CAR_Public/120105.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Thursday, January 5, 2012, Vol. 14, No. 4

                             Headlines

AFFYMETRIX INC: Faces Suit Over Proposed eBioscience Acquisition
BUILDING PRODUCTS: Organic Shingle Claims Available for Review
CAL-MAINE FOODS: Continues to Face Antitrust Suits Over Egg Price
HOVNANIAN ENTERPRISES: Still Drafting "Sewell" Settlement Docs
LLOYDS BANKING: US Investors File Class Action Over HBOS Deal

PEAK 3 HOLDINGS: Accused of Making High Interest-Loans in Illinois
UNITED STATES: 9th Cir. Allows Mass Surveillance Suit to Proceed
VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS: Sued Over False Statements Against ITC
WASHINGTON POST: Judge Tosses Securities Class Action

* Trial Lawyers Reap Huge Rewards in California Class Actions



                          *********

AFFYMETRIX INC: Faces Suit Over Proposed eBioscience Acquisition
----------------------------------------------------------------
Affymetrix Inc. is facing a class action lawsuit in California
over its proposed acquisition of eBioscience Holding Company,
Inc., according to the Company's December 30, 2011, Form 8-K
filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

On December 29, 2011, the Company received notice that Tang
Capital Partners, LP, a holder of the Company's 3.50% Senior
Convertible Notes Due 2038 (the "Notes"), had commenced class
action litigation against the Company in the Superior Court of
California, County of Santa Clara.  The complaint alleges a
variety of claims relating to the Company's previously announced
proposed acquisition of eBioscience Holding Company, Inc.,
including that the acquisition would constitute a Fundamental
Change under the indenture governing the Notes.  The complaint
seeks unspecified damages, temporary and permanent injunctive
relief against completion of the eBioscience acquisition, and
other remedies.

The Company believes that the complaint is without merit.  The
Company is working towards closing the acquisition in January
2012.


BUILDING PRODUCTS: Organic Shingle Claims Available for Review
--------------------------------------------------------------
The attorneys working with Class Action.org are available to
review claims from consumers who had their property installed with
organic roofing shingles manufactured by Building Products (BP) of
Canada Corp.  Allegedly, the products, which include Eclipse,
ProStandard and Rampart organic shingles, are defective and can
fail earlier than expected due to cracking, moisture invasion,
deterioration and other problems.  In light of these allegations,
property owners who experienced problems with these organic
roofing shingles may have legal recourse to seek compensation for
damages.  To find out if you are eligible, visit
http://www.classaction.org/bp-of-canada-organic-shingles.htmlfor
free evaluation of your BP organic shingle failure claim.

Reportedly, the organic roofing shingles manufactured and marketed
by BP were said to be durable, suitable and long-lasting.
However, it has been alleged that these products can experience
premature BP organic shingles failure due to a number of problems
including the following: cracking; adhesive failure; blistering;
deteriorating; granulation loss; curling; and moisture invasion.
Homeowners have also claimed that the shingles can blow off the
roof or otherwise not perform in accordance with reasonable
consumer expectations.  Premature BP organic shingle failure can
also result in progressive damage to underlying property and
structures, according to allegations.

Due to BP organic shingle failure, consumers have allegedly been
forced to spend thousands of dollars to replace the shingles or to
repair damages related to their failure.  In light of allegations
that the company knew or should have known about the BP organic
shingle failure and failed to properly design, formulate and test
the shingles, property owners who experienced problems with these
products may have legal recourse.  Potentially, these individuals
may be able to participate in a BP shingle lawsuit to seek
compensation for damages related to the allegedly defective
organic shingles, including repair and replacement costs.  To
learn more about BP organic shingle failure and eligibility for
legal recourse, visit Class Action.org.

                      About Class Action.org

Class Action.org -- http://www.classaction.org-- is dedicated to
protecting consumers and investors in class actions and complex
litigation throughout the United States.  Class Action.org keeps
consumers informed about product alerts, recalls, and emerging
litigation and helps them take action against the manufacturers of
defective products, drugs, and medical devices.  Information about
consumer fraud issues and environmental hazards is also available
on the site.  Visit http://www.classaction.orgfor a no cost, no
obligation case evaluation and information about your consumer
rights.


CAL-MAINE FOODS: Continues to Face Antitrust Suits Over Egg Price
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., continues to face antitrust lawsuits over
the country's shell egg industry, according to the Company's
December 30, 2011, Form 10-Q filing with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission for the quarter ended November 26, 2011.

Since September 25, 2008, the Company has been named as one of
several defendants in twenty-five antitrust cases involving the
United States shell egg industry.  In sixteen of these cases, the
named plaintiffs sued on behalf of themselves and a putative class
of others who claim to be similarly situated.  In fourteen of
those putative class actions, the named plaintiffs allege that
they are retailers or distributors that purchased shell eggs and
egg products directly from one or more of the defendants.  In the
other two putative class actions, the named plaintiffs are
individuals or companies who allege that they purchased shell eggs
and egg products indirectly from one or more of the defendants --
that is, they purchased from retailers that had previously
purchased from defendants or other parties.  In the remaining nine
cases, the plaintiffs sued for their own alleged damages and are
not seeking to certify a class.

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated all of
the putative class actions (as well as certain other cases in
which the Company was not a named defendant) for pretrial
proceedings in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania.  The Pennsylvania court has organized
the putative class actions around two groups (direct purchasers
and indirect purchasers) and has named interim lead counsel for
the named plaintiffs in each group.

Six of the nine non-class lawsuits were filed in the same court
that is presiding over the putative class actions.  Another of
these non-class cases was filed in the United States District
Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, but it has been
transferred to the Eastern District and consolidated for pretrial
proceedings with the other cases.  Another non-class lawsuit was
filed in the District Court of Wyandotte County, Kansas.  The
defendants removed this case to the United States District Court
for the District of Kansas, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict
Litigation granted the defendants' transfer request, and the case
has now been consolidated in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The plaintiffs in this action have filed a motion to remand the
case back to the District Court of Wyandotte County, Kansas, but
that motion has not been decided.  The remaining non-class lawsuit
was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois but is likely to be transferred to and
consolidated with the other cases in the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania.  The plaintiffs in two of the non-class lawsuits
originally filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
voluntarily dismissed their lawsuits without prejudice, and there
are, thus, now seven non-class lawsuits pending.

The named plaintiffs in the direct purchaser case filed a
consolidated complaint on January 30, 2009.  On April 30, 2009,
the Company filed motions to dismiss the direct purchasers'
consolidated complaint.  The direct purchaser plaintiffs did not
respond to those motions.  Instead, the direct purchaser
plaintiffs announced a potential settlement with one defendant.
The final hearing on approval of that settlement has been held,
but the court has not yet ruled.  If it is approved, the
settlement would not require the settling party to pay any money.
Instead, the settling defendant, while denying all liability,
would provide cooperation in the form of documents and witness
interviews to the plaintiffs' attorneys.  After announcing this
potential settlement with one defendant, the direct purchaser
plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on December 11, 2009.  On
February 5, 2010, the Company joined with other defendants in
moving to dismiss the direct purchaser plaintiffs' claims for
damages outside the four-year statute of limitations period and
claims arising from a supposed conspiracy in the egg products
sector.  The court denied the motion to dismiss the claims related
to the egg products sector.  The court granted the motion to
dismiss plaintiffs' claims for damages outside the four-year
statute of limitations but did so without prejudice to the
plaintiffs' right to seek leave to further amend their complaint
if they, in good faith, believe they can address the deficiencies
noted by the court.  On February 26, 2010, the Company filed its
answer and affirmative defenses to the direct purchaser
plaintiffs' amended complaint.  On June 4, 2010, the direct
purchaser plaintiffs announced a potential settlement with a
second defendant.  The final hearing on approval of this
settlement has also been held, but the court has not ruled.  If
this settlement is approved, then the defendant would pay a total
of $25 million and would provide other consideration in the form
of documents, witness interviews, and declarations.  This settling
defendant denied all liability in its potential agreement with the
direct purchaser plaintiffs and stated publicly that it settled
merely to avoid the cost and uncertainty of continued litigation.

The named plaintiffs in the indirect purchaser case filed a
consolidated complaint on February 27, 2009.  On April 30, 2009,
the Company filed motions to dismiss the indirect purchasers'
consolidated complaint.  The indirect purchaser plaintiffs did not
respond to those motions.  Instead, the indirect purchaser
plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on April 8, 2010.  On
May 7, 2010, the Company joined with other defendants in moving to
dismiss the indirect purchaser plaintiffs' claims for damages
outside the four-year statute of limitations period, claims
arising from a supposed conspiracy in the egg products sector,
claims arising under certain state antitrust and consumer fraud
statutes, and common-law claims for unjust enrichment.  The court
heard oral argument on these motions but has not yet ruled.  On
June 4, 2010, the Company filed its answer and affirmative
defenses to the indirect purchaser plaintiffs' amended complaint.

The cases in which plaintiffs do not seek to certify a class were
filed between November 16, 2010, and December 12, 2011.  The
Company has not yet answered or moved to dismiss any of these
cases.

In all of the cases, the plaintiffs allege that the Company and
certain other large domestic egg producers conspired to reduce the
domestic supply of eggs in a concerted effort to raise the price
of eggs to artificially high levels.  In each case, plaintiffs
allege that all defendants agreed to reduce the domestic supply of
eggs by (a) manipulating egg exports and (b) implementing
industry-wide animal welfare guidelines that reduced the number of
hens and eggs.

Both groups of named plaintiffs in the putative class actions seek
treble damages and injunctive relief on behalf of themselves and
all other putative class members in the United States.  Both
groups of named plaintiffs in the putative class actions
originally alleged a class period starting on January 1, 2000, and
running "through the present."  The court has now granted the
defendants' motion to dismiss the direct purchasers' claims
outside the four year statute of limitations, and thus the
putative direct purchaser class claims now only relate to a
September 2004 to present class period.  The court has not yet
ruled on the defendants' motion to dismiss the indirect
purchasers' claims outside the four year statute of limitations,
and the putative indirect purchaser class thus continues to assert
a January 1, 2000, to present class period.  The direct purchaser
putative class action case alleges two separate sub-classes -- one
for direct purchasers of shell eggs and one for direct purchasers
of egg products.  The direct purchaser putative class action case
seeks relief under the Sherman Act.  The indirect purchaser
putative class action case seeks relief under the Sherman Act and
the statutes and common-law of various states, the District of
Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Seven of the nine non-class cases remain pending.  In five of the
remaining non-class cases, the plaintiffs seek damages and
injunctive relief under the Sherman Act.  In one of the remaining
non-class cases, the plaintiff seeks damages and injunctive relief
under the Sherman Act and the Ohio antitrust act (known as the
Valentine Act).  In the other remaining non-class case, the
plaintiffs seek damages and injunctive relief under the Kansas
Restraint of Trade Act.

The Pennsylvania court has entered a series of orders in the
putative class actions related to case management and scheduling.
There is no definite schedule in either putative class action case
for discovery, class certification proceedings, or filing motions
for summary judgment.  No trial date has been set in either
putative class action case. The non-class cases were filed so
recently that the court has not set any schedule for them.

The Company says it intends to continue to defend these cases as
vigorously as possible based on defenses which the Company
believes are meritorious and provable.


HOVNANIAN ENTERPRISES: Still Drafting "Sewell" Settlement Docs
--------------------------------------------------------------
A subsidiary of Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc., has been named as a
defendant in a purported class action lawsuit filed on May 30,
2007, in the United States District Court for the Middle District
of Florida, Randolph Sewell, et al., v. D'Allesandro & Woodyard,
et al., alleging violations of the federal securities acts, among
other allegations, in connection with the sale of some of the
subsidiary's homes in Fort Myers, Florida.  Plaintiffs filed an
amended complaint on October 19, 2007.  Plaintiffs sought to
represent a class of certain home purchasers in southwestern
Florida and sought damages, rescission of certain purchase
agreements, restitution of out-of-pocket expenses, and attorneys'
fees and costs.  The Company's subsidiary filed a motion to
dismiss the amended complaint on December 14, 2007.  Following
oral argument on the motion in September 2008, the court dismissed
the amended complaint with leave for plaintiffs to amend.
Plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint on October 31, 2008.
The Company's subsidiary filed a motion to dismiss this second
amended complaint.  The Court dismissed portions of the second
amended complaint.  The Court dismissed additional portions of the
second amended complaint on April 28, 2010.

The Company says it has recently agreed with the plaintiffs to
settle this case for an immaterial amount, and the settlement
documents are in the process of being drafted by counsel.

No further updates were reported in the Company's December 30,
2011, Form 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission for the year ended October 31, 2011.


LLOYDS BANKING: US Investors File Class Action Over HBOS Deal
-------------------------------------------------------------
Juliette Garside, writing for guardian.co.uk, reports that Lloyds
Banking Group's former chief executive, Eric Daniels, and previous
chairman, Sir Victor Blank, have been accused of "reckless
disregard for the truth" in a class action lawsuit filed in the
U.S. by a retired British sea captain.

Lawyers say that shareholders lost an estimated GBP14 billion as
Lloyds shares crashed after news of its emergency acquisition of
its troubled rival HBOS in 2008.  About 1,400 US residents and
numerous institutions that bought Lloyds TSB shares on the New
York stock exchange could claim compensation.

The case is being fronted by a 79-year-old former merchant navy
captain, Albert Ross, who is originally from Scotland and now
lives near New Orleans.  He and his wife risk losing their home
after the family's investment in Lloyds wiped more than $340,000
(GBP220,000) from their retirement fund.

Mr. Ross, a writer of seafaring novels including the self-
published Truth, Half Truth and Lies, told reporters: "My wife and
I face losing everything we have worked for.  It is not just our
home but our dignity.  We are proud people who have worked hard to
maintain our independence only to see everything stripped away
from us."

Days after the HBOS acquisition was announced in September 2008,
lawyers say that the troubled British bank was "technically
insolvent".  Because information was kept back, the market did not
begin to understand the true nature of its financial woes until
February 2009, when a GBP10 billion annual loss was reported.

Announcing the merger, Mr. Daniels described it as "a fantastic
deal", saying that the combined companies would have a "robust
capital position".  However, by October 1, HBOS had been forced to
take emergency loans from the Bank of England, which later peaked
at GBP25.4 billion, and borrow an estimated US$11.5 billion from
the US Federal Reserve.

During an analyst call on October 13, Mr. Daniels continued to
assert that the HBOS acquisition was a "very good deal" for
shareholders.  Papers filed by lawyers acting for Mr. Ross claim
the reverse was true: "At that point, HBOS was not only insolvent
on a cashflow basis, but on the basis that its assets were
substantially exceeded by its liabilities."

Reference is made to a subsequent report by the Bank of England
governor, Mervyn King, who said that without the emergency loans,
HBOS "would not have survived".  The claim is that Messrs. Blank
and Daniels "acted with knowledge of or reckless disregard for the
truth in omitting and/or misrepresenting material facts" regarding
the bailout, which if true could put them in breach of the US
Exchange Act.

"United States securities law is very clear about the heavy
consequences of withholding important information which investors
are entitled to know when purchasing shares," said Jim Swanson, a
partner for the firm bringing the suit.

Lloyds has been listed on the New York stock exchange since 2001,
and is bound to report company information in accordance with US
market rules.  If the Securities and Exchange Commission, the US
regulator, pursues its own investigation, it can impose hefty
fines.  Last year Goldman Sachs paid a record $550 million after
misleading investors in the marketing of sub-prime mortgages.

Lloyds declined to comment and spokesmen for Messrs. Blank and
Daniels did not respond to requests for comment, according to Ms.
Garside.


PEAK 3 HOLDINGS: Accused of Making High Interest-Loans in Illinois
------------------------------------------------------------------
Tiffany White, on behalf of plaintiff and the class members v.
Peak 3 Holdings, LLC, Case No. 2011-CH-44916 (Ill. Cir. Ct., Cook
Cty., December 30, 2011) is brought to secure redress from
usurious loans made over the Internet to Illinois residents by
Peak 3 Holdings, in violation of the Illinois Interest Act, the
Illinois Payday Loan Reform Act, and the Illinois Consumer Fraud
Act.  The Plaintiff alleges that the rate of interest on all of
the Defendant's loans exceeds 18%.

The Plaintiff asserts that she obtained a loan from Peak 3
Holdings at a rate of 782.14%, which loan was obtained for
personal, family or household purposes and not for business
purposes.  Ms. White also contends that Peak 3 Holdings was never
licensed to make loans of any type by the Illinois Department of
Financial and Professional Regulation.

Ms. White is a resident of Evanston, Illinois.

Peak 3 Holdings, a Nevada limited liability corporation, allegedly
solicits and makes high-interest loans to persons residing in
Illinois and elsewhere.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Daniel A. Edelman, Esq.
          Cathleen M. Combs, Esq.
          James O. Latturner, Esq.
          Zachary A. Jacobs, Esq.
          EDELMAN, COMBS, LATTURNER & GOODWIN, LLC
          120 S. LaSalle Street, 18th Floor
          Chicago, IL 60603
          Telephone: (312) 739-4200
          Facsimile: (312) 419-0379
          E-mail: courtecl@edcombs.com
                  ccombs@edcombs.com
                  jlatturner@edcombs.com


UNITED STATES: 9th Cir. Allows Mass Surveillance Suit to Proceed
----------------------------------------------------------------
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Dec. 29 blocked the
government's attempt to bury the Electronic Frontier Foundation's
(EFF's) lawsuit against the government's illegal mass surveillance
program, returning Jewel v. NSA to the District Court for the next
step, according to EFF's press release.

The court found that Jewel had alleged sufficient specifics about
the warrantless wiretapping program to proceed.  Justices rejected
the government's argument that the allegations about the well-
known spying program and the evidence of the Folsom Street
facility in San Francisco were too speculative.

"Since the dragnet spying program first came to light, we have
been fighting for the chance to have a court determine whether it
is legal," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn.  "[Thurs]day, the
Ninth Circuit has given us that chance, and we look forward to
proving the program is an unconstitutional and illegal violation
of the rights of millions of ordinary Americans."

Also on Dec. 29, the court upheld the dismissal of EFF's other
case aimed at ending the illegal spying, Hepting v. AT&T, which
was the first lawsuit against a telecom over its participation in
the dragnet domestic wiretapping.  The court found that the so-
called "retroactive immunity" passed by Congress to stop
telecommunications customers from suing the companies is
constitutional, in part because the claims remained against the
government in Jewel v. NSA.

"By passing the retroactive immunity for the telecoms' complicity
in the warrantless wiretapping program, Congress abdicated its
duty to the American people," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney
Kurt Opsahl.  "It is disappointing that [Thurs]day's decision
endorsed the rights of telecommunications companies over those
over their customers."

The Dec. 29 decision comes nearly exactly six years after the
first revelations of the warrantless wiretapping program were
published in the New York Times on December 16, 2005.  EFF will
now move forward with the Jewel litigation in the Northern
District of California federal court.  The government is expected
to raise the state secrets privilege as its next line of defense
but this argument has already been rejected in other similar
cases.

According to Daily Tech's Jason Mick, the decision was still a
quasi-victory for the EFF, who was leading the push against the
warrantless wiretaps, at it prevents the most sweeping of
protections on the domestic surveillance system, giving U.S.
citizens at least one avenue to challenge the campaigns in court.

The EFF was less-than-thrilled that the court upheld the immunity
for telecoms who served as the government's accomplices, helping
federal agents spy on their customers.   The telecom immunity was
granted by the "Protect America Act" of 2007 (Pub.L. 110-55, S.
1927).

The EFF was seeking class action status for a lawsuit against
AT&T, Inc. (T) and the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).  The
EFF accuses AT&T of conspiring with the NSA to divert its
customers voice, SMS, and internet traffic into special secure
rooms at its facility across the country, giving the NSA the
ability to freely snoop on whatever private communications they
pleased.

The operation was called "an unprecedented suspicionless general
search" by the EFF, which accused it of being unconstitutional,
based on the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (part of
the Bill of Rights), which states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,
shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon
probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly
describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to
be seized.

A lower court had granted the EFF permission to go ahead with a
class action lawsuit against AT&T and NSA, prompting the U.S.
Department of Justice (DOJ) to appeal to the 9th Circuit.

The 9th Circuit's decision partially reversed the lower court's
ruling.  Unlike the lower court, it ruled that the government
granting immunity to its business accomplices was Constitutional.
However, it refused the DOJ's request that the federal government
also be made immune on "state secrets" grounds, saying lawsuits
against the government were the place to challenge the
Constitutionality of such programs.

Judge Margaret McKeown, a member of the three-judge appeals panel,
writes (PDF; pg. 21589), "The federal courts remain a forum to
consider the constitutionality of the wiretapping scheme and other
claims."

The differentiation was an interesting one, in that it dealt a
partial victory, partial loss to both the DOJ and EFF.

It is important to note that the Appeals Court did not deliver an
opinion on the legality of the warrantless wiretaps themselves.

The irony of the Protect America Act was that it modified the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 ("FISA" Pub.L.
(Public Law) 95-511, 92 Stat. (Statute at large) 1783, enacted
October 25, 1978, 50 U.S.C. ch.36, S. 1566) installing the kind of
unregulated surveillance permissions that the FISA was originally
designed to block at the time of its post-Watergate passage.

The FISA's original authors recognized the danger of abuse if
unregulated wiretaps were granted to federal officials and police.
After, all at least one U.S. President -- Richard Nixon (R) --
used such powers to spy on his political rivals.

Despite the strict FISA President George W. Bush (R) openly defied
the law in the post 9-11 (2001) era, resuming warrantless
wiretapping.  President Bush convinced Congress to retroactively
legalize the effort by modifying the FISA.  With Congress's weight
behind the unregulated domestic spying effort the President gained
the unregulated spying power that had once led to the impeachment
of President Nixon.

When new President Barack Obama took office, he promised reform
and to cut back on the warrantless spying, but once elected that
"hope" turned to "nope" as President Obama proved remarked "Bush-
like" and pushed to expand the program and vigorously defend the
immunity for cooperative telecoms.

President Obama and his predecessor President Bush agree on many
things, including that the federal government should be granted
unregulated spying on its citizens.

It appears unlikely that the warrantless monitoring is going
anywhere, anytime soon.  Aside from President Obama support, most
of the leading Republican candidates appear supportive of the
practice, with many voting to support President Bush with the
Protect America Act.  Of the major candidates, the only one who
has voiced major concerns about the federal spying is Ron Paul
(R).

It is unknown exactly how many telecoms participated in the
government's plot to spy on citizens.  However all three of
America's largest cellular carriers -- AT&T; Sprint Nextel Corp.
(S); and Verizon Wireless, the joint venture between Verizon
Communications  Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD)  --
were all listed as defendants in the EFF suit.

They are now free to resume helping President Obama and Congress
spy on American citizens without warrant, without having to be
legal responsible for their actions.

The EFF is contemplating whether to appeal the decision to restore
the immunity provisions to a higher federal court.


VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS: Sued Over False Statements Against ITC
--------------------------------------------------------------
In Touch Concepts, Inc., d/b/a Zcom, on behalf of itself and all
others similarly situated v. (1) Verizon Communications Inc., (2)
Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless, (3) Vodafone Group Plc,
(4) Ivan G. Seidenberg, (5) Lowell C. McAdam, (6) Daniel S. Mead,
(7) Nancy Clark, (8) Ken Kayal, Esq., (9) Tom Verghese, (10) Ryan
Broomes, (11) Shaid Mohammed, a/k/a "Shady Shad," (12) Jorge
Velez, (13) Anthony Fiocco, (14) Bruno Pavlick, (15) Patrick
Devlin, (16) Ajay Bhumitra; (17) Shelly Bhumitra, (18) Poonam
Sawnhey, (19) Bell Atlantic Mobile Systems, Inc., (20) GTE
Wireless Incorporated, (21) PCS Nucleus, L.P., (22) JV Partnerco,
LLC, (23) John/Jane Doe Verizon Communications Personnel ## 1-10,
so named as their identities have yet to be established, (24)
John/Jane Doe Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless Personnel
## 1-10, so named as their identities have yet to be established;
and, (25) John/Jane Doe Vodafone Group Plc Personnel ## 1-10, so
named as their identities have yet to be established, Case No.
653635/2011 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., December 28, 2011) is brought to seek
compensatory and punitive damages in connection with the
Defendants' alleged individual and collective actions, which have
tortiously interfered with the existing business relations and
prospective business relations of Plaintiff ITC.

The Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants have maliciously made
false statements against it without regard to the economic harm
that those falsities would cause.  ITC contends that the
Defendants' scheme was so brazen that they have used its fallout
as an excuse to punish their so-called indirect agents involved in
the sale and marketing of "Verizon Wireless" branded products and
services, including ITC, and other members of the putative class,
for the Defendants' own misconduct.

ITC is a New York Domestic Business Corporation that maintains an
agency relationship with Defendant Cellco Partnership, doing
business as Verizon Wireless ("VZW"), wherein ITC is authorized to
sell services on VZW's wireless network, and equipment that works
on that network.

Verizon, a Delaware corporation, delivers broadband and other
wireless and wireline communications services.  Verizon is a
majority owner in Defendant Cellco Partnership or VZW, owning 55%
via Defendants BAM and GTE.  VZW is the wireless business unit of
Verizon.  Vodafone, via defendants PCS and JVP, is a 45% partner
and owner of VZW.  Individual Defendants Seidenberg, McAdam, Mead,
Clark, Kayal, Verghese, Broomes, Mohammed, Velez, Fiocco, Pavlick
and Devlin are officers and employees of Verizon and VZW.

Ajay Bhumitra is allegedly the self-proclaimed "Godfather" of the
wireless industry marketing wireless products and services in
direct competition to ITC.  Shelly Bhumitra, Ajay's brother, was a
principal of ITC's sub agent and allegedly acted as a "Trojan
Horse" within ITC.  Poonam Sawnhey was a principal of ITC's sub
agent.  BAM, a Delaware corporation, is wholly owned and
controlled by Verizon.  GTE is a Delaware corporation owned and
controlled by Verizon.  PCS, a Delaware Limited Partnership, is
wholly owned and controlled by Vodafone.  JVP, a Delaware Limited
Liability Company, is wholly owned and controlled by Vodafone.
The identities of the Doe Defendants are still to be determined.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Ravi Batra, Esq.
          Todd B. Sherman, Esq.
          Michael W. Kennedy, Esq.
          THE LAW FIRM OF RAVI BATRA, P.C.
          The Batra Building
          142 Lexington Avenue
          New York, NY 10016
          Telephone: (212) 545-1993

               - and -

          John L. Sampson, Esq.
          134-27 154th Street
          Jamaica, NY 11434
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WASHINGTON POST: Judge Tosses Securities Class Action
-----------------------------------------------------
According to an article posted at the Blog of Legal Times by Zoe
Tillman, Am Law Litigation Daily reports that a federal judge in
Washington recently dismissed a securities class action against
the Washington Post Company, finding that the plaintiff
shareholders failed to adequately plead their case.

A group of investors sued the Post Co. in U.S. District Court for
the District of Columbia in October 2010, accusing company
officers of misleading investors by releasing false information on
the health of its for-profit educational services arm, Kaplan Inc.

The Post Co. moved for a dismissal in August, arguing that the
complaint lacked any specific allegations of deliberate fraud on
the part of the Post Co. or its officers, and that any financial
losses were the result of changes in the regulatory environment
surrounding Kaplan and other similar companies.

On Dec. 23, U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein granted the Post
Co.'s motion.


* Trial Lawyers Reap Huge Rewards in California Class Actions
-------------------------------------------------------------
Carol J. Williams, writing for Los Angeles Times, reports that
lawyers often reap huge rewards in petty class-action suits while
their clients net little.  Many other states apply stricter
judicial standards.

Like any concerned mother, Athena Hohenberg wanted to be sure her
4-year-old was getting a good breakfast.

So she served up Nutella, a hazelnut and cocoa spread marketed as
part of a balanced breakfast.  "Start your day with Nutella
spread," urge the TV ads.

But Ms. Hohenberg was shocked to learn, she said in a lawsuit
filed in February, that the sandwich spread is chock full of fat
and sugar -- "the next best thing to a candy bar," she alleged.

Nutella manufacturer Ferrero USA Inc. has agreed to settle the
suit brought by the San Diego mother on behalf of hundreds of
thousands of consumers who may have been similarly deceived, even
though the ads specified that fruit, milk and whole wheat bread
were also part of that balanced meal.  Lawyers declined to
disclose details, but similar cases suggest that Ferrero is likely
to pay out millions in $5 or $10 sums to Nutella consumers.  At
least a quarter of the settlement will go to lawyers.

Pro-business factions contend that success in petty false
advertising and fraud claims like the Nutella case have made
California the go-to place for trial lawyers from all over the
country seeking to enrich themselves on frivolous class-action
litigation.

The state's tough consumer-protection laws and consumer-friendly
courts have created what the American Tort Reform Foundation
recently termed a "judicial hellhole" that delays legitimate suits
from being heard and chases away jobs and investment.

Lawmakers' efforts to rein in the lawsuits in recent years have
been mostly thwarted by legal lobbies, and critics say the problem
has intensified as court budgets grow tighter and civil cases get
backlogged.

"We all pay" for cases like these "when they take up our judicial
resources," said Katherine Pettibone, a lawyer and legislative
director for the Civil Justice Assn. of California.  "We just cut
back $350 million from our state courts.  This harms access to
justice for everyone.  Sometimes you just want to say 'pull your
socks up and move on.'"

Consumer attorneys counter that small-stakes class actions can be
the average citizen's only defense against abuse by big
corporations.  And they contend that a recent U.S. Supreme Court
ruling pushing disgruntled consumers into arbitration with their
alleged deceivers imperils one of Americans' most fundamental
rights: a jury trial to air their grievances.

Although Vanderbilt Law School professor and class action expert
Brian T. Fitzpatrick conceded that "unmeritorious" lawsuits
sometimes succeed because defendants settle to avoid litigation
costs, he disputed the idea that they are chiefly motivated by
huge contingency fees.

"There is a common perception about class actions that lawyers are
the only ones who benefit," Mr. Fitzpatrick said, pointing to a
recent settlement requiring Bank of America to pay about $15 to
customers unfairly charged for overdrafts while lawyers will get
at least $100 million.  "It looks bad, but the reality is that the
main benefit from these small-stakes cases is not to give you your
$15 back. The main benefit is deterrence."

Last month, in a ruling that seemed to draw a line on frivolous
actions, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the
dismissal of a Los Angeles woman's lawsuit over $10 she spent on
Trident White chewing gum that didn't noticeably whiten her teeth.

But other claims of deception that could have been avoided with
some consumer due diligence -- for example, reading the label --
have survived court scrutiny, saddling overworked judges with what
some legal analysts call fights over peanuts.

In June, a federal judge in Oakland allowed two consolidated
class-action lawsuits to go forward against the makers of Breyers
and Ben & Jerry's ice creams for claiming their products are "all
natural" although they contain synthetic alkalized cocoa powder.

Another Bay Area judge recently certified a class action against
Sears, alleging fraud in its advertising of a clothes dryer with
an "all stainless steel" drum that contains a small amount of
ceramic coating on the edge.

Such a case would undoubtedly be thrown out of court in many other
states; in fact, the lead plaintiff in the California suit against
Sears earlier had been sent packing by the 7th Circuit appeals
court in Illinois, which called the complaint "near-frivolous" and
a "confabulation."

A version of consumer lawsuit -- those alleging minor violations
of the Americans with Disabilities Act's requirements for
handicapped access -- was the subject of proposed legislation this
year aimed at curbing abuse of that law.

The practice of forcing pretrial settlements from small business
owners for coat hooks or paper towel dispensers that are a
fraction of an inch off the law's exacting standards has become so
widespread that it is essentially a cottage industry in
California.  The bill would have made it easier for courts to stop
such "vexatious litigants."  But trial lawyers opposed it, and it
failed.

Tim Blood, a class-action litigator and board member of Consumer
Attorneys of California, argues that Californians benefit from
small-scale consumer cases: "These lawsuits are making people at
companies rethink their advertising campaigns," he said.

But the ease with which consumers obtain relief here has also
spawned what consumer advocates call a worrying trend: Big
corporations have taken to divesting themselves of liability by
requiring customers to submit complaints to arbitration, a dispute
resolution method that tends to favor the companies paying for it.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in April, AT&T vs. Concepcion, upheld
a corporation's right to use such clauses.

"After Concepcion, every cellphone company and every bank and
credit card company began rewriting their contracts to require
arbitration," said Harvey Rosenfield, founder of nonprofit
Consumer Watchdog.  He predicts that in time, arbitration clauses
will be on labels for everything from cleaning products to milk.

In the Nutella case, Ms. Hohenberg's attorney, Ronald A. Marron,
declined comment.  An attorney for defendant Ferrero, Keith
Eggleton, didn't return phone calls.

Shaun Martin, a University of San Diego law professor, has used
his California Appellate Report blog to poke fun at resources
wasted on meager disputes:

In a case before the California Court of Appeal last year, in
which a defendant argued that his fine should be $10 instead of
$34, Mr. Martin noted that the case required the state-financed
services of his lawyer, a deputy attorney general, three appellate
justices, court staff and "some trees" to publish the 11-page
opinion.

"Twenty-four American dollars at stake," Mr. Martin scoffed.
"Almost enough to buy Manhattan."



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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania,
USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick, Maryland USA.  Noemi Irene
A. Adala, Joy A. Agravante, Ivy B. Magdadaro, Psyche A. Castillon,
Julie Anne Lopez, Christopher Patalinghug, Frauline Abangan and
Peter A. Chapman, Editors.

Copyright 2012.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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