CAR_Public/051117.mbx             C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

           Thursday, November 17, 2005, Vol. 7, No. 228

                            Headlines

BANK HAPOALIM: Settles Gadish Fund Members' Overcharging Suit
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB: Enters Mediation For NJ Securities Lawsuit
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB: IL Court Mulls Lifting Suit Discovery Stay
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB: NY Court Approves ERISA Lawsuit Settlement
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB: Discovery Closes in MA AWP Fraud Lawsuit

BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB: Faces CA Suits For Sale of Consumer Info
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB: Working To Settle PPA Injury Litigation
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB: WV Court Approves SERZONE Suit Settlement
CENTERPOINT ENERGY: TX ERISA Lawsuit Trial Set For January 2006
CENTERPOINT ENERGY: Defends Against CA Energy Antitrust Lawsuits

COMCAST CORPORATION: Faces Suits For At Home Corp. Relationship  
DORCHESTER MINERALS: Continues To Face OK Natural Gas Lawsuit
DOW CHEMICAL: Appeals MI Court Ruling Allowing Dioxin Lawsuit
HERCULES INC.: CA Court OKs Carbon Antitrust Lawsuit Settlement
IDAHO: Individuals Affected by Field Burning to Receive Payment

INDIAN TRUST: Court States Royalties Accounting `Impossible'
LAFAYETTE UTILITIES: Judge Dismisses Suit Over Bond Ordinance
MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL: NY Court Hears Citibank, Chase Appeal
MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL: CA Plaintiff Not Eligible To File Suit
MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL: Settles Opt-Outs in NY Antitrust Pact

MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL: Faces Antitrust Lawsuits in 19 States
MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL: Asks CA Court To Dismiss Fraud Lawsuit
MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL: Court To Hear CA Suit Dismissal Appeal
MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL: Plaintiffs Appeal CA Lawsuit Dismissal
MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL: JPMDL Transfers Antitrust Suits To NY

MEDCO HEALTH: Working To Settle ERISA Fraud Lawsuits in S.D. NY
MEDCO HEALTH: Plaintiffs Asks PA Court To Certify Antitrust Suit
MEDCO HEALTH: Plaintiffs File Second Amended Price-fixing Suit
MISSOURI: Bar, Grill Owner Faces AG Lawsuit For Water Pollution    
MURPHY OIL: LA Judge Orders Change on Firm's Settlement Tactics

NEW JERSEY: Judge Expands Copying Fees Case to Include Class
OHIO: FTC Sweep Finds 12 Funeral Homes In Compliance With Law
PENNSYLVANIA: Attorney General Files Suit Over Faulty Vehicles
PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL: Dismissed From MD Mutual Fund Fraud Suit
PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL: Faces Stockbroker Overtime Suits in CA, NY

RELIANT ENERGY: Reaches Settlement For TX Securities Fraud Suit
RELIANT ENERGY: Fairness Hearing For TX Suit Set January 2006
SONY BMG: Green Willing Wants Controversial Anti-Piracy Software
TELE-COMMUNICATIONS INC.: Former Directors Seek Summary Judgment
WESTERN UNION: Enters Multistate Agreement Over Wire Transfers

                 New Securities Fraud Cases

BARRIER THERAPEUTICS: Glancy Binkow Lodges Securities Suit in NJ
BOSTON SCIENTIFIC: Stull Stull Files Securities Fraud Suit in MA
FIRST BANCORP: Lerach Coughlin Files Securities Fraud Suit in NY
SPECTRUM BRANDS: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Fraud Suit in GA
WELLS FARGO: Stull Stull Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. CA

                           *********

BANK HAPOALIM: Settles Gadish Fund Members' Overcharging Suit
-------------------------------------------------------------
Bank Hapoalim (LSE: BKHD; TASE: POLI) will pay $16.92 million
(NIS 80 million) to settle a class action lawsuit for
overcharging members of the Gadish Provident Fund, The Globes
[online] reports.

The settlement, which the parties submitted to the court, was
reached in two applications for a class action lawsuit. Under
the deal, which also needs approval of the Attorney General,
Bank Hapoalim will pay $4.23 million (NIS 20 million) in cash to
the claimants and their attorneys, and $12.7 million (NIS 60
million) will be refunded through reduced commissions and
brokerage fees that Gadish pays to the bank.

In the suit, the claimants alleged that Bank Hapoalim and Gadish
Provident Fund charged commissions 2.5-12% higher than those
charged by other banks and their provident funds. In addition
they also claimed that the difference amounted to millions of
shekels a year, which the bank took from the Provident Fund's
members. Each of the lawsuits was for approximately $31.72
million (NIS 150 million).


BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB: Enters Mediation For NJ Securities Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. entered mediation for the securities
class action filed in the United States District Court for the
District of New Jersey against it, its former chairman of the
board and chief executive officer, Charles A. Heimbold, Jr., and
its former chief scientific officer, Peter S. Ringrose, Ph.D.

In April, May and June 2000, a number of class action lawsuits
were filed, alleging violations of federal securities laws and
regulations. These actions have been consolidated into one
action in the U.S. District Court for the District of New
Jersey.  The plaintiff claims that the defendants disseminated
materially false and misleading statements and/or failed to
disclose material information concerning the safety, efficacy
and commercial viability of, VANLEV, a drug in development,
during the period November 8, 1999 through April 19, 2000.

In May 2002, the plaintiff submitted an amended complaint adding
allegations that the Company, its former chairman of the board
and current chief executive officer, Peter R. Dolan, its former
chairman of the board and chief executive officer, Mr. Heimbold
and Mr. Ringrose disseminated materially false and misleading
statements and/or failed to disclose material information
concerning the safety, efficacy, and commercial viability of
VANLEV during the period April 19, 2000 through March 20, 2002.

A number of related class actions, making essentially the same
allegations, were also filed in the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of New York. These actions have been
transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of New
Jersey.

The Company filed a motion for partial judgment in its favor
based upon the pleadings. The plaintiff opposed the motion, in
part, requesting again to amend its complaint.  The court
granted in part and denied in part the Company's motion and
ruled that the plaintiff may amend its complaint to challenge
certain alleged misstatements.  The court has certified two
separate classes: a class relating to the period from November
8, 1999 to April 19, 2000 and a class relating to the period
from March 22, 2001 to March 20, 2002.  The class certifications
are without prejudice to defendants' rights to fully contest the
merits of plaintiff's claims. The plaintiff seeks compensatory
damages, costs and expenses on behalf of shareholders with
respect to the two class periods.

On December 17, 2004, the Company and the other defendants made
a motion for summary judgment as to all of plaintiff's claims.
The final pre-trial conferences in this matter were held on
December 15, 2004 and June 15, 2005.  On June 20, 2005, oral
argument was heard on the Company's motion for summary judgment
and a decision is pending.  No trial date has been set.

In January 2005, the plaintiff moved for leave to file a third
amended complaint, seeking to combine the two class periods into
one expanded class period from October 19, 1999 through March
19, 2002 and to add further allegations that the Company, Mr.
Dolan, Mr. Heimbold, and Mr. Ringrose disseminated materially
false and misleading statements and or failed to disclose
material information concerning the safety, efficacy and
commercial viability of VANLEV. The Magistrate Judge denied the
plaintiff's motion.  Plaintiffs have appealed to the District
Court.

On August 17, 2005, the Court granted in part and denied in part
the summary judgment motion and also affirmed the Magistrate
Judge's denial of plaintiff's motion for leave to amend their
complaint. The Court also dismissed two of the three individual
defendants, Peter R. Dolan and Peter S. Ringrose, from the case.  
On October 18, 2005 the parties participated in a court-ordered
mediation of the litigation.  The parties are required to
respond to the mediator's proposed number to settle the
litigation on November 15, 2005. A settlement of the matter
could be material to results of operations.

The suit is styled "In re Bristol-Myers Squibb Securities
Litigation, case no. 3:00-cv-01990-SRC-JJH," filed in the United
States District of District of New Jersey (Trenton), under Judge
Stanley R. Chesler.  Representing the plaintiffs are Allyn
Zissel Lite and Michael A. Patunas, LITE, DEPALMA, GREENBERG AND
RIVAS, LCC, Two Gateway Center 12th Floor, Newark, NJ 07102-
5003, Phone: (973) 623-3000, E-mail: alite@ldgrlaw.com, and
mpatunas@ldgrlaw.com; and Robert J. Berg, BERNSTEIN LIEBHARD &
LIFSHITZ, LLP, 2050 Center Avenue Suite 200, Fort Lee, NJ 07024
by Phone: 201-592-3201, by E-mail: berg@bernlieb.com.  
Representing the Company is William J. O'Shaughnessy of MCCARTER
& ENGLISH, ESQS., Four Gateway Center, 100 Mulberry Street, PO
Box 652, Newark NJ, 07101-0652, Phone: (973) 622-4444, E-mail:
woshaughnessy@mccarter.com.


BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB: IL Court Mulls Lifting Suit Discovery Stay
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Missouri has yet to rule on plaintiffs' motion to lift the
automatic stay of discovery in the class action filed against
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., D & K Healthcare Resources, Inc. (D &
K) and several current and former D & K directors and officers.

The suit was filed on behalf of purchasers of Company stock
between August 10, 2000 and September 16, 2002.  The class
action complaint alleges that the Company participated in
fraudulently inflating the value of D & K stock by allegedly
engaging in improper "channel-stuffing" agreements with D & K.

The Company filed a motion to dismiss this case on January 28,
2005. That motion has been fully briefed and argued, and is
under consideration by the court. Under the Private Securities
Litigation Reform Act, discovery is automatically stayed pending
the outcome of the motion to dismiss. The plaintiff filed a
motion to partially lift the automatic discovery stay on
February 22, 2005.  The Company filed an opposition to the
motion on March 4, 2005 and plaintiff filed a reply on March 16,
2005.  


BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB: NY Court Approves ERISA Lawsuit Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York granted final approval to the settlement of the
consolidated class action filed against Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
and others, alleging violations of the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act (ERISA).

In December 2002 and the first quarter of 2003, the Company and
others were named as defendants in five class actions brought
under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in the
U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of New York and
the District of New Jersey.  These actions have been
consolidated in the Southern District of New York under the
caption "In re Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. ERISA Litigation, 02 CV
10129 (LAP)." An Amended Consolidated Complaint was served on
August 18, 2003. A Second Amended Consolidated Complaint was
brought on behalf of four named plaintiffs and a putative class
consisting of all participants in, or beneficiaries of, the
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Savings and Investment Program
(Savings Plan) at any time between January 1, 1999 and March 10,
2003 whose accounts included investment in Company stock. The
named defendants are the Company, the Bristol-Myers Squibb
Company Savings Plan Committee (Committee), thirteen individuals
who presently serve on the Committee or who served on the
Committee in the recent past, Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. and Peter
R. Dolan (the past and present Chief Executive Officers,
respectively, and the Company).

The Second Amended Consolidated Complaint generally alleges that
the defendants breached their fiduciary duties under ERISA
during the class period by, among other things:

     (1) imprudently investing assets of the Savings Plan in
         Company stock;

     (2) misrepresenting and failing to disclose truthful and
         adequate information about Company stock as a Savings
         Plan investment; and

     (3) operating under conflicts of interest.

In addition, all defendants except Mr. Heimbold and Mr. Dolan
were alleged to have failed to monitor the other Savings Plan
fiduciaries. These ERISA claims are predicated upon factual
allegations similar to those raised in the consolidated
securities class action filed in the same court, concerning,
among other things: the safety, efficacy and commercial
viability of VANLEV; the Company's sales incentives to certain
wholesalers and the inventory levels of those wholesalers; and
alleged anticompetitive behavior in connection with BUSPAR and
TAXOL.

On June 6, 2005, counsel for plaintiffs and the Company entered
into a Stipulation and Agreement of Settlement (Settlement). The
Settlement provides, among other things, that the Company pay to
the BMS Savings Plan Master Trust approximately $41 million less
plaintiffs' attorneys' fees, costs and certain expenses
(including notice costs).  Additionally, the Company agreed to
certain structural changes relating to plan administration and
participant education. The Settlement provides for
certification, for Settlement purposes only, of a class
consisting of all persons who were participants in, or
beneficiaries of, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Savings and
Investment Program; the Bristol-Myers Squibb Puerto Rico, Inc.
Savings and Investment Program; and the Bristol-Myers Squibb
Company Employee Incentive Thrift Plan, at any time between
January 1, 1999 and March 10, 2003 and whose accounts in such
plans included investments in the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Stock Fund (excluding the individual defendants).

The Court preliminarily approved the Settlement on June 22,
2005.  Notice of the Settlement is to be completed by August 22,
2005.  On October 12, 2005, the Court conducted a fairness
hearing, issued final approval of the Settlement and awarded
attorneys' fees.


BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB: Discovery Closes in MA AWP Fraud Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Discovery with regard to Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and four other
defendants in the consolidated class action filed in the United
States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, styled
"In re Pharmaceutical Industry Average Wholesale Price
Litigation, MDL No. 1456, Civ. Action No. 01-CV-12257-PBS,"
before United States District Court Judge Patti B. Saris, has
closed.  The current schedule calls for identification of
proposed class representatives for the Medicare Part B class,
challenges to those proposed representatives, expert reports,
expert depositions and summary judgment briefing on liability
issues during the second half of 2005 into early 2006.

The Company, together with a number of other pharmaceutical
manufacturers, is a defendant in several private class actions
and in actions brought by the Nevada, Montana, Pennsylvania,
Wisconsin, Kentucky, Illinois and Alabama Attorneys General, the
City of New York and several New York counties that are pending
in federal and state courts relating to the pricing of certain
Company products.  The federal cases, and some related state
court cases that were removed to federal courts, have been
consolidated for pre-trial purposes under the caption "In re
Pharmaceutical Industry Average Wholesale Price Litigation, MDL
No. 1456, Civ. Action No. 01-CV-12257-PBS," before United States
District Court Judge Patti B. Saris in the United States
District Court for the District of Massachusetts (AWP
Multidistrict Litigation).

On June 18, 2003, the private plaintiffs in the AWP
Multidistrict Litigation filed an Amended Master Consolidated
Complaint (Amended Master Complaint). The Amended Master
Complaint contains two sets of allegations against the Company.
First, it alleges that the Company's and many other
pharmaceutical manufacturers' reporting of prices for certain
drug products (20 listed drugs in the Company's case) had the
effect of falsely overstating the Average Wholesale Price (AWP)
published in industry compendia, which in turn improperly
inflated the reimbursement paid to medical providers,
pharmacists, and others who prescribed, administered or sold
those products to consumers.  

Second, it alleges that the Company and certain other defendant
pharmaceutical manufacturers conspired with one another in a
program called the "Together Rx Card Program" to fix AWPs for
certain drugs made available to consumers through the Program.
The Amended Master Complaint asserts claims under the federal
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and
antitrust statutes and state consumer protection and fair trade
statutes.  The Amended Master Complaint is brought on behalf of
two main proposed classes, whose definitions have been subject
to further amendment as the case has progressed. As of December
17, 2004, those proposed classes may be summarized as:

     (1) all persons or entities who, from 1991 forward, paid or
         reimbursed all or part of a listed drug under Medicare
         Part B or under a private contract that expressly used
         AWP as a pricing standard and

     (2) all persons or entities who, from 2002 forward, paid or
         reimbursed any portion of the purchase price of a drug
         covered by the Together Rx Card Program based in whole
         or in part on AWP.

The first class is further divided into several proposed
subclasses depending on whether the listed drug in question is
physician-administered, self-administered, sold through a
pharmacy benefits manager or specialty pharmacy, or is a brand-
name or generic drug.  On September 3, 2004, plaintiffs in the
AWP Multidistrict Litigation moved for certification of a
proposed plaintiff class. The parties briefed that motion, as it
related to the amended proposed definition of the first main
class and sub-classes discussed above, and motion was heard by
the Court on February 10, 2005.

In a Memorandum and Order dated August 16, 2005, the Court
declined to certify any proposed classes as to pharmacy-
dispensed drugs. It did, however, certify a class under the
Massachusetts consumer fraud statute for persons and entities
that paid for certain physician-administered drugs based on
AWPs. The Court indicated that it would also certify a
nationwide class of individual Medicare Part B beneficiaries who
made an AWP-based co-payment for physician-administered drugs if
plaintiffs were able to find suitable class representatives.
Defendants have petitioned the United States Court of
Appeals for the First Circuit for permission to appeal the
certification of the Massachusetts-based classes.  That petition
is pending.  Discovery in the AWP Multidistrict Litigation
closed as to the Company and four other defendant manufacturers
on August 31, 2005.

The cases commenced by the Nevada, Montana, Pennsylvania,
Wisconsin, Illinois, Alabama and Kentucky Attorneys General (the
Attorneys General AWP Cases) and the cases commenced by New York
City and several New York counties (the New York City &
County AWP Cases) include fraud and consumer protection claims
similar to those in the Amended Master Complaint. Certain of the
states, city and counties also have made additional allegations
that defendants, including the Company, have violated state
Medicaid statutes by, among other things, failing to provide the
states with adequate rebates required under federal law.

In a series of decisions in June, September, and October 2004,
affecting the Montana Attorney General's case and the New York
City & County AWP Cases which are proceeding in the AWP
Multidistrict Litigation in coordination with the private class
actions, the Court declined to find that the Medicaid rebate
claims were preempted by federal law, but nevertheless dismissed
many of the claims relating to "rebate" payments made by several
drug manufacturers, including those claims relating to the
Company as insufficiently pled. The Court allowed the state law
claims that allege that the Company misreported AWPs. The
Company has filed its answer to the claims remaining in the
Montana Attorney General's complaint.

On June 15, 2005, New York City and all of the Counties that
have sued thus far (except Suffolk, Nassau and Erie Counties,
which continue to proceed separately) served the Company and
other manufacturers with a Consolidated Complaint. The
Consolidated Complaint contains claims similar to those in the
prior, individual complaints of the City and Counties.  

The Company also joined with other defendants in a motion to
dismiss the Pennsylvania Attorney General's action.  In a
decision filed February 1, 2005, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth
Court granted the motion to dismiss on the ground that the
plaintiff had failed to plead the complaint with the requisite
particularity. The Attorney General has since served an Amended
Complaint to which defendants have objected. Defendants'
objections to the Pennsylvania Complaint have been fully briefed
and were heard by the Commonwealth Court on June 8, 2005.  

On July 16, 2004, the Nevada court denied the Company's and
other defendants' motions to dismiss the complaint except as to
the state RICO claim and granted the Attorney General leave to
replead, in an opinion that was based on the prior rulings of
the AWP Multidistrict Litigation Court.  The Nevada court
subsequently entered an order coordinating all discovery in that
case with that in the AWP Multidistrict Litigation.

The Company and other defendants also have made motions to
dismiss in the other Attorneys General AWP Cases. On July 13,
2005, the Company and the other defendants removed all of the
Attorneys General AWP Cases (other than the Nevada case) to the
federal district courts in their respective states based on a
recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established federal
jurisdiction over the claims made therein.  The Company and
other defendants also have made motions to dismiss in the other
Attorneys General AWP Cases, with the exception of the
California case which was not unsealed as to the Company until
August 2005. Those motions to dismiss are currently pending.

The Company is also one of a number of defendants in a private
class action making AWP based claims in Arizona state court and
New Jersey state court. The Arizona case is currently stayed.
The New Jersey case has been removed to the AWP Multidistrict
Litigation Court where a motion is pending that will determine
whether the case remains for pre-trial purposes in that Court or
is remanded to New Jersey state court.

On October 8, 2004, the Company was added as a defendant in a
putative class action previously commenced against other drug
manufacturers in federal court in Alabama. The case was brought
by two health care providers that are allegedly entitled under a
federal statute, Section 340B of the Public Health Service Act,
to discounted prices on prescription drugs dispensed to the poor
in the providers' local areas. The plaintiff health care
providers contend that they and an alleged class of other
providers authorized to obtain discounted prices under the
statute may in fact not have received the level of discounts to
which they are entitled.  The Amended Complaint against the
Company and the other manufacturers asserts claims directly
under the federal statute, as well as under state law for unjust
enrichment and for an accounting. The Company has joined in a
motion to dismiss the Complaint that was filed by the original
manufacturer defendants and that has, with the court's approval
been made applicable to the Amended Complaint. In August 2005,
the Company was among several drug manufacturers named as a
defendant in a similar case involving Section 340B of the Public
Health Service Act filed in California state court by the County
of Santa Clara. The defendants have removed that case to federal
court in California.

Finally, the Company is a defendant in related state court
proceedings commenced in New York, New Jersey, California, and
Tennessee. Those proceedings were transferred to the AWP
Multidistrict Litigation for pre-trial purposes. The plaintiffs
in the California and New Jersey actions sought to remand their
cases to the state courts. The California remand motions were
denied, and the New Jersey remand motion remains pending.


BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB: Faces CA Suits For Sale of Consumer Info
--------------------------------------------------------------
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. faces two class actions filed in the
California Superior Court for San Diego, over consumer privacy
issues.

The first is styled "Utility Consumers Action Network on behalf
of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, et al. v. Bristol-Myers
Squibb Co., et al."  The Utility Consumers Action Network, a
consumer advocacy organization which focuses on privacy issues
filed the suit against the Company and other pharmaceutical
firms.  The lawsuit was originally directed only at retail drug
stores but was amended in July 2004 to add the Company and the
other pharmaceutical companies as defendants.

Another lawsuit, Rowan Klein, a Representative Action on Behalf
of Similarly Situated Persons and the Consuming Public, v.
Walgreen's, et al., was filed in February 2005, also in
California State Superior Court, San Diego County, against
retail pharmacies, the Company and other pharmaceutical
companies, and is substantially the same as the Utility
Consumers Action Network lawsuit.

The Complaints seek equitable relief, monetary damages and
attorneys' fees based upon allegedly unfair business practices
and untrue and misleading advertising under various California
statutes, including the California Confidentiality of Medical
Information Act. Specifically, the Complaints allege that
through the "Drug Marketing Program" retail stores are selling
consumers' confidential medical information to companies. The
Complaints further allege that the companies are using
consumers' medical information for direct marketing that
increase the sale of targeted drugs.


BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB: Working To Settle PPA Injury Litigation
-------------------------------------------------------------
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is working to resolve litigation filed
over its products that contain the controversial ingredient
phenylpropanolamine (PPA).

In January 2001, the Company was served with its first PPA
lawsuit. The Company currently is a defendant in approximately
14 personal injury lawsuits, down from 20 suits in August, in
federal and state courts throughout the United States. Many of
these lawsuits involve multiple defendants. Among other claims,
plaintiffs allege that PPA causes hemorrhagic and ischemic
strokes, that the defendants were aware of the risk, failed to
warn consumers and failed to remove PPA from their products.  
Plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages.

All of the federal cases have been transferred to the U.S.
District Court for the Western District of Washington, under the
caption "In re Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) Products Liability
Litigation, MDL No. 1407." The District Court has denied all
motions for class certification and there are no class action
lawsuits pending against the Company in this litigation.

On June 18, 2003, the District Court issued a ruling effectively
limiting the plaintiffs' claims to hemorrhagic and ischemic
strokes. Rulings favorable for the defendants included the
inadmissibility of expert testimony in cases alleging injuries
occurring more than three days after ingestion of a PPA-
containing product and cases involving psychoses, seizures and
cardiac injuries. The Company expects to be dismissed from
additional cases in which its products were never used by the
plaintiffs and where plaintiffs' alleged injury occurred more
than three days after ingestion of a PPA-containing product or
where a plaintiff suffered from cardiac injuries or psychoses.


BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB: WV Court Approves SERZONE Suit Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
West Virginia granted final approval to the consolidated class
action filed against Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., relating to its
antidepressant drug SERZONE (nefazodone hydrochloride).

The Company launched SERZONE in May 1994 in Canada and in March
1995 in the United States.  In December 2001, the Company added
a black box warning to its SERZONE label warning of the
potential risk of severe hepatic events including possible liver
failure and the need for transplantation and risk of death.
Within several months of the black box warning being added to
the package insert for SERZONE, a number of lawsuits, including
several class actions, were filed against the Company.  
Plaintiffs allege that the Company knew or should have known
about the hepatic risks posed by SERZONE and failed to
adequately warn physicians and users of the risks. They seek
compensatory and punitive damages, medical monitoring, and
refunds for the costs of purchasing SERZONE.

In May 2004, the Company announced that, following an evaluation
of the commercial potential of the product after generic entry
into the marketplace and rapidly declining brand sales, it had
decided to discontinue the manufacture and sale of the product
in the U.S. effective June 14, 2004.

At present, the Company has approximately 216 lawsuits, on
behalf of approximately 2,625 plaintiffs, pending against it in
federal and state courts throughout the United States. Twenty-
seven of these cases are pending in New York State Court and
have been consolidated for pretrial discovery. In addition,
there are approximately 763 alleged, but unfiled, claims of
injury associated with SERZONE.  In August 2002, the federal
cases were transferred to the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of West Virginia, styled "In re Serzone
Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1477."  In June 2003, the
District Court dismissed the class claims in all but two of the
class action complaints.  A purported class action has also been
filed in Illinois.

Although a number of the class action complaints filed against
the Company had sought the certification of one or more personal
injury classes, the remaining class action complaints do not
seek the certification of personal injury classes. In addition
to the cases filed in the United States, there are four national
class actions filed in Canada.

Without admitting any wrongdoing or liability, on or around
October 15, 2004, the Company entered into a settlement
agreement with respect to all claims in the United States and
its territories regarding SERZONE. The settlement agreement
embodies a schedule of payments dependent upon whether the class
member has developed a qualifying medical condition, whether he
or she can demonstrate that they purchased or took SERZONE, and
whether certain other criteria apply. The settlement is subject
to final approval by the District Court and any appeals
therefrom. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, plaintiffs'
class counsel filed a class action complaint seeking relief for
the settlement class. On November 18, 2004, the District Court
conditionally certified the temporary settlement class and
preliminarily approved the settlement.  The opt-out period ended
on April 8, 2005.  Potential class members could have entered
the settlement up to and including May 13, 2005.  

The fairness hearing occurred on June 29, 2005. The Court
requested additional submissions from the parties before ruling
on the settlement's fairness. Pursuant to the terms of the
proposed settlement, all claims will be dismissed, the
litigation will be terminated, the defendants will receive
releases, and the Company commits to paying at least $70 million
to funds for class members. Class Counsel will have the right to
petition the court for an award of reasonable attorneys' fees
and expenses; the fees will be paid by the Company and will not
reduce the amount of money paid to class members as part of the
settlement. The Company may terminate the settlement based upon
the number of claims submitted or the number of purported class
members who opt not to participate in the settlement and instead
pursue individual claims.

The opt-out period ended on April 8, 2005. Potential class
members could have entered the settlement up to and including
May 13, 2005. The fairness hearing occurred on June 29, 2005. On
September 2, 2005, the Court issued an opinion granting final
approval of the settlement; the order approving the settlement
was entered on September 9, 2005.


CENTERPOINT ENERGY: TX ERISA Lawsuit Trial Set For January 2006
---------------------------------------------------------------
Trial in the class action filed against CenterPoint Energy, Inc.
in the United States District Court in Houston, Texas, alleging
violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act
(ERISA), is set for January 2006.

In May 2002, three class action lawsuits were filed in Federal
District Court in Houston on behalf of participants in various
employee benefits plans sponsored by the Company. Two of the
lawsuits have been dismissed without prejudice. The Company and
certain current and former members of its benefits committee are
the remaining defendants in the third lawsuit. That lawsuit
alleges that the defendants breached their fiduciary duties to
various employee benefits plans, directly or indirectly
sponsored by the Company, in violation of the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. The plaintiffs allege
that the defendants permitted the plans to purchase or hold
securities issued by the Company when it was imprudent to do so,
including after the prices for such securities became
artificially inflated because of alleged securities fraud
engaged in by the defendants. The complaint seeks monetary
damages for losses suffered on behalf of the plans and a
putative class of plan participants whose accounts held
CenterPoint Energy or RRI securities, as well as restitution.
Both the plaintiffs and the defendants have pending motions for
summary judgement before the court.  Trial is set for January
2006.

The suit is styled "Boca Raton Police &, et al v. Reliant
Resources, et al., case no. 4:02-cv-01810," filed in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of Texas,
Houston Division, under Judge Ewing Werlein, Jr.  Representing
the company is James Edward Maloney of Baker & Botts, 910
Louisiana, Ste 3000, Houston, TX 77002, Phone: 713-229-1255,
Fax: 713-229-7755.  Representing the plaintiffs are:

     (1) Jacks C. Nickens of Nickens Keeton et al, 600 Travis
         Ste 7500, Houston, TX 77002, Phone: 713-571-9191, Fax:  
         713-571-9652

     (2) Niki L. O'Neel, Alan Schulman, David R. Stickney,
         Bernstein Litowitz et al, 12544 High Bluff Dr., Ste
         150, San Diego, CA 92130, Phone: 858-793-0070

     (3) Peter A Pease, Michael J. Pucillo, Wendy Hope Zoberman,
         Berman DeValerio & Pease, One Liberty Square, Boston,
         MA 09109, Phone: 617-542-8300, Fax: 617-542-1194


CENTERPOINT ENERGY: Defends Against CA Energy Antitrust Lawsuits
----------------------------------------------------------------
CenterPoint Energy, Inc. continues to face lawsuits filed
against numerous market participants that remain pending in both
federal and state courts in California and Nevada in connection
with the operation of the electricity and natural gas markets in
California and certain other western states in 2000-2001, a time
of power shortages and significant increases in prices.

These lawsuits, many of which have been filed as class actions,
are based on a number of legal theories, including violation of
state and federal antitrust laws, laws against unfair and
unlawful business practices, the federal Racketeer Influenced
Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), false claims statutes and
similar theories and breaches of contracts to supply power to
governmental entities.  Plaintiffs in these lawsuits, which
include state officials and governmental entities as well as
private litigants, are seeking a variety of forms of relief,
including recovery of compensatory damages (in some cases in
excess of $1 billion), a trebling of compensatory damages and
punitive damages, injunctive relief, restitution, interest due,
disgorgement, civil penalties and fines, costs of suit,
attorneys' fees and divestiture of assets.  To date, several of
the electricity complaints have been dismissed by the trial
court and are on appeal, and several of the dismissals have been
affirmed by appellate courts. Others remain in the early
procedural stages. One of the gas complaints has also been
dismissed and is on appeal. The other gas cases remain in the
early procedural stages.

The Company's former subsidiary, Reliant Resources, Inc. (RRI),
was a participant in the California markets, owning generating
plants in the state and participating in both electricity and
natural gas trading in that state and in western power markets
generally. RRI, some of its subsidiaries and, in some cases,
former corporate officers or employees of some of those
companies have been named as defendants in these suits.

The Company or its predecessor, Reliant Energy, has been named
in approximately 30 of these lawsuits, which were instituted
between 2001 and 2005 and are pending in California state courts
in San Diego County and in federal district courts in San
Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno, Sacramento, San Jose
and Nevada and before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
However, the Company, CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC
and Reliant Energy were not participants in the electricity or
natural gas markets in California. The Company and Reliant
Energy have been dismissed from certain of the lawsuits, either
voluntarily by the plaintiffs or by order of the court and the
Company believes it is not a proper defendant in the remaining
cases and will continue to seek dismissal from such remaining
cases.

On July 6, 2004 and on October 12, 2004, the Ninth Circuit
affirmed the Company's removal to federal district court of two
electric cases brought by the California Attorney General and
affirmed the federal court's dismissal of these cases based upon
the filed rate doctrine and federal preemption. On April 18,
2005, the Supreme Court of the United States denied the Attorney
General's petition for certiorari in one of these cases.  No
petition for certiorari was filed in the other case, and both of
these cases are now finally resolved in favor of the defendants.
In one other case filed by the California Attorney General, a
claim for injunctive relief remains pending, with a trial
currently scheduled to begin in federal district court in
February 2006.  Several cases that are now pending in state
court in San Diego County were originally filed in several
California state courts but were removed by the defendants to
federal district court. When the federal district court remanded
those cases, they were coordinated in front of one San Diego
state court. In July 2005, that San Diego state court refused to
dismiss certain of those cases based on defendants' claims of
federal preemption and the filed rate doctrine.

On August 12, 2005, RRI reached a settlement with the states of
California, Washington and Oregon, California's three largest
investor-owned utilities, classes of consumers from California
and other western states, and a number of California city and
county government entities that resolves their claims against
RRI related to the operation of the electricity markets in
California and certain other western states in 2000-2001. The
settlement also resolves the claims of the states and the
investor-owned utilities related to the 2000-2001 natural gas
markets. The settlement must be approved by FERC, the California
Public Utilities Commission and the courts in which the class
action cases are pending. Approvals are expected by the end of
2005. The Company is not a party to the settlement, but may rely
on the settlement as a defense to any claims brought against it
related to the time when the Company was an affiliate of RRI.  
The terms of the settlement do not require payment by the
Company.


COMCAST CORPORATION: Faces Suits For At Home Corp. Relationship  
---------------------------------------------------------------
Comcast Corporation continues to face litigation as a result of
its alleged conduct with respect to its investment in, and
distribution relationship with, At Home Corporation.  At Home
was a provider of high-speed Internet services that filed for
bankruptcy protection in September 2001.  Filed actions are:

     (1) class action lawsuits against the Company, Brian L.
         Roberts (its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and a
         director), AT& T (the former controlling shareholder of
         At Home and also a former distributor of the At Home
         service) and others in the Superior Court of San Mateo
         County, California, alleging breaches of fiduciary duty
         in connection with transactions agreed to in March 2000
         among At Home Corporation, AT&T Corporation, Cox
         Communications, Inc. (Cox is also an investor in At
         Home and a former distributor of the At Home service)
         and the Company;

     (2) class action lawsuits against the Company, AT& T and
         others in the United States District Court for the
         Southern District of New York, alleging securities law
         violations and common law fraud in connection with
         disclosures made by At Home in 2001;

     (3) a lawsuit brought by an individual At Home shareholder
         in the United States District Court for the Southern
         District of New York against the Company, AT& T and
         others making substantively similar allegations
         concerning At Home's disclosures as the class action
         described in item (2) above

     (4) a lawsuit brought in the United States District Court
         for the District of Delaware in the name of At Home by
         certain At Home bondholders against the Company, Brian
         L. Roberts, Cox and others, alleging breaches of
         fiduciary duty relating to the March 2000 transactions
         and seeking recovery of alleged short-swing profits of
         at least $600 million, pursuant to Section 16(b) of the
         Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, purported
         to have arisen in connection with certain transactions
         relating to At Home stock, effected pursuant to the
         March 2000 agreements;

     (5) a lawsuit brought by At Home's bondholders in the
         Delaware Court of Chancery against the Company, Brian
         L. Roberts, Cox and others alleging breaches of
         fiduciary duty relating to the March 2000 transactions;

     (6) a lawsuit brought in the United States Bankruptcy Court
         for the Northern District of California by certain At
         Home bondholders against the Company, AT& T, AT& T
         Credit Holdings, Inc. and AT& T Wireless Services,
         Inc., seeking to avoid and recover certain alleged
         "preference" payments in excess of $89 million,
         allegedly made to the defendants prior to the At Home
         bankruptcy filing.

The actions in San Mateo County, California (item (1) above),
have been stayed by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the
Northern District of California, the court in which At Home
filed for bankruptcy, as violating the automatic bankruptcy
stay.  The decision to stay the actions was affirmed by the
District Court.  Plaintiffs filed an appeal with the Court of
Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and oral arguments were held on
November 14, 2005.

In the Southern District of New York actions (item 2 above), the
court has dismissed the common law fraud claims against all
defendants, leaving only the securities law claims. In a
subsequent decision, the court limited the remaining claims
against the Company and Mr. Roberts to disclosures that are
alleged to have been made by At Home prior to August 28, 2000.
On March 10, 2005, the court certified a class of all purchasers
of publicly traded At Home stock between March 28, 2000, and
September 28, 2001.  Plaintiffs have moved to amend the
complaint so as to move the commencement of the class period
back to November 9, 1999.  The Company is opposing this
amendment.  The Company also moved to dismiss this class action
on the grounds that Plaintiffs cannot adequately plead loss
causation. The individual shareholder's action (item 3 above)
has been stayed until the court in the class action rules on the
pending motions.

The Delaware case (item 4 above) was transferred to the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York.  
The court dismissed the Section 16(b) claims against us for
failure to state a claim and the breach of fiduciary duty claim
for lack of federal jurisdiction. The plaintiffs have appealed
the decision dismissing the Section 16(b) claims.  Oral argument
was held on October 17, 2005, and the court reserved its
decision. The Bondholders have also recommenced the breach of
fiduciary duty claim in Delaware Chancery Court (item 5 above).

In the action in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the
Northern District of California (item 5 above), the parties
filed a stipulation in January 2004, staying the case until such
time as either party elects to resume the case.  The suit was
dismissed upon approval by the Bankruptcy Court of the
settlement between At Home's bondholders and AT& T described
below.

Under the terms of the Company's acquisition of AT&T's Broadband
operations, the Company is contractually liable for 50% of any
liabilities of AT& T relating to certain At Home litigation. For
litigation in which the Company is contractually liable for 50%
of any liabilities, AT& T will be liable for the other 50%.  In
addition to the actions against AT& T described in items (i),
(ii) and (iv) above, (in which the Company is also a defendant),
such litigation matters included two additional actions brought
by At Home's bondholders' liquidating trust against AT& T (and
not naming the Company):

     (i) a lawsuit filed against AT& T and certain of its senior
         officers in Santa Clara, California, state court
         alleging various breaches of fiduciary duties,
         misappropriation of trade secrets and other causes of
         action in connection with the transactions and prior
         and subsequent alleged conduct on the part of the
         defendants and

    (ii) an action filed against AT& T in the District Court for
         the Northern District of California, alleging that AT&T
         infringes an At Home patent by using its broadband
         distribution and high-speed Internet backbone networks
         and equipment.

In May 2005, At Home bondholders' liquidating trust and AT&T
agreed to settle these two actions. Pursuant to the settlement,
AT& T agreed to pay $340 million to the bondholders' liquidating
trust. The settlement is subject to the approval of the
Bankruptcy Court.  Upon approval, these two actions, as well as
the action described in item 5 above, will be dismissed.  As a
result of the settlement by AT&T, the Company recorded a $170
million charge to other income (expense), reflecting our its
portion of the settlement amount, in its first quarter financial
results. In May 2005, the Company paid $170 million representing
its share of the settlement amount, and the Company has
classified such payment as an operating activity in its
statement of cash flows.

Under the terms of the Broadband acquisition, the Company is
also potentially responsible for a portion of the liabilities
arising from two purported securities class action lawsuits
brought against AT&T and others and consolidated for pre-trial
purposes in the United States District Court for the District of
New Jersey.  These lawsuits assert claims under Section 11 and
Section 12(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and
Section 10(b) of the 1934 Act.

The first lawsuit, for which the Company's portion of any loss
is up to 15%, alleges, among other things, that AT& T made
material misstatements and omissions in the Registration
Statement and Prospectus for the AT& T Wireless initial public
offering ("Wireless Case").  In March 2004, the plaintiffs, and
AT&T and the other defendants, moved for summary judgment in the
Wireless Case. The New Jersey District Court denied the motions,
and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation remanded the
cases for trial to the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York, where they had originally been
brought. No trial date has been set.

The second lawsuit, for which the Company's portion of any loss
is 50%, alleges, among other things, that AT&T knowingly
provided false projections relating to AT&T common stock
("Common Stock Case").  In October 2004, the plaintiffs, and AT&
T and the other defendants, agreed to settle the Common Stock
Case for $100 million.  In April 2005, the court entered an
order approving the proposed settlement.  In May 2005, the
Company paid $50 million representing its share of the
settlement amount and the Company has classified such payment as
an operating activity in its statement of cash flows.  

In November 2004, AT&T brought suit against the D&O insurers in
Delaware Superior Court, seeking a declaration of coverage and
damages in the At Home cases, the Wireless Case and the Common
Stock Case. This litigation is in its very early stages.


DORCHESTER MINERALS: Continues To Face OK Natural Gas Lawsuit
-------------------------------------------------------------
Dorchester Hugoton Ltd. continues to face a class action filed
against it and several other natural gas companies in the
District Court of Texas County, Oklahoma.  The suit initially
named as defendants:

     (1) Dorchester Hugoton, Ltd.,

     (2) Anadarko Petroleum Corporation,

     (3) Conoco, Inc.,

     (4) XTO Energy Inc.,

     (5) ExxonMobil Corporation,

     (6) Phillips Petroleum Company, Incorporated and

     (7) Texaco Exploration and Production, Inc.

     (8) Dorchester Minerals Operating L.P.

In January 2002, some individuals and an association called
Rural Residents for Natural Gas Rights, referred to as RRNGR,
filed the suit.  The individuals and RRNGR consist primarily of
Texas County, Oklahoma residents who, in residences located on
leases use natural gas from gas wells located on the same
leases, at their own risk, free of cost.

The plaintiffs seek declaration that their domestic gas use is
not limited to stoves and inside lights and is not limited to a
principal dwelling as provided in the oil and gas lease
agreements with defendants in the 1930s to the 1950s.  
Plaintiffs' claims against defendants include failure to
prudently operate wells, violation of rights to free domestic
gas, violation of irrigation gas contracts, underpayment of
royalties, a request for accounting, and fraud.  Plaintiffs also
seek certification of class action against defendants.

In July 2002, the defendants were granted a motion for summary
judgment removing RRNGR as a plaintiff.  On October 1, 2004, the
plaintiffs severed claims against Dorchester Minerals Operating
LP regarding royalty underpayments.  


DOW CHEMICAL: Appeals MI Court Ruling Allowing Dioxin Lawsuit
-------------------------------------------------------------
In a sharply worded appeal, Dow Chemical Co. called on the
Michigan Court of Appeals to reverse the ruling of Saginaw
County Chief Circuit Judge Leopold P. Borrello saying that
residents claiming property damage because of historic dioxin
releases from Dow Chemical Co. could proceed with a class action
lawsuit, The Saginaw News reports.

Kathy Henry along with her husband filed that lawsuit in March
2003 after the state uncovered contamination along the
Tittabawassee River, an earlier Class Action Reporter story
(November 7, 2005) reports.  The decision, which is only the
second time in the last 20 years that a Saginaw County judge has
certified a class action lawsuit, expands the case from 160-plus
named plaintiffs to about 2,000 property owners who live within
the flood plain of the Tittabawassee. Under state law, residents
are included in the lawsuit unless they opt out, an earlier
Class Action Reporter story (November 7, 2005) reports.

In his ruling Judge Borrello stated that the suit is best
handled on a group basis. He also said, "To deny a class action
in this case and allow the plaintiffs to pursue individual
claims would result in up to 2,000 individual claims being filed
in this court. Such a result would impede the convenient
administration of justice," an earlier Class Action Reporter
story (November 7, 2005) reports.

Dow attorneys argued, "This court should not condone the sort of
drive-by certification which occurred here. If the superficial
approach used by the trial court was the acceptable standard for
certification, Michigan would become a magnet for the very type
of sprawling mass-tort class actions that are being
overwhelmingly rejected by courts elsewhere."

Commenting on Dow's recent move, Teresa Woody, lead attorney for
the residents, told The Saginaw News that the appeal is a
rehash. She pointed out, "They are raising the same issues. They
are just not happy with the way (Borrello) ruled on that case,
so they are taking those same arguments to another court."

At the Court of Appeals level, Dow must demonstrate that Judge
Borrello clearly erred in certifying the case as a class action.
Dow officials believe they can meet that standard by showing
that the class members really aren't so alike and should have
their cases tried individually.

The plaintiffs though remain equally confident that Dow's appeal
will fall flat. Ms. Woody told The Saginaw News, "While you
never can be certain, we really feel there is no reason for the
trial court order to be reversed."

Additionally, Dow attorneys also asked the Court of Appeals to
stop all local litigation until it has a chance to review the
case. The company requested similar action from Judge Borrello
early this month, but he told them they would have to look
elsewhere for another delay.


HERCULES INC.: CA Court OKs Carbon Antitrust Lawsuit Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Central District of
California granted final approval to the settlement of the
consolidated antitrust class action filed against Hercules,
Inc., styled "Thomas & Thomas Rodmakers v. Newport Adhesives and
Composites, Case No. CV-99-07796-GHK (CTx)."

In August 1999, the Company was sued in an action styled as
"Cape Composites, Inc. v. Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd., Case No.
99-08260," one of a series of similar purported class action
lawsuits brought on behalf of purchasers (excluding government
purchasers) of carbon fiber and carbon prepreg in the United
States from the named defendants from January 1, 1993 through
January 31, 1999.  The lawsuits were brought following published
reports of a Los Angeles federal grand jury investigation of the
carbon fiber and carbon prepreg industries.  In these lawsuits,
plaintiffs allege violations of Section 1 of the Sherman
Antitrust Act for alleged price fixing.

In September 1999, these lawsuits were consolidated into the
Thomas & Thomas Rodmakers suit, with all related cases ordered
dismissed.  This lawsuit is proceeding through discovery and
motion practice.  On May 2, 2002, the Court granted plaintiffs'
Motion to Certify Class.  The Company is named in connection
with its former Composites Products Division, which was sold to
Hexcel Corporation in 1996.  

During the third quarter of 2004, the Company learned that four
of its co-defendants had reached settlements with the
plaintiffs.  Those settlements were approved by the court on
January 31, 2005.  On February 25, 2005, the Company reached a
settlement in principle with the plaintiffs for $11.25 million.  
The settlement is subject to court approval.   On June 10, 2005,
that settlement was granted preliminary approval by the Court.
The settlement was approved and a stipulation of dismissal with
prejudice was executed by the parties effective October 18,
2005.  A final dismissal order is pending.


IDAHO: Individuals Affected by Field Burning to Receive Payment
---------------------------------------------------------------
Individuals in the Spokane area and northern Idaho who suffered
breathing problems because of agricultural field burning will be
compensated under an Idaho state court settlement with 70
farmers, The Associated Press reports.

Under the $891,450 settlement, which won't produce big money for
sufferers, individuals with cystic fibrosis will be eligible for
as much as $50,000, and those with asthma or other breathing
problems will get up to $1,000 each. The suit covers damages for
the 1999, 2000 and 2001 burn seasons.

Despite the small amount, the class action lawsuit over the
burning of bluegrass fields on the Rathdrum Prairie was still a
success, according to R. Brent Walton. The Seattle attorney told
The Associated Press, "This case has never been about money, per
se. It's about trying to stop the practice of burning. It's time
for the farmers to find a new way to bring their crop to market,
just as they do in Washington."

Despite the passage by Idaho lawmakers in 2003 of a law
protecting farmers from such lawsuits in the future, the number
of acres of bluegrass fields burned on the Rathdrum Prairie
declined since the case was filed in June 2002. The suit was
originally filed in Idaho's 1st District Court, but was later
moved to 4th District Court.

Bluegrass seed from the Inland Northwest is shipped around the
country for landscaping use. Grass seed farmers burn their
fields to shock them into producing another year's crop without
reseeding. The practice makes bluegrass seed farming more
profitable, but winds carry the smoke all over the region.

Physicians concerned about their patients several years ago
formed Safe Air For Everyone (SAFE) to push for an end to the
practice. Patti Gora, executive director of SAFE told The
Associated Press, "I'm really glad that there will finally be
some justice for victims of the grass burning who've had to seek
medical attention, who've had their life spans shortened, who
were prisoners in their own homes."

Initially, some of the farmers preferred not to settle and felt
they were following state law. Insurance companies for northern
Idaho grass farmers agreed to settle the class action lawsuit
brought by area residents over pollution from growers' annual
field burning. They reasoned that it was cheaper to settle the
case, an earlier Class Action Reporter story (July 19, 2005)
reports.

Mr. Walton told The Associated Press that under the settlement,
the cystic fibrosis patients get more money because medical
testimony showed that the smoke caused them permanent damage,
while it caused temporary damage to the other patients. He
explains that the settlement calls for the money, minus
litigation and court costs of about $275,000, to be split
between the cystic fibrosis patients and the other group. First
priority will go to those affected by smoke from 1999 to 2002,
before the passage of the "safe-harbor" bill, according to Mr.
Walton.

Attorneys estimated in court documents that hundreds or
thousands of patients are potentially eligible for payments.
They said that there are just fewer than 100 cystic fibrosis
sufferers in the area, many of them children. By taking the
payments, the patients give up all rights to sue the farmers
over smoke during the years in question.


INDIAN TRUST: Court States Royalties Accounting `Impossible'
------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled
that it was unreasonable to require a historical accounting of
money the government has been managing for American Indian
tribes, pointing out that the bookkeeping chore would take up to
200 years, The Associated Press reports.

In its ruling the federal appeals court essentially sided with
the government and the tribes in their effort to block a lower
court order for a detailed tally of money owed the tribes going
back to 1887. The audit was ordered by U.S. District Judge Royce
Lamberth, who is overseeing a class action lawsuit in which
thousands of Indians claim they were cheated out of more than
$100 billion in oil, gas, grazing, timber and other royalties
overseen by the Interior Department.

The government and the Indians argued in its appeal that the
massive historical accounting Judge Lamberth ordered would cost
up to $13 billion. That according to them was far more than was
reasonable.

A three judge appeals panel agreed, and thus overturned the
accounting and at the same time called Judge Lamberth's decision
"ill-founded," an abuse of discretion that was not favored by
either side in the lawsuit. Writing on behalf of the panel,
Appellate Judge Stephen F. Williams pointed out that the
accounting ordered by Judge Lamberth "would not be finished for
about 200 years, generations beyond the lifetimes of all now
living beneficiaries."

The issue of how to determine what is owed the Indians has gone
back and forth from Judge Lamberth to the appeals court
repeatedly during the almost 10 years since Blackfeet Indian
Elouise Cobell filed the lawsuit.

The case, Cobell v. Norton, which has become the longest and
largest class action suit brought against the government,
involves royalties for farming, grazing, mining, logging and
other economic activities on tribal lands.  The suit dates back
to the 1880s, when the government, trying to break up
reservations, "allotted" some Indian lands, giving 40 to 160
acres to some individual Native Americans. Back then the
government leased the lands for oil, gas, timber, grazing and
coal, and collected the fees to put into trust funds for Indians
and their survivors, an earlier Class Action Reporter story
(August 31, 2005) reports.

For 20 years before Ms. Cobell sued, several reports criticized
the government's management. Thus in 1994, Congress ordered that
the money be accounted for.

The appeals court said the accounting ordered by Judge Lamberth,
who wanted a much more detailed look at records, improperly
expanded the scope of what Congress authorized. The judge should
have allowed the Interior Department more latitude in deciding
how to perform the accounting, the appeals court wrote.

In a prepared statement, Interior Secretary Gale Norton said
that she was pleased by the decision. "Thus far, the department
has expended more than $100 million in its historical accounting
effort and has found ample evidence that monies collected for
individual Indians were distributed to the correct recipients,"
she said.

Earlier this year, the Indians offered to settle the case for
$27.5 billion. House and Senate lawmakers say the amount is too
high, but they have been working on legislation that would
resolve the case.

The suit is styled "Elouise Pepion Cobell, et al., on her own
behalf and on behalf of all those similarly situated v. GALE
NORTON, Secretary of the Interior, et al., case no. 96-1285
(RCL)," filed in the United States District Court for the
District of Columbia, under Judge Royce C. Lamberth.  
Representing the defendants are Robert E. Kirschman, Jr. and
Sandra Peavler Spooner of the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 1100 L
Street, NW Suite 10008, Washington, DC 20005, Phone:
(202) 616-0328, E-mail: robert.kirschman@usdoj.gov or
sandra.spooner@usdoj.gov.  Representing the plaintiffs are:

     (i) Mark Kester Brown, 607 14th Street, NW Washington, DC
         20005-2000, Phone: (775) 542-4938, Fax: 202-318-2372,
         E-mail: mkesterbrown@attglobal.net

    (ii) Dennis M. Gingold, 607 14th Street, NW 9th Floor,
         Washington, DC 20005, Phone: (202) 824-1448, Fax: 202-
         318-2372, E-mail: dennismgingold@aol.com

   (iii) Richard A. Guest and Keith M. Harper, NATIVE AMERICAN
         RIGHTS FUND, 1712 N Street, NW Washington, DC 20036-
         2976, Phone: (202) 785-4166, Fax: 202-822-0068, E-mail:
         richardg@narf.org or harper@narf.org

    (iv) Elliott H. Levitas, KILPATRICK STOCKTON, LLP, 607 14th
         Street, NW Suite 900, Washington, DC 20005 Phone: (202)
         508-5800, Fax: 202-508-5858, E-mail:
         elevitas@kilpatrickstockton.com  


LAFAYETTE UTILITIES: Judge Dismisses Suit Over Bond Ordinance
-------------------------------------------------------------
A judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by two city residents
attempting to block funding of Lafayette Utilities System's
fiber-optic based telecommunications business, 2theadvocate.com
reports.

In July, voters approved by a 62 to 38 percent decision a $125
million bond issue for LUS to provide phone, cable and high-
speed Internet service over a fiber-optic network available to
each home and business in the city. The City-Parish Council
followed with a bond ordinance, officially authorizing the
issuance of those bonds.

However, last month, LUS was hit with two lawsuits, which
alleged that the bond ordinance did not comply with state law.
One of those suits, filed by BellSouth, was recently dismissed.
The other was filed by two Lafayette residents, Matthew Eastin
and Elizabeth Naquin.

The Eastin-Naquin suit was filed as a class action by a
Plaquemine law firm, which argued that LUS' bond ordinance
violated provisions in state law dealing with a government-owned
communications business from being "cross-subsidized" with
outside government funds. It should be noted that the same firm
and defendants filed suit against LUS earlier this year,
claiming the municipally owned utility was over-charging for
electricity.

District Court Judge Bradford "Bumpy" Ware though ruled that the
Eastin-Naquin suit be dismissed because state law seems to
prohibit further action contesting a bond ordinance if a court
has already decided the issue. He pointed out that he thinks the
law "prohibits any further action of a like manner," once a
similar suit is decided in this case the dismissed Bellsouth
action.

After the hearing, attorney Patrick Pendley told
2theadvocate.com that it's probable the plaintiffs will appeal
Judge Ware's ruling because they were not, in effect, allowed to
present their own, differing, arguments against the bond
ordinance. He also told 2theadvocate.com, "We didn't get a cake
and we didn't get to eat it, either."


MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL: NY Court Hears Citibank, Chase Appeal
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York is continuing to brief Citibank N.A. and Chase Bank USA
N.A.'s appeal of the court's refusal to give effect to the
arbitration clauses in both banks' cardholder agreements in
relation to the consolidated class action filed against
MasterCard International and several other financial
institutions, namely:

     (1) Visa U.S.A., Inc.,

     (2) Visa International Corp.,

     (3) several member banks including Citibank (South Dakota),
         N.A., Citibank (Nevada), N.A., Chase Bank USA, N.A.,
         Bank of America, N.A. (USA), MBNA, and Diners Club.

Several suits were initially filed, alleging, among other
things, violations of federal antitrust laws based on the
asserted one percent currency conversion "fee."  Pursuant to an
order of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, the
federal complaints have been consolidated in MDL No. 1409 before
Judge William H. Pauley III in the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of New York.

In January 2002, the federal plaintiffs filed a Consolidated
Amended Complaint adding MBNA Corporation and MBNA America Bank,
N.A. as defendants. This pleading asserts two theories of
antitrust conspiracy under Section 1 of the Sherman Act - an
alleged "inter-association" conspiracy among MasterCard
(together with its members), Visa (together with its members)
and Diners Club to fix currency conversion "fees" allegedly
charged to cardholders of "no less than 1% of the transaction
amount and frequently more" and two alleged "intra-association"
conspiracies, whereby each of Visa and MasterCard is claimed
separately to have conspired with its members to fix currency
conversion "fees" allegedly charged to cardholders of "no less
than 1% of the transaction amount" and "to facilitate and
encourage institution" and collection "of second tier currency
conversion surcharges."  The complaint also asserts that the
alleged currency conversion "fees" have not been disclosed as
required by the Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z.

Defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint.  On July 3,
2003, Judge Pauley issued a decision granting the Company's
motion to dismiss in part. Judge Pauley dismissed the Truth in
Lending claims in their entirety as against MasterCard, Visa and
several of the member bank defendants.  Judge Pauley did not
dismiss the antitrust claims.  Fact and expert discovery in this
matter have closed.  On November 12, 2003 plaintiffs filed a
motion for class certification, which was granted on October 15,
2004.  On March 9, 2005, Judge Pauley issued a decision on
defendants' motion to reconsider the class certification
decision.  The Judge ruled that the arbitration provisions in
the cardholder agreements of member bank defendants, Bank One,
MBNA, Providian, Household and Bank of America are valid as to
those respective banks and MasterCard and, consequently,
cardholders of those banks can no longer participate in the
class action certified in his earlier decision and must pursue
any claims through arbitration.  Plaintiffs moved for further
reconsideration, which was denied by Judge Pauley on June 16,
2005.  In addition, Judge Pauley declined to give effect to the
arbitration clauses in the Citibank and Chase cardholder
agreements; both banks have noticed an appeal of that decision.  
Briefing on the appeal is still ongoing. The trial date has been
set for May 15, 2006.

The suit is styled "In re: Currency Conversion Litigation, case
no. 1:01-md-01409-WHP," filed in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York, under Judge William
H. Pauley III.  Representing the plaintiffs are Goldberg, Kohn,
Bell, Black, Rosenbloom & Moritz, Ltd., 55 East Monroe Street,
Suite 3700, Chicago, Illinois 60603 and Lerach Coughlin Stoia
Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP, 100 Pine Street, Suite 2600
San Francisco, CA 94111, Phone: (415) 288-4545, Fax:
(415) 288-4534.


MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL: CA Plaintiff Not Eligible To File Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The office of California's Secretary of State reportedly
suspended plaintiff in unfair trade practices suit filed against
MasterCard International and Visa U.S.A., Inc. in the Superior
Court of California, styled "California Law Institute v. Visa
U.S.A, et al.," for failure to pay taxes, stripping him of
authority to participate in the lawsuit.

The suit, filed purportedly on behalf of the general public,
seek disgorgement, restitution and injunctive relief for
unlawful and unfair business practices in violation of
California Unfair Trade Practices Act Section 17200, et. seq.
Plaintiffs purportedly allege that the Company's (and Visa's)
chargeback fees are unfair and punitive in nature.  Plaintiffs
seek injunctive relief preventing the Company from continuing to
engage in its chargeback practices and requiring it to provide
restitution and/or disgorgement for monies improperly obtained
by virtue of them.

On June 10, 2005, MasterCard filed a motion requesting that the
Court bifurcate certain dispositive issues to be tried
separately.  On October 17, 2005, the Company and the other
defendants notified the court that they had discovered that
plaintiff had been suspended by the California Secretary of
State's office, apparently for failure to pay taxes, and,
therefore, is not authorized to transact any business, including
participating in litigation.  On October 18, 2005, the court
determined that it could not proceed with the bifurcated trial
proceeding while plaintiff is suspended.  MasterCard and the
other defendants notified the court of their intention to move
for judgment on the pleadings based on the suspension, and the
court scheduled a hearing on this issue for December 8, 2005.


MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL: Settles Opt-Outs in NY Antitrust Pact
---------------------------------------------------------------
MasterCard International settled the claims of opt-out
plaintiffs from the consolidated antitrust class action filed
against it and Visa U.S.A., Inc., in the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of New York.  

Commencing in October 1996, several class action suits were
brought by a number of U.S. merchants against MasterCard
International and Visa U.S.A., Inc. challenging certain aspects
of the payment card industry under U.S. federal antitrust law.
Those suits were later consolidated in the U.S. District Court
for the Eastern District of New York.

The plaintiffs challenged the Company's "Honor All Cards" rule
and a similar Visa rule. Plaintiffs claimed that MasterCard and
Visa unlawfully tied acceptance of debit cards to acceptance of
credit cards. The plaintiffs also claimed that MasterCard and
Visa conspired to monopolize what they characterized as the
point-of-sale debit card market, thereby suppressing the growth
of regional networks such as ATM payment systems.

On June 4, 2003, the Company signed the Settlement Agreement to
settle the claims brought by the plaintiffs in this matter,
which the Court approved on December 19, 2003.  A number of
class members have appealed the District Court's approval of the
settlement.  These appeals are largely focused on the Court's
attorneys' fees award as well on the Court's ruling on the scope
of the release set forth in the Settlement Agreement.  On
January 4, 2005, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued an
order affirming the Court's approval of the U.S. merchant
Settlement Agreement. The settlement is now final as no class
members filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court
regarding the Second Circuit's affirmation of the district
Court's approval of the settlement.

Several lawsuits were commenced by merchants who opted not to
participate in the plaintiff class in the U.S. merchant lawsuit,
including Best Buy Stores, CVS, Giant Eagle, Home Depot, Toys
`R' Us and Darden Restaurants (collectively, the "Opt Out
Plaintiffs"). The majority of these cases were filed in the U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of New York.  The
Company has entered into separate settlement agreements with
each of the Opt Out Plaintiffs resolving their claims against
it.  The District Court has entered orders dismissing with
prejudice each of the Opt Out Plaintiff's complaints against the
Company.

The suit is styled "In re Visa/MasterCard Antitrust Litigation,
case no. 1:03-md-01575-JG-RLM," filed in the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of New York, under Judge
John Gleeson.  Representing the Company are Randi Dale
Adelstein, Gary R. Carney, Jr., and Kenneth Anthony Galloe of
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP, 1285 Avenue of
the Americas, New York, NY 10019-6064, Phone: 212-373-3000, E-
mail: radelstein@paulweiss.com, gcarney@paulweiss.com,
kgallo@paulweiss.com.  Representing the plaintiffs are

     (1) Anne M. Lockner, K. Craig Wildfang of Robins, Kaplan,
         Miller & Ciresi, L.L.P., 2800 LaSalle Plaza, 800
         LaSalle Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55402-2015, Phone:
         (612) 349-8500, Fax: (612) 339-4181, E-mail:
         amlockner@rkmc.com or kcwildfang@rkmc.com;

     (2) David P. Germaine, Daar & Vanek P.C., 225 W.
         Washington, 18th Floor, Chicago, IL 60606, Phone: 312-
         474-1400, Fax: 312-474-1410, E-mail:
         dgermaine@daarvanek.com

     (3) Joseph Michael Vanek, Daar, Fisher, Kanaris & Vanek,
         P.C., 200 South Wacker Drive, Suite 3350, Chicago, IL
         60606, Phone: 312-474-1400, E-mail:
         jvanek@daarvanek.com

     (4) Mitchell H. Macknin, Bruce S. Sperling of Sperling &
         Slater, P.C., 55 W. Monroe Street, Suite 3300, Chicago,
         IL 60603, Phone: 312-641-3200, Fax: 312-641-6492, E-
         mail: mhmacknin@sperling-law.com, bss@sperling-law.com  

     (5) Jeffrey S. Cashdan, Dwight J. Davis, Joseph J.
         Loveland, Reginald Smith of King & Spalding LLP, 191
         Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30303-1763, Phone: 404-
         572-4600, E-mail: jcashdan@kslaw.com, ddavis@kslaw.com,
         jloveland@kslaw.com or rsmith@kslaw.com  

     (6) Mark L. Weyman, Anderson, Kill, Olick & Oshinsky P.C.,
         1251 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, Phone:
         (212) 279-1000, E-mail: mweyman@andersonkill.com


MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL: Faces Antitrust Lawsuits in 19 States
---------------------------------------------------------------
MasterCard International continues to face several individual or
multiple complaints brought in 19 different states and the
District of Columbia under state unfair competition statutes
against MasterCard International (and Visa) on behalf of
putative classes of consumers.  The claims in these actions
largely mirror the allegations made in the U.S. merchant lawsuit
and assert that merchants, faced with excessive merchant
discount fees, have passed these overcharges to consumers in the
form of higher prices on goods and services sold.

While these actions are in their early stages, the Company has
filed motions to dismiss the complaints in a number of state
courts for failure to state a cause of action. Courts in
Arizona, Iowa, New York, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Maine,
North Dakota, Kansas, North Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont,
Wisconsin and the District of Columbia have granted the
Company's motions and dismissed the complaints with prejudice.
Plaintiffs have appealed several of these decisions.

The plaintiffs in Minnesota have filed a revised complaint on
behalf of a purported class of Minnesota consumers who made
purchases with debit cards rather than on behalf of all
consumers.  On July 12, 2005, the court granted the Company's
motion to dismiss the Minnesota complaint for failure to state a
claim and dismissed the complaint with prejudice.  The time in
which plaintiffs may appeal this decision is currently running.
In addition, the courts in Tennessee and California have granted
the Company's motion to dismiss the respective state unfair
competition claims but have denied the Company's motions with
respect to unjust enrichment claims in Tennessee and Section
17200 claims for unlawful, unfair, and/or fraudulent business
practices in California.  Both parties have appealed the
Tennessee decisions.  

On October 14, 2005, the West Virginia Circuit Court denied the
Company's motion for summary judgment.  On October 28, 2005, the
Company filed a motion for reconsideration and/or requested
permission to seek an appeal of that decision to the West
Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.  The Company is awaiting
decisions on its motions to dismiss in the other state courts.

On March 14, 2005, the Company was served with a complaint that
was filed in Ohio state court on behalf of a putative class of
consumers under Ohio state unfair competition law. The claims in
this action mirror those in the consumer actions described above
but also name as co-defendants a purported class of merchants
who were class members in the U.S. merchant lawsuit. Plaintiffs
allege that Visa, MasterCard and the class members of the U.S.
merchant lawsuit conspired to attempt to monopolize the debit
card market by tying debit card acceptance to credit card
acceptance.  On October 7, 2005, plaintiffs filed a voluntary
notice of dismissal of their complaint.


MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL: Asks CA Court To Dismiss Fraud Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
MasterCard International asked California Superior Court to
dismiss the complaint filed against it, on behalf of a putative
class of consumers under California unfair competition law and
the Cartwright Act.

The claims in this action seek to piggyback on the portion of
the Department of Justice (DOJ) antitrust litigation in which
the United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York found that the Company's Competitive Programs Policy
(CPP) and Visa's bylaw constitute unlawful restraints of trade
under the federal antitrust laws.

On July 15, 2005, the Company and Visa jointly moved to dismiss
plaintiffs' claims for failure to state a claim. Oral argument
on the motion was held on November 2, 2005.


MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL: Court To Hear CA Suit Dismissal Appeal
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear plaintiffs'
appeal of the dismissal of the consolidated class action filed
against MasterCard International, Visa U.S.A., Inc., Visa
International Corporation and several member banks in California
on December 7,2005.

In July 2002, a purported class action lawsuit was filed by a
group of merchants in the U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of California, alleging, among other things, that
MasterCard's and Visa's interchange fees contravene the Sherman
Act.  The suit seeks treble damages in an unspecified amount,
attorney's fees and injunctive relief, including the divestiture
of bank ownership of MasterCard and Visa, and the elimination of
MasterCard and Visa marketing activities.

On March 4, 2004, the court dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice
in reliance upon the approval of the Settlement Agreement in the
U.S. merchant lawsuit by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of New York, which held that the settlement and release
in that case extinguished the claims brought by the merchant
group in the present case.  The plaintiffs have appealed the
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York's
approval of the U.S. merchant lawsuit settlement and release to
the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and have also appealed the
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California's
dismissal of the present lawsuit to the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals. On January 4, 2005, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals
issued an order affirming the District Court's approval of the
U.S. merchant lawsuit settlement agreement, including the
District Court's finding that the settlement and release
extinguished such claims. Plaintiffs did not seek certiorari of
the Second Circuit's decision with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The suit is styled "Reyn's Pasta Bella, LLC et al v. VISA U.S.A.
Inc. et al., case no. 3:02-cv-03003-JSW," filed in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of California,
under Judge Jeffrey S. White.  Representing the Company is Jay
Neil Fastow, Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, 767 Fifth Avenue, New
York, NY 10153, Phone: 212-310-8644, Fax: 212-310-8007, E-mail:
jay.fastow@weil.com.  Representing the plaintiffs are Richard
Joseph Archer of Archer & Hansen, 3110 Bohemian Highway,
Occidental, CA 95465, Phone: 707-874-3438, Fax: 707-874-3438, E-
mail: archerdic@aol.com; and James Archer Kopcke of Golden
Kopcke LLP, 22 Battery St., Ste 610, San Francisco, CA 94111,
Phone: 415-399-9994, E-mail: jameskopcke@yahoo.com.


MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL: Plaintiffs Appeal CA Lawsuit Dismissal
----------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs appealed the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California's dismissal of the class action
filed on October 8,2004 against MasterCard International, Visa
U.S.A., Inc., Visa International Corp. and several member banks
in California.

The suit alleges, among other things, that MasterCard's and
Visa's interchange fees contravene the Sherman Act and the
Clayton Act.  The complaint contains similar allegations to
those brought in the interchange case described above, and
plaintiffs have designated it as a related case. The plaintiffs
seek damages and an injunction against MasterCard (and Visa)
setting interchange and engaging in "joint marketing
activities," which plaintiffs allege include the purported
negotiation of merchant discount rates with certain merchants.

On November 19, 2004, the Company filed an answer to the
complaint. The plaintiff filed an amended complaint on April 25,
2005.  The Company moved to dismiss the claims in the complaint
for failure to state a claim and, in the alternative, also moved
for summary judgment with respect to certain of the claims.  The
Court heard oral argument on the Company's motion to dismiss on
July 8, 2005.  On July 25, 2005, the Court issued an order
granting the motion to dismiss and dismissed the plaintiff's
complaint with prejudice.  On August 10, 2005, the plaintiffs
filed a notice of appeal.  Plaintiffs' opening appeal brief is
currently scheduled to be filed on November 28, 2005.

The suit is styled "Kendall et al v. Visa U.S.A. Inc. et al,
case no. 3:04-cv-04276-JSW," filed in the United States District
Court for the Northern District of California, under Jeffrey S.
White.  Representing the plaintiffs are Richard Joseph Archer,
Archer & Hansen, 3110 Bohemian Highway, Occidental, CA 95465,
Phone: 707-874-3438, Fax: 707-874-3438, E-mail:
archerdic@aol.com; and James Archer Kopcke, Golden & Kopcke,
LLP, 22 Battery Street, Suite 610 San Francisco, CA 94111,
Phone: 415-399-9995, Fax: 415-398-5890 E-mail:
jameskopcke@yahoo.com.  Representing the Company are Jay Neil
Fastow, Gianluca Morello, and Debra J. Pearlstein, Weil Gotshal
& Manges LLP, 767 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10153, Phone:
212-310-8644, Fax: 212-310-8007, E-mail: jay.fastow@weil.com,
gianluca.morello@weil.com, debra.pearlstein@weil.com; and Wesley
Railey Powell and Nancy Karen Raber of Clifford Chance US LLP,
31 West 52d Street New York, NY 10019, Phone: 212-878-3309, Fax:
212-878-8375, E-mail: wesley.powell@cliffordchance.com and
Nancy.raber@cliffordchance.com.


MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL: JPMDL Transfers Antitrust Suits To NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred
several similar antitrust class actions filed against MasterCard
International Incorporated, Visa U.S.A., Inc., Visa to the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of New
York for coordination of pre-trial proceedings.

On June 22, 2005, a purported class action lawsuit was filed by
a group of merchants in the U.S. District Court of Connecticut,
alleging, among other things, that the Company's and Visa's
purported setting of interchange fees violates Section 1 of the
Sherman Act.  In addition, the complaint alleges the Company's
and Visa's purported tying and bundling of transaction fees also
constitutes a violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act.
The suit seeks treble damages in an unspecified amount,
attorneys' fees and injunctive relief.  

Since this complaint's filing, there have been approximately
forty similar complaints (the majority styled as class actions
although a few complaints are on behalf of individual
plaintiffs) filed on behalf of merchants against MasterCard and
Visa (and in some cases, certain member banks) in federal courts
in California, New York, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey,
Ohio, Kentucky and Connecticut. The claims in these complaints
are generally brought under Section 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act.
Specifically, the complaints contains some or all of the
following claims:

     (1) that the Company's and Visa's interchange fees violate
         Section 1 of the Sherman Act;

     (2) that MasterCard and Visa have enacted and enforced
         various rules, including the no surcharge rule, in
         violation of Section 1 or 2 of the Sherman Act;

     (3) that the Company's and Visa's purported bundling of the
         acceptance of premium credit cards to standard credit
         cards constitutes an unlawful tying arrangement;

     (4) that the Company's and Visa's purported bundling of the
         acceptance of commercial cards to consumer credit cards
         constitutes an unlawful tying arrangement; and

     (5) that the Company and Visa have unlawfully tied and
         bundled transaction fees.

In addition to the claims brought under federal antitrust law,
some of these complaints contain certain state law consumer
protection and common law claims based upon the same conduct
described above.  These interchange-related litigations also
seek treble damages in an unspecified amount (although several
of the complaints allege that the plaintiffs expect that damages
will range in tens of billions of dollars), as well as
attorneys' fees and injunctive relief.

On October 19, 2005, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict
Litigation issued an order transferring the suits.  The Company
currently has until December 19, 2005 to respond to the
complaints.


MEDCO HEALTH: Working To Settle ERISA Fraud Lawsuits in S.D. NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
Medco Health Solutions, Inc. and Merck-Medco Managed Care, LLC
is working on the settlement of several class actions filed
against them alleging violations of the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act (ERISA).

In December 1997, a lawsuit captioned "Gruer v. Merck-Medco
Managed Care, L.L.C." was filed in the U.S. District Court for
the Southern District of New York.  The suit alleges that the
Company should be treated as a "fiduciary" under the provisions
of ERISA and that the Company has breached fiduciary obligations
under ERISA in a variety of ways.

After the Gruer case was filed, a number of other cases were
filed in the same court asserting similar claims.  In December
2002, Merck and the Company agreed to settle the Gruer series of
lawsuits on a class action basis for $42.5 million, and agreed
to certain business practice changes, to avoid the significant
cost and distraction of protracted litigation.  The release of
claims under the settlement applies to plans for which the
Company has administered a pharmacy benefit at any time between
December 17, 1994 and the date of final approval. It does not
involve the release of any potential antitrust claims.

The plaintiff in one of the cases discussed above, "Blumenthal
v. Merck-Medco Managed Care, L.L.C., et al." has elected to opt
out of the settlement.  In May 2004, the district court granted
final approval to the settlement.  The settlement becomes final
only after all appeals have been exhausted. Two appeals are
pending.

Similar ERISA-based complaints against the Company and Merck
were filed in eight additional actions by ERISA plan
participants, purportedly on behalf of their plans, and, in some
of the actions, similarly situated self-funded plans. The ERISA
plans themselves, which were not parties to these lawsuits, have
elected to participate in the settlement discussed above and,
accordingly, seven of these actions have been dismissed.

The plaintiff in another action, styled "Betty Jo Jones v.
Merck-Medco Managed Care, L.L.C., et al.," has filed a Second
Amended Complaint, in which she seeks to represent a class of
all participants and beneficiaries of ERISA plans that required
such participants to pay a percentage co-payment on prescription
drugs.  The effect of the release under the settlement discussed
above on the "Jones" action has not yet been litigated.

In addition to these cases, a proposed class action complaint
against Merck and the Company has been filed by trustees of
another benefit plan, the United Food and Commercial Workers
Local Union No. 1529 and Employers Health and Welfare Plan
Trust, in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California.  This plan has elected to opt out of the
settlement. The United Food action has been transferred and
consolidated in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York by order of the Judicial Panel on
Multidistrict Litigation.

In April 2003, a lawsuit captioned "Peabody Energy Corporation
v. Medco Health Solutions, Inc., et al." was filed in the U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.  The
complaint, filed by one of the Company's former clients, relies
on allegations similar to those in the ERISA cases discussed
above, in addition to allegations relating specifically to
Peabody, which has elected to opt out of the settlement
described above.  In December 2003, Peabody filed a similar
action against Merck in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of Missouri.  Both of these actions have been
transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District
of New York to be consolidated with the ERISA cases pending
against Merck and the Company in that court.

In June 2002, a lawsuit captioned "Miles v. Merck-Medco Managed
Care, L.L.C.," based on allegations similar to those in the
ERISA cases discussed above, was filed against Merck and the
Company in the Superior Court of California. The theory of
liability in this action is based on a California law
prohibiting unfair business practices. The Miles case was
removed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of
California and was later transferred to the U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York and consolidated with the
ERISA cases pending against Merck and the Company in that court.

In March 2003, a lawsuit captioned "American Federation of
State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) v. AdvancePCS et
al." based on allegations similar to those in the ERISA cases
discussed above, was filed against the Company and other major
PBMs in the Superior Court of California.  The theory of
liability in this action is based on a California law
prohibiting unfair business practices. The plaintiff, which
purports to sue on behalf of itself, California non-ERISA health
plans, and all individual participants in such plans, seeks
injunctive relief and disgorgement of revenues that were
allegedly improperly received by the Company.  In March 2005,
the court in the "AFSCME" case dismissed that action with
prejudice.  That ruling is being appealed.

In September 2002, a lawsuit captioned "Miles v. Merck-Medco
Managed Care, L.L.C.," based on allegations similar to those in
the ERISA cases discussed above, was filed against Merck and the
Company in the Superior Court of California.  The theory of
liability in this action is based on a California law
prohibiting unfair business practices. The "Miles" case was
removed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of
California and was later transferred to the U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York and consolidated with the
ERISA cases pending against Merck and the Company in that court.

The suit is styled "In Re: Medco Health ERISA Litigation, case
no. 7:03-md-01508-CLB," filed in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York under Judge Charles
L. Brieant.  Representing the plaintiffs are Linda J. Cahn and
Mark Gardy of Abbey, Gardy & Squitieri, LLP, 212 East 39th
Street, New York, NY 10016, Phone: (212) 889-3700; or Philippe
Z. Selendy, BOIES, SCHILLER & FLEXNER, LLP, 570 Lexington Avenue
16th floor, New York, NY 10022, Phone: (212) 446-2300.  
Representing the Company are Bruce B. Kelson, Kenneth M. Kramer,
James P. Tallon of Shearman & Sterling, 555 California Street,
20th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94104, Phone: (415) 616-1100, E-
mail: jtallon@shearman.com.  


MEDCO HEALTH: Plaintiffs Asks PA Court To Certify Antitrust Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs asked the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania to grant class certification
for the lawsuit filed against Medco Health Solutions, Inc,
styled "Brady Enterprises, Inc., et al. v.
Medco Health Solutions, Inc., et al."

The plaintiffs, which seek to represent a national class of
retail pharmacies that have contracted with the Company, allege
that the Company has conspired with, acted as the common agent
for, and used the combined bargaining power of plan sponsors to
restrain competition in the market for the dispensing and sale
of prescription drugs.  The plaintiffs allege that, through the
alleged conspiracy, the Company has engaged in various forms of
anticompetitive conduct, including, among other things, setting
artificially low reimbursement rates to such pharmacies. The
plaintiffs assert claims for violation of the Sherman Act and
seek treble damages and injunctive relief.   

The suit is styled "Brady Enterprises, Inc. et al, v. Medco
Health Solutions, Inc., et al, case no. 03-cv-04730-JF," filed
in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania, under Judge John P. Fullam.

Representing the plaintiffs are:

     (1) Bart D. Cohen, Jerome M. Marcus, H. Laddie Montague,
         Jr., BERGER & MONTAGUE, P.C., 1622 Locust Street,
         Philadelphia, PA 19103 Phone: 215-875-4602, Fax: 215-
         875-4674, E-mail: bcohen@bm.net, jmarcus@bm.net,
         hlmontague@bm.net

     (2) Michael J. Freed, Jean K. James, MUCH, SHELIST, FREED,
         DENENBERG, AMENT & EIGER, 191 North Wacker Drive, Suite
         1800, Chicago, IL 60606, Phone: 312-521-2000, E-mail:
         mfreed@muchshelist.com or jjanes@muchshelist.com  

Representing the Company are:

     (i) Marc Ashley, Kenneth M. Kramer, SHEARMAN & STERLING
         LLP, 599 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022, Phone:
         212-848-4000

    (ii) Scott M. Brevic, Paul H. Saint-Antoine, DRINKER BIDDLE
         & REATH LLP, One Logan Square, 18th and Cherry Streets,
         Philadelphia, PA 19103-6996, Phone: 215-988-2700, Fax:
         215-988-2757


MEDCO HEALTH: Plaintiffs File Second Amended Price-fixing Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs asked the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Alabama to grant class certification for
the second amended lawsuit filed against Medco Health Solutions,
Inc., styled "North Jackson Pharmacy, Inc., et al. v. Medco
Health Solutions, Inc., et al."

The plaintiffs seek to represent a national class of independent
retail pharmacies that have contracted with the Company.  In
February 2004, Merck and the Company filed motions to dismiss
the plaintiffs' amended complaint.  However, prior to ruling on
the motions, the court granted the plaintiffs permission to file
a second amended complaint, which the plaintiffs filed on July
23, 2004.

In their Second Amended and Consolidated Class Action Complaint,
the plaintiffs allege that Merck and the Company have engaged in
price fixing and other unlawful concerted actions with others,
including other PBMs, to restrain trade in the dispensing and
sale of prescription drugs to customers of retail pharmacies who
participate in programs or plans that pay for all or part of the
drugs dispensed, and have conspired with, acted as the common
agent for, and used the combined bargaining power of plan
sponsors to restrain competition in the market for the
dispensing and sale of prescription drugs.  

The plaintiffs allege that, through such concerted action, Merck
and the Company have engaged in various forms of anticompetitive
conduct, including, among other things, setting reimbursement
rates to such pharmacies at unreasonably low levels. The
plaintiffs assert claims for violation of the Sherman Act and
seek treble damages and injunctive relief.   

The suit is styled "N Jackson Pharmacy, et al v. Medco Health,
et al, case no. 5:03-cv-02697-VEH," filed in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, under Judge
Virginia Emerson Hopkins.  

Representing the plaintiffs are:

     (1) Andrew C. Allen, Othni J. Lathram, Joe R. Whatley, Jr.,
         WHATLEY DRAKE LLC, 2323 Second Avenue North, Post
         Office Box 10647, Birmingham, AL 35202-0647, Phone:
         328-9576, E-mail: ecf@whatleydrake.com or
         jwhatley@whatleydrake.com

     (2) Chris W. Cantrell, A. David Fawal, Archie C. Lamb, Jr.,
         LAW OFFICES OF ARCHIE LAMB LLC, PO Box 2088,
         Birmingham, AL 35201, Phone: 324-4644, Fax: 324-4649,
         E-mail: ccantrell@archielamb.com,
         dfawal@archielamb.com, alamb@archielamb.com  

Representing the Company is SHEARMAN & STERLING LLP, 599
Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10022, Phone: 1-212-848-4000,
Fax: 1-212-848-7179; and LIGHTFOOT FRANKLIN & WHITE LLC, The
Clark Building, 400 20th Street, North, Birmingham, AL 35203,
Phone: 581-0700, Fax: 581-0799


MISSOURI: Bar, Grill Owner Faces AG Lawsuit For Water Pollution    
---------------------------------------------------------------
A motel and restaurant that has been cited for discharging
sewage into a tributary of Truman Lake and has failed to update
a public drinking water system with contaminant levels many
times the maximum allowed by law is the target of a lawsuit
filed by Attorney General Jay Nixon.

The lawsuit, filed in Henry County Circuit Court, names Fernando
L. Lomeli, owner of Tebo Creek Lodge Bar and Grill, located on
Highway PP near Clinton. The first count of the lawsuit alleges
that Lomeli's wastewater treatment facility has not functioned
properly since 1999, resulting in abnormally high amounts of
fecal coliform and chlorine being discharged into a tributary of
Truman Lake.

A second count alleges that since July 2004, the public drinking
water system maintained by Mr. Lomeli has repeatedly tested for
unsafe levels of coliform, and he has yet to correct the problem
and has failed to regularly test water samples, as required by
law.

"This is not a technical violation - this is a very real public
health risk," Mr. Nixon said. "Numerous times Mr. Lomeli has
been given the opportunity to correct problems with his system
that have resulted in unsafe drinking water, and the release of
contaminated wastewater that has found its way to Truman Lake.
We will not and cannot look the other way when public health is
at issue."

Mr. Nixon is asking the court to order Mr. Lomeli to comply with
Missouri's Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, make
appropriate upgrades to the wastewater treatment system, and to
connect to a public drinking water supply system. Nixon also is
asking that Mr. Lomeli reimburse the state for the cost of the
investigation and court proceedings, and pay monetary penalties.

For more details, contact Press Secretary Jim Gardner, Phone:
573-751-8844, Fax: 573-751-5818, E-mail:
communications@ago.mo.gov.


MURPHY OIL: LA Judge Orders Change on Firm's Settlement Tactics
---------------------------------------------------------------
U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon ordered the Murphy Oil
Corporation to be more transparent in its settlement talks with
victims of an oil spill that contaminated thousands of homes in
Saint Bernard Parish during Hurricane Katrina, The Associated
Press reports.

The Arkansas-based company has been trying to ward off a slew of
class action suits that were filed after 1 million gallons of
oil spilled into homes and canals in Meraux after Katrina's
storm surge lifted a massive storage tank off its base. To ward
of those suits, Murphy opened up five claims offices and started
contacting residents two months after the storm. It offered
people tens of thousands of dollars for damage to their homes if
they dropped out of the lawsuits.

Judge Fallon agreed in part with lawyers who argued that the
company was taking advantage of the displaced and hard-hit oil
spill victims by providing them with misleading and false
information. The judge pointed out that the company needs to
tell victims to consult a lawyer before settling and that they
would waive their legal rights in the case by accepting money.
In addition he also said that Murphy couldn't seek out residents
who had not previously contacted the company on their own or
those who have lawyers.

The allegations were made in a hearing in which plaintiffs'
attorneys sought to convince Judge Fallon to restrict Murphy
from entering into settlement talks with victims of the oil
spill in Meraux. In that hearing, plaintiffs' attorneys pointed
out to Judge Fallon that Murphy has downplayed and misled people
about the potential long-term health and environmental risks of
the 1 million gallon oil spill that washed into about 1,500
homes. They also charged that the company is making people think
that the contaminated area is smaller than it actually is.  In
addition, the attorneys contended that under the enduring
chaotic conditions victims are unable to get adequate legal help
and that the court should safeguard them from predatory
practices, an earlier Class Action Reporter story (November 7,
2005) reports.

The company currently faces two class action lawsuits, which
seeks unspecified damages for an oil leak at the company's
Louisiana refinery. Filed in Lafayette, Louisiana, the federal
suits accuse the company and its Murphy Oil USA Inc. unit of
negligence when Hurricane Katrina hit August 29 and knocked out
the company's plant at Meraux, an earlier Class Action Reporter
story (September 20, 2005) reports.

A lawsuit filed by property owner Patrick Joseph Turner on
behalf of at least 500 property owners in St. Bernard Parish
states, "As a direct and proximate cause of the negligence of
the defendant, plaintiffs sustained damages that include
contamination of property, mental anguish, emotional distress,
inconvenience, loss of use, loss of property value, loss of
income, loss of profits, loss of business opportunity and fear
of cancer," an earlier Class Action Reporter story (September
20, 2005) reports.

The second lawsuit filed by residents John and Theonise Maus,
Judith Maus, Charles August Maus, Marcel Wieners, Carla Valaske
and at least 5,000 other parish residents states that among the
issues to be considered is whether "Murphy's negligence is
ultimately found to prolong the time in which members cannot
return to their property and whether the class members' property
is permanently damaged so that their property's fair-market
value is diminished," an earlier Class Action Reporter story
(September 20, 2005) reports.


NEW JERSEY: Judge Expands Copying Fees Case to Include Class
------------------------------------------------------------
In a ruling that could make the public and businesses such as
title companies eligible for refunds, Superior Court Judge John
Sweeney expanded a lawsuit filed by one individual into a class
action to include any past copying customer of the Burlington
and Camden County clerks' offices, The CourierPostOnline.com
reports.

Donald M. Doherty Jr., which represents the defendants, told The
CourierPostOnline.com that he wants the judge to order the
counties to offer partial refunds that could total several
million dollars for self-service copies. He pointed out that
since 1997, the counties overcharged customers for copies of
documents, such as real estate deeds and mortgages, in violation
of the Open Public Records Act. That law establishes a fee
schedule for copying government records that allows a charge of
75 cents per page for up to 10 copies, 50 cents per page for 11
to 20 copies and 25 cents per page for more than 20 copies, an
earlier Class Action Reporter story (March 25, 2005) reports.

The public could be entitled to refunds if the judge eventually
rules in favor of Joseph Dugan, the contractor who filed the
lawsuit back in 2003. The suit was filed after Mr. Dugan was
being charged $1 a page for copies on a self-service machine in
the Camden County Clerk's Office. Defendants in the suit were
Camden County Clerk James Beach and Burlington County Clerk
Philip Haines. Until the spring, Camden County charged $1 a copy
and Burlington 50 cents to use self-service copy machines for
public records.

Since a state appeals court ruled in March that fees had to be
based on actual cost, Camden reduced its fee to 19 cents per
copy and Burlington reduced it to 10 cents. The counties were
unsuccessful in their appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Mr. Doherty told The CourierPostOnline.com that the new
Burlington charge is closer to the actual cost. Based on figures
provided by both offices for self-service copies made from 1997
to 2003, Camden grossed $2.3 million for copies and Burlington
$1.9 million, he adds.

Despite his ruling, Judge Sweeney pointed out that it was not
yet determined how many people or businesses made copies. He
also adds that the charge must be based on the actual costs of
paper, copying equipment, toner and machine maintenance and not
employee time.

In court Thursday, Camden County lawyers indicated a willingness
to discuss a settlement with Doherty to avoid a trial. Lawyers
from both counties opposed the class action.

Burlington County solicitor Evan Crook said he will meet with
the county freeholders to analyze the decision and develop their
next legal strategy.


OHIO: FTC Sweep Finds 12 Funeral Homes In Compliance With Law
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Federal Trade Commission announced the results of a recent
sweep of 12 funeral homes in the Columbus, Ohio area, to test
compliance with the FTC's Funeral Rule. Six of the funeral homes
were found to be in full compliance with the rule.

The FTC's East Central Region office and the Ohio Attorney
General's Office test-shopped the funeral homes in July and
August as part of the Commission's ongoing nationwide law
enforcement program. Under the program, FTC test shoppers visit
funeral homes to see if they comply with key requirements of the
law, such as providing consumers with an itemized general price
list that contains mandatory disclosures, and an itemized price
lists for caskets. The Funeral Rule is designed to ensure that
consumers receive price lists and are told they can purchase
only the goods and services they want or need.

"People should know they are being treated fairly when they make
purchasing decisions, and this is especially true when they have
to make funeral arrangements," said John Mendenhall, Director of
the FTC's East Central Region.

In January 1996, the FTC announced the Funeral Rule Offenders
Program (FROP), a joint effort with the National Funeral
Directors Association (NFDA), to boost compliance with the
Funeral Rule. Under FROP, funeral homes that do not give test
shoppers itemized price lists in a prescribed time and manner
may choose to enter the FROP program rather than face possible
legal action, which could result in an injunction and civil
penalties. If they choose FROP, they make a voluntary payment to
the U.S. Treasury in lieu of civil penalties, and enroll in a
program administered by the NFDA, which includes a review of
price lists, compliance training, and follow-up testing and
certification.

Depending on the severity of the violation, funeral homes may be
given the opportunity to resolve law violations through means
other than through FROP or a formal law enforcement action,
which could result in an injunction and civil penalties. Among
those alternative means of resolving possible violations, a
funeral home may receive a letter notifying the funeral home
that it is not in compliance with the Rule and warning that
future noncompliance could result in a monetary penalty.

In the Columbus-area sweep, five funeral homes received
compliance letters for lesser violations, and one funeral home
agreed to enroll in FROP.

The Funeral Rule, promulgated by the FTC in 1984, was revised in
1994. One of
its key requirements is that, at the beginning of any discussion
of funeral arrangements, goods, services or prices, consumers
must receive an itemized general price list for use in
comparison shopping and other information, including, for
example, the fact that embalming is not necessarily required by
law. The FTC's Rule also makes clear that consumers do not have
to buy a package funeral, but instead, may pick and choose the
goods and services they want.

A free FTC brochure, "Funerals: A Consumer Guide," describes
consumers' rights and legal requirements. A free FTC handbook
for funeral providers, "Complying with the Funeral Rule," is
also available.

Copies of the FTC brochure and other documents pertaining to the
FROP program are available from the FTC's Web site at
http://www.ftc.govand also from the FTC's Consumer Response  
Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington,
D.C. 20580 or call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).  
For more details, contact Frank Dorman, Office of Public Affairs
by Phone: 202-326-2476 or contact Dana C. Barragate, FTC's East
Central Region - Cleveland, by Phone: 216-263-3402 or visit the
Website: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2005/11/funeralsweep1.htm.


PENNSYLVANIA: Attorney General Files Suit Over Faulty Vehicles
--------------------------------------------------------------
Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett filed a civil lawsuit
against a New Jersey couple accused of using false and
misleading advertising, selling defective vehicles and failing
to honor guarantee and warranty agreements in the sale of new
and used vehicles at two Value Kia locations in Southeastern
Pennsylvania. The suit follows complaints from dozens of
consumers located throughout Philadelphia, plus Berks, Chester,
Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh and Montgomery counties.

Attorney General Tom Corbett identified the defendants as Oleg
and Angela Shtutman, 411 Barby Lane, Cherry Hill, New Jersey,
and Metro Auto Sales Inc., doing business as Value Kia located
at 6501 Essington Ave., Philadelphia, and 1951 East Lincoln
Highway, Coatesville, Chester County.  The suit accuses the
defendants of violating Pennsylvania's Unfair Trade Practices
and Consumer Protection Law and Automotive Industry Trade
Practices.

The defendants through 2005 advertised and promoted the sale of
new and used vehicles on the Internet and in print, radio and TV
ads. Investigators said the ads falsely promised rebates,
incentives and free gifts.   

The ads included claims such as: "Free Vehicle with any vehicle
purchase;" "Up to $12,000 off new cars;" "YOU CHOOSE! . $1,500
cash with any vehicle purchase or 60" color projection
television.just $1 with any vehicle purchase." Other ads offered
consumers a five-carat diamond tennis bracelet, up to 60% off
new cars, and free gas for one-full-year with every new and used
vehicle sold.

"These ads were designed to lure prospective car buyers to their
showrooms with promises of great deals and prizes, however the
defendants failed to make good on many of the sales incentives,"
Mr. Corbett said. "Consumers arrived at the dealerships
expecting to receive the free gifts or deals only to be told
that they had to meet a host of conditions to qualify for the
offers. Very rarely, if ever, were car buyers able to meet all
or even some of the conditions to purchase the cars and trucks
as advertised."

One couple filed a complaint after they were denied the $12,000
rebate that was offered in one of the defendant's newspaper ads.
The couple said that they traveled to the Coatsville dealership
because of the specific rebate offer. After they test-drove a
new Kia SUV, the sales representative asked them a series of
questions including whether they had previously owned a Kia.  
When the couple responded no, they were told that they did not
qualify for the $12,000 rebate, which was reserved for former
Kia customers, a condition that was not disclosed in the ad.

Mr. Corbett said, "The use of undisclosed conditions and other
deceptive sales tactics are illegal in Pennsylvania and hurt the
auto sales industry especially those dealers who comply with the
law."

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of:

     (1) Failing to disclose exact conditions of sale incentives
         in ads or promotions.

     (2) Failing to honor sales incentives including rebates,
         free gifts and price reductions even if consumers meet
         the qualifying conditions.

     (3) Failing to sell vehicles at the advertised prices.

     (4) Failing to pay set price advertised for trade-ins.

The Commonwealth also claims that the defendants falsely
represented that a vehicle was roadworthy at the time of sale.
In some cases, the defendants sold vehicles with a variety of
defects including faulty brakes, engines, transmissions and
airbags. After the problems were identified, the defendants
allegedly failed to adequately repair the problems.

In several instances when repairs were made, the defendants
allegedly charged consumers for work that should have been
covered under the warranty. In other instances, consumers
complained that the defendants repeatedly failed to correct the
defects during the warranty period and then charged them for
repairs made outside the warranty. Still others said that the
defendants failed to provide them with their actual warranty
documents.

One Philadelphia consumer who purchased a used Kia Sportage from
the defendants complained that the vehicle had steering
problems, wheel vibrations, loss of power and speed, electrical
problems, engine cutoff and difficulty restarting. On one
occasion, the defendants charged the consumer $1,200 for repairs
though claimed that the vehicle did not have the problems the
consumer described. Within 48-hours, the consumer's vehicle had
the same problems and had to be towed to the dealership.  Twelve
days later, the vehicle was returned to the consumer and told it
was repaired.  That same day, the consumer's car shut off while
driving and blocked a bridge. As a result, police impounded the
vehicle.

In addition, the defendants on numerous occasions failed to
supply consumers with proper registration and permanent license
plates in a timely manner. Other allegations include claims that
the sales taxes and transfer and registration fees were not
turned over to the proper Commonwealth agency within the time
allowed by law.

The complaint asks the court to require the defendants to:
       
     (i) Pay full restitution to eligible consumers who have
         filed complaints or who come forward with complaints in
         the case.

    (ii) Pay civil penalties of $1,000 per violation and $3,000
         for each violation involving a consumer age 60 or
         older.

   (iii) Permanently enjoin defendants from violating
         Pennsylvania's Consumer Protection Law and Automotive
         Industry Trade Practices.

    (iv) Forfeit all profits derived from the alleged illegal
         business practices.

     (v) Pay the Commonwealth's costs of investigation.

Mr. Corbett urge consumers who suspect that they may be entitled
to restitution in this case to contact the Bureau of Consumer
Protection at 1-800-441-2555 to obtain a complaint form.  
Consumers with access to the Internet may file a complaint
electronically by visiting http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.

The lawsuit was filed in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The
case is being litigated by Deputy Attorney General Saverio P.
Mirarchi of the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection
Office in Philadelphia.


PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL: Dismissed From MD Mutual Fund Fraud Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Prudential Financial, Inc. and Prudential Securities, Inc. have
been dismissed as defendants in one of the actions consolidated
in the United States District Court for the District of
Maryland.  The consolidated proceeding is styled "In re: Mutual
Fund Investment Litigation."  

The Company and PSI, however, remain as defendants in the other
actions in the consolidated proceeding since no other rulings on
dismissal motions have been made.  The consolidated suit claims
breach of duty with respect to alleged arrangements to permit
market timing and/or late trading activity, or breach of duty
with respect to the valuation of the portfolio securities of
certain mutual funds managed by Company subsidiaries, resulting
in alleged market timing activity.  

The suit is styled "In re Mutual Funds Investment Litigation,
case no. 1:04-cv-03944-JFM," filed in the United States District
Court for the District of Maryland, under Judge J. Frederick
Motz.


PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL: Faces Stockbroker Overtime Suits in CA, NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
Prudential Financial, Inc. faces five purported class actions
filed in California and New York federal and state courts,
alleging that stock brokers were improperly classified as exempt
employees under state and federal wage and hour laws and,
therefore, were improperly denied overtime pay. The complaints
seek back overtime pay and statutory damages, interest, and
attorneys.

The suits also name as defendants Prudential Securities, Inc.
and Prudential Equity Group LLC.  Two of the complaints,
"Janowsky v. Wachovia Securities, LLC and Prudential Securities
Incorporated" and "Goldstein v. Prudential Financial, Inc.,"
were filed in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York.  The "Goldstein" complaint purports to
have been filed on behalf of a nationwide class. The "Janowsky"
complaint alleges a class of New York brokers.

The three complaints filed in California Superior Court, styled
"Dewane v. Prudential Equity Group, Prudential Securities
Incorporated, and Wachovia Securities LLC;" "DiLustro v.
Prudential Securities Incorporated, Prudential Equity Group,
Inc. and Wachovia Securities;" and "Carayanis v. Prudential
Equity Group LLC and Prudential Securities Inc.," purport to
have been brought on behalf of classes of California brokers.


RELIANT ENERGY: Reaches Settlement For TX Securities Fraud Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Reliant Energy, Inc. (formerly Reliant Resources, Inc. or RRI)
reached a settlement for the consolidated securities class
action file in the United States District Court for the District
of Texas, Houston Division.

Fifteen class action lawsuits were filed in May, June and July
2002 on behalf of purchasers of securities of RRI and/or Reliant
Energy, and later consolidated in federal district court in
Houston.  RRI and certain of its former and current executive
officers are named as defendants.  The consolidated complaint
also names the Company, the underwriters of the initial public
offering of RRI's common stock in May 2001 (RRI Offering), and
RRI's and the Company's independent auditors as defendants.

The consolidated amended complaint seeks monetary relief
purportedly on behalf of purchasers of common stock of Reliant
Energy or RRI during certain time periods ranging from February
2000 to May 2002, and purchasers of common stock that can be
traced to the RRI Offering. The plaintiffs allege, among other
things, that the defendants misrepresented their revenues and
trading volumes by engaging in round-trip trades and improperly
accounted for certain structured transactions as cash-flow
hedges, which resulted in earnings from these transactions being
accounted for as future earnings rather than being accounted for
as earnings in fiscal year 2001.

In January 2004, the trial judge dismissed the plaintiffs'
allegations that the defendants had engaged in fraud, but claims
based on alleged misrepresentations in the registration
statement issued in the RRI Offering remain. In June 2004, the
plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification, which the
court granted in February 2005. The defendants appealed the
court's order certifying the class and asked the trial court to
reconsider its ruling certifying the class. In July 2005, the
parties announced that they had reached a settlement in this
matter, subject to court approval. The terms of the settlement
do not require a payment by the Company.


RELIANT ENERGY: Fairness Hearing For TX Suit Set January 2006
-------------------------------------------------------------
Reliant Energy, Inc. (formerly Reliant Resources, Inc. or RRI)
reached a settlement for the consolidated securities class
action file in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Texas, Houston Division.

Fifteen class action lawsuits were filed in May, June and July
2002 on behalf of purchasers of securities of RRI and/or Reliant
Energy, and later consolidated in federal district court in
Houston.  RRI and certain of its former and current executive
officers are named as defendants.  The consolidated complaint
also names the Company, the underwriters of the initial public
offering of RRI's common stock in May 2001 (RRI Offering), and
RRI's and the Company's independent auditors as defendants.

The consolidated amended complaint seeks monetary relief
purportedly on behalf of purchasers of common stock of Reliant
Energy or RRI during certain time periods ranging from February
2000 to May 2002, and purchasers of common stock that can be
traced to the RRI Offering. The plaintiffs allege, among other
things, that the defendants misrepresented their revenues and
trading volumes by engaging in round-trip trades and improperly
accounted for certain structured transactions as cash-flow
hedges, which resulted in earnings from these transactions being
accounted for as future earnings rather than being accounted for
as earnings in fiscal year 2001.

In January 2004, the trial judge dismissed the plaintiffs'
allegations that the defendants had engaged in fraud, but claims
based on alleged misrepresentations in the registration
statement issued in the RRI Offering remain. In June 2004, the
plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification, which the
court granted in February 2005. The defendants appealed the
court's order certifying the class and asked the trial court to
reconsider its ruling certifying the class. In July 2005, the
parties announced that they had reached a settlement in this
matter, subject to court approval.

The parties filed a stipulation and agreement of settlement in
September 2005, and in October 2005, filed a corrected and
supplemental submission at the court's request. Notice is being
sent to settlement class members, and a settlement fairness
hearing is set for January 2006. The terms of the settlement do
not require payment by the Company.

The suit is styled "Kaysen v. Reliant Resources, et al., case
no. 4:02-cv-01862," filed in the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Texas, under Judge Ewing Werlein,
Jr.  Representing the plaintiffs is Kenneth S. Marks, Susman
Godfrey LLP, 1000 Louisiana, Ste 5100, Houston, TX 77002-5096,
Phone: 713-651-9366, Fax: 713-654-6666.  Representing the
Company is James Edward Maloney of Baker & Botts, 910 Louisiana
Ste 3000, Houston, TX 77002, Phone: 713-229-1255, Fax:
713-229-7755.


SONY BMG: Green Willing Wants Controversial Anti-Piracy Software
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Green Welling, LLP, sent a formal demand letter
to Sony BMG demanding that Sony BMG fix the problems created by
the XCP and Sunncomm MediaMax software contained on its music
CDs.

The software, which includes damaging secret rootkit technology,
has potentially infected millions of computers around the world.
Green Welling is asking Sony BMG to take appropriate steps to
remove the offending CDs from the marketplace and to offer
refunds for those already in place.

Although billed by Sony BMG as common digital rights management
(DRM) software that is just for copy protection, it seems that
it is really much more. The XCP, or extended copy protection,
software utilizes "rootkit" technology that hides the software
from users. The software creates a security risk for personal
computers that allows hackers to hide damaging programs in
computers that have Sony BMG's software in them. The software
also secretly communicates with Sony's servers and can be used
to send information back to the users' media player programs.
The Sunncomm MediaMax software used on some Sony BMG CDs
actually installs itself before the user is asked to agree to
the terms of installation. For both XCP and Sunncomm software,
the terms of the End User License Agreement (EULA) are asserted
to be improper and without the proper disclosures for what is
actually occurring when a user clicks on the button to "Agree"
to its terms.

"The demand letter gives Sony BMG the opportunity to fix the
problems it created with this software before a class action
lawsuit is filed," according to Robert Green, a partner at Green
Welling. Sony previously announced a "patch kit" that would
reveal the software to users and recently announced that it
would stop making CDs with the XCP software, but "there is a lot
more it could do to fix the problems that it created for its
customers," Mr. Green said.

For more details, contact Robert Green of Green Welling, LLP,
Phone: 415-477-6700, E-mail: gw@classcounsel.com, Web site:
http://www.classcounsel.com.  


TELE-COMMUNICATIONS INC.: Former Directors Seek Summary Judgment
----------------------------------------------------------------
Several former Tele-Communications, Inc. directors sought
summary judgment for the class action filed against them in the
Delaware Court of Chancery, alleging breach of fiduciary duty.

In June 1998, the first of a number of purported class action
lawsuits was filed by then-shareholders of the Company's Series
A TCI Group Common Stock ("Common A") against the directors and
AT& T relating to the acquisition of the Company by AT&T.  A
consolidated amended complaint combining the various different
actions was filed in February 1999 in the Delaware Court of
Chancery.

The consolidated amended complaint alleges that former members
of the TCI board of directors breached their fiduciary duties to
Common A shareholders by agreeing to transaction terms whereby
holders of the Series B TCI Group Common Stock received a 10%
premium over what Common A shareholders received in connection
with the transaction. The complaint further alleges that AT& T
aided and abetted the Company directors' breach of their
fiduciary duties.

In connection with the acquisition, which was completed in early
1999, AT&T agreed under certain circumstances to indemnify the
Company's former directors for certain losses, expenses, claims
or liabilities, potentially including those incurred in
connection with this action.

In July 2003, the Delaware Court of Chancery granted AT& T's
motion to dismiss on the ground that the complaint failed to
adequately plead AT&T's `knowing participation,' as required to
state a claim for aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary
duty. The other claims made in the complaint remain outstanding.
Fact discovery in this matter is now closed. In February 2005,
the former TCI director defendants filed a motion for summary
judgment. In April 2005, plaintiffs filed their brief in
opposition.


WESTERN UNION: Enters Multistate Agreement Over Wire Transfers
--------------------------------------------------------------
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer reports that Western Union
Financial Services entered into an agreement with New York and
46 other states to address the prevalent use of the company's
wire transfer services by fraudulent telemarketers.

Under the agreement, Western Union will include very prominent
consumer warnings on the forms used to wire money. These
disclosures are aimed at warning consumers of the dangers of
fraud-induced wire transfers. The company also will pay $8.2
million toward a national consumer awareness program that is
designed to reach the consumers most likely to be targeted by
those who use wire transfer services.

"The use of wire transfer services to defraud unwitting
consumers is a persistent and serious problem in New York State,
especially for some our most vulnerable residents, such as
senior citizens," Mr. Spitzer said.

Western Union Financial Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of
First Data Corporation, is the world's leading wire transfer
company. Because Western Union transfers are immediate and
difficult for law enforcement to track, wire transfers have
become the favored payment form for illegal telemarketers and
others engaged in fraudulent conduct, many of whom operate
outside of the United States.

The agreement is intended to deter consumers from using Western
Union and other wire transfer services to send money to entities
that may be engaged in fraud. Scam artists often trick
vulnerable consumers into sending substantial amounts of money
through sweepstakes, lottery, advance fee loan and other common
schemes.

New York and several other states commenced a review of Western
Union's practices in 2003 after having received hundreds of
complaints from consumers who had used Western Union to wire
money to telemarketers in Canada and other foreign locales. The
states then conducted a survey of Western Union customers, which
revealed that an estimated 38 percent of wire transfers from the
United States to Canada during 2002 were fraudulently induced,
and that these transfers represented an estimated 58 percent of
the total amount of money transferred to Canada during this
period.

A group of state Attorneys General, led by a ten-state executive
committee including New York, negotiated the agreement announced
today. Under the agreement, in addition to providing prominent
consumer warnings in English and Spanish on forms, on the
Internet and during telephone transactions, Western Union will:

     (1) Pay $8,129,000 for national peer-counseling (or
         "reverse boiler room") programs to be overseen by the
         AARP Foundation and designed to reach three million
         consumers over five years;

     (2) Reimburse the amount of any wire transfer and
         applicable fee to any consumer who requests, prior to
         pickup of a transfer, that a transfer be stopped and
         who reasonably claims that the transfer was fraud-
         induced;

     (3) Distribute monthly anti-fraud e-mails to agents, revise
         its agent training video and agent manual to address
         the issue of fraud-induced transfers, and provide
         additional training to agents at locations where there
         has been a high incidence of fraud;

     (4) Terminate agents who are involved in fraud and suspend
         or terminate agents who do not take reasonable steps to           
         reduce fraud;

     (5) "Block" transfers from specific consumers or to
         specific recipients when Western Union receives notice
         from a state authority that there is reason to believe
         that fraud will occur, until such time as the consumer
         is counseled on fraud and requests resumption of the
         transfer;

     (6) Develop a computerized system to spot likely fraud-
         induced transfers before they are completed, and
         increase its anti-fraud staff; and

     (7) Pay $400,000 in costs to the participating states.

Joining New York in this agreement with Western Union are:
Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; Colorado; Connecticut;
Delaware; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa;
Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts;
Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska;
Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; North Carolina;
North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Rhode Island; South
Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont,
Virginia; Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin; Wyoming; and the
District of Columbia and the Northern Mariana Islands.


                 New Securities Fraud Cases

BARRIER THERAPEUTICS: Glancy Binkow Lodges Securities Suit in NJ
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Glancy Binkow & Goldberg, LLP, initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
District of New Jersey on behalf of a class (the "Class")
consisting of all persons or entities who purchased or otherwise
acquired securities of Barrier Therapeutics, Inc. ("Barrier" or
the "Company")(Nasdaq: BTRX), between April 29, 2004 and June
29, 2005 (the "Class Period"), including those who purchased the
common stock of Barrier pursuant and/or traceable to the
Company's Initial Public Offering on April 29, 2004 and/or its
Secondary Offering on February 9, 2005.

The Complaint charges Barrier and certain of the Company's
executive officers with violations of federal securities laws.
Barrier is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery,
development and commercialization of pharmaceutical products in
the field of dermatology. The Complaint alleges defendants made
a series of materially false and misleading statements
concerning the Company's business and products under
development. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that defendants'
statements were materially false and misleading because they
failed to disclose and misrepresented the following adverse
facts:

     (1) the Company had failed to perform its clinical trials
         in conformity with FDA guidelines as it had failed to
         disclose that it had secretly substituted the petroleum
         base within Zimycan -- a treatment for diaper rash
         dermatitis -- the effect of which was to substantially
         lessen the likelihood that the drug could achieve FDA
         approval;

     (2) Barrier's Hyphanox, developed for the treatment of
         fungal infections, did not have a better safety or
         efficacy profile than fluconazole (brand name,
         Diflucan) -- a widely prescribed antifungal agent --
         and, in fact, as investors ultimately learned, Hyphanox
         was significantly less effective than fluconazole; and

     (3) as a result of the foregoing, defendants lacked any
         reasonable basis for their positive statements
         concerning the marketability of Hyphanox and Zimycan.

On June 29, 2005, defendants shocked the market when Barrier
announced that the Company's Phase 3 clinical trials failed to
demonstrate that Hyphanox worked as well as fluconazole. The
next day, based on the huge disparity between defendants' prior
guidance and the realization that Hyphanox failed to work as
well as fluconazole, shares of the Company's stock plummeted
more than $6.75 per share -- a decline of more than 45% -- to
below $8.00 per share on June 30, 2005, on volume of more than
four million shares traded -- 20 times the Company's daily
average trading volume.

For more details, contact Michael Goldberg, Esq. of Glancy
Binkow & Goldberg, LLP, 1801 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 311, Los
Angeles, CA 90067, Phone: (310) 201-9150 or (888) 773-9224, E-
mail: info@glancylaw.com, Web site: http://www.glancylaw.com.


BOSTON SCIENTIFIC: Stull Stull Files Securities 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
securities of Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE: BSX) (the
"Boston Scientific" or the "Company") during the period between
March 31, 2003 and August 23, 2005 (the "Class Period"). Also
included are all those who acquired Boston Scientific through
its acquisitions of Rubicon Medical, CorAutus, Precision
Vascular, Advanced Bionics, CryoVascular Systems and
TriVascular.

The complaint alleges that Boston Scientific, a company that
engages in the development and marketing of cardiovascular and
endosurgery medical device products, violated federal securities
laws by issuing false and misleading statements. Specifically,
the complaint alleges that Boston Scientific provided highly
explicit false and misleading assurances of the Company's
ability to satisfy FDA regulations governing its medical device
product quality, as well as affirmative representations as to
the Company's knowledge and expertise regarding design,
development, marketing approval and sales of its medical
devices.

On August 23, 2005, based on the cumulative impact of three
separate FDA Warning Letters, investors learned of defendants'
broad-based concealment of its broken quality program and the
risks the Company faced. As a result, Boston Scientific's stock
price fell 4.5% to $25.92. During the Class Period, shares of
Boston Scientific traded as high as $45.81 on April 5, 2004.
While the Company's stock was trading at artificially inflated
prices, insiders sold over $400 million worth of their personal
holdings.

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


FIRST BANCORP: Lerach Coughlin Files Securities Fraud Suit in NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law firm of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins,
LLP, initiated a class action on behalf of an institutional
investor in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York on behalf of purchasers of First BanCorp
("First BanCorp") (NYSE:FBP) publicly traded securities during
the period between October 20, 2003 and August 25, 2005 (the
"Class Period").

The complaint charges First BanCorp and certain of its officers
and directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. First BanCorp operates as the holding company for First
Bank Puerto Rico, which provides various financial services in
Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and British Virgin
Islands.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
issued false statements about First BanCorp's earnings, assets,
capital and prospects causing the Company's stock to trade at
artificially inflated levels. While the Company's stock price
dropped somewhat in the late spring of 2005 due to problems
announced by First BanCorp's competitors in Puerto Rico, as well
as an adverse interest rate environment, the stock soon
recovered as defendants did not own up to significant accounting
issues, such as those disclosed earlier by its competitors, and
the Company continued to report favorable financial results.
Then on August 25, 2005, the Company issued a press release
announcing that the Company had "received a letter from the
(SEC) in which the SEC indicated that it was conducting an
informal inquiry into the Company. The inquiry pertains, among
other things, to the accounting for mortgage loans purchased by
the Company from two other financial institutions during the
calendar years 2000 through 2004." As a result of this
disclosure, First BanCorp's stock dropped to $18.23 per share on
August 26, 2005. Later, on September 30, 2005, both the
Company's CEO and CFO suddenly announced they were resigning.

According to the complaint, during the Class Period defendants
concealed the following adverse information from the investing
public:
    
     (1) the Company's financial statements were materially
         false and misleading in that the Company had
         manipulated its accounting for mortgage loans purchased
         between 2000 and 2004;

     (2) the Company's internal controls were grossly weak,
         thereby allowing the Company's top management to
         manipulate them at will;

     (3) the Company's "record" quarterly income reported during
         the Class Period was a product of accounting fraud, not
         synergies produced by effective fiscal and personnel
         management; and

     (4) as a result, the Company's published financial
         statements violated Generally Accepted Accounting
         Principles.

For more details, contact William Lerach or Darren Robbins of
Lerach Coughlin, Phone: 800/449-4900 or 619/231-1058, E-mail:
wsl@lerachlaw.com, Web site:
http://www.lerachlaw.com/cases/firstbancorp/.


SPECTRUM BRANDS: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Fraud Suit in GA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, LLP, initiated
a class action lawsuit with an expanded class period in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of
Georgia on behalf of all persons who purchased or otherwise
acquired the securities of Spectrum Brands, Inc. ("Spectrum
Brands" or the "Company"). The class period is between January
4, 2005 and November 11, 2005.

The action was filed against the company, and certain of its
former officers and directors. 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,
defendants were well aware that the Company's growth model
depended upon strong and consistent sales of its core battery
products, while at the same time acquiring and integrating
diversified brands. Accordingly, throughout the Class Period,
defendants consistently represented:

     (1) that the Company was growing through acquisitions and
         diversifying revenues while maintaining sales of
         existing products and leveraging existing brands;

     (2) that the combination of Rayovac and United presented a
         "compelling value proposition";

     (3) that management of the Company had an outstanding track
         record for successfully integrating acquired brands
         "while maintaining marketplace momentum" of its legacy
         brands;

     (4) that defendants were able to drive revenue growth of
         its core brands by cross selling its legacy products to
         accounts acquired through acquisitions;

     (5) that the representations and warranties contained in
         the United Merger Agreement were true and accurate at
         all relevant times;

     (6) that the Company was achieving "record" sales during
         the Class Period with double-digit increases in battery
         sales, "exceptional performance" across the board and
         with integrations proceeding according to plan; and

     (7) that by the end of the Class Period the integration of
         United was substantially complete and also proceeding
         according to plan.

The representations concerning defendants' ability to acquire
and integrate diverse brands such as United and Tetra, while
maintaining robust sales of its core battery products, were
either patently untrue, or Defendants recklessly disregarded the
Company's true operational and financial condition. Unbeknownst
to investors, throughout the Class Period, the Company suffered
from a host of undisclosed adverse factors that negatively
impacted its business and caused it to report financial results
that were materially less than the market expectations
defendants had caused and cultivated.

It was only towards the end of the Class Period that investors
ultimately learned that the Company was operating far below
expectations and realized that Spectrum Brands had significantly
inflated sales of its battery products during the 1st and 2nd
quarter of 2005. Accordingly, on July 28, 2005, when defendants
reported results for the 3rd fiscal quarter of 2005, the price
of Spectrum Brands stock declined over $8.00, falling over 20%
to closing at $30.10 per share.

The bad news, however, was not over. On September 7, 2005, prior
to the market opening, defendants revealed that earnings for the
fourth quarter ending September 30, 2005 would be "substantially
lower" than the guidance previously reported. Defendants
attributed the shortfall to weak sales and "high (retail)
inventory levels." The unexpected news prompted additional
analyst downgrades. Analyst William Schmitz noted that "(a)fter
two earning warnings in six weeks, we believe already low
investor faith in this roll-up is likely to dissipate." In
response to the September 7, 2005 news, the stock dropped
another 13% on volumes of 4.26 million. Disclosures on November
10 and November 14, 2005 sent the stock even further downward.
On November 10, 2005, the Company revised downward yet again its
earnings projection, and on November 14, 2005, the Company was
forced to admit that the United States Attorney's Office for the
Northern District of Georgia has "initiated an investigation
into recent disclosures by the Company regarding its results for
its third quarter ended July 3, 2005 and the Company's revised
guidance issued on September 7, 2005 as to earnings for the
fourth quarter of fiscal 2005 and fiscal year 2006."

For more details, contact Steven G. Schulman of Milberg Weiss
Bershad & Schulman, LLP, One Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th fl., New
York, NY 10119-0165, Phone: (800) 320-5081, E-mail:
sfeerick@milbergweiss.com, Web site: http://www.milbergweiss.com
or Maya Saxena and Joseph White of Milberg Weiss Bershad &
Schulman, LLP, 5200 Town Center Circle, Suite 600, Boca Raton,
FL 33486, E-mail: msaxena@milbergweiss.com and
jwhite@milbergweiss.com.



WELLS FARGO: Stull Stull Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. CA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Stull, Stull & Brody initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California against Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC)
and certain of its affiliates, on behalf of those who purchased
Putnam mutual funds from Wells Fargo Investments, LLC ("Wells
Fargo Investments") or H.D. Vest Investment Services, LLC ("H.D.
Vest") during the period between June 30, 2000 and June 8, 2005,
inclusive (the "Class Period").

The Putnam mutual funds and their respective symbols are as
follows:

Putnam American Government Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PAGVX) (NASDAQ: PAMBX) (NASDAQ: PAMMX)
Putnam Arizona Tax Exempt Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PTAZX) (NASDAQ: PAZBX)
Putnam Asset Allocation:Balanced Portfolio
  (NASDAQ: PABAX) (NASDAQ: PABBX) (NASDAQ: AABCX) (NASDAQ:
PABMX)
Putnam Asset Allocation:Conservative Portfolio
  (NASDAQ: PACAX) (NASDAQ: PACBX) (NASDAQ: PACCX) (NASDAQ:
PACMX)
Putnam Asset Allocation:Growth Portfolio
  (NASDAQ: PAEAX) (NASDAQ: PAEBX) (NASDAQ: PAECX) (NASDAQ:
PAGMX)
Putnam California Tax Exempt Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PCTEX) (NASDAQ: PCTBX) (NASDAQ: PCLMX)
Putnam Capital Appreciation Fund
  (NASDAQ: PCAPX) (NASDAQ: PCABX) (NASDAQ: PCAMX)
Putnam Capital Opportunities Fund
  (NASDAQ: PCOAX) (NASDAQ: POPBX) (NASDAQ: PCOCX)
Putnam Classic Equity Fund
  (NASDAQ: PXGIX) (NASDAQ: PGIIX) (NASDAQ: PGTCX) (NASDAQ:
PGIMX)
Putnam Convertible Income-Growth Trust
  (NASDAQ: PCONX) (NASDAQ: PCNBX) (NASDAQ: PCNMX)
Putnam Discovery Growth Fund
  (NASDAQ: PVIIX) (NASDAQ: PVYBX) (NASDAQ: PVYCX) (NASDAQ:
PVYMX)
Putnam Diversified Income Trust
  (NASDAQ: PDINX) (NASDAQ: PSIBX) (NASDAQ: PDVCX) (NASDAQ:
PDVMX)
Putnam Equity Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PEYAX) (NASDAQ: PEQNX) (NASDAQ: PEQCX) (NASDAQ:
PEIMX)
Putnam Europe Equity Fund
  (NASDAQ: PEUGX) (NASDAQ: PEUBX) (NASDAQ: PEUMX)
Putnam Florida Tax Exempt Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PTFLX) (NASDAQ: PFLBX)
Putnam Fund for Growth and Income
  (NASDAQ: PGRWX) (NASDAQ: PGIBX) (NASDAQ: PGRIX) (NASDAQ:
PGRMX)
George Putnam Fund of Boston
  (NASDAQ: PGEOX) (NASDAQ: PGEBX) (NASDAQ: PGPCX) (NASDAQ:
PGEMX)
Putnam Global Equity Fund
  (NASDAQ: PEQUX) (NASDAQ: PEQBX) (NASDAQ: PUGCX) (NASDAQ:
PEQMX)
Putnam Global Income Trust
  (NASDAQ: PGGIX) (NASDAQ: PGLBX)  (NASDAQ: PGGMX)
Putnam Global Natural Resources Fund
  (NASDAQ: EBERX) (NASDAQ: PNRBX) (NASDAQ: PGLMX)
Putnam Growth Opportunities Fund
  (NASDAQ: POGAX) (NASDAQ: POGBX) (NASDAQ: POGCX) (NASDAQ:
PGOMX)
Putnam Health Sciences Trust
  (NASDAQ: PHSTX) (NASDAQ: PHSBX) (NASDAQ: PCHSX) (NASDAQ:
PHLMX)
Putnam High Yield Advantage Fund
  (NASDAQ: PHYIX) (NASDAQ: PHYBX) (NASDAQ: PHYMX)
Putnam High Yield Trust
  (NASDAQ: PHIGX) (NASDAQ: PHBBX) (NASDAQ: PCHYX) (NASDAQ:
PHIMX)
Putnam Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PINCX) (NASDAQ: PNCBX) (NASDAQ: PUICX) (NASDAQ:
PNCMX)
Putnam Intermediate U.S. Government Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PBLGX) (NASDAQ: PBGBX) (NASDAQ: PVICX)
Putnam International Capital Opportunities Fund
  (NASDAQ: PNVAX) (NASDAQ: PVNBX) (NASDAQ: PUVCX) (NASDAQ:
PIVMX)
Putnam International Equity Fund
  (NASDAQ: POVSX) (NASDAQ: POVBX) (NASDAQ: PIGCX) (NASDAQ:
POVMX)
Putnam International Growth and Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PNGAX) (NASDAQ: PGNBX) (NASDAQ: PIGRX) (NASDAQ:
PIGMX)
Putnam International New Opportunities Fund
  (NASDAQ: PINOX) (NASDAQ: PINWX) (NASDAQ: PIOCX) (NASDAQ:
PINMX)
Putnam Investors Fund
  (NASDAQ: PINVX) (NASDAQ: PNVBX) (NASDAQ: PCINX) (NASDAQ:
PNVMX)
Putnam Massachusetts Tax Exempt Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PXMAX) (NASDAQ: PMABX)
Putnam Michigan Tax Exempt Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PXIMX) (NASDAQ: PMEBX)
Putnam Mid Cap Value Fund
  (NASDAQ: PMVAX) (NASDAQ: PMVBX) (NASDAQ: PMPCX)
Putnam Minnesota Tax Exempt Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PXMNX) (NASDAQ: PMTBX)
Putnam Money Market Fund
  (NASDAQ: PDDXX) (NASDAQ: PTBXX) (NASDAQ: PFCXX) (NASDAQ:
PTMXX)
Putnam Municipal Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PTFHX) (NASDAQ: PFHBX) (NASDAQ: PMUMX)
Putnam New Jersey Tax Exempt Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PTNJX) (NASDAQ: PNJBX)
Putnam New Opportunities Fund
  (NASDAQ: PNOPX) (NASDAQ: PNOBX) (NASDAQ: PNOMX)
Putnam New Value Fund
  (NASDAQ: PANVX) (NASDAQ: PBNVX) (NASDAQ: PNVCX) (NASDAQ:
PMNVX)
Putnam New York Tax Exempt Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PTEIX) (NASDAQ: PEIBX)
Putnam New York Tax Exempt Opportunities Fund
  (NASDAQ: PTNHX) (NASDAQ: PTNBX) (NASDAQ: PNYMX)
Putnam OTC & Emerging Growth Fund
  (NASDAQ: POEGX) (NASDAQ: POTBX) (NASDAQ: POEXC) (NASDAQ:
POEMX)
Putnam Ohio Tax Exempt Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PHOHX) (NASDAQ: POXBX)
Putnam Pennsylvania Tax Exempt Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PTEPX) (NASDAQ: PPNBX)
Putnam Research Fund
  (NASDAQ: PNRAX) (NASDAQ: PRFBX) (NASDAQ: PRACX)
Putnam Small Cap Growth Fund
  (NASDAQ: PNSAX)
Putnam Small Cap Value Fund
  (NASDAQ: PSLAX) (NASDAQ: PSLBX) (NASDAQ: PSLCX) (NASDAQ:
PSLMX)
Putnam Tax Exempt Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PTAEX) (NASDAQ: PTBEX) (NASDAQ: PTXMX)
Putnam Tax Exempt Money Market Fund
  (NASDAQ: PTXXX)
Putnam Tax Smart Equity Fund
  (NASDAQ: PATSX) (NASDAQ: PBTSX) (NASDAQ: PCSMX)
Putnam Tax-Free High Yield Fund
  (NASDAQ: PTHAX) (NASDAQ: PTHYX) (NASDAQ: PTYMX)
Putnam Tax-Free Insured Fund
  (NASDAQ: PPNAX) (NASDAQ: PTFIX)
Putnam U.S. Government Income Trust
  (NASDAQ: PGSIX) (NASDAQ: PGSBX) (NASDAQ: PGVCX) (NASDAQ:
PGSMX)
Putnam Utilities Growth and Income Fund
  (NASDAQ: PUGIX) (NASDAQ: PUTBX) (NASDAQ: PUTMX)
Putnam Vista Fund
  (NASDAQ: PVISX) (NASDAQ: PVTBX) (NASDAQ: PCVFX) (NASDAQ:
PVIMX)
Putnam Voyager Fund
  (NASDAQ: PVOYX) (NASDAQ: PVOBX) (NASDAQ: PVFCX) (NASDAQ:
PVOMX)

The Wells Fargo Preferred Funds include mutual funds in the
following mutual fund families: Franklin Templeton Investments,
Putnam Investments, MFS Investment Management, Fidelity
Investments, Evergreen Investments, Alliance Bernstein
Investment Research and Management, Van Kampen Investments, AIM
Distributors, Inc., Oppenheimer Funds, Inc., Eaton Vance Managed
Investments, ING Funds Distributors, LLC, Allianz Global
Investors Distributors, LLC, Federated, The Hartford Mutual
Funds, Dreyfus Service Corporation, Delaware Investments,
Pioneer Investment Management, Inc., Scudder Investments, and
Wells Fargo Mutual Funds.

The H.D. Vest Preferred Funds include mutual funds in the
following mutual fund families: Oppenheimer Funds, Putnam
Investments, Scudder Investments, MFS Investment Management, Van
Kampen Investments, Lincoln Financial Distributors, AIM
Investments, Phoenix Investment Partners, John Hancock Funds,
Wells Fargo Funds, American Funds, and Franklin Templeton
Investments.

The action is pending in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of California against defendant Wells
Fargo & Company and certain of its affiliated entities. The
complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
served as financial advisors who purportedly provided unbiased
and honest investment advice to their clients. Unbeknownst to
investors, defendants, in clear contravention of their
disclosure obligations and fiduciary responsibilities, failed to
properly disclose that they had engaged in a scheme to
aggressively push Wells Fargo Investments and H.D. Vest sales
personnel to steer clients into purchasing certain Wells Fargo
Funds and Wells Fargo and H.D. Vest Preferred Funds
(collectively, "Shelf Space Funds") that provided financial
incentives and rewards to Wells Fargo and H.D. Vest and their
personnel based on sales. The complaint alleges that defendants'
undisclosed sales practices created an insurmountable conflict
of interest by providing substantial monetary incentives to sell
Shelf-Space Funds to their clients, even though such investments
were not in the clients' best interest. Wells Fargo Investments
and H.D. Vest's failure to disclose the incentives constituted
violations of federal securities laws.

The action also includes a subclass of persons who held any
shares of Wells Fargo Mutual Funds. The complaint additionally
alleges that the investment advisor subsidiary of Wells Fargo,
Wells Fargo Funds Management, created further undisclosed
material conflicts of interest by entering into revenue sharing
agreements with brokers at Wells Fargo Investments and H.D. Vest
to push investors into Wells Fargo Funds, regardless of whether
such investments were in the investors' best interests. The
investment advisors financed these arrangements by illegally
charging excessive and improper fees to the fund that should
have been invested in the underlying portfolio. In doing so they
breached their fiduciary duties to investors under the
Investment Company Act and state law and decreased shareholders'
investment returns.

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



                            *********


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

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

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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
Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless Hills,
Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick, Maryland
USA.   Glenn Ruel Senorin, Aurora Fatima Antonio and Lyndsey
Resnick, Editors.

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

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

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

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

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