/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/120126.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Thursday, January 26, 2012, Vol. 14, No. 18


APPLE INC: Faces Antitrust Class Action in California
CACHE CACHE: Faces Class Action in Colorado Over Tip Pool
CALIFORNIA INNOVATIONS: Recalls 248,000 Expandable Lunch Boxes
CALIFORNIA INNOVATIONS: Recalls 55T Travelin' Chef Food Carriers
CHICO'S FAS: Continues to Defend "Haefner" Suit in California

CLOROX CO: Fresh Step Advertisement Deceives Consumers, Suit Says
COSTA CRUISES: Criminal Probe Set to Expand After Class Action
DIOCESE OF COVINGTON: Suits v. Class Action Lawyers Dismissed
FOCUS MEDIA: Faces Securities Class Action Suit in New York
GOOGLE INC: 9th Cir. Upholds Approval of CLRB Settlement

GOV'T OF CANADA: Judge Certifies Class Action Over Charity Tax
HEWLETT-PACKARD: Fined $425,000 Over Lithium-Ion Battery Packs
HSBC HOLDINGS: Terminates Thema Fund Class Action Settlement
INVESTMENT RETRIEVERS: Accused of Illegal Debt Collection in Ill.
LADENBURG THALMANN: Unit Paid All Dues in Consolidated Suit Deal

LOUISIANA CITIZEN: Court Denies Bid for Class Action Rehearing
MOSTYN LAW FIRM: Paralegals' Class Action Gets Conditional Okay
STATE OF INDIANA: Witnesses' State Fair Class Action Dropped
VERIZON COMMS: Faces Class Action Over TV Protection Plan
VENOCO INC: Being Sold for Too Little, Del. Suit Claims

WESTWOOD COLLEGE: Sued Over False Claims on Accreditation
YOUNG CHANG: App. Ct. Affirms Ruling Denying Class Certification
YRC WORLDWIDE: Court Set to Decide on Class Action Settlement


APPLE INC: Faces Antitrust Class Action in California
Matt Reynolds at Courthouse News Service reports that Apple bills
iPhone purchasers for voice and data services even after they
cancel it, and stifles competition and increases prices for
software apps by charging developers an annual "application" fee,
consumers say in a federal antitrust class action.

Lead plaintiff Eric Terrell accuses Apple of "unlawful
anticompetitive activities," and claims that consumers did not
contractually consent to Apple and AT&T's 5-year exclusivity

AT&T Mobility LLC, referred to in the complaint as ATTM, is not a
party to the lawsuit.

"Apple launched its iPhone on or about June 29, 2007," the
complaint states.  "Prior to launch, Apple entered into a secret
five-year contract with ATTM that established ATTM as the
exclusive provider of cell phone voice and data services for
iPhone customers through some time in 2012 ('Exclusivity
Agreement').  As part of the contract, Apple shared in ATTM's
revenues and profits with respect to the first generation of
iPhones launched.  The plaintiffs and other class members who
purchased iPhones did not agree to use ATTM for five years.
Apple's undisclosed five-year exclusivity agreement with ATTM,
however, effectively locked iPhone users into using ATTM for five
years, contrary to those users' knowledge, wishes and

"To enforce ATTM's exclusivity, Apple, among other things,
programmed and installed software locks on each iPhone it sold
that prevented the purchaser from switching to another carrier
that competed with ATTM in the cell phone voice and data services
industry.  Under an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright
Act of 1998, 17 U.S.C. Sec. 1201, el seq. (2008) (the 'DMCA'),
cell phone consumers have an absolute legal right to modify their
phones to use the network carrier of choice.  Apple prevented
iPhone customers from exercising their legal right by locking the
iPhones and refusing to give customers the software codes
necessary to unlock them."

The complaint adds: "Prior to plaintiffs' purchases of their
iPhones and voice and data service, Apple had not disclosed-much
less obtained plaintiffs' contractual consent to-the fact that (a)
plaintiffs' iPhones were locked to only work with ATTM SIM cards,
or (b) that the unlock codes would be provided to them on request.

"On information and belief, ATTM provides unlock codes for cell
phones other than the iPhone if requested by a customer.  . . .

"In the United States, as a general rule, only GSM [Global System
for Mobile Communications] phones use SIM cards.  The removable
SIM card allows phones to be instantly activated, interchanged,
swapped out and upgraded, all without carrier intervention.  The
SIM card itself is tied to the network rather than the actual
phone.  Phones that are SIM card-enabled generally can be used
with any GSM carrier."

Mr. Terrell says mobile carries customarily allow customers to
unlock SIM cards to avoid roaming fees during international

He says Apple is an exception, enforcing its exclusivity agreement
with AT&T by installing locks on SIM cards and refusing to
disclose unlock codes so customers can change their cards or
switch carriers.

Mr. Terrell says Apple also uses program locks to prevent
customers from using third-party Apps, unless the developers of
those Apps paid a fee through iTunes, or handed over 30 percent of
their revenue.

"In March 2008, Apple released a 'software development kit'
('SDK') for the stated purpose of enabling independent software
developers to design applications for use on the iPhone," the
complaint states.  "For an annual fee of $99, the SDK allows
developers to submit applications to be distributed through
Apple's application market, the 'iTunes App Store.'  If the
application is not made available for free in the App Store, Apple
collects 30 percent of the sale price for each application and the
developer receiving the remaining 70 percent.  On information and
belief, throughout the class period, Apple refused to 'approve'
any application by a developer who did not pay the annual fee, or
agree to Apple's apportionment scheme. Apple also unlawfully
discouraged iPhone customers from downloading competing
applications software (hereafter 'Third Part Apps') by telling
customers it would void and refuse to honor the iPhone warranty of
any customer who downloaded third party apps.

"iPhone consumers were not provided a means to download third
party apps that were not approved by Apple for sale on the App

Savvy users cracked locking codes using software available on the
Internet, Mr. Terrell says.  Apple claimed its locks helped
prevent fraud.

The Librarian of Congress announced the first 3-year exemption to
the DMCA in late 2006, allowing users to circumvent locking codes,
Mr. Terrell says.  He says that exemption was extended in 2009,
and put into effect in July 2010.

"Because Apple was unable to enforce its SIM card program locks
through legal means, it engaged in a scheme to enforce them
unlawfully as to the iPhone," the complaint states.

Mr. Terrell says that in early 2007, Apple announced its exclusive
agreement with AT&T, roughly 1 month after the Librarian of
Congress made its first ruling.

"Through these actions, Apple has unlawfully stifled competition,
reduced output and consumer choice, and artificially increased
prices in the aftermarkets for iPhone voice and data services for
iPhone software applications," the complaint states.

Mr. Terrell says that even though AT&T and Apple no longer share
revenues, they still enforce the terms of the agreement.

Mr. Terrell, an Oakland attorney, seeks damages and equitable
relief for unlawful monopolization of the applications
aftermarket, and conspiracy to monopolize the iPhone voice and
data services aftermarket.

Mr. Terrell's law firm did not respond to a request for comment.

Apple is the only defendant.  It did not respond to a request for
an interview.

A copy of the Complaint in Terrell, et al. v. Apple Inc., Case No.
12-cv-00259 (N.D. Calif.), is available at:


The Plaintiffs are represented by:

          Reginald Terrell, Esq.
          P.O. Box 13315
          Oakland, CA 94661
          Telephone: (510) 237-9700
          E-mail: reggie2@aol.com

CACHE CACHE: Faces Class Action in Colorado Over Tip Pool
Rick Carroll, writing for The Aspen Times, reports that a Fort
Collins law firm has taken steps to launch a class-action lawsuit
against an Aspen restaurant accused of running an illegal tip pool
for its employees.

The Law Offices of Brian Gonzalez PLLC, on behalf of Sandro
Torres, filed a complaint on Jan. 20 in the U.S. District Court of
Denver against Cache Cache restaurant and its owners, Jodi Larner
and Chris Lanter.

The federal lawsuit aims for class-action certification from the
court and seeks current and former Cache Cache employees "whose
tips were diverted illegally" to participate in the complaint.

For now, Mr. Torres is the only plaintiff in the suit, which says
he worked at Cache Cache as a back waiter and food runner from
February 2004 to March 2008 and from January 2011 to April.

Under Cache Cache's employ, Mr. Torres made less than minimum wage
-- $4 to $4.25.  Paying less than minimum wage to regularly tipped
employees is a standard practice in the restaurant industry.  But
for restaurants to take a tip credit against the minimum wage,
they must adhere to state labor laws, which allow for tip pools.

By Colorado law, the suit alleges, the only employees who can
collect from a tip pool are "front of the house" workers such as
servers and hostesses.  But at Cache Cache, such employees as
chefs, dishwashers and food preparers -- who were not regularly
tipped -- also participated in the tip pool, the suit says.

By doing so, Cache Cache violated the Colorado Wage Claim Act and
the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the suit alleges.

"The misuse of tips and participating of non-tipped employees
invalidates the Cache Cache tip pool and nullifies (Cache Cache's)
entitlement to claim a tip credit against the minimum wage," the
suit says.  "Defendants are liable for, among other things, paying
a sub-minimum wage to current and former employees and for all
tips diverted improperly."

The suit also asks that Torres and other "similarly situated
plaintiffs" be reimbursed for all tip credits taken against their
hourly wages.

Mr. Gonzalez, who filed the suit, did not return a telephone
message on Jan. 20 seeking comment for this story.  Ms. Larner and
Mr. Lanter also did not return a message left on Jan. 20 at the

CALIFORNIA INNOVATIONS: Recalls 248,000 Expandable Lunch Boxes
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with
California Innovations Inc., of Toronto, Canada, announced a
voluntary recall of about 248,000 units of Expandable Insulated
Lunch Box with Freezer Gel Pack.  Consumers should stop using
recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.  It is
illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer

Gel that contains diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol can leak
out of damaged freezer gel packs, posing a poisoning hazard if
ingested by children or adults.

The firm has received two separate reports of a dog chewing and
ingesting gel from the gel pack.  One dog reportedly died from
ingestion of the gel.  The other was reported to have received
treatment and has recovered.

The recalled product is a Ci Sport three-piece, expandable,
insulated lunch box set, which includes the lunch box, aluminum
bottle and the freezer gel pack.  The lunch box of the recalled
set has the code "1-61731-99-57" printed on one of the two white
labels that are sewn under the white fastener inside the main
compartment.  The lunch box is 8 inches wide, 5 inches deep and
10.25 inches high.  It is made of vinyl, polyester nylon and
crushed nylon and has a logo with the words "Ci Sport" attached to
the upper left corner.  The lunch box has a carrying handle on the
top and a mesh carrying pouch for the aluminum bottle on the side.
The aluminum bottle measures 2.75 inches in diameter and 7.5
inches tall.  The gel pack is a 6-inch by 4-inch transparent
plastic pouch filled with blue liquid gel.  The words "Cryofreeze"
and "Ice Pack/Hot Pack" are printed in white letters on the front
of the pouch.  The lunch box was available in four colors: navy
blue, red, black and denim blue.  Picture of the recalled products
is available at:


The recalled products were manufactured in China and sold at
Costco Wholesale Clubs, Leon Korol and Cost U Less stores between
May 2007 and September 2008 for about $10.

Consumers should immediately stop using the gel packs and dispose
of them according to federal, state and/or local regulations.  It
is recommended that consumers contact their local waste disposal
authority for instructions.  Consumers may return the lunch box
set to Costco for a full refund or may receive a $5 cash refund
for the gel pack only by contacting California Innovations.  For
additional information, call California Innovations at (800) 722-
2545 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through
Friday, e-mail ci-recall@ca-innovations.com or visit the firm's
Web site at http://www.californiainnovations.com/

CALIFORNIA INNOVATIONS: Recalls 55T Travelin' Chef Food Carriers
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with
California Innovations Inc., of Toronto, Canada, announced a
voluntary recall of about 55,000 units of Travelin' Chef
Expandable Thermal Food Carrier.  Consumers should stop using
recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.  It is
illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer

Gel that contains diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol can leak
out of damaged freezer gel packs, posing a poisoning hazard if
ingested by children or adults.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

The recalled product is a four-piece food carrier set, which
includes a light blue thermal carrier with black carrying handles,
a medium plastic food container, a large plastic food container
and a freezer gel pack.  The recalled thermal carrier has the code
"1-38018-69-07" printed on a white label on the inside of the main
compartment on the left hand side.  The thermal carrier is 18
inches wide, 10.5 inches deep and 4.7 inches high and made of
vinyl and polyester.  The medium food container measures 9.75
inches by 6.25 inches by 3.5 inches.  The large food container
measures 11.75 inches by 8.75 inches by 3.5 inches.  The gel pack
is an 8.5-inch by 8-inch, opaque blue plastic pouch filled with
liquid gel.  The words "Cryofreeze" and "Ice Pack/Hot Pack" are
printed in white letters on the front of the pouch.  A picture of
the recalled products is available at:


The recalled products were manufactured in China and sold at
Walmart between August 2008 to December 2011 for about $22.

Consumers should immediately stop using the gel packs and dispose
of them according to federal, state and/or local regulations.  It
is recommended that consumers contact their local waste disposal
authority for instructions.  Consumers may return the gel pack to
Walmart for a refund of $6 or contact California Innovations
customer service at (800) 722-2545 for the same refund.  For
additional information, call California Innovations at (800) 722-
2545 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through
Friday or visit the firm's Web site at

CHICO'S FAS: Continues to Defend "Haefner" Suit in California
Chico's FAS, Inc. continues to defend a putative class action
lawsuit commenced by Michele L. Massey Haefner in California,
according to the Company's January 20, 2012, Form 8-K/A filing
with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Company was named as defendant in a putative class action
filed in June 2008 in the Superior Court for the State of
California, County of San Diego, Michele L. Massey Haefner v.
Chico's FAS, Inc.  The Complaint alleges that the Company, in
violation of California law, requested or required customers to
provide personal information in conjunction with credit card
transactions.  The Company filed an answer denying the material
allegations of the Complaint.

The Company believes that the case is wholly without merit and,
thus, does not believe that the case should have any material
adverse effect on the Company's financial condition or results of

CLOROX CO: Fresh Step Advertisement Deceives Consumers, Suit Says
Kristin Luszcz, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated v. The Clorox Company, Case No. 4:12-cv-00356 (N.D.
Calif., January 23, 2012) alleges that Clorox's marketing and
advertising campaign messages that its carbon-containing Fresh
Step Cat Litter is more effective at eliminating odors than other
cat litters, and that cats "choose" Fresh Step over other cat
litters are false, misleading and deceptive.

Clorox boasts about the superiority of odor-eliminating
capabilities of carbon throughout its advertisement, however,
Clorox has no evidence to support its superiority claims, Ms.
Luszcz contends.  She tells the Court that during the class
period, she was exposed to and saw Clorox's marketing and
advertising claims, purchased Fresh Step based on those claims,
and suffered injury because of the Company's unfair and deceptive
trade practices.  She insists that she did not receive the benefit
of her bargain in each purchase of Fresh Step.

Ms. Luszcz is a resident of New York.

Clorox, a Delaware corporation, is headquartered in Oakland,
California.  Clorox manufactures and markets consumer and
institutional products.

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Joseph J. Tabacco, Jr., Esq.
          Christopher T. Heffelfinger, Esq.
          Anthony D. Phillips, Esq.
          One California Street, Suite 900
          San Francisco, CA 94111
          Telephone: (415) 433-3200
          Facsimile: (415) 433-6382
          E-mail: jtabacco@bermandevalerio.com

               - and -

          Hollis Salzman, Esq.
          Kellie Lerner, Esq.
          Gregory Asciolla, Esq.
          140 Broadway
          New York, NY 10005
          Telephone: (212) 907-0700
          Facsimile: (212) 818-0477
          E-mail: hsalzman@labaton.com

COSTA CRUISES: Criminal Probe Set to Expand After Class Action
Antonella Cinelli and Gabriele Pileri, writing for National Post,
reports that a criminal probe into the Costa Concordia's doomed
voyage, which ended with at least 15 dead and the cruise ship
lying off the Italian coast, may be widened, a lawyer for the
captain said on Jan. 23.

The toll includes the bodies of two women, their nationalities so
far unknown, found by divers on Jan. 23.

Captain Francesco Schettino is accused of causing the accident and
is under investigation for multiple manslaughter and abandoning
the EUR450 million (US$590 million) ship before it was evacuated.

Mr. Schettino's lawyer Bruno Leporatti said in a statement that
evidence from his client about phone calls with the ship's owners,
Costa Cruises, at the time of the accident could lead to the
investigation being widened.

He said the calls with Costa's marine operation director had
"opened further channels for investigation that could reasonably
lead to an increase in the number of those under investigation."

Third parties "could have at least contributed to creating the
tragic event," Mr. Leporatti said.

According to leaked transcripts from the investigation, Mr.
Schettino has admitted steering too close to shore.  Mr. Leporatti
has said that while Mr. Schettino is willing to accept his share
of responsibility, other factors were involved in the accident.

Investigators say he brought the ship to within 150 meters of the
shore, apparently while performing a "salute" to the island.
Mr. Schettino says this maneuver was common but the company says
it should not be performed so close to the shore.

Costa Cruises, a unit of Carnival Corp, the world's largest cruise
ship operator, has suspended Mr. Schettino and declared itself an
injured party in the case.  It has said "unfortunate human error"
by Mr. Schettino caused the disaster.


A U.S. lawyer said on Jan. 23 the Costa Concordia had earlier
cruised recklessly close to other islands to impress passengers.

Mitchell Proner of New York law firm Proner & Proner, which is
planning to file a class-action suit in Miami on Jan. 18 on behalf
of passengers in the disaster, said the ship owner would be a main
target of the lawsuit.

"At this point we're exploring numerous defendants; certainly
you've got (ship owner) Costa Cruise lines," Mr. Proner told AFP.

"While they might be trying to indicate that the incident is the
fault of this one rogue captain, we know that they've had some
precedents going close to these islands along the Italian coast,"
he said.

Costa Concordia Italian cruise ship sinking: Can it be salvaged?
He said the same ship had earlier cruised dangerously close to the
island of Procida in the Gulf of Naples.

"Procida set up mortars and saluted and the Concordia responded by
blasting their sirens.  So this is something that they have done
in the past as a way of generating publicity and advertising for
their company," he said.

"It's thrill-seeking for the passengers, but it's reckless."

Proner & Proner is teaming up with Italian consumer rights'
association Codacons and another New York law firm, Napoli Bern
Ripka Shkolnik, to lead the lawsuit on behalf of victims in the
Jan. 13 shipwreck, which occurred after the vessel moved too close
to the shore of the island of Giglio.

Mr. Proner said they would likely file the suit on behalf of all
victims on Jan. 18 in Miami, home base of Carnival, the giant U.S.
cruise ship operator which owns Costa Cruise lines.

They would seek at least US$160,000 for each of the victims.

"If they sustained injury it can be a multiple of that number.  If
they have a disability as a result of the incident and certainly
in the cases of fatalities, we're expecting in excess of a million
euros per individual."

He said they would also be examining whether the equipment on
board the vessel designed to prevent such accidents had failed or
were disengaged.


The vice president of Carnival Corp, Howard Frank, arrived in
Italy on Jan. 22 to help oversee the situation, according to a
source close to the company.

Frank and Pier Luigi Foschi, chairman and chief executive of Costa
Cruises, met some of families of the victims of the tragedy on
Giglio island on Jan. 22, the source said.

Costa Cruises has not received any notification that it is being
investigated, according to a company spokesman.  The company will
be forthright with investigators and has full faith in the
magistrature, he added.

According to transcripts of Mr. Schettino's questioning by
prosecutors leaked to Italian media, the captain said that
immediately after hitting the rock he sent two of his officers to
the engine room to check on the state of the vessel.

As soon as he realized the scale of the damage, he called Roberto
Ferrarini, marine operations director for Costa Cruises.

"I told him: 'I've got myself into a mess, there was contact with
the seabed.  I am telling you the truth, we passed under Giglio
and there was an impact'," Mr. Schettino said.

"I can't remember how many times I called him in the following
hour and 15 minutes.  In any case, I am certain that I informed
Ferrarini about everything in real time."

Separately, Mr. Leporatti said that Mr. Schettino tested negative
in hair and urine tests for drug use, but was not tested for
alcohol on the night of the accident.

If the probe is broadened, it will reduce the glare of the
spotlight on Mr. Schettino, who has so far been assigned almost
exclusive responsibility for the disaster.  His first officer Ciro
Ambrosio is also under investigation.

A judge has said Mr. Schettino showed "incredible carelessness"
and a "total inability to manage the successive phases of the
emergency," according to documents from a hearing.

                         Search Continues

Search operations were still under way for nearly 20 bodies
missing. Navy divers blasted underwater holes in the hull of the
ship to provide additional points of access.  Debris floated out
and was gathered by coastguard boats.

An Italian navy ship, the Galatea, which is equipped with a
sophisticated undersea radar system, has been sent to the area to
help search for bodies.

Reports on Jan. 22 of the possible presence of unregistered
passengers, including one Hungarian woman, raised questions about
the exact number of people missing.

Costa Cruises on Jan. 23 denied the presence of stowaways.  The
Hungarian foreign ministry said it had no news that any of its
nationals had been secretly on board, according to Italy's civil
protection agency.

Franco Gabrielli, head of Italy's civil protection authority, said
the ship was stable and there appeared to be no immediate risk
that it could slide off the rock outcrop where it is caught and
slip into deeper waters.

He said search operations could continue, and operations to pump
some 2,400 tons of fuel from the vessel could begin while the
search for bodies was still under way.

On Jan. 17, a platform boat for the fuel recovery team will be
positioned near the Costa Concordia and preparatory dives will be
made, according to SMIT, the Dutch company hired to salvage the

Giglio's economy depends on tourists seeking clean beaches and
clear water for snorkeling and scuba diving.  Its drinking water,
too, is drawn from the sea and desalinated.

                          UNESCO Decree

United Nations cultural body UNESCO urged the Italian government
on Jan. 23 to restrict the access of cruise ships to World
Heritage Site Venice in the wake of the Costa Concordia cruise
ship disaster.

In a statement, Paris-based UNESCO said it had called on the
Italian government "to restrict access of large ships to
culturally and ecologically important areas, particularly Venice
and its lagoon which are visited by some 300 large cruise ships a

It said cruise liner traffic in Venice "is particularly damaging
because of the fragile structure of the city.

"The ships cause water tides that erode the foundations of
buildings.  They contribute to pollution and impact the cityscape
as they dwarf monuments in the heart of the city," UNESCO said.

Amid efforts to eventually pump out hundreds of tons of fuel
remaining in the ship, environmentalists have warned of an
ecological catastrophe in Europe's biggest marine sanctuary.


On Jan. 23, it emerged that the ship's owner, Costa Cruises, a
division of Carnival, the largest cruise ship operator in the
world, is offering survivors a 30% discount off future cruises.

The move is the first obvious effort to limit the corporate damage
done by the shipwreck, the result of a failed nighttime sail-by in
which the ship was gashed by a rock, then beached to facilitate
rescue, only to topple over on the rocks when the tide went out.

But with people still missing, and the rescue operation
complicated by the question of unregistered passengers, the offer
was criticized as "insulting," by one British survivor.

The Daily Telegraph also reported that the Florida-based company
had been telephoning survivors "asking if they are suffering
nightmares or sleepless nights," which are the hallmark symptoms
of post-traumatic stress disorder.

DIOCESE OF COVINGTON: Suits v. Class Action Lawyers Dismissed
Jon Newberry, writing for Business Courier, reports that Kenton
Circuit Judge Gregory Bartlett in Covington on Jan. 23 dismissed
two lawsuits against Cincinnati lawyer Stan Chesley and his
associate Bob Steinberg related to their handling of the Covington
Diocese sex-abuse class-action settlement.

The diocese class-action was settled in 2006.  The first of the
two lawsuits was filed in May 2010 alleging, among other things,
that Messrs. Mr. Chesley and Steinberg failed to adequately inform
the plaintiffs about the settlement process and final terms.

Judge Bartlett ruled that the Boone Circuit Court, which handled
the original class-action litigation, had already determined the
diocese settlement was fair, reasonable and adequate following a
fairness hearing.  The decision echoed an earlier decision by U.S.
District Judge Danny Reeves, who ruled that the federal court did
not have jurisdiction to hear the complaints because of earlier
state court rulings on the matter.

A statement sent from Mr. Chesley's office referred to the
complaints as "baseless lawsuits . . . by a small number of
disgruntled class members" who were all "associated with attorney
Barbara Bonar or her attorney, Thomas Clay."

Louisville lawyer David Ward, an associate of Mr. Clay's who
attended a hearing in Judge Bartlett's courtroom last week, said
at the time that they would appeal to the Kentucky Court of
Appeals if Bartlett ruled against them.  Messrs. Ward and Clay
represent three claimants in the Diocese settlement who sued
Mr. Chesley.  A fourth claimant filed a lawsuit on her own behalf
without legal representation.

Mr. Chesley's statement said Bonar unsuccessfully sued him and his
firm in a dispute over legal fees from the diocese settlement.
The trial judge in that case ruled Ms. Bonar was not entitled to
any of the fees, and that decision was upheld by the Court of

Ms. Bonar then appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court, which
decided to review the case and is scheduled to hear oral arguments
Feb. 16.

FOCUS MEDIA: Faces Securities Class Action Suit in New York
Focus Media Holding Limited is facing a securities class action
lawsuit in New York, according to the Company's January 20, 2012,
Form 20-F/A filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission for the year ended December 31, 2010.

On December 12, 2011, Plaintiff Tom Palny filed a putative class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York against the Company and certain of
its current or former officers and directors.  The complaint
relates to certain allegations made by the firm Muddy Waters about
the Company in a series of releases in November 2011, and alleges
that the Company's public filings, including the Company's 2006,
2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 Form 20-Fs, the Form F-1 and Prospectus
filed in connection with the Company's November 2007 secondary
offering, and the Q3 2011 earnings press release, contain material
misstatements and omissions.  The complaint's allegations,
include, but are not limited to, alleged misrepresentations
relating to the Company's acquisition, write-down and divestiture
of certain assets (including, without limitation, Allyes, OOH, and
certain mobile handset companies), and the size and composition of
the Company's LCD display network.  Defendants have not yet been
served with the complaint.

The Company says it intends to defend against this lawsuit
vigorously as it believes it has meritorious defenses to the
claims alleged.  However, there can be no assurance that the
Company will prevail in the lawsuit and any adverse outcome could
have a material adverse effect on its business or results of

GOOGLE INC: 9th Cir. Upholds Approval of CLRB Settlement
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the
district court's approval of a class action settlement, approval
of the notice to the class of the proposed settlement, and award
of attorney's fees in the class action styled as CLRB Hanson
Industries, LLC, Howard Stern, on behalf of themselves and all
others similarly situated v. Google Inc., Case No. 09-17380.

The Ninth Circuit ruling is issued upon the appeal of Weiss &
Associates, P.C., from the lower court's decision.

A copy of the Ninth Circuit's Jan. 5, 2012 memorandum is available
at http://is.gd/erWQhyfrom Leagle.com.

GOV'T OF CANADA: Judge Certifies Class Action Over Charity Tax
Joseph Brean, writing for National Post, reports that an Ontario
Superior Court judge has certified a massive class-action lawsuit
over a "scheme" in which thousands of Canadians submitted inflated
charitable donation receipts the taxman refused to accept.

"When Michael Cannon heard about the Donations for Canada Gift
Program -- an opportunity to obtain a C$10,000 charitable tax
credit in return for a C$2,500 donation -- he thought it was too
good to be true," wrote Mr. Justice George Strathy.

"It was.  A few years later, his tax returns were reassessed by
Canada Revenue Agency and he had to repay his deductions, with
interest.  The only thing he received for his 'donation' was a tax

Mr. Cannon, a retired police officer who donated more than
C$20,000, is the representative plaintiff for the class, which
includes nearly 10,000 Canadians from every province and territory
except the Northwest Territories, who contributed a total of
C$144-million to the plan.  "They came from all walks of life:
teachers, lawyers, nurses, administrators, presidents and police
officers," the judge wrote.  One person donated C$4-million.  More
than 700 people donated more than $100,000 each.

Calling it a "scheme" that serves only to enrich a private tax
shelter, the CRA decided these donors lacked "donative intent,"
meaning that the supposed gift did not cost them anything because
they expected to be enriched by a far larger tax credit.  As a
result, they were required to repay the full deduction, plus

The gift program was the idea of Edward Furtak, a businessman the
judge described as a "puppet master" who licenses financial
software through a trust in Bermuda.  He was originally a
defendant in this lawsuit, but settled with Mr. Cannon "in
exchange for information and some degree of co-operation."

The other defendants include Mr. Furtak's corporations and private
trusts, the directors and trustees of the Funds for Canada
Foundation, a prominent Nova Scotia tax lawyer and his firm.

The judge wrote that for the program to work, it needed donors
"who were willing to buy into the concept," and for that it needed
both a sales team and a written legal opinion that the gift
program would survive a challenge by the CRA.

It also needed a network of companies, trusts and agreements to
process the flow of funds, and significant cash flow, which
Mr. Furtak's Bermuda trust provided.

And it needed legitimate charities "that were in need of cash and
were prepared to give back 99% of the money donated to them to
Furtak's companies in return for the promise of a future income
stream from the use of [Mr. Furtak's] software program."

Initially, in 2005, these included Biathlon Canada, Canadian
Lacrosse Association, Little League Baseball Canada, and amateur
associations for football, wrestling and bowling.  The next year
the Scarboro Foreign Missions and the New Brunswick Foundation for
the Arts participated.

No wrongdoing is alleged on the part of the charities.

When a donor gave C$2,500, he would also become the beneficiary of
a private charitable trust created by Mr. Furtak, which would then
"prime the pump," as the judge put it, by acquiring units of this
trust for C$7,500.  The ultimate result would be that C$10,000
would remain in the possession of a charity for a "scintilla
juris," a legal term meaning a mere instant, and the donor
received two tax reciepts: one for C$2,500 in cash, and one for a
C$7,500 donation-in-kind, for the trust units.

In the eyes of the taxman, the judge wrote, this "was nothing more
than a scheme, in which the funds of 'donors' like Mr. Cannon
flowed through a giant circle into the pockets of the promoters."

When the CRA revoked the charitable status of the Funds for Canada
Foundation in 2009, saying it operated for the private benefit of
tax-shelter operators, an audit revealed it had issued nearly
C$176.5-million in receipts for cash received through a tax

"The charity, in turn, paid over C$14.2-million to the tax-shelter
promoter as fundraising fees and directed C$160.8 million to an
offshore investment vehicle," according to a CRA statement.  "Our
audit findings indicate that 79.05% of the funds directed to the
offshore investment vehicle were eventually returned to the
original lender of the funds.  The charity retained a meager 1% of
the total tax-receipted amounts for use in its own programs."

No trial date has been set.

HEWLETT-PACKARD: Fined $425,000 Over Lithium-Ion Battery Packs
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that
Hewlett-Packard Company (HP), of Palo Alto, California, has agreed
to pay a civil penalty of $425,000.  The settlement agreement
[http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12091.pdf]has been
provisionally accepted by the Commission (3-1).

The settlement resolves staff allegations that HP knowingly failed
to report immediately to CPSC, as required by federal law, that
certain lithium-ion battery packs contained a defect or created an
unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.  The lithium-ion
battery packs can overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to
consumers.  The packs were shipped with new HP Notebook computers,
sold as accessories or provided as spare parts for various HP

CPSC staff alleges that by September 2007, HP knew of about 22
incidents associated with the lithium-ion battery packs.  At least
two of these incidents resulted in injuries to consumers.  HP also
was aware that at least one consumer apparently went to the
hospital.  HP did not receive any information on the consumer's
injuries or treatment, if any.  CPSC staff also alleges that
between March 2007 and April 2007, HP conducted a study, from
which it obtained additional information about the lithium-ion
battery packs.

HP did not notify the Commission about the incidents or the study
until July 25, 2008.  By that time, CPSC staff alleges that the
firm was aware of at least 31 incidents involving the lithium-ion
battery packs.

In October 2008, HP and CPSC announced a recall
[http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09035.html]of about
32,000 lithium-ion battery packs.  HP sold notebook computers for
between $700 and $3,000 that contained the lithium-ion battery
packs, as did computer and electronics stores nationwide and
various Web retailers.  Lithium-ion battery packs that were sold
separately for use with the notebook computers retailed for
between $100 and $160.

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to
report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining
information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product
contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard,
creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or fails
to comply with any consumer product safety rule or any other rule,
regulation, standard, or ban enforced by CPSC.

In agreeing to the settlement, HP denies CPSC staff allegations
that the lithium-ion battery packs (or the notebooks with which
the packs were used) could create an unreasonable risk of serious
injury or death, or that HP violated the reporting requirements of
the Consumer Product Safety Act.

   * Statement of Chairman Inez Tenenbaum on the Proposed Civil
     Penalty Settlement for Hewlett-Packard

   * Statement of Commissioner Robert Adler on the Proposed Civil
     Penalty Settlement for Hewlett-Packard

HSBC HOLDINGS: Terminates Thema Fund Class Action Settlement
FNNO, citing Dow Jones, reports that HSBC terminated a proposed
settlement relating to Thema UCITS Fund after a New York federal
court dismissed claims against the bank and the other defendants
in a class action suit, saying Ireland was a more appropriate
forum to litigate the claims.

HSBC Holdings is currently below its 200-day moving average (MA)
of $44.86 and should find support at its 50-day MA of $38.72.

In the last five trading sessions, the 50-day MA has fallen 0.53%
while the 200-day MA has slid 0.51%.

HSBC Holdings plc is the holding company for the HSBC Group.  The
Company provides a variety of international banking and financial
services, including retail and corporate banking, trade,
trusteeship, securities, custody, capital markets, treasury,
private and investment banking, and insurance.  The Group operates

INVESTMENT RETRIEVERS: Accused of Illegal Debt Collection in Ill.
Gary Harris, individually and on behalf of the classes defined
herein, and People of the State of Illinois ex rel. Gary Harris v.
Investment Retrievers, Inc., Case No. 2012-CH-02141 (Ill. Cir.
Ct., Cook Cty., January 20, 2012) seeks redress for the conduct of
Investment Retrievers in taking collection actions prohibited by
the Illinois Collection Agency Act.

Although unlicensed, Investment Retrievers instituted more than 35
lawsuits against Illinois consumers between January 1, 2008, and
June 25, 2010, the Plaintiff alleges.  The Plaintiff adds that
Investment Retrievers also took collection action in existing
cases and collected money from other Illinois consumers.

The Plaintiff is a resident of Cook County, Illinois.

Investment Retrievers, a California corporation, purchases or
claims to purchase charged-off consumer debts and enforcing the
debts against the consumers by filing collection lawsuits and

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Daniel A. Edelman, Esq.
          Cathleen M. Combs, Esq.
          James O. Latturner, Esq.
          120 S. LaSalle Street, 18th Floor
          Chicago, IL 60603
          Telephone: (312) 739-4200
          Facsimile: (312) 419-0379
          E-mail: courtecl@edcombs.com

LADENBURG THALMANN: Unit Paid All Dues in Consolidated Suit Deal
Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc. disclosed in its
January 20, 2012, Form 8-K/A filing with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission, that all due payments in connection with a
settlement of class action lawsuits involving its subsidiary, were
fully paid since no appeal was filed against the settlement.

On November 9, 2011, Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services Inc.
reported to the SEC its acquisition of the outstanding capital
stock of Securities America Financial Corporation ("SAFC").

In July 2009, two issuers of private placement interests (Medical
Capital Holdings, Inc./Medical Capital Corporation and affiliated
corporations and Provident Shale Royalties, LLC and affiliated
corporations) sold by SAFC were the subject of SEC actions against
those entities and individuals associated with them, which has
resulted in the filing of several putative class action lawsuits
naming both SAFC and Ameriprise Financial, as well as related
regulatory inquiries.

Approximately $400 million of Medical Capital and Provident Shale
investments made by SAFC's clients are outstanding and currently
in default.  On January 26, 2010, the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts filed an Administrative Complaint against SAFC.  A
significant volume of FINRA arbitrations have been brought against
SAFC.  Several of them were individually settled and there was one
adverse ruling.  The putative class actions and arbitrations
generally allege violations of state and/or federal securities
laws in connection with SAFC's sales of these private placement
interests.  These actions were commenced in September 2009 and
thereafter.  The Medical Capital-related class actions were
centralized and moved to the Central District of California by
order of the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict
Litigation under the caption "In re: Medical Capital Securities
Litigation."  The Provident Shale-related class actions remain
pending in Texas federal court.  On June 22, 2010, the Liquidating
Trustee of the Provident Liquidating Trust filed an adversary
action ("Liquidating Trustee Action") in the Provident bankruptcy
proceeding naming SAFC on behalf of both the Provident Liquidating
Trust and a number of individual Provident investors who are
alleged to have assigned their claims.  The Liquidating Trustee
Action generally alleges the same types of claims as are alleged
in the Provident class actions, as well as a claim under the
Bankruptcy Code.  The Liquidating Trustee Action has been moved
from bankruptcy court to the Texas federal court with the other
Provident class actions.

On January 24, 2011, the Medical Capital Class Action was
temporarily transferred to the Northern District of Texas (the
"Court"), where the Provident class action was pending, so that
coordinated settlement negotiations could be conducted under that
single Court's supervision.  On February 17, 2011, the named
plaintiffs to the class actions filed with the Court a Settlement
Agreement and Motion for Preliminary Approval of Class Action
Settlement, seeking the court's approval of agreed-upon settlement
terms.  On March 18, 2011, the Court declined to grant preliminary
approval of that settlement.  On April 15, 2011, SAFC entered into
new settlement agreements which, in exchange for release of
pending arbitration and litigation claims (including certain class
action claims pending against SAFC and the claims brought by the
Liquidating Trustee), provide for the payment of a total of $123
million.  The new settlements were subject to certain conditions,
including participation requirements for claimants to be covered
by the settlements, and preliminary and final review and Court
approval of the class action settlement.  The Court granted
preliminary approval of the settlement after a hearing on April
29, 2011, and on July 27, 2011, the Final Approval Hearing was
held, at which the judge stated that he would give final approval
to the class action settlement agreement.  The Court issued an
order approving the class action settlement on August 4, 2011, and
since no appeal was filed, all payments due were fully paid
shortly thereafter.

A related Administrative Complaint brought against SAFC by the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts on January 26, 2010, was also
settled on May 24, 2011, with an agreement to pay $2.8 million to
Massachusetts investors.  Including another $13.0 million in other
legal reserves as of December 31, 2010, the matters collectively
total $138.8 million as of December 31, 2010, and are included in
special reserves on the condensed consolidated statements of
financial condition.  The expense associated with the special
reserves has been recognized in legal settlements in the year
ended December 31, 2009, the year in which the case was filed in
accordance with ASC 855 "Subsequent Events".

LOUISIANA CITIZEN: Court Denies Bid for Class Action Rehearing
Rebecca Mowbray of The Times-Picayune, reports that the Louisiana
Supreme Court has declined to reconsider its ruling in a class-
action lawsuit against Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp.
that could cost the state-run insurer of last resort about $103.8

The state's highest court declined the application for rehearing
on Jan. 20 by the same 4-3 vote that reinstated a March 2009 lower
court judgment against Louisiana Citizens.  Associate Justices
John Weimer, Jeffrey Victory and Greg Guidry said they would have
reheard the case.

In the original March 2009 judgment, Judge Henry Sullivan of the
24th Judicial District Court in Jefferson Parish awarded 18,573
homeowners in the class-action case, Geraldine R. Oubre et al. v.
Louisiana Citizens Fair Plan, $5,000 each because Citizens' own
records proved that the state-sponsored insurer of last resort
waited more than 30 days to begin adjusting hurricane claims,
violating state law.

A state appeals court had thrown out the ruling before the Supreme
Court reinstated it in December.  While the original $92.8 million
judgment was on appeal, another $11 million in interest was added
to the verdict, bringing the total to about $103.8 million.

The move is potentially great news for Citizens policyholders who
were jilted by the insurer during hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

When the 2005 storms hit, Citizens was beset with operational
problems, and started adjusting hurricane claims later than other
companies, putting policyholders behind in getting money to begin
home repairs.

In December, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon called state
supreme court's decision "unconscionable."  Citizens has about
$200 million in the bank and can afford to pay the judgment, but
Mr. Donelon said the verdict places the insurer at risk if a
hurricane hits this season.

Citizens chief executive Richard Robertson said that his company
plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.  "The last
thing that can be done from a legal perspective is to ask the U.S.
Supreme court to take up the case, and we have 90 days from last
Friday to do that," he said.  "If they don't take it up, all the
appeals are exhausted, we'd have to pay the judgment."

Before any money can be distributed to policyholders, the judgment
in the case must be finalized.  Plaintiff attorneys in the case
weren't immediately available for comment Monday, so it wasn't
clear whether that could happen while a U.S. Supreme Court
application was pending.

Meanwhile, the cost of the Oubre case could grow.  Another 7,000
to 10,000 homeowners in the Oubre case also say that Citizens
initiated the adjustment of their hurricane claims too slowly.
Their motion had been on hold while the case was on appeal, but if
Judge Sullivan finds in their favor, Citizens could have to pay
another $35 million to $50 million.

MOSTYN LAW FIRM: Paralegals' Class Action Gets Conditional Okay
Bonnie Barron at Courthouse News Service reports that a federal
judge has conditionally certified a class of paralegals who demand
overtime pay from the Texas law firm that negotiated a huge
insurance settlement for hurricane victims.

Lead plaintiff Sherri Davis says the Mostyn Law Firm denied
overtime pay to paralegals who worked more than 40 hours in a
week, as mandated by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Texas Monthly included the law firm's founder, Steve Mostyn, as
one of the most influential people determining the fate of Texas
in 2011.  The article states that "Mostyn, who made his fortune
representing home-owners devastated by Hurricane Rita (2005) and
Ike (2008), contributed nearly $10 million to Democratic causes in
the 2010 election cycle."

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association ultimately settled
Hurricane Ike claims for $189 million.

In addition to its two Houston locations, the Mostyn Law Firm has
offices in Austin, Galveston and Beaumont.

Ms. Davis says that she often worked more than 70 hours a week for
the firm in Houston during her employment as a paralegal from June
2007 to February 2009, yet she only received a salary that covered
40 hours per week.

Carlos Alvarado, who joined the federal class action as a
plaintiff after it was filed in August 2011, reported a similar
experience.  He says he didn't receive overtime pay, despite
putting in more than 50 hours a week as a paralegal for the firm
from July 2009 to June 2010.

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison on Jan. 19 granted certification
for a class of current and former salaried paralegals who worked
at the firm but did not receive time-and-a-half pay for hours
worked in excess of 40 per week going back to Aug. 3, 2008.

Though Messrs. Davis and Alvarado have not worked for Mostyn in
over a year, Judge Ellison rejected claims that they are
disconnected from paralegals employed more recently by the firm.
"Plaintiffs assert that they worked with, knew of, and conversed
with other salaried paralegals who worked more than forty hours
per week and were also denied overtime pay," Judge Ellison wrote.
"Davis also contends that she spoke with office manager, Margaret
McCoy, who informed her that no salaried employee received
overtime pay.  With these declarations, plaintiffs have
established that there is a reasonable basis to believe other
aggrieved individuals exist."

Mostyn also claimed that class members were not similarly situated
because of variations in job duties, titles and locations, but
Judge Ellison disagreed.

"The court finds that plaintiffs have shown a reasonable basis
that others will join the lawsuit because additional plaintiffs
have joined the lawsuit since its inception, in conjunction with
the fact that plaintiffs have named other paralegals who worked
overtime without being paid at an overtime rate," Judge Ellison

Mostyn did persuade the court to narrow the class definition in
two aspects.  "The court agrees that notice should not issue as to
'legal assistants,' as plaintiffs nowhere provide a basis for
assuming that they are similarly situated to legal assistants, or
indeed even describe the job duties of legal assistants," Judge
Ellison wrote.  "The court also believes that the proposed class
should be limited to salaried paralegals only.  Plaintiffs have
not advanced sufficient evidence to show there is a reasonable
basis for believing that they are similarly situated to non-
salaried paralegals."

A copy of the Memorandum and Order in Davis v. The Mostyn Law
Firm, P.C., Case No. 11-cv-02874 (S.D. Tex.), is available at:


STATE OF INDIANA: Witnesses' State Fair Class Action Dropped
FOX59 reports that a class action lawsuit filed following the
stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in August has now been

The dropped lawsuit was filed by individuals who said they
witnessed the tragedy.

Angela Fisher, who was part of the class action suit, said she was
traumatized from watching her boyfriend jump into action to help
the victims.

Now, the attorneys who filed the suit are withdrawing it, due to
lack of evidence to support the claim.

When it was filed, the lawsuit drew outrage from other attorneys
and critics who said this was a piggyback lawsuit, cheapening the
claims of the real victims of the Indiana State Fair tragedy.

VERIZON COMMS: Faces Class Action Over TV Protection Plan
Courthouse News Service reports that a federal class action claims
Verizon sold a TV Protection Plan that promises subscribers with
screens bigger than 32 inches would not have to pay the $75 fee
for service calls, but refuses to make service calls unless they
pay it.

A copy of the Complaint in Chandra v. Verizon Communications,
Inc., Case No. 12-cv-_____, docketed as Doc. 13916 in Case No. 33-
av-00001 on Jan. 20, 2012 (D. N.J.), is available at:


The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Barry R. Eichen, Esq.
          Thomas Paciorkowski, Esq.
          40 Ethel Road
          Edison, NJ 08817
          Telephone: (732) 777-0100
          E-mail: beichen@njadvocates.com

               - and -

          Sidney S. Liebesman, Esq.
          501 Silverside Road, Suite 2
          Wilmington, DE 19809
          Telephone: (302) 798-1000
          E-mail: sliebesman@delawgroup.com

VENOCO INC: Being Sold for Too Little, Del. Suit Claims
Courthouse News Service reports that shareholders say Venoco, an
oil company, is selling itself too cheaply through an unfair
process to its CEO and majority shareholder Timothy Marquez, for
$12.50 a share or $1.5 billion, in Chancery Court.

A copy of the Complaint in Feldbaum v. Venoco, Inc., et al., Case
No. 7183 (Del. Ch. Ct.), is available at:


The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Blake A. Bennett, Esq.
          COOCH AND TAYLOR, P.A.
          The Brandywine Building
          1000 West Street, 10th Floor
          Wilmington, DE 19801
          Telephone: (302) 984-3889
          E-mail: bbennett@coochtaylor.com

               - and -

          Brian J. Robbins, Esq.
          Stephen J. Oddo, Esq.
          Arshan Amiri, Esq.
          Edward B. Gerard, Esq.
          600 B Street, Suite 1900
          San Diego, CA 92101
          Telephone: (619) 525-3990
          E-mail: brobbins@robbinsumeda.com

              - and -

          Nicholas Koluncich, Esq.
          6501 Americas Parkway NE, Suite 620
          Albuquerque, NM 87110
          Telephone: (505) 881-2228
          E-mail: nkoluncich@newmexicoclassactions.com

WESTWOOD COLLEGE: Sued Over False Claims on Accreditation
Jack Bouboushian at Courthouse News Service reports that Westwood
College faces a class action from students, and another lawsuit
from the Illinois attorney general, accusing the profit-seeking
school of defrauding students with false claims about its

Latoya Sims filed the class action in Federal Court, and the
Illinois attorney general sued the college and its corporate
parent, Alta Colleges and affiliates, in Cook County Court.

Ms. Sims says she graduated from Westwood College, but when she
sought work in her field of juvenile justice, employers "promptly
rejected her because the transcripts reflected coursework taken at
a school lacking regional accreditation."

Westwood's home page claims to have campuses in five states and
online, and says, "Over 24,000 graduates have transformed their
lives by obtaining the skills, tools, experience and connections
necessary to achieve meaningful careers."

But according to the complaint: "Westwood markets itself as a
degree-granting 'institution of higher learning' that offers
practical training and programs allegedly 'designed to empower
students to pursue their individual career goals.'  Although
Westwood is a for-profit organization and its coursework is
expensive, it boasts of offering a hands-on curriculum that will
supposedly prepare students for careers in criminal justice,
industrial services, and healthcare, among other industries.
Westwood confers what it characterizes as a 'bachelor's degree' in
these and similar fields after students earn three years of
coursework.  What Westwood has failed to offer its students and
graduates, unfortunately, is a truthful assessment of the value of
their coursework and degree.

"The members of the plaintiff class are graduates of Westwood who
were deceived by their school into believing that their courses
were accredited, and that the academic credits that they earned
would enable them to attain employment in their desired
profession.  Instead, these graduates learned that no employers in
their field would accept their academic credits or recognize their
costly degree, leaving them with massive student loan debt,
worthless credits, and no closer to a position in their desired
career than they were before they began their program.

"Students, including plaintiff and members of the putative class,
were drawn to Westwood's accelerated and supposedly 'career-
focused' learning programs due to patently inaccurate and
misleading representations that appeared on the school's Web site
and were perpetuated by the school's academic and career advisors.
Plaintiff and the class were given every reason to believe they
would receive all of the tools and training necessary to continue
their professional development -- whether by transferring to a
graduate program or transitioning into a job.  As they discovered
upon graduating, however, Westwood's programs were anything but
'career focused,' and these alumni had nothing to show for all of
the time and money they spent on courses there -- except
substantial debt.

"Accordingly, this nationwide class action seeks punitive damages
and financial recovery for the injuries, expenses, financial
losses, and intangible losses suffered by the plaintiffs and
members of the class."

Ms. Sims adds that when the college recruits students, "Westwood
fails to explicitly mention that it does not have regional
academic accreditation -- which is almost always necessary if
students wish to continue their education elsewhere and receive
credit for the courses that they have already completed."

One day before Ms. Sims filed her federal class action, the
Illinois attorney general sued the college in state court.
Defendants in the state's complaint are Alta Colleges, Westwood
College, Wesgray Corp. dba Westwood College-River Oaks and
Westwood College-Chicago Loop, Elbert Inc. dba Westwood College-Du
Page, and El Nell Inc. dba Westwood College-O'Hare Airport.  All
the corporate defendants were incorporated in Colorado.

Illinois claims that Westwood "regularly promoted their Criminal
Justice Program with television and radio advertisements depicting
or presenting police officers -- despite the fact that many police
departments do not recognize defendants' national accreditation,
and as a result, very few graduates have ever become police
officers in Illinois.  Defendants even purchased search terms such
as, 'Become Police Officer in Chicago,' 'Chicago Police
Requirements,' 'Join the Illinois State Police,' and 'Regionally
Accredited Schools Chicago' in order to present to prospective
students their Internet ads and/or its website link as the top
result in a Google or other search engine result.  Defendants'
admissions representatives were trained to engage in zealous
selling techniques to convince prospective students that Westwood
was just the right fit for the student to pursue his/her career
goals, and in many instances made misrepresentations or false
promises regarding the value and accreditation of Westwood's
criminal justice degrees.  When enrolling prospective students
expressed concern about financing, defendants promised to assist
the prospective students in obtaining part-time jobs to assist
with paying for their degrees, but failed to follow through with
that promise in any meaningful way.  Defendants compounded these
misrepresentations or false promises by misleading students about
the magnitude of the financial burden associated with obtaining
their degrees, engaging in a pattern and practice of downplaying
the burdens of student loans they advised students to take out."

In its 66-page complaint, Illinois says one student in Westwood's
Criminal Justice Program, Paul Lindsay, "was pulled out of class
on more than one occasion and told to go to the financial aid

The complaint continues: "Once in the financial aid office,
Mr. Lindsay was told that he would need to apply for additional
loans to register for the next term.

"He was additionally told he could not return to any classes,
including the class he had just been pulled out of, until he
filled out the appropriate paperwork to apply for the necessary

"According to Mr. Lindsay, defendants' actions felt like a
'shakedown' to him."

The state adds: "In effect, defendants charge a premium for a
criminal justice degree that many times is worthless because the
degree does not assist students with finding employment in law
enforcement, is not regionally accredited, and fails to adequately
prepare students to secure employment that would enable them to
repay their much larger federal and private student loans."

Ms. Sims seeks damages for breach of contract, unjust enrichment
and fraud.

Illinois seeks damages for consumer fraud and deceptive trade, and
wants the court to revoke, forfeit or suspend Westwood's Criminal
Justice Program.

A copy of the Complaint in Sims v. Westwood College, Case No. 12-
cv-00396 (N.D. Ill.), is available at:


The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Joseph J. Siprut, Esq.
          James M. McClintick, Esq.
          Aleksandra M. S. Vold, Esq.
          SIPRUT PC
          122 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1850
          Chicago, IL 60603
          Telephone: (312) 588-1440
          E-mail: jsiprut@siprut.com

YOUNG CHANG: App. Ct. Affirms Ruling Denying Class Certification
The Court of Appeals of California, Fourth District, upheld a
trial court order denying certification of the purported class in
the case, Carmen Genovese, et al. v. Young Chang America et al.,
Case No. D058380.

The Appeals Court agrees with the trial court's finding that there
is a lack common issues of fact and law, particularly with respect
to privity of warranty or contract, and statute of limitations
problems arising from the delayed manifestation of injury or

Young Chang Co Ltd. is a Korean piano manufacturer.  The proposed
class action was filed in 2007 by the plaintiffs against Young
Chang Co. Ltd.'s American subsidiary distributors and marketers,
Young Chang America Inc. and its later-formed "doing business as"
company, and Music Corp.  Plaintiffs brought a motion for
certification of their proposed class of 59,470 piano purchasers,
identified by serial numbers on the products sold to them,
alleging that Defendants have known since 1996 about a defect in
the composition of the metal used to manufacture the action
brackets (which are piano component parts), but Defendants failed
to remedy the defect, as required by their express or implied
warranties.  Plaintiffs seek damages and other relief for alleged
breaches of product warranties, and for violations of the
California Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

On appeal, Plaintiffs assert the trial court erred and abused its
discretion in denying their motion for class certification, by
using improper legal criteria or making erroneous assumptions.

A copy of the appeals court's Jan. 6, 2012 order is available at
http://is.gd/NzPxBXfrom Leagle.com.

YRC WORLDWIDE: Court Set to Decide on Class Action Settlement
William B. Cassidy, writing for The Journal of Commerce Online,
reports that a U.S. District Court will soon decide whether to put
its final stamp of approval on a $6.5 million settlement to a
class action lawsuit against YRC Worldwide.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas will hold a
fairness hearing March 6 to determine whether the proposed
settlement is "fair, reasonable and adequate."  The lawsuit and
settlement are part of the aftermath of the $4.3 billion trucking
operator's severe losses in the years prior to its restructuring
last July.

Details of the proposed settlement, reached last year, were mailed
to class members -- salaried and hourly non-union employees of YRC
Worldwide -- on Jan. 14.  Information on the class action lawsuit,
including court documents, is available online.

The class action lawsuit, recognized by the court in 2010, claimed
YRC Worldwide violated federal law in its management of employee's
401(k) retirement plans.  The class includes participants in
several YRC Worldwide 401(k) plans from Oct. 25, 2007 through
June 8, 2011 whose plans included shares of YRCW stock.

The litigation alleged the carrier broke the law by allowing the
plans to purchase and hold its stock at a time when it was
"unsuitable and imprudent investment."  In the settlement, YRC
Worldwide denied any wrongdoing but agreed to the proposed
settlement to "eliminate the burden and expense of further

YRC Worldwide's stock value tumbled from 2006 through 2011, when
it lost more than $2.5 billion and underwent two debt-for-equity
swaps and reverse stock splits.  The trucking operator's stock hit
its nadir in December at about 3 cents per share before jumping
above $9 a share Dec. 2 after a 300-to-1 reverse stock split.


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 L. Toledo, Christopher Patalinghug, Frauline Abangan
and Peter A. Chapman, Editors.

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

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

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

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

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