CAR_Public/040304.mbx            C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Thursday, March 4, 2004, Vol. 5, No. 45

                        Headlines

ABORTION LITIGATION: Govt. Wants Access to Patients' Records
ACE PAYDAY: SEC Obtains Permanent Injunction In Securities Suit
ADELPHIA COMMUNICATIONS: Ex-VP Denies Involvement In Fraud Case
ANNUITY & LIFE: CT Court Denies Securities Lawsuit Dismissal
ARKANSAS: Appeals Court Upholds Desegregation Ruling In Schools

BRAND IMPORTS: Recalls Vending Machine Rings For Lead Content
CALIFORNIA: SC Rules Catholic Charity Must Provide Birth Control
CD LITIGATION: Montanans Get Checks In Pricing Suit Settlement      
CHASE MANHATTAN: Hurricane Coverage Lawsuit Dismissed In Part
CITIGROUP INC: Stock Suit Certification Pending In Texas Court

CITIGROUP INC: 48 States Accept 'Research Settlement'
DICK CLARK PRODUCTIONS: Producer Charges Age Discrimination
FLEETBOSTON: Settling Trading Abuse Charges for $59.4 Million
FREEMARKETS INC: 2001 Securities Suit in Certification Phase
FREEMARKET: Court Defers Ruling On Shareholder Derivative Action

FREEMARKETS INC.: Settles N.Y. Lawsuits for Undisclosed Amount
GUN LEGISLATION: Senate Votes For Background Checks At Gun Shows
GUN LEGISLATION: Senate Approves Assault Weapons Ban Extension
HEALTHSOUTH: Former Execs Plead Guilty to Fraud Allegations
HONDA MOTOR COMPANY: Recalls 440,000 Civics/Insights For Defect

HONEYWELL: Retirees File Suit Over Pension Benefits In Phoenix
HOUSEHOLD INT'L: Homeowners Get Loan Fee Refunds in Settlement
IBM CORPORATION: Appears To Have Settled Birth Defect Lawsuit
INTERNATIONAL FLAVORS: Factory Workers Sue Popcorn Maker
LEVI STRAUSS: Faces Securities Fraud Suit in N.D. California

LEVI STRAUSS: 2001-2003 Bond Offerings Attended with Fraud
LEVI STRAUSS: 'Sweat Shop' Lawsuit in Saipan Dismissed
MARTHA STEWART: 'Too Smart To Botch Cover-up' Says Lawyer
MONY GROUP: Shareholder Plaintiffs Challenge Merger Vote Dates
OWENS CORNING: Awaits Decisions On Stock Suits' Certification

PURDUE PHARMA: OxyContin Suit Dismissal Granted In D.C. Court
SAFEGUARD SCIENTIFIC: Plaintiffs' Motion To Intervene Denied     
SAME-SEX MARRIAGES: NY Town Mayor Faces 19 Misdemeanor Charges
SOUTHERN COMPANY: Suit Flounders Due to Bankrupcty Limitations
SOUTHERN COMPANY: Discharged from Mirant's Pending ERISA Case
SPRINT CORPORATION: Ex-Employees Join Age Discrimination Lawsuit

SPRINT CORPORATION: Interlocutory Appeal Granted In D.C. Suit
SPRINT CORPORATION: Court Hears 'E911 Surcharge' Remand Motion  
WAGNER SPRAY: Recalls Drill Charger Bases For Battery Defect
VIRGINIA: Search For Missing Crew Abandoned, 21 Presumed Dead
WORLDCOM: SEC Files Civil Enforcement Action V. Ex-CFO In Probe

WORLDCOM: Ex-Chief Indicted In Nation's Largest Accounting Probe

* Anti-Bacterial Soaps Do Not Deliver Protection, Study Says


                  New Securities Fraud Cases  

aaiPHARMA: Federman & Sherwood Files Securities Suit in E.D. NC
aaiPHARMA: Landskroner-Grieco Files Securities Fraud Suit in OH
EDWARD D. JONES: Pomerantz Haudek Files Securities Suit in MO
INTERBANK FUNDING: Wolf Popper Lodges Securities Suit in D.C.
MEDICAL STAFFING: Federman & Sherwood Commences Stock Suit in FL

PIMCO FUNDS: Glancy Binkow Launches Securities Fraud Suit in CT
PIMCO FUNDS: Rabin Murray Commences Securities Fraud Suit in CT
ROYAL DUTCH/ SHELL: Shalov Stone Launches Securities Suit in NJ

                          *********


ABORTION LITIGATION: Govt. Wants Access to Patients' Records
------------------------------------------------------------
The Justice Department filed a motion Monday in New York
District Court seeking to bar doctors from testifying in a
lawsuit challenging the Partial-Birth Abortion Act unless the
government gains access to their patients' medical records, the
Associated Press reports.

The Justice Department motion also points out that the National
Abortion Federation, a professional association of abortion
providers, has argued previously that patient records are
essential to determining a procedure's medical necessity.

The Bush administration has been criticized broadly by abortion
rights groups and privacy advocates for seeking the records,
even though Attorney General John Ashcroft insists that patient
names and personal information would be removed before
government lawyers got them.

Lawsuits brought in New York, Nebraska and California are
challenging a new law barring a procedure referred to by critics
as partial-birth abortion and by medical organizations as
"intact dilation and extraction." During the procedure, a fetus'
legs and torso are pulled from the uterus and its skull is
punctured.

The Justice Department is attempting to persuade federal judges
to order at least six hospitals and six Planned Parenthood
affiliates to provide the abortion patient records so the
government can defend the law. The hospitals and Planned
Parenthood are resisting on privacy grounds. The Justice
Department motion also uses a National Abortion Federation
document to bolster the government's case. The federation also
is a plaintiff in the New York lawsuit.

In a recent "resource guide" describing efforts in Congress to
pass the new abortion law, the federation asserted that critics
were not competent to judge the procedure's necessity because
they hadn't reviewed any patient records, the court papers say.

The document seeks specifically to rebut a group formed by
former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop called Physicians Ad Hoc
Coalition for Truth, or PHACT, that opposed the procedure.
Because Koop's organization had seen none of the patient
records, the abortion federation document says, "These doctors
cannot determine what medical options were most appropriate."


ACE PAYDAY: SEC Obtains Permanent Injunction In Securities Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that the
U.S. District Court for Southern District of Florida entered
Final Judgments of Permanent Injunction and Other Relief against
James Bianco, Ace Payday Plus, LLC, Ace Payday Management, Inc.
and Ace Management, LLC.

The Final Judgments enjoin Bianco and Ace Payday from violations
of Sections 5(a), 5(c) and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933,
Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule
10b-5 thereunder.  The Final Judgments against Bianco and Ace
Payday orders them to pay disgorgement in the amount of
$1,593,800, plus prejudgment interest in the amount of
$248,322.64.  The Final Judgment against Bianco also orders him
to pay a civil penalty of $619,017.  The Court also entered a
Final Judgment against Relief Defendant Rosalind Portman Bianco
(R. Bianco) ordering her to pay disgorgement in the amount of
$125,106.00, plus prejudgment interest in the amount of
$4,657.39.  

The SEC commenced this action by filing its complaint on March
19, 2002, against Bianco and Ace Payday alleging that Defendants
violated the anti-fraud and registration provisions of the
federal securities laws in connection with the offer and sale of
securities in Ace Payday between June 2001 and March 2002.  On
July 11, 2002, the SEC amended the complaint adding R. Bianco as
a Relief Defendant alleging that she unlawfully received Ace
Payday investor proceeds.  


ADELPHIA COMMUNICATIONS: Ex-VP Denies Involvement In Fraud Case
---------------------------------------------------------------
Laying the groundwork for the defense of 50-year-old former
Adelphia Communications Corp.'s executive vice president Michael
Rigas, his attorney Andrew Levander told a federal court in
Manhattan on Tuesday that Rigas is a "fundamentally decent" man
who had little involvement in the questionable financial affairs
of the now-bankrupt cable company, the Associated Press reports.

Levander's remarks came in the second day of opening statements
in the high-profile federal securities fraud case against
Adelphia founder and patriarch John Rigas, 79, his sons Michael
and Timothy, and Michael Mulcahey, former Adelphia director of
internal reporting. All four former Adelphia corporate officers
face numerous criminal charges related to misuse of company
funds, making false statements to regulators and investors, bank
fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy that prosecutors said cost
investors billions of dollars in losses. All four have denied
the charges.

Seeking to distance his client from the core of the government's
case, Levander said Rigas was primarily involved in managing the
day-to-day operations of the sprawling cable television
conglomerate and had "no responsibility" for accounting or
finance. Levander, an attorney for New York law firm Swidler
Berlin Shereff Friedman LLP, said he would present evidence
undercutting government charges that the Rigases inflated
Adelphia's subscriber numbers to please Wall Street investors.

On Monday, government prosecutors charged the Rigases with
taking millions of dollars in unauthorized payments from
Adelphia for personal use, using a network of Rigas family shell
companies including one called Highland Holdings.

Levander acknowledged that Michael Rigas had at one point
received $1 million from Highland, but argued that Rigas wasn't
required to publicly disclose that. "This was a private Rigas
investment," Levander said simply, stopping short of addressing
prosecutors' charges that Rigas-owned private companies
including Highland were used to funnel money out of Adelphia
into Rigas family bank accounts through phony business
transactions.

Calling the government's case "a lot of rhetoric," Levander
sought to invoke jurors' sympathies by highlighting Michael
Rigas' humble upbringing in the tiny Pennsylvania town of
Coudersport, where Adelphia later flourished into a multibillion
dollar enterprise. "Michael Rigas is an honest man who grew up
in a small town, with small town values," Levander told the
jurors.


ANNUITY & LIFE: CT Court Denies Securities Lawsuit Dismissal
------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
denied the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss a lawsuit brought
against Annuity & Life (re) Holdings, et al., on behalf of
Plaintiff Sherry Schnall, et al.

This matter was commenced on December 2, 2002; subsequently,
eight other cases were filed against Annuity and Life Re
(Holdings), Ltd., and its officers and directors. On April 3,
2003, the court granted a motion to consolidate all nine
actions, with Schnall as the lead case and Communications
Workers of America and Midstream Investments, Ltd. as lead
plaintiffs. On July 11, 2003, plaintiffs filed a consolidated
amended class action complaint against defendants, ANR, XL
Capital, Ltd., Lawrence S. Doyle, Frederick S. Hammer, John F.
Burke, William W. Atkin, Brian O'Hara, and Michael P. Esposito
Jr., alleging violations of federal securities laws, which
injured purchasers of ANR securities between March 15, 2000 and  
November 19, 2002. Plaintiffs also allege that ANR's stock price
fell from a Class Period high of $36.98 to $2.24 on the last day
of the Class Period.

In the Consolidated Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs allege, inter
alia, that ANR made a series of misstatements and omissions
during the Class Period regarding the risks of the Transamerica
contract, the aforementioned 2.75% management fee, its method of
accounting for liabilities for the guaranteed interest payments,
the surrender rates and associated expenses, the impact of ANR's
initial assumptions on the amortization of capitalized
commission costs, and that the financial statements were not
prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting
Principles. Plaintiffs allege that these false and misleading
statements and omissions were made in financial statements and
in public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission,
in ANR's Annual Report to Shareholders, and in certain press
releases and conferences to financial analysts.
      
Plaintiffs further allege that the SEC required ANR to restate
all of its SEC filings during the Class Period. ANR's financial
ratings were sharply downgraded and it ceased writing new
business. ANR's status as an ongoing concern is in question.
                                                 

ARKANSAS: Appeals Court Upholds Desegregation Ruling In Schools
---------------------------------------------------------------
In what was hailed as a major step in the effort by Arkansas'
largest school district to end five decades of federal
intervention, an appeals court Tuesday upheld a ruling largely
removing Little Rock schools from desegregation monitoring, the
Associated Press reports.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in
St. Louis rejected arguments that black students are disciplined
more often than whites and that a federal judge should have
stepped aside in the case, among other issues. In the 2002
ruling that was upheld, U.S. District Judge Bill Wilson Jr.
released the Little Rock schools from all but one area of court
supervision. Wilson said he would continue to monitor the
district's programs aimed at improving academic achievement of
black students.

Attorney John Walker, who represents black students and parents
in the school district, was disappointed by the appeals court
ruling. "When this case began in 1956, attorneys for black
school children in Little Rock sought to eliminate separate and
unequal schools and to overcome notions of racial inferiority
and superiority," Walker told the AP. "For a brief while, we
were on that path. But we have now reverted almost full circle
to the point where we began," he said.

The district has been involved in desegregation litigation for
nearly 50 years. A case filed in 1956 prompted President
Eisenhower to send federal troops to enforce a court order for
the desegregation of Little Rock's Central High School a year
later. In the current lawsuit, filed in 1982, minority
plaintiffs said the school system - now with 24,460 students -
discriminated against minorities.

The appeals court said the district showed compliance regarding
student discipline, extracurricular activities and advanced
placement courses, though in a dissent Judge Gerald W. Heaney
said he would have asked for more disciplinary records.

The court's majority said a study of suspension rates found that
the Little Rock district's racial disparity in student
discipline was less than the national rate and that the district
had made efforts to further reduce the disparity.


BRAND IMPORTS: Recalls Vending Machine Rings For Lead Content
-------------------------------------------------------------
Brand Imports, of Scottsdale, Ariz., in cooperation with the
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, (CPSC), is recalling
some 1 million rings sold in vending machines nationwide because
the items contain high levels of lead and pose a risk of
poisoning to young children. The company has received no reports
of incidents or injuries relating to the product.

The rings, silver and decorated with hearts, stars and slashes
of colored paint, were sold for 25 cents in vending machines at
malls, grocery stores and discount department stores from
December 2002 through August 2003. The rings are no longer
available in the machines, according to a company spokesman, Dax
Logue.  

People who bought the rings are encouraged to throw them away or
call the company at 1-800-967-3048.


CALIFORNIA: SC Rules Catholic Charity Must Provide Birth Control
----------------------------------------------------------------
The California Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a Catholic
charity must offer prescription contraceptives in its employee
health insurance plan even if church teaching opposes birth
control measures, Reuters News reports.

The state's highest court upheld a lower court decision 6 to 1
rejecting Catholic Charities of Sacramento's claims it did not
have to offer prescription contraceptives because it was obliged
to follow the Roman Catholic religious teachings, which hold
that the use of artificial birth control is a sin. The state
Supreme Court said the charity, incorporated separately from the
church, was not a "religious employer" exempt from legislation
mandating such coverage.

While affiliated with the Catholic Church, the charity's purpose
is not to inculcate religious values, a majority of justices
noted. The charity could avoid any conflict with religious
values by not offering its employees prescription drug coverage,
the justices held. Employers in California are not required to
offer such coverage. Only Associate Justice Janice Brown, whose
nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has
stalled, dissented.

Timothy Muscat, the California deputy attorney general who
argued the state's case before the state high court, said the
justices drew a line between purely religious employers and
affiliated groups with broader purposes. Purely religious
employers would remain exempt from the law requiring
prescription contraceptives coverage, Muscat added. "The
religious employer exemption stays," Muscat said. "A church,
synagogue or mosque qualifies for an exemption."

An official with the California Catholic Conference, which
represents the state's 12 Catholic Charities agencies, said his
group is reviewing its legal options, including an appeal to the
U.S. Supreme Court.


CD LITIGATION: Montanans Get Checks In Pricing Suit Settlement      
--------------------------------------------------------------
More than 12,000 music-loving Montanans who signed on last year
to a lawsuit against music companies and retailers for setting
prices artificially high, received checks for $13.86 last week
as part of the class action settlement, Knight-Ridder/ Tribune
Business News reports.

Nationally, more than 3 million people joined in the suit, which
was brought by the attorneys general of 43 states and three
territories. The defendants included many of the largest
recording companies, including Capitol Records, EMI, Time
Warner, BMG and Sony. Three retailers were also named in the
lawsuit: Tower Records, Musicland and Trans World Entertainment
Corp.

In addition to agreeing to split some $67 million among everyone
who submitted an affidavit to become part of the suit, the
defendants agreed to provide $75 million worth of music CDs to
schools and libraries around the country. Montana's share of
that bounty will be 17,721 music CDs, which should be
distributed in coming weeks.

The settlement was publicized early last year in Rolling Stone
magazine and elsewhere, encouraging people who had bought CDs
between 1995 and 2000 to take part. The caveat: The maximum
payment would be $20 per person, and if enough people signed up
to drive the average payout below $5, the money would go to
charitable organizations.

The Montana checks came attached to a short form letter from
attorney general Mike McGrath. The checks were printed in
Minnesota, then personalized with the name of the attorney
general for the state of each recipient. At least some
recipients in the Helena area used their share of the settlement
to buy more music. A Hastings representative said some of the
checks passed through the store over the weekend.


CHASE MANHATTAN: Hurricane Coverage Lawsuit Dismissed In Part
-------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania granted in part, denied in part Defendant's Motion
to Dismiss a lawsuit brought against Chase Manhattan Bank, et
al., on behalf of Raymond and Gurda Charleswell, et al., for
recovery of tens of millions of dollars in insurance coverage
for damage to their property in the Virgin Islands caused by
Hurricane Marilyn in September 1995.

In the Class Action Complaint, plaintiffs allege, inter alia,
that defendants Chase and Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corporation
(CMMC), which held mortgages on plaintiffs' property, procured
or provided hazard insurance coverage for plaintiffs and then
failed to advise plaintiffs of the full nature and extent of
their coverage. Plaintiffs also claim that such defendants and
CAS charged plaintiffs excessive premiums for insurance on their
property after it was demolished or damaged by the hurricane.  
They seek relief for negligent misrepresentation, fraud,
negligence, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary obligation,
breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, bad faith,
and civil violations of the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt
Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. 1961 and the Criminally Influenced
and Corrupt Organizations Act, 14 V.I.C. 600 et seq.

Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiffs' Complaint.  In essence, defendants contend that
their only contracts with plaintiffs were the mortgage
contracts, and under the mortgages, they had no obligation
to provide insurance.  In their response to the Motion,
plaintiffs argue, inter alia, that their claims are based on
separate agreements to procure or provide insurance, not the
mortgages.
      
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is granted with respect to
plaintiffs' claims of negligent misrepresentation (Count I), bad
faith (Count IX), that part of Count XI in which plaintiffs
allege a violation of RICO 1962(a), and that part of Count XII
in which plaintiffs allege a violation of CICO 605(c).  Such
claims are dismissed without prejudice to plaintiffs' right
to file an amended complaint. The Court denies the Motion to
Dismiss with respect to plaintiffs' claims for breach of
contract (Count VI), breach of the duty of good faith and fair
dealing (Count VIII), negligence (Counts III, IV, and X), fraud
(Counts II and V), breach of fiduciary duty (Count VII), and
violations of RICO 1962(c) (Count XI) and CICO 605(a) (Count
XII).  

The denial of the Motion to Dismiss with respect to these Counts
is without prejudice to defendants' right to raise the issues
addressed in the Motion to Dismiss at the conclusion of relevant
discovery by motion for summary judgment and/or at trial.


CITIGROUP INC: Stock Suit Certification Pending In Texas Court
--------------------------------------------------------------
A Motion for Class Certification is pending in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of Texas, of a putative
complaint brought against the Company, along with, among others,
commercial and/or investment banks, certain current and former
Enron officers and directors, lawyers and accountants, brought
on behalf of individuals who purchased Enron securities,
alleging violations of Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act
of 1933, as amended, and Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.

Citigroup's motion to dismiss the complaint was denied in
December 2002, and Citigroup filed an answer in January 2003. In
May 2003, plaintiffs filed an amended consolidated class action
complaint, and Citigroup filed a motion to dismiss in June 2003.
Plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification in May 2003.


CITIGROUP INC: 48 States Accept 'Research Settlement'
-----------------------------------------------------
On April 28, 2003, Citigroup Global Markets Inc. (CGMI)
(formerly known as Salomon Smith Barney Inc.) announced final
agreements with the SEC, the National Association of Securities
Dealers (NASD), the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the New
York Attorney General to resolve on a civil basis all of their
outstanding investigations into its research and IPO allocation
and distribution practices (the Research Settlement).

To effectuate the Research Settlement, the SEC filed a Complaint
and Final Judgment in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York.  On October 31, 2003, final
judgment was entered against CGMI and nine other investment
banks. The NASD has accepted the Letter of Acceptance, Waiver
and Consent entered into with CGMI in connection with the
Research Settlement. In May 2003, the NYSE advised CGMI that the
Hearing Panel's Decision, in which it accepted the Research
Settlement, had become final.

As required by the Research Settlement, CGMI has entered into
separate settlement agreements with 48 states and various U.S.
territories and is in settlement negotiations with the remaining
2 states.

For more information, contact Citigroup Inc. by Mail: 399 Park
Avenue, New York, NY 10043 or by Phone: (212) 559-1000


DICK CLARK PRODUCTIONS: Producer Charges Age Discrimination
-----------------------------------------------------------
A 76-year-old game show producer sued "American Bandstand" icon
Dick Clark's production company for age discrimination on
Monday, saying he was "embarrassed, humiliated and aggravated"
when he was passed up for a job by his fellow septuagenarian,
Reuters News reports.

Ralph Andrews, producer of such game shows as "Liar's Club" and
"Celebrity Sweepstakes," claims in his Los Angeles Superior
Court lawsuit that Clark, 74, sent him a letter in May of 2003
saying he was too old for a job with his production company.

Andrews seeks unspecified general and punitive damages for age
discrimination from Dick Clark Productions and Mosaic Media
Group, its principal owner.

"I've known Dick for 40 years. He misled me to believe he would
happily give me a job doing what I do best -- creating,
developing or producing television shows," Andrews said in a
statement. "But then Dick tells me I'm too old," Andrews said.
"I'm not too old. If Dick's not too old, then why am I?"

According to a copy of the letter provided by Andrews'
attorneys, Clark wishes his friend success in finding a job but
says that the last two development people hired by Dick Clark
Productions were 27 and 30 years old.

Andrews says in the lawsuit that he was "devastated" by the
letter. "As a proximate result of defendants acts Mr. Andrews
has become mentally upset, distressed, embarrassed, humiliated
and aggravated," the suit says.


FLEETBOSTON: Settling Trading Abuse Charges for $59.4 Million
-------------------------------------------------------------
FleetBoston Financial Corp. on Tuesday said that it's market-
making unit expects to pay $59.4 million to settle regulators'
charges of trading abuses, Reuters News reports.

The Boston-based company's Fleet Specialist Inc. unit is one of
five firms that last month tentatively settled with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York Stock
Exchange over alleged improper trading activity. Specialist
firms match up buyers and sellers of the shares of specific
listed companies on the NYSE trading floor. They are expected to
keep share purchases and sales orderly and in balance. Five NYSE
specialist firms have agreed to pay a total of about $240
million of restitution and fines.

In its annual report filed with the SEC, FleetBoston said the
Fleet Specialist settlement would involve no admission or denial
of wrongdoing, and is subject to SEC and NYSE approval and
negotiation of a definitive settlement. Fleet Specialist would
be censured and the subject of a cease-and-desist order, and
post some form of undertaking, FleetBoston said. Individuals
might still face regulatory charges, it said.

Last month, the other four specialist firms that agreed to a
settlement disclosed their expected payouts. Bear Stearns Cos.'
Bear Wagner Specialists will pay $16.3 million, Goldman Sachs
Group Inc.'s Spear, Leeds & Kellogg unit will pay $45.5 million,
LaBranche & Co. will pay $63.5 million, and Van Der Moolen
Holding NV's Van Der Moolen Specialists USA unit will pay
between $51.8 million and $57.7 million.

Bank of America Corp., the third largest U.S. bank, is buying
FleetBoston, the seventh largest, in a purchase originally
valued at $47 billion. The banks expect the purchase to close in
early April. FleetBoston shares rose 5 cents to $45.00 in
Tuesday afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.


FREEMARKETS INC: 2001 Securities Suit in Certification Phase
------------------------------------------------------------
Since April 27, 2001, eleven securities fraud class action
complaints have been filed against FreeMarkets Inc. and two
executive officers in federal court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The complaints, all of which assert the same claims, stem from
the Company's announcement on April 23, 2001 that, as a result
of discussions with the Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC), the Company was considering amending its 2000 financial
statements for the purpose of reclassifying fees earned by the
Company under a service contract with Visteon.

All of the cases have been consolidated into a single
proceeding. On October 30, 2001, the Company filed a motion
seeking to dismiss all of the cases in their entirety. On
January 17, 2003, the Court denied the motion to dismiss.
The case is now in the class certification phase.


FREEMARKET: Court Defers Ruling On Shareholder Derivative Action
----------------------------------------------------------------
On September 24, 2001, an individual claiming to be a
FreeMarkets shareholder filed a shareholder's derivative action,
nominally on behalf of FreeMarkets, against all of the Company's
directors and certain of its executive officers.  FreeMarkets
was named a nominal defendant.  

The suit is based on the same facts alleged in the securities
fraud class actions now pending in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  
The court has reserved its decision on this particular case
pending the resolution of the Company's motion to dismiss the
class actions.  The Company believes that the plaintiffs'
allegations are without merit.


FREEMARKETS INC.: Settles N.Y. Lawsuits for Undisclosed Amount
--------------------------------------------------------------
Since July 31, 2001, several securities fraud class action
complaints have been filed in the United States District Court
for the Southern District of New York alleging violations of the
securities laws in connection with Freemarkets Inc.'s December
1999 initial public offering (IPO).

In four of the complaints, the Company and certain of its
officers are named as defendants, together with the underwriters
that are the subject of the plaintiffs' allegations.  Each of
these cases has been consolidated for pretrial purposes into an
earlier lawsuit against the underwriters of the Company's IPO.
In addition, the cases have been consolidated for pretrial
purposes with approximately 1,000 other lawsuits filed against
other issuers, their officers, and underwriters of their initial
public offerings.

On April 19, 2002, a consolidated amended class action complaint
was filed. The Consolidated Complaint alleges claims against the
Company and seven of its officers and/or directors, as well as
seven investment banking firms who either served as underwriters
or are successors in interest to underwriters of the Company's
IPO. The Consolidated Complaint alleges that the prospectus used
in the Company's IPO contained material misstatements or
omissions regarding the underwriters' allocation practices and
compensation in connection with the IPO, and also alleges that
the underwriters manipulated the aftermarket for the Company's  
stock.

Damages in an unspecified amount are sought, together with
interest, costs and attorneys' fees. The defendants filed a
motion to dismiss the Consolidated Complaint. By stipulation and
order dated October 9, 2002, the individual defendants were
dismissed without prejudice from the Consolidated Complaint.

On February 19, 2003, the court denied the Company's motion to
dismiss. On June 25, 2003, a Special Committee of the Board of
Directors of the Company approved a proposed settlement of the
litigation under terms set forth in a memorandum of
understanding and authorized the Company to enter into a
definitive settlement agreement to be prepared in accordance
with the memorandum of understanding. The anticipated settlement
will be subject to court approval following notice to class
members and a fairness hearing. Based on the memorandum of
understanding, the Company believes that the anticipated
settlement will have no material effect on the Company.


GUN LEGISLATION: Senate Votes For Background Checks At Gun Shows
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Senate voted 53-46 on Tuesday to require background checks
for people who buy guns at gun shows, but the measure, which is
opposed by the National Rifle Association gun lobby, still faces
major obstacles to passage in the House, Reuters News reports.

The measure, an amendment to an NRA-backed bill giving the gun
industry broad protection from civil lawsuits, would close a
loophole that allows people to purchase weapons at gun shows
without going through the background checks required by licensed
firearms dealers.


GUN LEGISLATION: Senate Approves Assault Weapons Ban Extension
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Senate voted Tuesday to extend for another decade a ban on
military-style assault weapons, giving Democrats a rare victory
on gun legislation that would also deny crime victims the
ability to sue gunmakers and dealers, Reuters News reports.

Democratic presidential contenders John Kerry of Massachusetts
and John Edwards of North Carolina broke away from the Super
Tuesday campaign trail to cast the decisive votes in the 52-47
roll call. The White House had preferred the assault weapons ban
be kept off the legislation immunizing the gun industry from
liability suits, the National Rifle Association's top priority
this year.

"The semiautomatic ban, the gun show loophole, a variety of
other kinds of issues could simply drag this bill down and deny
us substantial tort reform," said Republican Sen. Larry Craig of
Idaho, the bill's main sponsor who plans to vote against both
measures.

House leaders said last year that they did not intend to renew
the ban on the manufacture and importation of at least 19 types
of common military-style assault weapons. Senate GOP leaders
also argued against the ban, saying it was ineffective and
unnecessary and could cause the House to kill the gunmaker
immunity bill. But with the help of a few Senate Republicans,
including Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner of
Virginia, Democrats were able to get enough votes to approve the
ban extension.


HEALTHSOUTH: Former Execs Plead Guilty to Fraud Allegations
-----------------------------------------------------------
Prosecutors said Tuesday that two former HealthSouth executives
agreed to plead guilty in a bribery and kickback scheme related
to the company's contracts to run a Saudi Arabian hospital, the
Associated Press reports.

Former vice president Vincent Nico, 47, of Palm Harbor, Fla.,
agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud. Former executive vice
president Thomas Carman, 52, of Birmingham agreed to plead
guilty to making a false statement to the FBI about the hospital
deal. Both men are cooperating with prosecutors, who previously
made plea deals with 15 former HealthSouth executives in a wide-
ranging probe of fraud allegations at the Birmingham-based
rehabilitation giant.

Prosecutors said the charges against Nico and Carman stemmed
from HealthSouth's five-year, $10 million contract to staff and
manage a 450-bed hospital in Saudi Arabia. According to court
documents, the director of a foundation linked to the Saudi
royal family solicited a $1 million payment from HealthSouth.
The money was supposed to be a "finder's fee." Against the
advice of counsel, prosecutors said HealthSouth allegedly agreed
to pay the director $500,000 annually for five years.

HealthSouth officers, including Nico and Carman, were accused of
arranging for the director to get a bogus consulting contract
with a HealthSouth-affiliated operation in Australia to conceal
the deal. Nico allegedly got $375,000 in kickbacks through the
deal and received $631,502 from HealthSouth as a performance
bonus. Carman was accused of lying when he told FBI agents the
director's contract was meant to be legitimate.

HealthSouth in 2000 signed an agreement with the Sultan Bin
Abdul Aziz Foundation to run the Sultan Bin Aziz City for
Humanitarian Service near Riyadh. The foundation is described as
a private, nonprofit foundation funded by the Saudi royal
family. It began building the hospital in Saudi Arabia in 1998.

Fired HealthSouth chief executive Richard Scrushy is awaiting an
Aug. 23 trial on charges of leading a multibillion dollar scheme
to overstate earnings to make it appear the company was meeting
Wall Street expectations.


HONDA MOTOR COMPANY: Recalls 440,000 Civics/Insights For Defect
---------------------------------------------------------------
Honda Motor Co., in cooperation with the U.S. National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is recalling 440,000
Civic and Insight cars because their low-beam headlights can
fail without warning. No injuries have resulted from the defect,
Honda spokesman Andy Boyd said. The recall involves 2001-2002
model year Civics and 2000-2002 model year Insights.

According to the NHTSA, the headlights' wire harness can
overheat and cause the low-beam headlights to fail. Boyd said
drivers could still use their high-beam headlights in all cases.
Honda will begin notifying owners this month about the recall.
Dealers will perform free repairs on the vehicles whether or not
they show any heat damage.


HONEYWELL: Retirees File Suit Over Pension Benefits In Phoenix
--------------------------------------------------------------
Retirees of Honeywell International, who worked for the company
when it was Garrett Corp., filed a class action lawsuit in U.S.
District Court in Phoenix Monday, claiming they are being denied
their rightful pension benefits, Knight-Ridder/ Tribune Business
News reports.

The complaint alleges that formulas used to calculate retiree
benefits were changed when the aerospace company went through a
series of mergers without the participants being notified, which
is a violation of federal pension law. The changes had the
effect of reducing the employees' retirement benefits by
hundreds of millions of dollars, which also is a violation of
federal law that protects benefits already accrued, the suit
said.

Honeywell spokesman Bill Reavis said the company has received a
copy of the suit and "It is in legal review." He declined to
comment on the substance of the allegations.

A group of about 700 retirees organized the Garrett Retirees
Action Committee to pursue the case on behalf of all of the
affected employees. The Garrett Corp., which manufactured
aircraft engines, was acquired by the Signal Cos. in 1984.
Signal was acquired in turn by Allied Chemical Co. in 1987 to
form AlliedSignal Corp. AlliedSignal acquired Honeywell in 2002
and took the Honeywell name.


HOUSEHOLD INT'L: Homeowners Get Loan Fee Refunds in Settlement
--------------------------------------------------------------
A total of 240 homeowners from Whatcom County and surrounding
areas have been notified they are eligible for loan fee refunds
and reduced mortgage interest rates under the terms of a
tentative legal settlement between disgruntled borrowers and
Household International, a nationwide loan company, The
Bellingham Herald reports.

But Wenatchee attorney Bob Parlette, who represented local
plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Household, said there might be
more people entitled to participate in the deal. Parlette said
Household has mailed out legal notices to the 240, based on
company records. The notices were supposed to go to all
borrowers who got first mortgages at Household's Bellingham
office between January 1999 and May 31, 2002, and made payments
on a biweekly plan. But Parlette said he knows of at least two
other couples who fit the settlement qualifications but did not
get notices from Household. He said he hopes the company can
address the matter soon.

The settlement was the outcome of lawsuits, filed by homeowners,
in Bellingham and in U.S. District Court in Seattle about two
years ago, over allegations that company representatives misled
them into refinancing their home mortgages at higher rates, and
that they were not given proper notice of the hefty loan
"points" or fees that were part of the deal. In October 2002,
after similar concerns surfaced among Household mortgage
borrowers across the country, Household agreed to a nationwide
settlement with attorneys general in all 50 states. They agreed
to pay aggrieved borrowers nationwide a total of $484 million.
Settlement checks were mailed to eligible borrowers, including
more than 10,000 in Washington in late 2003.

But the local plaintiffs pressed ahead with their case, arguing
that the comparatively small sums from the nationwide settlement
did not come close to compensating them for the financial
damages they had suffered. Settlement checks from the state
ranged from a few dollars to a maximum of about $20,000. The
Lunas said at the time that their own losses were probably
closer to $70,000.

Parlette tried to convince a federal judge in Seattle to certify
a statewide class action in the case, which would have made
Household potentially liable to pay damages to thousands of the
company's mortgage customers across the state. But that effort
was rejected in federal court, setting the stage for the
settlement between Household and local borrowers. The local
settlement won't be official until it gets final approval from
Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Michael Moynihan in April.


IBM CORPORATION: Appears To Have Settled Birth Defect Lawsuit
-------------------------------------------------------------
A $100 million lawsuit alleging that a woman's birth defects
were caused by her mother's working conditions at the Company,
was apparently settled Tuesday just as jury selection was to
start, the Associated Press reports.

The office of state Supreme Court Justice Joan Lefkowitz, who
was to hear the trial, said, "The case was concluded and there
will be no further comment at the request of all parties." That
usually indicates a settlement. Lawyers for plaintiff Candace
Curtis and for IBM hurriedly left the Westchester County
Courthouse after huddling with the judge, relates AP. IBM
spokesman Christopher Andrews, who accompanied the company's
legal team, also refused comment.

The two sides had prepared a questionnaire for potential jurors,
a large courtroom had been set aside and a pool of 175 citizens
had been expected for the first day of the selection process.
It was not known if any settlement would apply to more than just
the Curtis case. There are more than 200 cancer or birth defect
cases around the country against Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM still
waiting to be tried.

Last Thursday, IBM prevailed in a related trial in Santa Clara,
Calif. The jury there ruled unanimously that two retired workers
did not develop systemic chemical poisoning at IBM's San Jose
disk-drive factory, nor did the company lie to the workers about
their safety. That verdict was considered a victory for the
electronics industry, but plaintiffs' lawyers had predicted
better results in New York because state laws make these cases
easier to prove. The first case in the series, another birth
defect case, was settled in 2001 in New York.


INTERNATIONAL FLAVORS: Factory Workers Sue Popcorn Maker
--------------------------------------------------------
Eric Peoples, a man who claims he ruined his lungs after months
of exposure to vapors from butter flavoring while mixing oils in
a popcorn factory, is one of 30 plaintiffs suing International
Flavors and Fragrances Inc. and a subsidiary because of
illnesses they allegedly contracted at a plant that used the
flavoring, which is commonly added to products such as yogurt
and cheese, the Associated Press reports.

Peoples, who worked at the popcorn plant in Jasper, Mo., for 17
months, claims breathing the vapors caused him to develop
bronchiolitis obliterans, a disease that obstructs the lungs. He
alleges the manufacturers should have known the butter
flavorings were hazardous and failed to warn employees of the
dangers or provide safety instructions. Peoples, 32, mixed oils,
flavorings and colorings into the popcorn. He is now awaiting a
double-lung transplant. His case will be heard first because he
is among the sickest plaintiffs.

"He expected to have a long, healthy life," Peoples' attorney,
Ken McClain, said during opening statements. "He now knows it's
unlikely he'll see 50, and that's a big burden to carry around
every day." McClain said federal investigators suspect a
chemical in the butter flavoring called diacetyl caused the
damage.

But Mike Patton, an attorney for the company, told the jury the
chemical has been safely used worldwide for more than 50 years,
including in products such as cheese, yogurt and chewing gum. He
said Peoples worked in a plant that was not properly ventilated.
"In my mind, that's the answer to this case," Patton said. An
attorney for Bush Boake Allen, the subsidiary of International
Flavors named in the suit, said the butter flavoring has never
been recalled. "Our product is not defective if used with proper
control," Frank Woodside told jurors.

As the proceedings began Tuesday, the halls outside the
courtroom were lined with many of Peoples' former co-workers,
who coughed, wheezed and gasped for air. Defense attorneys
called the presence of the co-workers "a show" for the jury. The
judge agreed and threatened to declare a mistrial if the display
continued. All the co-workers soon left. The trial is expected
to last up to four weeks.


LEVI STRAUSS: Faces Securities Fraud Suit in N.D. California
------------------------------------------------------------
On December 12, 2003, a putative bondholder class action, styled
Orens v. Levi Strauss & Co., et al., Case No. C-03-5605, RMW
(HRL), was filed in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California, citing the company's chief
executive officer and former chief financial officer as
defendants.

The action purports to be brought on behalf of purchasers of the
company's bonds in the period from January 10, 2001 to October
9, 2003, and makes claims under the federal securities laws,
including Section 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934, relating to the company's SEC filings and other
public statements. Specifically, the action alleges that certain
financial statements and other public statements during this
period materially overstated the company's net income and other
financial results and were otherwise false and misleading, and
that the public disclosures omitted to state that the company
lacked adequate internal controls such that it was unable to
ascertain its true financial condition.  Plaintiffs contend that
such statements and omissions caused the trading price of the
company's bonds to be artificially inflated.  Plaintiffs seek
compensatory damages as well as other relief.

For more information, contact Levi Strauss & Co. by Mail: 1155
Battery St, San Francisco, CA 94111 or by Phone: 415-544-6000


LEVI STRAUSS: 2001-2003 Bond Offerings Attended with Fraud
----------------------------------------------------------
On February 20, 2004, a putative bondholder class action, styled
General Retirement System of the City of Detroit, et al. v. Levi
Strauss & Co., et al., Case No. C-04-00712, JW (EAI), was filed
in the United States District Court for the Northern District of
California, San Jose Division, citing as defendant the company's
chief executive officer, former chief financial officer, the
directors and underwriters in connection with the April 6, 2001
and June 16, 2003 registered bond offerings.

"As of February 29, 2004, we had not been served with this
lawsuit. The action purports to be brought on behalf of
purchasers of our bonds who made purchases pursuant or traceable
to our prospectuses dated March 8, 2001 or April 28, 2003, or
who purchased our bonds in the open market from January 10, 2001
to October 9, 2003," the company said in its latest SEC
disclosure.

The action makes claims under the federal securities laws,
including Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933, and
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934,
relating to the SEC filings and other public statements.
Specifically, the action alleges that certain financial
statements and other public statements during this period
materially overstated net income and other financial results and
were otherwise false and misleading, and that the public
disclosures omitted to state that the company made reserve
adjustments that plaintiffs allege were improper.  Plaintiffs
contend that these statements and omissions caused the trading
price of the bonds to be artificially inflated.  Plaintiffs seek
compensatory damages as well as other relief.

For more information, contact Levi Strauss & Co. by Mail: 1155
Battery St, San Francisco, CA 94111 or by Phone: 415-544-6000


LEVI STRAUSS: 'Sweat Shop' Lawsuit in Saipan Dismissed
------------------------------------------------------
In April 2000, Levi Strauss & Co. was named an additional
defendant in a class action suit filed in 1999 in federal
district court in Saipan by non-resident garment workers, who
currently or formerly worked in Saipan, against several
manufacturers operating on the island. (Saipan is a U.S.
commonwealth in the Northern Mariana Islands.)

The complaint related to working conditions for the operators in
Saipan facilities and alleged violation of the Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, the Alien Tort Claims
Act and state common and international law.

"All other defendants settled the lawsuit in September 2002 for
$20 million. We refused to join the settlement, as we believed
that the allegations about us in the lawsuit were not true,"
Levi Strauss said in a latest SEC disclosure.  "On January 21,
2003, the court entered judgment in our favor on the Alien Tort
Claims Act claims.  On December 18, 2003, the court dismissed
all remaining claims against us at the request of plaintiffs.  
As part of the dismissal, we agreed only that all parties should
bear their own costs and that we would not sue plaintiffs or
their attorneys for malicious prosecution."

For more information, contact Levi Strauss & Co. by Mail: 1155
Battery St, San Francisco, CA 94111 or by Phone: 415-544-6000


MARTHA STEWART: 'Too Smart To Botch Cover-up' Says Lawyer
---------------------------------------------------------
In a risky gambit on the eve of expected jury deliberations,
Martha Stewart's defense attorney Robert Morvillo conceded on
Tuesday that the celebrity homemaker received a secret stock tip
but said she was too smart to botch the cover-up she is charged
with committing, Reuters News reports.

Stewart then sold all her stock in the biotech company,
prosecutors say, and ImClone shares fell steeply the next day
after regulators gave a "thumbs down" to its cancer drug. "No
one is disputing whether or not Martha knew the Waksals were
selling on December 27th. Frankly what we are disputing is that
it made a difference to her," defense attorney Morvillo said.
Stewart, 62, would have sold her shares regardless because she
and her stock broker Peter Bacanovic, 41, had a pre-existing
deal to sell if ImClone fell to $60, he said.

Stewart was never charged with insider trading and last week
U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum dismissed the most
serious count of securities fraud, which carried a possible 10-
year prison sentence. Stewart's attorney told the jury it was
time to let the trendsetter go back to what she does best: "I
ask you to acquit Martha Stewart and allow her to return to
improving the quality of life for all of us. "If you do, that is
a good thing," he said, referring to her oft-quoted marketing
slogan "It's a good thing."

With the conclusion of closing arguments by all sides, the jury
in U.S. District Court was expected to start deliberations on
Wednesday on whether Stewart -- who oversees an empire of
trendsetting magazines, books, television projects and home
products -- and Bacanovic, a former Merrill Lynch & Co. broker,
staged a cover-up of the stock tip.

If Stewart and Bacanovic were guilty, the defense attorney
argued, they would have staged a better cover-up. "We know they
are smart people," Morvillo said in a folksy style that elicited
laughs in the packed courtroom. "If those two people want to sit
down and rig a story, wouldn't they make that story consistent,
at least on the major points?" The two told vastly different
stories as to when the $60 agreement was put in place, he said.
"What you have here is the two conspirators forgetting to tell
each other crucial elements of the conspiracy," Morvillo said.
"What kind of conspiracy is this?"

In rebuttal, prosecutor Karen Patton Seymour countered that
smart people can commit stupid crimes. "That's what white-collar
criminals do everyday," she said. "Smart people make mistakes.
Smart people do stupid things."

Famed for building a fortune based on home-decorating advice,
recipes and entertainment tips, Stewart faces one count of
conspiracy, two counts of making false statements and one count
of obstruction of agency proceedings. Each count carries a
possible prison term of five years and a $250,000 fine. Neither
Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, or
Bacanovic testified in court.

The government's star witness was Bacanovic's former assistant
Douglas Faneuil, who testified that his boss ordered him to tip
off Stewart. Faneuil has pleaded guilty to a related misdemeanor
charge and awaits sentencing.


MONY GROUP: Shareholder Plaintiffs Challenge Merger Vote Dates
---------------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders suing MONY Group Inc. over its pending sale to AXA
SA are challenging the New York insurance company's move to
change the record date on the merger vote, The Dow Jones
Business News reports.

In an amended complaint filed in Delaware chancery court under
seal Friday, the plaintiffs also take issue with the revised
special meeting date, according to the class-action lawyer
pursuing the case on behalf of investors. "We're alleging that
moving the record date unfairly tilted the playing field in
favor of management," said Seth Rigrodsky, a partner at Milberg
Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP in Wilmington, Del., co-lead
counsel for the plaintiffs.

The latest development coincides with Delaware Vice Chancellor
Stephen P. Lamb signing off on a final order in connection with
an injunction he issued last month. Lamb had previously ruled
that before MONY could go forward with its vote, the company had
to supplement proxy disclosures by providing more information
about how tens of millions of dollars in potential golden-
parachute payments stacked up against other deals.

As expected, Lamb didn't address the new record date or meeting
date in his brief order, which essentially directs MONY to
comply with his earlier ruling, issued Feb. 17. Since then,
management has decided to forego $7.4 million of the $90 million
in change-of-control payments to fund an additional dividend of
10 cents a share, to be added to a payment of 23 cents to 25
cents promised earlier.

In its announcement last week of the deal changes, the company
also said the special meeting would be postponed from last
Tuesday until May 18 and the record date establishing eligible
voters would be changed to April 8 from Jan. 2. In challenging
the new dates, the shareholder plaintiffs are echoing other
arguments made by insurgent investors who have opposed AXA's $31
a share offer. These investors have accused the company of
seeking the nearly three-month extension and changing the record
date to bolster its chances of getting the deal done amid
speculation that recent after-the-record-date trading is being
undertaken by arbitrageurs who will benefit financially if the
deal closes.

A spokeswoman for MONY had no immediate comment. For its part,
MONY, which has maintained that AXA is offering a fair price for
the company, said it is pushing back the meeting date to allow
time for securities regulators to review the changes, provide
time to mail the new proxy to its large shareholder base and to
give shareholders enough time to absorb the transaction changes
announced last Monday.


OWENS CORNING: Awaits Decisions On Stock Suits' Certification
-------------------------------------------------------------
Nearly three years after the filing of the first of two lawsuits
accusing retired Chief Executive Glen Hiner and other Owens
Corning officials of securities violations, opposing parties
continue a war of words although trial dates have not been set,
Knight-Ridder/ Tribune Business News reports.

The lawsuits, filed separately on behalf of groups of stock
buyers and bondholders, are an outgrowth of the firm's 3 1/2-
year-old bankruptcy case. In. U.S. District Court in Toledo,
Judge David Katz is considering a request from plaintiffs to
dismiss an action brought last year on behalf of people who
bought stock in the firm between Sept. 20, 1999, and the
bankruptcy filing on Oct. 5, 2000. The lawsuit accuses Mr. Hiner
and four other current and former company officials of
misleading investors about Owens' escalating asbestos-liability
debt and deteriorating financial health in the months leading up
to Chapter 11.

Judge Katz hasn't indicated when he will rule on the motion,
said James P. Silk, Jr., of Toledo-based Spengler Nathanson PLL,
which is acting as local counsel in an action brought by law
firms in New York and Philadelphia that specialize in securities
litigation.

In federal court in Boston, lawyers for a group of bondholders
have begun exchanging information with attorneys representing OC
officials and investment houses that underwrote a sale of $550
million in company bonds in 1998. That action accuses the
underwriters, three current and former company officials
involved in the sale, and the then-board of directors of making
"untrue and misleading statements" about the status of the bonds
in the event of bankruptcy. Offering-circulars failed to
disclose that bond-holders would have a secondary position to
bank lenders, the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit, filed by John Hancock Life Insurance Co. and two
other parties, seeks class-action status. But at the request of
both sides, Judge Rya Zobel agreed to delay acting on the
request until a judge in Owens' bankruptcy case rules on a
related motion involving the firm's bank debt. In the stock
holder action, which also seeks class-action status, the
defendants have asked Judge Katz to dismiss the case.

In a motion opposing dismissal, plaintiff attorneys wrote: "Left
in the dark, investors watched helplessly as the undisclosed
[asbestos] obligations led to Owens Corning's bankruptcy,
causing its stock price to plummet from a... high of $25.19 to
$0.75 and resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in
damages."


PURDUE PHARMA: OxyContin Suit Dismissal Granted In D.C. Court
-------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia
granted Defendant's Motion to Dismiss a lawsuit brought against
Purdue Pharma Company, et al., on behalf of Robert Williams, and
other patients who were prescribed the drug OxyContin for
chronic pain relief, but who personally suffered no ill effects
or lack of efficacy, for damages allegedly caused by the
deceptive, misleading and fraudulent advertising and over-
promotion of the medication.

Plaintiffs Robert Williams and Clifford Perry brought a two-
count complaint on behalf of themselves and others similarly
situated to recover injunctive relief, refunds, and damages
under the CPPA and common law civil conspiracy against
defendants The Purdue Pharma Company, Purdue Pharma, L.P.,
Purdue Pharma Inc., The P.F. Laboratories, Inc., The Purdue
Frederick Company, Abbott Laboratories and Abbott Laboratories,
Inc., for damages allegedly caused by the defendants' deceptive,
misleading and fraudulent advertising and over-promotion of   
OxyContin.  Plaintiffs allege that the advertising campaign was
false and misleading within the meaning of the CPPA in two
respects:  

     (1) that OxyContin would provide "smooth and sustained"
         pain relief for twelve hours through a controlled-
         release formulation, and

     (2) that OxyContin posed little risk of addiction when
         taken as prescribed.

Neither plaintiff complains, however, that OxyContin did not
provide 12-hour relief to him or that he became addicted to the
medication.
      
Messrs. Williams and Perry were prescribed OxyContin in the
District of Columbia for chronic pain and purchased and received
OxyContin from pharmacies located in the District of Columbia.   
Purdue owns the patent for OxyContin tablets and is engaged,
inter alia, in its manufacture, advertising, promotion, sale
and/or distribution, including in the District of Columbia.  
Id. Abbott is allegedly in the same business, under agreement  
with Purdue, and also in the District of Columbia. The complaint
alleges that the defendants engaged in a false and misleading
advertising campaign directed to doctors, and through newspaper
articles and patient brochure and videotape, directly to
patients.  

The complaint was initially filed in the Superior Court of the
District of Columbia. It was removed to federal court by the
defendants on March 21, 2002.  Thereafter, the Court denied the
plaintiffs' motion to remand. Defendants then filed a motion
to dismiss.
                                                 

SAFEGUARD SCIENTIFIC: Plaintiffs' Motion To Intervene Denied     
------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania denied Plaintiff's Motion to Intervene following
denial of a motion to certify a class in regard to a
consolidated securities fraud lawsuit against the Company and
its principal, alleging misrepresentations and omissions in
connection with principal's practice of trading on margin using
his corporation equity as collateral, and in connection with
corporation's loan to principal.

This is a consolidated action of several proposed class action
suits filed on behalf of all individuals who purchased the
common stock of Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. between December 1,
1999 and December 5, 2000. Specifically, the plaintiffs allege
that during the proposed class period, Defendants made
materially misleading statements and omissions concerning its
Chairman and CEO's margin trading and the company's loan and
personal guaranty of his personal margin debt. Plaintiffs
further contend that as a result of the CEO's margin trading,
the price of Safeguard stock was artificially inflated and that
the margin loans constituted material facts which should have
been disclosed given the inherent risk involved in margin
trading and the potential impact that a margin call could
therefore have had on the health of the company.
      
Via a motion filed December 20, 2002, the plaintiffs moved to
certify this case as a class action and proffered as class
representatives plaintiffs Paul Adal, Nicholas Gilman and George
Settos. In the Court's Memorandum and Order of August 27, 2003,
the motion was denied as the proposed class representatives were
not typical of the class given that they all faced unique
defenses. Although plaintiffs endeavored to appeal this decision
to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, that Court
denied their motion for permission to appeal. Accordingly, class
members Maresca, Frutkin, Davis, Brownstein and Cohen now move
to intervene as plaintiffs in order that they may potentially
ultimately serve as class representatives.
                                            

SAME-SEX MARRIAGES: NY Town Mayor Faces 19 Misdemeanor Charges
--------------------------------------------------------------
Ulster County District Attorney Donald Williams said on Tuesday
he charged New Paltz Mayor Jason West, who made headlines as the
state's first official to marry gays, with 19 criminal counts of
falsely marrying same-sex couples without a license, a domestic
relations law misdemeanor, Reuters News reports.

Williams said West could face a fine of up to $2,500 or up to
one year in jail but that he would not press for jail time.
"I'm not saying if same-sex marriages should be illegal,"
Williams said. "I am exclusively deciding whether Jason West,
the mayor of New Paltz, presided over marriages in which people
did not present a license."

West, who will be arraigned on Wednesday, told local television
he will plead not guilty and that he still hopes to marry
another couple of dozen couples this Saturday. On Friday, West
married about two dozen couples in a festive atmosphere in the
town, about 80 miles north of Manhattan. He described the
weddings as "legal marriage ceremonies" even though the state
defines marriage as between a man and a woman and none of the
couples had marriage licenses.

Gay marriage has become a contentious election-year issue after
more than 3,440 same-sex couples wed in recent weeks in San
Francisco. A New Mexico county has also granted same-sex
marriage licenses recently, and Massachusetts' top court has
ordered lawmakers to allow gay marriages by mid-May. President
Bush last week called for a constitutional amendment that would
ban gay marriage.

Last Friday, New York's Health Department, which keeps marriage
records and oversees their compliance with state laws, asked
state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to seek an injunction
against West. Spitzer denied that request but is expected to
decide this week whether New York law allows for gay marriage.


SOUTHERN COMPANY: Suit Flounders Due to Bankrupcty Limitations
--------------------------------------------------------------
In November 2002, Southern Company, certain of its former and
current senior officers, and 12 underwriters of Mirant
Corporation's initial public offering were added as defendants
in a putative class action lawsuit that several Mirant
shareholders originally filed against Mirant and certain Mirant
officers in May 2002.  This case is docketed in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia as
"In re: Mirant Corporation Securities Litigation."

The original lawsuit was based on allegations related to alleged
improper energy trading and marketing activities involving the
California energy market.  Several other similar lawsuits filed
subsequently were consolidated into this litigation in the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The amended
complaint is based on allegations related to alleged improper
energy trading and marketing activities involving the California
energy market, alleged false statements and omissions in
Mirant's prospectus for its initial public offering and in
subsequent public statements by Mirant, and accounting-related
issues previously disclosed by Mirant.  The lawsuit purports to
include persons who acquired Mirant securities between September
26, 2000, and September 5, 2002.

On July 14, 2003, the court dismissed all claims based on
Mirant's alleged improper energy trading and marketing
activities involving the California energy market. The remaining
claims are based on alleged false statements and omissions in
Mirant's prospectus for its initial public offering and
accounting-related issues previously disclosed by Mirant. These
claims do not allege any improper trading and marketing
activity, accounting errors, or material misstatements or
omissions on the part of Southern Company, but rather seek to
impose liability on Southern Company based on allegations
that Southern Company was a "control person" as to Mirant prior
to the spin off date.  Southern Company filed an answer to the
consolidated amended class action complaint on September 3,
2003. Plaintiffs have also filed a motion for class
certification.

Under certain circumstances, Southern Company will be obligated
under its Bylaws to indemnify the four current and/or former
Southern Company officers who served as directors of Mirant at
the time of its initial public offering through the date of the
spin off and are also named as defendants in this lawsuit.
Except for limited document discovery, litigation has been
stayed until further order from the bankruptcy court. The final
outcome of these matters cannot now be determined.

For more information, contact Southern Company by Mail: 270
Peachtree Street, N.W. Atlanta, Georgia 30303 or by Phone: (404)
506-5000


SOUTHERN COMPANY: Discharged from Mirant's Pending ERISA Case
-------------------------------------------------------------
In April 2003, a retired employee of Mirant filed a complaint in
the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
alleging violations of ERISA and naming as defendants Mirant,
Southern Company, several current and former directors and
officers of Mirant and/or Southern Company, and "Unknown
Fiduciary Defendants 1-100."  In June 2003, a substantially
similar complaint was filed. Neither complaint contained any
specific allegations of wrongdoing with respect to Southern
Company.

On September 2, 2003, the court consolidated all pending and
future ERISA actions arising out of the same facts, and the
plaintiffs filed a consolidated amended ERISA complaint on
September 23, 2003. The plaintiffs sought to represent a class
of persons who were participants in or beneficiaries of certain
Mirant employee benefit plans between September 27, 2000, and
July 22, 2003. The consolidated amended complaint named as
defendants Mirant, certain Mirant benefit committees, Southern
Company, and several of Mirant's current and former officers,
directors, and employees. The consolidated amended complaint
alleged that the defendants breached their fiduciary duties and
violated ERISA by failing to investigate whether Mirant stock
was a prudent investment for the plans, by continuing and
promoting Mirant stock as an investment alternative for
participants in the plans, and by failing to disclose
information about Mirant's financial condition and about its
improper activities in the California energy markets.  This case
is docketed in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Georgia as "In re: Mirant Corporation ERISA
Litigation."

On February 19, 2004, the plaintiffs dismissed Southern Company
from this action without prejudice. The plaintiffs are not
barred from naming Southern Company in some future lawsuit, but
management believes the possibility of having to pay damages in
any such lawsuit is remote.

For more information, contact Southern Company by Mail: 270
Peachtree Street, N.W. Atlanta, Georgia 30303 or by Phone: (404)
506-5000


SPRINT CORPORATION: Ex-Employees Join Age Discrimination Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Thirty-two former Sprint Corp. employees have filed consent
forms to opt in as plaintiffs in an age discrimination lawsuit
against the telecommunications company, The Dow Jones Business
News reports.

The former workers, who lost their jobs during Sprint's
reductions in force in 2001 and 2002, consented last week to
join the legal action filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas
City, Kan. Those signing are 40 years old or older and agreed to
join the lawsuit filed on behalf of Shirley Williams, a 61-year-
old worker whose job was eliminated in 2002. In addition to
Williams, six other former Sprint workers have filed separate
lawsuits in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., alleging age
discrimination in connection with their dismissals. At least one
of those plaintiffs consented Friday to become a party plaintiff
in Williams' case.

Sprint spokesman Dan Wilinsky said Sprint "strongly denies the
allegations" of age discrimination "and is defending itself
vigorously."

The filing of consent forms generally comes before asking a
judge to certify a class action. If provisional certification is
granted, all "similarly situated" former Sprint employees would
be notified that they are eligible to participate in the case.


SPRINT CORPORATION: Interlocutory Appeal Granted In D.C. Suit
-------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia
denied Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, but granted its Motion for
Certification of Interlocutory Appeal of a lawsuit brought
against Sprint Communications Company, L.P., on behalf of
assignees of payphone service providers (PSPs), alleging
violations of Communications Act and implementing regulations,
seeking payment of dial-around compensation for long-distance
telephone calls originating from PSPs' payphones.

Plaintiffs in this case, as well as in several others before the
Court, seek payment from common carriers of "dial-around
compensation" on behalf of payphone service providers for
certain long distance phone calls originating from their
payphones. They claim that the carriers have violated section
276(b)(1)(A) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47
U.S.C. 276, and its implementing regulations, codified at 47
C.F.R. 64.1300.  Plaintiffs base their claims on sections 206
and 207 that provide for the recovery of damages for violations
of the Act.

All of the cases before this Court present an initial question
as to whether section 276 and its implementing regulations
confer a private right of action to sue for a common carrier's
alleged failure to pay adequate dial- around compensation.  On  
September 4, 2003, the Court, upon motion to dismiss by Cable &
Wireless, found that plaintiffs have a right of action and can
base their claims on section 276. Consistent with that ruling,
the Court also allowed plaintiffs to amend their complaint to
add additional grounds under sections 201(b), 416(c) and 407 of
the Communications Act. Sprint has requested that the Court
reconsider its rulings and dismiss the amended complaint, or
alternatively, certify the question for interlocutory appeal,
basing its motion in large part upon the Ninth Circuit's recent
holding in Greene v. Sprint Communications Co., 340 F.3d 1047
(9th Cir.2003).


SPRINT CORPORATION: Court Hears 'E911 Surcharge' Remand Motion  
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts granted Plaintiff's Motion to Remand a putative
class action brought against Sprint Corporation, and Sprint
Spectrum, L.P., on behalf of Plaintiff Mayer Gattegno, et al.,
asserting state law claims arising out of carrier's collection
of federal E911 surcharge.

Plaintiff alleges that on or about January 1, 2001, defendants
began charging their customers a monthly fee as a separate line
item entitled "USA Regulatory Obligations and Fees," which they
now entitle "Federal E911." Plaintiff has filed this suit with
respect to the collection of the "E911" fee. On or about August
20, 2003, plaintiff commenced this action in Suffolk Superior
Court in Massachusetts, alleging three state claims:  

     (1) violation of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 93A;  

     (2) unjust enrichment;  and

     (3) "equitable relief"  

Defendants removed the case to this court under 28 U.S.C. On
October 3, 2003, plaintiff filed a motion to remand, to which  
defendants have responded. Also on October 3, 2003, defendants
filed a motion to compel arbitration and to dismiss or stay
these proceedings.  The court has previously approved two       
extensions of time for plaintiffs to file a response. The
Plaintiff has filed two assented to motions for additional time
to respond to defendants' motion. At a hearing on December 2,
2003, the court received oral argument on plaintiff's motion to
remand and plaintiff's assented to motions for extension of
time.


WAGNER SPRAY: Recalls Drill Charger Bases For Battery Defect
------------------------------------------------------------
Wagner Spray Tech Corp., of Plymouth, Minn., in cooperation with
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, (CPSC), is
voluntarily recalling 180,000 Wagner cordless drill charger
bases since a defective battery can cause the charger base to
overheat, causing the base to melt and possibly burn nearby
objects. Wagner Spray Tech has received 11 reports of the
charger base melting, causing minor property damage. No injuries
have been reported.

This recall includes 9.6-volt, 10.8-volt, 12-volt, 14.4- volt
and 18-volt Wagner drill charger bases. The drills were sold in
black and grey, and have the name "Wagner" printed on them.
Model numbers involved in the recall are: W96DK, W108DK, W120DK,
WB96, WB120, WB144, and WB180K. The model numbers are located on
a label on the side of the drill.

The recalled drill charger bases, manufactured in China, were
sold at Department and hardware stores and through mail-order
sales from January 1996 through December 2003 from between $40
and $100.

Consumers are urged to stop using the charger base and contact
Wagner Spray Tech for information on receiving a replacement
charger base. For more information, contact Wagner Spray Tech
toll-free at (800) 214-0585 anytime or visit the firm's Web site
at http://www.wagnerspraytech.com/


VIRGINIA: Search For Missing Crew Abandoned, 21 Presumed Dead
-------------------------------------------------------------
The search has been abandoned for 18 crewmen who vanished when
their tanker carrying industrial ethanol exploded and sank,
bringing the total number of presumed dead to 21, the Associated
Press reports.

Following two days of searching the 44-degree waters off the
Virginia coast with aircraft, the Coast Guard gave up hope
Monday that the men might be found alive. "It is my sincere hope
the friends and family know we did everything in our power to
find their loved ones," Rear Adm. Sally Brice-O'Hara, a Coast
Guard district commander, told the AP.

The 570-foot Bow Mariner went down Saturday night more than 50
miles east of Chincoteague. The Coast Guard said that the
explosion was accidental but that the exact cause was under
investigation. Guardsmen don't yet know how much of the fuel
aboard the ship spilled, but they say it was carrying 3.5
million gallons of ethanol, 48,000 gallons of stored diesel fuel
and 193,000 gallons of fuel oil.

Six survivors were plucked from a life raft on Saturday. The
last of them was expected to leave the hospital Tuesday. The
survivors, all men from the Philippines, have declined interview
requests. The Coast Guard searched the Atlantic waters Saturday
night and again on Sunday until nightfall. A C-130 airplane
resumed the search shortly before daybreak Monday. The Coast
Guard decided to abandon the search in the afternoon.

Only small pieces of debris, such as life jackets, have been
found, the Coast Guard said. Most of the industrial ethanol
spewed from the tanker evaporated immediately, but Coast Guard
officials said Monday the ocean was covered in places with a
sheen, likely from the remaining ethanol.


WORLDCOM: SEC Files Civil Enforcement Action V. Ex-CFO In Probe
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil
enforcement action against Scott D. Sullivan, the former Chief
Financial Officer of WorldCom, Inc., charging him with engaging
in a fraudulent scheme to conceal WorldCom's poor financial
performance.  

The Commission alleged that Sullivan, with the consent and
knowledge of WorldCom's former Chief Executive Officer, caused
numerous improper adjustments and entries in WorldCom's books
and records, often in the hundreds of millions of dollars, to
make the company's quarterly and yearly financial results appear
to meet Wall Street's expectations.  In addition, the Commission
alleged that Sullivan made numerous false and misleading public
statements about WorldCom's financial condition and performance,
and signed a number of SEC filings that contained false and
misleading material information.
  
The Commission's complaint against Sullivan alleges that by
September 2000, Sullivan and other senior WorldCom executives
knew that WorldCom's true operating performance and financial
results were materially below the financial guidance they had
given to Wall Street analysts and investors.  Rather than
disclose WorldCom's true financial condition and suffer the
resulting decline in the company's share price, from
approximately September 2000 through June 2002, Sullivan engaged
in a scheme that fraudulently concealed WorldCom's true
operational and financial results.  The scheme involved
improperly manipulating WorldCom's reported revenue, expenses,
net income, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
amortization (EBITDA), and earnings per share.  

The complaint charges that as part of the scheme, Sullivan
instructed subordinates to book certain fraudulent adjustments
and entries in WorldCom's general ledger. The adjustments and
entries were designed to falsely increase WorldCom's reported
revenue and falsely decrease WorldCom's reported expenses.  The
false adjustments and entries, among other things, improperly
reduced expenses by drawing down certain reserves and improperly
capitalizing certain operating expenses commonly referred to  in
the telecommunications industry as "line costs."   The complaint
also alleges that Sullivan misrepresented or failed to disclose
material changes in WorldCom's revenue recognition practices.  
During the same period, Sullivan and others made materially
false or misleading statements or omissions to WorldCom's
independent auditors in connection with audits and the
preparation of filings with the Commission.  

Simultaneously with the filing of the complaint, Sullivan has
agreed, without admitting or denying the allegations of the
complaint, to the entry of an order permanently enjoining him
from violating, directly or indirectly, numerous provisions of
the federal securities laws, including the antifraud, reporting,
books and records, internal controls, and lying-to-auditors
provisions, Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and
Sections 10(b), 13(a), 13(b)(2) and 13(b)(5) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5, 12b-20, 13a-1, 13a-13,
13b2-1 and 13b2-2 thereunder.
  
Sullivan has also agreed to the entry of an order that would
permanently bar him from serving as an officer or director of a
public company.  The order further provides that any monetary
relief will be decided by the Court at a hearing to be held upon
motion of the Commission or the instance of the Court and that
the Court will retain jurisdiction of the action for all
purposes, including the imposition of additional equitable
remedies or sanctions, if any, as determined following a
hearing.  The settlement is subject to the review by and
approval of the Court.


WORLDCOM: Ex-Chief Indicted In Nation's Largest Accounting Probe
----------------------------------------------------------------
Former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers was indicted on federal
charges in the multibillion-dollar accounting scandal at the
telecommunications giant, and his top financial officer pleaded
guilty Tuesday and agreed to testify against him, the Associated
Press reports.

Former chief financial officer Scott Sullivan entered his plea
in federal court. Earlier Tuesday, prosecutors announced charges
against Ebbers for his alleged role in the nation's largest
accounting scandal. Sentencing was set for June 2.

"I deeply regret my actions and sincerely apologize for the harm
they have caused," Sullivan said in Manhattan federal court. He
had faced up to 25 years in prison, but was expected to get less
time under his deal. He and Ebbers were charged with conspiracy
to commit securities fraud, securities fraud and falsely filing
with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Standing before
U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Jones, Sullivan said he wanted
to plead guilty to those charges. Sullivan also reached a
settlement with the SEC, a source familiar with the matter said
Tuesday.

The indictment accused Sullivan and Ebbers of deceiving the
public, the SEC, securities analysts and others about WorldCom's
true declining financial condition. Ebbers' attorney, Brian
Heberling, declined to comment. According to the indictment,
when the company's results fell beneath analysts' expectations
in September 2000, Sullivan advised Ebbers that WorldCom should
issue an earnings warning to alert investors, but Ebbers
refused. "Ebbers nevertheless insisted that WorldCom publicly
report financial results that met analysts' expectations," the
indictment said.

A month later, the men instructed subordinates "to falsely and
fraudulently book certain entries in WorldCom's general ledger"
that misclassified expenses to diminish their effect on current
profits. The effort was meant to "satisfy analysts'
expectations, even though Ebbers and Sullivan knew that
WorldCom's true results in fact failed to meet those
expectations," the indictment said.

Ebbers resigned from WorldCom in April 2002, well after its
stock price had begun a steady decline and soon after questions
began to swirl about the company's finances. Two months later,
WorldCom announced it had uncovered nearly $4 billion in hidden
expenses - the beginning of a spiral that would become the
largest corporate fraud in U.S. history. The fraud is now
estimated at $11 billion. WorldCom, parent of the nation's
second biggest long-distance telephone company, filed for
bankruptcy July 21, 2002. In a bid to heal its reputation,
WorldCom changed its name to MCI last April and moved its
headquarters from Jackson, Miss., to Ashburn, Va.

Four former company executives, including controller David
Myers, have pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the Justice
Department's fraud investigation and are helping federal
prosecutors. Sullivan was arrested in August 2002. He had been
scheduled to go to trial April 7.


* Anti-Bacterial Soaps Do Not Deliver Protection, Study Says
------------------------------------------------------------
According to a study published in Tuesday's edition of the
Annals of Internal Medicine, anti-bacterial soaps do not deliver
the type of protection from common health ailments that
consumers expect, the Associated Press reports.

Researchers from Columbia University gave anti-bacterial
cleaning products to 120 New York City families, monitored them
for almost a year, and found they experienced about the same
number of runny noses, sore throats and fevers as another group
that got regular soaps and detergents.

The study concluded that the products did not reduce the risk
for symptoms of the viral infections that are among the most
common causes of colds, coughs and stomachaches. The study's
lead author, Elaine Larson, said the results would not surprise
physicians; the products tested were designed to kill bacteria,
not viruses. But that may not be as clear to the average
consumer, she said. "People think, in their heads, that if they
use an anti-bacterial soap, it will keep them from getting an
infection," Larson told the AP. "What we found is that these
products don't offer much added value." The study did not say if
the soaps were effective in reducing bacterial infections.

Brian Sansoni, a spokesman for the Soap and Detergent
Association, a group that represents soap makers, said it was
unfair for the study's authors to have tested anti-bacterial
products for their ability to fend off viruses they were not
designed to fight. "It's important to remember that the products
that were tested here do not make anti-viral claims," he said.

Sansoni said consumers should not misinterpret the study as
saying that anti-bacterial products are worthless. He said other
studies have shown that anti-bacterial soaps and household
cleaning products are effective in killing off organisms that
cause a variety of illnesses, including skin infections and food
poisoning.

The growing use of anti-bacterial soaps in the home has been of
concern to some scientists who theorize that their widespread
use might lead to the evolution of harder-to-kill, antibiotic-
resistant germs. In all, 1,178 people from a poor, predominantly
Hispanic neighborhood in Manhattan participated in the study.

                  New Securities Fraud Cases  

aaiPHARMA: Federman & Sherwood Files Securities Suit in E.D. NC
----------------------------------------------------------------
Federman & Sherwood initiated a securities class action lawsuit
in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
North Carolina, against aaiPharma, Inc., alleging that
throughout the class period of July 23, 2003 through February 4,
2004, the Company issued materially false and misleading
statements thereby artificially inflating the price of the
securities of the Company.

Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of the Class.
Deadline to file for Lead Plaintiff is set sixty (60) days from
February 12, 2004.

For more information, contact William B. Federman, by Mail: 120
N. Robinson, Suite 2720, Oklahoma City, OK 73102, by Phone:     
(405) 235-1560, Fax: (405) 239-2112, or by E-mail:
wfederman@aol.com.


aaiPHARMA: Landskroner-Grieco Files Securities Fraud Suit in OH
---------------------------------------------------------------
Landskroner - Grieco, Ltd. initiated a securities fraud class
action complaint in Ohio Court, against aaiPharma Inc. and three
of its senior officers, on behalf of purchasers of AAII
securities from April 24, 2002 through and including February
27, 2004.

The complaint alleges that Defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder. Specifically, the complaint alleges
throughout the Class Period, defendants issued quarter after
quarter of "record" financial results. Defendants emphasized
increased revenues throughout the Class Period, fueled by strong
sales of pharmaceutical products. The complaint alleges that
Defendants failed to disclose that these stellar financial
results were only made possible through improper sales
practices, such as "channel stuffing" or flooding wholesalers
with products in order to artificially boost sales, and failing
to properly account for product returns in violation of
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. The Complaint also
alleges that the Defendants lacked any reasonable basis in fact
for the earnings guidance issued on December 12, 2003.

On February 5, 2004, before the market opened, defendants
shocked the market by announcing fourth quarter net revenues
were reduced by $15.9 million. In response to the news
concerning aaiPharma's previously undisclosed inventory issues,
the price of aaiPharma stock dropped from over $27 per share on
February 4, 2004 to $21.30 on February 5, 2004, a drop of over
23% on unusually large trading volumes of 4.8 million shares
traded. The stock continued to drop as the fraudulent nature of
the Company's sales and accounting practices came to light,
trading at only $20 per share on February 9, 2004. On March 1,
before the market opened, aaiPharma announced that it had
appointed an independent committee to investigate what the
Company has now admitted were "sales abnormalities" or "unusual
sales" in the Company's Brethine(r) and Darvoct(tm) product
lines during the second half of 2003." The Company also withdrew
previously issued first quarter and fiscal year 2004 guidance
and admitted that it may have to adjust 2003 results, depending
on the outcome of its announced inquiry. In response to the
Company's March 1 disclosure, the stock price closed at $9.77
per share, which was $5.51 or over 36% down from the previous
day's close.

For more information, contact Jack Landskroner, by Mail: 1360
West 9th St., Suite 200, Cleveland, Ohio 44113, by Phone:
866-522-9500 (toll-free), by E-mail: jack@landskronerlaw.com, or
visit the firm's Website: http://www.landskronerlaw.com.


EDWARD D. JONES: Pomerantz Haudek Files Securities Suit in MO
-------------------------------------------------------------
Pomerantz Haudek Block Grossman & Gross LLP initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Missouri, against Edward Jones & Co., on
behalf of all persons or entities who purchased shares of
"preferred" mutual funds through Edward Jones during the period
between February 25, 1999 and January 9, 2004, inclusive.

The complaint alleges that Edward Jones, a licensed broker-
dealer, violated section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. As alleged in the Complaint, throughout the Class Period
Edward Jones recommended and sold to its clients shares or units
of mutual funds from so-called "preferred" families of funds,
specifically American Funds, Federated Funds, Goldman Sachs
Funds, Hartford Mutual Funds, Lord Abbett Funds, Putnam Funds,
and Van Kampen Funds. It is alleged that Edward Jones
represented that its recommendations were based on extensive
financial analysis and judgment based on the performance of
those funds. In fact, however, Edward Jones was recommending
those funds because it was receiving hundreds of millions of
dollars of undisclosed secret commissions from those funds.

The secret arrangement created an undisclosed conflict of
interest for Edward Jones. As a financial advisor to its
clients, Edward Jones had a fiduciary obligation to provide
honest, complete and untainted investment advice. These secret
marketing fees created a conflicting financial incentive for
Edward Jones to skew its advice to its clients to benefit
itself, often at its clients' expense. As a result of this
financial incentive, Edward Jones steered its clients into
numerous underperforming mutual funds.

For more information, contact Andrew G. Tolan, by Phone:
888-476-6529 (or (888) 4-POMLAW), toll free, or by E-mail:  
agtolan@pomlaw.com.


INTERBANK FUNDING: Wolf Popper Lodges Securities Suit in D.C.
----------------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Popper LLP initiated a securities fraud class action in the
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, on behalf of
purchasers of InterBank Funding Corp. common stock from February
12, 1999 through July 25, 1999, inclusive, against defendants:

     (1) Simon A. Hershon,

     (2) Radin Glass & Co., and

     (3) CIBC World Markets Corp.

Plaintiffs allege, inter alia, that the defendants made
materially false and misleading statements in connection with
the sale of IBF securities. Specifically, the offering materials
and other disclosure documents related to IBF securities were
misleading as to IBF's cash flow, return statistics, and loan
losses; the source of interest payments made by IBF to its
investors; and IBF's failure to register as an investment
company. As a result of the defendants' misrepresentations, the
investing public was led to believe that the IBF funds were
performing much better than they actually were and the price of
IBF securities was artificially inflated.

For more information, contact Chet B. Waldman, by Phone:
(212) 759-4600 or (877) 370-7703 (toll free), Fax: 212.486.2093,
by E-mail: cwaldman@wolfpopper.com, or visit the Firm's Website:
http://www.wolfpopper.com.


MEDICAL STAFFING: Federman & Sherwood Commences Stock Suit in FL
----------------------------------------------------------------
Federman & Sherwood initiated a securities class action lawsuit
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of
Florida, against Medical Staffing Network Holdings, Inc.,
alleging that throughout the class period beginning April 17,
2002, the Company issued materially false and misleading
statements thereby artificially inflating the securities of the
Company.

Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of the Class.
Deadline to file for Lead Plaintiff Motion is set sixty (60)
days from February 20, 2004.

For more information, contact William B. Federman, by Mail: 120
N. Robinson, Suite 2720, Oklahoma City, OK 73102, by
Phone: (405) 235-1560, Fax: (405) 239-2112, or by E-mail:
wfederman@aol.com.


PIMCO FUNDS: Glancy Binkow Launches Securities Fraud Suit in CT
----------------------------------------------------------------
Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP initiated a Class Action lawsuit  
in the United States District Court for the District of
Connecticut, on behalf of a class consisting of all persons or
entities who purchased or otherwise acquired mutual funds in the
Pimco family of funds between February 28, 1999 and February 15,
2004, inclusive.

The Complaint charges, among others, Allianz Dresdner Asset
Management of America L.P., Allianz of America, Allianz Dresdner
Asset Management of America Holding Inc., PIMCO Advisors Fund
Management LLC, Canary Capital Partners LLC, Canary Investment
Management LLC, Edward J. Stern, Brean Murray, Inc. and each of
the Funds with violations of federal securities laws.

The complaint alleges that the Fund prospectuses failed to
disclose that certain of the defendants were allowed to engage
in "market timing" -- short-term, in-and-out trading of the
Funds' securities -- throughout the Class Period. In return for
receiving extra fees from certain defendants, the Funds allowed
and facilitated the privileged investors' timing activities, to
the detriment of Class members, who paid dollar-for-dollar for
improper profits made by the privileged investors. The complaint
alleges that these improper practices were undisclosed in the
Funds' prospectuses, which represented that the Funds actively
deter "timing".

The Funds, and the symbols for the respective Funds named below,
are as follows:

      (1) PIMCO All Asset Fund (Nasdaq: PASAX), (Nasdaq: PASBX),
          (Nasdaq: PASCX), (Nasdaq: PAAIX), (Nasdaq: PAALX)

      (2) PIMCO Asset Allocation Fund (Nasdaq: PALAX), (Nasdaq:
          PALBX), (Nasdaq: PALCX)

      (3) PIMCO CA Intermediate Muni Bond Fund (Nasdaq: PCMBX),
          (Nasdaq: PCIMX)

      (4) PIMCO CA Muni Bond Fund (Nasdaq: PCAAX), (Nasdaq:
          PICMX)

      (5) PIMCO CCM Capital Appreciation Fund (Nasdaq: PCFAX),
          (Nasdaq: PFCBX), (Nasdaq: PFCCX), (Nasdaq: PAPIX)

      (6) PIMCO CCM Mid-Cap Fund (Nasdaq: PFMAX), (Nasdaq:  
          PFMBX), (Nasdaq: PFMCX), (Nasdaq: PGMIX)

      (7) PIMCO CommodityRealReturn Strategy Fund (Nasdaq:
          PCRAX), (Nasdaq: PCRBX), (Nasdaq: PCRCX), (Nasdaq:
          PCRIX)

      (8) PIMCO Diversified Income Fund (Nasdaq: PDVAX),    
          (Nasdaq: PDVBX), (Nasdaq: PDICX), (Nasdaq: PDIIX)

      (9) PIMCO Emerging Markets Bond Fund (Nasdaq: PAEMX),
          (Nasdaq: PBEMX), (Nasdaq: PEBCX), (Nasdaq: PEBIX)

     (10) PIMCO Foreign Bond Fund (Nasdaq: PFOAX), (Nasdaq:
          PFOBX), (Nasdaq: PFOCX), (Nasdaq: PFORX)

     (11) PIMCO GNMA Fund (Nasdaq: PAGNX), (Nasdaq: PGGNX),
          (Nasdaq: PCGNX), (Nasdaq: PDMIX)

     (12) PIMCO Global Bond II Fund (Nasdaq: PAIIX), (Nasdaq:
          PBIIX), (Nasdaq: PCIIX), (Nasdaq: PGBIX)

     (13) PIMCO High Yield Fund (Nasdaq: PHDAX), (Nasdaq:   
          PHDBX), (Nasdaq: PHDCX), (Nasdaq: PHIYX)

     (14) PIMCO International StocksPlus TR Strategy Fund
          (Nasdaq: PIPAX), (Nasdaq: PIPBX), (Nasdaq: PIPCX)

     (15) PIMCO Investment Grade Corporate Bond Fund (Nasdaq:
          PIGIX)

     (16) PIMCO Long-Term U.S.Govt. Fund (Nasdaq: PFGAX),     
          (Nasdaq: PGGBX), (Nasdaq: PFGCX), (Nasdaq: PGOVX)

     (17) PIMCO Low Duration Fund (Nasdaq: PTLAX), (Nasdaq:
          PTLBX), (Nasdaq: PTLCX), (Nasdaq: PLDTX)

     (18) PIMCO Low Duration II Fund (Nasdaq: PLDTX)

     (19) PIMCO Low Duration III Fund (Nasdaq: PLDIX)

     (20) PIMCO Moderate Duration Fund (Nasdaq: PMDRX)

     (21) PIMCO Money Market Fund (Nasdaq: PYAXX), (Nasdaq:
          PYCXX), (Nasdaq: PKCXX), (Nasdaq: PMIXX)

     (22) PIMCO Municipal Bond Fund (Nasdaq: PMLAX), (Nasdaq:
          PNFBX), (Nasdaq: PMLCX), (Nasdaq: PFMIX)

     (23) PIMCO NACM Flex-Cap Fund (Nasdaq: PNFAX), (Nasdaq:
          PNFBX), (Nasdaq: PNFCX)

     (24) PIMCO NACM Global Fund (Nasdaq: NGBAX), (Nasdaq:   
          NGBBX), (Nasdaq: NGBCX)

     (25) PIMCO NACM Growth Fund (Nasdaq: NGWAX), (Nasdaq:
          NGWBX), (Nasdaq: NGWCX)

     (26) PIMCO NACM International Fund (Nasdaq: PILAX),
          (Nasdaq: PILBX), (Nasdaq: PILCX)

     (27) PIMCO NACM Pacific Rim Fund (Nasdaq: PPRAX), (Nasdaq:
          PPRBX), (Nasdaq: PPRCX), (Nasdaq: NAPRX)

     (28) PIMCO NACM Value Fund (Nasdaq: PVUAX), (Nasdaq:
          PVUBX), (Nasdaq: PVUCX)

     (29) PIMCO NFJ Dividend Value Fund (Nasdaq: PNEAX),
          (Nasdaq: PNEBX), (Nasdaq: PNECX), (Nasdaq: NFJEX)

     (30) PIMCO NFJ Large-Cap Value Fund (Nasdaq: PNBAX),
          (Nasdaq: PNBBX), (Nasdaq: PNBCX)

     (31) PIMCO NFJ Small-Cap Value Fund (Nasdaq: PCVAX),
          (Nasdaq: PCVBX), (Nasdaq: PCVCX), (Nasdaq: PSVIX)

     (32) PIMCO NY Muni Bond Fund (Nasdaq: PNYAX)

     (33) PIMCO PEA Growth Fund (Nasdaq: PGWAX), (Nasdaq:
          PGFBX), (Nasdaq: PGWCX), (Nasdaq: PGFIX)

     (34) PIMCO PEA Growth and Income Fund (Nasdaq: PGRAX),
          (Nasdaq: PGRBX), (Nasdaq: PGNCX), (Nasdaq: PMEIX)

     (35) PIMCO PEA Innovation Fund (Nasdaq: PIVAX), (Nasdaq:
          PIVBX), (Nasdaq: PIVCX), (Nasdaq: PIFIX)

     (36) PIMCO PEA Opportunity Fund (Nasdaq: POPAX), (Nasdaq:
          PQNBX), (Nasdaq: POPCX), (Nasdaq: POFIX)

     (37) PIMCO PEA Renaissance Fund (Nasdaq: PQNAX), (Nasdaq:
          PGNBX), (Nasdaq: PQNCX), (Nasdaq: PRNIX)

     (38) PIMCO PEA Target Fund (Nasdaq: PTAAX), (Nasdaq:
          PTABX), (Nasdaq: PTACX), (Nasdaq: PFTIX)

     (39) PIMCO PEA Value Fund (Nasdaq: PDLAX), (Nasdaq: PDLBX),
          (Nasdaq: PDLCX), (Nasdaq: PDLIX)

     (40) PIMCO RCM Biotechnology Fund (Nasdaq: RABTX), (Nasdaq:
          RBBTX), (Nasdaq: RCBTX)

     (41) PIMCO RCM Global Healthcare Fund (Nasdaq: RAGHX),
          (Nasdaq: RBGHX), (Nasdaq: RCGHX)

     (42) PIMCO RCM Global Small-Cap Fund (Nasdaq: RGSAX),
          (Nasdaq: RGSBX), (Nasdaq: RGSCX), (Nasdaq: DGSCX)

     (43) PIMCO RCM Global Technology Fund (Nasdaq: RAGTX),
          (Nasdaq: RBGTX), (Nasdaq: RCGTX), (Nasdaq: DRGTX)

     (44) PIMCO RCM International Growth Equity Fund (Nasdaq:
          RAIGX), (Nasdaq: RBIGX), (Nasdaq: RCIGX), (Nasdaq:     
          DRIEX)

     (45) PIMCO RCM Large-Cap Growth Fund (Nasdaq: RALGX),
          (Nasdaq: RBLGX), (Nasdaq: RCLGX), (Nasdaq: DRLCX)

     (46) PIMCO RCM Mid-Cap Fund (Nasdaq: RMDAX), (Nasdaq:    
          RMDBX), (Nasdaq: RMDCX), (Nasdaq: DRMCX)

     (47) PIMCO RCM Tax-Managed Growth Fund (Nasdaq: PMWAX),
          (Nasdaq: PMWBX), (Nasdaq: PMWCX), (Nasdaq: DRTIX)

     (48) PIMCO Real Return Fund (Nasdaq: PRTNX), (Nasdaq:
          PRRBX), (Nasdaq: PRTCX), (Nasdaq: PRRIX), (Nasdaq:
          PARRX), (Nasdaq: PRRRX)

     (49) PIMCO Real Return Fund (Nasdaq: PRRIX)

     (50) PIMCO Real Return II Fund (Nasdaq: PIRRX)

     (51) PIMCO Real Estate Real Return Strategy Fund (Nasdaq:
          PETAX), (Nasdaq: PETBX), (Nasdaq: PETCX)

     (52) PIMCO Short Duration Municipal Income Fund (Nasdaq:
          PSDAX), (Nasdaq: PSDCX), (Nasdaq: PSDIX)

     (53) PIMCO Short-Term Fund (Nasdaq: PSHAX), (Nasdaq:
          PTSBX), (Nasdaq: PFTCX), (Nasdaq: PTSHX)

     (54) PIMCO Stocks PLUS Fund (Nasdaq: PSPAX), (Nasdaq:
          PSPBX), (Nasdaq: PSPCX), (Nasdaq: PSTKX)

     (55) PIMCO Stocks PLUS Total Return Fund (Nasdaq: PTOAX),
         (Nasdaq: PTOBX), (Nasdaq: PSOCX), (Nasdaq: PSPTX

     (56) PIMCO Total Return Fund (Nasdaq: PTTAX), (Nasdaq:
          PTTBX), (Nasdaq: PTTCX), (Nasdaq: PTTRX)

     (57) PIMCO Total Return II Fund (Nasdaq: PMBIX

     (58) PIMCO Total Return III Fund (Nasdaq: PTSAX)

     (59) PIMCO Total Return Mortgage Fund (Nasdaq: PMRAX),
          (Nasdaq: PMRBX), (Nasdaq: PMRCX), (Nasdaq: PTRIX)

For more information, contact Michael Goldberg, by Mail: 1801
Avenue of the Stars, Suite 311, Los Angeles, California 90067,
by Phone: (310) 201-9161 or (888) 773-9224 (toll free), or by E-
mail: info@glancylaw.com.


PIMCO FUNDS: Rabin Murray Commences Securities Fraud Suit in CT
---------------------------------------------------------------
Rabin, Murray & Frank LLP initiated a class action lawsuit in
the United States District Court for the District of
Connecticut, on behalf of purchasers of PIMCO Diversified Income
Fund (Nasdaq:PDVBX), (Nasdaq:PDICX), (Nasdaq: PDIIX); PIMCO
Emerging Markets Bond Fund (Nasdaq: PBEMX), (Nasdaq: PEBCX),
(Nasdaq:PEBIX); PIMCO Foreign Bond Fund (Nasdaq:PFOBX),
(Nasdaq:PFOCX), (Nasdaq:PFORX); PIMCO Global Bond II Fund
(Nasdaq:PBIIX), (Nasdaq:PCIIX), (Nasdaq:PGBIX) between February
28, 1999 and February 15, 2004, inclusive, against defendants
Allianz Dresdner Asset Management of America L.P.; Allianz of
America; Allianz Dresdner Asset Management of America Holding
Inc.; PIMCO Advisors Fund Management LLC; PEA Capital LLC;
Cadence Capital Management LLC; NFJ Investment Group L.P.;
Nicholas-Applegate Capital Management LLC; RCM Capital
Management LLC; PIMCO Funds Multi Manager Series; PIMCO Advisors
VIT; Fixed Income Shares; PIMCO Funds; Canary Capital Partners,
LLC; Canary Investment Management, LLC; Edward J. Stern; Brean
Murray, Inc.; each of the Funds; and John Does 1-100, seeking  
remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the
Securities Act of 1933 and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

The Funds, and the symbols for the respective Funds named below,
are as follows:

      (1) PIMCO All Asset Fund (Nasdaq: PASAX), (Nasdaq: PASBX),
          (Nasdaq: PASCX), (Nasdaq: PAAIX), (Nasdaq: PAALX)

      (2) PIMCO Asset Allocation Fund (Nasdaq: PALAX), (Nasdaq:
          PALBX), (Nasdaq: PALCX)

      (3) PIMCO CA Intermediate Muni Bond Fund (Nasdaq: PCMBX),
          (Nasdaq: PCIMX)

      (4) PIMCO CA Muni Bond Fund (Nasdaq: PCAAX), (Nasdaq:
          PICMX)

      (5) PIMCO CCM Capital Appreciation Fund (Nasdaq: PCFAX),
          (Nasdaq: PFCBX), (Nasdaq: PFCCX), (Nasdaq: PAPIX)

      (6) PIMCO CCM Mid-Cap Fund (Nasdaq: PFMAX), (Nasdaq:  
          PFMBX), (Nasdaq: PFMCX), (Nasdaq: PGMIX)

      (7) PIMCO CommodityRealReturn Strategy Fund (Nasdaq:
          PCRAX), (Nasdaq: PCRBX), (Nasdaq: PCRCX), (Nasdaq:
          PCRIX)

      (8) PIMCO Diversified Income Fund (Nasdaq: PDVAX),    
          (Nasdaq: PDVBX), (Nasdaq: PDICX), (Nasdaq: PDIIX)

      (9) PIMCO Emerging Markets Bond Fund (Nasdaq: PAEMX),
          (Nasdaq: PBEMX), (Nasdaq: PEBCX), (Nasdaq: PEBIX)

     (10) PIMCO Foreign Bond Fund (Nasdaq: PFOAX), (Nasdaq:
          PFOBX), (Nasdaq: PFOCX), (Nasdaq: PFORX)

     (11) PIMCO GNMA Fund (Nasdaq: PAGNX), (Nasdaq: PGGNX),
          (Nasdaq: PCGNX), (Nasdaq: PDMIX)

     (12) PIMCO Global Bond II Fund (Nasdaq: PAIIX), (Nasdaq:
          PBIIX), (Nasdaq: PCIIX), (Nasdaq: PGBIX)

     (13) PIMCO High Yield Fund (Nasdaq: PHDAX), (Nasdaq:   
          PHDBX), (Nasdaq: PHDCX), (Nasdaq: PHIYX)

     (14) PIMCO International StocksPlus TR Strategy Fund
          (Nasdaq: PIPAX), (Nasdaq: PIPBX), (Nasdaq: PIPCX)

     (15) PIMCO Investment Grade Corporate Bond Fund (Nasdaq:
          PIGIX)

     (16) PIMCO Long-Term U.S.Govt. Fund (Nasdaq: PFGAX),     
          (Nasdaq: PGGBX), (Nasdaq: PFGCX), (Nasdaq: PGOVX)

     (17) PIMCO Low Duration Fund (Nasdaq: PTLAX), (Nasdaq:
          PTLBX), (Nasdaq: PTLCX), (Nasdaq: PLDTX)

     (18) PIMCO Low Duration II Fund (Nasdaq: PLDTX)

     (19) PIMCO Low Duration III Fund (Nasdaq: PLDIX)

     (20) PIMCO Moderate Duration Fund (Nasdaq: PMDRX)

     (21) PIMCO Money Market Fund (Nasdaq: PYAXX), (Nasdaq:
          PYCXX), (Nasdaq: PKCXX), (Nasdaq: PMIXX)

     (22) PIMCO Municipal Bond Fund (Nasdaq: PMLAX), (Nasdaq:
          PNFBX), (Nasdaq: PMLCX), (Nasdaq: PFMIX)

     (23) PIMCO NACM Flex-Cap Fund (Nasdaq: PNFAX), (Nasdaq:
          PNFBX), (Nasdaq: PNFCX)

     (24) PIMCO NACM Global Fund (Nasdaq: NGBAX), (Nasdaq:   
          NGBBX), (Nasdaq: NGBCX)

     (25) PIMCO NACM Growth Fund (Nasdaq: NGWAX), (Nasdaq:
          NGWBX), (Nasdaq: NGWCX)

     (26) PIMCO NACM International Fund (Nasdaq: PILAX),
          (Nasdaq: PILBX), (Nasdaq: PILCX)

     (27) PIMCO NACM Pacific Rim Fund (Nasdaq: PPRAX), (Nasdaq:
          PPRBX), (Nasdaq: PPRCX), (Nasdaq: NAPRX)

     (28) PIMCO NACM Value Fund (Nasdaq: PVUAX), (Nasdaq:
          PVUBX), (Nasdaq: PVUCX)

     (29) PIMCO NFJ Dividend Value Fund (Nasdaq: PNEAX),
          (Nasdaq: PNEBX), (Nasdaq: PNECX), (Nasdaq: NFJEX)

     (30) PIMCO NFJ Large-Cap Value Fund (Nasdaq: PNBAX),
          (Nasdaq: PNBBX), (Nasdaq: PNBCX)

     (31) PIMCO NFJ Small-Cap Value Fund (Nasdaq: PCVAX),
          (Nasdaq: PCVBX), (Nasdaq: PCVCX), (Nasdaq: PSVIX)

     (32) PIMCO NY Muni Bond Fund (Nasdaq: PNYAX)

     (33) PIMCO PEA Growth Fund (Nasdaq: PGWAX), (Nasdaq:
          PGFBX), (Nasdaq: PGWCX), (Nasdaq: PGFIX)

     (34) PIMCO PEA Growth and Income Fund (Nasdaq: PGRAX),
          (Nasdaq: PGRBX), (Nasdaq: PGNCX), (Nasdaq: PMEIX)

     (35) PIMCO PEA Innovation Fund (Nasdaq: PIVAX), (Nasdaq:
          PIVBX), (Nasdaq: PIVCX), (Nasdaq: PIFIX)

     (36) PIMCO PEA Opportunity Fund (Nasdaq: POPAX), (Nasdaq:
          PQNBX), (Nasdaq: POPCX), (Nasdaq: POFIX)

     (37) PIMCO PEA Renaissance Fund (Nasdaq: PQNAX), (Nasdaq:
          PGNBX), (Nasdaq: PQNCX), (Nasdaq: PRNIX)

     (38) PIMCO PEA Target Fund (Nasdaq: PTAAX), (Nasdaq:
          PTABX), (Nasdaq: PTACX), (Nasdaq: PFTIX)

     (39) PIMCO PEA Value Fund (Nasdaq: PDLAX), (Nasdaq: PDLBX),
          (Nasdaq: PDLCX), (Nasdaq: PDLIX)

     (40) PIMCO RCM Biotechnology Fund (Nasdaq: RABTX), (Nasdaq:
          RBBTX), (Nasdaq: RCBTX)

     (41) PIMCO RCM Global Healthcare Fund (Nasdaq: RAGHX),
          (Nasdaq: RBGHX), (Nasdaq: RCGHX)

     (42) PIMCO RCM Global Small-Cap Fund (Nasdaq: RGSAX),
          (Nasdaq: RGSBX), (Nasdaq: RGSCX), (Nasdaq: DGSCX)

     (43) PIMCO RCM Global Technology Fund (Nasdaq: RAGTX),
          (Nasdaq: RBGTX), (Nasdaq: RCGTX), (Nasdaq: DRGTX)

     (44) PIMCO RCM International Growth Equity Fund (Nasdaq:
          RAIGX), (Nasdaq: RBIGX), (Nasdaq: RCIGX), (Nasdaq:     
          DRIEX)

     (45) PIMCO RCM Large-Cap Growth Fund (Nasdaq: RALGX),
          (Nasdaq: RBLGX), (Nasdaq: RCLGX), (Nasdaq: DRLCX)

     (46) PIMCO RCM Mid-Cap Fund (Nasdaq: RMDAX), (Nasdaq:    
          RMDBX), (Nasdaq: RMDCX), (Nasdaq: DRMCX)

     (47) PIMCO RCM Tax-Managed Growth Fund (Nasdaq: PMWAX),
          (Nasdaq: PMWBX), (Nasdaq: PMWCX), (Nasdaq: DRTIX)

     (48) PIMCO Real Return Fund (Nasdaq: PRTNX), (Nasdaq:
          PRRBX), (Nasdaq: PRTCX), (Nasdaq: PRRIX), (Nasdaq:
          PARRX), (Nasdaq: PRRRX)

     (49) PIMCO Real Return Fund (Nasdaq: PRRIX)

     (50) PIMCO Real Return II Fund (Nasdaq: PIRRX)

     (51) PIMCO Real Estate Real Return Strategy Fund (Nasdaq:
          PETAX), (Nasdaq: PETBX), (Nasdaq: PETCX)

     (52) PIMCO Short Duration Municipal Income Fund (Nasdaq:
          PSDAX), (Nasdaq: PSDCX), (Nasdaq: PSDIX)

     (53) PIMCO Short-Term Fund (Nasdaq: PSHAX), (Nasdaq:
          PTSBX), (Nasdaq: PFTCX), (Nasdaq: PTSHX)

     (54) PIMCO Stocks PLUS Fund (Nasdaq: PSPAX), (Nasdaq:
          PSPBX), (Nasdaq: PSPCX), (Nasdaq: PSTKX)

     (55) PIMCO Stocks PLUS Total Return Fund (Nasdaq: PTOAX),
         (Nasdaq: PTOBX), (Nasdaq: PSOCX), (Nasdaq: PSPTX

     (56) PIMCO Total Return Fund (Nasdaq: PTTAX), (Nasdaq:
          PTTBX), (Nasdaq: PTTCX), (Nasdaq: PTTRX)

     (57) PIMCO Total Return II Fund (Nasdaq: PMBIX

     (58) PIMCO Total Return III Fund (Nasdaq: PTSAX)

     (59) PIMCO Total Return Mortgage Fund (Nasdaq: PMRAX),
          (Nasdaq: PMRBX), (Nasdaq: PMRCX), (Nasdaq: PTRIX)

The Complaint alleges that defendants violated Sections 11 and
15 of the Securities Act of 1933; Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder; and Section 206 of the Investment Advisers Act of
1940. The Complaint charges that, throughout the Class Period,
the Fund prospectuses failed to disclose that the Canary
Defendants, as defined therein, and the John Doe defendants,
were allowed to engage in "timing" of the Funds' securities.

In return for receiving extra fees from the Canary Defendants
and the John Doe Defendants, the Funds allowed and facilitated
the privileged investors' timing activities, to the detriment of
class members, who paid, dollar for dollar, for the Canary
Defendants and John Doe Defendants' improper profits. These
practices were undisclosed in the prospectuses of the Funds,
which falsely represented that the Funds actively police
against.

For more information, contact Eric J. Belfi or Aaron D. Patton,
by Phone: (800) 497-8076 or (212) 682-1818, Fax: (212) 682-1892,
or by E-mail: info@rabinlaw.com.


ROYAL DUTCH/ SHELL: Shalov Stone Launches Securities Suit in NJ
---------------------------------------------------------------
Shalov Stone & Bonner LLP initiated a securities class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of
New Jersey, on behalf of purchasers of the American Depository
Receipts of Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and/or The Shell
Transport and Trading Company, PLC between December 3, 1999
through January 9, 2004, inclusive.

The Complaint alleges that defendants issued statements during
the Class Period which were materially false and misleading in
violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, because they
failed to disclose and/or misrepresented the following adverse
facts, among others:

     (1) that Royal Dutch/Shell had overstated its proved oil
         and gas reserve figures by 20%;

     (2) that Royal Dutch/Shell accomplished the overstatement
         by including in its proved oil and gas reserves
         figures, when its venture partners did not, estimates
         from the Gorgon Joint Venture in Australia and the
         Nigerian Projects in Africa when such projects did not
         meet industry and SEC standards for proved reverses;

     (3) that the inclusion of Gorgon Joint Venture in Australia
         and the Nigerian Projects in Africa and other projects
         was accomplished through the booking of its proved oil
         and gas reversed figures on the basis of initial
         letters of intent rather than on the basis of when such
         projects had been contracted; and

     (4) as a result, Royal Dutch/Shell's true market value was
         materially overstated at all relevant times.

For more information, contact Lauren Fishman, by Mail: 485
Seventh Ave. (Suite 1000), New York, NY 10018, by Phone:
(212) 239-4340, or by E-mail: lfishman@lawssb.com.


                      *********


A list of Meetings, Conferences and Seminars appears in each
Wednesday's edition of the Class Action Reporter. Submissions
via e-mail to carconf@beard.com are encouraged.

Each Friday's edition of the CAR includes a section featuring
news on asbestos-related litigation and profiles of target
asbestos defendants that, according to independent researches,
collectively face billions of dollars in asbestos-related
liabilities.  


                       *********


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