/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/000817.MBX              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Thursday, August 17, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 160


BIOMATRIX, INC: Cauley & Geller Files Securities Suit in New Jersey
BIOMATRIX, INC: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Suit in New Jersey
BRANCH DAVIDIAN: TX Jury Finds U.S. Agents Not Liable for Deaths At Waco
BRIDGESTONE-FIRESTONE: Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven Files Suit in MD
BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE: Lawyer Says Tire Recall Helps Plaintiffs Win

BRIDGESTONE: Lawyer Spent Years on Tire Problems, the NY Times Tells
CENDANT CORP: Says NJ Judge OKs $ 2.85B Settlement for Securities Suit
FORD MOTOR: CA Sp Ct Declines Review of Bar on Collection of Balances
INFOCURE CORP: NV Physician Sues Software Co. for Deceptive Practices

NETMANAGE INC: Continues to Defend Securities Suit by Zeid in CA
NETMANAGE INC: Settles Shareholder Derivative Suit in CA
NETMANAGE INC: Settles Securities Suit in CA Re Period April-July 1996
NETMANAGE INC: Settles Securities Suits in CA Re Period in 1995-96
OAKLEY INC: Says Insurer Chose to Pay for Securities Complaint

ONLINE COMPANIES: Free-Lancers' Suit Targets Large Databases Providers
PACIFIC BELL: CA Consumer Sues Alleging Anti-Competitive Behavior
PENNSYLVANIA: Lawsuit Says Foster Parents Shortchanged on Aid
THRIFTY OIL: CA Sp Ct Says Benefits of Suit Not Only Based on Claim Size
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Lawyers Remind of Interest Lost in Delayed Ruling

WASTE MANAGEMENT: The Toronto Sun Cites Bad Rap Sheet Accusation by NDP
XCELERA.COM, INC: Robert C. Susser Files Securities Suit in CT

* Bill Makes It Easy for Defendants to Transfer Suits to Fed Courts


BIOMATRIX, INC: Cauley & Geller Files Securities Suit in New Jersey
The Law Firm of Cauley & Geller, LLP has filed a class action in the United
States District Court for the District of New Jersey on behalf of all
individuals and institutional investors that purchased the common stock of
Biomatrix, Inc. (NYSE:BXM) between July 20, 1999 and April 25, 2000,
inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges that the Company and certain of its officers and
directors violated the federal securities laws by providing materially
false and misleading information about the Company's business, prospects
and operations. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the defendants
knowingly or recklessly misrepresented the efficacy of its leading product,
Synvisc, a gel-like substance used in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Plaintiffs allege that defendants artificially inflated reported sales of
Synvisc and exaggerated the medical community's acceptance of the product.
As a result of these false and misleading statements the Company's stock
traded at artificially inflated prices during the class period. When the
truth about the Company was revealed, the price of the stock dropped

Contact: Cauley & Geller, LLP, Boca Raton Sue Null, Jackie Addison or
Sharon Jackson Toll Free: 1-888-551-9944 E-mail: Cauleypa@aol.com

BIOMATRIX, INC: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Suit in New Jersey
A class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for
the District of New Jersey on behalf of all purchasers of the common stock
of Biomatrix, Inc. (NYSE: BXM) from July 20, 1999 through April 25, 2000
inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Biomatrix and certain of its officers and directors
with issuing false and misleading statements concerning the Company's
business, prospects and operations.

Contact: Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP Marc A. Topaz, Esq. Robert B. Weiser,
Esq. 888/299-7706 (toll free) or 610/667-7706 E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com

BRANCH DAVIDIAN: TX Jury Finds U.S. Agents Not Liable for Deaths At Waco
A federal jury in Waco, TX, decided July 14 that federal agents who took
part in the 1993 raid on the heavily armed Branch Davidian compound there
weren't liable for the deaths of 80 cult members who died in the fiery

Survivors and family members had sought $ 685 million in damages, claiming
government negligence and use of unnecessary force were to blame for
wrongful deaths.

The jury's verdict is advisory, with the final decision up to U.S. District
Judge Walter S. Smith. But lead plaintiffs' lawyer Michael Caddell told
reporters "I don't believe in pursuing lost causes." "I think this verdict
for most of the American people is the final word. What they will take away
from this is that five people sat on a jury for four weeks and they found
the government not guilty," he said.

U.S. Attorney Michael Bradford, who led the defense team, called the
verdict "a vindication for the law enforcement officers" trying to carry
out their duties.

The lawsuit charged that federal agents were at least partly responsible
for a 51-day armed standoff at the Davidian compound outside Waco in
central Texas and the blaze that consumed the building after an assault
with tear gas and an FBI tank.

Government lawyers argued the Davidians and their leader, David Koresh,
bore sole responsibility for starting the stand-off by shooting at U.S.
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents who raided the property in
February 1993 to try to arrest Koresh for illegal possession of weapons.
They said the Branch Davidians set the compound on fire in a suicidal act
of defiance on April 13, 1993.

The jury said that evidence showed the ATF did not fire indiscriminately
during the initial raid, that the FBI did not cause the fire when its tanks
penetrated the compound walls and did not violate orders by not having
firefighters on hand. (Liability Week, July 17, 2000)

BRIDGESTONE/FIRESTONE: Lawyer Says Tire Recall Helps Plaintiffs Win
Inc.'s decision on Aug. 9 to recall 6.5 million Firestone tires is likely
to help plaintiffs lawyers win wrongful death and personal injury suits
filed over accidents that occur when tread on the tires separates.

"The suits just became a lot easier," says plaintiffs lawyer Mikal Watts of
Corpus Christi, Texas. "It will have a catastrophic effect on Firestone's
defenses, and it makes those cases more valuable." "It certainly
strengthens our position that these tires do have problems," says Robert
Ammons, a plaintiffs lawyer in Houston.

The recall comes as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
investigates the safety of the tires in the wake of reports of 46 deaths in
accidents involving vehicles with the tires -- and news the tire maker has
recalled tires equipping Ford Explorers and pick-up trucks in seven other

Texas, meanwhile, should be a hotbed for tire-tread separation litigation
filed over accidents involving the recalled Firestone tires used on the
popular Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle. Many of the reported accidents
involving the tires have occurred in hot-weather states, including Texas.

According to four plaintiffs lawyers in Texas with tire-tread separation
suits, more than 100 wrongful death and personal injury suits are pending
across the nation. At least 40 of them are in Texas, says plaintiffs lawyer
Leon Russell of Dallas, who notes the number of suits will increase
exponentially as word of the recall and potential problems with the tires

"The primary effect of the recall will be to heighten people's awareness
and help them make the connection between what happened to them and the
tire and, therefore, bring it to the attention of those who can help these
folks," says Russell, a partner in Russell, Brown & Sawicki. "The secondary
effect will be to get these tires off the road," he notes.

But Thomas Dasse, a sole practitioner in Scottsdale, Ariz., who devotes
most of his practice to tire litigation, says the wrongful death and
personal injury suits won't necessarily be easy to win, despite the recall.
"You can't assume that Firestone will roll over and start signing checks.
They are a very, very tough company," Dasse says.

With hot weather suspected as a factor in causing the tires to explode, the
recall is being conducted first in the southern states of Texas, Arizona,
California and Florida. It applies to all Firestone Radial ATX and Radial
ATX II tires and Wilderness AT tires manufactured at a plant in Decatur,

Like in some other areas of litigation, such as with suits filed against
manufacturers of silicone breast implants and diet drugs used in the
combination known as fen-phen, the results of trials in Texas may define
settlement parameters nationwide.

Four plaintiffs lawyers with tire-tread separation suits say they know of
none in Texas, and very few elsewhere, that have gone to trial, although
they know of several that have settled under confidential terms.

But Corpus Christi plaintiffs lawyer Robert Patterson is getting ready for
a trial set for Oct. 16 before 381st District Judge John Pope in Rio Grande
City in Starr County. The suit against Firestone, the Nashville-based U.S.
subsidiary of Japan's Bridgestone Corp., is on behalf of the four children
of a married pair of teachers from McAllen who were killed in an accident
in their Ford Explorer in May 1999 in Cameron County, he says.

A defense attorney for Firestone in the suit, Patrick Zummo, a partner in
Houston's Zummo, Patrick & Perry, refers comments to two Firestone
representatives. Neither returned telephone messages by press time on Aug.

Patterson of Patterson & Associates says Ford was nonsuited in the case
that goes to trial in October, Guillen v. Bridgestone/Firestone.

Lawyers from Brown McCarroll & Oaks Hartline are defending Ford Motor Co.
in tire-tread litigation in Texas, according to two plaintiffs lawyers
working in the area. Ronald Wamsted, a partner in Brown McCarroll in
Austin, was out of the office on Aug. 10 and could not be reached for

Meanwhile, at least three suits seeking class-action status are pending in
Texas courts. Watts, a partner in Harris & Watts, says he filed a suit on
Aug. 3 in state court in Corpus Christi, asking a jury to declare the tires
defective and to impose a duty on Firestone to recall them and to replace
them. "We're very pleased with the recall," says Watts, who also has filed
two personal injury/wrongful death suits stemming from accidents in Ford
Explorers equipped with the Firestone tires. In Houston, Ammons, a partner
in Stevenson & Ammons, filed a suit on Aug. 8 in state court, asking for a
similar recall for Texans who have Ford Explorers with the Firestone tires.
In John Brick v. Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., Ammons alleges the named
plaintiff brought his Ford Explorer into a dealership in Dallas, but
employees refused to examine the Wilderness tires. Also on Aug. 8, David
Showalter of the Law Offices of David W. Showalter in Bellaire, filed a
suit in federal court in Houston, seeking class action status on behalf of
all purchasers of Firestone ATX, ATX II, and Wilderness tires.

Showalter says the recall doesn't make the class litigation moot. "We think
they are moving in the right direction, but it's not full relief that our
clients will be entitled to. People have lost time, lost use of their
vehicles," he says.

Brenda Sapino Jeffreys is a senior reporter in the Houston bureau of Texas
Lawyer, an American Lawyer Media affiliate. (The Recorder, August 15, 2000)

The nation's largest auto insurer said that it began complaining three
years ago to Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. about an unusually high accident
rate involving its Firestone brand tires and took its concerns to the
government last year but never got a response.

Meanwhile, the number of accidents and traffic deaths associated with the
tires Firestone is recalling continued to climb Tuesday, prompting some
safety organizations to repeat demands for a broader recall of the
company's light-truck and sport-utility tires.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has been
investigating the Firestone accidents since May 2, said it has processed
575 complaints, involving 54 deaths, that name various Firestone brand
tires, including the ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT models being recalled.
Eight of the fatalities occurred in California.

A spokesman for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance said the insurer
noticed as early as 1997 that Firestone tires were involved in an unusually
high number of accidents and started complaining about the problem to the
tire maker.

Nashville-based Bridgestone/Firestone, a unit of tire maker Bridgestone
Corp. of Japan, declined to comment Tuesday on State Farm's allegations.
But representatives of Ford Motor Co.--whose SUVs and other light trucks
used most of the estimated 6.5 million tires being recalled--had said
Sunday that they believed Firestone was aware as early as 1997 of a growing
number of incidents involving tire tread separation.

State Farm spokesman Bill Sirola said that the insurer took its concerns to
the government last year with a report to NHTSA, but that the agency never
responded. That comment drew a blank at NHTSA, which has been criticized
for not spotting the tire problem sooner. "That's news to me," said Ken
Weinstein, the agency's associate administrator for safety assurance. He
supervises the Office of Defects Investigation. "They didn't give it to me
personally. It might have happened. I'm so surprised. If they gave it to
us, I would have put it in my database."

The disclosure by Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm, which insures about
20% of the drivers in the U.S., could provide more ammunition to consumer
groups and personal-injury attorneys, who complain that Firestone, Ford and
government investigators moved too slowly in dealing with the problem
tires. "This is yet another source of information that should have alerted
Firestone," said Washington attorney Gary Mason, who is trying to organize
a class-action suit on behalf of Ford Explorer owners.

Separately Tuesday, lawyers for an Arcadia woman, whose father and a friend
were killed in an accident allegedly caused by a Firestone tire tread
separation in November, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in Pasadena Superior
Court. The woman, Kelly Logan, was traveling with her family on the
Foothill Freeway on Nov. 14 in a 1995 Ford Explorer. The SUV's right rear
tire suffered a tread separation, causing the car to veer out of control
and overturn, according to the lawsuit. On learning of the recall, Logan
said she felt "glad that they did it so other people won't get hurt by
this. But it made me mad too. They could have prevented so many deaths if
they had done it sooner."

Most of the tires subject to the recall were installed as original
equipment tires on 1991 and later Ford Explorers as well as on various
models of Ford F-150 pickups, Mercury Mountaineers, Mazda Navajo SUVs, and
Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series mini-pickups.

Ford and Firestone would not comment on the new NHTSA numbers because they
had not had time to study them. But John Lampe, executive vice president of
Bridgestone/Firestone, said, "Any accident concerns me." He said he did not
consider the rising numbers unusual, though. "I think as more media
attention has been made on this, more claims will become known."

The tire models being recalled have been specifically identified in
accident reports noting 43 deaths, according to data posted by NHTSA on its
Web site Tuesday. In reports citing 11 additional fatalities, Firestone was
cited as the tire maker, but no brand was specified. In 13 other deaths
allegedly involving tire failures, the manufacturer was not stated.

When the investigation began, NHTSA had processed 90 complaints, including
30 crashes and four deaths. By Aug. 7, as retailers decided to halt sales
of the tires and recall pressure mounted, NHTSA had reviewed some 270
complaints and 46 deaths. Bridgestone/Firestone, reportedly under pressure
from its biggest customer, Ford Motor, finally announced a recall Aug. 9.

In what appears to substantiate claims that there is a problem with
Firestone tires--although a specific flaw has yet to be identified--Ford
executives said Tuesday that from 1995 to 1997 the company installed
Goodyear tires on about 500,000 Explorers. There have been "virtually no
tread separations" reported on the Goodyear-equipped vehicles, although the
tires were similar in size and construction and were "built to the same
performance requirements as the Firestone tires," said Tom Baughman, Ford's
vehicle line director for trucks.

Also Tuesday, Firestone pledged to reimburse consumers--up to $ 100 per
tire--for costs they incurred between Jan. 1 and Aug. 8 to replace tires
subject to the recall. Terms of the reimbursement policy, which requires
consumers to release their legal claims against Firestone, are outlined on
the Web at http://www.firestone.com.(Los Angeles Times, August 16, 2000)

BRIDGESTONE-FIRESTONE: Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven Files Suit in MD
Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. on August 15 announced that a lawsuit
has been filed on behalf of all persons who incurred any costs, expenses,
and/or other injuries/damages in connection with their replacement of ATX,
ATX II, and Wilderness AT tires after purchasing/obtaining such tires in
the State of Maryland.

The action, entitled Spied v. Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., et al., is
pending in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland. The Class Action
Complaint names as Defendants Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. and Ford Motor
Company and alleges various causes of action arising under Maryland law,
including: fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of an implied
warranty of merchantability, and violation of the Maryland Consumer
Protection Act.

The Class Action Complaint alleges that the defect -- as a consequence of
which the treads of the automobile tires peel off their casings -- is
prevalent in Firestone's ATX, ATX II, and Wilderness AT brand tires. The
tread separation, which the complaint alleges has long been denied by
Firestone, makes certain tires prone to bursting at high speeds, thereby
causing serious and fatal automobile collisions.

Only after several large retailers, such as Sears Roebuck and Co.,
Montgomery Ward, and Discount Tires, among others, refused to sell the
Defective Tires, and following the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration's receipt of approximately 270 complaints about the
Defective Tires and reports of approximately 46 deaths and 80 injuries, did
the Company finally announce, on August 9, 2000, that it would recall
certain sizes of the Firestone ATX, ATX II, and Wilderness AT (the
"Recall"). The Recall is staggered. According to Firestone's August 9, 2000
Recall announcement, which was issued subsequent to an August 8, 2000
meeting between Firestone, NHTSA officials, and Ford (the manufacturer of
the Ford Explorer, the top-selling sport utility vehicle, for which the
Defective Tires subject to the Recall have been utilized as standard
equipment), the Recall is partitioned into three phases: The first phase
involves California, Arizona, Florida, and Texas; the second phase extends
the recall to Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma,
and Tennessee; and, the final phase involves tires in remaining states. It
has been indicated that the Recall will take at least one year to complete.

Plaintiff in the Spied case has requested, among other things, an award of
compensatory and punitive damages against Defendants. With regard to
compensatory damages, the type of damages requested include: the
replacement costs of tires; costs for installing replacement tires; costs
of discarding defective tires; time and expense associated with replacing
and/or inspecting the defective tires; and non-economic damages
accompanying such replacement and/or inspection. Any individual or entity
whose direct and/or derivative damages, in the aggregate, equal or exceed
$75,000.00 as defined under 28 U.S.C. Section 1332 is excluded from the

Contact: Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A., Baltimore Charles J. Piven,
410/332-0030 pivenlaw@erols.com
Charles J. Piven, Esquire, Marshall N. Perkins, Esquire, The World Trade
Center--Baltimore, Suite 2525, 401 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, Maryland,

BRIDGESTONE: Lawyer Spent Years on Tire Problems, the NY Times Tells
Before the recent spate of publicity about deadly accidents involving
Firestone tires, Tab Turner, a Little Rock, Ark., lawyer, rarely received
more than a call or two a month seeking his advice about legal claims
related to defective tires.

But Mr. Turner, who has spent nearly all his time the last few years on
tire problems or litigation stemming from rollover accidents involving
sport utility vehicles, is no longer driving in the legal slow lane. "We
got 330 calls and e-mails on Monday," said Mr. Turner, mostly from
consumers angry about delays in having their tires replaced. "We're getting

Lawyers say that the clamor for advice and, in some cases, action against
Bridgestone/Firestone, which makes the tires, and the Ford Motor Company,
whose Explorer sport utility vehicles figure in most of the reported
accidents, seems unlikely to abate soon. Indeed, while tire manufacturers
and automakers have rarely had to worry about anything beyond a steady
trickle of lawsuits stemming from tire failures, they are now attracting
the attention of big-name class-action law firms responding to widespread
anger at the recall plans.

The class-action firms -- which have honed their skills in
multibillion-dollar battles with drug companies, asbestos manufacturers and
the tobacco industry -- have far more resources than Mr. Turner, Bruce R.
Kaster of Florida, Thomas Basse of Arizona and other personal-injury
lawyers that tire makers like Firestone usually face.

Unlike the cases brought in cases over deaths and injuries in individual
traffic accidents, some of which have resulted in six-figure settlements,
the class-action suits are focused on the claims of drivers who have yet to
suffer any tire failure. One by one, such claims are too small for
personal-injury lawyers to pursue, but together they could cost
Bridgestone/Firestone and Ford hundreds of millions of dollars beyond the
expenses of the recall. Last week, Firestone's Japanese parent, the
Bridgestone Corporation, said it would set aside $350 million to cover
recall costs, and its stock has plunged 29 percent this month amid news
about the problem tires.

The recall that Firestone announced last week -- for all 15-inch ATX and
ATX II tires, and for Wilderness AT tires made at its plant in Decatur,
Ill. -- focused first on Southern and Western states where the vast
majority of accidents involving the tires had been reported.

But the class-action complaints argue that millions of drivers who are
being asked to wait a year or more are being damaged by that plan. Some of
the class actions demand that Bridgestone/Firestone immediately replace
tires in all states, or else cover the costs of consumers who want to
switch to other brands. Some seek compensation for the emotional stress to
drivers or the diminished resale value of vehicles that have been equipped
with the tires being recalled.

Bridgestone/Firestone moved to meet some of the demands, announcing that it
would reimburse customers up to $100 a tire for tires purchased since Jan.
1 in order to replace the recalled tires. The company said it would offer
the same payment to those who have bought tires from other makers to
replace Firestones since it announced the recall last Wednesday.

In addition to complaints about the phased recall, the companies face legal
complaints over their decision to limit the recall to 15-inch tires when
some larger tires have already been recalled in other countries.

Ford, which is named in some but not all of the suits, said that the recall
had "nothing to do with the litigation and that the class-action lawyers
were trying to capitalize on a situation they have no influence over."

A Firestone spokesman said the company was too busy working on the recall
to comment on litigation.

Personal-injury lawyers like Mr. Turner are not yet paying much attention
to the phased-recall plan, but that could change if delays replacing the
tires lead to accidents. "I've had people trying to get their tires
replaced tell me that dealers say it will take three months to catch up
with the demand," said Mr. Dasse, a lawyer in Scottsdale, Ariz., which is
in the first group of states promised replacement tires. "You are going to
see catastrophic failures in the next few months." He said the companies
could be exposing themselves to further legal claims if Firestone continued
supplying tires to Ford to keep Explorer production lines up, instead of
meeting the recall needs first.

The tire maker said that satisfying customer concerns was its first
priority, but added that it was also continuing to send tires to Ford. Such
seeming conflicts are likely to figure prominently in the legal battles to
come, lawyers say. They wonder whether these might finally lead to cracks
in the united front that the longtime partners -- Firestone began supplying
tires to Ford in 1907 -- have presented in lawsuits against them. They
typically argue that blowouts were caused by poor maintenance,
underinflation or road debris. The companies have resisted efforts by
plaintiffs' lawyers to gather and share evidence, arguing that tires and
vehicles differ so much that each case is essentially unlike any other.

Most cases end in settlements in which the defendants demand that the
records be sealed. "Tires fail for all kinds of reasons," said Susan Dwyer,
a New York lawyer who has defended such suits for 20 years but is not
involved in cases related to the recalled Bridgestone/Firestone tires.
"That's why cars come with backups, and it's the only component like that."
But the Firestone case is producing such a large number of similar
complaints details of which are emerging as Ford and the United States
government analyze accident data -- that plaintiffs' lawyers are
anticipating more chances to cooperate. "The issue is no longer whether
there is a problem," Mr. Turner said. "It's now an issue of what they knew
and when they knew it." (The New York Times, August 16, 2000)

CENDANT CORP: Says NJ Judge OKs $ 2.85B Settlement for Securities Suit
Cendant Corp. said a U.S. District Court judge in New Jersey gave his final
approval to a proposed $ 2.85 billion settlement of a securities
class-action brought by its shareholders. Cendant, the marketing and
franchising company behind Days Inn hotels and Century 21 real estate
brokers, said the settlement is subject to appeal during the next 30 days.
(The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, August 16, 2000)

FORD MOTOR: CA Sp Ct Declines Review of Bar on Collection of Balances
In the class action case of Mortera v. Ford Motor Credit Co., No. CV 779239
(7/19/00), the California Supreme Court recently denied Ford Motor Credit
Co.'s petition for review of an adverse summary judgment ruling by the
Santa Clara County Superior Court that a lender's failure to include a
disclosure warning in its post-repossession notice barred the collection of
deficiency balances.

Isabel Mortera sued Ford Credit on behalf of borrowers whose vehicles were
repossessed and who were issued post-repossession notices, which failed to
include the disclosures required by California Civil Code Section
2983.2(a)(9). Mortera's attorneys, Mark A. Chavez, Jonathan E. Gertler and
Kim E. Card of Chavez & Gertler in Mill Valley, Calif., argued that given
the improper disclosures, Ford Credit should be barred from collecting any
deficiency balances.

Judge Mary Jo Levinger granted Mortera's motion for summary adjudication of
her declaratory relief cause of action and subsequently granted Mortera's
motion for class certification (see Consumer Financial Services Law Report,
June 9, 2000, p.14). The court held the Section 2983.2(a)(9) warning must
be included in the post-repossession notices.

In the petition for writ of mandate to the Supreme Court, Ford Credit's
counsel, Jan T. Chilton, Mark J. Kenney, Mark D. Lonergan and Loraine P.
Eber of Severson & Werson in San Francisco, argued that 40 similar class
actions pending in the lower courts necessitated appellate review to
resolve important legal issues. Ford Credit also asserted that the Supreme
Court should review the Mortera case to clarify the legal test for implying
a private right of action for a statutory violation, to decide whether the
amendment of subsection (a)(9) to Civil Code Section 2983.3 operates
retroactively, and to enforce the statutory limits on summary adjudication
motions. The Supreme Court denied review without comment. (Consumer
Financial Services Law Report, August 7, 2000)

INFOCURE CORP: NV Physician Sues Software Co. for Deceptive Practices
On behalf of himself and other medical professionals like him, Las Vegas
physician Jeffrey Arenswald, M.D., has filed a class-action lawsuit against
Infocure Corp., alleging that the software company engaged in deceptive
practices. Arenswald v. Infocure Corp., Docket No. 36-000524-103, complaint
filed (Nev. Dist. Ct., Clark County, May 10, 2000).

The complaint alleges that throughout the 1990s, Infocure's predecessor,
Medical Software Management Inc. (MSM), sold an operating system, the IBM
RS 6000 System, to medical and health care professionals, even though the
hardware was defective. Infocure also sold its own Kl'ron software, which
offered an integrated physician's practice management system encompassing
patient care and clinical, financial and management applications. In 1998,
MSM began informing purchasers of the IBM RS 6000 that they would need to
replace it with a Y2K-compliant system, and offered to sell them a
Hewlett-Packard system. In a subsequent letter, MSM informed its customers
that it would no longer continue to support the IBM system after June 30,

When Infocure took over MSM, it advised Kl'ron licensees that the company
was offering a new IBM or Hewlett-Packard system to replace the defective
RS 6000, and would support the new IBM system; what Infocure neglected to
do, however, was tell licensees that a free patch was available from IBM to
fix the problem with the RS 6000 system. The result, Arenswald alleges, is
that each of the members of the class was induced into purchasing a new
computer system, unaware that a free solution to the problem was available
to them.

The complaint asserts that there are hundreds if not thousands of potential
class members, whose identities would be discernible from records in
Infocure's possession. Because of Infocure's ongoing deceptive
representations, the members unnecessarily spent tens of thousands of
dollars to replace the IBM RS 6000. Arenswald alleges that after he spent
over $31,000 on the IBM system, he was told it would cost him almost
$25,000 to purchase a replacement system from MSM; he ended up entering
into a lease with another company, at a cost of $930 per month.

The complaint seeks class certification, compensatory damages and
injunctive relief including disgorgement, establishment of a constructive
trust and restitution.

Arenswald is represented by G. Mark Albright of Las Vegas. (Year 2000 Law
Bulletin, July 2000)

NETMANAGE INC: Continues to Defend Securities Suit by Zeid in CA
The company’s report filed in August with the SEC covers the period ended
June 30, 2000 and does not show progress on the following suit which was
previously reported in April this year:

In February 1996, a securities class action complaint, Zeid, et al. v.
Kimberley, et al., Case No. C-96-20136SW, was filed in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of California against Firefox
Communications Inc. ("Firefox") and certain of its former officers and
directors. FTP acquired Firefox in July 1996. The complaint alleged that,
between July 20, 1995 and January 2, 1996, the defendants violated the
federal securities laws by making false or misleading statements about
Firefox's operations and financial results. On May 8, 1997, the district
court granted defendants' motion to dismiss without leave to amend.
Plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal. Oral argument on the appeal was held
on September 14, 1998. On November 1, 1999, the Court of Appeals for the
Ninth Circuit issued an order vacating the judgment of the district court
and remanded the case back to the district court for reconsideration in
light of its recently issued landmark decision in the securities litigation
case of Janas v. McCraken (In re Silicon Graphics Inc.). After remand, the
Company renewed its motion to dismiss. On March 22, 2000, a hearing on the
Company's motion to dismiss was held by the district court. The Company
believes that there is no merit to the case and intends to defend the case

NETMANAGE INC: Settles Shareholder Derivative Suit in CA
As previously reported in the CAR, on October 10, 1997, a shareholder
derivative action was filed in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California against nine present and former officers
and directors of the Company. Sucher v. Alon et al., No. C-98-203-CRB. The
complaint alleged that the defendants violated various fiduciary duties to
the Company; the Company is named as a nominal defendant. The complaint was
predicated on the factual allegations contained in the Head and Molinari
class action complaints, and sought an unspecified amount of damages. On
November 6, 1998, the court dismissed the complaint without leave to amend
on the grounds that plaintiffs had failed to make a pre-litigation demand
on the Company's board of directors. The plaintiff has filed a notice of
appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

An agreement in principle has been reached to settle the derivative case.
The agreement is subject to court review and approval. The Company does not
expect that the settlement will have a material effect on the Company's
financial results.

NETMANAGE INC: Settles Securities Suit in CA Re Period April-July 1996
As previously reported in  the CAR, on March 21, 1997, a securities class
action complaint, Interactive Data Systems, Inc., et al. v. NetManage,
Inc., et al., No. CV764945, was filed in the Superior Court of California,
Santa Clara County, against the Company and certain of its directors and
officers. On June 19, 1997, one of the plaintiffs in that action filed a
securities class action complaint, Molinari v. NetManage, Inc., et al., No.
C-98-202-CRB, in the United States District Court for the Northern District
of California against the same defendants. Both complaints allege that,
between April 18, 1996 and July 18, 1996, the defendants made false or
misleading statements of material fact about the Company's prospects. The
Company believes there is no merit to these cases.

The Company has reached an agreement in principle to settle these cases.
The agreement is subject to court review and approval. The Company does not
expect that the settlement will have a material effect on the Company's
financial results.

NETMANAGE INC: Settles Securities Suits in CA Re Period in 1995-96
As previously reported in the CAR, on January 9, 1997, a securities class
action complaint, Head, et al. v. NetManage, Inc., et al., No. 07763295,
was filed in the Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County, against
the Company and certain of its directors and current and former officers.
On January 10, 1997, the same plaintiffs filed a securities class action
complaint, Head, et al. v. NetManage, Inc., et al., No. C-97-4385-CRB, in
the United States District Court for the Northern District of California,
against the same defendants. Both complaints allege that, between July 25,
1995 and January 11, 1996, the defendants made false or misleading
statements of material fact about the Company's prospects and failed to
follow generally accepted accounting principles.

The Company has reached an agreement in principle to settle these cases.
The agreement is subject to court review and approval. The Company does not
expect that the settlement will have a material effect on the Company's
financial results.

OAKLEY INC: Says Insurer Chose to Pay for Securities Complaint
Oakley Inc. has tentatively agreed to a $17.5-million payment to settle a
lawsuit alleging that the sunglasses maker and its executives misled
investors. The Foothill Ranch company disclosed the proposed settlement in
a regulatory document filed this week but did not list the amount.
Financial terms were revealed by one of the plaintiffs' attorneys.

Oakley said Tuesday that its insurance carrier, which is paying the bill,
opted to settle the case. The insurance company was not identified. "We
steadfastly deny all wrongdoing in the class action lawsuit ," Oakley
spokesman Lance Allega said. "This settlement is a result of a decision our
insurance company reached. No moneys will be paid out by Oakley."

The proposed settlement, which must be signed by both sides and approved by
Judge Gary Taylor, would resolve a flurry of lawsuits filed against Oakley
in 1997 by shareholders. The lawsuits contended that Oakley, its top
executives and others made "material misstatements and omissions" about
Oakley's products, its retail distribution practices and other matters in
documents filed in connection with a secondary offering on June 6, 1996.
"We think it's a very good settlement," said Robert Kaplan, an attorney for
the plaintiffs. "Hopefully, no one will object."

Oakley founder Jim Jannard, in a statement Tuesday, described the proposed
settlement as "a bitter pill." "We are extremely disappointed that the
insurance company would choose to settle this since there was not one shred
of evidence of any wrongdoing by anyone at Oakley," Jannard said. The
company also cautioned that the settlement is still "preliminary" and that
the terms could change.

One of the 1997 lawsuits involved Pennsylvania investor Val Fichera, who
sued Oakley, claiming the company, its officers, directors and underwriters
misled investors about the company's prospects in the secondary stock

Fichera paid $ 47.63 a share in the offering. The stock later split 2 for
1. Oakley shares plunged later that year when sales to its largest
customer, Florida-based Sunglass Hut International, stalled. Similar
lawsuits were filed on behalf of all shareholders who bought stock between
March 22, 1996, and Dec. 5 1996.

"Everyone in the investing community knows that our stock went down in 1996
because of what happened within the sunglass industry and Sunglass Hut,"
Jannard said. He was referring to an industrywide oversupply of sunglasses
that caused inventories to build up at Sunglass Hut. Oakley cut off its
fourth-quarter shipments to the retailer that year.

Recently, Oakley has been on the rebound. In the recently concluded second
quarter, sales topped $ 100 million for the first time ever. The company's
stock hit a 52-week high of $ 17.75 on Aug. 7. It closed Tuesday at $
15.63, down 25 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange. (Los Angeles Times,
August 16, 2000)

ONLINE COMPANIES: Free-Lancers' Suit Targets Large Databases Providers
A lawsuit filed in San Francisco on Monday is continuing the debate sparked
by San Mateo's Napster Inc. over who should profit from intellectual
property distributed on the Internet. This time, the works in question are
not songs, but articles written by free-lance authors and resold on the
Internet by three database companies, including the search engine Northern

But as in the Napster case, the plaintiff's supporters cast the suit as a
battle to save copyright's function as a stimulus for creative work. "The
reason we're fighting so hard for these issues is that we believe that
(copyright protection) is vital for culture to survive," said Jonathan
Tasini, president of the National Writer's Union, which has long been
active on the issue of royalties for free-lancers.

Although the databases being sued buy the rights to the material they
distribute from the magazines or newspapers that first published them, the
suit claims that the databases should also get permission from the original
authors and pay the authors a portion of revenues from the resale of their

A group of four free-lance writers, including the estate of Oakland writer
Jessica Mitford, author of "The American Way of Death," is applying for
class-action status, which would give them the right to represent as many
as 10,000 free-lancers whose articles are included in the databases. Among
the suit's charges is that excerpts from Mitford's book, "The American Way
of Birth" were distributed by one of the database companies without

Tasini likened the databases' business to fencing jewelry that is known to
be stolen. "They are profiting off of stolen goods," said Tasini, who as a
free-lance writer won a similar case against the New York Times by appeal
in 1999.

But the defendants say they respect copyright laws and pay royalties to
their suppliers -- the original publishers. Besides Northern Light, the
lawsuit names Thompson Corp. and its Foster City subsidiary Gale Group, as
well as Bell & Howell, which produces ProQuest, an article archive popular
with schools and libraries.

A similar lawsuit was filed by the Authors Guild in New York City against
the same companies, in addition to Reed Elsevier PLC, owner of the
Lexis-Nexis database, and Dow Jones Reuters Interactive.

David Seuss, chief executive of Northern Light, dismissed comparisons to
the case involving Napster, the company that the music industry has sued to
stop free distribution of copyright music. "Napster wasn't paying Sony
every time someone downloaded one of their songs," Seuss said. "We pay
those people. There's no piracy here."

Gary Fergus, attorney for the free-lance writers, said that in a way the
databases' business is an even worse copyright violation than Napster's,
because their databases charge money for the material they distribute --
anywhere from a few dollars for one downloaded article to thousands of
dollars in corporate subscriptions.

Besides an injunction to stop the resale of their work under the current
system, the writers seek an unspecified amount of money for damages and
lost royalties. Recent cases between writers and Internet database firms
settled both in court and less formally have resulted in back payments to
free-lancers and changes in the way the companies do business.

A Denver database company called UnCover settled a similar lawsuit by
agreeing to pay free-lancers royalties, and paid $7.25 million in back
royalties. Earlier this month, Contentville.com and the National Writer's
Union agreed that free-lancers will receive 30 percent of the download fee
(usually several dollars) each time Contentville.com resells their
articles. The Contentville.com agreement stipulates that the writers
receive a bigger cut than the original publishers get, according to the

Tasini, the union president, acknowledged that royalties on republished
work, whether in print or on the Internet, represent a relatively small
portion of most free-lance writers' income. But as new technologies present
new opportunities to reuse material and more writers negotiate for reuse
royalties, it's becoming a more-important source of income, he said.

The lawsuit's defendants were chosen because they are among the biggest
companies that resell previously published content online, Fergus said.
Northern Light has 20 million articles in its database, ProQuest archives
the full contents of 8,000 publications, and Thompson's Gale Group archives
6,000 publications in a database containing about 15 million articles,
according to the suit.

Fergus said the defendants will soon be served with papers regarding the
suit. A court date has not been set. (The San Francisco Chronicle, AUGUST
16, 2000)

PACIFIC BELL: CA Consumer Sues Alleging Anti-Competitive Behavior
A California consumer has sued Pacific Bell, alleging that anti-competitive
behavior by the company limited consumers' ability to buy high-speed
Internet service.

The lawsuit, filed last Friday August 11 in U.S. District Court in San
Francisco, seeks class-action status. Pacific Bell said it is the third
court filing -- all in California -- to complain about the way the company
provides digital subscriber line service, commonly known as DSL.

DSL allows much faster access to the Internet than traditional dial-up
telephone connections, and it's particularly popular in tech-savvy Silicon
Valley. Companies that provide DSL service in Pacific Bell's local phone
territory generally must use part of the phone company's network, and
Pacific Bell has a regulatory obligation to treat rivals fairly.

One competitor, Santa Clara-based Covad Communications Group Inc., won a $
27.2 million award in May after commercial arbitrators found that Pacific
Bell failed to give it access to the resources it needed to offer DSL
service. Pacific Bell is appealing the award.

In the lawsuit, the consumer, Albert O. Stein, alleges that when Pacific
Bell thwarted competitors, it hurt consumers. Because rival phone companies
had trouble providing service, DSL customers had fewer providers to choose
from and were forced to pay higher prices, the suit says. Stein and
representatives from his law firm, Shubert & Reed, could not be reached
Tuesday for comment.

Pacific Bell spokesman John Britton called the allegations "baffling."
"There's tremendous competition for DSL, especially in the San Francisco
Bay area where right now there are half a dozen companies advertising," he
said. "A bunch of them just put out their quarterly earnings reports
talking about the thousands and thousands of customers they have."

Pacific Bell's parent company, San Antonio-based SBC Communications Inc.,
and some sister companies are also named as defendants in the suit.

Covad isn't a party to the lawsuit, but Bernard Chao, the company's vice
president for legal strategy, said he believes competitors' problems with
Pacific Bell have hurt consumers. "We've alleged that SBC through Pac Bell
has committed antitrust actions. If they're providing service for us in a
poor faction, we think consumers are being harmed by that," Chao said.
"When Pac Bell provides poor service to us we inevitably have to pass that
on to the customer."

The case asks the court to make Pacific Bell pay three times the damages
suffered by consumers, plus attorneys' fees and other costs.

It comes as Pacific Bell is showcasing the popular Internet technology at
the 43rd Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. SBC has nearly
400,000 DSL customers, more than any other U.S. phone company. At the
convention, the company installed 450 DSL lines in what it says is the
largest single deployment ever. "It's a real coming-out party for DSL,"
Britton said earlier this week. (San Jose Mercury News, August 16, 2000)

PENNSYLVANIA: Lawsuit Says Foster Parents Shortchanged on Aid
State and county officials are illegally denying tens of millions of
dollars in foster care payments to thousands of Pennsylvania grandparents,
aunts, uncles and other relatives acting as foster parents, according to a
federal lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center and the Pittsburgh chapter of
the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court
in Philadelphia on behalf of nine people from six counties who provide
foster care to young relatives.

The lawsuit claims that the state and the counties failed to inform the
foster families who are relatives of abused and neglected children placed
with them by county child welfare agencies that they were entitled to
assistance - or in some cases told them they were ineligible.

"There are many relative caregivers throughout Pennsylvania who have been
given custody of children of family members who should have been receiving
foster care benefits and have been denied," said Marsha Levick, legal
director of the Juvenile Law Center. "The part that is particularly
troubling to us is that federal and state law is absolutely clear that
kinship caregivers should be treated just like caregivers who are strangers
and receive the same benefits," she said.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs also are seeking to have the lawsuit certified
as a class action. That would mean any of the approximately 7,500 other
foster parents across the state who are caring for related children and are
not being paid could be added to the lawsuit.

Named as defendants are state Welfare Secretary Feather O. Houstoun; Jo R.
Lawer, welfare deputy secretary for the Office of Children, Youth and
Families; and the child welfare agencies and their directors in six
counties - Beaver, Washington, Philadelphia, Montgomery, Monroe and

In Beaver County, plaintiffs Jodi and Sheppard Pope say they have been
repeatedly denied foster care payments for their grandniece and
grandnephew. Sheppard Pope is on disability and his wife must work double
shifts at the Beaver Valley Geriatric Center to make ends meet. Beaver
County Children and Youth Services would pay strangers about $24 a day to
care for the two youngsters, but the Popes receive nothing. "It's not fair
that the children must suffer because they are placed with a relative,"
Jodi Pope said. It is unclear exactly how many of Pennsylvania's 67
counties are not making the payments but it could be as high as 50, said
Witold J. Walczak, director of the ACLU's Pittsburgh chapter.

The complaint is "asking the federal court to require that state and county
officials bring their conduct in line with federal law so all kinship
caregivers receive notice of their rights for benefits and a hearing if
they're denied," Levick said. It also requests an audit of state and county
welfare agency records to locate people who may be entitled to benefits but
were turned down.

State Department of Public Welfare spokesman Jay Pagni declined to comment
on the complaint, but said denying payments to relative caregivers is
against state policy.

Anyone who believes they may be entitled to relative foster care payments
should call the Juvenile Law Center at 800-875-8887 or the Pittsburgh ACLU
at 412-681-7736. On the Net: http://www.jlc.org
http://www.pgh.aclu.org(The Associated Press State & Local Wire, August
16, 2000)

THRIFTY OIL: CA Sp Ct Says Benefits of Suit Not Only Based on Claim Size
The California Supreme Court ruled June 26 that lower courts erred in
throwing out a class action on grounds damages to each member of the class
could be as little as 80 cents - arguably less than the cost of notifying

"While the potential amount of each individual recovery is a significant
factor in weighing the benefits of a class action, it is not the only
factor requiring consideration," Justice Marvin R. Baxter wrote for a
unanimous court in Rochelle C. Linder v. Thrifty Oil Co. (S065501).

The state's highest court also ruled that trial judges cannot deny
certification of a proposed class based on the judges' assessment that the
cause of action lacks merit. And it said courts must give particular
attention to the possible special benefits of class actions.

Rochelle C. Linder and other plaintiffs sued over surcharges of 4 cents a
gallon paid by customers of 200 Thrifty stations in California for using
their credit cards, which they alleged was illegal under California law.
Some of them also claimed Thrifty violated state law by using credit card
forms with a preprinted space for them to fill in telephone numbers.

Lower courts refused to certify the class, but the Supreme Court sent the
case back to be reconsidered.

It said the trial court erred procedurally by denying certification based
on its judgment as to the merits of the case, as well as its judgment that
members of the class wouldn't derive any substantial benefit.

Baxter said "it is firmly established that the benefits of certification
are not measured by reference to individual recoveries alone" because class
actions also produce "a therapeutic effect upon those sellers who indulge
in fraudulent practices, aid to legitimate business enterprises by
curtailing illegitimate competition, and avoidance to the judicial process
of the burden of multiple litigation involving identical claims."

The appellate court erred further by assuming substantial time and expense
would be required to provide notice to members of the class, "even though
the trial court had yet to take evidence and rule on the matter," he said.

"We are not, however, prepared to say that class treatment necessarily is
proper," Baxter wrote, adding that the trial court may find proper reasons
for denying certification after taking a "fresh look." (Federal & State
Insurance Week, July 3, 2000)

TOBACCO LITIGATION: Lawyers Remind of Interest Lost in Delayed Ruling
Every day without a final judgment in the record-breaking verdict won
against the tobacco industry costs Florida smokers nearly $ 38 million in
lost interest, attorneys said Tuesday. The lawyers asked a federal judge to
speed up a scheduled hearing or send the case straight back to state court.

U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages set a hearing Nov. 7 on the issue
of whether challenges to the $ 145 billion punitive damage award covering
about 500,000 sick Florida smokers should proceed in federal or state

The tobacco industry would prefer federal court, while smokers are pushing
to return the case to state court, the scene of a two-year trial. Basing
their argument on lost interest and the deteriorating health of smokers,
the attorneys for the smokers asked Ungaro-Benages to immediately rule in
favor of state jurisdiction. Otherwise, attorneys are scheduled to finish
filing paperwork in preparation for the hearing by early September.

A six-member state jury ruled against the industry, awarded $ 12.7 million
in compensatory damages to three people and set a national record with the
punitive award in the first smokers' class-action to go to trial.

The defendants are Philip Morris Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Brown &
Williamson Tobacco Corp., Lorillard Tobacco Co., Liggett Group Inc. and the
industry's defunct Council for Tobacco Research and Tobacco Institute. (St.
Louis Post-Dispatch, August 16, 2000)

WASTE MANAGEMENT: The Toronto Sun Cites Bad Rap Sheet Accusation by NDP
The NDP is calling on the province to deny permits for the proposed
landfill at Adams Mine near Kirkland Lake, saying the potential dump
operator is a "dangerous" environmental offender.

Waste Management Inc., a U.S.-based garbage firm, may buy the mine if
Toronto City Council approves a plan to ship the GTA's trash to Kirkland
Lake. No deal has been finalized.

NDP MPP Marilyn Churley accused Waste Management Inc. of forking out
millions of dollars in fines, legal settlements and penalties for violating
a host of environmental and civil laws in the U.S. "It is an extremely bad
rap sheet," Churley told a Queen's Park news conference. "This firm is a
dangerous repeat offender."

WMI officials didn't return telephone calls.

The Environmental Background Information Centre has a Web site that
outlines numerous infractions by WMI. They include a $ 220-million
settlement with shareholders over a class action suit, a $ 7.5-million
property tax settlement in Illinois, an $ 11.6-million fine relating to a
subsidiary-run Pennsylvania landfill and a combined $ 52.3 million in fines
and penalties from 1970 to 1991.

The Adams Mine operator will need at least two permits from the ministry of
the environment before accepting garbage. "Those permits should be denied,"
Churley said. (The Toronto Sun, August 16, 2000)

XCELERA.COM, INC: Robert C. Susser Files Securities Suit in CT
A class action lawsuit has been commenced in the U.S. District Court in
Connecticut (New Haven Division) (300CV01537) on behalf of all purchasers
of Xcelera.com, Inc. (AMEX: XLA) common stock between April 1, 1999 and
July 21, 2000 (the "Class Period").

The complaint alleges that, during the Class Period, Xcelera and its senior
executives, the Vik brothers, in violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 - made material misrepresentations of
facts and material omissions of facts which were responsible for a dramatic
inflation of the price of Xcelera's shares. As Xcelera's stock, propelled
by a stream of positive and sometimes misleading press releases principally
regarding its Mirror Image subsidiary, was appreciating by approximately
60,000% to reach a split-adjusted peak of $112.50 per share in March, 2000,
the complaint alleges that company insiders began to sell their shares and
continued to do so until they had pocketed well over $200 million. After
March, 2000, Xcelera's stock declined in value as skeptics began to refute
the company's misleading announcements. On July 31, 2000, the company
admitted to investors that: (i) as a result of transactions entered into
prior to April 1, 1999, current shareholders were facing a
previously-undisclosed potential dilution of 32-45%; and that (ii) as a
result of a transaction announced on March 22, 2000 with Exodus
Communications, current shareholders could face a previously-undisclosed
tax of between $2 and $7 per share. (Company insiders, the week after the
March 22 Exodus announcement, sold Xcelera stock worth over $90 million).
Xcelera's stock, which by the time of the July 31st surprise had lost
approximately 85% of its value, promptly lost another 25% in the days that

Contact: ROBERT C. SUSSER, P.C. Robert C. Susser, Esq. Telephone: (212)
808-0298 E-Mail: classaction@mail.com.

* Bill Makes It Easy for Defendants to Transfer Suits to Fed Courts
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill June 29 that would make it
easy for defendants to transfer proposed class action lawsuits from state
to federal courts if they involve residents of more than one state.

The 11-7 vote was mostly along party lines except that Sen. Herb Kohl
(D-WI) joined the committee's Republican majority in voting for the bill,
of which he is a cosponsor.

Other powerful backers of the bill are Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin
Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

The committee approved the proposed Class Action Fairness Act, S. 353,
after defeating a series of amendments offered by Democrats that would have
made exceptions for litigation over environmental issues, guns and tobacco,
as well as state consumer protection statutes.

Two members of the committee, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-ME) and Joseph Biden
(D-DE), indicated they would filibuster if the measure goes to the floor.
The House already has passed similar legislation as H.R. 1875, the proposed
Interstate Class Action Jurisdiction Act.

The measure is supported by businesses, including insurers, who claim that
plaintiffs' lawyers can shop for friendly state judges to hear class
actions even when they mostly involve residents of other states.

Insurers say they not only have to indemnify businesses with commercial
liability policies when they are sued but are increasingly finding
themselves targets of class actions.

The bill is opposed by consumer advocates and plaintiffs' lawyers, who
found it significant that one Republican member of the committee, Sen.
Spencer Abraham (R-MI), didn't vote on the Democrats' amendments either in
person or by proxy.

Abraham is running for re-election against Rep. Debbie Stabanow (D-MI) in
what is considered to be a tight race.

Although backers of the bill had sought to win over Sens. Diane Feinstein
(D-CA) and Charles Schumer (D-NY), they not only voted against the bill
itself but in favor of all the amendments offered by their fellow
Democrats. (Federal & State Insurance Week, July 3, 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. Theresa Cheuk, Managing Editor.

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

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

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

The CAR subscription rate is $575 for six months delivered via e-mail.
Additional e-mail subscriptions for members of the same firm for the
term of the initial subscription or balance thereof are $25 each.  For
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