CAR_Public/030512.mbx               C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
                 Monday, May 12, 2003, Vol. 5, No. 92

                           Headlines                            

AMEN WARDY: Recalls 2,400 Multipurpose Lighters for Fire Hazard
APARTHEID LITIGATION: Mining Company Urged To Settle $7B Suit
BABY'S DREAM: Recalls 4,600 Convertible Cribs for Injury Hazard
BROOKLYN IMPORTS: Recalls Uneviscerated Fish For Botulism Hazard
CALIFORNIA: Resident Sues Over Excessive Noise on 210 Freeway

CALIFORNIA: AG Lockyer Reaches Settlement With Paint Companies
CHEVRONTEXACO: US Lawyers Take Lawsuit For Ecuadoreans Back Home
COPPER MOUNTAIN: NY Court Rejects Dismissal for Securities Suit
CRACKER BARREL: Appeal on Employee Lawsuit Certification Refused
CREDIT CARDS: NY Appeals Court Asked To Overturn Antitrust Order

HOMELITE CONSUMER: Starts Recall of Chainsaws For Injury Hazard
IDAHO POWER: Named As Defendant in OR Consumer Energy Fraud Suit
IDAHO POWER: WA Court Grants More Time To Respond to Energy Suit
MICROSOFT CORPORATION: Consumer Fraud Suit Launched in CA Court
MULTIDATA SYSTEMS: FDA Inks Pact over Radiation Therapy Devices

NEW MEXICO: Hobbs City PD Sued Over Alleged Anti-Hispanic Bias
OVERTURE SERVICES: NY Court Dismisses in Part Securities Lawsuit
PRINCIPAL FINANCIAL: Plaintiffs File Writ of Certiorari Petition
TERRORIST ATTACK: Court Dismisses Suit V. Fund, Special Master
TITLE COMPANIES: Title Firms Face Antitrust Suits in CA Court

TOBACCO LITIGATION: Imperial Tobacco Faces Lights Suit in Canada
UNITED STATES: Group Says US Veterans Exposed To More Radiation
WAL-MART STORES: Recalls 64,000 Fabric Lanterns For Fire Hazard
WASHINGTON: Court Asks Attorney To Rewrite Environmental Lawsuit
XTO ENERGY: OK Court Approves Settlement of Gas Royalties Suit

*Is Big Tobacco Heading Toward Another Round Of Trouble?

                   New Securities Fraud Cases

ELECTRO SCIENTIFIC: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Suit in OR
FLEMING COMPANIES: Marc Henzel Launches Securities Lawsuit in TX
GAINSCO INC.: Marc Henzel Launches Securities Lawsuit in S.D. FL
REGENERON PHARMACEUTICALS: Marc Henzel Launches Stock Suit in NY
SYMBOL TECHNOLOGIES: Stull Stull Commences Securities Suit in NY


                           *********


AMEN WARDY: Recalls 2,400 Multipurpose Lighters for Fire Hazard
---------------------------------------------------------------
Amen Wardy Home is cooperating with the United States Consumer
Product Safety Commission by voluntarily recalling 2,400 Multi-
purpose lighters shaped like matchsticks.  The lighters lack
child-resistant mechanisms that meet federal safety standards.  
Young children could operate these lighters, which poses a fire
hazard.  No injuries have yet been reported.

The lighters are refillable, gas-fueled lighters shaped like a
wooden match.  The lighters have a brushed, silver-colored metal
finish with a black plastic slide lever that is moved to ignite
the lighter.  The end of the lighter is painted red to resemble
the head of a match. The lighters were available in both 7-inch-
and 14-inch-long sizes.  The lighters were sold in a clear
plastic sleeve and do not have any labeling on either the
lighter or package.

The Amen Wardy Home store in Caesar's Palace, at Las Vegas,
Nevada, and the firm's Web site sold these lighters from July
2002 through January 2003 for between $10 and $20.

For more information, contact the Company by Mail: Amen Wardy
Home ATTN: Lisa Toy 4230 S. Decatur Blvd., Suite A, Las Vegas,
NV 89103 by Phone: (877) 349-5330 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT
or by E-mail: info@amenwardy.com.


APARTHEID LITIGATION: Mining Company Urged To Settle $7B Suit
-------------------------------------------------------------
South African mining company Gold Fields was approached to meet
Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Njongonkulu Ndungane to try to
resolve the claims brought against it for alleged prejudice
during the apartheid years, the Business Report News states.

The Company faces a $7 billion class action filed by US lawyer
Ed Fagan and South African attorney John Ngcebetsha.  The
company is the latest in the series of international companies
being sued for compensation for apartheid victims.  The suits
followed the release of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation
Commission report.

The suit seeks compensation for more than 500 former employees
who were exposed to "dangerous working conditions leading to
uranium contamination."  Other mining companies might be also
dragged into the suit, as uranium is a byproduct of the gold-
mining process in South Africa.

The archbishop was said to be approaching all the mining
companies named in the apartheid suits, which have total
possible claims of $15 billion against them, to try to resolve
the matter before it reached the courts, the Business Report
News asserts.

The Company, which has a secondary listing in New York, said it
had not received notice that the case had been filed in New
York.  Willie Jacobsz, the senior vice-president corporate
affairs, told the Business Report News that while Gold Fields
Limited denied any liability for the claim intimated against the
company, it would treat the approach made to it by the
archbishop with respect and be in contact with him to exchange
views.


BABY'S DREAM: Recalls 4,600 Convertible Cribs for Injury Hazard
---------------------------------------------------------------
Baby's Dream Furniture, Inc. is cooperating with the United
States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) by voluntarily
recalling about 4,600 wooden convertible cribs manufactured from
January to August 2001 to repair hinges on the drop gate.  The
three hinges along the fold-down drop gate can crack or break
and allow babies to have their fingers pinched.  The Company has
received 38 reports of broken or cracked hinges, but there have
been no injuries reported.
        
The recalled cribs were sold under either the Baby's Dream
Furniture label or the National Baby Furniture label in five
different models.  The five models included in the recall are
"Always Crib," "Crib 4 Life," "Legendary Crib," "Set 4 Life,"
and "Crib-2-College."  The wooden cribs are honey, amber or
cherry in color.  The model names and the date of manufacture
appear on a label on the lower inside of the frame.  "Made in
USA" is also printed on the label.  Juvenile furniture and
retail stores nationwide sold these cribs for between $300 and
$400.
        
In addition, an unknown number of Baby's Dream cribs made
between 1996 and 2002 may have drop gate trigger latches that
are not correctly aligned to fit securely into the strike plate
on the crib post.  A misaligned latch where the latch trigger
does not lock securely can allow the drop gate to open if a
child leans on it, and the child could fall out.  Baby's Dream
and CPSC have received two reports of injuries to children when
the latches did not hold.  Injuries included one report of a
child whose head was bruised after falling onto the floor when
the drop gate latch failed and one report of a crushed finger
when the rail unexpectedly moved inward when the parent leaned
into the crib.  There were five additional reports of children
falling out of cribs who received no injury.
        
For more details, contact the Company by Mail: P.O. Box 579,
Buena Vista, GA 31803-0579 by Phone: (800) TEL CRIB (835-2742)
between 7:30 am and 5 pm ET or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.babysdream.com


BROOKLYN IMPORTS: Recalls Uneviscerated Fish For Botulism Hazard
----------------------------------------------------------------
Brooklyn Imports, Inc. is recalling 100 kilos (225-lb.) barrels
of uneviscerated processed fish.  The product, PSP Brand/ Round
salted herring, was discovered by NYS Dept of Agriculture &
Markets Food Inspectors during a routine inspection at a retail
market in Brooklyn, New York.

This product may be contaminated with Clostridium Botulinum
spores, which can cause botulism, a serious and potentially
fatal food-borne illness.

The sale of this type of fish is prohibited under New York State
Agriculture and Markets regulations because Clostridium
Botulinum spores are more likely to be concentrated in the
viscera than any other portion of the fish.  Uneviscerated
processed fish has been linked to outbreaks of botulism
poisoning.  Symptoms of Botulism include blurred or double
vision, general weakness, poor reflexes, difficulty swallowing
and respiratory paralysis.

PSP Brand/ ROUND SALTED HERRING, is packaged in 100 kilos (225-
1b.) barrels.  The recalled product was sold in NY, IL, MI, NJ,
PA and CT.  Consumers who have PSP Brand/ ROUND SALTED HERRINGS
are advised not to eat it.  No illnesses have been reported to
date.

For more details, contact the Company by Phone: (718) 384-0555.


CALIFORNIA: Resident Sues Over Excessive Noise on 210 Freeway
-------------------------------------------------------------
The City of Rancho Cucamonga, California faces a class action
filed by a resident, seeking compensation for noise generated by
the 210 Freeway.  The suit also names as defendants Caltrans and
the San Bernardino Associated Governments.

"A lot of people are in the same boat, so we've filed this as a
class action that can include anyone within a mile of the
freeway extension," plaintiff's attorney Mark Milstein told the
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.  "The noise levels faced by some
of these homes is tremendous, and we intend to get these people
compensated."

Homeowners across the Inland Valley are expected to join the
suit.  "This will cover people that live from La Verne to
Fontana," plaintiff's attorney Lee Jackson told the Bulletin.  
"Rancho Cucamonga is singled out only because it issued an
inaccurate disclosure statement to residents."

Only the San Bernardino Associated Governments has denied a
claim filed by the plaintiffs, who will now file a lawsuit
against that agency, the Bulletin stated.  Rancho Cucamonga and
Caltrans have yet to respond to claims filed by the plaintiffs,
and representatives for both Rancho and Caltrans said that they
were unaware of the complaint.


CALIFORNIA: AG Lockyer Reaches Settlement With Paint Companies
--------------------------------------------------------------
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer announced settlements
with two Los Angeles-area apartment owners and managers that
requires them to remove lead-based paint hazards from their
buildings, and fund programs to assess and prevent lead
poisoning in children.

"Tens of thousands of California children have blood lead levels
above the threshold set by experts to determine when treatment
is needed," Mr. Lockyer said.  "That number has dropped
substantially in recent years, and we have made great
progress in reducing lead pollution.  But we must do more.  
There is no safe level of lead exposure, and there is no higher
priority than protecting the health and safety of our children.  
That's why this settlement is so important."

The settlements resolve lawsuits filed by Mr. Lockyer in Los
Angeles County Superior Court against SK Management Company
(SK), and Westside Rehab Corporation and its affiliates
(Westside).  The court must approve the settlements before they
become final.

The California settlements cover about 1,843 apartment units
owned by Westside and its affiliates, and some 1,380 managed by
SK.  The affected units all are in Los Angeles-area apartment
buildings constructed before 1978, when lead-based paint was
banned.

The state's lawsuits allege the two companies violated a Los
Angeles County ordinance that prohibits lead-based paint hazards
on the exterior or interior of any building inhabited or
frequented by children.  Lead poisoning of children can cause
brain damage, kidney damage, impaired growth, hearing loss
and other health problems.  

The complaints also allege SK and Westside failed to comply with
the federal Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of
1992.  The federal law requires landlords to inform renters of
lead-based paint dangers in their units.

In separate complaints, the US Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD) and US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
allege SK and Westside violated the 1992 federal statute.  
Federal prosecutors today also announced settlements of those
lawsuits, which were filed in federal court in Los Angeles.

The federal settlement with Westside covers 1,446 units outside
California, as well as the Los Angeles-area units.  The
California settlements require SK and Westside to remove lead-
based paint, and abate lead-based paint hazards, in the affected
units.  The removal and abatement must be performed in
accordance with consent decrees filed by the federal government
in its cases.

Within 60 days of the court's approval of the consent decree, SK
must submit to HUD an abatement plan for specific units.  The
abatement plan must be completed within six months of HUD's
approval.  However, if children under six reside in a unit,
cleanup must be finished within 60 days of HUD's approval.  
Additionally, SK must abate lead-based paint hazards before
pregnant women or children under six move into a unit.

Westside must remove lead-based paint from one-third of its
units annually for three years.  The firm must give priority to
units which house children under six.  Within 14 months of court
approval of the consent decree, Westside must identify lead-
based paint hazards in the affected units.  It must take steps
to eliminate hazards within 30 days after identifying them.

SK officials say they have complied with the cleanup provisions
of the consent decree, while Westside executives say they have
finished most of the required abatement.

The California settlements require each defendant to fund a
"Child Health Improvement Project (CHIP)."  The CHIP provision
in the SK settlement requires the firm to pay $25,000 to Cedars-
Sinai Medical Center to fund such services as blood lead
screenings, clinical consultations, medical surveillance,
provision of risk information and educational outreach.  
Westside must pay $35,000 to the Environmental Research Center
at Martin Luther King Jr./Charles R. Drew Medical Center to fund
similar activities, as well as hazard abatement.

The federal settlements also require SK and Westside to comply
with the 1992 federal disclosure law.  Specifically, within 10
days of court approval of the consent decree, the firms must
provide tenants:

     (1) all known information about lead-based paint hazards or
         lead-based paint

     (2) information about documents related to lead-based paint
         hazards or lead-based paint

     (3) an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet and

     (4) a lead warning statement

Additionally, the defendants will pay a combined $40,000 in
civil penalties to the state and federal government.

Lead-based paint was banned in 1978.  But older housing, such as
the SK and Westside apartments, still have lead-based interior
and exterior paint.  An October 2002 study found that 38 million
housing units nationwide had lead-based paint.  Of those, 2.42
million were multi-family units, such as apartments.


CHEVRONTEXACO: US Lawyers Take Lawsuit For Ecuadoreans Back Home
----------------------------------------------------------------
A decade after unsuccessfully filing in the United States
courts, American lawyers representing poor Ecuadoreans who claim
their rainforest homeland was destroyed by ChevronTexaco,
returned to Ecuador, the Associated Press Newswires reports.

The lawyers said they are seeking to have California-based
ChevronTexaco ordered by the courts to clean up the pollution
that they allege has poisoned the drinking water and rivers in a
large area around Lago Agria, in the Ecuadorean Amazon.   
Cristobal Bonifaz, born in Ecuador and now an American
environmental lawyer practicing in Amherst, Massachusetts, said
the cleanup -- which would include installation of new
technology to prevent further dumping -- and medical monitoring
costs for the 30,000 Ecuadoreans involved could exceed $1
billion.

Mr. Bonifaz said the lawsuit would be filed on behalf of 88
Ecuadorean lead plaintiffs, in a small courthouse in the jungle
town of Lago Agria, 115 miles northeast of the capital of Quito.

The Ecuadorean plaintiffs allege that from 1964 to 1992, the oil
company dumped 68.4 billion liters of drilling by-products into
open pits and waterways.  Drinking, bathing and cooking with
contaminated water damaged the health, culture and livelihood of
five indigenous tribes and 30,000 people, plaintiffs allege.

"These are not just random spills.  This is the result of a
decision made by Texaco to install a type of drilling process
that would lead to systematic dumping of toxins," said Steven
Donziger, one of plaintiffs' lawyers.

Chevron Texaco does not deny the dumping, but the company's
officials point out that Ecuador's national oil company set the
policy for the venture and that the drilling met all of the
country's environmental requirements.  Ecuador's laws allowed
the oil drillers to dump the wastewater, rather than making
Chevron Texaco use the more expensive process, mandated in the
United States, of re-injecting the oil-contaminated water back
into the well.

Today, Ecuador has a "Superfund" law, enacted in 1999, said Mr.
Bonifaz.  US lawyers worked with Ecuadorean legislators to draft
a law similar to the US Superfund law of 1980, which requires
polluters in the United States to pay for cleanups even if a
site was sold or is no longer operating.

The case is being closely watched by public-interest lawyers and
multinational corporations.  Legal experts say it could be a
groundbreaking case, establishing a new way for environmental
activists to force multinational corporations to pay for what
activists say is environmental devastation, according to a
report by The Wall Street Journal Europe (WSJ Europe).

US-based multinational corporations often try to get cases tried
in developing countries, a tactic that can kill the case
entirely, because most American plaintiffs lawyers have neither
the money nor the expertise to sue in the Third World courts.  
Later, if the corporations happen to lose, they often argue that
the overseas legal process was flawed, or that their US
headquarters should not be held responsible for the errors of a
subsidiary in the developing world, the WSJ Europe reports.

Foreign courts also have had problems making the US
multinational companies obey their decisions.  For all these
reasons, and more, environmental activists generally prefer to
bring cases in developed-world courts:  the courts are more
independent, there is a corps of public-interest plaintiffs'
lawyers to draw on, and the cases draw more public attention,
which in its turn puts pressure on the companies to settle.  US
courts are particularly attractive because of rules that require
both sides to share information and make it relatively easy to
bring class actions on behalf of a large group of people.  
However, although the US courts sent the instant case home to
Ecuador, plaintiffs' lawyers and some legal scholars see some
encouraging signs.

This time, this case, something is different.  While the US
Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed with
ChevronTexaco's motion to send the case to Ecuador, the appeals
court added an important component:  The judges warned
ChevronTexaco that the US courts would step back in if the
company tried to avoid a judgment imposed by the Ecuadorean
court, the WSJ Europe reports.

Chris Jochnick, a New York lawyer who founded the Center for
Economic and Social Rights, said that if this approach -
oversight by the US courts of a foreign case - "puts pressure on
the Ecuadorean court system to perform, that might be the best
resolution.  There are thousands of these cases, and there are
only so many the US courts can handle."  So, it may be that
legal history will be made in Lago Agria, portal to the Amazon
rainforest.

What is not clear is how the Ecuadorean courts will respond to
the lawsuit; oil is crucial to the country's economy, and the
government of President Lucio Gutierrez is seeking foreign
investment.  However, the plaintiffs' lawyers said some things
have changed in Ecuadorean politics in the past ten years. They
said the local tribes that have borne the brunt of the alleged
contamination have been gaining steadily in political clout.  
Mr. Gutierrez had key backing from indigenous groups, both when
he led a 2000 coup and when his supporters won elections two
years later.  This political clout showed up during the legal
pilgrimage of plaintiffs' lawsuit in the United States.

At one point in the earlier US legal proceedings over these same
allegations, the Ecuadorean government even changed sides.  
Right after the suit was filed, a decade ago, Ecuador submitted
a brief asking the judge to dismiss the plaintiffs' claims.  
After control of the government changed hands, Ecuador
intervened on the side of the plaintiffs, saying it wanted "to
protect the interests of the indigenous citizens of the
Ecuadorean Amazon who were seriously affected by the
environmental contamination."

At the moment, a spokesman for the Ecuadorean embassy in
Washington has said that the government has not taken a position
on the lawsuit.  However, he added, "it is very clear that the
people in the region have health problems and have suffered for
more than 10 years.  More work is needed to repair the area."


COPPER MOUNTAIN: NY Court Rejects Dismissal for Securities Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York refused to dismiss the consolidated securities class
action filed against Copper Mountain Networks, Inc., certain of
its officers and directors, and the underwriters of its initial
public offering (IPO).

In the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that the Company,
certain of its officers and directors and the underwriters of
its initial public offering (IPO) violated the federal
securities laws because the Company's IPO registration statement
and prospectus contained untrue statements of material fact or
omitted material facts regarding the compensation to be received
by, and the stock allocation practices of, the IPO underwriters.
The plaintiffs seek unspecified monetary damages and other
relief.  

Similar complaints were filed in the same court against hundreds
of other public companies that conducted IPOs of their common
stock since the mid-1990s.  The suits, including the one against
the Company, were consolidated for pretrial purposes before
United States Judge Shira Scheindlin of the Southern District of
New York.  Judge Scheindlin held an initial case management
conference on September 7, 2001, at which time she ordered,
among other things, that the time for all defendants to respond
to any complaint be postponed until further order of the court.

Thus, the Company has not been required to answer the complaint,
and no discovery has been served on the Company.  In accordance
with Judge Scheindlin's orders at further status conferences in
March and April, the appointed lead plaintiffs' counsel filed
amended, consolidated complaints in the IPO Lawsuits on April
19, 2002.  Defendants then filed a global motion to dismiss the
IPO Lawsuits on July 15, 2002, as to which the Court does not
expect to issue a decision until early 2003.

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

On July 15, 2002, the Company joined in a global motion to
dismiss filed by all issuers in the IPO Lawsuits.  The Court
decided the motion on February 19, 2003.  As to the Company, the
Court denied the motion to dismiss the claims against the
Company brought pursuant to Section 11 of the Securities Act of
1933 and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act of 1934.  

The Company believes that this litigation is without merit.


CRACKER BARREL: Appeal on Employee Lawsuit Certification Refused
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to hear
the appeal of the denial of class certification for a lawsuit
filed against Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, on behalf of its
employees, the Tennesseean reports.

The suit charges the Lebanon-based Company with discrimination,
on behalf of a group of African-American employees who alleged
they were being channeled into lesser-paying, back-of-restaurant
positions, given infrequent reviews and pay increases, and had
to endure demeaning conditions.  The Company denied these
charges.  Later, a lower court refused to certify the suit, a
decision which the plaintiffs appealed.

The decision means that plaintiffs will not be granted class-
action status in the discrimination case and can bring their
claims against the restaurant chain only on an individual basis,
the Tennessean states.  

"Now it's basically 13 individual named plaintiffs and we expect
to have a litigated resolution to all of this by the end of the
calendar year," Company spokeswoman Julie Davis said.  She said
the Company would not settle with any of the individuals with
remaining claims in the case.

"We know there is no merit to this, and we expect that we'll be
filing for summary judgment and either the judge will grant that
or we'll litigate each case and we expect a positive outcome to
that," she asserted.

Cracker Barrel still faces a separate discrimination lawsuit
filed by about three-dozen African-American customers.
Plaintiffs in that case were denied class-action status in
October, the Tennesseean relates.


CREDIT CARDS: NY Appeals Court Asked To Overturn Antitrust Order
----------------------------------------------------------------
Credit card giants Visa and Mastercard asked the United States
Second Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a ruling allowing
American Express and other companies more access to the US
market for credit cards, the Associated Press reports.

The United States District Court in New York issued the ruling
in 2001, ordering the two firms to drop rules that prohibit
their member banks from also issuing American Express cards.  
The firms said that the judge had ruled with the interests of
American Express in mind - not the interest of all consumers,
the people antitrust law was written to protect.

"That is the classic mistake that the district court made in
this case," MasterCard lawyer Kenneth Gallo said, according to
AP.

The United States Justice Department, however, told AP that the
companies had abused their market power - and only came up with
the restrictive bank rules when they realized American Express
was a threat to their businesses.  No decision is expected in
the matter for months, and any ruling by the appeals court could
be appealed to the US Supreme Court.


HOMELITE CONSUMER: Starts Recall of Chainsaws For Injury Hazard
---------------------------------------------------------------
Homelite Consumer Products, Inc. is cooperating with the United
States Consumer Product Safety Commission by voluntarily
recalling 6,900 chainsaws.  These saws can operate while the
engine is at the "idle" setting, posing a risk of serious
lacerations to the operator and bystanders.  No injuries have
yet been reported.

These Homelite brand chainsaws have model number UT10946 and
manufacture dates of 11-02 (November 2002) or 12-02 (December
2002).  The model numbers and manufacture dates are printed on
the lower corners of a black data label located on back side of
the chainsaw's engine housing, opposite the on/off trigger.  
They have a red housing with black trim and are sold in a
rectangular black plastic case.

Home and hardware stores nationwide sold these chainsaws from
December 2002 through February 2003 for about $200.

For more details, contact the Company by Phone: (800) 776-5191
between 8 am and 5 pm ET Monday through Friday or visit the
firm's web site: http://www.homelite.com.


IDAHO POWER: Named As Defendant in OR Consumer Energy Fraud Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Idaho Power Corporation was named a defendant in a class action
initially filed in the Circuit Court of the State of Oregon for
the County of Multnomah, against various entities.  The case was
removed by another defendant, Reliant Energy, to the United
States District Court, District of Oregon on February 4, 2003.

The complaint seeks class action status on behalf of all persons
and businesses residing in Oregon who were purchasers of
electrical and/or natural gas energy from any period beginning
in January 2000 to the present.  The complaint alleges claims
under the Oregon Unfair Trade Practices Act, ORS 646.605, et
seq. in addition to claims of fraud by concealment, negligence
and for an accounting.  

The complaint asserts that the defendants, including the
Company, engaged in, among other things, unfair and deceptive
acts, in violation of the FPA, by:

     (1) withholding the supply of energy;

     (2) misrepresenting the amount of its energy supplies;

     (3) exercising improper control over the energy markets;
         and

     (4) manipulating the price of energy markets resulting in
         energy rates being charged to Oregon energy consumers
         that were unjust, unreasonable and unlawful

The plaintiff seeks certification of a class action, equitable
and injunctive relief, an accounting, attorneys' fees and costs.
The action was removed to federal court, and on March 11, 2003,
IPC, along with other defendants, filed a motion with the Multi-
District Litigation (MDL) seeking to transfer the case to be
consolidated with similar actions before the Judge who is
presiding over similar cases.

A stipulation has been submitted to the Court for an extension
of time to respond to the complaint, until 30 days after the MDL
panel rules.  The Company intends to vigorously defend against
this lawsuit and believes this matter will not have a material
adverse effect on its consolidated financial position, results
of operations or cash flows.


IDAHO POWER: WA Court Grants More Time To Respond to Energy Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Western District of
Washington in Seattle granted the Idaho Power Corporation more
time to respond to the class action filed on behalf of all
persons and businesses residing in Washington who were
purchasers of electrical and/or natural gas energy from any
period beginning in January 2000 to the present.

The complaint alleges claims under the Washington Consumer
Protection Act, RCW 19.86, as well as common law claims of fraud
by concealment, negligence and for an accounting.  The complaint
asserts that the defendants, including the Company, engaged in,
among other things, unfair and deceptive acts, in violation of
the Federal Power Act, by:

    (1) withholding the supply of energy;

    (2) misrepresenting the amount of its energy supplies;

    (3) exercising improper control over the energy markets; and

    (4) manipulating the price of energy markets resulting in
        energy rates being unjust, unreasonable and unlawful

The plaintiff seeks certification of a class action, equitable
and injunctive relief, an accounting, treble damages, attorneys'
fees and costs.  On February 3, 2003, another defendant, Reliant
Energy, Inc., moved to transfer the case to the Judge who is
presiding over Multiple District Litigation (MDL) No. 1405.  The
MDL rejected this request because that Judge, as a Washington
resident, is a member of the class.  

On March 11, 2003, the Company, along with other defendants,
filed a motion with the MDL seeking to transfer the case to be
consolidated with similar actions before the judge who is
presiding over the California Attorney General Action, and other
similar cases.  On March 21, 2003 the court granted IPC's motion
for an extension of time to respond to the complaint until 30
days after the MDL panel rules.

The Company intends to vigorously defend against this lawsuit
and believes this matter will not have a material adverse effect
on its consolidated financial position, results of operations or
cash flows.


MICROSOFT CORPORATION: Consumer Fraud Suit Launched in CA Court
---------------------------------------------------------------
Microsoft Corporation and retailer Best Buy faces a class action
filed by a Los Angeles resident in the Los Angeles Superior
Cout, alleging that the two firms scammed customers through a
promotion in which customers at Best Buy, who paid for purchases
with credit or debit cards, were given free compact discs that
allowed them to try Microsoft's online service, MSN.

Plaintiff Samuel Kim said he unwittingly became a victim of the
scam after making a purchase at a Best Buy store in Los Angeles
with his debit card.  At checkout, a store employee scanned Mr.
Kim's debit card and, without any explanation to him, scanned a
trial MSN compact disc and placed it in his shopping bag, the
lawsuit said, according to a Business Day report.  The employee
said it was to keep track of the inventory.

However, Best Buy apparently sent Mr. Kim's debit card
information to Microsoft, which activated an MSN service account
in his name without telling him, the lawsuit said.  Mr. Kim said
he did not use the compact disc but discovered after receiving
his bank statement that Microsoft had deducted a monthly service
charge from his account, the suit said.  He has not been unable
to get a full refund from either company, his attorney Anthony
Lee of San Francisco told Business Day.

"We haven't yet received the complaint and therefore have no
comment," a Microsoft spokesman told Business Day.  Best Buy
officials were not immediately available for comment.


MULTIDATA SYSTEMS: FDA Inks Pact over Radiation Therapy Devices
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) entered
into a consent decree of injunction with Multidata Systems
International Corporation to stop them from manufacturing and
distributing radiation therapy medical devices.

Multidata Systems International, headquartered in St. Louis,
Missouri, primarily manufactures devices used to treat cancer.  
The Company's radiation treatment planning software reportedly
contributed to 28 patients receiving excessive amounts of
radiation at a medical facility in Panama City, Panama, in 2001.  
Several patients died.

The Company failed to conform to current good manufacturing
practice and design standards and also failed to file prompt
reports with the FDA after it became aware that its products may
have caused or contributed to death or serious injury.

"Multidata Systems has a nine year history of violations and
failure to correct them," said FDA Commissioner Mark B.
McClellan, M.D., Ph.D.  "Despite repeated warnings, the company
continued to manufacture its medical devices in a way which put
the public health at risk.  This cannot be tolerated."

Dr. McClellan has made the reduction of preventable medical
errors one of the highest priorities of the FDA.

FDA inspected the Company several times between April 1993 and
September 2001 and found extensive and persistent deficiencies
in the firm's manufacturing practices during each inspection.  
The firm did not respond to warnings, and FDA observed the same
violations recurring from one inspection to the next.

During the most recent inspection, FDA found that the Company
failed to:

    (1) establish, maintain and follow procedures to control the
        design of the radiation treatment planning software to
        ensure the specifications were met;

    (2) establish and follow procedures for taking preventive
        and corrective action;

    (3) establish and follow procedures for investigating all
        complaints;

    (4) adhere to other standard good manufacturing practices,
        and;

     (5) identify the root cause of software code problems when
         brought to its attention

Multidata initiated a recall of its radiation treatment planning
software on September 7, 2001, but did not complete the recall
until earlier this year.  

The consent decree was filed in the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Missouri.  It enjoins Multidata from
marketing its radiation therapy medical devices until it
satisfies FDA that it has corrected its problems.  The consent
decree will not take effect until signed by the judge and
entered by the court.


NEW MEXICO: Hobbs City PD Sued Over Alleged Anti-Hispanic Bias
--------------------------------------------------------------
City of Hobbs police, in New Mexico, have been called back to
court for the sixth time since 1999, over allegations of
brutality and abuse.  In the first five instances, the lawyers
were representing African Americans who made similar
allegations; but, in this sixth instance, the lawyers are in
court on behalf of Hispanics who allege abuse and brutality by
the Hobbs police, the Associated Press Newswires reports.

The American Civil Liberties Union's state director, Peter
Simonson, has called the Hobbs police force "unrepentant" about
civil rights violations.  However, Police Chief Donnie Smith has
said the department's track record is getting better for all
Hobbs residents, including minorities.

The latest lawsuit against the Hobbs Police Department was filed
April 24, after Hispanic families came to attorney Daniel
Yohalem and Richard Rosenstock, who had filed earlier cases of
abuse against the police department on behalf of African
Americans.

"This action alleges 'police-state' type practices by . the city
of Hobbs and the individual officers, calculated to harass,
intimidate and otherwise oppress the plaintiffs," the lawsuit's
complaint begins.

Mr. Yohalem said, in Santa Fe, that the April 24 case grew out
of a parking lot altercation among some young men, including one
Cesar Muro.  Police detained several of his relatives for hours,
searched their homes and later seized some tools and electronics
they found in the trunk of a car belonging to Luis Ruiz, one of
the plaintiffs.  The Ruiz car was being driven by Mr. Ruiz's
son, Joel, the night of the altercation.

In a recent interview, the plaintiffs' lawyers said people were
detained without cause, their homes searched, property seized
and in some cases never returned, or damaged.  Plaintiffs
include members of the Muro family, members of the Guillen
family, as well as Isaac Rodriguez, and Luis Ruiz Sr.  
Defendants include the city of Hobbs and 18 police officers.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was involved in two
lawsuits in 1999, brought on behalf of African Americans; one, a
class action, involved a black woman whose home was searched
while her children were present; the second, was a lawsuit which
stemmed from an altercation at a high school football game,
where police were accused of overreacting.  The ACLU helped work
out, eventually, from these two cases, a consent decree with the
city of Hobbs and its police department.

Peter Simonson, state director of the ACLU, has said that the
police have failed to adhere to their side of the agreement, and
the ACLU petitioned in February, for a finding of contempt under
the terms of the consent decree.  The petition is pending, said
attorney Daniel Yohalem.

In an interview, in Albuquerque, Mr. Simonson, speaking of
holding the Hobbs Police Department in contempt for its non-
compliance with the consent decree, said, "The police department
is absolutely unrepentant with respect to the allegations that
were made under our original complaint.  Clearly, they have
ignored the basic requirements under the consent decree.  I
think, over all, it shows a dismissive attitude toward the
community's civil rights and basic questions of social justice,
particularly as they apply to minority groups."

The complaint of the April 24 case includes a litany of charges
of abuse, brutality and violence, such as the trashing of homes
searched, the ripping out of the seat of a car, the seizure of
all items in the trunk of the Ruiz car, even though the warrant
did not specify items in the Ruiz car trunk, the wholesale
arrest of the Muro family, the epileptic seizure of Jose Muro,
who suffered an epileptic fit when police refused to let a
friend go back into the house for Mr. Muro's medication.

Other lawsuits against Hobbs and the police included cases
alleging: a warrantless search of a home in 1997, and an
unrelated arrest of a 15-year-old girl, led off in handcuffs
after she told her 12-year-old brother he did not have to answer
police questions.  There was also the case of Michael Collopy,
appointed special judge to handle juvenile charges stemming from
the football stadium altercation.  Judge Collopy sued the city
when police alleged his relatives had been suspects in alleged
police investigations and therefore the judge was compromised by
conflicts of interest.

"That was false," said Mr. Yohalem of the police allegations
against Mr. Collopy and his relatives.  When asked whether, in
all these cases of alleged abuse and violence, police were
carrying out policy or acting on their own, Mr. Yohalem said
that he and Mr. Rosenstock have not been provided enough
information to answer that question.  However, Mr. Yohalem said,
"Whoever does have power down there is not choosing to rein them
in."


OVERTURE SERVICES: NY Court Dismisses in Part Securities Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York dismissed in part the consolidated securities class
action filed against Overture Services, Inc., underwriters
involved in its initial public offering, and certain of its
current and former officers and directors.

Plaintiffs allege, among other things, violations of the
Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
involving undisclosed compensation to the underwriters, and
improper practices by the underwriters, and seek unspecified
damages.

Similar complaints were filed in the same court against numerous
public companies that conducted initial public offerings of
their common stock since the mid-1990s.  All of these lawsuits
were consolidated for pretrial purposes before Judge Shira
Scheindlin.

On April 19, 2002, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint,
alleging Rule 10b-5 claims of fraud.  On July 15, 2002, the
issuers filed an omnibus motion to dismiss for failure to comply
with applicable pleading standards.  On October, 8, 2002, the
Court entered an Order of Dismissal as to all of the individual
defendants in the Overture IPO litigation, without prejudice.

On February 19, 2003, the court denied the motion to dismiss the
Rule 10b-5 claims against Overture.  The Company continues to
deny the allegations against it, believes that it has
meritorious defenses to the amended complaint, and intends to
contest the allegations vigorously.


PRINCIPAL FINANCIAL: Plaintiffs File Writ of Certiorari Petition
----------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in the class action filed against Principal Mutual
Holding Company filed a petition for the writ of certiorari
relating to the suit's dismissal in the United States Supreme
Court.

The suit was commenced in September 2001 in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, seeking
damages and other relief on behalf of policyholders based on
allegations that the plan of conversion of the Company from a
mutual insurance holding company into a stock company violates
the United States Constitution.

In April 2002, the court granted the Company's motion to dismiss
and ordered the lawsuit be dismissed in its entirety.  On April
17, 2002, a judgment was entered to that effect.  The plaintiffs
filed an appeal on May 15, 2002, with the 7th Circuit Court of
Appeals.  On November 22, 2002, the appeals court affirmed the
district court's decision.  The plaintiffs then filed a Petition
for a Writ of Certiorari on April 21, 2003, requesting the
United States Supreme Court to review the decision of the
appeals court.

While the outcome of any pending or future litigation cannot be
predicted, management does not believe that any pending
litigation will have a material adverse effect on its business,
financial position or results of operations.


TERRORIST ATTACK: Court Dismisses Suit V. Fund, Special Master
--------------------------------------------------------------
New York Federal Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein upheld the
government's compensation fund for victims of the September 11
terrorist attack, dismissing allegations that compensations were
decided in an unfair and arbitrary way, the Associated Press
reports.

Judge Hellerstein reviewed the regulations surrounding the fund
and the policies of the fund's special master, Kenneth Feinberg,
and pronounced them "lawful and valid."  He dismissed three
suits filed by several families of September 11 victims who were
eligible to file claims with the fund but had not yet done so.

The suit charges Mr. Feinberg with using illegal formulas to
compute the monetary awards.  The suit further states that Mr.
Feinberg has "alienated and disenfranchised the very
constituency he was appointed to serve," an earlier Class Action
Reporter story states.

The suit further asserts that the fund violates state law - and
shortchanges applicants - by using after-tax earnings to
calculate awards. The compensation offered to families would be
greater if the awards were instead based on pretax earnings, as
New York law requires for wrongful death awards, according to
the lawsuit.  The complaint also alleges that the fund
discriminates against unmarried victims and has illegally
limited the size of the awards that some high-income families
can receive, the Associated Press earlier reported.

The fund's regulations warn that payouts of more than $3 million
would "rarely be appropriate in light of individual needs and
resources."


TITLE COMPANIES: Title Firms Face Antitrust Suits in CA Court
-------------------------------------------------------------
Eight leading title companies face two class actions filed in
Los Angeles Superior Court in California, charging them with
price fixing during the recent refinancing boom, the Orange
County Register reports.  The suits name as defendants:

     (1) Fidelity National Title Co.,

     (2) First American Title Co.,

     (3) Chicago Title Co.,

     (4) California Title Co.,

     (5) Commonwealth Land Title Co.,

     (6) Lawyers Title Co.,

     (7) Old Republic Title Co. and

     (8) First California Title Co.

The suits allege the defendants violated antitrust laws by
talking about and setting the price for title insurance in
California, a charge the companies deny.

"These suits are wholly without merit, and we will vigorously
defend these cases," said Peter Sadowski, executive vice
president and general counsel for Santa Barbara-based Fidelity
National Title Co., one of the defendants in both suits, the
Orange County Register states.

First American Title Co., based in Santa Ana, also is a
defendant in both suits.  Its attorneys have reviewed the
lawsuits and believe the cases are without merit and will be
resolved quickly, company spokeswoman Jo Bandy told the
Register.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Imperial Tobacco Faces Lights Suit in Canada
----------------------------------------------------------------
Canadian cigarette firm Imperial Tobacco faces a class action
filed in Vancouver Court, alleging it deceived customers by
saying "light" or "mild" cigarettes are less harmful than
regular brands, the Agence France Presse reports.  The suit was
the very first of its kind in Canada, lawyer for the plaintiffs
David Klein said.

A similar suit was filed against Philip Morris USA.  It ended
with the New York court ordering the tobacco giant to pay $10.7
billion dollars in damages.  Philip Morris later appealed the
decision, which it said might prompt it to file for bankruptcy
and default on payments for a settlement with 46 states forged
in 1998.  The New York court later reduced the appeals bond to
half.

"The courts exist to protect the public and to punish corporate
misconduct.  Our clients' goals in filing this class action are
to support Health Canada's efforts and to hold Imperial Tobacco
accountable for its actions," Mr. Klein said in a statement.

Two years ago, Canada's health minister called on tobacco
manufacturers to remove the words 'light' or 'mild' from
cigarette packets, but so far there has been no response, AFP
reports.


UNITED STATES: Group Says US Veterans Exposed To More Radiation
---------------------------------------------------------------
The National Research Council revealed in a report that United
States veterans who took part in aboveground nuclear weapons
tests a half-century ago were exposed to more radiation than
government agencies believed, but not in amounts that would
qualify many more for compensation, the Associated Press
reports.

From 1945 to 1962, the government conducted about 200
atmospheric nuclear-weapons tests, often with military personnel
observing from shipboard or in trenches or buildings some
distance from the blast.  Many soldiers were exposed to
radiation from fallout rather than directly from the blast.

Veterans with any of 21 types of cancer are already
automatically granted compensation.  To determine payments for
them, the government used "dose estimates."

"The veterans have legitimate complaints about their radiation
dose reconstructions," John E. Till, chairman of the National
Research Council committee that prepared the report told AP.  He
continued that updating the estimates might make a difference in
some cases but the committee does not believe it would
significantly affect the number of awards made.  He also
asserted that if the program proceeds, improvements must be made
and Congress and the Defense Department need to take a hard look
at if and how it should go forward.

"The program itself is based on some good science," Mr. Till
told AP, but quality assurance has been very weak and the
department has done a poor job of communicating with the
affected veterans.

Joe Violante, national legislative director of Disabled American
Veterans, told AP his group has serious concerns about trying to
use estimates to determine if illness is service connected.  He
favors assuming that a disease that may be connected to
radiation is service-related in the case of atomic-exposed
veterans.  The money spent on making exposure estimates could
have been better spent helping affected veterans, he said.


WAL-MART STORES: Recalls 64,000 Fabric Lanterns For Fire Hazard
---------------------------------------------------------------
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is cooperating with the United States
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) by voluntarily
recalling 64,000 fabric lanterns.  The fabric is not flame
retardant and can be ignited by the lantern's votive candle,
posing a fire hazard.  No injuries have yet been reported.

The cylinder-shaped lanterns are 7 1/2-inches high and 6-inches
wide.  Beige fabric with red and green floral designs covers the
lanterns.  Wal-Mart stores nationwide sold the lanterns from
December 2002 through March 2003 for about $7.

For more details, contact the Company by Phone: (800) 562-9974
between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or visit the
firm's Website: http://www.walmartstores.com.


WASHINGTON: Court Asks Attorney To Rewrite Environmental Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Federal Judge John Luster of Kootenai County District Court
ordered the revision of a lawsuit filed in January 2002, on
behalf of about 100,000 people living in the Coeur d'Alene River
Basin and possibly into the Spokane River Basin.  The suit names
as defendants:

     (1) Asarco Inc.,

     (2) Coeur d'Alene Mines Corporation,

     (3) Government Gulch Mining Co.,

     (4) Hecla Mining Co.,

     (5) Sunshine Mining Co.,

     (6) Sunshine Precious Metals Inc. and

     (7) Union Pacific Railroad Co.

Prominent class action lawyer Steve Berman filed the suit, which
seeks compensation for the people whose property values have
declined as a result of mining contamination.  The plaintiffs
also want mining companies to pay for medical monitoring to
identify and treat health problems caused by the release of lead
and other heavy metals.

Judge John Luster asked Mr. Berman to rewrite the suit, saying
it is not specific about allegations against each defendant and
the damages sought.  It is the second time Judge Luster has
ruled the complaint is inconsistent with Idaho rules.

"The complaint again is not in an appropriate form," Judge
Luster said.  "I could dismiss it in its entirety."

Mr. Berman said the amended complaint seeks medical monitoring
as a form of damages rather than as a cause of action, but Judge
Luster disagreed.  "The amended complaint is a thinly disguised
attempt to gain admissions," he said.


XTO ENERGY: OK Court Approves Settlement of Gas Royalties Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The District Court of Dewey County, Oklahoma granted approval to
the settlement proposed by XTO Energy, Inc. to settle a class
action filed by royalty owners of natural gas wells in Oklahoma.

The plaintiffs allege that since 1991, the Company has underpaid
royalty owners as a result of reducing royalties for improper
charges for production, marketing, gathering, processing and
transportation costs and selling natural gas through affiliated
companies at prices less favorable than those paid by third
parties.  

The parties have entered into a settlement agreement under which
the trust's portion of the settlement will be approximately
$850,000, or 2.1 cents per unit.  This amount reflects the
trust's 80% share of the settlement relating to production from
the underlying properties for periods since December 1, 1998.  

Assuming that no appeal is filed, and based on the Company's
anticipated settlement payment date of July 2003, this amount
will reduce the trust's August 2003 distribution, which is paid
to unitholders in September.  The effect of the settlement on
future distributions for other months will not be significant.


*Is Big Tobacco Heading Toward Another Round Of Trouble?
-------------------------------------------------------
The tobacco industry -- that is, the big tobacco companies --
appears, according to the analysts, to be under an almost
constant legal attack, according to a report appearing in the
Financial Times.  Philip Morris USA perhaps helped the image of
legal attack and economic collapse to connect in the minds of
appraisers of the tobacco scene, when the company raised last
month, for the first time, the threat of bankruptcy in the Big
Tobacco industry.

As the watchers of this latest battle probably still recall, an
Illinois judge in Madison County, Judge Nicholas Byron, awarded
$10.1 billion in damages against Philip Morris in a new kind of
class action.  The suit alleged Philip Morris had deceived
smokers into thinking "light" or low-tar cigarettes were safer
than regular ones.  

Before the company filed its appeal, Judge Byron ordered it to
post a $12 billion bond to demonstrate that it would be able to
pay the damages if an appeal failed.  Then followed a period of
determined professions by Philip Morris that it might have to
seek the protection of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, plus an outcry
combined with some pressure on the Illinois court, from the 46
states, warned by Philip Morris that it might not be able to
make the required installment payments under the 1998 Master
Settlement Agreement.  The majority of these states had "hooked"
their yearly budgets to the infusions of tobacco money, a
"peculiar" alliance given the fact the 1998 Master Settlement
Agreement MSA) arose out of a class action in which the states
sought damages for health care costs they had paid for the care
of people suffering from ills attributed to tobacco.

Judge Byron, in the midst of all these possible woes, eventually
negotiated with Philip Morris down to a $7 billion figure for
the appeal bond.

The episode further undermined faith in a sector of the economy
until recently seen as a "safe haven" by investors fleeing from
technology and telecommunications stocks.  Tobacco analyst
Bonnie Herzog, at Salomon Smith Barney, says investors used to
accept the legal risk of investing in tobacco companies because
of their dependable earnings growth.  However, not anymore, said
Ms. Herzog.

"We have dealt with litigation (in the tobacco industry) for a
number of years, but we always had the business fundamentals to
fall back on.  Today, those are questionable," Ms. Herzog said.

The analysts are less concerned about tobacco companies outside
the United States, where the threat of litigation is lower.  The
origin of the US industry's woes can be traced back to the MSA
of 1998, when in order to settle lawsuits brought by the states
over the costs of caring for sick smokers, the big manufacturers
agreed to pay $246 billion to the 50 states over 25 years and to
accept curbs on advertising.  Four of the states settled
individually; 46 settled in the course of a class action.

The MSA left another legacy for cigarette makers, one which
became the source of litigation.  As part of the MSA, the
companies were ordered to make public thousands of pages of
damaging internal documents.  These show how the companies
strove to cover up smoking's harmful effects.

The documents fuelled a wave of litigation, including from
individual smokers who held the big producers responsible for
their illnesses, to the class action brought by smokers
claiming tobacco companies deceived them about the safety of
"light" cigarettes.  Since the MSA, the industry has lost nine
cases brought by individuals, compared with losing only three
before the MSA.  The most recent loss, in a case brought by 64-
year-old Betty Bullock in California, resulted in an initial
punitive damages award of $28 billion, which the judge later
reduced to $28 million.

The "light" cases, say some experts, may pose a bigger threat.  
Two more have been certified as class action in Florida and
Massachusetts, and RJ Reynolds also faces a similar case to that
lost by Philip Morris.  "These are pretty straightforward cases
to prove," said Richard Daynard, chair of the Northeastern
University School of Law's tobacco products liability project,
which has spearheaded tobacco lawsuits.

"The legal environment for the tobacco industry is probably
worse than ever," said Professor Daynard.

William Ohlemeyer, vice president and associate general counsel
of Philip Morris USA, disagrees with the doom and gloom legal
prophecies.  Mr. Ohlemeyer argued that a recent US Supreme Court
award decision setting limits on punitive damages awards may
help the industry.

"The headlines notwithstanding, I think the risk is static if
not reduced," said Mr. Ohlemeyer.  "The litigation environment
has not been one in which new and uncertain risks have arisen
over the past six months."

The market's perception of the risks surrounding tobacco,
however, has increased.  The credit-rating agencies, which cut
the credit ratings of Altria, Philip Morris's parent company, to
only three notches above junk in the midst of the Illinois case,
have left them there.

Another area in which investors are aware of peril in the
tobacco industry relates to the instability of its price
structure and the tumbling of earnings.  After ratcheting up
their prices in recent years to cover the costs of the $246
billion 1998 legal settlement (the MSA) with the state
governments, as well as large increases in excise taxes,
the big four manufacturers -- Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, Brown
& Williamson and Loews Group's Lorillard -- are losing market
share to the discount brands, and they are cutting prices.

Profits are decreasing as a result.  Philip Morris last month
reported first-quarter operating income down 40 percent.  At RJR
and Brown and Williamson, profits halved.  A decade ago, the
threat came from within:  the discount brands, such as Philip
Morris's Basic and RJR's Doral, largely were made by the big
manufacturers themselves, and the big four still controlled
close to 100 percent of the market.  This time, the big four are
fighting a new breed of "deep discount" cigarettes from small
manufacturers and importers that scarcely existed five years
ago.  Deep discount brands such as Bronco, Roger and USA Gold,
now control about 10 percent of the market.  For the cigarette
giants, used to measuring changes in market share in tenths of a
percentage point, that is a seismic shift.

"I have not seen anything like it in my lifetime," said Jack
Maxwell, an industry consultant for 40 years who prepares market
share statistics for big manufacturers.  "The industry's price
structure is under attack."

Louis Camilleri, Altria's chairman, said that price increases
necessitated by the MSA also caused volumes to decline.   
Therefore, the big cigarette makers had to raise prices further
to compensate.  Mr. Camilleri added that the real reason for the
growth of the deep discounters was that many had remained
outside the MSA and so they have enjoyed a considerable cost
advantage.  "Clearly, we created the possibility of people
undercutting us; and, regrettably, what we had not factored in
was the manufacturers (the deep discounters) undercutting us by
not paying what they are supposed to be paying."

All companies selling cigarettes in the United States are
supposed to either join the MSA or pay a similar amount per
cigarette into escrow accounts administered by the states in
order to cover any future legal liabilities.  The states,
however, have been slow to enforce the requirements, thus
leaving the discounters unimpeded by the legal liabilities the
big four must face; and, therefore, more able to institute the
deep discounts, which the big four must face as a reality in the
market.

The MSA costs are a constant for many years, and other than
continue to fight cases as they come up, there is little the big
producers can do to defuse the legal threat.  They must look at
these costs and then calculate how can they combat the
discounters and rebuild their margins.

Some answers are that the states are stepping up action to
ensure small manufacturers comply with the MSA:  24 states have
now passed enforcement legislation, and RJ Reynolds expects 40
to have done so by year's end.  That will remove some of the
small manufacturers' cost advantage.  The second hope is that an
improvement in the economy should reduce the states' budget
deficits and obviate the need for further excise tax increases.

Philip Morris is now lobbying hard for the tobacco industry to
be regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration.  That could
impose compliance costs on the industry that smaller
manufacturers would find more difficult to swallow.  Philip
Morris also is preparing to unveil later this year a "reduced
risk" cigarette that would be safer to smoke.  If that is a
success, it could win back smokers and put further pressure on
the cut-price manufacturers.

That kind of innovation may help the big manufacturers' efforts
to neutralize the cut-price threat from their discounted rivals.  
However, the analysts say the tobacco makers may also have to
accept that they have lost much of their ability to
differentiate themselves through clever marketing, at which
Philip Morris, for example, long excelled.  Under the MSA, the
big four agreed to stop advertising on radio, television and
billboards and in most magazines.  That means price may continue
to be the important, the primary, weapon.


                   New Securities Fraud Cases

ELECTRO SCIENTIFIC: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Suit in OR
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the District of
Oregon on behalf of all purchasers of the common stock of
Electro Scientific Industries, Inc. (NasdaqNM: ESIO) from
September 17, 2002 through March 30, 2003, inclusive.

The complaint alleges that defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder, by issuing a series of material
misrepresentations to the market between September 17, 2002 and
March 20, 2003, thereby artificially inflating the price of
Electro Scientific securities.

The complaint alleges that these statements were materially
false and misleading because they failed to disclose and
misrepresented the following adverse facts, among others:

     (1) that the Company had reported artificially inflated
         financial results for the quarters ended August 31,
         2002 and November 30, 2002;

     (2) that the Company was improperly accounting for sales,
         thereby overstating its sales figures and, in addition
         thereto, was understating the cost of sales, in
         violation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles
         (GAAP) and its own revenue recognition policies;

     (3) that the Company lacked adequate internal controls and
         was therefore unable to ascertain the true financial
         condition of the Company; and

     (4) as a result of the foregoing, it was not true that the
         Company's financial statements published during the
         Class Period contained ``all adjustments ... necessary
         for a fair presentation'' of the Company's financial
         position.

On March 20, 2003, after the close of the market, Electro
Scientific issued a press release announcing that it would be
restating its financial statements for the first and second
fiscal quarters.  In response to this announcement, the price of
Electro Scientific common stock dropped precipitously falling
from $15.17 per share to $12.51 per share.

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

  
FLEMING COMPANIES: Marc Henzel Launches Securities Lawsuit in TX
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Texas on behalf of purchasers of Fleming Companies,
Inc. (NYSE: FLM) securities in connection with Fleming's June
17, 2002 public offering.

The complaint charges Fleming's officers, directors and its
underwriters and auditors with violations of the Securities Act
of 1933.  Fleming was the largest U.S. distributor of consumer
package goods in the wholesale grocery industry, where it
operated a network of "multi-tier" distribution centers
throughout the United States and western Canada.

The complaint alleges that in connection with the Offering,
Fleming issued 9.2 million shares of common stock at $19.40 per
share and $200 million in Notes.  The Fleming Securities were
sold pursuant to a Registration Statement and Prospectus, as
amended, which contained false and misleading statements of
material fact and omitted to state material facts necessary in
order to make the statements made therein not misleading.

The Registration Statement materially misstated the Company's
financial results of operation by, among other things, including
financial statements that misrepresented and/or omitted the true
facts, including:

     (1) That Fleming was taking unauthorized deductions on
         invoices received from vendors which reduced
         recognition of expenses associated with the cost of
         goods sold and understated accounts payable;

     (2) That Fleming had lengthened the amortization period for
         long-term assets by increasing the capitalization rate
         for interest costs and by lowering the allowance for
         credit losses, in violation of GAAP.

The Registration Statement also represented that Fleming's
retail operations were profitable at a time when the Company
was, in fact, losing money on its retail business and was in the
process of divesting itself of those operations.  As a result of
these misrepresentations, the Fleming Securities were inflated
in connection with the Offering, and plaintiff and other persons
who purchased the Fleming Securities in the Offering paid
inflated prices and were damaged thereby.

On July 30, 2002, less than two months after defendants sold
more than $378 million worth of the Fleming Securities to the
public, Fleming issued a release announcing that, contrary to
the prior positive statements contained in the Registration
Statement, defendants were in fact evaluating strategic
alternatives for dealing with the Company's money-losing retail
operations.  Recently, Fleming filed for protection under the
Bankruptcy Code.

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

  
GAINSCO INC.: Marc Henzel Launches Securities Lawsuit in S.D. FL
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Florida, on behalf of purchasers of Gainsco, Inc.
(OTC Bulletin Board: GNAC) publicly traded securities during the
period between November 17, 1999 and February 7, 2002,
inclusive.

The complaint alleges that during the class period, defendants
issued false and misleading statements to the marketplace that
artificially inflated the price of Gainsco's shares.  
Specifically, on November 17, 1999, Gainsco, an insurance
holding company, announced that it would acquire Tri-State,
Ltd.'s privately-owned insurance operation which specialized in
nonstandard passenger automobile insurance.

According to CEO Anderson, the Tri-State acquisition marked the
Company's expansion of its passenger auto insurance business
that began with Gainsco's earlier purchase of Miami-based
Lalande Group.  Mr. Anderson also told the public that the
Company would integrate Tri- State's business with Lalande
Group's underwriting and claims systems "to maximize service and
cost efficiency."  The transaction was expected to be "minimally
accretive to earnings in 2000."

The Company's second-quarter Form 10-Q, filed in August 2000,
stated that Gainsco had paid $1.15 million to Tri-State's former
owners "based on a conversion goal and specific profitability
targets," and falsely lulled the investment community into
believing that Tri-State was profitable, when in fact it was
not.  Gainsco continued to issue highly positive statements
throughout 2000 and 2001 and assured the public that it was
resolved to "maintain a strong, disciplined balance sheet."

On August 9, 2001, however, the Company announced that it was
selling the agency operations of Tri-State and would take a $5.1
million write off from its original $6.0 million investment in
Tri-State.  This, however, was only a partial disclosure of Tri-
State's problems and led investors to believe the worst was
behind the Company.

On August 14, 2001, the Company announced that it would sell
Tri- State to its president, Herb Hill, for $900,000.  On
February 7, 2002, the end of the class period, Gainsco announced
that it would "discontinue writing commercial lines insurance
business due to adverse claims development and unprofitable
results."  Gainsco's stock declined substantially on the news.

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

  
REGENERON PHARMACEUTICALS: Marc Henzel Launches Stock Suit in NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York, on behalf of purchasers of the securities
of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: REGN) between March
28, 2000 and March 30, 2003, inclusive, against the Company and:

     (1) Leonard S. Schleifer (President and CEO),

     (2) George D. Yancopoulos (Chief Scientific Officer),

     (3) Hans-Peter Guler (VP of Clinical Studies),

     (4) Neil Stahl (VP) and

     (5) Murray A. Goldberg (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 March 28, 2000
and March 30, 2003.

Regeneron is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers,
develops and intends to commercialize therapeutic drugs for the
treatment of serious medical conditions.  During the class
period, Regeneron initiated Phase II clinical trials for its
diet drug AXOKINE for use in obese patients.  The complaint
alleges that the Defendants claimed that AXOKINE would help
patients lose weight better than a placebo over a year.  
However, more than two-thirds of the 1,467 patients on the
medicine in the clinical trials developed antibodies to it after
three months, which made the medicine less effective.

Patients taking AXOKINE, including those who developed
antibodies, lost an average 6.2 pounds, compared with 2.6 pounds
for those on a placebo, which the Company admits is similar to
results dieters get with already available pills.  Before
results were released, defendants had led the public to believe
that AXOKINE would have more than $500 million in annual sales.

On March 31, 2003, Regeneron admitted AXOKINE lost effectiveness
in about 70% of patients in a study.  On this news, the
biotechnology company's shares plunged 57%, a market cap loss of
more than $500 million.  However, even defendants' admission was
false, as, in fact, defendants manipulated the results of the
study. In truth, 73.5% of the patients developed antibodies to
the drug.  

As a result of the defendants' false statements, Regeneron's
stock price traded at inflated levels during the class period,
increasing to as high as $40 on December 18, 2000, whereby the
Company and its top officers and directors sold more than $430
million worth of their own securities.

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

  
SYMBOL TECHNOLOGIES: Stull Stull Commences Securities Suit in NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
Stull Stull & Brody initiated a securities class action in the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of New
York, on behalf of all persons and entities that acquired
securities of Symbol Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: SBL) in exchange
for securities of Telxon Corporation on or about November 30,
2000 pursuant to the merger of Telxon and Symbol against Symbol
and nine of Symbol's current and former directors and officers:

     (1) Tomo Razmilovic,

     (2) Kenneth V. Jaeggi,

     (3) Robert W. Korkuc,

     (4) Jerome Swartz,

     (5) Harvey P. Mallement,

     (6) George Bugliarello,

     (7) Leo A. Guthart,

     (8) Charles B. Wang, and

     (9) James H. Simons

The complaint asserts that Defendants violated Sections 11,
12(a)(2) and 15 of the Securities Act.  Plaintiff alleges in
essence that the financial statements of Symbol as of September
30, 2000, that were contained in the Registration Statement and
Joint Proxy/Prospectus for the merger of Telxon and Symbol, were
materially false and misleading and not in conformity with
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

On April 18, 2002, Symbol disclosed that the Securities and
Exchange Commission was conducting a formal inquiry into
Symbol's fiscal year 2000 and 2001 financial statements.  On
August 13, 2002, Symbol announced that it might be required to
restate its financial results for all of 2000 and 2001.  
Subsequently, on February 13, 2003, the Company announced that
the scope of its accounting problems was far greater than
previously disclosed going back to 1999.

In a press release, Symbol stated "that it may have to restate
its revenue and income" for the years 1999 through 2002.  In
particular, Symbol indicated, among other things, that there
would be a net reduction in revenue and income for fiscal years
1999 and 2000.  It was reported on March 13, 2002 that Symbol
would have to restate revenue and income for 1999 and 2000 by as
much as $140 million a year.

Plaintiff alleges that Symbol's undisclosed violations of GAAP
that occurred prior to and at the time of the merger, as well as
the false and misleading financial statements and other
representations included in the Registration Statement, damaged
Telxon securities holders who received Symbol securities in the
merger.

For more details, contact Tzivia Brody by Mail: 6 East 45th
Street New York NY 10017 by Phone: 1-800-337-4983, by Fax:
212/490-2022 or visit the firm's Website: http://www.ssbny.com.  


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

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

Copyright 2003.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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