CAR_Public/990923.MBX                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

              Thursday, September 23, 1999, Vol. 1, No. 162

                               Headlines

ACXION: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit In Arkansas
ALBERTSONS INC: ASC (Lucky) Sued In CA Over Price-Fixing Of Eggs
ALBERTSONS INC: Contests Multi-State Suits Over Employees Compensation
ASBESTOS: British Cape Plc Fends Off Claims By South African Miners
COMMONWEALTH OF PENN: Ct Denies Incarcerated Students' Motion Over Ed

DAY RUNNER: Weiss & Yourman Announces Shareholder Suit Filed In CA
DOEHLER-JARVIS: ERISA Case Sent To Ohio Ct To Avoid Forum Shopping
ESSO: Faces 45 Charges And $9.3 Mil In Fines For Aussi Gas Explosion
FEN-PHEN: Settlement of Diet-Drug Suits Pegged at $ 4 Bil
GOODYS FAMILY: Contests African-American Employees' Suit Over Bias

GREEN TREE: Files Motion To Dismiss Securities Suit In Minnesota
HARTER FINANCIAL: Agrees To Settle Pursuant To Chapter 11 Case In NY
HARTER FINANCIAL: Appeals Fd Securities Suits; No Longer Broker-Dealer
HARTER FINANCIAL: Faces 2 Securities Fraud Lawsuits
HARTER FINANCIAL: Settles For NJ Securities Suit; Remains Broker-Dealer

LI PENG: Ct Oks Limited Discovery Re Chinese Prison Labor Jurisdiction
MERCEDES-BENZ DEALERS: Sued Over Price-Fixing In Multi States
MICROSOFT: Washington Lawmakers Complain To A.G. About Prosecutor
NORTH AMERICA: Ct In Minnesota Denies YSP Class Based On HUD's Analysis
PHILIP SERVICES: Says Settling Of Claims Key To Restructuring Plan

SABRATEK: Illinois Ct Oks Milberg To File Second Amended Complaint
SWISHER INERNATIONAL: Settles For Securities Suit In North Carolina
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Companies To Face Fd Suit; Health Claims Cost $25B
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Florida Ct Reopens Threat Of Punitive Damages
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Inspired By US Cts, Europe Is New Front For Suits

TOBACCO LITIGATION: Lawyers Net $ 50 Mil in Fl. Flight Attendants' Case
VIAGRA: Fd Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Humana Inc.
VIRGINIA HIGH: School League Alleged Of Sex Bias; Class Status Denied

                            *********

ACXION: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit In Arkansas
-------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss announced that a class action has been commenced in the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas on
behalf of purchasers of Acxiom Corporation (NASDAQ:ACXM) stock.

The complaint charges Acxiom and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the Securities Act of 1933. The complaint alleges
that on July 23, 1999, Acxiom completed a secondary offering of stock
pursuant to a Registration Statement/Prospectus that was false and
misleading in that it contained false financial results and failed to
describe the significance of Acxiom's recent contract renewal with its
largest customer, Allstate.

On August 29, 1999, Acxiom announced it was reducing its work force by
5% and laying off 250 employees. Then, on August 30, 1999, it was
revealed that Acxiom was disseminating false financial results, was
suffering from stiff competition and was lowering prices which would
have a very negative impact on future earnings.

Acxiom's stock price reacted swiftly and negatively to these
revelations, falling to as low as $ 17-11/16 on huge volume of 5 million
shares, nearly $ 11 below the offering price just six weeks earlier.

Plaintiff is represented by several law firms, including Milberg Weiss
Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP, who have expertise in prosecuting investor
class actions and extensive experience in actions involving financial
fraud.

If you are a member of the Class described above and wish to serve as
lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than 60 days from Sept.
20, 1999. In order to serve as lead plaintiff, however, you must meet
certain legal requirements. Contact plaintiff's counsel, William Lerach
or Darren Robbins of Milberg Weiss at 800/449-4900 or via e-mail at
wsl@mwbhl.com TICKERS: Nasdaq:ACXM


ALBERTSONS INC: ASC (Lucky) Sued In CA Over Price-Fixing Of Eggs
----------------------------------------------------------------
On September 13, 1996, a class action lawsuit captioned McCampbell, et.
al. v. Ralphs Grocery Company, et. al. was filed in the San Diego
Superior Court of the State of California against ASC (Lucky) and two
other grocery chains operating in southern California. The complaint
alleged, among other things, that ASC (Lucky) and others conspired to
fix the retail price of eggs in southern California. On September 2,
1999, a jury verdict was rendered in favor of ASC (Lucky) and the two
other grocery chains.

On August 2, 1998, Albertson's Inc. and American Stores Company ("ASC")
entered into a definitive merger agreement whereby Albertson's would
acquire ASC by exchanging 0.63 share of Albertson's common stock for
each outstanding share of ASC common stock, with cash being paid in lieu
of fractional shares and ASC would be merged into a wholly-owned
subsidiary of Albertson's. In addition, outstanding rights to receive
ASC common stock under ASC stock option plans would be converted into
rights to receive equivalent Albertson's common stock. The Merger was
consummated on June 23, 1999, with the issuance of approximately million
shares of Albertson's common stock.


ALBERTSONS INC: Contests Multi-State Suits Over Employees Compensation
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Three civil lawsuits filed in September 1996 as purported statewide
class actions in Washington, California and Florida and two civil
lawsuits filed in April 1997 in federal court in Boise, Idaho, as
purported multi-state class actions covering the remaining states in
which the Company operated at the time have been brought against the
Company raising various issues that include: (i) allegations that the
Company has a widespread practice of permitting its employees to work
"off-the-clock" without being paid for their work and (ii) allegations
that the Company's bonus and workers' compensation plans are unlawful.
Four of these suits are being sponsored and financed by the United Food
and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union. The five suits have
been consolidated in Boise, Idaho. The consolidated complaint for these
suits further alleges claims under the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act. In addition, three other similar suits have been filed as
purported class actions in Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada which, in
effect, duplicate the coverage of the UFCW-sponsored suits under state
law. These three cases have been transferred to the federal court in
Boise, Idaho.

The Company claims it is committed to full compliance with all
applicable laws. Consistent with this commitment, the Company has firm
and long-standing policies in place prohibiting off-the-clock work and
has structured its bonus and workers' compensation plans to comply with
applicable law. The Company believes that the UFCW-sponsored suits are
part of a broader and continuing effort by the UFCW and some of its
locals to pressure the Company to unionize employees who have not
expressed a desire to be represented by a union. The Company intends to
vigorously defend against all of these lawsuits.


ASBESTOS: British Cape Plc Fends Off Claims By South African Miners
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Cape plc, the British board manufacturer whose operating profits stood
at L13.1 million in 1998, is fighting a rearguard action to prevent UK
courts hearing claims by nearly 2000 South African miners that it is
responsible for their lung disease.

During 1997, court proceedings were issued in the UK by five men who
worked as asbestos miners for Cape in South Africa. The men received
legal aid but Cape petitioned the High Court to have proceedings stayed
so that they would have to be persued In South Africa. The decision of
the High Court was reversed by the Court of Appeal, but the company then
took the matter to the House of Lords, which also found for the miners.
As a result, by March of this year, almost 2000 South African miners had
made claims against Cape.

Cape is now petitioning the High Court again to have the claims
considered as a class action In which case it can revisit the whole
procedure of having a stay put on the case so that it has to be heard in
South Africa.

Despite its delaying tactics and a bold statement in its annual report
that it believes it can win any cases which do come to court, the
company has set aside L3.3 million to cover the estimated costs of the
case.

One of the company's alleged victims, Cupido Adams came to London to
lobby the company at its annual general meeting last month. He also took
part in a meeting at the Houses of Parliament.

He explained how asbestos had affected his life: "In 19631 went to work
at Koegas. I worked above ground as a sorter, separating the asbestos
fibres and sorting them into different lengths then packing the fibres
Into sacks. I sorted the asbestos with my bare hands." "The dust was
everywhere, naturally It got In our hair and in our clothes. It lay up
to an inch thick on our roofs and children played In it. I lived half a
kilometre from the factory but in order to drink I had to scoop a layer
of asbestos off the top of my water jar. There were no warning signs,
nothing."

Cupido Adams is the only one of his family left. Asbestos has claimed
both his parents, his two brothers and his wife.

Lord Hughes of Woodside, chair of Action for Southern Africa, commented:
"This appalling tragedy is being made all the worse by Cape's
determination to thwart its victims attempts to sue. There Is something
very wrong with the British legal system when It can be manipulated by
companies like Cape in In this way." (Safety & Health Practitioner, July
1999)


BRESNAN COMMUNICATIONS: Faces Suits On Admin Fee From Subscribers
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Certain plaintiffs have filed or threatened separate class action
complaints against certain of the systems of Bresnan Communications
Group LLC alleging that the systems' practice of assessing an
administrative fee to the subscribers whose payments are delinquent
constitutes an invalid liquidated damage provision and a breach of
contract, and violates local consumer protection statutes. Plaintiffs
seek recovery of all late fees paid to the subject systems as a class
purporting to consist of all subscribers who were assessed such fees
during the applicable limitation period, plus attorney fees and costs.


COMMONWEALTH OF PENN: Ct Denies Incarcerated Students' Motion Over Ed
---------------------------------------------------------------------
A court denied a motion for preliminary injunctive relief filed by a
plaintiff class of incarcerated students who challenged a state statute
that based the amount of educational services provided to this group
upon such factors as whether they were housed in a county or
state-operated correctional facility, their age, and whether they were
convicted as adults or juveniles. The court found that they were
unlikely to succeed on their constitutional challenge to the statute.
Brian B. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Dept. of Educ., 30 IDELR 773
(E.D. Pa. 1999).

A Pennsylvania statute enacted in 1997 distinguished between the
educational services provided to incarcerated students depended upon
whether they were assigned to a county or state-operated correctional
facility; whether they were adjudicated as a delinquent juvenile or
convicted as an adult; and based upon their age. As applied, school
districts in the state were authorized to withhold all or nearly all of
basic educational services from convicted individuals of school age who
were incarcerated in county correctional institutions, but basic
educational services could not be withheld from convicted school-aged
persons incarcerated in state correctional institutions, juvenile
delinquents housed in state or county juvenile facilities, or pretrial
detainees incarcerated in any type of correctional facility.

Given these distinctions in the provision of services, the package of
services the incarcerated students typically received varied from as
little as only five hours of instruction per week to as much as
full-time schooling, consisting of five and a half hours of daily
instruction year-round. In short, the effect of the state statute at
issue served to substantially reduce, or completely eliminate, the
educational entitlement of convicted county correctional inmates who
were under the age of 21. The statute applied differently to students
with disabilities, given the secretary of the state department of
education's agreement with plaintiffs that school-aged inmates eligible
for special education should not have their schooling curtailed. To the
contrary, school-aged persons with special needs who were incarcerated,
either pre-trial or post-conviction, in county institutions were
generally entitled to FAPE pursuant to an IEP under the IDEA. The
parties agreed to fulfill their obligations to the group of students
with disabilities under an interim agreement, even though the language
of the statute at issue does not specifically differentiate between
students who are entitled to special education and those who are not.

A class of students under the age of 21 who were confined in a county
correctional institution, previously certified in another action,
brought an action against the state department of education, the state
secretary of the department of education and the school districts in
which their respective correctional facilities were located, alleging
the statute was unconstitutional, in violation of the IDEA, Section 504,
the equal protection and due process guarantees of the 14th Amendment,
and the state school code. As relief, they sought the issuance of a
preliminary injunction, the effect of which would restrain the
enforcement of the statute pending a full hearing on the merits of their
claim.

First, the court rejected the state secretary's argument that there was
no justiciable case or controversy between him and the plaintiff class,
as he was the individual who had been delegated and charged with
substantial enforcement authority in carrying out the aforementioned
statute. The court found that the rational basis test was the proper
standard for analyzing the impact of the state statute on convicted
inmates in county correctional institutions. Applying this standard, the
court went on to conclude that the plaintiff class did not sufficiently
make out a showing necessary to justify the issuance of a preliminary
injunction. The essence of the secretary's defense to the differential
treatment was that providing equal educational services to the two
groups of students would be "more difficult, more expensive and more
burdensome than providing these services in a state correctional
institution." This greater difficulty and expense was tied to the
following differences between state and county correctional
institutions:

* Space limitations in county correctional institutions.

* Higher per-student cost in county correctional institutions.

* Security concerns that would arise in state correctional institutions
  if education were discontinued.

* The greater need for education in state correctional institutions,
  independent of security concerns.

The court evaluated each of these concerns, and concluded that based
upon these justifications, it was not likely that plaintiffs would be
able to prove at trial that the disputed state statute violated the
equal protection rights of convicted school-aged inmates of county
correctional institutions. Given the determination that plaintiffs
failed to show that they were likely to succeed on the merits of their
claim, the court found no need to further analyze the remaining factors
that a plaintiff must show in order to secure a preliminary injunction.

"The Special Educator" notes that despite the court's finding that the
plaintiffs' constitutional challenge to the statute was unlikely to
prove successful at a full trial on the merits, the court expressed
strong criticism of the statute. (The Special Educator 9-15-1999)


DAY RUNNER: Weiss & Yourman Announces Shareholder Suit Filed In CA
------------------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the
Central District of California on behalf of purchasers of Day Runner
Inc. securities (Nasdaq: DAYR) from October 20, 1998 to and including
August 31, 1999.

Day Runner develops, manufactures and markets personal organizing
products to broad-based consumer audiences through retail distribution
channels.

The defendants include Day Runner and certain of its officers and
directors. The Complaint charges that defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10-b(5).
Specifically, the Complaint alleges that during the Class Period,
defendants, among other things, materially misrepresented the financial
condition of Day Runner by disseminating to the investment community
false and misleading financial statements for the 1999 fiscal reporting
period. It is further alleged that these financial statements were
deceptive and failed to conform with both mandatory Securities and
Exchange Commission ("SEC") guidelines and Generally Accepted Accounting
Procedures ("GAAP") and that the Company had improperly recorded
revenues and earnings for fiscal year 1999 due to improper accounting of
manufacturing variances and other costs.

Plaintiff is represented by the law firm of Weiss & Yourman. If you are
a member of the class described above, you may, no later than 60 days
from September 2, 1999, move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff, if
you so choose. In order to serve as lead plaintiff, however, you must
meet certain legal requirements. Contact plaintiffs' counsel Vahn
Alexander, Esq. Ronald T. Theda, Esq. Weiss & Yourman 800-437-7918
wyinfo@wyca.com


ESSO: Faces 45 Charges And $9.3 Mil In Fines For Aussi Gas Explosion
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Esso faces fines of more than $9 million after safety regulator
WorkCover laid 45 charges today, ending its investigation into last
September's explosion and fire at the Longford natural gas processing
plant. The charges beat by four days the deadline for taking legal
action over the explosion, which killed two men, injured eight others
and cut the state's gas supply on September 25. A fine total of $9.36
million is the largest faced in Victoria, and the class action seeking
compensation for damages following the explosion is also a state record
at $1.3 billion. The 45 charges is the most industrial health and safety
charges ever laid in Victoria, beating the previous record set by
industry competitor Shell (36) after its Geelong facilities were audited
by WorkCover.

Esso stands charged with:

* 36 breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, carrying a
  maximum penalty of $250,000 each;

* Five offences against Occupational Health and Safety Plant
  Regulations and four charges laid under the Dangerous Goods Act, each
  carrying a maximum penalty of $40,000 each.

* Full details of the charges are yet to be released by WorkCover,
  which has been attacked by unions for stopping short of charging Esso
  senior managers over the disaster.

Esso said it was "disappointed by the nature and extent" of the charges
made against it by WorkCover. "We will be defending them when the time
comes but other than that, the company has no further comment at this
stage," company spokesman Ron Webb told AAP.

The Australian Workers' Union (AWU), which represents the bulk of the
Longford workers, said it appeared charges had not been laid against
individual managers, as promised in WorkCover's multi-million dollar
advertising campaign on work safety. "Nothing will bring back the lives
of those who were killed in the accident, and nothing will repair the
damage done to their families or those who were injured," AWU state
secretary Bill Shorten said. "We call on Esso to accept full
responsibility for what happened at its plant and not to defend itself
against these charges."

A royal commission into the explosion found Esso applied stringent
national safety standards to its offshore facilities, but not
voluntarily to its on-shore establishments, such as the plant at
Longford. This meant safety at Longford was less stringent than on the
oil rigs supplying it and the distribution facilities it supplied, it
said.

In a short statement issued September 21, WorkCover announced Esso had
been summonsed to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court to answer
the charges on November 16.

                       Chronology of events

1998

September 25, 12.25pm: A series of explosions rock Esso-BHP's Longford
gas plant near Sale in eastern Victoria. Two workers die and eight
others injured. Houses within a five-kilometre radius of the plant are
evacuated and three fires rage out of control. Gas distributor VENcorp
later announces the gas flow from Bass Strait into the Victorian network
has been severed and tells Victorians to cease using gas immediately.

September 26: Hospitals and essential services exempted from gas bans.
Army medical staff and field kitchens drafted into the hospital system,
as massive shortages loom. Manufacturers stand down workers as
production grinds to a halt.

September 28: Law firms Slater and Gordon and Maurice Blackburn Cashman
file class action suits against Esso seeking damages. Premier Jeff
Kennett warns householders they could face two weeks without gas.

September 30: The Victorian government raises the fine for gas cheats
from $500 to $10,000, and to $100,000 for businesses. Premier Kennett
calls Victorians "whingers" for complaining about having to endure cold
showers.

October 1: The number of workers stood down rises to 50,000 as Toyota
and Ford in Melbourne and Holden in Adelaide shut down production.

October 2: Funeral of Esso plant supervisor Peter Wilson attended by
1,000 mourners at St Mary's Catholic Cathedral in Sale. Esso begins
repressuring one of three gas plants at Longford site.

October 3: Funeral for acting maintenance supervisor John Lowery held at
the same church.

October 5: Gas begins flowing back to industry, but householders told to
wait. Employees begin returning to work and employer group VECCI says
crisis was costing industry $100 million a day.

October 8: Victoria begins what is believed to be the biggest gas
reconnection anywhere in the world, with householders switching on in
two stages.

October 12: Premier Kennett announces a royal commission would
investigate the cause of the explosion. Mr Kennett says Esso-BHP failed
the state's residents.

October 15: State Coroner indefinitely postpones inquiry into Longford
workers' deaths.

November 20: Construction and maintenance workers repairing the Longford
plant use its tight schedule as a lever to secure pay rises of up to 80
per cent.

December 14: Royal Commission begins, chaired by former Supreme Court
judge Sir Daryl Dawson.

1999

April 26: Final Royal Commission submissions lodged, with most -
including the state government's - blaming Esso for the disaster. Esso
names plant operator Jim Ward as the man responsible for the explosion.

May 14: Esso, fighting what has become a $1 billion class action for
damages, tells the Federal Court gas consumers only had themselves and
their suppliers to blame for last September's gas shortage.

June 28: Royal Commission finding released: Inadequate training by Esso
and the failure of employees to report a problem a month before cited as
causes of the disaster. Esso refuses to comment on the findings, but
announces Longford plant now back in full production.

July 2: The Victorian government says it would consider setting up a new
authority to supervise dangerous workplaces.

August 2: Royal Humane Society of Australia awards Jim Ward and six
others involved in fighting the Longford fire the Silver Medal for
Bravery.

September 1: Four Melbourne law firms pool resources after insurers join
what has become a $1.35 billion class action against Esso over the
Longford gas explosion.

September 21: WorkCover announces 45 charges to be laid against Esso, a
record number in one batch. (AAP Newsfeed 9-21-1999)


FEN-PHEN: Settlement of Diet-Drug Suits Pegged at $ 4 Bil
---------------------------------------------------------
About 6 million Americans, including 600,000 Texans, who used the
popular diet-drug combo fen-phen would be eligible for compensation or
medical checkups under a $ 4 billion settlement proposal to be unveiled
within days, two people familiar with the matter said. The settlement,
which is still being worked out, calls for American Home Products Corp.
to spend $ 1.2 billion to provide medical screenings and heart scans for
people who took Redux or Pondimin -- the "fen" half of fen-phen, said
the people who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Since state residents account for roughly 10 percent of fen-phen users,
sources said, Texas' share of the settlement will be about $ 100
million.

The drug maker also will set aside $ 3.65 billion over 15 years -- worth
about $ 2.8 billion in present dollars -- to settle most of the 4,100
personal-injury lawsuits nationwide by former diet-drug users.
Individual plaintiffs who have heart-valve damage will receive between $
100,000 and $ 1.5 million each, depending on their conditions and ages.

While Texas lawyers say they support the medical screening provisions,
they say they will probably recommend that their clients opt out of the
personal-injury portion of the settlement because they believe the
package doesn't provide enough money.

Pondimin and Redux were pulled from the market in September 1997, but
not before entrepreneurial Texas physicians had dispensed thousands of
the pills from clinics set up solely for that purpose.

American Home Products, based in Madison, N.J., will pay up to $ 410
million in legal fees and expenses as part of the $ 4 billion
settlement, sources said.

The details were included in a preliminary agreement reviewed by The
Dallas Morning News. Although the draft is still being modified, its key
financial components are expected to remain intact.

The drug maker, the nation's fifth-largest one, declined to comment. It
has defended its marketing of Pondimin (fenfluramine) and Redux
(dexfenfluramine) and says risks were fully disclosed to federal
regulators and doctors as the company discovered them.

Pondimin was frequently combined with phentermine -- "phen" -- to
produce the so-called fen-phen combo. Phentermine remains on the market
and has not been linked to any medical problems.

Any users who took Pondimin or Redux for less than 60 days -- about 4
million of the 6 million users -- can collect refunds for the drugs and
receive one free medical screening and heart scan if they are unable to
afford the tests themselves.

If the heart scan, called an echocardiogram, detects a problem, the user
would be entitled to either $ 5,000 in future medical screenings or $
3,000 cash, sources said.

The remaining 2 million people, who took the drugs for longer than 60
days, will be entitled to at least one free medical screening and
echocardiogram. If that test detects an abnormality, the user will be
entitled to either $ 10,000 in future medical screenings or $ 6,000
cash, sources said.

At any point during the process, users can opt out and file their own
lawsuit, sources said. The agreement would prohibit plaintiffs from
seeking punitive damages if they initially participate in the
settlement, but it would remove any legal deadlines under which a suit
can be filed.

The 600,000 Texans who took Pondimin or Redux are represented by a
class-action lawsuit filed in state District Court in Montgomery County.
Houston lawyer Charles R. Parker, one of the lead lawyers in that suit,
said he is encouraged by the settlement talks but will wait to pass
judgment until the deal is complete.

"There are positive negotiations moving forward. However, final terms
must be acceptable for the Texas class members before we could agree to
a tentative settlement and obtain approval from Judge Fred Edwards in
Montgomery County," Mr. Parker said.

The $ 3.65 billion settlement fund will resolve personal injury suits
filed in federal court and California state court. But lawyers handling
cases filed in other state courts will also be invited to take part. All
told, 60 percent to 80 percent of the fen-phen plaintiffs are expected
to accept the proposal, analysts and sources said. Plaintiffs who opt
out of the deal will proceed to trial. Not included in the national
settlement are nearly 100 cases in which fen-phen users developed
primary pulmonary hypertension, a rare, often-fatal lung disease. Those
cases are expected to settle for an average of $ 4 million each,
depending on the user's health and age, sources said.

In addition, key plaintiffs' lawyers in Texas have said that they
recommend their clients reject the proposed deal. The lawyers say they
plan to seek a more lucrative agreement for their clients or, if needed,
take their cases to trial.

Dallas lawyer Kip Petroff said Texas lawyers have several advantages
over their peers. Lawsuits filed in Texas are moving to trial faster
than elsewhere, he said, and judges have granted permission for
plaintiffs to use key pieces of evidence at trial. "Unless the global
settlement has a very significant amount of money compared to what you
think you can get from a jury, I think most people are going to reject
it," he said.

Even so, Mr. Petroff added, American Home Products deserves credit for
crafting a settlement that will help those who would have to wait years
before their case could reach trial.

Once everything is settled, including the Texas cases, American Home
Products will probably spend between $ 5 billion and $ 6 billion
resolving its fen-phen liability, sources said. That falls short of some
Wall Street estimates, which at one point topped $ 10 billion.
About $ 1 billion of the settlement will be paid by the company's
insurance, analysts said, and the remainder can be absorbed by the
proceeds from one quarter.

Pharmaceutical analyst David F. Saks said the company has moved quickly
to settle the fen-phen lawsuits. "One would have to say this is an
incredible feat if brought about. ... In terms of bringing this to
closure, it's pretty remarkable."

Plaintiffs' lawyers accuse American Home Products of playing down and
withholding evidence of their drugs' side effects to make more money.
They point to records in the company's files that show internal
knowledge of a mounting problem.

American Home Products says it acted legally and properly at all times.
It says that all information on the drugs' side effects was shared with
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which routinely certified that
their benefits outweighed their risks. The company also points to
letters it sent physicians outlining the drugs' side effects.

The company is currently in trial in New Brunswick, N.J., defending a
class-action lawsuit on behalf of the state's 100,000 residents who took
fen-phen. The trial, which began last month, seeks medical monitoring
for those users.

One of the most difficult issues facing lawyers was how to administer
the settlement. Here's how it will work: Doctors who wrote prescriptions
for Pondimin and Redux will receive letters informing them of the
settlement and asking them to pass word along to their patients. If a
patient would like medical testing, tha person will be directed to a
specially designated clinic. It is still unclear where the Texas clinics
will be set up, but lawyers say they have had preliminary talks with the
University of Texas system, which has medical schools in each major
region.

Plaintiffs' lawyers said fen-phen users should wait for a formal
settlement announcement before seeking more information. A toll-free
phone number and Internet page with information on the settlement will
be provided when the deal is unveiled. (The Dallas Morning News
9-22-1999)


GOODYS FAMILY: Contests African-American Employees' Suit Over Bias
------------------------------------------------------------------
In February 1999 a lawsuit was filed against Goodys Family Clothing Inc.
by nine individual plaintiffs at one of the Company's retail stores, who
generally allege discrimination with respect to employment
opportunities, including, among other things, discrimination through
their constructive discharge, failure to be promoted and failure to be
paid wages equal to white employees. One plaintiff in this first lawsuit
has agreed in principle, subject to the execution of definitive
agreements, to accept nominal consideration from the Company in exchange
for a release, five plaintiffs have filed or agreed to file motions to
dismiss with prejudice and the remaining three plaintiffs remain in this
action.

Also in February 1999, a second lawsuit was filed by 20 named
plaintiffs, who generally allege that the Company discriminated against
a class of African-American employees at its retail stores through the
use of discriminatory selection and compensation procedures, and by
maintaining unequal terms and conditions of employment and that the
Company maintained a racially hostile working environment. The
plaintiffs in the second lawsuit also named Robert M. Goodfriend, the
Company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, as a defendant, and are
seeking to have this action certified as a class action. By way of
damages, the plaintiffs in this second action are seeking, among other
things, injunctive relief, back pay and other monetary relief.

In addition, the Company has been named as the sole defendant in three
separate actions, two of which were served in May 1999 and one was
served in August 1999. Each of these actions is brought by former
employees who allege that the Company retaliated against them for
opposing unlawful discrimination. Each of the plaintiffs seek monetary
damages, including lost pay and benefits, mental and emotional suffering
and punitive damages.

The Company disputes the claims in these lawsuits and intends to defend
the the unresolved claims vigorously. It is too early to estimate the
effect, if any, these lawsuits may have on the Company's financial
position or results of operations.


GREEN TREE: Files Motion To Dismiss Securities Suit In Minnesota
----------------------------------------------------------------
Green Tree Financial Corp. has been served with various related lawsuits
which were filed in the United States District Court for the District of
Minnesota. These lawsuits were filed as purported class actions on
behalf of persons or entities who purchased common stock or options of
Green Tree during the alleged class periods that generally run from
February 1995 to January 1998. One such action did not include class
action claims. In addition to Green Tree, certain current and former
officers and directors of Green Tree are named as defendants in one or
more of the lawsuits. Green Tree and other defendants have obtained an
order from the United States District Court for the District of
Minnesota consolidating the lawsuits seeking class action status into
two actions: one which pertains to a purported class of common
stockholders and the other which pertains to a purported class of stock
option traders.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuits assert claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. In each case, plaintiffs allege
that Green Tree and the other defendants violated federal securities
laws by, among other things, making false and misleading statements
about the current state and future prospects of Green Tree (particularly
with respect to prepayment assumptions and performance of certain loan
portfolios of Green Tree) which allegedly rendered Green Tree's
financial statements false and misleading. The Company believes that the
lawsuits are without merit and intends to defend such lawsuits
vigorously. The ultimate outcome of these lawsuits cannot be predicted
with certainty. Green Tree has filed motions, which are pending, to
dismiss these lawsuits.


HARTER FINANCIAL: Agrees To Settle Pursuant To Chapter 11 Case In NY
--------------------------------------------------------------------
As a result of the various legal proceedings pending against Wolf
Financial Group, Inc. which was reorganized and became Harter Financial,
Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary F.N. Wolf & Co., Inc., WFG and FNW
filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of Title
11 of the United States Code was filed on August 24, 1994. A Second
Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization, dated July 2, 1996, was confirmed
by order of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District
of New York and entered on October 23, 1996. The Effective Date of the
Plan, pursuant to the Confirmation Order, was January 16, 1997. Pursuant
to the Plan, FNW was dissolved and its assets were absorbed into the
reorganized WFG.

In conjunction with the Plan, the Company entered into various
settlement agreements. FNW and the SEC executed a Consent and
Stipulation agreement (the "SEC Consent Agreement") in which FNW
voluntarily consented to the entry of a Final Order of Permanent
Injunction against it. The SEC Consent Agreement further provided that
the SEC would be allowed to file an unsecured non-priority claim, in the
Bankruptcy Proceeding, for $8,814,235 and that such claim would be
settled and discharged in full for $1,000,000. Additionally, as a result
of the bankruptcy filing the company was voluntarily released from the
Kapp Litigation and its class members were joined with the class members
of the Hibbard Brown Litigation. Pursuant to the Plan, the class members
of the Hibbard Brown Litigation were classified as Class 4 claims and
are to receive $500,000 and 1,605,784 shares of common stock in the
reorganized company.

The Company was also a party to a number of other litigations,
arbitrations, investigations and inquiries which arose in the ordinary
course of business. In accordance with the Bankruptcy Code, such matters
may not be continued.

An Order of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District
of New York was entered on November 6, 1996, modifying the Confirmation
Order solely with respect to the name of the reorganized WFG. Pursuant
to the November Order the name of the reorganized WFG was changed to
Harter Financial, Inc., a New York Corporation. The New York State
Banking Department approved the use of the word financial in the
Company's name on April 11, 1997.

Prior to the filing of WFG's petition for reorganization under Chapter
11 of Title 11 of the United States Code Ernst & Young, LLP. ("Ernst &
Young") was engaged as the principal accountant to audit WFG's financial
statements. The last audit that Ernst & Young performed for WFG was for
the fiscal year ending June 1993.

As of the filing date, August 24, 1994, Ernst & Young was a creditor of
the WFG estate. Ernst & Young has not performed any audits for WFG
subsequent to audit for the fiscal year ending June 1993.

In connection with the audits of WFG's financial statements for each of
the two fiscal years ended June 30, 1993, and in the subsequent
unaudited interim period through December 31, 1993, there were no
disagreements with Ernst & Young on any matters of accounting principles
or practices, financial statement disclosure, or auditing scope and
procedures which, if not resolved to the satisfaction of Ernst & Young
would have caused Ernst & Young to make reference to the matter in their
report. From the period of December 31, 1993 until January 31, 1997
Ernst & Young did not perform any work for WFG. There were no
disagreements with Ernst & Young, during the December 31, 1993 to
January 31, 1997 period, on any matters of accounting principles or
practices, financial statement disclosure, or auditing scope and
procedures which, if not resolved to the satisfaction of Ernst & Young
would have caused Ernst & Young to make reference to the matter in their
report.

Ernst & Young has provided a letter addressed to the Commission stating
that it agrees with the statements contained in proceeding paragraph.

Pursuant to an Order of the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District
of New York, entered June 27, 1995, WFG was authorized to employ and
appoint the firm of Richard A. Eisner & Company, LLP as their auditors.
Richard A. Eisner & Company, LLP has agreed to continue to perform the
audit for the reorganized Company and has agreed to stand for
re-election for the audit of the fiscal year ending June 1998.

                              Background

Harter Financial, Inc., a New York corporation, has three primary
business focuses: (i) acquiring operating businesses; (ii) investing in
and providing managerial assistance to start-up and early stage
development companies, and (iii) providing diversified consulting
services relating to mergers and acquisitions, financing and
reorganization. Additionally, the Company has a non-operating,
wholly-owned, subsidiary Planner's Financial, Inc. ("Planners"). Prior
to the events discussed below, the Company was known as Wolf Financial
Group, Inc.

The Company was incorporated in New York on May 23, 1979 as Wright
Laboratories, Inc. In December 1985, the Company acquired all of the
capital stock of F.N. Wolf & Co., Inc., a privately held New York
corporation organized in June of 1982. By a vote of its shareholders the
Company's name was changed from Wright to Wolf Financial Group, Inc. at
the time of the FNW acquisition.

                      Bankruptcy Reorganization

As a result of heavy losses and various pending legal proceedings, WFG
and its wholly-owned subsidiary FNW filed voluntary petitions for relief
under Chapter 11 of Title 11 of the United States Code on August 24,
1994. On October 23, 1996, a reorganized WFG emerged from protection
under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code pursuant to a confirmed plan of
reorganization. Pending confirmation of the Plan the Company carried out
limited business activities including issuing bridge loans to certain
unrelated third parties. On November 6, 1996, by order of the United
States Bankruptcy Court, WFG changed its name to Harter Financial, Inc.
The New York State Banking Department approved the name change on April
11, 1997.

Prior to the Filing Date, WFG's wholly owned subsidiary FNW was a
broker-dealer registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and
the National Association of Securities Dealers.

Pursuant to the Plan, FNW was dissolved and its assets were folded into
the reorganized WFG. The Effective Date of the Plan, pursuant to the
Court's order, was January 16, 1997.

                      Plan of Reorganization

Under the Plan, the claims of the principal creditors of WFG and FNW
have been settled in accordance with the following classifications:

Class 1, consisting of all secured claims are to receive their
collateral and any unsecured portion of such claim, if any, will be
treated as an allowed Class 3 claim. WFG and FNW believe that there are
no claims with valid security interests; and

Class 2, consisting of all pre-petition claims entitled to priority
pursuant to Section 507 of the Bankruptcy Code, other than priority tax
claims, are to receive up to $2,000 of their claims as priority claims
pursuant to section 507(a)(3) of the Bankruptcy Code; and;

Class 3 consisting of all general unsecured claims, other than insider
claims, indemnity claims and securities claims are to receive shares of
common stock in the reorganized Company at the rate of one (1) share for
every dollar of claim; and

Class 4 consisting of all securities Claims (claims stemming from
various legal actions) except the SEC's claim are to receive in total a
cash payment of $500,000 and common stock in the reorganized Company
equal to the number of shares of common stock issued to Class 3 (i.e.
1,605,784 shares); and

Class 5, consisting of the claims of the SEC, received a cash payment of
$1,000,000; and

Class 6 consisting of all indemnity claims are to receive a pro rata
distribution of 100,000 shares of common stock in the reorganized
Company; and

Class 7 consisting of WFG's then existing equity interests were canceled
pursuant to the Plan, and holders of such interests did not receive any
payments under the Plan; and

Allowed administrative expenses are to be paid in full; and

The Internal Revenue Service in payment of its Priority Tax claims is to
receive a cash distribution of $200,000.

In accordance with the terms of the Plan 5,263,158 shares of the
Company's common stock were issued to the Plan Funder (as defined in the
Company's Plan previously filed with the SEC, the "Plan Funder") and
331,157 shares of the Company's common stock were issued to Joshua J.
Angel. The Plan Funder(s) are Rita Angel and Spencer J. Angel who hold
3,947,368 and 1,315,790 shares of the Company's common stock
respectively.


HARTER FINANCIAL: Appeals Fd Securities Suits; No Longer Broker-Dealer
----------------------------------------------------------------------
In connection with its activities as a broker-dealer, the Company was a
defendant (along with the Company's previous president) in various civil
actions and an administrative proceeding brought by the SEC alleging
violations of various sections of the anti-fraud provisions of the
federal securities laws. Additionally the Company and certain of its
previous officers were the subject of NASD proceedings alleging
violations of certain Exchange Act rules and NASD rules which resulted
in an adverse ruling against the Company and certain of the Company's
previous officers. The Company appealed the ruling and as a result of a
consent decree no longer operates as a broker-dealer.


HARTER FINANCIAL: Faces 2 Securities Fraud Lawsuits
---------------------------------------------------
The Company was a defendant in two class action lawsuits, In re Hibbard
Brown & Co., et al. and Jerry W. Kapp, Joe Basile and Norman C. Miller,
individually and on behalf of all other persons similarly situated v.
F.N. Wolf & Company, Inc., Wolf Financial Group, Inc., Franklin N. Wolf,
et al. The Class Action Lawsuits alleged among other things, violations
of various sections of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal
securities laws. Claims under the Class Action Lawsuits aggregated in
excess of $100 million.


HARTER FINANCIAL: Settles For NJ Securities Suit; Remains Broker-Dealer
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Bureau of securities for the State of New Jersey filed an
administrative complaint against the Company and certain of its officers
alleging violations of certain provisions of New Jersey securities laws.
Pursuant to a settlement with the Bureau, the registration of the
Company as a broker-dealer in the State of New Jersey was revoked and
the State of New Jersey was paid a monetary penalty of $5,000.


LI PENG: Ct Oks Limited Discovery Re Chinese Prison Labor Jurisdiction
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Judge Thomas Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of
Columbia has ordered the Bank of China to submit to limited
jurisdictional discovery - to be supervised by a magistrate judge - in a
class action filed by five current or former inmates of the Shanghai
Reeducation Camp in the People's Republic of China. (Bao Ge, et al. v.
Li Peng, et al., No. 98-1986 (D.D.C. July 13, 1999).)

The plaintiffs seek damages of more than 1 billion, as well as equitable
relief - including the release of thousands of Chinese prisoners, for
alleged human rights violations. One example of such a violation cited
in the complaint is that the defendants - Chinese Premier Li Peng, the
Chinese Communist Party, the Politburo, the Bank of China and Steven
Wynne, the president of Adidas America - forced the Chinese prisoners to
wax, stitch and sew the name "Adidas" on soccer balls.

The Bank of China and Adidas filed Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1) motions to dismiss, arguing that the court lacked subject
matter jurisdiction to hear the complaint. The plaintiffs then filed a
motion to engage in discovery for the purpose of developing the
jurisdictional basis for their complaint against these defendants, and
the Bank of China filed a response motion for a protective order to
limit the extent of any jurisdictional discovery the court might allow.

Judge Hogan granted the plaintiffs' motion after noting that the
jurisdictional issue involving the Bank of China is governed by the
Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 USC 1602-11. This Act affords a
"foreign state" - defined to include an entity such as the Bank -
immunity from the jurisdiction of the United States, unless one of the
enumerated exceptions recited in the Act applies.

The plaintiffs argued that one of the exceptions - for "commercial
activity" does apply, but it needed the opportunity to engage in
jurisdictional discovery to establish that the actions of the Bank are
sufficient to implicate this particular exception.

The court ordered the discovery, but limited the plaintiffs to
developing information going directly to the essential elements of the
exception: "[T]hat the Bank has undertaken a commercial act that (1) is
connected to the substance of the complaint (the alleged prison soccer
ball project); and (2) has caused a 'direct effect' in the United
States."

The court's discovery order specifically permitted the plaintiffs to
adduce information from Adidas only to the extent that such discovery
might assist the court in its determination of the statutory immunity
issue concerning the Bank. (Federal Discovery News 9-15-1999)


MERCEDES-BENZ DEALERS: Sued Over Price-Fixing In Multi States
-------------------------------------------------------------
People who own Mercedes-Benz cars are being taken for a ride by dealers
who conspire to fix artificially high prices, allege five related
class-action lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court in Newark.

The lawsuits allege that two dozen Mercedes-Benz dealers in New Jersey,
New York, and Connecticut have conspired since 1992 to "raise, fix,
maintain, and stabilize" prices on the four-wheeled status symbols.

The complaints also accuse Montvale-based Mercedes-Benz USA of violating
antitrust laws by urging its dealers not to compete with one another,
and by threatening and punishing those who did not comply.

They claim that Tamir Shansab, the owner of Coast Automotive Group in
Toms River, was told by Mercedes-Benz USA officials that "everyone will
make money" if customers shopping for bargains find only the same prices
on new cars. "If I went along, competing dealerships wouldn't target my
customers," Shansab allegedly said. "If I didn't, I'd suffer." Dealers
were "threatened with shortages on popular Mercedes models, and even
loss of their dealerships, if they did not comply with this price-fixing
scheme," Shansab is quoted as saying.

Mercedes-Benz USA spokeswoman Donna Boland called the allegations
"spurious and without foundation." She said they are based on
allegations raised in a lawsuit filed in Ocean County Superior Court by
Shansab, "a disgruntled former dealer" who was terminated in August for
breaching his contract and misrepresenting his finances.

Customers can go from dealer to dealer to find the best price, Boland
said. The company lowered prices in 1993, and has raised them only twice
in the past six years, she added. The company, which sold 170,000 cars
last year, sets prices between $ 30,000 and $ 130,000, she said.
"It's total rubbish," said company general counsel Wayne Samson.
"It's just not the way business is done by us or any or automotive
dealer. "Any company that would engage in those practices would be
living in the Middle Ages, not to mention that customers don't put up
with those things. We definitively don't do it." Shansab could not be
reached for comment.

The five complaints were filed by different plaintiffs but cited
virtually identical allegations. One was filed by Mid-Hudson Orthopedic
& Sports Medicine of Goshen, N.Y., which leased and bought cars from
Prestige Motors in Paramus. Mid-Hudson's owner, Dr. Robert Hendler,
could not be reached for comment.

Another complaint was filed by Paul Speaker of Short Hills, who bought
his car at Beifus/Buick Mercedes in South Orange. Speaker could not be
reached. (The Record (Bergen County, NJ) 9-21-1999)


MICROSOFT: Washington Lawmakers Complain To A.G. About Prosecutor
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The AP (9/20) reported most of the Washington state congressional
delegation "signed a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno complaining
about the lead attorney hired by the Justice Department to oversee the
case against Microsoft." They were "upset about information attributed
to David Boies in an August 15 article in the British newspaper, The
Observer." In the article, Boies said "that British and non-American
purchasers of Windows or Windows equipment have been overcharged for the
software and may collect triple the excess as compensation." The article
" goes on to say that British citizens would need to retain American
counsel and could organize a class action suit against Microsoft."

Rep. Jay Inslee (D- WA) said, "I feel it is highly inappropriate for an
agent of the Department of Justice to travel abroad and advise foreign
citizens to sue an American company." The AP added that separate letters
from House and Senate members " called Boies' remarks unseemly and
embarrassing." The letters said, "If accurate, this letter and its
contents clearly show that counsel for the United States is engaged in
conduct contrary to the interests of a U.S. company while on foreign
soil, and may constitute an act of prosecutorial indiscretion."
Senators signing the letter include Slade Gorton (R-WA); Patty Murray,
(D-WA); Robert Torricelli (D-NJ); Majority Leader Trent Lott; and John
Ashcroft (R-MO). House members signing the letter include Inslee; Adam
Smith (D-WA); Jennifer Dunn (R-WA); Norm Dicks (D-WA); Doc Hastings
(R-WA); Brian Baird (D-WA); and Joe Scarborough (R-FL). (The Bulletin's
Frontrunner 9-21-199)


NORTH AMERICA: Ct In Minnesota Denies YSP Class Based On HUD's Analysis
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
In Levine v. North America Mortgage, et al., No. 98-556 (JRT/RLE)(D.
Minn. 7/1/99), the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
adopted the Department of Housing and Urban Development's analysis for
determining whether a mortgage lender's yield spread premium payment to
a mortgage broker violates the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. In
doing so, the District Court rejected the more rigorous approach for
evaluating YSPs set forth in Culpepper v. Inland Mortgage Corp., 132
F.3d 692 (11th Cir.), as modified, 144 F.3d 717 (1998).

Mark Levine filed a class action against North American Mortgage Co., a
Dime Co., and FSI Mortgage Inc. for violating the anti-kickback
provision of Section 8 of the RESPA. His complaint alleged that Dime, a
mortgage lender, paid FSI, the mortgage broker, an illegal YSP or
referral fee based solely on the difference between the mortgage loan's
interest rate and the par rate. Levine moved for class certification and
for summary judgment.

In opposition to the motions, the defendants argued that the YSP was
permitted under the RESPA because it was payment in exchange for
services rendered by FSI. The act does not prohibit payment to any
person "for goods and facilities actually furnished or for services
actually performed ... ." According to Dime, the payment was associated
with the mortgage broker's originating, processing and closing the
mortgage loan. The defendants further contended that FSI placed the
mortgage loan with Dime not because of the YSP, which was reasonably
related to the market value of the services provided, but because of its
"customer service and common-sense underwriting."

                         Evaluation of YSPs

Writing for the District Court Judge John R. Tunheim opined that in
Brancheau v. Residential Mortgage and Mercantile Bank, 182 F.R.D. 579
(D. Minn. 1998) (see Consumer Financial Services Law Report, Aug. 6,
1999, p. 4), the court applied the test set forth by the 11th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals in Culpepper for evaluating YSPs. However, the
court pointed out that since Brancheau was decided, HUD released Real
Estate Settlements Procedure Act Statement of Policy 1999-1, which
provided a different two-part analysis.

Under the first step of the Policy Statement's two-part approach, a
court must ask "whether any goods or services were actually furnished or
performed, rather than, as under analysis suggested in Culpepper,
whether the goods or services the broker provided can be tied directly
to the payment." The second inquiry involves whether the compensation to
the mortgage broker is "reasonably related to the goods or services
furnished or performed."

Before ruling on Dime's YSPs, the court looked to the recently decided
case of Schmitz v. Aegis Mortgage Corp., --- F. Supp. 2d --- (D. Miss.
4/23/99), in which the court adopted HUD's approach. Under the Policy
Statement analysis, the Schmitz court held that no genuine dispute of
material fact existed as to whether the YSP was reasonable in light of
the services provided. Levine responded that Schmitz misinterpreted the
Policy Statement because "it ignore[d] the reality in that case and here
that all the respective lenders purchased loans from the brokers with
their [YSPs]." This argument, however, failed to persuade the District
Court, which concluded that the Policy Statement was entitled to
"substantial deference" and that Levine failed to show it was irrational
and contrary to the language of the RESPA.

Like Schmitz, the District Court found that the statement served RESPA's
primary goal of preventing kickbacks and referrals and substituted its
two-part analysis for that of Culpepper.

                       Class Certification

In regard to Levine's motion for class certification, the District Court
found that common questions did not predominate. It rejected Levine's
argument that general evidence, the broker agreement and Dime's rate
sheets could prove his kickback claims on a class-wide basis. The
District Court held that the claims could only be prosecuted by
utilizing individualized evidence and that the reasonableness of the YSP
depended on the particular facts of each mortgage. The court did not
address the other prerequisites for certification under Fed. R. Civ. P.
23(a).

The District Court denied Levine's motions for class certification and
summary judgment. However, Judge Tunheim opined that the court did not
rule out the possibility that some RESPA claims may be suitable for
class-wide treatment even under HUD's analysis but Levine simply did not
demonstrate that the claim in this case was appropriate for
certification.

Charles Zimmerman, Barry Reed and Hart Robinovitch of Zimmerman Reed in
Minneapolis; W. Lewis Garrison Jr. and Kathryn Sumrall of Jackson,
Garrison & Sumrall in Birmingham, Ala., and Rob Williamson of Williamson
& Williams in Seattle represented Levine. James O'Neal and Dara Mann of
Faegre & Benson in Minneapolis; Laurence Platt, James Kelly and Michael
Eng of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart in Washington; and R. Bruce Allensworth
and Irene Freidel of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart in Boston represented North
America Mortgage. Lawrence Wilford, Eldon Spencer Jr., Karen Chamerlik
and Leonard O'Brien of Wilford, Spencer & Gale in St. Paul, Minn.,
represented FSI Mortgage. (Consumer Financial Services Law Report
8-12-1999)


PHILIP SERVICES: Says Settling Of Claims Key To Restructuring Plan
------------------------------------------------------------------
Accounting giant Deloitte & Touche and Canadian underwriters for Philip
Services Corp., who are being pursued by shareholders over last year's
meltdown in the company's stock, must settle the claims before a plan to
restructure the company can be put to a Canadian court, the Hamilton,
Ont.-based company says.

That new condition forms the heart of a revised restructuring plan,
filed with the Superior Court of Justice, that the troubled scrap and
waste giant made public. The plan has not been approved by the court.

Also, Philip said that unless Canadian creditors approve the
restructuring plan, the company will transfer its Canadian businesses to
its U.S.-based holding company and restructure them under the U.S. plan.

The new central role of shareholder claimants in the restructuring
process had John Findlay, the Hamilton lawyer representing the
shareholders, feeling good. 'Before we were a frivolous claim, now we
are huge potential contingent liabilities,' he said after a hearing last
week. But on September 20, Mr. Findlay would not say whether there are
any talks to settle the class action claim.

Philip filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States and Canada
in June. At that time, the company said its lenders, who now control the
firm, wanted the restructuring completed by the end of November in order
to preserve the value of the business.

But since then the talks have hit a major snag in the form of Deloitte &
Touche and eight Canadian brokerages who underwrote a November, 1997,
issue of Philip stock. Deloitte and the brokerages are named in a suit
by Canadian shareholders who bought 25% of that offering. Although the
shareholders have a settlement in principal with Philip, they have so
far not settled with the accountants and underwriters. Deloitte and the
underwriters are holding up the restructuring because they say they
should be allowed to claim against Philip, its directors and officers if
a court finds in favour of the shareholders.

Brian Leonard, a lawyer for Deloitte & Touche, was nonplussed by
Philip's threat to transfer assets out of Canada in order to escape the
jurisdiction of the Canadian court. 'That's always been the threat they
posed,' said Mr. Leonard. 'If it were a real threat, why didn't they do
that rather than amending the plan? 'The lead lawyers for Philip did not
return calls requesting comment. (National Post (formerly The Financial
Post) 9-21-1999)


SABRATEK: Illinois Ct Oks Milberg To File Second Amended Complaint
------------------------------------------------------------------
The following was released by Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP:

At a court hearing on August 25, 1999, Lead Counsel Milberg Weiss
Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP in the original pending securities fraud
class action (No. 99-C-0351) filed earlier this year against Sabratek
Corporation (NASDAQ: SBTKE) was granted leave by the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to file a Second
Amended Complaint for violations of the federal securities laws against
Sabratek.

The action was commenced in January 1999 and an amended complaint was
filed on June 7, 1999, which alleged that Sabratek and certain of its
officers and directors had committed securities fraud by, inter alia,
improperly reporting artificially inflated revenue in violation of GAAP
and by failing to disclose other improprieties relating to its sales
practices.

Milberg Weiss, which has been investigating Sabratek's activities since
the Fall of 1998, had sought permission from the Court to file a second
amended complaint to include additional allegations against the Sabratek
defendants and to include, inter alia, claims for damages for all
investors who purchased Sabratek common stock during an extended class
period up to and including August 23, 1999.

The second amended complaint will allege a common, continuous course of
misconduct during the extended class period, which will include all
class periods in all pending related actions, and will constitute the
most inclusive such class period.

Contact Steven G. Schulman, William C. Fredericks or Michael A. Swick at
Milberg Weiss at One Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th Floor, New York, New York
10119-0165, or by telephone 1-800-320-5081, or via e-mail at
endfraudmwbhl.com or visit the firm's website at www.milberg.com or
MWBHL Shareholder Relations Dept. 800/320-5081 or by e-mail at
endfraudmwbhl.com  TICKERS: NASDAQ:SBTKE


SWISHER INERNATIONAL: Settles For Securities Suit In North Carolina
-------------------------------------------------------------------
On September 18, 1998, Brian Cox, individually and on behalf of all
others similarly situated, filed a class action law suit (Case No. 3:98
CV403-MU) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North
Carolina, Charlotte Division, against the Company and certain current or
former officers and directors of the Company including Patrick L.
Swisher, W. Tom Reeder III, D. Chris Lazenby, Garnet R. Mucha and
Charles H. Cendrowski (collectively, the "Individual Defendants"). The
Lawsuit was amended by the Plaintiffs on February 19, 1999 to, among
other things, add the Company's former independent auditors, McGladrey &
Pullen LLP, as a defendant.

The Lawsuit, as amended, alleges violations of Section 10 (b) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, against the Company and the
Individual Defendants and violations of Section 20 (a) of the Exchange
Act against the Individual Defendants. The Plaintiffs are seeking
damages for the alleged violations, attorneys fees in connection with
their prosecution of the Lawsuit and such other relief as a court may
deem just and proper.

The facts alleged by the Plaintiffs are substantially similar to the
matters that are asserted by the Company's former auditors in the
February 20, 1998 withdrawal letter, filed by the Company on or about
February 27, 1998.

On February 17, 1999, the Company filed an action in the United States
District Court for the Western District of North Carolina directly
against its former independent accountants, McGladrey & Pullen, LLP
(Civil Action No. 3:99 CV56-MU), alleging, among other things McGladrey
& Pullen's negligence in the conduct of their audits of the Company's
financial statements and in the manner in which they withdrew from their
relationship with the Company. McGladrey & Pullen has not yet filed a
response to this action. On April 15, 1999, the Company dismissed the
lawsuit without prejudice in Federal Court without waiving its right to
refile the lawsuit in State Court.

On June 30, 1999, the Company announced that a preliminary order was
entered approving a complete settlement of the class action suit filed
against the Company in September 1998 in the United States District
Court, Western District of North Carolina. A fairness hearing is set for
October 18, 1999 for final approval of the settlement. The class
includes purchasers of the Company's Common Stock and Public Warrants
between March 18, 1996 and May 12, 1998, inclusive.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Companies To Face Fd Suit; Health Claims Cost $25B
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Justice Department plans to file a mammoth civil lawsuit against the
major tobacco companies as early as today, alleging that cigarette
smoking costs the federal government billions of dollars annually in
health-related expenses and seeking to recover those funds on behalf of
taxpayers, sources familiar with the matter said yesterday.

The government contends that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and
other diseases that have resulted in an estimated $ 25 billion annually
in health claims paid to veterans, military personnel, federal
employees, the elderly through Medicare payments and others. The lawsuit
includes claims that tobacco companies engaged in consumer fraud by
conspiring to conceal the risks of cigarette smoking. In its allegations
of industry collusion, the government plans to invoke the powerful
federal civil racketeering statute, sources said.

The lawsuit represents a new legal challenge at a time when the tobacco
industry seems to have beaten back the most aggressive assault by states
and the federal government in its history. In the last two years,
cigarette makers have settled lawsuits by about 40 state governments,
appeared to have evaded federal criminal charges against company
executives and forestalled broad regulation that had been proposed by
the Food and Drug Administration.

Now, the industry finds itself facing a new legal opponent, with
resources as extensive as its own. "The American taxpayer has been
forced to spend billions of dollars due to smoking-related illnesses,
and the Justice Department is working on a way to get them their money
back," a government official said.

The tobacco industry has questioned the administration's authority to
bring such a lawsuit since January, when President Clinton signaled that
the administration was considering doing so in his State of the Union
address, surprising both tobacco executives and some lawyers in the
Justice Department.

While Justice Department officials declined comment, industry officials
were swift to denounce the pending suit. "We just don't believe they
have a basis for filing this lawsuit," said Tommy Payne, an executive
vice president of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., one of the companies named
in the suit. "We are going to vigorously defend the lawsuit. We are not
going to settle this lawsuit. And we anticipate that when this case is
judged on the merits and not on the press release, the law is going to
find that the Justice Department doesn't have a valid case against the
tobacco industry."

The filing of a lawsuit by the federal government could pose a
devastating threat to the industry, which last year fought off
far-reaching federal legislation intended to settle the state lawsuits
in exchange for concessions that included increasing cigarette prices
and imposing significant restrictions on tobacco marketing. The bill was
killed by Senate Republicans. "They are trying to do in the courts what
they weren't able to do through legislation. They tried to impose
burdensome tax increases on the sale of cigarettes, and Congress
rejected that effort. Now, they are trying to use the court system to
essentially impose a tax," said Gregory Little, associate general
counsel of Philip Morris USA, the nation's largest tobacco company.

Last November, after the congressional efforts failed, industry
officials settled the states' suits by agreeing to pay them more than $
240 billion over 25 years. The settlement also required the industry to
remove all billboard advertising around the nation and restrict its
sponsorship of sports events.

Michael York, a Washington attorney for Philip Morris, called the
lawsuit "utterly political." York accused the Clinton administration of
"bullying some very professional people in the Justice Department into
doing something." The department indicated misgivings about a lawsuit in
1997 in testimony on Capitol Hill.

Matt Myers, executive vice president of the Washington-based Campaign
for Tobacco Free Kids, said that the Justice Department's lawsuit poses
a great potential financial threat to the industry. "The federal
government's claims dwarf the claims of the individual states and the
private class actions," he said.

"The true reality is this will be a difficult case. The charges are
serious. And the claims have substantial merit. But no one knows how
this lawsuit's going to come out. For the tobacco industry, this is
Russian roulette. If they lose, they lose big."

Mary Aronson, a Washington litigation analyst, agreed that the potential
damages in a federal lawsuit against the industry could be
"mind-boggling" if the government prevails. She said the filing of a
Justice Department lawsuit alone would shift the momentum against the
companies, which at times have had the upper hand as they prevailed in
private litigation and beat back federal legislation. "This is another
example of the see-saw nature of the tobacco issue," Aronson said. "Over
the last five years, the industry and its opponents have taken turns at
winning battles."

Recently, the industry suffered a significant defeat in a class action
lawsuit by Florida smokers, in which the jury found that cigarette
makers addicted and defrauded smokers, and it could be forced to pay
billions of dollars in damages. The Florida appeals court must make a
final ruling on whether the plaintiffs can recover punitive damages as a
group or whether such damages must be proven individually. Earlier, the
court had indicated that such damages must be proven case-by-case.
(The Washington Post 9-22-1999)


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Florida Ct Reopens Threat Of Punitive Damages
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The new moves come in the wake of a decision last Friday by Florida's
Third District Court of Appeal reopening the threat of huge punitive
damages against tobacco companies in a class-action lawsuit, according
to reports. The court vacated its Sept 3 order requiring that smokers'
claims for punitive as well as compensatory damages in the suit be heard
individually.

The earlier decision had been considered an important victory for
cigarette makers, the reports said. The court said it will hear oral
arguments on the issue Sept 30, they added. (AFX News 9-22-1999)


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Inspired By US Cts, Europe Is New Front For Suits
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Inspired by success in US courts, lawyers from Finland to France are
filing suits. Even as they continue to fight off lawsuits at home, US
tobacco firms are coming under attack on a new front: Europe.

Across the Continent, from Finland to Spain, smokers inspired by court
cases in America are launching groundbreaking litigation against tobacco
companies, claiming damages for the harm that they say cigarettes did to
their health. While only a handful of cases have yet come to court, the
first successful action could trigger a snowball effect, tobacco
executives and antismoking activists agree. "If I win, the tobacco
companies will be in a horrible tunnel," warns Francis Caballero, the
lawyer who has brought the first such suit in France on behalf of a
former smoker's widow.

"It will open the door" to similar suits, says Aneta Lazarevic,
spokeswoman for Seita, the French cigarette company that is the
defendant in the case. And waiting in the wings are European
health-insurance companies and public- health boards, already toting up
the huge costs of treating smoking-related illness and planning to
reclaim that money from big tobacco.

These new legal challenges only add to tobacco companies' difficulties
in Europe. Cigarette consumption has been dropping steadily throughout
the Continent, with nearly 10 percent fewer Europeans smoking than 10
years ago. And under stiff new European Union regulations, all tobacco
advertising of any description, on billboards, in the press, or event
sponsorship, will be banned by 2006.

European governments have been imposing controls on tobacco
manufacturers for nearly 30 years. But it was the success that US state
governments had last year, when they won $ 206 billion from the tobacco
industry, that spurred European lawyers to take a similar tack. "Europe
is by and large 10 to 15 years behind America, but it is taking exactly
the same route," says Friedrich Wiebel, head of the Munich-based German
Medical Action Group.

Some lawyers are taking more than inspiration from their American
counterparts, they are taking advice. Hugh Ward, a partner in a Dublin,
Ireland, law firm that has filed preliminary court documents on behalf
of more than 50 cancer patients who are former smokers, invited
attorneys who were involved in the US battles to a meeting in Dublin.
"Rather than reinvent the wheel, we will follow their example," Mr. Ward
says.

Others got the idea in a more roundabout way. Gustavo Cirac, a lawyer in
Barcelona, Spain, was inspired by his victory in a case on behalf of a
pig farmer who sued his local electricity company when 100 of his
animals suffocated in their sties during an unannounced power cut. "We
won because the company did not warn the farmer of the power cut," Mr.
Cirac says. "To my mind, it is exactly the same situation when a
cigarette company does not warn smokers that they are selling them
death." Health warnings were first printed on Spanish cigarette packs
only in the 1980s, and still carry no notice of cigarettes' addictive
properties. Cirac's argument that tobacco firms did not warn consumers
of the dangers of smoking is common to most of the suits currently under
way in Europe, based on product-liability law.

Suits against Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, British American Tobacco
(BAT), Rothmans, Seita, and other tobacco companies are currently under
way or under preparation in France, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Finland,
and Norway, among other countries.

"The defendants are the same, their lies are the same, the proceedings
are alike," says Erkk Aurejarvi, a Finnish lawyer who has been fighting
a case in the Helsinki courts against BAT and R.J. Reynolds for 11
years.

But significant differences in law and custom between Europe and the US
make it harder for European smokers to seek redress from the tobacco
industry. In Britain, for example, a plaintiff must pay the defendant's
legal costs if he loses his suit. That deters most people from suing
tobacco companies, whose costs would ruin any ordinary individual. In
Germany, the rules governing discovery make it much harder than it is in
America for plaintiffs' lawyers to get access to company documents.

In most European countries, meanwhile, class-action suits are not
allowed. In many, the US system of "no-win-no-fee," where a lawyer takes
on a case in the hope of collecting his pay from the proceeds of a
damages claim, is also unknown.

At the same time, the damages generally awarded in European courts pale
beside the tens of millions of dollars that American juries have given
victims. The widow of Richard Gourlain, whose case in France will be
judged in December, is claiming $ 500,000. In Helsinki, Professor
Aurejarvi's client is asking for $ 100,000.

All these factors "make it less worth a lawyer's while to risk the time
and the effort" that goes into such cases, points out Clive Bates,
director of the London-based Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), an
antismoking lobby group. The failure of a class-action suit in London
last year, thrown out on procedural grounds, has also dulled British
lawyers' enthusiasm.

"It is complicated, and it is expensive," says Mr. Caballero, who spent
three years fighting Seita's procedural delays before finally getting
Mr. Gourlain's case to court. "I am $ 40,000 out of pocket on this
case."

Within a few weeks of the Gourlain judgment, rulings are expected in
Finland and Germany on the similar cases before the courts there. The
results will point the way for institutions that are thinking of
following the example of the US state authorities. In France, a regional
health-insurance institute has already filed an $ 8.5 million suit
against Philip Morris, Rothmans, R.J. Reynolds, and Seita, seeking to
recoup the costs of treating victims of smoking- related diseases.
That could lead to "a change in the climate," suggests ASH's Mr. Bates.
"A successful action in France or Germany would build up the sense that
there is a case to answer. We are constantly scanning the horizon in
search of these developments." (The Christian Science Monitor 9-22-1999)



TOBACCO LITIGATION: Lawyers Net $ 50 Mil in Fl. Flight Attendants' Case
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The opposition has ended to a $ 349 million settlement in a suit two
Miami attorneys brought against the tobacco industry on behalf of
airline flight attendants exposed to onboard smoke.

That clears the way for Stanley and Susan Rosenblatt to receive as much
as $ 49 million in fees and costs, ending an eight-year battle that
resulted in no money for their clients. The Rosenblatts filed a
class-action suit against the leading cigarette makers in 1991, claiming
that as many as 60,000 flight attendants had suffered harmful health
effects by involuntary exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke before
smoking was banned on commercial flights.

In the midst of trial in Miami-Dade Circuit Court in October 1997, the
tobacco industry agreed to settle the case. The settlement called for
establishment of a $ 300 million medical research foundation to study
the effects of second-hand smoke. The Rosenblatts, who had invested
almost 70,000 hours and their own money in the case for years, were to
receive $ 49 million in fees and costs. The flight attendants
themselves, however, received no money. Instead, their cases were to
proceed as individual suits, with the industry agreeing to concede key
legal points in each suit. Despite that, Norma Broin, the name plaintiff
in the case, praised the deal at the time it was reached. A handful of
lawyers representing members of the flight attendant class challenged
the settlement, alleging it was unfair to their clients. That put a
freeze on the Rosenblatts' expected funds.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal affirmed the settlement in March, but
some lawyers continued to object and took the matter to the Florida
Supreme Court. On Sept. 7, they dropped their challenge in exchange for
what is believed to be a small slice of the Rosenblatts' award. "A
pittance," said New York lawyer Stuart Wechsler, who represented one
objecting flight attendant. Wechsler said that the objectors surrendered
because it became clear that the Supreme Court wasn't going to review
the case. After negotiating with the Rosenblatts, the objectors agreed
to drop their challenge in exchange for "a few hundreds of thousands of
dollars." He said he could not reveal the exact figure. Wechsler still
condemns the settlement. "It's mind-boggling that a court would permit
this kind of settlement to go ahead," he said. "What is the class
getting out of this? Nothing." Eric Olsen, a Jensen Beach lawyer who
represented some of the objectors, declined to comment, citing a
confidentiality agreement. One lawyer who defended the tobacco industry
in the case confirmed that the Rosenblatts can now be paid what they are
owed. "The Florida Supreme Court has dismissed the objectors' claims.
That creates finality," said the lawyer, Hugh Whiting of Cleveland. "The
thing will proceed."

Under the original settlement, the Rosenblatts were to be paid 10
business days after dismissal of the case. That would make Tuesday the
deadline for payment. John Ostrow, a Miami attorney appointed by the
court to safeguard the interests of flight attendants not represented by
other counsel, said he welcomed the end of the conflict. "I'm very
pleased," Ostrow said. "The money will do a lot of good for flight
attendants who have suffered needlessly." He declined to comment on why
the objections were dropped. The money due the Rosenblatts comes as the
lawyers continue their battle against the tobacco industry. A second
suit filed by the couple, one representing a class of all Florida
smokers suffering from smoking-related illnesses, has been in trial
since last year. Stanley Rosenblatt did not return a call Friday seeking
comment. This story originally appeared in the Miami Daily Business
Review. (The Legal Intelligencer 9-22-1999)


VIAGRA: Fd Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Humana Inc.
------------------------------------------------------
A federal judge has dismissed the class-action lawsuit filed last year
against Humana Inc. by a Spring Hill man who sought reimbursement for
his Viagra prescription.

Humana's Gold Plus contract with Philip John Lentini did not obligate it
to pay for the eight tablets prescribed by Lentini's physician in the
spring of 1998, Chief U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich ruled
in a Sept. 3 order. Viagra is not in the health insurance plan's
approved formulary of drugs, and the judge said no Florida law required
Humana to pay for it.

An attorney for Humana declined comment. An attorney for Lentini could
not be reached for comment. (St. Petersburg Times 9-22-1999)


VIRGINIA HIGH: School League Alleged Of Sex Bias; Class Status Denied
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia denied
plaintiffs' motion for class certification in an action challenging
reclassification of sports divisions as discriminatory toward female
athletes. Alston, et al. v. Virginia High School League, Inc., CIV. A.
97-0095-C, [W.D. Va. 1999].

The Virginia High School League is responsible for administering
interscholastic athletic competition for several hundred high schools in
the state. VHSL reclassified some high school athletic programs, which
resulted in a scheduling conflict.

To resolve this problem, VHSL changed the sports season for some girls'
sports. Previously, field hockey and volleyball at an AA school were
played in different seasons. When the school was reclassified as an AAA
school, both sports were played during the same season. Subsequently,
the parents, as next friends of their minor daughters, brought an action
under Title IX and Section 1983, alleging violation of the Equal
Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

They asserted that the rescheduling was discriminatory toward females
because only girls' sports schedules were changed. As a preliminary
matter, the plaintiffs sought class action certification defined as
"[a]ll present and future female students enrolled in Virginia public
schools who participate in interscholastic athletics or who are deterred
from participating in interscholastic athletics because of Defendants'
discriminatory scheduling practices."

The federal court denied the motion, finding that the plaintiffs failed
to satisfy the requirements of typicality and adequacy of
representation. In reviewing the evidence, the court found that there
was a conflict within the class.

A survey revealed that a majority of the public high school female
athletics preferred the new reclassification schedule. Since there was
such a division between the majority of the class and the plaintiffs,
the court concluded that the plaintiffs were unable to establish the
third requirement.

This also prevented them from establishing the fact that they would
fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class. In addition,
the court also rejected the plaintiff's proposal to create a sub-class,
again finding that there was disagreement between students who wanted to
proceed and others who chose not to sue. Accordingly, the motion was
denied. (Your School and the Law 9-15-1999)


                               *********


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