CAR_Public/060215.mbx             C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

           Wednesday, February 15, 2006, Vol. 8, No. 32


ARMOR HOLDINGS: Clearwater Police Dept. Joins Body Armor Lawsuit
BARR PHARMACEUTICALS: Responds to Plaintiffs' Rehearing Motion
CANADA: Trial on Suit by British Fathers' Rights Group Delayed
DANIER LEATHER: Plaintiffs Appeal Dismissal of IPO Litigation
DIEBOLD INC: Scott+Scott Applies as Lead Plaintiff in Ohio Suit

DUPONT CO.: Lubeck Officials Submit Proposal for C-8 Filtration
FANNIE MAE: Judge Upholds Securities Suit v. Exec, Report Says
FRONT SIGHT: Has Until March to Comply with Fire Safety Code
GENERAL MOTORS: Challenger Says Case Vital for Workers, Retirees
HEBRON AUTO: Ky. Couple Files Lawsuit Over "Car Kiting" Scheme

INDIAN TRUST: Interior Department Ordered to Pay Cobell Lawyers
MICHIGAN: Ex-UM Student Sues Over Demeaning of Native Americans
MURPY OIL: La. Judge Allows Homeowners to Opt Out of Spill Suit
NETFLIX INC: Some Customers Dissatisfied with $4.4M Settlement
OHIO: Lawyer Seeks to Include Thousands in Traffic Camera Suit

OKLAHOMA: Settlement Funds in 1998 Tobacco MSA Continue to Grow
OREGON: PERS Complaint Could Affect Current Employees' Pension
TELSTRA GROUP: Hearing on AU$300M Securities Fraud Suit Begins
TYSON FOODS: Awaits Okla. Court's Decision on Grand Lake Lawsuit
TYSON FOODS: Plaintiffs Ask Third Circuit Court for Rehearing

TYSON FOODS: Plaintiffs Oppose Dismissal Motion for Del. Lawsuit
UNITED STATES: IRS Faces Litigation over Telephone Excise Tax
UNITED STATES: EEOC Says Workplace Complaints Fell Again in 2005
UNITED STATES: Report Says Workplace Suits Outnumber Other Cases
UNITED STATES: Stockbrokers Launch Federal Overtime Pay Lawsuits

VISA/MASTERCARD: Discover Cuts "Surcharge" Rule to Escape Suit
WAL-MART STORES: Wants Court to Junk Jonquiere Harassment Suit
WASHINGTON: Naselle Local Files Initiative Targeting Union Dues
WASHINGTON: Seattle Attorney Appointed as Grant County's Monitor
WASHINGTON MUTUAL: Court Okays Debt Collection Suit Settlement

WYETH INC: CFO Hopes to Settle Mass of "Fen-Phen" Suits by 2008
* ISS to Host International Forum on Securities Fraud Suits

                 Meetings, Conferences & Seminars

* Scheduled Events for Class Action Professionals
* Online Teleconferences

                 New Securities Fraud Cases  

DOT HILL: Federman & Sherwood Lodges Securities Suit in Calif.
LAFARGE NORTH: Bernstein Liebhard Lodges Securities Suit in Md.
PROQUEST COMPANY: Goldman Scarlato Lodges Mich. Securities Suit
PROQUEST COMPANY: Lerach Coughlin Files Securities Suit in Mich.
TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE: Roy Jacobs Files Fiduciaries Suit in Del.

TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Lawsuit in N.Y.


ARMOR HOLDINGS: Clearwater Police Dept. Joins Body Armor Lawsuit
The Clearwater Police Department will join a federal class
action lawsuit filed in Oklahoma against Armor Holdings Inc., a
manufacturer of Zylon bullet-resistant vests, The Tampa Bay
Newspapers reports.

Several police departments nationwide joined the suit
questioning the safety of the vests after a California police
officer was fatally shot while wearing a Zylon vest.

While Clearwater police officials do not feel that the vests
present an imminent danger to the city's officers, they have
joined the lawsuit in hopes of getting a $105,391 credit toward
the purchase of upgraded vests.

BARR PHARMACEUTICALS: Responds to Plaintiffs' Rehearing Motion
Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc. filed a response with the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the Second Circuit on the plaintiffs' motion for
a rehearing of their appeal for the tamoxifen citrate antitrust

Approximately 31 consumer or third-party payor class action
complaints were filed in state and federal courts against
Zeneca, Inc., AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals L.P. and the Company
alleging, among other things, that the 1993 settlement of patent
litigation between Zeneca and the Company violated the antitrust
laws, insulated Zeneca and the Company from generic competition
and enabled Zeneca and the Company to charge artificially
inflated prices for tamoxifen citrate.

A prior investigation of this agreement by the U.S. Department
of Justice was closed without further action.  On May 19, 2003,
the U.S. District Court dismissed the complaints for failure to
state a viable antitrust claim.  

On November 2, 2005, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second
Circuit affirmed the District Court's order dismissing the cases
for failure to state a viable antitrust claim.  On November 30,
2005, Plaintiffs petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Second Circuit for a rehearing en banc.  

The Court of Appeals directed the Company to file a response to
Plaintiffs' petition, which the Company submitted on January 26,
2006.  The Court has not yet ruled on the merits of the

CANADA: Trial on Suit by British Fathers' Rights Group Delayed
A Feb. 13 hearing on the suit filed by U.K.-based "Fathers for
Justice" against Quebec's attorney general and the bar
association was postponed, according to 940 News.  The report
did not mention a future date for the trial.  

The fathers' rights group is claiming unfair treatment of
fathers by the justice system.  It is seeking class status for
their suit.  After the delay of the trial, they want the judge
hearing the case to recuse himself due to conflict of interest.

The group is well-known in Britain for pulling off stunts at the
very heart of the British government, grabbing headlines and
embarrassing security forces, according to ABC News.  In the 940
News report, its spokesman revealed plans to file other class-
action suits against the Women's Federation of Quebec, the
Quebec Association of Police Chiefs and the Department of Youth

DANIER LEATHER: Plaintiffs Appeal Dismissal of IPO Litigation
Danier Leather Inc. said it was advised of a motion filed with
the Supreme Court of Canada seeking to appeal the dismissal of a
class action relating to the Company's initial public offering.

Jeffrey Wortsman, President and Chief Executive Officer of
Danier Leather Inc., said: "This application comes as no
surprise.  Plaintiffs' legal counsel had indicated in December
that they would seek leave to appeal the Ontario Court of
Appeal's ruling.  We will oppose this application and believe it
should be dismissed.  We believe that the Court of Appeal's
decision was correct and that the plaintiffs have not raised any
issues concerning it which merit review by the Supreme Court of

                         Case Background

The Ontario Court of Appeal allowed its appeal from the May 2004
judgment of the Superior Court of Justice (Ontario) in the
matter of a class action concerning the Company's initial public
offering in 1998 (Class Action Reporter, Dec. 19, 2005).

In its unanimous decision, a panel of the Court of Appeal
allowed the appeal on three separate grounds, set aside the
trial decision and dismissed the class action.  The decision
stated that the Danier Leather met its statutory disclosure
obligations during the IPO process.  It noted that the Company's
achievement of its financial forecast was a relevant
consideration.  And it stated that greater deference should have
been accorded the business judgment of the Company's senior
management, judgment that turned out to be correct (Class Action
Reporter, Dec. 19, 2005).  

Danier Leather Inc. (CA:DLSV) -- is an  
integrated designer, manufacturer, and retailer of high-quality
leather and suede clothing and accessories.

For more details, contact Investor Relations Contact: Danier
Leather Inc. Jeffrey Wortsman President and Chief Executive
Officer, Phone: (416) 762-8175 ext. 302, Fax: (416) 762-7408, E-
mail:; and Danier Leather Inc. Bryan Tatoff
Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, Phone:
(416) 762-8175 ext. 328, Fax: (416) 762-6072, E-mail:

DIEBOLD INC: Scott+Scott Applies as Lead Plaintiff in Ohio Suit
Scott+Scott, LLC, which initiated on Dec. 13, 2005 the first
securities fraud class action against Diebold, Inc. and certain
of its officers and directors, is filing a Motion for Lead
Plaintiff and Lead Counsel.

The action is pending in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Ohio (No. 05CV2873).  The Class is defined
in the complaint drafted by Scott+Scott as those who purchased
Diebold securities between October 22, 2003, and September 21,
2005, inclusive.

On February 7, 2006, M.R. Kropko, an Associated Press business
writer quoted Diebold CEO Thomas Swidarski as stating: "there's
pieces and aspects of each of our businesses that I'm going to
be looking at with a very critical eye in terms of what the
future holds for us."  Mr. Kropko also wrote in his article that
"Diebold's former chairman and CEO, Walden O'Dell, resigned Dec.
12 after several years of controversy surrounding Diebold's
touch-screen voting machines and O'Dell's financial
contributions to President Bush's campaign."

The complaint alleges that defendants violated provisions of the
U.S. securities laws, causing artificial inflation of the
Company's stock price.  According to the complaint, during the
Class Period, the Company lacked a credible state of internal
controls and corporate compliance and remained unable to assure
the quality and working order of its voting machine products.

It is further alleged that the Company's false and misleading
statements served to conceal the dimensions and scope of
internal problems at the Company, impacting product quality,
strategic planning, forecasting and guidance and culminating in
false representations of astonishingly low and incredibly
inaccurate restructuring charges for the 2005 fiscal year, which
grossly understated the true costs and problems defendants faced
to restructure the Company.  The complaint also alleges over
$2.7 million of insider trading proceeds obtained by individual
defendants during the Class Period.

Finally, investors learned the truth about the adverse impact of
the Company's alleged defective and deficient inventory-related
controls and systems on Diebold's financial performance.  As a
result of defendants' shocking news and disclosures of September
21, 2005, the price of Diebold shares plunged 15.5% on unusually
high volume, falling from $44.37 per share on September 20,
2005, to $37.47 per share on September 21, 2005, for a one-day
drop of $6.90 per share on volume of 6.1 million shares --
nearly eight times the average daily trading volume.  The stock
is currently trading at about $39.04.

For more information, contact Scott+Scott partner David R.
Scott; E-mail:; Phone:t 800/404-7770 or
800/332-2259; Diebold on the Net:;E-

DUPONT CO.: Lubeck Officials Submit Proposal for C-8 Filtration
Lubeck Public Service Commissioners voted recently to submit to
DuPont Co.'s attorneys, a proposal for the water filtration
system intended to filter out C-8.  They want to ascertain
Dupont shoulder the future costs of the filter, according to
WTAP News.

Under last year's settlement of a class action against Dupont,
the firm is paying for the filter until the agreement ends,
which depends on findings by a scientific review board on the
effects of C-8 on humans.  The study is expected to last several

Though the long-term effects of C8 on people are unknown, the
screenings and analysis will try to determine if the chemical
has any link to cancer, heart disease and birth defects, (Class
Action Reporter, Jan. 19, 2006).

DuPont, which manufactures Teflon and has used the chemical for
more than 50 years, says there is no evidence that PFOA is
harmful to humans.

FANNIE MAE: Judge Upholds Securities Suit v. Exec, Report Says
A federal judge refused to dismiss a class action alleging
securities fraud against three former Fannie Mae top executives,
a short statement accompanying Dow Jones's list of U.S. hot
stocks to watch on Feb. 13 says.

                 District of Columbia Litigation

In a March 30, 2005 issue of Class Action Reporter the law
office of Frank J. Johnson is reported to have commenced a
securities fraud class action lawsuit in District of Columbia
federal court on behalf of those persons and entities who
purchased "call" options or sold "put" options in the common
stock of Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae)
(NYSE:FNM) between April 17, 2001 and September 22, 2004.

The report said a consolidated class action was previously filed
in District of Columbia federal court on behalf of purchasers of
Fannie Mae common stock during this same period, but excluded
option traders (Class Action Reporter, March 30, 2005).

After an extensive investigation into Fannie Mae's accounting
practices, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight
(OFHEO) and the Securities and Exchange Commission uncovered
serious improprieties in Fannie Mae's 2001 through mid-2004
financial statements.  The OFHEO and SEC have ordered Fannie Mae
to restate those financial statements in accordance with
generally accepted accounting principles.  As a result, Fannie
Mae was to restate approximately $12 billion in revenue for this
period (Class Action Reporter, March 30, 2005).

The Complaint alleges that Fannie Mae and its top officers
violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities and Exchange
Act of 1934. Defendants issued numerous public statements in
which they misrepresented or failed to disclose the true picture
of Fannie Mae's financial condition (Class Action Reporter,
March 30, 2005).

                         Ohio Litigation

In a Jan. 18, 2005 issue of the Class Action Reporter the state
of Ohio is reported to have been named lead plaintiff in a class
action lawsuit on behalf of shareholders of the Federal National
Mortgage Association, better known as Fannie Mae.
According to Attorney General Jim Petro, being lead plaintiff
will give the state more control over the conduct of the
lawsuit, which claims that Fannie Mae's investors lost money
after the company's management used improper accounting
practices to inflate the company's stock (Class Action Reporter,
Jan. 18, 2005).

The company said it would have to restate earnings since 2001,
which might lead to as much as $9 billion in losses.  Fannie
Mae's stock tanked after losses came to light, Mr. Petro said
(Class Action Reporter, Jan. 18, 2005).

The attorney general filed the suit on behalf of Ohio's public
pension funds, which invested in Fannie Mae.  The class action
suit was open to anyone who invested in Fannie Mae between
October 11, 2000 and September 22, 2004.  He had launched an
investigation into Fannie Mae in September, after suing the
Federal Home Mortgage Co., or Freddie Mae, in 2003.  Both
companies are federally chartered corporations that provide
money for home loans (Class Action Reporter, Jan. 18, 2005).

FRONT SIGHT: Has Until March to Comply with Fire Safety Code
The class action against Southern Nevada shooting range, Front
Sight Firearms Training Institute, is moving forward, according
to KLASTV.  As it moves, new details about the facility and its
safety are being revealed.  It turned out the center has yet to
comply with fire safety standards.

The Fire Marshal's office has issued it temporary permits
beginning 2004 to continue using classroom while it installs
fire suppression system; but the center failed to meet its
target three times and three times the fire marshal has supplied
another permit, according to the report.

Under the law a 500-person classroom should have a complete fire
suppression system including sprinklers, additional water
storage tanks and fire pumps to support the water flow.

Jason Crosby, an engineer with the Nevada Fire Marshal's office,
said: "They did not comply with the letter of the schedule of
compliance but they did make progress.  They were not completely
ignoring me, so therefore I was willing to work with them. It
does no good to shut down a facility, it only causes more
problems."  Front Sight has until Mar. 31 to finish the job
under its latest temporary use permit.

Engineer Ed Kaminski, a fire protection consultant said under
industry standard Front Sight should have been given only 90
days to get up to code.

                         RICO Litigation

Front Sight is facing a class action filed in federal court by
at least three of its members, according to The Pahrump Valley
Times (Class Action Reporter, Nov. 23, 2005).

The suit is filed against founder Ignatius Piazza and Front
Sight Management Incorporated.  It demands jury trial under the
Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
Stacy James and Michael Schriber of Southern California and Bill
Haag, who maintains a residence in Pahrump, filed the suit in
California, where Front Sight is headquartered (Class Action
Reporter, Nov. 23, 2005).

The 26-page complaint against Front Sight centers on membership
benefits and promises. At the organization's inception in 1998,
memberships were sold to fund construction of shooting ranges.
Free classes for life with memberships that could be willed to
family members were attractive to gun owners who sought
professional training.  Additional benefits like home sites were
promised for higher priced memberships (Class Action Reporter,
Nov. 23, 2005).

Certificates to give away to family and friends or sell at
discounted prices have always been part of the allure for
joining the Front Sight First Family membership program. In
fact, it is possible to recoup the full cost of a basic
membership by selling certificates.  However, Bill Haag paid
$175,000 for a platinum VIP membership that includes a one-acre
home site and has waited years to build his home on the range on
property that as yet has no road, power, water or sewer service.
Thus he opted to file suit on behalf of any one of the 3,000
students who feel Front Sight has deceived them (Class Action
Reporter, Nov. 23, 2005).  

However, Mr. Piazza, the founder and president of Front Sight
Management told The Pahrump Valley Times there were a number of
problems that slowed down the development of the "unique

GENERAL MOTORS: Challenger Says Case Vital for Workers, Retirees
The legal dispute between General Motors Corp. (GM), the United
Auto Workers (UAW) and retirees over health care coverage is
more than an internal fight, according to the man who is taking
GM and the UAW to court, The Lansing State Journal reports.

Everyone should be concerned, echoes Leroy McKnight, who adds
that if the Company can change retiree benefits any company can,
and no one's retirement benefits will be safe.  He told The
Lansing State Journal, "This sets a precedent for the future
taking of real money.  Everyone should be watching this."

Mr. McKnight is challenging a class-action lawsuit brought by
the UAW and some GM retirees that would make the GM-UAW
agreement applicable to all hourly GM retirees.  Basically, he
is trying to unseat the current plaintiffs as the class
representative for retirees, a step that would allow him to
fight legally to have an agreement voided that would force
retirees to pay as much as $752 a year in health care premiums
and deductibles.

Previously, the Company and the UAW jointly filed a motion in
Michigan federal court that asks a judge to approve their recent
healthcare settlement, which would curtail benefits for 500,000
retirees, surviving spouses and dependents.  The request comes
in response to a lawsuit filed last October 18, 2005 by the UAW
and several retirees, which asks to be recognized as a class
action and challenges GM's assertion that it has the right to
change or terminate retiree benefits unilaterally.  In additon,
GM consents in the court filings to UAW's petition to be
recognized as a class, (Class Action Reporter, Dec. 20, 2005).

According to Mr. McKnight's attorney, Mark Baumkel, he believes
that his client has a case.  And that at least one legal expert
sees a chance for success.

Paul Secunda, a professor at the University of Mississippi
School of Law in Oxford, Miss., told The Lansing State Journal
that until now, court precedent made it hard for companies to
change benefits for people who already retired from unionized
workplaces.  Unless otherwise stated in a labor contract,
benefits promised to retirees that are to endure until their
deaths cannot easily be changed.  An exception is made if a
company files for bankruptcy protection.  He told The Lansing
State Journal, "My personal opinion is that the retirees still
have the right to benefits promised to them, depending on the
contract they retired under."

Mr. Secunda goes on to say that legal decisions also stated that
unions couldn't bargain on behalf of current retirees. He also
believes that the UAW-GM agreement on retiree benefits is on
questionable legal ground.  "I don't think (the UAW) can do
that. They don't represent retirees," says Mr. Secunda, who
added, "My personal opinion is that retirees might have a claim
against the UAW and against the company."

Mr. McKnight hopes retirees will do exactly that.  He wants
retirees to support his bid to become class representative and
to object to the union-company agreement.  Those who want to
object can do so by contacting his attorney, Mr. Baumkel, at his
office in Bingham Farms.

Mr. Baumkel told The Lansing State Journal that even people who
have never been GM employees should take an interest in the
case.  If the health care pact is approved, it could become a
precedent-setting case.  He explains that if that it would mean
that anyone who expects retiree benefits could have them taken

The suit is styled, "United Automobile, Aerospace and
Agricultural Implement Workers of America et al v. General
Motors Corporation, Case No. 2:05-cv-73991-RHC-VMM," filed in
the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan,
under Judge Robert H. Cleland with referral to Judge Virginia M.
Morgan.  Representing the Plaintiff/s are, William T. Payne,
1007 Mt. Royal Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15223, US, Phone: 412-492-
5797, Fax: 412-492-8978, E-mail:; and
Michael F. Saggau and Daniel W. Sherrick of International Union,
UAW (Detroit), 8000 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit, MI 48214, US,
Phone: 313-926-5216, Fax: 313-926-5240, E-mail:  

Representing the Defendant/s are, Richard C. Godfrey of Kirkland
& Ellis (Chicago), 200 E. Randolph Drive, Suite 6000, Chicago,
IL 60601, Phone: 312-861-2391; and Francis S. Jaworski and
Edward W. Risko of General Motors Legal Staff, 400 Renaissance
Center, P.O. Box 400, Detroit, MI 48265-4000.

For more details, contact Mark S. Baumkel, Bingham Office Park,
30200 Telegraph Rd., Ste. 200, Bingham Farms, MI 48025, Phone:
(800) 288-9080 ext.211, Fax: (248) 642-6661, E-mail:

HEBRON AUTO: Ky. Couple Files Lawsuit Over "Car Kiting" Scheme
A Hebron, Kentucky couple claiming to be one of dozens of
victims of an alleged "car kiting" scheme initiated a class
action lawsuit against Hebron Auto Sales, its officers, and
Credit Acceptance Corp. of Southfield, Michigan, The reports.

Vince and Jessica Childers allege that they, along with at least
59 other customers, purchased used automobiles from Hebron Auto
Sales for which the dealership did not have title. The couple
alleges that dealership kept the money, but did not give the car
titles to the purchasers.  In addition, the Childerses allege
that Credit Acceptance Corp. assisted in the scheme by making
cash advances on vehicles prior to Hebron Auto Sales holding
valid title.

The suit, filed in Boone County Circuit Court, seeks class-
action status, which could allow other former Hebron customers
to become involved.  It is seeking for customers' vehicle titles
to be cleared by the defendants, as well as unspecified punitive
and incidental damages.  

A report by reveals that as of February 8, 2006 about
40 former Hebron customers are looking to join the class action.  
Brandon Voelker, the attorney for the couple, told that
after his client filed the lawsuit his office was flooded with
phone calls.  Mr. Childress has been getting at least four phone
calls a day from CAC and his attorney will ask a judge to stop
the calls.

INDIAN TRUST: Interior Department Ordered to Pay Cobell Lawyers
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the
Department of the Interior to pay attorneys' fees and expenses
that accumulated in the ongoing "Cobell v. Norton" case, The
Indian Country Today reports.

The total amount that the U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth
said must be paid is more than $7 million.  That money will come
out of Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Interior accounts, and
will affect tribal programs.

The class action involves 500,000 Native Americans who are
asking the Interior Department to account for the billions of
dollars in their ancestors' land and natural resource assets the
federal government has held in trust since 1887.  The issue of
how to determine what is owed the Indians has gone back and
forth from Judge Lamberth to the appeals court repeatedly during
the last 10 years, (Class Action Reporter, Dec. 21, 2005).

Filed in 1996 by Blackfeet Indian Elouise Cobell, the case
became the longest and largest class action suit brought against
the government, involves royalties for farming, grazing, mining,
logging and other economic activities on tribal lands.  The suit
dates back to the 1880s, when the government, trying to break up
reservations, "allotted" some Indian lands, giving 40 to 160
acres to some individual Native Americans.  Back then the
government leased the lands for oil, gas, timber, grazing and
coal, and collected the fees to put into trust funds for Indians
and their survivors, (Class Action Reporter, Dec. 21, 2005).

On Jan. 26, Interior Associate Deputy Secretary James Cason sent
a letter to tribes notifying them that the court-mandated legal
fee payment sent to Ms. Cobell's attorneys on Jan. 18 would
adversely affect tribal programs.  He detailed where the $7
million would come from to forewarn them that some of their
expectations might not be met this year.

The largest impact will be in the area of historical accounting,
with a contribution of $2 million.  That area, which focuses on
identifying the rightful owners of special deposit accounts, was
chosen because it would not be as difficult to move the work to
a later and more protracted timeline.  "It's a matter of do we
get them done this year or next year," according to Mr. Cason

Mr. Cason pointed out that tribal attorneys who expect payment
for work they have done for the Interior or BIA on water rights,
boundary disputes or other issues may not be paid this year.  
Most of that work is performed by the Justice Department, but
from time to time tribal attorneys are asked to step in.

In numerous cases such as this, lawyers would do a lot of
background work to make sure attorneys' fees would not be
reimbursed out of tribal funds, John Dossett, general counsel
for the National Congress of American Indians told The Indian
Country Today.  He explains, "In this case, none of that was
done. I don't see [where] that happened.  Tribes are concerned
that money will come out of tribal programs, and it's clearly
not what that fund is for."

Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D. and member of the Senate Committee on
Indian Affairs, wrote in a response to Mr. Cason's letter, "I
understand the Court's Order disturbed funding expectations,
however, the inflammatory letter sent was an entirely
unnecessary and inappropriate attempt to undermine the
relationship between tribes and tribal members involved in the
`Cobell v. Norton' case.  It is my sincere hope that the
Department revisits this decision and finds an adequate solution
that fulfills its obligations to the first Americans."

National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Joe
Garcia called for a fair settlement to be negotiated soon and in
good faith.  During the annual State of the Indian Nations
address on Jan. 30, Mr. Garcia said that the decision to take
funds from the BIA budget to comply with court orders to pay
attorneys' fees "impedes our progress as tribal governments on
nearly all other issues."  He pointed out, "Every year, the BIA
budget gets cut.  Every year we see somewhere from $100 million
to $150 million taken out and moved over to Office of Special
Trustee; that's a bigger concern.  This issue of reimbursement
of attorneys' fees is much smaller."

The majority of funds that will be paid to the Cobell case's
attorneys will not come out of tribal programs.  Mr. Cason said
education and law enforcement are exempted.  "One of the
problems the critics have not embraced is where you take the
money from," Mr. Cason said, noting that there wasn't any money
lying around that wasn't in use and that the department had to
abide by the court order.

A 0.1 percent levy, which will generate $1 million, was imposed
on most programs, including central office operations and tribal
operations.  In each case, the levy was small and broad-based,
Mr. Cason said.  He goes on to say, "We tried to spread the
millions out so no one particular program took a big hit.  My
advice to tribal leaders is, be careful.  The financial
environment has changed."

Some tribes will have an allocation reduced by $100.  Mr. Cason
said if that tribe works on a very slim margin, it would have a
greater impact.

The BIA contributed $3 million to the attorneys' fee account,
with $2 million of that coming from an account that would
reimburse tribal attorneys and the other $1 million from the 0.1
percent levy.

The Cobell suit plaintiffs referred to the levy and fund
distribution as a "cruel effort to inflict more pain on the
victims of the government's long-acknowledged misbehavior."  
They claim the funds used to pay attorneys' fees come from areas
that are designed to "punish Native Americans."

"Now that we have secured the rights to this accounting, and now
that the government must pay the costs of that accounting, the
Interior Department is planning to loot Indian accounts once
again to cover up its misdeeds," according to Ms. Cobell, lead
plaintiff in the protracted class-action lawsuit.

The Office of Special Trustee contributed $300,000 of funds that
were planned for trust improvement activities, the Department of
Treasury, another $2 million.  Ms. Cobell told The Indian
Country Today that the government could have found funds
elsewhere to pay these legal fees.  "They don't have to make
Indians pay because they lost in court," according to her.

The government, by its own admission, has spent some $100
million defending the lawsuit.  Ms. Cobell told The Indian
Country Today that fees and expenses were planned and the
plaintiffs made it clear two years ago they would be seeking the
legal fees.

"It's an interesting irony; when we pay, they claim we are
divisive and terrible," Mr. Cason said of Ms. Cobell's
criticism.  He adds, "If they are so concerned about the money
they should say, 'We don't want programs to be hurt, so don't
pay this.' If there was some magical pot of money somewhere - I
don't know where it is."

The Cobell suit plaintiffs continue to claim the government
cannot win the drawn-out litigation.  A settlement compromise
was proposed for reimbursement to the IIM account-holders for
$27.5 billion.  The government though disputes that figure.  
Though the Senate Indian Affairs Committee has held hearings on
proposed legislation that will settle the lawsuit, it failed to
include monetary funds in the legislation.

"There are side effects of the litigation.  I think the tribes
have been supportive, but as time goes by there are side effects
to the budget," Mr. Dossett told The Indian Country Today.

A group of tribal leaders, in a recent meeting in Bismarck,
N.D., offered another possible settlement figure that ranges
from $13 to $27.5 billion.  Ms. Cobell commented on that meeting
by saying, "I have never seen a more blatant and transparent
attempt to politicize this case in order to divide and conquer
Indian country."

"The funds that were cut serve the nation's poorest peoples and
we should do everything that we can to maintain and increase
program funding for Indian Country, not cut funding," according
to Sen. Johnson, who adds, "There are clearly better
alternatives than cutting program funding, and I am willing to
pursue solutions at the legislative level that do not involve
politicizing the Cobell litigation."

The amount to be taken from tribal programs will not have as
much impact as the most recent budget submitted by President
George W. Bush, which cuts the BIA by $65 million.

According to Interior Department Associate Deputy Secretary
James Cason's Jan. 26 letter to tribal leaders, the distribution
of attorneys' fees are as follows:

     (1) Dennis Gingold, lead plaintiff attorney: $2 million

     (2) Thaddeus Holt: $491,000

     (3) Mark Brown: $80,000

     (4) Kilpatrick Stockton: $406,097

     (5) Native American Rights Fund: $1.5 million

     (6) Geoffrey Rempel: $40,000

     (7) Stacy Gingold Bear: $8,000

Expenses related to the lawsuit:

     (i) Price Waterhouse Coopers: $2.5 million

     (ii) Thaddeus Holt: $350

Total fees and expenses: $7,066,471

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

     (1) Mark Kester Brown, 607 14th Street, NW Washington, DC
         20005-2000, Phone: (775) 542-4938, Fax: 202-318-2372,

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

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

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

MICHIGAN: Ex-UM Student Sues Over Demeaning of Native Americans
A former University of Michigan (UM) student initiated a lawsuit
against the school and a campus society, claiming they violated
the rights of Native Americans, The Associated Press reports.

Ann Arbor lawyer Christopher Bell filed the suit recently in
Washtenaw County Circuit Court on behalf of himself and an
unidentified person with ties to the school.  It seeks class-
action status.

The lawsuit claims the Michigamua society failed to abide by a
promise made in 1989 that it wouldn't demean Native Americans.  
It further claims that the university knew the group was
violating the promise or deliberately failed to monitor its

The society used rituals that drew upon Native American
traditions.  In response to growing criticism, the group
promised to abandon the practices.

MURPY OIL: La. Judge Allows Homeowners to Opt Out of Spill Suit
A Louisiana federal judge ruled that the terms of a class action
against Murphy Oil USA does not prevent homeowners from leaving
the suit and settling their own claims stemming from the
refinery's oil spill after Hurricane Katrina, The Associated
Press reports.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon ordered the
consolidation of at least 27 lawsuits against Murphy Oil Co. in
relation to the September 2005 oil spill that originated from
the Company's refinery in Meraux, Louisiana.  In his order, the
judge required that parties to the consolidated cases prepare a
"Master Administrative Complaint" (MAC) for convenience.  The
MAC includes all of the causes of action asserted in the
consolidated complaints, (Class Action Reporter, Jan. 25, 2006).

According to court documents, "the class will consist of all
persons and/or entities in the Parish of St. Bernard, State of
Louisiana, who/which have sustained injuries, loss, and/or
damages as a result of the September 2005 spill of what is
estimated to be over 125,000 barrels or over 1 million gallons
of crude oil and other petroleum hydrocarbons, together with
unknown components of those substances, from a storage tank
located on the premises of the refinery owned and/or operated by
Defendant, Murphy Oil, U.S.A., Inc. and or Murphy Oil
Corporation in Meraux, Louisiana," (Class Action Reporter, Jan.
25, 2006).

However, in a ruling issued just recently, the judge established
a procedure for homeowners who want to settle individually.  The
judge said that homeowners who do leave the suit would not
receive any benefits if the Company loses.

The lawsuits stem from a leak at the Company's site in Meraux
that dumped more than 25,000 barrels of crude oil into nearby
areas, including an estimated 18,000 homes, mostly in Chalmette.
Under the class action, other people who sustained damage caused
by the oil spill may benefit from any settlement or judgment
against Company, even if they are not listed as parties in the
27 suits that were consolidated.

The suit is styled, "Turner v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., Case No.
2:05-cv-04206-EEF-JCW," filed in the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Louisiana, under Judge Eldon E. Fallon with
referral to Judge Joseph C. Wilkinson.  Representing the
Plaintiff/s is Mickey P. Landry of Landry & Swarr, LLC, 1010
Common St., Suite 2050, New Orleans, LA 70112, Phone: 504-299-
1214, E-mail: and Joseph M. Bruno of
Bruno & Bruno, 855 Baronne St., New Orleans, LA 70113, Phone:
(504) 525-1335, E-mail:  Representing
the Defendant/s is George A. Frilot, III of Frilot Partridge
Kohnke & Clements (Lafayette), 107 Global Circle, Lafayette, LA
70503, Phone: 337-988-5422, E-mail:

For more details, visit:

NETFLIX INC: Some Customers Dissatisfied with $4.4M Settlement
Several Netflix, Inc. users are unhappy with the $4.4 million
settlement in a class action that accused the DVD rental company
of false advertising, The United Press International reports.

The Company was sued more than a year ago in California, where
it is based, after a consumer learned that the company used
several different methods to limit how many DVDs a customer
could receive a month, even though the Company promoted its
service as offering unlimited rentals, (Class Action Reporter,
Jan. 20, 2006).

The national class action lawsuit, filed on September 2004 in
San Francisco Superior Court, alleged that the Company misled
consumers by failing to deliver DVDs as promised, within one
business day.  In reality, according to the suit, it would often
take as long as four to six business days for customers to
receive requested DVDs.  And that meant customers could watch
fewer videos than they had signed up for under Company's monthly
membership plan, (Class Action Reporter, Jan. 20, 2006).

The Company denied wrongdoing, but agreed to settle the suit,
whose costs dragged down its third-quarter net income by $3.4
million.  According to the proposed settlement, Netflix
subscribers who joined the service before January 15 and
remained members through October 19, will get a one-month
upgrade in their service level while paying their usual
subscription price.  For example, subscribers to the three-
movies-out plan would pay $17.99 but would get four movies out
at a time for one month. Meanwhile, those who subscribed to
Netflix before January 15 but canceled their membership before
October 19 are eligible to one month of free service.  Netflix
users must register by February 17 to receive the upgrade,
(Class Action Reporter, Jan. 20, 2006).

In the proposed settlement, plaintiffs' lawyers would receive
$2.5 million, but the plaintiffs, in this case, the class of
current and former Netflix customers would receive either a free
service upgrade for one month or a coupon for free service for
one month.  However, if customers receiving the freebies do not
cancel the upgrades or service before the end of the month is
up, Netflix would begin charging them for the extra services,
(Class Action Reporter, Jan. 20, 2006).

Critics say that the agreement only helps the Company promote
its service.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and several
consumer groups have filed amicus briefs saying customers who
choose the upgrade option would end up paying more in the long

The FTC even pointed out that the upgrade would only be free for
one month and then consumers would get hit paying a higher price
after that.  An FTC spokeswoman told United Press International,
"They became automatically enrolled unless they did something
affirmative to end it.  We concluded it could end up causing
more harm than benefit."

OHIO: Lawyer Seeks to Include Thousands in Traffic Camera Suit
A Jefferson County Judge is reviewing plaintiff's motion in the
Steubenville traffic camera case to allow 7,000 citizens to be
part of the class action, according to  Attorney
Gary Stern, who filed the suit in behalf of his wife, wants
everyone who paid speeding fines illegally imposed to them by
the city to be part of his lawsuit.

Earlier, Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge David E. Henderson
ordered the removal of speed cameras in Steubenville after a Mr.
Stern challenged the installation of the device in a class
action (Class Action Reporter, Jan. 31, 2006).  Mr. Stern, whose
wife received two speed camera citations in the mail, each
bearing a $85 fine, said in the lawsuit the city does not follow
the terms of its own ordinance which requires a 14-day notice
before installing the cameras.  Mr. Stern wants the $229,000 in
fines already collected by the city to be refunded, according to

Mr. Stern claims that the cameras are unconstitutional for a
number of reasons among those are that motorists don't have the
right to appeal.  The traffic cameras read the speed of cars
driving by, and if you are in excess of the speed limit, you are
mailed an $85 ticket, according to court documents (Class Action
Reporter, Nov. 25, 2005).

Under a recent court-ordered injunction, anyone who got a
traffic camera ticket after it has two more months before they
need to pay.  Those who already paid will have to wait longer to
see if they'll get their money back.

OKLAHOMA: Settlement Funds in 1998 Tobacco MSA Continue to Grow
Since October 1999, through June 2005, the state of Oklahoma
received more than $434 million in payments from the tobacco
industry, The Norman Transcript reports.

The payments are the result of the 1998 Tobacco Master
Settlement Agreement (MSA) in the class action the states filed
against the tobacco industry.  Oklahoma's Attorney General Drew
Edmondson was one of eight state attorneys general who
participated in the settlement.

According to the endowment trust fund that manages the money, of
the $434 million paid, $216 million was already distributed to
the state legislature for appropriation, while $211 million was
invested in the endowment trust for program funding and $7
million was sent to the attorney general's evidence fund.  The
state is projected to receive an additional $268 million in
total settlement payments.

Unlike other states, Oklahoma voters locked up the money for use
only on tobacco prevention and cessation programs and for health
improvement.  Specifically, the endowment board devoted all of
the available earnings in the early years to reducing tobacco
use.  The endowment fund's earnings are gradual but will
eventually be greater than the annual settlement payments
deposited into the fund.

According to,on  
November 23, 1998 the Attorneys General and other
representatives of 46 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin
Islands, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and
the District of Columbia signed an agreement with the five
largest tobacco manufacturers (Brown & Williamson Tobacco
corporation, Lorillard Tobacco Company, Philip Morris
Incorporated, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Commonwealth
Tobacco, and Liggett & Myers), ending a four-year legal battle
between the states and the industry that began in 1994 when
Mississippi became the first state to file suit.

Four states (Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi and Texas)
previously settled with tobacco manufacturers for $40 billion.  
The Liggett Group, the last tobacco manufacturer to sign on, was
released from previous settlements it had reached with a number
of states and will not have to contribute to the settlement fund
unless the its sales rise more than 25 percent over current
levels.  This will be highly unlikely since immediately after
signing the settlement agreement the company sold three of its
major brands, representing 14 percent of its sales, to Phillip
Morris Incorporated.

The web site goes on to say that the agreement settles all
antitrust, consumer protection, common law negligence,
statutory, common law and equitable claims for monetary,
restitutionary, equitable and injunctive relief alleged by any
of the settling states with respect to the year of payment or
earlier years and cannot be modified in any way unless all the
parties agree to the modification.  The signing of the
settlement agreement is just the beginning of the rest of this
story about tobacco, youth access and health.

OREGON: PERS Complaint Could Affect Current Employees' Pension
A class action over Oregon's Public Employees Retirement System
(PERS) could eventually pit retirees against current employees,
The Associated Press reports.

Attorneys for PERS and the city of Eugene told The Associated
Press that a lawsuit filed in January against the system could
reduce pensions for current public employees hired before the
fall of 2003.  However, Greg Hartman, an attorney for the
retirees, who hopes to prevent PERS from getting $800 million in
refunds, disagrees.

The PERS Coalition filed the class-action suit in Multnomah
County on behalf of 21,563 former public employees who retired
between April 1, 2000, and March 31, 2004.  Oregon PERS Retirees
Inc. recently joined the coalition.

Retired public employees in Oregon filed a class action seeking
to protect their pension from efforts of the PERS Board to
recoup alleged overpayments.  It was filed after Marion Circuit
Judge Paul Lipscomb ruled that the system contributed more than
necessary into the worker pension accounts from the pension
fund's 1999 investment earnings.  Retirees though deny there
were overpayments and thus refused to pay them back (Class
Action Reporter, Jan. 31, 2006).  

The legal issues in the class-action lawsuit are "fairly
narrow," Joseph Malkin of San Francisco, who is the attorney for
the retirement system, told The Associated Press.  However,
according to him, "the implications are pretty broad."

Mr. Malkin pointed out the PERS reform that the Legislature
passed in 2003 included a clause barring PERS from increasing
what it charges employers to cover the overpayments identified
in the successful lawsuit by the city of Eugene and other local
governments.  He added that if the class-action suit is
successful, relief will have to come out of money that otherwise
would go into the pension accounts of what are known as Tier 1
and Tier 2 PERS members - those who joined PERS before fall

Tier 1 members, who joined PERS before 1995, still would get
their guaranteed 8 percent annual investment earnings added to
their accounts, Paul Cleary, the executive director of PERS told
The Associated Press.  But reserves that cover the guarantee
would be reduced, he explains.  Tier 2 members, who joined after
1995, would see reduced amounts going into their pension
accounts, according to Mr. Cleary said.

Bill Gary, lawyer for the local governments, agreed with Mr.
Malkin telling The Associated Press, "There will be less money
to credit to active member accounts."

Mr. Hartman though contends that's not the case.  He told
Associated Press, "Our perspective is that the money will come
from employers."

BethAnne Darby, a leader of the PERS Coalition who represents
the Oregon Education Association, said labor unions see no
conflict of interest.  She expounds, "Active and retired members
support each other and have been together throughout all of

Kathleen Beaufit, the chairwoman of Oregon PERS Retirees, told
The Associated Press that joining the PERS Coalition is an
effective way to represent her group's members.  She adds that
it helps retirees afford what are likely to be expensive legal
bills.  In addition, Ms. Beaufit explains that the group gets
the group representation by Mr. Hartman, who has won several
pension cases against PERS on behalf of public employees.

Ms. Beaufit explains that Oregon PERS Retirees reserves the
right to lobby separately in case there is a conflict between
the needs of retirees and current public employees.  The
question though of where the money comes from, if retirees
prevail in the class-action lawsuit, hasn't been determined,
according to her.  "That is another battle for another day."

TELSTRA GROUP: Hearing on AU$300M Securities Fraud Suit Begins
A brief directions hearing on the AU$300 million suit filed
against Telstra Group was held in the Federal Court on Feb. 10.

According to The Sunday Mail, registrar Anthony Tesoriero said
the case would be heard by Justice Murray Wilcox at a date to be
fixed, possibly late next month.  

Telstra shareholders filed the suit against the Australian
telephone firm in a Federal Court in Sydney, alleging breach of
stock exchange disclosure rules (Class Action Reporter, Jan. 23,
2006).  They are represented by law firm Slater & Gordon.

According to AFX, the suit claimed the company made selective
disclosures by first briefing the journalists and the
government, about its financial woes last year before informing
the Australian stock exchange (Class Action Reporter, Jan. 23,
2006).  Telstra is 51.8% owned by the government.

Telstra's stock closed at $5 on August 10, the day before
results were issued.  It fell $0.18 on August 11, the day the
results were released to market.  Weeks later, Telstra warned
profits could fall by up to 10% in the year to June 2006 and
that it had underinvested in capital expenditures during the
previous three to five years.

Shareholders who bought Telstra shares between the release of
its annual results on Aug. 11 and the profit warning in the week
of Sept. 5 claimed they were overcharged for being kept in the
dark about the firm's finances.  

Slater and Gordon Spokesman Michael Salmon said early estimates
indicate shareholders were overcharged some AU$300 in the four-
week period alone.  The law firm said anyone who bought Telstra
shares between Aug. 11 and Sept. 7 is eligible to join the suit.

TYSON FOODS: Awaits Okla. Court's Decision on Grand Lake Lawsuit
The Oklahoma Supreme Court has yet to rule on defendants appeal
on the lawsuit filed against Tyson Foods, Inc. on behalf of
owners of Grand Lake O' the Cherokee's littoral (lakefront)

R. Lynn Thompson and Deborah S. Thompson filed the suit on
October 23, 2001 in the District Court for Mayes County,
Oklahoma, against the Company, alleging that it "or entities
over which it has operational control" conduct operations in
such a way as to interfere with the putative class action
plaintiffs' use and enjoyment of their property, allegedly
caused by diminished water quality in the lake.  Plaintiffs are
seeking injunctive relief and an unspecified amount of
compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney fees and costs.
Simmons Foods, Inc. (Simmons) and Peterson Farms, Inc.
(Peterson) have been joined as defendants.

The Company and Simmons are seeking leave to file a third party
complaint against entities that contribute wastes and wastewater
into Grand Lake.  The class certification hearing was held in
October 2003. On December 11, 2003, the trial court entered an
order, which granted class certification.  On January 12, 2004,
the Company, Simmons and Peterson filed a Petition in Error (the
Petition) in the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which challenges and
seeks appellate level review of the District Court's
certification order.

On October 4, 2005, the Court of Civil Appeals of the State of
Oklahoma reversed and remanded the decision of the District
Court, holding that the claims of plaintiffs were not suitable
for disposition as a class action.   On October 24, 2005,
plaintiffs filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari seeking
review by the Oklahoma Supreme Court of the Court of Civil
Appeals decision.   On November 7, 2005, the defendants filed an
answer to the Petition and on November 18, 2005 the plaintiffs
filed their reply to the answer.   The Company is presently
awaiting the decision of the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

The suit is styled, "R. Lynn Thompson v. Tyson Foods, Inc., Case
No. CJ-01-00452," filed in the District Court for Mayes County,
Oklahoma under Judge James D. Goodpaster.

TYSON FOODS: Plaintiffs Ask Third Circuit Court for Rehearing
Plaintiffs in the securities class action filed against Tyson
Foods, Inc. and officers Don Tyson, John Tyson and Les Baledge
filed a petition for rehearing with the U.S. Court of Appeals
(3rd Circuit) over court's affirmation of an earlier district
court decision.

Between June 22 and July 20, 2001, various plaintiffs commenced
actions in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware,
seeking monetary damages on behalf of a purported class of those
who sold IBP, Inc. (IBP) stock from March 29, 2001, when the
Company announced its intention to terminate its merger
agreement with IBP, through June 15, 2001, when a Delaware state
court rendered its Post-Trial Opinion ordering the merger to

Plaintiffs in the various actions alleged that the defendants
violated federal securities laws by making, causing or allowing
to be made, certain allegedly false and misleading statements in
a March 29, 2001, press release issued in connection with the
Company's attempted termination of the merger agreement.  The
plaintiffs alleged that, as a result of the defendants' alleged
conduct, purported class members were harmed by an alleged
artificial deflation in the price of IBP's stock during the
proposed class period.

The various actions were subsequently consolidated under the
caption "In re Tyson Foods, Inc. Securities Litigation" and, on
December 4, 2001, the plaintiffs in the consolidated action
filed a Consolidated Class Action Complaint.

On January 22, 2002, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss
the consolidated complaint.  By memorandum order dated October
23, 2002, the District Court granted in part and denied in part
the defendants' motion to dismiss.  

On October 6, 2003, the District Court certified a class
consisting of those who purchased IBP securities on or before
March 29, 2001, and subsequently sold such securities from March
30 through June 15, 2001, inclusive, and sustained damages as a
result of such transaction.  Following the conclusion of
discovery in the case, plaintiffs and defendants each filed
motions for summary judgment.  

On June 17, 2004, the District Court rendered an opinion in
favor of defendants and against plaintiffs on all of plaintiffs'
claims, and entered an order to that effect.  On June 28, 2004,
defendants filed a motion requesting the District Court to
modify its order to include judgment in defendants' favor
against the class and on July 30, 2004 the District Court
entered such an order.  On August 6, 2004, plaintiffs filed a
Notice of Appeal.  Plaintiffs filed their brief on the appeal on
December 8, 2004.

Defendants filed their response on January 24, 2005 plaintiffs
filed their reply brief on February 24, 2005.  Oral arguments
were held on September 12, 2005.  Oral arguments on the appeal
were heard by the Court of Appeals September 13, 2005 and on
November 9, 2005 the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of
the District Court.  On November 23, 2005, plaintiffs filed a
petition for rehearing with the Court of Appeals.  The Company
is not permitted to file a response to the petition unless
requested to do so by the Court of Appeals.

TYSON FOODS: Plaintiffs Oppose Dismissal Motion for Del. Lawsuit
Plaintiffs an amended shareholder derivative and class action
lawsuit pending in the Delaware Chancery Court against Tyson
Foods, Inc. (as a nominal defendant) and certain of its present
and former directors, styled, "Amalgamated Bank v. Don Tyson, et
al.," filed on opposition brief to the Company's motion to
dismiss the complaint.

The lawsuit contains three derivative claims, which respectively
allege that the defendant directors breached their fiduciary
duties by approving:

     (1) consulting contracts for Don Tyson and Robert Peterson
         in 2001, and other compensation for certain Tyson
         executives during 2001-2003,

     (2) certain option grants to certain officers and directors
         with alleged knowledge that the Company was about to
         make announcements that would cause the stock price to
         increase, and

     (3) various related-party transactions during 2001-2003
         that plaintiff alleges were unfair to the Company.

The putative class action portion of the lawsuit claims that the
Company's 2002, 2003 and 2004 proxy statements contained
misrepresentations regarding certain executive compensation and
seeks to void the Company's board of directors elections for
those years.  

Defendants filed a motion to dismiss on April 28, 2005.  On July
1, 2005, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint.  In addition
to the claims set forth in the initial complaint, the amended
complaint asserts a derivative claim alleging that the defendant
directors breached their fiduciary duties in connection with
disclosure matters that resulted in an SEC consent decree and

In connection with the putative class action claims, the amended
complaint adds a request for nominal damages and a request for
disgorgement of compensation paid to the directors who plaintiff
alleges were wrongfully elected in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint on
August 8, 2005, and plaintiff filed an opposition brief on
September 19, 2005.  

UNITED STATES: IRS Faces Litigation over Telephone Excise Tax
A group of lawyers filed class action complaint in the U.S.
Court of Federal Claims challenging actions taken by the
Internal Revenue Service in connection with its administration
of the communications excise tax.

The plaintiffs are Nicholas E. Chimicles, a senior partner of
Chimicles & Tikellis LLP, in Haverford, PA, and Stephen A.
Madva, Chairman, and R. Montgomery Donaldson, both of
Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, LLP.

This is the first case that seeks a writ of mandamus against the
IRS on the ground that the IRS's actions have exceeded the
boundaries of its authority and violate administrative and
constitutional law, a statement from the company said.

The communications excise tax is a 3% tax applicable, by its
terms, to telecommunications services that are charged based
both on distance and elapsed time.  According to the allegations
in the Complaint, however, the IRS has improperly collected and
continues to improperly collect the communications excise tax
from phone customers that are billed only based on the elapsed
time of each call.

The Complaint alleges that numerous federal courts -- including
three circuit courts of appeal -- have held that this
application of the tax is improper and contrary to the plain
terms of the tax code.  The Complaint refers to estimates that,
over the past three years alone, approximately $9 billion has
been wrongfully collected by the IRS based on its improper
interpretation of this statute and now is subject to refund.

"This is not a condemnation of the IRS, whose task as one of the
world's largest tax administrators is unquestionably difficult,"
says Mr. Donaldson.  "It is, however, recognition of the fact
that, in this particular instance, the IRS has not dealt with a
significant problem in an appropriate and lawful manner."

Citing a formal notice issued by the IRS late last year, the
Complaint alleges that the IRS has exceeded the limits of its
authority and violated the constitution by adhering to its
improper interpretation of the tax and continuing to collect the
tax despite the rulings of the federal courts.  The Complaint
states that the IRS also has exceeded its authority and violated
the constitution by taking the extraordinary step of suspending
the administrative refund application process, requiring instead
that any claim for an excise tax refund be pursued by cost-
prohibitive litigation in the federal courts.

Taken together, the IRS's continued collection of the tax on the
premise that a refund can be pursued by a taxpayer through
litigation is tantamount to an unconstitutional taking of
property, especially for those taxpayers for whom the refund
amount is less than the cost of litigation.  The Complaint
contends that telecommunications providers -- which are required
to collect the excise tax from their customers -- also have been
put in an impossible position, having to choose between the
rulings of the federal courts and the directives of the IRS.

Consequently, some service providers have provided "opt-out"
windows for some of their users, meaning that some customers are
paying the tax and others using the same services are not.  This
disparate collection, according to the Complaint, violates the
Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.  The Complaint also
contends that the IRS has exceeded the limits of its authority
by extending tax liability to communications services to which
Congress did not intend or direct the law to apply.

                          Relief Sought

The Complaint seeks relief on behalf of two classes of

     (1) the Complaint seeks prospective relief in the form of a
         writ of mandamus requiring the IRS to abide by the
         decisions of the federal courts and immediately stop
         collecting the improper tax,

         the Complaint also requests that the IRS be directed to
         promptly reinstate an efficient, zero-cost procedure to
         facilitate class-wide refunds; and

     (2) the Complaint seeks refund relief on behalf of those
         taxpayers whose refunds are so small that pursuing an
         individual refund in the manner presently required by
         the IRS is economically unfeasible.

"This relief is the only practical and reasonable way to ensure
that taxpayers who are entitled to small refunds will actually
get their money back from the IRS," says Mr. Chimicles, "while
at the same time ensuring that the IRS does not continue to
improperly assess and collect this tax."

To see copy of the complaint:

For more information, contact Nicholas E. Chimicles at the
Haverford office of Chimicles & Tikellis LLP, Phone: 866-399-
2487 (toll free), or R. Montgomery Donaldson at the Philadelphia
office of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, LLP, Phone:

UNITED STATES: EEOC Says Workplace Complaints Fell Again in 2005
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said
that for the third straight year, workplace discrimination
charges against employers dropped in 2005, The Columbus Dispatch

The EEOC reported that complaints of racial discrimination made
up the largest number of cases, accounting for 35 percent of all
complaints, followed closely by gender-discrimination complaints
(30 percent) and complaints alleging retaliation by employers
because of an employee's complaint (29 percent).

Essentially, the federal agency reported that complaints dropped
5 percent to 75,428, compared with 79,432 complaints in the
previous year.  It continues a downward trend in complaints that
began in 2003.

Other types of charges filed include discrimination based on
age, disability, national origin, religion and equal pay.  The
commission also tracks alleged sexual harassment and pregnancy
discrimination, both of which also declined slightly.

David Grinberg, spokesman for the agency, attributed the overall
decline in complaints to better anti-discrimination education
and low unemployment rates.  When unemployment is low, people
who have been discriminated against might find it easier to get
another job rather than file a complaint, according to him.  Mr.
Grinberg also speculates that other factors might be "fear of
retaliation" and ignorance of legal remedies.

Ann Reesman, general counsel for the Equal Employment Advisory
Council, an association helping companies comply with anti-
discrimination laws, put a positive interpretation on the
statistics: Employers' efforts to eliminate workplace
discrimination are working, according to her, because,
"Companies are communicating to their employees better that the
company doesn't tolerate discrimination."  She added that many
companies also placed systems to handle complaints.

William Anthony, a management professor emeritus at Florida
State University in Tallahassee, who specializes in workplace
discrimination, told The Columbus Dispatch that high profile
class-action lawsuits with big monetary settlements also have
been a deterrent.  He pointed out, "One reason employers are
doing a better job is because they see these very visible
lawsuits that are filed and they don't want to be sued."  

In addition, Mr. Anthony explains that companies are starting to
see that it is in their best interest to prevent discrimination
and embrace diversity.  He told The Columbus Dispatch,
"Employers, more progressive employers at least, believe in
diversity and can see that diversity can provide them with a
better qualified workforce.  They can see that it is better to
have that kind of work force than an all-white-male work force."

UNITED STATES: Report Says Workplace Suits Outnumber Other Cases
An annual report by national law firm Seyfarth Shaw, LLP,
examining all class action rulings by federal and state courts
involving workplace issues concludes that wage and hour
litigation outpaced all other varieties of class actions in 2005
and accelerated from past years, especially at the state court

The Seyfarth Shaw report is unique in that it is the only
national report in existence of such class action rulings.
Organized on a circuit-by-circuit and state-by-state basis, the
report analyzes all 209 rulings issued over the past 12 months
in workplace class actions.

The timely report (including rulings issued in the last week of
December 2005) analyzes the impact of the Class Action Fairness
Act (CAFA) of 2005 on workplace litigation, and its effects on
litigation strategy and the structuring of class actions filed
against employers.  The study notes how the plaintiffs' bar has
started to devise techniques to address this reform measure and
to avoid federal court removal through various stratagems.  

"Our goal is for this report to guide corporate counsel through
the sticky thicket of class action decisional law, and to enable
them to make sound and informed litigation decisions while
minimizing risk," stated Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., general editor
of the report and co-chair, Complex & Class Action Practice
Group of Seyfarth Shaw.  The report, authored by Seyfarth Shaw's
employment attorneys, notes that the lesson to be drawn from
2005 is that private plaintiffs' bar and government enforcement
attorneys are apt to be equally if not more aggressive in 2006
in their pursuit of class action and collective action
litigation against employers.  Identifying, addressing, and
remediating class action vulnerabilities ought to be at or near
the top of every corporate counsel's priority list for 2006.

Easily referenced, the report is divided into chapters on
leading class action settlements, and rulings in cases arising
under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII),
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) practice or
practice lawsuits, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(ADEA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and state court
employment law, wage & hour, and breach of contract cases.  The
report concludes that on balance, employers fared well in 2005
in defeating class certification motions in lawsuits brought
under Title VII, FLSA, and ERISA.

"The past few years have seen an explosion in class action
litigation over workplace issues," stated J. Stephen Poor,
managing partner of Seyfarth Shaw.  "The stakes in such
litigation can be extremely significant, as the financial and
operational impact of such cases are enormous.  More often than
not, class actions adversely affect the market share of a major
corporation and prejudice its reputation in the marketplace.  It
is truly an exposure which keeps corporate counsel and business
executives awake at night."

The cases decided in 2005 foreshadow the direction of class
action litigation in the coming year.  One certain conclusion is
that employment law class action and collective action
litigation is becoming ever more sophisticated and will continue
to be a source of significant financial exposure to employers
well into the future.  Employers also can expect that class
action and collective action lawsuits increasingly will combine
claims under multiple statutes, thereby requiring the defense
bar to have a cross-disciplinary understanding of substantive
employment law as well as the procedural peculiarities of opt-
out classes under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and the opt-in procedures in FLSA and ADEA collective

Mr. Maatman noted that the plaintiffs' employment bar continued
to file significant class action and collective action lawsuits
against employers the past year.  He added that the report notes
federal and state courts faced a "myriad of new theories and
defenses" in ruling on novel class action litigation issues.

Three key issues are manifested by developments over the past

     (1) Congress enacted significant reforms to federal class
         action procedures in 2005.  CAFA impacts all class
         actions, although that impact is different for
         particular types of workplace litigation.

     (2) The volume of wage & hour litigation continues to
         increase exponentially.  The most significant growth is
         at the state court level -- especially in California --
         and the trend is likely to continue in 2006.

     (3) The money at stake in workplace class action litigation
         continues to rise.  Given the enormous financial
         stakes, trials of class actions are rare, but
         settlements in 2005 reflected a continuing trend from
         past years where significant monetary payments were
         made in mega-class actions.  Plaintiffs' lawyers are
         pushing the envelope in crafting damages theories to
         expand the size of classes and the scope of their
         recoveries.  The top ten private plaintiff settlements
         totaled $1.06 billion, while the top ten government
         litigation settlements totaled $396.15 million.

For more details, contact Terence Gordon, Director of
Communications, Phone: (212) 218-5273, E-mail: and, Web site:

UNITED STATES: Stockbrokers Launch Federal Overtime Pay Lawsuits
Brokers for some of the nation's biggest financial institutions,
which earn attractive commissions and often six-figure incomes,
contend they haven't been fairly compensated for all that hard
work they do, reports.

In lawsuits working their way through federal courts in New
Jersey, New York and elsewhere, the brokers are seeking
something more: overtime.  The suits accuse Morgan Stanley,
Smith Barney, Banc of America and brokerages of violating
federal and state fair-wage laws by failing to pay stockbrokers

Although legal arguments are yet to be fully aired, early signs
indicate the brokerages aren't eager to fight the suits.  In
August, Merrill Lynch became the first brokerage to settle,
agreeing to pay up to $37 million to brokers in California.  And
just recently, UBS AG, Europe's largest bank, with a sizeable
office in Weehawken, New Jersey, agreed to pay up to $89 million
to stockbrokers and trainees nationwide.  Observers are
expecting others to follow soon.

At least six other suits filed by stockbrokers, who are
sometimes called securities brokers, financial advisers or
financial consultants remain in New York and New Jersey district
courts.  Each of them tells a tale similar to that of Glen Rock,
New Jersey resident Robert Steinberg, one of the plaintiffs.

Mr. Steinberg, 60, worked in the Ridgewood, New Jersey office of
Morgan Stanley as a "securities-broker inside salesperson" from
1997 to 2004.  He spent his days looking for new clients,
talking to existing ones, dispensing financial advice and buying
and selling securities for clients, working solely for

The suit says he "regularly" worked more than 40 hours a week
and should have been paid time-and-a-half for the overtime using
a formula that calculated his hourly wage based on his weekly
commissions.  In it, Mr. Steinberg claims that he struggled to
make more than $55,000 and that now he wants restitution for the
unpaid overtime, going back six years, and compensatory damages.  
The law says that the employers are obligated to pay for
overtime, according to Mr. Steinberg, a former army captain and
vice-president at Citicorp.

Mr. Steinberg's lawsuit accuses Morgan Stanley of illegal
withholding or diverting part of Mr. Steinberg's wages and
systematically underpaying him and other stockbrokers.  The suit
seeks restitution for the unpaid overtime and deductions, as
well as compensation for damages.

The case is one of a wave of lawsuits in recent years, which is
demanding overtime pay for white-collar workers under a 1938
federal law originally created in part to protect low-paid
factory workers from exploitation.  The litigants include
$60,000-a-year Pacific Bell engineers, managers at Starbucks
coffeehouses and bank loan officers.

Leo Troy, a Rutgers University economics professor, described
the stockbroker suits as unusual.  He told,
"Securities firms aren't the kinds of companies you would expect
to violate the wage-and-hour law."

The UBS case, which included suits in New Jersey, New York,
California and Connecticut, was the first to be settled
nationally rather than in a single state.  UBS declined to
comment on how it will compensate brokers in the future, except
to say some trainees will get a salary.  The Company also said
that it still considers brokers to be exempt from the law
requiring overtime, adding that it settled the case to avoid
"protracted litigation."

Some attorneys for broker litigants say that the UBS case could
encourage other brokerage houses to settle.  "I believe that
they are all going to fall into line and say this is a cost of
doing business," Bob Rochford, a Hackensack, New Jersey attorney
who represents Mr. Steinberg told

Though stockbrokers are often assumed to be very well paid,
attorneys involved say many brokers particularly early on in
their careers earn relatively little because they have few
clients and are paid solely on commission.  However, success is
rewarded.  According to the New Jersey Labor Department, the
average stockbrokers' salary in the state is $77,000 and about
one in four brokers earn more than $102,000.

Mark Brahney, one of seven New Jersey residents who have filed
suit against Smith Barney told that they were
given no choice but to work long hours.  He explains that 80-
hour weeks were common, especially among newer brokers, at Smith
Barney's Red Bank office, where he worked for 18 years.  Mr
Brahney added that a typical week would mean working 7 a.m. to 7
p.m. five days a week, spending two or three evenings at the
office and taking work home on the weekend.

In addition, Mr. Brahney, 44, of Spring Lake, who is married
with two children also told, "There was a
demand, followed by a threat, that if you are staying with the
company, you have to put in certain hours." He explains, "If you
didn't hit their goals in terms of production, commissions and
fees -- and also bringing in assets as far as managing money --
you better be very successful or have a real good excuse as to
why you are not working these hours."  Mr. Brahney declined to
say how much he earned.

Citicorp, the parent of Smith Barney declined to comment on the
specifics of the case.  The Company though released a statement
that said, "We believe this suit to be without merit. Smith
Barney is committed to fairness in its employment practices and
to compliance with all laws, including those related to

The federal law that governs who is entitled to overtime is
called the Fair Labor Standards Act.  New Jersey, like most
states, has an almost identical law of its own.  In the past,
that federal law granted the right to earn overtime to about 80
percent of American workers.  Those workers not covered included
managers and supervisors, as well as professional,
administrative and executive employees.

In 2004 the U.S. Labor Department rewrote some of the rules, in
part to reflect newer industries.  The rules though are unclear
with regard to stockbrokers.  They only state, for instance,
that financial industry workers cannot get overtime if they
"determine which financial products best meet the customer's
needs" or give advice on financial products.  Stockbrokers
arguably play both of those roles.  Yet the rules also say
employees can get overtime if their "primary duty is selling
financial products," which another broker role.

Attorneys for Mr. Steinberg told that the case
hinges on how brokers are paid, and on federal regulations that
say almost all workers who earn "a salary" of less than $23,660
a year are entitled to overtime.  Mr. Rochford says that a
broker whose earnings are commission-only gets no salary, and so
is well below the threshold.  He added that the fact that many
brokers are paid solely through their commissions, earning 25
percent to 45 percent of the revenue and fees they generate,
shows that their main duty is sales, and so are entitled to
overtime payments.

Some of the stockbrokers' suits also target two practices that
attorneys say are rife throughout the industry and cut into
brokers' earnings.  One concerns what happens when a client
accuses a broker of making a mistake in a trade, causing the
client to lose money.  At Morgan Stanley, the bank, unwilling to
investigate each claim, would accept the error, Mr. Rochford
said.  He explains, "Whatever is lost is deducted from the
broker's compensation, whether it's his fault or not."  The
attorney adds that the second concerns the company's practice of
taking a slice of brokers' pay to cover the salaries of
ancillary, junior workers such as research and sales assistants,
and secretaries.

VISA/MASTERCARD: Discover Cuts "Surcharge" Rule to Escape Suit
Discover Card decided to drop its "No Surcharge Rule" following
negotiations, according to the counsel for a group of merchants
that sued all major credit card companies for antitrust
violations.  Consequently, it would be dropped from the
antitrust class action, which is pending in a Brooklyn federal
court before District Judge John Gleeson.

Gary B. Friedman, of Friedman & Shube, New York City and Mark
Reinhardt, Reinhardt Wendorf and Blanchfield, St. Paul,
Minnesota, are the lead attorneys for merchants attacking the No
Surcharge Rules, which prohibit merchants from passing along
processing fees to cardholders via a surcharge.

In their court filings, the merchants have complained that they
are forced to pass along high processing fees to consumers via
price increases.  "The users of high priced cards should pay
high charges, to finance their frequent flier miles and rewards
points. But consumers should be able to avoid those charges if
they choose, by using low priced cards," said Mr. Reinhardt.

In a letter, Mr. Friedman informed the Court of Discover's
agreement to rescind the No Surcharge Rule, hailing it as a
"significant development for the merchant class and,
potentially, a pivotal step in the evolution of the payments

"On behalf of the merchant community, we applaud Discover's
willingness to engage in real competition," said Mr. Friedman.  
"Visa, Amex and MasterCard are scared to compete on merchant
fees.  But we will succeed in eliminating their No Surcharge
Rules too -- and when we do, consumers will flock to payment
cards that carry lower merchant fees, such as Discover and PIN-
based debit cards."

In their court papers, the merchants argued the challenged rules
"safeguard the defendants' market dominance against any threat
from a competitor who might seek to gain market share by
offering credit or debit card payment processing services to
merchants at a cheaper price."

The No Surcharge Rule cases are expected to be consolidated with
another group of merchant class actions assigned to Judge
Gleeson -- the "interchange fee" cases, which challenge the
systems by which Visa and MasterCard set their merchant fees as
illegal price fixing.

For more information, contact Gary B. Friedman of Reinhardt
Wendorf & Blanchfield, Phone: 212-680-5150; Mobile:
917-568-5024; Mark Reinhardt, Phone: 651-287-2100.

WAL-MART STORES: Wants Court to Junk Jonquiere Harassment Suit
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Canada is asking the court to dismiss a
harassment complaint filed in March by a local chapter of the
United Food and Commercial Workers union, according to The

Wal-Mart lawyer Frederic Masse argued to the Quebec's labor
board the claims of three Jonquiere store employees that they
were pressured to prevent them from supporting the union drive.  
He said the complaints were already settled during separate
legal proceedings.

According to the report, Union lawyer Claude Leblanc rejected
that argument, saying the other proceedings dealt with illegal
dismissal and not psychological harassment.  The complaint
charged the Jonquiere outlet of exerting "pressure,
intimidation, threats and constraints."  The store closed in
April, shortly after its employees voted to unionize.

A group of workers from the store is filing a suit seeking class
action to claim $20,000 each for damages.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Canada on the Net:

WASHINGTON: Naselle Local Files Initiative Targeting Union Dues
Jack M. Smith of Naselle, Washington, recently filed an
initiative seeking to stop state agencies from firing employees
who refuse to pay union dues, The Longview Daily News reports.

A state employee at the Naselle Youth Camp, Mr. Smith, told The
Longview Daily News that he hopes his proposal ignites a
grassroots movement.  He also said, "If it's going to get the
signatures, it's going to be because people found out what's
going on and said, 'It's not right!'"

Mr. Smith, 57, describes himself as "pro-union" and a "very
active member" of the 38,000-worker Washington Federation of
State Employees (WFSE), the largest of several unions that
represent state workers.  He also told The Longview Daily News
that he likes his job as a counselor's assistant at the camp for
wayward youth.  Mr. Smith says though that he's unhappy that
public employees who resist paying union dues face termination
under contracts that took effect last year and cover most state
workers.  He explains, "I was just shocked when I heard they
were having them fired.  Mainly, I want to help these people get
their jobs back."

Six WFSE members and one member of the Teamster's local that
represents corrections employees were terminated so far for not
paying dues, State Department of Personnel spokeswoman Meagan
Macvie told The Longview Daily News.  WFSE spokesman Tim Welch
told Longview Daily News that a couple hundred union members
remain out of compliance.  He also adds that the union tries to
talk employees into paying dues before notifying state agencies,
which do the firing.  

Public-employee unions are merely catching up with private-
sector labor groups on closed-shop rules, according to Mr. Welch
said.  He said, "The philosophy is everyone who benefits from
the contract ought to pay some fair share.  It's really nothing

WFSE dues cost workers 1.37 percent of their monthly base
salary, with a cap of $55 a month.  Workers can claim a
religious exemption, but still must donate their dues to

Mr. Smith told The Longview Daily News that he makes about
$3,000 a month, making his dues roughly $41 a month.  Filing
Initiative 926 with the Secretary of State's Office cost him $5.
Organizing a petition drive and collecting 224,880 valid
signatures by July 7 to qualify the measure for the November
ballot could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.  He told The
Longview Daily News that he filed the initiative "entirely on my
own," and nobody with deep pockets has offered to help so far.  
He adds, "There's not a lot of money behind me."

State workers opposed to the closed-shop rule started a group
called Free Conscience.  That group's Web site says that with
the help of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation
it has "begun the process of filing a class-action lawsuit" on
behalf of the dissident state workers.

Mr. Welch told The Longview Daily News that the dissidents are
"extremely sincere," but he cautions that outside groups who
tout open-shop rules have anti-union not pro-worker motives.

Mr. Smith told The Longview Daily News that he is also
dissatisfied with way the contract with the closed-shop
provision was ratified and the union's alliance with the
Democratic Party.  He filed a grievance pending in front of a
state board complaining in part that he didn't know about the
September 2004 contract vote.

About one-fifth of the union's members voted. Mr. Welch told The
Longview Daily News that the union tried to alert its members,
and it was well known that union leaders wanted a closed-shop
clause.  "Some say we didn't do enough.  We'll say, `We'll do a
much better job next time regardless of the job we did last
time.'"  Mr. Welch told The Longview Daily News that Mr. Smith's
beef that the WFSE is too partisan in favor of Democrats is
misplaced.  The union has endorsed GOP candidates and set up a
"conservative caucus" to give conservative union members a
voice, he said.

Mr. Smith said he's a Republican and joined the conservative
caucus.  But he dismissed the group's importance saying, "It's
just a method of identifying the troublemakers."

WASHINGTON: Seattle Attorney Appointed as Grant County's Monitor
Jeffery P. Robinson, a Seattle criminal defense lawyer, was
chosen to monitor compliance with terms of a settlement in a
lawsuit over Grant County's public defender system, The
Associated Press reports.

The choice of Mr. Robinson, a partner at Schroeter, Goldmark and
Bender, is believed to be the first time in the state of
Washington that a county's public defense system was subjected
to comprehensive outside oversight, according to an American
Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) news release.  Five lawyers were
proposed by the ACLU, which was joined by Columbia Legal
Services in bringing the class-action lawsuit, and Mr. Robinson
and one other were picked by county commissioners for the ACLU
to make the final choice.

Mr. Robinson, whose clients have included state Supreme Court
Justice Bobbe J. Bridge in a drunken driving case and Indle G.
King Jr., convicted of killing his mail-order bride, was the
county's second choice, Commission Chairman Richard Stevens told
the Columbia Basin Herald.  Each of the five candidates was
interviewed for nearly an hour, Mr. Stevens added.

"He has a better understanding of what's necessary to come over
here, look at our system, and give us the expertise to tweak
things," Mr. Stevens said of Mr. Robinson.  He also said, "We
needed someone to come in here and smooth out any bumps we might

Mr. Robinson's job is scheduled to run for five years with the
potential for a sixth year, and his pay is set at $300 an hour,
but it is unclear how many hours the monitoring will require,
according to Stevens. He predicted though that the first year
would be the most costly.

Mr. Stevens said that the monitoring could also be completed in
less than five years, adding that one reason Mr. Robinson was
chosen as a finalist was his assessment that the job could be
done sooner.

Brought by the ACLU and Columbia Legal Services back in 2004,
the suit accuses Grant County of using lawyers who were
overworked, unqualified or bound by contracts that discouraged
full and fair representation for the poor.  The case was seen as
emblematic of the problems faced by other financially hard-
pressed public defender programs around the state of Washington,
(Class Action Reporter, Dec. 21, 2005).

Provisions of the settlement in the closely watched case
included a limit on the number of cases a lawyer can handle as a
public defender, assurances that defenders won't suffer
financially for diligent representation of their clients and the
use of a monitor to assure compliance, (Class Action Reporter,
Dec. 21, 2005).

Previously, Kittitas County Superior Court Judge Michael Cooper
ruled that the suit should go to trial, because indigents
charged with a crime in the county have reason to fear that they
will not be adequately represented.  In that ruling, the judge
essentially denied the county's request to dismiss the case. The
ACLU and Columbia Legal Services sought a court order requiring
the county to offer adequate defense for people who can't afford
an attorney, (Class Action Reporter, Dec. 21, 2005).

WASHINGTON MUTUAL: Court Okays Debt Collection Suit Settlement
Judge Robert Levy of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New
York, approved the $350,000 settlement of a class action against
Washington Mutual Inc., according to Reuters.

The suit filed more than three years ago accused the U.S.
savings and loan firm of sending misleading debt collection
letters to customers.  At the center of the suit is Brooklyn,
New York lawyer Michael King, who customers said substituted on
his letterhead the phone number of a bank representative for his
own number without indicating that the new number belonged to
the bank.  They also said the bank misled them about their
rights.  The customers said these actions violated the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act.  They did not seek punitive damages.

Under the settlement, each of the 700 class members is expected
to receive about $325.  The plaintiffs' lawyers will be entitled
to about $115,000.  The class included Dime Auto Finance
customers.  Washington Mutual bought Dime Bancorp Inc. for about
$5 billion in January 2002.

The plaintiffs' lawyer is Katz & Kleinman PLLC of Uniondale, New

WYETH INC: CFO Hopes to Settle Mass of "Fen-Phen" Suits by 2008
The chief financial officer of Wyeth, Inc. is optimistic that
tens of thousands of lawsuits by users of the recalled "fen-
phen" diet drugs may be settled during the next year or two,
according to The Diet Drug Report.

Pondimin (fenfluramine hydrochloride) and Redux
(dexfenfluramine), the two drugs that made up the "fen" portion
of what in the 1990s was the extraordinarily popular fen-phen
diet drug combination, were pulled from the market on September
15, 1997.  

Redux and Pondimin, when used in combination with phentermine
(which remains on the market), allegedly caused heart-valve
problems, primary pulmonary hypertension, and in some cases
neurotoxic brain injury.  Though the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration never approved the combined use of these drugs,
physicians were free to prescribe it.

After Redux and Pondimin were withdrawn, tens of thousands of
lawsuits were filed against their manufacturer, American Home
Products (later renamed Wyeth), by dieters who had used the

Almost a decade later, Kenneth J. Martin, executive vice
president of the Company, told the annual Merrill Lynch Global
Pharmaceutical Conference held in New York: "I think there is
reason to believe that it (the litigation) could get wrapped up
in the next 12 to 24 months.  We have about $5.7 billion in
remaining reserves, and based upon what we see today, we think
that is adequate.  Our expectation is that 80 percent of that
could be paid out over the next 12 to 24 months."  Mr. Martin
also expressed confidence that the class action settlement could
be "wrapped up as early as March," and if not, by sometime in
the summer.

With regards to the 60,000 users of the diet drugs who opted out
of the class action settlement, "we have settled with or reached
agreement in principle to settle with a bit over 30,000 of the
60,000 plaintiffs," according to Mr. Martin.  He added, "Of the
remaining 30,000, four law firms control 25,000 cases.  We are
in discussions with everybody.  We are cautiously optimistic
that we can reach agreement.  If we do, that's fine.  If we
don't, we have been pretty successful in court.  We are not
averse to continuing to try cases, and if that's what it takes,
that's what we'll do."

But, overall, Mr. Martin concludes, "I think there is reason to
believe that it could get wrapped up in the next 12 to 24

* ISS to Host International Forum on Securities Fraud Suits
Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) will hold a special
Governance Forum webcast, Securities Class Action Litigation:
Moving Beyond U.S. Borders, on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2006 at 10:00
a.m. (EST) and 3 p.m. (GMT).

The webcast will focus on how securities class action litigation
has begun to pick up steam in international courtrooms,
representing another potential opportunity for recovery for
institutional investors and their accountholders.  

Online forum registration:

Attorneys from Israel, Canada, South Korea, Sweden, Netherlands
and Italy will discuss the status of securities class action
laws and current cases and settlements in their respective

Panelists include: Avi Wagner, Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP;
John Chapman, Miller Thompson LLP; Ellen Soerjatin, DLA Piper
Rudnick Gray Cary; Timothy Trinka and YJ Cho, Bae, Kim & Lee;
Martin Heinsius and Markus Mueller-Dott, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray
Cary; Claes Rainer and Kennedi Akdogan; DLA Piper Rudnick Gray
Cary and; Stefano Modenesi and Silvia Casano, DLA Piper Rudnick
Gray Cary.  Bruce Carton, ISS' vice president of securities
class action services, will moderate the global panel

As a free client service, ISS launched its Governance Forum
initiative in 2004 to foster constructive dialogue around
important corporate governance issues facing institutional

ISS -- provides corporate governance  
and proxy voting solutions.  ISS provides proxy research, voting
services and corporate governance advisory services to financial
institutions and corporations worldwide.

                 Meetings, Conferences & Seminars

* Scheduled Events for Class Action Professionals

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

February 27-28, 2006
American Conference Institute
New York
Contact: 1-888-224-2480 or

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

March 29-30, 2006
American Conference Institute
Contact: 1-888-224-2480 or

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

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

April 27-28, 2006
American Conference Institute
San Francisco
Contact: 1-888-224-2480 or

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;

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;

February 01-28, 2006
Contact: 512-778-5665;

February 01-28, 2006
Contact: 512-778-5665;

February 01-28, 2006
Contact: 512-778-5665;

February 01-28, 2006
Contact: 512-778-5665;

February 01-28, 2006
Contact: 512-778-5665;

February 01-28, 2006
Contact: 512-778-5665;

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: or 1-800-232-3444

CEB Online
Contact: or 1-800-232-3444

CEB Online
Contact: or 1-800-232-3444

CEB Online
Contact: or 1-800-232-3444

CEB Online
Contact: or 1-800-232-3444

CEB Online
Contact: or 1-800-232-3444

CEB Online
Contact: or 1-800-232-3444

CEB Online
Contact: or 1-800-232-3444

CEB Online
Contact: or 1-800-232-3444

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Contact: 800-285-2221;

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

                 New Securities Fraud Cases  

DOT HILL: Federman & Sherwood Lodges Securities Suit in Calif.
Federman & Sherwood initiated a class action lawsuit was filed
in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of
California against Dot Hill Systems Corporation (Nasdaq: HILL).

The complaint alleges violations of federal securities laws,
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
and Rule 10b-5, including allegations of issuing a series of
material misrepresentations to the market which had the effect
of artificially inflating the market price.  The class period is
from April 23, 2003 through February 3, 2005.

For more details, contact William B. Federman of FEDERMAN &
SHERWOOD, 120 N. Robinson, Suite 2720, Oklahoma City, OK 73102,
Phone: (405) 235-1560, Fax: (405) 239-2112, E-mail:, Web site:

LAFARGE NORTH: Bernstein Liebhard Lodges Securities Suit in Md.
Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP initiated a securities fraud
suit in in the Circuit Court of Baltimore City, Maryland, on
behalf of owners of the common stock of Lafarge North America
Inc. ("Lafarge NA" or the "Company").

The Complaint alleges that Lafarge S.A. owns securities
representing approximately 52% of Lafarge NA's outstanding
equity securities and that Lafarge S.A. intends to make an offer
to purchase all outstanding shares of common stock of Lafarge NA
not owned by Lafarge S.A. or its affiliates, at a price of
$75.00 per share.

The Complaint alleges that the price of $75.00 per share offered
to the class members is unconscionable, unfair and grossly
inadequate consideration and has been the object of manipulation
because, among other things:

     (1) the intrinsic value of the stock of Lafarge NA is
         materially in excess of $75.00 per share, giving due
         consideration to the possibilities of growth and
         profitability of Lafarge NA in light of its business,
         earnings and earnings power, present and future;

     (2) the $75.00 per share price is inadequate and offers an
         inadequate premium to the public stockholders of
         Lafarge NA; and

     (3) the $75.00 per share price is not the result of arm's
         length negotiations but was fixed arbitrarily by
         Lafarge S.A. to "cap" the market price of Lafarge NA
         stock, as part of a plan for defendants to obtain
         complete ownership of Lafarge NA assets and business at
         the lowest possible price.

Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP continues its investigation
into the allegations of the Complaint.

For more details, contact Mel Lifshitz or Seth Ottensoser of
Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP, 10 East 40th Street, New
York, New York 10016, Phone: (800) 217-1522 or 212-779-1414, E-
mail: or, Web

PROQUEST COMPANY: Goldman Scarlato Lodges Mich. Securities Suit
Goldman Scarlato & Karon, P.C., initiated a lawsuit in the U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, on behalf
of persons who purchased or otherwise acquired publicly traded
securities of ProQuest Company ("ProQuest" or the "Company")
between January 9, 2003 and February 8, 2006, inclusive, (the
"Class Period"). The lawsuit was filed against ProQuest and
certain officers and directors ("Defendants").

The complaint alleges that Defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder.  Specifically, the complaint alleges
that Defendants issued a series of false and misleading
statements regarding the Company's financial health during the
class period.  More specifically, on February 9, 2006, ProQuest
announced that it had discovered material irregularities in its
accounting, in particular certain deferred income and accrued
royalty accounts were materially understated.  The Company also
announced it would have to restate its financial results. In
reaction to this news, share of ProQuest fell to a low of $21.90
per share, before closing at $24.19 on very heavy volume.

For more details, contact Mark S. Goldman, Esq. of The Law Firm
of Goldman Scarlato & Karon, P.C., Phone: 888-753-2796, E-mail:

PROQUEST COMPANY: Lerach Coughlin Files Securities Suit in Mich.
Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP initiated a
class action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District
of Michigan on behalf of purchasers of ProQuest Company
("ProQuest") common stock during the period between January 9,
2003 and February 8, 2006 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges ProQuest and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934.  ProQuest publishes solutions for the education,
automotive, and power equipment markets.  

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
issued materially false and misleading statements regarding the
Company's business and financial results.  As a result of
defendants' false statements, ProQuest stock traded at
artificially inflated prices during the Class period, reaching a
high of $37.89 per share on April 12, 2005.

Then, on February 9, 2006, prior to the market opening, the
Company announced that it had discovered material irregularities
in its accounting and would have to restate certain of its
previously issued financial statements.  As a result of the
irregularities, the Company's deferred income and accrued
royalty accounts were materially understated in previously
issued financial statements and its prepaid royalty account was
materially overstated.  On this news, ProQuest's stock collapsed
to as low as $21.90 per share, before closing at $24.19 per
share on volume of 3 million shares, 13 times the average

According to the complaint, the true facts, which were known by
the defendants but concealed from the investing public during
the Class Period, were that the Company lacked requisite
internal controls, and, as a result, the Company's projections
and reported results were based upon defective assumptions
and/or manipulated facts and that the Company's financial
statements were materially misstated due to its failure to
properly defer income and royalty payments and its improper
capitalization of royalty expenses, thereby overstating its
revenue and income from at least 1999 to 2005.  Plaintiff seeks
to recover damages on behalf of all purchasers of ProQuest
common stock during the Class Period (the "Class").

For more details, contact William Lerach or Darren Robbins of
Lerach Coughlin, Phone: 800/449-4900 or 619/231-1058, E-mail:, Web site:

TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE: Roy Jacobs Files Fiduciaries Suit in Del.
Roy Jacobs & Associates filed a lawsuit in the Delaware Chancery
Court against current and former officers and directors of Take
Two Interactive Software, Inc. on behalf of long-term

The Complaint seeks recovery from certain of Take Two's current
and former officers and directors who violated their fiduciary
duties in connection with public disclosures and related conduct
which have caused significant harm to the Company.  The action
seeks to redress these wrongs and benefit long-term
shareholders.  No claim for damages is asserted against the

For more details, contact Roy Jacobs & Associates, Phone: 1-888-
884-4490, E-mail:

TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Lawsuit in N.Y.
The law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, initiated a class
action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of New York on behalf of all securities purchasers of
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO - News; "Take-
Two" or the "Company") between October 25, 2004 and January 27,
2006 inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Take-Two and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. Take-Two engages in publishing, developing, and
distributing interactive entertainment software, hardware, and
accessories. The Company publishes interactive software games
for personal computers, video game consoles, and handheld
platforms. The complaint alleges that defendants failed to
disclose that their best-selling game, Grand Theft Auto: San
Andreas, contained explicit and pornographic scenes to the
powerful Entertainment Software Rating Board ("ESRB"), a private
group that rates video games. Had ESRB been aware of the
pornographic contents of the game, it would have assigned it a
rating of "Adults Only 18+." The adults-only rating would have
restricted the distribution of the game. The major retail
chains, such as Wal-Mart and Target, do not carry such games. As
a result, when ESRB revised its rating on the game to "Adults
Only 18+," the Company was forced to reduce its financial

More specifically, the Defendants failed to disclose the
following materially adverse facts to the market:

     (1) that the Company's main video game product, Grand Theft
         Auto: San Andreas, contained materials which mandated
         that the game be rated Adult-Only;

     (2) that as a consequence of the Adult-Only rating, many
         retailers refused to carry the game, thereby eroding
         the Company's profitability by significantly decreasing
         the Company's sales and earnings;

     (3) that the Company's accounts payable, inventory and cost
         of goods accounts, capitalized software development
         costs and amortization expense were misstated;

     (4) that the Company lacked adequate internal controls;

     (5) that the Company failed to cooperate with or assist the
         Company's audit committee; and

     (6) as a result of the foregoing, Take-Two statements with
         respect to its future earnings and guidance lacked in
         any reasonable basis when made.

On January 27, 2006, it was announced that the City Attorney for
the City of Los Angeles filed an action against the Company and
its subsidiary, Rockstar Games, in the Superior Court of the
State of California alleging, among other things, that the
Company and Rockstar Games violated sections of the California
Business and Professions Code by publishing untrue and
misleading statements and engaging in unfair competition. On
this news, shares of Take-Two fell $2.34 per share, or 13.74
percent, to close, on January 27, 2006, at $14.69 per share.

For more details, contact Darren J. Check, Esq. and Richard A.
Maniskas, Esq. of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, 280 King of Prussia
Road, Radnor, PA 19087, Phone: 1-888-299-7706 or 1-610-667-7706,
E-mail:, Web site:


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


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

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