/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/060711.mbx             C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Tuesday, July 11, 2006, Vol. 8, No. 136


AMERICAN INTERCONTINENTAL: Continues to Face Wage Suit in Ill.
CALIFORNIA: Appeals Court Dismisses Some Claims in SVP Lawsuit
CANADA: Court Allows Lesbian Mothers to Become Legal Co-Parents
CANADA: Dismissal of Suit Over Youbou Sawmill Closure Appealed
CMS ENERGY: Mich. Court Approves $28M ERISA Suit Settlement

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Taxpayers Seek $40B IRS Phone Tax Refund
DITECH COMMUNICATIONS: Seeks Dismissal of Calif. Securities Suit
FELT BICYCLES: Recalls Mountain Bicycles with Defective Brakes
FLORIDA: Court Says Hollywood Car Seizures Don't Clash With Law
HOMEOWNERS FOR JUSTICE: Former Lawyer Ordered to Return $265T

HYUNDAI MOTOR: Recalls 2006 Sonata with Missing Air Bag Labels
ILLINOIS: Bill Proposes Penalty for Overtime Pay Violations
KENTUCKY: Lexington Continues to Pay Cost of Micro-City Lawsuit
LA ESPERANZA: Labor Lawsuit in Santa Cruz County Remains Pending
LEXAR MEDIA: Computer Storage Devices Recalled for Burn Hazard

MORGAN STANLEY: Faces Gender Discrimination Lawsuit in Calif.
MORGAN STANLEY: Securities Brokers File Wage, Hour Suit in Conn.
NEW MEXICO: Santa Fe Jail Strip-Search Suit Settled for $5.5M
NORTH DAKOTA: Appeal on Suit Over Joint Custody in Divorce Nixed
PALACE BACKPACKER: Faces Lawsuit Over Hostel Fire Deaths in 2000

PUBLIX SUPER: Recalls Cookie Dough with Undeclared Tree Nuts
ROYAL OASIS: Sued Over Alleged Illegal Random Faxing in Ohio
SMALL WORLD: Recalls Baby Toy Vehicles Posing Choking Hazard
TASER INT'L: N.D. Calif. Court Shelves Product Liability Lawsuit
TENET HEALTHCARE: Hilton Medical Patients to Get Reimbursement

TENNESSEE: Motorists Sue Oakland Over Fines, Allege Extortion
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Fitch Ratings Welcomes Ruling in "Engle"
TOBACCO LITIGATION: American Legacy Criticizes Engle Decision
UNITED STATES: Products Liability Suits Decline, Research Says

                   New Securities Fraud Cases

HOME SOLUTIONS: Glancy Binkow Files Tex. Securities Fraud Suit


AMERICAN INTERCONTINENTAL: Continues to Face Wage Suit in Ill.
American Intercontinental University Online remains a defendant
in a federal class action in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois over alleged overtime pay abuses.

Paul Vander Vennet filed the suit on Aug. 24, 2005 under the
caption, "Vennet et al v. American Intercontinental University
Online et al."

Plaintiff alleges overtime violations pursuant to Section 6(b)
of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1928, the Illinois Minimum
Wage Law, and the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act.

The suit seeks to recover unpaid regular and overtime
compensation, liquidated damages, attorney' fees costs and other
relief for defendants violations of the state and federal labor

The company is a subsidiary of Career Education Corp.  In a
written statement, Stuart Chanen, an attorney for the online
education company, denied the lawsuit's claims.

Mr. Chanen also wrote that the company has paid overtime to
hundreds of workers, including those who did not meet their
recruitment quotas.

Furthermore, the company conducted its own investigation into
the allegations after the lawsuit was filed and "found them to
be without merit," Mr. Chanen wrote.

The complaint is available free of charge at:


The suit is "Vennet et al v. American Intercontinental
University Online et al., Case No. 1:05-cv-04889," filed in the
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois under
Judge William T. Hart with referral to Judge Michael T. Mason.

Representing the plaintiff is Robin B. Potter of Robin Potter &
Associates, P.C., 111 East Wacker Drive, Suite 2600, Chicago, IL
60601, Phone: (312) 861-1800, E-mail: robinpotter@igc.org.

Representing the company is James M. Gecker of Katten Muchin
Rosenman, LLP, 525 West Monroe Street, Suite 1600, Chicago, IL
60661, Phone: (312) 902-5200, E-mail:

CALIFORNIA: Appeals Court Dismisses Some Claims in SVP Lawsuit
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld,
in part, an order by Judge Terry Hatter of the U.S. District
Court for the Central District of California denying a motion to
dismiss a putative class action brought on behalf of 600 persons
who were committed or were awaiting commitment to Atascadero
State Hospital, The Metropolitan News-Enterprise reports.

In its ruling, the appellate court stated that California
officials do not have qualified immunity from claims of various
constitutional violations brought by plaintiffs who have been
civilly committed pursuant to the state's Sexually Violent
Predators Act.

Judge Harry Pregerson wrote on behalf of the appellate panel.  
Defendants in the class action were the hospital's executive
director, the directors of the California departments of Mental
Health and Corrections and a plethora of state officials,
including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.  

Plaintiffs, who are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief,
as well as monetary damages, alleged that they were forced to
live in squalid conditions that were inhumane and posed a
serious health risk, were deprived of privacy when showering,
sleeping, using the toilets or participating in therapy
sessions, and were force-medicated in non-emergency situations.

In addition, plaintiffs alleged that they were subjected to
unreasonable searches, were not allowed to speak to their
attorneys in private, and were punished in retaliation for
filing grievances.

Since the law governing civil commitment of sexual predators is
still evolving, defendants argued that they were entitled to
qualified immunity.  Due to continuing evolution of the law,
defendants also argued that they could not have violated clearly
established constitutional rights.

On that account, the appellate panel agreed in part, thus it
reversed Judge Hatter's ruling that defendants were not entitled
to dismissal of plaintiffs' ex post facto and double jeopardy
claims, as well as claims based on the Eighth Amendment.  

Furthermore, the panel also found that the defendants have
qualified immunity from plaintiffs' claims that they were forced
into participating in treatment in violation of their First
Amendment right of free speech, since the law on this point is
not clearly established.  However, on all other claims, the
panel agreed with Judge Hatter.

Persons convicted of a sexually violent offense against two or
more victims for which they receive a determinate sentence and
those who have diagnosed mental disorder that make them
dangerous to the health and safety of others are subjected to
evaluations of the departments of Corrections and Mental Health
six month before their sentence is complete.

If the two departments agree that a person might be a sexually
violent predator, the county counsel or district attorney may
file a petition for commitment.  If a jury finds that the person
is a predator who poses a danger to the health and safety of
others, he is civilly committed for an indefinite period to
commence after his criminal sentence.

Persons who have been committed undergo a five-phase treatment

The appellate court decision is available free of charge at:


The suit is "James A. Hydrick, et al. v. Peter Wilson, et al.,
Case No. 2:98-cv-07167-TJH-RNB," on appeal from the U.S.
District Court for the Central District of California under
Judge Terry J. Hatter, Jr. with referral to Judge Robert N.

Representing the plaintiffs are Wayne S. Flick and Matthew B.
Hayes of Latham & Watkins, 633 W 5th St, Ste 4000, Los Angeles,
CA 90071-2007, Phone: 213-485-1234.

Representing the defendants are Karen Ackerson-Brazille and Eric
D. Bates of CAAG Office of Attorney General of California, 300 S
Spring St, Suite 1700, Los Angeles, CA 90013-1230, Phone: 213-
897-2000, Fax: 213-897-2805.

CANADA: Court Allows Lesbian Mothers to Become Legal Co-Parents
A Canadian Superior Court ruled that the Vital Statistics Act
discriminates against lesbian mothers in preventing them from
being registered as co-parents on their children's birth
records, according to The Hamilton Spectator.

Justice Paul Rivard of the Superior Court of Justice has given
the Ontario provincial government a year to change the VSA, so
that lesbian partners will be legally registered as parents on
birth records, the report said.

The suit stemmed from a class action brought by three lesbian
couples, including Dundas couple Melanie Parish and Dr. Mel
Rutherford.  Using Dr. Rutherford's ova and donated sperm,
Parish carried and gave birth to twin sons.

CANADA: Dismissal of Suit Over Youbou Sawmill Closure Appealed
The Youbou Timberless Society has filed an appeal on the
dismissal of its class action over the closure of the Youbou  
sawmill in 2001, according to Peace, Earth & Justice News

In June, Supreme Court Justice R.D. Wilson dismissed the suit,  
saying it was too similar to an Industrial, Wood and Allied  
Workers of Canada lawsuit launched in 2001 against the British
Columbia government.  The union, now United Steelworkers, filed
the suit in 2003.  It later voted to dismiss the case based on
its legal counsel.

In the same year, Society board member Ken James carried the  
suit forward on behalf of 200 displaced workers after TimberWest  
closed the Youbou sawmill.

The society needs to raise between $15,000 and $20,000 to cover  
lawyer expenses, according to The Pictorial (Class Action
Reporter, July 5, 2006).

The suit stems from the government's removal in 1997 of the  
clause that tied Tree Farm License 46 to the Youbou sawmill,  
allowing TimberWest Forest Corp. to continue harvesting the  
timber while shutting down the mill.

The suit is "James v. Crown."  Mr. James' lawyer is Joseph Arvay
of Arvay Finlay -- http://www.arvayfinlay.com/-- Victoria,  
British Columbia (Vancouver Island Co.).

CMS ENERGY: Mich. Court Approves $28M ERISA Suit Settlement
The Honorable George Caram Steeh of the U.S. District Court for
the Eastern District of Michigan entered an Order and Final
Judgment on June 27 approving an agreement to settle two
consolidated lawsuits filed in 2002 as putative class actions on
behalf of participants and beneficiaries of CMS Energy's
Employees' Savings Plan who participated in the Plan between
Aug. 3, 2000 and Dec. 27, 2004.

CMS Energy, Consumers, CMS Marketing, Services and Trading
Company, nka now known as CMS Energy Resource Management
Company, and certain officers and directors were defendants in
the lawsuits.

On Mar. 1, 2006, the company and consumers reached an agreement,
subject to court and independent fiduciary approval, to settle
the lawsuits.  The court issued an order on Mar. 23, 2006,
granting preliminary approval of the settlement (Class Action
Reporter, May 25, 2006).

The settlement agreement requires a $28 million cash payment by
CMS Energy's primary insurer that will be used to pay plan
participants and beneficiaries for alleged losses, as well as
any legal fees and expenses.

In addition, the company agreed to certain other steps regarding
administration of the plan.

A full-text copy of Judge Steeh's order is available for free


Headquartered in Jackson, Michigan, Consumers Energy Company --
http://www.consumersenergy.com/-- the primary subsidiary of CMS  
Energy, is a combination electric and natural gas utility that
serves more than 3.3 million customers in Michigan's Lower

One of the suits is "Schilling v. CMS Energy Corp., et al.,  
2:02-cv-72834-GCS," filed in the U.S. District Court for the  
Eastern District of Michigan under Judge George Caram Steeh.   
Representing the plaintiffs are:

     (1) Barry D. Adler of Adler and Assoc. (Farmington Hills),
         30300 Northwestern Highway, Suite 304, Farmington  
         Hills, MI 48334, Phone: 248-855-5090, E-mail:
         badler@adlerfirm.com; and  

     (2) Ellen M. Doyle of Malakoff, Doyle, 437 Grant St., Suite  
         200, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, Phone: 412-281-8400, E-mail:

Representing the defendants are:

     (i) Wilber H. Boies of McDermott, Will, (Chicago), 227 W.  
         Monroe Street, Suite 4400, Chicago, IL 60606-5096,  
         Phone: 312-372-2000, E-mail: bboies@mwe.com; and

    (ii) James E. Brunner of Consumers Power Company, Legal  
         Department, 212 W. Michigan Avenue, Jackson, MI 49201,  
         Phone: 517-788-0550, Fax: 517-788-0550.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Taxpayers Seek $40B IRS Phone Tax Refund
Taxpayers filed an amended complaint in the U.S. District Court
for the District of Columbia asserting the Internal Revenue
Service devised rules that will effectively deny refunds to and
shortchange American taxpayers entitled to refunds by billions
of dollars.

The IRS allegedly devised these rules without public input.  The
tax refund and credit rules released May 25 will harm the
interests of all consumers of phone services and leave millions
with nothing, the lawsuit states.

The amended class action, "Sloan, et al. v. United States of
America, acting by and through the Internal Revenue Service,"
was originally filed on March 15, 2006 to end the illegal three
percent federal excise tax upon long distance phone calls.

It sought the return of all money unlawfully exacted through the
excise "tax" upon certain long distance and wireless telephone
charges added to consumers' monthly bills for more than eight

Two months after the case was filed -- with motions for
preliminary injunction and class certification pending and in
the face of five U.S. District Courts of Appeal declaring the
excise tax to be illegal -- the government announced it would
stop collecting the tax and refund the money to taxpayers.

Now, the Sloan plaintiffs, including individual and small
business taxpayers, call for an accounting and fair, efficient
and accurate restitution, with interest, to all taxpayers of the
tens of billions of dollars unlawfully exacted before the
government acknowledged that the tax was illegal.

"Unfortunately, after years of illegally 'nickel and diming'
Americans on their phone bills, the IRS would now shortchange
everyone and arbitrarily impose huge burdens on small businesses
and many low income individuals especially senior citizens,"
explained Jonathan Cuneo of Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP of
Washington, DC, a co-lead attorney for the plaintiffs.

"Behind closed doors, the IRS by fiat made demographic choices
in designing the tax refund rules that will effectively deny the
less affluent the ability to recover their own money."

The IRS rules governing the excise tax refund or credit
published May 25 as Notice 2006-50 were devised without the
public review or input required by the Federal Administrative
Procedure Act, the lawsuit said.

The IRS would allow for a refund/credit of taxes paid during
only three of the eight years the tax was illegally exacted.
And, by requiring all taxpayers to file income tax forms to
receive the refund/credit they are entitled to, the rules
allegedly effectively exclude millions of non-filers such as
senior citizens and other low income consumers of phone services
whose level of earnings fall below the minimum filing

Finally, unlike individual taxpayers who may opt to accept a
flat "safe harbor" refund/credit dollar amount (yet to be
determined by the IRS), small businesses are reportedly required
to compile years of monthly phone bills and calculate the actual
amount of taxes they illegally paid before receiving anything.

"For no stated reason and with no legal authority to do so, the
IRS unilaterally acted to sharply cut the payback of taxpayers'
own money," Mr. Cuneo continued.  "It is simply unfair to
exclude millions of non-filers from the payback and force small
'mom and pop' businesses to expend hours and hours collecting
and analyzing over years of records in order to receive their
own money."

According to AARP, at least 37 percent of those aged 65 or
older, or 13 million Americans, did not file income tax returns
in 1998 because they did not earn enough money to be required to
do so.  But, most of those seniors and millions of other
Americans with low incomes had telephones and paid the illegal
excise tax on their monthly bills during that year and in each
successive year.

The class's attorneys contend most of those taxpayers will not
benefit from the refund rules as now constructed because they do
not file income tax returns.

The federal appeals courts in the Second, Third, Sixth, Eleventh
and District of Columbia circuits have ruled in lawsuits brought
by major corporations that the communications excise tax was
never authorized by Congress as required by the Constitution.

The Congressional Research Service, which in an April 24 report
described the tax as "regressive" because it did not "treat
similarly situated taxpayers equally" and "reduces overall
economic welfare," estimates the tax exacted a total of about $6
billion each year from virtually all Americans with long-
distance telephone service.

"Using the CRS annual estimate, between $30 and $40 billion was
collected unlawfully by the government since 1998," according to
Nicholas Chimicles of Chimicles & Tikellis LLP of Haverford, PA,
another co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs.  "A long series of
Supreme Court decisions demonstrate taxpayers are entitled to
the 'clear and certain' remedy of full restitution of taxes,
plus interest, collected in violation of federal law."

The three percent federal excise tax is levied upon toll charges
for long distance service as defined in 1965 and should have
been applied only where the charge for a toll call varied on the
basis of both the distance and elapsed time of each individual

But, most long-distance carriers now charge a flat per minute
rate for calls to anywhere in the nation.  AT&T, for instance,
had abandoned distance and time formulas by 1997 and MCI
followed in 2000.

"As technology changed and more telephone services were billed
at flat rates, the government never went back to Congress to
seek a three percent excise tax on long distance service based
on elapsed time only," explained Robert Cynkar of Egan,
Fitzpatrick, Malsch & Cynkar, PLLC, a Deputy Assistant Attorney
General of the U.S. during the Reagan Administration and another
attorney representing the plaintiffs.  "Instead, in a clear
violation of the Constitution, the government simply imposed the
tax, which was small and went unnoticed by most individuals.  
Now, by promulgating unfair refund rules without public input,
the government has arrogantly violated federal law yet again.
Conservatives should be out-raged."

Among the corporations that had earlier won federal appeals
court decisions finding the tax illegal and that won tax refunds
are AOL, Hewlett Packard, OfficeMax and Honeywell.  "These
companies that challenged the tax -- and won -- performed a
valuable service," said Hank Levine of Levine, Blaszak, Block &
Boothby, LLP, one of the Sloan class action plaintiffs' lawyers
and lead counsel in most excise taxpayer court victories to

"But, even as companies were winning relief from this
unauthorized tax, it is only through a class action like ours
that smaller taxpayers can gain relief from being systematically
fleeced by this illegal tax.  And, ours is the first case to
point out the fatal flaws in the Government's new refund rules."

For a copy of the complaint and other documents, contact
Jonathan Cuneo at 202-789-3960, Nicholas Chimicles at 610-642-
8500, or Jeff McCord at 540- 364-4769.

The suit is "Sloan et al. v. United States of America, Case No.
1:06-cv-00483-RMU," filed in the U.S. District Court for the
District of Columbia under Judge Ricardo M. Urbina.

Representing the plaintiffs are:

     (1) Steven N. Berk and Jonathan Watson Cuneo both of Cuneo
         Gilbert & Laduca, 507 C Street, NE, Washington, DC
         20002, Phone: (202) 789-3960, Fax: (202) 789-1813, E-
         mail: stevenb@cuneolaw.com and jonc@cuneolaw.com;

     (2) Nicholas E. Chimicles and Benjamin F. Johns both of
         Chimicles & Tikellis, LLP, 361 West Lancaster Avenue,
         Haverford, PA 19041, Phone: (610) 6422-8500, Fax: (610)
         649-3633, E-mail: nick@chimicles.com or

     (3) Robert J. Cynkar of Egan Fitzpatrick Malsch & CynKar,
         PPLC, 8300 Boone Boulevard, Suite 340, Vienna, VA
         22182, Phone: (703) 891-4066, Fax: 703-891-4055, E-
         mail: rcynkar@nuclearlawyer.com;

     (4) Charles J. LaDuca of Cuneo Waldman & Gilbert, LLP, 317
         Massachusetts AVenue, NE, Suite 300, Washington, DC
         20002, Phone: (202) 789-3960, E-mail:

     (5) Kevin T. Peters of Tony & Weld, 28 State Street,  
         Boston, MA 02109, Phone: (617) 720-2626; and

     (6) Christopher Weld, Jr. of Todd & Weld, LLP, 28 State
         Street, Boston, MA 02110, Phone: (617) 720-2626.

Representing the defendant is Ivan C. Dale of The U.S.
Department of Justice, Trial Attorneys, Tax Division,
Post Office Box 227, Washington, DC 20044, Phone: (202) 307-
6615, Fax: (202) 514-6866, E-mail: Ivan.c.dale@usdoj.gov.

DITECH COMMUNICATIONS: Seeks Dismissal of Calif. Securities Suit
Ditech Communications Corp. filed a motion to dismiss the
consolidated securities fraud class action pending against it in
the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Beginning on June 14, 2005, several purported class actions were
filed purportedly on behalf of a class of investors who
purchased the company's stock between Aug. 25, 2004 and May 26,

The complaints allege claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against Ditech and its
chief executive officer and chief financial officer in
connection with alleged misrepresentations concerning Voice
Quality Assurance orders and the potential effect on the
company's of the merger between Sprint and Nextel.

All of the lawsuits were consolidated into a single action, "In
re Ditech Communications Corp. Securities Litigation, Case No. C
05-02406-JSW."  A consolidated amended complaint was filed on
Feb. 2, 2006.  

Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, and the motion was
heard and taken under submission by the court on June 9, 2006.  
No discovery has taken place and no trial date has been set.

The suit is "In re Ditech Communications Corp. Securities
Litigation, Case No. 3:05-cv-02406-JSW," filed in the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of California under
Judge Jeffrey S. White.

Representing the plaintiffs is Christopher T. Heffelfinger of
Berman DeValerio Pease & Tabacco, P.C., 425 California Street,
Suite 2025, San Francisco, CA 94104, Phone: 415/433-3200, Fax:
415-433-6382, E-mail: cheffelfinger@bermanesq.com.

Representing the defendants is William S. Freeman of Cooley
Godward, LLP, Five Palo Alto Square, 3000 El Camino Real, Palo
Alto, CA 9406-2155, Phone: 650 843-5000, Fax: 650 857-0663, E-
mail: freemanws@cooley.com.

FELT BICYCLES: Recalls Mountain Bicycles with Defective Brakes
Felt Bicycles, of Lake Forest, California, in cooperation with
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, is recalling about
700 units of Felt mountain bicycles.

The company said the steel brake boss can detach from the frame,
causing the rider to lose control and fall.  Felt Bicycles has
received three reports of the brake boss coming loose.  No
injuries were reported.

This recall involves all model year 2005 and 2006 Kinesis made
RXC bicycles.  The frames on these bicycles are made with carbon
fiber rear seat stays and are equipped with V-style brakes, and
not equipped with disk brakes from the factory.  Frames affected
by this recall were shipped to dealers between October 2004 and
April 2006.

The mountain bicycles were manufactured in Taiwan and were being
sold at bicycle specialty stores nationwide from October 2004
through April 2006 for between $1,050 and $5,000.

Picture of the recalled mountain bicycle:

Consumers are advised to stop using the bicycles immediately and
contact your local Felt bicycle dealer to receive a free
inspection and repair.

For more information, contact Felt Bicycles at (866) 433-5887
between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, or visit

FLORIDA: Court Says Hollywood Car Seizures Don't Clash With Law
The Florida Supreme Court ruled that the city of Hollywood's
practice of seizing cars during misdemeanor drug and
prostitution arrests doesn't conflict with state law, though the
way it carries out the procedure poses serious constitutional
concerns, according to South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The ruling was in the class action "Colon B. Mulligan v. the
City of Hollywood."  Mr. Mulligan sued the city in 2000 after
Hollywood police arrested him in a prostitution sting.  Police
seized his car and returned it only after he paid costs, towing
fees and a fine.  In the recent ruling, the court found that
impounding a vehicle and returning it after the defendant pays a
fee typically about $500 plus other costs did not constitute a
true forfeiture.

With the high court's ruling, the suit is now back to the 4th
District Court of Appeal, which already expressed doubts about
the practice.  It is questioning whether the procedures being
used deny drivers their due process rights.  

Attorney Ronald Guralnick, who represents Mr. Mulligan and other
class action plaintiffs, said that the court's ruling is the
first step to finding the taking of property without a full
trial to be unconstitutional.  

He pointed out that felons charged with serious drug crimes have
the right to a judge, a trial and full rules of civil procedure
in forfeiture cases, which are denied in each of the local

The Supreme Court ruling also validated ordinances in Hollywood,
West Palm Beach and other cities that let police impound
vehicles used to commit certain misdemeanor offenses.  A
declaration that the process is unconstitutional stands to give
way to dozens of lawsuits seeking millions of dollars in damages
from several South Florida cities, according to the report.

For more details, contact Ronald S. Guralnick, P.A., 550
Brickell Ave., Ste. 1, Miami, FL 33133-4741, Phone: (305) 358-
6001, Fax: (305) 358-5507.

HOMEOWNERS FOR JUSTICE: Former Lawyer Ordered to Return $265T
A state appeals court has ordered a former lawyer for Homeowners
for Justice Inc. to return a settlement money he received in a
lawsuit involving defective plastic plumbing, according to The

The 5th District Court of Appeals ordered Stephen Spivey, now a
Circuit Judge, to pay nearly $265,000 to his former employer in
affirmation of an earlier jury verdict and a circuit judge

In 2003, Mr. Spivey received $495,000 in settlement of a class
action that was supposed to go to a Homeowners client, Newport
Development Corp.  According to the report, Judge Spivey, who
was then Homeowners' lawyer, withheld 20 percent as a legal fee,
sent part to Newport Development and kept the rest, saying it
was money Homeowners owed to him.  In late 2003, he filed a suit
against his employer asking a judge to clarify what he was
entitled to.

A jury later ruled that Judge Spivey didn't have a valid
contract with Homeowners when he withheld the funds.  Senior
Circuit Judge Richard Weinberg ordered him to pay the money
withheld, plus interest, to Homeowners.  On July 5, the 5th
District Court of Appeals upheld the jury verdict and Judge
Weinberg's ruling.

Judge Spivey was fired from Homeowners in February 2001, court
documents show.  He practiced law independently before being
elected to a circuit judgeship in 2004.

HYUNDAI MOTOR: Recalls 2006 Sonata with Missing Air Bag Labels
Hyundai Motor Co., in cooperation with the U.S. National Traffic
Safety Administration, will recall about 43,926 units of 2006
Hyundai Sonata in September.

The company said certain passenger vehicles have air bag warning
labels installed on the sun-visors that had lost adhesion to the
sun-visors and had distorted or separated from the sun-visors.

If the labels are distorted or missing, the driver or front seat
passenger will not have the information available that may help
protect them in the event of a crash.

Consumers are advised to call Hyundai at 1-800-633-5151 for
replacement of sun-visor assemblies, free of charge.

ILLINOIS: Bill Proposes Penalty for Overtime Pay Violations
The state of Illinois may soon have one of the toughest laws
aimed at companies that failed to pay overtime, Chicago Tribune

A bill, which is to be signed into law by Gov. Rod Blagojevich
soon, according to his aides, would impose a penalty of 2
percent of the amount of overtime due per month for the length
of the violation.

Christopher Williams, the attorney who advised one of the bill's
key sponsors, state Sen. Miguel del Valle (D-Chicago), said that
currently there is no penalty for such offense.

Attorneys predict an increase in overtime pay cases in Illinois
in the wake of the law change.  These are expected to be an
incentive for workers and attorneys alike.

Experts blame the increase in overtime lawsuits in Illinois abd
in the country as a whole to a lack of clarity in federal law,
which has set rules for overtime wages since 1938.

An update in 2004 to that law was supposed to clarify
eligibility requirements and extend protections to an additional
6 million workers.  Experts though pointed out that the
revisions only made it more complicated and invited litigation.

Traditionally, all workers were eligible for time-and-a-half
overtime, except for those in the executive, administrative and
professional categories.

The 2004 federal changes sought to define more clearly those
exempt categories by using new job descriptions, but the new
descriptions can seem just as unclear, according to the report.

KENTUCKY: Lexington Continues to Pay Cost of Micro-City Lawsuit
Lexington city in Fayette County is continuing to pay private
attorneys and law firms for their services in the sexual abuse
case against the founder and head of Micro-City Government,
although the suits have already been settled years ago, Action
News 36 has found out.

Ron Berry, the man who previously ran a program for inner city
youth, was convicted in 2000 on 12-counts of sodomy for having
sex with young boys in the Micro-City program.  He served three
years in prison, and was released in October.

Mr. Berry's victims filed a series of lawsuits against the city
starting in 1998.  Two of the lawsuits were settled for a total
of $2.85 million.  Other class actions followed but were
eventually dismissed.  

The suits that were dismissed by the lower court were appealed
by plaintiffs to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  A
three-judge panel of the courts decided that the first class
action against the city was not properly dismissed because other
possible parties in the class action should have been notified
before the case was dismissed.  

The panel ruled that former participants in the Micro-City
Government program who claim they were sexually and emotionally
abused by Mr. Berry can pursue claims against the city.  

The city filed its own appeal with the 12-member 6th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals, claiming that the three-judge panel
erred when it said previous class actions against the city were
not properly dismissed.  

Plaintiffs allege that city administrators and four previous
mayors knew or should have known that Mr. Berry was abusing
children in the program for disadvantaged youths.  They further
allege that the city knowingly concealed Mr. Berry's conduct for
political reasons.  

The suit went to the United State Supreme Court, but the city
lost the appeal.

Recently, Action News 36 found out from public records that the
city has already paid out $2.85 million to settle two lawsuits
from 20-alleged victims.  Nearly 100 others have since come
forward with the same claim against the city.

Also, the city of Lexington has paid more than $1.7 million to
private attorneys and law firms, some for previous lawsuits and
others for the current $2 billion class action, according to the

The city's Law Department explained in writing that lawyers are
still being paid for settled cases because the suits were still
open on appeal until February of this year.  The city reportedly
hired private lawyers and law firms because its attorneys didn't
have the time or in some cases expertise to handle such a
complex legal case.   

LA ESPERANZA: Labor Lawsuit in Santa Cruz County Remains Pending
La Esperanza Markets in California continues to defend itself
against a class action by workers alleging they were not paid
for overtime work at the store, it emerged at a
Santacruzsentinel.com report.

San Francisco lawyer Mark Telamantes was contacted by
Watsonville Law Center after Guillermo Mendez and Jose Contreras
Moreno, who worked at the Watsonville stores on Main Street,
raised their complaint against their employer late last year
(Class Action Reporter, March 29, 2006).  

The suit was filed in January in Santa Cruz County Superior
Court.  The suit also alleged that owners of the chain of
stores, Javier and Emilia Vazquez, rarely granted workers their
10-minute and 30-minute lunch breaks in violation of California
labor laws.

In March, Mr. Telamantes was waiting for the grocery chain to
respond to the case.

Mr. Telamantes said Mr. Mendez worked as a janitor, a butcher
and a stocker at La Esperanza Markets from May 2000 to October
2003.  Mr. Contreras worked in the same capacity from June 2003
to August 2004.  Both claim they worked 10-hour days for six
days a week, but were never paid for the overtime.

La Esperanza stores serve mostly Latino consumers in San
Jose, Salinas, Santa Cruz and Watsonville.

LEXAR MEDIA: Computer Storage Devices Recalled for Burn Hazard
Lexar Media Inc., of Fremont, California, in cooperation with
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, is recalling about
66,000 units of Lexar JumpDrive FireFly and 1GB Secure II.

The company said the JumpDrives FireFly and Secure II products
could overheat, posing a risk of burns to consumers and property
damage.  No incidents or injuries have been reported.

The recalled drives are high-speed flash drives used to store,
transfer and carry data from one computer to another.  This
recall only includes Lexar JumpDrive FireFly which is sold in
various colors, and Lexar JumpDrive Secure II 1GB which has a
metallic silver housing.  "Lexar" is embossed on the front of
the plastic housing and the capacity is marked on the back.  The
part number is located on the FireFly's packaging, and on the
back of the Secure II 1GB drive.

The models included in the recall are:

     (1) JumpDrive FireFly

        Capacity                  Part Number
        --------                  -----------
        256MB (red)               JDFF256-431RU
        512MB (lime green)        JDFF512-431EM
        1GB (blue)                JDFF1GB-431TO
        2GB (black)               JDFF2GB-431BK

     (2) JumpDrive Secure II 1GB

                                  Part Number
        JDSE1GB-00-500 Rev H  and 3052-1GBA-2006

The recalled JumpDrive Firefly drives were manufactured in China
and are being sold at discount department, office supply, and
electronics stores, and by Web retailers, including
http://www.lexar.com,between April and May 2006 for between $30  
and $110.  The recalled JumpDrive Secure II 1GB drive was sold
exclusively at Fry's Electronics in May 2006 for about $80.

Pictures of the recalled drives:


Consumers are advised to immediately stop using the recalled
JumpDrive Firefly and Secure II devices and contact Lexar to
receive a free replacement product.

For additional information, contact Lexar at (800) 248-2798
anytime, or visit http://www.lexar.com.

MORGAN STANLEY: Faces Gender Discrimination Lawsuit in Calif.
Morgan Stanley DW Inc. is a defendant in a purported class
action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia,
alleging gender discrimination under state and federal law.

The purported class action was filed on June 22, 2006 and,
captioned, "Joanne August-Johnson et al. v. Morgan Stanley DW
Inc."  Plaintiffs, who seek damages in law and in equity, are:

      -- Cheryl Guistiniano,
      -- Debra Shaw,
      -- Joanne August-Johnson,
      -- Laurie Blackburn, and
      -- Nancy Reeves

According to the complaint, the case arises out of the company's
alleged systematic discriminatory treatment of its female
financial advisors in violation of federal and applicable state
civil rights laws.

The suit was brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 and under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

The complaint is available free of charge at:


The suit is "August-Johnson et al. v. Morgan Stanley DW, Inc.,
Case No. 1:06-cv-01142-RWR," filed in the U.S. District Court
for the Northern District of California under Judge Richard W.

Representing the plaintiffs are:

      (1) Cyrus Mehri of Mehri & Skalet, PLLC, 1300 19th Street
          NW, Washington, DC 20036, Phone: (202) 822-5100, E-
          mail: cmehri@findjustice.com; and

      (2) Steven M. Sprenger of Sprenger & Lang, PLLC, 1400 I
          Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005,
          Phone: (202) 265-8010, Fax: (202) 332-6652, E-mail:

MORGAN STANLEY: Securities Brokers File Wage, Hour Suit in Conn.
Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc. is a defendant in a purported class
action in the U.S. District Court for the District of
Connecticut over wage and work time claims.

The suit, "Janemarie Lenihan v. Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc. and
Morgan Stanley DW Inc.," was filed on May 22, 2006.

The class action was brought on behalf of a securities broker,
and two classes of similarly situated persons composed of:

      -- all employees or former employees who have worked for
         the defendants who are or were engaged in, or are, were
         training to be in, the business of selling securities,
         and who have taken or have trained to take registration
         exams, at any time after may 23, 2004 (federal class);

      -- all employees or former employees who have worked for
         the defendants in the state of Connecticut and who are
         or were engaged in, or are or were training to be in,
         the business of selling securities, and who have taken
         or have trained to take registration exams, at anytime
         after May 22, 2004 (Connecticut class).

According to the complaint, the defendants violated section 207
of the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying the federal class
overtime pay for a week longer than 40 hours.

It also alleges that defendants violated the rights of the
Connecticut class under Connecticut General Statute Section 31-
60(a) and Section 31-76(c).

A copy of the complaint is available free of charge at:


The suit is "Lenihan v. Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. et al., Case
No. 3:06-cv-00794-AWT," filed in the U.S. District Court for the
District of Connecticut under Judge Alvin W. Thompson.

Representing the plaintiffs is Nancy A. Kulesa of Schatz &
Nobel-Htfd., One Corporate Center, 20 Church St., Suite 1700
Hartford, CT 06103, Phone: 860-493-6292, Fax: 860-493-6290, E-
mail: nancy@snlaw.net.

NEW MEXICO: Santa Fe Jail Strip-Search Suit Settled for $5.5M
Parties in a suit filed by former jail inmates who were strip-
searched at Santa Fe County jail have reached a $5.5 million
settlement, according to the Management and Training Corp., the
Utah-based firm that used to run the jail, the Associated Press

The suit, filed in January 2005, concerns the jail's blanket
strip search policy.  It seeks to permanently end the practice
as well as the inspections of all inmates admitted to the jail
(Class Action Reporter, July 7, 2006).

It alleges that none of the plaintiffs named were admitted to
the jail for violent offenses, and none were found to be in
possession of any contraband after they were subjected to a
strip search, according to the Web site of Lawyers and

Former warden Kerry Dixon has said the policy was scrapped in
December 2004.  The sheriff's department has since taken jail

NORTH DAKOTA: Appeal on Suit Over Joint Custody in Divorce Nixed
An appeals court has dismissed a bid by two local advocates for
joint custody of children in divorce situations, according to

In 2005, Roland Riemers, Emerado of North Dakota, and Mitchell
Sanderson of Grand Forks filed a class action complaint over
custody issues involving 44 states.  The suit accuses the state
of discriminating against non-custodial parents and of violating
their constitutional right to be parents.

In North Dakota, District Court Judge Ralph Erickson dismissed
their complaint.  In his ruling, Judge Erickson cited the 11th
Amendment, saying: "The Judicial power of the U.S. shall not be
construed to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted
against one of the U.S. by Citizens of another State, or by
Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State."

Mr. Riemers and Mr. Sanderson appealed the case to the 8th
Circuit Court of Appeals.  In a June ruling, the court of
appeals upheld the district court's decision, saying the 11th
Amendment bars the suit.

According to Mr. Sanderson, most of the suits filed against the
states have been thrown out.

PALACE BACKPACKER: Faces Lawsuit Over Hostel Fire Deaths in 2000
Families of seven Britons killed in a 2000 fire in Queensland,
Australia, will launch a class action against the owner and
operators of the backpacker hostel where they died, The Guardian

Their move follows Queensland state coroner Michael Barnes'
decision not to file criminal charges against the hostel's
operators for allegedly failing to provide adequate emergency
escape routes from Palace Backpacker Hostel.

Detective Sergeant Robert Campbell said that the century-old
hostel had never had a fire inspection.  A fire alarm at the
hostel was faulty and was turned off.  Windows were barred or
nailed or painted shut and escape exits were blocked.  At the
time of the fatal blaze, 87 people were reportedly at the hostel
despite a local law limiting occupancy to 53 people.

The Palace Backpackers Hostel in Childers, Queensland, was
engulfed in flames on June 23, 2000 after one of the occupants -
- Robert Long -- set fire to it, claiming the lives of young
tourists from Britain, Australia, Ireland, Japan, South Korea
and Holland.  He was convicted of murder and sentenced to life

But relatives of the victims claim that poor safety procedures
contributed to the magnitude of the disaster.

A spokeswoman for the British high commission confirmed that
families of at least 11 victims, including all those from the
U.K., were expected to support the class action.

Hostel operators John Dobe and Christian Atkinson both refused
to give evidence before the coroner on the grounds that any
evidence they gave might be self-incriminating.  The coroner
accepted their case and agreed they should not face questioning.

At the end of last week's inquest, Coroner Michael Barnes found
that the hostel operators were not so negligent in their lack of
safety measures that they should face manslaughter charges.

PUBLIX SUPER: Recalls Cookie Dough with Undeclared Tree Nuts
Publix Super Markets of Lakeland, Florida is issuing a voluntary
allergen warning on refrigerated packages of Publix Chocolate
Chip Cookie Dough for making baked cookies.  The dough is 18 oz.
'Chub' size, with a date code of Sept. 17, 2006 and an item code
(UPC) of 41415-00703.

The dough was sold at Publix stores in Florida, Georgia, South
Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.  The ingredient label does not
declare a tree nut (pecans) that may exist in the dough.  The
company said individuals who have an allergy or severe
sensitivity to pecans run the risk of serious or life-
threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

"The chocolate chip dough may contain pecans," said Maria Brous
director of media and community relations.  "As a food safety
precaution, we are recalling the product.  There have been no
reported cases of illness.  Customers who have purchased the
product may return it to their store for a full refund or
replacement."  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been
informed of the recall.

Publix is owned and operated by its 138,000 employees, with 2005
sales of $20.6 billion.  Currently Publix has 882 stores in
Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.  The
company has been named one of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to
Work For in America" for nine consecutive years.

In addition, Publix's dedication to superior quality and
customer service is recognized as tops in the grocery business,
most recently by an American Customer Satisfaction Index survey.

For more information, visit http://www.publix.com,or contact  
Maria Brous at 863-688-1188 x55339.

ROYAL OASIS: Sued Over Alleged Illegal Random Faxing in Ohio
Bahamas' defunct resort operator Royal Oasis is facing a class
action over what is called in the U.S. as blast faxing, The
Freeport News reports.

The suit was filed in June 2005.  It alleges that Royal Oasis
Casino and Coral Travel and Tours Driftwood illegally
transmitted thousands of faxes to random fax machine owners in
Ohio between 2001 and 2004.  

Defendants in the suit are Driftwood Corp., Driftwood Ltd.,
Driftwood Freeport, Driftwood Casinos, Royal Oasis casino and
Coral Beach and Travel, according to George Melnyk, senior staff
investigator for the law offices of Joseph Compoli of Cleveland,

The Hospitality Management of Jupiter, Florida, and its
president David Buddemeyer are also named as defendants,
according to the report.

The law firm suspects that the companies sent the faxes
advertising availability of very low-cost flights to The Bahamas
and stays at the Royal Oasis in a junk mail without the
recipients' permission, according to Mr. Melnyk.  He said the
act is a violation of American law, and merits civil and
criminal fines within the U.S.  According to him, there is a
$500 penalty for each fax page received.

The Royal Oasis closed in September 2004 due to Hurricane
Frances.  That time, its owners reportedly owed $2.7 million to
the Grand Bahama Port Authority; $2.5 million to National
Insurance; $4.1 million to the Workers Pension Fund; $13 million
in casino taxes; and more than $55,000 to vendors in Ohio.  The
government is trying to sell the resort.

SMALL WORLD: Recalls Baby Toy Vehicles Posing Choking Hazard
Small World Toys, of Culver City, California, in cooperation
with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, is recalling
about 92,300 units of toy vehicles in the IQ Baby Pillow Soft
Activity Blocks, IQ Baby Travelin' Train Blocks, IQ Baby Vroom
Vroom Vehicles and Discovery Channel Vroom Vroom Vehicles.

The company said the plastic wheels on the toys can detach,
posing a choking hazard to young children.  It has received 11
reports of incidents in which a wheel detached from one of these
toys.  No injuries have been reported.

IQ Baby Pillow Soft Activity Blocks are a set of 19 foam cloth-
covered blocks of various shapes with plastic carrying cases.  
Two of the blocks are car-shaped and have four 1-inch diameter
plastic wheels with a black and white bull's eye pattern.  Some
cars have tags or labels that say "IQ Baby."

IQ Baby Travelin' Train Blocks are a set of four brightly
patterned stuffed cloth-covered vehicles, an engine and three
cars that attach to each other with Velcro connectors.  Each
piece is about 4-inches long, 2 1/2-inches wide, and 3-inches
tall, and has four 1-inch diameter plastic wheels with a black
and white spoke pattern.  Some pieces have tags or labels that
say "IQ Baby."

IQ Baby and Discovery Channel Vroom Vroom Vehicles are sets of
six soft, stuffed, brightly colored trucks that come in a
plastic carrying case.  Each truck is about 5 inches long, 3
inches tall, and 2 1/2 inches wide and has four 1-inch diameter
plastic wheels with a black and white bull's eye pattern.  Some
of the trucks in the sets have labels that read "IQ Baby" or
"Discovery Channel."

These toy vehicles were manufactured in China and are being sold
at toy stores and various retailers nationwide, as well as
through catalogues.  The Discovery Channel Vroom Vroom Vehicles
were sold at Discovery Channel stores nationwide and online.  IQ
Baby Pillow Soft Activity Blocks were sold from March 2005
through May 2006 for about $40.  The Travelin' Train Blocks were
sold from July 2005 through May 2006 for about $20.  The Vroom
Vroom Vehicles were sold from January 2003 through May 2006 for
about $25.

Pictures of the recalled toy vehicles:

Consumers are advised to stop using the recalled toy vehicles
immediately and contact Small World Toys for information on how
to obtain a free replacement toy.

For additional information please contact Small World Toys at
(800) 421-4153 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through
Friday, visit http://www.smallworldtoys.comor E-mail:  

TASER INT'L: N.D. Calif. Court Shelves Product Liability Lawsuit
Judge James Ware of the U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of California denied Taser International, Inc.'s motion
to dismiss claims arising from the Feb. 20, 2005 death of a
Monterey County, California man following repeated shocks from
one of its electric weapons.

On Feb. 20, 2005, Robert Heston, Jr. began acting erratically
inside his family's Salinas, California home.  His father,
believing his son might be under the influence of drugs, called
the police reporting his bizarre behavior.  Officers from the
Salinas Police Department responded to the Heston home and
confronted Mr. Heston.

Approximately four to five police officers used their Taser
electric weapons repeatedly as other officers restrained Heston
on the ground.  Mr. Heston stopped breathing, and then died
shortly thereafter.

The "Taser" is a weapon that shoots darts into skin or clothing,
delivering 50,000 volts of electricity, which temporarily
immobilizes people, causing them to drop a weapon.  Some critics
of the device claim it can be used excessively and may cause
death and injury when used improperly.  Individual police
departments nationwide also have been the targets of legal
action as a result of Taser use (Class Action Reporter, Feb. 3,

In the lawsuit, "Heston v. City of Salinas, et al., N.D. Cal.
Case No. 5:05-cv-03658-JW," Mr. Heston's parents alleged that
Taser electric shock weapons are unreasonably dangerous and
defective for use on human beings because they are sold without
warning about the effect of multiple shocks for extended
durations, the danger of shocking people who are under the
influence of drugs, and the effects of Taser shocks on
respiration.  The weapon, when used repeatedly and in
combination with aggressive police restraints, causes
unnecessary deaths.

Taser International, Inc., asked the district court to dismiss
the claims of the Heston family, contending that:

      -- Robert Heston's death was not reasonably foreseeable,
      -- its product is not inherently dangerous, and
      -- it had no duty to warn of the dangers of its product

Judge Ware denied Taser International's motion to dismiss
without comment.  His ruling follows on the heals of a similar
ruling by U.S. District Judge Jeremy Vogel on March 7, 2006 in
the case of "Rosa v. City of Seaside, N.D. Cal. Case No. C 05-
03577 JF."

That case, which is also being litigated by Messrs. Burton and
Williamson, involves the death of Michael Rosa on Aug. 29, 2004
after he had been repeatedly subjected to multiple uses of Taser
electric weapons by police officers from several police

In denying Taser International's motion to dismiss, Judge Fogel
ruled that Taser has a duty to design and manufacture its
products to avoid foreseeable dangers arising from their use,
and to warn its customers and users of any foreseeable dangers
that could arise when people such as Michael Rosa are shocked
repeatedly and then subjected to aggressive restraint
procedures.  No trial date has been set in this case either.

In January 2005, the Securities and Exchange Commission launched
an informal inquiry into Taser International (Class Action
Reporter, January 11, 2005).  The company was named as defendant
in 35 lawsuits in which the plaintiffs alleged either wrongful
death or personal injury in situations in which the TASER device
was used (or present) by law enforcement officers or during
training exercises (Class Action Reporter, Feb. 28, 2005).

The suit is "Heston et al v. City of Salinas et al., Case No.
5:05-cv-03658-JW," filed in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of California under Judge James Ware, with
referral to Judge Richard Seeborg.

Representing the plaintiffs are:

     (1) John Christopher Burton of The Law Offices of John
         Burton, 414 South Marengo Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101,
         Phone: 626-449-8300, Fax: 626-449-4417, E-mail:
         jb@johnburtonlaw.com; and

     (2) Peter M. Williamson of Williamson & Krauss, 18801
         Ventura Blvd., Suite 206, Tarzana, CA 91356, Phone:
         818-344-4000, Fax: 818-344-4899, E-mail:

Representing the defendants are:

     (1) Vincent P. Hurley of the Law Offices of Vincent P.
         Hurley, 38 Seascape Village, Aptos, CA 95003, Phone:
         831-661-4800, Fax: 831-661-4804, E-mail:
         vhurley@hurleylaw.com; and

     (2) Mildred K. O'Linn of Kass Ellrod Ramirez LLP, Figueroa
         Tower, 660 South Figueroa Street, 23rd Floor, Los
         Angeles, CA 90017, Phone: 213-624-6900, Fax: 213-624-
         6999, E-mail: mko@mmker.com.

TENET HEALTHCARE: Hilton Medical Patients to Get Reimbursement
Tenet Healthcare Corp., which owns Hilton Head Regional Medical
Center, agreed to refund money to uninsured patients who were
treated at the South Carolina hospital between Oct. 7, 2001, and
May 22, 2006, the Island Packet reports.

Under a proposed settlement to a class action, Tenet will grant
refunds to some who used two other Tenet-owned hospitals in the
state, East Cooper Regional Medical Center in Mount Pleasant and
Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill.

According to a legal notice, uninsured patients could be
reimbursed for up to 20 percent of their medical bills by
filling out a claim form and becoming a part of the settlement
class, which is free (Class Action Reporter, July 5, 2006).

A copy of the settlement notice is available free of charge at:


                         Case Background

In 2005, a lawsuit was brought against East Cooper Regional
Medical Center, Hilton Head Regional Medical Center and Piedmont
Healthcare System in the Charleston County, South Carolina Court
of Common Pleas.  It alleged that patients at the Hospitals were
not provided with a statutory discount to which they were
allegedly entitled.

Plaintiffs Robert A. Singletary, Sr. and R. Allen Singletary,
Jr. have brought these actions on behalf of themselves and
similarly situated persons who were patients of East Cooper
Regional Medical Center, Hilton Head Regional Medical Center,
and Piedmont Healthcare System.

The plaintiffs claim that the hospitals did not provide
plaintiffs and other patients with a statutory discount to which
they were allegedly entitled under South Carolina Code Section

The two actions:

     -- "R. Allen Singletary, Jr. et al. v. East Cooper
        Community Hospital et al., Civil Action No. 04-CP-10-
        4211," and

     -- "Robert A. Singletary, Sr. et al. v. East Cooper
        Community Hospital, Inc. et al., Civil Action No. 04-CP-

have been consolidated for the purposes of administering this
settlement.  The case is now known as the "South Carolina Tenet
Class Action."

Class certification as to each of the consolidated actions was
granted by Orders of the Court dated June 20, 2005, and filed on
June 28, 2005.

The hospitals deny that they acted improperly or wrongfully in
any way and deny any and all allegations of wrongdoing, fault,
liability, or damage of any kind to plaintiffs or other

On May 25, 2006, a settlement agreement in the South Carolina
Tenet Class Action received preliminary approval.

TENNESSEE: Motorists Sue Oakland Over Fines, Allege Extortion
The Town of Oakland, Tennessee faces a purported class action in
Fayette County Circuit Court, accusing it of running an illegal
traffic enforcement and fines operation that extorts money and
is violating the civil rights of motorists, according to The
Commercial Appeal.

Eddie McKinney Jr., Brandon Alan Massey, Susan Hinsley and
Melissa Ferge filed the lawsuit.  While passing through Oakland
last October, Mr. McKinney said he was asked $273 in traffic
fines and court costs.  Mr. Massey, Ms. Hinsley and Ms. Ferge,
on the other hand, said they were told if they paid court costs
and a $50 fine, their tickets would be dismissed and go
unreported to the state.

According to the suit, police improperly threatened Mr. McKinney
with arrest when there was confusion over a court date, citing a
nonexistent state code, and did not provide him documentation
needed to appeal.  Plaintiff attorneys are asking the court to
count Mr. Massey, Ms. Hinsley and Ms. Ferge as part of a class
action complaint.

Oakland officials strongly dispute the lawsuit's claims and are
seeking its dismissal.  

Town attorney Richard Myers said that the case is going to boil
down to whether or not a municipal judge has the discretion to
dismiss a traffic ticket under certain conditions.

Mr. McKinney's ticket fine was high because he missed two court
dates, according to Mr. Myers.  His official response filed with
the court indicates that Mr. McKinney and Hardeman County
officials sought to get Mr. McKinney's ticket fixed.  

Mr. Myers explained that Mr. McKinney is a deputy jailer in
Hardeman County and his lawyer, Charles Cary, is a General
Sessions judge in that county.  Mr. Cary, acting as an attorney
for Mr. Myers, and Andrew Steven Johnson of Memphis, filed the

For more details, contact Charles M. Cary of Denton & Cary, P.O.
Box 306, 118 Warren Street, Bolivar, TN 38008-2329, Phone: (901)
658-5170, Fax: (731) 658-6806.

TOBACCO LITIGATION: Fitch Ratings Welcomes Ruling in "Engle"
The Supreme Court of Florida's approval of the Third District
Court's reversal of the $145 billion class action punitive
damages award against the domestic tobacco industry is an
extremely favorable development, according to Fitch Ratings.

Fitch is maintaining its current ratings and outlooks for Altria
Group, Inc. (parent of Philip Morris USA), Reynolds American
Inc. (parent of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and the former
Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corp.) and Loews Corp. (parent of
Lorillard Tobacco Company), which had incorporated a high
likelihood of the July 6 decision.

The Supreme Court of Florida unanimously concluded that 'the
punitive damages award is excessive as a matter of law'.

Fitch's assessment of the domestic tobacco industry centers on
class action with the greatest risk in the near-to intermediate
term.  The three major cases that Fitch has followed are the
Price 'light' cigarettes case in Illinois, the Engle smoking and
health case in Florida and the U.S. Department of Justice case
in Washington D.C.

Fitch's ratings upgrades for Altria and Loews in May 2006 were
based on positive legal developments over the past three years.  
Judge Kessler's opinion in the DoJ case is expected in the near
term, following the conclusion of the trial in June 2005.  The
final proposal the government is seeking includes $14 billion
over five-to-ten years for the tobacco industry to provide
programs for smoking cessation, public education and counter-

The Stable Outlook for the domestic tobacco companies reflect
recent improvements in the litigation environment, including
today's ruling.  The operating environment has also improved and
the major firms have regained pricing flexibility.  The risk of
a substantial payout due to an adverse legal decision has
diminished with favorable rulings at the state Supreme Court
levels in Engle and Price. Nonetheless, some risk remains until
the conclusion of any remaining appeals.

Beyond the legal issues, there are a number of continuing
negative pressures on the industry including extensive smoking
bans which dampen demand, rising excise taxes which continue to
raise per pack costs and reduce pricing flexibility, and a
competitive operating environment.

Overall domestic consumption continues to decline at low single
digit levels annually, resulting in tobacco companies battling
for market share with a shrinking pool of consumers.  Fitch will
continue to analyze the impact of these factors and may review
the ratings if accelerated decline in industry operating
earnings and cash flows occur.

The positive ruling in Engle brings Altria closer to splitting
up into two or three independent entities.  The credit ratings
would depend on how the separation is executed and the new
capital structures.  Ratings would be based on the entities'
individual litigation risk profiles and operating environments.

Fitch maintains ratings on 61 tobacco settlement
securitizations, the ratings of which are linked to and will
move with Fitch's future assessment of the tobacco industry's
overall credit quality.  Fitch had revised the domestic tobacco
industry's Rating Outlook to Stable from Negative on May 16,

At this time, Fitch maintains the existing ratings and will
concurrently review the ratings with its Corporate Group.  

     -- 'Fitch Upgrades Altria IDR to 'BBB+', Kraft to 'A-';
        Revises Tobacco Sector Outlook to Stable ' dated May 16,

     -- 'Fitch Upgrades Loews' IDR to 'A'; Outlook Stable ',
        dated May 16, 2006;

     -- 'Fitch Affirms Reynolds American's IDR at 'BB'; Outlook
        Stable', dated April 27, 2006;

     -- 'Fitch Rates RAI's $1.65B Senior Sec. Nts. Offering
        'BB+'; Lowers RJR's Senior Notes to 'BB-'', dated May
        19, 2006;

     -- ' Fitch Affirms R.J. Reynolds' Guaranteed Unsecured
        Notes At 'BB'; Outlook Stable', dated June 23, 2006.

A copy of the Florida High Court's opinion on "Engle" is at:


TOBACCO LITIGATION: American Legacy Criticizes Engle Decision
A decision by the Florida Supreme Court in the Engle suit
effectively leaves 700,000 Florida smokers with little or no
redress against U.S. tobacco companies that have profited by
selling highly addictive cigarettes, which most smokers begin
using before they are old enough to legally purchase the
products, according to American Legacy Foundation.

Ironically, this is in spite of the fact that the court upheld
findings about the grave dangers and addictiveness of cigarettes
as well as the actions of the tobacco companies in
misrepresenting these dangers, the group said in a statement.  

The ruling underscores the fact that Big Tobacco will literally
be able to litigate to death a smoker's claim for justice, it

The court decision said that compensatory damages must be paid
to two of three individual plaintiffs in the case, but that
tobacco companies do not have to pay $145 billion in punitive
damages to smokers included in the class action portion of the
case.  Those dollars had been requested on behalf of Florida
citizens and residents (and their survivors) who have suffered,
presently suffer or who have died from diseases caused by their
addiction to cigarettes that contain nicotine.

Few individuals can withstand the financial and time-consuming
hardships associated with years of expensive and lengthy
litigation against these huge companies.  The American Legacy
Foundation notes the dangerous message that this ruling makes
about public health.  It said that it knows that cigarettes
include highly addictive nicotine and that more than 80 percent
of smokers start before they are adults, but that the companies
who manufacture and market the products responsible for the
nation's number-one cause of preventable death -- tobacco use --
can hide behind procedural roadblocks to avoid most liability.

Requiring smokers to file individual cases, instead of
benefiting from our legal system's ability to address large-
scale issues through class actions, allegedly places a great
burden on individuals already suffering the adverse effects of
tobacco, including the costs associated with treating tobacco-
related disease.  Yet again, the group said, it is an example of
Goliath standing on David's neck -- a bellwether decision that
is bad for public health and even worse for American smokers.

A copy of the Florida High Court's opinion on "Engle" is at:


UNITED STATES: Products Liability Suits Decline, Research Says
After peaking in 2004, the number of total federal products
liability lawsuits filed in the U.S. declined by 14% last year
and is on pace to decline an additional 16% in 2006.  The data
was compiled with information gathered from the LexisNexis
Market Intelligence database and released in May by LexisNexis

According to the LexisNexis Market Intelligence report, a
gradual rise in federal lawsuits filed under Nature of Suit 365,
the designation for personal injury-products liability claims,
began in 2001, when just over 5,000 NOS 365 filings were made.  
That number grew to more than 13,000 cases filed in 2002, rose
to 17,000 in 2003 and then soared to nearly 28,000 lawsuits in

A slight falloff occurred in 2005, when the number of products
liability filings declined to less than 24,000, and the year-to-
date lawsuits in 2006 are on pace for less than 20,000 cases to
be filed this year.

"According to the latest data from Market Intelligence, products
liability litigation filings came down a bit in 2005 but are
still at very high levels in an historical context," said Mason
White, vice president of Market Intelligence at LexisNexis.  
"The question that legal experts will be attempting to answer in
the coming months is whether this recent decline is just a
temporary blip or the beginning of a downturn in products
liability filings."

Mr. White pointed out that it has now been [] months since
President Bush signed into law the Class Action Fairness Act of
2005, an ambitious bill that sought to curb abusive class action
and products liability litigation.  Although most observers
don't foresee a substantial long-term decline in products
liability cases, some experts hold out the possibility that 2004
was a peak year and that CAFA is helping to produce a slight

                   New Securities Fraud Cases

HOME SOLUTIONS: Glancy Binkow Files Tex. Securities Fraud Suit
Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP has filed a class action in the
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on behalf
of a class consisting of all persons or entities that purchased
or otherwise acquired securities of Home Solutions Of America,
Inc. (AMEX:HOM) between April 11, 2006 and June 6, 2006,

The Complaint charges Home Solutions and certain of the
Company's executive officers with violations of federal
securities laws.

Among other things, plaintiff claims that defendants' material
omissions and dissemination of materially false and misleading
statements concerning Home Solutions' business and prospects
caused the Company's stock price to become artificially
inflated, inflicting damages on investors.

Home Solutions offers recovery, restoration,
rebuilding/remodeling and specialty interior services to
commercial and residential properties in the U.S.

The Complaint alleges that during the Class Period defendants
announced that the Company had been awarded a contract valued at
up to $20 million to provide infrastructure support for
Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts, including contracts with
Home Depot Inc. and American Renaissance Homes.

Then, on June 6, 2006, a company-issued press release revealed
that Home Solutions actually was lending up to $800,000 to
American Renaissance Homes for "working capital," secured by its
modular homes and land.

The Complaint alleges that defendants' prior representations
concerning the Company's financial performance and prospects,
based, among other things, on the American Renaissance Homes'
contract, were false and misleading and concealed from the
investors the Company's actual performance and prospects.

As a result of this news, Home Solutions' stock price plummeted
29.1%, or $2.80, to close on June 6, 2006 at $6.80, on extremely
heavy trading volume of 26.2 million shares.

For more details, contact Michael Goldberg and Lionel Z. Glancy
of Glancy Binkow & Goldberg, LLP, Phone: (310) 201-9150, Fax:
(888) 773-9224, E-mail: info@glancylaw.com, Web site:


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


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
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Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick, Maryland
USA.   Glenn Ruel Senorin, Maria Cristina Canson, and Janice
Mendoza, Editors.

Copyright 2006.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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