CAR_Public/050222.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Tuesday, February 22, 2005, Vol. 7, No. 37

                          Headlines

AIG: OH A.G. Petro Retains Firms to Represent Pension Systems
APPLE COMPUTER: Consumers, Resellers Launch Fraud Lawsuit in CA
ARKANSAS: Trial For Amendment 59 Suit Set To Begin On April 26
AUGUST TECHNOLOGY: Suit Initiated in MN Over Nanometrics Merger
AUNT KITTY'S: Recalls 4,275lbs of Soup For Undeclared Allergen

AXONYX INC.: Shareholders Launch Securities Lawsuits in S.D. NY
CANADA: Suits Filed V. Aviva, Lombard, Royal For Denying Claims
CYTYC CORPORATION: Asks MA Court To Dismiss Securities Lawsuit
DYNEX CAPITAL: Shareholders Launch Securities Suits in S.D. NY
ELECTRONIC SPORTS: CA Employees Lodge Second Overtime Wage Suit

ELI LILLY: Stevensons Barristers Lodges Zyprexa Suit in Alberta
FORD MOTOR: Law Firms File Fifth Defective Door Latch Suit in MA
GE CAPITAL: Judge Grants NorVergence Deal Initial Approval
GOOD HUMOR-BREYERS: Suit Filed V. "All-Natural" Ice Cream Pledge
GUANTANAMO DETAINEES: Rights Group Files Suit For 500 Detainees

GUIDANT CORPORATION: IN Court Dismisses Securities Fraud Lawsuit
HEWLETT PACKARD: Consumer Lodges GA Suit Over Printer Technology
HIBERNIA FOODS: Trial Set To Begin in NY Over "Sham Accounts"
HYPERCOM CORPORATION: Shareholders Launch Securities Suits in AZ
INSPIRE PHARMACEUTICALS: Shareholders Launch Stock Suits in NC

IOWA: Court Rejects Illegal Aliens' Suit Over Driver's Licenses
LOCKERBIE BOMBING: Libya Refuses To Meet Compensation Deadline
MASSACHUSETTS: Activists Launch Suits Over Deceptive Advertising
MCI INC.: Shareholder Files Suit in DE V. $6.8B Verizon Takeover
MERCK & CO.: KS Resident Lodges Wrongful-Death Suit Over Vioxx

NATIONAL WESTERN: CA Suit Filed V. Sale Of Annuities To Elders
NEW JERSEY: Paterson Diocese Reaches Clergy Sex Abuse Settlement
OHIO CITIZENS: Celebrates Passage Of Class Action Fairness Act
UNITED STATES: President Bush Signs Class Action Fairness Act
UNITED STATES: ABC Members Applaud The Passage Of Lawsuit Curbs

UNITED STATES: DRI Hails Passage Of Class Action Fairness Act
UNITED STATES: SBA Administrator Hails Passage Of Lawsuit Curbs
SINA CORPORATION: Shareholders Lodge Securities Suits in S.D. NY
VEECO COMPANY: Shareholders Commence Securities Fraud Lawsuits

                  New Securities Fraud Cases

51JOB INC.: Stull Stull Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
AXONYX INC.: Stull Stull Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
DIRECT GENERAL: Barrett Johnston Lodges Securities Suit in TN
DIRECT GENERAL: Stull & Stull Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in TN
SIERRA WIRELESS: Lerach Coughlin Lodges Securities Suit in NY

SINA CORPORATION: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in S.D. NY
TASER INTERNATIONAL: Federman & Sherwood Lodges Stock Suit in AZ
TASER INTERNATIONAL: Murray Frank Lodges Stock Fraud Suit in AZ
TASER INTERNATIONAL: Pomerantz Haudek Lodges Stock Suit in AZ
TASER INTERNATIONAL: Spector Roseman Files Securities Suit in AZ

UNITEDGLOBALCOM: Faruqi & Faruqi Lodges Stock Fraud Suit in DE
UNITEDGLOBAL INC.: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Stock Suit in DE
VEECO INSTRUMENTS: Lerach Coughlin Lodges Securities Suit in NY


                         *********


AIG: OH A.G. Petro Retains Firms to Represent Pension Systems
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Attorney General of Ohio, Jim Petro, has retained Hahn
Loeser & Parks LLP, who has associated with Goodkind Labaton
Rudoff & Sucharow LLP, to assist Attorney General Jim Petro in
representing three of Ohio's retirement systems as lead
plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against American
International Group, Inc. (AIG).

Litigation was commenced against AIG after it was implicated in
Eliot Spitzer's investigation of the insurance industry for
alleged bid-rigging and other fraudulent behavior.

"We intend to vigorously prosecute the case on behalf of all
participants and beneficiaries affected by unfair practices in
the insurance industry. Our goal is to help deter future
violations of securities laws so that all shareholders are
protected from fraudulent activities," stated Thomas A. Dubbs of
Goodkind Labaton. Goodkind Labaton is also representing several
other state pension funds for the State of New Mexico in other
insurance fraud cases filed against The St. Paul Travelers
Companies.

Preliminary damage estimates for the Ohio Public Employees
Retirement System, the State Teachers Employees Retirement
System of Ohio, and the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund range
between $75 and $80 million, while damages to the entire class
could be billions of dollars.

The class action is currently pending in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York.


APPLE COMPUTER: Consumers, Resellers Launch Fraud Lawsuit in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
A lawsuit seeking class-action status was filed against Apple
Computer, Inc. in San Francisco Superior Court in California,
alleging that it sold used computers as new, setting warranties
to expire prematurely and engaging in unfair business practices
against its authorized resellers, the San Francisco Chronicle
reports.

David Franklin, one of the three attorneys who filed the case,
told the Chronicle the 26-page complaint was hurriedly submitted
to Superior Court after Congress passed a bill that would curb
future class-action lawsuits.

Three California consumers, including a pair of Bay Area
residents, and two former Apple authorized resellers are named
as the class representatives in the suit. Class members would
also include consumers who purchased an Apple computer starting
January 1, 1995. That same date will also apply for dealers.

The lawsuit accuses Apple of not only selling used equipment as
new, but also shortening warranty periods by starting coverage
when the product is shipped to a reseller, not when the
equipment is actually purchased by the consumer. The suit also
alleges Apple didn't get proper state licenses for its repair
and service facilities. Furthermore, the complaint said that
Apple improperly used dealers' own customer lists to solicit
business.

Specifically, the suit alleges that Apple engaged in unlawful
business practices, misappropriation of trade secrets and breach
of contract, and violated the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and
Song Beverly (Consumer Warranty) Act, said Anthony Ferrigno, a
plaintiff attorney.

Joe Weingarten, a former Dayton, Ohio, reseller who is a
plaintiff in the case, told the Chronicle, a class-action
lawsuit is necessary because business owners who sell Apple
products are afraid that if they file individual lawsuits, the
Cupertino firm will terminate their dealer contracts.
Furthermore, Mr. Weingarten, who now heads the Apple Reseller
Association adds, "This is an opportunity to represent all of
the dealers and the consumers who have had problems in one
shot."

The allegations, particularly those made by the resellers, are
similar to civil lawsuits already filed in Santa Clara County
Superior Court. In fact, the lawyers in the class-action case
are also representing Tom Santos, the owner of Macadam in San
Francisco, who has a civil claim against Apple. However, Santos'
complaint will not be folded into the latest lawsuit because he
has other specific issues such as allegations that Apple
participated in anti-competitive practices when it opened a
flagship retail store a few blocks away from Macadam, Franklin
said.


ARKANSAS: Trial For Amendment 59 Suit Set To Begin On April 26
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Benton County Amendment 59 property tax lawsuit, a complex
case expected to address the question of whether taxes are paid
correctly and voluntarily, is set to hit the courts in April,
the Springdale Morning News reports.

The suit, filed in 1997, alleges that property owners in Benton
County were overtaxed.  Dale Evans, one of the attorneys who
filed the class-action suit, told the Morning News that as soon
as it was filed, property taxes in the county were considered
"paid under protest" -- allowing them to be questioned in court.

Taxes paid before then traditionally could not be challenged,
however attorneys are protesting that fact, and the state
Supreme Court in 2000 said they can pursue their argument: That
taxpayers had no way of knowing the assessments were illegal.

Mr. Evans and Kent Hirsch both of whom filed the lawsuit back in
19797, claims local school districts and governments violated
Amendment 59 to the Arkansas Constitution by over collecting
property taxes for several years in the 1990s. Amendment 59
limits the increase in property tax revenue from reappraisals to
10 percent per year for each taxing entity such as a school
district or city. When a taxing entity's revenue collection
would increase more than 10 percent because of property
reappraisal, Amendment 59 triggers a mileage rollback though the
limit does not apply to increases resulting from new
construction or improvements.

If the plaintiffs prevail, millions of dollars could be sucked
out of the operating funds of Rogers and Lowell, NorthWest
Arkansas Community College and school districts in Rogers,
Bentonville, Siloam Springs and Gravette, the Springdale Morning
News reports.  However, defense attorneys vigorously defend
their position: Taxes were paid correctly and voluntarily,
George Spence, who represents the Bentonville School District,
told the Morning News.

Meanwhile, plaintiff's attorneys will be taking depositions from
representatives of Stand Up For Our Schools, a group that formed
a campaign to raise awareness about the lawsuit's potential
impact on area schools.  The trial itself will begin April 26
before Circuit Judge Tom Keith and is expected to last a month,
according to legal observers.


AUGUST TECHNOLOGY: Suit Initiated in MN Over Nanometrics Merger
---------------------------------------------------------------
August Technology Corporation (NASDAQ:AUGT) and each of its
directors, Jeff O'Dell, James Bernards, Roger Gower, Michael
Wright and Linda Hall Whitman, have been named as defendants in
a summons and complaint received by the Company on Monday,
February 14, 2005 with respect to a purported shareholder class
action lawsuit.

The Company received a similar lawsuit on February 4, 2005. The
February 14th lawsuit is brought in Minnesota State Court and
claims that the directors have breached their fiduciary duties
to the Company's shareholders in connection with their actions
in agreeing to the proposed merger with Nanometrics
Incorporated.

The plaintiff seeks various forms of injunctive relief including
an order enjoining the Company and the directors from
consummating the merger with Nanometrics. August Technology and
its directors believe the lawsuit is without merit and plan to
fight the claims.


AUNT KITTY'S: Recalls 4,275lbs of Soup For Undeclared Allergen
--------------------------------------------------------------
Aunt Kitty's Foods, Inc., a Vineland, N.J., establishment, is
voluntarily recalling approximately 4,275 pounds of soup due to
an undeclared allergen (cheese, containing milk), the Food
Safety and Inspection Service announced today.

The products subject to recall are19-ounce cans of "WORLD
CLASSICS BRAND, WEDDING BELL SOUP WITH MEAT BALLS AND CHICKEN."
Each can subject to recall bears the date "October 2007" on the
lid. Each can also bears the code, "Est. 87" inside the USDA
mark of inspection.  The products were distributed to retail
outlets in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

The Company problem was discovered. FSIS has received no reports
of allergic reactions associated with consumption of this
product. Anyone concerned about an allergic reaction should
contact a physician.

Consumers with questions about the recall should contact company
Quality Control Supervisor Debbie Copley at (856) 691-2100, Ext.
142.  Media with questions about the recall should contact
company Media Relations Director Gary Knisely at (856) 691-2100,
Ext. 142.

Consumers with food safety questions can phone the toll-free
USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline
(1-888-674-6854). The hotline is available in English and
Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are
available 24 hours a day.


AXONYX INC.: Shareholders Launch Securities Lawsuits in S.D. NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
Axonyx, Inc. faces several securities class actions in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York on behalf of purchasers of the Company's common stock from
July 26,2003 to February 4,2005.

The complaints charge Axonyx and certain of its officers with
violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.
More specifically, the Complaints allege that the Company failed
to disclose and misrepresented the following material adverse
facts known to defendants or recklessly disregarded by them:

     (1) that the Company's only viable drug candidate,
         Phenserine, a acetylcholinesterase ("AChE") inhibitor,
         failed to curb symptoms of Alzheimer's disease;

     (2) that the Company knew or recklessly disregarded the
         fact that Phenserine failed to partially block the
         effects of AChE, an enzyme that breaks down a
         neurotransmitter in the brain important for memory and
         cognition;

     (3) that as a consequence of the foregoing, the Company
         would not be able to commercialize Phenserine,
         currently its only potential source of revenue; and

     (4) that as a result the Company's positive statements
         about the development and potential approval of
         Phenserine were lacking in all reasonable basis when
         made.

Further, on or around February 7, 2005, Axonyx announced that
Phenserine did not achieve significant efficacy in Phase III
Alzheimer's Disease trial. The news shocked the market. As a
result, shares of Axonyx fell $3.04 per share, or 62.68 percent,
on February 7, 2005, to close at $1.81 per share.

The first identified complaint is styled "Wayne Taylor, et al.
v. Axonyx Inc., et al." filed in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York.  The plaintiff
firms in this litigation are:

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

     (2) Schatz & Nobel, P.C., 330 Main Street, Hartford, CT,
         06106, Phone: 800.797.5499, Fax: 860.493.6290, E-mail:
         sn06106@AOL.com

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

     (4) Wechsler Harwood LLP, 488 Madison Avenue 8th Floor, New
         York, NY, 10022, Phone: 212.935.7400, E-mail:
         info@whhf.com


CANADA: Suits Filed V. Aviva, Lombard, Royal For Denying Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------
Class actions have been launched against Aviva Canada Inc.
("Aviva"), Lombard General Insurance Company of Canada
("Lombard") and Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada
("Royal"). The lawsuits allege that Aviva, Lombard and Royal
wrongfully denied commercial insurance claims for perished stock
and business interruption losses caused by the August 2003
Blackout.

The Blackout occurred on Thursday, August 14, 2003 just after
4:00 p.m. EST. Fifty million people in Ontario, parts of Quebec
and the northeastern United States were affected. Power was not
restored to some parts of the affected area, including parts of
Ontario, for four days. Ontario also suffered rolling blackouts
for more than one week before full power was restored. As a
result of the Blackout, businesses, ranging from small corner
stores and restaurants to large chain grocery outlets, suffered
losses of stock as well as business interruptions, resulting in
loss of income.

The lawsuits were filed by Farron's Gourmet Butcher Shops Inc.
and Leo DeLuca Enterprises Inc. of Windsor, Ontario and by Prego
Della Piazza of Toronto, Ontario on behalf of all persons in
Ontario insured by the defendants on August 14, 2003, with
extended coverage for business interruption loss and/or
consequential stock loss caused by off-premises power
interruption. Each plaintiff filed with their respective insurer
a claim for business interruption and stock losses caused by the
Blackout. Aviva, Lombard and Royal all denied the claims.

The plaintiffs allege that the defendants breached their
insurance contracts by refusing to pay the Blackout claims and
that these decisions were made in bad faith. The actions each
seek damages in the amount of $50 million, plus punitive damages
in the sum of $5 million.

The plaintiffs are represented by Sutts, Strosberg LLP, a
Windsor, Ontario based law firm specializing in class actions.
Harvey Strosberg, lead counsel, said that he hopes that "the
insurers see the light and acknowledge their responsibility
given the terms of their insurance contracts."

Copies of the statements of claim, which set out the particulars
of the allegations in the action, may be reviewed at
http://www.blackoutclassactions.com.Copies of the statements of
claim may also be obtained by contacting Sutts, Strosberg LLP
directly.


CYTYC CORPORATION: Asks MA Court To Dismiss Securities Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts has yet to rule on Cytyc Corporation's motion to
dismiss the securities class action filed against it and two of
its officers, on behalf of a purported class of all persons who
purchased the Company's common stock between July 25, 2001 and
June 25, 2002.

The complaint alleges that the defendants failed to disclose
material facts and made materially misleading misstatements
about the Company's historical and future financial performance.

The suit is styled "Blaz v. Sullivan, et al., case no. 1:02-cv-
12486-JLT," and filed in the United States District Court for
the District of Massachusetts, under Judge Joseph L. Tauro.

Representing the plaintiff is Nancy F. Gans, Moulton & Gans, PC,
33 Broad Street, Suite 1100, Boston, MA 02109, Phone:
617-369-7979, Fax: 617-369-7980, E-mail: nfgans@aol.com.
Representing the defendants are Peter J. Kolovos, Andrea J.
Robinson, Jeffrey B. Rudman of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and
Dorr LLP, 60 State Street, Boston, MA 02109, Phone:
617-526-6493, Fax: 617-526-5000, E-mail:
peter.kolovos@wilmerhale.com, andrea.robinson@wilmerhale.com and
jeffrey.rudman@wilmerhale.com.


DYNEX CAPITAL: Shareholders Launch Securities Suits in S.D. NY
--------------------------------------------------------------
Dynex Capital, Inc. faces a securities class action filed in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York on behalf of all persons and entities that purchased Merit
Securities Corporation Collateralized Bonds Series 13.

The claims asserted arise under Sections 10 and 20 of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Named as defendants in the suit
are Dynex Capital, Inc. (Merit's parent corporation), Merit
Securities Corp., and Greenwich Capital Markets, Inc.  The
complaint alleges that, during the Class Period, the prospectus
disseminated by Merit, in connection with the offering of the
Bonds, contained materially false and misleading information
concerning the manufactured housing loans originated during 1997
through 1999, which were pooled together to serve as collateral
for the Bonds. These misstatements included that the Bonds were
originated in compliance with underwriting standards, when in
fact, those procedures were largely disregarded.  These
misstatements resulted in artificially high credit ratings and
pricing.

It is further alleged that the Bonds prices were inflated due to
misrepresentations of the true repossession rates. The truth
only began to emerge, following the disclosure of corrected
repossession and foreclosure rates on February 24, 2004, as the
Bonds were dramatically downgraded. Moreover, ensuing
disclosures in April 2004 revealed that even Merit's "current
manufactured housing collateral may be deemed impaired."

The suit is styled "Teamsters Local 445 Freight Division Pension
Fund, et al. v. Merit Securities Corp., et al., case no. 05-CV-
1897.  The plaintiffs are represented by Schoengold & Sporn,
P.C., 233 Broadway 39Th Floor, New York, NY, 10279, Phone:
212.964.0046.


ELECTRONIC SPORTS: CA Employees Lodge Second Overtime Wage Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Adding to the mounting evidence that more tech workers are
disillusioned with jobs that entail 80-hour weeks, diets based
on pizza and catnaps in the cubicle, another worker has filed a
class action lawsuit seeking overtime from Electronic Arts, the
Mercury News reports.

The case is at least the second such suit filed against
Electronic Arts of Redwood City, the world's largest video game
maker, and it's similar to one filed last year against Vivendi
Universal Games in Los Angeles.

The lawsuits have exposed the bitter feelings among workers in
the $10 billion game industry. The situation has been compounded
by several factors that include:

     (1) A survey by the International Game Developers
         Association cites rapid burnout by workers.

     (2) An emotional blog by an EA "widow" on LiveJournal.com
         also triggered thousands of sympathetic responses.

     (3) And next month the developers association and the Game
         Developers Conference will hold a daylong "summit" in
         San Francisco examining ways to improve quality of life
         for game-industry workers.

Jamil Moledina, director of the Game Developers Conference, told
Mercury News "These cases bring to light the issues that have
been bubbling under the surface of the game industry for some
time"

Leander Hasty, a Culver City engineer for the Company since June
2003, filed his suit against Electronic Arts in State Superior
Court in San Mateo. He is seeking undisclosed back pay, damages
and penalties for himself and fellow workers.

Since 2000, California labor law has exempted some professionals
in the software industry from overtime regulations. Companies do
not have to pay programmers overtime if they make more than $41
an hour and engage in advanced work that is creative or
intellectual in nature.

Nevertheless, Mr. Hasty's lawyers contend that EA's engineers
should be eligible for overtime because they "do not perform
work that is original or creative," have no management
responsibilities and are seldom allowed to use their own
judgment.

A similar suit filed in July by a 26-year-old lead programmer
also argued that EA's game designers are entitled to overtime
like image-effects workers in the film and theater industries,
which are not covered by the exemption for the software
industry.


ELI LILLY: Stevensons Barristers Lodges Zyprexa Suit in Alberta
---------------------------------------------------------------
The firm of Stevensons Barristers is pleased has commenced a
class action in the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta against
Eli Lilly & Company and Eli Lilly Canada Inc., the makers and
distributors of Zyprexa, for damages claiming $900,000,000.00.

This action is similar to the one, which has been brought in the
Ontario Superior Court on behalf of all persons in Canada who
were prescribed Zyprexa and who became diabetic as a result of
taking that drug. The claim has been brought on behalf of the
plaintiffs, John Douglas Helm and Margaret Lockwood who were
each prescribed Zyprexa and both subsequently diagnosed as
diabetic. It is alleged that the plaintiffs became diabetic as a
result of having been prescribed Zyprexa. They are now under
constant medical care.

The lawyers for the plaintiff, Harvin Pitch, counsel to
Stevensons Barristers, and Colin Stevenson intend to work with
law firms across Canada and the United States in pursuing this
claim and other similar claims against the manufacturers and
distributors of Zyprexa, Eli Lilly & Company and Eli Lilly
Canada Inc.


FORD MOTOR: Law Firms File Fifth Defective Door Latch Suit in MA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firms, Motley Rice LLC of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., and
Boston-based Thornton & Naumes LLP, filed a class action in the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts against Ford Motor Company, Ford
Motor Company of Canada, Ltd., Magna Donnelly Corporation,
Intier Automotive Seating of America Inc. and Intier Automotive
Closures of America (d/b/a Dortec Industries) for designing,
manufacturing, installing, supplying, selling and distributing
outside door handles systems that do not comply with Federal
Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 206, Canadian Federal
Motor Vehicles Safety Standard (CMVSS) 206 or even Ford's
internal standards. The defect in the doors is alleged to cause
unintended door openings and passenger ejection in accidents.
Passenger ejections are the leading cause of serious injuries
and death in motor vehicle accidents.

The claim alleges that outside door handles and their component
parts are defective in the following vehicles:

     (1) 1997 - 2000   Ford F-150

     (2) 1997 - 2000   Ford F-250 -Super Light Duty

     (3) 1997 - 2000   Ford Expedition

     (4) 2000          Ford F150 Super Crew

The claim alleges Ford violated numerous Massachusetts General
Laws such as: unfair methods of competition and unfair/
deceptive acts and practices, conspiracy and concert of action
to violate the law, breach of express and implied warranty and
unjust enrichment. It is alleged that by October of 1995, Ford
had knowledge of the defect. During crash testing, it was
observed that, upon impact, the impacted side door would open
and subsequent testing revealed both impacted and non-impacted
doors can open. In August 1997, Transport Canada conducted
testing on the Ford F150. A Transport Canada video, provided to
Ford, shows the non-impacted side door opening on impact.

In March 2000, internal corporate documents that tested sub-
components, specifically the outside door handles, showed
outside handle operating forces were below values specified in
the federal regulations designed to keep doors closed in
accidents. Federal regulations require door handles be able to
withstand 30 G's of inertial force on impact. In mid-March 2000,
Ford engineers recommended that a safety-related campaign be
instituted to correct the spring torque for the affected
latches. However, seven days later, the safety campaign was
cancelled. The action claims that Ford, Ford Canada and the
manufacturing defendants manipulated data, internal
specifications, federal rules and violated commonly accepted
practices in order to avoid the purchaser notification and
recall requirements that FMVSS non-compliance triggers. To date,
consumers have not been notified and a recall has not been
issued. It is estimated that there may be as many as 4,400,000
vehicles with alleged defective door latches in the U.S. and
Canada. Deaths and serious personal injuries have been reported
and are the subjects of numerous lawsuits in the United States
including a trial scheduled to begin next week in US District
Court in Florence, South Carolina. Motley Rice LLC and Ed Bell
Law Firm are trying that action. Other class action lawsuits
against Ford for similar door latch failures have already been
filed in Alabama, Canada, Florida and North Carolina.

For more information about defective door latch litigation,
contact David Strouss or Kristen Fritz of Thornton & Naumes at
1-800-431-4600 or Fritz Jekel of Motley Rice at 1-800-768-4026
or visit http://www.defectivedoor.com.


GE CAPITAL: Judge Grants NorVergence Deal Initial Approval
----------------------------------------------------------
Superior Court Judge Jonathan N. Harris in Hackensack granted
preliminary approval to a settlement agreement between GE
Capital and former customers of bankrupt phone service reseller
NorVergence, the NorthJersey.com reports.

Jeffrey W. Herrmann, a Bergen County lawyer who brokered the
deal on behalf of a Ramsey company, told NorthJersey.com the
preliminary settlement that was approved by the judge covers
about 660 small businesses in 12 states, including 247 in New
Jersey.

With the granting of preliminary approval, the affected
businesses are now part of a proposed class action and will
receive notices in March regarding the settlement. The
settlement includes GE Capital's promise to forgive 85 percent
of each lease total.

Newark-based NorVergence, which filed for Chapter 7 liquidation
in July, signed up customers for five-year leases in return for
phone, Internet or cell service, and what turned out to be a
virtually worthless "Matrix" box that NorVergence claimed would
deliver deeply discounted service. The company then sold the
leases to a large group of leasing companies including GE
Capital.

Mr. Herrmann told NorthJersey.com, with the proposed class
action Judge Harris approved, all NorVergence victims in 12
states that held leases with GE Capital would be automatically
included in the settlement and would need to be notified by the
court, if they wish to be excluded.

The Company's abrupt end left its nearly 11,000 U.S. customers
without service, but most of the leasing companies continued to
bill customers and, in many cases, sued them for non-payment.
Eventually scores of lawsuits and counter suits were filed
nationwide.

Despite the settlement, a class action filed by New Jersey
attorney Michael Green that covers all NorVergence victims is
pending, as are efforts by a legal co-op formed by disgruntled
customers.


GOOD HUMOR-BREYERS: Suit Filed V. "All-Natural" Ice Cream Pledge
----------------------------------------------------------------
St. Louis, Missouri's ice cream consumers filed a lawsuit
seeking class action status against Good Humor-Breyers Ice Cream
Co. Inc., claiming that the milk used in its "All Natural Ice
Cream" gets a boost from growth hormones, Reuters News Service
reports.

The lawsuit, filed in Missouri state court, also names grocery
chain Schnucks Markets Inc. It accuses the defendants of fraud,
breach of contract and unjust enrichment, and seeks punitive and
compensatory damages for each $5.89 purchase.

The lawsuit also alleges that Breyers knew or should have know
that it was falsely claiming in advertisements that its ice
cream contains "only the finest ingredients from all natural
sources in the manufacture of Breyers All Natural Ice Cream." It
even cited that on its Web site, Breyers presents a "Pledge of
Purity," which "means there are only pure ingredients -- just
natural, delicious taste."

According to the attorneys who filed the lawsuit, it represents
consumers who purchased Breyers Ice Cream, not knowing that it
contained recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), antibiotics
and other synthetic ingredients.


GUANTANAMO DETAINEES: Rights Group Files Suit For 500 Detainees
---------------------------------------------------------------
A human-rights lawyers' group initiated a lawsuit in the United
States District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking the
release of more than 500 unnamed terror suspects held by the
U.S. government at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Associated Press
reports.

Several foreigners from about 40 different countries have been
detained in Cuba without being charged with any crime, as a
result of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.  Some have been
detained for more than three years.  The government contends the
prisoners are dangerous "enemy combatants" who, because they are
foreigners, are not entitled to the same constitutional
protections as Americans.

The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights filed the
suit, which alleged that the detainees were being improperly
held.  Judge Ricardo Urbina allowed the lawsuit to proceed under
the fictitious names "John Does," citing the special
circumstances of the case.  "The vast majority of the detainees
at Guantanamo have not been able to communicate with loved ones
who have the ability to contact lawyers in the U.S.," Barbara
Olshansky, the center's legal director, told AP. "For all of
those who remain unrepresented, today's lawsuit is a giant step
forward."

The suit joins more than 70 cases already pending in the U.S.
District Court for the District of Columbia filed by family
members of other detainees.  Judge Urbina's order does not
address attorneys' access to the unnamed detainees, a question
that still must be litigated.

Most recently, two district court judges issued conflicting
rulings on whether detainees have a legal basis to challenge
their detention in federal court. That issue is being appealed
to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit, AP reports.


GUIDANT CORPORATION: IN Court Dismisses Securities Fraud Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
Indiana dismissed the securities class action filed against
Guidant Corporation, EndoVascular Technologies, Inc. (EVT) and
certain of their current and former officers, relating to its
ANCURE ENDOGRAFT System for the treatment of abdominal aortic
aneurysms.

On June 12, 2003, the Company announced that its subsidiary,
EndoVascular Technologies, Inc. (EVT), had entered into a plea
agreement with the US Department of Justice relating to a
previously disclosed investigation regarding the ANCURE
ENDOGRAFT System.  At the time of the EVT plea, the Company had
outstanding fourteen suits alleging product liability related
causes of action relating to the ANCURE System.  The Company
settled eleven of the suits that predated the EVT plea.

Generally, the consolidated suit alleged that during all or a
portion of the period from June 23, 1999, through June 12, 2003,
public statements by the Company relating to the ANCURE System
were false and misleading.  Damages were sought on behalf of
persons who purchased or otherwise acquired Company shares
during that period.

On November 8, 2004, the court dismissed the plaintiffs'
complaint. Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on December 23,
2004, which defendants again moved to dismiss.  On February 11,
2005, the court approved the parties' stipulation to dismissal
of the case with prejudice and without payment by the Company.

The suit is styled "In re GUIDANT CORPORATION SECURITIES
LITIGATION, case no. 1:03-cv-00892-SEB-WTL," filed in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana,
under Judge Sarah Evans Barker.

Representing the plaintiffs are Jay P. Kennedy and James Knauer
of KROGER GARDIS & REGAS, Bank One Center, 111 Monument Circle,
Suite 900 Indianapolis, IN 46204-3059, Phone: (317)-634-6328
Fax: (317)-264-6832 or E-mail: jpk@kgrlaw.com, jak@kgrlaw.com.

Representing the Company is Keith E. Eggleton, Boris Feldman,
Caz Hashemi, Nina F. Locker of WILSON SONSINI GOODRICH & ROSATI
650 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304, Phone: (650) 320-4893,
Fax: (650) 565-5100, E-mail: keggleton@wsgr.com,
boris.feldman@wsgr.com, chashemi@wsgr.com and nlocker@wsgr.com;
and James H. Ham, III and John R. Schaibley III of BAKER &
DANIELS, 300 North Meridian Street, Suite 2700, Indianapolis, IN
46204, Phone: (317) 237-1256, Fax: (317) 237-1000, E-mail:
jhham@bakerd.com or jrschaib@bakerd.com.


HEWLETT PACKARD: Consumer Lodges GA Suit Over Printer Technology
----------------------------------------------------------------
Deborah Tyler of Norcross, Georgia has filed a class-action
lawsuit in Santa Clara County Superior Court against Hewlett
Packard, alleging the Palo Alto Company's smart-chip printer
technology deceives consumers into buying new inkjet cartridges
before the ink has run out, the Mercury News reports.

The suit alleges, "The smart chip is dually engineered to
prematurely register ink depletion and to render a cartridge
unusable through the use of a built-in expiration date that is
not revealed to the consumer."

Ms. Tyler's attorney, Bruce Simon of Cotchett, Pitre, Simon &
McCarthy in Burlingame, told Mercury News that the suit was
filed on behalf of HP customers who bought HP inkjet printers
from February 2001 to the present that contain a smart chip or
other technology that prematurely registers that the cartridge
is empty or expired.

According to the suit, Ms. Tyler bought an HP 842C inkjet
printer at Best Buy. The smart chips are used in consumer
printers HP Deskjet 812C, 804C and 842C, and commercial printers
2000C and 2500C, the suit said.

In the March 2004 issue of PC World magazine took an in-depth
look at printers that stopped working before the ink had run
out. The magazine found that the Epson Stylus C84, a popular,
low-cost inkjet printer, stopped printing with 20 percent of the
ink left in the cartridge, on average while the Canon i850
stopped printing with 10 percent of its ink left.


HIBERNIA FOODS: Trial Set To Begin in NY Over "Sham Accounts"
------------------------------------------------------------
The financial affairs of Hibernia Foods, the failed company
founded by the former meat baron Oliver Murphy, are due to be
heard in a New York court, The Sunday Times, UK reports.

A class-action case alleging securities fraud will air claims of
false sales, misreported inventories and unrecorded loans from
directors during a period when Murphy sold $26 million of
shares.

According to court documents, the lead plaintiffs, the Central
Laborers' Pension Fund and the Whalen family, allege that
between August 2, 1999, and October 21, 2003, the company
borrowed heavily to fund an expansion into the frozen desserts
market. Also, they allege that unknown to investors the record
sales reported in Hibernia's accounts were in fact an "utter
sham" and that Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), the auditor to
the company, should have spotted this. "The company was unable
to pay suppliers and many products were sold at a loss," court
documents stated.

The truth did not become apparent until October 23, 2003, when
the Nasdaq exchange suspended trading in the Company's shares.
By then the share price had collapsed to 7c and a receiver had
been appointed after Hibernia had failed to pay back a loan for
EUR24.9m.  On September 28, 2000, during the period covered by
the action, Mr. Murphy sold $26m of shares and Colm Delves, the
chief financial officer, offloaded $4.44m - almost all of their
respective holdings.

In a statement of evidence, one former manager claimed there
were "millions of pounds of inventories" in the Company's books
with no value whatsoever. The former manager also said that the
physical inventories of frozen cakes contained products that
were up to 12 years old even though the food had a "one- or two-
year life span". When this had been brought to the attention of
the company's finance department, it had failed to rectify the
discrepancies.

One former finance manager had apparently told PwC that Derek
Hollins, the head of the frozen desserts division, was paying
suppliers from his own personal bank account because the
company's cash position had become so precarious.

"This should have been a red flag to an auditor . . . What
should have been further cause for concern was that there was no
record of the `director's loan' on the company's financial
statements," the plaintiffs' complaint document states, the
Times reports.

The complaint document says that as early as 2000, the
defendants "knew or recklessly disregarded" that the Company's
financial statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission,
the US market regulator, "did not present, in all material
respects, the Company's position in accordance with generally
accepted accounting principles." The complaint goes on to state
that it was also clear that there was substantial doubt that the
company could continue as a going concern . . . "and therefore,
in spite of PwC's express representations, its report as
independent accountants was not prepared in accordance with
generally accepted accounting standards".

The complaint was filed on January 7 and the defendants have 45
days to respond.


HYPERCOM CORPORATION: Shareholders Launch Securities Suits in AZ
----------------------------------------------------------------
Hypercom Corporation faces several securities class actions
filed in the United States District Court for the District of
Arizona, on behalf of purchasers of the Company's securities
from April 30,2004 to February 3,2005.

Specifically, the complaints charge Hypercom and certain of its
officers and directors with violations of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934. Hypercom Corporation manufactures, designs
and sells end-to-end electronic payment solutions that include
point-of-sale (POS)/point-of-transaction terminals, peripheral
devices, transaction networking devices, transaction management
systems and application software and provides related support
and services.  The Complaints allege that the Company failed to
disclose and misrepresented the following material adverse facts
known to defendants or recklessly disregarded by them:

     (1) that the Company's leases originated during the Class
         Period, by the Company's UK subsidiary, Hypercom EMEA,
         Inc., were improperly accounted for as "sales-type
         leases," rather than "operating leases;"

     (2) that as a result of this, the Company materially
         overstated its net revenue for the first three quarters
         of 2004 by at least $4.0 million;

     (3) that the Company had materially overstated its
         operating profit by at least 65-75% during the Class
         Period;

     (4) that the Company's financial statements were not
         prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted
         Accounting Principles ("GAAP");

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

     (6) that as a result, the value of the Company's net income
         and financial results were materially overstated at all
         relevant times.

Further, on or around February 4, 2005, prior to the opening of
the market, Hypercom announced a restatement of prior 2004
quarterly financials. More specifically, the Company stated that
certain leases originated during that period by the Company's UK
subsidiary, Hypercom EMEA, Inc., were incorrectly accounted for
as sales-type leases, rather than operating leases. This
accounting error, which related to approximately 3,200 leases,
resulted in an overstatement of net revenue for the first three
quarters of 2004. The Company currently estimated that the
adjustment to its financial statements would decrease net
revenue for the nine months ended September 30, 2004 by up to
$4.0 million as compared to previously announced results, and
that operating profit for the same period would decrease by
approximately 65 to 75% of the amount of the net revenue
reduction.

The Company had also determined that the internal control
deficiency that gave rise to this restatement represented a
material weakness, as defined by the PCAOB's Auditing Standard
No. 2. Consequently, management would be unable to conclude that
the Company's internal controls over financial reporting were
effective as of December 31, 2004, and the Company's independent
auditors, Ernst & Young LLP, were expected to issue an adverse
opinion with respect to the Company's internal controls over
financial reporting.

News of this shocked the market. As a result, shares of Hypercom
fell $1.00 per share, or 18.32 percent, to close at $4.46 per
share on unusually high trading volume.

The first identified complaint is styled "Randy Ray, et al. v.
Hypercom Corporation, et al."  The plaintiff firms in this
litigation are:

     (1) Baron & Budd, P.C., 3102 Oak Lawn Avenue, Suite 1100,
         Dallas, TX, 75219, Phone: 800-946-9646, E-mail:
         info@baronbudd.com

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

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

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

     (5) Dyer & Shuman, LLP, 801 East 17th Avenue, Denver, CO,
         80218-1417, Phone: 303.861.3003, Fax: 800.711.6483, E-
         mail: info@dyershuman.com

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

     (7) Schatz & Nobel, P.C., 330 Main Street, Hartford, CT,
         06106, Phone: 800.797.5499, Fax: 860.493.6290, E-mail:
         sn06106@AOL.com

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

     (9) Smith & Smith LLP, 3070 Bristol Pike, Suite 112,
         Bensalem, PA, 19020, Phone: (866)759-2275, E-mail:
         howardsmithlaw@hotmail.com


INSPIRE PHARMACEUTICALS: Shareholders Launch Stock Suits in NC
--------------------------------------------------------------
Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Inc. faces several securities class
actions filed in the United States District Court for the Middle
District of North Carolina, on behalf of all persons who
purchased the publicly traded securities of Inspire
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., between June 2, 2004 and February 8,
2005, including purchasers in the July 26, 2004 and November 11,
2004 equity offerings.

Specifically, the complaints allege that defendants Inspire and
certain of its officers violated federal securities laws by
issuing false or misleading public statements.  Specifically,
the Complaints allege that Inspire made improper statements
regarding the Stage III trial of its dry eye drug, Diquafosol
tetrasodium.  The Complaints allege that Inspire failed to
inform investors that the study's primary endpoint mandated by
the FDA had changed from corneal staining to a more stringent
corneal clearing.  Moreover, the Complaints allege that during a
November 4, 2004 conference call, Inspire stated that the
primary endpoint was "corneal staining."

When the truth was revealed on February 9, 2005, Inspire stock
fell from a previous close of $16.00 per share to close at $8.88
per share on extremely heavy trading volume.

The first identified complaint is styled "Mirco Investors, LLC,
et al. v. Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Inc., et al.," filed in the
United States District Court for the Middle District of North
Carolina.  The plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

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

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

     (3) Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP (New York), One
         Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th Floor, New York, NY, 10119,
         Phone: 212.594.5300, Fax: 212.868.1229, E-mail:
         info@milbergweiss.com

     (4) Schatz & Nobel, P.C., 330 Main Street, Hartford, CT,
         06106, Phone: 800.797.5499, Fax: 860.493.6290, E-mail:
         sn06106@AOL.com


IOWA: Court Rejects Illegal Aliens' Suit Over Driver's Licenses
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Iowa Supreme Court dismissed a class action lawsuit filed by
two illegal aliens against officials who refused to issue them
driver's licenses, unanimously upholding a lower court ruling
that illegal immigrants had no legal right to obtain one, the
New Kerala, India reports.

By some accounts there are believed to be 10 million illegal
aliens in the United States, mostly meeting the labor shortage
in jobs Americans do not want to do. Driver's licenses serve as
identification cards to obtain employment, cash checks or open
bank accounts in the absence of other identification documents.

Fourteen States permit illegal aliens to obtain driver's
licenses, however, a bill known as the Clear ID Act was passed
recently by the House of Representatives, aimed at establishing
security standards for driver's licenses and identification
documents, with the stated aim of preventing terrorists from
abusing asylum laws.

Judge Joel Novak, in his ruling stated that illegal immigrants
have no fundamental right to obtain driving licenses. The judge
noted that operating a motor vehicle is a privilege "not
unrestricted." In addition, the judge pointed out that the
State's licensing scheme is "rationally related to the
legitimate State interest of not allowing its governmental
machinery to be a facilitator for the concealment of illegal
aliens." The Des Moines couple that had filed the suit has been
identified only as a former Iowa school employee and a welder.


LOCKERBIE BOMBING: Libya Refuses To Meet Compensation Deadline
--------------------------------------------------------------
Libya has declined to meet a deadline for a $540 million
compensation payment to the families of the 270 people killed in
the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, the lawyer for the families
said Friday, according to AP.

259 passengers, mostly American, were killed when a Pan Am
flight over the Scottish town of Lockerbie exploded in mid-air
in 1988.  11 people were killed on the ground.  Glasgow police
later apprehended a Libyan agent, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, for
planting the bomb that brought down the plane.  Mr. al-Megrahi
is now serving a minimum of 20 years in a Glasgow jail, but he
continues to maintain his innocence, an earlier Class Action
Reporter story (March 19, 2003) reports.

In March 2003, Libya reached an agreement with the United States
and Britain to accept civil responsibility for the 1988
Lockerbie bombing, and to compensate victims' relatives.  Under
the arrangement, Libya would compensate the families of the
victims.  Tripoli would pay up to $10 million per victim into a
special trust account in return for a series of steps to remove
UN and United States sanctions against it, making the total
value of the settlement roughly $2.7 billion if all conditions
were met.

Under the agreement, Tripoli would reportedly initially pay $4
million per victim into an escrow account once United Nations
sanctions against Libya, suspended after the Lockerbie trial,
were formally lifted.  Another $4 million would follow if the
United States removed its national sanctions against Libya,
which remain in force.  A final $2 million would be paid if
Washington also repealed its Iran-Libya Sanctions Act.  The
settlement also stipulated that if the United States failed to
lift those measures within eight months, Libya would pay only $1
million extra into the account, limiting its total payment to $5
million per victim.

Libya has paid $8 million to each of the Pan Am 103 families
based on the role of Libyan agents in the 1988 bombing, which
took place over Lockerbie, Scotland.  The Thursday payment was
to have been the final one.

Libya declined an offer to extend the deadline, which had been
set for Thursday, James Kriendler, lawyer for the plaintiffs
told AP.  The government of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was
apparently annoyed by what it considers the Bush
administration's slow movement in lifting sanctions against
Libya.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said he had not been
informed of the Libyan decision, AP reports.

Mr. Kriendler said he does not attach much significance to the
missed deadline.  "I hope and believe that we're going to get
back on track," he told AP. "It is in everyone's interest that
the process continue."


MASSACHUSETTS: Activists Launch Suits Over Deceptive Advertising
----------------------------------------------------------------
In separate lawsuits, healthcare activists in Massachusetts sued
Merck & Co. Inc. and Pfizer Inc. over marketing campaigns for
their arthritis pain medications, alleging that the companies
misled consumers by advertising benefits of the drugs while not
disclosing the full range of risks and shortcomings, the Boston
Globe reports.

The suits were among the last, large class-action cases to be
filed in Massachusetts state courts before a new law, signed by
President George W. Bush, required such cases be filed in
federal courts.

Under the new law, which was backed by the business lobby and
opposed by consumer groups, class action suits seeking $5
million or more would be heard in state court only if the
primary defendant and more than a third of the plaintiffs are
from the same state.  Thousands of personal injury lawsuits have
been filed across the country in response to health concerns
about Pfizer's Celebrex and Merck's Vioxx. The law will not
affect existing state cases though.

The lawsuits, which were filed on behalf of Massachusetts
consumers differs from the personal injury claims in the sense
that they attack the manufacturers' promotional practices,
including hundreds of millions of dollars of TV and print
advertising targeting consumers that fueled explosive sales
growth.

Thomas M. Sobol, managing partner at law firm Hagens Berman in
Cambridge, told the Globe "These are prime examples of
overzealous marketing and advertising, to the point of
misleading efficacy and safety representations."

Mr. Sobol works with the Prescription Access Litigation Project,
a Boston consumer group that has organized cases against drug
manufacturers over marketing and pricing abuses. The plaintiffs
in the cases include Health Care for All, another consumer group
based in Boston. The cases allege that drug makers introduced
Celebrex and Vioxx as major improvements over existing remedies
when that was not true.

"You had a hugely aggressive marketing campaign for both of
these drugs," Alex Sugerman-Brozan, director of the Prescription
Access Litigation Project, told the Globe. "People requested
prescriptions and paid a much higher price, without actually
knowing all the information about whether it was worth that high
price."

The cases cited a recent study published in an academic journal,
the Archives of Internal Medicine, that concluded the aggressive
marketing campaigns for Celebrex and Vioxx spurred sales to
patients who did not need the drugs. The lawsuits say an
unspecified number of patients could have achieved the same
level of pain relief using traditional over-the-counter
remedies.

Both lawsuits seek an award for Massachusetts consumers that
would compensate them for the difference in costs between the
prescription cox-2s and the cheaper over-the-counter drugs.


MCI INC.: Shareholder Files Suit in DE V. $6.8B Verizon Takeover
----------------------------------------------------------------
In a bid to block the company's $6.8 billion takeover by Verizon
Communications Inc., a MCI Inc. shareholder initiated a lawsuit
seeking class action status alleging that the price was too low,
the Reuters News Service reports.

The lawsuit, which was filed by Joseph Pojanowski in the
Delaware Chancery Court, states that MCI and its board of
directors breached their fiduciary duties "by depriving MCI's
public stockholders of maximum value to which they are
entitled." In addition, the lawsuit claimed that the amount
Verizon would pay is "unconscionable, unfair and grossly
inadequate" compared with the "intrinsic value" of MCI's common
stock and future growth prospects, as well as the scarcity value
of the company's assets in the quickly consolidating
communications industry.

Furthermore, the lawsuit, which reportedly seeks to prevent the
Verizon-MCI deal under current terms, said that shareholders
representing 11 percent of MCI's stock have stated that the
company's board should reconsider Qwest's bid. The suit also
reportedly asks the company's board to create an auction and
hold serious negotiations with any bona fide bidder.

"MCI's board, in violation of their fiduciary duties, failed to
conduct a full evaluation of the merger, gave only minimal
consideration to the [Qwest] deal and failed to make an informed
decision," Reuters quoted the suit as saying.


MERCK & CO.: KS Resident Lodges Wrongful-Death Suit Over Vioxx
--------------------------------------------------------------
Charles Webb, the son of a Wichita woman who was taking Vioxx
before she died has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the
prescription painkiller's manufacturer, Merck & Co., the
Kansas.com reports.

According to the suit, which was filed in federal district court
in Wichita, the Company is accused of negligence, fraud and
other violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. Freda
Pearl Webb, who was 85 when she died in February 2003, had taken
the drug since December 1999 for arthritis pain.

Merck has said it faces at least 575 individual product
liability and personal injury lawsuits over Vioxx, plus another
70 seeking class-action status.

Mark Hutton, Mr. Webb's lawyer told Kansas.com that Freda Webb
had osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease. He adds that
Her doctor recommended she try multiple medications, including
Vioxx, in an effort to fight the pain, but Mrs. Webb later died
of a stroke. Studies have connected Vioxx and similar
medications to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems,
including stroke and heart attack.

The lawsuit's states, "Researchers had been warning about a
connection between Vioxx and increased risk of heart attack and
stroke for years. Merck had knowledge of the research, yet
continued to market and promote Vioxx."  The Webb case, along
with others around the country alleging that Vioxx harmed
patients, will be transferred to Judge Eldon Fallon in New
Orleans, who has experience in major pharmaceutical litigation.


NATIONAL WESTERN: CA Suit Filed V. Sale Of Annuities To Elders
--------------------------------------------------------------
A lawsuit seeking class action status has been filed in San
Diego County Superior Court, which alleges elder abuse and other
state code violations over the sale of certain deferred fixed
annuities to seniors, San Diego Union Tribune reports.

The suit is targeting National Western Life Insurance Co., a
Texas insurance company for selling a deferred annuity to an
Oceanside senior that was allegedly an "unsuitable" investment,
since its payouts began well past the buyer's life expectancy.
The legal action puts in the spotlight the increased scrutiny
being given to the sales practices of certain types of
annuities, investment vehicles offered by insurance companies
and designed to provide an income stream and tax benefits to
investors, usually during retirement.

San Diego lawyer Ronald Marron and the law firm of Finkelstein &
Krinsk brought the state court case charging the Texas firm of
selling deferred fixed annuities with steep surrender charges to
seniors. The suit is seeking class action status for California
seniors who were sold similar products by National Western Life
Insurance.

Industry experts explain that there are several types of
annuities - some of which have been criticized for high fees and
mind-numbing complexity. With deferred fixed annuities, buyers
invest money, usually in a lump sum, that is used to purchase
mutual funds tied to an index such as the Standard & Poor's 500.
The money presumably grows tax-deferred until the annuity
matures. Then investors can take the money out - either in a
lump sum or in installments over time. One typical advantage is
that the annuity buyer usually is in a lower tax bracket when
the annuity matures because he or she is no longer working.

According to the lawsuit, Orville Camien, 80, of Oceanside
attended a "senior financial boot camp" seminar offered by a
Carlsbad insurance agent in 2003 and shortly thereafter
purchased a deferred annuity. "He thought the money was going to
be there for his wife if he passed away, like life insurance.
That's what he liked about it," Mr. Marron told the Union
Tribune.

However, the lawsuit contends the annuity had a contract
maturity date of 2022, when Mr. Camien would be 99 years old.
That same contract also contained surrender charges for the
first 15 years under which Mr. Camien and his wife would have to
pay substantial "surrender" penalties to get access to the
principal.

Furthermore, the lawsuit contends, "Because senior citizens
cannot wait for a deferred annuity's long-term investment to
mature and because such senior citizens often need access to
their money to pay for health and long-term care, a deferred
annuity that does not mature until after the person's actuarial
life expectancy is not an appropriate investment."  The lawsuit
states that the primary benefit of these transactions was to
collect fees and commissions for National Western and the
insurance agent.


NEW JERSEY: Paterson Diocese Reaches Clergy Sex Abuse Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Diocese of Paterson reached a settlement with more than two
dozen men who claimed they were molested as boys by priests in
the diocese, their lawyer announced last week, the Associated
Press reports.

The suit centers on former priest James T. Hanley, who served at
three northern New Jersey parishes.  He was removed from the
priesthood in 2002, 17 years after church officials learned of
complaints against him.

According to the suit, filed by lawyer Gregory Gianforcaro, Mr.
Hanley allegedly abused most of the men between 1968 and 1982.
The suit further alleged that church officials failed to protect
the youths.  The suit did not name Mr. Hanley as defendant
because he cooperated with the plaintiffs, providing a statement
detailing sexual acts with about 20 of the boys.  Prosecutors
said they could not bring criminal charges because the statute
of limitations had expired.

The 5 million settlement, the largest payout by a New Jersey
diocese in a clergy sex abuse case, also provides four years of
counseling for the men, Mr. Gianforcaro told AP.  He represents
26 of the men and said a 27th had also settled.  He would not
comment on the range of individual settlements. He thanked the
new leader of the diocese, Bishop Arthur Serratelli, for taking
steps that led to the agreement.

The record settlement in the clergy abuse scandal is $100
million, involving 90 lawsuits against the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Orange County, California, AP reports.


OHIO CITIZENS: Celebrates Passage Of Class Action Fairness Act
--------------------------------------------------------------
Ohio Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (OCALA) applauded the U.S.
Congress for passing the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, S.
5, and President Bush for signing it.

"Attention venue shoppers, the blue light special on 'Judicial
Hellholes' is about to expire," said Jeff Longstreth, executive
director for OCALA.

"This common sense legislation will bring fairness and balance
to our civil justice system. The days are numbered for greedy
personal injury lawyers who shop around the country for
jurisdictions where they are more likely to receive outrageous
awards," added Longstreth.

"I am very proud of all of our supporters that are sick of
lawsuits, who have worked so hard over the last few years
contacting their Members of Congress and beating the drum for
civil justice reform," said Mr. Longstreth.

OCALA is a non-profit, grassroots public education organization
that represents over 6000 Ohio citizens. As Ohio's watchdog for
justice, OCALA's mission is to inform the public about the cost
of lawsuit abuse and to help ensure the legal system is used for
justice, not greed. Their website is http://www.ohiocala.org.


UNITED STATES: President Bush Signs Class Action Fairness Act
-------------------------------------------------------------
Even as President George W. Bush signed into law the Class
Action Fairness Act, which aimed at discouraging multimillion-
dollar class-action lawsuits, he made clear that he had his
sights trained on much broader restraints like curbs on asbestos
litigation and medical malpractice awards, the Associated Press
reports.

Surrounded by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, the president
praised the legislation. Though bitterly opposed by consumer
groups and trial lawyers, it did attract some Democratic
supporters.

Under the bill, class action suits seeking $5 million or more
would be heard in state court only if the primary defendant and
more than one-third of the plaintiffs are from the same state.


UNITED STATES: ABC Members Applaud The Passage Of Lawsuit Curbs
---------------------------------------------------------------
The members of the American Business Conference (ABC), chief
executives of fast-growing, midsize firms, applauded President
Bush and a bipartisan majority in Congress on the passage of the
Class Action Fairness Act. Speaking for ABC members, John
Endean, president of ABC said:

"The Class Action Fairness Act brings greater rationality to our
civil justice system. It is just plain common sense that large,
multi-state class actions be moved to the jurisdiction of the
federal courts. This Act puts that reform in place.

"Similarly, the Act attempts to rebalance the relationship
between plaintiffs and their attorneys by curbing the practice
by which attorneys pocket large fees while their class action
clients receive mere coupons as their share of the settlement.
Under the Act, this indefensible practice will be limited
significantly.

"Ultimately the Class Action Fairness Act demonstrates that
progressive reform of the civil justice system can be effected
for the benefit of all. We congratulate the President and
members of both parties in Congress for this achievement. We
hope that this success will lead to further reform, particularly
in the area of asbestos litigation and medical malpractice
reform."

The American Business Conference is a Washington-based coalition
of chief executives of fast-growing midsize American companies.
ABC members advocate policies to promote economic growth and a
higher standard of living for all Americans.


UNITED STATES: DRI Hails Passage Of Class Action Fairness Act
-------------------------------------------------------------
DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar, a national organization of
defense trial lawyers and corporate counsel hailed the passage
of the Class Action Fairness Act, calling it a common sense
reform to an abused system.

DRI members made the following statements:

(1) DRI President Richard T. Boyette: "The Class Action
         Fairness Act is a measured and necessary solution to an
         aspect of our legal system plagued with abuse. It
         preserves access to the courts for genuinely aggrieved
         claimants and assures defendants a level playing field.
         The net effect results in more confidence and fairness
         in the civil justice system."

     (2) DRI Immediate Past President William R. Sampson: "Over
         the last 10 years, abuses of the class action mechanism
         in state courts have increased the cost of consumer
         goods and undermined public respect for and confidence
         in the judicial system, all the while burdening the
         very courts forced to deal with them. The Class Action
         Fairness Act is a common sense reform desperately
         needed by everyone who cares about justice in America."

     (3) DRI Executive Director John R. Kouris: "We now have
         reform that puts common sense back into the class
         action system. The Class Action Fairness Act will
         assure fair and prompt recoveries for class members
         with legitimate claims and lower the burden that is
         ultimately shouldered by American taxpayers and
         consumers."

Key provisions of the Class Action Fairness Act supported by DRI
include those that:

     (i) generally transfer class action lawsuits from state to
         federal courts in cases with at least $5 million in
         dispute and where at least one proposed plaintiff and
         defendant are from different states;

    (ii) require class action counsel fees be based on the value
         of the settlement to class members if that settlement
         provides for payment in coupons or other non-monetary
         awards;

   (iii) require careful judicial scrutiny of any proposed
         action settlements where the class members' award is
         non-monetary, such as coupon settlements;

    (iv) bar settlements that favor some class members over
         others based solely on geographic proximity to the
         court hearing the case.


UNITED STATES: SBA Administrator Hails Passage Of Lawsuit Curbs
---------------------------------------------------------------
Following President Bush's signing of a bill passed by the U.S.
Congress limiting class-action lawsuits, the U.S. Small Business
Administration Administrator (SBA) Hector V. Barreto issued the
following statement:

"This is a big win for the nation's small-business community,
which after all represent 99 percent of all businesses. Creating
an environment where small businesses can flourish is an
important priority for President Bush and he rightly recognized
that abusive class-action lawsuits are a barrier to their
growth. The passage and signing of this bill helps to better the
environment for this vital segment to our economy. Abusive
lawsuits can result in significant added costs to doing
business. With this worry now off the table, it will give
American small businesses more time to focus on what's really
important to them: growing their businesses and creating more
jobs."


SINA CORPORATION: Shareholders Lodge Securities Suits in S.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
Sina Corporation faces several securities class actions filed in
the United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York on behalf of purchasers of the Company's common stock
from October 26,2004 to February 7,2005.

The complaints charge SINA and certain of its officers with
violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  More
specifically, the Complaints allege that the Company failed to
disclose and misrepresented the following material adverse facts
known to defendants or recklessly disregarded by them:

     (1) that the Company was increasingly relying on services
         related to "fortune telling" advertising, like
         horoscopes and astrology, in order to meet its earnings
         forecasts and generate a positive revenue stream;

     (2) that the Chinese government had clamped down on
         "fortune telling" advertising and the resulting
         clampdown on "fortune telling" advertising would have a
         material effect on the Company's revenue stream;

     (3) that China Mobile Communication Corp.'s recent change
         in its billing process for multimedia messaging
         services SINA provides to China Mobile subscribers had
         a material effect on the Company's business; and

     (4) that as a result of the above, the defendants' positive
         statements about the growth and prospectus of SINA were
         lacking in any reasonable basis when made.

Further, on or around February 7, 2005, after the markets
closed, SINA announced its financial results for the fourth
quarter and full year ended December 31, 2004. The results and
the Company's business outlook shocked the market. Shares of
SINA fell $2.96 per share, or 10.82 percent, to close at $24.39
per share on unusually high trading volume.

The first identified complaint in this litigation is styled
"Xianglin Shi, et al. v. SINA Corporation, et al.," filed in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York.  The plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

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

    (ii) Law Offices of Brian M. Felgoise, P.C., Esquire at 261
         Old York Road, Suite 423, Jenkintown, PA, 19046, Phone:
         215.886.1900, E-mail: securitiesfraud@comcast.net

   (iii) Schatz & Nobel, P.C., 330 Main Street, Hartford, CT,
         06106, Phone: 800.797.5499, Fax: 860.493.6290, E-mail:
         sn06106@AOL.com

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


VEECO COMPANY: Shareholders Commence Securities Fraud Lawsuits
--------------------------------------------------------------
Veeco Company faces several securities class actions filed in
various federal courts on behalf of purchasers of the Company's
common shares from November 3,2003 to February 10,2005.

The complaints charge Veeco and certain of its officers with
violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  More
specifically, the Complaints allege that the Company failed to
disclose and misrepresented the following material adverse facts
known to defendants or recklessly disregarded by them:

     (1) that improper accounting procedures were in place at
         the Company's TurboDisc division;

     (2) that these improper accounting procedures caused the
         Company to materially overstate its net revenue for the
         first three quarters of 2004 by at least $7.5 million;

     (3) that the Company's financial statements were not
         prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted
         Accounting Principles ("GAAP");

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

     (5) that as a result, the value of the Company's net income
         and financial results were materially overstated at all
         relevant times.

Further, on or around February 11, 2005, before the market
opened, Veeco announced that it would postpone the release of
audited results for the fourth quarter and full year 2004
pending completion of an internal investigation of improper
accounting transactions at its TurboDisc(R) division. News of
this shocked the market. As a result, shares of Veeco fell $1.90
per share, or 10.07 percent, to close at $16.96 per share on
unusually high trading volume.

The first identified complaint is styled "L.I.S.T., Inc., et al.
v. Veeco Instruments Inc., et al.," filed in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York.  The
plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

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

     (2) Goodkind Labaton Rudoff & Sucharow LLP, 100 Park
         Avenue, New York, NY, 10017, Phone: 212.907.0700, Fax:
         212.818.0477, E-mail: info@glrslaw.com

     (3) Schatz & Nobel, P.C., 330 Main Street, Hartford, CT,
         06106, Phone: 800.797.5499, Fax: 860.493.6290, E-mail:
         sn06106@AOL.com

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


                  New Securities Fraud Cases

51JOB INC.: Stull Stull Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Stull, Stull & Brody initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York, on behalf of all persons who purchased the
publicly traded securities of 51Job, Inc. ("51Job" or the
"Company") (NASDAQ:JOBS) between November 4, 2004 and January
14, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The Complaint alleges that 51Job violated federal securities
laws by issuing false or misleading public statements.
Specifically, the Complaint alleges that 51Job failed to
disclose the fact that it improperly recognized recruitment
advertising revenue in 3Q04. Moreover, the Complaint alleges
51Job failed to disclose the fact that the drop in late-December
advertising suggested that many Chinese firms have adopted a
more Western schedule for hiring and, as a result of this market
shift, 51Job was forced to sharply lower its profit outlook. On
January 18, 2005, 51Job announced softness in sales for the
latter part of the month of December 2004, the exit of the
peripheral stationery and office supplies business and updated
guidance for the fourth quarter of 2004. It disclosed that
fourth quarter total revenues are now expected to be between
RMB117 and RMB121 million, compared with RMB140 million, the
low-end of its previous forecasted range. On this news, shares
of 51Job fell from a close of $43.82 per share on January 14,
2005, to close at $28.32 per share on January 18, 2005, the next
trading day.

For more details, contact Tzivia Brody, Esq. of Stull, Stull &
Brody by Phone: 1-800-337-4983 by Fax: 212/490-2022 or by E-
mail: SSBNY@aol.com.


AXONYX INC.: Stull Stull Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Stull, Stull & Brody initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York, on behalf of all persons who purchased the
publicly traded securities of Axonyx Inc. ("Axonyx")
(NASDAQ:AXYX) between June 26, 2003 and February 4, 2005,
inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint alleges that Axonyx violated federal securities
laws by issuing false and misleading public statements.
Specifically, the complaint alleges that Axonyx misrepresented
or failed to disclose shortcomings with its experimental drug
Phenserine, an acetylcholinesterase ("AChE") inhibitor intended
to curb symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. On February 7, 2005,
Axonyx announced that Phenserine did not achieve significant
efficacy in Phase III Alzheimer's Disease trial. On this news,
Axonyx stock fell from a previous close of $4.85 per share, to
close at $1.81 per share.

For more details, contact Tzivia Brody, Esq. of Stull, Stull &
Brody by Phone: 1-800-337-4983 by Fax: 212/490-2022 or by E-
mail: SSBNY@aol.com.


DIRECT GENERAL: Barrett Johnston Lodges Securities Suit in TN
-------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Barrett, Johnston & Parsley initiated a class
action in the United States District Court for the Middle
District of Tennessee on behalf of purchasers of Direct General
Corporation ("Direct General") (Nasdaq:DRCT) publicly traded
securities during the period between November 4, 2003 and
January 26, 2005 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Direct General and certain of its officers
and directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. Direct General is a financial services holding company
whose principal operating subsidiaries provide non-standard
personal automobile insurance, term life insurance, premium
finance and other consumer products and services through
neighborhood sales offices staffed primarily by employee-agents.

The complaint alleges that Direct General's financial statements
and defendants' disclosures throughout the Class Period
regarding the Company's financial statements were materially
false and misleading in that Direct General was failing to
properly adjust for loss reserves with respect to a change in
the law related to personal injury protection coverage in
Florida. Beginning with policies issued on or after October 1,
2003, Florida mandated that the maximum personal injury
protection coverage deductible be reduced from $2,000 per
occurrence to $1,000 and that the limit be increased to $10,000
in excess of the deductible as opposed to $10,000 less the
deductible. On January 26, 2005, Direct General announced that
it would be adjusting its loss reserves and changing its reserve
analysis. On this news, Direct General's stock price dropped
more than 31% on January 27, 2005, on heavy trading volume.

For more details, contact Timothy L. Miles of Barrett, Johnston
& Parsley by Phone: 615/244-2202 or by E-mail:
tmiles@barrettjohnston.com.


DIRECT GENERAL: Stull & Stull Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in TN
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Stull, Stull & Brody initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle
District of Tennessee, on behalf of all persons who purchased
the publicly traded securities of Direct General Corp. ("Direct
General") (NasdaqNM:DRCT) between August 11, 2003 and January
26, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The Complaint alleges that Direct General violated federal
securities laws by issuing false or misleading public
statements. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that Direct
General improperly concealed the negative effect that changes in
the Florida Personal Injury Protection ("PIP") system would have
on its business and failed to properly reserve for such a
contingency. Moreover, the Complaint alleges that certain
corporate insiders sold $108 million worth of their personal
holdings of Direct General stock before the substantial impact
of the PIP changes was disclosed on January 26, 2005.

For more details, contact Tzivia Brody, Esq. of Stull, Stull &
Brody by Mail: 6 East 45th Street, New York, NY 10017 by Phone:
1-800-337-4983 by Fax: 212/490-2022 by E-mail: SSBNY@aol.com or
visit their Web site: http://www.ssbny.com.


SIERRA WIRELESS: Lerach Coughlin Lodges Securities Suit in NY
-------------------------------------------------------------
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 Southern District of New
York on behalf of purchasers of Sierra Wireless, Inc. ("Sierra")
(NASDAQ:SWIR) common stock during the period between January 28,
2004 and January 26, 2005 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Sierra and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. Sierra develops and markets a range of products, including
wireless data modems for portable computers, embedded modules
for original equipment manufacturers, rugged vehicle-mounted
modems and mobile phones. In addition, Sierra has recently
entered into the Smartphone market with its Voq product line.

The Complaint alleges that, throughout the Class Period,
defendants issued numerous statements concerning the Company's
performance and future prospects. As alleged in the Complaint,
these statements were materially false and misleading when made
as they failed to disclose the following material adverse facts
which were then known to defendants or recklessly disregarded by
them:

    (1) that Sierra's strategy to correct its deficiency in
        technology as compared to its competitors by
        introducing the Voq Smartphone was flawed and its
        business model was not working;

    (2) that Sierra was facing increasing competition,
        intensified by its failure to enter into the WCDMA
        (wideband code-division multiple access) market;

    (3) that Sierra's recent venture into the Smartphone market
        with the introduction of its new Voq line was a serious
        misstep, as it did little to add revenue and further
        seriously harmed Sierra's relationship with a prime
        customer palmOne as its Voq Smartphone would compete
        with palmOne's Treo - the product for which Sierra was
        a supplier;

    (4) that Sierra's dependence on revenue from palmOne in its
        original equipment manufacturer ("OEM") business -
        selling embedded modules that allow other device
        manufacturers to give their products wireless
        connectivity - was substantially greater than had been
        reported; and

    (5) that Sierra's customers were materially over-
        inventoried, which would lead to greatly diminished
        orders and sales in future quarters.

On January 26, 2005, after the market closed for regular
trading, Sierra issued a press release announcing its financial
results for the fourth quarter of 2004 and provided guidance for
the first quarter of 2005. Specifically, Sierra announced that
its revenue for the fourth quarter of 2004 was well below the
previous guidance that it had given to investors and further
announced that it expected a steep decline in its revenue going
forward. Following this announcement, on January 27, 2005, the
next day of trading, Sierra's stock plunged 38% to a 52-week low
of $8.97 per share, on extremely heavy trading volume.

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


SINA CORPORATION: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in S.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP initiated a
class action lawsuit on behalf of purchasers of the securities
of SINA Corp. ("SINA" or the "Company") (Nasdaq: SINA) between
October 26, 2004 and February 7, 2005, inclusive (the "Class
Period"), seeking to pursue remedies under the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act").

The action, numbered 05 cv 2268 is pending before Judge Kimba M.
Wood in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York against defendants SINA, Wang Yan (CEO,
Pres.), and Charles Guowei Chao (CFO).

The complaint alleges that SINA is an online media company and
"value-added" information services provider for Chinese
communities worldwide that reported robust earnings and revenue
growth during the third quarter of 2004, and guided analysts to
expect substantial revenue and earnings growth during the fourth
quarter as well.

The complaint further alleges that defendants knew or recklessly
disregarded, but failed to disclose, the very material extent to
which the Company's financial performance and prospects were
dependent on revenue and earnings derived from fortune-telling
type services, and that defendants knew or recklessly
disregarded, but failed to disclose, the material risk that the
Chinese government would shut down radio and television
advertisement of such services, thereby preventing effective
promotion of SINA's primary revenue generator. The complaint
further alleges that defendants also knew or recklessly
disregarded, but failed to disclose, that recent changes to the
billing process, instituted by China Mobile Communications
Corp., would have a materially adverse effect on the Company's
financial performance.

The truth began to emerge on February 7, 2005. On that date,
defendants reported preliminary results that were consistent
with their 4th quarter guidance but gave the investment
community a big and disappointing surprise when they disclosed
an anticipated sequential revenue decline of 17% to 24% in the
first quarter of 2005 and attributed the decline to the ban on
fortune-telling advertising and billing changes. In reaction to
this news, the Company's share price fell by more than 21%.
During the class period, insiders sold SINA shares at
artificially inflated prices for proceeds in excess of $31
million.

For more details, contact Steven G. Schulman, Peter E. Seidman
or Andrei V. Rado 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 visit their Web site:
http://www.milbergweiss.com.


TASER INTERNATIONAL: Federman & Sherwood Lodges Stock Suit in AZ
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Federman & Sherwood initiated a securities class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court of Arizona
against TASER International, Inc. (Nasdaq: TASR).

The complaint alleges violations of federal securities laws,
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
and Rule 10b-5, including allegations of issuing a series of
material misrepresentations to the market which had the effect
of artificially inflating the market price. The class period is
from October 19, 2004 through January 10, 2005.

For more details, contact William B. Federman of FEDERMAN &
SHERWOOD by Mail: 120 N. Robinson, Suite 2720, Oklahoma City, OK
73102 by Phone: (405) 235-1560 by Fax: (405) 239-2112 by E-mail:
wfederman@aol.com or visit their Web site:
http://www.federmanlaw.com.


TASER INTERNATIONAL: Murray Frank Lodges Stock Fraud Suit in AZ
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm Murray, Frank & Sailer LLP initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court of Arizona on behalf
of purchasers of the securities of TASER International, Inc.
("TASER" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:TASR) between May 29, 2003
and January 10, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges TASER, Phillips Smith, Patrick Smith, and
Thomas Smith with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder. More specifically, the complaint alleges that the
Company failed to disclose and misrepresented the following
material adverse facts known to defendants or recklessly
disregarded by them:

     (1) that the Company actively and continually obscured the
         truth about the safety of its TASERs;

     (2) that even after it was revealed that more than 70
         people had died in North America in TASER-related
         incidents, the Company vehemently asserted that its
         weapons were safe, in order to maintain profitability;

     (3) that the Defendants accelerated the Davidson's deal in
         the fourth quarter of 2004, in order to book the
         revenue, so TASER did not have to report its first
         quarter-to-quarter revenue decline in nearly two years;
         and

     (4) as a result, the Company lacked any reasonable basis
         for any statements it made regarding profitability and
         safety.

On January 6, 2005, just before midnight, TASER announced that
it was cooperating with an informal inquiry letter from the SEC
regarding the safety of TASER(r) products and a recent order
received from Davidson's, Inc. This news shocked the market.
Shares of TASER fell $4.90 per share, or 17.74 percent, on
January 7, 2005, to close at 22.72 per share. Then on Monday,
January 10, 2005, TASER shares tumbled another $2.67 per share
or 11.75 percent, to close at $20.05 per share. On January 11,
2005, TASER released a letter to its shareholders and customers
regarding the SEC investigation and the general state of the
Company. Following the announcement, shares of TASER were down
another $5.95 per share or 29.68 percent on January 11, 2005,
and last traded at $14.10 per share.

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


TASER INTERNATIONAL: Pomerantz Haudek Lodges Stock Suit in AZ
-------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Pomerantz Haudek Block Grossman & Gross LLP
initiated a class action lawsuit in the United States District
Court, District of Arizona, against TASER International, Inc.
("TASER" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:TASR) and certain of its
officers and directors, on behalf of purchasers of the common
stock of TASER during the period from August 10, 2004 to January
7, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period").

TASER purports to develop, manufacture and market "non-lethal
weapons" for use in the law enforcement, military, private
security, and personal defense markets. The complaint alleges
that during the Class Period, defendants knowingly or recklessly
misrepresented the Company's prospects, financial results, and
operations, causing the Company's stock price to trade at
artificially inflated prices in violation of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934. Among other things, defendants made
materially false and misleading statements regarding the safety
of TASER's products, and reported inflated revenues.

The truth, known to each of the defendants but concealed from
the investing public, involved:

     (1) "independent" studies touted by defendants as
         confirming the safety of TASER's products in fact
         raised reservations; and

     (2) the $1.5 million order of TASER devices from a
         distributor that was announced in the last days of the
         fourth quarter was orchestrated to help the Company
         meet analysts' estimates and create the illusion that
         the Company's stellar growth was continuing.

In the dead of night on January 6, 2005, defendants disclosed
that the SEC had launched an inquiry into the safety of TASER's
products and the $1.5 million order. The market reacted swiftly
-- TASER's share price fell almost 20% from a Class Period high
of $32.59 (adjusted for a two-for-one stock split) on December
30, 2004 to a closing price of $22.72 on January 7, 2005. On
January 11, 2005, TASER revealed that some orders in the first
half of 2005 may be delayed as customers test and evaluate
competitors' products. The stock fell even further on this news.
While plaintiff and other class members sustained massive
losses, a number of the individual defendants profited from
their misconduct. During the Class Period, insiders, including
defendants, sold over $96 million worth of TASER common stock.

For more details, contact Carolyn S. Moskowitz of Pomerantz
Haudek Block Grossman & Gross LLP by Phone: (888) 476-6529 or by
E-mail: csmoskowitz@pomlaw.com.


TASER INTERNATIONAL: Spector Roseman Files Securities Suit in AZ
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P.C. initiated a
securities class action lawsuit in the United States District
Court for the District of Arizona on behalf of purchasers of the
common stock of Taser International, Inc. ("Taser" or the
"Company") (Nasdaq: TASR) between October 18, 2004 through
January 6, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period") against Taser
and certain officers and directors of the Company.

The Complaint alleges that defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder, by issuing a series of material
misrepresentations to the market between October 18, 2004 and
January 6, 2005, thereby artificially inflating the price of
Taser securities. Throughout the Class Period defendants issued
numerous statements describing the safety of its products which
were materially false and misleading because they failed to
disclose and/or misrepresented the following adverse facts,
among others:

     (1) that the Company's Taser M26 and X26 are unsafe;

     (2) that defendants knew or recklessly disregarded the fact
         that the Company's Taser M26 and X26 have safety
         concerns;

     (3) that defendants knew or recklessly disregarded the fact
         that the Company's M26s and X26s severe safety concerns
         were likely to limit the long term marketability of the
         Taser M26 and X26; and

     (4) that the defendants failed to warn the public of the
         potential harm of the Company's M26 and X26, in order
         to preserve the Company's profits from the "stun" guns.

On January 6, 2005, after the market closed, the Company issued
a press release entitled "Taser International, Inc. Cooperates
with SEC Informal Inquiry." In the press release, the Company
disclosed that the Securities and Exchange Commission is
beginning an inquiry into claims and statements made by Taser on
the safety of its stun guns. Further, as stated in the press
release, the SEC is also looking into an end of year order
totaling $1.5 million.

For more details, contact Robert M. Roseman by Phone:
888-844-5862 or by E-mail: classaction@srk-law.com or visit
their Web site: http://www.srk-law.com.


UNITEDGLOBALCOM: Faruqi & Faruqi Lodges Stock Fraud Suit in DE
--------------------------------------------------------------
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 UnitedGlobalCom, Inc. ("UnitedGlobal" or the
"Company") (Nasdaq:UCOMA) challenging the fairness of the recent
merger proposal made by Liberty Media International, Inc.
("Liberty Media"), which owns approximately 53% of
UnitedGlobal's outstanding common 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 UnitedGlobal'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 UnitedGlobal stockholders by
using their control of UnitedGlobal to force plaintiff and the
Class to exchange their equity interest in UnitedGlobal at an
unfair price, and deprive UnitedGlobal'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 UnitedGlobal's public shareholders are
properly protected from overreaching.

For more details, contact Anthony Vozzolo, Esq. of Faruqi &
Faruqi, LLP by Phone: (877) 247-4292 or (212) 983-9330 by E-
mail: Avozzolo@faruqilaw.com.


UNITEDGLOBAL INC.: 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 Liberty Media International, Inc. ("Liberty
Media"), in the Court of Chancery in the State of Delaware on
behalf of all who held shares of UnitedGlobalCom, Inc.
("UnitedGlobal" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: UCOMA).

The complaint alleges that on January 18, 2005, UnitedGlobal
announced that Liberty Media has made a proposal to acquire all
of the Company's common stock that it does not already own at a
price of approximately $3.65 billion (the "Buyout" or "Buyout
Proposal"). UnitedGlobal shareholders would receive 0.2155
shares of Liberty Global Inc., the successor entity, for each
share of UnitedGlobal, and investors in Liberty Media would get
one share of Liberty Global Inc. for each share they hold.
Liberty Media also offered a cash alternative of $9.58 per share
UnitedGlobal stock, limited to 20% of the total offer. 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 UnitedGlobal. In
fact, the Company's stock traded in excess of the Buyout price
as recently as the day prior to the announcement, and has been
trading at or over that price for at least the past month.
Moreover, the complaint alleges that Liberty Media had timed the
proposal to freeze out UnitedGlobal's public shareholders in
order to capture for itself UnitedGlobal's future potential
without paying an adequate or fair price to the Company's public
shareholders and that Liberty Media timed the announcement of
the proposed buyout to place an artificial lid on the market
price of UnitedGlobal's stock so that the market would not
reflect UnitedGlobal's improving potential, thereby purporting
to justify an unreasonably low price.

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


VEECO INSTRUMENTS: Lerach Coughlin Lodges Securities Suit in NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
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 Eastern District of New
York on behalf of purchasers of Veeco Instruments, Inc.
("Veeco") (NASDAQ:VECO) common stock during the period between
April 26, 2004 and February 10, 2005 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Veeco and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. Veeco designs, manufactures, markets and services a broad
line of equipment primarily used by manufacturers in the data
storage and semiconductors industry.

Prior to the start of the Class Period, on November 3, 2003, the
Company announced the acquisition of Emcore Corporation's
TurboDisc(R) Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD)
business. Throughout the Class Period, defendants issued
numerous positive statements and filed quarterly reports with
the SEC which described the Company's increasing financial
performance due in part to the success of its TurboDisc
division. In fact, defendants reported that the Company exceeded
its quarterly guidance for the first and second quarters of
2004. These statements were materially false and misleading
because they failed to disclose and misrepresented the following
adverse facts, among others:

     (1) that Veeco was materially overstating its financial
         results by engaging in improper accounting practices.
         As detailed herein, Veeco has admitted that its prior
         financial reports are materially false and misleading
         as it announced that it is going to restate its results
         for the first three quarters of 2004;

     (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 inventory, accounts payable, revenue and net
         income were materially overstated at all relevant
         times.

Then, on February 11, 2005, Veeco announced that it would delay
releasing its fourth-quarter and yearly results while it
examines improper accounting at its TurboDisc division.
According to the press release, the Company's investigation is
focusing mainly on the value of inventory, accounts payable and
certain revenue items.

Upon this shocking news, shares of the Company's stock fell
$1.90 per share, or almost 10%, to close at $16.96 per share, on
unusually heavy trading volume.

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

                            *********


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

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

                            *********


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

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

Copyright 2005.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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

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

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

                  * * *  End of Transmission  * * *