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Enron investors ask Supreme court to review ruling
Class Action News | 2007/04/06 01:37

Plaintiffs in a $40 billion Enron shareholder lawsuit today asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse an appeals ruling that sapped the litigation's strength. In a court filing, lawyers for the lead plaintiff in the litigation, the Regents of the University of California, called the appeals March ruling "an injustice to the victims of the Enron fraud." The trial had been slated to start April 16, but the ruling from a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put the case on a shelf pending the outcome of the plaintiffs' appeal to the Supreme Court.

In throwing out the case's class-action status, the appeals panel also erased the plaintiffs' ability to allege that defendants Merrill Lynch & Co., Credit Suisse First Boston and Barclay's were primary participants in fraud that helped fuel Enron's failure in December 2001.

When U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon granted class-action status last year, her ruling included that the plaintiffs could argue that the banks were primary participants rather than bit players. If a jury agreed, they could be held liable for their own actions as well as everyone else deemed to be involved.

Such a finding could have led to a multibillion-dollar judgment in excess of the $7.3 billion in settlements already reached — the bulk of which came from banking titans J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

The appeals panel ruled that Harmon erred in giving plaintiffs that much latitude, saying the deals the banks conducted with Enron "at most aided and abetted Enron's deceit."

The Securities and Exchange Commission can pursue aiders and abettors, but civil securities litigation can only pursue primary violators.

The plaintiffs countered in today's filing that the banks were at the epicenter of fraud, cooking up financial structures and schemes to help Enron doctor its financial statements.

Spokesmen for all three banks, which have consistently denied the plaintiffs' allegations, declined comment today.



Second pet fool lawsuit filed in LA
Class Action News | 2007/04/03 19:32

The second lawsuit to be filed in L-A Superior Court in a week over contaminated pet food comes from a Los Angeles-area woman whose eight-year-old purebred Samoyed named Sammy died of kidney failure after eating an I-A-M-S meal.

Kelly Finestone filed the suit yesterday against Ontario, Canada-based Menu Foods Incorporated and Petco Animal Supply Stores Incorporated of San Diego.

Finestone alleges negligence and strict liability. Her lawsuit states that she bought the dog for twelve-hundred dollars, then spent three thousand dollars on veterinarian bills after he got sick. It cost five-hundred dollars to cremate him.

The lawsuit also alleges Fineman suffered emotional distress and a loss of companionship after her dog's death. Her lawsuit does not specify the amount of additional general and actual damages she is asking for.

She is also looking for others to join in her lawsuit.



Class Action Filed as to Tainted Pet Foods
Class Action News | 2007/03/30 22:28

With a continuing rise in the number of pets harmed or killed by tainted pet food, the next inevitable phase of the calamity is unfolding: Lawsuits. At least six class action suits already have been filed against Menu Foods, the Canadian firm that has recalled millions of servings of pet food that it manufactures for 42 brands of cat food and 53 brands of dog food sold nationwide.

In Oregon alone, at least 28 animals have died after eating the food - including five dogs in Springfield and one in Pleasant Hill, and two cats each in Eugene and Springfield and one in Pleasant Hill. Ill animals also have been listed in Veneta and Cottage Grove, according to the latest numbers from the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association.

"This is really tragic. It sounds like it is going to be really huge," said Michele Smith, an attorney with the Eugene firm of Johnson Clifton Larson & Schaller.

People with potential legal claims react in different ways, she said. Some wait until most of the facts are known. Others want to rush right to a lawyer, Smith said.

advertisement Pet owners such as Allan Hall of Eugene are not waiting. Hall said he has been angry since his 15-year-old dachshund, Tabbitha, died March 13, within days of eating food that was subject to the recall.

"This was my best friend for 15 years. I was with her since she was six weeks old," Hall said Thursday.

Hall compiled his veterinary records, got help from a retailer to get a copy of his receipt for the food and contacted the Food and Drug Administration to register his case. Then he got on the Internet to contact a law firm in Wisconsin that has filed a class action lawsuit.

"I am interested in joining a class action lawsuit," Hall said. "The only thing that will make me feel better is that this company will not make pet food again. That's what I want."

Smith said pet owners should save unused food portions, labels from containers, store receipts, veterinary reports and bills, along with photographs of their pet or other evidence that might bolster their legal claims.

The Menu Foods litigation is only beginning, she said. Company and government officials have not yet confirmed the source of the problem, much less who may be responsible and what can be done about it. The company has said publicly that it will cover the veterinary bills of affected animals.

Nevertheless, hundreds of pet owners already have contacted the Seattle law firm of Myers and Company, one of the firms seeking class action status for a lawsuit against Menu Foods, said Tom Baisch, an associate attorney with the firm.

Affected pet owners need not hurry to sue, he says. The first hurdle will be convincing a judge that the cases are enough in common to be handled as a class. If so, the cases will be consolidated, with a panel of attorneys working to resolve it for all affected pet owners.

If a judge accepts the suit as a class action, affected pet owners are presumed to be a part of the class, he said. However, they need to file their information with the Food and Drug Administration or contact lawyers who have filed the lawsuits so they can receive information about the case, he said.

Pet owners can contact the FDA consumer complaint coordinator at (425) 483-4949 to report cases of illness or death due to the recalled food. Owners must report the specific product name, lot numbers of the product, and provide a veterinarian's report and diagnosis.

Owners need not pay legal fees to be part of the case. When the case settles, they can choose whether to accept the deal or withdraw and pursue their own lawsuit, Baisch said.

"It could take months. It could take years," Baisch said.

The list of recalled food: www.menufoods.com/recall



L.A. Residents Sue Menu Foods After Pet Illnesses
Class Action News | 2007/03/29 16:11

Two Los Angeles residents have filed a lawsuit against Menu Foods of Ontario, Canada, alleging the cat food company is to blame for their cats' recent health problems, according to court papers. The lawsuit, which seeks class action status, is asking for unspecified damages.

Kaye Steinsapir said she thought she was feeding her cat, Lila, one of the healthiest, most nutritious cat foods available.

"Lila was a healthy, vibrant cat without any medical conditions," said the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. But in recent weeks, Lila began vomiting, drinking an excessive amount of water and was eventually diagnosed with acute kidney failure, the lawsuit said.

Complete list of recalled brands of pet food.

Gregory Helmer, a Los Angeles attorney retained by Steinsapir and Lois Grady of Sacramento, Calif., who alleges her cat, Riley, also became ill after eating tainted cat food, filed the lawsuit "on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated."

Menu Foods recalled on March 16 several brands of dog and cat food products nationwide. Scientists at the New York State Food Laboratory last week identified the rodent poison aminopterin as the likely culprit in a scare that prompted the recall of 95 brands of "cuts and gravy" style dog and cat food by Menu Foods of Ontario, Canada.



Class Action Suit Filed Against Worldspace, Inc.
Class Action News | 2007/03/26 16:28

NEW YORK, NY -- The Rosen Law Firm recently announced that it has filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of a class consisting of all purchasers of the common stock of Worldspace, Inc. (the "Company" or "Worldspace") (NASDAQ: WRSP) pursuant and/or traceable to the Company's August 4, 2005 Initial Public Offering (the "Class"). Purchasers of WorldSpace shares on the open market are also eligible to join the class action.

The complaint charges that Worldspace and certain of its present officers and directors violated Sections 11, 12 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 by issuing materially false and misleading statements about the Company's subscriber count. The Complaint alleges that the Company included in its subscriber count accounts that had either expired or been "churned." The Complaint alleges that the Company included these expired or "churned" accounts for at least 90 days after the accounts had expired or were otherwise non-paying. As a result of these adverse disclosures the Company's stock fell and members of the Class were damaged.

A class action lawsuit has already been filed on behalf of Worldspace shareholders. If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than May 15, 2007. If you wish to join the litigation or to discuss your rights or interests regarding this class action, please contact plaintiff's counsel, Laurence Rosen, Esq. or Phillip Kim of The Rosen Law Firm toll free at 866-767-3653 or via e-mail at lrosen@rosenlegal.com or pkim@rosenlegal.com.

The Rosen Law Firm has expertise in prosecuting investor securities litigation and extensive experience in actions involving financial fraud. The Rosen Law Firm represents investors throughout the nation, concentrating its practice in securities class actions.

To view the complaint or to join the Worldspace class action, go to the website at http://www.rosenlegal.com or call Laurence Rosen, Esq. or Phillip Kim, Esq. toll-free at 866-767-3653 or email lrosen@rosenlegal.com or pkim@rosenlegal.com for information on the class action.



Class Action Against Con Agra is Nationwide
Class Action News | 2007/03/26 16:18

Plaintiffs counsel Kathryn E. Barnett announced today that 32 consumers, including the parents of nine children that became seriously ill after eating Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter, spanning 16 states filed an amended class action complaint today against the international food conglomerate ConAgra Foods, Inc. The proposed class consists of all persons nationwide that contracted Salmonella Tennessee from eating ConAgras contaminated peanut butter, which was all manufactured and packaged in a single location ConAgras plant in Sylvester, Georgia.

"This case shows that the number of 425 persons made ill from eating Salmonella tainted peanut butter as reported by the Center for Diseases Control constitutes a gross underestimate," stated Kathryn Barnett of the national plaintiffs law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP. "We believe thousands of consumers have been made sick over the past two years. Since the recall was announced in February, our law firm alone has been contacted by over a thousand persons that have reported symptoms of Salmonella poisoning, including fever, stomach cramps and severe diarrhea which in many cases required hospitalization."

The plaintiffs in the nationwide class action lawsuit reside in Albertville and Flomaton, Alabama; Cabot and Romance, Arkansas; Oakley, California; Manalapan, Palm City and Winter Garden, Florida; Chatsworth and Dalton, Georgia; Hymera, Indiana; Paducah, Kentucky; Lake Charles and Slidell, Louisiana; Holly Springs, Mississippi; Jackson, Ohio; Camden, Friendship and Nashville, Tennessee; Richmond, Texas; Manning and Newberry, South Carolina; Jackson, Ohio; Grandview, Washington; and Lenore, West Virginia. The case, entitled Ware v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., is before the Federal court in Rome, Georgia.

"My husband and I were terrified when our son became so sick. We called our pediatrician and raced to the Emergency Room with him, stated plaintiff Kelli Hamman of Flomaton, Alabama. I never dreamed it could have been caused by peanut butter. I don't understand why my son and other children had to suffer like this, and I hope ConAgra will take responsibility and answer to every family that has suffered."

Ms. Barnett advised consumers: "If you have suffered symptoms of contaminated peanut butter, do not discard the evidence; instead mark the peanut butter with 'Do Not Eat' or 'Contaminated' and make certain the jar is stored in a safe place that is beyond the reach of children. The peanut butter can be tested for the presence of Salmonella."

Representing the plaintiffs are Kathryn E. Barnett of the Nashville, Tennessee office of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP; Clay Jenkins of Jenkins & Jenkins, PC, of Waxahachie, Texas; and Robert H. Smalley, III, of the Dalton, Georgia law firm of McCamy, Phillips, Tuggle & Fordham, LLP.

Consumers stricken by Salmonella poisoning who wish to learn more about the lawsuit and report their experiences to plaintiffs' counsel should visit http://www.personalinjurylawyeramerica.com or contact injury attorney Kathryn E. Barnett toll-free at 1-866-313-1973.

Members of the media who wish to receive a copy of the complaint should contact Brandan De Coteau at bdecoteau@lchb.com



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