/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/110329.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Tuesday, March 29, 2011, Vol. 13, No. 62


AMERICAN INT'L: Class Action Settlement Gets Preliminary OK
BURGER KING: Has Until April 1 to File Summary Judgment Motion
BURGER KING: Enters Into Settlement of Florida & Delaware Suits
BURGER KING: Continues to Defend "Accessibility" Suit in Calif.
CABELL HUNTINGTON: Law Firm to File Malpractice Class Action

CANADIAN RECORD LABELS: Jazz Trumpeter's Son Challenges Accord
CAPITAL FINANCIAL: Records $200,000 as Settlement of Class Suits
CASEY, AUSTRALIA: Settles Class Action Over Methane Gas Leak
CINCINNATI INSURANCE: PPO Settlement Claim Under Advisement
EUROMARKET DESIGNS: Removes "Campbell" Civil Suit to N.D. Calif.

GROUPON: Sued Over Expiration Dates on Gift Certificates
HALLIBURTON CO: Archdiocese Fund Involved in Class Action
HOMELAND SECURITY: Faces Class Action Over Employee Bonus
HYATT VACATION: Judge Refuses to Move Class Action to Florida
MANULIFE FIN'L: Judge Approves Funding for Class Action

MEDIFAST INC: Gardy & Notis Files Class Action in Maryland
PNC BANK: Faces Class Action in Va. Over Banking Law Violations
SHENGDATECH INC: Kaplan Fox Files Securities Class Action
UNITED STATES: IIM Holders Question Legal Fees in Cobell Suit
* Quebec Province to Attract More Class Action Plaintiffs


AMERICAN INT'L: Class Action Settlement Gets Preliminary OK
Amelia Flood, writing for The Madison St. Clair Record, reports
that a St. Clair County class action suit filed two years ago over
car insurance that class members claimed was "worthless" may be
over shortly.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien gave preliminary
approval on Feb. 10 to two sub-classes of car insurance policy
holders in a case led by Lesley Schaeperkoetter.

In the settlement, Ms. Schaeperkoetter would receive $2,000 as
class representative.

The class attorneys Robert Schmieder II, Bradley Lakin and Robert
Evola of Wood River would receive $103,000 in fees.

Members of the two classes have until May 2 to opt out of the
settlement with American International South Insurance Company.

A fairness hearing is set for June 2 at 10:30 a.m.

Ms. Schaeperkoetter sued on her own behalf and that of others who
bought auto insurance for $15 a month.

The case was taken to federal court shortly after its August 2009
filing and was later remanded.

Status hearings in the suit were repeatedly pushed off until the
Feb. 10 hearing.

Under the proposed settlement, two sub-classes are created.

One consists of Illinois purchasers of the policy.  That class
ranges from Illinois policy holders who held the insurance from
Jan. 1, 2004 to Feb. 10, 2011.

The other is made up of those who bought the insurance and who
reside in Missouri.  The Missouri class time frame is from Jan. 1,
2006 to Feb. 10, 2011.

Under the settlement, class members would be entitled to 100
percent of the discrete premium paid to American International

The company does not admit liability.

The number of the class members is not set out in the proposed
settlement documents nor is a lump settlement sum.

LeChien took the case over from now-retired St. Clair County
Circuit Judge Michael O'Malley.

Stephan Rovak and Justine Margolis represent the insurance

The case is St. Clair case number 09-L-430.

BURGER KING: Has Until April 1 to File Summary Judgment Motion
Burger King Holdings Inc.'s subsidiaries have until April 1, 2011,
to file a motion for summary judgment in a consolidated class
action complaint filed by franchisees, according to the Company's
March 23, 2011, Form 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission for the transition period from July 1, 2010 to
December 31, 2010.

The National Franchisee Association, Inc. and several individual
franchisees filed these class action lawsuits -- National
Franchisee Association v. Burger King Corporation, No. 09-CV-23435
(U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida) and
Family Dining, Inc. v. Burger King Corporation, No. 10-CV-21964
(U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida) -- on
November 10, 2009, and June 15, 2010, respectively, claiming to
represent Burger King franchisees. The lawsuits seek a judicial
declaration that the franchise agreements between BKC and its
franchisees do not obligate the franchisees to comply with maximum
price points set by BKC for products on the BK Value Menu sold by
the franchisees, specifically the 1/4 lb. Double Cheeseburger and
the Buck Double. The Family Dining plaintiffs also seek monetary
damages for financial loss incurred by franchisees who were
required to sell those products for no more than $1.00. In May
2010, the court entered an order in the National Franchisee
Association case granting in part BKC's motion to dismiss. The
court held that BKC had the authority under its franchise
agreements to set maximum prices but that, for purposes of a
motion to dismiss, the NFA had asserted a "plausible" claim that
BKC's decision may not have been made in good faith. Both cases
were consolidated into a single consolidated class action
complaint which BKC moved to dismiss on September 22, 2010. On
November 19, 2010, the court issued an order granting BKC's motion
to dismiss on all claims in the consolidated complaint with
prejudice. On December 14, 2010, the plaintiffs filed a motion
asking the court to reconsider its decision, and on December 17,
2010, the plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal to the U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals. On February 2, 2011, the court permitted the
plaintiffs to file an amended complaint. Discovery is now
complete, and the court has instructed BKC to file a motion for
summary judgment by April 1, 2011.

BURGER KING: Enters Into Settlement of Florida & Delaware Suits
Burger King Holdings Inc. has entered into a settlement with
plaintiffs of class action lawsuits pending in Florida and
Delaware in connection with its merger with Blue Acquisition Sub
Inc., according to the Company's March 23, 2011, Form 10-K filing
with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the
transition period from July 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010.

On September 3, 2010, four purported class action complaints were
filed in the Circuit Court for the County of Miami-Dade, Florida,
captioned Darcy Newman v. Burger King Holdings, Inc. et. al., Case
No. 10-48422CA30, Belle Cohen v. David A. Brandon, et. al., Case
No. 10-48395CA32, Melissa Nemeth v. Burger King Holdings, Inc. et.
al., Case No. 10-48424CA05 and Vijayalakshmi Venkataraman v. John
W. Chidsey, et. al., Case No. 10-48402CA13, by purported
shareholders of the Company, in connection with the tender offer
and the Merger. Each of the four complaints names as defendants
the Company, each member of the Company's board of directors and
3G Capital. The suits generally allege that the Individual
Defendants breached their fiduciary duties to the Company's
shareholders in connection with the proposed sale of the Company
and that 3G Capital and the Company aided and abetted the
purported breaches of fiduciary duties.

On September 8, 2010, another putative shareholder class action
suit captioned Roberto S. Queiroz v. Burger King Holdings, Inc.,
et al., Case No. 5808-VCP was filed in the Delaware Court of
Chancery against the Individual Defendants, the Company, 3G, 3G
Capital, Blue Acquisition Holding Corporation and Blue Acquisition
Sub, Inc. The complaint generally alleges that the Individual
Defendants breached their fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder
value by entering into the proposed transaction via an unfair
process and at an unfair price, and that the merger agreement
contains provisions that unreasonably dissuade potential suitors
from making competing offers. On September 27, 2010, another
putative shareholder class action suit captioned Robert
Debardelaben v. Burger King Holdings, Inc., et al, Court of
Chancery of the State of Delaware, Case No. 5850-UA was filed in
the Delaware Court of Chancery against the Individual Defendants.
Like the first Delaware Action, the Debardelaben complaint asserts
that the Company's directors breached their fiduciary duties in
connection with the tender offer, and that the Company and 3G
Capital aided and abetted that breach. This action also seeks both
monetary and injunctive relief. On September 29, 2010, the
Delaware court entered an order consolidating the Debardelaben and
Queiroz actions.

On October 19, 2010, the Company completed a merger with Blue
Acquisition Sub, Inc., a Delaware corporation and a wholly-owned
subsidiary of Burger King Worldwide Holdings, Inc., formerly known
as Blue Acquisition Holding Corporation, a Delaware corporation
and the Parent.  Parent is wholly-owned by 3G Special Situations
Fund II, L.P., which is an affiliate of 3G Capital Partners, Ltd.,
an investment firm based in New York. In accordance with the terms
of the Merger Agreement, Merger Sub completed its acquisition of
100% of the Company's equity and merged with and into the Company,
with the Company continuing as the surviving corporation. The
Company became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Parent, and its common
stock ceased to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange after
close of market on October 19, 2010. In connection with the Merger
and as part of the financing for the consideration paid in the
Merger, on October 19, 2010, (i) BKC, as borrower, entered into a
Credit Agreement dated as of October 19, 2010 with JPMorgan Chase
Bank, N.A., as administrative agent, Barclays Capital, as
syndication agent, and the lenders party thereto from time to
time, and (ii) Merger Sub issued and BKC assumed $800.0 million of
9-7/8% Senior Notes due 2018.

On December 30, 2010, a proposed settlement was reached with the
plaintiffs in the Florida Actions and Delaware Actions. The
principal terms of the proposed settlement include additional
disclosures about the Merger that were provided to Burger King
shareholders in the Company's amended schedule 14D-9, dismissal of
the Florida and Delaware actions, mutual releases and the payment
of up to $1 million in attorneys' fees and expenses to Plaintiffs'

On March 16, 2011, the Florida court preliminarily approved the
proposed settlement and ordered that the class be provided with
notice of the proposed settlement.

BURGER KING: Continues to Defend "Accessibility" Suit in Calif.
Burger King Holdings Inc. continues to defend itself against a
class action lawsuit in California alleging violations of
accessibility requirements under federal and state law, according
to the Company's March 23, 2011, Form 10-K filing with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission for the transition period from
July 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010.

On September 10, 2008, a class action lawsuit -- Castenada v.
Burger King Corp. and Burger King Corporation., No. CV08-4262
(U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California) --
was filed against the Company in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California. The complaint alleged
that all 96 Burger King restaurants in California leased by the
Company and operated by franchisees violate accessibility
requirements under federal and state law. In September 2009, the
court issued a decision on the plaintiffs' motion for class
certification. In its decision, the court limited the class action
to the 10 restaurants visited by the named plaintiffs, with a
separate class of plaintiffs for each of the 10 restaurants and 10
separate trials. In March 2010, the Company agreed to settle the
lawsuit with respect to the 10 restaurants and, in July 2010, the
court gave final approval to the settlement. In February 2011, a
class action lawsuit styled Vallabhapurapu v. Burger King
Corporation, No. C11-00667 (U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of California) was filed with respect to the other 86
restaurants. The Company intends to vigorously defend against all
claims in the lawsuit, but the Company is unable to predict the
ultimate outcome of this litigation.

CABELL HUNTINGTON: Law Firm to File Malpractice Class Action
WSAZ reports that a Charleston law firm issued a "notice of claim"
to Cabell Huntington Hospital, as well as Radiology Inc.

The notice was issued on March 22 saying the law firm -- Hill,
Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler, PLLC -- intends to file a class
action complaint on behalf of patients who it claims were exposed
to excessive amounts of radiation during CT angiography of the
head and neck with and without contrast.

The "notice of claim" is the first step taken under West
Virginia's medical malpractice laws.  Along with the notice, a
"screening certificate of merit" was sent to Cabell Huntington
Hospital and Radiology Inc.

The notice was sent on behalf of clients of Hill, Peterson,
Carper, Bee & Deitzler, PLLC along with clients of the law firm
Powell and Majestro, PLLC.

The complaint involves patients who underwent CT scans at Cabell
Huntington Hospital between Oct. 9, 2009 and Nov. 23, 2010.
Affected patients have claimed hair loss, fatigue and burning
sensations in the and head area.

Cabell Huntington Hospital released a statement stating that staff
has contacted every patient affected by the excessive radiation by
phone and mail.  According to the statement, the manufacturer of
the hospital's CT angiography equipment has been contacted.

Cabell Huntington Hospital and Radiology Inc. now have 30 days to
respond, request mediation or request a more definite statement of
claims before a law suit can be filed.

CANADIAN RECORD LABELS: Jazz Trumpeter's Son Challenges Accord
Drew Hasselback, writing for Montreal Gazette, reports that Paul
Baker, the son of deceased jazz trumpeter Chet Baker, is unhappy
with a proposed $45 million settlement in a royalties class-action
lawsuit filed against Canadian record labels.

Mr. Baker wrote Judge George Strathy of the Ontario Superior Court
of Justice last month to voice his opinion on the settlement,
which was supposed to be resolved earlier this month.  The arrival
of Mr. Baker's letter caused Judge Strathy to adjourn the approval
hearing until March 28.  The delay is supposed to give Mr. Baker
time to decide whether he should make formal submissions in the

The Chesney "Chet" Baker Estate is the lead plaintiff in an action
brought against four record labels, Sony Music Entertainment
Canada, EMI Music Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music
Canada.  Earlier this year, the record labels agreed to pay the
class $45-million to settle the matter.

Mr. Baker's beef with the settlement has less to do with the
amount of the damages than it does with process.  His father died
in 1988 and Mr. Baker claims a one-eighth interest in the estate.
He seems puzzled how the estate managed to become representative
plaintiff without his say so.

Howard Knopf, a lawyer in Ottawa who publishes the Excess
Copyright blog, has crunched the numbers and calculated that the
proposed settlement values the infringement damages at something
less than $135 per tune.  This, Mr. Knopf writes, is less than the
normal statutory damages of $500 per song, though a court does
have discretion to grant lower awards in limited circumstances.

CAPITAL FINANCIAL: Records $200,000 as Settlement of Class Suits
Capital Financial Holdings, Inc., recorded $200,000 in its books
in anticipation of a settlement of class action lawsuits that it
is currently defending, according to the Company's March 23, 2011,
Form 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010.

The Company is defending two recently instituted proceedings
seeking certification as class actions which name the Company as
one of a number of defendants and allege various securities or
conduct violations, one with respect to private placements of
Medical Capital Corporation and related issuer entities for which
the broker-dealer subsidiary placed approximately $100 million of
debt securities and the other with regard to private placements of
Provident Royalties, LLC and related issuer entities for which the
broker-dealer subsidiary placed approximately $60 million of debt
securities. The Company intends to vigorously contest the
allegations of the various proceedings and believes that there are
multiple meritorious legal and fact based defenses in these
matters. Such cases are subject to many uncertainties, and their
outcome is often difficult to predict, including the impact on
operations or on the financial statements, particularly in the
earlier stages of a case. The Company makes provisions for cases
brought against it when, in the opinion of management after
seeking legal advice, it is probable that a liability exists, and
the amount can be reasonably estimated. The current proceedings
are subject to uncertainties and as such, the Company is unable to
estimate the possible loss or a range of loss that may result from
each individual matter. There is a contemplated settlement
regarding both Medical Capital Corporation and Provident
Royalties, LLC, by which the Company would contribute monies to a
settlement fund. The contemplated settlement, in the amount of
$200,000, was recorded in the books of the company as a liability,
though the settlement is subject to approval by a number of
entities, and there is no assurance that the settlement will be

CASEY, AUSTRALIA: Settles Class Action Over Methane Gas Leak
Matthew Schulz, Dimity Barber and John Masanauskas, writing for
The Herald Sun, report that the council forced into paying
millions in compensation for a gas fiasco says the deal is a "good

Residents will share AU$17.25 million compo for the Cranbourne gas
leak fiasco after compensation lawyers Slater & Gordon took at
least AU$6 million in fees.

The massive class action over Cranbourne's methane gas fiasco was
settled this morning, with 771 residents winning compensation.

The Cranbourne Leader reports the settlement is set to be
AU$23.5 million, including AU$13.5 million from Casey Council
coffers and AU$10 million to be paid by the EPA.

Residents will share AU$17.25 million after a AU$6 million payment
for the court costs and fees for law firm Slater and Gordon.

The lawyers may earn even more for the case, with their fees only
covering their work until the end of February.

The company may earn another AU$250,000 for further work it does
for "exceptional circumstances".

That leaves the 771 Brookland Greens households in the class
action to share AU$17.25 million -- an average of AU$22,373 each.

The biggest payout of AU$132,000 will be for the worst-affected
households closest to the dump.

The lowest payout will be just over AU$7,000.

Lawyers for the residents told the Supreme Court a deal had been
reached with the EPA and City of Casey in the Supreme Court on
March 25.

Slater & Gordon confirmed details of the settlement in their
Melbourne offices on March 25.

The settlement is currently being tabled in court.

City of Casey mayor Shar Balmes on March 25 described the
settlement as "a good outcome for all the parties concerned".

In a written statement, Cr Balmes said residents could "now get on
with their lives".

"I am extremely pleased that a settlement has been achieved ahead
of what would have been a costly and distracting court case for
everyone," Cr Balmes said.

While the council told Radio 3AW ruled out levying extra charges
on residents to pay for its AU$13.5 million liability, the mayor
said it planned to pursue others in the courts and was confident
of recouping "much of Council's outlay".

Cr Balmes said the council and the EPA would pursue recovery
claims against nine other defendants.

"Council has always maintained that a range of parties, including
a number of its consultants and managers, contributed to the
methane issues at the landfill," she said.

Those defendants were mostly technical experts who gave advice or
managed the landfill on behalf of the council, she said.

The council was also pursuing an indemnity claim against its
insurer, the Municipal Association of Victoria.

Hundreds of families were evacuated from the area in 2008 after
methane gas leaks from a nearby landfill site.

Slater & Gordon launched proceedings against the City of Casey and
the Environment Protection Authority on behalf of hundreds of
residents and property owners.

Since then, another 10 defendants, mainly contractors, have been
brought in by the council and other parties.

The latest addition is the City of Frankston, brought in by the
Metropolitan Waste Management Group.

Mediation failed to resolve the case last year and a trial was set
for July before the March 25 settlement.

CINCINNATI INSURANCE: PPO Settlement Claim Under Advisement
Amelia Flood, writing for The Madison St. Clair Record, reports
that Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge said he wasn't
sure if a $500,000 disputed class action settlement claim was a
matter of "form over substance" during a hearing on March 24.

But, he said he was going to give both plaintiff's attorney Robert
Schmieder II and Omar Odland, the attorney representing Cincinnati
Insurance and Cincinnati Casualty companies, more time to find

Judge Mudge kept a plea by class member Illinois Bone and Joint
Institute under advisement as the parties said they would take
more time to discover whether or not spreadsheets submitted by
IBJI were adequate claims documentation that would force
Cincinnati to pay out 90% of $500,000 under terms of a 2005 class
action settlement.

Cincinnati settled with a class of Illinois health care providers
including IBJI two years ago.

The class led by chiropractor Frank Bemis alleged that the
insurance company took Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
discounts it was not entitled to from workers' compensation
treatment claims.

The suit is one of a number filed in the early part of the last
decade by Mr. Schmieder II's firm, now LakinChapman LLC of Wood
River, and the Chicago firm of Freed & Weiss.

The pair filed a number of the PPO class actions in both Madison
and St. Clair counties.

The partnership broke up in 2007.

The Bemis-Cincinnati settlement was worth up to $3.5 million.

Mr. Bemis got $5,000 as class representative.

Mr. Schmieder II and his team took home $700,000 in fees.

Following the 2009 settlement, class members had until Nov. 23,
2010 to submit their claims and supporting documents.

IBJI submitted claims worth $485,000 on Nov. 23, 2009.

However, Cincinnati paid out $52,000 of $57,000 that the company
ruled to have been properly supported.

It denied the rest of the IBJI claim.

IBJI then submitted a new claim and documents with what it claims
were additional discounted treatment claims on March 24, 2010.

Cincinnati denied that claim as untimely and lacking supporting

The dispute came to Judge Mudge last December.

Mr. Schmieder II argued that the documents listed on the claim
forms were examples and not the only documents that Cincinnati
could consider in determining whether or not the claim should be
paid under the settlement.

Mr. Schmieder II reiterated those arguments to Mudge on March 24.

He argued it was the company's burden to match up information from
the IBJI spreadsheets to their internal documents.

"It may be cumbersome and they may not like it but they have the
data," Mr. Schmieder II said.

Mr. Odland countered that the March 24, 2010 spreadsheets should
not factor in to Judge Mudge's decision about the claim's payment
because they had come in five months past the end of the claims

"They just sat on it, Judge," Mr. Odland said.

Mr. Odland also pointed out what Schmieder II agreed was problems
with IBJI's math in the Nov. 23, 2009 and March 24, 2010

One patient, for example, appeared more than 50 times, Mr. Odland
said.  However, the claims weren't related to workers'

Mr. Odland told Judge Mudge that it appeared IBJI was trying to
claim recompense for claims that weren't covered by the

Judge Mudge expressed his own doubts about Mr. Schmieder II's
position, particularly on the time-issue of the March 24, 2010

"Well, I'm leaning Cincinnati's way on that one," the judge said
of the deadline issue.

Judge Mudge did not allow Peter Schmidt of Toledo, Ohio, a
representative for IBJI, to testify at the March 24 hearing.

Mr. Odland raised the point early in the hearing that he had not
had the opportunity to depose Mr. Schmidt and could not waive his
clients' right to do so.

Following arguments, Judge Mudge took the issue back under

He gave the parties 60 days to conduct additional discovery and to
take depositions including Mr. Schmidt's if needed.

The IBJI claim has been under advisement since December 2010.

The case is Madison case number 05-L-178.

EUROMARKET DESIGNS: Removes "Campbell" Civil Suit to N.D. Calif.
Carlos Campbell, on behalf of himself and others similarly
situated v. Euromarket Designs, Inc., et al., Case No. CGC-11-
508421 (Calif. Super. Ct., San Francisco Cty.) was filed on
February 18, 2011.  The plaintiff alleges that defendant d/b/a
Create & Barrel requests its customers paying with credit cards to
provide personal identification information in the form of their
zip codes, in violation the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act,
California Civil Code Section 1747.08.

California Civil code Section 1747.08 generally states that when a
merchant is engaged in a retail transaction with a customer, the
merchant may neither (1) request personal identification
information from a customer paying for goods with a credit card,
and then record that personal identification information upon the
credit card transaction or otherwise; nor (2) require as a
condition of payment the cardholder to provide the customer's
personal identification information which the retailer causes to
be written, or otherwise records upon the credit card transaction
or otherwise.

Defendant operates retail stores under the name Crate & Barrel
throughout the United States, including California.

Plaintiff is a resident of California, and entered into a retail
transaction with defendant at one of defendant's California

On the basis of diversity jurisdiction, Euromarket Designs, on
March 22, 2011, removed the lawsuit to the Northern District of
California, and the Clerk assigned Case No. 11-cv-01368 to the

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          James R. Patterson, Esq.
          Matthew J. O'Connor, Esq.
          402 West Broadway, 29th Floor
          San Diego, CA 92101
          Telephone: (619) 756-6990

The Defendant is represented by:

          P. Craig Cardon, Esq.
          David R. Garcia, Esq.
          Brian R. Blackman, Esq.
          Elizabeth S. Berman, Esq.
          Four Embarcadero Center, 17th Floor
          San Francisco, CA 94111-4109
          Telephone: (415) 434-9100
          E-mail: ccardon@sheppardmullin.com

GROUPON: Sued Over Expiration Dates on Gift Certificates
KING 5 News reports that a Seattle woman filed a class action
lawsuit against the Internet coupon giant, Groupon.

Barrie Arliss said Groupon sells gift certificates with clearly
visible expiration dates, even though state law prohibits
expiration dates on certificates.

In the class action complaint, Ms. Arliss also said the company
put other illegal restrictions on the gift certificates it sells
as Groupons.

Ms. Arliss said Groupon deceives customers into forgoing refunds
when customers are entitled to them.

HALLIBURTON CO: Archdiocese Fund Involved in Class Action
Annysa Johnson, writing for the Journal Sentinel, reports that
while bankruptcy has stalled the pending court cases against the
Archdiocese of Milwaukee over its handling of clergy sex abuse
cases, its biggest benefactor is waging its own battle -- now
before the U.S. Supreme Court -- over allegedly fraudulent
securities practices by energy conglomerate Halliburton Co.

The Erica P. John Fund, known until 2009 as the Archdiocese of
Milwaukee Supporting Fund, is the lead plaintiff in an 8-year-old
class-action lawsuit alleging that Halliburton made false
statements about its business between 1999 and 2001, causing
investors to lose money when it corrected those statements and its
stock price declined.

At issue before the Supreme Court is whether plaintiffs should
have to prove "loss causation" -- in this case whether
Halliburton's corrected statements caused the price drop and
subsequent losses -- in order to be certified as a class action.

Such a requirement, said John Fund attorney Carl Goldfarb, would
place an undue burden on plaintiffs and effectively keep many
securities fraud cases out of court.

"It's a very significant hurdle, very difficult to show at that
early state without litigation, without discovery," Mr. Goldfarb

"It will keep cases from getting certified as class actions.  And,
because it's prohibitively expensive to pursue these cases
individually, it will mean many plaintiffs will find the
courthouse doors closed to them," he said.

Attorneys for Halliburton did not return e-mail messages seeking

The nonprofit Erica P. John Fund, which has given millions of
dollars to the archdiocese and other organizations over the years,
is among a number of revenue sources expected to be scrutinized by
creditors in the archdiocese's bankruptcy.

Victims and their attorneys question the timing of the name change
in 2009, suggesting it may have been intended to obscure the
fund's true purpose -- to financially support the archdiocese --
and may have been part of a broader effort by the archdiocese to
shield its resources from being used for sex abuse claims.

Last month, plaintiffs attorney Jeff Anderson questioned the
transfer of $130 million off the church's books since 2004 -- $75
million in an investment fund and $55 million into a cemetery
trust.  Church officials said the investment money belonged to
parishes, which are separately incorporated from the archdiocese,
and that the cemetery funds had always been restricted to that

The John Fund referred all questions to its attorneys.
Mr. Goldfarb said the name was changed to honor its founder, who
remains on the three-member board of directors, along with her
daughter Paula John and Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki.

Archdiocese spokesman Jerry Topczewski said the John Fund, as a
private foundation, cannot be tapped to pay sex church abuse
settlements and that its grants obtained by the archdiocese are
restricted to specific uses.

Used for hush money

Proceeds from the fund -- more specifically, from the sale of a
property it donated -- were used to pay $450,000 in hush money in
1998 to a man who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by then-
Archbishop Rembert Weakland when he was a seminary student years
earlier.  Archbishop Weakland, who abruptly retired after the
payment became public in 2002, has maintained that the
relationship was consensual.

Mr. Topczewski said the building was donated before Erica John
dictated that no family funds could be used to pay sex-abuse
settlements.  And federal authorities investigated the allocation
but found no wrongdoing by the archdiocese because the money had
not been diverted from a specific purpose.

The fund also gave $1.5 million in 1997 to endow chairs in
Archbishop Weakland's name in universities in Rome.

The Erica P. John Fund has contributed about $600,000 a year to
the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in recent years, down from about
$1 million annually in the past, according to Mr. Topczewski.

Erica John established the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Supporting
Fund in 1992 with $70 million from the former DeRance Foundation,
once the world's largest Catholic charity, which had been founded
by her late ex-husband, Miller Brewing heir Harry John.

Mr. Golfarb declined to comment on the size of the fund or its
assets.  But a 2002 Journal Sentinel story said it had contributed
more than $52 million in grants in the previous decade.

HOMELAND SECURITY: Faces Class Action Over Employee Bonus
Kelly Holleran, writing for The Madison St. Clair Record, reports
that a Fairview Heights man has filed a class action claim against
his employer after allegedly not being paid bonus money.

Donald Woodward, on behalf of other employees, filed a lawsuit
March 1 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Doctor R. Crants
and Homeland Security Company LLC.

According to the complaint, Woodward worked for Homeland Security
Company in 2008.  In October of that year, Woodward says he -- and
perhaps hundreds of other coworkers -- were promised to be paid a
bonus of $2 per qualifying hour.  However, Woodward claims that
money was never paid, despite repeated requests.

The class accuses the Tennessee-based company of breach of
contract, fraud and violations of Illinois' Wage Payment and
Collection Act.  They ask for more than $200,000 in damages,
including court costs.

Attorney Jeffrey A.J. Millar of St. Charles, Mo. is representing

St. Clair County Circuit Court case No. 11-L-0106

HYATT VACATION: Judge Refuses to Move Class Action to Florida
Westlaw Journals reports that a California federal judge has
declined to transfer to Florida a wage-and-hour class action
against two Hyatt companies, finding that the parties' extensive
contacts with the state outweigh other factors concerning where to
litigate the claims.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of
California said Jeanne Shultz's proposed class action against
Hyatt Vacation Marketing Corp. and Hyatt Vacation Ownership Inc.
should be addressed in her court as provided for under 28 U.S.C.
Sec. 1404(a), even though the case could have been brought in the
Middle District of Florida.

Although courts generally defer to a plaintiff's choice of forum,
the fact that the case is a class action reduces the significance
of that choice, the judge noted.

However, she declined to transfer the case because most of the
considerations either were neutral or weighed against transfer.

According to the opinion, Ms. Shultz worked for Hyatt as a sales
executive in Carmel, Calif., from 2005 to 2010.  She says there
were times when she received no compensation because she and other
sales executives were designated as "commissions only."

Although Hyatt at times paid them a "recoverable draw," this
resulted in her receiving even less than minimum wage, Shultz

A recoverable draw is pay a company recovers regardless of the
employment status of the person who received it.  In this case,
the draws were deducted from Shultz's future commissions,
according to the opinion.

Shultz claims the Hyatt defendants failed to pay her and others
minimum wage and overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards
Act, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 201, and the California Labor Code.  She also
says the company did not provide meal and rest periods or accurate
wage statements.

The suit proposes a nationwide class and a California class.  The
California class is composed of about 40 people.

Hyatt moved to transfer the case to the Middle District of
Florida, where the defendants' headquarters are located.  It
claims a larger number of class members live in Florida rather
than California, although not all of them live within the Middle

Judge Koh denied the motion after considering the following
factors established by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in
Jones v. GNC Franchising Inc., 211 F.3d 495 (9th Cir. 2000).

    * Familiarity with governing law.  Since both districts are
familiar with federal law, this factor weighed only slightly
against transfer.

     * Parties' contacts with the forum.  Both Hyatt and Shultz
have substantial contacts with the Northern District of
California.  Although Hyatt has more contacts with the Middle
District of Florida than with California, Shultz has no contacts
with the Florida venue.  Therefore, this factor weighed against

     * Contacts relating to cause of action in chosen forum.
Because Shultz worked in Carmel, and Hyatt payroll records are
located there, both parties have substantial contacts to Northern
California.  Hyatt's human resources centralizes its records in
its Florida headquarters, a factor that was neutral with respect
to transfer.

    * Costs of litigation.  Although Hyatt argued it would bear
the greater expense if the case were not transferred, litigation
expenses should be a neutral factor in the transfer analysis.

    * Convenience of witnesses.  Because the number and location
of the proposed class members were uncertain at the time the judge
considered the transfer motion, the issue did not weigh in favor
of either side at this stage in the case.

    * Access to sources of proof.  This factor weighed only
slightly in favor of transfer given Hyatt's argument that
"documents pertaining to the calculation and processing of
commissions, payroll and real estate sales" would have to be
shipped across the country for discovery.  The judge suggested
that Hyatt make "burdensome" documents available where they are

    * Public policy of forum state.  This factor was neutral
because each proposed venue has an interest in the case.

After weighing all the factors under Jones, Judge Koh found that
transfer was "not in the interests of justice or convenience."

Shultz et al. v. Hyatt Vacation Marketing Corp. et al., No.
10-04568, 2011 WL 768735 (N.D. Cal., San Jose Div. Feb. 28, 2011).

MANULIFE FIN'L: Judge Approves Funding for Class Action
Drew Hasselback, writing for Montreal Gazette, reports that
plaintiff lawyers have reason to smile thanks to Judge George
Strathy of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice's recent approval
of a deal in which an Irish investor will help finance a proposed
securities class action against Manulife Financial Corp.

Claims Funding International PLC has agreed to indemnify the
plaintiffs against their exposure to defendants' costs if they
lose the suit.  The Irish company will also contribute $50,000
toward the plaintiffs' costs.  In return, CFI can collect 7% of
any recovery, net of fees and disbursements to counsel.  The
commission is capped at $5-million if the recovery occurs prior to
the filing of a pretrial conference brief, rising to $10-million

The case, Dugal v. Manulife, alleges that misrepresentations in
public disclosure documents artificially inflated the value of the
insurance company's stock.  The allegations have yet to be proven
in court.

Charles Wright of Siskinds LLP, who represents the plaintiffs,
says the case is the first instance in Canada of this type of
third-party class-action funding.

The defendants challenged the arrangement as "champertous" and
unlawful under an 1897 Ontario statute, An Act Respecting
Champerty, which states: "Champertors be they that move pleas and
suits, or cause to be moved, either by their own procurement, or
by others, and sue them at their proper costs, for to have part of
the land in variance, or part of the gains."

Judge Strathy writes that one of the purposes of class actions is
to make it possible for a group of people to pool their resources
to advance claims that would otherwise be too expensive to pursue
on an individual basis.  Since Ontario law requires losers to pay
costs, no person in their right mind would accept the role of
representative plaintiff if it meant losing everything after a
loss at trial.

There is no evidence that CFI stirred up, incited or provoked the
litigation within the meaning of the Champerty Act, the Judge
writes.  Rather, he described it as a fair reflection of risk and
reward that is beneficial to the administration of justice: "The
funding agreement helps to promote one of the important goals of
the [Class Proceedings Act] -- providing access to justice.  That
goal would be illusory if access to justice were deterred by the
prospect of a crushing costs award to be borne by the
representative plaintiff or counsel."

Judge Strathy's approval is subject to conditions.  CFI needs to
prove that it has assets available in Canada to satisfy any costs
award should the plaintiffs lose.  And guidelines need to be put
in place to ensure CFI keeps mum about any sensitive information
it receives about the case, such as proposals to settle.

Otherwise, let the funding games begin.

MEDIFAST INC: Gardy & Notis Files Class Action in Maryland
Gardy & Notis, LLP has filed a class action lawsuit in the United
States District Court for the District of Maryland on behalf of
all purchasers of shares of common stock of Medifast, Inc. during
a class period of March 4, 2010 through March 10, 2011.

The class action seeks to recover damages on behalf of plaintiff
and a class of all other individual and institutional investors
who purchased or otherwise acquired shares of Medifast common
stock during the class period.  The defendants in the case are
Medifast, Inc., Michael S. Mcdevitt, Brendan N. Connors, Bradley
T. Macdonald and Margaret E. Macdonald-Sheetz.

Plaintiff alleges that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by issuing a series
of materially false and misleading statements and/or failed to
disclose that Medifast's financial results were materially false
and misleading at all relevant times.  On March 11, 2011, the
Company announced that it would delay the release of its Annual
Report and requires additional time to complete its year-end
financial statements due to the need to review past expenses in
prior periods.  The Company's announcement came at the heels of
recent disclosures that the Company had dismissed its long-time
auditor after a finding of errors in its 2006, 2007 and 2008
financial statements and restating its 2009 Annual Report.  On
this news, Medifast shares declined $5.27 per share, or more than
24%, to close at $16.63 per share.

If you purchased shares of Medifast common stock between March 4,
2010 through March 10, 2011, you may, no later May 17, 2011,
request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff for the
class. A lead plaintiff is a representative party that acts on
behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. You
must meet certain legal requirements to serve as a lead plaintiff.

For more information regarding the lawsuit, or to obtain a copy of
the complaint filed in the lawsuit, please contact plaintiff's

          James S. Notis, Esq.
          Kira German, Esq.
          Gardy & Notis, LLP
          560 Sylvan Avenue
          Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
          Telephone: 201-567-7377
          Fax: 201-567-7337
          E-mail: jnotis@gardylaw.com
          Web site: http://www.gardylaw.com/

PNC BANK: Faces Class Action in Va. Over Banking Law Violations
The law firms Webster Book, LLP and Levetown & Jenkins, LLP have
filed a class action lawsuit alleging violations of federal
banking law by PNC Bank, N.A., as successor to National City Bank.
The case can be found as case number 1:10-cv-01090-AJT in the
Eastern District US district Court, Alexandria, Virginia.  The
lawsuit arises from allegations that PNC Bank employed an
arbitrary and blanket prohibition against subrogating second
mortgages to new or modified senior mortgages secured by non-PNC
liens.  The complaint states claims for violations of the Bank
Holding Company Act's anti-tying provisions and seeks
compensatory, statutory, and treble damages on behalf of PNC
Bank's customers who were precluded from refinancing their first
mortgages except on PNC Bank's terms.

Levetown & Jenkins, LLP wishes to discuss this case with any
homeowner in any state who had or has a National City second
mortgage or HELOC who tried to refinance a first mortgage with
another lender and was prevented from doing so by National City at
any time between Feb. 18, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2009.  Anyone with a
National City second trust is encouraged to communicate with the
their contact information and mortgage information to the law firm
by completing the homeowner registration on
https://www.bankclassactions.com/ Webster Book, LLP is located in
Alexandria, Virginia. Levetown & Jenkins, LLP has offices in
Washington, D.C. and Newport Beach, California.

http://www.BankClassActions.com/is a data aggregation and
research platform owned by BankClassActions.com, Inc.  The
platform is designed to allow homeowners who may have been the
victims of predatory lending practices, foreclosure fraud and
other violations of state and federal lending practices to find
information about cases and Class Action firms who are fighting
for homeowner rights in courtrooms throughout the country.  The
BCA platform allows homeowners to create an exhaustive profile of
the underwriting and servicing of their mortgage and to push the
data securely at their discretion to Law Firms who are
investigating or suing their lenders.  The BCA platform allows
Class Action Law Firms to profile their cases and to receive
profiles from potential class participants.

Contact: Thea Bournazian or Andrew Levetown
         Levetown & Jenkins, LLP
         Telephone: 202-379-4899

SHENGDATECH INC: Kaplan Fox Files Securities Class Action
Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP has filed a class action suit against
ShengdaTech, Inc. that alleges violations of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 on behalf of purchasers of ShengdaTech common
stock during the period March 15, 2010 through March 15, 2011,

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York.  A copy of the complaint may be
obtained from Kaplan Fox or the Court.

The Complaint alleges that, throughout the Class Period,
Defendants made materially false and misleading statements to
investors by misrepresenting and failing to disclose that: (1) the
Company had material deficiencies in its internal controls over
its financial reporting, (2) ShengdaTech's financial statements
were materially false and misleading and not presented in
accordance with GAAP, and (3) Defendants had no reasonable basis
for their positive statements about ShengdaTech's business and
financial results.

The Complaint further alleges that on March 15, 2011, ShengdaTech
shocked investors when it announced that it "had appointed a
special committee of the Board of Directors to investigate
potentially serious discrepancies and unexplained issues relating
to the Company and its subsidiaries' financial records identified
by the Company's auditors in the course of their audit of the
consolidated financial statements for the fiscal year ended
Dec. 31, 2010."  As a result, trading in ShengdaTech stock halted
before the markets opened on March 15, 2011, and the stock has not
traded since.

If you are a member of the proposed Class, you may move the court
no later than May 17, 2011 to serve as a lead plaintiff for the
Class.  You need not seek to become a lead plaintiff in order to
share in any possible recovery.

Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of the Class and is
represented by Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP. Our firm, with offices
in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and New Jersey,
has many years of experience in prosecuting investor class actions
and actions involving financial fraud.  For more information about
Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP, or to review a copy of the complaint
filed in this action, you may visit our Web site at

If you have any questions about this Notice, the action, your
rights, or your interests, please contact:

          Pamela A. Mayer, Esq.
          850 Third Avenue, 14th Floor
          New York, NY 10022
          Telephone: (800) 290-1952
                     (212) 687-1980
          Fax: (212) 687-7714
          E-mail: pmayer@kaplanfox.com

               - and -

          Laurence D. King, Esq.
          350 Sansome Street, Suite 400
          San Francisco, CA 94104
          Telephone: (415) 772-4700
          Fax: (415) 772-4707
          E-mail: lking@kaplanfox.com

UNITED STATES: IIM Holders Question Legal Fees in Cobell Suit
Native American Times reports that some Individual Indian Money
account holders are wondering why their attorneys may receive more
money than them from the $3.4 billion settlement in the Cobell v.
Salazar class action lawsuit.

"I don't begrudge anybody wanting monetary payment," Karen
Whitefox, Kiowa, said, although she questions why Ms. Cobell
didn't ask for financial support from Indian people "before she
threw her shawl down on the ground on behalf of Native Americans
across the nation."

The Cobell suit began in June 1996 after decades of land, trust
fund and trust asset mismanagement by the federal government.
Preliminary approval was granted for the settlement on Dec. 21,
2010 by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and
earlier this year two petitions were filed requesting monetary
awards for Cobell and the other three Class Representatives, and
for the Class Counsel.

The Class Representatives are asking for incentive awards and
expense reimbursements for their efforts in the case.  Ms. Cobell
requests $2 million, James Louise Larose requests $200 thousand,
and both Thomas Maulson and Penny Cleghorn request $150 thousand
each.  This is in addition to $10.5 million in expense
reimbursement and settlement money they are entitled to as Class
Members.  All awards, costs and expenses total $13,056,274.59 for
the Class Representatives and would be given from the settlement
amount allocated for all Class Members.

Keith Harper, of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, said Cobell,
Blackfeet, spent 15 years of her time, effort and resources on the
class action, including using her MacArthur Genius Award money to
pay for experts on the case.  In order to help fund the
litigation, Ms. Cobell acquired reimbursable grants, made
contracts with experts, and received assistance from organizations
which must now be paid.  As of press time, Ms. Cobell did not
return phone messages.

The Class Counsel is requesting $223 million, which is 14.75% of
the 1.5 million dollars to be dispersed to Class Members.  The
other $1.9 million from the $3.4 billion settlement is earmarked
for land consolidation efforts, and $16 million for the Indian
Education Scholarship Fund.  The Land consolidation endeavor gives
Class Members the choice to sell their fractionalized land,
although they are not required to do so.  The scholarship funds
will be administered by the American Indian College Fund and the
American Indian Graduate Center.

These fees requested by Class Counsel have some IIM account
holders asking if the attorneys are asking for double their

"The short answer is no," Mr. Harper, said during a March 14
settlement information meeting at the Wichita Tribe's Housing
Authority Iscani Community building in Anadarko.

Mr. Harper, a lead attorney for Ms. Cobell, said the amount
requested by the attorneys is not double the expenses.  He quoted
partnering attorney Dennis Gingold and said they are only asking
for what their expenses were and at the end of the day it's up to
the courts to decide what they will get paid.

"To get lawyers who are going to be dedicated without compensation
for that many years; to do this kind of case and have it be
successful as it is, it requires they be compensated fairly at the
end," Mr. Harper, Cherokee, said.  "This is an issue of fairness,
but it's also an issue of, if you get the attorneys' fee award
well below what is called for in the marketplace, then how are
individual Indians going to get competent counsel next time around
to take their case?"

Mr. Harper said the 14.75 percent request is fair and Congress
knew the counsel's fees would be coming out of the settlement
fund.  He recalled Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Washington), who publicly
criticized the attorney fees, saying on the House floor that "it
would be up to the judge and there's no cap."

"So now there's sort of this notion that 'oh, there was this cap
and it's wrong.'  It's not true, and so it's another time when
they're playing fast and loose with facts," Mr. Harper said.

In the government's response to the fees requested by the
attorneys, the brief states, "In seeking this Court's preliminary
approval of the settlement, plaintiffs informed the Court that the
Fee Agreement provides that they 'shall not assert that Class
Counsel be paid more than $99,900,000.00,' and 'counsel now argue
that their service to those clients merits a payment of more than
twice that amount -- further depleting the funds available for
payments to Class Members by more than $120 million.'"

The government response also states the plaintiffs petitioned for
and "obtained an award of over $7 million in fees and expenses for
their work, which the government promptly paid.  They also
received over $750,000 in additional fees and expenses relating to
discovery disputes."

Harper, along with two other Cobell attorneys, Rob Harmala and
Alex Pearl, are meeting with class members in 50 different
reservations and communities throughout Indian Country.  Anadarko
was the first stop in a handful of meetings held in Oklahoma where
the attorneys fielded questions about the settlement and their
legal fees.

Marcianna R. Jacobs, Cheyenne, questions the total amount of the
settlement, incentive payments and attorney fees.  During the
Anadarko meeting she handed out copies of a news article to the
estimated 50 attendees concerning the amount of money requested by
the attorneys.  She said account holders need to be paid what is
actually owed to them.

"The majority of money you're asking for in this lawsuit is what
is owed to account holders," Ms. Jacobs said.  "To me, I'm ashamed
at this Cobell case . . . I hope you can live with yourself . . .
We don't need another handout.  I look at you just . . . to be
another Indian giver."

Ms. Jacob's husband, Eddie, questioned how many account holders
testified during the court proceedings, and said he personally
submitted his account records to Harper but never received a

"My problem is that we have almost a hundred years they're not
looking at . . . how do we let government say they didn't commit
wrong doing?" Eddie Jacobs, Creek, asked.

Mr. Harper said they litigated on the issue of deceased
beneficiaries and recovering all the missing funds but lost.

"I wish we had won that issue . . . I wish the decision went
different . . . but we did not prevail . . . this is the reality,
there are so many documents lost by the Bureau of Indian Affairs
. . . they cannot do an accounting," he said, also mentioning that
the $3.4 billion settlement does not compensate for the wrong done
by the federal government, but the amount is what was attainable.

The beneficiaries of the settlement fall into two groups.  One
group is the Historical Accounting Class and the other is the
Trust Administration Class.  There are approximately 360,000
members in the Historical Accounting Class.  An accurate number of
people in the Trust Administration Class will be known once
members decide if they are going to participate or opt out of the
class, and if all class members can be located.

Pearl, Chickasaw, said the government cannot achieve a historical
accounting so members of the Historical Accounting class will
receive a set amount of $1000 in November 2011 and they cannot opt
out of this class.  Members of the Trust Administration Class will
receive payment based on the sum of the ten highest years of
revenue in their account.  It's estimated this payment may be sent
in summer 2012.  Any money received under this settlement is tax
free and cannot be used to determine qualifications for social

Mr. Harper said if members do not agree with the amount they will
be given in the Trust Administration Class they can opt out of
that class and pursue their own litigation.

Mr. Harmala said nobody can force Class Members to participate,
but advised members to think through the cost, benefits and about
having to find a lawyer to represent them.  He said they think
they have a fair settlement, and mentioned the federal government
realizes every dollar in the settlement took funds away from non-
Indian programs.

Jane Nightwalker, Arapaho, said she does not agree with the
payment amounts to be given in the settlement, and felt the
attorneys were trying to persuade people to accept the settlement
agreement.  She said she doesn't think anybody listened to her
questions or that all the beneficiaries were listened to.

"The way you talk, you don't give me any hope . . . I still don't
feel this is justified . . . just compensation will never be
reached . . . but right now if I wanted to go to court, I have no
money," Ms. Nightwalker said, adding that members want justice,
fairness and honesty.

Yet, not all attendees questioned the amount to be received. Kathy
Ware-Perosi, Kiowa, expressed her appreciation for the settlement
and thanked the attorneys for their work.

"We finally have taken a case all the way to the finish line and
we have won, and people are happy about that," Mr. Harper said.
"We got the largest settlement in the history of the United

Class members who wish to speak to the court about the settlement
during the June 20 fairness hearing in Washington, D.C. must let
the court know by April 20.  For more information visit

* Quebec Province to Attract More Class Action Plaintiffs
The Montreal Gazette reports that there was a time when the
province of Quebec was generally regarded as Canada's class-action
haven, the jurisdiction in which plaintiffs' representatives found
it easiest to have their lawsuits certified.

But if statistics count, it may well be that British Columbia now
deserves the title.  So much so that in 2008, the Quebec Court of
Appeal summarily threw out a proposed price-fixing class action
based on a Toyota "Access Program" pricing mechanism.  By
contrast, the B.C. Court of Appeal earlier this month overturned a
B.C. Supreme Court denial of certification in a class action based
on the same program.

A review of court records in British Columbia shows that the
province's Court of Appeal has heard 47 appeals in the last five
years in which certification was in issue.  In 39 of these cases,
the B.C. Supreme Court had granted certification and the Court of
Appeal upheld the decision.  In six cases, the Court of Appeal
upheld denials of certification.  The Court of Appeal reversed a
B.C. Supreme Court decision to certify a class in only two cases.

The upshot is that the Court of Appeal gave its seal of approval
to 39 of the 47 cases that came before it where certification was
at issue -- an outstanding plaintiff's success rate of 83%.

Indeed, it's been four years since the Court of Appeal last
reversed a lower court's certification.

Most recently, the court has said that for the purposes of
certification plaintiffs need only demonstrate that a methodology
to prove damages might be available; older case law had suggested
that certification would occur only if the plaintiffs convinced
the court that such a methodology already is in fact available.

To the lay reader, the distinction between "might" and "is" will
seem like an insignificant nuance.  But the result has a huge
impact on class actions.

"Basically, the Court of Appeal is saying that certification is
not a time to determine what is admittedly a complex question and
that the matter should go to trial where conclusions can be
reached based on a full evidentiary record," says James Sullivan
of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP's Vancouver office. The practical
consequences are two-fold.

"Firstly, more cases will be going to trial and that's going to
create a problem with judicial resources because these are long
and complicated lawsuits," Mr. Sullivan says.

"And secondly, there are going to be more nominal settlements
where plaintiffs' lawyers will receive the bulk of the benefit
because settling is less costly for defendants than going to

In Quebec, Canada's oldest class action jurisdiction with enabling
legislation enacted over 30 years ago, things have been a little
tougher for plaintiffs lately.  Indeed, since 2004, when judges
hearing certification motions were also required to try the cases
they certified, Quebec's reputation as a class action haven with
liberal certification requirements has taken a steady beating.

"Sometimes I think that defendants are actually better off in
Quebec now, because judges have had to live with what they
authorize," says Sylvie Rodrigue of Ogilvy Renault LLP's montreal
and Toronto offices.

"They're seeing that a case with one or two common issues can
potentially give rise to 20,000 mini-trials. The judges won't
admit it, but the reality is that if you're the one who will have
to manage the monster, you're going to think about its
manageability when you're deciding whether to create it."

Ms. Rodrigue may well be right: Even though manageability isn't a
formal requirement for certification in Quebec, manageability
considerations are creeping into judges' reasons.

"That's precisely what happened in the Paxil litigation, the first
pharma case that the Quebec courts refused to certify," Ms.
Rodrigue says.

Ms. Rodrigue maintains, however, that British Columbia may not be
any more difficult for defendants than Ontario.

"Just like in B.C., Ontario certification judges are throwing the
problems into other judges' courts," she says.

But Jay Strosberg of Windsor's Sutts, Strosberg LLP argues that
class-action certification statistics can be misleading.

"You have a pretty sophisticated plaintiffs' bar in B.C. and
Ontario," Mr. Strosberg says.  "We're rejecting 99% of the cases
proposed to us, so what the statistics really reflect is that
plaintiffs' counsel are doing their job right and they're doing it
up front."

Mr. Strosberg also points out that B.C.'s popularity as a class
action venue is limited because it is an "opt-in" jurisdiction,
meaning that the classes created are only open to individuals from
other provinces or abroad if they specifically choose to join the

There are, however, some anecdotal rumblings that B.C. will be
amending its legislation to become an "opt-out" jurisdiction,
which envisages extra-provincial class members as bound by the
lawsuit unless they specifically choose not to be so bound.

If that happens, B.C.'s attractiveness to plaintiffs will grow

"If you consider the current plaintiffs' success rate in B.C. in
the context of an opt-in jurisdiction that unlike other Canadian
jurisdictions does not penalize unsuccessful plaintiffs with the
threat of costs against them, you do have the makings of a class-
action mecca," Mr. Strosberg says.


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
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to
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The CAR subscription rate is $575 for six months delivered via
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