CAR_Public/041214.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

            Tuesday, December 14, 2004, Vol. 6, No. 247

                          Headlines

AKSYS LTD.: Reaches Settlement For CT Securities Fraud Lawsuit
BISYS GROUP: Plaintiffs File Consolidated Securities Suit in NY
BOSTON UNIVERSITY: Discovery Proceeds in DE Securities Lawsuit
CALIFORNIA: DLSE Files New Regulations Over Meal, Rest Periods
CAMDEN PROPERTY: Summit Investors File Lawsuit V. Merger in NC

CANADA: Vitamin Makers Propose $132.2 Mil Antitrust Settlement
D&K HEALTHCARE: MO Court Appoints Local 655 As Lead Plaintiff
DYNEGY INC.: Judge Approves Settlement Terms of Retirement Case
EQUITY RESIDENTIAL: Firms Pursue Damages Following Legal Victory
ESS TECHNOLOGY: CA Court Tentatively Dismisses Securities Suit

HOTELS.COM: Plaintiffs To Appeal TX Securities Lawsuit Dismissal
HSN INTERNATIONAL: IL Court Approves Consumer Lawsuit Settlement
IAC/INTERACTIVECORP: Shareholders Launch Stock Fraud Suits in NY
ILLINOIS: Judge To Remain in $200M Lottery Lawsuit Settlement
LIGAND PHARMACEUTICALS: Plaintiffs Seek Consolidation of Suits

LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES: Hands Out 200M Warrants For 2003 Settlement
MEDQUIST INC.: Faces Securities Fraud Lawsuits in GA, NJ Courts
MERCK & CO.: AZ Consumer Launches Lawsuit V. VIOXX Side Effects
MICROSOFT CORPORATION: Lawyers Fight Over AZ Antitrust Case Fees
NEW YORK: $3.75 Mil Settlement Reached For Lobster Die-Off Suit

NORTHWESTERN CORPORATION: Payout To Shareholder Nears Approval
OCULAR SCIENCES: Reaches Pact For Lawsuit V. Cooper Acquisition
PEOPLESOFT INC.: DE Court Refuses To Approve Lawsuit Settlement
PFIZER INC.: Law Firms Retained By Family of TENS-Bextra Victim
POLYMEDICA CORPORATION: Appeals Certification of MA Stock Suit

POST PROPERTIES: GA Court OKs Settlement of Fiduciary Duty Suits
PRICE LEGACY: Enters Into MOU To Settle Stockholder Litigation
SEPRACOR INC.: Discovery Proceeds in MA Securities Fraud Lawsuit
STATION CASINOS: Appeals Court Upholds Suit Certification Denial
STATION CASINOS: CA Court Dismisses Hotel Consumer Fraud Lawsuit

TRANSKARYOTIC THERAPIES: MA Court To Rule on Suit Certification
UNITED LIBERTY: Reaches Settlement For OH Policyholder Lawsuit
UNITED STATES: DC Court Threw Out Plans For Indian Trust Case
VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS: Plaintiffs File Amended Stock Suit in MA

                  New Securities Fraud Cases

AUTOBYTEL INC.: Pomerantz Haudek Lodges Securities Lawsuit in CA
DOBSON COMMUNICATIONS: Brian M. Felgoise Lodges Stock Suit in OK
DOBSON COMMUNICATIONS: Murray Frank Lodges Securities Suit in OK
GEOPHARMA INC.: Lerach Coughlin Lodges Securities Lawsuit in NY
GEOPHARMA INC.: Roy Jacobs Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in NY

MERCK & CO.: Wechsler Harwood Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in LA
PRAECIS PHARMACEUTICALS: Charles J. Piven Files Stock Suit in MA
STAR GAS: Murray Frank Lodges Securities Fraud Lawsuit in CT
SUPPORTSOFT INC.: Charles J. Piven Lodges Securities Suit in CA
VIMPEL-COMMUNICATIONS: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Lawsuit in NY


                           *********


AKSYS LTD.: Reaches Settlement For CT Securities Fraud Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Aksys Ltd. reached an agreement to settle the securities class
action filed against it, Durus Life Sciences Master Fund, Ltd.,
Durus Capital Management, LLC and Scott Sacane on behalf of
persons who sold short shares of Aksys securities (Nasdaq:AKSY)
during the period from January 1, 2003 through July 24, 2003.

The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the
District of Connecticut and is styled "Collier v. Aksys, Ltd. et
al."  The lawsuit charges that defendants violated the federal
securities laws by issuing a series of materially false and
misleading statements to the market throughout the Class Period
about their ownership of Aksys securities and that when the
market learned the truth, the price of Aksys securities
increased substantially, an earlier Class Action Reporter story
(August 5,2004) states.

In September 2004, Aksys entered into an agreement with counsel
for plaintiffs whereby Aksys was dismissed from the lawsuit
without prejudice.  For more details, contact Lee Squitieri of
Squitieri & Fearon, LLP by Phone: (212) 421-6492 or by E-mail:
lee@sfclasslaw.com


BISYS GROUP: Plaintiffs File Consolidated Securities Suit in NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs filed a consolidated securities class actions against
Bisys Group, Inc. and certain of its current and former officers
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York.

Following the Company's May 17, 2004 announcement regarding the
restatement of its financial results, seven putative class
action and two derivative lawsuits were filed against the
Company and certain of its current and former officers.  By
order of the Court, all but one of the putative class actions
have been consolidated into a single action, and on October 25,
2004, plaintiffs filed a consolidated amended complaint.

The complaint purports to be brought on behalf of all
shareholders who purchased the Company's securities between
October 23, 2000 and May 17, 2004 and generally asserts that the
Company, certain of its officers, and its auditor,
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, allegedly violated the federal
securities laws in connection with the purported issuance of
false and misleading information concerning the Company's
financial condition.  The complaint seeks damages in an
unspecified amount as well as unspecified equitable/injunctive
relief.

The remaining putative class action purports to be brought on
behalf of all persons who acquired non-publicly traded BISYS
securities from the Company as part of private equity
transactions during the period October 23, 2000 to May 17, 2004.
The complaint generally asserts that the Company and certain of
its officers allegedly violated the federal securities laws in
connection with the purported issuance of false and misleading
information concerning the Company's financial condition, and
seeks damages in an unspecified amount.  Plaintiffs have not yet
filed an amended complaint.

Two derivative suits were also filed in the same court on behalf
of the Company.  The suits generally assert that certain
officers and directors are liable for alleged breaches of
fiduciary duties, abuse of control, gross mismanagement, waste,
and unjust enrichment that purportedly occurred between October
23, 2000 and the present.  The derivative complaints seek
disgorgement, constructive trust, and damages in an unspecified
amount.  The Court has ordered that the derivative actions be
consolidated with one another; plaintiffs have not yet filed a
consolidated amended complaint.

The Master File shall be designated as Civil Action No. 04-cv-
3840 (Lead Case) with following Members Cases: 04-cv-4329;
04-cv-4594; 04-cv-4981; 04-cv-5558; 04-cv-5622; 04-cv-5668.  The
New MexicoPublic Employees Retirement Association, the State of
New Mexico Educational Retirement Board and the New Mexico State
Investment Council are appointed to serve as Co-Lead Plaintiffs.
The law firms of Cauley Bowman Carney & Williams, PLLC, and
Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP are appointed as Co-Lead Counsel
for the proposed class of purchasers of publicly traded shares
of BISYS' securities during the proposed Class Period.

For more details, contact:

     (1) Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP, 830 Third Avenue, 10th
         Floor, New York, NY 10022, Phone: (212) 371-6600, Fax:
         (212) 751-2540 or E-mail: ipress@kmslaw.com

     (2) Jackie Addison, Cauley, Bowman Carney & Williams, PLLC,
         P.O. Box 25438, Little Rock, AR 72221-5438, Phone: 1-
         888-551-9944 Fax: 1-501-312-8505 E-mail:
         info@cauleybowman.com


BOSTON UNIVERSITY: Discovery Proceeds in DE Securities Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Discovery is proceeding in a class action filed in the Court of
Chancery in the State of Delaware, in and for New Castle County,
styled "SERGIO M. OLIVER, ET AL. V. BOSTON UNIVERSITY, ET AL.,
C.A. No. 16570NC."

Sergio M. Oliver and others filed the suit against Boston
University and others, including Seragen, Inc., its subsidiary
Seragen Technology, Inc., former officers and directors of
Seragen and Seragen's parent Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc..  The
complaint, as amended, alleged that the Company aided and
abetted purported breaches of fiduciary duty by the Seragen
related defendants in connection with the acquisition of Seragen
by Ligand and made certain misrepresentations in related proxy
materials and seeks compensatory and punitive damages of an
unspecified amount.

On July 25, 2000, the Delaware Chancery Court granted in part
and denied in part defendants' motions to dismiss.  Seragen,
Ligand, Seragen Technology, Inc. and the Company's acquisition
subsidiary, Knight Acquisition Corporation, were dismissed from
the action.  Claims of breach of fiduciary duty remain against
the remaining defendants, including the former officers and
directors of Seragen.  The hearing on the plaintiffs' motion for
class certification took place on February 26, 2001.  The court
certified a class consisting of shareholders as of the date of
the acquisition and on the date of an earlier business unit sale
by Seragen.


CALIFORNIA: DLSE Files New Regulations Over Meal, Rest Periods
--------------------------------------------------------------
The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), a
division of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) filed
regulations with the Office of Administrative Law that will
provide workers more flexibility in taking meal and rest periods
and clarify penalty assessments paid to workers by noncompliant
employers.

"The penalty issue has been of increasing concern because
conflicting interpretations of the statutory language have
resulted in costly litigation, including class action suits in
the courts over whether the award is a penalty or a wage," said
John Rea, acting director of DIR. "The emergency regulations
that the DLSE has filed today are intended to alleviate any
further confusion."

Until now, the DLSE had enforced a staff opinion letter that
deemed the "one-hour of pay" (required as an award to the
employee for the employer's failure to abide by the law) to be
wages, rather than a penalty. However, the history of Labor Code
section 226.7 clearly indicates that the payment was meant to be
a penalty.

As a penalty, the payment is subject to a one-year statute of
limitations. "This should result in speedier resolution of these
claims. Because the payment to the employee is considered a
penalty under the new regulations, it is not subject to income
tax withholding as it would be if it were deemed to be a wage,"
Rea said.

Further, the employee wage tax liability has been on the entire
amount even if attorneys' fees consumed a considerable portion
of the award.

The second area of law clarified by the new regulations relates
to the time parameters in which meal periods can be taken.

In prior opinion letters, DLSE staff interpreted the Labor Code
and the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) Orders to require an
employer to start the employee 30-minute meal period before the
end of the fifth hour after the start of the workday. This
interpretation has resulted in the imposition of penalties on
employers even in cases where the employee's meal period was
scheduled to begin, for example, five minutes after the fifth
hour of the workday. As a result, employers often force
employees to take meal periods within those constraints, even
when the employee has no desire to stop work in order to eat or
rest at such specific times.

"DLSE advised that this interpretation was based on a literal
application of the language contained in the IWC Orders, without
reference to the statutory intent," Rea said. "Labor Code 512(a)
and (b) gave the IWC the specific authority to address meal
periods which begin after the sixth hour, but not for meal
periods occurring prior to the sixth hour," he added, "and as
the State entity charged with enforcing Labor Code provisions,
DLSE has the authority to interpret the provisions dealing with
meal periods which occur between the beginning and the sixth
hour of the workday."

Under the new regulations an employer will be deemed to have
provided a meal period to an employee in accordance with the
Labor Code Section 512 if the employer makes the meal period
available to the employee and affords the employee the
opportunity to take it; posts the applicable order of the
Industrial Welfare Commission; and maintains accurate time
records for covered employees, as required by the posted Order.
A further section of the regulation invites the employer to
document that meal periods have been provided in accordance with
Section 512, by informing employees of the circumstances under
which they are entitled to a meal period and having them
acknowledge in writing that they understand those rights.

"Overall, DLSE's new regulations governing meal periods will
allow more flexibility for both employers and employees," Rea
said, "This change will come as a great relief to workers and
employers in many industries where the lack of flexibility has
had negative consequences on earned income and scheduling
abilities."

The Office of Administrative Law has ten days in which to review
the regulations filed today. If approved, they are slated to
become effective on December 20, 2004. A copy of these emergency
regulations can be found on the DIR website at
http://www.dir.ca.gov.


CAMDEN PROPERTY: Summit Investors File Lawsuit V. Merger in NC
--------------------------------------------------------------
Camden Property Trust, Summit Properties, Inc. and the members
of Summit's board of directors face a class action filed in the
United States District Court for the Western District of North
Carolina, Charlotte Division, opposing the proposed merger
between the two companies.

The suit was initially filed on October 6, 2004 in the General
Court of Justice, Superior Court Division, of the State of North
Carolina, County of Mecklenburg, by an alleged Summit
stockholder.  This complaint principally alleges that the merger
and the acts of the Summit directors constitute a breach of the
Summit defendants' fiduciary duties to Summit stockholders.  The
plaintiff in the lawsuit seeks, among other things:

     (1) a declaration that each defendant has committed or
         aided and abetted a breach of fiduciary duty to the
         Summit stockholders,

     (2) to preliminarily and permanently enjoin the Merger,

     (3) to rescind the Merger in the event that it is
         consummated,

     (4) an order to permit a stockholders' committee to ensure
         an unspecified "fair procedure, adequate procedural
         safe-guards and independent input by plaintiff" in
         connection with any transaction for Summit shares,

     (5) unspecified compensatory damages and

     (6) attorneys' fees

On November 3, 2004, the Company removed the lawsuit to the
United States District Court for the Western District of North
Carolina, Charlotte Division, and filed an Answer and
Counterclaim for declaratory judgment denying the plaintiff's
allegations of wrongdoing.


CANADA: Vitamin Makers Propose $132.2 Mil Antitrust Settlement
--------------------------------------------------------------
In one of the largest settlements of its kind in Canada, 14
major international vitamin manufacturers have agreed to pay
$132.2-million to end class-action lawsuits in connection with a
price-fixing scheme, the National Post-Canada reports.

According to legal experts, if approved, the settlement would
pay at least $22-million to dozens of charities including the
Victorian Order of Nurses, which is eligible for more than $2-
million, trade associations and universities across the country,
They pointed out though that the distribution of settlement
funds to charities and non-profit food groups is highly unusual
in Canada.

Attorneys involved in the case say it would be impossible to
determine how many people purchased or ate products containing
the artificially priced vitamins. As a result, they hired an
expert to identify 48 Canadian organizations involved in
nutrition, food quality and education to receive a portion of
the settlement funds.

The commercial settlement proposal was recently filed in
provincial courts in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. The
complicated deal, which requires approval in all three
provinces, is an attempt by the giant vitamin companies to
settle a series of class-action lawsuits filed in 1999 on behalf
of 13 groups of consumers, vitamin retailers and livestock
farmers, who had sought as much as $2-billion in damages
resulting from a conspiracy to set prices for 10 bulk vitamins
and food additives sold in Canada from 1990 to 1998.

Sales of the bulk vitamins during the time of the conspiracy are
estimated to have totaled about $950-million in Canada, which
according to Harvey Strosberg, one of the lead lawyers
representing the class-action lawsuit, is a substantial amount
of money and the way it is being allocated is unprecedented.

J.J. Camp, a Vancouver-based litigant, who represents a group of
B.C. clients in the vitamin class-action, described the
settlement proposal as "an example of how a class-action can be
effective in improving the conduct and behavior of companies,
because you can bet your bottom dollar that this $132.2-million
is going to sting."

According to the proposed settlement, the $132.2-million pool
will be allocated into five funds: $94.2-million will be
available for direct purchasers, or those who directly bought
the vitamins from the manufacturers; $11-million for
intermediate purchasers, such as farmers who purchased animal
feed containing the vitamins; $11-million for a consumer fund to
cover those who purchased such products as bread, milk and
orange juice containing the vitamins; $10-million for an expense
fund to pay for a court-appointed administrator who will
administer the payouts; and an additional $6-million methionine
fund to cover those who purchased that vitamin exclusively.

Under the agreement, only direct buyers of the vitamins will be
required to apply to Deloitte & Touche LLP, which has been
appointed trustee, for a portion of the settlement money. The
amount available for each applicant will be capped at no more
than 12% of the total amount purchased by each claimant during
the time of the pricing conspiracy.

Seventeen trade associations representing farmers; grocery
distributors and marketing agencies are entitled to receive
specific amounts of money set out in the proposal. An additional
17 charities and research organizations are earmarked to collect
funds to provide nutrition services and public health advocacy.
The proposed settlement will also allows for 14 Canadian
universities from every province to receive funds left over from
the $94.2-million direct fund.

A court hearing for approval has been scheduled before an
Ontario court judge on March 8 and 9 with similar hearings also
being are for April 6 in British Columbia and April 21 in
Quebec. If approved, the money is not to be distributed until
next September. However, groups that receive funds from the
settlement will be subjected to a rigorous review and approval
process by Deloitte & Touche, and must agree to an audit.

The 14 major drug companies involved in the settlement agreement
include three of the largest in the world -- F. Hoffman-LaRoche
Ltd. of Switzerland, BASF Aktiengesellschaft of Germany and
Daiichi Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. of Japan. Many have already
pleaded guilty to an international conspiracy to allocate
markets and set prices for 10 bulk vitamins, food additives and
pharmaceutical products in the United States and Europe. In
2000, the Canadian Competition Bureau fined them $88.4-million
for rigging Canadian markets.

The schemes were designed to split market share and artificially
raise vitamin prices, inflating prices on milk, bread, orange
juice and other foods as a result. These included vitamins A, E,
C, B2 (riboflavin), B4 (choline chloride), B5 (calpan), B6,
beta-carotene and bulk premixes for animal feed. Last month, six
of the companies involved in the Canadian class action also
settled a similar price-fixing lawsuit in California for US$80-
million.


D&K HEALTHCARE: MO Court Appoints Local 655 As Lead Plaintiff
-------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Missouri appointed the United Food & Commercial Workers Union,
Local 655, AFL-CIO, Food Employees Joint Pension Plan (Local
655) as lead plaintiff in the class action filed against D&K
Healthcare Resources, Inc.

On February 5, 2004, an individual named Gary Dutton filed the
complaint against the Company and its Chief Executive, Operating
and Financial Officers ("Defendants") asserting a class action
for alleged breach of fiduciary duties and violations of
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.


DYNEGY INC.: Judge Approves Settlement Terms of Retirement Case
---------------------------------------------------------------
United States District Judge Sim Lake approved the $31 million
settlement between Dynegy, Inc. and employees who filed suit
over lost retirement savings, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Under terms of the agreement, Dynegy employees who held or
invested in Company stock from April 27, 1999 through Jan. 30,
2003 will share in the funds. After attorney fees, which were 25
percent of the settlement, the approximately 5,400 current and
former Dynegy employees eligible will split about $23 million.

According to attorney Lynn Sarko, lead plaintiff Constance
Schied will also receive a $10,000 incentive award under the
settlement. She explained that such payments are being added to
class action lawsuits in response to claims that attorneys, not
plaintiffs, drive such shareholder cases. "She monitored the
mediation process and took part in the litigation all the way
through," Ms. Sarko said.

Judge Lake denied the plaintiff attorneys requests to have their
expenses covered by the settlement, however, keeping almost
$200,000 more in the settlement pool. "I'm hoping this might
encourage attorneys in the future to keep expenses down in such
cases," he said in court.

The lawsuit had claimed that Dynegy and the directors who ran
the Company's retirement funds should have prevented Company
stock investments by employees because of financial
misstatements created by round-trip trade transactions, gas
price index reporting problems and other issues.


EQUITY RESIDENTIAL: Firms Pursue Damages Following Legal Victory
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Rod Tennyson, P.A., and Babbitt, Johnson,
Osborne Le Clainche, P.A. recently reported that they will
pursue punitive damages following their big class action victory
for Florida tenants against the nation's largest publicly traded
apartment landlord, Equity Residential.

Earlier this week, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Susan R.
Lubitz concluded Chicago-based Equity Residential - a publicly-
traded Real Estate Investment Trust (NYSE:EQR) - knowingly
violated Florida law by illegally charging tenants big penalties
if they left before their one-year leases were up or failed to
give notice of non-renewal. Judge Lubitz then ordered Equity to
remove over $15 million in illegal charges from the credit
reports of thousands of former Equity tenants. Equity, with
$12.5 billion in assets, is the nation's largest publicly traded
apartment owner.

"Large corporate companies must be held accountable for their
actions, and that is why we are asking for punitive damages,"
said attorney Rod Tennyson, who represents tenants in both cases
with Ted Babbitt of Babbitt, Johnson, Osborne & Le Clainche,
P.A., a West Palm Beach plaintiff's trial law firm.  "The fact
that Equity ruined the credit and good name of thousands of
tenants who were victims of these unlawful practices is simply
unconscionable."

In her order, Judge Lubitz ruled that Equity ignored the advice
of Donna Barfield, the firm's own Florida counsel, in an August
1999 memo that said Equity's collection of "liquidated damages"
equivalent to 60 days' rent for tenants terminating early was
illegal.

"Equity knew that the fees in the Lease and National Lease
affecting early terminating tenants were impermissible," Judge
Lubitz wrote. "Despite Barfield's legal advice, Equity continued
to attempt to collect these fees until Jan. 31, 2004."

With the Court's finding of intentional violation of state law
and false credit reporting, the Plaintiffs class action
attorneys will ask Judge Lubitz for a separate jury trial on
whether Equity is liable for punitive damages.  A jury may award
punitive damages up to three times actual damages if it finds
the defendant engaged in intentional conduct or gross
negligence.

"Intentional misconduct" means that the defendant had actual
knowledge of the wrongfulness of the conduct and the high
probability that injury or damage to the plaintiff would result
and, despite that knowledge, intentionally pursued that course
of conduct, resulting in injury or damage. "Gross negligence"
means that the defendant's conduct was so reckless or wanting in
care that it constituted a conscious disregard or indifference
to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such
conduct.

If the jury finds a defendant engaged in unlawful activities
that at the time of injury the defendant had a specific intent
to harm the plaintiff and the jury determines that the
defendant's conduct did in fact harm the plaintiff, then there
is no cap on punitive damages and the jury may consider the net
worth of the defendant in making a punitive damage award.

Rod Tennyson, whose practice includes landlord-tenant
litigation, actually wrote the consumer protection laws he said
the landlord defendants violated while he served as a Florida
Assistant Attorney General in the 1970s. Ted Babbitt is founding
partner of his 36-year-old firm, which represents
catastrophically injured and wronged people in pharmaceutical
litigation, brokerage fraud, personal injury and wrongful death,
products liability and medical malpractice cases.

Equity Residential owns more than 1,000 properties in 33 states
and has 225,000 apartments, 33,000 of them throughout Florida.
For more information and a complete listing of properties by
area, see http://www.equityapartments.com.

Equity suit: Tammy Yates, Peter Miller, Maria Cruz and Jose
Ortega as Class Representatives v. Equity Residential
Properties, et al., Civil Case No. CA 02-14116, Palm Beach
County Circuit Court.Further information at the suits and
general background is available at
http://www.babbitt-johnson.comor http://www.rodtennyson.com.


ESS TECHNOLOGY: CA Court Tentatively Dismisses Securities Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Northern District of
California tentatively granted ESS Technology, Inc.'s motion to
dismiss the consolidated securities class action filed against
it, styled ""In RE ESS Technology, Inc. Securities Litigation."

Several securities class actions were filed after the Company
revised its revenues and earnings guidance for the third quarter
of 2002 on September 12, 2002.  The suits alleged that the
Company issued misleading statements regarding its business and
failed to disclose material facts during the alleged class
period (January 23, 2002 through September 12, 2002).  To date,
eight putative class actions have been filed:

     (1) Daniel C. Rann v. ESS Technology, Inc., et al. (Case
         No. C02-4497), filed September 13, 2002;

     (2) James W. Becker and Randy Bohart v. ESS Technology,
         Inc., et al. (Case No. C02-4695), filed September 27,
         2002;

     (3) Palmer Fauconnier v. ESS Technology, Inc., et al.
         (Case No. C02-4734), filed September 30, 2002;

     (4) Mike Forrestal v. ESS Technology, Inc., et al. (Case
         No. C02-4739), filed September 30, 2002;

     (5) Sandy Dorman v. ESS Technology, Inc., et al. (Case No.
         C02-4732), filed September 30, 2002;

     (6) Patriot Shipping Corporation v. ESS Technology, Inc.,
         et al. (Case No. C02-4749), filed October 1, 2002;

     (7) Adam D. Saphier v. ESS Technology, Inc., et al. (Case
         No. C02-5028), filed October 17, 2002; and

     (8) Mayer Abramowitz v. ESS Technology, Inc., et al. (Case
         No. C02-5354), filed on November 7, 2002.

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages for the class and
unspecified costs and expenses.  On May 20, 2003, the plaintiffs
filed an amended complaint.  The Company filed a motion to
dismiss on June 18, 2003, which was granted by the court on
October 3, 2003.

The plaintiffs were granted leave to amend, and filed their
second amended consolidated complaint on November 3, 2003.  The
Company filed its second motion to dismiss on December 18, 2003,
which the Court heard on March 19, 2004.

As of September 30, 2004, the Court had not yet issued a final
ruling on the motion.  On September 29, 2004, the Court declined
the Company's motion to stay discovery in the State Court
action.  To date discovery remains on hold through the pleadings
stage.


HOTELS.COM: Plaintiffs To Appeal TX Securities Lawsuit Dismissal
----------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs intend to appeal the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Texas' dismissal of all claims in the
securities class action filed against Hotels.com, Inc., styled
"Daniel Taubenfeld et al., on Behalf of Themselves and All
Others Similarly Situated v. Hotels.com et al., No. 3:03-CV-
0069-N."

The suit arose out of the Company's downward revision of its
guidance for the fourth quarter of 2002.  This lawsuit alleges
that the defendants, Hotels.com and three of its former
executives, violated the federal securities laws during the
period from October 23, 2002 to January 6, 2003 by knowingly:

     (1) making certain materially false and misleading public
         statements with respect to the anticipated performance
         of Hotels.com during the fourth quarter of 2002, and

     (2) concealing from the investing public certain material
         events and developments that were likely to render that
         anticipated performance unattainable.

The lawsuit seeks certification of a class of all non-defendant
purchasers of Hotels.com stock during the Class Period and seeks
damages in an unspecified amount suffered by the putative class.
On August 18, 2003, the lead plaintiffs in the action filed a
consolidated class action complaint.  On October 31, 2003, the
defendants filed a motion to dismiss the consolidated complaint,
which the plaintiffs opposed.

On September 27, 2004, the Court issued an order granting the
defendants' motion to dismiss the consolidated complaint.  The
Court's ruling was based upon a number of grounds, including
that certain of the statements complained of were forward-
looking statements accompanied by appropriate cautionary
language and thereby protected by the "safe harbor" provisions
of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, and that
certain of the statements and omissions complained of were, as a
matter of law, not material and therefore not actionable.  The
Court dismissed all of the plaintiffs' claims with prejudice
(i.e., without leave to replead them), with the exception of two
claims involving statements by analysts.  The plaintiffs have
advised that they do not intend to attempt to replead those
claims and instead intend to appeal the Court's ruling to the
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.


HSN INTERNATIONAL: IL Court Approves Consumer Lawsuit Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------------
Illinois state court approved the nationwide settlement of three
class actions filed against several HSN International entities
in the state courts of Illinois, Florida, and California, on
behalf of consumers who purchased Proteva personal computers and
experienced products defects, did not receive offered rebates,
or were not provided advertised customer or warranty service.

As previously disclosed by the Company, on June 10, 2004, HSN
and the plaintiffs in these Illinois, Florida, and California
cases entered into a Class Action Settlement and Release
Agreement resolving all of the cases on terms not material to
the Company.  Pursuant to the Agreement, and subject to the
jurisdiction and approval of the court in the Illinois case, a
nationwide settlement would be effectuated through the
submission of claims by class members, who would receive cash
payments in amounts based primarily upon the seriousness of the
problems they encountered and their ability to substantiate
those problems with documentation.

On September 10, 2004, the court in the Illinois case issued an
order approving the nationwide class settlement on the terms
outlined in the Agreement.  The deadline for the submission of
claims by class members was October 11, 2004.  Submitted claims
are being evaluated and paid out of the available settlement
fund by a settlement administrator in a process that is expected
to conclude by the end of this year.


IAC/INTERACTIVECORP: Shareholders Launch Stock Fraud Suits in NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
IAC/InteractiveCorp, certain of its officers and one outside
director face several securities class actions filed in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York.

On September 20, 2004, a purported shareholder class action,
styled "Steven Malasky, on Behalf of Himself and All Others
Similarly Situated v. IAC/InterActiveCorp et al., No. 04 Civ.
7447," was filed, alleging violations of the federal securities
laws.  Since then, a number of other such lawsuits containing
substantially similar allegations have been filed.

The complaints in these cases generally allege that the value of
the Company's stock was artificially inflated by statements
about its financial results and forecasts, made prior to its
August 4, 2004 announcement of its earnings for the second
quarter of 2004, that were false or misleading due to the
defendants' alleged failure to disclose various problems faced
by the Company's travel businesses.

The complaints purport to assert claims under Sections 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder and seek damages in an unspecified
amount.  The various plaintiffs seek to represent a class of
shareholders who, in the aggregate, purchased IAC common stock
between July 16, 2001 and August 4, 2004.


ILLINOIS: Judge To Remain in $200M Lottery Lawsuit Settlement
-------------------------------------------------------------
An attorney representing four of 400,000 plaintiffs in a class-
action lawsuit has no standing to seek the removal of the judge
presiding over the settlement, according to a Madison County
judge, the Belleville News-Democrat reports.

Madison County Circuit Judge Philip Kardis has given preliminary
approval to a $10 million settlement of a case against James
Blair Down, a Canadian accused of a fake lottery swindle in the
1990s. A settlement that has been opposed by attorney Jody Pope
and his clients, who argued that the proposed settlement gives
more money to the attorneys than Mr. Down's alleged victims.

Mr. Pope sought Judge Kardis' recusal on grounds that the
judges' former partner, Robert Forbes, is plaintiff co-counsel
and helped negotiate the settlement, which may be finalized at a
hearing very soon. However, Mr. Forbes argued before Chief
Circuit Judge Edward Ferguson that Mr. Pope has no standing in
the case, since he is not a party in this suit. Judge Ferguson
agreed, and ruled that Mr. Pope's request was invalid.

After the Judge ruling Mr. Pope told the Belleville News-
Democrat that he and his clients have not decided how to proceed
from here. "We are going to press forward with our objections,"
he states. He also said that the settlement at issue is nearly
identical to the settlement rejected by the first judge on the
case, Circuit Judge Nicholas Byron, who recused himself in
December 2003 without explanation.

As reported in the December 7, 2004 edition of the Class Action
Reporter, James Blair Down is accused of bilking more than
400,000 people in several countries, most of them seniors, out
of as much as $200 million by convincing them to buy into pools
of lottery tickets.


LIGAND PHARMACEUTICALS: Plaintiffs Seek Consolidation of Suits
--------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs asked the United States District Court for the
Southern District of California to consolidate several
securities class actions filed against Ligand Pharmaceuticals,
Inc. and certain of its directors and officers.

Several suits were filed beginning on August 9, 2004, on behalf
of purchasers of the Company's common stock during several time
periods, the longest of which runs from July 28, 2003 through
August 2, 2004. The complaints generally allege that the Company
violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act
of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 of the Securities and Exchange Commission
by making false and misleading statements, or concealing
information about the Company's business, forecasts and
financial performance, in particular statements and information
related to drug development issues and AVINZA(R) inventory
levels.

Plaintiffs in the federal securities actions have recently filed
motions to consolidate the actions and for the appointment of
lead counsel and lead plaintiff.  The Court heard these motions
in November 2004.  No trial date has been set.


LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES: Hands Out 200M Warrants For 2003 Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------------
As part of its agreement to settle class action shareowner and
related litigation that began in 2000, Lucent Technologies
(NYSE: LU) recently reported that it distributed 200 million
warrants to purchase an equal number of shares of common stock
at an exercise price of $2.75.

The Company also reported that it will pay the remaining $215
million to the settlement fund in January 2005, and this
obligation can be settled in either cash or stock at the
Company's option. Lucent currently expects to use cash for the
remaining settlement, but a final decision will not be made
until January. It deposited $100 million in stock into an escrow
account for the settlement fund in December 2003.

The agreement, which was announced on March 27, 2003, and
approved by the Court on December 12, 2003, was a global
settlement of what were 54 separate lawsuits, including the
consolidated shareowner securities class action lawsuits in the
U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., and related ERISA,
bondholder, derivative and state securities cases. The lawsuits
alleged that the Company violated federal securities laws and
related state laws. The Company denied any wrongdoing as part of
the agreement.

Lucent will issue the warrants to the Depository Trust Company
(DTC), which acts as a clearinghouse for banks and brokerage
firms that are receiving warrants on behalf of claimants as part
of the settlement. The settlement required claimants to identify
a brokerage account to be eligible to receive the warrants.
Claimants whose recognized claim was valued at $3,000 or less
and claimants who did not identify a brokerage account will
receive a cash payout in lieu of receiving warrants. The claims
administrator accepted approximately 522,000 claimants into the
settlement, with about 200,000 of those claimants receiving
warrants.

The plaintiffs' attorneys and their claims administrator will
distribute the settlement funds to claimants. Information on the
terms of the settlement and the distribution of the settlement
fund to claimants are accessible through the plaintiffs' claims
administrator at 1-866-345-0365 or at
http://www.lucentsecuritieslitigation.com.


MEDQUIST INC.: Faces Securities Fraud Lawsuits in GA, NJ Courts
---------------------------------------------------------------
MedQuist Inc. (MEDQ.PK) faces a putative class action lawsuit
filed in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Georgia.  The action, entitled Brigitte Hoffman, et
al. v. MedQuist, Inc., et al., Case No. 1:04-CV-3452, was filed
with the Court on November 29, 2004 against the Company and
certain current and former Company officials, purportedly on
behalf of an alleged class of current and former employees and
statutory workers of MedQuist, from January 1, 1998 to present
(the "Class Period"), who are or were compensated on a "per
line" basis for medical transcription services (the "Class
Members").

The complaint specifically alleges that defendants
systematically and wrongfully underpaid the Class Members during
the Class Period. The complaint asserts the following causes of
action: fraud, breach of contract, demand for accounting,
quantum meruit, unjust enrichment, conversion, negligence,
negligent supervision, and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations ("RICO") Act violations. Plaintiffs seek
unspecified compensatory damages, punitive damages, disgorgement
and restitution.

"MedQuist takes all allegations concerning its payroll practices
seriously", MedQuist Chief Executive Officer Howard S. Hoffmann
said. "We are diligently addressing this matter while continuing
to deliver the highest levels of service to our customers. Once
we've completed a review of the allegations MedQuist will
respond to the suit appropriately, according to the best
interests of our employees, customers and shareholders."

The Company has also received notice of a shareholder putative
class action lawsuit filed against the Company in the United
States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The
action, entitled William Steiner v. MedQuist, Inc., et al., Case
No. 1:04-cv-05487-FLW, was filed with the Court on November 8,
2004 against the Company and certain former Company officials,
purportedly on behalf of an alleged class of all persons who
purchased MedQuist common stock during the period from April 23,
2002 through November 2, 2004, inclusive (the "Class Period").
The complaint specifically alleges that defendants violated
federal securities laws by purportedly issuing a series of false
and misleading statements to the market throughout the Class
Period, which statements allegedly had the effect of
artificially inflating the market price of the Company's
securities. The complaint asserts claims under Section 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5,
thereunder. Plaintiff seeks unspecified damages. Named as
defendants, in addition to the Company, are its former president
& chief executive officer and its former executive vice
president & chief financial officer.

"This lawsuit was filed following MedQuist's issuance of a press
release concerning its previous financial statements. The
lawsuit raises, among other things, questions regarding
MedQuist's billing practices. We have been proactively and
responsibly working with our clients to address these questions
and will continue to do so", MedQuist Chief Executive Officer
Howard S. Hoffmann said. "The Company is in the process of
evaluating the lawsuit and will respond appropriately once our
review is complete."

MedQuist has retained the law firm of Winston & Strawn LLP to
represent it in the aforementioned actions.


MERCK & CO.: AZ Consumer Launches Lawsuit V. VIOXX Side Effects
---------------------------------------------------------------
A Phoenix resident recently filed a proposed class-action
lawsuit against Merck & Company (NYSE: MRK), manufacturers of
Vioxx, a popular pain-relief drug recently withdrawn from the
market after disclosures that the drug increased the risk of
heart attack and stroke.

The suit, filed by Edward W. Wright in Arizona Superior Court
through Rob Carey and the Hagens Berman law firm, is the first
statewide class action. Once certified by the court, the suit
will represent any Arizona resident who purchased Vioxx over the
past four years.

According to the complaint, consumers of Vioxx would have not
have purchased the drug if the Company fully disclosed the
associated risks.

"Consumers all across Arizona purchased Vioxx, paying more than
$2 a pill, about one hundred times the cost of regular aspirin,"
said Carey, a former Arizona chief deputy attorney general. "We
believe that in addition to being held responsible for the
enormous health implications, the makers of Vioxx owe consumers
a financial obligation to return the huge profits they made in
selling such a horribly flawed drug." Carey currently represents
dozens of individuals who took Vioxx and are evaluating their
claims against Merck for personal injuries.

The lawsuit alleges that Merck violated Arizona's consumer fraud
act and unjustly profited from its conduct.

According to the complaint, internal e-mails show Merck
executives knew that Vioxx had safety risks, noting in one
correspondence that undisclosed risks were "clearly there." In
spite of these concerns, Merck launched a massive direct-to-
consumer campaign, spending more than $161 million in 2000
alone. That campaign propelled sales to $2 billion per year, the
suit states.

On September 30, 2004, after independent studies indicating an
increased risk of heart attack and stroke for patients using the
drug became well publicized, Merck withdrew Vioxx from the
market.

"We intend to prove that Merck executives intentionally and
knowingly defrauded Arizona consumers by touting the benefits of
this expensive drug, while withholding critical information
about its shortcomings," Carey said. "Had consumers been given
all the information we believe Merck possessed about the safety
of Vioxx, consumers would have chosen other, safer, less costly
alternatives."

Mr. Wright purchased Vioxx, unaware of the health risks
associated with the drug, which the complaint claims Merck
withheld. After taking the medication, he suffered a heart
attack.

For more information about the suit including a copy of the
complaint, visit http://www.hagens-berman.com.


MICROSOFT CORPORATION: Lawyers Fight Over AZ Antitrust Case Fees
----------------------------------------------------------------
Lawyers are fighting over how much a Phoenix law firm should be
paid for winning a $105 million antitrust settlement against
Microsoft Corporation, which allows Arizonans to collect
payments from the Company, the Arizona Republic reports.

Facing off in Maricopa County Superior Court, Marty Harper, who
represented plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit, battled
William Maledon, a Phoenix attorney who led the defense for
Microsoft.

Their dispute is over the fees continued as Judge Michael
O'Melia recently gave final approval to the $105 million
settlement, which officially clears the way for buyers of
Microsoft software between January 12, 1996, and December 31,
2002, to collect $9 or $15 vouchers for each product they
bought.

The remaining issue, on which Judge O'Melia will rule later, is
how much the attorneys who filed the original lawsuit should
get. Mr. Harper, the plaintiffs' main attorney, wants one-third,
who justified in an interview last month that the one-third is
what the plaintiffs agreed to nearly five years ago when his
firm decided to pursue the case on a contingency basis. Other
law firms had to be brought in to battle the multiple firms
retained by Microsoft, he adds. "Hold Microsoft to their deal,"
Mr. Harper told the judge in a recent hearing.

However, Mr. Maledon called that request "totally unreasonable,"
proposing instead something in the order of $7.1 million. The
fee question is significant to Microsoft, which agreed, as part
of the deal, to pay "reasonable" legal fees above and beyond the
$105 million settlement. Mr. Maledon acknowledged the $104
million "face value" of the deal. "That assumes that all the
scrip (vouchers) get claimed and used," he said. "We all know
that's not going to happen." He also pointed out that the
vouchers are worth either $9 or $15. Attorneys for the
plaintiffs estimate that more than 2 million Microsoft operating
systems were bought during the affected time, with about 5.7
million Microsoft applications. "The experts say that the rate
of scrip that gets used in these kind of settlements is
typically in the 10 percent range," Mr. Maledon further said. He
even said if the judge wants to apply a percentage to that it
should be no more than 17 percent based on the difficulty of the
case.

But Mr. Harper argued that the judge should instead use a method
computing actual work. Mr. Harper also argued that those $9 and
$15 vouchers were the highest obtained in any of the lawsuits
against Microsoft in other states. He said if consumers don't
take advantage of the settlement, "that's beyond our control
now" and that the money his firm wants should not be a surprise
or a burden to a giant firm like Microsoft, saying the Company
paid $46 million in legal fees in Minnesota.

Whatever the actual size of the deal, the fact that the
plaintiffs agreed to a one-third contingency fee does not end
the matter, since judges have wide latitude to determine what is
appropriate because of the amount of work done, according to a
legal expert.

Mr. Maledon called the Arizona lawsuit a "tag-along" case, which
had followed not only the legal action against Microsoft by the
Justice Department but also similar private suits filed in
California and elsewhere.

But Harper said there was some groundbreaking work done by his
firm, though it was not directly on this case. "When we started
this litigation, it was uncertain whether indirect purchasers
had the right to sue Microsoft," Mr. Harper said.

At that time, all the federal court rulings had said that only
the direct purchasers could pursue price-fixing charges against
manufacturers.

The companies that manufacture the computers, however, actually
buy most of computer operating systems. Their cost, in turn, is
passed on to the people who buy the machines with that software
installed.

Mr. Harper and his law firm, however, filed legal papers on
behalf of a local Company that got the Arizona Supreme Court in
a separate case to say last year that indirect purchasers do
have a right of action in this state. "We were the first state
in the country who got the indirect purchase decision through a
(state) supreme court," Mr. Harper said. Other states followed,
Mr. Harper adds, and plaintiffs in some states had to rely on
specific legislation.

The antirust cases had centered on claims that consumers were
forced to pay improperly high prices for Microsoft software
because its dominance allowed for no reasonable alternatives.

In one of the lawsuits filed nearly five years ago, Phoenix
attorney Charles Friedman said he had to pay nearly $107 for a
Windows 98 upgrade for a personal computer used in his office.
Power P.E.O. Co., the other plaintiff, bought 13 computers, each
with Windows 98 installed by the manufacturers, and the cost of
that software tacked onto the price of the computer. Lawyers
said a 1997 internal Microsoft memo, obtained during a
Department of Justice lawsuit against the Company, shows
Microsoft could have charged just $49 for a Windows 98 upgrade.


NEW YORK: $3.75 Mil Settlement Reached For Lobster Die-Off Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Just hours after hearing arguments from a third Company that it
should not be blamed for a 1999 lobster die-off that prompted
the case, U.S. District Judge Thomas Platt indicated that he
planned to accept a $3.75 million settlement agreement between
Long Island Sound lobstermen and two pesticide companies, The
Journal News reports.

According to the federal judge, after presentation of the
settlement agreement he would issue an order in the matter and
would "probably sign it the way it is."

David Tescon, an attorney for one of the companies, Clarke
Mosquito Control, said in Judge Platt's courtroom that he
believed it would be difficult to show any connection between
the pesticides that were sprayed to kill West Nile virus-
carrying mosquitoes and the widespread deaths of lobsters in the
western end of the Sound. However, he added that Clarke was a
small, privately owned Company and, in the "unlikely" event of a
large award to the lobstermen, "It's quite likely that Clarke
would not survive" the penalty. He further adds, "This has been
a hard-fought case for four years and after a hard-fought
battle, we came to an agreement."

Chris Schulty, a lawyer for the second company in the
settlement, Aventis, formerly known as Agrevo, did not speak
during the hearing.

Nick Crismale, president of the Connecticut Lobstermen's
Association, said the settlement was as good as could be
expected. "This is only a Band-Aid on an open wound," Mr.
Crismale clarified and then adds, "It doesn't really satisfy the
losses we incurred or the devastation of the industry, but in
the sense of the legal system, this is what it is." Some 1,100
lobstermen and former lobstermen are eligible for awards in the
class action, according to the lobstermen's attorneys

Earlier, attorneys for Cheminova argued that their pesticide
Fyfanon, which contains malathion, should not be blamed for the
die-off that wiped out the area's lobster industry. According to
Christopher Kelly, a lawyer for the Company, "There is no direct
evidence that any lobster was exposed to any amount of Fyfanon
for any length of time."

Lobstermen had argued that the pesticide was not properly
labeled when New York City sprayed it and that Hurricane Floyd
washed the chemicals applied in the area in September 1999 into
the Sound, and within days, lobsters turned up dead in their
traps.

Mr. Kelly argued that only the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, not local governments or courts, could rule on the
adequacy of a label on a pesticide. He argued further that the
EPA approved New York City's use of the chemical for the West
Nile virus mosquitoes, and there was not proof the city would
have applied it differently had more information been included.

However, Peter Frieberg, an attorney for the lobstermen,
asserted the court could rule in the case based on the argument
that the EPA had told Cheminova several times in the 1990s to
adjust the label.

Cheminova attorneys were arguing to have the case thrown out
without going to trial. Loren Zeitler argued that 10 experts who
submitted reports and information for the lobstermen should be
discounted because they did not have expertise in toxicology,
and many had limited or no knowledge of how much pesticide was
used as well as referred to a study presented in October to
organizers researching the die-off, showing the chemicals likely
did not enter the Sound in concentrations high enough to harm
the lobsters, which the lobstermen have challenged. Judge Platt
however did not rule on Cheminova's motion.


NORTHWESTERN CORPORATION: Payout To Shareholder Nears Approval
--------------------------------------------------------------
A federal judge is near to approving the payout of nearly $41
million to former NorthWestern Corporation shareholders who had
accused the Company of misleading them, the Associated Press
reports.

Filed in 2003 before NorthWestern declared Chapter 11
bankruptcy, the class action lawsuit claimed that stock prices
were artificially inflated because Company officials knowingly
withheld financial information including information that the
Company would not meet its 2002 earning projections. The suit
also questioned payments made in 2001 to Arthur Andersen LLP,
the accounting firm that became infamous in the Enron case.

According to Darren Robbins, a San Diego lawyer representing the
Carpenters Pension Trust For Southern California, which was one
of the most affected parties in the consolidated lawsuit losing
about $1 million, NorthWestern's earnings projections were based
on inflated operating performance. He adds, "Ultimately, they
were forced to admit not only that they would not perform as
promised to the market ... but also that their previously
reported earnings for periods of 2002 were false."

Both parties had reached the settlement agreement in March and
the bankruptcy court approved it, said NorthWestern spokesman
Roger Schrum. The plan of allocation, which defines how much
shareholders get based on the type of security, when the stock
was bought and when it was sold is set to go before U.S.
District Judge Lawrence Piersol.

According to Mr. Schrum, NorthWestern's insurance carriers will
pay $37 million of the settlement, and other parties will cover
another $4 million. Class members are set to receive proceeds
minus fees and expenses of counsel.

NorthWestern, based in Sioux Falls, was $2.2 billion in debt
with its stock trading below $1 when it filed for Chapter 11
protection in September 2003 after months of struggling to gets
its finances back on track. The utility later emerged from
bankruptcy November 1 after shedding all but about $850 million
of that debt. It issued 35.5 million new common stock shares as
a debt-for-equity swap to creditors, rendering useless the
previous shares that had been trading as over-the-counter pink
slips.

Mr. Robbins, of the firm Lerach, Coughlin, Stoia, Geller, Rudman
and Robbins LLP, said the settlement, which could top $60
million when Expanets is factored in, is significant, especially
considering that it involves an issuer that declared bankruptcy
and an auditor that has essentially gone out of business. He
estimated that total damages in the case could be between $150
million to $200 million, making the award well above the average
5 percent to 12 percent class action recovery in these types of
cases.

Mr. Robbins' "The victims of this fraud, by its very nature
being a utility, tend to be conservative investors," he said.
"People here weren't speculating on some go-go stock, so it's
important that these people be fairly compensated.

NorthWestern Corp. has 608,000 utility customers in South
Dakota, Montana and Nebraska. It is the parent Company of
NorthWestern Energy, which provides electricity to 58,000
customers in South Dakota, and natural gas to about 82,000
customers in South Dakota and a small section of Nebraska.


OCULAR SCIENCES: Reaches Pact For Lawsuit V. Cooper Acquisition
---------------------------------------------------------------
Ocular Sciences, Inc. reached a potential settlement for the
class action filed against it over its proposed acquisition by
The Cooper Companies, Inc., styled "Bamboo Partners LLC v. Fruth
et al., Civil Action No. C-04-0749."  The suit also names as
defendants the Company's directors and Cooper.

The suit, filed in the Superior Court in the State of California
in the County of Contra Costa, alleges that, among other things,
the Company's directors breached their fiduciary duties of
loyalty and due care by deciding to sell the Company to Cooper
without undertaking sufficient effort to obtain the best offer
possible for stockholders, by including provisions in the
definitive agreement which the plaintiff alleges effectively
prevent a superior bid from succeeding, and by including
provisions, such as the acceleration of stock options and
indemnification of directors, which benefit the directors.

The complaint further alleges that the consideration to be paid
in the proposed merger is unfair and inadequate, and that the
Company's directors breached their duty of full and fair
disclosure to the Company's public stockholders in connection
with the proposed merger.  The complaint also alleges that
Cooper aided and abetted the alleged breaches of fiduciary duty
of the Company's directors.  The complaint seeks, among other
things, an injunction against the transaction, a rescission of
the transaction if it is consummated and unspecified damages, as
well as fees and costs. The plaintiffs also filed an application
for expedited discovery.

On October 12, 2004, the parties agreed to a potential
settlement of the case.  In connection with the potential
settlement, Cooper and the Company provided additional
disclosures in their joint proxy statement/prospectus, dated
October 12, 2004, and on October 18, 2004, the parties to the
definitive agreement amended the definitive agreement to
decrease the termination fee payable under certain circumstances
from $35.0 million to $30.8 million.

The potential settlement contemplated by the parties would also
provide for the payment by the Company of the fees and costs of
the plaintiffs' counsel, up to a negotiated limit, subject to
the court's approval.  The settlement would not involve any
admissions of breaches of fiduciary duty or other wrongdoing by
the Company, any of its officers or directors, or Cooper. The
settlement and payment of the plaintiffs' counsel's fees would
be conditioned upon, among other things, consummation of the
proposed merger.  Any final settlement agreement signed by the
parties must be approved by the Superior Court in the County of
Contra Costa, California.


PEOPLESOFT INC.: DE Court Refuses To Approve Lawsuit Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Delaware Court of Chancery rejected the settlement for the
consolidated securities class action against PeopleSoft, Inc.,
styled "In re PeopleSoft, Inc. Shareholder Litigation, Consol.
C.A. No. 20365-NC."

On June 6, 2003, Felix Ezeir (Case No. 20349-NC), Teresita Fay
(Case No. 20350-NC), Robert Crescente (Case No. 20351-NC),
Robert Corwin (Case No. 20352-NC) and Ernest Hack (Case No.
20353-NC), all of whom represented themselves to be PeopleSoft
stockholders, each filed a putative stockholder class action
suit in the Delaware Court of Chancery against the Company and
several of the Company's officers and directors.

The suits alleged that defendants breached their fiduciary
duties in connection with the response to the tender offer
announced by Oracle Corporation on June 6, 2003 and formally
commenced June 9, 2003.  Plaintiffs in each of the actions
initially sought injunctive relief and an accounting.

On June 10, 2003, Steven Padness filed an action in the Delaware
Court of Chancery against these same defendants (Case No. 20358-
NC) making similar allegations and seeking similar relief.  On
June 12, 2003, Thomas Nemes filed an action in the Delaware
Court of Chancery (which was subsequently amended June 18, 2003)
against these same defendants (Case No. 20365-NC), making
similar allegations and seeking similar relief.  On June 25,
2003, on an application filed in the Nemes Action, the Court
consolidated the actions under a single caption and case number.

On July 2, 2003, Richard Hutchings (Case No. 20403-NC) filed a
putative stockholder class action in the Delaware Court of
Chancery against the Company and several of its officers and
directors.  This action alleges that defendants breached their
fiduciary duties in connection with the response to Oracle's
tender offer.  Plaintiff sought injunctive relief, an accounting
and damages.  On July 22, 2003, the Delaware Court ordered that
this action be consolidated with the other putative Delaware
stockholder actions mentioned above.

On May 26, 2004, PeopleSoft announced that the parties to the
Delaware consolidated putative stockholder class action had
entered into a memorandum of understanding providing for the
settlement of the putative class action.  On June 17, 2004, the
parties in the Delaware consolidated putative stockholder class
action signed a Stipulation and Agreement of Compromise,
Settlement and Release providing for settlement of that action
(the "Settlement Stipulation") and on July 22, 2004 filed the
Settlement Stipulation with the Delaware Court of Chancery.

In the Settlement Stipulation the stockholder plaintiffs state
that, based on the actions of the US Department of Justice and
the European Union and the current status of their anti-trust
reviews and/or opposition to Oracle's proposed acquisition of
the Company, the discovery to date, and subject to confirmatory
discovery, they had determined that the customer assurance
program as it relates to Oracle, serves a legitimate corporate
purpose in light of Oracle's tender offer and other conduct.
Pursuant to the Settlement Stipulation, the Company agreed that
if it extended the customer assurance program beyond June 30,
2004, the term "acquisition" would be limited to an acquisition
of the Company by Oracle or its affiliates, and that prior to
June 30, 2004 it would attempt to use that more limited
definition in certain new contracts.

In the Settlement Stipulation, the stockholder plaintiffs, on
behalf of a class of PeopleSoft stockholders, agreed to settle
and dismiss all claims that were raised or could have been
raised through the date of execution of the Settlement
Stipulation in the action against the Company and its directors.
The Settlement Stipulation also provides, among other things,
that following Delaware Court of Chancery approval of the
settlement (if obtained), the Company will, for a two year
period, amend its Bylaws to shorten the advance notice a
stockholder must give to nominate candidates for director and
amend its stockholder rights plan to provide that the rights
plan will generally cease to be applicable to certain qualifying
tender offers unless, within 90 days following commencement or
amendment of the price term of the qualifying tender offer or
certain other events, the Board of Directors, including a
majority of its independent directors, shall have adopted a
resolution determining that the rights plan shall remain
applicable to such offer.  The Settlement Stipulation also
provides for the Company to pay attorneys' fees and expenses of
the stockholder plaintiffs in an amount to be determined by the
Court as fair and reasonable.  If approved, the settlement will
bind all PeopleSoft stockholders except that it will not apply
to Oracle, which is not precluded by the Settlement Stipulation
from continuing to pursue its claims in the Delaware Court of
Chancery and in the California Superior Court action.  Actions
are stayed pending the Court's review of the proposed
settlement.  A settlement hearing, at which the Court will
consider the fairness and propriety of the proposed settlement
to the putative class of stockholders of PeopleSoft, was
scheduled for November 24, 2004.

However, Oracle decided to raise its bid from $21 to $24 cash
per share, causing PeopleSoft shareholders to file a new
lawsuit.  The new lawsuit related to only PeopleSoft's actions
after June 17, the day on which the shareholders signed the
settlement agreement.  The case's presiding judge, Leo Strine of
Delaware's Chancery Court, decided to eliminate the confusion of
one settled suit and one current one by rejecting the
settlement.


PFIZER INC.: Law Firms Retained By Family of TENS-Bextra Victim
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firms of Parker & Waichman, LLP and Seeger Weiss LLP
have been retained by the family of an 83-year-old man who died
as a result of Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis after using Bextra, a
popular arthritis medication manufactured by Pfizer Inc.
(NYSE:PFE).

Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis or TENS is a life-threatening skin
condition that causes severe rash, extensive skin peeling and
sores on the mucous membranes. Recently, Pfizer Inc. added a
black box warning on Bextra's label concerning Toxic Epidermal
Necrolysis and Stevens Johnson Syndrome.

In October 2004, Pfizer Inc. said that the risk of developing
severe skin reactions, such as Stevens Johnson Syndrome and
Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, is greater from Bextra than that of
other painkillers in its class, including Pfizer's own Celebrex.
Both disorders can be life threatening. For more information on
these conditions please visit:
http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice/overview.htm?topic=Stevens%20
Johnson%20Syndrome and
http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice/overview.htm?topic=Toxic%20Ep
idermal%20Necrolysis.

Last month, Parker & Waichman, LLP and Seeger Weiss LLP filed
one of the first cases in the United States against Pfizer Inc.
alleging that Bextra was linked to heart attacks. In that case,
a 46-year-old New Jersey man who had taken Bextra for
approximately 9 months for arthritis pain relief suffered a
heart attack and died in his sleep.

For more information on side effects related to Bextra please
visit http://www.bextralegalhelp.comor
www.yourlawyer.com/practice/contact.htm?topic=Bextra OR contact
David Krangle, Esq. of Parker & Waichman, LLP by Phone: 800-529-
4636 by E-mail: dkrangle@yourlawyer.com or visit their Web site:
http://www.yourlawyer.com.


POLYMEDICA CORPORATION: Appeals Certification of MA Stock Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
PolyMedica Corporation appealed the United States District Court
for the District of Massachusetts' ruling granting class
certification to the consolidated securities class action filed
against it and Steven J. Lee, its former Chief Executive Officer
and Chairman of the Board, styled "In re: PolyMedica Corp.
Securities Litigation, Civ. Action No.00-12426-REK."

On November 27, 2000, Richard Bowe SEP-IRA filed a purported
class action lawsuit on behalf of himself and purchasers of
common stock, seeking an unspecified amount of damages,
attorneys' fees and costs for violations of Sections10(b), 10b-
5, and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the
"Exchange Act").  The suit alleges various statements were
misleading with respect to the Company's revenue and earnings
based on an alleged scheme to produce fictitious sales.  Several
virtually identical lawsuits were subsequently filed in the same
court against the Company. On July 30, 2001, the Court granted
the plaintiffs' motion to consolidate the complaints under the
caption

Plaintiffs filed a consolidated amended complaint on October 9,
2001.  The consolidated amended complaint extended the class
period to October 26, 1998 through August 21, 2001, and named as
defendants the Company, Liberty Medical Supply, Inc., and
certain former officers of PolyMedica.  Defendants moved to
dismiss the consolidated amended complaint on December 10, 2001.
Plaintiffs filed their opposition to this motion on February 11,
2002, and defendants filed a reply memorandum on March 11, 2002.
The Court denied the motion without a hearing on May 10, 2002.
On June 20, 2002, defendants filed answers to the consolidated
amended complaint.

On January 28, 2004, plaintiffs filed a motion for class
certification to which defendants filed an opposition on
February 27, 2004.  Plaintiffs filed a reply memorandum on April
12, 2004 followed by additional briefing by the parties.  The
Court heard oral argument on the motion on June 2, 2004.  On
September 8, 2004, the court allowed the plaintiffs' motion and
certified the class. On September 21, 2004, the defendants filed
a petition requesting that they be permitted to appeal the
decision to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.  The plaintiffs
filed a response to the defendants' petition on October 7, 2004,
opposing defendants' request to appeal the class certification.
Also on October 7, 2004, the Court stayed sending notice of the
class action pending a ruling on defendants' appeal of class
certification.  Discovery is ongoing in the underlying suit.

The suit is styled "Bowe, et al v. Polymedica Corp., et al.,
1:00-cv-12426-REK," filed in the United States District Court in
Massachusetts, under Judge Robert E. Keeton.  The plaintiff
firms in this litigation are:

     (1) Bernard M. Gross, 1500 Walnut Street, Suite 600,
         Philadelphia, PA, 19102, Phone: 215.561.3600, Fax:
         215.561.3000, E-mail: bmgross@BernardMGross.com

     (2) Brodsky & Smith, LLC, 11 Bala Avenue, Suite 39, Bala
         Cynwyd, PA, 19004, Phone: 610.668.7987, Fax:
         610.660.0450, E-mail: esmith@Brodsky-Smith.com

     (3) Charles J. Piven, World Trade Center-Baltimore, 401
         East Pratt Suite 2525, Baltimore, MD, 21202, Phone:
         410.332.0030, E-mail: pivenlaw@erols.com

     (4) Federman & Sherwood, 120 North Robinson, Suite 2720,
         Oklahoma City, OK, 73102, Phone: 405-235-1560, E-mail:
         wfederman@aol.com

     (5) Hale & Dorr, 60 State Street, Boston, MA, 2109, Phone:
         617.526.6167

     (6) Kirby, McInerney & Squire LLP, 830 Third Avenue 10th
         Floor, New York Ave, NY, 10022, Phone: 212.317.2300

     (7) Moulton & Gans LLP, 133 Federal Street, Boston, MA,
         2110, Phone: 617.369.7979

     (8) Wolf, Haldenstein, Adler, Freeman & Herz LLP, 270
         Madison Avenue, New York, NY, 10016, Phone:
         212.545.4600, Fax: 212.686.0114, E-mail:
         newyork@whafh.com


POST PROPERTIES: GA Court OKs Settlement of Fiduciary Duty Suits
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Superior Court of Fulton County, Atlanta, Georgia approved
the settlement of the class actions filed against Post
Properties, Inc. (as a nominal defendant) and the members of its
board of directors.

The first suit alleges various breaches of fiduciary duties by
the Company's board of directors and demands, among other
relief, the disclosure of certain information by the defendants.
This complaint also seeks to compel the defendants to undertake
various actions to facilitate a sale of the Company.

On May 7, 2003, the plaintiff requested voluntary expedited
discovery.  On May 13, 2003, the Company received notice that a
shareholder derivative and purported class action lawsuit was
filed against certain Company board members or directors and
against the Company as a nominal defendant.  The complaint was
filed in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Atlanta, Georgia
on May 12, 2003 and alleges breaches of fiduciary duties, abuse
of control and corporate waste by the defendants.  The plaintiff
seeks monetary damages and, as appropriate, injunctive relief.

These lawsuits were settled, and in October 2004, the Superior
Court of Fulton County entered an order approving the
settlement.  The estimated legal and settlement costs, not
covered by insurance, associated with the expected resolution of
the lawsuits were recorded in the second quarter of 2003 as a
component of a proxy contest and related costs charge.


PRICE LEGACY: Enters Into MOU To Settle Stockholder Litigation
--------------------------------------------------------------
Price Legacy Corporation (NASDAQ:PLRE) entered into a memorandum
of understanding to settle the putative class action lawsuits
filed in connection with the proposed acquisition of Price
Legacy by PL Retail LLC, a joint venture between Kimco Realty
Corporation and clients advised by DRA Advisors LLC. The
lawsuits were filed in the Superior Court of California, County
of San Diego and the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland
against Price Legacy, the members of Price Legacy's board of
directors and The Price Group LLC, an entity affiliated with Sol
Price, a founder and major stockholder of Price Legacy.

The lawsuits' settlement will not affect the amount of merger
consideration to be paid in the merger or any other terms of the
merger.

In connection with the settlement, Price Legacy has agreed to
make certain additional disclosures to its stockholders, which
will be included in a proxy statement supplement that will be
mailed to Price Legacy stockholders on or about December 10,
2004. Subject to the completion of certain confirmatory
discovery by counsel to the plaintiffs, the memorandum of
understanding contemplates that the parties will enter into a
settlement agreement. The settlement agreement will be subject
to customary conditions including Court approval following
notice to Price Legacy's stockholders and consummation of the
merger. In the event that the parties enter into a settlement
agreement, a hearing will be scheduled at which the Court will
consider the fairness, reasonableness and adequacy of the
settlement, which, if finally approved by the Court, will
resolve all of the claims that were or could have been brought
in the actions being settled. In addition, in connection with
the settlement, the parties contemplate that plaintiffs' counsel
will petition the Court for an award of attorneys' fees and
expenses in the amount of $935,000 that defendants have agreed
not to oppose.

The defendants deny the allegations made in the putative class
action litigation and have agreed to settle the litigation to
avoid the burden and expense of further litigation, to avoid the
risk of delaying the merger and to fully and finally resolve the
settled claims.

As previously revealed, Price Legacy's annual meeting of
stockholders will be held on Monday, December 20, 2004, at 10:00
a.m. Pacific time at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, 17550 Bernardo
Oaks Drive, San Diego, California. At the meeting, Price Legacy
stockholders will be asked to approve and adopt the previously
announced merger agreement by which Price Legacy will be
acquired by PL Retail LLC. Under the terms of the merger
agreement, holders of Price Legacy's common stock will receive
$18.85 per share in cash plus a prorated common dividend from
October 1, 2004 through the closing of the merger. Stockholders
of record as of November 4, 2004, the previously announced
record date for the meeting, will be eligible to vote at the
meeting.


SEPRACOR INC.: Discovery Proceeds in MA Securities Fraud Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Discovery is proceeding in the consolidated securities class
actions filed against Sepracor, Inc. and certain of its current
and former officers and a current director in the United States
District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Several suits were initially filed on behalf of certain persons
who purchased the Company's common stock and/or debt securities
during different time periods, beginning on various dates, the
earliest being May 17, 1999, and all ending on March 6, 2002.
These complaints allege violations of the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934, as amended, and the rules and regulations
promulgated thereunder by the Securities and Exchange
Commission.  Primarily they allege that the defendants made
certain materially false and misleading statements relating to
the testing, safety and likelihood of approval of tecastemizole
(formerly SOLTARA) by the United States Food and Drug
Administration, or FDA.

On April 11, 2003, two consolidated amended complaints were
filed, one on behalf of the purchasers of the Company's common
stock and the other on behalf of the purchasers of its debt
securities.  These consolidated amended complaints reiterate the
allegations contained in the previously filed complaints and
define the alleged class periods as May 17, 1999 through
March 6, 2002.  The Company filed a motion to dismiss both
consolidated amended complaints on May 27, 2003.  On March 11,
2004, the court, while granting in part the motion to dismiss,
did allow much of the case to proceed.

The suit is styled "In Re: Sepracor, Inc. Sec. v. , et al, Case
No. 1:02-cv-12338-MEL," filed in the United States District
Court for the District of Massachusetts, under Judge Morris E.
Lasker.

Lawyer for the defendants is Mary Jo Johnson of Wilmer Cutler
Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, 60 State Street, Boston, MA 02109,
Phone: 617-526-6750, Fax: 617-526-5000 or E-mail:
maryjo.johnson@wilmerhale.com.  Lawyers for the plaintiffs are:

     (1) Theodore M. Hess-Mahan of Shapiro Haber & Urmy LLP, 53
         State Street, Boston, MA 02108, Phone: 617-439-3939,
         Fax: 617-439-0134 or E-mail: ted@shulaw.com

     (2) Fred Taylor Isquith, Gregory M. Nespole or David L.
         Wales of Wolf, Haldenstein, Adler, Freeman & Herz, 270
         Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, Phone: 212-545-
         4600, E-mail: nespole@whafh.com or wales@whafh.com

     (3) David Pastor of Gilman and Pastor, LLP, Stonehill
         Corporate Center, 999 Broadway, Suite 500, Saugus, MA
         01906, Phone: 781-231-7850, Fax: 781-231-7840 e-mail:
         dpastor@gilmanpastor.com


STATION CASINOS: Appeals Court Upholds Suit Certification Denial
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a
lower court ruling denying class certification to a lawsuit
filed against Station Casinos, Inc. and other manufacturers,
distributors and casino operators of video poker and electronic
slot machines.

On April 26, 1994, a suit seeking status as a class action
lawsuit was filed by plaintiff, William H. Poulos, et al., as
class representative, in the United States District Court for
the Middle District of Florida.  On May 10, 1994, a lawsuit
alleging substantially identical claims was filed by another
plaintiff, William Ahearn, et al., as class representative, in
the Florida District Court against 48 manufacturers,
distributors and casino operators of video poker and electronic
slot machines, including the Company and most of the other
major hotel/casino companies.

The lawsuits allege that the defendants have engaged in a course
of fraudulent and misleading conduct intended to induce persons
to play such games based on a false belief concerning how the
gaming machines operate, as well as the extent to which there is
an opportunity to win.  The two lawsuits have been consolidated
into a single action, and have been transferred to the United
States District Court for the District of Nevada.

On September 26, 1995, a lawsuit alleging substantially
identical claims was filed by plaintiff, Larry Schreier, et al.,
as class representative, in the Nevada District Court, naming 45
manufacturers, distributors, and casino operators of video poker
and electronic slot machines, including the Company.  Motions to
dismiss the Poulos/Ahearn and Schreier cases were filed by
defendants.

On April 17, 1996, the Poulos/Ahearn lawsuits were dismissed,
but plaintiffs were given leave to file Amended Complaints on or
before May 31, 1996.  On May 31, 1996, an Amended Complaint was
filed, naming William H. Poulos, et al., as plaintiff.
Defendants filed a motion to dismiss.  On August 15, 1996, the
Schreier lawsuit was dismissed with leave to amend.  On
September 27, 1996, Schreier filed an Amended Complaint.
Defendants filed motions to dismiss the Amended Complaint.  In
December 1996, the Nevada District Court consolidated the
Poulos/Ahearn, the Schreier, and a third case not involving the
Company and ordered all pending motions be deemed withdrawn
without prejudice, including Defendants' Motions to Dismiss the
Amended Complaints.  The plaintiffs filed a Consolidated Amended
Complaint on February 13, 1997.

On December 19, 1997, the Nevada District Court issued formal
opinions granting in part and denying in part the defendants'
motion to dismiss.  In so doing, the Nevada District Court
ordered plaintiffs to file an amended complaint in accordance
with the Court's orders in January 1998.  Accordingly,
plaintiffs amended their complaint and filed it with the Nevada
District Court in February 1998.

On June 25, 2002, the Nevada District Court denied plaintiffs'
motion for class certification.  On July 11, 2002, plaintiffs
filed a petition for permission to appeal such class
certification ruling with the United States Court of Appeals for
the Ninth Circuit.  On August 15, 2002, the Ninth Circuit
granted the plaintiffs' petition for permission to appeal such
class certification ruling.  On January 15, 2004, the Court of
Appeals heard oral argument on this matter.  On August 10, 2004,
the Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court's order denying
the plaintiff's motion for class certification.  Accordingly,
the matter is scheduled to move forward on behalf of the three
named plaintiffs only.


STATION CASINOS: CA Court Dismisses Hotel Consumer Fraud Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Superior Court of Los Angeles County, California dismissed
the class action filed against Station Casinos, Inc. and one of
its operating subsidiaries, Palace Station Hotel & Casino, Inc.
The suit was filed by Dov Plattner and is designated as Case No.
CB295056.

The lawsuit alleges breach of contract, fraud, negligent
misrepresentation, breach of covenant of good faith and fair
dealing, promissory fraud, unjust enrichment and violations of
sections 17200 and 17500, et. seq. of the California Business
and Professions Code, all in connection with energy and
telephone surcharge fees imposed on Palace Station hotel guests.
The plaintiff is requesting unspecified actual and punitive
damages, as well as injunctive and other relief.

On November 10, 2003, the defendants filed a response to the
complaint denying all liability.  On June 18, 2004, the parties
entered into a Settlement Agreement and Release.  Pursuant to
the Proposed Settlement and subject to Superior Court approval,
the parties have agreed that the Company will:

     (1) issue two personalized coupons to each Settlement Class
         Member (as defined in the Proposed Settlement), one for
         $3.00 and one for $2.50, with each coupon to be good
         toward a discount of a quoted room rate for a single
         night's stay at any of the Station Hotels (as defined
         in the Proposed Settlement), and

     (2) pay the plaintiffs reasonable attorneys' fees and
         expenses in exchange for the plaintiff dismissing the
         lawsuit (including all claims held by the members of
         the settlement class and the general public) with
         prejudice.

The Proposed Settlement stipulates that the Company denies any
liability with respect to the plaintiff's claims.  On October
22, 2004, the Superior Court approved the Proposed Settlement
and dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, except for the claims
of eight class members that opted out of the settlement class.


TRANSKARYOTIC THERAPIES: MA Court To Rule on Suit Certification
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts will hear in January 2005 plaintiffs' motion for
class certification of the lawsuit filed against Transkaryotic
Therapies, Inc. (TKT) and Richard Selden, its former chief
executive officer.

In January and February 2003, various parties filed purported
class action, generally alleging securities fraud during the
period from January 2001 through January 2003.  Each of the
complaints asserts claims under Section 10(b) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934, Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, and
Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act, and alleges that the Company
and its officers made false and misleading statements and failed
to disclose material information concerning the status and
progress for obtaining United States marketing approval of the
Company's Replagal product to treat Fabry disease during that
period.

In March 2003, various plaintiffs filed motions to consolidate,
to appoint lead plaintiff, and to approve plaintiff's selection
of lead plaintiffs' counsel.  In April 2003, various plaintiffs
filed a Joint Stipulation and Proposed Order of Lead Plaintiff
Applicants to Consolidate Actions, To Appoint Lead Plaintiffs
and to Approve Lead Plaintiffs' Selection of Lead Counsel,
Executive Committee and Liaison Counsel.  In April 2003, the
Court endorsed the Proposed Order, thereby consolidating the
various matters under one matter: "In re Transkaryotic
Therapies, Inc., Securities Litigation, C.A. No. 03-10165-RWZ."

In July 2003, the plaintiffs filed a Consolidated and Amended
Class Action Complaint, which the Company refers to as the
Amended Complaint, against the Company; Dr. Selden and:

     (1) Daniel Geffken, former Chief Financial Officer;

     (2) Walter Gilbert,

     (3) Jonathan S. Leff,

     (4) Rodman W. Moorhead, III,

     (5) Wayne P. Yetter,

     (6) William R. Miller

     (7) James E. Thomas,

     (8) SG Cowen Securities Corporation,

     (9) Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.,

    (10) Pacific Growth Equities, Inc. and

    (11) Leerink Swann & Company

The Amended Complaint alleges securities fraud during the period
from January 4, 2001 through January 10, 2003.  The Amended
Complaint alleges that the defendants made false and misleading
statements and failed to disclose material information
concerning the status and progress for obtaining United States
marketing approval of Replagal during that period.  The Amended
Complaint asserts claims against Dr. Selden and the Company
under Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder; and against Dr. Selden under Section
20(a) of the Exchange Act.

The Amended Complaint also asserts claims based on the Company's
public offerings of June 29, 2001, December 18, 2001 and
December 26, 2001 against each of the defendants under Section
11 of the Securities Act of 1933 and against Dr. Selden under
Section 15 of the Securities Act; against SG Cowen Securities
Corporation, Deutsche Bank Securities, Pacific Growth Equities,
Inc., and Leerink Swann & Company under Section 12(a)(2) of the
Securities Act.  The plaintiffs seek equitable and monetary
relief, an unspecified amount of damages, with interest, and
attorney's fees and costs.

In September 2003, the Company filed a motion to dismiss the
Amended Complaint.  A hearing of the motion occurred in December
2003.  In May 2004, the United States District Court for the
District of Massachusetts issued a Memorandum of Decision and
Order denying in part and granting in part the Company's motion
to dismiss the purported class action lawsuit.  In the
Memorandum, the Court found several allegations against the
Company arose out of forward-looking statements protected by the
"safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995 (PSLRA).  The Court dismissed those
statements as falling within the PSLRA's safe harbor provisions.
The Court also dismissed claims based on the public offerings of
June 29, 2001 and December 18, 2001 because no plaintiff had
standing to bring such claims.  The Court allowed all other
allegations to remain.

In June 2004, TKT submitted an unopposed motion seeking
clarification from the Court that the Memorandum dismissed
claims based on the first two offerings as to all defendants.
The Court granted the motion.  In July 2004, the plaintiffs
voluntarily dismissed all claims based on the third offering
because no plaintiff had standing to bring such claims.

The plaintiffs subsequently filed a motion seeking permission to
notify certain TKT investors of the dismissal of the claims
based on the offerings, and to inform those investors of their
opportunity to intervene in the lawsuit.  TKT filed an
opposition to this motion in July 2004.  The Court has not yet
ruled on this motion.  The Company filed an answer to the
Amended Complaint in July 2004.  The plaintiffs then filed a
motion for class certification in July 2004.  Any opposition to
this motion is due in December 2004.

The suit is styled "Sands Point Partners, et al v. Transkaryotic
Thera, et al., 1:03-cv-10165-RWZ," filed in the United States
District Court in Massachusetts, under Judge Rya W. Zobel.  The
plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

     (1) Brian Felgoise, 230 South Broad Street, Suite 404 ,
         Philadelphia, PA, 19102, Phone: 215.735.6810, Fax:
         215/735.5185

     (2) Brodsky & Smith, LLC, 11 Bala Avenue, Suite 39, Bala
         Cynwyd, PA, 19004, Phone: 610.668.7987, Fax:
         610.660.0450, E-mail: esmith@Brodsky-Smith.com

     (3) Cauley Geller, Bowman Coates & Rudman, LLP (Boca Raton,
         FL), One Boca Place. 2255 Glades Road, Suite 421A, Boca
         Raton, FL, 33431, Phone: 561.750.3000, Fax:
         561.750.3364,

     (4) Charles J. Piven, World Trade Center-Baltimore,401 East
         Pratt Suite 2525, Baltimore, MD, 21202, Phone:
         410.332.0030, E-mail: pivenlaw@erols.com

     (5) Chitwood & Harley, 1230 Peachtree Street, N.E., 2900
         Promenade II, Atlanta, GA, 30309, Phone: 888.873.3999

     (6) Faruqi & Faruqi LLP, 320 East 39th Street, New York,
         NY, 10016, Phone: 212.983.9330, Fax: 212.983.9331, E-
         mail: Nfaruqi@faruqilaw.com

     (7) Marc S. Henzel, 210 West Washington Square, Third
         Floor, Philadelphia, PA, 19106, Phone: 215.625.9999,
         Fax: 215.440.9475, e-mail: Mhenzel182@aol.com

     (8) Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, 3 Bala Plaza E, Bala Cynwyd,
         PA, 19004, Phone: 610.667.7706, Fax: 610.667.7056, E-
         mail: info@sbclasslaw.com

     (9) Scott & Scott LLC, P.O. Box 192, 108 Norwich Avenue,
         Colchester, CT, 06415, Phone: 860.537.5537, Fax:
         860.537.4432, E-mail: scottlaw@scott-scott.com

    (10) Wolf, Haldenstein, Adler, Freeman & Herz LLP, 270
         Madison Avenue, New York, NY, 10016, Phone:
         212.545.4600, Fax: 212.686.0114, e-mail:
         newyork@whafh.com


UNITED LIBERTY: Reaches Settlement For OH Policyholder Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------
United Liberty Life Insurance Company reached a settlement for
the class action filed in Ohio State Court by two policyholders
in 2000.

The Complaint referred to a class of life insurance policies,
including related certificates of participation, that the
Company issued over a period of years ending around 1971 (known
as "Five Star Policies").  The suit alleged that the Company's
dividend payments on these policies from 1993 through 1999 were
less than the amounts required by the certificates of
participation.  It did not specify the amount of the alleged
underpayment but implied a maximum of about $850,000.

The plaintiffs also alleged that the Company is liable to pay
punitive damages, also in an unspecified amount, for breach of
an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing to the
plaintiffs in relation to the dividends.  The action has been
certified as a class action on behalf of all policyholders who
were Ohio residents and whose policies were still in force in
1993.

As a result of a provisional settlement agreement dated October
8, 2004, that would apply to all holders of the Five Star
policies wherever they reside, the Company has recognized as of
September 30, 2004 an obligation for future payments to the
policyholders and their attorneys totaling $825,000.  The terms
of the settlement agreement are subject to the approval of the
court in which the action is pending.  The court has scheduled a
hearing on the issue of approval for January 24, 2005, following
notice to members of the class, who will be afforded the
opportunity to argue in support of or opposition to the
settlement agreement.


UNITED STATES: DC Court Threw Out Plans For Indian Trust Case
-------------------------------------------------------------
A federal appeals court ruled in favor of the government by
throwing out most of a DC judge's plan for making the Interior
Department account for billions of dollars the Indians say they
are owed, stating that the judge could no longer "micromanage"
how the system gets fixed, the Associated Press reports.

According to legal experts, the ruling means that the Interior
Department can propose its own plan rather than create a recipe
based on ingredients preordered from the bench and then U.S.
District Judge Royce Lamberth would assess the result.

"Yet the court may not micromanage court-ordered reform efforts
... and then subject defendants to findings of contempt for
failure to implement such reforms," Judge Stephen Williams wrote
for a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia Circuit.

A relieved Deputy Interior Secretary J. Steven Griles called the
decision "a watershed victory for individual Indian account
holders, for the Interior Department and its employees, for
Congress, and for American taxpayers."

Judge Lamberth, who has repeatedly sparred with department
officials, ordered the accounting last year from the Interior
Department to find out how much the government owes more than
300,000 Indians from mismanaged oil, gas, timber and grazing
royalties going back more than a century. In 1999, Judge
Lamberth found President Clinton's Interior and Treasury
secretaries, Bruce Babbitt and Robert Rubin, in contempt for
failing to turn over documents and also found current Interior
Secretary Gale Norton in contempt of court for failing to follow
his orders, a ruling later overturned by the U.S. Court of
Appeals.

"Rather than acting to assure that 'agency action' conforms to
law, the court has sought to make the law conform to the court's
views as to how the trusts may best be run," Judge Williams
wrote.

Interior officials had complained that such a massive historical
audit could cost up to $12 billion. At the urging of the White
House, Congress intervened in November 2003 and passed
legislation that prevented an accounting from going forward
until Congress had defined the scope and methods to be used. The
officials have also complained that Judge Lamberth lacked
authority to issue his order for the accounting last year
because there was no evidence of "unreasonable delay" by the
government. They have said they could provide a full accounting
by 2008 at a cost of $335 million, with use of a statistical
technique known as sampling.

Already upholding Judge Lamberth's finding that Interior
officials had breached their duties, the Appeals Court's latest
order topples the judge's plan to establish a September 2007
deadline to account for the money and his decision to forbid the
use of statistical sampling.

Judge Williams further wrote in the ruling that the budget
provisions "appears to give Interior temporary relief from any
common law or statutory duty to engage in historical
accounting."

However, despite the provision's temporary nature, attorneys for
the Indian plaintiffs in the case had offered "no reason
overcoming the usual principle that a court is to apply the law
in effect at the time the court rules," the appeals judges
agreed.

Interior Department officials though were still scrambling to
assess the ruling's impact. According to department spokesman
Dan DuBray, "On first review, we're gratified by this ruling. It
is yet another reversal of a district court decision in this
long-running matter."

On the other hand, Dennis Gingold, an attorney for the Indian
plaintiffs, cast the decision in a positive light by stating
that "We're very pleased that the court of appeals ruled that
Interior must fix the system rather than just provide a
historical accounting, and that Judge Lamberth has full
authority to fashion an equitable remedy." Furthermore, Mr.
Gingold also stated he was pleased that the appeals court
recognized that the plaintiffs have the right to 117 years of
interest earned from the multibillion dollar case.

The ruling is the latest in a huge eight-year-old class-action
lawsuit filed in 1996 on behalf of more than 300,000 American
Indians, who demanded an accounting that had been ordered by
Congress two years earlier. The Indian plaintiffs allege that
the government mismanaged, misplaced or stole billions of
dollars in oil, gas, timber and grazing royalties the government
had a duty to manage. Congress created an Indian trust fund in
1887 to manage revenues from parcels designated to each tribal
member. Accounting problems though persist, despite more than
$600 million spent by the Interior Department since 1996 to
comply with instructions from both Congress and Judge Lamberth.


VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS: Plaintiffs File Amended Stock Suit in MA
----------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs filed an amended securities class action against
Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in the United States District Court
for the District of Massachusetts.

On September 23, 2003, two purported shareholder class actions,
"Carlos Marcano v. Vertex Pharmaceuticals, et al." and "City of
Dearborn Heights General Governmental Employees' Retirement
System v. Vertex Pharmaceuticals, et al.," were filed against
the Company and certain current and former officers and
employees of the Company as defendants.  Those actions were
followed by three additional lawsuits, "Stephen Anish v. Vertex
Pharmaceuticals, et al.," "William Johns v. Vertex
Pharmaceuticals, et al.," and "Ben Harrington v. Vertex
Pharmaceuticals, et al.," also filed in the District of
Massachusetts.  All five cases contain substantially identical
allegations and have been consolidated by the District Court
into one lawsuit.

The plaintiffs claim that the defendants made material
misrepresentations and/or omissions of material fact regarding
VX-745, an investigational agent with potential in the treatment
of inflammatory and neurological diseases, in violation of
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act and Rule
10(b)(5) promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The plaintiffs seek certification as a class action,
compensatory damages in an unspecified amount and unspecified
equitable or injunctive relief.

In March 2004, the Company filed a motion to dismiss all of the
claims brought against it in these lawsuits.  The plaintiffs
filed an amended complaint in July 2004, and the motion to
dismiss remains pending.

The suits are pending in the United States District Court for
the District of Massachusetts, under judge Patti B. Saris,
styled:

     (1) Marcano v. Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated et al.,
         1:03-cv-11852-PBS, filed 09/27/03

     (2) City of Dearborn Heights General Governmental Employees
         Retirement System v. Vertex Pharmaceuticals
         Incorporated et al, 1:03-cv-11855-PBS, filed 09/23/03

     (3) Anish v. Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated et al.,
         1:03-cv-12021-PBS, filed 10/17/03

     (4) Johns v. Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated et al.,
         1:03-cv-12040-PBS, filed 10/21/03

     (5) Harrington v. Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated et
         al., 1:03-cv-12085-PBS

Lawyers for the defendants are:

     (i) John C. Blessington, Joshua C. Rowland, Kirkpatrick &
         Lockhart, LLP, 75 State Street, Boston, MA 02109 Phone:
         617-261-3108, Fax: 617-261-3175, E-mail:
         jblessington@kl.com or jrowland@kl.com

    (ii) Glenn R. Reichardt, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, LLP, 1800
         Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036-1800
         Phone: 202-778-9065, Fax: 202-778-9100, E-mail:
         greichardt@kl.com

   (iii) Keith C. Long, 52 Wendell Street, Cambridge, MA 02138,
         Phone: 617-497-2308, E-mail: kclong@mac.com

Lead counsel for the plaintiffs are Jeffrey W. Lawrence, Maria
V. Morris, Bing Ryan, Lesley E. Weaver, Lerach Coughlin Stoia &
Robbins LLP, 100 Pine Street, Suite 2600, San Francisco, CA
94111, Phone: 415-288-4545, Fax: 415-288-4534, E-mail:
jeffreyl@lcsr.com, Mariam@lerachlaw.com and
Lesleyw@lerachlaw.com


                 New Securities Fraud Cases

AUTOBYTEL INC.: Pomerantz Haudek Lodges Securities Lawsuit in CA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Pomerantz Haudek Block Grossman & Gross LLP
initiated a class action lawsuit in the United States District
Court Central District of California, Southern Division, against
Autobytel Inc. ("Autobytel" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:ABTL) and
two of the Company's senior officers. The lawsuit is on behalf
of all persons or entities who purchased the securities of the
Company during the period between July 24, 2003 and October 21,
2004.

Autobytel Inc. is an automotive marketing service Company that
helps dealers and manufacturers via its marketing, advertising
and customer relationship management tools and programs,
primarily through the Internet. The complaint alleges that
Autobytel and the Company's President and Chief Executive
Officer, Jeffrey A. Schwartz, and the Executive Vice President
and Chief Financial Officer, Hoshi Printer, violated the federal
securities laws arising out of defendants dissemination of false
and misleading statements concerning the Company's results and
operations.

According to the complaint, the true facts, which were known by
each of the defendants but concealed for the investing public
during the Class Period, were that

     (1) the Company inappropriately recorded revenue/income
         associated with its dealer sales credit;

     (2) that as a result of this, the Company's financials were
         materially inflated;

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

     (4) that the Company lacked adequate controls to issue
         earnings or projection reports;

     (5) that the Company was experiencing weaker than claimed
         customer relationship management ("CRM") revenues and
         zero growth in its dealer network size, and

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

On July 24, 2003, the Company issued a press release titled
"Autobytel Inc. Reports Record Revenue and Profits." In the
release, the Company reported net income of $1.1 million, or
$0.03 per share, on a GAAP basis, meeting analysts estimates,
and revenues of $21.7 million, representing the highest reported
quarterly revenue in the Company's history. Throughout the Class
period the Company continued to assert its financial good
health.


DOBSON COMMUNICATIONS: Brian M. Felgoise Lodges Stock Suit in OK
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law offices of Brian M. Felgoise, P.C. initiated a
securities class action on behalf of shareholders who acquired
Dobson Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: DCEL) securities
between May 19, 2003 and August 9, 2004, inclusive (the Class
Period).

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
Western District of Oklahoma, against the Company and certain
key officers and directors. The action charges that defendants
violated the federal securities laws by issuing a series of
materially false and misleading statements to the market
throughout the Class Period which statements had the effect of
artificially inflating the market price of the Company's
securities. No class has yet been certified in the above action.

For more details, contact Brian M. Felgoise, Esq. by Mail: 261
Old York Road, Suite 423, Jenkintown, PA 19046 by Phone:
(215) 886-1900 by E-mail: FelgoiseLaw@aol.com.


DOBSON COMMUNICATIONS: Murray Frank Lodges Securities Suit in OK
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Murray, Frank & Sailer LLP initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Western District of Oklahoma on behalf of purchasers of the
securities of Dobson Communications Corporation ("Dobson" or the
"Company") (Nasdaq:DCEL) between May 19, 2003 and August 9,
2004, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Dobson, Everett R. Dobson, Russell L.
Dobson, Stephen T. Dobson, Douglas B. Stephens, Bruce R.
Knooihuizen, and Richard D. Sewell, Jr. with violations of
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. More specifically, the
complaint alleges that the Company failed to disclose and
misrepresented the following material adverse facts known to
defendants or recklessly disregarded by them:

     (1) that the defendants knew or recklessly disregarded the
         fact that the Company's growth in roaming minutes was
         eroding;

     (2) that the Company had been missing sales quotas, as its
         service, marketing and customer upgrade cots spiraled
         out of control;

     (3) that the Company's largest equity interest holders AT&T
         and Bank of American intended to dispose of their
         interests in Dobson; and

     (4) that the Company lacked adequate internal controls to
         ascertain the true financial condition of the Company.

On February 17, 2004, Dobson reported operating income of $48.6
million for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2003. The
results were disappointing due to weak growth in roaming minutes
and very large reduction in 2004 guidance. This news shocked the
market. Shares of Dobson fell $2.65 per share, or 36.55 percent,
on February 18, 2004, to close at $4.60 per share. On August 9,
2004, Dobson reported a net loss applicable to common
shareholders of $15.9 million, or $0.12 per share, for the
second quarter ended June 30, 2004. On this news, shares of
Dobson fell an additional $1.30 per share, or 54.17 percent, on
August 10, 2004, to close at $1.10 per share.

For ore details, contact Eric J. Belfi or Aaron D. Patton of
Mrray, Frank & Sailer LLP by Phone: (800) 497-8076 or
(212) 682-1818 by Fax: (212) 682-1892 or by E-mail:
info@murrayfrank.com.


GEOPHARMA INC.: Lerach Coughlin Lodges Securities Lawsuit in NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
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 Southern District of New York on
behalf of purchasers of GeoPharma Inc. ("GeoPharma")
(NASDAQ:GORX) common stock during the period between December 1,
2004 and December 2, 2004 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges GeoPharma and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. GeoPharma manufactures, packages, repackages and
distributes a wide array of health-related products. GeoPharma's
wholly owned subsidiary, Belcher Pharmaceuticals, manufactures
and distributes over-the-counter and generic drugs.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
caused GeoPharma's shares to trade at artificially inflated
levels through the issuance of a false and misleading press
release about FDA approval of Mucotrol, a product in development
the Company had previously described publicly as a prescription
"drug." On December 1, 2004, prior to the market opening, the
Company issued a press release announcing that "Belcher
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of GeoPharma,
Inc. has received approval from the United States Food and Drug
Administration ("FDA") for Mucotrol(TM), a prescription product
for the management of oral mucositis/stomatitis .... It is
estimated that approximately 300,000 cancer patients in the U.S.
suffer from mucositis associated with cancer treatments. Based
on this, the estimated U.S. oncology market potential for
Mucotrol(TM) sales are between $75 million and $300 million per
annum and the estimated global market is between $250 million
and $1 billion per annum."

The Company's stock jumped to $11.25 per share on this news, an
increase of 153%. Early in the afternoon, the stock tumbled and
was subsequently halted at $6.81 after FDA officials told media
outlets that they had no record of Mucotrol. The agency later
clarified, saying Mucotrol had been cleared for marketing on
November 24th -- not as a drug, but as a device. The FDA had
only granted Mucotrol so-called 510(k) marketing clearance
because of its substantial similarity to a product already on
the market.

On December 2, 2004, after the markets closed, the Company and
certain of the individual defendants held an investor conference
call to discuss the misstatements and omissions in its December
1, 2004 press release. On the call, GeoPharma's Chief Executive
Officer finally made it clear the Mucotrol was a device, not a
drug. The day after the conference call, the Company's stock
collapsed to as low as $5.37 per share.

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


GEOPHARMA INC.: Roy Jacobs Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in NY
-------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Roy Jacobs & Associates filed a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York on behalf of all purchasers who, on
December 1, 2004, purchased GeoPharma, Inc. (Nasdaq:GORX)
securities. The lawsuit was filed against GeoPharma, Inc.
("GeoPharma" or "the Company), and its President, Kotha
Sekharam.

The action arises out representations that GeoPharma, a
pharmaceuticals Company, was engaged in the development of a
"patent-pending" drug for the treatment of oral inflammation,
known as mucositis, suffered by cancer patients. The product was
dubbed Mucotrol. On December 1, 2004, GeoPharma announced that
Mucotrol had been approved by the FDA. On this news, GeoPharma
shares shot up on heavy volume, reaching $11.25 per share.
Shortly thereafter, however, investigative journalists uncovered
that the FDA had not approved any such drug. It was then
conceded by the Company that Mucotrol was a "device", not a
drug. This is a material difference. Nor was it the case that
Mucotrol contained any medicinal ingredients at all. GeoPharma's
sales projections were also called into question. On these
revelations, GeoPharma shares sharply declined, causing
significant damages to shareholders.

For more details, contact Roy L. Jacobs, Esq. of Roy Jacobs &
Associates by Phone: 888-884-4490 or by E-mail:
classattorney@pipeline.com.


MERCK & CO.: Wechsler Harwood Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in LA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Wechsler Harwood LLP ("Wechsler Harwood")
initiated a shareholder lawsuit against Merck & Co., Inc.
("Merck" or the "Company") (MRK - news) and certain of its
officers and directors, in the United States District Court for
the Eastern District of Louisiana. The shareholder lawsuit,
filed under Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933, is
on behalf of all persons and entities who acquired the common
stock of Merck between April 26, 2002 and September 30, 2004
(the "Class Period") through Merck's Stock Investment Plan (the
"MSIP"). Such stock was issued under the MSIP registration
statement (the "Registration Statement") dated April 26, 2002,
and prospectuses (the "Prospectuses") dated April 26, 2002, May
1, 2002, and June 10, 2004.

The complaint (the "Complaint") alleges that Merck together with
its officers and directors, violated the federal securities laws
by issuing a series of materially false and misleading
statements to the market that were incorporated into the
Registration Statement and Prospectuses, in connection with the
safety of its drug Vioxx, or failed to make statements necessary
to make those previously made statements not materially false
and misleading. These misstatements had the effect of materially
overstating Merck's actual and projected revenues and earnings
and rendering the Registration Statement and Prospectuses
materially false and misleading, resulting in damages to MSIP
investors. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that the
Registration Statements and Prospectuses, along with the
documents they incorporated by reference, failed to disclose
material information during the Class Period concerning the
safety of its arthritis drug Vioxx, including the fact that a
growing body of evidence demonstrated that patients who used the
drug for more than 18 months had an increased risk of heart
attack. Despite their knowledge that there were serious issues
concerning the safety of Vioxx, defendants failed to make
appropriate disclosures and, as a result, throughout the Class
Period, reported false financial results and continued to issue
false and misleading information concerning then-existing
conditions concerning Vioxx's safety, risks, and exposure to
legal liability. On September 30, 2004, the Company announced
that it was immediately withdrawing Vioxx from world markets.
This sudden decision was in stark contrast to prior public
announcements during the Class Period touting the safety of
Vioxx. In response to the announcement, on September 30, 2004
the price of Merck's common stock closed down over 27% from the
previous day's close.

For more details, contact Wechsler Harwood LLP by Mail: 488
Madison Avenue, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10022 by Phone:
(212) 935-7400 or (877) 935-7400.


PRAECIS PHARMACEUTICALS: Charles J. Piven Files Stock Suit in MA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law offices of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities
class action on behalf of shareholders who purchased, converted,
exchanged or otherwise acquired the common stock of Praecis
Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:PRCS) between November 25, 2003
through December 6, 2004, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
District of Massachusetts against defendant Praecis and one or
more of its officers and/or directors. The action charges that
defendants violated federal securities laws by issuing a series
of materially false and misleading statements to the market
throughout the Class Period, which statements had the effect of
artificially inflating the market price of the Company's
securities. No class has yet been certified in the above action.

For more details, contact the Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven,
P.A. by Phone: The World Trade Center-Baltimore, 401 East Pratt
Street, Suite 2525, Baltimore, MD 21202 by Phone: 410/986-0036
or by E-mail: hoffman@pivenlaw.com.


STAR GAS: Murray Frank Lodges Securities Fraud Lawsuit in CT
------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Murray, Frank & Sailer LLP initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
District of Connecticut on behalf of purchasers of the
securities of Star Gas Partners LP ("Star Gas" or the "Company")
(NYSE:SGU) (NYSE:SGH) between December 4, 2003 and October 18,
2004, inclusive (the "Class Period").

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 ore details, contact Eric J. Belfi or Aaron D. Patton of
Mrray, Frank & Sailer LLP by Phone: (800) 497-8076 or
(212) 682-1818 by Fax: (212) 682-1892 or by E-mail:
info@murrayfrank.com.


SUPPORTSOFT INC.: Charles J. Piven Lodges Securities Suit in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law offices of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated that a
securities class action on behalf of shareholders who purchased,
converted, exchanged or otherwise acquired the common stock of
Supportsoft, Inc. (Nasdaq:SPRT) between January 20, 2004 and
October 1, 2004, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California. The action charges that
defendants violated federal securities laws by issuing a series
of materially false and misleading statements to the market
throughout the Class Period, which statements had the effect of
artificially inflating the market price of the Company's
securities. No class has yet been certified in the above action.

For more details, contact the Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven,
P.A. by Phone: The World Trade Center-Baltimore, 401 East Pratt
Street, Suite 2525, Baltimore, MD 21202 by Phone: 410/986-0036
or by E-mail: hoffman@pivenlaw.com.


VIMPEL-COMMUNICATIONS: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Lawsuit in NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York on behalf of all securities
purchasers of Open Joint Stock Company "Vimpel-Communications"
(a/k/a Vympel Communicatii) (NYSE: VIP) (RTS: VIMP) ("VimpelCom"
or the "Company") from March 25, 2004 through December 8, 2004,
inclusive (the "Class Period").

VimpelCom is a leading provider of telecommunications services
in Russia and Kazakhstan. The Company operates under the 'Bee
Line GSM' brand in Russia and 'K-mobile' and 'EXCESS' brands in
Kazakhstan. VimpelCom is recognized for introducing two digital
cellular communications standards in Russia. It built the first
dual-band GSM-900/1800 cellular network in Russia and leads the
development and emergence of the mass consumer market for
wireless telecommunications in Russia with prepaid products.

The complaint charges VimpelCom, Alexander V. Izosimov and Elena
A. Shmatova with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. More specifically, the Complaint alleges that the Company
failed to disclose and misrepresented the following material
adverse facts, which were known to defendants or recklessly
disregarded by them:

     (1) that VimpelCom was passing fifty percent (50%) of its
         revenues from its Moscow operations to its wholly owned
         subsidiary KB Impuls, thereby improperly deducting
         fifty percent (50%) of Moscow revenues as expenses to
         VimpelCom;

     (2) as such, VimpelCom was only paying taxes on fifty
         percent (50%) of the Moscow revenues rather than on all
         revenues from its Moscow operations, including revenues
         passed onto KB Impuls;

     (3) that this improper deduction caused VimpelCom to
         artificially inflate its financial results by at least
         US$534 million for fiscal years 2001-2003;

     (4) that as a result of this, the Company's financial
         results were in violation of generally accepted
         accounting principles ("GAAP");

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

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

On December 8, 2004, VimpelCom announced that it had received an
act with preliminary conclusions of the review of VimpelCom's
2001 tax filing by its tax inspectorate, stating that the
Company owed an additional 2.5 billion rubles which is
approximately US$90 million in tax (plus 1.9 billion rubles or
approximately US$67 million in fines and penalties). A large
portion of this amount related to the deductibility of expenses
incurred by VimpelCom in connection with the agency relationship
between VimpelCom and its wholly owned subsidiary, KB Impuls,
which held the GSM license for the city of Moscow and the Moscow
region. News of this shocked the market. Shares of VimpelCom
fell $8.38 per share, or 21.78 percent, to close at $30.10 per
share on unusually high trading volume.

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.


                            *********


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

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

                            *********


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless Hills,
Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick, Maryland
USA.   Glenn Ruel Se¤orin, Aurora Fatima Antonio and Lyndsey
Resnick, Editors.

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

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

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

The CAR subscription rate is $575 for six months delivered via
e-mail.  Additional e-mail subscriptions for members of the same
firm for the term of the initial subscription or balance thereof
are $25 each.  For subscription information, contact Christopher
Beard at 240/629-3300.

                  * * *  End of Transmission  * * *