CAR_Public/040107.mbx            C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
             Wednesday, January 7, 2004, Vol. 6, No. 4

                        Headlines                            

ACE CASH: Appeals Court Upholds FL Court's Ruling on Amendment
ANNUITY & LIFE: CT Court Refuses To Dismiss Securities Lawsuit
ARGENTINA: NY Court Allows Bondholder Suit v. Govt To Proceed
ARKANSAS: AR Couple Asks To Intervene in Fountain Lake Tax Suit
CALIFORNIA: Court Affirms Certification of Suit v. Los Angeles

COLORADO: Students Say 'Out-Of-State Tuition' Unconstitutional
COMMONWEALTH MARKETING: Man Files Suit Over Unsolicited E-Mails
COOSEMANS DC: Recalls Sun Dried Tomatoes For Undeclared Sulfites
EL PASO: To Resume Payment Of JI Case Retirees' Back Benefits
ENRON CORPORATION: Seeks Approval of Employee Retention Package

FAST FOOD LITIGATION: Study Says Fast Food Making Children Fat
FAX.COM: Regulators Approve $5.4M Fine For Unsolicited Faxes
GEMSTAR-TV GUIDE: 3 More Charged In Investor Fraud Investigation
HMO LITIGATION: FL Court Moves Doctors' Suit Trial to Sept. 2004
J.V. TRADING: Recalls Dried Bamboo Shoot For Undeclared Sulfites

MARTHA STEWART: Potential Jurors Face Questions From Lawyers
MASSACHUSETTS: Danvers Faces Suit Over Veterans' Tax Abatements
MCDONALD'S CORPORATION: Starts Healthy Menu Program For Dieters
MISSOURI: Confessed Killer Sues Over Lack Of Jail Toilet Paper
MUSIC INDUSTRY: Crackdown May Be Slowing Downloads, Says Report

PARMALAT FINANZIARIA: Faces Shareholder Fraud Lawsuit in S.D. NY
PARMALAT FINANZIARIA: Ex-Finance Exec Blames Founder For Scandal
SOUTH CAROLINA: Stratford High Principal Resigns After Drug Raid
TUT SYSTEMS: Reaches Settlement For Securities Fraud Suits in CA
WAL-MART STORES: Lawyers Initiate Suit For Illegal Czech Workers

              Meetings, Conferences & Seminars

* Scheduled Events for Class Action Professionals
* Online Teleconferences

                 New Securities Fraud Cases

AEROSONIC CORPORATION: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in FL
ALAMOSA HOLDINGS: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in N.D. TX
AMERICAN PHARMACEUTICALS: Marc Henzel Files Stock Lawsuit in IL
BIOPURE CORPORATION: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Lawsuit in MA
BIOPURE CORPORATION: Charles Piven Lodges Securities Suit in MA

BIOVAIL CORPORATION: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Suit in NY
CAREER EDUCATION: Charles Piven Files Securities Suit in N.D. IL
DYNACQ HEALTHCARE: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Suit in CA
EXCELSIOR: Jan. 20 Lead Plaintiff Motion Filing Deadline Set
GILEAD SCIENCES: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CA

LABRANCHE & CO.: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. NY
MARSH & MCLENNAN: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. NY
PORTAL SOFTWARE: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in N.D. CA
PRICESMART INC.: Scott + Scott Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. CA
PRICESMART INC.: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. CA

PRICESMART INC.: Abbey Gardy Launches Securities Suit in S.D. CA
SECURITY BROKERAGE: Milberg Weiss Launches Securities Suit in NV
STELLENT INC.: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Fraud Suit in MN
TOPAZ GROUP: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Fraud Lawsuit in WA
VIRBAC CORPORATION: Marc Henzel Files Securities Suit in N.D. TX

WATSON PHARMACEUTICALS: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in CA

                           *********


ACE CASH: Appeals Court Upholds FL Court's Ruling on Amendment
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Court of Appeals for the State of Florida,
Fifth District affirmed a ruling by the Circuit Court for Orange
County, regarding a lawsuit brought against Ace Cash Express,
Inc. and Check Express, Inc., on behalf of Plaintiffs Wendy
Betts and John Cardegna.  The ruling concerns an amendment to
rule 1.442 of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, which, the
Circuit Court grants does not apply in an on-going case where
the acceptance period of a proposal for settlement has expired
on the effective date of the amendment.

The original complaint was filed against Defendants Ace Cash
Express, Inc., Check Express, Inc., and others, basically
asserting that certain transactions involving Ace
violated Florida's usury laws as well as section 560.309(4)(c),
Florida Statutes.  On August 7, 2000, Ace served separate
proposals for settlement on Ms. Betts and Mr. Cardegna pursuant
to rule 1.442 and section 768.79, Florida Statutes. Ace proposed
to pay each appellant, a total of $5,000.00 for the purpose of
settling all claims in the action.  The proposal was to remain
in force for 30 days from the date it was served and required
written acceptance within 30 days from service.
Neither appellant accepted.  At the time of the service of the
proposals for settlement the trial court had not been requested
to determine, and had not determined whether a class action
could be maintained by the appellants in accordance with Florida
Rule of Civil Procedure 1.220(d).
      
An amendment to rule 1.442, which governs proposals for
settlement, and which bore an effective date of January 1, 2001,
was adopted by the Supreme Court.  Newly added subdivision
(f)(2) provided that, "In any case in which the existence of a
class is alleged, the time for acceptance of a proposal for
settlement is extended to 30 days after the date the order
granting or denying certification is filed."  The effective date
of the amendment was subsequent to the rejection of the
proposals for settlement.
      
On June 6, 2001, the trial court dismissed the complaint, as
amended, of both Wendy Betts and John Cardegna with prejudice
without ever being asked to decide the specific issue of whether
to grant or deny class action certification. When the
court found that the transactions entered into between the
plaintiffs and defendants were legally permitted under Florida
law, it had no need to delve further into certification. On June
26, 2001, defendant served a motion for attorney's fees pursuant
to the offer of settlement, asserting that Ace was the
prevailing party in the action, and that Ms. Betts and Mr.
Cardegna failed to accept the offer of settlement within the
time allowed.

The appellants responded by filing a motion to strike the motion
for attorney's fees, claiming that because the suit was brought
as a class action, and because no order granting or denying
class certification was filed before the complaint was dismissed
with prejudice, Ace was not entitled to fees.  Thus, the
appellants sought the benefit of rule 1.442(f)(2), Florida Rules
of Civil Procedure, even though its effective date was several
months after the expiration of the proposal for settlement.
      

ANNUITY & LIFE: CT Court Refuses To Dismiss Securities Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
denied Defendants Motion to Dismiss a consolidated amended
securities class action brought against Annuity and Life Re
(Holdings), Ltd., XL Capital, Ltd, and certain of its officers
and directors, on behalf of Plaintiff Sherry Schnall, et al.

The original complaint was commenced on December 4, 2002;
subsequently, eight other cases were filed against the Company,
and its officers and directors. On April 3, 2003, the court
granted a motion to consolidate all nine actions, with Schnall
as the lead case and Communications Workers of America and
Midstream Investments, Ltd. as lead plaintiffs. On July 11,
2003, plaintiff Schnall, individually and on behalf of all
others similarly situated, filed a consolidated amended class
action complaint against defendants, Annuity and Life Re
(Holdings), Ltd., XL Capital, Ltd., Lawrence S. Doyle, Frederick
S. Hammer, John F. Burke, William W. Atkin, Brian O'Hara, and
Michael P. Esposito Jr., alleging violations of federal
securities laws, which injured purchasers of ANR securities
between March 15, 2000 and November 19, 2002.
      
ANR is a Bermuda corporation that sells annuity and life
reinsurance products. Atkin was the Chief Financial Officer,
Treasurer, Corporate Secretary, and Principal Accounting and
Financial Officer of ANR from March 15, 2000 through August
2001.
      
Atkin's motion to dismiss was filed on October 3, 2003,
with brief in support. The gravamen of Atkin's argument is that
proper service was not effected in either the Bird or Bernard,
the two cases in which he was named as a defendant pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m), nor was he added as a
party pursuant Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21 to any of the
remaining seven cases. Thus, Atkin argues that he has not been
made a party to any of the nine actions and dismissal of the
consolidated amended action is warranted under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(5).


ARGENTINA: NY Court Allows Bondholder Suit v. Govt To Proceed
-------------------------------------------------------------
New York Federal Judge Thomas Griesa granted class certification
to lawsuit filed on behalf of holders of $3.5 billion of
defaulted Argentine sovereign debt against the Argentinian
government, Reuters reports.

German businessman Horst Urban filed the suit, after the country
defaulted on about $88 billion in debt two years ago, leaving
bondholders to hope for either a negotiated restructuring or
court-ordered repayment.  Judge Thomas Griesa's ruling will
allow creditors holding two series of the country's defaulted
global bonds, due 2017, to seek compensation.  To qualify for
the class, holders of the bonds must have purchased them on or
before July 22, 2002, the date the suit was filed.

Judge Griesa rejected the Argentinian government's contention
that allowing the class action suit would dissuade investors
from participating in upcoming debt restructuring talks.  "This
means all investors who hold these bonds will probably be able
to collect, if they are able to win the suit," one of the
country's bondholders not involved in the case told Reuters.  
"The government, on the other hand, wants investors to
voluntarily accept new, less valuable bonds in exchange for the
defaulted paper."

The country, which is recovering from its deepest-ever economic
crisis, has stated that it can repay no more than 25 cents on
the dollar, but bondholders, most of whom have not gone to
court, want 65 cents for every dollar they lent.


ARKANSAS: AR Couple Asks To Intervene in Fountain Lake Tax Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Two Fountain Lake School District, Arkansas residents are
seeking to intervene in a class action filed on behalf of all
taxpayers residing in the school district, which they believes
should involve someone to fight for taxpayer interests, the
Benton Courier reports.

Attorneys for Patricia and Malcolm MacDonald of Hot Springs
Village, Arkansas filed a legal "Motion to Intervene" in the
suit filed by the school district in Arkansas Circuit Court for
Garland County, asking the court to require the quorum courts in
Saline and Garland counties to implement a millage rate of 37.8
for district funding pursuant to Arkansas Constitution Amendment
74.  The suit poses a conflict between the district, Saline and
Garland counties and the state's constitution.

Marshall Dale Evans, a Fayetteville attorney representing the
MacDonalds, said the Motion to Intervene is a method for the
taxpayers to become involved in the suit, too.  "This is the
taxpayers saying, 'Wait a minute, wait a minute. We're a party
here. We have an interest.'" he told the Courier.  "Fountain
Lake (School District) ignored all the people who were involved
in nine years of litigations" when it filed its December 16
complaint.

Earlier, the MacDonalds participated in a lawsuit requesting
repayment from the school district to taxpayers for
overcollecting millages from 1994 to 2002.  The suit was later
settled.

Mr. Evans told the Courier the MacDonalds were worried about
what the taxpayers may be stuck with after the suit filed
recently by the school district is over.  He explained the suit
names only the school district and the counties as entities with
interests in the case.  "Fountain Lake wants to raise the
(millage) rate . and the quorum court doesn't have a dog in the
hunt," he said.  "The only people that might be opposed to the
position of raising the rate would be all those taxpayers that
voted 'no' (in a September election).  Those are the people the
MacDonalds (want to) represent."

He added the MacDonalds are a good choice for taxpayer
representatives because "they have nine years of experience in
this case" from their involvement in the previous lawsuit.  He
added that he and the would-be intervenors he represents believe
Amendment 74 does not apply to Fountain Lake School District.


CALIFORNIA: Court Affirms Certification of Suit v. Los Angeles
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 1,
California affirmed a ruling by the Los Angeles County Superior
Court denying Class Certification of a lawsuit brought against
Alan T. Sasaki, et al., on behalf of Plaintiffs Roger E. Bacon,
et al., in favor of treating it as a test case, but modifying
its order to enable it to retain jurisdiction to consider the
question of class certification should liability be established.

Plaintiff Roger E. Bacon originally filed the lawsuit against
defendant Alan T. Sasaki, Auditor-Controller of Los Angeles
County, in August 1999 as a class action, over Sasaki's alleged
failure to pay the appropriate amount of interest on property
tax refunds.  Mr. Bacon sought a writ of mandate/prohibition,
damages and attorney's fees.  Mr. Sasaki demurred. The demurrer
was sustained with leave to amend.  Mr. Bacon was permitted to
amend his constitutional claims only.  The others were dismissed
without prejudice.
      
Bacon filed a first amended complaint containing causes of
action for damages under the federal civil rights act and the
state and federal constitutions, for declaratory relief, and for
costs and attorney's fees. Again, he filed it as a class action.
He added as defendants the Los Angeles County Board of
Supervisors (Board of Supervisors) and the individual
supervisors. Sasaki and the other defendants demurred and filed
a motion to strike portions of the first amended complaint. The
demurrer was overruled in part and sustained in part, with leave
to amend as to some causes of action and without leave to amend
as to another.
      
Bacon moved for leave to file a second amended complaint adding
causes of action based on fraud, conversion, violation of the
Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization Act, and unfair
competition. He sought to add theories of waiver, estoppel and
substantial compliance with respect to claim-filing
requirements. The motion was denied as to the claim-filing
issues and granted as to the other issues. Bacon filed his
second amended complaint against Sasaki, the Board of
Supervisors and the individual supervisors. Again, he filed it
as a class action containing causes of action for damages under
the civil rights act and the state and federal constitutions,
for declaratory relief, and for costs and attorney's fees.
Sasaki and the other defendants demurred. The demurrer was
sustained without leave to amend as to one cause of action and
overruled as to the others.
      
Bacon then filed a motion for leave to file a third amended
complaint. He sought to add a second class representative, a new
defendant, a request for injunctive relief and causes of action
for conversion, unfair business practices and mandate. The
motion was granted and Bacon filed a third amended complaint. He
added Reynolds Metals Company as a plaintiff and the Tax
Collector of Los Angeles County as a defendant, as well as the
additional causes of action. The defendants demurred. The      
demurrer was sustained in part, with leave to amend as to one
cause of action.
      
Plaintiffs filed a fourth amended complaint against Sasaki, the
Board of Supervisors, the County of Los Angeles and the Tax
Collector of Los Angeles County, dropping as defendants the
individual supervisors. Defendants demurred. The trial court
overruled the demurrer. In the fourth amended complaint, which
is the operative complaint here, plaintiffs alleged that
defendants failed to pay interest of nine percent on property
tax refunds for property taxes payable before March 1, 1993 and
not refunded as of April 6, 1995, as required by Revenue and
Taxation Code section 5151. Defendants failed to compute
the interest paid from the date of the tax payment, as required
by Revenue and Taxation Code section 2512. Defendants not only
paid interest at an incorrect rate but at times failed to pay
any interest at all on property tax refunds, in violation of the
law.
      
Plaintiffs alleged that they owned real property in Los Angeles
County. From 1991 through 1999, they paid the property taxes on
the assessed values of their properties. They later received
reductions in the assessed values of their properties.
Consequently, they received property tax refund warrants.
      
According to the allegations of the fourth amended complaint,
defendants failed to notify plaintiffs as to a number of
pertinent facts, including whether they were entitled to
interest on their property tax refunds; whether interest was
included in the amounts refunded; how the amount of any interest
included was calculated; the period of time during which the
interest accrued; and the interest rate required by law.         
Additionally, defendants failed to pay them interest on their
property tax refunds at the rate required by law, calculated in
the manner required by law.
      
Plaintiffs included allegations that there was a class of
similarly situated property taxpayers. On at least 11,000
occasions, defendants failed to pay any interest on property tax
refunds to class members. On at least 5,000 occasions,
defendants failed to pay class members interest at the required
rate. Plaintiffs further alleged that defendants failed to
comply with their statutory duty to provide notice of
overpayment of taxes.  This notice would have notified the
property taxpayers that they could file claims for refunds.
Defendants answered the fourth amended complaint and filed a
motion for summary judgment or, in the alternative, summary
adjudication of issues. Plaintiffs opposed the summary judgment
motion and moved for class certification. Defendant opposed
class certification, claiming plaintiffs poorly defined the
class, the proposed class was unmanageable, plaintiffs' claims
were not typical of the class, and class certification would
provide no substantial benefit to the litigants or the court.
      
The trial court denied summary judgment but summarily
adjudicated plaintiffs' federal claims in defendants' favor. It
ruled that federal civil rights laws do not redress the    
violation of interests created by state law. It found triable
issues of fact, however, as to defendants' duty to pay interest
on property tax refunds and the notice defendants provided to
taxpayers. The trial court denied plaintiffs' motion for class
certification, and decided to treat this case as a test case,
with defendants bound by the results as to all affected      
property taxpayers, rather than as a class action.
                                                 

COLORADO: Students Say 'Out-Of-State Tuition' Unconstitutional
--------------------------------------------------------------
Three University of Colorado at Boulder students lobbed a
bombshell at the state of Colorado and CU on Wednesday when they
filed a joint lawsuit, in Denver's U.S. District Court, under a
law enacted as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, that says
out-of-state tuition for Colorado residents is unconstitutional,
U-wire reports.

The plaintiffs' lawyer, Joel Joseph, who is father to one of the
student plaintiffs, said CU is "exploiting" out-of-state
students by charging almost five times as much in tuition than
their in-state peers. He said because the three undergrad
students filing the suit are registered to vote in Colorado,
have their vehicles registered in the state and pay taxes along
with other Colorado residents, they should not have to pay out-
of-state tuition or emancipate themselves to receive in-state
rates.

Mr. Joseph told the Colorado Daily he wants the out-of-state
tuition policy "rolled back" for students registered to vote in
Colorado.  Approved by Colorado, CU charges $3,192 for resident
undergraduates in the College of Arts & Sciences and $4,764 for
similar students in the Leeds School of Business. Non-resident
A&S tuition is six times as much for non-resident undergraduate
students and four and a half times greater for business
undergrads.

The suit says there are about 9,620 out-of-state students at CU
who pay almost $175 million in tuition, while Colorado only
contributed $58.6 million to CU for the 2003-04 fiscal year.

Mr. Joseph said Colorado should better fund the university and
not make students carry the burden. The supporters hope the suit
is granted "class action" status by the court so all students
could reap the reimbursement that he expects CU to give back to
the non-resident students, he said.

CU spokeswoman Pauline Hale said Friday that CU had not looked
at the filing and she was unable to comment before she and other
CU officials know the specifics of the case.  She said the
university takes all lawsuits seriously, but it is the state and
not CU that determines the resident classification system for
the university.

The suit may rest on a novel interpretation of an old law. The
Civil Rights Act of 1871 is also known as the "Ku Klux Klan Act"
because one of its primary purposes was to provide a civil
remedy against abuses that were being committed in the southern
states by that group, which was most active in the U.S. between
the late 1860s and the late 1920s.


COMMONWEALTH MARKETING: Man Files Suit Over Unsolicited E-Mails
---------------------------------------------------------------
In a complaint filed in his home state court last month, Jim
Gordon, of Richland, Washington, accused Commonwealth Marketing
Group Inc. of Hopwood, Fayette County, of sending him hundreds
of unsolicited e-mails and has sued the company under his
state's anti-spam law, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Gordon said he wants the western Pennsylvania telemarketer
to pay him $500 for each piece of spam the company allegedly
sent him.  According to Mr. Gordon, that adds up to more than
$600,000 for more than 1,200 messages.  "My motivation is to get
this spam stopped," he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for a
story in Sunday editions.  "I sent them a letter saying stop.
And they didn't."

Mr. Gordon's lawsuit focuses on a Washington law that prohibits
the sending of deceptive or misleading e-mails.  The suit also
was filed under two other Washington laws governing unfair
business practices and harassment.

CMG's e-mails were "designed to entice" him to believe he was
applying for a major credit card, such as a VISA or MasterCard,
MR. Gordon said.  However, CMG was really offering its own
products and credit.

In his lawsuit, Mr. Gordon also accused CMG of using invalid
addresses in violation of state law.  He received messages from
551 different senders, which he eventually traced to the
company, he said.

CMG Chief Executive Officer Robert E. Kane said that his company
is the one being wronged.  The lawsuit - and a letter Mr. Gordon
sent the company demanding more than $10,000 - amount to a scam,
Kane said.  "This guy has requested e-mails from us," Kane said.
"Our computers are programmed to identify him. It's a shakedown.
It happens all the time. We probably get one or two of these a
week."

Mr. Gordon said he sent a letter to CMG in August, saying he had
received 27 unsolicited e-mails from the company and demanding a
check for $10,800, or $400 for each message.  The letter
threatened that he would bump up the fee up to $500 per e-mail
and would contact the Washington attorney general if he didn't
hear from CMG officials in a few weeks.  "If payment has not
been received by 5 p.m. on September 12, 2003, I will conclude
that an out-of-court settlement is not possible," the letter
said.

Mr. Gordon has also demanded money from three other companies
that he says spammed him.

"Its is totally meritless," said Mr. Kane, who also denied that
the subject lines of his company's e-mails are deceiving.
"There's not a shred of truth in it."

CMG has been investigated before.  The firm's owner, Frederick
F. Zeigler III, pleaded guilty in February in U.S. District
Court in Pittsburgh to tax violations and no contest to bank
fraud in connection with a credit card scheme.  He is serving a
15-month federal prison sentence.  Prosecutors said Mr. Zeigler
claimed personal purchases as business expenses.

The company marketed credit cards to low-income people and
enticed them to charge vacation packages the company sold on the
cards, prosecutors said.  After doing so, only about $13 in
credit remained and the cardholders found their cards rejected
when they tried to use them, prosecutors said.


COOSEMANS DC: Recalls Sun Dried Tomatoes For Undeclared Sulfites
----------------------------------------------------------------
Coosemans DC, Inc., 2144 Queens Chapel Road NE, Washington, D.C.
20018, in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA), is recalling Sun Dried Yellow Tomatoes 12oz because it
may contain undeclared sulfites. People who have severe
sensitivity to sulfites run the risk of serious or life-
threatening allergic reactions if they consume this product.

The recalled Sun Dried Yellow Tomatoes 12oz, packed in Styrofoam
trays, over wrapped in plastic and labeled with the UPC code
68891400248 were sold in the New York Metropolitan area by A&P
Foods/Food Emporium.

The recall was initiated after routine sampling by New York
State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Inspectors
revealed the presence of undeclared sulfites in packages of Sun
Dried Yellow Tomatoes 12oz. No illnesses have been reported to
date in connection with this problem.

The consumption of 10 milligrams of sulfites per serving has
been reported to illicit severe reactions in some asthmatics.
Anaphylactic shock could occur in certain sulfite sensitive
individuals upon ingesting 10 milligrams or more of sulfites.

Consumers who have purchased Sun Dried Yellow Tomatoes 12oz
should return them to the place of purchase. Consumers with
questions may contact Coosemans DC at 1-800-482-7625.


EL PASO: To Resume Payment Of JI Case Retirees' Back Benefits
-------------------------------------------------------------
An attorney familiar with the case, on Monday, said that about
5,000 JI Case and Case Corporation retirees and their spouses
will have their free health insurance reinstated - at least
temporarily - until their federal lawsuit goes to trial,
QCTimes.com reports.

In a ruling issued December 31, Judge Patrick Duggan granted a
temporary injunction ordering El Paso Tennessee Pipeline Co. to
resume paying the costs of the health insurance benefits for the
group of Case-Tenneco retirees and spouses.  The judge's ruling
covers all but about 150 of the retirees embroiled in a class
action lawsuit in federal court in Michigan over the loss of
their free lifetime health benefits.  Judge Duggan has reserved
judgment on Case Corporation's responsibility.

"This is very good news," Roger McClow, the Detroit attorney
representing the retirees, who are the plaintiffs in the case,
told the QCTimes.

The decision came the day before the retirees were to face
another premium increase.  As of January 1, their monthly
insurance premium was to go from $60 to $561 a month.  The
retirees filed suit in October 2002 against El Paso, the company
responsible for their benefits, as well as against Case
Corporation, after they were forced to begin paying monthly
premiums to retain health insurance that they said was to be a
free, lifetime benefit upon their retirement.

Initially, El Paso told the retirees they had to pay $290 per
month to keep their insurance coverage after a fund set up to
cover their benefits was depleted.  However, less than six
months later, the premium increased to $501 a month.

Mr. McClow said in the almost 40-page ruling, Judge Duggan
found: that the plaintiffs have a likelihood of success in the
case; the retirees would suffer irreparable harm without the
injunction; and that the public interest would be served by
granting it.  "The preliminary injunction stays in effect until
the case is resolved or a new order is issued," he said in a
telephone interview Monday.  No trial date has been set.  He
added that the injunction only stops future payments, it does
not affect past premiums already paid.

Any relief is welcome news for retirees such as Charles Woodford
who retired from JI Case in Bettendorf just months before it
closed in 1987.  "We are concerned it is a very significant
amount of money," he said of the premiums. "But we are more
fortunate than a lot of other people," the Long Grove, Iowa, man
added.

After 17 years with Case, he returned to the Rock Island Arsenal
for three more years and draws a small pension from there.  He
also now maintains a small farm in his retirement. "I was able
to make a few dollars and all of this helps out. But then for
first time we had to dig into savings and you can't keep doing
that."

However, Mr. Woodford has heard of fellow retirees who now are
back at other jobs in order to pay for their health insurance.
He has kept up the premium payments in hopes that either the
court will rule in the retirees' favor or that the new union
contract - which will be negotiated this spring - will help the
retirees.  For the 150 retirees who are not covered by the
injunction, the judge has asked for more evidence before
including them. They are, however, still part of the lawsuit, he
said.

Mr. McClow said the preliminary injunction will not be in effect
until the plaintiffs post a $50,000 security bond.  "Most have
made January's payment, I assume.  Hopefully, they won't have to
make February's," he said.


ENRON CORPORATION: Seeks Approval of Employee Retention Package
---------------------------------------------------------------
Enron Corporation is asking the bankruptcy court for permission
to spend millions of dollars to entice key workers to stay on
board, the Associated Press reports.

More than two years after imploding in scandal, the company is
scheduled to present a newly revised reorganization plan Tuesday
to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Gonzalez in New York.  Enron is
asking separately that the judge approve a $36.2 million
employee retention and severance package for up to 600 workers.
A hearing on that issue is set for January 29.

The proposal differs from previous retention packages approved
by Judge Gonzalez in that it covers nearly a two-year stretch
rather than 12 months, and includes a completion bonus for
workers who are eventually laid off after finishing all assigned
duties.

"Employees who participate in that are the turn-out-the-lights
employees," Enron spokeswoman Karen Denne told AP.  "This gives
the employees an incentive to remain with the company until the
very end."

In March 2002, Judge Gonzalez approved a $38.2 million retention
and severance package to keep key workers on the staff through
February 2003.  He then approved a $29 million package to do the
same through February this year.  The third retention proposal
filed Friday would take effect when the second package expires
and would run through December 2005.

In November, Enron said in court filings that the company may
not emerge from bankruptcy until December 2006, depending on how
long it takes to settle creditor claims once the reorganization
plan gains preliminary approval from Judge Gonzalez.  Ms. Denne
said if the bankruptcy continues beyond December 2005, workers
designated to receive completion bonuses won't get them until
their duties are finished or they are laid off.

Anthony Sabino, a bankruptcy and energy law expert at St. John's
University in New York, said Enron's argument to get approval
for retention bonuses over a longer stretch of time than
previous packages has merit, but Judge Gonzalez may not approve
it.  "The judge could look at this and say, 'Wait, you're giving
these folks a two-year guarantee they'll still have a job.' He
may say, 'Hold on,' scale it back to one year, and tell Enron to
come back with another package next year," Mr. Sabino said.

Enron currently has 11,000 workers on the payroll. Of those,
1,000 work for the bankrupt parent or subsidiaries. The rest
work for units that are not included in the bankruptcy, such as
natural gas pipelines, power plants or Portland General
Electric, Enron's Pacific Northwest utility. Enron had more than
20,000 workers before it went bankrupt in December 2001 amid
revelations of hidden debt and inflated profits.  Enron aims to
emerge from bankruptcy as two companies with different names,
one encompassing its domestic pipelines and the other with its
international pipeline and power operations.

Oregon Electric Utility Co. LLC, backed by investment funds
managed by Texas Pacific Group, is expected to buy Portland
General for $1.25 billion in cash and assume its $1.1 billion in
debt in a deal to close this summer. Enron bought Portland
General in 1997 for $3 billion as part of its foray into
electricity trading.

A fourth revision of the reorganization plan to be presented to
Gonzalez on Tuesday was filed Sunday with minor changes. The
plan still proposes giving most of the company's 24,000
creditors about one-fifth of the estimated $66.4 billion they
are owed in cash and stock in the new companies.


FAST FOOD LITIGATION: Study Says Fast Food Making Children Fat
--------------------------------------------------------------
A study has found that nearly one-third of American children
aged 4 to 19 eat fast food everyday, which likely packs on about
six extra pounds per child per year, increasing the risk of
obesity, the Associated Press reports.

Dr. David Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Children's
Hospital Boston, is the lead author of the study, which involved
6,212 youngsters.  The study included boys and girls from all
regions of the country and different socioeconomic levels.

The study stated that youngsters with higher household income
levels, boys, older children, blacks and children living in the
South had higher levels of fast-food consumption.  The lowest
levels were found in youngsters living in the West, rural areas,
Hispanics and those aged 4 to 8, but more than 20% of youngsters
in each of those groups still reported eating fast food on any
given day.

Dr. Ludwig told AP that the findings show that fast-food
consumption has increased five times among children since 1970.  
Fast-food lovers consumed more fats, sugars and carbohydrates
and fewer fruits and non-starchy vegetables than youngsters who
didn't eat fast food. They also consumed 187 more daily
calories, which likely adds up to about six pounds more per
year, the study found.

Dr. Ludgwig added that while the numbers, though alarming, are
not surprising since billions of dollars are spent each year on
fast-food advertising directed at kids.  Children's current
levels of fast-food consumption probably are even higher because
of an increase in the number of fast-food restaurants and in
fast-food marketing since the late 1990s, he said.

Much attention has been given on the nation's obesity epidemic.  
Last year, two class actions were filed against fastfood giant
McDonald's, blaming it for making people fat.  The New York
court dismissed the suits, but since then, many chains have
tried to introduce healthier menu offerings.


FAX.COM: Regulators Approve $5.4M Fine For Unsolicited Faxes
------------------------------------------------------------
Federal regulators approved a record $5.4 million fine against
Fax.com, for faxing unsolicited advertisements to consumers, the
Associated Press reports.

The Federal Communications Commission said the fine given to the
company was the largest for violating do-not-fax rules that went
into effect in 1992.  The company sends faxes on behalf of
clients that pay a fee.  The FCC said Fax.com violated the rules
489 separate times, incurring an $11,000 fine for each instance.
The five-member commission unanimously approved the penalty last
Wednesday but did not announce its decision until Monday.

"Consumers hate to go to their fax machine only to find their
resources have been wasted on spam and junk," FCC Chairman
Michael Powell told AP.  "We're sending relief in the form of a
simple message to junk faxers: Violate our rules and you will
pay the consequences."

Company officials did not immediately respond to a request for
comment, AP reports.

The commission said it rejected arguments from Fax.com that the
ban on unsolicited faxes was unconstitutional and that the fine
was excessive.  The FCC also ordered the company to report
within 30 days whether it has started to follow the rules.
Depending on the company's response and consumer complaints,
additional penalties could be imposed against Fax.com or the
firms that have hired the company to send the faxes, the FCC
said.  "Fax.com's primary business activity itself constitutes a
massive ongoing violation" of the do-not-fax rules, the
commission said.


GEMSTAR-TV GUIDE: 3 More Charged In Investor Fraud Investigation
----------------------------------------------------------------
Federal regulators have charged three former executives of
Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. with conspiring to inflate
the company's revenues to mislead investors about its prospects,
the Associated Press reports.

The amended complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange
Commission charges that the scheme to defraud investors went
deeper than just the company's founder and former chief
financial officer, who were both charged in June.  The SEC
lawsuit names Peter C. Boylan, who served as chief executive
officer of TV Guide Inc., a Gemstar subsidiary, from 2000 to
April 2002.  Mr. Boylan also served as co-president and co-chief
operating officer of Gemstar and served on Gemstar's board.  
Also charged were Jonathan B. Orlick, who served as general
counsel and a member of Gemstar's board during the same period,
and Craig Waggy, who served as chief financial officer at TV
Guide Inc. from 1997 through May 2002.

Gemstar licenses technology to cable television companies and
makers of TV sets and set-top boxes for interactive program
guides.  It also publishes TV Guide magazine.

The SEC claims the three cooperated with a widespread scheme to
inflate advertising revenue and to count as revenue money that
Gemstar first paid to third parties in so-called "round trip"
transactions.  Last June, the SEC filed securities fraud charges
against Gemstar-TV Guide founder Henry Yuen and former CFO Elsie
Leung, saying the pair lied to the company's auditors and
falsified Gemstar's books.  Mr. Yuen and Ms. Leung were forced
out in October 2002 by News Corp., which has a 42 percent stake
in Gemstar, after questions over accounting irregularities
caused the stock to plunge.

Gemstar's new management told AP it is cooperating with the SEC
investigation.  "The company believes that it has resolved its
past accounting issues and has taken significant steps toward
the resolution of associated regulatory issues," the company
said in a statement.

A lawyer representing Mr. Waggy said his client was shut out of
high level decisions at the company and urged more public
disclosure of Gemstar's finances.  Attorneys representing Orlick
and Boylan did not immediately return calls seeking comment, AP
states.


HMO LITIGATION: FL Court Moves Doctors' Suit Trial to Sept. 2004
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court in Miami, Florida moved the
trial in the class action filed by the nation's doctors against
several health management organizations (HMOs) to September
13,2004, The Herald Tribune reports.

Several doctors launched the suit, alleging the HMOs routinely
cheated them.  Included among the claims was that the Companies
reprogrammed their computers to pay for less intensive services
than doctors provided and, for example, to skip payments for
biopsies on mastectomies.  The suit names as defendants:

     (1) Anthem,

     (2) Coventry,

     (3) HealthNet,

     (4) Humana,

     (5) PacifiCare,

     (6) Prudential,

     (7) United and

     (8) Wellpoint

Judge Federico Moreno delayed the trial and plans to ask a
national panel of judges to decide whether he should keep the
case after three years of pretrial supervision.  He also added
two months to the discovery phase and indicated his willingness
to force companies to disclose changes made by companies using
McKesson claims processing software.

"It seems like this is important, isn't it? It seems like this
is what the case is all about," the judge said.  "I probably
won't have any problem with some expansion."

Doctors' attorneys pressed to keep a June trial date, but
industry attorneys argued it was just an attempt to keep
pressure on insurers to join Aetna and Cigna in settlements, the
Tribune reports.  

There is no indication of any other settlements coming soon with
950,000 doctors.  Both sides expect decisions before the
September 13 trial date on a company appeal to break up the
class-action lawsuit and a dispute over the location of any
trial.


J.V. TRADING: Recalls Dried Bamboo Shoot For Undeclared Sulfites
----------------------------------------------------------------
J.V. Trading Glendale, Ltd., in cooperation with the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA), is recalling Yilin Dried Bamboo
Shoot because it may contain undeclared sulfites. People who
have severe sensitivity to sulfites run the risk of serious or
life-threatening allergic reactions if they consume this
product.

The recalled Yilin Dried Bamboo Shoot, packaged in a 12.3 oz.
(350 g.) clear plastic pouch (code: Q/SMWL4-2002), was sold in
the New York City metropolitan area and in the Chicago, Illinois
area.

The recall was initiated after routine sampling by New York
State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Inspectors
revealed the presence of undeclared sulfites in Yilin Dried
Bamboo Shoot packages which did not declare sulfites on the
label. The consumption of 10 milligrams of sulfites per serving
has been reported to elicit severe reaction in some asthmatics.
Anaphylactic shock could occur in certain sulfite sensitive
individuals upon ingesting 10 milligrams or more of sulfites.
No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this
problem.

Consumers who have purchased Yilin Dried Bamboo Shoot should
return it to the place of purchase. Consumers with questions may
contact the company at 1-888-369-8688.


MARTHA STEWART: Potential Jurors Face Questions From Lawyers
------------------------------------------------------------
Potential jurors in the upcoming trial of Martha Stewart will
gather at a Manhattan courthouse Tuesday to fill out
questionnaires to help lawyers decide which of them will hear
the case, the Associated Press reports.

Lawyers for the government and the indicted homemaking maven
will spend two weeks poring over the questionnaires, then
convene in court January 20 to interview some of the jurors in
person.  Ms. Stewart and her former stockbroker, Peter
Bacanovic, make their first appearances at the trial that day.

They are accused of concocting a false story about why Stewart
sold nearly 4,000 shares of ImClone Systems Inc. stock on
December 27, 2001, a day before a negative government report
sent its share price tumbling.  Prosecutors say the two were
tipped that ImClone founder Sam Waksal was selling his shares.
Ms. Stewart and Mr. Bacanovic claim they had a previous
arrangement to sell ImClone when it dipped to $60 per share.

The government filed a new indictment Monday against them,
making mostly cosmetic and typographical changes.  No additional
charges were contained in the new indictment.  Still,
prosecutors did change some of the language in the document,
substituting the phrase "false and misleading" for "false" when
referring to explanations Ms. Stewart gave investigators for her
ImClone sale.

Michael Kulstad, a spokesman for federal prosecutors, declined
to comment on the changes, AP reports.  Ms. Stewart and Mr.
Bacanovic will have to re-enter their pleas of innocent because
of the new indictment, but it was not expected to delay the
start of the trial.

The federal judge who will oversee the case has not made public
the questionnaire that potential jurors will fill out, and the
prosecution and defense have declined to release it.  Judge
Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum also has ordered the dozens of
reporters who will cover the trial to stay away from possible
jurors, citing the need to seat an unbiased jury.


MASSACHUSETTS: Danvers Faces Suit Over Veterans' Tax Abatements
---------------------------------------------------------------
The town of Danvers, Massachusetts faces a suit filed by a 78-
year-old disabled war veteran, opposing a law that requires them
to live at least five years in a town before receiving a
property tax abatement, the Associated Press reports.

Zoel Sylvester filed the suit against the town and the state
Department of Revenue in the Suffolk Superior Court, alleging
that the requirement violates the state and federal
constitutions.

Mr. Sylvester lived in Danvers for more than 30 years, moved
away for more than a decade and then returned in 2000.  He hoped
to claim the abatement, but he was initially denied.  
Communities can opt to reduce the requirement to as little as
one year.  Danvers officials, alerted to Mr. Sylvester's
problem, in 2002 did just that, but the World War II Marine
Corps veteran wasn't satisfied.

More than 40,000 disabled veterans already receive the property
tax abatement, The Boston Globe reported Monday.  The credit
ranges from $250 to $950, depending on the severity of the
disability.  "This case is not really for him," Mr. Sylvester's
lawyer, Joel Z. Eigerman, told the Globe.  "He's the person who
is leading the charge."

Mr. Eigerman estimated there were hundreds of veterans who had
been turned down because they didn't meet the residency
requirement.  The case is being defended by the state attorney
general and attorneys for the town, who argued in court papers
that the law was designed to provide tax relief only to
residents with a legitimate connection to the community.


MCDONALD'S CORPORATION: Starts Healthy Menu Program For Dieters
---------------------------------------------------------------
Fast food giant McDonald's has initiated a new menu program
geared towards people on low-carbohydrate or low-fat diets this
week, telling its customers in the tri-state area which menu
items best suit their diets, based on how much fat or carbs they
contain, New York Newsday reports.

The fast food industry has faced increasing pressure about the
effect of its menu on the general health of Americans, as
obesity has emerged to be a major health concern.  Consumer
groups and the government have asked the industry to provide
more nutritional information about its food.  Last year, a class
action was filed against the fastfood giant, blaming the Company
for making people fat.  A New York judge dismissed the lawsuits
last year.

The Real Life Choices Program became available this week at 650
McDonald's restaurants in the New York City Area.  Posters and
brochures have been put up on the program, which was developed
by nutritionist Pam Smith, telling customers how to modify
existing menus to their diet.

"We are trying to educate our customers that the foods they love
at McDonald's can fit into the diet they're on," Cristina
Vilella, the company's New York marketing director told Newsday.  
"If they're watching fat, carbs or counting calories, they can
take the menu and fit it into the lifestyle that they're
leading."

For example, if you're watching carbohydrates, a breakfast with
less than 5 grams of carbs could be a platter of double meat or
eggs without the English muffin, biscuit or hash browns.  A
reduced-fat breakfast of less than 8 grams of fat could be an
Egg McMuffin without cheese, butter or margarine.  If you're
counting calories, breakfast could be an Egg McMuffin without
butter or margarine, a snack size Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait or
scrambled eggs with a plain English muffin.  Prices remain the
same.

Last year, McDonald's agreed to reduce trans-fatty acids from
the oil used for its French fries.  McDonald's, which displays
calorie information in its stores and on its Web site, also is
test marketing an adult version of its Happy Meal called Go
Active: Instead of a burger and a toy, the meal will include a
salad and an exercise booklet.

Ms. Smith said the program is about educating customers.  "I
think there are a lot of people who don't know how much fat or
calories there are in a sauce or in mayonnaise or in salad
dressing," she told Newsday.

Dr. Alan Rulis, senior adviser for the Center for Food Safety
and Applied Nutrition at the Food and Drug Administration, told
Newsday the new program "offers consumers some choices and gives
them more information to work with in making decisions about
healthy food choices."

Rival Burger King features a new line of low-fat, baguette-style
chicken sandwiches.


MISSOURI: Confessed Killer Sues Over Lack Of Jail Toilet Paper
--------------------------------------------------------------
Confessed killer Rafeal Jackson has filed a federal class action
lawsuit contending that St. Clair County authorities have been
denying him toilet paper, toothpaste and law books, the
Associated Press reports.

Mr. Jackson filed the lawsuit last month in East St. Louis
against the St. Clair County Jail, St. Clair County Sheriff
Mearl Justus and jail Superintendent T.J. Collins.  


MUSIC INDUSTRY: Crackdown May Be Slowing Downloads, Says Report
----------------------------------------------------------------
According to a report releases, the recording industry's legal
onslaught against Internet song-swappers appears to be having
its desired effect as the percentage of Americans who download
music online has been sliced in half, the Associated Press
reports.

Only 14 percent of Internet users surveyed from November 18 to
December 14 said they sometimes download songs to their
computers, according to the report by the Pew Internet &
American Life Project and comScore Media Metrix, a Web tracking
firm.  The downloading figure was 29 percent in a May survey on
the subject, and also in February 2001.

The survey did not distinguish between use of free, "peer-to-
peer" music-sharing sites such as Kazaa, and licensed,
commercial downloading sites such as the new Napster,
MusicMatch, Rhapsody and iTunes.  However, researchers believe
the plunge largely affected peer-to-peer downloading, and
attributed that to the Recording Industry Association of
America's strategy of suing nearly 400 individual song-swappers
for copyright violations since September.  Moreover, most of the
licensed commercial sites didn't exist when previous surveys
were conducted and this study said they have attracted high
numbers of users.

Most of the RIAA's cases have been settled; though the record
labels can legally demand $150,000 per song, people familiar
with the cases have said most settlements have been for $2,500
to $7,500.

Usage of Kazaa fell 15 percent from November 2002 to November
2003, according to comScore.  Other peer-to-peer music-sharing
sites also experienced usage declines.  The drop at BearShare
was 9 percent, while WinMX lost 25 percent of its audience and
Grokster plunged 59 percent.

RIAA Chief Executive Mitch Bainwol was heartened by the Pew
study but said the lawsuits against individual users would
continue in 2004.  "We would not look at any single measure and
make a statement of victory," he said.  "But what we do know is
this: The lawsuits have had a profound impact on awareness and
fewer people are downloading (illegally), and that's good news."

The music business suffered through another down year in 2003,
with overall units sold dropping 0.8 percent, according to
Nielsen SoundScan.  CD sales fell 2 percent.  But the fourth
quarter saw an overall gain of 10.5 percent from the same period
a year earlier.

The Pew survey found that music downloading remains far more
common among Internet users between 18 and 29 years of age. Some
28 percent of people in that age group get songs online,
compared with 13 percent of people in their 30s and 40s and 6
percent of Web surfers over 50. Thirteen percent of white
Internet users do it, compared with 25 percent of blacks and 20
percent of Hispanics. The phone survey involved 1,358 people and
had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.


PARMALAT FINANZIARIA: Faces Shareholder Fraud Lawsuit in S.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
Italian food company Parmalat Finanziaria SpA faces a
shareholder class action filed in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York, after it became
entangled in a multi-billion dollar accounting scandal, Reuters
reports.

Prominent American class action firm Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes
& Lerach initiated the suit, on behalf of the Southern Alaska
Carpenters Pension Fund, and all other investors who purchased
Company securities between 1999 and 2003.  The suit names as
defendants the Company and:

     (1) Citigroup, Inc.,

     (2) Deloitte & Touche Tohmatsu,

     (3) Deloitte & Touche SpA,

     (4) Grant Thornton International,

     (5) Grant Thornton SpA,

     (6) former Parmalat Chairman Calisto Tanzi,

     (7) former chief financial officer Fausto Tonna,

     (8) Parmalat unit Bonlat Financing Corporation,

     (9) Coloniale Spa, the holding company owned by the Tanzi
         family that controlled Parmalat,

    (10) New York based law firm Zini & Associates, and

    (11) Buconero LLC, a Delaware corporation set up by
         Citigroup

The Company and its outside advisors allegedly perpetuated a
massive scheme involving overstating its profits and assets by
billions of dollars for more than 10 years, allegedly "one of
the largest financial frauds ever perpetuated" in Europe.

The suit represents investors who held Parmalat's American
depositary receipts and bonds.  As of November 2002, there were
more than 804 million Parmalat shares and more than $5 billion
of Parmalat debt outstanding, the complaint revealed, Reuters
states.  The complaint did not specify what fraction of the
Italian company's shares and bonds were sold in the U.S.



PARMALAT FINANZIARIA: Ex-Finance Exec Blames Founder For Scandal
----------------------------------------------------------------
Parmalat Finanziaria SpA's former finance chief Fausto Tonna
blamed founder Calisto Tanzi for initiating the multi-billion
euro financial accounting scandal viewed as Europe's largest,
Reuters reports.

The scandal erupted over two weeks ago as its executives
revealed an initial EUR4 billion gap in its accounts, forcing
the company to to seek protection from creditors.  Now investors
believe that the gap could exceed EUR10 billion (US$12.7
billion).

Mr. Tanzi has admitted to diverting about EUR500 million from
the Company, in particular to family tourism companies, but
denies he knew how it was done.  He has also said the accounting
gap could be as big as 8 billion euros, Reuters reports.

Mr. Tonna was taken from prison for more questioning by public
prosecutors in Parma, the northern Italian city close to
Parmalat Finanziaria SpA's headquarters.  Mr. Tonna allegedly
helped build a web of offshore holding companies with fictitious
assets that left the Company with the gap.

A judicial source told Reuters former chief financial officer
Tonna reiterated during an interrogation he had obeyed
instructions from Parmalat founder Calisto Tanzi.  "I was only
following Tanzi's orders," he was quoted by the source as
telling the prosecutors.  Earlier, Tonna turned angrily on the
media, telling a group of journalists at the prosecutors'
office, "I wish you and your families a slow and painful death."

Eight other arrests have been made so far, for questioning, but
no additional charges have been brought.  Giovanni Bonici, the
former head of Parmalat Venezuela told Reuters that his attorney
was negotiating the terms of his return to Italy from Venezuela.  
He has denied participation in the scandal.

Prosecutors are trying to piece together where the missing money
went and whether anything is left.  They have contacted foreign
banks for information.  In the United States, the Securities and
Exchange Commission, Manhattan District Attorney Robert
Morgenthau and the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan are
participating in the probe, a source familiar with the situation
told Reuters over the weekend.  These authorities are probing
the participation of US banks, which helped manage the sale of
about 8 billion euros worth of Parmalat bonds between 1997 and
2002.  Over $1.5 billion worth of Parmalat bonds were purchased
by U.S. investors.

Bank of America (BAC) is believed to have organised private
placements of some $500 million of Parmalat bonds since 1997 and
has been involved in structuring other business for the group.  
The bank told Reuters it was cooperating with regulators and
"other authorities."

A source close to the probe told Reuters on Monday that seized
documents showed cash had been pumped into AC Parma, one of
Italy's top soccer clubs, which is owned by Parmalat, and more
money was missing from a tourism business than previously
feared.  "We get a surprise with every company we look at," he
said.  "There was systematic falsification and there are cracks
all over the place."

Italy market regulater Consob has already asked a Parma court to
nullify the Company's 2002 accounts, which show a net profit of
EUR252 million, after the group failed to comply with accounting
standards.  Additionally, Parmalat's government-appointed
administrator, Enrico Bondi, is expected to ask Italian banks
soon for new loans that news reports have pegged at between 50
million and 100 million euros.

"It is likely that meetings with bankers will take place over
the course of this week," a source familiar with the matter told
Reuters after Mr. Bondi met restructuring advisers Mediobanca
(MDBI) and Lazard (LAZ.UL) and said work was progressing well.


SOUTH CAROLINA: Stratford High Principal Resigns After Drug Raid
----------------------------------------------------------------
Stratford High School principal George McCrackin Monday
announced his resignation after coming under fire over a
November drug sweep in which police with guns drawn ordered
students to the floor, the Associated Press reports.

"I realized it is in the best interest of Stratford High School
and of my students for me to make a change," Mr. McCrackin said
in a statement.

School officials asked Goose Creek police to come into the
school November 5 after receiving reports of marijuana sales on
campus.  Police said dogs sniffed drug residue on 12 book bags
but found no drugs, and no one was arrested.  The raid led to
allegations of excessive force and racism, because many of the
students were black.

District Superintendent J. Chester Floyd said Mr. McCrackin will
be reassigned to a still-undetermined position.  However, he
said Mr. McCrackin will probably spend the coming weeks
preparing for two lawsuits filed by students over the incident.


TUT SYSTEMS: Reaches Settlement For Securities Fraud Suits in CA
----------------------------------------------------------------
Tut Systems, Inc. reached a settlement for the consolidated
securities class action filed in the United States District
Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of
persons who purchased Company securities between July 20, 2000
and January 31, 2001, styled "In re Tut Systems, Inc. Securities
Litigation, Master File No. C 01-2659 CW."  The Company also
reached a settlement for the derivative lawsuit entitled
Lefkowitz v. D'Auria, et al., No. RG03087467, that was brought
in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of
Alameda.

Under the federal suit settlement, the Company agreed to pay  
$10 million, which will be paid by its insurance company.  The
Company also agreed to adopt certain corporate governance
measures and payment of attorneys' fees and expenses to the
derivative plaintiff's counsel, which also will be paid by the
Company's insurance company.  Both settlements need to be
approved by the court and will release defendants from all
claims.

"We're pleased to be resolving these matters," Sal D'Auria,
president, CEO and chairman of Tut Systems, said in a statement.  
"Settlement allows us to increase our focus on the future growth
of the Company and avoid the time and resources required of
litigation."


WAL-MART STORES: Lawyers Initiate Suit For Illegal Czech Workers
----------------------------------------------------------------
Two lawyers are calling on Czechs who have worked illegally for
retail giant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to join a lawsuit alleging
the Company systematically exploited its cleaning staff by
denying them basic rights and labor protections, www.radio.cz
reports.  Lawyers James Linsey and Thomas Ciantra initiated the
suit, seeking compensation from the Company.

Last week, the commercial TV station Nova broadcast testimonies
of young Czechs who have worked illegally for Wal-Mart.  They
said twelve-hour working days without a break, no health or
social insurance and night shifts and overtime without
compensation were common conditions in the stores.

A specially created website, written in six languages, has also
been put up, calling all present and former cleaning staff at
Wal-Mart to join the suit.  Almost 10,000 Czechs are expected to
be eligible.

Mr. Linsey has now arrived in the Czech Republic to seek
potential claimants willing to join others in the class action.  
He has promised to "make Wal-Mart pay millions and to restore
the exploited Czechs' pride," www.radio.cz reports.

According to Mr. Linsey, Wal-Mart knowingly employed thousands
of illegal immigrants from all over the world and exploited them
because of their status, threatening them with sacking or
deportation if they complained.  For what he called a rampant
violation of immigration and labour law, Mr. Linsey will seek
unspecified monetary damages and an injunction barring Wal-Mart
from further violations.


              Meetings, Conferences & Seminars


* Scheduled Events for Class Action Professionals
-------------------------------------------------

January 12, 2004
BAYCOL LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Four Seasons Hotel, Houston
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

January 13, 2004
PPA LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Four Seasons Hotel, Houston
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

January 22-23, 2004
ENVIRONMENTAL AND TOXIC TORT MATTERS: ADVANCED CIVIL LITIGATION
ALI-ABA
Orlando (Walt Disney World)
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

January 26-27, 2004
WATER CONTAMINATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Pasadena CA
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

January 29, 2004
OBESITY CLAIMS
American Conference Institute
Washington
Contact: 1-888-224-2480; http://www.americanconference.com  

January 29-30, 2004
ADVANCED INSURANCE COVERAGE CONFERENCE: TOP 10 ISSUES
Mealey Publications
The Philadephia Marriott, PA
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

February 2-3, 2004
EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES LIABILITY INSURANCE
American Conference Institute
New York City
Contact: 1-888-224-2480; http://www.americanconference.com  

February 9-10, 2004
REDUCING LEGAL RISK IN PROMOTING & CONDUCTING CLINICAL TRIALS
American Conference Institute
New York City
Contact: 1-888-224-2480; http://www.americanconference.com  

February 18-20, 2004
CIVIL PRACTICE AND LITIGATION TECHNIQUES IN FEDERAL AND STATE
COURTS
ALI-ABA
Scottsdale, Arizona
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

February 23-24, 2004
ASBESTOS LITIGATION 101
Mealey Publications
The Westin, Philadephia
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

February 23-24, 2004
REINSURANCE 101
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Boston Common, Boston
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

March 8-9, 2004
THE ROLE OF PARALEGALS IN MASS TORT LITIGATION
Mealey Publications
The Westin Chicago River North, Chicago
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

March 9, 2004
PATENT LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Westin Chicago River North, Chicago
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

March 9, 2004
INSURANCE CLAIMS CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Westin Chicago River North, Chicago
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

March 11-12, 2004
CONSUMER FINANCIAL SERVICES LITIGATION 2004
Practicing Law Institute
New York
Contact: 800-260-4pli; info@pli.edu

March 11-12, 2004
WELDING ROD LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

March 18-19, 2004
SECURITIES, DRUGS & ENVIRONMENTAL LITIGATION
MassTortsMadePerfect.Com
The Fairmont, San Francisco, California
Contact: 1-800-320-2227; register@masstortsmadeperfect.com

March 22-23, 2004
INSURANCE CLAIMS CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Westin Kierland, Scottsdale, AZ
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

March 22-23, 2004
EMERGING DRUGS AND DIVICES CONFERENCE FOR PLAINTIFF ATTORNEYS
Mealey Publications
The Westin Kierland, Scottsdale, AZ
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

March 22-23, 2004
DEFENSE STRATEGIES IN PHARMACEUTICAL LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Westin Kierland, Scottsdale, AZ
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

March 22-23, 2004
INSURANCE 101 CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Westin Hotel, Philadelphia
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

April 7-8, 2004
INSURANCE LAW 2004: UNDERSTANDING THE ABC'S
Practicing Law Institute
New York
Contact: 800-260-4pli; info@pli.edu

April 14-17, 2004
INSURANCE INSOLVENCY AND REINSURANCE ROUNDTABLE
Mealey Publications
The Scottsdale Princess, Scottsdale, AZ
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

April 15-16, 2004
OPINION AND EXPERT TESTIMONY IN FEDERAL AND STATE COURTS
ALI-ABA
New Orleans
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

April 15-16, 2004
HANDLING CONSTRUCTION RISKS 2004: ALLOCATE NOW OR LITIGATE LATER
Practicing Law Institute
New York
Contact: 800-260-4pli; info@pli.edu

April 22-24, 2004
LITIGATING MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS
ALI-ABA
New Orleans
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

May 6-7, 2004
CONSUMER FINANCIAL SERVICES LITIGATION 2004
Practicing Law Institute
San Francisco
Contact: 800-260-4pli; info@pli.edu

May 6-7, 2004
CONFERENCE ON LIFE AND HEALTH INSURANCE LITIGATION
ALI-ABA
Washington, D.C. Tuition $995
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

May 20-21, 2004
ACCOUNTANTS' LIABILITY
ALI-ABA
Chicago
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

June 10 & 11, 2004
SECURITIES, DRUGS & ENVIRONMENTAL LITIGATION
MassTortsMadePerfect.Com
Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Contact: 1-800-320-2227; register@masstortsmadeperfect.com

July 15-16, 2004
PRODUCTS LIABILITY
ALI-ABA
Chicago
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

TBA
FAIR LABOR STANDARDS CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

TBA
AIRLINE BANKRUPTCY LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

TBA
FASTFOOD INDUSTRY LIABILITY CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com



* Online Teleconferences
------------------------

January 06-30, 2004
DAMAGES IN TEXAS INSURANCE LITIGATION:
EVALUATING, PLEADING, AND PROVING
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

January 06-30, 2004
NBI PRESENTS "EMERGING ISSUES IN CALIFORNIA
INDOOR AIR QUALITY AND TOXIC MOLD LITIGATION
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

January 06-30, 2004
NBI PRESENTS "LITIGATING THE CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT IN FLORIDA
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

May 6-7, 2004
CONSUMER FINANCIAL SERVICES LITIGATION 2004
Practicing Law Institute
Contact: 800-260-4pli; info@pli.edu

ADVERSARIAL PROCEEDINGS IN ASBESTOS BANKRUPTCIES
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Online Streaming Video
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

ASBESTOS BANKRUPTCY - PANEL OF CREDITORS COMMITTEE MEMBERS
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Online Streaming Video
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

EXPERT WITNESS ADMISSIBILITY IN MOLD CASES
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Online Streaming Video
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

INTRODUCTION TO CLASS ACTIONS AND LARGE RECOVERIES
Big Class Action
Contact: seminars@bigclassaction.com

NON-TRADITIONAL DEFENDANTS IN ASBESTOS LITIGATION
Online Streaming Video
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

PAXIL LITIGATION
Online Streaming Video
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS INVOLVING BAYCOL
Online Streaming Video
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

RECOVERIES
Big Class Action
Contact: seminars@bigclassaction.com

SELECTION OF MOLD LITIGATION EXPERTS: WHO YOU NEED ON YOUR TEAM
Online Streaming Video
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

SHOULD I FILE A CLASS ACTION?
LawCommerce.Com / Law Education Institute
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

THE EFFECTS OF ASBESTOS ON THE PULMONARY SYSTEM
Online Streaming Video
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

THE STATE OF ASBESTOS LITIGATION: JUDICIAL PANEL DISCUSSION
Online Streaming Video
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

TRYING AN ASBESTOS CASE
LawCommerce.Com
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

THE IMPACT OF LORILLAR ON STATE AND LOCAL REGULATION OF TOBACCO
SALES
AND ADVERSTISING
American Bar Association
Contact: 800-285-2221; abacle@abanet.org

________________________________________________________________
The Meetings, Conferences and Seminars column appears in the
Class Action Reporter each Wednesday.  Submissions via
e-mail to carconf@beard.com are encouraged.

                  New Securities Fraud Cases


AEROSONIC CORPORATION: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in FL
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Middle
District of Florida on behalf of purchasers of Aerosonic
Corporation (Amex: AIM) publicly traded securities during the
period between November 13, 1998 through March 17, 2003.

The complaint alleges that the Defendants violated sections
10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and SEC
Rule 10b-5, by engaging in a fraudulent scheme which
artificially inflated the price of Aerosonic common stock during
the Class Period.

In sum, the complaint alleges that Defendants overstated by
millions of dollars Aerosonic's revenue, earnings and inventory
for the fiscal years ended January 31, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1999
and the first three fiscal quarters of the fiscal year ended
January 31, 2003.  

Moreover, on October 31, 2003, Aerosonic finally filed with the
United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") its
long-overdue 2003 Form 10-K for the fiscal year ending January
31, 2003, in which it admitted to misstating those periods and
provided financial restatements for same, as well as warned
investors that "the financial information previously reported by
the Company and included in reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q
previously filed by the Company for the fiscal years ended
January 31, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002, the quarters in such
fiscal years, and the first three quarters of the fiscal year
ended January 31, 2003 should not be relied upon."

In its 2003 Form 10-K, Aerosonic also disclosed that the Company
has determined that its previously reported financial
information overstated inventory, understated cost of sales,
overstated revenue and incorrectly reported other items.  
Contributing to these misstatements, among other things, were
misstatements of the Company's financial statements, the
falsification of inventory records, improper adjustments for
obsolete and slow moving inventory, improper revenue
recognition, improper fixed asset capitalization, and errors in
the application of Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 101 (released
by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in
December 1999) ("SAB 101") and generally accepted accounting
principles.

Aerosonic has also recently reported that the SEC is continuing
its formal investigation of Company, which began in May 2003.

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 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com        


ALAMOSA HOLDINGS: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in N.D. TX
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Texas on behalf of purchasers of Alamosa Holdings
Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: ALMO formerly Nasdaq: APCS; NYSE: APS)
common stock during the period between January 9, 2001 and June
13, 2002, 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 numerous positive statements
throughout the Class Period regarding the Company's growth and
demand for the Company's services.

As alleged in the complaint, these statements were each
materially false and misleading when made as they misrepresented
and omitted the following adverse facts which then existed and
disclosure of which was necessary to make the statements not
false and misleading, including, but not limited to, the
following:

     (1) that the Company was increasing its subscriber base by
         relaxing its credit criteria for new customers. In
         other words, the Company's subscriber growth was the
         result of the extension of credit to high credit risk
         customers;

     (2) that the Company had been experiencing high involuntary
         disconnections related to its high credit risk
         customers and as a result was carrying tens of millions
         of dollars of impaired receivables on its financial
         statements; and

     (3) that upon the tightening of credit standards, the
         Company experienced lower subscription growth as a
         result of its policy that required credit-challenged
         customers pay substantial deposits upon the initiation
         of services.

Upon the disclosure of the true facts about the Company, the
price of Alamosa securities declined materially.

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 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com        


AMERICAN PHARMACEUTICALS: Marc Henzel Files Stock Lawsuit in IL
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action on behalf of purchasers of the securities of American
Pharmaceuticals Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ: APPX) between February
19, 2002 and September 24, 2003, inclusive, seeking to pursue
remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The action, is pending in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Illinois against defendants Patrick
Soon-Shiong, Derek J. Brown, Jeffrey M. Yordon, Nicole S.
Williams, American Bioscience, Inc., and American Pharmaceutical
Partners, Inc.

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 February 19, 2002 and
September 24, 2003.

The action alleges that defendants made materially false and
misleading statements with respect to the drug Abraxane, a
reformulated version of Taxol, under development for the
treatment of breast cancer.  Throughout the Class Period,
defendants touted Abraxane as a safer and more effective
alternative to Taxol, the world's best-selling chemotherapy drug
for cancer.  Defendants claimed that clinical studies had
indicated that:

     (1) Abraxane could be administered without Cremophor, a
         toxic substance with severe side-effects that limited
         the tolerable dose and effectiveness of Taxol;

     (2) unlike Taxol, Abraxane could be administered without
         the need for potentially harmful steroid pre-medication
         and other drugs that reduce the loss of white blood
         cells;

     (3) because Abraxane was not formulated with a toxic
         substance it could be delivered in much higher doses
         than Taxol and was therefore more effective than Taxol
         with respect to reduction in tumor size; and

     (4) because it can be injected intravenously directly to
         the location of the tumor, Abraxane therapy is only
         one-half hour, compared to 3 hours for Taxol.

The Company stated, repeatedly, that studies indicated that
"ABI-007 [Abraxane] is apparently well tolerated" at high doses
[. . .] without the need for steroid premedication and G-CSF
support.

The truth began to emerge on September 24, 2003. On that date,
defendants issued an ostensibly positive news release to
announce the preliminary results of Phase III testing of
Abraxane. However, commentators noted that the news release did
not include the data underlying the trial results, and that the
trial lacked a common safeguard known as double blinding
designed to prevent research bias, since doctors and patients
both knew whether Abraxane or Taxol was in use.

Moreover, in the release APP narrowed some of its claims for
Abraxane, stating not that Abraxane was well tolerated without
the need for steroid premedication and G-CSF support [to reduce
loss of white blood cells] but rather, noted the absence of
"severe hypersensitivity reactions despite no routine pre-
medication in patients receiving Abraxane" and stated that the
procedure was to administer Abraxane "without routine steroid
pretreatment or growth factor support." The lack of backup data,
and the distinction between "no steroid pretreatment" and "no
routine steroid pretreatment" was not lost on investors; as the
market digested the release and its implications, APP's share
price fell 32% from a Class Period high of $44.14 on September
24, 2003 to a closing price of $29.59 on September 26, 2003. Two
trading days before the announcement --- but after APP had seen
the Phase III trial results --- defendant Patrick Soon-Shiong
("Soon-Shiong") disposed of 300,000 shares of his personally
held APP stock while the stock was trading at between $38.68 and
$35.47.

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 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com        


BIOPURE CORPORATION: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Lawsuit in MA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts on behalf of purchasers of Biopure Corporation
(Nasdaq: BPUR) publicly traded securities during the period
between March 17, 2003 and December 24, 2003, inclusive.

The complaint charges Biopure, Thomas A. Moore, Carl W. Rausch
and Ronald F. Richards with violations of Sections 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder.  The Complaint alleges that, throughout
the Class Period, defendants issued numerous positive statements
concerning the progress of its application to the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration ("FDA") seeking regulatory approval to
market Hemopure in the United States for patients undergoing
orthopedic surgery.

In truth and in fact, however, by the beginning of the Class
Period, the FDA had informed defendants of flaws in the Hemopure
application, citing "safety concerns" arising from adverse
clinical data submitted as part of the Company's application,
making FDA approval highly unlikely. Prior to the disclosure of
these adverse facts, defendants conducted at least two offerings
of Biopure common stock generating millions of dollars in
proceeds and certain high-level Biopure insiders sold hundreds
of thousands of Biopure common shares to the unsuspecting
investing public at artificially inflated prices.

Then, on December 24, 2003, under the threat of civil litigation
by the SEC, defendants stunned the market by announcing that, in
fact, the FDA had halted further clinical trials of Hemopure due
to safety concerns. Defendants also disclosed that the
commercial release of Hemopure in the United States would be
delayed beyond mid-2004. Market reaction to defendants belated
disclosures was swift and severe.

On December 26, 2003, Biopure common shares lost over 16% of
their value to close at $2.43 per share, representing a decline
of more than 239% from a Class Period high of $8.25 per share,
reached on or about August 21, 2003.

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 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com        


BIOPURE CORPORATION: Charles Piven Lodges Securities Suit in MA
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities
class action in the United States District Court for the
District of Massachusetts against defendant Biopure and certain
of its officers and directors, on behalf of shareholders who
purchased, converted, exchanged or otherwise acquired the common
stock of Biopure Corporation between March 17, 2003 and December
24, 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.

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:
hoffman@pivenlaw.com.


BIOVAIL CORPORATION: Marc Henzel Commences Securities 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 all persons who purchased the
common shares of Biovail Corporation (NYSE: BVF; TSX: BVF)
between February 7, 2003 and October 30, 2003 for violations of
the federal securities laws.  Biovail's common shares are traded
on the New York Stock Exchange and on the Toronto Stock Exchange
under the symbol "BVF."

The Complaint alleges that Biovail and certain of its officers
and directors made materially false and misleading statements
during the Class Period. Specifically, Defendants made material
misrepresentations concerning Biovail's financial results and
business by, inter alia, improperly reporting revenue and
earnings attributable to the sales of a generic version of
Prilosec and misstating the demand in the marketplace for that
product.

Plaintiff further alleges that these material misrepresentations
artificially inflated the price of Biovail's common shares,
which traded as high as $50.30 on the New York Stock Exchange
and as high as CD $67.75 on the Toronto Stock Exchange during
the Class Period.

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 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com        


CAREER EDUCATION: Charles Piven Files Securities Suit in N.D. IL
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities
class action in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division against
defendant Career Education Corporation and certain of its
officers and directors, on behalf of shareholders who purchased,
converted, exchanged or otherwise acquired the common stock of
Career Education Corporation between April 22, 2003 and December
2, 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.

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:
hoffman@pivenlaw.com.


DYNACQ HEALTHCARE: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Suit in CA
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Texas, Houston Division on behalf of all purchasers
of the common stock of Dynacq Healthcare, Inc. (NasdaqNM: DYIIE)
and two of its senior officers o from January 14, 2003 through
December 18, 2003, inclusive.

The Complaint alleges that defendants fraudulently certified
that Dynacq's financial statements for the first three quarters
of fiscal 2003 were compiled in compliance with Generally
Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).   The true facts were
first revealed beginning on December 2, 2003, when the Company
announced that it was requesting an automatic extension of up to
15 days to file its Form 10-K for fiscal year ended August 31,
2003 with the SEC.

On December 18, 2003, the Company announced that its independent
auditor, Ernst & Young LLP, had resigned due to the Company's
``lack of internal controls necessary to develop reliable
financial statements.'' Also on December 18, 2003, the Company
announced that it had received a Nasdaq Staff Determination
stating that Dynacq's stock could be delisted on December 30,
2003 due to Dynacq's failure to file its fiscal year 2003 10-K
in a timely manner. Finally, on December 18, 2003, the Company
announced that it had received notice that the SEC was
conducting an investigation into Dynacq's reporting of its
financial statements, revenue and cost recognition, allowances
for doubtful accounts, and internal financial and accounting
controls.

The market reacted negatively to these disclosures. Dynacq
shares, after trading during the Class Period at a high of
$27.37 per share, plummeted to a low of just $4.09 per share on
December 19, 2003.

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 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com        

EXCELSIOR: Jan. 20 Lead Plaintiff Motion Filing Deadline Set
------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP announced that
Excelsior Mutual Fund investors have until Jan. 20, 2004, to
move for lead plaintiff in a securities fraud class action
recently brought against The Charles Schwab Corporation, Charles
Schwab & Co., Inc., U.S. Trust Corporation, and the Excelsior
Mutual Funds, in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California.

These Excelsior Funds are subject to this suit:

Excelsior California Tax Exempt Income Fund (NASDAQ: UMCAX)
Excelsior Early Life Cycle Fund (NASDAQ: UMLCX)
Excelsior Funds Equity Income Fund (NASDAQ: UMEIX)
Excelsior Funds Inc. Biotechnology Fund (NASDAQ: UMBTX)
Excelsior Funds Inc. Blended Equity Fund (NASDAQ: UMEQX )
Excelsior Funds Inc. Emerging Markets Fund (NASDAQ: UMEMX)
Excelsior Funds Inc. Energy & Natural Resource Fund (NASDAQ:
UMESX)
Excelsior Funds Inc. High Yield Fund (NASDAQ:EXHYX ) (NASDAQ:
UMHYX)
Excelsior Funds Inc. Large Capital Growth Fund (NASDAQ: UMLGX)
Excelsior Funds Inc. Real Estate Fund (NASDAQ: UMREX)
Excelsior Funds Inc. Value & Restructuring Fund (NASDAQ: EXBIX)
(NASDAQ: UMBIX)
Excelsior Funds Mid Cap Value Shares Fund (NASDAQ: EXVAX)
(NASDAQ: UMVEX) Excelsior Government Money Fund (NASDAQ: UTGXX)
Excelsior Institutional Equity Fund (NASDAQ: EXEQX)
Excelsior Institutional Funds International Equity Fund
(NASDAQ: EXIIX)
Excelsior Institutional Money Fund (NASDAQ: EXINX) (NASDAQ:
EXIXX)
Excelsior Institutional Total Return Fund (NASDAQ: EXTBX)
Excelsior Intermediate-Term Managed Income Fund (NASDAQ: UIMIX)
Excelsior Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt Fund (NASDAQ: UMITX)
Excelsior International Fund (NASDAQ: UMINX)
Excelsior Long Term Tax Exempt Fund (NASDAQ: UMLTX)
Excelsior Managed Income Fund (NASDAQ: UMMGX)
Excelsior Money Fund (NASDAQ UTMXX)
Excelsior Optimum Growth Fund (NASDAQ: EXOAX) (NASDAQ: UMGRX)
Excelsior Pacific/Asia Fund (NASDAQ: USPAX)
Excelsior Pan European Fund (NASDAQ: UMPNX)
Excelsior Short Term Government Securities Fund (NASDAQ: UMGVX)
Excelsior Short-Term Tax-Exempt Securities Fund (NASDAQ: USSSX)

Excelsior Tax Exempt Fund (NASDAQ: USSXX)
Excelsior Tax Exempt Funds Inc. New York Intermediate Term Tax
Exempt Fund (NASDAQ: UMNYX) ( NASDAQ: UTNXX)
Excelsior Treasury Money Fund (NASDAQ: UTTXX)

The complaint charges The Charles Schwab Corporation, Charles
Schwab & Co., Inc., U.S. Trust Corporation, United States Trust
Company of New York, Excelsior Funds, Inc., Excelsior Funds
Trust, the Excelsior Mutual Funds, and Doe Defendants with
violations of the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Company Act of 1940, and
for common law breach of fiduciary duties.

The Complaint alleges that during the Class Period Charles
Schwab and U.S. Trust Corporation allowed the Doe defendants and
others to engage in illegal and improper trading practices, in
concert with certain institutional traders, which caused
financial injury to the shareholders of the Excelsior Mutual
Funds. According to the Complaint, the Defendants
surreptitiously permitted certain favored investors to illegally
engage in "timing" of the Excelsior Mutual Funds whereby these
favored investors were permitted to conduct short-term, "in and
out" trading of mutual fund shares, despite explicit
restrictions on such activity in the Excelsior Mutual Funds'
prospectuses.

For more information, contact Marc A. Topaz, or Stuart L.
Berman, by Mail: Three Bala Plaza East, Suite 400, Bala Cynwyd,
PA  19004, by Phone: (888) 299-7706 (toll free), or
(610) 667-7706, or by E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com.


GILEAD SCIENCES: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California on behalf of purchasers of Gilead
Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) securities during the period July
14, 2003 and October 28, 2003, inclusive.  The case is pending
agaist Gilead Sciences, Inc. and:

     (1) John C. Martin,

     (2) John F. Milligan,

     (3) Mark L. Perry,

     (4) Norbert W. Bischofberger,

     (5) Anthony Carraciolo, and

     (6) William A. Lee

The complaint charges Gilead and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated by
the SEC.  The complaint alleges that in an effort to allow
Gilead insiders to sell their Gilead stock at artificially
inflated prices, defendants falsely represented that strong
sales of Viread, the Company's HIV drug, during the second
quarter of 2003 was due to an increase in prescriptions and not,
as some analysts had cautioned, due to inventory build-up by
distributors stocking up ahead of a price increase.

Such statements were materially false and misleading because, as
defendants knew or recklessly disregarded, a material portion of
the second quarter Viread sales were attributable to
distributors stocking up ahead of a price increase.  Gilead
insiders sold a total of 303,981 shares in August 2003 at
artificially inflated prices, reaping gross proceeds of
$19,365,998.

On October 28, 2003, Gilead announced that sales of Viread in
the third quarter of 2003 would be materially less than expected
because distributors would meet end-user demand for Viread by
selling off overstock they accumulated in the second quarter. In
reaction to this announcement, the price of Gilead common stock
plummeted, falling $7.46 in one day, from a close of $59.46 per
share on October 28, 2003 to $52 per share on October 29, 2003.

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 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com        


LABRANCHE & CO.: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. 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 all purchasers of the common
stock of LaBranche & Co., Inc. (NYSE:LAB) from January 25, 2000
through October 15, 2003, inclusive.

The complaint charges LaBranche, G. Michael LaBranche, Robert
Murphy, Alfred O. Haywood, Jr., William J. Burke, III, and
Harvey S. Traison with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder.

LaBranche is a specialty firm on the New York Stock Exchange
(NYSE). As a specialist on the NYSE, LaBranche is required to
uphold the rules and requirements of the NYSE. Rather than
uphold its duties, LaBranche, during the class period,
repeatedly violated its duties by engaging in an illegal scheme
to drive up the Company's financial results.

More specifically, the Complaint alleges that the Company's
statements concerning its financial results during the class
period were materially false and misleading because they failed
to disclose and misrepresented the following adverse facts,
among others:

     (1) that LaBranche engaged in the illegal practice of
         "front-running" trades at the NYSE, which allowed
         LaBranche to act on nonpublic information to trade
         ahead of customers lacking that knowledge and pocket a
         profit on each trade;

     (2) that LaBranche illegally "traded ahead" of customer
         orders by causing or allowing its traders to put
         LaBranche's own interest ahead of investors by ignoring
         one investor order while in the process of interacting
         with another investor, thereby creating more illegal
         profits for the Company;

     (3) that LaBranche, throughout the Class Period, improperly
         recognized revenue from its illegal scheme in violation
         of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ("GAAP");
         and

     (4) as a result of this illegal scheme, LaBranche
         materially overstated and artificially inflated its
         earnings, net income, and earnings per share.

On April 17, 2003, the NYSE issued a statement wherein it
disclosed that it had begun an investigation of the specialist
firms of the NYSE. On news of this shares of LaBranche fell 7.8%
or $1.41 per share to close at $16.49 per share.

On April 18, 2003, The Wall Street Journal reported that
LaBranche and others were the subject of an investigation by the
NYSE into illegal trading practices on the floor of the NYSE.
Additionally on April 18, 2003, Bloomberg reported that the SEC
had also begun an investigation into illegal trading practices
by specialist firms, such as LaBranche.  On news of this, shares
of LaBranche fell another 1.21% or $.20 per share to close at
$16.29 per share on April 21, 2003.

On September 22, 2003, The Wall Street Journal reported that the
SEC had intensified its inquiry into the NYSE specialist firms,
like LaBranche. On news of this, shares of LaBranche fell 9.8%
or $1.76 per share, on extremely high volume, to close at $16.05
per share.

Lastly, on October 16, 2003, the NYSE announced that the NYSE
Enforcement Division had decided to bring disciplinary action
against LaBranche and the other specialist firms. The actions
will allege that the specialist firms (LaBranche) failed to
comply with fundamental Exchange auction market rules and
policies and applicable securities regulations during a three-
year period from January 1, 2000 through December 31, 2002.
Additionally, the NYSE stated that it will also seek substantial
fines and improvements in the self-monitoring and compliance
practices of specialist firms, as well as reimbursement of
potential investor losses.

News of the disciplinary action being taken against LaBranche by
the NYSE shocked the market. Shares of LaBranche fell 10.3% or
$1.29 per share on extremely heavy trading volume to close at
$11.26 on October 16, 2003.

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 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com        


MARSH & MCLENNAN: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. 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 Marsh & McLennan
Companies, Inc. (NYSE: MMC) publicly traded securities during
the period between January 3, 2000 and November 3, 2003,
inclusive.

The complaint charges Marsh & McLennan, Jeffrey W. Greenberg,
and Lawrence J. Lasser with violations of Sections 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder.  More specifically, the complaint
alleges that the defendants' statements about Putnam
Investments, LLC were materially false and misleading because
they failed to disclose and/or misrepresented the following
adverse facts:

     (1) that Putnam entered into an illegal agreement with its
         own fund managers and special investors wherein Putnam
         permitted its own fund managers and the special
         investors to time the Putnam mutual funds;

     (2) that in exchange for permitting the special investors
         to time the Putnam mutual funds, they deposited "sticky
         assets" with Putnam;

     (3) that the "sticky assets" deposited with Putnam
         permitted Putnam to materially overstate its assets
         under management and thus permitted Marsh & McLennan to
         receive a steady flow of fees from such "sticky
         assets;" and

     (4) as a result of this illegal scheme, defendants,
         throughout the Class Period, materially overstated and
         artificially inflated Marsh & McLennan's earnings,
         income, and earnings per share.

On September 16, 2003, William Galvin, Massachusetts Secretary
of the Commonwealth, announced that he was launching a probe
into improper fund trading at Putnam. On October 28, 2003,
William Galvin filed a complaint against Putnam and two Putnam
fund managers.

The complaint alleged that these parties breached their
fiduciary duties to Putnam's mutual fund shareholders by
allowing certain select investors and Putnam fund managers to
"time" in Putnam's mutual funds. On news of this, the Company's
stock fell 3.78% or $1.79 per share to close at $45.52 per share
on October 29, 2003.

On November 3, 2003, the Company announced that defendant
Lawrence J. Lasser, Putnam's president and chief executive
officer since 1986 and a director of the Company since 1987,
would leave the company. On news of this, the Company fell
another 0.62% or $0.28 per share to close at $44.60 per share.
Overall, the Company has seen its stock fall more than 13% since
news of its illegal agreements have become public.

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 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com        


PORTAL SOFTWARE: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in N.D. CA
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California on behalf of purchasers of Portal
Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: PRSF) publicly traded securities during
the period between May 20, 2003 and November 13, 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 May 20, 2003 and
November 13, 2003, thereby artificially inflating the price of
Portal common stock.

The Complaint alleges that defendants 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 the 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 the
Individual Defendants, as well as other high-level executives of
Portal, sold their personally-held Portal common stock to the
unsuspecting public reaping proceeds of more than $4.8 million.

As alleged in the Complaint, the Class Period commences on May
20, 2003, the date on which the Company issued a press release
announcing its first quarter financial results, for the period
ending May 2, 2003 (the "May 2nd Press Release").  In addition
to announcing the Company's financial results, as alleged in the
Complaint, defendants represented in the May 2nd Press release,
among other things that:

     (1) "We are the only company in our market reporting
         increasing revenues and quarter-to-quarter product
         license growth;" and

     (2) that the Company would "return to pro forma
         profitability (excluding certain acquisition costs) and
         positive cash flow operations within the current fiscal
         year."

Then, as alleged in the Complaint, in the June 2003 issue of
Worldwide Telecom, Portal announced that eircom, an Ireland-
based provider of fixed telecommunications, had successfully
implemented Portal's convergent billing platform, Infranet.  On
August 19, 2003, as alleged in the Complaint, Portal issued a
press release announcing its financial results for the second
quarter of 2003, the period ending August 1, 2003 (the "August
19th Press Release").  The Company reported revenues of $33.2
million for the second quarter.

On September 12, 2003, Portal announced that it had priced a
public offering of more than 22 million shares of its common
stock, raising more than $56 million for the Company.  In
connection with the offering, Portal filed a registration
statement with the SEC which included, among other things,
positive representations concerning the Company's business and
its core product, Infranet.

The Complaint alleges that the statements referenced above, in
addition to others alleged in the Complaint, were each
materially false and misleading when made as they misrepresented
and/or omitted the following adverse facts which then existed
and disclosure of which was necessary to make the statements
made not false and/or misleading, including:

     (i) that the Company's sales and marketing efforts were not
         performing well and the Company was experiencing
         declining demand for its products and services;

    (ii) that the Company was experiencing an adverse and
         material lengthening of product sales cycles and a
         material increase in deferred revenues;

   (iii) that due to continuing and severe problems with the
         Company's core products, the Company was unable to
         service its existing customers, causing additional
         erosion of the Company's revenue streams; and

    (iv) as a result of the foregoing, defendants' lacked a
         reasonable basis for their earnings projections at all
         times.

The Class Period ends on November 13, 2003. On that date, Portal
issued a press release announcing that it expected net losses of
$0.36 - 0.40 per share for the third quarter fiscal 2004 versus
prior earnings guidance of net profits of $0.04 per share.
Defendants cited contract delays and revenue recognition
deferrals.

Market reaction to defendants' 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 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 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com        


PRICESMART INC.: Scott + Scott Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. CA
----------------------------------------------------------------
Scott + Scott, LLC initiated a class action lawsuit in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of
California, on behalf of purchasers or those who acquired
PriceSmart, Inc. common stock during the period between December
20, 2001 and November 7, 2003.

The Complaint alleges that PriceSmart, a company which owns and
operates membership shopping warehouses through majority or
wholly owned ventures operating in Latin America, the Caribbean
and Asia, and certain of its officers and directors issued
materially false and misleading statements during the class
period. Specifically, defendants failed to disclose that
PriceSmart had materially overstated its net income and earnings
per share, due to its overstating warehouse sales.

On November 10, 2003, before the markets opened, PriceSmart
announced that it would restate its financial results for the
fiscal year 2002 and for the first three quarters of fiscal year
2003. On this news, shares of PriceSmart fell over 80 per cent
to close at $8.34 per share. During the Class Period, shares
traded as high as $42.00 per share.

For more information, contact Neil Rothstein, by Phone:
+1-619-251-0887, by E-mail: nrothsteinscott-scott.com, or visit
the firm's Website: http://www.scott-scott.com.


PRICESMART INC.: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. CA
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of California on behalf of purchasers of PriceSmart,
Inc. (Nasdaq: PSMT) publicly traded securities during the period
between December 20, 2001 through November 7, 2003, inclusive.

The complaint charges PriceSmart, Gilbert A. Partida, and Allan
C. Youngberg with violations of 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 December 20, 2001 and November 7, 2003.

More specifically, the complaint alleges that the defendants'
statements were materially false and misleading because they
failed to disclose and/or misrepresented the following adverse
facts:

     (1) that the Company had materially overstated its net
         income and earnings per share;

     (2) that the Company had materially overstated its net
         warehouse sales;

     (3) that the Company's financial results were in violation
         of GAAP;

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

     (5) that as a result, the value of the Company's net income
         and financial results were materially overstated at all
         relevant times.

On November 10, 2003, before the markets opened, the Company
shocked the market by announcing that it would be restating its
financial results for fiscal year 2002 and the first three
quarters of fiscal year 2003. The market reacted swiftly to this
news, with the Company's stock falling more than 9% to close at
$8.34 per share on November 10, 2003.

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 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com        


PRICESMART INC.: Abbey Gardy Launches Securities Suit in S.D. CA
----------------------------------------------------------------
Abbey Gardy, LLP initiated a lawsuit seeking class action status
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of
California, on behalf of all persons who purchased the publicly
traded securities of PriceSmart, Inc. from December 20, 2001
through November 7, 2003, inclusive.

The complaint charges PriceSmart and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. The complaint alleges that during the Class Period,
defendants disseminated or approved statements about the
business and prospects of the Company that they knew or
recklessly disregarded contained material misrepresentations or
failed to disclose material facts necessary in order to make the
statements made, in light of the circumstances under which they
were made, not misleading. On November 10, 2003, prior to the
market's open, PriceSmart announced that it would restate its
financial reports for FY2002 and the first three quarters of
FY2003 because the originally reported financials overstated
revenues during that period by almost $30 million, and
overstated net earnings by over $1 million.

For more information, contact Susan Lee, by Phone:
(212) 889-3700 or 800-889-3701, or by E-mail:
slee@abbeygardy.com.


SECURITY BROKERAGE: Milberg Weiss Launches Securities Suit in NV
----------------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
District of Nevada, on behalf of all persons who purchased or
otherwise acquired shares or other ownership units of certain
mutual funds in the AllianceBernstein and Massachusetts
Financial Services Company family of mutual funds January 1,
2001 and September 30, 2003, against the Company and Daniel G.
Calugar

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, and aided and abetted in the breach of
fiduciary duties, by perpetrating a wide-ranging securities
fraud that, unbeknownst to mutual fund investors, enabled SBI
and Calugar to obtain millions of dollars in illicit profits
through the improper market timing and late trading of
AllianceBernstein and MFS mutual funds.

On December 23, 2003, the SEC announced that it had filed civil
fraud charges against SBI and Calugar for their participation in
the late trading and timing scheme and alleged that Calugar,
trading through SBI, had reaped profits of approximately $175
million from improper late trading and market timing.

For more information, contact Steven G. Schulman, Peter E.
Seidman, or Andrei V. Rado, by Mail: One Pennsylvania Plaza,
49th fl., New York, NY, 10119-0165, by Phone: (800) 320-5081, by
E-mail: securitybrokerage@milberg.com, or visit the firm's
Website: http://www.milberg.com.


STELLENT INC.: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Fraud Suit in MN
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the District of
Minnesota, on behalf of purchasers of Stellent, Inc. (Nasdaq:
STEL) publicly traded securities during the period between
October 2, 2001 and April 1, 2002, 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 materially false
and misleading statements concerning the Company's revenue
growth and its financial performance.

As alleged in the complaint, these statements were materially
false and misleading because they failed to disclose and/or
misrepresented the following adverse facts, among others, that
significant amounts of the Company's sales were to affiliates
that were financed by the Company itself; and that the Company's
customer base was beginning to defer purchases and the expected
revenue growth which the Company touted in press releases would
no longer occur.

When these facts were belatedly disclosed to the market, the
price of Stellent common stock declined precipitously.

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 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com        


TOPAZ GROUP: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Fraud Lawsuit in WA
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the District of
Washington on behalf of purchasers (the "Class") of Topaz Group,
Inc. (AMEX: TPZ) between March 21, 2002 and August 20, 2003,
inclusive.

The Company is a vertically integrated manufacturer and seller
of fine jewelry and gemstones.  Defendants include the Company,
Aphichart Fufuangvanich, George Pfeifer, Peter Brongers and
Timothy Matula.

The Complaint charges that defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10-
b(5).  The Complaint alleges that Defendants issued a series of
false and misleading financial statements that did not comply
with generally accepted accounting principles.

Specifically, Defendants incorrectly reported Topaz' financial
position by, inter alia: overstating inventory, understating
allowances for doubtful accounts and improperly recognizing
revenue. As a result of defendants' conduct, plaintiff and Class
members purchased Topaz shares at artificially inflated prices
and were damaged thereby.

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 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com        


VIRBAC CORPORATION: Marc Henzel Files Securities Suit in N.D. TX
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, on behalf of purchasers
of Virbac Corporation (Nasdaq: VBACE) common stock during the
period between May 3, 2001 through November 12, 2003, inclusive.

The complaint charges Virbac, Thomas L. Bell, and Joseph A.
Rougraff with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder. Between May 3, 2001 and November 12, 2003, the
defendants issued a series of material misrepresentations to the
market concerning the Company's financial results.

More specifically, the defendants' statements were materially
false and misleading because they failed to disclose and/or
misrepresented the following adverse facts, among others:

     (1) that Virbac had materially overstated its net income
         and earnings per share;

     (2) that Virbac had materially overstated its inventory;

     (3) that Virbac's financial results were in violation of
         Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ("GAAP");

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

     (5) that as a result, the value of Virbac's financial
         results were materially overstated at all relevant
         times.

On November 12, 2003, after the markets closed, the Company
announced that it would delay the release of its results for the
quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2003, as well as the
filing of its corresponding quarterly report on Form 10-Q with
the Securities and Exchange Commission pending completion of an
internal inquiry being conducted by the Audit Committee of the
Company's Board of Directors.

The Company further stated that during the course of their
quarterly review, the Company's outside auditors,
PricewaterhouseCoopers, raised questions relating to certain of
the Company's revenue recognition practices and inventory
accounting practices.

The market reacted swiftly to this news, with the Company's
stock falling 22% or $1.85 per share before being halted by
Nasdaq at 10:46 A.M., eastern time. The Company's stock price
was $6.50 per share when trading was halted.

The final blow occurred on November 24, 2003 when Virbac
announced it would restate its results for 2001, 2002, and the
first two quarters of 2003 due to the questions raised by
PricewaterhouseCoopers relating to certain of the Company's
revenue recognition practices and inventory accounting
practices. As of today, the Company's stock was still halted.

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 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com        


WATSON PHARMACEUTICALS: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in CA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Central
District of California on behalf of purchasers of Watson
Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE: WPI) common stock during the period
between November 2, 1999 and November 13, 2001, inclusive.

The complaint alleges that Watson and certain of its officers
and directors violated U.S. securities laws (Sections 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder), by issuing materially false and
misleading statements.  These alleged false statements include:

     (1) that Watson was materially overstating its financial
         results by failing to write down the value of its
         inventories and the value of certain of the Company's
         assets;

     (2) that Watson was experiencing significantly increased
         competition for generic drugs and was also experiencing
         manufacturing difficulties; and

     (3) that defendants' positive statements about the Company
         were lacking in a reasonable basis at all times and
         were therefore materially false and misleading.

Defendants used millions of shares of Watson common stock to
acquire other businesses before these facts were disclosed to
the investing public.

On November 13, 2001, Watson disclosed its financial results for
the third quarter 2001 which were well below expectations.  
Additionally, the Company announced that it was writing off
almost all of its investment in Dilacor XR and that the Company
was writing off over $20 million in additional impaired
inventory.

In response the price of Watson common stock plummeted, trading
down almost $20 per share, to close trading at $28.54 per share,
compared to the prior day's close of $47.15 per share, on volume
of over 15.3 million shares traded -- almost 20 times the
average trading volume for Watson shares.

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 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com       


                           *********

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
http://litigationdatasource.com/asbestos_defendant_profiles.html

                        *********


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., Fairless Hills,
Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick, Maryland
USA.  Roberto Amor, Aurora Fatima Antonio and Lyndsey Resnick,
Editors.

Copyright 2004.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without
prior written permission of the publishers.

Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed
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The CAR subscription rate is $575 for six months delivered via
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