CAR_Public/990618.MBX                 C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

                  Friday, June 18, 1999, Vol. 1, No. 96

                                 Headlines

ALABAMA PRISONERS: Hitching Posts Make a Comeback to Detain Inmates
AMERICAN CYANAMID: Settlement Rattles Two Class Actions
CARGILL, INC.: Archer Daniels Executive Tells Feds His Price-Fixing Story
CENTRAL SPRINKLER: Sold to Tyco International for $115 Million
CITY OF CHESTER: White Police Officer Sues for Employment Discrimination

COCA-COLA: Black Employee-Plaintiffs Granted Broad Access to Company Documents
COLONIAL REALTY: Seven Firms Seek Big Slice Of $90 Million Pie
COMMAND SYSTEMS: $5.75 Mil. Settlement Obtains Preliminary Approval
GLOBAL STREET: Michigan 401(k) Participants Sue for Mishandling of Funds
HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Condemn German Compensation Plans

KMART CORP.: Former Hudson Bay Employees Get Green Light in Litigation
LLOYDS OF LONDON: Dist. Ct. Keeps Jurisdiction In DES Suit Against Lloyds
NORTHRIDGE HOSPITAL: Women Denied Epidurals in Childbirth File Class Action
NORTHWEST AIRLINES: Stranded Passengers Prepare for Certification Hearing
PICTURETEL CORPORATION: Agrees to $12 Mil Settlement of Shareholder Litigation

POLAROID CORPORATION: Shepherd & Geller Files Complaint in Massachusetts
POLAROID CORPORATION: Finkelstein & Krinsk Files Complaint in Massachusetts
PRINTRON, INC.: Court Rejects Excusable Neglect for Failure to Answer
PROVIDIAN FINANCIAL: Bernstein Litowitz Files Complaint in New York
R.J. REYNOLDS: Spin-Off from RJR Nabisco Completed

SEARS ROEBUCK: Complaint Estimates 7 to 30 Million AccuBalance Plaintiffs
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Sup. Ct. Declines Review of Medical Monitoring Case
VITAMIN MANUFACTURERS: Justice Ready to Charge 10 More with Price-Fixing
Y2K LITIGATION: Senate Okays Bill to Limit Suits

* Class-Action Price-Fixing Litigator Harold Cohn, Esq., Dies at 85

                                 *********

ALABAMA PRISONERS: Hitching Posts Make a Comeback to Detain Inmates
-------------------------------------------------------------------
The long, heavy shackles of Alabama's chain gangs are gone. But prison
hitching posts --- which trace their history to Colonial pillories --- may be
back.  Backed by Gov. Don Siegelman, Alabama prison Commissioner Mike Haley
argued in federal court this week to reinstate the practice of shackling
"disruptive" inmates to outdoor hitching posts. That would make Alabama,
again, the only state to use them.

The horizontal metal bars --- one secured 50 inches above the ground, another
at 45 inches to accommodate inmates of different heights --- resemble tall
bike racks. Prisoners who fight or refuse hard labor assignments are
handcuffed to the posts to change their behavior, officials testified.

Today in a conference call with U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, attorneys
with the Southern Poverty Law Center in Birmingham, representing two inmates
who brought a class action lawsuit, and the Alabama corrections agency will
review legal arguments.  While Thompson contemplates his decision, the state's
hitching posts will remain unused.

Portraying himself last fall as a progressive Democrat, Siegelman ousted
Republican incumbent Fob James, an evangelical Christian accused of miring
Alabama in backwoods stereotypes by encouraging defiance of court rulings
against school prayer and advocating harsher prisons. James rejuvenated
widespread use of the hitching post in 1995. An August ruling by Thompson
suspended their use.

Siegelman has tried elevating the state's image. He recently helped secure a
multimillion-dollar Honda plant outside Birmingham and returns to the state
today after a European recruiting trip.

But prisoners suffering in 95-degree heat until they decide to work isn't a
bothersome image to state officials. In June 1995, one inmate was hitched for
seven hours without water after a fight with six corrections officers. When he
asked for a drink, guards who gave ice water to prison dogs tipped over a
cooler in front of the man, according to testimony in the case.

"Governor Siegelman and I agree inmates should have to work just like
taxpayers work, and he and I agree the restraining bar is an effective
management tool," Haley said at a court hearing Tuesday.

Hitched inmates typically eat lunch while shackled and standing.

At Limestone Correctional Facility in Capshaw, officials once let prisoners
eat with one hand unshackled, but the experiment ended because it took too
much time and too many extra officers to secure the area.

In the summer of 1994, the U.S. Department of Justice investigated hitching
post use at Alabama's Easterling Correctional Facility. Federal officials
concluded the posts were an improper use of restraints and were "potentially
dangerous from a medical standpoint." Despite a federal recommendation that
the hitching post be abandoned, the practice continued and state officials
wrote back that "the security bar is not used with malice or cruelty but with
the intent of maintaining prison security."

Decades of abusive practices led a federal judge in 1979 to order Alabama to
fix its prison system, said historian Dixie Dysart, who has researched
conditions in the state's women's prisons.

"Alabama has a pretty checkered history in treating its inmates," Dysart
said.  

Alabama prisons decades ago put unruly inmates in something called the
"sweatbox" or the "doghouse" --- what Dysart describes as "very small boxes
that looked like coffins."

In an earlier hearing, a prison expert for the plaintiffs testified that the
hitching post traced its lineage to pillories and stocks.

"If anything," the expert testified, "the pillory, as it was designed, was
probably more comfortable because in most cases the prisoner sat on the ground
and had his feet and his hands put through a stock. In this case we're perhaps
more barbarous because what we're doing is stretching an inmate out in the hot
sun so he's uncomfortable and can't move."

In 1996, two inmates sued the state prison commissioner. Prisoners testified
they defecated on themselves after hours of standing locked to the posts
without restroom breaks. In August, Thompson ruled the devices
unconstitutionally cruel.  Their use ceased. If the state wanted them back,
officials would need a version that would pass constitutional muster.

Since then, guards have locked prisoners who refused hard labor inside pens
paved with asphalt. "They lie down on the ground and go to sleep, which really
defeats the purpose," Haley said.  Haley consulted with wardens and the
governor before proposing a new policy.  The major change recommends using
video cameras to monitor when water and restroom breaks are needed.

"Essentially, it's the same policy as the old policy," said plaintiffs'
attorney Rhonda Brownstein. "There is unnecessary pain and punishment."  (The
Atlanta Journal and Constitution 17-Jun-1999)


AMERICAN CYANAMID: Settlement Rattles Two Class Actions
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Atlanta Farmers who won a major decision before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court
of Appeals last week may never get to enjoy the fruits of victory.  The
spoiler? A Tennessee state court which just a week before approved the
settlement of a similar class action, resolving all state and federal claims.
At stake aside from antitrust claims potentially worth more than $ 100 million
are constitutional questions about competing class action cases."It's one that
could go all the way to the Supreme Court," said Atlanta lawyer Kenneth S.
Canfield, one of a team of Alabama, Georgia and California lawyers for the
federal plaintiffs.Both cases are class actions and deal with farmers'
antitrust claims against American Cyanamid Co. The farmers claim the company
conspired to fix prices when they offered bonuses to herbicide dealers for
selling Cyanamid products at or above wholesale prices. American Cyanamid
officials denied their sales program was anticompetitive and last year won a
dismissal of the federal case, which was brought by Doug Lowell and four other
farmers in Mobile, Ala.  There, U.S. District Court Judge Brevard Hand ruled a
1977 U.S. Supreme Court case, Illinois Brick v. Illinois, barred cases by
"indirect purchasers" against sellers.  To sue Cyanamid, Hand wrote, the
farmers would have to sue 2,500 dealers as well, a prospect Canfield calls "a
nightmarish situation."

   DEAL REACHED IN TENNESSEE

But while the federal case was on appeal at the 11th Circuit, Cyanamid and
lawyers for James E. Fox and other Tennessee plaintiffs hammered out an
agreement settling their case. The deal resolved all state and federal claims
for $ 5.2 million, with a third going to the plaintiffs' lawyers.  In April,
lawyers from the federal case went to Union City, Tenn., to ask Obion County
Chancery Court Judge W. Michael Maloan to postpone approving the settlement
until the 11th Circuit ruled in the federal case.  If revived by the 11th
Circuit, they argued, the federal case was worth at least $ 100 million, given
six years' of alleged price-fixing and treble damages awarded in antitrust
cases.

"The Lowell plaintiffs suspect, although American Cyanamid would never admit
it, that American Cyanamid settled with the Fox plaintiffs because it fears
that the 11th Circuit will rule against it," the federal plaintiffs wrote in
briefs.  Cyanamid responded that it expected a victory in the 11th Circuit,
but even if it lost, the Tennessee Court of Appeals could review the fairness
of the deal. In the meantime, Maloan should approve the settlement so that
payments could be made, the company wrote.

On June 2, Maloan did just that, approving the settlement as "fair, reasonable
and adequate."

A week later, an 11th Circuit panel of Judges J.L. Edmonson, Susan H. Black
and, sitting by designation, Judge Jane A. Restani of the U.S. Court of
International Trade, ruled for the farmers. Writing for the panel, Edmonson
ruled the farmers were not indirect purchasers, who are barred from making
antitrust claims under the Supreme Court's Illinois Brick case.

Instead, he wrote, the plaintiffs were "direct purchasers from a conspiring
party.

"While Edmonson wrote the decision "makes no new law," others disagree.
Knoxville, Tenn., attorney Gordon Ball, a lawyer for the Tennessee plaintiffs,
is among them. "I think it changes things," he said of the 11th Circuit
decision, certainly in his case. Ball said he originally thought Illinois
Brick barred claims by indirect purchasers in federal courts, so he didn't
think the federal plaintiffs' case was worth very much, if anything. That's
why he had no trouble including their claims in the Tennessee settlement, he
said.

   CHANGE SOUGHT IN SETTLEMENT

Now that the 11th Circuit which officially interprets law only in Alabama,
Georgia and Florida has ruled Illinois Brick does not apply in the Cyanamid
cases, Ball said he'll tell Maloan the settlement "needs to be re-examined."

That's what the federal plaintiffs lawyers did June 11 in an emergency motion
to reconsider the settlement approval, according to John T. Crowder of
Mobile's Cunningham Bounds Yance Crowder & Brown.Meanwhile, A. Stephen Hut, a
partner in Cyanamid's Washington firm, Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, said his
client is considering its appeal options of the 11th Circuit decision. The
case officially has been remanded to the district court, and if it ends up
there, Hut said he expects the Tennessee settlement "will have important
implications." Hut would not confirm this, but that presumably means Cyanamid
would argue that the Tennessee court settlement bars the federal case. Whether
that issue comes before the Supreme Court is unclear, but it's not one
unfamiliar to the justices. In 1996, the high court ruled a Delaware court
that approved a settlement releasing defendants from exclusively federal
claims "was entitled to full faith and credit." in Matsushita Electric
Industrial Co. v. Epstein.  (Fulton County Daily Report and The Legal
Intelligencer 17-Jun-1999)


CARGILL, INC.: Archer Daniels Executive Tells Feds His Price-Fixing Story
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
A senior executive at the Archer Daniels Midland Company told Government
investigators that he had held secret talks with an executive at Cargill Inc.
to rig bids and prices in a huge food additive market, according to recently
released documents.  The Archer Daniels executive, Barrie R. Cox, told Federal
officials that in the early 1990's he had spoken more than a dozen times with
the Cargill executive, William M. Gruber, "about what each would be bidding on
specific accounts" in the sale of citric acid to giant food and consumer
product companies. Citric acid is an additive used in everything from soft
drinks to detergents.

According to records of two interviews in 1996 and 1997, which were recently
made public as part of a related criminal case, Mr. Cox told investigators
that he believed Mr. Gruber, formerly the head of national sales of citric
acid at Cargill, might have been acting without the knowledge of other Cargill
officials.  Government prosecutors have said that Cargill did not take part
with Archer Daniels and three other companies -- the Haarmann & Reimer
Corporation of Springfield, N.J.; Hoffman-LaRoche Inc., a division of Roche
Holdings in Switzerland, and Jungbunzlauer Inc. of Austria -- in a much
broader international conspiracy. That scheme involved regular meetings in the
early 1990's to illegally fix prices in the citric acid market. The four
companies eventually paid more than $100 million to settle Government charges
of illegal price-fixing.

The Justice Department said last week that it was not investigating Cargill
or Mr. Gruber at this time.

The Cox statements could play a significant role in an appeal of a class
action suit against Cargill, filed by purchasers of citric acid who contend
they were cheated by the company. Earlier this week, lawyers for the
purchasers filed a motion citing the Cox statements as grounds for overturning
a dismissal of the case for lack of evidence.

Mr. Cox said in interviews with Federal prosecutors that between 1992 and
1995 he and Mr. Gruber worked together to rig bids on the sale of citric acid
to giant United States companies. The interviews were conducted under a
Federal order that granted Mr. Cox immunity but did not shield him from
criminal prosecution for making false or misleading statements.

Cargill officials vehemently denied any suggestion that the company or Mr.
Gruber took part in bid- rigging or price-fixing. Richard J. Favretto, an
attorney for Cargill, called Mr. Cox's statements "wholly unsubstantiated" and
said that after a thorough, four-year investigation of the citric acid market,
the Justice Department had taken no action against Cargill or any of its
employees. Cargill officials said Mr. Gruber declined to comment.
Cargill also released a letter it secured upon request last week from Phillip
H. Warren, assistant chief of the Justice Department's antitrust division,
which said that "Cargill Inc. and William M. Gruber are neither targets of,
nor currently under investigation in, the antitrust division's investigation
of possible criminal antitrust violations in the citric acid industry."  
Justice Department officials confirmed that they had sent the letter but
declined to elaborate.

Archer Daniels, Cargill and the three other makers of citric acid were also
accused in the class action suit of conspiring to fix the price of citric
acid.

Mr. Cox told investigators that he and Mr. Gruber discussed the bids for
Coca-Cola, Mars, Procter & Gamble and Phillip Morris's Kraft Foods division.
Coca-Cola and Mars are part of the class action suit. Procter & Gamble and
Kraft are not.  Archer Daniels and the three other companies agreed to pay $94
million to settle the class action suit in 1996. But Cargill refused to join
the settlement, saying it was not part of the conspiracy.

The class action suit proceeded against Cargill. But early last year, before
these F.B.I. documents were available, a Federal judge dismissed the case on
the ground that there was not enough evidence to bring it to trial.  The case
is now before a Federal appellate court in San Francisco. Earlier this week
the plaintiffs filed a motion to include the record of the F.B.I.
interviews with Mr. Cox as evidence. Notes of the interviews were released
this winter in connection with the sentencing of three Archer Daniels
executives who were convicted last September in a Federal price-fixing trial.   
Mr. Cox, who was a key prosecution witness in that trial, is now a consultant
for Archer Daniels. Mr. Cox declined comment.

In the records, which are Federal Bureau of Investigation notes of the
interview, Mr. Cox says that he often arranged bids with Mr. Gruber and that
"these discussions usually occurred toward the end of the year, when contracts
came up for renewal."

"They would talk about 'x' being a good price for an account," he says in the
records.  Mr. Cox also told investigators that "the effect of the Gruber-Cox
conversations is that Cargill and A.D.M. would bid at close to the same price,
but not the identical price, as that would look suspicious."

According to the records, Mr. Cox suggests that he and Mr. Gruber operated
outside the larger international conspiracy to fix the prices of citric acid
around the globe.

In his statements, Mr. Cox says that he acted as a "conduit" between the
international conspiracy and Cargill, and that he believed Mr. Gruber
understood that. But he says that executives at the other companies knew that
he and Mr. Gruber were having these discussions.

Mr. Favretto, the attorney for Cargill, said Mr. Cox's comments to
investigators were groundless. "There is not a shred of evidence supporting
his statements," he said, adding that they unfairly damage the reputation of
Cargill and Mr. Gruber, who is now a vice president in the company's corn
milling division.

Mr. Favretto also cited statements made by Scott Lassar, the United States
Attorney in Chicago who prosecuted and won convictions against three Archer
Daniels executives last year. In his closing arguments, Mr. Lassar told a jury
that "Cargill was not involved in price-fixing in citric acid."  (The New York
Times 17-Jun-1999)


CENTRAL SPRINKLER: Sold to Tyco International for $115 Million
--------------------------------------------------------------
Central Sprinkler Corp., the Lansdale, Pennsylvania-based fire suppression
firm that has been reeling from a massive federal recall, was sold yesterday
to its major rival, Tyco International Ltd., for $ 115 million, according to a
report appearing in The Philadelphia Inquirer.   Central chief executive E.
Talbot Briddell, a turn-around manager hired last July, said the cost of the
product-liability crisis -- more than $ 65 million -- left the company without
enough capital to compete effectively.   The sale to Tyco "assures that
Central will survive" the Omega crisis and that the firm's 1,480 employees
will have jobs, Briddell said.  The new owner, Bermuda-based Tyco, operates in
80 countries and has annual revenues of $17 billion.   

Central's crisis began in 1995 when its Omega model sprinkler heads, a
break-through product when introduced 16 years ago, failed to respond in three
relatively minor fires that caused no injuries.  In several rounds of
subsequent laboratory tests, Omega heads posted failure rates as high as 40
percent. This ultimately led to last October's federally mandated recall of
all 8.5 million Omega heads sold by Central.   The U.S. Consumer Product
Safety Commission said the Omega heads had failed to perform in 17 fires,
resulting in four injuries and $ 4.3 million in property damage, since 1990.

Central will operate as a separate subsidiary, keep its brand-name and be
headquartered in Lansdale. It will continue to compete with other Tyco units,
including the Grinnell group of companies, the fire-suppression industry
leader.  The proposed acquisition must be approved by the Justice Department.

Briddell said he will remain as chief executive through a transition. George
Meyer, son of Central founder William Meyer, will continue as president and
chief operating officer at least through the transition, Briddell said.

Briddell said the terms of Central's sale require that Tyco honor its
commitments to the government-mandated recall, as well as settlements in class
action lawsuits filed by Omega purchasers.  Central has received requests for
replacements for only about two million heads, and about 75 percent of the
orders have been filled, Briddell said.  Omega heads were widely used in
sensitive government buildings, including the White House, the Library of
Congress and key defense installations, and to protect the nation's most
prized artifacts.


CITY OF CHESTER: White Police Officer Sues for Employment Discrimination
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The City of Chester has been hit with a reverse race discrimination suit by a
white police officer who says he was passed over for a promotion to the
Narcotics Unit despite having the highest seniority because the commissioner
preferred African-American officers for the job.The suit says Edward M.
McClellan is a 21-year veteran of the Chester force and had the greatest
seniority of the 20 officers who applied for the three openings.  But
Commissioner Wendell N. Butler Jr. passed over McClellan and other whites when
he awarded the three posts to African Americans who ranked sixth and ninth in
terms of seniority, and a white man who ranked fourth.  Six officers filed
grievances, claiming that the department had violated their union's collective
bargaining agreement, which calls for all promotions and transfers to be made
according to seniority and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race,
creed, sex, age, national origin or disability.  

In the arbitration of that claim, the department argued that it was justified
in passing over some of the white officers because Chester is predominantly
black and it was necessary to place black officers in
the narcotics unit where they would be expected to apprehend sellers and users
of drugs.  The arbitrator rejected that claim and found that the city had
violated its contract with the police union by failing to follow the seniority
policy.  But the ruling was no help for McClellan, who had the highest
seniority, since the arbitrator separately ruled that the city had properly
passed him over for a different reason that he had physical limitations from a
prior injury.  

In his federal suit, McClellan insists that he was not working "light duty" at
the time of the promotions and should never have been treated as an officer
who was unable to handle the physical aspects of job in the narcotics unit.  
But even if he was injured, McClellan claims that using that fact against him
is an obvious pretext since the city has previously hired black officers to
join the narcotics unit while they are still on light duty.

The case, McClellan v. Chester Police Department, 99-cv-2855, has been
assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert F. Kelly.  (The Legal Intelligencer 16-
Jun-1999)


COCA-COLA: Black Employee-Plaintiffs Granted Broad Access to Company Documents
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the first week of June, U.S. District Judge Richard Story ordered Coke to
deliver to black employee-plaintiffs' lawyers six years' worth of computerized
data about thousands of employees. Story also wrote that the current
plaintiffs -- one former and three current Coke employees -- also are entitled
to "any reports, recommendations or similar documents that refer to the race
of employees in discussing, analyzing or reviewing Coca-Cola's employment or
human resources practices. . . ."

The documents are due today, while the deadline for the computerized data is
July 1, Story writes.  Coke's lawyers from Atlanta's King & Spalding and Los
Angeles-based Paul, Hastings, Janofksy & Walker had hoped to avoid any
discovery.  At a hearing last month, lead counsel William Clineburg Jr. of
King & Spalding warned Story of "a global discovery battle" unless the judge
first ruled on Coke's motion to dismiss the class action claims.

In briefs, the company argues the plaintiffs' claims are too individualized
to be resolved in a class action designed to resolve common questions of law
or fact.  For example, the company compares plaintiff Motisola Malikha
Abdallah's claims she was underpaid as an administrative assistant with
security guard Gregory Clark's claims he was denied promotions because he was
black, in _Clark v. The Coca-Cola Co._, 98-3679 (N.D.Ga. motion May 28, 1999.)  
Differences such as those, Coke argues, "will require the court to consider
hundreds of different claims of disparate treatment." The company cites
numerous cases in which judges denied class certification, including one from
Story himself -- _Medlock v. Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corp._, 98-1927 (N.D.Ga.  
April 20, 1999) -- who in April denied class status to plaintiffs alleging a
real estate kickback scheme " d ue to the case-specific, fact-intensive
nature" of the case.

Calling Coke's arguments "extreme," the plaintiffs responded to Coke's
motion late Thursday.  Story's order does not show any signs he'll grant
Coke's request.  The order specifically sets out months of discovery and
briefing, after which, Story writes, he will rule on whether the plaintiffs'
case deserves class certification.  (The Recorder 17-Jun-1999)


COLONIAL REALTY: Seven Firms Seek Big Slice Of $90 Million Pie
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Legal fees don't get much higher than the ones proposed in the groundbreaking,
$90 million settlement reached in April between Colonial Realty investors and
accounting giant Arthur Andersen Inc.   But neither do the risks taken by the
seven firms that represented the thousands of people who lost money when the
Colonial empire collapsed in the late 1980s.

In Waterbury, Connecticut, attorney James E. Hartley's estimation, the group
of lawyers was the single largest "investor" on the line had the class action
against Arthur Andersen proved fruitless.

In return, the seven firms have put in a request to U.S. District Judge
Alfred V. Covello for 30 percent of the $90 million settlement, according to
Hartley whose firm, Drubner Hartley O'Connor & Mengacci, is one of the seven.
A fairness hearing is scheduled to be held June 28 before Covello, who must
sign off on the deal struck with the help of retired federal judge Robert C.
Zampano and retired federal magistrate F. Owen Eagan. (See "ADR Settles Record
Breaking $90 Million Class Action Suit," The Connecticut Law Tribune, April
26, 1999, page 1.)

Hartley says he is uncertain whether Covello will consider the plaintiffs'
fee application during the hearing or at a later date.

Besides Hartley's firm, the $27 million bounty, if approved by Covello, would
be divided among: Bridgeport's Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder; the Law Office of R.
Bartley Halloran in Hartford; Perry & Windels in New York and Dillwyn, Va.;
William H. Clendenen Jr. and Gorman & Enright, both in New Haven; and New
York's Lasky & Rifkind; according to Hartley.

Lawyers at those firms, he says, collectively logged 170,000 hours on the
case during the nine years of litigation that preceded the settlement.

They also racked up roughly $4 million in reimbursable expenses, Hartley
maintains.  That amount, he says, includes $700,000 spent on expert witnesses
in preparing to go to court over the first of 31 failed Colonial partnerships.

Plaintiffs contend that Andersen's allegedly inept advice induced them to
invest in various Colonial deals that were doomed from the start. Under the
terms of the settlement, the accounting firm admits no wrongdoing.

In addition to expert witnesses, copying costs also were enormous, Hartley
contends. "We copied millions of documents."

Tacking on nonreimbursable expenses, which includes the cost of renting
office space in Waterbury, approximately $5 million of the lawyers' own money
was riding on the case, Hartley estimates.

"If we were compensated at our hourly rate, . . . our fee application would be
much larger," he contends. "It would probably be $15 to $20 million greater."

"It would sound petty," to say that the fee request isn't adequate, Hartley
concedes. "In no way are we suggesting that we're unhappy in any respect."

How the $27 million would be split up is the subject of a longstanding
agreement crafted by the plaintiffs' attorneys when they joined forces back in
the early 1990s, according to Hartley. But the terms of that pact, he notes,
is "something we've agreed not to discuss."  Hartley will say, however, that
the question of who gets what is based not just on hours, but on other
considerations, such as the firms' expertise.

But for the moment, Hartley says he and his colleagues' focus is on
finalizing the settlement and returning to the 6,800 clients a good portion of
the money they lost.  Only then, will Hartley entertain ideas about how to
spend his firm's share of the proposed fee request. To do otherwise, would be
"a little presumptive," he concludes.  (The Connecticut Law Tribune 17-Jun-
1999)


COMMAND SYSTEMS: $5.75 Mil. Settlement Obtains Preliminary Approval
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Command Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CMND) today announced that the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has
preliminarily approved the settlement of a consolidated securities
class action against it and certain of its officers and directors. The
Court directed that notice be given to a conditionally certified class
of shareholders of Command Systems common stock. The Court set a
hearing for August 10, 1999 to consider final approval of the proposed
settlement.

The proposed settlement would result in the distribution of $5.75
million plus accrued interest, minus approved attorneys' fees and
related expenses, to persons who purchased the common stock of
Command Systems during the period March 12, 1998 through April 29,
1998, inclusive. Of the final settlement amount, the Company will be
reimbursed for all but $1.65 million, plus the interest thereon. In
addition, the Company may be responsible for certain legal fees and
related expenses incurred in connection with the litigation. There can
be no assurance, however, that a settlement will receive final
approval by the Court.

Command Systems, whose main office is in Farmington, Connecticut,
provides a wide range of information technology solutions and
services, consulting, training and outsourcing to financial services
organizations to support their evolving business processes and
systems requirements; at http://www.commandsys.comthe Company maintains its  
corporate Web site.


GLOBAL STREET: Michigan 401(k) Participants Sue for Mishandling of Funds
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Some government retirees say the state mishandled their 401(k) retirement
plans, costing each of them thousands of dollars, reports The Detroit News.
The retirees have filed a lawsuit, saying the state and its contractor, State
Street Global Advisors of Boston, converted their mutual fund investments to
cash in 1997 without their permission.  

The state and the company deny the allegations. Ingham County Circuit Judge
Lawrence Glazer is expected to decide June 16 whether the case can proceed as
a class-action lawsuit.  

In disputing the claims, Assistant Atty. Gen. Terrence Grady said the state
did what the retirees instructed it to do with money invested in their 401(k)
plans.

"They wanted to more individually control their own destinies and wanted to
get out of the state system," Grady said.

But the retirees said they lost money when the Treasury Department privatized
the 401(k) retirement plan by putting the money under the control of the
Boston company.

Maureen McNulty Saxton, a spokeswoman for the Treasury Department, said the
state opted to go with a private company in 1997 to give state employees a
wider range of investment options.  State employees have nearly $ 700 million
invested in 401(k) plans, she said.  

Only four retirees are named in the suit so far.  It is unclear how many will
join the suit if it proceeds as a class action.


HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Condemn German Compensation Plans
----------------------------------------------------
Former Nazi-era slave laborers Thursday condemned a compensation fund
offered by German industry and demanded they be allowed to take part in future
negotiations.

''The victims are not being accepted as equal negotiating partners,'' said
Lothar Evers, head of a German group representing Nazi victims. ''Instead,
they are being asked to apply as supplicants, as charity cases.''

Sixteen German companies that profited from Nazi-era slave labor last week
announced details of a promised compensation fund that aims to quashing U.S.
and German lawsuits by slave laborer survivors.  But victims' groups were
enraged by provisions that payments would only be offered for six months of
slave labor or longer, and that they would be based on average pensions and
the cost of living in claimants' home countries, not back wages.

The latest criticism by victims came as Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's chief
of staff, Bodo Hombach, met industry bosses in Bonn for a new round of
closed-door talks on a possible settlement. U.S. Undersecretary of State
Stuart Eizenstat was also expected to attend.  Schroeder and German industry
have pledged to have the fund in operation by September.  (Associated Press
17-Jun-1999)


KMART CORP.: Former Hudson Bay Employees Get Green Light in Litigation
----------------------------------------------------------------------
About 4,000 former Kmart Canada Ltd. employees laid off when Zellers bought
the company last year may get up to $11 million in added severance pay.

Ontario's Superior Court of Justice has certified a class-action lawsuit
launched in May, 1998, and ruled that Hudson's Bay Co. - Zellers' parent
company - dismissed the employees without just cause.  In a summary partial
judgment, Mr. Justice John Brockenshire wrote that Hudson's Bay admitted it
dismissed the employees without cause and thus must provide ''reasonable
notice of termination and/or pay in lieu of notice.''  Hudson's Bay has
already paid severance packages, but lawyers for the class action argue much
more is required.

Dorothy Fong, of McGowan & Associates, a Toronto law firm specializing
in class-action suits, said it was reported employees received roughly a week
of severance for each year of employment, the bare minimum under Ontario's
Employee Standards Act.

''Generally, what courts have done is give a month for every year of
service, '' she said. ''That is how far apart we are.''

Fong, whose firm has represented many high-profile class actions including
the 1995 TTC subway crash and the 1997 GO Transit collision, said the
settlements could reach $11 million.

She has asked the court to appoint independent mediators to settle all the
individual claims.

Jim Ingram, general counsel for Hudson's Bay, told The Star late yesterday
that an appeal will be filed in the next few days.  He conceded the liability
associated with dismissing the 4,000 non-unionized workers without cause, but
insisted that Hudson's Bay treated them fairly and paid severance packages in
excess of the minimum required.  ''We felt we were certainly generous.''  

In explaining his decision to certify the case as a class action, Justice
Brockenshire cited Hudson's Bay's in-court treatment of class representative
Karen Webb, an 18-year veteran with Kmart Canada.

''From the inquiries made and the examinations held of Mrs. Webb in this
proceeding, it is easy to visualize the defence (Hudson's Bay) discouraging
individual litigants through procedural complications and delay,'' he wrote.

Those comments are ''extremely nasty,'' responded Ingram. ''I don't know
where he is coming from.''

The court ruling does not include about 2,000 former Kmart Canada employees
in Quebec and British Columbia because those provinces have their own class-
action legislation.

Another 120 people will be excluded from the suit if Hudson's Bay proves, as
it claims, that they were fired with just cause.  (The Toronto Star 17-Jun-
1999)


LLOYDS OF LONDON: Dist. Ct. Keeps Jurisdiction In DES Suit Against Lloyds
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
In a ruling that could show plaintiffs in hundreds of suits around the country
how to keep their claims against Lloyd's of London in federal court, a
Southern District judge yesterday found he had jurisdiction over a 17-year-old
action brought against the insurer by the pharmaceutical giant E. R. Squibb &
Sons Inc.    

Contradicting at least one Circuit court and several district courts, U.S.
District Judge John S. Martin Jr. found British law permits such suits to
proceed if brought against a lead Lloyd's of London underwriter, in the
underwriter's individual capacity.  

"It would be a strange law indeed that would hold that an individual, who had
so clearly bound himself individually by contract, could not be sued
individually to enforce that contractual obligation," Judge Martin wrote in E.
R. Squibb & Sons Inc. v. Accident & Casualty Insurance Co., et. al., 82 Civ.
7327.    

His 43-page ruling, after making the general finding that such suits are
permitted against individual underwriters, then went on to find jurisdiction
for the specific E. R. Squibb suit against a now-deceased lead underwriter,
Alan Peter Denis Haycock, a former British citizen.  Filed in 1982, the suit
seeks to resolve the share of liability to be borne by various insurers for
millions of dollars in claims stemming from birth defects blamed on ingestion
by pregnant women of the Squibb drug diethyl stilbestrol (DES).

The case was remanded to Judge Martin last year after the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Second Circuit, on its own, raised questions about whether it
belonged in federal court. (NYLJ, Nov. 30)

Squibb's lead lawyer, Louis Solomon, called yesterday's ruling groundbreaking
largely because it "creates a blueprint for finding jurisdiction for hundreds
of cases pending around the country involving Lloyd's."    In addition,
although the Seventh Circuit and several other district courts have addressed
the issue of jurisdiction to sue individual Lloyd's underwriters, no ruling
has followed such a painstaking review of an extensive record, said Mr.
Solomon, of Solomon, Zauderer, Ellenhorn, Frischer & Sharp.    

Lloyd's lead lawyer, George Marshall Moriarty, of Ropes & Gray in Boston,
declined to comment late yesterday, saying he had yet to read the ruling.
Diversity Found as a preliminary matter, Judge Martin found that extensive
discovery revealed diversity jurisdiction exists for all 2,247 anonymous
underwriters, known as "Names," who had underwritten the Lloyd's of London
Squibb policies.  He went on to find British law and the contracts in dispute
in this case permit the suit to proceed against a lead underwriter in his or
her individual capacity.  After that, Judge Martin found alternate bases for
permitting suit against Mr. Haycock or Stephen Merrett, a Name who belonged to
the same syndicate as the now-deceased Mr. Haycock.    

First, Judge Martin found Squibb satisfied tests that the defendants have
diverse citizenship and its claims meet either the jurisdictional threshold
amount of $10,000 (when the suit was filed) or $ 75,000 (the current
threshold). Alternately, Judge Martin found even if the claims against the
individual underwriters did not meet the $ 10,000 threshold, there is still
jurisdiction.  He cited exceptions permitted under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1332(a)(3)
and jurisdiction for the claims as a class action suit.  At several points,
Judge Martin declared it contrary to public policy to dismiss the suit, now,
for a belated jurisdictional challenge or for failure to meet the threshold
jurisdictional amount.    

"It would be ironic if a rule designed to prevent the federal court from
wasting its resources was construed to turn to waste 16 years of federal
judicial effort," he wrote.  "This is an appropriate case to take the steps
necessary to preserve jurisdiction."    

In addition to Mr. Solomon, Robert Rifkind, of Cravath, Swaine & Moore,
represented E. R. Squibb.  In addition to Mr. Moriarty, John Montgomery,
Rachel Hershfang and Cathy Mondell, also of Ropes & Gray, represented Lloyd's.  
Other insurance company defendants were represented by Richard Gimer, of
Semmes, Bowen & Semmes, Washington, D.C.; Charles Booth, of Ford Marrin
Esposito Witmeyer & Gleser; Norman Golub, of Marshall, Conway & Wright, as
well as Anthony R. Gambardella and James Jennings, of Rivkin Radler & Kremer,
Uniondale, N.Y.  (New York Law Journal 03-Jun-1999)


NORTHRIDGE HOSPITAL: Women Denied Epidurals in Childbirth File Class Action
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eight women who say they were denied or forced to pay cash for anesthesia
during childbirth have filed a class-action lawsuit against several Southern
California hospitals alleging violations of the state's consumer protection
laws.  The suit, brought to light in the Los Angeles Times, claims that
several hospitals, including Northridge Hospital Medical Center and the
medical group contracted to provide anesthesia services there, have unfair
business practices. It says they improperly colluded with doctors and others
to set a cash price for epidurals and require women to pay it.

The suit was filed, the Times says, one year to the day after The Times
detailed the practice of forcing Medi-Cal recipients to pay cash for epidural
anesthesia, said Bruce Fishelman, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys, in order
to ensure that the statute of limitations did not lapse. It was filed in Los
Angeles County Superior Court on Monday.

The Times reported that nationwide, certain anesthesiologists were demanding
cash from women on public assistance who requested the common pain-relief
procedure. By refusing to treat women unless they agreed to be treated outside
the federal Medicaid program and paid cash, these doctors believed, they would
be able to circumvent what they considered to be low payments from the
government.

One of the articles detailed the case of Ozzie Chavez, a West Hills mother
who underwent a complicated birth without anesthesia, because the
anesthesiologist on call at Northridge Hospital Medical Center refused to
treat her without a $400 cash payment.

Andie Bogdan, spokeswoman for Northridge Hospital Medical Center, said
hospital officials had not yet seen the suit and could not comment on it.


NORTHWEST AIRLINES: Stranded Passengers Prepare for Certification Hearing
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Geoffrey Fieger, Esq., and other attorneys for Northwest Airlines passengers
are to argue Friday for class-action status of their lawsuits stemming from a
Jan. 2-3 snowstorm at Metro Airport.  Hearing the lawsuits as a single class
action as the plaintiffs want could spell more bad news for Northwest. Lawyers
say it's easier for a large corporation to defend itself against several
smaller suits filed by individuals than against a large number of plaintiffs
working as a group.  As a class action, the suit would carry the potential for
higher financial penalties for Northwest.

The plaintiffs' attorneys also say Northwest would want to avoid the bad
publicity that comes with a major class action.

"In my own humble opinion, there is no way they will want to go to court on
this one. They cannot afford all of the adverse publicity," said Byron Siegel,
a Southfield-based lawyer handling one of the cases with Fieger.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Daphne Means Curtis is expected to rule today
after hearing arguments in the dispute.   Three lawsuits have been filed in
Wayne County Circuit Court stemming from the snowstorm that left about 4,000
passengers stranded on Northwest planes on runways at Metro Airport for up to
nine hours.

Northwest has apologized for the events that left passengers without food,
water or, in a few cases, toilets that worked. The carrier has sent vouchers
for free tickets to thousands of customers. But it says the lawsuits are
without merit and that it expects them to be dismissed.  The incident inflamed
public resentment of airlines.  The Federal Aviation Administration and
Michigan lawmakers have blamed Northwest for the problems.  (Detroit Free
Press 17-Jun-1999)


PICTURETEL CORPORATION: Agrees to $12 Mil Settlement of Shareholder Litigation
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PictureTel Corporation (Nasdaq:PCTL) yesterday announced that it has entered
into an agreement to settle the consolidated securities class-action lawsuit
that is currently pending against the company. The litigation is related to
PictureTel's restatement of revenues in certain quarters of 1996 and 1997. The
settlement provides that the claims against PictureTel and its former chief
financial officer, Les Strauss, will be dismissed. In agreeing to the proposed
settlement, the company and Mr. Strauss specifically deny any wrongdoing.

The settlement provides for a cash payment of approximately $12 million by
PictureTel, plus interest, after the settlement is final. More than three-
quarters of the settlement amount will be covered by PictureTel's insurance.
The settlement is subject to certain customary conditions, including
preliminary and final approval by the United States District Court for the
District of Massachusetts, and notice to the class. Once the court gives
preliminary approval to this settlement, formal notices with the details of
the settlement will be sent to the purported class members who purchased
PictureTel common stock during the period of October 16, 1996 through November
13, 1997.

"We are pleased to put this situation behind us," said Bruce R. Bond,
PictureTel's chairman and CEO. "This settlement will enable the company to
avoid further costly and protracted litigation and to continue our commitment
to serve our customers and shareholders."


POLAROID CORPORATION: Shepherd & Geller Files Complaint in Massachusetts
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Shepherd & Geller, LLC announced it filed a class action in
the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, on behalf
of all individuals and institutional investors that purchased POLAROID
CORPORATION common stock (NYSE:PRD) between April 16, 1997 and August 28,
1998, inclusive.

The complaint charges that Polaroid and certain of its officers and
directors violated the federal securities laws by making numerous
false and misleading statements about the Company's financial
condition, operating results, and operations, causing the stock to
trade at artificially inflated prices during the Class Period. When the
truth was uncovered, the stock price fell.

Contact Shepherd & Geller, LLC, Boca Raton, Paul J. Geller, Esq., 561/750-
3000, Toll Free: 1-888-262-3131, or pgeller@classactioncounsel.com by e-mail.


POLAROID: Finkelstein & Krinsk Files Complaint in Massachusetts
---------------------------------------------------------------
Polaroid Corporation (NYSE:PRD) is accused in a class action lawsuit of
violating the federal securities laws by misrepresenting the true nature of
the Company's financial situation, condition and operations.  As a result of
publicly disseminated false and misleading statements, Polaroid Corporation's
common stock was artificially inflated during the Class Period.

According to the complaint, filed by Finkelstein & Krinsk, Polaroid and
its chief executives issued materially false and misleading statements
to the public investors designed to artificially inflate the Company's
reported film sales, and deliberately failed to disclose, inter alia, that
the Company was engaging in "loading" transactions, which resulted in
the Company's involvement in various transactions designed to mask
the decline in its instant film sales from investors.

Finkelstein & Krinsk, the prominent San Diego law firm specializing in
class action recoveries for institutional and individual investors, was
retained by Polaroid shareholders to recover losses suffered by
investors from at least April 16, 1997 through August 28, 1998.  The
complaint, filed by Finkelstein & Krinsk in the United States District
Court for the District of Massachusetts, alleges that Polaroid
Corporation and certain of its chief executives violated the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and specifies the Company's false statements
and omitted material facts.

For additional information, contact Jeffrey R. Krinsk, Esq., at Finkelstein &
Krinsk, The Koll Center, 501 West Broadway, Suite 1250, San Diego, CA 92101,
toll-free: 1-877-493-5366, e-mail: fk@class-action-law-.com or fax: 619-238-
5425.


PRINTRON, INC.: Court Rejects Excusable Neglect for Failure to Answer
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiff filed a class action alleging violations of federal securities laws
and other claims in connection with the sale of Printron Inc. stock.  Two
defendants failed to answer the second amended complaint or to respond to the
order to show cause why they should not be defaulted.  Later they moved to
vacate the defaults entered against them.  Defendant Ms. Firestone argued that
her failure to appear resulted from mistake and excusable neglect in that she
believed her attorneys had filed the necessary papers in response before their
motion to withdraw as counsel was granted.  Denying her motion, the court
noted that she did not offer any explanation for not responding to the papers
and concluded that her failure was "deliberate, even if not in bad faith."  
BARNES v. PRINTRON, INC., QDS:02761072, U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D.N.Y., Judge
Keenan. (New York Law Journal 02-Jun-1999)


PROVIDIAN FINANCIAL: Bernstein Litowitz Files Complaint in New York
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, on June 15, 1999, commenced a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of New York on behalf of all persons who purchased
Providian Financial Corporation (NYSE: PVN) common stock from January 21, 1999
through May 26, 1999, inclusive.

The complaint charges Providian, and certain of its officers and
directors, with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as well as SEC Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder. The complaint alleges that, during the Class
Period, defendants issued materially false and misleading statements
to the investing public concerning Providian's financial results, which
had the effect of inflating the price of the Company's common stock.
Specifically, the Complaint alleges, among other things, that the
Company was able to achieve its financial results only through a
company-wide scheme to engage in high-pressure, misleading sales
tactics that enabled Providian to record as revenue and include in its
loan receivable amounts fees from products which customers had
never ordered.

If you wish to discuss this Action, contact Robert S. Gans or Gerald H. Silk
of Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP at (800) 380-8496 or (212) 554-
1400 or at robert@blbglaw.com by e-mail.



R.J. REYNOLDS: Spin-Off from RJR Nabisco Completed
--------------------------------------------------
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco began operating on its own Tuesday after being spun
off.  RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp. distributed shares in the maker of Winston,
Camel and Salem cigarettes to RJR shareholders after the stock market
closed on Monday, creating a separate $5.7 billion company.  The tobacco
company had been the foundation for RJR Nabisco and now trades on the New York
Stock Exchange.

The spin-off left RJR Nabisco with an 80 percent stake in Nabisco Holdings
Corp., which makes Oreo cookies and Planters nuts. So it renamed itself
Nabisco Group Holdings Corp. and will also trade on the NYSE.  In NYSE
trading, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco closed at $32.43 3/4 a share, up 18 3/4 cents
from where it had been trading in expectation of the spin-off, and Nabisco
Group Holdings closed at $21.56 1/4, up 25 cents.

Financier Carl Icahn, who had been pushing RJR Nabisco leaders for a
breakup for several years, didn't wait around for the spin-off.  Ichan
disclosed in a government filing that he had sold his entire 8 percent
stake of RJR Nabisco shares late in Monday's session for about $813 million.
That was about $130 million more than he paid for the stock accumulated over
the past eight months, said people close to Icahn who spoke on the condition
of anonymity.


SEARS ROEBUCK: Complaint Estimates 7 to 30 Million AccuBalance Plaintiffs
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sears Roebuck collected up to $ 400 million for tire-balancing services it
never performed, then paid millions to keep the fraud quiet, according to a
lawsuit filed in Illinois.  The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, also says managers
destroyed the tire-balancing machines with sledgehammers to cover up the
fraud. The balancing machines were used to shave off a tiny layer of rubber to
make sure the tires were round.  The complaint, which seeks class-action
status, estimates 7 million to 30 million people who purchased Sears
AccuBalance service from 1989 to 1994 were potentially defrauded.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Sup. Ct. Declines Review of Medical Monitoring Case
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Supreme Court has declined to review an opinion by the Third Circuit U.S.
Court of Appeals affirming a trial court's refusal to certify a state-wide
class of smokers who seek medical monitoring expenses from tobacco companies.  
Barnes et al. v. The American Tobacco Co. Inc. et al., No. 98-1489 (U.S., May
17, 1999, cert. denied); see Tobacco Industry LR, April 9, 1999, P. 9.

In the trial court, U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Newcomer initially
certified the class under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(2), the federal rule which
permits class actions seeking injunctive relief.  As certified, the class
included "all current residents of Pennsylvania who are cigarette smokers as
of Dec. 1, 1996, and who began smoking before age 19, while they were
residents of Pennsylvania." However, on Oct. 17, 1997, the judge reversed
himself by vacating his earlier ruling and decertifying the class.  He said
that the action implicated far too many individual issues to proceed as a
class action.

The judge cited several aspects of the case which raise individual issues
that he said could not be resolved on a class-wide basis, including the
plaintiffs' addiction claims, their negligence and strict liability claims,
and the defendants' affirmative defenses.

In his second Oct. 17, 1997, opinion, Judge Newcomer addressed tobacco
company motions for summary judgment asserting the statute of limitations as
an affirmative defense.  He determined that Pennsylvania's two-year statute of
limitations applies to the plaintiffs' medical monitoring claim, rejected the
plaintiffs' argument that the statute was tolled by the "continuing harm"
inflicted on them by the defendants and ruled that each plaintiff's claim for
medical monitoring accrued when he or she was placed at a "significantly
increased risk" of contracting a serious latent disease.

He then cited testimony from the plaintiffs' experts that a smoker has a
significantly increased risk of contracting a smoking-related disease and
would therefore benefit from medical monitoring after he or she has a smoked
one pack per day for 20 years.

"Applying the twenty-pack-year level, the court concludes that five of the
six plaintiffs were placed at a 'significantly increased risk of contracting a
serious latent disease,' and thus the last event occurred which would make
their medical monitoring claims suable, many years ago," the judge wrote.  The
five claims barred by the statute of limitations are those of Rodweller,
Salzman, Slivak, Potts and Barnes.

In a final portion of his opinion, the judge determined that the tobacco
companies are entitled to summary judgment on the medical monitoring claims by
the remaining claimant, Cairin McNally.  He noted that, under the medical
monitoring program proposed by the plaintiffs' experts, McNally would only be
entitled to a physical examination and cardiovascular risk assessment, two
tests which would be recommended for her even if she did not smoke.

The Third Circuit affirmed last November.  It held that three significant
issues -- nicotine addiction, the need for medical monitoring and application
of the statute of limitations -- must be resolved for each member of the class
and make class treatment inappropriate.

The three judge panel also agreed with the District Court that the claims of
five named plaintiffs were time-barred and that the sixth plaintiff had failed
to prove her need for medical monitoring.

In their petition for Supreme Court review, the smokers argued that the Third
Circuit misapplied the concept of cohesiveness when it determined that the
presence of too many issues peculiar to individual class members made the
proposed class inappropriate for certification under Fed. R. Civ. P 23(b)(2).  
"None of the three 'individual issues' (addiction, causation, and affirmative
defenses), which the court below found to militate against cohesiveness,
actually create conflicts within the class," the smokers insisted.

They also maintained that the Third Circuit misapplied the Supreme Court's
1997 ruling on class certification in Georgine v. Amchem Products, Inc., a
case in which the high court refused to certify a nationwide class of asbestos
claimants.  They distinguish Georgine by noting that it involved a class
certified of claimants seeking damages under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3), while
their action involves a proposal to certify a state-wide medical monitoring
class under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(2).

The smokers further maintained that the Third Circuit's ruling conflict with
rulings by other U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals which have recognized a
"crucial delineation" between the legal and factual issues raised by a
personal injury claim for damages and those relevant to a medical monitoring
claim.  Damages claims depend upon proof of personal injury, while medical
monitoring claims turn on proof of need for medical monitoring because of a
risk of potential injury resulting from a defendant's conduct or product, they
explained.  "In this case," they insisted, "the Third Circuit has erroneously
imported . . . considerations, which might be appropriate in the context of
mass personal injury claims, into a class-wide equitable claim for medical
monitoring relief."

At least one other state has approved class action treatment of smokers
seeking medical monitoring expenses from tobacco companies.  In Louisiana, the
state Supreme Court in February refused to review a lower court opinion
affirming the certification of a class of smokers seeking medical monitoring
(Scott v. The American Tobacco Co.; see Tobacco Industry LR, March 12, 1999,
P. 10).

The Pennsylvania smokers are represented in the Supreme Court by Diane M.
Nast with Roda & Nast, P.C., of Lancaster, PA, and by Arnold Levin and Criag
D. Ginsburg with Levin Fishbein Sedran & Berman of Philadelphia.  Wendell H.
Gauthier of Metairie, LA; Stanley M. Chesley of Cincinnati; Elizabeth J.
Cabraser of San Francisco; and Robert L. Redfearn of New Orleans are of
counsel.  (Tobacco Industry Litigation Reporter 28-May-1999)


VITAMIN MANUFACTURERS: Justice Ready to Charge 10 More with Price-Fixing
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Justice Department is preparing criminal charges against at least 10 more
vitamin makers in its ongoing probe of price fixing in the industry, according
to people involved in the investigation.  Investigators believe every major
maker of bulk vitamins in the world was involved in fixing prices on nearly
every vitamin sold in the USA.  Three of the largest companies and six
executives already have entered guilty pleas and agreed to $750 million in
fines for price-fixing conspiracies.

The charges against additional companies are expected to be brought this
summer. The investigation will continue into next year as the Justice
Department attempts to build criminal cases against individual conspirators.
Fines are likely to top $1 billion and some executives may face jail
sentences.

Among the targets:

   * The Japanese companies Takeda and Easai, which both have
U.S. operations. The firms will be charged with participating
in conspiracies to fix prices on vitamins C and E respectively.
Both companies are expected to plead guilty and together could
face more than $ 100 million in fines. Takeda is Japan's largest
pharmaceutical firm.

   * Nepera, of Harriman, N.Y., and Vitachem of Indianapolis,
a joint venture of Germany's DeGussa-Huls and Belgium's Reilly
Industries. The two will face charges of fixing prices on vitamin
B3.

   * Bioproducts, the U.S. subsidiary of Japan's Mitsui &
Co., Toronto-based Chinook Group and DuCoa of Highland, Ill. The
government is planning to bring criminal charges for an alleged
conspiracy to fix prices in the market for vitamin B4, an animal
feed additive.

Executives at these companies said they were unaware of any pending charges or
could not be reached for comment.   

The companies that have pleaded guilty include Lonza, a Swiss maker of vitamin
B3, and two of the world's three largest makers of vitamin E: Hoffmann-LaRoche
and BASF. The No. 3 maker, Rhone-Poulenc, cooperated with investigators and
avoided charges.   The last three are in talks with lawyers for customers in a
class action. The settlement could reach $ 950 million. Plaintiffs' attorneys
Boies & Schiller had no comment.  (USA Today 17-Jun-1999)



Y2K LITIGATION: Senate Okays Bill to Limit Suits
------------------------------------------------
The Senate approved legislation Tuesday that supporters said could save the
economy from being crushed by lawsuits against companies in connection with
Year 2000 computer problems.

But the White House has threatened a veto, saying the bill gives too little
protection to consumers, and the 62-37 vote was five short of the
two-thirds that would be needed to override such a veto.

The measure attempts to head off what some estimate could be billions of
dollars in lawsuits by encouraging mediation and giving companies 90 days
to fix year 2000 computer problems before they can be taken to court. It
also puts limits on class-action lawsuits, tries to stifle the practice of
targeting big rich companies for lawsuits and sets punitive damage caps for
small companies.  (Wire Reports and Bloomberg News 16-Jun-1999)


* Class-Action Price-Fixing Litigator Harold Cohn, Esq., Dies at 85
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Harold Kohn, an attorney who filed some of the earliest class-action lawsuits
accusing corporations of price-fixing, died Monday at the age of 85.  In the
1960s, Kohn became nationally known by winning a key case against General
Electric, Westinghouse and two dozen other companies that the federal
government had accused of illegal price-fixing.  People who had bought the
companies' electrical equipment filed hundreds of lawsuits. Kohn's case,
brought on behalf of public utilities, was the first to go to trial and
resulted in a $29 million verdict.  In 1981, a jury awarded his clients $2
billion in a class-action suit against  the timber industry. At the time, it
was the largest verdict ever in an  antitrust case.  Kohn was also known for
public interest cases taken on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union
and other groups. During the Vietnam War, he helped file a case that argued
that the draft was unconstitutional because it excluded women.  The Supreme
Court rejected that argument in 1981.


                                 *********

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