CAR_Public/110112.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

            Wednesday, January 12, 2011, Vol. 13, No. 8

                             Headlines

AMERICAN FAMILY: Law Firms Fight Over Class Action Settlement
BAYER INC: Birth Control Class Action May Lead to "Pill Scare"
BOUCHARD TRANSPORATION: Settles 2003 Oil Spill Class Action
DOMINO'S PIZZA: Faces Class Action in Louisiana Over Text Ads
GENERAL DYNAMICS: Class Action Over Tainted Water Under Trial

GERON CORP: Glancy Binkow Files Securities Class Action
HALLIBURTON CO: Supreme Court to Review Shareholder Class Action
LTX-CREDENCE: Faces Class Action Over Proposed Verigy Buyout
MEDTRONIC INC: Minnesota Judge Rejects ERISA Class Action
MOSAIC CO: Appeal in Potash Antitrust Litigation Remains Pending

NEW YORK: Court Allows Hurrell-Harring Class Suit to Go Forward
RITE AID: Continues to Defend "Craig" Suit in Pennsylvania
RITE AID: Remains a Defendant in California Wage & Hour Suits
RITE AID: Continues to Defend "Indergit" Suit in New York
RIVERWALK HOLDINGS: Sued for Unlawful Debt Collection Practices

SECURITIES AMERICA: TGN Points Out Two Causes of Action in Suit
SOCORRO ELECTRIC: Judge Sets Hearing Dates for Class Action
SPRINT NEXTEL: Retirees' Suit Granted Class-Action Status
STONEBRIDGE LIFE: Charged With Sending Unauthorized Text Messages
TEKELEC INC: Faces Class Action Over False Financial Information

* FDIC to Press Lawsuits Against Executives of Failed Banks
* Oildale Homeowners File Class Action Against Developer
* New Australian Consumer Law to Spark Class Actions


                             *********

AMERICAN FAMILY: Law Firms Fight Over Class Action Settlement
-------------------------------------------------------------
Steve Korris, writing for The Madison St. Clair Record, reports
Brad Lakin and former associates Richard Burke and Paul Weiss
peacefully shared a class action against American Family Insurance
while suing each other over fees from other cases, and now they
fight over settlement of that case.

Messrs. Burke and Weiss seek to drop out, and Mr. Lakin won't turn
them loose so easily.

In November, Mr. Burke filed a motion to withdraw the Chicago firm
of Freed and Weiss from the plaintiff steering committee.

Mr. Burke wrote that a fundamental disagreement with LakinChapman
made it impossible for Freed and Weiss to continue representing
the class.

"LakinChapman has excluded Freed and Weiss from any meaningful
participation in the prosecution of the litigation, and
LakinChapman determines all matters regarding the direction of
prosecution," he wrote.

"To the extent Freed and Weiss has been permitted to participate,
counsel have disagreed concerning the fundamental matters
concerning the prosecution of the litigation," he wrote.

He wrote that the firm reserved a right of recovery for services,
costs and expenses.

Robert Schmieder II of LakinChapman answered, "Freed and Weiss's
motive for withdrawal is the avoidance of advancing any costs on
behalf of the class."

He proposed to allow withdrawal on condition that Freed and Weiss
waive any right to reimbursement of costs or fees from the class
or American Family.

Alternatively, he proposed that Freed and Weiss pay half of all
costs incurred in the action to preserve any right to recover fees
and expenses.

Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge set a management
conference Jan. 26.

In 1999, Brad Lakin and Paul Weiss agreed to pursue class actions
together.

Their partnership collapsed in 2006.

Mr. Burke left the Lakin firm, opened an office in St. Louis, and
associated with Mr. Weiss.

Mr. Lakin sued Mr. Weiss in Madison County, Mr. Weiss sued
Mr. Lakin in Cook County, and Burke sued Mr. Lakin in federal
court at East St. Louis.

Messrs. Freed and Weiss withdrew from many cases, and Mr. Lakin
obtained letters of discharge from plaintiffs in other cases.

The lawyers announced resolution of all disputes in 2008, but the
agreement broke down and Mr. Lakin initiated private proceedings
in arbitration

All the while, they stuck together on the American Family class
action.

The former Lakin Law Firm filed it in Madison County in 2000,
claiming the insurer improperly reduced payments on medical bills
from car crashes.

Former Circuit Judge Daniel Stack certified Manuel Hernandez to
lead a class action.

The Lakin firm didn't send notice to the class.

Mr. Hernandez died, but for years the firm didn't report his death
to Judge Stack.

When American Family learned he died, the insurer argued that the
action died when Mr. Hernandez died because the class never
received notice.

Judge Stack disagreed, LakinChapman found living plaintiffs, and
the case settled.


BAYER INC: Birth Control Class Action May Lead to "Pill Scare"
--------------------------------------------------------------
Sharon Kirkey, writing for Postmedia News, reports two birth
control pills targeted in class-action lawsuits in Canada pose no
greater risk of blood clots than other oral contraceptives, says a
national doctors group that worries a "pill scare" could lead to
panic stopping of the pill and unwanted pregnancies.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada says two
studies suggesting a higher risk of venous thromboembolism among
women taking Yaz and Yasmin were flawed and that the pills carry
the same risk as other birth control drugs on the market.

Yaz and Yasmin are considered "fourth-generation" oral
contraceptives.  They contain drospirenone, a unique progestin
that blocks the effects of male hormones in the body, reducing
acne and premenstrual weight gain.

More than two million prescriptions for the pills were filled in
Canada in 2009, according to prescription drug tracking firm IMS
Brogan.

"Recent contradictory evidence and the ensuing media coverage of
the venous thromboembolism risk attributed to the progestin
component of certain newer oral contraceptive products have led to
fear and confusion about the safety of oral contraceptives in
general and drospirenone-containing oral contraceptives in
particular," the gynecologists group says in an updated practice
guideline issued to its members.

"We were concerned that it was going to generate another pill
scare like the ones we've seen in the past," said principal author
Dr. Robert Reid, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at
Queen's University in Kingston, Ont.

In 1995, the United Kingdom's Committee on Safety of Medicines
issued a drug alert warning that "third-generation" pills
containing gestodene or desogestrel -- two other progestins --
caused a twofold increase in blood clot risk compared to older
formulations.  Prescriptions dropped: according to an article
published in the journal Human Reproduction, there were 10,000
more abortions and 30,000 more conceptions than expected in the
nine months following the alert.

Venous thromboembolism -- or VTE -- is a rare but potentially
serious condition in which a blood clot forms in the deep veins of
the legs or pelvis.  Clots can break away and travel through the
bloodstream to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism -- a
medical emergency in which the clot lodges in an artery, blocking
blood flow to the lungs.

Obesity and smoking increases the risk of VTE.  So do birth
control pills: the overall risk is five in 10,000 for women who
don't take the pill, and nine to 10 per 10,000 for pill users.

The risk for VTE in pregnancy can be as high as 29 per 10,000
women, Reid's group says.

A Dutch study published in the British Medical Journal last year
reported a sixfold greater risk of venous thrombosis in women
taking Yasmin versus other birth control pills.  But Dr. Reid said
the difference wasn't statistically significant because the number
of women using Yasmin in the study was small, making the risk
estimates unreliable.

A European surveillance study sponsored by Bayer Inc., makers of
Yasmin and Yaz, that followed nearly 60,000 new users of various
birth control pills found no difference in blood clot rates
between Yasmin and Yaz and other birth control pills on the
market.

Dr. Reid said it's believed that it's the estrogen dose that's
primarily responsible for blood clots.  The first birth control
pills contained 150 micrograms of estrogen.  Most pills on the
market today contain 35 micrograms or less.

"The trade-off is that, as you lower the dose of estrogen, you
start to get more spotting.  Women get fed up with it and they
become non-compliant -- they stop using the pill and then they run
a risk of getting pregnant, which has a much higher risk of blood
clot than any pill," Dr. Reid says.

"When the 1995 pill scare happened in the U.K., all those extra
pregnancies put women at much greater risk for blood clots."

Dr. Reid said blood clots remain one of the leading causes of
death in pregnancy in developed countries.

"The message is that being pregnant carries a much higher risk of
blood clot than birth control pills," Dr. Reid said.  "Most pills
available today are highly effective and safe.  Every woman needs
to understand that there is a risk of a blood clot but that this
risk is low."

Symptoms include pain or swelling in the leg, or severe,
progressive headaches which can be a sign of a stroke.

A lawyer for Siskinds LLP, which has launched a class-action
against Bayer, said women do appear to have been "adversely
impacted" while using the pills.

"We've been contacted by somewhere between 70 and 100 women who
have had to have surgery to remove their gallbladders, probably
another 50 or so who have experienced pulmonary embolism or deep
vein thrombosis (and) a couple dozen who have had heart issues,"
said lawyer Matthew Baer.

The firm launched a Facebook page in October.  "Close to 2,000
people have signed up for updates," Mr. Baer said.


BOUCHARD TRANSPORATION: Settles 2003 Oil Spill Class Action
-----------------------------------------------------------
Brian Boyd, writing for SouthCoastToday.com, reports Mattapoisett
homeowners whose properties were damaged in the 2003 Buzzards Bay
oil spill won preliminary approval Friday for a $12.4 million
settlement, their lawyer said Friday.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Raymond Brassard granted the
plaintiffs' motion for preliminary approval in the class-action
lawsuit against Bouchard Transportation Co. Inc., according to
Martin Levin, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs.

The Mattapoisett case is one of two class-action lawsuits.
SouthCoast property owners outside of Mattapoisett reached an
$11.5 million settlement agreement in the other case.

"We think it's quite a good settlement for our clients," Mr. Levin
said of Friday's decision.  "We think people will be compensated
fairly with this settlement, and we really wouldn't have agreed to
it any other way."

The estimated recovery available for each home ranges from $1,500
to, in some cases, $30,000, depending on the amount of damage and
whether the property included a private or shared beach.

The decision brings to a close another chapter in the ongoing
legal battles following the oil spill.  A final hearing on the
proposed settlement is scheduled for April 25, at which time
Brassard will decide whether to grant final approval for the
agreement.

Phone calls placed Friday to both Bouchard Transportation and the
company's lawyers were not returned.

"This matter, at least in the form of a formal legal process, is
drawing to a close," Mr. Levin said.

Bouchard owned a barge that struck an underwater ledge in the bay
and leaked up to 98,000 gallons of No. 6 oil on April 27, 2003.
The spill polluted more than 90 miles of coastline, killed at
least 450 federally protected birds and temporarily shut down
about 180,000 acres of shellfish beds.

The Mattapoisett case was brought against Bouchard on behalf of
more than 1,000 homeowners in the town.  It was filed in 2004 in
Plymouth County Superior Court by homeowners Kim DeLeo, Frank
Haggerty and Earl Cornish.  A jury determined in a "test case"
trial last year that eight Mattapoisett homeowners sustained
damages ranging from $1,575 to $22,650.

The case has stayed with Judge Brassard, even though he now serves
in Boston.

In the other class-action case, a federal court gave final
approval in November to the $11.5 million settlement for property
owners excluding those covered in the Mattapoisett case, according
to a Web site set up to provide information about that agreement.

Later the same month, the U.S. Department of Justice announced
Bouchard and its affiliates will pay more than $6 million to
settle a portion of federal and state claims resulting from the
accident.

If the Mattapoisett settlement receives court approval, the money
would compensate property owners for damage to shoreline and
aquatic resources, piping plovers and coastal recreational uses
such as beach access, shellfishing, and boating, the Justice
Department said at the time.

In 2004, Bouchard reached a criminal plea agreement, resulting in
a fine of $10 million -- the highest fine ever in an oil spill
case in New England.

Owners of primary and seasonal homes in Mattapoisett will be
receiving claim forms within the next two weeks.  A phone number
and Web site will also be set up in the coming weeks, Mr. Levin
said.

Homeowners are asked to fill out the claim forms and send them
back.

"If they don't fill out the claim form and send it back in, they
will not get recovery," he said.


DOMINO'S PIZZA: Faces Class Action in Louisiana Over Text Ads
-------------------------------------------------------------
Michelle Massey, writing for The Louisiana Record, reports a
recently filed class action lawsuit claims that Domino's Pizza has
violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by its marketing
and advertising campaigns that used text messages.

Individually and on behalf of the class, Jonathan Bailey filed
suit against Domino's Pizza on Dec. 22 in federal court in New
Orleans.

The suit alleges that Domino's advertises its products and
services by transmitting text message ads to thousands of
recipients without their prior express consent.

Mr. Bailey claims he has received multiple text message ads from
Domino's on his cell phone within the last four years.

Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Domino's could be
ordered to pay the actual monetary loss caused by the violation or
$5,000 for each violation, whichever is greater.

The lawsuit is asking the court to demand that Domino's retain the
copies of the text message ads it sent within the last four years
and an injunction preventing the transmission of further messages.

On behalf of the class, Mr. Bailey is seeking an award of
compensatory damages, statutory penalties, interest and attorney's
fees.

Mr. Bailey is represented by John P. Wolff III and Christopher K.
Jones of Keogh, Cox & Wilson in Baton Rouge and Philip Bohrer of
Bohrer Law Firm in Baton Rouge.  A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10-cv-00004


GENERAL DYNAMICS: Class Action Over Tainted Water Under Trial
-------------------------------------------------------------
Marianne White, writing for Postmedia News, reports a major legal
battle was slated to get underway Monday at the Quebec City
courthouse, pitting residents of a small town against the federal
government and an ammunition company over the use of a toxic
substance on Canadian Forces Base Valcartier.

Residents of Shannon, Que., a 4,000-person town north of Quebec
City, won the right in 2007 to seek damages in a class-action
lawsuit against General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems
Canada Inc. and the Department of National Defence over tainted
water in local wells.

The trial -- expected to last six months -- would seek damages
that could be worth "hundreds of millions" for 2,300 of the town's
current and past residents, according to the lawyer representing
those involved in the suit.

The case has grown into a huge legal battle over the years, with
each party challenging the claims of the others by ordering
numerous studies and surveys.

Between 1940 and 1980, trichloroethylene, or TCE, a known
carcinogen, was used as a solvent to clean cannons and other
ordnance at CFB Valcartier.  It was also used in an ammunition
plant on the base originally run by Canadian Arsenals, a Crown
corporation, but operated by SNC Technologies Inc., in 1991, when
it closed.

General Dynamics acquired SNC Technologies in 2007, after the
class-action was authorized.

TCE was found in Shannon's wells in early 2000 and residents began
collecting evidence of abnormally high rates of cancer and other
diseases in the town, located just kilometers from the military
base.

The federal government has provided Shannon with $26.5 million to
ensure an alternate, safe source of drinking water, but the town
chose to fight the class-action over the health issues linked to
the water supply.


GERON CORP: Glancy Binkow Files Securities Class Action
-------------------------------------------------------
Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP has filed a class action lawsuit in
the United States District Court for the Northern District of
California on behalf of a class consisting of all persons or
entities who purchased the common stock of Geron Corporation
between July 30, 2010 and December 6, 2010, inclusive.

A copy of the Complaint is available from the court or from Glancy
Binkow & Goldberg LLP.  Please contact us by phone to discuss this
action or to obtain a copy of the Complaint at 310-201-9150 or
Toll Free at 888-773-9224, by email at shareholders@glancylaw.com
or visit our Web site at http://www.glancylaw.com/

The Complaint charges Geron and the Company's chief financial
officer with violations of federal securities laws.  Geron
develops biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer and
chronic degenerative diseases, including central nervous system
disorders, heart failure, diabetes and osteoarthritis.  The
Complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period defendants knew
or recklessly disregarded that their public statements concerning
the Company's financial condition and prospects were materially
false and misleading.  Specifically, during the Class Period the
CFO twice stated that Geron was funded for the "near-term" -- with
purportedly $156 million cash on-hand at the end of July 2010, and
$146 million at the end of October 2010 -- and that Geron had a
"running net burn number" of $48 million annualized in October
2010 and $48-$50 million annualized in July 2010.  Accordingly,
the Company should have been funded for three years.

However, after the market closed on December 6, 2010 -- only five
weeks after the October 2010 statement -- defendants, in an about-
face, announced an $87 million secondary public offering, which
with the underwriters' over-allotment became a $93 million
offering.  On December 7, 2010, defendants announced the pricing
of the offering at $5.00 per share, when Geron shares were trading
at $6.12 per share on December 6, 2010.

Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of class members and
is represented by Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP, a law firm with
significant experience in prosecuting class actions, and
substantial expertise in actions involving corporate fraud.

If you are a member of the class, you may move the Court, no later
than February 21, 2011, to serve as lead plaintiff, however, you
must meet certain legal requirements.  If you wish to discuss this
action or have any questions concerning this Notice or your rights
or interests with respect to these matters, please contact:

          Michael Goldberg, Esq.
          GLANCY BINKOW & GOLDBERG LLP
          1801 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 311
          Los Angeles, CA 90067
          Telephone: 310-201-9150
          Toll Free: 888-773-9224
          E-mail: shareholders@glancylaw.com
          Web site: http://www.glancylaw.com


HALLIBURTON CO: Supreme Court to Review Shareholder Class Action
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Associated Press reports that the Supreme Court agreed on
Friday to hear an appeal by Halliburton Co. shareholders who want
to pursue a class-action lawsuit claiming the oil services company
inflated its stock price starting when former Vice President Dick
Cheney ran it.

The court said it will take up a challenge to an appeals court
ruling against the shareholders, who want to represent all
investors who bought Halliburton stock between June 1999 and
December 2001.

Mr. Cheney, who is not named in the lawsuit, was Halliburton's
chief executive until 2000, when he resigned to run for vice
president.

The merits of the lawsuit are not at issue before the court, only
whether it may proceed as a class-action.

Class-actions increase pressure on businesses to settle lawsuits
because of the cost of defending them and the potential for very
large judgments.

The investors are represented by David Boies, the lawyer who
argued the losing side in the Supreme Court case that settled the
2000 presidential election in favor of the Republican ticket of
George W. Bush and Cheney.

The lawsuit argues that Halliburton deliberately understated the
company's liability in asbestos litigation, inflated how much
money its construction and engineering units would bring in and
overstated the benefits of a merger with Dresser Industries.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans refused to
let the lawsuit go forward as a class-action.  The investors,
backed by the Obama administration, argue that the 5th Circuit set
too high a bar for class-action lawsuits.

The case will be argued later this year.

The case is Erica P. John Fund Inc., v. Halliburton Co., 09-1403.


LTX-CREDENCE: Faces Class Action Over Proposed Verigy Buyout
------------------------------------------------------------
Brower Piven Friday disclosed that a class action lawsuit has been
commenced in the United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts on behalf of all shareholders of LTX-Credence
Corporation.  The claims asserted in the complaint arise from the
proposed buyout LTX-Credence by Verigy, Ltd.

On November 18, 2010, LTX-Credence and Verigy announced that they
had entered into a definitive merger agreement.  According to the
complaint, the agreement allows for two possible scenarios to
complete the proposed acquisition: a reorganization whereby both
Verigy and LTX-Credence will become wholly owned subsidiaries of
"Holdco"; or a merger whereby LTX-Credence will become a wholly
owned subsidiary of Verigy.

The complaint alleges that the acquisition is the product of a
fundamentally flawed process that is designed to ensure that only
Verigy has an opportunity to acquire the company.  For example,
the complaint states that Verigy received preclusive deal
protection deceives in the agreement that create a playing field
that is unfairly tilted in favor of Verigy and effectively chills
any potential auction process for LTX-Credence.

According to the complaint, the LTX-Credence board of directors
agreed to deliver the company to Verigy in order to secure
material benefits for themselves as a result of the acquisition,
including the accelerated vesting and monetization of illiquid
equity holdings in the company and change of control severance
payments, which will provide tens of millions of dollars in gains
to LTX-Credence's board of directors and members of its
management.


MEDTRONIC INC: Minnesota Judge Rejects ERISA Class Action
---------------------------------------------------------
MassDevice reports a U.S. District Court for Minnesota judge threw
out a suit filed by former Medtronic Inc. employees over an
alleged failure to disclose information that eventually lowered
its stock price.

A federal judge ruled that an attempt by former Medtronic Inc.
employees to sue the company on grounds related to the Employment
Retirement Income Security Act could not proceed.

U.S. District Court for Minnesota Judge Patrick Schiltz followed a
decision by the U.S. Appeals Court for the 8th Circuit in denying
the plaintiffs ERISA bid, according to court documents.

The former employees claimed that the Fridley, Minn.-based company
kept them in the dark about problems related to its Infuse bone
graft material and Sprint Fidelis leads for implantable cardiac
devices.  The plaintiffs alleged that the company failed in its
fiduciary duties by making disclosures about the products that
downplayed the issues that led the company's stock price to drop
and the employees' savings and investment plan to suffer.

The latest court ruling affirmed a later court's decision that the
plaintiffs "lacked standing because [they] suffered no
constitutionally cognizable injury fairly traceable to" any of
Medtronic's alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, according to court
documents.


MOSAIC CO: Appeal in Potash Antitrust Litigation Remains Pending
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Mosaic Company's appeal from an order denying dismissal of the
Potash Antitrust Cases remains pending, according to the company's
Jan. 6, 2011, Form 10-Q filing with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission for the quarter ended Nov. 30, 2010.

On Sept. 11, 2008, separate complaints were filed in the U.S.
District Courts for the District of Minnesota and the Northern
District of Illinois; on Oct. 2, 2008 another complaint was filed
in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois;
and on Nov. 10 and 12, 2008, two additional complaints -- Direct
Purchaser Cases -- were filed in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois by Minn-Chem, Inc., Gage's
Fertilizer & Grain, Inc., Kraft Chemical Company, Westside
Forestry Services, Inc. d/b/a Signature Lawn Care, and Shannon D.
Flinn, respectively, against The Mosaic Company, Mosaic Crop
Nutrition, LLC and a number of unrelated defendants that allegedly
sold and distributed potash throughout the United States.  On
Nov. 13, 2008, the plaintiffs in the cases in the U.S. District
Court for the Northern District of Illinois filed a consolidated
class action complaint against the defendants, and on Dec. 2,
2008, the Minn-Chem Case was consolidated with the Gage's
Fertilizer Case.  On April 3, 2009, an amended consolidated class
action complaint was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs in the
Direct Purchaser Cases.  The amended consolidated complaint added
Thomasville Feed and Seed, Inc., as a named plaintiff, and was
filed on behalf of the named plaintiffs and a purported class of
all persons who purchased potash in the United States directly
from the defendants during the period July 1, 2003 through the
date of the amended consolidated complaint.  The amended
consolidated complaint generally alleges, among other matters,
that the defendants: conspired to fix, raise, maintain and
stabilize the price at which potash was sold in the United States;
exchanged information about prices, capacity, sales volume and
demand; allocated market shares, customers and volumes to be sold;
coordinated on output, including the limitation of production; and
fraudulently concealed their anticompetitive conduct.  The
plaintiffs in the Direct Purchaser Cases generally seek injunctive
relief and to recover unspecified amounts of damages, including
treble damages, arising from defendants' alleged combination or
conspiracy to unreasonably restrain trade and commerce in
violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act.  The plaintiffs also
seek costs of suit, reasonable attorneys' fees and pre-judgment
and post-judgment interest.

On Sept. 15, 2008, separate complaints were filed in the U.S
District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by Gordon
Tillman; Feyh Farm Co. and William H. Coaker Jr.; and Kevin
Gillespie -- Indirect Purchaser Cases.  The defendants in the
Indirect Purchaser Cases are generally the same as those in the
Direct Purchaser Cases.  On Nov. 13, 2008, the initial plaintiffs
in the Indirect Purchaser Cases and David Baier, an additional
named plaintiff, filed a consolidated class action complaint.  On
April 3, 2009, an amended consolidated class action complaint
was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs in the Indirect Purchaser
Cases.  The factual allegations in the amended consolidated
complaint are substantially identical to those with respect to the
Direct Purchaser Cases.  The amended consolidated complaint in the
Indirect Purchaser Cases was filed on behalf of the named
plaintiffs and a purported class of all persons who indirectly
purchased potash products for end use during the Class Period in
the United States, any of 20 specified states and the District of
Columbia defined in the consolidated complaint as "Indirect
Purchaser States," any of 22 specified states and the District of
Columbia defined in the consolidated complaint as "Consumer Fraud
States", and/or 48 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto
Rico defined in the consolidated complaint as "Unjust Enrichment
States."  The plaintiffs generally sought injunctive relief and to
recover unspecified amounts of damages, including treble damages
for violations of the antitrust laws of the Indirect Purchaser
States where allowed by law, arising from defendants' alleged
continuing agreement, understanding, contract, combination and
conspiracy in restraint of trade and commerce in violation of
Section 1 of the Sherman Act, Section 16 of the Clayton Act, the
antitrust, or unfair competition laws of the Indirect Purchaser
States and the consumer protection and unfair competition laws of
the Consumer Fraud States, as well as restitution or disgorgement
of profits, for unjust enrichment under the common law of the
Unjust Enrichment States, and any penalties, punitive or exemplary
damages and/or full consideration where permitted by applicable
state law.  The plaintiffs also seek costs of suit and reasonable
attorneys' fees where allowed by law and pre-judgment and post-
judgment interest.

On June 15, 2009, the company and the other defendants filed
motions to dismiss the complaints in the Potash Antitrust Cases.
On Nov. 3, 2009, the court granted the company's motions to
dismiss the complaints in the Indirect Purchaser Cases except (a)
for plaintiffs residing in Michigan and Kansas, claims for alleged
violations of the antitrust or unfair competition laws of Michigan
and Kansas, respectively, and (b) for plaintiffs residing in Iowa,
claims for alleged unjust enrichment under Iowa common law.  The
court denied the company's and the other defendants' other motions
to dismiss the Potash Antitrust Cases, including the defendants'
motions to dismiss the claims under Section 1 of the Sherman Act
for failure to plead evidentiary facts which, if true, would state
a claim for relief under that section.  The court, however, stated
that it recognized that the facts of the Potash Antitrust Cases
present a difficult question under the pleading standards
enunciated by the U.S. Supreme Court for claims under Section 1 of
the Sherman Act, and that it would consider, if requested by the
defendants, certifying the issue for interlocutory appeal.  On
Jan. 13, 2010, at the request of the defendants, the court issued
an order certifying for interlocutory appeal the issues of (i)
whether an international antitrust complaint states a plausible
cause of action where it alleges parallel market behavior and
opportunities to conspire; and (ii) whether a defendant that sold
product in the United States with a price that was allegedly
artificially inflated through anti-competitive activity involving
foreign markets, engaged in "conduct involving import trade or
import commerce" under applicable law. On March 17, 2010, the
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit agreed to
hear the defendants' interlocutory appeal.  The parties have filed
their appellate briefs with the Seventh Circuit, and the court
heard oral arguments from the parties on June 3, 2010.

The Company believes that the allegations in the Potash Antitrust
Cases are without merit and intend to defend vigorously against
them.  At this stage of the proceedings, the Company says that it
cannot predict the outcome of the litigation or determine whether
it will have a material effect on its results of operations,
liquidity or capital resources.

The Mosaic Company -- http://www.mosaicco.com/-- is one of the
world's leading producers and marketers of concentrated phosphate
and potash crop nutrients.  Mosaic is a single source provider of
phosphate and potash fertilizers and feed ingredients for the
global agriculture industry.


NEW YORK: Court Allows Hurrell-Harring Class Suit to Go Forward
---------------------------------------------------------------
Daniel Weaver, writing for Examiner.com, reports the case of
Hurrell-Harring v State of New York began on September 29, 2007
when 31-year-old Kimberly Hurrell-Harring shoved a condom
containing 3/4 of an ounce of marijuana up her vagina before
entering Great Meadow Prison in Comstock, New York, to visit her
husband.  She was caught and arrested -- her first arrest ever.

Ms. Hurrell-Harring was arraigned without counsel.  Bail was set
at $10,000, which was for Ms. Hurrell-Harring equivalent to being
held without bail.  Ms. Hurrell-Harring's court-appointed lawyer,
Public Defender Patrick Barber, now disbarred for fabricating a
family court order among other things, told her she had no choice
but to plead guilty to a felony count of promoting dangerous
contraband, which was not true.  Another lawyer had called
Mr. Barber and told him that the New York State Court of Appeals
was about to rule on whether or not small amounts of marijuana
constituted dangerous contraband.  The ruling could potentially
affect Ms. Hurrell-Harring, but Mr. Barber did not change his
course of action.

Ms. Hurrell-Harring went to prison and lost her job.  Meanwhile
the Court of Appeals ruled that small amounts of marijuana like
the amount Ms. Hurrell-Harring had smuggled into Comstock did not
amount to dangerous contraband.  Eventually an appellate court
overturned Ms. Hurrell-Harring's conviction based on that
decision.

Ms. Hurrell-Harring and 19 other people brought suit against the
State of New York, alleging they received inadequate legal
representation in five counties.  The lawsuit asked the Court of
Appeals to declare the current system of representing the poor in
New York State unconstitutional.

On May 6, 2010, the New York State Court of Appeals, the state's
highest court, while not ruling on the merits of the case, ruled
in a 4-3 decision that the lawsuit could go forward, overturning a
lower court's decision that had dismissed the lawsuit.

On July 13, 2009, a Supreme Court judge in Albany County had ruled
that the lawsuit could not be certified as a class action lawsuit,
making it more difficult for the litigants to pursue their suit.

However, on January 6, the Appellate Division Third Department
reversed the Supreme Court ruling.  In their ruling the four
judges stated the following:

   1. ". . . unlike Supreme Court, we find that a class action is
superior to other available methods for obtaining a fair and
efficient adjudication of this controversy. . ."

   2. ". . . denial of class certification gives rise to the
possibility of multiple lawsuits involving claims duplicative of
those asserted in this action and inconsistent rulings by various
courts in this state."

   3. "We also find that proceeding in the absence of class action
status would subject the prosecution of this case to significant
discovery challenges."

   4. "Finally, and in our view not insignificantly, our research
has failed to identify a single case involving claims of systemic
deficiencies which seek widespread, systematic reform that has not
been maintained as a class action."


RITE AID: Continues to Defend "Craig" Suit in Pennsylvania
----------------------------------------------------------
Rite Aid Corporation continues to defend itself against a class
action lawsuit styled Craig et al. v. Rite Aid Corporation, et
al., pending in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of
Pennsylvania.

The company is currently a defendant in several putative
collective or class action lawsuits filed in federal or state
courts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Ohio and
Oregon, purportedly on behalf of, in some cases (i) current and
former assistant store managers, or (ii) current and former store
managers and assistant store managers, respectively, working in
the company's stores at various locations.  The lawsuits allege
violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and of certain
state wage and hour statutes.  The lawsuits seek various
combinations of unpaid compensation (including overtime
compensation), liquidated damages, exemplary damages, pre- and
post-judgment interest as well as attorneys' fees and costs.
In one of the cases, Craig et al v. Rite Aid Corporation et al,
pending in the United States District Court for the Middle
District of Pennsylvania, brought on behalf of current and former
assistant store managers, the Court, on December 9, 2009,
conditionally certified a nationwide collective group of
individuals who worked for the Company as assistant store managers
since December 9, 2006.  Notice of the Craig action has been sent
to the purported members of the collective group (approximately
6,700 current and former store managers) and approximately 1,100
have joined the Craig action.

At this time, the Company is not able to predict the outcome of
these lawsuits, or any possible monetary exposure associated with
the lawsuits.  The Company's management believes, however, that
the lawsuits are without merit and not appropriate for collective
or class action treatment.  The Company is vigorously defending
all of these claims.

No updates were reported in the Company's Jan. 6, 2011, Form 10-Q
filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the
quarter ended Nov. 27, 2010.

Rite Aid Corporation -- http://www.riteaid.com/-- is the largest
drugstore chain on the East Coast and the third largest drugstore
chain in the U.S.  The company operates more than 4,900 stores in
31 states and the District of Columbia.


RITE AID: Remains a Defendant in California Wage & Hour Suits
-------------------------------------------------------------
Rite Aid Corporation remains a defendant in several putative class
action lawsuits filed in state courts in California alleging
violations by the company of California wage and hour laws
pertaining primarily to pay for missed meals and rest periods.

The suits purport to be class actions and seek substantial
damages.  At this time, the Company is not able to predict the
outcome of these lawsuits, or any possible monetary exposure
associated with the lawsuits. The Company's management believes,
however, that the plaintiffs' allegations are without merit and
that their claims are not appropriate for class action treatment.
The Company is vigorously defending all of these claims.

No updates were disclosed in the company's Jan. 6, 2011, Form 10-Q
filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the
quarter ended Nov. 27, 2010.

Rite Aid Corporation -- http://www.riteaid.com/-- is the largest
drugstore chain on the East Coast and the third largest drugstore
chain in the U.S.  The company operates more than 4,900 stores in
31 states and the District of Columbia.


RITE AID: Continues to Defend "Indergit" Suit in New York
---------------------------------------------------------
Rite Aid Corporation continues to defend itself against a class
action lawsuit styled Indergit v. Rite Aid Corporation, et al.,
pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of
New York.

The company is currently a defendant in several putative
collective or class action lawsuits filed in federal or state
courts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Ohio and
Oregon, purportedly on behalf of, in some cases (i) current and
former assistant store managers, or (ii) current and former store
managers and assistant store managers, respectively, working in
the company's stores at various locations.  The lawsuits allege
violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and of certain state
wage and hour statutes.  The lawsuits seek various combinations of
unpaid compensation (including overtime compensation), liquidated
damages, exemplary damages, pre- and post-judgment interest as
well as attorneys' fees and costs.  In one of the cases, Indergit
v. Rite Aid Corporation, et al., pending in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York, brought on
behalf of current and former store managers and assistant store
managers, the Court, on April 2, 2010, conditionally certified a
nationwide collective group of individuals who worked for the
Company as store managers since March 31, 2007. The Court ordered
that Notice of the Indergit action be sent to the purported
members of the collective group (approximately 7,000 current and
former store managers) and to date, approximately 1,550 have
joined the Indergit action.

At this time, the Company is not able to predict the outcome of
these lawsuits, or any possible monetary exposure associated with
the lawsuits.  The Company's management believes, however, that
the lawsuits are without merit and not appropriate for collective
or class action treatment.  The Company is vigorously defending
all of these claims.

No updates were disclosed in the company's Jan. 6, 2011, Form 10-Q
filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the
quarter ended Nov. 27, 2010.

Rite Aid Corporation -- http://www.riteaid.com/-- is the largest
drugstore chain on the East Coast and the third largest drugstore
chain in the U.S.  The company operates more than 4,900 stores in
31 states and the District of Columbia.


RIVERWALK HOLDINGS: Sued for Unlawful Debt Collection Practices
---------------------------------------------------------------
Geralyn Jablonski, individually and on behalf of others similarly
situated v. Riverwalk Holdings, Ltd., et al., Case No.
2011-CH-00669 (Ill. Cir. Ct., Cook Cty. January 6, 2011), says
defendant acted as an unlicensed collection agency, in violation
of the Illinois Collection Agency Act, by filing "scores" of
collection lawsuits against residents of the State of Illinois.

Plaintiff Jablonski adds that all of the defendants, by
threatening to file and filing the illegal lawsuits, also violated
the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

According to the Complaint, as alleged by defendant Riverwalk
Holdings, Plaintiff Jablonski owed Riverwalk Holdings a debt for
personal, family or houselhold purposes, an not for business
purposes.

Plaintiff Jablonski's Complaint states that Section 4 of the ICAA,
225 ILCS 425/4, makes it unlawful for a "collection agency" to
collect debts in Illinois without a collection agency license.

Plaintiff Jablonski explains that Riverwalk Holdings, a debt
collector as defined in the FCPDA, has never been authorized to do
business in Illinois and has never held a license as a collection
agency under the ICAA from the Illinois Department of Financial
and Professional Regulation.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Daniel A. Edelman, Esq.
          Cathleen M. Combs, Esq.
          James O. Latturner, Esq.
          EDELMAN, COMBS, LATTURNER & GOODWIN, LLC
          120 S. LaSalle Street, 18th Floor
          Chicago, IL 60603
          Telephone: (312) 739-4200


SECURITIES AMERICA: TGN Points Out Two Causes of Action in Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities Law Firm of Tramont Guerra & Nunez, PA made an
announcement to all Securities America investors in Medical
Capital Notes concerning the class action lawsuit (Case No.
09-cv-1084) filed on September 18, 2009, in the United States
District Court, Central District of California.  The class action
names Securities America, Inc. among others, as a defendant, and
alleges violations of Sections 12(a)(1) and 12(a)(2) of the
Securities Act of 1933.  In selling unregistered Medical Capital
Notes, the defendants were required by the Act to sell only to
accredited investors.  The first count of the class action alleges
that Securities America, and others, violated the Act by selling
an unregistered Medical Capital Notes security to non-accredited
investors.  In support thereof, the class action alleges that
defendants were responsible for the distribution of Medical
Capital Notes literature to the general public and the
solicitation of various unaccredited investors, via invitational
seminars open to the public.  Count two of the class action
alleges a violation of Section 12(a)(2).  The alleged violation
was due to the fact that the Private Placement Memorandums, which
the lawsuit alleges constituted a prospectus within the meaning of
Section 12 of the Securities Act, contained, among other things,
"untrue statements of material fact and omitted other material
facts concerning the use to which investor funds would be put."
This information, according to the class action, was essential to
make the statements in the PPMs not misleading.  In connection
with the second count, the class action asserts the defendant's
owed the Plaintiffs the duty to make a "reasonable and diligent"
inquiry to ascertain whether the information contained in the PPMs
was accurate.  TGN urges investors in Medical Capital Notes to
consider what recourse is available to recover their investment
losses from recommendations made by Securities America.  The
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, (FINRA) is a self
regulating organization with sales practice rules and regulations
that govern the securities industry's conduct and safeguard the
investing public.

Since the filing of the class action, state regulators from
Massachusetts and Montana have filed actions against Securities
America as the result of their investigations.  In January 2010,
Massachusetts' Securities Division filed a Complaint against
Securities America relating to its sales of Medical Capital Notes.
Massachusetts alleged that Securities America ignored their own
due diligence analysts and sold Medical Capital Notes to
unsophisticated investors without telling them about the risks
involved.  In August of 2010, Montana's Commissioner of Securities
filed a Notice of Proposed Agency Disciplinary Action against
Securities America relating to its sales of Medical Capital Notes.
According to the Notice, Securities America "withheld material
information regarding heightened risks" from its registered
representatives and their clients concerning Medical Capital
Notes.  Montana's Commissioner of Securities also alleged that
Securities America "concealed these risks" from its brokers and
their clients.

According to TGN, financial advisors told many investors that
Medical Capital Notes were suitable investments for current income
investment objectives.  Full-service brokerage firms are obligated
to give, and investors are entitled to rely upon, brokerage firms
for competent, suitable investment advice concerning fixed income
investments.  Brokerage firms are required to supervise the
activities in brokerage accounts, losses may be attributed to the
failure to adequately supervise the stockbroker and the brokerage
account.  Recommendations of unsuitable investments and the
failure to conduct adequate due diligence concerning
recommendations are both causes of action that may be available to
investors against their full-service brokerage firm in an
individual securities arbitration claim filed with FINRA.

The Securities Law Firm of Tramont Guerra & Nunez, PA, is a
nationally recognized, Martindale Hubbell "AV" rated securities
law firm.  To request a confidential consultation from a TGN
attorney to determine whether you have a viable securities
arbitration claim for investment losses that exceed $250,000 from
a full service brokerage account, contact us on our Web site.  To
speak directly with an attorney, call (800) 578-0137 and ask for
Ben Fernandez, Esquire.


SOCORRO ELECTRIC: Judge Sets Hearing Dates for Class Action
-----------------------------------------------------------
T.S. Last, writing for El Defensor Chieftain, reports two hearing
dates have been scheduled in the lawsuit involving Socorro
Electric Cooperative and its member-owners.

Judge Albert J. Mitchell Jr. set Friday, Feb. 25, as the date to
address pending motions and briefs.  That hearing will be held at
the courthouse in Los Lunas at 1:30 p.m.

A hearing on partial merits is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18, at
1:30 p.m. in district court in Socorro.

Though the second hearing will be held in Socorro, that doesn't
mean attorneys for the defendants won a motion for change of
venue.  In a phone interview week, Judge Mitchell said that
decision will be forthcoming.

"I'll make a decision on venue in a timely manner, but I don't
know how timely," Judge Mitchell said.  "To be frank, it depends
on the briefs.  I have no idea what the lawyers are going to
submit."

Attorneys had to meet a Dec. 30 deadline to submit briefs on the
matter of venue.

The case was originally filed by co-op attorneys in the 13th
Judicial District Court in Los Lunas on June 29 of last year.  The
lawsuit asked for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief from
three bylaws -- all of which were aimed at increasing transparency
at the public non-profit corporation -- passed by member-owners at
the annual meeting in April 2010.  In order to challenge the
validity of the bylaws, the co-op filed a lawsuit against all of
its approximately 10,000 member-owners, who are also its
customers.

Though the co-op later filed papers to have the case dismissed, by
then several answers to the lawsuit had been filed by defendants.
Several of those requested the case be moved to the Seventh
Judicial District Court in Socorro County where the vast majority
of member-owners reside.

Another deadline set by the judge is approaching.  At a status
hearing last month, Mitchell set Jan. 20 as the date for attorneys
to file pleadings on the question of whether a judgment should be
binding for people who did not respond to the lawsuit.

"When seeking injunctive or declaratory action, which is what this
case initially started as, sometimes that can apply to more
people," Judge Mitchell said.  "So that (Jan. 20 date) is for
motions and documents that I will need at the first (Feb. 25)
hearing."

Judge Mitchell had put a stay on consideration of a countersuit
that requests class action certification.  So the question as to
whether the case applies to people who did not file answers is not
directly related to the countersuit.

"In class action, it's certain that it applies to everyone.  If it
were a straight class action, we wouldn't need the February
hearing because it's known that the class action is binding on
everyone," he said.

Judge Mitchell, a 10th Judicial District Court judge who was
assigned to the case by the New Mexico Supreme Court, said the
class action request is just one aspect that makes this particular
case so unique and enigmatic.

"These are really hard issues -- esoteric issues," he said.
"Thirty years ago there was no equivalent to class action."

Judge Mitchell said the purpose of the Feb. 25 hearing is to
determine whether the case is the "appropriate vehicle to get into
the merits."  He said what transpires then could determine what
will be addressed at the May 18 hearing.

"That's left open. I wanted to get it on the calendar," he said.
"When you have this many lawyers involved, it can be difficult to
get everyone in the same place at the same time."

Nearly a dozen attorneys attended the status hearing on Dec. 14 --
two co-op attorneys and nine representing defendants or who had
filed responses pro se.


SPRINT NEXTEL: Retirees' Suit Granted Class-Action Status
---------------------------------------------------------
John Murawski, writing for The News Observer, reports that a
federal judge granted class-action status last week to a lawsuit
by retirees against phone companies Sprint Nextel and Embarq for
canceling the retirees' health benefits and life insurance.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren in Kansas opens the
retirees' lawsuit to about 14,000 phone company retirees, and
thousands of spouses, in 18 states.

Previously, the suit represented 17 retirees, including 11 from
North Carolina, seeking to have their health benefits restored.
The case also represented 756 retirees, all in North Carolina, for
age discrimination.

The retirees allege that for more than three decades, phone
company representatives made promises orally and in writing that
their retiree benefits were guaranteed for life.

Losing coverage has cost the retirees thousands of dollars in
benefits, said the retirees' lawyer, Stewart Fisher of Durham.


STONEBRIDGE LIFE: Charged With Sending Unauthorized Text Messages
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Jessica Lee, individually and on behalf of others similarly
situated v. Stonebridge Life Insurance Company, Case No.
11-cv-00043 (N.D. Calif. January 4, 2011), accuses the life
insurance provider of making unsolicited text messages to
plaintiff's cellular phone, in violation of the Telephone Consumer
Protection Act.  Ms. Lee says Stonebridge's transmission of
unauthorized advertisements to the cellular phones of consumers is
"an especially pernicious" form of marketing, and should be
stopped.  Ms. Lee relates that defendant has caused consumers
actual harm, not only because consumers were subjected to
aggravation that "necessarily" accompanies wireless spam, but also
because consumers frequently have to pay their cell phone service
providers for the receipt of those unwanted text advertisements.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Sean Reis, Esq.
          EDELSON MCGUIRE, LLP
          30021 Tomas Street, Suite 300
          Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
          Telephone: (949) 459-2124
          E-mail: sreis@edelson.com


TEKELEC INC: Faces Class Action Over False Financial Information
----------------------------------------------------------------
Local Tech Wire reports a Raleigh-based law firm and two others
have filed a class action lawsuit against telecommunications gear
maker Tekelec Inc., alleging executives with the firm provided
"materially false and misleading information" to financial
analysts last year.

The suit was filed in federal court in Raleigh on Jan. 6.

McDaniel & Anderson of Raleigh filed the suit along with Robbins
Geller Rudman & Dowd of New York and Sullivan, Ward, Asher &
Patton, in Michigan.

Tekelec plans to fight the suit.

"We are aware of the lawsuit and intend to defend it vigorously,"
Adam Parken, manager of media and analysts relations at the
Morrisville-based company, told Local Tech Wire and WRAL.com in a
statement.  "We have no other comments on pending litigation."

L. Bruce McDaniel of the Raleigh firm said the attorneys were
approached "directly and indirectly" by stockholders about filing
the suit.  He said Tekelec was not told about the suit ahead of
the filing.

Frank Plastina resigned as Tekelec's chief executive officer on
Jan. 4.  He also gave up his seat on the corporate board.

Mr. McDaniel said he was a "little surprised but not greatly" by
Mr. Plastina's resignation.

The 32-page complaint focuses on statements made by executives,
including Mr. Plastina, in a conference call to discuss fourth-
quarter earnings for 2009 and revenue forecasts for 2010.  The
call took place on Feb. 11.  Also included in the suit are
comments the company's management made on May 6 about its next
earnings period.

Tekelec shares dropped 20% on the news.

Its share fell 9% on Aug. 5 after its next earnings report.

In a press release about the suit, the law firms noted:

"The complaint alleges that, throughout the Class Period,
defendants failed to disclose material adverse facts about the
Company's true financial condition, business and prospects.

"Specifically, the complaint alleges that defendants failed to
disclose:

(i) that the Company was experiencing known but undisclosed
difficulties in fulfilling orders in the emerging markets in
general and in India in particular due to security and regulatory
issues;

(ii) that the Company's customers in the emerging markets were
experiencing known but undisclosed credit issues causing them to
delay purchases;

(iii) that the Company was experiencing a sharp decline in new
orders that was reasonably likely to have a material adverse
effect on the Company's backlog and operating results; and

(iv) (iv) that, as a result of the foregoing, defendants'
representations concerning their "visibility" into the Company's
earnings were materially false and misleading."

The attorneys say individuals who purchased Tekelec stock between
Feb. 11 and Aug. 5 of 2010.


* FDIC to Press Lawsuits Against Executives of Failed Banks
-----------------------------------------------------------
Philip van Doorn, writing for TheStreet, reports the U.S.
government has already filed lawsuits for billions in damages
against bank executives following mortgage crisis and the
resulting bank failures.

However, many industry professionals say this only represents the
tip of the iceberg of possible damage claims from Federal Deposit
Insurance Corp. against directors and officers of failed banks.

"Many directors still don't understand the extent of their
liability or that the FDIC can and will pursue them in the event
of a bank failure," says Jonathan Hullick, a former senior policy
specialist for the FDIC.

As of December 14, the FDIC had authorized lawsuits against
109 individuals for directors and officers liability claiming
$2.5 billion in damages, according to a report by the agency.  The
FDIC has also authorized four fidelity bond and attorney
malpractice lawsuits and over 190 malpractice and mortgage fraud
suits, some of which were inherited from failed institutions.

But as the receiver for failed banks and thrifts, the FDIC has
three years to file tort claims and six years for breach-of-
contract claims unless the failed institution's home state has a
longer statute of limitations.

Given that there have been 322 bank and thrift failures since the
current wave began in 2008 -- and none of the failures have passed
the three-year mark yet -- the FDIC still has plenty of time to
press lawsuits for most of the closures.

Frank Mayer -- a partner with Pepper Hamilton LLP of Philadelphia
and a former senior attorney with the FDIC and senior counsel for
the Resolution Trust Corporation -- told TheStreet that "it takes
on average 18 to 24 months from the time FDIC is appointed
receiver to investigate a D&O situation," and if the failed
institution was held by a publicly traded company, "there can be a
shareholder class action lawsuit going, also pursuing the D&O
policy proceeds."

Mr. Hullick, also a former bank executive who is currently
consulting for several troubled banks, added that "being a bank
director is much more than showing up for a monthly meeting.  Too
many boards fail to exercise sufficient governance over the CEO
and executive team."

The FDIC said that between 1985 and 2009 it had brought lawsuits
against directors and officers in 24 percent of bank failures,
collecting $6.2 billion in professional liability claims, while
spending "$1.5 billion to fund all professional liability claims
and investigations."

But now the agency is under pressure to speed-up the process.

The FDIC's proposed 2011 operating budget includes an additional
263 permanent staff, an increase of 5% from 2010.

Mr. Mayer explained the FDIC has "been staffing-up over the last
nine months or so," including "outside counsel, some of whom they
used back in the day," following the savings and loan crisis of
the late 80's and early 90's.  The agency has historically spent
about 23 cents for every dollar it collects and is "constantly
doing cost-benefit analyses," he said, adding that "based on my
current experience the FDIC is acting in an equally prudent
manner."

JUDGE RULES AGAINST THE FDIC

Mr. Mayer said the FDIC was left scratching its head on how to
best "get their fair share of the D&O policy" after being "bounced
out of court" on December 29, when U.S. Northern District of
Georgia Judge Charles A. Pannell, Jr. denied the agency's motion
to intervene in a class action suit brought by shareholders of
Haven Trust Bancorp, which was the holding company for Haven Trust
Bank of Duluth, Ga.  The bank failed in December 2008, costing the
FDIC's insurance fund $207 million.  The FDIC sold Haven Trust
Bank's deposits to BB&T.

Haven Trust Bancorp's shareholders filed suit in December 2009
alleging that the holding company's directors had mislead
investors.  The FDIC in October 2010 filed a motion to intervene,
saying that the agency had assumed all of the failed bank's rights
and had an interest in preserving the holding company's D&O
policy.  The FDIC argued that the plaintiff's claims were
"derivative" and belonged solely to the agency.

The court agreed with the plaintiffs and the defendants in the
class action suit "that the FDIC does not have an interest in this
case," adding that the claims "are not derivative claims against
the Bank but are instead direct claims against the defendants
regarding the marketing and selling of the holding company's
stock."

FDIC Spokesman David Barr said the agency was "still studying the
order, and will not be commenting."

A GOOD DEFENSE.

When asked about how directors and officers of banks can best
protect themselves against claims in the event their bank fails,
Mayer explained that it is essential to "detail in the minutes
board decision making," adding that "in hindsight, the decision
didn't have to be correct, but had to be prudent that appropriate
business judgment was exercised."  Mr. Mayer said that it is also
essential for the directors to have previously appointed a special
counsel who was provided with copies of all board documents ahead
of time, since "once the FDIC becomes the receiver it is very
difficult to get the documents."


* Oildale Homeowners File Class Action Against Developer
--------------------------------------------------------
23 ABC reports homeowners in an Oildale neighborhood said their
homes were built with shoddy construction, and they have joined a
class action lawsuit against the builder.

A team of construction inspectors hired by attorneys representing
the homeowners spent Thursday testing for damage and looking for
construction defects.  The neighborhood is located just adjacent
to Windcove and North Chester avenues, just north of North High
School.

Armed with cameras, note pads and other equipment, inspectors
checked behind drywall and climbed on roofs.  On the outside of
the homes, they said they found cracks in the stucco and water
damage. On the inside they found evidence of leaking through the
roof.

Attorneys said more than 50 homes have some sort of roofing
problems that caused leaking.  Inspectors said those problems came
from either air conditioning units or ventilation pipes not being
installed correctly.

Steve Leach has lived in his home for 10 years, but he didn't
notice the leaking problems until recently.  Mr. Leach's home had
water damage in the ceiling due to improper installation of the AC
unit on the roof, said one inspector.

"The builder told me that I had a 10-year warranty on my roof, and
if there were any problems they would come out a repair the
damage, but that was not the case after I noticed the leaking,"
said Mr. Leach.

Another homeowner told 23 ABC that he complained to the builder
about shoddy work, but those complaints fell on deaf ears.

"Finally, one supervisor for the builder tried to help us but he
got fired for trying to help," said Moorman Oliver, a homeowner.

Lawyers representing homeowners said these disputes are usually
resolved out of court through mediation.

"Whatever damage that needs to be repaired is usually covered by
the builders insurance.  The homeowner pays for that insurance
policy as part of the selling price of the home," said Danil
Monteleone, real estate attorney.

Lawyers for the homeowners asked 23 ABC not to release the name of
the builder because the law suit is still in the investigation
stage.  After all the evidence is collected from the home
inspectors, the homeowners' attorneys will present their findings
to the builders to settle the claims.


* New Australian Consumer Law to Spark Class Actions
----------------------------------------------------
Nick Gardner, writing for The Sunday Telegraph, reports consumers
can look forward to a wave of class actions against fitness firms
and gyms, mobile phone companies and utility providers in the
coming year as lawyers take advantage of the new Australian
Consumer Law that kicked in on January 1.

The most wide-reaching part of the legislation relates to unfair
terms in consumer contracts, and gives customers sweeping new
rights to prevent companies from levying "unconscionable" or
unfair fees or conditions.

Although supremely useful, the laws still have to be prosecuted
and that means taking companies to court -- a fact that will
prevent many people from taking their cases forward, especially
where relatively small sums of money are involved.

For this reason, the law firm Slater & Gordon says it will be
fertile ground for class actions, which make it cost effective for
people to group together and split the legal fees, or for lawyers
to take cases on a "no win, no fee" basis.

Gym membership is an oft-quoted area where big fitness firms in
Australia levy a range of outrageous fees and conditions that make
it almost impossible for consumers to escape with a fair deal.

"Exit fees or penalties are very common, not just in banking, but
across all sorts of industries, from fitness to electricity
companies," said Slater & Gordon's James Higgins, the lawyer who
is currently suing a number of banks to recoup unfair penalty
fees.

"And these unfair terms laws apply to verbal contracts as well as
written, and to individuals as well as corporations, so the
typical one-man-band tradie is just as culpable under the law and
must ensure the way they do business is fair."

Utility companies could be in the firing line for charging exit
fees to customers even after the utility firm has hiked prices
during the course of the contract.

Some companies, such as AGL, allow customers to leave without
charging a penalty fee if the company has hiked prices, but other
firms add insult to injury by charging exit fees in addition to
massive price hikes.

Along with unfair contract terms, the ACCC has also been given
powers to crack down on so-called "component pricing", where only
one part of a product or service may be advertised despite the
total cost of the entire service being much higher.

One obvious example of this is the airline industry, which often
advertises fares without including all fees and taxes that can
apply, and which often more than double the cost of the flight.

Michael Schaper, the deputy chairman at the ACCC, said the
regulator was in talks with a number of industries to try to
persuade them to take preventative action instead of being forced
to change by the courts.

"Clearly prevention is better than cure, and we are trying to get
as much of the most controversial areas cleared up by getting the
companies to take pro-active measures instead of being forced by
the ACCC or the courts," Mr. Schaper said.


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
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