CAR_Public/041029.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Friday, October 29, 2004, Vol. 6, No. 215

                         Headlines

BIOLAB INC.: GA Judge Refuses To Dismiss Suit Over May 25 Fire
CANADA: Appeal Court Allows Suit V. Capers Community To Proceed
CARDINAL HEALTH: Ohio Court Dismisses ERISA Violations Lawsuit
CARDINAL HEALTH: Shareholders Launch Securities Suits in S.D. OH
CARDINAL HEALTH: Faces Suits For ERISA Act Violations in S.D. OH

DIGIMARC CORPORATION: Shareholders Lodge Securities Suit in OR
DREAMLAND VILLA: Residents Lodge Suit Over Mandatory Membership
FANNIE MAE: Shareholders Launch Securities Fraud Suits in NY, DC
FLORIDA: Flight Attendant Gets New Trial in Suit V. Big Tobacco
HEARTBURN DRUGS: Popular Drugs Linked To Higher Pneumonia Rate

IAC/INTERACTIVECORP: Shareholders Launch Stock Suits in S.D. NY
INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES: Shareholders File Securities Suits in CA
JOHN Q. HAMMONS: Describes Lawsuit Over Buyout Offer "Premature"
MAXIM PHARMACEUTICALS: Shareholders Lodge Stock Suits in S.D. CA
MICROSOFT CORPORATION: CA Resident Lodges Xbox Consumer Suit

NEW YORK: Shareholders Launch Securities Fraud Suits in E.D. NY
RADIATION THERAPY: Shareholders File Securities Suits in M.D. FL
REMEC INC.: Shareholders Lodge Securities Fraud Suits in S.D. CA
SIERRA HEALTH: Named As Co-Conspirator in RICO Lawsuit V. HMOs
STAAR SURGICAL: Shareholders Launch Securities Lawsuits in N.M.

STONEPATH GROUP: Shareholders Launch Securities Suits in E.D. PA
SYNCOR INTERNATIONAL: Court Asked To Clarify CA Suit Dismissal
SYNCOR INTERNATIONAL: DE Court Dismisses Shareholder Fraud Suit
T. ROWE: Continues To Face Shareholder Fraud Lawsuit in IL Court
TOMMY HILFIGER: Shareholders Launch Securities Suits in S.D. NY

UNITED RENTALS: Shareholders Launch Securities Fraud Suit in CT

                       Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: TX Jury Clears Union Carbide in Fraud Case
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Lawyer Told FM Victims to Expect "Peanuts"
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: South Africa Embarks on Resolving Pollution
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Group Warns of Threat To Policemen's Health
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Alfa Laval Faces 158 Suits in 3rd Quarter

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Aktiebolaget Electrolux Faces 823 Lawsuits
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: SCOR's Asbestos Reserves Reported Adequate
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Expert Describes Geneva Ruling "Unethical"
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: VWR Int'l Faces Asbestos-related Lawsuits
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Corning Posts $2.49Bln Loss in 3rd Quarter

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Owens-Illinois Inc Faces 35,000 Lawsuits
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Asbestos Dumping Ploy in Australia Unmasked
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Crane Reaches Settlement of Injury Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: PPG Cites Increase in Value of Settlement
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: AU Govt Rejects Telstra Compensation Plan

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: French Court Awards US$1.92MM to Miners
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Halliburton Posts Loss on Asbestos Charges
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: IL Agency Insists Sand Pile Poses No Threat
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NT Govt Plans to Set Up Asbestos Register
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Attorney Says Tasmania Lacks Adequate Laws

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Liberty Mutual Moves to Recover from Losses
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Test to Diagnose Mesothelioma Wins Award
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Allstate Cites Underwriting Loss of $315MM
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Burlington Blames 3Q Drop on Liabilities
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Judge Conti Takes Over USG Chapter 11 Case

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Hardie Chiefs Resign Amid Asbestos Probe
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ACTU Explains No Breakthrough Yet in Talks
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Specialty Underwriters to Face Minor Losses
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Holders Plan to Delay Owens Corning's Ch 11
ASBESTOS ALERT: LA Jury Awards US$20.5 Mil to Lung Cancer Victim

ASBESTOS ALERT: UK Councilor Fined GBD20,000 Over Dumping Waste
ASBESTOS ALERT: Endemol Admits Workers' Exposure While Filming
ASBESTOS ALERT: Graco Named as Defendant in Multiple Lawsuits
ASBESTOS ALERT: UK Family Plans to Sue Babcock Transformers Ltd
ASBESTOS ALERT: Probe Launched on 20 Deaths in N. Italy Airbase

ASBESTOS ALERT: Power Station Contractors Walk Out Over Hazards

                  New Securities Fraud Cases

DOBSON COMMUNICATIONS: Charles J. Piven Files OK Securities Suit
MARSH & MCLENNAN: Keller Rohrback Lodges ERISA Fraud Suit in NY
METLIFE INC.: Charles J. Piven Files Securities Fraud Suit in NY
STAR GAS: Scott + Scott Lodges Securities Fraud Lawsuit in CT
STAR GAS: Wolf Haldenstein Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CT

TOMMY HILFIGER: Zwerling Schachter Lodges Securities Suit in NY
VALASSIS COMMUNICATIONS: Charles J. Piven Files Stock Suit in MI

                         *********

BIOLAB INC.: GA Judge Refuses To Dismiss Suit Over May 25 Fire
--------------------------------------------------------------
Superior Court Judge David Irwin recently denied a plaintiff's
motion to dismiss a suit against BioLab in Rockdale County in
order, the Rockdale Citizen reports.  The judge also ordered the
suits consolidated in a Fulton County Court.

Lawsuits have been filed in Rockdale County, Gwinnett County and
Fulton County in connection with a May 25 fire at the BioLab
warehouse in Conyers, which resulted in a toxic-laden chemical
cloud to drift over portions of the community.

According to Judge Irwin, he denied the motion, since under
Georgia law "the voluntary dismissal of a class action must be
approved by the court," and in determining whether or not to
grant a dismissal, the court must determine if such a dismissal
"adequately protects or prejudices the interest of all members
of the proposed class." He noted that based upon the facts
currently before it, the court concludes that the absent class
members very well may be prejudiced or injured by a dismissal.

Judge Irwin also noted that the cases in Fulton County are in
State Court and that equitable relief may not be possible to
obtain from that jurisdiction.

In his ruling, Irwin also gave plaintiff attorneys 60 days in
which to identify the members of the proposed class action suit
and the claims being made against BioLab.  He ordered after that
is done the parties should meet within 30 days to discuss the
case and a conference to advise the court of the case status has
been scheduled for Monday, Jan. 31, 2005.


CANADA: Appeal Court Allows Suit V. Capers Community To Proceed
---------------------------------------------------------------
The B.C. Appeal Court struck down a challenge against a class
action suit by people suing Capers Community Markets, a
Vancouver grocery store over food contaminated by hepatitis A,
the Vancouver Sun reports.

Attorneys for the grocery store had argued that a lower court
was mistaken when it agreed to certify the lawsuit as class
action. The suit was over a March 2002 discovery that a Capers
employee had hepatitis A, which then resulted in the infection
of eight people and the immunization of 6,500 others for
purposes of lowering the risk of getting sick.

Capers argued in appeal court that each person's medical
condition would be different and it would be up to them to prove
loss or negligence. However, the Appeal Court disagreed and
instead ruled that the lower court's approval of a class action
lawsuit against the health-food market can go forth.


CARDINAL HEALTH: Ohio Court Dismisses ERISA Violations Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
Ohio dismissed in part the consolidated class action filed
against Cardinal Health, Inc., Syncor International Corporation
and certain Cardinal Health employees.

A purported class action complaint, captioned Pilkington v.
Cardinal Health, et al, was filed on April 8, 2003, against the
Company, Syncor and certain officers and employees of the
Company by a purported participant in the Syncor Employees'
Savings and Stock Ownership Plan (the "Syncor ESSOP").  A
related purported class action complaint, captioned Donna Brown,
et al. v. Syncor International Corp, et al., was filed on
September 11, 2003, against the Company, Syncor and certain
individual defendants.  Another related purported class action
complaint, captioned Thompson v. Syncor International Corp., et
al., was filed on January 14, 2004, against the Company, Syncor
and certain individual defendants.

A consolidated complaint was filed on February 24, 2004 against
Syncor and certain former Syncor officers, directors and/or
employees alleging that the defendants breached certain
fiduciary duties owed under the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act (ERISA) based on the same underlying allegations of
improper and unlawful conduct alleged in the federal securities
litigation.

On April 26, 2004, the defendants filed Motions to Dismiss the
consolidated complaint.  On August 24, 2004, the Court granted
in part and denied in part Defendants' Motions to Dismiss.  The
Court dismissed, without prejudice, all claims against
defendants Ed Burgos and Sheila Coop, all claims alleging co-
fiduciary liability against all defendants, and all claims
alleging that the individual defendants had conflicts of
interest precluding them from properly exercising their
fiduciary duties under ERISA.  A claim for breach of the duty to
prudently manage plan assets was upheld against Syncor, and a
claim for breach of the alleged duty to "monitor" the
performance of Syncor's Plan Administrative Committee was upheld
against defendants Monty Fu and Robert Funari.


CARDINAL HEALTH: Shareholders Launch Securities Suits in S.D. OH
----------------------------------------------------------------
Cardinal Health, Inc. and certain of its officers and directors
face ten purported class action complaints filed in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio by
purported purchasers of the Company's securities, asserting
claims under the federal securities laws.

The suits are styled:

     (1) Gerald Burger v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al. (04 CV
         575),

     (2) Todd Fener v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al. (04 CV
         579),

     (3) E. Miles Senn v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al. (04 CV
         597),

     (4) David Kim v. Cardinal Health, Inc. (04 CV 598),

     (5) Arace Brothers v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al. (04 CV
         604),

     (6) John Hessian v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al. (04 CV
         635),

     (7) Constance Matthews Living Trust v. Cardinal Health,
         Inc., et al. (04 CV 636),

     (8) Mariss Partners, LLP v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al.
         (04 CV 849),

     (9) The State of New Jersey v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et
         al. (04 CV 831) and

    (10) First New York Securities, LLC v. Cardinal Health,
         Inc., et al. (04 CV 911)

The securities actions purport to be brought on behalf of all
purchasers of the Company's securities during various periods,
beginning as early as October 24, 2000 and ending as late as
July 26, 2004 and allege, among other things, that the
defendants violated Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule
10b-5 promulgated thereunder and Section 20(a) of the Exchange
Act by issuing a series of false and/or misleading statements
concerning the Company's financial results, prospects and
condition.

The alleged misstatements relate to the Company's accounting for
recoveries relating to antitrust litigation against vitamin
manufacturers, and to classification of revenue in the Company's
Pharmaceutical Distribution business as either operating revenue
or revenue from bulk deliveries to customer warehouses, among
other matters.  The alleged misstatements are claimed to have
caused an artificial inflation in the Company's stock price
during the proposed class period.  The complaints seek
unspecified money damages and equitable relief against the
defendants, and an award of attorney's fees.


CARDINAL HEALTH: Faces Suits For ERISA Act Violations in S.D. OH
----------------------------------------------------------------
Cardinal Health, Inc. and certain of its officers, directors and
employees face fourteen purported class action complaints filed
by purported participants in the Cardinal Health Profit Sharing,
Retirement and Savings Plan, in the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Ohio.

These cases include:

     (1) David McKeehan and James Syracuse v. Cardinal Health,
         Inc., et al. (04 CV 643),

     (2) Timothy Ferguson v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al. (04
         CV 668),

     (3) James DeCarlo v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al. (04 CV
         684),

     (4) Margaret Johnson v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al. (04
         CV 722),

     (5) Harry Anderson v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al. (04 CV
         725),

     (6) Charles Heitholt v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al. (04
         CV 736),

     (7) Dan Salinas and Andrew Jones v. Cardinal Health, Inc.,
         et al. (04 CV 745),

     (8) Daniel Kelley v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al. (04 CV
         746),

     (9) Vincent Palyan v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al. (04 CV
         778),

    (10) Saul Cohen v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al. (04 CV
         789),

    (11) Travis Black v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al. (04 CV
         790),

    (12) Wendy Erwin v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al. (04 CV
         803),

    (13) Susan Alston v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al. (04 CV
         815), and

    (14) Jennifer Brister v. Cardinal Health, Inc., et al.
         (04 CV 828)

The Cardinal Health ERISA actions purport to be brought on
behalf of participants in the Cardinal Health Profit Sharing,
Retirement and Savings Plan (the "Plan"), and also on behalf of
the Plan itself.  The complaints allege that the defendants
breached certain fiduciary duties owed under the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), generally asserting that
the defendants failed to make full disclosure of the risks to
plan participants of investing in the Company's stock, to the
detriment of the plan's participants and beneficiaries, and that
Company stock should not have been made available as an
investment alternative for plan participants.  The complaints
seek unspecified money damages and equitable relief against the
defendants, and an award of attorney's fees.


DIGIMARC CORPORATION: Shareholders Lodge Securities Suit in OR
--------------------------------------------------------------
Digimarc Corporation faces several securities class actions
filed on behalf of purchasers of its securities (NASDAQ: DMRC)
between April 17, 2002 and July 28, 2004 inclusive, (the 'Class
Period'), seeking to pursue remedies under the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934.  The actions are pending in the United
States District Court of Oregon against defendants Digimarc
Corp., Bruce Davis (Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO)
and E.K. Ranjit (Former CFO).

The complaints allege that throughout the Class Period,
Defendants issued, or caused to be issued, false and misleading
statements in violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Exchange Act, in order to artificially inflate the value of
Digimarc stock while they sold millions of dollars of their
personal holdings for tremendous personal gain. Under the
direction of CFO E.K. Ranjit, the Company inflated its
profitability during the class period by maintaining
insufficient accounting controls which created the environment
where improper accounting could be used to manipulate Company
financial results. The Company now admits that it improperly
accounted for software development costs and project
capitalization at its Digimarc ID Systems business unit.

In order to correct the misleading financial statements
previously issued, the Company has indicated that it will need
to restate all its financial reports for 2003 and 2004, and may
also be required to restate earlier periods as well. Without the
improper accounting manipulations, the restatement of which the
Company indicates will be in the millions of dollars, the
Company may not have been able to meet analysts' earnings per
share estimates during the class period.  In addition, while the
accounting manipulations were ongoing, Company insiders sold
over $10 million of Digimarc stock.

When the Company substantially missed its earnings expectations
on July 28, 2004, Digimarc's stock plummeted on usually high
trading volume of 653,600 shares, from its closing price of
$12.07 on July 28, 2004, to a closing price of $9.04 on July 29,
2004. Analysts from Morgan Keegan & Co., D.A. Davidson & Co. and
Janney Montgomery Scott, LLP all downgraded the Company.

The plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

     (1) Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP (New York), Mail:
         One Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th Floor, New York, NY,
         10119, Phone: 212.594.5300, Fax: 212.868.1229, E-mail:
         info@milbergweiss.com

     (2) Paskowitz & Associates, Phone: 800.705.9529, E-mail:
         classattorney@aol.com

     (3) Schatz & Nobel, P.C., Mail: 330 Main Street, Hartford,
         CT, 06106, Phone: 800.797.5499, Fax: 860.493.6290, E-
         mail: sn06106@AOL.com

     (4) Stoll, Stoll, Berne, Lokting & Schlachter, Mail: 209
         South West Oak Street, Portland, OR, 97204, Phone:
         503.227.1600, Fax: 503.227.6840, E-mail: info@ssbls.com


DREAMLAND VILLA: Residents Lodge Suit Over Mandatory Membership
---------------------------------------------------------------
Residents of Dreamland Villa retirement community in Mesa,
Arizona initiated a class-action lawsuit in a dispute over
mandatory membership to a club that maintains the community's
amenities, the East Valley Tribune reports.

The suit, which was filed against the club's board, seeks
injunctions prohibiting the Dreamland Villa Community Club from
assessing and collecting fees and a ruling that the CC&R
amendments are invalid. Ms. Ehninger said the ideal situation as
far as she is concerned would be to have the mandatory-
membership aspect of the club dissolved, but that may not be the
end result.

The suit alleges that the club has been amending the codes,
covenants, and restrictions to home deeds after a majority of
homeowners approved the changes. Cathy Ehninger and her husband
are two of the three people specifically named as plaintiffs in
the class-action suit, which accuses the club of holding an
"illegal vote" that violated its bylaws to accomplish this.

Furthermore, the suit claims that many residents who approved
mandatory membership were not told club fees would be
enforceable by liens and civil actions, similar to a homeowners
association.

According to Cathy Ehninger, more than 700 people belong to the
group that she leads that is called the Concerned Homeowners of
Dreamland Villa many of whose members are helping pay the legal
fees.  Community club attorney Charles Maxwell said he has not
yet been served with the lawsuit and would not comment about
specific allegations.


FANNIE MAE: Shareholders Launch Securities Fraud Suits in NY, DC
----------------------------------------------------------------
Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) faces several
securities class actions filed in the United States District
Courts for the Southern District of New York and for the
District of Colombia.  The suits also name as defendants
Franklin D. Raines, J. Timothy Howard, and Leanne G. Spencer.

The suits in D.C. allege violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder.  More specifically, the complaint
alleges that the Company failed to disclose and misrepresented
the following material adverse facts known to defendants or
recklessly disregarded by them:

     (1) that the Company applied accounting methods and
         practices that do not comply with GAAP in accounting
         for the enterprise's derivatives transactions and
         hedging activities;

     (2) that the Company had materially understated its accrued
         cost-of-access liability by $50-$80 million;

     (3) that the Company used 'cookie jar' accounting wherein
         Fannie Mae arbitrarily distributed current gains to
         subsequent quarters in a bid to keep its revenue and
         earnings growth steady;

     (4) that the Company deferred expenses to achieve bonus
         compensation targets;

     (5) that the Company had insufficient and inadequate
         internal controls; and

     (6) that as a result, the value of the Company's net income
         and financial results was materially understated at all
         relevant times.

More specifically, on September 22, 2004, Fannie Mae, prior to
the opening of the market, disclosed, in brief, the findings of
the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight ('OFHEO')
report. The report revealed that Fannie Mae was engaged in
inappropriate accounting practices. News of this shocked the
market. Shares of Fannie Mae fell $4.96 per share, or 6.56
percent, to close at $70.69 per share on unusually high trading
volume. After the market closed on September 22, 2004, OFHEO
released the complete report detailing Fannie Mae's
inappropriate accounting practices. The market reacted swiftly.
The next trading day shares of Fannie Mae fell an additional
$3.24 per share, or 4.58 percent, by noon on September 23, 2004.

On September 23, 2004, similar class action lawsuit was filed in
the United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York on behalf of purchasers of Federal National Mortgage
Association common stock during the period between October 16,
2003 and September 22, 2004. (the 'Class Period'). The complaint
charges Fannie Mae and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Fannie
Mae provides financing for home mortgages in the United States.

The complaint filed in the Southern District of New York alleges
that during the Class Period, defendants issued materially false
and misleading statements regarding Fannie Mae's financial
results and growth rates. Specifically, the complaint alleges
that the Company issued materially false and misleading
statements in an effort to separate themselves from the scandal
that occurred at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation
(Freddie Mac.)

The Freddie Mac's accounting crisis brought the ouster of
several top Freddie Mac executives, investigations by the
Justice Department and the SEC, and a record $125 million fine
in a settlement with the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise
Oversight ('OFHEO'), the office that regulates both Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac and is responsible for ensuring that they are
adequately capitalized and operating safely. Soon thereafter,
OFHEO initiated an eight-month investigation of Fannie Mae's
accounting practices in which the agency found a pattern of
manipulation aimed at smoothing out volatility in profits from
quarter to quarter similar to that which occurred at rival
Freddie Mac.

The plaintiff firms in this litigation:

     (i) Charles J. Piven, Mail: World Trade Center-Baltimore,
         401 East Pratt Suite 2525, Baltimore, MD, 21202, Phone:
         410.332.0030, E-mail: pivenlaw@erols.com

    (ii) Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C. (New York,
         NY), Mail: 825 Third Avenue - 30th Floor, New York, NY,
         100202, Phone: 212.838.7797, Fax: 212.838.7745, E-mail:
         lawinfo@cmht.com

   (iii) Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C. (Washington,
         DC), Mail: 1100 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 500, West
         Tower, Washington, DC, 20005, Phone: 202.408.4600, Fax:
         202.408.4699, E-mail: lawinfo@cmht.com

    (iv) Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins (D.C.),
         Mail: 1100 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 730,
         Washington, DC, 20036, Phone: 202.822.6762, Fax:
         202.828.8528, E-mail: info@lerachlaw.com

     (v) Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP
         (Florida), Mail: 197 S. Federal Highway, Suite 20, Boca
         Raton, FL, 33432, Phone: 561-750-3000, Fax: 561-750-
         3364

    (vi) Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP (NY),
         Mail: 200 Broadhollow Road, Suite 406, Melville, NY,
         11747, Phone: 631-367-7100, Fax: 631-367-1173,

   (vii) Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP (Delaware), Mail:
         919 N. Market Street, Suite 411, Wilmington, DE, 19801,
         Phone: 302.984.0597, Fax: 302.984.0870, e-mail:
         info@milbergweiss.com

  (viii) Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP (New York), Mail:
         One Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th Floor, New York, NY,
         10119, Phone: 212.594.5300, Fax: 212.868.1229, E-mail:
         info@milbergweiss.com

    (ix) Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, Mail: 3 Bala Plaza E, Bala
         Cynwyd, PA, 19004, Phone: 610.667.7706, Fax:
         610.667.7056, E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com

     (x) Vianale & Vianale LLP, Mail: The Plaza - Suite 801,
         5355 Town Center Road., Boca Raton, FL, 33486, Phone:
         561.391.4900, Fax: 561.368.9274, E-mail:
         info@vianalelaw.com


FLORIDA: Flight Attendant Gets New Trial in Suit V. Big Tobacco
---------------------------------------------------------------
A three-judge panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled 2-
1 in favor of a new trial for Suzette Janoff, a former American
Airlines flight attendant who lost her claim against the tobacco
industry that secondhand cigarette smoke caused her sinus
disease, which Circuit Judge Leslie Rothenberg ordered after
trial, the Associated Press reports.

The majority agreed with Judge Rothenberg that expert testimony
for cigarette makers was unfairly "bolstered" by a defense
attorney after questions by the woman's attorney punched a hole
in his conclusions. After testifying that allergies caused the
woman's condition, the expert conceded that one medical group's
Web site said secondhand smoke could aggravate sinus conditions.

According to Hunter Ms. Janoff's attorney, Steven Hunter, the
decision was a "stinging rebuke" of conduct at the September
2002 trial, which he and his client lost. In that 2002 trial
that they lost, the jury agreed she suffered from sinusitis,
rhinitis, allergies and other ear, nose and throat problems but
concluded her on-the-job exposure to smoke was not the cause.

The trial grew out of a 1997 class action settlement between
four leading cigarette makers and nonsmoking flight attendants,
which had set up a $300 million foundation to study smoke-
related illnesses and paved the way for a series of as many as
3,000 compensatory damage trials for individual attendants.


HEARTBURN DRUGS: Popular Drugs Linked To Higher Pneumonia Rate
--------------------------------------------------------------
Popular heartburn and ulcer drugs such as Nexium, Pepcid and
Prilosec can make people more susceptible to pneumonia, probably
because they reduce germ-killing stomach acid, a Dutch study
published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researcher Robert J.F. Laheij led the study at the University
Medical Center St. Radboud in Nijmegen, Netherlands.  The study
examined more than 300,000 patients.  According to the study,
patients who take proton-pump inhibitors, which are more
powerful acid-fighting drugs face a higher risk of contracting
pneumonia.  These drugs are sold in the United States as Nexium,
Prevacid and Prilosec.   Users who take another class of acid-
fighting drugs that includes cimetidine and famotidine - sold in
the United States as Tagamet and Pepcid - also faced an elevated
risk.

Researchers assert that the acid in normal stomach fluids
generally kills harmful bacteria; suppressing it with drugs to
treat heartburn and ulcers may make the body more hospitable to
such germs.  The study also discovered that older patients and
those with chronic lung ailments are more vulnerable to
pneumonia, and said these patients should take these medicines
"only when necessary and with the lowest possible dose."

Over nearly three years, users of proton-pump inhibitors faced
almost double the risk of developing pneumonia compared with
former users.  Users of the more potent drugs were 89 percent
more likely than former users to develop pneumonia.  Patients
using the less potent drugs were 63 percent more likely to
develop pneumonia than former users of those drugs.

According to a JAMA editorial, these heavily promoted medicines
are among the most widely prescribed drugs worldwide, with
almost $13 billion in sales in 1998 alone.  Millions of
Americans take these drugs, which are heavily advertised in "ask
your doctor about ..." TV commercials.

The researches studied a total of 364,683 medical records, among
which 5,551 cases of pneumonia were diagnosed - 185 of them in
people taking acid-suppressing drugs.  The researchers said
their findings translate to about one case of pneumonia for 226
patients treated with the more potent acid-fighting drugs and
one case per 508 patients treated with the other drugs.

Nevertheless, the findings are reassuring because the apparent
increase in the risk of pneumonia was small, said Dr. James
Gregor of the University of Western Ontario, according to AP.
Moreover, the study does not actually prove that the drugs cause
pneumonia, said Gregor, who wrote the JAMA editorial and was not
involved in the research.  Regardless of which medication a
patient is taking, heartburn, or acid reflux disease, can cause
a person to accidentally inhale regurgitated stomach acid,
increasing the risk of pneumonia, he said.


IAC/INTERACTIVECORP: Shareholders Launch Stock Suits in S.D. NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
IAC/InterActiveCorp faces several securities class actions filed
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York on behalf of all persons who purchased or otherwise
acquired IAC/InterActiveCorp ('IAC') (Nasdaq:IACI) publicly
traded securities during the period between March 19, 2003 and
August 4, 2004.

The complaints charge IAC and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934.  IAC largely acts as intermediary between suppliers and
consumers, aggregating large blocks of consumer goods and
services (primarily travel-related products such as hotel rooms
and airline tickets) from suppliers and selling them to
consumers over the Internet.  IAC's Travel segment's business
model was built on the ability of the Company's majority-owned
subsidiaries, Expedia, Inc. and Hotels.com, to contract with the
major hotel chains for non-exclusive rights to sell hotel room
bookings for the major hotel chains in exchange for a fee.

The complaints allege that beginning in early 2003, defendants
began to artificially inflate the price of the Company's common
stock in order to decrease the amount of stock IAC would
ultimately have to issue to acquire all of the outstanding
shares of Expedia and Hotels.com that it did not already own,
permitting IAC to use inflated IAC stock as acquisition currency
which would not further dilute defendants' own interests in IAC.
Throughout the Class Period, defendants also caused IAC to spend
over $1.5 billion to repurchase over 47 million shares of its
own common stock to further prop-up the Company's stock price.

The complaint alleges that defendants' statements made in
connection with the announcement of the acquisitions of Expedia,
Hotels.com and LearningTree.com, and with the Company's
financial reports and other statements made throughout the Class
Period, were materially false and misleading because they did
not disclose that:

     (1) certain of the Company's online customers were being
         double-billed for hotel rooms, leading to great
         customer dissatisfaction;

     (2) certain hotel chains were contesting the Company's slow
         payment for hotel room sales made on its Web site and
         were threatening to stop doing business with the
         Company;

     (3) certain of the Company's Web site customers were being
         charged rates exceeding the hotel's public prices,
         leading to further customer dissatisfaction;

     (4) certain IAC hotel customers were dissatisfied with the
         Company's practice of displaying a message on its Web
         sites that all of a particular hotel's rooms were sold
         out when the hotel was not actually sold out;

     (5) the Company had previously been selling a large number
         of hotel rooms and airline seats through more than
         24,000 affiliate Web sites, but since October 2002,
         many of these Web sites were either privately
         threatening and/or actually pursuing litigation against
         the Company, alleging among other things copyright
         infringement and predatory advertising;

     (6) one substantial business partner of Hotels.com,
         Metroguide, had commenced a lawsuit against Hotels.com
         alleging violations of federal copyright law and unfair
         business practices;

     (7) the Company was under-reporting its state and local
         sales tax expenses for some locations; and

     (8) certain hotels and airlines were decreasing the
         Company's allotment of rooms and seats because of the
         Company's bad business practices.

On August 4, 2004, the Company issued its Q2 2004 earnings
release disclosing that its Q2 2004 net income fell 24% from the
same quarter in 2003 and that it was cutting its forecast for
full-year operating profits, admitting that it was being
provided less airline seats and hotel rooms to sell. On this
news the Company's stock plummeted on extremely high volume of
almost 90 million shares. The Company's stock price dropped
precipitously from its Class Period high of $42.74 per share on
July 7, 2003 to close at $22.80 per share on August 4, 2004,
erasing over $10 billion in market capitalization.

The plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

     (i) Charles J. Piven Mail: World Trade Center-Baltimore,401
         East Pratt Suite 2525, Baltimore, MD, 21202, Phone:
         410.332.0030, E-mail: pivenlaw@erols.com

    (ii) Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C. (Washington,
         DC) Mail: 1100 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 500, West
         Tower, Washington, DC, 20005, Phone: 202.408.4600, Fax:
         202.408.4699, by E-mail: lawinfo@cmht.com

   (iii) Law Offices of Brian M. Felgoise, P.C., Esquire Mail:
         261 Old York Road, Suite 423, Jenkintown, PA, 19046 by
         Phone: 215.886.1900, by E-mail:
         securitiesfraud@comcast.net

    (iv) Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP (NY)
         Mail: 200 Broadhollow Road, Suite 406, Melville, NY,
         11747, Phone: 631-367-7100, Fax: 631-367-1173

     (v) Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, LLP (New York,
         NY) Mail: One Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY, 10119-
         1065, Phone: 212.594.5300

    (vi) Murray, Frank & Sailer LLP, Mail: 275 Madison Ave 34th
         Flr, New York, NY, 10016, Phone: 212.682.1818, Fax:
         212.682.1892 E-mail: email@rabinlaw.com

   (vii) Schatz & Nobel, P.C., Mail: 330 Main Street, Hartford,
         CT, 06106, Phone: 800.797.5499, Fax: 860.493.6290, E-
         mail: sn06106@AOL.com

  (viii) Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, Mail: 3 Bala Plaza E, Bala
         Cynwyd, PA, 19004, Phone: 610.667.7706, Fax:
         610.667.7056, E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com

    (ix) Wolf, Haldenstein, Adler, Freeman & Herz LLP, Mail: 270
         Madison Avenue, New York, NY, 10016, Phone:
         212.545.4600, Fax: 212.686.0114, E-mail:
         newyork@whafh.com


INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES: Shareholders File Securities Suits in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
Infineon Technologies AG faces several securities class actions
filed in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California on behalf of purchasers of Infineon
Technologies AG (NYSE:IFX) publicly traded securities during the
period between March 13, 2000 and July 19, 2004.

The complaint charges Infineon and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. Infineon manufactures and markets a wide variety of
polymer and specialty products.  The complaint alleges that
during the Class Period, defendants issued false and misleading
statements about Infineon's business and prospects and concealed
Infineon's involvement in price fixing activities.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that during the Class
Period, defendants concealed the following material adverse
facts from the investing public:

     (1) from on or about July 1, 1999 until on or about June
         15, 2002, Infineon and its co-conspirators entered into
         and engaged in a conspiracy in the United States and
         elsewhere to suppress and eliminate competition by
         fixing the prices of Dynamic Random Access Memory
         ('DRAM') to be sold to certain original equipment
         manufacturers ('OEMs') of personal computers and
         servers;

     (2) the conspiracy consisted of a continuing agreement,
         understanding, and concert of action among Infineon and
         its co-conspirators, the substantial terms of which
         were to agree to fix the prices for DRAM to be sold to
         certain OEMs; and

     (3) for the purpose of forming and carrying out the
         conspiracy, Infineon and its co-conspirators
         participated in meetings, conversations, and
         communications in the United States and elsewhere to
         discuss the prices of DRAM to be sold to certain OEMs;
         agreed during those meetings, conversations, and
         communications to charge prices for DRAM at certain
         levels to be sold to certain OEMs; issued price
         quotations in accordance with the agreements reached;
         and exchanged information on sales of DRAM to certain
         OEM customers for the purpose of monitoring and
         enforcing adherence to the agreed-upon prices and
         artificially inflating the Company's revenue and
         profits.

As a result, the Company's shares traded at inflated prices,
enabling the Company to consummate a $5.5 billion IPO and a $1
billion bond offering, together with stock-for-stock
acquisitions using the Company's inflated shares as currency.

On July 19, 2004, defendants acknowledged the seriousness of a
Justice Department investigation into Infineon's price fixing
practices when they announced they had recorded a $190 million
charge for the antitrust investigation. Then, on September 15,
2004, the Associated Press issued an article which stated:
'German computer chipmaker Infineon Technologies AG has agreed
to plead guilty to price fixing and will pay a $160 million
fine.... In a plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in San
Francisco, Infineon acknowledged conspiring with other companies
to fix prices of widely used computer memory products between
July 1999 and June 2002.'

The plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

     (1) Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins (San
         Diego), Mail: 401 B Street, Suite 1700, San Diego, CA,
         92101, Phone: 619.231.1058, Fax: 619.231.7423, E-mail:
         info@lerachlaw.com

     (2) Schatz & Nobel, P.C., Mail: 330 Main Street, Hartford,
         CT, 06106, Phone: 800.797.5499, Fax: 860.493.6290, E-
         mail: sn06106@AOL.com

     (3) Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, Mail: 3 Bala Plaza E, Bala
         Cynwyd, PA, 19004, Phone: 610.667.7706, Fax:
         610.667.7056, E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com


JOHN Q. HAMMONS: Describes Lawsuit Over Buyout Offer "Premature"
----------------------------------------------------------------
Publicly traded John Q. Hammons Hotels Inc., which is
considering a $63.5 million buyout offer, stated that a
shareholder class-action lawsuit filed recently in Delaware
trying to block the proposed deal is "premature," the Kansas
City Star reports.

According to the Springfield-based Company, the shareholder suit
described the $13-a-share price offered by Spanish Barcelo
Crestline Corp. as being "inadequate."

In reaction to the suit's description of the buyout offer, David
Sullivan, who will head a committee of Hammons directors to
examine the offer stated that they are fully committed to
ensuring that any transaction that occurs is the product of a
fair process that maximizes value to the holders of the Class A
common stock. He also adds, "The Company has not reached any
agreement with Barcelo Crestline with respect their proposal. We
believe the lawsuit that has been brought against the Company
and its directors in reaction to the proposal received from
Barcelo Crestline is premature, and we encourage shareholders to
allow us the opportunity to respond to this proposal in an
appropriate and thoughtful manner."

Founder John Q. Hammons and his affiliates own 76 percent of the
combined equity in John Q. Hammons Hotels Inc. and John Q.
Hammons Hotels LP, and 77 percent of the voting power in John Q.
Hammons Hotels Inc., which owns 46 hotels in seven states and
manages 14 others. The properties operate mainly under the
Embassy Suites, Holiday Inn or Marriott flags.

Privately held Barcelo Crestline, with hotel interests in 16
countries on four continents, has been controlled for three
generations by the Barcelo family, based in Palma de Mallorca.

Under terms of the proposed agreement, which is expected to
close in January, Hammons would participate in the new Company,
which would total an estimated 190 U.S. hotels in its ownership,
lease and management portfolio. The new Company would be called
Barcelo Hammons Hotels and Resorts Inc.


MAXIM PHARMACEUTICALS: Shareholders Lodge Stock Suits in S.D. CA
----------------------------------------------------------------
Maxim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. faces several securities class
actions filed in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of California on behalf of purchasers of Maxim
Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Maxim") (NASDAQ:MAXM) common stock
during the period between November 11, 2002 and September 17,
2004.

The complaints charge Maxim and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934.  Maxim is a global biopharmaceutical Company focused on
developing and commercializing therapeutic products for life-
threatening cancers and chronic liver diseases.

The Company's leading drug candidate during the Class Period was
Ceplene, which Maxim claimed was designed to prevent or inhibit
oxidative stress, thereby overcoming immune suppression and
protecting critical immune cells. Maxim also claimed that
Ceplene, used in combination immunotherapy with cytokines, was
being tested as an investigational drug for a number of cancers,
including malignant melanoma.

In December 2000, Ceplene was reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration ("FDA") Oncology Drugs Advisory Committee
("ODAC") for approval as a treatment for malignant melanoma.
The ODAC recommended against approval, based on the failure of a
comprehensive multicenter randomized "MO1" Phase III study. In
January of 2001, the FDA issued Maxim a rejection letter for the
use of Ceplene as a treatment for malignant melanoma.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
artificially inflated the price of Maxim shares by issuing a
series of false and misleading statements about the utility of
Ceplene in the treatment of malignant melanoma. Despite expert
review by the FDA and others of the dismal results of their
failed Phase III trial, defendants sought to convince investors
that Ceplene still held promise as a treatment for malignant
melanoma.

According to the complaint, the true facts which were known by
each of the defendants, but concealed from the investing public
during the Class Period, were as follows:

     (1) positive reports of survival rates and the status of
         malignant melanoma patients treated with Ceplene during
         the original MO1 Phase III study were rooted in a
         failed, fundamentally flawed and deficient trial and
         were therefore false and misleading in nature;

     (2) defendants' representation during the Class Period that
         "Maxim Pharmaceuticals Receives FDA Approval" was
         intended to convey to the investing public the false
         and misleading impression that Ceplene was safe,
         effective and approved for use in accordance with
         detailed instructions for dosage and administration for
         a marketed drug;

     (3) under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, it was illegal
         to publicly promote Ceplene as a safe and effective
         treatment for any type of disease, including malignant
         melanoma;

     (4) even though the Company represented to investors that
         the FDA 'Approved' Ceplene, no new clinical data or
         information demonstrating that the drug was effective
         in the treatment of malignant melanoma had been
         provided to the agency since it rejected the drug in
         2001;

     (5) the later 'confirmatory' Phase III study was in fact
         designed to refute key negative results in the MO1
         study as interpreted by panel experts at the ODAC in
         December of 2000 (results that explained why the drug
         did not work);

     (6) negative results were again the likely outcome of the
         later 'confirmatory' Phase III study, while positive
         results would create controversy and alone could not
         support approval of the drug for the treatment of
         malignant melanoma; and

     (7) disclosure of the highly material negative results of
         the later trial were delayed, affording insiders with
         knowledge of the undisclosed material information an
         opportunity for trading in Company securities.

On September 19, 2004, defendants shocked the market by
announcing the resounding failure of Ceplene to demonstrate an
improvement in overall patient survival, the primary endpoint.
Based on this disclosure, the stock imploded, closing the next
trading day at $3.04, for a loss of $2.90 or 48.8% of its value,
on volume of over 17 million shares.

The plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

     (i) Charles J. Piven, Mail: World Trade Center-
         Baltimore, 401 East Pratt Suite 2525, Baltimore, MD,
         21202, Phone: 410.332.0030, E-mail: pivenlaw@erols.com

    (ii) Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins (San
         Diego), Mail: 401 B Street, Suite 1700, San Diego, CA,
         92101, Phone: 619.231.1058, Fax: 619.231.7423, E-mail:
         info@lerachlaw.com

   (iii) Schatz & Nobel, P.C., Mail: 330 Main Street, Hartford,
         CT, 06106, Phone: 800.797.5499, Fax: 860.493.6290, E-
         mail: sn06106@AOL.com

    (iv) Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, Mail: 3 Bala Plaza E, Bala
         Cynwyd, PA, 19004, Phone: 610.667.7706, Fax:
         610.667.7056, E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com


MICROSOFT CORPORATION: CA Resident Lodges Xbox Consumer Suit
------------------------------------------------------------
A Los Angeles resident has initiated a class action suit against
U.S. software giant Microsoft Corporation, claiming that the
Company manufactured and sold thousands of defective Xbox video
game systems, the Xinhuanet reports.

Filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, the suit contends that the
systems "contain a defect that causes the disc drive to crash
thus making the acCompanying games purchased by the consumer
unusable and non-functioning." Furthermore, the plaintiff, Sean
Burke is claiming in his suit that the defective Xboxs stop
working after minimal usage, after unreasonably, unconscionably,
unusually and unexpectedly short amounts of time.

Aside from the defects, the suit is also claiming that Microsoft
was aware that a "significant number of the Xboxs fail to read
or play media devices specifically designed, sold and/or
represented by Microsoft as readable by the Xbox."

Mr. Burke is asking the presiding judge to certify two classes
in the suit one is a California class and the other a national
class. Accoridng to him, qualified class members should have
bought an Xbox between 2001 and 2004.


NEW YORK: Shareholders Launch Securities Fraud Suits in E.D. NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
New York Community Bancorp, Inc. (NYB), and individual
defendants face several class actions alleging violations of
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, filed in the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

The Bank's principal business consists of accepting retail
deposits from the general public in the areas surrounding its
branch offices and investing those deposits, together with funds
generated from operations and borrowings, into multi-family,
commercial real estate, and construction loans.

More specifically, the complaints allege that the Company failed
to disclose and misrepresented the following material adverse
facts known to defendants or recklessly disregarded by them:

     (1) that defendants manipulated the Company's financial
         results in order to appear more attractive for
         potential merger deals;

     (2) that this was accomplished through leveraged growth
         funded by short-term funding;

     (3) the Company's projections about growth and interest
         rate sensitivity were lacking in any reasonable basis
         when made; and

     (4) that the Company's financial results were materially
         inflated at all relevant times.

On Sunday, May 9, 2004, NYB announced that its Board of
Directors had authorized the Company's management team to engage
Bear Stearns & Co., Inc., Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., and
Sandler O'Neill & Partners, L.P. to assist NYB in undertaking a
review of its strategic alternatives, including remaining
independent.

The complaints further allege that on Sunday, May 9, 2004, NYB
announced that its Board of Directors had authorized the
Company's management team to engage Bear Stearns & Co., Inc.,
Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., and Sandler O'Neill & Partners,
L.P. to assist the Company in undertaking a review of its
strategic alternatives, including remaining independent. News of
the engagement of three financial firms to 'review strategic
alternatives' was the market's first indication that NYB's
strategy may not be working as planned.

For months, and in numerous interviews, filings, and press
releases, defendant Ficalora maintained that NYB would not only
do better than its rivals in its sector, but even thrive in an
environment of rising interest rates. Following NYB's
announcement, in intra-day trading on Monday, May 10, 2004, NYB
dropped over $2.53 per share from its previous close, on May 7,
2004, of $24.13 per share, or 10.5%, to close at a low of $21.60
per share. At the close of trading, NYB had fallen $1.33 per
share, or 5.5%, to close at $21.80 per share on volume of 9
million shares.

The plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

     (1) Charles J. Piven, Mail: World Trade Center-Baltimore,
         401 East Pratt Suite 2525, Baltimore, MD, 21202, Phone:
         410.332.0030, E-mail: pivenlaw@erols.com

     (2) Schatz & Nobel, P.C., Mail: 330 Main Street, Hartford,
         CT, 06106, Phone: 800.797.5499, Fax: 860.493.6290, E-
         mail: sn06106@AOL.com

     (3) Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, Mail: 3 Bala Plaza E, Bala
         Cynwyd, PA, 19004, Phone: 610.667.7706, Fax:
         610.667.7056, E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com


RADIATION THERAPY: Shareholders File Securities Suits in M.D. FL
----------------------------------------------------------------
Radiation Therapy Services faces several class actions filed in
the United States District Court for the Middle District of
Florida on behalf of all persons who purchased the common stock
of the Company between June 17, 2004 and September 8, 2004,
inclusive.

The Complaint alleges that the Company and certain of its
officers and directors issued materially false statements
concerning its initial public offering (IPO).  Specifically, the
Company failed to disclose that:

     (1) the IPO was purely a liquidity event for
         management/owners -- not a source of growth capital for
         the Company because 100% of the IPO proceeds went into
         the hands of Radiation Therapy's primary shareholders;

     (2) the numerous related party transactions by Radiation
         Therapy increased the risk of its business model
         running afoul of State and Federal laws governing
         corporate practice of medicine, fee splitting and
         physician-referrals; and

     (3) organic revenue growth had slowed dramatically and
         could be further disrupted in January due to changes in
         the way medical oncologists run their businesses.

On September 9, 2004, Banc of America Securities ('Banc of
America') initiated coverage of Radiation Therapy Services with
a 'sell' rating and an $11 target price. Banc of America said
the Company's IPO 'was purely a liquidity event for
management/owners' and noted that following the IPO management
'gifted itself another 5% of the Company via new option grants.'
Banc of America said: 'We simply cannot recommend purchasing the
stock until the Company's board structure (currently four
insiders, just three independent directors) and extensive
related party relationships are materially overhauled.' On this
news, Radiation Therapy fell $1.66 per share, or 11.98%, to
$12.20 per share.

The plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

     (i) Law Offices of Brian M. Felgoise, P.C., Esquire Mail:
         261 Old York Road, Suite 423, Jenkintown, PA, 19046
         Phone: 215.886.1900, E-mail:
         securitiesfraud@comcast.net

    (ii) Schatz & Nobel, P.C., Mail: 330 Main Street, Hartford,
         CT, 06106, Phone: 800.797.5499, Fax: 860.493.6290, E-
         mail: sn06106@AOL.com

   (iii) Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, Mail: 3 Bala Plaza E, Bala
         Cynwyd, PA, 19004, Phone: 610.667.7706, Fax:
         610.667.7056, E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com


REMEC INC.: Shareholders Lodge Securities Fraud Suits in S.D. CA
----------------------------------------------------------------
Remec, Inc. faces several securities class actions filed on
behalf of purchasers of the securities of Remec, Inc. (NASDAQ:
REMC) between September 8, 2003 and September 8, 2004 inclusive,
seeking to pursue remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of
1934.

The suits, filed in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of California, name as defendants the Company,
Ronald E. Ragland (former Chief Executive Officer) and Winston
Hickman (Chief Financial Officer).

The Complaints allege that during the Class Period, defendants
issued quarter after quarter of improving financial results,
including increasing profitability in the Company's wireless
division. Defendants also filed regular reports with the SEC,
certifying that Remec's financial reporting was accurate and
that the Company's internal controls were adequate. As a result
of these statements, Remec stock traded nearly $12 per share
during 2003.

On September 8, 2004, after the market closed, defendants
shocked the market by announcing that Remec would have to take
an enormous goodwill impairment charge of $62.4 million for its
wireless division - the same division that defendants assured
investors was on a path to profitability. The next day, contrary
to their repeated assurances regarding the integrity of Remec's
financial controls, defendants revealed that the Company had
identified 'potential control deficiencies' and that certain tax
authorities were reviewing the Company's tax filings. As a
result of these announcements, Remec stocked plunged to only
$4.21 per share, and has lost more than 50% of its value.

The plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

     (1) Bruce G. Murphy, Mail: 265 Llwyds Lane, Vero Beach La,
         FL, 32963, Phone: 561.231.4202

     (2) Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP (New York), Mail:
         One Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th Floor, New York, NY,
         10119, Phone: 212.594.5300, Fax: 212.868.1229, E-mail:
         info@milbergweiss.com

     (3) Schatz & Nobel, P.C., Mail: 330 Main Street, Hartford,
         CT, 06106, Phone: 800.797.5499, Fax: 860.493.6290, E-
         mail: sn06106@AOL.com

     (4) Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, Mail: 3 Bala Plaza E, Bala
         Cynwyd, PA, 19004, Phone: 610.667.7706, Fax:
         610.667.7056, E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com


SIERRA HEALTH: Named As Co-Conspirator in RICO Lawsuit V. HMOs
--------------------------------------------------------------
Sierra Health Services, Inc. has been named as a co-conspirator
in the class action lawsuit, styled "In Re: Managed Care
Litigation: MDL No. 1334."  However, the Company was not named
as a defendant.

Beginning in 1999, a series of class action lawsuits were filed
against most other major entities in the health benefits
business. A multi-district litigation panel has consolidated
most of these cases in the Southern District Court of Florida,
Miami division.

The plaintiffs assert that the defendants improperly paid
providers' claims and "downcoded" their claims by paying lesser
amounts than they submitted.  The complaint alleges, among other
things, multiple violations under the Racketeer Influenced and
Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, as well as various breaches
of contract and violations of regulations governing the
timeliness of claim payments.  The consolidated suits seek
injunctive, compensatory and equitable relief as well as
restitution, costs, fees and interest payments.

Discovery commenced on September 30, 2002.  In November 2002,
the Eleventh Circuit Court granted the industry defendants'
petition to review the class certification order.  That appeal
is pending.

On April 7, 2003, the United States Supreme Court determined
that the RICO claims against certain defendants should be
arbitrated.  On September 15, 2003, the district court granted
in part and denied in part the industry defendants' further
motion to compel arbitration.  Significantly, the court
denied the industry defendants' motion with respect to
plaintiffs' derivative RICO claims.

On September 19, 2003, the industry defendants appealed the
district court's arbitration order to the Eleventh Circuit Court
of Appeals.  Discovery is ongoing and a trial date has been set
for March 14, 2005.  In the meantime, two of the defendants,
Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corporation, have entered into settlement
agreements, which have been approved by the Court.


STAAR SURGICAL: Shareholders Launch Securities Lawsuits in N.M.
---------------------------------------------------------------
STAAR Surgical Company faces several securities class actions
filed in the United States District Court for the District of
New Mexico on behalf of all persons who purchased the securities
of STAAR Surgical Company between April 3, 2003 and January 6,
2004 inclusive.

The Complaints charge David Bailey and Staar Surgical with
violations of federal securities laws.  Plaintiff claims that
defendants' omissions and material misrepresentations concerning
Staar Surgical's business operations and prospects artificially
inflated the Company's stock price, inflicting damages on
investors.

Staar Surgical develops, manufactures and distributes products,
including implantable lenses, used by ophthalmologists and other
eye care professionals to improve or correct vision in patients
with cataracts, refractive conditions and glaucoma. The
Complaints allege that defendants knew or recklessly disregarded
that their public statements concerning Staar Surgical's
implantable lenses ('ICLs') were materially false and misleading
because they failed to disclose significant problems with the
manufacture of these devices.  These significant problems
included, but were not limited to:

     (1) methods, facilities and/or controls used for the
         manufacture, packing and storage of the ICLs that were
         not in conformance with Current Good Manufacturing
         Practice; and

     (2) failure to establish and maintain procedures to assure
         that valid methods were used to test the raw materials
         and finished ICL devices.

Plaintiffs further allege that defendants knew but failed to
adequately report to the Federal Food & Drug Administration
('FDA') the existence of serious injuries and/or malfunctions
attributable to Staar Surgical's IOL/ICL which were likely to
cause or contribute to serious injuries, despite defendants'
knowledge of these malfunctions and injuries.

Significantly, these serious problems jeopardized Staar
Surgical's ability to gain FDA approval for U.S. marketing of
its ICLs - anticipated to be the 'dominant revenue generators
for the Company over the next four to five years.' None of these
serious problems, however, which threatened FDA approval of
Staar Surgical's ICLs, were timely disclosed to investors.

On January 6, 2004, the FDA website posted a warning letter to
Staar Surgical concerning serious violations of manufacturing
standards and the failure of the Company to adequately report to
the FDA the existence of adverse events associated with the
Company's ICLs. This news shocked the market and sent the price
of Starr Surgical shares plummeting, to close almost 18% below
the previous day -- one day before the disclosure of the FDA's
warning letter -- thereby damaging investors.

The plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

     (i) Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP (LA), Mail: 1801 Ave. of
         the Stars, Suite 311, Los Angeles, CA, 90067, Phone:
         (310) 201-915, Fax: (310) 201-916, E-mail:
         info@glancylaw.com

    (ii) Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP (New York), Mail:
         One Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th Floor, New York, NY,
         10119, Phone: 212.594.5300, Fax: 212.868.1229, E-mail:
         info@milbergweiss.com

   (iii) Schatz & Nobel, P.C., Mail: 330 Main Street, Hartford,
         CT, 06106, Phone: 800.797.5499, Fax: 860.493.6290, E-
         mail: sn06106@AOL.com

    (iv) Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLC, Phone:
         877.891.9880, E-mail: jshah@classactioncounsel.com

     (v) Smith & Smith LLP, Mail: 3070 Bristol Pike, Suite 112,
         Bensalem, PA, 19020, Phone: (866)759-2275, E-mail:
         howardsmithlaw@hotmail.com


STONEPATH GROUP: Shareholders Launch Securities Suits in E.D. PA
----------------------------------------------------------------
Stonepath Group, Inc. faces several securities class actions in
the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania on behalf of all persons who purchased or acquired
securities of Stonepath Group, Inc. (AMEX: STG) between May 7,
2003 and September 20, 2004, inclusive, seeking to pursue
remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The Complaint charges Stonepath Group, Inc., Dennis L. Pelino,
Bohn H. Crain, and Thomas L. Scully with violations of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  More specifically, the
Complaint alleges that the Company failed to disclose and
misrepresented that the Company understated its accrued
purchased transportation liability and related costs of
purchased transportation rendering the Company's Class Period
financial statements materially false and misleading because
they understated the Company's liabilities and expenses, and
overstated the Company's net income and earnings before income,
taxes, depreciation, and amortization ('EBITDA').  As a result
of the above, the Company's reported financial results were in
violation of GAAP.

On September 20, 2004, the Company reported that it intended to
restate its fiscal year 2003 and first and second quarter of
2004 financial statements. As a result of this news, the price
of StonePath stock closed at $0.86 per share (on heavy trading
volume of 4,830,200 shares), a 46% decrease from its close on
September 19, 2004.

The plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

     (1) Berman, DeValerio, Pease, Tabacco Burt & Pucillo (MA),
         Mail: One Liberty Square, Boston, MA, 2109, Phone:
         617.542.8300, Fax: 617.230.0903, E-mail:
         info@bermanesq.com

     (2) Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz LLP (New York, NY), Mail:
         10 E. 40th Street, 22nd Floor, New York, NY, 10016,
         Phone: 800.217.1522, E-mail: info@bernlieb.com

     (3) Charles J. Piven, Mail: World Trade Center-Baltimore,
         401 East Pratt Suite 2525, Baltimore, MD, 21202, Phone:
         410.332.0030, E-mail: pivenlaw@erols.com

     (4) Law Offices of Bernard M. Gross, Mail: 1515 Locust
         Street, 2nd Floor, Philadelphia, PA, 19102, Phone: 215-
         561-3600, Fax: 215-561-3000, E-mail:
         bmgross@bernardmgross.com

     (5) Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP (NY),
         Mail: 200 Broadhollow Road, Suite 406, Melville, NY,
         11747, Phone: 631-367-7100, Fax: 631-367-1173


SYNCOR INTERNATIONAL: Court Asked To Clarify CA Suit Dismissal
--------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs asked the United States District Court for the
Central District of California to clarify its dismissal of a
consolidated securities class action filed against Syncor
International Corporation and certain of its officers and
directors.

Eleven purported class action lawsuits were initially filed,
asserting claims under the federal securities laws.  The suits
are:

     (1) Richard Bowe v. Syncor Int'l Corp., et al., No. CV 02-
         8560 LGB (RCx) (C.D. Cal.),

     (2) Alan Kaplan v. Syncor Int'l Corp., et al., No. CV 02-
         8575 CBM (MANx) (C.D. Cal),

     (3) Franklin Embon, Jr. v. Syncor Int'l Corp., et al., No.
         CV 02-8687 DDP (AJWx) (C.D. Cal),

     (4) Jonathan Alk v. Syncor Int'l Corp., et al., No. CV 02-
         8841 GHK (RZx) (C.D. Cal),

     (5) Joyce Oldham v. Syncor Int'l Corp., et al., CV 02-8972
         FMC (RCx) (C.D. Cal),

     (6) West Virginia Laborers Pension Trust Fund v. Syncor
         Int'l Corp., et al., No. CV 02-9076 NM (RNBx) (C.D.
         Cal),

     (7) Brad Lookingbill v. Syncor Int'l Corp., et al., CV
         02-9248 RSWL (Ex) (C.D. Cal),

     (8) Them Luu v. Syncor Int'l Corp., et al., CV 02-9583
         RGK (JwJx) (C.D. Cal),

     (9) David Hall v. Syncor Int'l Corp., et al., CV 02-9621
         CAS (CWx) (C.D. Cal),

    (10) Phyllis Walzer v. Syncor Int'l Corp., et al., CV 02-
         9640 RMT (AJWx) (C.D. Cal), and

    (11) Larry Hahn v. Syncor Int'l Corp., et al., CV 03-52 LGB
         (RCx) (C.D. Cal.)

The Syncor federal securities actions purport to be brought on
behalf of all purchasers of Syncor shares during various
periods, beginning as early as March 30, 2000, and ending as
late as November 5, 2002.  The actions allege, among other
things, that the defendants violated Section 10(b) of the
Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder and Section
20(a) of the Exchange Act, by issuing a series of press releases
and public filings disclosing significant sales growth in
Syncor's international business, but omitting mention of certain
allegedly improper payments to Syncor's foreign customers,
thereby artificially inflating the price of Syncor shares.

A lead plaintiff has been appointed by the court in the Syncor
federal securities actions and a consolidated amended complaint
was filed May 19, 2003, naming Syncor and 12 individuals, all
former Syncor officers, directors and/or employees, as
defendants.

Th Company filed a Motion to Dismiss the consolidated amended
complaint on August 1, 2003 and, on December 12, 2003, the Court
granted the motion to dismiss without prejudice.  A second
amended consolidated class action complaint was filed on January
28, 2004, naming Syncor and 14 individuals, all former Syncor
officers, directors and/or employees, as defendants.  Syncor
filed a Motion to Dismiss the second amended consolidated
class action complaint on March 4, 2004.

On July 6, 2004, the court granted Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
without prejudice as to defendants Syncor, Monty Fu, Robert
Funari and Haig Bagerdjian.  As to the other individual
defendants, the motion to dismiss was granted with prejudice.
On September 14, 2004, lead plaintiff filed a Motion for
Clarification of the Court's July 6, 2004 dismissal
order.


SYNCOR INTERNATIONAL: DE Court Dismisses Shareholder Fraud Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware dismissed a
consolidated shareholder derivative action filed against seven
of Syncor International Corporation's nine directors.

Two complaints were initially filed, alleging that the director
defendants breached certain fiduciary duties to the Company by
failing to maintain adequate controls, practices and procedures
to ensure that the Company's employees and representatives did
not engage in improper and unlawful conduct.

Both complaints asserted a single derivative claim, for and on
behalf of Syncor, seeking to recover all of the costs and
expenses that Syncor incurred as a result of the allegedly
improper payments, and a single purported class action claim
seeking to recover damages on behalf of all holders of Syncor
shares in the amount of any losses sustained if consideration
received in the merger by Syncor stockholders was reduced.

On November 22, 2002, the plaintiff in one of the two Delaware
actions filed an amended complaint adding as defendants the
Company, its subsidiary Mudhen Merger Corporation and the
remaining two Syncor directors, who are hereafter included in
the term "director defendants."  These cases have been
consolidated under the caption "In re: Syncor International
Corp. Shareholders Litigation."

On August 14, 2003, the Company filed a Motion to Dismiss the
operative complaint in the consolidated Delaware action.  At the
end of September 2003, plaintiffs in the consolidated Delaware
action moved the court to file a second amended complaint.
Plaintiffs' request was granted in February 2004.  Monty Fu is
the only named defendant in the second amended complaint.  On
September 15, 2004, the Court granted Monty Fu's Motion to
Dismiss the second amended complaint.  The Court dismissed the
second amended complaint with prejudice.

On November 18, 2002, two additional actions were filed by
individual stockholders of Syncor in the Superior Court of
California for the County of Los Angeles against the director
defendants.  The complaints in the California actions allege
that the director defendants breached certain fiduciary duties
to Syncor by failing to maintain adequate controls, practices
and procedures to ensure that Syncor's employees and
representatives did not engage in improper and unlawful conduct.

Both complaints asserted a single derivative claim, for and on
behalf of Syncor, seeking to recover costs and expenses that
Syncor incurred as a result of the allegedly improper payments.
These cases include Joseph Famularo v. Monty Fu, et al., Case
No. BC285478 (Cal. Sup. Ct., Los Angeles Cty.), and Mark Stroup
v. Robert G. Funari, et al., Case No. BC285480 (Cal. Sup. Ct.,
Los Angeles Cty.).

An amended complaint was filed on December 6, 2002 in one of the
cases, purporting to allege direct claims on behalf of a class
of shareholders.  The defendants' motion for a stay of the
California actions pending the resolution of the Delaware
actions was granted on April 30, 2003.


T. ROWE: Continues To Face Shareholder Fraud Lawsuit in IL Court
----------------------------------------------------------------
T. Rowe Price International Funds, Inc. faces a class action
filed in the Circuit Court, Third Judicial Circuit, Madison
County, Illinois, styled "T.K. Parthasarathy, et al., including
Woodbury, v. T. Rowe Price International Funds, Inc., et al."
The suit also names as defendants T. Rowe Price International
and refers to the T. Rowe Price International Stock Fund.  Two
unrelated fund groups were also named as defendants.

On November 19, 2003, a purported class action, styled "John
Bilski v. T. Rowe Price International Funds, Inc., et al." was
filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of
Illinois, against T. Rowe Price International and the T. Rowe
Price International Funds with respect to the T. Rowe Price New
Asia Fund.  Two unrelated fund groups were also named as
defendants.  The latter action was transferred by the
Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation to the United States
District Court for the District of Maryland, where it was
voluntarily dismissed by the Plaintiff on October 13, 2004.

The basic allegations in the Parthasarathy case are that the T.
Rowe Price defendants did not make appropriate value adjustments
to the foreign securities of the T. Rowe Price International
Stock Fund prior to calculating the Fund's daily share prices,
thereby benefiting market timing traders at the expense of the
long-term mutual fund shareholders.


TOMMY HILFIGER: Shareholders Launch Securities Suits in S.D. NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
Tommy Hilfiger Corporation faces securities class actions filed
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York on behalf of all securities purchasers of the Company
from November 3, 1999 through September 24, 2004, inclusive.

The complaint charges Tommy Hilfiger with violations of Sections
10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule
10b-5 promulgated thereunder.  More specifically, the complaint
alleges that the Company failed to disclose and misrepresented
the following material adverse facts known to defendants or
recklessly disregarded by them:

     (1) that the defendants shifted profits to lower-tax
         jurisdictions by paying buying-agency commissions to
         other Tommy Hilfiger subsidiaries;

     (2) more specifically, the defendants reported revenue
         generated in the United States as if it were earned in
         a foreign division, thereby effectively lowering the
         Company's tax rate;

     (3) that as a result of this, the Company's financial
         results were in violation of generally accepted
         accounting principles ('GAAP');

     (4) that the Company lacked adequate internal controls; and

     (5) that as a result of the above, the Company's financial
         results were materially inflated at all relevant times.

On September 24, 2004, after the market closed, Tommy Hilfiger
announced that Tommy Hilfiger U.S.A., Inc. ('THUSA'), a wholly
owned subsidiary of Tommy Hilfiger, had received a grand jury
subpoena issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern
District of New York seeking documents generally relating to
THUSA's domestic and/or international buying office commissions
since 1990. Certain of THUSA's current and former employees had
also received subpoenas. According to the Company, THUSA pays
buying office commissions to a non-U.S. subsidiary of Tommy
Hilfiger Corporation to provide or otherwise secure certain
services, including product development, sourcing, production
scheduling and quality control functions. It appears that the
investigation is focused on whether the commission rate is
appropriate. News of this shocked the market. On September 27,
2004, shares of Tommy Hilfiger fell $2.87 per share, or 21.79
percent, to close at $10.30 per share on unusually high trading
volume.

The plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

     (i) Abbey Gardy, LLP, Mail: 212 East 39th Street, New York,
         NY, 10016, Phone: 212.889.3700, E-mail:
         info@abbeygardy.com

    (ii) Law Offices of James M. Orman, Mail: 1845 Walnut
         Street, 14th Floor, Philadelphia, PA, 19103, Phone:
         215.523.7800

   (iii) Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP (NY),
         Mail: 200 Broadhollow Road, Suite 406, Melville, NY,
         11747, Phone: 631-367-7100, Fax: 631-367-1173

    (iv) Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP (New York), Mail:
         One Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th Floor, New York, NY,
         10119, Phone: 212.594.5300, Fax: 212.868.1229, E-mail:
         info@milbergweiss.com

     (v) Murray, Frank & Sailer LLP, Mail: 275 Madison Ave 34th
         Flr, New York, NY, 10016, Phone: 212.682.1818, Fax:
         212.682.1892, E-mail: email@rabinlaw.com

    (vi) Schatz & Nobel, P.C., Mail: 330 Main Street, Hartford,
         CT, 06106, Phone: 800.797.5499, Fax: 860.493.6290, E-
         mail: sn06106@AOL.com

   (vii) Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, Mail: 3 Bala Plaza E, Bala
         Cynwyd, PA, 19004 Phone: 610.667.7706, Fax:
         610.667.7056, E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com

  (viii) Wolf Popper, LLP, Mail: 845 Third Avenue, New York, NY,
         10022-6689 Ave, Phone: 877.370.7703, Fax: 212.486.2093,
         E-mail: IRRep@wolfpopper.com


UNITED RENTALS: Shareholders Launch Securities Fraud Suit in CT
---------------------------------------------------------------
United Rentals, Inc. faces several securities class actions
filed in the United States District Court in Connecticut, on
behalf of all purchasers of the stock and other publicly- traded
securities of United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE: URI) from October 23,
2003 through August 30, 2004 inclusive.

The Complaints charge the Company, Wayland R. Hicks, Bradley S.
Jacobs, John N. Milne, and Joseph B. Sherk ('Defendants') with
violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.

The Complaints specifically allege that, during the Class
Period, the Company failed to disclose and misrepresented the
following material adverse facts known to Defendants or
recklessly disregarded by them:

     (1) that the Company, in an effort to generate a more
         favorable stock price and raise capital, manipulated
         its financial results through the use of restructuring
         charges, asset write-downs, and debt refinancing;

     (2) that the Company improperly delayed recognition of bad
         accounts receivable;

     (3) that as a result of these manipulations, the Company's
         announced financial results were in violation of
         Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ('GAAP'); and

     (4) that the Company's financial results were materially
         inflated at all relevant times.

As the Complaints detail, on August 30, 2004, United Rentals
announced that it had received notice that the SEC was
conducting a non-public, fact- finding inquiry of the Company.
The notice was accompanied by a subpoena requesting the
production of documents relating to certain of the Company's
accounting records. News of this inquiry shocked the market.
Shares of United Rentals fell $4.39 per share, or 21.53 percent,
to close at $16.00 per share on August 30, 2004 on unusually
heavy trading volume.

The plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

     (1) Schatz & Nobel, P.C., Mail: 330 Main Street, Hartford,
         CT, 06106, Phone: 800.797.5499, Fax: 860.493.6290, E-
         mail: sn06106@AOL.com

     (2) Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, Mail: 3 Bala Plaza E, Bala
         Cynwyd, PA, 19004, Phone: 610.667.7706, Fax:
         610.667.7056, E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com

     (3) Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLC, Phone:
         877.891.9880, E-mail: jshah@classactioncounsel.com


                          Asbestos Alert


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: TX Jury Clears Union Carbide in Fraud Case
---------------------------------------------------------------
A Texas jury cleared Union Carbide of a claim that it failed to
disclose the dangers of asbestos in products sold to Kelly-Moore
Paint Co.

In an 11-1 decision, the jury found in favor of Union Carbide in
a lawsuit that sought US$1.4 billion in compensatory damages and
an additional unspecified amount in punitive damages.

"The jury clearly recognized that Kelly-Moore was a
sophisticated user of asbestos. As a leading Company in the
paint business, they are experts on their products and clearly
had asbestos knowledge from numerous sources," a Dow spokeswoman
said, speaking on behalf of Union Carbide.

The jury also found that Kelly-Moore had received additional
information about Union Carbide's asbestos from the U.S.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration, its insurance
carriers and from other suppliers.

The lawsuit was noteworthy for being one of the first cases of a
corporate customer of asbestos suing a supplier. Had the verdict
gone against Union Carbide, however, it is unlikely that
additional corporate suits against suppliers would have
proliferated, according to David Begleiter, an analyst at
Deutsche Bank Securities. In the two years that the Kelly-Moore
case had been working its way through the legal system, only one
additional suit had been filed, he said.

Kelly-Moore claimed that Union Carbide fraudulently promoted
Calidria as a uniquely safe alternative to potentially deadly
type of asbestos marketed by competitors. The paints Company
wanted the chemical giant to take responsibility for a huge
chunk of its 48,000 asbestos injury suits.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Lawyer Told FM Victims to Expect "Peanuts"
----------------------------------------------------------------
Asbestos exposure victims from a Leeds factory face receiving
"peanuts" in compensation, said a plaintiff lawyer when asked to
describe the current offer of Federal Mogul, the defendant
Company.

The U.S. Company has told British claimants that cash on offer
in compensation will have to be shared among victims all over
the world except those in the U.S. who will have a separate
deal. The shareout proposals mean thousands of future claimants
will have to be included with those of India, Africa and other
countries.

The Leeds asbestos victims contracted the deadly lung cancer
mesothelioma due to the illegal activities of JW Roberts factory
at Armley in west Leeds, which closed in the 1950s. They include
not only the employees of the asbestos factory, but also family
members who washed clothing worn by employees. Residents near
the factory weren't spared. White asbestos fibers from the
factory often covered the roofs of nearby terraces and children
made summertime "snowballs" from the dust.

In a landmark case, Armley resident June Hancock, who lived near
the factory, contracted mesothelioma, as had her mother before
her. In 1990, Mrs. Hancock launched a claim for compensation,
surviving for almost four years, just long enough to see her
claim won in the courts. She died soon after her victory, but
her bravery and determination opened the door to compensation
for hundreds of other victims.

JW Roberts was part of Turner Newall, which itself became part
of U.S. firm Federal Mogul. The Company declared itself
bankrupt, using a U.S. law which allowed it to continue trading
but freezing its debts.

Three years ago, another legal battle was launched on behalf of
British victims of Turner Newall, and their families. Adrian
Budgen, who led June Hancock's fight for compensation, is now
part of the team trying to extract compensation for the victims
from Federal Mogul, which has been taken over by a business
magnate.

Mr. Budgen, a partner in the firm Irwin Mitchell with offices in
Leeds and Sheffield, said talks were reaching their end, but
that there appeared little hope of achieving anything similar to
a full settlement.

"There is an offer on the table but it is for the UK asbestos
claimants and the rest of the world, excluding the United
States. It means we do not know how many claimants there will be
in the future," said Mr. Budgen.

He also accused Federal Mogul of trying to play the asbestos
claimants off against other claimants - Turner Newall pensioners
whose pensions are in jeopardy, and businesses owed money.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: South Africa Embarks on Resolving Pollution
----------------------------------------------------------------
The South African government is set on developing a plan to
rehabilitate secondary pollution sites in the province, said
provincial government's spokesperson Cornelius Monama.

The national Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism is
conducting a study to identify all asbestos-riddled sites across
the country in order to assess the safety of sites where
construction will be set for a number of projects.

Among others, he said, the study would determine the site for
the Ncweng Primary School and the risk of asbestos exposure of
the community there. The pupils of Ncweng Primary School in the
Kgalagadi District Municipality will soon have a new school,
away from their current premises that is undergoing asbestos
rehabilitation.

This municipality in the North West is a former asbestos mining
area, and despite the closure of these mines in the 1980s,
people there are still susceptible. Once in the lungs, asbestos
fibers can cause several incapacitating diseases including lung
cancer and asbestosis.

British companies Gencor and Cape plc owned these mines, which
affected thousands of people in the Northern Cape and Limpopo as
well, leading to a classic court case that lasted several years.
This year in March, the companies agreed to pay 7,500 South
Africans compensation amounting to about ZAR97 million.

However, asbestos pollution is still threatening some of these
areas.  During a stakeholders meeting held last week, the North
West Executive Council said there had been some concern
regarding the health risk posed to the pupils of the Ncweng
Primary School. According to Mr. Monama, the departments of
education, environmental affairs and the school's community had
identified an alternative location for the new school, away from
the current premises.

In planning for the relocation of the school, Monama said the
Council considered several factors such as wind direction, road
crossings, the availability of water and electricity as well as
distance from the village to the school.

"From an environmental point of view, a proper survey or audit
should be conducted to confirm if this new location is
completely safe from the source of asbestos pollution," added
Mr. Monama. He said about four other schools in the neighboring
areas had been provided with environmental awareness programs.

"The remaining unrehabilitated portion poses a concern to
communities and an awareness program targeting these communities
has been designed as a matter of priority," said Mr. Monama.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Group Warns of Threat To Policemen's Health
----------------------------------------------------------------
Asbestos in buildings poses a real threat to the health of
police officers in Northern Ireland, it has been claimed at a
Police Federation conference on health and safety.

More than 200 health and safety representatives from police
federations throughout Britain attended the annual conference
whose subject this year was "Construction: Foundations for a
Safe Workplace", the theme of European Health and Safety week.

The presenters indicated that around 90 people from Northern
Ireland die every year from asbestos-related diseases, which
include asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. It is believed
that throughout the United Kingdom about half a million
commercial premises may contain asbestos.

"Police officers must have been particularly at risk during the
worst periods of the troubles when old buildings were being
blown up," said conference organizer Larry McWilliams, assistant
secretary of the Police Federation.

About three-quarters of existing pre-2000 premises built or
refurbished in the last 30 years was said to still contain
asbestos. As part of the emergency services, officers were
obliged to search damaged buildings. Mr. McWilliams said that
the danger remains and officers need to be aware of the hazards
when searching properties.

The Control of Asbestos at Work regulations 2003 placed new
responsibilities on employers, landlords and managing agents to
comply with essential safety measures, including finding out if,
and where, asbestos is present and the keeping of records for
risk assessment and management.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Alfa Laval Faces 158 Suits in 3rd Quarter
----------------------------------------------------------------
A leading global provider of specialized products was named as
co-defendant in 158 asbestos-related lawsuits with about 21,500
plaintiffs, 99% of which were filed in Mississippi as of
September 30, 2004.

A previous story that came out in the Class Action Reporter
newsletter last August 20 cited that Alfa Laval's U.S.
subsidiary faced 143 lawsuits and 21,200 plaintiffs during the
last quarter.

Alfa Laval Inc still believes that the claims against the
Company are without merit and intends to vigorously contest each
lawsuit. After thorough investigations, the Company is firm that
potential claims in connection with asbestos related lawsuits
against it will be covered by insurance policies. Primary
insurance policies issued in favor of Alfa Laval Inc. also
provide for coverage of its defense costs.

During the third quarter of 2004, Alfa Laval Inc has been
additionally named as co-defendant in 29 lawsuits with around
352 plaintiffs. During the third quarter 14 lawsuits involving
about 30 plaintiffs were resolved. This gives a total of 102
resolved lawsuits.

In recent multiple plaintiffs lawsuits involving 13 plaintiffs,
the Company's case was dismissed from the proceedings. Based on
current information and Alfa Laval's understanding of these
lawsuits, the Company considers these lawsuits not to have a
material adverse effect on the Company's financial condition or
results of operation.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Aktiebolaget Electrolux Faces 823 Lawsuits
----------------------------------------------------------------
As of September 30, 2004, the Aktiebolaget Electrolux Group
faced a total of 823 pending lawsuits, representing 18,400
plaintiffs.

During the third quarter of 2004, a total of 61 new cases with
about 3,400 plaintiffs were filed and 17 pending cases with
around 3,300 plaintiffs were resolved. About 17,100 of the
plaintiffs relate to cases pending in the state of Mississippi.

Litigation and claims related to asbestos are pending against
the group in the U.S. Almost all of the cases refer to
externally supplied components used in industrial products
manufactured by discontinued operations prior to the early
1970s. Many of the cases involve multiple plaintiffs who have
made identical allegations against many other defendants who are
not part of the Electrolux Group.

Additional lawsuits may be filed against Electrolux in the
future although it states that it cannot predict the number of
future claims or plaintiffs nor its outcome. The Company stated
that it does not provide any assurance that the resolution of
these types of claims will not have a material adverse effect on
its business or on results of operations in the future.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: SCOR's Asbestos Reserves Reported Adequate
----------------------------------------------------------------
In its third quarter report, a major reinsurance Company based
in France deems its reserves sufficient to cover liabilities
related to environmental and asbestos claims.

SCOR Reinsurance Company reported in its filing that they could
be subject to losses as a result of their exposure to
environmental and asbestos related risks. Like other reinsurance
companies, they are exposed to these risks, particularly in the
United States. Insurers are required under their contracts with
SCOR to notify the Company of any claims or potential claims
that they are aware of.

The Company regrets however that they often receive notices that
are imprecise, as the primary insurer may not have fully
evaluated the risk at the time it notified SCOR of the claim.

Due to the imprecise nature of these claims, they can only give
a very approximate estimate of the Company's potential exposure
to environmental and asbestos claims that may or may not have
been reported. They believe that their reserves as of December
2003 are sufficient to cover estimated liabilities relating to
environmental and asbestos claims. During the third quarter of
2003, these reserves were strengthened for an amount of EUR9
million, primarily with respect to latent asbestos-related
claims.

Since the legal environment is changing, the evaluation of the
final cost of exposure to asbestos related and environmental
claims may also be increasing in uncertain proportions. Diverse
factors are considered to increase the Company's exposure to the
consequences of these risks, such as an increase in the number
of claims filed or in the number of persons likely to be covered
by these claims. Risk evaluation becomes more complex given that
claims are subject to payments over long periods of time.

The Company grants that due to these uncertainties, they could
still be exposed to more claims which could have a material
adverse effect on their financial condition. As a result, the
Company periodically reviews its methods for establishing
reserves. It may increase its reserves and incur a charge to
earnings. But this method can adversely affect its financial
condition.

SCOR continues to report that they've strengthened their
reserves on several occasions in 2002 and 2003 following
actuarial reviews. The most recent such reserves strengthening
occurred at September 30, 2003, when loss reserves increased by
EUR297 million, EUR290 million of which was related to adverse
trends in loss experience in the United States with respect to
business underwritten by SCOR US and CRP over the period 1997-
2001.

The Group Large Claims Committee chaired by the Group General
Manager reviews on a monthly basis all large claims, including
litigation claims and asbestos and environmental claims. Its
main objectives are to review the consolidated impact of such
claims and to strengthen the monitoring of large claims
management across the lines of business and countries.

Reserves for the year 2003 include EUR19 million and EUR18
million for asbestos and environmental, respectively. Paid
claims include EUR0.6 million and EUR0.9 million for asbestos
and environmental, respectively.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Expert Describes Geneva Ruling "Unethical"
----------------------------------------------------------------
Sophie Kisting, a medical doctor and occupational diseases
expert, said the decision by the Rotterdam Convention was
"unethical" and would have far-reaching consequences for
dockworkers in Maputo and Durban who work with chrysotile, which
is trucked from Zimbabwe for the export market.

"We will have to find other ways of protecting these workers. It
is so unethical to perpetuate the myth that white asbestos can
be used safely. It still causes the same lung diseases to lesser
degree and over a longer period than other types of asbestos,"
Ms. Kisting said.

She was glad that South Africa voted against the decision and
she and others would continue to lobby for white asbestos to be
included on the list of environmentally dangerous pesticides and
chemicals.

The decision not to include chrysotile or white asbestos on the
list of environmentally dangerous substances was a victory for
specialist interest lobbying with very powerful commercial
interests, Richard Spoor, a Nelspruit occupational health
specialist attorney.

He was one of the lawyers who sued Gencor, the now unbundled
investment holding Company, for compensation on behalf of people
who became ill through exposure to asbestos dust and fibers.
Last year Gencor, Msauli asbestos mine and Griqualand
Exploration and Finance Company settled out of court and
collectively paid ZAR460 million into the Asbestos Relief Trust
to settle present and future compensation claims. The settlement
was made without the three companies admitting liability. White
asbestos is the only type still commercially mined.

Earlier this year the SA Bureau of Standards banned the use of
white asbestos in three automotive components: brake pads,
gaskets and firewalls in the engine compartment. It later
extended the prohibition to all components. Producers have until
December 31 to clear all stock containing asbestos off their
shelves.

The SABS said it would also seek to ban the importation from
Zimbabwe of building materials that contain white asbestos.

But Clement Godbout, the chairman of the Asbestos International
Institute, disagrees and said the decision was a case of common
sense triumphing over demagoguery.

"Finally the world seems to differentiate the five types of
asbestos: amosite, actinolite, antophyllite, tremolite and
chrysotile - the last being the only fiber exploited and showing
no unacceptable risk for human health when correctly used,
contrary to the four other fibers.

"The refusal to include chrysotile to the Prior Informed Consent
procedure is also a great show of support by governments towards
their populations in great need of infrastructure," Mr. Godbout
said.

John Doidge, the chairman of the Asbestos Relief Trust, said the
trust had to date received 145 claims from former employees of
the ACA mine in Mpumalanga, which mined white asbestos.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: VWR Int'l Faces Asbestos-related Lawsuits
----------------------------------------------------------------
Last October 21, VWR International disclosed that it has been
named as a defendant in asbestos-related cases as a result of
its distribution of asbestos-containing products.

Until 1987, the Company distributed certain asbestos-containing
products primarily for use in laboratories, including pads,
protective clothing and laboratory equipment. As the global
operations involve the handling, transport and distribution of
materials that are classified as toxic or hazardous, there is
some risk of contamination and environmental damage inherent in
its operations.

VWR stated in the SEC filing that a number of individuals who
were exposed to these asbestos-containing products have, from
time to time, brought claims against it for asbestos-related
injuries. However, the Company remains firm on the belief that
the liabilities associated with asbestos-related claims
currently pending against it are not material.

These environmental, health and safety liabilities and
obligations may in the future result in significant capital
expenditures and other costs, which could negatively impact its
business, financial condition and results of operations.

With more than 6,000 employees, VWR International serves more
than 250,000 customers in the life science, industrial,
governmental, health care and educational markets, and also
offers production supplies and services for electronic and
pharmaceutical production.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Corning Posts $2.49Bln Loss in 3rd Quarter
----------------------------------------------------------------
Corning Inc. reported a nearly US$2.5 billion third-quarter loss
as the fiber-optics maker reduced the value of its assets
because of market conditions.

The Company lost US$2.49 billion, or US$1.78 a share, in the
July-to-September quarter, compared with a profit of US$33
million, or 2 cents a share, the year before.

Excluding one-time restructuring, impairment, asbestos
litigation and other charges totaling US$2.7 billion, or US$1.92
a share, Corning earned US$213 million, or 14 cents a share.
That beat the consensus forecast of 11 cents a share among
analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.     Quarterly sales
rose to US$1.06 billion from US$772 million a year ago.

On March 28, 2003, Corning reached an agreement with the
representatives of asbestos claimants for the settlement of all
current and future asbestos claims against it and Pittsburgh
Corning Corporation. They recorded a charge of US$298 million in
the first quarter of 2003 that included the value of 25 million
shares of Corning common stock contributed as part of the
settlement.

This portion of the asbestos liability requires quarterly
adjustment based upon movements in Corning's common stock price
prior to contribution of the shares to the trust. In the third
quarter of 2004, Corning recorded a credit of US$50 million for
the change in its common stock price of US$11.08 on September
30, 2004 compared to US$13.06, the common stock price at June
30, 2004.

The telecommunications industry's slump in 2001 forced Corning
to shed noncore and money-losing businesses. Under James
Houghton, who returned as chief executive in April 2002, the
Company has shut more than a dozen plants and nearly halved its
work force to 22,500.

More than half of its optical fiber business, which remains the
world's largest, has been mothballed. Corning's main fiber-
producing rivals are Furukawa, Fujikura and Sumitomo in Japan
and Alcatel and Pirelli in Europe.

In the first nine months of the year, Corning lost US$2.33
billion, or US$1.69 a share, compared with a loss of US$194
million, or 15 cents a share, in the first nine months of 2003.
Sales rose to US$2.82 billion from US$2.27 billion.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Owens-Illinois Inc Faces 35,000 Lawsuits
----------------------------------------------------------------
The number of asbestos-related lawsuits and claims pending
against Owens-Illinois Inc, one of the world's leading
manufacturers of packaging products, increased from 29,000 on
December 31, 2003 to 35,000 as of September 30, 2004, due to a
lower rate of claim disposition than in the comparable earlier
period.

Asbestos-related cash payments in the third quarter of 2004 were
US$54.4 million, compared with US$57.3 million for the third
quarter of 2003. In the same period, asbestos-related payments
of US$150.3 million in 2004 compare with payments of US$157.2
million in 2003.

New claim filings in the third quarter of 2004 were down about
37% from the same period a year ago, continuing their downward
trend. New filings have also declined around 50% compared to
last year.

The Company stated in its SEC filing that a significant number
of those pending cases have exposure dates after the Company'
1958 exit from the business. It takes the position that it has
no liability and those cases are subject to dismissal because
they were filed in improper forums.

The Company anticipates that cash flows from operations and
other sources will be sufficient to meet its asbestos-related
obligation on a short-term and long-term basis. The Company
expects to conduct its annual comprehensive review of its
asbestos-related liabilities and costs in connection with
finalizing and reporting its results for the full year 2004.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Asbestos Dumping Ploy in Australia Unmasked
----------------------------------------------------------------
Investigation revealed that some contractors employed by Telstra
to remove old asbestos pits endanger lives by not following
proper removal procedures.

Deadly asbestos is discarded in bushland or buried near
footpaths where it could easily come into contact with the
public because unscrupulous contractors won't dispose of it
properly.

The remains of one of the pits, which are used to house cables
and joints underground, were left on a nature strip just 200
meters from a Picton primary school. Other sites, southwest of
Sydney, have also revealed broken pieces of asbestos that have
been buried beneath mud and dirt, instead of being put into bags
and disposed of in official asbestos bins.

A contractor who meticulously follows asbestos removal
guidelines contacted authorities to express his disgust at a
practice he said was "rampant." The man, identified only as
"Steve," said his employees had often discovered large pieces of
broken asbestos discarded by other companies.

Large chunks of what appeared to be remains of the old asbestos
pit were unearthed in a roadside area at Orangeville, where a
new plastic Telstra pit was installed. An expert who saw photos
of the material said there was a "99 percent chance" it
contained asbestos fibers.

Wollondilly Shire Council acting general manager Peter Cassilles
said that Telstra contractors were at the site in February.

Mr. Cassilles said Telstra has been notified and a contract crew
was sent to clean it up. But he said there still appeared to be
asbestos at the scene.

Telstra's head of business and commercial operations, Greg
Adcock said, "Telstra takes this issue very seriously."


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Crane Reaches Settlement of Injury Claims
----------------------------------------------------------------
In a move to resolve all claims, Crane Co., based in Stamford,
Conn., has reached an agreement in principle with both current
and future asbestos-related personal injury claimants. The
comprehensive asbestos settlement seeks to establish these two
trusts, which will be structured and implemented pursuant to
Section 524(g) of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Crane, whose products range from aircraft fuel pumps and
fiberglass panels to valves used in oil production, said
asbestos-related costs would total US$578 million, including
US$510 million for settlement payments alone, but those charges
would be offset with insurance recoveries, lower taxes, cash
flow from earnings and a possible stock issuance.

On October 21, 2004, MCC Holdings, Inc., an indirect wholly
owned subsidiary of Crane Co., entered into Master Settlement
Agreements with representatives of a majority of current
claimants who were diagnosed with asbestos-related personal
injuries prior to June 9, 2004.

At the same time, MCC and the representatives of current
claimants entered into a MCC Settlement Trust Agreement, which
provides for a US$280 million trust to be funded and
administered to pay asbestos-related personal injury claims.

Under the terms of the Master Settlement Agreements, eligible
current claimants are entitled to receive up to 90 percent of
the value of their agreed settlement amount and retain a claim
against MCC for the unpaid balance. The remaining unpaid balance
of the agreed settlement amount will be payable by the Post-
Petition Trust. MCC may terminate the Master Settlement
Agreements during the next 125 days if an insufficient number of
Current Claimants have agreed to become parties to the
settlement or if there is a material change in the case law
regarding Section 524(g) trusts.

Crane Co. and MCC have agreed on a proposed pre-packaged filing
of a plan of reorganization for their U.S. fluid handling
subsidiaries under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code which is
anticipated to occur in March 2005.

The plan will provide for the creation of a separate US$230
million trust in addition to the MCC Settlement Trust. It
describes distribution procedures for the allocation of funds to
the claimants.

Upon final court approval of the plan, the post-petition trust
will be funded as follows:

(1) A cash contribution from MCC in the amount of US$10 million;

(2) US$70 million in the form of Crane Co. stock or cash, at
Crane Co.'s option; and

(3) A 20 year promissory note from Crane Co. in the principal
amount of US$150 million, payable in equal semi-annual
installments with interest at the rate of six percent per annum.

The only operations of Crane Co. that will be included in the
pre-packaged Chapter 11 filing will be those of MCC that
comprise the Company's U.S. fluid handling businesses.

As a result the Company has adjusted the asbestos liability to
reflect the full amount of the proposed settlement and certain
related costs. The third quarter charge is based on a gross
settlement cost of US$510 million and additional costs of US$68
million for asbestos-related settlement and defense costs and
professional fees and expenses, partly offset by anticipated
insurance recoveries of US$153 million and existing reserves of
US$103 million, resulting in a total pre-tax, non-cash asbestos
charge of US$322 million.

The settlement trust will be funded over the next three to four
months and settlement payments will begin to be disbursed on or
about February 23. After anticipated tax benefits of US$109
million, the total after-tax charge for the third quarter 2004
was US$213 million, or US$3.60 per share.

"We can now move forward and focus on profitable growth without
all the distractions," said Crane Chief Executive Eric Fast on a
conference call with investors and analysts.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: PPG Cites Increase in Value of Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------------
PPG Industries Inc, a global supplier of coatings, glass, fiber
glass and chemicals, reported a third quarter net income of
US$194 million, or US$1.12 a share, including after-tax charges
of US$4 million, or 3 cents a share, to reflect the net increase
in the current value of the Company's obligation under its
asbestos settlement agreement reported in May 2002.

This compares with third quarter 2003 net income of US$142
million, or 83 cents a share, including an after-tax charge of
US$5 million, or 3 cents a share, to reflect the net increase in
the value of the asbestos settlement. Sales were US$2.21
billion.

For the first nine months of 2004, PPG recorded a net income of
US$500 million, or US$2.89 a share, including after-tax charges
of US$13 million, or 8 cents a share, to reflect the net
increase in the value of the Company's obligation under the
asbestos settlement.

"Our strong performance this quarter continues to reflect the
benefits of actions we have taken to improve the quality of our
business portfolio aided by the continued expansion of the
global industrial economy," said Raymond W. LeBoeuf, chairman
and chief executive officer.

Mr. LeBoeuf added that their results reflect the Company's
continued success in reducing costs and improving productivity.
He expressed confidence that these PPG hallmarks will play a
critical role in their performance amid the ongoing challenges
of higher energy and raw material costs.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: AU Govt Rejects Telstra Compensation Plan
----------------------------------------------------------------
The federal government rejected a plan by Telstra for an
independent board to be set up three years ago to speed up
compensation for victims of asbestos diseases.

Asbestos-related diseases have affected hundreds of Telstra
workers and the Company has already settled 40 claims for a
total of more than $2.5 million in the past five years. Like
most utilities, Telstra used asbestos provided by James Hardie
on products in its networks, and it began to see signs of
mesothelioma in its workers and former workers in the late
1970s.

The aim of the independent body was to help finalize the
settlement of compensation claims and cut mounting legal fees
for victims across Australia. But the Department of Workplace
Relations rejected the proposal in 2001.

"We were concerned that delays were occurring because of legal
strategy, and all they were doing was eating into costs, not
only for the former employees but everybody else," said Paul
Baulsch, Telstra Health, Safety and Environment general manager.
The suggested independent board was supposed to have consisted
of medical and legal experts, union representatives, employer
and government representatives.

"We had informal discussions with the major telecommunications
union and they were in favor of it," Mr. Baulsch said.

Tony Abbott was then the minister, but it is unclear whether the
proposal reached ministerial level.

Mr. Baulsch said 25 to 30 percent of the payouts had been
secured from other employers and the armed forces.

Like other big government entities, Telstra is a self-insurer
for workers compensation, and last year had a provision of $210
million for claims, including asbestos-related and other
diseases, injuries and traveling accidents.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: French Court Awards US$1.92MM to Miners
----------------------------------------------------------------
A French administrative court under the jurisdiction of the
national health service has ordered the owners of an abandoned
asbestos mine in Corsica to pay compensation to 13 former miners
and their families as a result of asbestos-related diseases they
contracted while working in the mine.

The court, which determined that the mine owners were guilty of
"inexcusable negligence," ordered a total of 1.5 million euros
or US$1.92 million in compensation. While not large by U.S.
standards, where the median verdict in asbestos cases is around
US$1 million, it represents the first time that a French court
has found culpable negligence on the part of asbestos producers,
and the first time one has awarded significant damages.

The awards range from 90,000 euros or US$115,200 for individual
claimants to 200,000 euros or US$256,000 for the families of
deceased victims. The court determined in accordance with French
law that the mine's owner, la Societe miniere de lamiante (SMA),
a division of Eternit, was 30 percent responsible for the
victim's condition.

The mine, located in Canari in upper Corsica, closed in 1965. At
the time it employed nearly 350 people. Only around 50 are
estimated to still be living. L'Association nationale de defense
des victimes de l'amiante, which is a national organization that
assists asbestos victims, announced that it was pleased with the
result. The organization stressed that the level of compensation
awarded by the court had been "significantly higher" than the
original proposal by the FIVA, a private fund set up to
compensate asbestos victims.

There was no indication concerning what portion of the award, if
any, would be paid by Eternit's insurers. But the verdict raises
the stakes considerably in France, and by implication in other
European countries, in cases involving asbestos. Until recently,
as most victims received medical treatment provided by
government health plans, additional compensation has been
minimal.

The French decision indicates that this may be about to change,
which could have serious consequences. Researchers estimate that
there are at least 100,000 persons who were exposed in one way
or another to asbestos, many of whom will become ill from the
exposure over the next 20 years. The number is probably equally
large in other European countries.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Halliburton Posts Loss on Asbestos Charges
----------------------------------------------------------------
Halliburton Co., the world's second largest oil field services
Company, posted a quarterly loss as gains in its energy business
were outweighed by US$230 million in charges to fund an asbestos
settlement.

Asbestos settlement-related charges of US$230 million, or 51
cents a share, drove the Houston-based oil services
conglomerate's loss of 9 cents per share, compared to a gain of
US$58 million, or 13 cents per share, the year before. The
US$230 million reflects the value of 59.5 million Halliburton
shares involved in the settlement, and is a non-cash expense.

Halliburton shares moved higher in early trade, helped by the
stronger-than-expected performance in the oil well production
optimization business, which benefited from the record high oil
and gas prices.

"This is much better than expected," said Kevin Wood, analyst
with Susquehanna Financial Group, citing the brisk drilling
activity by oil companies.

The Company's KBR engineering and construction unit, which has
been mired in controversy for its work with the U.S. military in
Iraq where it is the largest private contractor, posted a US$50
million operating loss in the quarter versus a US$49 million
profit in the same period a year ago.

That loss was largely due to US$70 million in project losses, as
well as US$18 million in costs to restructure the unit as part
of a process that could see Halliburton sell or spin off the
business.

The Iraq contracts, which are currently under scrutiny by the
U.S. military because of disputes over billing, have brought in
US$5.2 billion in revenues so far this year and about US$8.8
billion since the start of the war last year.

A federal judge earlier this year approved KBR's US$4.2 billion
settlement for asbestos and silica liability the Company
inherited from its purchase of DII Industries in the 1990s. KBR
is expected to emerge from a pre-packaged bankruptcy in the
coming months that it entered in December 2003 to facilitate the
resolution of the settlement.

The Company, formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, also
sounded an upbeat note on the outlook for its energy services
and liquefied natural gas-related business on the view that high
energy prices would continue.

"As our customers become more confident about the fundamentals
underlying recent oil and gas prices, we anticipate further
increases in spending in both the US and internationally," chief
executive Dave Lesar told analysts.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: IL Agency Insists Sand Pile Poses No Threat
----------------------------------------------------------------
A large, asbestos-tainted pile of sand dredged from the bottom
of Lake Michigan and put along the shoreline of Illinois Beach
State Park is being allowed to wash back into the lake, raising
new safety questions from an environmentalist group.

The Illinois Dunesland Preservation Society has accused the
state of ignoring the problem, letting waves take away the
contaminated sand rather than trucking it to a landfill.

"The state is maliciously allowing nature to do their dirty
work," said Paul Kakuris, the group's president who believes the
tainted sand should be sealed off and disposed of to prevent it
from recontaminating Lake Michigan.

The Department of Natural Resources, which oversees the state
park, dismissed the group's claims and insisted the situation is
not a public health threat in any way.

The pile in question is near North Point Marina where friable
asbestos debris was found in August. An air test in the area
also found traces of asbestos particles.

In the 1990s, the state placed the tainted sand along the state
park's shoreline for use in patching stretches of beach washed
away by lake currents and storms. It came from dredging offshore
not far from the Johns-Manville complex, a federal Superfund
site where 1 million tons of asbestos debris are capped.

But none of the sand has been used for beach replenishment after
former Illinois Environmental Protection Agency chief Mary Gade
in 1998 called the material "pollution control waste" not
suitable for use along the state park's shoreline.

DNR, however, said Ms. Gade was referring to a different sand
pile from Mr. Kakuris, though correspondences between her and
former DNR chief Brent Manning on the subject obtained by Mr.
Kakuris don't make any such delineation between dredged piles
along the park shoreline.

Stanley Yonkauski, legal counsel for the DNR, said that the pile
of asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral and such, can only
be harmful under certain conditions. He added, "We wouldn't do
anything to put the public at risk."

Mr. Kakuris and the U.S. EPA have said asbestos found at the
state park is definitely not naturally occurring.

Mr. Yonkauski admitted his agency had plans to address erosion
of the pile next spring, but he stressed it would not come from
dredging operations on the lake but rather from an area quarry.
Asked why DNR doesn't intend to accept more dredged sand if it
doesn't believe it poses a public health risk, Mr. Yonkauski
said it involved a scheduling conflict.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NT Govt Plans to Set Up Asbestos Register
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Northern Territory Government agreed to set up a register
for asbestos victims following an appeal from the Australian
Manufacturing Workers' Union.

The union's organizer Jamey Robertson said he had no doubt
workers in the Territory have been exposed especially after
Cyclone Tracy, when repairs were widely carried out. He said,
"This register is of paramount importance for NT workers to
ensure that those who are responsible bear the burden of this
tragedy, not the NT community."

Deputy Chief Minister Syd Stirling said the Government supported
the idea of an asbestos register and is prepared to work with
unions and other stakeholders to implement the register.

Asbestos victim Peter Ramsey, was surprised to discover there
was no register for residents who have suffered exposure to the
cancer-causing building material. The former carpenter was told
he had asbestosis six years ago.

Mr. Ramsey was formerly employed to repair Department of Housing
buildings in Darwin and said older complexes were riddled with
asbestos.

The asbestos register is expected to help legal cases and offer
protection to workers who believe they have been exposed to the
disease.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Attorney Says Tasmania Lacks Adequate Laws
----------------------------------------------------------------
A Brisbane lawyer dealing with asbestos compensation says
Tasmania has some of the worst laws in the world for victims
seeking compensation.

John Vandeleur says victims have to apply for compensation
within six years of contracting asbestosis. Under the
Limitations Act 1974, the opportunity to take action closes
three years after the injury, with the possibility of an
extension to six.

The Tasmanian government is now preparing a law to address this
problem and benefit asbestos victims. Attorney-General Judy
Jackson tabled the long-awaited bill but there were fears the
changes would not help all victims. The new law would allow
legal action up to 12 years from when the injury was caused or
three years from when it was discovered. But the courts have
discretion to extend the period further, depending on the
circumstances.

Mr. Vandeleur is representing a Tasmanian man who has the
initial stages of asbestosis and wants the Government to
introduce an open-ended time frame. Laurie Appleby, spent 12
years unloading bags full of asbestos fibers at the Goliath
Portland Cement Company during the 1960s.

"[Tasmania's] is the worst in the common law world. It doesn't
allow any person with asbestos disease to bring a claim for
common law damages compensation. This is a simple matter of
discrimination against victims of asbestos disease," Mr.
Vandeleur added.

It had taken 19 months of lobbying by Asbestos Tasmania, the
state Liberals and many in the community to force the government
into taking notice of the plight of asbestos victims.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Liberty Mutual Moves to Recover from Losses
----------------------------------------------------------------
Unanticipated claims from asbestos victims, losses after the
2001 terrorist attacks and criticism from financial rating
agencies have spelled an unsettling couple of years for Liberty
Mutual Insurance.

The costs were high: US$500 million paid to Sept. 11 victims and
a US$1.1 billion increase in reserves to cover future asbestos-
related injury claims. The stock market's poor performance also
hurt the Company's bottom line.

Over the past two years, Standard & Poor's, A.M. Best and
Moody's downgraded or threatened to downgrade the ratings of
Liberty and its subsidiaries. The rating firms cited problems
ranging from a lack of capitalization to concentration in
workers' compensation product line.

In response to the woes, Liberty increased premiums 17 percent.
It reported a 67 percent increase in profits last year. The
Company also diversified, and increased its geographic
flexibility. Beginning two years ago, Liberty surprised
observers by selling more individual auto than workers' comp
policies.

Liberty has its sights on global growth, acquiring two or three
foreign firms each year. It was the first foreign insurer to
open an office in a city in western China, in Chongquing, home
to 31 million people.

"China is a huge opportunity," said David DePaolo, president of
the Web-based WorkCompCentral information service. "You've got
several billion people there, all of them on an upwardly mobile
financial (track) that are going to need some way to protect
their assets."

The Company is still strong relative to its peers, said John
Itern, director of Standard and Poor's Insurance Ratings Group.
The ratings group gives Liberty a stable "A" rating.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Test to Diagnose Mesothelioma Wins Award
----------------------------------------------------------------
A scientist who has developed a blood test to help diagnose
mesothelioma has won the top prize at this year's Premier's
Science Awards in Western Australia.

Professor Bruce Robinson won the $10,000 prize that honors the
most outstanding achievement by a Western Australian scientist
in scientific research and leadership. WA Premier Geoff Gallop
presented the awards last week.

Professor Robinson said he started researching the disease
because he wanted something good to come out of the disaster of
Wittenoom, which has seen hundreds of people affected by the
asbestos-related cancer. He said the blood test works with other
tests to diagnose the disease, and he hopes it can be developed
to provide early detection.

"Along with these other tests that we're developing, it might be
used for screening people who are at risk, particularly people
who've had a lot of exposure."


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Allstate Cites Underwriting Loss of $315MM
----------------------------------------------------------------
The second largest U.S. personal lines insurer posted an
underwriting loss of US$315 million in the third quarter of
2004.

This loss was primarily related to a US$247 million re-estimate
of asbestos reserves and a related US$61 million increase of the
allowance for future uncollectible reinsurance recoverables,
according to Allstate Corp's SEC filing.

During the third quarter, the Company completed its annual
comprehensive review of reserves. This review employed
established industry and actuarial best practices within the
context of the legal, legislative and economic environment, and
it was conducted in addition to quarterly assessments in which
they review reserves to determine if any intervening significant
events or developments require adjustments.

During the first nine months of 2004, 50 direct primary and
excess policyholders reported new claims, and claims of 19
policyholders were closed, so the number of direct policyholders
with active claims increased by 31.

Reserve additions for asbestos in the third quarter of 2004,
totaling US$247 million, and in the first nine months of 2004,
totaling US$463 million, were primarily for products-related
coverage.

They were a result of a continuing level of increased claim
activity being reported by excess insurance policyholders with
existing active claims, and re-estimates of liabilities for
increased assumed reinsurance cessions, as ceding companies also
experienced increased claim activity.

Increased claim activity over prior estimates has also resulted
in a raised estimate for future claims reported.   These trends
are consistent with the trends of other carriers in the
industry, which are related to increased publicity and awareness
of coverage, ongoing litigation, potential congressional
activity, and bankruptcy actions.

IBNR now represents 63% of total net asbestos reserves, 2 points
higher than at December 31, 2003. The Company's exposure to non-
products-related losses represents about 5% of total asbestos
case reserves. They do not anticipate significant changes in
this percentage as retentions associated with excess insurance
programs and assumed reinsurance exposure are seldom exceeded.

The Company's survival ratios are at levels they consider
indicative of a strong asbestos reserve position. To further
limit asbestos exposure, the Company has significant reinsurance
to reduce loss in their direct excess insurance business. Its
reinsurance recoverables are estimated to be about 39% of gross
estimated loss reserves.

To allow for potential uncollectible reinsurance related to the
asbestos reserve increase, the allowance for uncollectible
reinsurance was also increased by US$61 million in the third
quarter of 2004.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Burlington Blames 3Q Drop on Liabilities
-------------------------------------------------------------
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp, the second-largest railroad
in the United States, said earlier this week that a US$288
million charge to reflect changes in the way the Company
estimates asbestos and environmental liabilities drove third-
quarter earnings down significantly from a year ago.

Quarterly earnings fell sharply to US$2 million, or 1 cent per
share, from US$203 million, or 55 cents per share, a year ago.
Excluding the 76-cent charge in the latest quarter, Burlington
Northern posted earnings of 77 cents per share, on substantial
unit volume increases.

Analysts were expecting earnings of 75 cents per share on sales
of US$2.76 billion.

Total revenue rose to US$2.79 billion from US$2.4 billion last
year. Freight revenue increased 16 percent to US$2.74 billion.
Consumer products revenue rose 18 percent to US$1.10 billion.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Judge Conti Takes Over USG Chapter 11 Case
----------------------------------------------------------------
On September 27, 2004, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals
assigned U.S. District Court Judge Joy Flowers Conti to preside
over USG's Chapter 11 cases. Judge Conti replaces U.S. District
Court Judge Alfred M. Wolin, who was removed from USG's cases in
May 2004. Judge Judith K. Fitzgerald remains the bankruptcy
judge presiding over USG's Chapter 11 cases.

USG Corporation and its principal domestic subsidiaries
collectively filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under
Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code on June 25,
2001. This action was taken to resolve asbestos claims in a fair
and equitable manner, protect the long-term value of the
businesses and maintain their market leadership positions.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Hardie Chiefs Resign Amid Asbestos Probe
----------------------------------------------------------------
Two top executives at building products group James Hardie
Industries have resigned in the wake of a scandal about the
Company's treatment of thousands of asbestos victims.

Peter Macdonald, who stepped aside as the Company's chief
executive officer last month during an investigation into the
scandal, has formally resigned. Former chief financial officer
Peter Shafron, who also stepped aside last month, has also quit.

Meanwhile, investors welcomed the appointment of Louis Gries as
James Hardie's interim chief executive and Russell Chenu as
interim chief financial officer.

Asbestos victims applauded the resignations but later expressed
shock and outrage when the Company said Mr. Macdonald would
receive a AUD8.8 million payout, not including options, and
would remain as consultant to the Company. Mr. Shafron will get
a AUD1.17 million severance package.

Bernie Banton, a former James Hardie employee who is now
suffering from an asbestos-related disease, said the size of the
payment was mind-blowing, adding that the payout could have
compensated 12 asbestos victims.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union NSW secretary Paul
Bastian said the payment was an affront to people who had
contracted deadly asbestos diseases by working for James Hardie.

With Mr. Macdonald gone, Hardie's Chairman Ms. Meredith Hellicar
said the Company's main priorities would be to reach a
settlement with unions over the best way to repay future
asbestos claims, and to continue the growth of Hardie's business
operations. "It's in the interests of everybody this Company's
business performance is top notch," she said.

Mr. David Jackson, who headed the inquiry, said there were
grounds for criminal charges against Mr. Macdonald over a false
statement to the stock exchange in February 2001 that a trust
set up to handle asbestos compensation would meet all legitimate
claims. Mr. Shafron was described as "prepared to be deceitful
where asbestos was concerned." Mr. Jackson also found he
withheld crucial data about asbestos claims from the
foundation's incoming directors and tried to avoid making a full
disclosure to prospective insurers.

ACTU federal secretary Greg Combet said the resignations were "a
small but important step which will give some solace to asbestos
sufferers."

But a more important issue was the difficult negotiations on
funding victims when the foundation ran out of money. "I remain
concerned that this Company is still not facing up to the
reality that it has to put the money up," he said.

In a SEC filing, Ms. Hellicar acknowledged that, "There has been
much goodwill demonstrated by all parties working to a solution,
and that considerable and substantive progress has been made."

Ms. Hellicar wrote that Hardie is obliged to meet its governance
requirements and believes that an agreement will be reached
within a realistic timeframe.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ACTU Explains No Breakthrough Yet in Talks
---------------------------------------------------------------
ACTU Secretary Greg Combet has contradicted media reports of a
"breakthrough" in negotiations with James Hardie.

Mr. Combet indicated that communications between the ACTU and
James Hardie were continuing, but that agreement on the funding
for compensation of victims of James Hardie asbestos products
remained elusive.

He stated, "What I want from James Hardie is a clear and
unequivocal commitment to fund compensation for asbestos
victims."

Earlier news had broken out saying that asbestos victims have
achieved a breakthrough, with James Hardie Industries agreeing
to fund the claims of thousands of future sufferers without
attacking their common-law rights. Supposedly, the ACTU had
already received the long-awaited draft "heads of agreement"
document from Hardie in which the Company accepts the main
demands of victims support groups.

Clearly, there remains a considerable amount of detailed
negotiation to go.

Meanwhile, the Medical Research and Compensation Foundation said
it needs an immediate injection of about AUD100 million or it
will be forced to declare bankruptcy. This could mean that
thousands of current and future asbestos disease victims could
miss out on compensation after the foundation James Hardie
Industries set up for the purpose might have to wind up within
weeks.

With hundreds of claims currently before the courts, and with
many sufferers having only months to live, many victims of
Hardie asbestos products could die without they or their
families receiving any money.

MRCF is claiming that unless Hardie paid it more money
immediately, it would have to go into provisional liquidation.
MRCF director Ian Hutchinson explained the foundation only had
about $40 million left against a possible shortfall of up to $2
billion.

He said insurer QBE was refusing to provide as a lump sum $23
million due to the foundation, and a former Hardie Company was
refusing to pay another $85million unless the foundation
effectively promised not to sue it. The money would only last
until April, he said.

The MRCF and Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Greg
Combet said should that happen the almost certain result would
be the liquidator immediately stopping making payments to
asbestos disease victims.

But Hardie has not yet agreed to provide more funds; with
spokesman John Noble saying it wants more information from the
MRCF.

Hardie wrote to the MRCF reaffirming its preparedness to provide
assistance regarding the MRCF's interim liquidity position. The
Company also expressed its surprise at the apparent immediacy of
the claims when only last month, the MRCF rejected as no longer
necessary Hardie's offer to provide interim financial
assistance, following an approach from the MRCF that it was
approaching a liquidity issue in late August.

Hardie reiterated that it is in no one's interests to have the
MRCF placed in a position where it is unable to pay legitimate
claimants.

Hardie claims that since the MRCF failed to provide additional
information to them, it has substantially delayed Hardie' s
ability to negotiate an agreement with the ACTU and asbestos
groups to reach a funding solution for all future claimants of
asbestos-related diseases.

Hardie wrote, "This data is critical to James Hardies capacity
to develop a financially sustainable funding proposal."


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Specialty Underwriters to Face Minor Losses
----------------------------------------------------------------
Specialty Underwriters Alliance Inc stated in a SEC filing
submitted recently that Potomac, its predecessor, had little
direct exposure to the large latent losses related to asbestos
exposure and carried total direct gross loss reserves of less
than US$600.

Founded in 2003, Specialty Underwriters Alliance has no
operating history but plans to conduct business through Potomac
Insurance Company of Illinois, which it is acquiring from
OneBeacon Insurance Group. The Company plans to provide coverage
for commercial property and casualty, including workers'
compensation, medical malpractice, and other niche liability
coverage.

Potomac started in 1982 at which time it was licensed solely in
Illinois and operated on a very limited basis.  Potomac expanded
its writings as it gradually accumulated licenses in additional
states during the next several years.

During this time, the insurance industry came to recognize its
exposure to asbestos and environmental hazards and took actions
to mitigate such exposure through policy exclusions and
underwriting restrictions. Therefore, Potomac was not confronted
with the difficulties that other insurers faced.

Potomac was a net participant in the Pool through 2003. The Pool
included several companies that had direct written business in
those years when asbestos and environmental losses were not
explicitly excluded by standard policy language.

Whereas, the reduction in capital available for underwriting
from the beginning of 2001 through the end of 2003 caused many
significant insurers either to withdraw from particular business
lines or significantly reduce the amount of capital dedicated to
these business lines. The Company believes this impairment in
capital has been caused by deficiencies in reserves in various
lines of business, including workers' compensation, medical
malpractice and commercial multiperil, as well as asbestos and
environment-related lines.

Potomac reported a US$1.2 million pre-tax loss for the five
months ended May 31, 2001. These results include the impact of
two reinsurance covers which provide Potomac with reinsurance
protection against unanticipated increases in recorded reserves
for insurance losses and LAE with respect to asbestos,
environmental and certain other latent exposures and excess of
loss reinsurance protection against adverse development on
accident year 2000 and prior losses.

OneBeacon entered into reinsurance agreements with National
Indemnity Company, or NICO Cover, and General Reinsurance
Corporation, or GRC Cover, which provide reinsurance protection
against unanticipated increases in recorded reserves for
insurance losses and LAE.

Through December 31, 2003, Potomac was a participant in the
OneBeacon Amended and Restated Reinsurance Agreement. Potomac
ceased its participation in the Pool effective as of January 1,
2004 and entered into reinsurance agreements whereby it gave all
of its direct insurance business to OneBeacon. As a result,
Potomac no longer has any insurance assets or liabilities on a
net basis and will not share in any favorable or unfavorable
development of prior year losses recorded by the Pool after
January 1, 2004 unless OneBeacon fails to perform on its
reinsurance obligations to Potomac.

According to A.M. Best, the property and casualty insurance
industry had a reserve deficiency of about US$75 billion as of
December 31, 2003. The lines of business that were most
deficient as of that date include workers' compensation, medical
malpractice, commercial multiperil, other types of liability
insurance and excess of loss liability reinsurance.

In addition, reserve shortfalls from asbestos and environment-
related claims and professional liability claims, as well as
losses due to poor underwriting in the late 1990s, continue to
require adjustments in the loss reserves of the property and
casualty insurance industry.

According to A.M. Best, the industry was under-reserved by
approximately US$45 billion as of yearend 2003. Core loss
reserves are estimated by A.M. Best to have been deficient by
about US$29 billion. Several major insurers have taken very
large charges to earnings totaling an estimated US$16.5billion
in 2003, with an additional US$10 billion expected in 2004.

As a participant in the Pool, Potomac reserves include
provisions made for claims that assert damages from related
exposures. Asbestos claims relate primarily to injuries asserted
by those who came in contact with asbestos or products
containing asbestos. The Pool estimates its reserves based upon,
among other factors, facts surrounding reported cases and
exposures to claims, such as policy limits and deductibles,
current law, past and projected claim activity and past
settlement values for similar claims, as well as analysis of
industry studies and events, such as recent settlements and
asbestos-related bankruptcies.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Holders Plan to Delay Owens Corning's Ch 11
----------------------------------------------------------------
Owens Corning said its bankruptcy case could be delayed by six
months or longer if a court allows holders of the Company's bank
debt to review the medical records of people claiming they were
injured by exposure to asbestos.

Ohio-based Owens Corning has been under Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection since October 5, 2000, after filing to address
roughly US$16 billion in asbestos liabilities.

The bank debt holders, led by Credit Suisse First Boston, asked
the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware to allow the
group to obtain "a sample of medical records, including x-rays,
from asbestos-related personal injury claimants asserting non-
malignant claims" against the building products maker. Credit
Suisse has argued that Owens Corning has vastly overestimated
the value of asbestos liabilities it faces.

The request to review the medical records was supported by
bondholders King Street Capital Management LLC, D.E. Shaw
Laminar Portfolios LLC, Harbert Management Corp., Canyon
Partners Inc. and Lehman Brothers Inc. In their court filing,
the bondholders claim Owens Corning's estimate of asbestos
personal injury claims is "significantly overstated" and that
Owens Corning's own experts have said the majority of claims in
a random sample didn't meet minimal medical standards.

James McMonagle, the representative for people who will assert
asbestos claims against the Company in the future but aren't yet
sick, said in an objection that the request for medical records
was "yet another manifestation of the bank debt holders' well
documented efforts to delay these Chapter 11 cases and derail
confirmation of any plan of reorganization." He believes further
delay just keeps money out of the hands of sick and dying
asbestos claimants.

Owens Corning plans to create a trust to pay pending and future
asbestos claims against the Company and has asked the court to
estimate the value of the asbestos claims against it so it can
finalize a turnaround plan.

Holders of Owens Corning's bank debt, led by Credit Suisse First
Boston, are in favor of estimating the value of asbestos claims
against the Company.

Owens Corning, for its part, said in court papers the Credit
Suisse group was simply asking the court to delay the estimation
hearing to study asbestos claimants' medical records that it
could have asked to review at any time during the case. There
are studies already in existence the bank debt group could use
to bolster its case, and another study conducted by the bank
debt group would be a waste of time, the Company's court papers
said.

The bank group has said the court should see more clear evidence
of how many people who have asserted claims against Owens
Corning are actually sick, before estimating the asbestos
claims.

Owens Corning said the bank debt group misunderstands asbestos
litigation and the fact that people exposed to asbestos, even if
they don't meet specific health standards, often bring their
cases to trial and sometimes win large jury verdicts.

No hearing has yet been scheduled on the motion to access the
medical records.

As reported, the Credit Suisse group is appealing a decision by
U.S. District Judge John Fullam to treat Owens Corning and its
units as one Company, rather than separate entities, pooling
their assets to repay creditors.

The ruling was a major blow to the Credit Suisse group, which
has hundreds of millions of dollars riding on retaining claims
against the Company's financially stable units rather than the
parent, which is encumbered with massive asbestos costs.


ASBESTOS ALERT: LA Jury Awards US$20.5 Mil to Lung Cancer Victim
----------------------------------------------------------------
A jury has recommended that two companies must pay US$20.5
million to a former nuclear submarine machinist who contracted a
fatal form of lung cancer after exposure to asbestos from their
products.

Last October 20, the jury found Garlock Sealing Technologies and
Kelly-Moore Paint Co jointly liable for Robert Treggett's
malignant lung cancer. Mr. Treggett underwent chemotherapy and
surgery to remove his right lung after being diagnosed with the
disease in 2003.

Mr. Treggett, 60 years old, allegedly contracted the disease
through asbestos exposure on a U.S. Navy submarine and while
remodeling a home. He worked from 1965 to 1972 aboard the USS
Marshall submarine repairing propulsion equipment. He was
exposed to asbestos dust from various sources, including Garlock
gaskets on valves and pumps, his lawyers argued. In 1975, Mr.
Treggett used a compound manufactured by Kelly-Moore that
contained asbestos in the remodeling of his father's home,
according to the lawsuit.

The jury recommended the plaintiff should receive a total of
US$36.6 million, assigning 40 percent fault to Garlock, 14
percent to Kelly-Moore, 39 percent to the Navy and 7 percent to
an equipment manufacturer that settled during deliberations,
according to the lawsuit. The U.S. military, however, is immune
from tort lawsuits from injured servicemen.

The plaintiff's lawyers said they were "thrilled the jury
realized the truth was on our side."

"Garlock said there was not enough of their product to cause his
injuries, and Kelly argued that his exposure wasn't
significant," said Long Beach attorney Michael Armitage.

Peter Langbord, who represented Kelly-Moore, said his client
would file post-trial motions and, if necessary, an appeal.

"We believe it's a runaway verdict. The jury disregarded all the
scientific studies, none of them showing a connection between
gasket exposure and disease," said Garlock's attorney Robert
Baronian, who also plans to appeal the verdict.


Company Profile:

Garlock Sealing Technologies
1666 Division Street
Palmyra, NY 14522 USA
Phone: 1-800-448-6688/1-315-597-4811
http://www.garlock.net/

Description:
For more than a century, Garlock has been helping customers
efficiently seal the toughest process fluids in the most
demanding applications. That leadership continues today, as
1,887 Garlock employees at 15 facilities in 8 countries provide
innovative products to multinational and other corporations in
every major industry. Headquartered in Palmyra, NY, Garlock
Sealing Technologies is an EnPro Industries business.


ASBESTOS ALERT: UK Councilor Fined GBD20,000 Over Dumping Waste
---------------------------------------------------------------
The leader of North Lincolnshire Council has been fined
GBD20,000 for illegally dumping waste at his farm.

Don Stewart admitted keeping, treating and depositing controlled
waste without a license at Holly Tree Farm, Epworth. The waste
included burnt-out fridges and a small amount of asbestos,
Environment Agency officials told Scunthorpe Magistrates' Court.
Mr. Stewart was also ordered to pay costs of GBD1,945. Charges
against his son Callum were withdrawn.

After the hearing, Mr. Stewart said, "The court's dealt with it
and I'm just getting on with my business now." Asked if he would
be resigning as council leader, he replied, "Certainly not."

A North Lincolnshire Council spokeswoman said the authority
would not be making any comment on the case.  Environment Agency
officer Richard Hardy said waste management licenses were
required to ensure procedures were in place "to minimize risk to
the environment and human health."  "Anyone operating a waste
site without a license is operating outside the law and we will
not hesitate in taking action against them," he added.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Endemol Admits Workers' Exposure While Filming
----------------------------------------------------------------
The television Company behind the hit reality shows, Big Brother
and Fear Factor, has admitted failing to protect employees from
asbestos during the filming of reality show Fame Academy.

Endemol UK plc, which has a turnover of more than GBD100 million
a year, said some employees and others suffered exposure to the
dangerous substance at the location of the first series of the
BBC show, City of London Magistrates' Court heard.

However, Endemol told magistrates that none of the participants
were exposed to the asbestos in Highgate, north London, despite
having lived and rehearsed at the site.


Company Profile:

Endemol B.V.
Bergweg 70
1217 SC Hilversum,
The Netherlands
Phone: +31-35-539-99-99
Fax: +31-35-539-99-82
http://www.endemol.com/index.xml

Description:
The Company was established in 1994 as the result of a merger
between the two major TV producers in the Netherlands: Joop van
den Ende Productions and John de Mol Produkties. Since then the
Company has had an aggressive international expansion through
acquisitions of and by starting TV production companies outside
the Netherlands. The Company, with its head offices in the
Netherlands, has subsidiaries and joint ventures in 22
countries. Spanish phone giant Telefonica bought the Company for
$5.3 billion in 2000.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Graco Named as Defendant in Multiple Lawsuits
----------------------------------------------------------------
Graco Inc, of the world's premier manufacturers of fluid-
handling equipment and systems, has been named as a defendant in
a number of lawsuits alleging bodily injury as a result of
exposure to asbestos or silica.

All of these lawsuits have multiple defendants, mostly in excess
of 100 defendants, and several have multiple plaintiffs. None of
the suits make any allegations specifically regarding the
Company or any of its products.

Management does not particularly know why the Company was
included in the suits along with hundreds of other defendants.
The Company believes that these lawsuits are routine litigation
incident to its business, which management thinks will not have
a material adverse effect on its operations or consolidated
financial position.

A substantial portion of the cost and potential liability for
these cases is covered by insurance, although the exact extent
of insurance coverage cannot be determined at this time because
the cases are in the early stages of the litigation process and
the allegations are so indefinite. Based on available
information, it remains impossible to determine the ultimate
outcome.


Company Profile:

Graco Inc.
88 - 11th Ave. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Phone: 612-623-6000
Fax: 612-623-6777
http://www.graco.com/

2003 Sales (mil.)   GBD300.9
1-Year Sales Growth   9.9%
2003 Net Income (mil.)   GBD48.8
1-Year Net Income Growth  14.7%
2003 Employees    1,750

Description:
Founded in 1926, Graco is a world leader in fluid handling
systems and components used in vehicle lubrication, commercial
and industrial settings. Products include pumps, applicators,
spray guns, pressure washers, filters, valves, and accessories
with industrial and commercial applications for handling paints,
adhesives, sealants, and lubricants. In addition to painting
contractors, Graco's customers include automotive, construction
equipment, and vehicle lubrication companies. Graco sells its
products globally through independent distributors.


ASBESTOS ALERT: UK Family Plans to Sue Babcock Transformers Ltd
----------------------------------------------------------------
The family of Peterborough's last traffic warden, who died from
an industrial disease caused by exposure to asbestos, is
considering taking legal action against his former employer.

Roy Butler, 65 years old, died after being diagnosed with
mesothelioma, a form of chest and abdomen cancer predominantly
caused by asbestos exposure, an inquest at Peterborough
Magistrates' Court heard recently.

Mr. Butler was exposed to asbestos during the 1960s and '70s
when he worked for Woden Transformers, in Bilston, West
Midlands. The Company has since changed its name to Babcock
Transformers Ltd.

Asbestos was used for insulation in the ceiling of the factory,
and Mr. Butler regularly used asbestos tape in the manufacture
of transformers for power stations, coroner Gordon Ryall heard.

Tragically, his death in August came less than a year after he
retired as Peterborough's last traffic warden, after 25 years in
the job. When Roy retired, the role of traffic warden was
transferred to parking attendants.

Mrs. Butler, of Howland, Orton Goldhay, spoke of her grief at
her husband's death. She said, "It was devastating to us to
discover that Roy had got this aggressive disease just from
going to work."

At the inquest, coroner Gordon Ryall said, "I am satisfied that
Mr. Butler's death was due to his working life. He died from the
industrial disease of malignant mesothelioma."

The family is now preparing to sue Babcock Transformers. No one
from the Company was available for comment.


Company Profile:

Babcock Transformers
Oxford St
Bilston
West Midlands, WV14 7DL
Phone: +44 (0) 1902 492681
Fax: +44 (0) 1902 401793


ASBESTOS ALERT: Probe Launched on 20 Deaths in N. Italy Airbase
---------------------------------------------------------------
At least twenty people have allegedly died of asbestos poisoning
in the Monte Venda airbase, 30 km from Padua.

Military prosecutor Sergio Dini has started a probe for
negligence after the submission of a brief certified by
officials and NCOs. Ordinary prosecutors have filed a suit for
manslaughter. The Monte Venda base was active from 1954 to 1998.
It is believed that the air force had known of the dangerous
working conditions since 1982.

However, a resolution came up only in 1991 when Lt. Col. Alfonso
Carrieri became the commander of the general quarter. In a
routine inspection, he had noticed that the gallery in which at
least 300 people worked every day was full of asbestos. Lt. Col.
Carrieri immediately requested the Milan command for an air
quality test.

The air force laboratories took some samples, but found nothing
was out of norm. The air force officially started to take
interest in the situation at the end of 1995, a year after the
approval of the law that banned asbestos.

Mr. Dini's investigation and that of prosecutor Orietta Canova,
who is leading the case for civil authorities, revealed that the
level of asbestos has remained as it was fifty years ago. For
now, no one is under investigation, but the probe might
eventually involve the executive branch of the Italian air
force.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Power Station Contractors Walk Out Over Hazards
----------------------------------------------------------------
Discovery of asbestos at Macquarie Generation's Liddell and
Bayswater Power Stations has caused some 300 contractors to walk
out of the site fearing imminent risks to their health, safety
and welfare.

Presence of the carcinogenic material was identified when
contractors cut open a door of the boiler for repairs. The
workers discovered fibrous material identified as asbestos by
Insultech, a Company working on site at the time.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union spokesperson Steve Murphy
said the material was promptly disposed of and the workers were
directed to go back to work only to find the area had not been
cleaned in line with occupational health and safety regulations.
Concerned that airborne asbestos was present, the workers asked
for a test, which came back negative, and the area was
officially declared clear of asbestos.

Because of persisting concerns, contractors refused to return to
work and were on site but not working.

AMWU representatives met with Macquarie Generation officers to
discuss the potential for further asbestos on site. Mr. Murphy
said the AMWU wanted to see the site's asbestos register so that
workers knew where the material was used in the construction of
both Liddell and Bayswater Power Stations. The union is asking
that these areas be identified and labeled so that all workers
are aware.

During the meetings, the contractors also mentioned other health
and safety issues including the lack of hot water and drinking
water, no change area or showers and inadequate toilet
facilities. "These are basic requirements that should be in
place in a work environment like this. The situation last week
was that the contractors had been exposed to the asbestos and
had nowhere to take a shower which has added to their stress,"
Mr. Murphy said.

A spokesperson for Macquarie Generation said contracting
companies had agreed to improve amenities at the site and
further meetings were scheduled between the AMWU, Macquarie
Generation and contractors in a bid to have the issues resolved.

Mr. Murphy said he considered it unlikely that contractors would
return to work until there would be a reassurance that these
urgent issues have been addressed.


Company Profile:

Macquarie Generation
PO Box 3416
Hamilton Delivery Center
NSW 2303
Australia
Phone: +61 2 4968 7499
Fax: +61 2 4968 7433
http://www.macgen.com.au/

Description:
Macquarie Generation is one of Australia's leading electricity
generators established on March 1, 1996 in line with government
reforms to the New South Wales electricity sector. It is a
leading renewable energy producer. Since 1999, the Corporation
has supplied an average of 75,000 Megawatt hours of renewable
electricity per year to the National Energy Market, mostly from
its Biomass Co-firing Program centered at Liddell Power Station.


                   New Securities Fraud Cases


DOBSON COMMUNICATIONS: Charles J. Piven Files OK Securities Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law offices of Charles J. Piven, P.A. today initiated a
securities class action on behalf of shareholders who purchased,
converted, exchanged or otherwise acquired the common stock of
Dobson Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq:DCEL) between May 19, 2003
and August 9, 2004, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
Western District of Oklahoma against defendant Dobson and one or
more of its officers and/or directors. The action charges that
defendants violated federal securities laws by issuing a series
of materially false and misleading statements to the market
throughout the Class Period, which statements had the effect of
artificially inflating the market price of the Company's
securities. No class has yet been certified in the above action.

For more details, contact the Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven,
P.A. by Mail: The World Trade Center-Baltimore, 401 East Pratt
Street, Suite 2525, Baltimore, MD 21202 by Phone: 410/986-0036
or by E-mail: hoffman@pivenlaw.com


MARSH & MCLENNAN: Keller Rohrback Lodges ERISA Fraud Suit in NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Keller Rohrback LLP commenced a class action
against Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. ("MMC" or the "Company")
(NYSE:MMC) for violations of the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"). The lawsuit was filed in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York. The class action focuses on investments in MMC stock by
the Marsh & McLennan Companies Stock Investment Plan (the
"Plan") between October 18, 1999 through the present (the "Class
Period").

Specifically, the Plaintiffs allege in the Complaint:

     (1) that Defendants breached their fiduciary duties to
         Plaintiffs in violation of ERISA by failing to
         prudently and loyally manage the Plan's investment in
         MMC stock by continuing to offer MMC stock as an
         investment option and match in MMC stock when the stock
         no longer was a prudent investment for participants'
         retirement savings;

     (2) that Defendants who communicated with participants
         regarding the Plan's assets, or had a duty to do so,
         failed to provide participants with complete and
         accurate information regarding MMC stock sufficient to
         advise participants of the true risks of investing
         their retirement savings in MMC stock;

     (3) that Defendants, responsible for the selection,
         removal, and, thus, monitoring of the Plan's
         fiduciaries, failed to properly monitor the performance
         of their fiduciary appointees and remove and replace
         those whose performance was inadequate;

     (4) that Defendants breached their duties and
         responsibilities as co-fiduciaries in the manner and to
         the extent set forth in the Complaint; and lastly,

     (5) Plaintiffs state a claim against MMC for knowing
         participation in the fiduciary breaches alleged in the
         Complaint.

Plaintiffs have alleged that during the Class Period, Defendants
imprudently permitted the Plan to hold and acquire hundreds of
millions of dollars in MMC stock. They did so despite the fact
that Defendants knew or should have known that MMC and/or its
wholly-owned subsidiaries were engaging in highly risky and
inappropriate bid rigging and price fixing, which artificially
inflated the value of MMC stock, and, thus, that MMC stock no
longer was a prudent and appropriate investment for
participants' retirement savings. Defendants' breaches alleged
in the Complaint caused the Plan to incur enormous losses.

For more details, contact Jennifer Tuato'o, Paralegal of Keller
Rohrback LLP by Phone: (800) 776-6044 by E-mail:
investor@kellerrohrback.com or http://www.erisafraud.comor
http://www.seattleclassaction.com


METLIFE INC.: Charles J. Piven Files Securities Fraud Suit in NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law offices of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities
class action on behalf of shareholders who purchased, converted,
exchanged or otherwise acquired the common stock of MetLife Inc.
(NYSE:MET) between April 5, 2000 through 9:31 a.m. Eastern Time,
October 14, 2004, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York against defendant MetLife and one
or more of its officers and/or directors. The action charges
that defendants violated federal securities laws by issuing a
series of materially false and misleading statements to the
market throughout the Class Period, which statements had the
effect of artificially inflating the market price of the
Company's securities. No class has yet been certified in the
above action.

For more details, contact the Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven,
P.A. by Mail: The World Trade Center-Baltimore, 401 East Pratt
Street, Suite 2525, Baltimore, MD 21202 by Phone: 410/986-0036
or by E-mail: hoffman@pivenlaw.com


STAR GAS: Scott + Scott Lodges Securities Fraud Lawsuit in CT
-------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Scott + Scott, LLC initiated a complaint in the
United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
with co-counsel on behalf of all purchasers of securities from
December 4, 2003 to October 18, 2004 (the "Class Period")
inclusive. Star Gas Partners, Inc. ("Star or the Company")
(NYSE: SGU or SGH).

This is an action on behalf of purchasers of Star Gas Partners,
L.P. publicly traded securities during the period from December
4, 2003 to October 18, 2004. Star Gas is a diversified home
energy distributor and service provider, specializing in heating
oil, propane, natural gas and electricity. During the Class
Period, defendants caused Star Gas's shares to trade at
artificially inflated levels through the issuance of false and
misleading statements.

As a result of this inflation, Star Gas was able to complete a
secondary public offering of 1.3 million common units and two
note offerings totaling $65 million, raising net proceeds of $95
million during the Class Period. On October 18, 2004,
TheStreet.com issued an article entitled "Stocks In Motion: Star
Gas." The article stated in part:

Earnings at Star Gas' heating oil unit are expected to decline
substantially, the Company said, which will not permit it to
meet the borrowing conditions under its working capital line.
Star is currently in talks with lenders to modify conditions and
other terms that would allow its business unit to operate
through the winter. If lenders do not agree, however, to offer
modified terms, Star said it could be forced to seek alternative
financing on "extremely disadvantageous" terms or even be forced
to seek bankruptcy protection.

On this news, Star Gas's stock dropped to $4.32 per share from a
closing price of $21.60 on the previous trading day. The true
facts, known by each of the defendants but concealed from the
investing public during the Class Period, were that the Company
was experiencing massive delays in the centralization of its
dispatch system and causing its customers to flee to
competitors; that the Company's Petro heating oil division's
business process improvement program was faltering and not
generating the benefits claimed by defendants; that contrary to
defendants' earlier indications, the Company was not able to
increase or even maintain profit margins in its heating oil
segment; and that the Company's second quarter 2004 claimed
profit margins were an aberration and not indicative of the
Company's success or ability to pass on the heating oil price
increase because the Company had earlier acquired heating oil
(sold in the second quarter) at a much lower cost. As a result,
defendants were facing imminent bankruptcy and would no longer
be able to service the Company's debt, all of which would halt
the Company's ability to maintain the Company's credit rating
and/or obtain future financing. Star Senior Notes: Star has $265
million in principal amount of unsecured senior notes due
February 13, 2013 at the parent Company level. Star has retained
Peter J. Solomon Company, LP an independent investment banking
firm, to advise Star on possible restructuring alternatives and
other strategic options.

For more details, contact Scott + Scott, LLC by Phone:
800/404-7770 (EDT) or 800/332-2259 (PST) or 860/537-3818
(Connecticut) or 619/233-4565 (California) or by E-mail:
nrothstein@scott-scott.com or StarGasSecuritiesLitigation@scott-
scott.com


STAR GAS: Wolf Haldenstein Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CT
-------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP
initiated a class action lawsuit in the United States District
Court for the District of Connecticut, on behalf of all persons
who purchased the securities of Star Gas Partners, L.P. ("Star
Gas" or the "Company") (NYSE: SGU; SGH) between July 25, 2000
and October 18, 2004, inclusive, (the "Class Period") against
defendants Star Gas and certain officers and directors of the
Company.

The case name is Strunk v. Star Gas Partners, L.P., et al. The
complaint alleges that defendants violated the federal
securities laws by issuing materially false and misleading
statements throughout the Class Period that had the effect of
artificially inflating the market price of the Company's
securities.

The complaint further alleges that statements made by defendants
during the class period were materially false and misleading
when made because they failed to disclose and/or misrepresented
the following adverse facts, among others:

     (1) that the Company's attrition rates remained abnormally
         high throughout the Class Period;

     (2) that the Company did not have the necessary
         infrastructure to deal with the increased customers
         from its numerous acquisitions;

     (3) that the Company was experiencing massive delays in the
         centralization of its dispatch system which caused its
         customers to flee to competitors;

     (4) that the Company's Petro heating oil division's
         business process improvement program was not an
         improvement and was not generating the benefits claimed
         by defendants;

     (5) that as a result of (a)-(d), defendants were facing
         imminent bankruptcy and would no longer be able to
         service the Company's debt, all of which would halt the
         Company's ability to maintain the Company's credit
         rating and/or obtain future financing.

For more details, contact Fred Taylor Isquith, Esq., Gustavo
Bruckner, Esq., George Peters, or Derek Behnke of Wolf
Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP by Mail: 270 Madison
Avenue, New York, NY 10016 by Phone: (800) 575-0735 or by E-
mail: classmember@whafh.com or visit their Web site:
http://www.whafh.com/cases/stargas.htm


TOMMY HILFIGER: Zwerling Schachter Lodges Securities Suit in NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Zwerling, Schachter & Zwerling, LLP ("Zwerling
Schachter") initiated a class action lawsuit in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York on
behalf of all persons and entities who purchased the common
stock of Tommy Hilfiger Corporation ("Tommy Hilfiger" or the
"Company") (NYSE: TOM) between November 3, 1999 and September
24, 2004, inclusive (the "Class Period"). The deadline to file a
motion seeking to be appointed lead plaintiff is November 29,
2004.

The complaint alleges that defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder. Specifically, it alleges that the
defendants failed to disclose and misrepresented the following
material adverse facts which were known to defendants or
recklessly disregarded by them that:

     (1) the defendants shifted profits to lower-tax
         jurisdictions by paying buying-agency commissions to
         other Tommy Hilfiger subsidiaries;

     (2) the defendants reported revenue generated in the U.S.
         as if it were earned in a foreign division, thereby
         effectively lowering the Company's tax rate;

     (3) as a result of this, Tommy Hilfiger's financial results
         were in violation of generally accepted accounting
         principles;

     (4) the Company reported income tax liability had been
         materially understated from at least 1999 because of
         its use of an improper tax avoidance scheme; and

     (5) as a result of the above, Tommy Hilfiger's financial
         results were materially inflated at all relevant times.

On September 24, 2004, after the market closed, the Company
announced that its U.S. subsidiary, Tommy Hilfiger U.S.A. Inc.
("THUSA"), had received a grand jury subpoena issued by the U.S.
Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York seeking
documents generally relating to THUSA's domestic and/or
international buying office commissions since 1990. On this
news, the Company's stock dropped $2.87 per share or
approximately 22% from a closing price of $13.17 on September
24, 2004 to a closing price of $10.30 on September 27, 2004, the
next trading day.

For more details, contact Shaye J. Fuchs, Esq. or Jayne Nykolyn
of Zwerling Schachter by Phone: 1-800-721-3900 or by E-mail:
sfuchs@zsz.com or jnykolyn@zsz.com


VALASSIS COMMUNICATIONS: Charles J. Piven Files Stock Suit in MI
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law offices of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities
class action on behalf of shareholders who purchased, converted,
exchanged or otherwise acquired the common stock of Valassis
Communications, Inc. (NYSE:VCI) between April 25, 2002 and
October 23, 2002, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Michigan against defendant Valassis and one
or more of its officers and/or directors. The action charges
that defendants violated federal securities laws by issuing a
series of materially false and misleading statements to the
market throughout the Class Period, which statements had the
effect of artificially inflating the market price of the
Company's securities. No class has yet been certified in the
above action.

For more details, contact the Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven,
P.A. by Mail: The World Trade Center-Baltimore, 401 East Pratt
Street, Suite 2525, Baltimore, MD 21202 by Phone: 410/986-0036
or by E-mail: hoffman@pivenlaw.com


                            *********


A list of Meetings, Conferences and Seminars appears in each
Wednesday's edition of the Class Action Reporter. Submissions
via e-mail to carconf@beard.com are encouraged.

Each Friday's edition of the CAR includes a section featuring
news on asbestos-related litigation and profiles of target
asbestos defendants that, according to independent researches,
collectively face billions of dollars in asbestos-related
liabilities.

                            *********


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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USA.   Glenn Ruel Se¤orin, Aurora Fatima Antonio and Lyndsey
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Copyright 2004.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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