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                  Tuesday, April 4, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 66


ADAM'S MARK: Black College Reunion Ends Well Despite Crowd
AT HOME: Discloses Lawsuit Alleging Violations of Fed Antitrust Laws
AVT CORPORATION: Keller Rohrback Files Securities Complaint
CBS: Judge OKs Class of Female Technicians on Sex Discrimination Case
FLIR SYSTEMS: Bernstein Liebhard Files Securities Suit in Oregon

FRUIT OF: Bernstein Liebhard Files Securities Lawsuit in Kentucky
GREEN TREE: Arbitration Clause Not Specifying Cost Payer Unenforceable
INAMED CORP: Steers Clear of DOJ Breast Implant Suit for Medical Costs
INTERNET E-COUPONS: Privacy May Be an Issue
JUNK BOND: Appeals Court Cuts Law Firms' Fees More Than 80 Percent

KANSAS CITY: Hispanic Employees Allege of Race Discrimination
KANSAS CITY: Missouri Suit over Employment Race Discrimination Amended
MICROSOFT CORP: Analysis of Antitrust Case on Cable News Network
MICROSOFT CORP: Shares Tumble As Ruling on Antitrust Case Anticipated
PACIFIC GAS: Case on Contaminated Water Supply in CA Subject of Movie

REXALL SUNDOWN: Securities Complaint in Florida Dismissed
THE STEPHEN: Announces Final Dismissal of Securities Suit in Florida
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Closing Arguments Continue; Award in Recent Case
VARSITYBOOKS COM: Columbia Suit Alleges False Internet Ad. on Discounts
VITAMIN PRICE-FIXING: Bayer Sues Makers after Opting out of Settlement


ADAM'S MARK: Black College Reunion Ends Well Despite Crowd
Black College Reunion ended quietly Sunday, April 2 as more than 100,000
weekend revelers packed up and headed home - but not before leaving a
new twist to the event's legacy of controversy.

The Adam's Mark Resort - which had been a focal point for BCR criticisms
because of discrimination lawsuits filed in the aftermath of last year's
event - was overwhelmed Saturday night with thousands of partygoers.
Volusia County deputy sheriffs were called in to clear the lobby

Angry hotel officials said their guests suffered because of restrictions
put in place as part of an $8 million settlement of the lawsuits
involving the U.S. Justice Department and Florida Attorney General's
Office. Adam's Mark officials estimate that at least 2,000 people were
staying in the hotel's 437 rooms. Far more were in the hotel Saturday
night about 10:30. False fire alarms were set off about a dozen times
through the night, heightening tensions as hotel managers worried about
what to do if they were forced by a genuine emergency to evacuate the
densely packed crowd. "I have never been more scared for our guests and
for myself than I was at points this evening," said Fred Kummer III,
senior vice president and son of the hotel's founder.

At one point late Saturday, Adam's Mark President Fred Kummer tore the
name tag from the shirt of a hotel manager and thrust it at an agent for
the Attorney General's Office. "Here, you're in charge," the 71-year-old
founder of the hotel chain said. "What do we do?" No injuries were
reported, and police were uncertain Sunday whether any arrests were
related to the incident. Sheriff Bob Vogel ordered Adam's Mark officials
to close down the hotel's bars at 11 p.m., about three hours earlier
than usual, because he considered the situation a "tinderbox." The
incident marred what city officials and organizers hailed as the best
BCR ever. For the first time in three years, no fatalities were
reported; the most violent incident police reported was a stabbing that
required four stitches.

Some merchants said profits were down this year because of competition
from itinerant vendors selling T-shirts and bootleg CDs without permits
from the city. Yet the squabbling over customers could be viewed as a
step forward for BCR, which has been plagued in the past with
accusations that businesses closed for racist reasons. Members of the
local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People said they received no complaints about shops or restaurants
turning away BCR business. "I think this is the best one we've ever
had," said Mayor Bud Asher, who maintained his habit of touring the
streets throughout the event. "I think the students felt welcome here,
and I think they responded. The attitude seemed much friendlier."

That opinion seemed almost universal - at least during daylight hours.
Business owners and law enforcement officers described a kind of
metamorphosis that took place after dark, especially Saturday. Crowds
that were friendly and easygoing during the day turned rougher at night.

Arrest records bear out a difference. Police recorded 200 arrests the
opening Friday up until 2 p.m. Saturday. By 6 a.m. Sunday, police had
made another 241 arrests, representing an arrest every four minutes.
Most of the arrests were for minor offenses - drinking in public, drug
possession or disorderly conduct - but the early-Sunday total
represented an increase by almost one-third over the past two years.
Police reported 330 arrests in 1999 and 329 arrests in 1998.

Late Saturday night, the raucous crowds spilled into the Adam's Mark,
which had maintained its status as a popular gathering point despite
publicity over the lawsuits. Five BCR visitors accused the hotel of
discriminatory practices in a proposed class-action lawsuit filed in
May. One of the foremost charges related to the use of orange wristbands
to identify registered guests at the hotel. Plaintiffs compared the
wristbands to the shackles of slavery, but Adam's Mark officials said
they were intended to ensure the safety of those guests by controlling
who had access to rooms.

The Attorney General's Office joined the suit in December, and the
Justice Department filed a second suit, alleging that discriminatory
practices existed throughout the 21-hotel chain.

The company lost millions of dollars in convention business that was
canceled because of the suits. Though it admitted no wrongdoing, the
Adam's Mark agreed in March to pay $8 million and make over its
corporate policies to settle the discrimination charges. "It almost took
this company under," Fred Kummer III said. "We had no other option but
to settle."

Kummer said Saturday's problems could have been avoided if
representatives from the Attorney General's Office - on hand to ensure
the hotel stuck to the terms of the settlement - had let hotel managers
do their job. "They overruled instructions from us," he said. "They said
we'd be held in contempt if we restricted access into the hotel. We had
our hands tied. "I've got 18 years of experience in hotels, and I've
never experienced anything like this tonight. Nothing compares," said
Kummer, still shaking with rage nearly two hours after the crowds had
been dispersed. "People who are totally ignorant of the hotel industry
should have investigated this event before they tried to dictate how we
should do business."

Adam's Mark managers may have been overly cautious, said George Sheldon,
deputy attorney general for Central Florida. "I think there's a
sensitivity on their part to the settlement agreement," said Sheldon,
who spent the weekend touring BCR events.

Sheldon blamed the incident on a bottleneck at the hotel's elevators
caused by management's decision to close the stairwells as a security
measure. There was a run on the elevators at the end of a televised NCAA
basketball tournament game, and people grew impatient with lengthy
delays. "I don't think that a one- or two-hour bottleneck should mar the
effort from the overall weekend," Sheldon said. "I was overall extremely
impressed with how the Adam's Mark managed the weekend."

Terrence Wright, 25, of West Palm Beach saw firsthand the problems that
security staffers faced and praised their work. "There were just too
many people hanging out, so they had to take control," Wright said. "The
officers did their job." Another guest, Melvin Martinez from New York
City, complained that security was too tight afterward. "You pay so much
money, and they don't let you in the elevator," he said. "You've got to
ask permission from the cops to get into your own room."

Three Tampa women said the Adam's Mark had redeemed itself in their
view. Tracee Whitehurst, who works as a real-estate agent, said the
service desk was quick to respond to requests, upgraded their rooms
without an extra charge and gave them access to every place that had
been blocked before. "With the problems at the Adam's Mark last year,
they were definitely more accommodating this year," she said. "They
really reclaimed their name." (The Orlando Sentinel, April 3, 2000)

AT HOME: Discloses Lawsuit Alleging Violations of Fed Antitrust Laws
-------------------------------------------------------------------- In
its report to the SEC, AT Home Corp mentions that in October 1999, GTE
filed a lawsuit in a U.S. District Court and in November 1999, a class
action was filed, each alleging violations of the federal antitrust
laws. The Company says although it is too early to predict the outcome
of this litigation, it could be forced to pay damages, allow other
service providers to utilize its network, otherwise alter the way they
do business or incur significant costs in defending these litigations.
The Company believes any of these outcomes could harm business. In
addition, others could initiate litigation on similar legal theories in
the future.

AVT CORPORATION: Keller Rohrback Files Securities Complaint
On March 30, 2000 Keller Rohrback L.L.P. filed a new class action
complaint against AVT Corporation (Nasdaq: AVTC) and certain of its
officers and directors on behalf of all persons who purchased shares of
AVT common stock between January 20, 2000 and March 17, 2000, inclusive
(the "Class Period").

The Complaint alleges that defendants violated federal securities laws
by issuing a series of false and misleading statements during the Class
Period, concealing the Company's true financial condition in order to
prevent the decline in the price of AVT stock and reap profits of over
$46 million on insider sales. On March 17, 2000, the Company stunned
investors revealing that it would fall desperately short of meeting its
forecasted earnings for the first quarter 2000 and for the entire year
2000. This revelation caused AVT stock trading to be halted on Nasdaq
and ultimately caused the stock price to plummet to $11.38 per share, a
decline of approximately 34% from its Class Period high of $33.25.

Contact: Jen Veitengruber of Keller Rohrback L.L.P., 800-776-6044, or

CBS: Judge OKs Class of Female Technicians on Sex Discrimination Case
A federal district court in Minnesota issued on April 3 a ruling
approving a sex discrimination class action on behalf of all female
technicians at five CBS television stations. The class, as approved,
contains well over 150 women. In the same order, Judge Donovan Frank
rejected all of CBS's arguments that the case should be dismissed on its

The lawsuit, filed in 1996, charges CBS with discrimination against
female technical employees at five television stations that it owns and
operates in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Green Bay.

Plaintiffs allege that CBS denies female technicians, as a class,
promotion, training and overtime opportunities that have been given to
male technicians, and forces them to work in a sexually hostile work
environment that is accepted and condoned by CBS management.

Judge Frank approved the class action based on persuasive statistical
evidence and testimony from plaintiffs and class members. The statistics
showed that women worked far less overtime than men and were stuck in
lower paying jobs.

The testimony was just as strong. The judge quoted one class member who,
when she complained about overtime assignments, was told "you don't have
the same family responsibilities" and "a woman couldn't handle the

Another class member, the judge reported, was told, "I had one of you
girls in this position before, and it didn't work out." The station
manager told her, "It's a man's world and there is nothing we can do
about it."

The women are represented by the law firm of Sprenger & Lang, P.L.L.C.
One of the firm's attorneys, Susan Stokes, said, "This is a wonderful
ruling for these victims of blatant discrimination. Hopefully, CBS will
not be adopt the same tactics as the federal government when dealing
with similar allegations by female employees against the Voice of
America. By fighting meritorious claims to the bitter end and being
unwilling to change, the government ended up paying over $500 million."

Plaintiffs anticipate that the case will be tried within the next few

Contact: Sprenger & Lang, Minneapolis Susan Stokes, 612/387-5577 or
Sprenger & Lang, Washington DC Michael Lieder, 202/265-8010 or Sprenger
& Lang, Minneapolis Larry Schaefer 612/871-8910 or 612/816-5388

FLIR SYSTEMS: Bernstein Liebhard Files Securities Suit in Oregon
A securities class action lawsuit was commenced on behalf of purchasers
of the common stock of FLIR Systems, Inc.(Nasdaq:FLIR), between February
9, 2000 and March 3, 2000, inclusive, (the "Class Period"), in the
United States District Court for the District of Oregon.

The complaint charges FLIR and certain of its directors and executive
officers with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule
10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The complaint alleges that the defendants
issued materially false and misleading information and projections
concerning the Company's business, earnings, growth and prospects. In
fact, defendants had no basis to issue the favorable statements because
the companies financial records contained numerous "accounting errors."
As a result, FLIR's stock price was artificially inflated throughout the
Class Period. When these "accounting errors" were disclosed and it was
announced that FLIR's CFO had resigned, FLIR's stock price collapsed,
declining to as low as $9.00 per share, nearly 50% below the Class
Period high of $17-1/2.

Contact: Bernstein Liebhard Mike Egan, 212/779-1414

FRUIT OF: Bernstein Liebhard Files Securities Lawsuit in Kentucky
A securities class action lawsuit was commenced on behalf of purchasers
of the common stock of Fruit of the Loom, Inc.(Nasdaq: FTL), between
September 28, 1998 and November 4, 1999 inclusive, (the "Class Period"),
in the United States District Court for the Western District of

The complaint charges Fruit and certain of its directors and executive
officers with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule
10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The complaint alleges that the defendants
issued materially false and misleading information and projections
concerning the Company's business, earnings, growth and prospects.
Specifically, the complaint charges that defendants misrepresented
demand for the Company's products and concealed the existence of tens of
millions of dollars of overvalued inventory, which the Company was
ultimately forced to write off. When Fruit's true financial condition
was disclosed Fruit's stock price collapsed. Subsequently, Fruit filed
for bankruptcy protection in December 1999.

Contact: Mark Punzalan, Director of Shareholder Relations, of Bernstein
Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP, 800-217-1522, or 212-779-1414,

GREEN TREE: Arbitration Clause Not Specifying Cost Payer Unenforceable
The Supreme Court agreed on April 3 to clarify federal courts' role in
enforcing business contracts that say all disputes are to be resolved by
arbitration. The justices said they will hear the appeal of an Alabama
financial company that wants to force a woman whose mobile home it
financed to go through arbitration. A federal appeals court said she can
sue instead because the contract's arbitration language did not specify
who would have to pay for the arbitration.

Larketta Randolph bought a mobile home in 1994 from a company in
Opelika, Ala., and financed it through Green Tree Financial
Corp.-Alabama. Her lawsuit said the financial company did not properly
disclose that it required her to buy insurance to protect it in case
Green Tree had to repossess the home.

Her class-action lawsuit against Green Tree, filed in 1996, said the
company violated the Truth in Lending Act and the Equal Credit Act by
requiring arbitration of all claims. A federal judge dismissed the
lawsuit, ruling that the purchase contract required the dispute to be
submitted to arbitration.

But the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived the lawsuit last
June, ruling it could hear Randolph's appeal because the judge issued a
final dismissal of all her claims. The appeals court said the contract's
arbitration clause was not enforceable because it did not specify who
would pay the costs. Randolph might be forced to pay substantial costs
even if the arbitrator ruled in her favor, the appeals court said.

In the appeal, Green Tree's lawyers said a federal law that encourages
arbitration of business disputes barred the 11th Circuit court from
hearing Randolph's appeal until after the arbitration was carried out.
The law does not allow immediate appeals when an arbitration question is
combined with other issues, the appeal said. Green Tree's lawyers also
argued that the arbitration agreement was valid even though it did not
say who would pay the costs. The appeals court should not have assumed
''the worst possible outcome'' but should have required Randolph to
prove she would have to pay substantial fees, they said.

Randolph's lawyers said the appeals court properly decided the judge's
ruling was a final order that could be appealed immediately. They also
said that the court correctly said the arbitration clause created an
''unacceptable risk'' she would have to pay large fees. The case is
Green Tree Financial Corp.-Alabama vs. Randolph, 99-1235. (AP Online,
April 3, 2000)

INAMED CORP: Steers Clear of DOJ Breast Implant Suit for Medical Costs
Inamed Corporation (Nasdaq: IMDC) commented on April 3 on the recent
lawsuit filed by the Justice Department against six other former
manufacturers of silicone breast implants, which seeks to recover
government-paid medical costs.

Ilan Reich, Inamed's president and co-CEO, stated: "We are not a
defendant in that lawsuit because last year we resolved any potential
liability through an amicable agreement with the Justice Department, as
part of the overall class action settlement of Inamed's breast implant
litigation. As part of Inamed's class-action settlement, Inamed obtained
a settlement of all such claims against it, paid the agreed amount in
full and obtained a legal release of all such claims. Consequently,
Inamed will not be involved in any way in the current litigation."

INTERNET E-COUPONS: Privacy May Be an Issue
Among Sunday newspaper inserts and Val-Pak mailings, coupon clippers can
count another ally in their hunt for bargains: the Internet. Many Web
sites now offer coupons online -- everything from 25 books for $25 at
Barnesandnoble.com to $250 off a transmission installation from Mr.
Mechanic in Southfield.

They supply features unmatched offline, including search engines that
find coupons for local stores, directory listings by product category
and e-mail notices on new offers from dot-coms desperate for more

But serious questions remain about what consumers give up to get good
deals and whether some deals are all that good. Experts say privacy may
be as much an issue with e-coupon Web sites as it is with e-tailers.
"There's a significant online privacy problem associated with online
coupons that isn't associated with newspaper coupons," said Jason
Catlett, president of Junkbusters, a privacy watchdog group.

Bargain hunting Web sites come in various shapes and sizes. Most come in
the form of bulletin boards with direct links to online offers,
printable coupons or special codes that can be used for online
purchases. Amazing-bargains.com offers a regularly updated list of links
to special discounts and breaks down offers into categories, popular
e-tailers and dates offered. It also includes a search engine to peruse
the entire database for discounts on specific products and services.

Bigbigsavings.com focuses on special offers for music, DVDs, pet
supplies and books. It also distributes an e-mail newsletter with
updates on the latest offers. BigCoupons.com includes a category on
"Free Stuff" available from E-tailers. Val-Pak, the coupon-book
distributor, has a Web site (http://www.valpak.com)that generates
coupons for local use after entering a zip code. Websites such as
Actionpack.com and Freestuff.com focus exclusively on free offers. A Web
site run by the Certificate Clearing Corporation (certccc.com) allows
consumers to swap coupons issued in class-action lawsuits. Other Web
sites focus on savings for the home (Clevermoms.com), visitors to New
Orleans (Neworleansdiscount.com), Michigan residents (Saveonsite.com),
computer buyers (Rebateplace.com) and shoppers at Hispanic groceries
(mmwest.com). Roomsaver.com offers discounts for hotel rooms at tourist
meccas nationwide. Yahoo! lists an entire directory of e-coupon Web
sites under its "Business and Economy" subject heading.

But consumer advocates say many of these Web sites make money through
referrals to merchants who pay to be featured. That limits their coupon
selections. "What we have are major search engines selling links," said
Robert Ellis, director of operations for the Center for the Study of
Services. He advises shopping around on multiple sites before taking an
offer. "As a consumer, unless you have a lot of time, I'm not sure you
come out ahead unless you use three or more (Web sites)," he said, "and
be prepared to spend some time at it."

Customer abuse of some e-coupon Web sites may threaten the concept.
Several sites have reported large losses from bargain bingers: visitors
repeatedly using coupons meant for one-time use. Sometimes e-companies
won't honor coupons obtained through freebie Web sites. Customers will
receive their order, use the coupon or coupon code and still get charged
the full price. Others cancel discounts if too many people respond.

                        Security and Privacy

Security and privacy are two other issues for online shoppers to
consider. Junkbusters' Catlett says the online privacy equivalent of
"Good Housekeeping" seals of approval such as the widely displayed
"TRUSTe" seal offer little or no protection from unsolicited invasions.

Other watchdog groups, including the Federal Trade Commission, the
Consumers Union (which runs Consumers Reports) and the Consumer
Federation of America, have yet to conduct formal investigations of
e-coupon Web sites.

The FTC doesn't go into much detail on future operations, but said it
will conduct more Internet sting operations in the future after its
recent, multinational sweep of more than 1,500 "get-rich-quick" Web

It can be difficult for consumers to conduct their own investigations.
Contact information for a Web site is generally available through the
Web site and Web site registries such as Register.com but some,
including Amazing-bargains.com, offer nothing beyond an e-mail address.

Alex Shardanovsky, the 22-year old marketing major at New York
University who runs Bigbigsavings.com, says the use of software such as
"cookies" to track consumer buying history and surfing habits is
pervasive among e-coupon Web sites. (The Detroit News, April 3, 2000)

JUNK BOND: Appeals Court Cuts Law Firms' Fees More Than 80 Percent
New York The two lead firms who represented plaintiffs burned in the
Drexel Burnham Lambert scandal of the 1980s will receive less than 20
percent of the fees they sought following a decision by the 2nd U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals.

Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, along with Abbey Gardy &
Squitieri, will receive $ 2.1 million for engineering the settlement of
the $ 54 million class action filed in the wake of the junk bond crisis
involving Drexel Burnham and junk bond superstar Michael Milken. It is a
far cry from the $ 13.5 million the firms sought in Goldberger v.
Integrated Resources Inc.

The appeals court, in upholding a fee award by Southern District Senior
Judge Shirley Wohl Kram, conceded that "this circuit's approach to the
alternative methods of calculating fees has evolved in a somewhat
circuitous fashion.... We hold that either the lodestar or percentage of
the recovery methods may be properly used to calculate fees in common
fund cases, and that the district court did not abuse its discretion in
choosing the lodestar in this case," said Senior Circuit Judge Joseph M.
McLaughlin, writing for the court. "Nor do we find an abuse of
discretion in the district court's award of a fee of about 4 percent of
the recovery."

In 1989, Drexel Burnham pleaded guilty to federal securities fraud and
agreed to pay $ 650 million in fines and restitution. Milken also
pleaded guilty and was assessed $ 600 million. The pleas came after
authorities accused Milken and the firm of stringing together what
McLaughlin called a "daisy chain" of high risk bond investors with
"proceeds from their own [typically over-financed] junk offerings." The
judge summed up by saying, "The whole pyramid fell apart when the market
realized that junk debt carried a much higher default rate than had been

Following the settlement against Milken and Drexel Burnham, the law
firms made their first fee application in 1992. A second application
followed in 1996. In both applications, Kram applied the lodestar
method, which is based on the number of hours worked in the case. On
appeal, counsel claimed that Kram erred both in refusing to award fees
on a percentage of recovery basis and declining to enhance their
lodestar with a multiplier, which reflects the degree of risk and the
quality of representation, among other things. Reviewing the history of
fee calculations in common fund actions, McLaughlin said that the
lodestar approach grew in popularity as people came to feel that the
percentage approach "increasingly tended to yield too little for the
client-class," while giving unjustified windfalls to attorneys.
Nonetheless, " ... experience with the lodestar method proved vexing.
Our district courts found it created a temptation for lawyers to run up
the number of hours for which they could be paid," he said. "But the
primary source of dissatisfaction was that it resurrected the ghost of
Ebenezer Scrooge, compelling district courts to engage in a gimlet-eyed
review of line-item fee audits. "McLaughlin, citing case law showing
that district courts have had the discretion to apply either approach,
said the 2nd Circuit has been wary of compelling its district courts to
engage in the "cumbersome" lodestar method. "That said, we reject
counsel's arguments to 'junk' the lodestar altogether," he said. "We
choose to follow our own precedents, which clearly establish that the
lodestar approach is an accepted but not exclusive methodology in common
fund cases."

The firms had said that Kram had abused her discretion by assuming she
had no authority to award a percentage fee. "We disagree," McLaughlin
said. "Counsel's assertion that the district court erroneously refused
even to consider using the percentage approach is squarely contradicted
by the record."

                          Minimal Risk

Stuck with the lodestar calculation, counsel's next argument was that
Kram should have applied a multiplier of six, because a 25 percent fee
standard was a "benchmark" in the profession.While not "unaware" of that
benchmark, McLaughlin said "we are nonetheless disturbed by the
essential notion of a benchmark... We agree that many class actions
serve a useful purpose, that lawyers who successfully prosecute them
deserve reasonable compensation, and that market rates, where available,
are the ideal proxy for their compensation." He continued: "The problem
is that we cannot know precisely what fees common fund plaintiffs in an
efficient market for legal services would agree to, given an
understanding of the particular case and the ability to engage in
collective arms-length negotiation with counsel." McLaughlin went on to
say that "the principal analytical flaw in counsel's argument lies in
their assumption that there is a substantial contingency risk in every
common fund case."

                           Promising Case

But Kram, he said, had found that from the outset, this was a promising
case with almost certain prospects of a large recovery, and that
enhancing rates "would likely result in [counsel's] overcompensation."
McLaughlin also said the lower court found that counsel benefited from
the advance work done by federal authorities in investigating Drexel
Burnham and Milken, that there was no "groundbreaking issue that loomed
significant" in the case, that the likelihood of non-payment was slim,
and, finally, that the use of current hourly billing rates compensated
counsel for both delay in payment and for the quality of their efforts.
"Here," McLaughlin said, "the district court correctly found that this
case fell in the low range of the risk continuum." Judges Chester A.
Straub and Robert D. Sack joined in the opinion.This story originally
appeared in the New York Law Journal. (The Legal Intelligencer, April 3,

KANSAS CITY: Hispanic Employees Allege of Race Discrimination
Carlos Salazar, Et Al. V. Kansas City Power & Light Company.

On May 28, 1999, an action was filed against KCPL in the United States
District Court Western District of Missouri by three current Hispanic
employees. The complaint alleges race discrimination on behalf of all
existing Hispanic employees and those who tried to obtain employment
with KCPL from May 28, 1994 to the present. While the petition requests
formation of and certification as a class action, the relief sought is
wages and fringe benefits, alleged wage differentials, punitive damages,
attorneys fees and costs of the action for the three named plaintiffs,
together with an injunction prohibiting KCPL from retaliating. The
Company says that due to the vagueness of the complaint, it is not
possible to evaluate the materiality of the relief sought by the
proposed class yet; however, KCPL believes it will be able to
successfully defend the certification of the class.

KANSAS CITY: Missouri Suit over Employment Race Discrimination Amended
Patricia S. Lang, On Behalf Of Herself And All Others Similarly Situated
V. Kansas City Power & Light Company.

On October 8, 1999, a First Amended Class Action Complaint was filed
against KCPL in the United States District Court, Western District of
Missouri by Patricia Lang on behalf of herself and all others similarly
situated. The plaintiff seeks to bring a claim of race discrimination as
a class action on behalf of herself and all other current and former
African American employees from May 11, 1994 to the present.

The complaint alleges that plaintiff and members of the proposed class
are subjected to a hostile and offensive working environment, denied
promotional opportunities, compensated less than similarly situated or
less qualified Caucasian employees; and are disciplined and/or
terminated when they complain of racially discriminatory practices at
KCPL. The complaint seeks a money award for alleged lost wages and
fringe benefits, alleged wage differentials, as well as punitive
damages, attorneys fees and costs of the action together with an
injunction prohibiting KCPL from retaliating against anyone
participating in the litigation and continuing monitoring of KCPL's
compliance with anti-discrimination laws.

The Company says that because of the vagueness of the complaint, it also
is not possible at this time to evaluate the materiality of the relief
sought by the proposed class if certified.

MICROSOFT CORP: Analysis of Antitrust Case on Cable News Network
Broadcast on CNN on April 3, 2000

    JACK CAFFERTY, CNNfn ANCHOR, BEFORE HOURS: Sitting with me in the
studio now is Sanjiv Hingorani, he is a software analyst at Brown
Brothers Harriman; and you were on that conference call yesterday.
Welcome, by the way; nice to have you with us.


    CAFFERTY: What did the company have to say and what did you come
away from the call with in terms of their ability to try to spin their
position here?

    HINGORANI: Well, I don't think there's any spinning of position. The
facts are what the are. I think there's some very interesting procedural
issues to consider here. The first being the judge is likely to issue
his conclusions of law soon, at which point he will then request
suggestions for remedies from the Justice Department and the 19 states
attorneys general. That could take another six or seven weeks, or maybe
even a couple of months, after which he will then give down his verdict
of what the remedy should be. At that point in time, Microsoft Microsoft Corporation ; Ticker: MSFT ; URL: will request a stay on
whatever remedy is imposed by the judge; he will likely grant that stay,
and then immediately an appeal with the Court of Appeals.

    CAFFERTY: So the timeline is a lengthy one, conceivably here.

    HINGORANI: Absolutely. Absent a settlement, there is clearly going
to be several months, possibly even over a year, before this whole case
is decided.

    CAFFERTY: There are also 28 lawsuits pending in various states
around the country, and one analyst suggested that the number of state
lawsuits against the company almost takes on the aura of one of the
class-action type cases against the tobacco industry. How do those play
into the equation vis-...-vis the breaking off of a settlement with the
federal government. It seems to me that one is linked to the other in
terms of where we might wind up at the end of the day. How do you see
that part of it?

    HINGORANI: Well I think it's very important to realize that until a
final decision is issued by the Court of Appeals, any suit that is off a
class-action status will find resistance in the courts, from what I know
of how these legal issues are taken by the courts. So it will have to be
a final ruling by Court of Appeals, before verdicts can be laid down by
other courts in other jurisdictions.

    CAFFERTY: How does some of Microsoft's competitors in the software
industry look at this thing? How do you look at their share prices,
their future in terms of the situation that Microsoft is in this Monday

    HINGORANI: Right. At this point in time, there will be probably some
psychological shakedown of some of the related software companies, but I
think that's going to be psychological, not fundamental. It's very
important to realize that despite this trial, having been gone on for
about a year now, Microsoft's fundamental business, and the business of
the software companies affiliated with Microsoft - both as competitors
and partners - has not been affected at all. So if you look at the
fundamentals of the business, until a remedy is imposed and implemented,
it will not change the way Microsoft or the software industry operates,
which is why I think that the current weakness in the stock price, under
$100 a share, provides us with a rare buying opportunity.

    CAFFERTY: And the ultimate resolution, as you suggested in the
earlier part of the interview, could be a long ways away, and in fact,
may never happen, depending on how things develop?

    HINGORANI: Absolutely. In fact, the Court of Appeals has, in the
past, ruled against Judge Jackson's rulings and overturned his rulings,
twice before, in cases related to Microsoft.

    CAFFERTY: Mr. Hingorani, it's nice to have you with us; thank you
very much.

    HINGORANI: Thank you.

    CAFFERTY: Sanjiv Hingorani is software analyst with Brown Brothers

MICROSOFT CORP: Shares Tumble As Ruling on Antitrust Case Anticipated
Microsoft shares plunged Monday, April 3 as a federal judge prepared to
issue his ruling in the government's antitrust case following the
failure of talks aimed at an out-of-court settlement. In early New York
trading, shares of the software giant plunged 14 or 13.7 percent, to

Federal Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson was expected to issue his ruling
after the financial markets close in the case, in which the government
alleges Microsoft abused its monopoly position to crush competitors. The
ruling is widely expected to be unfavorable to Microsoft, although no
remedy was expected to be issued immediately. It will however kick off a
new phase in the case that could eventually led to a breakup of the
software company.

However, Microsoft officials said they remain confident of an eventual
legal victory in the case. Many analysts reiterated positive
recommendations for the software maker's shares. In a statement issued
over the weekend, Gates said the company "went the extra mile to resolve
this case, but the government would not agree to a fair and reasonable
settlement." "Microsoft offered significant concessions ... Ultimately,
it became impossible to settle because the Department of Justice and the
states were not working together. Between them, they appeared to be
demanding either a breakup of our company or other extreme concessions
that go far beyond the issues raised in the lawsuit."

But attorneys general involved in the case disagreed. "The contention
that the difference between the states and DOJ (US Department of
Justice) somehow scuttled the talks is absolutely unfounded,"
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal told the Washington
Post. "Microsoft simply wouldn't agree to the types of remedies that
would satisfy Justice or the states," New York Attorney General Eliot
Spitzer told the same paper.

In an interview published Monday, Gates told the Post, "We feel very
good about the legal case we have as it goes through the additional
stages." "We absolutely believe that the judicial system will ultimately
rule in our favor," he said in a separate interview with The New York

In November, Jackson issued his finding of fact -- his interpretation of
the evidence presented at trial -- which said that Microsoft had stifled
competition through a variety of means. During the four months since
that ruling, Microsoft and the government have tried to negotiate a
settlement to the case under the mediation of appellate judge Richard
Posner in Chicago.

The failure of the talks clears the way for Jackson to deliver his
ruling, which unlike his earlier findings will become a part of the
legal record that private companies or individuals can use as evidence
in their own lawsuits against Microsoft.

Microsoft already faces dozens of class action suits, and Jackson's
ruling could make it easier for more to follow, creating a hefty legal
challenge for the computer giant. But the lengthy appeals process could
drag on for years, and the climate could change following the November
presidential election, which will lead to new faces at the Justice
Department. (Agence France Presse, April 3, 2000)

PACIFIC GAS: Case on Contaminated Water Supply in CA Subject of Movie
The Pacific Gas and Electric Company of San Francisco used to think that
its worst nightmare was a sassy legal assistant called Erin Brockovich.
It was Ms Brockovich, a twice-divorced mother of three with no legal or
scientific background, who almost single-handedly discovered that, for
more than 30 years, the company had contaminated the water supply of a
small Californian desert town in which it owned a natural gas-compressor
station. When her tiny Los Angeles law firm brought a class-action suit,
the company was eventually forced to pay out a whopping $ 333m - the
biggest settlement of its kind in legal history - to the injured parties
who had suffered respiratory diseases, kidney and liver disorders, colon
cancer and other serious illnesses.

But now PG&E faces a public humiliation of an altogether different
order. Ms Brockovich's story, which never received much attention in the
news media at the time, has been made into a movie. A movie starring
Julia Roberts, the shiniest female star in Hollywood, who now commands
an eye-catching $ 20m a role. A movie that, since its release two weeks
ago, has been the number-one box-office smash across the United States.

All of a sudden, a well-kept dirty secret has become widespread public
knowledge. Now there is scarcely a teenager in the land who cannot tell
you how PG&E dumped chromium 6 into the water in the dusty town of
Hinkley, a few miles off the main Los Angeles-to-Las Vegas highway, and
then sought to hush up its noxious effects. Erin Brockovich is no longer
an abstract name of uncertain ethnic origin. To movie audiences, she is
the former beauty queen with a penchant for push-up bras and low-cut
tops; one of life's survivors, with a kick-ass attitude and a vocabulary
to match; a true fighter for social justice, who will rail against the
powerful but also has great wellsprings of compassion for the oppressed.

And sensing the great human drama in the story they originally missed,
the newspapers and television stations have made up for lost time,
falling over themselves to cover the movie, and the scandal, in
painstaking detail. Ms Brockovich herself has been profiled everywhere,
from The New York Times to People magazine, and last Sunday she even
popped up at the celebrity- jammed Oscars party hosted by Vanity Fair.

Having already had to contend with the determined resourcefulness of
Erin Brockovich the woman, PG&E's new nightmare is Erin Brockovich the
movie - and there are already signs that the attendant Hollywood
brouhaha has added new momentum to the real-life story. Since the film
opened, almost 100 potential new plaintiffs, alerted by the
entertainment on offer at their local multiplex, have called the offices
of Masry & Vititoe, the law firm for which Ms Brockovich still works.
The firm already has a number of follow-up cases in the pipeline. The
biggest of them, due to come to court in November, involves around 1,500
people who live near a PG&E plant in Kettleman Hills, in California's
Central Valley, who have similar health complaints to the 650 successful
plaintiffs from Hinkley.

There are also outstanding claims by 150 Hinkley people who failed to
come forward the first time around, and by 20 others from Topock on the
California -Arizona border, where there is a risk that the contamination
could seep into the Colorado river, one of the most crucial freshwater
sources for the whole of the American South -west.

"We won't feel resolved - morally, ethically, or legally - until we have
found everyone we were supposed to," Ms Brockovich said recently. And
that's a task the media will make a whole lot easier. PG&E, which runs
pipelines from the Texas Panhandle up to San Francisco, and serves 4.5
million homes and businesses in northern California, is insisting on a
jury trial for the Kettleman Hills class-action suit, presumably because
the appeals process will make it easier to defer the effects of a
negative judgement for several years. But already there are doubts about
how easy it will be to find 12 jurors who have not been influenced by
the film. (The plaintiffs would prefer, and might still get, binding
arbitration by a judge, which means instant settlement with no
possibility for appeal.)

The cable channel Court TV, meanwhile, has requested permission to
broadcast the proceedings, which would only expose the company to
further negative publicity and the possibility of further claims from
new plaintiffs.

PG&E has been concerned about the movie for some time. According to
company sources tapped by the Sacramento Bee newspaper, the top brass
hired a Los Angeles public-relations firm to report on the script and
the way it was being shot. "It was bad enough that a film was being
made," a former company official told the Bee. "But the fact that Julia
Roberts was in it really heightened anxiety. Everybody figured that
Hollywood would slam the hell out of the company."

A week before the film was released, PG&E's chief executive Bob Glynn
put out an internal memo that has since formed the basis of all public
statements by the company. "PG&E did not respond to the ground-water
problem as openly, quickly or thoroughly as it should have," conceded
the memo, which has since been made public. "It is clear, in retrospect,
that our company should have handled some things differently at that
time." However, Mr Glynn went on, the poster-line claim that the film is
" 'based on a true story' doesn't mean that everything in the story is
true. The movie is an entertainment vehicle." (The Independent (London),
April 1, 2000)

REXALL SUNDOWN: Securities Complaint in Florida Dismissed
Rexall Sundown, Inc. (Nasdaq: RXSD) announced on April 3 that the United
States District Court for the Southern District of Florida granted
Rexall Sundown's motion to dismiss the consolidated class action
complaint filed against the Company and certain of its officers and
directors alleging violations of the Federal securities laws. In
entering its final order of dismissal on March 29, 2000, which the
plaintiffs can appeal, the court ruled that the plaintiffs had failed to
state a claim. Rexall Sundown, Inc. develops, manufactures, markets and
sells vitamins, herbals, nutritional supplements and other consumer
health products.

THE STEPHEN: Announces Final Dismissal of Securities Suit in Florida
The Stephan Co. (Amex: TSC) on April 3 announces that on March 30, 2000,
the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
entered a Final Order of Dismissal granting the Company's motion to
dismiss the Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint for failure to
state a cause of action. The class action litigation had been filed in
April of 1999 against the Company and certain of its officers and a
director alleging certain securities violations in connection with its
restatement of interim financial results for the second and third
quarters of 1998.

TOBACCO LITIGATION: Closing Arguments Continue; Award in Recent Case
Closing arguments by the defense continued Monday, April 3 in the
penalty phase of the first class-action suit to go to trial against the
tobacco industry. Once the lawyers for the tobacco industry finish their
arguments, Stanley and Susan Rosenblatt, attorneys for the three primary
plaintiffs, will offer a rebuttal. Circuit Judge Robert P. Kay will then
charge the jury to begin deliberations, reports United Press

The jury ruled in July that the industry has tried to mislead the public
about the dangers of smoking. The Rosenblatts said the plaintiffs
decided to smoke because the tobacco industry withheld information about
the dangers of cigarettes. Industry lawyers, on the other hand, argued
that the plaintiffs were fully aware of the dangers but smoked anyway.

Stanley Rosenblatt said in his closing arguments that his clients should
get a total of $10 million to $14 million. After the jury decides on
awards for the three primary plaintiffs, it will decide on awards for
the 500,000 parties to the class-action suit. Estimates of the potential
total award run up to $300 million, though an award of that size is
unlikely, since Florida law forbids awards that are big enough to send a
defendant into bankruptcy, the report says.

The three plaintiffs are Mary Farnan, a nurse who has lung cancer that
spread to her brain, Frank Amodeo, an Orlando clock-maker who has throat
cancer and has been fed intravenously since 1987 and the estate of Angie
Della Vecchia of New Port Richey, who died of lung and brain cancer last
year, after the trial began.

The defendants are Phillip Morris Co., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Brown &
Williamson Tobacco, Lorillard Tobacco, the Liggett Group and two related
organizations. (United Press International, April 3, 2000)

Meanwhile, a report in Scripps Howard News Service draws attention to an
award by a San Francisco jury last Monday March 27 to a woman dying of
lung and brain cancer. The jury ordered two tobacco companies to pay her
$20 million in punitive damages on top of $1.7 million to compensate for
economic losses.

The report ssys that when Leslie Whiteley started smoking in 1972, every
pack of cigarettes she opened carried a warning from the surgeon general
that smoking caused deadly disease. The U.S. Supreme Court had
previously held that smokers who had taken up the habit after the
warning labels couldn't win damages from tobacco companies on the
grounds that they didn't know cigarettes were dangerous. On top of
everything else, Whiteley, who's dying of lung and brain cancer, was a
less than ideal defendant, having admitted a history of marijuana and
drug use, the report remarks.

The report also points out that it was the first court victory for a
plaintiff who had taken up smoking after Congress placed warning labels
on tobacco products in 1965. It says that suddenly, the ocean of
litigation against the tobacco industry looks to have no bottom. The
Whiteley case, the report says, is notable for what happens when a jury
is offered a case of competing tobacco irresponsibilities - a child who
ignored the plain risks of smoking (Whiteley was 13 when she began)
against an industry that was aware its products were both addictive and
dangerous but kept trying to lure young smokers like her. In the
weighing, the San Francisco jury, presented with the long documentary
evidence of the industry's misconduct uncovered recently from its own
files, found the greater irresponsibility belonged to the adults who
acted recklessly in the pursuit of profit, not the 13-year-old who acted

Other juries might have decided differently, and some have. But it is
hard to dismiss the San Francisco jury as an aberration, the product of
"crunchy granola land," as one industry analyst put it. Until Congress
puts in place a regulatory system for tobacco that reduces the number of
young people hooked on smoking and the future damage to public health,
the roulette of the civil justice system will continue to deal these
blows to the tobacco industry. (Scripps Howard News Service, April 3,

VARSITYBOOKS COM: Columbia Suit Alleges False Internet Ad. on Discounts
On October 29, 1999, the National Association of College Stores, or
N.A.C.S., sued us in the United States District Court for the District
of Columbia. In their complaint, N.A.C.S. alleged that Varsitybooks Com
Inc. use false and misleading advertisements in its efforts to sell
textbooks. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the Company falsely
advertise discounts of 40% on textbooks on our Web site. The complaint
also alleges that there is no suggested retail price for textbooks from
which to calculate discounts. N.A.C.S. claims that, in making the
alleged false and misleading statements, the Company is implying that
N.A.C.S. member stores over charge students for their textbooks.

The complaint requests that the Company be prevented from claiming in
any advertising or promotional material, packaging or the like, or
representing in any way, that it offers discounts or percentages off of
textbooks, unless it clearly and prominently identifies the true basis
for the claimed discount, the source of the comparative price it uses to
determine the discounts it offers and the true percentage of textbooks
offered at the stated discounted price. In addition, N.A.C.S. seeks to
have Varsitybooks retract all prior claims through prominent statements
on our Web site. The complaint does not seek monetary damages, other
than attorneys' fees. The Company decries merit of these claims.

VITAMIN PRICE-FIXING: Bayer Sues Makers after Opting out of Settlement
Bayer Corp. sued several large vitamin makers for price fixing, becoming
the latest of several large companies to walk away from a settlement of
this issue and file its own suit.

Bayer, the U.S. arm of Germany's Bayer AG, filed suit in U.S. District
Court for the Southern District of New York against Swiss drug company
Roche Holding Ltd.; German chemicals maker BASF AG; Rhone-Poulenc SA, a
French pharmaceuticals and chemicals company; German vitamin concern
Merck KgaA; and Japanese vitamin makers Takeda Chemical Industries Ltd.
and Eisai Co. The filing alleges pharmaceuticals concern Bayer overpaid
for vitamins because the manufacturers manipulated wholesale prices and
seeks unspecified damages.

With this suit, Bayer is opting out of a settlement reached in November,
under which the vitamin makers agreed to pay $1.17 billion to settle a
class- action lawsuit over the long-running price-fixing plot. But, the
size of that award is shrinking as plaintiff companies file their own
suits. Quaker Oats Co. and Tyson Foods Inc. already have opted out.

The District Court of the District of Columbia has given final approval
to the November settlement. The settlement has dropped to $242 million
because companies representing 75% of the vitamins purchased have opted
to file individual suits, like Bayer.

A spokesman for Roche's U.S. affiliate said, "we regret the past
practices that led to the situation," noting that the company has taken
steps to "make sure this doesn't happen again."  (The Wall Street
Journal, March 29, 2000)

TOBACCO LITIGATION: RI Considers How to Spend Settlement Money
    PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP), March 29, 2000 - Tobacco company
whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand, whose story inspired the movie "The
Insider," testified before a Senate panel considering how Rhode Island
should spend its share of the national tobacco settlement.

"This is an issue about children. The industry survived only through its
ability to addict, dupe and manipulate, in this country, 3,000 kids a
day," Wigand said. "It targets young girls by making them think that if
they have a cigarette, they'll stay slim rather than having a sweet."

Wigand, played by Oscar-nominated Russell Crowe in "The Insider," helped
push the industry to a settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought by
the 50 states. In 1995, he went to the CBS television show "60 Minutes"
with claims of perjury and other wrongdoing by the industry. His story
became the subject of the hit 1999 movie which also starred Al Pacino.

Over the next 25 years, Rhode Island expects to receive about $1.45
billion from the estimated $206 billion national settlement, which
covered 46 states. The four remaining states settled separately for an
additional $40 billion.

Wigand urged Rhode Island to spend more money on anti-tobacco programs,
pointing to more successful efforts in Massachusetts, Florida and
California. "The settlement dollars that came into the state are a
direct result of many, many people paying with their lives for many,
many years," Wigand said. "If you think what Philip Morris is doing
today is going to be taking on a new responsibility, I challenge you to
look at their ads that target battered women and ask, are they really
trying to help battered women, or are they now trying to find a new way
of targeting an exposed, at-risk group?"

Rhode Island remains undecided on how to spend its tobacco settlement

Wigand testified in favor of Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty's bill, which
proposes using at least half of Rhode Island's share of the tobacco
settlement for health care and a smaller portion for antismoking

Rhode Island is spending only about $1 million of settlement money this
year on limiting smoking among youths. "You have an industry that's
spending 10 times that to get people to smoke in your state everyday,"
Wigand told members of the Health, Education and Welfare Committee.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Lincoln Almond said any more money for
anti-tobacco efforts would require him to shuffle around the budget.

"If more money is going to be put toward tobacco-related efforts, than
more money has to be taken away from another area. In the lieutenant
governor's bill, he doesn't state how he would redesign the budget,"
said spokeswoman Lisa Pelosi. "We have to submit a balanced budget."

Fogarty's bill was introduced earlier this year by Sen. Thomas Izzo.
There is a similar bill in the House.


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

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