CAR_Public/040120.mbx           C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
          Tuesday, January 20, 2004, Vol. 6, No. 13

                        Headlines                            

7-ELEVEN INC.: Recalls Sandwiches Due To Listeria Contamination
AHOLD NV: Former Executives Offer To Give Back Part of Bonuses
AIRGATE PCS: Renewed Lead Plaintiff, Counsel Motions Filed in GA
AIRLINE INDUSTRY: Northwest Admits Passing Customer Data To NASA
ALTRIA GROUP: Faces Light Cigarettes Suit Filed in Israel Court

ATLANTIC STATES: Prosecutors Lodge Dangerous Workplace Charges
BARNES & NOBLE: Shareholders Launch Securities Suits in DE Court
BHP BILLITON: Aussie Court Dismisses Suit Over OK Tedi Gold Mine
BIG LOTS: Forges Settlement For KB Toys' Unfair Advertising Suit
CANADA: Lake Erie Plane Crash Rescue Called Off, 10 Thought Dead

COUNTERFEIT VIAGRA: CA Jury Indicts Man For Selling Fake Tablets
CUBA: Guantanamo Detainee Sues Government For Human Rights Abuse
DOW CHEMICAL: To Pay Record $2M For Illegal Advertising Claims
DPC ENTERPRISES: Arizona Residents File Suit Over Chlorine Leak
FRANK QUATTRONE: NASD Metes $30,000 Fine, One-Year Suspension

HOLOCAUST LITIGATION: Six New Insurance Suits Filed in CA Court
IBIS TECHNOLOGY: Shareholders Launch Securities Fraud Suit In MA
KROGER CO.: Suit Over Failure To Honor Family Leave Filed in OH
MUTUAL FUNDS: Court Considers Consolidation Of All Fraud Suits
NEVADA: Nuclear Workers Called To Participate in Lung Screening

NEW YORK: Staten Island Ferry Crash Victims Lodge Intent To Sue
NTS DEVELOPMENT: Reaches $8M Settlement for Shareholder Claims
PARMALAT FINANZIARIA: Former Execs, Auditor Questioned In Probe
PAY DAYS: Reaches Settlement For Consumer Fraud Lawsuit in Ohio
PHILIPPINES: President Allocates Marcos Loot For Rights Victims

RITE AID: Stockholders Launch Securities Fraud Suit in NC Court
SOUTH CAROLINA: Parents Sue Over Stratford High School Drug Raid
TERRORIST ATTACK: 98% of Families Apply For Federal Compensation
TOBACCO LITIGATION: MN Court Denies Smokers Suit Class Status  
WAL-MART STORES: MA Employees Launch Overtime Violations Lawsuit

                  New Securities Fraud Cases

ADECCO SA: Glancy Binkow Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in E.D. NY
ADECCO SA: Cauley Geller Commences Securities Lawsuit in E.D. NY
ADECCO SA: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Suit in E.D. NY
ADVANCED MARKETING: Brualdi Firm Launches Securities Suit in CA
BEST BUY: Goodkind Labaton Launches Securities Suit in MN Court

BIOPURE CORPORATION: Goodkind Labaton Files Stock Lawsuit in MA
CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: Stull Stull Lodges Securities Lawsuit in AZ
DYNACQ HEALTHCARE: Kirby McInerney Files Securities Suit in TX
DYNACQ HEALTHCARE: Emerson Poynter Lodges Securities Suit in TX
GOALS(+) EQUITY: Wolf Haldenstein Launches Securities Suit in NY

MARSH & MCLENNAN: Bernstein Liebhard Files Securities Suit in NY
MERCK & CO.: Milberg Weiss Lodges Securities Lawsuit in E.D. LA
MICROMUSE INC: Rabin Murray Launches Securities Suit in N.D. CA
MICROMUSE INC.: Charles Piven Lodges Securities Suit in N.D. CA
NETWORK ENGINES: Schatz & Nobel Lodges Securities Lawsuit in MA

PARMALAT FINANZIARIA: Rabin Murray Lodges Securities Suit in NY
RYLAND GROUP: Charles Piven Files Securities Lawsuit in C.D. CA
RYLAND GROUP: Paskowitz & Associates Files Securities Suit in TX
RYLAND GROUP: Cauley Geller Launches Securities Suit in C.D. CA
SECURITY BROKERAGE: Cauley Geller Lodges Securities Suit in NY

VIRBAC CORPORATION: Milberg Weiss Lodges Securities Suit in TX


                        *********


7-ELEVEN INC.: Recalls Sandwiches Due To Listeria Contamination
---------------------------------------------------------------
7-Eleven, Inc. of Dallas, Texas, is voluntarily recalling its
Big Eatsr Stacked Turkey and Ham Club on Buttermilk Bread, net
weight 7.8 oz, film wrapped and placed in a sandwich container,
manufactured by Forest & Brook, 50 Constance Court, Hauppauge,
NY, and distributed by Constance Food Group, 60 Plant Avenue,
Hauppauge, NY, to 7-Eleven stores in the New York City
Metropolitan area and dated 'Freshest Before Wednesday 11:59PM
12/31/3' because it may be contaminated with Listeria.

Listeria is a common organism found in nature.  It can cause
serious complications for pregnant women, such as stillbirth.  
Other problems can manifest in people with compromised immune
systems.  Listeria can also cause serious flu-like symptoms in
healthy individuals.

The problem was discovered after routine sampling by New York
State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Inspectors who
found one sandwich to be positive for Listeria monocytogenes.  
7-Eleven is investigating the issue with its outside
manufacturing and distribution providers to determine the source
of Listeria monocytogenes.  No illnesses have been reported to
date.

Consumers who have purchased Big Eatsr Stacked Turkey/Ham Club
on Buttermilk Bread prepared for Constance Food Group and dated
'Freshest Before Wednesday 11:59PM 12/31/3' in the New York City
Metropolitan area should not consume it, but should return it to
the place of purchase.  Consumers with questions may contact the
company at 1-800-255-0711.


AHOLD NV: Former Executives Offer To Give Back Part of Bonuses
--------------------------------------------------------------
Two former top executives of Dutch supermarket giant Ahold have
offered to give back part of their bonuses for the years 2000
and 2001, in relation to an accounting scandal which struck the
Company last year, the Associated Press reports.

Former chief executive Cees van der Hoeven and former chief
financial officer Michael Meurs resigned in February last year
after news broke out that the Company inflated its earnings by
more than $1 billion in 2000-2002, by exaggerating sales at its
US Foodservice subsidiary.  Soon after, American and Dutch
regulators started a probe into the Company's accounting
practices, causing the Company's shares to drop by two-thirds of
their value.  When Ahold posted correct, audited books for 2002
seven months late, it reported a loss of 4.33 billion euros for
2002 under U.S. accounting rules.

The concession by Mr. van der Hoeven and Mr. Meurs follows a
move by the Company this week to require four lower-ranking
executives who are still with the company to return part of
their bonuses.  Ahold spokesman Fritz Schmuhl told AP the four
current executives would return the "excess" part of their
bonuses that was based on the company's financial performance in
2000 and 2001.  They received a total of 4.7 million euros in
bonuses 2001.

In a statement released by his lawyers, Van der Hoeven said he
"thought it was right" that he be treated the same way as his
former colleagues, AP reports.  Mr. Van der Hoeven earned 3.4
million euros in 2001, of which 1.2 million euros was in
bonuses, while Mr. Meurs earned 2.3 million euros, including
868,000 euros in bonuses.  They are both still negotiating with
Ahold to determine the size of their severance packages.


AIRGATE PCS: Renewed Lead Plaintiff, Counsel Motions Filed in GA
----------------------------------------------------------------
Certain plaintiffs and their counsel filed a renewed motion
seeking lead plaintiff and lead counsel positions in the
securities class actions filed in the United States District
Court for the Northern District of Georgia against AirGate PCS,
Inc., and:

     (1) Thomas M. Dougherty,

     (2) Barbara L. Blackford,

     (3) Alan B. Catherall,

     (4) Credit Suisse First Boston,

     (5) Lehman Brothers,

     (6) UBS Warburg LLC,

     (7) William Blair & Company,

     (8) Thomas Wiesel Partners LLC and

     (9) TD Securities

The complaints do not specify an amount or range of damages that
the plaintiffs are seeking.  The complaints seek class
certification and allege that the prospectus used in connection
with the secondary offering of Company stock by certain former
iPCS shareholders on December 18, 2001 contained materially
false and misleading statements and omitted material information
necessary to make the statements in the prospectus not false and
misleading.

The alleged omissions included:

     (i) failure to disclose that in order to complete an
         effective integration of iPCS, drastic changes would
         have to be made to the Company's distribution channels,

    (ii) failure to disclose that the sales force in the
         acquired iPCS markets would require extensive
         restructuring and

   (iii) failure to disclose that the "churn" or "turnover" rate
         for subscribers would increase as a result of an
         increase in the amount of sub-prime credit quality
         subscribers the Company added from its merger with
         iPCS.

On July 15, 2002, certain plaintiffs and their counsel filed
a motion seeking appointment as lead plaintiffs and lead
counsel.  Subsequently, the court denied this motion without
prejudice and two of the plaintiffs and their counsel filed a
renewed motion seeking appointment as lead plaintiffs and lead
counsel.  On September 12, 2003, the court again denied that
motion without prejudice.


AIRLINE INDUSTRY: Northwest Admits Passing Customer Data To NASA
----------------------------------------------------------------
Northwest Airlines has acknowledged that it turned over three
months of reservation data to NASA's Ames Research Center,
relating to a secret government air-security project, soon after
the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, The Tacoma Tribune
Business News reports.

The airline industry has publicly declared that it would not
cooperate with developing a government passenger-screening
program because of concerns that they would infringe on customer
privacy.  Northwest Airlines earlier asserted that the Company
"did not provide that type of information to anyone," but later
admitted turning over the information to NASA.  In September,
JetBlue Airways said that it turned over passenger records to a
defense contractor and apologized to its customers for doing so.

The participation of the two airlines raised concerns among some
privacy advocates about the airlines' use of confidential
customer data, and demonstrated the industry's clandestine role
in government security initiatives.

In a statement, Northwest said that it participated in the NASA
program after the terrorist attacks to assist the government's
search for technology to improve aviation security.  "Northwest
Airlines had a duty and an obligation to cooperate with the
federal government for national security reasons," the airline
said.

The airline refused to reveal just how many passenger records
were shared with NASA from October to December 2001.  More than
10.9 million passengers traveled on Northwest flights during
that time, according to the Transportation Department.  NASA
documents show that NASA kept Northwest's so-called passenger
name records until September 2003.  Such records typically
include credit card numbers, addresses and telephone numbers,
The Tacoma Tribune Business News reports.

NASA said it used the information to investigate whether "data
mining" of the records could improve assessments of threats
posed by passengers, according to the agency's written responses
to questions.  At the time the agency also was exploring other
possible projects aimed at improving air security, it said.  
NASA said no other airlines were involved in the project and
that it did not share its data with other parties.  The agency
said it did not pay for the data.

Northwest told the Tacoma Tribune Business News it did not
inform any passengers that it shared data with NASA.  It also
said it did not believe that the data sharing violated its
privacy policy.

"Our privacy policy commits Northwest not to sell passenger
information to third parties for marketing purposes," the
company said in its statement Friday.  "This situation was
entirely different, as we were providing the data to a
government agency to conduct scientific research related to
aviation security and we were confident that the privacy of
passenger information would be maintained."


ALTRIA GROUP: Faces Light Cigarettes Suit Filed in Israel Court
---------------------------------------------------------------
Philip Morris parent company Altria Group faces a class action
filed in Tel Aviv District Court in Israel, alleging the Company
misled 200,000 buyers of light (low nicotine) cigarettes over
the past seven years, The Globes Online reports.  The suit also
names Philip Morris importer Menashe H. Elisar as defendants.

Petitioners Yuval Alroi of Haifa and Orli Meir of Ramat
Hasharon, consumers of Philip Morris brand Marlboro Light
cigarettes, filed the suit, alleging that although the
respondents claim that this brand contained less nicotine and
tar, there was in fact no difference between them and regular
cigarettes.  

The petition cites a Ministry of Health report that estimates
that a quarter of Israel's adult population smoked in 2003.  
Press reports claim that the respondents control 40% of Israel's
cigarette market.  The petition states that Philip Morris has
admitted that light cigarettes contain the same amounts of
nicotine and tar as regular cigarettes, The Globes Online
states.


ATLANTIC STATES: Prosecutors Lodge Dangerous Workplace Charges
--------------------------------------------------------------
Federal prosecutors accused cast-iron pipe manufacturer Atlantic
States Cast Iron Pipe Co. and five of its managers of destroying
the environment and maintaining a dangerous workplace
environment that caused one employee to be killed and many
others to be maimed and injured, the Associated Press reports.

The Company is a subsidiary of McWane, Inc. of Birmingham,
Alabama.  McWane's foundries were the focus of a nine-month
examination by The New York Times, PBS's "Frontline" and the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  The reports, which appeared
last January, branded McWane one of the nation's most dangerous
employers, with at least 4,600 injuries and nine deaths at its
13 foundries since 1995.

Prosecutors allege that managers tampered with evidence in the
case of Alfred Coxe, an employee crushed to death in 2000 by a
forklift with faulty brakes, tried to cover up instances of
broken bones, lost fingers, amputated limbs and gouged-out eyes.  
Among other things, the defendants were also accused of
regularly discharging oil and paint into the Delaware River.

The charges against Atlantic States were announced after four
managers were arrested at the company's plant in Phillipsburg.
The fifth surrendered later.  All five pleaded innocent and were
released without bail, AP reports.

In a statement, Atlantic States said, "The charges do not
reflect the condition of our plants or the manner in which we
conduct our business."  The company said it looks forward to
telling its side in court.

The indictment charges Atlantic States and the five managers
with conspiracy to violate federal clean air and water
regulations and workplace safety laws.  They also were accused
of obstructing criminal and regulatory investigations by the
Environmental Protection Agency and OSHA.  Charged were plant
manager John Prisque, maintenance supervisor Jeffrey Maury,
engineering and environmental manager Daniel Yadzinski,
finishing superintendent Craig Davidson, and Scott Saubert,
Atlantic States' former human resource manager.


BARNES & NOBLE: Shareholders Launch Securities Suits in DE Court
----------------------------------------------------------------
Twelve substantially similar putative class action lawsuits were
filed in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware in and
for New Castle County, against the Company, Barnes & Noble.com,
and its directors, on behalf of all of Barnes & Noble.com's
stockholders, arising out of the Company's proposal to acquire
all of Barnes & Noble.com's outstanding shares at a price of
$2.50 per share in cash.  

The complaints in these actions generally allege that:

     (1) Company and the directors of Barnes & Noble.com
         breached their fiduciary duties to the class,

     (2) the consideration offered by the Company is inadequate
         and constitutes unfair dealing and

     (3) that the Company, as controlling stockholder of Barnes
         & Noble.com, breached its duty to the class by acting
         to further its own interests at the expense of the
         class.

The complaints seek to enjoin the proposal or, in the
alternative, damages in an unspecified amount and recission in
the event a merger occurs pursuant to the proposal.


BHP BILLITON: Aussie Court Dismisses Suit Over OK Tedi Gold Mine
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Victorian Supreme Court in Australia dismissed a class
action against BHP Billiton and OK Tedi Mining Ltd. (OTML), over
BHP's involvement in the controversial copper/gold mine in Papua
New Guinea, The Age reports.

In December, the defendants and Inmet Mining reached a
settlement with plaintiffs, under which the Company will not pay
any money, other than picking up its own legal costs.  Under
this agreement, the plaintiffs acknowledged that OTML and BHP
Billiton had not breached the terms of a 1996 agreement.

Self-appointed industry watchdog Mineral Policy Institute told
The Age several communities along the river "vehemently rejected
the settlement."


BIG LOTS: Forges Settlement For KB Toys' Unfair Advertising Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Big Lots has reached an agreement to settle a national class
action relating to certain of KB Toys' advertising practices.  
Big Lots sold KB Toy Division on December 7, 2000.

The lawsuit alleged that KB Toys improperly used comparative
pricing in its advertisements before and after the sale. The
settlement called for the payment of certain attorneys fees and
administrative expenses, discounts to be provided to KB
customers and a toy donation to national charities.

The total value of the settlement was $4.0 million, of which the
Company contributed $2.1 million.  Accordingly, the Company
recorded a one-time after-tax charge of $1.3 million to
discontinued operations in the third quarter of fiscal 2003.


CANADA: Lake Erie Plane Crash Rescue Called Off, 10 Thought Dead
----------------------------------------------------------------
Canadian authorities called off rescue efforts for a commuter
plane that crashed into Lake Erie on Sunday, leaving 10 people
presumed dead, CNN.com reports.

The single-engine Cessna 208 Caravan carried eight people who
were hunters, the plane's pilot and a Los Angeles, California
woman, identified as a friend of the pilot, from a trip to Pelee
Island back to Windsor, Ontario.

The pilot of the Georgian Express plane, a regularly scheduled
commuter flight, issued a distress call shortly after takeoff en
route to Windsor.  A U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker, the Neah Bay,
reached the wreckage, about a half-kilometer west of the island,
late Saturday.  The plan crashed about 4:40 pm Sunday.

Don Enns, a senior investigator for the Transportation Safety
Board of Canada, told CNN a Canadian team would investigate the
cause of the crash.  "We don't have any information that we can
relate to you as of yet as to what the cause or the contributing
factors are," Mr. Enns said.

"No survivors were found at the site, and it is now believed
that all 10 people on board the plane are deceased," the agency
said in a statement Sunday afternoon.


COUNTERFEIT VIAGRA: CA Jury Indicts Man For Selling Fake Tablets
----------------------------------------------------------------
A federal grand jury in Los Angeles today indicted a Glendale
man on charges of trafficking in counterfeit Viagra tablets that
were manufactured in the People's Republic of China.

Khoa Twan Do, also known as Chris Do, 31, was named in a three-
count indictment returned this afternoon by the grand jury.  The
indictment alleges that Mr. Do conspired with a manufacturer in
Beijing to import at least 40,000 counterfeit Viagra tablets
into the United States.  He arranged to have the bogus Viagra
tablets shipped to his business, Health Plus in Glendale, from
which he would resell the fake goods.

The indictment alleges that Mr. Do told his Beijing supplier
that the counterfeit tablets needed to "look like the real
thing" because "I can find many customers who want the real
thing."

"This is another example of the hazards presented by importation
of counterfeit foreign drugs into North America," said FDA
Commissioner Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., in a statement.  
"It's a form of the medical black market that endangers the
public health and cannot and will not be tolerated."

The indictment alleges one count of conspiracy, one count of
trafficking in counterfeit goods and one count of selling a
counterfeit drug.  The three counts in the indictment carry a
maximum possible penalty of 18 years in federal prison and a
fine of more than $2 million.  An indictment contains
allegations that a defendant has committed a crime.  Every
defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Mr. Do will be summoned to appear for an arraignment in United
States District Court in Los Angeles on January 26.  This
investigation was conducted by the United States Bureau of
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Food and Drug
Administration's Office of Criminal Investigation.

John M. Taylor, the FDA's Associate Commissioner for Regulatory
Affairs, stated, "This indictment is a good demonstration of
inter-agency cooperation at its best. FDA will continue to work
closely with its law enforcement colleagues as part of its
absolute commitment to aggressive enforcement of the laws that
protect patients from unsafe medications."


CUBA: Guantanamo Detainee Sues Government For Human Rights Abuse
----------------------------------------------------------------
President George W. Bush and other government officials face a
lawsuit filed by a detainee at the U.S. prison camp in
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, seeking $1.1 billion in damages for what
he said were violations of his constitutional rights, the
Associated Press reports.

Brothers Belaid and Salim Gherebi filed the suit, seeking class
status on behalf of 600 detainees at Guantanamo, alleging that
the plaintiff was being held with no legal basis.  Lawyer
Stephen Yagman represents the brothers.

Last month, a federal appeals court panel ruled that courts can
hear petitions from detainees.  Mr. Yagman told the Associated
Press that the panel's ruling means the detainees are U.S.
inhabitants with the right to sue for alleged violations of the
Constitution or international treaties.

A Justice Department spokesman reached after-hours Wednesday
referred a reporter to the Defense Department, where an on-duty
officer said the official who could comment would not be
available until Thursday morning, AP reports.


DOW CHEMICAL: To Pay Record $2M For Illegal Advertising Claims
--------------------------------------------------------------
Dow Agrosciences, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co., will pay a
$2 million court-ordered penalty to the state of New York for
illegal safety claims in advertising of its pesticides, the
Associated Pres reports.

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer charged the chemicals
firm with violating a 1994 agreement between the Company and the
state that prohibited advertisements touting the safety of its
pesticide products.  "By misleading consumers about the
potential dangers associated with the use of their products,
Dow's ads may have endangered human health and the environment
by encouraging people to use their products without proper
care," New York Attorney General Spitzer told AP.

AG Spitzer investigated Dow ads from 1995 to this year, and
cited advertised claims that "No significant adverse health
effects will likely result from exposures to Dursban even at
levels substantially above those expected to occur when applied
at label rates."

"Excellent studies conducted by independent scientists have
clearly shown that chlorpyrifos, the active ingredient in
Dursban, is toxic to the human brain and nervous system and is
especially dangerous to the developing brain of infants," Dr.
Philip Landrigan of the Department of Community and Preventative
Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, told
AP.

The penalty meted against the Company is the largest penalty in
the nation's history for this type of case, AG Spitzer told AP.  
The Company has agreed to pay the penalty, but admitted no
illegal or erroneous advertising.  Spokesman Garry Hamlin told
AP that the firm settled to avoid a costly court case.

"The 1994 agreement restricted our ability to support and defend
our products, even if our statements were true," Guy A. Relford,
the company's head of litigation, told AP.  He stated that the
old agreement was interpreted by Spitzer as prohibiting telling
people that the federal Environmental Protection Agency had
registered one of Dow's products as a reduced risk pesticide.

State Supreme Court Judge Joan Madden in Manhattan issued the
consent order that requires the firm to pay the $2 million
penalty, prohibits it from making safety claims about its
pesticides, and requires it to start a compliance program.  That
program will include an internal review of all ads and future
ads by Dow in New York State and removal of any safety claims.
The company will also have to provide training to comply with
advertising restrictions.


DPC ENTERPRISES: Arizona Residents File Suit Over Chlorine Leak
---------------------------------------------------------------
DPC Enterprises faces a lawsuit filed in Maricopa County
Superior Court in Arizona, over a November 17 chlorine spill
that forced the evacuation of an estimated 5,000 people in
Glendale and West Phoenix, The Arizona Republic reports.

Federal investigators believe the leak occurred while chlorine
was being transferred from a railroad tank car to a tanker truck
at a DPC facility, 4909 W. Pasadena Ave.  Fourteen people,
including 10 Glendale police officers, were treated for
chlorine-related symptoms.  DPC believes that no more than 270
gallons were spilled.

The suit charges the Company, the operator of a chlorine
recycling center, of negligence in its handling of the toxic and
corrosive chemical, on behalf of people affected by the leak.  
Residents allegedly suffered inconvenience and personal
injuries, as well as emotional and economic damages as a result
of the spill.

Paula McLemore, a vice president for the Houston-based chemical
firm, said this week that she had not reviewed the lawsuit, so
she is unable to comment on it, the Republic reports.


FRANK QUATTRONE: NASD Metes $30,000 Fine, One-Year Suspension
-------------------------------------------------------------
Securities industry regulatory panel NASD (formerly known as the
National Association of Securities Dealers) meted a $30,000 fine
on controversial former Credit Suisse First Boston star
investment banker Frank Quattrone, Reuters reports.  The NASD
also suspended Mr. Quattrone from working in the securities
industry for one year.

Last year, Mr. Quattrone faced trial over charges of obstructing
justice and witness tampering.  US prosecutors allege that Mr.
Quattrone sent an e-mail to his staff on December 4,200,
ordering the destruction of files that contained documents
sought by the federal grand jury and the Securities and Exchange
Commission, which were both investigating how the investment
firm allocated hot stock offerings, an earlier Class Action
Reporter story (October 7,2004) states.

Mr. Quattrone claims he was simply following company policy,
which called for routine document destruction.  His first trial
ended October 24 in a mistrial, after jurors failed to reach a
verdict on the three counts against him.

Mr. Quattrone has refused to testify in front of the NASD,
saying last year that he should not have to appear because of
the pending criminal charges against him.  The NASD hearing
panel on Friday said that while Mr. Quattrone "did fail to
testify, there were certain mitigating circumstances" and gave
him one year to provide information.  If he does not, the panel
said, he will be permanently barred from the securities
industry.

The NASD's head of enforcement, Barry Goldsmith, said the
panel's ruling was too lenient and he planned to appeal.  
"Failure to cooperate in an NASD enforcement investigation
impedes the ability of regulators to determine if investors and
the markets have been harmed by improper behavior," he said in a
statement, Reuters reports.  "Anything less than a bar is
inconsistent with the violations Frank Quattrone was found to
have committed."

Federal prosecutors, meanwhile, have said they will pursue a new
trial against Mr. Quattrone on obstruction of justice and
witness tampering charges.  The second trial is set for March.


HOLOCAUST LITIGATION: Six New Insurance Suits Filed in CA Court
---------------------------------------------------------------
Six more Holocaust insurance claims were filed in Los Angeles
Superior Court in California, only six years after the first
individual Holocaust insurance claim was launched against
Italian insurance company Assicurazioni Generali, the New York
Times reports.  The suits claim that Generali wrote life
insurance policies on thousands of victims of the Holocaust, but
never paid the benefits to the survivors or their heirs.  

Attorney William Shernoff, of Claremont, California, who has
spearheaded litigation on behalf of Holocaust survivors for the
past six years, said in a press release, "These six plaintiffs
seek not only the life insurance benefits, but other damages
totaling millions of dollars due to Generali's bad faith in the
handling of their Holocaust insurance claim."

Quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Holocaust survivor Jean
Greenstein recalled the three life insurance policies issued to
his father by Generali,  "I know my father had three policies
because he gave them to me, and I sewed them into my pants. But
when I got caught," the Germans seized the documents, he said.

Mr. Greenstein told the Times that Generali paid him $2,806.80
on one policy, but said the company officials told him they
could not find the other two policies, which Mr. Greenstein
believe were worth much more.

The six survivors and families join 12 other survivor families,
also represented by Mr. Shernoff, who have previously filed
lawsuits against Generali and now have their cases pending in
Federal Court in New York under Federal Judge Michael B.
Mukasey.  There are also three Holocaust class action suits
alleging similar claims pending in New York with Judge Mukasey.

"Although Generali has contributed $100 million to the
International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, it
is estimated that Generali's exposure on Holocaust era insurance
claims is closer to $1 billion," Mr. Shernoff said.  "These
survivors have opted to file lawsuits in the hope of recovering
their full life insurance benefits due them rather than
accepting payments offered by ICHEIC, which only pays out a
fraction of benefits due."


IBIS TECHNOLOGY: Shareholders Launch Securities Fraud Suit In MA
----------------------------------------------------------------
Ibis Technology Corporation and President Martin J. Reid face a
securities class action filed in the United States District
Court in Massachusetts, on behalf of purchasers of its common
stock between October 2 and December 12, 2003, Electronic News
reports.

The suit charges the Danvers, Massachusetts-based maker of
silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers and related ion implanters of
issuing false and misleading statements, specifically its
guidance that it would sell between one and three oxygen
implanters before the end of 2003.  The suit alleges that the
investors were mislead because Ibis knew at the time that it had
to conclude licensing negations with IBM Corporation before it
could sell and ship any ion implanters.

Ibis licenses its SOI oxygen implant technology from IBM, which
consequently is the company's principal customer and technology
partner.  Ibis acknowledged that it would not receive one to
three orders that it originally anticipated by the end of the
year, but that it expected them in the first half of this year.
The company also acknowledged that the orders were dependent on
the conclusion of the licensing negotiations.

The Company told Electronic News that the action is without
merit.


KROGER CO.: Suit Over Failure To Honor Family Leave Filed in OH
---------------------------------------------------------------
Kroger Co. faces a class action filed in the United States
District Court in Cincinnati, Ohio, on behalf of its central
Indiana employees, alleging widespread violations of the Family
and Medical Leave Act, the Indianapolis Star reports.

The Cincinnati-based grocer allegedly failed to provide health
care benefits for at least three full-time workers when they
took FMLA-protected leaves during 2002 and did not reinstate
them to the same or equal positions upon their return.  

The three - current Kroger employees in Crawfordsville, Danville
and Indianapolis - claim that when they returned to work they
were placed in jobs with reduced health coverage or none at all
and were forced to pay their own health care bills for the time
they missed, Ann Lugbill, a Cincinnati attorney who represents
the plaintiffs, told the Star.

Thousands of Kroger clerks, cashiers, stockers and meat cutters
nationwide - as well as pharmacy, distribution, manufacturing
and warehouse workers - may be allowed to participate in the
suit, if they had similar experiences upon returning to work
after an FMLA leave in the past three years, Ms. Lugbill
continued.  This could include about 1,000 members of United
Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 700, which continues to
negotiate with Kroger officials over a new contract proposal,
she said.

Each of the three plaintiffs -- Jacqueline Buckley of
Crawfordsville, Jane Carrington of Indianapolis and Karla
Quillen of Danville -- are represented by Local 700, which
initially advised Mr. Lugbill of their situation.

Federal law requires most employees on FMLA leave be allowed to
return to jobs with equivalent duties as well as equal pay and
benefits, local labor lawyers said.  "The more we dug into it,
the more it became apparent this is a systemic problem," Ms.
Lugbill told the Star.  "For two months, we've tried to work
with top management and legal counsel at Kroger to avoid a
lawsuit. But all we've seen is foot-dragging and threats against
us if we file such a lawsuit. That left us with few other
options."

Kroger officials offered no response, citing company policy not
to comment on pending litigation, spokesman Jeff Golc told the
Star.

Enacted in 1993, the Family and Medical Leave Act is among the
nation's more recent labor laws, yet is unique in that it goes
beyond typical discrimination-based statutes by creating
entitlements that employers must meet, Bill Groth, an
Indianapolis labor attorney, told the Star.

Companies with at least 50 employees must provide up to 12 weeks
of unpaid leave per year to workers for family or medical
reasons while maintaining their existing health coverage. Upon
their return to work, most employees must be returned to their
former or equivalent duty with equal pay, benefits and other
terms.


MUTUAL FUNDS: Court Considers Consolidation Of All Fraud Suits
--------------------------------------------------------------
The federal court system is considering whether to consolidate
the hundreds of lawsuits filed against mutual funds in the
trading scandal, InstitutionalInvestor.com reports.  Hundreds of
class action and derivatives cases have been clogging the
judicial system since the outset of the scandals in September.

According to lawyers who spoke with CR sister publication Fund
Action, the decision being weighed is whether to try all the
cases at the same time in a single court--probably the Southern
District of New York.  

What a lot of defendant companies have to fear is that if all
cases are consolidated in one group is being tarred with guilt
by association with the worst offenders.  "There is a great deal
of controversy about how to consolidate," James Benedict,
managing partner at Clifford Chance told
InstitutionalInvestor.com.  

The plaintiff's bar would like an all-in-one case in order to
link all firms with the alleged actions of those held by the
court to be most culpable.  On the other hand, the kind of
consolidation that would benefit many of the firms caught up in
the litigation would be one where all cases brought against a
single advisor firm are tried together. It is unfair to ask
Janus Capital Management to contest separate actions brought in
five different states, Mr. Benedict argued.

A decision is expected on January 29, when the federal system's
Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation meets in San
Francisco.

In an overview last week at a meeting of the Mutual Fund
Directors Forum of plaintiff's bar action as a result of the
scandals, Mr. Benedict said there have been no decisions yet in
any of the legal actions commenced.  "The plaintiff's bar has a
plethora of legal theories," he said. "Basically throw a lot of
mud against the wall to see if some of it sticks."


NEVADA: Nuclear Workers Called To Participate in Lung Screening
---------------------------------------------------------------
Current and former workers at a federal nuclear waste depository
in the Yucca Mountain, Nevada desert have been called to
participate in the free lung disease-screening program, the
Associated Press reports.

According to the United States Energy Department, silica exists
naturally in desert soils and in the rocks at Yucca Mountain.  
It can become airborne during tunneling, and inhaled silica can
collect in the respiratory system.  With long-term exposure, it
can cause silicosis, a chronic and progressive lung disease with
symptoms including coughing and shortness of breath.

Project managers did not know where most former workers were.
Most were involved in tunneling and underground operations or in
setting up exploratory experiments underground beginning in
1992.

An estimated 1,200 to 1,500 current and former Yucca Mountain
site workers are said to be eligible for the program, and two
hundred letters have been sent.  Program manager Gene Runkle
told AP that any worker who spends or spent 20 days a year
working in the tunnel is eligible.  He also revealed that two
current workers are being treated for silicosis, although it was
not clear if they contracted the disease working at Yucca
Mountain.

Most worked from 1992 to 1998, when tunnels were bored at the
site, 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Workers were issued dust
masks as protective equipment, but from 1992 to 1996 the masks
were not used consistently, Mr. Runkle told AP.

The Energy Department was providing names of former workers to
the University of Cincinnati, which was handling silicosis
screening and research. The university was also working with The
Center to Protect Workers' Rights to contact trade unions and
find former Yucca Mountain workers.


NEW YORK: Staten Island Ferry Crash Victims Lodge Intent To Sue
---------------------------------------------------------------
Among 175 people plan to file $3 billion in claims, due to
losses suffered during the Staten Island, New York ferry
disaster, the New York Daily News reports.  The Andrew J.
Barbieri crashed on October 15,2003, killing 11 people and
injuring many more.  

The deadline to file notices announcing an intent to sue the
city expired Tuesday last week.  A review of court filings
showed a wide array of injuries claimed in the wreck, ranging
from aches and pains to amputations.

Tina Evans, a New Jersey resident, lost her legs, along with
experiencing multiple facial fractures, permanent scarring and
"extreme anguish, psychological and emotional injuries," court
papers recounted.  She is suing for $250 million.  

James McMillan, a 40-year-old Fulton Fish Market worker from
Staten Island, was left a quadriplegic by the crash, court
papers show.  "He's paralyzed from the neck down. It's
horrible," Mr. McMillan's lawyer, Evan Torgan told the Daily
News.  

He added a jury will decide how much his client should be
awarded.  "In a case like this, he'd be entitled to his medical
costs, past and future and rehab. Just those alone will be in
the multimillions," Mr. Torgan said.

Mayor Bloomberg and other city officials blamed the extent of
the claims on "greedy" lawyers.  "The mayor continues to believe
that people should cut the trial lawyers out of the process and
settle with the city," Bloomberg spokesman Ed Skyler told the
Daily News.

A federal judge in Brooklyn must decide on a city request to cap
the awards at $14.4 million, based on a 19th century law that
limits claims to the value of the vessel.


NTS DEVELOPMENT: Reaches $8M Settlement for Shareholder Claims
--------------------------------------------------------------
Louisville real-estate company NTS Development reached an $8
million settlement for claims by investors that the Company
cheated them out of millions in earnings, The Courier-Journal
reports.

The California class action was filed in the Superior Court in
Contra Costa County near San Francisco, against the General
Partners of some of the limited partnerships formed by NTS and
some of the company's related entities in late 2001.  The suit
also names as defendants Company chairman J.D. Nichols and NTS
President Brian Levin.

The lawsuit relates to limited partnerships, which usually
protect investors from losing more than their original
investment and are attractive because they promise income and
capital gains.  Real-estate limited partnerships were hot in the
1970s and '80s, when inflation was high, and some investors were
able to double and triple their money in just a few years, but
that changed when Congress changed the tax laws in 1986 to close
certain loopholes.  The lawsuits focus on NTS partnerships that
raised about $150 million from more than 7,000 investors who
paid mostly $1,000 a unit.

Limited partnerships investors who backed the Company's
developments expected to make their money when the Company sold
the properties, but allege the Company sat on the real estate to
collect management fees.  Those who sold, sometimes to a company
managed by NTS chairman J.D. Nichols, say they had to sell at a
discount because NTS wasn't generating gains.

After 10 months of negotiations, the Company and its affiliate,
ORIG LLC, agreed to settle the claims by paying $8 million and
creating a publicly traded company so investors can more easily
sell their investments.  The settlement is due to come before a
California judge this month, but it will face a challenge from
another group of investors that is suing NTS in Jefferson
Circuit Court.  They say the deal lets NTS off too easily.

"It's inadequate and unfair, and doesn't address our claims. The
settlement as we see it is grossly insufficient," Denise
Schwartzman, attorney for NTS investors Joseph Bohm of New York
and Warren Heller of Arizona, told the Courier-Journal.

The company said it decided to seek a settlement to avoid the
cost of defending itself.  We dispute the charges," NTS attorney
Allan Slagel said.  "The allegations are that NTS paid too
little for the partnerships. NTS doesn't think so."

Under the proposed California settlement:

     (1) a trust fund, to be worth as much as $6.8 million,
         would be established to pay claims from investors who
         disposed of their units and think they are entitled to
         more money;

     (2) the Company will pay $1.5 million in conjunction with a
         plan to merge the existing partnerships and some other
         NTS property into a new publicly traded partnership,
         NTS Realty, which would trade on the American Stock
         Exchange;

     (3) Existing investors would receive shares in the new
         company, which would provide more opportunities for
         them to sell.

The existing partnerships trade in a secondary market, where
"there's not much activity, perhaps one trade every three
months," Grant Dudley, a broker for American Partnership Board,
a limited partnership trading company in Arizona, told the
Courier-Journal.  He said that trading in NTS partnerships has
dropped off since 2000, and that recent trades for some
partnerships were in the $220 to $240 range for units that
original sold for $1,000.

The settlement, meanwhile, "is fair, reasonable and adequate for
all the affected parties," George Donaldson of San Francisco, an
attorney for the investors in the California suit, told the
Courier-Journal.


PARMALAT FINANZIARIA: Former Execs, Auditor Questioned In Probe
---------------------------------------------------------------
Italian investigators on the trail of more than 10 billion euros
believed missing from the accounts of Parmalat questioned three
ex-finance directors and an internal auditor of the insolvent
food group on Friday, Reuters news reports.  

Pressure also increased on the Bank of Italy and a string of
banks over their links to the crisis which prosecutors suspect
involved more than a decade of fraud and false accounting.  
Thousands of small investors have lost money while the
livelihoods of milk farmers from Europe to South America and of
Parmalat's 35,000 employees worldwide are also under threat.

Prosecutors first quizzed former chief financial officer Luciano
Del Soldato and internal auditor Gianfranco Bocchi, who is
accused of faking bank accounts and other documents, in a jail
in the city of Parma, a source close to the probe told Reuters.  
"If anybody has taken money, whoever they are, we want to know
about it," the source added.

A judicial source said another ex-CFO, Fausto Tonna, was also
quizzed on Friday, the latest questioning he has undergone.  Mr.
Tonna and Mr. Bocchi were due to be taken to Parmalat's
headquarters near Parma on Monday to help reconstruct the
group's accounts.

Ten people have been arrested in the case including Calisto
Tanzi who founded Parmalat in 1961 and oversaw its breakneck
expansion before it sought bankruptcy protection in December.  
Parmatour, Tanzi's family-owned tourism group which he has
admitted received part of 500 million euros siphoned out of
Parmalat, and holding firm Coloniale, through which the Tanzis
controlled some 51 percent of Parmalat, followed the food group
into a fast-track bankruptcy protection procedure on Friday.

In Milan, magistrates grilled a third former Parmalat CFO
Alberto Ferraris, a legal source said, adding that Ferraris, in
an earlier session, had mentioned the role in the scandal of
Bank of America's former head of corporate banking in Italy,
Luca Sala, Reuters reports.  Mr. Sala, who left Bank of America
last year to become a Parmalat consultant, is one of at least 25
people under investigation.  He has denied wrongdoing in the
case.

Bank of America is one of seven non-Italian banks investigators
have sought information from, a judicial source said on
Thursday.  Police have searched the bank's Milan offices and
also taken documents from a Citigroup unit in the city.
Citigroup's lawyer met prosecutors in Milan on Friday and is
preparing to present them with a file on the case, a legal
source told Reuters.  At least two similar meetings have taken
place.

Swiss banking group UBS and Spain's Santander Central Hispano,
which were both on the list of banks mentioned by the source,
said on Friday they had not heard from Italian prosecutors.
"We have not been asked for any sort of information, either by
judges, lawyers, police or any part of the (Italian) justice
system," Santander told Reuters.

Investigators have uncovered just six million euros ($7.6
million) of the missing money, according to judicial sources.  
No charges have been brought so far in the case.

Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti on Thursday called for reforms
of Italy's financial regulatory system and he singled out for
criticism the Bank of Italy, which is governed by his long-time
rival Antonio Fazio, for failing to protect investors.  The heat
was turned up on Friday with newspapers reprinting details from
nearly 20 letters sent by Tremonti to Fazio and deposited in
parliament, asking about Parmalat's finances and those of
smaller food group Cirio which collapsed in 2002.

Italian investigators were also checking nine boxes of documents
seized by by U.S. authorities from the New York home and office
of Gian Paolo Zini, a lawyer who worked for Tanzi.  A judicial
source told Reuters Anita Tanzi, wife of the jailed
entrepreneur, made bank transfers of 700,000 euros after his
arrest in late December but she was not under investigation.


PAY DAYS: Reaches Settlement For Consumer Fraud Lawsuit in Ohio
---------------------------------------------------------------
Ricart, Ohio auto dealership affiliate Pay Days agreed to settle
a federal class action filed on behalf of an estimated 36,000
customers, alleging the dealership wrongfully charged customers
for a theft-deterrent system and misled them about finance
charges, The Advocate reports.

The company admits no wrongdoing in entering the settlement,
which will allow class members to collect $500 payouts - minus
attorney fees.  "Litigation is very costly, and it was a
business decision," Pay Days spokeswoman Lynne DeWitt told the
Advocate.  "We just wanted to finish the litigation."

Ms. DeWitt said the company disputes allegations made in the
lawsuit, but the company has agreed to make some changes.  It
will change forms to ensure customers know that theft-deterrent
products are not required.  The company also agreed to post
initial asking prices on all vehicles.

"A few customers didn't understand the transactions, so we are
going to be even more clear when they make a purchase," Ms.
DeWitt said.

"I think this is a phenomenal result for the class," Geoffrey
Moul, attorney for the plaintiffs told the Advocate.  "After
more than two years of tough litigation, I don't think we could
have done any better."

Mr. Moul said he was "tremendously surprised" that Pay Days -
formally known as P.A. Days Inc. - decided to settle.  "They
fought vigorously for years," he said. "I was not optimistic we
were going to be able to resolve it."


PHILIPPINES: President Allocates Marcos Loot For Rights Victims
----------------------------------------------------------------
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo intends to allocate
a portion of the US$683 million amassed by late dictator
Ferdinand Marcos to compensate 9,530 Filipinos who won a class
action for human rights violations against the Marcos estate in
Hawaii, the Associated Press reports.

Former President Marcos was ousted in a 1986 "people power"
revolt.  He fled to Honolulu where he died three years later.  
He faced numerous charges of human rights violations and massive
corruption, but never admitted any wrongdoing.

Last July, the Philippine Supreme Court ordered the Marcos
family to forfeit money held in Swiss bank accounts, if they
"failed to justify the lawful nature of . acquisition."  The
Supreme Court ruled Marcos and his wife, Imelda, legally earned
only US$304,372 during his two-decade reign.  The Supreme Court
ordered the funds to be immediately transferred from the
Philippine National Bank - which held the money after it was
claimed from Marcos' Swiss bank accounts -to the national
treasury.

"The Supreme Court directive reinforces our pursuit of justice,
no matter how long the time had passed by," President Arroyo
said in a statement. She did not say how much of the US$683
million rights abuse victims would receive, but said she will
continue to work with Congress to ensure those who suffered
under Marcos' dictatorship "are compensated under fair and
equitable terms," the Associated Press reports.  

Pres. Arroyo has said previously that US$200 million could be
earmarked for the victims.  The final figure will be decided by
Congress, which will have to amend the land reform law.  The
Supreme Court rejected two appeals by the Marcos family to block
the transfer of funds from the Philippine National Bank to the
government.  Pres. Arroyo said the agrarian reforms department
was instructed to come up with programs and projects to use the
money to uplift rural communities, AP reports.


RITE AID: Stockholders Launch Securities Fraud Suit in NC Court
---------------------------------------------------------------
Rite Aid Corporation faces a class action filed in Cumberland
County Court in North Carolina, charging the Company with
issuing misleading corporate financial statements in the late
1990s, Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News reports.  The suit
also names as defendants several of the Company's former
officers and directors:

     (1) Martin L. Grass, former chairman and CEO,

     (2) Timothy J. Noonan, former president and chief operating
         officer,

     (3) Franklin C. Brown, former vice chairman,

     (4) Nancy A. Lieberman,

     (5) Leonard Stern,

     (6) Preston R. Tisch,

     (7) William J. Bratton, and

     (8) former Rite Aid auditor KPMG LLP

Longtime Company shareholders Alan Weinberg and Stacey F. Manzo
filed the suit on behalf of shareholders who bought stock before
May 1997 and held it based on the Company's statements.  The
suit said the misleading statements prompted the plaintiffs to
hold their stock and lose money.  

Mr. Weinberg and Mr. Manzo contend they ended up losing money
between March 1997 and October 1999 because they held their Rite
Aid shares, instead of selling them and pursuing other
investments.  They both claim they relied on the company's
fiscal 1997 report and quarterly reports thereafter as they
considered whether to hold or sell their Rite Aid shares.  It
was later determined that the financial reports were misleading.  
The government contends that former management overstated
earnings by $1.6 billion in the late 1990s.

Rite Aid called the new lawsuit "totally without merit" and said
it will file a response soon, The Tribune Business News reports.


SOUTH CAROLINA: Parents Sue Over Stratford High School Drug Raid
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Goose Creek Police Department in South Carolina faces a
federal lawsuit filed by parents of students at Stratford High
School, alleging that their children were terrorized by armed
police and drug-sniffing dogs during an illegal search at the
school, Reuters news reports.  The suit also names as defendant
the Berkeley County School system.

On November 5,2003, a surprise commando-style drug raid was
conducted on 107 Stratford High students.  A widely televised
surveillance tape of the raid showed police with guns drawn,
handcuffing students with plastic cuffs and ordering them not to
move while officers and dogs searched them.  No drugs or weapons
were found and no arrests were made.

The suit is pending in the United States District Court in
Charleston, South Carolina, on behalf of 20 Stratford High
students aged 14 to 18, charging police and school officials
with:

     (1) violating the students' constitutional rights by
         conducting an illegal search and seizure,

     (2) using excessive force,

     (3) committing assault and battery and

     (4) subjecting students to false imprisonment

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the
plaintiffs, said police pointed guns at some of the students and
"treated innocent children like hardened criminals," Reuters
reports.

The suit alleged that the police hid in closets, offices and
stairwells and when the hallway filled with students, rushed out
with guns drawn, yelling "Get down."  Some students dove to the
ground, while police grabbed and pushed others who hesitated,
forcing them to the floor and handcuffing those who failed to
immediately put their hands behind their heads.  

Police and school officials searched students' pockets and
wallets, dumped out the contents of book bags and "terrorized
the students," leaving them "feeling betrayed, frightened,
humiliated and wrongfully accused," the lawsuit said, according
to Reuters.  It said none of the students caught up in the raid
had any history of drug or weapons possession and that police
had no probable cause to target them.

The lawsuit asks the court to declare the raid unconstitutional,
block future raids and award unspecified damages to the students
involved.

Officials at the Goose Creek Police Department and Berkeley
County School system in South Carolina could not immediately be
reached for comment, Reuters reports. Police said earlier the
raid was prompted by allegations of drug sales on school
property.


TERRORIST ATTACK: 98% of Families Apply For Federal Compensation
----------------------------------------------------------------
Special Master of the September 11 victims' compensation fund
Kenneth Feinberg announced that 98% of the families of those
killed in the terrorist attacks applied for federal
compensation, the Associated Press reports.  2,925 families have
applied.  The official death count was 2,976.

The deadline for filing claims in the fund expired last month.  
Mr. Feinberg said the families of 30 victims have taken no
action, while the remainder is litigating their claims in
federal court.  He added that some 4,300 injury claims have been
filed for the fund's tax-free awards.

Payments for families of those killed have ranged from the
minimum of $250,000 to nearly $7 million, while awards for those
injured were between $500 and $7.8 million.  The highest award
went to a burn victim, the Associated Press reports.  All claims
must be paid by June 15.

Mr. Feinberg spoke at the Justice Department after receiving a
medal for his efforts from Attorney General John Ashcroft.  He
estimated that $5 billion eventually would be paid from the
fund.  He said the program was successful "because families
realized this was no trick, no hidden effort to hide anything.
It was a generous, compassionate effort of the United States to
reach out (to victims)," AP reports.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: MN Court Denies Smokers Suit Class Status  
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Hennepin County District Court in Minnesota refused to grant
class certification to a lawsuit filed against Philip Morris
USA, on behalf of a group of smokers, who were allegedly misled
about the health risks of "light" cigarettes, the Associated
Press reports.

The suit focused on allegedly deceptive trade practices, instead
of claims of illness or injury from smoking.  The suit charged
the Company with violating state laws by tricking smokers into
believing Marlboro Lights delivered less tar and nicotine than
regular cigarettes when the cigarettes did not.

In his ruling, Judge Allen Oleisky said he couldn't lump the
smokers' concerns together in one case because there are too
many different reasons why the plaintiffs smoked the brands they
chose.

Gale Pearson, an attorney who represents the plaintiffs, said
the case should have been granted class-action status.  "We see
this as an invitation to clarify Minnesota law and we are
appealing this decision," Mr. Pearson told AP.

"We believe that the court reached the correct decision in
today's case," William S. Ohlemeyer, Philip Morris USA vice
president and associate general counsel, said in a statement.  
"These cases simply involve too many individual issues for class
action treatment to be appropriate."


WAL-MART STORES: MA Employees Launch Overtime Violations Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. faces a class action filed by
two of its former workers, alleging the Company refused to grant
them rest breaks or overtime pay, on behalf of about 50,000
current and former Boston, Massachusetts staffers, the Boston
Herald reports.

Lead plaintiffs Elaine Polion and Crystal Salvas charged the
Company with trying to "brainwash its employees to work
mindlessly" without proper pay.  In a deposition, Ms. Salvas
recounted that she was often locked in the store after her shift
ended when supervisors claimed not enough work had been
completed.  "They're holding me hostage," she testified.

Robert Bonsignore, lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the
plaintiffs were "locked inside like animals."  "Wal-Mart is one
of the most profitable companies in the world.  We would like
some of that to trickle down in the form of common decency to
their low-level employees," he told the Herald.

This month, the Middlesex Superior Court in Cambridge granted
class certification to the suit, allowing thousands of current
and former Wal-Mart employees in Massachusetts to join it.  In
his ruling, Judge Ernest Murphy wrote, "No individual plaintiff
would have any realistic opportunity to litigate such a complex
matter against such a powerful corporate entity as Wal-Mart."

Mr. Bonsignore told the Herald his firm likely wouldn't have
been able to continue to represent Ms. Polion and Ms. Salvas
alone, because the final payout wouldn't have covered legal
costs.  Employees who worked at the 40-plus Wal-Mart stores in
Massachusetts since August 1995 and were paid hourly rates are
now eligible to participate in the lawsuit, lawyers for the
plaintiffs said.

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman told the Herald the company will appeal
Murphy's decision to the state's Appeals Court.  Christi
Gallagher of Wal-Mart said nine cases in other states have been
denied class-action status since 2001.  Wal-Mart denied the
charges made by Salvas and Polion.

"Wal-Mart's policy is to pay our associates for every minute
that they work," Ms. Gallagher told the Herald.  "We have no
reason to believe that these isolated allegations represent a
widespread problem with off-the-clock work."

The retail giant faces more than thirty suits involving overtime
pay issues.  One of the lawsuits is the subject of a trial this
week in Oregon, where a previous federal jury ruled that Wal-
Mart violated state and federal labor laws by forcing employees
to work overtime.

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that an internal Wal-
Mart audit warned executives that employee records at 128 stores
showed extensive violations of child-labor laws and state
regulations.  The audit found 1,371 instances in which minors
worked during improper hours and 60,767 apparent instances of
employees not taking breaks in a one-week period.  The Company
has called the audit "invalid" and said it misinterpreted
reports used by managers to identify breaks that aren't being
recorded.

     
                  New Securities Fraud Cases


ADECCO SA: Glancy Binkow Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in E.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP initiated a securities class action
in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
New York on behalf of all persons who purchased securities of
Adecco SA (NYSE:ADO) between April 19, 2000, and January 12,
2004, inclusive.

The Complaint charges Adecco and certain of the Company's
executive officers with violations of federal securities laws.
Among other things, plaintiff claims that defendants'
dissemination of materially false and misleading statements
concerning Adecco's financial performance caused the Company's
stock price to become artificially inflated, inflicting damages
on investors.

Adecco is primarily engaged in providing personnel and permanent
placement services to businesses throughout North America,
Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.  The complaint alleges
that during the Class Period defendants caused Adecco to report
in its public filings, press releases and other public
statements favorable financial results by, among other things,
artificially inflating the Company's revenue and earnings by
improper accounting practices.

On January 12, 2004, an Adecco press release announced a delay
in the completion of an audit of the Company's 2003 financial
results. Moreover, the press release disclosed that the delay
was the result of ``material weaknesses in internal controls in
the Company's North American operations of Adecco Staffing'' and
``possible accounting, control and compliance issues in the
Company's operations in certain countries.''

News of the Company's accounting problems shocked the market,
causing Adecco's stock price to plummet more than 30% on the day
the press release was issued.

For more details, contact Michael Goldberg or Lionel Z. Glancy
by Mail: 1801 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 311, Los Angeles,
California 90067, by Phone: (310) 201-9161 or (888) 773-9224 by
E-mail: info@glancylaw.com or visit the firm's Website: http://
www.glancylaw.com


ADECCO SA: Cauley Geller Commences Securities Lawsuit in E.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
Cauley Geller Bowman & Rudman, LLP initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of New York, on behalf of purchasers of Adecco SA.
publicly traded securities during the period between March 16,
2000 and January 9, 2004, 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 March 16, 2000 and
January 9, 2004, thereby artificially inflating the price of
Adecco common stock. Specifically, the complaint alleges that,
throughout the Class Period, defendants issued numerous positive
statements and filed reports with the SEC which described the
Company's increasing 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:

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

     (2) more specifically, that the Company's North American
         operations had material weaknesses in its internal
         controls; and

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

On January 12, 2004, Adecco shocked the market when it announced
that it did not expect the audit of its consolidated financial
statements for the 2003 fiscal year, ended on December 28, 2003,
to be completed by Adecco's auditors, by the previously
announced release date of February 4, 2004. The Company
identified the following reasons for the delay:

     (i) the identification of material weaknesses in internal
         controls in the Company's North American operations of
         Adecco Staffing;

    (ii) the resolution of possible accounting, control and
         compliance issues in the Company's operations in
         certain countries; and

   (iii) the completion of the Company's efforts to address
         these matters and determine their effect on the
         Company's consolidated financial statements.

In response to this announcement, the prices of all Adecco
securities dropped sharply, with Adecco shares traded on the New
York Stock Exchange tumbling more than 30%, or $5.23 per share,
to close at $11.70 per share on extremely heavy volume.

For more information, contact Samuel H. Rudman, or David A.
Rosenfeld, Client Relations Department: Jackie Addison, Heather
Gann or Chandra West, by Mail: P.O. Box 25438, Little Rock, AR
72221-5438, by Phone: (toll free) 1-888-551-9944, Fax:
1-501-312-8505, or E-mail: info@cauleygeller.com.


ADECCO SA: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Suit in E.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP initiated a securities class action in
the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New
York on behalf of all purchasers of the publicly traded
securities of Adecco SA ADO from March 16, 2000 through January
9, 2004, inclusive.

The complaint charges Adecco, John Bowmer, Jerome Caille, and
Felix A. Weber with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder. Between March 16, 2000 and January 9, 2004, the
defendants issued a series of material misrepresentations to the
market concerning the Company's financial results.

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

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

     (2) more specifically, that its North American operations
         had a material weaknesses in internal controls;

     (3) because of this the Company's net income was materially
         overstated in violation of Generally Accepted
         Accounting Principals (GAAP); and

     (4) the value of the Company's net income and financial
         results were materially overstated at all relevant
         times.

On January 12, 2004, Adecco shocked the market when it announced
that it did not expect the audit of its consolidated financial
statements for the 2003 fiscal year, ended on December 28, 2003,
to be completed by Adecco's auditors, by the previously
announced release date of February 4, 2004.

The Company identified the following reasons for the delay:

     (i) the identification of material weaknesses in internal
         controls in the Company's North American operations of
         Adecco Staffing;

    (ii) the resolution of possible accounting, control and
         compliance issues in the Company's operations in
         certain countries; and

   (iii) the completion of the Company's efforts to address
         these matters and determine their effect on the
         Company's consolidated financial statements.

News of this rocked all Adecco securities sending them tumbling
more than 30% or $5.23 per share to close at $11.70 per share on
extremely heavy volume.

For more details, 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


ADVANCED MARKETING: Brualdi Firm Launches Securities Suit in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Brualdi Law Firm initiated a class action lawsuit in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of
California, on behalf of purchasers of Advanced Marketing
Services Inc. common stock between January 16, 1999 and January
13, 2004, inclusive.

The complaint alleges that certain Advanced Marketing senior
officers violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The
Company purports to be a wholesaler of general interest books.

During the Class Period, Defendants are alleged to have issued
or caused to be issued a series of false and misleading
statements to the marketplace resulting in Advanced Marketing's
stock price trading at artificially inflated levels. The
Company's stock traded as high as $25.00 before it announced
that it would restate its previously filed financial statements
for each of the fiscal years in the five-year period ending
March 31, 2003. The false and misleading statements Defendants
are alleged to have issued, or caused to be issued to the
marketplace, concern the Company's net income, advertising
revenue and related costs. Advanced Marketing has announced that
the amount of net income that was erroneously stated and will
have to be reversed might be more than 10 percent of all net
income reported during the affected period.

For more information, contact Richard B. Brualdi, or Jeanette
Olaya, Director of Shareholder Relations, by Phone:
(212) 952-0602 or toll-free (877) 495-1187, by E-mail:
rbrualdi@brualdilawfirm.com, or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.brualdilawfirm.com.


BEST BUY: Goodkind Labaton Launches Securities Suit in MN Court
---------------------------------------------------------------
Goodkind Labaton Rudoff & Sucharow LLP initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of
Minnesota, on behalf of persons who purchased or otherwise
acquired publicly traded securities of Best Buy Co., Inc.
between January 9, 2002 and August 7, 2002, inclusive.

During the Class Period the Company issued a series of
misleading statements to the market. Specifically, these
statements were false as they misrepresented or omitted that
Best Buy's Sam Goody Stores were performing worse than the
Company's expectations, requiring Best Buy to shrink the sizes
of some Sam Goody's stores and close others, that Best Buy's
efforts to re-merchandise Sam Goody stores was failing badly,
depressing the Company's operations and earnings, and that the
company's increases in capital expenditures to modernize the
look of Sam Goody stores was not yielding the desired financial
effect.

On August 8, 2002, Best Buy issued a press release announcing
that it was lowering its earnings outlook for its fiscal second
quarter to a range of $0.17 to $0.21 per share, compared with
prior guidance of $0.30 to $0.32 per share. In response to this
announcement, shares of Best Buy fell sharply, falling from
$30.80 on August 7, 2002 to $19.55 the following day, for a one-
day decline of 36%.

For more information, contact Christopher Keller, by Phone:
800-321-0476.


BIOPURE CORPORATION: Goodkind Labaton Files Stock Lawsuit in MA
---------------------------------------------------------------
Goodkind Labaton Rudoff & Sucharow LLP initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts, on behalf of persons who purchased or otherwise
acquired publicly traded securities of Biopure Corporation
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 complaint alleges that during 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 Hemopurer in the United States for
patients undergoing orthopedic surgery. In truth however, the
FDA had informed Defendants of flaws in the Hemopurer
application, citing "safety concerns" arising from adverse
clinical data submitted with the company's application. The
"safety concerns" made FDA approval of Hemopurer highly
unlikely. Prior to the disclosure of these facts, Defendants
conducted at least two offerings of Biopure common stock and
insiders sold hundreds of thousands of Biopure common shares at
artificially inflated prices.

On December 24, 2003, under the threat of civil litigation by
the Securities and Exchange Commission, Defendants announced
that in fact the FDA had halted further clinical trials of
Hemopurer due to safety concerns. Defendants also disclosed that
commercial release of Hemopurer in the United States would be
delayed beyond mid-2004. The market reaction to these
disclosures was swift and dramatic. On December 26, 2003, the
share price of Biopure plummeted, falling 16%, to close at $2.43
per share.

For more information, contact Christopher Keller, by Phone:
800-321-0476.


CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: Stull Stull Lodges Securities Lawsuit in AZ
---------------------------------------------------------------
Stull, Stull & Brody initiated a securities class action in the
United States District Court for the District of Arizona, on
behalf of a class (the "Class") consisting of all persons or
entities who purchased or otherwise acquired shares or other
ownership units of Janus Worldwide Fund (Nasdaq:JAWWX), American
Funds EuroPacific Fund (Nasdaq:AEPGX), MFS Emerging Growth Fund
(Nasdaq:MFEGX), Legg Mason Value Trust Fund (Nasdaq:LMVTX),
Artisan International Fund (Nasdaq:ARTIX), AXP International Y
Fund (Nasdaq:IDIYX), SEI International Equity A Fund
(Nasdaq:SEITX), SEI Emerging Markets I Fund (Nasdaq:SIEMX) or
other mutual funds between May 22, 2000 and July 3, 2003,
inclusive.

The Complaint charges that, throughout the Class Period,
defendants Capital Management Investors Holdings, Inc. ("CMIH"),
Security Trust Company ("STC"), Grant Seeger ("Seeger") and
William Kenyon ("Kenyon") 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 defendants STC, an
unregistered financial intermediary, Seeger, STC's former Chief
Executive Officer, and Kenyon, STC's former president,
facilitated and participated in fraudulent late trading and
market timing schemes by a group of related hedge funds. From
May 2000 to July 2003, defendants facilitated hundreds of trades
by the hedge funds in nearly 400 different mutual funds.

Approximately 99% of these trades were transmitted to STC after
the 4:00 p.m. EST market close; 82% of the trades were sent to
STC between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. EST. The hedge funds' late
trading was effected by defendants through STC's electronic
trading platform, which was designed primarily for processing
trades by third party administrators ("TPA") for retirement
plans. STC repeatedly misrepresented to mutual funds that the
hedge funds were a retirement plan account, even though STC's
employees and senior management, including Seeger and Kenyon,
knew that the hedge funds were not a TPA or a retirement plan
account.

The mutual funds expected that retirement plans and their TPAs
required several hours after the market closed to process trades
submitted by thousands of plan participants before market close,
but the hedge funds had no such business purpose for submitting
their own trades as late as five hours after market close.

In addition to late trading, defendants also assisted the hedge
funds in various strategies -- some devised by Seeger -- to
conceal their market-timing activities from mutual funds,
including misrepresenting that the hedge funds were retirement
accounts, allowing the hedge funds to trade in accounts marked
with STC's tax identification number, and "piggybacking" the
hedge funds' timing trades on the trades of other STC clients
without their knowledge.

Late trading allowed the hedge funds to trade mutual fund shares
at the established 4:00 p.m. EST market close price based upon
events reported after close of the market or perceived market
momentum caused by after-hours trading. Market timing allowed
the hedge funds to engage in short-term trading that exploited
inefficiencies in mutual fund pricing. As a result of the late
trading and market timing activities facilitated by defendants,
the hedge funds realized a profit of approximately $85 million.
STC had a compensation arrangement with the hedge funds that
included a custodial fee as large as 1% (STC charged most of its
TPA clients a custodial fee of just .10%) and a 4% profit
sharing arrangement with respect to most of the hedge funds'
trades. STC received over $5.8 million in direct compensation
from the hedge funds. Late trading and market timing harmed
mutual fund shareholders who did not participate in the scheme
between STC and the hedge funds.

As a result of "late trading" and "timing" of mutual funds, the
hedge funds and defendants and their intermediaries profited
handsomely. The losers were unsuspecting long-term mutual fund
investors. Defendants' profits came dollar-for-dollar out of
their pockets.

On November 25, 2003, the SEC announced that it had brought
civil charges against the STC Defendants based on the
allegations set forth above; the New York State Attorney General
announced that it had charged the STC Defendants with grand
larceny, fraud and falsifying business records; and the Office
of the Comptroller of the Currency, the federal bank regulator,
ordered STC to dissolve itself by March 31, 2004.

For more details, contact Tzivia Brody by Mail: 6 East 45th
Street, New York, NY 10017 by Phone: 1-800-337-4983 by Fax:
212-490-2022 or by E-mail: SSBNY@aol.com


DYNACQ HEALTHCARE: Kirby McInerney Files Securities Suit in TX
--------------------------------------------------------------
Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP initiated a class action lawsuit
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of
Texas, on behalf of all purchasers of Dynacq Healthcare, Inc.
securities during the period from January 14, 2003 through
December 18, 2003, inclusive.  

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

Investors allege that during the class period the Company had
materially overstated its earnings, revenues, net income, and
earnings per share in violation of Generally Accepted Accounting
Principles.

For more information, contact Pamela E. Kulsrud, or Vivian Lee,
By Mail: 830 Third Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, New York  
10022, by Phone: (212) 317-2300 or toll free (888) 529-4787, or
by E-mail: vlee@kmslaw.com.


DYNACQ HEALTHCARE: Emerson Poynter Lodges Securities Suit in TX
---------------------------------------------------------------
Emerson Poynter LLP, initiated a securities class action in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas,
Houston Division, on behalf of all those who purchased or
acquired the securities of Dynnacq Healthcare, Inc.
(NasdaqNM:DYIIE) and formerly (NasdaqNM:DYII) During the period
from January 14, 2003 and December 18, 2003, inclusive.  The
Complaint names Dynacq healthcare, Inc., Philip S. Chan, and
Chiu M. Chan as defendants.

The Complaint alleges, inter alia, that the 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 Emerson Poynter LLP, Investor
Relations Department by Mail: 830 Apollo Lane, Houston, Texas
77058 by Phone: (800) 663-9817 or by E-mail:
shareholder@emersonfirm.com


GOALS(+) EQUITY: Wolf Haldenstein Launches Securities Suit in NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of New York, on behalf of all persons who
purchased GOALs(+) Equity Linked Notes, including WorldCom,
Inc., Nokia Corporation, The Home Depot, Inc., Cisco Systems,
Inc. and other GOALs(+) linked to other companies, and issued by
UBS AG and offered for sale and sold by Defendants, under SEC
File Number 333-46930 by means of Prospectuses filed by UBS with
the SEC on or about:

     (1) November 21, 2000;

     (2) December 8, 2000;

     (3) December 20, 2000;

     (4) February 26, 2001;

     (5) March 29, 2001; and

     (6) May 17, 2001, supplemented in various GOALs(+)
         Prospectus Supplements, against defendants UBS
         PaineWebber, Inc. and UBS Warburg LLC.

The Complaint alleges that the GOALs(+) Prospectus Supplements
misstated material facts and omitted material facts necessary to
make the statements therein not misleading, for which
Defendants, the sellers of these GOALs(+), are responsible.
Investors in GOALs(+) ultimately were repaid for their
investments pursuant to false and misleading GOALs(+) Prospectus
Supplements with worthless or severely devalued stock, causing
Plaintiffs and the class to sustain substantial damages.
Although disguised as debt instruments, in fact GOALs(+) were
extremely risky and esoteric derivative securities, in essence
naked puts; a means by which UBS could foist devalued shares of
companies (such as WorldCom) on investors at a profit.

For more information, contact Mark C. Rifkin, Scott J. Farrell,
George Peters, or Derek Behnke, by Mail: 270 Madison Avenue, New
York, New York 10016, by Phone:(800) 575-0735), by E-mail:
classmember@whafh.com, or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.whafh.com.


MARSH & MCLENNAN: Bernstein Liebhard Files Securities Suit in NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz LLP initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for District of New
York, on behalf of all persons who purchased or acquired Marsh &
McLennan Companies (NYSE:MMC) securities between January 3, 2000
and November 03, 2003.

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

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

     (3) 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, Marsh & McLennan 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 Ms. Linda Flood, Director of
Shareholder Relations, by Mail: 10 East 40th Street, New York,
New York 10016, by Phone: (800) 217-1522 or (212) 779-1414 by E-
mail: MMC@bernlieb.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.bernlieb.com.


MERCK & CO.: Milberg Weiss Lodges Securities Lawsuit in E.D. LA
----------------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP initiated a securities
class action on behalf of purchasers of the securities of Merck
& Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK) between May 22, 1999 and October 22,
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 Eastern District of Louisiana,
Section C, case number 04-cv-0147, against the Company and:

     (1) Kenneth C. Frazier,

     (2) Richard C. Henriques,

     (3) Raymond V. Gilmartin,

     (4) Judy C. Lewent and

     (5) Mary M. McDonald

According to the complaint, defendants violated sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder, by issuing a series of material
misrepresentations to the market during the Class Period.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
engaged in a marketing campaign which included false and
misleading statements concerning the safety profile of Merck's
painkilling drug, Vioxx, and Vioxx's superiority to its rival
drug, Celebrex, manufactured by Merck's competitor, Pfizer.

On November 16, 1999, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
sent a letter to defendants which stated that certain of Merck's
promotional pieces of Vioxx were false and misleading and lacked
fair balance.  Moreover, during the Class Period, defendants
failed to disclose material information concerning the degree of
the serious adverse side-effects of Vioxx, including
significantly increased risks of heart attacks in patients
taking the drug.

Specifically, in March 2000, defendants released the results of
a Merck-sponsored study called the Vioxx Gastrointestinal
Outcomes Research (the "VIGOR study") which demonstrated
"significantly few heart attacks were observed in patients
taking naproxen (0.1 percent) compared to the group taking Vioxx
50 mg (0.5 percent) in this study." In September 2001,
defendants received another letter from the FDA concerning
Merck's marketing of Vioxx during which, the Agency warned,
Merck minimized the potentially serious risk of increased heart
problems discovered in the VIGOR study and downplayed the
adverse effects of using Vioxx with the drug Coumadin.  The FDA
concluded in the letter that Merck's marketing of Vioxx was
"false, lacking in fair balance, or otherwise misleading(.)"

Despite available information, defendants failed to adequately
disclose the degree of the serious adverse risks of Vioxx,
contending that the FDA Warning Letter and other studies were
inaccurate and/or inconclusive, and instead, continued to tout
the efficacy of the drug and the revenues derived from the sale
thereof.

As a result of defendants' false and misleading statements, the
price of Merck's securities was artificially inflated during the
Class Period, enabling Company insiders to sell their personally
held shares of Merck for over $175 million in proceeds, and
causing injury to plaintiff and other members of the Class.

On October 22, 2003, an article was published on Reuters
reporting Merck's third quarter 2003 results and confirming that
Vioxx "is suffering from clinical trial data suggesting it might
slightly raise the risk of heart attacks, and the growing
perception that its pain-fighting capabilities are no better
than traditional painkillers."

On October 30, 2003, The Wall Street Journal explained that the
above-mentioned data was derived from another study sponsored by
Merck which demonstrated that within the first 30 days of taking
Vioxx, the risk of a heart attack was increased 39% in
comparison with Celebrex.

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


MICROMUSE INC: Rabin Murray Launches Securities Suit in N.D. CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
Rabin, Murray & Frank LLP initiated a class action lawsuit in
the United States District Court for the Northern District of
California, on behalf of purchasers of the securities of
Micromuse, Inc. between January 20, 2000 and December 29, 2003,
inclusive, seeking to pursue remedies under the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934, against Defendants Micromuse, Inc. and:

     (1) Gregory Q. Brown,

     (2) Lloyd Carney, and

     (3) Michael Luetkemeyer

The complaint maintains that defendants violated sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder, by issuing a series of material
misrepresentations to the market during the Class Period.

The complaint further alleges that during the Class Period,
defendants knowingly or recklessly issued materially false and
misleading financial statements that misrepresented the
Company's earnings and shareholder equity. During this period,
Company insiders sold Micromuse stock for proceeds of
approximately $174 million.

On December 30, 2003, the Company announced that filing of its
annual report on Form 10-K would be delayed pending completion
of an internal inquiry, primarily regarding accounting for
accrued expenses and expense recognition, and that the Company
expected the inquiry to lead to a restatement of financial
results for the fiscal years ending on September 20th of 2000,
2001, 2002 and 2003.

In reaction to this announcement, the price of Micromuse common
stock dropped by 12.4%, from a closing price of $6.90 on
December 29, 2003 to its closing price of $6.59, a 4% decrease
on volume ten times greater than average.

For more information, contact Eric J. Belfi, or Gregory Linkh,
by Phone: (800) 497-8076 or (212) 682-1818, Fax: (212) 682-1892,
or E-mail: info@rabinlaw.com.


MICROMUSE INC.: Charles Piven Lodges Securities Suit in N.D. CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
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 California against Micromuse, Inc. and
certain of its senior executive officers, on behalf of
shareholders who purchased, converted, exchanged or otherwise
acquired the common stock of Micromuse, Inc. between January 20,
2000 and December 29, 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, P.A. 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.


NETWORK ENGINES: Schatz & Nobel Lodges Securities Lawsuit in MA
---------------------------------------------------------------
Schatz & Nobel initiated a lawsuit seeking class action status
in the United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts, on behalf of all persons who purchased the
securities of Network Engines, Inc. from November 6, 2003
through December 10, 2003, inclusive.

The Complaint alleges that Network Engines, a provider of server
appliance hardware and custom integration services, and certain
of its officers and directors, knew but failed to disclose that
Network Engines was in the process of renegotiating its
distribution agreement with EMC Corporation, and that in
connection, EMC was demanding price reductions which would
negatively effect Network Engines' future financial results.
Nevertheless, defendants continued to issue positive statements
emphasizing the Company's strong financial performance and its
purportedly successful relationship with its largest customer,
EMC.

On December 11, 2003, Network Engines announced, inter alia,
that it had renegotiated its distribution contract with EMC and
that, as amended the agreement would have a negative impact on
Network Engines. On this news, shares of Network Engines fell
$3.92 per share or 39% to close at $6.10 per share, and have
continued to decline since that time.

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


PARMALAT FINANZIARIA: Rabin Murray Lodges Securities Suit in NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
Rabin Murray & Frank LLP initiated a securities class action in
the United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York, case number 04-CV-367, on behalf of all persons or
entities who purchased or otherwise acquired Parmalat
Finanziaria S.p.A. securities (OTC BB:PARAF.OB) (Milan:PFR IM)
during the period January 5, 1999 and December 29, 2003, both
dates inclusive.  The Complaint names as defendants the Company
and:

     (1) Calisto Tanzi,

     (2) Luciano Del Soldato,

     (3) Stefano Tanzi,

     (4) Domenico Barili,

     (5) Francesco Giuffredi,

     (6) Giovanni Tanzi,

     (7) Fausto Tonna,

     (8) Citigroup, Inc.,

     (9) Deloitte & Touche Tohmatsu,

    (10) Deloitte & Touche S.p.A.,

    (11) Grant Thornton International,

    (12) Grant Thornton S.p.A.,

    (13) Bonlat Financing Corporation,

    (14) Coloniale S.p.A.,

    (15) Zini & Associates, and

    (16) Buconero LLC

The Complaint alleges that defendants violated section 10(b) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The
Complaint alleges that defendants made materially false and
misleading statements concerning the Company's financial
statements.  In particular, the Complaint alleges that
defendants failed to disclose and/or misrepresented the
following:

     (1) that its assets in its audited financial statements
         were overstated;

     (2) that Parmalat falsely stated that it had used its
         "excess cash balances" - which actually did not exist-
         to repurchase corporate debt securities worth 2.9
         billion euros (approximately $3.6 billion), when in
         fact it had not repurchased those debt obligations and
         they remained outstanding;

     (3) that the $625 million of Parmalat's cash allegedly
         invested in a liquid investment fund in the Cayman
         Islands could not be retrieved because it was
         falsified;

     (4) that the Company used off-shore shell companies, such
         as Bonlat Financing Corp., Buconero LLC, and Epicurum
         to falsify its financial results;

     (5) that defendants C. Tanzi and S. Tanzi siphoned as much
         as 800 million euros ($1 billion) from Parmalat
         operations, mainly to finance other family businesses;

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

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

The Complaint alleges that as a result of these false and
misleading statements and omissions of material fact the price
of Parmalat securities were artificially inflated throughout the
Class Period causing plaintiff and the other members of the
Class to suffer damages.

For more details, contact Rabin, Murray & Frank LLP by Phone:
(800) 497-8076 or (212) 682-1818 by Fax: (212) 682-1892 or by E-
mail: info@rabinlaw.com


RYLAND GROUP: Charles Piven Files Securities Lawsuit in C.D. CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities
class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Central District of California, on behalf of shareholders who
purchased, converted, exchanged or otherwise acquired the common
stock of Ryland Group, Inc. between October 22, 2003 and January
7, 2004, 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, P.A., 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.


RYLAND GROUP: Paskowitz & Associates Files Securities Suit in TX
----------------------------------------------------------------
Paskowitz & Associates initiated a securities class action in
the United States District Court for the Northern District of
Texas on behalf of all purchasers of the publicly traded
securities of Ryland Group, Inc. (NYSE: RYL) from October 22,
2003 through January 7, 2004, inclusive.

The complaint charges Ryland Group, R. Chad Dreier, and Gordon
Milne with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
Between October 22, 2003 and January 7, 2004, the defendants
issued a series of material misrepresentations to the market
concerning the Company's financial results.

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

     (1) that the Texas market (and particularly Dallas) was in
         a freefall;

     (2) that Texas buyers were proving highly resistant to the
         entry level homes that Ryland Group was offering; and

     (3) that the defendants knew or recklessly disregarded that
         offerings of "move up" properties would be better
         received in that market, but that Ryland Group was not
         in a position to offer these types of properties.

On January 8, 2004, Ryland Group shocked the market by
announcing that new orders for the fourth quarter had decreased
8.9%, largely due to an astounding 33% decline in Texas orders.
Indeed, only 344 new homes were sold by Ryland Group in that
quarter, as contrasted with sales of 770 new units in the third
quarter of 2003.

This development stood in stark contrast to the positive
statements issued during the Class Period by defendants. Ryland
Group stock dived $10.16, to $72.89 per share, after closing at
$83.05 per share on January 7, 2003 on heavy trading volume.

For more details, contact Laurence D. Paskowitz by Phone:
212-685-0969 or 800-705-9529


RYLAND GROUP: Cauley Geller Launches Securities Suit in C.D. CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
Cauley Geller Bowman & Rudman, LLP initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Central
District of California on behalf of purchasers of Ryland Group,
Inc. (NYSE: RYL) publicly traded securities during the period
between October 22, 2003 through January 7, 2004, inclusive.

The complaint charges Ryland Group, R. Chad Dreier, and Gordon
Milne with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder. Between October 22, 2003 and January 7, 2004, the
defendants issued a series of material misrepresentations to the
market concerning the Company's financial results.

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

     (1) that the Texas market (and particularly Dallas) was in
         a freefall;

     (2) that Texas buyers were proving highly resistant to the
         entry level homes that Ryland Group was offering; and

     (3) that the defendants knew or recklessly disregarded that
         offerings of "move up" properties would be better
         received in that market, but that Ryland Group was not
         in a position to offer these types of properties.

On January 8, 2004, Ryland Group shocked the market by
announcing that new orders for the fourth quarter had decreased
8.9%, largely due to an astounding 33% decline in Texas orders.
Indeed, only 344 new homes were sold by Ryland Group in that
quarter, as contrasted with sales of 770 new units in the third
quarter of 2003.

This development stood in stark contrast to the positive
statements issued during the Class Period by defendants. Ryland
Group stock dived $10.16, to $72.89 per share, after closing at
$83.05 per share on January 7, 2004 on heavy trading volume.

For more details, contact Samuel H. Rudman, David A. Rosenfeld,
Jackie Addison, Heather Gann or Chandra West by Mail: P.O. Box
25438, Little Rock, AR 72221-5438 by Phone: 1-888-551-9944 by
Fax: 1-501-312-8505 or by E-mail: info@cauleygeller.com


SECURITY BROKERAGE: Cauley Geller Lodges Securities Suit in NY
--------------------------------------------------------------
Cauley Geller Bowman & Rudman, LLP initiated a securities class
action 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
AC AllianceBernstein Family of Mutual Funds and Massachusetts
Financial Services' Family of Mutual Funds, which is a
subsidiary of Sun Life Financial, Inc. (SLF) from January 1,
2001 through September 30, 2003, inclusive.

The complaint charges that Security Brokerage, Inc. and Daniel
G. Calugar 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 ("Alliance") and
Massachusetts Financial Services ("MFS") (collectively referred
to as the "Mutual Funds").

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 ("NAV"), 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 ("NSCC") 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 details, contact Samuel H. Rudman, David A. Rosenfeld,
Jackie Addison, Heather Gann or Chandra West by Mail: P.O. Box
25438, Little Rock, AR 72221-5438 by Phone: 1-888-551-9944 by
Fax: 1-501-312-8505 by E-mail: info@cauleygeller.com or visit
the firm's Website: http://www.cauleygeller.com


VIRBAC CORPORATION: Milberg Weiss Lodges Securities Suit in TX
--------------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP initiated a class
action lawsuit, in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Texas, against defendants Virbac and
certain of its senior executive officers, on behalf of
purchasers of the securities of Virbac, Corp. between May 3,
2001 and November 12, 2003, inclusive, seeking to pursue
remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

According to the complaint, defendants violated sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder by the Securities and Exchange
Commission, and all amendments thereto, including the Sarbanes-
Oxley Act of 2002, by issuing a series of material
misrepresentations to the market during the Class Period.

The complaint alleges that during the class period, defendants
knowingly or recklessly issued materially false and misleading
financial statements that misrepresented the company's earnings
and shareholder equity.  The complaint alleges that:

     (1) throughout the Class Period, the Company announced
         "record breaking" financial results in quarterly press
         releases and in other public statements, which results
         were not prepared in conformity with Generally Accepted
         Accounting Principles;

     (2) in addition to being presumptively inaccurate, as a
         result of defendants' failure to prepare the Company's
         financial statements in conformity with GAAP,
         defendants had artificially inflated the Company's
         repeated net earnings and earnings per figures by
         failing to properly account for inter-company transfers
         and failing to properly account for income and expenses
         in its subsidiaries;

     (3) defendants falsely represented that the Company
         maintained a system of safeguards and procedural
         controls, including an active Audit Committee of the
         Board of Directors charged with the oversight of the
         Company's audits and internal controls, such that
         investors could rely upon the Company's reported and
         announced financial statements and results of
         operations;

     (4) that defendants' aggressively positive guidance for the
         Company's expected future performance lacked any
         rational or reasonable basis because such guidance was
         based on the false and misleading financial reported by
         the Company during the Class Period.

On November 12, 2003, with shares of Virbac trading near an all-
time high, at just under $8.00 per share, the Company shocked
the market by announcing that the company would delay the
release and filing of its quarterly results for 3Q:03, pending
the results of an "internal inquiry" conducted by Virbac's Audit
Committee and the Company's Board.

According to a release issued by the Company that day, during
the course of its quarterly review, the Company's outside
auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, "raised questions relating to
certain of the Company's revenue recognition practices and
inventory accounting practices."

Following this release the price of Virbac shares plummeted,
falling over 22%, from a high of $7.80 to a low of $6.25, before
trading was halted at $6.50 by the Nasdaq. Shares of Virbac have
not resumed trading.

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: virbac@milberg.com, or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.milberg.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
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USA.  Roberto Amor, Aurora Fatima Antonio and Lyndsey Resnick,
Editors.

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

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