CAR_Public/990218.MBX              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

            Thursday, February 18, 1999, Vol. 1, No. 10

                           Headlines

ADA LITIGATION: 4th Circuit Says States Can Levy Disability Fees
AIDS-TAINTED BLOOD: French Victims' Families Want Judge Removed
AGRIBIOTECH: Says Shareholder Suits Lack Merit; Mounting Defense
ALLSTATE & GEICO: Consumer-Advocacy Web Site Established
AMAGASAKI POLLUTION: 2.42 Billion Yen Company Settlement Ratified

AMERICAN BANKNOTE: Kantrowitz Goldhamer Files Suit in New York
ASSISTED LIVING: Stoll Stoll Files Complaint in Oregon
CELL PATHWAYS: Milberg Weiss Files Complaint in Pennsylvania
CELL PATHWAYS: Gross Firm Files Complaint in Pennsylvania
CELL PATHWAYS: Company Denies Allegations in Class Action Suits

CHINESE TRAINEES: Scores File Suit in Japan for Unpaid Wages
CITIZENS UTILITIES: Nogales City Council Approves Settlement
DOW CORNING: Creditor Ballots due May 14, 1999
GENCOR INDUSTRIES: Milberg Weiss Files Complaint in Florida
HOLOCAUST VICTIMS:  Munich Lawyer Criticizes Compensation Fund

HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: U.S. Lawyers Criticize Compensation Fund
INSO, CORP.: Berman DeValerio File Complaint in Massachusetts
JDA SOFTWARE: Barrack Rodos Files Complaint in Arizona
PEDIATRIX MEDICAL: Burt & Pucillo File Complaint in Florida
PEDIATRIX MEDICAL: Wolf Popper File Complaint in Florida

PHILIP SERVICE: Texas Shareholder Suit Attacks Morgan Stanley
RENT-A-CENTER: Earnings Strong Despite $11.5MM Settlement Charges
SAN FRANCISCO SCHOOLS: School Desegregation Suit Settled
SERVICE CORPORATION: Stull Stull Files Complaint in Texas
SMARTALK TELESERVICES: Olsen Law Firm Appointed Lead Counsel

TEXACO, INC.: Company Wants Environmental Suit Tried in Ecuador
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Ohio Unions' Insurers Go to Trial Monday
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Virginia Decides How to Use Settlement Funds
WABASH NATIONAL: Shalov Stone Files Complaint in [New York]

                           *********

ADA LITIGATION: 4th Circuit Says States Can Levy Disability Fees
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a regulation
designed to protect the disabled, ruling 2 to 1 last week that
states can charge fees to cover the cost of access programs for
people with disabilities.  The Court ruling voids a regulation
enacted under the Americans with Disabilities Act and allows
states to charge disabled people for such things as handicapped
license plates and handicapped parking placards.  It applies in
the five states the Court covers: Virginia, Maryland, North
Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.

The Greensboro News & Record relates that the ruling stems from a
case in North Carolina.  Five disabled residents sued the state,
saying the Department of Motor Vehicles broke the law by charging
$5 for handicapped parking signs.  The residents argued that the
federal regulation prohibits states from charging for programs
that give the disabled equal access.  A federal District Court
judge dismissed the case.  The 4th Circuit upheld the district  
judge's decision, saying the regulation is unconstitutional.

Stephen Senn, a Lakeland, Fla., lawyer who argued for the
disabled plaintiffs, said the ruling is a setback for disability
law.  "We're disappointed," Senn said. "We lost a case that we
think is a good one."  The Justice Department had argued on
behalf of the disabled North Carolinians.  They said that when
judging the ADA, courts should look at the constitutionality of
the act as a whole, not at specific parts.  But the appeals
court, considered to be one of the most conservative in the
nation, rejected that argument.  

In his majority opinion, Chief Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III said
courts can examine the legality of each smaller regulation inside
a broader law.  In his opinion, Wilkinson made a case for
stronger states' rights. He cited a 1997 Supreme Court ruling in
a Texas case in which the justices said certain federal laws have
taken too much power away from the states and handed it to
Congress.

Justice Department spokeswoman Gina Talamona said department
lawyers were reviewing the decision and would have no immediate
comment.  The government could ask the full appeals court to
review the decision.  The 4th Circuit ruling contradicts previous
court rulings in other regions of the country, including Ohio and
New Jersey.


AIDS-TAINTED BLOOD: French Victims' Families Want Judge Removed
---------------------------------------------------------------
>From Paris, Reuters reports that families of victims in France's
AIDS-tainted blood scandal called on Tuesday for the removal of
the judge overseeing the trial of three former ministers accused
of delaying moves to screen blood products.  Lawyer Francois
Honnorat, speaking for the Association of Blood Recipients,
said a formal request for the removal of magistrate Christian Le
Gunehec would be filed later in the day to the Supreme Court.

"He is preventing our taking part in the hearings and we consider
this an intolerable demonstration of partiality," Honnorat told
reporters.  Honnorat, Reuters relates, spoke after Le Gunehec
rejected applications from more than a dozen lawyers to allow a
greater number of victims to testify.  The magistrate based his
refusal on legal grounds which allow him to set the number of
people who can take part in the trial.

Victims' groups estimate at least 3,600 people, including
hospital patients and haemophiliacs, were infected and more than
1,000 died from AIDS contracted from tainted blood.

Former Premier Laurent Fabius stands accused of blocking the
introduction of a U.S. test to screen blood donors for AIDS until
a rival French test came on the market.  He denies the charges.  
Also on trial are Edmond Herve, a former junior health minister,
and his boss Georgina Dufoix, a former minister for social
affairs and health, who also say they were unaware at the time of
the debate over when to begin screening blood.  All three are
accused of negligence in 1984-85 when evidence was rapidly  
accumulating that AIDS was a killer disease that could be
transmitted via transfusions and the blood-derived products
haemophiliacs use to control bleeding.   Each faces up to five
years in jail and 500,000 francs ($86,000) in fines if convicted
by the special Court of Justice of the Republic made up of  
parliamentarians and professional judges.



AGRIBIOTECH: Says Shareholder Suits Lack Merit; Mounting Defense
----------------------------------------------------------------
AgriBioTech, Inc. (Nasdaq National Market:ABTX) Tuesday announced
fiscal 1999 second quarter results for the period ended Dec. 31,
1998.  Due to the seasonal nature of the seed business, the
Company noted, second quarter losses are typical for ABT.  The
company reported a net loss of $10.3 million on net sales of
$75.9 million for the second quarter of fiscal 1999.   

In announcing second quarter results, ABT acknowledged it has
recently been the subject of class action lawsuits brought by
various  law firms.  "Management believes that all are without
merit and will vigorously defend them.  In that regard, ABT has
retained the services of a leading law firm that specializes in
defending these types of cases, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
of Palo Alto, California," the Company said.


ALLSTATE & GEICO: Consumer-Advocacy Web Site Established
--------------------------------------------------------
A consumer advocacy web site at http://www.safeautorepair.orgwas  
launched this week and is designed to help consumers with
questions regarding the proposed class action lawsuits filed
against GEICO, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRKA), and
Allstate (ALL).

The lawsuits claim the insurers compel repair shops to use
substandard non-factory-authorized parts when repairing GEICO and
Allstate policyholder vehicles.  Both nationwide actions, filed
Jan. 27 in Arizona's Maricopa County Superior Court, seek class
action status, claiming the companies' actions constitute a
breach of contract with customers.  GEICO and Allstate policies
state that repairs will  be made using parts that restore
vehicles to pre-crash physical condition and cash value.

In addition to information about the suit, the Web site offers
consumers information on the use of non-factory-authorized parts
and tips on avoiding sub-standard repairs.


AMAGASAKI POLLUTION: 2.42 Billion Yen Company Settlement Ratified
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Nine companies in an air pollution suit pending before the Kobe
District Court agreed yesterday to pay patients and families of
deceased victims 2.42 billion yen (about $20.4 million) in
damages in a court-brokered settlement.  The defendants,
including Kansai Electric Power Co., agreed on the damages
payment to the asthma patients and families of deceased victims,
on condition that the plaintiffs use 920 million yen of the money
to protect the environment of Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture.  The
other defendants are Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd., Kobe Steel
Ltd., Asahi Glass Co., Kubota Corp., Kansai Coke and Chemical
Co., Furukawa Co., Godo Steel Ltd. and Nakayama Steel Products
Co.

The 379 plaintiffs -- officially recognized patients of diseases
caused by air pollution in Amagasaki and families of deceased
victims -- seek an additional 7 billion yen in damages from the
central government, Hanshin Expressway Public Corp.  Mitsuko
Matsu, leader of the plaintiffs, said they will continue the
suit against the state and the public corporation.

The settlement came more than a month before the Kobe District
Court was scheduled to conclude the hearing March 26.  The nine
companies apparently decided to settle as they might lose the
suit like many other companies that faced similar court battles,
sources close to the case told Kyodo News.


AMERICAN BANKNOTE: Kantrowitz Goldhamer Files Suit in New York
--------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. announced
that a class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a
proposed class of shareholders who purchased the common stock of
American Bank Note Holographics, Inc. (NYSE: ABH) during the  
period July 15, 1998 through January 25, 1999, inclusive.  The
lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for Southern
District of New York.

Named as defendants are ABH and certain of its officers and
directors. The complaint alleges that defendants violated
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1933
and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, and Section 11 of the
Securities Act of 1933 by making false and misleading statements
which materially overstated the Company's revenues, net income
and sales for the first, second and third quarters of 1998 and
for the fiscal years 1996 and 1997.


ASSISTED LIVING: Stoll Stoll Files Complaint in Oregon
------------------------------------------------------
Stoll Stoll Berne Lokting & Shlachter P.C., filed a class action
suit in the United States District Court for the District of
Oregon on behalf of all persons who purchased the 6% convertible
subordinated debentures due 2002 of Assisted Living Concepts,
Inc. (Amex: ALF) from the date they were first offered, October
24, 1997, through February 1, 1999, inclusive.

The complaint charges the Company and William McBride III, Keren
Brown Wilson, Stephen Gordon and Rhonda Marsh with violations of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

After seven straight quarters of reporting allegedly increasing
profitability, on February 1, 1999, the Company announced that is
was restating its income for 1997 and the nine months ended
September 31, 1998.  As a result of the restatement, the
Company's net income will be substantially less than  previously
reported.  An official of American Retirement Corp. ("ARC")
stated that ARC had dropped its plans to merge with the Company
as a result of the restatement.

The complaint alleges that defendants issued a series of false
and misleading  statements about Assisted Living's earnings,
profitability and business  condition and issued financial
statements during the Class Period that were  materially false
and misleading and violated Generally Accepted Accounting  
Principles, thereby misleading investors regarding Assisted
Living's true financial condition and then-current financial
performance.  As a result, the price of Assisted Living's 6%
convertible subordinated debentures were artificially inflated
during the Class Period.  On February 1, 1999, the date of the
Company's announcement, the price of Assisted Living's 6%
debentures plummeted from its closing price on the previous
trading day of $80 3/4 to $58 per bond.  During the Class Period,
the 6% debentures traded as high as $112 1/2.


CELL PATHWAYS: Milberg Weiss Files Complaint in Pennsylvania
------------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP announced that a class
action lawsuit was filed on February 12, 1999 in the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania,
on behalf of all persons who purchased the common stock of Cell
Pathways, Inc (Nasdaq: CLPA), between November 11, 1998 and
February 2, 1999, inclusive.

The complaint charges CPI and certain officers of the Company
during the relevant time period with violations of Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The complaint
alleges that defendants issued a series of materially false and
misleading statements regarding the efficacy and near-term
commercialization of the Company's cancer treatment drug,  
PREVATAC(TM)(exisulind).  Because of the issuance of a series of
false and misleading statements, the price of CPI common stock
was artificially inflated during the Class Period.


CELL PATHWAYS: Gross Firm Files Complaint in Pennsylvania
---------------------------------------------------------
Law Offices Bernard M. Gross, P.C., on February 12, 1999, filed a
class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for  the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of a class consisting
of all persons who purchased the common stock of Cell Pathways
Inc. from November 11, 1998 through and including February 2,
1999  and were damaged thereby, inclusive.

The Complaint charges Cell Pathways(NYSE: CLPA) and certain of
its officers with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

According to the Complaint, during the Class Period, defendants
disseminated numerous announcements concerning PREVATAC
(exisulind), its current and future  prospects concerning
PREVATAC (exisulind) in violation of the federal securities laws.
The Complaint alleges that the defendants' false statements  
artificially inflated the price of Cell pathways stock.


CELL PATHWAYS: Company Denies Allegations in Class Action Suits
---------------------------------------------------------------
Responding to the class action lawsuits filed against it, Cell
Pathways, Inc. said in a prepared statement that it, "believes
that the allegations are without merit and intends to vigorously
contest the litigation."


CHINESE TRAINEES: Scores File Suit in Japan for Unpaid Wages
------------------------------------------------------------
Sixty Chinese trainees filed a suit against a fresh food
association in Japan's Chiba Prefecture and 15 companies
Wednesday, seeking 38 million yen in unpaid wages.  Executives of
the Choshi-based National Fresh Food Logistics Cooperative
Association have been indicted for raking off part of wages paid
to overseas trainees hired by member companies.  Sixteen other
Chinese trainees filed a similar damage suit against the  
defendants Dec. 21, seeking 19 million yen in unpaid wages.

According to the suit filed Wednesday with the Yokaichiba branch
of the Chiba District Court, Kyodo News reports, one plaintiff,
Liu Zhengbo, 33, worked for Kimura Shoten, a seafood processing
company based in Choshi.  Liu was promised 1.26 million yen in
wages for a one-year apprenticeship program but received only
840,000 yen after one year of work, it said.  The other 59
plaintiffs also had their wages reduced in the same way, the
suit said.

Susumu Suzuki, president of the association, and another
association executive were indicted in December on charges of
taking money from trainees' wages and embezzlement.

The wages were deposited by the companies with the association
before being handed to the trainees, the suit said.

At the first court hearing Wednesday of the first suit, an
official of one of the companies said, "We didn't know the
association had been deducting money from the wages," Kyodo
relates.

A Tokyo legal-aid group which filed the suit on behalf of the
Chinese trainees told Kyodo it may file more suits against the
companies concerned if they do not settle with the plaintiffs.   


CITIZENS UTILITIES: Nogales City Council Approves Settlement
------------------------------------------------------------
The Arizona Daily Star reports that the City of Nogales settled
its complaint against Citizens Utilities, relying on a consumer
advocacy office to oversee the company's improvements in electric
service.  On a 5-0 vote, the Nogales City Council set in motion
the repayment of $15 to each of the approximately 12,500 Citizens
customers in Santa Cruz County.  The vote also established a new
process for claims against Citizens by consumers who say they
lost equipment during repeated outages late last year.

As reported in yesterday's edition of the CAR, nine outages
occurred, some of them affecting the entire county.  At two
public hearings this winter, customers complained that
televisions, VCRs and other pieces of electrical equipment were
damaged.

The Arizona Corporation Commission must approve aspects of the
settlement other than the rebates and the claims procedure, the
Star related.  Among those aspects is a requirement that Citizens
present a history of its improvements in electric service over
the last several years and a plan for future improvements to the
Residential Utility Consumer Office and the city.


DOW CORNING: Creditor Ballots due May 14, 1999
----------------------------------------------
Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Spector has set May 14, 1999, as the
deadline for thousands of women worldwide suing Dow Corning Corp.
over silicone gel breast implants to vote on a $3.2 billion
settlement proposal.

The complicated deal, as Reuters describes it, will end years of
legal fighting, is part of a larger, $4.5 billion bankruptcy
reorganization plan first developed in 1995 to help Dow Corning,
a 50-50 joint venture of Dow Chemical Co. and Corning Inc.,  
cope with the thousands of suits filed against it over the
implants.

Judge Spector approved the plan for distribution to women for
voting.  Jointly proposed by Dow Corning and the Tort Claimants'
Committee, the plan  which  calls for Dow Corning to send
creditors a description of the settlement and ballots for voting
by March 15, Dow Corning  spokesman Kevin Wiggins said.  The
ballots must then be returned by May 14.  "All claimants will
have to accept or reject the settlement proposal," Wiggins said.  
Two-thirds of voters must approve the plan for it to go forward,
Wiggins said. A confirmation hearing is scheduled for June 28 to
allow opponents to air their views, after which the judge will
issue a final ruling on whether the plan should be confirmed.

The proposed settlement gives women three settlement options with
payments ranging from $2,000 to more than $300,000 under certain
conditions.  Women who opt out of the settlement have six months
to decide if they want to sue the company separately.



GENCOR INDUSTRIES: Milberg Weiss Files Complaint in Florida
-----------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit, Civil Action No. 99-165-CV-18-B, was
filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District
of Florida, on behalf of all persons who purchased the common
stock of Gencor Industries, Inc. (Amex: GX), between February 5,
1998 and January 28, 1999, inclusive, by the law firm of Milberg
Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach.

The complaint charges Gencor and certain officers and directors
of the Company during the relevant time period with violations of
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  
The complaint alleges that defendants issued a series of
materially false and misleading statements regarding Gencor, its
products and the strength of its business.  Because of the
issuance of a series of false and misleading statements, the
price of Gencor common stock was artificially inflated during the
Class Period.


HOLOCAUST VICTIMS:  Munich Lawyer Criticizes Compensation Fund
--------------------------------------------------------------
>From Bonn, Reuters reports that a Munich lawyer involved in a
lawsuit against German industry for Nazi-era injustices on
Tuesday criticised the size of a proposed compensation fund and
the number of companies participating.  A group of 12 leading
German companies has proposed a fund to compensate people who
were forced to work as slave labourers or whose property was  
expropriated by the Nazis.

"The companies involved here are the tip of the iceberg," lawyer
Michael Witti told Reuters.  He estimated the real number of
companies involved in Nazi-era injustices amounted to more than
200.  While no figure for the total value of the fund was given
at an earlier news briefing in Bonn, Witti said he believed a sum
in the billions of marks was under discussion.

But he said the amount would have to be "far greater" than the
three billion marks ($1.72 billion) cited by media reports.  The
fund, which has the backing of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, is
aimed at pre-empting lawsuits against German firms.

Witti is part of mainly U.S.-based legal team which has filed an
$18 billion class-action lawsuit naming some of Germany's top
banks and 100 other institutions as defendants.  "This does not
mean an end for the class action, that is clear," he said,  
repeating past statements that any settlement would have to take
place in a  court of law.  The issue of Holocaust compensation
has become an increasingly risky one for German business.  


HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: U.S. Lawyers Criticize Compensation Fund
-----------------------------------------------------------
A group of lawyers representing Holocaust survivors in class
actions against 14 German companies charged with using slave
labor expressed their opposition to unilateral German efforts to
resolve the claims through a German compensation fund.  The group
is led by Philadelphia-based Berger & Montague, P.C.  

"During World War II, our clients were forced to endure
unspeakably brutal conditions by German companies eager to rent
their bodies from the Nazi SS for their economic benefit.  After
the end of the War, these companies (with few exceptions) totally
rejected efforts to compensate the victims.  No one took
up  their cause.  The Allied Governments totally ignored their
claims, and, indeed, restored freedom and wealth to all German
industrialists convicted of war crimes.  Jewish organizations,
with no outside support, were able to negotiate token settlements
with only a handful of companies and agreed to provide no  
further assistance in slave labor claims.  For half a century,
slave labor  victims have been ignored while some perpetrators of
slave labor have gone on to become multi-billion dollar
international conglomerates," Berger & Montague said in a
statement.  

"We favor a speedy resolution of these claims.  But we cannot
accept one that has been dictated by the German companies.  This
is not a war which they won and which entitles them to impose
terms of surrender. If the German companies truly want to get
this behind them, they should sit down with the slave labor  
victims and work out a mutually agreeable settlement that treats
the victims with the dignity that has been so lacking over the
past 55 years," Berger & Montague added.



INSO, CORP.: Berman DeValerio File Complaint in Massachusetts
-------------------------------------------------------------
Berman DeValerio & Pease LLP filed a lawsuit filed charging Inso
Corp. (Nasdaq:INSO) with overstating its revenues and earnings.  
The case was filed as a class action in the United States
District Court for the District of Massachusetts on behalf of  
all persons and entities who purchased the common stock of Inso
Corp. during  the period February 3, 1998 through and including
January 29, 1999 and who suffered losses on their investments.

The action charges that Inso issued materially false and
misleading financial statements during the Class Period.  On
February 1, 1999, the Company announced that, due to accounting
irregularities, it would restate its 1998 financial results for
its first, second and third fiscal quarters.  During the Class  
Period, while its revenues and earnings were materially
overstated, certain of Inso's officers sold more than 1.5 million
of their Inso common stock and collected proceeds of almost $4
million.  When Inso revealed that its financial statements had
been overstated, its common stock price plunged by more than
60%  on February 1, 1999.


JDA SOFTWARE: Barrack Rodos Files Complaint in Arizona
------------------------------------------------------
Barrack, Rodos & Bacine, filed a class action proceeding in the
United States District Court for the District of Arizona on
behalf of all persons who purchased the common stock of JDA
Software Group Inc. (Nasdaq: JDAS) between January 29, 1998 and
January 5, 1999, inclusive.

The Complaint charges JDA and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  
The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
caused JDA to report strong financial results, claiming that JDA
was continuing to experience great demand for its software
products and services and that JDA would post strong revenue and  
earnings growth throughout 1998 and 1999.  The revenue and EPS
growth reported by JDA caused the Company's stock to trade at
artificially inflated levels, allowing JDA's senior insiders to
sell $43 million of their own JDA stock and JDA itself to issue
and sell more than $90 million of stock via a public offering,
raising badly needed cash which defendants used to purchase
Comshare Inc.'s Arthur Retail Business Systems division.

The Arthur Acquisition was a key part of defendants' alleged
scheme in that it allowed defendants to continue to hide JDA's
declining revenues and EPS by reporting and disseminating false
financial statements and concealing JDA's problems with:

     (i) its newly introduced enterprise products;

    (ii) its rapidly deteriorating licensing revenue; and

   (iii) its disorganized and leaderless European and Latin
         America sales forces.  

When JDA finally admitted that its sales force was in disarray,
that its previously reported financial results were false and
would have to be restated and that JDA would be reporting huge  
4Q98 losses, JDA stock plummeted to just $6-1/16 per share, 80%
lower than the levels where defendants had sold more than $140
million of JDA stock.


PEDIATRIX MEDICAL: Burt & Pucillo File Complaint in Florida
-----------------------------------------------------------
Burt & Pucillo, LLP filed a class action lawsuit on February 16,
1999, in the United  States District Court for the Southern
District of Florida, on behalf of all persons who purchased the
common stock of Pediatrix Medical Group, Inc. (NYSE:PDX), between
April 28, 1998 and February 12, 1999, inclusive.

The Complaint charges Pediatrix and certain of its executive
officers with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as well as Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder.  The complaint alleges that defendants issued a
series of materially false and misleading statements during
the Class Period regarding the Company's financial condition and
results of operations.  These false and misleading statements
caused the price of Pediatrix's common stock to be artificially
inflated during the Class Period.


PEDIATRIX MEDICAL: Wolf Popper File Complaint in Florida
--------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit was filed against Pediatrix Medical Group,
Inc. (NYSE: PDX) in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of Florida by the law firm Wolf Popper LLP on
behalf of persons who purchased or otherwise acquired Pediatrix
securities in the open  market during the period April 28, 1998
through February 12, 1999.

The Complaint charges that defendants violated the U.S.
securities laws by issuing materially false and misleading
statements and by omitting to disclose material facts required to
be disclosed, in order to make the statements issued not
materially false and misleading throughout the Class Period.


PHILIP SERVICE: Texas Shareholder Suit Attacks Morgan Stanley
-------------------------------------------------------------
Former Texas stakeholders in U.S.-based Allwaste Inc., now an arm
of Canada's Philip Services Corp. , are suing U.S. investment
house Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., saying it should have  
known Philip was in financial trouble before it arranged a 1997
marriage between it and Allwaste, according to a news report
circulated by Reuters.  

New York-based Morgan Stanley, one of the largest brokerages in
America, has been targeted by former employees and executives of
U.S.-based Allwaste, now part of Hamilton, Ontario-based Philip,
a company that recovers metals from scrap and provides industrial
waste disposal services.  The employees and executives they say
they have watched the worth of their options in the Houston,
Texas-based waste management company plunge with the dwindling
value of Philip stock after the deal.  Allwaste stock options
were rolled into Philip options as part of the July 31, 1997
merger.

Their suit, Reuters relates, asserts that Morgan Stanley breached
its fiduciary duties.  The action is the latest in a long list of
lawsuits involving Philip Services.  The company has gone from a
high-flying waste management firm and acquisition artist to a
company ravaged by unexpected losses, a copper trading scandal
and legal actions.

The case of James A. Collins and co-plaintiffs versus Morgan
Stanley Dean Witter and employee Ian Pereira, who helped clinch
the deal, was filed in the Galveston division of the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of Texas.  The lawsuit
seeks class action status on behalf of all Allwaste employees  
who owned stock options in the industrial services firm at the
time it merged with Philip in 1997.  The plaintiffs allege that
Morgan Stanley, the successor of Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc.,
conducted a cursory investigation of Philip before telling
Allwaste and its stakeholders that the deal was fair.  Pereira
signed the fairness opinion.

If it had investigated, Morgan Stanley would have known that
"there were substantial questions regarding Philip and the
integrity of its management.  In fact, Philip had dramatically
overstated its revenues and assets or failed to state many of its
liabilities," the lawsuit states.  As a result, Morgan Stanley
and Pereira breached their fiduciary duties, it said.  The suit
claims that Morgan Stanley gave a fairness opinion based on a few
calls and a "pretend" investigation.  If it had dug deeper, it
would have seen public reports questioning the integrity of
Philips' management and the value of Philip.

Patrick Zummo, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs,
told Reuters Monday that Allwaste wasn't involved in Philip's
plummeting stock price.  "Allwaste, as far as we can see, is not
the reason that the Philip stock price  has declined so badly.
Those problems all appeared (before) or pre-existed the  merger,"
Zummo said.   Some of the holders were counting on the Allwaste
stock options to help boost their pensions, Zummo said. "Many of
them would have held these options as part of retirement."


RENT-A-CENTER: Earnings Strong Despite $11.5MM Settlement Charges
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Rent-A-Center, Inc. (Nasdaq: RCII) (formerly known as Renters
Choice, Inc.), announced revenues and net earnings for the
quarter and year ended December 31, 1998.  Revenues for the
quarter ended December 31, 1998 were $350.3 million, a $258.0  
million increase from $92.3 million for the same period of the
prior year.   This 279.6% increase includes incremental revenues
of $21.9 million and $223.5 million from the acquisitions of
Central Rents, Inc. and  Thorn Americas, Inc., respectively.  The
Company's original core businesses remained strong during the
quarter, contributing $104.9 million in total revenues.  Same-
store revenues (revenues earned in stores operated for the
entirety of both periods) during the fourth quarter of 1998
increased 9.9% from the comparable quarter of 1997.

Net earnings for the quarter ended December 31, 1998, before a
non-recurring charge of $11.5 million associated with the pending
settlement of two class action lawsuits in New Jersey, were $9.7
million.   The 30.7% increase in net earnings over the fourth
quarter of 1997 includes the additional expenses associated with
the assimilation of Central Rents and Thorn Americas, and came
despite the increased interest and amortization costs associated
with those acquisitions.  

Net earnings for the year ended December 31, 1998, after the
fourth quarter $11.5 million non-recurring charge and the third
quarter $7.5 million non-recurring acquisition related charges,
were $24.8 million, compared with $25.9 million in the year ended
December 31, 1997.  Excluding these non-recurring charges, net
earnings and diluted earnings per share for the year would have
been $35.1 million and $1.24, respectively, representing growth
in net earnings and diluted earnings per share of 35.8% and
20.4%.  This growth was principally driven by increased total
revenues of $478.2 million, which increased from $331.5 million
for the year ended December 31, 1997, to $809.7 million in 1998,
representing an increase of 144.3%.  Although the inclusion of
the operations of both Central Rents and Thorn Americas accounts  
for a significant portion of this increase, the Company
experienced growth in its core rent-to-own stores, with
same-store sales (representing approximately 420 stores)
increasing by 8.1% for the year.


SAN FRANCISCO SCHOOLS: School Desegregation Suit Settled
--------------------------------------------------------
A settlement was reached Tuesday just as a federal trial was to
begin to decide the constitutionality of the city's school  
desegregation program, which bars any school from having more
than 45% of any one racial or ethnic group.  U.S. District Judge
William Orrick ordered details kept confidential until a hearing
is scheduled for preliminary approval of the lawsuit's
settlement.

But participants' comments indicated that limits on racial and
ethnic groups at each school in the 63,000-student district, part
of a 1983 court order, would be repealed.  The agreement between
the school district and the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People is "a balanced resolution that
achieves the objectives that plaintiffs in this case set," Daniel
Girard, lawyer for three Chinese-American students and their
parents, who filed the suit in 1994, told an Associated Press
reporter.

"This is definitely worth the fight," Charlene Loen told the AP,
whose 14-year-old son, Patrick Wong, was denied admission to
elite Lowell High School in 1994 because the school then required
higher test scores from Chinese Americans than other ethnic
groups.

The 1983 order, the AP recalled, which resolved a 1978
discrimination suit by the NAACP, contained a 45% ceiling on any
racial or ethnic group at a school.  The limit is 40% at
alternative or "magnet" schools.  

A draft settlement that was brought to Orrick earlier in the day
would prohibit assigning students based on race or ethnicity but
would let the district consider their socioeconomic status, said
Patrick Manshardt, a lawyer for the state Board of Education who
saw the draft but was not part of the negotiations, the AP added.


SERVICE CORPORATION: Stull Stull Files Complaint in Texas
---------------------------------------------------------
Stull, Stull & Brody, on February 16, 1999, commenced a
securities class action lawsuit in the United States District
Court for the Southern District  of Texas against Service Corp.
International (NYSE:SRV) and certain of its officers on behalf of
investors who either surrendered their Equity Corporation stock
for Service Corp. shares (as a  result of their merger) or who
purchased Service Corp. securities in the period  between July
23, 1998 and January 26, 1999.

The complaint alleges that defendants violated the federal
securities laws (Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and Sections 11, 12(a)(2) and 15 of the
Securities Act of 1933) by, among other things, engaging in
aggressive and improper accounting practices that inflated
earnings and Service Corp.'s stock price during the Class Period.


SMARTALK TELESERVICES: Olsen Law Firm Appointed Lead Counsel
------------------------------------------------------------
Kurt B. Olsen, Esq., of The Olsen Law Firm, has been appointed by
the Court as Lead Counsel in the SmarTalk Teleservices, Inc.
Securities Litigation and has filed an amended complaint on
behalf of purchasers of SmarTalk Teleservices, Inc. (Nasdaq:
SMTK, SMTKQ) securities between August 13, 1997 and January 7,
1999.  The amended complaint consolidates the pending class
actions previously filed against SmarTalk during August 1998, and
also includes defendants' ongoing fraudulent conduct perpetrated
after the August 1998 complaints were filed.

The initial complaints filed by Lead Counsel charge SmarTalk and
certain of its officers and directors, and its outside auditors,
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during a
class period of May 13, 1997 to August 10, 1998.  The amended
complaint includes defendants' ongoing misconduct subsequent to
August 10, 1998, including defendants' financial fraud which  
culminated with defendants restating not only SmarTalk's fiscal
1997, first quarter 1998 and second quarter 1998 results, but
also its third quarter 1998 results as detailed in SmarTalk's
January 7, 1999 announcement.  The January 7, 1999 announcement
caused SmarTalk's stock price to further collapse to $1-1/2  
per share.  The Company has declared bankruptcy and the stock is
no longer trading.  The amended complaint continues to name
SmarTalk's officers and directors and SmarTalk's outside auditor,
PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, with violations of the securities
laws.

Since August 1998, Lead Counsel says that it has spent hundreds
of hours investigating the facts and prosecuting this litigation
and are taking all necessary steps to protect the interests of
SmarTalk investors in this action and in the bankruptcy
proceedings.  Nevertheless, at least three complaints have been
filed during January and February, 1999 by other law firms
purporting to represent class members in this action. These
actions have not been filed by Court Appointed Lead Counsel in
this action, but rather by other counsel who were not involved in
prosecuting and investigating this action from its inception.  
The allegations contained in these recently filed complaints
appear to only cover the last few months of the Period covered by
Lead Counsel's February 16, 1999 Amended Complaint.


TEXACO, INC.: Company Wants Environmental Suit Tried in Ecuador
---------------------------------------------------------------
News reports say that lawyers for Texaco, Inc., want the billion-
dollar class-action toxic waste lawsuit brought by Ecuadorean
Indian tribes should be tried in Ecuador, rather than White
Plains, New York.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Ohio Unions' Insurers Go to Trial Monday
------------------------------------------------------------
Health-care insurers for Ohio's labor unions are suing the
tobacco industry for almost $2 billion to cover the costs of
treating smoking-related illnesses.  The federal lawsuit claims
tobacco companies targeted blue-collar workers and their children
through advertising and promotional gimmicks that encouraged  
them to smoke.

"We found documents that indicate that the tobacco industry was
aware that people with lower incomes and less education, and who
go to work right after high school, are more susceptible to the
advertising of the Marlboro man image, Joe Camel, etc., and this
is the most vulnerable group to purchase their tobacco products,"
said Mike Withey, an attorney from Seattle representing the  
plaintiffs.

The suit was brought by an Ohio group representing more than 100
labor union trust funds, which hold the money union members and
their employers set aside for health insurance.

The tobacco industry also discovered the health hazards of
cigarette smoking through its research and kept that information
from the public, according to the lawsuit, which goes to trial
Monday in U.S. District Court.  

Tobacco industry attorneys maintain there are no legal grounds
for the lawsuit.  Tobacco companies, like any other business,
have a legal right to advertise, said Robert Weber, an attorney
who represents R.J. Reynolds Co., which makes such cigarettes as
Camel, Vantage, Winston and Salem and is one of the companies
named in the suit.  "What they're trying to say is that somehow
Ohio working men and women don't somehow understand advertising
and are more susceptible than other people in society and that's
just hogwash," he said.

The lawsuit is one of more than 30 similar ones across the
nation.  Judges have thrown out such lawsuits in Florida and
Pennsylvania.  

The plaintiffs dismissed The Liggett Group, which makes
Chesterfield, Lark, L&M and Eve cigarettes and is based in
Durham, N.C., from the lawsuit in exchange for its cooperation.   
The defendants in the lawsuit are Philip Morris Inc., Lorillard
Tobacco Co., RJR Nabisco Inc. and RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp., all
based in New York; Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. of
Louisville, Ky.; British American Tobacco of Middlesex, England;
and United States Tobacco Sales and Marketing Co. of Greenwich,
Conn.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Virginia Decides How to Use Settlement Funds
----------------------------------------------------------------
Vitginia's House of Delegates and the Senate, the Richmond Times-
Dispatch reports, voted unanimously Wednesday to use 60% of the
State's share of a $206 billion tobacco settlement to set up two
statewide funds.  One fund would hold 50% of the money to
reimburse Virginia tobacco farmers for lost income and to study
how to lessen their ties to the crop.  The other fund would
reserve 10% to combat youth smoking.


WABASH NATIONAL: Shalov Stone Files Complaint in [New York]
-----------------------------------------------------------
A class action was commenced on behalf of all persons who
purchased the securities of Wabash National Corp. (NYSE: WNC)
in  the period between April 20, 1998 and January 15, 1999.  The
lawsuit alleges that the defendants (Wabash and certain of its
executives) violated the federal securities laws by, among other
things, overstating the company's financial  condition.  As a
result of defendants' conduct, the complaint alleges that the  
price of Wabash securities was artificially inflated, causing
public investors to suffer damages.

The Plaintiffs are represented by the New York City law firm of
Shalov Stone & Bonner and the Indianapolis law firm of Maddox
Koeller Hargett & Caruso.  



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