CAR_Public/080131.mbx             C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

           Thursday, January 31, 2008, Vol. 10, No. 22

                            Headlines

AMBAC FINANCIAL: Faces Securities Fraud Litigation in New York
AMERICAN LASER: Accused of Violating California Labor Laws
AWSM TECHNOLOGY: Ariz. Firm Plans Suit Over "Microsite" Scam
BROADCOM CORP: Still Faces Consolidated Securities Suit in Cal.
CHIRON CORP: Cal. Court Rejects Securities Suit Settlement Plan

DOLLAR TREE: Recalls Glue Guns Due to Fire, Burn, Shock Risks
DOMEGA INTERNATIONAL: Recalls Sweets with Undeclared Sulfites
INDIANA: Teachers Association Sued for Alleged Discrimination
ITALIAN BANKS: Suit Planned Over Prevailing Interest Computation
LG ELECTRONICS: Faces N.J. Suit Over Defective Washing Machines

LOUISIANA: Katrina-Related Suit Against U.S. Army Corps Junked
MORTGAGETREE LENDING: Sued Over Adjustable-Rate Mortgages
MTN NIGERIA: Lawyers Plan to Sue Over Poor Service to Customers
MUNICIPAL MORTGAGE: Rosen Law Firm Set to File Securities Suit
NAUTILUS INC: Still Faces Ark. Litigation Over Bowflex Machines

NCAA: Setting up $218M Fund to Settle Suit Over “Grants-In-Aid”
NEW JERSEY: Salem County Settles Copy Fees Suit for $85T
NOVARTIS AG: 2009 Trial Set for $100M Gender Bias Suit in N.Y.
OHIO: High Court Hears Suit Over “Rights” on Dead's Body Parts
OMNICOM GROUP: N.Y. Court Dismisses Securities Fraud Litigation

PHILIPPINES: Media Orgs. Sue Gov't for Alleged Illegal Arrest
QANTAS AIRWAYS: Executives in Price-Fixing Cartel Identified
RHODE ISLAND: Court Hears Arguments on Dismissal of DCYF Suit
SHILOH FARMS: Recalls Unhulled Sesame Seeds Posing Health Risks
SMITH & WOLLENSKY: N.Y. Court Declines to Certify National Class

STERLING FINANCIAL: N.Mex. Retirees Groups Lead Securities Suit
TENNESSEE: Suit Over Theft of Voters' Registration Info Dropped
VERIZON WIRELESS: Suit Over Early Termination Fee Certified
VOLKSWAGEN OF AMERICA: Utah Suit Claims Defects in Passats
WISCONSIN: Seventh Circuit Reinstates Suit Over Bar Exam Rule

* Prosecutors Recommend Two-year Imprisonment for William Lerach

                            
                            *********  


AMBAC FINANCIAL: Faces Securities Fraud Litigation in New York
--------------------------------------------------------------
Ambac Financial Group Inc. faces a purported securities fraud
class action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of New York.

The suit, entitled, “Reimer v. Ambac Financial Group,” was filed
on Jan. 16, 2008 on behalf of buyers of Ambac's shares from Oct.
19, 2005 to Nov. 26, 2007.

The complaint charges Ambac, and certain of its officers, and
directors with violations of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of
1934.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that during the Class
Period, defendants issued materially false and misleading
statements regarding the Company’s business and financial
results related to its insurance coverage on collateralized debt
obligations (CDO) contracts.

According to the complaint, the true facts, which were known by
the defendants but concealed from the investing public during
the Class Period, were as follows:

       -- that the Company lacked requisite internal controls to
          ensure that the Company’s underwriting standards and
          its internal rating system for its CDO contracts were
          adequate, and, as a result, the Company’s projections
          and reported results issued during the Class Period
          were based upon defective assumptions and/or
          manipulated facts;

       -- that the Company’s financial statements were
          materially misstated due to its failure to properly
          account for its mark-to-market losses;

       -- that, given the deterioration and the increased
          volatility in the mortgage market, the Company would
          be forced to tighten its underwriting standards
          related to its asset-backed securities, which would
          have a direct material negative impact on its premium
          production going forward;

       -- that the Company had far greater exposure to
          anticipated losses and defaults related to its CDO
          contracts containing subprime loans, including even
          highly rated CDOs, than it had previously disclosed;

       -- that the Company had far greater exposure to a
          potential ratings downgrade from one of the credit
          ratings agencies than it had previously disclosed; and
       -- that defendants’ Class Period statements about the
          Company’s selective underwriting practices during the
          2005 through 2007 timeframe related to its CDOs backed
          by subprime assets were patently false; as the
          Company’s underwriting standards were at best
          aggressive and at a minimum were completely
          inadequate.

The suit is “Reimer v. Ambac Financial Group, Case No. 1:08-cv-
00411-NRB,” filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of New York, Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, presiding.

Representing the plaintiffs are:

         David Avi Rosenfeld, Esq.
         Coughlin, Stoia, Geller, Rudman & Robbins, LLP
         58 South Service Road, Suite 200
         Melville, NY 11747
         Phone: 631-367-7100
         Fax: 631-367-1173
         E-mail: drosenfeld@csgrr.com


AMERICAN LASER: Accused of Violating California Labor Laws
----------------------------------------------------------
ALC Partner, Inc., dba American Laser Centers, ALC Acquisition
Company LLC, and American Laser Centers of California, are
facing a class-action complaint filed Jan. 25 in the Superior
Court of the State of California for the County of Alameda
accusing it of operating “sweatshops”, the CourtHouse News
reports.

Plaintiffs claim the centers, which makes hair-removal and skin-
care products, cheat workers of pay “in literal 'sweatshops,'
with high-powered lasers, little or no ventilation, and under
the constant watch of corporate taskmasters.”

This is a class action on behalf of all individuals who are and
were employed at American Laser Center clinics throughout the
State of California yet denied the benefits and protections
required by the California Labor Code and other statutes and
regulations applicable to employees in the State of California.

The complaint claims defendants' employees toil in literal
"sweatshops," with high-powered lasers, little or no
ventilation, and under the constant watch of corporate
taskmasters who control their activities and appointment.

During the four years preceding the filing of this action,
defendant had a corporate policy under which they automatically
misclassified all so-called "managers" as exempt employee status
under such laws and regulations. Indeed, defendants reclassified
their "assistant managers" as non-exempt in 2007, but failed to
pay these employees back their wages and overtime during the
period which they were misclassified as exempt.

Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of all persons who were,
are or will be employed by ALC as managers, technicians and/or
with similar job titles and duties in California at anytime
within the four years prior to the original filing date of these
claims in federal court (July 16, 2007) through the date of the
final disposition of this action.

They want the court to rule on:

     (a) whether defendants misclassified Manager class members  
         as exempt from wage and hour requirements under
         California law;

     (b) whether defendants failed to pay class members the
         legally required minimum wage for each hour worked;

     (c) whether defendants failed to pay class members regular
         wages for all regular hours worked, including "off-the-
         clock" time, travel time, training time, and time spent
         at company meetings and "mandatory" dinners;

     (d) whether defendants failed to pay class members overtime
         compensation for each overtime hour worked;

     (e) whether defendants failed to provide each class member
         with at least 30-minute meal period on every workday of
         at least 5 hours and a second 30-minute meal period on
         every workday of at least 10 hours as required by
         California law;

     (f) whether defendants failed to provide each class member
         with 10 minutes of net rest time for every four hours
         of work, or major fraction thereof, as required by
         California law;

     (g) whether defendants failed to compensate class members
         one hour of pay for each day in which a proper meal or
         rest period was not provided as required by California
         law;

     (h) whether defendants improperly withheld or deducted
         wages from class members in violation of Cal. Lab. Code
         Section 221 and the applicable Wage Order;

     (i) whether defendants failed to reimburse clas members for
         job-related equipment, meals, uniforms, transportation,
         and mileage in violation of Cal. Lab. Code Section 2802
         and the applicable Wage Order;

     (j) whether defendants failed to pay accrued and vested
         vacation time to clas members in violation of Cal. Lab.
         Code Section 227.3 and California law;

     (k) whether defendants violated California Labor Code
         Sections 201-03 by willfully failing to pay all wages
         and compensation due and owing class members who quit
         or who were discharged by defendants;

     (l) whether defendants violated Cal. Lab. Code Section 226
         by willfully failing to provide accurate itemized wage
         statements showing, inter alia, the number of hours
         worked by class members and all deductions made;

     (m) whether defendants improperly retained, converted,
         appropriated, or deprived class members the use of
         money or sums to which they were legally entitled;

     (n) whether defendants were unjustly enriched by the work
         and services performed by class members without
         compensation;

     (o) whether defendants failed to maintain proper records of
         hours worked and compensation paid to class members in
         violation of Cal. Lab. Code Section 1174;

     (p) whether defendants engaged in unfair business practices
         in violation of California Bus. & Prof. Code Section
         17200, et seq., by failing to provide wages and
         compensation required by California law;

     (q) whether class members are entitled to equitable relief
         pursuant to California Bus. & Prof. Code Section 17200,
         et seq.;

     (r) whether defendants' conduct was willful, reckless,
         oppressive, fraudulent, or malicious; and

     (s) the effect upon and the extent of injuries suffered by
         plaintiffs and class members, and the appropriate
         amount of damages, reimbursement, restitution, or other
         compensation.

Plaintiffs request for the following relief:

     -- certification of this action as a class action on behalf
        of the proposed class;

     -- designation of the named plaintiffs as representatives
        of the class;

     -- a declaratory judgment that the practices complained of
        are unlawful under California State law;

     -- compensatory damages, including unpaid wages, improperly
        withheld wages, and overtime, according to proof;

     -- liquidated damages pursuant to Cal. Lab. Code Section
        1194.2(a);

     -- premium pay pursuant to Cal. Lab. Code section 226.7;

     -- waiting time penalties pursuant to Cal. Lab. Code
        Section 203;

     -- unreimbursed expenses pursuant to Cal. Lab. Code Section
        2802;

     -- statutory damages pursuant to Cal. lab. Code Section
        226(e);

     -- restitution of all money due to named plaintiffs and
        class members from the unlawful and unfair business
        practices of defendants;

     -- temporary and preliminary orders, and permanent
        injunctive relief, enjoining defendants and their
        agents, servants, and employees from the unlawful and
        unfair business practices alleged;

     -- punitive and exemplary damages under Cal. Civ. Code
        Section 3294;

     -- interest as provided by law at the maximum legal rate;

     -- reasonable attorneys' fees authorized by statute;

     -- costs of suit incurred;

     -- pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, as provided by
        law; and

     -- for such other and further relief as the court may deem
        just and proper.

The suit is "Kay Love et al. v. ALC Partner, Inc. et al., Case
No. RG08367932," filed in the Superior Court of the State of
California for the County of Alameda.

Representing plaintiffs are:

          Lionel Glancy, Esq.
          Kevin Ruf, Esq.
          Kara Wolke, Esq.
          Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP
          1801 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 311
          Los Angeles, CA 90067
          Phone: (310) 201-9150
          Fax: (310) 201-9160


AWSM TECHNOLOGY: Ariz. Firm Plans Suit Over "Microsite" Scam
------------------------------------------------------------
A Phoenix, Arizona based law firm is building up a class action
on behalf of people who were allegedly victims of AWSM
Technology "microsite" scam, PR-Inside.com reports.

The law firm is:

      Glover and Van Cott, P.A.
      Suite 260, The Brookstone
      2025 North Third Street
      Phoenix, Arizona 85004-1487
      Phone: 602-257-9180
      http://www.glovervancottlaw.com

The report did not specify the details of the alleged scam.  

AWSM Technology has reportedly split into two companies:
DotVentures and SearchMarketing.  These companies are owned by
the same people who owned AWSM Technology and are engaged in the
same type of business.


BROADCOM CORP: Still Faces Consolidated Securities Suit in Cal.
---------------------------------------------------------------
Broadcom Corp. continues to face a consolidated securities fraud
class action in the U.S. District Court for the Central District
of California.

From August through October 2006, several plaintiffs filed these
purported shareholder class actions in the U.S. District Court
for the Central District of California against Broadcom and
certain of its current or former officers and directors (Options
Class Actions) (Class Action Reporter, May 10, 2007):

      -- "Bakshi v. Samueli, et al., Case No. 06-5036 R (CWx),"

      -- "Mills v. Samueli, et al., Case No. SACV 06-9674 DOC
          R(CWx)," and

      -- "Minnesota Bakers Union Pension Fund, et al. v.
          Broadcom Corp., et al., Case No. SACV 06-970 CJC R
          (CWx)."

The essence of the plaintiffs' allegations is that Broadcom
improperly backdated stock options, resulting in false or
misleading disclosures concerning, among other things,
Broadcom's business and financial condition.

Plaintiffs also allege that Broadcom failed to account for and
pay taxes on stock options properly, that the individual
defendants sold Broadcom stock while in possession of material
nonpublic information, and that the defendants' conduct caused
artificial inflation in Broadcom's stock price and damages to
the putative plaintiff class.

Plaintiffs assert claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder.

In November 2006 the Court consolidated the Options Class
Actions and appointed the New Mexico State Investment Council as
lead class plaintiff.

In October 2007, the federal appeals court resolved a dispute
regarding the appointment of lead class counsel.  

The lead plaintiff’s consolidated class action complaint will be
due 45 days after the district judge enters a revised order
appointing lead class counsel.

The company reported no development in the matter in its Jan.
28, 2008 Form 10-K Filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2007.

The first identified complaint is "Sonam Bakshi v. Henry Samueli
et al., Case No. 2:06-cv-05036-R-CW," filed in the U.S. District
Court for the Central District of California under Judge Manuel
L. Real with referral to Judge Carla Woehrle.

Representing the plaintiffs are:

          Michael D. Braun, Esq.
          Braun Law Group
          12400 Wilshire
          Boulevard, Suite 920
          Los Angeles, CA 90025
          Phone: 310-442-7755
          E-mail: service@braunlawgroup.com

          - and -

          Bryan L. Crawford, Esq.
          Heins Mills & Olson
          3550 IDS Ctr., 80 South 8th St.
          Minneapolis, MN 55402
          Phone: 612-338-4605
          Fax: 612-338-4692

Representing the defendants are:

          Gordon A. Greenberg, Esq.
          McDermott Will & Emery
          2049 Century Park E, 34th Fl.
          Los Angeles, CA 90067-3208
          Phone: 310-277-4110
          Fax: 310-277-4730

          - and -

          Stephen S. Hasegawa, Esq.
          Irell & Manella
          1800 Avenue of the Stars, Ste. 900
          Los Angeles, CA 90067-4276
          Phone: 310-277-1010
          E-mail: shasegawa@irell.com


CHIRON CORP: Cal. Court Rejects Securities Suit Settlement Plan
---------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
refused to grant final approval to a proposed settlement of a
consolidated securities class action filed against Chiron Corp.,
which, Novartis AG acquired in 2006.

Between October 2004 and December 2004, five securities class
actions were filed on behalf of purchasers of Company securities
for class periods ranging from July 23, 2003 through Oct. 13,
2004.  The suits named the company and certain of its officers  
as defendants. (Class Action Reporter, March 24, 2006).  

Four of the suits were filed in the U.S. District Court
for the Northern District of California.  One action, although
originally filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania, was later transferred to the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of California.

In March 2005, the Court named lead counsel and plaintiff, and
in April 2005, lead plaintiff filed a consolidated complaint.

The consolidated complaint alleges, among other things, that the
defendants violated certain provisions of the federal securities
laws by making false and misleading statements from July 23,
2003 through Oct. 5, 2004 concerning the amount of FLUVIRIN
vaccine the Company projected to produce and its historical and
forecasted financial results, and seeks unspecified monetary
damages and other relief from all defendants.

The securities fraud class actions were settled in April 2006.
However, the settlement is currently under revision in light of
a 2007 court order denying settlement approval,  according to
Novartis AG's Jan. 28, 2008 Form 10-F Filing with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission for the period ended Dec. 31,
2007.

The suit is “Richard Gregory, et al. v. Chiron Corporation, et
al., Case No. 04-CV-04293," filed in the U.S. District Court for
the Northern District of California.

Representing the plaintiffs are:

         Patrick J. Coughlin, Esq.
         William S. Lerach, Esq.
         Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins, LLP
         Phone: 415/288-4545 and 619-231-1058
         Fax: 415-288-4534 and 619-231-7423
         E-mail: patc@lerachlaw.com
                 e_file_sd@lerachlaw.com

Representing the defendants are:

         Amy S. Park, Esq.
         Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP
         525 University Avenue
         Suite 1100
         Palo Alto, California 94301
         Phone: 650.470.4500
         Fax: 650.470.4570
         E-mail: apark@skadden.com


DOLLAR TREE: Recalls Glue Guns Due to Fire, Burn, Shock Risks
-------------------------------------------------------------
Dollar Tree Stores Inc., of Chesapeake, Va., in cooperation with
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, is recalling about
253,000 Crafters Square Hot Melt Mini Glue Guns imported by
Greenbrier International Inc., of Chesapeake, Va.

The company said the recalled glue guns can short circuit,
causing the gun to smoke and catch fire. This poses fire, burn
and shock hazards to consumers.

Dollar Tree is aware of seven incidents in which these glue guns
short circuited resulting in two injuries, including electrical
shock and burns.

The glue guns dispense hot glue and are intended for craft
projects. The recalled glue gun is black with a yellow trigger
and is approximately 4 1/2 inches from the back of the gun to
the tip. Attached is a 44-inch electrical cord. "Crafters
Square" and product number 818261-72 or 818261-75 are located on
the guns' packaging.

These recalled glue guns were manufactured in China and were
being sold Dollar Tree, Dollar Bill$, Dollar Express,
Greenbacks, Only One $1, and Deal$ stores nationwide from
February 2007 through August 2007 for about $1.

Picture of the recalled glue guns can be found at
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml08/08175.jpg

Consumers are advised to immediately stop using the recalled
glue guns and return them to the store where purchased for a
full refund.

For additional information, contact Dollar Tree Stores Inc. at
(800) 876-8077 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through
Friday, or visit the firm's Web site: http://www.dollartree.com


DOMEGA INTERNATIONAL: Recalls Sweets with Undeclared Sulfites
-------------------------------------------------------------
Domega International, Ltd., Inc., 98 Bay 35th Street, Brooklyn,
NY 11214 is recalling Zebra brand sweetened lotus root seed and
Zebra brand sweetened coconut, because it contains undeclared
sulfites. People who have severe sensitivity to sulfites run the
risk of serious or life-threatening reactions if they consume
this product.

The recalled Zebra brand sweetened lotus root seed is sold in 6
oz. un-coded plastic bags and is a product of China, packed by
Hong Kong Ever Time Food & Grocery Co. Ltd. The product was sold
nationwide.

The recalled Zebra brand sweetened coconut is sold in 6 oz. un-
coded plastic bags and is a product of China, packed by Hong
Kong Ever Time Food & Grocery Co. Ltd. The product was sold
nationwide.

The recall was initiated after routine sampling by New York
State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Inspectors and
subsequent analysis by Food Laboratory personnel revealed the
presence of undeclared sulfites in Zebra brand sweetened lotus
root seed and Zebra brand sweetened coconut which did not
declare sulfites on the label. The consumption of 10 milligrams
of sulfites per serving has been reported to elicit severe
reactions in some asthmatics. Anaphylactic shock could occur in
certain sulfite sensitive individuals upon ingesting 10
milligrams or more of sulfites.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this
product. Consumers who have purchased Zebra brand sweetened
lotus root seed and Zebra brand sweetened coconut should return
them to the place of purchase. Consumers with questions may
contact the company at 1-646-938-7345.


INDIANA: Teachers Association Sued for Alleged Discrimination
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) filed a class
action against the East Allen County Schools (EACS) for alleged
discrimination after the school board decided to stop collective
bargaining with four employee groups, reports say.

ISTA represents the district’s Nurses Association, Food Services
Association, Secretaries Association and Paraprofessional
Association.  It filed the suit on behalf of the “education
support professionals” at East Allen County Schools.

ISTA claims EACS violated the civil rights of members of the
four groups when EACS voted to cease collective bargaining with
four of the seven employee groups in 2005.  Instead, EACS
elected to participate in “meet and confer” sessions.  

According to Rebecca S. Green and Kelly Soderlund of The Journal
Gazette, the four groups consist mostly of women, with only
three men included in the groups’ 327 members, while the three
other groups the district continued to bargain with, are
overwhelmingly male, according to court documents.

In their lawsuit, members of the four groups seek compensation
for the district’s alleged discrimination and punitive damages
as well, according to court documents.

The suit was filed in federal court in Fort Wayne.


ITALIAN BANKS: Suit Planned Over Prevailing Interest Computation
----------------------------------------------------------------
Italian consumer group ADUSBEF plans to sue over the use by
banks all over the country of a certain type of compound
interest on loans, Reuters reports.

The suit will be aimed at the so-called practice of anatocism,
where compound interest is calculated on the initial loan plus
interest that is accumulated each time the money comes due.  
ADUSBEF calls the practice usury.  The practice has been going
on for more than 50 years, according to ADUSBEF.

The suit could be Italy's first class action.  A recently
enacted law will allow class actions in Italy starting July
2008.


LG ELECTRONICS: Faces N.J. Suit Over Defective Washing Machines
---------------------------------------------------------------
LG Electronics USA, Inc. faces a purported class action in the
U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, alleging
that certain of its front loading washing machines have a defect
that leads to mold and mildew growth inside the washers, which
in turn leads to stains and odor on clothing.

The lawsuit was filed on by Chimicles & Tikellis LLP on beahlf
of Jason Harper and Gina Harper, both residents of Sarasota,
Florida.

It was brought on behalf of consumers who purchased allegedly
defective front load washing machines manufactured or sold by
the company.

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the defective washing
machines suffer from a design and/or manufacturing defect that
leads to the formation of mold, mildew, must, and other
odiferous, and unsightly compounds on the inside of the washing
machines.

In addition to being unsightly and smelly, the complaint alleges
that the mold and mildew that forms on the interior of the
defective washing machines can:

       -- damage clothes and other items; trigger allergies; and

       -- substantially decrease the value of these high-end
          washing machines.

The complaint alleges that the named plaintiffs have run bleach
and other cleaning products through their LG washing machine in
an attempt to cleanse it of mold and mildew, but that these
efforts to rid their defective washing machine of mold and
mildew have been unsuccessful.

The class action complaint asserts claims for:

       -- violations of the New Jersey and Florida consumer
          protection statutes,

       -- breach of express warranty,

       -- breach of the implied warranty of merchantability, and
    
       -- unjust enrichment.

The complaint seeks monetary damages and other relief, including
a court order that compels LG to cease and desist from selling
the defective washing machines, and to establish an appropriate
program to inspect, repair, and replace the defective washing
machines.

A copy of the complaint is available free of charge at:

              http://researcharchives.com/t/s?2793

The suit is “Harper et al. v. LG Electronics USA, Inc., Case No.
2:08-cv-00051-FSH-MAS,” filed in the U.S. District Court for the
District of New Jersey, Judge Faith S. Hochberg, presiding.

Representing the plaintiffs are:

         Joseph G. Sauder, Esq.
         Chimicles & Tikellis LLP
         361 West Lancaster Avenue
         Haverford, PA 19041
         Phone: 610-642-8500
         Fax: 610-649-3633
         E-mail:  JosephSauder@chimicles.com
         Web site: http://www.chimicles.com/

              - and -

         David R. Scott, Esq.
         Scott + Scott LLP
         108 Norwich Avenue
         P.O. Box 192
         Colchester, CT 06415
         Phone: 860-537-5537
         Fax: 860-537-4432
         Web site: http://www.scott-scott.com

  
LOUISIANA: Katrina-Related Suit Against U.S. Army Corps Junked
--------------------------------------------------------------
U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. dismissed a class action
filed against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over flooding
from a levee breach after Hurricane Katrina, reports say.

Last year, Judge Duval said the law may grant immunity to the
Corps for the failure of a flood wall and levee during Huricane
Katrina in 2005, but he did not rule on whether the suit can go
forward (Class Action Reporter Sept. 3, 2007).

On Jan. 30, Judge Duval, relying on the Flood Control Act of
1928, ruled that the Corps should be held immune over the
failure of a wall on the 17th Street Canal that caused much of
the flooding in New Orleans.

Residents of New Orleans, whose homes were destroyed by waters
from the 17th Street Canal, filed the class action in the U.S.
District Court for the Eastern of Louisiana (Class Action
Reporter, Feb. 12, 2007).

The lawsuit alleges numerous instances of negligence and cites
expert reports warning the Corps of the failure of the canal due
to weak soils as far back as 1974.

According to the lawsuit, that was the year that the New Orleans
Sewerage and Water Board began seeking a permit to dredge the
17th Street Canal to increase drainage in uptown New Orleans.  

The Corps was accused of negligently approving sheet pilings to
depths just two feet higher than the bottom of the canal,
allowing water to travel underneath the sheet pilings.

The suit further contended that the Corps abandoned the so-
called "Barrier Plan" which would have protected metropolitan
New Orleans from deadly storm surge from Lake Pontchartrain.   
Instead the Corps implemented another plan, the 'High-Level
Plan" which posed numerous known problems.

In a hearing last year, the corps claimed that it can't be sued
for negligence because the project falls under the Flood Control
Act, rendering it immune to lawsuits.

The suit is "Greer et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Case
No. 2:07-cv-00647-SRD-JCW," filed in the U.S. District Court for
the Eastern District of Louisiana under Judge Stanwood R. Duval,
Jr., with referral to Judge Joseph C. Wilkinson, Jr.

Representing plaintiffs is:

          Joseph M. Bruno, Esq.
          Bruno & Bruno
          855 Baronne St., New
          Orleans, LA 70113
          Phone: (504) 525-1335
          E-mail: jbruno@brunobrunolaw.com


MORTGAGETREE LENDING: Sued Over Adjustable-Rate Mortgages
---------------------------------------------------------
Mortgagetree Lending, and W.J. Brandley Co. Merchant Partners
LLC are facing a class-action complaint filed in the U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of California claiming
it failed to disclose harmful terms of adjustable-rate
mortgages, the CourtHouse News Service reports.

As a result of defendants' alleged unlawful conduct, they have
benefited  mightily at the expense of plaintiff and the class
members who purchased ARM loans that resulted in negative
amortization, loss of equity, and in some cases, foreclosure on
their homes.

Named plaintiff Gordon C. Bowman brings this action for
violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), 15 USC Section
1601 et seq., California's Unfair Competition Law (USL), Bus. &
Prof. Code section 17200, et seq., and other statutory and
common law.

Plaintiff brings this action on behalf of himself, and on behalf
of all others similarly situated pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure, Rules 23(a), and 23(b). The Classes Plaintiff
seeks to represent are defined as follows:

     -- The California Class: All individuals who, within the
        four year period preceding the filing of Plaintiff’s
        Complaint through the date notice is mailed to the
        Class, received an ARM loan through Defendants on their
        primary residence located in the State of California.

     -- The National Class: All individuals in the United States
        of America who, within the four year period preceding
        the filing of Plaintiff’s complaint through the date
        notice is mailed to the Class, received an ARM loan
        through Defendants on their primary residence located in
        the United States of America.

     -- The National Three Year Sub-Class: All individuals in
        the United States of America who, within the three year
        period preceding the filing of Plaintiff’s Complaint
        through the date notice is mailed to the Class, received
        an ARM loan through Defendants on their primary
        residence located in the United States of America.

They want the court to rule on:

     (a) Whether Defendants’ acts and practices violate TILA;

     (b) Whether Defendants engaged in unfair business practices
         aimed at deceiving Plaintiff and Class Members before
         and during the loan application process;

     (c) Whether Defendants failed to disclose that the interest
         rate actually charged on these loans was higher than
         the rate represented;

     (d) Whether Defendants failed to properly disclose the
         process by which negative amortization occurs,
         ultimately resulting in the recasting of the payment
         structure over the remaining lifetime of the loans;

     (e) Whether Defendants’ failure to apply Plaintiff’s and
         Class Members’ payments to principal as promised in the
         standardized form Notes constitutes a breach of
         contract, including a breach of the covenant of good
         faith and fair dealing;

     (f) Whether Defendants’ conduct in immediately raising the
         interest rate on consumers’ loans so that no payments
         were applied to the principal balance constitutes
         breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing;

     (g) Whether Defendants’ marketing scheme misleadingly
         portrayed or implied that these loans were fixed rate
         loans, when Defendants knew that only the periodic
         payments were fixed (for a time) but that interest
         rates were not, in fact, “fixed;”

     (h) Whether Plaintiff and Class Members are entitled to
         damages, including punitive damages; and

     (i) Whether Plaintiff and Class Members are entitled to
         rescission.

Plaintiff and all Class Members pray for judgment against each
Defendant, jointly and severally, as follows:

     -- An order certifying this case as a class action and
        appointing Plaintiff and their counsel to represent the
        Class;

     -- Actual damages according to proof;

     -- Compensatory damages as permitted by law;

     -- Consequential damages as permitted by law;

     -- Statutory damages as permitted by law;

     -- Punitive damages as permitted by law;

     -- Rescission;

     -- All equitable relief permitted by law, including
        restitution;

     -- Disgorgement of all profits Defendants obtained as a
        result of their unfair competition;

     -- Pre and post-judgment interest as permitted by law;

     -- Declaratory Relief;

     -- A mandatory injunction requiring Defendants to
        permanently include in every ARM loan and disclosure
        statement:

        (i) clear and conspicuous disclosure of the actual
            interest rate on the Note(s) and disclosure
            statement(s) as required under 12 C.F.R. Section
            226.17 by;

       (ii) clear and conspicuous disclosure in the Note(s) and
            the disclosure statement(s) that payments on the
            variable interest rate loan during the initial
            period at the teaser rate will result in negative
            amortization and that the principal balance will
            increase as required under 12 C.F.R. Section 226.19;
            and

      (iii) clear and conspicuous disclosure that the initial
            interest rate provided is discounted and does not
            reflect the actual interest that Plaintiff and Class
            Members would be paying on the note(s);

     -- reasonable attorney's fees and costs; and

     -- all such other relief as the court deems just and
        proper.

The suit is "Gordon C. Bowman et al. v. Mortgage Tree Lending,"
filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of
California.

Representing plaintiffs are:

          Lori E. Andrus
          Micha Star Liberty
          Jennie Lee Anderson
          Andru Liberty & Anderson LLP
          1438 Market Street
          San Francisco, CA 94102
          Telephone: (415) 896-1000
          Facsimile: (415) 896-2249
          E-mail: lori@libertylaw.com or micha@libertylaw.com or
                  jennie@libertylaw.com


MTN NIGERIA: Lawyers Plan to Sue Over Poor Service to Customers
---------------------------------------------------------------
A group of lawyers plan to file a class action against mobile
company MTN Nigeria and its rival players over pervasive network
congestions suffered by subscribers across the country, Shina
Badaru of This Day (Africa) reports.

According to the report, the suit may involve hundreds,
thousands or millions of subscribers and may set a major legal
landmark in the nation's judicial system.  A source told This
Day that the lawyers are studying the appropriate legal
instruments, including the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, and
the enabling laws of the Nigerian Communications Commission and
other relevant provisions of the nation's consumer protection
laws.

The lawyers, according to him, hope to claim damages over
alleged contractual breach by operators that continue to take up
subscribers, "even though they have inadequate capacity to
handle the increased traffic."  The practice amounts to
deception of the marketplace, according to him.

Of 41, 512, 449 active lines in Nigeria at the end of December
2007, GSM operators account for the highest number at 39,534,296
lines.  The top GSM operators are MTN, Glo Mobile, Celtel, and
Mtel, the report states, citing statistics from the NCC.


MUNICIPAL MORTGAGE: Rosen Law Firm Set to File Securities Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Rosen Law Firm announced an ongoing investigation into a
possible civil securities complaint against Municipal Mortgage &
Equity, LLC (NYSE:MMA), concerning allegations that MMA issued
materially false and misleading statements about its financial
condition and financial performance.

On January 28, 2008, the Company announced that it was slashing
its dividend and would delay the filing of restated financial
statements. As a result, the New York Stock Exchange now plans
to delist the Company's shares from trading beginning February
6, 2008. As a result of these adverse disclosures, the Company's
stock price declined nearly 40%.

The Rosen Law Firm's ongoing investigation concerns allegations
of whether MMA inflated the value of its loans and other assets
on its balance sheets and failed to maintain adequate internal
accounting controls in violation of Generally Accepted
Accounting Principles.

As a result of its investigation of MMA, the Rosen Law Firm is
preparing a class action lawsuit on behalf of investors who
purchased MMA securities during the period from January 30, 2003
through January 28, 2008.

For more information, contact:

          Laurence Rosen, Esq.
          Phillip Kim, Esq.
          The Rosen Law Firm P.A.
          350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 5508
          New York, NY 10118
          Tel: (212) 686-1060 or 1-866-767-3653
          Fax: (212) 202-3827
          Email: info@rosenlegal.com or lrosen@rosenlegal.com or
                 pkim@rosenlegal.com
          Website: http://www.rosenlegal.com


NAUTILUS INC: Still Faces Ark. Litigation Over Bowflex Machines
---------------------------------------------------------------
A fourth amended complaint was filed in the purported class
action, “Whitehead et al v. The Nautilus Group, Inc. et al.,
Case No. 4:08-cv-04002-HFB,” which is pending in the U.S.
District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, and takes
issue with Nautilus, Inc.'s Bowflex fitness machines.

                        Case Background

The original complaint was filed back in Feb. 9, 2005 in Miller
County Circuit Court in Arkansas.  It is based on customers'
complaints that the Company was not responsive to the repair
kits tied to the equipment's 2004 recall (Class Action Reporter,
Jan. 9, 2006).  

As class representative, Thomas Whitehead accused Nautilus of
fraud and unjust enrichment originating from two voluntary
recalls of two Bowflex fitness machines.

As part of the lawsuit, Mr. Whitehead wanted either a refund or
replacement of the home gyms.

The complaint sought damages for loss of use by arguing that
Nautilus was late in delivering repair kits after it announced
the kits would be provided within two weeks.

Mr. Whitehead argued that while waiting "week after week for the
repair kit" the "newly formed muscles softened and cardiac
health diminished" causing consumers to go from being "ripped to
ripped-off."

The complaint states "customers on the journey from average
everyman to fitness superstar had to put their journey on hold
while they waited for Defendants to provide a repair kit so that
their Bowflex equipment would not collapse and abruptly end
their fitness quest."

The litigation includes more than 782,000 Bowflex machines with
an average price of $1,466 and more than 662,000 repair or
upgrade kits.

The original complaint argues the retail value of the fitness
machine diminished.  In it, the plaintiffs are seeking the
difference between the fair market value before the recall and
the fair market value of the fitness machine immediately after
the recall.

Class counsel includes Texarkana attorneys John Goodson and Matt
Keil of the law firm Keil and Goodson, attorneys Michael
Angelovich and Brad Paddock of the law firm Nix, Patterson and
Roach and Houston attorney Richard Norman of the law firm
Crowley, Douglas, and Norman, L.L.P.

In 2005, Mr. Whitehead amended his original complaint in October
2005, adding allegations that Nautilus acted improperly by
asking customers to respond to the recall to obtain repair kit,
instead of proactively sending the kits to known customers.

The amended complaint states, "Not only did Defendants sell a
defective product to their customers and not only did they put
the burden on their customers to request the repair kit, but
Defendants then misrepresented how much time it would take."

Attempting to apply the Class Action Fairness Act, the company
had the case transferred to the U.S. District Court for the
Western District of Arkansas under the caption, “Whitehead v.
The Nautilus Group, Inc. et al., Case No. 4:05-cv-04074-HFB."  

Nautilus removed the case to federal court, arguing the amended
complaint did not relate back to the filing of the original
complaint and the federal court had supplemental jurisdiction
over any new part of the amended complaint.

However, U.S. District Judge Harry F. Barnes remanded the case
back to the Miller County Circuit Court stating the "proposed
class definition and parties remain the same."

In September 2007, Mr. Whitehead filed the Second Amended
Complaint adding allegations of strict liability, product defect
and breach of sales contract.

In October 2007, Mr. Whitehead filed the Third Amended Complaint
changing breach of contract to breach of implied and express
warranty.

                 Fourth Amended Class Complaint

On Dec. 18, 2007, Mr. Whitehead filed his Fourth Amended Class
Complaint, which removed all factual allegations relating to
him, and instead asserted claims on behalf of three new
plaintiffs, Jim C. Chancellor, Sheri I. Parish, and Todd I.
Parish, according to a report by Michelle Massey of The
Southeast Texas Record.

Common questions of law and fact asserted by the fourth amended
complaint include:

       -- whether the Bowflex machines were defective and not
          reasonably suited for their intended purpose prior to
          the voluntary recall;

       -- whether the defendants proactively sent the recall
          kits to consumers;

       -- whether the machines were rendered useless until the
          repair kit was provided;

       -- whether Nautilus told consumers to stop using the
          fitness machines until the defect was fixed;

       -- whether the defendant told consumers the repair kit
          would be provided within two weeks;

       -- whether Nautilus took unfair advantage of consumers by
          keeping the full purchase price while not proactively
          sending out repair kits;

       -- whether the defendant keeping the full purchase price
          was a detriment to consumers;

       -- whether the defective condition resulted diminishment
          of the fair market value;

       -- whether defendants entered into sales contracts with
          consumers, and

       -- whether the Bowflex machines were of inferior quality.

                       Nautilus Responds

Nautilus argues that the filing of the Fourth Amended Class
Complaint follows plaintiff's discovery responses in which Mr.
Whitehead admits he has never owned a product recalled by
Nautilus.

Responding to the new and changing information, Nautilus again
filed a motion to remove the litigation to the U.S. District
Court for the Western District of Arkansas, arguing that Mr.
Whitehead never had legal standing.

Nautilus seeks a motion to strike the Plaintiffs' Fourth Amended
Complaint, arguing that under Arkansas law, substituting new
parties in place of others constitutes a new lawsuit and makes
it removable under the Class Action Fairness Act.

Within Nautilus' answer to the fourth amended complaint, it
admits to conducting recalls on certain Bowflex machines in
cooperation and under the guidance of the Consumer Product
Safety Commission but states that its products are not defective
or unreasonably dangerous.

Nautilus argues that the plaintiffs allegations are barred by
the Consumer Product Safety Act, because the company complied
with all applicable statutes and regulations.  The company is
requesting a trial by jury.

The suit is “Whitehead et al. v. The Nautilus Group, Inc. et
al., Case No. 4:08-cv-04002-HFB,” filed in the U.S. District
Court for the Western District of Arkansas under Judge Harry F.
Barnes.

Representing the plaintiffs are:

         Michael B. Angelovich, Esq.
         Nix, Patterson & Roach, LLP
         2900 Saint Michael Drive, Suite 500
         Texarkana, TX 75503
         Phone: (903) 223-3999
         Fax: (903) 223-8520
         E-mail: mangelovich@nixlawfirm.com

         John C. Goodson, Esq.
         Keil & Goodson
         P.O. Box 618
         Texarkana, AR 75504
         Phone: (870) 772-4113
         Fax: (870) 773-2967
         E-mail: jcgoodson@kglawfirm.com

              - and -

         Richard E. Norman, Esq.
         Crowley Douglas Norman LLP
         1301 McKinney St., Suite 3500
         Houston, TX 77010
         Phone: 713-651-1771
         Fax: 713-651-1775
         E-mail: rnorman@cdnlawfirm.com

Representing the defendants is:

         Leisa B. Pearlman, Esq.
         Patton, Roberts, McWilliams & Capshaw, LLP
         P.O. Box 6128
         Texarkana, TX 75505-6128
         Phone: (903) 334-7000
         Fax: (903) 334-7007
         E-mail: lpearlman@pattonroberts.com


NCAA: Setting up $218M Fund to Settle Suit Over “Grants-In-Aid”
---------------------------------------------------------------
The National Collegiate Athletic Association reached a
settlement of a purported federal antitrust class action over
the limits placed on athletic grants-in-aid (GIA).

                        Case Background

The lawsuit was filed on Feb. 17, 2006 in the U.S. District
Court for the Central District of California, under the caption,
“Jason White et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic Association,
Case No. 2:06-cv-00999-VBF-MAN” with Judge Valerie Baker
Fairbank, presiding.

The named plaintiffs, and class representatives are:

      -- Jason White, who played football at Stanford;

      -- Brian Polak, who played football at UCLA;

      -- Jovan Harris, who played basketball at the University
         of San Francisco; and

      -- former Texas-El Paso basketball player Chris Craig.

The suit alleges that the NCAAA violated the federal antitrust
laws through an unlawful agreement with its member schools to
restrict the amount of athletic financial aid or "grant-in-aid"
student-athletes can receive (Class Action Reporter, Oct. 27,
2006).

The lawsuit challenges an agreement under which the NCAA and its
member schools have imposed a maximum cap on the amount of
athletics-based financial aid, support available to student
athletes competing in major college sports.

Under this agreement, the amount of the GIA is artificially
fixed at an amount that falls far short of the full "cost of
attendance" (COA) at NCAA member institutions.

The lawsuit alleges that this agreement is an unlawful restraint
of trade in violation of the federal antitrust laws.

Athletic scholarships, known as "grants-in-aid" or "GIAs," are
currently subject to an NCAA bylaw, which caps scholarships at
an amount below the student-athletes' full cost of attendance at
their schools.

Plaintiffs allege that this bylaw prevents member schools from
providing student athletes with athletic-based financial aid
sufficient to cover the costs of attending school, such as
travel expenses, clothing, health insurance, and school
supplies.

The plaintiffs sought damages and an order from the Court
"restraining the NCAA from enforcing its unlawful and
anticompetitive agreement."

In September 2006, the court denied the NCAA's motion to dismiss
the plaintiffs' complaint.  In that ruling, the court noted that
the Plaintiffs had adequately alleged that: "the GIA cap ...
forces student-athletes to bear a greater portion of the cost of
attendance than they would have borne if the GIA cap had not
been in place."

                           Settlement

In January 2008, attorneys for both parties announced that a
settlement, which is still subject to court approval, was
reached in the matter, potentially benefiting thousands of
current, and future athletes, according to a report by USA
Today.

Under the settlement, NCAA general counsel Elsa Cole said that
the association agreed to make a total of $218 million available
to Division I schools through the 2012-13 school year for use by
athletes who can demonstrate a financial and/or academic need
for access to the funds.

The money, Ms. Cole tells USA Today, represents an aggregate of
two existing funds, the special assistance fund and the academic
enhancement fund, which are now easier to access.  Athletes also
can use the student-athlete opportunity fund.

A copy of the settlement is available free of charge at:

              http://researcharchives.com/t/s?2797

The suit is "Jason White et al. v. National Collegiate Athletic
Association, Case No. 2:06-cv-00999-RGK-MAN," filed in the U.S.
District Court for the Central District of California, Judge R.
Gary Klausner, presiding.

Representing plaintiffs are:

         Stephen E. Morrissey, Esq.
         Susman Godfrey
         1901 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 950
         Los Angeles, CA 90067
         Phone: 310-789-3103 or 310-789-3100
         E-mail: smorrissey@susmangodfrey.com
      
              - and -

         Maxwell M. Blecher, Esq.
         Blecher & Collins
         515 South Figueroa St., 17th Floor
         Los Angeles, CA 90071
         Phone: 213-622-4222
         E-mail: mblecher@blechercollins.com

Representing the defendants are:

         David M. Balabanian, Esq.
         Nora C. Cregan, Esq.
         Farschad Farzan, Esq.
         Christina Marie Wheeler, Esq.
         Frank M. Hinman, Esq.
         Bingham McCutchen
         3 Embarcadero Ctr, Ste 1800
         San Francisco, CA 94111-4067
         Phone: 415-393-2000
         E-mail: david.balabanian@bingham.com
                 frank.hinman@bingham.com

              - and -

         Gregory L. Curtner, Esq.
         Atleen Kaur, Esq.
         Kimberly K. Kefalas, Esq.
         Robert J. Wierenga, Esq.
         Miller Canfield Paddock & Stone
         101 N Main St., 7th Fl.
         Ann Arbor, MI 48104
         Phone: 734-668-7697 or 734-668-7663 or 734-668-7629
         E-mail: curtner@millercanfield.com
                 kaur@millercanfield.com
                 kefalas@millercanfield.com
                 wierenga@millercanfield.com


NEW JERSEY: Salem County Settles Copy Fees Suit for $85T
--------------------------------------------------------
Salem County settled a class action over copy fees by agreeing
to reimburse $85,000 to people who were overcharged for making
printouts in the county records room in the past six years,
Randall Clark of Today's Sunbeam (N.J.) reports.

The suit was brought by attorney Donald Doherty Jr. on behalf of
every citizen who obtained copies or printouts utilizing the
self-service equipment of the Salem County Clerk's Office since
2000.  The office was charging 25 cents for copies that should
have cost five cents.

Under the settlement, those ho made copies in the office are
eligible to receive 20 cents back per page.  Qualified class
members have until March 22 to file claims.  

Claims can be made by calling the Claims Administrator hotline
at 856-417-6940, or visiting the Web site
http://www.friedmandoherty.com,or the clerk's office.

To make a claim, one would need a receipt, tax return, canceled
check or a simple good faith estimate.


NOVARTIS AG: 2009 Trial Set for $100M Gender Bias Suit in N.Y.
--------------------------------------------------------------
An early 2009 trial is scheduled for a gender discrimination
class action that was filed against Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Corp., a subsidiary of Novartis AG, by 19 current and former
employees in sales-related positions.

In 2004, U.S. female employees filed a $100 million federal
class action against Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis,
alleging discrimination against working mothers (Class Action
Reporter, Aug. 3, 2007).  

The suit, which involves 12 women, who worked for Novartis in 12
states and the District of Columbia, was filed in the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf
of current and former female employees.

The plaintiffs charge they were denied promotions, subjected to
a hostile work environment, prevented from participating in
management development programs, paid less than male employees
and ordered by male supervisors to do work while out on family
or other leave.

The complaint is seeking at least $100 million in damages and
back pay.

In 2007, the court certified, as a class, women who hold or have
held a sales-related job at the pharmaceuticals unit from July
15, 2002, to present, including sales representatives, sales
consultants, sales associates and some district managers.

In that order, the court also granted a request to dismiss
claims against Novartis Corp., the pharmaceutical unit's U.S.
parent.

Discovery is ongoing and trial is scheduled for early 2009,
according to Novartis AG's Jan. 28, 2008 Form 10-F Filing with
the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the period ended
Dec. 31, 2007.

The suit is “Velez et al. v. Novartis Corp. et al., Case No.
1:04-cv-09194-GEL,” filed in the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of New York under Judge Gerard E. Lynch.

Representing plaintiffs are:

          Angela Corridan, Esq.
          Jeremy Heisler, Esq.
          Steven Lance Wittels, Esq.
          Sanford, Wittels & Heisler, L.L.P.
          950 Third Avenue, 10th Floor
          New York, NY 10022
          Phone: (646) 723-2947 or (646) 456-5695
          Fax: (646) 723-2948
          E-mail: jeremy.heisler@verizon.net
                  swittels@nydclaw.com
          
               - and -

          David W. Sanford, Esq.
          Sanford, Wittels & Heisler, LLP
          2121 K Street, N.W., Suite 700
          Washington, DC 20037
          Phone: 202-742-7780
          Fax: 202-742-7776
          E-mail: dsanford@nydclaw.com

Representing defendants are:

          Thomas G. Abram, Esq.
          Aaron R. Gelb, Esq.
          Sara Jeanine Kagay, Esq.
          Charles B. Wolf, Esq.
          Vedder, Price, Kaufman & Kammholz, P.C.,(Chicago)
          222 N. Lasalle Street, Suite 2600
          Chicago, IL 60601
          Phone: (312)-609-7500
          Fax: (312)-609-5005
          E-mail: tabram@vedderprice.com
                  agelb@vedderprice.com
                  skagay@vedderprice.com

               - and -

          Andrea S. Christensen, Esq.
          Kaye Scholer, LLP
          425 Park Avenue
          New York, NY 10022
          Phone: (212)-836-8000
          Fax: (212)-836-8689
          E-mail: achristensen@kayescholer.com


OHIO: High Court Hears Suit Over “Rights” on Dead's Body Parts
--------------------------------------------------------------
Ohio's Supreme Court heard arguments last week in a suit over
"protected right" on parts of a dead person's body that have
been removed and retained by a coroner, Robert Barnes of
Washington Post reports.

The suit was filed by Mark and Diane Albrecht whose son died in
a car accident in 2001. Their son's brain was removed for tests
by an Ohio county coroner trying to determine the cause of the
healthy 30-year-old man's death.  But the brain was not returned
and the dead body was buried without it.

According to the report, the suit argues that the next of kin,
not the state, should make decisions on how to dispose of organs
no longer needed for testing, and that denial of such a right
violates the Constitution's promise of due process.

The federal lawsuit names 87 of Ohio's 88 counties.   Hamilton
County, which encompasses Cincinnati, has already settled with
families for $6 million.

According to the report, U.S. District Judge Susan J. Dlott said
last spring that before she could rule on whether the class
action could go forward, she wanted the Ohio Supreme Court to
determine whether the next of kin have a "protected right" under
Ohio law to "the decedent's tissues, organs, blood or other body
parts that have been removed and retained" by a coroner.

The issue went to the state court's seven justices recently.  
According to the report, the justices were equally skeptical of
arguments on both sides.  The arguments touched on requirements
regarding notification of families and on what body parts
coroners may discard and what must be returned.   

The report did not state what decisions were made in the
hearing.  But it said that should the case be successful as in
that filed against Hamilton County by a woman whose husband's
corneas were harvested by a coroner for transplantation without
her permission, local governments could face in $90 million in
costs.

Representing the Albrechts is John H. Metz.  Lawyer Mark Landes
represents the counties and their coroners.


OMNICOM GROUP: N.Y. Court Dismisses Securities Fraud Litigation
---------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
dismissed a consolidated securities fraud class action filed
against Omnicom Group, Inc. and certain senior executives.

Beginning on June 13, 2002, several putative class actions were
filed.  The actions have since been consolidated under the
caption, “In re Omnicom Group Inc. Securities Litigation, No.
02-CV-4483 (RCC),” on behalf of a proposed class of purchasers
of our common stock between Feb. 20, 2001 and June 11, 2002
(Class Action Reporter, Sept. 3, 2007).

The consolidated complaint alleged, among other things, that the
companys public filings and other public statements during that
period contained false and misleading statements or omitted to
state material information relating to:

      -- the companys calculation of the organic growth
         component of period-to-period revenue growth,

      -- the companys valuation of and accounting for certain
         internet investments made by its Communicade Group,
         which it contributed to Seneca Investments LLC in 2001,
         and

      -- the existence and amount of certain contingent future
         obligations in respect of acquisitions.

The complaint sought an unspecified amount of compensatory
damages plus costs and attorneys fees.  Defendants moved to
dismiss the complaint and on March 28, 2005, the court dismissed
portions (1st) and (3rd) of the complaint detailed above.

The courts decision denying the defendants motion to dismiss the
remainder of the complaint did not address the ultimate merits
of the case, but only the sufficiency of the pleading.

Defendants have answered the complaint.  Discovery concluded in
the second quarter of 2007.

On April 30, 2007, the court granted plaintiffs motion for class
certification, certifying the class proposed by plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs claimed damages totaled about $1 billion, saying that
Omnicom's financial statements did not adequately disclose its
accounting arrangements.

However, in granting the company's motion for summary judgment,
the court pointed out that the plaintiffs did not prove that any
alleged misrepresentations by the company caused their losses,
and thus the case was dismissed.

The suit is "In Re: Omnicom Group, Inc. Securities Litigation,"
filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of
New York under Judge John Keenan.

Representing the plaintiffs are:

          Max W. Berger, Esq.
          Bernstein, Litowitz, Berger & Grossmann, L.L.P.
          1285 Avenue of the Americas
          New York, NY 10019
          Phone: (212) 554-1403
          Fax: (212) 554-1444
          Web site: http://www.blbglaw.com

               - and -

          David Avi Rosenfeld, Esq.
          Samuel Howard Rudman, Esq.
          Lerach, Coughlin, Stoia, Geller, Rudman & Robbins LLP
          58 South Service Road, Suite 200
          Melville, NY 11747
          Phone: 631-367-7100 and 631-367-1173
          E-mail: drosenfeld@lerachlaw.com
                  srudman@lerachlaw.com

Representing the defendants are:

          David Harold Braff, Esq.
          Stacey Rubin Friedman, Esq.
          Sullivan and Cromwell, LLP
          125 Broad Street
          New York, NY 10007
          Phone: 212-558-4705 and 212-558-4000
          Fax: 212-558-3333 and 212-558-3588
          E-mail: braffd@sullcrom.com
                  friedmans@sullcrom.com


PHILIPPINES: Media Orgs. Sue Gov't for Alleged Illegal Arrest
-------------------------------------------------------------
Media practitioners filed a class suit at the Makati Regional
Trial Court against:

     -- Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno,
     -- Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez,
     -- Philippine National Police (PNP) director Avelino Razon,
     -- National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief
        Geary Barias,
     -- Southern Police District (SPD) director Luizo Ticman,
     -- PNP-Special Action Force commander C/Supt. Leocadio
        Santiago and
     -- PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-National
        Capital Region Director S/Supt Asher Dolina

for arresting journalists covering a mutiny attempt at The
Peninsula Manila hotel in Makati City last year, the Philippines
News Agency reports.

On Nov. 29, 2007, members of the media were arrested by police
authorities after the standoff at the Manila Peninsula Hotel.

About 50 journalists were arrested released later.  Authorities
said the arrest was done to separate and identify legitimate
media practitioners from members of the mutineers who they
alleged were posing as media identity to escape authorities.

According to the report, University of the Philippines (UP)
professor and human rights lawyer Harry Roque said the class
suit would send a message that Filipino journalists would fight
to assert their Constitutionally-mandated rights against any
abuse or oppression.

To contact Mr. Roque:

          Harry Roque
          1904 Antel Corporate Center
          121 Valero Street Salcedo Village
          Makati City Philippines 1227
          Phone:  +632 8873894
          Fax: +632 8873893


QANTAS AIRWAYS: Executives in Price-Fixing Cartel Identified
------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. Justice Department has released the names of six Qantas
Airways executives connected to a global price-fixing cartel,
Australian Financial News reports.

The executives named in the U.S. Plea Agreement were Peter
Frampton, John Cooper, Stephen Cleary, Harold Pang, Desmond
Church and Bruce McCaffrey.  They will not receive immunity from
prosecution that was offered to Qantas, according to a copy of
the Plea Agreement obtained by Melbourne-based law firm Maurice
Blackburn.

The disclosure would help in the preparation of a case against
Qantas on behalf of 1000 Australian businesses, a lawyer
representing the businesses said, according to Canberra Times.

In November, Qantas Airways agreed to pay $70 million in fines
for fixing freight rates with other airlines.  The charge was
for shipping freight on the Pacific route between Australia and
the U.S. between January 2000 and February 2006.

Maurice Blackburn has already launched a AU$200 million class
action against Qantas and other airlines.   

In a writ lodged by Maurice Blackburn in Australian Federal
Court, it is alleged that seven large international airlines
secretly agreed to use the rise in fuel prices and security
costs after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the Iraq war, as an
excuse to over-inflate freight charges (Class Action Reporter,
Feb. 1, 2007).

The airlines named in the suit are:

     -- Qantas Airways Ltd.,
     -- Lufthansa,
     -- Singapore Airlines,
     -- Cathay Pacific,
     -- Air New Zealand,
     -- Japan Airlines (JAL) and
     -- British Airways.

Maurice Blackburn Cashman on the net:
http://www.mauriceblackburncashman.com.au/.


RHODE ISLAND: Court Hears Arguments on Dismissal of DCYF Suit
-------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island has
recently heard oral arguments in a purported class action “M. et
al. v. Carcieri et al., Case No. 1:07-cv-00241-L-LDA,” which is
alleging widespread abuse of the children under the care of the
state Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF).

Steve Peoples of The Providence Journal reports that the recent
hearing tackled the state’s motion to dismiss the case, arguing
that the federal court did not have jurisdiction to hear the
matter, which may be better handled at the Family Court level.

At the hearing, Children’s Rights, the New York-based nonprofit
organization behind the suit, faced tough questions from Judge
Ronald R. Lagueux.

In particular, Judge Lagueux also asked whether state Child
Advocate Jametta O. Alston and others who backed the lawsuit
were acting in the best interest of the children named.

The judge was particularly concerned that the children — who
have allegedly suffered years of physical and emotional abuse at
the hands of state workers — would be called to testify in open
court, according to the report.

Judge Lagueux’s comments during the hearing suggested that he
may agree with the state's contention that the case may not
belong in federal court, the report said.  He also doubted
Children’s Rights’ claims that the constitutional rights of the
children in state custody were being violated.

Ultimately, Judge Lagueux did not rule on the motion to dismiss,
instead, he scheduled another hearing to question the adults,
known as “next friends,” who are technically representing the
children mentioned in the suit.

                        Case Background

The suit was filed on June 28, 2007, seeking an injunction to
protect children.  It names as defendants DCYF and Rhode Island
Gov. Donald Carcieri (Class Action Reporter, July 6, 2007).

The named plaintiffs in the suit are:

          -- Sam M.
          -- Tony M.
          -- Caesar S.
          -- David T.
          -- Briana H.
          -- Alexis H.
          -- Clare H.
          -- Deanna H.
          -- Danny B.
          -- Michael B.

They seek declaratory and injunctive relief to compel Defendants
-- the Governor of the State of Rhode Island, the Secretary of
the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and the
Director of the Department of Children, Youth and Families – to
meet their legal obligations to care for and protect Rhode
Island's abused and neglected children in state custody by
reforming the State's dysfunctional child welfare system.

The suit is brought on behalf of all children who are or will be
in the legal custody of the Rhode Island Department of Children,
Youth and Families due to a report or suspicion of abuse or
neglect.

The plaintiffs raise the questions of:

     -- Whether Defendants fail to provide Plaintiff Children
        with safe, appropriate, and stable foster care
        placements, causing significant harm to their health and
        well-being;

     -- Whether Defendants fail to prevent the abuse or neglect
        of Plaintiff Children while in Defendants' custody,
        causing significant harm to their health and well-being;

     -- Whether Defendants fail to place Plaintiff Children in
        the least restrictive and most family-like settings
        suited to their needs, including by unnecessarily
        institutionalizing them, causing significant harm to
        their health and well-being;

     -- Whether Defendants fail to provide Plaintiff Children
        with legally required services necessary to keep them
        safe and properly cared for, and to prevent them from
        deteriorating physically, psychologically, or otherwise
        while in custody, as required by law and reasonable
        professional judgment, causing significant harm to their
        health and well-being;

     -- Whether Defendants unsafely return Plaintiff Children to
        caretakers who abuse or neglect them again, causing
        significant harm to their health and well-being;

     -- Whether Defendants unnecessarily move Plaintiff Children
        from placement to placement, causing significant harm to
        their health and well-being;

     -- Whether Defendants fail to provide Plaintiff Children
        and their families with reasonable decision-making as
        well as timely services necessary to ensure the safe and
        successful reunification of children with their families
        when appropriate, causing significant harm to their
        health and well-being;

     -- Whether Defendants fail to provide Plaintiff Children
        with timely and reasonable decision-making as well as
        services necessary to ensure that when Plaintiff
        Children cannot be reunited with their families safely,
        they are promptly filed for adoption and placed in
        permanent homes, causing significant harm to their
        health and well-being; and

     -- Whether Defendants fail to provide Plaintiff Children
        with the supports necessary to maintain family
        relationships where appropriate, including placing
        siblings together as well as providing parent and
        sibling visits, causing significant harm to their health
        and well-being.

As of January 2007, approximately 3,000 children were in the
legal custody of DCYF for foster care services due to reported
or substantiated allegations of abuse or neglect.

The suit is “M. et al. v. Carcieri et al., Case No. 1:07-cv-
00241-L-LDA,” filed in the U.S. District Court for the District
of Rhode Island, under Judge Ronald R. Lagueux, with referral to
Judge Lincoln D. Almond.

Representing plaintiffs:

          Jametta O. Alston
          Office of the Child Advocate
          272 West Exchange St., Suite 301
          Providence, RI 02903
          Phone: 222-6650
          Fax: 222-6652
          E-mail: jalston@doa.state.ri.us

               - and -

          John William Dineen
          305 South Main Street
          Providence, RI 02903
          Phone: 223-2397
          Fax: 223-2399
          E-mail: jwdineen1@yahoo.com


SHILOH FARMS: Recalls Unhulled Sesame Seeds Posing Health Risks
---------------------------------------------------------------
Shiloh Farms, of New Holland, Pennsylvania, is recalling Shiloh
Farms Organic Unhulled Sesame Seeds, 12-oz., because it may be
contaminated with Salmonella.

Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes
fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and
others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected
with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be
bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare
circumstance, infection with Salmonella can result in the
organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe
illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected
aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis. Consumers with the above
symptoms should consult their physician.

No illnesses have been reported in connection with this product.

This product comes in a 12 oz blue and white 5” x 8” plastic bag
with a Shiloh Farms logo and USDA organic symbol. The UPC bar
code number is 047593303545. The firm’s name and address appears
on the back of the plastic bag. Product distributed between
November 1, 2007 and January 25, 2008 is being recalled. Only
product with lot codes 17503 and 17133 are affected.

The contamination was identified when FDA testing revealed the
presence of salmonella in a sample of organic sesame seeds from
a Shiloh Farms supplier.

The recalled Shiloh Farms product was distributed to a total of
98 health food stores located in New York, Connecticut, New
Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and
Arkansas.

The company is asking stores to discontinue distribution of this
product and to promptly return the product and stock on hand to
the company for credit. Consumers should not consume this
product and return this product to the point of purchase for a
refund.

Consumers with questions may contact Shiloh Farms, (800) 362-
6832.


SMITH & WOLLENSKY: N.Y. Court Declines to Certify National Class
----------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
refused to certify a national class in a lawsuit against The
Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, Inc., Smith & Wollensky
Operating Corp., and Park Avenue Cafe, according to a report by
Joseph Goldstein of The New York Sun.

The suit was filed by Mohammed Rahman, a former waiter at the
restaurant back in Aug. 15, 2006.  The suit is captioned,
“Rahman v. The Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, Inc. et al.,
Case No. 1:06-cv-06198-LAK-JCF.”

The plaintiff claimed he was “subjected to hostility from
managers, chefs, and other supervisory personnel” who made
demeaning remarks about him being Muslim and South Asian.

According to court records, Mr. Rahman worked at the restaurant
between 1998 and 2005, and then was fired for allegedly stealing
a gift certificate.  

However, a report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
cast doubt on the claim that he stole anything.  The EEOC report
added that "there is reasonable cause to believe" Mr. Rahman was
fired because of "his race, national origin and/or religion."

Mr. Rahman's legal representative, Krishnan Shanker Chittur,
Esq., estimated that about 50 current and former employees were
covered in the case.

However, Mr. Chittur pointed out that the recent court decision
prevents the earlier certified class -- who worked at the branch
Mr. Rahman was working -- from including nonwhite employees at
other Smith & Wollensky restaurants.  

Currently, there are six restaurants belonging to the Smith &
Wollensky group in New York and more than a dozen nationally.

The suit is “Rahman v. The Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group,
Inc. et al., Case No. 1:06-cv-06198-LAK-JCF,” filed in the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of New York under Judge
Lewis A. Kaplan with referral to Judge James C. Francis.

Representing the plaintiff is:

         Krishnan Shanker Chittur, Esq.
         Chittur & Associates, P.C.
         286 Madison Avenue, Suite 1100
         New York, NY 10017
         Phone: (212) 370-0447
         Fax: (212) 370-0465
         E-mail: kchittur@chittur.com

Representing the defendants is:

         Christina L. Feege, Esq.
         Littler Mendelson, P.C. (NY)
         885 Third Avenue, 16th Floor
         New York, NY 10022
         Phone: (212) 583-2676
         Fax: (212) 832-2719 (fax)
         E-mail: cfeege@littler.com


STERLING FINANCIAL: N.Mex. Retirees Groups Lead Securities Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Judge Lawrence F. Stengel of the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania named on Dec. 21 the Public
Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico and the New
Mexico Educational Retirement Board to be lead plaintiff in a
shareholders' suit against Sterling Financial Corp.

The funds lost about $1.3 million combined, according to court
documents.  The funds are represented by Cauley Bowman Carney &
Williams, a law firm based in Little Rock, Ark.

On November 8, 2007, several actions pending in the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of New York were
transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania joining
several actions pending in that court.

According to a press release dated May 25, 2007, the Complaint
charges that certain present and former officers, employees, and
directors of Sterling's wholly owned subsidiaries Equipment
Finance LLC (EFI) and Bank of Lancaster County, N.A. violated
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934,
by engaging in a scheme to defraud the investing public and to
artificially inflate the stock price of Sterling.

The Complaint alleges that certain officers and employees of EFI
engaged in a sophisticated loan scheme to cause Sterling to
issue materially false and misleading financial information to
the investing public in order to artificially inflate Sterling's
stock price in violation of federal securities laws.

The Complaint asserts that on April 30, 2007 Sterling announced
that it expected to restate its previously issued financial
statements for FY 2004 through and including FY 2006 in
connection with certain accounting irregularities at its EFI
wholly owned subsidiary. The Company announced that EFI's CEO
and President had voluntarily relinquished his positions. This
adverse announcement caused to Company's stock to fall nearly
19%.

After market-close on May 24, 2007, Sterling announced
preliminary results from its ongoing investigation. According to
the Complaint, the investigation revealed evidence of a
sophisticated loan scheme, orchestrated deliberately by certain
EFI officers and employees over an extended period of time to
conceal credit delinquencies, falsify financing contracts and
related documents, and subvert established internal controls
established by Sterling.

As a result the Company announced it terminated 5 employees at
EFI and expected to take a cumulative after-tax charge of $145
million to $160 million to the Company's FY 2006 results.
Further announcements on May 24, 2007 revealed the Company was
halting its dividend. This announcement caused the Company's
stock to fall nearly 40% on May 25, 2007.

Similar, purported class action complaints have also been filed
in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania.

The suit is “New Mexico v. Sterling Financial Corp.” pending in
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
with Judge Lawrence F. Stengel presiding.

Cauley Bowman Carney & Williams LLP on the Net:
http://www.cauleybowman.com/


TENNESSEE: Suit Over Theft of Voters' Registration Info Dropped
---------------------------------------------------------------
Lawyers from Blackburn & McCune, PLLC filed a Notice of
Voluntary Dismissal Without Prejudice to abandon a class action
against Metro Government and The Wackenhut Corp. over a theft of
voters' personal information in December, the Nashville City
Paper reports.

The lawyers brought a lawsuit against Metro Nashville in the
Circuit Court for Davidson County, Tennessee, in an effort to
prevent harm to voters caused by the theft of laptop computers
from the Election Commission on Christmas Eve.

The suit was filed by Raymond T. Throckmorton III, Timothy T.
Ishii and Regina Newson.  The case wanted to require Metro to
tell every credit reporting agency about each individual voter
whose security could be hurt as a result of the theft, according
to The Tennessean.

It also asked that Metro, Wackenhut and its subcontractor,
Specialized Security Consultants, be ordered to buy credit
reports and at least 90 days of credit monitoring for every
voter.

The lawsuit was terminated after Metro police retrieved the two
computers with personal information of 337,000 registered voters
stolen from the Metro Election Commission Office on Dec. 24,
2007.  Since the personal information doesn’t appear to have
been compromised, the attorneys said the suit was no longer
necessary.

The suit is "Raymond T. Throckmorton et al. v. Metropolitan
Government of Nashville and Davidson County et al., Case No.
08C43," filed in the circuit Court for the Davidson County,
Tennessee.

Plaintiffs' counsel:

          Blackburn & McCune PLLC
          201 Fourth Avenue North, Suite 1700
          Nashville, TN 37219
          Phone: (615) 254-7770
          Fax: (615) 251-1385
          Web site: http://www.blackburnandmccune.com


VERIZON WIRELESS: Suit Over Early Termination Fee Certified
-----------------------------------------------------------
Eugene I. Farber, a senior arbitrator-mediator for the American
Arbitration Association in White Plains, N.Y., has certified a
class action against Verizon Wireless over its early termination
fee, Jeffrey Silva of RCRNews.com reports.

The suit concerns whether a $175 early termination fee imposed
by Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless is based upon an
unenforceable liquidated damage clause.

A trial date has not been set, but could begin by the middle or
latter part of this year, according to the report.

Scott Bursor, counsel for the plaintiffs, said the ruling to
certify the class action is the largest class ever certified in
arbitration, with approximately 70 million members of the
subscriber class. “It is also the largest class ever certified
on a contested motion in any type of forum, litigation or
arbitration," according to him.

The lawsuit could cost Verizon close to $1 billion in refunds of
early termination fees, the report said.

For more information, contact:

         The Law Offices Of Scott A. Bursor
         500 Seventh Avenue, 10th Floor
         New York, NY  10018
         Web site: http://www.bursor.com/


VOLKSWAGEN OF AMERICA: Utah Suit Claims Defects in Passats
----------------------------------------------------------
Volkswagen of America, Inc. is facing a class-action complaint
in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah claiming its
2000-2003 Passats have a defective ignition coil that causes the
cars to catch fire, the CourtHouse News Service reports.

Named plaintiff Ryan Schipaanboord claims the National Highway
Transportation and Safety Administration is investigating 78
such engine fires, and that VW has received more than 14,000
warranty claims for the defect.

He brings this action pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 23, on behalf of all other similarly situated owners
and lessees of model year 2000-2003 Volkswagen Passat
automobiles in the United States.

Plaintiff wants the court to rule on:

     (a) Whether Defendant is responsible for injecting
         allegedly defective vehicles in to the United States’
         stream of commerce;

     (b) Whether the 2000-2003 model year Volkswagen Passats are
         unduly prone to catch fire;

     (c) Whether the 2000-2003 model year are defective, and if
         so, the nature of the defect;

     (d) Whether Defendant VOA breached any duty imposed upon it
         by law; and

     (e) Whether class members are entitled to the relief
         sought, and if so, the proper scope of such relief.

Plaintiff requests for judgment as follows:

     -- That the Court determine that this action may be
        litigated as a class action, and that Plaintiff and his
        counsel be appointed class representative and class
        counsel, respectively;

     -- That Defendant be permanently enjoined from continuing
        in any manner the violations alleged herein;

     -- That judgment be entered against Defendant and in favor
        of Plaintiff and the class members on all counts;

     -- That Defendant be required by this Court’s Order to
        create an equitable fund to be made available to remedy
        the defects alleged herein, and that Defendant be
        ordered to bear the cost of notifying the absent class
        members as to the availability of this fund to remedy
        the defects alleged herein;

     -- That the Court order the creation of a common fund from
        which Plaintiff and his counsel shall be awarded their
        reasonable costs of suit, including reasonable
        attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred in prosecuting
        this class action and in conferring a common benefit
        upon the class members; and

     -- That Plaintiff and the class members be awarded all such
        other relief as this Court deems just and proper.

The suit is “Schipaanboord v. Volkswagen of America, Inc.,Case
Number: 2:2008cv00074,” filed in the U.S. District Court for the
District of Utah, Judge Tena Campbell, presiding.


WISCONSIN: Seventh Circuit Reinstates Suit Over Bar Exam Rule
-------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit re-instated a  
purported class action that challenged the State of Wisconsin's
unique policy of allowing graduates of state law schools to
practice law without taking the bar exam.

The lawsuit challenging the “diploma privilege policy,” which
dates to 1870, was filed by Christopher L. Wiesmueller on April
12, 2007.

Mr. Wiesmueller, a native of Wisconsin, who plans to practice in
the state, claimed that the policy violated the Commerce Clause
by treating in-state and out-of-state law school graduates
differently.

He brought the case on behalf of himself and on out-of-state law
school graduates who must pass the bar exam to practice in
Wisconsin.

In 2007, Judge John C. Shabaz of the U.S. District Court for the
Western District of Wisconsin, dismissed the lawsuit, ruling
that there was nothing unconstitutional about the rule, which
exempts graduates of the law schools at the University of
Wisconsin, and Marquette University from the bar-exam
requirement, as long as they meet certain academic criteria.  

The dismissal was later appealed by Mr. Wiesmueller to the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  

In opposing the appeal attorneys representing the Board of Bar
Examiners, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court, argued that Mr.
Wiesmueller's appeal was moot because he has since taken and
passed the bar exam.

However, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the  Seventh Circuit sent the case back to Judge Shabaz, ruling
that  the judge should not have thrown the case out without
first deciding whether it should be certified as a class action.

Writing on behalf of the panel, Judge Richard Posner noted that
Judge Shabaz's refusal to rule on the class-action status
indicated he believed the suit "wasn't going anywhere."

If the case is granted class-action status, other out-of-state
law graduates could continue the suit, regardless of Mr.
Wiesmueller’s standing in the case.

The suit is “Wiesmueller, Christopher L v. Kosobucki, John, Case
No. 3:07-CV-00211-JCS,” filed in the U.S. District Court for the
Western District of Wisconsin, Judge John C. Shabaz, presiding.

Representing the defendants are:

          Thomas Joseph Balistreri
          Department of Justice
          P. O. Box 7857
          Madison, WI 53707-7857
          Phone: 608-266-1523
          Fax: 608-267-2223
          E-mail: balistreritj@doj.state.wi.us


* Prosecutors Recommend Two-year Imprisonment for William Lerach
----------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles filed court papers on
Jan. 28 stating that lawyer William Lerach should serve two
years in prison for his role in a kickback scheme at his former
law firm, Milberg Weiss LLP, reports say.

Mr. Lerach pleaded guilty to one count of criminal conspiracy in
October.  He has agreed to forfeit $7.75 million and pay a
$250,000 fine.  He is due to be sentenced on Feb. 11.

U.S. District Judge John Walter will finally decide on his plea
agreement for one to two years of imprisonment.


                           *********


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless Hills,
Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick, Maryland
USA.   Glenn Ruel Senorin, Ma. Cristina Canson, and Janice
Mendoza, Editors.

Copyright 2008.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed
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The CAR subscription rate is $575 for six months delivered via
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