Florida
------------------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Middle District of
Florida, Tampa Division, on behalf of all who purchased the securities
of Sawtek, Inc., now a subsidiary of TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc.
(Nasdaq: TQNT) between January 27, 2000 and May 24, 2001, inclusive,
against defendants Sawtek and certain of its officers and directors.

The complaint alleges that during the class period defendants made
material omissions and disseminated materially false and misleading
statements concerning Sawtek's business operations and financial
performance.  The complaint further alleges that the Company's
financial performance was misrepresented through improper "channel
stuffing," the practice of shipping more products than distributors
could sell while still counting the transactions as revenue.  

Sawtek's revenue and business prospects were also materially affected
by false and misleading statements circulated by defendants, even
though a widespread downturn in the wireless and telecommunications
markets was occurring.  Sawtek's true financial performance was
disclosed on May 23, 2001, when defendants had acknowledged that the
Company's projected results regarding the quarter ending June 30, 2001
would be far less than Sawtek's earlier issued revenue guidance.

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


                              *********


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

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

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

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