CAR_Public/991027.MBX                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

               Wednesday, October 27, 1999, Vol. 1, No. 186

                                 Headlines

ABERCROMBIE & FITCH: Shepherd & Geller File Securities Suit In Ohio
ACT MANUFACTURING: Securities Suit Dismissed And Under Appeal In MA
ALZA CORP: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Suit In Illinois
AMTRAK : Col. Ct Gives Final Approval to Employees Race Bias Settlement
BERGEN BRUNSWIG: Kirby McInerney Files Securities Suit In California

CHECKERS DRIVE: Defends Vigorously Securities Suit In Kentucky
CHECKERS DRIVE: Rally's Shareholders Dela. Suit Dismissed On Merger
DAY RUNNER: Schoengold & Sporn File Securities Suit In California
GST TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Global Light Rejects Liability In Securities
HMO: Philadelphia Ct Dismisses Suit Against Aetna Over RICO Violations

HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Poles Sue Over Swiss Banks' $1.25 Bil Settlement
LASERGATE SYSTEMS: Intends To Vigorously Defend Securities Suit In NY
MATTEL INC: Lockridge Grindal Files Securities Fraud Suit In New York
MCDONALD'S: Co.'s Lawyers In Game Fiasco Case "Fishing", Aussie Ct Says
NATIONAL BANK: Prevails in CA Sp Ct Case Alleging Ponzi Scheme

RAYTHEON COMPANY: Decries Merit Of Securities Suit In Massachusetts
REPUBLIC SERVICES: Chitwood & Harley File Securities Suit In Forida
SEATTLE CITY: Hagens Berman Sues Over Fines Based On Defective Meters
TOBACCO LITIGATION: BAT Sees No Reason To Settle U.S. Federal Govt Case
UNITED CREDITORS: Collection Letter Violates FDCPA & CROA, Il. Ct Rules

USDA: Sharks Reeled In To Share In Black Farmers Settlement In Arkansas

                             *********

ABERCROMBIE & FITCH: Shepherd & Geller File Securities Suit In Ohio
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The Law Firm of Shepherd & Geller, LLC announced that it has filed a
class action in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Ohio on behalf of all individuals and institutional
investors that purchased Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) common stock
between October 8, 1999 and October 13, 1999, inclusive.

The complaint charges that the Company and certain of its officers and
directors violated the federal securities laws by providing material
information about the Company's sluggish third quarter performance only
to certain analysts, without disclosing the information to the investing
public as they were legally obligated to do.

Contact: Shepherd & Geller, LLC, Boca Raton Jonathan M. Stein,
561/750-3000 Toll Free: 1-888-262-3131 or Scott R. Shepherd,
610/891-9880 Toll Free: 1-877-891-9880 TICKERS: NYSE:ANF


ACT MANUFACTURING: Securities Suit Dismissed And Under Appeal In MA
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On February 27, 1998, the Company and several of the Company's officers
and directors were named as defendants in a purported securities class
action lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the
District of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs amended the complaint on
October 16, 1998. The plaintiffs purport to represent a class of all
persons who purchased or otherwise acquired the Company's Common Stock
in the period from April 17, 1997 through March 31, 1998. The amended
complaint alleges, among other things, that the defendants knowingly
made misstatements to the investing public about the value of the
Company's inventory and the nature of its accounting practices.

On December 15, 1998, the Company filed a motion to dismiss the case in
its entirety based on the pleadings. The Company's motion to dismiss was
granted without prejudice on May 27, 1999, and the case was closed by
the Court on June 1, 1999. On June 28, 1999 the plaintiffs filed a
motion with the Court seeking permission to file a second amended
complaint. The Company opposed that motion. On July 13, 1999 the Court
denied the plaintiffs' motion to amend, noting "final judgment having
entered in this case." On July 26, 1999 the plaintiffs filed a motion
with the Court asking the Court to extend the 30-day period for filing
an appeal of its ruling dismissing the case. The Company opposed that
motion as well, and the Court denied that motion on August 10, 1999. On
August 12, 1999, plaintiffs filed a notice indicating their intent to
appeal the Court's orders of July 26, 1999 and August 10, 1999. The
Company believes the claims asserted in the action and the appeals
noticed by the plaintiffs are without merit and intends to continue to
defend itself vigorously in this action.


ALZA CORP: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Suit In Illinois
-------------------------------------------------------------
The following was released today by the Law Firm of Wolf Haldenstein
Adler Freeman & Herz LLP:

Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP announces that it filed a
class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois on behalf of all owners of Alza Corp.
common stock as of August 16, 1999, the record date for the vote on
approval of a proposed merger between Alza and Abbott Laboratories (the
"Merger"). The Merger provided that Alza shareholders would receive 1.2
shares of Abbott stock for each share of Alza.

The lawsuit charges Abbott (NYSE:ABT), Alza (NYSE:AZA) and the Chairmen
of the two companies with violations of the securities laws and
regulations of the United States for failing to inform Alza
shareholders, in connection with their vote on the Merger, of material
facts concerning Abbott's ongoing negotiations with the Food and Drug
Administration ("FDA") concerning one of its manufacturing facilities'
compliance with federal regulations. Abbott failed to reveal the
difficulties with the FDA until September 28, 1999, i.e. just seven days
after Alza shareholders voted to approve the Merger. Upon the release of
news concerning these continuing problems with the FDA, Abbott stock,
which was trading at $ 43.00 at the time of the September 21, 1999
Merger vote, fell to $ 37.50 on September 29, 1999, thus drastically
reducing the value that Alza shareholders would receive for their shares
pursuant to the Merger "stock-swap". Additionally, Alza stock dropped
from $ 50.25 at the time of the Merger vote to $ 43.625 on September 29,
1999.

Plaintiff is represented by the law firm of Wolf Haldenstein Adler
Freeman & Herz LLP (www.whafh.com). If you are a member of the proposed
class, you have until December 6, 1999 to participate in the case and
ask the Court to appoint you as one of the lead plaintiffs for the
Class. In order to serve as lead plaintiff, you must meet certain legal
requirements. If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions,
please contact Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP at 270 Madison
Avenue, New York, New York 10016, by telephone at (800) 575-0735
(Michael Miske, Gregory Nespole, Esq., Fred Taylor Isquith, Esq. or
Shane T. Rowley, Esq.), via e-mail at classmember@whafh.com or
whafh@aol.com making reference to Alza, or visit website at
http://www.whafh.comTICKERS: NYSE:ABT NYSE:AZA


AMTRAK : Col. Ct Gives Final Approval to Employees Race Bias Settlement
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During a Fairness Hearing October 25, 1999, Judge Emmett Sullivan of the
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia gave final approval to
the settlement reached between Amtrak and the Plaintiffs in a class
action lawsuit filed on behalf of African American management employees
and African American applicants for management positions. The
settlement, in the form of a Consent Decree, provides for an $ 8 million
fund to provide economic relief to class members, and requires Amtrak to
implement wide-ranging changes in its human resources and EEO
procedures. There were no objections to the settlement.

The lawsuit, filed in August, 1998, contended that Amtrak discriminated
against African Americans in terms of selection for management jobs,
pay, promotion, discipline, and toleration of a racially hostile work
environment.

Amtrak and the Plaintiffs voluntarily entered into mediation shortly
after the lawsuit was filed, in an effort to address the concerns raised
by Amtrak's African American management employees and to avoid
litigation costs. In addition to the $ 8 million fund, Amtrak has agreed
to implement changes in its human resources and EEO policies and
procedures. It has committed, for example, to hire a consultant to
undertake a company-wide compensation study, after which any disparities
in compensation found to correlate to race will be eliminated.
Substantial changes will also be made in the way that positions are
posted, and in the entire hiring process. Amtrak has also created a new
position, Vice President of Business Diversity and Strategic
Initiatives. Among other things, that department will develop EEO
complaint and investigative procedures that will ensure timely
resolution of internal complaints. Overall, Amtrak and the Plaintiffs
believe that the value of these changes to the Plaintiffs and class
members will exceed that of the $ 8 million fund.

Lead counsel for plaintiffs, Sprenger & Lang, will monitor Amtrak's
compliance with the decree over its four-year term. The Washington
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs also served as
class counsel for plaintiffs. Contact:  Sprenger & Lang Michael
Lieder/Maia Caplan 202/265-8010 or Washington Lawyers' Committee Avis
Buchanan, 202/319-1000 or For Amtrak: Cliff Black, 202/906-3855


BERGEN BRUNSWIG: Kirby McInerney Files Securities Suit In California
--------------------------------------------------------------------
The Following is an Announcement by the law firm of Kirby McInerney &
Squire, LLP:

A class action lawsuit has been commenced in the United States District
Court for the Central District of California on behalf of all purchasers
of Bergen Brunswig Corp. (NYSE: BBC) securities during the period
between March 16, 1999 and October 14, 1999, inclusive, including former
shareholders of Pharmerica Inc. (NASDAQ: DOSE) who received Bergen
Brunswig shares in connection with Bergen Brunswig's April 1999
acquisition of Pharmerica or who were entitled to vote on that
transaction.

The action asserts claims against Bergen Brunswig, certain of its
directors and officers and others for violations of sections 10(b),
14(a) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and rules 10b-5
and 14a-9 of the Securities Exchange Commission as well as sections 11,
12(2) and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933, by reason of material
misrepresentations and omissions during the Class Period concerning the
financial condition of the Stadtlander Drug Co., which Bergen Brunswig
purchased in early 1999 from Counsel Corporation.

Plaintiff is represented by Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP. If you are a
member of the class described above, you may, not later than sixty days
from October 22, 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: Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP Ira M. Press, Esq. Mark
Strauss, Esq. Ms. Danielle Feman, Paralegal 830 Third Avenue 10th Floor
New York, New York 10022 Telephone: (212) 317-2300 or Toll Free (888)
529-4787 E-Mail: dfeman@kmslaw.com TICKERS: NYSE:BBC NASDAQ:DOSE


CHECKERS DRIVE: Defends Vigorously Securities Suit In Kentucky
--------------------------------------------------------------
Report of Checkers Drive In Restaurants Inc. for the quarterly period
ended September 6, 1999 filed with the Securities and Exchange
Commission as of October 21, 1999:

JONATHAN MITTMAN ET AL. V. RALLY'S HAMBURGERS, INC., ET AL. (Case NO.
C-94-0039-L-CS).

On August 9, 1999, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. and Rally's
Hamburgers, Inc. completed their merger.

Carl Karcher Enterprises Inc., GIANT and an affiliate of Fidelity (Santa
Barbara Restaurant Group, Inc.) are the largest stockholders of the
Company.

In January and February 1994, two putative class action lawsuits were
filed, purportedly on behalf of the stockholders of Rally's, in the
United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky,
Louisville division, against Rally's, Burt Sugarman and GIANT and
certain of Rally's former officers and directors and its auditors. The
cases were subsequently consolidated under the case name Jonathan
Mittman et al vs. Rally's Hamburgers, Inc., et al, case number
C-94-0039-L (CS).

The complaints allege defendants violated the Securities Exchange Act of
1934, among other claims, by issuing inaccurate public statements about
Rally's in order to arbitrarily inflate the price of its common stock.
The plaintiffs seek unspecified damages.

On April 15, 1994, Rally's filed a motion to dismiss and a motion to
strike. On April 5, 1995, the Court struck certain provisions of the
complaint but otherwise denied Rally's motion to dismiss. In addition,
the Court denied plaintiffs' motion for class certification; the
plaintiffs renewed this motion, and despite opposition by the
defendants, the Court granted such motion for class certification on
April 16, 1996, certifying a class from July 20, 1992 to September 29,
1993.

In October 1995, the plaintiffs filed a motion to disqualify
Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro, LLP as
counsel for defendants based on a purported conflict of interest
allegedly arising from the representation of multiple defendants as well
as Ms. Glaser's position as both a former director of Rally's and a
partner in Christensen, Miller. Defendants filed an opposition to the
motion, and the motion to disqualify Christensen, Miller was denied.

A settlement conference occurred on December 7, 1998, but was
unsuccessful. Fact discovery was completed in August 1999. Expert
discovery is scheduled to be completed in April 2000.

Management is unable to predict the outcome of this matter at the
present time or whether or not certain available insurance coverage's
will apply. The defendants deny all wrongdoing and intend to defend
themselves vigorously in this matter. Because these matters are in a
preliminary stage, the Company is unable to determine whether a
resolution adverse to the Company will have a material effect on its
results of operations or financial condition.


CHECKERS DRIVE: Rally's Shareholders Dela. Suit Dismissed On Merger
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Report of Checkers Drive In Restaurants Inc. for the quarterly period
ended September 6, 1999 filed with the Securities and Exchange
Commission as of October 21, 1999:

HARBOR FINANCE PARTNERS V. GIANT GROUP, LTD. ET al. (Civ. Act. No.
14834). In February 1996, Harbor Finance Partners commenced a derivative
action, purportedly on behalf of Rally's against GIANT and certain of
Rally's officers and directors before the Delaware Chancery Court.
Harbor named Rally's as a nominal defendant.

Harbor claims that the directors and officers of both Rally's and GIANT,
along with GIANT, breached their fiduciary duties to the public
shareholders of Rally's by causing Rally's to repurchase from GIANT
certain Rally's Senior Notes at an inflated price. Harbor seeks
"millions of dollars in damages", along with rescission of the
repurchase transaction. In the fall of 1996, all defendants moved to
dismiss the action. The Chancery Court conducted a hearing on November
26, 1996 and denied the motions to dismiss on April 3, 1997. As a result
of the merger of Checkers and Rally's, the plaintiffs lost their
standing to bring this action and it has been dismissed.


DAY RUNNER: Schoengold & Sporn File Securities Suit In California
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Schoengold & Sporn, P.C. announced today that a securities class action
lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Central
District of California on September 2, 1999 against Day Runner, Inc.
(Nasdaq: DAYR) and certain of the Company's key officers and directors
on behalf of purchasers of the common stock of Day Runner during the
period October 20, 1998 through and including August 31, 1999.

The securities class action complaint charges the defendants with
violations of the federal securities laws (Sections 10(b) and 20 of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder),
by, among other things, misrepresenting and/or omitting material
information concerning Day Runner's net revenues through accounting
"errors" in the treatment of manufacturing variances and certain other
costs in the first, second, and third quarters of fiscal year end June
30, 1999, resulting in the Company restating its earnings for said time
periods. The price of Day Runner shares were thereby artificially
inflating during the Class Period.

Plaintiff is represented by the law firm of Schoengold & Sporn, P.C.,
233 Broadway, New York, New York 10279, Tel. 800-232-8092, Fax:
212-267-8137, E-Mail: SCHOENGOLD@AOL.COM Website at
http://www.schoengoldandsporn.com


GST TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Global Light Rejects Liability In Securities
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Global Light Telecommunications Inc. (VSE:GGB.U.) (AMEX:GBT) has learned
that it is named as a party in one of several class action lawsuits
recently filed against GST Telecommunications, Inc. Global has reviewed
a copy of the complaint, which is a claim by GST shareholders for
compensation arising out of GST's agreement to transfer to Global an
interest in Bestel S.A. de C.V., a telecommunications opportunity in
Mexico.

The transfer of the Bestel opportunity was the subject of prior
litigation between Global and GST which was settled earlier this year on
terms that have previously been disclosed. Of the several class action
lawsuits filed against GST, only one names Global as a party. This
action specifically acknowledges that GST has "settled its lawsuit
against Global" and makes no claim against Global's interest in Bestel
S.A de C.V. In view of the prior settlement, any remaining issue about
the Bestel transfer is a matter between GST and its shareholders.

Global rejects any suggestion that it is liable to GST's shareholders
and will vigorously oppose any attempt to involve it in any class action
litigation. In the event that it is formally served with the action,
Global will move to have the case against it dismissed.

Global Light is an international telecommunications company based in
Canada with a focus on investing in strategic early stage
telecommunication ventures around the world and developing those
ventures using its global competitive telecom arena expertise.

No stock exchange has reviewed or approved the contents of this release.



HMO: Philadelphia Ct Dismisses Suit Against Aetna Over RICO Violations
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Maybe the City of Brotherly Love isn't everything it's cracked up to be,
after all. At least not for the plaintiffs in Maio v. Aetna Inc., a
civil RICO suit filed this spring in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia
against Hartford- based Aetna U.S. Healthcare. (See "Using RICO to Crack
ERISA," The Connecticut Law Tribune, April 26, 1999, page 3.)

In dismissing the proposed class action on Sept. 29, Senior U.S.
District Judge John P. Fullam finds that the plaintiffs lack standing to
bring their complaint.

In Maio, three members of the insurer's Pennsylvania HMO accuse Aetna of
falsely advertising its pledge to quality care, while allegedly
pressuring doctors to cut costs at patients' expense. In doing so,
Aetna, they claim, violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations *RICO* Act by relying on U.S. mail carriers and interstate
commerce to stage its allegedly deceptive marketing campaign.

At the time Maio was filed, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based Foundation
for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, which helped bring the suit, vowed
there were no strategic benefits to the choice of venue. Some
Connecticut plaintiffs' lawyers, however, gave the locale a thumbs-up
because of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit's 1995 decision
in Dukes v. U.S. Healthcare. The ruling found that a quality-of-care
issue in suits against health maintenance organizations is not
pre-empted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act *ERISA* of
1974.

Fullam, however, hardly provides the warm Philadelphia reception as some
had hoped. "A vague allegation that 'quality of care' may suffer in the
future is too hypothetical an injury to confer standing upon plaintiffs,
and, in addition, would require this court to assume that in every case,
individual physicians . .. will be moved to put their own economic
interests ahead of their patients' welfare," Fullam writes in his
six-page memorandum and order. Adding insult to injury, Fullam finds
other "fatal defects" to the plaintiffs' complaint, such as their
failure to plead a proper RICO enterprise.

In a written statement released Oct. 1, Aetna calls the decision a
"major setback to plaintiffs' class-action lawyers who are seeking to
develop broad-based theories of liability against HMOs."

Asked if an appeal is planned, Jeffrey L. Kodroff, of Spector & Roseman
in Philadelphia, and a member of the plaintiffs' legal team, says the
group is considering all of its options. He, however, declines further
comment. (The Connecticut Law Tribune 10-11-1999)


HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Poles Sue Over Swiss Banks' $1.25 Bil Settlement
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Polish victims of the Holocaust have served legal papers seeking to
enter the class action lawsuits against the Swiss banks and objecting to
the terms of the settlement agreement under which the Swiss banks have
agreed to pay $1.25 billion to the victims of Nazi Germany. Relatively
small numbers of victims in such categories as Jehovah's Witnesses and
homosexuals were included in the settlement. Ethnic Poles, 80 percent to
90 percent of them Roman Catholic, were not included, even though they
constitute the largest category of victims, next to the Jews.

The purpose of the intervention is to object to the language in the
proposed settlement which excludes the ethnic Poles from the class
plaintiffs and to participate in the approval and implementation of the
settlement.


LASERGATE SYSTEMS: Intends To Vigorously Defend Securities Suit In NY
---------------------------------------------------------------------
On or about June 27, 1997, a class action was commenced in the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (CV97-3775)
by Andrew Petit and Michael A. Lepera, on behalf of themselves
individually, and on behalf of all others similarly situated against
INTER ALIA, the Company, Sterling Foster, & Co., Inc., the Company's
former underwriter, counsel for Sterling Foster and certain issuer
defendants for whom Sterling Foster acted as underwriter.

The Complaint alleges that in connection with an offering of the
Company's securities which became effective on October 17, 1994,
Sterling Foster engaged in a campaign to inflate the price of the
Company's stock, to create a short position at the inflated price and
then cover the short position with shares from shareholders who had been
secretly released from "lock-up" agreements. With respect to the
Company, the Complaint alleges that it failed to disclose in its
Registration Statement that prior to the date the offering became
effective, Sterling Foster had secretly agreed to release certain
shareholders from "lock-up" agreements for the purpose of selling their
shares to Sterling Foster at reduced prices. The Plaintiffs' claims
allege that the Company violated Sections 11 and 12(2) of the securities
Act of 1933, Sections 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and
Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder and Section 349 of the New York
General Business law, as well as making negligent misrepresentations.

Since the Complaint was filed, it has been amended twice, but the
allegations against the Company have remained the same. On August 5,
1999 the Company moved to dismiss The Second Amended and Consolidated
Class Action Complaint in its entirety. The Company believes that it has
defenses to these claims and intends to vigorously defend itself in this
action.

MATTEL INC: Lockridge Grindal Files Securities Fraud Suit In New York
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Pursuant to Section 21D(a)(3)(A)(i) of the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995, Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P. hereby gives notice
that a class action complaint has been filed in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of a
class of persons who owned Mattel, Inc. (NYSE:MAT) common stock as of
March 15, 1999, the record date for the vote on the merger between
Mattel, Inc. and The Learning Company, Inc.

The action charges that the Company and certain of its officers violated
the securities laws and regulations of the United States by causing
Mattel to issue a materially false and misleading proxy
statement/prospectus in connection with Mattel's merger with the
Learning Company. In particular, the complaint alleges that the proxy
statement failed to disclose that, prior to the merger, the Learning
Company had: (i) been selling products with a right of return and
improperly recognizing revenue in connection with such sale; (ii) not
reserved for this contingency in accordance with generally accepted
accounting principles; and (iii) inadequately reserved for bad debt,
thereby causing the Learning Company's earnings to be materially
overstated. Defendants withheld these clearly material facts from Class
members in order to fraudulently procure their vote in favor of the
Company's merger with the Learning Company.

On October 4, 1999, Mattel announced that the Learning Company would
report an after-tax loss of between $ 50 and $ 100 million and a 2% to
4% revenue decline, due to, among other things, higher than expected
product returns and the write-off of bad debts. On May 7, 1999, Mattel
shares closed at $ 27-5/16 per share. Following Mattel's October 4, 1999
announcement, Mattel shares closed at $ 11.875 per share, representing a
decline of more than 56%.

Plaintiffs are represented by the law firm of Lockridge Grindal Nauen
P.L.L.P. Any member of the proposed Class who desires to be appointed
lead plaintiff in this action must file a motion with the Court no later
than sixty (60) days from October 7, 1999. If you owned Mattel common
stock as of March 15, 1999, or have questions or information regarding
this action, or if you are interested in serving as a lead plaintiff in
this action, you may call or write: Karen M. Hanson Lockridge Grindal
Nauen P.L.L.P. 100 Washington Avenue South Suite 2200 Minneapolis, MN
55401 (612) 339-6900 kmhanson@locklaw.com TICKERS: NYSE:MAT


MCDONALD'S: Co.'s Lawyers In Game Fiasco Case "Fishing", Aussie Ct Says
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
BRISBANE, Oct 26 AAP - A Federal Court judge accused lawyers for a class
action against fast food chain McDonald's of going on a "fishing
expedition". Justice John Dowsett told Simon Couper QC, for the 35
claimants, his cross-examination of a defence witness amounted to a
"very luxurious" use of the court's time.

Thirty-five people have taken McDonald's to court over the hamburger
giant's Monopoly game fiasco. The claimants allege 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 used game stamps from last year's
competition to claim prizes in this year's game but witnesses have
denied deliberately using invalid tickets.

Mr Couper spent most of the morning cross-examining defence witness Paul
Racivorski, the former manufacturing manager of Anzpak, the company
responsible for providing the french fries cartons for both
competitions. He told Mr Racivorski a memo in Anzpak's records indicated
an apparent discrepancy of 96,000 cartons involved in the 1998
competition. But Mr Racivorski said he had "no memory" of the memo.

After about 90 minutes of cross-examination designed to challenge
Anzpak's record-keeping, Justice Dowsett accused Mr Couper of a "long
and tedious examination of mere possibilities". "I would like to think
that the cross-examination was going to a theory and not just a fishing
expedition designed to dredge up a theory at some stage in the future,"
Justice Dowsett said. Mr Couper told the court he was challenging the
McDonald's case that record keeping in relation to the 1998 game was
infallible.

But Justice Dowsett said the control system relating to the competitions
was "much better than I ever imagined". He also told Mr Couper it was
insufficient just to show that the "odd packet or roll of labels" were
unaccounted for from the 1998 game. "You have then got to show that it
got into distribution in 1999," Justice Dowsett said.

Labels from last year's game were almost identical to those issued this
year but lacked a small golden arches symbol.

The hearing continues and is expected to go well into next year when the
case may head to Sydney or Melbourne. (AAP Newsfeed 10-26-1999)


NATIONAL BANK: Prevails in CA Sp Ct Case Alleging Ponzi Scheme
--------------------------------------------------------------
San Jose National Bank announced that it was exonerated of charges that
it participated in a Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Charles Herpick and
Century Loan. On Wednesday, October 20, 1999, the California Supreme
Court declined to review a Court of Appeals decision dismissing the
class action lawsuit.

In the early 1990's, San Jose National Bank and Pacific Western Bank
(now known as Comerica Bank-California) provided banking services to
Charles Herpick and his mortgage brokerage company, Century Loan.
Herpick and his son were indicted and pled guilty to felony charges in
the US District Court in San Jose for bilking a group of Peninsula
investors out of millions of dollars in a phony mortgage (Ponzi) scheme.

With Herpick and his son in prison and Century Loan insolvent, defrauded
investors sued the banks in May 1995 alleging that they had aided and
abetted Herpick. According to James R. Kenny, President and CEO of San
Jose National Bank, the investors' claims were completely groundless.
The courts agreed and dismissed the case. In June, the Court of Appeal
held that "there was no evidence that SJNB knew of Century's fraudulent
scheme or agreed to participate in it." On Wednesday, the California
Supreme Court rejected the investors' petition for review of the Court
of Appeal decision, ending the litigation.

Theresa Stewart, the attorney who defended SJNB said that the courts'
rulings show that the justice systems is working. "The courts dismissed
the case because there was not a shred of evidence that the bank knew
what Herpick was doing, much less that is tried to assist him," she
said. "As the courts recognized, the bank was sued as a deep pocket for
wrongs it didn't commit, didn't know about and was itself a victim of."


RAYTHEON COMPANY: Decries Merit Of Securities Suit In Massachusetts
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Statement of the company regarding purported class action lawsuit:

Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTNA; RTNB) confirmed that several purported
shareholder class action complaints have been filed against Raytheon and
certain of its officers in the United States District Court for the
District of Massachusetts. In the one complaint with which the company
has been served, the plaintiff claims to represent purchasers of
Raytheon's Class A and Class B common stock during the period from
January 28, 1999 to October 12, 1999 and seeks unspecified damages. The
complaint contains allegations that the defendants allegedly made
misleading statements or omissions concerning the company's financial
performance during the purported Class Period. The company believes that
it and the individual defendants have meritorious defenses and intends
to contest the lawsuit vigorously.


REPUBLIC SERVICES: Chitwood & Harley File Securities Suit In Forida
-------------------------------------------------------------------
You are hereby notified that Chitwood & Harley has filed a securities
class action in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Florida on behalf of a class of persons and entities, other
than Defendants, who purchased Republic Services, Inc.'s common stock
between January 28, 1999 and August 28, 1999, inclusive. The complaint
alleges that Republic and certain of its officers and directors have
violated certain provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The complaint alleges that Defendants manipulated Republic's reported
revenues, expenses and earnings through improper and misleading
accounting practices in violation of Generally Accepted Accounting
Principles in order to achieve their goal of reporting substantially
increased revenue in earnings during the Class Period and to
artificially inflate and maintain the price of Republic's stock.

Republic represented that its acquisition of Waste Management Inc.'s
assets would be beneficial to earnings. These representations that
caused Republic's stock to trade at artificially inflated prices
throughout the Class Period were false and misleading, the complaint
alleges. The Company could not meet analysts' earning estimates due to
the poor quality of Waste Management Inc.'s assets, the complaint
alleges. Contrary to Republic's positive representations, its
acquisitions were not contributing to the Company's purported "record"
reported financial results during the Class Period, but, to the
contrary, were having a negative impact on the Company's profitability,
the complaint alleges. The complaint alleges that Defendants'
misrepresentations and/or omissions caused the price of Republic's stock
to be artificially inflated during the Class Period.

Plaintiff is represented by Chitwood & Harley. Any member of the
proposed class who wishes to move the Court to serve as a lead plaintiff
must do so no later than November 15, 1999. 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 with respect to this matter, you may contact: Corey D.
Holzer (888) 873-3999 (toll-free), CHITWOOD & HARLEY 2900 Promenade II,
1230 Peachtree Street, N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30309or by e-mail at
cdh@classlaw.com


SEATTLE CITY: Hagens Berman Sues Over Fines Based On Defective Meters
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The following is being released by Hagens Berman:

It looks like the meter has finally run out on the City of Seattle --
and it looks like it's time to pay the penalty too.

Seattle attorney Steve Berman, known for his work in national
class-action lawsuits and representing states in the tobacco litigation,
today filed a class-action lawsuit in the King County Superior Court
against the City of Seattle for unlawfully fining the parking public for
overdue parking on defective city parking meters. The suit charges that
the city has cheated Seattle drivers out of millions of dollars in
parking fines for overdue parking on defective parking meters.

The class-action, if approved by the court, would include anyone
ticketed by the city for allegedly expired parking meters between
October 25, 1993 to October 25, 1999.

Berman's suit charges that the city has breached its contract with those
using parking meters by failing to provide the public their full due
when plugging the city's parking meters. According to Berman, the city
has continued issuing overdue parking fines, despite its knowledge that
the meters were shortchanging drivers, and that as a result the fines
are often improper.

"The city has long been aware that its meters were cheating drivers, yet
it has failed to make repairs and continues to ticket drivers for
overdue parking," Berman says. "By the city's own admission up to 40
percent of our parking meters are defective at any given time, but
rather than fix them, the city continues to fraudulently fine
unsuspecting drivers."

According to the suit, the city's own investigation of the problem has
revealed that a shockingly high number of meters - as high as 40 percent
or more -- do not accurately elapse time. The suit cites the city's
findings that in some cases the meter time expired in just 38 minutes,
when money for a full hour of parking was inserted.

"A parking meter right in front of city hall provided only 38 minutes of
parking time for an hour's paid parking," Berman says. "That's not what
a meter user expects. To then get a ticket based on being short-changed
is not right."

The suit alleges that in 1999 alone, the city will write half a million
parking tickets, and collect up to $13 million in fines. The suit also
estimates that the city collects as much as $5.2 million in parking
fines each year based on its estimate of a 40 percent parking meter
error rate.

In response to a local television newscast investigation earlier this
year, the city admitted that at least 30 percent of its meters did not
function properly. In response to the report, city officials stated that
it would take measures to correct the problem.

However, in August 1999, a city official stated that the problem was
fixed. A subsequent investigation revealed that the problem, in fact,
had not been addressed.

According to the suit, when a Seattle transportation manager was
confronted recently, he admitted that 30-40 percent of the city's
parking meters are defective at any time.

The money the city collects in parking fines is not just loose change.
In 1999, the city will collect an estimated $9 million in revenue from
parking meters. The city is also estimated to write approximately half a
million parking tickets and collect as much as $13 million in parking
fines. A substantial portion of those fines -- as much as 40 percent or
$13 million in parking fines.

For more information, visit www.hagens-berman.com. CONTACT: Steve Berman
of Hagens Berman, 206-623-7292; or press, Mark Firmani of Firmani &
Associates, 206-443-9357, or mark@firmani.com, for Hagens Berman.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: BAT Sees No Reason To Settle U.S. Federal Govt Case
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
BAT PLC chief executive Martin Broughton has dispelled any lingering
notion that it will cave in to the U.S. government which is seeking
damages for smoking related illnesses. "We see absolutely no advantage
whatsoever even contemplating settling the case with the Federal
Government, contrary to the views of some analysts," said Broughton,
speaking at a press and analysts meeting. The meeting followed the
publication of the group's third quarter figures and set out the
company's stall so far as the U.S. legal action is concerned.

The chief executive said the Federal case, raised by Attorney General
Janet Reno earlier this year, was based on "decidedly thin legal
grounds" and that BAT unit Brown & Williamson would defend the claim
"vigorously".

Turning to the Engle class action, he said last week's Florida Appeal
Court ruling did not, contrary to popular belief, open U.S. tobacco
companies to mass punitive damages. Broughton said the judges in the
case had in fact deferred an earlier ruling that damages would be
decided on an individual basis. He predicted this decision would be
upheld after further legal argument.

The BAT chief executive called the behaviour of the trial judge in the
Engle class action "outrageous" but said a gagging order prevented him
from elaborating upon his opinion. He seemed to suggest that Judge Kaye
was attempting to force the defendants B&W, Phillip Morris and RJ
Reynolds -- to come to a settlement, and the court process also seemed
to be pointing the firms in that direction. "Let's be unequivocal about
this, Brown & Williamson have informed me that they have absolutely no
intention of settling," Broughton said. The chief executive predicted
that the class action may even be discertified. (Extel Examiner
10-26-1999)


UNITED CREDITORS: Collection Letter Violates FDCPA & CROA, Il. Ct Rules
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A collection letter that encourages a debtor to accept its offer of
settlement by promising that the settlement will repair the consumer's
credit is misleading and false under both the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act and the Credit Repair Organizations Act. Nielsen v. United
Creditors Alliance Corp., et al., No. 98 C 5910 (N.D. Ill. 8/23/99).

United Creditors Alliance Corp. mailed Ann L. Nielsen a standard form
collection letter regarding her AMEX-STRATUS/TRIUMP account. The dunning
letter read, "In a final effort to help you liquidate your account, our
client has authorized us to accept the sum of 2,574.53 as full and final
settlement. ... Take advantage of this opportunity to repair your credit
at a substantial savings."

Contending that the "take advantage" language was a false representation
or deceptive means to collect a debt, Nielsen sued under 1692e(10) of
the FDCPA. She claimed in her class action that the language also
violated the CROA.

The defendant moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim and the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Illinois examined the
sufficiency of the complaint.

First, the District Court considered the FDCPA claim and United
Creditors' argument that even an unsophisticated consumer could not have
misinterpreted the disputed language. United Creditors' claimed that its
letter did not represent that payment of Nielsen's delinquent debt would
eliminate all unfavorable information from her credit report.
Additionally, the defendant contended that Nielsen could not deny that
the continuing delinquency of her debt would adversely affect her credit
report. The court also considered Nielsen's claim that the "take
advantage" sentence in the dunning letter was false because a settlement
of the debt would not repair her credit rating.

Applying the unsophisticated consumer standard, the District Court
concluded that Nielsen sufficiently stated a claim under Section
1692e(10) of the FDCPA. Therefore, the court denied United Creditors'
motion to dismiss on this claim.

Regarding Nielsen's claim that United Creditors' collection letter
violated the CROA, the District Court reviewed the statute. The act
states that no person may make an untrue representation of the services
of the credit repair organization or engage in a practice that results
in the commission of a fraud in connection with the offer or sale of
services of the credit repair organization. The CROA defines a credit
repair organization as "any person who uses any instrumentality of
interstate commerce ... to sell, provide or perform any service, and in
return for the payment of money ... for the express or implied purpose
of" improving a consumer's credit history or providing consumers with
assistance.

United Creditors contended on appeal that it was not a credit repair
organization subject to the CROA and that Nielsen failed to establish
that it was a credit repair organization. The District Court reached an
opposite conclusion. It found that Nielsen sufficiently claimed that the
defendant was a credit repair organization in her allegation that United
Creditors "regularly use[s] the mails to provide or offer to provide
consumers with a service, in return for money, which purports to improve
the consumer's credit record." Furthermore, the District Court held that
Nielsen sufficiently alleged that the "take advantage" language was
false because she stated a settlement would not repair her credit.

Again, the court denied United Creditors' motion to dismiss.

Daniel A. Edelman and James S. Harkness of Edelman, Combs & Latturner in
Chicago represented the plaintiff. Edward Harmening of Clausen Miller in
Chicago represented the defendant. (Consumer Financial Services Law
Report 10-19-1999)


USDA: Sharks Reeled In To Share In Black Farmers Settlement In Arkansas
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
An effort to compensate black farmers for discrimination they suffered
at the hands of Department of Agriculture, or USDA, field offices has
been slowed by a snag: In trolling for victims to share in the $375
million settlement, the plaintiffs' lawyers evidently also have reeled
in some sharks.

People have stepped forward to share in the settlement, it seems, who
don't know a plow from a pickup truck and never farmed a day in their
lives, making it tougher for the department, in assessing who deserves
compensation, to sort the wheat from the chaff.

"The government has attorneys who were expecting this and they're on the
lookout for cases of fraud , which takes more time for all of us," says
attorney Othello Cross, who is handling claims in Arkansas. Cross and
other lawyers involved in the lawsuit initially expected that fewer than
20,000 individuals in 25 states would come forward for a slice of the
settlement pie, but that number has topped 30,000 in the last few months
and may rise higher.

We're just glad someone caught it this early, a spokesman for USDA said
of the bumper crop of con artists the settlement is producing. Surprise!

             Doj's Antitrust Division Not Too Effective

Government trustbusters have been in the news as they pursue juicy
targets such as Microsoft. But some are questioning whether the
Department of Justice's antitrust division is cost-effective; indeed,
some are suggesting Justice's antitrust bulldogs have been less than
open in detailing their own finances.

Some free-market economists, of course, argue that the activism of the
Department of Justice, or DOJ, may not be justified, given today's high
level of business competition and corresponding low prices. However, a
citizens' watchdog group is maintaining that whatever one's opinion of
trustbusting, the DOJ's trustbusting unit has been spending tax money
too freely.

In a Sept. 28 letter to the fiscal 2000 Commerce Justice State
Appropriations conference committee, the Council for Citizens Against
Government Waste, or CCAGW, urged conferees to freeze the budget for the
DOJ's antitrust division. The antitrust division got $98 million in
1999.

"DOJ has been less than forthcoming about the activities of the
antitrust division," says CCAGW President Thomas Schatz. "Without full
disclosure, how can Congress justify any increase in expenses for the
antitrust division?"

CCAGW is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, a
Washington-based nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste,
fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government. For nearly a year, CCAGW
has attempted to get the antitrust division to disclose the cost of
DOJ's lawsuit against Micro-soft. CCAGW places the cost of the lawsuit
at $30 million to $60 million.

Taxpayers are slated to spend $4.9 million to $11.8 million on the DOJ's
antitrust division in the next year alone. Reports indicate that the
House version of the Commerce-Justice-State appropriations bill would
increase the antitrust-division budget by 5 percent. The Senate would
boost this increase to 12 percent.

According to Schatz, the antitrust division has simply failed to make
the case for such exorbitant increases. "The antitrust division has
displayed nothing but arrogance and contempt in the face of reasonable
requests for basic financial information," Schatz argued in his letter.
"Conferees need to think twice before giving the antitrust division
carte blanche to pursue litigation in practical secrecy."

                     When The Feathers Hit The Fan

It's always interesting when otherwise-simpatico special interests
suddenly come to loggerheads - as in California, where the
save-the-condor crowd is squaring off with the wind-power people over a
plan to erect zephyr-propelled turbines in the Tehachapi Mountains north
of Los Angeles.

The giant pinwheels, spinning 200 feet above the ground, threaten to
make mincemeat of endangered California condors, according to the
National Audubon Society, which is fighting any plans to build the
turbines in the Tehachapies.

"It is hard to imagine a worse idea than putting a condor Cuisinart next
door to critical condor habitat," said David Beard, an Audubon Society
spokesman. "The survival of the condor must come first." Enron, the
Houston-based company that builds the turbines, denies plans are in the
works to place them in the mountains.

But the Audubon Society, taking no chances, is targeting for alteration
the Wind Energy Tax Credit, up for an extension this year, which makes
the windmills possible by paying their investors 1.5 cents per
kilowatt-hour generated. Without the subsidy, wind power becomes far
less profitable. Audubon reportedly hopes to narrow the tax break,
denying it to any windmills built within 10 miles of condor habitat, and
says the Tehachapi project is too close to where condors are known to
congregate.

Problem is, the condors can ride the winds for up to 100 miles in search
of a ripe animal carcass, which effectively could close down large
swaths of prime wind-power territory. Thanks to a $1.7 million annual
assistance program, the birds have made a fitful comeback since the
1980s, when only 21 were known to survive.

Finding compromise between the dueling agendas of animal conservation
and renewable energy is going to be a tough one, according to one U.S.
Fish and Wildlife official, because both windmills and the wide-winged
condors favor the same kind of wide, sloping terrain. (Insight on the
News 10-25-1999)


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

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

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