/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/060201.mbx             C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

           Wednesday, February 1, 2006, Vol. 8, No. 23


3M COMPANY: April Settlement Hearing on Scotch Tape Suit Set
ALABAMA: Racial Discrimination Lead Plaintiff Leaves Lawsuit
ALL STAR: Sprint Nextel Sues to Halt Sale of Customer Data
AMERICAN MEDICAL: Seeks to Dismiss Patients' Lawsuit
AMKOR TECHNOLOGY: Facing Securities Fraud Lawsuit in PA

ARKANSAS: Black Farmers Urged to Join Racial Discrimination Suit
BANC OF AMERICA: Shareholders Urged to File Arbitration Claim
BRISTOL-MYERS: Records $185M Reserve for Omapatrilat Lawsuit
CANADA: Veterans Group Prefers Ex-Gratia Payments from Gov't
CANADIAN PACIFIC: Case Certification Sought for 2004 Derailment

CANADIAN PACIFIC: MN Jury Hears Testimony of 2002 ND Derailment
FIRST HORIZON: Overtime Lawsuit in KY Moving Forward  
FORD MOTOR: Possible Investment of Pension in Stock Under Probe
GEOPHARMA, INC.: Securities Fraud Suit over Mucotrol Dismissed
HERSHEY CO.: Age Discrimination Case Denied Certification

KANSAS: City, Lawrence Homebuilders Enter Settlement Talks
KENTUCKY: Settles Medicaid Program Lawsuit, Cuts Waiting List
MAINE: Hundreds Return Cash from York County Strip Search Suit
NEW YORK: Apartheid Victims' Lawyer Asks Court to Reinstate Case
NORTHSTAR AEROSPACE: Facing Suit over Ontario Activities' Damage

ORLEANS HOMEBUILDERS: Reaches Deal in NJ Air Conditioner Suit
PIKE COUNTY: Students File Suit over Alleged Strip Search
PUBLIC SERVICE: Former "Independent Contractors" File Suit in NJ
TENNESSEE: Judge Set to Consider Hawkins County Jail Settlement
TEXAS: Opening Arguments Began for "Fen-Phen Trial," Jury Picked

TIME WARNER: Suit Settlement Hearing Scheduled for May 19, 2006
UNITED STATES: Tribal Leaders Suggest $27.5B Settlement
UNITED STATES: Hungarian Holocaust Survivors to Receive $21M
UNITED STATES: Food Industry May Face Obesity Suits, Report Says
UNITED STATES: Supreme Court May Limit Shareholder Lawsuits

UNITED STATES: High Court Declines to Review Vatican Bank Case
UTAH: Judge Plans Feb. Ruling on Suit over Services for Disabled
WELLS FARGO: CA Appeals Court Reinstates Suit over ATM Charges
WAL-MART STORES: California Customers File Overcharging Suit

              Meetings, Conferences & Seminars

* Scheduled Events for Class Action Professionals
* Online Teleconferences


3M COMPANY: April Settlement Hearing on Scotch Tape Suit Set
A settlement hearing on the case Conroy et al. v. 3M Corp. et
al., C-00-2810 CW will be held on April 21, 2006, at 10:00 a.m.  
The case is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of California, the U.S. Courthouse, Courtroom 2, 1301
Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94612-5212.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of all persons or entities,
which purchased 3M Company's Invisible or Transparent Tape, from
Jan. 1, 1993 to Aug. 5, 2005.  Under the proposed settlement, 3M
will donate $41 million worth of tape and other consumer
products to charities throughout the United States.  According
to Forth Star-Telegram, if approved, the settlement will entitle
each 15 named plaintiffs $1,000, and 28 plaintiffs' law firm a
total of up to $7.5 million in attorney fees.

Settlement notice: http://www.invisibletapesettlement.com/.

ALABAMA: Racial Discrimination Lead Plaintiff Leaves Lawsuit
Eugene Crum resigned as industrial recruiter in Alabama
Development Office under a settlement that removes him from a
class-action racial discrimination suit against state agencies.  
According to The Associated Press, Mr. Crum will receive
$400,000 in installments over four years, $4,500,000 for his
claim to have licensing rights to an ADO software program, plus
health insurance for about 12 years and additional funds to
reinstate his retirement account.

Mr. Crum was prohibited from saying anything negative about ADO,
and ordered to remove bad comments about the state or its
agencies from his Web site.  The ADO is likewise barred from
commenting against him.

The settlement removes Mr. Crum from a racial bias suit that he
and other black state employees filed against the state in 1989.  
He claimed being wrongly denied a promotion because of his race.  
The suit received class-action status in 1993, and remains
unresolved until now.  Mr. Crum is represented by Montgomery
lawyer Tommy Gallion.  According to the report, ADO agreed to
pay Mr. Gallion and his firm $525,000 in the case.  

ALL STAR: Sprint Nextel Sues to Halt Sale of Customer Data
Sprint Nextel Corp. filed a lawsuit against All Star
Investigations Inc. (ASI), a company believed to own and/or
operate Web sites including:

     (1) http://www.onlinePI.com

     (2) http://www.allstarinvestigations.com,

     (3) http://www.detectivesusa.com,

     (4) http://www.miamiprotection.com,

     (5) http://www.privatedetectivesusa.com

These sites are alleged to fraudulently obtain and sell wireless
customer call detail records.  Sprint Nextel states in its
complaint filed in Dade County, Florida that ASI unlawfully
obtains customers' wireless phone records through flagrant
misrepresentation and deceitful practices.

Sprint Nextel's latest legal effort aimed at protecting customer
privacy immediately follows its lawsuit filed against First
Source Information Specialists Inc., parent company of
http://www.locatecell.com,http://www.datafind.org,and others,  
announced on Jan. 27.  As in the earlier suit, Sprint Nextel
requested both temporary and permanent injunctions against ASI.

"The schemes perpetrated by these online data brokers are
intolerable and our intent is to put an end to these practices,"
said Kent Nakamura, vice president for telecom management and
chief privacy officer for Sprint Nextel.  "Ensuring the highest
quality customer service is at the very core of our business.
These online data brokers attempt to manipulate our customer
service resources and detract from service provided to
legitimate customers."

Sprint Nextel is continuing a full-scale investigation of all
entities that access, or attempt to access customer data without
permission.  Customer service agents have been informed of the
online data brokers' tactics, and are trained to follow
authentication procedures when responding to customer inquiries.  
Sprint Nextel's security practices were praised in 2005 when the
company was recognized for the "Best Practice in Security for
Governance" by the Aberdeen Group.

Sprint Nextel continues to encourage its customers to take
proactive measures to protect themselves.  In particular, Sprint
Nextel recommends that customers regularly change passwords used
to access account information on the Sprint.com web site or when
calling customer care, and select unique passwords to access
voicemail messages on Sprint phones.  

Sprint Nextel on the Net: http://www.sprint.com/mr;Investor  
Relations: Kurt Fawkes, Phone: 800-259-3755; E-mail:

AMERICAN MEDICAL: Seeks to Dismiss Patients' Lawsuit
American Medical Response (AMR), the ambulance company holding
an exclusive contract with the city of Spokane, Washington
admits in newly filed court papers it overcharged two patients
who filed a lawsuit against it, The Spokesman Review reports.

However, Seattle attorneys for the Company argued that the two
plaintiffs aren't representative of the patients it served, and
their lawsuit should therefore not be certified as class action.  
The law firm of Short Cressman & Burgess, the Company legal
representative, also asked Spokane County Superior Court Judge
Jerome J. Leveque to dismiss the suit filed on Dec. 13, 2005.

While conceding it overcharged plaintiffs Lori E. Davis-Bailey
and Lorraine and Doug Bacon, the Company argued in court papers
their claims should be dismissed since they didn't pay the bill;
their insurance did.  In its legal response to the lawsuit,
Company attorney Michael J. Crisera said that without "legal
standing," the plaintiffs have no legal right to seek damages
under the state's Consumer Protection Act.  

A hearing on various motions in the case is tentatively
scheduled for March.  Filed by Spokane attorney D. Roger Reed,
the suit alleges the Company engaged in an ongoing practice of
overcharging patients under a contract sanctioned and monitored
by city government.

The Company is the nation's largest provider of ambulance
service.  It currently has a five-year contract with the city of
Spokane, which expires in 2008.  That contract gives the Company
the exclusive right to transport patients within the city of

However, its monopoly status in the city also gives the Company
a competitive edge in providing ambulance service to surrounding
areas and communities where its rates, mileage fees and response
times aren't regulated by contracts.

The consumer protection suit alleges patients picked up within
the city of Spokane are billed for more-expensive "advanced life
support" (ALS) services when they only need cheaper "basic life
support" (BLS).  The ALS base rate is $480, compared with the
BLS rate of $348.

The Company's attorney also filed a motion seeking to have its
Spokane manager, Jerry Lueck, dismissed as a defendant in the
suit.  Mr. Lueck is a management representative, but not a
corporate officer, and is not accused of fraud or
misrepresentation, Mr. Crisera pointed out in the Company's
legal response.

Since filing the suit a month ago, Mr. Reed told The Spokesman
Review that more than two-dozen people who "contend they were
overcharged by AMR" have contacted his Spokane law office.  He
also said that with the company admitting Ms. Bailey and the
Bacons were overcharged, "we think they will prove to be very
adequate representatives when we seek to have this certified as
a class action."

In addition, Mr. Reed also told The Spokesman Review: "We
obviously disagree with AMR's argument that the man who directs
their Spokane operations (Mr. Lueck) should not be personally
liable if his conduct as AMR's manager violated the state's
Consumer Protection Act."

AMKOR TECHNOLOGY: Facing Securities Fraud Lawsuit in PA
A purported securities class action was filed on January 23,
2006 in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania against microchip testing and packaging
firm Amkor Technology, Inc., and some current and former

The plaintiff claims to represent purchasers of Amkor securities
between Oct. 27, 2003 and July 1, 2004.  The complaint alleges
that defendants made materially false statements regarding the
Company's financial condition and seeks unspecified damages.

The first identified complaint is styled, "Nathan Weiss, et al.
v. Amkor Technology, Inc., et al.," filed in the U.S. Dsitrict
Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Plaintiffs
involved in this or similar case are:

     (1) Federman & Sherwood, 120 North Robinson, Suite 2720,
         Oklahoma City, OK, 73102, Phone: 405-235-1560, E-mail:

     (2) Goldman Scarlato & Karon, PC, Phone: 888-753-2796;

     (3) Law Offices of Bernard M. Gross, 1515 Locust Street,
         2nd Floor, Philadelphia, PA, 19102, Phone: 215-561-
         3600, Fax: 215-561-3000, E-mail:

     (4) Law Offices of Charles J. Piven, P.A., World Trade
         Center-Baltimore, 401 East Pratt Suite 2525, Baltimore,
         MD, 21202, Phone: 410.332.0030, E-mail:

     (5) Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP (NY)
         200 Broadhollow Road, Suite 406, Melville, NY, 11747,
         Phone: 631-367-7100, Fax: 631-367-1173;

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

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

For more details, contact Jeffrey Luth of VP Corporate
Communications, Amkor Technology, Inc., Chandler, Phone:
480-821-5000, ext. 5130, E-mail: jluth@amkor.com.

ARKANSAS: Black Farmers Urged to Join Racial Discrimination Suit
A racial discrimination lawsuit was discussed during a meeting
sponsored by the Arkansas Chapter of the Black Farmers and
Agriculturalists Association, The Pine Bluff Commercial reports.

Executive Director Fernando Burkett provided information about
the case styled, "Pigford, v. Glickman" (now known "Pigford v.
Johanns").  The suit alleged that thousands of black farmers
were routinely denied loans because of their race.  As part of a
settlement, the U.S. Department of Agriculture agreed to allow
farmers to seek a $50,000 settlement for valid claims.

Many people were not aware of the 1999 lawsuit or were not
available to participate, according to Mr. Burkett.  Audience
members were asked to complete forms that would provide Mr.
Burkett with information he needed to continue working on the
class action lawsuit.

Mr. Burkett explained to the audience that a congressman is
planning to introduce a bill to re-open the lawsuit.  Audience
members were told that they could be part of the lawsuit if they
farmed or attempted to farm between Jan. 1, 1981, and Dec. 31,

In addition, Mr. Burkett also told the group that they must show
unified support to get the bill passed.  He explains, "One thing
Congress understands is numbers.  They represent votes."

BANC OF AMERICA: Shareholders Urged to File Arbitration Claim
Klayman & Toskes, P.A. advises all Banc of America customers who
are eligible to participate in the Settlement of the Initial
Public Offerings Securities Litigation (In Re Initial Public
Offering Securities Litigation, No. 21 MC 92 (SAS)), to explore
all of their legal options against Banc of America, one of the
non-settling defendant underwriters.  According to K&T,
investors should strongly consider pursuing an individual
securities arbitration claim as a means to recovering their
financial losses.

According to the IPO Securities Litigation, various issuers and
underwriters caused securities to trade at artificially inflated
prices in connection with the initial public offering of the
securities, causing customers to lose billions of dollars.  
Investors who may have a claim against Banc of America, include
those who suffered net losses as a result of their purchase
and/or receipt of these stocks through Banc of America, during
the relevant time periods:

     Digital Insight (DGIN)       Sep. 30, 99 - Dec. 6, 00
     Digitas (DTAS)               Mar. 13, 00 - Dec. 6, 00
     Saba Software (SABA)         Apr. 6,  00 - Dec. 6, 00
     UTStarcom (UTSI)             Mar. 2,  00 - Dec. 6, 00

Several defendant underwriters, including Banc of America, have
not settled with the Class Members of the Initial Public
Offering Securities Litigation.  Therefore, K&T urges investors
who suffered substantial losses to proceed with a securities
arbitration claim against Banc of America, rather than wait for
a potential class action settlement.  Empirical evidence shows
that investors could achieve an overall higher rate of recovery
by filing an individual securities arbitration claim.

Klayman & Toskes P.A. on the Net: http://www.nasd-law.com;
Lawrence L. Klayman, Esquire, Phone: 888-997-9956; Banc of
America: http://www.bankofamerica.com/.

BRISTOL-MYERS: Records $185M Reserve for Omapatrilat Lawsuit
Pharmaceutical firm Bristol-Myers Squibb Company is putting up a
$185 million reserve in anticipation of a potential settlement
of its consolidated securities class action litigation pending
in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.  The
suit relates to its investigational compound, omapatrilat

Beginning in the spring of 2000, the plaintiffs brought lawsuits
against the company and certain company executives alleging
violations of federal securities laws and regulations.

Since then, the parties reached an agreement in principle on
financial terms and are seeking to finalize non-financial
aspects of a potential settlement.  At this time, there can be
no assurance that a final settlement agreement will be reached.  
Further, any settlement would be subject to a number of
conditions, including preliminary court approval, completion of
a fairness hearing and final court approval following completion
of the fairness hearing.  There can be no assurance that those
conditions will be satisfied.

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

For more details, contact Laura Hortas, Phone: +1-609-252-4587,
E-mail: laura.hortas@bms.com, Tony Plohoros Phone:
+1-609-252-7938, E-mail: tony.plohoros@bms.com, both in
Communications for Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.

CANADA: Veterans Group Prefers Ex-Gratia Payments from Gov't
----------------------------------------------- ------------
The 55-member National Council of Veteran Associations wrote to
the Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs requesting the
government to establish a review procedure to authorize ex-
gratia payments in lieu of interest on administered funds.

The letter is based on an announcement that the government will
appeal the Dec. 29, 2005 ruling of the Ontario Superior Court
that may require payment of $4.6 billion interest on funds in
which the Department has entered a custodial arrangement with
the veteran.

On Dec. 29, 2005 Mr. Justice John Brokenshire overturned a
previous finding that the Department of Veterans Affairs was not
liable for payment of interest on accounts for which the Federal
Government had custodial care of monies being held for mentally-
incompetent patients in government-sponsored institutional beds
(Class Action Reporter, Jan. 31, 2006).

Cliff Chadderton, NCVA Chairman, said his organization
originally petitioned the Minister of Veterans Affairs on May
25, 2005 to provide some relief for veterans or their widows by
means of an ad-hoc committee.  The basis upon which NCVA has
opposed the judgment of the Ontario Superior Court is that funds
are required for bed space and other needs of the war veteran

"We have stated to the Deputy Minister that we believe the
establishment of a committee along these lines to be an
essential step and are asking once again that consideration be
given to this suggestion," Mr. Chadderton said.

A group of lawyers commenced the class action going back to
World War I.  This may result in a situation where a majority of
beneficiaries could be 'distant relatives.'  NCVA has publicly
opposed the class action.  It is understood that the position of
NCVA has the support of the Dominion Command of the Royal
Canadian Legion.

CANADIAN PACIFIC: Case Certification Sought for 2004 Derailment
Attorney Tony Merchant is arguing that more compensation is
warranted in the wake of a train derailment in Estevan,
Sakatchewan, Canada, CBC News reports.  The mishap forced at
least 150 people from their homes.

Mr. Merchant, who was recently in court, is asking a judge to
allow him to proceed with a class action lawsuit against
Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR).  The suit concerns the Aug. 8,
2004 accident that sent six tank cars off the tracks and three
containing caustic anhydrous ammonia overturning.

The resulting fire prompted police to tell people within a
three-block area to leave their homes.  It also triggered the
evacuations of a senior citizen's home.  No one was hurt and
residents were allowed to return two days later.

Ed Greenburg, a Company official, told CBC News that the railway
compensated 250 people right after the accident.  However, Mr.
Merchant told CBC News that the payments were small and covered
expenses such as hotel stay and meals.  

Mr. Merchant pointed out that people weren't properly
compensated for stress and risks.  He told CBC News, "One person
left their dog, another person left a turkey in the oven, people
weren't able to do their work, go to their computers."  

In essence, Mr. Merchant is arguing that each person affected
deserves about $1,000 to $3,000.  He also told CBC news that the
claims should proceed by way of a class action suit since
individuals could not afford to launch the case on their own.  
He also said the number of train derailments has increased
dramatically and a class action suit would force the railway to
make important safety changes.

However, Mr. Greenburg told CBC News that the Company already
places a high standard on safety and works hard to fix problems
when accidents do occur.  He told the CBC News: "Whenever
there's an instance like what happened in Estevan, we take it
very seriously.  We take corrective actions to ensure we learn
from it to try and avoid a similar situation in the future."

Queen's Bench Justice Catherine Dawson will continue to hear
arguments from both sides before making a final decision.

CANADIAN PACIFIC: MN Jury Hears Testimony of 2002 ND Derailment
The first week of testimony in lawsuits over a deadly 2002
derailment of a Canadian Pacific Railway freight train west of
Minot, North Dakota has concluded, The Associated Press reports.

The jury trial is underway in Minneapolis, Minn., which is the
Company's U.S. headquarters.  The railway in Calgary, Alberta,
Canada admitted liability in the case.  The jury of nine men and
three women is to decide damages in three cases involving
plaintiffs Richard and Melissa Allende, Jeanette Klier and
Martha Schulz.

The three cases being heard are the first stemming from the
derailment to actually go to trial.  An earlier wave of cases
was settled out of court, including a wrongful-death lawsuit.
More than 100 cases are still pending, as well as a class-action
lawsuit against the railway.

Ward County Sheriff Vern Erck and Minot Police Sgt. Dave Goodman
were among the first to testify about their actions after the
derailment sent a thick cloud of anhydrous ammonia from the
overturned trucks over the Mouse River Valley early on the
morning of Jan. 18, 2002.

Thirty-one cars on the 112-car Canadian Pacific train derailed
on the west edge of Minot and five broke open early on that day.  
John Grabinger, who lived close to the wreck site, died and
hundreds of people were injured when the derailment spilled
anhydrous ammonia farm fertilizer, sending a toxic cloud into
the air.  Federal investigators described the tank car ruptures
as "catastrophic."  The National Transportation Safety Board
said the wreck was caused by inadequate track maintenance and
inspections, a conclusion disputed by the Company (Class Action
Reporter, July 11, 2005).

Sgt. Goodman testified that he tried three times to go into the
anhydrous cloud before he was able to move his family to safety.  
He also said he felt guilty he was unable to go through the
cloud again to rescue others.  

In addition, he recounted to jurors that he had to park his car
and seek refuge in a convenience store, where he helped others
cover their faces with wet rags and towels.  Attorneys for the
plaintiffs called doctors to testify about asthma and other
health problems as a result of exposure to anhydrous ammonia.

FIRST HORIZON: Overtime Lawsuit in KY Moving Forward  
A U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kansas certified as class
action an overtime pay lawsuit filed against First Horizon
Mortgage Corp. in October, according to Commercial Paper.  The
suit covers about 2,200 workers, said George Hanson of the law
firm Stueve Siegel Hanson Woody LLP in Kansas City, Missouri.  
It includes about 100 national sales support officers and 15 to
20 loan officers in three branches in Memphis, according to Mr.

The suit was filed by seven loan officers for First Horizon in
Johnson County, Kansas.  It alleged that employees are not paid
for overtime work, nor were their working hours recorded until
after the suit was filed.  It also claimed employees were paid
only by commission.

Stueve Siegel Hanson Woody on the Net: http://www.sshwlaw.com/;
First Horizon Mortgage on the Net: http://www.firsthorizon.com/.

FORD MOTOR: Possible Investment of Pension in Stock Under Probe
Charles J. Piven, P.A. is investigating possible claims under
the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) against
Ford Motor Co.  The claims concern whether the Ford retirement
plans imprudently and/or improperly invested in Ford stock.

Ford Motor Company on the Net: http://www.ford.com;Charles J.  
Piven, P.A., The World Trade Center-Baltimore, 401 East Pratt
Street, Suite 2525, Baltimore, Maryland, 21202; E-mail:
piven@pivenlaw.com, Phone: 410-332-0030.

GEOPHARMA, INC.: Securities Fraud Suit over Mucotrol Dismissed
The amended class action complaint against GeoPharma, Inc.'s
announcement of FDA approval for its medical device Mucotrol(TM)
was dismissed with prejudice on Jan. 27, 2006.  The case is now
closed.  The plaintiffs' earlier complaint was dismissed on
Sept. 30, 2005.  

The complaint against GeoPharma alleged that the Company
violated federal securities laws by issuing false or misleading
public statements relating to the Company's Dec. 1, 2004
announcement of Mucotrol's(TM) clearance by the FDA.  

The suit is styled, In Re: Geopharma, Inc. Securities
Litigation, Case No. 1:04-cv-09463-SAS," filed in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York,
under Judge Shira A. Scheindlin. Representing the Plaintiff/s

     (1) Daniel E. Clement of Law Offices of Daniel E. Clement,
         20 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10001, Phone: 212-683-9551,
         Fax: 212-683-9661;

     (2) Patrick V. Dahlstrom of Pomerantz, Haudek, Block,
         Grossman & Gross, L.L.P., 10 North La Salle St.,
         Chicago, IL 60602, Phone: (312) 377-1181;

     (3) Marc Ian Gross of Pomerantz Haudek Block Grossman &
         Gross, LLP, 100 Park Ave., 26th Floor, New York, NY
         10017, Phone: (212) 661-1100, Fax: (212) 661-8665, E-
         mail: migross@pomlaw.com;

     (4) Roy Laurence Jacobs of Roy Jacobs & Associates, 60 East
         42nd Street 46th Floor, New York, NY 10165, Phone: 212-
         867-1156, Fax: 212-504-8343, E-mail:

     (5) Laurence Paskowitz of Paskowitz & Associates, 60 East
         42nd Street, 46th Floor, New York, NY 10165, Phone:
         (212)-685-0969, Fax: (212)-685-2306, E-mail:
         classattorney@aol.com; and

     (6) David Avi Rosenfeld and Samuel Howard Rudman of Lerach,
         Coughlin, Stoia, Geller, Rudman & Robbins, LLP, 200
         Broadhollow Road, Ste. 406, Melville, NY 11747, Phone:
         631-367-7100, Fax: 631-367-1173, E-mail:
         drosenfeld@lerachlaw.com and srudman@lerachlaw.com.

Representing the Defendant is Robert Allen Scher of Foley &
Lardner, LLP, 90 Park Ave., New York, NY 10016, Phone: (212)
682-7474, Fax: (212) 687-2329, E-mail: rscher@foley.com.

HERSHEY CO.: Age Discrimination Case Denied Certification
U.S. District Judge Wiley Daniel allowed seven former Hershey
Co. employees to join an age discrimination suit against the
chocolate maker, but denied class-action status for the case.

The suit was filed in 2004 by former regional manager John
Montagne, who at 53, received an early-retirement package
offered by the company two years ago.  The company was then
restructuring its sales workforce, but Mr. Montagne alleged it
was a strategy to replace he and other senior sales managers
with younger salespeople.  They alleged they were not offered
option to stay or lower-paying jobs if they did stay, violating
the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which says early-
retirement plans must be voluntary.  Hershey denied the claims.

Representing the plaintiffs are David Feola and William Finger.  
The plaintiffs are Charles Kovacs of Hummelstown, Pa.; John
Leger of O'Fallon, Mo.; Christine Bukala of Boulder; Dean
Schleppi of Indianapolis; Danny Trammell of Kansas City, Mo.;
Robert McGrath of Lake Forest, Calif.; and Joseph Ragusa of
Birmingham, Ala.  

Mr. Montagne's lawyer estimates his damages at about $470,000,
putting total claims under the case at about $3.8 million.

KANSAS: City, Lawrence Homebuilders Enter Settlement Talks
The city of Kansas is in talks to settle a lawsuit with Lawrence
homebuilders, who alleged that building permit fees collected by
the city are used improperly, The Lawrence Journal World

Attorneys for both parties confirmed recently that settlement
talks are under way and are serious.  Terrence Campbell, who
represents area homebuilders and the Lawrence Home Builders
Association told The Lawrence Journal World: "I think it would
be fair to characterize both sides as hopeful that a settlement
will be reached."

However, neither Mr. Campbell nor Gerald Cooley, the attorney
who represents the city, would comment on whether the potential
settlement would involve a money payment to home builders, a
change in building permit policy or both.

In their suit, the builders alleged the city is using building
permit fees to improperly fund activity not related to
traditional building inspections.  State law requires fees
collected by government to support services used by the people
paying the fees.  Particularly, the builders complained that
building permit fees are used to pay for rental and
environmental inspectors and other programs not directly related
to regulation of construction activity.

Mr. Cooley declined to get into the specifics of the case, but
told The Lawrence Journal World the fact that settlement talks
were under way was not an admission of guilt on the city's part.  
He pointed out: "The city felt and continues to feel that it was
doing what was necessary to run the department and other
departments that contribute to the building inspections program.  
It is just a question of one side's interpretation versus the
other side's interpretation."  Mr. Cooley adds: "We certainly
feel we haven't done anything inappropriate, but there is always
a reason in any case to try and resolve it to the satisfaction
of both parties."

The homebuilders have not asked in their suit for a specific
dollar amount in damages, but Mr. Campbell indicated in a 2004
letter to city officials that he thought builders had been
overcharged at least $300,000.

Late last year, homebuilders upped the stakes in the case by
filing for class-action status for the lawsuit.  That would
allow anyone who has paid for a building permit since Jan. 1,
2002, to receive a partial refund or monetary damages if the
city were found guilty in the case.  Douglas County District
Court Judge Michael Malone must approve any settlement,
according to Mr. Campbell.

KENTUCKY: Settles Medicaid Program Lawsuit, Cuts Waiting List
The state of Kentucky recently settled a federal lawsuit over
its Medicaid program that was initiated by three mentally
retarded Kentucky residents.  The suit was later expanded to a
class-action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of mentally retarded
people in the state.

Under the settlement as many as 1,500 mentally retarded people
will no longer have to wait for help to live independently at
home or in their communities.  By midsummer, according to
officials, the state will begin moving them into a program that
helps with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing and getting to
work or to activities.

That would leave about 1,000 people who need more intensive care
on the waiting list.  But state officials told The Louisville
Courier-Journal they would work as fast as possible to get them
into the Medicaid program, called Supports for Community Living.

Michelle Phillips, 30, was one of the first three people who
sued the state Medicaid Department in 2002 over the length of
time it took to get help.  "We need services," she told The
Louisville Courier-Journal after a hearing in U.S. District
Court in Lexington.  "We need all the help we can get."

Ms. Phillips and other plaintiffs were in federal court recently
as lawyers outlined the settlement to U.S. District Judge Joseph
M. Hood.  They said that it is a major step toward addressing
the needs of mentally retarded people -- many living with aging

Before the settlement, Ms. Phillips got services through the
program, which is funded by Medicaid, a federal-state health
plan for the poor and disabled.  But, according to her, she
never considered dropping out of the lawsuit because of all the
others in need.

Ms. Phillips, who lives with her grandfather, Jim Deisenroth,
76, told The Louisville Courier-Journal that the program
provides someone to help her with tasks at home and to get out
of the house to activities she enjoys.  Mr. Deisenroth told The
Louisville Courier-Journal that he was delighted with the
settlement saying: "I think we've gained more here than in the
30 years I've been an advocate.  All we've got to do is make it
work and keep it going."

Barbara Renfro, mother of Jonathon Jones, 25, another of the
three plaintiffs, told The Louisville Courier-Journal that the
assistance in caring for her son, who remains on the waiting
list, would be godsend.  Mrs. Renfro of Lexington of said: "It
would mean everything.  It would mean a day program, therapy,
making friends, getting out of the house."

Attorneys plan to return to court on March 28 to finalize the
agreement.  State Medicaid Commissioner Shannon Turner, who
helped reach the settlement with lawyers for Kentucky Protection
and Advocacy, told The Louisville Courier-Journal that the state
could move fairly quickly to help as many as 1,500 people.  But,
others who need more costly residential placement, such as a
group home, may have to wait longer, according to her.

Ms. Turner reiterates though that the state is committed to
helping as many as possible.  "It's a huge issue, and we have to
deal with it," she adds.

Advocates originally demanded that everyone on the waiting list
be served a demand that Ms. Turner says could have cost the
state up to $1 billion.  Advocates told The Louisville Courier-
Journal that they are satisfied with the settlement, given the
growing demand and Medicaid's budget constraints.

In recent years, Medicaid faced multimillion-dollar shortfalls
that the state is trying to eliminate through a reorganization
that will increase costs to some of its about 700,000 members
and limit services.  Other social service programs will not be
affected by the settlement, according to Ms. Turner.  

As part of its plan to reorganize Medicaid, the state agreed to
put $45 million into such services over the next two years.  It
also has agreed to seek $182 million more over the next two
years to continue to expand services by seeking increased state

The $45 million for the next two years is already included in
Gov. Ernie Fletcher's proposed budget. The state's Medicaid
program spends about $280 million a year to aid people with
mental retardation or developmental disabilities.  That is
planned to rise to $485 million by 2010.

Ms. Turner told The Louisville Courier-Journal that the Medicaid
reorganization known as a "waiver" from federal rules would
allow it to redesign Medicaid to provide services that it can't
under current rules.

For example, many mentally retarded people on Medicaid aren't
eligible for assistance at home, because that is offered through
the separate Supports for Community Living program capped at
about 3,000.  They include Mr. Jones, who gets Medicaid coverage
only for medical costs such as doctor's visits -- but no help
with his other needs, according to his mother.  Mrs. Renfro
explains to The Louisville Courier-Journal: "We have nothing
right now.  We're together 24-7."

Ken Zeller, the lead lawyer on the case for Protection and
Advocacy, told The Louisville Courier-Journal that advocates
believe the agreement will change the lives of many of the
mentally disabled people his agency represents.  He expounds,
"Everyone wants it to work.  It is a pretty good deal."

The third plaintiff in the case, Beth Wilkerson, 30, of Dexter,
Ky. told The Louisville Courier-Journal that the program changed
her life when she got off the waiting list and got services
midway through the lawsuit.  Now Ms. Wilkerson, who lives with
her parents on their Western Kentucky farm, gets transportation
to work and holds a job assembling lawnmower parts and gets
therapy and other services she needs.  She also shops, eats out
with friends and bowls, according to her.

However, Cheryl Dunn, Ms. Wilkerson's mother, told the federal
judge that her daughter realized the lawsuit was about much more
than her needs.  One day, making the 4 1/2-hour trip home after
a court hearing in the case, Ms. Wilkerson observed to her
mother that she no longer needed to be in the case.  Then she
added: "But we're doing for everybody else."

Ms. Dunn said she never doubted the lawsuit, which was drawn out
and sometimes contentious, would have a good outcome.  "I knew
in the beginning we would get to the same place," she said.  "We
were just on different roads and didn't know how to get there."

The suit is styled, "P., et al v. Birdwhistle, et al, Case No.
3:02-cv-00023-JMH," filed in the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Kentucky under Judge Joseph M. Hood with
referral to J. Gregory Wehrman.  Representing the Plaintiff/s
are, William Stuart Dolan, Kenneth Zeller and Kevin D. McManis
of Protection & Advocacy Division, 100 Fair Oaks Lane, Third
Floor, Frankfort, KY 40601, Phone: 502-564-3948 and

MAINE: Hundreds Return Cash from York County Strip Search Suit
Nearly 300 people who were awarded more than $450,000 in a class
action lawsuit over jailhouse strip searches handed the money
back to the state to pay child support and related debts, The
Associated Press reports.

Former prisoners who believed they were illegally strip searched
between 1996 and 2004 at Maine's York County Jail were awarded
$3.3 million in the 1,350-member class-action settlement.  State
officials discovered that 284 plaintiffs owed child support,
prompting them to work with the state attorney general's office
and U.S. District Court, to recover $463,000.

Of the total, $240,000 went to the children's families, and the
rest went to state and federal governments to help repay the
cost of public assistance during the time that support payments
were not available, state officials told The Associated Press.

In the York County strip-search case, plaintiffs objected to a
policy of making all prisoners, even those facing misdemeanor
charges, disrobe. Jail officials said the searches were to
uncover hidden weapons or other contraband.

Previously, state officials who learned that more than 20
percent of those who were strip-searched owe child support or
alimony put the settlement checks on hold because they say that
children and former spouses should get first dibs on the money,
(Class Action Reporter, Dec. 3, 2005).

The settlement is a result of a suit filed in 2002, which
contends that the York County Sheriff's Department violated
federal law by requiring all persons brought into the jail for
holding to strip and shower in the presence of a corrections
officer, regardless of the reason for their arrest.  The suit
was originally filed by Michele Nilsen of North Andover,
Massachusetts, who alleges that she was subjected to a strip
search after being arrested on charges of driving with a
suspended driver's license, (Class Action Reporter, April 5,

Ms. Nilsen was arrested back in 1999 in Ogunquit on a charge of
driving with a suspended license.  She claimed in the suit,
filed in 2002, that the York County Sheriff's Department broke
the law by requiring all people brought to the jail to strip and
shower in front of an officer no matter how minor the charge
from 1996 to 2004, (Class Action Reporter, Dec. 3, 2005).

After the suit was filed, York County would later agree to pay
$3.3 million to settle it with a hearing date to review the
fairness of the settlement being set for August 1, 2005. If the
court grants final approval for the settlement, payments will be
sent to class members with the amount depending on how many
claims are submitted by the July 1 deadline. Those who want to
be excluded also may file by that date, (Class Action Reporter,
March 11, 2005).

In April 2004, a three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court
of Appeals in Boston unanimously affirmed the decision of Judge
D. Brock Hornby of the U.S. District Court in Maine to allow the
class action suit.  Judge Hornby in his 2003 ruling had stated
that a suit could be brought against jail and other county
officials on behalf of "all people strip-searched at the York
County Jail after October 14, 1996, under a policy of conducting
the searches without evaluating whether there was reasonable
suspicion to require the search."  Eventually class action
lawsuit members were identified through the jail's computerized
booking data, (Class Action Reporter, April 5, 2005).  

The suit is styled, "NILSEN, et al. v. YORK COUNTY, et al, Case
No. 2:02-cv-00212-GZS," filed in the United States District
Court for the District of Maine, previously under Judge D. Brock
Hornby, but now under Judge George Z. Singal.  Representing the
Plaintiff/s are, Howard Friedman, Jennifer L. Bills, Myong J.
Joun and J. Lizette Richards of THE LAW OFFICE OF HOWARD
FRIEDMAN, 90 CANAL ST., 5TH FLOOR, BOSTON, MA 02114-2022, Phone:
(617) 742-4100, E-mail: hfriedman@civil-rights-law.com and David
79, AUGUSTA, ME 04332, Phone: 207/623-5110, E-mail:
dwebbert@johnsonwebbert.com.  Representing the Defendant/s are:

     (1) Peter T. Marchest of WHEELER & AREY, P.A., 27 TEMPLE
         ST., P.O. BOX 376, WATERVILLE, ME 04901, Phone: 873-
         7771, E-mail: pbear@wheelerlegal.com;

     (2) Thomas R. McKeon and Harrison L. Richardson of
         P.O. BOX 9545, PORTLAND, ME 04112-9545, Phone: (207)
         774-7474, E-mail: tmckeon@rwlb.com and
         hrichardson@rwlb.com; and

     (3) John J. Wall, III of MONAGHAN LEAHY, LLP, P.O. BOX
         7046, DTS, PORTLAND, ME 04112-7046, Phone: 774-3906,
         E-mail: jwall@monaghanleahy.com.

NEW YORK: Apartheid Victims' Lawyer Asks Court to Reinstate Case
An attorney representing victims of apartheid in South Africa
tried to convince three federal appeals court judges that
American corporations can be held accountable even if the new
South African government and the U.S. government disagree, The
Associated Press reports.

Despite hearing their appeal, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals in Manhattan, New York did not immediately rule.  It
instead stated that it believed it was bound by a U.S. Supreme
Court declaration that called for a consideration of U.S.
foreign policy interests in such cases.

Plaintiffs' lawyer Paul Hoffman conceded that lawsuits brought
against U.S. corporations including International Business
Machines Corp., carmakers, oil companies, and banking
institutions were written too broadly and needed to be more
specific.  However, he said that the litigation brought on
behalf of millions of class members who suffered during a 40-
year period in South Africa should not have been tossed out as
they were in 2004 by U.S. District Court Judge John E. Sprizzo.

Judge Sprizzo noted in that ruling that Congress had supported
and encouraged business investment in South Africa as a way to
achieve greater respect for human rights and a reduction in
poverty.  He also noted that he must be "extremely cautious in
permitting suits here based upon a corporation's doing business
in countries with less than stellar human rights records,
especially since the consequences of such an approach could have
significant, if not disastrous, effects on international

Mr. Hoffman argued though that if the appeals court revived the
class action litigation, the plaintiffs might choose to drop
some of the broad allegations against banking institutions.  But
he pointed out that allegations would remain, for instance, that
IBM created software that enabled the South African government
to more easily track citizens.

Appeals Judge Edward R. Korman noted that the new South African
government had made it clear it did not want the case to
proceed.  "They're saying, `American courts, it's not your
business,'" he said.  "No other country would entertain this

Defendants' attorney Francis B. Barron reminded the 2nd Circuit
that the United States and other countries decided to fight
apartheid without an economic boycott.  He noted to the court,
"Those who argued for an economic boycott lost the debate.  
American corporations were permitted and encouraged to do
business in South Africa."

In a brief filed with the appeals court, the U.S. government
said that the litigation would interfere with South Africa's
reconciliation and redress efforts and would cause "significant
tension between the United States and South Africa."

The suit is styled, "Digwamaje v. IBM Corp., et al 02-CV-6218
(S.D.N.Y. 2002)," and is being coordinated with other apartheid

NORTHSTAR AEROSPACE: Facing Suit over Ontario Activities' Damage
Northstar Aerospace Inc. and its subsidiary Northstar Aerospace
(Canada) Inc. were served with a Statement of Claim filed in the
Ontario Supreme Court of Justice by a Cambridge resident
alleging damages to property values.  The damage is claimed a
result of environmental issues relating to the historical
operations of Northstar Aerospace (Canada) Inc.'s Cambridge,
Ontario facility.

The plaintiff in the claim states that she is proposing to seek
certification of the claim as a class action under the Ontario
Class Proceedings Act on behalf of certain other property owners
in the immediate vicinity of the Cambridge facility.

Northstar Aerospace (Canada) Inc. has for sometime been working
with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and local
authorities and residents on various environmental remediation
issues relating to historical operation of the Cambridge
facility and plans to continue to do so.

Mark Emery, the President and Chief Executive Officer of
Northstar said: "In view of the extensive and responsible
efforts made to date in resolving the environmental issues
relating to the Cambridge facility by Northstar Aerospace
(Canada) Inc., in co-operation with the Ministry of the
Environment and local authorities, it was disappointing that the
claim was issued."

Northstar and Northstar Aerospace (Canada) Inc. believe they
have strong defenses to the claim, have referred the matter to
counsel and intend to take all appropriate actions to defend
their position.

Northstar Aerospace Inc. on the Net: http://www.nsaero.com

ORLEANS HOMEBUILDERS: Reaches Deal in NJ Air Conditioner Suit
A settlement was reached in a class action lawsuit filed two
years ago by homeowners in Mount Laurel, New Jersey's Stonegate
community against Orleans Homebuilders, The Cherry Hill Courier

Approved recently by Superior Court Judge Marc Baldwin, the deal
calls for the installation of a piece of equipment designed to
prevent water leaks from air conditioning units.  Additionally,
the settlement also provides for the payment of up to $2,500 per
homeowner to cover repairs of water damage.  

Attorney Stephen DeNittis, who filed the class action complaint
with attorney Philip Stephen Fuoco, told The Cherry Hill Courier
Post that homeowners must present documentation of repairs.  He
also said that the class included 224 homeowners in the complex
developed by Orleans Homebuilders.  Class members were limited
to those living in units less than 10 years old with air
conditioning units installed on the second floor.

Under the settlement, if the water guard float switch does not
correct the problem, representatives of Orleans Homebuilders
would inspect the unit a second time.  If it still cannot be
repaired with the plumbing fitting, the developer would pay up
to $1,500 in replacement costs.  The defendants have set up a
$170,000 fund to cover the costs, according to Mr. DeNittis

PIKE COUNTY: Students File Suit over Alleged Strip Search
Students who were allegedly strip searched in Pike County
Schools have filed a class action against the Ohio school, WBNS
reports.  20 female students claimed they were illegally
searched on Jan. 20 after a student told a teacher her cash and
credit cards were stolen, and that the items were hidden in her
companions' undergarments.

The school said an internal investigation revealed the students'
undergarments were searched, but that no items of clothing were
removed.  The superintendent said everything was done according
to school policy that allows teachers to search students when
there's an allegation of theft.

PUBLIC SERVICE: Former "Independent Contractors" File Suit in NJ
Michael Martin along with two former co-workers launched a
federal lawsuit in Newark, New Jersey against Public Service
Electric & Gas, The Newark Star Ledger reports.

Mr. Martin and the other workers are suing the state's largest
utility in federal court, hoping to recover tens of thousands of
dollars in benefits he claims the company owes him.  The case
underscores how vital benefits are to employees and how fragile
they can be in an era when companies must react to a changing
business environment and shift employment levels.

According to court records, managers at the utility called Mr.
martin into a room and told him he was out of the job then later
had him escorted out of the building.  After working at the
company's downtown Newark headquarters for 19 years, almost all
of his working life, Mr. Martin said that he left his second-
floor cubicle with nothing -- no severance package, no health
benefits, no pension, no 401(k) plan.  The problem, Mr. Martin
said, is that for all those years he worked as a draftsman,
helping design electrical systems, he was an "independent
contractor" and not a full-time PSE&G employee.

"I deserve to be compensated just like all employees. I feel
they should have treated me like they would have treated anyone
they hired," Mr. Martin, 43, a Morristown resident, told The
Newark Star Ledger in a recent interview.  He added, "I feel I
contributed to the company and became a company man. I knew how
to do the job and saw no reason to leave."

In the lawsuit, which was filed last month in U.S. District
Court, Mr. Martin and two other former co-workers contend that,
in effect, they were outsourced without leaving their offices,
they did the same job as their PSE&G counterparts, with the same
working conditions, even had PSE&G business cards, but did not
get the same retirement or health benefits.  The suit seeks
class-action status on behalf of potentially thousands of others
who worked at PSE&G as independent contractors.

Karen Johnson, a PSE&G spokeswoman, told The Newark Star Ledger
that the company doesn't comment on lawsuits.  In a statement,
she said: "The Company is aware of its obligations under the
federal pension laws and complies with those obligations.  We do
not provide employee benefits to contractors, such as the
plaintiffs in this case, and we will vigorously defend our

Experts told The Newark Star Ledger that the case appears to
revisit previously settled employment-law issues.  Many
companies thought the question of whether independent
contractors deserved the benefits of full-timers was largely
decided by a landmark case involving software giant Microsoft
Corporation nearly a decade ago.  

The suit is styled, "MARTIN et al v. PUBLIC SERVICE ELECTRIC &
GAS CO., INC. et al, Case No. 2:05-cv-05801-DMC-MF," filed in
the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, under
Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh with referral to Judge Mark Falk.  
Representing the Plaintiff/s are, KEVIN E. BARBER of NIEDWESKE
(973) 401-0064, E-mail: kbarber@n-blaw.com and NEIL MARC MULLIN,
240 CLAREMONT AVE., MONTCLAIR, NJ 07042, Phone: 973-783-7607, E-
mail: nmullin@smithmullin.com.  Representing the Defendant/s is
(609) 919-6609, E-mail: rrosenblatt@morganlewis.com.

TENNESSEE: Judge Set to Consider Hawkins County Jail Settlement
Former and current Hawkins County Jail inmates, who are involved
in the federal class-action overcrowding lawsuit, have until
Feb. 13 to file a motion seeking to be excluded from the
proposed settlement, The Kingsport Times-News reports.

The proposed settlement came before U.S. District Judge Ronnie
Greer in Greeneville, Tennessee recently.  The judge then set a
Feb. 28 hearing to consider whether or not he will accept the

Aside from setting the Feb. 13 deadline for inmates wishing to
be excluded from the settlement, Judge Greer also set out
requirements of the county in notifying inmates of the proposed

As of late, notices of the proposed settlement were already
posted in common areas of the Hawkins County Jail and common
areas of the Hawkins County Sheriff's Department.  The county
must also pay to publish the settlement in the legal notices
section of the newspaper once per week for three consecutive

The Hawkins County Commission approved the proposed settlement
of the lawsuit last December 2005.  Former inmates Sherry Arnold
and Donnie Brooks filed the lawsuit in late 2004, and it later
became a class-action suit.

Aside from overcrowding, the lawsuit alleges that living
conditions at the jail are inhumane.  Last year, the jail
underwent several improvements including ventilation, cleanup,
creation of a law library within the jail, and the hiring of an
additional jailer to oversee use of the exercise yard. In
October 2005, the jail was inspected twice by the state and
achieved state certification following the second inspection.

The settlement calls for several improvements, most of which had
already been implemented in preparation for the state
inspection.  The state certification process and the federal
lawsuit were not related, although they both addressed
improvements needed at the current facility.

The overcrowding issue is being addressed through the
construction of a new jail in the former Rogersville Kmart
building on 11-W at the Park Boulevard intersection.  A
construction timeline calling for completion of the jail in mid-
2007 was needed for both the lawsuit settlement and the state

In addition, the settlement also calls for the placement of a
full-time "classification coordinator" who would determine
placement of inmates in separate housing areas available in the
jail, such as separating violent and non-violent offenders.  
Sheriff Warren Rimer told county commissioners last month that
condition has been met as well.

Also included in the settlement is the placement of a jail
administrator who would have responsibility for the total
operation of the jail.  Sheriff Rimer said that position would
replace the position of a jailer who resigned last month.  He
also said that the position should be filled at minimal
additional cost to the county.

The settlement also calls for the county to pay $15,000 in
attorney fees as well as $2,000 per year for two years in
monitoring costs.  County Attorney Jim Phillips told the Times-
News last month that the county's insurance provider would pay
the $19,000.

The suit is styled, "Arnold et al v. Hawkins County, TN et al,
Case No. 2:04-cv-00427," filed in the U.S. District Court for
the Eastern District of Tennessee, under Judge Ronnie Greer with
referral to Judge Dennis H. Inman.  Representing the Plaintiff/s
are, John E. Eldridge of Eldridge, Irvine & Gaines, PLLC, P.O.
Box 84, Knoxville, TN 37901-0084, Phone: 865-523-7731, Fax:
865-523-0341, E-mail: johneldrid@aol.com; and Jonathan M.
Holcomb of Holcomb Law Office, P.O. Box 1658, Morristown, TN
37816, Phone: 423-581-9797, E-mail:
holcomblawoffice@charter.net.  Representing the Defendant/s are,
Thomas J. Garland, Jr. of Milligan & Coleman, P.O. Box 1060,
Greeneville, TN 37744-1060, Phone: 423-639-6811, Fax: 423-639-
2078, E-mail: tgarland.milligancoleman@adelphia.net; and Jeffrey
M. Ward of Milligan & Coleman, P.O. Box 1060, Greeneville, TN
37744-1060, Phone: 423-639-6811, Fax: 423-639-0278, E-mail:

TEXAS: Opening Arguments Began for "Fen-Phen Trial," Jury Picked
Opening arguments in the Anderson County case dubbed "the Fen-
Phen trial" recently began, The Tyler Morning Telegraph.

Third District Judge James Parsons presided over the civil
trial, which took place at the Anderson County Courthouse Annex
in Palestine, Texas.  A jury was selected for the case.

The fourth amended original petition filed in the case names
Beverly "Kim" Tilmon of Palestine as the plaintiff.  The
defendants are listed as Dr. Gary Parkhurst, Wyeth-Ayerst
Laboratories Division of American Home Products Corp. ("Wyeth"),
American Home Products Corp. Wyeth, formerly known as Wyeth, now
doing business as Wyeth Inc. ("AHP") and A.H. Robins Co. Inc.
("A.H. Robins").

According to the petition, "at all relevant times defendants,
themselves, or by use of others, did manufacture, create,
design, test, label, sterilize, package, distribute, supply,
market, sell, advertise and otherwise distribute in interstate
commerce the diet drugs Pondimin (fenfluramine) and Ionamin
(phentermine)."  The petition further states that those drugs
"alone and in combination have been widely promoted by
defendants as effective and safe for weight loss."

The plaintiff, Ms. Tilmon is complaining of injuries sustained
as the result of the use of the weight-loss medications
fenfluramine and/or phentermine, according to the document.  The
petition revealed that most Fen-Phen-related injuries are
settled in claims covered by a national class action settlement.

Ms. Tilmon allegedly suffers from primary pulmonary
hypertension, which is not a settled claim under the provision
of the settlement, according to the suit.  The petition alleges
that she ingested Pondimin and Ionimin from March 25, 1997,
through July 22, 1997.  Later, according to the suit, in
February 2002, she visited Dr. Parkhurst about "relating chest

The plaintiff claims the doctor did not run tests and diagnosed
her with "stress/nerves."  She then was hospitalized for chest
pains in May of that year.  According to the suit, Dr. Parkhurst
"discharged Ms. Tilmon when she was still having chest pains
..."  In Dr. Parkhurst's original answer to the first petition,
the doctor denied all allegations.

Ms. Tilmon's suit claims that her exposure to the diet drugs
caused her to suffer from "mild mitral regurgitation, moderate
tricuspid regurgitation, mild to moderate pulmonic insufficiency
and moderate pulmonary hypertension."  She thus seeks the sum of
$90 million in compensatory damages and a sum of equivalent
punitive damages in connection with the case, "but states that
she is willing to live with the assessment of the judge and jury
as to the actual compensation she is entitled."

Palestine attorney Jim Hankins is the local counsel for Ms.
Tilmon, while Terry Thorn is the local counsel for the
defendants, a court official told Tyler Morning Telegraph.

When contacted for a comment on the case, Doug Petkus, a
spokesman for Wyeth, told The Tyler Morning Telegraph by phone
that the essence of the Company's defense is that Ms. Tilmon
does not have primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH).  Mr. Petkus
also told The Tyler Morning Telegraph that she allegedly "used
Pondimin for four months in 1997, but she continued to use other
diet drugs beyond that in 2000 and 2002, drugs that had PPH
warnings ... on their labeling."

TIME WARNER: Suit Settlement Hearing Scheduled for May 19, 2006
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New
York will hold a fairness hearing for the proposed settlement in
the matter: "Parker, et al. v. Time Warner Entertainment Co., et
al., Case No. CV 98-4265."  The case was brought on behalf of
anyone who subscribed to Time Warner Cable at anytime between
January 1, 1994 and December 31, 1998 and was on a list of
subscribers whose personal information may have been sold by the

The Court will hold a hearing in this case on May 19, 2006 at
10:00 a.m., before the Honorable I. Leo Glasser at the U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 225 Cadman
Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York, Courtroom 5, to decide whether
to approve the settlement.

Deadline to Submit a Claim Form is on July 24, 2006, the
deadline to Request Exclusion from the Settlement Class is on
March 24, 2006 and the deadline to Object to the Settlement is
on May 4, 2006.

For more details, contact Time Warner Cable Settlement c/o The
Garden City Group, Inc., Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 9000
#6328, Merrick, NY 11566-9000, Phone: 1-800-291-3831, Web site:

UNITED STATES: Tribal Leaders Suggest $27.5B Settlement
Parties in a class action over the mismanagement of Indian
tribes' trust accounts suggest the case could be settled for
$27.5 billion, according to Grand Forks Herald.  Tex Hall, one
of a group of tribal chairmen, says the lowest possible
settlement is $13 billion, which represents an estimate of what
it would cost to reconstruct trust account records thoroughly.  
Congress says the amount is too high.

The trust has been so mismanaged that it is difficult to
estimate how much is owed to beneficiaries, the report said.  
The suit is filed against the U.S. Interior Department, which
manages the accounts that received income from small parcels of
land formerly occupied by the tribes.  The deal that entitled
tribes to the income from the land goes back to the late 1800s
when Indian reservations were broken up.

Tribe leaders are meeting to discuss possible changes to a
Senate Bill that aims to settle the lawsuit and change how the
trust accounts are administered.  Participants in the
discussions are Robert Cournoyer, chairman of the Yankton Sioux
tribe in South Dakota; Cecelia Fire Thunder, president of South
Dakota's Oglala Sioux tribe; and Carl Venne, chairman of
Montana's Crow Tribe.

The report, citing court filings, said the legislation would
affect about 500,000 Indian beneficiaries.  Mr. Hall and other
tribal officials estimate about 20,000 are members of the
Standing Rock Sioux, Spirit Lake Sioux, Three Affiliated Tribes
and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, which are North
Dakota's four largest tribes.

UNITED STATES: Hungarian Holocaust Survivors to Receive $21M
Initial payment for needy Hungarian survivors were distributed
on Jan. 30 as part of the United States Government's settlement
of the "Gold Train" class action lawsuit.

Earlier, on Oct. 11, 2005 the United States issued an apology
and, on December 27, paid $25.5 million as restitution for
improper conduct by American military personnel in handling
personal property of Hungarian Jewish families in the aftermath
of World War II.  The belongings, including gold, jewelry,
artwork and religious treasures, were looted in Hungary by Nazis
who shipped the valuables on a train heading West ahead of
advancing Soviet troops.  The train and its cargo were later
obtained by U.S. forces in Austria.

Attorneys said this was the first suit of its kind brought
against the United States.  Under the settlement, over the next
five years in excess of $21 million from U.S. funds will pay for
social welfare benefits to financially needy Hungarian Holocaust
survivors worldwide.  The Conference on Jewish Material Claims
Against Germany, which has substantial experience overseeing the
funding of social services for survivors under various
restitution programs, will distribute the funds to several
social agencies according to a plan approved by U.S. District
Judge Patricia A. Seitz.

The agencies will provide funding for emergency services
(medicine, food, housing, dentures, eyeglasses, food, home care,
etc.) to Hungarian survivors who are not currently receiving
adequate assistance (see list of receiving agencies below).  
Additionally, $500,000 will be allocated to an institution to
establish and compile an archive of records and artifacts
documenting the Gold Train events, as well as the fate of
Hungarian Jews in the Holocaust, no later than March 31, 2006.

"In successfully challenging the actions of the United States
and achieving this historic settlement, we overcame seemingly
insurmountable obstacles of time, distance, language and the
federal legal barrier of sovereign immunity," explained Jonathan
Cuneo of Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca in Washington, DC, the lead
counsel for the plaintiffs.

"Once the settlement was approved, disbursement of funds came
quickly, capping years of litigation and months of tough
negotiation.  While there isn't enough money in the world to
compensate Holocaust survivors for what they went through, the
government's acknowledgment of responsibility and fair, just
settlement will foster healing and bring closure to this
unfortunate episode in American history."

Mr. Cuneo continued: "Our team effort united plaintiffs,
attorneys, experts and consultants.  Once we had laid out our
strong case and mediation began, the Department of Justice and
plaintiffs' team worked in concert under the guidance and
leadership of U.S. Judge Patricia Seitz.  Members of both Houses
of Congress of both parties used their powerful voice to call
this case to the attention of senior Administration officials.  
All three branches of the U.S. government cooperated to achieve
justice for Hungarian Holocaust survivors.  This is government
at its best."  

U.S. Judge Likens Role of Plaintiffs Lawyers to de Tocqueville's

American Ideal

The suit, Irving Rosner, et. al. v. United States of America,
was filed in May 2001 on behalf of Hungarian Holocaust survivors
and their heirs in the United States District Court for Southern
Florida where many of the survivors now reside.  In approving
the settlement, presiding federal judge Patricia A. Seitz
praised attorneys for both plaintiffs and the Department of
Justice, who defended the U.S., for the quality of their legal
work and reaching "a fair and reasonable settlement in which the
whole of the compromise is better than the sum of the parts."

Moreover, in a rare expression of approbation by a sitting
federal jurist, Judge Seitz singled-out the plaintiffs attorneys
for "bringing [this case] against all odds."  She said the
lawsuit and its resolution "speaks so well of lawyers as truly
[embodying] what de Tocqueville saw lawyers contributing to our

Fred Fielding Brought Parties Together

"The government vigorously fought the Rosner suit on procedural
grounds by challenging the timing of the claims and the court's
jurisdiction," Attorney Cuneo continued.  "Eventually, however,
the judge upheld our complaint and, with the concurrence of both
parties, appointed Fred Fielding, the distinguished Washington
lawyer and former government official, to mediate resolution of
the lawsuit.  Over several months, Mr. Fielding skillfully led
us to this agreement."

Steve Berman of Hagens Berman LLC in Seattle, another attorney
representing plaintiffs, explained the impact of the case on the
survivors: "For the individual Hungarian Holocaust survivors who
worked closely with the legal team over a period of four years
to prosecute and win this lawsuit, the case engendered painful
associations and brought back deeply disturbing memories.  By
agreeing to re-open these wounds and working energetically with
us, these lead plaintiffs were the real heroes in this action."

Holocaust Survivors are the Heroes in Winning Suit

One such Holocaust survivor, Jack Rubin, lives in Boynton Beach,
Florida, followed the case closely and worked with plaintiffs'
counsel.  He explained his story and emotions: "When I was only
15 years old, we were rounded up in the Beregsasz ghetto, a
brick factory, where the Hungarian and Nazi guards handed me a
pail and made me collect everybody's cash and other valuables.  
I even had to go to my own mother and father to put their rings
and jewelry into the pail -- and all those valuables went to the
rail yard and onto the Gold Train.  I am very proud the United
States admitted it did wrong by not returning that property to
the Jewish people.  Even though it took 60 years, the Jews'
property that was taken from them is being given back to
Hungarians who need help in a real symbol of American justice."

David Mermelstein, of Miami, one of the original plaintiffs in
the case was instrumental in helping fashion the settlement.  He
is relieved funds are being disbursed so quickly: "A lot of the
Hungarian survivors in the U.S. are well into their 80s and 90s.  
Their needs have far outstripped the resources available today.
They need this help immediately and I want to express our
gratitude to the Judge, the Justice Department, and our lawyers
for getting this whole case settled in a dignified way and
making these funds available."

Another Hungarian survivor, Alex Moskovic, who lives in Hobe
Sound, Florida, also followed the litigation closely, attended
hearings and worked with plaintiffs counsel and the Justice
Department to formulate the settlement.  He said: "I am
especially pleased that the Gold Train funds are coming forth so
quickly after the settlement was finalized, because time is the
enemy of so many survivors in need.  This will be a great help
for Hungarian survivors who need additional help, as well as for
those who have needs that never came forward before."

Saga of the Gold Train

Rosner v. U.S. revolved around the saga of a trainload of looted
Hungarian Jewish assets known as the "Gold Train."  In late
1944, Nazis in Hungary forcibly confiscated property of its'
Jewish community and sent most Jews to concentration and labor
camps.  To elude invading Soviet forces, Nazis loaded the most
valuable of stolen goods on board a freight train and
transported them into Austria where the U.S. Army took the
treasures into custody in the days following the end of
hostilities on May 8, 1945.

In contravention of U.S. law and policy, high ranking Army
officers requisitioned some of the Gold Train property -- silver
ware, china, crystal, rugs, paintings and furniture -- to
furnish their villas during the occupation of Austria.  Much of
that property was never returned.  During the same period, lower
ranking G.I.s and civilian employees simply stole valuables.  
The remaining property was eventually auctioned in New York.

"Fifty years after the events, the United States Presidential
Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States issued its
Progress Report on the Hungarian Gold Train, which, for the
first time, revealed the United States' role in the handling and
disposition of Gold Train property," explained Samuel Dubbin, of
Dubbin & Kravetz, another attorney representing Gold Train

"Suddenly, Hungarian Holocaust survivors who had reason to
believe family treasures were on the Gold Train regained hope
and began contacting attorneys seeking recovery of their
property, or at least an accounting from the Government.  During
this litigation, the legal team and our experts greatly expanded
the public record on the handling of the Gold Train property.  
Now, with this settlement, the survivors, their attorneys, and
the United States Government can take pride in finally achieving
justice and putting the Gold Train behind us."

Allocations from the Hungarian Gold Train Settlement

Thus far, $4.2 million has been distributed to these 27 social
service institutions worldwide for eligible Hungarian Holocaust
survivors in financial need:


     Jewish Care - New South Wales

     Jewish Care (Victoria) Inc.


     Circle of Care

     Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors

     UIA Federations Canada

     Hungarian Jewish Social Support Foundation

     Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel

     Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania (FEDROM)

     Jewish Community of Stockholm

    United States

     Association of Jewish Service Agencies

     Bikur Cholim of Rockland County

     Blue Card Inc.

     Ferd and Gladys Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Service

     Guardians of the Sick Alliance/Bikur Cholim of Boro Park

     Jewish Community Services of South Florida

     Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Boston

     Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Philadelphia

     Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland

     Jewish Family Service for Southeast Michigan

     Jewish Family Service of Broward County Inc.

     Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles

     Jewish Family Service of Greater Hartford

     Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago

     Pesach Tikvah/ Door of Hope

     Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service of South Palm Beach
     County, Inc.

     Selfhelp Community Services Inc.

Legal Team: Jonathan Cuneo of Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca, LLP,
Washington, DC, Phone: +1-202-789-3960, Mobile: +1-202-487-8546;
or Steve Berman of Hagens Berman LLP, Seattle, WA, Phone: +1-
206-623-7292; or Samuel J.Dubbin of Dubbin & Kravetz, LPP,
Miami, FL, Phone: +1-305-357-9004; or Jeff McCord, public
relations representative of plaintiffs counsel of McCord &
Associates, Phone: +1-540-364-4769; or Hungarian Holocaust
Survivor Contact: Messrs. Rubin, Mermelstein or Moskovic, Samuel
Dubbin, Esq., Miami, Phone: +1-305-357-9004; Web site:

UNITED STATES: Food Industry May Face Obesity Suits, Report Says
Attorneys fresh from the battlefield of tobacco litigation are
laying the philosophical groundwork for a run at the obesity
epidemic in America, The OhmyNews International reports.

In a report in the January issue of the American Journal of
Preventive Medicine, authors Jess Alderman and Richard Daynard
say that although national legislation against the food industry
would be a "preferable" strategy to protect public health,
lessons from the tobacco wars suggest that effective national
legislation is currently unlikely.  

According to the authors, one of the reasons for this is that
the industry has a strong influence on the process.  They
pointed out, "Like tobacco, the food industry routinely -- and
often invisibly -- seeks to influence both legislators and
health professionals to support its agenda while ignoring its
potential impact on public health."

They further say that when it comes to individual personal
injury lawsuits against food companies, these also currently
carry a slim chance of success, as the companies are likely to
fight litigation "at every step."  The authors explains, "Losing
such a lawsuit could open the floodgates of litigation by
encouraging millions of obese Americans to file similar cases,
so it would be advantageous for the food industry to delay or
defend every such lawsuit to the fullest extent."

In addition, the authors argue that suits seeking reimbursement
from food companies for Medicaid expenses related to obesity, a
strategy used against big tobacco, is also unlikely to be
successful, as it "would be difficult to prove specific

The authors also pointed out that the food industry has a
stronger defense in such cases than tobacco firms.  "There are
over 320,000 food items on the market, and many food companies
produce both 'good' and 'bad' food; in contrast, there are only
a few kinds of tobacco products and no such thing as a 'good'
cigarette," says the report.

However, lawsuits based on consumer protection acts are likely
to be much more effective, as these avoid complicated causation
issues and focus instead on deceptive marketing tactics,
according to the report.

Specifically, the authors pointed out that marketing, which
makes non-nutritious food appealing to children could fall under
consumer protection statutes, together with false advertising,
misleading claims and unfairly taking advantage of vulnerable
consumers.  They added, "Consumer protection statutes make it
easier to demonstrate a link between corporate behavior -- for
example deceptive advertising -- and the public's direct losses
-- for example spending money on 'diet' products that actually
contribute to obesity -- because most do not require a showing
that the defendant's misbehavior caused a specific illness."

A recent example in the tobacco industry occurred when
plaintiffs were permitted to bring a class action suit against
tobacco company Philip Morris for deceptive business practices
for implying that "light" or "low tar" cigarettes were better
for consumer health.  "Class action lawsuits could make similar
claims against elements of the food industry under consumer
protection statutes," says the report, which goes on to expound,
"It is likely that litigation will be as necessary to address
the obesity problem as it was to address the dangers of

The authors concluded that a focus on public health lawsuits
under consumer protection statutes would "encourage the industry
to improve the nutritional content of its products and to change
its marketing practices."

UNITED STATES: Supreme Court May Limit Shareholder Lawsuits
The U.S. Supreme Court appeared likely to close the courtroom
door on a form of big class action lawsuit brought by investors
that business groups say would impose "enormous liability" on
American corporations, The Financial Times reports.

Oral arguments were heard recently by justices in the case
styled, "Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. v. Shadi
Dabit, No. 04-1371," which is testing whether people who hold
stocks rather than buying and selling them can be barred from
bringing big class action lawsuits claiming that they have
suffered losses because of a stock fraud.  The justices are
expected to rule on the case by the end of June.

The case before them involves, brokerage house, Merrill Lynch,
which is being sued for providing allegedly fraudulent research
during the Internet stock bubble.  The court will not be
deciding the merits of that case but a much broader issue: do
strict federal laws that impose limits on securities class
action lawsuits apply only to cases where an investor bought or
sold a stock and lost money or also to people who lose money
because they hold on to stocks that are inflated by fraud?

Congress passed a law in 1998 forcing buyers and sellers of
stocks into federal court with their big class action suits,
where federal law sets a high bar to such lawsuits.  The
question before the high court now is whether holders of
securities can bring big class actions in more plaintiff-
friendly state courts or whether Congress intended to force
these suits into federal court, too, where they are in effect

The AARP, a lobby group for retired people, says blocking such
suits would hurt older people who tend to hold stocks for the
long term.  However, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the powerful
business lobby, says such suits will "pose the danger of
enormous liability" and allow plaintiffs in effect to blackmail
companies to settle even meritless suits.

Business appeared to have several supporters among the justices.
Justice Antonin Scalia said such suits "lend themselves to abuse
much more than purchaser and seller claims", and Chief Justice
John Roberts was even more blunt. "What your clients want to do
is cash in on a fraud," he told the lawyer for the plaintiffs in
the case.  He also said, "They are just complaining that they
didn't get to sell their stock at an inflated price to somebody
else who didn't know about the fraud."

However, the plaintiffs' attorney, David Frederick, countered
that to bar such suits would allow the Company to "assert
immunity for a fraud" perpetrated against a "category of victim
of fraud who has no federal remedy."

Justice Stephen Breyer said that he was worried that permitting
such suits in state court would allow investors to circumvent
the limits imposed by federal securities laws on purchaser and
seller suits. Justice Breyer also noted that nothing would stop
them from proceeding in state court, simply by filing their
suits as holders rather than sellers.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked, "Why would Congress with
respect to this category want there to be a more plaintiff-
friendly rule than it put in place for the purchaser-seller?"

UNITED STATES: High Court Declines to Review Vatican Bank Case
The U.S. Supreme Court recently allowed Holocaust survivors on
to proceed with a lawsuit claiming that the Vatican Bank and a
Franciscan religious order profited from property stolen by
Croatia's pro-Nazi World War Two government, Reuters reports.

Essentially, the justices declined to review a ruling by a U.S.
appeals court that reinstated the lawsuit, which claimed the
Order of Friars Minor conspired with the Vatican Bank to
facilitate the transfer of gold and other looted valuable

The Holocaust survivors filed the class-action lawsuit in San
Francisco federal court back in 1999, accusing the defendants of
receiving property stolen from victims of Croatia's brutal
Ustasha regime from 1941 to 1945.  As many as 700,000 people,
mostly Serbs were killed at death camps run by the regime.

The suit claimed that the stolen property was used after the war
to help Nazi war criminals escape from Europe to South America.  
It seeks compensation for the monetary losses suffered by
Holocaust survivors.

The Vatican Bank, the financial arm of the Roman Catholic
Church, and the religious order founded by St. Francis of Assisi
denied the claims.

In 2003, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds
that the claims involved questions that should be handled by the
executive or legislative branches of the U.S. government, not by
the courts.

However, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and
ruled the case could go forward, even if the claims involved
foreign relations and potentially controversial issues.  

In essence, the federal appeals court decision reversed a lower
court ruling that had dismissed the case on grounds that foreign
policy rather than lawsuits should address such historical
claims.  In its ruling the three-judge panel pointed out that
some of the plaintiffs' key claims such as ones relating to lost
and looted property did not fall under the political question
doctrine. They also pointed out that even the U.S. Supreme Court
has left open the door to lawsuits that touch upon foreign
diplomacy.  In addition the panel wrote in it's ruling, "We
conclude that some of the claims are barred by the political
question doctrine and some of the claims are justifiable.
Although the parties have multiple procedural and substantive
challenges to overcome down the road, they are entitled to their
day - or years - in court on the justifiable claims," (Class
Action Reporter, April 20, 2005)

Attorneys for the Order of Friars Minor and Vatican Bank then
appealed to the Supreme Court arguing that resolution of
Holocaust-era claims was an issue of foreign relations
constitutionally committed to the political branches of the U.S.
government not the courts.

The Vatican Bank's attorneys even argued that the appeals
court's ruling threatened, "to disrupt the nation's foreign

But, attorneys for the Holocaust survivors replied that the
appeal to the nation's highest court should be rejected.  They
pointed out that there were "no compelling reasons or
extraordinary circumstances" warranting high court review of the
case.  In addition, attorneys argued that judicial review of
wartime property losses does not pose any threat to U.S. foreign

After hearing both sides' arguments, the Supreme Court rejected
the appeals without any comment or recorded dissent.

The suit is styled, "Alperin et al v. Vatican Bank et al, Case
No. 3:99-cv-04941-MMC," filed in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of California under Judge Maxine M. Chesney,
with referral to Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte.  Representing the
Plaintiff/s are, K. Lee Boyd of Pepperdine University Law School
24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90263, Phone: (310) 317-
7684; and Thomas Easton of Law office of Thomas Easton, 2890
Emerald St., Eugene, OR 97403, Phone: 541-344-6111, E-mail:
tom.easton@comcast.net.  Representing the Defendant/s are,
Jeffrey Stanley Lena, 1152 Keith Ave., Berkeley, CA 94708,
Phone: 510-665-1713, E-mail: jlena@sbcglobal.net; and Ronald
Edward Mallen of Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP, One California
Street, 18th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94111-1826, Phone: (415)
362-6000, Fax: (415) 834-9070, E-mail: rmallen@hinshawlaw.com.

UTAH: Judge Plans Feb. Ruling on Suit over Services for Disabled
A federal judge in Utah expects to decide by the end of February
2006 whether the state's lengthy waiting list for disabled
residents seeking aid violates federal laws, The Salt Lake
Tribune reports.

At a recent hearing, an attorney representing disabled Utahns,
asked U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball to order the state to
come up with a plan to provide help "at a reasonable pace."  
Some people have been on the waiting list for services for years
and now are at risk of being institutionalized as they lose
basic skills and their conditions deteriorate, according to
Robert Denton.

Mr. Denton told the judge in the closing arguments on a class-
action lawsuit that claims the wait for services is
discriminatory, "There has to be more of an effort."  He adds,
"The defendants have to break the logjam."

Craig Barlow, who represents the state and its Division of
Services for People with Disabilities (DSPD), contended that
there is no evidence showing any plaintiff is in danger of being
institutionalized or of any discrimination.  He told the judge
"The plaintiffs have proved at most they must wait for

The suit, filed in December 2002 by the Salt Lake City-based
Disability Law Center, alleges that requiring people with mental
retardation or other conditions to wait for support services
from the state violates federal law.  The waiting list had 448
people in 1990 but now has 1,750, according to Mr. Denton.

The Disability Law Center's lawsuit obtained class action status
recently, which lists six lead plaintiffs representing the
class.  It includes a 45-year old man with Down syndrome, who
has been on the waiting list since 1996.  Qualified residents on
the waiting list for services, therefore, may benefit should the
suit succeed (Class Action Reporter, Jan. 27, 2006).  

The state though denies the allegations and says that
developmentally disabled people with the greatest need are
served first.  Budget limitations make it impossible to
eliminate the wait, officials say.

DSPD has a budget of about $167 million and served about 4,250
people last year.  Mr. Barlow pointed out that the triage system
of ranking who gets assistance first is "competent,
comprehensive and legal."

In response to a question by Judge Kimball on how the
availability of money affects his case, Mr. Denton said that
funding is a separate issue.  If the state is ordered to modify
how it assists disabled residents, "then we can only hope the
Legislature will respond in an appropriate fashion," he said.

After hearing from both sides, the judge took the case under
consideration and said he will issue a ruling next month

The suit is styled, "D.C., et al v. Betit, et al, Case No. 2:02-
cv-01395-DAK," filed U.S. District Court for the District of
Utah under Judge Dale A. Kimball.  Representing the plaintiff/s
is Robert B. Denton of DISABILITY LAW CENTER, 205 N. 400 W. 1ST
FL., SALT LAKE CITY, UT 84103, Phone: (801) 363-1347, E-mail:
rdenton@disabilitylawcenter.org.  Representing the Defendant/s
is Craig L. Barlow of UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFC (5272), 5272
S. COLLEGE DR., STE. 200, MURRAY, UT 84123, Phone: (801) 281-
1222, E-mail: CRBarlow@utah.gov.

WELLS FARGO: CA Appeals Court Reinstates Suit over ATM Charges
The Fourth District Court of Appeal in California ruled in the
case styled, "Smith v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 06 S.O.S. 425"
that federal law does not preempt a claim that a national bank
violated state law by imposing overdraft fees on consumers who
used their ATM cards for purchases that exceeded their available
funds, The Metropolitan News-Enterprise reports.

In an opinion by Justice Alex C. McDonald, which was filed on
Dec. 29 and certified recently for publication, Div. One
reinstated a putative class action against Wells Fargo Bank by a
customer who claimed the bank committed a deceptive business
practice when it failed to properly notify him that he would be
subject to the fees.  Essentially, the appellate panel concluded
that San Diego Superior Court Judge Ronald Prager erred in
summarily rejecting plaintiff Sean M. Smith claims on preemption
grounds and on the basis of the judge's conclusion that the bank
adequately disclosed its practices.

In opposition to the bank's motions, Mr. Smith presented
evidence that the consumer disclosure statement he received when
opening his account in 1997 required him to abide by all changes
in the bank's fee schedule and required the bank "to notify the
first signer of the account in advance of any such fee change."
At the time, it was the Company's practice to decline any ATM
card transaction if there were insufficient funds in the account
to cover it.  

That practice was in contrast with the policy regarding paper
checks, where the bank retained the option of honoring the check
under an existing overdraft protection agreement with the
customer, honoring the check without an existing agreement and
charging the overdraft fee, or returning the check for
insufficient funds and charging an NSF fee.  Mr. Smith presented
evidence that the check policy was extended to point-of-sale
transactions using ATM cards in 2002 after the bank concluded it
could earn between $120 million and $145 million a year from
overdraft fees of about $30 on ATM transactions.

Responding to the presented evidence, the bank pointed out that
it notified Mr. Smith and other customers of the change by
enclosing a notice with monthly account statements in March
2002.  The Company adds that it implemented the new procedures
in May of that year, just seven months before Mr. Smith filed

Mr. Smith alleged that the Company violated the unfair
competition law, the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, and the false
and misleading advertising law by implementing the change
unilaterally and with inadequate notice, and without allowing
cardholders the option of canceling "this overdraft protection
though the amount of the per transaction fee was never
requested, agreed to, or disclosed to the checking account
holder[s] when they were provided" with the card.

Writing for the Court of Appeal, Justice McDonald said that the
trial judge was wrong in interpreting certain regulations of the
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as preempting state
law with respect to Mr. Smith's claims.  While OCC regulations
establish disclosure requirements for changes in fees charged by
national banks, he explained that nothing in the regulations or
in the legislation authorizing them expresses an intent to bar
enforcement of state laws where the state's requirements do not
conflict with those of the OCC.

In this case, Justice McDonald noted that the plaintiff alleges
that the bank violated OCC regulations and that those violations
also constitute unlawful practices under state statutes, so no
conflict exists.  The justice went on to say that the adequacy
of the disclosures is a disputed factual question that should
not have been resolved by summary adjudication.

WAL-MART STORES: California Customers File Overcharging Suit
A consumer class action alleging overcharging is filed in the
U.S. District Court, Central District of California against Wal-
Mart Stores.

The suit was filed on behalf of plaintiffs:

     (1) Elma Casillas of West Covina, California;

     (2) Aislinn Cannaday of Anderson, California; and

     (3) all other similarly situated persons as well as the
         general public.

It claims that Wal-Mart continually engaged in a practice of
overcharging its customers.  Most often this overcharging takes
the form of a discrepancy in prices as marked at the shelf, on
flyers, etc., and those that are scanned at the register.

Citing a study conducted in May 2005 jointly by the UIC Center
for Urban Economic Development and the University of California-
Berkley, the complaint states that the percentage of Wal-Mart
overcharges is significant.  For example, in California, Wal-
Mart is said to overcharge its customers 3.9% of the time.

According to Edward A. Wallace, attorney for the plaintiffs in
this case: "These overcharges often go undetected by the
consumer or are deemed too insignificant to contest once the
consumer realizes the discrepancy.  As a result, Wal-Mart
garners millions of dollars in additional revenue."

Mr. Wallace said that numerous state regulatory agencies
throughout the U.S. have previously cited or fined Wal-Mart as a
result of its practice of overcharging customers.  The filed
document asks the court to stop Wal-Mart from the practice of
overcharging consumers.

                Meetings, Conferences & Seminars

* Scheduled Events for Class Action Professionals

February 2-3, 2006
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Battery Park, New York
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

February 9, 2006
The Ritz-Carlton Battery Park New York
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

February 13-14, 2006
Mealey Publications
The Westin Hotel Philadelphia
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

February 13-14, 2006
Mealey Publications
The Westin Hotel Philadelphia
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

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

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

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

March 06, 2006
Mealey Publications
The Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey, CA
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

March 9-10, 2006
Mealey Publications
Las Colinas Four Seasons, Dallas, Texas
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

March 23-24, 2006
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Boston
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

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

March 29-30, 2006
American Conference Institute
Contact: 1-888-224-2480 or customercare@americanconference.com

March 30, 2006
Mealey Publications
Grand Hyatt, New York
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

April 5-6, 2006
American Conference Institute
New York
Contact: 1-888-224-2480 or customercare@americanconference.com

April 5-8, 2006
Mealey Publications
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Scottsdale, AZ
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

April 10, 2006
Mealey Publications
W Chicago Lakeshore
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

April 24-25, 2006
Mealey Publications
Hyatt Regency, Chicago
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

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

April 27-28, 2006
American Conference Institute
San Francisco
Contact: 1-888-224-2480 or customercare@americanconference.com

May 1-2, 2006
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton (Arlington St.) Boston
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

May 8-9, 2006
Mealey Publications
The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, FL
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

May 8-9, 2006
The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, FL
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

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

June 5-6, 2006
The Ritz-Carlton (Arlington St.) Boston
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

September 28-30, 2006
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

November 2-3, 2006
Washington, D.C.
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

November 30-December 1, 2006
New Orleans
Contact: 215-243-1614; 800-CLE-NEWS x1614

* Online Teleconferences

February 01-28, 2006
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

February 01-28, 2006
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

February 01-28, 2006
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

February 01-28, 2006
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

February 01-28, 2006
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

February 01-28, 2006
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

February 01-28, 2006
Contact: 512-778-5665; info@cleonline.com

February 7, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

February 9, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

February 15, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

February 16, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

March 1, 2006

Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

March 7, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

March 16, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

March 28, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

March 30, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

April 11, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

April 18, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

April 26, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

May 4, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

May 16, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

May 18, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

May 23, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

June 6, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

June 15, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

June 20, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

July 13, 2006
Contact: 1-800-MEALEYS; 610-768-7800;

CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

CEB Online
Contact: customer_service@ceb.ucop.edu or 1-800-232-3444

Online Streaming Video
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

Online Streaming Video
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

Online Streaming Video
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

Big Class Action
Contact: seminars@bigclassaction.com

Online Streaming Video
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

Online Streaming Video
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

Online Streaming Video
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com  

Big Class Action
Contact: seminars@bigclassaction.com

Online Streaming Video
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

LawCommerce.Com / Law Education Institute
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

Online Streaming Video
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

Online Streaming Video
Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com

Contact: customerservice@lawcommerce.com  

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.


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


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 and Teena Canson, Editors.

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

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

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

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

                  * * *  End of Transmission  * * *