CAR_Public/041103.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

            Wednesday, November 3, 2004, Vol. 6, No. 218

                            Headlines

ARGENTINA: HW Urban Files Legal Challenge V. Debt Exchange Offer
AVON PRODUCTS: Parties File Briefs on NY Suit Dismissal Appeal
AVON PRODUCTS: Plaintiffs Appeal Class Claims Dismissal in Suit
BJ'S RESTAURANTS: Reaches Settlement For CA Employees Wage Suit
BJ'S RESTAURANTS: Plaintiffs Seek Arbitration in CA Wage Lawsuit

CANADIAN NATIONAL: Judge Denies Dismissal Motion in Tamaroa Suit
CNA FINANCIAL: Employees Commence Overtime Wage Lawsuits in CA
CNA FINANCIAL: Continues To Face Several Insurance Fraud Suits
COOPER CAMERON: Faces Three Suits Over Contaminated Water in TX
FANAM CAPITAL: SEC Institutes Proceedings, Sanctions V. Officers

FASHION BUG: IL Shopper Amends Complaint Over Unreturned Balance
FIRST HORIZON: GA Court Dismisses Suit For Securities Violations
GE LIFE: GA Court Approves Settlement of Insurance Policies Suit
IRWIN BUSINESS: Faces Consumer Suits on NorVergence Transactions
IRWIN UNION: Asks AL Court To Dismiss RICO, TILA Violations Suit

MILKY WAY: TX AG Obtains Order V. Contaminated Infant Formula
MONITOR INVESTMENT: SEC Institutes Sanctions V. William F. Palla
NEUROTECH DEVELOPMENT: SEC Lodges Civil Fraud Action in E.D. NY
PACKETEER INC.: NY Court Yet To OK Securities Lawsuit Settlement
RENT-A-CENTER INC.: Asks TX Court To Dismiss Securities Lawsuit

RENT-A-CENTER INC.: Settles CA Lawsuit Over Rental Sales Prices
RENT-A-CENTER INC.: Appeals Court Reverses TX Suit Certification
RENT-A-CENTER INC.: To Challenge Certification For OR Wage Suit
RENT-A-CENTER INC.: Denial of Certification of CA Suit Appealed
RENT-A-CENTER INC.: WA Court Refuses To Certify Wage Lawsuits

SERVICE CORPORATION: Receives Final Approval For FL Settlement
STARLINK LITIGATION: QU Set To Receive Portion of $9M Settlement
TRIBUNE CO.: Advertisers File Lawsuits Over Inflated Circulation
UNITED STATES: Educators Anticipate Suits V. Education Reforms
VIVENDI UNIVERSAL: NY Judge Rules It Has Jurisdiction Over Suit

WORLD AMAZING: FSIS Detains Meat, Poultry Products From Ukraine
WYETH: Supreme Court Refuses Appeal V. Fen-Phen Users' Lawsuit

               Meetings, Conferences & Seminars

* Scheduled Events for Class Action Professionals
* Online Teleconferences


                  New Securities Fraud Cases

AUTOBYTEL INC.: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Suit in CA
AXT INC.: Shepherd Finkelman Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CA
SEARS ROEBUCK: IL Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss Securities Suit
SOURCECORP INC.: Lerach Coughlin Lodges Securities Lawsuit in TX
STAR GAS: Lerach Coughlin Lodges Securities Fraud Lawsuit in CT


                          *********

ARGENTINA: HW Urban Files Legal Challenge V. Debt Exchange Offer
----------------------------------------------------------------
HW Urban, a German investment fund recently asked a US district
Court to issue an injunction to stop Argentina from proceeding
with its debt exchange offer, which could come as early as next
month, the Financial Times reports.

The German firm is part of a class action lawsuit that argues
Argentina is violating securities laws by not allowing a Court
to review the terms of its debt offer. Bondholders are unhappy
that Argentina has taken advantage of a procedure that allows it
to proceed with a US offering without making the terms
immediately available.


AVON PRODUCTS: Parties File Briefs on NY Suit Dismissal Appeal
--------------------------------------------------------------
Parties in the class action filed against Avon Products, Inc.
filed briefs relating to the appeal of the dismissal of the suit
in the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

The suit was filed on behalf of certain classes of holders of
the Company's Preferred Equity-Redemption Cumulative Stock
(PERCS).  Plaintiffs allege various contract and securities law
claims related to the PERCS (which were fully redeemed in 1991)
and seek aggregate damages of approximately $145.0, plus
interest.

A trial of this action took place in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York and concluded in
November 2001.  In March 2004 the Court rendered a decision in
favor of the Company and dismissed the Consolidated Amended
Class Action Complaint.  In April 2004 the plaintiffs filed a
Notice of Appeal initiating an appeal of the Court's decision to
the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  The
parties await the scheduling of oral argument.


AVON PRODUCTS: Plaintiffs Appeal Class Claims Dismissal in Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs are proceeding with the appeal of the Superior Court
of the State of California's ruling dismissing class allegations
in a lawsuit filed against Avon Products, Inc., styled
"Blakemore, et al. v. Avon Products, Inc., et al."

The suit was filed on behalf of Avon Sales Representatives who
"since March 24, 1999, received products from Avon they did not
order, thereafter returned the unordered products to Avon, and
did not receive credit for those returned products."  The
complaint seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages,
restitution and injunctive relief for alleged unjust enrichment
and violation of the California Business and Professions Code.

The Company filed demurrers to the original complaint and three
subsequent amended complaints, asserting that they failed to
state a cause of action.  The Court sustained the Company's
demurrers and dismissed plaintiffs' causes of action except for
the unjust enrichment claim of one plaintiff, the amount of
which is nominal.  The Court also struck plaintiffs' class
allegations.

Plaintiffs filed Petitions for Writ of Mandate with the Court of
Appeal of the State of California seeking to overturn the
Superior Court's dismissals in respect of the complaints.  On
June 24, 2004, the Court of Appeal issued an Alternative Writ of
Mandate and Order mandating that the Superior Court vacate its
prior rulings or, in the alternative, show cause why such a
mandate should not issue.  Separately, plaintiffs filed with the
Superior Court a motion for reconsideration of the Court's
decision striking plaintiffs' class allegations in this matter,
which decision was unaffected by the action of the Court of
Appeal.

The Superior Court chose not to vacate its rulings in respect of
the complaints, so the parties are proceeding with briefs and
oral argument on the issues before the Court of Appeal.
Argument before the Court of Appeal is scheduled to take place
on November 29, 2004.  The Superior Court also chose not to
change its ruling striking plaintiffs' class allegations and the
plaintiffs have appealed that decision to the Court of Appeal.


BJ'S RESTAURANTS: Reaches Settlement For CA Employees Wage Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
BJ's Restaurants, Inc. reached a settlement for the class action
filed against it in the Superior Court of California for the
County of Orange by a former employee, on behalf of himself and
other employees and former employees similarly situated and
working in California.

The complaint alleges that the Company violated provisions of
the California Labor Code covering meal and rest beaks for
employees, along with associated acts of unfair competition and
seeks payment of wages for all meal and rest breaks allegedly
denied to the Company's California employees for the period from
October 1, 2000 to the present.

The Company has reached an agreement with the class counsel to
settle the meal and rest break class action case pending in
California, and has a hearing scheduled November 16, 2004 for
final approval of the settlement and dismissal of the action.
The amount of the settlement was developed from mediation, which
was concluded in December 2003.  Upon final approval of the
settlement, which the Company anticipates on November 16, 2004,
the Company expects that any future actions will be dismissed.


BJ'S RESTAURANTS: Plaintiffs Seek Arbitration in CA Wage Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs stipulated to arbitration of the class action filed
against BJ's Restaurants, Inc. in Los Angeles County Superior
Court, alleging causes of action for:

     (1) failure to pay reporting time minimum pay;

     (2) failure to allow meal breaks;

     (3) failure to allow rest breaks;

     (4) waiting time penalties;

     (5) civil penalties;

     (6) reimbursement for fraud and deceit;

     (7) punitive damages for fraud and deceit; and

     (8) disgorgement of illicit profits

It is possible that this matter will be consolidated with the
class action currently pending in Orange County Superior Court.
On June 28, 2004, the Plaintiff stipulated to dismiss her
second, third, fourth, and fifth causes of action.


CANADIAN NATIONAL: Judge Denies Dismissal Motion in Tamaroa Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Canadian National Railroad's motion to dismiss the Tamaroa train
derailment lawsuit was recently denied by 20th Circuit Judge
Michael O'Malley, thus moving the class action case forward,
according to attorney Joe Leberman of Bryant & Kautz Law Firm,
the Du Quoin Evening Call reports.

CN had asked Judge O'Malley to dismiss the five counts against
it due to the federal regulations covering the circumstances of
the derailment.

Taking CN's request for dismissal under advisement, Judge
O'Malley allowed four of the counts against the Company. He
however dismissed the plaintiffs' complaint that the Company is
liable even without the showing of negligence.

Legal experts explain that with the recent developments in the
case, the only remaining legal obstacle for the case to proceed
to trial at this time is a leave for petition to appeal filed by
CN with the Illinois Supreme Court. The leave asks justices to
require an appellate Court to rule on Judge O'Malley's August
decision certifying the case as a class action lawsuit, which
the Supreme Court is expected to rule on during its November
term.


CNA FINANCIAL: Employees Commence Overtime Wage Lawsuits in CA
--------------------------------------------------------------
CNA Financial Corporation faces two class actions filed on
behalf of present and former employees in the Superior Court of
California.  The suits are styled:

     (1) Ernestine Samora, et al. v. CCC, Case No. BC 242487,
         Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles,
         California and

     (2) Brian Wenzel v. Galway Insurance Company, Superior
         Court of California, County of Orange No. BC01CC08868

The plaintiffs assert that they worked hours for which they
should have been compensated at a rate of one and one-half times
their base hourly wage over a four-year period.  The Company has
denied the material allegations of the amended complaint and
intends to vigorously contest the claims.  Based on facts and
circumstances presently known, in the opinion of management, an
unfavorable outcome would not materially affect the equity of
the Company, although results of operations may be adversely
affected, the Company said in a regulatory filing.


CNA FINANCIAL: Continues To Face Several Insurance Fraud Suits
--------------------------------------------------------------
CNA Financial Corporation, along with dozens of other insurance
companies, is a defendant in twelve cases, including eleven
purported class actions, brought by large policyholders which
generally allege that the defendants, as part of an industry-
wide conspiracy, included improper charges in their
retrospectively rated and other loss-sensitive insurance
programs.  Among the claims asserted are:

     (1) violations of state antitrust laws,

     (2) breach of contract,

     (3) fraud and

     (4) unjust enrichment

In one federal Court case, styled "Sandwich Chef of Texas, Inc.
v. Reliance National Indemnity Insurance Co., 202 F.R.D. 480
(S.D. Tex. 2001), rev'd, 319 F.3d 205 (5th Cir. 2003), cert.
denied, 72 USLW 3235 (U.S. Oct 6, 2003)," the United States
Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed a decision by
the District Court for the Southern District of Texas certifying
a multi-state class.

Based on facts and circumstances presently known, in the opinion
of management, an unfavorable outcome will not materially affect
the equity of the Company, although results of operations may be
adversely affected, the Company said in a disclosure to the
Securities and Exchange Commission.


COOPER CAMERON: Faces Three Suits Over Contaminated Water in TX
---------------------------------------------------------------
Cooper Cameron Corporation faces three lawsuits regarding
contaminated underground water in a residential area adjacent to
a former manufacturing site of one of its predecessors.

The first suit is styled "Valice v. Cooper Cameron Corporation,"
and is pending in the 80th Judicial District Court, Harris
County, Texas.  The plaintiffs claim that the contaminated
underground water has reduced property values and threatens the
health of the area residents and request class action status
which, to date, has not been granted.  The plaintiffs seek an
analysis of the contamination, reclamation, and recovery of
damages for the loss of property value.

Another suit, styled "Oxman vs. Meador, Marks, Heritage Texas
Properties, and Cooper Cameron Corporation," is pending in the
same Court, while "Kramer v. Cooper Cameron," is pending in the
190th Judicial District, Harris County, Texas.  The two suits
allege that the plaintiffs purchased property in the area and
allege a failure by the defendants to disclose the presence of
contamination and seek to recover unspecified monetary damages.

The Company has been and is currently working with the Texas
Commission of Environmental Quality and continues to monitor the
underground water in the area.  The Company is of the opinion
that there is no risk to area residents and that the lawsuits
essentially reflect concerns over possible declines in property
value.

In an effort to mitigate homeowners' concerns and reduce
potential exposure from any such decline, the Company has
entered into 21 agreements with residents that obligate the
Company to either reimburse the residents for the estimated
decline in value due to a potential buyer's concerns related to
the contamination should they sell their properties or to
purchase the property after an agreed marketing period.


FANAM CAPITAL: SEC Institutes Proceedings, Sanctions V. Officers
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission issued an Order
Instituting Administrative And Cease-And-Desist Proceedings,
Making Findings, And Imposing Remedial Sanctions Pursuant To
Sections 203(e), 203(f), And 203(k) of The Investment Advisers
Act (Order) against Fanam Capital Management (Fanam), Richard J.
Ennis, and Seth Morgulas.

The Order finds that Fanam, a hedge fund, willfully violated
Sections 206(1) and (2) of the Investment Advisers Act (Advisers
Act) through the actions of Michael Beckford, Fanam's trader,
who gambled with investors funds, traded outside of the stated
trading objectives, and misappropriated funds for his personal
use resulting in investor losses of $4,828,129. Beckford issued
false documents to Fanam's investors to cover-up his fraud.

The Order also finds that Fanam violated Sections 206(1) and (2)
of the Advisers Act through the actions of Ennis who overstated
Fanam's assets under management to certain institutional
investors to solicit investments. The Order finds that Ennis
willfully aided and abetted and caused Fanam's violations of
Sections 206(1) and (2) of the Advisers Act by overstating the
firm's assets under management to investors.  The Order also
finds that Morgulas, Fanam's portfolio manager, failed to
reasonably supervise Beckford with a view to preventing
violations of the federal securities laws while Beckford was
subject to his supervision within the meaning of Section
203(e)(6) of the Advisers Act.

Based on the above, the Order states that Fanam be censured and
that Fanam cease and desist from committing or causing any
violations and any future violations of Sections 206(1) and (2)
of the Advisers Act. The Order also states that Ennis be
censured, that he cease and desist from committing or causing
any violations and any future violations of Sections 206(1) and
(2) of the Advisers Act, that he be suspended from association
with any investment adviser for a period of six months, and that
he be prohibited from soliciting, marketing, or advertising for
any investment advisory services for six months thereafter.

The Order also states that Morgulas be censured and that he be
suspended from association in any supervisory capacity with any
investment adviser for a period of six months.  Fanam, Ennis,
and Morgulas consented to the issuance of the Order, without
otherwise admitting or denying the factual findings set forth in
the Order.


FASHION BUG: IL Shopper Amends Complaint Over Unreturned Balance
----------------------------------------------------------------
Madison County, Illinois shopper Ashley Peach, who has three
pending class action suits against retailers for gift card
balance fraud, recently filed a leave to amend her complaint
against Fashion Bug on October 27, according to Jeffery Millar
of The Lakin Law Firm, the Madison County Record reports.

Last June, Ms. Peach also sued Wal-Mart and K-Mart, alleging
those retailers failed to return remaining balances on gift
cards. Ms. Peach claims that she has been damaged in the amount
remaining on the gift card, legal interest, reasonable attorney
fees and Court costs, plus treble punitive damages, but in no
event in excess of $75,000 exclusive of costs and interest on
two counts.

She also claims that after Christmas 2003, she used her Fashion
Bug gift card to purchase a shirt for approximately $12 at a
Granite City store. After the purchase, Ms. Peach demanded the
balance remaining on a gift card (approximately $8) to be
returned to her as change, as if she had used cash or a gift
certificate. However, according to her, the cashier refused to
provide her with change in the form of cash, which she claims
was her right to possess immediately and without condition.

Furthermore, in her most recent complaint, Ms. Peach claims that
by refusing to return change from a left over balance in the
form of cash, Fashion Bug wrongfully and without authorization
assumed control, dominion and ownership over the remaining
balance and that Fashion Bug's action in refusing to return the
balance on a gift card is a willful and wanton disregard of her
rights.


FIRST HORIZON: GA Court Dismisses Suit For Securities Violations
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Northern District of
Georgia dismissed without prejudice the consolidated securities
class action filed against First Horizon Pharmaceuticals
Corporation, all members of the Company's Board of Directors,
certain former and current officers, and the Company's
underwriters for its public offering completed on April 24,
2002.

The consolidated lawsuit generally alleged that the Company
issued a series of materially false and misleading statements to
the market in connection with the Company's public offering on
April 24, 2002 and thereafter relating to alleged "channel
stuffing" activities.  The amended complaint asserted that the
defendants violated Sections 11 and 12(a)(2) of the Securities
Act of 1933.

The amended complaint further alleges violations of Section
10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder.  The amended complaint also alleged
controlling person liability on behalf of certain of the
Company's officers under Section 15 of the Securities Act and
Section 20 of the Securities Exchange Act.

Plaintiffs in this consolidated class action lawsuit sought
unspecified compensatory damages in an amount to be proven at
trial.  The Company denied the claims made in the lawsuit and
filed a motion to dismiss the claims.  On September 29, 2004,
the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
dismissed, without prejudice, the class action lawsuit.
Although the class action lawsuit was dismissed, the Court
granted the plaintiffs the right to re-file their class action
lawsuit provided that the plaintiffs pay all of the defendants'
fees and costs associated with filing the motions to dismiss the
class action lawsuit.  As of October 29, 2004, the plaintiffs
had not re-filed their lawsuit.


GE LIFE: GA Court Approves Settlement of Insurance Policies Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Middle District of
Georgia granted final approval to the class action filed against
GE Life and Annuity Assurance Co., styled "McBride v. Life
Insurance Co. of Virginia dba GE Life and Annuity Assurance
Co.," related to the sale of universal life insurance policies.

The complaint was filed on November 1, 2000, in Georgia state
Court as a class action on behalf of all persons who purchased
certain of our universal life insurance policies and alleges
improper practices in connection with the sale and
administration of universal life policies.  The plaintiffs
sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

On December 1, 2000, the Company removed the case to the U.S.
District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.  The Company
denied liability with respect to the plaintiff's allegations.
Nevertheless, to avoid the risks and costs associated with
protracted litigation and to resolve the Company's differences
with policyholders, it agreed in principle on October 8, 2003,
to settle the case on a nationwide class action basis.

The settlement provides benefits to the class, and allows the
Company to continue to serve its customers' needs undistracted
by disruptions caused by litigation.  The Court gave final
approval to the settlement on August 12, 2004.

The precise amount of payments in this matter cannot be
estimated because they are dependent upon the number of
individuals who ultimately will seek relief in the claim form
process of the class settlement, the identity of such claimants
and whether they are entitled to relief under the settlement
terms and the nature of the relief to which they are entitled,
the Company said in a disclosure to the Securities and Exchange
Commission.  That process is currently underway.

In addition, approximately 650 class members elected to exclude
themselves from the class action settlement.  The Company has
been named as a defendant in five lawsuits brought by 41 such
individuals.  However, the Company cannot determine at this
point whether or how many other class members who have excluded
themselves from the class action will initiate individual
actions against it, or the effect of such suits or claims,
including the five pending cases, on its financial condition,
results of operations or reputation.


IRWIN BUSINESS: Faces Consumer Suits on NorVergence Transactions
----------------------------------------------------------------
Irwin Business Finance faces litigation over leases of equipment
acquired from NorVergence, Inc., a New Jersey-based
telecommunications Company.

The Company is involved on a national basis in equipment leasing
finance and maintains a diverse portfolio of leases, including
leases in the telecommunications field.  After assigning leases
to Irwin and other lenders, NorVergence filed for protection in
the United States Bankruptcy Court and is currently in
dissolution.  The sudden failure of NorVergence left many of its
customers without telecommunications services and angry with
representations they claim were made by NorVergence that remain
unfulfilled.

Complaints by former NorVergence customers have led to
investigations by the Attorneys General of several states and
the filing of a number of lawsuits.  The Company has been named
as a defendant in several lawsuits connected with NorVergence.

"Exquisite Caterers, LLC et al. v. Popular Leasing et al." is a
lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Monmouth
County, and was amended to include Irwin Business Finance and
others on September 1, 2004.  The "Exquisite Caterers"
plaintiffs seek certification of a class of persons who leased
network computer equipment from NorVergence, whose leases were
assigned to defendants.

The complaint alleges that NorVergence misrepresented the
services and equipment provided, that the lessees were defrauded
and the lease agreements should not be enforced.  The action
alleges violations of, among other things, the New Jersey
Consumer Fraud Act; the New Jersey Truth-in-Consumer Contract,
Warranty, and Notice Act; the FTC Holder Rule; the FTC Act; and
breach of contract and implied warranties.  The plaintiffs seek
compensatory, statutory and punitive damages, and injunctive
relief, including rescission of the leases and cessation of
collections.

The Company is also a defendant, along with other lenders, in
"Delanco Board of Education et al. v. IFC Credit Corporation," a
lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County,
Chancery Division, in October 2004 in connection with leases
assigned to the lenders by NorVergence. (IFC Credit Corporation
is not affiliated with Irwin Financial Corporation or Irwin
Business Finance.)  The suit involves more than one thousand
plaintiffs and alleges fraud, misrepresentation and violations
of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud law based on alleged conduct
similar to that in "Exquisite Caterers," with the addition of a
count under the New Jersey RICO statute.  Plaintiffs also allege
unjust enrichment and conversion and seek rescission of the
leases plus punitive and other damages.

The Company was also named as a defendant, along with other
lenders, in "Sterling Asset & Equity Corp. et al. v. Preferred
Capital, Inc. et al.," an action filed in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of Florida in October
2004, seeking class certification on behalf of Florida persons
or entities who leased equipment from NorVergence and whose
agreement was assigned to one of the named lenders.

The plaintiffs allege that NorVergence engaged in false,
misleading and deceptive sales and billing practices.  The
complaint alleges violations of the FTC Holder Rule and the
Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and breach of
contract and warranties.  Plaintiffs seek, among other relief,
compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive and/or declaratory
relief prohibiting enforcement of the leases, rescission, return
of payments, interest, attorneys' fees and costs.

In addition, Irwin Business Finance has been named in several
individual lawsuits involving equipment and services leased from
NorVergence, where the lease was assigned to Irwin Business
Finance.  The suits allege fraud and non-functional equipment
and services. The plaintiffs request rescission, restitution
and/or reformation of the leases and/or a declaration of
unenforceability.  These suits were filed in the following
jurisdictions: two actions in the District Court of Dallas
County, Texas (July 2004 and October 2004); one action in the
Superior Court of California, County of San Diego (August 2004);
and one in the Superior Court of Massachusetts (September 2004).

In connection with investigations by various state Attorneys
General, Irwin Business Finance and other lenders were asked to
produce information about their relationships with NorVergence
and to refrain from enforcing NorVergence leases.  On October
21, 2004, the Attorney General of Florida filed a complaint
against twelve lenders, including Irwin Business Finance, in the
Circuit Court of the Second Judicial Circuit, Leon County,
Florida, styled "State of Florida v. Commerce Commercial
Leasing, LLC et al.)"

The complaint alleges that the agreements assigned by
NorVergence to the lenders are unconscionable under the Florida
Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.  The suit seeks to
prohibit collection activities by the lenders and asks for
repayment of revenues, rescission of the agreements,
restitution, recovery of actual damages, and civil money
penalties.


IRWIN UNION: Asks AL Court To Dismiss RICO, TILA Violations Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Irwin Union Bank and Trust Company asked the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Alabama to dismiss
the class action filed against it, styled "Hobson v. Irwin Union
Bank and Trust Company."

The suit was filed in connection with loans the Bank purchased
from Community Bank of Northern Virginia (Community).  As
amended on August 30, 2004, the complaint seeks certification of
both a plaintiffs' and a defendants' class and alleges that
defendants violated:

     (1) the Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA),

     (2) the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA),

     (3) the Residential Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and

     (4) the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
         (RICO)

The plaintiffs claim that Community was allegedly engaged in a
lending arrangement involving the use of its charter by certain
third parties who charged high fees that were not representative
of the services rendered and not properly disclosed as to the
amount or recipient of the fees.  The loans in question are
allegedly high cost/high interest loans under Section 32 of
HOEPA.

Plaintiffs allege that the Bank was aware of Community's alleged
arrangement when the Bank purchased the loans.  Plaintiffs also
allege illegal kickbacks and fee splitting and the Bank's
participation in a RICO enterprise and conspiracy related to the
loans.  Because the Bank bought the loans from Community, the
plaintiffs are alleging that the Bank has assignee liability
under HOEPA.

The putative plaintiff class excludes borrower plaintiffs who
are members of a class certified in another case - a class
action in Pennsylvania federal Court that is a consolidation of
cases filed against Community, Residential Funding Corporation
(a subsidiary of GMAC), and Guaranty National Bank of
Tallahassee, with allegations similar to those in `Hobson."

If the Hobson plaintiffs are successful in establishing a class
and prevailing at trial, possible damages could include TILA
remedies, such as rescission, actual damages, statutory damages
not to exceed the lesser of $500,000 or 1% of the net worth of
the creditor, and attorneys' fees and costs.  Possible HOEPA
remedies include the refunding of all closing costs, finance
charges and fees paid by the borrower.  RESPA remedies could
include treble damages for each service for which there was an
unearned fee, kickback or overvalued service.  RICO remedies
could include treble plaintiffs' actually proved damages.  Under
TILA, HOEPA, RESPA and RICO, statutory remedies include recovery
of attorneys' fees and costs.  In addition, plaintiffs are
seeking unspecified punitive damages.  Under the loan purchase
agreement between Irwin and Community, Irwin has the right to
demand repurchase of the mortgage loans and indemnification from
Community for these claims.


MILKY WAY: TX AG Obtains Order V. Contaminated Infant Formula
-------------------------------------------------------------
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott obtained an emergency
restraining order and asset freeze to stop an unlicensed food
manufacturer and distributor from shipping contaminated infant
formula into Mexico.  The formula, contaminated with dirt and
flies and approved only for use as animal feed, was found in the
El Paso warehouse of Milky Way Traders Inc.

"We have asked Mexican health officials to work with us to seize
this product and bring those responsible to justice," said
Attorney General Abbott.  "We are committed to protecting the
health and safety of Texas children, and when a Texas Company
acts recklessly so as to endanger infants of families in Mexico,
we will take prompt action to stop it."

State health officials and investigators with the Attorney
General's Office believe that Milky Way Traders and its owner,
Yvon Belliard, falsely represented to health officials that the
product was being sold as animal feed, while they actually sold
it in Mexico as infant formula.  Investigators seized an invoice
for one truck shipment of 22 pallets of contaminated formula.
The El Paso Company reports annual revenues of about $15
million.

Health investigators report that the Company mixes dried dairy
products in unsanitary conditions, then packages the mixture and
labels it for human consumption. Inspectors with the Texas
Department of State Health Services issued a detention order on
October 8 after they found the Company large quantities of
contaminated infant formula set aside for shipment to Mexico,
believed to be for human consumption.

Inspectors discovered late last week that some of the product
previously ordered detained could no longer be found in the
warehouse.  Further inspection revealed that the product was
being loaded onto trucks for shipment into Mexico.

The Attorney General's Office will seek temporary and permanent
injunctions against Milky Way Traders, as well as civil
penalties of up to $25,000 per day per violation of the Texas
Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

For more details, contact Angela Hale, Paco Felici, Jerry
Strickland, or Tom Kelley by Phone: (512) 463-2050 or visit the
Attorney General's website: http://www.oag.state.tx.us.


MONITOR INVESTMENT: SEC Institutes Sanctions V. William F. Palla
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission issued an Order Making
Findings, Imposing Remedial Sanctions, and Imposing a Cease-and-
Desist Order Pursuant to Section 8A of the Securities Act of
1933 (Securities Act) and Sections 15(b)(6) and 21C of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) as to William F.
Palla (Order).  The Order finds that Palla took part in a
conspiracy to manipulate the price of two-penny stocks,
International Nursing Services, Inc. (International Nursing) and
Beachport Entertainment Corporation (Beachport) stock, while a
registered principal of Monitor Investment Group, Inc.
(Monitor). As part of the scheme, registered representatives at
Monitor received bribes for recommending International Nursing
and Beachport stock to their retail clients. Palla did not
disclose, or require the registered representatives to disclose,
the bribes to the retail customers who purchased the stock.

Based on the above, the Order finds that Palla willfully
violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b)
of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The Order (1)
orders Palla to cease and desist from committing or causing any
violation and any future violations of Section 17(a) of the
Securities Act, Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder, (2) bars Palla from participating in any
offering of penny stock, and (3) bars Palla from association
with any broker or dealer. Palla consented to the issuance of
the Order without admitting or denying the factual findings
therein.


NEUROTECH DEVELOPMENT: SEC Lodges Civil Fraud Action in E.D. NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil fraud
action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of
New York, against Neurotech Development Corporation, a Roslyn,
New York-based corporation, and its father-son management team,
Bernard Artz and Lawrence Artz, concerning false and misleading
statements in its Commission filings and press releases.
Neurotech is purportedly in the business of marketing rapid
deployment healthcare systems, including prefabricated
hospitals, in developing countries.

The Commission's complaint alleges that, during the period from
at least May 1999 through January 2003, Neurotech, acting
through its officers, Bernard Artz and his son Lawrence Artz,
violated the federal securities laws by making false and
misleading statements in its Commission filings and press
releases concerning its purported receipt of millions of
dollars in Indonesian "bank guarantees" and billions of dollars
in construction contracts. The statements concerning the "bank
guarantees" were false and misleading because the purported
instruments were, in fact, fraudulent. In addition, the
statements concerning the construction contracts were false and
misleading because the vast majority of the contracts were
unenforceable. Bernard Artz, the Company's chairman, chief
executive officer and chief financial officer signed and
certified Neurotech's Commission filings and reviewed the
Company's press releases. Lawrence Artz, the Company's vice
president, also signed the Commission filings and prepared the
press releases.

The complaint alleges that Neurotech and Bernard and Lawrence
Artz violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder and that Neurotech violated, and
that the Artzes aided and abetted its violations of, Section
13(a) of the Exchange Act and Rules 12b-20, 13a-1 and 13a-13
thereunder. The complaint also alleges that Bernard and Lawrence
Artz violated Section 16(a) of the Exchange Act and that Bernard
Artz additionally violated Rule 13a-14 thereunder. The
Commission is seeking injunctive relief, disgorgement of all
ill-gotten gains, including those related to the Artzes' sales
of Neurotech stock during the relevant period, civil penalties,
and officer and director and penny stock bars against the
Artzes.

On Oct. 29, 2004, the Commission also instituted separate
public administrative proceedings pursuant to Section 12(j) of
the Exchange Act against Neurotech, to determine whether its
common stock should  be suspended or revoked given its failure
to comply with Section 13(a) of the Exchange  Act and Rules 13a-
1 and 13a-13 thereunder by failing to file required annual and
quarterly reports with the Commission since the period ended
Dec. 1, 2002. The action is titled, SEC v. Neurotech Development
Corporation, et al., No. 04-CV-4667 (Platt) (E.D.N.Y.)(LR-
18952).


PACKETEER INC.: NY Court Yet To OK Securities Lawsuit Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York has yet to approve the settlement for the securities
class action filed against Packeteer, Inc., certain of its
officers and directors and the underwriters of the Company's
initial public offering, styled "In re Packeteer, Inc. Initial
Public Offering Securities Litigation, 01-CV-10185 (SAS)."

The amended complaint alleges violations of the federal
securities laws on behalf of a purported class of those who
acquired the Company's common stock between the date of the
Company's initial public offering, or IPO, and December 6, 2000.
The amended complaint alleges that the description in the
prospectus for the Company's IPO was materially false and
misleading in describing the compensation to be earned by the
underwriters of the Company's IPO, and in not describing certain
alleged arrangements among underwriters and initial purchasers
of the Company's common stock.  The amended complaint seeks
damages and certification of a plaintiff class consisting of all
persons who acquired shares of the Company's common stock
between July 27, 1999 and December 6, 2000.

A special committee of the Board of Directors has authorized the
Company to negotiate a settlement of the pending claims
substantially consistent with a memorandum of understanding
negotiated among class plaintiffs, all issuer defendants and
their insurers.  The parties have negotiated a settlement, which
is subject to approval by the Court.


RENT-A-CENTER INC.: Asks TX Court To Dismiss Securities Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Rent-A-Center, Inc. asked the United States District Court in
Texarkana, Texas to dismiss the class action filed against it
and certain of its current and former officers and directors,
styled "Terry Walker, et. al. v. Rent-A-Center, Inc., et. al."

The complaint alleged that the defendants violated Sections
10(b) and/or Section 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act and
Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder by issuing false and
misleading statements and omitting material facts regarding the
Company's financial performance and prospects for the third and
fourth quarters of 2001.

The complaint purported to be brought on behalf of all
purchasers of the Company's common stock from April 25, 2001
through October 8, 2001 and sought damages in unspecified
amounts.  Similar complaints were consolidated by the Court with
the Walker matter in October 2002.

On November 25, 2002, the lead plaintiffs in the Walker matter
filed an amended consolidated complaint which added certain of
the Company's outside directors as defendants to the Exchange
Act claims.  The amended complaint also added additional claims
that the Company, and certain of its current and former officers
and directors, violated various provisions of the Securities Act
as a result of alleged misrepresentations and omissions in
connection with an offering in May 2001 and also added the
managing underwriters in that offering as defendants.

On February 7, 2003, the Company, along with certain officer and
director defendants, filed a motion to dismiss the matter as
well as a motion to transfer venue.  In addition, the Company's
outside directors named in the matter separately filed a motion
to dismiss the Securities Act claims on statute of limitations
grounds.  On February 19, 2003, the underwriter defendants also
filed a motion to dismiss the matter.  The plaintiffs filed
response briefs to these motions, to which the Company replied
on May 21, 2003.  A hearing was held by the Court on June 26,
2003 to hear each of these motions.

On September 30, 2003, the Court granted the Company's motion to
dismiss without prejudice, dismissed without prejudice the
outside directors' and underwriters' separate motions to dismiss
and denied the Company's motion to transfer venue.  In its order
on the motions to dismiss, the Court granted the lead plaintiffs
leave to re-plead the case within certain parameters.

On October 9, 2003, the lead plaintiffs filed a motion for
reconsideration with the Court with respect to the Securities
Act claims, which the Court subsequently denied.  On July 7,
2004, the plaintiffs again re-pled their claims by filing a
third amended consolidated complaint, raising allegations of
similar violations against the same parties generally based upon
alleged facts not previously asserted.

The Company, along with certain officer and director defendants
and the underwriter defendants, filed a motion to dismiss the
third amended consolidated complaint on August 23, 2004.  The
plaintiffs subsequently filed response briefs to these motions,
to which the Company will reply no later than November 15, 2004.


RENT-A-CENTER INC.: Settles CA Lawsuit Over Rental Sales Prices
---------------------------------------------------------------
Rent-A-Center, Inc. reached a settlement for the class action
filed against it, over its cash sales prices, which allegedly
exceeded the pricing permitted under the California Rental
Purchase Act.

The suit, styled "Benjamin Griego, et al. v. Rent-A-Center,
Inc., et al.," is a state-wide class action originally filed in
San Diego, California on January 21, 2002.  A similar matter,
entitled "Arthur Carrillo, et al. v. Rent-A-Center, Inc., et
al," filed on April 12, 2002 in Los Angeles, California, was
coordinated with "Griego" in the Superior Court for the County
of San Diego on September 10, 2002.

On February 28, 2003, the plaintiffs filed a consolidated
amended complaint alleging various claims, including that:

     (1) the Company's cash sales prices exceed the pricing
         permitted under the California Rental Purchase Act,

     (2) the guaranteed merchandise replacement benefit in the
         third-party membership program offered by the Company
         to its customers in California violates the
         prohibitions in the Rental Purchase Act relating to the
         sale of loss damage waiver and property insurance,

     (3) the membership program prematurely offers service
         contracts to the Company's customers, and

     (4) the fee for the membership program is excessive

In addition, the plaintiffs allege that portions of the
Company's form of rental purchase agreement in California do not
strictly comply with the type-size requirements under the Rental
Purchase Act.  The plaintiffs further allege the Company's
rental purchase documentation improperly references certain
merchandise as "previously rented" rather than "used," does not
contain all of the required disclosures and terms of the
transaction, and includes language that the plaintiffs interpret
as affording the Company rights not permitted under the
applicable California statutes.

In accordance with a previously issued opinion from the
California Legislative Counsel, the Company believes that the
pricing formula utilized by it in California complies with the
Rental Purchase Act.  In addition, the Company believes that
under California case law, Courts have found that arrangements
similar to the guaranteed merchandise replacement benefit
offered to the Company's customers do not constitute insurance,
the Company said in a regulatory filing.

Upon notification of the alleged violations, the Company
promptly modified its rental purchase documentation in
California, including increasing the type-size in the relevant
portion of its rental purchase agreements from 9-point type to
10-point type and modifying the language in the Company's rental
purchase documentation to, among other things, refer to
"previously rented" merchandise as "used."

In addition, the Company disputed plaintiffs' interpretation of
the language in its rental purchase agreement and note that the
rights the plaintiffs contend were granted to the Company were
never asserted by the Company.  In connection with the
revisions, the Company also modified its rental purchase
documentation to clarify its disclosures and the disputed
language.  As part of that process, the Company promptly
communicated to its California customers that their statutory
rights remained intact.  Accordingly, the Company believes that
no harm to its customers could have occurred as a result of
these claims, the filing stated.

The plaintiffs have not alleged specific damages in the amended
complaint, but contend that no proof of actual harm or damage on
the part of the individual consumer is necessary to establish
recovery for these claims, which the Company vigorously
disputes.  Under the Rental Purchase Act, a consumer damaged by
a violation of the Rental Purchase Act is entitled to recover
actual damages, statutory damages equal to twenty-five percent
of an amount equal to the total amount of payments to obtain
ownership if all payments were made under the rental purchase
agreement (but not less than $100 nor more than $1,000),
reasonable attorney's fees and Court costs, exemplary damages
for intentional or willful violations, and equitable relief.

The Rental Purchase Act also provides that with respect to
certain violations, a rental purchase agreement is voidable by
the consumer.  Furthermore, the statute provides that if a
lessor willfully discloses a cash price that exceeds the price
permitted under the statute, the contract is void and the
consumer is entitled to keep the merchandise and recover a full
refund of all payments.  A consumer who suffers any damage from
a violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act is entitled to
recover actual damages, injunctive relief, restitution, punitive
damages, certain civil penalties and attorneys' fees and costs,
the Company continued.

On October 17, 2003, the plaintiffs filed their motion for class
certification.  On October 24, 2003, the Company filed a motion
to dismiss certain of the plaintiffs' claims and on October 31,
2003, filed its opposition to the plaintiffs' motion for class
certification.  The hearing on the Company's motion to dismiss
and plaintiffs' motion for class certification was held on
November 14, 2003.  On December 4, 2003, the Court denied the
Company's motion to dismiss and granted the plaintiffs' motion
for class certification.

The class definition includes the Company's customers in
California from February 1, 1999 through January 31, 2002, and
encompasses customers who entered into approximately 407,000
rental purchase agreements.  Such customers also purchased
approximately 167,000 memberships.  With respect to such rental
purchase agreements, the Company believes that twenty-five
percent of the total amount of payments to obtain ownership (the
maximum percentage applicable to statutory damages) was
approximately $600 per agreement on average.

On February 20, 2004, the Court ruled that it would enter an
order certifying the class described above and, with respect to
the cash price claims, a sub-class of the Company's customers
during the same time period who rented electronic appliances and
entertainment equipment.  The Company believes this sub-class
encompasses customers who entered into approximately 249,000 of
the 407,000 rental purchase agreements, with an average revenue
of approximately $700 per agreement, the Company said in a
regulatory filing.  On March 16, 2004, the Court entered the
certification order.

On February 13, 2004, the Company filed motions seeking rulings
by the Court on a series of legal questions applicable to
plaintiffs' claims.  The plaintiffs subsequently filed a cross-
motion with respect to one of the legal questions.  On April 2,
2004, the Court ruled with respect to these motions.  These
rulings include that there is no requirement that class members
prove actual damages resulting from violations of the Rental
Purchase Act, and that the pricing formula referenced in the
Rental Purchase Act is merely evidence of permissible "cash
prices" under the Rental Purchase Act as opposed to a statutory
determination of permissible "cash prices."

The Court also ruled, without prejudice, that the Company's
service contracts made available under its membership program
are offered and sold in violation of the Rental Purchase Act but
agreed to allow the Company to present evidence to the contrary
later in the proceeding.  The Court also concurred with the
Company's position that the contract terms for the membership
program need not be contained in the rental purchase agreement.

On May 28, 2004, the Company petitioned the California Court of
Appeal to review certain of the April 2004 trial Court rulings.
On June 24, 2004, the California Court of Appeal denied the
Company's petition to hear its appeal at this time, but did not
rule on the merits.  On July 6, 2004, the Company petitioned the
California Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeal's denial.
On August 18, 2004, the California Supreme Court denied the
Company's petition to hear its appeal at this time, but likewise
did not rule on the merits.

On September 10, 2004, the Company filed a motion to decertify
or modify the class and a motion to reconsider the Court's
ruling on the requirement that class members prove harm or
injury resulting from an alleged statutory violation.  On
October 25, 2004, before any ruling on these matters, the
Company announced that it had reached a prospective settlement
with the plaintiffs to resolve these matters.

Under the terms contemplated, the Company anticipates that it
will pay an aggregate of $37.5 million in cash, to be
distributed to an agreed-upon class of the Company's customers
from February 1999 through October 2004, as well as the
plaintiffs' attorneys fees up to $9.0 million and costs to
administer the settlement in amounts to be determined.

In addition, the Company anticipates issuing vouchers to
qualified class members for two weeks free rent on a new rental
agreement for merchandise of their choice.  Under the terms of
the prospective settlement, the Company is entitled to any
undistributed monies up to an aggregate of $8.0 million, with
any additional undistributed funds paid to non-profit
organizations to be determined.

In connection with the prospective settlement, the Company is
not admitting liability for our past business practices in
California.  The terms of the prospective settlement are subject
to the parties entering into a definitive settlement agreement
and obtaining Court approval.


RENT-A-CENTER INC.: Appeals Court Reverses TX Suit Certification
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Court of Appeals reversed a lower Court ruling granting
class certification to a lawsuit filed against Rent-A-Center,
Inc., styled "Carey Duron, et. al. v. Rent-A-Center, Inc."

This matter is a putative class action filed on August 29, 2003
in the District Court of Jefferson County, Texas, alleging the
Company violated certain provisions of the Texas Business and
Commerce Code relating to late fees charged by it under its
rental purchase agreements in Texas.

In the complaint, plaintiff Carey Duron alleges that her
contract provided for a percentage late fee greater than that
permitted by Texas law, that she was charged and paid a late fee
in excess of the amount permitted by Texas law and that the
Company had a policy and practice of assessing and collecting
late fees in excess of that allowed by Texas law.  Ms. Duron has
not alleged specific damages in the complaint, but seeks to
recover actual damages, statutory damages, interest, reasonable
attorney's fees and costs of Court.

When this matter was filed, the Company promptly investigated
Ms. Duron's allegations, including the formula the Company uses
to calculate late fees in Texas.  While the Company does not
believe the formula utilized by the Company during this time
period violated Texas law, in late 2003, the Company sent
written notice to approximately 29,500 of its Texas customers
for whom it had records and who were potentially adversely
impacted by its calculation.  The Company also refunded
approximately $37,000 in the aggregate to the customers it could
locate.  In taking these measures, the Company believes it
complied with the curative measures provided for under the Texas
statute.  The Company also reprogrammed its computer system in
Texas to modify the formula by which late fees are calculated,
the Company said in a disclosure to the Securities and Exchange
Commission.

On November 26, 2003, the Company filed a motion for summary
judgment in this matter.  On December 4, 2003, Ms. Duron filed
her motion for class certification.  On March 11, 2004, the
Company was notified that the Court denied its summary judgment
motion and granted Ms. Duron's motion for class certification.
The certified class includes the Company's customers in Texas
from August 29, 1999 through March 5, 2004 who were charged and
paid a late fee in excess of the amount permitted by Texas
law.

The Company appealed the certification order to the Court of
Appeals, which it was entitled to do as a matter of right under
applicable Texas law.  On October 28, 2004, the Court of Appeals
reversed the trial Court's certification order and remanded the
case back to the trial Court.

Under the Texas statute, a consumer damaged by a violation is
entitled to recover actual damages, statutory damages equal to
twenty-five percent of an amount equal to the total amount of
payments required to obtain ownership of the merchandise
involved (but not less than $250 nor more than $1,000),
reasonable attorney's fees and Court costs.

With respect to the approximately 29,500 Texas customers for
whom the Company has records (representing approximately two
years of the recently certified class), the Company believes
that twenty-five percent of the total amount of payments to
obtain ownership (the maximum percentage applicable to statutory
damages) under those rental purchase agreements was
approximately $600 per agreement on average.


RENT-A-CENTER INC.: To Challenge Certification For OR Wage Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Rent-A-Center, Inc. is challenging class certification for the
lawsuit filed against it in the State Court in Multnomah County,
Oregon, styled "Rob Pucci, et. al. v. Rent-A-Center, Inc.,"

The suit alleges the Company violated various provisions of
Oregon state law regarding overtime, lunch and work breaks, that
the Company failed to pay all wages due to its Oregon employees,
and various contract claims that the Company promised but failed
to pay overtime.

The suit seeks to represent a class of all present and former
executive assistants, inside/outside managers and account
managers employed by the Company within the six year period
prior to the filing of the complaint as to the contract claims,
and three years as to the statutory claims, and seeks class
certification, payments for all unpaid wages under Oregon law,
statutory and civil penalties, costs and disbursements, pre- and
post-judgment interest in the amount of 9% per annum and
attorneys fees.

On July 25, 2002, the plaintiffs filed a motion for class
certification and on July 31, 2002, the Company filed its motion
for summary judgment.  On January 15, 2003, the Court orally
granted its motion for summary judgment in part, ruling that the
plaintiffs were prevented from recovering overtime payments at
the rate of "time and a half," but stated that the plaintiffs
may recover "straight-time" to the extent plaintiffs could prove
purported class members worked in excess of forty hours in a
work week but were not paid for such time worked.  The Court
denied the Company's  motion for summary judgment on the
remaining claims.

The Company strongly disagreed with the Court's rulings against
its positions and requested that the Court grant it
interlocutory appeal on those matters.  The plaintiffs filed a
motion for summary judgment seeking to resolve certain factual
issues related to the purported class, which was denied on July
1, 2003.  On October 10, 2003, the Court issued an opinion
letter stating that it would certify a class and not permit an
interlocutory appeal, and issued its written order to that
effect on December 9, 2003.

The Company subsequently filed a petition for a writ of mandamus
with the Oregon Supreme Court, which was denied on January 24,
2004.  On June 15, 2004, notice to the class was distributed
advising them of their right to opt out of the class.  The
Company intends to continue to challenge the appropriateness of
the Court's class certification.


RENT-A-CENTER INC.: Denial of Certification of CA Suit Appealed
---------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs appealed the refusal of class certification to a
lawsuit filed against Rent-A-Center, Inc. in Los Angeles,
California Court, styled "Jeremy Burdusis, et al. v. Rent-A-
Center, Inc., et al."

Two suits were initially filed - the "Burdusis" suit and another
suit styled "Israel French, et al. v. Rent-A-Center, Inc."  The
suits allege the Company violated various provisions of state
law regarding overtime, lunch and work breaks, that the Company
failed to pay all wages due to its employees, and various
contract claims that the Company promised but failed to pay
overtime.

On March 24, 2003, the "Burdusis" Court denied the plaintiffs'
motion for class certification in that case, which the Company
views as a favorable development in that proceeding.  On April
25, 2003, the plaintiffs in Burdusis filed a notice of appeal of
that ruling, and on May 8, 2003, the Burdusis Court, at the
Company's request, stayed further proceedings in Burdusis and
French pending the resolution on appeal of the Court's denial of
class certification in Burdusis.  In June 2004, the Burdusis
plaintiffs filed their appellate brief.  The Company's response
brief was filed in September 2004, and the Burdusis plaintiffs
filed their reply in October 2004.

On October 30, 2003, the plaintiffs' counsel in Burdusis and
French filed a new non-class lawsuit in Orange County,
California entitled "Kris Corso, et al. v. Rent-A-Center, Inc."
The plaintiffs' counsel later amended this complaint to add
additional plaintiffs, totaling approximately 339 individuals.
The claims made are substantially the same as those in Burdusis.

On January 16, 2004, the Company filed a demurrer to the
complaint, arguing, among other things, that the plaintiffs in
Corso were misjoined.  On February 19, 2004, the Court granted
the Company's demurrer on the misjoinder argument, with leave
for the plaintiffs to re-plead.  On March 8, 2004, the
plaintiffs filed an amended complaint in Corso, increasing the
number of plaintiffs to approximately 400.  The claims in the
amended complaint are substantially the same as those in
Burdusis.

The Company filed a demurrer with respect to the amended
complaint on April 12, 2004, which the Court granted on May 6,
2004.  However, the Court allowed the plaintiffs to again
replead the action on a representative basis, which they did on
May 26, 2004.  The Company subsequently filed a demurrer with
respect to the newly repled action, which the Court granted on
August 12, 2004.  The Court subsequently stayed the Corso matter
pending the outcome of the Burdusis matter.


RENT-A-CENTER INC.: WA Court Refuses To Certify Wage Lawsuits
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Clark Count Court in Washington denied class certification
to a lawsuit filed against Rent-A-Center, Inc., styled "Kevin
Rose, et al. v. Rent-A-Center, Inc. et al."

The suit alleges the Company violated various provisions of
state law regarding overtime, lunch and work breaks, that the
Company failed to pay all wages due to its employees, and
various contract claims that the Company promised but failed to
pay overtime.

The same law firm seeking to represent the purported class in
Pucci is seeking to represent the purported class in this
matter. On May 14, 2003, the Rose Court denied the
Plaintiffs' motion for class certification in that case, which
the Company views as a favorable development in that proceeding.
On June 3, 2003, the plaintiffs in Rose filed a notice of
appeal.  On September 8, 2003, the Commissioner appointed by the
Court of Appeals denied review of the Rose Court decision.  On
October 10, 2003, the Rose plaintiffs filed a motion seeking to
modify the Commissioner's ruling, to which the Company responded
on October 30, 2003.  The Court of Appeals denied the
plaintiffs' motion on November 26, 2003.

Following the denial by the Court of Appeals, the plaintiffs'
counsel filed 14 county-wide putative class actions in
Washington with substantially the same claims as in Rose.  The
purported classes in these county-wide class actions range from
approximately 20 individuals to approximately 100 individuals.
Subsequently, the Company filed motions to dismiss and/or stay
the class allegations in each of the county-wide actions.  Four
of these motions were subsequently granted, permitting the
claims to proceed on an individual basis, one of which was
subsequently dismissed on summary judgment.

Accordingly, ten of the county-wide claims are now proceeding as
putative class actions and three are proceeding on an individual
plaintiff basis.  The Company subsequently filed motions to
compel arbitration with respect to 18 individual purported
plaintiffs and class representatives in certain counties, which
the applicable Courts subsequently granted.  Following such
motions, approximately 19 purported plaintiffs and class
representatives remain with respect to the claims made in the
thirteen counties.  The plaintiffs have not filed motions to
certify a class in any of the putative county-wide class
actions.


SERVICE CORPORATION: Receives Final Approval For FL Settlement
--------------------------------------------------------------
Service Corporation International (NYSE: SCI), the world's
largest funeral and cemetery Company recently received Court
approval for the class-action settlement agreement entered into
in December of 2003, referred to as the Consumer Lawsuit in the
Company's public filings. This lawsuit related to various
allegations at two SCI-affiliated cemeteries in Florida.

The terms of the settlement agreement entered into in December
2003, called for SCI to make payments of $100 million. SCI
reserved amounts for this claim in 2003 and deposited the
required funds into escrow in the first quarter of 2004. In
2003, SCI also recognized a receivable of $25 million for
insurance recoveries and management expects to take receipt of
these funds in the fourth quarter of 2004.

SCI also announced today that a settlement agreement had been
reached with additional plaintiffs in Florida who were not part
of the class-action settlement. These cases have been referred
to in the Company's public filings as the Guralnick and Wolff
lawsuits.

For more details, contact Debbie Young, Director of Investor
Relations (Investors) by Phone: (713) 525-9088 OR Terry Hemeyer,
Managing Director / Corporate Communications (Media) by Phone:
(713) 525-5497 or visit their Web site: http://www.sci-corp.com


STARLINK LITIGATION: QU Set To Receive Portion of $9M Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------------
Quincy University (QU) is set to receive a $50,000 donation as
part of a $9 million settlement from a 2000 class-action lawsuit
over genetically modified corn that has only been approved for
use in animal feed, which somehow got into human food production
lines, the Quincy Herald Whig reports.

In regards to the donation, QU President Sister Margaret M.
Feldner cautioned, "It is too early to comment on how the money
will be used. Certain restrictions may be placed on the funds
based on the settlement agreement, so we will wait for formal
notification and instructions before making such an
announcement."

According to Clint Krislov, a senior partner with Krislov &
Associates, the suit against Aventis CropScience of Research
Triangle Park, N.C., was based around the distribution of
Starlink, a strain of genetically altered corn that had not yet
been approved for use in human food products but somehow made
its way into grain elevators and had even been processed and
distributed in taco shells. Mr. Krislov further states that the
corn in question was designed to kills the bugs that ate it and
though it's not generally harmful to humans it can cause an
allergic reaction in some people that eat it. He also adds that
the proteins in the corn are similar to those in peanuts that
can cause potentially life-threatening allergic reactions in
some people. None of the genetically altered corn was consumed
at QU.

The settlement originally included $6 million worth of food
coupons that were sent to food banks to compensate them for
possible losses by distributing tainted food products. But,
after a year and a half, about $2.5 million worth of coupons had
not been redeemed, so a federal judge ruled that the remaining
value be distributed to charities nationwide, especially
schools, homeless shelters and charities involved in food
distribution.

QU, which should receive the money sometime next month, was
selected as a beneficiary based on a recommendation from William
Harte, a 1954 Quincy College graduate who works as an attorney
in Chicago and helped file the lawsuit.


TRIBUNE CO.: Advertisers File Lawsuits Over Inflated Circulation
----------------------------------------------------------------
Tribune Co. faces three class actions filed in the United States
District Court in New York over inflated circulation for its two
publications Newsday and Hoy, New York.

Newsday is a morning newspaper published seven days a week and
circulated primarily in Long Island, New York, and in the
borough of Queens in New York City.  Hoy, New York, is a Spanish
language newspaper that is also published seven days a week.

On February 11, 2004, a purported class action was filed by
certain advertisers of Newsday and Hoy, New York, alleging that
they were overcharged for advertising as a result of inflated
circulation numbers at these two publications.  The purported
class action also alleges that entities that paid a Newsday
subsidiary to deliver advertising flyers were overcharged.

On July 21, 2004, another lawsuit was filed in New York Federal
Court by certain advertisers of Newsday alleging damages
resulting from inflated Newsday circulation numbers as well as
federal and state antitrust violations.   On October 8, 2004, a
third lawsuit was filed in New York State Court by a former
Newsday advertiser alleging damages resulting from inflated
Newsday circulation numbers.


UNITED STATES: Educators Anticipate Suits V. Education Reforms
--------------------------------------------------------------
Due to the threats of costly penalties for schools that fail to
meet the academic standards of the federal No Child Left Behind
Act, educators are expecting a flood of lawsuits aimed at
avoiding the sanctions, the Associated Press reports.

Signed in 2002 by President Bush, the sweeping education reforms
has drawn the ire of educators, who are questioning its strict
performance and test requirements. The federal act requires all
students to be proficient in reading, writing and math by 2014.

Parents of children in some failing schools can demand transfers
to better campuses. Over the next four years, schools must offer
tutoring services, administrators and teachers can be fired,
states can take over districts, and federal funds can be
withheld.

According to the educators, the Coachella Valley Unified School
District could be among the nation's first to challenge the law.
Already its school board is considering suing federal and state
governments, claiming the district is being held to unreachable
goals.

Foch Pensis, Coachella Valley district superintendent even
stated, "It's unfair to hold us accountable for something
students can't possibly know. How do you hold these children to
the same standard that you would a child in Iowa who has never
been exposed to another language? It's ludicrous." Mr. Pensis
plans to seek allies in a class action lawsuit if legislators
don't try to ease the burden for schools with large numbers of
English-language learners. Education Department officials,
however, say the No Child Left Behind Act gives considerable
leeway to such districts.

The National Education Association in 2003 announced plans to
rally states to sue the Bush administration over funding for the
new law. But more than a year later, that lawsuit hasn't been
filed.

Bush has touted the law in campaign stump speeches as a
centerpiece of his domestic agenda, describing it as a way to
hold schools accountable for children they might otherwise
ignore.


VIVENDI UNIVERSAL: NY Judge Rules It Has Jurisdiction Over Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Southern District Judge Richard Holwell in Manhattan recently
ruled that it has subject matter jurisdiction over a class
action suit in which foreign plaintiffs accused France's Vivendi
Universal of violating U.S. securities law, the New York Law
Journal reports.

Vivendi, a French-based municipal water provider, grew into a
media giant and became a Wall Street favorite under the
leadership of Jean-Marie Messier, whose run as chief executive
officer ended in July 2002 with the Company burdened by debt and
its stock in a state of collapse. The Company eventually merged
its media assets with General Electric's NBC unit.

The securities class actions accuse the Company, Mr. Messier,
and former chief financial officer Guillaume Hennezo of hiding
its indebtedness and rigging its finances.

In In re Vivendi Universal, S.A. Securities Litigation, 02 civ.
5571, Judge Holwell addressed the Court's subject matter
jurisdiction in relation to a class of foreign plaintiffs who
purchased Vivendi's stock in foreign stock markets.

According to Judge Holwell, a Court has subject matter
jurisdiction in securities claims by foreigners, if "there was
conduct in the United States that directly caused the
foreigners' losses and . . . such conduct was more than 'merely
prepatory' to a securities fraud conducted elsewhere." The
requirement for jurisdiction, he further stated, "is satisfied
when the final step of fraud . . . occurred in the United
States." If the conduct were "secondary to the alleged
securities fraud," then the Court would deny subject matter
jurisdiction.

John Coffey, an attorney at Bernstein Litowitz Berger &
Grossmann who is not involved in this case, said that foreign
investors, the decision supports a growing body of case law,
making it easier for foreign plaintiffs to adjudicate their
securities cases in domestic Courts.


WORLD AMAZING: FSIS Detains Meat, Poultry Products From Ukraine
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and
Inspection Service detained an undetermined amount of canned
meat and poultry products that entered the country from Ukraine.
Ukraine is not eligible to export meat, poultry or egg products
into the U.S.  New World Amazing International Inc., a Buffalo
Grove, Illinois, importing firm, is also voluntarily recalling
the product.

The products being detained and recalled are various weight cans
of:

     (1) "Pork Stew, Pork Stew in its own Juice."

     (2) "Liver Spread, Liver Spread in Oil."

     (3) "Liver Spread, Liver Spread in Pork Fat."

     (4) "Chicken Meat, Baby Chicken Meat."

     (5) "Kasha, Rice with Beef."

     (6) "Kasha, Buckwheat with Beef."

     (7) "Beef Stew, Beef Stew in its Own Juice."

FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with
consumption of this product.  However, these products could
present a health hazard to consumers because Ukraine is not
among the countries that are approved to export meat and poultry
into the U.S.  As such, these products have not been inspected
by FSIS.  Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a
physician.

FSIS has taken immediate steps to remove this product from
commerce and continues to investigate whether any unlawful
actions have occurred.  Consumers who have purchased any meat or
poultry product imported from Ukraine are urged not to eat it
but to return it to the place of purchase.

The products were distributed to Eastern European specialty food
and gourmet markets in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota,
Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

For more details, contact Milana Grosfiler, Company manager, by
Phone: (847) 537-1337.  Consumers with food safety questions can
phone the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at
l-888-MPHotline. The hotline can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4
p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday, and recorded food
safety messages are available 24 hours a day.


WYETH: Supreme Court Refuses Appeal V. Fen-Phen Users' Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------
With only eight justices on the bench, the Supreme Court
recently refused an appeal from drug maker Wyeth and let stand a
lower ruling that a federal judge went too far when he issued an
order restricting the evidence that fen-phen users want to
present in their lawsuits claiming heart valve damage, the
Associated Press reports.

Wyeth had argued that former users of its Pondimin and Redux
pills violated the agreement not to seek punitive damages when
they chose to "opt out" of the federal class-action settlement
to pursue their own lawsuits. However, the nation's High Court
disagreed with the giant drug maker's arguments and thus let
stand the lower Court's ruling.

Legal experts explain that what the Supreme Court's action means
is that plaintiffs will now be able to present evidence
previously barred, but they still may not use those that are
relevant only to a claim for punitive damages.

Absent during the Supreme Court's ruling was Chief Justice
William H. Rehnquist, who recently announced that he would be
undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment for thyroid
cancer.  At the hearing, Justice John Paul Stevens, who presided
over the proceedings simply stated, "The Chief Justice is unable
to be present."



                  Meetings, Conferences & Seminars



* Scheduled Events for Class Action Professionals
-------------------------------------------------


November 4-5, 2004
CONFERENCE ON LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY PRODUCTS: CURRENT
SECURITIES,  TAX,
ERISA, AND STATE REGULATORY ISSUES
ALI-ABA
Washington, D.C.
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

November 8, 2004
ALL SUMS: REALLOCATION & SETTLEMENT CREDITS CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Boston
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

November 8, 2004
ZYPREXA LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Huntington Hotel & Spa, Pasadena, CA
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

November 9, 2004
SULFATE ATTACK ON CONCRETE LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Huntington Hotel & Spa, Pasadena, CA
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

November 9, 2004
HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Huntington Hotel & Spa, Pasadena, CA
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

November 9, 2004
VIOXX LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Huntington Hotel & Spa, Pasadena, CA
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

November 9, 2004
ANTI-SLAPP CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Huntington Hotel & Spa, Pasadena, CA
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

November 11-12, 2004
ASBESTOS LITIGATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY
ALI-ABA
New Orleans
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

November 15-16, 2004
THE STRATEGIC GUIDE TO INSURANCE INSOLVENCY OVERCOMING BUSINESS,
LEGAL AND
REGULATORY HURDLES
American Conferences
The Park Central New York, NY
Contact: http://www.americanconference.com

December 2-3, 2004
TRIAL EVIDENCE IN THE FEDERAL COURTS: PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
ALI-ABA
New York
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

December 6-7, 2004
ASBESTOS BANKRUPTCY CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
Sheraton Hotel and Towers NYC, New York, NY
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

December 6-7, 2004
MTBE & USTs LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
Sheraton Hotel and Towers NYC, New York, NY
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

December 8, 2004
EPHEDRA UPDATE
Mealey Publications
Sheraton Hotel and Towers NYC, New York, NY
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

December 9, 2004
D&O LIABILITY INSURANCE
American Conferences
New York, NY
Contact: http://www.americanconference.com

December 9-10, 2004
ASBESTOS PREMISES LIABILITY CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Huntington Hotel & Spa, Pasadena, CA
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

December 9-10, 2004
ASBESTOS PREMISES LIABILITY CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas, NV
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

December 9-10, 2004
CONSTRUCTION DEFECT & MOLD LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas, Las Vegas
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

December 9-10, 2004
RETAIL LIABILITY CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
Ceasars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

December 9-10, 2004
PERSONAL INJURY CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
Ceasars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

December 12-14, 2004
THE 9TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE FOR IN-HOUSE COUNSEL & TRIAL ATTORNEYS
DRUG &
MEDICAL DEVICE LITIGATION
American Conferences
The Plaza Hotel, New York
Contact: http://www.americanconference.com

December 13-14, 2004
ADDITIONAL INSURED CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Westin St. Francis, San Francisco, CA
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

December 15-16, 2004
WELDING ROD LITIGATION
American Conferences
New Orleans
Contact: http://www.americanconference.com

January 19-21, 2005
CIVIL PRACTICE AND LITIGATION TECHNIQUES IN FEDERAL AND STATE
COURTS
ALI-ABA
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

January 24-25, 2005
PREVENTING AND DEFENCING OBESITY CLAIMS:  THE LATEST INFORMATION
ON LEGAL
EXPOSURES, LEGISLATION
AND DEFENSE STRATEGIES
American Conferences
St. Regis Hotel, Washington DC
Contact: http://www.americanconference.com

January 24-25, 2005
THIRD ANNUAL ADVANCED INSURANCE COVERAGE CONFERENCE: TOP TEN
ISSUES
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Philadelphia
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com
January 31-February 01, 2005
LEXISNEXIS PRESENTS DEFENSE STRATEGIES IN PHARMACEUTICAL
LITIGATION
CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Phoenix, AZ
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

January 31-February 01, 2005
EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES LIABILITY INSURANCE
American Conferences
New York, NY
Contact: http://www.americanconference.com

February 10-11, 2005
ACCOUNTANTS' LIABILITY
ALI-ABA
Scottsdale, Arizona
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

February 14-15, 2005
REINSURANCE 101
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Pentagon City, Washington, DC
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

February 14-15, 2005
ASBESTOS LITIGATION 101
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Pentagon City, Washington, DC
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

February 28, 2005
LEXISNEXIS PRESENTS WALL STREET FORUM: ASBESTOS
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Battery Park, New York City
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

March 1, 2005
FINANCIAL INSTITUTION E&0
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Battery Park, New York City
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

March 3-5, 2005
LITIGATING MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS
ALI-ABA
Scottsdale, Arizona
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

March 7-8, 2005
INSURANCE LITIGATION 101
Mealey Publications
Hotel Crescent Court, Dallas
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

March 9-11, 2005
CIVIL PRACTICE AND LITIGATION TECHNIQUES IN FEDERAL AND STATE
COURTS
ALI-ABA
Maui, Hawaii
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

April 13-16, 2005
INSURANCE INSOLVENCY AND REINSURANCE ROUNDTABLE
Mealey Publications
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Scottsdale AZ
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

May 12-13, 2005
OPINION AND EXPERT TESTIMONY IN FEDERAL AND STATE COURTS
ALI-ABA
Boston Tuition
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

May 19-20, 2005
DIGITAL DISCOVERY AND ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE
ALI-ABA
Chicago
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

TBA
FAIR LABOR STANDARDS CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

TBA
AIRLINE BANKRUPTCY LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

TBA
FASTFOOD INDUSTRY LIABILITY CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com



* Online Teleconferences
------------------------

November 01-26, 2004
TLIE PRESENTS: "LAW AND DISORDER: SUE-- LEGAL ETHICS AND LEGAL
MALPRACTICE
ISSUES
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

November 01-26, 2004
TLIE PRESENTS: "DODGING THE BULLET": LEGAL ETHICS AND LEGAL
MALPRACTICE
ISSUES
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

November 01-26, 2004
HBA PRESENTS: AUTOMOBILE LITIGATION: DISPUTES AMONG
CONSUMERS, DEALERS, FINANCE COMPANIES AND FLOORPLANNERS
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

November 01-26, 2004
HBA PRESENTS: ETHICS IN PERSONAL INJURY
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

November 01-26, 2004
IN-HOUSE COUNSEL AND WRONGFUL DISCHARGE CLAIMS:
CONFLICT WITH CONFIDENTIALITY?
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

November 01-26, 2004
AVOIDING MALPRACTICE CLAIMS: THINGS TO DO (AND NOT DO)
ON THE FIRST DAY YOU REPRESENT A CLIENT
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

November 01-26, 2004
BAYLOR LAW SCHOOL PRESENTS: 2004 GENERAL PRACTICE INSTITUTE --
FAMILY LAW, DISCIPLINARY SYSTEM, CIVIL LITIGATION, INSURANCE
& CONSUMER LAW UPDATES
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

TORTS PRACTICE: 19TH ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS (2004)
CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

TORTS PRACTICE: 18TH ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS #1
CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

TORTS PRACTICE: 18TH ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS #2
CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

TORTS PRACTICE: 18TH ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS #3
CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

CIVIL LITIGATION PRACTICE: 22ND ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

CIVIL LITIGATION PRACTICE: 21ST ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS #1
CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

CIVIL LITIGATION PRACTICE: 21ST ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS #2
CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

CIVIL LITIGATION PRACTICE: 21ST ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS #3
CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

ADVERSARIAL PROCEEDINGS IN ASBESTOS BANKRUPTCIES
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Online Streaming Video
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

ASBESTOS BANKRUPTCY - PANEL OF CREDITORS COMMITTEE MEMBERS
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Online Streaming Video
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

EXPERT WITNESS ADMISSIBILITY IN MOLD CASES
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Online Streaming Video
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

INTRODUCTION TO CLASS ACTIONS AND LARGE RECOVERIES
Big Class Action
Contact: seminars@bigclassaction.com

NON-TRADITIONAL DEFENDANTS IN ASBESTOS LITIGATION
Online Streaming Video
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

PAXIL LITIGATION
Online Streaming Video
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS INVOLVING BAYCOL
Online Streaming Video
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

RECOVERIES
Big Class Action
Contact: seminars@bigclassaction.com

SELECTION OF MOLD LITIGATION EXPERTS: WHO YOU NEED ON YOUR TEAM
Online Streaming Video
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

SHOULD I FILE A CLASS ACTION?
LawCommerce.Com / Law Education Institute
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

THE EFFECTS OF ASBESTOS ON THE PULMONARY SYSTEM
Online Streaming Video
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

THE STATE OF ASBESTOS LITIGATION: JUDICIAL PANEL DISCUSSION
Online Streaming Video
LawCommerce.Com/Mealey's
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

TRYING AN ASBESTOS CASE
LawCommerce.Com
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

THE IMPACT OF LORILLAR ON STATE AND LOCAL REGULATION OF TOBACCO
SALES AND
ADVERSTISING
American Bar Association
Contact: 800-285-2221; abacle@abanet.org

________________________________________________________________
The Meetings, Conferences and Seminars column appears in the
Class Action Reporter each Wednesday.  Submissions via e-mail to
carconf@beard.com are encouraged.


                  New Securities Fraud Cases


AUTOBYTEL INC.: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Suit in CA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Central District of California on behalf of shareholders who
bought shares in the pioneer of online car sales lead referrals
Autobytel Inc. in the period from July 24, 2003 to October 20,
2004.

The complaint charges Autobytel and directors with violations of
the Securities Exchange Act. More specifically, the complaint
alleges that the Company failed to disclose and misrepresented
material adverse facts known to defendants or recklessly
disregarded by them:

     (1) that the Company inappropriately recognized some
         unapplied credits;

     (2) that as a result of this, the Company's financial
         results were materially inflated by $900,000;

     (3) that the Company's financial results were in violation
         of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ("GAAP");

     (4) that the Company lacked adequate internal controls; and

     (5) that as a result of the above, the Company's financial
         results were materially inflated at all relevant
         times."

On 21 October, Autobytel announced partial third quarter 2004
financial results and that it would reschedule its earnings
conference call which had been scheduled for that afternoon.
Furthermore, the Company announced that the Audit Committee of
the Board of Directors of the Company was directing an internal
review of the accounting treatment of certain unapplied credits
that were recognized as revenue during the four quarters ended
March 31, 2004. This news, says the law firm behind the suit,
"shocked the market". Shares of Autobytel fell $1.93 per share,
or 21.91 per cent, on October 21, 2004, to close at $6.80 per
share. Autobytel's operations in the UK and elsewhere in Europe
are under separate management from those in the US.

For more details, contact Marc A. Topaz, Esq. or Darren J.
Check, Esq. of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP by Phone:
1-888-299-7706 or 1-610-667-7706 or by E-mail:
info@sbclasslaw.com


AXT INC.: Shepherd Finkelman Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLC
initiated a lawsuit seeking class action status in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of California on
behalf of all persons (the "Class") who purchased the securities
of AXT, Inc. ("AXTI") (NYSE: AXTI - News; "AXT" or the
"Company") during the period between February 6, 2001 and April
27, 2004 (the "Class Period").

The Complaint alleges that, during the Class Period, the Company
violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Act of 1934
and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. Specifically, the
Complaint alleges that, as part of its ongoing efforts to create
and continue the illusion of AXT's growth in the semiconductor
industry, it knowingly or recklessly issued and/or participated
in the issuance of materially false and misleading statements
and financial equirements for the testing of products, and, as a
result of this misconduct, failed to accrue adequate reserves,
falsely stated its reports, reserves, revenue and income, and
falsely represented that the Company was meeting customer
requirements.

For more details, contact James E. Miller, Esq. by Phone:
866-540-5505 or by E-mail: jmiller@classactioncounsel.com OR
James C. Shah, Esq. by Phone: 877-891-9880 or by E-mail:
jshah@classactioncounsel.com or visit their Web site:
http://www.classactioncounsel.com


SEARS ROEBUCK: IL Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss Securities Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firms of Much Shelist Freed Denenberg Ament & Rubenstein
P.C. and Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P.C. recently revealed that
the United States District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois denied the defendants' motion to dismiss in part,
allowing the class action to proceed against certain defendants
and allowing plaintiffs to file a second amended complaint. The
class is defined as all persons and entities who (1) purchased,
pursuant to a prospectus, securities issued by Sears Roebuck
Acceptance Corporation ("SRAC") (NYSE:SRJ) between October 24,
2001 and October 17, 2002 (the "Class Period") and (2) those who
purchased during the Class Period, the publicly traded
securities issued by SRAC before the Class Period and actively
traded through the public markets and over national stock
exchanges. The Second Amended Complaint will be filed on
November 15, 2004.

The Complaint alleges that Sears, SRAC and the Individual
Defendants violated Sections 10(b) of the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, and Sections
11, 12(a) and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933, by issuing a
series of materially false and misleading statements to the
market and in connection with the issuance of securities issued
by SRAC. These alleged misstatements had the effect of
artificially inflating the price of the securities publicly
traded.

The Complaint further alleges that defendants, throughout the
Class Period, represented that the earnings of Sears, the
corporate parent of SRAC, were growing strongly, driven by
Sears' Credit and Financial Products segment and that Sears
would achieve earnings growth of 22% in 2002 over 2001. In
addition, in SEC filings and the 2001 Annual Report filed both
by Sears and SRAC during the Class Period, the companies
reported that reserves set up for uncollectible accounts were
"adequate."

These, and other statements detailed in the Complaint, were
allegedly false and misleading because, according to the
Complaint, they did not disclose that Sears' risk for
uncollectible accounts had increased materially throughout the
Class Period and, in addition, that Sears was under-reserving
for its uncollectible accounts which inflated its earnings and
balance sheet. On October 17, 2002, Sears reported in a press
release that it will grow its 2002 earnings by 15%, rather than
the 22% it reaffirmed as recently as ten days previously,
because of a "$222 million increase in the domestic provision
for uncollectible accounts." In addition, according to the press
release, earnings for the third quarter were 26% less than the
previous year. In reaction to the press release, the prices of
the SRAC securities fell on extremely heavy trading volume.


SOURCECORP INC.: Lerach Coughlin Lodges Securities Lawsuit in TX
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins
LLP ("Lerach Coughlin") initiated a class action in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Texas on
behalf of purchasers of SOURCECORP, Incorporated ("SOURCECORP")
(NASDAQ:SRCP) common stock during the period between May 7, 2003
and October 27, 2004 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges SOURCECORP and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. SOURCECORP provides value-added business process
outsourcing solutions to clients across the United States. The
Company targets information intensive industry segments such as
healthcare, legal, financial services and government.

The complaint alleges that, throughout the Class Period
defendants issued numerous positive statements and filed
quarterly reports with the SEC, which described the Company's
increasing financial performance. These statements were
materially false and misleading because they failed to disclose
and misrepresented the following adverse facts, among others:

     (1) that the Company had improperly and prematurely
         recognized revenue prior to the delivering
         contractually required output to a certain customer;

     (2) that the Company improperly and prematurely recognized
         revenue for services that were performed and delivered
         to customers that were in excess of the volume and/or
         revenue limits set by the contract with the customer
         and of which there is no assurance that the customer
         will ever make payment;

     (3) that the Company lacked adequate internal controls and
         was therefore unable to ascertain its true financial
         condition; and

     (4) that as a result of the foregoing, the values of the
         Company's revenues and earnings for 2003 and the first
         two quarters of 2004 were materially overstated at all
         relevant times and will now have to be restated.

On October 27, 2004, the Company shocked the market when it
issued a press release announcing that based on information
provided by, and the recommendation of, corporate management,
the Company's Audit Committee concluded on October 25, 2004 that
the Company's previously-issued financial statements and related
independent auditors' report for the year ended December 31,
2003, as well as its previously-issued financial statements for
the 2004 quarterly periods ended March 31, 2004 and June 30,
2004, should no longer be relied upon. Specifically, the Company
admitted that the Information Management Division of its
Information Management and Distribution reportable segment had
improperly and prematurely recognized revenue prior to the
delivery of contractually required output to a certain customer
and for services which were performed and delivered to certain
customers in excess of the volume and/or revenue limits set by
the contract. Due to its improper revenue recognition practices,
the Company will have to adjust its revenues and diluted
earnings per share for 2003 by at least $5.4 million and $0.19
respectively. For the six months ended June 30, 2004, the
Company may have to adjust its revenues and diluted earnings per
share by at least $2.8 million and $0.10 respectively.

Upon this shocking news, shares of the Company's stock fell
$5.96 per share, or almost 30%, to close at $16.25 per share, on
unusually heavy trading volume.

For more details, contact Samuel H. Rudman or David A. Rosenfeld
of Lerach Coughlin by Phone: 800/449-4900 by E-mail:
wsl@lerachlaw.com or visit their Web site:
http://www.lerachlaw.com/cases/sourcecorp/


STAR GAS: Lerach Coughlin Lodges Securities Fraud Lawsuit in CT
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law frim of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins
LLP ("Lerach Coughlin") initiated a class action in the United
States District Court for the District of Connecticut on behalf
of purchasers of Star Gas Partners, L.P. ("Star Gas") (NYSE:SGU)
(NYSE:SGH) publicly traded securities during the period between
December 4, 2003 and October 18, 2004 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Star Gas and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. Star Gas is a diversified home energy distributor and
service provider, specializing in heating oil, propane, natural
gas and electricity.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
caused Star Gas's shares to trade at artificially inflated
levels through the issuance of false and misleading statements.
As a result of this inflation, Star Gas was able to complete a
secondary public offering of 1.3 million common units and two
note offerings totaling $65 million, raising net proceeds of $95
million during the Class Period. The true facts, which were
known by each of the defendants but concealed from the investing
public during the Class Period, were as follows:

     (1) that the Company was experiencing massive delays in the
         centralization of its dispatch system and causing its
         customers to flee to competitors;

     (2) that the Company's Petro heating oil division's
         business process improvement program was faltering and
         not generating the benefits claimed by defendants;

     (3) that contrary to defendants' earlier indications, the
         Company was not able to increase or even maintain
         profit margins in its heating oil segment;

     (4) that the Company's second quarter 2004 claimed profit
         margins were an aberration and not indicative of the
         Company's success or ability to pass on the heating oil
         price increase because the Company had earlier acquired
         heating oil (sold in the second quarter) at a much
         lower basis; and

     (5) that as a result, defendants were facing imminent
         bankruptcy and would no longer be able to service the
         Company's debt, all of which would halt the Company's
         ability to maintain the Company's credit rating and/or
         obtain future financing.

On October 18, 2004, TheStreet.com issued an article, entitled
"Stocks In Motion: Star Gas," which stated: "Earnings at Star
Gas' heating oil unit are expected to decline substantially, the
Company said, which will not permit it to meet the borrowing
conditions under its working capital line. Star is currently in
talks with lenders to modify conditions and other terms that
would allow its business unit to operate through the winter. If
lenders do not agree, however, to offer modified terms, Star
said it could be forced to seek alternative financing on
'extremely disadvantageous' terms or even be forced to seek
bankruptcy protection." On this news, Star Gas's stock dropped
to $4.32 per share from a closing price of $21.60 on the
previous trading day.

For more details, contact William Lerach or Darren Robbins of
Lerach Coughlin by Phone: 800-449-4900 by E-mail:
wsl@lerachlaw.com or visit their Web site:
http://www.lerachlaw.com/cases/stargas/


                            *********


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collectively face billions of dollars in asbestos-related
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                            *********


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Copyright 2004.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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