CAR_Public/050303.mbx             C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Thursday, March 3, 2005, Vol. 7, No. 44


                            Headlines

AIR TRANSAT: Reaches Settlement in Passengers' Suit For $7.65M
CALIFORNIA: Four Armenian Charities Receive Genocide Settlement
CANADA: Quebec Council Says More People Joining Smokers' Suits
CHOICEPOINT INC.: Execs Sold Shares Prior to Breach Announcement
CHOICEPOINT INC.: To Inform VT Customers About Security Breach

CHOICEPOINT INC.: To Inform WA Customers About Security Breach
CHOICEPOINT INC.: CT AG Demands Details On Consumer Info Leak
CITIGROUP INC.: Starts New Ethics Policy To Repair Reputation
ICT GROUP: Settles 1998 Class Action Lawsuit For $14.75M in WV
LEBLANC'S CAJUN: Recalls Cooked Pork For Listeria Contamination

LITCHFIELD COUNTY: CT Attorney General Files Lending Scam Suit
MANULIFE SECURITIES: Portus Hedge Fund Investors File $240M Suit
MCDONALD'S CORPORATION: EEOC Lodges Sexual Harassment Lawsuits
MODERN INTERACTIVE: Inks Pact For FTC Weight Loss Fraud Charges
NOVELL INC.: OH Court Grants Preliminary Approval To Suit Pact

PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS LLC: Ex-Employee Files Pension Suit in MO
SUNTERRA CORPORATION: FL Court Approves Securities Settlement
TENNESSEE: Prisoners File Suit Over Jail's Inhumane Conditions
TEXAS: Attorney General Wins Court Judgments V. Six Companies
TYSABRI RECALL: Firms Halt Sale of New Multiple Sclerosis Drug

UNITED KINGDOM: Amicus Calls For Sex Discrimination Class Action
UNITED STATES: ALM Says Fen-Phen Settlement Is A Mass Tort Mess
UNITED STATES: Bush Administration Opposes Suit V. Iraqi Ruler
UNITED STATES: High Court Hears Arguments Over Ten Commandments
WAL-MART STORES: Opponents Team Up in Fight Over Court Files

WORLD WIDE: IL Attorney General Files False Advertising Lawsuit
WYETH PHARMACEUTICALS: OH Court Certifies Premarin Suit Class
YELLOW PAGES: WA Attorney General Files Deceptive Marketing Suit

                   New Securities Fraud Cases  

ADVANCED NEUROMODULATION: Milberg Weiss Files Stock Suit in TX
ADVANCED NEUROMODULATION: Schatz & Nobel Files Stock Suit in TX
AUDIBLE INC.: Lasky & Rifkind Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in NJ
AXONYX INC.: Seeger Weiss Lodges Securities Fraud Lawsuit in NY
EPIX PHARMACEUTICALS: Stull Stull Lodges Stock Fraud Suit in MA

EPIX PHARMACEUTICALS: Weiss & Lurie Lodges Securities Suit in MA
MAMMA.COM INC.: Milberg Weiss Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in NY
OFFICEMAX INC.: Spector Roseman Lodges IL Securities Fraud Suit
VISTEON CORPORATION: Charles J. Piven Lodges Stock Lawsuit in MI

                          *********


AIR TRANSAT: Reaches Settlement in Passengers' Suit For $7.65M
--------------------------------------------------------------
Air Transat will pay $7.65 million to settle a class action
lawsuit by about 175 passengers that were on the airline's
flight that was forced to make an emergency landing in the
Azores in 2001, Macleans, Canada reports.

Attorney Mark Mason told Macleans the settlement, which will be
presented for court approval on April 25, will give each
individual passenger on the flight varying amounts that depends
on the injuries suffered in the accident.  Mr. Mason, who is one
of several lawyers representing the passengers who were part of
the class action, stated, "From the $7.65 million there will be
deductions for things like legal fees and disbursements,
administration costs and there is a possibility that funds might
be distributed to family members as well . We anticipate that
the minimum amount that each passenger will get will be more
than the $8,800 and the amount will increase depending on the
injury suffered."

The lawsuit and the ensuing settlement involved a daring
engines-out glide by Capt. Robert Piche, who averted catastrophe
on August 24, 2001, when an improperly installed engine caused a
fuel leak that cut power to the Airbus A330 en route to Lisbon
from Toronto. Capt. Piche was hailed as a hero for flying the
stalled jet for 19 minutes before making a bone-jarring landing
at an air base about 1,450 kilometres west of Portugal. No one
was killed, but a number of passengers suffered fractures, soft-
tissue injuries and shock.  Portuguese officials have since
blamed the incident on poor maintenance and lapses in pilot
training.


CALIFORNIA: Four Armenian Charities Receive Genocide Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------
Four Armenian charities, including one in Burbank and another in
Glendale, received more than $333,000 from New York Life as part
of a $20 million class-action settlement with descendents of the
1915 Armenian genocide, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports.

As previously reported in the January 31, 2005 edition of the
Class Action Reporter, the settlement was for a class action
lawsuit to resolve insurance claims that stems from Armenian
Genocide of nearly 90 years ago.

The settlements were distributed during a ceremony in Pasadena
that was attended by representatives from the four charities,
New York Life officials and several attorneys.  Richard
Mushegain, chair of the lay council for the Burbank-based
Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, told
the San Gabriel Valley Times, "This is a very meaningful thing,
recognition of the genocide. And it's something we pursued
against the obstructions of the Turkish government and sometimes
our own government."

Officials from the Armenian Educational Foundation in Glendale,
the Los Angeles office of the Armenian Relief Society and the
Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Los Angeles
also received checks.

All the charities received exactly $333,333.33. The Western
Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America plans to spend
its share on clergy education, since, according to them, "During
the genocide, a lot of the Armenian clergy were killed. In fact,
most of the Armenian clergy in the world were killed. It's a
fitting use of the money," Mr. Mushegain told the Times.

The Armenian Educational Foundation has an annual budget of
about $1 million, said Executive Secretary Haigoush Keghinian-
Kohler, but, according to her, the money represents far more
than a boost to their budget. She told the Times "We have mixed
emotions. There is history attached to it. There were lives that
were wasted for no reason." She also said that the foundation's
board will decide later this month how to spend the money. The
charity runs after-school programs for Glendale students,
provides college scholarships and helps renovate and repair
schools in Armenia.

The $20 million settlement, which New York Life agreed to last
year, ends a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the descendents
of 2,400 policyholders, who were among the 1.5 million Armenians
killed in the Ottoman Empire 90 years ago. The charities and
churches receiving the money were chosen because they helped
Armenians settle in America after the genocide.

Plaintiffs' attorneys explained that in order to make a claim
for a portion of the settlement, descendants of policyholders
killed during the Armenian Genocide must postmark their claims
no later than March 16, 2005. Details of the settlement and the
New York Life policies involved are available at
http://www.ArmenianInsuranceSettlement.com.


CANADA: Quebec Council Says More People Joining Smokers' Suits
--------------------------------------------------------------
The list of Quebec smokers signing onto a class action lawsuit
against the country's three large tobacco companies is growing,
according to the Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health, CBC
Montreal reports.

As previously reported in the February 23, 2005 edition of the
Class Action Reporter, Quebec Superior Court Justice Pierre
Jasmin allowed smokers to proceed with separate class-action
lawsuits against Imperial Tobacco, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges and
JTI-MacDonald, all of whom could be liable for damages.

The two smokers involved in the suits are Jean-Yves Blais and
Cecilia Letourneau. Mr. Blais claims that he began smoking when
he was 10 and lost part of his right lung to cancer in 1997,
while Ms. Letourneau, claims she has been addicted to nicotine
since she began smoking in 1964 as a 19-year-old.

Ms. Letourneau had originally began proceedings in 2001, seeking
$5,000 each for an estimated two million Quebec smokers addicted
to nicotine, while Mr. Blais, a 60-year-old taxi-driver from
Longueuil, Quebec, is trying to win up to $100,000 for each of
the estimated 40,000 to 45,000 Quebecers who have suffered
emphysema or cancer of the lungs, larynx or throat between 1995
and 1998.

Most of the people who have since called the Quebec Council on
Tobacco and Health have added their names to the suit with the
list now closing in on 300 people. The council had begun
proceedings for the class action about seven years ago, but had
to wait until last week for the proper permission to pursue the
case.

Mario Bujold, executive director of the group, smokers, or their
surviving family members, are allowed to sign up for the
lawsuit, told CBC Montreal. "Our class action is for the victims
of lung cancer, cancer of the larynx, the throat and emphysema."
That suit, filed by Mr. Blais, asks for up to $100,000 for each
Quebecer who suffered emphysema or cancer of the lungs, larynx
or throat between 1995 and 1998.

Mr. Bujold told CBC Montreal that the phones have been busy over
the last week, and the list of names grows everyday. "We can
touch something around 40,000 victims, so it's normal that we
receive interest from the victims and also calls to person who
want to register to that class action," Mr. Bujold adds.

The second court action, which concerns people who are addicted
to tobacco and was filed by Ms. Letourneau, could end up,
according to the council, representing up to 2 million smokers.


CHOICEPOINT INC.: Execs Sold Shares Prior to Breach Announcement
----------------------------------------------------------------
Two top executives of beleaguered data warehousing firm
ChoicePoint, Inc. gained a combined $16.6 million in profit from
selling company shares months after the Company learned that
people's personal information may have been compromised and
before the breach was made public, regulatory filings show,
according to the Associated Press.

Last week, the Company announced that it was informing about
145,000 Americans in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and
3 U.S. territories that their Social Security numbers and other
personal information may have been viewed by criminals posting
as legitimate customers.  The Company asserted that California
authorities had asked them not to disclose the breach sooner to
protect the fraud investigation.  As a result of the disclosure,
the Company's stock has dropped about 10%.

Chief executive Derek Smith and President Douglas Curling bought
and sold around 458,600 company shares in eight biweekly
transactions between November 9 - after the Company had
confirmed the breach - and February 15, the day the Company
publicly disclosed the breach.  The buying and selling by the
two men continued in recent days, even as Mr. Smith has been
working around the clock to keep major shareholders from running
away.

The Company asserted the sale was pre-arranged under a plan
approved by the company's board.  In a statement, the Company
said the stock plans were "typical for senior executives of
public companies and the plans were approved by the company's
board of directors."

Mr. Smith's and Mr. Curling's trading activity involving
ChoicePoint stock was much less frequent by comparison in
previous years, according to SEC records and an analysis with
Thomson Financial.  In 2003 Mr. Smith and Mr. Curling each made
only one stock transaction, and in 2002 Mr. Smith made three
transactions and Mr. Curling made one transaction, according to
Thomson Financial.

In the recent trading, the options granted to them years ago
allowed them to buy shares at significantly lower prices than
the current market price - as low as $3.62 in one transaction.
They then turned around and sold those shares at the market
price at the time of the sales - as high as $46.82 in one
transaction, AP reports.  The buying and selling followed a
ChoicePoint announcement Nov. 3 that Smith and Curling had each
adopted trading policies allowing them to exercise up to a
combined 737,380 shares, or 24 percent of their combined
holdings in the company, between then and April of this year.
The company said at the time that the options were near
expiration.

Corporate governance experts say the pattern and timing of the
trading raises questions.  Securities and Exchange Commission
spokesman John Heine declined to say Friday whether the agency
is investigating, AP reports.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Curling did not respond to repeated requests
through a spokesman for comment Friday.  Mr. Smith told The
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which reported on the stock sales
Friday, that he doesn't believe he did anything wrong, and
asserted that he didn't personally learn about the breach until
late December or January. Mr. Smith told The Associated Press on
Thursday that in October "we voluntarily found the breach and
notified law enforcement."

"The sales raise questions, and those questions are going to get
answered," Paul Lapides, a corporate governance expert at
Kennesaw State University, told AP.  He said it could very well
turn out there wasn't anything wrong with the stock sales.

"With that said, the timing of the exercise of these options
could not have been much worse for the reputation of the
company, its CEO and president," he added. "The company has
apologized to customers. Now it is time for Smith and Curling to
apologize to shareholders."

ChoicePoint's board of directors should hire an independent firm
to investigate, Mr. Lapides told AP.

Peter Schaeffer, a securities lawyer in New York, told AP the
trading policy that Smith and Curling adopted in November, made
under Rule 10b5-1 of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934,
usually is only adopted when the executive doesn't have material
inside information that hasn't been made public.

"I think that this is a lot of bad luck," Mr. Schaeffer said.
"It doesn't look good and it does raise questions, but there are
always circumstances that evolve and change over time. Without
more information, I would suspect that is what occurred here."

Charles Elson, a corporate governance expert at the University
of Delaware, said the key question is going to come down to what
Smith and Curling knew and when.  "At the very least, it might
have been more prudent to trade after the information had
surfaced in the public domain," Mr. Elson told AP.  "They would
have avoided these questions had they waited."


CHOICEPOINT INC.: To Inform VT Customers About Security Breach
--------------------------------------------------------------
Credit reporting agency ChoicePoint has indicated that 144,000
consumers nationwide had their information compromised when
ChoicePoint distributed information about these consumers to
inappropriate customers.  According to ChoicePoint, there are
111 Vermont consumers whose information may have been affected,
Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrel announced.

ChoicePoint is a credit reporting agency based in Georgia that
has indicated it has experienced a security breach by
authorizing inappropriate customers to access confidential
information in its system.  The Vermont Attorney General's
office has informed ChoicePoint that it must notify each of the
Vermont consumers who may have been affected, and provide these
consumers with additional means to ensure that they are not
adversely affected by the security breach.

As a result of the Attorney General's letter, ChoicePoint will
provide the 111 consumers whose information has been affected
with notice of the problem, free credit reports from each of the
nationwide credit reporting agencies, and a free access to a
one-year credit monitoring service. ChoicePoint will mail by the
end of this week to the Vermont consumers whose information may
have been affected should receive this notice shortly.

The Attorney General advises Vermont consumers who receive the
notice from ChoicePoint to obtain their credit reports as
indicated in the notice letter to determine whether there has
been suspicious credit activity in the consumer's name.


CHOICEPOINT INC.: To Inform WA Customers About Security Breach
--------------------------------------------------------------
ChoicePoint Inc., a personal data storehouse based in
Alpharetta, Georgia, intends to inform 3,189 Washington
consumers who may have had their identities compromised by a
breach of the company's database, Washington Attorney General
Rob Mckenna announced in a statement.  Fraud committed against
ChoicePoint has resulted in the names, addresses, social
security numbers and credit reports of some Washington consumers
being viewed without proper authorization, potentially for
illegitimate purposes.  

"I am pleased that ChoicePoint has agreed to notify affected
consumers in Washington," said Attorney General McKenna. "They
have encouraged consumers to obtain their credit reports and
have arranged for consumers to receive a one-year credit
monitoring service free of charge."

ChoicePoint will be mailing notifications to affected consumers
nationwide and expect to complete these mailings by the end of
the week. Receiving the notification letter does not
automatically mean that the recipient's personal information has
been fraudulently used-only that it has been viewed by
unauthorized persons and may, in the future, be compromised. The
notification letter explains how to obtain the free services and
includes a toll-free number for customers to call with
questions.

The Attorney General also emphasized that consumers should watch
carefully for the notifications. "It would be unfortunate if
anyone mistook these notices for junk mail and unintentionally
discarded this critical information," he said.

The Attorney General's Office will be monitoring ChoicePoint to
make sure they follow through with all of their promises to help
affected consumers.  For more information, contact the Attorney
General's office by phone: 1-800-551-4636 or by visiting the
Website: http://www.atg.wa.gov/consumer/idprivacy/.


CHOICEPOINT INC.: CT AG Demands Details On Consumer Info Leak
-------------------------------------------------------------
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is demanding
more details from ChoicePoint, Inc., after authorities in
another state indicated that the company's information leak was
far worse than the company has reported.  He is also considering
legal action against ChoicePoint for failing to safeguard
private confidential consumer records.

The Attorney General said he is concerned about reports that the
number of consumers affected could be closer to 500,000
nationwide - suggesting four times the 5,952 consumers
reportedly affected in Connecticut.

ChoicePoint, a collector and distributor of consumer personal
information, released confidential, private information from its
database on consumers across the nation to identity thieves
posing as legitimate businesses last October. The company has
reported that about 750 consumers have already been victimized
as a result of the leak.

The Attorney General's Office is seeking more specific
information about how the company concluded what consumers were
affected; how it collects data; and its plans to prevent
subsequent security breaches.

He also proposed new legislation that would require any person
who owns or licenses a computer databank to notify the affected
Connecticut consumers of any security breach. ChoicePoint's
failure to notify potential state victims until four months
after the security breach increased the potential for harm to
Connecticut consumers, Attorney General Blumenthal said. This
legislation would prevent such notification delays in the
future.

"We demand more details so that we can take stronger, proactive
measures to protect consumers - and we will seek legislation to
prevent this unconscionable security breach in the future," he
said. This identity theft - resulting from an information theft
- threatens grave financial loss to thousands of Connecticut
consumers - possibly many more than notified - and has spawned a
spiral of fear and apprehension that could do lasting damage to
consumer trust in credit institutions."


CITIGROUP INC.: Starts New Ethics Policy To Repair Reputation
-------------------------------------------------------------
Investment firm Citigroup, Inc. started implementing a new
ethics policy, after a series of scandals in the United States
and abroad has tainted its reputation, the Belleville News-
Democrat reports.

The five-point program, titled "Our Shared Responsibilities,"
aims at expanding training and accountability for managers and
rank-and-file workers.  The program will be phased in over the
next 12 to 18 months.  

Under the plan, Citi will expand training for all employees,
including senior managers.  Improved communications will include
"voice of the employee" input into policies and an ethics "hot
line."  The Company also said it would step up executive
coaching and development programs as well as talent review
processes; create a company-wide performance appraisal program;
and strengthen compliance and audit controls.  As part of the
program, the 3,000 employees who are senior managers will be
required to retain 25 percent of the Citi stock they are awarded
or purchase under incentive programs. Top tier executives must
retain a 75 percent stake, the News-Democrat reports.

According to Chief Executive Charles O. Prince, the five-point
program was developed with input from internal "town hall"
meetings as well as discussions with employees of companies
including health care products maker Johnson & Johnson of New
Brunswick, N.J., and computer maker Dell Inc. of Round Rock,
Texas, the News-Democrat states.  Mr. Prince kicked off the
initiative in meetings with workers in the company's New York
headquarters and, later, in Sioux Falls, S.D., where the bank's
credit card operations are based.

"Our goal is to make explicit what is implicit," Prince told The
Associated Press.  "Every employee, starting with me, has the
ability to refocus on our reputation and our integrity and our
long-term franchise."  He said he wants Citi to be "the most-
respected financial services company" in the world.

The initiative comes as the bank is grappling with regulatory
problems at home and abroad.  Last year, the Company was forced
to close its private bank in Japan for ethical lapses.  In
Europe, the bank is under investigation for bond trading that
roiled European markets.

Before that, Citi got caught up in a number of domestic
scandals.  In April 2003, it was part of a $1.4 billion
settlement with federal regulators over biased advice from
analysts.  Last year, Citi paid $2.58 billion to settle a class
action suit involving investors who bought WorldCom Inc.
securities before its 2002 collapse. The bank also has been
named in cases stemming from the Enron Corporation bankruptcy,
the News-Democrat reports.


ICT GROUP: Settles 1998 Class Action Lawsuit For $14.75M in WV
--------------------------------------------------------------
ICT GROUP, INC. (NASDAQ:ICTG), a leading global provider of
customer management and business process outsourcing solutions,
entered into an agreement to settle the outstanding 1998 class
action litigation filed in West Virginia against the Company.
Under the terms of the settlement, ICT GROUP, without admitting
liability or wrongdoing, will pay $14.75 million to the
plaintiff class.

The Company will record a charge to settle this matter of
approximately $8.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2004, which
will cover its anticipated settlement cost as well as associated
litigation expenses for the fourth quarter of 2004. This charge
reflects the impact of agreed upon insurance proceeds. If the
Company is successful in its efforts to recover additional
insurance payments, these recoveries would be recognized in the
period received. This charge is in addition to the $4.4 million
that was previously reserved by the Company in connection with
the litigation.

In connection with the proposed settlement, the Company amended
the existing credit facility with its bank lenders to remain in
compliance with its covenants. As ICT GROUP maintains a strong
financial position, this agreement will not impact the Company's
ability to serve its clients' needs. This settlement is
contingent on court approval, which the Company anticipates will
be forthcoming.

John J. Brennan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ICT
GROUP, commented, "Our decision to enter into the settlement
agreement was a difficult one, but was made in light of the fact
that West Virginia law allows for liquidated damages of thirty
days pay plus interest which was being sought for all class
members regardless of the amount of wages allegedly unpaid.
Additionally, we would have had to incur substantial additional
legal costs to further pursue the matter. Therefore, while we
continue to dispute the plaintiff's allegations, we believe that
the settlement is the best course of action and are pleased to
put this matter behind us in order to focus on the growth and
expansion of ICT GROUP."

"Business demand and revenue growth remained strong in the
fourth quarter of 2004. With a substantial backlog of awarded
business, additional new prospects ahead of us, and several
opportunities to realize further productivity improvements and
increased profitability, 2005 continues to look very promising
for the Company," Mr. Brennan concluded.

The Company will report 2004 fourth quarter and full-year
financial results and host a conference call with investors on
March 1, 2005.


LEBLANC'S CAJUN: Recalls Cooked Pork For Listeria Contamination
---------------------------------------------------------------
LeBlanc's Cajun Boudin and Food Company, Inc., a St. Amant,
Louisiana, establishment, is voluntarily recalling approximately
1,120 pounds of cooked pork products that may be contaminated
with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.

The products subject to recall are approximately 2 lb. packages
of "LeBlanc's COOKED BOUDIN" and "LeBlanc's COOKED CRAWFISH
BOUDIN." Each package bears the package code "0214" and the
establishment code "EST. 13512" inside the USDA mark of
inspection.  The pork products were produced on Feb. 14, 2005,
and distributed to retail stores in the New Orleans and Baton
Rouge areas.

The problem was discovered through routine FSIS sampling. FSIS
has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption
of these products.  Consumption of food contaminated with
Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, an uncommon but
potentially fatal disease. Healthy people rarely contract
listeriosis. Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache,
neck stiffness, and nausea. Listeriosis can also cause
miscarriages and stillbirths, as well as serious and sometimes
fatal infections in those with weak immune systems - infants,
the frail or elderly, and persons with chronic disease, with HIV
infection, or taking chemotherapy.

Media and consumers with questions about the recall may contact
company owner Paul Hays at (225) 644-2933.  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.


LITCHFIELD COUNTY: CT Attorney General Files Lending Scam Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Banking
Commissioner John P. Burke and Department of Consumer Protection
(DCP) Commissioner Edwin R. Rodriguez have sued Litchfield
County Realty, Heritage Builders, LLC, and Approved Mortgages,
Inc., for predatory lending practices in the sale of new homes
at the Pine Meadow Farms development in New Hartford.

The Torrington-based companies worked together to scam buyers by
illegally supplementing their mortgage payments, signing them up
for mortgages they couldn't afford, temporarily giving them
money so they falsely appeared to meet down payment requirements
and submitting false information to lenders.

Mr. Blumenthal's office has so far identified four victims, some
of whom are close to losing their homes to foreclosure, but
believes there are significantly more.  According to Blumenthal,
the scheme allegedly targeted first-time homebuyers for the new
houses at Pine Meadow Farms, where 69 homes were planned and
more than 30 have been built.

"These companies were insidious and inventive in turning the
American Dream of homeownership into a nightmare, as our
complaint powerfully claims," he said.  "They cynically scammed
families into purchasing homes they could not afford, condemning
them to foreclosure and financial ruin. My office will
vigorously and aggressively seek restitution - money back to
families so they can rebuild their lives - and appropriate
penalties and forfeiture of profits."

"The department believes that Approved Mortgage, Inc., joined in
misleading business practices which have harmed Connecticut's
consumers," Mr. Burke said. "The agency is working closely with
the Attorney General's Office to resolve this matter."

"The web of deception apparently created by these companies was
ingeniously effective in exploiting the consumers' 'American
Dream' of owning a home," Rodriguez said. "The evidence suggests
that they collaborated to deceive and defraud their clients,
turning their dream into a nightmare."

Sometime before 2002, Litchfield County Realty, Heritage
Builders and Approved Mortgage allegedly devised a scheme to
lure buyers into purchasing homes they could not afford. The
companies worked together to falsify buyers' income and credit
histories for mortgages they otherwise could not afford. They
also collaborated to temporarily deposit funds into consumers'
bank accounts so they would qualify for the loans. After
closings, the defendants demanded and received the money back.

One or more of the defendants also gave homebuyers $400 a month
to help pay their mortgages, but the assistance lasted only one
year. When the payments ended, buyers were stuck with mortgages
they could not afford, leaving them to face default and
foreclosure.

The lawsuit seeks orders requiring the companies to cease these
practices, pay homeowners restitution, pay civil penalties for
violations of state consumer protection and other laws, disgorge
all ill-gotten gains and reimburse the state for the costs of
the lawsuit.


MANULIFE SECURITIES: Portus Hedge Fund Investors File $240M Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Investors who had bought hedge funds from troubled Portus
Alternative Asset Management Inc. launched a $240-million class-
action lawsuit against Manulife Securities International, the
dealer that recommended the investment, The Canadian Press
reports.

Peter Ormerod, who invested $100,000 of his retirement savings
in the Portus fund through an account managed by a Manulife
Securities financial adviser brought the suit on behalf of
investors who bought the funds in question between the start of
the referral program in 2003 until cease-trading orders from the
Ontario Securities Commission and other provincial regulators
came down in February. According to a statement of claim that
was filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Mr.
Ormerod alleged Manulife and parent firm Manulife Financial
Corporation failed to adequately investigate the fee structure
and safety of Portus hedge funds before steering its clients
there.

The claims also states, "The defendants' failure to complete
proper, reasonable and prudent due diligence pursuant to
industry standards resulted in the class investing in risky and
speculative investments which was inconsistent with the terms of
the contract documents."

Lawyers for the plaintiffs told the Canadian Press, Manulife
earned $10 million in fees through a referral agreement that saw
it refer up to $240 million worth of its clients' capital to
Portus, which was targeted early last month by the Ontario
Securities Commission.  For its part, Manulife Financial said in
published Media reports that it was misled by Portus about the
nature of the investments the fund was making on behalf of
Manulife clients.

The statement of claim paints a picture of a complex offshore
investment scheme designed to enable Portus to avoid Canadian
securities regulations that restrict the type of investors who
can make high-risk hedge-fund investments. In addition it also
says, The plaintiffs "were not qualified or accredited investors
to invest in high risk and highly speculative hedge fund
investments like those made by the Portus Fund."

Furthermore, the statement of claims as states, Portus was also
entitled to charge "excessive and egregious" management fees,
commissions and referral fees "significantly above those
considered prudent, fair or reasonable by industry standards and
industry practice," as a result, Manulife ought to have known it
was "virtually impossible and totally unrealistic," given market
conditions and the fees being levied, for investors to realize
any return on their investment capital.

Peter Jervis, the Toronto lawyer heading up the suit, told the
Canadian Press Manulife Securities had a "heightened duty of
care" to protect its clients given the complexity of the
investment, the unusual fee structure and the high-risk nature
of hedge-fund investing.  "Put it this way: when there are red
flags out, you're put on notice to do heightened due diligence,"
Mr. Jervis said. "This was a very unusual, uncertain type of
investment."


MCDONALD'S CORPORATION: EEOC Lodges Sexual Harassment Lawsuits
--------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed
two employment discrimination lawsuits on behalf of teen workers
against franchises of McDonald's restaurant in Arizona and New
Mexico.

The first suit was filed against Pand Enterprises, Inc. for
same-sex harassment and retaliation against a class of young men
employed at McDonald's in Albuquerque, N.M. The second suit was
filed against GLC, Inc., an Arizona corporation, for sexual
harassment against a class of young women at its McDonald's
restaurant in Cordes Junction, Arizona.

"Employers must recognize their responsibility to assure that
young workers one of the most vulnerable segments of the labor
force are not harassed by supervisors or co-workers," said
Chester Bailey, EEOC's Director of the Phoenix District Office,
which has jurisdiction for Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. "These
cases involve a clear failure of employers to abide by the law
and respect the dignity of teen employees who are new to the
workplace and may be unaware of their rights."

The EEOC's lawsuit, EEOC v. Pand Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a
McDonald's Restaurant, Civil Action No. 05-CIV-204, filed in
U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, claims that
a class of young men were subjected to same-sex harassment by a
male supervisor, including unwanted touching, requests for sex
and sexual remarks. The lawsuit further claims that one young
male employee's work hours were cut in retaliation for opposing
the sexual harassment.

The Arizona lawsuit, EEOC v. GLC, Inc., d/b/a McDonald's
Restaurant, CIV 05-0618 PCT PGR, filed in U.S. District Court
for the District of Arizona, Prescott division, claims that a
class of teenage female employees were subjected to sexual
harassment by a male assistant manager.

EEOC asserts that the sexual harassment included, but was not
limited to:

     (1) touching female employees in an unwelcome sexual manner
         grabbing them around the waist;

     (2) rubbing their stomachs; grabbing their breasts;

     (3) backing them against a wall while rubbing their
         shoulders;

     (4) putting his hands in their pockets; and

     (5) rubbing up against them

The suit says that although employees complained to management
about the unlawful conduct, no appropriate action was taken to
address and correct the situation. Additionally, EEOC says that
one female employee's work conditions were made so intolerable
that she had no choice but to resign, and thus was
constructively discharged in violation of the law.

The alleged conduct in both cases violates Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment
discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including
sexual harassment or pregnancy) or national origin and protects
employees who complain about such offenses from retaliation.

Mary Jo O'Neill, Regional Attorney at the EEOC's Phoenix
District Office, said, "Federal law protects workers, including
teens, against sexual harassment and other forms of
discrimination. Employers who provide after-school or weekend
job opportunities for young workers have a responsibility to
abide by the law and provide a work environment free of
harassment. Young workers need to know they do not have to put
up with any type of discrimination period in order to attain or
retain gainful employment."

The EEOC filed the suits after exhausting its conciliation
efforts to reach voluntary pre-litigation settlements in both
cases. The lawsuits ask the courts to order McDonald's to
provide the harassment victims with appropriate relief,
including back wages, compensatory damages, and punitive
damages; to grant a permanent injunction enjoining this employer
from engaging in any practice that discriminates on the bases of
sex and retaliation; and to order the employers to institute and
carry out policies and practices which eradicate sexual
harassment, and prevent sexual harassment and retaliation from
occurring in the future.

EEOC Vice Chair Naomi C. Earp, who was in Phoenix to host the
press conference, said: "Each year, millions of teens work part-
time or during the summer, and EEOC is committed to working with
employers to help ensure that every teen's first work experience
is a positive one. While the Commission strives to proactively
prevent discrimination through education and outreach as a first
resort, we will not hesitate to use our litigation tools when
necessary."

In September 2004, Vice Chair Earp launched the agency's
national Youth@Work Initiative to educate teens about their
employment rights and responsibilities and to help employers
create positive first work experiences for young adults. As part
of that effort, EEOC recently entered into a partnership with
the National Restaurant Association to promote fair and
inclusive workplaces for teens in the food services industry.
Further information about the Youth@Work campaign is available
on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov. Specific EEOC-related
information for teens is available on the new Youth@Work web
site http://www.youth.eeoc.gov.


MODERN INTERACTIVE: Inks Pact For FTC Weight Loss Fraud Charges
---------------------------------------------------------------
California infomercial producer Modern Interactive Technology,
Inc. (MIT), and its two principals, Mark Levine and David
Richmond, have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges
that they had an active role in developing the deceptive claims
made to sell "The Enforma System" weight-loss products. The
settlement requires, among other things, that the defendants
have competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate
future claims for any dietary supplement, food, drug, or device.

This is the last case growing out of the sales of the Enforma
System, a weight-loss product consisting of two dietary
supplements - "Fat Trapper" and "Exercise In A Bottle." In April
2000, the FTC announced that it had settled charges against
Enforma Natural Products, Inc., the vendor of the Enforma
System. The order in that case required Enforma Natural Products
and its principal Andrew Grey to pay $10 million in consumer
redress.

Thereafter, in August 2000, the FTC filed a complaint in federal
district court against MIT and its officers, alleging that they
played an active role in writing, editing, and producing the
infomercials for the Enforma System. In September 2001, however,
the district court issued an order ruling that the Commission's
settlement order with Enforma Natural Products was "res
judicata" as to MIT, Levine, and Richmond, meaning that the
Commission had no right to bring a separate action against them.

The Commission appealed this ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court,
and in September 2004, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district
court's res judicata decision. It held that Enforma Natural
Products was not sufficiently connected to MIT, Levine, and
Richmond to justify barring the FTC's claims against them, and
remanded the matter to the district court for litigation. The
settlement announced today resolves the charges against MIT,
Levine, and Richmond without the need for further court
proceedings.

The settlement order:

     (1) requires the defendants to have competent and reliable
         scientific evidence for claims that any dietary
         supplement, food, drug, or device causes weight loss or
         maintenance, prevents fat absorption, or causes
         increased metabolism or fat- burning claims;

     (2) prevents the defendants from misrepresenting the
         profession, expertise, training, education, experience,
         or qualifications of any person who advertises,
         promotes, or endorses any product, service, or program;

     (3) requires the defendants to have competent and reliable
         scientific evidence to support any representation about
         the health or weight-loss benefits, performance,
         safety, or efficacy of any dietary supplement, food,
         drug, or device; and

     (4) prohibits the defendants from misrepresenting test
         results.

The order does not require the defendants to pay consumer
redress but contains an avalanche clause for $2 million, the
amount the defendants were paid for producing the Enforma
infomercials, which will be triggered if they have
misrepresented their current financial condition.

The stipulated final order for permanent injunction was entered
by the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, on
February 17, 2005.  This stipulated final order for permanent
injunction is for settlement purposes only and does not
constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. A
stipulated final order for permanent injunction has the force of
law when signed by the judge.

Copies of the stipulated final order for permanent injunction
are available from the FTC's Web site: http://www.ftc.gov,or  
contact the FTC's Consumer Response Center by Mail: Room 130,
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580 or by
phone: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).  Also contact Brenda
Mack, Office of Public Affairs, by Phone: 202-326-2182 or
contact Heather Hippsley, Bureau of Consumer Protection by
Phone: 202-326-3285.


NOVELL INC.: OH Court Grants Preliminary Approval To Suit Pact
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District Ohio granted
tentative approval for the settlement of the shareholder fraud
class action filed against Novell, Inc. and certain of its
officers and directors, the Associated Press reports.

The suit was originally filed in the U.S. District Court,
District of Utah, alleging violation of federal securities
laws by concealing the true nature of the Company's financial
condition and seeking unspecified damages.  The lawsuit was
brought as a purported class action on behalf of purchasers of
the Company's common stock from November 1, 1996 through April
22, 1997, an earlier Class Action Reporter story (June 17,2004)
states.

U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell agreed to the proposed $13.9
million settlement and ordered that notices be mailed to Novell
shareholders for their final approval.  Judge Campbell also set
a May 26 hearing to finalize the settlement, which would bring
to an end a case first filed against the networking software and
Linux distribution giant in December 1999.

In its stipulation to the settlement, Novell said it had agreed
to end the case in order to avoid further "protracted and
expensive" litigation.  "This was an anticipated step in the
process, and financially this is something we've been
anticipating and accounting for already," Novell spokesman Bruce
Lowry said Thursday, according to AP. He said insurance will
cover most of the payout.

Richard Burbidge, a Salt Lake City lawyer representing
plaintiffs Domenico Pirraglia, Bella Pasternak and other
shareholders, did not return a message left Thursday at his
office by The Associated Press.

Attorneys representing shareholders had initially been rebuffed
by Campbell in an April 2002 dismissal, but the 10th Circuit
Court of Appeals partially restored the case and sent it back to
district court for trial.  In its ruling, the three-judge panel
found shareholders should be allowed to take to trial
allegations regarding "various accounting shenanigans" that
purportedly boosted the company's financial reports - and
subsequently caused investor losses when Novell stock slipped
from $13 to $7 between November 1, 1996 and April 22, 1997.


PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS LLC: Ex-Employee Files Pension Suit in MO
----------------------------------------------------------------
A former PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC employee has instigated a
class-action suit against the Big Four firm claiming unfair
pension practices, Pension and Investments reports.

The class-action lawsuit, which was brought by former employee
Timothy D. Laurent, contends that the company, as well as its
partners who oversee the pension and retirement plans, used the
pension plans as tax shelters for well-off partners to the
detriment of regular employees and the public.

At the heart of the suit, according to the Pension and
Investments report is the PwC's cash balance plan, with $1.4
billion in assets at the end of June 2003, and a 401(k) plan,
with $1.6 billion in assets for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30,
2003.

In the suit filed in federal district court in East St. Louis,
Missouri and amended on January 28, PwC and its partners are
being accused of coming up with "a brazen, unlawful scheme ...
to game the tax and pension laws in order to improperly pad the
partners' retirement benefits and take-home pay at the expense
of both rank-and-file PwC employees and the public," Pension and
Investments reports.  

The suit also contends that the firm, which has been known for
it's creative cash-balance pension funds, intentionally broke
age- and income-discrimination provisions of federal law.  In
addition the suit alleges that by "engaging in multiple layers
of deception," PwC and its partners reduced "benefits to the
paid rank-and-file employees down to the bare minimum thought
need(ed) to keep the shelter afloat."

While federal pension law shields employers from liability for
the investment performance of participants' 401(k) plan options,
it does not apply to defined benefit plans, meaning that a
ruling in favor of Mr. Laurent and other participants could cost
the firm hundreds of millions of dollars.

David Nestor, a PwC spokesman in New York told Pensions and
Investments, "For all the reasons that are discussed in the
briefs, we believe that our plans are lawful and fully compliant
with ERISA and we deny all the allegations in the lawsuit."


SUNTERRA CORPORATION: FL Court Approves Securities Settlement
-------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Donovan Searles, LLC reports that the United
States District Court for the Middle District of Florida has
entered an order preliminarily approving the settlement of the
securities class action entitled In re Sunterra Corporation
Securities Litigation.

The securities litigation involves all persons who purchased or
acquired the common stock of the Company during the period
October 6, 1998 through January 19, 2000.

The firm reminds all parties involved that a hearing will be
held on April 26, 2005 at 9:00 a.m. at the United States
District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando
Division, Courtroom 4, George C. Young United States Courthouse
& Federal Building, 80 North Hughey Avenue, Orlando, Florida
32801 to determine whether the proposed settlement (the
"Settlement") of the above-entitled class action for $4,450,000,
in cash plus accrued interest (the "Settlement Amount") should
be approved by the Court as fair, reasonable, and adequate, the
application of Plaintiffs' Lead Counsel for an award of
attorneys' fees and reimbursement of expenses should be approved
and the Action should be dismissed with prejudice.

The captioned litigation is a class action alleging violations
of the federal securities laws against certain former directors
and/or officers of Sunterra, as well as Arthur Andersen LLP
(collectively, the "Defendants"). Lead Plaintiffs have alleged
that Defendants issued materially false and misleading public
filings, press releases, and other statements regarding
Sunterra's financial condition during the Class Period in
violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange Act, as
amended, and SEC Rule 10b-5, 17 C.F.R. sec. 240.10b-5.

For more details, contact Michael D. Donovan of Donovan Searles,
LLC by Mail: 1845 Walnut Street, Suite 1100, Philadelphia, PA  
19103 by Phone: 215 -732-6067 by Fax: 215-732-8060 by E-mail:
mdonovan@donovansearles.com or visit their Web site:
http://www.donovansearles.com.


TENNESSEE: Prisoners File Suit Over Jail's Inhumane Conditions
--------------------------------------------------------------
Prisoners recently filed a class action lawsuit against Union
County in Tennessee claiming that conditions at the jail are
inhumane, WBIR-TV Knoxville reports.

In their complaint, the plaintiff claim that the jail's
officials inflicted needless punishment on inmates and created
an environment that threatens unnecessary harm. One of the
prisoners also claims that there is overcrowding, unsanitary
conditions and that the jail is unsafe.


TEXAS: Attorney General Wins Court Judgments V. Six Companies
-------------------------------------------------------------
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott forged agreed court judgments
against six defendants involved in the unlawful selling and
clinical use of prescription "colonic hydrotherapy"devices in
five Texas cities.

Colonic irrigation without physician oversight poses potential
dangers to patients, a fact that prompted Attorney General
Abbott to seek the court-ordered agreements from the alternative
health providers. In the agreements, the defendants pledge to
ensure proper cautions will be strictly observed when they sell,
promote or provide these treatments.

"Patients' health and safety must be the first priority in using
of this type of treatment, and a licensed physician should
oversee its use," said Attorney General Abbott. "I am pleased
that these businesses have agreed to comply with state law and
protect their patients' health."

The six defendants agreeing to the Attorney General's terms are:

     (1) Jeri Tiller and Tiller Mind Body Inc., a colonic
         hydrotherapy device manufacturer based in San Antonio,
         which also provides treatment

     (2) Lisa Ramoin, who does business as Alternative Health,
         and Janice Jackson, who does business as InsideOut and
         Within, both of Houston

     (3) Lifestream Purification Systems, L.L.C. of Austin, a
         hydrotherapy device manufacturer

     (4) Jennifer Jackson, who does business as Body Cleanse Day
         Spa of Dallas

     (5) Soledad Herrera, who does business as Body Matters of
         El Paso

The treatments consist of using prescription nozzles and systems
to thoroughly cleanse the colon, all of which requires physician
oversight under federal and state law. In addition, the
purchase, possession and use of the devices must be done with
the approval of a physician.

The treatments, when prescribed and supervised by a physician,
must be consistent with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
guidelines. The only use cleared by the FDA is for treatments
conducted prior to a patient undergoing radiologic or endoscopic
examinations.

To access the judgments, visit the websites:
http://www.oag.state.tx.us/newspubs/releases/2005/022805tiller.p
df
http://www.oag.state.tx.us/newspubs/releases/2005/022805alternat
ive.pdf
http://www.oag.state.tx.us/newspubs/releases/2005/022805insideou
t.pdf
http://www.oag.state.tx.us/newspubs/releases/2005/022805lifestre
am.pdf
http://www.oag.state.tx.us/newspubs/releases/2005/022805bodyclea
nse.pdf
http://www.oag.state.tx.us/newspubs/releases/2005/022805bodymatt
ers.pdf


TYSABRI RECALL: Firms Halt Sale of New Multiple Sclerosis Drug
--------------------------------------------------------------
Biogen Idec, Inc. and Elan Corporation voluntarily suspended
sales of the new multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri, after one
patient died and another developed a serious disease of the
central nervous system, the Associated Press reports.

In a news release, the two companies said they were refraining
from supplying and marketing Tysabri after recent reports of two
cases of serious effects among patients who used it along with
an earlier Biogen Idec MS drug called Avonex in clinical trials.  
One person died, while the other developed a suspected case of
progressive multifocal leukoencephalophaty, a rare and
frequently fatal disease.  Both patients took the Tysabri -
Avonex combination for more than two years.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval to
Tysabri, formerly called Antegren during clinical trials, in an
accelerated process after a late-stage study showed that it
reduced MS relapses by 66 percent compared with a placebo.  
About 5,000 patients have received intravenous infusions of
Tysabri since the drug's approval in November, Biogen executives
said during a conference call with industry analysts and
reporters, AP reports.

"Our ongoing commitment to MS patients has led us to take these
steps," said Dr. Burt Adelman, executive vice president of
Development at Cambridge-based Biogen Idec, according to AP.
"Because we believe in the promising therapeutic benefit of
Tysabri, we are working to evaluate this situation thoroughly
and expeditiously. While we work through this matter, we must
place patient safety above all other considerations."

Elan Chief Executive Kelly Martin told reporters in Ireland,
where the company is based, that the drug has been withdrawn as
a precaution and that the companies hoped to resume marketing of
Tysabri later this year, AP reports.  

The companies added that they withdrew the medication after
consulting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  They
have also advised doctors to suspend prescribing the medication
and stopped using the drug in clinical trials.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a public health
advisory after consulting with Biogen and Elan in the decision
to withdraw the medication from the market, AP reports.  Dr.
Steven Galson, acting director of FDA's Center for Drug
Evaluation and Research, said in a statement that the regulatory
agency "continues to believe Tysabri offers great hope to MS
patients."

"We are working with leading experts and regulatory agencies to
responsibly investigate these events and to develop the
appropriate path forward," said Dr. Lars Ekman, executive vice
president and president of research and development at Elan,
according to AP.  "Our primary concern is for the safety of
patients."

Stocks of both Biogen Idec Inc. and Elan Corp. tumbled, while
shares of the makers of rival MS drugs rose.  Biogen shares fell
$29.46, or nearly 44 percent, to $37.82 in afternoon trading on
the Nasdaq Stock Market, while Elan shares sank $18.37, or more
than 68 percent, to $8.53 on the New York Stock Exchange. Those
are the lowest prices for both stocks since 2003.  U.S. shares
of rival MS drugmakers Schering AG rose $1.75, or 2.5 percent,
to $72.85 and Serono SA jumped $2.76, or nearly 18 percent, to
$18.30 in afternoon trading on the NYSE.


UNITED KINGDOM: Amicus Calls For Sex Discrimination Class Action
----------------------------------------------------------------  
At a DTI Select Committee, Amicus Britain's biggest private
sector union will call for legislation to give employees the
right to take class actions against gender discrimination in
order to simplify the tribunal process which currently relies on
individuals taking costly and time consuming actions.

Amicus will tell the DTI Select Committee that research by
academics shows that 15% of the gender pay gap is due to where
women work, while a further 38% is caused by other issues
associated with being female such as discrimination, different
preferences, motivations and attitudes to the labour market.

Men and women are being deliberately kept apart at work, which
is causing women's work to be viewed as low value while
maintaining the gender pay gap at 18%. High quality and
affordable childcare must be made available to all workers in
order to end the skills gap.

Amicus has identified the horizontal (lower paid) and vertical
(lower graded) segregation of female employees in the:

     (1) NHS, where men achieve clinical disproportionate and
         managerial success in female dominated areas

     (2) Royal Mail where women make up 20%-25% of the workforce
         60% of admin and sales

     (3) Higher education where Amicus has found severe pay
         inequality within academic and other groups

     (4) Financial services where the largest pay gap of all is
         43% caused by a lack of training opportunities amongst
         those congregated female lower grades

     (5) The not for profit sector which is often viewed as the
         sector for the second earner

     (6) Manufacturing and construction where only 8% of
         employees are female and only 1% in construction and
         plumbing.

Linda McCulloch, Amicus National Officer for Equalities said,
"Employees need to have the right to take class action to defend
themselves against discrimination in the workplace. Costly and
time consuming actions taken by individuals are preventing
employees and unions from tackling discrimination in the
workplace effectively."

"The gender pay gap is not simply about what's in the pay packet
at the end of the week. It's about women being held in low paid
or low graded jobs with little or no prospect of moving up the
career ladder."

"The lack of promotion, progression and opportunities for women
are not an insurmountable obstacles. Through a sensible approach
to training, child care and flexible working we can close the
skills gap and give British business a real boost."

For more details, contact Lee Whitehill by Phone:
+44-7768-693-950.


UNITED STATES: ALM Says Fen-Phen Settlement Is A Mass Tort Mess
---------------------------------------------------------------  
ALM's The American Lawyer(R) reports that the fen-phen class
action, approved in 2000 and once expected to represent a model
for resolving mass torts equitably, has instead become a
prescription for alleged legal and medical fraud. Expected
settlement costs have soared to $21 billion, some uninjured
people have been paid to go away and thousands of claimants
alleging real injuries still wait for compensation. Lawyers have
been accused of attempting to fleece a victim trust fund, while
hotel room echocardiogram assembly lines have been used to mass
process patient heart examinations, with questionable results.
The complete story is available in the March issue of The
American Lawyer and online at www.americanlawyer.com and
www.law.com.

"At a time when national attention is focused on tort reform,
and as pharmaceutical cases involving Vioxx and Celebrex
advance, this story by reporter Alison Frankel makes it clear
that fen-phen has become a casebook on how mass tort claims
should not be handled," said Aric Press, editor in chief. "From
a corporation that threw money at plaintiffs to cap its
liability to lawyers and doctors who allegedly enhanced medical
test results to justify claims, fen-phen has demonstrated the
pitfalls of attempting settlements on a grand scale, where there
are simply too many opportunities for greed to trump justice."

After reports that the popular diet drug fen-phen caused damage
to heart valves, American Home Products, now Wyeth, pulled its
two fen-phen products off the market in 1998. In an effort to
cap its damages and avoid huge punitive awards, Wyeth negotiated
a court-approved class action settlement that conceded the
drug's causation of the problem and structured generous claimant
payouts based on the severity of damage, as verified by
physicians and cardiac examination results.

Wyeth aggressively settled claims with those who did not
initially participate in the settlement, creating a feeding
frenzy among tort lawyers and the illusion that fen-phen cases
were "easy money." Claims to the settlement trust fund poured
in, in record numbers, with severity levels that far exceeded
all projections. Some law firms held mass cardiac examinations
in offices and hotel rooms. Entire companies were formed, simply
to provide screening to potential claimants, including one
traveling company that performed more than 60,000 examinations.
Audits of examination results approved for payment revealed that
70% of the sample did not qualify and that there was strong
evidence that equipment controls, in some cases, had been
adjusted to "enhance" the appearance of cardiac damage. Almost
50 law firms, all of them high-volume filers in the trust, had
more than half of their claims rejected, based on audits ordered
by the supervising judge.

At one point, in the flurry of accusations, motions, suits and
countersuits, the settlement trust virtually stopped paying
claims, with the audit backlog reaching 40,000 cases. Outside of
the settlement, 50,000 cases remained unresolved. After two
years of negotiation, it now appears that additional amendments
to the settlement may finally bring a resolution, and aggressive
motions that have been filed against suspect lawyers and doctors
will likely be dismissed.

Perhaps most disturbing, however, is the apparent mis-diagnosis
of some victims whose serious heart damage was overlooked in the
rush to file low-level claims. In one horrifying case, a patient
whose condition was overstated for the sake of obtaining payment
through the trust ended up having unnecessary heart valve
replacement surgery.

The American Lawyer is the legal industry's leading monthly
magazine. Read by partners at corporate law firms, in-house
counsel, government lawyers and litigators at firms of all
sizes, its trailblazing features about attorneys and the work
they do has led to 23 National Magazine Award nominations and
five coveted awards for general excellence, essays and
criticism, and single-topic issues. In 2004, The American Lawyer
was named the winner of two 2004 Jesse H. Neal National Business
Journalism Awards. The magazine is published by ALM.

For more details, contact Lee Feldman of Peters & Feldman for
ALM by Phone: 401-848-5494 or by E-mail: lfeldman@amlaw.com.


UNITED STATES: Bush Administration Opposes Suit V. Iraqi Ruler
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Bush Administration has put up roadblocks on a $910 million
class-action lawsuit against the deposed Iraqi ruler, Saddam
Hussein, alleging violations of the Geneva Conventions, the
Charleston Daily Mail reports.

Parkersburg native Robert Sweet, a prisoner of war for 19 days
during the first Gulf War, along with other POWs in the suit say
they were beaten, starved, hit with electric shocks, threatened
with execution and tortured in other ways by their Iraqi
captors.

The Bush administration though is fighting the POWs in court,
trying to prevent them from collecting the money from Iraq that
a federal judge awarded them as compensation.

According to observers, the administration's rationale is that
the current Iraqi government is not the same as the one that
tortured the American prisoners of war. Furthermore, according
to the administration, the new Iraqi government badly needs the
money for rebuilding.

When the lawsuit was filed in 2002, Mr. Sweet's mother, Mary Ann
Sweet told the Daily Mail, "We felt that Saddam really needed to
be brought to justice because nobody was doing anything. Then we
went to war, and everything changed. At that point the
government really put the roadblocks up."

Mr. Sweet, an Air Force lieutenant colonel living in Valdosta,
Georgia, was flying an A-10 ground attack plane and was on a
mission to destroy enemy tanks when his plane was shot down on
February 19, 1991. He was held in solitary confinement and kept
his spirits up by singing songs like "Country Roads" by John
Denver and Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA." He was among 35
POWs released on March 5, 1991. In the years after that, he
became frustrated that Saddam Hussein remained in power, thus he
decided to join the lawsuit as a way to fight back.

He along with those suing said they wanted regimes like
Hussein's to follow the Geneva Convention. Mr. Sweet even told
the Charleston Daily Mail, "I would like to have that piece of
paper to hang on the wall that says he's guilty of war crimes."
As for actually collecting any money though, he only said, "I'm
not holding out much hope."

The lawsuit was filed under the provisions of a 1996 act
allowing civil suits against countries listed by the State
Department as sponsors of terrorism. Based on that act, the 17
former prisoners of war seek $25 million each, the 37 family
members in the suit want $5 million each while the suit also
seeks $300 million in punitive damages.

The money would have come from $1.7 billion in Iraqi government
assets frozen by the United States government, but that all
changed when Saddam Hussein's dictatorship was overthrown. On
July 21, 2003, two weeks after the Gulf War the POWs won their
case in U.S. District Court, the Bush administration however
intervened to argue that their claims should be dismissed.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters when
he was asked about the case in November 2003, "No amount of
money can truly compensate these brave men and women for the
suffering that they went through at the hands of this very
brutal regime and at the hands of Saddam Hussein." Government
lawyers have insisted on "no amount of money" going to the Gulf
War POWs. "These resources are required for the urgent national-
security checks of rebuilding Iraq," Mr. McClellan said,
according to the Daily Mail.

Mr. Sweet and his family have been perplexed by the government's
stance. "I'd be interested to know who was the person who made
that decision," Robert Sweet said.

According to court documents, many of the pilots were tortured
in the same Iraqi prison, Abu Ghraib, where U.S. soldiers abused
Iraqis. Those Iraqi victims, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
has said, deserve compensation from the United States.

"I'm surprised we're not hearing about the POWs this time
around," Mary Ann Sweet told the Daily Mail. "We're hearing
about the other side, the Iraqi POWs. He (Rumsfeld) is
supporting them having a judgment, which is hysterical."

Robert Sweet said he could have been held in Abu Ghraib himself,
but he isn't sure. He told the Charleston Daily Mail, "I was put
in some place south of Basra. It very well could have been in
that prison."

The Sweets visited Washington, D.C., in 2003 to try to drum up
support from West Virginia's congressional delegation. While the
other POWs in the lawsuit also are trying to have the case heard
by the U.S. Supreme Court.


UNITED STATES: High Court Hears Arguments Over Ten Commandments
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on whether the
presence of the Ten Commandments on government property violates
the U.S. Constitution, the Washington Times reports.
     
Specifically, the justices will weigh two cases, one involving a
6-foot-high Ten Commandments monument on state grounds near the
Texas Capitol and the other in which the Ten Commandments are
posted on the walls of two state courthouses in Kentucky. Both
of them center on the question of whether the First Amendment's
"establishment of religion" clause makes such symbolism, which
some say is bluntly religious and others say is merely
historical, illegal when it appears on government property.

For its part, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who will argue
on behalf of the state in favor of allowing the monument to
remain between the state Capitol and state Supreme Court in
Austin, where it has stood since 1961 told the Washington Times,
the Texas monument is not an endorsement of the Ten
Commandments. He also pointed out that the monument is
"commemorating the historical role of the Ten Commandments in
the United States."
      
The case stems from a lawsuit filed by Thomas Van Orden, a
homeless Austin man seeking the monument's removal on the
grounds that it is an unconstitutional establishment of religion
by the state. According to unconfirmed reports, Mr. Van Orden
has lived on the streets since losing his law business to a
malpractice claim and his family to depression in the mid-1990s.
He is said to have taken interest in the monument after passing
it on daily walks to the state law library, where he later
prepared his case filings. He appealed to the Supreme Court
after personally arguing the case before U.S. District Court and
federal appeals court judges both of which he lost.
     
Duke University law professor and First Amendment scholar Erwin
Chemerinsky will make the upcoming oral argument. At the core of
Mr. Chemerinsky's argument states, "is that the Ten Commandments
are profoundly religious and to put them between the state
Capitol and the state Supreme Court violates the establishment
clause." His arguments also state, "The Supreme Court has said
the government can't endorse religion. The Supreme Court has
said that putting the Ten Commandments on state property is a
direct violation of the Constitution."
     

WAL-MART STORES: Opponents Team Up in Fight Over Court Files
------------------------------------------------------------
In its attempt to pry open court records in a wage-and-hour
class action against Wal-Mart, The Berkeley Daily Planet, a
small Berkeley, California newspaper is set to team up with
other organizations, The Recorder reports.

In a recent tentative ruling, Alameda County Judge Ronald Sabraw
indicated that he would place a permanent seal on some discovery
documents and materials related to various motions in the case,
even though some of the documents were posted online in past
appeal court proceedings.

The newspaper is represented by M. Suzanne Murphy, a partner at
Oakland's Weinberg Roger & Rosenfeld and a former sealed
records-rule specialist with the Judicial Council of California.   
Ms. Murphy told the Recorder, if Judge Sabraw makes his
tentative ruling final, she expects to bring outside lawyers and
additional media outlets into the case.

Mary Duffy Carolan, a media law specialist with Davis Wright
Tremaine, said Judge Sabraw's tentative ruling seems to err on
the side of secrecy.  In an e-mail to The Recorder, she wrote,
"The specific Rule of Court relied on by the court in its
tentative ruling is inconsistent with the public's First
Amendment right of access."

Though not involved in the case, Ms. Carolan said, "We do find,
oftentimes, that when parties are trying to seal documents, it's
because they're damning or embarrassing, not because they sit
within a trade secrets definition."

Further enforcing this suspicions is Karl Olson, a media law
specialist and partner with Levy, Ram & Olson who frequently
represents news outlets seeking access to government and court
records, who told the Recorder, "It's a tremendously important
and closely watched case." He also expressed his concerns over
Judge Sabraw's definition of trade secrets, which he describes
as overly broad and unnecessarily prevents public scrutiny. Mr.
Olson also adds, "The public has an overwhelming interest in
seeing what the evidence was that's been presented in the case,
which has been up and down to the court of appeal already. It's
another example of a litigant taking a very aggressive approach
to sealing and calling everything a trade secret when it's not."

The fight over sealed documents comes in Savaglio v. Wal-Mart,
C-835687-7, in which a class of plaintiffs represented by
Jessica Grant, a partner with the Furth Firm in San Francisco,
alleges that Wal-Mart has failed to pay overtime wages.

While Ms. Grant continues to litigate the case, Ms. Murphy's
firm, one of the Bay Area's most prominent union-side firms,
argues that Wal-Mart is trying to hide embarrassing records from
the public by labeling them trade secrets. Ms. Murphy also said
she and her partners began looking at the matter after hearing
that Wal-Mart's filings might give insight into employers'
attempts to change state lunch-break regulations. According to
her, "We got involved last summer, in July of 2004. There were
rumors going around the labor and employment bar that employers
had approached the [Division of Labor Standards Enforcement].
The whole records issue came up because we were just trying to
determine what was going on in the case."

The lunch-break fight ended up coming to a head in December,
when DLSE proposed a rule that would have curbed lunch-break
litigation, thus the rule change was eventually dropped.

However, Ms. Murphy said, her firm felt there was no basis for
the records to be sealed and in addition they think that the
material could shed light on the business and political
strategies used by the labor and employment bar's prime target.
She points out, "This case is really sui generis in the scheme
of things. It has the combination of public interest and the
rights of workers."

Becky O'Malley, a Daily Planet co-owner and editor, said the
paper became involved after a reporter heard from Ms. Murphy
that the Wal-Mart documents were sealed. "We're a paper. We want
to know what's going on in the courts," she said. Ms. Murphy was
glad to take the paper as a client saying, "The benefit of
having a media client in this contest is that we don't get
slammed constantly with union bashing."


WORLD WIDE: IL Attorney General Files False Advertising Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a
lawsuit in federal court alleging a Florida credit service
organization that solicits customers across the United States by
sending spam faxes has violated both state and federal consumer
protection laws with its illegal advertising practices and false
credit repair promises.

The lawsuit alleges that a Florida credit repair company
illegally solicits businesses by sending unsolicited fax
messages, has never registered to do business in Illinois, makes
false promises to consumers about repairing their credit
histories and accepts money for services they do not perform.

The lawsuit charges World Wide Search Systems, Inc., a Florida
corporation also doing business as National Financial Credit
Association, with violations of the U. S. Credit Repair
Organizations Act, U.S. Telephone Consumer Protection Act,
Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and
Illinois Credit Services Organization Act. The lawsuit was filed
today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois, Eastern Division.   According to the lawsuit, World
Wide Search Systems allegedly made false claims that it would:

     (1) improve clients' credit scores by 15 percent within 90
         days;

     (2) remove derogatory items such as bankruptcies, tax
         liens, student loans, late payments, judgments and
         foreclosures from credit histories;

     (3) assist clients in preparing a 100-word statement to be
         added to their credit reports; and

     (4) negotiate consumers' debts

The lawsuit also alleges World Wide Search Systems accepted
between $500 and $4,200 per consumer to repair their credit
histories. The company allegedly requested at least partial
payment in advance for its services.

Additionally, the complaint alleges that World Wide Search
Systems never registered as a credit services organization with
the Illinois Secretary of State's office, as required by state
law, and allegedly falsely claimed to be recognized by the
Federal Trade Commission to perform credit repair services.

Finally, the complaint asserts that in violation of federal law,
World Wide Search Systems allegedly sent unsolicited
advertisements to small businesses and individual consumers' fax
machines. In addition, these fax messages allegedly were often
sent without the date and time of the message included at the
top of the page and without identifying the business or
individual that sent the message.

One of the company's faxed ads says, "We can go where most all
other credit organizations fail to go." Another ad asks, "Are
you or someone you know being held hostage by your credit score?
Do you know yours?"

"World Wide Search Systems uses fax machines to transmit false
promises of improved credit," Attorney General Madigan said.
"Not only are the company's advertising techniques in violation
of federal law, but their pledge to improve people's credit is
in violation of our state consumer protection laws. Unless there
are errors involved, which you can find yourself, the only
person who can improve your credit is you."

The lawsuit seeks to prohibit World Wide Search Systems from
further violating federal or state consumer protection laws. The
lawsuit also seeks a civil penalty of $50,000, additional
penalties of $50,000 per violation found to have been committed
with the intent to defraud and a $10,000 penalty for each
violation found to be committed against persons 65 years or
older. Finally, the Attorney General's lawsuit asks the court to
order the defendants to pay restitution to consumers.

Assistant Attorney General Ryan Tyrrell is handling the case for
Madigan's Consumer Fraud Division.


WYETH PHARMACEUTICALS: OH Court Certifies Premarin Suit Class
-------------------------------------------------------------  
The Wexler Firm LLP reports that the U. S. District Court of
Southern Ohio has certified a class action lawsuit filed against
Wyeth (NYSE:WYE), maker of Premarin(tm), a popular hormone
therapy drug used to treat vasomotor symptoms of menopause.
Since its approval by the FDA in 1942, the drug has been used by
millions of women in the United States alone. Since 1997, Wyeth
has sold more than $1 billion worth of the drug.

The class action lawsuit alleges that Wyeth willfully engaged in
practices that ultimately resulted in inflated pricing of
Premarin. On February 2, 2005, the Court gave the plaintiffs in
Ferrell, et al vs. Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories until March 4, 2005
to identify additional plaintiffs in the following states:
Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Maine,
Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North
Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West
Virginia and Wisconsin. Those persons include all purchasers of
the drug who, from 1999 to the present, either paid for the drug
out-of-pocket or paid a percentage co-payment, but does not
include purchasers who made a flat co-payment for the drug.

For more details, contact Kenneth A. Wexler, Esq. or Jennifer
Fountain Connolly, Esq. of The Wexler Firm LLP by Phone:
(312) 346-2222.


YELLOW PAGES: WA Attorney General Files Deceptive Marketing Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna filed a lawsuit against
a California-based marketer of Internet directory listings after
more than 75 Washington businesses and organizations complained
about the company's deceptive marketing practices.

The defendants, Yellow Pages, Inc. and its president, John
Wurth, sell business listings on the Internet website
http://www.yellowpagesinc.com. According to complaints filed  
with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, the
company used deceptive mailings to illegally bill businesses for
advertising services they did not intend or agree to purchase.

The lawsuit alleges the Company sent deceptive direct mail
solicitations to Washington businesses and other organizations
in the form of checks that resembled a customer refund or
rebate, but instead were a contract to buy advertising services.

According to the complaints, the checks were for only a few
dollars and appeared to be from local telephone companies or
other businesses with which the recipient has an existing
account. Once the checks were deposited, Yellow Pages, Inc.
immediately billed the companies approximately $180 for one year
of advertising services. Businesses that failed to pay the bill
promptly were referred to collection agencies that actively
pursued payment.

"The defendants designed this check mailing scheme to trick
recipients into paying for a service they knew nothing about,"
said Attorney General McKenna.  "The entire operation was
deceptive, and we intend to protect our business community from
this company's tactics."

The lawsuit, filed in King County Superior Court, seeks
penalties of up to $2,000 per violation of the Consumer
Protection Act, and restitution for businesses victimized by the
company.


                   New Securities Fraud Cases  

ADVANCED NEUROMODULATION: Milberg Weiss Files Stock Suit in TX
--------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP initiated a
class action lawsuit on behalf of purchasers of the securities
of Advanced Neuromodulation Systems, Inc. ("ANSI" or the
"Company") (Nasdaq: ANSI) between April 24, 2003 and February
16, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period") seeking to pursue
remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the
"Exchange Act").

The action, numbered 4:05-CV-78, is pending in the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against
defendants ANSI, Christopher G. Chavez (CEO, President) and F.
Robert Merrill III (CFO). The judge presiding over the action is
the Honorable Paul N. Brown.

The Complaint alleges that defendants' Class Period statements
about the Company's strong performance, made in quarterly press
releases and SEC filings, were materially false and misleading
because:

     (1) as part of its marketing strategy, the Company
         improperly paid certain physicians $1,000 for each
         device implanted in patients;

     (2) the Company's strong growth was driven, in material
         part, by improperly paying off physicians to recommend
         and implant ANSI products in patients;

     (3) the Company's growth was dependent on an improper and
         unethical practices that were inherently unsustainable,
         presenting a material and undisclosed risk to ANSI's
         business and stock price; and

     (4) the Company's much-touted relationship with its
         physician customers was, in fact, based on payments to
         physicians for recommending the Company's products and
         did not, as defendants represented, reflect growing
         acceptance of its products based on their benefits.

According to the complaint, defendants engaged in the alleged
wrongdoing so that they could profit by selling their personally
held ANSI shares at artificially inflated prices. During the
Class Period, ANSI insiders, including defendants Chavez and
Merrill, sold a total of 700,759 shares of ANSI stock for gross
proceeds of $28,617,666.

On February 17, 2004, before the open of trading, defendants
revealed that the Company had received a subpoena from the
Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services,
"requesting documents relating to the Company's sales and
marketing, reimbursement, Medicare and Medicaid billing, and
certain other business practices." In addition, defendants
announced that revenues in the first quarter of 2005 could be
below previous expectations, based on early indications. In
reaction to this announcement, the price of ANSI common stock
plummeted, falling from $37.60 per share on February 16, 2005 to
$29.37 per share on February 17, 2005, a one-day drop of 22% on
unusually heavy trading volume of more than 7.9 million shares

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.


ADVANCED NEUROMODULATION: Schatz & Nobel Files Stock Suit in TX
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Schatz & Nobel, P.C., which has significant
experience representing investors in prosecuting claims of
securities fraud, announces that a lawsuit seeking class action
status has been filed in the United States District Court for
the Eastern District of Texas on behalf of all persons who
purchased the publicly traded securities of Advanced
Neuromodulation Systems, Inc. (NasdaqNM: ANSI) between April 24,
2003 and February 16, 2005 (the "Class Period").

Advanced Neuromodulation Systems, Inc. ("the Company"), designs,
develops, manufactures and markets implantable neuromodulation
devices for people suffering from chronic pain. The Complaint
alleges that the Company violated federal securities laws by
issuing false or misleading public statements. Specifically, the
Complaint alleges that during the Class Period the Company was
engaged in an improper and unethical marketing plan whereby it
would pay certain physicians for implanting the Company's
products in patients. On February 17, 2005, the Company
disclosed that it had received a subpoena from the Inspector
General, Department of Health and Human Services, "requesting
documents related to the Company's sales and marketing,
reimbursement, Medicare and Medicaid billing, and certain other
business practices." On this news, the Company's stock fell from
a close of $37.60 per share on February 16, 2005, to close at
$29.37 on February 17, 2005, on heavy trading volume.

For more details, contact Wayne T. Boulton or Nancy Kulesa by
Phone: (800) 797-5499 by E-mail: sn06106@aol.com or visit their
Web site: http://www.snlaw.net.


AUDIBLE INC.: Lasky & Rifkind Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in NJ
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Lasky & Rifkind, Ltd., initiated a lawsuit in
the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey,
on behalf of persons who purchased or otherwise acquired
publicly traded securities of Audible Inc. ("Audible" or the
"Company") (NASDAQ:ADBL) between November 2, 2004 and February
15, 2005, inclusive, (the "Class Period"). The lawsuit was filed
against Audible, Donald R. Katz and Andrew P. Kaplan
("Defendants").

The complaint alleges that Defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder. Specifically the complaint alleges that
Defendants made a series of false and misleading statements and
failed to disclose that the Company's strong growth could not
continue without large investments in strategic initiatives,
that the Company was about to set out on costly strategic
initiatives.

On February 15, 2005, after the close of trading, that Company
announced it was embarking upon new strategic initiatives
requiring significant investments in infrastructure that would
depress earnings and cash flow through at least 2006. Shares of
Audible reacted negatively to the news, falling from $26.70 per
share on February 15, 2005 to $17.32 the following day on very
heavy volume.

For more details, contact Lasky & Rifkind by Phone: 800-495-1868
or by E-mail: investorrelations@laskyrifkind.com.  


AXONYX INC.: Seeger Weiss Lodges Securities Fraud Lawsuit in NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm Seeger Weiss LLP initiated a class action lawsuit
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York on behalf of all purchasers of the common stock of
Axonyx Inc. ("Axonyx")(Nasdaq:AXYX), between June 26, 2003 and
February 4, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period"), seeking to
pursue remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the
"Exchange Act").

The complaint charges that defendants Axonyx, Inc., Marvin S.
Hausman (CEO and Chairman) and Gosse B. Bruinsma (President,
COO, and Vice President) violated sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
the Exchange Act, and Rule 10b-5, by issuing a series of
material misrepresentations to the market during the Class
Period. The complaint alleges that Axonyx, a biopharmaceutical
company, engaged in two late-stage Phase III clinical trials of
Phenserine, an experimental drug for the treatment of mild to
moderate Alzheimer's disease. More specifically, the Complaint
alleges that the Company failed to disclose and misrepresented
the following material adverse facts which were known to
defendants or recklessly disregarded by them:

     (1) that the Company's only viable drug candidate,
         Phenserine, an 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
         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.

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

For more details, contact Stephen A. Weiss, Esq. or Eric T.
Chaffin, Esq. by Mail: One William Street, New York, New York
10004 by Phone: Tel.: (212) 584-0700 or (877) 541-3273 by E-
Mail: sweiss@seegerweiss.com or echaffin@seegerweiss.com or
visit their Web site: http://www.seegerweiss.com.


EPIX PHARMACEUTICALS: Stull Stull Lodges Stock Fraud Suit in MA
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Stull, Stull & Brody initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts, on behalf of all persons who purchased the
publicly traded securities of EPIX Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
("EPIX") (NASDAQ:EPIX) between July 10, 2003 and January 14,
2005, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The Complaint alleges that EPIX, a developer of targeted
contrast agents designed to improve the diagnostic quality of
images produced by magnetic resonance imaging ("MRI"), and
certain of its officers and directors concealed clinical quality
issues with the underlying data for their MS-325 Phase III
program. MS-325 is designed to provide visual imaging of the
vascular system through a type of MRI known as magnetic
resonance angiography. These issues made difficult, if not
impossible, the proper control of their clinical test results
and statistical analysis of the data and results. On December
16, 2003, defendants announced the submission of their New Drug
Application ("NDA") for MS-325. Defendants continued to conceal
the serious problems with their clinical program, specifically
the poor quality of the underlying clinical data and problems
with the statistical analysis. Defendants instead made positive
and encouraging remarks about their "extensive scientific and
clinical development" activities and prospects for product
approval.

On January 14, 2005, EPIX reported that the FDA had determined
that problems with the Phase III clinical trials for MS-325 were
so serious that it was impossible for them to come to a
conclusion about its efficacy. Worse, the FDA noted problems
with the underlying data itself, problems that could not be
resolved simply on the basis of re-analysis of the data. On this
news, the price of EPIX stock plunged 27%, to close at $10.67.

For more details, contact Tzivia Brody, Esq. of Stull, Stull &
Brody 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.


EPIX PHARMACEUTICALS: Weiss & Lurie Lodges Securities Suit in MA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Weiss & Lurie initiated a class action lawsuit
in the United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts on behalf of persons who acquired the common stock
of EPIX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("EPIX" or "Company"), between
July 10, 2003 and January 14, 2005, inclusive (the "Class
Period").

The Complaint alleges that EPIX and certain of its officers and
directors violated the federal securities laws by issuing
materially false and misleading statements concerning the
Company's financial results and business condition while failing
to disclose material adverse facts concerning its New Drug
Application ("NDA") for MS-325, its principal product under
development, including


     (1) that non-contrast MRA comparator scans used in the
         Phase III trials varied significantly which caused the
         efficacy of MS-325 to be compromised;

     (2) that the Company's Phase III trials generated a large
         number of uninterpretable images, which caused the
         efficacy of MS-325 to be compromised;

     (3) that problems described above resulted in varying and
         questionable statical treatments of the images seen
         during the Phase III trial; and

     (4) consequently, approval of the NDA for MS-325 by the
         U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the "FDA") was
         highly unlikely.

On January 14, 2005, EPIX announced that the FDA had completed
its review of the NDA for MS-325, and found it to be approvable.
However, in the approvable letter, the FDA requested additional
clinical studies to demonstrate efficacy prior to approval. As a
result of this announcement, shares of EPIX fell $3.98 per share
or 27.17%, to close at $10.67 per share on unusually high
trading volume. Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of
the class and is represented by Weiss & Lurie. The firm, with
offices in New York and Los Angeles, has extensive experience in
complex litigation, particularly securities class actions, and
has been appointed lead class counsel in numerous consolidated
and multi-district cases.

For more details, contact Karnit Daniel, Esq. of Weiss & Lurie
by Phone: (800) 437-7918 by E-mail: info@wllawca.com or visit
their Web site: http://www.wllawca.com/.  


MAMMA.COM INC.: Milberg Weiss Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP initiated a
class action lawsuit on behalf of all persons who purchased or
otherwise acquired the securities of Mamma.com Inc.
("Mamma.com") (Nasdaq: MAMA), between March 2, 2004 and February
16, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period"), seeking to pursue
remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the
"Exchange Act").

The action, Case No. 05-cv-2483, is pending in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York against
defendants Mamma.com, David Goldman (Executive Chairman), Guy
Faure (President and CEO), and Daniel Bertrand (CFO and
Executive Vice President). According to the complaint,
defendants violated sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange
Act, and Rule 10b-5, by issuing a series of material
misrepresentations to the market during the Class Period.

The complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period,
Mamma.com, a provider of information retrieval through its
metasearch engine, touted Mamma.com's purported strong revenue
and earnings growth, and otherwise strong financial performance
in SEC filings and publicly disseminated press releases. In
reaction to these positive statements, the price of Mamma.com
common stock skyrocketed to as high as $17.49 per share in April
of 2004 (from an average price of $2.95 during the year prior to
the Class Period), with daily trading volume approximately 22
times greater than the average daily trading during the Class
Period. The intense trading in the Company shares drew the
attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission which
commenced an investigation of the Company in or about April
2004. Defendants maintained throughout the Class Period that
they were "confident that all information and disclosures are
fully compliant with all applicable accounting practices and all
SEC and other regulatory disclosure requirements" and that the
"Company is not aware of any non-public information that might
bear upon the recent activity in the market for the Company's
common stock."

The truth began to emerge on January 11, 2005. On that date, The
Globe and Mail published an article revealing that one of the
targets of the SEC investigation was the notorious Canadian
stock promoter, Irving Kott. According to the article, Kott's
checkered history included felony charges for concealing
material facts from the SEC, criminal charges by Dutch
regulators related to Kott's involvement with a "boiler room"
operation, and a guilty plea in an Ontario court for stock
fraud. The article stated that the SEC requested information
from Company executives and directors concerning any relations
they may have had with Kott. On January 13, 2005, Mamma.com
issued a press release confirming its previous announcement that
the SEC had commenced an investigation, and assured investors
that its officers, directors, and outside auditors were fully
cooperating with the SEC. The truth emerged on February 16, 2005
when defendants announced that PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP had
refused the Company's 2004 audit engagement, and they admitted
that someone had an undisclosed controlling interest in the
Company and, although they still did not reveal the person's
identity, the context strongly suggested it was Kott. Upon
recognizing that Kott and the defendants had used Mamma.com to
perpetrate a classic "pump and dump" scheme, investors rushed to
sell off their Mamma.com stock, which, in conjunction with the
Company's announcement that it would not be releasing its year
2004 audited financials, resulted in an afternoon trading halt
of the Company's stock. Upon resumption of trading later the
same day, the shares continued to fall, and closed at $4.25,
down $2.03, or 32% from the previous trading day's closing price
of $6.28. Defendants were motivated to engage in the fraudulent
scheme to complete numerous acquisitions and a private placement
of Mamma.com common stock and warrants to purchase Company stock
for proceeds of $16.6 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.


OFFICEMAX INC.: Spector Roseman Lodges IL Securities Fraud Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P.C. initiated a
securities class action lawsuit in the United States District
Court for the Northern District of Illinois, on behalf of
purchasers of the common stock of OfficeMax, Inc. ("OfficeMax"
or the "Company") (NYSE:OMX) between January 22, 2004 through
January 11, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The Complaint alleges that defendants violated the federal
securities laws by issuing materially false and misleading
statements contained in press releases and filings with the
Securities and Exchange Commission during the Class Period.
Specifically, the Complaint alleges that during the Class
Period, defendants made materially false and misleading
statements with respect to OfficeMax's financial performance and
internal controls. On December 20, 2004, the Company announced
that it had launched an internal investigation into vendor
claims, "that certain employees acted inappropriately in
requesting promotional payments and in falsifying supporting
documentation for approximately $3.3 million in claims billed to
the vendor by OfficeMax during 2003 and 2004."

On January 11, 2005, the Company announced that:

     (1) its recently appointed Chief Financial Officer, Brian
         Anderson, had resigned;

     (2) it was postponing the release of its earnings for the
         fourth quarter and full year 2004 pending the
         conclusion of an investigation into issues relating to
         its accounting for vendor income;

     (3) its investigation had confirmed the claims by a vendor
         to its retail business that certain employees
         fabricated supporting documentation for approximately
         $3.3 million in claims billed to the vendor by
         OfficeMax during 2003 and 2004;

     (4) it was expanding its investigation into vendor rebates
         and revenue recognition; and

     (5) it had terminated four employees as a result of
         information discovered through its investigation.

On this news, the Company's stock fell $1.42, or 4.7%, to
$28.88.

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


VISTEON CORPORATION: Charles J. Piven Lodges Stock Lawsuit in MI
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities
class action on behalf of shareholders who purchased, converted,
exchanged or otherwise acquired the common stock of Visteon
Corp. (NYSE:VC) between January 23, 2004 and January 31, 2005,
inclusive (the "Class Period").

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Michigan against defendants Visteon Corp.,
Peter Pestillo, Michael Johnston, Glenda J. Minor, Daniel R.
Coulson and James Palmer. The action charges that defendants
violated federal securities laws by issuing a series of
materially false and misleading statements to the market
throughout the Class Period, which statements had the effect of
artificially inflating the market price of the Company's
securities. No class has yet been certified in the above action.

For more details, contact the Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven,
P.A. by Phone: 410/986-0036 or by E-mail: hoffman@pivenlaw.com.  


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collectively face billions of dollars in asbestos-related
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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
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Copyright 2004.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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