/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/040205.mbx           C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
          Thursday, February 5, 2004, Vol. 6, No. 25


ANTHONY ALLEN: NC Jury Indicts Businessman For Investor Fraud
AUSTRALIA: Agencies Face Possible Lawsuit Over Bridgetown Fire
BELL CANADA: Plaintiffs To Appeal Dismissal of Securities Suits
CALIFORNIA: Judge Rejects Tribe's Request In 'Profits' Lawsuit
CANADA: Ombudsman To Help Mediate WWII Veterans Suit Over Tests

CANADA: Former Employees File Suit V. Jeffrey Mine over Pensions
COSMETICS FIRMS: CA Court Approves Tentative Pact In Bonus Suit
DORCY INTERNATIONAL: Recalls Fuji Batteries For Fire/Burn Hazard
FEDERATED INVESTORS: Sets Aside $7.6M For Mutual Fund Holders
FIRST UNION: Appeals Court Reverses Dismissal of Stock Lawsuit

GEORGIA-PACIFIC CORPORATION: Settles Employee Pension Plan Suit
HMO LITIGATION: Court Grants Final Approval to Cigna Settlement
IBP INC.: Antitrust Suit Plaintiffs Rest Case, Trial Continues
LOUISIANA: Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal of Retirees Lawsuit
MARTHA STEWART: Star Prosecution Witness Tells Of Insider Info

MERRILL LYNCH: NY Court Dismisses Gender Discrimination Lawsuit
NEW JERSEY: Attorneys Seek Reopening of Muster Zone for Laborers
NEW JERSEY: Court Rules Docs, Lawyers Can't Be Sued For Fraud
PROGRESS ENERGY: Investors Launch Securities Violations Lawsuit
PUENTES BROTHERS: Recalls Pastries For Undeclared Peanut Cookies

QUEENSLAND HEALTH: Nurses To Launch Lawsuit Over Grading System
TV AZTECA: SEC To Launch Securities Fraud Charges V. Officials
TV AZTECA: Faces Several Insider Trading Suits Filed In S.D. NY
TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Jurors Watch Tape Of Ex-CEO Kozlowski Speech
UNITED STATES: U.S. Greeks Sue Orthodox Archdiocese Over Charter

UNITED STATES: Judge Rules VA Abortion Law 'Unconstitutional'
U.S. BANCORP: SEC Initiates Investigation Into Mutual Funds Unit

                  New Securities Fraud Cases  

AOL TIME WARNER: Squitieri & Fearon Files Securities Suit in NY
DEUTSCHE BANK: Rabin Murray Launches Securities Suit in S.D. NY
HOLLINGER INT'L: Grant & Eisenhofer Lodges Securities Suit in IL
HOLLINGER INT'L: Brian Felgoise Lodges Securities Lawsuit in IL
INTERPOOL INC.: Bernard Gross Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in NJ

MICROMUSE INC.: Kaplan Fox Launches Securities Suit in N.D. CA
PROGRESS ENERGY: Goodkind Labaton Launches Securities Suit in NY
VANS INC.: Cauley Geller Commences Securities Lawsuit in C.D. CA


ANTHONY ALLEN: NC Jury Indicts Businessman For Investor Fraud
A Cumberland County, North Carolina grand jury indicted
businessman Anthony Allen of defrauding eight investors of more
than $540,000 between 2000 and 2003, the Fayetteville Online

Before his arrest, Mr. Allen owned the estate planning firm A.
W. Allen Insurance Group and Client Relations, and published the
local edition of Fifty Plus, a magazine for seniors.  

According to investigators, Mr. Allen promised to invest the
money, but converted it to his own use.  Eight investors filed
civil suits on behalf of similar shareholders against Mr. Allen
last year, alleging that their money was lost or unaccounted
for.  These lawsuits have are pending.  Some investors chose to
join a class action against Mr. Allen but this has not yet been

Investigators have said up to $15 million may be missing.  In
October, Mr. Allen was indicted on charges that in 1997, he took
$60,000 from a couple who thought they were buying an insurance
policy. His bail has been set at $5 million.

According to Monday's indictments on charges of obtaining
property by false pretenses, Mr. Allen promised four couples
returns of 9 percent to 14 percent on their investments. The
couples invested between $83,183 and $170,533, but Mr. Allen
used their money for himself.  

One of the couples, Wainwright and Doris Cox, invested $162,801
with Mr. Allen between 2002 and 2003.  Wainwright Cox is 68 and
retired from the Army and a civil service job.  Doris Cox is 69
and doesn't work.  She said the couple has lost most of their
savings.  "I thought he was so nice and we've talked to
different people and they thought the same thing," she told the
Fayetteville Online.  "He was a wolf in sheep's clothing, I
guess you could say."

District Attorney Ed Grannis said more indictments will follow.  
"There are between 200 and 300 matters we're looking into right
now," Mr. Grannis told Fayetteville Online.  "Obviously, you
can't look into all of them at one time."

AUSTRALIA: Agencies Face Possible Lawsuit Over Bridgetown Fire
Australia's Department of Conservation and Land Management and
Western Power face a potential class action, due to a fire which
ravaged the south-west community of Bridgetown, Australia, ABC
Southwest reports.

Residents have expressed interests in launching the suit against
the two agencies.  A Western Australia's energy watchdog's
report blamed the two for the fire, but the agencies said they
were not accepting liability.

Bridgetown Shire President, Rob Walster, says it is appalling
that neither body will claim responsibility, ABC reports.  He
says it is unfortunate that the two bodies are pointing the
finger at each other.  "That does, in fact, give both the
organizations the opportunity to point the finger at the other
one and to duck and weave and that may make it more difficult
for those people seeking compensation and I think that's a great
pity," he said.

BELL CANADA: Plaintiffs To Appeal Dismissal of Securities Suits
Plaintiffs Wilfred Shaw and Cameron Gillespie filed with the
Ontario Court of Appeal a notice of appeal with respect to the
decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued on
January 5, 2004 dismissing each of their $1 billion lawsuits
against Bell Canada International, Inc. and BCE Inc. on the
grounds that the actions abused the process of the Court and
disclosed no reasonable cause of action.  No hearing date has
been set for the appeal.

The Shaw action was originally filed on September 27, 2002,
asking court approval to proceed by way of class action on
behalf of all persons who owned BCI common shares on December 3,
2001 in connection with the issuance of BCI common shares on
February 15, 2002 pursuant to BCI's Recapitalization Plan and
the implementation of BCI's Plan of Arrangement approved by the
Court on July 17, 2002.  

After Mr. Shaw's original action was dismissed by the Court on
May 9, 2003. Mr. Shaw filed an amended statement of claim on
June 27, 2003.  On August 30, 2003, Mr. Gillespie filed a
lawsuit that was, except with respect to the name of the
plaintiff, substantially identical to Mr. Shaw's amended
statement of claim.  These were the two actions dismissed by the
Court on January 5, 2004.

BCI is operating under a court supervised Plan of Arrangement,
pursuant to which BCI intends to monetize its assets in an
orderly fashion and resolve outstanding claims against it in an
expeditious manner with the ultimate objective of distributing
the net proceeds to its shareholders and dissolving the company.  

For more information, contact Howard N. Hendrick, Executive
Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, by Phone:
(514) 392-2260 by E-mail: howard.hendrick@bci.ca or visit the
firm's Website: http://www.bci.ca

CALIFORNIA: Judge Rejects Tribe's Request In 'Profits' Lawsuit
U.S. District Judge Robert Timlin rejected a request by a group
of American Indians that he block a move to ban them from their
tribe, part of a dispute over who gets access to millions in
casino profits, the Associated Press reports.

The ruling Monday said federal courts have no jurisdiction to
grant the temporary restraining order requested by 130 members
of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians.  Tribal leaders
say the group's key ancestor to those they want to evict, about
10 percent of the tribe, cut her ties with the reservation 80
years ago.  They say members of the group do not have sufficient
documentation to show they are members.

Jon Velie, attorney for the group facing ouster, told AP they
should have legal recourse outside the southern California tribe
because the tribe's enrollment committee acted outside its
authority.  "My clients could lose their homes, health care
benefits, jobs, per capita payments of $10,000 a month and their
tribal identity," he said.

Judge Timlin, in his ruling Monday, returned the case to
Riverside County Superior Court where it was originally filed.
The filing had been transferred to the federal court at the
request of tribal leaders.  Tribal attorney Alex Baghdassarian
and Pechanga Band leaders declined to comment, AP reports.

If ousted, members would lose their $10,000 per month stipend
plus their reservation homes, health care and senior benefits,
tribal jobs and education money.

CANADA: Ombudsman To Help Mediate WWII Veterans Suit Over Tests
Canada's military ombudsman Andre Marin will help mediate a
class action filed against the government in Kelowna, British
Columbia court, on behalf of veterans used as human guinea pigs
in chemical warfare tests during the Second World War, cnews
reports.  The statement of claim names as defendants:

     (1) the Department of National Defense,

     (2) the National Research Council of Canada,

     (3) the Attorney General and

     (4) Veterans Affairs Canada

The suit covers all soldiers used as test subjects at Canadian
Forces Base Suffield in southern Alberta or in an Ottawa
research lab.  The suit alleges that the soldiers were exposed
to highly toxic chemical agents, including mustard gas, chlorine
gas and other unknown chemical substances.

Most of the victims were teenagers at the time of the tests.
They were recruited for $1 a day and extra leave time and sworn
to secrecy.  They were not informed of the nature of the
experiments, the dangers or the health risks.  Many never
received medical treatment after being exposed to the poisonous
gases because officials wanted to see the results of the newer
forms of gas agents.  The suit alleges that as many as 2,500 to
3,400 could be involved in the suit.

There was already a vast amount of knowledge about the damage
caused by mustard gas and other blistering agents in the First
World War, but military officials embarked on human tests in
1941 anyway.  Court documents claim those tests were designed to
assess expected casualty rates and medical requirements, as well
as short- and long-term effects on the human body and mind.

For almost 60 years, veterans who did seek pensions or help were
disregarded and, in some cases, ridiculed.  Ottawa did not
acknowledge until 1989 that soldiers were subjected to the
tests.  Individual medical records have only been made available
in recent years, cnews reports.

On January 26, Mr. Marin presented a 14-page assessment of the
veterans' treatment to federal defense minister David Pratt, but
the document will not be made public until the end of February.  
"It's a short, sharp report that makes very clear
recommendations of how we feel the matter should be resolved,"
said Mr. Marin, who is to meet with Mr. Pratt on February 23.

Mr. Marin has said in the past that the use of biological
weapons on unsuspecting soldiers is "a blot" on Canadian
history.  Many have been left without medical treatment or
pensions.  "If you were unlucky enough to be lured in . by
promises of greater benefits and comfort to discover you were
going to be sprayed with mustard gas, you suffered as
debilitating an injury as any combat soldier has, (yet) you
don't have a nickel," he told cnews.

Lawyer for the plaintiffs Rod Pacholzuk said Mr. Marin had a
"role to play here."  It's shameful the matter has gone
unresolved for more than 50 years, he told cnews.

Mr. Pacholzuk had hoped the matter could be settled out of court
to reduce stress on the veterans, many of whom are in their 80s
and in poor health.  He said he is willing to sit down with the
federal defense minister to work out a deal.  He said reaching a
settlement is important to demonstrate that current and future
soldiers will not be abandoned if they are injured while serving
their country.  

"I think most members of the public expect that," he told cnews.  
"You can't ask these people to put their lives on the line and
then cut them loose, ignore them and deny them proper care and
financial assistance."

CANADA: Former Employees File Suit V. Jeffrey Mine over Pensions
The Jeffrey Mine in Montreal, Canada faces a class action filed
by its retired miners, alleging the firm's pension fund managers
mismanaged their investments, CBC Montreal reports.

More than 1,200 retired miners in the Eastern Townships filed
the suit, alleging that pension fund managers sank far too much
money into volatile stocks.  They seek $20 million in damages.

Georges Olney, the mine's former vice-president of
administration, told CBC Montreal that on average, workers are
each losing $10,000 a year.  "It's us that are losing, it's the
retirees that are losing," he said.  "The company never has a
cent to lose. They can take a gamble. If they win, make a lot of
money. It avoids them to invest money in the retirement plan."

The case will be heard in a Sherbrooke courtroom later this
month, CBC Montreal reports.

COSMETICS FIRMS: CA Court Approves Tentative Pact In Bonus Suit
A California court granted approval of the tentative settlement
of an antitrust class action filed against major perfume and
cosmetic makers and several retailers, the Detroit News reports.  
The suit includes as defendants:

     (1) Hudson's,

     (2) Marshall Field's,

     (3) Target,

     (4) Lord & Taylor,

     (5) Nordstrom,

     (6) Saks Fifth Avenue,

     (7) Parisian,

     (8) Neiman Marcus,

     (9) Clinique,

    (10) M.A.C.,

    (11) Bobbi Brown,

    (12) Estee Lauder and

    (13) L'Oreal

The suit alleges that the defendants stifled competition by
making sure their "bonus with purchase" promotions didn't
overlap.  This practice violates various consumer protection and
anti-trust laws, said Francis Scarpulla, a San Francisco
attorney involved in the case told the Detroit News.

Under the settlement, the defendants will pay $175 million to
consumers, adding up to $18 to $25 compensation for shoppers.  
Mr. Scarpulla says free make-up likely will be doled out on a
first-come, first-served basis later this year.  Claimants need
not provide receipts or other proof of purchase, nor will
vouchers or coupons be issued; consumers should keep an eye out
for future magazine and newspaper ads announcing the event.  
"I'm afraid there is going to be a stampede," Mr. Scarpulla

Up to $24 million is set aside for legal fees to the 30 or so
law firms that have been pursuing this case since the mid-1990s,
he added.  

The retailers and the cosmetics companies deny any wrongdoing.  
The court is expected to give final approval to the settlement
in June.

DORCY INTERNATIONAL: Recalls Fuji Batteries For Fire/Burn Hazard
Dorcy International Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, in cooperation with
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is
voluntarily recalling 20,000 Fuji Power and A&T Fuji Power
CR123A 3-volt lithium batteries, sold with Dorcy Xenon
flashlights, since the batteries may overheat, leak, or rupture,
presenting a potential for fire and injury.

The company has received five reports about batteries
overheating and causing the flashlight to burst, and four
reports of minor damage to clothing and personal items and burn
injuries. In one case, the batteries allegedly caused or
contributed to a house fire.

Each of the 3-volt lithium batteries has a white label with the
words "Fuji Power" or "A&T Fuji Power CR123A." The batteries
were provided separately in pairs in packaging with the

The batteries, manufactured in Taiwan, were sold at National
retailers including BJ's Wholesale Club, Orchard Supply
Hardware, Ace Hardware, Tru Value Hardware, Meijer Stores, Fred
Meyer, Marvins, Sport Chalet, and Sportsman Guide.

Consumers are urged to call Dorcy International Inc. toll-free
at (800) 837-8558 to receive free replacement batteries for each
pair of batteries originally provided with the Spyder Tactical
Xenon Light or the Xenon Tactical Light. Consumers also can
return the flashlights to the store for a refund or replacement.

FEDERATED INVESTORS: Sets Aside $7.6M For Mutual Fund Holders
Mutual fund company Federated Investors, Inc. is setting aside
US$7.6 million to compensate holders of is mutual funds affected
by the controversy over its trading practices, the Pittsburgh
Tribune-Review reports.

In early September, regulators contacted the Company, requesting
trading information.  Requests for trading information came from
the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Association
of Securities Dealers and New York Attorney General Eliot
Spitzer.  The Company continues to cooperate with those ongoing
investigations at present.

In late October, the Company revealed that an internal
investigation found evidence of "after-hours trading" - when
fund brokers illegally execute trades after U.S. markets close
at 4 p.m.  This exploits for profit any fund-related news
released after the exchanges close.  Mutual funds that include
foreign securities are especially susceptible to the abuse
because of the difference in time zones.

The Company also estimated that the probes would cost another
$12.4 million in related expenses, including the cost of
reviewing thousands of its mutual fund-related transactions and
hiring independent experts to analyze them.

"It's a positive step that they made up a fund to reimburse
investors," Kerry O'Boyle, mutual fund analyst for Morningstar
Inc., a fund-rating service based in Chicago, told the Tribune-
Review.  "But we're still disappointed in the lack of
disclosure, especially about upper management, as to who knew
what, when."

In a statement, CEO J. Christopher Donahue said the Company was
committed to "taking remedial actions when and as appropriate,
including compensating the funds for the impact these
transactions may have had on them."

The firm also sanctioned two of its portfolio managers for
executing trades in Federated's 401(k) plan which involved the
mutual funds that the two employees managed.  The firm
sanctioned them for "market timing" - a practice that hurts
long-term holders because multiple transaction costs cut into
every holders' investment gains.  The Company however did not
say who was fired for after-hours trading.

"I have a hard time believing two sales officers went out and
did this on their own without anyone else knowing" Mr. O'Boyle
told the Tribune-Review.  "You have the sense it wasn't a bad
thing until these guys got caught . And now, they must be
sanctioned because it's what's expected of them."

Federated and the independent directors of the various mutual
funds have not determined how many funds or fund holders were
affected by the improper trading, Federated spokesman J.T.
Tuskan told the Tribune-Review.  Nor have they determined
whether the $7.6 million -- which comes from Federated -- would
be invested in the mutual funds or refunded directly to their

"The amount looks like it would equate to about a penny a share
in all the funds that are part of the restorations," Mr. Tuskan

Federated is not the only one to be ensnared by allegations of
illicit trading in the $7 trillion mutual fund industry.  The
SEC charged Putnam Investments with improper fund trading in
late October.  AG Spitzer filed similar complaints against other
prominent institutions, including Bank of America and Janus
Capital Group.

FIRST UNION: Appeals Court Reverses Dismissal of Stock Lawsuit
The United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit reversed
and remanded a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Middle
District of Florida, dismissing, on statute of limitations
grounds, a lawsuit brought against First Union Securities, Inc.,
on behalf of Nicholas La Grasta, Domenico La Grasta, and Mauro
La Grasta, et al., alleging that analyst's "strong buy"
recommendation for particular corporation was made under
conflict of interest and artificially inflated price
of corporation's stock.

In this securities fraud class action against First Union
Securities, Inc., investors who purchased the stock of Ask
Jeeves, Inc., an online internet research company, claimed that
First Union's analyst, through her "strong buy" recommendations,
inflated the price of Ask Jeeves shares while acting under an
undisclosed conflict of interest.  This conflict, it was
alleged, consisted of First Union and its analyst trying to
obtain investment banking business from Ask Jeeves at the same
time that they were supposed to be providing unbiased analysis
on the company and its stock.

According to the investors, this undisclosed conflict caused the
analyst to tout the stock so that First Union would be looked
upon favorably when Ask Jeeves decided who was going to get its
investment banking business, and violated 10(b) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. 78j(b), and Rule 10b-
5, codified at 17 C.F.R. 240.10b-5.
First Union asked the district court to dismiss the complaint
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing in part
that the securities fraud claim was time-barred and that the
investors failed to sufficiently allege loss causation. The
district court dismissed the complaint on statute of limitations
grounds, concluding that the investors--who had purchased the
stock at prices ranging from $78 to $134 per share--were on
inquiry notice of securities fraud when the stock dropped to $24
per share. Plaintiffs appealed.

GEORGIA-PACIFIC CORPORATION: Settles Employee Pension Plan Suit
Georgia-Pacific Corporation reached an agreement to settle a
seven-year-old class action filed against it on behalf of former
participants of its pension plan for salaried employees, the
American Business Journals report.  The suit alleges the plan
mistakenly underpaid plan participants who terminated employment
and received lump sum distributions from the plan.

Georgia-Pacific said the settlement provides that the plan will
pay additional pension benefits totaling $67 million to members
of the class, less attorneys' fees and costs of the settlement.
The settlement is subject to court approval.

"Although we have denied and continue to deny the allegations,
we believe the settlement is in the best interests of the plan's
participants and the corporation's shareholders," said Patricia
Barnard, Georgia-Pacific's executive vice president-human
resources, the American Business Journals state.

HMO LITIGATION: Court Grants Final Approval to Cigna Settlement
The United States District Court in Miami, Florida granted final
approval to the settlement proposed by Cigna Healthcare relating
to the national class action filed against several health
management organizations, making claims under the Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the Orlando
Business Journal reports.  The suit also names as defendants:

     (1) United Healthcare,

     (2) Aetna,

     (3) Coventry,

     (4) Wellpoint,

     (5) Humana Health Plan,

     (6) Pacificare Health Systems and

     (7) Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield

The suit charged the defendants with dishonoring contracts and
defrauded doctors in violation of RICO.  The doctors filed the
suit to combat widespread and chronic abuses by health
maintenance organizations.  In October, Judge Federico Moreno
granted preliminary approval to the settlement.  At the same
time, the attorneys settled with Aetna.  

Under the settlement, the Company will give doctors guaranteed
cash payment of $85 million.  The Company also agreed to spend
$400 million for business practice changes to save physician
practices hundreds of millions of dollars.  Their $1 billion
figure for the gross value of the settlement package includes
savings in physician overhead, the lawyers added.

Specifically, the settlement established a foundation chartered
to foster a broad range of public health improvement
initiatives.  The foundation is to consider proposals to expand
the database of health care information available to patients
and providers and, among other things, enhance the overall
quality of patient care.

The settlement also orders Cigna to establish a physician
advisory committee for physicians to suggest ways to enhance
health care delivery, and to offer multiple alternatives for
monetary compensation to physicians who participated in the
suit.  The company also said it will institute a series of new
business practices to make it easier for doctors to work with
the company to meet patient needs, the Orlando Business Journal

In his ruling on the Cigna agreement, Judge Moreno said, "the
settlement is in all respects fair, reasonable, adequate and
proper and in the best interest of the class."

With two settlements so far, Archie Lamb, co-lead counsel for
the class action suit, told the Business Journal his case is
much more than a simple lawsuit.  "The Aetna and Cigna
settlements set a new standard of cooperation between insurance
companies and doctors for the direct benefit of patients and our
nations healthcare system in general," he said.  

"Like the agreement Judge Moreno approved with Aetna, this
settlement again puts doctors in the position to care for their
patients and know that they're to get properly timely paid for
their care," Dr. Bohn Allen, president-elect of the Texas
Medical Association told the Business Journal.  "That will
improve access for all patients to the care they deserve."

IBP INC.: Antitrust Suit Plaintiffs Rest Case, Trial Continues
Plaintiffs in the antitrust class action filed in the United
States District Court in Montgomery, Alabama against meat
producer IBP, Inc. rested their case last week, Agriculture
Online reports.  The company is presenting its case this week
before Judge Lyle E. Strom.

The suit, styled "Pickett v. IBP" charges the Company, which is
now owned by Tyson Foods, Inc., of using "captive supplies" to
unfairly manipulate prices for cattle.  The suit makes claims
under the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, on behalf of all
producers who sold cattle to IBP or Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. from
February 1994 to October 2002.  Trial in the suit began mid-

Alabama cattleman Henry Lee "Leroy" Pickett and five others
filed the suit, saying the Company illegally cornered the market
for cattle, by forming contracts with large feeders.  The
contracts created a captive supply that let them stay out of the
market during crucial pricing periods.  

As a result, transactions take place without the transparency to
the public that exists when sales take place on the futures
market.  No one but the packer allegedly knows how many cattle
it controls at any given time.  The situation, the cattlemen
say, also reduces the prices IBP pays for cattle it doesn't have
on contract.  Smaller cattle producers and feeders are then left
with a choice of selling at low prices or not at all,
Agriculture Online reports.

The cattlemen say as many as 30,000 cattle producers could
receive reparations if the jury finds in their favor.  Their
attorneys say damages could amount to about $2 billion.   Judge
Strom has already decided that the plaintiffs cannot seek
punitive damages, which could limit potential awards to class

Attorneys for the plaintiffs told Agriculture Online that
doesn't matter much since the real goal of the case is to change
the way cattle are marketed across the entire industry.

The case is a crossroads for cattle producers, particularly for
the six plaintiffs.  If the five men and seven women on the jury
find for them, the way cattle are marketed will almost certainly
change.  If they don't, they face an uncertain future in the

LOUISIANA: Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal of Retirees Lawsuit
The Louisiana Court of Appeals, Third Circuit affirmed a ruling
by the Twelfth Judicial District Court, Parish of Avoyelles,
dismissing a lawsuit brought against the Avoyelles Parish School
Board, on behalf of Plaintiff Mary L. Brown, et al., claiming
entitlement to back wages and penalty wages for unused annual
leave at time of retirement.

Fifteen former employees of the Avoyelles Parish School Board
filed an action individually and on behalf of other former
employees similarly situated against the Board, claim
entitlement to back wages and penalty wages. Specifically,
they maintain that they are entitled to be compensated for
accrued "annual leave" that they had not taken by the time they

The Board filed an exception of prescription before class
certification. The trial court granted the Board's exception of
prescription and dismissed the Plaintiffs' claims, holding that:

     (1) employees bore burden of showing that exception of
         prescription should not be maintained, and

     (2) doctrine of contra non valentum did not halt running of

Plaintiffs appealed.     

MARTHA STEWART: Star Prosecution Witness Tells Of Insider Info
Government star witness Douglas Faneuil testified on Tuesday in
the trial of the lawsuit filed against domestic trendsetter
Martha Stewart, saying that he was ordered to pass insider stock
information to the lifestyle trendsetter and that he later lied
to investigators about his central role in the scheme, Reuters

Ms. Stewart is facing trial relating to her December 27,2001
sale of 4,000 ImClone Systems, Inc. shares, just before the
Company's stock price dived.  ImClone founder and former chief
executive officer Samuel Waksal is Ms. Stewart's friend.

Federal prosecutors believe Ms. Stewart and her personal
stockbroker Peter Bacanovic, who was Mr. Faneuil's boss at
Merrill Lynch, also lied about the ImClone trade.  They say Ms.
Stewart only sold her shares in the biotech company after
learning its founder, Sam Waksal, and his daughters were dumping
their stock and have charged her with obstruction of justice.

Ms. Stewart and Mr. Bacanovic have maintained they had a
preexisting order to sell ImClone stock if it dropped below $60
a share and that the sale was for tax purposes.  Tax loss
selling is a strategy used at the end of the year to offset
taxable profits from stock trades by selling other shares at a

Mr. Faneuil told jurors for the first time that Ms. Stewart was
given an illegal tip about ImClone Systems Inc. just before her
sale of stock.  He described the circumstances leading up to the
stock sale, saying he took the sell orders from the Waksal
family and placed a series of telephone calls to the vacationing
Bacanovic to discuss the trades with him.

Mr. Faneuil, who appeared in a bluish gray suit, initially told
investigators looking into the ImClone sale that Stewart sold
the shares for tax-loss reasons.  He later recanted, pleaded
guilty to a misdemeanor and agreed to testify against his former
boss and Stewart in order to win leniency, Reuters reports.

Mr. Faneuil added in his testimony that he had sent Ms.
Stewart's business manager a final list of all shares sold from
Stewart's account for this purpose on December 26, 2001, the day
before the ImClone sale.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Patton
Seymour asked why ImClone was not included in the list. "It
wasn't a part of the tax loss selling plan," Faneuil said.

Mr. Faneuil however praised his former boss, describing him
"demanding yet appreciative" during his first day of testimony.  
"Peter was the best boss I ever had," Mr. Faneuil, who is now
working at an art gallery in Manhattan, told the jury, Reuters

Prosecutors are expected to complete their questioning of Dr.
Faneuil on Wednesday before defense lawyers are allowed to begin

MERRILL LYNCH: NY Court Dismisses Gender Discrimination Lawsuit
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York granted Defendants motion to dismiss a complaint
brought against Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., on
behalf Plaintiff Rosalie H. Fields, over allegations the firm
failed to promote her because of her gender.

Prior to bringing this action, plaintiff participated as a class
member in a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of Illinois, which was eventually
settled by agreement of the parties and order of the court. As
part of that settlement, Merrill agreed to establish a new
independent remedy to address employment discrimination called
the Merrill Lynch Employment Dispute Resolution Program.

That program has three steps: First, the employee presents her
discrimination claim to a Merrill human resources representative
to see if the dispute can be resolved at that level. If
the dispute is not resolved by the human resources
representative, the employee can proceed to step two and
formally request a mediation, which must be held within 60 days
of the request. Finally, if the mediation fails, the employee
can then either demand arbitration or file a federal suit.
Fields contends that she kept trying to present her claims to a
Merrill human resources representative pursuant to step one of
the Merrill EDR Program through November 20, 2002. Taking the
position that her dispute had not been resolved by the Merrill
human resources representative, she invoked step two of the
Merrill EDR Program seven months later, on June 19, 2003, when
she formally requested mediation. Although the Merrill EDR
Program "Rules & Procedures" states that the mediation should
have occurred within 60 days of being requested, the mediation
"has never been held."
After plaintiff requested the mediation through Merrill's EDR
Program, she also filed a Charge of Discrimination with the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in late July 2003. The
EEOC then issued a Right to Sue letter two weeks later, on
August 5, 2003, in which the EEOC wrote that it was "closing its
file" and dismissing plaintiff's charge because "[y]our charge
was not timely filed with EEOC; in other words, you waited too
long after the date(s) of the alleged discrimination to file
your charge." . The EEOC also notified the plaintiff that any
federal litigation "must be filed within 90 days" of receipt of
the Right to Sue letter. Fields filed this complaint on October
23, 2003, which was within the 90-day period.

NEW JERSEY: Attorneys Seek Reopening of Muster Zone for Laborers
Attorneys for plaintiffs in a class action filed against the
borough of Freehold, New Jersey intend to ask Trenton federal
court to order the reopening of a hiring area for day laborers,
the News Transcript reports.

The Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Mexican
American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the American Civil
Liberties Union have filed a class action suit on behalf of
three advocacy groups - the Monmouth County Residents For
Immigrants Rights, the Committee for Workers Progress and Social
Welfare and the National Day Laborers Organizing Network.

The suit was filed after the borough closed an area on
Throckmorton Street called a muster zone, where day laborers,
primarily Hispanic immigrants, many of them illegal, bid for
work on a daily basis as employers stop for help.  The zone was
closed on December 31, after several years in operation.

The suit charged the borough with embarking on "a deliberate and
coordinated campaign to harass Latino day laborers and deprive
them of their constitutional and civic rights as provided under
United States and New Jersey law."  The borough allegedly
"intends to prohibit these laborers from expressing their
availability for employment at a location (where) these laborers
gather to find work," the suit states.  The suit also alleges
the closure as a free speech violation.

The suit further alleges that the Freehold Borough Police
Department has recently "wrongly issued summonses to Latino day
laborers for frivolous reasons."  Police officers allegedly
issued tickets to day laborers who were walking across a
convenience store's private parking lot. According to the
document, the day laborers had just bought coffee at the store.
The alleged violation listed on the summonses was "officer's
discretion."  The plaintiffs state that no such violation exists
in federal, state or local law and that if it did it would be
"patently unconstitutional."

Attorneys for the plaintiffs intend to ask a judge to order the
reopening of a hiring area for day laborers and to put an end to
what they say is police harassment of the town's day laborers,
specifically Hispanic day laborers.  Six individuals have
alleged personal damages and are included in the suit.

Several messages left at the office of attorney Robert Podvey of
Old Bridge, who will represent the borough, were not returned,
The News Transcript reports.

Evette Soto-Maldonado, an attorney representing the Puerto Rican
Legal Defense and Education Fund told the Transcript the
plaintiffs are asking the judge to order the reopening of the
so-called muster zone because they believe it is on public

Freehold Borough police Capt. Michael DiAiso previously said
that "officer's discretion" is a municipal ordinance that is
used "quite heavily" in the courts.  He said people may be
arrested on a disorderly persons charge and then, later, may
have the charge reduced.  He added that a violation of a borough
ordinance is treated like a traffic ticket and does not appear
on a person's criminal record like a disorderly persons charge
would, The Transcript reports.

NEW JERSEY: Court Rules Docs, Lawyers Can't Be Sued For Fraud
New Jersey's Supreme Court ruled that the state's doctors,
lawyers and other professionals cannot be sued for false
advertising under its consumer fraud law because it wasn't
written to cover them, the Associated Press reports.

The ruling overturns a March 2003 appellate court decision in a
lawsuit filed against Dr. Joseph Dello Russo, an eye surgeon who
widely advertises his LASIK surgery to improve vision.  Two
patients filed the suit, alleging that Dr. Dello Russo led them
to believe he would perform their surgery and follow-up care.  
However, the follow-up care was provided by William T. Kellogg,
a doctor whose license had been revoked by the New Jersey State
Board of Medical Examiners.  Dr. Dello Russo has said Dr.
Kellogg was not acting as a doctor but was simply providing care
similar to what a nurse would provide.

The appellate court panel had said the suit could go forward
under the state's 40-year-old Consumer Fraud Act, but the
justices rejected that ruling by a 6-0 vote.  They noted that
neither patient said their treatment fell below medical
standards or caused them injury.  The decision also noted that
the state Consumer Fraud Act has never applied to "learned
professionals" because they were not permitted to advertise at
the time the law was enacted.

Dr. Dello Russo's lawyer, Steven I. Kern, praised the ruling,
saying a different decision would have represented a "very, very
dramatic" shift in the law.  Mr. Kern noted that physicians who
run misleading advertisements are subject to discipline by the
state Board of Medical Examiners, AP reports.

Bruce Nagel, the lawyer for the patients, called the ruling is a
loss for consumers.  "If a car dealer does a bait-and-switch,
you can sue, but if Dr. Dello Russo advertises that he is going
to treat patients and he has an unlicensed doctor do it, the
court says you cannot sue Dr. Dello Russo," he told AP.  "I
think th[at is] illogic[al]..."

PROGRESS ENERGY: Investors Launch Securities Violations Lawsuit
Progress Energy Corporation and CEO William Cavanaugh III faces
a class action filed on behalf of some investors who received
notes in exchange for Company common shares, the American City
Business Journals reports.

New York firm Goodkind Labaton Rudoff & Sucharow LLP filed the
suit, which relates to a transaction which took place as part of
the merger between Carolina Power & Light Co. and Florida
Progress Corporation.  The suit was filed on behalf of investors
who bought the merger notes between November 30, 2000 and
February 12, 2002 will qualify to join the class in the suit.

The complaint alleges that Progress issued a proxy statement
before the merger that contained material omissions relating to
the value of the notes that are called Contingent Value
Obligations.  The lawsuit also claims that Progress failed to
inform the prospective CVO holders that their holdings would be
subject to unfavorable alternative minimum tax payments.

PUENTES BROTHERS: Recalls Pastries For Undeclared Peanut Cookies
Puentes Brothers Inc. of Salem Oregon, in cooperation with the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is recalling all "Don
Pancho" brand Mexican Pastry and Mexican Pastry Pan Fino because
they may contain undeclared peanut cookies.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts run
the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if
they consume these products.

The product comes in an 18 oz. 6 count flexible plastic package
under the "Don Pancho" label. The package contains a white
sticker with the code 021104. The recalled Mexican Pastry and
Mexican Pastry Pan Fino were distributed in retail stores in
Oregon and eastern Washington.

The recall was initiated after receiving a consumer complaint
about a peanut containing cookie. Subsequent investigation
indicates the problem was caused by the outside manufacturer who
inadvertently packaged peanut butter cookies in the wrong

Consumers who have purchased these products should return them
to their place of purchase for a full refund. Production and
distribution of these products has been suspended until further
notice to insure that these types of accidents can no longer

QUEENSLAND HEALTH: Nurses To Launch Lawsuit Over Grading System
Queensland Health in Australia could face a possible class
action filed on behalf of senior nurses, over a new career
structure for them, reclassifying their pay levels and
positions, the Courier-Mail reports.

Recently, about 500 senior nurses launched grievance motions
against Queensland, seeking to appeal their gradings in the
system.  A senior nurse manager has retained Brisbane industrial
lawyer Susan Moriarty to start a class action.  Ms. Moriarty
told the Courier-Mail that the suit would be based on denial of
natural justice and is expected to be the largest filed against
the system.

"Queensland Health has not provided nurses with the tools it
used to determine the new gradings and people have a right to
know the criteria on which their position is to be reassessed,"
Ms. Moriarty told the Courier-Mail.

Ms. Moriarty said the health firm led their staff to believe
that under the new structure, extra work responsibilities that
the nurses had absorbed over several years without increased pay
would be compensated.  However, this allegedly did not happen.

"Level 3 nurses here in Queensland would be the equivalent of a
level 6 or 7 interstate, which is about $20,000 extra pay a
year, and the reclassification was supposed to recognize the
additional responsibilities that our nurses take on," she said.  
She added that there were inconsistencies in the new grading
system with some nurses awarded upgradings while others who
performed identical duties were denied the same recognition.

Two union representatives on the audit panel are also currently
reviewing the grievance motions, according to Queensland Nurses
Union secretary Gay Hawksworth.  Ms. Hawksworth told the
Courier-Mail the reclassification process, developed by the
union and Queensland Health, became embroiled in the extended
industrial dispute between nurses and the State Government last
year and ended up as part of the new award.

"We were certainly disappointed that it was rolled into the
industrial process," she said.  "If it had followed the course
of what was supposed to happen, there was a communication
strategy attached to it as well so people would have known more
about it and would have been more satisfied about the process."

The appeals are to be decided on next month.  A Queensland
Health spokesman said extensive consultation was carried out
with staff, including surveys, satellite broadcasts throughout
the state, focus group discussions and an information hotline to
provide advice on the process.

"We are gradually introducing a new nursing career structure
across Queensland Health which was sanctioned by the federal
Industrial Relations Commission and developed in conjunction
with the nurses union," he told the Courier-Mail.  "The
grievance process allows nurses to have the decision about their
new levels reviewed."

TV AZTECA: SEC To Launch Securities Fraud Charges V. Officials
The Securities and Exchange Commission plans to file fraud
charges against officials of Mexico's second largest broadcaster
TV Azteca, over alleged fraudulent practices related to a debt
restructuring for Unefon, a telephone company owned by Azteca
chairman Ricardo Salina Pliego, Variety.com reports.

Since late December, Mr. Pliego has become involved in a growing
scandal over Unefon, which he owns through holding company Grupo
Salinas.  In July, Unefon refinanced $325 million in debt with a
loan from Nortel Networks.  The loan was arranged through a
third-party company, Codisco, which had purchased it for a deep
discount -- just $107 million.  Unefon later repaid the debt at
full price, netting a $218 million profit for Codisco.  On
December 24, Azteca said it had secured independent council in
the U.S. to investigate its compliance with SEC regulations
related to the Unefon transactions, Variety states.

Less than two weeks later, Azteca announced that Mr. Salinas and
Unefon chairman Moises Saba were behind Codisco, despite earlier
claims to the contrary, meaning that Mr. Salinas and Mr. Saba
may have pocketed the profits.
Such contradictory disclosure may be a violation of the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  The Company has named James Jones, an
independent, nonstock-holding member of Azteca's board, to head
a special committee to review the issue.  

The SEC is preparing to file fraud charges against Company
officials and also has warned Azteca, Mexico's second-largest
broadcaster, to prepare itself for a possible civil trial in the
U.S., according to sources cited in a report by the Financial
Times newspaper.

TV AZTECA: Faces Several Insider Trading Suits Filed In S.D. NY
U.S. law firms Schiffrin & Barroway, Charles J. Piven and Cauley
Geller Bowman & Rudman filed lawsuits in the US District Court
for the Southern District of New York against Mexican
broadcaster TV Azteca, on behalf of minority holders of its
U.S.-traded securities, accusing the company's chairman, Ricardo
Salinas, of insider trading, BNamericas.com reports.

The lawsuit claims Salinas personally profited from insider
trading in a repurchase agreement with Canadian telecom vendor
Nortel Networks for the debt of TV Azteca's Mexican mobile
operator subsidiary Unefon.

TV Azteca initially denied any links between itself and a
"white-knight" group of investors that had saved Unefon from
bankruptcy back in June of 2002 by reaching the agreement with

According to the law firms' statements, TV Azteca stonewalled
disclosure of the true facts, including ignoring advice from
their securities lawyers in the US, until a spin-off of Unefon
was completed in December 2002. The spin-off anticipated that
Unefon's shares would be registered to trade in the US markets
facilitating a merger with Salinas' other telecoms holdings,
which include Mexican mobile operator Iusacell.

On January 9 TV Azteca revealed that the "white-knight"
investors were in fact Salinas and Unefon co-owner Moises Saba,
who made a profit of US$218 million when their privately held
company bought Unefon's debt for US$107 million and then sold it
back for US$325 million.  TV Azteca's ADRs were trading at
US$7.48 each Monday afternoon, down from Friday's close of

TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Jurors Watch Tape Of Ex-CEO Kozlowski Speech
Jurors in the corporate larceny trial of former Tyco
International Ltd. chief executive officer Dennis Kozlowski
watched a videotape Tuesday of Mr. Kozlowski speaking about his
management style at a November 2001 conference called
"Leadership In Turbulent Times", the Associated Press reports.

The tape lasted only a few minutes and showed Mr. Kozlowski
speaking as a panelist at the conference sponsored by Fortune.  
When asked to describe the single most important leadership
quality, Mr. Kozlowski on the tape says be "an open communicator
with everybody in your organization."

Prosecutors say Kozlowski and Mark H. Swartz, Tyco's former
financial chief, were far from open, improperly using Tyco funds
without board approval to enrich themselves and others.  The
tape seemed designed to raise doubts about Mr. Kozlowski's
honesty during his time as a corporate leader.

During the trial, several former Tyco board members have
testified that the board never approved loan forgiveness or
special bonuses granted to executives.  Mr. Kozlowski and Mr.
Swartz have denied wrongdoing, AP reports.  Prosecutors are
close to resting their case against the former executives after
nearly four months and almost 50 witnesses.

UNITED STATES: U.S. Greeks Sue Orthodox Archdiocese Over Charter
Several prominent Greek Orthodox parishioners asked the New York
State Supreme Court to require the archdiocese to follow its own
governing charter, the Associated Press reports.

Last year, the Greek Orthodox hierarchy imposed a rewritten
charter without approval from delegates at a national Clergy-
Laity Congress as required.  The suit alleges the action
violated the old charter from 1978.

In 2002, delegates at a Clergy-Laity Congress wanted the
Istanbul hierarchy to grant Americans the right to nominate
candidates for archbishop, who would then be chosen in Istanbul.  
The Americans also wanted the power to elect other U.S. bishops
by themselves.

Last year's charter, put in place last year by top officials in
Istanbul and New York, makes the election of the archbishop the
"exclusive privilege" of Istanbul, with Americans only allowed
to submit opinions.  The changes were made without approval from
a congress.  The suit alleges that the 2003 charter erodes the
power of the 50-member Archdiocesan Council, a body that
includes parish priests and has a lay majority.

The lawsuit asks the Supreme Court to reinstitute terms of the
old charter.  It doesn't ask for monetary damages.  Whatever
happens in court, the dissenters want to force the charter issue
onto the floor at the next Clergy-Laity Congress, in New York
from July 25-29.

Thirty-five plaintiffs from 17 states joined the suit, which
names the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and its leader,
Archbishop Demetrios, as defendants.  However, their complaint
is ultimately with Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch
Bartholomew and his hierarchy, which has direct jurisdiction
over the U.S. archdiocese.  The plaintiffs want the U.S. Greek
church to be more self-governing.  They told a news conference
that the hierarchy in Turkey is trying to reduce the rights of
American priests and parishioners, AP reports.

Evan Chriss, a lawyer and longtime member of the Archdiocesan
Council, told AP other U.S. Orthodox denominations are no longer
"micromanaged" from overseas.  However, Istanbul still chooses
bishops for the U.S. Greek church, for example, and must
authorize charter changes.  Though secular courts are reluctant
to enter church disputes, Mr. Chriss said this case will proceed
because it involves neutral principles of corporation and
contract law, not doctrine.

A statement from the archdiocese's New York headquarters said,
"We cannot comment on any lawsuit until we have examined the
papers.  However, based on the press release we believe any such
lawsuit is totally without merit."

UNITED STATES: Judge Rules VA Abortion Law 'Unconstitutional'
U.S. District Judge Richard L. Williams deemed Virginia's ban on
a type of late-term abortion as unconstitutional, striking down
a law that uses language mirroring the federal ban signed into
law last year, the Associated Press reports.  

Under the law, "partial-birth abortions," a procedure generally
performed in the second or third trimester in which a fetus is
partially delivered before being killed is illegal.  Judge
Williams blocked the state law in July and declared it void in
his latest decision.   

The suit alleged that Virginia's "vaguely defined" ban could
subject doctors to criminal prosecution even for safely
performing a more common type of second-trimester abortion known
as "dilation and evacuation," as well as obstetrical procedures
that help women suffering miscarriages.  The law's backers
claimed it specifically targeted procedures that take place once
the fetus has emerged from the birth canal.

Judge Williams ruled the law violated privacy rights and failed
to make an exception for the health of the woman.  He also
challenged the use of the term "partial birth infanticide" by
the law's backers, saying it was an attempt to alarm the public.

Lawyers for the Center for Reproductive Rights, who filed the
suit, argued that the Virginia law was unconstitutional because
it disregarded a four-year-old Supreme Court ruling allowing the
procedure when the health of the mother is threatened, AP

"Courts across the country - including the U.S. Supreme Court -
have been clear that such bans are an unconstitutional threat to
women's health and lives," Nancy Northup, president of the
center, said in a statement Monday.  

Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore said he plans to appeal,
AP reports.

U.S. BANCORP: SEC Initiates Investigation Into Mutual Funds Unit
The Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting an informal
inquiry into U.S. Bancorp's mutual fund unit after the
Minneapolis-based financial services company reported potential
improper trading in one portfolio, the Associated Press reports.

U.S. Bancorp Asset Management disclosed the inquiry in a filing
with the SEC on Friday. The potentially improper trading does
not involve illegal late trading, nor does it concern market
timing at First American Funds, U.S. Bancorp general counsel Lee
Mitau told AP.

He declined to provide details about what was reported to the
SEC, but said it involved one security held by the First
American Small Cap Growth Opportunities Fund in 2002. U.S.
Bancorp Asset Management serves as the fund's adviser.  A law
firm hired to review the questionable transaction concluded that
none of U.S. Bancorp Asset Management's employees violated
securities laws, but the bank decided to report its findings to
the SEC anyway, Mr. Mitau told AP.

                  New Securities Fraud Cases  

AOL TIME WARNER: Squitieri & Fearon Files Securities Suit in NY
The law firm of Squitieri & Fearon, initiated a Class Action in
the United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York, on behalf of purchasers of Purchase Pro, Inc.
securities during the period from March 20, 2000 through May 21,

The Complaint charges AOL, America Online and certain of AOL's
officers with violating the federal securities laws and/or state
law by vastly overstating PPRO's revenues and earnings through a
series of fraudulent transactions between PPRO and AOL. The
Complaint charges that each defendant violated Section 10(b) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC Rule 10b-5. It also
charges Robert Pittman (who was AOL's President and COO during
the Class Period) and David Colburn (who was a senior officer of
AOL during the Class Period) with violating Section 20(a) of the
Exchange Act and charges America Online, Inc. and AOL Time
Warner, Inc. with liability for the individual defendants'
violations of the securities laws.

After the truth was revealed about the fraudulent deals between
PPRO and AOL, the prices of PPRO's securities collapsed and PPRO
filed for bankruptcy protection.

The Class Action seeks to recover damages on behalf of all
purchasers of PPRO's securities during the Class Period.
Excluded from the Class are the defendants and members of their
immediate families, any entity in which a defendant has a
controlling interest and the heirs of any such excluded party.

For more information, contact Lee Squitieri, by Phone:
(212) 575-2092, or by E-mail: lee@sfclasslaw.com.

DEUTSCHE BANK: Rabin Murray Launches Securities Suit in S.D. NY
The law firm of Rabin, Murray & Frank LLP initiated a class
action lawsuit in the Southern District of New York today, on
behalf of purchasers of Scudder Flag Investors Value Builder
Fund (Nasdaq:FVBBX), (Nasdaq:FVBCX), (Nasdaq:FLIVX); Scudder
Focus Value+Growth Fund (Nasdaq: KVGBX), (Nasdaq:KVGCX); Scudder
Equity 500 Index (Nasdaq: BTIEX); and Scudder High Income Plus
Fund (Nasdaq:MGHYX), (Nasdaq:MGHVX), (Nasdaq:MGHPX), which are
operated by Germany-based financial services company, Deutsche
Bank AG, Scudder Investments, and Deutsche Investment Management
Americas Inc. and Deutsche Asset Management, Inc., between
January 22, 1999 and January 12, 2004, inclusive, seeking
remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the
Securities Act of 1933 and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940,
against defendants Deutsche Bank AG, Scudder Investments,
Deutsche Investment Management, Deutsche Asset Management, each
of the Scudder mutual funds and their registrants, and John Does

The Funds, and the symbols for the respective Funds named below,
are as follows:

     (1) Scudder 21st Century Growth Fund   (Sym: SCNAX, SCNBX,

     (2) Scudder Aggressive Growth Fund   (Sym: KGGAX, KGGBX,

     (3) Scudder Blue Chip Fund   (Sym: KBCAX, KBCBX, KBCCX)

     (4) Scudder Capital Growth Fund (Sym: SDGAX, SDGBX, SDGCX,
         SDGRX, SDGTX)

     (5) Scudder Dynamic Growth Fund   (Sym: KSCAX, KSCBX,

     (6) Scudder Flag Investors Communications Fund   (Sym:

     (7) Scudder Global Biotechnology Fund   (Sym: DBBTX, DBBBX,

     (8) Scudder Gold & Precious Metals Fund   (Sym: SGDAX,
         SGDBX, SGDCX)

     (9) Scudder Growth Fund   (Sym: KGRAX, KGRBX, KGRCX)

    (10) Scudder Health Care Fund   Sym: SUHAX, SUHBX, SUHCX)

    (11) Scudder Large Company Growth Fund   (Sym: SGGAX, SGGBX,
         SGGCX, SCQRX)

    (12) Scudder Micro Cap Fund   (Sym: SMFAX, SMFBX, SMFCX,
         MGMCX, MMFSX)

    (13) Scudder Mid Cap Fund   (Sym: SMCAX, SMCBX, SMCCX,

    (14) Scudder Small Cap Fund   (Sym: SSDAX, SSDBX, SSDCX,
         SSDRX, BTSCX)

    (15) Scudder Strategic Growth Fund   (Sym: SCDAX, SCDBX,
         SCDCX, SCDIX)

    (16) Scudder Technology Fund   (Sym: KTCAX, KTCBX, KTCCX,

    (17) Scudder Technology Innovation Fund   (Sym: SRIAX,
         SRIBX, SRICX)

    (18) Scudder Top 50 US Fund   (Sym: FAUSX, FBUSX, FCUSX)

    (19) Scudder Contrarian Fund   (Sym: KDCAX, KDCBX, KDCCX,

    (20) Scudder-Dreman Financial Services Fund   (Sym: KDFAX,
         KDFBX, KDFCX)

    (21) Scudder-Dreman High Return Equity Fund   (Sym: KDHAX,

    (22) Scudder-Dreman Small Cap Value Fund (Sym: KDSAX, KDSBX,

    (23) Scudder Flag Investors Equity Partners Fund   (Sym:

    (24) Scudder Growth & Income Fund   (Sym: SUWAX, SUWBX,

    (25) Scudder Large Company Value Fund   (Sym: SDVAX, SDVBX,

    (26) Scudder-RREEF Real Estate Securities Fund (Sym: RRRAX,

    (27) Scudder Small Company Stock Fund   (Sym: SZCAX, SZCBX,

    (28) Scudder Small Company Value Fund   (Sym: SAAUX, SABUX,

    (29) Scudder Tax Advantaged Dividend Fund   (Sym: SDDAX,

    (30) Scudder Flag Investors Value Builder Fund   (Sym:

    (31) Scudder Focus Value+Growth Fund   (Sym: KVGAX, KVGBX,

    (32) Scudder Lifecycle Mid Range Fund   (Sym: BTLRX)

    (33) Scudder Lifecycle Long Range Fund   (Sym: BTILX, BTAMX)

    (34) Scudder Lifecycle Short Range Fund   (Sym: BTSRX)

    (35) Scudder Pathway Conservative Portfolio (Sym: SUCAX,
         SUCBX, SUCCX)

    (36) Scudder Pathway Growth Portfolio (Sym: SUPAX, SUPBX,

    (37) Scudder Pathway Moderate Portfolio   (Sym: SPDAX,
         SPDBX, SPDCX)

    (38) Scudder Retirement Fund Series V  (Sym: KRFEX)

    (39) Scudder Retirement Fund Series VI   (Sym: KRFGX)

    (40) Scudder Retirement Fund Series VII   (Sym: KRFGX)

    (41) Scudder Target 2010 Fund   (Sym: KRFBX)

    (42) Scudder Target 2012 Fund   (Sym: KRFCX)

    (43) Scudder Target 2013 Fund   (Sym: KRFDX)

    (44) Scudder Total Return Fund   (Sym: KTRAX, KTRBX, KTRCX,

    (45) Scudder Emerging Markets Growth Fund   (Sym: SEKAX,
         SEKBX, SEKCX)

    (46) Scudder Emerging Markets Income Fund   (Sym: SZEAX,
         SZEBX, SZECX)

    (47) Scudder European Equity Fund (Sym: DBEAX, DBEBX, DBECX,
         MEUEX, MEUVX)

    (48) Scudder Global Fund   (Sym: SGQAX, SGQBX, SGQCX, SGQRX)

    (49) Scudder Global Bond Fund   (Sym: SZGAX, SZGBX, SZGCX)

    (50) Scudder Global Discovery Fund   (Sym: KGDAX, KGDBX,

    (51) Scudder Greater Europe Growth Fund   (Sym: SERAX,
         SERBX, SERCX)

    (52) Scudder International Fund   (Sym: SUIAX, SUIBX,

    (53) Scudder International Equity Fund   (Sym: DBAIX, DBBIX,

    (54) Scudder International Select Equity Fund (Sym: DBISX,

    (55) Scudder Japanese Equity Fund   (Sym:  FJEAX, FJEBX,

    (56) Scudder Latin America Fund   (Sym: SLANX, SLAOX, SLAPX)

    (57) Scudder New Europe Fund   (Sym: KNEAX, KNEBX, KNECX,

    (58) Scudder Pacific Opportunities Fund   (Sym: SPAOX,
         SBPOX, SPCCX)

    (59) Scudder Worldwide 2004 Fund   (Sym: KWIVX)

    (60) Scudder Fixed Income Fund   (Sym: SFXAX, SFXBX, SFXCX,

    (61) Scudder High Income Plus Fund (Sym: MGHYX, MGHVX,

    (62) Scudder High Income Fund   (Sym: KHYAX, KHYBX, KHYCX,

    (63) Scudder High Income Opportunity Fund   (Sym: SYOAX,
         SYOBX, SYOCX)

    (64) Scudder Income Fund   (Sym: SZIAX, SZIBX, SZICX)

    (65) Scudder PreservationPlus Fund   (Sym: BTPIX, BTPSX)

    (66) Scudder PreservationPlus Income Fund (Sym: PPIAX,
         PPLCX, DBPIX)

    (67) Scudder Short Term Bond Fund   (Sym: SZBAX, SZBBX,

    (68) Scudder Short Duration Fund   (Sym: SDUAX, SDUBX,
         SDUCX, MGSFX)

    (69) Scudder Strategic Income Fund   (Sym: KSTAX, KSTBX,

    (70) Scudder US Government Securities Fund   (Sym: KUSAX,
         KUSBX, KUSCX)

    (71) Scudder California Tax-Free Income Fund   (Sym: KCTAX,
         KCTBX, KCTCX)

    (72) Scudder Florida Tax-Free Income Fund   (Sym: KFLAX,
         KFLBX, KFLCX)

    (73) Scudder High Yield Tax-Free Fund   (Sym: NOTAX,

    (74) Scudder Intermediate Tax/AMT Free Fund   (Sym: SZMAX,
         SZMBX, SZMCX)

    (75) Scudder Managed Municipal Bond Fund   (Sym: SMLAX,

    (76) Scudder Massachusetts Tax-Free Fund   (Sym: SQMAX,
         SQMBX, SQMCX)

    (77) Scudder Municipal Bond Fund   (Sym: MGMBX, MMBSX)

    (78) Scudder New York Tax-Free Income Fund   (Sym: KNTAX,
         KNTBX, KNTCX)

    (79) Scudder Short Term Municipal Bond Fund   (Sym: SRMAX,

    (80) Scudder EAFE r Equity Index Fund   (Sym: BTAEX, BTIEX)

    (81) Scudder Equity 500 Index Fund   (Sym: BTIIX)

    (82) Scudder S&P 500 Stock Fund   (Sym: KSAAX, KSABX, KSACX)

    (83) Scudder Select 500 Fund  (Sym: OUTDX, OUTBX, OUTBX,

    (84) Scudder US Bond Index Fund (Sym: BTUSX )

    (85) Scudder Cash Reserves Fund

The Complaint alleges that defendants violated Sections 11 and
15 of the Securities Act of 1933; Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder; and Section 206 of the Investment Advisers Act of
1940. The Complaint charges that, throughout the Class Period,
certain of the defendants failed to disclose that they
improperly allowed certain favored investors "timing" of the
Funds' securities.

In return for receiving extra fees from favored investors,
Deutsche Bank AG, Scudder Investments, Deutsche Asset
Management, and Deutsche Investment Management allowed and
facilitated timing activities in the Funds, to the detriment of
class members, who paid, dollar for dollar, for improper profits
made by privileged investors. These practices were undisclosed
in the prospectuses of the Funds, which falsely represented that
the Funds actively police against timing and that premature
redemptions will be assessed a charge.

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

HOLLINGER INT'L: Grant & Eisenhofer Lodges Securities Suit in IL
The Law firm Grant & Eisenhofer, P.A. initiated a class action
lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois, on behalf of purchasers of the securities, including
the common stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange, of
Hollinger International, Inc. between August 13, 1999 and March
31, 2003, inclusive, against the Company and:

     (1) Lord Conrad N. Black,

     (2) Hollinger Inc.,

     (3) Ravelston Corporation Limited,

     (4) Ravelston Management Inc.,

     (5) Argus Corporation Ltd.,

     (6) KPMG LLP,

     (7) David Radler,

     (8) Jack A. Boultbee, and

     (9) Peter Atkinson

The lawsuit alleges violations of sections 10(b), 18 and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder by the Securities and Exchange
Commission, violations of the Illinois Securities Law of 1953,
breaches of fiduciary duties, and aiding and abetting the
breaches of fiduciary duties, by issuing a series of material
misrepresentations to the market during the Class Period.

The complaint alleges that, during the Class Period, the

     (i) misrepresented the terms of Hollinger's asset sales by
         failing to disclose that significant portions of the
         proceeds from the asset sales were diverted to
         Hollinger Inc., Lord Black, Radler, Boultbee and
         Atkinson under the guise of purported "non-compete"

    (ii) misrepresented the terms of management services
         agreements between Hollinger and its parent corporation
         (controlled by Lord Black) Hollinger Inc. and/or
         entities controlled by Lord Black and certain of the
         defendants, and concealed the fact that Hollinger was
         paying purported management services fees to those
         entities without having them provide any services to

   (iii) misrepresented the terms of Hollinger's asset sales to
         entities owned and/or controlled by Lord Black and
         other defendants in transactions at below market
         prices, where in some cases Hollinger sold newspapers
         for one dollar which others had offered to buy for over
         $1 million; and

    (iv) misrepresented Lord Black's compensation, by failing to
         disclose millions of dollars paid to Lord Black by a
         Hollinger subsidiary.

The defendants compounded their fraud by falsely claiming that
Hollinger's asset sales, the non-compete payments to Lord Black
and other defendants, and other related-party transactions, were
approved by Hollinger's Board of Directors and the Audit
Committee of the Board of Directors, when they were not.

As a result of defendants' materially false and misleading
statements during the Class Period, the investing public was
deceived, the market price of Hollinger's stock was artificially
inflated, and plaintiff and other members of the class were
damaged by their purchases of Hollinger stock at prices
artificially inflated by defendants' fraud.

Once Hollinger finally disclosed to its shareholders some of the
information about the self-dealing transactions and non-compete
payments in the Company's SEC filings, it misrepresented the
amount of the non-compete payments, it falsely stated that those
payments were "required" to close the Company's assets sales,
and it falsely claimed that the Company's independent directors
had approved the payments.

Hollinger's SEC filings also failed to disclose that, although
the company was paying Ravelston Corporation Limited millions of
dollars each year pursuant to management services agreements,
Ravelston was not providing any services to the Company.
Hollinger's SEC filings also failed to disclose the terms of its
prior asset sales which were designed to favor companies
controlled by Lord Conrad Black and other defendants named in
the complaint.

Hollinger's misrepresentations and fraud began at least as early
as the filing of its Form 10-Q with the SEC on August 13, 1999,
at which time Hollinger's stock traded at $10.08 per share, but
as a result of defendants' misrepresentations and fraud,
Hollinger's stock was artificially inflated and traded at $13.11
per share by March 28, 2002. As the marketplace reacted to the
news of Lord Black's self-dealing, Hollinger's stock began to
drop in price, but it was not until March 31, 2003, under
pressure from its institutional investors, that Hollinger
disclosed the improprieties by Lord Black and the other
defendants, and the price of the Company stock dropped that day
to $7.90 per share. This action, therefore, is brought on behalf
of a class of individuals who purchased Hollinger's securities
during the Class Period and lost millions of dollars as a result
of the defendant's fraud.

For more information, contact John C. Kairis or Jay W.
Eisenhofer, by Phone: 302-622-7000, or by E-mail:

HOLLINGER INT'L: Brian Felgoise Lodges Securities Lawsuit in IL
The Law Offices of Brian M. Felgoise, P.C. initiated a
securities class action in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Illinois, on behalf of shareholders who
acquired Hollinger International securities between August 13,
1999 and March 31, 2003, inclusive, against the company and
certain key officers and directors.

The action charges that defendants violated the 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 Brian M. Felgoise, 261 Old York
Road, Suite 423, Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, 19046, by Phone:
(215) 886-1900, or by E-mail: securitiesfraud@comcast.net.

INTERPOOL INC.: Bernard Gross Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in NJ
The Law Offices of Bernard M. Gross, P.C. initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
District of New Jersey (Trenton Division), on behalf of all
persons who purchased the securities of Interpool, Inc. between
March 27, 2001 and December 29, 2003, seeking remedies under the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, against defendants Interpool,
Inc. and:

     (1) Martin Tuchman (CEO and President),

     (2) Raoul J. Witteveen (former COO and President), and

     (3) Mitchell I. Gordon (CFO, Executive Vice President)

The Complaint alleges that defendants violated the Exchange Act
by issuing material misrepresentations concerning its reported
financial results between March 27, 2001 and December 29, 2003.
The Company has seriously deficient or non-existent internal
controls relating to the accounting for direct finance leases,
the policies for complex transactions, communications of complex
transactions, adequate staffing within the accounting
department, accounting for income taxes, communication of
information regarding related party transactions, security of
information technology, accounting for inter-company
eliminations, and record keeping by various internal

As result of the Company's numerous accounting improprieties,
Interpool had overstated its net income during the Class Period
as well as had overstated its shareholders' equity during the
Class Period. Therefore, its reported financial results did not
fairly present the results of its operations and were not
prepared in accordance with GAAP.

On December 29, 2003, Interpool announced an additional delay in
the completion of its restated 2000 and 2001 and first three
quarters of 2002 financial statements and 2002 financial
statements. The additional delay was necessary to complete
further analysis of the accounting for a pending claim by
Interpool under its insurance policy covering leaded faults. Due
to this delay, the Company stated that it did not know if it
would meet certain covenants and waivers as well as the
potential to have a greater reduction on Interpool's restated
stockholders equity. Also on this date, the New York Stock
Exchange announced that it would suspend trading in Interpool's
common stock and commenced delisting proceedings. As a result of
this announcement, Interpool common stock dropped from $19.26
adjusted close on December 26, to an adjusted close on December
29 of $12.00, a 37% drop.

For more information, contact Susan R. Gross or Deborah R.
Gross, by Mail: 1515 Locust Street, Suite 200,
Philadelphia, PA 19102, by Phone: (215) 561-3600 or
(866) 561-3600 (toll free), by E-mail: susang@bernardmgross.com,
or debbie@bernardmgross.com, or visit the firm's Website:

MICROMUSE INC.: Kaplan Fox Launches Securities Suit in N.D. CA
Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP initiated a class action suit in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of
California, on behalf of all persons or entities, other than
defendants, who purchased the securities of Micromuse, Inc.,
between October 24, 2000 and December 30, 2003, inclusive and
who suffered damages thereby, against Micromuse, Inc. and
certain of its senior officers.

The lawsuit alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
issued numerous positive statements and filed quarterly reports
with the SEC describing the Company's increasing financial
performance. 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 had improperly accounted for the
         timing of certain accrued expenses and the recognition
         of certain other expenses;

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

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

On December 30, 2003, the Company announced that it had opened
an internal inquiry into its accounting which it expects will
lead to a restatement of its financial statements for the past
four years. The Company also announced that it would delay
filing its Form 10-K for fiscal 2003 while it completes the
inquiry and restatement process.

For more information, contact Donald R Hall, by Mail: 805 Third
Avenue, 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10022, by Phone: (800) 290-1952
or (212) 687-1980, Fax: (212) 687-7714, or by E-mail:

PROGRESS ENERGY: Goodkind Labaton Launches Securities Suit in NY
The law firm of Goodkind Labaton Rudoff & Sucharow LLP initiated
a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for
the Southern District of New York, on behalf of persons who
obtained Contingent Value Obligations in exchange for their
Florida Progress common stock pursuant to the closing of the
merger of CP&L Energy and Florida Progress Corporation and who
purchased the CVOs in the period between November 30, 2000, and
February 12, 2002, inclusive, against Progress Energy Inc., and
William Cavanaugh III.

The complaint alleges that pursuant to the merger of CP&L Energy
and the Florida Progress Corporation, Progress Energy, the
merged Company, issued a proxy statement that contained material
omissions concerning the value of the CVOs which had been used
by the two companies to entice shareholders to approve the

Specifically, Defendants, with full knowledge that the Fuel
Credits underlying the CVOs would be subject to the alternative
minimum tax, failed to inform prospective CVO holders that the
tax benefits represented as being made available to synthetic
fuel producers, which were critical to the imputed value of the
CVOs, would be adversely affected by the application of the AMT.
In addition, Defendants failed to inform prospective CVO holders
that as a result of the application of the AMT, the fuel credits
would not eliminate the federal income tax liability and the
Company could not use the fuel credits to reduce its effective
tax rate below 20%.

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

VANS INC.: Cauley Geller Commences Securities Lawsuit in C.D. CA
Cauley Geller Bowman & Rudman, LLP initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central
District of California, on behalf of purchasers of Vans, Inc.
common stock during the period between March 24, 1999 and May
23, 2002, inclusive, against defendants Vans, Inc., and:

     (1) Andrew J. Greenebaum, and

     (2) Gary Schoenfeld

The lawsuit alleges violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder. More specifically, the Complaint alleges that
defendants failed to disclose and indicate:

    (i) that the Company improperly recognized revenue in
         violation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principals;

   (ii) that Company accomplished its illegal revenue  
        recognition scheme by sending products to third-party
        distributors and holding the products there until a
        buyer could be found;

  (iii) that the defendants entered into this scheme because
        defendants knew that its skate parks were losing cash
        and its sales were falling flat; and

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

On May 23, 2002, Vans announced preliminary results for the
fourth quarter and fiscal year ending May 31, 2002, revisions to
its guidance for fiscal 2003, plans to close its Bakersfield,
California skate park and take an impairment charge with respect
to its Denver, Colorado skate park, and a write-down of certain
slow-moving inventory. The market reacted swiftly to the news
with shares of Vans falling 19.87% or $2.53 per share to close
at $10.20 per share on May 24, 2002.

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: 1-888-551-9944 (toll free), Fax:
1-501-312-8505, or by E-mail: info@cauleygeller.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


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

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

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

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

Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed
to be reliable, but is not guaranteed.

The CAR subscription rate is $575 for six months delivered via
e-mail.  Additional e-mail subscriptions for members of the same
firm for the term of the initial subscription or balance thereof
are $25 each.  For subscription information, contact Christopher
Beard at 240/629-3300.

* * *  End of Transmission  * * *