CAR_Public/060104.mbx             C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

            Wednesday, January 4, 2006, Vol. 8, No. 3

                          Headlines

AMERICAN HONDA: Recalls 12,756 2006 Vehicles For Injury Hazard
AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL: Seeks Dismissal From AL Caremark Lawsuit
AMERICAN SUZUKI: Recalls 23,839 Motorcycles Due to Crash Hazard
AXA ADVISORS: Settles on Individual Basis NY Securities Lawsuit
AXA EQUITABLE: NY Court Refuses To Dismiss Shareholder Lawsuit

AXA EQUITABLE: MD Court Mulls Dismissal of Market Timing Lawsuit
AXA NETWORK: Plaintiffs Appeal Summary Judgment in IL ERISA Suit
CALIFORNIA: Law Firm Considers Lawsuit V. High School Exit Exam
CALIFORNIA PIZZA: CA Court Approves Overtime Lawsuit Settlement
CANADIAN NATIONAL: Appeals Court Certifies IL Derailment Lawsuit

CHEVRON CORPORATION: Faces Civil Rights Lawsuits in CA, Ecuador
EQUITABLE LIFE: Parties File Motions For Suit Summary Judgment
FLORIDA: Suit Says Lake Worth Police Recordings Invaded Privacy
FORD MOTOR: Notice Program Started in CA Over Ford Explorer Suit
GAINSCO INC.: Faces Amended Securities Fraud Lawsuit in S.D. FL

GROUP LOTUS: Recalls 1,740 2005 Vehicles Due to Crash Hazard
HSBC FINANCE: Continues To Face CT Credit Card Consumer Lawsuit
HSBC FINANCE: Discovery Continues in IL Securities Fraud Lawsuit
HURRICANE LITIGATION: Evacuee Hotel Program Extended Until Feb.
ILLINOIS: Number of High-Profile Madison County Lawsuits Drop

INTERNATIONAL TRUCK: Recalls 6,848 2002-06 Trucks For Crash Risk
MICHELIN NORTH: Recalls 4,600 Pilot Sport Tires For Crash Hazard
MICHIGAN: Wayne County Land Office Faces Suit V. Excessive Fees
MICROFINANCIAL INC.: Faces Amended Lessee Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
MICROFINANCIAL INC.: AL Court Settlement Approval Deemed Final

MICROFINANCIAL INC.: Plaintiffs File Amended Consumer Suit in MA
MICROFINANCIAL INC.: MA Court Mulls Securities Lawsuit Dismissal
PATRIOT LOGISTICS: Owner-Operators File Unfair Trade Suit in FL
PEMCO AVIATION: High Court Nixes Writ of Certiorari in Race Suit
PENNSYLVANIA: Pittsburgh Police Union Files Overtime Wage Suit

PET FOOD: FDA Investigating Pet Food Contaminated W/ Aflatoxin
PIONEER COMPANIES: LA Resident Commences Personal Injury Lawsuit
TELAXIS COMMUNICATIONS: NY Court Preliminarily OKs Settlement
TOYOTA MOTOR: Working To Settle CA Race Discrimination Lawsuits
UNIPROP MANUFACTURED: Continues To Face MI Property Damage Suit

UST LIQUIDATING: Trial For CA Securities Suit Set For March 2006

                Meetings, Conferences & Seminars

* Scheduled Events for Class Action Professionals
* Online Teleconferences

                  New Securities Fraud Cases

GUIDANT CORPORATION: Provost & Umphrey Lodges Fraud Suit in IN
HYDROFLO INC.: Marc S. Henzel Files Securities Fraud Suit in NC
MIKOHN GAMING: Goldman Scarlato Lodges NV Securities Fraud Suit
STONE ENERGY: Spector Roseman Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in LA
WELLS FARGO: Stull Stull Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in N.D. CA


                            *********


AMERICAN HONDA: Recalls 12,756 2006 Vehicles For Injury Hazard
--------------------------------------------------------------
American Honda Motor Co. in cooperation with the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Office of Defects
Investigation (ODI) is voluntarily recalling about 12,756 units
of 2006 HONDA / CIVIC passenger vehicles due to injury hazard.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 05V572000.
  
According to the ODI, on certain 2-door vehicles, the front
passenger occupant detection system (ODS) contains a faulty
electronic component. As a result, the ODS will not function
properly and will not suppress front passenger air bag
deployment when the weight of an infant or small child is
detected in the front passenger seat. In certain circumstances,
a deploying front passenger air bag can increase the risk of
injury to in infant or a small child.

As a remedy, dealers will replace the ODS unit, free of charge.
The manufacturer has not yet provided an owner notification
schedule for the recall.

For more details, contact HONDA, Phone: 1-800-999-1009 OR the
NHTSA Auto Safety Hotline: 1-888-327-4236 or 1-800-424-9153, Web
site: http://www.safecar.gov.


AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL: Seeks Dismissal From AL Caremark Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
American International Group, Inc. and certain of its
subsidiaries asked the Alabama Superior Court to dismiss them as
defendants in one of the two class actions related to the 1999
Caremark Rx settlement.  

Two putative class actions were initially filed, arising out of
the 1999 settlement of class and derivative litigation involving
Caremark Rx, Inc.  An excess policy issued by a Company
subsidiary with respect to the 1999 litigation was expressly
stated to be without limit of liability.  In the current
actions, plaintiffs allege that the judge approving the 1999
settlement was misled as to the extent of available insurance
coverage and would not have approved the settlement had he known
of the existence and/or unlimited nature of the excess policy.  
They further allege that the Company, its subsidiaries, and
Caremark are liable for fraud and suppression for
misrepresenting and/or concealing the nature and extent of
coverage.  In their complaint, plaintiffs request compensatory
damages for the 1999 class in the amount of $3.2 billion, plus
punitive damages.

The Company and its subsidiaries deny the allegations of fraud
and suppression and have asserted, "inter alia," that
information concerning the excess policy was publicly disclosed
months prior to the approval of the settlement.  The Company and
its subsidiaries further assert that the current claims are
barred by the statute of limitations and that plaintiffs'
assertions that the statute was tolled cannot stand against the
public disclosure of the excess coverage.  Plaintiffs, in turn,
have asserted that the disclosure was insufficient to inform
them of the nature of the coverage and did not start the running
of the statute of limitations.

On January 28, 2005, the Alabama trial court determined that one
of the current actions may proceed as a class action on behalf
of the 1999 classes that were allegedly defrauded by the
settlement.  The Company, its subsidiaries, and Caremark are
seeking appellate relief from the Alabama Supreme Court.  


AMERICAN SUZUKI: Recalls 23,839 Motorcycles Due to Crash Hazard
---------------------------------------------------------------
American Suzuki Motor Corporation in cooperation with the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Office of
Defects Investigation (ODI) is voluntarily recalling about
23,839 units of 2005-2006 SUZUKI / VL800 and 2005-2006 SUZUKI /
VZ800 motorcycles due to crash hazard. NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number:
05V566000.
  
According to the ODI, on certain motorcycles, the ignition
switch wiring harness may have been improperly routed at the
time of production. If the wiring harness is not routed
properly, it can rub against the clutch cable/throttle cables.
Continued rubbing may eventually lead to a short circuit, which
may cause the engine to stall or the lights to go out. This will
increase the chance of a crash resulting in serious injury or
death.

As a remedy, dealers will re-route the ignition switch wiring
harness and replace the lock set including the ignition switch
along with the clutch cable/throttle cable free of charge. The
recall is expected to begin on January 6, 2006.

For more details, contact SUZUKI, Phone: 714-572-1490 OR the
NHTSA Auto Safety Hotline: 1-888-327-4236 or 1-800-424-9153, Web
site: http://www.safecar.gov.


AXA ADVISORS: Settles on Individual Basis NY Securities Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------
AXA Advisors, LLC reached a settlement on an individual basis
for the purported securities class action filed against it in
the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New
York, styled "SHAM MALHOTRA, ET AL. V. THE EQUITABLE LIFE
ASSURANCE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES, AXA ADVISORS, LLC AND
EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTORS, INC."

The action, initially filed in the Supreme Court of the State of
New York, County of Nassau, was brought by two individuals who
purchased AXA Equitable deferred annuity products. The action
purports to be on behalf of a class consisting of all persons
who purchased an individual deferred annuity contract or who
received a certificate to a group deferred annuity contract,
sold by one of the defendants, which was used to fund a
contributory retirement plan or arrangement qualified for
favorable income tax treatment; excluded from the class are
officers, directors and agents of the defendants.  The complaint
alleges that the defendants engaged in fraudulent and deceptive
practices in connection with the marketing and sale of deferred
annuity products to fund tax-qualified contributory retirement
plans. The complaint asserts claims for:

     (1) deceptive business acts and practices in violation of
         the New York General Business Law (the "GBL");

     (2) use of misrepresentations and misleading statements in
         violation of the New York Insurance Law;

     (3) false or misleading advertising in violation of the
         GBL;
    
     (4) fraud, fraudulent concealment and deceit; negligent
         misrepresentation;
    
     (5) negligence;

     (6) unjust enrichment and imposition of a constructive
         trust;

     (7) declaratory and injunctive relief; and

     (8) reformation of the annuity contracts

The complaint seeks injunctive and declaratory relief, an
unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages,
restitution for all members of the class, and an award of
attorneys' fees, costs and expenses.  In October 2000, the
defendants removed the action to the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of New York, and thereafter filed
a motion to dismiss.  Plaintiffs filed a motion to remand the
case to state court.

In September 2001, the District Court issued a decision granting
defendants' motion to dismiss and denying plaintiffs' motion to
remand, and judgment was entered in favor of the defendants. In
October 2001, plaintiffs filed a motion seeking leave to reopen
the case for the purpose of filing an amended complaint. In
addition, plaintiffs filed a new complaint in the District
Court, alleging a similar class and similar facts.

The new complaint asserted causes of action for violations of
Federal securities laws in addition to the state law causes of
action asserted in the previous complaint. In January 2002,
plaintiffs amended their new complaint in response to
defendants' motion to dismiss and, subsequently, in March 2002,
defendants filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint. In
March 2003, the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of New York granted plaintiffs' motion, filed October
2001, seeking leave to reopen their original case for the
purpose of filing an amended complaint and accepted plaintiffs'
proposed amended complaint, appointed the named plaintiffs as
lead plaintiffs and their counsel as lead counsel for the
putative class, consolidated plaintiffs' original action with
their second action, which was filed in October 2001, and ruled
that the court would apply AXA Equitable's motion to dismiss the
amended complaint in the second action to the plaintiffs'
amended complaint from the original action.

In April 2003, plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint
alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange
Act"). The action purports to be on behalf of a class consisting
of all persons who on or after October 3, 1997 purchased an
individual variable deferred annuity contract, received a
certificate to a group variable deferred annuity contract or
made an additional investment through such a contract, which
contract was used to fund a contributory retirement plan or
arrangement qualified for favorable income tax treatment. In May
2003, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the second
amended complaint.  In February 2004, the District Court issued
a decision withdrawing without prejudice defendants' motion to
dismiss the second amended complaint with leave to re-file
because the parties did not comply with the court's Individual
Motion Practices. In March 2004, defendants filed a renewed
motion to dismiss the second amended complaint.

In March 2005, the District Court granted defendants' motion to
dismiss the second amended complaint, but permitted one of the
plaintiffs leave to file a third amended complaint. In August
2005, the case was settled on an individual basis.

The suit is styled "SHAM MALHOTRA, ET AL. V. THE EQUITABLE LIFE
ASSURANCE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES, AXA ADVISORS, LLC AND
EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTORS, INC., case no. 2:01-cv-06970-ADS," filed
in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
New York, under Judge Arthur D. Spatt.  Representing the
plaintiffs are Janine Lee Pollack of Milberg Weiss Bershad &
Schulman LLP, One Pennsylvania Plaza, 48th Floor New York, NY
10119-0165 Phone: 212- 594-5300 Fax: 212-273-4388 E-mail:
jpollack@milbergweiss.com; and Ronald A. Uitz of Uitz &
Associates, 1717 K Street, N.W. Suite 600 Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (212) 296-5280.


AXA EQUITABLE: NY Court Refuses To Dismiss Shareholder Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New
York denied AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company's (formerly the
Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States) motion to
dismiss the putative class action complaint entitled "ECKERT V.
THE EQUITABLE LIFE ASSURANCE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES."

The complaint asserts a single claim for relief under Section
47(b) of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended based on
the Company's alleged failure to register as an investment
company. According to the complaint, the Company was required to
register as an investment company because it was allegedly
issuing securities in the form of variable insurance products
and allegedly investing its assets primarily in other
securities. The plaintiff purports to act on behalf of all
persons who purchased or made an investment in variable
insurance products from the Company on or after May 7, 1998.  
The complaint seeks declaratory judgment permitting putative
class members to elect to void their variable insurance
contracts; restitution of all fees and penalties paid by the
putative class members on the variable insurance products,
disgorgement of all revenues received by AXA Equitable on those
products, and an injunction against the payment of any dividends
by AXA Equitable to the Holding Company.

In June 2003, the Company filed a motion to dismiss the
complaint. In June 2004, plaintiff, in connection with a
settlement of a proceeding entitled "ECKERT V. AXA ADVISORS,
LLC, ET. AL.," which was filed with the National Association of
Securities Dealers, Inc., released his putative class action
claim against the Company. In June 2004, plaintiff's counsel
filed a motion for withdrawal of plaintiff from the putative
class action lawsuit and intervention by another member of the
putative class as plaintiff. In March 2005, the Court granted
the motion to intervene by another member of the putative class
and denied the Company's motion to dismiss without prejudice to
re-file the motion after the new complaint is filed.

In ECKERT, in April 2005, one of the plaintiffs was granted the
right to intervene and filed a complaint entitled "Cerra v. The
Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States" in the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of New
York with the same allegations as in ECKERT. The defendants
moved to dismiss plaintiff's complaint in May 2005.  In August
2005, the case was settled on an individual basis.

The suit is styled "Eckert v. The Equitable Life Assurance
Society of the United States, case no. 2:03-cv-02183-ADS," filed
in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
New York, under Judge Arthur D. Spatt.  Representing the
plaintiffs are Michael C. Spencer and Brian C. Kerr of Milberg
Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP, One Pennsylvania Plaza, 48th Floor
New York, NY 10119, Phone: (212) 594-9450, Fax: (212) 273-4395,
E-mail: mspencer@milbergweiss.com or bkerr@milbergweiss.com.  
Representing the Company is Charles C. Platt, Wilmer, Cutler,
Pickering, Hale and Dorr LLP, 399 Park Avenue, New York, NY
10022, Phone: 212-230-8860, E-mail:
charles.platt@wilmerhale.com.



AXA EQUITABLE: MD Court Mulls Dismissal of Market Timing Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of Maryland
has yet to rule on AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company's
(formerly The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United
States) motion to dismiss the class action filed against it,
styled "MATTHEW WIGGENHORN V. EQUITABLE LIFE ASSURANCE SOCIETY
OF THE UNITED STATES."

In April 2004, a purported nationwide class action lawsuit was
filed in the Circuit Court for Madison County, Illinois,
alleging that the Company uses stale prices for the foreign
securities within the investment divisions of its variable
insurance products. The complaint further alleges that the
Company's use of stale pricing diluted the returns of the
purported class. The complaint also alleges that the Company
breached its fiduciary duty to the class by allowing market
timing in general within its variable insurance products,
thereby diluting the returns of the class. The lawsuit asserts
causes of action for negligence, gross negligence, breach of
contract, and breach of fiduciary duty and seeks unspecified
compensatory and punitive damages, plus prejudgment interest,
attorneys' fees and costs.

In June 2004, the Company removed the case to Federal court and
in July 2004 filed a motion to dismiss. In July 2004, plaintiff
filed a motion to remand the action to state court. In August
2004, the court stayed the action pending a decision by the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in a case filed against
Putnam Funds et al. (to which the Company is not a party)
regarding removal pursuant to the Securities Litigation Uniform
Standards Act under similar circumstances. In February 2005, the
Baltimore Federal court entered a Conditional Transfer Order,
conditionally transferring the case to Federal court in
Baltimore, Maryland, where the majority of so-called market
timing cases against various fund families have been
transferred.

In WIGGENHORN, in April 2005, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of Putnam Funds in the case in
which AXA Financial is not a party. Based upon this decision, in
April 2005, AXA Equitable filed a motion to either grant or to
set a briefing on its motion to dismiss. In June 2005, this case
was transferred by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict
Litigation to the U.S. District Court in Maryland, where other
market-timing litigation is pending. In June 2005, plaintiff
filed an amended complaint. In July 2005, the Company filed a
motion to dismiss the amended complaint.  In August 2005,
plaintiff filed its opposition to the motion.

The suit is styled "Wiggenhorn v. Equitable Life Assurance
Society of the United States et al., case no. 1:05-cv-01674-
JFM," filed in the United States District Court for the District
of Maryland, under Judge J. Frederick Motz.  Representing the
Company is Margaret J. Schneider of Mayer Brown Rowe and Maw, 71
S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606, Phone: 13127820600, Fax:
13127017711, E-mail: mschneider@mayerbrownrowe.com.  
Representing the plaintiffs are:

     (1) Francis Joseph Balint, Jr., Andrew Steven Friedman,
         Bonnett Fairbourn Friedman and Balint PC, 2901 N
         Central Ave Ste 1000, Phoenix, AZ 85012, Phone:
         16027765903, Fax: 16022741199, E-mail: fbalint@bffb.com
         or afriedman@bffb.com

     (2) Eugene Yevgeny Barash, Stephen Tillery and George A.
         Zelcs, Korein Tillery, 701 Market St Ste 300, St.
         Louis, MO 63108, Phone: 13142414844, Fax: 13142413525,
         E-mail: ebarash@koreintillery.com or
         gzelcs@koreintillery.com  

     (3) Timothy G. Blood, William J. Doyle, John J. Stoia, Jr.,
         Milberg Weiss, 401 B St Ste 1700, San Diego, CA 92101-
         3311, Phone: 16192311058, fax: 16192317423

     (4) Amelia F Burroughs of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller
         Rudman and Robbins LLP, 401 B St Ste 1600, San Diego,
         CA 92101, Phone: 16192311058, Fax: 16192317423, E-mail:
         ameliab@lerachlaw.com  

     (5) Robert L. King, Swedlow and King, 701 Market St Ste
         350, St. Louis, MO 63101, Phone: 13146214002, Fax:
         13146212586, E-mail: king@swedlowking.com  


AXA NETWORK: Plaintiffs Appeal Summary Judgment in IL ERISA Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs appealed the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois' ruling granting summary judgment
in favor of AXA Network, LLC, and the AXA Equitable Life
Insurance Company (formerly The Equitable Life Assurance Society
of the United States) in the class action filed against them,
styled "BERGER ET AL. V. AXA NETWORK, LLC AND THE EQUITABLE LIFE
ASSURANCE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES."

Two former agents filed the suit on behalf of themselves and
other similarly situated present, former and retired agents who,
according to the complaint, "were discharged by Equitable Life
from `statutory employee status' after January 1, 1999, because
of Equitable Life's adoption of a new policy stating that in any
given year, those who failed to meet specified sales goals
during the preceding year would not be treated as `statutory
employees,' or remain subject to discharge from `statutory
employee' status based on the policy applied by Equitable Life."

The complaint alleges that AXA Equitable improperly "terminated"
the agents' full-time life insurance salesman statutory employee
status in or after 1999 by requiring attainment of minimum
production credit levels for 1998, thereby making the agents
ineligible for benefits and "requiring" them to pay Self-
Employment Contribution Act taxes. The former agents, who assert
claims for violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security
Act (ERISA) and 26 U.S.C. 3121, and breach of contract, seek
declaratory and injunctive relief, plus restoration of benefits
and an adjustment of their benefit plan contributions and
payroll tax withholdings.

In March 2003, AXA Equitable filed a motion to dismiss the
complaint. In July 2003, the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Illinois granted in part and denied in
part AXA Equitable's motion to dismiss the complaint, dismissing
plaintiffs' claims for violation of 26 U.S.C. 3121 and breach of
contract. AXA Equitable has answered plaintiffs' remaining claim
for violation of ERISA. In July 2003, plaintiffs filed a motion
for class certification. In November 2003, AXA Equitable filed
its opposition to the motion for class certification. In March
2004, the District Court entered an order certifying a class
consisting of "[a]ll present, former and retired Equitable
agents who lost eligibility for benefits under any Equitable
ERISA plan during any period on or after January 1, 1999 because
of the application of the policy adopted by Equitable of using
compliance with specified sales goals as the test of who was a
"full time life insurance salesman" and thereby eligible for
benefits under any such plan, or remain subject to losing such
benefits in the future because of the potential application to
them of that policy." Discovery has concluded and the parties
have filed cross motions for summary judgment. The case has been
removed from the trial calendar pending a decision on these
motions.

In May 2005, the Court granted the Company's motion for summary
judgment and dismissed the remaining claim of violation of
ERISA.  In May 2005, the plaintiffs filed an appeal to the 7th
Circuit Court of Appeals.  August 2005, plaintiff appealed the
dismissal.

The suit is styled "Berger, et al v. AXA Network LLC, et al,"
filed in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, under Judge Elaine E. Bucklo.  
Representing the Company are Wilber H. Boies and Kristin Lynn
Comer of McDermott, Will & Emery LLP, 227 West Monroe Street,
#4400, Chicago, IL 60606-5096, Phone: (312) 372-2000, E-mail:
bboies@mwe.com or kcomer@mwe.com.  Representing the Company is
George Freeman Galland, Jr. of Miner Barnhill & Galland, 14 West
Erie Street, Chicago, IL 60610, Phone: (312) 751-1170, E-mail:
ggalland@lawmbg.com.


CALIFORNIA: Law Firm Considers Lawsuit V. High School Exit Exam
---------------------------------------------------------------
A San Francisco law firm is preparing to file a class action
lawsuit if an alternative assessment to the California High
School Exit Exam is not put into place in order to allow some
seniors who didn't pass the new graduation test to get a diploma
this June, The San Francisco Examiner reports.

The class of 2006 will be the first to be denied a diploma if
they don't pass the state standardized test. About 22 percent of
this year's senior class, which is roughly 100,000 students, did
not pass the test as of last spring, according to an independent
evaluator's report prepared for the state Education Department.
Some demographic groups had lower passing rates, including
African-American students, Latino students, English-language
learners and special education students. The number though may
still vary since students, who retook the test this fall will
get their results in January.

Arturo Gonzalez, a partner with the San Francisco law firm
Morrison & Foerster, has been soliciting families of students
who have not yet passed the test. Mr. Gonzalez told The San
Francisco Examiner that his firm would file a lawsuit at the end
of January if, during its January 11-12 meeting, the state's
Board of Education doesn't approve some alternative way to
assess students' knowledge. "We'll see what we can do to help
these kids," he said.

Among concerns about the test, according to Mr. Gonzalez, is
that students who don't receive a quality education are expected
to pass. He told The San Francisco Examiner, "There are a lot of
kids in California who are being taught math by teachers who are
not certified to teach math."

Teacher subject-area credentialing, as well as years of teaching
experience, affected whether students passed, the independent
evaluator's report confirmed. Nonetheless, the report
recommended that the exit exam still be implemented this year,
with options for students who didn't pass. The report, created
by the nonprofit Human Resources Research Organization also
stated, "The state should avoid sending the message that
students should not continue to strive to master the essential
skills, but rather provide options now for students who do not
do so."

Options suggested by the evaluators include allowing students to
submit a portfolio of work that proves they have mastered
certain math and English skills or creating an alternative
diploma or certificate for students who complete their K-12
courses but don't pass the test. State Superintendent of Public
Instruction Jack O'Connell is currently reviewing possible
options and will likely present his recommendations prior to or
at the state Board of Education meeting, according to his
spokeswoman Hilary McLean.


CALIFORNIA PIZZA: CA Court Approves Overtime Lawsuit Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------
The California Superior Court in Orange County granted
preliminary approval to the settlement of the overtime wage
class action filed against California Pizza Kitchen, Inc.  

One of the Company's former servers filed the suit in October
2003.  The plaintiff alleges that the Company failed to give its
food servers, bussers, runners and bartenders rest and meal
breaks as required by California law.  Under the California
Labor Code, an employer must pay each employee one additional
hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of compensation for
each workday that the required meal or rest period is not
provided. The plaintiff also alleges that additional penalties
are owed as a consequence of the Company's resulting failure to
pay all wages due at the time of termination of employment and
under theories characterizing these alleged breaches as unfair
business practices.

If the plaintiff were able to achieve class certification and
prevail on the merits of the case, the Company could potentially
be liable for significant amounts.  The Company said in a
regulatory filing that it believes that all of its employees
were provided with the opportunity to take all required meal and
rest breaks.  The Company participated in formal mediation and
have exchanged information on an informal basis and engaged in
numerous meetings and telephone conferences with opposing
counsel in furtherance of settlement.

In order to avoid the uncertainty of litigation, to avoid
further disruption in the workplace and to curtail legal
expenses, the Company agreed to a settlement that received
preliminary approval from the Court on June 29, 2005. The
settlement contains a maximum pay-out of $1.3 million to all
non-exempt employees who worked in any of the Company's
restaurants located in California between October 1, 2000 and
December 1, 2004.  Class Notices were sent out to class members
on or about July 15, 2005.  The Court held the final Fairness
Hearing on September 16, 2005.  Following an Order of Final
Approval from the Court, the agreed upon sums will be paid out,
and the case will be considered fully and finally settled.


CANADIAN NATIONAL: Appeals Court Certifies IL Derailment Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
An appellate court ruled that a lawsuit against the Canadian
National Railway over a train derailment that forced hundreds of
residents to evacuate the southern Illinois town Tamaroa can
continue as a class action case, The Associated Press reports.

According to plaintiffs' attorney Joe Leberman, the Company
previously appealed a lower court's ruling that granted class
action status to the plaintiffs, which number more than 500. The
recent ruling by the Mount Vernon-based 5th District Appellate
Court clears the way for all the cases to be heard together. Mr.
Leberman told The Associated Press, "We're certainly very
pleased the appellate court agreed we should be a class action
case."

The plaintiffs accuse the company of negligence in the February
9, 2003, derailment in the center of Tamaroa, a town of about
1,000 residents that is 65 miles southeast of St. Louis. Toxic
chemicals aboard the train spilled, forcing hundreds of
residents within a three-mile radius to evacuate, some for as
many as five days. No one was injured though.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that rail
failure caused the accident, which sent 22 of the train's 108
cars off the tracks. Canadian National previously said that in
the wake of the incident, it paid more than 800 households and
businesses more than $700,000 in damages.

The original suit names residents Clayton Moss, Dawn Klamm and
children, Vicki Przygoda and children, Larry Galbraith and wife
Shirley, Kenneth Knapp and daughter Brittany, Ricky Long and
wife Opaline, Kim Arendell and Randy Fallowell as plaintiffs and
the railroad as the defendant. The suit seeks $20,000 for each
family, an earlier Class Action Reporter story (February 26,
2003) reports.

The suit alleged that the Company failed to adequately
compensate residents for damages incurred during the 2003
chemical spill that resulted from the train derailment. In
August 2004, the Company filed a motion asking the 5th District
Court of Appeals to consider an appeal of an earlier decision by
St. Clair County Court that certified the case as a class action
lawsuit. The Fifth District refused to hear that motion, so the
Company filed their appeal with the Supreme Court. The justices
in Springfield also refused to hear the motion, however it
issued a supervisory order to the appellate court. That order
requires the Fifth District to hear arguments "on the merits of
the appeal," an earlier Class Action Reporter story (December 8,
2004) reports.


CHEVRON CORPORATION: Faces Civil Rights Lawsuits in CA, Ecuador
---------------------------------------------------------------
The haunting images of human suffering that displayed in a
recent photo exhibit at San Francisco City Hall claim to
document the devastating effects of more than three decades of
oil extraction in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest, The Associated
Press.

Humberto Piaguaje came to help launch the exhibit and seek
justice from the powerful petroleum Company that he blames for
sickening his people and poisoning his homeland. Mr. Piaguaje is
one of 30,000 plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit that alleges
San Ramon-based Chevron Corporation failed to clean up billions
of gallons of toxic waste dumped in pristine rainforest in
Ecuador, where a lengthy trial is under way.

The suit alleges that Chevron dumped more than 18 billion
gallons of toxic waste directly into the rainforest over a 26-
year period, which is roughly 30 times the size of the Exxon
Valdez disaster. Court documents revealed that an estimated
30,000 people are affected and that the only comprehensive
damage assessment, completed in 2003 by the American firm Global
Environmental Operations, concluded that cleanup would cost at
least $6 billion, an earlier Class Action Reporter story (August
26, 2005) reports.

Mr. Piaguaje, a leader of Ecuador's Secoya tribe, told The The
Associated Press in Spanish, "We've lived there for thousands of
years, and we've never had diseases like this before. We want
Chevron to do a true cleanup of the areas they contaminated."

Chevron, one of the world's largest oil companies, has denied
human rights and environmental violations in the 180 countries
where it operates, but allegations of abuse threaten its public
image around the world. Critics claim such abuses are increasing
as the global scarcity of petroleum drives oil companies into
countries with rich reserves but poor protections for human
rights and the environment.

Steve Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International
told The Associated Press, "It's the resource curse.
Unfortunately, the rule around the world is that where you have
oil extraction, you see increasing rates of poverty, human
rights abuses and environmental destruction."

In Ecuador, the plaintiffs estimate it will cost $6 billion to
clean up 18.5 billion gallons of oily wastewater that Texaco,
which merged with Chevron in 2001, dumped into more than 600
unlined pits and streams between 1972 and 1990. The case spent a
decade in U.S. courts before being transferred to Ecuador. The
trial, which began two years ago, has proceeded slowly as the
judge takes testimony and inspects more than 120 alleged
dumpsites. Plaintiffs claim toxic chemicals contaminated rivers,
streams and soil in a region the size of Rhode Island, leading
to unusually high rates of cancer, birth defects, skin diseases
and other health problems. They want the company to pay for
their medical care and a thorough cleanup.

The Company is also fighting lawsuits filed in San Francisco by
Nigerian villagers who claim the company's subsidiary supported
military attacks on protesters in the oil-rich Niger Delta. A
federal lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial next fall, and a
trial for a state class action lawsuit is set to start in 2007.

The Nigerian plaintiffs accuse Chevron's subsidiary of
supporting attacks by Nigerian soldiers that destroyed homes and
killed or injured dozens of people. A federal judge ruled in
2004 that Chevron could be held responsible if Chevron Nigeria
was involved. The suits, which seek unspecified damages, claim
the subsidiary provided helicopters, boats and planes to
Nigerian soldiers who fired at demonstrators in 1998 on an
offshore oil platform and in 1999 at two villages where
protesters lived. Cindy Cohn, an attorney for the plaintiffs
told The Associated Press, "Chevron used the Nigerian military
as their security force and that resulted in gross human rights
violations."

Company attorneys say the platform protesters were armed youths
who demanded money, took more than 200 workers hostage and were
shot during a rescue attempt. The company also argues the case
belongs in African courts. Chevron attorney Bob Mittelstadt
argues, "We don't think it's fair or appropriate for Nigerians
to bring lawsuits in the United States where they're challenging
what the Nigerian government did to them in Nigeria."

In both cases though Company lawyers deny the plaintiffs'
claims. Both sides though believe that they will prevail in
court.

Company officials say Chevron has a long record of protecting
human rights and the environment, pointing to its annual reports
that detail goals and accomplishments in areas such as
environmental management, human rights, AIDS, climate change,
energy efficiency, health and safety. Maria Pica, the Company's
corporate responsibility manager told The Associated Press,
"Wherever we operate, we strive to be a good example through our
employment policies, our support for universal human rights as
well as obeying domestic and host country laws."

Investors don't appear to be worried. Like the rest of the oil
industry, the Company has reported robust profits from soaring
worldwide demand. Fadel Gheit, a senior energy analyst at
Oppenheimer & Co., told The Associated Press that the Company
likely will win both cases, and if they are forced to compensate
victims, the payments won't be big enough to affect the bottom
line. He points out, "It's nothing but background noise."

Critics, however, say that the Company's troubles in Nigeria and
Ecuador are part of a deeper problem. Marco Simons, legal
director of EarthRights International told The Associated Press,
"Both ultimately arise out of the corporation's disregard for
basic human rights and environmental protection. It is part of a
pattern that's pervasive in the oil industry." Mr. Simons and
other industry critics explain that the extraction of oil
doesn't create many jobs or distribute wealth but props up
repressive regimes, leading to widespread social unrest and
ecological damage in oil-rich regions.


EQUITABLE LIFE: Parties File Motions For Suit Summary Judgment
--------------------------------------------------------------
Parties file cross motions for summary judgment in their favor
in the putative class action filed against The Equitable Life
Assurance Society of the United States' (now known as AXA
Equitable Life Insurance Company) Retirement Plan entitled
"STEFANIE HIRT, ET AL. V. THE EQUITABLE RETIREMENT PLAN FOR
EMPLOYEES, MANAGERS AND AGENTS, ET AL." in the District Court
for the Southern District of New York.

The suit was filed in August 2001 against The Equitable
Retirement Plan for Employees, Managers and Agents (the
"Retirement Plan") and The Officers Committee on Benefit Plans
of Equitable Life, as Plan Administrator. The action was brought
by five participants in the Retirement Plan and purports to be
on behalf of "all Plan participants, whether active or retired,
their beneficiaries and Estates, whose accrued benefits or
pension benefits are based on the Plan's Cash Balance Formula."

The complaint challenges the change, effective January 1, 1989,
in the pension benefit formula from a final average pay formula
to a cash balance formula. Plaintiffs allege that the change to
the cash balance formula violates the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act (ERISA) by reducing the rate of accruals based on
age, failing to comply with ERISA's notice requirements and
improperly applying the formula to retroactively reduce accrued
benefits. The relief sought includes a declaration that the cash
balance plan violates ERISA, an order enjoining the enforcement
of the cash balance formula, reformation and damages.

Defendants answered the complaint in October 2001. In April
2002, plaintiffs filed a motion seeking to certify a class of
"all Plan participants, whether active or retired, their
beneficiaries and Estates, whose accrued benefits or pension
benefits are based on the Plan's Cash Balance Formula." Also in
April 2002, plaintiffs agreed to dismiss with prejudice their
claim that the change to the cash balance formula violates ERISA
by improperly applying the formula to retroactively reduce
accrued benefits. That claim has been dismissed.

In March 2003, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint elaborating
on the remaining claims in the original complaint and adding
additional class and individual claims alleging that the
adoption and announcement of the cash balance formula and the
subsequent announcement of changes in the application of the
cash balance formula failed to comply with ERISA. The parties
agreed that the new individual claims of the five named
plaintiffs regarding the delivery of announcements to them would
be excluded from the class certification. In April 2003,
defendants filed an answer to the amended complaint.

By order dated May 2003, the District Court, as requested by the
parties, certified the case as a class action, including a sub-
class of all current and former Plan participants, whether
active, inactive or retired, their beneficiaries or estates, who
were subject to a 1991 change in application of the cash balance
formula. In July 2003, defendants filed a motion for summary
judgment on the grounds that plaintiffs' claims are barred by
applicable statutes of limitations. In October 2003, the
District Court denied that motion. In July 2004, the parties
filed cross motions for summary judgment asking the court to
find in their respective favors on plaintiffs' claim that the
cash balance formula of the retirement plan violates ERISA's age
discrimination provisions and the notice of plan amendment
distributed by AXA Equitable violated ERISA's notice rules.  
Following a hearing on the motions, the court ordered a limited
amount of additional discovery to be conducted followed by a
subsequent hearing.

The parties in the suit filed motions for summary judgment in
their favor.  In April 2005, the Court denied the cross motions
for summary judgment without prejudice. In July 2005, the
parties refiled cross motions for summary judgment, and an
evidentiary hearing was held in August 2005 on one of the
claims.

The suit is styled "STEFANIE HIRT, ET AL. V. THE EQUITABLE
RETIREMENT PLAN FOR EMPLOYEES, MANAGERS AND AGENTS, ET AL., case
no. 1:01-cv-07920-AKH," filed in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York, under Judge Alvin
K. Hellerstein.  Plaintiffs are represented by Edgar Pauk of Law
Offices of Edgar Pauk, Esq, 144 East 44th Street, Suite 600 New
York, NY 10017 Phone: (212) 983-4000 Fax: 212 808-9808 E-mail:
pauk@tiac.net.  The Company is represented by Wilber H. Boies,
Nancy G. Ross, Terri L. Ross, McDermott, Will & Emery, 227 W.
Monroe Street Suite # 4700 Chicago, IL 60606-5096 E-mail:
tross@mwe.com.   


FLORIDA: Suit Says Lake Worth Police Recordings Invaded Privacy
---------------------------------------------------------------
Long before the start of a national debate over the legality of
wiretapping Americans' telephones, police in Lake Worth,
Florida, were recording all calls coming into and going out of
the dispatch center in a practice now being challenged in court,
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.

Brought by former officers and a current employee of the Police
Department, the suit spotlights on the same issue raised by the
Bush administration's use of secret electronic surveillance to
hunt for suspected terrorists: Can law enforcement eavesdrop on
the conversations of U.S. residents without a court order, and
without the knowledge or consent of those being monitored?

Attorney John C. Davis, who represents two former Lake Worth
police officers, Ralph Brillinger and Richard Sluman, and Lori
Nedzweckas, a police dispatcher now married to Mr. Brillinger
told The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "This case is about
invasion of privacy and a violation of the law." According to
him, callers to the police emergency line were advised their
calls were recorded, as state law requires. However, Mr. Davis
points out that no notification was given on other lines,
meaning that thousands of residents' conversations were taped
illegally. Testimony in the case revealed that about 150 calls
were made to and from the police communications center during an
eight-hour shift.

Mr. Davis reiterates, "We are not claiming that they cannot
record emergency calls. But these were not emergency calls. They
were willy-nilly recording (all) calls, and the law is clear
that they cannot do that."

A hearing on a plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, which
asks Judge Kenneth Stern to decide the case in their favor, is
scheduled for this week in Palm Beach County circuit court.

On behalf of the city, attorneys Kenneth Carman of Boca Raton
and Richard Sherman of Fort Lauderdale have filed a similar
motion, arguing that Ms. Nedzweckas and Mr. Brillinger knew the
lines were recorded and had no expectation of privacy.

Ironically, in a city known for political and social activism,
the questions about wiretaps in this case do not spring from
efforts by law officers to monitor anti-war groups or community
firebrands. Nor is the lawsuit connected to the activities of
the Pentagon, which in December was revealed to have sent
undercover operatives to spy on a small Lake Worth counter-
military group, the Truth Project, which had gathered in 2004 in
a Quaker meetinghouse.

Rather, the case stems in part from a personnel squabble that
has roiled the Police Department and led to three years of
litigation. City Manager Paul C. Boyer Jr. told The South
Florida Sun-Sentinel, "This lawsuit (is a result of) a dispute
between employee and employer." He also said that it should not
be viewed as a fight over the constitutional right to privacy.
However, Mr. Boyer added, "From the outside, I can see how it
would look that way."

As the lawsuit makes its way through the courts, Lake Worth
police have been less than explicit on how many of the multiple
telephone lines into the dispatch center are recorded now.
According to him, "All the phones are taped at some time, and
some are taped all the time."

Marc Drautz, elected Lake Worth mayor less than nine months ago,
told The South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he was familiar with
the lawsuit, and would meet with Police Chief William Smith to
review the taping protocol. "If it is not being done right, it
will be fixed," said Mr. Drautz, who decried the federal
government's efforts to spy on the Truth Project during a news
conference last week.

The chain of events leading to the lawsuit began in late 2000
when Ms. Nedzweckas, a police dispatcher for 13 years, was
reprimanded for an infraction over job performance. During a
disciplinary hearing, police investigators, in attempting to
show that Ms. Nedzweckas exaggerated how busy she was, produced
transcripts of personal phone conversations between her and Mr.
Brillinger, whom she was dating.

Mr. Brillinger, 45, a former Lake Worth Officer of the Year who
spent almost 20 years with the department before he was fired
two years ago told The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "I was
amazed, stunned and embarrassed." Among the numerous taped phone
calls between Ms. Nedzweckas at work and Mr. Brillinger at home
were conversations about "what's going on, the Jerry Springer
Show, casual talk," according to him.

Fifteen months after Ms. Nedzweckas was fired in March 2001,
she, Mr. Brillinger and Ms. Nedzweckas' sister, Shelly Stark, a
Texas resident to whom Ms. Nedzweckas frequently talked, sued
the city, alleging that police violated state law by secretly
recording their conversations.

Circuit Judge William Berger in September 2003 certified the
suit as a class action to include more than 130 city employees
who worked in or had access to the communications center and may
have been recorded without their knowledge. In his order, Judge
Berger noted that for more than two years callers to three of
the four phone lines into the Police Department were not told
that the calls were recorded. The city "only started notifying
these callers that their calls were being intercepted and
recorded on or about July 26, 2002 ... approximately four days
after plaintiffs filed their complaint," he said.

When the case later was decertified as a class action on a
technicality, Mr. Sluman was added as a plaintiff. Currently, he
works as a police officer in Atlantis, Florida.

In December 2003, Mr. Brillinger and two other officers were
fired, accused of submitting false overtime requests. Mr.
Brillinger told The South Florida Sun-Sentinel that the real
cause of his dismissal was that Mr. Smith considered both him
and Ms. Nedzweckas, who married in February 2004, troublemakers.
According to him, "I have embarrassed the chief."

After two years off the job, Ms. Nedzweckas won her job back
through arbitration and has returned to work, in an atmosphere
she says is often "toxic." Mr. Brillinger, meanwhile, has
refused a settlement offer from the city, and he, too, has gone
to arbitration in an effort to return to a job he said he loves.
With the state Fraternal Order of Police at his side, he is
scheduled for a third negotiating session January 17.

"He's got a great case," FOP representative Joe Puleo told The
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, adding, "For the life of me, I can't
figure out why they did him like they did."


FORD MOTOR: Notice Program Started in CA Over Ford Explorer Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
A statewide notice program authorized by California's Sacramento
County Superior Court recently started. The program seeks to
issue notices to those who bought, owned or leased 1991-2001
model year Ford Explorers. The notices are a result of the Court
establishing or "certifying," in February 2005, a class action
lawsuit against Ford Motor Company, about whether Ford concealed
a design flaw that increased rollover risk and lowered Explorer
values.

The lawsuit includes California residents, including person and
entities, who bought, owned, or leased, new or used 1991-2001
model year Ford Explorers in California between 1990 and August
9, 2000, and who either still own their Explorer or who sold,
ended their lease, or otherwise disposed of it after August 9,
2000.

This is not a recall or a case about personal injuries or
wrongful deaths. Instead, the lawsuit claims that Ford concealed
what it knew about a dangerous design flaw that increases the
Explorer's tendency to roll over, thereby misleading California
consumers to buy or lease Explorers, and to pay more than what
they should have. The lawsuit seeks money or benefits for the
Class.

Ford denies that the Explorers at issue are defective and
asserts that the unique handling characteristics of sport
utility vehicles ("SUVs") were fully disclosed by it through
product literature and government-mandated warnings. Ford notes
that Plaintiffs do not claim that the Explorers are more likely
to roll over than other comparable SUVs.

The Court has not decided whether the Class or Ford is right. A
trial is scheduled to begin on September 25, 2006 at which the
lawyers for the Class will have to prove their claims.

The Court appointed Elizabeth J. Cabraser of Lieff Cabraser
Heimann and Bernstein LLP, of San Francisco, CA, and Kevin P.
Roddy of Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer P.A., of Woodbridge, NJ, to
lead the team of plaintiffs' counsel who represent the Class in
the California Ford Explorer Cases.

The lawsuit is entitled Ford Explorer Cases, JCCP Nos. 4266 and
4270 (Sacramento County Superior Court, California).

Those who wish to remain members of the Class don't have to do
anything at this time and will be informed about any claims
process that results from the trial or any proposed settlement.
Class members will be bound by all orders and judgments of the
Court.

Exclusion requests must be postmarked by March 14, 2006, and
sent to Ford Explorer Exclusions, P.O. Box 4850, Portland, OR
97208-4850. Class members who exclude themselves from the Class
cannot participate in any recovery for the Class, and will not
be bound by any court orders or judgments.

For more details, visit http://www.explorercasuit.com/.  


GAINSCO INC.: Faces Amended Securities Fraud Lawsuit in S.D. FL
---------------------------------------------------------------
Gainsco, Inc. and two executive officers, one of whom is also a
director, continue to face a putative class action proceeding
filed in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Florida.

In the proceeding, which is a consolidation of two previously
separately pending actions filed at approximately the same time
and involving essentially the same facts and claims, the
plaintiffs allege violations of the Federal securities laws in
connection with alleged non-disclosures and deceptive
disclosures in press releases and filings with the Securities
and Exchange Commission regarding the Company's acquisition,
operation and divestiture of a former Tri-State, Ltd.
subsidiary, a South Dakota company selling nonstandard personal
auto insurance.  The second amended complaint does not specify
the amount of damages the plaintiffs seek.


GROUP LOTUS: Recalls 1,740 2005 Vehicles Due to Crash Hazard
------------------------------------------------------------
Group Lotus PLC in cooperation with the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) is
voluntarily recalling about 1,740 units of 2005 LOTUS / ELISE
passenger vehicles due to crash hazard. NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID
Number: 05V571000.

According to the ODI, on certain vehicles equipped with 6-speed
manual transmissions, the gear lever may break. This could
result in the inability to change gears, increasing the risk of
a crash.

As a remedy, dealers will replace the gear levers. The recall is
expected to begin in January or February 2006.

For more details, contact LOTUS CARS USA, Phone: 1-678-417-9073
OR the NHTSA Auto Safety Hotline: 1-888-327-4236 or
1-800-424-9153, Web site: http://www.safecar.gov.


HSBC FINANCE: Continues To Face CT Credit Card Consumer Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------
HSBC Finance Corporation and two of its affiliates continue to
face a class action filed against several credit card and
financial institutions in the United States District Court for
the District of Connecticut, styled "Photos Etc.
Corporation, et al. v. VISA U.S.A. Inc., et al., case no.
305CV1007."

This purported class action also named as defendants VISA,
MasterCard and a number of alleged members of those
associations.  The case seeks certification of a class of retail
merchants that operate commercial businesses throughout the
United States and alleges the defendants engage in an anti-
competitive conspiracy to fix the level of "interchange fees"
charged by the associations.

The suit, styled "Photos Etc Corp et al v. Visa USA Inc et al,
case no. 3:05-cv-01007-WWE," filed in the United States District
Court for the District of Connecticut under Judge Warren W.
Eginton.  Representing the plaintiffs are Richard A. Bieder,
William M. Bloss, Michael P. Koskoff, Antonio Ponvert III,
Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, P.C., 350 Fairfield Ave., Bridgeport,
CT 06604, Phone: 203-336-4421, Fax: 203-368-3244, E-mail:
rbieder@koskoff.com, bbloss@koskoff.com, mkoskoff@koskoff.com,
aponvert@koskoff.com.  Representing the Company is Frank J.
Silvestri, Jr., Levett Rockwood, 33 Riverside Ave., PO Box 5116
Westport, CT 06881, Phone: 203-222-0885, Fax: 203-226-8025, E-
mail: fsilvestri@levettrockwood.com.


HSBC FINANCE: Discovery Continues in IL Securities Fraud Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Discovery continues in the consolidated securities class action
filed against HSBC Finance Corporation and its directors in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois, alleging violations of securities laws.

In August 2002, the Company restated previously reported
consolidated financial statements.  The restatement related to
certain MasterCard and Visa co-branding and affinity credit card
relationships and a third party marketing agreement, which were
entered into between 1992 and 1999. All were part of the
Company's Credit Card Services segment.  In consultation with
its prior auditors, Arthur Andersen LLP, the Company treated
payments made in connection with these agreements as prepaid
assets and amortized them in accordance with the underlying
economics of the agreements.  The Company's current auditor,
KPMG LLP, advised it that, in its view, these payments should
have either been charged against earnings at the time they were
made or amortized over a shorter period of time.  The
restatement resulted in a $155.8 million, after-tax, retroactive
reduction to retained earnings at December 31, 1998.  As a
result of the restatement, and other corporate events,
including, e.g., the 2002 settlement with 50 states and the
District of Columbia relating to real estate lending practices,
the Company, and its directors, certain officers and former
auditors, have been involved in various legal proceedings, some
of which purport to be class actions.  

A number of these actions allege violations of federal
securities laws, were filed between August and October 2002, and
seek to recover damages in respect of allegedly false and
misleading statements about our common stock.  These legal
actions have been consolidated into a single purported class
action, "Jaffe v. Household International, Inc., et al. No. 02 C
5893."  A consolidated and amended complaint was filed on March
7, 2003.

On December 3, 2004, the court signed the parties' stipulation
to certify a class with respect to the claims brought under
Sections 10 and 20 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The
parties stipulated that plaintiffs will not seek to certify a
class with respect to the claims brought under Sections 11 and
15 of the Securities Act of 1933 in this action or otherwise.

The amended complaint purports to assert claims under the
federal securities laws, on behalf of all persons who purchased
or otherwise acquired Company securities between October 23,
1997 and October 11, 2002, arising out of alleged false and
misleading statements in connection with the company's sales and
lending practices, the 2002 state settlement agreement referred
to above, the restatement and the HSBC merger.  The amended
complaint, which also names as defendants Arthur Andersen LLP,
Goldman, Sachs& Co., and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner  & Smith,
Inc., fails to specify the amount of damages sought.

In May 2003, the Company, and other defendants, filed a motion
to dismiss the complaint.  On March 19, 2004, the Court granted
in part, and denied in part the defendants' motion to dismiss
the complaint. The Court dismissed all claims against Merrill
Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. and Goldman Sachs & Co. The
Court also dismissed certain claims alleging strict liability
for alleged misrepresentation of material facts based on statute
of limitations grounds.  The claims that remain against some or
all of the defendants essentially allege the defendants
knowingly made a false statement of a material fact in
conjunction with the purchase or sale of securities, that the
plaintiffs justifiably relied on such statement, the false
statement(s) caused the plaintiffs' damages, and that some or
all of the defendants should be liable for those alleged
statements.  The Court has ordered that all factual discovery
must be completed by January 13, 2006 and expert witness
discovery must be completed by July 24, 2006.

The suit is styled `Jaffe v. Household Intl Inc, et al., case
no. 1:02-cv-05893,' filed in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of Illinois, under Judge Ronald A.
Guzman.  Representing the plaintiffs is Gary L. Specks, Kaplan,
Fox & Kilsheimer LLP, 203 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2100,
Chicago, IL 60601, Phone: (312) 558-1584.


HURRICANE LITIGATION: Evacuee Hotel Program Extended Until Feb.
---------------------------------------------------------------
Hurricane Katrina evacuees around the country, who faced a
January 7, 2006 deadline for checking out of their government-
funded hotel rooms received a reprieve recently when federal
officials promised to keep paying for the rooms beyond that date
while they iron out issues arising from a class action lawsuit,
The Associated Press reports.

According to court papers filed last week by government lawyers,
the main issue to iron out: The Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA), which inherited the program from the American Red
Cross, still does not have up-to-date records on the identities
of evacuees in the hotel program or where they are staying.

Under a federal judge's ruling, FEMA is required to keep the
hotel program running until February 7, 2006. However, U.S.
District Judge Stanwood Duval said FEMA could stop paying for
hotel rooms beginning January 7, 2006 for evacuees who have been
approved or disapproved for other FEMA housing aid, such as
trailer or rental assistance.

Now, however, the January 7 date no longer holds, according to a
flier being distributed to hotels in the program. The flier
states, "The program will continue for all evacuees in all
states until further notice pending the resolution of certain
issues now in litigation."

Some confusion about the judge's December 12 order, which was
issued in a class action lawsuit filed in November on behalf of
thousands of Katrina evacuees, was the primary motivating factor
to extend the program beyond the January deadline. In the recent
court filings, government attorneys specifically pointed out
that Judge Duval's order is unclear as to whether it covers
evacuees who have failed to apply yet for FEMA assistance, and
whether FEMA can require evacuees who are staying in the hotels
to identify themselves by registering.

As government lawyers sought a clarification from the judge,
attorneys for evacuees expressed concern that amid the
uncertainty, some people who are entitled to stay in the hotel
program might be evicted. Danny Greenberg, one of the attorneys
pressing the lawsuit, told The Associated Press, "If you can't
be certain who's in the hotel, it's indicative of the fact that
you may be evicting some of our clients."

FEMA spokeswoman Nicol Andrews told The Associated Press, "We've
always said we're not going to put anyone on the street." She
stresses that FEMA does not intend to stop funding for any
evacuee whose eligibility for further assistance had not been
determined.

The Red Cross began the hotel program in September. FEMA funded
the program from its inception and took over its operation from
the Red Cross in October. As of mid-December, FEMA was footing
the bill for an estimated 41,000 rooms, and the program had cost
the agency about $350 million.

The class action lawsuit, the first filed against FEMA in
relation to its response to Hurricane Katrina, says that the
agency has violated and continues to violate Federal law by
failing to discharge its obligations as the federal agency
chartered to care for victims of natural disasters. In addition
to preserving the hotel program, the suit, which was filed in
United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Louisiana, seeks a court order to require FEMA to make it easier
for victims to apply for temporary housing assistance, to
improve the agency's outreach and accessibility and immediately
to provide trailers or other alternatives to replace shelters,
tents and other makeshift arrangements. The suit also asks the
court to force FEMA to establish application guidelines under
which victims can obtain continued financial assistance beyond a
three-month period and receive adjustments based on family size
and other factors. The plaintiffs also request that the court
order FEMA to eliminate certain rules regarding the use of funds
victims have already received and to cease a policy whereby FEMA
makes room for its housing by evicting and destroying the homes
of residents of trailer parks, an earlier Class Action Reporter
story (November 14, 2005) reports.

The legal action was brought by 14 named plaintiffs on their own
behalf and on the behalf of a class of people who lived in
Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama on August 29, 2005 in areas
that were subsequently declared Federal Disaster Areas, were
displaced by Hurricane Katrina and have or will apply for
disaster housing assistance under the Stafford Act, an earlier
Class Action Reporter story (November 14, 2005) reports.

The suit is styled, "McWaters et al v. Federal Emergency
Management Agency et al., Case No. 2:05-cv-05488-SRD-DEK," filed
in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Louisiana, under Judge Stanwood R. Duval Jr. Representing the
Plaintiff/s are, John K. Pierre of John K. Pierre, Attorney at
Law, 2900 Westfork Dr., Suite 200, Baton Rouge, LA 70816, Phone:
225-295-5638; and Margaret Ann Pierre of Louisiana Department of
Justice, Litigation Division, 601 Poydras St., Suite 1725, New
Orleans, LA 70130, Phone: (504) 599-1200. Representing the
Defendant/s is Michael Sitcov of U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Division, Room 7210, P.O. Box 883, Washington, DC 20044,
Phone: (202) 514-3495.


ILLINOIS: Number of High-Profile Madison County Lawsuits Drop
-------------------------------------------------------------
The number of class action lawsuits filed in Madison County
Circuit Court declined for the second year in a row, The
Belleville News-Democrat reports.

The number of class actions filed in 2005 stood at 46, down from
82 in 2004. President George W. Bush visited Madison County in
early 2005 to tout a new law that restricted where plaintiff
lawyers can file class actions, which lump together a group of
people with similar claims and commonly result in multimillion-
dollar verdicts and settlements. Under that law, which President
Bush signed last February, class action lawsuits seeking $5
million or more would be heard in county-level courts, called
state courts in Illinois, only if the primary defendant and more
than one-third of the plaintiffs are from the same state.

Commenting on the law's impact, which is known as the Class
Action Fairness Act of 2005, Ed Murnane, president of the pro-
business Illinois Civil Justice League, "Certainly, the class
action reform legislation which Bush signed may have had some
impact."

Before the legislation, Madison County commonly saw class
actions that were filed on behalf of plaintiffs from multiple
states, typically against large corporations. Madison County had
77 class actions in 2002 and then, in 2003, had its highest
yearly total at 106. The allegations in Madison County class
actions varied, from hidden charges on phone bills to faulty
television sets.

Amber Hard, a staff director for a consumer group, the New York-
based Center for Justice and Democracy, told The Belleville
News-Democrat that efforts by Mr. Murnane's group and others to
restrict class actions are actually attempts "by business
interests to help negligent companies get off the hook for the
harm they cause." She added that such restrictions "allow
defendants to use conflicts over venue to prolong the trial and
drive up costs for the victim, effectively pricing many victims
out of the ability to take a case to court to obtain justice."
Ms. Hard also pointed out that it's too early to tell what may
be causing the decrease in the lawsuits.

Keith Hebeisen, president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers
Association, told The Belleville News-Democrat that so many
variables are involved that it's difficult to draw overly simple
conclusions. He said though, "Whatever the reasons, my concern
is that self-serving, self-interested corporations, tobacco
companies and insurance companies are not allowed to close the
courthouse doors to prevent our citizens from receiving an up or
down decision on their cases by a jury of their peers."


INTERNATIONAL TRUCK: Recalls 6,848 2002-06 Trucks For Crash Risk
----------------------------------------------------------------
International Truck and Engine Corporation in cooperation with
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Office of
Defects Investigation (ODI) is voluntarily recalling about 6,848
units of 2002-2006 INTERNATIONAL / 7600, 2002-2006 INTERNATIONAL
/ 7700 and 2002-2006 INTERNATIONAL / 8600 trucks due to an
electrical short. NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 05V567000.

According to the ODI, on certain heavy-duty trucks equipped with
Caterpillar diesel engines, the engine electrical ground cable
that connects the engine block with the starter may be routed in
a way that could cause chafing against the starter's positive
battery cables. If this condition occurs between positive and
negative cables, an electrical short may result and may cause a
vehicle fire, possibly resulting in property damage, personal
injury or death.

As a remedy dealers will inspect the engine ground cables for
proper routing. If any chafing is found, the engine block ground
cable will be replaced with a shorter (280mm) cables and any
other damaged cables will be replaced and routed correctly free
of charge. The recall began on December 21, 2005.

For more details, contact INTERNATIONAL, Phone: 1-800-448-7825
OR the NHTSA Auto Safety Hotline: 1-888-327-4236 or
1-800-424-9153, Web site: http://www.safecar.gov.


MICHELIN NORTH: Recalls 4,600 Pilot Sport Tires For Crash Hazard
----------------------------------------------------------------
Michelin North America, Inc. in cooperation with the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Office of Defects
Investigation (ODI) is voluntarily recalling about 4,600 units
of MICHELIN / PILOT SPORT tires due to crash hazard. NHTSA
CAMPAIGN ID Number: 05T024000.

According to the ODI, certain MICHELIN PILOT SPORT TIRES, SIZE
255/35ZR20 97Y EXTRA LOAD, which are sold for use as replacement
tires and also imported on some Jaguar XJ8 vehicles. All of the
affected tires have DOT tire identification numbers that begin
with DOT FHPNEFMX and end with the last two digits of 00, 01,
02, 03 OR 05. The subject tires may develop a blister in the
sidewall. The condition may result in a rapid loss of air
pressure, which could lead to a loss of control and a vehicle
crash.

As a remedy, the Company will notify owners and replace the
tires free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on janury
16, 2006.

For more details, contact MICHELIN, Phone: 1-800-847-3435 OR the
NHTSA Auto Safety Hotline: 1-888-327-4236 or 1-800-424-9153, Web
site: http://www.safecar.gov.


MICHIGAN: Wayne County Land Office Faces Suit V. Excessive Fees
---------------------------------------------------------------
Michigan's Wayne County is gouging millions of dollars a year
from users of its land registry office, and the excessive fees
amount to an illegal tax, a Wyandotte builder alleges in a
lawsuit, The Detroit News reports.

Richard Custer's complaint, which is expected to become a class
action, was filed recently in Wayne County Circuit Court. It
alleges violations to the Headlee amendment to the state
constitution. That amendment prohibits local governments from
levying a tax that has not been approved through a referendum.

The suit specifically alleges that Wayne County Register of
Deeds Bernard J. Youngblood charges the public $5 just to
inspect a land record. Land registry offices in Macomb,
Washtenaw, St. Clair, Monroe, Lapeer and Livingston counties
charge no such fee, according to the suit.

Mr. Youngblood told The Detroit News that he had not yet been
served with the lawsuit and isn't sure all of its allegations
are accurate. He pointed out though that there were no fee
increases since he took office in 2001.

Additionally, the suit alleges that Mr. Youngblood's charges to
register deeds, mortgages, liens and other real estate
transactions, which were $15 for the first page and $3 for each
additional page, are higher than typical county register of deed
charges, which it alleges are $8 for the first page and $3 for
each additional page.

Under Michigan law, "fees" that counties may impose at will are
charges that cover the cost of providing services. "Taxes,"
which must be approved by voters, raise revenues in excess of
costs.

The lawsuit alleges the fees are the main source of the
surpluses the county Register of Deeds posted. The suit, which
is not yet certified as a class action, seeks to recover the $9
million surplus posted in 2004. Mr. Custer, 65, a homebuilder
and real estate investor who says he's been socked by hundreds
of dollars in such charges each year told The Detroit News,
"It's about time somebody stood up against the county and did
something. I think I'm going to touch a lot of nerves."

Attorney Brian Henry, who filed the lawsuit, told The Detroit
News, residents who need to register deeds and other real estate
transactions often face time constraints and are in no position
to object to the charges. He said, "I think it's no secret that
Wayne County is looking for additional funds."


MICROFINANCIAL INC.: Faces Amended Lessee Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
MicroFinancial, Inc. faces an amended complaint filed in the
United States  District Court for the Southern District of New
York filed by approximately 170 present and former lessees
asserting individual claims.

The Complaint, initially filed in October 2002, contains claims
for violation of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations
Act (RICO) (18 U.S.C. 1964), fraud, unfair and deceptive acts
and practices, unlawful franchise offerings, and intentional
infliction of mental anguish. The claims purportedly arise from
Leasecomm's dealer relationships with Themeware, E-Commerce
Exchange, Cardservice International, Inc., and Online Exchange
for the leasing of websites and virtual terminals. The Complaint
asserts that the Company is responsible for the conduct of its
dealers in trade shows, infomercials and web page
advertisements, seminars, direct mail, telemarketing, all which
are alleged to constitute unfair and deceptive acts and
practices. Further, the Complaint asserts that Leasecomm's lease
contracts as well as its collection practices and late fees are
unconscionable. The Complaint seeks restitution, compensatory
and treble damages, and injunctive relief.

The Company filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint on January
31, 2003. By decision dated September 30, 2003, the court
dismissed the complaint with leave to file an amended complaint.
An Amended Complaint was filed in November 2003. The Company
filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint, which was
denied by the United States District Court in September 2004.
The Company has filed an answer to the Amended Complaint denying
the Plaintiffs' allegations and asserting counterclaims.


MICROFINANCIAL INC.: AL Court Settlement Approval Deemed Final
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Alabama Superior Court in Bullock County decision approving
the settlement of the class action filed against MicroFinancial,
Inc has become final, after no appeal was filed.  The suit filed
on August 22, 2002 by plaintiff Aaron Cobb, also names as
defendants Leasecomm Corporation and Galaxy Mall, Inc.  The suit
alleges:

     (1) breach of contract;

     (2) Fraud, Suppression and Deceit;

     (3) Unjust Enrichment;

     (4) Conspiracy;

     (5) Conversion;

     (6) Theft by Deception; and

     (7) violation of Alabama Usury Laws

The Complaint was filed on behalf of Aaron Cobb individually,
and on behalf of a class of persons and entities similarly
situated in the State of Alabama.  More specifically, the
Plaintiff purports to represent a class of persons and small
business in the State of Alabama who allegedly were induced to
purchase services and/or goods from any of the Defendants named
in the Complaint.

On March 31, 2003 the trial court entered an Order denying the
Company's Motion to Dismiss. An appeal of the Order was filed
with the Alabama Supreme Court on May 12, 2003.  On February 20,
2004, the Alabama Supreme Court overruled the Company's
application for rehearing.  On February 24, 2004, Plaintiff
filed a First Amended Class Action Complaint in which Plaintiff
added Electronic Commerce International (ECI) as an additional
party defendant. No new allegations were asserted against the
Company in the Amended Complaint. On March 31, 2004 the Company
filed an answer to the Amended Complaint denying the Plaintiff's
allegations. The Company also filed an additional motion to
enforce a forum selection clause, which, if successful, would
have caused the case to be dismissed with leave to re-file in
Massachusetts.  Galaxy Mall filed a similar motion. The motions
were scheduled to be heard in September 2004, however, the
parties have reached an agreement on settlement terms.  On April
14, 2005, the Court entered an Order Granting Preliminary
Approval of the proposed class settlement. Notice of the
settlement was distributed to all the class members in
accordance with the Court's instructions. Upon expiration of the
notice period, the parties sought and the court granted a Final
Order approving the settlement on July 7, 2005. This Order
became final on August 19, 2005 after the 42-day appeal period
expired. The settlement was not material to the company and no
cash was paid to the plaintiffs as part of the settlement.


MICROFINANCIAL INC.: Plaintiffs File Amended Consumer Suit in MA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Cambridge District Court in Massachusetts allows plaintiff
to file an amended nationwide consumer class action against
MicroFinancial, Inc., Leasecomm Corporation and one of
Leasecomm's dealers.

In March 2003, a purported class action was filed in Superior
Court in Massachusetts against Leasecomm and one of its dealers.
The class sought to be certified is a nationwide class
(excluding certain residents of the State of Texas) who signed
identical or substantially similar lease agreements with
Leasecomm covering the same product.  After the Company had
filed a motion to dismiss, but before the motion to dismiss was
heard by the Court, plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint.  The
Amended Complaint asserted claims against the Company for
declaratory relief, absence of consideration, unconscionability,
and violation of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93A, Section
11.

The Company filed a motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint.  
The Court allowed the Company's motion to dismiss the Amended
Complaint in March 2004. In May 2004, a purported class action
on behalf of the same named plaintiffs and asserting the same
claims was filed.  The Company has filed a Motion to Dismiss the
Complaint, which was heard in August 2004, and denied by the
District Court.  On September 16, 2004, the Company filed an
Answer and Counterclaims to the Amended Complaint denying the
plaintiffs' allegations.  On March 2, 2005, the plaintiffs filed
a motion for leave to file an amended complaint.  In plaintiffs'
proposed amended complaint plaintiffs seek to add a claim for
usury against the Company.  On April 26, 2005, the Court allowed
the plaintiffs motion to amend the complaint. On July 1, 2005,
the Company filed an Answer, Affirmative Defenses and
Counterclaims to the Amended Complaint denying the plaintiff's
allegations.


MICROFINANCIAL INC.: MA Court Mulls Securities Lawsuit Dismissal
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts has yet to rule on MicroFinancial, Inc.'s motion
to dismiss the amended securities class action filed against it
on behalf of all persons who purchased Company securities
between February 5, 1999 and October 30, 2002.

In October 2003, the Company was served with a purported class
action complaint alleging violations of the federal securities
laws.  The complaint asserts that during this period the Company
made a series of materially false or misleading statements about
the Company's business, prospects and operations, including with
respect to certain lease provisions, the Company's course of
dealings with its vendor/dealers, and the Company's reserves for
credit losses.

In April 2004, an Amended Class Action Complaint was filed which
added additional defendants and expanded upon the prior
allegations with respect to the Company. The Company has filed a
Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint, which is awaiting
decision by the Court.


PATRIOT LOGISTICS: Owner-Operators File Unfair Trade Suit in FL
---------------------------------------------------------------
Patriot Logistics, Inc. faces a punitive class action filed on
November 4, 2005 in the United States District Court for the
Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division, styled
"Coleman vs. Patriot Logistics, Inc., Case No. 3:05-CV-1152-
20MMH."

In general, the suit, which was brought on behalf of independent
owner-operators who do business with the defendant, alleges that
the vehicle lease agreements between the defendant and the
plaintiffs violated applicable law and that the defendant
underpaid, or overcharged, the plaintiffs under those vehicle
leases.

The suit is styled "Coleman et al v. Patriot Logistics, INC.,
case no. 3:05-cv-01152-HES-MMH," filed in the United States
District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville
Division, under Judge Harvey E. Schlesinger.  Representing the
plaintiffs is Barbara Slott Pegg, Barbara Slott Pegg, P.A., 316
Sea Moss Ln., Suite 3, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082, Phone:
904/285-8100, Fax: 904/285-8890, E-mail: westpegg@att.net; and
Bryan Robert Rendzio, Kenneth Allen Tomchin, Jay Brian Watson of
Tomchin & Odom, P.A., 8833 Perimeter Park Blvd., Suite 104,
Jacksonville, FL 32257, Phone: 904/353-6888, Fax: 904/353-0188,
E-mail: tomchin@fdn.com.  Representing the Company are Daniel R.
Barney, Robert L. Browning of Scopelitis, Garvin, Light &
Hanson, P.C., 1850 M St., NW, Suite 280, Washington, DC 20036-
5804, Phone: 202/783-5485, E-mail: dbarney@scopelitis.com or
rbrowning@scopelitis.com; and Michael L. Harvey of the Law
Office of Michael L. Harvey, 1122 3rd St, Neptune Beach, FL
32266, Phone: 904/242-8715, Fax: 904/242-8717


PEMCO AVIATION: High Court Nixes Writ of Certiorari in Race Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Supreme Court denied Pemco Aviation Group,
Inc.'s petition for a writ of certiorari related to a class
action filed against it and Pemco Aeroplex, its subsidiary in
the United States District Court, Northern District of Alabama.

The suit, initially filed in December 1999, seeks declaratory,
injunctive relief and other compensatory and punitive damages
based upon alleged unlawful employment practices of race
discrimination and racial harassment by the Company's managers,
supervisors, and other employees.  The complaint sought damages
in the amount of $75 million.

On July 27, 2000 the Court determined that the group would not
be certified as a class since the plaintiffs withdrew their
request for class certification.  The Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) subsequently entered the case
purporting a parallel class action.  The Court denied
consolidation of the cases for trial purposes but provided for
consolidated discovery. On June 28, 2002, a jury determined that
there was no hostile work environment in the original case and
granted verdicts for the Company with regard to all 22
plaintiffs.

Nine plaintiffs elected to settle with the Company prior to the
trial. On December 13, 2002 the Court granted the Company
summary judgment in the EEOC case.  That judgment was appealed
to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals by the EEOC.  The panel
reinstated the case to federal district court.  On October 27,
2004, the Company petitioned the 11th Circuit to rehear the case
en banc. The petition was denied on December 23, 2004. The
Company filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the
United States Supreme Court on March 23, 2005 and the government
has filed its brief in response.  The court denied the petition
on October 3, 2005. The case is now remanded back to federal
district court in Birmingham, Alabama.

The suit is styled "Thomas, et al v. Pemco Aeroplex, Inc, et
al., case no. 2:99-cv-03280-WMA," filed in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, under Judge
William M Acker, Jr.  Representing the plaintiffs are:

     (1) Adedapo T Agboola, Darryl Bender of BENDER & AGBOOLA
         LLC, 711 18th Street, North Birmingham, AL 35203,
         Phone: 205-322-2500, Fax: 205-324-2120
  
     (2) Cheryl A Kidd, SIMON & ASSOCIATES, 1150 Financial
         Center, 505 North 20th Street, Birmingham, AL 35203,
         Phone: 205-324-2727, Fax: 205-324-2605

     (3) Tyrone Quarles, UAB OFFICE OF COUNSEL, 820
         Administration Building, 1530 3rd Avenue, South
         Birmingham, AL 35294-0108, Phone: 205-934-3474, Fax:
         205-975-6079, E-mail: chill@uab.edu

Representing the Company are Mitchell G Allen, Stephen E. Brown,
N. Lee Cooper of MAYNARD COOPER & GALE PC, AmSouth Harbert
Plaza, Suite 2400, 1901 6th Avenue North Birmingham, AL 35203-
2618, Phone: 205-254-1000, Fax: 205-254-1999, E-mail:
mallen@maynardcooper.com, sbrown@maynardcooper.com,
lcooper@maynardcooper.com, jlee@maynardcooper.com; and Kenneth O
Simon, CHRISTIAN & SMALL LLP, Financial Center, Suite 1800, 505
North 20th Street, Birmingham, AL 35203-2696, Phone:
205-250-6622, Fax: 205-328-7234, E-mail: KOS@csattorneys.com


PENNSYLVANIA: Pittsburgh Police Union Files Overtime Wage Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Pittsburgh Fraternal Order Of Police (FOP) initiated a class
action lawsuit against the city claiming that it failed to
provide officers with all of the back pay for overtime, The
Pittsburgh Channel.com reports.

Federal law requires the back pay, according to the police
union. The police union claims that it had negotiated payments
with the city law department, but that the checks covering 2004
that were sent to officers fell short of that agreement. The
back pay is the result of a federal circuit court ruling on
overtime, which the city admits in writing, also applies to
Pittsburgh police.

FOP Pittsburgh President Mike Haven told The Pittsburgh
Channel.com that the union would now seek the back pay for 2003,
as well as 2004 and 2005. He estimates that the bill could add
up to millions of dollars.


PET FOOD: FDA Investigating Pet Food Contaminated W/ Aflatoxin
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is conducting an
investigation into the deaths and illnesses of dogs that
consumed pet food contaminated with a potent toxin called
aflatoxin.  To date, FDA is aware of 23 dogs that have died and
another 18 dogs that have become ill. The pet food is made by
Diamond Pet Food at its Gaston, South Carolina facility.  

Customers who have purchased the recalled Diamond Pet Food
manufactured in the South Carolina plant should immediately stop
using it and return any remaining product to their retailer.   

Aflatoxin comes from a fungus found on corn and other crops and
can cause severe liver damage in pets.  Consumers are urged to
contact their veterinarian if their pets exhibit any of the
following symptoms which may indicate aflatoxin consumption:

     (1) Sluggishness

     (2) Loss of appetite

     (3) Jaundice (yellow whites of the eyes, gums, belly)

     (4) Severe, persistent vomiting combined with bloody

     (5) diarrhea

     (6) Fever

FDA also has discovered that some of the recalled product was
exported to at least 29 countries, including countries within
the European Union.  These countries have been notified.

FDA is continuing to investigate the situation and is working
closely with the state feed regulatory agencies in the affected
states.

Additional information on the various products being recalled
can be found on the following websites:
http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/diamond12_05.htmland  
http://www.diamondpet.com.


PIONEER COMPANIES: LA Resident Commences Personal Injury Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Pioneer Companies, Inc. faces a class action filed in the state
court in Louisiana, styled "Claude Frazier, et al. v. Pioneer
Americas, LLC and State of Louisiana through the Department of
Environmental Quality."

The plaintiff claims that he and others incurred damages as a
result of a mercury release from the Company's St. Gabriel
chlor-alkali facility in 2004. The lawsuit relates to the same
incident that is the subject of an administrative proceeding
instituted by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality
on May 3, 2005, alleging that the emissions exceeded the permit
limits authorized in the existing state air permit.


TELAXIS COMMUNICATIONS: NY Court Preliminarily OKs Settlement
-------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York granted preliminary approval to the settlement of the
consolidated securities class action filed against Telaxis
Communications, Inc., the underwriters in the Company's initial
public offering and certain of its officers and directors.  

During the period from June 12 to September 13, 2001, four
purported securities class action lawsuits were filed against
Telaxis in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of
New York, styled "Katz v. Telaxis Communications Corporation et
al.," "Kucera v. Telaxis Communications Corporation et al.,"
"Paquette v. Telaxis Communications Corporation et al.," and
"Inglis v. Telaxis Communications Corporation et al."

On April 19, 2002, the plaintiffs filed a single consolidated
amended complaint which supersedes the individual complaints
originally filed.  The amended complaint alleges, among other
things, violations of the registration and antifraud provisions
of the federal securities laws due to alleged statements in and
omissions from the Company's initial public offering
registration statement concerning the underwriters' alleged
activities in connection with the underwriting of the Company's
shares to the public. The amended complaint seeks, among other
things, unspecified damages and costs associated with the
litigation. These lawsuits have been assigned along with
approximately 1,000 other lawsuits making substantially similar
allegations against approximately 300 other publicly-traded
companies and their public offering underwriters to a single
federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of New York for consolidated pre-trial purposes.

On July 15, 2002, together with the other issuer defendants, the
Company filed a collective motion to dismiss the consolidated,
amended complaints against the issuers on various legal grounds
common to all or most of the issuer defendants.  The
underwriters also filed separate motions to dismiss the claims
against them.  In October 2002, the court approved a stipulation
dismissing without prejudice all claims against the Company
directors and officers who had been defendants in the
litigation. On February 19, 2003, the court issued its ruling on
the separate motions to dismiss filed by the issuer defendants
and the underwriter defendants. The court granted in part and
denied in part the issuer defendants' motions. The court
dismissed, with prejudice, all claims brought against the
Company under the anti-fraud provisions of the securities laws.
The court denied the motion to dismiss the claims brought under
the registration provisions of the securities laws (which do not
require that intent to defraud be pleaded) as to the Company and
as to substantially all of the other issuer defendants. The
court denied the underwriter defendants' motion to dismiss in
all respects.

In June 2003, the Company elected to participate in a proposed
settlement agreement with the plaintiffs in this litigation.  
The Company understands that a large majority of the other
issuer defendants have also elected to participate in this
proposed settlement. If ultimately approved by the court, this
proposed settlement would result in the dismissal, with
prejudice, of all claims in the litigation against the Company
and against the other issuer defendants who elect to participate
in the proposed settlement, together with the current or former
officers and directors of participating issuers who were named
as individual defendants.  The proposed settlement does not
provide for the resolution of any claims against the underwriter
defendants. The proposed settlement provides that the insurers
of the participating issuer defendants will guarantee that the
plaintiffs in the cases brought against the participating issuer
defendants will recover at least $1 billion. This means there
will be no monetary obligation to the plaintiffs if they recover
$1 billion or more from the underwriter defendants. In addition,
the Company and the other participating issuer defendants will
be required to assign to the plaintiffs certain claims that the
participating issuer defendants may have against the
underwriters of their IPOs.

The proposed settlement contemplates that any amounts necessary
to fund the guarantee contained in the settlement or settlement-
related expenses would come from participating issuers'
directors and officers liability insurance policy proceeds as
opposed to funds of the participating issuer defendants
themselves.  A participating issuer defendant could be required
to contribute to the costs of the settlement if that issuer's
insurance coverage were insufficient to pay that issuer's
allocable share of the settlement costs.  Therefore, the
potential exposure of each participating issuer defendant should
decrease as the number of participating issuer defendants
increases.

Consummation of the proposed settlement remains conditioned on,
among other things, receipt of both preliminary and final court
approval. Formal settlement documents were submitted to the
court in June 2004, together with a motion asking the court to
preliminarily approve the form of settlement. Certain
underwriters who were named as defendants in the settling cases,
and who are not parties to the proposed settlement, opposed
preliminary approval of the proposed settlement of those cases.
On February 15, 2005, the court issued an order preliminarily
approving the proposed settlement in all respects but one.  The
plaintiffs and the issuer defendants are in the process of
assessing whether to proceed with the proposed settlement, as
modified by the court.  If the plaintiffs and the issuer
defendants elect to proceed with the proposed settlement, as
modified by the court, they will submit revised settlement
documents to the court. The underwriter defendants may then have
an opportunity to object to the revised settlement documents. If
the court preliminarily approves the proposed settlement, notice
of the terms of the proposed settlement be sent to all proposed
class members and a hearing will be scheduled at which any
objections to the proposed settlement may be heard. Thereafter,
the court will determine whether to grant final approval to the
proposed settlement.

On September 1, 2005, the court preliminarily approved the
proposed settlement, directed that notice of the terms of the
proposed settlement be provided to class members, and scheduled
a fairness hearing, at which objections to the proposed
settlement will be heard. Thereafter, the court will determine
whether to grant final approval to the proposed settlement.

The suit is styled "IN RE TELAXIS COMMUNICATIONS, INC. INITIAL
PUBLIC OFFERING SECURITIES LITIGATION," filed in relation to "IN
RE INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERING SECURITIES LITIGATION, Master File
No. 21 MC 92 (SAS)," both pending in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York, under Judge Shira
N. Scheindlin.  The plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

     (1) Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz LLP (New York, NY), 10 E.
         40th Street, 22nd Floor, New York, NY, 10016, Phone:
         800.217.1522, E-mail: info@bernlieb.com

     (2) Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, LLP (New York,
         NY), One Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY, 10119-1065,
         Phone: 212.594.5300

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

     (4) Sirota & Sirota, LLP, 110 Wall Street 21st Floor, New
         York, NY, 10005, Phone: 888.759.2990, Fax:
         212.425.9093, E-mail: Info@SirotaLaw.com

     (5) Stull, Stull & Brody (New York), 6 East 45th Street,
         New York, NY, 10017, Phone: 310.209.2468, Fax:
         310.209.2087, E-mail: SSBNY@aol.com

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


TOYOTA MOTOR: Working To Settle CA Race Discrimination Lawsuits
---------------------------------------------------------------
Toyota Motor Credit Corporation is continuing to work on the
principal terms of a settlement of the class actions filed
against it in California federal and state courts, alleging race
discrimination in relation to its pricing practices.

An alleged class action in the U.S. District Court for the
Central District of California, styled "Baltimore v. Toyota
Motor Credit Corporation," filed in November 2000 claims that
the Company's pricing practices discriminate against African-
Americans and Hispanics. Two additional cases pending in the
state courts in California, (styled "Herra v. Toyota Motor
Credit Corporation" and "Gonzales v. Toyota Motor Credit
Corporation") filed in the Superior Court of California Alameda
County in April 2003 and in the Superior Court of the State of
California in August 2003, respectively, contain similar
allegations claiming discrimination against minorities.

The cases have been brought by various individuals. Injunctive
relief is being sought in all three cases and the cases also
include a claim for actual damages in an unspecified amount. The
parties have conducted a series of mediation sessions and have
reached agreement on the principal terms of a settlement.
However, continued settlement discussions are ongoing and a
final resolution is subject to execution of a settlement
agreement.


UNIPROP MANUFACTURED: Continues To Face MI Property Damage Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Uniprop Manufactured Housing Communities Income Fund, and its
general partner P.I. Associates Limited Partnership continues to
face a class action lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Oakland
County, Michigan, claiming that the Old Dutch Farms community
did not honor its obligations with respect to operating various
aspects of the community.  The complaint requests damages, costs
and injunctive relief.

Counsel for the Partnership is presently reviewing and preparing
an answer to the complaint on behalf of the Partnership. While
the discovery process has not yet begun, the Partnership intends
to vigorously defend against this claim, the Company said in a
disclosure to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The amount
of potential liability, if any is indeterminable at the time.


UST LIQUIDATING: Trial For CA Securities Suit Set For March 2006
----------------------------------------------------------------
Trial in the class action filed against UST Liquidating
Corporation and other parties on behalf of the Company's common
shareholders is set for October 2005 in California State Court.

In June 2000, a class action complaint was filed against the
Company and certain other parties on behalf of certain common
shareholders of the Company, alleging that the Company and other
parties breached their fiduciary duty to the Company's common
shareholders in connection with the Veeder-Root sale
transaction.

After filing the complaint, the Plaintiffs sought a preliminary
injunction, which was denied.  Subsequently, defendants'
demurrer to the complaint was sustained, without leave to amend.
The Court of Appeal reversed, though it did limit the scope of
the Plaintiffs' case, and the parties have been litigating the
case following the appellate court reversal.  A trial has been
scheduled for March 2006.



                  Meetings, Conferences & Seminars



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


January 14, 2005
TORTS PRACTICE: 21ST ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
CEB
San Francisco Hilton and Towers, San Francisco
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

January 14, 2005
TORTS PRACTICE: 21ST ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
CEB
Wilshire Grand Hotel and Centre, Los Angeles
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

January 18-19, 2006
REGULATORY COMPLIANCE FOR THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY
American Conference Institute
New York
Contact: 1-888-224-2480 or customercare@americanconference.com

January 19-20, 2006
LPL / LEGAL MALPRACTICE
American Conference Institute
Miami
Contact: 1-888-224-2480 or customercare@americanconference.com

January 21, 2005
TORTS PRACTICE: 21ST ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
CEB
Doubletree Hotel, Sacramento
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

January 21, 2005
TORTS PRACTICE: 21ST ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
CEB
San Diego County Bar Association,  San Diego
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

January 23-24, 2006
EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES LIABILITY INSURANCE
American Conference Institute
New York
Contact: 1-888-224-2480 or customercare@americanconference.com

January 23-24, 2005
4TH ANNUAL ADVANCED INSURANCE COVERAGE ISSUES
Mealey Publications
The Four Seasons Hotel, Philadelphia
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com  

January 24, 2005
TORTS PRACTICE: 21ST ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
CEB
PLI California Center, San Francisco
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

January 25, 2006
CONCRETE LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, CA
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com  

January 26-27, 2006
DEFENSE STRATEGIES IN PHARMACEUTICAL LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, CA
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com  

January 26-27, 2006
AUTO INSURANCE CLAIMS AND LITIGATION
American Conference Institute
Las Vegas
Contact: 1-888-224-2480 or customercare@americanconference.com

January 28, 2005
TORTS PRACTICE: 21ST ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
CEB
Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

January 28, 2005
TORTS PRACTICE: 21ST ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
CEB
Sheraton Anaheim, Anaheim
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

February 2-3, 2006
SOLVENT SCHEMES OF ARRANGEMENT CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Battery Park, New York
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com  

February 9, 2006
LEXISNEXIST PRESENTS WALL STREET FORUM: ASBESTOS Mealey
Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Battery Park New York
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com  

February 13-14, 2006
FUNDAMENTALS OF ASBESTOS CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Westin Hotel Philadelphia
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com  

February 13-14, 2006
FUNDAMENTALS OF INSURANCE
Mealey Publications
The Westin Hotel Philadelphia
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com  

February 16-17, 2006
ACCOUNTANTS' LIABILITY
ALI-ABA
Coral Gables, Miami, Florida
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

February 23-24, 2006
LITIGATING DISABILITY INSURANCE CLAIMS
American Conference Institute
Miami
Contact: 1-888-224-2480 or customercare@americanconference.com

February 27-28, 2006
REINSURANCE AGREEMENTS
American Conference Institute
New York
Contact: 1-888-224-2480 or customercare@americanconference.com

March 9-10, 2006
TOXIC TORT UPDATE: TEXAS
Mealey Publications
Las Colinas Four Seasons, Dallas, Texas
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com  

March 23-24, 2006
FUNDAMENTALS OF REINSURANCE LITIGATION & ARBITRATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Boston
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com  

March 30, 2006
EMAIL DISCOVERY & RETENTION POLICIES CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
Grand Hyatt, New York
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com  

March, 2006
BIRTH CONTROL PATCH LITIGATION CONFERENCE
Mealey Publications
Dallas, TX
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com  

April 5-8, 2006
13TH INSURANCE INSOLVENCY AND REINSURANCE ROUNDTABLE
Mealey Publications
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Scottsdale, AZ
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;
mealeyseminars@lexisnexis.com  

May 25-26, 2006
INSURANCE COVERAGE 2006: CLAIM TRENDS & LITIGATION
Practising Law Institute
New York
Contact: 800-260-4PLI; 212-824-5710; info@pli.edu

September 28-30, 2006
LITIGATING MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS
ALI-ABA
Boston
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614


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

January 02-31, 2006
HBA PRESENTS: AUTOMOBILE LITIGATION: DISPUTES AMONG
CONSUMERS, DEALERS, FINANCE COMPANIES AND FLOORPLANNERS
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

January 02-31, 2006
CONSTRUCTION DISPUTES: TEXAS RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION DEFECT
LIABILITY
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

January 02-31, 2006
HBA PRESENTS: ETHICS IN PERSONAL INJURY
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

January 02-31, 2006
IN-HOUSE COUNSEL AND WRONGFUL DISCHARGE CLAIMS:
CONFLICT WITH CONFIDENTIALITY?
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

January 02-31, 2006
BAYLOR LAW SCHOOL PRESENTS: 2004 GENERAL PRACTICE INSTITUTE --
FAMILY LAW, DISCIPLINARY SYSTEM, CIVIL LITIGATION, INSURANCE
& CONSUMER LAW UPDATES
CLEOnline.Com
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

CACI: CALIFORNIA'S NEW CIVIL JURY INSTRUCTIONS
CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

CIVIL LITIGATION PRACTICE: 22ND ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
(2004)
CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

CIVIL LITIGATION PRACTICE: 23RD ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
(2005)
CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

EFFECTIVE DIRECT AND CROSS EXAMINATION
CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

PUNITIVE DAMAGES: MAXIMIZING YOUR CLIENT'S SUCCESS OR MINIMIZING
YOUR CLIENT'S EXPOSURE
CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

STRATEGIC TIPS FOR SUCCESSFULLY PROPOUNDING & OPPOSING WRITTEN
DISCOVERY
CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND OTHER DISPOSITIVE MOTIONS
CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

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

TORTS PRACTICE: 20TH ANNUAL RECENT DEVELOPMENTS (2005)
CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RECOVERIES
Big Class Action
Contact: seminars@bigclassaction.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                  New Securities Fraud Cases

GUIDANT CORPORATION: Provost & Umphrey Lodges Fraud Suit in IN
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Provost & Umphrey Law Firm, LLP, initiated a securities
fraud class action against Guidant Corporation (NYSE: GDT) in
the United States District Court for the Southern District of
Indiana on November 29, 2005.

According to the suit, by issuing false statements and by
failing to disclose material non-public information, Guidant and
its officers and directors violated the anti-fraud provisions of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These violations caused the
Company's stock price to be artificially inflated from December
15, 2004 through November 4, 2005. Indeed, when true and
complete disclosures were revealed regarding the Company's pace-
maker product lines, Guidant's stock plunged, and the announced
merger with Johnson & Johnson nearly collapsed.

On December 15, 2004, Guidant announced that it had been sold to
Johnson & Johnson for approximately $25 billion. Guidant's
defibrillator/pace-maker product lines were an integral part of
this deal with Johnson & Johnson. Mindful of this fact, the
Defendants intentionally concealed manufacturing defects of
various defibrillator/pace-maker product lines from both Johnson
& Johnson as well as investors.

On June 17, 2005, the FDA recalled Guidant's defibrillators. In
doing so, the government warned the public not only of the
nature of the malfunctioning devices, but also that these
devices could lead to a serious, life-threatening event for a
patient. On this news, Johnson & Johnson pulled out of its
December 14, 2004 purchase agreement, and ultimately purchased
Guidant for $21.5 billion, more than $4 billion less than the
original offer price.

For more details, contact Willie Briscoe of Provost & Umphrey
Law Firm, LLP, Phone: +1-214-744-3000, Web site:
http://www.provostumphrey.com.


HYDROFLO INC.: Marc S. Henzel Files Securities Fraud Suit in NC
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United District Court for the Eastern District of
North Carolina, Eastern Division on behalf of all investors who
purchased common stock of HydroFlo, Inc. (OTC BB:HYRF.OB) during
the period from July 18, 2005 through October 26, 2005,
inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges that the defendants violated sections
10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange Act by issuing a series of false
and misleading press releases to the market during the Class
Period. The complaint alleges that HydroFlo issued several
materially false and misleading press releases concerning the
Company's Metals & Arsenic Removal Technology, Inc. (MARTI) and
Advance Water Recycle Inc., (AWRI) wholly owned portfolio
companies. The complaint charges that the defendants
misrepresented the type, terms, amendments, demand, and revenue
projections from certain agreements between MARTI and EYI
Industries and its subsidiaries during the Class Period. In
addition, the complaint alleges that defendants misrepresented
the existence and nature of certain agreements with government
entities involved in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. As a
result of the Company's materially false and misleading
statements to the market, according to the complaint, the price
of HydroFlo stock was artificially inflated in the Class Period.

For more details, contact Marc S. Henzel, Esq. of The Law
Offices of Marc S. Henzel, 273 Montgomery Ave, Suite 202 Bala
Cynwyd, PA 19004-2808, Phone (888) 643-6735 or (610) 660-8000,
Fax: (610) 660-8080, E-mail: Mhenzel182@aol.com, Web site:
http://members.aol.com/mhenzel182.


MIKOHN GAMING: Goldman Scarlato Lodges NV Securities Fraud Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm Goldman Scarlato & Karon, P.C., initiated a lawsuit
in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada,
on behalf of persons who purchased or otherwise acquired
publicly traded securities of Mikohn Gaming Corporation (d/b/a
Progressive Gaming International Corporation) ("Mikohn" or the
"Company") (NASDAQ:PGIC) between February 22, 2005 and October
19, 2005, inclusive, (the "Class Period"). The lawsuit was filed
against Mikohn, Russel H. McMeekin and Michael A. Sicuro
("Defendants").

The complaint alleges that Defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder. Specifically, the complaint alleges that
Defendants failed to disclose that the impact of Financial
Accounting Standards Board's accounting Standard ("SFAS") 153 on
the Company's public filings.

On October 20, 2005, Defendants revealed that because the
Company failed to properly account for two non-monetary
transactions in accordance with SFAS 153, the Company expected
to report a loss of $0.09 per share rather than a gain of $0.08
to $0.10 per share, as Defendants had previously reported. The
Company changed the accounting treatment after its auditor, BDO
Seidman, informed the Company that it had to comply with SFAS
153 and that it could not recognize the revenues in the third
quarter from these two transactions. In reaction to this news,
shares of Mikohn fell dramatically, falling nearly 30% in very
heavy volume.

For more details, contact Brian D. Penny, Esq. of The Law Firm
of Goldman Scarlato & Karon, P.C, Phone: 888-753-2796, E-mail:
info@gsk-law.com.


STONE ENERGY: Spector Roseman Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in LA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P.C., initiated a
securities class action lawsuit in the United States District
Court for the Western District of Louisiana, on behalf of
purchasers of the common stock of Stone Energy Corporation
("Stone Energy" or the "Company") (NYSE:SGY) between June 17,
2005 through October 6, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The Complaint alleges that defendants violated the federal
securities laws by issuing materially false and misleading
statements contained in filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission and press releases during the Class Period.
Specifically, defendants failed to disclose and misrepresented
the following adverse facts that:

     (1) Stone Energy was materially overstating its financial
         results by overvaluing its oil reserves through
         improper and aggressive reserve methodologies;

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

     (3) as a result of the foregoing, the values of the
         Company's proven reserves, assets and future net cash
         flows were materially overstated at all relevant times.

On October 6, 2005, Stone Energy issued a press release
announcing that it intends to take a significant reserve write-
down, among other things. On this news, the price of Stone
Energy stock fell $7.93 per share or almost 14% to close at
$48.14 per share. Then, on November 8, 2005, Stone Energy issued
a press release announcing that it will restate its financial
statements for the periods from 2001 to 2004 and for the first
six months of 2005. As a result of this disclosure, Stone Energy
initiated an internal investigation into its reserve practices.

For more details, contact Robert M. Roseman or Andrew Abramowitz
of Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P.C., Phone: (888) 844-5862, E-
mail: classaction@srk-law.com, Web site: http://www.srk-law.com.  


WELLS FARGO: Stull Stull Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in N.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 and certain
of its affiliates, on behalf of those who purchased Fidelity
mutual funds from Wells Fargo Investments, LLC ("Wells Fargo
Investments") during the period between June 30, 2000 and June
8, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period").

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

Fidelity Advisor Intl Sm Cap Opp (NASDAQ: FOPBX) (NASDAQ: FOPCX)
(NASDAQ: FOPIX) (NASDAQ: FOPTX)
Fidelity Aggressive Growth (NASDAQ: FDEGX)
Fidelity Aggressive Intl (NASDAQ: FIVFX)
Fidelity Arizona Municipal Income (NASDAQ: FSAZX)
Fidelity Asset Manager (NASDAQ: FASMX)
Fidelity Asset Manager: Aggressive (NASDAQ: FAMRX)
Fidelity Asset Manager: Growth (NASDAQ: FASGX)
Fidelity Asset Manager: Income (NASDAQ: FASIX)
Fidelity Balanced (NASDAQ: FBALX)
Fidelity Blue Chip Growth (NASDAQ: FBGRX)
Fidelity Blue Chip Value Fund (NASDAQ: FBCVX)
Fidelity California Municipal Income (NASDAQ: FCTFX)
Fidelity Canada (NASDAQ: FICDX)
Fidelity Capital & Income (NASDAQ: FAGIX)
Fidelity Capital Appreciation (NASDAQ: FDCAX)
Fidelity China Region (NASDAQ: FHKCX)
Fidelity Congress Street (NASDAQ: CNGRX)
Fidelity Connecticut Municipal Income (NASDAQ: FICNX)
Fidelity Contrafund (NASDAQ: FCNTX)
Fidelity Convertible Securities (NASDAQ: FCVSX)
Fidelity Disciplined Equity (NASDAQ: FDEQX)
Fidelity Discovery Fund (NASDAQ: FDSVX)
Fidelity Diversified International (NASDAQ: FDIVX)
Fidelity Dividend Growth (NASDAQ: FDGFX)
Fidelity Emerging Markets (NASDAQ: FEMKX)
Fidelity Equity-Income (NASDAQ: FEQIX)
Fidelity Equity-Income II (NASDAQ: FEQTX)
Fidelity Europe (NASDAQ: FIEUX)
Fidelity Europe Capital Appreciation (NASDAQ: FECAX)
Fidelity Exchange (NASDAQ: FDLEX)
Fidelity Export & Multinational (NASDAQ: FEXPX)
Fidelity Fifty (NASDAQ: FFTYX)
Fidelity Floating Rate High Income (NASDAQ: FFRHX)
Fidelity Florida Municipal Income (NASDAQ: FFLIX)
Fidelity Focused Stock (NASDAQ: FTQGX)
Fidelity Four-in-One Index (NASDAQ: FFNOX)
Fidelity Freedom 2000 (NASDAQ: FFFBX)
Fidelity Freedom 2005 (NASDAQ: FFFVX)
Fidelity Freedom 2010 (NASDAQ: FFFCX)
Fidelity Freedom 2015 (NASDAQ: FFVFX)
Fidelity Freedom 2020 (NASDAQ: FFFDX)
Fidelity Freedom 2025 (NASDAQ: FFTWX)
Fidelity Freedom 2030 (NASDAQ: FFFEX)
Fidelity Freedom 2035 (NASDAQ: FFTHX)
Fidelity Freedom 2040 (NASDAQ: FFFFX)
Fidelity Freedom Income (NASDAQ: FFFAX)
Fidelity Ginnie Mae (NASDAQ: FGMNX)
Fidelity Global Balanced (NASDAQ: FGBLX)
Fidelity Government Income (NASDAQ: FGOVX)
Fidelity Growth & Income (NASDAQ: FGRIX)
Fidelity Growth & Income II (NASDAQ: FGRTX)
Fidelity Growth Company (NASDAQ: FDGRX)
Fidelity High Income (NASDAQ: SPHIX)
Fidelity Independence (NASDAQ: FDFFX)
Fidelity Inflation-Protected Bond (NASDAQ: FINPX)
Fidelity Instl Short-Interm Govt (NASDAQ: FFXSX)
Fidelity Intermediate Bond (NASDAQ: FTHRX)
Fidelity Intermediate Government (NASDAQ: FSTGX)
Fidelity Intermediate Municipal Income (NASDAQ: FLTMX)
Fidelity International Discovery (NASDAQ: FIGRX)
Fidelity International Small Cap (NASDAQ: FISMX)
Fidelity International Small Cap Opp (NASDAQ: FSCOX)
Fidelity Investment Grade Bond (NASDAQ: FBNDX)
Fidelity Japan (NASDAQ: FJPNX)
Fidelity Japan Smaller Companies (NASDAQ: FJSCX)
Fidelity Large Cap Growth (NASDAQ: FSLGX)
Fidelity Large Cap Stock (NASDAQ: FLCSX)
Fidelity Large Cap Value (NASDAQ: FSLVX)
Fidelity Latin America (NASDAQ: FLATX)
Fidelity Leveraged Company Stock (NASDAQ: FLVCX)
Fidelity Low-Priced Stock (NASDAQ: FLPSX)
Fidelity Magellan (NASDAQ: FMAGX)
Fidelity Maryland Municipal Income (NASDAQ: SMDMX)
Fidelity Massachusetts Municipal Income (NASDAQ: FDMMX)
Fidelity Michigan Municipal Income (NASDAQ: FMHTX)
Fidelity Mid Cap Growth (NASDAQ: FSMGX)
Fidelity Mid Cap Value (NASDAQ: FSMVX)
Fidelity Mid-Cap Stock (NASDAQ: FMCSX)
Fidelity Minnesota Municipal Income (NASDAQ: FIMIX)
Fidelity Mortgage Secs (NASDAQ: FMSFX)
Fidelity Municipal Income (NASDAQ: FHIGX)
Fidelity NASdaq Composite Index (NASDAQ: FNCMX)
Fidelity New Jersey Municipal Income (NASDAQ: FNJHX)
Fidelity New Markets Income (NASDAQ: FNMIX)
Fidelity New Millennium (NASDAQ: FMILX)
Fidelity New York Municipal Income (NASDAQ: FTFMX)
Fidelity Nordic (NASDAQ: FNORX)
Fidelity Ohio Municipal Income (NASDAQ: FOHFX)
Fidelity OTC (NASDAQ: FOCPX)
Fidelity Overseas (NASDAQ: FOSFX)
Fidelity Pacific Basin (NASDAQ: FPBFX)
Fidelity Pennsylvania Municipal Income (NASDAQ: FPXTX)
Fidelity Puritan (NASDAQ: FPURX)
Fidelity Real Estate Income (NASDAQ: FRIFX)
Fidelity Real Estate Investment (NASDAQ: FRESX)
Fidelity Select Air Transportation (NASDAQ: FSAIX)
Fidelity Select Automotive (NASDAQ: FSAVX)
Fidelity Select Banking (NASDAQ: FSRBX)
Fidelity Select Biotechnology (NASDAQ: FBIOX)
Fidelity Select Brokerage & Investmnt (NASDAQ: FSLBX)
Fidelity Select Business Serv&Outsrcg (NASDAQ: FBSOX)
Fidelity Select Chemicals (NASDAQ: FSCHX)
Fidelity Select Computers (NASDAQ: FDCPX)
Fidelity Select Construction&Housing (NASDAQ: FSHOX)
Fidelity Select Consumer Industries (NASDAQ: FSCPX)
Fidelity Select Cyclical Industries (NASDAQ: FCYIX)
Fidelity Select Defense & Aerospace (NASDAQ: FSDAX)
Fidelity Select Developing Comm (NASDAQ: FSDCX)
Fidelity Select Electronics (NASDAQ: FSELX)
Fidelity Select Energy (NASDAQ: FSENX)
Fidelity Select Energy Service (NASDAQ: FSESX)
Fidelity Select Environmental (NASDAQ: FSLEX)
Fidelity Select Financial Services (NASDAQ: FIDSX)
Fidelity Select Food & Agriculture (NASDAQ: FDFAX)
Fidelity Select Gold (NASDAQ: FSAGX)
Fidelity Select Health Care (NASDAQ: FSPHX)
Fidelity Select Home Finance (NASDAQ: FSVLX)
Fidelity Select Industrial Equipment (NASDAQ: FSCGX)
Fidelity Select Industrial Materials (NASDAQ: FSDPX)
Fidelity Select Insurance (NASDAQ: FSPCX)
Fidelity Select Leisure (NASDAQ: FDLSX)
Fidelity Select Medical Delivery (NASDAQ: FSHCX)
Fidelity Select Medical Equip/Systems (NASDAQ: FSMEX)
Fidelity Select Multimedia (NASDAQ: FBMPX)
Fidelity Select Natural Gas (NASDAQ: FSNGX)
Fidelity Select Natural Resources (NASDAQ: FNARX)
Fidelity Select Network & Infrastruct (NASDAQ: FNINX)
Fidelity Select Paper & Forest Prod (NASDAQ: FSPFX)
Fidelity Select Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: FPHAX)
Fidelity Select Retailing (NASDAQ: FSRPX)
Fidelity Select Software & Comp (NASDAQ: FSCSX)
Fidelity Select Technology (NASDAQ: FSPTX)
Fidelity Select Telecommunications (NASDAQ: FSTCX)
Fidelity Select Transportation (NASDAQ: FSRFX)
Fidelity Select Utilities Growth (NASDAQ: FSUTX)
Fidelity Select Wireless (NASDAQ: FWRLX)
Fidelity Short-Intermediate Muni Income (NASDAQ: FSTFX)
Fidelity Short-Term Bond (NASDAQ: FSHBX)
Fidelity Small Cap Growth (NASDAQ: FCPGX)
Fidelity Small Cap Independence (NASDAQ: FDSCX)
Fidelity Small Cap Retirement (NASDAQ: FSCRX)
Fidelity Small Cap Stock (NASDAQ: FSLCX)
Fidelity Small Cap Value (NASDAQ: FCPVX)
Fidelity Southeast Asia (NASDAQ: FSEAX)
Fidelity Spartan 500 Index (NASDAQ: FSMKX)
Fidelity Spartan Extended Mkt Index (NASDAQ: FSEMX)
Fidelity Spartan Government Income (NASDAQ: SPGVX)
Fidelity Spartan International Index (NASDAQ: FSIIX)
Fidelity Spartan Investment Gr Bond (NASDAQ: FSIBX)
Fidelity Spartan Total Market Index (NASDAQ: FSTMX)
Fidelity Spartan U.S. Equity Index (NASDAQ: FUSEX)
Fidelity Stock Selector (NASDAQ: FDSSX)
Fidelity Strategic Dividend & Income (NASDAQ: FSDIX)
Fidelity Strategic Income (NASDAQ: FSICX)
Fidelity Tax-Free Bond (NASDAQ: FTABX)
Fidelity Tax-Managed Stock (NASDAQ: FTXMX)
Fidelity Total Bond (NASDAQ: FTBFX)
Fidelity Trend (NASDAQ: FTRNX)
Fidelity U.S. Bond Index (NASDAQ: FBIDX)
Fidelity Ultra-Short Bond (NASDAQ: FUSFX)
Fidelity Utilities (NASDAQ: FIUIX)
Fidelity Value (NASDAQ: FDVLX)
Fidelity Value Discovery (NASDAQ: FVDFX)
Fidelity Value Strategies (NASDAQ: FSLSX)
Fidelity Worldwide (NASDAQ: FWWFX)

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.

The action includes a second subclass of persons who purchased a
Wells Fargo Financial Plan that held Wells Fargo Funds. The
Wells Fargo Financial Plans include, but are not limited to Full
Service Brokerage Accounts, Wells Asset Management accounts,
WellsChoice account, and WellsSelect account.

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.


                            *********


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

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

                            *********


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

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

Copyright 2006.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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