CAR_Public/991025.MBX                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

               Monday, October 25, 1999, Vol. 1, No. 184

                                 Headlines

ABERCROMBIE & FITCH : Bernstein Liebhard Files Securities Suit In Ohio
ABERCROMBIE & FITCH: Berman, DeValerio Files Securities Suit In Ohio
ABERCROMBIE & FITCH: Kaplan Kilsheimer Files Securities Suit
ABERCROMBIE & FITCH: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit In Ohio
ABERCROMBIE & FITCH: Strauss & Troy Files Securities Suit In Ohio

ADOBE SYSTEMS: Discloses Securities Suit In CA; Discovery Goes On
AVALON BOROUGH: Settles With Underage Drinkers At House Parties
BRUNSWICK CORP: Settles For Camden Suit Over Failed Outboard Engine
CITY COLLEGE: Teachers Sue In CA Over Defamatory Student-Run Web Site
CONTIFINANCIAL CORP: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Fraud Suit In N.Y.

DAYRUNNER, INC: Shepherd & Geller File Securities Suit In California
DAYRUNNER, INC: Steven E. Cauley Files Securities Suit In California
DRUGS PRICE-FIXING: Il. Ct Outlines Distribution Of Settlement Proceeds
ETHICON INC: Moves To Dismiss Contaminated Suture Case In N.J.
GST COMMUNICATIONS: Berman, DeValerio Files Washington Securities Suit

GST COMMUNICATIONS: Can. Co Faces Securities Suit Re Mexico Operation
GST TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Cohen Milstein Files Washington Securities Suit
GST TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Hagens Berman Files Washington Securities Suit
GST TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Decries Merit of Securities Suits Reported
GST TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Kirby McInerney Files Securities Suit

HI/FN INC: Finkelstein & Krinsk File Securities Fraud Suit In CA
HI/FN INC: Shepherd & Geller File Securities Fraud Suit In California
HORIZON MEDICAL: Ct Dismisses Shareholder Class Action In Georgia
HUMANA INC: Fla. High Court Declines To Hear Appeal For Castillo Case
INDIAN TRUST: Fd Orders Mediator To Help Settle With American Indians

MCDONALD'S: Employees' Evidence Used To Defend Aussie Case Over Prizes
MINNESOTA MUTUAL: Class Not Certified In Vanishing Premium Case In Minn
PACIFIC GAS: Acquired PG&E GTT Appeals TX Suit Re Use Of City Pipeline
PROVIDIAN FINANCIAL: Faces Consumers' Lawsuit In CA Over Late Fees
REPUBLIC SERVICES: Shepherd & Geller File Securities Suit In Florida

STARNET COMMUNICATIONS: Bernstein Liebhard Files Securities Suit In Del
THOMASTON PRISON: Ct Denies Class Status For Suit Over Secondhand Smoke
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Medicaid Suit Barred By 11th Amendment In Wisconsin
ULTRALIFE BATTERIES: Securities Suit In NJ Dismissed On Sept 28
WELLCARE MGT: Plaintiffs Propose Settlement For NY Securities Suit

                              *********

ABERCROMBIE & FITCH : Bernstein Liebhard Files Securities Suit In Ohio
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A securities class action lawsuit was commenced on behalf of purchasers
of the common stock of Abercrombie & Fitch Co., (NYSE: ANF), between
October 8, 1999 and October 13, 1999, inclusive, in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

The complaint charges Abercrombie and certain of its directors and
executive officers with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The complaint alleges that
the defendants issued materially false and misleading statements about
the Company's business, finances and prospects and failed to disclose
material information throughout the Class Period in the Company's public
filings and public statements. Specifically, the complaint charges that
Abercrombie improperly tipped off an analyst at the brokerage firm of
Lazard Freres about the Company's sluggish third quarter growth. This
information was made available to Lazard Freres' slaes force so that
Lazard Freres' preferred customers were able to trade on this inside
information. The truth was not disclosed to the investing public until
October 13, 1999.

As a result of these misrepresentations and omissions, the price of
Abercrombie's common stock was artificially inflated throughout the
Class Period. Indeed, when the truth was disclosed, Abercrombie's shares
plunged to $23-3/8 from a class period high of $39-3/4.
common stock during the Class Period.

If you purchased or otherwise acquired Abercrombie securities during the
Class Period, and either lost money on the transaction or still hold the
stock, you may wish to join in the action to serve as lead plaintiff. In
order to do so, you must meet certain requirements set forth in the
applicable law and file appropriate papers no later than 60 days from
October 19, 1999.

Plaintiff has selected Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP to represent
the Class. If you would like to discuss this action or if you have any
questions concerning this Notice or your rights as a potential class
member or lead plaintiff, you may contact Michael S. Egan Esq., or Mr.
Mark Punzalan, Director of Shareholder Relations at Bernstein Liebhard &
Lifshitz, LLP, 10 East 40th Street, New York, New York 10016,
800-217-1522 or 212-779-1414 or by e-mail at ANF@bernlieb.com


ABERCROMBIE & FITCH: Berman, DeValerio Files Securities Suit In Ohio
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) was charged with misleading
investors in a securities class action with respect to declining sales
affecting the financial condition of the Company. The case was filed as
a class action in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Ohio, Eastern Division on behalf of all persons and entities
who purchased or otherwise acquired the common stock of A&F during the
period October 8, 1999 through and including October 13, 1999.

The action charges that A&F and certain of its officers violated the
securities laws and regulations of the United States by issuing a series
of false and misleading statements concerning declining sales trends
during the Class Period. In particular, the Complaint charges that A&F
selectively disclosed to one analyst that same-store sales were
declining and below Wall Street expectations. When other analysts spoke
with senior management at the Company, A&F denied the rumors of
declining sales, stating they were unsubstantiated and unfounded. On
October 13, 1999, A&F finally disclosed to the general investing public
that sales trends were sluggish. As a result of these revelations, A&F's
stock collapsed, falling over $6 per share to $26 5/16.

You may contact the attorneys at Berman, DeValerio & Pease LLP to
discuss your rights regarding the appointment of lead plaintiff. In
addition, under the federal securities laws you may, but not later than
sixty days from October 19, 1999, move the court to serve as lead
plaintiff of the Class, if you so choose. To serve as lead plaintiff,
however, you must meet certain legal requirements.

If you purchased A&F common stock during the period of October 8, 1999
through and including October 13, 1999, and suffered a loss on your
investment, you may wish to contact the lawyers at Berman, DeValerio &
Pease LLP to discuss your rights and interests:

Jennifer L. Finger, Esq.
Norman Berman, Esq.
Berman, DeValerio & Pease LLP
One Liberty Square, Boston, MA 02109
E-Mail: bdplaw@bermanesq.com


ABERCROMBIE & FITCH: Kaplan Kilsheimer Files Securities Suit
------------------------------------------------------------
Oct. 21, 1999--Kaplan, Kilsheimer & Fox LLP filed a Class Action lawsuit
against Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) and certain of its officers
and directors. The suit is brought on behalf of all persons or entities
who purchased or otherwise acquired the common stock of A&F between
October 8, 1999 and October 13, 1999, inclusive.

The lawsuit charges A&F and certain of its top officers and directors
with violations of the securities laws and regulations of the United
States. The complaint alleges that defendants intentionally withheld
material information from the market. Defendants knew the Company was
experiencing a slow down in same-store growth which is a very important
indicator of present and future growth in revenues and earnings. Rather
than making a timely, public disclosure of this material information as
required by the federal securities law, on or about Thursday, October 7,
1999, A&F selectively disclosed this information to an analyst at Lazard
Freres. As a result, Lazard's "top" clients were able to unload
significant holdings in A&F's stock prior to the October 13, 1999 public
disclosure. Consequently, A&F's stock price dropped from approximately $
38.93 to $ 26.31.

Plaintiff is represented by Kaplan, Kilsheimer & Fox LLP. If you are a
member of the Class, you may move the court, no later than 60 days from
October 20, 1999 to serve as a lead plaintiff for the Class. In order to
serve as a lead plaintiff, you must meet certain legal requirements. If
you have any questions about this Notice, the action, your rights, or
your interests, please e-mail us at mail@kkf-law.com or contact:
Robert N. Kaplan, Esq. Janine R. Azriliant, Esq. Adrienne L. Valencia,
Esq. Kaplan, Kilsheimer & Fox LLP 805 Third Avenue - 22nd Floor New
York, NY 10022 (800) 290-1952 (212) 687-1980 Fax: (212) 687-7714 E-mail
address: mail@kkf-law.com TICKERS: NYSE:


ABERCROMBIE & FITCH: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit In Ohio
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Following is an Announcement by the Law Firm of Milberg Weiss
Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP:

Notice is hereby given that a class action lawsuit was filed on October
21, 1999, in the United States District Court for the Southern District
of Ohio, on behalf of all persons who purchased the common stock of
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) between October 8, 1999, and October
13, 1999, inclusive.

The complaint charges Abercrombie 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 Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The
complaint alleges that defendants issued a series of materially false
and misleading statements concerning the Company's declining sales
trends. As a result of these materially false and misleading statements
and omissions, plaintiff alleges that the price of Abercrombie common
stock was artificially inflated during the Class Period.

If you are a member of the class described above you may, not later than
sixty days from October 19, 1999, move the Court to serve as lead
plaintiff of the class, if you so choose. In order to serve as lead
plaintiff, however, you must meet certain legal requirements.

Plaintiff is represented by the law firms of Milberg Weiss, Strauss &
Troy and Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz. If you wish to discuss this
action or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or
interests with respect to these matters, please contact, at Milberg
Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach ("Milberg Weiss"), Steven G. Schulman or
Samuel H. Rudman at One Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th Floor, New York, New
York 10119-0165, by telephone 1-800-320-5081 or via e-mail:
endfraud@mwbhlny.com or visit our website at www.milberg.com TICKERS:
NYSE:ANF


ABERCROMBIE & FITCH: Strauss & Troy Files Securities Suit In Ohio
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Notice is hereby given that a class action lawsuit was filed on October
21, 1999, in the United States District Court for the Southern District
of Ohio, on behalf of all persons who purchased the common stock of
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) between October 8, 1999, and October
13, 1999, inclusive.

The complaint charges A&F and certain of its officers and directors with
violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 by failing to disclose to plaintiff and the class members adverse
facts in regard to declining sales trends. The complaint alleges that
defendants issued a series of materially false and misleading statement
concerning the Company's declining sales trends. As a result of these
materially false and misleading statements and omissions, plaintiff
alleges that the price of Abercrombie common stock was artificially
inflated during the Class Period.

If you are a member of the class described above you may, no later than
December 17, 1999, move the court to serve as a lead plaintiff, proved
you meet certain legal requirements. If you wish to discuss this action,
or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests
with respect to this matter, please contact Richard S. Wayne, Esq.,
Strauss & Troy, 150 East Fourth Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202,
800-669-9341 or 513-621-2120 or by e-mail at
classactions@strauss-troy.com


ADOBE SYSTEMS: Discloses Securities Suit In CA; Discovery Goes On
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Report by the company for the conformed period of September 3, 1999
filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission as of October 15,
1999:

On February 6, 1996, a securities class action complaint was filed
against Adobe, certain of its officers and directors, certain former
officers of Adobe and Frame Technology Corporation, Hambrecht& Quist,
LLP, investment banker for Frame, and certain H&Q employees, in
connection with the drop in the price of Adobe stock following its
announcement of financial results for the quarter ended December 1,
1995. The complaint was filed in the Superior Court of the State of
California, County of Santa Clara. The complaint alleges that the
defendants misrepresented material adverse information regarding Adobe
and Frame and engaged in a scheme to defraud investors. The complaint
seeks unspecified damages for alleged violations of California law. The
court granted plaintiffs' motion for class certification on September
22, 1999. Adobe believes that the allegations against it and its
officers and directors are without merit and intends to vigorously
defend the lawsuit. The case is currently in the discovery phase.


AVALON BOROUGH: Settles With Underage Drinkers At House Parties
---------------------------------------------------------------
Hundreds of underage drinkers hauled to the police station in Avalon's
"magic bus" in recent summers will get back fines they paid and have
their arrest records wiped clean under a tentative $ 1.5 million
settlement.

The proposed settlement of a federal class-action lawsuit, filed on
behalf of 1,670 young people arrested at house parties in the shore
resort from 1996 through 1998, doesn't mean Avalon will drop its efforts
to limit underage drinking and rowdy behavior, though. "We continue to
support the principle of zero-tolerance policy and are convinced that
this policy is in the best interests of Avalon Borough," municipal
officials said in a statement released. "We will continue to develop
procedures consistent with the legal requirements necessary to enable us
to successfully implement this policy."

It remains unclear, though, whether those procedures will include the
use of what young revelers quickly named the "magic bus," an old school
bus converted into a giant white paddy wagon. Mayor Martin L. Pagliughi
did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Starting on Memorial Day weekend in 1996, borough police used the
vehicle to cart off dozens of unruly minors caught drinking at noisy
house parties during the summer tourist season, when the town's
population swells from 1,800 to more than 30,000. Violators, most from
Pennsylvania suburbs, generally were fined $ 150 and ordered to perform
community service. But in June 1998, attorneys sued on behalf of several
young people arrested, and in April a federal judge allowed others to
join the lawsuit. The lawsuit accused the borough of conducting an
"overzealous and improper campaign" to discourage people under 21 from
renting summer homes in a town promoted as an upscale family resort.

"I'm willing to believe that Avalon's ultimate objective here is a
laudable objective. I think it is," a plaintiffs attorney, Frank L.
Corrado, said. "The problem is that they essentially felt that the end
justified the means, and they used means that were constitutionally
defective, in my opinion."

Pagliughi, however, said in the statement that the borough is on "the
side of the angels." "The policy was designed to save lives, prevent
sexual and physical assaultive behavior, prevent property crimes and
disorderly persons offenses, and to enhance the enjoyment and quality of
life for all Avalon residents," the statement said.

The settlement, terms of which were approved this week by U.S. District
Judge Joel B. Rosen in federal court in Camden, calls for Avalon to
repay all fines and court costs and pay all 1,670 people up to $ 500 for
each time they were arrested. One of the lawyers representing the
plaintiffs, William A. DeStefano of Philadelphia, took the case after
his daughter complained she had been arrested three times.

Rosen has scheduled a Dec. 17 hearing at which the settlement could
receive final approval. Plaintiffs have until Dec. 6 to submit claim
forms. The settlement also requires the repeal of two underage-drinking
ordinances that the plaintiffs attorneys had argued were
unconstitutional. One prohibits minors from possessing alcohol; the
other bars them from being in the presence of alcohol. (The Record
(Bergen County, NJ) 10-22-1999), Byline: The Associated Press)


BRUNSWICK CORP: Settles For Camden Suit Over Failed Outboard Engine
-------------------------------------------------------------------
A product liability class-action suit by owners of failed outboard
engines was settled in federal court in Camden. The agreement calls for
warranty extensions for current owners of certain engine models
manufactured by Brunswick Corp.'s Mercury Marine Division, located in
Fond Du Lac, Wisc.

People who no longer own the engines will receive vouchers for $200
toward goods from Brunswick's catalog, says plaintiffs' attorney Alan
Frank, a partner at Frank & Rosen of Philadelphia, who helped negotiate
the settlement.

The class consisted of all U.S. owners of Brunswick 1993 Force 120 and
1994 Force 40, 50, 70, 90 and 120 outboard engines equipped with a
shunt-type voltage regulator. The plaintiffs alleged that a
manufacturing defect caused electrical problems.

Brunswick is a Lake Forest, Ill., manufacturer of outboard engines and
boating equipment. Lawrence Rappaport was named as a representative of
the class. U.S. District Judge Stanley Brotman signed the order, which
grants $360,000 in fees to plaintiffs' counsel Roberta Liebenberg of
Liebenberg & White, Sherrie Savett of Berger & Montague and Frank &
Rosen, all of Philadelphia.

A preliminary order approving the settlement was signed July 9. (New
Jersey Law Journal 10-18-1999)


CITY COLLEGE: Teachers Sue In CA Over Defamatory Student-Run Web Site
---------------------------------------------------------------------
A group of college instructors filed a class-action lawsuit against City
College of San Francisco and others, contending that a student-run Web
site contains defamatory comments.

The San Francisco Superior Court suit was brought by Daniel
Curzon-Brown, who teaches English at the school, on behalf of teachers
who say they have been the targets of false and damaging comments on a
Web site in which students discuss and evaluate the faculty.

Curzon-Brown says that comments posted on the Teacher Review Web site
accused him of being a "racist" and "mentally ill." The complaint says
other teachers were defamed by statements that described sexual acts and
other allegations, such as, "I think she is drugged out on something."

The comments are made anonymously. "It's OK to say that a teacher is a
jerk, but it's not OK to say they asked me for sex,' " said Paul Wotman,
the San Francisco lawyer who filed the suit.

Wotman estimated that the class action includes "hundreds of teachers."
The complaint alleges that the Teacher Review is funded in part by the
college and a student organization at the school, both of which make the
comments available on their official Web sites. Curzon-Brown says in his
suit that he has repeatedly asked the college and the student
association to take Teacher Review off their Web sites but that his
attempts have been unsuccessful.

The suit asks for a halt to the offending comments as well as for an
unspecified amount for damages. The Web site was started in 1997 by Ryan
Lathouwers, who was then a student at the college. Lathouwers, also
named as a defendant in the suit, said that the site is privately owned
and has no connection to the college. "The school can't stop it," said
Lathouwers, a 26-year-old computer science student at San Francisco
State University. He denied that the site posts comments that are
defamatory. He said that he has guidelines that cover libelous
statements. "I provide an open forum for people to discuss things," he
said. All complaints are reviewed and if they are valid, Lathouwers
said, he removes the offensive material.

Scott Brown, a member of a school alumni association, agreed that the
Teacher Review is not controlled by the school. "It is an open and
public forum for students to discuss teachers and teachers' performances
among themselves," he said. He said most of the complaints about the
site have been made by teachers who received poor reviews. "There have
been abuses like with any speaker forum," he acknowledged. "That is the
risk you take when you have an open speech forum." (The San Francisco
Chronicle 10-22-1999)


CONTIFINANCIAL CORP: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Fraud Suit In N.Y.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The following is an announcement by the law firm of Milberg Weiss
Bershad Hynes & Lerach

Notice is hereby given that a class action lawsuit was filed on October
21, 1999, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District
of New York, on behalf of all persons and entities who purchased the
common stock of ContiFinancial Corporation (NYSE:CFN), between January
28, 1998 and July 21, 1999, inclusive.

The complaint charges ContiFinancial, certain of its officers and
directors and its controlling shareholder with violations of Sections
10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as well as Rule
10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The complaint alleges that ContiFinancial
and certain of its officers and directors issued a series of materially
false and misleading statements regarding the Company's financial
condition and the level of prepayments the Company was experiencing. As
a result of these materially false and misleading statements, plaintiff
alleges that the price of ContiFinancial common stock was artificially
inflated during the Class Period. Before the disclosure of the
aforementioned adverse facts, certain ContiFinancial insiders sold
thousands of shares of ContiFinancial common stock to the public and the
Company completed several acquisitions.

If you are a member of the class described above you may, not later than
sixty days from October 20, 1999, move the Court to serve as lead
plaintiff of the class, if you so choose. In order to serve as lead
plaintiff, however, you must meet certain legal requirements. If you
wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this notice
or your rights or interests with respect to these matters, please
contact, at Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach ("Milberg Weiss"),
Steven G. Schulman, Samuel H. Rudman or Michael A. Swick at One
Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th Floor, New York, New York 10119-0165, by
telephone 1-800-320-5081 or via e-mail: endfraud@mwbhlny.com TICKERS:
NYSE:CFN


DAYRUNNER, INC: Shepherd & Geller File Securities Suit In California
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Shepherd & Geller, LLC announced on October 21 that it
has filed a class action in the United States District Court for the
Central District of California on behalf of all individuals and
institutional investors that purchased D (NASDAQ: DAYR) common stock
between October 20, 1998 and August 31, 1999, inclusive.

The complaint charges that the Company and certain of its officers and
directors violated the federal securities laws by issuing false and
misleading statements or by omitting to disclose certain material facts
about the Company's true business revenues and about its accounting
practices. The Company has announced that it must restate previously
reported earnings and, as a result, the stock price fell from the
artificial highs at which it traded during the Class Period.

If you have any questions about how you may be able to recover for your
losses, or if you would like to consider serving as one of the lead
plaintiffs in this lawsuit, you must take appropriate action by November
2, 1999. Contact: Shepherd & Geller, LLC, Boca Raton Jonathan M. Stein,
561/750-3000 Toll Free: 1-888-262-3131 E-mail:
jstein@classactioncounsel.com or
Shepherd & Geller, LLC, Media Scott R. Shepherd, 610/891-9880
Toll Free: 1-877-891-9880 E-mail: sshepherd@classactioncounsel.com
TICKERS: NASDAQ:DAYR


DAYRUNNER, INC: Steven E. Cauley Files Securities Suit In California
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Steven E. Cauley announced that a class action
lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the
Central District of California on behalf of all individuals and
institutional investors that purchased Dayrunner, Inc. (Nasdaq: DAYR)
common stock between October 20, 1998 and August 31, 1999, inclusive.

The complaint charges that the Company and certain of its officers and
directors violated the federal securities laws by issuing false and
misleading statements or by failing to disclose certain material facts
about the Company's true business revenues and about its accounting
practices. The Company has announced that it must restate previously
reported earnings and, as a result, the stock price fell from the
artificial highs at which it traded during the Class Period.

If you have any questions regarding this lawsuit or how you may be able
to recover for the losses you have incurred, please E-mail or call one
of the attorneys listed below: Steven E. Cauley Scott E. Poynter Gina M.
Cothern 2200 N. Rodney Parham Road Suite 218, Cypress Plaza Little Rock,
AR 72212 E-mail: CauleyPA@aol.com 1-888-551-9944 - toll free


DRUGS PRICE-FIXING: Il. Ct Outlines Distribution Of Settlement Proceeds
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has
determined the distribution of certain settlement proceeds recovered in
a nationwide antitrust class action against manufacturers and
wholesalers of brand name prescription drugs. In re Brand Name
Prescription Drugs Antitrust Litigation, No. 94 C 897, MDL 997 (ND IL,
Aug. 17, 1999); see Antitrust LR, August 1999, P. 14.

Class plaintiffs alleged a price-fixing conspiracy in which the makers
and wholesalers of brand name prescription drugs agreed to keep the
prices of the drugs artificially high for retail pharmacies, in
violation of Sec. 1 of the Sherman Act. The plaintiff class essentially
included:

People and entities in the U.S. who, between Oct. 15, 1989, and Feb. 9,
1995, purchased prescription brand name drugs directly from any of the
defendants. It excluded defendants; other makers and wholesalers of
brand name prescription drugs; co-conspirators; affiliates, parents and
subsidiaries of the aforementioned; government entities; mail order
pharmacies; HMOs; hospitals; clinics; and nursing homes.

The class included pharmacies of all sizes, from large chain pharmacies,
such as CVS, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart, to smaller independent pharmacies.
Several thousand independent pharmacies, drug store chains, and grocery
store chains chose to opt out of the nationwide class action to pursue
their own individual Sherman Act claims.

Over a four-year period, the class plaintiffs settled with several
manufacturer defendants, the proceeds of which totaled approximately
$723 million, of which over $700 million remains to be distributed.

To effectively and efficiently trace the millions of purchases of brand
name prescription drugs to most fairly and accurately allocate the
settlement proceeds among the class members, the district court decided
to rely on the massive data base of IMS Health, a leading provider of
pharmaceutical purchase and sales information. It determined the pro
rata or proportional distribution method is the most appropriate to
calculate each member's share of the damages. The district court
explained that each member is entitled to damages measured as follows:
its purchases of brand name prescription drugs as a percentage of all
class members' brand name prescription drug purchases for the relevant
time period.

Lastly, the district court concluded the universe of brand name
prescription drug purchases to be considered by IMS Health in its data
compilation would include purchases from all manufacturer defendants,
including the non-settling defendants. And the universe of drug
purchases to be considered for damages purposes should include all
purchases made during the class period, Oct. 15, 1989, to Feb. 9, 1995.
(Antitrust Litigation Reporter, September 1999)


ETHICON INC: Moves To Dismiss Contaminated Suture Case In N.J.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Ethicon Inc. has filed motions to dismiss, or at the very least
transfer, a federal class action alleging the manufacturer failed to
adequately recall some 3.5 million contaminated sutures that caused
countless post-operative infections among hospital patients (Sandra
Lawrence, et al. v. Ethicon, Inc., No. 99-3056, D. N.J.; See 8/6/99,
Page 12).

In motions filed Sept. 7 in the U.S. District Court for the District of
New Jersey, Ethicon makes its plea for dismissing the complaint as a
class action on the basis of forum non conveniens and because individual
issues predominate the allegations, which Ethicon says are based on the
singular assertion of common exposure to Vicryl sutures. "The action is
nothing more than an attempt to convert individual products liability
claims into an impermissible class action," Ethicon argues. "If this
were a proper class action, then virtually any products liability action
could be converted into a class action on behalf of all injured users of
the product, simply because an allegedly defective product was
mass-produced." Such precedent should not be established, Ethicon says.

An alternative motion based on the forum issue was also filed with the
forum non conveniens motion to dismiss. It argues for transfer of the
case to the District of Northern California, where similar complaints
are being litigated.

                            June 29 Complaint

Both motions were filed in lieu of an answer to the June 29 complaint,
which alleges Ethicon knew there was a possibility that in 1994 more
than 3 million contaminated sutures left its Texas production facility.
Yet Ethicon, the complaints allege, did not immediately warn the general
public of any possible breach in sterility.

In its motion to dismiss or transfer on grounds of forum non conveniens,
Ethicon claims it is unnecessary to litigate the allegations in New
Jersey, considering the company, which is located in New Jersey, is the
only tie to the state. All named plaintiffs in the case are either
residents of California or Nevada.

(Text of Forum Motion in Section E. Mealey's Document # 28-990917-104.)
Further, much of the relevant legal documents, including depositions and
relevant corporate documents, have already been produced in California
and are currently with counsel there.

Additionally, "healthcare providers and the staff, pathology test
results, medical records and hospital infection control and
investigation reports will be the key evidence in these post-operative
infection cases," Ethicon says. "And none of this is in New Jersey."

"Indeed, the only reason plaintiffs' attorney filed this suit in New
Jersey according to a newspaper article was to attempt to increase her
odds of recovery by proceeding in two different forums," the motion
alleges.

                              Similar Cases

Two other cases, which Ethicon says are based on identical allegations,
have been filed in California (Elvira De La Rosa, et al. v. Ethicon,
Inc., No. 3:99cv03644, N.D. Calif.) and (Beverly Sanner, et al. v.
Ethicon, Inc., et al., No. 3:99cv03446, N.D. Calif.).

Ethicon claims an adequate alternative to the New Jersey forum exists,
adding that transferring the putative class action if it survives
certification would avoid a needless waste of judicial resources and the
possibility of creating inconsistent results in two district courts.

Regardless of whether the case is moved, Ethicon says, it should not
survive as a class action primarily because it lacks such structure
under any definition.

According to Ethicon, the named plaintiffs in the case assert product
liability claims, but ignore that such claims require adjudication of
several entirely individual issues. "Under no circumstances can these
myriad and complex individual issues be certified for class-wide
litigation," the motion says.

(Text of Motion To Dismiss Class Action in Section F. Mealey's Document
# 28-990917-105.)

Ethicon says even the plaintiffs recognize that the cases should be
dealt with on an individual basis, as one of the California cases is
filed on behalf of individual plaintiffs.

                             Predominance

The allegations that all plaintiffs, named or unnamed, were exposed to
the same sutures are not enough to meet predominance requirements under
the federal rules for the formation of a class, according to Ethicon.
"Here, plaintiffs ignore the disparate individual issues raised by their
claims, plaintiffs omit the most important question, that of causation,
and specifically, 'Did Vicryl suture cause the injuries alleged by each
individual claimant?'" the motion says. "Given that bacteria covers
nearly everything in the world, and given that infection is the leading
complication following surgery, this causation issue is the keystone to
adjudication of each and every claim asserted." The individual issues
predominate, Ethicon says.

Ethicon is represented by Susan M. Sharko and Jennifer La Mont of
Shanley & Fisher in Morristown, N.J. Lawrence is represented by William
W. Robertson of Robertson, Freilich, Bruno & Cohen in Morristown, N.J.,
Wendy C. York of Sacramento, Calif., William A. Kershaw and Mark T.
Gallagher of Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard of Sacramento,
Calif., and C. Brooks Cutter of Friedman, Collard, Cutter & Panneton of
Sacramento. (Mealey's Emerging Drugs & Devices 9-17-1999)


GST COMMUNICATIONS: Berman, DeValerio Files Washington Securities Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Berman, DeValerio, Pease & Tabacco, P.C. has announced
that, on behalf of a plaintiff shareholder, it has filed a class action
lawsuit on behalf of all persons who purchased the common stock of GST
Telecommunications, Inc. (Nasdaq GSTX) between November 4, 1996 and
October 21, 1998.

The suit, filed in the Western District of Washington, seeks to recover
under the federal securities laws for damages sustained by members of
the proposed Class. GST and six of its former insiders are named in the
suit, which alleges that the defendants defrauded GST investors in
connection with the improper diversion of a GST corporate opportunity
away from GST and toward a former shell corporation in which the
individual defendants had substantial interest.

Persons who are members of the Class described above have sixty days
from October 21, 1999 to move the court if they desire to serve as lead
plaintiffs in the case. In order to serve as lead plaintiff, such
persons must meet certain legal requirements.

Counsel for the plaintiff is the law firm of Berman, DeValerio, Pease &
Tabacco, P.C. Berman, DeValerio has significant experience in
prosecuting investor class actions and actions involving financial
fraud, and has offices in San Francisco, California and Boston,
Massachusetts. The firm's reputation for excellence has been recognized
on repeated occasions by courts which have appointed the firm to lead
positions in complex, multi-district, or consolidated litigation,
including numerous important cases on behalf of defrauded investors.

If you have questions concerning serving as a lead plaintiff, the case,
or your rights, you may contact one of the following:

Joseph J. Tabacco, Jr. (joet@tabaccoesq.com) or Christopher T.
Heffelfinger (chrish@tabaccoesq.com) of Berman, DeValerio, Pease &
Tabacco, P.C., 425 California Street, Suite 2025, San Francisco, CA
94104; Telephone 415/433-3200 (please call collect); on the Web at
www.bermanesq.com

Jeffrey C. Block of Berman, DeValerio & Pease, LLP, One Liberty Square,
Boston, MA 02109; Telephone (800) 516-9926; e-mail bdplaw@bermanesq.com;
on the Web at www.bermanesq.com TICKERS: NASDAQ:GSTX


GST COMMUNICATIONS: Can. Co Faces Securities Suit Re Mexico Operation
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The following statement was issued by Hagens Berman:

GST Telecommunications Inc. (Nasdaq: GSTX), a Canadian-based
corporation, and former members of its board were targeted in a national
class action brought by stockholders claiming the company misrepresented
its rights to develop a lucrative telecommunications network in Mexico.

The suit claims that GST and its former board members publicly announced
that GST was awarded a 49 percent interest in one of seven concessions
granted by the Mexican government to construct and operate a telephone
network in Mexico, and that the activities would be controlled by GST
Global Telecommunications (Global), a purported subsidiary of GTS.
According to Steve Berman, the Seattle attorney representing the
proposed class, while GST claimed that subsidiary Global would run the
venture to the benefit of GST, the defendants were actually maneuvering
to take control of Global themselves. "Put simply, these board members
quietly -- and quite illegally acquired majority ownership of Global by
giving themselves bargain-basement-priced stock offerings and sweetheart
option deals," Berman said. "They were trying to spirit away the most
profitable portion of GST, at great expense to company shareholders."
According to Berman, the news of the sham became public on October 22
when the company was forced to sue the board members involved. According
to Berman, the news came too late to save shareholders' equity. The
market, which had assumed that GST owned Global, sent shares down to
$6-15/16 per share, a decline of more than 58 percent from GST's class
period high of $16-5/8 per share.

The class action lawsuit, if approved by the court, will include
shareholders who purchased GST stock from November 4, 1996 to October
22, During that time, stockholders were unaware that Global was not a
subsidiary of GST. "The defendants in this suit include the former
officers and directors of GST who chose to turn their backs on their
obligations to the shareholders, and instead diverted valuable corporate
assets into their own pockets," Berman says. According to the suit,
stockholders were misled beginning November 4, 1996 when the company
received permission from the Mexican government to develop a public
telecommunications network in Mexico. During the next two years, the
company made numerous public announcements giving shareholders the
impression that the company retained control of the network venture. The
suit claims that during the class period, stockholders throughout the
U.S purchased millions of shares of GST stock.

The defendants named in the lawsuit are GST Telecommunications, Inc.,
Global Light Telecommunications, Inc., W. Gordon Blankstein, Stephen
Irwin, John Warta, Robert H. Hanson, Peter E. Legault and Ian Watson.
Contact: Steve Berman of Hagens Berman, 206-623-7292, or
mark@firmani.com or media only, Mark Firmani of Firmani & Associates,
206- 443-9357, for Hagens Berman.


GST TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Cohen Milstein Files Washington Securities Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The following notice is issued by the law firm of Cohen, Milstein,
Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C., which has filed a lawsuit in the United
States District Court for the Western District of Washington on behalf
of all persons who purchased the common stock of GST Telecommunications,
Inc. (Nasdaq: GSTX) during the period between November 4, 1996 through
October 21, 1998. The suit seeks to recover under the federal securities
laws.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants made material misrepresentations
and omissions that operated as a fraud and deceit on persons who
purchased GST common stock during the Class Period identified above.
According to the complaint, GST publicly represented that it had
acquired control over a former shell corporation now known as Global
Light Telecommunications in order to pursue international opportunities,
including in particular the pursuit of a lucrative opportunity to
provide local and long distance telecommunications services in Mexico
(the "Bestel Opportunity"). In truth, the complaint alleges, Global was
created by the individual defendants, at that time officers and
directors of GST, to facilitate the improper diversion of the Bestel
Opportunity away from GST and its shareholders, and over to Global, in
which the individual defendants had acquired substantial holdings. The
improper nature of the diversion of the Bestel Opportunity was not
revealed until GST issued a press release announcing that it had
commenced litigation against certain former GST insiders based on the
improper diversion of the Bestel Opportunity. GST is named in the suit,
along with six former GST officers and directors (W. Gordon Blankstein,
Stephen Irwin, John Warta, Robert H. Hanson, Peter E. Legault and Ian
Watson).

If you are a member of the class described above and desire to serve as
lead plaintiff for the Class, you have until sixty days from October 21,
1999 in which to move the Court. In order to serve as lead plaintiff you
must meet certain legal requirements. If you have any questions about
this notice, the case, serving as a lead plaintiff or with regard to
your rights, you may contact: Steven J. Toll or Matthew J. Ide of Cohen,
Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C., 999 Third Ave., Suite 3600,
Seattle, WA 98104, 1-888-240-1238 or 206-521-0080.


GST TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Hagens Berman Files Washington Securities Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A class action has been commenced in the United States District Court
for the Western District of Washington on behalf of all purchases of GST
Telecommunications, Inc. ("GST") common stock during the period November
4, 1996 through October 22, 1998.

The complaint charges GST and certain of its former officers and
directors with violations of the federal securities laws. Specifically,
plaintiffs have brought claims under sections 10(b) and 20 of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The complaint alleges that GST and certain of its former officers and
directors participated in a fraudulent scheme by failing to disclose
that these officers and directors had improperly diverted more than $200
million in assets belonging to GST to another corporation owned in large
part by these former officers and directors. Defendants' scheme enabled
them to enrich themselves personally at the expense of GST's
shareholders.

Before the truth about this misappropriation of GST's assets was
disclosed to the market, GST shares traded as high as $16-5/8 per share.
After GST was finally forced to publicly acknowledge the extent of the
looting of GST's assets -- and the fact that the company had filed a
lawsuit against the former officers and directors alleging fraud related
to the misappropriation of these assets -- GST's shares traded at less
then $7.00 per share.

The plaintiff is represented by Hagens Berman, P.S. If you are a member
of the Class described above, you may, no later than 60 days from today,
move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff of the Class, if you so
choose. In order to serve as lead plaintiff, however, you must meet
certain legal requirements. If you wish to discuss this action or have
any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests, please
contact plaintiffs' counsel, Steve W. Berman or Karl P. Barth at Hagens
Berman, P.S. at 206-623-7292 or toll-free at 888-381-2889 or via e-mail
at Karl@Hagens-Berman.com. SOURCE Hagens Berman, P.S.


GST TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Decries Merit of Securities Suits Reported
------------------------------------------------------------------
GST Telecommunications, Inc., (Nasdaq: GSTX) read with surprise press
releases issued by various law firms reporting the filing of securities
class action suits against GST and certain of its former directors and
officers. The suits are in regard to a 1996 transaction involving Global
Light Telecommunications.

GST thoroughly rejects the suggestion that it has defrauded investors
regarding this matter; to the contrary, as GST has fully disclosed in
the past, GST has been vigilant in seeking appropriate compensation from
its former directors and officers regarding the Global Light
transaction, and has to date collected settlements amounting to $30
million for the benefit of GST and its shareholders. Moreover, contrary
to statements in the press releases, GST's ownership interest in Global
Light was fully and publicly disclosed on December 30, 1996 in the
Company's Form 10-K filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission,
making the basis of the lawsuits against GST unfounded.

According to the press releases, none of GST's current management or
Board members are accused of misconduct. GST will vigorously contest the
allegations as described in the press releases, and will seek a prompt
dismissal of the lawsuits against GST.

GST Telecommunications, Inc., an Integrated Communications Provider
(ICP) headquartered in Vancouver, Wash., provides integrated
telecommunications products and services including enhanced data and
Internet services and comprehensive voice services.


GST TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Kirby McInerney Files Securities Suit
-------------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been commenced in the United States District
Court for the Western District of Washington on behalf of all purchasers
of GST Telecommunications, Inc. (NASDAQ: GSTX) common stock during the
period from November 4, 1996 through October 22, 1998, inclusive.

The action asserts claims against GST, certain of its present or former
directors and officers and others for violations of Section 10(b) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC Rule 10b-5 by reason of
defendants' Class Period concealment of their diversion of a
multimillion dollar business opportunity from GST to an entity
controlled by certain of the Company's directors. The public did not
become aware of the directors' theft of this business opportunity until
October 22, 1998 when GST filed suit against the board members involved.

Plaintiff is represented by Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP. The firm has
specialized in complex litigation, including securities and consumer
class actions, for decades. If you are a member of the class described
above, you may, not later than sixty days from October 21, 1999, move
the Court to serve as lead plaintiff of the class, if you so choose. In
order to serve as lead plaintiff, however, you must meet certain legal
requirements. If you wish to discuss this action, or have any questions
concerning this notice or your rights, please contact: Ira M. Press,
Esq. Ms. Marina Barinova, Paralegal KIRBY McINERNEY & SQUIRE, LLP 830
Third Avenue 10th Floor New York, New York 10022 Telephone: (212)
317-2300 or Toll Free (888) 529-4787 E-Mail: kms@kmslaw.com TICKERS:
NASDAQ: GSTX


HI/FN INC: Finkelstein & Krinsk File Securities Fraud Suit In CA
----------------------------------------------------------------
HI/FN, Inc. (NASDAQ:HIFN) is accused in a class action lawsuit of
fraudulently misrepresenting the Company's condition and business
prospects in order to inflate the price of the Company's stock.

According to the Complaint filed by Finkelstein & Krinsk, executives of
HI/FN falsely painted a positive picture of the Company by touting the
Company's products and its relationship with its largest customers,
while deliberately withholding facts from the public during the Class
Period (July 26, 1999 through October 7, 1999).

Principally, plaintiff alleges that among other things, the Company knew
HI/FN's long-term growth would deteriorate as its larger customers would
not be accepting as many shipments of HI/FN's storage products, thus
adversely impacting HI/FN's future revenues and earnings, and that
HI/FN's networking business would not compensate for the Company's loss
of sales. Defendants' positive representations were false and caused
HI/FN stock to trade at artificially inflated levels during the Class
Period, enabling certain insiders to sell, exchange, transfer or
otherwise dispose of over $ 10.55 million worth of HI/FN stock at
artificially inflated prices. When HI/FN ultimately disclosed that its
1st Quarter F2000 earnings would be well below previous forecasts and
admitted its two largest customers had well in excess of necessary
inventory and would be cutting orders, the stock price of HI/FN stock
tumbled to $ 37 3/4 per share from $ 109 per share two days earlier and
a Class Period high of over $ 151 per share.

The Complaint particularizes plaintiff's allegations of how HI/FN
management violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and specifies
the Company's false statements and omitted material facts. The Complaint
has been filed in United States District Court for the Northern District
of California and represents a class comprised of all individual and
institutional investors for the pertinent time period.

"HI/FN's conduct represents a gross violation of the federal securities
laws," stated Jeffrey R. Krinsk, Esq., of Finkelstein and Krinsk. "We
are particularly pleased that institutional investors have contacted us
as we are recognized as the resource of choice for these large investors
who appreciate that the quality of our research and our willingness to
include their own attorneys in the process reflects our flexible
approach."

Finkelstein & Krinsk, has been retained by HI/FN shareholders to recover
losses for the Class Period. If you purchased or acquired a significant
amount of HI/FN stock during the Class Period, you can join in the
action on favorable terms without cost or expense to you. Members of the
Class who wish to participate must act by not later than December 7,
1999. For any inquiries or to discuss this lawsuit and alternatives,
contact: Jeffrey R. Krinsk at Finkelstein & Krinsk, the Koll Center, 501
West Broadway, Suite 1250, San Diego, CA 92101 by calling toll free
877-493-5366 or E-Mail - fk@class-action-law.com or fax 619-238-5425.


HI/FN INC: Shepherd & Geller File Securities Fraud Suit In California
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Shepherd & Geller, LLC announced that it has filed a
class action in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California on behalf of all individuals and institutional
investors that purchased the common stock of Hi/fn, Inc. (NASDAQ: HIFN)
between July 26, 1998 and October 7, 1999, inclusive.

The complaint charges that the Company and certain of its officers and
directors violated the federal securities laws by misrepresenting the
strength of its business, causing the stock to trade at artificially
inflated prices. When the truth about the Company was revealed, the
price of the stock fell sharply. However, before the truth was revealed,
Company insiders profited by selling over100,000 shares of stock for
over $ 10 million.

If you have any questions about how you may be able to recover for your
losses, or if you would like to consider serving as one of the lead
plaintiffs in this lawsuit, you must take appropriate action by December
8, 1999. Contact: Shepherd & Geller, LLC, Boca Raton Jonathan M. Stein,
561/750-3000 Toll Free: 888/262-3131 E-mail:
jstein@classactioncounsel.com or Shepherd & Geller, LLC, Media, Pa.
Scott R. Shepherd, 610/891-9880 Toll Free: 877/891-9880 E-mail:
sshepherd@classactioncounsel.com TICKERS: NASDAQ:HIFN


HORIZON MEDICAL: Ct Dismisses Shareholder Class Action In Georgia
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
yesterday dismissed the consolidated shareholder class action lawsuits
filed against Horizon Medical Products, Inc. (Nasdaq: HMPS).

The plaintiffs alleged that the prospectus and registration statement
used by the Company in connection with the April 1998 initial public
offering of the Company's common stock contained material omissions and
misstatements.

In dismissing the suits, the Court held that the plaintiffs failed to
state an actionable claim of material misrepresentation under the
federal securities laws. The Court found that the risks of which the
plaintiffs complained, those associated with the Company's transition of
certain manufacturing operations to its Manchester, Georgia facility,
were specifically disclosed by the prospectus.

The Court also rejected plaintiffs' claim that the prospectus described
certain unfavorable events as mere risks, when in fact those events had
already occurred. The Court held that the prospectus contained ample and
meaningful cautionary language specifically directed to the substance of
the plaintiffs' alleged misstatements.

The plaintiffs have thirty days in which to file a notice of appeal.


HUMANA INC: Fla. High Court Declines To Hear Appeal For Castillo Case
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Florida Supreme Court on Aug. 20 declined to hear the appeal for a
class action case against Humana Inc. (Israel Castillo, et al. v.
Humana, Inc., et al., No. 95, 291, Fla. Sup.; See 2/10/99, Page 5).

Israel Castillo sought the high court's review of a Jan. 14 decision by
the Second District Florida Court of Appeal which denied class
certification in a case alleging fraud and misrepresentation against
Humana's Medicare HMO. The appeals court on March 8 denied a rehearing
as well.

The appeals court reversed a ruling by the Hillsborough County Circuit
Court, saying its reliance on certain cases was misplaced.

The lawsuit alleges Humana misrepresented and/or failed to disclose the
terms of its arrangements with physicians to enrollees in its Gold Plus
plan. Cited specifically are capitation, financial incentives and gag
clauses. The suit also claims the physicians failed to order indicated
tests as a result of the financial incentives.

The Circuit Court had agreed with the contention that the class action
was appropriate because it was an "omissions case, a fraudulent
misrepresentation case."

The appeals court said that the Florida Supreme Court has unequivocally
held that class actions seeking relief from separate contracts on the
basis of fraud, whatever the genesis of the fraud, are prohibited.

The trial court's reliance on at least two cases was misplaced,
according to the appeals court. First, Titan Group, Inc. v. Faggen (513
F.2d 234 [2d Cir. 1975]) applied a "reliance" analysis to determine
causation and liability, was not a class action and did not involve
Florida law. A second case, Silverman v. Pitterman (574 So. 2d 275 [Fla.
3d DCA 1991]), was also not a class action.

Jonathan L. Alpert of Alpert, Barker & Rodems in Tampa, Fla., filed the
petition for review on behalf of Castillo. (Mealey's Litigation Report:
Managed Care Liability, 9-15-1999)


INDIAN TRUST: Fd Orders Mediator To Help Settle With American Indians
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Spotted Bear Wildgun knows nothing of courtrooms. She is 75
years old with a sixth-grade education. When a stranger strikes up a
conversation, she giggles, flashing a gap-toothed grin, and burrows her
chin in her chest. She lives a simple life in a peaceful place far from
Washington, D.C., and the legal battle between American Indians and the
federal government over mismanagement of Indian trust accounts. But what
she does know is that she is a landowner and has little to show for it.
''Somebody else is getting rich on it,'' she says.

A federal judge this month ordered a mediator to help negotiate the
settling of 300,000 trust accounts worth more than $500 million. The
decision came in a 1996 class-action lawsuit against the Interior
Department and its Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The lawsuit, the largest class-action ever brought by Indians, made
headlines after the judge this year held Interior Secretary Bruce
Babbitt and then-Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin in contempt for
''egregious misconduct'' in failing to hand over documents to the
plaintiffs.

Beneath all the courtroom rhetoric lies a tragic tale of history, deceit
and survival. It is the story of people like Josephine Spotted Bear
Wildgun, and places like Heart Butte.

On the southern edge of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in northern
Montana, a mountain shaped like a heart rises above golden plains where
cattle and horses graze. It is the anchor of a community called Heart
Butte. Like so many other Indian communities across the United States,
Heart Butte doesn't have much. There are three churches, the Baptist,
Methodist and Roman Catholic, a school, a senior citizens center, the
health department, a post office and a volunteer fire department. Its
only grocery store and gas station closed years ago. Now the closest are
a 30-minute drive across the reservation. The only recent development,
besides a new sanctuary for the Catholic church, is the row of federally
subsidized houses that greets visitors on their way into town. They
frame the road like a string of paper dolls, each the same bland image
of the one before. Welfare is the primary source of income for the 800
or so people who live here.

A block off the main road, around the corner from the subsidized
housing, Josephine lives with her daughter-in-law and grandchild in a
three-bedroom plywood house the color of dirt. Her son visits when he's
not out of town looking for work. Josephine lives on $374 a month in
Supplemental Security Income and whatever money her son can send home.
When her husband died five years ago, she had to borrow $500 to pay for
the funeral. ''When I get money,'' she explains, ''I've got my phone, my
lights and gas. Those three I pay for.'' Other things, even groceries,
are harder to afford.

It's difficult to conceive that this woman who struggles to buy food
owns an interest in 8,718 acres of land, some leased for grazing, most
for oil and gas exploration. A computer printout of all her holdings
unfurls to almost 6 feet in length, taller than Josephine herself. For
this she also receives income. The checks arrive sporadically, every
four to six months. Every once in a while they're as high as $200 or
$300. More often they're for much less: $36.75 in September 1998;
another, in July 1998, for all of $2.82. ''I'm sure there's a lot of
money she should be getting,'' her daughter-in-law, Diana, says as she
tickles her baby girl on the floor of the cramped living room. ''I think
they're cheating her really big.'' ''They'' are the Interior Department
and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which for more than 100 years have
managed Indian trust accounts consisting of lease revenue, court
settlements and royalties from the sale of petroleum, timber and other
resources off 11 million acres of land.

In addition to the 300,000 individual Indian accounts that are part of
the lawsuit, the government oversees 1,500 accounts worth more than $2.5
billion for 338 tribes.

The trust accounts date back to 1887, when Congress carved up Indian
reservations and distributed the land to tribal members in 160-, 80- or
40-acre parcels. Leftover land was declared surplus and sold to
non-Indians, resulting in the eventual loss of 90 million acres.

The intent of the allotment law, known as the Dawes Act, was to
assimilate Indians into white society by dissolving tribalism and
forcing them to become independent farmers, while at the same time
opening up large tracts of reservation land to white farmers. ''At the
heart of it was the idea ... that once the Indians became citizens and
no longer dependent on the government, then the so-called 'Indian
problem' would disappear,'' says L.G. Moses, professor of American
Indian history at Oklahoma State University. ''The only real result you
got out of the Dawes Act was the loss of land accompanied by an assault
on Indian cultural values.''

By the early 1900s, the Dawes Act had proved a failure. Indian land sat
idle, while their white neighbors longed to use the acreage. By 1910 the
government began leasing Indian property to white farmers for grazing.
Oil exploration began soon after, and so did the problems.

There was no accounts receivable system to determine whether Indians
were being paid, and when Indian landowners died, there generally were
no wills. That meant the land was divided among hundreds or thousands of
heirs, creating a record-keeping nightmare. Some land was held in
probate for years; some heirs were simply never found.

Because of a lack of oversight, many Indians suspect oil companies and
others have underreported what they've taken from the land and gotten
away with it for years. ''In any Indian community it's just been
something that we grew up with, our parents questioning and wondering
why they were not getting paid,'' says Elouise Cobell, a Blackfeet
member and the lead plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit.

The problems gained little notice until the 1980s, when people like Ms.
Cobell began complaining to Congress and numerous audits documented the
severity of the problem: Records had been lost or ruined; auditors
couldn't locate 50,000 account holders whose trusts totaled almost $50
million. One account with no name was worth $1 million.

The government has long admitted the trust funds are in disarray, and
recently installed a $60 million computer system to manage the accounts
better. Testifying in court in July, Babbitt said the program was
''heading toward a safe harbor of compliance'' and vowed to have a
better accounting system in place when he leaves office in January 2001.

Indians want a complete overhaul of the system and contend the
government owes account holders at least $10 billion misplaced because
of poor record-keeping. ''What we hear all the time is, 'Oh, most of
these accounts only have $25 or 'x' amount,''' Ms. Cobell says. ''What
does $25 mean to a family? Maybe she's able to cook a meal and share
that with her family for once. That $25 stretches out to be much more
than 25 bucks.'' ''It's like I have an inheritance that I didn't even
know about,'' says the Rev. Dan Powers of St. Anne's Catholic Church in
Heart Butte, who speculates almost every resident in his community owns
an interest in the 1.5 million-acre reservation. Many of his church
members receive trust money but remain in debt. ''Some of the people get
lease money twice a year,'' he says. ''Family members sit around waiting
to be fed by that.''

The Bureau of Indian Affairs estimates there are 7,700 Blackfeet with
trust accounts, although Ms. Cobell says the number is closer to all the
14,700 enrolled tribal members, of whom about two-thirds live on the
reservation, amid a 70 percent unemployment rate. Here, where the
average monthly income for a family of four is just $600, restitution
could provide a fresh start for many, Blackfeet leaders say. It could
also mean attaining what the government tried to manufacture so long
ago: economic independence. ''We could start buying our land back ...
work the land ourselves,'' says Blackfeet Treasurer Joe Gervais. ''If we
do it ourselves, we prove that we can succeed. We take control of our
own destiny.'' (AP Online 10-22-1999)


MCDONALD'S: Employees' Evidence Used To Defend Aussie Case Over Prizes
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Evidence from 170 McDonald's employees is being used to help the
hamburger chain defend a Federal Court class action in Brisbane over its
monopoly game fiasco.

Thirty five claimants say they won prizes, including Honda four-wheel
drives, in this year's McMatch And Win competition, but McDonald's
deemed their tickets invalid. McDonald's says the claimants mistakenly
used game stamps from last year to claim prizes in this year's
competition.

Opening McDonald's case, barrister Phil McMurdo, QC, said he had 170
affidavits from McDonald's staff working at 70 stores in question all
saying they had run out of packaging from the '98 competition at least
nine months before the start of the '99 contest.

Mr McMurdo said evidence would also be heard that the printing plates
used for the '98 promotion were destroyed before the '99 stamps were
printed. Stamps from last year's game were almost identical to those
issued this year but lacked a golden arches symbol.

The class action continues before Federal Court judge John Dowsett, who
was told he may be asked to attend a McDonald's store as part of the
case. (AAP Newsfeed 10-22-1999)


MINNESOTA MUTUAL: Class Not Certified In Vanishing Premium Case In Minn
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Finding no description of the life insurance company's interest
calculation method for its "vanishing premium" policies in the
consumers' contracts, the U.S. District Court for the District of
Minnesota ruled that class certification was inappropriate. To address
the class's claims of misrepresentation, breach of contract and fraud,
the court explained that individual inquiry into each consumer's
transaction was required. Parkhill v. Minnesota Mutual Life Insurance
Co., No. Civ.A. 97-515 DSD/JMM (D. Minn. 8/13/99).

James W. Parkhill filed a class action accusing Minnesota Mutual Life
Insurance Co. of fraudulently inducing and deceiving consumers into
purchasing "vanishing premium" insurance policies from it based upon
allegedly false and misleading policy presentations and marketing
materials. Parkhill alleged Minnesota Mutual uniformly promised
customers permanent insurance with "vanishing premiums" but failed to
disclose the "underlying assumptions concerning dividend scales and
interest crediting rates upon which policy illustrations were based ..."

                          Rule 23 requirements

After the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota dismissed
Parkhill's claims of fraud, negligent misrepresentation and violation of
the Minnesota False Statements in Advertising Act and denied his motion
for summary judgment on his breach of contract and breach of fiduciary
duty claims, it considered his motion for class certification. Writing
for the court, Judge David Doty opined that the District Court expected
Parkhill to seek certification based on the "vanishing premiums."
Instead, Parkhill focused on the advertisement and administration of
"Ultimate Interest," the calculation method employed by Minnesota Mutual
to credit interest on the cash value of its policies. Parkhill argued
that although "vanishing premiums" have disappeared as promised, that
was only an indication of Minnesota Mutual's manipulation of the
"Ultimate Interest" methodology. He alleged the defendants
misrepresented its "Ultimate Interest" calculation method to
policyholders as to the interest rate premium payments they were to
receive. Parkhill also contended Minnesota Mutual failed to timely and
responsively adjust the interest rate and failed to assign a "market" or
"current" rate to a premium payment when it was made.

The District Court easily concluded that the proposed class satisfied
Fed. R. Civ. P. 23's numerosity requirement. It also found that Parkhill
demonstrated a common connection between the legal claims advanced by
members of the purported class in his contention that Minnesota Mutual
failed to implement and administer the interest crediting method as
promised. According to the District Court, Parkhill's claims were also
typical of those of the class and he and his counsel could adequately
represent the proposed class.

                   Individual Questions Predominate

Although Parkhill argued Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3)'s predominance test
was met because the defendant admitted "Ultimate Interest" was a term of
every cash value insurance contract, the court was not persuaded that
common questions of law or fact predominated over individual questions.
In fact, the court concluded that Minnesota Mutual made no promises to
Parkhill in its policy regarding "Ultimate Interest." Judge Doty
explained that the policy was silent about the "Ultimate Interest"
methodology. The only place the District Court found mention of the
calculation method was in the company's brochures.

>From the evidence, the District Court concluded that because the method
was not included in the insureds' policies, it must have been conveyed
to class members in some other way. For this reason, the court ruled
that individual inquiry into each class member's transaction with
Minnesota Mutual was necessary. Moreover, Parkhill's statutory claims
for damages under the Minnesota Deceptive Trade Practices Act and
Consumer Fraud Act required a showing of reliance by each class member.

The District Court denied the motion for class certification.

Chestnut & Cambronne in Minneapolis, Milberg, Weiss, Bershad, Hynes &
Lerach in New York City, Hutton & Hutton in Wichita, Kan., Hoyer &
Newcomer in Tampa, Fla., Bonnett, Fairbourn, Freidman & Balint in
Phoenix, Arnzen, Parry & Wentz in Covington, Ky., and Hubbard &
Biederman in Dallas represented Parkhill. Maslon, Edelman, Borman &
Brand in Minneapolis, Garold M. Felland in St. Paul, Minn. and Jorden,
Burt, Boros, Cicchetti, Berenson & Johnson in Washington represented
Minnesota Mutual. (Consumer Financial Services Law Report 10-5-1999)
OKEELANTA CORP: Fla. Jury Will Deliberate On Cane Cutters' Pay Dispute

Up to $ 14 million will be hanging in the balance as a Palm Beach County
jury begins on October 22 deliberating whether a Florida sugar company
underpaid about 6,000 sugar cane cutters.

Attorneys for the sugar cane cutters allege the Fanjul family's
Okeelanta Corp. lured the cutters from their Caribbean homes and between
1987 and 1991, paid them considerably less per ton of cut sugar cane
than they should have received.

Okeelanta's defense team contends the corporation never paid by the ton
of sugar cane and the cane cutters' attorneys are attempting to "hijack"
money. In a blistering closing argument last Thursday, Okeelanta
attorneys also called the case "a deception" that only exists in "an
unreal world." They said it "bordered on extortion." "It's about the
oldest sin known to man: greed," said Okeelanta attorney Willie Gary in
the last day of the three-week trial before Palm Beach Circuit Judge
Edward Fine.

The Okeelanta case marks another step in a legal battle dating back to
1989, when Caribbean workers filed a class-action suit against five
Florida sugar companies. A circuit judge sided with the workers in 1992,
ordering the companies to pay $ 51 million in back pay, a verdict
thought to be one of the state's largest in a wage dispute.

But the verdict was reversed in 1995, and the companies opted to handle
their cases individually. U.S. Sugar Corp., the state's largest cane
producer, opted to pay the workers a $ 5.65 million settlement.

In April, a Palm Beach County jury sided with Atlantic Sugar Association
on legal issues but wrote a letter admonishing the company for a
"shameful" misrepresentation of worker incentives. The cases against
Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida and Osceola Farms Co. are
still awaiting trial dates.

David L. Gorman, lead trial counsel for the cane cutters, argued last
Thursday that the minimum wage for sugar cane cutters at the time was $
5.30 an hour. Each worker was expected to cut an average of 8 tons of
cane per day -- a ton per hour, Gorman said. But the Okeelanta cutters
were paid an average of just $ 3.70 for every ton they cut, he argued.
"This case is not about prejudice against big companies," Gorman told
the jury. "It's not about sympathy. It's not about pity. It's about
making Okeelanta do what it promised to do."

Many of the cutters lasted only a season in the fields, he observed.

Okeelanta attorney Elizabeth du Fresna argued that workers were always
told their pay was based on a rate that took into account variables such
as the length of rows to be cut and thickness of the cane. The wording
that said each worker was expected to cut a ton per hour came from
clearance orders -- job descriptions that growers must file annually
with the U.S. Department of Labor.

No workers were ever fired for not cutting an average of a ton per hour
-- it was simply an expectation based on "a ballpark figure," she said.
Jon Burstein can be reached at jburstein@sun-sentinel.com or
561-832-2895. (Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) 10-22-1999)


PACIFIC GAS: Acquired PG&E GTT Appeals TX Suit Re Use Of City Pipeline
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Report of Pacific Gas & Electric Co filed with the Securities and
Exchange Commission as of October 15, 1999 for the quarterly period
ended September 30, 1999:

In connection with PG&E Corporation's acquisition of Valero Energy
Corporation, now known as PG&E Gas Transmission Texas (PG&E GTT), PG&E
GTT succeeded to the litigation described below.

PG&E GTT and various of its affiliates are defendants in at least two
class action suits and four separate suits filed by various Texas
cities. Generally, these cities allege, among other things, that: (1)
owners or operators of pipelines occupied city property and conducted
pipeline operations without the cities' consent and without compensating
the cities; and (2) the gas marketers failed to pay the cities for
accessing and utilizing the pipelines located in the cities to flow gas
under city streets. Plaintiffs also allege various other claims against
the defendants for failure to secure the cities' consent. Damages are
not quantified.

In 1998, a jury trial was held in the separate suit brought by the City
of Edinburg (the City). This suit involved, among other things, a
particular franchise agreement entered into by a former subsidiary of
PG&E GTT (now owned by Southern Union Gas Company (SU)) and the City and
certain conduct of the defendants.

On December 1, 1998, based on the jury verdict, the court entered a
judgment in the City's favor, and awarded damages of $5.3 million, and
attorneys' fees of up to $3.5 million plus interest. The court found
that various PG&E GTT and SU defendants were jointly and severally
liable for $3.3 million of the damages and all the attorneys' fees.
Certain PG&E GTT subsidiaries were found solely liable for $1.4 million
of the damages. The court did not clearly indicate the extent to which
the PG&E GTT defendants could be found liable for the remaining damages.
The PG&E GTT defendants are in the process of appealing the judgment.


PROVIDIAN FINANCIAL: Faces Consumers' Lawsuit In CA Over Late Fees
------------------------------------------------------------------
Providian Financial Corp. reported growth of 82% in its third-quarter
per-share earnings, but investors turned thumbs down. No wonder. Along
with the spurt in profits, the company reported a rise in accounts that
were delinquent 30 days or more, to 5.2% of managed loans, from 4.7% at
the end of the second quarter.

An investor who has shorted Providian stock said the reported earnings
"were not a clean number as far as I'm concerned." He said he was
concerned about the $191 million increase in nonperforming loans, to
$954 million.

And investors remain worried about lawsuits and an investigation by San
Francisco's district attorney over Providian's handling of customers.
Providian is facing lawsuits from plaintiffs' attorneys seeking
class-action status. The company is accused of imposing late fees
unfairly by failing to record payments when they were received and
charging consumers penalties for being late. It also has been accused of
charging customers $7.95 a month for credit protection insurance they
did not request.

Providian's stock has been bouncing wildly, as investors' perceptions
change about whether Providian is succeeding in putting its legal
problems behind it. The investor who is shorting Providian stock said
"they can't cut a deal with the D.A. with the methodology they're
employing. They had to start jamming these people, otherwise they
wouldn't make money."

Providian's stock has been taking a beating since April, when it hit its
1999 high of $131.625. Its woes have led investors to sell off other
credit card stocks as well, such as Capital One Financial Corp. of Falls
Church, Va., and to a lesser extent, MBNA Corp. of Wilmington, Del.

To help reverse the course of its stock, Providian has launched an
all-out campaign to convince the markets that its problems are under
control. In May it set up a toll-free telephone number to deal with
complaints. The company also hired independent mystery shopper firms to
review its customer service. It also trained 4,300 of its customer
service representatives to handle customer queries in one phone call.
Employees now "close every call asking the customer if they are
satisfied," David J. Petrini, Providian's chief financial officer, said
Thursday.

The campaign seems to have had some success, at least among consumers.
Complaints to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency fell to 100
in September, from 231 in June, according to Providian. Similarly,
complaints regarding Providian at the Better Business Bureau in Oakland
decreased to 38 in September, down from 119 in June.

"Customer complaints have fallen dramatically as their efforts to
improve customer satisfaction" have taken hold, said David Hochstim, an
analyst at Bear, Stearns & Co. in New York. "It is hard to make a
compelling argument that at this company customers are unhappy."

Despite the decline in the stock price, some analysts found sunshine in
the earnings report. Aside from the earnings growth, the San
Francisco-based credit card bank reported that it opened a million new
accounts in the quarter, bringing its total customer base to 11 million.
Its managed loans rose 56%, to $18.4 billion.

"I don't have any company that is beating the earnings estimates by so
much and have so much potential left," said Mark C. Alpert, an analyst
with Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown in New York. He said that late fees and
penalties have declined over the last year from a third of fee income to
20%. (The American Banker 10-22-1999)


REPUBLIC SERVICES: Shepherd & Geller File Securities Suit In Florida
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Shepherd & Geller, LLC announced on October 21 that it
has filed a class action in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of Florida on behalf of all individuals and
institutional investors that purchased Republic Services, Inc.
(NYSE:RSG) common stock between January 28, 1999 and August 28, 1999,
inclusive.

The complaint charges that the Company and its Chief Executive Officer
violated the federal securities laws by issuing false and misleading
statements or by omitting to disclose certain material facts about,
among other things, assets the company acquired from another waste
hauling company. Before the truth about the Company was revealed, the
Company profited by selling over $ 1.2 billion of common stock in a
public offering. When the truth was revealed, and after the Company
reaped its profits, the stock price fell sharply.

If you have any questions about how you may be able to recover for your
losses, or if you would like to consider serving as one of the lead
plaintiffs in this lawsuit, you must take appropriate action by November
16, 1999. Contact: Shepherd & Geller, LLC, Boca Raton Jonathan M. Stein,
561/750-3000 Toll Free: 888/262-3131 E-mail:
jstein@classactioncounsel.com or Shepherd & Geller, LLC, Media, Pa.
Scott R. Shepherd, 610/891-9880 Toll Free: 877/891-9880 E-mail:
sshepherd@classactioncounsel.com TICKERS: NYSE:RSG


STARNET COMMUNICATIONS: Bernstein Liebhard Files Securities Suit In Del
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A securities class action lawsuit was commenced on behalf of purchasers
of the common stock of Starnet Communications International, Inc. (OTC
Bulletin Board: SNMM), between March 11, 1999 and August 20, 1999,
inclusive, in the United States District Court for the District of
Delaware.

The complaint charges Starnet and certain of its directors and executive
officers with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule
10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The complaint alleges that the defendants
issued materially false and misleading statements about the nature of
the Company's business and failed to disclose potential liabilities
throughout the Class Period in the Company's public filings and public
statements.

As a result of these misrepresentations and omissions, the price of
Starnet's common stock was artificially inflated throughout the Class
Period. The complaint charges that Defendants took advantage of the
run-up in Starnet's stock price to sell thousands of their own shares
and reap millions of dollars in illicit insider trading profits.

If you purchased or otherwise acquired Starnet securities during the
Class Period, and either lost money on the transaction or still hold the
stock, you may wish to join in the action to serve as lead plaintiff. In
order to do so, you must meet certain requirements set forth in the
applicable law and file appropriate papers no later than 60 days from
October 15, 1999.

Plaintiff has selected Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP to represent
the Class. If you would like to discuss this action or if you have any
questions concerning this Notice or your rights as a potential class
member or lead plaintiff, you may contact Michael S. Egan Esq., or Mr.
Mark Punzalan, Director of Shareholder Relations at Bernstein Liebhard &
Lifshitz, LLP, 10 East 40th Street, New York, New York 10016, (800)
217-1522 or 212-779-1414 or by e-mail at starnet@bernlieb.com


THOMASTON PRISON: Ct Denies Class Status For Suit Over Secondhand Smoke
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A superior court justice has allowed two state prison inmates to
continue with a lawsuit that claims exposing them to secondhand smoke in
the prison constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. The inmates, who
were together at the state prison at Thomaston, claimed exposure to
smoke violates their rights, and they asked to bring the action for all
other inmates affected.

In an eight-page written ruling, Justice John R. Atwood denied
class-action status and removed Steven Carpentier, who is serving a
sentence imposed by New Hampshire courts, as a plaintiff. Atwood said
the remaining plaintiffs, Michael Burton, 33, formerly of Augusta, and
Alfred Saun ders, 53, formerly of Bethel, 'may pursue this matter on the
basis of alleged violations of either the Eighth Amendment to the United
States Constitution or Article I Sec. 9 of the Maine Constitution or
both.'

The three inmates, through Lewiston attorneys Neville Woodruff and
Samuel Mathis, filed the lawsuit in 1998 against the warden at
Thomaston, the Department of Corrections and the corrections
commissioner. They had asked for smoke-free residential units at the
prison and complained that inmates and corrections officers 'freely
smoke' in areas designated smoke-free. They wanted the officials to
enforce the law banning smoking in public buildings, and to be
transferred to an area in the prison that is smoke-free.

In responding to the announcement of the ruling, Susan Sparaco, the
assistant attorney general who represented the state, said, 'The motion
to dismiss is to test the legal sufficiency of the allegations. It does
not go to the merits of the case.'

Atwood heard oral arguments on the defendants' motion to dismiss in May
in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Saunders' affidavit says he has been at the prison since 1988 and was a
smoker until 1995. As a result of his smoking, he says he has serious
health problems. Mathis said Saunders suffers from a heart condition.
Saunders, who is serving a 50-year sentence for murder, wrote, 'I
believe that living in a smoke-filled environment caused by second hand
tobacco smoke (environmental tobacco smoke) is a major factor in my
continuing difficulties in regaining my health.'

Burton suffers from lung problems. He currently is at a prison facility
in Machiasport. 'According to my client, there's a lot of smoke in the
air up there,' Mathis said. At Burton's 1997 sentencing for burglary, he
requested placement at Thomaston, saying the facilities were better
there.

Mathis said he was pleased with the judge's ruling permitting the
lawsuit to proceed. 'Two of our named plaintiffs, two with currently
existing health concerns, are going to have an opportunity to prove that
keeping them in prison and subjecting them to very unhealthy air is
cruel and unusual punishment,' said Mathis. He has yet to communicate
with his clients about it, however. He said they generally correspond by
mail. 'The important thing to understand is that they're not looking to
shorten sentence, they're not looking to get out of jail,' he said.
'They have no problem with serving out their term. They just want the
opportunity to breathe reasonably clean air while they're in there.'

According Mathis, the next step is the state's. 'We're waiting for the
state to respond to the allegations in the complaint,' he said. Mathis
said he was disappointed with the class-action ruling. 'They were hoping
they could make a difference for the population at large,' he said.
(Kennebec Journal (Augusta, ME) 10-22-1999)


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Medicaid Suit Barred By 11th Amendment In Wisconsin
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A proposed class action by Wisconsin medical assistance recipients
against three state officials for a share of the state's Master
Settlement Agreement proceeds is barred by the 11th Amendment, a federal
judge ruled Sept. 7 (Vera L. Floyd, et al. v. Tommy Thompson, et al.,
No. 99-268, W.D. Wis.; See 5/6/99, Page 8).

Although the 14 plaintiffs named Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, Health
and Family Secretary Joe Leean and Health Care Financing Administrator
Peggy Bartles, Judge Barbara B. Crabb of the U.S. District Court for the
Western District of Wisconsin said the real defendant is the state,
which has sovereign immunity, and the real issue is money, not
injunctive or declaratory relief.

(Text of Floyd Opinion in Section E. Mealey's Document # 04-990916-106.)

Vera L. Floyd and 13 other medical assistance recipients sued the three
state officials for injunctive and declaratory relief on behalf of all
Wisconsin residents who had smoking-related illnesses and were treated
under the state's medical assistance program. They claimed that when
they accepted Medicaid coverage, they assigned to the state their claims
against third parties for past or future medical expenses.

                             Reimbursement

Under federal law, the plaintiffs claimed that if there is a recovery
from third parties, the state is to be reimbursed first for its Medicaid
expenditures, then the federal government and finally the Medicaid
recipients.

The plaintiffs argued that when the three defendants released the
plaintiffs' legal rights against tobacco companies by signing the Master
Settlement Agreement, they violated Title XIX of the Social Security Act
by failing to make disbursements to them.

The plaintiffs sought payment for medical expenses not paid for by
Medicaid, the difference between the reasonable value of their medical
treatment and the amount paid by Medicaid, and the value of future
medical treatment.

The defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. They argued that the suit is barred by sovereign
immunity because the funds sought belong to the state. They also argued
that the state did not recover the money through subrogation but through
statutory and common law claims.

Finally, the defendants argued that the claims are barred by laches
because the plaintiffs did not intervene in the initial litigation.

                            11th Amendment Rules

Citing case law, Judge Crabb ruled that the plaintiffs attempted to
circumvent sovereign immunity by suing not the state but individual
defendants in the official and individual capacities as state officials.
However, the judge said, the real party in interest is the state. "If
the state is the real party in interest, the Eleventh Amendment bars the
suit against state officials, regardless whether the plaintiff seeks
damages or injunctive relief," Judge Crabb wrote.

The judge said an exception to sovereign immunity found in Ex parte
Young (229 U.S. 123 [1908]), which allows prospective injunctive relief
to stop state officials from violating the Constitution, is
inapplicable.

"The state is the real and substantial party in interest because
plaintiffs are ultimately seeking money intended for the state treasury
pursuant to the Master Settlement Agreement," Judge Crabb wrote.
"Allowing plaintiffs to recover a portion of the settlement funds would
be the functional equivalent of retrospective monetary damages paid from
the state treasury because the amount, obligation and ownership of the
funds was fixed when the Master Settlement Agreement was signed, rather
than upon receipt of the funds," the judge wrote. "Therefore, even if
the proceeds are paid in installments, the Eleventh Amendment bars
plaintiffs from gaining access to the fund through suit in federal
court."

                          Monetary Relief Sought

Even if the three defendants were proper parties, Judge Crabb said she
would still dismiss the case "because in reality, plaintiffs are seeking
monetary relief." "Although the complaint is framed as a claim for
declaratory and injunctive relief, the reality is that plaintiffs are
demanding a portion of the tobacco settlement, a claim for monetary
damages," Judge Crabb wrote. "The Eleventh Amendment bars suits against
state employees acting in their official capacities that seek
retrospective monetary damages payable from the state treasury, as
opposed to the state employees' own pockets."

Since the plaintiffs aren't seeking the defendants' individual money,
their claims are barred by the 11th Amendment, the judge wrote.

The plaintiffs are represented by John C. Cabaniss of the Law Offices of
John Cabaniss in Milwaukee and Douglas J. Phebus of Madison, Wis. The
defendants are represented by Ross Anderson of Whyte, Hirschboeck, Dudek
in Milwaukee. (Mealey's Litigation Report, 9-16-1999)


ULTRALIFE BATTERIES: Securities Suit In NJ Dismissed On Sept 28
---------------------------------------------------------------
Report of Ultralife Batteries Inc. filed with the Securities and
Exchange Commission for conformed period September 28, 1999 filed as of
October 19, 1999

By Opinion and Order dated September 28, 1999, the United States
District Court for the District of New Jersey dismissed a putative class
action filed in August 1998 against the Company, certain of its officers
and directors, and the underwriters of the Company's June 1998 public
offering of securities (the "1998 Offering"). In the Action, captioned
Castlerock Management, Ltd., et al. V. Ultralife Batteries, Inc., et
al., No. 98-3619 (MTB), plaintiffs, who claimed to have purchased shares
of the Company's common stock in connection with the 1998 Offering,
asserted claims for unspecified damages under the federal securities
laws based upon allegations that the Company's 1998 Offering documents
misrepresented or failed to disclose material facts regarding the
Company's 9-volt lithium battery production capabilities.

The Company and its co-defendants all moved to dismiss the Action during
the Summer of 1999 for failure to state a claim for relief as a matter
of law. In its September 28, 1999 Order, the Court granted the Company's
motion and dismissed plaintiffs' Amended Complaint without prejudice,
and granted plaintiffs leave to file their Amended Complaint within
thirty days of the date of the Order.


WELLCARE MGT: Plaintiffs Propose Settlement For NY Securities Suit
------------------------------------------------------------------
Pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and an Order
of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New
York, dated September 29, 1999, plaintiffs' counsel announce the
proposed settlement of the action styled, In re The WellCare Management
Group, Inc. Securities Litigation, Civil Action No. 96-CV-0521 (TJM/DRH)
for $ 2,500,000 and that a hearing will be held by the Court with
respect thereto.

The purpose of the hearing will be, among other things: (1) to determine
whether the proposed settlement should be approved by the Court as fair,
reasonable, and adequate, and, therefore, whether the class action
should be dismissed on the merits and with prejudice and without costs;
and (2) to consider the reasonableness of an application of Class
Counsel for the payment of attorneys' fees and expenses incurred in
prosecuting the class action. The hearing will be held on January 10,
2000 at 10:00 a.m. in the James T. Foley U.S. Courthouse, 445 Broadway,
Albany, New York 12207.

If you are a member of the Class, i.e., if you purchased shares of The
WellCare Management Group, Inc. common stock during the period March 28,
1994 through and including May 14, 1996, and were damaged thereby,
except WellCare, the individual defendants, members of the immediate
family of each of the individual defendants, any subsidiary or affiliate
of any defendant and the directors, officers, employees and partners
thereof, any entity in which any excluded person has a controlling
interest, and the legal representatives, heirs, successors and assigns
of any excluded person, your rights will be affected and you may be
entitled to share in the settlement fund. In particular, if you wish to
share in the settlement, you must file a claim, on a Proof of Claim and
Release form, no later than January 15, 2000 establishing that you are
entitled to recovery.

A detailed description of the terms of the proposed settlement,
including the reasons for entering into the settlement, and the amount
of consideration to be distributed to the Class, is included in the
printed Notice of Settlement of Class Action and Settlement Hearing. If
you have not already received a copy of this detailed printed notice, or
a copy of the Proof of Claim and Release, you may obtain such
information by contacting the claims administrator at: The WellCare
Management Group, Inc. Securities Litigation, c/o The Garden City Group,
Inc., P.O. Box 9337, Garden City, NY 11530. You can also obtain a copy
of the detailed notice and Proof of Claim and Release by visiting the
websites of Plaintiffs' Co-Lead Counsel at http://www.blbglaw.com or
http://www.milberg.com.Inquiries, other than requests for the printed
Notice and Proof of Claim form, may be made to Co-Lead Counsel for
Plaintiffs and the Class: Daniel L. Berger, Esq. or Rochelle Feder
Hansen, Esq. of Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, 1285 Avenue
of the Americas, New York, NY 10019 or Jerome M. Congress, Esq. or
Kenneth J. Vianale, Esq. of Millberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP,
One Pennsylvania Plaza, Suite 4915, New York, NY 10119. PLEASE DO NOT
CONTACT THE COURT OR THE CLERK'S OFFICE FOR INFORMATION. Contact:
Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP Ava C. Thorin, 212/554-1429
TICKERS: NASDAQ:WELL


                               *********


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc., Princeton, NJ, and Beard Group, Inc.,
Washington, DC.  Theresa Cheuk and Peter A. Chapman, editors.

Copyright 1999.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without prior
written permission of the publishers.

Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to be
reliable, but is not guaranteed.

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Additional e-mail subscriptions for members of the same firm for the
term of the initial subscription or balance thereof are $25 each.  For
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