/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/000217.MBX                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

               Thursday, February 17, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 34


AMERIBANK: MI Ct Dismisses Successor Suit on Fees; Tolling Can't Apply
BESICORP: Announces Dismissal of NY Suit Re Consideration from Merger
BLOOD VICTIMS: Canadian Fund Gets Tied up; Adjudicator Faces U.S. Suits
FEN-PHEN: AHP Agrees to Pay Houston User with Replacement Valves $8-9M
INMATES LITIGATION: Ex-Attica Inmates Recount Suffering at Hearing

JDN REALTY: Chitwood & Harley Files Securities Suit in Georgia
JDN REALTY: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Lawsuit in Georgia
JDN REALTY: Shepherd & Geller Files Securities Suit in GA
JDN REALTY: Steven E. Cauley Files Securities Lawsuit in Georgia
LOS ANGELES POLICE: ACLU Alleges Racial Profiling In Federal Lawsuit

NJ POLICE: Barisonek to Manage Discovery in Racial-Profiling Challenges
POLICY MANAGEMENT: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Suit in NY
SUNSTAR HEALTHCARE: Burt & Pucillo Files Securities Lawsuit in FL
SYKES ENTERPRISES: Gilman and Pastor Files Securities Suit in FL

* Blacks in Govt Urge Clinton to Protect Diversity Programs in Hiring
* FTC Plans to Beef up Action against Fraud in Online Auctions
* Washington Post Says Class Act Ban in Bill Debilitating for VA's Poor


AMERIBANK: MI Ct Dismisses Successor Suit on Fees; Tolling Can't Apply
The pendency of a class action tolls the statute of limitations period
for filing individual claims but not for successor class actions. Weston
v. AmeriBank, No. 1:99-cv-698 (W.D. Mich. 1/3/00).

A class of loan borrowers sued AmeriBank in Michigan's Kent County
Circuit Court on Dec. 21, 1998, alleging the bank violated Michigan law
by engaging in the unauthorized practice of law and charging excessive
document preparation fees. The court certified Dressel v. AmeriBank, No.
98-13017-CP (Kent County Circuit Court 1998), as a class action but
before class notice was sent dismissed the action. The court held the
bank's "practice of preparing documents and charging a fee for that
preparation [did] not constitute the unauthorized practice of law... .
This Court also conclude[d] that, likewise as a matter of law, the fee
charged by the bank [was] not illegal, even if it exceed[ed] the costs
of preparing the loan documents." The court denied the plaintiffs'
request to amend their complaint to include a TILA count and dismissed
the class action on July 2, 1999. The court also denied the plaintiffs'
motion for reconsideration on Sept. 3, 1999.

Seven days after the circuit court denied the motion for reconsideration
in Dressel and one year and five months after closing her loan with
AmeriBank, Patricia A. Weston filed a class action against the lender in
the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Weston,
who was a member of the Dressel class and represented by the same class
counsel, claimed the bank violated the TILA when it charged her a 350
fee disclosed as a document preparation fee when in fact it was a loan
processing or loan origination fee. She contended the fee was not
disclosed on her TILA statement as an element of the finance charge and
was not included in the annual percentage rate.

                           Class Claims

AmeriBank rebutted that the TILA's one-year statute of limitations
barred Weston's action. Weston countered that the statute was tolled on
her TILA claim during the pendency of the Dressel case action and, thus,
her complaint was timely filed. She relied on the U.S. Supreme Court's
ruling in American Pipe and Construction Co. v. Utah, 414 U.S. 538
(1974), that if a statute of limitations is tolled it is tolled for all
class members until class certification and then individual class
members may file their own individual suits or intervene as plaintiffs
in the pending class action.

The District Court held that Weston misapplied American Pipe to her
situation because "Weston [was] not however, in this case, merely
attempting to bring her own individual claims against AmeriBank.
Instead, Weston, like her predecessors in Dressel, [sought] classwide
relief." Following the majority view, the District Court ruled that
while the statute of limitations for individuals claims was tolled
during the pendency of a class action, there was no similar tolling
period for future class actions for putative class members.

                         Individual Claims

Next, the District Court considered if Weston's TILA action could
proceed as an individual claim. It concluded that under the state law
and the doctrine of res judicata, Weston could not litigate a claim that
could have been litigated in the earlier proceeding. Judge Wendell A.
Miles stated that all the elements of claim preclusion were present:

* The parties or their privies were the same.
* The prior judgment was rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction.
* The prior judgment was final and rendered on the merits.
* The two suits involved the same cause of action or causes of action
that could have been litigated.

                             Forum Shopping

The District Court also addressed AmeriBank's allegations that Weston
engaged in forum shopping. According to the court, the fact that Weston
filed her action seven days after the circuit court denied the Dressels'
motion for reconsideration, that she failed to file an appeal in Dressel
and that she failed to file her own state court action, supported
AmeriBank's allegations.

                            Equitable Estoppel

Weston, in a last attempt to avoid dismissal, argued that the statute of
limitation on her TILA claim should be equitably tolled because
AmeriBank engaged in fraudulent concealment. She claimed the bank misled
her in regard to the document preparation fee disclosed on her
settlement statement.

The court ruled AmeriBank's actions did not amount to fraudulent
concealment and thus, equitable tolling was not warranted. "Nothing
which AmeriBank has done, or failed to do, prevented Weston from filing
suit in a timely matter. AmeriBank did not hide the fact of the charge,
nor did it conceal to whom the fee would be paid."

In conclusion, the District Court granted AmeriBank's motion to dismiss
and dismissed Weston's claim with prejudice.

John E. Anding of Drew, Cooper & Anding in Grand Rapids, Mich.,
represented Weston. Ronald J. VanderVeen of Cunningham Dalman PC in
Holland, Mich., represented AmeriBank. (Consumer Financial Services Law
Report, February 9, 2000)

BESICORP: Announces Dismissal of NY Suit Re Consideration from Merger
Besicorp Ltd. announced on February 14 that the New York Supreme Court,
New York County, dismissed, with prejudice, a class action lawsuit
against Besicorp Group Inc., the Company's former parent. The lawsuit,
Alan Fenster vs. Besicorp Group Inc. et al. was filed in January of
1999, and alleged, among other things, that consideration Besicorp
shareholders were to receive from a merger which became effective on
March 22, 1999 was inadequate.

Michael Zinn, President of Besicorp Ltd., made the following statement:
"Yet another meritless and malicious class action suit has been
dismissed. These plaintiff attorneys make a fortune extracting money
from the companies they target because most companies pay them off
rather than endure protracted litigation. Besicorp has never paid off
legal predators. These lawsuits cause enormous damage to the companies
and individuals that they target, and there is no means to hold these
people accountable."

Michael Zinn, founder and CEO of Besicorp, is the author of "Mad-Dog
Prosecutors and Other Hazards of American Business," a book which
describes his encounters with America's legal system.

BLOOD VICTIMS: Canadian Fund Gets Tied up; Adjudicator Faces U.S. Suits
Thousands of Canadians - estimates vary from 20,000 to 50,000 - were
infected with hepatitis C through the blood system in the 1970s and
'80s. Some died of the chronic liver disease, reports The Toronto Star.

Four years ago, some of the victims banded together to launch a class
action suit. Ottawa and the provinces, fearing massive damages, decided
to settle out-of-court. On March 27, 1998, the two levels of government
announced a $1.2 billion fund for those infected between 1986 and 1990.
The national compensation plan would provide money, on a sliding scale,
for up to 10,000 Canadians infected with hepatitis C between January,
1986, and July, 1990.

The victims still haven't seen a penny. While victims wait for payments,
some 40 hemophiliacs have died. Other tainted-blood victims have been
paying for drugs and other treatments for almost two years while the
compensation fund has been bogged down in court hearings.

Health Minister Allan Rock says he has instructed government lawyers to
do all they can to speed delivery of some $1.2 billion in tainted-blood
compensation to victims who have waited almost two years for their

                 Controversy over Lawyers' Payment

Lawyers for tainted-blood victims have already been paid more than $4
million from a compensation fund, The Toronto Star points out. The
lawyers, who are seeking $52.5 million in total fees, say they have
merely dipped into a fund to pay off creditors after working for four
years without payment.

But some victims are livid. ''It's pretty disgusting,'' said Neil Van
Dusen, a 41-year-old Nova Scotia hemophiliac and father of four.
''They're paying the lawyers before the victims. These guys can't wait?
It's pretty hard to take. I haven't seen one thin dime.'' Van Dusen is
infected with hepatitis C and faces a liver transplant. He is eligible
for payments up to $240,000 from a $1.2 billion compensation package for
hepatitis C victims, which was agreed to by federal Health Minister
Allan Rock and his provincial counterparts almost two years ago.

A Toronto court begins on February 14 consideration of the fees for lead
counsel Harvey Strosberg and his colleagues, who negotiated for all
blood-transfused tainted-blood victims in Ontario and the rest of Canada
except Quebec and British Columbia.

Court documents show that in Ontario, Strosberg and his associates have
already been paid $3.2 million for work on behalf of tainted-blood
victims between 1986 and 1990. Strosberg said 11 law firms have been
working without pay for more than three years on the tainted-blood case
and he called the payment approved by the court ''perfectly
reasonable.'' ''The lawyers have not been paid,'' he said.''We have
received some money on account which covers our costs.''

The lawyer representing British Columbia victims, J.J. Camp,
acknowledged he has received a cheque for $950,000 for his work so far.
He said he needed the money to pay for disbursements and pay down a line
of credit ''which went through the roof . . . I'm just back even,'' he

Two lawyers who have been negotiating the package along with Camp and
Strosberg have decided they will not take any money before the
compensation fund is paying victims. ''We do not believe lawyers should
be paid any fees while victims wait,'' said Pierre Lavigne, the lead
counsel for Quebec hepatitis C victims.

Bonnie Tough, who represented hemophiliacs in the deal, has been allowed
expense money of $913,171 by the court but she has not accepted the
payment. ''My arrangement with my clients is that I'm not going to get
paid before there is an administrator in place paying victims,'' she

Isaac Magiskan of Thunder Bay, who has hepatitis C, said news that
lawyers have already dipped into the compensation fund has saddened him.

Rock told the Commons his lawyers are hard at work to ensure that money
goes to claimants ''at the earliest possible moment.'' He was responding
to NDP health critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis, who told the Commons the lack
of payment to tainted-blood victims after 23 months represents ''another
Liberal scandal.''

In Toronto, Strosberg argued that the Ontario lawyers helped sweeten the
compensation deal, Canadian Press reports. ''As a result of their
efforts there was $520 million added to the settlement, '' he told
Justice Warren Winkler of Ontario's Superior Court of Justice. Strosberg
said the lawyers also won other important concessions, such as a
guarantee that claimants won't have to give up their right to government
benefits. 'They've all got nice homes and nice cars' Taking on the case
was risky, he added: ''A more complex case than this is hard to

Rock also told the House of Commons that Ottawa has consistently opposed
payouts to lawyers for hepatitis C victims before money is paid out to
those victims.

As he was speaking, his lawyers were in a Toronto courtroom seeking to
reduce potential payouts to Ontario lawyers involved in the case to $3.9
million from $20 million.

In British Columbia, federal lawyers are seeking to reduce a $15 million
proposed legal fee to between $3.25 and $3.75 million. The lead counsel
in the B.C. lawsuit, J.J. Camp, has already received $950,000 in

Ottawa has not yet filed its arguments in Quebec, where lawyers
representing victims in that province have requested $17.5 million.

     Adjudicator Is Facing a Slew of Class Action Suits in U.S.

According to The Toronto Star, more delays loom because the parent
company of the administrator of the fund - the adjudicator who decides
who is eligible for compensation - is facing a slew of class-action
lawsuits in the United States. After Peterson was approved in Ontario
and British Columbia courts, its parent company was hit with a number of
class-action suits in the U.S. and actions filed with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission.

Lawyers involved in the national compensation plan have also moved to
allay fears that the victims will face further delays because of the
uncertainty surrounding the fund's administrator.

A court in Quebec will hear testimony on the state of the company,
Peterson Worldwide.

A Montreal court will hear arguments February 17 and 18 regarding the
reliability of Peterson Worldwide, the company that had been agreed on
as the fund administrator.

Camp will argue Peterson should continue as administrator and should
post a performance bond. He said Peterson has been working to set up the
infrastructure for the administration even though its fate is unclear.

If rejected by the court, the job will go to Kitchener-based Garden City
Group Canada. (The Toronto Star February 14 and 15, 2000)

FEN-PHEN: AHP Agrees to Pay Houston User with Replacement Valves $8-9M
American Home Products Corp. has agreed to pay $8 million to $9 million
to a Houston woman in what could be the largest settlement to date for
any individual claiming harm by the fen-phen diet drug combination, the
Houston Chronicle reported in its Saturday editions.

Virginia Brinkley, 55, had to have two heart valves replaced with
artificial valves and was facing a third replacement, allegedly because
of side effects from the drugs. Her case was to go to trial.

John O'Quinn, her attorney, said Brinkley began taking fen-phen in 1995
to lose weight and treat an acid-reflux problem. Her heart-valve
problems were diagnosed a year later.

In October, Madison, N.J.-based American Home Products announced it
would pay $4.8 billion to settle fen-phen lawsuits. However, attorneys
representing thousands of fen-phen users said they wouldn't participate
in the settlement.

INMATES LITIGATION: Ex-Attica Inmates Recount Suffering at Hearing
Gary Haynes, Attica survivor, waited almost 30 years for this day.
Dressed in a weathered suit with his mother, Betty, at his side, Mr.
Haynes showed up at the federal district courthouse here almost an hour
early on February 15 morning. He wanted to talk about how the guards had
beaten him and burned his chest with cigarettes. He wanted to tell
people about the kidney transplant that he says was a result of the
beating -- as well as the broken ankle, the broken feet, the broken hip
and the thwarted dreams that ensued.

He got his chance shortly after 10:30, when he rose from the gallery,
walked to the lectern and addressed Judge Michael A. Telesca, his voice
quivering. "There is no way in the world that what each of us went
through can have a monetary value," said Mr. Haynes, who served three
years for check forgery and is now a frail and scruffy 53. "Is it worth
$1? Is it worth $10 million? It's been 28 years and it's time to end.
It's time to end."

With that, Mr. Haynes became the first of 14 former inmates to offer
their opinions at a unusual hearing about last month's prisoners' rights
settlement, in which New York State agreed to pay a total of $8 million
to inmates who were tortured by guards and state troopers after the 1971
Attica prison uprising. Forty-three people were killed and more than 80
wounded in the four-day siege and its suppression, the bloodiest prison
uprising in the country's history.

With one exception, the former inmates said that the settlement, while
not as generous as they would have liked, was an acceptable way to close
a painful chapter in their lives. As a result, Judge Telesca is expected
to approve the agreement, and begin the formidable job of dividing the
money among the inmates, based on the injury each suffered in the

For most of the former inmates who came out in the day's snow and ice to
speak up or just lend support to those who did, the hearing was the
first time they were back in a courtroom since being sentenced to
prison, 30 years ago or more. And it proved to be a visceral reminder of
how much has changed: one man carried an oxygen tank, another walked
with a cane, and everyone, it seemed, had moistened eyes.

The sister of one former inmate, Ernestine Felder Keeton, began to sob,
uncontrollably, while talking about her younger brother, Gregory, who
had been serving time in Attica for robbery. He died of cancer six years
ago at age 41. "I never heard a whole bunch of people speak at one
time," she said. "I thought Gregory was making some of this up. My
brother would run through the house screaming or hiding under the bed,
thinking that someone would be after him. My kids thought we lived in
the prison."

The hearing was all the more unusual as an unexpected reunion, since
many of the former inmates had not seen each other since the siege three
decades ago.

On Sept. 9, 1971, inmates at the Attica Correctional Facility, about 30
miles east of Buffalo, seized control of parts of the prison and took
many of the guards hostage as a way of protesting poor medical care,
unsanitary conditions and the lack of other basic services. When
negotiations stalled, though, Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller ordered the
state police to retake Prison Yard D. Troopers used helicopters, dropped
tear gas and fired indiscriminately at a crowd of more than 1,200
inmates in the yard.

After the troopers had regained control, law enforcement authorities and
prison guards committed brutal acts of reprisal, forcing inmates to
crawl naked over broken glass and denying basic medical care to the

Three years later, lawyers representing 1,281 inmates filed a $2.8
billion class-action lawsuit against prison and state officials. But it
took 18 years before the suit came to trial, and 5 more to reach the
damages phase -- delays that the inmates' lawyers and a federal judge
later said were the fault of a lower court judge and the State of New

In January, though, at the urging of Judge Telesca, the parties agreed
to the proposed settlement, which provides $8 million for inmates and $4
million in lawyers' fees and does not require the defendants to admit
liability or wrongdoing.

In an indication of just how sensitive the Attica case remains, Judge
Telesca felt compelled to clarify several matters. He said that although
he sympathized with calls from a growing number of people to offer
additional benefits to the relatives of the 11 guards who were killed,
he emphasized that the settlement, by law, could deal only with the
inmates' lawsuit.

Judge Telesca also said that only those inmates who were injured during
the siege would be eligible for the settlement. They will have until
July 7 to fill out a questionnaire, then will be interviewed
individually, if need be, by the judge, to determine how much money each
should receive.

The inmates' lawyers, some of whom have worked on the case for all their
careers, expect that perhaps 500 former and current inmates, most of
whom are middle-aged or elderly now, will file claims, and that the $8
million should be divided up by year's end.

But for the next few days, at least, the courtroom talk about the case
will focus on the personal tales of woe and resurrection from the former
inmates and their relatives.

There were people like Joseph McKee, who walked with a cane and talked
about how he just wanted to "get it over with." And Alice Lake, the
widow of Jake Lake, who spent 18 months in Attica on drug charges, she
said. She talked about the emotional toll the experience and the
nightmares it engendered had exacted on families. "It took me longer to
get over it than my husband," she said, clutching a sheaf of legal
documents. "This is a bitter taste, and you have to spit it out."

Others dwelled more on the historical and emotional ramifications. The
last speaker, Frank Smith, who had been convicted of holding up a dice
game, talked of how it was important to remember why the uprising
happened: to call attention to atrocious prison conditions. "When you
explain to your kids and your grandkids what the whole essence of Attica
was," Mr. Smith said in a booming voice, to both the gallery and the
judge, "you'll be able to tell them that it was to be treated as human
beings." (The New York Times, February 15, 2000)

JDN REALTY: Chitwood & Harley Files Securities Suit in Georgia
The Law Firm of Chitwood & Harley filed a securities class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of
Georgia on behalf of all purchasers of securities of JDN Realty
Corporation during the period March 31, 1997 through February 14, 2000,

The complaint charges JDN and one of its officers with violations of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934. During the period 1994-1998, JDN filed
false and misleading financial statements with the Securities Exchange
Commission, the complaint alleges. On February 14, 2000, the Company
revealed that it would restate its financial results, thereby admitting
that its financial statements between 1994 and 1998 were false, the
complaint alleges. According to the complaint, these revelations caused
the price of JDN securities to collapse in value. Its common stock fell
from $16 9/16 to $9 13/16, a one-day drop over 40%. The complaint
alleges that prior to the collapse JDN sold $150 million worth of JDN
securities at artificially inflated prices.

Contact: Corey D. Holzer (888) 873-3999 (toll-free) or by e-mail at
cdh@classlaw.com Chitwood & Harley, 2900 Promenade II, 1230 Peachtree
Street, N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30309. For more information about
Chitwood & Harley, you can visit website at http://www.classlaw.com

JDN REALTY: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Lawsuit in Georgia
The law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP commenced securities Class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Georgia on behalf of all individual and institutional
investors who purchased securities of JDN Realty Corporation from March
31, 1997 through February 14, 2000, inclusive.

The complaint charges JDN Realty and certain of its officers and
directors with concealing the fact that certain of the Company's
executives were receiving undisclosed compensation in connection with
many of its real estate development projects. As a result, the Company's
financial statements were misstated and the market price of JDN Realty's
stock was artificially inflated. When defendants disclosed this
information, JDN Realty's stock price dropped over 40% in the course of
a single trading day.

For more details regarding this lawsuit, please contact Stuart L.
Berman, Esq. of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP. toll free at 1-888-299- 7706
or 1-610-667-7706, or via e-mail at info@sbclasslaw.com or visit website
at http://www.sbclasslaw.com

JDN REALTY: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in Georgia
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach filed a class action lawsuit in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on
behalf of all persons who purchased the common stock of JDN Realty
Corporation between March 28, 1997, and February 14, 2000, inclusive.

The complaint charges JDN and one of its officers with violations of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934. During the period 1994-1998, JDN filed
false and misleading financial statements with the Securities Exchange
Commission, the complaint alleges. On February 14, 2000, the Company
revealed that it would restate its financial results, thereby admitting
that its financial statements between 1994 and 1998 were false, the
complaint alleges. According to the complaint, these revelations caused
the price of JDN securities to collapse in value. Its common stock fell
from $16 9/16 to $9 13/16, a one day drop over 40%. The complaint
alleges that prior to the collapse JDN sold $150 million worth of JDN
securities at artificially inflated prices.

For additional information concerning this lawsuit, please contact, at
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, Steven G. Schulman or Samuel H.
Rudman at One Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th Floor, New York, New York
10119-0165, by telephone 1-800-320-5081 or via e-mail at
endfraud@mwbhlny.com or visit website at http://www.milberg.com

JDN REALTY: Shepherd & Geller Files Securities Suit in GA
The Law Firm of Shepherd & Geller, LLC announced that it has filed a
class action in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Georgia on behalf of all individuals and institutional
investors that purchased the securities of JDN Realty Corporation
between March 31, 1997 and February 14, 2000, inclusive. Securities
covered by the lawsuit include common stock, bonds and 9.375% Series A
Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual Preferred Stock.

The complaint charges that the Company and one of its officers violated
the federal securities laws. During the period of 1994 - 1998, JDN's
financial statements were all materially overstated and false. As a
result of these false and misleading statements the Company's stock
traded at artificially inflated prices during the class period. On
February 14, 2000, the Company revealed that it would be restating its
financial results, thereby admitting that its financial statements
between 1994 and 1998 were false. Prior to the disclosure of the
above-mentioned adverse facts, the Company took advantage of the
inflated stock price by selling $150 million worth of JDN securities to
the investing public. 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:

JDN REALTY: Steven E. Cauley Files Securities Lawsuit in Georgia
The Law Offices of Steven E. Cauley, P.A. filed a class action lawsuit
in the United States District Court for the Northern District of
Georgia, Atlanta Division, on behalf of all purchasers of securities of
JDN Realty Corporation during the period March 31, 1997 through February
14, 2000 inclusive. Securities covered by the lawsuit include common
stock, bonds and 9.375% Series A Cumulative Redeemable Perpetual
Preferred Stock.

The complaint charges JDN and one of its officers with violations of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934. During the period of 1994-1998, JDN's
financial statements were all materially overstated and false. On
February 14, 2000, the Company revealed that it would restate its
financial results, thereby admitting that its financial statements
between 1994 and 1998 were false. This revelation, according to the
complaint, caused the price of JDN Realty's securities to collapse in
value, falling from $16 9/16 to $9 13/16, a one day drop of over 40%, to
close well below the prices at which JDN securities traded throughout
the Class Period. The complaint alleges that, prior to the collapse, JDN
sold $150 million worth of JDN Realty securities at artificially
inflated prices.

Contact: Law Offices Of Steven E. Cauley, P.A. 2200 N. Rodney Parham
Road Suite 218, Cypress Plaza Little Rock, AR 72212, e-mail at
CauleyPA@aol.com or call at 1-888-551-9944 (toll free).

LOS ANGELES POLICE: ACLU Alleges Racial Profiling In Federal Lawsuit
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Los Angeles Police
Department for alleged racial profiling, where officers stop motorists
based on ethnicity or appearance.

The lawsuit was filed on February 10 in U.S. District Court on behalf of
three black men and two Hispanic men who were pulled over by LAPD
officers within the past year.  ``The stated grounds for the stops were
trumped up and phony,'' said Ramona Ripston, executive director of the
ACLU's Southern California chapter. ``There is no way in the world what
happened to them would have occurred if they were white.''

The stops cited in the suit included several of men who were forced from
their cars at gunpoint, handcuffed, detained and accused of criminal
conduct without provocation, the ACLU said.  Ripston said the suit
sought to end ``the terror persons of color feel when stopped and
scrutinized.'' Among other things, it asks the department be required to
maintain comprehensive traffic-stop records.

Last year, Gov. Gray Davis vetoed legislation that would have required
California law enforcement agencies to collect race and ethnicity data
on traffic stops. Dozens of local agencies are doing that voluntarily at
Davis' request. The California Highway Patrol is conducting its own
study of the issue, collecting data on traffic stops for the next three

Meanwhile, several state legislators have revived a bill that would
order police agencies to track the race of drivers stopped for traffic
violations. Davis' program to study racial profiling doesn't go far
enough, said state Sen. Kevin Murray, a fellow Democrat and lead author
of the latest bill.

He said only 50 of 433 law enforcement agencies have agreed to collect
the data.

Police agencies from New Jersey to Chicago have grappled with racial
profiling accusations. Some other California cities - including San
Diego and San Jose - have initiated programs to eliminate the practice.
(Los Angeles (AP))

NJ POLICE: Barisonek to Manage Discovery in Racial-Profiling Challenges
By invoking its administrative powers under the state constitution, New
Jersey's Supreme Court consolidated in a single judge discovery motions
in cases in which criminal defendants claim to have been victims of
racial profiling by the State Police.

But lawyers defending 80 indicted drug offenders in 10 counties are not
upset, because the Court turned the attorney general down on the most
critical part of his request. While discovery motions not yet filed in
profiling cases will be managed by one judge, pending motions will
remain under the aegis of the judges already handling them. Those
motions will be stayed until resolution of appeals of discovery orders
in three cases now at the Appellate Division. (See Notice to the Bar,
page 2.) That means the attorney general will not get the opportunity to
re-litigate the discovery orders already entered, which gave defendants
wide access to State Police records. Those orders will stand unless
overturned on appeal.

Appointed as the statewide discovery manager is Union County Superior
Court Judge Walter Barisonek, a 16-year veteran of the bench, primarily
in the Criminal Part. Barisonek has a reputation for being a tough
sentencer but one who is relatively free of ethnic and racial bias.
Barisonek, a former municipal prosecutor and a former staff attorney for
Essex County Legal Services, consistently has received high marks by
practitioners for his overall competence.

But the justices denied Attorney General John Farmer Jr.'s plea to have
the selected judge rehear discovery motions the state lost in three
counties. In those counties -- Hunterdon, Burlington and Bergen --
judges have ordered the state police to hand over internal documents the
agency fought to keep under wraps. In all three cases, the state has
successfully moved for leave to file interlocutory appeals.

But then it rushed to the Supreme Court in late December, bypassing the
Appellate Division. The state argued that it was moving to improve case
management, especially in light of the lack of uniformity in discovery
rulings by different judges against the same agency for the same claims.
Defense lawyers countered in court papers that the move smacked of
judge-shopping and was an effort to get a second bite at the apple and
stall disclosure of politically embarrassing documents. A lack of
uniformity in judicial rulings is a key reason for having appellate
courts, they protested.

Under the Supreme Court's administrative order, Barisonek will serve as
the statewide manager for discovery motions where defendants allege they
were selectively pulled over by troopers because they are black or
Hispanic. But Barisonek, who sits in the Criminal Part, will not rehear
existing discovery motions already resolved, or pending appeal. "We are
satisfied with the order," says First Assistant Public Defender Joel
Harris. His office had filed opposition papers with the high court
charging that the state was seeking a "do-over" in Hunterdon, Burlington
and Bergen counties because it saw "the handwriting on the wall." Harris
adds that the order suggests to him that Barisonek will wait to see how
the Appellate Division rules on the state's appeals of its discovery
losses before the three trial judges. "I think that Judge Barisonek
can't really do anything more than identify those cases where profiling
is alleged to have occurred, but then wait to see what the appeals panel

The high court's order also designates a single panel to hear the
pending appeals. It does not identify the panel, but a court spokeswoman
says that Judge Sylvia Pressler, the presiding judge for administration,
has selected Part H, presided over by Judge Edwin Stern. The panel
includes Judges Howard Kestin, Dorothea Wefing and Isaiah Steinberg.
Chief Justice Deborah Poritz and Associate Justice Peter Verniero
recused themselves from the deliberations. They served as attorneys
general in the Whitman administration and supervised the state police
during the period in which the state concedes that some racial profiling
occurred. As attorneys general, they fought the profiling charges in the
seminal case in Gloucester County, State v. Soto, 324 N.J. Super. 66
(Law Div. 1996). In Soto, a trial judge concluded that racial profiling
was being practiced by troopers on the southern portion of the New
Jersey Turnpike. And it was on the eve of appellate oral arguments in
Soto, last April, that the state flipped-flopped, withdrew its appeal
and acknowledged in an interim report by Division of Criminal Justice
Director Paul Zoubek that racial profiling had taken place. That report
has opened a floodgate of challenges based on allegations of racial
profiling, with more expected. Public defender Harris says the P.D.'s
Middlesex County office is ready to file selective-enforcement claims on
behalf of about 18 other drug defendants.

                    Jurisdictional Issue Avoided

In their opposition papers, public defenders argued that the Supreme
Court lacked jurisdiction to even entertain Farmer's motion. They point
to the state Constitution, Art. 6, sec. 2, para. 2, which says the Court
"has no original jurisdiction over cases" because its jurisdiction is
solely appellate.

But the five justices hearing the motion, led by acting chief judge
Daniel O'Hern, agreed with the state that the request was administrative
rather than judicial. In fact, before filing the motion, Zoubek asked
Richard Williams, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts,
to name a single judge, to stay all discovery motions and to have that
judge hear all motions, including those already decided. When the public
defenders balked at a subsequent meeting in early December, Williams
said he told Zoubek to have the Attorney General's Office file a motion.
The Court's order makes clear that it looks upon the request as
administrative, describing the motion as "seeking centralized judicial
management of pending litigation ... "

The Court's accompanying media advisory begins, "Pursuant to its
constitutional authority, the Supreme Court has determined to provide
prospective statewide management of discovery motions ... " The advisory
likens the move to the practice of naming one judge to manage mass tort
class actions, such as in asbestos, pharmaceutical or fire-retardant
plywood cases. "The goal is to ensure efficiency and consistency in the
management of multiple cases presenting the same or similar issues," the
advisory states.

Once all motions are decided, and the cases are ready for trial, they
will be shipped to the trial judges of original jurisdiction, according
to the order. The order did not address the attorney general's request
that the Court "structure ... the representation of the parties," which
defense attorneys say was a move to limit the defense in violation of
the Sixth Amendment. Zoubek says the state had no intention of
infringing on Sixth Amendment rights of defendants, but adds that the
state would ask the Public Defender's Office, which is handling more
than 80 percent of the cases, whether it was interested in assembling a
defense team to litigate the common discovery issues that will be before
Barisonek. Harris said defense attorneys are considering such an
arrangement. Moorestown solo practitioner William Buckman, who
represents defendants with profiling claims in the three key counties
where rulings have been rendered, says he, too, is satisfied with the
order for the most part. "The Court saw through the ruse of the attorney
general, which was to get out from under the rulings it has lost,"
Buckman says.

                       Tough on Defendants

Barisonek, 55, a Republican, has been on the bench since 1984 and was
granted tenure in 1991. He started in the Family Part and in less than a
year became presiding judge. In September 1987, he was transferred to
the Civil Part, moving again, a year later, to the Criminal Part. He
became presiding judge of that part in September 1993 and served in that
role until September 1997. He also had, until recently, been the
designated Megan's Law judge for Union County, hearing challenges by
former sex- offenders to their tier-classification for notification
purposes. He consistently has received high marks by practitioners in
three judicial surveys conducted by the Law Journal. In the latest
survey, published in January 1999, Barisonek placed seventh out of the
21 judges in Elizabeth, with a score of 4.06 out of a possible 5 in
overall competency. That put him in a six-way tie for 89th place among
the state's 348 trial judges at the time.

However, in three categories that in some way reflect on case management
-- ability to handle complex cases, convening court and moving cases
without delay, and issuing orders, judgments and opinions without delay
-- Barisonek placed fourth, sixth and fifth, respectively.

That was his poorest showing. In the Law Journal's first survey,
published in January 1989, Barisonek finished third in overall
competence among Union County's 20 judges at the time, with a score of
8.4 out of a possible 10. In the September 1993 survey, Barisonek, who
at the time had just been elevated to presiding criminal judge, placed
first among the 25 judges sitting in Union County at the time.
Statewide, his score of 8.85 out of 10 was the sixth-highest.

Perhaps more important, he was smack in the middle of the pack on the
question of his inclination in criminal cases, suggesting no leanings,
and was rated third-best in the likelihood of not showing bias. In the
most recent survey in January 1999, he did not fare as well in those
categories, but still was given a relatively high rating, seventh out of
the 25 Union judges, in being free of racial and ethnic bias.

Barisonek served as municipal prosecutor in Roselle, from 1969 to 1973,
and in Clark, from 1981to 1984. After graduation from law school, he
handled equal opportunity cases as a staff attorney for Essex County
Legal Services from 1968 to 1969. He is considered a tough sentencer and
is known for letting defendants know how he feels on sentencing day. In
sentencing an Elizabeth man to 50 years in 1990 for beating a nurse in a
church parking lot, Barisonek said the defendant had beaten his victim
"into oblivion ... You stalked this woman like a hunter stalking prey."
He added that the brutal attack left the nurse "devastated physically,
emotionally, psychologically and every other way you can think." In June
1992, a woman was scheduled to appear in his courtroom at 9 a.m. for
sentencing after admitting she smuggled cocaine to her son at the county
jail. The son was a convicted murderer. When she failed to show,
Barisonek issued a bench warrant, and when she appeared at 10:30 a.m. he
ordered her jailed until the rescheduled sentencing, in two weeks. (159
N.J.L.J. 485)  (New Jersey Law Journal February 7, 2000)

POLICY MANAGEMENT: Wolf Haldenstein Files Securities Suit in NY
The law firm of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP filed a
securities class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for
the Southern District of New York on behalf of investors who bought
Policy Management Systems, Inc. stock between October 22, 1998 and
February 9, 2000.

The lawsuit charges Policy Management and certain officers of the
Company, with violations of the securities laws and regulations of the
United States. The lawsuit alleges that defendants issued a series of
false and misleading statements during the Class Period concerning the
Company's financial condition, products, technologies and financial
statements. The complaint alleges that defendants' false and misleading
statements artificially inflated the price of the Company's stock during
the Class Period.

Contact: Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP at 270 Madison
Avenue, New York, New York 10016, by telephone at (800) 575-0735
(Michael Miske, George Peters, Gregory Nespole, Esq., Fred Taylor
Isquith, Esq. or Shane T. Rowley, Esq.), via e-mail at
classmember@whafh.com or visit website at http://www.whafh.com

SUNSTAR HEALTHCARE: Burt & Pucillo Files Securities Lawsuit in FL
Burt & Pucillo, LLP commenced a securities lawsuit in the United States
District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, on
behalf of purchasers of securities of Sunstar Healthcare, Inc. during
the period between November 13, 1998 and December 14, 1999.

The complaint alleges that Sunstar's senior management and certain
controlling persons of Sunstar violated the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 as a result of the issuance of a series of materially false and
misleading financial statements due to the failure to take adequate
reserves to pay foreseeable healthcare claims. The complaint seeks
damages on behalf of the Class.

For additional information concerning this lawsuit, you may contact
plaintiff's counsel, Michael J. Pucillo at Burt & Pucillo, at
561/835-9400 or 800/349-4612, or e-mail address: law@burt-pucillo.com or

SYKES ENTERPRISES: Gilman and Pastor Files Securities Suit in FL
Gilman and Pastor, LLP has filed a securities class action lawsuit in
the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
against Sykes Enterprises, Inc. and certain of the Company's officers
and directors on behalf of purchasers of Sykes common stock during the
period July 26, 1999 through February 6, 2000, inclusive.

Plaintiff's complaint alleges that defendants violated the federal
securities laws by issuing to the investing public false and misleading
financial statements and press releases which overstated Sykes' reported
revenues and earnings, and misled the marketplace as to its purportedly
rapid growth and prospects. On the morning of February 7, 2000, Sykes
disclosed that fourth quarter 1999 results were significantly below both
market expectations and its results for fourth quarter of 1998. The
shortfall was due in major part to revenue recognition issues which
required Sykes to delay recognizing revenues, and to restate downward
its previously reported results for the second and third quarters ended
June 30 and September 30, 1999. As a result, Sykes' net income for these
quarters was reduced by 67%. Sykes further conceded that in light of the
restatement, it expected 2000 earnings of about $1.10 per share, well
short of analysts' expectations of $1.53 per share. On February 7, 2000,
the market price of Sykes' common stock, which had traded as high as $51
per share during the Class Period, plunged to $14-1/4 per share, thereby
culminating in a decline of more than 70% in value over a three-week

Contact: Peter Lagorio, Esq. Gilman and Pastor, LLP. One Boston Place,
28th Floor, Boston, MA 02108 Telephone 617-589-3750 Telecopier
617-589-3749  e-mail at plagorio@aol.com

* Blacks in Govt Urge Clinton to Protect Diversity Programs in Hiring
Blacks in Government has urged President Clinton to preserve two federal
diversity programs that have been deemed outdated, misused and
unnecessary by the Merit Systems Protection Board.

In a recent report, the MSPB called for the termination of two hiring
authorities that were created almost 20 years ago to settle a class
action case filed against the federal government. BIG President Jerald
Reed told the president in a letter that the intent of the programs "was
and continues to be" to increase the representation of blacks and
Hispanics in administrative jobs.

"It is amazing that the MSPB was established to serve as the guardian of
the federal government's merit-based system of employment," Reed said.
"Yet, to step forward with a recommendation as such goes against the
principles of inclusiveness and diversity which the MSPB purports to

Reed called on the president to "intervene on behalf of all minorities"
by rejecting the MSPB's recommendation.

"Instead, direct the Office of Personnel Management to provide stronger
leadership by providing clearer guidance to federal departments and
agencies so that the [programs] can be used as originally intended," he

The MSPB found that agencies were abusing the programs. Through the
Outstanding Scholar Program, the government can hire college students
with GPAs of 3.5 or better. The Bilingual/Bicultural Program allows
agencies to select candidates who meet minimum qualification
requirements if they have Spanish language ability or knowledge of
Hispanic culture.

According to the MSPB, both programs provide managers an easy way to
obtain new hires, avoiding the normal competitive process. In 1997, more
than 75 percent of outstanding scholar appointees were white, most of
them women. Following the MSPB's report, OPM Director Janice Lachance
defended the programs, saying they were "important tools to help
agencies recruit and achieve a diverse work force." (Federal Human
Resources Week, February 10, 2000)

* FTC Plans to Beef up Action against Fraud in Online Auctions
Federal and state trade regulators said they would beef up enforcement
action against fraud in online auctions, following a flood of consumer
complaints, the Wall Street Journal said.

According to the Journal, the Federal Trade Commission last year
received more than 10,000 complaints about online business transactions.
The FTC's consumer protection bureau is creating a database of
complaints received by state officials, consumer groups and auction-site
managers, the newspaper said.

The FTC also said it had reached an agreement with eBay Inc. [EBAY], the
nation's largest online auctioneer, to forward fraud complaints it
receives from its 10 million customers.

A senior FTC attorney told the Journal the most common complaints
involved goods that were paid for but never delivered.

It quoted an eBay representative as saying that only about 0.05 percent
of its transactions result in fraud complaints, but compamny officials
are concerned that a rising number could scare away customers. (Reuters
(New York), February 15, 2000)

* Washington Post Says Class Act Ban in Bill Debilitating for VA's Poor
Swindled seniors, exploited migrant workers and battered women: Who
would deny them access to equal representation in the courts? The
supporters of a bill pending in the Virginia Senate would. Senate Bill
760, along with two budget amendments, would bar many low-income people
from receiving the aid of state-funded legal services lawyers in civil
cases. And for those low-income Virginians who still qualified for such
help, the bill would bar their lawyers from using the same important
tools available to others in the state who are able to pay for legal

The legislation is apparently the result of hard lobbying by the
American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation's largest farm lobby. For
decades, this corporate giant has fought hard against health and safety
protections for farm workers. In the mid-1980s, it opposed a proposed
federal rule requiring farmers to provide toilets and places for fruit
and vegetable pickers to wash their hands. Similarly, it has fought to
keep open a loophole in federal labor law that allows children of
elementary-school age to work in the fields.

In the past three years, the nonprofit Virginia Justice Center, which is
funded by state and other sources, has successfully represented migrant
workers forced to live in housing exposed to pesticides and animal
wastes and deprived of the minimum wage and overtime. Now the Farm
Bureau is attempting to deny most agricultural workers the ability to
obtain legal counsel to fight these and other abuses.

Even the Farm Bureau should have cause to be embarrassed by some of the
consequences of this legislation. Because the bill would prevent
undocumented immigrants from obtaining legal services representation,
many battered wives would be left at the mercy of their assailants,
unable to receive the assistance of state-funded lawyers to help them
obtain restraining orders. Moreover, all low-income Virginians would be
effectively prevented from participating in class-action lawsuits, no
matter how urgently needed.

The ban on class actions by legal services lawyers is particularly
debilitating for low-income people because such suits are an efficient
and effective way --often the only way -- to address and correct serious
harms that affect more than one person. For example, in 1994 the Central
Virginia Legal Aid Society and the Virginia Poverty Law Center
represented a 67-year-old widow living on Social Security and several
hundred other low-income Virginians who had been tricked into signing
home mortgages accompanied by high, undisclosed broker's fees. As a
result, several mortgage brokers and a financial services company were
required to pay each victim as much as $ 7,500. Had the Senate bill then
been in place, restricting the lawyers to proceeding only on behalf of
the individual widow, the many other victims would likely never have
been compensated for their losses.

The other proposed restrictions are equally harmful. State-funded legal
services attorneys would be barred from representing clients in a range
of important actions, such as challenging welfare laws, representing
prisoners even in non-criminal proceedings such as child custody
disputes or defending public housing residents in eviction proceedings
when those proceedings rest on an accusation of illegal drug activity.

Moreover, these lawyers for the poor would be barred from seeking
attorneys' fees from opposing parties. While legal services attorneys do
not profit personally from attorneys' fees, the threat of such an award
plays an essential role in deterring illegal behavior.

Most disturbing of all is that the legislation seems intended to extend
the whole set of restrictions to the work of lawyers for the poor even
where such work is supported by non-state funds. While it is troubling
for a democratic society whenever the government tries to undercut the
quality of the legal representation it offers to those unable to afford
counsel, it is even further out of bounds for the government to undercut
the legal representation that private citizens seek to make available to
those in need.

The writers are staff attorneys at the Brennan Center for Justice at New
York University School of Law. (The Washington Post, February 15, 2000)


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc., Princeton, NJ, and Beard Group, Inc.,
Washington, DC.   Romeo John D. Piansay, Jr., editor, Theresa Cheuk,
Managing Editor.

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

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