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                Friday, May 21, 1999, Vol. 1, No. 76


3COM CORP.: Barrack Rodos Files Complaint in California
BANK OF AUSTRIA: Settlement Approved for Holocaust Survivors
BLUE CROSS: Policyholders Seek Cerulean Shares Despite Setback
BRE-X MINERALS: Separate Suit Planned After Brokers Dismissed
CENDANT CORP.: Judge Fines Lawyer for Disclosing Legal Fees

FORD MOTOR: Alameda County TFI Jury Hears Opening Statements
FORD MOTOR: Disputes Ambulance Operators' Claim of Class Status
IRIDIUM WORLD: Keller Rohrback Files District of Columbia Suit
LOUISIANA: Challengers Seek New Trial for State Gill-Net Ban
MARCOS ESTATE: Victims Say Terminate Settlement for Non-Payment

MAXIM GROUP: Wolf Haldenstein Files Complaint in District Court
NEW YORK CITY: Judge Okays Seizing Cars from Drunk Drivers
PACIFIC BELL: Part-time Workers Seek Benefits (ala Microsoft)
RACIAL PROFILING: Serviceman Stopped in OK "Driving While Black"
RACIAL PROFILING: Suit Challenges NJ State Police Turnpike Stops

ROTHMANS HOLDINGS: Smokers Take on Australian Tobacco Industry
SECURITIES LITIGATION: Insurer Recommends Defensive Measures
SUPERMARKETS GENERAL: Settles Royal Ahold Acquisition Complaint
WWII REPARATIONS: More Suits Planned Against German Companies


3COM CORP.: Barrack Rodos Files Complaint in California
Barrack, Rodos & Bacine filed a class action in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of California on
behalf of all persons who purchased the common stock of 3Com
Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) between September 22, 1998 and March 2,
1999, inclusive. The complaint charges 3Com and certain of its
officers and directors with violations of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934.

The complaint alleges that beginning in September 1998,
defendants made false and misleading statements about 3Com's
exceptionally strong and much better-than-expected 1stQ F99 EPS
of $.24, strong ongoing demand for 3Com's Systems Products
(especially its new flagship CoreBuilder 9000 switch) and 3Com's
Client Access Products, 3Com's increased operational
efficiencies, improved channel inventory controls and costs
savings and the progress 3Com was making with its new, improved
business model. The complaint further alleges that during 3Com's
1stQ F99 and 2ndQ F99, 3Com's insiders also used $130.4 million
of 3Com's cash to repurchase 4.3 million 3Com shares on the open
market, to help manipulate and artificially inflate the stock to
help the insiders sell their own shares at much higher and, for
them, more profitable prices.

As a result of these positive representations, 3Com's stock
soared from as low as $23-1/8 on September 1, 1998 to as high as
$51-1/8 on December 23, 1998, its 1998 high, and during November
1998- January 1999, 3Com's top insiders sold 4.2 million shares
of their 3Com stock at as high as $48.69 per share for $189
million. In early February 1999, 3Com's stock fell sharply, from
$47-1/4 to $30-9/16 in seven trading sessions when rumors
circulated that Intel Corp. was gaining NIC market share from
3Com and two 3Com distributors announced disappointing results.
However, when 3Com assured analysts that its business model was
intact and it was on track to achieve 3rdQ F99 and 4thQ F99 EPS
consistent with its prior guidance, 3Com's stock stabilized and
recovered to as high as $35-9/16. However, on March 2, 1999,
3Com revealed that, due to weak sales of Systems Products,
especially in North and South America and very weak sales of
Client Access Products, 3Com's 3rdQ F99 EPS, and its results
going forward, would be much worse than earlier forecast,
causing analysts to slash the 3Com forecast for the 4thQ F99,
F99 and F00 EPS to just $.22-$.29, $1.04-$1.11 and $1.15-$1.55,
respectively, far below the levels forecast earlier. 3Com's
stock dropped from $30- 11/16 on March 1, 1999 to as low as $22-
3/4 on March 3, 1999, a 27% two-day decline on extraordinary
volume of over 92 million shares.

For more information, contact Maxine S. Goldman at 800-417-7305
or 215-963-0600, or write msgoldman@barrack.com via email.

BANK OF AUSTRIA: Settlement Approved for Holocaust Survivors
The New York Times reports that shareholders of The Bank of
Austria have voted to approve a settlement of class action
lawsuits filed in the U.S. by survivors of the Holocaust and
their families. The settlement, which calls for the bank and its
Creditanstalt subsidiary to provide $30 million to set up a fund
for the claimants, will be presented to Federal District Court
in Manhattan for approval.

According to The Washington Post, an additional $10 million
expense has been planned for administration, payment of lawyers'
fees and advertising to bring the agreement to the attention of
potential claimants.

The Post noted that the amount involved is considerably less
than the $ 1.2 billion settlement agreed to last year by
Switzerland's two biggest banks to close out a five-decade
controversy over charges that the banks took deposits from Jews
who subsequently were swept into Nazi death camps and, after
World War II, refused to honor claims from survivors or
relatives of victims. However, the Bank Austria settlement is
significant as a sign that the drive to resolve claims left over
from the war still has momentum. In addition to banks, claims or
settlement negotiations are proceeding against several European
insurance companies for alleged nonpayment of death benefits and
against a number of industrial firms--including German
subsidiaries of some American companies--that allegedly profited
from the use of slave labor provided by the Nazis.

The bank spokesmen told the Washington Post that anyone now
party to the class action suit will be able to formally opt out
and pursue legal action separately if dissatisfied with the
settlement. The spokesmen added that the banks do not know how
many claimants there are likely to be or how much their claims
collectively will total.

BLUE CROSS: Policyholders Seek Cerulean Shares Despite Setback
Despite a Georgia Supreme Court setback, attorneys representing
about 74,000 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia policyholders
have mounted another bid to gain shares of stock in the
insurer's parent company. Those 74,000 plaintiffs, in a class-
action lawsuit, have asked state Insurance Commissioner John
Oxendine to declare that they should be issued five shares of
stock each in Cerulean, parent firm of Blue Cross. Oxendine's
office said the commissioner had not yet reviewed the
plaintiffs' petitions.

Already, about 70,000 Blue Cross policyholders own five shares
apiece. They took advantage of a 1996 offer to sign up for the
free disbursement during the insurer's conversion from a
nonprofit to a for-profit company. If the $500 million
acquisition of Blue Cross by California-based WellPoint Health
Networks occurs, as expected, those policyholders would receive
about $ 4,000, or the equivalent in WellPoint stock.

In December, a Superior Court judge in Richmond County ruled
that 74,000 more policyholders were allowed to receive the five
shares -- even though they didn't sign up for the offer. Under
that ruling, the value of the benefit to all shareholders would
have dropped to about $ 1,850.

But Blue Cross appealed, and this month, the Georgia Supreme
Court reversed the lower court decision. Oxendine still has the
power to review the stock situation, Jay Brownstein of
Brownstein & Nguyen, representing the plaintiffs, said Tuesday.

The company has argued the plaintiffs should have either
accepted the stock in 1996 or appealed that share process at
that time.

Oxendine also must approve the WellPoint acquisition, but no
hearing has been scheduled. Blue Cross shareholders must approve
the deal as well.
(Copyright 1999 The Atlanta Constitution)

BRE-X MINERALS: Separate Suit Planned After Brokers Dismissed
The National Post reports that the biggest victim of the Bre-X
Minerals Ltd. swindle - the $60-billion Ontario Teachers'
Pension Plan Board - may sue Bay Street brokers directly in
coming weeks after last week's disastrous decision to exempt the
brokers from a class-action lawsuit. Lawyers for the board,
which lost $100-million, and others are busily deciding what to
do in the wake of last week's court decision that said a class
action on behalf of shareholder victims would be restricted to
going after a handful of Bre-X officers and directors.

It was a bad decision. The brokers, and their big-bank owners,
were midwives to the world's biggest gold swindle by selling the
junk and endorsing it. 'In general, it looks like everybody's
washing his hands,' said Claude Lamoureux, board president and
chief executive, in a telephone interview this week. 'We're
going to see what can we do here.'

The Ontario court's class-action decision may be appealed and it
does not preclude the board or other investors from suing
individually, or even jointly. It also does not preclude success
on the part of a class-action lawsuit that is proceeding against
Canadian and U.S. brokers in the United States.

The board lost $100-million. The public lost $8-billion (Bre-X
plus related companies). Bay Street brokers and their bank
owners, by contrast, made tens of millions of dollars touting
Bre-X over the years. Bay Street's brokerage firms, and some
regionals, run all of Canada's exchanges where there is an
implied guarantee any listed stock is for real. Now, they argue
they were hoodwinked, too.

'You start with the guy that is dead. He certainly knew this was
a fake,' said Mr. Lamoureux. 'The geologists knew it was a fake.
Somebody was salting a mine. Start with that. A giant fraud.
After that, you say, did the analysts do their jobs? First
somebody does a fraud then an analyst goes and says it's great
and fabulous. It's either there or not there. Clearly, it wasn't
there. We're talking about quality control. What did the
analysts have in terms of quality control? Did the auditor?
Probably not. The head office did not.'

Let's just recount here the infamous conference call, weeks
before the fraud was discovered, among analysts and the late
Bre-X director and chief executive David Walsh and senior vice-
president John Felderhof, now living in the Cayman Islands. Mr.
Walsh died last year, but Mr. Felderhof is charged with insider
trading and securities violations by the Ontario Securities
Commission. 'My estimate [of gold reserves] is 95 million
ounces,' bragged Mr. Felderhof in February, 1997. 'Mike de
Guzman, my project manager, he estimates 100 million ounces. If
you would ask me what is the total potential, I would feel very
comfortable with 200 million ounces.'

None of the analysts challenged these figures, even though
subsequent drilling showed there was very little gold on the
property. Egizio Bianchini, an analyst with Bank of Montreal's
Nesbitt Burns Inc., was chief cheerleader for the stock, touting
it up until the day before the company first announced there
were problems. In the conference call, Mr. Felderhof was
commenting about Mr. Bianchini's concern about the fact that the
Indonesian government had just expropriated 55% of the ore body
without compensation. 'Egizio, can I just add one point? I think
what happened here, we found too much gold, so it therefore
becomes an issue of national [Indonesian government] interest.
If we had found a lot less, this [expropriation] would have
never happened.' Mr. Bianchini then commented on how investors
were disappointed at this expropriation. 'Yes, I'm a bit
disappointed, but you've also got to appreciate this is a very
unique situation. Even with 45%, I feel that Bre-X could end up
with 90 million ounces. That's my feeling. And that's a pretty
good mine.' Mr. Bianchini: 'From your lips to God's ears, John.
Thank you.'

Another area of legal interest concerns the announcement in
December, 1996, by the Toronto Stock Exchange that Bre-X would
ascend to the prestigious TSE 300, an index of blue-ribbon
stocks. That's when the big boys, including Caisse de depot et
placement du Quebec, waded in. Normally, companies had to be
listed for one year before getting on to the
index, even if they qualified otherwise. The index is weighted
according to industry and capitalization to reflect, more or
less, the entire stock exchange. Bre-X was promoted after only
nine months because it was worth $6-billion and also because it
was in the mining category, which needed bolstering. This meant
the exchange, run by the brokers, did not quite follow its own
rules. But it also must have meant they may have had some sort
of latitude, or someone argued that Bre-X was a special case
that required an exemption. The significance here is that
companies automatically jump in value when they get on the TSE
(Copyright 1999 Financial Post from National Post)

CENDANT CORP.: Judge Fines Lawyer for Disclosing Legal Fees
The Associated Press reports that a federal judge has fined a
lawyer $1,000 for improperly disclosing confidential aspects of
bidding by law firms that sought to lead one of two class-action
lawsuits against Cendant Corp. U.S. District Judge William H.
Walls had threatened to issue a contempt citation against lawyer
Howard Sirota, who represents some Prides shareholders, after
reading a New York Times report in which Sirota questioned the
payout to the lead firm, Kirby McInerney & Squire of New York.
Instead, Walls chose a lesser punishment, which Sirota said he
would appeal.

The Associated Press noted that Sirota's firm, Sirota & Sirota
of New York, failed in its effort to become lead counsel, a
potentially lucrative post in class-action lawsuits. It is now
seeking a share of Kirby's fees, arguing that by pushing for the
competitive bidding, its efforts benefited shareholders.

At a recent hearing, Sirota was reported by AP to assert that he
divulged no confidential information when he called a reporter
for the Times and informed her of a court filing complaining
that Kirby's request for fees exceeded its bid. An article
appeared Friday, which Sirota said was based on his legal brief.
The article said Kirby is seeking 2,916,147 Cendant rights as
its fee. Sirota argued that would be worth $34 million, or about
10 percent of the settlement, which Sirota said exceeds its bid,
the article said. "The class is entitled to know that Kirby is
seeking more than his bid," Sirota told Walls. Walls said Sirota
could have checked with the court first before divulging bid

The action by U.S. District Judge William H. Walls came a day
after he formally approved a $340 million settlement reached in
January in that lawsuit, which was brought by holders of a
special class of Cendant securities known as Prides. AP
explained that holders of Prides had the obligation of buying
Cendant common stock at a future date. And when Cendant stock
plummeted in April 1998, following the disclosure of a
widespread accounting fraud, it would have left the Prides'
holders obligated to pay more than twice the market value for
common stock.

AP explained that the settlement would compensate Prides
shareholders and Kirby with a new security, called Cendant
Rights. Cendant took an after-tax charge of $220 million, or 26
cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 1998 to pay for the
settlement. Cendant was formed in December 1997 from the merger
of Parsippany-based franchiser HFS Inc. and Stamford, Conn.-
based CUC International Inc., which runs shopping and other
membership clubs. In April 1998, Cendant announced it had found
major accounting fraud at the former CUC unit, and restated its
earnings for the past three years. The fraud, which added about
$500 million in bogus revenues, led to the dismissals and
resignations of several CUC officials. According to the
Associated Press story, Cendant had been based in Parsippany,
but moved its base to New York in January.

FORD MOTOR: Alameda County TFI Jury Hears Opening Statements
Ford Motor Co. concealed a defective ignition part that could
cause stalling in millions of vehicles, an attorney suing the
company told an Oakland jury yesterday in a landmark trial
against the U.S. automaker. According to the San Francisco
Chronicle, in opening statements in Alameda County Superior
Court, attorney Paul Nelson said the auto manufacturer withheld
information on a flawed ignition module mounted on the
distributors of 22 million cars and trucks from 1983 to 1995.
"This is the first time that a product manufacturer has ever
been taken to trial to hold them fully responsible for a known
defect," Nelson said. "When there is a defect, the manufacturer
should fix it."

The SF Chronicle says the class-action suit, filed on behalf of
3 million past or present owners of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury
vehicles in California, is the largest ever to go to trial
against a U.S. automaker. It seeks $3 billion in damages, or
$1,000 for each consumer-protection violation under state law.

Ford officials have denied a coverup, saying that their vehicles
are safe and that no plaintiffs in the suit have been injured or
killed. "People in this class have not suffered damage of any
kind," said Ford attorney Warren Platt.

The Chronicle reports that the case has drawn national attention
not only because of its scale, but also because Ford is accused
of violating state consumer laws -- not product liability
statutes -- by allegedly misleading the public, federal highway
safety officials and environmental regulators. Five identical
suits across the country are on hold, pending a verdict from the
seven-man, five-woman Oakland panel after a trial that could
take several months. If Ford loses the case, Judge Michael
Ballachey said he would consider ordering a vehicle recall,
another first. At issue is Ford's Thick Film Ignition (TFI)
module, a device mounted on the engine distributor that
regulates the electrical current that causes ignitions to spark.

Platt defended Ford vehicles in his opening statements, saying
the TFI module was tested by engineers to ensure that it worked
properly. Federal investigations showed that vehicles with the
device were just as safe as those with other ignition systems,
he said. "Our cars are safe," Platt said in the Chronicle story.
"There is no greater likelihood that one of these cars will
stall or have an accident."

During pretrial proceedings two weeks ago, the plaintiffs
dropped a fraud charge and asked Ballachey to hear the case
without a jury. The SF Chronicle reports that the judge rejected
the request, and Ford officials repeated assertions that the
suit should be dismissed. The civil trial pits Dearborn, Mich.-
based Ford, the nation's second-largest automaker, against
attorneys backed by Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the
Center for Auto Safety, the Washington, D.C.-based organization
founded by consumer advocate Ralph Nader. Ditlow said he
normally does not get involved in private litigation. But he
made an exception because Ford's conduct in this case "has been
so egregious." "Ford knowingly subjected its customers -- and
those who happen to be in or around a vehicle with a
distributor-mounted TFI module -- to a 'major risk' of injury or
death," Ditlow wrote in a court declaration in which he
described the module as a "potential time bomb."

In court, Nelson said the module often fails at 257 degrees
Fahrenheit, resulting in stalled engines. Ford decided to save
$4 per vehicle by mounting the device on the distributor, which
heats up quickly, instead of on a cooler place on the engine, he
said. After receiving consumer complaints, Ford told federal
highway safety officials that it was unaware of a common cause
of the stalling, while hiding documents showing otherwise,
Nelson said. TFI modules have been replaced in 15 million cars,
and the devices have not been used since 1995, according to
Ford. The company said the 22 million Ford vehicles with TFI
modules have been driven a collective 2 trillion miles.
(San Francisco Chronicle; 05/19/99)

FORD MOTOR: Disputes Ambulance Operators' Claim of Class Status
Three Massachusetts ambulance operators that sued Ford Motor Co.
for allegedly building defective ambulances are asking a federal
judge to make the case a class action. According to an
Associated Press story, three family-owned companies claim that
Ford-built ambulances had defective drive belts and
transmissions that caused breakdowns and left patients stranded.
It does not allege that any patients were injured as a result.

The companies Professional Ambulance and Oxygen Service in
Cambridge, Action Ambulance Service in Stoneham and Fallon
Service in Milton are seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars
from Ford for alleged breach of warranty and unfair and
deceptive practices. According to AP, they also asked a federal
judge to grant class-action status to anyone who bought certain
1992, 1993, or 1994 Ford Econoline or F-Series vans. Their
attorney Joanne D'Alcomo said at least a dozen and possibly more
than 100 operators statewide would meet the criteria to join the

AP reports that U.S. District Judge George A. O'Toole Jr. has
taken the matter under advisement.

In a brief filed in the case, Ford said, "The record in this
case reflects the story of a meandering but persistent effort to
bring a class action, even though none of the requisite
ingredients for such a lawsuit are present." AP also notes that
in a written statement, Ford denied the suit's allegations,
calling the case "an effort to throw before the court a
hodgepodge of unrelated claims in an effort to obtain millions
of dollars."

According to court papers, private companies and towns such as
Nantucket, Boston, Worcester and Sudbury have reported trouble
with certain 1992, 1993 and 1994 Ford vans. Ford's attorneys
have said the company acknowledged a problem with some accessory
drive belts in 1996 and offered to fix the vehicles at the time.
But they blamed the chronic transmission problems experienced by
the plaintiffs on improper maintenance by ambulance companies.
The Associated Press story noted that the complaints come more
than a decade after Ford, the nation's largest manufacturer of
vehicles built for use as ambulances, recalled 22,000 ambulances
to correct problems that caused at least two dozen fires and
five injuries.

IRIDIUM WORLD: Keller Rohrback Files District of Columbia Suit
Keller Rohrback L.L.P. filed a class action lawsuit in the
United States District Court for the District of Columbia on
behalf of investors who purchased Iridium World Communications,
Inc. (Nasdaq:IRID) stock between September 9, 1998 and March 29,
1999. The suits charge Iridium, certain officers and directors
of Iridium, and Motorola, Inc. ("Motorola") with violations of
the federal securities laws and regulations of the United

The Complaints allege that defendants issued false and
misleading statements and failed to disclose material facts
concerning the Company's ability to fully launch the Iridium
System. Specifically, defendants falsely reported achievable
subscriber numbers and revenue figures, failed to disclose the
serious technical problems with the Iridium System, failed to
disclose delays in handset production which resulted in a
shortage of the necessary handsets which were required to
operate the Iridium System, and that, absent achieving the
requisite subscriber numbers and revenue figures, the Company
would violate covenants between itself and its lenders.

The Company's fraudulent practices were disclosed on March 29,
1999 when, for the first time, the Company disclosed that it
would not meet its necessary subscriber numbers and that as a
direct consequence would not be able to satisfy its Secured
Credit Facility covenants. Accordingly, the Company's common
stock dropped approximately 73% since its May 1998 high.

To learn more, call Lynn L. Sarko, Juli Farris or Alex Perkins
at 800-776-6044 or write aperkins@kellerrohrback.com via email.

LOUISIANA: Challengers Seek New Trial for State Gill-Net Ban
The Advocate Baton Rouge (LA) reports that attorneys for
commercial fishermen are seeking a new trial of their federal
court suit against Louisiana's gill-net ban law, saying U.S.
District Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr. clearly erred when he
threw out the suit last month. Porteous based his April 20
ruling on the fact that a nearly identical state court suit
filed in 1995 by commercial fishing interests against the gill-
net law was thrown out by Louisiana's state courts. The judge
said he would not hear the same claims in his court and act as
"an appellate court" for state court suits.

The lawyers for the commercial fishermen are calling their
request a motion for a new trial, even though there never was an
initial trial because the judge threw the case out before it got
to that stage. But lawyers for the commercial fishermen argue
that state District Judge Janice Clark of Baton Rouge never
notified potential members of the state court class action suit
to either get in or "opt out" of the class action. The lawyers,
Paul Baier of Baton Rouge and Robert Barnett of New Orleans, say
some of the plaintiffs in the federal court suit filed in 1996
were not plaintiffs in the state court suit, and that the state
court decisions should not stop them from seeking relief in
federal court.

In documents filed last week at federal court asking Porteous
for a new trial, Baier and Barnett argue that the federal court
suit plaintiffs who were not plaintiffs in the state court suit
are "constitutionally entitled to their own day in court." "The
state court judgment has no legal effect on the assertion of
their rights in their separate federal action," the lawyers
claim. "In short, by filing their own suit in federal court, the
non-state party plaintiffs ... properly opted out under
applicable Louisiana class action law. We respectfully submit
that they cannot be bound by the adverse state court appellate
judgment. They were not parties to the state suit." The gill-net
ban law, passed in mid-1995, has been in effect since March
1997. Commercial fishermen claim the law is preventing them from
making a living in violation of the U.S. Constitution's Commerce
Clause. In fighting for the law's passage, the Gulf Coast
Conservation Association - now called the Coastal Conservation
Association of Louisiana - argued that gill nets
indiscriminately catch and kill many untargeted species of fish.
Commercial fishermen dispute the sport fishermen's argument,
saying there is no biological evidence to show gill nets
endanger the state's fisheries.

The federal court gill-net suit had been on hold since mid-1996,
when Porteous said he wanted the commercial fishermen's state
court suit to run its course before he entertained their federal
suit. The Louisiana Supreme Court, in a pair of rulings handed
down last May and in January, upheld the gill-net ban law in its
entirety. Attorneys for the commercial fishermen then asked
Porteous to lift the stay of the federal court suit and hear
their case. Last month, the judge lifted the stay and then
dismissed the suit.

Since going into effect, the use of gill nets by commercial
fishermen in the state's coastal waters has been prohibited for
all species of fish. Strike-netting, however, is allowed -
during limited seasons - but only for mullet and pompano. No
commercial netting can take place on weekends or at night.
Commercial fishermen need a commercial license to use rods and
reels to catch speckled trout, white trout, black drum and
sheepshead - species now off-limits to commercial netting.

The 1995 law changed the way gill nets are used, making
commercial saltwater finfishing a strike-net-only fishery. The
gear used in gill-netting and strike-netting is the same, but
the fishing procedure is different, and the strike nets can be
no longer than 1,200 feet. Strike-netting, as opposed to gill-
netting and as defined by the law, also demands that the
fisherman identify the species to be targeted, deploy the net on
that target, and attend the net. In gill-netting, the net could
be longer than 1,200 feet, the target did not have to be
specific, and the net did not have to be attended as closely.

The nets, which come in various sizes, are deployed underwater
to catch large numbers of fish. The nets trap fish by their
gills. The fish are unable to swim backward or forward once
trapped in the nets.
(Copyright 1999 by Capital City Press)

MARCOS ESTATE: Victims Say Terminate Settlement for Non-Payment
Victims who suffered under the regime of deposed dictator
Ferdinand Marcos have asked a US court to annul a 150 million
dollar settlement with his estate, a report said Wednesday. The
group's lawyer filed a petition to terminate the agreement last
week "since payment has not been made" two weeks after US
District Court judge Manuel Real endorsed the deal, the
Philippine Inquirer said. The paper said the judge had set a May
10 deadline for the payment of the money, to be paid out of 590
million dollars of Marcos money originally stashed in Swiss
banks but subsequently transferred to an escrow account here.

The Philippine government had endorsed the deal, subject to a
review by a Filipino court which is handling government lawsuits
to recover the alleged embezzled fortune of the Marcos couple.
However, the Filipino court said last week that it could not
release the money because it still had to establish whether the
funds in escrow were stolen from national coffers.

"Since payment has not been made, lead counsel wishes to
exercise the right to terminate for non-payment and requests the
consent of the court," the Inquirer quoted Swift as saying in
his court filing.

The reported move was slammed by Philippine President Joseph
Estrada. "We fought so hard for that money to be given to the
human rights victims. I don't know what is in their mind," a
presidential palace statement quoted him as telling reporters in
Hong Kong, where he is on a four-day visit. "I went out of my
way to get the 150 million dollars so the human rights victims
can be given what is due them." Estrada insisted the problem was
due to the wrangling by the victims' leaders, in which one
faction refused to accept the money without an apology from the
Marcos heirs.

Judge Real in 1994 awarded 2.0 billion dollars in damages to
9,539 claimants who had filed a class action over human rights
abuses during Marcos' iron rule. Meanwhile in Manila, the
Philippine Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a 1998 ruling which
struck down a secret 1993 agreement between the government and
the Marcos heirs. The invalidated deal had provided for a 75-25
shareout of disputed Marcos assets in exchange for the dropping
of the civil suits against the estate. The Marcos heirs had
petitioned to have the 1998 ruling reversed.

Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in 1989, three years after his
20-year rule was ended by a bloodless popular revolt.
(Copyright 1999 Agence France Presse)

MAXIM GROUP: Wolf Haldenstein Files Complaint in District Court
Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP filed a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Atlanta on behalf of investors who bought Maxim
Group Inc. (NYSE: MXG) securities between September 1, 1998 and
May 19, 1999. The lawsuit charges Maxim and several of its top
officers with violations of the securities laws and regulations
of the United States.

The complaint alleges that defendants issued a series of false
and misleading statements concerning the Company's revenues
during the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters of its 1999 fiscal year.
The Company announced on May 19, 1999 that due to the incorrect
statement of its revenues in the last three quarters of 1999 it
would have to restate those results downwards. Upon the
announcement of the restatement of its financial results the
Company's stock price dropped approximately 15% on
extraordinarily heavy trading volume. The complaint further
alleges that certain Company insiders took advantage of their
knowledge of the inflation in the Company's stock price to sell
significant portions of their own company holdings for proceeds
of at least $25,000,000.

For additional information, call Michael Miske, Gregory Nespole,
Esq., Fred Taylor Isquith, Esq. or Shane T. Rowley, Esq. at 800-
575-0735 or write to classmember@whafh.com or whafh@aol.com via

NEW YORK CITY: Judge Okays Seizing Cars from Drunk Drivers
The New York Times reports that a state judge yesterday upheld
the Giuliani administration's policy of seizing the cars from
people arrested on drunken driving charges, handing the city its
first court victory on a crackdown that has been criticized by
civil libertarians. The ruling by Justice Michael D. Stallman of
State Supreme Court in Manhattan came in response to a class-
action lawsuit brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union on
behalf of Pavel Grinberg, a Staten Island man whose car was
confiscated by the police on Feb. 21, the day the policy against
driving while intoxicated went into effect.

In deciding in the city's favor, Justice Stallman said Mr.
Grinberg "has not met his burden of demonstrating that the city
D.W.I. forfeiture policy is unconstitutional, contrary to law or
arbitrary and capricious, either on its face or as applied to

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and other city officials applauded the
ruling yesterday, saying that the judge had proved wrong all the
critics who publicly criticized the policy as ill advised and
illegal. "I'd like to remind everyone that the New York Civil
Liberties Union and other advocates and activists do not
determine the Constitution," the Mayor said. Noting that the
initiative was being copied elsewhere, such as in Long Island,
he added, "We're going to save hundreds and maybe ultimately,
thousands of lives."

But vowing that "the challenges will continue," Norman Siegel,
executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said
yesterday that his organization planned to appeal the case to
the New York State Court of Appeals. If he loses there, he said,
he may take the case as high as the United States Supreme Court.
"We continue to maintain that the government should not be in
the business of seizing people's cars without their requisite
legal authority and even if authorized, it should not do so
prior to trial and conviction," he said. "Moreover, we continue
to believe the Giuliani administration's D.W.I. initiative is
unfair and excessive."

Legal experts said the judge's ruling was not surprising, noting
that forfeiture was a long-used response -- dating back to the
Middle Ages -- in cases where property is instrumental in the
commission of a crime. Since 1984, Federal law has allowed for
the seizure and auction of property suspected of being used in a
crime, whether or not a suspect is arrested. A New York State
law allows the forfeiture of vehicles owned by drivers who
repeatedly drive while intoxicated.

The three-month-old forfeiture policy relies on a provision of
the city administrative code that allows for the seizure of
burglary tools, gambling equipment, firearms and other
instruments used in committing a crime. Although the code does
not mention drunken driving, Judge Stallman ruled that the
city's initiative "implements current law and codified

Calling the use of forfeiture "an old and well-established
response," H. Richard Uviller, a professor of Law at Columbia
University, told the New York Times that "if a person uses his
car in the commission of a crime, whether it's a getaway car
used for robbing a bank or a car used for drunk driving, it may
be seized as the instrumentality of the crime." Stephen Gillers,
a professor of law at New York University, generally agreed,
saying that the forfeiture "is a legally defensible strategy
even when you don't convict the driver." "It is harder to
convict the driver but easier to take away the car," he said.
"The Supreme Court has upheld forfeiture of vehicles when used
in the commission of a crime. The question is whether the idea
goes beyond what the Supreme Court has allowed."

City officials said yesterday that the seizure policy had been
having its intended effect: deterring people from driving drunk.
According to Police Department figures, there were 336 drunken
driving accidents resulting in 5 deaths over the three months
since the program was carried out on Feb. 21, compared with 427
accidents and 7 deaths during the same period in 1998, the
police said. Since Feb. 21, the police have seized 405 cars. The
police said that since the program began, they arrested 1,100
people for being either intoxicated or impaired while driving ,
compared with 1,319 such arrests during the same period in 1997.

Forfeiture applies only to suspects who can be shown to be
intoxicated, meaning the driver's blood alcohol level is 0.10
percent or higher. "The offensive or effort against drunk
driving, to try to reduce it, has been very successful," Mayor
Giuliani said yesterday. "The percentage of arrests is down 16
percent. And even though we are arresting less people, accidents
are down about 22 percent, fatalities about 28 percent."
"Ultimately," he added, "it's a big victory for a much safer New
York City, a place in which people will readjust their behavior
and think about the fact that before they get behind the wheel
of a car, don't have a drink."
(Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company)

PACIFIC BELL: Part-time Workers Seek Benefits (ala Microsoft)
The Los Angeles Times reports that SBC Communications Inc.'s
Pacific Bell subsidiary is being sued by a group of independent
contractors and part-time workers seeking pension, welfare,
overtime, vacation and other employee benefits.

The group, representing more than 1,700 contractors and part-
time workers for Pacific Bell, filed a class-action suit in
federal court in San Francisco on Tuesday. The suit comes a week
after a federal appellate court ruled that Microsoft Corp. may
be forced to let thousands of contractors and part-time workers
participate in its employee stock purchase plan.

Pacific Bell spokesman Doug Michelman said the San Francisco-
based company hadn't seen the suit and was unable to comment on
(Copyright 1999 Times Mirror Company)

RACIAL PROFILING: Serviceman Stopped in OK "Driving While Black"
USA Today reports that in the first lawsuit generated by a
national campaign to identify victims of racially motivated
abuse by police, the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit
in an Oklahoma federal court Tuesday on behalf of a black
motorist and his 12-year-old son. Citing an abundance of
anecdotal evidence indicating the prevalence of race-based
police practices, the ACLU launched a multimedia campaign this
year in an effort to identify victims of such abuse and document
their cases to support possible lawsuits and new legislation.

At the same time, Congress and law enforcement agencies have
been wrangling over ways to document the police practice of
stopping minorities for nothing more than something widely
referred to as "DWB" -- driving while black.

The Oklahoma case centers on Army Sgt. First Class Rossano
Gerald and his son, Gregory. It wound its way to the ACLU's New
York headquarters in February after the sergeant, who earned a
Bronze Star during the Persian Gulf War, responded to an ad
published in Emerge magazine.

The lawsuit, which names Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating and the
state Department of Public Safety among others, alleges that
state troopers were racially motivated when they improperly
detained father and son for more than two hours on the highway
while officers tore apart the man's car in a futile search for
drugs. At one point during the stop last August, Gerald says,
white troopers frisked his crying son and then questioned the
youngster in a police car within inches of a snarling search

Oklahoma authorities declined to comment.

The case is the latest in a string of similar suits brought
against law enforcement agencies in Maryland, Indiana,
Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida, New Jersey and Colorado.

Gerald, 37, says he answered the ACLU ad after state officials
denied a complaint he filed against the troopers. The incident,
as outlined in the lawsuit, marked the second time Gerald and
his son had been stopped on the highway within a half-hour of
crossing the Oklahoma state line from Arkansas on Interstate
40. The first time, a trooper in an unmarked car gave him a
warning for tailgating, Gerald says. Within minutes of that
stop, the lawsuit asserts, another trooper in a marked car
pulled Gerald's red Nissan 300ZX to the highway shoulder. Gerald
says he disputed the trooper's claim that he failed to signal a
lane change. According to the lawsuit, the situation gradually
grew tenser, and three more troopers eventually reached the
scene. While one of the troopers insisted on searching the car,
Gerald says the officer repeatedly ignored requests that he be
allowed to contact his commanding officer. During the search,
Gerald and his son were allegedly placed in a patrol car with
the air conditioning turned off and windows rolled up in 90-
degree heat. When they complained, according to the lawsuit,
they were ignored. Believing they had found a secret compartment
in the car, troopers allegedly handcuffed Gerald, then took his
son to a separate vehicle for questioning.

"The dog was in the back of the vehicle, while Gregory was in
the front passenger seat," the suit says. "Gregory became
frightened that the dog would bite him, because the dog kept
barking at him. Throughout the interrogation, Gregory was
frightened and crying." Over the course of the incident, the
lawsuit alleges, the troopers carried out "multiple searches of
the car, turning up nothing." In the process, they removed parts
of the floorboards and carpet, causing damage estimated at $
1,089.21. When the incident ended more than two hours later,
Gerald says, his son was hysterical, and his baggage and car
were "a mess." When he complained about the damage, Gerald says,
one of the troopers responded, "We ain't good at repacking."

Reginald Shuford, the ACLU lawyer representing Gerald, says he
took the case because of the uniquely "compelling" nature of the
complaint. "This is a decorated serviceman who has spent half
his life defending the United States overseas," Shuford said in
an interview. "But on his own soil he is treated as if he has no
rights. He is humiliated in front of his own son."

The Oklahoma case brings to eight the number of cases the ACLU
is pursuing related to alleged racial profiling. Included in
that number is a class-action dispute in Maryland involving 18
plaintiffs and the NAACP. They allege that Maryland authorities
engaged in racial discrimination in highway stops along
Interstate 95. "There has to be a revolutionary change in the
way law enforcement is conducted," Shuford said. "There is no
question about whether racial profiling exists, the question is
what should be done about it?"
(Copyright 1999 Gannett Company, Inc., USA TODAY)

RACIAL PROFILING: Suit Challenges NJ State Police Turnpike Stops
Four of Philadelphia's top civil rights lawyers have joined
forces to file a class-action suit in U.S. District Court in New
Jersey alleging claims of racial profiling by the New Jersey
State Police. Attorneys Alan L. Yatvin and Howard D. Popper of
Popper & Yatvin filed the suit on behalf of two African-American
motorists and the South Burlington County Branch of the NAACP.
Joining them as co-counsel are David Rudovsky of Kairys Rudovsky
Epstein Messing & Rau and Professor Seth F. Kreimer of the
University of Pennsylvania Law School, as well as Justin T.
Loughry of the Cherry Hill firm Tomar Simonoff Adourian O'Brien
Kaplan Jacoby & Graziano.

The suit alleges that "for a significant period of time, the
defendants have engaged in a practice, policy or custom of
racial profiling on the New Jersey Turnpike. Plaintiffs, on
behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, seek to
enjoin this policy, practice or custom of stopping, questioning,
detaining and searching motorists on New Jersey highways because
of their minority status and/or without the requisite cause
required by the United States Constitution and state laws."

Named as defendants in the suit are former New Jersey State
Police Superintendents Colonel Carl A. Williams and Clinton
Pagano, current Superintendent Colonel Michael Fedorko, former
Attorney General Peter Veniero, and the New Jersey Turnpike
Authority. Yatvin said police misconduct cases are unique in
many ways, but that "this case is even more unusual in that
massive numbers of people appear to have suffered deprivation of
their rights simply because they fit some offensive,
unconstitutional profile." Although a suit is already underway
in New Jersey's state courts, Yatvin said "we wanted to put
together a team of lawyers with the experience and expertise to
litigate this massive civil rights class action in federal

Loughry is one of the attorneys handling State of New Jersey v.
Pedro Soto, et al. in which New Jersey Superior Court Judge
Robert E. Francis ruled in March 1996 that the New Jersey State
Police did make race-based profile stops to increase criminal
arrests and that this practice violated minority motorists'
constitutional rights to equal protection and due process.
Rudovsky is a Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of
Pennsylvania Law School and is the co-author of Police
Misconduct: Law and Litigation, the seminal resource material
for lawyers who focus on police misconduct. In his three decades
as a lawyer, Rudovsky has litigated numerous police misconduct
cases in a variety of courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court,
where he successfully argued City of Canton v. Harris, a
landmark case that has profoundly affected the standards for
establishing municipal liability in police misconduct cases.
Kreimer, who teaches Constitutional law and Constitutional
litigation, often joins Yatvin and Rudovsky in major cases,
including the recent litigation over the 39th District police
corruption scandal.

The New Jersey suit, which seeks both damages for the members of
the class and remedial injunctive relief, has been assigned to
U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Irenas. The suit alleges that for
almost 25 years there have been complaints of racism on the
Turnpike by both the public and, in more recent years, by
minority State troopers themselves. In 1975, the U.S. Justice
Department filed a lawsuit against the NJSP under the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Opportunity Act of 1972,
alleging that the NJSP overlooked qualified minority and women
applicants for employment. The court criticized the department
for ignoring past findings of discriminatory practices and not
setting up objective and standardized criteria and procedures
for assignments, tenure, promotion and discipline to assure that
minorities and women are treated equally and fairly.

In response to the lawsuit, the NJSP agreed in a consent decree
to increase the number of African-Americans and Hispanic
troopers to 14 percent of the State Police force within five
years. At that time, out of 1,765 troopers employed by the State
Police, 13 were black, five were Hispanic and there was only one
woman. Thereafter, three subsequent decrees were entered into in
the Department of Justice lawsuit before the lawsuit was
resolved in 1992 17 years after the suit was filed.

In 1989, WOR (Channel 9) television aired a four-part
investigative news program documenting racial profiling by the
NJSP entitled "Without Just Cause." The series included the
complaints of dozens of black motorists allegedly stopped,
detained, humiliated, but not arrested. The news program also
presented statistical data revealing that, whereas the
percentage of black motorists driving the turnpike was modest,
between 75 percent and 89 percent of all persons stopped by the
NJSP were minorities and that 76 percent of those arrested were
black. The suit says trooper training has included information
alleging that black people of American, Jamaican and Nigerian
background, and Hispanic people who can trace their ancestry to
several Latin American countries, are the people transporting
drugs through the state. "The training exacerbated racism by
suggesting to some state troopers that Jamaicans were
particularly violent," the suit says. "A training video featured
sensationalized and fictional movie clips portraying one
Jamaican slashing another with a knife and showing street
violence during a political demonstration ... all of which had
nothing to do with drug trafficking."

In Soto, Judge Francis found that race was a critical trigger
for police stops, including statistical evidence that a black
was 4.85 times more likely than a white to be stopped by
troopers. Francis found that the racially discriminatory
practices were tolerated and even encouraged at the highest
levels of State Police, saying that the "utter failure of the
State Police hierarchy to monitor and control ... or investigate
the many claims of institutional discrimination manifests its
indifference if not acceptance" of those unconstitutional
practices. But the suit says that instead of reacting
responsibly to the Soto decision and making the necessary
changes in the police bureaucracy, New Jersey officials
"attempted to conceal the disparity."

Only last month, the suit says, Attorney General Verniero
"finally commenced review of the data that had been ignored, and
which demonstrated that the practice of racial profiling was
both real and entrenched." The belated move came in response to
outcry over the shootings of four unarmed black men in April
1998. The Interim Report of the State Police Review Team
Regarding Allegations of Racial Profiling reported that state
troopers singled out black and Hispanic motorists because of the
color of their skin, and that once they were pulled off the
road, they were three times as likely as whites to have their
cars searched.
(Copyright 1999 American Lawyer Media)

ROTHMANS HOLDINGS: Smokers Take on Australian Tobacco Industry
>From Sydney, ROTHMANS HOLDINGS LIMITED reports that it has
recently been served with two Statements of Claim, which have
now been merged into one, which seek to initiate a class action
against the company and other companies in the tobacco industry
in Australia, claiming unspecified damages for the alleged
effects of smoking.

The company considers it has no liability in these matters, and
will vigorously defend itself in the proceedings.

SECURITIES LITIGATION: Insurer Recommends Defensive Measures
The Journal of Commerce reports that a Reliance National
Insurance Co. executive urged risk managers to consider
purchasing directors and officers liability insurance to protect
their companies in light of the proliferation of class-action
securities lawsuits filed by disgruntled stockholders. Nicholas
J. Conca, first vice president and claims counsel of Reliance
National's Financial Products Division, New York, said firms
with suitable D&O insurance "should be in a better position to
thwart or at least mitigate the impact of securities

During a panel discussion at a seminar, "Securities Laws and
Corporate Governance: the Advent of a Meltdown?," last week, Mr.
Conca said D&O insurance "can be instrumental in not only
funding the defense and settlement of a securities litigation
claim, but the insurance company can put its intellectual and
financial capital into the mix in defending against such a
lawsuit." In 1995, Congress passed the Private Securities
Litigation Reform Act, which was aimed at limiting securities
litigation in general and curtailing frivolous lawsuits in
particular. However, Mr. Conca said that he "sees a potential
meltdown of the protections that the PSLRA sought to afford. The
large volume of cases that have been filed since the law was
enacted in December 1995 strongly suggest that PSLRA has not
produced the desired results."

Mr. Conca said the National Economic Research Associates, White
Plains, N.Y., found that more than 600 federal securities class-
action lawsuits have been filed since PSLRA's enactment, with
the numbers of such cases climbing some 30 percent to a record
high of 239 in 1998 from 183 in 1997. The previous record was
227 in 1994. The 1998 volume of federal securities suits shows a
litigation rate of close to one a day for every trading day the
stock market is open, said Joseph A. Grundfest, director of the
Roberts Program for Law, Business and Corporate Governance at
the Stanford Law School.

In terms of federal securities lawsuits filed from 1996 through
1998, Mr. Snow estimated that settlement values range from
$500,000 to $70.2 million, with the average being some $10.5
million. Settlements typically represent about 10 percent of the
damages sought by plaintiffs, said Mr. Grundfest who noted that
the amounts depend on how the figures are computed. "Publicly
traded corporations and particularly high tech companies are
extremely vulnerable to lawsuits brought by shareholders
alleging violations of various federal and state securities
laws," said Mr. Conca. He added that shareholder complaints can
include allegations of inadequate or inaccurate disclosure of
pertinent financial information, financial statement fraud,
insider trading, and/or mismanagement.

D&O insurance protects corporate officers and directors against
damages related to civil claims stemming from alleged negligent
acts, errors or omissions while performing their job functions.
The coverage also pays a company's legal expenses associated
with allegations of director or officer negligent acts. In
addition to providing insights on the value of proper insurance
protection, panelists offered other recommendations to risk
managers. "Companies need to be careful about what they say
after their stock takes a dip," said Mr. Lerach.

"Firms can reduce their litigation exposures 90 percent," Mr.
Snow said, "by taking various steps such as implementing
effective loss prevention controls dealing with disclosure of
corporate financial results and ensuring that they effectively
communicate with securities analysts on company financial
results and operations." Mr. Snow warned firms to "avoid playing
the role of financial analysts who are paid a lot of money" to
analyze and interpret a company's condition and make financial
projections. "Companies want to fully apprise the financial
community about the dynamics which affect their business, but
they don't want to do the financial analyst's job."

"A corporate executive such as a CEO wouldn't want to say
something that could be used as evidence against the company by
a plaintiff in a securities lawsuit," Mr. Conca said.
(The Journal of Commerce)

SUPERMARKETS GENERAL: Settles Royal Ahold Acquisition Complaint
Supermarkets General Holdings Corporation ("SMGH") and the other
defendants in a purported stockholder class action lawsuit have
reached an agreement in principle with the plaintiff to settle.
The lawsuit, entitled Wolfson v. Supermarkets General Holdings
Corporation, et. al., C.A. No. 17047, was filed on March 23,
1999, on behalf of the holders of the SMGH preferred stock
against SMGH and its directors, its parent company, SMG-II
Holdings Corporation and Royal Ahold's wholly-owned subsidiary,
Ahold Acquisition.

The action relates to the pending tender offer by Ahold
Acquisition to purchase all of the outstanding shares of
preferred stock of SMGH at $38.25 per share that was announced
on March 9, 1999. The offer has been made pursuant to an
agreement under which Royal Ahold, the international food
retailer, will acquire all of the outstanding shares of the
capital stock of SMG-II. SMG-II controls the U.S. supermarket
company, Pathmark Stores, Inc.

The proposed settlement is subject to, among other things,
execution of a definitive settlement agreement and related
documentation with the plaintiff and the approval of the
settlement by the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware.
Upon such approval becoming final, SMGH and Ahold Acquisition
have agreed that Ahold Acquisition will increase the offer price
in its tender offer to $40.25 per share of SMGH preferred stock,
less any fees and expenses awarded to plaintiff's counsel by the
Court. Plaintiff's counsel currently intends to apply to the
Court for an award of fees and expenses in an aggregate amount
of $1,956,268.40, or $0.40 per share of SMGH preferred stock.
Thus, if the Court approves the settlement and the counsel for
the plaintiff's petition for fees and expenses in full, the
amended offer price will be $39.85 per share of SMGH preferred

WWII REPARATIONS: More Suits Planned Against German Companies
Negotiations over a settlement between German banks and
industrial companies and Holocaust survivors will intensify this
week, with new lawsuits and a fresh round of negotiations in

Edward Fagan, one of the most aggressive class-action lawyers
who has sued German companies as well as Swiss banks and
European insurers, is planning to launch a series of fresh class
actions today. Each will involve a discrete group of survivors,
and there will be separate suits covering plaintiffs from
Australia, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Italy, Romania,
Lithuania, Greece, Canada and Israel, which has the largest
population of Holocaust survivors.

Each action will involve complaints against banks, for their
role in the forced Aryanization of Jewish property, and
industrial companies for their use of forced and slave labor.
(Springfield Journal-Register; 05/10/99)


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

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Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. ISSN XXXX-XXXX.

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