CAR_Public/120202.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Thursday, February 2, 2012, Vol. 14, No. 23

                             Headlines

AIG GROUP: Faces Investor Class Action Over "Equity Units" Sale
BP: Must Indemnify Transocean for Third-Party Damage Claims
CHASE PAYMENTECH: Faces Class Action Over Credit Card Fees
CHEVRON USA: Still Faces Claims on Fraudulent Business Practices
DIGISLIDE HOLDINGS: Enters Administration Following Class Action

FORD MOTOR: Faces Class Action Over Defective Diesel Engines
FORECLOSURE COMPANIES: Law Firm Files Class Action in Nevada
FRITO-LAY: Sued Over Deceptive "All-Natural" Label on Chips
GREEN VALLEY: Judge Certifies Homeowners' Class Action
HEARST COMMS: Sued for Selling Subscriber Data to Third-Parties

KODAK: Faces Class Action Over Employee Retirement Plan
LCD MANUFACTURERS: Price-Fixing Class Action Can Proceed
NOVARTIS PHARMA: Class Action Settlement Gets Initial Court Okay
RCMP: On-the-Job-Harassment Class Action Set to Be Filed
SALLIE MAE: Judge Certifies Securities Fraud Class Action

SINO-FOREST CORP: Faces Shareholder Class Action in New York
SPI: January 2013 Trial Set for Black Saturday Fire Class Action
STATE OF OKLAHOMA: To Draw Up Plan for Foster-Care System
TARGET CORP: Faces Class Action Over Bogus Claims on "Trim Step"
UNITED STATES: Pirate Party Mulls Megaupload Class Action v. FBI

WALTER ENERGY: Holzer Holzer & Fistel Files Class Action
WESTINGHOUSE SOLAR: Class Action Settlement Gets Final Court OK


                          *********

AIG GROUP: Faces Investor Class Action Over "Equity Units" Sale
---------------------------------------------------------------
Ryan Abbott at Courthouse News Service reports that in a federal
class action, investors say AIG Group rolled them for more than $5
billion at the height of the financial crisis by selling "equity
units" whose value AIG then deflated by 95 percent, to reinflate
the price of its own stock.

Lead plaintiff Kathryn Lynn Campbell sued American International
Group, its CEO R.H. Benmosche and the other 13 members of its
Board of Directors.

Ms. Campbell claims the "equity units" were designed to fail so
AIG's regular stock could be inflated.

The complaint states: "In January 1987, defendant established its
infamous AIG Financial Products unit.  Permeated by 'recklessness
and greed,' the Financial Products Division manufactured
'immensely profitable' and 'deceptive' financial products that
eventually poisoned the entire global financial system resulting
in a taxpayer funded 'massive bailout' of AIG in 2008 to the tune
of 182 billion dollars! 'AIG's Financial Products Unit finally
died the week of August 6, 2011.  It was 24.'"

(In a footnote, apparently to explain the source of the apparent
quotations, the complaint states: "Defendant has a long history of
unrelenting dishonest business practices.  See, inter alia, In re
American International Group, Inc., 965 A.2d 763 (Del. Ch.,
2009).")

The complaint continues: "Aware of the impending financial crises
its reckless and deceptive activities are about to unleash, AIG
embarked upon a 20 billion dollars capital raising effort in May
2008.  Among the devices it concocted to raise new capital was the
issuance of what it called AIG Equity Units.

"The Equity Units were offered in what defendant called
'Prospectus Supplement' dated May 12, 2008.  It asserted that the
subject prospectus was a supplement to the 'Prospectus dated July
13, 2007'.  But, as set forth below, the Equity Units are original
issue securities and had nothing alike to supplement.

"The Prospectus for the Equity Units was in accord with the
infamous tradition of AIG's Financial Products Division for
devising complex and dishonest financial instruments devoid of
good faith and fair dealing, permeated by deliberately confusing
formulas set forth in the context of its specialized knowledge and
expertise, and further imbued in bad faith.  Thus, the Prospectus
consisted of two-hundred-and-five (205) pages -- all in fine
print; all in 10 point pitch!"

The class claims AIG "used multiple confusing nomenclatures to
refer to the Equity Units."

The class claims the pitch was deliberately confusing, and set the
stage for AIG to score $5.8 billion by selling more than 72
million units at $75 a pop.

"The defendants knew and had every reason to know that the terms
they concocted in language inclusive of sentences where a single
sentence alone contains 153 words is far beyond even the reading
comprehension of 'public investors' as well as the public at
large," the complaint states.  "They did so in complete abnegation
of their statutory good-faith duty to ensure that prospectuses
provided to the investing public should be in simple, plain
language and structure to avert misapprehension, confusion and
loss."

The class claims that while AIG was pushing the poisoned equity
units on investors for $75 a share, it also sold the units to "the
'Who's Who' of Wall Street titans" to spread them throughout the
investment community.  These underwriters, which included
Citigroup, JP Morgan and Bank of America, bought the units from
AIG at the bargain price of $1.31 a unit: "a 98.25% discount on
the issue price of the units!" according to the complaint.

"The defendants never intended to fulfill their afore-going
commitments to the Equity Units holders," the complaint states.
"In such order, they permeated the 205-page, all in fine print,
Prospectus with incomprehensible formulas to camouflage their bad
faith intent to abnegate their commitments as to the exchange
value of the Equity Units."

Once members of the class held the equity units, AIG "embarked
upon distinct and specific measures designed to eradicate their
commitments and convert and divert the returns due the EU holders
to themselves," the complaint states.

"Defendants simply chose the Equity Unit holders -- who churned in
$5.88 billion dollars -- as immaterial to any decision they
voluntarily engaged in exclusively in their self-interest and
gain.  Hence, Equity Unit holders whose settlement or exchange
rates was wiped out by more than 95 percent purportedly because of
the so-called 20-for 1 reverse split were simply ignored when
defendants re-inflated the outstanding shares by over 1.8 billion
shares!" according to the complaint.

The class claims their Equity Units were mandatorily converted
into shares on three dates: Feb. 15, 2011; May 1, 2011; and
Aug. 1, 2011.

They seek punitive damages for unjust enrichment, and breach of
faith and fair dealing, and want their equity units converted into
stock at a fair rate.

A copy of the Complaint in Campbell v. American International
Group, Inc., et al., Case No. 12-cv-00115 (D.D.C.) (Kollar-
Kotelly, J.), is available at:

     http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/30/AIG.pdf

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Wendu Mekbib, Esq.
          LAW OFFICES OF WENDU MEKBIB, P.C.
          2540 Flint Hill Road
          Vienna, VA 22181-5451
          Telephone: (703) 242-7775
          E-mail: myonaten@verizon.net


BP: Must Indemnify Transocean for Third-Party Damage Claims
-----------------------------------------------------------
Sabrina Canfield at Courthouse News Service reports that BP must
indemnify Transocean for third-parties' compensatory damage claims
from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, even if Transocean is found
guilty of gross negligence, but Transocean is still on the hook
for what could be billions of dollars in punitive fines, according
to the federal judge overseeing the consolidated litigation.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled last week on the insurance
contract between Transocean, as owner of the Deepwater Horizon
drilling rig, and BP, as operator of the rig.

The April 20, 2010 explosion and fire sank the rig 50 miles off
the coast of Louisiana, killing 11 and setting off the worst oil
spill in U.S. history.

Judge Barbier's 30-page order puts an end to a longstanding
dispute between Transocean and BP over the terms of the insurance
policy they shared for the rig.

Judge Barbier found that the "reciprocal nature" of the indemnity
clauses in the insurance policy "arguably created an incentive for
Transocean to avoid grossly negligent conduct, or at least did not
encourage Transocean to act in a grossly negligent manner," and
weaken the argument that the indemnity should be invalidated.

It is too soon to determine either party's exact liability.  The
first trial on the matter is slated for Feb. 27.

Judge Barbier's order states: "BP is required to indemnify
Transocean for compensatory damages asserted by third parties
against Transocean and related to pollution that did not originate
on or above the surface of the water, even if the claim is the
result of Transocean's strict liability (including OPA and
unseaworthiness), negligence or gross negligence." (29)
(Parentheses in original; OPA stands for the Oil Pollution Act.)
The order states that Transocean is responsible for any resulting
punitive damages and attorney fees.

Predecessors to BP and Transocean entered into a drilling contract
for the Deepwater Horizon rig in 1998.  Article 24.2 of the
contract specifically limited Transocean's liability to pollution
on the water's surface.

"The court interprets Article 24.2's phrase, 'without regard for
the negligence of any parties and specifically without regard for
whether the pollution or contamination is caused in whole or in
part by the negligence or fault of [Transocean],' as merely
emphasizing that BP assumed the risk of subsurface pollution, even
if said pollution was caused by Transocean's negligent conduct,"
Judge Barbier found.  "However, this language does not reflect an
intent to 'specifically limit' Article 25.1's application, and
thus is not interpreted as excluding gross negligence, strict
liability, or other causes or damages listed in Article 25.1.
This interpretation is consistent with Article 24.2's requirement
that BP will assume 'any loss, damage, expense, claim, fine,
penalty, demand, or liability for pollution or contamination . . .
not assumed by [Transocean] in Article 24.1 above."

Judge Barbier's order adds: "Article 25.1 expressly requires
indemnification for liabilities caused by the indemnitee's gross
negligence: '. . . the indemnifying party shall . . . indemnify
. . . the indemnified party or parties from and against any and
all claims . . .  without regard to the cause or causes thereof,
including . . . the negligence of ... the indemnified party,
whether such negligence be sole, joint or . . . gross . . .'"

The terms of the contract, however, should be subject to public
policy, Judge Barbier found.

"As to the issue of whether public policy prohibits a party from
being indemnified for its own gross negligence, the parties have
not cited to, and the court has not found, a controlling case,"
the order states.

Therefore, "This issue creates tension between two policies:
freedom of contract, which weighs in favor or enforcing the
indemnity, and a reluctance to encourage grossly negligent
behavior, which weighs against enforcing the indemnity.  The
general rule is that competent persons have the utmost liberty of
contracting, and therefore agreements voluntarily and fairly made
are upheld.  Although a contract can be invalidated on the grounds
that it violates public policy, courts are instructed to apply
this principal with caution and only in cases plainly within the
reasons on which that doctrine rests, because the phrase 'public
policy' can be vague and variable.

"As to the argument that contractual indemnity for gross
negligence contravenes public policy, it is significant that the
drilling contract allocated risk to both Transocean and BP, not
just BP.  For example, Transocean admits that it bears liability
for the deaths and injuries to its crew members and the loss of
equipment (namely, the Deepwater Horizon) under Articles 21.1 and
22.2.  With regards to pollution, Transocean assumed
responsibility for pollution originating at or above the water's
surface in Article 24.1.  Given these risk allocations, a grossly
negligent act by Transocean could result in liability to
Transocean as easily as it could have resulted in liability to BP.
In other words, the reciprocal nature of these indemnity clauses
arguably created an incentive for Transocean to avoid grossly
negligent conduct, or at least did not encourage Transocean to act
in a grossly negligent manner.  These considerations weaken the
argument that the indemnity should be invalidated."

Judge Barbier found that while BP would be responsible for
adhering to the contract it made with Transocean, penalties for
pollution such as Clean Water Act fines are intended to punish a
party responsible for pollution.  As such, "Transocean's right to
contractual indemnity does not extend to punitive damages."

The base fine applicable under the Clean Water Act is $1,100 per
barrel.  The Deepwater Horizon explosion dumped an estimated 4.9
million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  So Transocean
alone could be subject to a starting fine of $5.5 billion.

During a status conference in December, Department of Justice
Senior Attorney Steven O'Rourke told Judge Barbier that the Clean
Water Act is simple: "any person who is the owner, operator, or
person in charge of any vessel . . . or offshore facility from
which oil is discharged will face Clean Water Act fines."

Mr. O'Rourke said BP, Transocean and Anadarko, as co-owner of the
well, will each be subject to separate Clean Water Act fines.  If
the court finds gross negligence caused the spill, the fine per
barrel could go as high as $4,300, or $21.5 billion per company.

The Associated Press reports that BP is in settlement
negotiations, hoping to settle before the first trial begins
Feb. 27.

A copy of the Order and Reasons in In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig
"Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010,
MDL No. 2179 (E.D. La.) (Barbier, J.), is available at:

     http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/30/NPTransocean.pdf


CHASE PAYMENTECH: Faces Class Action Over Credit Card Fees
----------------------------------------------------------
Courthouse News Service reports that a federal class action filed
in Manhattan claims Chase Paymentech offered online credit card
processing for $10 a month, then raised it to $12 a month, plus a
$25 "account minimum fee," with a previously undisclosed $350
"early termination fee."



CHEVRON USA: Still Faces Claims on Fraudulent Business Practices
----------------------------------------------------------------
Jeff D. Gorman at Courthouse News Service reports that Chevron
must face a class action for unfair business practices from
customers who say it buys gas at one temperature and sells it at
another, a state appeals court ruled.

In his Superior Court class action, lead plaintiff Allen Ray Klein
claimed that Chevron bought wholesale gasoline at 60 degrees
Fahrenheit and sold it to California consumers at 70 degrees.

As gasoline expands as it heats up, Chevron sells less gasoline
with less energy per gallon than it paid for it, the class claims.

The class also claims that Chevron paid an unfairly low tax rate
due to the temperature difference and that consumers are unable to
make fair price comparisons between retailers.

Chevron claimed the practice was allowed by California law.  The
trial court agreed to dismiss claims of breach of contract, unjust
enrichment and unlawful business practices.

But claims of violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and
unfair and fraudulent business practices remained.

Chevron asked the court to drop these claims as well in light of a
California Energy Commission report that "Automatic Temperature
Compensation" fuel-pump technology would not lead to economic
benefits for consumers.

The trial court agreed with Chevron, ruling that the Legislature
was dealing with the problem the plaintiffs addressed in the
lawsuit.

The plaintiffs appealed and the state's Second Appellate District
agreed that the class still had a case against Chevron.

"The Legislature has not provided any alternative means of
addressing the issues in plaintiffs' claims, nor has it provided
any certainty that it will address those issues in the future,"
Justice Laurie Zelon wrote for the court.

"The trial court's order granting Chevron's motion for judgment on
the pleadings is reversed.  The trial court's order on Chevron's
demurrer to plaintiffs' third amended complaint is affirmed.  The
trial court's order on Chevron's demurrer to plaintiffs' second
amended complaint is reversed to the extent it sustained Chevron's
demurrer to plaintiffs' claim arising under the 'unlawful' prong
of section 17200.  Appellants are to recover their costs on
appeal."

Justices Woods and Jackson concurred.

A copy of the ruling in Klein, et al. v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., et
al., No. B219113 (Calif. App. Ct.), is available at:

     http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/30/ChevronAppeal.pdf

The Plaintiffs and Appellants were represented by:

          Timothy P. Dillon, Esq.
          LAW OFFICE OF TIMOTHY P. DILLON
          1925 Century Park East, Suite 1700
          Los Angeles CA 90067
          Telephone: (310) 553-9400

               - and -

          Guy D. Calladine, Esq.
          CARLSON, CALLADINE & PETERSON
          353 Sacramento Street, 16th Floor
          San Francisco, CA 94111
          Telephone: (415) 391-3911
          E-mail: gcalladine@ccplaw.com

               - and -

          David C. Frederick, Esq.
          KELLOGG, HUBER, HANSEN, TODD, EVANS & FIGEL
          Sumner Square
          1615 M Street, N.W., Suite 400
          Washington, DC 20036
          Telephone: (202) 326-7918
          E-mail: dfrederick@khhte.com

The Defendants were represented by:

          Darius Ogloza, Esq.
          Brendan A. McShane, Esq.
          Heather L. Potts, Esq.
          Connie D. Sardo, Esq.
          Richard P. Bass, Esq.
          LATHAM & WATKINS
          505 Montgomery Street, Suite 2000
          San Francisco CA 94111-6538
          Telephone: (415) 391-0600
          E-mail: brendan.mcshane@lw.com
                  connie.sardo@lw.com

BP West Coast Products was represented by:

          Ronald C. Redcay, Esq.
          Sean Morris, Esq.
          ARNOLD & PORTER
          44th Floor
          777 South Figueroa Street
          Los Angeles, CA 90017-5844
          Telephone: (213) 243-4000
          E-mail: ronald.redcay@aporter.com
                  sean.morris@aporter.com

Equilon Enterprises was represented by:

          Mary Ann L. Wymore, Esq.
          GREENSFELDER, HEMKER & GALE
          10 South Broadway, Suite 2000
          St. Louis, MO  63102
          Telephone: (314) 516-2662
          E-mail: mlw@greensfelder.com

ConocoPhillips Company was represented by:

          Daniel S. Mason, Esq.
          Joseph W. Bell, Esq.
          ZELLE HOFMANN VOELBEL & MASON
          44 Montgomery Street, Suite 3400
          San Francisco, CA 94104
          Telephone: (800) 229-5293 (415-693-0700 local)
          E-mail: dmason@zelle.com
                  jbell@zelle.com

The National Association of Convenience Stores and Society of
Independent Gasoline Marketers of America were represented by:

          Ruth D. Kahn, Esq.
          Patrick J. Foley, Esq.
          STEPTOE & JOHNSON
          633 West Fifth Street, Suite 700
          Los Angeles, CA 90071
           Telephone: (213) 439-9400
           E-mail: rkahn@steptoe.com
                   pfoley@steptoe.com

Western States Petroleum Association was represented by:

          Kevin M. Fong, Esq.
          PILLSBURY WINTHROP SHAW PITTMAN
          50 Fremont Street
          San Francisco, CA 94105-2228
          Telephone: (415) 983.1270
          E-mail: kevin.fong@pillsburylaw.com


DIGISLIDE HOLDINGS: Enters Administration Following Class Action
----------------------------------------------------------------
Patrick Stafford, writing for Smart Company, reports that an
Adelaide-based technology company that made a name for itself
building small, portable projectors has been placed in
administration, just weeks after a major investor encouraged
shareholders to join in on a class action.

The controversy also came mere weeks after Digislide Holdings
seemingly hit a new high, after it won a deal to distribute gaming
projectors through American retail chain Wal-Mart.  However, in
late December it entered voluntary administration.

The South Australian company has won a number of awards for
innovation for its mini projectors, which have also been sold
through Amazon.

However, since listing in 2009 the company has been on a downwards
slide, losing 93% of its value.

Investor Mal Fraser-Clay told SmartCompany on Jan. 31 after he
loaned the company money, he was promised a number of changes that
weren't actually made.

"I recommended a number of changes, they weren't taken up, and
then voluntary administrators were brought in," he says.

The appointment occurred on December 22, when Peter Macks and
Timothy Clifton of PPB Advisory were appointed.  But Mr. Fraser-
Clay says it went downhill from there.

"I then contacted every single investor, shareholder and associate
that had been involved, and asked if they had similar
circumstances.  They all said they had.  I sent the top 50
shareholders an e-mail, and I heard back from people who are very
angry."

The administration of the company has also changed hands.  James
Humphris and George Divitkos of BDO were appointed on January 18
-- they were contacted this morning but were unavailable prior to
publication.

While Mr. Fraser-Clay says he advocated a class-action, he doesn't
believe it will actually occur.

"I think there are simply too many classes of people that are
burned.  I've heard of people who have had their loaned money
converted into shares, I've heard from people who have lost
millions of dollars."

Mr. Fraser-Clay now awaits the next creditors' meeting, but says
he is surprised at the lack of knowledge from within the company
itself.

The company, founded in 2003, designs small portable projectors.
Since listing in 2009 offering $3 million worth of shares, the
company has expanded by making new products for different niches,
including gaming.  However, its share price has fallen
significantly since then, by 93%.

And in its annual report from the 2010-11 year, the company
recorded a loss of $2.4 million on sales revenue of $325,904.  The
year before saw a loss of $4.7 million.

Chief executive Luceille Outhred was contacted on Jan. 31, but no
reply was available prior to publication.

Mr. Fraser-Clay says he believes the administrators will now
investigate the company's circumstances, although admits "this
doesn't mean we'll get our money back".


FORD MOTOR: Faces Class Action Over Defective Diesel Engines
------------------------------------------------------------
Courthouse News Service reports that Ford sold vehicles with
defective 6.0-liter diesel engines beginning in 2002, a class
action claims in Superior Court.

A copy of the Complaint in Adams v. Ford Motor Co., Case No. 37-
2012-00091290 (Calif. Super. Ct., San Diego Cty.), is available
at:

     http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/30/FordCA.pdf

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Michael A. Caddell, Esq.
          Cynthia B. Chapman, Esq.
          Cory S. Fein, Esq.
          CADDELL & CHAPMAN
          1331 Lamar, Suite 1070
          Houston TX 77010-3027
          Telephone: (713) 751-0400
          E-mail: mac@caddellchapman.com
                  cbc@caddellchapman.com
                  csf@addellchapman.com


FORECLOSURE COMPANIES: Law Firm Files Class Action in Nevada
------------------------------------------------------------
Attorneys Shawn Christopher and Nicholas A. Boylan have served a
class action lawsuit on behalf of 16 Nevadans against five
companies hired by banks and lenders to handle the foreclosures on
properties owned by the plaintiffs and one additional defendant
who purchased property through the foreclosure process.  The
lawsuit claims illegal debt collection activities and deceptive
trade practices by the defendants against the plaintiffs during
the foreclosure process as the defendants were not licensed or
registered in the State of Nevada to carry out the foreclosure
process.  The lawsuit seeks to compensate the plaintiffs and
compel the defendants to surrender all fees collected for many
thousands of foreclosures during the time they were operating
illegally.

"The plaintiffs are Nevadans who not only lost their houses in one
of the hardest hit real estate markets, but were also adversely
affected by foreclosure companies that did not follow the law
during the foreclosure process.  The case was filed as a class
action lawsuit because there are thousands of potential plaintiffs
who were victims of these foreclosure companies," said Shawn
Christopher, attorney with Christopher Legal Group.

The lawsuit names as defendants: Quality Loan Service Corporation;
Appleton Properties, LLC; MTC Financial, Inc. dba Trustee Corps;
Meridian Foreclosure Service dba MTDS, Inc. dba Meridian Trust
Deed Service; National Default Servicing Corporation; and
California Reconveyance Company.

The lawsuit alleges that the debt collection activities of the
defendants are and/or were illegal and improper because each of
the defendants did not hold a license to engage in debt collection
activities in the State of Nevada and each also failed to register
as a foreign debt collection agency with the Nevada Financial
Institutions Division.  The illegal and improper debt collection
activities include the issuance of debt-related notices, demands,
collection communications and/or foreclosure sales and processes.
In addition, the plaintiffs also claim deceptive trade practices,
consumer fraud, unjust enrichment, trespass, quiet title and in
two instances, elder abuse.

Plaintiffs are asking for compensatory and consequential damages
in excess to $10,000, disgorgement of any amounts paid to
defendants for their respective illegal and improper debt
collection activities, attorney's fees and injunctive relief.

The First Amended Complaint was filed on December 19, 2011 in
Clark County District Court.  The complete lawsuit can be found at
http://www.christopherlegal.com/benko.pdf

Shawn Christopher -- sc@christopherlegal.com -- is with Las Vegas-
based Christopher Legal Group.  For more information, please
contact Christopher Legal Group at 702-737-3125 or visit
http://www.christopherlegal.com

Nicholas A. Boylan is with the San Diego-based Law Offices of
Nicholas A. Boylan, APC.  Mr. Boylan is a member of the Nevada
Bar. For more information, please contact the Law Offices of
Nicholas A. Boylan, APC at 619-696-6344.


FRITO-LAY: Sued Over Deceptive "All-Natural" Label on Chips
-----------------------------------------------------------
Jessica Dye, writing for Reuters, reports that a New York man sued
Frito-Lay on Jan. 30, claiming the company misleads consumers with
the claim its popular Tostitos and SunChips products are made with
"all-natural ingredients."

In the proposed class-action lawsuit filed in Brooklyn federal
court, plaintiff Chris Shake said the snacks actually contain corn
and oils made from genetically engineered plants.

Mr. Shake said he shelled out an additional 10 cents per ounce of
chips to buy the allegedly "all-natural" Tostitos and SunChips
instead of a product such as Doritos, which makes no such claim.

Independent testing conducted on samples of Frito-Lay products
labeled "all natural" uncovered the presence of ingredients --
including corn and vegetable oils -- made from genetically
modified plants, the lawsuit said.

Had he known that, Mr. Shake would never have paid a premium to
purchase the "all-natural" chips, the lawsuit said, calling Frito-
Lay's labels "deceptive."

A spokeswoman for Frito-Lay, Aurora Gonzalez, said the company was
confident the labeling on its packaging "complies with all
regulatory requirements."

But according to the suit, "genetically modified organisms are
created artificially in a laboratory by swapping genetic material
across species to exhibit traits not naturally theirs," the
complaint said.  "Since a reasonable consumer assumes that seeds
created in such a way are not 'all natural,' advertising Tostitos
and SunChips as natural is deceptive and likely to mislead a
reasonable consumer."

A similar lawsuit was filed in California federal court last
December.  Both the New York and California lawsuits are seeking
to recover the amount of money allegedly paid by consumers in
search of an "all natural" product.

The New York lawsuit estimates the amount of total damages to
exceed $5 million.

Frito-Lay is a unit of PepsiCo Inc.

According to the Center for Food Safety, there is no
comprehensive, formal definition of the term "natural" when it is
used on food labels, with the exception of some meat products
regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In 2011, the Center for Food Safety petitioned the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration to require food containing genetically
modified ingredients be clearly labeled.

The case is Shake et al v. Frito-Lay North America Inc and Pepsico
Inc, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New
York, No. 12-408.


GREEN VALLEY: Judge Certifies Homeowners' Class Action
------------------------------------------------------
Green Valley News reports that residents challenging Green Valley
Recreation fees won a procedural ruling that could allow 6,400
homeowners to join a class action suit against the New Member
Capital Fees, but this ruling only matters if the plaintiffs
decide to appeal the case.

Superior Court Judge Kyle Bryson issued the ruling on Jan. 24 but
already has ruled that GVR will not have to refund fees it already
collected, meaning the strongest remedy the plaintiffs could win
from him would be to ban future New Member Capital Fees.
That issue is still before Judge Bryson.  The judge's action on
Jan. 24 in certifying 6,400 GVR homeowners as potential plaintiffs
would only matter if the plaintiffs challenge Judge Bryson's
ultimate decision and if the Arizona Appellate Court overrules
Bryson.


HEARST COMMS: Sued for Selling Subscriber Data to Third-Parties
---------------------------------------------------------------
Courthouse News Service reports that a federal class action claims
Hearst Communications collects and stores information about its
subscribers and surreptitiously shares it with third-party
marketers, which is illegal in California.

A copy of the Complaint in Miller v. Hearst Communications, Inc.,
Case No. 12-cv-00733 (C.D. Calif.), is available at:

     http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/30/Hearst.pdf

The Plaintiff is represented by:

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

               - and -

          Jay Edelson, Esq.
          Rafey S. Balabanian, Esq.
          Steven I. Woodrow, Esq.
          Ari J. Scharg, Esq.
          EDELSON MCGUIRE, LLP
          350 North LaSalle Street, Suite 1300
          Chicago, IL 60654
          Telephone: (312) 589-6370
          E-mail: jedelson@edelson.com
                  rbalabanian@edelson.com
                  swoodrow@edelson.com
                  ascharg@edelson.com

KODAK: Faces Class Action Over Employee Retirement Plan
-------------------------------------------------------
WIVB reports that a class action lawsuit has been filed against
Kodak Chief Antonio Perez, the board of directors and managers of
the company's retirement plan.

The suit was brought by Kodak worker, Mark Gedek, and filed by
attorneys from New York and Philadelphia last week.

The suit claims Kodak should not have offered employees stock as
part of the Kodak employee stock and savings plans.

The lawsuit claims Mr. Perez and the board knew the stock was
going to lose value and the company's financial situation was
dire.

Kodak filed for bankruptcy on January 19.


LCD MANUFACTURERS: Price-Fixing Class Action Can Proceed
--------------------------------------------------------
Nick McCann at Courthouse News Service reports that a class of
electronics retailers can continue their claims against LCD panel
manufacturers, including Toshiba, Hitachi and Epson, a federal
judge ruled.

The retailers claim in California's Northern District that the
electronics manufacturers engaged in a global price-fixing
conspiracy to raise prices and restrict competition in the sales
of computer monitors, laptops, televisions and other liquid-
crystal display products.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston previously agreed that
defendants "secretly conspired" to raise prices on LCD devices to
"supra-competitive" levels.  In October, she said the alleged
price-fixing conspiracy had direct effects on American companies.

Two months later, LCD panel makers moved to decertify the classes.
They said the court would be unable to identify members of the
"indirect purchaser" class because the sources of LCD panels are
hard to pin down.

Judge Illston rejected this argument last week, reiterating the
court's opinion that the case is suited for a class action.

"The conspiracy affected almost all LCD products sold in the
United States," Judge Illston wrote.  "Outside of a class action,
it is unlikely that most of these consumers could recover for
defendants' wrongdoing."

"It is also noteworthy that the majority of the defendants have
admitted to participating in the conspiracy," she added.
"Assuming liability is established for the remaining defendants at
trial, it would be inappropriate to require potential class
members to produce proof of class membership to an absolute
certainty."

Though the LCD panel makers argued that the plaintiffs' expert did
not show a classwide impact with an economic model, Judge Illston
found that the class has established reasonable models to
determine which class members the conspiracy had harmed.

A copy of the Order Denying Defendants' Motion to Decertify
Classes or in the Alternative for Summary Judgment in In re: TFT-
LCD (Flat Panel) Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1827 (N.D. Calif.),
is available at http://is.gd/ljxUV3


NOVARTIS PHARMA: Class Action Settlement Gets Initial Court Okay
----------------------------------------------------------------
Kevin P. McGowan, writing for Bloomberg BNA, reports that a
federal district court in New York has granted preliminary
approval to a $99 million proposed settlement of a nationwide wage
and hour class action against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.,
potentially benefiting more than 7,000 current and former sales
employees, representatives for both sides announced Jan. 25 (In re
Novartis Wage & Hour Litig., S.D.N.Y., No. 06-MD-1794, preliminary
approval of settlement 1/25/12).

The proposed settlement, which stems from a pair of 2006 lawsuits
filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act and California and New
York laws, is pending before Judge Paul A. Crotty in the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of New York.  Judge
Crotty granted preliminary approval Jan. 25 and has scheduled a
May 31 fairness hearing.

The proposed agreement covers five subclasses of Novartis sales
representatives who allege they were denied overtime pay in
violation of the FLSA and state laws.

Judge Crotty in April 2007 had certified three subclasses,
including a California subclass of sales representatives working
in that state from March 23, 2002, to April 7, 2007, a New York
subclass of sales representatives working from March 23, 2002, to
April 7, 2007, and an FLSA subclass of those working at least one
day between March 23, 2003, and April 7, 2007, who had filed
consents to join the FLSA collective action.

The proposed settlement would add an FLSA settlement subclass of
those working as Novartis sales representatives for at least one
day between Jan. 25, 2009, and Jan. 25, 2012, in certain
designated states and a catch-all subclass of Novartis sales
representatives who worked in designated states for varying
periods beginning in 2005 and are not part of previously certified
subclasses.

Parties Decline to Await Supreme Court Ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court currently is considering Christopher v.
SmithKlineBeecham Corp. (U.S., No. 11-204), a separate case
raising the issue of whether the FLSA's outside sales exemption
exempts pharmaceutical sales representatives from overtime pay
under federal law (29 HRR 1295, 12/5/11).

In February 2011, the justices had declined to review a U.S. Court
of Appeals for the Second Circuit July 2010 ruling that the FLSA
exemption did not apply to the Novartis sales representatives and
reversing the district court's 2009 ruling for Novartis (29 HRR
234, 3/7/11; 28 HRR 746, 7/12/10; 27 HRR 76, 1/26/09).

But Novartis and the plaintiffs' attorneys Jan. 25 said they
decided not to await a Supreme Court decision in SmithKlineBeecham
and to settle their case now.  Novartis said the proposed
settlement "is in the best interest of our employees and the
company."

"We have been litigating this case for nearly six years and the
company has determined that it is time to resolve these wage and
hour claims," said Andre Wyss, president of Novartis, in the
parties' joint statement.

"We consistently compensate all employees in accordance with the
FLSA and applicable state laws," Mr. Wyss said.  "We remain
confident that sales representatives should continue to be
classified as exempt from overtime because their autonomy and
incentive compensation are typical of exempt employees as defined
by U.S. law."

David Sanford, the lead class counsel for the plaintiffs, said the
plaintiffs settled despite confidence that the Supreme Court
ultimately would find that the FLSA covers pharmaceutical sales
representatives.

"While we remain confident that the Supreme Court later this year
will uphold the Department of Labor's interpretation of wage and
hour law, the risks of further litigation are great," said
Mr. Sanford, a partner with Sanford Wittels and Heisler in
Washington, D.C.

"We are proud that over [7,000] current and former Novartis sales
representatives will be able to participate in this settlement. It
is a fair and equitable result and can serve as an exemplar for
companies around the United States that face wage and hour
litigation," Mr. Sanford said.

Novartis and Sanford Wittels and Heisler, which also has offices
in New York and San Francisco, in 2010 reached a $175 million
settlement of a sex discrimination class action on behalf of
female sales representatives after a jury in the U.S. District
Court for the Southern District of New York had returned a $253
million verdict against Novartis (28 HRR 539, 5/24/10).

Text of the proposed settlement may be accessed at
http://op.bna.com/dlrcases.nsf/r?Open=kmgn-8qus8kand text of the
brief in support of the motion for preliminary approval may be
accessed at http://op.bna.com/dlrcases.nsf/r?Open=kmgn-8qutl4


RCMP: On-the-Job-Harassment Class Action Set to Be Filed
--------------------------------------------------------
CKPR Radio reports that a class action lawsuit against the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police will soon be filed, according to Thunder
Bay lawyer Sandy Zaitzeff.

The lawsuit began when a female officer from Vancouver quit her
job on the force, and spoke out about on-the-job harassment she
said she faced during her time with the RCMP.

While the woman was from Vancouver, Ms. Zaitzeff says the problem
is nation-wide.

"It is a male-dominated, paramilitary culture almost based upon
fear, it is detachment after detachment and the results are
horrible things that ruin lives . . . from Newfound Land to
British Columbia," he told CKPR Radio.

More than 115 alleged victims have since come forward, including
one woman from Thunder Bay.

Ms. Zaitzeff said the case should be filed sometime this week.


SALLIE MAE: Judge Certifies Securities Fraud Class Action
---------------------------------------------------------
Adam Klasfeld at Courthouse News Service reports that a federal
judge has certified a securities fraud class action against Sallie
Mae, the top student loan provider in the United States.

Lead plaintiff SLM Ventures accused SLM Corp., Sallie Mae's
corporate name, of telling investors it used strict underwriting
standards for its loans, while weakening those standards by
approving risky loans to students at for-profit schools.

U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III laid out the allegations
in a 19-page ruling.

"In 2006, Sallie Mae's management decided to expand the company's
PEL [Private Education Loan] business.  Between June 2006 and
December 2007, Sallie Mae's PEL portfolio more than doubled,
growing from $7 billion to $15.8 billion.  At the time, Sallie Mae
publicly stated that it had applied strict underwriting standards
to all PEL borrowers.  However, SLM Ventures alleges that Sallie
Mae actually relaxed its underwriting standards and loaned
billions of dollars to borrowers with low credit scores and other
high risk borrowers who attended part-time, correspondence, or
for-profit schools."

Sallie Mae then moved as many problem loans as possible into
forbearance to hide the true number of private loans that were
delinquent or in default, in violation of Generally Accepted
Accounting Principles and Securities and Exchange Commission
regulations, the investors said.

They accuse Sallie Mae's chairman of fudging the numbers to profit
on a merger.

"In April 2007, Sallie Mae and its then-Chairman of the Board,
Albert L. Lord ('Lord'), negotiated to sell the company to a group
of private equity investors (the 'Flowers Transaction').  The
strike price was set at $60 per share, and was contingent on
Sallie Mae's financial performance and outlook.  If the proposed
merger closed, Lord would receive a cash payment totaling $225
million representing the value of his stock options.

"While the Flowers Transaction was pending, Sallie Mae faced
billions of dollars of redemption obligations for outstanding
equity forward contracts.  Under those contracts, Sallie Mae
raised cash by selling common stock and agreeing to buy the stock
back at the higher strike price.  However, if the Flowers
Transaction was not consummated, Sallie Mae would be required to
pay approximately $2 billion to settle the equity forward
contracts.  On October 8, 2007, citing the recent passage of the
College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 ('CCRAA') as a
material adverse effect on Sallie Mae's financial performance and
outlook, the private equity group backed out of the Flowers
Transaction.  On December 12, 2007, Sallie Mae abandoned the
deal," Judge Pauley wrote.

Investors claim that Sallie Mae finally made the disclosures after
the deal began to unravel.

"During an investor call, Lord revealed that Sallie Mae was
increasing its PEL loss reserves but refused to answer questions
about the credit worthiness of Sallie Mae's loan portfolio.
According to media reports, Lord was 'agitated' and 'profane'
during the call.  Following the call, Sallie Mae's stock dropped
by twenty-one percent," the order states.

The stock plummeted another 13 percent on Jan. 3, 2008, and Sally
Mae announced a 50 percent decline in its net income on Jan. 23,
2008.

Investors representing SLM Ventures, which claims to have lost
$2.9 million due to fraud, became lead plaintiff in a lawsuit
against the company on April 1, 2009.

Judge Pauley certified the investors as a class last week.

"During the class period, defendants publicly characterized the
company's PEL business as 'essential,' 'our economic engine on the
loan side of the business,' and 'now obviously our principal
business.'  Although PELs accounted for only 16 percent of Sallie
Mae's total managed loan portfolio in 2006, they generated 23
percent of the company's core earnings.  Sallie Mae's PEL
portfolio more than doubled between June 2006 and December 2007
and defendants later disclosed that, by the end of 2007, 15
percent of Sallie Mae's PEL portfolio consisted of loans to
students who were 'poor credit risks' attending the 'wrong
schools.'  Analysts reported on the profitability, projected
growth, and potential credit risks of Sallie Mae's PEL business in
dozens of reports and news articles following each class period
earnings announcement.

"Other courts have concluded that the types of misrepresentations
and omissions SLM Ventures alleges -- about the company's core
business revenue and improper accounting practices, as well as
underwriting practices, loan loss reserves and internal risk
controls -- are material to a reasonable investor," the order
states.

The class includes "all persons or entities who bought or
otherwise acquired SLM Corporation common shares between
January 18, 2007, and January 23, 2008, and who possessed any of
those shares over one or more of the dates of December 19, 2007,
January 3, 2008, and January 23, 2008."

A copy of the Memorandum and Order in In re: SLM Corporation
Securities Litigation, Case No. 08-cv-01029 (S.D.N.Y.), is
available at:

     http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/30/SallieMaeCA.pdf

Lead Plaintiff SLM Venture was represented by:

          Daniel C. Girard, Esq.
          Jonathan K. Levine, Esq.
          GIRARD GIBBS LLP
          601 California Street, Suite 1400
          San Francisco, CA 94108
          E-mail: dcg@girardgibbs.com
                  jkl@girardgibbs.com

The Defendants were represented by:

          Peter A. Wald, Esq.
          Christopher R. Harris, Esq.
          LATHAM & WATKINS, LLP
          505 Montgomery Street, Suite 2000
          San Francisco, CA 94111
          E-mail: peter.wald@lw.com
                  christopher.harris@lw.com


SINO-FOREST CORP: Faces Shareholder Class Action in New York
------------------------------------------------------------
Courthouse News Service reports that shareholders claim Sino-
Forest Corp. sold more than $1.8 billion in securities through
vastly overstated misrepresentations, in New York County Court.

A copy of the Complaint in Leapard, et al. v. Chan, et al., Index
No. 650258/2012 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., N.Y. Cty.), is available at:

     http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/30/SCA.pdf

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

          Richard S. Speirs, Esq.
          Kenneth M. Rehns, Esq.
          COHEN MILSTEIN SELLERS & TOLL PLLC
          88 Pine Street 14th Floor
          New York, NY 10005
          Telephone: (212) 838-7797
          E-mail: rspeirs@cohenmilstein.com
                   krehns@cohenmilstein.com

               - and -

          Steven J. Toll, Esq.
          Matthew B. Kaplan, Esq.
          COHEN MILSTEIN SELLERS & TOLL PLLC
          1100 New York, Ave., N.W.
          West Tower, Suite 500
          Washington, DC 20005
          Telephone: (202) 408-4600
          E-mail: toll@cohenmilstein.com
                  mkaplan@cohenmilstein.com


SPI: January 2013 Trial Set for Black Saturday Fire Class Action
----------------------------------------------------------------
Anna Whitelaw, writing for Banyule and Nillumbik Weekly, reports
that nearly 1,400 people have joined the multi-million dollar
Black Saturday class action lawsuit expected to head to trial next
year.

With a trial date set for January 29, 2013, 1,379 Black Saturday
survivors and their families have signed up for the class action.

Plaintiff law firm Maurice Blackburn has brought the class action
on behalf of Black Saturday survivors and their families, to seek
personal injury claims against power distributor SPI.

The claimants allege SPI was negligent when a 43-year-old
powerline owned by the power company fell and sparked the Kilmore
bushfire.

The Kilmore bushfire killed 119 people throughout St. Andrews,
Strathewen, Kinglake, Kinglake West and their surrounds and
destroyed 1,242 homes.

SPI has denied any liability, and sued Victoria Police, the
Department of Sustainability and Environment and the Country Fire
Authority over their role in Black Saturday.

Maurice Blackburn lawyer Rory Walsh said all the parties involved
were still assessing the cost of the class action, which could run
into the hundreds of millions.

"The total losses suffered by individual group members in a
catastrophe of this magnitude is extremely complex, however this
is an issue of significant importance and one that is the focus of
considerable effort and discussion amongst the parties," he said.

The next pre-trial hearing is scheduled for February 10.

Parties are due to hand over all discovery documents in March
before court-ordered mediation is slated for November this year.


STATE OF OKLAHOMA: To Draw Up Plan for Foster-Care System
---------------------------------------------------------
Ginnie Graham, writing for Tulsa World, reports that holding child
welfare staff summits is part of building the improvement plan
under an agreement to settle a federal class action lawsuit
against the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

The DHS oversight commission and New York-based nonprofit
Children's Rights reached the settlement agreement earlier last
month.

The lawsuit filed in 2008 alleged abuses in the state's foster-
care system.

While a fairness hearing is set for Feb. 29 to take testimony from
class members, DHS officials are moving forward with the central
focus of the agreement, which is to develop a plan to improve the
system in 15 areas.

The plan is to be ready by March 30 for approval by three
independent monitors, who will oversee whether progress is being
made during the next several years.

Deborah Smith, director of the DHS children and family services
division, gave the commission members an update of the process on
Jan. 24.

Ms. Smith stressed the employees are eager to work on the plan,
but change naturally creates anxiety and uncertainty.

"Employees are integral to the successful implementation of
changes in policy and practices and must be kept informed
throughout our planning process with clear, open and honest
communication," Ms. Smith said.

"We cannot destroy their trust or morale with employees while
working on restructuring.  We are all working toward the same
goals, which is to improve our ability to keep vulnerable adults
and children safe."

The fairness hearing is a required procedure set by U.S. District
Judge Gregory Frizzell in his decision on granting final approval
of the settlement.

DHS spokeswoman Sheree Powell said a section on the agency's
Web site will provide updates and give a place for the public to
give comments.

"We want this process to be as transparent as possible so we are
planning to put everything up on our Web site," Ms. Powell said.
"Everyone will be able to see what we are doing and give
feedback."

The independent monitors are Kathleen G. Noonan, clinical
associate professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Law;
Eileen Crummy, partner in Public Catalyst and a monitor of
Michigan's federal child-welfare judicial consent decree; and
Kevin Ryan, former New Jersey commissioner of the Department of
Children and Families and a federal court monitor of Michigan's
child welfare consent decree.

Ms. Smith said the monitors met on Jan. 10-11 with several DHS
commissioners and the director, elected officials and
administrators in the DHS child welfare division.  Lawmakers
included members of the House, Senate and a representative of
Gov. Mary Fallin.

The purpose of the meeting was "to clarify roles, to understand
expectations and to provide current data."

"The first meeting had a very positive tone as we began to
establish a positive working relationship," Smith said.

Child welfare staff summits will be held in each regional area of
DHS to get employee input on the initiatives to be used in the
plan.  The summits will include caseworkers, supervisors and
county and area managers.

"We have creative staff who are committed to excellence and to
improving outcomes for the families they serve," Ms. Smith said
"They are eager to share their ideas, and we believe they as a
group will bring creative solutions to the table for
consideration."

Ms. Smith said DHS division leaders decided to form a "work group"
to hold weekly meetings so they can communicate progress to staff.
The goal is to have a first draft ready for review by the finance
department on March 10.

Also, weekly meetings facilitated by DHS officials with lawmakers,
Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth staff and the
legislative Foster Care Improvement Task Force will provide
additional progress reports.

A second meeting with the monitors, held on Jan. 18, allowed DHS
staff to provide information on current child-welfare practice
standards and a draft of objectives on how to create the
improvement plan.

"We did not discuss specific strategies at this point, because the
identification of strategies is pending the involvement of staff
and other stakeholders," Ms. Smith said.

With several paths set to receive information from internal and
external groups, Ms. Smith said the last day to receive any
feedback for the plan will be Feb. 28.

"It was necessary to establish a cutoff date so that the work on
the actual writing of the plan can conclude by the established
deadline," Ms. Smith said.

The monitors will be touring the hotline system and visit with
client advocacy staff on Feb. 6.


TARGET CORP: Faces Class Action Over Bogus Claims on "Trim Step"
----------------------------------------------------------------
Courthouse News Service reports that a class action claims Target
Corp. pushes its "Trim Step" shoes with bogus claims, and that the
shoes may exacerbate the very problems they claim to treat, in
Hennepin County Court.

A copy of the Complaint in Laughlin v. Target Corporation, Case
No. 27CV 12-1986 (Minn. Dist. Ct., Hennepin Cty.), is available
at:

     http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/30/ConsFraud.pdf

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Renae D. Steiner, Esq.
          HEINS MILLS & OLSON, P.L.C.
          310 Clifton Avenue
          Minneapolis, MN 55403
          Telephone: (612) 3380-4605
          E-mail: rsteiner@heinsmills.com

               - and -

          James C. Shah, Esq.
          Jayne A. Goldstein, Esq.
          SHEPHERD FINKELMAN MILLER & SHAH LLP
          35 East State Street
          Media, PA 19063
          Telephone: (610) 891-9880
          E-mail: jshah@sfmslaw.com
                  jgoldstein@sfmslaw.com

               - and -

          Janine L. Pollack, Esq.
          MILBERG LLP
          One Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th Floor
          New York, NY 10119
          Telephone: (212) 594-5300
          E-mail: jpollack@milberg.com

               - and -

          Elaine A. Ryan, Esq.
          Patricia N. Syverson, Esq.
          BONNETT, FAIRBORN, FRIEDMAN & BALINT, P.C.
          2901 N. Central Avenue, Suite 1000
          Phoenix, AZ 85012
          Telephone: (602) 274-1100
          E-mail: eryan@bffb.com
                  psyverson@bffb.com

               - and -

          Todd D. Carpenter, Esq.
          BONNETT, FAIRBOURN, FRIEDMAN & BALINT, P.C.
          600 W. Broadway, Suite 900
          San Diego, CA 92101
          Telephone: (619) 756-6978
          E-mail: tcarpenter@bffb.com

               - and -

          Timothy G. Blood, Esq.
          Thomas J. O'Reardon, II, Esq.
          BLOOD HURST & O'REARDON LLP
          600 B Street, Suite 1550
          San Diego, CA 92101
          Telephone: (619) 338-1100
          E-mail: tblood@bholaw.com
                  toreardon@bholaw.com

               - and -

          John F. Edgar, Esq.
          Anthony E. LaCroix, Esq.
          EDGAR LAW FIRM, LLC
          1032 Pennsylvania Avenue
          Kansas City, MO 64105
          Telephone: (816) 399-5158

               - and -

          Adam J. Levitt, Esq.
          WOLF HALDENSTEIN ADLER FREEMAN & HERZ, LLC
          55 West Monroe Street, Suite 1111
          Chicago, IL 60603
          Telephone: (312) 984-0000
          E-mail: levitt@whafh.com


UNITED STATES: Pirate Party Mulls Megaupload Class Action v. FBI
----------------------------------------------------------------
Liam Tung, writing for iTnews.com.au, reports that Spain's
Catalonian Pirate Party will attempt to launch a class action
against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for
"misappropriating personal data" during the closure of the
Megaupload file locker.

The group claims the FBI may have violated European law and the
Spanish Penal Code by shutting the file hosting service last
weekend, which not only stopped alleged copyright infringement but
prevented Megaupload users from accessing non-infringing personal
data.

"By closing the service they have impeded the access to millions
of archives of both private individuals and organizations,
potentially causing huge personal, economic and image damages to a
vast number of people," the group argues on the campaign's landing
page.

It hopes to attract alleged victims in Spain that identify as a
premium, lifetime or normal Megaupload user.  However, the page
will be used to collect responses from US residents too.

"This initiative is a starting point for legitimate internet users
to help defend themselves from the legal abuses promoted by those
wishing to aggressively lock away cultural materials for their own
financial gain," it explains.

The Pirate Party of Catalonia also claims on its official Web site
that the FBI's actions could conflict with European and UK
privacy, data protection and computer misuse laws.

Besides endorsement from Pirate Party chapters across Europe,
digital rights campaigner, the Electronic Frontiers Foundation,
will support the campaign in the hope of discovering how the
Megaupload closure had affected legitimate users in the US, an EFF
spokesman told Ars Technica.

The manner and legal justification for the shutdown could set a
precedent for users of similar file locker services.

Even without further action, several similar sites shut down or
limited sharing functionality in the wake of Megaupload's closure,
with the same consequences for their legitimate users.


WALTER ENERGY: Holzer Holzer & Fistel Files Class Action
--------------------------------------------------------
Holzer Holzer & Fistel, LLC on Jan. 30 disclosed that it has filed
a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Alabama on behalf of purchasers of Walter
Energy Inc. common stock who purchased shares between April 20,
2011 and September 21, 2011, inclusive.  The lawsuit alleges,
among other things: (i) that the Company was experiencing so-
called "squeeze" events in Alabama and lower coal transportation
rates in Canada that significantly reduced Walter's coal
production; (ii) that the Company's commitment to ship more than
700,000 tons of coal in the second quarter at first quarter sales
prices would result in a material adverse effect on Walter's
average sales prices and operating results during the second
quarter; (iii) that Walter was experiencing a significant decline
in its margins and profitability; and (iv) that, based on the
foregoing, defendants lacked a reasonable basis for their positive
statements about the Company and its business prospects during the
Class Period.

If you purchased Walter Energy common stock during the Class
Period, you have the legal right to petition the Court to be
appointed a "lead plaintiff."  A lead plaintiff is a
representative party that acts on behalf of other class members in
directing the litigation.  Any such request must satisfy certain
criteria and be made no later than March 26, 2012.  Any member of
the purported class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff
through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and
remain an absent class member.  If you are a Walter Energy
investor and would like to discuss a potential lead plaintiff
appointment, or your rights and interests with respect to the
lawsuit, you may contact:

          Michael I. Fistel, Jr., Esq.
          Marshall P. Dees, Esq.
          E-mail: mfistel@holzerlaw.com
                  mdees@holzerlaw.com
          Toll-Free Telephone: (888) 508-6832

Holzer Holzer & Fistel, LLC -- http://www.holzerlaw.com-- is an
Atlanta, Georgia law firm that dedicates its practice to vigorous
representation of shareholders and investors in litigation
nationwide, including shareholder class action and derivative
litigation.


WESTINGHOUSE SOLAR: Class Action Settlement Gets Final Court OK
---------------------------------------------------------------
Westinghouse Solar, Inc. received final approvals of settlements
for its outstanding class action and state derivative complaints.
The suits have been dismissed in their entirety with prejudice and
on the merits, resulting in a release of all claims.

Detail from the 8-K:

"On January 27, 2012, the Superior Court of the State of
California, County of Santa Clara, filed an order granting final
approval to the settlement of the state derivative complaint filed
against Westinghouse Solar, Inc. (formerly Akeena Solar, Inc.) and
certain of the Company's officers and directors on May 28, 2010,
captioned Dulgarian v. Cinnamon et al., Case No. 1:10-CV-173351.
Pursuant to the State Derivative Order, the state derivative
lawsuit was dismissed in its entirety with prejudice and on the
merits.  The settlement resulted in a release of all claims and
did not provide for the payment of monetary compensation to
shareholders; rather, it provided for certain additions to the
Company's corporate governance policies and procedures and for the
payment of plaintiff's attorneys' fees and litigation expenses to
be paid exclusively from the proceeds of the Company's directors
and officers liability insurance."


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

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