CAR_Public/050311.mbx             C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Friday, March 11, 2005, Vol. 7, No. 50

                          Headlines

AON CORPORATION: Close To Settling Cook County Case, Sources Say
CIGNA CORPORATION: RICO Suit Settlement Hearing Set April 2005
CIGNA CORPORATION: Policyholders Lodge CA Unfair Practices Suit
CIGNA CORPORATION: Plaintiffs File Amended RICO Suit in S.D. CA
COCA-COLA CO.: Discovery Proceeds in GA Securities Fraud Lawsuit

CORINTHIAN COLLEGES: FL Students Launch Suit Over Accreditation
DELTA ENTERPRISE: Recalls 10T Portable Cribs Due To Injury Risk
GREAT LAKES: Working To Settle Suits Over May 25, 2004 GA Fire
GREAT LAKES: Reaches Settlement For Bromine Antitrust Lawsuits
IMERGENT INC.: Firm Faces Two Shareholder Complaints in C.D. UT

JVC AMERICAS: Recalls 26,500 Televisions Because of Fire Hazard
LINDEN GROVE: Reaches Settlement For WA Race Discrimination Suit
MAINE: Hearing Date Set For ME Illegal Strip Searches Complaint
MASTER FOODS: Pet Owners Launch Complaint Over Tainted Dog Food
MCDONALDS CORPORATION: Asks IL Court To Dismiss Securities Suit

MCDONALD'S CORPORATION: Several Claims in Obesity Suit Restored
METABOLIFE INTERNATIONAL: Wins Appeal Of $4.1 Mil Ephedra Award
MOTOROLA INC.: IL Court Nixes Appeal of Consumer Suit Dismissal
MOTOROLA INC.: Plaintiffs Appeal Personal Injury Suit Dismissal
SHAW INDUSTRIES: Recalls Carpets Due To Manufacturing Error

TENET HEALTHCARE: BRCH Tapped To Lead Medicare Over Billing Suit
UNITED STATES: FAA Employees Junk Out-of-Court Suit Settlement
U.S. STEEL: Youghiogheny River Landowner Files PA Pollution Suit
WILSONART INTERNATIONAL: Remains Antitrust Suit's Sole Defendant
WORLDCOM INC.: Four Investment Firms Pay $428.4M To Settle Suit

XCEL ENERGY: Securities Lawsuit Fairness Hearing Set April 2005
XCEL ENERGY: CO ERISA Suit Settlement Hearing Set April 1

                         Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NJ Health Dept to Issue Zonolite Risk Study
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Bill to Fund Asbestos Programs Gets Boost
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: AAR Lawyers Ordered to Give Up Legal Fees
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Legislator Seeks To Ban "Wet" Removal in TX
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CNA Financial Corp. Reports Rise in Claims

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: St. Clair's Asbestos Docket Goes Inactive
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Navigators Cites Exposures as Insignificant
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Markel Corp. Review Proposes No Adjustments
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Pfizer Subsidiary Faces 144,400 Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: AFC's Reserves Stay Consistent for 3 Years

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Exide's 2004 Indemnities Reach US$378T  
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Federal-Mogul Posts T&N's $1.4Bil Liability
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Abex, Wagner's Liabilities Reach US$213.6M
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Federal-Mogul, Fel-Pro Fight Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Inquest Shows Electrician Died of Exposure

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NSW Govt. to Adopt Review Recommendations
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: PPL's Subsidiaries Named in Asbestos Suits
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CA Home Developer Warns Buyers of Asbestos
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: United Fire & Casualty Tags Reserves at $3M
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Lockheed Martin Continues Defense V. Claims

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Goodrich, Subsidiaries Named as Defendants
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Bill Slates $250M for WR Grace's MT Victims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Labor Group Urges Search for Grace Victims  
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Owens Corning Reports 4Q04 Profit Surge
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Widow Calls on UK Govt to Fund Cancer Study

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NSW Boxer Takes Action for Exposure at Mine
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Selective Insurance Receives 3,025 Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Last Grace Executive Pleads Not Guilty
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: White Mountains Recounts Claims Exposures
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Thomas & Betts Faces Claims in Six States

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Rogers Records Minimum Projected Liability
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Illinois Tool Works Named in Exposure Suits
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Brunswick Corp. Named in Asbestos Lawsuits
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Lincoln Electric Responds to 38,555 Claims
ASBESTOS ALERT: Former UK Foundry Owner Sued for Site Violations

ASBESTOS ALERT: Welder Files Suit in St. Clair V. 50 Defendants
ASBESTOS ALERT: IA Workers Link Illness to Exposure at Work
ASBESTOS ALERT: UK Village Hall Shuts Down Due to Asbestos Find
ASBESTOS ALERT: UT Road Project Head Named in 3-Count Indictment
ASBESTOS ALERT: HSE Seals Off UK Legion Club Under Renovation

ASBESTOS ALERT: Ex-workers Bring Claims V. Dunlop Semtex, Zurich
ASBESTOS ALERT: Routine Inspection Detects Asbestos on UK Beach
ASBESTOS ALERT: HI Police Station Urged to Close Due to Risks
ASBESTOS ALERT: Labor Dept Orders Longley-Jones to Redo Cleanup
ASBESTOS ALERT: Paper Shredder Firm Pays Costs of Contamination

                   New Securities Fraud Cases

DELPHI CORPORATION: Brian M. Felgoise Lodges NY Securities Suit
DELPHI CORPORATION: Kaplan Fox Files Securities Fraud Suit in MI
ELAN CORPORATION: Stull Stull Lodges Securities Suit Fraud in MA
IMERGENT INC.: Brian M. Felgoise Lodges Securities Suit in UT
IMERGENT INC.: Schatz & Nobel Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in UT

INSPIRE PHARMACEUTICALS: Brian M. Felgoise Files NC Stock Suit
MAMMA.COM INC.: Wechsler Harwood Lodges Securities Suit in NY
VEECO INSTRUMENTS: Cohen Milstein Lodges Securities Suit in NY
VIISAGE TECHNOLOGY: Brian M. Felgoise Lodges Stock Suit in MA
VIISAGE TECHNOLOGIES: Schatz & Nobel Files Securities Suit in MA

                            *********

AON CORPORATION: Close To Settling Cook County Case, Sources Say
----------------------------------------------------------------
Aon Corporation is nearing a settlement to a class-action
lawsuit in Cook County that first raised questions about hidden
payments the Company received from insurance companies,
according to unnamed sources familiar with the matter, the
Chicago Tribune reports.

In its recent regulatory filings, the Company said that it has
established a $40 million legal reserve to resolve private
lawsuits related to the state investigations. The Company is
defending at least four suits involving similar claims brought
in various courts by its customers, the filings revealed.

Though an Aon spokesman declined to comment on the status of the
Cook County class action and whether the reserve was created to
settle the matter sources familiar with the case have said that
a settlement could be reached soon, the Tribune stated.

The case was brought nearly five years before New York Attorney
General Eliot Spitzer began investigating the compensation
practices of Aon and other insurance brokers in early 2004.  In
August 1999 the Williamson County Agricultural Association in
southern Illinois accused Aon of earning bonus commissions from
insurance companies that it described as undisclosed and
unauthorized kickbacks. The group, which organizes the annual
county fair in Marion, had used Aon as a broker to purchase
insurance protecting its directors and officers against
lawsuits. The bonuses, which were based on the volume and
profitability of business Aon directed to insurance companies,
were in conflict with the broker's duty to find the best
insurance coverage at the lowest possible price, the association
asserted. The group thus sought to recover any such payments.

Eventually, a Cook County Circuit Court judge granted class-
action status to the suit last July, thus expanding the case to
include Aon clients nationwide, who used the Company to buy or
renew insurance dating back to 1994.


CIGNA CORPORATION: RICO Suit Settlement Hearing Set April 2005
--------------------------------------------------------------
Fairness hearing for the settlement of the multi-district
litigation filed against CIGNA Corporation, various of its
entities and other managed care companies is set for April 2005
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of
Florida.

Several suits were initially filed, alleging violations under
one or more of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act
(ERISA), the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
(RICO) and various state laws.  A Florida federal court is
handling this multi-district litigation, which included the
federal cases - Shane v. Humana, Inc., et al., (CIGNA
subsidiaries added as defendants in August 2000) and Mangieri v.
CIGNA Corporation (filed December 7, 1999 in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Alabama), as well as
the Illinois state suit, styled "Kaiser and Corrigan v. CIGNA
Corporation, et al. (class of health care providers certified on
March 29, 2001).

The plaintiffs assert that the Company and other 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
complaint was subsequently amended to add as plaintiffs several
medical societies, including the Texas Medical Association, the
Medical Association of Georgia, the California Medical
Association, the Florida Medical Association, and the Louisiana
State Medical Society, each of which purports to bring its
action against specified defendants, an earlier Class Action
Reporter story (March 9,2005) states.  

Early last year, the Company agreed to settle with the parties
in the suit.  The total settlement included a guaranteed cash
payment of $85 million. Additional business practice changes of
$400 million are also included and will result in hundreds of
millions of dollars in real savings to physician practices
throughout the country. Including the savings in physician's
overhead, the plaintiffs' experts estimate the gross value of
the settlement package in excess of $1 billion dollars.

The settlement also establishes a foundation chartered to foster
a broad range of public health improvement initiatives which
will consider proposals to expand the database of health care
information available to patients and providers and among other
things, enhance the overall quality of patient care.  The
Company also agreed to establish a Physician Advisory committee
through which physicians can offer input on ways to enhance to
delivery of health care, an earlier Class Action Reporter story
(February 4,2004) states.

In 2004, the Florida federal court approved the settlement
agreement between the physician class and the Company, and
dismissed all claims by physician class members against the
Company.  The Company and the non-physician class have announced
a settlement agreement and the court has scheduled a fairness
hearing on that proposed settlement for April 2005.

The suit is styled "In Re Humana Inc. Managed Care Litigation,
MDL 1334," filed in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, under Judge
Federico Moreno.  The suit names as defendants Humana, Inc.,
Aetna, Inc., Aetna-USHC, Inc., Cigna, Health Net, Inc., Human
Health Plan, Inc., Pacificare Health Systems, Inc., Prudential
Insurance Company of America, United Health Group, United Health
Care and Wellpoint Health Networks, Inc.  Cigna and Aetna have
entered settlements with the plaintiffs.  Lead Plaintiffs'
Attorneys are Barry Meadow of Podhurst, Orseck, et al., Harley
Tropin of Kozyak, Tropin & Throckmorton and Archie Lamb.


CIGNA CORPORATION: Policyholders Lodge CA Unfair Practices Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
CIGNA Corporation faces a class action filed in the Superior
Court of the State of California in San Diego, styled "United
Policyholders v. Universal Life Resources, Inc., et al."

The suit seeks injunctive and monetary relief for alleged
fraudulent and deceptive business practices under section 17200
of the California Code in connection with purportedly
undisclosed commissions paid by insurers to broker Universal
Life Resources.  The suit also names as defendants Life
Insurance Company of North America.


CIGNA CORPORATION: Plaintiffs File Amended RICO Suit in S.D. CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs filed an amended class action against CIGNA
Corporation and its subsidiary Life Insurance Company of North
America in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of California.

On October 20, 2004, "Ronald Scott Shirley, on behalf of himself
and All Others Similarly Situated v. Universal Life Resources,
et al.," a purported class action suit, was filed under the
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO),
alleging hidden commissions increased the cost of employee
benefit plans and seeking treble damages and injunctive relief.

On January 12, 2005, a new named plaintiff filed an amended
complaint on behalf of the purported class in "Shirley," and the
case is now captioned, "Cynthia C. Brandes, On Behalf of Herself
and All Others Similarly situated vs. Universal Life Resources,
et al., case no. 04-CV-2102."  The suit is filed under Judge
Dana M. Sabraw.

Representing the plaintiffs are:

     (1) John J. Stoia, Jr., Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman
         and Robbins, 401 B Street, Suite 1700, San Diego, CA
         92101, Phone: (619)231-1058

     (2) Andrew S Friedman, Francis J Balint, Jr., Elaine Ryan,
         Michael C McKay, Bonnett Fairbourn Friedman and Balint,
         2901 North Central Avenue, Suite 1000, Phoenix, AZ
         85012, Phone: (602)-274-1100

     (3) Joseph P Guglielmo, Edith M Kallas, Milberg Weiss
         Bershad, One Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10119-
         0165, Phone: (212)594-5300

     (4) Joe R Whatley, Jr., Charlene P Ford, Richard P Rouco,
         Othni J Lathram, Grace Graham, Richard S Frankowski,
         Whatley Drake, 2323 Second Avenue North, Birmingham, AL
         35203, Phone: (205)328-9576

     (5) Robert R Sparks, Parry Deering Futscher and Sparks, 411
         Garrard Street, Covington, KY 41011, Phone: (859)291-
         9000

     (6) Brian C Clifford, James E Hartley, Jr., Gary B
         O'Connor, Drubner Hartley and O'Connor, 500 Chase
         Parkway, Waterbury, CT 06708, Phone: (203)753-9291

     (7) Christopher Casper, John A Yanchunis, Kathleen Clark
         Knight, W Christian Hoyer, James Hoyer Newcomer and
         Smiljanich, 4830 West Kennedy Boulevard, Suite 550,
         Tampa, FL 33609, Phone: (813)286-4100

Representing the Company is Paul B Salvaty, O'Melveny and Myers,
400 South Hope Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071-2899, Phone:
(213)430-6192.


COCA-COLA CO.: Discovery Proceeds in GA Securities Fraud Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Discovery is proceeding in the consolidated class action filed
against The Coca-Cola Company and executives M. Douglas Ivester,
Jack L. Stahl and James E. Chestnut in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

The first suit filed was styled "Carpenters Health & Welfare
Fund of Philadelphia & Vicinity v. The Coca-Cola Company, et
al."  The suit alleges that the Company, violated antifraud
provisions of the federal securities laws by making
misrepresentations or material omissions relating to the
Company's financial condition and prospects in late 1999 and
early 2000.  A second, largely identical lawsuit, styled "Gaetan
LaValla v. The Coca-Cola Company, et al." was filed in the same
court on November 9, 2000.

The complaints allege that the Company and the individual named
officers:

     (1) forced certain Coca-Cola system bottlers to accept
         "excessive, unwanted and unneeded" sales of concentrate
         during the third and fourth quarters of 1999, thus
         creating a misleading sense of improvement in our
         Company's performance in those quarters;

     (2) failed to write down the value of impaired assets in
         Russia, Japan and elsewhere on a timely basis, again
         resulting in the presentation of misleading interim
         financial results in the third and fourth quarters of
         1999; and

     (3) misrepresented the reasons for Mr. Ivester's departure
         from the Company and then misleadingly reassured the
         financial community that there would be no changes in
         the Company's core business strategy or financial
         outlook following that departure.

Damages in an unspecified amount are sought in both complaints.

On January 8, 2001, an order was entered by the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
consolidating the two cases for all purposes. The Court also
ordered the plaintiffs to file a Consolidated Amended Complaint.
On July 25, 2001, the plaintiffs filed a Consolidated Amended
Complaint, which largely repeated the allegations made in the
original complaints and added Douglas N. Daft as an additional
defendant.

On September 25, 2001, the defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss
all counts of the Consolidated Amended Complaint.  On August 20,
2002, the Court granted in part and denied in part the
defendants' Motion to Dismiss.  The Court also granted the
plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint.  On
September 4, 2002, the defendants filed a Motion for Partial
Reconsideration of the Court's August20, 2002 ruling. The motion
was denied by the Court on April 15, 2003.

On June 2, 2003, the plaintiffs filed an Amended Consolidated
Complaint. The defendants moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint
on June 30, 2003.  On March 31, 2004, the Court granted in part
and denied in part the defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Amended
Complaint. In its order, the Court dismissed a number of the
plaintiffs' allegations, including the claim that the Company
made knowingly false statements to financial analysts.  The
Court permitted the remainder of the allegations to proceed to
discovery. The Court denied plaintiffs' request for leave to
further amend and re-plead their complaint.

The suit is styled "Carpenters Health &, et al v. Coca-Cola Co,
et al, case no. 1:00-cv-02838-WBH," filed in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, under Judge
Willis B. Hunt Jr.  Representing the plaintiffs are:

     (1) David Andrew Bain, Martin D. Chitwood, Krissi T. Gore,
         Craig Gordon Harley, Chitwood & Harley, 1230 Peachtree
         Street, N.E., 2300 Promenade II, Atlanta, GA 30309,
         Phone: 404-873-3900, E-mail: dab@classlaw.com,
         mdc@classlaw.com, ktg@classlaw.com, cgh@classlaw.com

     (2) Mary K. Blasy, Patrick J. Coughlin, Dennis J. Herman,
         William S. Lerach, Steven W. Pepich, Katherine Blanck
         Radsan, Scott H. Saham, Sandra Stein, David A. Thorpe,
         Darren J. Robbins, Diane P. Doherty, Lerach Coughlin
         Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins, 401 B Street, Suite 1700
         San Diego, CA 92101-4297, Phone: 619-231-1058

     (3) Deborah R. Gross, Office of Bernard M. Gross, 1515
         Locust Street, Second Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19102,
         Phone: 215-561-3600

Representing the Company are:

     (i) Jeffrey S. Cashdan, Stephen B. Devereaux, Dan Shamus
         McDevitt, Martin Robert Thornton, King & Spalding, 191
         Peachtree Street, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30303-1763, Phone:
         404-572-4600, E-mail: jcashdan@kslaw.com or
         bthornton@kslaw.com  

    (ii) John Lewis, Jr. and Joel Martin Neumann, The Coca-Cola
         Company, P.O. Box 1734 One Coca-Cola Plaza, Atlanta, GA
         30301, Phone: 404-676-2121


CORINTHIAN COLLEGES: FL Students Launch Suit Over Accreditation
---------------------------------------------------------------
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission,
Corinthian Colleges Inc. (COCO) reports that it recently became
aware of a complaint made by Alan Alvarez and 80 other students
of the Company's Florida Metropolitan University division over
accreditation, Dow Jones Newswires reports.

According to the Company's public filings, the plaintiffs are
alleging that Florida Metropolitan University failed to disclose
that the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of
Colleges and Schools doesn't accredit it and that it made
material misrepresentations with respect to the transferability
of the university's credits to other institutions. The
plaintiffs are ultimately seeking recovery of compensatory
damages and attorneys' fees, the filing said.  In July 2004,
various class-action lawsuits were filed against the Company
alleging that it failed to disclose details of its financial
condition.

As disclosed in the SEC filing, Florida Metropolitan University
is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent
Colleges and Schools, or ACICS, which is recognized by the U.S.
Department of Education as a national accrediting body. ACICS,
the filing states, accredits institutions of higher education
offering programs of study through the master's degree level.

Accreditation information is disclosed to every student in a
student disclosure form and in the catalog received upon
enrollment, the Company said. Additionally, every student is
informed upon enrollment that transfers of credit are always at
the discretion of the receiving institution, and that the
university can't, therefore, make any predictions or guarantees
about whether credits will be transferable to another
institution, the filing said. In addition, the filing also
stated that the written enrollment agreement between Florida
Metropolitan University and virtually all of its students
enrolled during the last several years provides that all
disputes will be resolved through binding arbitration instead of
litigation.  In accordance with that agreement, Corinthian
Colleges said that it currently intends to seek to compel the
plaintiffs to submit their claims to binding arbitration.  


DELTA ENTERPRISE: Recalls 10T Portable Cribs Due To Injury Risk
---------------------------------------------------------------
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC), Delta Enterprise Corp., of New York, N.Y. is voluntarily
recalling about 10,000 Portable Cribs.

The crib slats can separate from the headboard, posing an
entrapment risk to young children. In addition, children can
fall through the slat opening. Delta Enterprise Corp. has
received eight reports of crib slats separating. No injuries
have been reported.

The cribs are made of wood sold in three finishes including:
natural, cherry and white. Model numbers 4464-1 (white), 4464-2
(natural) and 4464-4 (cherry) and "Taiwan" are printed on the
mattress pad support board.  Manufactured in Taiwan, the cribs
were sold at all juvenile furniture stores nationwide from
January 2004 through February 2005 for about $100.

Consumers should stop using the crib immediately and contact
Delta Enterprise Corp. to arrange for two free replacement
headboards.  Consumers should contact Delta Enterprise Corp.
toll free at (877) 660-3777 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday
through Friday or visit the firm's Web site at
http://www.deltaenterprise.com.  


GREAT LAKES: Working To Settle Suits Over May 25, 2004 GA Fire
--------------------------------------------------------------
Great Lakes Chemical Corporation is working to settle the five
class actions filed against it and certain of its officers and
employees in three counties in Georgia pertaining to the fire at
the Company's Conyers warehouse on May 25, 2004.  

One suit, labeled the Davis case, is filed in Rockdale County
Court, two suits, styled "Burtts" and "Hill," filed in Fulton
County and two suits, styled "Chapman" and "Brown," filed in
Gwinnett County.  These suits seek recovery for economic and
non-economic damages allegedly suffered as a result of the fire.  

The Company established a claims settlement process within one
day of the fire to resolve all legitimate economic and personal
injury claims raised by residents and businesses in Rockdale
County, Georgia.  While attorneys for certain plaintiffs
attempted to stop this process, the Rockdale Superior Court
ordered that the claims process continue in the interests of the
citizens of that county.  

The plaintiffs have attempted to consolidate various cases into
the Hill case in Fulton County, and to that end, have attempted
to voluntarily dismiss the Davis and Burtts cases.  The Company
successfully opposed the dismissal of the Davis case and the
plaintiffs continue to appeal that outcome.  The Burtts case has
been stayed and that case, as well as the Chapman and Brown
cases, remains inactive pending the outcome of the Davis appeal.


GREAT LAKES: Reaches Settlement For Bromine Antitrust Lawsuits
--------------------------------------------------------------
The class actions filed against Great Lakes Chemical Corporation
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of
Indiana have been settled.

Ten federal class action lawsuits and five California class
action lawsuits were initially filed, arising out of an alleged
conspiracy concerning the pricing of bromine and brominated
products, each of which claimed treble damages.  The federal
lawsuits were consolidated and certified as a class of direct
purchasers of certain brominated products.

In September 2002, the Company agreed to settle all of the
federal class action lawsuits.  The settlement agreement
affected direct purchasers from the Company of brominated
diphenyl oxides (decabromodiphenyl oxide, octabromodiphenyl
oxide and pentabromodiphenyl oxide) and their blends,
tetrabromobisphenol-A and its derivatives and all methyl bromide
products and their derivatives in the United States between
January 1, 1995 and April 30, 1998.  The Company agreed to a
$4.1 million cash payment and $2.6 million in vouchers for the
future purchase of decabromodiphenyl oxide and/or
tetrabromobisphenol-A, to be distributed to class members.

Pursuant to the settlement agreement, the Company remitted the
cash portion to an escrow account in November 2002, subject to
final approval of the settlement agreement by the federal court,
which was given in January 2003.  In addition, as of December
31, 2004, the vouchers have been issued and substantially
redeemed.

The California cases pending in the Superior Court for San
Francisco County claim alleged violations of California
competition laws and were stayed pending resolution of the
federal cases.  On December 17, 2004, the plaintiffs proposed
terms of a settlement that the Company deemed acceptable and so
communicated to the plaintiffs.  Formal agreements and court
approval have net yet been completed.


IMERGENT INC.: Firm Faces Two Shareholder Complaints in C.D. UT
---------------------------------------------------------------
iMergent, Inc., (AMEX:IIG) a leading provider of eCommerce and
software for small businesses and entrepreneurs, reports that it
has been made aware of two complaints with respect to purported
shareholder class action lawsuits.

The lawsuits were filed against iMergent and certain of its
officers and directors in the United States District Court in
the District of Utah, Central Division. The complaints allege
violations of federal securities laws.

Jeffery Korn, general counsel of iMergent, said in a statement,
"We believe the complaints are without merit and intend to
defend these actions vigorously."  Don Danks, chairman and chief
executive officer, said, "As Jeff noted, we will aggressively
defend iMergent against these claims, and we do not expect there
to be any impact on our ability to continue providing our
merchants with top-quality products and services."


JVC AMERICAS: Recalls 26,500 Televisions Because of Fire Hazard
---------------------------------------------------------------
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC), JVC Americas Corporation, of Wayne, N.J. is voluntarily
recalling about 26,500 Rear-projection televisions.

An internal electrical connection can cause electrical arcing,
charring or smoking inside the television, which pose a fire
risk to consumers. JVC has received two reports of incidents,
including one case of melted television parts and one case of a
minor television fire. No injuries have been reported.  The
recalled 52-inch and 61-inch JVC rear projection televisions
were manufactured between May 2004 and November 2004. The
televisions have the following model and serial numbers:

     (1) HD-52Z575: 10980014 through 16980772

     (2) HD-52Z575: 16986471 through 16989999

     (3) HD-52Z585: 10980031 through 16981502

     (4) HD-61Z575: 10980031 through 16982712

     (5) HD-61Z585: 10980031 through 16980942

The model and serial numbers can be found on the back of the
television in the lower center portion of the unit. The JVC logo
appears on the front of the television.

Manufactured in Mexico, the televisions were sold at all
consumer electronic stores nationwide from July 2004 through
January 2005 for between $3,000 and $5,500.

Consumers should immediately contact JVC for further
instructions and to schedule a free in-home service. JVC is
contacting registered consumers directly via regular mail and e-
mail to arrange a free at-home service.  Call JVC at
(800) 252-5722 between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET any day or log on
to the Company's Web site at
http://www.jvc.com/support/notification.


LINDEN GROVE: Reaches Settlement For WA Race Discrimination Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Linden Grove Health Care Center in Puyallup settled a class-
action race discrimination lawsuit by minority caregivers,
according to a news release by the U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission, TheNewsTribune.com reports.  

Filed in U.S. District Court in the Western District of
Washington, the suit alleged that the Company discriminated
against current and former minority caregivers. Some allegations
included that the Company made race-based work assignments, that
co-workers and residents made racist remarks toward minority
caregivers and that the Company didn't take prompt action to
address the situation. Plus, the suit also alleged that Linden
Grove didn't promote a black employee because of her race.

According to the commission, seven employees who originally
brought the suit will get a total of $270,000. Linden Grove,
which denied the allegations but agreed to the settlement, will
set aside another $100,000 for others who qualify.

Those eligible for the settlement are defined as nonwhite people
who worked at Linden Grove as full-time or part-time caregivers
between November 15, 2000, and November 15, 2004.   For more
details, contact Grant & Associates by Phone: 253-472-6213.


MAINE: Hearing Date Set For ME Illegal Strip Searches Complaint
---------------------------------------------------------------
A hearing date has been scheduled for a lawsuit in alleging that
illegal strip searches were done at Maine's York County Jail,
the Portsmouth Herald reports.

Attorney David Webbert, who represents an as-of-yet unknown
number of plaintiffs, told the Herald he considers having the
August 1 date set real progress. The search procedure in
question has been stopped since the suit, he adds.  He added
that they will ask the court to award complainants in the class
action suit $3.3 million in damages. He also said, "We're asking
for a significant payment. The individual amounts will depend on
how many people apply. In the meantime, we're helping a thousand
people a year to not be strip-searched, and that's a good step
in the right direction. It's what we wanted - that more people
are not subjected to this practice."

In the case, Nilsen v. York County, which was filed in 2002, the
plaintiffs contend that the York County Sheriff's Office
violates federal law by requiring all persons brought into the
jail for holding to strip and shower in front of a corrections
officer, regardless of why they were arrested. It was originally
filed by Michele Nilsen of North Andover, Massachusetts, who
alleges that she was subjected to a strip search after being
arrested on charges of driving with a suspended driver's
license.  In an earlier interview, Mr. Webbert pointed out that
according to federal law, strip searches are allowed only in an
arrest in which drugs, violence or weapons are elements, the
Herald reports.

In April 2004, a three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court
of Appeals in Boston unanimously affirmed the decision of Judge
D. Brock Hornby of the U.S. District Court in Maine to allow the
class-action suit. Judge Hornby, in his 2003 ruling, stated a
suit could be brought against jail and other county officials on
behalf of "all people strip-searched at the York County Jail
after Oct. 14, 1996, under a policy of conducting the searches
without evaluating whether there was reasonable suspicion to
require the search." Eventually class-action lawsuit members
were identified through the jail's computerized booking data.

York County jail officials, in their response contend that what
they were doing was not a strip search, but a clothing search.
In court documents, the officials are saying that since the
viewing of the inmates' naked bodies is not "deliberate," it
does not qualify as a strip search, the Herald reports.


MASTER FOODS: Pet Owners Launch Complaint Over Tainted Dog Food
---------------------------------------------------------------
An estimated 174 pet owners in South Korea have launched a class
action against a local importer for damages to their pets caused
by allegedly tainted dog food, the Insurance Digest, India
reports.

The suit, which is seeking 1.2 billion won ($1.19 million) in
compensation for the pets, was filed in the Seoul District Court
and alleges that pets died or continue to suffer from acute
renal failure after being fed with fungus-tainted "Pedigree"
imported by Master Foods Korea.  Master Foods is a subsidiary of
Mars Inc., which sells not only dog feed but also Snickers and
Mars chocolate bars.  

According to the claimants, "As Master Foods Korea failed to
deal adequately with the tainted dog food by using a voluntary
recall as its excuse, even though Taiwan had already seen a
disease outbreak because of the polluted feed, we have
suffered." The claimants add, "According to the product
liability law, the importer has the same responsibility as the
manufacturer."

In a recent press statement, the importer said, "As we have
apologized to customers and provided compensation to individuals
since announcing the recall on the dog food in March, 2003, it
is better for them to contact us directly rather than depending
upon a legal suit."


MCDONALDS CORPORATION: Asks IL Court To Dismiss Securities Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
McDonald's Corporation asked the United States District Court
for the Northern District of Illinois to dismiss the
consolidated securities class action filed against it and
officers Jack M. Greenberg, Matthew H. Paull and Michael J.
Roberts.

On April 2, 2004, a class action lawsuit was filed in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois,
styled "Allan Selbst v. McDonald's Corporation, Jack M.
Greenberg, Matthew H. Paull and Michael J. Roberts, case no.
Case No. 04C-2422," alleging violation of federal securities
laws.  Two nearly identical actions were subsequently filed in
the same court.

On October 19, 2004, the lead plaintiff filed an amended and
consolidated class action complaint, alleging, among other
things, that the Company and individual defendants misled
investors by issuing false and misleading financial reports and
earnings projections in a series of press releases and other
public statements between December 14, 2001 and January 22,
2003, thereby overstating the Company's current and anticipated
earnings.  The amended complaint seeks class action
certification, unspecified compensatory damages, and attorneys'
fees and costs.


MCDONALD'S CORPORATION: Several Claims in Obesity Suit Restored
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the
dismissal of claims of violations of Section 349 of the New York
Consumer Protection Act in the class action filed against
McDonald's Corporation by parents and guardians of two minors,
who became obese by allegedly eating the Company's products.

On February 17, 2003, two minors, by their parents and
guardians, filed the suit in the United States District Court
for the Southern District of New York, styled "Ashley Pelman, a
child under the age of 18 years, by her mother and natural
guardian, Roberta Pelman and Jazlen Bradley, a child under the
age of 18 years, by her father and natural guardian, Israel
Bradley v. McDonald's Corporation (Case No. 02 Civ. 7821
(RWS))."  The suit seeks class action status on behalf of
individuals in New York under the age of 18 (and their parents
and/or guardians), who became obese or developed other adverse
health conditions allegedly from eating McDonald's products.

On September 3, 2003, the Court dismissed all counts of the
complaint with prejudice.  On January 25, 2005, following an
appeal by the plaintiffs, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals
Court vacated the District Court's decision to dismiss alleged
violations of Section 349 of the New York Consumer Protection
Act as set forth in Counts I-III of the amended complaint.  

The surviving counts in the amended complaint allege that the
Company violated Section 349 of the New York Consumer Protection
Act through the following conduct:

     (1) the combined effect of McDonald's various promotional
         representations during the class period was to create
         the false impression that its food products were
         nutritionally beneficial and part of a healthy
         lifestyle if consumed daily;

     (2) McDonald's failed adequately to disclose that its use
         of certain additives and the manner of its food
         processing rendered certain of its foods substantially
         less healthy than represented; and

     (3) McDonald's deceptively represented that it would
         provide nutritional information to its New York
         customers when in reality such information was not
         readily available at a significant number of McDonald's
         outlets in New York visited by the plaintiffs and
         others.   

Plaintiffs seek unspecified compensatory damages; an order
directing McDonald's to label its individual products specifying
the fat, salt, sugar, cholesterol and dietary content; "funding
of an educational program to inform children and adults of the
dangers of eating certain foods" sold by McDonald's; and
attorneys' fees and costs.   

The suit is styled "Ashley Pelman, a child under the age of 18
years, by her mother and natural guardian, Roberta Pelman and
Jazlen Bradley, a child under the age of 18 years, by her father
and natural guardian, Israel Bradley v. McDonald's Corporation
(Case No. 02 Civ. 7821 (RWS))," filed in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York, under
Judge Robert W. Sweet.

Representing the plaintiffs is Samuel Hirsch, 350 Fifth Avenue,
Suite 2418 New York, NY 10118, Phone: (212) 947-3800.  
Representing the Company are Bruce Roger Braun, Bradley E.
Lerman, Thomas E. Quigley, Winston & Strawn LLP (IL), 35 West
Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601, Phone: (312) 558-5600, Fax:
(312)-558-5700, E-mail: bbraun@winston.com, blerman@winston.com,
tquigley@winston.com; and Anne Kimball, 225 West Wacker Drive
#2800, Chicago, IL 60606, Phone: (312) 201-2000


METABOLIFE INTERNATIONAL: Wins Appeal Of $4.1 Mil Ephedra Award
---------------------------------------------------------------
In ruling that insufficient scientific evidence was presented at
the 2002 trial to link the product to stroke or heart attacks,
the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
threw out a $4.1 million jury award against Metabolife
International, the embattled former producer of ephedra-based
Metabolife 356, the NutraIngredients-USA.com reports.

Back in November 2002 a district court in Birmingham, Alabama,
had found in favor of the four plaintiffs in the case of McClain
v. Metabolife International. In that case the plaintiffs had
claimed that taking the Metabolife 356 had caused them to suffer
various injuries, including strokes or heart attacks.

However, in its ruling, the three-judge appeals court concluded
that neither of the expert witnesses, Dr. James O'Donnell and
Dr. Hashim Hakin, "utilized a reliable methodology to prove that
use of Metabolife 365 actually causes strokes or heart attacks,
either generally or in these plaintiffs".

Both Dr. O'Donnell and Dr. Hakim based their testimonies on
conclusions drawn from ephedra's classification as
sympathomimetics, a family of drugs that stimulate the
cardiovascular system by raising heart raise and blood pressure.  
Dr. O'Donnell testified that long-term use of ephedrine can
cause vasospasm (the narrowing of blood vessels) and vasculitis
(inflammation or irritation of blood vessels), both of which
conditions can lead to heart attacks or strokes. He also stated
in his testimony that the addition of any amount of caffeine to
ephedrine makes it more toxic, posing an "imminent risk of
death."

The appeals court pointed out that the value of his conclusions
was diluted by repeated use of conditionals in his description
of sympathomimetics' effects: for example, when you constrict
blood vessels, you may raise blood pressure; if you stimulate
the heart and increase the pulse, you may cause an abnormal
heart rate.  The appeals court also pointed out that the experts
substituted their own ipse dixit (unproved assertion) for
scientific proof and did not applying the level of intellectual
rigor required of an expert testifying about causation in a
toxic tort case such as this.

Even with ruling, David Fawel, counsel for the plaintiffs, told
NutraIngredients-USA.com that the battle is far from over and
adds that the experts testimonies at the trial have since been
corroborated by new scientific evidence. Mr. Fawel is already
making plans to petition for a rehearing enbanc, that is,
bringing the case before all the active judges in the circuit.
If this is not granted as indeed such petitions rarely are he
told the NutraIngredients-USA.com that he may go so far as to
appeal to the Supreme Court.

John Kavanagh, counsel for Metabolife, told NutraIngredients-
USA.com "Obviously the Company is very pleased with the outcome.
Metabolife believes it is the outcome that should have been
reached two years ago, before it even came to trial." He also
adds that the science used by the FDA to support last year's ban
on supplements containing ephedra in the United States was more
lenient still than that used in the 2002 lawsuit, suggesting
that it "may perhaps have reacted in a premature fashion in
response to bad publicity".

The appeals court decision though does not mean the end of the
Mtabolife 365 affair for Metabolife, which now sells a range of
non-ephedra dietary supplements that it says are safe and
effective when taken as directed.  The Company's former chief
executive Michael Ellis is still facing charges of making
"fictitious and fraudulent representations" to the FDA about the
safety of Metabolife 365 and "corruptly endeavoring to
influence, obstruct and impede proceedings" in relation to the
ban.

The Company has also asked a federal judge in New York to
approve a multimillion-dollar class action settlement with
consumers in 300 personal injury lawsuits who are alleged to
have suffered injuries when taking Metabolife 365. A hearing is
scheduled for this month.


MOTOROLA INC.: IL Court Nixes Appeal of Consumer Suit Dismissal
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Illinois Supreme Court refused to allow plaintiffs to appeal
the dismissal of the class action filed against Motorola, Inc.,
styled "Jerald P. Busse, et al. v. Motorola, Inc. et al."  The
suit, originally filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County,
Illinois, alleges that the defendants have failed to adequately
warn consumers of the alleged dangers of cellular telephones and
challenging ongoing safety studies as invasions of privacy.

The Circuit Court entered summary judgment in defendants' favor
in 2002. In June 2004, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the
summary judgment and dismissal of the case.  In January 2005,
the Illinois Supreme Court denied plaintiffs' Petition for Leave
to Appeal.

The suit is styled "Jerald P. Busse, et al. v. Motorola, Inc. et
al., case no. 1995-CH-10332," filed in the Circuit Court of Cook
County, Illinois, under Judge Dorothy Kirie Kinnaird.  
Representing the plaintiffs is MCNEILL FICK BARNOW, 105 W.
Madison St., Chicago, IL 60602, Phone: (312) 621-2000.  
Representing the Company is MICHAEL W COFFIELD & ASSOCIATES, 77
W. Wacker Dr. #4800, Chicago, IL 60601, Phone: (312) 444-9696.


MOTOROLA INC.: Plaintiffs Appeal Personal Injury Suit Dismissal
---------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs' appeal of the dismissal of the consolidated class
action filed against Motorola, Inc. and other cellular phone
manufacturers in the United States District Court for the
District of Maryland has been briefed and argued, but no
decision has been released yet.

During 2001, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
transferred five cases, "Naquin, et al. v. Nokia Mobile Phones,
et al.," "Pinney and Colonell v. Nokia, Inc., et al.," "Gillian
et al., v. Nokia, Inc., et al.," "Farina v. Nokia, Inc., et
al.," and "Gimpelson v. Nokia Inc, et al.," which allege that
the failure to incorporate a remote headset into cellular phones
rendered the phones defective and that cellular phones cause
undisclosed injury to cells and other health risks, to the
United States District Court for the District of Maryland for
coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings in the matter
called "In re Wireless Telephone Radio Frequency Emissions
Products Liability Litigation."

On March 5, 2003, the MDL Court dismissed with prejudice, on
federal preemption grounds, the five cases. Plaintiffs then
appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth
Circuit.

During 2002, the MDL panel transferred and consolidated six
additional cases with the MDL Proceeding, namely:

     (1) "Murray v. Motorola, Inc., et al.," "Agro et. al., v.
         Motorola, Inc., et al.," "Cochran et. al.,v. Audiovox
         Corporation, et al.,"  "Schofield et al.,v. Matsushita
         Electric Corporation of America, et al.," each of which
         alleges that use of a cellular phone caused a malignant
         brain tumor,

     (2) "Dahlgren v. Motorola, Inc., et al.," which alleges
         that defendants manufactured and sold cell phones that
         increase the risk of adverse cellular reaction and or
         cellular dysfunction and failed to disclose biological
         effects, and

     (3) "Brower v. Motorola, Inc., et al.," which contains
         allegations similar to Murray and Dahlgren,

On July 19, 2004, the court for the District of Maryland found
that there was no federal court jurisdiction over Murray, Agro,
Cochran and Schofield and remanded those cases to the Superior
Court for the District of Columbia.  On November 30, 2004,
defendants moved to dismiss the Murray, Agro, Cochran and
Schofield complaints.

The suit is styled "In re Wireless Telephone Radio Frequency
Emissions Products Liability Litigation, case no. 1:01-md-01421-
CCB," filed in the United States District Court in Maryland,
under Judge Catherine C. Blake.  

Representing the plaintiffs is Mayer Morganroth, Morganroth and
Morganroth PLLC, 3000 Town Cntr Ste 1500, Southfield, MI 48075,
Phone: 1-248-355-3084, Fax: 1-248-355-3017, E-mail:
jgurfinkel@morganrothlaw.com.  Representing the Company is
Kenneth L. Thompson and Michael E. Yaggy, DLA Piper Rudnick Gray
Cary US LLP, 6225 Smith Ave, Baltimore, MD 21209-3600, Phone:
1-410-580-3000, Fax: 1-410-580-3001, E-mail:
kenneth.thompson@dlapiper.com, michael.yaggy@dlapiper.com;
Anthony Michael Conti, Conti and Fenn LLC, 36 S Charles St Ste
2501, Baltimore, MD 21201, Phone: 1-410-837-6999, Fax:
1-410-510-1647, E-mail: tony@contifenn.com.


SHAW INDUSTRIES: Recalls Carpets Due To Manufacturing Error
-----------------------------------------------------------
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC), Shaw Industries Inc., of Dalton, Ga. is voluntarily
recalling about 5,000 square yards (about 700 individual units)
of Shaw Industries' "Southern Breezes" Wall-to-Wall Carpets.

Due to a manufacturing error, an uneven application of a latex
pre-coat treatment containing a flame retardant was applied to
the carpet backing. As a result, the carpet does not meet
flammability standards as required under the federal Flammable
Fabrics Act. The carpet could ignite, posing a serious risk of
burn injuries to consumers.

The recalled wall-to-wall carpet was manufactured by Shaw
Industries exclusively for sale by Menard Inc. in its Menards
stores. The recalled carpet was sold under the Menard style
number 75123 and style name "Southern Breezes" in the colors
Toast, Midnight and Clove.

Manufactured in the United States, the carpets were sold at
Certain Menards stores in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan,
Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin
from April 2004 through June 1, 2004 for $0.88 per square foot.

Consumers with recalled carpet should contact Shaw Industries to
arrange for free replacement carpeting and installation. The
list of stores where the recalled carpeting was sold is
attached.  Contact Shaw Industries at (800) 441-7429 between 8
a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.


TENET HEALTHCARE: BRCH Tapped To Lead Medicare Over Billing Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Boca Raton Community Hospital (BRCH) has been chosen to helm a
class-action lawsuit against Tenet Healthcare Corp. for
allegedly raiding as much as a billion dollars from a fund
designed to reimburse medical facilities for procedures done on
Medicare patients, the Boca Raton News reports.

Paul E. Risner, vice president and general counsel for BRCH,
told Boca Raton News the Boca facility was chosen to head up the
case, which will likely represent some 4,000 acute-care
hospitals that claim they lost Medicare money as a result of
over billing by Tenet, because "we bill correctly and we follow
the rules." He adds that BRCH, which lost "millions" as a result
of Tenet's alleged over billing, will also represent all non-
Tenet hospitals that also billed properly for Medicare
reimbursements.

Filed the same day Attorney General Charlie Crist sued Tenet,
the BRCH litigation was alleging that over billing by 31 Tenet
hospitals across the nation left little cash behind to reimburse
other hospitals for treatment of Medicare recipients.

Mr. Risner told the Boca Raton News that he and other attorneys
would ask the court that the two suits be consolidated because
they are "very similar." "This is not just us filing a suit.
Charlie Crist has weighed in on this, too." he pointed out.

A.G. Crist had filed his suit against the second-largest
healthcare corporation in the country for "improperly inflating
charges for medical procedures to the detriment of Florida
public hospitals."  The litigation, which was filed in the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleges
that Tenet violated the federal and Florida Racketeer Influenced
Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Acts by falsely inflating its
charges to obtain reimbursements from a Medicare fund.

A.G. Crist, who in his suit claims that Tenet "manipulated the
Outlier system by artificially inflating charges," said that
public hospitals also tap into this fund, known as an Outlier
Pool, to get reimbursed for expensive procedures that exceed
Medicare's standard reimbursement rates.

Tenet's General Counsel E. Peter Urbanowicz fired back at A.G.
Crist, saying, "This civil lawsuit makes some very strong
allegations that are unwarranted, and we will defend ourselves
vigorously." He adds, "Frankly, we are surprised that the
plaintiffs would bring this suit more than two years after Tenet
voluntarily reduced the amount of Outlier payments we received
from the Medicare program and adopted stringent new policies
governing such payments well before federal regulators
promulgated such policies for the entire hospital industry,"
Boca Raton News reports.

Mr. Crist, explains that he took legal action "because the deck
has been stacked against the taxpayers in Florida and other
states around the country. The evidence will show that Tenet
gamed the system to enhance its profit margin at the expense of
public hospitals. When public hospitals lose, both the taxpayers
who support them, and the patients who depend on them, are
victims."  His suit seeks damages in the millions along with
fees and costs sums that could triple if the court says the RICO
statutes apply.


UNITED STATES: FAA Employees Junk Out-of-Court Suit Settlement
--------------------------------------------------------------
A group of Federal Aviation Agency employees, who launched a
class action lawsuit against the agency over their capped
salaries was turned down recently in their attempt to settle the
matter before it reached court, the GovExec.com reports.

Tim O'Hara, a veteran agency manager and the leader of the
group, told GovExec.com "We wanted to see if we could resolve
this at the lowest level possible, without incurring a lot of
expense on both sides."

Under the FAA's performance pay system, more than 800 long-term
employees have reached the top of their pay bands and are not
eligible for base salary increases. They are able to receive
lump-sum annual awards for good performance though. At the same
time, however, thousands of other FAA employees are exempt from
this rule because of union agreements or because they already
were above the maximum pay limit when the rule on pay caps went
into effect. Employees with frozen base salaries have said that
the different compensation regulations are unfair, and that they
believe they are losing thousands of dollars in retirement
benefits, locality pay increases and overtime pay.

Though agency officials have acknowledged the employees'
concerns, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has said she will not
take action on the pay bands, because market surveys show that
FAA workers are paid more than their counterparts in the
aviation industry. Instead, she and the other officials want to
gradually move other employees fully into the pay-band system.

Mr. O'Hara and other employees had filed a class-action lawsuit
against the FAA alleging age discrimination. Almost all of the
employees involved in the legal action have hit the top of their
pay bands and had their base salaries capped are more than 40
years old. The initial stage of the class action was a "request
for counseling," a request to meet outside of court to negotiate
the employees' concerns. On March 1, the agency told Mr. O'Hara
that the request had been denied.

Commenting on the agency's swift reaction, Mr. O'Hara said,
"Frankly, I was impressed by the speed of our rejection. I've
never seen them move that fast except in case of natural
disaster."

According to Mr. O'Hara, the employee group has collected about
$50,000 for its legal fund and retained the services of the
Washington-based law firm Beins, Axelrod, & Kraft. With regards
to the lawsuit, he said that it is to be forwarded to the
Transportation Department and then on to the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission.


U.S. STEEL: Youghiogheny River Landowner Files PA Pollution Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Contending that a legacy of pollution prevents him from
developing the property for residential use, a Detroit man who
owns 18 acres of land along the Youghiogheny River in
Blythedale, Pennsylvania initiated a lawsuit against U.S. Steel
Corp., the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

In his suit that was filed in U.S. District Court, John
Singleton states that environmental consultants estimate it
could cost up to $100 million to remove hazardous wastes from
the property, which is the lawsuit says is located at 1941
Parkvue St. and borders the Youghiogheny Trail.

Originally belonging to Carnegie Brothers Ltd., until 1887, the
property was sold successively to the H.C. Frick Coke Co. and
then U.S. Steel, which eventually assumed the property when it
became the successor to Frick, the lawsuit states. According to
the suit Coke ovens that operated on the property for 39 years
left behind contaminants.

In quick succession, U.S. Steel sold the property to L.E. and
Marion Osborne, who then sold it to Mr. Singleton's parents,
Joseph and Chosie Stoutamire on July 1, 1943 and was
subsequently purchased from relatives by Mr. Singleton himself
on June 3, 2000.

The lawsuit states that a limited investigation in August 2004
found carcinogenic waste in the soil and arsenic, thus it is
contending that the wastes on the property "represent an
imminent and substantial risk to health and the environment."

The lawsuit is asking the court to force U.S. Steel to conduct
an environmental assessment of the property and remove and any
hazardous waste.

David Zacks, a Birmingham, Michigan attorney who represents Mr.
Singleton, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that his client
had bought the property, which was where he was born, with the
hopes of eventually building a retirement home there. "He had no
idea it was toxic and laden with coke oven remnants," Mr. Zacks
adds.

Mr. Zacks also told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he plans
to eventually seek certification of the lawsuit as a class
action on behalf of other residents living in the area. He
added, "In Blythedale, there is an astounding rate of people who
have died from cancer or other internal matters we believe are
linked to the coke operations."


WILSONART INTERNATIONAL: Remains Antitrust Suit's Sole Defendant
----------------------------------------------------------------
Wilsonart International, Inc. is the remaining defendant in the
consolidated class action lawsuit filed in the United States
District Court in White Plains, New York on behalf of purchasers
of high-pressure laminate.  The complaint alleges that the
Company participated in a conspiracy with competitors to fix,
raise, maintain or stabilize prices for high-pressure laminate
between 1994 and 2000 and seeks injunctive relief and treble
damages.

Indirect purchasers of high-pressure laminate filed similar
purported class action cases under various state antitrust and
consumer protection statutes in 13 states and the District of
Columbia, all of which cases have been stayed pending the
outcome of the consolidated class action.  

These lawsuits were brought following the commencement of a
federal grand jury investigation into price-fixing in the high-
pressure laminate industry. The investigation was subsequently
closed by the Department of Justice with no further proceedings
and with all documents being returned to the parties.  
Plaintiffs are seeking damages in the range of $439,000,000 to
$475,000,000 before trebling.

Without admitting liability, two of the Company's co-defendants,
International Paper Company and Panolam International, Inc.,
have settled the federal consolidated class action case for
$31,000,000 and $9,500,000, respectively. The plaintiffs' claims
against Formica Corporation, the remaining co-defendant in the
case, were dismissed with prejudice as a result of its
bankruptcy proceedings on September 27, 2004.  As a result, the
Company is the sole remaining defendant in the consolidated
class action lawsuit.


WORLDCOM INC.: Four Investment Firms Pay $428.4M To Settle Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Four investment banks agreed to pay a total of $428.4 million to
settle claims stemming from a class-action lawsuit brought by
former shareholders of WorldCom Inc., according to New York
State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, the Canadian Press reports.

In a press statement Mr. Hevesi said that he had reached an
agreement with Amsterdam-based ABN AMRO Bank for $278.4 million,
while Mitsubishi Securities International PLC agreed to pay $75
million. In addition, according to Mr. Hevesi, BNP Paribas
Securities Corp. and Mizuho International both agreed to pay
$37.5 million.

He pointed out that the settlements bring the total amount paid
by investment banks to settle the suit to $3.56 billion, the
largest recovery ever achieved in a securities class action. The
previous record was the $3.2 billion settlement by services
giant Cendant Corp. in 2000 over accounting fraud that cost
shareholders billions, Mr. Hevesi said.

The WorldCom suit was brought against former officers and
directors of the Company, its accountant, Arthur Andersen LLP
and more than a dozen banks and brokerages that were
underwriters of WorldCom bonds. The parties that filed the suit
claimed the defendants should have been aware of ongoing fraud
at WorldCom, which has since emerged from bankruptcy as MCI Inc.


XCEL ENERGY: Securities Lawsuit Fairness Hearing Set April 2005
---------------------------------------------------------------
Final fairness hearing for the settlement of the class action
filed against Xcel Energy, Inc. is set for April 1, 2005 in the
United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

The suit was filed on behalf of purchasers of the Company's
common stock between January 31, 2001, and July 26, 2002.  The
suit also names as defendants current and former Xcel Energy and
NRG Energy, Inc. executives.  Among other things, the complaint
alleges violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange
Act and Rule 10(b-5) related to allegedly false and misleading
disclosures concerning various issues including but not limited
to "round trip" energy trades, the nature, extent and
seriousness of liquidity and credit difficulties at NRG and the
existence of cross-default provisions (with NRG credit
agreements) in certain of Xcel Energy's credit agreements.

On January 14, 2005, the Court issued an order of preliminary
approval for a settlement reached by the parties.  Under the
terms of the settlement, the plaintiffs are to receive $80
million, with the Company's insurance carriers paying $62.5
million, and the Company paying $17.5 million.  


XCEL ENERGY: CO ERISA Suit Settlement Hearing Set April 1
---------------------------------------------------------
Final fairness hearing for the settlement of the class action
filed against Xcel Energy, Inc., its directors and certain
former and former directors and officers is set for April 1,2005
in the United States District Court for the District of
Colorado.

The suit was filed on behalf of classes of employee participants
in the Company's and its predecessors' 401(k) or ESOP plans,
from as early as September 23, 1999, forward.  The complaint
alleges violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security
Act (ERISA) in the form of breach of fiduciary duty in allowing
or encouraging purchase, contribution and/or retention of Xcel
Energy's common stock in the plans and making misleading
statements and omissions in that regard.  

On January 14, 2005, the District Court issued an order of
preliminary approval related to a settlement reached by the
parties.  Under the terms of the settlement, plaintiffs are to
receive a payment of $8 million, which will be paid by Xcel
Energy's insurance carrier.  Xcel Energy also agreed, subject to
the provisions of the applicable collective bargaining
agreement, to undertake to amend the Xcel Energy 401(k) savings
plan and its predecessor plans and the New Century Energies
employees' and stock ownership plan for bargaining unit and
former nonbargaining unit employees, by permitting certain
diversification of Xcel Energy stock held in participants'
accounts in portions of these plans.  


                         Asbestos Alert
                         
       
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NJ Health Dept to Issue Zonolite Risk Study
----------------------------------------------------------------
New Jersey health officials are preparing to release a study on
the risks that exposure to asbestos posed to workers and the
surrounding community from the ore processed at the Zonolite
insulation facility in Hamilton for 40 years. The plant was one
of several throughout the US that processed vermiculite shipped
from the W.R. Grace mine in Libby, Montana.

Conducted on behalf of the Agency for Toxic Substances and
Disease Registry, a state Department of Health and Senior
Services official confirmed the review will be made public later
this month.

Less than a year ago, federal environmental workers had removed
more than 9,000 tons of contaminated soil from the plant, which
operated from the late 1940s until the mid-1990s. About 1,700
residents live within a half-mile radius of the plant on
Industrial Drive, according to 2000 Census data.

The vermiculite, used to make Zonolite home insulation, was
known to contain tremolite, one of the most dangerous forms of
asbestos. Several of the plants already have been studied, as
has the mine in Libby.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-Hamilton, has asked for briefings from the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the ATSDR on the
potential health risks involved with the Hamilton facility and
on the progress of the cleanup at the site.

Local officials have also expressed their desire for more
information and have said that they will wait for the report
before deciding how to proceed.

Similar reports done on other vermiculite-processing plants
around the country and experts in the field of asbestos
contamination prove that these plants are associated with
tremendous risks. At least two of these reports state that the
greatest risk is to workers in the plant as well as their
families.

The September 2003 report on the Maryland plant said, "Former
workers most likely transported Libby asbestos home from work on
their clothing or hair and thus exposed household members."

A Minneapolis report also details several other potential risks
from the plant, including unprotected waste on the site of the
processing, inhalation of tremolite fibers emitted from
smokestacks and from airborne dust that made its way into homes
or businesses, ingestion of contaminated soil or dust that has
been disturbed or from soil on vegetables grown in contaminated
areas.

A third report, conducted by the EPA on a facility in Spokane,
Wash., details the risks from disturbing asbestos-contaminated
soil that covered the plant's grounds.

In 2003, soil sampling by contractors overseen by the federal
EPA found enough residual asbestos on the Hamilton site to
require some 9,000 tons of dirt to be removed from the plant's
grounds.

Richard Wiles, senior vice president of the Environmental
Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based environmental watchdog
group, said the potential for asbestos exposure among workers
and their families is huge. His group has tracked the studies
conducted by the ATSDR and, based on that information, has
concluded that people living around facilities like the one on
Industrial Avenue are at risk of exposure to asbestos.

Barry Castleman, a consultant on asbestos and public health
issues, said several studies have been conducted on the risk of
contamination to neighborhoods surrounding asbestos processing
plants. The studies show there is a definite risk of
contamination for surrounding residents, though not nearly as
large as the risk to workers and their families.

But Barbara Anderson, an environmental health scientist with the
ATSDR, cautioned that exposure does not mean automatic sickness.
She added, "There are a number of factors involved, such as the
length of exposure, the intensity of exposure and personal
health issues, such as smoking and a history of lung disease."

Ms. Anderson said, however, that it was important for residents
surrounding those facilities to assess what types of exposure
they may have had while the plant was open to determine if they
are at risk.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Bill to Fund Asbestos Programs Gets Boost
--------------------------------------------------------------
Rep. Ralph Heinert, R-Libby, is sponsoring a bill that would
provide US$350,000 over the next two years to support Lincoln
County's Asbestos Related Disease Network, which was established
in 2003 and funded by a federal grant.

The grant is scheduled to run out before the next legislative
session, said Rep. Heinert. The money requested would tide the
program over until other sources of funding are found.

Supporters of House Bill 740 reason that since Montana failed
Libby area residents by ignoring the dangerous health risks
associated with exposure to asbestos, the state should now pay
for its neglect.

Tracy Velazquez, representing the ARDNET program, said more than
1,200 people in Lincoln County have been diagnosed with
asbestos-related diseases and that number is estimated to
increase because the diseases can have a 30 to 40 year
incubation period. Already, nearly 200 people have died
prematurely from asbestos-related illnesses.

However, Don Judge, lobbyist for the Teamsters union, said, "We
are looking for money from the responsible party. It's Grace's
responsibility to fund this."

Considering the scope of the problem and the numbers of people
suffering from chronic respiratory problems, supporters referred
to the amount as "bare bones."

"This is a small amount, but the right thing to do," said Al
Smith, lobbyist for the Montana trial lawyers.

Eileen Carney, a former state representative who spoke on behalf
of Libby residents before the House Human Services Committee,
said, "We are trying to help people live with asbestos instead
of dying with it."

ARDNET helps people diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses
with expenses not covered by medical insurance. The group is
helping people live in their homes rather than nursing homes
supported by taxpayers, thus, saving state money in the future.
Volunteers chop wood, shovel sidewalks and provide
transportation for patients to and from medical appointments.

The program also opens communication between medical providers
and helps individuals apply for other assistance programs such
as Social Security, property tax assistance and Medicare.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: AAR Lawyers Ordered to Give Up Legal Fees
--------------------------------------------------------------
Marking another episode to what has been called the largest
environmental prosecution in US history, District Judge Howard
Munson ordered the attorneys for the owners of AAR Contractors,
the father and son tandem found guilty of widespread fraud, to
turn over US$200,000 in legal fees so the money can go to the
victims.

Raul and Alexander Salvagno were convicted in March 2004 for
directing a cleanup scam in their asbestos removal business that
put people at more than 1,500 locations at risk. Raul Salvagno
was sentenced in December to 19 years in federal prison and his
son was sentenced to 25 years.

Judge Munson granted a request last week from prosecutors to
require the attorneys, Richard Asche and Russell Gioiella, to
forfeit the money they've received since they started
representing the pair after their conviction.

The Salvagnos also were ordered to pay US$23 million in
restitution to victims across the state at their sentencing.
Judge Munson ruled the legal fees are part of US$3 million in
assets, which represent the profit of the crimes, that the
Salvagnos were ordered to forfeit.

"Prosecutors would be remiss to let the Salvagnos use these
illegally obtained funds to hire yet another set of high-priced
attorneys and thus spend the very money that could go to the
victims," Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Benedict said.

The Salvagnos' attorneys maintain they no longer have any
assets, but prosecutors think they've paid both Mr. Asche and
Mr. Gioiella.

The Salvagnos, owners of AAR Contractor Inc. in Latham, were
found guilty of running the Company as a criminal enterprise to
defraud customers and violate the federal Clean Air Act and
Toxic Substance Control Act. Former employees testified during a
five-month trial that the Company did "rip and run" cleanups and
falsified as many as 75,000 tests.

They were convicted of racketeering and conspiracy to violate
environmental laws for doing rushed cleanup jobs at 1,555
buildings, most of them in the Capital Region, including 14
cleanups at 12 churches, 63 cleanups in 54 area schools and at
least 130 cleanups at eight area colleges.

The restitution is to go to government and private customers who
had fraudulent asbestos abatement work done by AAR Contractor or
its affiliates. Part also will be used to establish a fund for
medical screenings and treatment of those who may have been
exposed to asbestos.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Legislator Seeks To Ban "Wet" Removal in TX
----------------------------------------------------------------
State Rep. Marc Veasey filed House Bill 1850 seeking to ban the
"Fort Worth method," a controversial proposed method of removing
asbestos with water, from ever being used in Texas. Water
demolition was proposed for asbestos removal from the
dilapidated eastside Cowtown Inn, but federal environmental
officials last year said they needed more procedural tests.

Rep. Veasey, who attended public meetings on the issue last
year, said, "This bill is vital to the health and safety of
thousands of families across our state. It's wrong to risk the
health of Texans for an unproven practice that could lead to
cancer or even death."

City officials proposed using wet demolition, the experimental
but cheaper method for taking down buildings containing
asbestos. It entails spraying water to keep asbestos from
spreading through the air.   

After a review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and
much debate by Handley neighborhood residents, the EPA said the
method couldn't be used until federal environmentalists
performed their own tests.

Late last year, city officials announced that they would find
the money for the more costly traditional removal method.

"In the end, I still firmly believe we will have a method that
is as safe as existing methodologies but still allows cities to
save potentially ... millions of taxpayer dollars," said Brian
Boerner, the city's environmental manager.

He added, "I'm surprised anyone would file this bill. We're
still in a test mode. How can you ban something that's not even
approved yet?"

Asbestos removal is now under way at the Cowtown Inn at 6855 E.
Lancaster Ave., and demolition could begin around April 1.

State Reps. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, and Garnet Coleman, D-
Houston, are co-authors of the bill.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CNA Financial Corp. Reports Rise in Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------
CNA Financial Corp. (NYSE: CNA) revealed in its filing to the
Securities and Exchange Commission that in 2004, the rate of new
filings appears to have decreased from those seen in the past
several years. Various challenges to mass screening claimants
have been mounted. Nevertheless, the Company continues to
experience an overall increase in total asbestos claim counts.

In the past several years, this Chicago, IL-based insurer has
experienced significant increases in claim counts for asbestos-
related claims. The factors that led to these increases included
intensive advertising campaigns by lawyers for asbestos
claimants, mass medical screening programs sponsored by
plaintiff lawyers and the addition of new defendants such as the
distributors and installers of products containing asbestos.

Persons exhibiting few, if any, disease symptoms file the
majority of asbestos bodily injury claims. Recent studies have
concluded that the percentage of unimpaired claimants to total
claimants ranges between 66% and up to 90%. Some courts,
including the federal district court responsible for pre-trial
proceedings in all federal asbestos bodily injury actions, have
ordered that so-called "unimpaired" claimants may not recover
unless at some point the claimant's condition worsens to the
point of impairment.

Several factors are, in management's view, negatively impacting
asbestos claim trends. Plaintiff attorneys who previously sued
entities who are now bankrupt are seeking other viable targets.
As a result, companies with few or no previous asbestos claims
are becoming targets in asbestos litigation and, although they
may have little or no liability, nevertheless must be defended.
Additionally, plaintiff attorneys and trustees for future
claimants are demanding that policy limits be paid lump-sum into
the bankruptcy asbestos trusts prior to presentation of valid
claims and medical proof of these claims.

The Company also stated that plaintiff attorneys and trustees
for future claimants are attempting to devise claims payment
procedures for bankruptcy trusts that would allow asbestos
claims to be paid under lax standards for injury, exposure and
causation.

As a result of bankruptcies and insolvencies, management has
observed an increase in the total number of policyholders with
current asbestos claims as additional defendants are added to
existing lawsuits and are named in new asbestos bodily injury
lawsuits. New asbestos bodily injury claims have also increased
substantially in 2003, but the rate of increase has moderated in
2004.

As of Dec. 31, 2004 and 2003, CNA carried about US$1,686 million
and US$1,767 million of claim and claim adjustment expense
reserves, net of reinsurance recoverables, for reported and
unreported asbestos-related claims. The Company also recorded
US$54 million and US$642 million of unfavorable asbestos-related
net claim and claim adjustment expense reserve development for
the same periods. The Company recorded no asbestos related net
claim and claim adjustment expense reserve development for the
year ended Dec. 31, 2002. The Company paid asbestos-related
claims, net of reinsurance recoveries, of US$135 million, US$121
million and US$21 million for the years ended Dec. 31, 2004,
2003 and 2002.

The Company has resolved a number of its large asbestos accounts
by negotiating settlement agreements. At Dec. 31, 2004, CNA had
eleven structured settlement agreements with a reserve net of
reinsurance of US$175 million. Payment obligations under those
settlement agreements are projected to terminate by 2016. CNA
had structured settlement agreements with nine of its
policyholders for which it had future payment obligations with a
reserve, net of reinsurance, of US$188 million.

In 1985, 47 asbestos producers and their insurers executed the
Wellington Agreement. The agreement intended to resolve all
issues and litigation related to coverage for asbestos
exposures. At Dec. 31, 2004, CNA had obligations for four
accounts. With respect to these four remaining unpaid Wellington
obligations, CNA has evaluated its exposure and the expected
reinsurance recoveries under these agreements and has a recorded
reserve of US$17 million, net of reinsurance.

CNA has also used coverage in place agreements to resolve large
asbestos exposures. As of Dec. 31, 2004, CNA had negotiated 33
coverage in place agreements. The Company has evaluated these
commitments and the expected reinsurance recoveries under these
agreements and has recorded a reserve of US$76 million, net of
reinsurance.

The Company categorizes active asbestos accounts as large or
small accounts. CNA defines a large account as an active account
with more than US$100,000 of cumulative paid losses. The Company
has made closing large accounts a significant management
priority. At Dec. 31, 2004, the Company had 180 large accounts
and had established reserves of US$368 million, net of
reinsurance. CNA had 160 large accounts with reserves of US$405
million, net of reinsurance.

Small accounts are defined as active accounts with US$100,000 or
less cumulative paid losses. At Dec. 31, 2004, the Company had
1,109 small accounts, about 83% of its total active asbestos
accounts, with reserves of US$141 million, net of reinsurance.

The Company also evaluates its asbestos liabilities arising from
its assumed reinsurance business and its participation in
various pools. At Dec. 31, 2004 and 2003, CNA had US$148 million
and US$157 million of reserves, net of reinsurance, related to
these asbestos liabilities arising from the Company's assumed
reinsurance obligations and CNA's participation in pools,
including Excess & Casualty Reinsurance Association.

CNA Financial is the umbrella organization for a wide range of
insurers, including Continental Casualty and Continental
Assurance. The Company primarily provides commercial coverage
and other products for businesses and institutions. CNA also
sells specialty insurance for professionals.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: St. Clair's Asbestos Docket Goes Inactive
--------------------------------------------------------------
An Illinois court favored by trial lawyers with asbestos injury
cases has established rules aimed at unclogging its asbestos
docket. It seeks to set up a "deferred registry" for cases where
the plaintiffs do not suffer from symptoms of an asbestos-
related illness.

According to a report by the Illinois Civil Justice League, St.
Clair County, which was dubbed the nation's second worst
"judicial hellhole" by the American Tort Reform Association, has
adopted the new rules creating the inactive asbestos docket last
month.

"Following in the footsteps of Madison County and other
jurisdictions, including Cook County, Baltimore, New York City
and the State of Massachusetts, St. Clair County's Court system
has created an 'inactive asbestos docket' to help manage the
asbestos caseload," the report stated.

According to the ICJL, 20th Circuit Chief Judge Jan Fiss said
the action "is justified to control its docket and to manage
involving asbestos-related conditions that have not progressed
to a state of measurable physical impairment or disability."  

Neighboring Madison County, which was recognized as the worst
"legal hellhole," has also adopted the similar system. Judge
Nicholas Byron, who ruled the asbestos docket for 11 years
before quitting last summer, built up its reputation as a
litigation destination.

In its order establishing the deferred registry the court wrote:
"Management of docket access and trial of asbestos bodily injury
claims is a national problem of elephantine proportions
involving multiple jurisdictions [state and federal] and
hundreds of thousands of claims."

The court also stated, "Justice, equity and fairness require
that local court docketing and administration take into
consideration the national problem created by asbestos-related
claims and the need for local courts to administer and docket
asbestos-related claims in conformity with the goal of bringing
the claims of substantial bodily injury to trial first."

Those on the deferred registry will be able to move their cases
to the active docket in the event that they develop a malignancy
or meet the standards for a non-malignant claim developed by the
American Bar Association in 2003.

Cases filed before Dec. 20, 2004, when the court held a hearing
to decide to move forward with the plan creating the registry,
will stay on the active docket.

Last January, a well-known litigator had filed seven cases in
St. Clair County, causing experts to insinuate that it may be
replacing Madison County as the foremost asbestos magnet.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Navigators Cites Exposures as Insignificant
----------------------------------------------------------------
Navigators Group Inc. (NASDAQ: NAVG) indicated in the filing
submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission that loss
development for asbestos related exposures in 2004 was not
significant. During 2004 one of four large claims for excess
insurance policy limits exposed to class action suits was
settled within amounts reserved and one other such claim settled
below the Company's layer of coverage.

The New York-based firm said that its exposure to asbestos and
environmental liability principally stems from marine liability
insurance written on an occurrence basis during the mid-1980s.
In general, its participation on such risks is in the excess
layers, which requires the underlying coverage to be exhausted
prior to coverage being triggered in its layer. In many
instances the Company is one of many insurers who participate in
the defense and ultimate settlement of these claims, and it is
generally a minor participant in the overall insurance coverage
and settlement.

In the fourth quarter of 2003, Navigators Insurance Company
increased its net asbestos reserves and incurred losses by
US$31.6 million resulting in an after tax charge to earnings of
US$20.5 million or US$1.68 and US$2.14 per diluted share for the
fourth quarter and twelve months of 2004, respectively. The
additional asbestos reserves include US$25.7 million of
uncollectible reinsurance. The asbestos losses added 44.2
percentage points to the fourth quarter's combined ratio.

Since most of its policies were issued after the industry was
apprised of asbestos exposures, many of the policies on which it
participates have exclusions that may preclude coverage. In
addition, the Company reports that many of its asbestos and
environmental claims have been inactive for several years.  


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Markel Corp. Review Proposes No Adjustments
----------------------------------------------------------------
Markel Corporation (NYSE: MKL) disclosed that the Company has
completed its annual review of asbestos and environmental loss
reserves in both its U.S. and international operations during
the third quarter of 2004. The Richmond, VA-based Company stated
that while the legal environment and process for resolving
asbestos and environmental claims continues to be adverse, no
adjustments to loss reserves resulted from the 2004 review,
according to the filing submitted to the Securities and Exchange
Commission.

At Dec. 31, 2004, asbestos-related reserves were US$347.1
million on a gross basis and US$181.2 million on a net basis.
Net reserves for reported claims and net incurred but not
reported reserves for asbestos and environmental exposures were
US$151.0 million and US$92.2 million, respectively. Inception-
to-date net paid losses and loss adjustment expenses for
asbestos and environmental related exposures totaled US$277.0
million, of which about US$40.9 million was litigation-related
expense.   

The Company's reserves for losses and loss adjustment expenses
related to asbestos and environmental exposures represent
management's best estimate of ultimate settlement values.
Management monitors asbestos and environmental reserves, and the
Company's independent actuaries review the Company's statistical
analysis of these reserves.

Asbestos and environmental exposures are generally subject to
significant uncertainty due to potential severity and an
uncertain legal climate. Asbestos and environmental reserves
could be subject to increases in the future; however, management
believes the Company's gross and net asbestos and environmental
reserves at Dec. 31, 2004 are adequate.  

Markel Corporation is an international property and casualty
insurance holding Company. It sells specialty insurance products
and programs to a variety of niche markets.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Pfizer Subsidiary Faces 144,400 Claims
-----------------------------------------------------------
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) revealed that as of Dec. 31, 2004, about
144,400 claims naming American Optical (a former subsidiary of
Warner-Lambert Co., with which Pfizer merged) and numerous other
defendants, were pending in various federal and state courts
seeking damages for alleged personal injury from exposure to
asbestos and other allegedly hazardous materials.

Headquartered in New York, NY, the Company is actively engaged
in defending and will continue to explore various means to
resolve these claims. Several of the insurance carriers that
provided coverage for the American Optical asbestos and other
claims have denied coverage. The Company believes that these
carriers' position is without merit and has initiated legal
proceedings against such carriers.

Between 1967 and 1982, Warner-Lambert owned American Optical
Corporation, which manufactured and sold respiratory protective
devices and asbestos safety clothing. In connection with the
sale of American Optical in 1982, Warner-Lambert agreed to
indemnify the purchaser for certain liabilities, including
certain asbestos-related and other claims.

Separately, there is a small number of lawsuits pending against
Pfizer in various federal and state courts seeking damages for
alleged personal injury from exposure to products containing
asbestos and other hazardous materials sold by Gibsonburg Lime
Products Company, which was acquired by Pfizer in the 1960s and
which sold small amounts of products containing asbestos until
the early 1970s.

There also are a small number of lawsuits pending in various
federal and state courts seeking damages for alleged exposure to
asbestos in facilities owned or formerly owned by Pfizer or its
subsidiaries.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: AFC's Reserves Stay Consistent for 3 Years
---------------------------------------------------------------
Allmerica Financial Corporation (NYSE: AFC) said that its
outstanding reserves for direct business asbestos and
environmental damage have remained relatively consistent for the
three-year period ended Dec. 31, 2004. The Company added that as
a result of its historical direct underwriting mix of commercial
lines policies of smaller and middle market risks, past
asbestos, environmental damage and toxic tort liability loss
experience has remained minimal.

According to the latest filing submitted to the Securities and
Exchange Commission, ending loss and loss adjustment expense
reserves for all direct business written by its property and
casualty companies related to asbestos, environmental damage and
toxic tort liability, included in the reserve for losses and
loss adjustment expense, were US$24.7 million, US$24.9 million
and US$25.6 million, net of reinsurance of US$16.3 million,
US$15.0 million and US$16.0 million in 2004, 2003 and 2002,
respectively.

The Worcester, MA-based Company has established loss and loss
adjustment expense reserves for assumed reinsurance pool
business with asbestos, environmental damage and toxic tort
liability of US$46.4 million, US$45.6 million, and US$45.2
million in 2004, 2003 and 2002, respectively. These reserves
relate to pools in which it has terminated its participation;
however, it continues to be subject to claims related to years
in which the Company was a participant.

As part of the Company's pool reserves, it participated in the
Excess and Casualty Reinsurance Association voluntary pool from
1950 to 1982. In 1982, the pool was dissolved and since that
time, the business has been in runoff. Its percentage of the
total pool liabilities varied from 1.15% to 6.00% during these
years. Participation in this pool has resulted in average paid
losses of US$2.0 million annually over the past ten years.

Allmerica Financial Corporation provides personal automobile,
homeowners, workers' compensation, commercial automobile, and
commercial multiple-peril insurance coverage through its
Citizens Insurance and Hanover Insurance subsidiaries.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Exide's 2004 Indemnities Reach US$378T  
-----------------------------------------------------------
From 1957 to 1982, Compagnie Europeene D'Accumulateur or CEAC,
Exide Technologies' principal French subsidiary, operated a
plant using crocidolite asbestos fibers in the formation of
battery cases, which, once formed, encapsulated the fibers.
About 1,500 employees worked in the plant over the period. Since
1982, the French governmental agency responsible for worker
illness claims has received 34 employee claims alleging
asbestos-related illnesses, and no such claims have been filed
since August 2001.

For some of those claims, CEAC is obligated to and has
indemnified the agency in accordance with French law for about
US$169,000, US$260,000 and US$378,000 in calendar years 2002,
2003 and 2004, respectively. In addition, CEAC has been adjudged
liable to indemnify the agency for about US$78,000, US$200,000
and US$107,000 during the same periods to date for the
dependents of four such claimants.

Although the Company cannot predict the number or size of any
future claims, the Company does not believe resolution of the
current or any future claims, individually or in the aggregate,
will have a material adverse effect on the Company's financial
condition, cash flows or results of operations.   


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Federal-Mogul Posts T&N's $1.4Bil Liability
----------------------------------------------------------------
Federal-Mogul Corporation (OTC: FDMLQ) disclosed through a
filing submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission that
the Company's UK subsidiary, Turner & Newall Ltd., and two of
its US subsidiaries continue to be among many defendants named
in numerous court actions alleging personal injury resulting
from exposure to asbestos or asbestos-containing products.

T&N Ltd. is also subject to asbestos-disease litigation, to a
lesser extent, in the United Kingdom and France. As of the
petition date, T&N Ltd. was a defendant in about 115,000 pending
personal injury claims. The two US subsidiaries were defendants
in about 199,000 pending personal injury claims. The Company
includes as pending claims open served claims, settled but not
documented claims, and settled but not paid claims.

From 1920 to 1976 T&N was the largest employer in the British
asbestos industry and Federal-Mogul has since been hit by US$11
billion in claims stemming mainly from its takeover of the UK
operations in 1988.

Notice of complaints continue to arrive post-petition and are in
violation of the automatic stay. In 2000, the Company increased
its estimate of asbestos-related liability for the T&N Companies
by US$751 million and recorded a related insurance recoverable
asset of US$577 million.  The liability, which at Dec. 31, 2004
was worth about US$1.4 billion, represented the Company's
estimate prior to the restructuring proceedings for claims
currently pending and those that were reasonably estimated to be
asserted and paid through 2012.

As a result of the restructuring proceedings, pending asbestos-
related litigation against the Company in the United States and
the U.K. is stayed, and no party may take action to pursue or
collect on such asbestos claims absent specific authorization of
the Bankruptcy Court or the High Court. Since the proceedings,
the Company has ceased making payments with respect to asbestos-
related lawsuits.

An asbestos creditors' committee has been appointed in the US
representing asbestos claimants with pending claims against the
Company, and the Bankruptcy Court has appointed a legal
representative for the interests of potential future asbestos
claimants. In the UK, a creditors committee consisting in large
part of representatives of asbestos claimants has been
appointed. The Company's obligations with respect to present and
future claims could be determined through litigation in the
Bankruptcy Court, the High Court, and/or through negotiations
with each of the official committees appointed.  

While the Company believes that the liability recorded as of
October 1, 2001 was appropriate for anticipated losses arising
from asbestos-related claims against the T&N Companies through
2012, it is the Company's view that, as a result of the
restructuring proceedings, there is even greater uncertainty in
estimating the timing and amount of future asbestos liability
and related insurance recovery for pending and future claims.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Abex, Wagner's Liabilities Reach US$213.6M
---------------------------------------------------------------
Two of Federal-Mogul Corporation's businesses formerly owned by
Cooper Industries, Inc., known as Abex and Wagner, are involved
as defendants in numerous court actions alleging personal injury
from exposure to asbestos or asbestos-containing products. These
claims mainly involve friction products. As of the petition
date, Abex and Wagner were defendants in about 66,000 and 33,000
pending claims, respectively.

As a result of the restructuring proceedings, the Company
includes as a pending claim open served claims, settled but not
documented claims and settled but not paid claims. Notices of
complaints continue to be received post-petition and are in
violation of the automatic stay. The liability of the Company
with respect to claims alleging exposure to Wagner products
arises from the 1998 stock purchase from Cooper Industries, Inc.
of the corporate successor by merger to Wagner Electric Company;
the purchased entity is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the
Company and one of the debtors in the restructuring proceedings.

As a consequence, all claims against the Debtors, including
asbestos-related claims, have been stayed.  The liability of the
Company with respect to claims alleging exposure to Abex
products arises from a contractual liability entered into in
1994 by the predecessor to the Company whose stock the Company
purchased in 1998. Pursuant to that contract, prior to the
restructuring proceedings, the Company, through the relevant
subsidiary, was liable for certain indemnity and defense
payments incurred on behalf of an entity known as Pneumo Abex
Corporation, the successor in interest to Abex Corporation.
Effective as of the petition date, the Company has ceased making
such payments and is currently considering whether to accept or
reject the 1994 contractual liability.   

The Company's recorded liability for this litigation (comprised
of US$129.5 million in Abex liabilities and US$84.1 million in
Wagner liabilities as of Dec. 31, 2004) represented the
Company's estimate prior to the restructuring proceedings for
claims currently pending and those that were reasonably
estimated to be asserted and paid through 2012.  


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Federal-Mogul, Fel-Pro Fight Claims
--------------------------------------------------------
Prior to the restructuring proceedings, Federal-Mogul
Corporation was sued in its own name as one of a large number of
defendants in multiple lawsuits brought by claimants alleging
injury from exposure to asbestos due to its ownership of certain
assets involved in gasket making. As of the petition date, the
Company was a defendant in about 61,500 pre-petition pending
claims. Over 40,000 of these claims were transferred to a
federal court, where, prior to the restructuring proceedings,
they were pending. Notices of complaints continue to be received
post-petition and are in violation of the automatic stay.   

The Company's Fel-Pro subsidiary also was named as a defendant
in a number of product liability cases involving asbestos,
primarily involving gasket or packing products. Fel-Pro was a
defendant in about 34,000 pending claims as of the petition
date. Over 32,000 of these claims were transferred to a federal
court where they were pending. The Company was defending all
such claims vigorously and believed that it and Fel-Pro had
substantial defenses to liability and insurance coverage for
defense and indemnity. All claims alleging exposure to the
products of the Company and of Fel-Pro have been stayed as a
result of the Restructuring Proceedings.  

About 400 claims, totaling about US$8.1 billion, are associated
with asbestos-related contribution, indemnity, or reimbursement
claims. Based upon its preliminary review, the Company believes
that a large number of these claims should be disallowed as
contingent contribution or reimbursement claims.  

About 3,800 claims, totaling about US$200 million, are alleging
asbestos-related property damage. Based on its review, the
Company believes most of these claims are duplicative or
unsubstantiated. The Company has entered into a stipulation with
certain claimants that will result in the withdrawal of about
1,200 of these claims with prejudice. This stipulation is
subject to and pending the approval of the Bankruptcy Court.  


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Inquest Shows Electrician Died of Exposure
---------------------------------------------------------------
An inquest last week recorded a verdict of industrial disease in
the case of an electrician who had been exposed to asbestos more
than 50 years ago.

Robert Shildrake, of Saracen Road, Hellesdon, passed away last
December 8 at 70 years old. He had spent his whole working life
as an electrician for local companies. His illness began with a
cough in August last year but was not officially diagnosed as
malignant mesothelioma until November 11.

Her daughter Sandra Humpreys spoke of her family's distress at
how her fit and healthy father died painfully and suddenly
because of his work, which exposed him to the dangerous
material. She stated that her father believed it was his work as
an apprentice in the early 1950s that caused him to suffer from
malignant mesothelioma.

Mrs. Humphreys, aged 44 and from Cromer, said, "As an apprentice
my dad had to saw up sheets of asbestos for panels that were put
behind electric fire places. He may have handled asbestos after
this but that was when he felt he was most exposed to it."

She added that she was not blaming her father's employers or
looking for compensation but that she was concerned that there
are other people who have no idea that they have been affected
by this deadly disease.

She said, "People need to realize that asbestos-related
illnesses could catch up with them even if it was 40 or 50 years
ago that they handled asbestos.

She added that her family, including mother Pauline Shildrake,
aged 69, and brother, Mark Shildrake, aged 42, were coping well
but finding it difficult to accept that Mr. Shildrake was no
longer there.

She said, "If my father had died of natural causes it may have
been more bearable but knowing that he may still be with us
today if it wasn't for his work is so tragic."


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NSW Govt. to Adopt Review Recommendations
--------------------------------------------------------------
Aimed at reducing costs and freeing up more money for
compensation, the New South Wales Government will adopt all the
recommendations of a review of the settlement of asbestos cases.

James Hardie requested the review because it had wanted costs
reviewed as part of its settlement to pay compensation to
asbestos victims. It was earlier reported that a multimillion-
dollar compensation deal with James Hardie rode on the
implementation of this Government review. Although Hardie had
signed an initial agreement on US$1.5 billion fund, it has yet
to make provision for meeting that target.

The review discovered a large amount of legal costs come from
defendants arguing over their share of responsibility to
claimants. A new system will be set up to resolve it before
mediation begins, with claimants still to have access to courts
as a last resort.

New South Wales Attorney-General Bob Debus says legislation will
be introduced next month. He said the new process would mean a
lower burden of proof on claimants.

"I would hesitate now to say exactly how much money will be
saved but I would assert that it will be significant," he said.

Premier Bob Carr says James Hardie will have a chance to respond
but it is what the Company asked for.

"What we're doing here is getting a sensible package that
removes any problems James Hardie and other companies have got
with affordability, but at the same time gets payments faster to
the victims and does it mainly through more mediation," he said.

Hardie has welcomed the plan, saying the proposal is a positive
step towards a more efficient alternative to litigation.

Hardie Chief Financial Officer Russell Chenu told the Australian
Stock Exchange the Company would push for other Australian
states and territories to adopt similar laws. Unions welcomed
the outcome of the legal cost review.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: PPL's Subsidiaries Named in Asbestos Suits
---------------------------------------------------------------
Power Company PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) stated that several of
its generation subsidiaries and some of its energy services
subsidiaries, such as those that have supplied, may have
supplied or installed asbestos material in connection with the
repair or installation of process piping and heating,
ventilating and air conditioning systems, have been named as
defendants in asbestos-related lawsuits.

There have been increasing litigation claims throughout the US
based on exposure to asbestos against companies that manufacture
or distribute asbestos products or that have these products on
their premises.

Headquartered in Allen, PA, the Company however cannot predict
the outcome of these lawsuits or whether additional claims may
be asserted against its subsidiaries in the future. PPL does not
expect that the ultimate resolution of the current lawsuits will
have a material adverse effect on its financial condition.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CA Home Developer Warns Buyers of Asbestos
---------------------------------------------------------------
The developer of a new home subdivision in El Dorado Hills will
warn prospective buyers that naturally-occurring asbestos may be
found in their neighborhood.

Christopherson Homes will post a "Proposition 65" warning in its
sales office. The notice is also being published in several
local newspapers. El Dorado County Air Pollution Control Officer
Marcella McTaggart says no builder has done this before, and she
says a Proposition 65 warning for naturally-occurring asbestos
is not required by law.

Christopherson is gearing to open five model homes later this
month.  

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter on Oct. 15,
2004, some construction sites in El Dorado County uncovered
naturally-occurring asbestos in the soil and rock despite the
assurances of experts. After the discovery, Christopherson Homes
adopted strict dust-control measures and air monitoring. By
then, however, blasting and heavy excavation had already been
going on for months.

Ms. McTaggart said, "It's a good thing they're doing.
Christopherson should be commended."

Naturally occurring asbestos is common in the foothills and is
only dangerous when it becomes airborne.

The Proposition 65 warning posted at the model homes reads as
follows:

"Public notice is hereby given with respect to naturally-
occurring asbestos in The Promontory Village 4, El Dorado Hills,
California also known as Montecito at The Promontory. WARNING:
Chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer,
birth defects or other reproductive harm are contained in and
around land development and excavation operations for housing
subdivisions at Promontory Point in El Dorado County.

"This law requires the Governor of California to publish a list
of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive
toxicity. This list is compiled in accordance with a procedure
established by the Proposition and can be obtained from the
California Environmental Protection Agency. For more
information, please visit the following state web site:
http://www.arb.ca.gov/toxics/asbestos/general.htm."


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: United Fire & Casualty Tags Reserves at $3M
----------------------------------------------------------------
United Fire & Casualty Co. (NASDAQ: UFCS) stated in its latest
filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that as of Dec.
31, 2004, it has established a reserve of US$3.0 million for
asbestos and other environmental losses and settlement expenses.   

Headquartered in Cedar Rapids, IA, the Company believes that the
estimation of loss reserves for environmental claims and claims
related to long-term exposure to asbestos and other substances
is one of the most difficult aspects of establishing reserves,
especially given the inherent uncertainties surrounding such
claims. Although it records its best estimate of loss and loss
adjustment expense reserves, the ultimate amounts paid upon
settlement of such claims may be more or less than the amount of
the reserves.

The Company is not aware of any significant contingent
liabilities related to environmental issues. Because of the type
of property coverage it writes, it states that it has potential
exposure to environmental pollution, mold and asbestos claims.
Its underwriters are aware of these exposures and use riders or
endorsements to limit exposure.  

Some insurance industry observers continue to voice concern
about the adequacy of property and casualty insurers' reserves,
particularly in the areas of asbestos and other environmental
exposures. A.M. Best Company estimates that the industry is
under reserved by as much as US$33.5 billion for asbestos and
other environmental exposure reserves.

United Fire and its subsidiaries (Lafayette Insurance, Addison
Insurance, American Indemnity Financial, United Life, and their
respective agencies) offer a range of property & casualty and
life insurance.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Lockheed Martin Continues Defense V. Claims
----------------------------------------------------------------
Defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT)
stated that like many other industrial companies in recent
years, it is a defendant in lawsuits alleging personal injury as
a result of exposure to asbestos integrated into its premises
and certain historical products.

The Bethesda, MD-based Company asserted that it has never mined
or produced asbestos and no longer incorporates it in any
currently manufactured products. So far, the Company has been
successful in having a substantial number of these claims
dismissed without payment.

The remaining resolved claims have settled for amounts that are
not material individually or in the aggregate. Insurance or
other forms of indemnity have covered a substantial majority of
the asbestos-related claims. Based on the information currently
available, the Company does not believe that resolution of these
asbestos-related matters will have a material adverse effect
upon the Corporation.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Goodrich, Subsidiaries Named as Defendants
---------------------------------------------------------------
Goodrich Corporation (NYSE: GR) and a number of its subsidiaries
have been named as defendants in various actions by plaintiffs
alleging injury or death as a result of exposure to asbestos
fibers in products or present in its facilities.

According to the filing the Charlotte, NC-based Company
submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission, a number of
these cases involve maritime claims, which have been and are
expected to continue to be administratively dismissed by the
court. These actions primarily relate to previously owned
businesses.

At the time of the Engineered Industrial Products spin-off in
2002, two subsidiaries of Coltec were defendants in a
significant number of personal injury claims relating to alleged
asbestos-containing products sold by those subsidiaries. Prior
to the distribution, Coltec, which at that time was a Goodrich
subsidiary, owned the EIP business and an aerospace business.

It is possible that asbestos-related claims might be asserted
against Goodrich on the theory that the Company has some
responsibility for the asbestos-related liabilities of EnPro,
Coltec or its subsidiaries, even though the activities that led
to those claims occurred prior to its ownership of any of those
subsidiaries.

A limited number of asbestos-related claims have been asserted
against the Company as "successor" to Coltec or one of its
subsidiaries. However, Goodrich still believes that it has
substantial legal defenses against these claims.

In addition, the agreement between EnPro and Goodrich that was
used to effectuate the spin-off provides the Company with an
indemnification from EnPro covering, among other things, these
liabilities. The success of any such asbestos-related claims
would likely require, as a practical matter, that Coltec's
subsidiaries were unable to satisfy their asbestos-related
liabilities and that Coltec was found to be responsible for
these liabilities and was unable to meet its financial
obligations. Goodrich believes any such claims would be without
merit and that Coltec was solvent both before and after the
dividend of its aerospace business to it.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Bill Slates $250M for WR Grace's MT Victims
----------------------------------------------------------------
Residents at Libby, Montana are in praise of a move to require
W.R. Grace and Co. to set aside US$250 million toward health
care before it can emerge from bankruptcy.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., introduced legislation last week in
the form of an amendment to the Bankruptcy Reform Bill. The
proposal seeks to require Grace to put the cash into what would
be called the Libby Health Care Trust Fund.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Sen. Baucus said his amendment was
intended "to correct an enormous injustice in my home state."
Grace, he said, "has willfully harmed the innocent citizens of
Libby," and should be held accountable before the Company can
complete a bankruptcy reorganization.

However, some residents expressed doubts whether the amount
would be sufficient to cover all the health care costs
associated with the Company's asbestos-polluted mine.

"I think US$250 million would be a really good start," said
Gayla Benefield, "but you know we still have two more
generations to diagnose."

There are about 1,500 current and former Libby residents living
with asbestos-related disease. Hundreds have already died,
mostly from respiratory problems resulting from asbestos
contamination at Grace's vermiculite mine in Libby. With a
disease latency period of 30 or 40 years, it becomes exceedingly
difficult to estimate the right amount to cover the medical care
of all its victims.  
   
Ms. Benefield added that the US$100 million figure, which Sen.
Baucus initially proposed, was far too low, and although the
US$250 million "is a nice sum," it too may prove inadequate to
serve Libby residents. She said that healthcare costs through
death average about US$500,000. That means the amount needed to
provide health care only to those currently diagnosed is around
US$750 million.

Nevertheless, Ms. Benefield said, the Baucus proposal is welcome
and is a tremendous improvement on the current situation, under
which "Grace could come out of bankruptcy scot-free, and we
would get nothing at all."

In his statement to the Senate, Sen. Baucus pointed out that
Grace, with offices in more than three dozen countries, has
posted strong financial gains in recent months, showing sales of
US$2.2 billion in 2004, a 14 percent increase over the year
before.

Libby residents, he said, "should not have to hope that they
will be treated fairly in the Grace bankruptcy. They should know
they will be treated fairly and that, at the very least, they
will not have to worry about how to pay for costly medical
care."


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Labor Group Urges Search for Grace Victims  
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Manitoba Federation of Labor, the province's largest labor
group, is asking the government to aggressively locate and
contact workers who were unknowingly exposed to asbestos at a
Winnipeg vermiculite plant between 1946 and 1990. Pete Walker,
who handles health and safety issues for the group, said an
advertising campaign should be launched to alert former W.R.
Grace workers.

The plant operated by Grant Industries, a W.R. Grace unit,
processed vermiculite insulation from the W.R. Grace mine in
Libby, Montana. People in the construction trades installed it
in thousands of homes across the province until about 1990.

Dozens of W.R. Grace employees across the US have become
afflicted with asbestos-related illnesses such as asbestosis and
mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer. Reports have revealed
that at least one worker at the Winnipeg operation died of
asbestosis. But until now, nothing has been done to notify other
workers of the risk they faced.

Just recently, the province said it was not aware of any W.R.
Grace employee in Winnipeg who filed a claim with the Workers
Compensation Board. But an employee of Grant Industries had
actually filed a claim in 1968. The employee, Paul Annan, had
worked for 20 years stuffing bags with contaminated vermiculite.
By 1968, he had contracted asbestosis and died 11 years later.

Officials at the WCB say they had no idea Grant Industries was
connected to W.R. Grace. They refused to say whether other Grant
Industries workers had filed claims. The WCB says it has asked
for a list of Grant employees from W.R. Grace and will contact
some former employees.

"Everybody's chasing their tail trying to find who worked there,
where they worked. That's a great deal of concern because there
should be a blanket. All the workers who were part of the Grace
organization should at least go to see their doctors and get
tested," said Mr. Walker. However, he believes the WCB's choice
of action wasn't good enough.

Manitoba Labor Minister Nancy Allan said her government isn't
planning a public campaign to reach former Grace workers. But
she doesn't rule it out in the future.

"We're open to doing what we have to do. If, first of all, we
have the list of 50 workers we can work with those workers to
find the other workers that might have been at Grace and might
have been employed at Grace," she says.

Minister Allan says her government plans to pass new legislation
this spring that will make compensation more accessible to
Manitoba workers who get sick from their jobs.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Owens Corning Reports 4Q04 Profit Surge
------------------------------------------------------------
Owens Corning (OTC: OWENQ), a global maker of fiberglass and
composite materials, earlier this week reported a fourth-quarter
profit surge of 67 percent as higher sales offset increased raw
material costs.

The Company, operating under bankruptcy protection, said net
income rose to US$72 million from US$43 million a year ago. The
latest quarter results include US$21 million of bankruptcy-
related charges and asbestos-related insurance recoveries. It
also experienced a gain of US$28 million in insurance proceeds
from a flood at a French facility.

Owens Corning Corporation of Toledo, Ohio, filed for Chapter 11
bankruptcy on Oct. 5, 2000, in response to a growing mountain of
asbestos liability claims. From 1952 to 1972 Owens Corning
produced an asbestos-containing high-temperature pipe coating
called Kaylo.  

The Company's quarterly sales rose 16 percent to US$1.48 billion
from US$1.28 billion. Owens Corning said this growth overcame
higher costs for energy and raw materials during the period.

For the year, profit jumped 77 percent to US$204 million, or
US$3.40 per share, from US$115 million, or US$1.92 per share, in
2003. Sales increased 14 percent to US$5.68 billion from US$5
billion. Owens Corning ended the year with US$1.13 billion in
cash, about US$120 million higher than a year ago.

Owens Corning shares fell 5 cents, or 2.4 percent, to close at
US$2.02 in over-the-counter trading.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Widow Calls on UK Govt to Fund Cancer Study
----------------------------------------------------------------
The widow of an asbestos victim is now calling on the government
to take the lead in asbestos cancer research. This appeal comes
alongside some campaigners' observations that victims of
mesothelioma are being neglected.

Chris Knighton said her husband, Mick Knighton, aged 59, died
seven months after being diagnosed in August 2000. He was
exposed to the material while he was in the Royal Navy where it
was used in ships. Despite working for the navy his entire life,
he was not entitled to compensation as the military services
have crown immunity.

Mr. Knighton, from Tyne and Wear, had his lungs drained and a
course of radiotherapy, but his wife said that was purely to
relieve the symptoms.

Mrs. Knighton said, "There is going to be a asbestos timebomb,
and we need to be in a position to provide better treatment than
we do now."

Following his death, Mrs. Knighton set up the Mick Knighton
Mesothelioma Research Fund, which has raised GBP100,000 so far.
She said she believes access to compensation needs to be
reformed.

Mrs. Knighton said, "Compensation just wasn't available to us. I
know of other military personnel who are affected by the disease
and yet there is no compensation for people who have given their
lives to serving their country."


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NSW Boxer Takes Action for Exposure at Mine
----------------------------------------------------------------
Boxing legend Tony Mundine intends to pursue his fight for
compensation after being diagnosed with a potentially deadly
asbestos-related lung disease. He said he was exposed to
asbestos while growing up in the aboriginal community of
Baryulgil, near Grafton in northern NSW.

Chrysotile, or white asbestos, deposits were discovered at
Baryulgil during World War I. From the early 1940s to 1979,
aboriginal miners and their community were poisoned by asbestos,
which contaminated the air, food, water, ground and buildings,
as they produced profits for the industry's owners.

Mr. Mundine, the father of boxer Anthony Mundine, said his uncle
and several other workers at the nearby asbestos mine have also
died, all pointing to the exposure from the mine. About 200
other people from the town are actively seeking compensation.

"Well, they told me I've got one spot along my lung," Mr.
Mundine said. "I think I'm big enough to fight that small little
dot there but maybe in the long run it might slowly but surely
wear me down, but I'll be there fighting it."

He said his uncle and other mine workers complained for 40 years
that the asbestos was making them sick but were denied
compensation.

Mr. Mundine was a triple Australian boxing champion in the
middleweight and light heavyweight divisions with 80 career
wins, 64 by knockout, in the 1960s and 1970s, but never won a
world title. He prided himself on never drinking, smoking or
taking drugs.   


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Selective Insurance Receives 3,025 Claims
--------------------------------------------------------------
Selective Insurance Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: SIGI) disclosed that
asbestos claims constituted 91% of the 3,310 environmental
claims it received at Dec. 31, 2004, compared with 91% of the
3,058 outstanding environmental claims at Dec. 31, 2003.

According to the filing the Company submitted to the US
Securities and Exchange Commission, of the 3,310 environmental
claims, 3,025 are asbestos related. And of this number, 1,729
involve four insureds. The total case reserves associated with
these four insureds amounted to US$4.0 million on a gross and
net basis.

The total case reserves for asbestos related claims amounted to
US$7.6 million on a gross and net basis. About 60 of the total
environmental claims involve nine landfill sites. The landfill
sites account for case reserves of US$8.7 million on a gross and
net basis. The remaining claims, which account for US$6.6
million of case reserves, involve leaking underground storage
tanks and other latent environmental exposures.

Reserves established for liability insurance include exposure to
environmental claims, both asbestos and non-asbestos. These
claims have arisen primarily under older policies containing
exclusions for environmental liability which certain courts, in
interpreting such exclusions, have determined do not bar such
claims.

Since 1986, policies issued by the insurance subsidiaries have
contained a more expansive exclusion for losses related to
environmental claims. In addition, a portion of its
environmental losses relate to homeowners claims covering the
leakage of certain underground storage tanks. Selective's
asbestos and non-asbestos environmental claims have arisen
primarily from insured exposures in municipal government, small
commercial risks, and homeowners policies.

The Branchville, NJ-based Company also stated that during the
past two decades, the insurance industry has experienced the
emergence and development of an increasing number of asbestos
claims.

Since the early 1990s, the holding Company has been expanding
its service area beyond its native New Jersey to the entire
eastern half of the US. Selective Insurance targets small and
mid-sized businesses and government entities.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Last Grace Executive Pleads Not Guilty
-----------------------------------------------------------
William J. McCaig, the last of seven W.R. Grace senior
executives indicted by a grand jury in February, pleaded not
guilty to a 10-count federal indictment earlier this week during
his arraignment at the Missoula Federal Courthouse. He served as
former general manager of the Company's mine in Libby, Montana.

Last February 22 at their arraignments, six of the former and
current employees had pleaded not guilty to indictment charges
that accused them of knowing that their mine was releasing
carcinogenic asbestos into the air and of conspiring to hide the
known hazards from workers and area residents.

Mr. McCaig failed to appear with the rest of the men because his
attorney, William Coates, had another trial that conflicted with
the date.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Leif Erickson released Mr. McCaig imposing
the same restrictions applied to the other men. The Judge
required him to surrender his passport and remain in the United
States, report to the probation office in Missoula each month
and refrain from possessing any firearms.

In the 49-page indictment, the Company and seven top executives
were accused of intentionally withholding numerous studies
stating the risk cancer-causing tremolite asbestos posted to its
customers, employees and Libby residents. Charges include
conspiracy, wire fraud, obstruction of justice and violations of
the federal Clean Air Act.

According to the EPA investigation, Company officials had also
reportedly lied regarding whether it supplied vermiculite to a
high school's running track, to a local rink as well as to
locals for their homes.

Mr. Stringer faces a maximum penalty of 70 years in prison,
while Jack Wolter, former vice president and general manager of
the mine's Construction Products Division, and Robert Bettacchi,
a senior vice president, each face maximum prison terms of 55
years.

The Company could face a fine of up to US$280 million, which is
twice the amount of mining profits earned during its years of
operation. Others named in the indictment are Henry Eschenbach,
former health official for a Grace subsidiary; O. Mario
Favorito, chief legal counsel for Grace; and Robert Walsh,
former Grace vice president.

While many former employees have developed asbestosis and lung
cancer as a result of their direct exposure to the mine, their
family members also suffer, since the tiny asbestos fibers were
brought home on workers' clothing.

The EPA declared the mine a Superfund site and has since spent
more than US$55 million on cleanup.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: White Mountains Recounts Claims Exposures
--------------------------------------------------------------
White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd. (NYSE: WTM) reveals that
one of its main operating divisions, OneBeacon Insurance, faces
liabilities for asbestos and environmental losses from business
underwritten in the past. At Dec. 31, 2004, 664 policyholders
had asbestos-related claims against OneBeacon. In 2004, 112 new
insureds with such peripheral involvement presented asbestos
claims under prior policies.

OneBeacon also incurred asbestos and environmental losses via
its participation in industry pools and associations. The most
significant of these pools was Excess Casualty Reinsurance
Association, which provided excess liability reinsurance to U.S.
insurers from 1950 until the early 1980s. ECRA incurred
significant liabilities for asbestos and environmental of which
OneBeacon bears about a 4.7% share, or US$65 million at Dec. 31,
2004 (compared to US$66 million at Dec. 31, 2003), which is
fully reflected in its loss and loss adjustment expenses
reserves.  

More recently, since the 1990s, OneBeacon has experienced an
influx of claims from commercial insureds, including many non-
Fortune 500-sized accounts written during the 1970s and 1980s,
who are named as defendants in asbestos lawsuits. As a number of
large well-known manufacturers of asbestos and asbestos-
containing products have gone into bankruptcy, plaintiffs have
sought recoveries from peripheral defendants, such as
installers, transporters or sellers of such products, or from
owners of premises on which the plaintiffs' exposure to asbestos
allegedly occurred.

Historically, most asbestos claims have been asserted as product
liability claims. Recently, insureds who have exhausted the
available products liability limits of their insurance policies
have sought payment for asbestos claims under the premises and
operations coverage of their liability policies. There are
currently 148 active claims against OneBeacon without product
liability coverage asserting operations or premises coverage.

Immediately prior to White Mountains' acquisition of OneBeacon,
OneBeacon purchased a reinsurance contract with NICO under which
OneBeacon is entitled to recover from NICO up to US$2.5 billion.
Of claim payments in the past 11 years, about 63% of asbestos
losses and 39% of environmental losses have been recovered under
the historical third party reinsurance.

OneBeacon estimates that on an incurred basis it has exhausted
about US$1.7 billion of the coverage provided by NICO at Dec.
31, 2004. A total of US$14.3 million of the US$1.7 billion of
exhausted coverage from NICO related to uncollectible third
party recoverables. Net losses paid totaled about US$682 million
with US$95 million paid in 2004.

Asbestos payments during 2004 reflect payments resulting from
intensified efforts by claimants to resolve asbestos claims
prior to enactment of potential Federal asbestos legislation. To
the extent that OneBeacon's estimate of ultimate asbestos and
environmental losses as well as the estimate and collectibility
of Third Party Recoverables differs from actual experience, the
remaining protection under the NICO Cover may be more or less
than the approximate US$757 million that OneBeacon estimates
remained at Dec. 31, 2004.

Another operating division, White Mountains Re, had about 1,368
open claim files for asbestos and 786 open claim files for
environmental exposures as of Dec. 31, 2004.

White Mountains Re's asbestos and environmental exposure is
primarily from reinsurance contracts written between 1974
through 1985 by predecessor companies, MONY Reinsurance and
Christiania General. The exposures are predominately higher
layer excess of loss treaty and facultative coverages with
relatively low limits exposed for each claim.

About US$25.0 million of White Mountains Re's 2003 loss
development for asbestos exposures was a bulk increase in IBNR
resulting from the completion of a detailed asbestos and
environmental market share study. This study compared White
Mountains Re's share of industry paid losses to estimated
industry carried reserves.

The asbestos and environmental reserve activity for White
Mountains' other operations is comprised of American Centennial
and British Insurance Company, two insurance subsidiaries that
have been in run-off since 1985. The majority of the asbestos
and environmental reserves from other operations are recorded at
American Centennial. At Dec. 31, 2004, American Centennial had
33 open asbestos and environmental claims of which 19 were
asbestos related claims and 14 were environmental related
claims.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Thomas & Betts Faces Claims in Six States
--------------------------------------------------------------
Thomas & Betts Corporation (NYSE: TNB) is continuing to
investigate allegations that the firm and two of its
subsidiaries, Amerace Corporation and L.E. Mason (Red Dot),
acquired respectively in 1995 and 1999, are liable for claims of
injury from products it had produced in the past. They are
subject to asbestos lawsuits in Mississippi, New Jersey and four
other states.

Amerace is one of hundreds of defendants while Red Dot and the
Thomas & Betts Corporation are part of dozens of defendants in
each case. No asbestos-containing product of Amerace, Red Dot or
Thomas & Betts has been identified in these cases to date. In
the Amerace cases, ten lawsuits have already been dismissed.

The Memphis, TN-based Company stated that potential exposure at
this time, if any, cannot be estimated. Management believes,
however, that there is no merit to these claims that damages, if
any, are remote and believes that a loss is not probable in any
of these cases. Insurance coverage is available in connection
with these claims.

Thomas & Betts provides electrical connectors, HVAC equipment,
and transmission towers to the commercial, communications,
industrial, and utility markets.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Rogers Records Minimum Projected Liability
---------------------------------------------------------------
Rogers Corporation (NYSE: ROG) is one of many companies named as
a defendant in a number of asbestos related claims. The claims
relating to the Company are associated with products that were
discontinued many years ago. To date, the Company has been
successful in obtaining dismissals for many of the claims and
has settled only a limited number. The majority of settled
claims were settled for immaterial amounts, and the Company's
insurance carriers have paid such costs.

Until recently, the Rogers, CT-based Company has had limited
data to evaluate its potential asbestos exposure. However, given
continuing claims activity, the Company recently completed an
evaluation, with the assistance of industry recognized
consultants, to project potential liabilities and insurance
coverage.

Because the ultimate outcome and any associated costs cannot be
estimated with certainty, in accordance with generally accepted
accounting principles, the Company recorded the minimum
projected liability. It is anticipated that the Company's
insurance carriers will be paying those liabilities reflected on
the balance sheet. The Company will continue to vigorously
defend itself and believes it has substantial unutilized
insurance coverage to mitigate future costs related to this
matter.
    
Rogers Corporation produces specialty materials used in a
variety of electronic and consumer products. Its products
include printed circuit board laminates, polyester-based
industrial laminates, and power distribution bus bars, which are
used in digital cellular communications, mobile radios, and
direct broadcast TV.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Illinois Tool Works Named in Exposure Suits
----------------------------------------------------------------
Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE: ITW) stated in the filing
submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission that the
Company, as well as its subsidiaries Hobart Brothers Company and
Miller Electric Mfg. Co., were named along with numerous other
defendants, in lawsuits alleging injury from exposure to
asbestos, manganese and toxic fumes in connection with the
welding process.

The plaintiffs in these suits claim unspecified damages for
injuries resulting from the exposure to these toxic materials.
Based upon the Company's experience in litigating these claims,
the Company believes that the resolution of these proceedings
will not have a material adverse effect on the Company's
financial position, liquidity or future operations. The Company
has not recorded any significant reserves related to these
cases.

With some 650 separate companies in 45 nations, the Glenview,
IL-based Company makes a range of products used in the
automotive, construction, paper products, and food and beverage
industries. Its engineered products segment offers fasteners,
nail guns, industrial adhesives, and automotive transmission
components. The specialty systems unit's products include paint
application equipment and welding machines.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Brunswick Corp. Named in Asbestos Lawsuits
---------------------------------------------------------------
Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC), of the leisure products
industry, has been named in a number of asbestos-related
lawsuits, the majority of which involve Vapor Corporation, a
former subsidiary that the Company divested in 1990. Virtually
all of the asbestos suits against the Company involve numerous
other defendants.

The claims generally allege that the Lake Forest, IL-based
Company sold products that held asbestos-containing components,
such as gaskets, and seek monetary damages from the Company.
Neither the Company nor Vapor is alleged to have manufactured
asbestos.

The Company's insurers have settled a number of asbestos claims
for nominal amounts, while a number of other claims have been
dismissed. No suit has yet gone to trial. The Company does not
believe that the resolution of these lawsuits will have a
material adverse effect on the Company's consolidated financial
position or results of operations.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Lincoln Electric Responds to 38,555 Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------
As of Dec. 31, 2004, Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:
LECO) was named as a co-defendant in cases alleging asbestos
induced illness involving claims by about 38,555 plaintiffs,
which is a net increase of 312 claims from those previously
reported.

In each instance, the Cleveland, OH-based Company is one of a
large number of defendants. The asbestos claimants seek
compensatory and punitive damages, in most cases for unspecified
sums. The claimants allege that exposure to asbestos contained
in welding consumables caused the plaintiffs to develop asbestos
related diseases.

Since Jan. 1, 1995, the Company has been a co-defendant in other
similar cases that have been resolved as follows: 13,534 of
those claims were dismissed, nine were tried to defense
verdicts, three were tried to plaintiff verdicts and 273 were
decided in favor of the Company following summary judgment
motions. The Company has appealed the three judgments based on
verdicts against the Company.

The Company is a leading manufacturer of arc-welding, cutting
products, and welding supplies including arc-welding power
sources, automated wire-feeding systems, and consumable
electrodes for arc-welding. The Company operates 26
manufacturing facilities in the US and 17 other countries.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Former UK Foundry Owner Sued for Site Violations
----------------------------------------------------------------
Responding to the second enforcement action by the state, the
owner of the former Racine Steel Castings foundry is now facing
a civil complaint alleging that it illegally removed asbestos
materials from the building.

Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager brought up the complaint
against Mega-Van Ltd., its owner, Joseph N. Van Bree, and
Cleveland Corp. of Zion, Ill. Mega-Van owns most of the Racine
Steel Castings property. They were charged with violations of
six state regulations that occurred Oct. 2 and 3, 2003, before
demolition began.

According to the state's complaint, the defendants removed metal
piping covered with asbestos-containing insulation from the
building without proper safety precautions.

The complaint alleges they failed to:

(1) Wet asbestos-containing material that was disturbed or
stripped from components and failed to keep it wet;

(2) Contain the disturbed asbestos in leak-tight containers;

(3) Have a supervisor trained in proper asbestos removal
techniques present during removal;

(4) Remove asbestos-containing material from components before
activity that would break up, dislodge, or similarly disturb the
material; and

(5) Provide the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources with
advance notice of the demolition or renovation activity.

The Department of Justice brought the case at the request of the
Department of Natural Resources. The defendants face penalties
of US$10,000 to US$25,000 for each violation.

The attorney general's office takes the position that the owner
is liable for damages and that Van Bree gave permission for
Cleveland Corp. to do work that led to the release of asbestos.
The complaint states that Cleveland was removing equipment,
which caused a building to collapse. The asbestos-wrapped pipes
had not been removed.

This is the second time Ms. Lautenschlager's office has taken
action against someone in connection with asbestos removal at
the old foundry. Last May she announced that Tad Ballantyne of
Racine, former co-owner of Racine Steel Castings, would pay
US$20,359 for violations of state asbestos handling regulations.
That settlement resulted from a separate event in a different
building than the one involving Mega-Van.

Mr. Ballantyne and his former partner, Jeff Renzoni, were the
last owners of Racine Steel Castings. In May 2002, with US$8
million in debt, they declared insolvency and closed the 110-
year-old foundry.  


ASBESTOS ALERT: Welder Files Suit in St. Clair V. 50 Defendants
---------------------------------------------------------------
A welder filed a lawsuit in St. Clair County last February 24
pursuing a claim against 50 defendants who manufactured
asbestos-containing products. He alleges that exposure to these
products caused his asbestos-related illness.

Luther Trammell was employed from 1972 to the present as a
welder at Keystone Steel & Wire in Peoria and as a laborer at
Millwright, an Illinois-based Company. During the course of his
employment, Mr. Trammell claims he was exposed to and inhaled,
ingested or otherwise absorbed large amounts of asbestos fibers
emanating from products he was working with or around.

According to the complaint, Mr. Trammell has been hindered and
prevented from pursuing his normal course of employment, thereby
losing large sums of money that otherwise he would have earned.
He was diagnosed with pleural thickening on Aug. 14, 2003.

The case accuses the defendants of willful and wanton
misconduct. He claims he has had to undergo costly medical
treatment and that he suffers great physical pain and mental
anguish as a result of his asbestos exposure.

Randy Gori of Goldenberg, Miller, Heller, & Antognoli in
Edwardsville, is representing Mr. Trammell. He is seeking at
least US$300,000 in compensatory damages, plus punitive and
exemplary damages.

"The defendants knew of or should have known that the asbestos
fibers contained in their products had a toxic, poisonous, and
highly deleterious effect upon the health of people inhaling,
ingesting, or otherwise absorbing them," the complaint states.


ASBESTOS ALERT: IA Workers Link Illness to Exposure at Work
-----------------------------------------------------------
Several months after health risks were uncovered in the Floyd
County Government Annex, two female employees have received
worker's compensation pay for medical problems and a third has
quit associated with exposure within the building.

The issue erupted last June when an employee of the Floyd County
Health Department reported finding potentially hazardous mold
and asbestos in the building. Inspectors for the Indiana
Department of Labor visited the building, parts of which date to
1878, and noted eight serious health risks.

In October the department cited the county for failing to meet
the deadlines it had set for fixing the problems. But it didn't
assess any penalties since its policy does not involve imposing
fines on public agencies.

Many of the immediate dangers cited by the health department
have been dealt with, at least on a temporary basis, sealing
some torn asbestos insulation and raising an electrical-junction
box off an often-wet basement floor.

County officials have repeatedly discussed buying a building to
which the 40 employees at the annex could be moved, or building
a new one.

"I hope they have a plan," said Floyd County Circuit Court Judge
J. Terrence Cody. "There's not going to be a quick fix, but
there needs to be a resolution of the problem."

Judge Cody is responsible for the probation department employees
who work in the annex, for the Youth Services employees and for
the young people who are housed in the Floyd County Youth
Shelter, which occupies a wing of the annex.

It is up to the county commissioners and council to find a
solution, Judge Cody said, adding that he is confident they
will.

Floyd County Auditor Teresa Plaiss said one employee who had
worked in the annex received worker's compensation payments for
two or three days earlier this year and then was moved to the
City-County Building in downtown New Albany. Another, she said,
is off work now and is receiving workers' comp benefits.

The employee who quit is Barbara Fible, aged 76, who said she
worked off and on for the county government as needed for
several years. She said that in October she was called to work
part-time for a few months in the Floyd County Community
Corrections office.

During her work there, she suffered respiratory problems
signaled by a really bad cough that didn't get better. On Nov.
23 she got a note from her doctor saying she should wear a mask
at work to prevent "lung irritation during mold and asbestos
removal" from the building. Instead of following the doctor's
orders, she decided that she didn't want to risk her health and
quit the job.

County Council members remain divided about what to do. They are
currently looking at options for a replacement of the building
and of the possibility of leasing space.


ASBESTOS ALERT: UK Village Hall Shuts Down Due to Asbestos Find
---------------------------------------------------------------
After workmen found asbestos in its basement, one of Wiltshire's
busiest village halls was forced to close last week, leaving a
host of community groups without a place to meet.

The hall committee described the contamination "a major
disaster" as it must now raise at least GBP30,000 before it can
reopen. Since it closed, it has left around 500 users of the
Memorial Hall, in Dilton Marsh near Westbury, at a loss as to
where it will hold their respective community meetings and
projects.

Aside from a playgroup and pensioners' day center, the hall also
holds dance and yoga classes as well as a group that caters to
children with learning disabilities.

Dilton Memorial Hall Chairman Nick Pearce said the group was
shocked to learn about the discovery of the deadly material. He
said, "It has caused the most almighty disruption. The trustees
had prudently fundraised and saved for nearly five years to
raise GBP10,500 to install gas central heating."

Midway through the job of installing the central heating,
British Gas workers detected the material that turned out to be
very old brown, blue and white asbestos.

Contractors would have to clear the asbestos and 22 tons of
suspect soil from its basement. The committee initially
anticipated the remediation costs would be up to GBP54,000, an
amount that means the hall needs the financial help of big
companies willing to provide grants.

Mr. Pearce said, "We've only just got our first proper quotation
so we are in a more realistic position to know what the costs
are. There are many options left open to us, but we are still
taking advice."

Anyone able to help the fundraising drive can contact Mr. Pearce
on 07767 888291 or write to Dilton Memorial Hall, c/o Tall
Trees, 2A High Street, Dilton Marsh, Westbury, BA13 4DS.


ASBESTOS ALERT: UT Road Project Head Named in 3-Count Indictment
----------------------------------------------------------------
The US Justice Department has cited a supervisor in a Utah road-
building corporation for failure to comply with work practice
standards in the disposal of asbestos and in controlling
emissions.

Alan Young was named in the three-count indictment for alleged
Clean Air Act violations at the Black Ridge Road Project.

The indictment said Mr. Young, serving in his capacity as
supervisor, allegedly directed the excavation and crushing of
water pipes containing asbestos at the Black Ridge Road Project
in St. George.

Asbestos is classified as a hazardous air pollutant, which may
cause various respiratory illnesses, even death.

The indictment alleges that Mr. Young directed other employees
of the corporation to withhold information from inspectors that
asbestos-containing material had been buried at the construction
site. When a federal investigator questioned Mr. Young, he
vehemently denied the material had been buried.

The maximum penalty for violating the act is five years and a
fine of US$250,000 per count, or twice the gross gain or loss
resulting from the offense.


ASBESTOS ALERT: HSE Seals Off UK Legion Club Under Renovation
-------------------------------------------------------------
An asbestos scare at a town center building prompted health
authorities to seal off the site and launch an immediate
investigation.

Health officials in protective clothing inspected the former
Royal British Legion Club after reports were received that a
suspicious substance was found at the Vauxhall premises. Owner
Paul Brookfield said he called in the Heath and Safety Executive
as a precautionary measure.

Licensed contractors sifted through waste materials outside the
club. Samples were taken away for analysis.

Mr. Brookfield said work had started on converting the former
club into a restaurant, cabaret venue and children's play area.
He claimed that he was following the appropriate procedures. He
added, " I was aware there was asbestos in the building like
there is in most old buildings."

An HSE spokesman said, "We have to make sure the asbestos is
managed and cleared appropriately. It has not yet been proven to
be asbestos but we'll continue to treat it as if it is. Our
investigation is ongoing and the site is to be cleared by the
contractors."


ASBESTOS ALERT: Ex-workers Bring Claims V. Dunlop Semtex, Zurich
----------------------------------------------------------------
Hundreds of former employees of a south Wales factory are taking
legal action after developing asbestos-related illnesses. They
are pursuing compensation claims for exposure to asbestos more
than 20 years after the plant closed down.

More than 100 people who worked at the Dunlop Semtex factory in
Brynmawr have already been awarded compensation, ranging from
GBP5,000 to GBP36,000 for chest problems.

The factory, which was built in the 1950s, was closed in 1982
and demolished in 2001. The factory, a landmark building said to
have inspired the Sydney Opera House, was once a major employer
in the area. Dunlop Semtex, which used to employ around 600
people, made floor tiles, carpet underlay and pipe lagging lined
with asbestos to make them fire-resistant.

Insurance firm Zurich, which is handling claims on behalf of
Dunlop Semtex, has said it is trying to settle claims as quickly
as possible.

Roy Williams worked for the Company between 1963 and 1974 and
regularly handled asbestos. He now suffers from thickening of
the lining of his lungs. He uses inhalers and a nebulizer four
times a day to help him breathe.

"There was asbestos everywhere, floating in the air all the
time," he said. "After the factory inspectors came, they brought
the mask in - only a paper thing with an elastic band on it.
They used to pay us a penny an hour - eight pence a shift - to
wear them."

Another former worker looking to pursue a claim is Des Hillman,
aged 56, from Nantyglo, who spent more than ten years as an
employee until 1981. He suffers from an ache in his chest and is
prone to frequent chest colds.

Mr. Hillman, a Blaenau Gwent county councilor, said he knew men
who worked at the plant who had died from asbestosis. He said,
"I worked on the production line for 12 to 13 years and I
remember there being clouds of asbestos in the factory."

"There was the odd occasion when people from the laboratories
used to come out in their space suits to test the levels," Mr.
Hillman added.

Dr. Philip Edben, a chest consultant at Swansea's Singleton
Hospital said, "We expect to see these [cases] rising over the
next 20 years. The reason is that it can take up to 30 or 40
years to develop the problem. Many of these workers were exposed
that time ago."  


ASBESTOS ALERT: Routine Inspection Detects Asbestos on UK Beach
---------------------------------------------------------------
Nearby residents and environmentalists called for immediate
action after a routine inspection by South Tyneside Council
workers revealed asbestos on South Shields' most popular beach.
Plans are now under way to remove as much of the surface rubble
and glass as possible before the area is covered by more sand as
a temporary fix while the council works out what to do with the
area, which is a landscaped landfill site.

Building materials, demolition rubble and broken glass were left
exposed in the dunes at Sandhaven Beach, following high winds
and heavy seas. It is not known how long the cement-bonded
asbestos, the kind typically found in roofing, has been open to
the elements.

A spokeswoman for the council, which is also dealing with
poisons and asbestos in the ground further along the coast at
another former landfill site at Trow Rocks, insisted there is no
immediate health risk at Sandhaven.

She said, "We are now working to remove any further debris, and
carrying out more detailed digging to establish what materials
were used in the landfill and how best to prevent the problem
reoccurring."

The area's branch of Friends of the Earth said the council must
act immediately with the find on Sandhaven beach. The group
cited the urgency of the situation since the beach is open to
the public and heavily used for most of the year.

Spokesman Bryan Atkinson said, "South Tyneside Council has known
about asbestos at Trow Quarry for at least six years, and still
nothing firm has been done about it, which is totally
unacceptable."

The find has also angered residents who are already concerned
about the situation at Trow. Some of the residents are lamenting
the possibility that countless people have been exposed over the
years, including children who dig in the sand.


ASBESTOS ALERT: HI Police Station Urged to Close Due to Risks
-------------------------------------------------------------
The state police union is asking Honolulu police for the
immediate closure of the Chinatown substation in light of
possible lead, asbestos and mold contamination.

In a letter written by Norman Kato II, general counsel for the
State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, to the police
department, he states that the union has "become aware" of
"serious health and safety issues" at the Chinatown police
substation, on the corner of Maunakea and North Hotel streets.

At the request of the police department, an investigator with
the state Department of Health conducted a preliminary
investigation at the substation and determined that there was no
immediate need for officers to leave, said health department
spokeswoman Janice Okubo. The formal report will be filed at the
end of the week.

Capt. Frank Fujii, HPD spokesman, said all asbestos was removed
from the building in 2000 and that the department plans on
asking the city to have a contractor come in and test the air-
conditioning system for mold.

Capt. Fujii said, "Employee and public safety are the
department's top priorities and we do not believe that anyone is
at risk at this time." He asserted that the department has no
plans to transfer the officers from the substation or close it
at this time.

The letter from the union was written in response to lead paint
that was detected on the second floor of the substation about
two weeks ago, police said.

Lt. Alexander Garcia, chairman of the union's O'ahu chapter,
said a lieutenant from the substation tested some paint, which
turned out to contain lead, from a hole in the wall that was
opened during renovations. He said the union wants to be sure
that the first floor as well as the ventilation system is not
contaminated.

"There may be nothing there, but until we test it we don't
know," said Lt. Garcia.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Labor Dept Orders Longley-Jones to Redo Cleanup
---------------------------------------------------------------
State Labor Department officials are demanding that a Syracuse
Company, which was accused of illegal asbestos removal at a city
apartment complex, go back and conduct a new cleanup to finish
the job properly.

Longley-Jones Management Corp. will be removing 6,000 linear
feet of asbestos inside four buildings at Vincent Apartments on
Roney Lane. The Company also must conduct a new cleanup of
asbestos found inside four buildings at Springfield Garden
apartments on Caton Drive in DeWitt.

Jean Genovese, a Labor Department spokeswoman in Albany, said,
"They need to properly remove any debris that contained
asbestos."

The cleanups come in the midst of a state and federal
investigation into Longley-Jones Management Corp.'s handling of
asbestos. The probe began in November when investigators
received an anonymous tip about illegal asbestos work at Vincent
Apartments.

Longley-Jones Management Corp., one of the largest property
management companies in upstate New York, was cited for four
serious violations of state regulations, punishable by fines up
to US$15,000. The Company disturbed asbestos without a license,
failed to use asbestos-certified workers to remove the material,
failed to conduct air sampling during the work and failed to
conduct air monitoring for the cancer-causing asbestos
particles.

The state Labor Department, which oversees asbestos-removal
contractors, had discovered asbestos stored in a basement area
at Vincent Apartments. Ms. Genovese said officials are trying to
assess whether there were asbestos problems at other properties
managed by Longley-Jones.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency also launched a joint probe into
the firm.

Longley-Jones referred questions to the Company's lawyers at
Hiscock & Barclay, who said the Company intends to continue
cooperating with the investigation. Lawyer Gerald Whalen however
stated they were not in a position to comment on an ongoing
investigation. He emphasized that Longley-Jones is cooperating
fully in the investigation.

Mr. Whalen said the cleanup at Springfield Garden "is related to
the overall investigation," but he refused to comment on the
costs involved or to elaborate further.

Longley-Jones hired Abscope Environmental, of Canastota, to do
the work, according to Labor Department records.


Company Profile:

Longley Jones Management Corp.
1010 James Street
Syracuse, NY 13203
Phone (315) 424-0200
Fax (315) 424-0245
Toll-Free (800) 733-3664
http://www.longley-jones.com/

Description:
Longley Jones has been recognized as the largest, independently
owned real estate Company throughout Central New York and its
surrounding communities. It manages more than 8,500 apartment
units throughout the region.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Paper Shredder Firm Pays Costs of Contamination
---------------------------------------------------------------
Five years after W.R. Grace & Co. moved out of its Hamilton, New
Jersey insulation plant, the current occupant is paying the high
costs of finding asbestos contamination left on the grounds.

Stephen Mandarano, owner of the paper shredding Company Accurate
Document Destruction Inc., said the issues raised recently about
the history of the site and the asbestos contamination that lay
hidden for years could cost his Company more than US$100,000.

"I have to concern myself with what has been thrown on me but
also with what my responsibilities are at this point," he said.

The Company decided to move into the former Zonolite factory
armed with written assurance from officials of the state
Department of Environmental Protection that the property had
been cleaned and no health threat remained. On Nov. 15, 1995,
the state agency issued a "No further action" designation after
a consultant hired by W.R. Grace assured agency officials no
threat remained in the building.

Recent tests by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency show
levels of asbestos on the grounds as high as 40 percent, a huge
difference from the concentrations reported by the consultant,
which ranged from .03 percent to 1 percent.

The contamination was a result of years of processing asbestos-
containing vermiculite used as insulation in homes. The material
was shipped to the Grace plant in Hamilton and 28 other
facilities nationwide from a mine in Libby, Montana.

The contamination has since been cleared from the property last
year when the EPA ordered 9,000 tons of dirt removed.

Mr. Mandarano has incurred costs in thousand of dollars in legal
fees and in payroll costs for employees who refused to work
after news of the plant's history appeared.

The dilemma doesn't end there; as his future costs could
escalate further when he deals with insurance companies who may
decide that the asbestos exposure that his employees might have
had is a risk that will add to the Company's premiums. His
workers' compensation insurance alone could go up by as much as
US$100,000, but all of his employees have a right to be tested,
he said. The legal fees also will continue to mount, he said,
and that is before anybody decides to sue his Company.

Asked about the study, DEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell called
the report "completely unacceptable." He explained that standard
practice allows the Company responsible for the cleanup to
conduct the environmental investigation. In recent years, the
agency has looked closer into this practice and would regularly
audit reports and require follow-up sampling.

A more alarming thought is if the tons of shredded material,
which he ships out for recycling each year, contained asbestos.
"There could be a huge trickle-down effect here," he said.


Company Profile:

Accurate Document Destruction, Inc.
35 Industrial Drive
Hamilton, New Jersey 08619
Phone: (609) 584-8811
Fax: (609) 586-8450
http://www.accurateshredding.com/

Description:
Accurate Document Destruction Inc. serves the Greater New York
Area, Delaware, New Jersey and Philadelphia areas with on-site
mobile and off-site plant based destruction services.



                   New Securities Fraud Cases

DELPHI CORPORATION: Brian M. Felgoise Lodges NY Securities Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Brian M. Felgoise, P.C. filed a securities
class action on behalf of shareholders who acquired Delphi
Corporation (NYSE: DPH) securities between January 17, 2001 and
March 3, 2005, inclusive (the Class Period).

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York, against the Company and certain
key officers and directors.

The action charges that defendants violated the 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 Brian M. Felgoise, Esq. by Mail: 261
Old York Road, Suite 423, Jenkintown, PA 19046 by Phone:
(215) 886-1900 or by E-mail: FelgoiseLaw@aol.com.  


DELPHI CORPORATION: Kaplan Fox Files Securities Fraud Suit in MI
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP initiated a class
action suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Michigan against Delphi Corporation ("Delphi" or the
"Company") (NYSE: DPH) and certain of its officers and
directors, on behalf of all persons or entities who purchased
the publicly traded securities of Delphi between April 12, 2000
and March 3, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint alleges that during the proposed Class Period
defendants issued a series of materially false and misleading
statements about the Company's financial results that caused
Delphi's shares to trade at artificially inflated levels.

On March 4, 2005 Delphi disclosed, among other things, that

     (1) certain transactions involving the receipt of rebates,
         credits or other lump-sum payments from suppliers
         ("Rebate Transactions") and off-balance sheet financing
         of certain indirect materials and inventory were
         accounted for improperly;

     (2) the resignation of the Company's Vice Chairman and
         Chief Financial Officer; and

     (3) disclosed the findings of the Company's Audit Committee
         investigation to date.

Delphi stated that "the magnitude of the errors and the
preliminary conclusions reached to date with respect to the
transactions under review led the Audit Committee to conclude
that the audited financial statements and related independent
auditors' reports for 2001 and subsequent periods as a result of
the unwinding of the improperly recorded transactions, should no
longer be relied upon and a restatement will be required."

The Company also noted that "the internal investigation is not
complete, . . . additional transactions are under examination,
and it is possible that the review will determine that they were
not properly recorded and that previously issued financial
statements for other periods may require additional
corrections."

In reaction to Delphi's disclosures, on March 4, 2005, shares of
Delphi, fell $0.91 per share, or 14.29%, to close at $5.46 per
share on unusually high trading volume.

For more details, visit their Web site: http://
www.kaplanfox.com.


ELAN CORPORATION: Stull Stull Lodges Securities Suit Fraud in MA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Stull, Stull & Brody initiated a class action
lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the
District of Massachusetts, against Elan Corporation, PLC ("Elan"
or the "Company") (NYSE:ELN) on behalf of purchasers of Elan
securities between February 18, 2004 and February 25, 2005,
inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Elan and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder. Elan is engaged in the development and
commercialization of TYSABRI, a vaccine designed to treat
patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), slowing the progression
of the disease and reducing incidents of relapses. Throughout
the Class Period, defendants caused Elan to make a number of
positive statements about the status of its clinical trials and
the commercial potential of TYSABRI, causing Elan's stock to
trade at artificially inflated prices. The Complaint alleges
that Elan violated federal securities laws by issuing false or
misleading information. Specifically, defendants failed to
disclose and misrepresented the following material adverse
facts:

     (1) that TYSABRI(r) (natalizumab), a monoclonal antibody
         for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis ("MS"), posed
         serious immune-system side effects;

     (2) that TYSABRI, like other MS drugs, made patients
         susceptible to progressive multifocal
         leukoencephalopathy ("PML") by changing the way certain
         white blood cells function, thereby allowing PML, a
         normally dormant virus, to run rampant within the human
         body;

     (3) that defendants knew and/or recklessly disregarded
         documented facts that MS drugs can cause greater
         incidents of PML to occur; and

     (4) that defendants concealed these facts in order to fast
         track TYSABRI for FDA approval so that they could reap
         the financial benefits from the sales of the drug.

On February 28, 2005, Elan shocked the market by reporting that
they were withdrawing TYSABRI from the market following reports
of patients contracting PML, with at least one instance
resulting in death. The announcement caused Elan's shares to
plummet, declining over 70% to approximately $8 per share on
February 28, 2005.

For more details, contact Tzivia Brody, Esq. of Stull, Stull &
Brody by Phone: 1-800-337-4983 by Fax: 212/490-2022 or by E-
mail: SSBNY@aol.com or visit their Web site:
http://www.ssbny.com.


IMERGENT INC.: Brian M. Felgoise Lodges Securities Suit in UT
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Brian M. Felgoise, P.C. filed a securities
class action on behalf of shareholders who acquired iMergent,
Inc. (AMEX: IIG) securities between November 30, 2004 and
February 25, 2005, inclusive (the Class Period).

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
District of Utah, against the Company and certain key officers
and directors.

The action charges that defendants violated the 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 Brian M. Felgoise, Esq. by Mail: 261
Old York Road, Suite 423, Jenkintown, PA 19046 by Phone:
(215) 886-1900 or by E-mail: FelgoiseLaw@aol.com.  


IMERGENT INC.: Schatz & Nobel Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in UT
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Schatz & Nobel, P.C. initiated a lawsuit seeking
class action status has been filed in the United States District
Court for the District of Utah on behalf of all persons who
purchased the publicly traded securities of iMergent, Inc.
(Amex: IIG) ("iMergent") between November 30, 2004 and February
25, 2005 (the "Class Period").

The Complaint alleges that iMergent, a Company that sells
Internet merchant services through its StoresOnline, Inc.
subsidiary, violated federal securities laws by issuing
misleading information. Specifically, iMergent concealed that
its sales practices violated the laws of many of the states it
operated in and failed to disclose the extent to which
installment contracts with its clients were uncollectable.

On February 22, 2005, the Texas Attorney General filed suit
against iMergent, its Chairman, Donald L. Danks ("Danks"), and
its President, Brandon B. Lewis, alleging StoresOnline.com, was
selling defective software and service packages and extorting
thousands of dollars in additional "executive mentoring" fees
from its customers when the software packages were unusable.
Danks admitted on February 25, 2005, that iMergent had been
selling the software packages in installment contracts to
customers with subprime credit. Many of these customers had
little success with iMergent's software and ignored their
contractual obligations. Danks admitted that only approximately
56% of the purchase price was eventually collected from these
customers. As a result, iMergent's stock plummeted to below $12
per share on March 1, 2005, when trading was halted. During the
Class Period, while iMergent shares traded at over $25 per share
as result of defendants' false statements, iMergent insiders
sold more than $6.5 million worth of their own shares.

For more details, contact Wayne T. Boulton or Nancy A. Kulesa by
Phone: (800) 797-5499 by E-mail: sn06106@aol.com or visit their
Web site: http://www.snlaw.net.


INSPIRE PHARMACEUTICALS: Brian M. Felgoise Files NC Stock Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Brian M. Felgoise, P.C. filed a securities
class action on behalf of shareholders who acquired Inspire
Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ISPH) securities between June 2,
2004 and February 8, 2005, inclusive (the Class Period).

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
Middle District of North Carolina, against the Company and
certain key officers and directors.

The action charges that defendants violated the 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 Brian M. Felgoise, Esq. by Mail: 261
Old York Road, Suite 423, Jenkintown, PA 19046 by Phone:
(215) 886-1900 or by E-mail: FelgoiseLaw@aol.com.  


MAMMA.COM INC.: Wechsler Harwood Lodges Securities Suit in NY
-------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Wechsler Harwood LLP initiated a Federal
Securities fraud class action suit on behalf of all purchasers
of the common stock of Mamma.com, Inc. ("Mamma.com" or the
"Company") (Nasdaq:MAMA) from March 2, 2004 through and February
16, 2005, both dates inclusive (the "Class Period").

The action, entitled Scanga v. Mamma.com Inc., et al., Case No.
(not yet assigned), is pending in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York, and names as
defendants, the Company, its Executive Chairman, David Goldman,
and its President and Chief Executive Officer, Guy Faure. A copy
of the Complaint can be obtained from the Court or can be viewed
on Wechsler Harwood web site at: www.whesq.com

The Complaint charges defendants with violations of Sections
10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule
10b-5 promulgated thereunder. Specifically, the Complaint
alleges that defendants issued a series of materially false and
misleading statements contained in press releases and filings
with the Securities and Exchange Commission during the Class
Period. Mamma.com provides information retrieval on the Internet
through its metasearch engine, www.mamma.com. The Company
derives its revenues from two sources, including search services
and banner advertising services, with customers located in the
United States and Canada. According to the Complaint, the
defendants failed to disclose and misrepresented the following
material adverse facts known to defendants or recklessly
disregarded by them:

     (1) that Irving Kott ("Kott"), a legendary Canadian stock
         promoter with a long history of stock manipulation, had
         a significant undisclosed interest in the Company;

     (2) that Kott and his associates were manipulating the
         Company's stock price by engaging in a classic "pump
         and dump" scheme to defraud; and

     (3) that the Company itself was manipulating its financial
         results in order to maintain its artificially inflated
         share price so that the "pump and dump" scheme would
         endure.

Additionally, the Complaint alleges that during the Class
Period, and with its stock trading at artificially inflated
levels, the Company was able to acquire Digitalarrow LLC and
High Performance Broadcasting Inc. (collectively "Digital
Arrow") for $1,050,000 and the issuance of 90,000 common shares
of Mamma.com, and was able to enter into a letter of intent
("LOI") whereby Mamma.com would acquire all of the shares of
Copernic Technologies for a combination of cash and shares of
Mamma.com. Moreover, the Company was able to raise $16.6 million
through a private placement while its shares traded at
artificially inflated levels.

Trading of Mamma.com shares was halted midday, February 16,
2005. Shortly thereafter, Mamma.com announced that it had been
unable to reach an agreement on the terms of the audit
engagement with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP ("PWC") for the year
ended December 31, 2004. Accordingly, PWC would not act as the
Company's independent auditor for the audit of the Company's
financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2004. News
of this sent the stock into a downward spiral. Shares of
Mamma.com fell $2.02 per share, or 32.27% to close at $4.25 per
share.

For more details, contact Wechsler Harwood LLP by Mail: 488
Madison Avenue, 8th Floor, New York, New York 10022 by Phone:
(877) 935-7400 or by E-mail: clowther@whesq.com.


VEECO INSTRUMENTS: Cohen Milstein Lodges Securities Suit in NY
--------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C.
initiated a lawsuit on behalf of its client and on behalf of
other similarly situated purchasers of the securities of Veeco
Instruments, Inc. ("Veeco" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: VECO)
between April 26, 2004 and February 10, 2005, inclusive (the
"Class Period"), in the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of New York.

The action is against defendants Veeco, Edward Braun (CEO and
Chairman) and John Rein (CFO). According to the complaint,
defendants violated sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange
Act, and Rule 10b-5, by issuing a series of material
misrepresentations to the market during the Class Period.

Veeco designs, manufactures, markets and services a broad line
of equipment primarily used by manufacturers in the data storage
and semiconductors industry. Prior to the start of the Class
Period, on November 3, 2003, the Company announced the
acquisition of Emcore Corporation's TurboDisc(R) Metal Organic
Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) business. Throughout the Class
Period, defendants issued numerous positive statements and filed
quarterly reports with the SEC which described the Company's
increasing financial performance due in part to the success of
its TurboDisc division. In fact, defendants reported that the
Company exceeded its quarterly guidance for the first and second
quarters of 2004.

The suit alleges that these statements were materially false and
misleading because they failed to disclose and misrepresented
the following adverse facts, among others:

     (1) Veeco, at all relevant times lacked adequate internal
         controls and, therefore, defendants' class-period
         statements with respect to Veeco's financial condition
         and performance were unreliable;

     (2) Veeco overstated its net revenue for the first three
         quarters of 2004 by at least $7.5 million; and

     (3) Veeco's financial statements were not prepared in
         accordance with GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting
         Principles)

Then, on February 11, 2005, Veeco announced that it would delay
releasing its fourth-quarter and yearly results while it
examines improper accounting at its TurboDisc division.
According to the press release, the Company's investigation is
focusing mainly on the value of inventory, accounts payable and
certain revenue items. Following this news, shares of the
Company's stock fell $1.90 per share, or almost 10%, to close at
$16.96 per share, on unusually heavy trading volume.

For more details, contact Steven J. Toll, Esq. or Elena Takacs
of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C. by Mail: 1100 New
York Avenue, N.W. West Tower - Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20005
by Phone: (888) 240-0775 or (202) 408-4600 or by E-mail:
stoll@cmht.com or etakacs@cmht.com.


VIISAGE TECHNOLOGY: Brian M. Felgoise Lodges Stock Suit in MA
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Brian M. Felgoise, P.C. filed a securities
class action on behalf of shareholders who acquired Viisage
Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: VISG) securities between October 25,
2004 and March 2, 2005, inclusive (the Class Period).

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
District of Massachusetts, against the Company and certain key
officers and directors.

The action charges that defendants violated the 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 Brian M. Felgoise, Esq. by Mail: 261
Old York Road, Suite 423, Jenkintown, PA 19046 by Phone:
(215) 886-1900 or by E-mail: FelgoiseLaw@aol.com.  


VIISAGE TECHNOLOGIES: Schatz & Nobel Files Securities Suit in MA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Schatz & Nobel, P.C. initiated a lawsuit seeking
class action in the United States District Court for the
District of Massachusetts on behalf of all persons who purchased
the publicly traded securities of Viisage Technology, Inc.
(Nasdaq: VISG) ("Viisage") between October 25, 2004 and March 2,
2005, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The Complaint alleges that Viisage violated federal securities
laws by issuing false or misleading information. Specifically,
Viisage borrowed funds from its controlling shareholder, and was
in dire need of a credit line adequate to finance its ongoing
business needs. In order to secure such credit, the defendants
engaged in a scheme to artificially engineer a profit in the
third quarter of 2004, and made earnings projections known by
them to be baseless. The third quarter profit, which was
reported on October 25, 2004, was only made possible through
various accounting manipulations, whereby certain assets were
prematurely recognized, while certain expenses were artificially
deferred from the third quarter of 2004 into the fourth quarter
of 2004.

On February 27, 2005, defendants disclosed numerous fourth
quarter charges and a significant asset impairment, all of which
returned Viisage to substantial unprofitability. On this news,
Viisage stock fell over 20%. Then, on March 2, 2005, defendants
announced that Viisage had a "material weakness" in its internal
financial controls, and that BDO Seidman LLP, the Company's
external accounting firm, would issue an adverse opinion with
respect to the effectiveness of the Company's internal controls
over financial reporting. As a result, the stock plummeted an
additional 20%, to close at $4.50 on March 3, 2005.

For more details, contact Wayne T. Boulton or Nancy A. Kulesa by
Phone: (800) 797-5499 by E-mail: sn06106@aol.com or visit their
Web site: http://www.snlaw.net.


                            *********


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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Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick, Maryland
USA.   Glenn Ruel Senorin, Aurora Fatima Antonio and Lyndsey
Resnick, Editors.

Copyright 2004.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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