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                Monday, January 24, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 16


AUTO INSURANCE: State Farm Files Direct Appeal Of $1.2 Billion Decision
COMMISSIONAIRES LAY-OFF: Edmonton Police Service Shrug Off Mass Firings
FORD MOTOR: Judge Separates Claim Re Competition from Consumer Fraud
GUN MANUFACTURER: CA Sp Ct Takes Case V. Navegar Re Rampage in Pettit
GUN MANUFACTURERS: Trade Group joins NRA to Raise Money for Politicians

HMOs: LA Fd Ap Ct Agrees on 5 TX HMOsí Nondisclosure of MD Incentives
HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Jewish Refugee Takes Switzerland to Highest Court
INMATES LITIGATION: Judge OKs Deal for Missouri Inmates Abused in TX
LEGATO SYSTEMS: Abbey, Gardy Files Securities Suit in California
LEGATO SYSTEMS: Barrack Rodos Files Securities Suit in California

LEGATO SYSTEMS: Berman, Devalerio Files Securities Suit in California
LEGATO SYSTEMS: James V. Bashian Files Securities Suit in California
LEGATO SYSTEMS: Kirby, McInerney Files Securities Suit
LEGATO SYSTEMS: Shepherd & Geller Files Securities Suit in California
MICROSOFT CORP: Alleged Collusion with Law Firms Overshadow Class Cert.

MOBIL OIL: Company in Australia Could Face $66 Mil. Compensation Claims
NET SPAM: Can. Prof. Compares Blacklist Threat to Digital Class Action
NETWORK ASSOCIATES: Will Underdogs Be Lead Counsel in Securities Suit?
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Philip Morris Will Fight Flight Attendantsí Suits
TORONTO SUN: Reports on Suit over Misconduct Re SunShine Girl Photo

UCAR INTíL: FSBA Announces Ct Approval of Settlement of Securities Suit


AUTO INSURANCE: State Farm Files Direct Appeal Of $1.2 Billion Decision
State Farm Insurance Cos. asked the Illinois Supreme Court on January 20
to consider a direct appeal of a $1.2 billion circuit court decision in
October against the insurer for knowingly using substandard parts in car
repairs. It remains the largest award against a U.S. insurance company.

The country's largest auto insurer, Bloomington-based State Farm wants
to avoid the usual appeal process, which would include a trip to
appellate court and would take considerably more time. As long as the
decision from Downstate Williamson County circuit court stands, the
insurer says, consumers risk paying higher prices for replacement parts,
regulators are confused about how the decision meshes with state laws,
and the decision encourages class-action lawsuits.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs vowed to "vigorously oppose" the motion.
"This case is so straightforward, I don't know why the state supreme
court would ever consider it," said Michael B. Hyman, a lead counsel on
the suit from the Chicago firm Much, Shelist, Freed, Denenberg, Ament &
Rubenstein. Hyman likened State Farm to "Chicken Little chirping that
the sky is falling, and it hasn't, and it's not going to."

State Farm officials say the decision already is costing them. By using
only repair parts made by original manufacturers, as the court ordered,
the insurer says it is spending more on claims than it would have by
continuing to use generic, or so-called "after-market," parts made by
other companies.

The American Insurance Association estimates the industry saves $800
million a year by using generic parts. Two states, Hawaii and
Massachusetts, require insurers to make generic parts available to
policyholders in order to create competition for car manufacturers.

In November, State Farm expected repair parts expenses to total $267
million. Because they were forced to use original manufacturers' parts,
that cost totaled nearly $272 million, said spokesman Steve Vogel.

Generic parts typically accounted for about 10 percent of State Farm's
crash part expenditures, Vogel said. Vogel conceded that some generic
parts are lower in quality than original manufacturer parts, but says
State Farm "makes every effort to use only parts that are of high
quality." The parts are guaranteed, he said, and so few customers use
the guarantee that the insurer doesn't track the total.

In a smaller generic-parts case that State Farm settled in 1994, only
3,351 policyholders applied for awards out of a potential class of
263,000. Of those, 1,390 accepted monetary awards totaling about
$100,000. About 622 took vouchers to have their cars fixed, but only
half of those used the vouchers. The plaintiffs' lawyers in that case
received $2.1 million from State Farm, Vogel said.

Some consumer groups are on State Farm's side in the current lawsuit,
including Ralph Nader's Center for Auto Safety. But others say many
insurers deserve the lawsuits that have cropped up, several of them
since the October decision against State Farm.

"They knew the parts were bad, and they were telling people the parts
were excellent," Bob Hunter, an insurance expert at the Consumer
Federation of America, said of State Farm. "They should have been honest
with consumers and said that the (generic) parts were not really as good
as original parts," Hunter said. (Chicago Tribune, January 21, 2000)

COMMISSIONAIRES LAY-OFF: Edmonton Police Service Shrug Off Mass Firings
The Edmonton Police Service isn't concerned about recent mass firings of
private-sector bylaw cops, an EPS spokesman said on January 20.

Wes Bellmore said he has no reason to believe claims by about a dozen
turfed Corps of Commissionaires rent-a-cops that they were dismissed
without notice. "Obviously, we expect our contractors to follow fair
practice when dealing with their employees," he said. "The indication
from the Corps is the employees were given (sufficient notice). And
that's the Corps' responsibility, not ours."

But the ex-commissionaires, who worked under contract for EPS to enforce
parking bylaws and operate photo radar, say the Corps is snowing the

Lee Harmider, a 22-year-old father of one, said he and five other
commissionaires got their pink slips on Christmas Eve without notice,
verbal or written. "Personally, I wonder ... I had to write two parking
tickets in one day on (the EPS co-ordinator of parking enforcement) back
in October," he said. "Her permit had expired."

Bellmore said the EPS is in negotiation with the Corps for a new bylaw
enforcement contract - one that includes higher pay and longer
experience requirements for bylaw commissionaires. "We don't know why
those people were let go," he said.

Several ex-commissionaires are shopping around for a lawyer to take
class action against the Corps. The president of the Alberta Union of
Provincial Employees said they shouldn't bother. "At $ 200 an hour, a
lawyer's going to eat up whatever you can hope to win back from a
lawsuit," said Dan MacLennan. "We'd be happy to give them a heads-up on
what their legal rights are. Without some union help in these
situations, you're usually out of luck."

Ward 6 Coun. Dave Thiele said he was surprised to learn that the
commissionaires were being laid off. "Instead of laying these people off
for no good reason, why not allow them the first opportunity (to
retrain) and if they don't want to, let that be their decision," he
said. (The Edmonton Sun, January 21, 2000)

FORD MOTOR: Judge Separates Claim Re Competition from Consumer Fraud
What do you do when a massive class action ignites an arduous, six-month
trial and ends with a hung jury? The answer: Tee it up again.

Neither side is talking settlement of Howard v. Ford Motor Co., No.
763785-2, in which plaintiffs allege that Ford violated California
consumer protection laws by concealing an alleged design defect from
consumers. The plaintiffs allege that the automaker placed ignitions too
close to engines, which caused vehicles to stall. The plaintiffs are 3.5
million Ford owners who bought cars in California from 1983 to 1995.

The case is the first of a series of similar suits to be tried in five
other states. In all, plaintiffs total more than 20 million Ford owners
and are represented by a team led by Jeffrey L. Fazio, special counsel
to Hancock, Rothert & Bunshoft in San Francisco.

In the California trial, the jury answered only two questions, splitting
7-5 and 8-4 in favor of the plaintiffs, before calling it quits. Lawyers
on both sides said that jurors encouraged them to try the case again.

Ford spokesman Jim Cain asserted that 10 of the 12 jurors told defense
lawyers that they didn't believe the ignition design to be a safety
defect. They said that it was more of a quality problem and that Ford
could have been more aggressive about recalls, Mr. Cain said.

Although jurors didn't say that they were overwhelmed by the scope of
the case, the panel's inability to reach a verdict indicates that it
shouldn't have been a class action, asserted Ford in-house counsel
Donald J. Lough, who said that he coached defenders at O'Melveny &
Meyers L.L.P., Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. and Wheeler, Trigg & Kennedy.
Because the panel faced 2,000 questions about 350 products, "it comes as
no shock that the jury was unable to agree," Mr. Lough said. And
although the jury never reached the question of damages, those favoring
the plaintiffs were inclined to award them as little as one-tenth of the
$ 1.3 billion they sought, Mr. Lough said.

Although the result has no effect on the cases in other states because
statutes are different in each jurisdiction, "the important message we
got from the jury trial is that the plaintiffs could not prove their
case. If they could not prove it in California, it's likely they
couldn't prove it in others," Mr. Lough said.

But just as the defense heard positive feedback from jurors, so did the
plaintiffs' lawyers, said Mr. Fazio. He said that at one point, the
panel was "one juror away" from a finding of Ford's liability, but the
foreman refused to believe that the carmaker would hide a safety problem
from consumers.

The plaintiffs' lawyer said that jurors favoring his clients told him
that those for the defense refused to listen and reconsider their votes.
Of the changes he plans for retrial, Mr. Fazio said that he will review
the verdict form, which jurors said seemed to have little to do with
"what the lawyers were talking about." Moreover, he said, he will
rethink the evidence and streamline what to admit. "I think what we do
is be more careful next time," he said.

A different judge will preside at retrial because Alameda County Judge
Michael Ballachey plans to retire. But before the judge leaves the bench
and hands the case to a successor, he will decide a key question in the
case, which was put to him during a bench trial that immediately
followed the mistrial.

The judge is considering the claim that Ford is liable for the same
alleged conduct under California's unfair competition law. The claim is
separate from the consumer fraud part of the case, which went to the
jury. (The National Law Journal, January 10, 2000)

GUN MANUFACTURER: CA Sp Ct Takes Case V. Navegar Re Rampage in Pettit
The California Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a gun
manufacturer can be held responsible for Gian Luigi Ferri's infamous and
deadly shooting rampage through the Pettit & Martin firm nearly seven
years ago. It is at least the fifth gun case that the court has agreed
to review in the last three years cases that range from the definition
of an illegal assault rifle to the constitutionality of a California law
banning certain weapons.

The court has not issued a single opinion on the matter. Every justice
except Justice Stanley Mosk voted to review a controversial California
First District Court of Appeal ruling that allowed Ferri's victims to
sue gun maker Navegar Inc. for negligence. It was the first appellate
court anywhere to rule against gun makers on criminal misuse of a

Written by Justice J. Anthony Kline and joined by Justice James Lambden,
the majority court of appeal opinion held that Navegar had a duty not to
increase the risks of its otherwise legal product. Kline wrote that
Navegar negligently increased the likelihood its gun would harm by
marketing the product to criminals with such boasts of the gun's
"excellent resistance to fingerprints. "Justice Paul Haerle vehemently
dissented and accused the majority of "an egregious exercise in judicial

Navegar's lead attorney, Ernest Getto of Los Angeles' Latham & Watkins,
seized on Haerle's dissent in his successful petition for review.
Kline's opinion, Getto wrote, "ignored well-settled law holding that in
the absence of a special relationship, one generally has no duty to
control the conduct of another." Getto went on to essentially accuse
Kline and Lambden of legal acrobatics in reaching their conclusion.

Kline's opinion relied, in part, on Knight v. Jewett, a seminal
assumption of risk case which stated that sports participants "generally
do have a duty to exercise due care not to increase the risks to a
participant over and above those inherent in the sport." Kline argued
that Knight's reasoning extended to the gun case. "Manufacturers and
distributors of firearms," Kline wrote, "can be expected to refrain from
affirmatively increasing the inherent risk of danger posed by the
furnishing of their product."

But Getto pointed out in a footnote that "Knight was never cited in any
briefs or discussed at any hearing below, including oral arguments
before the Court of Appeal."

But lead plaintiffs attorney Dennis Henigan, of the Washington
D.C.-based Handgun Control Inc., countered in a telephone interview that
"capable judges often make their own contributions." And while Getto
argued that a dozen other courts across the country, including three
state Supreme Courts and four federal circuits, have ruled in favor of
gun makers, Henigan countered that the California case is different. The
previous cases, Henigan said, were product liability cases that argued
that the guns' harm outweighed their benefits. In this case, the
plaintiffs are arguing that a specific manufacturer engaged in a
specific pattern of conduct namely its marketing program that led
directly to Luigi's July 1, 1993, rampage through the 101 California St.
building in downtown San Francisco. On that day, Luigi armed himself
with two semiautomatic weapons made by Navegar and opened fire in the
Pettit firm where he had been a disgruntled client. Luigi killed eight
people and wounded six others before killing himself. A year later,
family members of the dead and surviving victims sued Miami-based
Navegar. But San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren tossed the
case in 1997, ruling that selling guns was not inherently dangerous.

Merrill v. Navegar Inc. is the most recent of five controversial gun
cases the California Supreme Court has agreed to hear. The first four
cases deal exclusively with the Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act
of 1989 that banned certain assault weapons. Beginning in 1996, the
state Supreme Court agreed to consider James Dingman's conviction on
possession of an illegal assault rifle. In Dingman's case, the court is
to decide if a rifle becomes an illegal assault rifle when a 30-bullet
detachable magazine is added. Also pending before the court are two
other assault rifle cases, one which will determine the legality of
so-called "knock-off" assault rifle brands that aren't explicitly named
in the assault rifle ban. The other case will determine if a buyer needs
to be aware he is buying an illegal assault rifle to be convicted under
the ban. In 1998 the court agreed to take up the most significant case
Kasler v. Lungren which will decide the constitutionality of
California's assault weapons ban. The California Third District Court of
Appeal struck the ban down in March 1998. This story originally appeared
in The Recorder. (The Legal Intelligencer, January 21, 2000)

GUN MANUFACTURERS: Trade Group joins NRA to Raise Money for Politicians
The beleaguered gun industry is firing back at political foes with what
it hopes will be a silver bullet: its first financial contributions to
candidates who oppose tougher federal regulation of firearms.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group for makers of
guns, ammunition and hunting equipment, announced sponsorship of a new
political action committee at its annual show in Las Vegas. Until now,
the mainspring of the powerful gun lobby in Washington has been the
National Rifle Association, a gun owners' organization.

The gunmakers' political action committee, named SHOT -- which stands
for Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades -- is planning to add bang to
the NRA's bucks by raising its own millions of dollars.

Soon, fundraising pitches will go out to 2 million recent firearms
buyers and to employees of the National Shooting Sports Foundation's
member companies, foundation president Robert Delfay says.

Republicans are "most of the strongest supporters of the hunting and
shooting traditions," but friendly Democrats also will be favored,
Delfay says.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre hailed the development,
saying gunmakers are reacting to pressure in Congress and the courts for
gun control. "They were simply not very political up until now,"
LaPierre says. "They were businesspeople, making a lawful product. But
when you get mugged once or twice, you say, 'I'm going to be punching
back.' "

LaPierre says the Clinton administration is leading a drive aimed at
confiscating "every rifle, shotgun and pistol in America." With more
than 3 million members, the NRA will spend as much as $ 30 million on TV
ads this year to target gun-control advocates. "We certainly believe
that this is going to be settled in the November election," LaPierre
says. "It's fair to say our efforts will be coordinated with the NRA's,"
Delfay says.

One goal for the gunmakers: defeating a renewed attempt by the White
House and congressional Democrats to pass legislation requiring trigger
safety locks on guns and background checks of buyers at gun shows. The
Senate passed the bill last year, but the House blocked it.

President Clinton will promote the measure again in his State of the
Union speech, White House spokesman Jake Siewert says.

Siewert says it's "unfortunate" that the firearms industry has created a
new political arm. "Congress is already too beholden to special-interest
money on gun control," he says.

In court, the industry is defending itself against a wave of civil
lawsuits brought by cities and counties, aimed at redesigning guns for
greater safety and changing industry marketing practices to keep guns
away from kids and criminals.

Gun manufacturers were incensed late last year when Housing and Urban
Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said his department would organize a
class-action lawsuit by local housing authorities if the industry failed
to negotiate a settlement of the cities' claims. A negotiating session
that had been scheduled in Las Vegas was canceled after gun companies
refused to allow administration officials to attend. "If there's some
sort of political motivation behind this, then we're not interested in
furthering the administration's political agenda," Delfay says.

The industry's hardening line indicates that it is unwilling to work
with Clinton and is concentrating on helping to elect a Republican
president. "As that guy in the movie Network said, we're mad as hell,
and we're not going to take it anymore," Delfay says.

Dennis Henigan, legal director of the Center to Prevent Handgun
Violence, says the industry is "obviously well-funded" despite its
complaints that the lawsuits threaten its solvency. "They are obviously
going to be as aggressive as they can be in battling us in Congress as
well as in the courts."

In organizing their PAC, "some elements of the gun industry have
politicized the issue of gun violence," Cuomo says. "The
administration's efforts have nothing to do with politics. They have
everything to do with saving lives by reducing murders, suicides and gun
accidents." (USA Today, January 21, 2000)

HMOs: LA Fd Ap Ct Agrees on 5 TX HMOsí Nondisclosure of MD Incentives
IAC-ACC-NO: 58548753

In a decision that echoes a case coming before the Supreme Court next
month, a New Orleans federal appeals court upheld a ruling that managed
care plans do not have to reveal physician incentive arrangements to
their members.

Enrollees of five Texas HMOs charged that the plans breached their
fiduciary duties under ERISA and state law by failing to disclose
physician compensation arrangements (Mary Ellen Ehlmann vs. Kaiser
Foundation Health Plan, No. 98-11020, 5 th Cir.).

The five health plans are Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Texas,
NYLCare of Texas Inc., Prudential Health Care Plan Inc., CIGNA
Healthcare of Texas Inc. and Aetna U.S. Healthcare Inc. Harris Methodist
Health Plan was originally included in the lawsuit, but in February 1998
it settled with members, agreeing to disclose compensation arrangements.

The decision "is yet another blow to the viability of the recent class
actions brought against HMOs," said David Simon, Aetna's chief legal
officer, in a written statement.

The class-action lawsuit sought a refund of all premiums and an
injunction requiring HMOs to include information about incentive
arrangements such as with- holds and referral funds in member handbooks
or physician directories.

The suit charged that as ERISA fiduciaries, health plans are required to
disclose all material information, whether or not the enrollee
specifically requests it. It also alleged that financial incentives to
withhold care are harmful to patients, and that a conflict of interests
exists between a plan's fiduciary duty to its enrollees and its drive
for profits.

The court held that it is up to Congress to decide what health plans are
required to do as ERISA fiduciaries. "In enacting the specific
disclosure provisions of ERISA, Congress has made the modifications it
deems appropriate," the appeal court said.

Ehlmann also argued that ERISA was enacted before managed care and its
accompanying incentives to limit care became commonplace. But the court
held that "Congress and the Department of Labor are surely aware of
these changes and have chosen not to supplement ERISA's disclosure

Next month, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Pegram vs.
Herdrich, which charges a health plan and physician with breaching
fiduciary duty because of their use of cost control mechanisms (MCW
1/3/00, p. 2). (Managed Care Week, January 10, 2000)

HOLOCAUST VICTIMS: Jewish Refugee Takes Switzerland to Highest Court
A Jewish wartime refugee, sent to a Nazi death camp after Switzerland
turned him and two cousins away at the border, took his case to the
highest court on January 21 asking for compensation and an admission of
Swiss guilt.

In a quiet, unemotional voice, 73-year-old Joseph Spring told the court
how he had survived the horrors of the Holocaust in Auschwitz but his
two cousins had perished in the gas chambers. ''An apology is enough if
you accidentally step on somebody's toe when you're dancing, but it's a
different matter when the active collaboration of Swiss border guards
sends people to their deaths,'' Spring told the one-day Federal
Tribunal. ''Justice in my case means recognition that a crime was
committed against me.'' Spring is also asking for 100,000 Swiss francs
(dlrs 63, 300).

Spring recalled how he had hoped that the neutral Alpine country would
offer refuge to him and his cousins Sylver and Henri Henenberg after
their flight through Nazi-occupied France. He and Sylver were still in
their teens and Henri had a doctor's certificate testifying he had

On their first attempt to enter western Switzerland through the mountain
crossing of La Cure they were turned back. On their second attempt,
border guards actually handed them over to the Germans, along with their
identity papers proving they were Jewish. Three weeks later they were
put on to a long train consisting of closed cattle trucks with 850
others and sent to Auschwitz. Once there, the cousins were separated,
with Henri and Sylver joining the line of the sick. ''The last time that
I saw Henri and Sylver was when Sylver threw my portion of our bread
ration to me. An SS man closed the door to the gas chamber behind them
and they perished along with many others,'' Spring said.

''In the history of our state, Swiss officials have never committed a
greater injustice against anyone as they did against Joseph Spring,''
said his lawyer, Paul Rechsteiner.

Spring, who survived Auschwitz and emigrated to Australia in 1946, took
his appeal to the court after Switzerland's governing federal council
ruled in June 1998 that the border authorities' refusal to allow Spring
into the country did not constitute complicity to genocide.

Surrounded by Germany, Nazi-occupied France and Nazi-allied Italy,
neutral Switzerland took in nearly 30,000 Jews during World War II. But
it turned away just as many.

''The question I keep asking myself is: How did we threaten the Swiss
state by trying to cross the border in November 1943? Why was it
necessary for Swiss officials to sentence us to death?''

Both Spring's lawyer and the Federal Tribunal judges drew heavily on a
recently published report by an international panel of experts headed by
historian Jean-Francois Bergier, which condemned Switzerland's wartime
refugee policy. The Bergier report said that Switzerland turned back
thousands of Jews even though it knew they would face almost certain
death at the hands of the Nazis.

One of the judges hearing Springís case, Karl Hartmann, said that
despite the wrongs there was no legal basis for awarding damages. He
said modern refugee laws did not exist at that time and that too long
had lapsed for Spring to have a valid claim against the government.

Another judge, Alain Wurzburger, disagreed. He said regardless of legal
arguments the court should award Spring the 100,000 francs either on
ethical grounds or, failing that, as expenses. He pointed out that
Spring had formally waived his rights to claim compensation from a dlrs
1.25 billion class action settlement reached between the two big Swiss
banks and lawyers of Holocaust survivors in 1998. This is meant to cover
claims of victims and their heirs in return for them dropping any other
compensation demands. ''The decision will be of huge importance not only
for Joseph Spring, but also for Switzerland, its reputation and its
honor,'' said Rechsteiner. (AP Worldstream, January 21, 2000)

INMATES LITIGATION: Judge OKs Deal for Missouri Inmates Abused in TX
An attorney representing Missouri inmates who were abused in Texas jails
says he hopes a $2.2 million settlement will teach state officials some

The settlement wraps up all state and federal lawsuits filed or
contemplated by any of about 2,100 prisoners sent from Missouri to Texas
from 1995 through 1997 under the Texas Cell Lease Program. The inmates
will share $1.1 million, with their portion depending on the severity of
injuries they suffered. Another $800,000 will go for attorneys' fees and
$300,000 will cover costs for the litigation.

Sylvester James of Kansas City, the lawyer for about 200 of the 700
Missouri inmates who had filed lawsuits, said on January 20 he was
satisfied with U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey's Jan. 14 order
approving the settlement of the class-action case. He said the state of
Missouri, while not held liable for any of the damages, should learn
from the case. ''Don't contract with private prison companies, because
they have every incentive in the world to not feed your people right,
not clothe them right, not give them medication, because every time they
do it costs them money,'' said James, who received a copy of the order
on January 19.

Capitol Corrections Resources Inc., a private jail management company,
will contribute $2.1 million the limit of its insurance coverage to the
settlement. The rest will be paid by other defendants, including the
company that transported the inmates to Texas.

The state of Missouri admitted no liability and will not contribute to
the settlement. In negotiations, the state stuck to its policy of never
paying to settle any prison claims ''even if they are meritorious,''
Laughrey wrote.

Missouri's stance is a sore point for some of the inmates. They contend
Missouri officials ignored credible reports of their treatment in Texas,
and acted only after the public broadcasts of videotapes showing them
being bitten by guard dogs and shocked with stun guns. The videotapes
were made Sept. 18, 1996, at Texas' Brazoria County Jail and on March 2,
1997, at the jail in Gregg County.

Missouri agreed under the settlement to a five-year moratorium on
sending prisoners to Texas or to any CCRI-run jails anywhere except in
very narrow circumstances. In addition, Missouri agreed to forego its
legal right to seize whatever settlement money the inmates eventually
receive. And the state agreed to take steps to ensure that no Missouri
inmate be housed in any facility that employs anyone convicted of
prisoner abuse. (AP Online, January 21, 2000)

LEGATO SYSTEMS: Abbey, Gardy Files Securities Suit in California
Abbey, Gardy & Squitieri, LLP gives notice that a class action entitled
Limond v. Legato Systems, Inc., Louis C. Cole and Stephen C. Wise, (No.
C 00-20073 EAI) has been commenced in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California on behalf of all persons who
purchased shares of Legato Systems, Inc. ("Legato") (Nasdaq: LGTO)
common stock between October 20, 1999 and January 20, (the "Class

In brief, the Complaint charges that Legato and certain of its officers
and directors, violated the federal securities laws. The Complaint
alleges that during the Class Period defendants made materially false
and misleading statements regarding, among other things, the financial
condition of Legato. The Complaint alleges that in order to inflate the
price of Legato's stock, defendants caused the Company to falsely report
its financial results for the third quarter of 1999 by improperly
recognizing revenue. On January 20, 2000 defendants, revealed that the
Company's earnings would fall short of meeting expected earnings for the
fourth quarter of 1999 and that it was restating its third quarter
results. The complaint also alleges that during the Class Period, while
in possession of material undisclosed information defendants sold
millions of dollars worth of Legato stock. After defendants' disclosure
the price of Legato stock plummeted 63% to $29 per share in after hours
trading. During the Class Period defendants made no corrective

Contact: James J. Seirmarco E-mail: jseirmarco@a-g-s.com or Nancy
Kaboolian E-mail: nkaboolian@a-g-s.com of ABBEY, GARDY & SQUITIERI, LLP,
800-889-3701 (toll free) or 212-889-3700

LEGATO SYSTEMS: Barrack Rodos Files Securities Suit in California
Counsel for Class Plaintiff, Barrack, Rodos & Bacine, notifies on
January 21 that a class action has been commenced in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of all
persons who purchased the common stock of Legato Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:
LGTO) ("Legato" or the "Company") between October 21, 1999 and January
19, 2000, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Legato and certain of its officers with violations
of the federal securities laws by making misrepresentations about the
Company's business, earnings growth, and financial statements, as well
as its ability to continue to achieve profitable growth. The complaint
alleges that during the Class Period, the individual defendants (Louis
C. Cole, Kent D. Smith, Stephen C. Wise and Nora M. Denzel), who
controlled and were senior officers of Legato, engaged in a scheme to
conceal Legato's badly flagging growth to prevent the decline in the
price of Legato stock in order to: (i) use Legato's artificially
inflated stock as currency to fund the Company's acquisition of
companies in stock-for-stock transactions; and (ii) receive $11.5
million in insider trading proceeds.

The complaint alleges that, as Legato continued to report "record"
profits and defendants created the fiction that they were achieving 150%
growth in net income, the price of Legato stock reacted, rising to a
Class Period high of $ 79-1/4 on December 23, 1999. The complaint
charges defendants with profiting from Legato's fiction of record
profits and purported growth, selling over 178,000 shares in just six
days for total proceeds of $11.5 million. To inflate the price of
Legato's stock, according to the complaint, defendants caused the
Company to falsely report its results for the third quarter of 1999 and
continued to attempt to improperly recognize revenue throughout the
Class Period.

On January 19, 2000, Legato revealed that it would restate its third
quarter earnings and that it would fall desperately short of meeting its
forecasted earnings for the fourth quarter 1999. This revelation caused
Legato stock to be halted on Nasdaq and ultimately to plummet to $29 per
share in after-hours trading, a decline of 63% from its Class Period

Contact: Maxine S. Goldman, Shareholder Relations Manager, at Barrack,
Rodos & Bacine, 3300 Two Commerce Square, 2001 Market Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19103, at 800-417-7305 or 215-963-0600, fax number
888-417-7306 or 215-963-0838, or by e-mail at msgoldman@barrack.com

LEGATO SYSTEMS: Berman, Devalerio Files Securities Suit in California
A securities class action was filed on January 20 against Legato
Systems, Inc. ("Legato" or the "Company") (Nasdaq: LGTO) on behalf of
all persons who purchased the common stock of Legato between October 20,
1999 and January 19, 2000, inclusive (the "Class Period"). The lawsuit,
which seeks class action status, is brought in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of California for violations of
sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The action charges that Legato and certain of its officers and directors
violated the federal securities laws by issuing a series of materially
false and misleading statements concerning the Company's business,
financial condition and earnings. Specifically, the Company improperly
recorded revenue on three contracts during the third and fourth quarters
of 1999. As a result of these materially false and misleading statements
and omissions, the complaint alleges that the price of Legato common
stock was artificially inflated during the Class Period. Moreover, the
Individual Defendants and other directors of the Company sold their
stock at artificially inflated prices during the Class Period for
proceeds of over $14 million.

Contact the lawyers at Berman, DeValerio & Pease LLP to discuss your
rights and interests: Jennifer L. Finger, Esq., Michael G. Lange, Esq.,
Jeffrey C. Block, Esq., Berman, DeValerio & Pease LLP, 800-516-9926, One
Liberty Square, Boston, MA 02109, E-Mail: bdplaw@bermanesq.com or Ritu
Patel, Esq. Joseph J. Tabacco, Esq., Berman, DeValerio, Pease & Tabacco,
425 California Street, Suite 2025, San Francisco, CA 94104, Telephone:
415-433-3200. Their website is at http://www.bermanesq.com

LEGATO SYSTEMS: James V. Bashian Files Securities Suit in California
The law offices of James V. Bashian, P.C. gives notice on January 20
that a class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District
Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of those persons
and entities who purchased the common stock of Legato Systems, Inc.
("Legato" or the "Company") between October 21, 1999 and January 19,
2000, inclusive (the "Class Period"). The complaint charges Legato and
certain of its officers and directors with violations of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 Sections 10(b) and 20(a), and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder.

Contact: James V. Bashian P.C., New York James V. Bashian, Esq. Oren
Giskan, Esq. Tel: 212/921-4110 or 800/556-8856 E-mail:
lojvb@worldnet.att.net or osgiskan@aol.com

LEGATO SYSTEMS: Kirby, McInerney Files Securities Suit
The law firm of Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP has been retained to bring
a class action lawsuit on behalf of all purchasers of Legato Systems,
Inc. (Nasdaq: LGTO) securities between October 21, 1999 and January 19,
2000 (the "Class Period"). The action will charge Legato and certain of
its officers with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by reason of material misrepresentations
and omissions.

As the complaint will allege, Legato Systems made misrepresentations
about its financial statements (which it has now admitted it will
restate), revenues, and its earnings growth rate. On the basis of the
company's false statements and misrepresentations, Legato's stock price
soared as high as $79.25 during the class period, allowing the company
to use its inflated stock as a currency for acquisitions, and allowing
company officials to receive over $11 million from insider sales. On
January 20, 2000, however - only one week after the CFO assured
concerned analysts that Legato's revenues and earnings would meet
expectations - the company shocked the investment community when it
announced that it would restate its third quarter earnings downwards
(due to improper recognition of revenues) and miss its fourth quarter
estimates. Suddenly faced with accounting improprieties, revised lower
earnings and revised and lowered growth rates, Legato's share price
plummeted over 44% in one day, shedding more than $23 per share, and has
declined more than 62% from its Class Period high.

Contact: Jeffrey H. Squire, Esq. Ira M. Press, Esq. Robert Feinstein,
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

LEGATO SYSTEMS: Shepherd & Geller Files Securities Suit in California
The Law Firm of Shepherd & Geller, LLC announced on January 20 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 Legato
Systems, Inc. ("Legato" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:LGTO) between October
21, 1999 and January 19, 2000, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges that the Company and certain of its officers and
directors violated the federal securities laws by providing materially
false and misleading information about the Company's business, earnings
growth and financial statements. As a result of these false and
misleading statements the Company's stock traded at artificially
inflated prices during the class period. Prior to the disclosure of the
above mentioned adverse facts, certain insiders took advantage of the
inflated stock price by selling $11.5 million in Legato common stock to
the investing public. Additionally, the defendants used the Company's
artificially inflated stock price to finance certain acquisitions in
stock-for-stock deals. When the truth about the Company was revealed,
the price of the stock dropped significantly.

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, Pa.
Scott R. Shepherd, 610/891-9880 Toll Free: 1-877-891-9880 E-mail:

MICROSOFT CORP: Alleged Collusion with Law Firms Overshadow Class Cert.
Allegations of collusion between Microsoft Corp. and two high-profile
California law firms threaten to overshadow arguments for certifying a
class action against the software giant in San Francisco Superior Court.
The pretrial maneuverings have attorneys barking like alpha male sled
dogs to become lead counsel in litigation that accuses Microsoft of
unfair business practices.

Eugene Crew of Townsend and Townsend and Crew filed his case, Lingo v.
Microsoft, 301357, last February. That was nine months before at least
23 other lawsuits were filed in California against Microsoft. The
November cases followed U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's
findings of fact in the federal antitrust action, United States v.
Microsoft, 1999 WL 1001107.

Crew argues that his firm should be designated lead counsel if his class
action is certified since it was filed first and has been shepherded to
the point of trial. A pretrial status conference is scheduled for Feb.

Judge Stuart Pollak is scheduled to hear arguments on January 21 on
certifying the class action, but the battle over lead counsel may elbow
its way to the forefront.

In court papers, Crew alleges that Microsoft lawyers sought to
manipulate which firm or firms would be designated lead counsel. He
argues that Microsoft wants a "quick settlement" of the case to the
detriment of class members and to the enrichment of other lawyers
seeking the role of lead counsel. "Frankly, counsel for plaintiffs were
astonished by the frenzy of 'follow-on' complaints filed" after
Jackson's findings of fact, Crew said. "We wondered what could motivate
so many others to file new complaints when this action had been pending
for almost a year and was steadily moving forward. We became
particularly concerned about two law firms -- Milberg Weiss and Lieff,
Cabraser -- that began filing numerous identical complaints in different
California venues."

In a counterpunch, Stephen Bomse, who represents Microsoft in San
Francisco, accused Crew of worrying more about being named lead counsel
than completing coordination of the many cases. "While plaintiffs
purport to defend their position as an effort to protect the interests
of the alleged class, in fact, it is a rather thinly veiled effort
simply to promote their own primacy as counsel," said Bomse, a partner
at Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe. "Indeed, the logic of plaintiffs'
position is difficult to discern except as an exercise in unvarnished
self- interest."

In his court papers, Crew related a strange scenario involving a series
of telephone calls his firm received from a Microsoft lawyer and two
attorneys -- one from Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, and the
other from Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein. "On Dec. 15, 1999, we
received a telephone call from Len Simon, a partner at the Milberg
firm," said Crew, adding that Simon was asked why his firm had filed
duplicative lawsuits. "He replied that his firm expected to support
venue in San Francisco provided his firm was assured a prominent role in
the control of work to be done in the litigation," said Crew. "He
acknowledged that his firm had filed numerous complaints in other
counties merely so Milberg could support venue outside San Francisco in
the event it was not promised a controlling position in the San
Francisco litigation."

Simon also told Crew that he had been communicating with Steve Berman, a
Seattle attorney who represents Microsoft. Simon told Crew he and Berman
had a "special relationship." "Just before Mr. Simon hung up, we
received a telephone call from Microsoft's lawyers in Redmond, Wash. --
Steve Berman and in-house counsel Richard Wallis," Crew recalled. "Mr.
Berman insisted that plaintiffs include both the Milberg firm and the
Lieff firm in the control of plaintiffs' class action legal strategy."

And then, "shortly after that call was concluded, we received a
telephone call from Robert Lieff of Lieff, Cabraser," Crew added. "He
bragged that he, too, had a special 'relationship' with Mr. Berman after
working together on other plaintiffs' cases and he anticipated a 'quick
settlement' if the Lieff firm were to be given a prominent role in the
management of and control of plaintiffs' action.

"After looking into Lieff's special relationship with Mr. Berman
further, we discovered that both had participated in other class action
settlements that were highly criticized in the press as unfair to the
class members," said Crew. He attached as an exhibit a Wall Street
Journal article that appeared July 24, 1998.

The newspaper article told of a class action brought by Berman and
Lieff, Cabraser in a Louisiana-Pacific products liability case and their
settlement of allegations of defective house siding. "The lawyers got
$26 million in fees," the Journal said. "Many of the homeowners, it now
appears, got seriously short-changed."

In a sworn declaration, attorney Richard Grossman, a Townsend partner,
said the phone calls unnerved him. "We were alarmed by Microsoft's
efforts to control the management of plaintiffs' legal team and to have
it stacked with two firms that appeared to be colluding with Microsoft,"
Grossman said.

Joseph Saveri, a Lieff, Cabraser partner, acknowledged in a telephone
interview that his firm has worked with Berman before on other class
actions. But describing the ties as a "special relationship is too
strong a word," he said. Instead, he said it was more like "a good
working relationship." "It's important to have a good working
relationship with a defendant's counsel," he added.

Berman declined to discuss the case. He referred calls to Microsoft's
corporate public relations office.

Jim Cullinan, a Microsoft spokesman, said the issue of which law firm to
designate as lead counsel is not a matter for the software maker to
decide. He said Berman was one of several outside counsel working on
class actions naming Microsoft as a defendant, but that the lawyer did
not speak for Microsoft on such issues. "It's rhetoric from plaintiff's
counsel, and I don't think there's any validity to it," Cullinan said.
"I don't think it's something Microsoft wants to get in the middle of."
He also reiterated Microsoft's position on the class actions that have
been filed against it, saying "we think there is no basis for these

But Jessica Pers, another Heller Ehrman partner, said in court papers
that Microsoft did indeed have a position and was opposed to "the
request that Townsend and Townsend and Crew should be appointed liaison

Heller Ehrman also told the Judicial Council, which is charged with
determining what judge should coordinate the many lawsuits, that
Microsoft wanted the cases to be consolidated in San Diego County
superior court. Milberg Weiss' home office is located in San Diego.
"Unlike San Francisco, the coordination site proposed by other
plaintiffs, San Diego offers a neutral forum untainted by the pervasive
anti-Microsoft sentiment generated and stoked by Microsoft's aggressive
competitors in the San Francisco area," Heller Ehrman partner Robert
Rosenfeld told the council. "Similarly, in San Diego, the choice of lead
and liaison counsel can be made on the merits, free of the jockeying for
position already occurring in San Francisco...."

The Judicial Council ignored Heller Ehrman's proposal and gave San
Francisco Presiding Judge Alfred Chiantelli the task of assigning a
motion judge to determine how to consolidate the many cases. That could
be Judge Pollak.

In a telephone interview, Milberg Weiss' Simon acknowledged that his
firm is seeking to be designated lead counsel. He said there is nothing
sinister in that. "We're trying to get a lead role in the California
cases," Simon said. "We think we deserve it because we're good lawyers."
He said Berman called him to discuss issues, since the two were familiar
with each other from Berman's former activities as a plaintiffs
attorney. "Defense counsel calls plaintiffs' counsel all the time,"
Simon said, in order to proceed in the most "efficient" manner.

He denied that early settlement talks between Milberg Weiss and
Microsoft had occurred. He said his firm filed at least one lawsuit
against Microsoft in San Francisco.

Simon also accused Crew of violating court rules for asking Pollak to be
named lead counsel without notifying all plaintiffs counsel who have
filed lawsuits against Microsoft in California.

Crew said neither Milberg Weiss nor Lieff, Cabraser have pending
litigation before Pollak. He said that means they have no standing to
argue the lead counsel issue before the judge. Simon responded: "Well,
I'm going to court, and let's see if he Pollak lets us talk." (The
Recorder, January 21, 2000)

MOBIL OIL: Company in Australia Could Face $66 Mil. Compensation Claims
Mobil Oil Australia Ltd. could face compensation claims of more than
Australian dlrs 100 million (U.S. dlrs 66 million) stemming from
Australia's aviation fuel contamination crisis, light aircraft operators

Up to 5,000 small aircraft in Australia's eastern states have been
grounded by aviation authorities for 11 days because of fears batches of
aviation gasoline made by Mobil could block engine systems.

Lawyers for operators say they will lodge a class action suit against
Mobil, a subsidiary of U.S.-based Mobil Exxon Corp., in Federal Court,
claiming damages for business losses the industry estimates amount to
Australian dollars 5 million (U.S. dlrs 3.3 million) a day.

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association president Bill Hamilton said on
January 21 that the class action would be filed Monday, January 24, but
that he hoped the matter would be settled out of court. (AP Worldstream,
January 21, 2000)

NET SPAM: Can. Prof. Compares Blacklist Threat to Digital Class Action
A blacklist threat to Internet providers has proven cyberspace can be
self-policed, says a city computer guru. "You can do the equivalent of a
digital class-action suit. It's wonderful," said Randy Goebel, a
computing science prof at the University of Alberta.

Recently, a group of news server managers who monitor spam, the
unsolicited, anonymous ads that have been swamping Usenet news groups,
said it was issuing a "Usenet Death Penalty" against Excite@Home.

The U.S.-based firm provides high-speed Net access to millions across
North America. The approximately 70,000 customers of Alberta providers
Shaw@Home and Rogers@Home would have been affected as well.

The penalty was to block any message, including innocent ones, from
going on public bulletin boards maintained by Usenet.

"The Usenet administrators said, 'We'll fight back. We'll threaten @Home
and say we're not going to allow your clients to participate in Usenet
discussions because you allowed your clients to send out spam," said

The threat worked. The level of spam had dropped to some of the lowest
levels in more than a month, and a 30-day stay was issued on the "death

Goebel said somehow the @Home providers decided they couldn't alienate
their regular client base. "Control can be in the hands of the users.
They forced change in a big company." (The Edmonton Sun, January 21,

NETWORK ASSOCIATES: Will Underdogs Be Lead Counsel in Securities Suit?
Three months ago, the dozens of lawyers litigating the massive
securities class action against Network Associates considered retired
San Jose, Calif., lawyer Robert Vatuone's application to serve as lead
plaintiff only long enough to snicker at it.

After all, Mr. Vatuone was just a lone investor in Network Associates
who claimed that he had lost $ 30,000 because of the anti-virus software
maker's alleged financial chicanery. And he was competing against giant
institutional investors such as the city of Philadelphia and foreign
equity funds, each claiming millions of dollars worth of losses.
Moreover, the seminal Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
requires judges to pick institutional investors as lead plaintiffs as
often as they can.

But after a series of rulings by U.S. District Judge William Alsup and
the surprising responses to those orders by the institutional investors,
Mr. Vatuone stands as the lead plaintiff in In re Network Associates
Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 99-1729.

Now the strong possibility looms for more underdogs to come out on top.
Many believe that Mr. Vatuone may pick two small law firms as lead
counsel. That would be yet another surprise because small firms get
picked as lead counsel in securities class actions about as often as
lone investors.

Judge Alsup first appointed Philadelphia lead plaintiff. But the judge
refused to automatically appoint the city's law firm of choice --
Philadelphia's Barrack, Rodos & Bacine -- as lead counsel, a position
potentially worth millions in attorney fees. Instead, the judge ordered
the city to put the lead counsel designation out to bid.

                     'After Due Deliberations'

Earlier in December, Philadelphia declined the chance to serve as lead
plaintiff, saying that it didn't want to lead the litigation if it
couldn't choose its own counsel. So Judge Alsup solicited more
applications for the lead plaintiff position and received at least three
from individual investors such as Mr. Vatuone and also one missive from
lawyers representing KBC Equity Fund, agreeing with Philadelphia's

"KBC Equity Fund does not wish to entertain bids from other lawyers,"
wrote Randall Berger, of New York's Kirby McInerney & Squire. "After due
deliberations by senior level personnel, it selected and has dealt
extensively with me and others of our office, and wishes to abide by its
right to select counsel. KBC Equity Fund would not, for example, engage
Weiss & Yourman, or other strangers."

Mr. Berger concluded his Dec. 13 letter by arguing that KBC Equity Fund
"is the most appropriate lead plaintiff" but would not serve if it
couldn't choose its own counsel.

Two days later, Judge Alsup appointed Mr. Vatuone lead plaintiff. "Mr.
Vatuone is a lawyer with 40 years of experience and has practical
know-how in the selection of counsel, managing discovery, evaluating
settlement offers and law and motion practice," Judge Alsup wrote.
"Although other candidates have somewhat larger losses than Mr. Vatuone,
the above factors convince the court that Mr. Vatuone should lead the
class. Mr. Vatuone, of course, will not be paid for his services except
to the extent costs and expenses are allowed by law. Mr. Vatuone must
now select counsel."

Judge Alsup made his decision nearly two months after he held an
all-night hearing on Nov. 4 in which he closely questioned lead
plaintiff candidates, including Mr. Vatuone. "There's no question that
you have the background to be very skilled at this sort of thing, but
you can see that these institutional investors have got, in terms of
absolute dollars, a much bigger stake."

At that hearing, Mr. Vatuone was represented by Allen Ruby, of Ruby &
Schofield, and James McManis, of McManis, Faulkner & Morgan -- two San
Jose firms that hope to win the lead counsel designation, as firms big
and small are now clamoring for Mr. Vatuone's business. They have just
as good, if not better, a shot as the other firms, including Milberg,
Weiss, Bershad, Hynes & Lerach, of winning the lead counsel derby. Mr.
Vatuone, as he told Judge Alsup during the Nov. 4 hearing, is personal
friends with Messrs. Ruby and McManis.

If the McManis and Ruby firms do become lead counsel, their appointment
would represent a stunning coup for the two tiny firms. Rarely, if ever,
do outside firms such as the San Jose outfits ever come close to cashing
in on these federal stock-drop suits. But that may all change if Judge
Alsup's lead plaintiff and lead counsel rulings, as expected, become the
industry standard in federal courtrooms across the country.

"You may see a lot of people like Allen and me coming into these cases,"
Mr. McManis said. (The National Law Journal, January 10, 2000)

TOBACCO LITIGATION: Philip Morris Will Fight Flight Attendantsí Suits
Philip Morris said on January 20 that it will vigorously defend
individual lawsuits filed in Miami by flight attendants seeking
compensation for alleged health injuries as a result of exposure to
work-related environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).

"These newly-filed cases raise ETS claims similar to those rejected by
jurors in two recent trials against the tobacco industry. In addition,
punitive damages cannot be sought or awarded in these cases because of
an earlier settlement with members of the Broin class-action lawsuit,"
said John J. Mulderig, an associate general counsel with Philip Morris.

"There have been trials in Indiana and Mississippi where jurors - after
hearing and considering all of the evidence - ruled that the plaintiffs'
injuries were not the result of exposure to ETS," Mulderig said.

"As part of our efforts to pass comprehensive national legislation
relating to tobacco issues, the tobacco industry settled the Broin
class-action lawsuit by agreeing to fund a $300 million medical research
facility and pay the flight attendants' attorney $46 million in
attorneys' fees plus expenses. That settlement has no bearing on the
merits of the individual claims of the flight attendants," said

"We agreed to that settlement for reasons that had nothing to do with
the validity of the claims brought in the class-action lawsuit; it had
everything to do with our efforts to pass the comprehensive national
legislation relating to tobacco issues," he added.

The settlement provided no money to any of the flight attendants who
were members of the class but allowed them instead to file individual
suits to be decided on the merits of each case through separate trials.

However, the settlement specifically prevents any flight attendant who
was a member of the class from seeking or recovering punitive damages
from any of the tobacco company defendants.

TORONTO SUN: Reports on Suit over Misconduct Re SunShine Girl Photo
Legal action has started against The Toronto Sun related to allegations
of misconduct during SunShine Girl photo sessions. The notice of action
was filed in court on January 20 and names Sun Media, The Toronto Sun
and photographer Norm Betts. The class-action suit, which names Vanessa
Fehringer as the plaintiff, is seeking $ 10 million in damages.
Fehringer was photographed as a SunShine Girl in 1997. Betts, who had
been with The Sun since it was founded in 1971, resigned on January 19.
(The Toronto Sun, January 21, 2000)

UCAR INTíL: FSBA Announces Ct Approval of Settlement of Securities Suit
The Florida State Board of Administration ("FSBA"), the employee pension
fund for Florida state and county employees, announced that the
settlement of the action it initiated against UCAR International, Inc.
(NYSE:UCR) ("UCAR" or the "Company"), was approved by the Honorable
Janet Bond Arterton of the United States District Court for the District
of Connecticut on January 19, 2000. This action, in which the FSBA acted
as the Lead Plaintiff, was brought under the federal securities laws as
a class action on behalf of investors in UCAR from the date of the
Company's initial public offering in August 1995 through March 1998. The
action alleged violations of the federal securities laws arising out of
UCAR's failure to disclose the extent to which its growth, profit
margins and earnings were the product of an illegal price fixing

The settlement approved by the Court provides for the payment of $40
million and the appointment of a new director with significant antitrust
experience to the Board of Directors of UCAR. The FSBA is pleased that
its selection for the Board, Mary Cranston, Firm Chair of the Law Firm
of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, LLP, has been agreed to by UCAR and will
be nominated for an opening on the Board of Directors at the upcoming
annual meeting of shareholders. The FSBA's Executive Director Tom
Herndon stated, "We are pleased that UCAR has agreed to appoint Mary
Cranston to its Board of Directors as part of this settlement. Ms.
Cranston, an officer of the American Bar Association Antitrust Section
and chair of the Antitrust and Trade Regulation Section of the
California Bar, is a highly regarded antitrust lawyer whose experience
and commitment will benefit UCAR and its shareholders for years to come.
We are also pleased that the Court has approved a settlement providing
for the appointment of a new director to UCAR's Board, which we believe
is a ground-breaking development in the area of shareholder litigation
and shareholder rights generally."

To participate in the settlement, claims must be submitted on or before
March 6, 2000. Claim forms should be sent to David Berdon & Co., LLP,
P.O. Box 3218 Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163. The FSBA was
represented in the UCAR litigation by Michael J. Pucillo of Burt &
Pucillo, LLP, in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Contact: Burt & Pucillo, LLP, West Palm Beach, Fla. Michael J. Pucillo,
1-800-349-4612 or 561/835-9400


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
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Washington, DC.  Theresa Cheuk and Peter A. Chapman, editors.

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

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