CAR_Public/040115.mbx           C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
           Thursday, January 15, 2004, Vol. 6, No. 10

                        Headlines                            

3COM CORPORATION: Plaintiffs Appeal CA Court's Dismissal of Suit
CAL-MAINE FOODS: Plaintiffs Apply For Attorney Fees in DE Suit
BAYER AG: Reaches Settlement For More than 2,000 Baycol Lawsuits
FREMONT INVESTMENT: SEC Commences Probe of Mutual Fund Practices
GO! NATURAL PET FOOD: Pet Owners File Suit Over Dog, Cat Deaths

"GOT MILK" AD: Farmers Sue Over "Unconstitutional" Ad Campaign
HARRON TRADING LTD: Recalls Scorpion Footwear For Product Defect
INVESCO FUNDS: Deadline For Lead Plaintiff Motion Set February 2
LOCKHEED MARTIN: CA Court Dismisses Securities Violations Suit
MARTHA STEWART: Sets Up Personal Website For Defense in Lawsuit

MARTHA STEWART: Critics Worry Trial Won't Change Biotech Rules
MICROSOFT CORPORATION: Judge Tosses Claims Processed Online
PALM INC.: Court Grants Preliminary Approval To Suit Settlement
PALM INC.: CA Court Grants Approval To Consumer Suit Settlement
PALM INC.: Asks IL Court To Dismiss Amended Consumer Fraud Suit

PALM INC.: CA, IL Courts Approve Deceptive Ads Suit Settlement
PALM INC.: Parties Begin Discovery, Mediation in Consumer Suit
PALM INC.: Reaches Settlement For Consolidated Stock Suit in DE
PARMALAT FINANZIARIA: Prosecutors Question U.S., Italian Banks
RHODE ISLAND: Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Strip-Search Lawsuit

SOLECTRON CORPORATION: Plaintiffs File Amended Stock Suit in CA
TRI-STATE CREMATORY: Judge To Rule On Status of Desecration Suit
TYSON FOODS: Trial Opens In Suit Alleging Cattle Price-Fixing
WEGENER CORPORATION: Plaintiffs To Dismiss DE Direct Stock Suit
WISCONSIN: Marathon County Meet To Counter Discrimination Charge

                   New Securities Fraud Cases

AMERICAN PHYSICIANS: Brodsky & Smith Files Securities Suit in MI
BIOPURE CORPORATION: Wechsler Harwood Files Stock Lawsuit in MA
BIOPURE CORPORATION: Bernstein Litowitz Lodges Stock Suit in MA
MARSH & MCLEENAN: Emerson Poynter Launches Securities Suit in NY
SECURITY BROKERAGE: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Stock NV Lawsuit

                         *********

3COM CORPORATION: Plaintiffs Appeal CA Court's Dismissal of Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs appealed the California Superior Court's decision
dismissing the second amended shareholder derivative and class
action suit filed against 3Com Corporation, styled "Shaev v.
Claflin, et al., No. CV794039."

The complaint alleges that 3Com's directors and officers
breached their fiduciary duties to the Company in connection
with the adjustment of employee and director stock options in
connection with the separation of 3Com and Palm.  On May 13,
2003, the court dismissed the second amended suit.


BAYER AG: Reaches Settlement For More than 2,000 Baycol Lawsuits
----------------------------------------------------------------
German pharmaceutical firm Bayer AG reached settlement to more
than 2,000 suits related to its August 2001 recall of
cholesterol drug Lipobay, paying out $782 million without
admitting liability, AP/ Duluth New Tribune reports.

The Company withdrew Lipobay, marketed as Baycol in the United
States, after it was linked to a rare muscle-wasting syndrome
and about 100 patient deaths.  The Leverkusen-based company said
in a regular update that it has settled 2,059 cases - up from
1,959 a month ago - while 10,494 are still pending.  It has
reportedly paid out $782 million - up from $747 million when it
last reported on the issue December 9.

In September, a federal judge in Minneapolis denied class action
status to several thousand lawsuits against Bayer over Baycol.  
More than 800 lawsuits were filed in Minnesota over the drug, AP
reports.


CAL-MAINE FOODS: Plaintiffs Apply For Attorney Fees in DE Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in the consolidated shareholder class action filed
against Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. filed an application for
attorneys' fees and costs for defending the litigation, which is
currently filed in the Court of Chancery of the State of
Delaware in and for New Castle County

On August 18, 2003, a complaint, styled "H. David Schneider v.
Cal-Maine Foods Inc., et al. C.A. No. 20493-NC," was filed
against the Company and its directors in Delaware Court.  The
suit seeks class action status and alleges the Company and its
directors are attempting to freeze out the Company's public
shareholders in connection with the proposed going private
transaction announced by the Company on July 14, 2003, conflicts
of interests, self-dealing and lack of good faith dealing.

The suit asks for a preliminary and permanent injunction to
enjoin the defendants from proceeding with the proposed going
private transaction, damages in the event the transaction is
consummated, and an accounting to class members for their
damages.

On August 25, 2003, a purported class action was filed in the
Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware in and for New Castle
County against the Company and its directors styled "Pyles v.
Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 20507."  The proposed
class in the Pyles Action consists of all holders of the
Company's common stock other than the directors of the Company,
their affiliates and the Company's Employee Stock Options Plan
(ESOP).

The complaint in the Pyles Action generally alleges, among other
things, that the directors breached their fiduciary duties in
approving the reverse stock split, that the structure and timing
of the reverse split is unfair to the holders of the Company's
common stock other than the directors of the Company and the
participants in the Company's ESOP and the price being paid for
fractional shares in the reverse split is unfair.

The complaint in the Pyles Action seeks preliminary and
permanent injunctions to prevent consummation of the reverse
stock split, rescission or rescissory damages in the event the
reverse stock split is consummated and damages as a result of
the alleged breaches of fiduciary duty.

On August 26, 2003, the plaintiff in the Pyles Action filed a
motion for expedited proceedings, motion for preliminary
injunction and served discovery requests on the Company and its
directors.  As of the date of this report, the Court of Chancery
has not scheduled a date and time to hear the plaintiff's
request to expedite proceedings in the Pyles Action.

On September 2, 2003, with the consent of the parties to each
action the Court of Chancery entered an order consolidating the
Schneider Action with the Pyles Action into one proceeding
styled, "In re Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. Stockholders Litigation,
C.A. No. 20507."

That same day, the Court of Chancery agreed to hear plaintiffs'
motion for preliminary injunction on October 1, 2003.  On
September 16, 2003, the parties to the Consolidated Action
advised the Court that the Court did not need to hear
plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction on October 1 as
the date of the meeting to vote on the going private transaction
had been delayed.  The parties are attempting to reschedule the
date for the hearing on plaintiffs' motion for preliminary
injunction in advance of the new date for the stockholders'
meeting to vote on the going private transaction.

On September 25, 2003, a purported class action was filed in the
Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware in and for New Castle
County against the Company and its directors styled "Twin Valley
Farms Exchange, Inc., Leon Eshelman, Valeria Eshelman, Gary
Eshelman, Pamela Fredricks, and Terry Bixler v. Cal-Maine Foods,
Inc., et al., C.A. No. 20576-NC." The proposed class in the
Twin Valley Farms Action consists of all holders of the
Company's common stock other than the directors of the Company,
their affiliates and the Company's ESOP.

All of the directors of the Company are named as defendants in
the Twin Valley Farms Action.  The complaint in the Twin Valley
Farms Action generally alleges, among other things, that the
proposed reverse split is the product of unfair dealing by the
directors of the Company and that the price to be paid in lieu
of fractional shares does not reflect the intrinsic value of the
Company nor does it constitute "fair value" pursuant to the
General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware.

On September 25, 2003, the plaintiffs in the Twin Valley Farms
Action also filed a motion to consolidate the Twin Valley Farms
Action with the Consolidated Action.  By order dated September
29, 2003, the Twin Valley Farms Action was consolidated with and
into the Consolidated Action.  On November 6, 2003, the
Company's Board of Directors voted to terminate consideration of
a going-private transaction.  As a result of the Company's
actions the claims asserted in the Consolidated Action are moot.

On November 21,2003, plaintiffs filed an application for an
award of attorney's fees and expenses to be paid by the Company.  
On November 26, 2003, plaintiffs filed their opening brief and
other materials in support of their application.  The Company
and its directors believe the application for attorney's fees
and expenses is without merit and are contesting it vigorously.


FREMONT INVESTMENT: SEC Commences Probe of Mutual Fund Practices
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has
launched a formal investigation of San Francisco-based mutual
fund manager Fremont Investment Advisors, over its trading
activities, the Associated Press reports.  Additionally, the
United States Attorney General for the Northern District of
California and the New York attorney general have also requested
information from the Company.

The Company is the latest of several mutual fund firms being
investigated for "late trading" and "market timing," the
practice of quickly trading in and out of funds to take
advantage of discrepancies between the fund's share price and
the value of its holdings.  It is not illegal per se, though
regulators have alleged it amounts to civil fraud if practiced
by companies that have promised their customers they don't allow
it.

The Company, which runs the Fremont Funds, told AP it is
cooperating fully with the inquiries.  Its board has established
a special committee of independent directors to oversee a review
of the funds' trading practices.  The review hasn't turned up
any evidence of late trading but it has found evidence of past
market-timing arrangements with a few clients.

According to a filing with the SEC, the last market-timing
arrangement at the Company ended in the fourth quarter of 2002.  
For each client that actually traded under the market-timing
arrangements, the trading activity resulted in a net loss to the
client in each fund in which the client had an arrangement.

The Company further said managers that were believed to have
initiated, negotiated or approved the arrangements left the firm
for unrelated reasons.  Fremont hasn't finished its internal
review, and the impact to the funds hasn't yet been determined,
the filing said, AP reports.


GO! NATURAL PET FOOD: Pet Owners File Suit Over Dog, Cat Deaths
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP,
announced the filing of a lawsuit that seeks to represent dog
and cat owners throughout California whose pets died or suffered
serious injuries after eating Go! Natural pet food, Business
Wire reports.

The suit was filed against Petcurean Pet Nutrition, Inc., the
Canadian manufacturer of the pet food, and Pet Food Express,
Ltd., a major U.S. distributor of the product. Plaintiffs allege
that Go! Natural pet food contained substances toxic to pets.
The complaint, entitled Hanrahan et al. v. Petcurean Pet
Nutrition, Inc., et al., was filed today in California Superior
Court, Alameda County.

Plaintiff Lisa Hanrahan fed her healthy four-year old dog, Gus,
Go! Natural pet food, purchased from a Pet Food Express store in
Livermore, California. As alleged in the complaint, after being
fed Go! Natural pet food over the course of several months, in
October 2003, Gus suddenly began to vomit and developed
diarrhea. Within a week, Gus became so sick that Hanrahan rushed
Gus to an emergency veterinary clinic. Less than twenty-four
hours later Gus died on October 25, 2003, from liver failure.

"Gus was a beloved member of our family," stated Hanrahan. "He
bonded with my baby Brody in a way that was unique. Gus loved
Brody, and we loved Gus too."

Discussing the importance of the lawsuit, Hanrahan added, "No
one should see their dog suffer and needlessly die. I want the
defendants to explain in court why my dog died after eating
their pet food that they claimed was superior to other brands
and of 'human grade.'"

"Petcurean and Pet Food Express touted the high-priced Go!
Natural pet food as a premium product that was one of
'healthiest pet foods in the world,'" explained Lieff Cabraser
partner Heather A. Foster. "We believe the evidence will show,
as alleged in the complaint, that Go! Natural contained
substances toxic to animals and this is why so many pets have
died."

The class action lawsuit is on behalf of pet food owners with
dogs or cats that became ill or died after consuming Go! Natural
pet food. Plaintiffs allege that defendants were negligent in
the manufacture, quality assurance, sale and distribution of Go!
Natural pet food. In addition to the bills for their pets'
medical care and burial related costs, plaintiffs seek
compensation for the emotional distress and loss of
companionship they suffered due to the illnesses and/or deaths
of their pets.

For more information, contact Heather A. Foster, by Mail: 275
Battery Street, 30th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94111, by Phone:
415-956-1000, Fax: 415-956-1008, or E-mail: hfoster@lchb.com.


"GOT MILK" AD: Farmers Sue Over "Unconstitutional" Ad Campaign
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments
on whether the popular "Got Milk?" campaign was unconstitutional
for forcing dairy farmers to pay for them, even if they
disagreed, the Associated Press reports.

Dairy farmers Joseph and Brenda Cochran filed the suit against
the campaign, known for putting milk mustaches on celebrities.  
They allege that their small farm in Pennsylvania is different
from many of the nation's largest milk producers because they
let their cows graze naturally over 200 acres and do not use
growth hormones to stimulate milk production.  However, a lower
court had earlier ruled against the couple.

"The message is that all milk is the same and that the industry
speaks with one voice, and that is clearly not the case," their
attorney, Steve Simpson, told AP.

The suit is one of a number of challenges to government
marketing programs that produce ads for agricultural products.  
In July, a St. Louis, Missouri appeals court ruled that ranchers
could not be forced to pay a $1-per-head fee on cattle to
support the marketing campaign that spawned the slogan "Beef:
It's what's for dinner."  An appeals court in Cincinnati struck
down a similar fee in October that had supported the
advertisements calling pork, "the other white meat."  In both
cases the judges said federal regulations requiring farmers to
pay for the marketing efforts violated their right to free
speech, AP reports.

Lawyers defending the law on behalf of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture said it is necessary because of the collective
nature of dairy production.  "No man is an island ... no cow is
an island either," Richard Rossier, a lawyer for dairy farmers
who support the marketing program, told AP.



HARRON TRADING LTD: Recalls Scorpion Footwear For Product Defect
----------------------------------------------------------------
Harron Trading Ltd., of Marham, ON, in cooperation with CSA
International, announced the voluntary recall of approximately
2,020 pairs of Scorpion safety footwear since testing of the
affected safety footwear indicates it fails to meet the Grade 1
Toe Impact and Sole Penetration Resistance test requirements of
CSA Standard Z195, Protective Footwear, and may pose a threat of
serious injury to the user.

In addition, the affected safety footwear bears unauthorized or
counterfeit CSA trademarks. Harron Trading Ltd. and CSA
International have not received any reports of injury or death
related to these products.

The Scorpion safety footwear has been sold at safety footwear
stores throughout Ontario from September 2003 to December 2003
for about $90.00 to $110.00.

The safety footwear affected by this recall are style numbers S-
818-H, S-828-H, S-914-L, S-916-M, S-918-H, S-926-M, S-928-H and
S-936-M. All affected safety footwear have "LM 1265389" marked
on the label sewn on the inside of the footwear's tongue and
bear green triangles and Omega tags sewn onto the outside of the
footwear that incorporate unauthorized or counterfeit CSA
trademarks. The affected footwear has the Scorpion trademark on
the outer tongue of the footwear. The affected safety footwear
may be constructed with black leather or beige "nuskin" uppers
and be sold in styles ranging from oxford shoes to full-length
construction boots.

Consumers are urged to stop using the affected safety footwear
immediately, return them to their retailer directly or call
Harron Trading Ltd. to obtain a replacement / refund. Harron
Trading Ltd. may be reached at (905) 940-8880 between the hours
of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST or you may write to Harron Trading
Ltd. at 250 Don Park Road, Unit 3, Markham, ON L3R 2V1.


INVESCO FUNDS: Deadline For Lead Plaintiff Motion Set February 2
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP announced that Invesco
Mutual Fund investors have until February 2, 2004, to move for
lead plaintiff in a securities fraud class action recently filed
in the United States District Court for the District of
Colorado, against the Invesco Mutual Funds that are managed by
Invesco Funds Group, Inc., a subsidiary of Amvescap PLC, on
behalf of purchasers of any of the Invesco Funds listed below
between November 1, 1998 and September 3, 2003, inclusive. The
Class Period for this case is from December 5, 1998 through
November 24, 2003, inclusive.

These Invesco Mutual Funds are subject to this suit:

INVESCO Advantage Health Sciences Fund (NASDAQ: IAGHX), (NASDAQ:
IGHBX), (NASDAQ: IGHCX)
INVESCO Core Equity Fund (NASDAQ: ICEAX), (NASDAQ: ICEBX),
(NASDAQ: IINCX), (NASDAQ: FIIIX), (NASDAQ: IEIKX)
INVESCO Dynamics Fund (NASDAQ: IDYAX), (NASDAQ: IDYBX), (NASDAQ:
IFDCX) (NASDAQ: FIDYX) (NASDAQ: IDYKX)
INVESCO Energy Fund (NASDAQ: IENAX) (NASDAQ: IENBX), (NASDAQ:
IEFCX) (NASDAQ: FSTEX) (NASDAQ: IENKX)
INVESCO Financial Services Fund (NASDAQ: IFSAX) (NASDAQ: IFSBX)
(NASDAQ:IFSCX), (NASDAQ:FSFSX), (NASDAQ:FSFKX)
INVESCO Gold & Precious Metals Fund (NASDAQ: IGDAX), (NASDAQ:
IGDBX) (NASDAQ: IGDCX) (NASDAQ: FGLDX)
INVESCO Health Sciences Fund (NASDAQ: IAHSX) (NASDAQ: IBHSX)
(NASDAQ: IHSCX) (NASDAQ: FHLSX), (NASDAQ: IHSKX)
INVESCO International Core Equity Fund (NASDAQ: IBVAX) (NASDAQ:
IBVBX) (NASDAQ: IBVCX), (NASDAQ: IIBCX)
INVESCO Leisure Fund (NASDAQ: ILSAX) (NASDAQ: ILSBX), (NASDAQ:
IVLCX) (NASDAQ: FLISX), (NASDAQ: ILEKX)
INVESCO Mid-Cap Growth Fund (NASDAQ: IMGAX) (NASDAQ: IMGBX)
(NASDAQ: IMGCX), (NASDAQ: IVMIX)
INVESCO Multi-Sector Fund (NASDAQ: IAMSX), (NASDAQ: IBMSX),
(NASDAQ: ICMSX)
INVESCO S&P 500 Index Fund (NASDAQ: ISPIX)
INVESCO Small Company Growth Fund (NASDAQ: ISGAX), (NASDAQ:
ISGBX) (NASDAQ: ISGCX), (NASDAQ: FIEGX)
INVESCO Technology Fund (NASDAQ: ITYAX) (NASDAQ: ITYBX) (NASDAQ:
ITHCX), (NASDAQ: FTCHX), (NASDAQ:ITHKX)
INVESCO Total Return Fund (NASDAQ: IATRX), (NASDAQ: IBTRX),
(NASDAQ: ITRCX), (NASDAQ: FSFLX)
INVESCO Utilities Fund (NASDAQ: IAUTX), (NASDAQ: IBUTX),
(NASDAQ: IUTCX), (NASDAQ: FSTUX)
INVESCO Advantage Fund (NASDAQ: IADAX), (NASDAQ: IADBX),
(NASDAQ: IADCX)
INVESCO Balanced Fund (NASDAQ: IBLAX),(NASDAQ: IBLBX), (NASDAQ:
IBNCX), (NASDAQ: IBFIX), (NASDAQ: IMABX), (NASDAQ: IBLKX)
INVESCO European Fund (NASDAQ: IEUAX), (NASDAQ: IEUBX), (NASDAQ:
FEURX), (NASDAQ: IEUKX)
INVESCO Growth Fund (NASDAQ: IAGWX), (NASDAQ: IBGWX), (NASDAQ:
IBGCX), (NASDAQ: FLRFX), (NASDAQ: IGWKX)
INVESCO High-Yield Fund (NASDAQ: IAHYX), (NASDAQ: IBHYX),
(NASDAQ: IHYCX), (NASDAQ: FHYPX), (NASDAQ: IHYKX)
INVESCO Growth & Income Fund, (NASDAQ: IGIAX), (NASDAQ: IGIBX),
(NASDAQ: IGRCX) (NASDAQ: IVGIX), (NASDAQ: IGIKX)
INVESCO International Blue Chip Value Fund (NASDAQ: IBVAX),
(NASDAQ: IBVBX), (NASDAQ: IBVCX) (NASDAQ: IIBCX)
INVESCO Real Estate Opportunity Fund (NASDAQ: IAREX), (NASDAQ:
IBREX), (NASDAQ: IRECX), (NASDAQ: IVSRX)
INVESCO Select Income Fund (NASDAQ: IASIX), (NASDAQ: IBSIX),
(NASDAQ: ISICX), (NASDAQ: FBDSX)
INVESCO Tax-Free Bond Fund (NASDAQ: IXBAX), (NASDAQ: IXBBX),
(NASDAQ: ITFCX), (NASDAQ: FTIFX)
INVESCO Telecommunications Fund (NASDAQ: ITLAX), (NASDAQ: ITLBX)
(NASDAQ: INTCX), (NASDAQ: ISWCX), (NASDAQ: ITEKX)
INVESCO U.S. Government Securities Fund (NASDAQ: IGVAX),
(NASDAQ: IGVBX), (NASDAQ: IUGCX), (NASDAQ: FBDGX)
INVESCO Value Fund (NASDAQ: IAVEX), (NASDAQ: IBVEX), (NASDAQ:
IVACX), (NASDAQ: FSEQX)

The complaint charges Invesco, Amvescap, AIM Management Group,
Inc., AIM Stock Funds, AIM Stock Funds, Inc., Invesco Stock
Funds, Inc., Edward Stern, Canary Investment Management, LLC,
Canary Partners Ltd., Canary Partners, LLC, 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 the defendants engaged in illegal
and improper trading practices, in concert with certain
institutional traders, which caused financial injury to the
shareholders of the Invesco Mutual Funds.

According to the Complaint, the Defendants surreptitiously
permitted certain favored investors, including Canary and the
Doe Defendants, to illegally engage in "timing" of the Invesco
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 Invesco
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.


LOCKHEED MARTIN: CA Court Dismisses Securities Violations Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court in Los Angeles, California
dismissed a securities class action filed against Bethesda
defense contractor Lockheed Martin, the Associated Press
reports.

The suit, filed in 1999, alleged the company misrepresented its
financial condition from January 28, 1999, to June 9, 1999.  The
lawsuit was dismissed after the plaintiffs' lawyer decided not
to pursue the lawsuit.  The plaintiffs folded after reviewing
documents produced by Lockheed Martin and stock analysts who
followed Lockheed Martin, as well as publicly available
information, and after consulting with experts, the company
said.

Lockheed Martin employs about 130,000 people worldwide and
researches, designs and manufactures advanced technology
systems, products and services, AP states.


MARTHA STEWART: Sets Up Personal Website For Defense in Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Martha Stewart has set up a website to tell her side of the
story as her high-stakes "insider trading" trial approaches, the
Associated Press reports.

Ms. Stewart faces charges of stock fraud and insider trading
after she sold her ImClone Systems, Inc. shares in 2001, just
before it dropped sharply over the FDA's rejection of the
company's key drug, Erbitux.  Imclone founder Samuel Waksal is a
close friend of Ms. Stewart, and the government believes Ms.
Stewart acted on "privileged" information.  Ms. Stewart has
countered that she had a standing order with her broker to sell
if the stock went below $60.  A guilty verdict could land the
domestic maven behind bars and severely damage the brand she has
stamped on thousands of books, magazine covers and home
products.

In response, Ms. Stewart has set up Marthatalks.com, which
crisis-management experts say is remarkably thorough.  It is
updated almost daily with letters from fans, supportive
newspaper editorials and new pictures of Ms. Stewart.  The site,
adorned in tasteful muted-green and light-blue type, however,
makes plain that it speaks only for Ms. Stewart herself - not
her media company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc - an
important distinction because the government has also charged
Ms. Stewart with securities fraud, saying she meant to deceive
her own shareholders when she said in 2002 that she was innocent
and cooperating fully with investigators, the Associated Press
reports.

People close to Stewart, speaking on condition of anonymity,
told AP she is heavily involved with the site even in her final
days of intense pretrial preparation.  "She's essentially the
photo editor," carefully selecting which pictures are seen by
her fans, one source told AP.  The source said Ms. Stewart has
also been "very involved" with the design and updating of the
site.

Last week, Ms. Stewart released a statement to fans on the site,
saying that she was "hopefully optimistic that I will be
exonerated."  The site also put up a new section called Trial
Update where her publicists hope to post same-day trial
transcripts.  She also has used the site to explain her version
of events - "I simply returned a call from my stockbroker" - and
to say the government's prosecution "makes no sense to me."

Image consultants say the site is an attempt to retain that
support - an online sermon to the choir.  It's also an end run
around press coverage and the story advanced by prosecutors who
can use press conferences and court papers to tell their
version, consultants say.  

"In a crisis situation, the media have a crucifixion bias," Eric
Dezenhall, who runs a public-relations firm told AP.  "The
Internet gives you the freedom to talk right to your audience
without filtered interpretation."

Ms. Stewart's prominent Internet defense is unusual, image
consultants say.  "It's certainly going further than most," Mr.
Dezenhall said of the Stewart site.

Still, if Ms. Stewart is acquitted at trial, her spade work on
the Web site may help her retain the support of customers who
became wary of the Martha Stewart brand when the name became
associated with financial scandal. "I don't think it's going to
make a decisive difference," Fordham University media studies
chair Paul Levinson told AP.  "But it certainly can't hurt."


MARTHA STEWART: Critics Worry Trial Won't Change Biotech Rules
--------------------------------------------------------------
Some congressional critics are worried that Martha Stewart's
upcoming trial over her handling of Imclone Systems, Inc.'s
stock might not actually have a big effect in how biotechnology
companies are regulated, the Knight-Ridder/ Tribune Business
News reports.

The fashion, decorating and media maven faces charges for
securities fraud, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and making
false statements to investigators, after she sold nearly 4,000
ImClone shares a day before ImClone announced that it's key drug
application had been rejected, triggering a massive sell-off in
the stock, an earlier Class Action Reporter story (October
25,2003) states.  

Ms. Stewart is a close friend of ImClone founder Samuel Waksal,
who is now serving a seven-year prison term for insider trading.  
U.S. prosecutors have settled on obstruction of justice charges
for Ms. Stewart.  Ms. Stewart has contended that she had a
standing order with her broker to sell if the stock fell below
$60.  She sold her Imclone stock for $58 per share on December
27,2001.  Mr. Waksal was sentenced to seven years in prison last
year after admitting he tried to sell shares ahead of the news.

Now, some congressmen are concerned that the biotechnology
company had enough leeway to hide the news about the Food and
Drug Administration's rejection of its application for its key
drug, Erbitux.  The lawmakers have earlier pressed the FDA to
work with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to ensure
that biotechnology companies don't mislead investors about their
progress in getting drugs through the FDA's long approval
process.

Since the ImClone case, several other firms have revealed SEC
investigations whether they said enough about their discussions
with the FDA.  The two agencies are in talks to develop new
guidelines on cooperation.  SEC chairman William H. Donaldson
and FDA Commissioner Mark B. McClellan allegedly spoke by phone
December 19, but neither agency will talk about what specific
changes might be in store, and some outsiders worry that means
little is coming of the effort.

How the FDA and the SEC should coordinate efforts has been a
controversial issue for biotechnology companies, as they depend
mainly on showing investors they are making progress getting
approvals for drugs that can cost hundreds of millions of
dollars to research.  However, many executives believe that the
two agencies work at cross-purposes.  While securities rules
require wide disclosure, repeating all of the technical detail
the FDA conveys about an experimental drug can make a stock
extremely volatile, Carl B. Feldbaum, president of the
Biotechnology Industry Organization, a trade group in Washington
told the Tribune Business News.  "I think we need to come up
with a coherent system where biotech CEOs aren't cross-cut, like
logs, between the FDA and the SEC," he said.

"Our investigation of ImClone prompted an important dialogue
between the agencies.  But clearly, it appears they are still
struggling on how to implement certain procedures and
safeguards," Ken Johnson, a spokesman for the House Energy and
Commerce Committee chaired by Billy Tauzin, a Louisiana
Republican, told the Tribune Business News.  

Mr. Johnson added that the two agencies may have made some
progress, but FDA officials were more willing to say what the
agency won't do.  For instance, one type of document at the
center of the ImClone storm still probably won't be passed along
to the SEC in the future: the "refuse-to-file" notices similar
to the one ImClone got from the FDA in late 2001.

The FDA's associate commissioner for external relations Peter
Pitts asserted that "refuse-to-file letters" are considered part
of the new drug applications that companies make to the FDA, and
are considered confidential company information under the
agency's rules.  Making them available to the SEC would require
changes to these statutes, and the agencies don't envision
sweeping changes, he added.  "This isn't about changing the
rules, this is about clarifying the rules," he told the Tribune
Business News. John Heine, a spokesman for the SEC, wouldn't
discuss the talks.

Others have raised the concern that biotechnology companies
might soon face too many securities class actions, similar to
the ones levied against technology companies in the 1990s,
before reforms.  In a speech last summer the FDA's McClellan
said his agency had begun "making referrals to the SEC when we
see companies misrepresenting our discussions with them to the
public markets."

Mr. Pitts and others wouldn't say how many referrals have been
made or whether new openness by the FDA was at the heart of
several recent steps the SEC has taken against biotechnology
companies who may not have disclosed enough.  Whatever the
cause, the SEC has stepped up its enforcement actions in the
area.  

For instance, Biopure Corporation, a Cambridge developer of
artificial blood, disclosed on Christmas Eve that the FDA had
put it on notice it might bring legal action against the
company, its chief executive, Thomas A. Moore, and a former
executive.

Another local case involves Transkaryotic Therapies Inc.  The
company said last May it faces an SEC investigation related to
its disclosures and public filings regarding its work to gain
approvals for Replagel, meant to treat the rare genetic disorder
Fabry disease.  The company says it is cooperating with the
investigation, but that no charges have been filed to date.  On
December 19, Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. of San Diego said it
faces an informal inquiry from the SEC related to its
communications about Symlin, a diabetes treatment.


MICROSOFT CORPORATION: Judge Tosses Claims Processed Online
-----------------------------------------------------------
San Francisco, California Superior Court Judge Paul Alvarado
rejected claims processed from Web-based program MsfreePC.com, a
Lindows.com Inc. site, for a piece of the $1.1 billion class
action settlement proposed by Microsoft Corporation for
California consumers, the Associated Press reports.

The consumer settlement was forged in January 2003, for a
lawsuit charging the software giant with violating the state's
antitrust and unfair competition laws.  Eligible California
consumers could stand to claim vouchers redeemable for computers
that run on the operating system of their choice as well as
other peripherals or software from any provider.  Anyone who
bought certain versions of Microsoft's programs to use in
California between 1995 and 2001 is entitled to a voucher.

The MsfreePC.com site promised to simplify the process and
provide instant gratification, as users, after answering a few
questions, were given Lindows' Linux operating system or other
open-source software instantly rather than having to wait six
months for paper claims to be processed, AP reports.

Microsoft protested against the site's usage, saying the claims
were invalid as MSfreePC violated the integrity of the claims
process.  Lindows asserted that Microsoft did not want to
simplify the process so that it could collect a bigger portion
of any unclaimed money.

"Microsoft's claim that digital signatures are valid when used
to sell their software but not when it costs them money is pure
hypocrisy," Michael Robertson, Lindows' chief executive, told
AP.  "Their true intentions are not to remedy their abusive
pricing policies but simply to escape financial redress to
Californians."

In his ruling, Judge Alvarado sided with the software giant.  
"Both Microsoft and the plaintiffs' attorneys worked together
for months to develop a claims process that's very
straightforward and clear," Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake
told AP.  "The only complication was created by Lindows'
inappropriate attempt to use the settlement as a marketing
tool."

San Diego-based Lindows said anyone who received software for
their claims will be allowed to keep the products.  Those
consumers also can file the old-fashioned way, by submitting a
paper form to a claims administrator by March 15, AP reports.


PALM INC.: Court Grants Preliminary Approval To Suit Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------
The California Superior Court, San Francisco County granted
preliminary approval to the settlement proposed by Palm, Inc.
for a consumer class action filed against it and 3Com
Corporation, styled "Connelly et al v. Palm, Inc., 3Com Corp et
al, Case No. 323587."

The suit alleges breach of warranty and violation of
California's Unfair Competition Law was filed and served on Palm
on August 15, 2001. The mended complaint, filed on behalf of
purchasers of Palm III, IIIc, V and Vx handhelds, alleges that
certain Palm handhelds may cause damage to PC motherboards by
permitting an electrical charge, or "floating voltage," from
either the handheld or the cradle to be introduced into the PC
via the serial and/or USB port on the PC.

The plaintiffs allege that this damage is the result of a design
defect in one or more of the following: HotSync software,
handheld, cradle and/or the connection cable.  The complaint
seeks restitution, rescission, damages, an injunction mandating
corrective measures to protect against future damage as well as
notifying users of potential harm.

Discovery is closed.  The parties engaged in mediation and
reached settlement, which received preliminary Court approval in
December 2003.


PALM INC.: CA Court Grants Approval To Consumer Suit Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------
The California Superior Court, San Francisco County granted
preliminary approval to the settlement of a consumer class
action filed against Palm, Inc., styled "Eley et al v. Palm,
Inc., Case No. 403768."

The unverified complaint, filed on behalf of purchasers of Palm
m500 and m505 handhelds, alleges that the HotSync function in
certain Palm handhelds does not perform as advertised and the
products are therefore defective.  The suit also alleges that
upon learning of the problem, Palm did not perform proper
corrective measures for individual customers as set forth in the
product warranty.

The complaint alleges the Company's actions are a violation of
California's Unfair Competition Law and a breach of express
warranty.  The complaint seeks alternative relief including an
injunction to have Palm desist from selling and advertising the
handhelds, to recall the defective handhelds, to restore the
units to their advertised functionality, to pay restitution or
disgorgement of the purchase price of the units and/or damages
and attorneys' fees.

The Company filed its answer denying the allegations and the
parties engaged in document and deposition discovery.  Plaintiff
and the Company engaged in mediation and reached a settlement
that received preliminary Court approval in October 2003.


PALM INC.: Asks IL Court To Dismiss Amended Consumer Fraud Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Palm, Inc. asked the Illinois Circuit Court, Cook County to
dismiss the amended consumer class action filed against it,
styled "Goldstein v. Palm, Inc., Case No. 02CH19678."

The case alleges consumer fraud regarding Palm's representations
that its m100, III, V, and VII handheld personal digital
assistant, as sold, would provide wireless access to the
Internet and email accounts, and would perform common business
functions including data base management, custom form creation
and viewing Microsoft Word and Excel documents, among other
tasks.  The case seeks unspecified actual damages and
indemnification of certain costs.

In September 2003, the Court granted Palm's motion to dismiss
the complaint, but allowed the plaintiff the opportunity to
amend and re-file which plaintiff did in October 2003.


PALM INC.: CA, IL Courts Approve Deceptive Ads Suit Settlement
--------------------------------------------------------------
The California and Illinois Superior Courts granted preliminary
approval to the settlement proposed by Palm, Inc. for four
consumer class actions filed against them, styled:

     (1) "Lipner and Ouyang v. Palm, Inc., Case No. CV-810533,"
         filed in the California Superior Court, Santa Clara
         County;

     (2) "Veltman v. Palm, Inc., Case No. 02CH16143," filed in
          the California Superior Court, San Diego County;

     (3) "Wireless Consumer's Alliance, Inc. v. Palm, Inc., Case
         No. GIC-794940," filed in the Illinois Circuit Court,
         Cook County; and

     (4) "Cokenour v. Palm, Inc., Case No. 02L0592" filed in the
         Illinois Circuit Court, St. Clair County

All four cases allege consumer fraud regarding Palm's
representations that its m130 handheld personal digital
assistant supported more than 65,000 colors.  Certain of the
cases also allege breach of express warranty and unfair
competition.  In general, the cases seek unspecified damages
and/or to enjoin Palm from continuing it's allegedly misleading
advertising.

The parties have agreed to a settlement, which received
preliminary Court approval in October 2003.


PALM INC.: Parties Begin Discovery, Mediation in Consumer Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Parties have begun discovery and engaged in mediation of the
claims in a consumer class action filed against Palm, Inc. in
the California Superior Court, Santa Clara County.  The case is
captioned "Hemmingsen et al v. Palm, Inc., Case No. CV815074."

The unverified complaint, filed on behalf of purchasers of Palm
m515 handhelds, alleges that such handhelds fail at unacceptably
high rates, and in particular that instant updating and
synchronization of data with PCs often will not occur.  The
complaint further alleges that, upon learning of the problem,
Palm did not perform proper corrective measures for individual
customers as set forth in the product warranty, among other
things.  

The complaint alleges that Palm's actions violate California's
Unfair Competition Law and constitute a breach of warranty.  The
complaint seeks restitution, disgorgement, damages, an
injunction mandating corrective measures including a full
replacement program for all allegedly defective m515s or,
alternatively mandating a refund to all purported class members
of the full purchase price for their m515s, and attorneys' fees.


PALM INC.: Reaches Settlement For Consolidated Stock Suit in DE
---------------------------------------------------------------
Palm, Inc. reached a tentative settlement for the consolidated
securities class action filed in the Court of Chancery in the
State of Delaware in and for the County of New Castle against
it, Handspring, Inc. and various officers and directors of
Handspring.

Two suits were initially filed, captioned "Goldhirsch v.
Handspring, Inc., et. al, Civil Action No. 20376-NC" and
"Majarian v. Handspring, Inc., et. al, Civil Action No. 20381-
NC." The Majarian complaint was amended on June 23, 2003 to,
among other things, delete certain previously named officer
defendants.

Both complaints allege that the officers and directors of
Handspring breached their fiduciary duties to Handspring
stockholders by, among other things, failing to undertake an
appropriate evaluation of Handspring's net worth as a merger or
acquisition candidate and failing to maximize Handspring
stockholder value by not engaging in a meaningful auction of
Handspring.  The Majarian complaint also alleges, among other
things, that the officers and directors of Handspring breached
their fiduciary duties by failing to act independently so that
the interests of Handspring's public stockholders would be
protected and enhanced.

Both complaints allege that Palm aided and abetted the alleged
breaches of fiduciary duty of Handspring's officers and
directors.  Both complaints seek, among other things, a
preliminary and permanent injunction against the transaction, a
rescission of the transaction if it is consummated and
unspecified damages.  The Goldhirsch complaint also requests,
among other things, that the Court order Handspring's officers
and directors to take all necessary steps to maximize
stockholder value, including open bidding and/or a market check.

The cases were consolidated and a tentative settlement was
reached in October 2003 subject to appropriate documentation and
Court approval.


PARMALAT FINANZIARIA: Prosecutors Question U.S., Italian Banks
--------------------------------------------------------------
Prosecutors are continuing the investigation into several
American and Italian banks regarding their role in the Parmalat
Finanziaria SpA financial scandal, Reuters reports.

One of the world's biggest corporate scandals unraveled last
month after the Bank of America declared false a document which
showed the Company's Cayman Islands unit Bonlat Financing
Corporation as having EUR4 billion in cash with the Bank.  The
SEC labeled the scandal "one of the largest and most brazen
corporate financial frauds in history," as it accused the
Company of fraud and misleading investors who bought $1.5
billion of its bonds.

Authorities have arrested nine people in the fraud case,
including founder Calisto Tanzi and two outside auditors.  The
former head of Parmalat's operations in Venezuela and a Cayman
Islands unit at the heart of the scandal on Friday turned
himself in to justice authorities in the northern city of Parma,
Reuters stated.  No charges have yet been filed, although
authorities are investigating suspected fraud, market rigging
and false accounting and say the hole in Parmalat's accounts
could surpass EUR10 billion euros ($12.83 billion).

Authorities in Italy, the United States and Luxembourg have
launched investigations into suspected crimes that Italian
prosecutors say stretched back more than a decade.  Earlier this
week, Italian prosecutors questioned major bank, Deutsche, about
its participation in underwriting a Parmalat bond sale in
September last year.

In Milan, 25 people, including former Bank of America executive
Luca Sala and two executives of auditors Deloitte & Touche SpA
have been questioned.  Mr. Sala worked for Bank of America until
mid-2003 when he became a Parmalat consultant, a judicial source
told Reuters.  Investigators say he was linked to a $500-million
Parmalat bond placed by Bank of America.

Early this week, prosecutors questioned another Bank of America
employee and asked Citigroup and other banks about bond sales
they carried out for the group before it became insolvent.  
Prosecutors in Milan also summoned Antonio Luzzi, who had worked
in Mr. Sala's team and asked him about the role of an Irish unit
of Parmalat, Eurofood IFSC, in issuing bonds sold on U.S.
markets, a judicial source told Reuters.

Italian and foreign banks have come under growing scrutiny in
the Parmalat scandal after former managers told prosecutors how
they used a web of shell companies in tax havens and forged
documents to cover up losses and support bond issues.  The
judicial source told Reuters the prosecutors had contacted
banks, "above all foreign ones and above all about their role in
the placement of bonds."  Citigroup was among the banks being
contacted, the source said.

In Italy, the spotlight on Monday was mainly on Capitalia SpA,
he domestic bank with the largest Parmalat exposure, Reuters
states.  Parmalat founder Calisto Tanzi once sat on Capitalia's
board and his links to the bank's Chairman, Cesare Geronzi, have
added to worries about Geronzi, already under investigation over
the collapse of the Cirio food group in 2002.

Newspapers have said Geronzi and Corrado Passera, the chief
executive of Banca Intesa -- Italy's biggest bank by
assets -- might be called before prosecutors this week.  There
was no confirmation from prosecutors or the banks on the
reports, published on Sunday and Monday, Reuters reports.


RHODE ISLAND: Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Strip-Search Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Supreme Court refused without comment on
Monday to consider an appeal in a class action lawsuit brought
by 18 people strip-searched at a Rhode Island prison, AP/
turnto10newws.com reports.

The suit was brought over policies at the Adult Correctional
Institutions in Cranston.  Under those policies, which have
since been changed, people who were arrested for misdemeanors
were subjected to strip and body cavity searches.

In 1999, Craig Roberts was mistakenly arrested and was taken to
ACI.  He underwent a strip and body cavity search, which turned
up no weapons, drugs or other contraband.  After a sheriff
verified that Mr. Roberts was not supposed to be in custody, he
was released.

Mr. Roberts then sued, claiming the search violated his
constitutional rights.  The US District Court agreed, and an
Appeals Court upheld the ruling.  The ACI dropped the policy the
day of the District Court ruling in March 2000.  After that, 18
people who had been arrested for nonviolent, non-drug offenses
and had undergone the searches, filed suit against the state and
prison officials, seeking damages.

US District Judge Mary M. Lisi ruled in favor of the state,
saying prison officials had immunity from prosecution,
essentially tossing out the claims of the 18 plaintiffs, the
Associated Press reports.  The plaintiffs then appealed.

In August, four members of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
agreed with Judge Lisi's decision and four members disagreed,
thus allowing the District Court ruling to stand.  The case was
then appealed to the Supreme Court.

A phone message left after office hours with the Department of
Corrections was not immediately returned Monday, AP reports.  
Messages left with the attorney general's office and with
attorneys for the 18 people who brought suit were not
immediately returned.


SOLECTRON CORPORATION: Plaintiffs File Amended Stock Suit in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs filed a consolidated amended securities class action
against Solectron Corporation and certain of its officers in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of
California alleging claims under Section 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder.  

The complaint alleged that the defendants issued false and
misleading statements in certain press releases and SEC filings
issued between September 17, 2001 and September 26, 2002.  In
particular, plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to
disclose and to properly account for excess and obsolete
inventory in the Technology Solutions business unit during the
relevant time period.

The amended complaint alleges an expanded class period of June
18, 2001 through September 26, 2002, and purports to add a claim
for violation of Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933 on
behalf of a putative class of former shareholders of C-MAC
Industries, Inc., who acquired Solectron stock pursuant to the
October 19, 2001 Registration Statement filed in connection with
Solectron's acquisition of C-MAC Industries, Inc.

In addition, while the initial complaints focused on alleged
inventory issues at the Technology Solutions business unit, the
consolidated amended complaint adds allegations of inadequate
disclosure and failure to properly account for excess and
obsolete inventory at the Company's other business units.  The
complaint seeks an unspecified amount of damages on behalf of
the putative class.

The Company denies the consolidated lawsuit's allegations and
stated Solectron may be forced to incur substantial litigation
expenses in defending this litigation.


TRI-STATE CREMATORY: Judge To Rule On Status of Desecration Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Georgia Circuit Court judge Neil Thomas is set to rule within a
week, on whether class action status should be granted to the
lawsuit filed against Tri-State Crematory, theChattanoogan.com
reports.

The suit involves the discovery of 339 uncremated bodies in mid-
February 2001 at the crematory, owned by Brent Marsh and his
family at Noble, Georgia, near LaFayette.  A number of the
bodies were sent by Chattanooga funeral homes.

Earlier, Judge Thomas set a class action involving five
different funeral homes.  Judge Harold Murphy of the United
States District Court in Rome, Georgia set a class action there
as well. The class action in Georgia has a longer time period
than the one set by Judge Thomas, but it allows fewer claims for
action.

Judge Murphy plans to go to trial on March 1.  Judge Thomas
agreed, saying, "We've got to get this steam engine cranked back
up," the Chattanoogan.com reports

Crematory operator Brent Marsh faces 787 felony counts.  His
trial is scheduled in LaFayette sometime this year using a jury
from another county.


TYSON FOODS: Trial Opens In Suit Alleging Cattle Price-Fixing
-------------------------------------------------------------
The trial in the antitrust class action filed against Tyson
Foods, Inc. and IBP, Inc. is set to start this week in the
United States District Court in Montgomery, Alabama, the
Associated Press reports.

The suit alleges violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act of
1921, charging the Company with using illegal cattle-buying
practices to help manipulate beef prices.  The Company allegedly
paid higher prices to producers who enter exclusive agreements
and conspired to fix prices paid on the open market.  The suit
was filed on behalf of all ranchers who sold cattle to IBP or
Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. from February 1994 to October 2002.  

The Company has asserted that their marketing agreements are
legitimate business practices, which do not subvert the market
principles of supply and demand, AP stated.  

Twelve jurors from across central Alabama were chosen on Monday,
with attorneys paying close attention to whether candidates had
experience with the beef- or chicken-processing industry.  
Opening arguments for both sides were set for Tuesday morning.  
Federal judge Lyle e. Strom is expected to rule on whether
defense attorneys can present data showing cattle prices reached
an all-time high in October 2003, driven upward by factors such
as mad cow disease outbreaks and a surge in red meat's
popularity thanks to the Atkins diet.

Defense attorney Thomas C. Green said such evidence is necessary
because it is "a linchpin of the overall approach IBP takes in
this case, that the forces of supply and demand are at work
here" despite what he described as a record number of marketing
agreements in use, AP reports.

Plaintiffs attorney Joe Whatley of Birmingham said the parties
should stick to an earlier agreement limiting data to the end of
the suit period, October 2002.  "We're not saying that supply
and demand have no impact," Mr. Whatley told AP.  "What we are
saying is that ... their use of captive supply has changed the
outcome of what supply and demand would normally result."

Judge Strom, a Nebraska judge who has heard several cases in
Alabama, said he would rule on Tyson's motion Tuesday.  He
decided last week that the plaintiffs cannot seek punitive
damages in the case, a ruling that Tyson officials say could
substantially limit the amount of any potential award in the
case.


WEGENER CORPORATION: Plaintiffs To Dismiss DE Direct Stock Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs intend to dismiss the direct class action and the
derivative action filed in the Court of Chancery of the State of
Delaware, in and for New Castle County against Wegener
Corporation and:

     (1) Robert A. Placek,

     (2) Thomas G. Elliot,

     (3) Joe K. Parks,

     (4) C. Troy Woodbury, Jr.,

     (5) Wendell Bailey, and

     (6) Ned Mountain

The Plaintiff alleges that the individual defendants violated
their fiduciary duties due to him and other shareholders, the
members of the alleged class, as well as the Company.  The
plaintiff seeks:  

     (i) a declaration that the Defendants must consider and
         evaluate all bona fide offers to purchase all of the
         outstanding shares of Wegener consistent with their
         fiduciary duties;

    (ii) a declaration that this action is properly styled as a
         class action;  

   (iii) an injunction against proceeding with any business
         combination which benefited the individual defendants
         and an injunction requiring that any conflicts of
         interest be resolved in favor of the Wegener
         shareholders; and

    (iv) a declaration removing the anti-takeover measures  
         enacted by Wegener's Board of Directors.  

The Complaint also seeks an award of Plaintiff's costs and
attorneys' and other fees.  An answer has been filed by the
Company, denying all substantive allegations in the complaint.  

On January 8, 2004, the Company was informed that the Plaintiff
intends to file a dismissal of the Complaint without prejudice.   
As a result, management does not believe that the ultimate
outcome of this litigation will have a material adverse effect
on its financial condition or results of operations.


WISCONSIN: Marathon County Meet To Counter Discrimination Charge
----------------------------------------------------------------
Marathon County officials met Monday in closed session to
discuss how to respond to a county employee's charges that the
county discriminates against women by not paying for birth
control prescriptions through its insurance, Wausau Daily Herald
reports.

The unnamed female employee filed a complaint last month with
the state Equal Rights Division of the Department of Workforce
Development and with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission.  The complaint follows a push in recent months by
state family planning advocates and a non-binding legal opinion
from state Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager in support of
employers including contraceptives in their insurance programs.
Lautenschlager said that employers who fail to do so risk
violating the state's Fair Employment Act.

Family Planning Health Services in Wausau, a proponent of
contraceptive benefits, said in November that it would assist
employees who wish to file complaints against their employers.
Its first two targets were Marathon County and Wal-Mart, neither
of which offers full contraceptive benefits.

"Why Marathon County is so absolutely stubborn about refusing to
provide these benefits completely escapes me," Lon Newman,
executive director of Family Planning Health Services told the
Daily Herald.  He and other proponents argue that it isn't
expensive and would save money in the long run by preventing
unplanned pregnancies.  The law clearly is on the employees'
side, Mr. Newman said.

Marathon County Employee Resources Director Frank Matel told the
Herald that the state notified the county of the employee's
complaint in a letter sent last month.  The county's personnel
committee met Monday to discuss the matter with an attorney, but
Mr. Matel would not elaborate on those discussions.

A month's supply of birth control pills can cost up to $60.  The
county typically offers its 750 employees prescriptions for
birth control only if a doctor deems it medically necessary.  It
now faces a number of possible scenarios ranging from granting
the benefits to employees to becoming the target of a class
action.

                   New Securities Fraud Cases

AMERICAN PHYSICIANS: Brodsky & Smith Files Securities Suit in MI
----------------------------------------------------------------
Brodsky & Smith, LLC initiated a securities class action lawsuit
in the United States District Court for the Western District of
Michigan, on behalf of shareholders who purchased the common
stock and other securities of American Physicians Capital, Inc.,
between February 13, 2003 and November 6, 2003, inclusive,
against American Physicians Capital and:

     (1) William B. Cheeseman, and

     (2) Frank H. Freund

According to the lawsuit, the defendants are charged with
violating federal securities laws by issuing a series of
material misrepresentations to the market during the Class
Period, thereby artificially inflating the price of AP Capital
securities.

For more information, contact Marc L. Ackerman, by Phone:
(877) LEGAL-90, or by E-mail: clients@brodsky-smith.com.


BIOPURE CORPORATION: Wechsler Harwood Files Stock Lawsuit in MA
---------------------------------------------------------------
Wechsler Harwood LLP initiated a class action lawsuit in the
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts,
on behalf of purchasers of Biopure Corporation publicly traded
securities during the period between March 17, 2003 and December
24, 2003, inclusive, against the Company and:

     (1) Thomas A. Moore,

     (2) Carl W. Rausch, and

     (3) Ronald F. Richards

The lawsuit charges the defendants 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 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 70% from a Class Period high of $8.25 per share,
reached on or about August 21, 2003.

For more information, contact Craig Lowther, Wechsler Harwood
Shareholder Relations Department, by Mail: 488 Madison Avenue,
8th Floor New York, New York 10022, by Phone: (877) 935-7400
toll free, or by E-mail: clowther@whesq.com.


BIOPURE CORPORATION: Bernstein Litowitz Lodges Stock Suit in MA
---------------------------------------------------------------
Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, initiated a Class
Action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of
Massachusetts, on behalf of all investors who purchased Biopure
securities from March 5, 2003 through and including December 24,
2003, against the Company and:

     (1) Thomas Morre, and

     (2) Carl W. Rausch

The lawsuit claims that the defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the rules
and regulations promulgated thereunder, including U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 10b-5. According to the
complaint, Biopure artificially inflated its stock price by
misrepresenting the prospects for U.S. Food and Drug
Administration approval of the marketing of the Company's main
product, Hemopure.

The lawsuit alleges that the Company knew, by virtue of its
ongoing communications with the FDA, that regulators had strong
reservations about Hemopure's safety but nevertheless continued
to publicly hype the product throughout the Class Period.

Hemopure is an investigational product for the treatment of
acutely anemic surgical patients and for the elimination, delay
or reduction of red blood cell transfusions in these patients.
Hemopure is a human blood substitute derived from cow's blood,
which acts like red blood cells to deliver oxygen to the body.
Unlike donated blood, Hemopure does not have to be matched to a
patient's blood type.

The truth about Hemopure began to emerge on December 24, 2003
when, after the close of the markets on Christmas Eve, Biopure
announced a potential SEC inquiry for securities fraud and, for
the first time, disclosed substantial problems with its Hemopure
product and the FDA approval process.

In response to this announcement, Biopure's common stock fell 14
percent, from a closing price of $2.82 per share on December 24,
2003 to a closing price of $2.43 per share on December 26, 2003.
Biopure's stock continued its decline on Monday, December 29,
2003, closing at $2.43 per share, far below the Class Period
high of $8.25 per share.

For more information, contact Eitan Misulovin, by Mail: 1285
Avenue of the Americas, 38th Floor, New York, NY, 10019, by
Phone: 800-380-8496, or by E-mail: eitan@blbglaw.com.


MARSH & MCLEENAN: Emerson Poynter Launches Securities Suit in NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Emerson Poynter LLP initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York, on behalf of purchasers of Marsh &
McLennan Companies, Inc. publicly traded securities during the
period between January 3, 2000 and November 3, 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. The Complaint charges Marsh & McLennan
and certain of the Company's executive officers with violations
of federal securities laws.

Among other things, the plaintiff claims that defendants'
dissemination of materially false and misleading statements
concerning the Company's subsidiary, Putnam Investments, LLC,
caused Marsh & McLennan's stock price to become artificially
inflated, inflicting damages on investors. Marsh & McLennan is a
global professional services firm and the parent company of
various subsidiaries and affiliates, including Putnam, that
provide clients with analysis, advice and transactional
capabilities in the fields of risk and insurance services,
investment management and consulting.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period defendants
failed to disclose and/or misrepresented the following adverse
facts, among others:

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

     (2) that in exchange for permitting the favored 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 earning per share.

For more information, contact John G. Emerson, by Phone:
(800) 663-9817 or (501) 907-2555, or by E-mail:
shareholder@emersonfirm.com.


SECURITY BROKERAGE: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Stock NV Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP initiated a class action lawsuit in
the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, on
behalf of all who purchased or otherwise acquired shares or
other ownership units of Alliance Capital Management's
AllianceBernstein Family of Mutual Funds and Massachusetts
Financial Services' Family of Mutual Funds, which is a
subsidiary of Sun Life Financial, Inc. from January 1, 2001
through September 30, 2003, inclusive, against Security
Brokerage, Inc., and Daniel G. Calugar

According to the lawsuit, the 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. More specifically, the complaint alleges that
from at least 2001 to September 2003, Calugar, trading through
Security Brokerage, engaged in a scheme involving market timing
of various mutual funds using investments totaling between $400-
$500 million. Market timing refers to the practice of short term
buying and selling of mutual fund shares in order to exploit
inefficiencies in mutual fund pricing.

Most of Calugar's market timing trades were through two mutual
fund families: Alliance Capital Management, LP and Massachusetts
Financial Services.

Calugar also engaged in late trading of MFS and Alliance funds.
Late trading refers to the practice of placing orders to buy or
sell mutual fund shares after close of market at 4:00 p.m. EST,
but at the mutual fund's Net Asset Value, or price, determined
at the market close. Late trading enables the trader to profit
from market events that occur after 4:00 p.m. EST but that are
not reflected in that day's price. Because of Security
Brokerage's status as a broker-dealer, it was permitted to
submit trades received from its clients before 4:00 pm EST to
the National Securities Clearing Corporation after 4:00 p.m.
EST.

Calugar and Security Brokerage thus participated in a scheme
with Alliance and MFS to engage in market timing that most other
fund investors were not permitted to do. The Mutual Funds as
well as Calugar profited at the expense of such investors.
Calugar and Security Brokerage made trading profits of $175
million from their market timing and late trading at Alliance
and MFS. The Mutual Funds profited by way of increased advisory
and other fees.

On December 22, 2003, the SEC filed civil fraud charges against
Security Brokerage, and its president and majority owner,
Calugar, for their participation in a scheme to defraud mutual
fund shareholders through improper late trading and market
timing. On December 24, 2003, the SEC announced that United
States District Judge Robert Clive Jones of the District of
Nevada issued a temporary restraining order freezing the assets
of the defendants, prohibiting the destruction of documents, and
granting expedited discovery.

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: 1-888-299-7706 (toll free) or
1-610-667-7706, or by E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.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
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed
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