/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/021108.mbx               C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

              Friday, November 8, 2002, Vol. 4, No. 222


AGENT ORANGE: High Court To Hear Appeal On Vietnam Veterans' Lawsuit
AIR NZ: Named as Defendant in UK Lawsuit Over Economy Class Syndrome
AUSTRALIA: High Court Passes Suit For 7T Asylum Seekers To Lower Court
BURLINGTON MOTOR: Faces OOIDA Suit To Recover Escrow Funds in IN Court
CALIFORNIA: Los Angeles School District Sued For Unconstitutional Fees

IPO LITIGATION: Judge Hears Arguments on Motion For Dismissal of Suits
MICROSOFT CORPORATION: Faces Other Lawsuits Despite Huge Legal Victory
ORBITZ INC.: Travel Agencies File Suit Over Anti-Competitive Practices
PENNSYLVANIA: No Rise in Cancer Deaths After TMI Accident, Study Says
QWEST COMMUNICATIONS: Shareholders Ask CO Court To Block Sale of Unit

SUPREME COURT: Limits Moving of Lawsuits From State To Federal Court
TENET HEALTHCARE: Receives FTC Subpoena Over Merger Of Two Hospitals
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Big Companies Ask Court To Overturn $145B Verdict
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Industry Vows to Avoid Billion-Dollar Settlements
UNDERWRITERS LITIGATION: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Face Possible Suits

UNUMPROVIDENT CORPORATION: Faces Lawsuit Over Wrongfully Denied Claims
VIVENDI UNIVERSAL: Faces Additional FL, NY State Regulator Probes
WAKEFIELD HOSPITAL: ACC Unlikely To Join Suit For Investment Recovery
WAMPLER FOODS: Doctor Commences Lawsuit Over Listeriosis-Infected Meat
WORLDCOM INC.: WA Pension Fund Files Lawsuit To Recover Lost Investment

*US-Style Collective Legal Action All The `Rage' For British Investors

                          Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS ALERT: Engineering Groups Face Possible Asbestos Related Suits
ASBESTOS ALERT: ABB Asbestos Settlement May Top US$1.1B, Lawyers Say
ASBESTOS ALERT: Alfa Laval Downplays Suits Amid Securities Concerns
ASBESTOS ALERT: Armstrong Files Plan of Reorganization in Ch. 11 Case
ASBESTOS ALERT: Appeal on Norfolk Southern Asbestos Damages Heard

ASBESTOS ALERT: Royal & Sun Insurance Faces Asbestos-Related Lawsuit
ASBESTOS ALERT: Trelleborg Group Clarifies Issues Relating to Goodall
ANADARKO PETROLEUM: Continues to Fight Asbestos Personal Injury Claims
CRANE COMPANY: Named As Defendant in 16,000 Asbestos Related Suits
CROWN CORK: Accrues US$347 Million in Asbestos Related Liabilities

FLUOR CORPORATION: Faces Lawsuits for Asbestos Exposure in Work Sites
LONE STAR: Faces Numerous Lawsuits Over Asbestos Exposure in Premises
METALDYNE CORPORATION: Faces More than 4,000 Asbestos Related Claims

                     New Securities Fraud Cases

ENDOCARE INC.: Glancy & Binkow Commences Securities Fraud Suit in CA
ENDOCARE INC.: Schiffrin & Barroway Commences Securities Suit in CA
RETEK INC.: Leo Desmond Commences Securities Fraud Lawsuit in MN Court
SALOMON SMITH: Schiffrin & Barroway Commences Securities Suit in NY
SALOMON SMITH: Schatz & Nobel Commences Securities Fraud Suit in NY

SEARS ROEBUCK: Pomerantz Haudek Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in N.D. IL


AGENT ORANGE: High Court To Hear Appeal On Vietnam Veterans' Lawsuit
The United States Supreme Court agreed to rule on whether two cancer-
stricken Vietnam veterans can restart litigation against several
chemical companies over exposure to the Agent Orange chemical, despite
the existence of a US$180 million settlement created in 1984, the
Associated Press reports.

The US Second Circuit Court of Appeals last year reversed a federal
court's decision barring Agent Orange personal injury class actions,
saying the decision violated the due process rights of Vietnam-era
veterans who learned after 1994 that they may have claims against
manufacturers of the defoliant, according to an earlier Class Action
Reporter story.  The suit includes as defendants Dow Chemical Co. and
Monsanto Co.

The decision affects two suits filed in 1998.  Joe Isaacson filed the
first suit.  He served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969 and was diagnosed
with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1996.  Daniel Stephenson filed the second
suit after he contracted multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer, in
1999 and served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1970.  Both men seek to recover
damages for their diseases, which they claim were caused by exposure to
Agent Orange, from the manufacturers.  They claimed they were unaware
of the settlement, and that by the time they were diagnosed with
cancer, it was too late to claim compensation.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that neither man
was adequately represented in the settlement.  Thus, the Supreme Court
must face an important question; When should people be allowed to
bypass previous class-action settlements?

Seth P. Waxman, attorney for the chemical companies, told the
Associated Press the men did benefit from programs that were paid for
with part of the money.  He said the appeals court decision "will have
a dramatic and infelicitous practical consequences, unsettling the
finality of past class actions."

The Product Liability Advisory Council also weighed in on the case,
saying the appeals court created a novel rule to give class action
members "a broad - and potentially boundless - right" to get around
settlements, AP reports.

AIR NZ: Named as Defendant in UK Lawsuit Over Economy Class Syndrome
Air New Zealand has been named in the class action filed in Britain's
High Court, by people who claim that they or their families have been
victims of "deep vein thrombosis," or a condition causing fatal blood
clots, Nzoom.com reports.

Fifty-six people filed the suit this week, alleging the airlines failed
to inform them about the condition, which was allegedly caused by
cramped aircraft cabins.

Australian carrier Qantas was also named by three of the complainants,
who hope the three-day hearing will open the way to suing the airlines
for compensation.  British Airways, Singapore Airlines, JAL and Cathay
Pacific are among the other airlines named.

A spokesperson for the airline refused to comment on the airline's
position in the case, Nzoom.com reports.

AUSTRALIA: High Court Passes Suit For 7T Asylum Seekers To Lower Court
Australia's high court Judge Mary Gaudron indicated that cases
involving up to 7000 asylum seekers could be sent to federal court
instead, The Australian reports.  The federal court immediately
signaled that it could not cope with the extra workload.

The suits were spurred by two earlier High Court rulings that that
Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) decisions, refusing two Indonesian
asylum-seekers protection visas, lacked procedural fairness.  As a
result, lawyers filed a class action to appeal unfavorable RRT

John Basten QC, for the commonwealth, told Justice Gaudron in Sydney
yesterday that the federal Government wanted each case to be heard
individually, not as a class action, the Australian states.  Mr. Basten
said the Immigration Department estimated the total number of cases was
3700, while Ben Zipser, counsel for the asylum-seekers, said the number
of cases was closer to 6000.

Justice Gaudron agreed with Mr. Basten that the best outcome might be
to remit the cases to the federal court, but warned it might take many
months or even a year to send the cases to the lower court.  "Nobody is
going to thank me for remitting 7000 matters to the Federal Court," she
said to both parties.  "Whatever one can do to save the paper work in
this operation is to be attempted."

BURLINGTON MOTOR: Faces OOIDA Suit To Recover Escrow Funds in IN Court
Burlington Motor Carrier's officers face a class action filed by the
Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) to recover owner-
operators' escrow funds, which were allegedly lost after the Company
filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2001, e-Trucker.com reports.

The suit was commenced in Hamilton County, Indiana against five people
who had been executives in the Indiana-based company.  The suit seeks
that the escrow account funds be returned with interest to the members
of the class action.

The OOIDA had earlier filed a lawsuit alleging violations of federal
truth-in-leasing before the Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in
July 2001, alleging violations of federal truth-in-leasing regulations.
The association pursued its complaints in bankruptcy court, but in May
2002 the carrier converted its bankruptcy filing to Chapter 7 and
ceased operations.

CALIFORNIA: Los Angeles School District Sued For Unconstitutional Fees
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) faces a class action
filed in California Superior Court, alleging that the district imposed
fees for items such as student identification cards, class materials
and cheerleading outfits in violation of the state's constitution and
its provision of a free public education for children, the Associated
Press reports.

The suit against the district, the nation's second largest, was filed
by the United States Justice Foundation.  "We have filed this
litigation . so that families of lesser means will no longer be
deprived of their constitutional rights to fully participate in all
school activities," Gary Kreep, the group's executive director told AP.

Adrienne Konigar, associate general counsel for the district said that
the district charges for items that students take home, such as wood
used in shop classes, and for items used in extracurricular activities,
but emphasized that the district did not charge for textbooks.  She
added that the district also provides materials, pens, paper and other
items to students unable to afford them.

The Escondido-based group settled similar suits this year with the
Escondido Union High School District and the Pasadena Unified School
District, AP reports.  The Escondido school district, which had been
charging students for items including identification cards and
cheerleading outfits, estimated that returning the fees paid since
September 2000 could cost up to $15,000.  The Pasadena school district
agreed to reimburse students and parents about $227,000.

IPO LITIGATION: Judge Hears Arguments on Motion For Dismissal of Suits
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Judge Shira Scheindlin presided over a hearing last week, as the most
powerful banks on Wall Street joined forces with the best-known names
of the Internet industry to seek the dismissal of 308 securities class
actions against them, law.com reports.

The suits were filed, alleging that the banks and their clients
manipulated initial public offerings (IPOs) in the late 1990s bull
market.  The suits similarly allege that the underwriters falsely
inflated sought-after IPOs, by allocating shares to institutional
investors, but only if they agreed to buy more stock later on at a
higher price.

The suits further alleged that the banks manipulated the market by
charging investors excessive commissions, pressuring their analysts to
promote their clients' stocks, and handing out shares of hot IPOs to
corporate executives in exchange for investment banking business.

Judge Scheindlin's decision could prove critical in the high-stakes
case, with damages estimated in the billions, law.com states.
Securities class actions rarely go to trial and, barring an outright
dismissal, her ruling will inform each party as to the relative
strength of its position, a key factor in settlement.

Lawyers for the defendants argued that the plaintiffs failed to meet
the heightened pleading standard for stock fraud cases required under
federal law.

The hearing ended without a clear ruling, and parties expect that it
could take months.  Despite not hearing definitively from the court one
way or the other, at least one plaintiffs' lawyer left pleased.

"I think we survived," said Frederick T. Isquith, a partner at New
York-based Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz and a member of the
plaintiffs' executive committee, law.com reports.

MICROSOFT CORPORATION: Faces Other Lawsuits Despite Huge Legal Victory
Microsoft Corporation faces other legal battles, despite the enormous
victory it won last week when Federal Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly
endorsed most of the antitrust settlement it hammered out with the
United States Justice Department, and rejected harsher penalties sought
by nine dissenting states.

The judgment was a big victory for Microsoft, in its four-year
antitrust battle with the United States government.  The Company
fashioned the settlement with several sates and the Justice Department,
but nine states opposed the settlement, calling it full of loopholes.

In her ruling, Judge Kollar-Kotelly however, warned company founder
Bill Gates and other Microsoft executives, however, that she would hold
them individually responsible for complying with her instructions, the
Associated Press reports.

Judge Kollar-Kotelly made a few minor changes to the settlement that
require acceptance by Microsoft and the Justice Department, which sued
the software giant 4 1/2 years ago when Democrats held the White House
and economic times were rosier.

Appeals by the dissenting states were considered likely, although state
officials said they were still studying their options.  "We've got
plenty of fight," Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller told AP.  "We
haven't lost it at all.  We need to talk to our colleagues, analyze it
more and make a decision."

Bill Gates said he was "personally committed" to abide by the
agreement, which he called "a good compromise and good settlement."  He
said Microsoft was unlikely to challenge the decision, AP reports.
"This settlement puts new responsibilities on Microsoft, and we accept
them," Mr. Gates said.  "At this point, we're not seeing anything that
would be cause for appeal, but we need to make a full assessment."

Attorney General John Ashcroft called the decision "a major victory for
consumers and businesses," AP reports

The computer giant's woes are far from over, though.  It still has to
face legal battles all over the country and in Europe, including
private antitrust suits by Sun Microsystems and AOL Time Warner's
Netscape unit, a class-action lawsuit on behalf of California consumers
and a European Commission investigation into Microsoft's efforts to
stifle competition in the computer-server and media-player markets,
Mercury News reports.  The lawsuits all relate to Microsoft's alleged
illegal, anticompetitive business tactics to maintain its monopoly over
the personal computers market.

Consumers and advocates were highly disappointed by Judge Kollar-
Kotelly's ruling, but they are still hoping that other courts could
step in to punish the Company's behavior.  "They won this battle,
there's no doubt about it," Edward Black, president of the Computer and
Communications Industry Association, which represents Microsoft rivals,
told Mercury News.  "But it's not over."

The European Commission suit, for example, might not be affected much
by the ruling, antitrust experts say.  The European Union has
historically been more aggressive about protecting the interests of
competitors.  "There's a certain amount of respect for what happens in
the U.S., but there's a certain amount of independence," said Ronald
Katz, an antitrust lawyer with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips in Palo Alto,
according to Mercury News.  The EC is expected to issue its decision by
year's end.

Meanwhile, a number of Microsoft competitors and consumers have filed
private cases hoping to hit Microsoft where it hurts the most - in its
$40 billion pocketbook.  A federal judge in Baltimore is overseeing
private suits brought by Sun, AOL's Netscape, Be Inc., Burst.com and a
number of consumers.

Also pending against Microsoft is a California class-action case set to
go to trial Feb. 3 in San Francisco, Mercury News reports.  In that
case, the lawyers seek to hold Microsoft responsible for $2.5 billion
in damages to California consumers related to the inflated software
prices the company charged as a result of the illegal maintenance of
its monopoly.

ORBITZ INC.: Travel Agencies File Suit Over Anti-Competitive Practices
Orbitz, Inc. faces a class action, filed by five California travel
agencies, alleging that the online travel site Orbitz stifles
competition, Wired News reports.  The suit, filed in Los Angeles state
court, also names as defendants:

     (1) American Airlines,

     (2) United Airlines, and

     (3) Delta Air Lines.

The Company's two other owners Northwest Airlines (NWAC) and
Continental Airlines (CAL) were not named in the suit.

The agencies allege that airlines have cut their commissions to travel
agents and steered consumers to cheap fares that are only available on
the airlines' own Web sites.  They seek for commissions that would have
been paid to travel agents over the past four years if airlines hadn't
steered fliers to lower Web-based fares.  The action also seeks to have
Orbitz dissolved. No specific damages were requested.

PENNSYLVANIA: No Rise in Cancer Deaths After TMI Accident, Study Says
A study on long-term cancer mortality radius in a five-mile radius
surrounding the Three Mile Island disaster "found no significant
increase overall in deaths from cancer," according to a press release
issued by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Disaster
News Network reports.

The study was sponsored by the Three Mile Island Public Health Fund,
which was created in a court settlement of a class action filed as a
result of the worst nuclear power plant failure in US history.  On
March 28,1979, a TMI power plant released radioactive gases into the
area around Middletown, Pennsylvania.  The lawsuit named as defendant
the General Public Utilities Nuclear Corporation, the owner of TMI, as
well as other companies connected with the plant.

The new study, led by Dr. Evelyn Talbott of the University of
Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health, analyzed mortality rates
caused by lung, throat, breast, lymphatic and hematopoietic cancers.
Thyroid cancer was also considered, but the study found only one death
attributable to that type of cancer. Chronic lymphatic leukemia,
Hodgkin's disease and central nervous system cancer were excluded from

The study, however, did find a slight increase in deaths attributable
to lymphatic and hematopoietic cancers in women, as well as a slight
increase in risk for these two types of cancer in men, the Disaster
News Network reports.  The study focused on cancer mortality rates in
20 years following the accident, relied on interviews of 32,135
residents conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and
correlated this data with death statistics from the Pennsylvania
Department of Health.

"While these findings overall convey good news for TMI residents, the
slight increased risk of death from lymphatic and hematopoietic cancers
may warrant further investigation," Ms. Talbott said, according to the
Disaster News Network.  "Also, while our 13-year follow-up indicated a
significant upward trend in breast cancer risk related to radiation
exposure the day of the accident, this relationship was no longer
significant in our current study."

Several studies have been published on the possible health effects of
the accident, and not all of them have reached conclusions as
optimistic as Ms. Talbott's.  Dr. Steven Wing, of the University of
North Carolina (Chapel Hill), published a paper in 1997 that determined
cancer rates downwind of TMI were two to ten times higher than cancer
rates upwind of the accident, the Disaster News Network stated.

"Several hundred people at the time of the accident reported nausea,
vomiting, hair loss and skin rashes, and a number said their pets died
or had symptoms of radiation exposure.  We figured that if that were
possible, we ought to look at (the data) again.  After adjusting for
pre-accident cancer incidence, we found a striking increase in cancers
downwind from Three Mile Island," Dr. Wing said, quoted in a 1997
National Institutes of Health press release.  "I would be the first to
say that our study doesn't prove by itself that there were high-level
radiation exposures, but it is part of a body of evidence that is
consistent with high exposures."

Dr. Wing has also been sharply critical of Talbott's past work,
particularly of a study Talbott published in 2000.

QWEST COMMUNICATIONS: Shareholders Ask CO Court To Block Sale of Unit
Qwest Communications International, Inc.'s shareholders asked the
United States District Court in Denver, Colorado to block the sale of
the Company's phone directory unit or freeze the US$7 billion in
anticipated proceeds, claiming the money should go to shareholders who
"have been the victims of one of the largest accounting falsifications
and worst violations of the securities laws in the history of the
United States," the Associated Press reports.

Law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP initiated the motion
in the securities class action pending against the Company.  The motion
further states that profits gained from alleged insider stock deals by
former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio and founder Philip Anschutz should be

Qwest chief executive Richard Notebaert said the filing runs contrary
to shareholders' interests, AP reports.  "The motion is completely
without merit, and we are confident it will be denied," he said in a
written statement.  "By trying to stop the sale, or freeze the sales'
proceeds, Milberg Weiss hurts Qwest's shareholders, customers,
employees and retirees."

Earlier the Company sold QwestDex, which had generated about $1 billion
annually, hoping to avert an imminent threat of bankruptcy and help
relieve some of its $26.6 billion debt.  Welsh, Carson, Anderson &
Stowe and Carlyle Group agreed to buy QwestDex. The sale will close in
two parts for the unit's eastern and western operations in Qwest's 14-
state region, which it inherited from its June 2000 merger with U S
West, AP reports.

SUPREME COURT: Limits Moving of Lawsuits From State To Federal Court
The Supreme Court made it harder for defendants to move lawsuits from
state to federal court, a ruling that could hurt companies concerned
about costly state jury verdicts, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The ruling involves a class action in a Louisiana state court by seven
workers against their employer, Syngenta Crop Protection Inc., a unit
of Syngenta AG of Switzerland.  The workers are seeking damages for
injuries resulting from exposure to pesticides and herbicides the
company makes, according to court filings.  After several legal
maneuvers, the lawsuit was joined with a separate class action with
similar claims in the US District Court for the Southern District of

The Alabama case was settled with the stipulation that all claims
against Syngenta, including the ones by the Louisiana workers, be
dismissed.  However, the lawyer representing the Louisiana workers told
the Louisiana state court that the stipulation included exposure to
only some of the chemicals.  The state court thereupon allowed the
Louisiana workers' lawyer to amend the complaint, citing exposure to
the other chemicals not included in the federal court's stipulation.

Once that happened, Syngenta and several other defendants once more
tried to move the case into federal courts in Louisiana and Alabama.
The reason for this maneuver, as for the earlier ones by the defendant,
is that corporate defendants usually prefer to have cases tried in
federal rather than state courts.

Among other reasons for this preference is that defendants believe
federal judges are more competent to deal with the complicated legal
issues often involved.  Moreover, plaintiffs often enjoy a "home court"
advantage in state courts, said Mark Levy, a Washington attorney with
Howrey Simon Arnold & White, who practices before the Supreme Court.

More legal action ensued until the matter landed in the US Appeals
Court for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta.  The Appeals Court ruled that,
in this case, the federal courts could not assert jurisdiction over a
lawsuit filed in state court.

The company appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which affirmed the
Appeals Court's decision in a 9 to 0 vote.  Although there has been
confusion in the circuit courts on the issue, the decision reinforced
the High Court's view that an assertion of federal jurisdiction has to
meet strict requirements to prevail.

"The High Court's decision will have a significant adverse effect on
corporate defendants who want to remove to federal courts, as well as
others who prefer to be in a federal forum," Mr. Levy said.

TENET HEALTHCARE: Receives FTC Subpoena Over Merger Of Two Hospitals
Tenet Healthcare Corp. received a subpoena from the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) seeking documents related to the merger of its two
hospitals in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, the Associated Press Newswires

Separately, two shareholder lawsuits were filed against the company,
following news that two of its cardiologists were being investigated
for allegedly performing unnecessary surgeries.  The Company has said
that it has received notice of a shareholder derivative action, filed
in the Superior Court of the State of California in Los Angeles.  The
Company said it also received notice of a shareholder lawsuit, filed in
the US District Court for the Central District of California in San

Federal authorities are investigating whether the two heart surgeons
performed unnecessary procedures at the 238-bed Redding Medical Center
in California, including open-heart surgeries and angioplasties.
Neither of the physicians has been charged, and the Company is not a
target of the investigation at the present time.  The Company announced
recently that a team of experts will review the accusations.

The Company said the FTC subpoena is part of the agency's broad
economic study of the impact of recent health care consolidations.  In
September, the FTC, having vowed to step up its scrutiny of completed
hospital mergers for potential anticompetitive behavior, began
demanding documents on several past hospital deals.

A Tenet unit acquired Doctors Regional Medical Center in December 1999
and combined it with its nearby hospital, Lucy Lee Healthcare System.
The FTC and the Missouri attorney general challenged the transaction in
federal court when Tenet announced it in April 1997.

In July 1999, the Eighth US Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the
lower court's decision blocking the acquisition, and, in October 1999,
the appeals court declined to rehear the case.  Justice Clarence Thomas
denied an FTC petition to stay the Eighth Circuit's decision.  As a
result, the lower court dismissed the original action brought by the
FTC and the state attorney general.

TOBACCO LITIGATION: Big Companies Ask Court To Overturn $145B Verdict
Big Tobacco asked the United States 3rd District Court of Appeal to
overturn the record US$145 billion verdict granted to Florida's sick
Florida smokers, saying it would bankrupt the nation's biggest
cigarette makers, the Associated Press reports.

In an earlier Class Action Reporter story, the companies stated that
the suit, which covers an estimated 300,000 to 700,000 sick Florida
smokers, was justified only with "legal and factual contortions."

"Courts around the country have now settled the question with virtual
unanimity," said the companies in their 90-page filing.  "Smokers'
claims are uniquely individualized and hence unsuitable for class-
action treatment."  The Companies also asked the court to strip the
case of its class action status.

Tobacco attorney Elliot Scherker cited a national trend against
allowing smokers to file class-action suits, said the "astronomical
award" would violate state law by bankrupting the companies and
disagreed, in many ways, with how the trial was conducted, AP reports.

"There is no paint brush big enough to cover up the flaws in this
trial," he continued.  Mr. Scherker, who represented four of the five
cigarette makers; Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson and

Attorney Alvin Davis, who represented the fifth company, Liggett, said
his client doesn't even belong in the case, said the trial "ran amok"
and argued the jury adopted "a lemming-like" group mentality.

However, smokers' attorney Stanley Rosenblatt told the judges, "There's
no reason to disturb these verdicts in any way."  In support of the
punitive award, he said, "You're talking about people who died as a
result of being addicted to this product and don't die an easy death."

Judge David Gersten, the most active questioner in the 2-hour hearing,
conceded that the court was in "uncharted waters here."  The judges
gave no indication when they would rule on the punitive damage award,
the three verdicts reached during the two-year trial and whether the
smokers could be grouped together.

The appeals court has several options, AP reports.  Among them, it
could uphold the verdicts and award, erase the money or withdraw its
1996 endorsement of the class action, which would reduce the case to
individual lawsuits.

TOBACCO LITIGATION: Industry Vows to Avoid Billion-Dollar Settlements
The Canadian tobacco industry will not enter into any billion-dollar
settlements, unlike their American counterparts, Imperial Tobacco vice
president Donald McCarty said in an interview, the Vancouver Sun

The potential cost of a settlement, estimated to be as high as $500
billion across the country, precludes any negotiation, he said.  "There
will not be a settlement," Mr. McCarty said outside a British Columbia
Supreme Court hearing to test the provincial government's
constitutional right to sue for health-care costs said to be related to
smoking.  "We will not enter into one. That's how the governments want
this to end."

The tobacco industry has challenged British Columbia's Tobacco Damages
and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, saying the government is trying to
recover health-care costs for people who may have lived in other
provinces and picked up tobacco-related diseases elsewhere, the
Vancouver Sun states.

Thomas Berger, representing the B.C. government, told the Vancouver Sun
that the province alleges there was a conspiracy between tobacco
companies.  "The conspiracy was to deceive the public about the dangers
of tobacco.  The government claims the industry had knowledge of the
dangers that they never shared with the public," he emphasized.

Several groups are monitoring the case closely, like the Ontario and
Newfoundland governments.  Four class actions have been filed on behalf
of individuals in Quebec and Ontario.

British Columbia is the first province to have progressed this far in
bringing legal action against the industry for recovery of health-care
costs, the Vancouver Sun states.  The province estimates it costs B.C.
$500 million a year to treat residents who have smoking-related
diseases.  Mr. McCarty, Imperial's vice-president of legal affairs in
Montreal, said a settlement with all the provinces would hit $500
billion, a figure the tobacco industry cannot begin to absorb.

Settlements in the US total $246 billion, to be paid out in marketing
warnings and price increases over 25 years.  Mr. McCarty stated that in
Canada, high taxes already paid by tobacco companies make further
increases impossible.

"This is just a cash grab by the B.C. government," he told the Sun.
"We don't have the room here for price increases because the government
already taxes the hell out of us."

UNDERWRITERS LITIGATION: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Face Possible Suits
Prominent underwriters Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. and JP Morgan Chase &
Co. could face charges for stock market fraud and market manipulation,
as the enforcement unit of the US Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC) plans to recommend the filing of charges against them, Reuters

The two underwriters allegedly practiced "laddering," or allocating
shares in hot stock offerings to investors who agreed to buy additional
shares in the aftermarket.  Several investment firms, like Salomon
Smith & Barney, Credit Suisse First Boston, and Morgan Stanley are
already facing similar charges in court.

A spokesman at JP Morgan confirmed that it received the so-called Wells
notice last month, though denied any wrongdoing.  A spokeswoman at
Goldman Sachs also denied wrongdoing and said there was no basis for
any such action by the SEC.  The Wall Street Journal first reported on
Tuesday that both firms had received such notices.

The potential civil suits show that one of the SEC's investigations
into Wall Street IPO practices is coming to a head, Reuters states.  In
addition to laddering, it is also investigating "spinning," the
practice of allocating IPO shares to executives in exchange for
investment banking business.

The Wells notice comes in the face of efforts by regulators to create
an industry-wide settlement over securities fraud charges leveled
against investment banks during the bull market in the late 90s.  The
SEC and New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer are meeting to
resolve conflicts and examine a proposal that includes the formation of
a board that would be financed by major banks to oversee independent
research firms.

By floating the threat of broader civil action, regulators may be
applying pressure to the banks to sign on to the settlement, say legal
observers.  "I wouldn't be surprised if part of this is designed to add
some pressure, let them know the SEC is serious," Jim Cox, a securities
professor at Duke University told Reuters.  "A Wells note is never sent
in a vacuum."

UNUMPROVIDENT CORPORATION: Faces Lawsuit Over Wrongfully Denied Claims
The nation's largest disability insurer is facing another lawsuit
accusing the company of wrongly denying thousands of claims in order to
cut costs, Associated Press Newswires reports.  The lawsuit, recently
filed in federal court in Manhattan, alleges that UnumProvident Corp.
"has illegally victimized and continues to victimize, many thousands of
disabled Americans."

The lawsuit was filed by a Long Island law firm on behalf of four
people whose disability claims were denied by Unum Provident.  The suit
seeks class action status and unspecified monetary relief and asks the
court to order the Company to re-evaluate all denied claims from recent

The Company, which has corporate operations in Chattanooga, Tennessee,
and Portland, Maine, already has been sued by a former doctor at the
company, who leveled similar allegations, and by numerous policyholders
with denied claims.

The new lawsuit claims non-medical personnel routinely determined which
claims should be denied, and then used their own medical staff to
create a "paper trail" to justify the decision.  The lawsuit further
alleges that the company and its subsidiaries "operate long term
disability denial factories, efficiently denying claims, not on the
basis of the merits of an individual claim but rather to satisfy the
self-interested goals of UnumProvident and other group insurers."

The company said that it handles 30 percent of the nation's disability
insurance business, and rejected about two percent of disability claims
in 2001.  The Company employs about 100 doctors at claims offices in
Chattanooga, Portland, Worcester, Mass. and Glendale, Calif.

VIVENDI UNIVERSAL: Faces Additional FL, NY State Regulator Probes
Beleaguered media company Vivendi Universal faces a preliminary
criminal investigation by the United States Attorney's Office for the
Southern District of New York, and an informal inquiry by the United
States Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Miami, Florida
office, Wired News reports.  The Company already faces a probe by
French prosecutors.

The Company faces complaints in France and the United States from
shareholders who allege that the company, under former chairman Jean-
Marie Messier, deliberately misled investors into buying or holding The
Company's stock.

WAKEFIELD HOSPITAL: ACC Unlikely To Join Suit For Investment Recovery
Australia's Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) is unlikely to lead
or take part in a class action against directors of Wakefield Hospital
in Wellington, seeking to recover lost investments in the hospital, the
New Zealand Herald reports.

ACC spokesman Fraser Folster told the Herald yesterday that a decision
had not been made but "it's now more unlikely ACC will be involved in
any class action or in leading any class action."

Shareholder Phil Kelliher had asked ACC whether it would lead a class
action after the Securities Commission found in July that Wakefield's
share prospectus had misled investors, although the commission stressed
that directors had acted in accordance with honestly held beliefs.
There was no finding of liability, the New Zealand Herald states.

ACC has 250,000 Wakefield shares.

WAMPLER FOODS: Doctor Commences Lawsuit Over Listeriosis-Infected Meat
A 98-year-old doctor who was hospitalized with listeriosis for two
months blamed Wampler Foods in a recently filed class action while the
discovery of potentially deadly bacteria in turkey from a nearby New
Jersey plant has complicated the issue of source for investigatiors,
the Allentown Morning Call reports.

Health officials thought they had traced a nationwide outbreak of food
poisoning to Wampler Foods' Montgomery County plant.  However, now they
have to consider whether a JL Foods plant 30 miles away in Camden,
might also have been a source.  Both plants might have produced meat
that killed seven people and sickened 50 others, said Thomas Skinner, a
spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in

"Maybe there was a common source that was provided by distributors to
the two plants," such as the same batch of raw turkey meat or tainted
packaging materials, said Mr. Skinner.  "There are still a lot of
questions that have to be answered."

Mr. Skinner also said that while technically possible, it was
"extremely unlikely" that the bacteria from the two plants came from
separate sources because they had the same basic genetic makeup.

Lawyers for the plaintiff Dr. Frank Niemtzow said genetic tests proved
the retired obstetrician got sick from the same batch of bacteria found
in drains at the Wampler plant, which is owned by Pilgrim's Pride.
Spokesman for Pilgrim's Pride, Ray Atkinson, said he was unaware of any
test that had conclusively linked an ill person to bacteria in
Wampler's Franconia Township plant.

CDC officials had called Wampler the likely source.  More recently, the
US Department of Agriculture found the genetically indistinguishable
batch of listeria in a sample of Jack Lambersky Poultry Co. deli meat
from JL Foods.

The class action names Wampler and parent company Pilgrim's Pride of
Pittsburg, Texas, as defendants.  The suit demands refunds for people
who bought tainted Wampler products, punitive damages and compensation
for pain and suffering.

Wampler "failed to adequately and properly test and inspect the meat
products" and failed to "label the meat products so as to warn of the
risks of diseases," the lawsuit alleges.  The lawsuit cites sanitation
violations at the Wampler plant earlier this year that included moldy
pipes, food particles left on conveyor belts and water leaking onto
meat.  Though Wampler was cited for alleged violations more than 40
times since January, "corrective actions were either not implemented or
were ineffective," according to USDA records.

Chicago attorney Kenneth B. Moll, whose law firm Kenneth B. Moll &
Associates filed the lawsuit on Dr. Niemtzow's behalf in Philadelphia
Common Pleas Court, said he believed further scientific tests would
prove that his client was made ill by eating Wampler's foods, rather
than turkey from J.L. Foods, which was not named in the lawsuit.

The Wampler plant has been closed since mid-October for cleaning, and
the company has recalled 27.4 million pounds of processed poultry.
J.L. Foods has recalled 200,000 pounds of fresh and frozen poultry.

Listeriosis kills about 500 people in the United States each year,
according to the CDC.  The bacteria listeria monocytogenes causes the

WORLDCOM INC.: WA Pension Fund Files Lawsuit To Recover Lost Investment
The Washington State Investment Borad commenced a class action against
major underwriters of WorldCom, Inc.'s bonds to recover around US$100
million that it lost after the value of the securities collapsed, the
Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.  The suit names as defendants:

     (1) Citigroup, Inc.,

     (2) Salomon Smith Barney,

     (3) Deutsche Bank AG,

     (4) Bank of America,

     (5) Lehman Brothers Holdings,

     (6) ABN AMRO Inc.,

     (7) Credit Suisse Group,

     (8) J.P. Morgan Securities,

     (9) Nationsbanc Montgomery Securities LLC and

    (10) Arthur Andersen

WorldCom, Inc. filed for bankruptcy in July, after revelations of
accounting and securities fraud, spurring several shareholder suits
against the Company.  Two of the Company's former executives have
already pleaded guilty to securities fraud.

The suit, filed by Attorney General Christine Gregoire in King County
Superior Court, alleges that the state bought the WorldCom bonds based
on false and misleading financial information in bond documents
supplied by the financial institutions.

Representatives of the various companies either declined to comment or
could not be reached yesterday, the Seattle Post-Intelliger states.

Ms. Gregoire said in the news release that the state hopes to restore
lost funds to the pension system "and send Wall Street a message that
we will hold them accountable if they abandon honesty for profits."

*US-Style Collective Legal Action All The `Rage' For British Investors
Stephen Alexander of the law firm Class Law is content. He can reel off
the list of legal actions he plans against top City (London) regulator
Howard Davies and leading British companies, and other legal actions,
which, he says, have government ministers running scared, according to
a report by The Guardian.

The numbers of class actions, whereby groups of individuals band
together to seek redress against financial or other institutions has
been growing.  The opportunity for class actions came with a change of
law two years ago, which allowed a "group litigation application" to be
made for the first time in Britain.  Individuals with common issues
could bring test cases in areas such as personal injury, among others.

Interest in bringing class actions has been sharpened by a wave of City
scandals, changes to the law and the internet.  Mr. Alexander, for
example, now is able to act for aggrieved investors from companies such
as Railtrack and Equitable Life, as well as split capital investment
trust managers Aberdeen and BFS.

Large international law firms also are piling in:  Salans Hertzfeld &
Heilbronn is representing more than 900 employees in a threatened legal
challenge against Big Food Group, formerly Iceland, over BFG's decision
to close its final salary pension scheme to existing members of the

Even suburban solicitors, such as Joseph Aaron in Ilford, Essex, see
the class action as a promising new field of business.  Mr. Aaron is
representing endowment policyholders who are taking action against life

Supporters of class actions argue that they offer potential redress to
those otherwise unable to afford to pursue justice while representing a
brake on the abuse of power.  Critics say, however, that solicitors in
Britain are adopting the habits of their rapacious cousins across the
Atlantic, encouraging the man and woman in the street to become
involved in expensive court battles which they have no guarantee of

Before any class action gets anywhere near the law courts, clients are
asked to stump up an initial fee, say the critics.   Each of the split
cap investors, for example, have had to give Mr. Alexander a fee, as
have Equitable members and Railtrack investors.  These fees are but
relatively small sums, say the supporters of class actions, and should
be viewed as down payments to get the wheels of justice moving.

Critics also point out that once a case gets under way, costs can
increase rapidly, and if a case were to go all the way to the high
court and end in defeat, the costs could run into millions of pounds.
Concerns already have been raised that clients who have stumped up
advance payments for class actions have seen few writs issued or
tangible evidence of a case proceeding.

Barry Mordsley, a partner with Salans Hertzfeld, sees class actions,
such as the BFG one, as an extension of his work as an employment
lawyer.   Of the risks involved he says, "I always tell representatives
about the downside of legal action.  But I do not say that if you go
to the high court it is going to be horrendously expensive, because we
take these cases one step at a time."

Mr. Alexander of Class Law says he explains to clients the financial
dangers, but points out to them that losses tend to be underwritten in
insurance policies.  His firm turns down lots of cases, he says,
because it is the firm's policy to represent people only when there is
a good chance of success.

"We go into minute detail about what the case will involve.  What you
do not want is people going into something and then turning around and
saying,  `I have chucked good money after bad, and if I had known, I
never would have gotten involved.'"

As for his own firm, he says he is asked whether it is right to have
won so much confidence among so many clients when it has so few
tangible victories under its belt?   Class Law claims to have improved
the terms of a merger between Royal and Sun Alliance through its legal
action.  Mr. Alexander says also that it deserves some kudos for
Railtrack investors winning compensation from the government.

Mr. Alexander says it takes a lot of time to build up such cases and
put pressure on companies to provide suitable redress.  He also claims
to be out-of-pocket while developing the primary 10 class actions in
which he is engaged, despite the advance payments provided by clients.

The interest in class actions also has been increased by insurance
companies' willingness to provide cover against losing a case.   Plus,
the recent restriction on provision of legal aid has forced litigants
to seek other ways of funding their litigation.

The internet also has played a role; lawyer say that e-mails and online
documentation allow them to keep in touch with and gain the vies of
hundreds of different clients so decisions can be made quickly.

Mr. Alexander says class actions have an even wider role than
preventing abuse of corporate power.  They have become a crucial part
of democracy at a time when the government has such a large majority in
the House of Commons that the executive has control of the legislature
and there is no effective parliamentary influence.

                             Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS ALERT: Engineering Groups Face Possible Asbestos Related Suits
ABB has drawn up plans to cap its US asbestos liabilities, which have
threatened to drive Europe's second biggest engineering group into

The move by the struggling group came as news of fresh asbestos claims
drove shares in several European engineering companies sharply lower.
Royal and Sun Alliance, the UK insurer, also fell after the Financial
Times revealed on Friday that it faced a fresh claim.

ABB's proposals, which involve bankruptcy protection for Combustion
Engineering, its troubled US unit, would limit its US asbestos burden
to about $1.1bn, much less than analysts had expected.  The bankruptcy
protection could include the settlement of pending and future

The group said negotiations were already under way with US asbestos
plaintiffs to resolve CE's liability and take it into a Chapter 11
bankruptcy that would include provisions to pay asbestos claims.  ABB
estimated that the claims would be met by CE's $812m (EU815.2m) in
assets and another $300m paid out over several years.

"We are very confident that we will make progress to get the
(settlement) approved," said Peter Voser, ABB chief financial officer.
A settlement would solve the problem of asbestos once and for all for
ABB and its subsidiaries, he said.

ABB is looking to break itself up after a shock profits warning last
week that cut its share price by nearly two thirds. It said at the time
that asbestos costs at CE would exceed the subsidiary's asset value.

ABB shares fell nearly 15 per cent on Friday, closing SFr0.29 lower at
SFr1.68. As well as asbestos fears, investors were rattled by the move
late on Thursday by Moody's, the credit rating agency, to cut the
group's $8.4bn debt to "junk" status, raising the prospect that it will
have to be bailed out by its bankers.

Among the hardest hit engineering stocks on Friday was Alfa Laval, the
Swedish group, whose shares fell 32 per cent after it emerged late on
Thursday that a US subsidiary had been named in 40 asbestos suits.
Shares in Royal & Sun Alliance, the UK's second largest general
insurer, fell 12 per cent. It confirmed that it was facing an asbestos
liability lawsuit from Turner & Newall, the UK engineering group and
former asbestos producer, on behalf of former employees.

RSA is still looking for a new chief executive and has promised to
spell out its capital requirements to investors on Thursday, although a
long- rumored rights issue looks increasingly unlikely.

Colin Morton, a fund manager with BWD Rensburg, said, "The whole
insurance sector faces mounting asbestos claims, but if you're one of
the weakest players in the sector, you'll be the hardest hit."

Shares in Trelleborg, the diversified Swedish industrial group, also
fell sharply as the group said its US distribution subsidiary had faced
asbestos claims, but had lost none.  In any event, the company said,
Goodall had insurance against losing such claims. Trelleborg shares
closed 9.4 per cent down.

Atlas Copco, another Swedish group, saw its shares sink as it confirmed
that it had asbestos- related legal claims filed against it. The shares
dropped 8.1 per cent to SKr165 .

Elsewhere, France's Saint-Gobain dipped 2.3 per cent to EU21.43, while
Lafarge fell 5.5 per cent to EU76.

ASBESTOS ALERT: ABB Asbestos Settlement May Top US$1.1B, Lawyers Say
ABB Ltd., Europe's biggest electrical-engineering company, may have to
pay four or five times as much as the $1.1 billion it's offering to
settle asbestos claims against a U.S. unit, lawyers and analysts said.
Chief Financial Officer Peter Voser disclosed on Friday plans for a
"pre-packaged" bankruptcy for the unit, Combustion Engineering Inc., to
come after creditors agree on a settlement.

ABB expects to give up $812 million worth of the unit's assets and pay
$300 million in cash to end 111,000 lawsuits.  ABB, whose shares have
fallen 90 percent this year, may be underestimating the demands of
plaintiffs, who have won about $1 billion from the Zurich-based company
since 1990, lawyers and analysts said.  US companies have paid more
than $54 billion in asbestos claims since the 1970s, according to the
Rand Institute.

"The price tag seems very low," said Oerjan Roeden, an analyst at
Danske Securities who rates the shares "reduce."  Plaintiffs' lawyers
agree.  They represent former Combustion Engineering employees who say
they were exposed to asbestos in boilers made by the company into the
1970s.  Asbestos, used in insulation, has been linked to lung cancer
and other diseases.

"It's hard for me to believe their liability is that small," Steve
Kazan, an Oakland, California-based attorney who settles about 60
asbestos claims a year, said in an interview.

ABB's present and future liability is more like $5 billion to $10
billion, said Kazan, who is among those suing Combustion Engineering.
Thomas Ringkvist, an analyst at BNP Paribas in Paris, estimates ABB may
have to quadruple provisions to $4 billion.

"The $1.1 billion figure is based on our models, and we believe it's
accurate," ABB spokesman Thomas Schmidt said.  Resolving ABB's asbestos
claims would help restore confidence among investors and banks,
including Credit Suisse Group and Citigroup Inc., which are negotiating
with the company on extension of a $1 billion credit line, analysts
said.  "It would be a totally new game plan," Danske's Roeden said.
"Asbestos is holding everything back."

ABB's credit rating was cut to junk by Moody's Investors Services last
week, in part because of the lawsuits.  ABB shares are the worst
performers in the benchmark Swiss Market Index, and its 500 million
euros ($499 million) of 9 1/2 percent bonds due in 2008 traded Friday
at 43.5 percent of their value, according to Merrill Lynch.

Johns Manville Corp., an asbestos maker now owned by Warren Buffett's
Berkshire Hathaway Inc., set the precedent for prepackaged bankruptcies
in 1988.  Its Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust has since paid
out about $2.7 billion to asbestos exposed workers.

Building-materials maker PPG Industries Inc., and its insurers
including Citigroup Inc.'s Travelers Property and Casualty Corp., in
May agreed to pay $2.7 billion for asbestos injury claims in a similar

Talks with plaintiffs on the proposed settlement will probably be
completed in four to six months, Mr. Voser said.  Under section 524 (g)
of U.S. bankruptcy law, ABB will need support from at least 75 percent
of them before a judge will allow a pre-packaged filing.

That requirement "makes certain the victims can't be steamrolled by
companies seeking relief," said Fred Baron, a Dallas lawyer who
represents people suing Halliburton Co., the world's No. 2 oil-services
company, over asbestos.

ABB is one of several European companies entangled in asbestos claims
in the U.S. DaimlerChrysler AG, Cie. de Saint-Gobain SA, and RHI AG are
among manufacturers facing lawsuits, and European insurers such as
Allianz AG and Munich Re may be forced to pay compensation for claims.

ABB, which bought 200 companies during the past decade in a failed bid
to rival General Electric Co., had its first loss in 2001 after
doubling asbestos provisions. Its third-quarter loss widened to $183

The company is reorganizing for the second time in as many years, and
selling businesses with sales of more than $6 billion a year, to reduce
debt that has more than tripled since 2000. The European Commission
will rule Tuesday on the $2.3 billion sale of its structured finance
business to General Electric.

ABB Chief Executive Officer Juergen Dormann and attorneys at Kirkland &
Ellis, the Chicago law firm that's representing the company, didn't
return telephone calls seeking comment.

Kirkland & Ellis also represents W.R. Grace & Co. and McDermott
International Inc.'s Babcock & Wilcox unit, according to the American
Bankruptcy Institute's Web site. Both are among at least 60 U.S.
companies that have filed for bankruptcy protection due to asbestos

ASBESTOS ALERT: Alfa Laval Downplays Suits Amid Securities Concerns
Engineering equipment group Alfa Laval on Monday sought to reassure
investors over its exposure to U.S. asbestos-related lawsuits amid
concerns about whether it had adequately disclosed its risks in its May
prospectus in advance of its initial public offering.

The Swedish company said that none of its products have been found to
be the cause of any asbestos injury in lawsuits in which its U.S. unit
Alfa Laval Inc. has been named as a defendant.

Based on current information, Alfa Laval said it doesn't believe these
lawsuits will have a "material adverse" effect on the company's
financial condition or results of operations.

"We are absolutely convinced that we have adequate provisions," Alfa
Laval's chief executive officer, Sigge Haraldsson, told Dow Jones

The company sold shares on the Stockholm exchange at 91 kronor ($9.97)
in the IPO.  Its stock has recently been trading at about half that

In its third quarter earnings report last Thursday, Alfa Laval said its
U.S. unit was named as a defendant in about 40 lawsuits related to
asbestos. In all cases, the company is one among a large number of

Alfa Laval said Monday that Alfa Laval Inc. is named as a co-defendant
in a total of 68 asbestos-related lawsuits representing around 7,500
plaintiffs.  Since Oct. 1, it has been named as a co-defendant in an
additional 43 suits, with notice regarding 30 of these received in the
last few days.

Alfa Laval's share price fell more than 30 percent on Friday due to
asbestos issues, including concerns over why the asbestos situation
wasn't clarified in the IPO prospectus, according to brokers.

Mr. Haraldsson said that at the time of the IPO, the company didn't see
a significant impact from asbestos-related legal action.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Armstrong Files Plan of Reorganization in Ch. 11 Case
Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (AWI) has filed a Plan of
Reorganization with the US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware in its Chapter
11 reorganization case.  The plan is supported by the asbestos personal
injury claimants' committee, the representative for future asbestos
personal injury claimants and the unsecured creditors' committee.  The
filing represents a critical step forward in the resolution of the
company's reorganization efforts.  The plan will only become effective
after a vote of various classes of creditors and with the approval of
the Court.

"Armstrong entered into Chapter 11 to use the court-supervised process
to resolve its liability for asbestos personal injury claims with
finality," said Armstrong Chairman and CEO Michael D. Lockhart.  "We
believe that the plan we have filed will accomplish that objective
while serving fairly and in proper balance the interests of all

Key elements of the plan provide for:

     (1) Creation of a trust for the benefit of present and future
         asbestos personal injury claimants, which will assume all of
         the company's obligations to those claimants;

     (2) The distribution of new common shares and notes of the
         reorganized company and available cash (after reserving $100
         million to fund ongoing operations and making provisions for
         amounts required to be paid in connection with the Plan),
         referred to as the "Plan Consideration," to the trust and to
         unsecured creditors;

     (3) The notes to be issued by the reorganized company will total
         at least $775 million in principal amount, which will be
         increased to the extent that available cash to be distributed
         under the Plan is less than $350 million;

     (4) The assignment to the trust of certain rights to insurance
         coverage of the company;

     (5) A mechanism to resolve asbestos property damage claims through
         insurance proceeds;

     (6) A class of "convenience claims," general unsecured claims of
         $10,000 or less (other than debt securities), which will be
         paid 75% of their allowed claims in cash; and

     (7) Cancellation of the existing common stock of AWI and the
         potential distribution to the stockholders of Armstrong
         Holdings, Inc. (AHI) (NYSE: ACK), AWI's parent company, if
         they approve a dissolution of AHI, of warrants for 5 percent
         of the common shares of the reorganized company, which are
         expected to have a value of approximately $40 - 50 million.

The stockholders of AHI are not entitled to vote on the proposed Plan.
If the Plan is implemented, the only value that will be retained by
stockholders of AHI is the potential to receive their ratable share of
the warrants if the dissolution of AHI is approved.

The Plan sets out a process for determining the portion of the Plan
Consideration to be received by the asbestos personal injury trust and
by the holders of unsecured creditor claims (other than asbestos
personal injury and property damage claims).

The class of unsecured creditors would receive approximately 34.43% of
the new common stock of AWI and approximately 35.5% of the new notes
and available cash, which would be allocated among the unsecured
creditors pro rata according to the amount of their allowed claims.
The value of the distribution which unsecured creditors receive will
depend principally on the value of the shares to be distributed to them
and is not fixed by the Plan as a percentage of their claims.

The asbestos personal injury trust will receive the portion of the Plan
Consideration that is not distributed to the class of unsecured

A proposed Disclosure Statement regarding the Plan will be filed with
the Bankruptcy Court by AWI.  No date has been set for the required
Bankruptcy Court hearing on the Disclosure Statement.  Votes on the
Plan may not be solicited until the Court approves the Disclosure

Armstrong Holdings, Inc. is the parent company of Armstrong World
Industries, Inc.  AHI became the publicly-held holding company of AWI
on May 1, 2000.  Stock certificates that formerly represented shares of
AWI were automatically converted into certificates representing shares
of AHI.  AHI has no significant assets or operations apart from its
equity interest in AWI.

In connection with the implementation of AWI's Plan, the dissolution
and winding up of AHI will be proposed for approval by AHI's
shareholders.  Further information regarding this matter will be
provided to AHI's shareholders at the appropriate time.

ASBESTOS ALERT:  Appeal on Norfolk Southern Asbestos Damages Heard
The US Supreme Court returned to the asbestos litigation crisis on
Wednesday, questioning whether workers can recover damages from an
employer for fear of developing asbestos-related cancer.  The justices
heard arguments by Carter Phillips, a lawyer for Norfolk Southern
Corp., who challenged the $5.8 million award to six retired railway
workers with asbestosis, a potentially deadly lung disease.

Mr. Phillips said the Supreme Court in a 1997 ruling referred to the
asbestos litigation crisis, and told the justices the problem has
become worse since then, with a wave of new personal injury lawsuits.
He cited a recent study that asbestos-related claims have been brought
against 6,000 defendants and seek more than $200 billion in damages.

Mr. Phillips said the case illustrated the existing problems.  At issue
was whether a federal law governing railroad employee suits allows
damages for fear of developing cancer, when the plaintiff does not have
the disease or any of its symptoms.

He said 5,500 cases involving asbestosis have been filed under the law
in West Virginia alone, and warned that more suits would be brought if
the damages were upheld for those who fear they may develop cancer.
"That is the essence of unpredictable and unlimited damages," Mr.
Phillips said.  He urged the court to adopt a more restrictive view of
the federal law to prevent "unlimited liability."

Asbestos was widely used for fireproofing and insulation until the
1970s, when scientists concluded that inhaled fibers could be linked to
cancer and other diseases.  The ever-increasing number of personal
injury lawsuits has cost more than $54 billion in settlements so far
and has driven more than 60 US companies into bankruptcy.

The six workers, who brought suit in West Virginia, claimed the
railroad failed to provide them with a reasonably safe workplace
because of their exposure to asbestos, which can cause cancer.  Several
justices closely questioned Mr. Phillips on why damages could not be
awarded under the traditional standards for pain and suffering and for
emotional distress.

"The reason these people are worried is that they have asbestosis and
people with asbestosis have a greater probability of developing
cancer," Justice David Souter said.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor told Mr. Phillips a minority of court
jurisdictions require a link between cancer and the injury suffered.
"Are you suggesting that we should adopt it?" she asked.

The Justice Department supported Phillips.  Assistant Solicitor General
David Salmons said allowing damages for the anxiety of getting cancer
would "frustrate the system" and "harm those who develop cancer later."
Richard Lazarus, representing the workers, said the damages should be

However, Justices Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy questioned the
implications of that position.  Judge Kennedy asked whether a worker
who wins damages for fear of getting cancer could later sue again after
actually developing cancer, while Judge Breyer expressed concern that
awarding damages to people with an increased risk of getting the
disease would mean less money would be available for those who get
cancer.  "It's $200 billion at stake, and the fund will run dry," he
said.  The court's decision is expected early next year.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Royal & Sun Insurance Faces Asbestos-Related Lawsuit
British insurer Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Group plc (LSE:RSA) is
facing a new asbestos-liability lawsuit, filed by U.K. engineering firm
Turner & Newall Ltd. on behalf of the firm's employees.

Preliminary High Court proceedings have begun against Royal & Sun, the
Financial Times of London reported. Turner & Newall, an engineering
firm that once had subsidiaries that manufactured products containing
asbestos, is a subsidiary of U.S. manufacturer Federal-Mogul Corp.
(OTC:FDMLQ), an automotive-parts maker whose brands include Champion
spark plugs.  Federal-Mogul and Turner & Newell are both in bankruptcy
reorganization proceedings, the former in the United States and the
latter in the United Kingdom, both because of asbestos-related claims
against them.

According to the Financial Times, Turner & Newall's lawsuit against
Royal & Sun Alliance claims the insurer is liable under an employer-
liability policy in effect between October 1969 and March 1977. A trial
is expected to begin in January.

Royal & Sun spokesman Mike Wallwork said the company couldn't comment
on the details of the lawsuit. "We take our responsibilities as an
insurer extremely seriously and have a great deal of sympathy for any
affected ex-employee of Turner & Newall," Mr. Wallwork said.  "There
are a number of complex issues relating to liability in this case. As
these matters are subject to legal proceedings, it is not appropriate
for us to comment further at this stage."

News of the lawsuit followed a revelation by Hartford Financial
Services Group Inc. (NYSE:HIG) that it too is being targeted by an
asbestos-related lawsuit (BestWire, Oct. 31, 2002).  Hartford is being
sued in Alameda County Superior Court in California by MacArthur Co.
and its subsidiary Western MacArthur Co., both former distributors of
asbestos products.  The lawsuit, which includes five plaintiffs who had
won default asbestos judgments against MacArthur, seeks unspecified
nonproduct asbestos-liability payouts from Hartford Accident &
Indemnity Co. and the two other insurers.

The asbestos lawsuit caps a tough year for Royal & Sun, which like many
other U.K. insurers has been struggling as faltering equity markets
took their toll on both investment income and earnings from equity-
linked products.  The company's stock plunged 20.5% on Aug. 8 after the
insurer released first-half results showing a 17.7% drop in operating
earnings and an overall loss (BestWire, Aug. 8, 2002).

The company also said it would complete the closure of its life
insurance businesses and raise its loss reserves for Sept. 11, 2001.
After releasing its first-half results, the company said it would
review its capital requirements for the rest of 2002 and 2003, as well
as the performance of some of its businesses.

Since then, the heat's been turned up, as the U.K. Financial Services
Authority--the British regulatory authority for insurers--notified
Royal & Sun that it would be fined 1.35 million pounds ($1 = 0.64
pounds) for breaching accounting rules related to its personal pensions
review (BestWire, Aug. 27, 2002).

Chief Executive Office Bob Mendelsohn resigned in September, as Royal &
Sun's board made it known they wanted new leadership to turn the
company around.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Trelleborg Group Clarifies Issues Relating to Goodall
With reference to the present debate of asbestos related lawsuits the
Trelleborg Group (Other OTC:TBABF) (Stockholm:TRELb) offer the
following clarifications in response to questions received from capital
market actors.

Since the early 90s and together with hundreds of other U.S. companies,
one of Trelleborg's U.S. subsidiaries, the distribution company Goodall
Inc., has been involved in lawsuits relating to asbestos containing
products from the 30s and 40s.

The lawsuits concerned are of the type mass-suits and Goodall's
involvement is viewed as being only very peripheral. All claims have
been dismissed for lack of connection with Goodall. Consequently no
settlements have been made.

Goodall has an insurance cover for asbetos claims and the company's
insurers carry the costs of litigation.  More than 90% of the claims
have already been dismissed and we intend to continue to handle the
issues in the same way we have until now.

ANADARKO PETROLEUM:  Continues to Fight Asbestos Personal Injury Claims
Andarko Petroleum is a defendant in various personal injury claims,
including numerous claims by employees of third-party contractors,
alleging exposure to asbestos and benzene while working at a refinery
in Corpus Christi, Texas, which RME sold in segments in 1987 and 1989.

While the ultimate outcome and impact on the Company cannot be
predicted with certainty, management believes that the resolution of
these proceedings will not have a material adverse effect on the
consolidated financial position of the Company, although results of
operations and cash flow could be significantly impacted in the
reporting periods in which such matters are resolved.


Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: APC)
1201 Lake Robbins Dr.
The Woodlands, TX 77380-1046
Phone: 832-636-1000
Fax: 281-874-3385

Employees                       : 3,500
Revenues                        :  $8,369,000,000.00
Net Income                      :  $(181,000,000.00)
Assets                          :  $16,771,000,000.00
Liabilities                     :  $10,406,000,000.00

As of December 31, 2001

Description:  Anadarko Petroleum has ventured beyond its original area
of operation -- the Anadarko Basin -- to explore for, develop, produce,
and market oil, natural gas, and related products worldwide. The large
independent oil and gas company has expanded significantly with the
acquisition of fellow independent Union Pacific Resources, which has
boosted Anadarko's proved reserves to 2.3 billion barrels of oil
equivalent, evenly divided between crude oil and natural gas. More than
half of the company's reserves are in the US (Alaska, Louisiana, Texas,
the midcontinent and Rocky Mountain regions, and the Gulf of Mexico).

CRANE COMPANY:  Named As Defendant in 16,000 Asbestos Related Suits
Crane Co. is a defendant in about 16,000 actions filed in various state
and federal courts alleging injury or death as a result of exposure to
asbestos as of December 31, 2001.

These filings typically do not identify any products of the Crane as a
source of asbestos exposure, and based on its past experience, it is
expected that a substantial majority of these cases will be dismissed
against it for lack of product identification.

The liability recorded for asbestos claims constitutes management's
best estimate of defense and settlement costs for pending and
reasonably anticipated future claims, net of reimbursements from the
company's insurers under a cost sharing agreement.  Crane cautions,
however, that inherent in its estimate of liabilities are expected
trends in claim severity, frequency and other factors which may vary as
claims are filed and settled or otherwise disposed of.

While it is not possible to predict with certainty the ultimate outcome
of these lawsuits and contingencies, the Company believes, after
discussing pending claims with counsel, that resolution of these
matters will not have a material effect on the Company's financial
position or cash flows.


Crane Co. (NYSE: CR)
100 First Stamford Place
Stamford, CT 06902
Phone: 203-363-7300
Fax: 203-363-7295

Employees                    : 9,600
Revenues                     : 1,587,200,000.00
Net Income                   : 88,600,000.00
Assets                       : 1,292,100,000.00
Liabilities                  : 640,800,000.00
Asbestos Cases               : 16,000

(As of December 31, 2001)

Description:  Crane Co. makes a variety of industrial products,
including fluid handling equipment (valves and pumps), aerospace
components (sensing and control systems and anti-skid brake controls),
engineered materials (plumbing supplies and lined-piping products),
merchandising systems (vending machines), and controls (diagnostic,
measurement, and control devices). Crane Co. serves the power
generation, general aviation, commercial construction, food and
beverage, and chemical industries, among others. The acquisitive
company tends to eye and then buy companies that enhance its niche
markets and unique product mix. The Crane Fund, a charitable trust,
owns about 13% of Crane Co.

CROWN CORK: Accrues US$347 Million in Asbestos Related Liabilities
Crown Cork & Seal is one of many defendants in a substantial number of
lawsuits filed throughout the United States by persons alleging bodily
injury as a result of exposure to asbestos.  At December 31, 2001, the
accrual for asbestos was $347 million.  This accrual is related to the
liability for pending and future claims that are probable and

Over the past four years, the Company has provided $594 million to
increase its accrual for probable and estimable costs related to
asbestos.  The claims arose from the insulation operations of a U.S.
company, the majority of whose stock the company purchased in 1963.
Approximately ninety days after the stock purchase, this U.S. company
sold its insulation operations and was later merged into what is now
Crane Co.

Prior to 1998, the amounts paid to asbestos claimants were covered by a
fund of $80 million made available to the Company under a 1985
settlement with carriers insuring the Company through 1976, when the
Company became self-insured.  Until 1998, the Company considered that
the fund was adequate and that the likelihood of exposure in excess of
the amount of the fund was remote.

This view was based on the Company's analysis of its potential
exposure, the balance available under the 1985 settlement, historical
trends and actual settlement ranges.  However, an unexpected increase
in claims activity, along with several larger group settlements, caused
the Company to reevaluate its position.  As a consequence, the Company
recorded a charge of $125 million in 1998 for the uninsured portion of
future claims.

Each quarter, the Company continues to review and analyze its claim
experience, settlement trends, changes in the litigation environment
and other factors to determine the adequacy of its asbestos accruals.
In 2000 and again in 2001, the Company engaged an expert in the field
of medical demographics to perform an independent evaluation of the
Company's potential asbestos liability. Adjustments to the asbestos
accrual are made based on changes to the above-mentioned factors after
consultation with the Company's experts and legal counsel.

During 2001, 2000 and 1999, respectively, the Company:

     (1) received 53,000, 44,000 and 33,000 new claims;

     (2) settled or dismissed 31,000, 40,000 and 58,000 claims, and

     (3) had 66,000, 44,000 and 40,000 claims outstanding at the end of
         the respective years.

The claims exclude 32,000 pending claims involving plaintiffs who
allege that they are, or were, maritime workers subject to exposure to
asbestos, but whose claims the Company believes, based on counsel's
advice, will not, in the aggregate, involve any material liability.
During 2001, one jurisdiction accounted for 25,000 claims received,
17,000 of which were settled for $4 million.

During 2001, 2000 and 1999, respectively, the Company:

     (i) recorded pre-tax charges of $51 million, $255 million and $163
         million to increase its accrual,

    (ii) made asbestos-related payments of $118 million, $94 million
         and $50 million and

   (iii) had outstanding accruals of $347 million, $420 million and
         $249 million at the end of the respective years. The 2001
         charge of $51 million included an allowance of $6 million for
         an insurance receivable.

In December 2001, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enacted legislation
that limits the asbestos-related liabilities of Pennsylvania
corporations that are successors by corporate merger to companies
involved with asbestos.  The legislation limits the successor's
liability for asbestos to the acquired company's asset value.

To date, the Company has paid in excess of $350 million in settling
claims, which exceeds the value of the acquired company's assets.  The
Company has taken appropriate steps to integrate the Pennsylvania
legislation into its defense strategy with all claimants nationwide.

Based on the updated report of the independent expert, the Company's
own review, and the view of counsel concerning the possible effects of
the new legislation, the Company estimates that its probable and
estimable asbestos liability for pending and future asbestos claims
will range between $347 million and $580 million.

The accrual balance of $347 million at the end of 2001 includes $157
million for committed settlements that will be paid over time.  The
Company expects total cash payments for asbestos to be approximately
$110 million in 2002, including $74 million under committed

While it is not possible to predict the ultimate outcome of the
asbestos-related claims and settlements, the Company believes, after
consultation with counsel, that resolution of these matters is not
expected to have a material adverse effect on the Company's financial

The Company cautions, however, that these estimates for asbestos cases
and settlements are difficult to predict and may be influenced by many
factors.  Accordingly, these matters, if resolved in a manner different
from the estimate, could have a material effect on the Company's
financial position.

The Company has been identified by the EPA as a potentially responsible
party (along with others, in most cases) at a number of sites.
Estimated remedial expenses for active projects are recognized in
accordance with generally accepted accounting principles governing
probability and the ability to reasonably estimate future costs.

Actual expenditures for remediation were $4 million, $2 million and $3
million in 2001, 2000 and 1999, respectively.  The Company's balance
sheet reflects estimated gross remediation liabilities of $18 million
and $21 million at December 31, 2001 and 2000, respectively, and
probable recoveries related to indemnification from the sellers of
acquired companies and the Company's insurance carriers of $2 million
and $5 million at December 31, 2001 and 2000, respectively.


Crown Cork & Seal Company, Inc. (NYSE: CCK)
1 Crown Way
Philadelphia, PA 19154-4599
Phone: 215-698-5100
Fax: 215-676-7245

Employees                            : 33,046
Revenues                             : 7,187,000,000.00
Net Income                           : $(972,000,000.00)
Assets                               : 9,620,000,000.00
Liabilities                          : 8,816,000,000.00
Booked Asbestos Liabilities          : $347,000,000
No. of Asbestos Claims               : 66,000

(As of December 31, 2001)

Description:  Crown Cork & Seal Company produces consumer packaging.
Its product portfolio consists of aerosol cans, food and beverage cans,
paint cans, plastic bottles and other containers, and a variety of
metal and plastic caps, crowns, and closures. Metal cans and related
packaging are the company's primary source of income, accounting for
more than 75% of sales. In addition, CC&S makes equipment and parts for
making cans. The company also designs polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
plastic containers to enhance product marketing. The US accounts for
40% of CC&S's sales; while Europe, 45%.

FLUOR CORPORATION: Faces Lawsuits for Asbestos Exposure in Work Sites
Fluor Corporation is a defendant in various lawsuits wherein plaintiffs
allege exposure to asbestos fibers and dust due to work that the
Company may have performed at various locations.

It has substantial third party insurance coverage to cover a
significant portion of existing and any potential costs, settlements or
judgments.  No material provision has been made for any present or
future claims and the company does not believe that the outcome of any
actions will have a material adverse impact on its financial position,
results of operations or cash flows.  The company has resolved a number
of cases to date, which in the aggregate have not had a material
adverse impact.


Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR)
1 Enterprise Dr.
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-2606
Phone: 949-349-2000
Fax: 949-349-5271

Employees                 : 51,313
Revenues                  : $8,972,200,000.00
Net Income                : $19,400,000.00
Assets                    : 3,091,200,000.00
Liabilities               : $2,301,800,000.00

(As of December 31, 2001)

Description: Fluor is focusing on its traditional strengths:
engineering, procurement, construction, and maintenance. One of the
world's largest engineering and construction companies, Fluor ranks
among the top international design firms and international contractors.
It provides construction management services to various industrial
sectors worldwide. Fluor's projects include designing and building
manufacturing facilities, refineries, pharmaceutical facilities, power
plants, and telecommunications and transportation infrastructure. Fluor
also offers equipment fleet outsourcing and temporary staffing for
construction projects. Fluor veteran Alan Boeckmann has replaced Philip
Carroll as chairman and CEO.

LONE STAR: Faces Numerous Lawsuits Over Asbestos Exposure in Premises
Lone Star is subject to numerous lawsuits concerning exposure to
asbestos on its premises.  To date several of these lawsuits have been
settled for less than $10,000 in the aggregate.  Of the twenty
lawsuits, three have been settled or are pending settlement and four
have been dismissed or are pending dismissal.

Lone Star did not manufacture or distribute any products containing
asbestos.  Some or all of these claims may not be covered by its
insurance.  It has accrued for its estimated exposure to known claims,
but do not know the extent to which future claims may be filed.
Therefore, it cannot estimate its exposure, if any, to unasserted

In addition, during the past three years its Lone Star Steel subsidiary
has been named as one of a number of defendants in 24 lawsuits alleging
that certain individuals were exposed to asbestos on the defendants'
premises. It did not manufacture or distribute any products containing
asbestos. Some or all of these claims may not be covered by insurance.

Although it has accrued for its estimated exposure to known claims,
Lone Star does not know the extent to which future claims may be filed,
and therefore it cannot estimate its exposure, if any, to unasserted


Lone Star Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: LSS)
15660 N. Dallas Pkwy., Ste. 500
Dallas, TX 75248
Phone: 972-770-6401
Fax: 972-770-6471
Toll Free: 800-527-4615

Employees                          : 1,892
Revenues                           : 650,200,000.00
Net Income                         : 16,400,000.00
Assets                             : 580,800,000.00
Liabilities                        : 265,500,000.00
No. of Asbestos Cases              : 24

(As of December 31, 2001)

Description:  Lone Star Technologies, a holding company, owns Lone Star
Steel Company, a maker of oil field, specialty tubing, and other
tubular steel products. Oil field products, which account for 62% of
sales, include casing (the structural retainer for oil and gas well
walls), tubing, and line pipe (used to transfer oil and gas). Specialty
tubing is used in high-pressure mechanical applications. Lone Star's
Fintube subsidiary makes finned tubes for heat recovery at power
generating plants. (The finned tubes convert exhaust heat into steam,
which is used to generate additional electricity.) Alpine Capital
controls around 32% of the company.

METALDYNE CORPORATION:  Faces More than 4,000 Asbestos Related Claims
Metaldyne Corporation is party to approximately 546 pending cases
involving an aggregate of about 4,424 claimants alleging personal
injury from exposure to asbestos containing materials formerly used in
gaskets (both encapsulated and otherwise) manufactured or distributed
by certain of its subsidiaries for use in the petrochemical refining
and exploration industries.

There were three types of gaskets that Metaldyne manufactured and it
ceased the use of asbestos in its products at various dates in the
1980's and 1990's.  The company believes that many of its pending cases
relate to locations which none of its gaskets were distributed or used.
In addition, it acquired various companies to distribute its products
that distributed gaskets of other manufacturers prior to acquisition.

Around 264 cases involving 2,285 claimants (which are not included in
the pending cases noted above) that have been either dismissed for lack
of product identification or otherwise or been settled or made subject
to agreements to settle.  Its total settlement costs for all such
cases, some of which were filed over 12 years ago, have been roughly
$1.2 million.

Based upon its experience to date and other available information, the
Company does not believe that these cases will have a material adverse
effect on its financial condition or results of operation.

However, the Company cannot give assurance that it will not be
subjected to significant additional claims in the future or that the
cost of settling cases in which product identification can be made will
not increase or that it will not be subjected to further claims in
respect of the former activities of its acquired gasket distributors.


Metaldyne Corp
47603 Halyard Dr.
Plymouth, MI 48170-2429
Phone: 734-207-6200
Fax: 734-207-6500

Employees                : 12,500
Revenues                 : $ 2,127,830,000.00
Net Income               : ($43,300,000.00)
Assets                   : $2,953,690,000.00
Liabilities              : $2,241,340,000.00
Asbestos Cases           : 546
Asbestos Claims          : 4,424

(As of December 31, 2001)

Description: The metal-forming and -machining Metaldyne's Chassis
Group, Engine Group, and Transmission and Driveline Group manufacture
automotive components for passenger cars and commercial vehicles.
Products include components and assemblies for engines, noise and
vibration control, transmissions, wheels, suspensions, axles, and
drivelines. Metaldyne's Diversified Industrial Group subsidiary makes
packaging and sealing products, towing systems, insulation facing, and
cutting tools. Metaldyne, now part of Heartland Industrial Partners,
was formed through the consolidation of MascoTech, Simpson Industries,
and Global Metal Technologies.

                     New Securities Fraud Cases

ENDOCARE INC.: Glancy & Binkow Commences Securities Fraud Suit in CA
Glancy & Binkow LLP initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Central District of California on behalf
of all persons who purchased securities of Endocare, Inc. (Nasdaq:ENDO)
between October 23, 2001 and October 30, 2002, inclusive.

The suit charges the Company and certain of its executive officers with
violations of federal securities laws.  Among other things, plaintiff
claims that defendants' material omissions and the dissemination of
materially false and misleading statements regarding Endocare's
earnings caused Endocare's stock price to become artificially inflated,
inflicting damages on investors. The Company develops and manufactures
cryosurgical and stent technologies and is developing devices for the
treatment of prostate cancer and benign prostate hyperplasia.

On October 24, 2002, a Company press release announced that Endocare's
results for the third quarter of 2002 would not meet expectations, but
that there would be a postponement of six days in issuing its financial
statements.  On October 30, the Company announced that it would be
further delaying its earnings release pending an ongoing review
process.  Following this announcement, the price of Endocare's stock
plummeted to $2.83 per share, less than a third of its price eight days

The suit alleges that although defendants knew or should have known of
material inaccuracies in their financial statements long before the end
of the third quarter, defendants concealed this information from
investors, enabling the Company to complete a public offering of four
million shares, raising proceeds of $68 million on November 16, 2001.

For more information, contact Lionel Z. Glancy by Mail: 1801 Avenue of
the Stars, Suite 311, Los Angeles, California 90067 by Phone:
310-201-9150 or 888-773-9224 or by E-mail: info@glancylaw.com.

ENDOCARE INC.: Schiffrin & Barroway Commences Securities Suit in CA
Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP initiated a securities class action in the
United States District Court for the Central District of California on
behalf of all purchasers of the common stock of Endocare Inc. (Nasdaq:
ENDO) publicly traded securities during the period between Oct. 23,
2001 and Oct. 30, 2002, inclusive.

The complaint charges the Company and certain of its officers and
directors with issuing false and misleading statements concerning its
business and financial condition.  The Company develops, manufactures,
and markets cryosurgical and stent technological devices for the
treatment of prostate cancer and benign prostate hyperplasia.  The
Company is also developing cryosurgical technologies for treating
tumors in organs such as the kidney, breast and liver.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that defendants caused Company
shares to trade at artificially inflated levels through the issuance of
false and misleading financial statements.  As a result of this
inflation, the Company was able to complete a public offering of 4
million shares, raising proceeds of $68 million on Nov. 16, 2001.

On Oct. 30, 2002, the Company issued a press release entitled,
"Endocare Will Delay Release of Third Quarter Results Until Completion
of Its Review Process."  On this news the stock dropped below $3 per

For more details, contact Marc A. Topaz or Stuart L. Berman by Mail:
Three Bala Plaza East, Suite 400, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 by Phone:
888-299-7706 (toll free) or 610-667-7706 or by E-mail:

RETEK INC.: Leo Desmond Commences Securities Fraud Lawsuit in MN Court
The Law Offices of Leo W. Desmond initiated a securities class action
on behalf of shareholders who acquired Retek Inc. (Nasdaq:RETK)
securities between October 17, 2001 and July 8, 2002, inclusive, in the
United States District Court for the District of Minnesota against the
Company and:

     (1) John Buchanan,

     (2) Steven D. Ladwig,

     (3) John L. Goedert,

     (4) Gregory A. Effertz and

     (5) Jeremy P.M. Thomas

It is alleged that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10(b)(5) promulgated
thereunder, by issuing a series of materially false and misleading
statements to the market throughout the class period which statements
had the effect of artificially inflating the market price of the
Company's securities.

For more details, contact Leo W. Desmond by Phone: 888-337-6663,
561-712-8000 by E-Mail: Info@SecuritiesAttorney.com or visit the firm's
Website: http://www.SecuritiesAttorney.com

SALOMON SMITH: Schiffrin & Barroway Commences Securities Suit in NY
Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP initiated a securities class action in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on
behalf of all purchasers of the common stock of Williams Communications
Group, Inc. (WCG - News) between October 27, 1997 through November 2,
2001, inclusive.

The complaint charges Jack Grubman and Salomon Smith Barney, Inc. and
certain of its officers and directors with violations of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934.  Specifically, the complaint alleges that

     (1) issued and maintained "Buy" recommendations on WCG securities
         without any rational economic basis;

     (2) failed to disclose that they were issuing and maintaining
         "Buy" recommendations to obtain investment banking business;

     (3) concealed significant, material conflicts of interest that
         prevented them from providing independent objective analysis.

For more details, contact Marc A. Topaz or Stuart L. Berman by Mail:
Three Bala Plaza East, Suite 400, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 by Phone:
888-299-7706 (toll free) or 610-667-7706 or by E-mail:

SALOMON SMITH: Schatz & Nobel Commences Securities Fraud Suit in NY
Schatz & Nobel PC initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf
of all persons who purchased the publicly traded securities of
Metromedia Fiber Network, Inc. (formerly Nasdaq: MFNX; currently OTC:
MFNXQ) from November 25, 1999 through July 25, 2001, inclusive.  Also
included are those who acquired Metromedia's shares through the
acquisitions of SiteSmith, Inc. and MIBH, Inc.

The suit alleges that Salomon Smith Barney and its well-known
telecommunications stock analyst Jack Grubman violated the federal
securities laws by knowingly issuing false and misleading analyst
reports regarding Metromedia during the class period.

The suit alleges that Salomon failed to disclose a significant conflict
of interest between its investment banking and research departments.
Specifically, Jack Grubman and other Salomon Smith Barney analysts
issued very favorable analyst reports regarding Metromedia to the
public when they allegedly knew that the positive recommendations were

Unbeknownst to the investing public, Salomon Smith Barney's buy
recommendations and price targets for Metromedia were influenced by its
efforts to be retained as a financial advisor for Metromedia and other
telecommunications companies.  Such lucrative investment banking
engagements were worth millions of dollars in fees to Salomon.

For more details, contact Nancy A. Kulesa by Phone: 800-797-5499 by E-
mail: sn06106@aol.com or visit the firm's Website: http://www.snlaw.net

SEARS ROEBUCK: Pomerantz Haudek Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in N.D. IL
Pomerantz Haudek Block Grossman & Gross LLP initiated a securities
class action in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois (Eastern Division) against Sears Roebuck & Co.
(NYSE:S) and five of the Company's senior officers on behalf of all
persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired the securities
of Sears during the period between January 17, 2002 and October 17,

The lawsuit charges that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by issuing false and misleading
statements concerning the Company's business and financial condition,
all of which served to artificially inflate the Company's stock price.

The suit alleges that, throughout the class period, defendants
represented that Sears, one of North America's largest retailers, was
growing strongly and that it would achieve earnings growth of 22% in
2002, as compared to 2001.  In addition, in each of its press releases
and financial reports, Sears reported its provisions for uncollectible
accounts and, in its 2001 annual report, represented that such reserves
were "adequate."

These statements were materially false and misleading because they
failed to disclose that the Company's risk of customer defaults on
Sears credit card bills had risen dramatically throughout the class
period and that the Company was under-reserved for this risk by (at the
very least) hundreds of millions of dollars, thereby inflating its
assets and earnings.

On October 17, 2002, Sears reported in a press release that it will
grow its 2002 earnings by 15%, rather than the 22% it reaffirmed ten
days previously, because of a "$222 million increase in the domestic
provision for uncollectible accounts."  In addition, earnings for the
third quarter were 26% less than the previous year and operating income
for Sears Credit was "down 28% compared to the prior year."

In reaction to the press release, the price of Sears common stock
plummeted, falling 32%, from an October 16 close of $33.95 per share to
close at $23.15 per share on October 17, on trading of an astounding 36
million shares, which was 12 times the Company's daily trading average
of 2.9 million shares during the class period.

For more details, contact Andrew G. Tolan by Phone: 888-476-6529,
888-4-POMLAW by E-mail: agtolan@pomlaw.com or visit the firm's Website:


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., Trenton, New Jersey, and
Beard Group, Inc., Washington, D.C.  Enid Sterling, Aurora Fatima
Antonio and Lyndsey Resnick, Editors.

Copyright 2002.  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 Christopher Beard at 240/629-3300.

                  * * *  End of Transmission  * * *