CAR_Public/050112.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

              Wednesday, January 12, 2005, Vol. 7, No. 8


                            Headlines

ARBOR MEMORIAL: Charges Withdrawn From Calgary Cremation Lawsuit
CALIFORNIA: SEC Brings Settled Fraud Charges V. Thom Calandra
CHARTER ONE: Stock Lawsuit Settlement Hearing Set March 21, 2005
DARDEN RESTAURANTS: Seeks Mandatory Arbitration for Wage Suits
FLORIDA: To Join 48 States in State Farm Nationwide Settlement

FOX ENTERTAINMENT: Faces Shareholder Suit V. News Corp. Merger
GUN MANUFACTURERS: High Court Upholds Suit Over 2003 LA Killings
H&R BLOCK: U.S. Supreme Court Lets Refund Loan Lawsuit Proceed
IDAHO: Joins 48 States in State Farm Nationwide Car Owners Pact
ILLINOIS: Appeals Court Refuses Pricey Attorney's Fees in Suit

IOWA: Suit Over Driver Licenses Goes Before State Supreme Court
MICHIGAN: State Seeks Lead Plaintiff Status in HealthSouth Suit
MID-AMERICAN WASTE: Settlement Hearing Set February 21, 2005
MOTOROLA INC.: Consumer Suit Settlement Hearing Set March 2005
NORCO PRODUCTS: Recalls 80,000 Attachments Due To Injury Hazard

OREGON: Former Patient Lodges Medical Malpractice Suit V. Doctor
PFIZER INC.: NY Court To Stop Listerine Advertising Campaign
PURITY FOODS: FDA Seizes Foods Due To Adulteration by Insects
SEMPRA ENERGY: Judge Sets Trial Date For Continental Forge Case
SOUTH BEACH: Pays $219,000 Penalty For Misleading Drink Claims

SOUTHWEST SECURITIES: To Pay $10M To Settle Supervision Charges
STARBUCKS CORPORATION: FL Judge Includes Past Employees in Suit
STATE FARM: Reaches $40 Mil Settlement For Car Branding Charges
TELSTRA: ISPs Threatens Firm With Litigation Over TPA Breaches
TEXAS: AG Abbott Signs State Farm Nationwide Consumer Settlement

UNITEDHEALTH GROUP: Supreme Court Lets Suit Against HMOs Stand
UNITED STATES: High Court Upholds Affirmation of HMO Litigation
UNITED STATES: Republicans Say Reform Bills To See Quick Action
WORLDCOM INC.: U.S. Supreme Court Decline To Hear CalPERS' Suit
WYETH PHARMACEUTICALS: Supports Revision To Fen-Phen Settlement


                Meetings, Conferences & Seminars


* Scheduled Events for Class Action Professionals
* Online Teleconferences


                  New Securities Fraud Cases

AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in NY
AON CORPORATION: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in N.D. IL
ASPEN TECHNOLOGY: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in MA
ATHEROGENICS INC.: Milberg Weiss Lodges Securities Suit in GA
FOX ENTERTAINMENT: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Stock Suit in DE

HARTFORD FINANCIAL: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Suit in CT
IMPAX LABORATORIES: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Lawsuit in CA
JAKKS PACIFIC: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Lawsuit in S.D. NY
PFIZER INC.: Alfred G. Yates Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in NY
TASER INTERNATIONAL: Lerach Coughlin Files Securities Suit in AZ


                          *********


ARBOR MEMORIAL: Charges Withdrawn From Calgary Cremation Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Alberta Crown in Canada withdrawn charges against the Arbor
Memorial Services, a Toronto funeral Company that was accused of
cremating bodies on scrap plywood and cardboard from
construction sites instead of in caskets bought by the families,
Macleans, Canada reports.

The case against Arbor Memorial was set to go to trial on Monday
on three charges under Alberta's Fair Trading Act, however the
case was moved forward to last Friday and the charges withdrawn.
The Company was charged with misleading consumers,
misrepresenting the quality of its goods and services and
leading certain consumers to believe a price savings existed
when it did not.

Shannon Haggarty, spokeswoman for Alberta Justice, told Canada
the Crown prosecutors re-evaluated their case after looking at
evidence from Arbor Memorial's western regional director, David
Scanlan's preliminary hearing on a fraud case that was withdrawn
in September. Ms. Haggarty adds, "The Crown didn't feel it had
enough evidence to move forward and get a conviction."

The former manager of the Calgary funeral home, Wayne Gorniak,
who was fired in June 2000 after the Company found out about the
alleged wrongdoing, still faces fraud, false pretence and theft
charges with a trial scheduled for March 7.  Alberta Government
Services, which deals with consumer affairs, has alleged that as
many as 56 families were defrauded out of more than $5,000 in
the case. Many of them joined a class-action lawsuit.


CALIFORNIA: SEC Brings Settled Fraud Charges V. Thom Calandra
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission brought and settled civil
fraud charges against Thom Calandra, a former columnist for the
Internet website CBS MarketWatch.com. The Commission alleges
that Calandra profited by secretly selling stocks shortly after
his investment newsletter's positive recommendations of the
stocks caused their prices to rise. In settling the matter,
Calandra, who lives in Sausalito, California, will pay over
$540,000 in disgorgement and penalties.

According to the Commission's complaint, filed in the Northern
District of California, Calandra made over $400,000 in illegal
profits through a practice known as "scalping"-buying shares of
thinly-traded, small-cap companies, writing highly favorable
newsletter profiles recommending the companies to his newsletter
subscribers, and then selling the majority of his shares when
the increased demand generated by his favorable columns drove up
the stock price. From March to December 2003, Calandra followed
this "Buy-Write-Sell" pattern for 23 different stocks that he
covered in The Calandra Report, without disclosing his actions
to his readers.

In addition, the Commission alleged that Calandra failed to tell
his readers that he had received compensation from a stock
promoter affiliated with two mining companies that Calandra
profiled in The Calandra Report.  The compensation took the form
of heavily discounted shares in the two companies-shares which
Calandra later sold at a substantial profit after the stock
prices rose following his favorable newsletter write-ups.

Mr. Calandra, without admitting or denying the allegations in
the Commission's complaint, has agreed to a permanent injunction
from further violations of the antifraud provisions of the
federal securities laws (Sections 17(a) of the Securities Act of
1933, and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
and Rule 10b-5 thereunder), and from further violations of
Section 17(b) of the Securities Act of 1933, which prohibits the
non-disclosure of compensation received for providing publicity
about a security. Calandra also will disgorge $416,109.58 in
illegal trading profits and prejudgment interest and will pay a
civil penalty of $125,000. The action is titled, SEC v. Thom
Calandra, Case No. C05 00135 JCS, N.D. Cal. Filed Jan. 10, 2005
(LR-19028).


CHARTER ONE: Stock Lawsuit Settlement Hearing Set March 21, 2005
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois issued a notice of
class action and proposed $1.8 million settlement in the matter
Inspe Association, Ltd. V. Charter One Bank (No. 03 CH 10965) to
all persons or entities located anywhere in the United States,
who were sent or received an unsolicited facsimile advertisement
from or on behalf of Charter One Bank or any other Charter One
entity subsequent to July 1, 1998.

The notice relates to the proposed settlement of a class action
lawsuit that stems from allegations that Charter One Bank sent
unsolicited advertisements by fax.

According to the notice, the court has also scheduled a fairness
hearing for the proposed settlement, which is to be held on
March 21, 2005 at 11:00 a.m. before Judge McGann in Room 2508 of
the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 W. Washington, Chicago, IL
60602.

For more details, contact Nick Zola of Edelman, Combs, Latturner
& Goodwin, LLC by Mail: 120 S. La Salle St., Chicago, IL 60603-
3403 by Phone: 1-800-644-4673 or visit their Web site:
http://www.edcombs.com.


DARDEN RESTAURANTS: Seeks Mandatory Arbitration for Wage Suits
--------------------------------------------------------------
Darden Restaurants is working to remove three employee class
actions filed in California and Washington state courts,
alleging violations of labor laws with respect to providing meal
and rest breaks, to mandatory arbitration.

In March 2003 and March 2002, three of the Company's current and
former hourly restaurant employees filed two suits in the
California Superior Court of Orange County, seeking penalties
under Department of Labor rules providing a $100 penalty per
violation per employee, plus attorney's fees on behalf of the
plaintiffs and other purported class members.  Discovery is
currently underway in these matters.  One of the cases was
removed to the Company's mandatory arbitration program, although
the Court retained the authority to permit a sample of class-
wide discovery.  The Company is prosecuting an appeal to cause
the other case to be similarly removed to arbitration.

In September 2003, three former employees in Washington State
filed a similar purported class action in Washington State
Superior Court in Spokane County alleging violations of
Washington labor laws with respect to providing rest breaks.
The Court stayed the action, and ordered the plaintiffs into the
Company's mandatory arbitration program; the plaintiffs have
filed a motion for reconsideration.


FLORIDA: To Join 48 States in State Farm Nationwide Settlement
--------------------------------------------------------------
Florida motorists may be eligible for refunds of as much as
$20,000 under a nationwide agreement to benefit individuals who
unknowingly purchased damaged or stolen cars from State Farm
Mutual Insurance Company, Attorney General Charlie Crist
announced in a statement.  The agreement is part of a $40
million settlement reached by AG Crist's office and the
Attorneys General of 48 other states and the District of
Columbia.

Florida was one of the lead states in reaching the agreement,
which is designed to compensate thousands of owners of cars,
SUVs and trucks across the country.  Affected motorists bought
vehicles from State Farm after the Company took title to them
from policyholders due to damage or unrecovered theft.  The
titles to the affected vehicles did not properly indicate that
they previously had been damaged or stolen, AG Crist said.

After research into vehicle titles is complete, an estimated
30,000 to 40,000 consumers nationwide may be eligible for
payments ranging from about $400 to as much as $20,000. Most
payments are expected to range from $800 to $1,850, depending
primarily on the current average value of the vehicle and the
number of consumers who participate in the compensation program.
The Attorney General's Office and State Farm will continue to
work closely with the state Department of Highway Safety and
Motor Vehicles to determine the title status of vehicles in
Florida.

"Consumers have a right to know whether a vehicle they purchase
has been damaged or otherwise written off by an insurance
Company," said AG Crist.  "State Farm is to be commended for
stepping forward to disclose the problem and present a workable
solution. At the same time, Florida consumers who made decisions
based on false information deserve to be compensated, and this
settlement will help make things right."

Florida and 48 other states require that vehicles be titled as
"salvage" or the equivalent when they meet certain standards
relating to degree of damage or unrecovered theft. State Farm
contacted states in late 2003 indicating that it had
documentation of proper titles for approximately 2.4 million
vehicles that suffered total losses in recent years, but that
for a small percentage of other vehicles it had insufficient or
no documentation to verify that a proper title had been
obtained.

AG Crist said the settlement is "groundbreaking" in the way a
Company contacted state Attorneys General and sought to reach an
agreement that involves both changing certain of its practices
and seeking the states' help in returning money to consumers. In
addition to providing the $40 million for consumer compensation,
State Farm also will pay the cost of the major project of
identifying the vehicles, identifying and contacting current
owners, taking claims and making compensation payments. In the
settlement agreement, State Farm also makes assurances about how
it conducts its business now and in the future.

Consumers who complete a claim form and are approved will
receive a compensation payment from State Farm later this year
or early in 2006.  Under the agreement, State Farm will work
with state motor vehicle agencies to determine the specific
vehicles that require a branded title.  Florida owners of
affected vehicles will receive a letter from Crist's office with
a claim form to complete and return to an independent Company
that will administer the claims process. Once all claims are in,
the amount each consumer will receive will be finalized and
checks mailed.

The final amounts received by each consumer will depend on the
current value of the vehicle and how many consumers elect to
participate in the payment program. Payments will be made to the
owners of currently registered vehicles and will be based on the
current average retail value of the vehicle. For example, owners
of vehicles worth between $1,000 and $2,000 will receive $600;
owners of vehicles worth between $5,000 and $6,000 will receive
$1,400, and owners of vehicles worth between $10,000 and $11,000
will receive $3,000. The maximum payment will be $20,000 for
owners of vehicles currently worth more than $40,000.

AG Crist said it is expected that current owners of eligible
vehicles will be contacted by this fall, after the
identification process is completed.

State Farm will also pay $1 million to the participating states
for consumer education, future consumer litigation, public
protection, local consumer aid funds, and legal fees and costs.


FOX ENTERTAINMENT: Faces Shareholder Suit V. News Corp. Merger
--------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP initiated a class action
lawsuit in the Court of Chancery in the State of Delaware, on
behalf of its client and all persons or institutions who held
shares of Fox Entertainment Group, Inc. ("Fox Entertainment"or
the "Company") (NYSE:FOX) challenging the fairness of the recent
merger proposal made by the News Corporation ("News Corp.")
(NYSE:NWS), which owns approximately 82% of Fox Entertainment's
outstanding stock.

Among other things, plaintiff's Complaint alleges that the
consideration to be paid to Class members in the transaction is
unconscionable and unfair and grossly inadequate because the
intrinsic value of Fox Entertainment's common stock is
materially in excess of the amount offered given the stock's
current trading price and the Company's prospects for future
growth and earnings. Additionally, the Complaint alleges
defendants have breached their duty of loyalty to Fox
Entertainment stockholders by using their control of Fox
Entertainment to force plaintiff and the Class to exchange their
equity interest in Fox Entertainment at an unfair price, and
deprive Fox Entertainment's public shareholders of maximum value
to which they are entitled. The Complaint alleges further that
defendants have also breached their duties of loyalty and due
care by not taking adequate measures to ensure that the
interests of Fox Entertainment's public shareholders are
properly protected from overreaching.

For more details, contact Anthony Vozzolo, Esq. of Faruqi &
Faruqi, LLP by Mail: 320 East 39th Street, New York, NY 10016 by
phone: (877) 247-4292 or (212) 983-9330 or by E-mail:
Avozzolo@faruqilaw.com.


GUN MANUFACTURERS: High Court Upholds Suit Over 2003 LA Killings
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling
reinstating a lawsuit filed against gun manufacturers and
distributors, over the killing of a Filipino-American and the
wounding of five people at a Jewish day care center in Los
Angeles, California, the Associated Press reports.  The suit
names as defendants Georgia-based Glock, Inc., China North
Industries Corporation, RSR Management Corporation and RSR
Wholesale Guns Seattle, Inc.

In 1999, Buford Furrow, believed to be a white supremacist, shot
in a rampage Filipino-American Joseph Ileto and wounded five
other people.  According to Christopher Renzulli, the attorney
for Glock and the RSR companies, the gun Mr. Furrow used to kill
Mr. Ileto was originally sold to the police department in
Cosmopolis, Washington, by the RSR companies.

According to court records, the police department sold the
weapon to a gun shop in exchange for a different model.  The
shop sold it to a gun collector who is alleged to have sold it
to Furrow, an ex-convict prohibited from purchasing weapons, at
a gun show in Spokane, Washington.

Mr. Ileto's mother, Lillian, and families of the survivors
contend that the defendants should be held liable under
California law because they knowingly facilitated and
participated in an underground illegal gun market, according to
the complaint.  A federal judge dismissed the case but in 2003,
a divided 9th Circuit panel reinstated the lawsuit.  The panel
said a since-repealed California statute immunizing gun
manufacturers in product liability actions did not apply,
because it did not address the plaintiffs' theories of negligent
marketing and distribution.

In the original decision reinstating the case, Judge Richard
Paez of the 9th Circuit wrote that Glock's marketing strategy
creates a "supply of post-police guns that can be sold through
unlicensed dealers without background checks to illegal buyers."
In urging their colleagues to rehear the case, dissenting Judge
Consuelo Callahan wrote that courts should "be wary of adopting
broad new theories of liability," AP reports.

The full 26-member 9th Circuit declined to rehear the case last
May.  China North Industries Corporation filed the appeal,
saying that the appeals court overstepped its authority in
expanding potential liability for gun manufacturers, a role the
Company says should be reserved for legislatures.

The high court upheld the Circuit Court ruling, allowing the
lawsuit to proceed toward trial.  The ruling is good news for
gun-control groups who say increased liability will stop
industry sales tactics that put weapons into the hands of
criminals.  Several cities nationwide have sought to sue gun
manufacturers, but with little success.  Congressional
legislation barring lawsuits targeting the industry failed last
spring, AP reports.

The case is China North Industries Corp. v. Ileto, 04-423.


H&R BLOCK: U.S. Supreme Court Lets Refund Loan Lawsuit Proceed
--------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. Supreme Court recently denied an appeal by Kansas City-
based H&R Block Inc. (NYSE: HRB) of a lower court decision
allowing a class-action lawsuit that accuses it of duping about
17 million consumers on high-interest tax refund loans, thus the
lawsuit against the firm and Household International Inc., its
lending bank on the loans, can move forward as a class action,
the MLive.com reports.

The suit alleges that millions of Block customers were unaware
that the nation's largest tax preparer wasn't looking out for
their interests when it allegedly sold them high-interest quick
loans, called refund anticipation loans, to be repaid with
income tax refunds.

According to a prepared Block statement, the case is scheduled
to go to trial in the fall in a federal court in Chicago. In the
statement Block described the high court's action as "a
temporary setback," saying it still has an opportunity to have
the class certification reversed. It further said, "The Supreme
Court's ruling today was a decision to not review the case at
this time, which is still months before trial. H&R Block will
continue to press the issue, and it will be addressed again by
the court, since there is no final judgment."

Block has fought several class actions related to its selling of
the loans since 1990. The Company incurred a pretax expense of
$43.5 million for a 2003 settlement of a Texas suit involving
the said loans.

Block and Household International agreed to settle the Chicago
case for $25 million in 2001. However, in 2003, the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Illinois declined to
approve the settlement, saying lawyers for the plaintiffs
inadequately represented consumers.

In March, a federal judge threw out most of the class action's
claims against Block but sustained a claim that the Company had
violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations Act. Block appealed to the Supreme Court after the
7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in July that the class
action could stand because Block had argued in favor of
certifying the class while defending a 1999 settlement agreement
that later was overturned on appeal.

The high court's rejection of the appeal lets stand the 7th
Circuit's opinion, which said Block couldn't be allowed to
withdraw its acceptance of the class.


IDAHO: Joins 48 States in State Farm Nationwide Car Owners Pact
---------------------------------------------------------------
The state of Idaho has joined with 48 other states and the
District of Columbia in an innovative agreement with State Farm
Mutual Insurance Company, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said
in a statement.  The agreement will result in $40 million in
compensation to thousands of car, sport utility vehicle and
truck owners nationwide.

State Farm initiated discussions after the Company learned from
an internal review that it could not confirm that it had
properly titled vehicles in a small percentage of cases.  State
Farm had taken ownership of the vehicles from policyholders due
to damage or theft.  The insurance Company then brought the
matter to the attention of the attorneys general.

AG Wasden called the settlement groundbreaking.  "It is rare
that a Company comes to us, discloses a problem, and presents a
very viable solution to correct the problem and help consumers,"
he said.  "I hope this agreement will encourage other companies
to step forward when necessary, take responsibility, improve
practices, and make things right for consumers."

AG Wasden said an estimated 30,000 consumers nationwide may be
eligible for payments ranging from about $400 up to over
$10,000, after titling research is complete.  Payment amounts
will vary, depending on the current average value of their
vehicle and the number of consumers who participate in the
compensation program.   The states believe most payments are
likely to range from $800 to $1,850.

In most states, depending on factors such as vehicle age and
extent of damage, insurance companies taking ownership of
vehicles must obtain "branded titles," indicating the vehicles
are "salvage," "damaged," or similarly-named titles. State
Farm's records showed that it had properly titled approximately
2.4 million vehicles in recent years that may have required a
"branded title," but that it could not confirm whether a much
smaller number may not have been properly titled.  Payment will
go to the current owners of vehicles that may require branded
titles.

"Our cooperative effort with the state attorneys general
reflects a commitment to resolve salvage titling concerns in a
proactive manner, and demonstrates that State Farm is serious
about meeting our responsibilities under the various state
branded title laws," State Farm Vice President and
Counsel Jeffrey W. Jackson said.  "The agreement made by State
Farm and the attorneys general is the right thing to do for our
policyholders and the public."

State Farm also will pay the expenses for identifying the
vehicles, tracing the current owners, contacting owners, taking
claims from owners, and making compensation payments.  Under the
agreement, State Farm will work with state motor vehicle titling
departments to determine the specific vehicles that require a
branded title.  Current owners of those vehicles will receive a
letter and a claim form from the owner's state attorney general.
After all claims are in, the amount each consumer will receive
will be finalized and checks mailed.

Attorney General Wasden said he expects that current owners of
eligible vehicles will be contacted by fall 2005.  He added that
consumers whose claims are approved will receive their
compensation payment from State Farm later this year or early in
2006.

State Farm will also make a payment totaling $1 million to
participating states for consumer education, future consumer
litigation, public protection, local consumer aid funds, and
attorney fees and costs.

For more information contact Bob Cooper of the State of Idaho
Office of the Attorney General, by Phone: (208) 334-4112.


ILLINOIS: Appeals Court Refuses Pricey Attorney's Fees in Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
In an unpublished opinion, issued on December 30, 2004, the
Appellate Court of Illinois refused to award fees of $53,572.50
to Joseph Longo, a Mount Prospect lawyer who billed that much
for a case worth $100, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Mr. Longo, who was found by the court of doing unnecessary work
in order to run up his bill, represented Michael Alaka, who was
fighting a payday loan outfit called Short-Term Loans. Mr. Alaka
borrowed $225 from Short-Term in 1998 and failed to pay it back.
Short-Term sued to collect, and Mr. Alaka sued back, saying
Short-Term's interest rate amounted to 365 percent annually.

Over the next four years, Mr. Longo filed numerous motions for
discovery, default and sanctions against Short-Term. He and Mr.
Alaka also tried to establish a class-action suit against Short-
Term, though one was already pending in federal court. Mr. Alaka
opted out of the settlement in that case.

Mr. Alaka had instead sought damages from Short-Term of more
than $45,000 and also asked the circuit court to make Short-Term
pay his legal fees. The court awarded him damages of $100, the
minimum the law allowed while his attorney was awarded fees
totaling $2,000. He eventually appealed to the First District,
seeking more, but the court refused to raise the amounts.

The First district quoted liberally from the circuit court's
opinion in the case -- a document most unfavorable to Mr. Longo:
"As commented on by many different courts in the past,
litigation involving Mr. Longo oftentimes seems to be motivated
and pursued to advance Mr. Longo's own monetary gain," the court
wrote. "... As a practical matter, Mr. Longo's monetary interest
in litigation as represented by his requested legal fees almost
always exceed [sic] the damages sought by his sometimes nominal
clients."

Mr. Longo has spent 238.1 hours working on the case -- at a rate
of $225 per hour, where his bill included $697.50 for
unspecified reviewing and rewriting of documents, time spent
with an accountant to compute Short-Term's finance charge, and
"normal overhead expenses," the court found.

Mr. Longo, who says he handles a lot of consumer rights cases,
defended his fees citing that cases involving small dollar
amounts are often worth fighting on principle. He explains, "I
took the case on because I thought it was unfair what they did
to him, charging him 300 to 400 percent interest. If the other
side is going to fight you tooth and nail, it's going to rack up
the fees. It doesn't benefit me or any attorney to take on a
case to help people with small amounts if they're not going to
get compensated."

However, Justice Shelvin Hall, who wrote the First District's
unanimous opinion, agreed with the trial court. "The record
supports the circuit court's finding that Mr. Longo filed a
substantial number of unnecessary motions and other filings
which afforded little or no additional benefit to Mr. Alaka,"
Judge Hall wrote.


IOWA: Suit Over Driver Licenses Goes Before State Supreme Court
---------------------------------------------------------------
In one of the most heated debates in the state, Iowa's Supreme
Court is set to consider granting illegal immigrants the right
to carry a driver's license in one of the state's most heated
debates, WHO-TV reports.

The debate stems from a class action lawsuit filed over a year
ago on behalf of all undocumented workers in the state against
the Department of Transportation and the Attorney General's
Office. Though it was dismissed in district court, the State
Supreme Court has agreed to take up the issue.

The State Supreme Court will consider giving all undocumented
workers, the option of applying for a driver's license. Curt
Daniels, attorney for the plaintiffs told WHO-TV, "We need to be
fair to them because they are contributing so much to the
economic fabric of the state."

The Iowa Department of Transportation (I-DOT), which enforces
the rules of the road say they are simply following the law of
the land which at this point bars undocumented workers from
receiving a license.

The Attorney General's Office declined to comment on the lawsuit
until after the hearing on Thursday. The Department of
Transportation told WHO-TV after the lawsuit was filed that they
believe their decision to prohibit non-citizens from gaining a
license is constitutional.


MICHIGAN: State Seeks Lead Plaintiff Status in HealthSouth Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
To protect Michigan pensions, the State of Michigan is seeking
lead plaintiff status in the securities class action lawsuit
against HealthSouth Corporation, its former directors and
executives, as well as HealthSouth's investment bankers and
former outside auditors, Attorney General Mike Cox and Treasurer
Jay B. Rising announced in a statement.

If appointed lead plaintiff, Michigan will manage the litigation
on behalf of stockholders, negotiate potential settlement terms,
and seek to maximize the recovery for the class.  If the case
goes to trial, the lead plaintiff would make all strategy
decisions.

"We have an opportunity to seek a leadership role in redressing
one of the most flagrant securities frauds perpetrated in United
States history," said AG Cox.  "Safeguarding pensions is a top
priority for this office.  We will do everything we can to
ensure that employees aren't cheated out of the pension that is
rightfully theirs."

Of the 38 individual defendants in the lawsuit, 15, including
all of HealthSouth's former chief financial officers, have
pleaded guilty to criminal violations of the federal securities
laws - the largest number of corporate officers from a single
Company to admit criminal wrongdoing.  After disclosure of the
wrongdoing, HealthSouth dismissed its outside auditor, Ernst &
Young (E&Y), and advised investors not to rely on any of the
E&Y-audited financial statements HealthSouth issued as a public
Company.

"HealthSouth has admitted it overstated income by more than $2.8
billion, and wiped out every dollar of profit it ever reported
as a public Company," said Rising. "As a result, Michigan's
Retirement Systems suffered losses of approximately $33 million.
With today's action, we are taking the appropriate steps to
recoup what is rightly due to our employees and retirees, and to
protect state pension funds."

In addition to overstating its income, certain individual
defendants sold more than 16.7 million shares of their personal
holdings of HealthSouth stock, which resulted in insider trading
proceeds of more than $300 million.  These individual defendants
also kept millions of dollars in cash bonuses awarded as a
result of the false profits the Company reported from 1997
through 2002.

AG Cox and Mr. Rising are committed to protecting Michigan's
citizens against fraud and financial abuse. "A fraud of this
magnitude, especially in the critical area of healthcare, is
inexcusable," said AG Cox.

"We intend to do everything in our power to recover assets lost
as a result of the defendants' wrongdoing," said Mr. Rising.

HealthSouth is a provider of outpatient surgery and
rehabilitative services.  During the class period, between April
24, 1997 and March 18, 2003, defendants implemented a scheme to
falsify HealthSouth's financial statements to meet or exceed
Wall Street's expectations.  As part of the scheme,
HealthSouth's founder and then CEO Richard M. Scrushy allegedly
directed accounting subordinates to "fix" any shortfall in
revenue and income through the use of false accounting entries.
The lawsuit alleges that E&Y became aware of HealthSouth's
improper practices no later than 1994, but ignored them to earn
huge fees.  It also alleges that HealthSouth's investment
banking underwriters are liable for making materially false and
misleading statements in Registration Statements and
Prospectuses used by HealthSouth to raise billions of dollars of
new capital for the Company.

Although the class action against HealthSouth and the other
defendants has been pending in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of Alabama since last year, the former
lead plaintiff withdrew from the case last November, and Federal
District Judge Karon O. Bowdre invited new parties to apply for
lead plaintiff.

Together, the State of Michigan Retirement Systems (SMRS) hold
more than $48 billion in assets, making the combined fund the
13th largest public pension fund in the United States.  The SMRS
invest on behalf of Michigan Public School Employees, State
Employees, State Police, and Michigan Judges.

For more details, contact Randall Thompson by Phone:
517-373-8060 or Terry Stanton by Phone: 517-335-2167.

The suit is styled "In Re: HealthSouth ERISA, et al v. Master
Docket, et al, case no. 2:03-cv-01700-KOB," filed in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama,
under Judge Karon O. Bowdre.

This class action is pending in federal court in the Northern
District of Alabama Southern Division and has been filed under
the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"). The
Complaint is filed on behalf of all persons who were
participants in or beneficiaries of the HealthSouth
Rehabilitation Corporation and Subsidiaries Employee Stock
Benefit Plan (the "Plan"), for whose individual accounts the
Plan held shares of HealthSouth stock, at any time between
January 1, 1998 and the present (the "Class Period"). The Plan
is an Employee Stock Ownership Plan ("ESOP") established and
sponsored by HealthSouth Rehabilitation Corporation and
Subsidiaries ("HealthSouth" or the "Company") as a benefit for
its employees.

Lead counsel in this litigation is Keller Rohrback L.L.P.
Garrison, Scott, Gamble & Rosenthal, P.C has been appointed as
local liaison counsel.


MID-AMERICAN WASTE: Settlement Hearing Set February 21, 2005
------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
Ohio, Eastern Division will hold a fairness hearing for the
proposed $7.5 million settlement in the matter, Mid-American
Waste Shareholder Litigation on behalf of all person who
purchased the common stock of the Mid-American Waste Systems,
Inc. (MAWS) during the period from May 17, 1994 through and
including January 21, 1997 and who were damaged thereby,
inclusive.

The Court has scheduled a fairness hearing to approve the
proposed settlement, which will be held before the Honorable
Edmund A. Sargus, Jr., of the United States District Court for
the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, U.S.
Courthouse, 85 Marconi Blvd., Columbus, OH 43215, at 9:00 a.m.,
on February 14, 2005.

For more details, contact Claims Administrator, Mid-American
Waste Shareholder Litigation c/o The Garden City Group, Inc. by
Mail: P.O. Box 9000 #6186, Merrick, NY 11566-9000 or by Phone:
(866) 808-3546.


MOTOROLA INC.: Consumer Suit Settlement Hearing Set March 2005
--------------------------------------------------------------
A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit against
Motorola, Inc. on behalf of the consumers who purchased V60 or
V120 Series Motorola cellular phones.

According to the official notice, shortly after final Court
approval of the settlement, Motorola will distribute up to $25
million in cash and Motorola Vouchers, along with Separately
Valued Extended Antenna Warranties for Eligible class members.

The notice also stated that a final hearing on the proposed
settlement would be held on March 1, 2005, at 1:30 p.m. in the
courtroom of Judge James L. Kimbler, Court of Common Pleas,
Medina County, OH.

For more details, contact the Motorola Claims Administrator by
Phone: 1-888-568-7640 or visit their Web site:
http://www.motorolaclaimsadministrator.com.


NORCO PRODUCTS: Recalls 80,000 Attachments Due To Injury Hazard
---------------------------------------------------------------
Norco Products Ltd., of British Columbia, Canada is cooperating
with the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission by
voluntarily recalling about 80,000 Adams Trail-a-Bike or Adams
Slipstream Bicycle Attachment.

The hardware used in the assembly of the universal hitch may
come loose causing the unit to separate from the lead bicycle,
which could lead to a serious injury or death to the rider of
the bicycle attachment. Norco Products has received two reports
of hardware falling out of the hitch assembly. One minor injury
reported.

The recall involves the Adams Trail-A-Bike or Adams Slipstream
sold under the following models: Starter, Folder, Shifter,
Shocker, Ultimate Tandem, Deluxe Folder, Me 2 and Original.
"Trail-A-Bike" or "Slipstream" is printed on the top tube of the
bicycle attachment and "Adams" is printed on the chain guard.
The product resembles a children's bicycle without a front wheel
and has an elongated top tube that stretches to attach to the
seat post of an adult bicycle, creating a tandem. The product
was sold for use by children ages 4 to 7.

Manufactured in China, the attachments were sold by various
Independent bicycle stores nationwide from January 1996 through
October 2004 for between $125 to $295.

Consumers should immediately stop using the product and contact
their local bicycle dealer to arrange for an inspection and to
receive a no charge repair kit to be installed for free.

Consumer Contact: Call Norco Products toll-free at
(800) 663-8916 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through
Friday or visit Adams Trail-A-Bike Web site at http://www.trail-
a-bike.com.


OREGON: Former Patient Lodges Medical Malpractice Suit V. Doctor
----------------------------------------------------------------
Doctor Jerome Lentini, the Oregon doctor suspected of giving his
patients a toxin meant for animals instead of Botox is now
facing a class action lawsuit that was filed in Clackamas County
Circuit Court by Linda Reese, one of his former patients, the
Associated Press reports.

Currently, the lawsuit seeks mainly a refund of treatment costs,
however, it may be amended to seek monetary damages. The 56-
year-old Lentini is under investigation by the FBI.

When injected, Botox, which is Botulinum Toxin Type A,
temporarily paralyzes nerves that prompt skin to contract and
cause wrinkles. It is the fastest-growing cosmetic treatment in
the United States.


PFIZER INC.: NY Court To Stop Listerine Advertising Campaign
------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York will order Pfizer, Inc. to stop its advertising
campaign saying that its mouthwash Listerine was as effective as
floss at fighting tooth and gum decay, the Associated Press
reports.

The Listerine print ads featured a bottle balanced equally on a
scale opposite a floss container with the words - "Listerine
antiseptic is clinically proven to be as effective as floss at
reducing plaque and gingivitis between the teeth."  The campaign
also featured a television commercial titled the "Big Bang." In
it, the commercial announces that Listerine is as effective as
floss and that clinical tests prove it, though it does add that
there is no replacement for flossing.

McNeil-PPC, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, filed a
lawsuit against the Listerine campaign, saying that false claims
in the advertising campaign that began last June posed an unfair
threat against its sales of dental floss.

Judge Denny Chin agreed in a decision Thursday, saying that the
campaign was false and misleading and poses a public health risk
because it can undermine the message of dental professionals.
"Dentists and hygienists have been telling their patients for
decades to floss daily," Chin wrote, according to AP. "They have
been doing so for good reason. The benefits of flossing are real
- they are not a `myth.' Pfizer's implicit message that
Listerine can replace floss is false and misleading."

The judge said "substantial evidence" demonstrates that flossing
is important in reducing tooth decay and gum disease and that it
cannot be replaced by rinsing with a mouthwash.  The judge also
noted that the authors of articles on which Pfizer based its
advertising campaign had emphasized that dental professionals
should continue to recommend daily flossing and cautioned that
they were not suggesting that mouth rinse be used instead of
floss.


PURITY FOODS: FDA Seizes Foods Due To Adulteration by Insects
-------------------------------------------------------------
At the request of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio issued a
warrant on December 29, 2004 for the seizure of articles of food
located at Purity Foods, Inc., Clayton, Ohio.  The U.S. Marshals
Service, accompanied by FDA Investigators, seized various dried
food products such as hot and cold cereals, cake mixes, muffin
mixes, bread crumbs, stuffing, breading mixes, dehydrated
potatoes and au gratin potato mixes.  This seizure, estimated at
approximately $750,000 was conducted because of unsanitary
conditions.

Purity Foods is a warehouse and packager of various dried food
products. Some of these foods are packaged under the Purity
foods label and are sold at grocery and discount stores
nationwide. However, Purity Foods also packages products under
various store brands.

During an inspection of Purity Foods, Inc., FDA discovered
evidence of various species of insects in multiple packages of
food as well as widespread insect activity on packages of
products, on the floors, and in other areas of the warehouse
where the articles are either stored or manufactured. By law,
foods that have been prepared, packed, or held in unsanitary
conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth,
including insect infestation, are adulterated.

The FDA has initiated this action as part of its responsibility
to promote and protect the public health. FDA's mission includes
ensuring the safety or safety and effectiveness of a broad
spectrum of regulated products, including food, human and animal
drugs, vaccines, blood products, medical devices, devices that
emit radiation, and cosmetics.


SEMPRA ENERGY: Judge Sets Trial Date For Continental Forge Case
---------------------------------------------------------------
A schedule has been set for a trial in the Continental Forge
Company class-action litigation against Sempra Energy
Corproation, beginning June 3, 2005. At that time, the judge
will address what issues will be decided by a jury, as well as
the scope and sequence of the cases.

"After years of legal discovery, including the review of
millions of pages of documents, Sempra Energy and our utility
subsidiaries -- Southern California Gas Co. and San Diego Gas &
Electric -- are confident of refuting the plaintiffs' fictional
theories and unsupportable allegations," said W. Davis Smith,
general counsel for Sempra Energy's utilities, Southern
California Gas Co. and San Diego Gas & Electric. "The filings in
this case make it clear there is no factual basis for the
plaintiffs' claims. When appropriate, we expect to demonstrate
in court that the plaintiffs' unfounded theories are
contradicted by their own evidence. We also expect to prove that
their monetary claims -- grossly inflated to attract media
attention -- are baseless."

The Company expects to demonstrate that the increase in natural
gas prices during the Western U.S. energy crisis of 2000-2001
was caused by the convergence of events over which Sempra Energy
and its utilities had no control, Smith said. These events
included: the impact of drought conditions in the Pacific
Northwest curtailing hydro-electric output, combined with an
unseasonably hot summer followed by an unusually cold winter; an
interruption of supplies due to an explosion on El Paso's
interstate natural gas pipeline serving California; and an
unanticipated shutdown of a Southern California nuclear
generating facility. These factors and others led to record use
of gas-fired power generation.

"The fact is that the Sempra Energy companies have led the way
in bringing new energy supplies to California," Smith said. "The
California Public Utilities Commission's consumer watchdog arm
confirmed that Southern California Gas Co. helped reduce
customers' energy costs during the California energy crisis of
2000-2001."

Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy
services holding Company with 2003 revenues of $7.9 billion. The
Sempra Energy companies' 13,000 employees serve more than 10
million customers in the United States, Europe, Canada, Mexico,
South America and Asia.

For more details, contact Doug Kline or Denise King of Sempra
Energy by Phone: (877) 866-2066 or visit http://www.sempra.com.
Additional information on the Continental Forge case is
available on the Company's Web site,
http://www.sempra.com/legal.htm.


SOUTH BEACH: Pays $219,000 Penalty For Misleading Drink Claims
--------------------------------------------------------------
South Beach Beverage Co. (SoBe), an operating unit of Pepsi-Cola
North America, paid a $219,000 penalty and reimbursement for
legal expenses to settle a dispute over its products health
claims, the Associated Press reports.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and commissioner
of the Department of Consumer Protection Edwin R. Rodriguez
filed the charges, saying that SoBe falsely advertised and
packaged its products as protection against colds and other
illnesses and to increase energy levels.  "Duping customers into
believing that a flavored beverage will stop illness, enhance
memory or reduce stress is deceptive and deplorable," AG
Blumenthal said, according to AP.

SoBe, or South Beach Beverage Co., is an operating unit of
Pepsi-Cola North America, which is part of PepsiCo. A Company
spokeswoman called the statement, "old news."  "SoBe cooperated
with the Connecticut Attorney General's Office from the very
beginning of this issue and worked to resolve it in a timely
manner," spokeswoman Kristine Hinck told AP.  "These messages
have not been on SoBe bottles for at least two years."

A link on the Company's Web page promoting the products' "health
facts" was under construction on Monday. A message read, "We're
fixin' some stuff. Check back soon." Hinck said, however, that
the site is updated monthly and has nothing to do with the
settlement, AP reports.

SoBe sells teas and juice blends in 20-ounce glass "lizard
bottles" in addition to beverages such as Adrenaline Rush, an
"all-natural maximum energy supplement" and Love Bus Brew.


SOUTHWEST SECURITIES: To Pay $10M To Settle Supervision Charges
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission instituted and settled
enforcement proceedings against Southwest Securities, Inc., a
Dallas, Texas, based broker-dealer and investment adviser, and
three of its managers. According to the SEC, Southwest and the
managers failed reasonably to supervise registered
representatives in Southwest's downtown Dallas branch office who
engaged in fraudulent mutual fund market timing schemes, late
trading of mutual fund shares, or both.  The SEC also announced
that it filed a civil action in U.S. district court in Dallas
today, against two Southwest registered representatives, for
allegedly engaging in a fraudulent market-timing scheme.  In
that action, the SEC seeks injunctions, disgorgement of illicit
profits, and civil money penalties, based on allegations that
the two registered representatives committed securities fraud.

In settlement of the SEC and NYSE actions, Southwest has agreed
to pay a total of $10 million, consisting of $2 million in
disgorgement and an $8 million civil money penalty, and to
undertake a number of measures to prevent future misconduct.
The managers have agreed to settlements that include payments of
disgorgement and civil money penalties totaling $275,000, as
well as 12-month suspensions from association with a broker-
dealer or investment adviser in any supervisory capacity.   As
part of the settlement, the firm and the managers neither
admitted nor denied the SEC and NYSE findings. The action is
titled, SEC v. Scott Gann and George Fasciano, Civil Action No.
3:05-CV-063-L, USDC NDTX.]


STARBUCKS CORPORATION: FL Judge Includes Past Employees in Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
A U.S. federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is allowing two
Starbucks Corporation managers to invite others who were
similarly employed in the past three years to join their lawsuit
that contends the coffee chain denied them overtime in violation
of federal law, CJAD, Canada reports.

The plaintiffs, Sean Pendlebury and Laurel Overton, managers at
Starbucks stores in Broward County, were recently authorized by
the court to ask others to join the suit. According to their
lawyer Dan Levine of the law firm of Shapiro, Blasi & Wasserman,
P.A., Starbucks will release the names of all its managers to
the plaintiffs in the next month. He adds, it may take up to
four months to send out notices of the suit to other past and
current Starbucks employees who were managers and worked more
than 40 hours a week and also points out that the effort has not
been granted class-action status.

The managers, who are seeking unspecified damages, told the CJAD
that they are paid salaries that are higher than what most
hourly wage clerks earn, but estimated that less than 10 per
cent of their time was spent on managerial tasks - and that,
they contend, does not make them exempt from overtime pay.

As previously reported in the June 11, 2004 issue of the Class
Action Reporter, Starbucks managers Sean Pendlebury and Laurel
Overton filed the suit alleging that they were forced to work
unpaid overtime. They claim that though there work is similar to
baristas, the coffee-brewing sales clerks as store managers they
also had to do their managerial duties like ordering supplies
and other such tasks, which could not be completed during
regular hours.

Previously, the Seattle-based chain with more than 8,700 stores
worldwide, including Canada, reached a confidential $18 million
US settlement in another overtime suit by California managers
who sued under state wage and hour laws in 2001.


STATE FARM: Reaches $40 Mil Settlement For Car Branding Charges
---------------------------------------------------------------
State Farm Mutual Insurance Co. reached a $40 million nationwide
settlement for a case alleging that some of its employees failed
to "brand" the title of cars destroyed in crashes, New York
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced, according to AP.

The settlement is expected to benefit around 30,000 automobile
owners in various states, who may be eligible for payments
ranging from $400 to $10,000, depending on the value of their
vehicle.  Most payments will be between $800 and $1,850, AG
Spitzer told AP.

Cars that are total losses must be "branded," or permanently
identified, under most state laws. That means future purchasers
of the vehicle if rebuilt would know it was listed as a total
loss in an accident, a fact that can affect its value, AG
Spitzer spokeswoman Christine Pritchard told AP.

A spokesman for State Farm didn't immediately respond to a
request for comment, AP reports.

Current owners in potentially every state in the nation would
get the restitution. The Company was commended by AG Spitzer for
its cooperation and is reviewing its records now to determine
who will receive compensation for buying a car they didn't
realize had been in a serious accident. The Company is working
with state motor vehicle departments.

Current owners eligible for compensation will be contacted by
their home state attorney general's office by the fall, AG
Spitzer said. Consumers should receive the payment later this
year or in early 2006.  State Farm will also pay $1 million for
consumer education, future consumer litigation, public
protection, local consumer aid funds, and attorney fees and
costs.


TELSTRA: ISPs Threatens Firm With Litigation Over TPA Breaches
---------------------------------------------------------------
A group of internet service providers is rallying other ISPs to
start a class action against Telstra, over Telstra's possible
breach of the competition rules of the Trade Practices Act, the
Whirlpool Broadband Multimedia reports.

The Trade Practices Act allows individuals or companies to start
court proceedings within three years of a breach of the
competition rule to recover loss and damage suffered as a result
of the breach. A 'Part A' notice was served on Telstra by the
competition watchdog for anti-competitive behavior on March 20,
2004.

According to Roger Mangraviti, Managing Director of Independent
Service Providers Pty Ltd, the ISP spearheading the group, "We
only need seven providers to start a class action, which we
[already] have. If we can get 50 or 100 providers to join, we
will have collective bargaining power against Telstra to force
them to supply ADSL at sustainable costs."

However, one industry source expressed some reservation about
the potential legal action: "Surely it is simpler to let the
ACCC decide whether to drop the notice or advance it to a Part B
notice, which would reverse the burden of proof for anyone else
then taking action. That is to say, [a class action] is
potentially a sensible thing to contemplate, just not quite
yet."

Independent Service Providers says the class action is not an
idle threat. Mr. Mangraviti says the group is acting on advice
from Maurice Blackburn Cashman, a national law firm that
specializes in class actions. The group is also considering
using a "litigation funder" to make the class action easier for
ISPs to join. A litigation funder acts like a venture
capitalist, 'investing' in the lawsuit by paying all costs on
behalf of the ISP, but taking a substantial share (estimated to
be 30%) of any winnings in return. The closing date for ISPs to
express their interest in the class action is January 31, 2005.


TEXAS: AG Abbott Signs State Farm Nationwide Consumer Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------------
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott signed a settlement that
ensures refunds totaling up to $10 million to Texans who
unknowingly purchased vehicles that were previously damaged and
deemed total losses by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance
Co.

The Company, which voluntarily notified Attorney General Abbott
and other state attorneys general of the problem, failed to
"identify" or "brand" the titles of some vehicles that had been
salvaged or damaged when it received the titles from the
original owners, as required by law.  The vehicles were then
sold to new owners, who may have been unaware the vehicles had
been totaled by State Farm because the titles were not branded
properly. Such sales occurred as far back as June 1997.

"This is an unfortunate situation, but I am pleased the Company
has come forward to correct its error," said Attorney General
Abbott.  "Texans who unknowingly purchased one of these
previously damaged vehicles will be notified in writing and will
be offered an amount by State Farm that approximately covers
their loss - that is, the loss of vehicle value that resulted
from an incorrectly branded title. Consumers can either accept
the amount offered or pursue their own claims."

Texas joined seven other states - California, Florida, Illinois,
Iowa, Nebraska, New York and South Carolina - in spearheading
the settlement, which totals $40 million nationwide.  Texans
will likely account for an estimated 25 percent of vehicle
owners affected by the agreement, and can expect compensation
ranging from $400 to $20,000, depending on the current average
retail value of their vehicles and the total number of claims.

According to the settlement, State Farm will track vehicle
identification numbers of damaged vehicles sold in this manner
and will notify the owners their titles may be faulty.
Interested consumers can then file with the claims administrator
for the compensation offered.

The claims process will occur over the next several months, as
State Farm works with motor vehicle departments in the various
states to obtain the necessary title information. Refunds will
be issued after the claims process is completed.

For more details, contact Angela Hale, Paco Felici, Jerry
Strickland, or Tom Kelley by Phone: (512) 463-2050.


UNITEDHEALTH GROUP: Supreme Court Lets Suit Against HMOs Stand
--------------------------------------------------------------
In the case, UnitedHealth Group v. Klay, 04-522, which is
accusing six health maintenance organizations of fraud, the
Supreme Court recently declined to consider the proper standards
for allowing individuals to file class-action lawsuits against
corporations, the Associated Press reports.

Without comment, justices let stand an 11th U.S. Circuit Court
of Appeals ruling that certified a nationwide class-action suit
on behalf of more than 600,000 doctors against the HMOs under a
federal conspiracy statute.

The high court's action virtually allows the lawsuit to proceed
in federal court in Miami, where the doctors have alleged that
the HMOs conspired from 1990 to 2002 to program their computers
to systematically underpay doctors for their services.

The HMOs had argued the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit certified the
nationwide class action without a "rigorous inquiry" into
whether the individual lawsuits were similar enough to be
grouped together. According to the HMOs, such a loose standard
is unfair because a court's certification of a class-action suit
often pressures corporate defendants to settle for fear of a
large judgment against them.

The HMOs named in the lawsuit include United HealthGroup, Humana
Inc., Health Net Inc., PacifiCare Health Systems, the Prudential
Insurance Company of America and WellPoint Health Networks Inc.


UNITED STATES: High Court Upholds Affirmation of HMO Litigation
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Supreme Court denied certiorari confirming the
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals' earlier ruling in support of
the United States District Court Judge Federico Moreno's class
certification in the landmark RICO lawsuit filed by the nation's
doctors against leading HMOs. The RICO case was filed by doctors
and state medical associations to combat widespread and chronic
contractual abuses by many of the nation's largest for profit
HMOs.

The three judge eleventh circuit panel noted in its earlier
affirmation that: "(T)his trial is not about the managed care
industry; it is about whether several large HMOs conspired to
systematically underpay doctors. The issue is not whether
managed care is wrong, but whether particular managed care
companies failed to live up to their agreements. The plaintiffs
are seeking nothing more than the compensatory damages to which
they are contractually entitled, and the treble damages to which
they are statutorily entitled.... (M)ore importantly, however,
if their fears are truly justified, the defendants can blame no
one but themselves. It would be unjust to allow corporations to
engage in rampant and systematic wrongdoing, and then allow them
to avoid a class action because the consequences of being held
accountable for their misdeeds would be financially ruinous. We
are courts of justice, and can give the defendants only that
which they deserve; if they wish special favors such as
protection from high -- though deserved -- verdicts, they must
turn to Congress."

"This is an unqualified and unprecedented victory for America's
hard working and heroic Physicians. The HMOs have nowhere else
to go and the stage is set for true and significant healthcare
reform," noted Archie Lamb, co-lead counsel for the over 900,000
physician members of the class. "The doctors' charges of fraud
and racketeering against the HMOs are consistent throughout the
country and are completely appropriate for class certification
as now confirmed by our nations highest court," concluded Lamb.

The case is being heard in the United States District Court,
Southern District of Florida, Miami Division: MDL No. 1334;
Master File No. 00-1334-MD-Moreno. Additional background
information on the case can be found at:
http://www.hmocrisis.com.


UNITED STATES: Republicans Say Reform Bills To See Quick Action
---------------------------------------------------------------
Republicans in the U.S. Senate, emboldened by their wider
majority, have announced they will try to quickly push through
two pieces of legislation of crucial interest to insurers: bills
that would end asbestos lawsuits and sharply curb the number of
class-action suits.

For two years, the GOP, asbestos manufacturers and the insurance
industry have tried unsuccessfully to enact a measure that would
bar further asbestos lawsuits in exchange for a multibillion-
dollar trust fund that would compensate asbestos victims. But
the week of Jan. 3, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the incoming
chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced he would
hold hearings on the bill soon with a goal of having it ready
for a vote by late January or early February.

Specter said he would hold the first hearings on the bill on
Jan. 11, after his committee finishes confirmation hearings on
the nomination of Alberto Gonzales as attorney general.

Last year, then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.,
pushed for an asbestos bill with a $141 billion trust fund, to
be funded by businesses and insurers. Republicans rejected that
amount as too high. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.,
countered with a $124 billion trust fund, but Democrats said
that amount was too little.

Specter's office hasn't said how large the trust fund in his
bill will be. He did, however, announce that he planned to
release a draft of the bill sometime the week of Jan. 3.

Frist, meanwhile, has announced that the Class Action Fairness
Act, S.1751, will be the first notable bill the full Senate
takes up in the new Congress, either in late January or early
February.

The bill had the support of 62 senators by the end of the last
Congress -- two more than the 60 needed to override any
filibuster threats -- but disputes over procedural matters kept
it from reaching the Senate floor for a vote.

Supporters tout the legislation as a fix for a variety of abuses
in the country's court system, mainly by shifting most class-
action lawsuits from the state courts, where they now are heard,
to the federal court system. The bill also enacts a number of
changes to how such cases are handled, requiring closer judicial
scrutiny of so-called "coupon" or non-cash settlements and
protecting class members who win from suffering a net loss
because of high attorney fees. The measure also mandates
simplified settlement information for class members.

Both opponents and supporters of the class-action legislation
agree that the bill would result in far fewer class-action
lawsuits being filed. Opponents of the bill, however, say that
worthy class actions would be thrown out and that the
overarching effect of the legislation would be to harm victims
and shield corporations from being sued for wrongdoing.


WORLDCOM INC.: U.S. Supreme Court Decline To Hear CalPERS' Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS)
must proceed with its securities fraud lawsuit on behalf of
WorldCom bondholders in federal, rather than state, court, after
the U.S. Supreme Court recently chose not to review the
jurisdictional matter, the E-Commerce Times reports.

Two federal statutes had disagreed on which court should hear
the litigation. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in New
York, had ruled that the lawsuit belongs in federal court
because it is "related to" the telecom giant's bankruptcy case,
but the recent decision by the Supreme Court is contrary to the
appellate court's decision. The Supreme Court case is entitled,
California Public Employees' Retirement System v. Ebbers, 04-
366.

That lower court ruling consolidated the CalPERS' suit with
separate class-action filings in federal court in New York
against WorldCom, its officers, bond underwriters, directors,
accountants and research analysts by investors who lost billions
in the aftermath of WorldCom's multibillion-dollar accounting
scandal in 2002.

According to Steve Kardell, an attorney at the Dallas law firm
of Clouse Dunn Hirsch and who is also an adjunct professor of
law at the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law,
this ruling provides a more favorable environment for WorldCom,
which emerged from bankruptcy last year and now operates under
the name MCI in Ashburn, Virginia. He further explained to the
E-Commerce Times, the "The reason the plaintiffs wanted to be in
state court is because the pleading standards are much more
lenient from the plaintiff's perspective." He added: "As an
example, a federal securities class action had some time ago
been thrown out in Mississippi by a federal judge. Many
commentators thought that the judge's decision was incredible,
but we presume that the judge followed the law in terms of
pleading standards in federal court, which are far more
defendant-favorable than they would be in state court."

Furthermore, Mr. Kardell explained to the E-Commerce Times that
the reason the pleading standard in federal courts is so tough,
is because of the Securities Reform Act of 1995, which
considerably raised the pleading standard and burden of proof
for plaintiffs in federal securities lawsuits.

WorldCom's stock rose in the wake of the Supreme Court's action,
and according to Mr. Kardell that "stands to reason" because the
prospects just got a little better for the telecom giant.

In other related developments, the Supreme Court just comes a
day after an attorney for Alabama's pension system announced a
settlement in the fund's suit against Bear Stearns Cos. The
pension fund sought US$16.2 million from Bear Stearns to recoup
losses stemming from the WorldCom bankruptcy.

Further, last week 10 former WorldCom board members agreed to
pay $54 million out of their pockets to settle their portion of
a related lawsuit last week.


WYETH PHARMACEUTICALS: Supports Revision To Fen-Phen Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------
Drugmaker Wyeth has recently stated that it will support a
revision to a settlement compensating thousands, who suffered
heart valve damage after taking the fen-phen diet drug
combination, the Associated Press reports.

According to the Company, it did not exercise an option to
reject the change, since nearly all of the users in the case
chose to participate in a new, additional $1.275 billion fund,
which offers swifter but possibly lower payouts, instead of
pursuing individual lawsuits.

Lawrence V. Stein, Wyeth senior vice president and general
counsel clarifies, "The proposed amendment ensures that the
large majority of class members who have less serious claims
will receive compensation on a streamlined basis. And it
preserves funds in the existing Trust for the more serious
claims. It also would help resolve much of the uncertainty that
has surrounded the diet drug settlement -- for both class
members and for Wyeth."

Michael Fishbein, one of the lead lawyers in the class-action
lawsuit for the thousands of people who took the compound, said
the Company's decision was "expected and welcomed." He explains,
"It brings a lot of additional money to the settlement
agreement," and allows both sides to move on to a January 18
hearing before U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III in
Philadelphia.

The proposed revision, which is known as the Seventh Amendment,
was devised in May and tentatively approved by Judge Bartle in
August. It would apply to about 40,000 people who suffered non-
life-threatening valve damage from taking the drug combination.
Some 5.8 million Americans used the compound. The amendment was
crafted following complaints about the claims review process,
and concerns that so many people had filed claims that it could
exhaust the original $3.75 billion settlement fund, formed in
1999, before all were compensated.

Madison, N.J.-based Wyeth, formerly known as American Home
Products, made Pondimin, the fenfluramine half of fen-phen, and
a chemical cousin, Redux. It pulled Pondimin and Redux from the
market in September 1997 amid reports some users had heart valve
damage and a few had a deadly lung condition. Fen-phen was never
an FDA-approved combination, and the phentermine half is still
sold.

Of the nearly $17 billion that Wyeth has set aside for fen-phen
payouts and legal costs, some $3 billion remains. The Company
may say whether it expects to increase the reserve when it
releases its quarterly earnings report on January 31.



                Meetings, Conferences & Seminars



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

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

January 20-21, 2005
VIOXXr LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
Wyndham Philadelphia at Franklin Plaza Hotel, Philadelphia
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

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

January 24-25, 2005
THIRD ANNUAL ADVANCED INSURANCE COVERAGE CONFERENCE: TOP TEN
ISSUES
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Philadelphia
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

January 31-February 01, 2005
LEXISNEXIS PRESENTS DEFENSE STRATEGIES IN PHARMACEUTICAL
LITIGATION
CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Phoenix, AZ
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

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

January 31-February 1, 2005
IMPLEMENTING CORPORATE GOVERNANCE INITIATIVES, FINANCIAL
CONTROLS AND
INFORMATION MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES TO ENSURE REGULATORY
COMPLIANCE FOR THE
INSURANCE INDUSTRY
American Conferences
New York Marriott Marquis, New York, NY
Contact: http://www.americanconference.com

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

February 10-11, 2005
CLINICAL TRIALS
American Conferences
New York, NY
Contact: http://www.americanconference.com

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

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

February 17-19, 2005
INSURANCE COVERAGE LITIGATION COMMITTEE MEETING
American Bar Association
Phoenix, AZ
Contact: 800-285-2221; abasvcctr@abanet.org

February 22-23, 2005
INSURANCE COVERAGE 2005: CLAIM TRENDS & LITIGATION
New York, NY
Practising Law Institute
Contact: 800-260-4PLI; 212-824-5710; info@pli.edu

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

February 28 - March 1, 2005
REINSURANCE ARBITRATIONS
American Conferences
New York, NY
Contact: http://www.americanconference.com

February 28 - March 1, 2005
INSURANCE LITIGATION 101
Mealey Publications
The Rittenhouse Hotel, Philadelphia
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

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

March 3-4, 2005
TRANSPORTATION MEGACONFERENCE VII
American Bar Association
New Orleans, LA
Contact: 800-285-2221; abasvcctr@abanet.org

March 3-5, 2005
LITIGATING DISABILITY INSURANCE CLAIMS
American Conferences
Coral Gables
Contact: http://www.americanconference.com

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

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

March 7-8, 2005
CLASS ACTIONS
American Conferences
San Francisco
Contact: http://www.americanconference.com

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

March 14-15, 2005
WELDING ROD LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz Carlton Phoenix, Phoenix AZ
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

March 17-18, 2005
Mass Torts Made Perfect
The Plaza New York, New York
Mass Torts Made Perfect
Contact: 1-800-320-2227; 850-436-6094

March 18, 2005
CONFERENCE ON INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES LITIGATION
American Bar Association
New York
Contact: 800-285-2221; abasvcctr@abanet.org


March 31-April 1, 2005
THE 4TH INTERNATIONAL ADVANCED FORUM ON RUN-OFF AND COMMUTATIONS
American Conferences
The Warwick New York Hotel, New York, NY
Contact: http://www.americanconference.com

April 4-5, 2005
MANAGED CARE LIABILITY
Mealey Publications
The Four Seasons Hotel, Philadelphia
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

April 7-8, 2005
THE 4TH NATIONAL ADVANCED GUIDE TO CONSUMER FINANCE LITIGATION
AND CLASS
ACTIONS
American Conferences
Le Meridien , Chicago, IL
Contact: http://www.americanconference.com

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

April 18-19, 2005
ENVIRONMENTAL LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Four Seasons Hotel, Houston
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

May 2005
INTERNATIONAL ASBESTOS CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
London, England
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

May 11, 2005
BROKER AND INSURANCE COMPANY PRACTICES AND LIABILITIES
CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Boston
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

May 12-13, 2005
ADDITIONAL INSURED CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Boston
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

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

May 16-17, 2005
RUN-OFFS SEMINAR
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Boston
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

May 16-17, 2005
ADDITIONAL INSURED CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel & Spa, Pasadena CA
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

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

June 9-10, 2005
NURSING HOME LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Amelia Island
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

June 9-10, 2005
ASBESTOS BANKRUPTCY CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Chicago
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

June 13-14, 2005
PPA & EPHEDRA LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, New Orleans
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

June 13-14, 2005
DRUG LITIGATION 101
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, New Orleans
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

June 13-14, 2005
MOLD LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Marina Del-Ray, CA
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com

August 25-26, 2005
PRODUCTS LIABILITY
ALI-ABA
City to be announced
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

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

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

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



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

January 01-31, 2004
HBA PRESENTS: AUTOMOBILE LITIGATION: DISPUTES AMONG
CONSUMERS, DEALERS, FINANCE COMPANIES AND FLOORPLANNERS
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

January 01-31, 2004
CONSTRUCTION DISPUTES: TEXAS RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION DEFECT
LIABILITY
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

January 01-31, 2004
HBA PRESENTS: ETHICS IN PERSONAL INJURY
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

January 01-31, 2004
IN-HOUSE COUNSEL AND WRONGFUL DISCHARGE CLAIMS:
CONFLICT WITH CONFIDENTIALITY?
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

January 01-31, 2004
BAYLOR LAW SCHOOL PRESENTS: 2004 GENERAL PRACTICE INSTITUTE --
FAMILY LAW, DISCIPLINARY SYSTEM, CIVIL LITIGATION, INSURANCE
& CONSUMER LAW UPDATES
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

January 11, 2005
WHY OUR CLIENTS' INSURANCE POLICIES MAY NO LONGER MEET THEIR
GREATEST NEEDS AND WHAT THEY CAN DO ABOUT IT
ABA-CLE
Contact:  800-285-2221


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RECOVERIES
Big Class Action
Contact: seminars@bigclassaction.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                   New Securities Fraud Cases


AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York on behalf of purchasers of American
International Group, Inc. (NYSE:AIG) publicly traded securities
during the period between October 28, 1999 and October 13, 2004.

The complaint charges AIG and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. AIG is a holding Company that, through its subsidiaries,
is engaged in a range of insurance and insurance-related
activities in the United States and abroad.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
disseminated false and misleading financial statements to the
investing public.  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 paying illegal and concealed
         "contingent commissions" pursuant to illegal
         "contingent commission agreements;"

     (2) that by concealing these "contingent commissions" and
         such "contingent commission agreements" the defendants
         violated applicable principles of fiduciary law,
         subjecting the Company to enormous fines and penalties
         totaling potentially tens, if not hundreds, of millions
         of dollars;

     (3) that defendants had concealed the fact that AIG had
         engaged in illegal transactions using PNC-style
         structures with at least five additional insurers (in
         addition to PNC), contrary to defendants' claims on
         January 30, 2002; and

     (4) that as a result, the Company's prior reported revenue
         and income was grossly overstated.

On October 14, 2004, Elliot Spitzer announced he had charged
several of the nation's largest insurance companies and the
largest broker with bid rigging and pay-offs he claimed violated
fraud and competition laws. On this news, AIG shares fell $6.80
to $60.19 on unusually heavy trading volume of approximately 50
million shares.

For more details, contact Marc S. Henzel, 273 Montgomery Ave.,
Suite 202, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004, Phone: 610.660.8000 or
888.643.6735 (toll-free) by Fax: 610.660.8080 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com


AON CORPORATION: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Suit in N.D. IL
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois on behalf of purchasers of Aon Corp. (NYSE:
AOC) publicly traded securities during the period between
October 31, 2002 and October 18, 2004.

The complaint charges Aon and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. Aon, through its various subsidiaries worldwide, serves
its clients through three operating segments: Risk and Insurance
Brokerage Services, Consulting and Insurance Underwriting.

The complaint alleges that Aon and its top officers violated the
federal securities laws by disseminating false and misleading
statements concerning the Company's results and operations. 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 receiving illegal and concealed
         "contingent commissions" pursuant to illegal
         "contingent commission agreements";

     (2) that by concealing these "contingent commissions" and
         such "contingent commission agreements," the defendants
         violated applicable principles of fiduciary law,
         subjecting the Company to enormous fines and penalties
         totaling potentially tens -- if not hundreds -- of
         millions of dollars; and

     (3) that as a result, Company's prior reported revenue and
         income was grossly overstated.

On October 14, 2004, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer
announced he had charged several of the nation's largest
insurance companies and the largest broker with bid rigging and
pay-offs that he claimed violated fraud and competition laws.
Upon revelation of these illegal acts, the Company's shares fell
to $23.03, a loss of 16%. Then on October 19, 2004, The Wall
Street Journal published an article on Spitzer's investigation
of Aon which stated that the reinsurance business, or insurance
policies for insurance companies, was the focus of the probe,
because Spitzer suspected Aon's insurance-buying clients may not
have received the best deal. On these revelations, the Company's
shares fell again, from $21.20 to $19.20, a drop of 9%.

For more details, contact Marc S. Henzel, 273 Montgomery Ave.,
Suite 202, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004, Phone: 610.660.8000 or
888.643.6735 (toll-free) by Fax: 610.660.8080 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com


ASPEN TECHNOLOGY: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in MA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the United States
District Court for the District of Massachusetts on behalf of
purchasers of Aspen Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: AZPN) common stock
during the period between August 8, 2000 and October 29, 2004.

The complaint charges Aspen Technology, Inc. and certain of its
officers and directors with violations of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934. Defendant AspenTech describes itself as
the "leading supplier of integrated software and services to the
process industries, which consist of oil and gas, petroleum,
chemicals, pharmaceuticals and other industries that manufacture
and produce products from a chemical process."

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

     (1) that the Company had improperly and prematurely
         recognized revenue for certain software license and
         service agreement transactions entered into with
         certain alliance partners and other customers during
         fiscal years 2000-2002 and possibly other periods;

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

     (3) that as a result of the foregoing, the values of the
         Company's revenues, earnings, assets and/or liabilities
         for fiscal years 2000-2002 and possibly other periods
         were materially overstated and may have to be restated.

On October 27, 2004, the Company shocked the market when it
issued a press release announcing that its Audit Committee had
undertaken a detailed review of the accounting for certain
software license and service agreement transactions entered into
with certain alliance partners and other customers during fiscal
years 2000-2002. The press release continued stating that the
review could lead to a restatement and that the Audit Committee
was reassessing the time periods in which revenue was recognized
for these transactions and whether any of these transactions
have prior or current material financial statement impact.

Upon this shocking news, on October 28, 2004, shares of the
Company's stock fell to an intraday low of $5.50 per share, or
approximately 20%, before closing at $6.68 per share, on
unusually heavy trading volume.

Then, on October 29, 2004, the Company announced that federal
prosecutors launched a probe into the Company's accounting
practices from 2000 through 2002. The Company said it received a
subpoena from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern
District of New York requesting documents relating to
transactions that it entered into during those years, and other
documents dating from January 1, 1999.

Upon this shocking news, shares of the Company's stock fell an
additional $0.67, or approximately 10%, to close at $6.01, on
unusually heavy trading volume.

For more details, contact Marc S. Henzel, 273 Montgomery Ave.,
Suite 202, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004, Phone: 610.660.8000 or
888.643.6735 (toll-free) by Fax: 610.660.8080 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com


ATHEROGENICS INC.: Milberg Weiss Lodges Securities Suit in GA
-------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP initiated a
class action lawsuit on behalf of purchasers of the securities
of AtheroGenics, Inc. ("AtheroGenics" or the "Company") (NASDAQ:
AGIX) between September 27, 2004 and December 31, 2004
inclusive, (the "Class Period"), seeking to pursue remedies
under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act").

The action is pending in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Georgia against defendants
AtheroGenics, Michael Henos, Russell Medford, Mark Colonnese,
and Robert Scott. The complaint alleges that throughout the
Class Period, Defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder. The class period begins on September 27, 2004 after
Defendants announced the interim results of a CART 2 study of
its AGI-1067 drug. The Complaint alleges, among other things,
that the Company's statements regarding the CART 2 study of AGI-
1067 were false and misleading because the interim results were
incomplete, misleading and resulted from manipulation of the
study. Plaintiffs claim that Defendants were motivated to
manipulate the study to produce results that would induce a
major pharmaceutical Company to partner with it to complete the
development and commercialization of AGI-1067. In response to
Defendants' promotion of the misleading interim results,
Atherogenics' stock price skyrocketed, rising 71% on unusually
heavy trading volume.

On November 22, 2004, Defendants were forced to admit that the
percentage of regression of plaque in patients using AGI-1067
was only slightly more than half as much as had been reported in
the interim results Defendants had heavily promoted just two
months earlier. In addition, Defendants revealed that the Phase
IIb results showed that the relative difference between
treatment with AGI-1067 and Standard of Care regime was not
statistically significant. The market was stunned, and the stock
price plummeted. Then, on January 3, 2005, the Company announced
that it had decided to increase the number of patients in the
Phase III study for the drug from 4000 to 6000 patients, that
the study would be longer in duration, and that the Company
needed to raise more cash to fund the study. On this news, the
Company's stock fell again, this time 20% to close at $18.72 on
unusually heaving trading. On January 5, 2005, the Company
disclosed in a SEC filing that the SEC and NASD had commenced
informal inquiries into the Company's September 27, 2004
announcement of interim results of the study.

For more details, contact Steven G. Schulman by Mail: One
Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th fl., New York, NY 10119-0165 by Phone:
(800) 320-5081 or by E-mail: sfeerick@milbergweiss.com OR Maya
Saxena by E-mail: msaxena@milbergweiss.com OR Joseph E. White by
E-mail: jwhite@milbergweiss.com or visit their Web site:
http://www.milbergweiss.com.


FOX ENTERTAINMENT: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Stock Suit in DE
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP initiated a class
action lawsuit, challenging the fairness of the recent merger
proposal made by the News Corporation (NYSE: NWS) ("News
Corp."), was filed in the Court of Chancery in the State of
Delaware on behalf of all who held shares of Fox Entertainment
Group, Inc. (NYSE: FOX) ("Fox" or the "Company").

The complaint alleges that on January 10, 2005, Fox announced
that News Corp., which owns approximately 82% of Fox's
outstanding stock, had made a proposal to acquire all of the
Company's common stock that it does not already own in exchange
for 1.90 shares of News Corp's Class A shares (the "Buyout" or
"Buyout Proposal"). According to the complaint, the
consideration offered in the Buyout is wholly inadequate and
fails to offer fair value to the Company's shareholders for
their equity interests in Fox. In fact, the Buyout offers a mere
7% premium over Fox's closing stock price on January 7, 2005,
the last trading date prior to the announcement. Further, the
complaint also alleges that defendants have breached their duty
of loyalty to the Company's stockholders by abusing their
control of Fox to force Plaintiff and the Class to exchange
their equity interest in Fox at an unfair price.

For more details, contact Marc A. Topaz, Esq. or Darren J.
Check, Esq. of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP by Mail: Three Bala
Plaza East, Suite 400, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 by Phone:
1-888-299-7706 (toll free) or 1-610-667-7706 or by E-mail:
info@sbclasslaw.com.


HARTFORD FINANCIAL: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Suit in CT
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the District of
Connecticut on behalf of purchasers of The Hartford Financial
Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: HIG) publicly traded securities
during the period between November 5, 2003 and October 13, 2004.

The complaint charges Hartford Financial and certain of its
officers and directors with violations of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934. Hartford Financial is a diversified
insurance and financial services Company. Through its
subsidiaries, the Company provides investment products and life
and property and casualty insurance to both individual and
business customers in the United States and internationally.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period defendants
disseminated materially false and misleading financial
statements. 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 paying illegal and concealed
         "contingent commissions" pursuant to illegal
         "contingent commission agreements;"

     (2) that by concealing these "contingent commissions" and
         such "contingent commission agreements" the defendants
         violated applicable principles of fiduciary law,
         subjecting the Company to enormous fines and penalties
         totaling potentially tens, if not hundreds, of millions
         of dollars; and

     (3) that as a result, the Company's prior reported revenue
         and income was grossly overstated.

On October 14, 2004, New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer
announced that he had charged several of the nation's largest
insurance companies and the largest broker with bid rigging and
pay-offs that he claimed violated fraud and competition laws. On
these revelations, the Company's shares fell to $56 per share, a
drop of 9%.

For more details, contact Marc S. Henzel, 273 Montgomery Ave.,
Suite 202, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004, Phone: 610.660.8000 or
888.643.6735 (toll-free) by Fax: 610.660.8080 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com


IMPAX LABORATORIES: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Lawsuit in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California on behalf of purchasers of IMPAX
Laboratories, Inc. (NASDAQ: IPXL) common stock during the period
between May 5, 2004 and November 3, 2004.

The complaint charges IMPAX and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. IMPAX is a technology-based, specialty pharmaceutical
Company focused on the development and commercialization of
generic and brand name pharmaceuticals.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
caused IMPAX shares to trade at artificially inflated levels
through the issuance of false and misleading financial
statements. As a result of this inflation, defendants were able
to engage in an insider trading scheme for proceeds of more than
$32 million.

On November 3, 2004, the Company issued a press release
announcing that the "Company has postponed its release of 2004
third quarter financial results to Tuesday, November 9, 2004 in
order to allow its independent auditors more time to complete
their review of the Company's third quarter financial
statements, including the timing of certain customer credits on
bupropion products marketed by a strategic partner." On this
news, the Company's shares plummeted from $13 to $10.07, a one
day decline of 23% on volume of 4.6 million shares. Then, on
November 9, 2004, IMPAX announced that its 2004 results would be
restated.

For more details, contact Marc S. Henzel, 273 Montgomery Ave.,
Suite 202, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004, Phone: 610.660.8000 or
888.643.6735 (toll-free) by Fax: 610.660.8080 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com


JAKKS PACIFIC: Marc Henzel Lodges Securities Lawsuit in S.D. NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf
of purchasers of JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAKK) common stock
during the period between February 17, 2004 and October 19,
2004.

The complaint charges JAKKS and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. JAKKS describes itself as a multi-line, multi-brand toy
Company that designs, develops, produces and markets toys and
related products.

The complaint alleges that, throughout the Class Period,
defendants issued numerous positive statements concerning the
increasing sales of JAKKS's products licensed through the World
Wrestling Entertainment Inc. ("WWE"). As alleged in the
complaint, these statements were materially false and misleading
because defendants knew, but failed to disclose:

     (1) that the WWE was contending that the WWE licenses had
         been obtained through a pattern of commercial bribery;

     (2) that the Company's relationship with the WWE was being
         negatively impacted by the WWE's contention that the
         licenses it had granted to the Company were improperly
         obtained; and

     (3) given the foregoing, the Company was subject to the
         heightened risk that the WWE would seek some
         modification to its WWE licensing agreements or
         complete nullification of those agreements, which would
         negatively impact the Company's future financial
         results.

On October 19, 2004, JAKKS issued a press release announcing
that it was "engaged in discussions with WWE concerning the
restructuring of its toy license and with WWE and THQ with
respect to the restructuring of the JAKKS THQ Joint Venture
video games license agreement with WWE." In response to the
announcement of the problems with the WWE licenses, the price of
JAKKS stock declined from $24.15 per share to $18.81 per share.
Then, after the market closed for trading, it was reported that
the WWE had just filed a lawsuit against JAKKS which alleged
that the videogame license and certain toy licenses that the WWE
previously granted to JAKKS were obtained through a pattern of
racketeering and commercial bribery and seeking, among other
things, that the licensing agreements be declared void.
Following this announcement, on the next day of trading, the
price of JAKKS common stock continued to fall 10:39 AM
11/11/2004 to close at $12.96 per share on extremely heavy
trading volume.

For more details, contact Marc S. Henzel, 273 Montgomery Ave.,
Suite 202, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004, Phone: 610.660.8000 or
888.643.6735 (toll-free) by Fax: 610.660.8080 or by E-Mail:
mhenzel182@aol.com


PFIZER INC.: Alfred G. Yates Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Office of Alfred G. Yates Jr., PC initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York on behalf of all purchasers of the
common stock of Pfizer, Inc. ("Pfizer" or the "Company")
(NYSE:PFE) between November 1, 2000 and December 16, 2004,
inclusive, (the "Class Period").

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants'
issued false and misleading statements and omissions concerning
the safety and marketability of Pfizer's Celebrex and Bextra
products. At all times during the Class Period, defendants were
aware that Celebrex and Bextra, drugs known as "Cox-2
inhibitors", posed serious undisclosed health risks to
consumers. Defendants knew or recklessly disregarded that the
undisclosed health risks posed by these drugs would limit their
marketability, and that potential financial liability Pfizer
faced from the harms these drugs caused posed a serious threat
to the Company's financial condition. Nonetheless, defendants
concealed these facts from the investing public, causing
Pfizer's stock to trade at artificially inflated levels
including a class period high of $48.06 per share, thereby
damaging Plaintiff and the Class.

On December 17, 2004, Pfizer announced it had "received new
information ... about the cardiovascular safety of its COX-2
inhibitor Celebrex (celecoxib) based on an analysis of two long-
term cancer trials." On this news, Pfizer shares fell to as low
as $22 per share.

For more details, contact Alfred G. Yates, Jr. by Phone:
1-800-391-5164 or by E-mail: yateslaw@aol.com.


TASER INTERNATIONAL: Lerach Coughlin Files Securities Suit in AZ
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins
LLP ("Lerach Coughlin") initiated a class action lawsuit in the
United States District Court for the District of Arizona on
behalf of purchasers of TASER International, Inc. ("TASER")
(NASDAQ:TASR) common stock during the period between November 4,
2004 and January 6, 2005 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges TASER and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. TASER purports to provide advanced non-lethal devices for
use in the law enforcement, military, private security and
personal defense markets.

The complaint alleges that, throughout the Class Period,
defendants issued numerous statements concerning the: increasing
demand for the Company's Taser devices and the positive results
of studies that were conducted regarding the safety of the
Company's products. As alleged in the complaint, these
statements were materially false and misleading because they
failed to disclose:

     (1) that, contrary to defendants' representations, the
         studies conducted on the Company's Taser devices were
         inconclusive as to the safety of the devices;

     (2) that the Company's revenues and earnings would be
         negatively impacted once the truth of these studies
         became known;

     (3) that the "last minute" order of Taser devices the
         Company had received from one of its distributors was
         done to help the Company meet its sales goals for the
         quarter and was not indicative of the true demand for
         the Company's products; and

     (4) based on the foregoing, defendants had no reasonable
         basis for their positive statements regarding the
         safety of, and demand for, the Company's products.

On January 6, 2005, after the close of the market, defendants
disclosed that they were in receipt of an informal inquiry
letter from the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the
Company's statements about the safety of its products and a
recent order received from one of its distributors. Market
reaction to this announcement was swift and severe. On January
7, 2005, shares of TASER common stock closed at $22.72 per
share, a decline of $4.90 per share, or 18%, from the previous
day's close.

For more details, contact Samuel H. Rudman or David A. Rosenfeld
of Lerach Coughlin by Phone: 800/449-4900 or 619/231-1058 or by
E-mail: wsl@lerachlaw.com or visit their Web site:
http://www.lerachlaw.com/cases/taser/.



                            *********


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

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

                            *********


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Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
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Copyright 2005.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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