/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/030307.mbx                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

                 Friday, March 7, 2003, Vol. 5, No. 47


ALASKA: Defendants' Lawyer Questions Estimates in Bristol Bay Lawsuit
AUSTRALIA: Relatives Sue Hospital That Removed Body Parts From The Dead
BIO-TECH CORN: IL Firms Help in Settlement of Corn Producers' Lawsuit
CALIFORNIA: Residents Sue Seeking Security Deposit Interest Payments
CALIFORNIA: Court Rules v. Certification of Water Pollution Suit

DEUTSCH TELEKOM: Faces Possible Lawsuit Over Missing Money in Flotation
ECHOSTAR COMMUNICATIONS: Appeals CA Court's Denial of Attorney's Fees
ECHOSTAR COMMUNICATIONS: Moves For Summary Judgment in Suit in CO Court
ECHOSTAR COMMUNICATIONS: TX Court Upholds Dismissal of Retailers' Suit
ECHOSTAR COMMUNICATIONS: Asks For Dismissal of Suit For Starband Role

FLORIDA: Appeals Court Hears Arguments On State's Ban on Gay Adoptions
GEORGIA: Judge Grants Certification To Suit Over School's Accreditation
ILLINOIS: Eight Officers Sanctioned over Beating of Cook County Inmates
ILLINOIS: Cook County To Settle Nurses' Overtime Wage Lawsuit For $4M
ILLINOIS: Chicago Resident Sues To Challenge Ordinance Against Swearing

JACK IN THE BOX: CA Court Approves $9M Overtime Wage Lawsuit Settlement
RHODE ISLAND: First Personal Injury Suit Over Nightclub Blaze Launched
SOUTH AFRICA: Court Reinstates Grants For More Than 100,000 Disabled
SPRINT CORPORATION: Shareholders Sue Top Execs Over Tax Shelters Used
TENNESSEE: Inmates Lawsuit Spur Roane County To Consider Renovations

TEXAS: State Reports Find Hispanics, Blacks More Likely To Be Searched
UNION PACIFIC: Three Workers File Suit For Contraceptive Coverage in OR

                           Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Congress Seeks Solution to Asbestos-Related Suits
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: "Ban Asbestos" Movement Gains Momentum in India
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Ace CEO Calls Asbestos Suits A 'Drag' on Economy
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Bankruptcy Court OKs Armstrong's Shareholder Offer
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Former British Rail Employee Wins Asbestos Payout

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Cape plc's Asbestos Suit Settlement May Be Reduced
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Gencor, Asbestos Claimants Close To Settlement
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Hanover Hires Firm to Remove Asbestos From Library
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Federal Mogul UK Factory Workers in Asbestos Alert
ASBESTOS ALERT: Asbestos Found at GM's Holden Engine Plant in Australia

ASBESTOS ALERT: Melbourne Hospital Patients, Staff Exposed to Asbestos
ASBESTOS ALERT: Sulzer AG Labels Asbestos Related Cases "Without Merit"
ASBESTOS ALERT: Material Found in Talisman Platform May Be Asbestos
ASBESTOS ALERT: Union Carbide Discloses Latest Asbestos Related Stats
ASBESTOS ALERT: Widow Commences Asbestos Related Suit V. Western Power

                      New Securities Fraud Cases

AEGON NV: Milberg Weiss Commences Securities Fraud Lawsuit in S.D. NY
ROYAL AHOLD: Milberg Weiss Commences Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
TRANSKARYOTIC THERAPIES: Berman DeValerio Lodges Securities Suit in MA


ALASKA: Defendants' Lawyer Questions Estimates in Bristol Bay Lawsuit
Trident Seafoods' lead counsel Ralph Palumbo challenged the estimated
amount for underpayments in the ongoing trial for the class action
filed in Alaska Superior Court on behalf of sockeye salmon fishermen,
Seafood.com reports.

The trial in the Superior Court in Anchorage, now in its fifth week,
stems from a class action filed on behalf of 4,500 commercial fishermen
who hold permits to fish the waters of Bristol Bay for sockeye salmon.
The lawsuit contends that the Seattle-based processors and the Japanese
importers conspired to fix the prices in the lucrative Bristol Bay
fishery, an earlier Class Action Reporter story states.  The suit
alleges the fishermen were underpaid by millions of dollars.

Earlier this week, economist Jeffrey Leitzinger of Los Angeles,
testified as an expert witness on behalf of the fishermen.  He said
that damages for the underpayment caused by fixing prices for sockeye
salmon harvests between 1989 and 1995, should exceed $384 million.

Mr. Palumbo said the method used by Mr. Leitzinger to come up with the
figure was flawed.  "I don't think you can take the fishermen's
percentage of the Japanese wholesale market and determine either that
there was collusion or unfairness in the price paid to fishermen," he
said Tuesday, while cross-examining an expert witness for plaintiffs in
Superior Court, Seafood.com stated.

Mr. Palumbo continued by saying that Mr. Leitzinger's conclusion that
fishermen should have received 56.2 percent of the wholesale price paid
for sockeye was not valid, because the economist considered only the
top-priced sockeye salmon sold.  However, Mr. Leitzinger said his
methodology was one generally accepted by economists evaluating

Mr. Palumbo also challenged Mr. Leitzinger's conclusion that
processors' costs of doing business remain relatively constant over a
period of years.  He noted extraordinary costs faced by Trident
president Chuck Bundrant when a 1989 deal with defendant Japanese
importer Mitsubishi Corporation fell through, Seafood.com reports.

The defense expects to begin presenting its case Monday, calling a
number of witnesses, including Bundrant and Bristol Bay fishermen, Mr.
Palumbo said.  The trial, which began February 3, is expected to take
at least three months.

AUSTRALIA: Relatives Sue Hospital That Removed Body Parts From The Dead
Relatives have filed a class action in South Australian District Court
against Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide, Australia, over
the removal of body parts from dead people without the consent of the
families, the Australian Associated Press General News reports.

The state's Department of Human Services informed hundreds of people
that their relatives treated at the hospital had tissues or organs
removed and not replaced.  The department said the practice had been
going on since the 1960s, but now had stopped.

Lawyer Peter Humphries, interviewed recently outside the court, said a
number of the relatives of the deceased, following notification of the
practice by the department, suffered illnesses such as post-traumatic
stress disorder.  Mr. Humphries said the illnesses resulted from
knowing their relative, in most cases a child, was buried or cremated
in an incomplete state.

Mr. Humphries said hundreds of people received notification of the
unauthorized retention of body parts, but to claim compensation a
person has to have actually suffered and be able to demonstrate the
onset of an illness as a result of that information.  Mr. Humphries
said about 30 people have expressed interest in joining the class
action, but he expected that number to increase.

BIO-TECH CORN: IL Firms Help in Settlement of Corn Producers' Lawsuit
Starlink Logistics, Inc. and Avanta USA agreed to pay $110 million to
settle a class action filed in the United States District Court in
Washington D.C., over the introduction of unapproved bio-tech corn into
the country's food supply in 2000, the Marion Daily Republic reports.

StarLink corn contains a bacterium gene which is deadly to the corn
bearer pest, the Daily Republic stated.  While it has been approved by
the Environmental Protection Agency for use as animal feed, it has not
been approved for human consumption because of the potential for
allergic reactions to a protein contained in the corn.

The discovery of the StarLink corn in the United States food supply
prompted extensive recalls on items such as taco shells and chips.  As
a result, the price of corn dropped both in the United States and in
overseas markets.

Three Marion, Illinois law firms were involved in the settlement,
namely the firm of Ronald E. Osman and Associates, Ltd., the law office
of Winters, Brewster, Crosby, and Schafer, and the Law Offices of Randy

A press release from Mr. Osman's office said the companies agreed to
pay $110 million to farmers to settle allegations of resultant damage
to the corn market both domestically and internationally.  Mr. Osman
developed the theory of the case after conversations with his client
and subsequent class representative Raymond Mulholland regarding the
falling corn market.

The three Marion firms were the first to file litigation against
StarLink Logistics, Inc.  They represented the farmer class, along with
attorneys from Cohen, Milstein, Hausfield and Toll, PLLC, in
Washington, DC, as well as others.

CALIFORNIA: Residents Sue Seeking Security Deposit Interest Payments
Five residents of Glendale and Burbank, California who are required to
pay security deposits for electrical services recently filed lawsuits
in two US District Courts, and asked the courts to certify the lawsuits
as class actions, according to a report by Associated Press Newswires.

The Glendale suit claimed residents who are required to pay security
deposits ranging from $100 to $999 are receiving no interest on their
deposits, while customers who pay $1000 or more do earn interest on
their security deposits.  The Burbank suit claimed the city refuses to
pay interest on all security deposits which have a $20 minimum.

The lawsuits ask that residents be compensated for the interest they
would have been paid if the security deposits had been placed in
interest-bearing accounts, and that the cities be required to pay
interest on all security deposits for electrical services.

The cities' practices violate clients' rights under the US
Constitution's Fifth Amendment, which states that no private property
should be taken for public use without just compensation, the lawsuits

Burbank Assistant Attorney Richard Morillo said that the city has a
long-standing practice of not paying interest on security deposits.
There was no immediate comment from Glendale City Attorney Scott

CALIFORNIA: Court Rules v. Certification of Water Pollution Suit
The California Supreme Court ruled recently, 5 to 2, that the cases of
the Redlands residents who claim they were exposed to toxic chemicals
in their drinking water should not be granted class action status, the
Associated Press Newswires reports.  Class actions are allowed only
when those suing have similar claims, the court said.

Residents of Redlands, a city 70 miles east of Los Angeles, have sued
Lockheed Martin Corporation, alleging drinking water laced with a
rocket fuel ingredient has caused a series of cancers and other
illnesses.  The plaintiffs are asking that Lockheed be ordered to pay
for monitoring the health of the residents.

The Supreme Court justices said the cases cannot be consolidated as a
class action because the plaintiffs do not share similar claims.  They
may sue, however, on an individual basis to allow each plaintiff to
prove damages or require health monitoring for illnesses that may occur
in the future.

The only way to determine whether a plaintiff has been injured is for
that plaintiff to sue separately and thereby determine whether he or
she has sustained injury and what those injuries are.  Each plaintiff,
said the court, could have different claims because each probably has
been subjected to varied amounts of pollution.

"The questions respecting each class member's right to recover .
following any class judgment, appear so numerous and substantial as to
render insufficient any efficiencies attainable through a joint trial
of common issues," wrote Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar.  The court
did not address the merits of the accusations, which Lockheed denies.
California has ordered Lockheed to clean up the contamination.

It is unclear whether the high court's recent opinion will impact
similar lawsuits, because the court, ruling 4 to 3 in the Redlands
case, did say that class actions in such cases are not always barred.
The most recent case seeking class action status was filed last month,
when homeowners in an unincorporated area near San Jose sued.  They
alleged that a former highway flare operation in Morgan Hill
contaminated their drinking water wells with perchlorate.

The plaintiffs in the instant case are alleging that perchlorate, a
rocket fuel ingredient, has seeped into drinking water from a former
Lockheed rocket engine testing facility, and has sickened the
residents.  Perchlorate interferes with how the body brings iodide into
the thyroid and can disrupt how the gland regulates metabolism.  It is
unknown how much perchlorate is dangerous.

DEUTSCH TELEKOM: Faces Possible Lawsuit Over Missing Money in Flotation
Deutsche Telekom, the German telecoms group, faces a possible class
action in the next few weeks, in relation to vast sums of money, which
allegedly disappeared during its third flotation, Die Welt reports.

Law firm Doerr Kuhn Pluck & Thoeren is working through a file of
complaints from more than 200 shareholders.  At the end of last year, a
New York court ruled in favour of a group of US investors in a class
action against the company.  The crux of the legal argument is the
sufficiency of information provided to shareholders, concerning the
risk involved in Telekom's third flotation in 2000.  If the latest
action is successful in Germany, the company is expected to face
damages running into the hundreds of millions of euros.  This figure
could be substantially higher in the US.

ECHOSTAR COMMUNICATIONS: Appeals CA Court's Denial of Attorney's Fees
Echostar Communications appealed the California State Superior Court
for Los Angeles County's ruling denying their motion for attorney's
fees in the class action filed against them relating to the use of
terms such as "crystal clear digital video," "CD-quality audio," and
"on-screen program guide, with respect to the number of channels
available in various programming packages.  The complaint alleges:

     (1) breach of express warranty,

     (2) violation of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act,

     (3) violation of Civil Code Sections 1750, et seq., and

     (4) violation of the California Business & Professions Code
         Sections 17500 & 17200

A hearing on the plaintiffs' motion for class certification and the
Company's motion for summary judgment was held during June 2002.  At
the hearing, the court issued a preliminary ruling denying the
plaintiffs' certification motion.  However, before issuing a final
ruling on class certification, the court granted the Company's motion
for summary judgment with respect to all of the plaintiffs' claims.

Subsequently, the Company filed a motion for attorney's fees which was
denied by the court.

The plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal of the court's granting of the
Company's Motion for Summary Judgment.  The Company cross-appealed the
court's ruling on its motion for attorney's fees.  It is not possible
to make a firm assessment of the probable outcome of the appeal or to
determine the extent of any potential liability or damages.

ECHOSTAR COMMUNICATIONS: Moves For Summary Judgment in Suit in CO Court
Echostar Communications Corporation filed a motion for summary judgment
in three separate class actions filed in the Arapahoe County District
Court in the State of Colorado and the United States District Court
for the District of Colorado, by Air Communication & Satellite,
Inc. and John DeJong, et al.

The suit is filed on behalf of nationwide classes of certain of the
Company's satellite hardware retailers.  The plaintiffs are requesting
the courts to declare certain provisions of, and changes to, alleged
agreements between the Company and the retailers invalid and
unenforceable, and to award damages for lost incentives and payments,
charge backs, and other compensation.

The Company intends to vigorously defend against the suits and to
assert a variety of counterclaims.  The federal court stayed the
federal action to allow the parties to pursue a comprehensive
adjudication of their dispute in the Arapahoe County State Court.  John
DeJong, d/b/a Nexwave, and Joseph Kelley, d/b/a Keltronics,
subsequently intervened in the Arapahoe County Court action as
plaintiffs and proposed class representatives.

The plaintiffs have also filed a motion for additional time to conduct
discovery to enable them to respond to the Company's motion.  The court
has not ruled on either of the two motions.  It is too early to make an
assessment of the probable outcome of the litigation or to determine
the extent of any potential liability or damages.

ECHOSTAR COMMUNICATIONS: TX Court Upholds Dismissal of Retailers' Suit
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
refused to reconsider their decision dismissing a class action filed
against Echostar Communications Corporation.  The suit was filed by
Satellite Dealers Supply, Inc. (SDS), on behalf of itself and a
nationwide class of sellers, installers, and servicers of satellite
equipment who contract with the Company.

The suit alleges that the Company:

     (1) charged back certain fees paid by members of the class to
         professional installers in violation of contractual terms;

     (2) manipulated the accounts of subscribers to deny payments to
         class members; and

     (3) misrepresented, to class members, who owns certain equipment
         related to the provision of satellite television service.

During September 2001, the court granted the Company's motion to
dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.  The plaintiff moved for
reconsideration of the court's order dismissing the case.  The court
denied the motion for Reconsideration. However, the trial court also
denied the Company's motions for sanctions against SDS.

Both parties have now perfected appeals before the Fifth Circuit Court
of Appeals.  It is not possible to make a firm assessment of the
probable outcome of the appeal or to determine the extent of any
potential liability or damages.

ECHOSTAR COMMUNICATIONS: Asks For Dismissal of Suit For Starband Role
Echostar Communications Corporation asked the Delaware Court of
Chancery to dismiss a shareholder action filed over a broadband
internet satellite venture called Starband, which is currently in
bankruptcy.  The suit also names as defendants EchoBand Corporation and
four of Echostar's executives who sat on the Board of Directors of

The suit alleges alleged breach of the fiduciary duties of due care,
good faith and loyalty.  The suit also charges the Company and EchoBand
Corporation for aiding and abetting such alleged breaches. The action
stems from the defendants' involvement as directors, and EchoBand's
position as a shareholder, in StarBand.

Plaintiffs allege that the defendants conspired to ensure StarBand;s
failure in order to guarantee that the Company's then-pending merger
with Hughes would be successful.  Plaintiffs seek an accounting of
damages for their $25 million investment in StarBand in addition to
costs and disbursements.

The defendants deny the allegations in the complaint and intend to
defend the litigation vigorously.  During October 2002, the Company,
along with the other defendants, filed a motion to dismiss the
complaint in its entirety based on lack of personal jurisdiction.
These motions have been briefed and oral argument has been scheduled
for March 18, 2003.  It is too early to make an assessment of the
probable outcome of the litigation or to determine the extent of any
potential liability or damages.

FLORIDA: Appeals Court Hears Arguments On State's Ban on Gay Adoptions
The United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing arguments
for both sides on the constitutionality, morality and rationality of
Florida's ban on gay adoptions, the only law of its kind in the nation,
the Associated Press reports.

The suit, filed by five gay men who have been taking care of foster
children for years, challenges the 1977 state law pushed by anti-gay
rights activist Anita Bryant.  The American Civil Liberties Union and
the advocacy group Children First say the law should be thrown out
because it bans the state from considering gays as prospective adoptive
parents.  However, the state child welfare agency allows homosexuals to
be foster parents and permanent legal guardians.

Attorney Casey Walker, arguing for the state before a three-judge
panel, said Florida's priority is adoption by married couples to
encourage a stable home environment and promote heterosexual role
models, AP reports.

"It has to be contrasted with not having any kind of stable
relationship at all," Judge Stanley Birch responded.  "The rationality
of it, other than some kind of moral affirmation, is kind of hard for
me to grasp."

Judge Proctor Hug mentioned the fact that more than 3,000 children are
eligible for adoption, even when there aren't enough foster parents and
adoptive homes.  "There's a shortage. Why isn't that something we would
consider when evaluating the rationality of the law?" he asked.

Children First attorney Christina Zawisza argued the state doesn't
believe its own pro-family claims because 40 percent of its child
placements are in single-parent homes, AP reports.

ACLU attorney Matt Coles said the state applies that restriction only
to homosexuals.  He continued that he didn't expect a decision until
after the Supreme Court rules by June on a challenge to a Texas sodomy
law criminalizing homosexual intercourse.

GEORGIA: Judge Grants Certification To Suit Over School's Accreditation
A Fulton County Superior Court judge recently granted class action
status to a lawsuit, filed in November by about 500 students, who are
seeking a jury trial and damages against Life University over the
alleged negligent loss of its accreditation, The Atlanta Journal-
Constitution reports.

A lawyer for the university, located in Marietta, Georgia, says the
students have suffered financially and emotionally because the school
lost its largest degree program, the doctor of chiropractic on October
20, 2002.  Graduates of schools without accreditation in the doctor of
chiropractic program, cannot be licensed to practice in most states.
The lawsuit claims that the accreditation loss was due to the
negligence of the university trustees and former President Sid

The university is involved in a series of lawsuits relating to the loss
of accreditation, including a federal suit against the chiropractic
accrediting agency that revoked the standing of the university's doctor
of chiropractic program.  That lawsuit resulted in a federal court
decision restoring the university's chiropractic accreditation, pending
the outcome of the case against the agency.

"This decision (granting class-action status) is an extremely important
step because it validates everything I have said as to why these
students should be joined as a class action," said students' attorney
Joseph Hoffman, referring to the judge's ruling.  "The sheer volume of
students would absolutely clog the court system.  The other thing is
they all have common damages."

University of Life spokesman Will Hurst had no comment on the ruling,
the Journal-Constitution stated.

ILLINOIS: Eight Officers Sanctioned over Beating of Cook County Inmates
Illinois' Department of Corrections officials say that eight officers
accused of beating inmates at the Cook County Jail and then covering it
up have been disciplined, four years after the alleged attacks, the
Associated Press reports.

At least 49 inmates at the jail told investigators they were beaten by
jail guards in February 1999, following a gang-related stabbing at the
jail, the Chicago Tribune reports.  The officers allegedly also filed
false paperwork to cover up the beatings.

The allegations resurfaced last month when the jail's former director
Ernesto Velasco was nominated to head the state Department of
Corrections. His nomination was later halted.

Among the eight disciplined, Richard Remus, the head of a Special
Operations Response Team, was demoted, kicked off the squad and
suspended Tuesday for 29 days without pay, AP reports.  Cook County
Sheriff Michael Sheahan said none of his findings of officer misconduct
involved excessive force, though an internal affairs report sustained
allegations of brutality.

Both Mr. Remus and Ernesto Velasco, who was the jail's director in 1999
and has been nominated to head the Department of Corrections, have
denied wrongdoing, AP stated.

ILLINOIS: Cook County To Settle Nurses' Overtime Wage Lawsuit For $4M
Cook County, Illinois agreed to settle for $4 million a class action
filed on behalf of 900 nurses working at Stroger Hospital, alleging
overtime wage law violations in the United States District Court in
Illinois, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The nurses filed the suit in 2001, alleging they were not paid for pre-
and post-shift duties or for time when they worked through meal breaks.
The nurses alleged that the county owed them for time when they came in
early or stayed late to work on patients. In addition, the nurses
alleged they often worked through their meal breaks without adequate

Eligible to take part in the settlement are nurses who worked at the
hospital (formerly known as Cook County Hospital) from August 1996 to
February 2003.  The proposal mandates the county redesign nurses' pay
stubs to more clearly show the hours of overtime for which they are

"There's a charitable mission in a lot of them," Attorney for the
plaintiffs Christopher Mammel of the law firm Childress & Zdeb, said of
the nurses' dedication at the busy public hospital.  "But they need to
be paid for what they do."

The proposed settlement comes as the county and the nurses' union, the
Illinois Nurses Association, continue contract negotiations with the
assistance of a federal mediator, the Tribune reports.  Talks resume
Thursday, and the two sides have made progress in recent weeks, a union
source said.

The lawsuit has not been discussed at the bargaining table, but the
changes to the pay stubs are an important step by the county, the
source said.  "That's something we've been asking for in negotiations
for years," the source said.

The county denies any wrongdoing and "contends it is not obligated to
pay for the overtime or any damages alleged," according to the notice
of the proposed settlement.

The County Board must approve the settlement.  Final settlement figures
would also be determined at a hearing scheduled for March 27 before US
District Judge John W. Darrah.

ILLINOIS: Chicago Resident Sues To Challenge Ordinance Against Swearing
The City of Chicago faces a proposed class action challenging an
century-old ordinance outlawing public swearing, filed in the United
States District Court in Illinois, the Chicago Tribune reports.  The
ordinance prohibits in part the utterance of "any lewd or filthy words,
(to) sing any song the words of which are suggestive of indecency or

The suit alleges that the ordinance was "unconstitutional" and that it
violated first amendment protections of free expression of speech.
Chicago resident Salvador Garcia filed the suit.  Last October, Mr.
Garcia was arrested for flashing gang signs and shouting "King Love"
and "Dragon Killa" at passing vehicles and pedestrians.

Mr. Garcia, who was then 17, disputes those allegations, said his
attorney, Thomas G. Morrissey.  But even if they were true, they would
have been constitutionally permissible, Mr. Morrissey contended.
"We're challenging the right of the city to have an ordinance which
outlaws undefined words as being filthy or indecent," Mr. Morrissey

Jennifer Hoyle, a spokeswoman for the city's Law Department, told the
Tribune she hadn't seen the lawsuit and declined to comment on its
specific allegations.  She said the ordinance is primarily used to cite
people who urinate in public.

Mr. Morrissey told the Tribune that the police fabricated the
circumstances of Garcia's arrest to make it appear they had come upon
him as he flashed and shouted gang signals.  The suit alleged that in
reality Mr. Garcia was watching TV with friends in an apartment next
door to his family home when tactical police officers came in without a

JACK IN THE BOX: CA Court Approves $9M Overtime Wage Lawsuit Settlement
The Superior Court of the State of California, San Diego County
approved the $9.3 million settlement proposed by fast food chain Jack
In the Box to settle a class action filed Robert Bellmore and Jeffrey
Fairbairn, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated,
alleging violations of California wage and hour laws.  The complaint
alleges that salaried restaurant management personnel in California
were improperly classified as exempt from California overtime laws,
thereby depriving them of overtime pay.

The Company believes its employee classifications are appropriate and
is vigorously defending this action.  The parties began mediation in
late July.  The Company settled the action in the last quarter of 2002
without admission of liability and the court approved the settlement on
February 10, 2003.

RHODE ISLAND: First Personal Injury Suit Over Nightclub Blaze Launched
The first wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the Station
Nightclub in Providence Superior Court in Rhode Island, over a fire
that erupted at the club on February 20,2003, killing 98 people, the
Associated Press reports.  Families of victims Tina Ayer, 33, and
Donald Rodrigues, 46, filed the suit naming as defendants:

     (1) club owners Michael and Jeffrey Derderian,

     (2) members of the Great White band,

     (3) Manic Music, Inc., the band's management company,

     (4) West Warwick Fire Inspector Denis Larocque, and

     (5) American Foam Corporation, the Company that sold the club
         highly flammable foam to use for soundproofing

The tragedy occurred during a concert of 80's hard rock band Great
White, which had just started playing when giant pyrotechnic sparklers
on stage began shooting up and igniting the ceiling above the crowd.
The fire quickly spread through the low-ceilinged building, filling it
with thick black smoke.  The entire club was engulfed in flames within
three minutes.  Many of the customers thought the pyrotechnics were
part of the act, an earlier Class Action Reporter story states.

Investigators believe the band's pyrotechnics, used during their first
song, set fire to the soundproofing foam that covered the club's walls.
The fire also injured more than 180 concertgoers, AP states.  The suit
further accuses the Derderians of negligence, saying they failed to
obtain a license for pyrotechnics and failing to install safe
soundproofing material.

It further charges that the town and Mr. Larocque failed to note the
presence of the soundproofing during a series of routine fire
inspections conducted since the Derderians bought the club in March
2000.  The suit also alleges that members of Great White and its tour
manager, Dan Biechele, were negligent for igniting the pyrotechnics.

"It's in my clients' best interest to file as soon as possible in this
case," attorney Brian Cunha told The Associated Press.  "I've got
several young children who lost their breadwinners, and clearly there
are insufficient funds to compensate everyone."

Mr. Cunha continued that he would seek at least $1 million for each of
the two families, even if the suit didn't state the amount of damages
sought.  He also said he plans to file similar suits on behalf of four
other victims' families by the end of the week.

State Rep. Tim Williamson, the West Warwick town solicitor, called the
lawsuit premature, AP reports.  Investigations have not been completed,
and by rushing to file a lawsuit, I don't see how that's going to
change the devastation that's taken place with all the individuals and
families who were affected," he said.  "It seems the attorneys are
being opportunistic."

American Foam president Aram DerManouelian did not return a call
seeking comment.  Neither did former Attorney General Jeffrey Pine, who
represents club co-owner Jeffrey Derderian, or Michael Derderian's
attorney, Kathleen Hagerty, AP reports.

SOUTH AFRICA: Court Reinstates Grants For More Than 100,000 Disabled
More than 100,000 disabled people in South Africa are to have their
cancelled grants reinstated following a court order made this week, in
a class action filed by lawyers representing the Legal Resources Centre
in South Africa on behalf of an estimated 125 000 people whose grants
were stopped during January and February, the Sunday Times reports.

The Pretoria, South Africa High Court granted a temporary order in
terms of which the cancelled grants will be reinstated.  Among the
thousands affected are many who had been receiving grants for a number
of years before being informed that these grants were intended for
temporary disabilities only, and that they would have to reapply.  One
of the individuals who was told to reapply was a man with crippled legs
who had contracted polio at the age of nine, who had a doctor's
certificate ruling out the possibility of rehabilitation, the Sunday
Times states.

The authorities will advertise in the media to inform grantees that
they can collect their back pay.  No further grants may be withdrawn on
the basis that they are deemed "temporary" unless a lawful procedure
which allows for an appeal is followed.  The authorities have until May
1 to decide if they will contest the case.

SPRINT CORPORATION: Shareholders Sue Top Execs Over Tax Shelters Used
Deja vu seems to be the appropriate term, as Sprint shareholders sue
the company and top executives again over the top executives' tax
shelters. And the latest lawsuit is written in almost identical

The second lawsuit was filed recently in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York by Pond Equities, a New
York firm that holds stock in the company.  The lawsuit names as
defendants the Company and:

     (1) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William T. Esrey,

     (2) President and Chief Operating Officer Ronald T. LeMay and

     (3) the auditing firm of Ernst & Young

The new lawsuit is twin to the February lawsuit filed by shareholder
John Gebhardt.  Both lawsuits allege that Sprint issued misleading
financial statements, and both seek class action status on behalf of
investors who bought Sprint's FON stock between February 1, 2001, and
this past February 3, 2003.

Mr. Esrey and Mr. LeMay are being forced to step down because of their
use of the tax shelters, which were set up by Ernst & Young.  The
auditing firm has defended its work as legal.

TENNESSEE: Inmates Lawsuit Spur Roane County To Consider Renovations
Kingston County, Tennessee is seriously looking into the expansion of
the Roane County Jail, after a class action filed on behalf of the
jail's female inmates is set to reach federal courts, roanecounty.com

Kingston attorney Chris Cawood filed the suit in November 2002, against
the county on behalf of all females detained or incarcerated in Roane
County Jail since June 2002.  The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiffs
were denied their 14th Amendment right to due process, their Eighth
Amendment right forbidding cruel and unusual punishment and their Sixth
Amendment right guaranteeing the assistance of counsel.

In 1996, the Roane County Commission received the first of many reports
from the Tennessee State Grand Jury recommending that the jail facility
be upgraded to accommodate the increasing prisoner population.  Due to
the suit, the county commissioners are now taking the state grand jury
recommendations for a new jail facility very seriously.

Since the construction of the five-cell jail facility in 1974, Roane
County law enforcement officers have seen a dramatic increase in the
inmate population.  According to prison records, the inmate population
has quadrupled since 1989, roanecounty.com reports.  "In November of
1989, we had 17 to 20 inmates in our facility," chief jailer Capt. Faye
Hall said.  "In November of 2002, we averaged 82 prisoners."

TEXAS: State Reports Find Hispanics, Blacks More Likely To Be Searched
Several law enforcement agencies say in their state-mandated reports
that Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be searched during traffic
stops than whites in North Texas, the Associated Press reports.  The
reports further revealed that:

     (1) one in every 15 blacks and one in every 9 Hispanics were
         searched compared to one in 28 whites in the city of Dallas;

     (2) Hispanics were searched at a higher rate than whites or
         blacks in Dallas County, Highland Park, University Park and
         McKinney, but blacks were searched at a higher rate in
         Arlington and Denton;

     (3) in Fort Worth, more white motorists are ticketed and arrested
         during traffic stops, but more blacks face vehicle searches

Some officials and experts told AP it's too soon to say if racial
profiling is occurring because, since this is the first year studied,
there's no base line with which to compare performance.  However,
"Based on the data that we have, I think we need to take a step back
and make sure we treat everybody fairly," said Police Chief Terrell

Two years ago, the state passed laws banning the use of race or
ethnicity as a basis for law enforcement action, including stops,
searches and arrests.  Starting January 2002, law enforcement agencies
were required to collect data on traffic stops resulting in traffic
citations or arrests, and to compile annual reports.  The law also
required departments to establish a complaint reporting system and
implement policies and training for officers.

"There are certainly going to be a few bad-apple police departments,
but by and large, it would appear that departments are taking it
seriously," Will Harrell, executive director of the American Civil
Liberties Union of Texas, told AP.  "The whole idea behind this racial-
profiling state law is not to point fingers.  But in order to manage a
problem, you have to measure it."

UNION PACIFIC: Three Workers File Suit For Contraceptive Coverage in OR
Three Union Pacific workers recently filed a class action in the United
States District Court in Portland, Oregon, claiming the railroad
company discriminates by not providing contraceptive coverage.  The
lawsuit, backed by Planned Parenthood, says that Union Pacific's action
is a discriminatory one, since it violates the federal Civil Rights
Act, which prohibits employers with 15 or more workers from making
decisions based on gender or pregnancy, the Associated Press Newswires

"This is a very basic health care need that women need for well over
two decades of their lives," said Roberta Riley, a Planned Parenthood
lawyer in Seattle.  "Union Pacific benefits are very generous for every
other conceivable condition imaginable."

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission pushed the movement
for "contraceptive parity" forward with an added status, when, in 2000,
it issued a decision that employers cannot exclude coverage for
contraceptive drugs if they cover other prescription drugs.  There is
evidence that such parity is a growing phenomenon in the healthcare
forum, both understood and accepted.  For example, last year, 78
percent of insured workers at businesses and governments across the
country had coverage for oral contraceptives, compared with 64 percent
in 2001, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's annual employer
health benefits survey.

Union Pacific officials gave their own view to the Eugene Register-
Guard of why they consider the company's health benefits to be
Non-discriminatory.  The officials said that the railroad's benefits
focus on medically necessary prescriptions, "and we feel contraceptives
do not fall into that area, much like cosmetic surgery, weight loss
prescriptions, elective surgery and fertility treatment."

Ms. Riley, the women's attorney, said it was "an insult to women" to
compare contraceptive devices to cosmetic surgery.

Kathryn Blackwell, a spokeswoman in Omaha, Nebraska, said impotence
drugs are covered because impotence is considered a medical condition.
Moreover, she said, impotence drugs can be prescribed to both men and
women.  Ms. Blackwell pointed out that Union Pacific health plan
requires no employee co-payments and the company contributes $1000 per
month per employee in health benefits.  The three female employees who
brought the suit, a clerk, conductor and engineer, work in jobs with
annual average salaries ranging between $50,000 and $73,000, she said.

Lead plaintiff Jackie Fitzgerald of La Grande, is an Air Force and Gulf
War veteran, who has worked as a Union Pacific trainman since 1998.
She said in a prepared statement that she spends $39 a month for birth
control pills, while "my male co-workers are contributing to their
retirement funds."

The other two lead plaintiffs live and work in Washington and Idaho.

                             Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Congress Seeks Solution to Asbestos-Related Suits
Congress cannot wait any longer to deal with an asbestos litigation
crisis that has left thousands of sick people waiting for compensation
while driving companies into bankruptcy, the Senate Judiciary Committee
chairman said.

At a hearing attended by people with asbestos-related disease and by
representatives from labor, legal and business groups, Sen. Orrin Hatch
and others agreed it would be difficult to find a legislative remedy.
"We've tried to find a solution before, and we've failed," Sen. Mike
DeWine, R-Ohio, said, urging those involved keeping an open mind and be
willing to compromise.

Sen. Hatch, R-Utah, said he was encouraged by the American Bar
Association's recent support for restrictions on who can sue over
exposure to asbestos.  The ABA's plan, supported by some business
groups, would set medical standards for people who have been exposed
but do not have cancer.

"We want to make sure that the victims who are sick are compensated,"
said ABA President-elect Dennis Archer, the former mayor of Detroit.

The ABA plan parallels legislation offered by a senior Senate
Republican, Don Nickles of Oklahoma, that would require those seeking
compensation to meet certain medical criteria.  His plan would remove
the statute of limitations so those not yet with asbestos-related
illnesses, which can take decades to develop, retain their rights of
legal action.

Asbestos, a fibrous mineral once commonly used for insulation and
fireproofing in goods and buildings, causes respiratory diseases, lung
cancer, and numerous other ailments.

Others at the Judiciary Committee hearing said it was difficult to set
medical criteria.  They pushed for creation of a national trust, funded
by companies and insurance companies, as the best way to streamline the
process and ensure that victims receive compensation in a timely

Steven Kazan, an Oakland, California attorney who for 30 years has
represented asbestos victims, said it is clear that "asbestos
litigation has become a national nightmare, as well as a national

Any legislation, he said, must have medical criteria to distinguish
between those who are sick from exposure and those who are not.

Brian Harvey of Vashon, Virginia, who is suffering from a rare and
inoperable form of lung cancer caused by asbestos, said he was angry
that lawsuits from people who are not currently sick "were forcing
defendants into bankruptcy and diverting funds from individuals who are
sick and dying from asbestos."

However, another victim, Melvin McCandless of Williamston, N.C., said
he would not meet the Nickles or ABA criteria even though the state had
declared him permanently and totally disabled because of asbestosis,
contracted over 35 years working in a mill lined with asbestos
containing insulation.

David Austern, general counsel of the Manville Personnel Injury
Settlement Trust that has received about 600,000 asbestos claims, said
that in 2002 only 9 percent of claimants had cancer.  Mr. Austern, who
supported the trust concept, said the current system "is unfair to
victims and is plagued by fortuity."

The Rand Institute for Civil Justice said in a study last year that
more than 60 companies have sought bankruptcy protection because of
lawsuits and that asbestos litigation could eventually cost businesses
more than $200,000,000,000.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, cautioned against a "rush to address a real
or perceived crisis in our courts" that he said could do "injustice to
hundreds of thousands of injured people."  Mr. Baucus represents Libby,
Montana, known for the vermiculite mine run by the now-bankrupt company
W.R. Grace, which has been devastated by asbestos-related illnesses.

"Asbestos companies like W.R. Grace caused the death and serious
illness of hundreds if not many thousands of people," Mr. Baucus said.
"We shouldn't be overly concerned about protecting them."

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: "Ban Asbestos" Movement Gains Momentum in India
A slow but steady movement for banning the use of asbestos, known to
cause cancer of the lungs and mesothelioma (cancer of the lung lining),
is gaining momentum in India.  Now acknowledged as the "silent killer,"
asbestos is believed to be responsible for the death of workers
annually across the world, according to a survey conducted by the
International Labor Organization (ILO).

The Indian Association of Occupational Health (IAOH) passed a
resolution last year seeking a ban on the use of all forms of asbestos.
Occupational health experts also called for banning the material at a
meeting of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) called by the Ministry
of Consumer Affairs last month.  Several occupational health experts,
who participated in the meeting, demanded a ban, as they believed that
there was no such thing as "safe asbestos," while representatives from
the industrial sector insisted that there were ways of enforcing and
ensuring safety standards in its use.

"A succession of governments from 1947 to 2002 bear the greatest
responsibility for failing to adopt and enforce measures that could
have protected workers from the dangers of asbestos," says a
spokesperson for the Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI).

Asbestos is a generic term used for several naturally occurring
fibrous, silicate materials and is used in a variety of everyday as
well as industrial applications.  The World Health Organization (WHO)
says that there is practically no safe level of exposure or use of
asbestos.  It has recognized that all varieties of asbestos are

In India, tons of chrysotile white asbestos are used annually to
manufacture asbestos cement products.  Most of the material is imported
from Canada, Russia, Brazil and Zimbabwe.  The INR 2,000-crores Indian
asbestos industry is resisting the ban move.  Mining of this hazardous
mineral is already banned in the country, though illegal mining
continues in Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.

According to a study conducted by the Institute of Public Health
Engineering (IPHE), an estimated 2,000,000 workers in the United States
will die from workplace exposure to asbestos, though the standards for
its manufacture there are 20 times more stringent than in developing
countries such as India.

"The profound tragedy of the asbestos epidemic is that all illnesses
and death related to asbestos were entirely preventable by not using
asbestos.  The threat to health was known and alternative viable
substitutes were available," the IPHE reports notes.

India currently imports 100,000 tons of chrysotile asbestos, mostly
from Canada, while 2,500 metric tons of chrysotile and 35,000 metric
tons of tremolite asbestos are annually mined within the country.  The
annual world production that peaked at 5,000,000 tons in the mid-1970s
has currently declined to about 3,000,000 tons following greater
awareness of its hazards.  In India, asbestos is used in the
manufacture of pressure and non-pressure pipes for water supply,
sewage, drainage, packing material, brake linings and jointings in
automobiles, heavy equipment and thermal plants.  The current demand
for asbestos in India is to the tune of 100,000 metric tons, a fifth of
which is mined domestically.  In addition, raw asbestos worth INR 40
crores to INR 50 crores is imported every year.

The European Union has already banned the use of the material for its
"occupational and environmental hazard of a catastrophic proportion."

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Ace CEO Calls Asbestos Suits A 'Drag' on Economy
Property-casualty insurance rates should remain "hard," if not rise, in
many lines into 2004, Ace Ltd.'s top executive said, speaking at a
luncheon at the Association of Insurance and Financial Analysts'
conference in Scottsdale, Arizona on March 3.

Brian Duperreault, the Bermuda insurer's chairman and chief executive,
said the US property-insurance market has corrected itself in recent
months.  However, property-insurance rates continue to rise outside the
US, especially in Europe, he said.  At the same time, casualty-
insurance rates are rising in many lines.

Mr. Duperreault said the rising cost of asbestos litigation is a drag
on the US economy, describing it as offensive and excessive.  He said
it's having a negative effect beyond the world of insurers.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Bankruptcy Court OKs Armstrong's Shareholder Offer
According to US Bankruptcy Court Judge Randall J. Newsome, the proposal
of Armstrong World, Inc. to give its current shareholders a kind of
option to buy stock in the reorganized company after it emerges from
bankruptcy is legal.

The proposal to give the options, known as warrants, to current
shareholders is being challenged by a committee of building owners, who
allege their properties were damaged by old Armstrong asbestos floors.
The committee, in court papers filed February 19, says bankruptcy law
allows a company to give a "gift" to its shareholders only when the
company repays its debts in full, which Armstrong does not intend to

However, during a hearing on February 28, Armstrong attorney Stephen
Karotkin said the committee had misinterpreted how the warrants would
be viewed under the law and vouched for their legality.

"I think he's right," Judge Newsome responded, "but if not, we'll deal
with that" later, when Armstrong's reorganization plan comes before the
court for confirmation.  Judge Newsome also announced during the two-
hour hearing that one of Armstrong's creditors, Liberty Mutual
Insurance, is asking him to remove himself from the case, because he
did work for the insurer while a practicing attorney more than 20 years

Armstrong intends to submit key - but complex and voluminous - papers
for the reorganization process March 11.  Other crucial papers filed by
Armstrong recently will be revised by March 11, in response to
objections from various groups which wanted more details in them, the
company said.  "Instead of getting court approval of both sets of
papers early this month, as Armstrong originally hoped, the Company now
will ask the court to approve them April 4," the company said.

As a result of the revisions and delays, Armstrong may miss its
previously stated July 1 goal for emerging from bankruptcy, but only by
a few weeks, Mr. Karotkin said following the hearing.  Nonetheless, he
emphasized, the reorganization process is still moving forward.  "It'll
probably slip a little.  But nothing happened today to derail anything
at all.  In fact, we're quite pleased with today's hearing . it's
solely a matter of scheduling," he said.

Armstrong was pushed into bankruptcy in December 2000 by the crushing
expense of settling claims from people alleging injury from exposure to
asbestos insulation the firm once sold and installed.  In November,
Armstrong unveiled its plan for reorganizing and emerging from
bankruptcy, subject to the approval of Armstrong's creditors, claimants
and the court.

The plan calls for dissolving Armstrong's owner and canceling its
stock, replacing them with a new corporation and new stock.  The new
stock would be held by a trust that would pay the personal-injury
claims, and by unsecured creditors.

Current shareholders, who've seen their stock implode from a 1998 peak
of $90 to 62 cents now, would get warrants entitling them to buy nine
of the new shares for every 100 current shares they own.  The new stock
is set to debut at $30.  The warrants would give shareholders seven
years to buy the new stock at a set price of $37.50 a share, no matter
what the market price becomes.  So, for the warrants to be worth
anything, the new stock's market price would have to rise beyond $37.50
during those seven years.

Liberty Mutual asked Judge Newsome to remove himself from the Armstrong
case because, when he was an attorney in private practice in
Cincinnati, he helped Liberty Mutual fight Armstrong over asbestos-
claim insurance.  While that work occurred before Judge Newsome became
a bankruptcy judge in 1982, Judge Newsome now "might "bend over
backwards' to avoid any appearance that he is favoring Liberty Mutual,"
said the insurer.  To avoid this potential for so-called "compensatory
bias," as well as "at least an appearance of impropriety," Judge
Newsome needs to remove himself from the Armstrong case, said Liberty

Judge Newsome delayed ruling on Liberty Mutual's motion to give the
parties in the Armstrong case 10 days to file responses.  Armstrong
will not support the Liberty Mutual motion, Mr. Karotkin said.

Because Judge Newsome had yet to decide whether he'll keep the case,
the judge only gave guidance -- not final rulings -- on issues related
to the main items on the hearing agenda - approving Armstrong's
disclosure statement, a document required by bankruptcy law that
explains the reorganization plan and approving Armstrong's proposed
procedures for conducting the voting on the plan.  As it turned out,
Armstrong tabled its request to have the disclosure statement approved
anyway, because it hasn't finished several crucial exhibits for it.

The exhibits will detail how the personal-injury trust will operate and
will explain why Armstrong's creditors and claimants will fare better
if the company is reorganized rather than liquidated.  Armstrong also
will be revising its disclosure statement and voting-procedures motion
to add numerous details sought by seven groups, which had filed
objections to the pair of documents, Mr. Karotkin indicated.

"If people want something disclosed, and it's accurate, we're happy to
do it.  We have no problem with that," he said after the hearing.

However, on some other objections that'll take more than extra text to
resolve - such as the challenge to the warrants - Judge Newsome made
his thinking clear.  He said, for instance, "On an objection asking
that, in order to vote on the reorganization plan, personal-injury
claimants be required to submit proof that they're ill and were exposed
to an Armstrong product - "That would throw this case into utter chaos
. I just can't imagine trying to unscramble that."

He continued, "On an objection asking that attorneys casting votes on
behalf of personal-injury claimants be required to certify they're
authorized to do so, to prevent fraudulent votes -- "They'll need to
file a declaration under penalty of perjury that they do in fact have
the authority to vote."

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Former British Rail Employee Wins Asbestos Payout
A former British Rail employee has won a payout of GBP 180,000 after
being exposed to asbestos in the 1960s.

David Hill, 58, from Weston-super-Mare, suffers from the respiratory
disease mesothelioma - known as asbestos cancer.  Mr. Hill's
solicitors, Thring Townsend, said this was a result of his exposure to
asbestos during the 1960s at British Rail in Swindon.  They said their
client was not given protective masks or clothing, or warned of the
risk to his health of inhaling asbestos.  Mr. Hill was exposed to
asbestos while working as an apprentice coach finisher.

Brigitte Chandler, Hill's solicitor, said, "He is very pleased with the
result, and will use the money for nursing care and general support."

The case was settled at the High Court in Bristol, United Kingdom.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Cape plc's Asbestos Suit Settlement May Be Reduced
Cape plc's compensation payment offer of GBP 21,000,000 to 7500
sufferers of asbestos-related diseases may be cut to a third of the
original amount.  According to reports, the British multinational
company has missed the deadline to pay, and the settlement collapsed,
which means the damages litigation may be resumed in court.

There have reportedly been negotiations with Cape over revised
settlement terms, which could be substantially less than the original
amount.  Richard Meeran of Leigh Day and Co., which represents the
claimants, said it had become clear Cape could not deliver on the 2001
settlement, or even in regular installments.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Gencor, Asbestos Claimants Close To Settlement
South African mine holding company Gencor (GMF) and asbestos mining
laimants could reach a settlement agreement by weekend or at the latest
the end of March, said Richard Spoor, a lawyer from legal firm Ntuli,
Noble & Spoor, representing the claimants.  From the time the agreement
is struck, it is likely to take Gencor at least six weeks and up to two
months before the company can unbundle its 46% stake in Impala Platinum

"If we don't get an agreement by the end of March, we will have to go
back to court to get a settlement there," Mr. Spoor said.

"We are optimistic that the settlement negotiations will be completed
shortly.  The parties are engaged in sophisticated negotiations and
they are dealing with a novel problem, involving the interests of many
different stakeholders.  The Gencor board will continue to act
expeditiously but in the best interests of the company and its
shareholders," said Gencor in a statement.

On February 3, the asbestos claimants accepted a settlement offer of
R460,000,000 from Gencor.  Progress in reaching agreement with Gencor
has been slow as there are a number of sticking points and Gencor is
trying to cover all possible claims in one agreement, Mr. Spoor said.

"Gencor is attempting to close every gap and hole in the agreement.
However, there needs to be a balance struck between legal certainty and
the need to speedily expedite the matter," he continued.

The claimants in the Gencor case were allegedly exposed to asbestos
from the operations owned by the Griqualand Exploration and Finance
Corporation (Gefco).  Gencor held a controlling interest in Gefco from
1963 to 1989.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Hanover Hires Firm to Remove Asbestos From Library
Hanover Borough, Pennsylvania is paying a York company to remove
asbestos it found in the Hanover Public Library before the start of a
major renovation and expansion project there.  First Capital Insulation
Inc. of Pennsylvania was hired a few months ago at a cost of about $800
to inspect the library for asbestos, then report the findings to the
state Department of Environmental Protection.  Now, the borough is
paying $9,800 to First Capital to remove that asbestos, which was found
in some of the light fixtures and the glue used to set tiles in the
basement of the library on Carlisle Street.

The borough paid a $3,000 fine last year for demolishing three houses
next to the library without filing an asbestos abatement form with DEP
and having the houses properly inspected.  "We're doing this so we
don't trip over our feet with asbestos again," said borough manager
Bruce Rebert.

Since the cost of the work is less than $10,000, council is not
required under state law to bid out the contract for removal.  First
Capital is to file its report with the Department of Environmental
Protection in the next two weeks, then start work immediately after,
Mr. Rebert said.

The borough is spending $4,000,000 on the renovation and expansion
project, which will triple the size of the library and almost triple
its collection.  Also, the library will have more community meeting
rooms, a technology center and a cafe.  The houses on Carlisle Street
were demolished to make room for the relocation of Library Place, which
will be aligned with Third Street along the CSX Railroad tracks.

Mr. Rebert said bids for construction will be advertised within the
next few weeks and council will award contracts at its March 26
meeting.  Construction will start in April.  Originally, the project
was supposed to be completed by December 2003, that has been pushed
back to September 2004, Mr. Rebert said.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Federal Mogul UK Factory Workers in Asbestos Alert
Asbestos has been found in Federal Mogul's Bridgewater factory, in the
United Kingdom.  The Company has confirmed that traces of three types
of the deadly material have been found at their Colley Lane plant,
Federal Mogul Bridgewater Ltd.

A Health and Safety Executive inspector is carrying out tests on the
affected area to ascertain the danger.  As of press time, there has
been no update on the discovery.


Federal Mogul Bridgewater Ltd
Tel:  (01278) 435500
Fax:  (01278) 435501
Colley Lane, Bridgwater,
Somerset, United Kingdom

ASBESTOS ALERT: Asbestos Found at GM's Holden Engine Plant in Australia
Installation work at Holden Ltd.'s $400,000,000 V6 engine plant at Port
Melbourne has been stopped for two days after workers discovered
asbestos in a gasket.  Holden spokesman Jason Laird said a worker
helping assemble $300,000,000 of production equipment at the site
believed the gasket might contain asbestos and notified a supervisor.

Tests were carried out on the fibre-based industrial sized gasket,
which sits between pieces of machinery imported from Japan.  Mr. Laird
said workers had been advised of the find, but predicted their health
would not have been placed at considerable risk.  "We'll do whatever's
necessary, however, because it's in a stable environment we've been
advised there's not a significant risk to workers," he said.

Mr. Laird said Holden would now try to source a replacement gasket, but
predicted it would not cause significant delays to the installation of
plant equipment, scheduled for completion by late October.


Holden Ltd
241 Salmon Street
Port Melbourne Victoria 3207
Telephone: 03 9647 1111
Fax: 03 9647 2550

Employees  : 7,915 (Holden, as of December 31, 2001)
Revenue    : $186,763,000,000
Net Income :   $1,736,000,000
Assets     : $323,969,000,000*
Liabilities: $304,262,000,000*
(Financial Data of GM as of December 31, 2002)
(Financial Data of GM as of December 31, 2001)

Description: Australia's first large scale automotive manufacturing
facility was formed in 1931 when General Motors Australia merged with
Holden's to form General Motors Holden's Limited (now Holden).  Holden
has a special place in Australia's history as the manufacturer of the
first successful all-Australian passenger car in 1948.

Holden is one of Australia's foremost exporters of manufactured goods.
Holden Engine Operations exports a range of four-cylinder engines to
Europe, the United Kingdom, and Asia, as well as supplying Holden and
other local manufacturers with V6 and V8 engines.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Melbourne Hospital Patients, Staff Exposed to Asbestos
Hundreds of patients and staff at the Royal Melbourne Hospital may have
been exposed to deadly asbestos for more than two years.  Documents
that show elevated asbestos readings on three floors of the outpatient
building during demolition as part of a $35,000,000 hospital

Medical Scientists Association of Victoria assistant executive officer
Jennie Bremner said that her members were "extremely concerned."  "They
are concerned because they were working around walls, ceilings and
floors riddled with asbestos, which were being attacked with sledge
hammers," she said.  "In particular, patient health was at risk because
we know the asbestos levels in the air were above safe standards.
Who's to say these fibers won't affect them in the future?"

The affected floors, which included the facial prosthetic and neurology
units, were only cleared of staff and patients after a leak of
asbestos-ridden water next to a nurse's station (was detected), she
said.  In another incident in the prosthetics department, demolition
disturbed asbestos-ridden ceiling dust.

Ms. Bremner said that until a proper asbestos management plan was in
place, thousands of patients and staff were at risk during the hospital

The association failed in the Australian Industrial Relations
Commission, March 2, in a bid to immediately halt building work.  A
statement from the Melbourne Health network, which runs the Royal
Melbourne, said all asbestos removal was conducted according to
regulations and thoroughly tested by independent experts.  "Neither
staff nor patients have been exposed to asbestos during this project,"
it said.

However, a building safety audit by an independent company last month
shows asbestos throughout the floor tiles, ceiling tiles, cement sheets
and walls of floors five to eight.  Air-borne asbestos tests on
February 1 found up to 0.02 fibers per ml in four separate locations on
the three floors, including a stairwell, lunchroom and lift lobby.  The
accepted standard is less than 0.01 per ml.

Although other readings were below 0.01, Ms. Bremner said tests "were
not conducted exactly where people were working and even used equipment
in locked cupboards".

Australian Medical Association Victorian president Mukesh Haikerwal
said patients or staff "entering demolition areas should be properly
protected by aspirators and protective clothing."  He said staff and
patients affected by asbestos may not show any signs of any illness for
a long time.  "There's a large lag time between exposure and illness,
which can be as minor as irritability or as serious as mesothelioma,"
he said.

A WorkCover spokesman said the hospital had been monitored in recent
years and had not been cause for concern.


Royal Melbourne Hospital
Grattan Street, Parkville 3052
Victoria, Australia
Ph 61-3 9342 7000
Fax 61-3 9342 7802
For inquiries: enquiries@mh.org.au

ASBESTOS ALERT: Sulzer AG Labels Asbestos Related Cases "Without Merit"
Sulzer AG has taken provisions for anticipated legal defense work
related to asbestos cases, but feels these cases are "without merit."

"These are cases without merit.  We don't expect this issue will
materially affect future results.  Provisions have only been taken for
anticipated legal defense work," it said.  Sulzer did not reveal the
amount of asbestos provisions booked.

The Sulzer unit concerned by the asbestos charges, Sulzer Pumps USA,
was named in 38 cases by the end of January 2003, but these are all
multi-defendant cases in which hundreds of other parties were also
cited, it said.  "If settlements were to happen, it is unlikely to be
comparable to that of other prominent asbestos cases," it said.


Sulzer Ltd
CH-8401 Winterthur, Zrich, Switzerland
Phone: +41-52-262-11-22
Fax: +41-52-262-01-01

Employees  : 9,916
Revenue    : $2,212,000,000
Net Income :  $(267,800,000)
Assets     : --
Liabilities: --
(Financial Data as of December 31, 2001)

Description: Formerly a highly diversified conglomerate, Sulzer has
been forced to trim its sails to stay competitive. Through its many
divisions, Sulzer offers a wide-ranging line of industrial products for
wholesale business use. Sulzer designs and develops pumps (Sulzer
Pumps), coating machines (Sulzer Metco), industrial chemicals (Sulzer
Chemtech), engines (Sulzer Turbomachinery Services), and fuel cell
technology (Sulzer Hexis). The company also conducts contract research
and development (Sulzer Innotec). Sulzer has sold noncore industrial
operations to focus on its surface and materials technology businesses.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Material Found in Talisman Platform May Be Asbestos
Trace of materials believed to be asbestos has been discovered on a
North Sea oil platform.  It was found on the Talisman-operated Claymore
platform while an old accommodation facility was being removed.  It is
understood the 30 workers involved in the job were stood down while an
investigation was launched.

A spokesman for Talisman said there was no great cause for concern.  He
said the platform's crew was formerly accommodated on the old platform
where drilling and production was carried out.  However, the
accommodation unit had been sealed for several years, with staff
accommodated in a unit separate from the platform, accessible through
an adjoining walkway.

"Most asbestos had been removed (from the accommodation unit) a few
years ago," he said.  "The accommodation box was being taken away, and
small traces of asbestos were discovered on one of the floors.  The box
has been sealed up again and the company has been in touch with the
Health and Safety Executive and the relevant authorities."

The spokesman confirmed that the crew involved in the operation had
been down manned, but said they would reenter the unit to remove the
"scrapings" of asbestos and lift the box off the rig.  He added that
drilling and production work was continuing as normal.

A spokesman for HSE said it was aware of the situation and was
discussing a plan of action with the operator.  However, he said the
material found was not yet confirmed as asbestos, adding that the HSE
was awaiting the results of chemical tests.


Talisman Energy Inc. (NYSE: TLM)
3400, 888-3rd St. SW
Calgary, Alberta T2P 5C5, Canada
Phone: 403-237-1234
Fax: 403-237-1902

Employees   : 1,358
Revenue     : $3,171,000,000
Net Income  :   $494,000,000
Assets      : $6,851,000,000
Liabilities : $4,194,000,000
(Financial Data as of December 31, 2001)

Description: Talisman Energy hopes to develop hydrocarbon opportunities
worldwide.  Canada's largest independent oil and gas exploration and
production company, Talisman Energy also is active in Sudan, Southeast
Asia (primarily Indonesia), and the North Sea.  In addition, the
company explores in Algeria, Colombia, Papua New Guinea, Trinidad,
Vietnam, and the US. Talisman Energy has proved reserves of 475.3
billion barrels of oil and 3.4 trillion cu. ft. of natural gas.
Besides oil and natural gas, Talisman Energy also produces natural gas
liquids (NGLs) and synthetic oil.  The company agreed to sell its Sudan
assets to India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation this year.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Union Carbide Discloses Latest Asbestos Related Stats
Union Carbide is and has been involved in a large number of asbestos
related suits filed primarily in state courts during the past three
decades.  These suits principally allege personal injury resulting from
exposure to asbestos-containing products and frequently seek both
actual and punitive damages, often in very large amounts.

The alleged claims primarily relate to products that UCC sold in the
past, alleged exposure to asbestos-containing products located on UCC's
premises, and UCC's responsibility for asbestos suits filed against a
former subsidiary, Amchem Products, Inc.  In many cases, plaintiffs are
unable to demonstrate that they have suffered any compensable loss as a
result of such exposure, or that injuries incurred in fact resulted
from exposure to the Corporation's products.

The rate at which plaintiffs filed asbestos-related suits against
various companies, including the Corporation and Amchem, increased in
both 2001 and 2002, influenced by the bankruptcy filings of numerous
defendants in asbestos-related litigation.  The Corporation expects
more asbestos-related suits to be filed against it and Amchem in the
future.  The Corporation will aggressively defend or reasonably
resolve, as appropriate, both pending and future claims.

Typically, the Corporation is only one of many named defendants, many
of which, including UCC and Amchem, were members of the Center for
Claims Resolution, an entity that defended and resolved asbestos cases
on behalf of its members.  As members of the CCR, the Corporation's and
Amchem's strategy was to resolve the claims against them at the
relatively small percentage allocated to them pursuant to the CCR's
collective defense.  The CCR ceased operating in February 2001, except
to administer certain settlements.  The Corporation then began using
Peterson Asbestos Claims Enterprise, but only for claims processing and
insurance invoicing.

The Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow, and certain
members of Dow's legal department and certain Dow management personnel
have been retained to provide their experience in mass tort litigation
to assist the Corporation in responding to asbestos-related matters.
In early 2002, the Corporation hired new outside counsel to serve as
national trial counsel.  In connection with these actions, aggressive
defense strategies were designed to reduce the cost of resolving all
asbestos-related claims, including the elimination of claims that lack
demonstrated illness or causality.

At the end of 2001 through the third quarter of 2002, the Corporation
had concluded it was not possible to estimate its cost of disposing of
asbestos-related claims that might be filed against it and Amchem in
the future due to a number of reasons, including its lack of sufficient
comparable loss history from which to assess either the number or value
of future asbestos-related claims.  During the third and fourth
quarters of 2002, the Corporation worked with Analysis, Research &
Planning Corporation, a consulting firm with broad experience in
estimating resolution costs associated with mass tort litigation,
including asbestos, to explore whether it would be possible to estimate
the cost of disposing of pending and future asbestos-related claims
that have been, and could reasonably be expected to be, filed against
the Corporation and Amchem.

The Corporation provided ARPC with all relevant data regarding
asbestos-related claims filed against UCC and Amchem through November
6, 2002. ARPC concluded that it was not possible to estimate the full
range of the cost of resolving future asbestos-related claims against
UCC and Amchem, because of various uncertainties associated with the
litigation of those claims.  These uncertainties, which hindered the
Corporation's ability to project future claim volumes and resolution
costs, included the following:

     (1) Until a series of bankruptcies led to the CCR ceasing
         operations in early 2001, UCC and Amchem generally settled
         claims filed against CCR members according to a sharing
         formula that would not necessarily reflect the cost of
         resolving those claims had they been separately litigated
         against UCC or Amchem;

     (2) The bankruptcies in the years 2000 to 2002 of other companies
         facing large asbestos liability were a likely contributing
         cause of a sharp increase in filings against many defendants,
         including UCC and Amchem;

     (3) It was not until the CCR ceased operating in early 2001 that
         UCC took direct responsibility for the defense of claims
         against itself and Amchem;

     (4) New defense counsel for UCC and Amchem implemented more
         aggressive defense strategies in mid-2002.

Despite its inability to estimate the full range of the cost of
resolving future asbestos-related claims, ARPC advised the Corporation
that it would be possible to determine an estimate of a reasonable
forecast of the cost of resolving pending and future asbestos-related
claims likely to face the Corporation and Amchem, if certain
assumptions were made.

Specifically, ARPC advised the Corporation that for purposes of
determining an estimate it is reasonable to assume that in the near
term asbestos-related claims filed against UCC and Amchem are unlikely
to return to levels below those experienced prior to 2001 - when the
recent spike in filings commenced - and that average claim values are
unlikely to return to levels below those experienced in 2001-2002, the
years immediately following CCR's cessation of operations.  ARPC
advised the Corporation that, by assuming that future filings were
unlikely to exceed the levels experienced prior to 2001 and
extrapolating from 2001 and 2002 average claim values, ARPC could make
a reasonable forecast of the cost of resolving asbestos-related claims
facing UCC and Amchem.

ARPC also advised that forecasts of resolution costs for a 10 to 15
year period from the date of the forecast are likely to be more
accurate than forecasts for longer periods of time.  In projecting the
resolution costs for future asbestos-related claims, ARPC applied two
methodologies that have been widely used for forecasting purposes.

Applying these methodologies, ARPC forecast the number and allocation
by disease category of those potential future claims on a year-by-year
basis through 2049.  ARPC then calculated the percentage of claims in
each disease category that had been closed with payments in 2001 and
2002.  Using those percentages, ARPC calculated the number of future
claims by disease category that would likely require payment by UCC and
Amchem and multiplied the number of such claims by the mean values paid
by UCC and Amchem, respectively, to dispose of such claims in 2001 and
2002. In estimating the cost of resolving pending claims, ARPC used a
process similar to that used for calculating the cost of resolving
future claims.

As of December 31, 2002, ARPC estimated the undiscounted cost of
resolving pending and future asbestos-related claims against UCC and
Amchem, excluding future defense and processing costs, for the 15-year
period from the present through 2017 to be between around
$2,200,000,000 and $2,400,000,000, depending on which of the two
accepted methodologies was used.

Although ARPC provided estimates for a longer period of time, based on
ARPC's advice that forecasts for shorter periods of time are more
accurate and in light of the uncertainties inherent in making long-term
projections, the Corporation determined that the 15-year period through
2017 is the reasonable time period for projecting the cost of disposing
of its future asbestos-related claims.

The Corporation concluded that it is probable that the undiscounted
cost of disposing of its asbestos-related pending and future claims
ranges from $2,200,000,000 to $2,400,000,000, which is the range for
the 15-year period ending in 2017 as estimated by ARPC using both
methodologies.  Accordingly, the Corporation increased its asbestos-
related liability for pending and future claims at December 31, 2002 to
$2,200,000,000, excluding future defense and processing costs.  For
pending claims, the Corporation had an asbestos-related liability of
$233,000,000 at December 31, 2001.

The Corporation also increased the receivable for insurance recoveries
related to its asbestos liability to $1,350,000,000 at December 31,
2002, substantially exhausting its asbestos product liability coverage.
This resulted in a net income statement impact of $828,000,000,
$522,000,000 on an after-tax basis, in the fourth quarter of 2002.  The
receivable for insurance recoveries related to the Corporation's
asbestos liability was $223,000,000 at December 31, 2001.  The
insurance receivable related to the asbestos liability was determined
after a thorough review of applicable insurance policies and the 1985
Wellington Agreement, to which the Corporation and many of its
liability insurers are signatory parties, as well as other insurance
settlements, with due consideration given to applicable deductibles,
retentions and policy limits, and taking into account the solvency and
historical payment experience of various insurance carriers.

In addition, the Corporation had receivables for insurance recoveries
for defense and resolution costs of $219,000,000 at December 31, 2002
and $35,000,000 at December 31, 2001.  Defense and resolution costs for
asbestos-related litigation were $247,000,000 in 2002, $53,000,000 in
2001 and $53,000,000 in 2000.  The $247,000,000 in 2002 included
$92,000,000 for defense costs (which included significant costs for the
development and implementation of the Corporation's new and more
aggressive defense strategies) and $63,000,000 for bulk settlements
with multiple claimants.

To date, substantially all of these defense and resolution costs were
covered by insurance.  Insurance coverage for future asbestos-related
defense costs will exist, but to a lesser extent.  The pretax impact
for these defense and resolution costs, net of insurance, was
$9,000,000 in 2002, $9,000,000 in 2001 and $4,000,000 in 2000.

The amounts recorded for the asbestos-related liability and related
insurance receivable described above were based upon currently known
facts.  However, projecting future events, such as the number of new
claims to be filed each year, the average cost of disposing of each
such claim, coverage issues among insurers, and the continuing solvency
of various insurance companies, as well as the numerous uncertainties
surrounding asbestos litigation in the United States, could cause the
actual costs and insurance recoveries to be higher or lower than those
projected or those recorded.  The Corporation expenses defense and
processing costs as incurred.  Accordingly, defense and processing
costs incurred in the future for asbestos-related litigation, net of
insurance, will impact results of operations in future periods.

Because of the uncertainties described above, management cannot
estimate the full range of the cost of resolving pending and future
asbestos-related claims facing the Corporation and Amchem.  Management
believes that it is reasonably possible that the cost of disposing of
the Corporation's asbestos-related claims, including future defense and
processing costs, could have a material adverse impact on the results
of operations and cash flows for a particular period and on the
consolidated financial position of the Corporation.

While it is not possible at this time to determine with certainty the
ultimate outcome of any of the legal proceedings and claims referred to
in this filing, management believes that adequate provisions have been
made for probable losses with respect to pending claims and
proceedings, and that, except for the asbestos-related matters
described above, the ultimate outcome of all known and future claims,
after provisions for insurance, will not have a material adverse impact
on the results of operations, cash flows and consolidated financial
position of the Corporation.  Should any losses be sustained in
connection with any of such legal proceedings and claims in excess of
provisions provided and available insurance, they will be charged to
income when determinable.


Union Carbide Corporation

Assets                     : $7,414,000,000
Liabilities                : $6,325,000,000
Asbestos-related charge    : $828,000,000
Asbestos-related insurance receivables - current    : $ 80,000,000
Asbestos-related insurance receivables - noncurrent : $1,489,000,000
Asbestos-related liabilities - current              : 124
Asbestos-related liabilities - noncurrent           : 2,072
(As of Union Carbide's SEC Annual Report December 31, 2002)

ASBESTOS ALERT: Widow Commences Asbestos Related Suit V. Western Power
A widow whose husband died from asbestos-related cancer after a
lifetime spent working in the power industry has taken her fight for
damages to London's High Court.  Barry Young died aged 55 in March 1999
of mesothelioma - an incurable cancer of the lining of the lungs, often
associated with asbestos.  He worked in the electricity industry
between 1959 and 1994 and his widow Jean, of Ashleigh Close, Weston-
super-Mare, claims his death was caused by exposure to asbestos.

Ms. Young's lawyers say her husband was involved in stripping old
asbestos lagging from pipework at power stations in Portishead in the
early 1960s.  Now she is suing her husband's former employers Western
Power Distribution (South West) Plc - previously known as SWEB.  She
claims the electricity firm failed to provide safety equipment and
failed to store the asbestos properly.

The firm denies liability.  The company also insists that Ms. Young
left it too late to launch her damages claim, as personal injury claims
of that type must normally be launched within a time limit of three

Her counsel, John Foy QC, said Mr. Young had begun suffering chest pain
and shortness of breath in 1991 and by December 1993 believed that he
was suffering from the mesothelioma that would eventually kill him.
However, he abandoned plans to sue for compensation when, in July 1996,
doctors mistakenly told him he was suffering from adenocarcinoma, a
condition which is not asbestos-related.  It was only after his death
that it emerged that the man had indeed died of mesothelioma, the
barrister told the court.

Mr. Foy argued that the couple had been "the innocent victims" of the
mistaken diagnosis and it would now be unfair for the widow's claim to
be frustrated by a strict interpretation of the three-year time limit.
The hearing, expected to last two days, continues.


Western Power Distribution Holdings Limited
Avonbank, Feeder Road
Bristol BS2 0TB, United Kingdom
Phone: +44-117-933-2000
Fax: +44-117-933-2001

Employees  : 2,691
Revenue    : $569,100,000
Net Income : $83,100,000
Assets     : $3,220,600,000
Liabilities: $2,484,100,000
(As of March 31, 2002)

Description: Western Power Distribution Holdings (WPD, formerly WPD
Holdings UK) spreads energy around South West England and South Wales.
The company's electricity distribution networks serve about 2.5 million
customers.  Its Surf Telecoms unit operates a fiber-optic network along
WPD's distribution lines.  WPD also generates electricity and offers
meter reading, Internet business, and helicopter surveillance services;
it has sold its water distribution unit (Welsh Water).  The company,
which was created in 1999 when the former SWEB Holdings separated its
power supply and distribution businesses, is a subsidiary of US utility
PPL Corporation.  PPL bought Mirant's 49% stake in WPD in 2002.

                     New Securities Fraud Cases

AEGON NV: Milberg Weiss Commences Securities Fraud Lawsuit in S.D. NY
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP initiated a securities class
action on behalf of purchasers of the securities of Aegon N.V. between
August 9, 2001 and July 22, 2002, inclusive, in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York against the
Company and:

     (1) Don Shepard,

     (2) Kees Storm and

     (3) Jos B.M. Streppel

The complaint charges that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder, by issuing a series of materially false and misleading
statements to the market between August 9, 2001 to July 22, 2002.
Aegon, through its member companies, is an international insurer.
During the years preceding the class period, and during the class
period, as stock markets suffered substantial declines, increasing
numbers of investors gravitated from variable products to fixed

Aegon distinguished itself from its competitors with the claim that its
purportedly broad product mix better enabled it to take advantage of
this market shift while it simultaneously assured investors that it had
sufficient reserves to fund the sharply increasing guaranteed payout
obligations required by its fixed products.

The complaint further alleges that Aegon also assured investors that it
was less vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the equity and credit
markets than competitors because the Company matched "high quality
investment assets . in an optimal way to the corresponding insurance
liability, taking into account currency, yield and maturity

The Company claimed that, for the foregoing reasons, "(c)onsistency and
reliability in earnings forecasting is a particular source of pride"
and that, while not immune to equity and real estate market shifts, the
Company was not subject to sharp downward variations in annual net
income.  Accordingly, the Company reduced its earnings guidance for
2002 but at all relevant times maintained its forecast that 2002 net
income would at least equal 2001 net income.

The class period ended on July 22, 2002.  The complaint alleges that,
on that date, the Company shocked the market, announcing that 2002 net
income would not equal 2001 net income but, on the contrary, would be
30% to 35% lower than 2001 net income.  On this news, Aegon shares
declined from a closing price of US$16.99 on Friday, July 19, 2002 to a
closing price of US$13.25 on Monday, July 22, 2002, when trading

For more details, contact Steven G. Schulman or U. Seth Ottensoser by
Mail: One Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th fl., New York, NY, 10119-0165 by
Phone: +1 (800) 320-5081 by E-mail: aegon@milbergNY.com or visit the
firm's Website: http://www.milberg.com

ROYAL AHOLD: Milberg Weiss Commences Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP initiated a securities class
action on behalf of purchasers of the securities of Koninklijke Ahold
N.V. (Royal Ahold) between June 7, 2001 and February 24, 2003,
inclusive.  The action was filed in the United States District Court,
Southern District of New York.

The suit alleges that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder, by issuing a series of material misrepresentations to the
market between June 7, 2001 and February 24, 2003, thereby artificially
inflating the price of Ahold American Depositary Receipts (ADR's).

The complaint alleges that in 2001 and 2002 Ahold issued quarterly
press releases reporting the Company's results of operations and
financial condition.  These press releases and Ahold's public filings
with the SEC represented that the Company was growing at a breakneck

The complaint further alleges that on February 24, 2002 Ahold shocked
the market; it issued a press release announcing that Ahold's operating
earnings for fiscal year 2001 and expected operating earnings for
fiscal year 2002 "have been overstated by an amount that the company
believes may exceed US US$500 M," and that the overstatements would
require the restatement of Ahold's financial statements for fiscal year
2001 and the first three quarters of 2002.

The release further stated that the Company was investigating the
legality of certain transactions at its Argentine Disco unit, and that
the investigation had uncovered certain transactions that were
"questionable."  The Company further announced that, "in view of the
above" van der Hoeven and Meurs were resigning, the Company was
deferring the announcement of its full year financial results scheduled
for March 5, 2003 and that Ahold's auditors had suspended the fiscal
year 2002 audit pending completion of these investigations.

On this news, the price of Ahold securities plummeted. As illustrative,
the ADRs closed at US$10.69 on Friday, February 21, 2003.  The
Company's announcement was released at about 2:30 a.m. Eastern Standard
Time on Monday, February 24, 2002.  The ADRs opened on the next trading
day at US$4.36, fell to US$3.60 and closed the day at US$4.16, down 61%
from the previous day's closing price.

For more details, contact Steven G. Schulman or U. Seth Ottensoser by
Mail: One Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th fl., New York, NY, 10119-0165 by
Phone: +1 (800) 320-5081 by E-mail: aholdcase@milbergNY.com or visit
the firm's Website: http://www.milberg.com

TRANSKARYOTIC THERAPIES: Berman DeValerio Lodges Securities Suit in MA
Berman DeValerio Pease Tabacco Burt & Pucillo initiated a securities
class action against Transkaryotic Therapies, Inc. (Nasdaq:TKTX),
alleging the biopharmaceutical firm issued false and misleading
statements to the public regarding the chances for approval of a new

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the
District of Massachusetts.  Plaintiffs seek damages for violations of
federal securities laws on behalf of all investors who bought
Transkaryotic common stock from January 4, 2001 through January 14,

The lawsuit claims Transkaryotic misled the public about its chances of
achieving US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to market
Replagal, an enzyme therapy for the treatment of Fabry disease.
Shareholders contend that the company knew throughout the class period
that the FDA considered its clinical trial data on Replagal to be

Some of the facts began to emerge on October 2, 2002, nearly two years
after the FDA's findings, when Transkaryotic admitted that the FDA had
determined the drug's primary pain reduction data was "uninterpretable"
and that Transkaryotic had decided to rely on other data -- gathered
from cardiac and renal clinical trials -- in its FDA application.  Six
days later, Transkaryotic further acknowledged that the FDA had also
advised the company in early 2001 that it did not consider Replagal's
cardiac or renal data sufficient to support approval.

In response to the initial announcement, Transkaryotic common stock
plummeted from its closing price of $33.25 per share on October 2, 2002
to $12.75 at the end of the next trading day.  Transkaryotic and the
FDA disclosed additional facts on January 14, 2003, during an Advisory
Committee hearing. At that meeting, the FDA stated its reasons for
believing that the pain data was not interpretable and further, that it
had informed Transkaryotic of its reasoning at least as early as
January 2001.

Trading in Transkaryotic common stock was halted during the Advisory
Committee meeting.  It closed at $6.49 per share on January 15, 2003.

For more details, contact Leslie R. Stern or Nicole S. Robbins by Mail:
One Liberty Square, Boston, MA 02109 by Phone: (800) 516-9926 or
(617) 542-8300 or by E-mail: law@bermanesq.com


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

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