/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/110120.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

            Thursday, January 20, 2011, Vol. 13, No. 14


CASCADE MORTGAGE: Faces Class Action Over Unpaid Overtime Wages
CBS CORP: FilmOn Founder Mulls Class Suit v. CNET Over LimeWire
CONEXANT SYSTEMS: Being Sold for Too Little, Calif. Suit Claims
FERDINAND MARCOS: Early Passage of Compensation Bill Pushed
GEICO GENERAL: 7th Cir. Upholds Ruling on Greenberger Class Suit

HOMEDICS INC: Consumer Fraud Class Action Wins Certification
INSIGHT COMMS: Sued for Charging Rental Fees for Cable Boxes
INSTRUCTION AND EDUCATION: Sued for Non-Payment of Overtime Wages
JOHNSON & JOHNSON: Quality Control Issues Prompt OTC Drug Recall
LOS ANGELES, CALIF: App. Ct. Clears DWP Employees From Estes Suit

MIAMI, FL: Sued Over Ambulance Services Non-Resident Surcharge
MIDSTREAM MEDIA: Youporn Users Sue Over "History Sniffing"
NORTHROP GRUMMAN: Sued in California for Not Paying Overtime
NVIDIA CORP: Settles Class Action Over Faulty Laptop GPUs
TASEKO MINES: Faces Class Action Over Stock Plunge

WELK GROUP: Time-Share Owners' Class Action May Proceed

* Only 75% of Pension Funds Opt for Securities Class Action


CASCADE MORTGAGE: Faces Class Action Over Unpaid Overtime Wages
Robert Clausen, a former mortgage consultant for Minneapolis-based
Cascade Mortgage, Inc., initiated a class action lawsuit in
federal court seeking unpaid overtime and minimum wages from the
company on January 12, 2011.  He alleges that Cascade Mortgage,
Inc. misclassified him and other mortgage consultants as exempt
from the overtime and minimum wage requirements of the Fair Labor
Standards Act and Minnesota state law, and as a result, failed to
pay them proper compensation.

He also brought claims against Cascade Mortgage, Inc.'s owners,
Kam and Keyvan Talebi personally for their role in the company's
failure to pay them properly.  In addition to running Cascade
Mortgage, Inc., Kam and Keyvan Talebi operate other local
businesses such as Crave restaurants.

Plaintiff's attorney Michele R. Fisher stated, "Over the past ten
years, many mortgage operations have changed their pay practices
so that they are paying their mortgage officers overtime and
minimum wages in accordance with the law.  Cascade Mortgage, Inc.
has not yet made this change.  Our goal is simple -- to get our
client, and other loan officers, paid the minimum wages and
overtime pay they are due under the law."

The case is entitled Robert Clausen et al. v. Cascade Mortgage,
Inc. et al., Court File No. 0:11-cv-00089-PJS-LIB and was filed in
the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

Plaintiffs are represented by:

          Michele R. Fisher, Esq.
          4600 IDS Center
          80 South Eighth Street
          Minneapolis, MN 55402
          Telephone: 612-256-3229
          Facsimile: 612-215-6870
          E-mail: fisher@nka.com

Additional information is available at
http://www.overtimecases.com/or by contacting Nichols Kaster, LLP
toll-free at (877) 448-0492.

CBS CORP: FilmOn Founder Mulls Class Suit v. CNET Over LimeWire
Jared Moya, writing for ZeroPaid, says FilmOn founder Alki David
had accused CNET, a subsidiary of CBS, of distributing "illegal
software" that allows users to circumvent DRM technology in
violation of the Copyright Act as well as other software that lets
users illegally stream and download copyrighted material.

The countersuit is in response to claims by CBS and other TV
broadcasters that FilmOn illegally retransmits copyrighted

Mr. David is now pushing forward with that effort in a new video
that solicits copyright holders to join in the fray as part of a
class action lawsuit with "all legal fees paid."

"You are cordially invited," he says," to join this class action
lawsuit against CNET for distributing the [LimeWire] software with
malicious intent to infringe your copyright.  The damages are in
the many billions of dollars and you could be a part of that

He shows court documents from the LimeWire injunction issued last
November that say visitors to CNET's Download.com site downloaded
copies of the file-sharing program "more than 152 million times"
as proof of the extensive damage its done to copyright holders
over the years.

"There is nothing illegal about file-sharing software," he adds,"
but distributing it with the malicious intent to infringe on
copyright is."

He also includes video clips showing several CNET, and therefore
"paid employees of CBS," advocating the use of illegal DRM-
circumvention software.

CONEXANT SYSTEMS: Being Sold for Too Little, Calif. Suit Claims
Courthouse News Service reports that Conexant is selling itself
too cheaply to Standard Microsystems, for $284 million, in a cash
and stock deal, shareholders claim in Orange County Court.

A copy of the Complaint in Abolnik v. Conexant Systems, Inc., et
al., Case No. 30-2011-00440831 (Calif. Super. Ct., Orange Cty.)
(Bauer, J.), is available at:


The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Francis M. Gregorek, Esq.
          Betsy C. Manifold, Esq.
          Rachele R. Rickert, Esq.
          Patrick H. Moran, Esq.
          Symphony Towers
          750 B Street, Suite 2770
          San Diego, CA 92101
          Telephone: (619) 239-4599
          E-mail: gregorek@whafh.com

FERDINAND MARCOS: Early Passage of Compensation Bill Pushed
Lilybeth G. Ison, writing for The Manila Bulletin, reports as
Congress session resumes on Jan. 17 and in the wake of the US
Federal Court's decision on the crony settlement agreement, the
Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA),
renewed its call to Congress for the early passage of the Marcos
Victims Compensation bill.

SELDA is an organization of ex-detainees formed during the martial
law period which initiated the filing of the historic class action
suit in Hawaii for the 9,539 Filipino victims of Martial Law
against former President Ferdinand Marcos and family.

Former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo, national board
member of SELDA and one of the 9,539 petitioners in the class
action suit, said the proposed legislation will officially
recognize that the Marcos dictatorship indeed violated the rights
of thousands who fought against it.

It also acknowledges the State's moral and legal obligation to
render justice, through indemnification, to the victims of human
rights violations during martial law, he said.

"It has been 25 years since the dictator Marcos was ousted by
people power and 19 years after the historic decision by the US
Court granting justice for the 9,539 victims of martial law and
with a US$ 2-billion for reparation. But for most of the victims,
now very old, sickly and dying, the struggle for justice
continues," said Mr. Ocampo.

Mr. Ocampo, a former political detainee who suffered torture and
held for nine years during the Martial Law period, stressed that
the recent decision of US District Judge Manuel Real on the
distribution of the US$10 million settlement agreement by Marcos
crony Jose Campos, is a product of the victims' unrelenting
struggle for justice.

"We reiterate that while we welcome this development, we raise
questions as to how the court-appointed lawyer Atty. Robert Swift
has considered the victims' views on the case.  We call on Atty.
Swift to attend the SELDA consultations that will arrange for him
to sufficiently answer the questions of the martial law victims,
with regard to the amount in the settlement and the arbitrary
delisting of the number of victims from 9,539 to 7,526.  He should
directly answer these questions as the court-appointed counsel,"
he averred.

Fr. Dionito Cabillas, secretary general of SELDA, said their
office is open for questions of victims regarding the settlement
agreement, for updating their information details and addresses so
that SELDA can reach and help them, and for the court information.

He said SELDA will likewise be calling for an assembly for martial
law victims on the last week of January or first week of February
of this year.

Fr. Cabillas also expressed disappointment over Senate President
Juan Ponce Enrile's statement that the Hawaii court has no
jurisdiction over the case against Mr. Marcos, claiming the US
Alien Tort Claims Act does grant a district court jurisdiction of
torts committed in violation of international law or law of
nations and/or a treaty of the US by military intelligence and
public officials through torture and acts against humanity.

He cited 25 F 3d 1467 -- Estate of Ferdinand Marcos Human Rights
Litigation Hilao vs. Estate of Marcos, where Marcos' acts of
torture, summary executions and disappearances are in clear
violation of existing international laws and not covered by any
immunity guarantees.

Fr. Cabillas noted that Mr. Marcos fled to Hawaii after being
driven out of the presidency through People Power I, and as such
the US courts have jurisdiction over the case.

"The issue of jurisdiction has long been settled and the courts
have issued final judgments on Multi District Litigation 840 in
the US Federal Court System in 1992 and the international
community has already recognized the US Federal Court of Hawaii's
judgment as Sen. Enrile knows very well.  The government has even
been the recipient of the benefits of the case -- wherein the
Swiss Supreme Court ordered the transfer of the Marcos ill-gotten
Swiss deposits in 1997 in favor of the Philippine government,
precisely because the victims sued the dictator and identified the
Marcos ill-gotten Swiss deposits as source of indemnification," he

"It is now time to serve the long-awaited justice for Martial Law
victims and indemnify them," he concluded.

GEICO GENERAL: 7th Cir. Upholds Ruling on Greenberger Class Suit
The United Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the
district court's ruling in a class action commenced by Steven
Greenberger against GEICO General Insurance Co.

In 2002, Mr. Greenberger's car was damaged in an accident and his
insurer, GEICO General Insurance, estimated the damage and wrote
him a $3,284.69 check to cover his claim.  He accepted the payment
but never repaired the car, but instead donated the car to
charity.  Three years after, he filed a class action lawsuit
against GEICO in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging breach of
contract, consumer fraud and common law fraud.  Mr. Greenberger's
contract and fraud claims are all premised on the allegation that
GEICO omits necessary repairs from its collision-damage estimates
in violation of the promise to restore the policyholder's vehicle
to its pre-loss condition.  GEICO removed the case to federal
court under the Class Action Fairness Act.

The district court sidestepped the class-certification question,
dismissed the statutory consumer-fraud claim, and then entered
summary judgment for GEICO on the breach of contract and common
law fraud counts.  Mr. Greenberger appealed the district court

The 7th Circuit noted that since Mr. Greenberger donated his car,
he cannot make the showing of proof required to establish a breach
of GEICO's contractual promise.  That he obtained a higher
estimate some months after the accident does not prove that
GEICO's payment would have failed to restore the car to its
pre-loss condition, the 7th Circuit related.  Moreover, without
the car, Mr. Greenberger cannot prove damages, the Appellate Court

The Appellate Court further opined that Mr. Greenberger failed to
identify any fraudulent act distinct from the alleged breach of

The appellate panel consists of Chief Judge Frank H. Easterbrook
and Circuit Judges Michael S. Kanne and Diane S. Sykes.  A copy of
the Appellate Court's January 10, 2011 Order is available at
http://is.gd/llY2e2from Leagle.com.  Judge Sykes wrote the

HOMEDICS INC: Consumer Fraud Class Action Wins Certification
Lucy Campbell, writing for LawyersandSettlements.com, reports a
consumer fraud class action lawsuit has been certified against
HoMedics TheraP "Hot & Cold Therapy Back support with the Power of
Magnets" claiming violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and
for violation of Business and Professions Code.

The plaintiff, Fletcher Gibson, alleges that in January 2010 he
purchased HoMedics TheraP "Hot & Cold Therapy Back support with
the Power of Magnets for approximately $29.99 from Rite Aid.  "I
purchased 'TheraP Magnet Back Support' specifically because it was
advertised that it had magnets that would help relieve pain," Mr.
Gibson stated.  "If I had known that magnets have no power to heal
or relieve pain, I would not have purchased the 'TheraP Magnet
Back Support.'  I would have paid a cheaper price for a comparable
product that did not contain magnets."

The suit claims that the class, represented by Mr. Gibson, was
mislead by the claims of the defendant.

INSIGHT COMMS: Sued for Charging Rental Fees for Cable Boxes
The Associated Press reports a group of customers are suing
Louisville's cable television provider over the rental fees they
pay for digital converter boxes.

The customers argue in the federal lawsuit that Insight
Communications should allow subscribers to shop around for a box
they can purchase, in order to eliminate a monthly $15.95 charge
for premium services.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court is seeking to become a class
action.  It alleges Insight is violating antitrust law by forcing
subscribers to pay "inflated" monthly rental fees for the box.

"If you or I could buy this cable box from Radio Shack or what
have you, hook it up in our home and it would work, then there
would be a marketplace driven by supply and demand" and prices
would fall, Matt White, attorney for the plaintiffs, told The

There are similar suits pending around the country that contend
cable companies sign exclusive deals with box manufacturers so
consumers can't walk into an electronics store and buy their own

Insight has 775,000 cable, phone and Internet customers in
Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.  Its largest Kentucky markets are
Louisville, Lexington and northern Kentucky.

The company doesn't give customers the option of buying a box from
Insight instead of renting one, spokesman Jason Keller said.

Insight customer Sara Villacencio of Louisville said she would buy
her own converter box if she could.

"They definitely have you in a bind," she said.

Larry Zielke, attorney for Insight, said the cable company follows
existing FCC rules and isn't violating antitrust law.

The suit hasn't been scheduled for trial.  A motion by Insight to
dismiss it is pending before U.S. District Judge Joseph H.
McKinley Jr.

Mr. Keller said the issue involved "is neither new nor is it
isolated to Insight, it is industrywide."

Suits have been filed around the nation since 2008 against cable
giants Comcast, Time Warner and Cox.  They have been consolidated
into a few multistate cases against each of those companies.

Steve Effros, a cable analyst and lawyer in Washington, D.C., said
consumers are better off renting a converter box than buying one
because rapidly changing technology will soon make any box

But Mr. White said consumers should have that choice.

INSTRUCTION AND EDUCATION: Sued for Non-Payment of Overtime Wages
Stephanie Espinoza and Jennifer Rojas, individually and on behalf
of others similarly situated, et al. v. Instruction and Education
Enterprises, Inc., Case No. 2011-CH-01231 (Ill. Cir. Ct., Cook
Cty. January 11, 2011), assert claims for unpaid wages and
commissions earned, unpaid overtime, monetary damages, liquidated
damages, declaratory and injunctive relief and other equitable and
ancillary relief pursuant to the Illinois Wage Payment and
Collection Act, the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, and the Eight Hour
Work Day Act.

The Plaintiffs were formerly employed as talent directors of
Instruction and Education Enterprises, Inc., which does business
as Barbizon School of Modeling, in Cook County, Illinois.  Ms.
Espinoza was with Barbizon from September through October 2010.
Ms. Rojas was with Barbizon from August through October 2010.

The named Plaintiffs and members of the Class had as their primary
duty the solicitation of potential clients by telephone and the
selling of modeling and acting classes to these individuals.

Plaintiffs relate that Barbizon paid its talent directors a
straight commission rather than an hourly wage.  At times,
Barbizon failed to pay the its talent directors even the required
minimum wage for all hours worked, including overtime worked in
excess of eight hours per day and 40 hours per week.

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

          Vincent DiTommaso, Esq.
          332 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1000
          Chicago, IL 60604-4408
          Telephone: (312) 220-0922
          E-mail: vdt@ditommasolaw.com

               - and -

          Howard Schickler, Esq.
          3711 North Ravenswood Ave. Suite 149
          Chicago, IL 60613-3599
          Telephone: (773) 935-9404

               - and -

          Terrence Buehler, Esq.
          55 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1400
          Chicago, IL 60601
          Telephone: (312) 372-2209

JOHNSON & JOHNSON: Quality Control Issues Prompt OTC Drug Recall
Sy Kraft, writing for Medical News Today, reports it was a
difficult year in 2010 for giant drug provider Johnson & Johnson.
After facing several class action law suits over recalled
children's medications, the problems continue this week as an
announcement has been made public of a recall of commonly used OTC
drugs, after a problem with quality control in their McNeil
manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania.

Tylenol, which controls 35% of the pain killer market, Benadryl,
Sudafed and Sinutab have been recalled on the wholesale level
after production records demonstrated poor cleaning procedures, a
lack of proper documentation of maintenance procedures before the
plant was completely shut down in April of 2010.  That closing
lead to a huge recall of over 40 types of medications including
Benadryl and Motrin.

In July 2010 five children's medication lawsuits were filed by six
different consumers in the U.S. District Court for the District of
Northern Illinois.  The lawsuits accused Johnson & Johnson of
fraud and racketeering, saying that the company failed to recall
the drugs properly and did not do enough to allow consumers to
recover losses.  A Food and Drug Administration report said its
inspectors found thick dust and grime covering certain equipment,
a hole in the ceiling and duct tape-covered pipes at the Fort
Washington, Pennsylvania, facility that made 40 products recalled.

This most recent recall affects Tylenol allergy, cold and sinus
cool burst caplets, Tylenol arthritis pain geltabs, Tylenol 8-hour
caplets, Benadryl allergy kapgels and caplets, Sudafed PE caplets,
and Sinutab Sinus caplets.  It is not likely however that the
quality of the drugs is impacted.  The drugs were all made at the
plant prior to the shutdown.

In addition, last week the state of Oregon's attorney general
filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson claiming that the
company had conducted a 'phantom' Motrin recall in 2008 by hiring
contractors to buy out the supply of drugs from every store,
instead of announcing that there had been defective batches of the
drug released to the public.

On September 29, 1982, a "Tylenol scare" began when the first of
seven individuals died in metropolitan Chicago, after ingesting
Extra Strength Tylenol that had been deliberately contaminated
with cyanide.  Within a week, the company pulled 31 million
bottles of tablets back from retailers, making it one of the first
major recalls in American history.

The crime was never solved and Tylenol sales temporarily
collapsed, but the brand was rebuilt and recovered in a few years.
At the request of later Chairman, Joseph Chiesa, new product
consultant Calle & Company rescued the brand with the invention of
the first inherently tamper-proof capsule, Tylenol Gelcaps,
recapturing the 92% of capsule segment sales lost after the
cyanide incident.  The scare led to the introduction of tamper-
evident packaging and "gelcaps" across the prescription drug

LOS ANGELES, CALIF: App. Ct. Clears DWP Employees From Estes Suit
The Court of Appeals of California for the Second District upheld
a trial court's order sustaining the defendants' demurrer without
leave to amend in the action, Lucille Estes v. City of Los
Angeles, No. B215596 (Calif. App. Ct.)

Ms. Estes filed a putative class action against Los Angeles and
the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for allegedly
recording telephone calls between DWP and its customers without
proper notice.  The complaint was amended to add a plaintiff
class.  The second amended compliant repleaded the first three
causes of action, added certain causes of action, and named
additional DWP employees -- Latonya Carson, Sharon Ach and Gloria
Bond -- as defendants.  A third amended complaint subsequently was
filed with some minor differences.

The Plaintiffs sued Msses. Carson, Ach and Bond as managers who
controlled DWP's telephonic system for their direct liability for
damages under the Penal Code.  The Plaintiffs relied on the
definition of "person" set forth under Section 632 of the Penal
Code, which includes individuals acting for or on behalf of any
government or subdivision.

DWP demurred the Complaint on the ground that the definition of
"person" under the Penal Code does not include public agencies.
After initially disagreeing with DWP's stand and taking into
consideration an alternative writ of mandate and order from the
California Appellate Court, the trial court entered an order
sustaining DWP's demurrer.

Upon review, the Appellate Court sustained the trial court's
ruling, holding that:

   -- the DWP is a not a "person" for purposes of Section 362;

   -- the action is against DWP as a public entity and not against
      the DWP employees for the reasons that (i) it seeks to
      recover money from DWP, and (ii) it is predicated on DWP's
      alleged policy and practice of recording telephone
      conversations; and

   -- because the action was aimed at DWP policy, there were no
      acts of omissions of any individuals upon which a cause of
      action could be predicated.

The Appellate Court further stated that in the event its decision
to affirm the trial court ruling turns out to the final word, the
competence of the Plaintiffs' counsel to represent the Plaintiffs
will be moot.

The Defendants are to recover their costs on appeal, the Appellate
Court ruled.

A copy of the Appellate Court's January 11, 2011 Order is
available http://is.gd/HpDMNDfrom Leagle.com.

MIAMI, FL: Sued Over Ambulance Services Non-Resident Surcharge
Courthouse News Service reports that a class action challenges a
1993 Miami city ordinance that charges nonresidents an extra $100
for ambulance services, in Miami-Dade County Court.

A copy of the Complaint in Haigley v. City of Miami, Case No.
11-01364 CA 05 (Fla. Cir. Ct., Miami-Dade Cty.), is available at:


The Plaintiff is represented by:

          One Biscayne Tower
          2 S. Biscayne Blvd., Suite 3100
          Miami, FL 33131
          Telephone: (305) 371-3666

               - and -

          William G. Wolk, Esq.
          EATON & WOLK PL
          One Biscayne Tower
          2 S. Biscayne Blvd., Suite 3100
          Miami, FL 33131
          Telephone: (305) 249-1640

MIDSTREAM MEDIA: Youporn Users Sue Over "History Sniffing"
Courthouse News Service reports that a class action claims
Midstream Media International uses "history sniffing" to "capture
personal information" from users of its Youporn pornographic
websites, in Quebec Superior Court.

A copy of the Complaint in Hedges v. Midstream Media International
N.V., Case No. 500-06-000552-113 (Q.C. Super. Ct., Montreal
Dist.), is available at:


The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Jeff Orenstein, Esq.
          1123 Clark St. 3rd Floor
          Montreal, QC H2Z1K3
          Telephone: 514-868-9696

NORTHROP GRUMMAN: Sued in California for Not Paying Overtime
Courthouse News Service reports that Northrop Grumman stiffs
computer systems analysts and systems administrators for overtime,
according to a class action filed in the Los Angeles Superior

NVIDIA CORP: Settles Class Action Over Faulty Laptop GPUs
Dean Wilson, writing for TechEye, reports Nvidia has reached a
settlement in the US class action lawsuit against it over faulty
GPUs and MCPs in Apple, Dell and HP laptops, agreeing to offer
reimbursements and replacements.

The affected laptops were sold between 2006 and 2008 in the US and
include Dell Inspiron, Latitude, Precision, Vostro, and XPS
models, HP Pavilion and Compaq Presario models, and the Apple
MacBook Pro.  A full list of affected models is available at:


A claim may now be made to have the defective laptop repaired or
replaced, or, in the case of those who have had them replaced at
their own cost, Nvidia will offer reimbursements of these costs.
Both a replacement and reimbursement can be awarded, but separate
claims must be made.

Nvidia continued to deny that it did anything wrong and said that
the settlement does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing, but
those affected will mostly be pleased with the decision.

Consumers have until March 14 to send in their claim.  So long as
the claim is postmarked by that date it will be accepted.  An FAQ
about making a claim, along with sample forms, is available on the
official settlement Web site.

TASEKO MINES: Faces Class Action Over Stock Plunge
Terri Theodore, writing for The Canadian Press, reports a
prominent legal firm has launched a class-action lawsuit on behalf
of Taseko Mines investors whose stock took a roller coaster ride
just before Ottawa rejected a proposed mine development in British

Just weeks before the federal government announced it was
rejecting Taseko's Prosperity Mine proposal near Williams Lake,
B.C., millions of stocks were sold off, prompting a sharp decline
in stock value.

RCMP and the B.C. Securities Commission have both launched

Tony Merchant, of the Merchant Law Group, said the dramatic market
reaction proves there was wrongdoing.

"We know the shareholders have been wronged, we don't know by whom
the shareholders have been wronged," he said on Jan. 17.

"You would not have this kind of impact on price at that time --
that's beyond the realm of rational acceptance of coincidence."

There have been no allegations that Taseko was involved in a leak
or the scale of trading.  On Oct. 14, about two weeks before the
government announced its decision not to allow the mine in the
B.C. Interior region, 30 million shares traded hands.

"There was a negative government announcement and the trading
activity makes apparent that somebody had knowledge in advance and
used the knowledge improperly," Mr. Merchant said in an interview
on Jan. 17.

The proposal for the $800-million gold and copper mine was
rejected because of what the government said were significant
environmental impacts.

First Nations in the area were angry that Fish Lake would be
destroyed by being used as a mine dump site.

The police and securities regulator began investigations after
federal Opposition party members raised concerns about the
unusually heavy trading.

The shares opened at $6.97 and fell as much as 34%, or a low of
$4.58 that day, before rebounding to close at $6.21.

WELK GROUP: Time-Share Owners' Class Action May Proceed
Heather Johnson at Courthouse News Service reports that time-share
owners may proceed with class action claims accusing The Welk
Group of hiding water leaks that led to the growth of serious mold
and fungus throughout the resort originally opened by Lawrence
Welk in 1964.

Judge Michael Anello of the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of California allowed lead plaintiff Hermenegildo
Martinez' habitability and property disclosure requirement
violations claims against The Welk Group and the Welk Resort Group
to survive summary judgment.

Judge Anello dismissed Mr. Martinez' breach of contract claim and
breach of fiduciary duty claim against two other defendants,
noting that Mr. Martinez did not show that the Welk Music Group
and Soleil Communications share control, ownership and profits
from the resort with The Welk Group and the Welk Resort Group.

But Judge Anello let The Welk Group remain as a defendant with the
Welk Resort Group, since Martinez said The Welk Group worked on
the resort as a "developer, contractor, builder and manager," had
ownership interest in the properties and shared profits from time-
share sales with the Welk Resort Group.

Judge Anello also refused to dismiss the class' private nuisance
claim, finding that a question of fact separated The Welk Group's
claim that the time-share agreement did not give members any real
property rights from the class' assertion that the time-share
agreement gave members property rights similar to those conferred
in a lease agreement.

Judge Anello allowed the class' breach habitability claim for
similar reasons, concluding that the issue of whether the time-
share owners have a real property interest in the resort units
should be determined at a later stage in the litigation.

Copies of the Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and the Order Granting in Part and
Denying in Part Defendants' Motion to Strike in Martinez v. The
Welk Group, Inc., et al., Case No. 09-cv-02883 (S.D. Calif.), are
available at:


* Only 75% of Pension Funds Opt for Securities Class Action
According to an article by Dave Adams posted at The Goal Group,
the value of investments, as we all know, can go down as well as
up.  Some you win, some you lose.  But if you lose as a result of
fraud or mismanagement there is, in some jurisdictions, the option
of redress through securities class action litigation.

But while any investor is entitled to money if a court rules in
the plaintiffs' favor, investors will only get it if they put in a
claim before the period during which claims can be made expires.
The trouble is, only about 75% of eligible pension funds do this,
according to a new study from global class action specialist GOAL

Pension funds in northern Europe lost more than EUR450 billion in
the financial crash of 2008, including EUR60 billion in US
investments.  GOAL Group calculates that about EUR3.9 billion of
this is recoverable, but unless current levels of participation in
US securities class actions increases, EUR1 billion will be left
unclaimed, including EUR436 million due to UK funds, EUR466
million to those in the Netherlands, EUR56 million in France,
EUR40 million in Ireland and EUR8 million in Germany.  It's good
news for investors that claim, as unclaimed money will usually be
divided between them, but very bad news for the others.

There are various reasons why some European pension funds may not
be claiming.  There is a perception that the time and expense
involved outweighs potential gains, typically about 125 of the
registered loss.  While many cases do take years to resolve
(Enron, for example, has kept armies of lawyers occupied for a
decade), this does not have to be a problem for the pension funds.
A number of service providers, including GOAL, offer outsourced
services that identify, then manage and process class action
claims on funds' behalf, mostly on a no win/no fee basis.

Even so, some funds' trustees and managers may not have time to
consider this option.  "We've been dealing with local authority
pension schemes who recognize that this is something they should
do, but there's always something else on top of the pile," says
Stephen Everard, managing director at the GOAL Group.  "Some funds
we've been speaking to for two and a half or three years.

"In some cases there are objections on moral grounds: why should I
get involved with suing a company in which I am a shareholder?"
Mr. Everard continues.  "But if you come in at the settlement
stage the litigation is done and you're just coming in when money
is distributed.  And if you don't, someone else will take it."  He
cites a recent case in which two GOAL clients received payouts
much higher than the customary 12%: 55% and 35% respectively, for
this reason.

Mr. Everard also comes across fund managers convinced that they
had nothing to gain from participation in class action. "I spoke
to a manager a few weeks ago who was adamant there was nothing he
was missing -- and when we had a look we found that 23% of the
portfolio could have had a claim next to it," says Mr. Everard.

According to the GOAL study the Netherlands, the UK and Ireland
were the three European countries where pension funds had the
highest proportion of US investments in 2008, suffering losses of
EUR28 billion, EUR26 billion and EUR2.4 billion.  French funds
lost EUR3.4 billion, while a lower exposure to equities meant
smaller losses for German funds, of EUR485 million.

Despite their place near the bottom of the list, German funds,
particularly where administered by larger custody service
providers, have been active in this area for many years.  In the
Netherlands, Stichting Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (PfZW) was
one of five pension funds from across the globe that acted as lead
plaintiff in a case against Bank of America that began in 2009 and
was related to the bank's management of information during its
acquisition of Merrill Lynch.  The Dutch pension fund MN Services
is an active participant in class action against the Royal Bank of
Scotland (RBS) that alleges misconduct in relation to the bank's
exposure to toxic assets and also to its acquisition of ABN Amro.

In the UK, the West Midlands Pension Fund has participated for
some years in shareholder litigation, recovering more than
$900,000.  In March 2009 the Merseyside and North Yorkshire
pension funds filed a motion to become lead plaintiffs in a class
action against RBS.  A New York court has since ruled that only US
investors can pursue this action, so the funds are currently
considering whether or not the case could be pursued in the
British High Court.

Also in the UK, Lothian Pension Fund and the Northern Ireland
Local Government Officer Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC) were
co-lead plaintiffs in an action begun in August 2008 against
Lehman Brothers over the use of mortgage-backed securities.  And
40 pension funds, including some based in Germany, the
Netherlands, the UK, Sweden and Norway, withdrew from a US action
against Royal Dutch Shell to begin an EU-located action instead.
This became the first of its kind to be concluded in a European
jurisdiction, with Shell ordered by the Amsterdam Court of Appeals
in June 2009 to pay $450 million in compensation for alleged
misstatements concerning oil and gas reserves.

"A number of UK funds are extremely interested in getting involved
in securities litigation with BP, following the Gulf disaster,"
says Beata Gocyk-Farber, partner at US law firm Bernstein Litowitz
Berger & Grossmann (BLBG).  But, following a US Supreme Court
ruling in June 2010 which limits the rights to litigate in the US
of investors whose shares were purchased from non US stock
exchanges, those UK pension funds that bought BP securities on the
London Stock Exchange have been told they cannot litigate against
BP. They are currently considering their options.

Among significant cases in the settlement process are a lawsuit
against Countrywide Financial that may be worth $600 million; as
well as a long-running case involving New Century worth $124
million and a case involving AIG where as much as $1 billion is at

But there is another reason why pension funds may not get involved
with securities class actions: the unwillingness of custodians to
do the dirty work on their behalf.  A US lawyer elaborates, off
the record: "The [scheme trustees] believed filling out the forms
to get the money from settlements was the job of the custodian.
The custodians thought that was not their job.  It was only as a
result of being dragged into it by large American pension schemes
that custodians started to do it.  If you're a pension scheme and
you want to make sure you're getting the money you're entitled to,
you've got to make it clear to the custodian."

Of course, lawyers are more than happy to help pension schemes to
do this.  But would it be fair to be suspicious of lawyers with a
vested interest in drumming up business?

"The lawyers have been accused of ambulance chasing," confirms
Stephen Everard.  "But there are extremely reputable firms in the
US who we deal with who won't just fire off so many cases and hope
some of it sticks.  There are others who do operate in that
manner.  That certainly wouldn't be a valid criticism of companies
like ours, because we only get involved once the settlement is

Beata Gocyk-Farber believes that working on a no win/no fee basis
is a strong motive for lawyers to be disciplined.  "We have an
interest in bringing the litigation, but we take a risk in
bringing it because we fund the entire cost," she says.  "That
could be several million dollars.  So we have an interest in cases
that we consider meritorious.  We are very selective."

If the case is won, the lawyer's cut might be as low as five per
cent but could rise to 15 or 20%, says Gocyk-Farber. "But
usually," she adds, "the fund can negotiate."

At present those negotiations are overwhelmingly likely to concern
US litigation.  But Stephen Everard believes growing demand in
Europe and the US Supreme Court's ruling on foreign investors may
force other jurisdictions to introduce class action legislation.
Such measures were included in the Financial Services Bill
scrapped by the Labour government in the UK just before the
May 2010 General Election.  "But when you think about it," Mr.
Everard adds, "in the UK, the first targets for anything like this
would be the banks, which are now all publicly owned."

Nonetheless, say those who advocate class action, if there's
somewhere trustees can sue, they should.  They're not doing it for
themselves, after all.  "Trustees have a fiduciary duty to
maximize all sources of income for their schemes, which includes
obtaining their fair share of settlement proceeds in any class
actions," says Thomas Dubbs, partner at US law firm Labaton

"There is often suspicion that because this involves litigation in
America, which many Europeans find distasteful, there must be some
catch," he continues.  "That is the wrong approach.  The proper
approach is to start from the assumption that you have a fiduciary
duty to maximize returns for your scheme."

Or, as Mr. Everard puts it: "There's no good reason not to do it.
If you don't, you're failing in your fiduciary duty."


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.  Leah
Felisilda, Neil U. Lim, Rousel Elaine Fernandez, Joy A. Agravante,
Ronald Sy, Christopher Patalinghug, Frauline Abangan and Peter A.
Chapman, Editors.

Copyright 2011.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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

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

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

                 * * *  End of Transmission  * * *