/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/031208.mbx            C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
           Monday, December 8, 2003, Vol. 5, No. 242


BIOTRONIK: Some Doctors Say FCC-Banned Heart Device a Lifesaver
CALIFORNIA: Law Firm To Meet Homeowners On 210 Freeway Lawsuit
CAPITAL ONE: Five Employees Launch Age Discrimination Suit in VA
CATHOLIC CHURCH: Boston Diocese Mulls Sale of Archbishops' Home
CHICO'S FAS: CA Court Approves Overtime Wage Lawsuit Settlement

CHICO'S FAS: Discovery Proceeds in Wardrobing Suit in CA Court
CIPRIANI GROUP: Appeals Court Tosses Causes of Action in Lawsuit
CLUB CAR: Recalls Lynx Vehicles For Loose Steering Connections
EXFO ELECTRO-OPTICAL: Reaches Settlement For NY Securities Suit
FAST FOOD: Candidate Lieberman Calls For FTC Junk Food Probe

FIRST UNION: Appeals Court Rules Favorably in Suit V. California
FREEDOM SURF: UT Judge Enters Permanent Injunction V. Trader
HEPATITIS OUTBREAK: Number of Infected People Increase To 635
HOME INTERIORS: Recalls Snow Play Candleholder for Fire Hazard
INVESCO FUNDS: Lawyers Eye Stock Lawsuits Ahead Of NY AG Charges

IOWA: Father Wins First Round In U. Iowa Parental-Leave Lawsuit
LEAPFROG ENTERPRISES: Shares Fall Due To Suit, FAO Bankruptcy
MONTANA: ACLU Sues Over Inadequate Representation For Prisoners
MUSIC RETAILERS: ME Court Approves $8M CD Antitrust Settlement
MUTUALS.COM: SEC Launches Civil Suit Over Late Trading Practices

NORTHWEST GOLD: Faces MP3 Players Product Fraud Suit in CA Court
PIPER JAFFRAY: Discovery Proceeds in NY IPO Allocations Lawsuit
PIPER JAFFRAY: NY Court To Rule on Dismissal of IPO Fees Lawsuit
POSTAL SERVICE: CO Court Approves Discrimination Suit Settlement
RESPIRONICS INC.: Recalls ComfortGelr Mask For Production Defect

SAVE THE WORLD: Consultant Enjoined From Securities Violations
STYLING TECHNOLOGY: SEC Lodges Civil Suit V. Principal Officers
TOSHIBA CORPORATION: Faces Lawsuit For Computer Design Defect
VERIZON PHONE: PA Inmate Commences Lawsuit For Consumer Fraud
WASHINGTON MUTUAL: Settles Seattle Mortgage Lawsuit for $50,000

WISCONSIN: ST. Croix Forges $7M Settlement For Strip Search Suit

                  New Securities Fraud Cases

AEROSONIC CORPORATION: Kirby McInerney Launches Stock Suit in FL
ALKERMES INC: Goodkind Labaton Commences Securities Suit in MA
INVESCO FUNDS: Charles Piven Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CO
PORTAL SOFTWARE: Kirby McInerney Launches Securities Suit in CA
PRICESMART: Scott + Scott Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CA


BIOTRONIK: Some Doctors Say FCC-Banned Heart Device a Lifesaver
Some doctors laud as a lifesaver a heart-monitoring device that
faxes information directly to a physician's office from anywhere
in the world. Federal regulators, however, worry the portable
messenger could pose a danger to patients, AP news reports.
The Federal Communications Commission banned the device earlier
this year, fearing it could further clog airwaves already
crowded with transmissions from high-tech medical gadgets.

The German-based manufacturer, Biotronik, has appealed the
ruling, which allowed the 3,000 patients already outfitted with
the device to continue using it.

"This information has potentially lifesaving consequences. Why
should we be denied access to this information?" Dr. Allistar
Fyfe, a Dallas cardiologist who has about a dozen patients using
the portable messenger told AP.

The portable messenger uses technology similar to a cell phone
and works along with a special pacemaker that sends signals to
the messenger.  The device, worn like a pager on a waistband or
belt, then transmits patient information to doctors, who can
program the device to monitor specific heart activity and send
reports periodically.  Patients can also trigger transmission if
they feel something is wrong.  Biotronik said the device costs
about $8,000.

Despite praise from doctors and approval from the Food and Drug
Administration, a competitor that makes a similar device,
Minneapolis-based Medtronic, claimed signals from the Biotronik
device violate federal rules, which stipulate that a device must
make sure it's on an open frequency before transmitting.  It was
Medtronic's complaint that led to the FCC ruling in February.
Biotronik insists the rules are met, AP states.

CALIFORNIA: Law Firm To Meet Homeowners On 210 Freeway Lawsuit
The Santa Monica-based law firm of Verboon, Milstein, and Peter,
will meet with homeowners who live within a mile of the 210
Freeway extension to discuss a class action filed on their
behalf, the Daily Bulletin reports.  Representatives from the
firm will provide information, answer questions, and conduct
surveys of the homeowners in attendance.

"It's just an informational meeting," said Lee Jackson, one of
the attorneys working on the suit.  "We expect it to last
between two and two-and-a-half hours."

A mid-November meeting on the same topic in Rancho Cucamonga
drew more than 400 residents and lasted from 7 p.m. to about
9:30 p.m.

Since the 210 Freeway extension opened from La Verne to Fontana,
nearby homeowners have complained of freeway noise, sometimes
alleging that Caltrans and other agencies that planned and built
the freeway did not provide adequate soundwalls to mitigate
freeway noise.  Subsequent sound studies found noise levels
above Caltrans noise standards in some areas, but below it in

The law firm expects that between 400 and 500 people have joined
a class action lawsuit hoping to recover lost property values
stemming from freeway noise.  The lawsuit has yet to be
certified as a class action by the court, and probably won't be
for a year or more.

"If the class is certified, then people are automatically in,"
Mr. Jackson said.  "But right now we're finalizing our pleadings
and preparing for discovery."

Since the firm is advancing all litigation costs as it prepares
the case, there are no out of pocket costs to homeowners.

CAPITAL ONE: Five Employees Launch Age Discrimination Suit in VA
Credit card and consumer finance firm Capital One Financial
Corporation faces a second age discrimination lawsuit filed in
the United States District Court in Virginia by five former
employees, aged from 40 to 62, the Associated Press reports.

The suit alleges that the Company favored young employees in its
effort to reduce staff.  The plaintiffs seek $90 million in
damages and charge the Company with firing a disproportionately
high number of older employees for "poor performance," although
they had met or exceeded expectations in previous job

In June, the Company settled a similar suit filed on behalf of
as many as 60 former workers for an undisclosed amount.  AARP,
the nonprofit organization for people 50 and older, was co-
counsel in that lawsuit.

Four of the plaintiffs were in middle management, and one was an
hourly employee.  Some received separation and other benefits,
plus additional pay equivalent to eight weeks' salary from
Capital One if they agreed not to sue for age discrimination, AP
reports.  The employees allege that the waivers were illegal and
part of a plan to deter legal challenges.

Capital One told AP that it does not comment on pending
litigation and that it has a strict policy against any type of

CATHOLIC CHURCH: Boston Diocese Mulls Sale of Archbishops' Home
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is selling the
archbishop's opulent Brighton mansion and 27 acres of
surrounding land to help fund an $85 million settlement with
victims of clergy sex abuse, church spokesman Rev. Chris Coyne
said, the Associated Press reports.

The three-story mansion, one of the symbols of the archdiocese's
prosperity, was built in the 1920s and has been used as
residence by the last four archbishops.  However, new Archbishop
Sean P. O'Malley opted to live in a South End Apartment behind
the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  

His predecessor Cardinal Bernard Law resigned last December over
criticisms of mishandling clergy sex abuse.  He was criticized
for living in the residence, recently assessed at US$14 million,
while saying that the archdiocese could not afford to settle the
552 civil lawsuits filed by people who said they were abused by

Roderick MacLeish Jr., a lawyer for hundreds of abuse victims,
hailed the proposed sale, telling the Associated Press, "I think
it's really a good move by the archbishop . When Cardinal Law
was there, he was living in a beautiful residence while so many
people were suffering."

Real estate experts believe that the property could net up to
$20 million.  The proposed sale will not include the chancery,
which houses archdiocesan offices, or St. John's Seminary.  
The sale of the residence helps fulfill O'Malley's promise that
no collection plate money will be used to pay for the record

Boston College, a Jesuit university located across the street
from the chancery, would be interested in purchasing the
property, spokesman Jack Dunn told AP.

CHICO'S FAS: CA Court Approves Overtime Wage Lawsuit Settlement
The Superior Court for the State of California for the County of
Orange granted final approval to the settlement proposed by
Chico's FAS, Inc. for the class action, styled "Carmen Davis vs.
Chico's FAS, Inc., filed against it, seeking to represent all
other Company assistant store managers, sales associates and
hourly employees in California from September 21, 1997 to the

The Company responded by seeking to dismiss the complaint and
strike selected claims in order to either eliminate the
litigation or gain greater clarity as to the basis for the
plaintiff's action.

The amended complaint alleged that the Company failed to pay
overtime wages and failed to provide rest breaks and meal
periods.  The action sought "class action" status and sought
unspecified monetary damages.

Following preliminary settlement discussions, the parties
attended a mediation on October 14, 2002, at which the parties
reached a settlement on a class-wide basis.  The settlement
provided for a common fund out of which settlement awards to
class members and the costs of the settlement would be paid.

At a hearing held on April 2, 2003, the court granted
preliminary approval to the parties' settlement agreement.  The
settlement agreement states that the settlement is not an
admission of liability and that the Company continues to deny
liability for any of plaintiff's claims.

Pursuant to the court's preliminary approval order, notice was
given to class members of their right to file claim forms to
participate in the settlement or to file exclusion forms to opt
out of the settlement.  The period for filing claim forms or
exclusion forms elapsed sixty days after notice was given.  No
class members filed objections to the settlement.

A hearing for final approval of the settlement was set for
September 16, 2003.  At the hearing, the court granted final
approval to the settlement.  The Company has now paid all
settlement awards to class members who filed valid claims, as
well as amounts owing for attorneys' fees, costs, and other
expenses of the settlement.  Recently, the Company notified
the court that administration of the settlement has been

CHICO'S FAS: Discovery Proceeds in Wardrobing Suit in CA Court
Discovery is proceeding in the class action filed against
Chico's FAS, Inc. in the Superior Court for the State of
California, County of San Francisco, styled "Charissa Villanueva
v. Chico's FAS, Inc."

The complaint alleges that the Company, in violation of
California law, has in place a mandatory uniform policy that
requires its employees to purchase and wear Chico's clothing and
accessories as a condition of employment.  

It is Chico's position that no such mandatory uniform policy
exists; Chico's encourages but does not require its associates
to wear Chico's clothing; although many associates choose to
wear Chico's clothing, others do not, the Company stated in a
disclosure to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This case is at the beginning stages.  The Company has filed an
answer to the plaintiff's complaint, denying all material
allegations.  The Company is continuing its investigation.  No
rulings on class certification have been made.

CIPRIANI GROUP: Appeals Court Tosses Causes of Action in Lawsuit
The New York Court of Appeals modified an order of Appellate
Court, and dismissed cause of action in a lawsuit, filed by
Shyron Bynog, et al., against the Cipriani Group, et al.
claiming that as professional banquet waiters, they are entitled
to recover, pursuant to Labor Law, certain payments, alleged to
be gratuities, made as part of catering contracts.

Plaintiffs allege that they are professional banquet waiters
employed by the Cipriani defendants at various catering
facilities in New York City and that the Alexander defendants
(M.J. Alexander & Co., Inc. and Michael J. Alexander,
individually) were the disclosed agents of the Cipriani
defendants. Plaintiffs allege that as employees, they were
entitled to receive, pursuant to Labor Law, a mandatory 22%
service charge paid by Cipriani's customers under various
banquet contracts, in addition to the $20-28 flat hourly rate
paid by the Alexander defendants.
Plaintiffs also allege a violation of Labor Law 191 in that they
were not paid within seven days after work was performed and a
violation of Labor Law 193 in that the defendants improperly
withheld a portion of their pay for Workers' Compensation

The Cipriani defendants moved for summary judgment. Supreme
Court granted the motion on the ground that the plaintiffs were
independent contractors. The court also dismissed the plaintiffs
Labor Law 196-d and 191 claims against Alexander, individually.
The Appellate Division modified Supreme Court's order, on the
law, by reinstating the plaintiffs' Labor Law section 191 and
198 claims against the Cipriani defendants, holding that summary
judgment should not have been granted "on the ground that       
plaintiffs were not employees of" the Cipriani defendants. The
Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal of the Labor Law 196-d
claims, holding that the contractual 22% service charge was not
"in the nature of a voluntary gratuity presented by the customer
in recognition of the waiter's service, and therefore need not
be distributed to the waiters pursuant to Labor Law

196-d, notwithstanding that the customer might believe that the
charge is meant to be so distributed."

The Appellate Division granted the separate motions of the
plaintiffs and defendants for leave to appeal to this Court and
certified the question of whether the Appellate Division order
was "properly made."

CLUB CAR: Recalls Lynx Vehicles For Loose Steering Connections
Club Car Inc., of Augusta, Georgia, in cooperation with the U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is voluntarily
recalling 158 Lynx Hunting Vehicles since the steering
connections on the front suspension rack can come loose, posing
a risk of the operator losing control of the vehicle. Club Car
has received one report of a hunting vehicle losing steering
control, though no injuries have been reported.

The Lynx is an off-road vehicle, shaped like a golf cart, but
designed for hunters and sportsmen. The name "Club Car" appears
on the front of the vehicle. The recalled vehicles have serial
number prefix LX0344 through LX0353, and LX0401 through LX0409.
The serial number is located on a decal just above and to the
right of the accelerator pedal.

The vehicles, manufactured in the U.S., were sold at Authorized
Club Car dealers nationwide from May 2003 through September 2003
for between $4,000 and $5,000.

Consumers should stop using these vehicles immediately and
contact Club Car for a free inspection and repair. Most vehicle
owners have already been contacted by Club Car.

Any owners of recalled Lynx vehicles who have not been
contacted, should call the retailer from whom they purchased
their vehicle or call Club Car at (800) 227-0739 between 8 a.m.
and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

EXFO ELECTRO-OPTICAL: Reaches Settlement For NY Securities Suit
EXFO Electro-Optical Engineering, Inc. reached a settlement for
the consolidated securities class action filed in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York,
related to its initial public offering (IPO) in June 2000.

The complaints allege that the prospectus and the registration
statement for the IPO failed to disclose that the underwriters
allegedly received excessive commissions and that the
underwriters and some investors collaborated in order to inflate
the price of Company stock in the aftermarket.

On June 26, 2003, the Plaintiff's Executive Committee announced
that a proposed settlement between the issuers and their
directors and officers and the plaintiffs had been structured.  
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to settle the plaintiffs'
claims against the issuers and their directors and officers has
now been approved as to form and the process of obtaining
approval by all parties to the MOU is now underway.  The parties
will be required to prepare many complex documents necessary to
consummate the settlement, which will be submitted to the court
for preliminary approval. Final approval will be required by the
Court following notice to class members and a fairness hearing.

If this tentative settlement is successfully finalized, the
company and the individual defendants will be released from the
litigation.  Any direct financial impact of the proposed
settlement is will likely be covered by the Company's insurance

Since the settlement process is subject to a fairness hearing
and final court approval, it is possible that it could fail.  
Therefore, it is not possible to predict the final outcome of
the case, nor determine the amount of any possible losses.  If
the settlement process fails, the company will continue to
defend its position in this litigation that the claims against
it, and its officers, are without merit.

FAST FOOD: Candidate Lieberman Calls For FTC Junk Food Probe
Connecticut Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Joe
Lieberman is asking the Federal Trade Commission to initiate a
probe into the connection between junk food advertising and the
rise in obesity among youngsters, the Associated Press reports.

"We're talking about how the government can get back on the side
of parents and families and support them in raising healthy
children and giving them good values," Dan Gerstein, deputy
communications director for Sen. Lieberman's campaign told AP.  
"Governments can't raise children.  That's the job of parents.  
But we can help to pull with them and pull for them."

Sen. Lieberman also plans to push for three interim moves while
the FTC conducts the investigation, the Associated Press
reports.  He said he would require junk food advertisements to
include nutritional information that somehow issues a warning to
parents, much like movie ads are accompanied by parental

Sen. Lieberman also promised to ask Congress to require
restaurants to include nutritional information on menus and
mini-boards.  He also proposed to allow the Agriculture
Department to set standards for food sold in schools, primarily
vending machines.

Fast food chains and junk food have come under fire in the
recent years, as obesity has become the top health issue in
America.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has
estimated that 15% are overweight.  Additionally, lawsuits have
been filed against major food chains like McDonald's, alleging
it caused people and teenagers to become addicted to its food
and contributed to their obesity problem.  The lawsuits have
been dismissed.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Sen. Lieberman also asked
for an FTC probe into marketing practices of movie, video game
and music industries.  His campaign officials say that he found
a similar pattern with food advertising - he says that the firms
are marketing unhealthy products for children too young to read.

While parents can refuse to bring junk food into their homes,
advertisements prompt demands from the youngest children and
make it more likely that they will buy the products - sometimes
in schools - as soon as they get enough money of their own,
Lieberman aides said.  Sen. Lieberman's campaign officials told
AP the senator will not define what junk food is, leaving that
to dietary and health care experts.  

FIRST UNION: Appeals Court Rules Favorably in Suit V. California
First Union Real Estate Equity and Mortgage Investments
(NYSE:FUR) received a favorable decision from the California
Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, in "Paterno et al. v.
State of California," a class action composed of numerous
businesses and individuals as parties plaintiff, including First

First Union first learned of the unexpected ruling after the
close of business on Wednesday, November 26, 2003.  As a
plaintiff in this case, First Union has pursued legal action
against the State of California associated with the 1986 flood
of Sutter Buttes Center, formerly Peach Tree Center, a property
owned at the time by the Company.  

In September 1991, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on
the liability portion of the inverse condemnation suit, which
the State of California appealed.  In the third quarter of 1999,
the 1991 ruling in favor of First Union and the other plaintiffs
was reversed by the State of California Court of Appeal, which
remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

After the remand, the retrial of the litigation commenced in
February 2001 and was completed in July 2001.  In November 2001,
the trial court issued a decision that generally held in favor
of the State of California.

The plaintiffs appealed the ruling of the trial court to the
California Court of Appeal.  On November 26, 2003, the Court of
Appeal issued its decision reversing the decision of the trial
court.  The appellate court held that the State was liable for
the damages caused by the failure of the levee and remanded the
case to the trial court for a determination of the plaintiffs'
damages and for an award of attorney's fees and costs.

The Company said in a statement that it understands that the
State intends to pursue an appeal to the California Supreme
Court, but cannot predict whether that court will accept such an
appeal and, if accepted, what the outcome of the appeal will be.
The Company has been informed by the consulting firm it
previously retained to evaluate its claims that the amount of
its potential damage claims is in the order of magnitude of $33
million, potentially subject to adjustment due to the
subrogation rights of its insurance carrier, plus attorney's
fees and compounded market-rate interest from 1986, the time
that the damage occurred; however, the Company is unable to
predict at this time what amount, if any, it will recover of its
damage claims in or as a result of this legal proceeding.

For more information, contact Neil H. Koenig of First Union Real
Estate Equity and Mortgage Investments by Phone: 212-949-1373

FREEDOM SURF: UT Judge Enters Permanent Injunction V. Trader
The Honorable Tena Campbell, US District Judge for the District
of Utah, Central Division, entered a Judgment of Permanent
Injunction as to Robert H. Pozner of Ridgewood, New Jersey.  Mr.
Pozner consented to entry of the judgment.  

The Judgment against Mr. Pozner enjoins him from future
violations of the antifraud provisions of the securities laws  
(Sections 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder).  The Judgment also orders that the Court will
retain jurisdiction to decide the appropriate amount, if any, of
disgorgement, prejudgment interest and penalties against Mr.
The Commission's complaint alleged that Mr. Pozner, then a
trader at a brokerage firm called Glenn Michael Financial
Corporation, engaged in a scheme with other defendants from July
through November 2000 to manipulate the public trading market
for stock issued by Freedom Surf, Inc.  

The complaint alleged that Mr. Pozner, Allen Wolfson and other
defendants participated in a scheme to artificially run up the
price of Freedom Surf stock.  Mr. Pozner and others advanced the
bid quotation in Freedom Surf stock without relation to genuine
market demand or worth of the company.  The complaint alleged
that in less than two months, Mr. Pozner, at Wolfson's
direction, and without client orders, bid up the stock from $5
to $35.

HEPATITIS OUTBREAK: Number of Infected People Increase To 635
The number of hepatitis A cases linked to eating green onions at
a Chi-Chi's restaurant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania has risen
to 635, 20 more than the number reported last week, the
Associated Press reports.

Green onions have been linked to an outbreak that sickened more
than 600 people and killed three who ate at the Mexican
restaurant in Monaca, about 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.  
"Last week, public health authorities determined that a shipment
of contaminated green onions to a Chi-Chi's restaurant from an
outside supplier was the source of this outbreak," attorney
William Marler earlier told AP.  "For that reason, we have
decided to dismiss the lawsuits against Chi-Chi's, and instead
have filed a lawsuit against suppliers."

A class action has also been commenced against three California
distributors - NewStar Fresh Foods in Salinas, Boskovich Farms
in Oxnard, and Apio Fresh in Guadalupe in US District Court for
the Western District of Pennsylvania.  

The Pennsylvania Health Department is no longer updating the
number of new cases daily because the number is growing slowly.  
There are still no reported secondary cases, meaning all those
confirmed to have the liver disease got it directly by eating or
working at the restaurant, state officials said Wednesday, the
Associated Press reports.

The Food and Drug Administration now has a team in Mexico trying
to figure out exactly how green onions were contaminated on
their way to the restaurant about 25 miles northwest of
Pittsburgh.  The results of that investigation are expected to
take at least two weeks, FDA spokesman Michael Herndon said

HOME INTERIORS: Recalls Snow Play Candleholder for Fire Hazard
Home Interiors & Gifts, Inc. of Carrollton, Texas, in
cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC) is recalling 14,338 Snow Play Candleholders since flames
from the votive candle can set fire to the rope linking three
"sledding" snowmen.  There have been two reports of the rope on
the candleholder catching fire, though no injuries were

The recalled candleholder is about 6 inches high and is packaged
in a box with "Home Interiors" written on the top of the box.
Each candleholder has three snowmen linked by a small rope,
"sledding" down a hill around the votive candleholder.  The
snowmen are painted red, blue, and green.

The candleholders, manufactured in China, were sold at Home
Interiors' direct sales associates from July 2003 through
October 2003 for $14.99.

Customers are urged to stop using the candleholder immediately
and return the candleholder to Home Interiors & Gifts, 2901
Trade Center, Suite 100, Carrollton, TX 75007, Attn: Snow Play
Recall. Consumers should clearly mark the outside of the box
with their name, return address, and total number of
candleholders being returned, to receive a $20 gift certificate
from Home Interiors for the full purchase price and shipping

For more information, contact Home Interiors toll-free on
(800) 818-2062 between 9 am and 5 pm (CT) Monday through Friday.

INVESCO FUNDS: Lawyers Eye Stock Lawsuits Ahead Of NY AG Charges
Within hours of prosecution announcements Tuesday by New York AG
Spitzer and the Securities and Exchange Commission, an Indiana
investor filed the first of what is likely to be many suits
against Denver-based Invesco in U.S. District Court in Denver,
Knight-Ridder / Tribune Business News reports.

David Rosenfeld, a lawyer involved in the case, said Wednesday
that his New York firm, Cauley Geller Bowman & Rudman, began
considering a suit when it became clear recently that AG
Spitzer's office was investigating Invesco.  Critics argue that
the quickness with which Cauley Geller and others follow
government action with a lawsuit indicates they are vultures
with little regard for justice.

"What is driving them is the size of the potential claim, not
the merits of the cases," said James Copland, director of the
Center for Public Policy, a conservative think tank.

Others say the class action lawyers not only help keep corporate
malfeasance in check, they are the only hope that wronged
investors have of recovering losses.  "There is a place for
class-action litigation where you have badly injured investors.
Whenever the (Securities and Exchange Commission) or a U.S.
attorney takes action, that generally does nothing to make the
investors whole," said Carr Conway, a forensic accountant with
Dickerson Financial Investigations Group in Lakewood and a
former SEC investigator.

The SEC and other authorities go after corporate wrongdoers in
only the most egregious cases, said Kip Shuman, a Denver lawyer
who specializes in securities cases. The lawsuit threat does
more to keep corporate officers honest than fear of government
action does, he said.

Both sides of the argument have merit, said Ken Scott, a
Stanford University law professor.  "Class-action securities
lawsuits have become a big and highly profitable business for
the trial bar," he said.  "It can also be true that they are a
powerful mechanism for enforcing the laws."

Firms like Cauley Geller, Dyer & Shuman and powerhouse Milberg
Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach specialize in the suits, which in
some cases bring together thousands of plaintiffs in one major
legal action.  Companies invariably settle the lawsuits rather
than risk costly and lengthy litigation, said Bill Ballowe, an
assistant vice president at San Francisco-based insurance broker
Woodruff & Sawyer, which manages shareholder databases.

Only once since 1995, when Congress passed the Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act, has a company refused
settlement, Mr. Ballowe said.  In that 1998 case, the South
Dakota-based company, Equisure, didn't bother to show up in
court.  A federal judge in Minnesota socked the Company with a
$45.3 million default judgement.

Such class action firms as Milberg and Cauley Geller have teams
of forensic accountants and investigators looking for abuses.  
Cauley Geller began looking into possible abuses in the mutual-
fund industry after AG Spitzer in September disclosed his
office's investigation involving hedge fund Canary Capital
Partners and a number of fund companies, including Denver-based
Janus Capital.  The firm is involved in suits against most of
the mutual funds alleged to have misled investors.

Invesco loomed larger in Cauley Geller's sights when it became
clear in the weeks following the Janus allegations that Spitzer
was investigating the firm, Mr. Rosenfeld told the Tribune
Business News.

In most cases, the amount of investigation that the class-action
firms do before filing suit is minimal, Stanford's Scott told
the Tribune Business News.

"You can piggyback on the actions the public authorities bring,"
he said.  "You can have a standard complaint form and then fill
in specifics when they bring enforcement action."

A second law firm, Schiffrin & Barroway of Bala Cynwyd,
Pennsylvania, is working with Cauley Geller on the Denver
Invesco suit.  Along with a local counsel, Denver's Allen &
Vellone, the two filed the suit on behalf of Richard Raver.  Mr.
Rosenfeld said none of the lawyers recruited Mr. Raver, who
approached Schiffrin & Barroway about filing suit.

IOWA: Father Wins First Round In U. Iowa Parental-Leave Lawsuit
David Johnson, a University of Iowa employee, is eager to garner
support for a class action against the university for what he
calls a discriminatory parental-leave policy now that a federal
judge has given the go-ahead for litigation, the Daily Iowan
reports.  A November 19 consolidation approval of two cases into
a federal class action suit allows other UI employees to join
Mr. Johnson in his case against the university.

Mr. Johnson, an employee in the Registrar's Office, was not
allowed to use two-weeks paid sick leave to care for his wife
after the birth of their daughter in the fall of 2002.  He
contends that the University of Iowa's parental-leave policy
discriminated against him because it grants paid leave to
mothers of newborns and adoptive parents of either sex, but it
does not allow biological fathers the same benefits.  UI's
policy is the only one of its kind in the Big Ten.

"The case is a wonderful example of the way discrimination in
one case affects everyone," Mr. Johnson says.  "They are taking
away from the father bonding with the child, but it also takes
away from helping out the mother in those two weeks."

UI attorneys were unsuccessful in attempting to dismiss the
lawsuits Mr. Johnson filed in federal and state courts in June,
which seek damages for emotional distress and the 40 hours of
pay he did not receive during his leave of absence.

Marc Mills, a University of Iowa senior associate counsel, says
he could not comment on the reasons biological fathers are not
given benefits equivalent to mothers and adoptive parents,
indicating that the university would wait to present its

Mr. Johnson says he believes the university established the
parental-leave policy to lower the cost of employee benefits.  
UI is the only Big Ten school that does not grant biological
fathers the use of accumulated sick days to care for newborn or
adopted children.  The University of Illinois grants two weeks
of paid leave for both parents after the birth or adoption of a

"Both parents are important. They both need bonding time with
the child," says Mary Ellen O'Schaughnessey, an associate
director of academic human resources at Illinois. "It's a matter
of equity; that's why it is called parental leave, not maternity

U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Longstaff opened the class
action to all University of Iowa employees who are or may become
biological fathers.  Mr. Johnson says he was prompted to file a
class action after receiving support from other fathers in like

"There are many similarly situated persons who are affected by
the same application by the same employer," says his attorney,
James Larew.  Mr. Larew adds that class-action suits are a more
efficient way to arbitrate disputes that affect many people.
"Historically, the federal courts have been champions of civil-
rights claims," he says. "They can be used as persuasive
authority in other places around the country."

Interested employees have until January 18 to enter the suit; to
date, none have formally joined.

LEAPFROG ENTERPRISES: Shares Fall Due To Suit, FAO Bankruptcy
Shares of electronic educational toy firm Leapfrog Enterprises,
Inc. (LF) fell last week, after shareholders filed a class
action and one of its customers filed for bankruptcy, the
Reuters reports.

In October, the Company revealed an upcoming earnings and
revenue shortfall, after reporting that several major retailers
had deferred third-quarter orders to keep inventories down.  The
revelation caused Company shares to drop by 7.2% in trading at
the New York Stock Exchange.

Prominent law firm Milberg Weiss then initiated a securities
class action against the Company and some of its officers, over
its failure to warn investors of the shortfall.  The suit was
filed in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California on behalf of shareholders who purchased,
converted, exchanged or otherwise acquired the Company's common
stock between August 20, 2003 and October 21, 2003, inclusive.

The action charges that defendants violated federal securities
laws by issuing a series of materially false and misleading
statements to the market throughout the Class Period which
statements had the effect of artificially inflating the market
price of the Company's securities.

"We have seen in the past companies miss quarters and class-
action lawsuits crop up," Natalie Walrond, an analyst with
Pacific Growth Equities, told Reuters.  "Usually they go on for
long periods of time and not much comes from it, it's more of an
annoyance and a distraction . we're not overly concerned."

LeapFrog said in a statement that it believes the lawsuit is
without merit, and it intends to vigorously defend itself,
Reuters reports.

One of LeapFrog's customers, FAO Inc.(FAOO), said on Thursday
that it filed for bankruptcy. FAO runs FAO Schwarz, Right Start
and Zany Brainy chains. FAO said on Tuesday it would liquidate
Zany Brainy, which specializes in educational toys, Reuters
reports.  LeapFrog said sales to FAO account for a very small
percentage of its revenue, and the bankruptcy and liquidation
will not have a material impact on the company.

MONTANA: ACLU Sues Over Inadequate Representation For Prisoners
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a class action
against Flathead District Court, Montana judges and officials,
on behalf of eight criminal defendants and other potential
plaintiffs, the Daily Inter Lake reports.  

The suit names 14 judges, Montana Gov. Judy Martz, Supreme Court
Administrator James Oppedahl, judges who sit on a state District
Court Council and members of the Appellate Defender Commission
as defendants.  The ACLU recently added three more judges to the
suit - Ted Lympus, Stewart Stadler and Kitty Curtis.

The suit concerns the state's method of providing legal defense
to poor Montanans.  The suit alleges that the plaintiff's
constitutional rights to free and adequate legal representation
were violated, and applies to plaintiffs in Butte-Silver Bow,
Missoula, Glacier, Teton, Flathead, Lake and Ravalli counties.

The suit charges the state with failing to adequately budget
legal representation costs - a $2 million shortfall in legal
defense funding is reportedly expected this biennium.  Because
of the state's failure to supervise and fund indigent defense,
poor people suffer a number of potentially dire consequences,
the suit says.

"Appointment of counsel is unnecessarily delayed.  Persons who
might otherwise be eligible for bail remain in (jail)
unnecessarily.  They cannot challenge the evidence against them.
Innocent persons plead guilty.  Those who have meritorious
defenses cannot present them.  They receive harsher sentences
than the facts of their case warrant.  They do not learn of
sentencing alternatives.  Indigent clients waive their due
process rights, the right to a fair and speedy trial, and their
right to appeal their convictions," the suit stated, the Daily
Inter Lake reports.

The suit further asserted that Montana has been known for its
failure in public defense for decades.

The suit cites the case of Robert Armstrong, a Flathead County
criminal defendant who was recently a key witness in a murder
trial, as an example of inadequate legal representation.  Mr.
Armstrong charged with DUI and bail jumping. The suit alleges
that after Mr. Armstrong missed an arraignment, his lawyer
failed to inform the court of the misunderstanding and to inform
Mr. Armstrong that a bench warrant was issued for him.

While certain standards are expected for prosecutors in criminal
cases, there are no such standards required for public
defenders, giving prosecutors an advantage over people charged
with crimes, the suit says.

It alleges, "Hampered by a lack of experience, excessive
workloads, inadequate compensation, the lack of support
services, and the absence of meaningful administrative oversight
and technical assistance, indigent defense counsel do not or are
unable to perform even the most basic tasks necessary to provide
adequate representation to their clients."

Local officials wondered whether judges were immune from such a
suit, the Daily Inter Lake reports.  Judges cannot be sued for
damages for actions they take.

MUSIC RETAILERS: ME Court Approves $8M CD Antitrust Settlement
The United States District Court in Portland, Maine granted
approval to the US$8 million settlement proposed by several
music distributors and retailers for the consumer antitrust suit
filed against them, Reuters reports.

The suit names as defendants Bertelsmann's BMG Music Club,
Columbia House and several other CD manufacturers and
distributors.  The suit alleged that they conspired to set
prices of compact discs sold to music club members.

A similar suit was filed in the same court in October 2000 that
was signed by the attorneys general of 43 states and
territories.  The suit charged major record labels and large
music retailers of conspiring to set minimum music prices.  
Judge D. Brock Hornby approved a $143 million settlement of that
case last June.  

Defendants common to both suits include:

     (1) Sony Music Entertainment,

     (2) EMI Group's EMI Music Distribution,

     (3) Time Warner's Warner-Elektra-Atlantic,

     (4) Vivendi Universal's Universal Music Group and

     (5) the Bertelsmann Music Group.

Under the settlement, members will receive vouchers providing
for 75% discounts on regular CD club prices.  Under the
settlement, members will receive up to three discount vouchers,
Michael Jaffe, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told Reuters.
Anyone with a voucher will pay about $4.50 per CD, based on the
typical music club price of about $18.  Individuals buying CDs
with the vouchers will not have to pay the usual extra shipping
and handling charges of $2.80.

BMG declined comment, while officials of Columbia House were not
immediately available, Reuters reports.  In agreeing to the
settlement Wednesday, the music clubs and distributors denied
any wrongdoing.

"This is a reasonable settlement for an extremely complex and
difficult case.  We encourage all class members to take
advantage of the voucher program, which will be in place for the
next six months," Mr. Jaffe said.

MUTUALS.COM: SEC Launches Civil Suit Over Late Trading Practices
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil securities
fraud action in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Texas, against Mutuals.com, Inc., its CEO,
its president, and its compliance officer, as well as two
affiliated broker-dealer firms.  

According to the SEC's complaint, the defendants fraudulently
helped institutional brokerage customers and advisory clients to
carry out and conceal thousands of market timing trades and
illegal late trades in shares of hundreds of mutual funds.   

The SEC asked the court to enjoin the defendants from further
securities law violations, and also sought civil money penalties
and disgorgement of illicit profits plus prejudgment interest.  
The Commission also sought, and the defendants consented to, the
appointment of a Special Monitor to oversee the defendants'
business operations, including the management of the Mutuals.com
Trust mutual funds (formerly known as 1-800 MUTUALS Advisor
Series), pending resolution of the civil litigation.
The SEC named the following individuals and entities as
defendants in the action:   

     (1) Mutuals.com, Inc.,

     (2) affiliated broker-dealer Connely Dowd Management, Inc.,

     (3) affiliated broker-dealer MTT Fundcorp, Inc.,

     (4) CEO Richard Sapio,

     (5) president Eric McDonald and

     (6) compliance officer Michele Leftwich
According to the Commission's complaint, Mr. Sapio, Mr. McDonald
and Ms. Leftwich devised and perpetrated a number of deceptive
acts and practices to conceal their clients' market timing
activities, such as:

     (i) formation and registration of two affiliated broker-
         dealers (CDM and MTT) through which they could continue
         to market time undetected;  

    (ii) changing account numbers for blocked customer accounts;

   (iii) use of alternative registered representative numbers
         for registered representatives who were blocked from
         trading by mutual funds;

    (iv) use of different branch identification numbers;

     (v) switching clearing firms; and

    (vi) suggesting that their customers use third party tax
         identification numbers or social security numbers to
         disguise their identities, so that they could continue
         to trade in funds from which they had been banned.
The SEC further alleges that, at least during 2003, Mutuals.com
and its affiliated broker dealers routinely received trading
instructions from customers after 4:00 p.m. EST and executed
those trades as if the instructions had been received prior to
that time.  According to the SEC, Mutuals.com and its affiliates
attempted to conceal late trading activities by omitting
portions of the trading information they were required to
provide to clearing agents.
The SEC alleges that, by way of that conduct, each of the
proposed defendants violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act
of 1933.  Each of the proposed defendants also allegedly
violated, and aided and abetted their customers' and clients'
violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 (Exchange Act) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.  

The suit further alleges that Mutuals.com, CDM and MTT violated
Section 15(c)(1) of the Exchange Act, and that Sapio, McDonald
and Leftwich aided and abetted those violations of Section
15(c)(1) of the Exchange Act.  Mutuals.com, CDM and MTT also
allegedly violated Rule 22c-1 of the Investment Company Act of
1940 (which prohibits the purchase or sale of mutual fund shares
except at a price based on the current NAV of such shares that
is next calculated after receipt of a buy or sell order).   

The suit is styled "Securities and Exchange Commission v.
Mutuals.com, Inc., Connely Dowd Management, Inc., MTT Fundcorp,
Inc., Richard Sapio, Eric McDonald, and Michele Leftwich, Civil
Action No. 303 CV 2912D."

NORTHWEST GOLD: Faces MP3 Players Product Fraud Suit in CA Court
Northwest Gold, Inc. faces a class action filed in California
state court against all MP3 marketers, advertisers, and
manufacturers in the state of California for misrepresenting the
file storage capabilities of MP3 players.  

The Company retained an outside attorney to represent and defend
it.  The outcome of the lawsuit cannot be determined as the case
is still in its early stage of discovery.  Any unfavorable
outcome arises from the case will adversely affect the Company's

PIPER JAFFRAY: Discovery Proceeds in NY IPO Allocations Lawsuit
Discovery is proceeding in the consolidated securities class
action filed against Piper Jaffray Companies and other leading
securities firms, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of New York involving the allocation of securities in
certain initial public offerings.  The suit is styled "In re
Initial Public Offering Allocation Securities Litigation, Master
File No.21 MC 92 (SAS)."

The consolidated suits assert claims pursuant to Section11 of
the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.  The
claims are based, in part, upon allegations that between 1998
and 2000, in connection with acting as an underwriter of certain
initial public offerings of technology and Internet-related
companies, the Company obtained excessive compensation by
allocating shares in these initial public offerings to preferred
customers who, in return, purportedly agreed to pay additional
compensation to the Company in the form of excess commissions
that it failed to disclose.

The complaints also allege that the customers who received
favorable allocations of shares in initial public offerings
agreed to purchase additional shares of the same issuer in the
secondary market at pre-determined prices.  These complaints
seek unspecified damages.

The defendants' motions to dismiss the complaints were filed on
July 1, 2002, and oral argument on the motions to dismiss was
heard on November 14, 2002.  The court entered its order largely
denying the motions to dismiss on February 19, 2003.  A status
conference was held with the Court on July 11, 2003 for purposes
of establishing a case management plan setting forth discovery
deadlines, selecting focus cases and briefing class

With respect to certain claims, the Company and the other
underwriter defendants have now submitted our request that the
Court set a schedule for filing motion for reconsideration or
motion for judgment on the pleadings based upon the argument
that the complaints fail to sufficiently allege loss causation
as recently articulated by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

PIPER JAFFRAY: NY Court To Rule on Dismissal of IPO Fees Lawsuit
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York has yet to decide on the motion to dismiss the
consolidated class action filed against Piper Jaffray Companies
and other leading securities firms, styled "In re Public
Offering Fee Antitrust Litigation, Case No.98 CV 7890 (LMM)."

The consolidated amended complaint seeks unspecified
compensatory damages, treble damages and injunctive relief.  The
consolidated amended complaint was filed on behalf of purchasers
of shares issued in certain initial public offerings for U.S.
companies and alleges that defendants conspired in offerings of
an amount between $20 and $80 million to fix the underwriters'
discount at 7.0 percent of the offering amount in violation of
Section1 of the Sherman Act.

The court dismissed this consolidated action with prejudice and
denied plaintiffs' motion to amend the complaint and include an
issuer plaintiff.  The court stated that its decision did not
affect any class actions filed on behalf of issuer plaintiffs.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district
court's decision on December 13, 2002 and remanded the action to
the district court.  A motion to dismiss was filed with the
district court on March 26, 2003 seeking dismissal of this
action in its entirety, based upon the argument that the
determination of underwriting fees is implicitly immune from the
antitrust laws because of the extensive federal regulation of
the securities markets.

Plaintiffs filed their opposition to the motion to dismiss on
April 25, 2003.  The underwriter defendants filed a motion for
leave to file a supplemental memorandum of law in further
support of their motion to dismiss on June 10, 2003.  The court
denied the motion to dismiss based upon implied immunity in its
memorandum and order dated June 26, 2003.  

A supplemental memorandum in support of motion to dismiss,
applicable only to this action because the purported class
consists of indirect purchasers, was filed on June 24, 2003 and
seeks dismissal based upon the argument that the proposed class
members cannot state claims upon which relief can be granted.  
Plaintiffs filed a supplemental memorandum in opposition to
defendants' motion to dismiss on July 9, 2003.  Defendants filed
a reply in further support of the motion to dismiss on July 25,

Discovery is proceeding at this time.

POSTAL SERVICE: CO Court Approves Discrimination Suit Settlement
The United States District Court in Colorado granted approval to
the settlement of a class action filed against the United States
Postal Service, alleging that it discriminated against injured
employees, the Associated Press reports.

Chandler Glover, 65, filed the suit in 1992, alleging that
postal officials in Denver denied him advancement opportunities
after he was injured on the job in 1991.  "I got to keep the
same salary, but I was denied any promotions, any transfers or
anything of that nature," Mr. Glover, who retired in 1999, told
AP.  "I wasn't given those opportunities. I couldn't even apply
for (them)."

Under the settlement, employees who can show they were
discriminated against because of their rehabilitation status
will be offered $25,000.  An estimated 25,000 postal employees
are expected to take part in the deal, which will cost the  
government millions of dollars, according to attorneys.

"Whether it is single-digit or double-digit, we won't really
know until we see how many claims are filed," Brad Seligman, an
attorney with the nonprofit Impact Fund, which helped represent
the plaintiffs, told AP.

Officials for the Postal Service in Denver and in Washington
said they could not comment on the settlement, which includes no
admission of wrongdoing, the Associated Press reports.

RESPIRONICS INC.: Recalls ComfortGelr Mask For Production Defect
Respironics, Inc., in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), has voluntarily recalled 5,293 ComfortGelr
nasal masks distributed from September 5, 2003 through September
15, 2003, because the company discovered that some masks shipped
to Home Health Care Providers or distributors did not contain a
built-in exhalation port. The exhalation port is required to
allow exhaled air to properly exhaust. The masks were shipped
without the exhaust port used to exhaust all of the exhaled CO2,
which potentially could result in patients re-breathing CO2,
associated decreased oxygen levels and increased CO2 levels in
the blood. The ComfortGel nasal mask can only be obtained
through a physician prescription.

Respironics self-reported the exhalation port issue to the Food
and Drug Administration District in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
on September 26, 2003, when the issue came to the company's
attention. There have been no patient injuries to date.

The ComfortGel masks are used in the treatment of Obstructive
Sleep Apnea (OSA) in conjunction with a Continuous Positive
Airway Pressure (CPAP) or Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure (Bi-
PAP) device which supplies a continuous stream of air which
keeps the patient's airway open during sleep to diminish apnea,
or awakening, episodes.

A corrective action was begun immediately in which Respironics
contacted all customers who were shipped masks during the
September 5 to September 15 timeframe. The company has completed
contact with all customers who received shipments of the masks
and will continue inspection and replacement efforts until all
suspected masks are returned by customers. As of today, 82% of
the recalled masks have been returned to Respironics and less
than 3% have been determined to be affected.

Respironics will work closely with the FDA to ensure that all
masks in question are returned to the company for thorough
inspection and repair or replacement. Respironics, Inc. is
notifying its distributors and customers by telephone and
written communication and is arranging for return of all
recalled products. Consumers with questions may contact the
company at 1-800-345-6443.

SAVE THE WORLD: Consultant Enjoined From Securities Violations
The Honorable George B. Daniels of the US District Court for the
Southern District of New York permanently enjoined defendant
Billy Blackwelder from violating the antifraud, anti-touting and
other provisions of the federal securities laws, barred him from
participating in an offer of penny stock, and ordered him to
disgorge his illicit profits.  Mr. Blackwelder, without
admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission's
complaint, consented to the entry of the final judgment against
Mr. Blackwelder was a freelance consultant who, in July 2000,
became a marketing consultant for Save the World Air, Inc.
(STWA), a company that purported to have successfully developed
and marketed a pollution control device for automobiles called
the "zero emission fuel saver device."  

The complaint alleges that Mr. Blackwelder prepared and arranged
to have issued at least one false press release announcing a
major licensing deal for STWA that, in fact, did not exist.  Mr.
Blackwelder also posted positive messages about STWA on an
Internet stock message board without disclosing, as required,
that he received shares of STWA as payment for the promotion.  
Mr. Blackwelder's postings were materially misleading because
they created the impression that he was expressing unbiased
views about STWA and its stock, when he was actually a paid
The complaint charged Mr. Blackwelder with violations of Section
17(b) of the Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act), Section
10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
thereunder.  The complaint also charged STWA and Jeffrey Muller,
the company's former president, with violations of Section 17(a)
of the Securities Act, Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act, and
Rule 10b-5 thereunder.  

In addition, STWA and Muller, as a control person of STWA
pursuant to Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act, were charged with
violations of Sections 13(a) and 13(b) of the Exchange Act, and
Rules 12b-20, 13a-1, 13a-13 and 13b2-1 thereunder.  

The complaint further charged Mr. Muller with violations of
Section 16(a) of the Exchange Act, and Rules 16a-2 and 16a-3
thereunder.  On June 25, 2002, the Court ordered a final
judgment of permanent injunction against STWA.  STWA consented
to a permanent injunction prohibiting it from violating the
antifraud and reporting provisions of the securities laws.  The
litigation is ongoing with respect to Mr. Muller.  

The suit is styled "SEC v. Save the World Air, Inc., et al., 01
CV 11586."

STYLING TECHNOLOGY: SEC Lodges Civil Suit V. Principal Officers
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil injunctive
action in the United States District Court for the District of
Columbia, alleging that the principal executive officers of
Styling Technology Corporation, including its former chairman
and CEO, Sam Leopold, and its former CFO, Richard R. Ross,
engaged in an extensive financial fraud between 1997 and 1999 by
inflating the company's reported earnings in its filings with
the Commission.  

The Commission's complaint also alleges that two of the
company's auditors engaged in the fraud by recklessly causing
their accounting firm, Arthur Andersen LLP, to issue an
unqualified audit report on Styling's 1998 year-end financial
statements and by failing to object to false and misleading
statements in the Company's 1999 first and second quarter

The Commission's complaint alleges that, beginning in 1997, the
Company began to record false revenue from certain sales
transactions, including ones that involved nothing more than the
transfer of product to an overseas warehouse.  It also alleges
that the fraudulent booking of sales increased significantly
during 1998, when the manager of Styling's Body Drench division,
Phillip D. Teal, began systematically booking projected sales
for the entire year in the current quarter - a practice that
culminated at year-end in the recording of revenue from the mere
shipment of millions of dollars of product between two company-
controlled warehouses.   

According to the complaint, Styling's vice president of
operations, Norman B. Cowgill, approved these year-end
transactions.  The Commission's complaint alleges that, at least
one month prior to the filing of Styling's 1998 annual report on
Form 10-K, Leopold, Ross, Cowgill and James T. Montrose, the
company's former chief accounting officer, knew, or were
reckless in not knowing, the nature and extent of the fraudulent
sales at Body Drench, yet took no steps to correct the company's
improperly recorded accounts receivable.  

Leopold, Ross and Montrose, have consented to the entry of
permanent injunctions on all of the legal violations alleged
against them, without admitting or denying the allegations of
the Commission's complaint.

The Commission also alleges that Styling's fraudulent accounting
practices continued through the first two quarters of 1999, when
the company improperly booked millions of dollars of sales.  In
June 1999, it charges, Styling attempted to cover up its fraud
by writing off $5.1 million of uncollectible accounts receivable
and attributing the lost revenue to a strategic business

The Commission further alleges that two former Arthur Andersen
auditors, Jay S. Ozer and Bradley J. Schmidt, recklessly failed
to detect the fraudulent sales at Styling during 1998.  It
alleges that, despite encountering a number of red flags at
Styling, Ozer, the engagement partner on the audit, and Schmidt,
the audit manager, failed to ensure that the audit was conducted
in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards and
recklessly caused Arthur Andersen to render an unqualified audit
report on Styling's 1998 financial statements.  Ozer and
Schmidt, the Commission alleges, also knew or were reckless in
not knowing that Styling's statements concerning the $5.1
million write-off in its second quarter report were false and

The complaint alleges that all of the defendants violated or
aided and abetted violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities
Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 and aided and abetted violations of Section 13(a) of the
Exchange Act and the rules thereunder, and that defendants
Leopold, Ross, Teal, Montrose, Cowgill and Schmidt violated or
aided and abetted violations of the internal control provisions
of the Exchange Act, Section 13(b), and various rules
thereunder.  It seeks permanent injunctions and civil penalties
from each defendant and seeks disgorgement of certain bonuses
paid to Leopold and Ross and an order barring each of them from
serving as officers and directors of any public company.

Three of Styling's officers, Leopold, Ross and Montrose, have
consented to the entry of permanent injunctions on all of the
legal violations alleged against them, without admitting or
denying the allegations of the Commission's complaint.  In
addition, Leopold has agreed to pay $225,000 in disgorgement and
pre-judgment interest and $100,000 as a civil penalty.  Ross has
agreed to pay $100,000 in disgorgement.   Both Leopold and Ross
have consented to the entry of orders barring them from serving
as officers and directors of any public company.  Montrose was
not ordered to pay any penalty, based on sworn financial
statements and other documents submitted to the Commission.   

The suit is styled "SEC v. Sam Leopold, Richard R. Ross, Phillip
D. Teal, James T. Montrose, Norman B. Cowgill, Jay S. Ozer, and
Bradley J. Schmidt, Civil Action No. 03 CV 02491, RMU."

TOSHIBA CORPORATION: Faces Lawsuit For Computer Design Defect
The law firm of Sutts, Strosberg, LLP initiated a class action
lawsuit against Toshiba of Canada Limited and Toshiba
Corporation, one of the world's largest developers and
manufacturers of advanced electronic devices, components and
systems, on behalf of plaintiffs Jeffrey Bondy of Amherstburg,
Ontario, and Nicolas MacPherson of Windsor, Ontario, who allege
that the company negligently designed and marketed a faulty
Satellite 5000 series notebook computer that contained a design
flaw, causing the computer to overheat, perform poorly and shut

According to plaintiff lawyer Harvey T. Strosberg, a class
action permits persons with common claims to join in a single
court proceeding rather than each bringing an individual
lawsuit. The plaintiffs are claiming damages in the amount of
$15 million and punitive, aggravated and exemplary damages in
the amount of $1 million on behalf of all persons in Canada
(excluding British Columbia) who purchased a Toshiba Satellite
5000 series notebook computer.

The Toshiba computers in question were promoted as "the ultimate
multimedia machine" and as offering 1.1 GHz Pentium III
processing power to handle an array of gaming and multimedia
presentations. The lawsuit alleges that the notebook actually
fails to perform at its advertised speed because it inadequately
dissipates heat generated by the Pentium III processor, causing
sluggish performance and unexpected shut-downs.

"This is a classic case of faulty design. We allege that Toshiba
knew or ought to have known that the notebooks suffered from a
design defect," said Mr. Strosberg. "These computers were not
capable of handling the high levels of processing power that
Toshiba advertised."

Toshiba began marketing and selling the Satellite 5000 model XIZ
in 2001 and model Z59 in early 2002. The computers were sold in
Canada for a retail price of approximately $3,000.

Canadians who purchased a Toshiba Satellite 5000 series notebook
computer may register with counsel by calling 1-800-229-5323.
The notice of action and statement of claim, which detail
particulars of the allegations in the class action, may be
downloaded or reviewed at http://www.toshibaclassaction.com.

VERIZON PHONE: PA Inmate Commences Lawsuit For Consumer Fraud
The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania dismissed a pro se
petition for review, filed by Plaintiff Donald Bowers, alleging
that a contract entered into by the Pennsylvania Department of
Corrections with T-Netix and Verizon Phone Service violates the
federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the Pennsylvania      
Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.

According to Mr. Bowers, the contract at issue names Verizon as
the exclusive provider of long-distance and local telephone
service for inmates of the Department's correctional facilities.  
As such, inmates are restricted to using only Verizon services
when making telephone calls.

Mr. Bowers alleges in his petition that the contract violates
federal and state law because:

     (1) as an inmate, he is prevented from using any third-
         party long- distance providers other than Verizon,

     (2) Verizon refuses to reimburse him for telephone calls
         that are disconnected, interrupted or have bad
         connections and

     (3) Verizon charges long-distance rates for local area

Specifically, Mr. Bowers asserts that Verizon charged him $2.60
for a fifteen-minute local telephone call which should have been
free and that he was denied reimbursement from Verizon for a
telephone call that he made on February 10, 2003 which was

On May 2, 2003, the Department filed preliminary objections,
arguing that Mr. Bowers' petition should be dismissed for
failure to state a claim.  Mr. Bowers filed a brief in
opposition to the Department's preliminary objections.

WASHINGTON MUTUAL: Settles Seattle Mortgage Lawsuit for $50,000
Washington Mutual has paid roughly $50,000 to settle a lawsuit
brought by Timothy and Penny Cook, of Seattle, who almost lost
their home as a result of a series of mistakes WaMu allegedly
made servicing their mortgage, Knight-Ridder / Tribune Business
News reports.

The settlement, finalized in late October, includes a
confidentiality clause.  A source familiar with the litigation
said that in addition to paying the Cooks the $50,000, WaMu
agreed to straighten out credit problems the couple suffered due
to the lender's incompetence.  An official with Seattle-based
WaMu said she could not comment on the settlement.

"It's important to note that the allegations in that case relate
to events that happened nearly two years ago," WaMu's Libby
Hutchinson told the Tribune Business News.  "We've certainly
acknowledged that we faced some challenges during that time
frame, as we integrated a number of mortgage companies in the
midst of the largest refinance boom in American history. Having
said that, we've worked successfully over the last year to
improve processes and service for our mortgage customers."

The Cooks' lawsuit, filed last year in King County Superior
Court, said their problems began after WaMu acquired their loan
from Fleet Mortgage in summer 2001.  The suit accused WaMu of
repeatedly losing track of mortgage payments they made on their
Seattle condominium.  Even after the couple repeatedly presented
copies of canceled checks proving the lender had received
payments, WaMu insisted they were behind, according to the suit.

WaMu also told credit agencies the Cooks were delinquent on
their payments, which harmed their credit rating, the suit
stated. The lawsuit also accused the lender of hiring a company
to initiate foreclosure proceedings against them, putting the
Cooks and their infant son in imminent danger of losing their
home. In court documents filed before the settlement was
reached, WaMu admitted the Cooks supplied copies of canceled
checks.  However, it alleged they sent their payments to the
wrong post-office box.

In a November 2002 article, SmartMoney magazine quoted Tim Cook,
a network engineer at Microsoft, saying of WaMu, "It was
shocking and insulting how they treated us."

Through their Seattle lawyer, David Leen, the Cooks declined
comment for this article, citing the settlement's
confidentiality clause.  Mr. Leen, too, was guarded. "Without
commenting on the terms of the settlement, it fully and finally
resolved the matter to the complete satisfaction of the Cooks,"
Mr. Leen told the Tribune Business News.

Last spring, WaMu Chief Executive Kerry Killinger said the
customer-service snafus are in the past.  He and other WaMu
officials have attributed the problems in part to the lender's
rapid growth, which involved managing a variety of information
systems that are being integrated.

Mr. Leen and other attorneys said they continue to hear from
clients experiencing problems much like the Cooks', including a
Fox Island woman who last month said she found a foreclosure
notice on her door, even though she has been making timely
payments to WaMu.

A New Jersey judge could rule as soon as tomorrow whether to
confer class action status in a case against WaMu that alleges
violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.  It includes
claims that WaMu failed to properly service mortgages, falsely
sent negative information about borrowers to credit agencies and
hounded borrowers for payments already made.

Three months ago, in a separate case in King County Superior
Court, WaMu agreed to help fix the account problems of customers
who said the lender lost mortgage payments, charged erroneous
fees and mishandled payments of property taxes.  In that
settlement, with three law firms representing about 1,000
customers, WaMu agreed to hear the individual complaints and
review any disputes.  WaMu said it would take steps to correct
account problems on a case-by-case basis, including refunding
fees that were mistakenly charged, according to one of the law

WISCONSIN: ST. Croix Forges $7M Settlement For Strip Search Suit
St. Croix County, Wisconsin reached a $7 million settlement for
the class action filed in the United States District Court in
Madison, Wisconsin on behalf of prisoners who were strip-
searched in the county's jail between 1996 and 2001, county
officials said, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

The suit charged that the County's strip-search policy violated
the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects
against unreasonable searches.  The suit states that until
February 2001, those booked into the county jail were subjected
to a search of their genitals and buttocks, and for women, a
search of their breasts.  

The searches were instituted under then-Sheriff Paul Burch and
ended in February 2001 when current Sheriff Dennis Hillstead
revised the policy to comply with state law, which does not
allow searches for people suspected of misdemeanors, but only
for detainees convicted of weapons offenses or who are believed
to be carrying contraband, such as drugs.

Under the settlement, about 2,900 people will be eligible to
receive about $5.5 million.  An additional $1.5 million will go
toward legal fees and other court costs.  The two lead
plaintiffs would receive $35,000, while others would receive
about $3,000 to $3,500, depending on several factors, including
whether the claimant was a juvenile when searched.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb still has to approve the

                  New Securities Fraud Cases

AEROSONIC CORPORATION: Kirby McInerney Launches Stock Suit in FL
Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Middle
District of Florida, on behalf of all purchasers of Aerosonic
Corporation securities during the period from November 13, 1998
through March 17, 2003, inclusive.

The action charges Aerosonic and certain of its senior officers
with violations of Sections 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The alleged violations stem
from the dissemination of false and misleading statements, which
had the effect - during the Class Period - of artificially
inflating the price of Aerosonic's shares.

On March 17, 2003, Defendants announced that they had discovered
what appeared to be certain discrepancies in previously-reported
financial information concerning inventory accounting and
revenue recognition.  The market reacted swiftly and severely to
this news, with the Company's stock falling 24%, or $3.32 per
share from a high of $13.32 per share on March 17, 2003 to close
at $10.10 per share on March 18, 2003.

For more information, contact Pamela E. Kulsrud, or Elaine Mui,
by Mail: 830 Third Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, New York 10022,
by Phone: (212) 317-2300 or Toll Free (888) 529-4787, or by E-
mail: emui@kmslaw.com.

ALKERMES INC: Goodkind Labaton Commences Securities Suit in MA
Goodkind Labaton Rudoff & Sucharow LLP initiated a securities
class action in the United States District Court for the
District of Massachusetts, on behalf of persons who purchased or
otherwise acquired publicly traded securities of Alkermes Inc.
between April 22, 1999 and July 1, 2002, inclusive.

During the Class Period, Defendants artificially inflated the
price of Alkermes shares by issuing a series of false and
misleading statements about the Company's new drug application
for Risperdal Consta.  The true facts, which were known by
Defendants but were concealed from the investing public, include
that the company in an attempt to lessen development expenses
and speed the product to market, concealed the deficient nature
of the manufacturing process for Medisorb polylactide-glycolide
polymer used to manufacture Risperdal Consta, which resulted in
quality management issues and delays in the product's
development program.

As a result of the Defendants false statements, Alkermes stock
traded at inflated prices during the Class Period, increasing to
a high of $70.06 on February 16, 2000, whereby the company
issued $200 million worth of its own securities. On July 1,
2002, Defendants announced that they received a non-approvable
letter from the FDA.  As a result of this announcement,
Alkermes' share price dropped significantly over the following
two days to $4.04, losing 93% of their value.

For more information, contact Christopher Keller, by Phone:
800-321-0476, or by E-mail: investorrelations@glrslaw.com.

INVESCO FUNDS: Charles Piven Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CO
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
District of Colorado on behalf of all purchasers of INVESCO
Advantage Health Sciences Fund (Nasdaq:IAGHX), (Nasdaq:IGHBX),
(Nasdaq:IGHCX); INVESCO Core Equity Fund (Nasdaq:ICEAX),
(Nasdaq:ICEBX), (Nasdaq:IINCX), (Nasdaq:FIIIX), (Nasdaq:IEIKX);
INVESCO Dynamics Fund (Nasdaq:IDYAX), (Nasdaq:IDYBX),
(Nasdaq:IFDCX; Nasdaq:FIDYX; Nasdaq:IDYKX); INVESCO Energy Fund
(Nasdaq:IENAX; Nasdaq:IENBX), (Nasdaq:IEFCX; Nasdaq:FSTEX;
Nasdaq:IENKX); INVESCO Financial Services Fund (Nasdaq:IFSAX;
Nasdaq:IFSBX; Nasdaq:IFSCX), (Nasdaq:FSFSX), (Nasdaq:FSFKX); and
other Invesco Mutual Funds that are managed by Invesco Funds
Group, Inc., which is a subsidiary of Amvescap PLC from December
5, 1998 through November 24, 2003, inclusive, seeking to pursue
remedies under the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and the Investment Company Act of 1940.

The Funds and the symbols for the respective Funds subject to
the lawsuit are:

     (1) INVESCO Advantage Health Sciences Fund (Nasdaq:IAGHX),
         (Nasdaq:IGHBX), (Nasdaq:IGHCX)

     (2) INVESCO Core Equity Fund (Nasdaq:ICEAX),
         (Nasdaq:ICEBX), (Nasdaq:IINCX), (Nasdaq:FIIIX),

     (3) INVESCO Dynamics Fund (Nasdaq:IDYAX), (Nasdaq:IDYBX),
         (Nasdaq:IFDCX; Nasdaq:FIDYX; Nasdaq:IDYKX)

     (4) INVESCO Energy Fund (Nasdaq:IENAX; Nasdaq:IENBX),
         (Nasdaq:IEFCX; Nasdaq:FSTEX; Nasdaq:IENKX)

     (5) INVESCO Financial Services Fund (Nasdaq:IFSAX;
         Nasdaq:IFSBX; Nasdaq:IFSCX), (Nasdaq:FSFSX),

     (6) INVESCO Gold & Precious Metals Fund (Nasdaq:IGDAX),
         (Nasdaq:IGDBX; Nasdaq:IGDCX; Nasdaq:FGLDX)

     (7) INVESCO Health Sciences Fund (Nasdaq:IAHSX;
         Nasdaq:IBHSX; Nasdaq:IHSCX; Nasdaq:FHLSX),

     (8) INVESCO International Core Equity Fund (Nasdaq:IBVAX;
         Nasdaq:IBVBX; Nasdaq:IBVCX), (Nasdaq:IIBCX)

     (9) INVESCO Leisure Fund (Nasdaq:ILSAX; Nasdaq:ILSBX),
         (Nasdaq:IVLCX; Nasdaq:FLISX), (Nasdaq:ILEKX)

    (10) INVESCO Mid-Cap Growth Fund (Nasdaq:IMGAX;
         Nasdaq:IMGBX; Nasdaq:IMGCX), (Nasdaq:IVMIX)

    (11) INVESCO Multi-Sector Fund (Nasdaq:IAMSX),
         (Nasdaq:IBMSX), (Nasdaq:ICMSX)

    (12) INVESCO S&P 500 Index Fund (Nasdaq:ISPIX)

    (13) INVESCO Small Company Growth Fund (Nasdaq:ISGAX),
         (Nasdaq:ISGBX; Nasdaq:ISGCX), (Nasdaq:FIEGX)

    (14) INVESCO Technology Fund (Nasdaq:ITYAX; Nasdaq:ITYBX;
         Nasdaq:ITHCX), (Nasdaq:FTCHX), (Nasdaq:ITHKX)

    (15) INVESCO Total Return Fund (Nasdaq:IATRX),
          (Nasdaq:IBTRX), (Nasdaq:ITRCX), (Nasdaq:FSFLX)

    (16) INVESCO Utilities Fund (Nasdaq:IAUTX), (Nasdaq:IBUTX),
         (Nasdaq:IUTCX), (Nasdaq:FSTUX)

    (17) INVESCO Advantage Fund (Nasdaq:IADAX), (Nasdaq:IADBX),

    (18) INVESCO Balanced Fund (Nasdaq:IBLAX),(Nasdaq:IBLBX),
         (Nasdaq:IBNCX), (Nasdaq:IBFIX), (Nasdaq:IMABX),

    (19) INVESCO European Fund (Nasdaq:IEUAX), (Nasdaq:IEUBX),
         (Nasdaq:FEURX), (Nasdaq:IEUKX)

    (20) INVESCO Growth Fund (Nasdaq:IAGWX), (Nasdaq:IBGWX),
         (Nasdaq:IBGCX), (Nasdaq:FLRFX), (Nasdaq:IGWKX)

    (21) INVESCO High-Yield Fund (Nasdaq:IAHYX), (Nasdaq:IBHYX),
         (Nasdaq:IHYCX), (Nasdaq:FHYPX), (Nasdaq:IHYKX)

    (22) INVESCO Growth & Income Fund, (Nasdaq:IGIAX),
         (Nasdaq:IGIBX), (Nasdaq:IGRCX; Nasdaq:IVGIX),

    (23) INVESCO International Blue Chip Value Fund
         (Nasdaq:IBVAX), (Nasdaq:IBVBX), (Nasdaq:IBVCX;

    (24) INVESCO Real Estate Opportunity Fund (Nasdaq:IAREX),
         (Nasdaq:IBREX), (Nasdaq:IRECX), (Nasdaq:IVSRX)

    (25) INVESCO Select Income Fund (Nasdaq:IASIX),
         (Nasdaq:IBSIX), (Nasdaq:ISICX), (Nasdaq:FBDSX)

    (26) INVESCO Tax-Free Bond Fund (Nasdaq:IXBAX),
         (Nasdaq:IXBBX), (Nasdaq:ITFCX), (Nasdaq:FTIFX)

    (27) INVESCO Telecommunications Fund (Nasdaq:ITLAX),
         (Nasdaq:ITLBX; Nasdaq:INTCX), (Nasdaq:ISWCX),

    (28) INVESCO U.S. Government Securities Fund (Nasdaq:IGVAX),
         (Nasdaq:IGVBX), (Nasdaq:IUGCX), (Nasdaq:FBDGX)

    (29) INVESCO Value Fund (Nasdaq:IAVEX), (Nasdaq:IBVEX),
         (Nasdaq:IVACX), (Nasdaq:FSEQX)

The wrongful conduct alleged in and which is the subject of the
lawsuit relates to "timing." The lawsuit alleges that timing
injures ordinary mutual fund investors who are not allowed to
engage in such practices and benefits the mutual fund companies.

For more information, contact Charles J. Piven, by Mail: The
World Trade Center-Baltimore, 401 East Pratt Street, Suite 2525,
Baltimore, Maryland 21202, by Phone: 410/986-0036, or by E-mail:

PORTAL SOFTWARE: Kirby McInerney Launches Securities Suit in CA
Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California, on behalf of all purchasers of Portal
Software, Inc. securities during the period from May 20, 2003
through November 13, 2003, inclusive.

The action charges Portal and certain of its senior officers
with violations of Sections 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The alleged violations stem
from the Defendants' dissemination of false and misleading
statements, which had the effect - during the Class Period - of
artificially inflating the price of Portal's shares.

Defendants issued a series of material misrepresentations to the
market between May 20, 2003 and November 13, 2003, thereby
artificially inflating the price of Portal Software common
stock.  Defendants also issued numerous public statements
concerning Portal's revenue growth, product and marketing
initiatives, and increasing revenues and profits, while failing
to disclose that demand for the Company's products was
materially declining.  

Prior to disclosure of this adverse information to the market,
the Company completed a public offering of Portal common stock,
raising over $56 million in net proceeds, and certain executives
sold their personally-held Portal common stock to the
unsuspecting public, reaping proceeds of more than $4.8 million.

On November 13, 2003, Portal issued a press release announcing
earnings expectations $0.32 - 0.36 below previous guidance of
$0.04 per share.  Market reaction to the belated disclosures was
swift and severe.  

In after-hours trading on November 13, 2003, the price of Portal
common shares fell more than 42.5% to open at $8.77 per share on
November 14, 2003, and have decreased more than 51% from a Class
Period high of $17.93 per share reached less than a month before
on October 15, 2003.

For more information, contact Pamela E. Kulsrud, or Elaine Mui,
by Mail: 830 Third Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, New York 10022,
by Phone: (212) 317-2300 or Toll Free (888) 529-4787, or by E-
mail: emui@kmslaw.com.

PRICESMART: Scott + Scott Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CA
Scott + Scott, LLC initiated a securities fraud action in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of
California against PriceSmart and certain of its officers and
directors, on behalf of purchasers of PriceSmart, Inc. publicly
traded securities during the period between December 20, 2001
and November 17, 2003.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
made or approved of false statements about the business and
economic future of the Company.  The complaint further alleges
that they knew or recklessly disregarded statements that were
materially false and misleading.  A statement is considered
material if it is one of a higher degree or significant
importance (this is NOT a legal definition of "materiality").

PriceSmart has admitted that it inappropriately recorded
transactions included in its 2002 to 2003 results, and will have
to restate those results to remove millions in improperly
reported revenues.  Therefore, these accounting/financial
statements made were not a fair presentation of PriceSmart's
results (hence in violation of Generally Accepted Accounting
Principles and SEC rules).

On November 10, 2003, the Company issued a press release
entitled "PriceSmart to Restate Financial Statements for Fiscal
2002 and the First Three Quarters of Fiscal 2003."  The press
release stated in part: "PriceSmart, Inc. today announced that
it will restate its financial statements for fiscal year 2002
and the first three quarters of fiscal year 2003 . Regarding the
fourth quarter and fiscal year 2003 results, the Company is
expecting to report a significant loss in the fourth quarter.
The anticipated fourth quarter loss could exceed $20 million."

The stock dropped below $8 per share on this news, an 80%
decline from its Class Period high of more than $42.00 per

For more information, contact Neil Rothstein, or David Scott, by
Mail: 108 Norwich Avenue, Colchester, Connecticut 06415, or by
Phone: 800/404-7770 (fax: 860/537-4432).


A list of Meetings, Conferences and Seminars appears in each
Wednesday's edition of the Class Action Reporter. Submissions
via e-mail to carconf@beard.com are encouraged.

Each Friday's edition of the CAR includes a section featuring
news on asbestos-related litigation and profiles of target
asbestos defendants that, according to independent researches,
collectively face billions of dollars in asbestos-related
liabilities.  The Asbestos Defendant Profiles is backed by an
online database created to respond to custom searches. Go to


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
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Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick, Maryland
USA.  Roberto Amor, Aurora Fatima Antonio and Lyndsey Resnick,

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

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed
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