CAR_Public/050401.mbx             C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

              Friday, April 1, 2005, Vol. 7, No. 64

                         Headlines

ALAMOSA HOLDINGS: N.D. TX Court Dismisses Consolidated Lawsuits
AMERADA HESS: Working To Settle Securities Fraud Lawsuits in NJ
ARKANSAS: Faces Amended Complaint Over 2001 Carbon Monoxide Leak
ARKANSAS: NWACC Trustees Vote To Settle Amendment 59 Tax Lawsuit
ARTHUR ANDERSEN: WorldCom Securities Fraud Case Begins in NY

BEAZER HOMES: Records $40M Extra Charges For IN Mold Settlement
CELLCO PARTNERSHIP: NY Dismiss Monopolization Claims in Lawsuit
CELLCO PARTNERSHIP: Faces Consumer Fraud Suits in OH, NY Courts
CELLCO PARTNERSHIP: Seeks Dismissal of Personal Injury Lawsuits
CELLCO PARTNERSHIP: Court Yet To Rule on Suit Dismissal Appeal

CELLCO PARTNERSHIP: Continues To Face Consumer Suits in CA, FL
CELLCO PARTNERSHIP: Added As Defendant in IL 911 Calls Complaint
DUN & BRADSTREET: CT Court Allows Filing of Amended ERISA Suit
E-COMMERCE EXCHANGE: Consumers Launch Antitrust Fraud Suit in CA
FIRST HORIZON: Trial in Loan Origination Fees Suit Set June 2005

GENENCOR INTERNATIONAL: Reaches Settlement For DE Investor Suit
GUAM: Taxpayers' Motion To Enter Mediation in ETIC Case Denied
HERBALIFE INTERNATIONAL: Reaches CA Distributor Suit Settlement
HERBALIFE INTERNATIONAL: TCPA Lawsuit Remanded to WV State Court
HERBALIFE INTERNATIONAL: Belgian Group Files Suit V. MLM System

HOOVER'S INC.: NY Court Preliminarily Approves Stock Suit Pact
INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: Plaintiffs Added To Personal Injury Suit
JP MORGAN: Win Dismissal Of Shareholders' Claims Over Enron Role
MAINE: Widow Launches Fourth Complaint in Brain Harvesting Case
MPOWER HOLDING: Sales Representatives File Labor Violations Suit

PENNSYLVANIA: Jury Awards Utah Pondimin Users $5.5M in Damages
RITE AID: Judge Awards $31M in Fees To Plaintiffs' Attorneys
SEI INVESTMENTS: Faces Mutual Fund Fraud Suit Filed In MD Court
UNITEDGLOBALCOM INC.: DE Court Consolidates Suits V. LMI Merger
WASHINGTON: Fired Librarians Launch Complaint V. King County

WHIRLPOOL CORPORATION: Recalls 40T Toasters Due To Fire Hazard

                       Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: After 93 Dismissed Cases, Moen to Face 130
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Miss. Supreme Court Orders Separate Trials
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: SC Grants Almost $200T to Former BHP Worker
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: UIC, Detroit Stoker Named in 21,124 Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Chiquita Faces 8 Claims for Seamen's Injury

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CA Coastal Reaches Agreement with Dresser
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Ladish Co. Named in 68 Suits in MS, 2 in IL
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Oregon Bldg. Tenants Await EPA Test Results
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Georgia Votes To Restrict Asbestos Lawsuits
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Argonaut Reports Adequate Reserves in 4Q04

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: 2004 Settlements Affect Everest's Cash Flow
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Chubb Corp. Handles 850 Outstanding Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Tenneco Automotive Faces Exposure Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: PMA Capital Sets Aside $27.9M Loss Reserves
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Foster Wheeler Blames Losses on NY Ruling

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Bunge Ltd Faces Claims from French Facility
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: INDM Records US$6.4Mil Net Loss Reserves
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: OfficeMax, Subsidiaries Face Injury Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Aborigines to Seek Compensation from Hardie
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ABB to Pay US$232Mil More to Settle Suits

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: General Motors Confronts Increasing Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Bowater Opposes 256 Personal Injury Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Watts Water Tackles Cases in MS, NJ Courts
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Bayer Aktiengesellschaft Cites U.S. Risks
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Transatlantic Holdings Posts $85M Reserves

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Viacom Inc. Battles 112,140 Pending Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Inspectors Find Risk in First Nations Homes
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Cleanup of WR Grace Plant Begins on April 5
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Equitas to Pay US$415Mil to Settle Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Federal-Mogul Settles Claims for US$29Mil

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: EPA Cleanup Meets Resistance from Residents
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CA Jury Awards $8.6M in Favor of Machinist
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Orders 2-Year Imprisonment for Fraud
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Merger Aims to Push the Fight for Victims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Insurers Urge Others to Block Asbestos Fund

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Sealed Air's Cryovac Claims Stay Unresolved
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Wolseley Reports No Major Change in Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: North Safety Products Faces 858 Lawsuits
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Widow Settles with British Railways Board
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Exposure from Roofing Fuels Schools' Fears

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: LA Court Rejects Motion to Remand GE Case
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: BNS Co Continues Defense Against 538 Claims
ASBESTOS ALERT: UK Council Pledges to Inspect Homes for Asbestos
ASBESTOS ALERT: UK Agency Imposes GBP900 Fine on Building Firm
ASBESTOS ALERT: Inspector Fears Health Risks in Ohio College

ASBESTOS ALERT: NE County Investigates Illegal Asbestos Dumping
ASBESTOS ALERT: Alarm Sounded Over UK Council's Lack of Action
ASBESTOS ALERT: Inquest Shows Joiner Died of Industrial Disease
ASBESTOS ALERT: Family Claims UK Council Exposed Them to Risks
ASBESTOS ALERT: CA Court Awards US$140,000 to Couple V. Caltrans

ASBESTOS ALERT: CA Fire May Have Exposed Occupants to Asbestos
ASBESTOS ALERT: Jury Awards US$2.245Mil to Caterpillar Employee
ASBESTOS ALERT: Aviall Discloses Two Pending Asbestos Lawsuits
ASBESTOS ALERT: Advance Auto Parts Named in Exposure Lawsuits
ASBESTOS ALERT: Court Holds Site Owners Not Liable for Exposure

ASBESTOS ALERT: Court Keeps Compensation Denial to DuPont Worker
ASBESTOS ALERT: NY Appeals Court Dismisses Suit V. Hardie-Tynes
ASBESTOS ALERT: Kaman Corp. Confronted with 43 Legal Proceedings

                  New Securities Fraud Cases

APPLIED SIGNAL: Baron & Budd Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CA
CHOICEPOINT INC.: Cohen Milstein Lodges Securities Suit in GA
DELPHI CORPORATION: Glancy Binkow Lodges Securities Fraud in NY
ELECTRONIC ARTS: Goldman Scarlato Lodges Securities Suit in CA
ELECTRONIC ARTS: Marc S. Henzel Files Securities Suit in N.D. CA

GENERAL MOTORS: Charles J. Piven Launches ERISA Complaint in MI
MOLEX INC.: Cohen Milstein Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in IL
MOLEX INC.: Marc S. Henzel Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in IL
SINA CORPORATION: Wechsler Harwood Lodges Securities Suit in NY
VIISAGE TECHNOLOGY: Seeger Weiss Lodges Securities Suit in MA

                          *********

ALAMOSA HOLDINGS: N.D. TX Court Dismisses Consolidated Lawsuits
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Northern District of
Texas has entered an order dismissing all the claims against
Alamosa Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ/NM: APCS) and certain of its
Company's officers and directors in the shareholder class action
lawsuit filed in November 2003 and later consolidated with other
similar federal lawsuits.

The lawsuits asserted violations of the federal securities laws
and sought damages against the Company and certain Company
officers and directors relating to a decline in the Company's
stock price during 2002. The Court's opinion carefully examined
all of the allegations in the consolidated complaint and
determined they stated no viable claim against any defendant.
The Court also denied the plaintiffs' request to amend their
pleadings.

"We are extremely pleased that the Court has entered its order
to dismiss this lawsuit against Alamosa and its officers and
directors as we have always maintained that the claims were
frivolous and without merit," said David E. Sharbutt, Chairman &
CEO, Alamosa Holdings, Inc. "The final dismissal of this lawsuit
is a welcome outcome and will help us re-deploy our time,
efforts and resources toward building long-term value for all of
our stakeholders."


AMERADA HESS: Working To Settle Securities Fraud Lawsuits in NJ
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
has yet to rule on Amerada Hess Corporation's motion to dismiss
the consolidated class action filed against it and certain of
its current and former executive officers, styled "In re Amerada
Hess Corporation Securities Litigation."  The suit alleges that
these individuals sold shares of the Company's common stock in
advance of its acquisition of Triton Energy Limited (Triton) in
2001 in violation of federal securities laws.

In April 2003, the Company and the other defendants filed a
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and failure to
plead fraud with particularity.  On March 31, 2004, the court
granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint.  The
plaintiffs were granted leave to file an amended complaint.
Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint in June 2004.  In August
2004, defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiffs amended
complaint.

Two other purported class actions, based in large part on the
same factual background, were commenced in May and August 2003
and were consolidated under a complaint captioned "Falk et. al.
v. Amerada Hess Corporation, et. al." in the United States
District Court for the District of New Jersey against certain
named executive officers, certain directors and former directors
and certain employees of the Company on behalf of participants
in the Company's savings and stock bonus plans, alleging that
the defendants breached their fiduciary duties under the
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), resulting in
losses to participants in the plan who held shares of the
Company's common stock.

The Company and the other defendants moved to dismiss these
actions in December 2003.  This motion was denied in May 2004.
The Company has reached a tentative settlement of these actions,
subject to approval of the District Court.  The Company is
advancing expenses to these individuals in accordance with its
By-Laws to defend these actions.


ARKANSAS: Faces Amended Complaint Over 2001 Carbon Monoxide Leak
----------------------------------------------------------------
An amended class action complaint was filed in Washington County
Circuit Court in the case involving Juan C. Hernandez, Dalia
Hernandes et al, against several defendants related to a carbon
monoxide leak in a Springdale apartment complex last year, the
Northwest Arkansas Times reports.  The amendment adds defendants
Mart T. and Jennifer Raabe as well as Arkansas Western Gas Co.

Other defendants in the case include Walling Development, former
owner of the apartments, owners Simpson Housing Solutions Inc.,
Deer Run Limited Partnership, Fox Run Limited Partnership and
Affordable Multi-Family, as well as Heather Hardcastle,
apartment manager, construction companies Atlas Construction of
Arkansas, Devcon Enterprises Inc., L&L Plumbing and Heating
Inc., former management company, Pinnacle Development and
project manager Architecture Design and Development.

The case centers on carbon monoxide exposure at Spring Ridge
Apartments in Springdale with the plaintiffs' list also
including several other people "similarly situated." Those
include former and current residents of Springdale Ridge
Apartments I and II.  The suit alleges that Springdale Fire
Department officials found high levels of carbon monoxide in
most of the complex's 192 units on August 10, after the landlord
had been notified of residents' complaints.


ARKANSAS: NWACC Trustees Vote To Settle Amendment 59 Tax Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
In a recent special meeting, the Northwest Arkansas Community
College Board of Trustees voted to offer $603,342 to settle a
1997 class-action lawsuit that claims the school received more
taxes than it should have, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette
reports.  In that meeting, the trustees unanimously endorsed a
proposal from attorney Glenn Kelley to offer a settlement to
plaintiffs in the Benton County Amendment 59 lawsuit.

Court documents revealed that the Bentonville-based community
college was one of several taxing entities sued by a group of
Benton County taxpayers seeking the rollback of millage rates
and the refund of taxes collected in excess of amounts permitted
by Amendment 59 of the state constitution.  According to
experts, Amendment 59 caps at 10 percent the increase in tax
revenues each school district, local government or tax recipient
can get from a countywide appraisal. It excludes improvements to
land, new construction and newly discovered real property.

Taxpayers in the suit asked the community college to pay back
$9.9 million in excess taxes collected between 1991 and 2003. At
the meeting, trustees said that offering a settlement is the
correct action.  Trustee Howard Slinkard, told the Arkansas
Democrat Gazette "We not only should give it back, we have a
duty to give it back. It seems like the reasonable, appropriate
thing to do."

The settlement amount was drawn from one half of the sum of
property taxes assessed in 1996 with a 6 percent interest rate,
Mr. Kelley, an attorney at the Kelley Law Firm in Rogers, told
the Democrat Gazette.  He also said that there would be some
negotiating before the settlement is finalized. The Arkansas
Department of Finance and Administration and a Benton County
judge also must approve any agreement. He emphasized that the
community college engaged in a lengthy legal battle fighting the
case, which was previously dismissed by a Benton County Circuit
Court judge. Plaintiffs appealed twice to the Arkansas Supreme
Court, which remanded the case back to trial court.

Judges reserved four weeks to hear the case, which was scheduled
to start April 26. "This isn't a case that was filed last week
and the college is throwing in the towel and saying we give up,"
Mr. Kelley added.

Lowell, Benton County and the school districts in Bentonville,
Rogers, Siloam Springs and Gravette also were named in the
Amendment 59 lawsuit. The county has agreed to settle its
portion of the lawsuit for $2.3 million.


ARTHUR ANDERSEN: WorldCom Securities Fraud Case Begins in NY
------------------------------------------------------------
Opening arguments in the WorldCom securities fraud case began
recently in New York before Southern District Judge Denise Cote,
the New York Law Journal reports.  The case, which is being led
by New York state Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who is acting as
trustee of the state employees' retirement system, alleges that
Arthur Andersen, which at one time was one of the world's
largest accounting firms, failed to uphold its duties to
investors as WorldCom's former auditor.

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter, the last of
16 underwriter defendants involved in the case settled along
with 12 former WorldCom directors. Those settlements totaled
more than $6 billion, a record in the securities class action
setting. Thus with those settlement, Arthur Andersen was left as
the sole defendant, which had not opted to settle.

Opening on behalf of plaintiffs, John Coffey of Bernstein
Litowitz Berger & Grossmann told jurors that Arthur Andersen
turned away from the fraud that took place at WorldCom to
maintain it as one of its lead clients.  For defense, Eliot
Lauer of Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle, told jurors that
like others, the accounting firm was duped by WorldCom's
deception.

Soon after the collapse of Enron, which was also a client of
Arthur Andersen, the accounting firm faced obstruction of
justice charges for destroying documents related to that case.
When Arthur Andersen was found guilty of the charges in 2002, it
quickly fell into bankruptcy.  At about the same time, WorldCom
collapsed amid revelations of an $11 billion accounting fraud to
inflate earnings and hide expenses. It has since re-emerged as
MCI Inc., based in Ashburn, Virginia.


BEAZER HOMES: Records $40M Extra Charges For IN Mold Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------
Beazer Homes USA, Inc. (NYSE: BZH) and its Board of Directors
are expecting to record approximately $40 million in additional
charges during the quarter ending March 31, 2005 associated with
the settlement agreement between the parties in the previously
disclosed class action suit related to construction defect
claims from water intrusion against Trinity Homes LLC
('Trinity') and Beazer Homes Investment Corp., Trinity's parent.
Trinity was acquired in the Crossmann acquisition.

The Hamilton County Indiana Superior Court previously approved a
settlement agreement between the parties to the class action
suit. No appeals of the Court's order were received and, on
December 17, 2004, the Company sent claims notices requiring
potential class action members to respond by February 15, 2005
or be prohibited from future legal action. The charges taken
this quarter to adjust recorded liabilities are the Company's
best estimate of the ultimate liability for this matter at the
present time.

As previously reported in the October 19, 2004 edition of the
Class Action Reporter, lawyers for Trinity Homes and the
homeowners recently asked Judge Bernard L. Pylitt of Hamilton
Superior Court to approve a deal, which would settle a class-
action lawsuit filed in August 2003 over claims that poor
construction led to water damage.

More than 2,000 Trinity homeowners in Indiana are eligible for
the settlement, which if approved would require Trinity Homes to
pay for the repairs and allow the law firm representing the
owners to hire an independent engineering company to oversee the
work. The settlement would also require Trinity to guarantee all
repairs for 2 years and if work extends beyond an agreed upon
completion date, homeowners would receive $60 per day until it's
done. Aside from the aforementioned prerequisites the settlement
also calls for the establishment of a dispute resolution panel
that would address any conflicts that develop between the
builder and the homeowners.


CELLCO PARTNERSHIP: NY Dismiss Monopolization Claims in Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York dismissed the monopolization claims in the coordinated
class actions filed against Cellco Partnership and other
cellular phone companies and service providers.

Several class actions were initially filed, alleging antitrust
violations.  These suits are styled:

     (1) Brook, et al. v. AT& T Cellular Services, Inc., et al.,
         filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern
         District of New York on April 5, 2002;

     (2) Millen, et al. v. AT& T Wireless PCS, LLC, et al.,
         filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of
         Massachusetts on or about August 3, 2002;

     (3) Truong, et al. v. AT& T Wireless PCS, LLC, filed in the
         U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
         California on or about September 20, 2002;

     (4) Beeler et al. v. AT& T Cellular Services, Inc., filed
         in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
         Illinois on or about September 30, 2002; and

     (5) Morales, et al. v. AT& T Wireless PCS, LLC, et al.,
         filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern
         District of Texas on or about September 27, 2002

These cases have been ordered for coordinated pre-trial
discovery under MDL Proceeding 1513 before the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York. Plaintiffs
allege that the Company and other defendants engage in the
illegal tying of wireless handsets and wireless service and
monopolization in violation of antitrust law, and seek
certification of a nationwide class of wireless customers from
1998 to the present.  In each case, the plaintiffs seek
compensatory and treble damages, fees and injunctive relief.
The District Court has dismissed the monopolization claims.

In addition, on August 17, 2004, a sixth action, styled
"Freeland, et al. v. AT& T Corporation, et al.," was commenced
against Cellco and other carriers.  Freeland has been
coordinated with the five other actions in the U.S. District
Court for the Southern District of New York.  The allegations in
Freeland are similar to those in the five prior actions, except
that the Freeland complaint also alleges conspiracy to
monopolize and restrain trade.

Finally, on February 23, 2005, a suit styled "McClain v. Sprint
Corporation, et al.," was commenced against the Company and
other carriers in Tennessee Circuit Court. The McClain complaint
contains allegations similar to those in Freeland, and it
purports to be brought on behalf of Tennessee residents who
purchased wireless service from the defendants.

The suit is styled "In Re: Wireless Telephone Services Antitrust
Litigation, case no. 1:03-md-01513-DLC," filed in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York,
under Judge Denise L. Cote.  Representing the plaintiffs are
Scott A. Bursor, Law Offices of Scott A. Bursor, 500 Seventh
Avenue New York, NY 10018-4213, Phone: (212) 989-9113, Fax:
212-989-9163, E-mail: scott@bursor.com; and Adam R. Gonnelli,
Faruqi & Faruqi, 320 East 39th Street, New York, NY 10017,
Phone: (212) 983-9330.  Representing the Company are John P.
Hunt, Hojoon Hwang and Jerome C. Roth, Munger, Tolles & Olsen
LLP, 33 New Montgomery Street, Ste. 1900 San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: (415) 512-4016.


CELLCO PARTNERSHIP: Faces Consumer Fraud Suits in OH, NY Courts
---------------------------------------------------------------
Cellco Partnership was named in three purported class actions
alleging that Verizon Wireless did not adequately disclose
certain limitations on the Bluetooth technology that was
included in the Motorola V710 handset that has been available
for use on the Verizon Wireless network since August 2004.  The
suits are styled:

     (1) Opperman, et al. v. Cellco Partnership, et al., filed
         on December 30, 2004 in the Superior Court of
         California, Los Angeles County;

     (2) Zhao v. Verizon Wireless, Inc., filed on January 7,
         2005 in the Ohio Court of Common Pleas, Cuyahoga
         County; and

      (3) Kaner, et al. v. Cellco Partnership, filed on January
          20, 2005 as a purported class action arbitration with
          the American Arbitration Association in New York.

The Opperman action is brought on behalf of a purported class of
California residents who purchased the V710 handset; the Zhao
actions are brought on behalf of a purported nationwide class.
These actions assert claims for violation of state consumer
fraud statutes and claims of common law fraud and unjust
enrichment; they seek compensatory, consequential and exemplary
damages, recovery of attorney's fees, and injunctive relief.


CELLCO PARTNERSHIP: Seeks Dismissal of Personal Injury Lawsuits
----------------------------------------------------------------
Cellco Partnership is seeking the dismissal of several class
actions filed against it and other wireless carriers, wireless
phone manufacturers, standard-setting bodies, industry trade
associations and others, alleging personal injuries, including
brain cancer, from wireless phone use.  The suits are styled:

     (1) Murray v. Motorola, Inc., et al., filed November 15,
         2001; in the Superior Court for the District of
         Columbia

     (2) Agro v. Motorola, Inc., et al., filed February 26,
         2002; in the Superior Court for the District of
         Columbia

     (3) Cochran v. Audiovox Corp., et al., filed February 26,
         2002; in the Superior Court for the District of
         Columbia

     (4) Schwamb v. Qualcomm Inc., et al., filed February 26,
         2002, in the Superior Court for the District of
         Columbia; and

     (5) Brower, et al. v. Motorola, Inc., et al., filed April
         19, 2001, pending in the U.S. District Court in
         Maryland

Plaintiffs in these five suits seek compensatory, consequential
and/or punitive damages.  In Brower, plaintiffs also assert
purported class action claims that seek, among other relief,
funding for research and medical monitoring. Following removal
of these cases to federal court by defendants, the District
Court, on July 19, 2004, remanded the cases to state court. A
motion to dismiss the state court actions is pending.


CELLCO PARTNERSHIP: Court Yet To Rule on Suit Dismissal Appeal
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to rule
on the appeal of the dismissal of the consolidated class action
filed against Cellco Partnership in the United States District
Court for the District of Maryland.

In addition, between April and June 2001, the Company and
various other wireless carriers and various phone manufacturers
became defendants in statewide class actions relating to
wireless phone use, including:

     (1) Farina, et al. v. Nokia Inc., et al., Pennsylvania
         Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, filed April
         19, 2001;

     (2) Gilliam, et al. v. Nokia Inc., et al., New York Supreme
         Court, Bronx County, filed April 23, 2001;

     (3) Pinney, et al. v. Nokia Inc., et al., Maryland Circuit
         Court, Baltimore County, filed April 19, 2001; and

     (4) Gimpelson et al. v. Nokia Inc., et al., Georgia
         Superior Court, Fulton County, filed June 8, 2001

Plaintiffs in these suits claim that wireless phones are
defective and unreasonably dangerous because the defendants
failed to include a proper warning about alleged adverse health
effects, failed to encourage the use of a headset, and failed to
include a headset with the phone.  Plaintiffs in these four
suits seek damages and injunctive relief requiring defendants to
provide headsets to all class members.

All of these class actions were removed to federal court, and
subsequently coordinated by the Judicial Panel for Multi-
District Litigation and transferred to the U.S. District Court
in Maryland.  On March 5, 2003, the district court denied
plaintiffs' motion to remand to state court and dismissed
plaintiffs' claims in all four cases.

The suit is styled "In re Wireless Telephone Personal Injury
Litigation, et al, case no. 1:01-md-01421-CCB," filed in the
United States District Court for the District of 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 are:

     (i) Brian Paul Brooks, O Melveny and Myers LLP 1625 I St NW
         Washington, DC 20006, Phone: 1-202-383-5300, Fax: 1-
         202-383-5414, E-mail: bbrooks@omm.com

    (ii) Scott Elder, Laura Owens, Jane Fugate Thorpe, Alston
         and Bird LLP 1201 W Peachtree St One Atlantic Ctr
         Atlanta, GA 30309-3424 Phone: 1-404-881-7000 Fax: 1-
         404-881-7777, E-mail: jthorpe@alston.com

   (iii) M King Hill, III, John Henry Lewin, Jr., Venable LLP
         210 Allegheny Ave PO Box 5517 Towson, MD 21285-5517,
         Phone: 1-410-494-6200, Fax: 1-410-821-0147, E-mail:
         mkhill@venable.com or jhlewin@venable.com


CELLCO PARTNERSHIP: Continues To Face Consumer Suits in CA, FL
--------------------------------------------------------------
Cellco Partnership was named as a defendant in various purported
consumer class actions, brought on behalf of customers
throughout the country, relating to our advertising, sales,
billing and collection practices.

One suit, styled "Campbell, et al. v. Verizon Wireless, et al.,"
was filed in August 2000 in the Superior Court of California,
San Diego County, the court granted final approval of a
nationwide class action settlement in May 2004.  The final
approval of the settlement has been appealed to the California
Court of Appeal.

Another suit, styled "Marlowe, J., et al. v. AT&T Corporation,
et al," filed on July 23, 2003 in Superior Court of California,
Alameda County, and other similar cases filed against Verizon
Wireless in the same court, have been coordinated by the
Judicial Council and are proceeding in that court under the
caption "In re Cellphone Termination Fee Cases, Judicial Council
Coordination Proceeding No. 4332."  In these coordinated
proceedings, plaintiffs challenge the business practices of all
major wireless service providers relating to the imposition of
early termination fees and the use of software (referred to in
the lawsuits as a "lock") that allegedly prevents handsets sold
by a wireless carrier from being used with the service of
competing carriers.

With respect to Verizon Wireless, plaintiffs assert on behalf of
a putative California class of Verizon Wireless subscribers from
1999 to the present that early termination fees charged by
Verizon Wireless in California are unenforceable, unlawful,
unfair, in violation of California Civil Code 1671 and 1750, and
violate California's Unfair Competition Law and California
Business and Professions Code 17200.  Plaintiffs further allege
that the use of software "locks" on wireless handsets sold by
Verizon Wireless violates California's Unfair Competition Law.
Plaintiffs seek preliminary and permanent injunctive relief
against the imposition of early termination fees, preliminary
and permanent injunctive relief against the use of handset
"locks" restitution and disgorgement.

Another suit, styled "Patricia Brown, etc. v. Verizon Wireless
Services, LLC," filed on May 17, 2004 in Florida Circuit Court
for Palm Beach County, makes allegations similar to those in
Marlowe on behalf of two putative classes of Florida
subscribers: those who allegedly were required to enter into
agreements that purport to require the payment of an early
termination penalty and those who purchased handsets programmed
with "locks" during the class period.

Finally, "Zobrist v. Verizon Wireless," commenced on February 7,
2005 before the American Arbitration Association, purports to
seek relief on behalf of a class of all Illinois Verizon
Wireless subscribers who paid or were billed an early
termination fee.


CELLCO PARTNERSHIP: Added As Defendant in IL 911 Calls Complaint
----------------------------------------------------------------
Cellco Partnership has been added as a defendant in the class
action filed in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois, styled "In Re Wireless Telephone
911 Calls Litigation."

The amended complaint purports to be brought on behalf of a
nationwide class of persons who purchased handsets from the
Company and other defendants that allegedly did not comply with
the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) emergency 911 call
processing rules, which became effective in February 2000.  The
complaint alleges violations of the Communications Act,
California unfair competition statute, and applicable state
consumer fraud laws, as well as breach of warranty, breach of
contract and implied covenant of fair dealing, and unjust
enrichment. The complaint seeks injunctive and declaratory
relief, compensatory and punitive damages, and attorneys' fees.

The suit is styled "In Re: Wireless Telephone v. Cellco
Partnership, et al, case 1:03-cv-02597," filed in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois,
under Judge John F. Grady.


DUN & BRADSTREET: CT Court Allows Filing of Amended ERISA Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court in Connecticut allowed
plaintiffs to file an amended class action against Dun &
Bradstreet Corporation on behalf its former employees, relating
to its retirement plans.

In March 2003, a lawsuit seeking class action status was filed
against the Company on behalf of 46 specified former employees.
During the fourth quarter of 2004 most of the counts in the
complaint were dismissed.  The complaint, as amended in July
2003, sets forth the following putative class:

     (1) current employees who are participants in The Dun &
         Bradstreet Corporation Retirement Account and were
         previously participants in its predecessor plan, The
         Dun & Bradstreet Master Retirement Plan;

     (2) current employees of Receivable Management Services
         Corporation (RMSC) who are participants in The Dun &
         Bradstreet Corporation Retirement Account and were
         previously participants in its predecessor plan, The
         Dun & Bradstreet Master Retirement Plan;

     (3) former employees of D&B or D&B's Receivable Management
         Services (RMS) operations who received a deferred
         vested retirement benefit under either The Dun &
         Bradstreet Corporation Retirement Account or The Dun &
         Bradstreet Master Retirement Plan; and

     (4) former employees of D&B's RMS operations whose
         employment with D& B terminated after the sale of the
         RMS operations but who are not employees of RMSC and
         who, during their employment with D& B, were "Eligible
         Employees" for purposes of The Dun & Bradstreet Career
         Transition Plan.

The Amended Complaint estimates that the proposed class covers
over 5,000 individuals.  There are four counts in the Amended
Complaint.  Count 1 claims that the Company violated the
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by not paying
severance benefits to plaintiffs under the Company's Career
Transition Plan. Count 2 claims a violation of ERISA in that the
Company's sale of the RMS business to RMSC and the resulting
termination of its employees constituted a prohibited discharge
of the plaintiffs and/or discrimination against the plaintiffs
for the "intentional purpose of interfering with their
employment and/or attainment of employee benefit rights which
they might otherwise have attained."  Count 3 claims that the
plaintiffs were materially harmed by our alleged violation of
ERISA's requirements that a summary plan description reasonably
apprise participants and beneficiaries of their rights and
obligations under the plans and that, therefore, undisclosed
plan provisions (in this case, the actuarial deduction
beneficiaries incur when they leave D&B before age 55 and elect
to retire early) cannot be enforced against them.  Count 4
claims that the 6-3/5% interest rate (the rate is actually 6-
3/4%) used to actuarially reduce early retirement benefits is
unreasonable and, therefore, results in a prohibited forfeiture
of benefits under ERISA.

In the Amended Complaint, the plaintiffs sought payment of
severance benefits; equitable relief in the form of either
reinstatement of employment with D& B or restoration of employee
benefits (including stock options); invalidation of the
actuarial reductions applied to deferred vested early retirement
benefits, including invalidation of the plan rate of 6-3/5% (the
actual rate is 6-3/4%) used to actuarially reduce former
employees' early retirement benefits; attorneys' fees and such
other relief as the court may deem just.

In September 2003, the Company filed a motion to dismiss Counts
1, 3 and 4 of the Amended Complaint on the ground that
plaintiffs cannot prevail on those claims under any set of
facts, and in February 2004, the Court heard oral argument on
the Company's motion.  With respect to Count 4, the Court
requested that the parties conduct limited expert discovery and
submit further briefing.  In November 2004, after completion of
expert discovery on Count 4, the Company moved for summary
judgment on Count 4 on the ground that an interest rate of 6.75%
is reasonable as a matter of law.  Briefing on that motion is
being completed.  Meanwhile, on November 30, 2004 the Court
issued a ruling granting the Company's motion to dismiss Counts
1 and 3.

Shortly after that ruling, plaintiffs' counsel stipulated to
dismiss Count 2 (which challenged the sale of the RMS business
as an intentional interference with employee benefit rights, but
which the motion to dismiss did not address).  Plaintiffs'
counsel also stipulated to a dismissal of Count 1, the severance
pay claim, agreeing to forego any appeal of the Court's
dismissal of that claim.  Plaintiffs' counsel did file a motion
to join party plaintiffs and to amend the amended complaint to
add a new count challenging the adequacy of the retirement
plan's mortality tables.  The court granted the motion and the
Company has filed its objections.


E-COMMERCE EXCHANGE: Consumers Launch Antitrust Fraud Suit in CA
----------------------------------------------------------------
E-Commerce Exchange, Inc. faces a class action filed in the
California Superior Court for Orange County, styled "Robert
Aguilard, et al., on behalf of themselves and all persons
similarly situated v. E-Commerce Exchange, Inc., A-1 Leasing
LLC, and Duvera Billing Services, Civil Action No.05CC02794."

This lawsuit, which also names several other defendants, was
filed on February 2, 2005 and is brought by Robert Aguilard and
nine other named plaintiffs on behalf of themselves, and as
private attorneys general pursuant to California Business and
Professions Code Sections 17204 and 17535, on behalf of all
persons similarly situated, and on behalf of the general public,
as a "class action" pursuant to California Code of Civil
Procedure Section 382 (the "class" defined in the compliant is
composed of "all persons who purchased or leased a Quick
Commerce or Wonderpay software/license/set-up fee from the
Defendants").

The complaint alleges a single cause of action for "unfair
competition" (including "unfair business practices") pursuant to
California Business and Professions Code Sections 17200, arising
out of certain alleged transactions and marketing activities by
defendants in connection with various merchant credit card
processing services and products offered to persons and
businesses that intended to conduct "e-commerce" business and
acquired a license for a "virtual terminal" marketed under the
name "Quick Commerce" or "Wonderpay."  The complaint seeks an
order certifying the lawsuit as a "certified class action," for
a declaratory judgment as to the rights and liabilities of the
parties, for a preliminary and permanent injunction to restrain
and enjoin defendants from continuing to engage in the alleged
unlawful conduct, an order requiring defendants to provide an
accounting, restitution for amounts paid by plaintiffs (and
"class" members), disgorgement of profits obtained by the
"unfair competition" activities engaged in by defendants,
interest, attorney fees, costs of suit, and such other relief as
may be proper.


FIRST HORIZON: Trial in Loan Origination Fees Suit Set June 2005
----------------------------------------------------------------
Trial in the class action filed against First Horizon Home Loans
is set for June 2005 in Missouri state court.

The case concerns the charging of certain loan origination fees,
permitted by Kansas law but allegedly restricted or not
permitted by Missouri law, when the Company or its predecessor,
McGuire Mortgage Company, made certain second mortgage loans in
Kansas which were secured by Missouri property.  Among other
relief, plaintiffs seek fees, loan interest, punitive damages,
statutory penalties, and loan rescission.

In response to pre-trial motions, the court has ruled that
Missouri law governs the loan transactions and has certified a
statewide class action; plaintiffs contend the class involves
approximately 4,600 loans, but the exact size is in dispute.
Discovery is ongoing and additional pre-trial motions are
pending.


GENENCOR INTERNATIONAL: Reaches Settlement For DE Investor Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Genencor International, Inc. reached a settlement for the
consolidated shareholder class action filed in the Court of
Chancery of the State of Delaware against it, certain of its
officers and directors and Danisco A/S.

On January 27, 2005, the Company entered into an Acquisition
Agreement (the Acquisition Agreement) with Danisco A/S (Danisco)
and DH Subsidiary Inc., an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of
Danisco (Acquisition Sub), providing for a cash tender offer
(the Offer) to acquire all of the Company's outstanding shares
of common stock not otherwise owned by Danisco or its
subsidiaries for $19.25 per share, net to the seller in cash, to
be followed by a merger (the Merger) of Acquisition Sub with and
into the Company, with the Company to continue as the surviving
corporation.

On January 27, 2005, the Company, certain of its officers and
directors and Danisco were named in a purported class action
complaint filed in the Court of Chancery of the State of
Delaware, captioned "Zappolla v. Genencor International, Inc. et
al., No. 1052-N."  This complaint alleged that defendants
entered into the Acquisition Agreement without having engaged in
fair and open negotiations with all potential bidders, without
having performed an active market check and/or open auction for
sale of the Company, and that the consideration to be paid
pursuant to the Acquisition Agreement is inadequate.  The
complaint also alleged that the individuals named as defendants
have acted and are acting contrary to their fiduciary duty to
seek to maximize stockholder value. The plaintiff sought to,
among other things, enjoin the proposed acquisition of the
Company by Danisco.

A second purported class action complaint was filed against the
Company, certain of its officers and directors, Danisco and
Eastman Chemical Company in the Court of Chancery of the State
of Delaware on January 27, captioned "Mirfred Partners LLC v.
Genencor International, Inc. et al., No. 1053-N."  This
complaint alleged that the consideration to be paid pursuant to
the Acquisition Agreement is inadequate and was fixed
arbitrarily by the Company's major stockholders.  The plaintiff
sought to enjoin the proposed acquisition of Genencor by
Danisco, or alternatively sought rescission and putting aside of
the proposed acquisition or awarding rescissory damages if the
proposed acquisition were completed, and a warding compensatory
damages and other relief.

A third purported class action complaint was filed on January
27, 2005 against the Company and certain of its officers and
directors in the Superior Court of the State of California,
County of Santa Clara, captioned "Rice v. Genencor
International, Inc., et al., No. 105CV 034734."  This complaint
alleges that the Company's directors violated their fiduciary
duties in connection with the proposed acquisition and that the
plaintiff and other members of the purported class will not
receive their fair portion of the value of the Company's assets
and business and will be prevented from obtaining the real value
of their equity ownership of the Company.  The plaintiff seeks,
among other things, to enjoin the proposed acquisition of the
Company by Danisco.  The Company is defending the claims alleged
in this lawsuit.

A fourth purported class action was filed on February 4, 2005
against the Company and its directors, Eastman and Danisco in
the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, captioned
"Sloboda v. Genencor International, Inc. et al., No. 1072-N."
This complaint alleged that the consideration to be paid
pursuant to the Acquisition Agreement is inadequate, does not
reflect the Company's improving potential, is based on access by
Danisco and Eastman to internal financial information about
Genencor, and that Danisco and Eastman have material conflicts
of interest and that they and the Genencor directors are
breaching their fiduciary duties.  The plaintiff sought to
enjoin the proposed acquisition of Genencor by Danisco, or
alternatively sought rescission and putting aside of the
proposed acquisition or awarding rescissory damages if the
proposed acquisition were completed, and awarding compensatory
damages and other relief including attorneys' and experts' fees
and expenses.

A fifth purported class action was filed on February 8, 2005
against the Company, certain of its officers and directors, and
Danisco in the Superior Court of the State of California, County
of Santa Clara, captioned "John Baker, On Behalf of Himself and
All Others Similarly Situated vs. Genencor International, Inc.,
et al., No. 105CV 035309."  This complaint alleges that the
Company's directors violated their fiduciary duties in
connection with the proposed acquisition and that the plaintiff
and other members of the purported class will not receive their
fair portion of the value of the Company's assets and business
and will be prevented from obtaining the real value of their
equity ownership of the Company.  The plaintiff seeks, among
other things, to enjoin the proposed acquisition of Genencor by
Danisco.

On February 17, 2005, the Delaware Chancery Court consolidated
the Zappolla, Mirfred, and Sloboda actions into a single
consolidated action captioned "In re Genencor International Inc.
Shareholders Litigation, No. 1052-N."  On February 24, 2005, the
plaintiffs in the consolidated Delaware action filed an amended
complaint containing the same allegations as were in the
Zappolla, Mirfred, and Sloboda complaints, as well as additional
allegations that disclosure documents filed with the SEC failed
to adequately disclose all material information related to
Danisco's tender offer.

On March 9, 2005, the plaintiffs and defendants in this
consolidated Delaware action executed a memorandum of
understanding that, subject to Chancery Court approval, will
result in a dismissal with prejudice of all claims by the
plaintiffs.  The memorandum of understanding provides for
supplemental disclosures related to the Offer and the Merger,
requests that the Chancery Court certify (for settlement
purposes only) a class of plaintiffs consisting of all record
holders of shares of the Company's common stock from January 26,
2005 through the effective time of the Merger (the Class), and
contains a release of all claims by members of the Class
asserted in the amended complaint in this consolidated Delaware
action and related to the Acquisition Agreement, the Stock
Purchase Agreement, the Offer, the Merger, or any public
disclosures by the defendants related to the foregoing.

The Company, its chief executive officer, and certain of its
directors named as defendants filed a motion to stay the Rice
and Baker actions in California on February 28, 2005.  Following
full briefing by both plaintiffs and defendants, the California
Superior Court is scheduled to hear that motion on May 10, 2005.


GUAM: Taxpayers' Motion To Enter Mediation in ETIC Case Denied
--------------------------------------------------------------
A District Court of Guam judge has rejected two taxpayers'
motions to enter into mediation in the Earned Income Tax Credit
case, the Pacific Daily News reports.

Christina Naputi and Mary Grace Simpao, who have filed a lawsuit
against the government of Guam to have the EITC paid to
taxpayers, had filed the motion to enter into mediation. The two
though are not the only ones to have filed suit for the tax
credit.

As previously reported in the July 20, 2004 edition of the Class
Action Reporter, Julie Babauta Santos, represented by attorney
Mike Phillips, filed a class-action lawsuit in February 2004 to
force the government to pay up and to resume yearly payments of
the ETIC, which was suspended by the government since 1998. The
government then agreed to a settlement and promised to pay about
half of what is currently owed over the next nine years and by
agreeing to pay the tax credits in full from now on. The tax
credit, which was created in 1973, is an incentive for the
working poor. The settlement would pay about $60 million, about
half of the estimated $120 million owed to taxpayers.

Gov. Felix Camacho has filed documents in the District Court
opposing the settlement with concerns that making a payment
commitment would violate the Illegal Expenditures Act. However,
Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan recently signed an order
approving the request by the parties to enter mediation.

Ms. Naputi and Ms. Simpao attempted to join the mediation, but
Judge Manibusan denied the motion and noted in his order, that
Ms. Naputi had tried to intervene in the settlement, which was
denied. Allowing Ms. Naputi in the mediation, the order further
stated, would contravene the judge's denial of the motion to
intervene.  Additionally, the order said that the mediation was
voluntarily entered into. Since the governor and Ms. Santos both
object to the participation of the third party, the process
would no longer be voluntary if Ms. Naputi and Ms. Simpao's
counsel were allowed to enter mediation.


HERBALIFE INTERNATIONAL: Reaches CA Distributor Suit Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------
Herbalife International, Inc. reached a settlement for the class
action filed in the United States District Court of California,
styled "Jacobs v. Herbalife International, Inc., et al,"
challenging marketing practices of several distributors and the
Company under various state and federal laws.

The plaintiffs alleged that the "newest way to wealth" (NWTW)
system operated by certain independent distributors of Company
products placed too much emphasis on recruiting and encouraged
excessively large purchases of product and promotional materials
by distributors.  The plaintiffs also alleged that NWTW
pressured distributors to disseminate promotional materials
which were misleading in the way they described both the income
that could be generated through use of the NWTW system as well
as in the way they described the Company's business opportunity.
In addition, the plaintiffs alleged that NWTW violated certain
state laws prohibiting racketeering, "endless chain schemes,"
insufficient disclosure in assisted marketing plans, and unfair
and deceptive business practices.  The plaintiffs sought to hold
the Company vicariously liable for the actions of these
independent distributors.

Without in any way admitting liability or wrongdoing, the
Company reached a binding settlement with the plaintiffs.  Under
the terms of the settlement, the Company:

     (1) paid $3 million into a fund to be distributed to former
         Supervisor-level distributors who had purchased NWTW
         materials from the other defendants in this matter,

     (2) will pay up to a maximum aggregate amount of $1
         million, refund to former Supervisor-level distributors
         the amounts they had paid to purchase such NWTW
         materials from the other defendants in this matter, and

     (3) will offer rebates up to a maximum aggregate amount of
         $2 million on certain new purchases of Herbalife
         products to those current Supervisor-level distributors
         who had purchased NWTW materials from the other
         defendants in this matter.


HERBALIFE INTERNATIONAL: TCPA Lawsuit Remanded to WV State Court
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District Court of West
Virginia remanded to state court the class action filed against
Herbalife International, Inc. and certain of its distributors,
styled "Mey v. Herbalife International, Inc., et al."

The suit was initially filed on July 16, 2003 in the Circuit
Court of Ohio County in the State of West Virginia.  The
complaint alleges that certain telemarketing practices of
certain Herbalife International distributors violate the
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and seeks to hold the
Company liable for the practices of its distributors.  More
specifically, the plaintiffs' complaint alleges that several of
the Company's distributors used pre-recorded telephone messages
and autodialers to contact prospective customers in violation of
the TCPA's prohibition of such practices.  The Company later
removed the suit to federal court.

The Company's distributors are independent contractors and, if
any such distributors in fact violated the TCPA, they also
violated the Company's policies, which require its distributors
to comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, the
Company said in a disclosure to the Securities and Exchange
Commission.


HERBALIFE INTERNATIONAL: Belgian Group Files Suit V. MLM System
---------------------------------------------------------------
Herbalife International Belgium, S.V. faces a lawsuit filed by
Test Ankoop-Test Achat, a Belgian consumer protection
organization, alleging that the Company violated Article 84 of
the Belgian Fair Trade Practices Act by engaging in pyramid
selling, i.e. establishing a network of professional or non-
professional sales people who hope to make a profit more through
the expansion of that network rather than through the sale of
products to end-consumers.

Currently, the lawsuit is in the initial stages.  Herbalife
International, Inc. is also subject to the risk of private party
challenges to the legality of its network marketing program in
the United States, the Company said in a disclosure to the
Securities and Exchange Commission.


HOOVER'S INC.: NY Court Preliminarily Approves Stock Suit Pact
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York granted preliminary approval to the settlement of the
consolidated securities class action filed against Hoover's,
Inc., certain of its officers and directors and one of the
investment banks that was an underwriter of the Company's July
1999 initial public offering (IPO).

On November 15, 2001, a putative shareholder class action
lawsuit was filed on behalf of purchasers of the Company's stock
during the period from July 20, 1999 through December 6, 2000.
A Consolidated Amended Complaint, which is now the operative
complaint, was filed on April 19, 2002. The purported class
action alleges violations of Sections 11 and 15 of the
Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Sections 10(b), Rule
10b-5 and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as
amended, against the Company's and Individual Defendants.

Plaintiffs allege that the underwriter defendant agreed to
allocate stock in the Company's IPO to certain investors in
exchange for excessive and undisclosed commissions and
agreements by those investors to make additional purchases of
stock in the aftermarket at predetermined prices above the IPO
price.  Plaintiffs allege that the Prospectus for the Company's
IPO was false and misleading in violation of the securities laws
because it did not disclose these arrangements.  The action
seeks damages in an unspecified amount.

The defense of the action is being coordinated with more than
300 other nearly identical actions filed against other
companies.  On July 15, 2002, the Company moved to dismiss all
claims against it and the Individual Defendants. On October 9,
2002, the Court dismissed the Individual Defendants from the
case based upon Stipulations of Dismissal filed by the
plaintiffs and the Individual Defendants.  On February 19, 2003,
the Court denied the motion to dismiss the complaint against the
Company.  On October 13, 2004, the Court certified a class in
six of the approximately 300 other nearly identical actions and
noted that the decision is intended to provide strong guidance
to all parties regarding class certification in the remaining
cases.  Plaintiffs have not yet moved to certify a class in the
case involving the Company.

The Company has approved a settlement agreement and related
agreements that set forth the terms of a settlement between the
Company, the plaintiff class and the vast majority of the other
approximately 300 issuer defendants. Among other provisions, the
settlement provides for a release of the Company and the
individual defendants for the conduct alleged in the action to
be wrongful.  The Company would agree to undertake certain
responsibilities, including agreeing to assign away, not assert,
or release certain potential claims it may have against its
underwriters.  The settlement agreement also provides a
guaranteed recovery of $1 billion to plaintiffs for the cases
relating to all of the approximately 300 issuers. To the extent
that the underwriter defendants settle all of the cases for at
least $1 billion, no payment will be required under the issuers'
settlement agreement. To the extent that the underwriter
defendants settle for less than $1 billion, the issuers are
required to make up the difference. It is anticipated that any
potential financial obligation of the Company to plaintiffs
pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreement and related
agreements will be covered by existing insurance.

On February 15, 2005, the Court granted preliminary approval of
the settlement agreement, subject to certain modifications
consistent with its opinion.  The Court ruled that the issuer
defendants and the plaintiffs must submit a revised settlement
agreement that provides for a mutual bar of all contribution
claims by the settling and non-settling parties and does not bar
the parties from pursuing other claims.  In a conference
scheduled with the judge on March 18, 2005, parties discussed
the status of the revised settlement agreement.  The underwriter
defendants will have an opportunity to object to the revised
settlement agreement.

The suit is styled "In re Hoover's, Inc. Initial Public Offering
Securities Litigation, 1:01-cv-10122-SAS," related to "In re
Initial Public Offering Securities Litigation, Master File No.
21 MC 92 (SAS)," filed in the United States District Court for
the Southern District of New York under Judge Shira A.
Scheindlin.  The plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

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

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

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

     (4) Sirota & Sirota, LLP, 110 Wall Street 21st Floor, New
         York, NY, 10005, Phone: 888.759.2990, Fax:
         212.425.9093, E-mail: Info@SirotaLaw.com

     (5) Stull, Stull & Brody (New York), 6 East 45th Street,
         New York, NY, 10017, Phone: 310.209.2468, Fax:
         310.209.2087, E-mail: SSBNY@aol.com

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


INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: Plaintiffs Added To Personal Injury Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Twelve additional parties were added as plaintiffs in the
complaint filed against International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc.
in the Circuit Court of Jasper County, Missouri, on behalf of
employees of a plant owned and operated by Gilster-Mary Lee
Corporation in Jasper, Missouri.  The plaintiffs allege that
they sustained respiratory injuries in the workplace due to the
use by Gilster-Mary Lee of a BBA and IFF flavor.

In January 2004, the Court ruled that class action status was
not warranted.  As a result of this decision, each of 30
plaintiff cases is to be tried separately.  The Company appealed
a March 2004 judgment following a jury verdict in favor of one
plaintiff and his spouse awarding $20 million in compensatory
damages. The Company believes that the verdict is not supported
by the evidence or the law.  In April 2004, another case was
resolved by confidential settlement.

In June 2004, the trial court found in favor of the Company in
four additional plaintiffs' cases, although in November 2004 a
new trial was ordered on the grounds that a juror failed to
disclose sufficient background information. This order is being
appealed by the Company.  In July 2004, another case was
resolved and, in December 2004 two additional cases were
also resolved, by confidential settlement.  In January 2005, 12
additional parties filed in this matter as plaintiffs.

Eight other actions based on similar claims of respiratory
illness are currently pending against the Company and other
flavor suppliers.  The parties are in the discovery phase in the
action brought against the Company and another flavor supplier
by 22 former and current workers at a popcorn factory in Marion,
Ohio. This case was filed in the Court of Common Pleas, Cuyahoga
County, Ohio and subsequently transferred to the Court of Common
Pleas of Hamilton County, Ohio.

In May 2004, the Company and another flavor supplier were named
defendants in a lawsuit by four former workers at a Ridgeway,
Illinois factory in an action brought in the Circuit Court for
the Second Judicial Circuit, Gallatin County, Illinois and
another concerning 11 other workers at this same plant was filed
in July 2004 in Cook County, Illinois against the Company and
another flavor supplier.

In June 2004, the Company and three other flavor suppliers were
named defendants in a lawsuit by 1 current worker at a Sioux
City, Iowa facility in an action brought in the Iowa District
Court for Woodbury County.  This case was subsequently removed
to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa at
Sioux City and in September 2004, a flavor industry trade
association and a consulting agency were added as defendants.

In June 2004, the Company and three other flavor suppliers were
named defendants in a lawsuit by one plaintiff in an action
brought in the Court of Common Pleas, Hamilton County, Ohio. In
June 2004, the Company and 3 other flavor suppliers were named
defendants in a lawsuit by 1 former worker at a Northlake,
Illinois facility in an action brought in the Circuit Court of
Cook County, Illinois.

In June 2004, the Company, four other flavor suppliers and other
unnamed parties were named defendants in a lawsuit by 1 former
worker at an Iowa City, Iowa facility in an action filed in U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Iowa.

In August 2004, the Company and another flavor supplier were
named defendants in a lawsuit by 19 former workers at a Marion,
Ohio factory in an action brought in the Court of Common Pleas,
Marion County, Ohio.


JP MORGAN: Win Dismissal Of Shareholders' Claims Over Enron Role
----------------------------------------------------------------
After agreeing to pay out $2 billion to settle claims arising
from its role as an underwriter for WorldCom, JP Morgan Chase
scored an equally important legal victory in a securities fraud
case arising from its dealings with Enron, the New York Law
Journal reports.  In a 61-page opinion, Southern District Judge
Sidney Stein granted JP Morgan's motion to dismiss a securities
class action brought by the bank's shareholders.

In that suit, plaintiffs had alleged that JP Morgan misstated
its financial exposure arising from transactions it had entered
into with Enron, which they say were intended to help perpetuate
Enron's fraud. Additionally, shareholders had alleged that the
specific transactions involved loans made by JP Morgan to Enron
disguised as trades, and the establishment of off-balance sheet
entities Enron used to hide debt.  When news of JP Morgan's
alleged involvement in Enron became public, its stock price
fell, triggering the class action by injured shareholders of the
bank.

The decision, In Re JP Morgan Securities Litigation, 02 Civ.
1282, meticulously considered plaintiffs' allegations. In the
end, Judge Stein concluded that plaintiffs failed to meet the
standard of proof required in a securities class action and thus
dismissed the claims.

Bruce Angiolillo of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett represented JP
Morgan Chase, while the plaintiffs were represented by Joseph
Weiss of Weiss & Lurie and Steve Berman of Seattle-based Hagens,
Berman.


MAINE: Widow Launches Fourth Complaint in Brain Harvesting Case
---------------------------------------------------------------
Anne Mozingo, of Cape Neddick, has initiated a lawsuit with the
U.S. District Court in Portland, Maine claiming that employees
of the State Medical Examiner's office and the Stanley Medical
Research Institute in Maryland harvested her husband's brain and
other organs without permission, the Foster's Daily Democrat
reports.

Mrs. Mozingo's husband, Bill, 42, had died in 2000 after
suffering a brain aneurysm. Shortly after his death, Mrs.
Mozingo claims that she received a call from Matthew S. Cyr,
former funeral director for the State Medical Examiner's Office
in Augusta, asking if the office could take tissue samples from
her husband's liver, spleen, pituitary, dura and brain to aid in
mental health research.

In her suit, Mrs. Mozingo states that she gave Mr. Cyr consent
over the phone to take the samples during her husband's autopsy,
under the belief that the samples would only be small tissue
samples. But, nearly five years later, federal investigators
told Mrs. Mozingo that her husband's brain and numerous organs
were sent to the Stanley Medical Research Institute.

In a press release from her attorney, Greg Hansel, of Preti
Flaherty Beliveau Pachios & Haley LLP, Mrs. Mozingo said, "I was
shocked to learn Bill's beautiful body was violated and treated
with such disrespect. That fact saddens me beyond belief."

According to the Associated Press, Mr. Cyr sold Bill Mozingo's
organs to the Maryland Institute for $150,000. He was also a
paid employee for the Institute, working as their representative
in Augusta.  In a phone interview with the Foster's Daily
Democrat Mrs. Mozingo told AP, "I want to try and change the
informed consent process for organ harvesting in Maine." She
also said in the interview that she hopes the suit will become a
class action, allowing 99 families with similar circumstances
from 1999-2003 to take part in the case.

Aside from Mr. Cyr, the suit also names as a defendant, Lori
Stevens, who was an alleged associate of Mr. Cyr's when families
were called to request organs or tissue from recently deceased
relatives for research purposes.

Though representatives for the Stanley Medical Research
Institute were unavailable for comment, they did, however,
furnish a press statement to the Associated Press. In that press
statement, Tom Laprade, who represents the institute, said that
as with previous lawsuits, "we feel that the institute will be
vindicated when the facts come out in light of the law under
which it operates."

Ms. Mozingo's suit, which is the fourth such lawsuit filed in
Maine regarding brain harvesting, seeks unspecified damages for
the families of every decedent whose brain was harvested in
Maine between 1999 and 2003.  To achieve class action status
legal experts point out that a federal judge would have to
determine that all of the estimated 99 families share similar
circumstances.

As previously reported in the January 27, 2005 edition of the
Class Action Reporter, previous lawsuits have made similar
allegations that brains were harvested and sent to the Stanley
Medical Research Institute in Maryland. The institute has since
said it has suspended its program because it has run out of
storage space. The brains were primarily used for research of
bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.


MPOWER HOLDING: Sales Representatives File Labor Violations Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
MPower Holding Corporation faces a class action filed in the
Superior Court of the State of California for Los Angeles
County, alleging violations of California Labor Code Sections
2802 and 2804.  The group of plaintiffs attempting to be formed
and certified as a class would include the Company's sales
representatives in California for the past four years.

The plaintiffs are seeking to recover what they claim to be
unreimbursed expenses incurred in the performance of their
duties, including additional mileage reimbursement. The Company
denied any liability to the plaintiffs, and intend to fight the
action, and believe that ultimate settlement or damages awarded,
if any, will not have a material adverse effect on its financial
position, results of operations or cash flows, it stated in a
disclosure to the Securities and Exchange Commission.


PENNSYLVANIA: Jury Awards Utah Pondimin Users $5.5M in Damages
--------------------------------------------------------------
Philadelphia state court jury ruled that two former users of
Wyeth's Pondimin, which is part of the fen-phen diet drug
combination, deserve $5.5 million in damages, while two others
weren't seriously injured and therefore should not get anything,
the Bloomberg News reports.

In its ruling, the jury stated that the four plaintiffs, Utah
residents who took the diet drug for varying periods, showed
symptoms of heart-valve leakage. The liability phase of the
trial is set begin next week whose purpose is to determine
whether Wyeth must pay the damages.

The trials are the latest in Philadelphia to focus on claims
concerning Wyeth's now-withdrawn diet drugs. Over the past eight
months, other Philadelphia juries have rejected claims by former
users or said individuals who once used the appetite suppressant
deserved as much as $780,000. The company still faces thousands
of other claims in the court.

Wyeth "needs to reconsider trying these cases," Houston-based
lawyer Rand Nolen, who represents Stephen Schultz, Marilyn
Lyman, Camille Olsen and Isabel Vega, the plaintiffs in the
Philadelphia cases told Bloomberg News. "What juries hear is
that these people have been hurt, and juries respond and react
to that."

Madison, New Jersey-based Wyeth said on January 31 that it would
add $4.5 billion to its reserve to cover legal liability in the
so-called fen-phen cases, bringing to $21.1 billion the amount
set aside to resolve the litigation. Wyeth incurred a $1.76
billion fourth-quarter loss due to the reserve increase.
According to Mr. Nolen, the jury recommended $5 million for Ms.
Vega and $500,000 for Ms. Olsen, Bloomberg News reports.

Wyeth removed the diet drugs Pondimin and Redux from the market
in 1997 after researchers linked them to heart and lung problems
in some users. Those drugs were used with the generic
phentermine in the fen-phen combination. Doctors wrote more than
6 million prescriptions for the diet-pill combination, which
included Wyeth's Pondimin or Redux drugs and the generic drug
phentermine, before the products were pulled off the market in
1997. The company withdrew the drugs from pharmacies after
researchers linked them to heart problems and a fatal lung
disease in some users.

The Philadelphia cases involve former fen-phen users who
declined to participate in the company's $3.75 billion class-
action settlement and chose to go to trial separately.


RITE AID: Judge Awards $31M in Fees To Plaintiffs' Attorneys
------------------------------------------------------------
U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell of the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania has awarded more than $31 million in attorney fees
to the team of lawyers, who secured a $126 million settlement
from the accounting firm KPMG for its alleged failure to blow
the whistle on financial shenanigans at Rite Aid Corp., The
Legal Intelligencer reports.

The ruling comes just two months after an appeals court ruled
that the fee award might have been too generous, since Judge
Dalzell erred in his application of a lodestar "crosscheck" by
focusing only on the hourly rates for the top lawyers.

As previously reported in the January 31, 2005 edition of the
Class Action Reporter, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had
ruled that Judge Dalzell may have been too generous when he
awarded more than $31 million in fees to the lawyers who secured
a $126 million settlement in a class action suit against Rite
Aid Corp. In its 33-page opinion on the matter In re Rite Aid
Corp. Securities Litigation, the three-judge panel found that
"in all respects but one," U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell
had "performed an exemplary analysis" in his rulings on the fee
award. The panel further states in its opinion that Judge
Dalzell correctly followed the percentage-of-recovery approach
in deciding that the plaintiffs' lawyers were entitled to 25
percent of the fund, but he erred in his application of a
lodestar "crosscheck" by focusing only on the hourly rates for
the top lawyers.

Legal experts explain that the lodestar is calculated by
multiplying the number of hours reasonably worked on a case by a
reasonable hourly billing rate for such services based on the
given geographical area, the nature of the services provided and
the experience of the attorneys.

Although the 3rd Circuit prefers the percentage-of-recovery
method for deciding class-action fee awards, the court has said
it is "sensible" for trial judges to "crosscheck" the percentage
fee award against the lodestar method. But, now the 3rd Circuit
has insisted that the crosscheck must be based on the hourly
rates of all of the plaintiffs' lawyers so that it will
accurately reflect how much of a "multiplier" the fee award
represents.  The panel also found out that Judge Dalzell erred
in calculating the rate solely on the basis of the senior-most
partners at lead firms whose average billing rate is $605 and
instead should have applied a "blended billing rate" that would
approximate the fee structure of all the plaintiffs attorneys
who together logged more than 12,000 hours on the case.

Chief U.S. Circuit Judge Anthony J. Scirica wrote in an opinion
joined by 3rd Circuit Judge D. Michael Fisher and visiting 9th
Circuit Senior Judge Arthur L. Alarcon, "Had the hourly rates
been properly blended, taking into account the approximate
hourly billing rates of the partners and associates who worked
on the case, the multiplier would have been a higher figure,
alerting the trial court to reconsider the propriety of its fee
award. Failure to apply a blended rate, we believe, is
inconsistent with the exercise of sound discretion and requires
vacating and remanding for further consideration." He however
stressed that the percentage-of-recovery approach "is the proper
method" of awarding attorney fees, and said the lodestar
crosscheck calculation "need entail neither mathematical
precision nor bean-counting," the Legal Intelligencer reports.

In sending the case back to Judge Dalzell, the appeals court
insisted that the lodestar crosscheck must be based on the
hourly rates of all of the plaintiffs lawyers so that it will
accurately reflect how much of a "multiplier" the fee award
represents.  Judge Dalzell has ruled that although the
multiplier is now higher, the 25 percent fee is still justified.
In his original award, he said that a multiplier of about 4 gave
him no pause since the work by the plaintiff's lawyers led to
excellent results.

On remand, the plaintiffs' lawyers recalculated the lodestar at
about $4.5 million. Based on that figure, Judge Dalzell found
that the multiplier had risen to 6.96.  He then turned to the
question of whether, with the higher multiplier, the 25 percent
fee award must now be considered "unreasonably large."

The plaintiffs' lawyers and objector Walter Kaufmann filed
briefs that cited a bevy of "comparable" cases. While the
plaintiffs insisted that the fee was in line with those cases,
MR. Kauffman insisted that his cases showed that the fee was too
generous.

However, Judge Dalzell found that the cases were less than
helpful. "The facts of this case, where counsel obtained a nine-
figure settlement of a securities class action mostly from an
auditor, are undeniably unique," Judge Dalzell wrote in his
eight-page opinion. He further wrote, "Auditors are rarely
defendants in securities class actions; no more than 6 percent
of the securities class actions filed in 2003 and 2004 even
named auditors as defendants. Among this rare breed, this case
appears to involve the largest class recovery on record against
an auditor in a 10b-5 action," the Legal Intelligencer reports.

Additionally, Judge Dalzell noted that the plaintiffs' lawyers
"obtained these unprecedented results without relying on the
fruits of any official investigation." He further said, "through
the exercise of their considerable skill, plaintiffs' counsel
obtained a historic recovery for the class in a rare and complex
kind of case where victory at trial would have been, at best,
remote and uncertain."  As a result, Judge Dalzell said, "Our
recalculation of the multiplier does not alter our original
conclusion."

Filed in the wake of Rite Aid's accounting scandal, the
shareholder suits eventually led to settlements totaling more
than $334 million. The first settlement, worth $207 million, led
to a fee award of $48.25 million, while the second settlement,
the accounting firm KPMG paid $125 million and former Rite Aid
CEO Martin Grass paid $1.4 million.  The recent decision from
the 3rd Circuit focused only on the $31 million in fees awarded
in the second case.

Court records show that 34 plaintiffs firms will share in the
fees, but that more than 80 percent will go to the two lead
firms that together logged more than 11,000 hours on the case
namely Berger & Montague in Philadelphia and Milberg Weiss
Bershad Hynes & Lerach in New York.

The Berger firm's team was led by Sherrie R. Savett and included
Carole R. Broderick and Robin Switzenbaum while the Milberg
Weiss contingent was led by David J. Bershad and included
William C. Fredericks, Brian C. Kerr, Susan M. Greenwood and
Christian Siebott.

In the suits, investors alleged that between May 1997 and March
1999, Rite Aid portrayed itself as a company with "very strong"
profitability and said it was in the midst of a major program to
expand and modernize its operations. In fact, the suit alleged,
the modernization and expansion programs were "encountering
significant problems." However, instead of publicly disclosing
the problems, the suit alleged that Rite Aid engaged in a
variety of improper accounting methods designed to hide its true
financial picture by both artificially inflating its earnings
and deflating its expenses.

Over a three-year period, the suit alleged, Rite Aid succeeded
in artificially inflating its after-tax earnings by more than
$1.6 billion. The suit also alleged that KPMG was "aware of" and
"recklessly disregarded" Rite Aid's improper accounting
practices. In each of the three years, the suit said, KPMG
issued "unqualified auditor's opinions" that said Rite Aid's
financial statements conformed with generally accepted
accounting principles.

The public first learned of the problems in March 1999 when Rite
Aid announced that its fourth-quarter earnings would be less
than expected. The news caused stock prices to drop from $37 per
share to $22.56. Soon after, investors learned that the SEC was
investigating Rite Aid's accounting practices. The company
responded by restating its financial results for the previous
three years.  However, the suit alleged that the true extent of
Rite Aid's problems weren't revealed until November 1999, when a
series of disclosures rocked the company and caused its stock
price to plummet down to just $5.38 per share.


SEI INVESTMENTS: Faces Mutual Fund Fraud Suit Filed In MD Court
---------------------------------------------------------------
SEI Investments Distribution Co. faces a consolidated amended
class action complaint filed in the United States District Court
for the District of Maryland titled "Stephen Carey v. Pilgrim
Baxter & Associates, LTD, et. al."

This Complaint is purportedly made on behalf of all persons that
purchased or held PBHG mutual funds during the period from
November 1, 1998 to November 13, 2003 and relates generally to
various market timing practices allegedly permitted by the PBHG
Funds.  The suit names as defendants some 36 persons and
entities, including various persons and entities affiliated with
Pilgrim Baxter & Associates, Ltd., various PBHG Funds, various
alleged market timers, various alleged facilitating brokers,
various clearing brokers, various banks that allegedly financed
the market timing activities, various distributors/underwriters
and others.

The Complaint alleges that the Company was the named
distributor/underwriter from November 1998 until July 2001 for
various PBHG funds in which market timing allegedly occurred
during that period.  The Complaint generally alleges that the
prospectus for certain PBHG funds made misstatements and
omissions concerning market timing practices in PBHG funds.

The Complaint alleges that SIDCO violated Sections 11 and
12(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and
Sections 34(b) and 36(a) of the Investment Company Act of 1940,
and that SIDCO breached its fiduciary duties, engaged in
constructive fraud and aided and abetted the breach by others of
their fiduciary duties.  The Complaint does not name the Company
or any of its affiliates as a market timer, facilitating or
clearing broker or financier of market timers.  The Complaint
seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages,
disgorgement and restitution.


UNITEDGLOBALCOM INC.: DE Court Consolidates Suits V. LMI Merger
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Delaware Court of Chancery consolidated twenty-one class
actions filed against UnitedGlobalcom, Inc. on behalf of its
public stockholders, relating to the announcement on January 18,
2005 of the execution by the Company and Liberty Media
International (LMI) of an agreement and plan of merger.

Since January 18, 2005, twenty-one lawsuits have been filed in
the Delaware Court of Chancery, and one lawsuit has been filed
in the Denver District Court, State of Colorado, naming as
defendants the Company and:

     (1) Gene W. Schneider,

     (2) Michael T. Fries,

     (3) David B. Koff,

     (4) Robert R. Bennett,

     (5) John C. Malone,

     (6) John P. Cole,

     (7) Bernard G. Dvorak,

     (8) John W. Dick,

     (9) Paul A. Gould and

    (10) Gary S. Howard and

    (11) LMI

The allegations in each of the complaints, which are
substantially similar, assert that the defendants have breached
their fiduciary duties of loyalty, care, good faith and candor
and that various defendants have engaged in self-dealing and
unjust enrichment, affirmed an unfair price, and impeded or
discouraged other offers for UGC or our assets in bad faith and
for improper motives.  In addition to seeking to enjoin the
transaction, the complaints seek remedies, including damages for
the public holders of the Company's stock and an award of
attorney's fees to plaintiffs' counsel.

On February 11, 2005, the Delaware Court of Chancery
consolidated the Delaware lawsuits.  In connection with these
lawsuits, defendants have been served with one request for
production of documents.


WASHINGTON: Fired Librarians Launch Complaint V. King County
------------------------------------------------------------
Librarians initiated a class action lawsuit against the King
County Library System claiming that they were wrongfully
terminated, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reports.

According to documents filed in King County Superior Court, the
plaintiffs are also claiming that they were wrongfully excluded
from collective bargaining negotiations. The librarians
included, five women and one man, ranging in age from 31 to 72,
and were all let go in August and September.  Despite long
experience and good relationships with their branch managers,
the librarians said that they were not hired back into a
centralized hiring pool, part of a new hiring process for the
43-branch library system.

John Scannell, an attorney for the plaintiffs Mary Johnson,
Doris Knight, Don Jeffcoat, Alison Butler, Wendy Graham and
Nancy Stafford, told the Post Intelligencer "We're saying it's
wrongful termination because under state law, they couldn't be
terminated except for good cause."

Charlene Richards, the library system's human resources manager,
told the Post Intelligencer the system had been served with the
lawsuit but that it hadn't been reviewed and would be referred
to the libraries' legal counsel.

Mr. Scannell, who had won $40 million in damages on behalf of
thousands of Seattle city workers 15 years ago after he sued the
city over alleged unfair treatment of so-called intermittent
workers, said that the issues in his new case are similar to the
one that he had won.  He added the substitute librarians and
library assistants were denied due process by being labeled
"substitutes" despite working long hours over many years. He
then cited state labor law and recent court cases in which
judges have ruled in favor of intermittent or temporary
employees who claimed they were treated differently from full-
time workers despite performing many of the same jobs and hours.

Mr. Scannell told the Seattle Post Intelligencer, "What it
really boils down to is these (substitute) employees are the
same as full-time employees, except the label that's put on
them. They (KCLS) call them intermittents or substitutes or
whatever they want, but the reality is they're working the same
job. The reason they're intermittents is because you're laying
them off out of order. It's a word game."

The plaintiffs say that experienced substitute librarians and
assistant librarians were "invited" to reapply for jobs they had
performed for years because of a new hiring process developed by
the library system to create a centralized librarian employment
pool.

Charlene Richards, the library system's human resources manager
said that the pool was created to streamline the hiring process
for the library system. She declined though to elaborate on the
pool process, except to say it involved multiple interviews with
managers and demonstrated skills.


WHIRLPOOL CORPORATION: Recalls 40T Toasters Due To Fire Hazard
--------------------------------------------------------------
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC), Whirlpool Corp., of Benton Harbor, Michigan is
voluntarily recalling about 40,000 KitchenAidr ProLiner
Toasters.

An interruption of power to the toaster can cause the heating
elements to unexpectedly self-start and could ignite any
flammable items left on top of the unit, posing a fire hazard.
Whirlpool has received three reports of incidents involving
heating elements unexpectedly self-starting, including one case
outside the U.S. in which items on top of a toaster caught on
fire. There are no reports of personal injury or property
damage.

Description: The recalled KitchenAidr ProLiner countertop
toasters are painted die-cast metal or stainless steel and come
in 2-slice or 4-slice models. The model and serial numbers,
which are on labels affixed to the bottom of the toasters,
include:

     (1) 2 - Slice Models
         KPTT780PM  KPTT780ER
         KPTT780BU  KPTT780TG

     (2) 4 - Slice Models
         KPTT890PM  KPTT890ER
         KPTT890BU  KPTT890TG

Serial Numbers of the recalled products begin with the letters
"WTP." or "WTR."

Manufactured in China, the toasters were sold at various
catalogs and specialty retailers nationwide from August 2003
through January 2005 for between $250 and $300.

Consumers should immediately unplug and stop using the toaster
and contact KitchenAidr to arrange for a free replacement.
Consumers should not return the toaster to the retailer where it
was purchased, as retailers are not prepared to take them back.
Consumers should call KitchenAidr at (800) 874-0608 between 8
a.m. and 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or between 10 a.m. and
5 p.m. ET on Saturday, or go to the firm's Web site:
http://www.KitchenAid.com/repair.


                         Asbestos Alert


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: After 93 Dismissed Cases, Moen to Face 130
---------------------------------------------------------------
While there is a reported surge of asbestos-related personal
injury litigation in the United States, a Fortune Brands
subsidiary, Moen Incorporated, continues to defend itself
against around 130 cases claiming personal injury from asbestos,
and has been dismissed as a defendant in about 93 cases. All of
these suits name multiple defendants and, in most cases, an
excess of 75 defendants are named in addition to Moen.

One of the world's largest manufacturers of plumbing products,
the Company, which is based in North Olmsted, Ohio, believes it
is not possible to predict the outcome of the pending
litigation, and, as with any litigation, it is possible that
some of these actions could be decided unfavorably.

The Company believes that it possesses meritorious defenses to
these actions and that these actions will not have a material
adverse effect upon its results of operations, cash flows or
financial condition.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Miss. Supreme Court Orders Separate Trials
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Mississippi Supreme Court ordered separate trials for six
Mississippi residents claiming injuries related to asbestos
exposure. He also ruled for the dismissal of the claims brought
by 70 out-of-state plaintiffs.

In 2002, Circuit Judge Larry Lewis had declined to separate the
claims brought by 76 plaintiffs against 136 defendants in an
asbestos mass tort case.

Justice Chuck Easley, who wrote the opinion for the Supreme
Court, specified that two of the cases involving Bolivar County
residents will remain while four other cases are to be
transferred to other counties in the state. He said cases of the
remaining 70 plaintiffs, all of whom live outside Mississippi
and did not allege asbestos exposure in Mississippi, were to be
dismissed.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2001. The plaintiffs alleged
asbestos exposure in about 250 different work locations in 20
different states.

Justice Easley said of the 136 defendants, all have done
business in Mississippi, but only two have their principal place
of business in Bolivar County. The Supreme Court has ruled
similarly in other lawsuits, saying it was improper to group
plaintiffs together when their claims did not arise from the
same incident.

"The only factor that is common to each plaintiff is alleged
exposure to asbestos during some time period of their career,"
Justice Easley said.

In another case from Tunica County, the Supreme Court ordered
separate trials for nine present and former employees of
Illinois Central Railroad, who alleged the railroad failed to
provide them with safe places to work and safe equipment. The
Supreme Court said plaintiffs worked under different
supervisors, had different jobs, in different locations and have
different injuries.

"Thus, the alleged injuries are not close in time or location.
The amount of evidence that would have to be introduced to prove
all these in one trial would certainly overwhelm a jury," the
court said.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: SC Grants Almost $200T to Former BHP Worker
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Supreme Court granted $197,287 to a former BHP worker in
damages after he contracted mesothelioma, an asbestos-related
cancer of the lung linings, caused by exposure to asbestos. The
amount would have been higher had his case been tried
interstate. Even that however, may yet be wiped out in a
subsequent court battle as BHP says it will resist any order for
costs.

Bill Ewins, aged 71, said he was "simply happy" the Company had
been asked to account for his fatal illness. In January this
year, he was deemed to have four to six months to live.

Mr. Ewins had worked for the mining and oil company at its
Whyalla shipyards as a carpenter from 1949 to 1963 and was
exposed to blue asbestos, a known carcinogenic, which had been
sprayed onto the bulkheads of ships under construction.

In December 2004, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma and he
immediately began compensation proceedings in the Victorian
Supreme Court. However, a decision in the High Court, which
ordered that all asbestos-related cases be heard in the
applicant's home jurisdiction, brought the case to South
Australia.

In his judgment, Chief Justice John Doyle awarded the amount for
pain and suffering and for his medical expenses.

His legal team expressed disappointment at the payout, which
they said had been reduced because the case had been moved from
Melbourne to Adelaide. They also criticized the multinational
company for resisting an order for costs.

"A claim like this would comfortably settle out of court in
Victoria for $250,000 plus costs - in a court in Victoria it
could have been awarded a lot more," said Mr. Ewins' lawyer Jane
McDermott.

"It is an insult to victims of the tragedy of asbestos that a
South Australian life is worth less than that of other
Australians."

Mr. Ewins said he viewed his victory as a stepping stone for
others to come forward. He said the money would be used to make
his life a little easier and possibly to provide for a holiday.
The award will also be used to cover the cost of new drug that
had been found to improve the quality of life for mesothelioma
sufferers.

Justice Doyle acknowledged that Mr. Ewins would have received
more money if his case had been heard interstate but said he had
to be consistent with previous awards in local courts for pain
and suffering.

BHP's lawyers claimed their pre-trial $180,000 settlement offer
was an "adequate" amount, which would free them from paying Mr.
Ewins' legal bills should the court rule in their favor.

"If they [BHP] do not have to pay costs, it could decimate his
award."

Between 100 and 120 South Australians were diagnosed with
mesothelioma each year, the second-highest number in the
country.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: UIC, Detroit Stoker Named in 21,124 Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------
United Industrial (NYSE: UIC) and Detroit Stoker Company, a
wholly owned subsidiary of United Industrial, have been named as
defendants in asbestos-related personal injury litigation. As of
Dec. 31, 2004, they were named in asbestos litigation pending in
Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi and North
Dakota. There were about 21,124 pending claims, compared to
about 19,161 pending claims as of Dec. 31, 2003.

During 2004, Detroit Stoker was named as a defendant in two
cases in Arkansas alleging personal injuries to one and about
199 plaintiffs, respectively, as a result of silica and
refractory ceramic fiber exposure in addition to asbestos
exposure. The pleadings in these two cases name about 32 and 68
defendants, respectively, and include no allegations specific to
Detroit Stoker.

Asbestos litigation expense was US$175,000 lower in 2004 than in
2003. Asbestos litigation expense in 2004 included an increase
in the asbestos liability in order to maintain a ten-year
estimate of future liability, the period in which such costs are
deemed to be reasonably estimable. Asbestos litigation expense
in 2003 of US$717,000 was primarily for legal and other
professional fees associated with studies performed to evaluate
the extent of potential asbestos liability and related available
insurance coverage.

The Company's asbestos liability was US$31,852,000 and
US$31,595,000 at Dec. 31, 2004 and 2003, respectively, and its
insurance receivables for asbestos-related liabilities were
US$20,343,000 and US$20,317,000 at Dec. 31, 2004 and 2003,
respectively. In 2004, the Company increased its asbestos
liability and related insurance receivables in order to maintain
a ten-year estimate of future liability, the period in which
such costs are deemed to be reasonably estimable.

Neither United Industrial nor Detroit Stoker fabricated, milled,
mined, manufactured or marketed asbestos, and neither Company
made or sold insulation products or other construction materials
that have been identified as the primary cause of asbestos-
related disease in the vast majority of claimants. Rather,
United Industrial and Detroit Stoker made several products, some
of the parts and components of which used asbestos-containing
material fabricated and provided by third parties. The use of
asbestos-containing materials ceased in about 1981.

Cases involving United Industrial and Detroit Stoker typically
name 80 to 120 defendants, although some cases have as few as 6
and as many as 250 defendants. As of this date, United
Industrial and Detroit Stoker have not gone to trial with
respect to any asbestos-related personal injury claims. Neither
Company has been required to pay any punitive damage awards.

Management continues to believe that a majority of the claimants
in pending cases will not be able to demonstrate that they have
been exposed to United Industrial's or Detroit Stoker's
asbestos-containing products or suffered any compensable loss as
a result of any such exposure.

United Industrial or Detroit Stoker makes settlements of claims
against United Industrial or Detroit Stoker without any
admission of liability. Because claims are often filed and
disposed of by dismissal or settlement in large numbers, the
amount and timing of settlements and the number of open claims
during a particular period can fluctuate from period to period.
In addition, most of these lawsuits do not include specific
dollar claims for damages, and many include a number of
plaintiffs and multiple defendants.

Therefore, the Company cannot provide any meaningful disclosure
about the total amount of the damages sought. In addition, the
direct asbestos-related expenses of United Industrial and
Detroit Stoker for defense and indemnity for the past five years
were not material.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Chiquita Faces 8 Claims for Seamen's Injury
----------------------------------------------------------------
Over the last 18 years, a number of claims have been filed
against banana producer Chiquita Brands International, Inc.
(NYSE: CQB) on behalf of merchant seamen or their personal
representatives alleging injury or illness from exposure to
asbestos while employed as seamen on Company-owned ships at
various times from the mid-1940s until the mid-1970s.

The claims are based on allegations of negligence and
unseaworthiness. In these cases, the Cincinnati, OH-based
Company is typically one of many defendants, including
manufacturers and suppliers of products containing asbestos, as
well as other ship owners. Eight of these cases are pending in
state courts in various stages of activity. Over the past six
years, 23 state court cases have been settled and 31 have been
resolved without any payment. In addition to the state court
cases, there are about 5,250 federal court cases that are
currently inactive. The MARDOC cases are managed under the
supervision of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District
of Pennsylvania.

In 1996, the Federal Court administratively dismissed all then
pending MARDOC cases without prejudice for failure to provide
evidence of asbestos-related disease or exposure to asbestos.
Under this order, all MARDOC cases subsequently filed against
the Company have also been administratively dismissed. The
MARDOC cases are subject to reinstatement by the Federal Court
upon a showing of some evidence of asbestos-related disease,
exposure to asbestos and service on the Company's ships. While
six MARDOC cases have been reinstated against the Company, one
of the cases has been dismissed and there has been little
activity in the remaining five reinstated cases to date.

As a matter of law, punitive damages are not recoverable in
seamen's asbestos cases. Although the Company has very little
factual information with which to evaluate these maritime
asbestos claims, management does not believe, based on
information currently available to it and advice of counsel,
that these claims will have a material adverse effect on the
financial statements of the Company.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CA Coastal Reaches Agreement with Dresser
--------------------------------------------------------------
In September 2004, RESCO and California Coastal Communities,
Inc. (NASDAQ: CALC) reached an agreement in principle with
Dresser to settle asbestos-related litigation, subject to
negotiation of a definitive settlement agreement. The Company is
continuing to negotiate with Dresser, RESCO and RESCO's insurer
in an effort to finalize the settlement agreement. The Company's
share of the settlement is US$1.33 million and is the amount of
the Company's litigation accrual as of Dec. 31, 2004.

The Irvine, CA-based Company and RESCO are not admitting fault
or liability with respect to Dresser's claims, but are
negotiating to settle the matter in order to avoid the continued
cost and uncertainty of litigation. However, in the event that
final settlement is not accomplished and the Company is required
to provide indemnification to Dresser, defense costs and damage
awards in asbestos cases can involve amounts that would have a
material adverse effect on the Company's business, operations
and financial condition.

Dresser's indemnity claims relate to several hundred lawsuits
encompassing about 5,900 contested asbestos claims made by third
parties in connection with work in facilities in which the
Dresser-acquired engineering and construction business was
allegedly connected.

The Company denied Dresser's allegations and vigorously defended
itself in this case and related matters. The Company was not
formed until September 1988 and, upon being spun off from
Wheelabrator in December 1988, the Company agreed to indemnify
Wheelabrator for its potential liabilities under the January
1988 purchase agreement with Dresser, to the extent that any
such liabilities are not covered by insurance. However, the
Company and RESCO contend that under the terms of the January
1988 purchase agreement, any contractual duty to indemnify
Dresser for any third-party asbestos claims expired in March
1991.

California Coastal Communities, Inc. and its consolidated
subsidiaries is a residential land development and homebuilding
company with properties located primarily in southern
California.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Ladish Co. Named in 68 Suits in MS, 2 in IL
----------------------------------------------------------------
Ladish Co., Inc. (NASDAQ: LDSH) has been named as a defendant in
about 68 asbestos cases in Mississippi and two asbestos cases in
Illinois. As of the date of this filing submitted to the
Securities and Exchange Commission, the Cudahy, WI-based Company
has been dismissed from 38 of the cases in Mississippi and both
cases in Illinois.

Ladish declared that from time to time, it has been involved in
legal proceedings relating to claims arising out of its
operations in the normal course of business. The Company
believes however, that there are no material legal proceedings
pending or threatened against the Company or any of its
properties.

In addition, the Company asserted that it has never manufactured
or processed asbestos. Its only exposure to asbestos, it says,
involves products the Company purchased from third parties. The
Company has notified its insurance carriers of these claims and
is vigorously defending these actions.

Ladish Co. Inc. designs and manufactures high-strength forged
and cast metal components for aerospace and industrial markets.
Jet engine parts, missile components, landing gear, helicopter
rotors, and aerospace products account for more than 90% of
sales. The company also makes large crankshafts and metal
forgings used in power-generation equipment and heavy-duty off-
road vehicles.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Oregon Bldg. Tenants Await EPA Test Results
----------------------------------------------------------------
A North Portland property, which used to be a vermiculite
processing plant, continues to be the scene of a drawn-out
cleanup effort four years after the Oregon Department of
Environmental Quality pronounced it clear of asbestos.

Earlier this month, tenants became concerned when environmental
and health officials surveyed the building and informed them of
the plan to conduct air quality tests for asbestos in the next
several months. The officials told them that this would be done
to clarify whether residual asbestos presented a danger to the
tenants. All the while, they believed that the DEQ had cleared
the building since it had declared it safe for occupancy in
2001.

Vermiculite releases asbestos fibers into the air when it is
processed, creating a health risk for workers and nearby
residents.

Agents collected soil and dust samples in and around the
building last September but the results are still not available,
six months after the samples were taken. The EPA's on-scene
coordinator, Dan Heister, said the delay results from the
complexity and cost of the lab tests, and the large number of
samples the agency has to test. He said the upcoming air
sampling effort should move more rapidly.

For more than 50 years, up through the early 1990s, Vermiculite
Northwest used the building as a processing plant for
vermiculite. The company used about 190,000 tons of vermiculite
to create potting soil, insulation and other products. The ore
was mined in Libby, Montana.

WR Grace, which owned Vermiculite Northwest and dozens of
similar processing plants across the nation, had funded the
cleanup in 2001. Environmental and health officials continue to
investigate the lingering health risks associated with all of
the processing plants.

EPA officials said their testing techniques have improved since
then and they have learned more about asbestos and its risks.
Mr. Heister said he expects that further work will be required
at the North Portland property.

Darrell Treacy, who manages the property for owner Walt Pelett,
said that in his view, the original contractors "should have
done it right the first time. . I'll wait until I get the full
report of what needs to be done, and then I'm going back to the
guys who did the original cleanup."

The EPA will begin three types of air sampling in the next
several months.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Georgia Votes To Restrict Asbestos Lawsuits
----------------------------------------------------------------
Georgia's General Assembly has approved a measure that would set
medical criteria, which asbestos injury claimants would have to
meet to pursue compensation.

The bill, H.B. 416, would permit asbestos injury claims only
from individuals manifesting specific symptoms. Claimants who
don't show impairment retain the right to file a claim if they
become ill. In addition, only Georgia residents or claimants who
were exposed to asbestos in Georgia would be permitted to file
asbestos injury claims in the state.

The bill also tolls the statute of limitations, so that
individuals who don't yet show signs of impairment will be able
to file a claim when and if they ever do get sick.

However, the American Insurance Association said it is hopeful
that Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue will sign the measure. The
insurance trade group said that its members are optimistic that
it will be approved since the governor has expressed himself in
favor of litigation reform.

However, Gov. Perdue's office said the governor has not yet
taken a position on the asbestos medical criteria bill given
final approval by the General Assembly and that he will take
time to review the measure during the upcoming bill-signing
period before making his decision.

Gov. Perdue's spokesman Derrick Dickey explained, "We have not
had an opportunity to review the bill at this time. The
governor's office has not taken a position on the bill. It's not
part of our legislative package."

Mr. Dickey said Gov. Perdue would sign the bill or veto it upon
review during the 40-day bill signing period beginning April 1.
The bill, if the governor decides to approve it, would be signed
between April 1 and mid-May, Mr. Dickey said.

AIA commented that this bill could ensure in Georgia that those
who are truly sick from asbestos exposure will be fully
compensated, instead of being forced to compete for claims
dollars with the growing number of claimants who are not
currently sick or who have had minimal exposure.

"This was not a bill on his agenda. But you could say that we
are optimistic that he will sign it, based on Gov. Perdue's
stance on tort reform. We are optimistic that he would sign it,"
said AIA director of public affairs Julie Pulliam.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Argonaut Reports Adequate Reserves in 4Q04
---------------------------------------------------------------
Holding company Argonaut Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AGII) disclosed
that total reserves for run-off lines as of Dec. 31, 2004 were
US$195.3 million, net of reinsurance but before effects of the
adverse development cover, including reserves for asbestos and
environmental claims of US$162.0 million. For the year ended
Dec. 31, 2004, the run-off segment's underwriting income was
zero, compared to underwriting losses of US$12.7 million and
US$67.8 million for the same periods of 2003 and 2002,
respectively.

In its filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the
San Antonio, TX-based firm stated that Argonaut Insurance
Company is exposed to asbestos liability at the primary level
through claims filed against its direct insureds, as well as
through its position as a reinsurer of other primary carriers.
Argonaut Insurance Company's direct liability arises primarily
from policies issued from the mid-1970s to early 1980s which
pre-dated policy contract wording that excluded asbestos
exposure. During 2004 the Company settled its largest direct
exposure for US$29.8 million.

Asbestos and environmental claims originate from policies
directly written by the Company and from reinsurance assumed
during this period, including a portion assumed from the London
market. In the third quarter of 2004, the Company completed an
analysis of loss and loss adjustment expense reserves related to
its run-off lines. This analysis indicated that reserves for
asbestos and environmental exposures were adequate. A similar
analysis was completed the third quarter of 2003 and this
analysis resulted in a decrease to ceded loss and loss
adjustment expense reserves, and a corresponding increase to net
loss and loss adjustment expense reserves and a related expense
of US$10.2 million.

As of Dec. 31, 2004, the Company recorded reserves are within 2%
of the best estimate provided by the consulting actuary's best
estimate. The review completed during the third quarter of 2004,
and updated in the fourth quarter, indicated the carried
reserves were adequate based on all information then available
to the Company.  Based on the 2004 actuarial analysis,
management has recorded its best estimate of reserves.

The majority of the policies were issued on behalf of small
contractors or construction companies. The Company believes that
the frequency and severity of asbestos claims for such insureds
is typically less than that experienced for large, industrial
manufacturing and distribution concerns.

Argonaut Insurance Company also assumed risk as a reinsurer for
a limited period of time, primarily for the period from 1970 to
1975, a portion of which was assumed from the London market.
Argonaut Insurance Company also reinsured risks on policies
written by domestic carriers.

Included in the gross payments on closed claims in 2004 is a
settlement relating to the Western MacArthur litigation. The
Company, through its subsidiary Argonaut Insurance Company, was
named in various legal actions filed by Western MacArthur
Company, Western Asbestos Company and certain other individual
claimants.

Argonaut Insurance Company's involvement in these actions arose
from nine construction wrap-up policies with an occurrence limit
of US$200,000 per policy issued to Western MacArthur Company and
Western Asbestos Company, respectively, for liability arising
out of work performed on five construction sites in the 1960's
and 1970s. On April 14, 2004, the Bankruptcy Court presiding
over the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy of the MacArthur Companies
entered orders giving final approval to settlements reached with
all property and casualty insurers of the MacArthur Companies
currently in litigation, including Argonaut Insurance Company. A
bankruptcy reorganization plan will be implemented and all
existing and future claims against the MacArthur Companies will
be channeled solely to a trust.

Argonaut Insurance Company contributed US$29.8 million into the
bankruptcy trust and received a release from the MacArthur
Companies as to any and all existing or future asbestos-related
claims, including any claims for extra-contractual relief,
arising directly or indirectly out of any alleged coverage under
the nine Argonaut Insurance Company polices at issue. In
addition, claimants seeking funds from the trust will be
required to execute release and indemnity agreements in favor of
Argonaut Insurance Company as a condition to receiving payment.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: 2004 Settlements Affect Everest's Cash Flow
----------------------------------------------------------------
Everest Re Group, Ltd. (NYSE: RE) revealed that the Company's
cash flow from operations was US$1,487.6 million and US$1,653.8
million for the years ended Dec. 31, 2004 and 2003,
respectively. Cash flow from operations was impacted in
particular by increased loss payments relating to catastrophe
losses and asbestos claim settlements in 2004.

Incurred losses and loss adjustment expense for 2004 was US$3.3
billion, an increase of 26.6% compared with US$2.6 billion for
2003. The major contributing factor for the increases in 2004
was the increase in incurred losses and loss adjustment expense
due to property catastrophe net event losses of US$403 million.

The increase in incurred losses and loss adjustment expense
relating to net adverse prior period reserve strengthening of
US$312.0 million and US$256.9 million for years ended Dec. 31,
2004 and 2003, principally related to the Company's asbestos
exposures, treaty casualty and workers' compensation, partially
offset in 2004 by a US$33.4 million reduction in reserves
related to the World Trade Center events.

Asbestos exposures accounted for US$10.3 million and US$16.8
million of adverse reserve adjustments for the years ended Dec.
31, 2004 and 2003, respectively, with the remainder principally
attributable to professional liability and casualty business
classes.

The Company continues to receive claims under expired contracts,
both insurance and reinsurance, asserting alleged injuries and
damages relating to or resulting from environmental pollution
and hazardous substances, including asbestos. The Company's
asbestos claims typically involve potential liability for bodily
injury from exposure to asbestos or for property damage
resulting from asbestos or products containing asbestos.

Everest Re was formed in 1973 but was not fully engaged in
underwriting casualty business, under which asbestos and
environmental exposures generally arise, until 1974, and it
effectively eliminated exposures through contract exclusions
effected in 1984.

At Dec. 31, 2004 the Company had asbestos loss reserves of
US$632.3 million, of which US$313.0 million was for assumed
business and US$319.3 was for direct business.

During 2004, the Company made asbestos net claim payments of
US$134.3 million on Mt McKinley high profile claimants where the
claim was either closed or a settlement was reached. Such
payments, which are effectively non-repetitive, do for 2004, and
will for 2005 and 2006, distort the Company's three-year
survival ratio. Adjusting for such settlements, recognizing
total settlements are generally considered fully reserved to an
agreed settlement, the Company considers that its adjusted
survival ratio for net unsettled claims is 16.0 years.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Chubb Corp. Handles 850 Outstanding Claims
--------------------------------------------------------------
Chubb Corp. (NYSE: CB), an underwriter of property and casualty
insurance, said that there were about 850 asbestos claims
outstanding at Dec. 31, 2004 compared with 800 asbestos claims
outstanding the previous year. In 2004, about 200 claims were
opened and 150 claims were closed. In 2003, about 200 claims
were opened and 300 claims were closed.

Beginning in December 2002, Chubb Indemnity has been named in a
series of actions commenced by various plaintiffs against Chubb
Indemnity and other non-affiliated insurers in the District
Courts in Nueces, Travis and Bexar Counties in Texas. The
plaintiffs generally allege that Chubb Indemnity and the other
defendants breached duties to asbestos product end-users and
conspired to conceal risks associated with asbestos exposure.
The plaintiffs seek to impose liability on insurers directly,
while at the same time, seeking unspecified monetary damages and
punitive damages. Chubb Indemnity has been successful in getting
a number of them dismissed through summary judgment, special
exceptions, or voluntarily.

Headquartered in Warren, NJ, the Company's combined loss and
expense ratio was 92.3% in 2004 compared with 98.0% in 2003. Its
underwriting results were adversely affected by asbestos and
toxic waste losses of US$75 million and US$250 million in 2004
and 2003, respectively. Its combined loss and expense ratio,
excluding the effects of asbestos and toxic waste losses, was
91.7% in 2004 and 95.5% in 2003.

Loss reserves, net of reinsurance recoverable, increased by
US$2.3 billion or 16% in 2004 compared with US$1.9 billion or
15% in 2003. Excluding loss reserves related to asbestos and
toxic waste claims, its loss reserves, net of reinsurance
recoverable, increased by US$2.5billion or 20% in 2004 compared
with US$2.0billion or 18% in 2003.

Chubb's most significant individual asbestos exposures involve
products liability on the part of "traditional" defendants who
were engaged in the manufacture, distribution or installation of
asbestos products. It wrote excess liability and general
liability coverages for these insureds. While these insureds are
relatively few in number, such exposure has increased in recent
years due to the increased volume of claims, the erosion of much
of the underlying limits and the bankruptcies of target
defendants.

Its other asbestos exposures involve products and non-products
liability on the part of "peripheral" defendants, including a
mix of manufacturers, distributors and installers of certain
products that contain asbestos in small quantities and owners or
operators of properties where asbestos was present.

In the fourth quarter of 2004, its actuaries and claim personnel
performed an analysis of asbestos related exposures. The
analysis noted that both the number of peripheral asbestos
defendants for whom it established reserves and the average
severity of these claims were again somewhat higher than
expected. In addition, there was an increase in its estimate of
the ultimate liabilities for one of its traditional asbestos
defendants. Based on this analysis, Chubb Corp. increased its
net asbestos loss reserves by US$75 million.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Tenneco Automotive Faces Exposure Claims
-------------------------------------------------------------
Auto parts firm Tenneco Automotive Inc. (NYSE: TEN) disclosed in
its latest filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that
it is involved in legal proceedings initiated by claimants
alleging health problems as a result of exposure to asbestos.
Many of these cases involve significant numbers of individual
claimants and more than 200 defendants coming from a variety of
industries.

A small percentage of these claimants allege that they were
automobile mechanics who were exposed to the Lake Forest, IL-
based Company's former muffler products. A considerable number
appear to involve workers in other industries or otherwise do
not include sufficient information to determine whether there is
any basis for a claim against Tenneco. The Company firmly
believes that, based on scientific and other evidence, it is
unlikely that mechanics were exposed to asbestos by its muffler
products and that they would not be at increased risk of
asbestos-related disease based on their work with these
products.

Additionally, the plaintiffs either do not specify any, or
specify the jurisdictional minimum, dollar amount for damages.
As major asbestos manufacturers continue to go out of business,
Tenneco said, it may experience an increased number of these
claims.

To date, with respect to claims that have proceeded sufficiently
through the judicial process, the Company has regularly achieved
favorable resolution in the form of a dismissal of the claim or
a judgment in its favor.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: PMA Capital Sets Aside $27.9M Loss Reserves
----------------------------------------------------------------
PMA Capital Corp. (NASDAQ: PMACA), a Philadelphia-based holding
company, recorded that at Dec. 31, 2004, 2003 and 2002, gross
reserves for asbestos-related losses were US$27.9 million,
US$37.8 million, and US$42.1 million, respectively (US$14.0
million, US$17.8 million and US$25.8 million, net of
reinsurance, respectively). Of the net asbestos reserves, about
US$10.3 million, US$14.9 million and US$22.9 million related to
IBNR losses at Dec. 31, 2004, 2003 and 2002, respectively.

PMA Capital Corp is engaged in selling property & casualty
insurance and reinsurance in the mid-Atlantic and southern US.
Through the companies operating under the PMA Insurance Group
trade name, the company underwrites workers' compensation and
commercial insurance.

The Company stated further that at Dec. 31, 2004, 2003 and 2002,
gross reserves for environmental-related losses were US$16.1
million, US$14.2 million and US$18.2 million, respectively
(US$6.4 million, US$8.8 million and US$14.3 million, net of
reinsurance, respectively).

Of the net environmental reserves, about US$3.0 million, US$3.7
million and US$7.9 million related to IBNR losses at Dec. 31,
2004, 2003 and 2002, respectively. All incurred asbestos and
environmental losses were for accident years 1986 and prior.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Foster Wheeler Blames Losses on NY Ruling
--------------------------------------------------------------
Global engineering firm Foster Wheeler Ltd. reported wider
losses in its fiscal fourth quarter and full year, in part
because of an adverse court ruling and other charges as the
company continues its financial restructuring.

The net loss for the fourth quarter of 2004 was US$95.4 million,
inclusive of after-tax charges of a net US$74.8 million relating
to an adverse court decision in asbestos insurance coverage
allocation litigation involving certain of the Company's
subsidiaries. That's up from a loss of US$81 million in the
year-ago quarter and a US$157.1 million loss for 2003. Company
losses also included US$18.4 million relating to three power
projects in Europe and US$2.0 million of restructuring costs.

As previously disclosed in the Jan. 28, 2005 edition of the
Class Action Reporter, a New York state trial court entered an
order on Jan. 10, 2005 finding that New York, rather than New
Jersey, law applies in a lawsuit regarding the allocation of
liability for asbestos-related personal injury claims among the
Foster Wheeler entities and their various insurers.

The litigation seeks to determine the respective obligations of
Foster Wheeler's various insurers to indemnify Foster Wheeler
for asbestos-related bodily injury losses. The substantive laws
of New Jersey and New York apply different methods of allocating
insurance proceeds available to satisfy claims triggered over
multiple years. The application of New York, rather than New
Jersey, law would result in Foster Wheeler realizing lower
insurance recoveries.

After recording this charge, and assuming satisfactory
resolution or settlement of issues with insurers remaining in
the lawsuit, Foster Wheeler continues to believe that it will
not be required to fund any asbestos liabilities from its cash
flow before 2010. Unless this decision is reversed on appeal, it
expects that it will be required to fund a portion of its
asbestos liabilities from its own cash beginning in 2010.

On Feb. 16, 2005, the Hamilton, Bermuda-based Company filed
separate motions seeking the re-argument of this decision, and
an appeal of this decision to a higher court. It intends to
continue actively to pursue settlements with our insurers and to
manage its insurance portfolio in order to minimize its cash
obligations for asbestos liabilities going forward.

On a per-share basis, Foster Wheeler lost US$7.38 during the
fourth quarter and US$57.84 for the year. It also reported a
US$175.1 million charge last year, relating to a debt-for-equity
exchange it issued to reduce corporate debt.

"Our objective for 2004 was to successfully restructure the
Company's balance sheet and operations, and we did just that,"
said Raymond J. Milchovich, chairman, president and chief
executive officer.

"We reduced corporate indebtedness by US$463 million during
2004, including US$437 million relating to the successful
equity-for-debt exchange. We also extended substantially all
corporate debt maturities to 2011."

Foster Wheeler said it lowered debt by US$463 million in 2004,
mostly thorough the debt-for-equity exchange. Total debt is now
about US$540 million, the company said.

The company reported US$819.5 million in fourth-quarter
bookings, up 79 percent from the year-ago quarter. Bookings for
the year increased 13 percent to US$2.44 billion. Operating
revenues fell 28 percent to US$2.66 billion in 2004, compared
from US$3.72 billion the prior year.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Bunge Ltd Faces Claims from French Facility
----------------------------------------------------------------
Bermuda-based Bunge Ltd. (NYSE: BG) disclosed that some
employees of Lesieur at two of its former facilities in France
have made claims for disability pensions from the French social
security administration relating to illnesses connected to
asbestos exposure associated with production processes of
certain discontinued product lines at the facilities. Lesieur is
not named as a party to these claims.

On July 3, 2003, Bunge completed the sale of the Lesieur bottled
oil business in France to Saipol, Bunge's existing joint venture
with Sofiproteol (the financial arm of the French oilseed
farmer's association).

In connection with the sale of Lesieur to Saipol, Bunge Ltd.
agreed to indemnify Saipol for asbestos-related claims relating
to Lesieur pursuant to a contractual formula. The agreement
however requires that in no event may its total liability for
these claims exceed EUR23 million.

The Company added that several cases are pending against Lesieur
before the French social security courts to determine the extent
of Lesieur's liability, if any, for asbestos exposure.

Bunge is a global agribusiness and food company with integrated
operations that stretch from the farm field to the retail shelf
and circle the globe.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: INDM Records US$6.4Mil Net Loss Reserves
-------------------------------------------------------------
United America Indemnity, Ltd. (NASDAQ: INDM) stated in its
filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that as of Dec.
31, 2004, the Company had US$6.4 million of net loss reserves
for asbestos-related claims and US$5.4 million for environmental
claims.

Included in net unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses as of
Dec. 31, 2004 and 2003 were IBNR reserves of US$8.2 million and
US$6.4 million, respectively, and case reserves of about US$3.6
million and US$1.6million, respectively, for known asbestos and
environment-related claims.

The Company, which is based in the Cayman Islands, further
stated that its asbestos and environmental exposure arises from
the sale of general liability and commercial multi-peril
insurance. Currently, its policies continue to exclude classic
environmental contamination claims although in some states it is
required to provide coverage for such bodily injury claims, such
as an individual's exposure to a release of chemicals.

The Company has issued policies that were intended to provide
limited pollution and environmental coverage. The majority of
asbestos-related claims are declined based on well-established
exclusions. Management says that estimates of the liabilities
are reviewed and updated continually.

United America Indemnity (formerly United National Group), doing
business through its United National Insurance and Diamond State
subsidiaries, provides specialty and surplus property & casualty
program insurance, including insurance for social service
agencies, equine mortality risks, and vacant properties.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: OfficeMax, Subsidiaries Face Injury Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------
Over the past several years and continuing into 2005, OfficeMax
Incorporated (NYSE: OMX) and certain of its subsidiaries have
been named as defendants in a number of cases where the
plaintiffs allege asbestos-related injuries from exposure to
asbestos-containing products or asbestos while working at job
sites. The claims vary widely and often are not specific about
the plaintiffs' contacts with the company. None of the claims
seeks damages from the Company individually, and it is generally
one of numerous defendants.

After its 2003 purchase of OfficeMax, Boise Cascade sold off its
paper and forest products, leaving the company solely in the
office products distribution business. Boise Cascade changed its
name to OfficeMax in late 2004.

The Company agreed to retain responsibility for all pending or
threatened proceedings and future proceedings alleging asbestos-
related injuries arising out of the operation of the forest
products assets prior to the closing of the sale.

Many of the cases filed against the Company have been
voluntarily dismissed, although it has settled some cases. The
settlements it has paid have been covered mostly by insurance,
and the Company believes any future settlements or judgments in
these cases would be similarly covered. To date, no asbestos
case against it has gone to trial, and the nature of these cases
makes any prediction as to the outcome of pending litigation
inherently subjective. At this time, however, it believes its
involvement in asbestos litigation is not material to either its
financial position or results of operations.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Aborigines to Seek Compensation from Hardie
----------------------------------------------------------------
A legal battle over asbestos compensation, which is sought by
more than 200 aboriginal residents of the NSW community of
Baryulgil, is now looming against building products giant James
Hardie Industries.

In a landmark compensation agreement decided in December, James
Hardie agreed to fund a multibillion-dollar Special Purpose Fund
for asbestos victims.

The indigenous community is seeking over AUD50 million in
compensation for victims now suffering from asbestos-related
illnesses. The Sydney law firm, Stephen Smart and Associates,
who represents the group, is currently assembling possible
actions. Their lawyers point to a federal parliamentary
committee report that found Hardie employed the Aborigines under
what it knew to be dangerous conditions.

"We are have received instructions from well over 100 people and
expect there will be many more. We are currently considering a
range of actions against a number of defendants in a variety of
jurisdictions," barrister David Baran said.

An asbestos mine employing mostly local Aboriginal miners,
operated in the town from the 1940s until 1979. Mining began
when Wunderlich, now part of CSR, opened a mine. The mine then
operated as a joint venture between Wunderlich and Hardie from
1944 to 1953. The James Hardie subsidiary, Asbestos Mines Pty
Ltd, which managed the facility, was sold to Woodsreef Mines,
which is now called Marlew Mining and is in liquidation.
Woodsreef became Mineral Commodities Ltd in 1987.

"If any legitimate claims for compensation from members of the
Baryulgil community are successfully brought against ... [former
James Hardie entities] such claims will be the responsibility of
those entities," James Hardie said in a statement.

James Hardie spokesman Michael Priebe said the matter was being
reviewed in a process that could take between two and three
weeks. The company is examining whether legal responsibility for
Baryulgil's miners was passed on to Mineral Commodities.

New South Wales Premier Bob Carr said, "If a former James Hardie
asbestos subsidiary was responsible for the exposure to asbestos
of people from Baryulgil who are now suffering asbestos diseases
or who in the future develop asbestos diseases, then the
government would expect James Hardie to provide compensation."

Meanwhile, the NSW Dust Diseases Board said not all with
asbestos disease in the Baryulgil Indigenous community of
northern NSW would be eligible for compensation. Dr. Anthony
Johnson said that only those who were employees will be able to
claim. The others, he said, would have to go through the common
law scheme and that would involve suing the owners.

Legal sources close to the case said the Baryulgil legal team
would also apply pressure on the NSW Government to provide a
compensation package in place of litigation.

"No claim has been made against the Government on this issue.
The Government does not accept that taxpayers should pick up
liabilities that should be borne by private companies," Mr. Carr
said.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ABB to Pay US$232Mil More to Settle Suits
--------------------------------------------------------------
ABB Ltd., the Swiss-Swedish electrical engineering giant, said
it has reached an agreement to reorganize two of its
subsidiaries to resolve asbestos claims against the company. It
hopes to reach a final settlement this year paving the way for
its proposal to gain acceptance in the US courts.

ABB, the world's biggest maker of factory robots, will pay an
additional US$232 million into a trust fund to settle
outstanding claims under an amended plan to reorganize its
subsidiaries, Combustion Engineering and Lummus.

ABB has been involved in extensive litigation with people who
claim to have been afflicted with illnesses from exposure to ABB
products. The new plan should fully address issues raised in a
December 2004 judgment by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
in Philadelphia, as well as objections raised by some asbestos
claimants, the company said.

The appellate court had rejected ABB's petition to include its
Lummus and Basic Industries units in the company's overall
US$1.2 billion asbestos-claims settlement plan, which centers on
its subsidiary Combustion Engineering. All three are based in
the United States.

As part of the new proposal, ABB said it will put its oil and
gas unit Lummus Global into Chapter 11 bankruptcy to comply with
the appeal's court demands. A Chapter 11 process is necessary to
shield a unit that is suffering from pending asbestos lawsuits
from future claims. Lummus Global is facing several thousand
asbestos lawsuits.

Before ABB can start the bankruptcy process, however, Lummus
Global claimants need to vote on the new settlement proposal.
Should the claimants accept the settlement, a U.S. bankruptcy
court will have to rule on ABB's new proposal. Later, a U.S.
district court also needs to confirm a potential positive
verdict.

"I am pleased that the cooperative efforts of the parties
involved have resulted in a commonly agreed proposal for an
amended plan in this short period of time," said ABB President
and Chief Executive Fred Kindle, who took over last January 1.
"This agreement is a vital step towards a final resolution of
our asbestos issue."

ABB said it would raise funds for its additional contribution
from the sale of Lummus assets. It will publish revised 2004
results to incorporate the impact of the amended plan.

ABB has already paid around US$1 billion to claimants. Most of
its over 100,000 pending asbestos lawsuits stem from its U.S.
unit Combustion Engineering, which produced asbestos-insulated
boilers. The company posted a record net loss of US$783 million
in 2002.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: General Motors Confronts Increasing Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------
As with other companies that used asbestos, General Motors
Corporation (NYSE: GM) said it has faced an increase in the
number of claims related to the use of asbestos-containing
friction products in recent years. A growing number of auto
mechanics are filing suit, seeking recovery based on their
alleged exposure to the small amount of asbestos used in brake
components.

GM related in its filing to the Securities and Exchange
Commission that like most domestic and foreign automobile
manufacturers, the Company over the years has used some brake
products which incorporated small amounts of encapsulated
asbestos. However, there is a significant body of scientific
data demonstrating that these asbestos-containing friction
products are not unsafe and do not create an increased risk of
asbestos-related disease. GM believes that the use of asbestos
in these products was appropriate.

In addition, the Company, based in Detroit, MI, divulged that
these claims almost always identify numerous other potential
sources for the claimant's alleged exposure to asbestos which do
not involve GM or even asbestos-containing friction products and
many of these other potential sources would place users at much
greater risk. The majority of these claimants does not have an
asbestos-related illness and may never develop one. This is
consistent with the experience reported by other automotive
manufacturers and other end users of asbestos.

GM also has to deal with two other types of claims related to
asbestos exposure, representing a significantly lower exposure
than the automotive friction product claims. The Company used a
limited amount of asbestos in locomotive brakes and in the
insulation used in the manufacturing of some locomotives. These
uses have been the basis of lawsuits being filed against GM by
railroad workers seeking relief based on their alleged exposure
to asbestos. A small number of claims involve cases brought by
contractors who seek recovery based on alleged exposure to
asbestos-containing products while working on premises owned by
GM.

While GM has resolved many of these cases over the years, the
Company believes the vast majority of such claims against it are
without merit. Only a small percentage of the claims pending
against GM allege the contraction of malignant disease
associated with asbestos exposure.

In addition, GM believes that it has very strong defenses based
upon a number of published epidemiological studies prepared by
highly respected scientists. Indeed, GM believes there is
compelling evidence warranting the dismissal of virtually all of
these claims against GM.

The West Virginia Supreme Court and an Ohio trial court have
ruled that Federal law preempts asbestos tort claims asserted on
behalf of railroad workers. Such preemption means that Federal
law entirely eliminates the possibility that railroad workers
could maintain claims against GM.

GM's annual expenditures associated with the resolution of these
claims decreased last year after increasing in nonmaterial
amounts in recent years, but the amount expended in any year is
highly dependent on the number of claims filed, the amount of
pretrial proceedings conducted, and the number of trials and
settlements which occur during the period.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Bowater Opposes 256 Personal Injury Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------
In late 2001, Bowater Inc. (NYSE: BOW), several other paper
companies, and 120 other companies were named as defendants in
asbestos personal injury actions based on product liability
claims. These actions generally allege occupational exposure to
numerous products. The Company has denied the allegations and
asserts that no specific product has been identified by the
plaintiffs in any of the actions as having caused or contributed
to any individual plaintiff's alleged asbestos-related injury.

These suits were filed by about 1,238 claimants who sought
monetary damages in civil actions pending in state courts in
Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, New York and Texas.
About 982 of these claims have been dismissed, either
voluntarily or by summary judgment, and about 256 claims remain.

In addition, the Company stated that insurers are defending
these claims and it has not settled or paid any of these claims.
Bowater believes that all of these asbestos-related claims are
covered by insurance, subject to any applicable deductibles and
the insurers' rights to dispute coverage. While it is not
possible to predict with certainty the outcome of these matters,
based upon the advice of special counsel, at this time the
Company does not expect these claims to have a material adverse
impact on the business, financial position or results of
operations.

Bowater Incorporated, headquartered in Greenville, SC, is a
leading producer of newsprint and coated mechanical papers. In
addition, the company makes uncoated mechanical papers, bleached
kraft pulp and lumber products. The Company has 12 pulp and
paper mills in the United States, Canada and South Korea and 12
North American sawmills that produce softwood lumber.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Watts Water Tackles Cases in MS, NJ Courts
---------------------------------------------------------------
Watts Water Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: WTS) continues to defend
itself against about 161 cases filed primarily, but not
exclusively, in Mississippi and New Jersey state courts alleging
injury or death as a result of exposure to asbestos. These
filings typically name multiple defendants and are filed on
behalf of many plaintiffs. They do not identify any particular
Watts products as a source of asbestos exposure.

To date, the Company, a manufacturer of safety and flow control
products, has been dismissed from each case when the scheduled
trial date comes near or when discovery fails to yield any
evidence of exposure to any of its products. Based on the facts
currently known, the Company does not believe that the ultimate
outcome of these claims will have a material adverse effect on
its liquidity, financial condition or results of operations.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Bayer Aktiengesellschaft Cites U.S. Risks
--------------------------------------------------------------
Bayer Aktiengesellschaft, which is the foreign name of Bayer AG,
submitted a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission
saying that a further risk might arise from asbestos litigation
in the United States.

Bayer AG, which operates in the United States as Bayer
Corporation, is an international pharmaceuticals research based
company headquartered in Germany. The Company is a manufacturer
of health care products, agricultural products, and specialty
materials.

In the majority of these cases, the plaintiffs allege that Bayer
and co-defendants employed third parties on their sites in past
decades without providing them with sufficient warnings or
protection against the known dangers of asbestos. One Bayer
affiliate in the United States is the legal successor to
companies that sold asbestos products until 1976. Should
liability be established, Union Carbide has to indemnify Bayer.

Bayer however, believes it has meritorious defenses in these
product liability cases as well as in other cases and will
defend itself vigorously.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Transatlantic Holdings Posts $85M Reserves
---------------------------------------------------------------
Loss reserves of Transatlantic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: TRH)
include amounts for risk related to environmental impairment and
asbestos-related illnesses totaling US$85 million at Dec. 31,
2004 and US$75 million for the same period last year. A total of
US$23 million was recorded in relation to losses occurring in
1985 and prior at Dec. 31, 2004 while garnering US$22 million at
Dec. 31, 2003.

As Transatlantic Reinsurance Company, the major operating
subsidiary of the Company commenced operations in 1978. The
majority of the Company's environmental and asbestos-related
liabilities arise from contracts entered into after 1985 and
underwritten specifically as environmental or asbestos-related
coverages rather than as standard general liability coverages
where the environmental or asbestos-related liabilities were
neither clearly defined nor specifically excluded.

The reserves carried for these claims, including IBNR, are based
upon known facts and current law. However, significant
uncertainty exists in determining the amount of ultimate
liability for environmental impairment and asbestos-related
losses, particularly for those occurring in 1985 and prior.

Transatlantic Holdings Inc. provides reinsurance capacity for a
full range of property and casualty products to insurers and
reinsurers on a treaty and facultative basis. The Group is a
holding company, which operates through Transatlantic
Reinsurance Company, Trans Re Zurich and Putnam Reinsurance
Company. The Group serves both in the domestic and in the
international markets. Casualty accounted for 74% of 2002 gross
revenues and Property, 26%.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Viacom Inc. Battles 112,140 Pending Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------
Media firm Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA) had pending about 112,140
asbestos-related claims as of Dec. 31, 2004, as compared with
about 112,280 as of Dec. 31, 2003. Of the claims pending as of
yearend, about 82,370 were in state courts, 27,180 in federal
courts and about 2,590 were third party claims.

According to this filing submitted to the Securities and
Exchange Commission, during 2004, the New York-based Company
received about 16,060 new claims and closed or moved to an
inactive docket about 16,200 claims. The Company reports claims
as closed when it becomes aware that a court has entered a
dismissal order or when the Company has reached agreement with
the claimants on the material terms of a settlement.

The Company is a defendant in lawsuits claiming various personal
injuries related to asbestos and other materials, which
allegedly occurred principally as a result of exposure caused by
various products manufactured by Westinghouse, a predecessor,
generally prior to the early 1970s. Westinghouse was neither a
producer nor a manufacturer of asbestos.

The Company is typically named as one of a large number of
defendants in both state and federal cases. In the majority of
asbestos lawsuits, the plaintiffs have not identified which of
the Company's products is the basis of a claim. Claims against
the Company in which a product has been identified principally
relate to exposures allegedly caused by asbestos-containing
insulating material in turbines sold for power-generation,
industrial and marine use, or by asbestos-containing grades of
decorative micarta, a laminate used in commercial ships.

Claims are frequently filed or settled in large groups, which
may make the amount and timing of settlements, and the number of
pending claims, subject to significant fluctuation from period
to period. The Company does not report as pending those claims
on inactive, stayed, deferred or similar dockets, which some
jurisdictions have established for claimants who allege minimal
or no impairment.

Settlement costs depend on the seriousness of the injuries that
form the basis of the claim, the quality of evidence supporting
the claims and other factors. To date, the Company has not been
liable for any third party claims. The Company's total recovery
costs for the years 2004 and 2003 for settlement and defense of
asbestos claims after insurance recoveries and net of tax
benefits were about US$58.4 million and US$8.7 million,
respectively. A portion of such costs relates to claims settled
in prior years. If proceeds received in 2003 from an insurance
commutation were excluded from the Company's total costs in
2003, the Company's total costs after insurance recoveries and
net of tax benefits would have been US$56.6million. The
Company's costs for settlement and defense of asbestos claims
may vary year to year as insurance proceeds are not always
recovered in the same period as the insured portion of the
expenses.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Inspectors Find Risk in First Nations Homes
----------------------------------------------------------------
Amid rising concern from Indian leaders, Health Canada
inspectors detected high levels of asbestos in four homes on
Saskatchewan First Nations from Zonolite vermiculite insulation.
Environmental health officers visually inspected 140 houses
across the country after receiving requests from several First
Nation communities.

Federal records revealed that Zonolite had been used in 597
homes between 1960 and 1990 -- half of those on Saskatchewan
reserves -- said the Indian and Northern Affairs department. In
Manitoba, there were 62 inspections and 11 homes where it was
determined there was a high risk of a Zonolite health hazard.

Indian Affairs spokesperson James Parker said, letters were sent
to all bands and tribal councils explaining the issue and
offering free Health Canada inspections. Indian Affairs believes
that many of the reserve homes that had Zonolite were built
decades ago and no longer exist.

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations believes however
that it would be a big mistake to make that assumption. Vice-
chief Morley Watson is pushing for inspection of all the homes
on the 26 reserves.

Both Health Canada and Indian Affairs say it's up to the local
bands to determine what to do next and how to pay for it.

A band councilor on Gordon First Nation, Dennis Hunter,
responsible for the housing portfolio on the Gordon reserve
north of Regina, is worried that residents could be exposing
themselves to Zonolite insulation in their attics. He believes
since Indian Affairs raised the issue, it must now provide some
funds to fix the problem.

However, Mr. Parker said Indian Affairs provides US$20 million
in housing funding to Saskatchewan First Nations and any
cleanups would have to come out of that budget. "It's up to the
First Nations to deal with the situation," he said.

An estimated 300,000 homes across Canada contain Zonolite
vermiculite insulation. Health Canada officials say if the
insulation is not disturbed, it should cause no health problems.
The government strongly cautions people against trying to remove
it or clean it up themselves.

Zonolite, a type of vermiculite insulation that could contain
asbestos, was used in hundreds of thousands of Canadian homes
before 1990. If the insulation is disturbed, exposure to the
asbestos could cause scarring of the lungs and some forms of
cancer.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Cleanup of WR Grace Plant Begins on April 5
----------------------------------------------------------------
A public meeting will coincide with next week's cleanup of the
former W.R. Grace vermiculite-processing plant in Dearborn,
Michigan. The project, organized by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency Region 5, may expand to nearby residential
properties once the investigative effort concludes.

Beginning April 5, trailers and workers in required protective
equipment may be visible. A water spray and other engineering
controls will be used to reduce dust during the work, which is
expected to last several months.

The cleanup will remove asbestos-containing waste material from
W.R. Grace's production of vermiculite, an ingredient used in
residential attic insulation and potting soil. EPA has
identified contamination at the former Grace plant and is
investigating the possibility that some of the material may be
in nearby yards or was used as fill in driveways. Grace operated
at the Henn Street location from the early 1950s until 1989.

The public meeting to discuss the work will be held at the
Fordson High School auditorium. EPA will be joined by partner
agencies including Michigan Department of Environmental Quality,
Michigan Department of Community Health and the Agency for Toxic
Substances and Disease. Representatives from ACCESS, which
serves the Arab-American community, will also attend the meeting
and assist with community outreach during the project.

EPA believes it has not yet identified all the contamination in
the area and would like to speak with residents as well as
former Grace employees. Agency representatives will be
contacting many residents directly in the weeks ahead. For more
information, please contact community involvement coordinator
Dave Novak, 312-886-7478, or toll-free 800-621-8431, ext. 67478,
weekdays 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Information about the cleanup is available for review at Henry
Ford Community College's Eshleman Library reference section,
5101 Evergreen Road.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Equitas to Pay US$415Mil to Settle Claims
--------------------------------------------------------------
Considered its largest remaining direct claim, Equitas Ltd.,
which reinsures Lloyd's insurance underwriters, will pay US$415
million or GBP222 million to settle asbestos-related claims with
McDermott International Inc.'s Babcock & Wilcox unit in the U.S.

"I would rather pay claims than lawyers," Equitas Chief
Executive Scott Moser. "We are making substantial progress, and
our liabilities are being substantially reduced."

The settlement deals with the largest remaining set of asbestos
liabilities on Equitas's books but is subject to final
confirmation of B&W's reorganization plan that will see the
company emerging from bankruptcy. The settlement payment will be
held in trust until the completion of B&W's reorganization and
approval of the plan from the courts.

Asbestos, used in insulation and construction through the 1970s,
has been linked to respiratory illness and cancer that can
surface years after the material is handled. London-based
Equitas has paid more than US$7 billion in asbestos settlements
since it was founded in 1996 and expects to sign more
agreements, Mr. Moser said.

Maker of steam generators, Babcock & Wilcox won court approval
in October of its plan to come out of bankruptcy by putting
US$1.75 billion of assets into a trust to pay more than 222,000
asbestos-injury claims. The unit of New Orleans-based McDermott
filed for bankruptcy in February 2000 citing the expense of
asbestos-injury lawsuits.

Equitas was founded to take on the non-life liabilities of the
Lloyd's of London insurance market for policies written until
1993. From 1988 through 1992, Lloyd's lost GBP8 billion or
US$14.9 billion after a series of natural disasters and
pollution claims.

Equitas has secured a number of sizeable settlements over the
years including US$472 million to deal with claims arising
through Honeywell, the computer company. In January 2004,
Equitas agreed to pay Halliburton Co., the world's No. 1
oilfield-services company, US$575 million to settle asbestos-
related claims.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Federal-Mogul Settles Claims for US$29Mil
--------------------------------------------------------------
Auto Parts firm Federal-Mogul Corp. said it will pay US$29
million to resolve more than US$183 million in asbestos injury
claims.

The Southfield, MI-based company, in a motion filed last week,
asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, to
approve a settlement of litigation between the company and the
Center for Claims Resolution, an entity set up by a consortium
of companies to administer and resolve asbestos claims against
them.

After Federal-Mogul withdrew from the claims center in 2001,
various lawsuits were filed among the claims center, the
company, asbestos claimants and the insurers who issued US$250
million in bonds to cover the settlement contributions of
Federal-Mogul and its affiliates.

Federal-Mogul agreed to a settlement to end the litigation and
settle all claims in exchange for the US$29 million payment to
the claims center. The sureties that issued the bonds -- Safeco
Insurance Co. of America, Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. of
America, National Fire Insurance Co. of Hartford and Continental
Casualty Co. -- will initially pay the settlement. Federal-Mogul
will repay that amount over time.

The bankruptcy court approved federal-Mogul's separate
settlement with the insurers on March 16.

The claims center settlement payment is expected to be made May
2, with 30 percent coming from Safeco, 40 percent from Travelers
and 30 percent from National Fire and Continental Casualty
together.

The settlement with the claims center will resolve the dispute
without Federal-Mogul having to spend more money on litigation
and remove the risk of adverse court rulings that "could have
disastrous effects upon the prospects for reorganization of
certain debtors," the motion said.

Federal-Mogul sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2001
because of hundreds of millions of dollars in asbestos claims.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: EPA Cleanup Meets Resistance from Residents
----------------------------------------------------------------
Two months after a fire at a magnesium recycling business
showered homes in Anderson, Indiana with asbestos-contaminated
debris, only 25% of those homeowners have agreed to allow a
cleanup of their property.

Federal officials are urging about one thousand property owners
near the Advanced Magnesium Alloys plant to allow an
environmental contractor to inspect and clean up their property.
Exposure to asbestos has been linked to various respiratory
illnesses including the fatal cancer, mesothelioma.

Some of the homeowners have refused to give inspectors
permission to clean up their property out of fear that it might
affect a class-action lawsuit filed against the company.

However, EPA officials said that homeowners who sign the access
agreement are not waiving any legal rights. So far, two lawsuits
have been filed on behalf of residents.

Advanced Magnesium Alloys Corp., the magnesium recycling
facility that caught fire Jan. 14, hired the contractor,
HydroTech. The fire burned for three days, leading to the
evacuation of about 8,000 residents. Investigations believe it
was arson but no arrests have been made.

Officials from the EPA and HydroTech canvassed neighborhoods
south and southwest of the plant this week. The EPA wants to get
the debris cleaned while it is still wet and before people spend
more time in their yards.

"Some people are saying that they picked up [the debris] at the
time and that it's gone, so they say no," said Kenneth Rhame, a
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official overseeing the
cleanup. He said that the material can be scattered around and
may be so small as to avoid the residents' detection.

The EPA originally was not involved in the cleanup because
Advanced Magnesium Alloys did not believe there was asbestos in
its building. Once it was discovered in the neighborhoods, the
EPA agreed to oversee that part of the cleanup while the Indiana
Department of Environmental Management oversees the cleanup at
the plant, Mr. Rhame said.

EPA spokesman Mick Hans encourages residents to inform the
agency immediately of any suspicious-looking material found in
their yards. He warned them not to handle debris in their yards.
He added, "Sign the access agreement, even if you don't see
anything. Let their professionals out there do a professional
job under EPA oversight."

Residents who find debris should call AMACOR, (765) 643-5873;
HydroTech, (765) 642-1581; or the EPA, (312) 353-6720 or
(800) 621-8431.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CA Jury Awards $8.6M in Favor of Machinist
---------------------------------------------------------------
A San Francisco, California jury on March 22, 2005 awarded over
US$8.6 million in the case of a 60-year old Navy machinist and
engineering officer who was exposed to asbestos in pump and
valve packing, gaskets, and insulation products made by John
Crane, Inc. and Metalclad Insulation Corp.

Court documents revealed that Anthony Cadlo developed pleural
mesothelioma, an aggressive, incurable cancer caused by contact
with asbestos. He was diagnosed in July 2002.

During his naval career, Mr. Cadlo removed and installed pump
and valve packing and gaskets, all of which contained asbestos.
He was also routinely exposed to high levels of airborne
asbestos from thermal insulation, packing, and gaskets in the
engine rooms of ships. Mr. Cadlo never wore respiratory
protection and was unaware of the dangers of asbestos. Neither
he nor his shipmates received any warnings from the
manufacturers or suppliers of these asbestos products.

John Crane Inc. manufactured asbestos pump and valve packing and
distributed asbestos gaskets during the years when Mr. Cadlo was
in the Navy. Metalclad Insulation Corp. supplied asbestos
thermal insulation products at that time.

In the case tagged as Anthony Cadlo and Maxlyn Cadlo v. John
Crane Inc. and Metalclad Insulation Corp., Case No. 412325, San
Francisco Superior Court, the jury determined that exposure to
the products of these two companies were the cause of Anthony
Cadlo's illness and that the injuries were reasonably
foreseeable to the companies. The jury also found that the
defendants' products contained a defect in design and that the
defendants failed to warn Mr. Cadlo about the dangers.

Mr. Cadlo was awarded US$4 million in "noneconomic damages"
including pain, suffering, and emotional distress. He was also
awarded US$1,412,400 for nonmedical economic damages, such as
lost earning capacity, US$87,304 for past medical expenses, and
US$174,000 for future medical expenses. Mr. Cadlo's wife,
Maxlyn, was awarded US$3 million for her suffering and the loss
of her husband's companionship.

The jury based its ruling on the fact that any exposure to
asbestos from a product is a substantial factor in causing a
disease and that any fiber release at all that is added to the
ambient air is a legal cause of the disease.

The jury said Metalclad was not negligent and found it 4 percent
liable; it found John Crane 3 percent liable. The U.S. Navy was
found 33 percent liable, sources said. The remainder of
liability was apportioned to all others. The jury said that
neither defendant committed malice or oppression in its conduct
and did not award punitive damages.

Christopher Andreas of Brayton Purcell in Novato, California
represented the Cadlos during trial.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Orders 2-Year Imprisonment for Fraud
---------------------------------------------------------------
A New York district court judge ordered a Bronx man to spend two
years in federal prison for falsifying laboratory results from
asbestos abatement projects and illegally removing and dumping
asbestos.

Andre Parker, aged 38, was sentenced last week by U.S. District
Judge Norman Mordue, who put Parker's company, Parker
Environmental Management Group, on two years of probation for
committing 22 felonies related to violations of federal and
state environmental laws.

A jury convicted Mr. Parker and PEMG in Oct. 2, 2003 for the 22
felonies, including conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act and
Superfund Act. He was also found guilty of mail fraud and other
charges.

Parker owned and operated a laboratory licensed to perform
analysis on samples taken from asbestos-abatement projects.
During the trial, witnesses testified that from at least 1998
through 2001, Mr. Parker and his employees falsified lab results
on projects in New York City and upstate New York to make it
appear that the cleanups had been properly done.

Parker directed employees to take samples in sections of the
building far from the removal activities to guarantee that
results would pass. These projects included day care centers,
schools and city-run homeless shelters.

U.S. Attorney Glenn Suddaby said Parker and his company also
performed illegal asbestos abatement in 31 Plattsburgh public-
housing buildings. Hundreds of bags of asbestos were then dumped
throughout the City of Plattsburgh.

Asbestosis has a latency period of about a decade, so the full
scope of Parker's illegal record tampering and dumping will not
be known for years, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Benedict,
who prosecuted the case.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Merger Aims to Push the Fight for Victims
--------------------------------------------------------------
The June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund will merge with the
national organization British Lung Foundation on June 1, 2005.
The charity's patrons and trustees have signed an agreement,
which they say will take the battle for justice for victims of
the disease to a new level and win more support for research.

Among hundreds of other victims, June Hancock contracted the
lung cancer mesothelioma as a result of the activities of the J
W Roberts asbestos factory in Armley in Leeds. The factory
closed in the 1950s.

Mrs. Hancock launched a three-year courtroom battle, suing J W
Roberts' parent company, Turner Newall. The landmark case led to
winning compensation, setting the precedent for thousands of
sufferers. She however, died in June 1997, a few weeks after her
victory.

So far, the June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund JHMRF, which
was set up by her family and friends for research into the
disease at Leeds General Infirmary, has raised 250,000.

Mrs. Hancock's daughter Kimberley Stubbs, patron of the fund,
said, "This was a memorable day for everyone involved in mum's
fund. We have taken the battle for justice for victims,
increased research funding and greater awareness of the disease
to a new national level.

"Together with the British Lung Foundation we will achieve a
much stronger voice. We need action on mesothelioma now, and
between the June Hancock fund and the British Lung Foundation we
intend to get it."

Donations to the fund can be sent to: Adrian Budgen, The June
Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund, c/o Irwin Mitchell
Solicitors, St Peters House, Hartshead, Sheffield S1 2EL.
peter.lazenby@ypn.co.uk


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Insurers Urge Others to Block Asbestos Fund
----------------------------------------------------------------
Eleven insurers, led by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, are
seeking the support of other carriers to lobby against the
creation of a settlement fund for asbestos injury victims. The
fund is meant to serve as an alternative claims resolution
process for workers injured from exposure to asbestos in the
workplace.

The Boston-based company is leading the effort involving a
letter to Senate majority leader William Frist and Arlen
Specter, chairman of the judiciary committee. The letter asks
that the trust fund be abandoned and instead, initiatives should
be focused on establishing medical criteria for claims. The
letter comes at a time when Senate Republicans are under
pressure from the White House to pass an asbestos litigation
reform bill.

To gauge support, the letter is being circulated to members of
the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. Gregory
W. Heidrich, PCI Senior vice president - commercial lines and
secretary, signed the letter.

The letter asked those members of PCI who support the letter to
call Paul Mattera, senior vice president and chief public
affairs officer at Liberty Mutual or make e-mail contact
directly at paul.mattera@libertymutual.com.

"Paul has indicated to us that insurers who have agreed to sign
the letter include Liberty Mutual, Chubb, Safeco, AIG, Zurich,
Gen Re, Am Re, Swiss Re, Nationwide and Equitas," Mr. Heidrich
said in the letter. "He also indicates that companies
considering signing include: One Beacon and Hartford."

"The letter was an e-mail sent to a group of member companies on
behalf of another member company," said Scott Duncan of PCI's
Washington office. "PCI gives its members every opportunity to
develop consensus on issues that affect the insurance industry.
In this case, PCI performed an administrative role in
circulating a letter from one of its members attempting to do
just that. However, PCI has not signed the letter."

While the insurance industry has joined with defendant companies
in asking that the trust fund approach be abandoned in favor of
a bill establishing medical criteria, the industry has not
publicly sought to dissuade the Senate from working on a bill
incorporating a trust fund.

The nine-month provision is a key reason the insurance industry
and defendants are reluctant to support the bill. Another
concern is that under the current bill all claims would revert
to the tort system when the legislation sunsets in 27 and a half
years.

Mr. Specter said Republicans on his committee were concerned
about whether the Labor Department was best suited to administer
the fund and whether the federal government might be compelled
to pay into the fund if it runs out of money.

Meanwhile, a group of House members introduced legislation
earlier this month that would create a national trust fund to
compensate victims of asbestos-related disease.

Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., the bill's chief sponsor, in a statement
said the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act or H.R. 1360
would follow the framework negotiated in the Senate last year
for a trust fund. That framework calls for defendant companies
and their insurers to pay for a US$140 billion fund. Claimants
would have to manifest certain physical impairments before they
could pursue a claim.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Sealed Air's Cryovac Claims Stay Unresolved
----------------------------------------------------------------
Sealed Air Corp. (NYSE: SEE), a global manufacturer of materials
and systems for packaging, stated in a regulatory filing with
the Securities and Exchange Commission that none of the cases
that name the company as a result of the Cryovac transaction has
reached resolution through judgment or settlement.

Since the beginning of 2000, the Saddle Brook, NJ-based Company
has been served with a number of lawsuits alleging that the
Company is responsible for alleged asbestos liabilities of Grace
and its subsidiaries, some of which were also named as co-
defendants in some of these actions. Among these lawsuits are
several purported class actions and a number of personal injury
4lawsuits. Some plaintiffs seek damages for personal injury or
wrongful death, while others seek medical monitoring,
environmental remediation or remedies related to an attic
insulation product. Neither the former Sealed Air nor Cryovac
ever produced or sold any of the asbestos-containing materials
that are the subjects of these cases.

In 2002, Sealed Air Corp. approved the terms of its US$853
million settlement to resolve all asbestos-related claims
against it. The deal settles all current and future asbestos-
related claims and pending fraudulent transfer claims made in
connection with Sealed Air's 1998 acquisition of the Cryovac
packaging business from bankrupt W.R. Grace & Co.

In January 2005, W.R. Grace filed a proposed plan of
reorganization and related documents with the bankruptcy court.
There were a number of objections filed, and the Company does
not know whether the final plan will be consistent with the
terms of the settlement agreement or if the other conditions to
the Company's obligation to pay the settlement amount will be
met.

In November 2004, the Company's Canadian subsidiary Sealed Air
(Canada) Co./Cie learned that it had been named a defendant in
the case of Thundersky v. The Attorney General of Canada, et
al., which is pending in the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench.
W.R. Grace & Co. and a subsidiary has also been named as
defendants.

The claim is brought as a putative class proceeding and seeks
recovery for alleged injuries suffered by any Canadian resident,
other than in the course of employment, as a result of Grace's
marketing, selling, processing, manufacturing, distributing and
delivering asbestos or asbestos-containing products in Canada.
In January 2005, W. R. Grace & Co. agreed to defend, indemnify
and hold harmless the Company and its affiliates in respect of
any liability and expense, including legal fees and costs, in
this action.

Asbestos settlement and related costs in 2004 and 2003 reflect
legal and related fees for asbestos-related matters of US$2.0
million and US$2.8 million, respectively.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Wolseley Reports No Major Change in Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------
Wolseley plc disclosed in the filing submitted to the Securities
and Exchange Commission that there has been no significant
change concerning asbestos claims since the position reported on
July 31, 2004, when there were 308 outstanding claims. This
number is considerably less than the 484 claims reported in
2003.

The world's largest distributor of heating and plumbing products
distributes equipment from more than 3,600 outlets in 13
countries in Canada, the US and Europe.

The West Berkshire, UK-based Company stated that the estimated
liability, which is fully covered by insurance, is not material
to the Group's financial position. There has been no profit and
loss account charge in this, or any prior financial year,
relating to asbestos claims and no such charge is expected to
arise in the future.

In addition, the Company informed that an update on the
estimated liability and number of claims outstanding would be
provided with the Group's preliminary results announcement on
the Sept. 26, 2005.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: North Safety Products Faces 858 Lawsuits
-------------------------------------------------------------
Norcross Safety Products LLC said that its subsidiary North
Safety Products, its predecessors and the former owners of such
business as of Dec. 31, 2004 were named as defendants in around
847 lawsuits involving respirators manufactured and sold by it
or its predecessors. The Company noted an increase in the number
of asserted silica and asbestos-related claims that could
potentially involve the Company.

The Oak Brook, IL-based Company is also monitoring an additional
11 lawsuits in which it feels that North Safety Products, its
predecessors and the former owners of such businesses may be
named as defendants. Collectively, these 858 lawsuits represent
about 26,000 (excluding spousal claims) plaintiffs. About 91% of
these lawsuits involve plaintiffs alleging injury resulting from
exposure to silica dust, with the remainder alleging injury from
exposure to other dust particles, including asbestos.

These lawsuits typically allege that the purported injuries
resulted in part from respirators that were negligently designed
and manufactured. The defendants in these lawsuits are often
numerous, and include, in addition to respirator manufacturers,
employers of the plaintiffs and manufacturers of sand and
asbestos. The Company acquired its North Safety Products
subsidiary on Oct. 2, 1998 from Siebe plc. In connection with
the acquisition, Siebe, which was subsequently merged with BTR
plc (now known as "Invensys plc"), contractually agreed to
indemnify the Company for any losses, including costs of
defending claims, resulting from respiratory products
manufactured or sold prior to its acquisition of North Safety
Products in October 1998.

In addition, its North Safety Products subsidiary is
contractually entitled to indemnification from Norton Company,
an affiliate of Saint-Gobain, which owned the North Safety
Products business prior to Invensys.

In 2004, the Company recorded a US$1.25 million liability and
charge to operating expenses to establish a reserve for
respiratory claims. This reserve represents a reasonable
estimate of its probable and estimable liabilities for product
claims alleging injury resulting from exposure to silica dust
and other dust particles, including asbestos. It also recorded a
US$1.3 million credit to operating expenses reflecting a
reduction of its product liability reserve related to its fall
protection products sold in Canada.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Widow Settles with British Railways Board
--------------------------------------------------------------
The widow of a man who had never worked with asbestos but died
of an asbestos cancer won a claim for damages from the British
Railways Board. The exposure stemmed from the fibers released
from his father's overalls upon returning home.

An inquest heard how John Dawson died at age 54 of mesothelioma,
30 years after his exposure. His father Robert worked at a York
carriageworks in the 1950s and 60s.

Now, almost four years after his death, the British Railways
Board has accepted liability for the exposure and paid
compensation to his widow. It is believed to be the first time
compensation has been paid out following the death of a
carriageworks employee's child through asbestos exposure.

Mrs. Dawson said she had been determined to pursue the case as a
matter of principle, even if she had eventually lost out
financially. She lamented the fact that the government knew then
that asbestos was hazardous but did nothing. She said, "We feel
we have finally achieved justice. We have got them to accept
that they were to blame."

Mrs. Dawson's solicitor, Toby Conyers-Kelly, a partner in the
Scarborough firm of Longstaff & Midgley, said that the case
regrettably demonstrated that it was not just the wives of
former carriage workers who were potentially at risk.

"If family members of former carriage workers are unfortunate
enough to be diagnosed as having an asbestos-related disease,
they could be entitled to claim damages from British Railways
Board," added Mr. Conyers-Kelly.

A British Railways Board spokesman said that in such cases,
there was a requirement for a greater standard of proof than
there was with carriageworks employees, but the matter had been
settled appropriately within the law.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Exposure from Roofing Fuels Schools' Fears
---------------------------------------------------------------
An Education Ministry official confirmed that two Queensland
schoolteachers and a cleaner have made a successful WorkCover
claim for asbestos exposure. The teachers however have already
died while the cleaner continues to work despite his illness.

A female teacher, aged 63, from Townsville died in Brisbane last
October from the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma, according
to Education Minister Anna Bligh. Leading Queensland lung
specialist Maurice Heiner said that this teacher's exposure
occurred when asbestos dust blew from the school's roof cavity
on to her desk on a windy day.

The school's roof has since been replaced.

The Government is unable to provide any details of the second
teacher's circumstances or relevant place of service. A
government spokesman said privacy provisions within the Workers
Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 were designed to
"protect private individuals and their private information."

Ms. Bligh gave assurances that the health and safety of
Education Queensland's 85,000 staff was a high priority. In
addition to a statewide central asbestos register, all schools
identified as having asbestos also have an asbestos register
that is available for parents to view.

A total of 1171 of Queensland's 1300 state schools are on the
Government's asbestos register.

Education Queensland, the agency responsible for all the
government schools in this territory, has been criticized
recently for its failure to prioritize replacement of the
roofing at Moggill State School. In the Feb. 25, 2005 edition of
the Class Action Reporter, the students' parents referred to a
July 24, 1996 Q-Build report that had pushed for the
replacement. Currently, there are still no immediate plans to
replace the 37-year-old roof.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: LA Court Rejects Motion to Remand GE Case
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United District Court of Louisiana on March 31, 2005 denied
a motion to remand an asbestos-related case against General
Electric, including other defendant companies, to the state
court.

Federal District Court Judge Martin LC Feldman, who presided
over this lawsuit with Case No. Civ.A. 04-431, stated that since
General Electric has sufficiently met the specifications needed
and that there was no evidence that the Company knew of any
dangers in using asbestos that the US government was unaware,
the case should then be resolved in a federal forum.

In early 2004, the widow, Mary Delancey, and daughter, Dionne
Hindman, filed a suit in state court against General Electric
Company, Foster Wheeler Corp., Garlock, Inc., Insterstate Fire &
Casualty Co., Inc., and Gray & Company, Inc., for the wrongful
death of Ellis DeLancey.

Ellis Delancey had worked on a Navy vessel, the U.S.S. Herbert
J. Thomas, as a boiler fireman from 1959 to 1963. In the 1960's
and 1970's, Mr. Delancey was employed by Gurtler, Hevert &
Company, Inc., a now defunct Louisiana corporation. While
working for the U.S. Navy and Gurtler, Mr. Ellis was allegedly
exposed to extremely high levels of asbestos fibers and other
harmful dusts.

The plaintiffs pointed to turbines manufactured by General
Electric as the source of exposure to asbestos fibers while in
the Navy. They further claim that exposure to asbestos fibers
caused Ellis DeLancey to contract mesothelioma, from which he
died in 2002. On Feb. 13, 2004, General Electric removed the
case to federal court under the federal officer removal statute
or, in the alternative, under the Court's diversity
jurisdiction.

The Court said that although the plaintiffs challenge removal in
this case, the removing defendants carry the burden of showing
the propriety of this Court's removal jurisdiction. General
Electric will raise the defense that they have acted as a
federal contractor for activities for which the government
itself is immune from liability.

Court documents reveal that the evidence offered by General
Electric to prove the propriety of removal are two affidavits of
David Hobson, an employee of General Electric from 1969 to 1996.
Although Mr. Hobson's employment was after the time of the
alleged injury, his affidavits reveal that he has reviewed the
United States Navy's commercial specifications and other
documents for marine steam turbines purchased since World War
II. He testified that naval officers exercised control over
production of General Electric turbines. He also stated that no
specification was outside close control of the government.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: BNS Co Continues Defense Against 538 Claims
----------------------------------------------------------------
Real estate management company, BNS Holding Inc., divulged that
since 1994, the Company's BNS Co. subsidiary has been named as a
defendant in a total of 538 known claims as of Feb. 28, 2005. In
many cases these claims involve more than 100 other defendants.
A total of 54 claims were filed prior to Dec. 31, 2001. In 2002
BNS Co. was named in 98 additional claims; in 2003 there were a
total of 193 new claims filed; and BNS Co. has received notice
of another 178 claims in 2004.

According to the filing submitted to the Securities and Exchange
Commission, BNS Co. receives claims from time to time for toxic
tort injuries related to the alleged use of asbestos material in
pumps sold by its former pump division, and other product
liability claims relating to the use of machine tools sold by
divisions of BNS Co. that were sold many years ago. Most of
these suits are toxic tort claims resulting primarily from the
use of small internal seals that allegedly contained asbestos
and were used in small fluid pumps manufactured by BNS Co.'s
former pump division, which was sold in 1992.

In addition, the Middletown, RI-based Company is unable to
identify the number and location of fluid pumps manufactured by
BNS Co. and, therefore, is unable to estimate the aggregate
number of unasserted claims which might be filed in the future,
which is necessary in order to reliably estimate any financial
exposure. The materials alleged to contain asbestos were used
for an undetermined period of time ending in the late 1960s. The
claims relate to exposure to this asbestos material.

As of Feb. 28, 2005, BNS Co. has received notice of another 15
claims. In 2002, 42 claims were settled for an aggregate of
about US$30,000 exclusive of attorney's fees. In March 2004 a
plaintiff's attorney settled one claim for US$500 and filed for
dismissal in another 67 claims. In September 2004 another five
claims were dismissed. During the fourth quarter of 2004, 64
claims were dismissed and another seven claims were settled for
US$500 each. Another 12 claims have been dismissed or closed on
various dates. There were 340 known claims open and active as of
Feb. 28, 2005. However, under certain circumstances, some of the
settled claims may be reopened.

The Company believes BNS Co. has significant defenses to any
liability for toxic tort claims on the merits. It should be
noted that, to date, none of these toxic tort claims have gone
to trial and therefore there can be no assurance that these
defenses will prevail. Settlement and defense costs to date have
been insignificant.

In the late 1980s, insurance companies began issuing policies
with specific exclusions for claims relating to asbestos. BNS
Co. has identified continuous insurance coverage from 1974
through 1988 that does not include such exclusions, with
estimated aggregate coverage limits of about US$158 million for
these policy years. The Company estimates that the aggregate
remaining self-insured retention relating to these policy years
is about US$3.3 million. Additionally, the Company has
identified secondary evidence (such as past billings),
indicating that BNS Co. had additional insurance coverage from
1970 through 1973 that does not include such exclusions.

Policies issued for BNS Co. beginning in 1989 contained
exclusions relating to asbestos. BNS Co.'s insurance records for
the periods prior to 1970 are incomplete and do not indicate
what insurance coverage is available to BNS Co. for asbestos and
other product liability claims arising prior to that time. In
general, these carriers have acknowledged the evidence of
coverage but have declined to verify the coverage or limits
until such time as the limits apply.

The Company has recorded a liability of US$349,000 on the
consolidated balance sheet relating to the open and active
claims against BNS Co. as of Dec. 31, 2004. This liability
represents an estimate of the likely costs to defend against or
settle these claims by BNS Co. beyond the amounts reserved by
the insurance carriers and previously funded, through the
retroactive billings, by BNS Co.


ASBESTOS ALERT: UK Council Pledges to Inspect Homes for Asbestos
----------------------------------------------------------------
Oxford City Council has pledged to inspect any of the
community's homes if residents continue to worry about the risks
that asbestos may present to their health. A council report has
revealed that up to 50 percent of Oxford City Council's 8,000
homes could contain the substance.

Assurances were given after one resident, Josephine Cox, aged
42, waited more than six months for officials to remove asbestos
from her cupboard door. In September, council officers told her
that the asbestos should be removed from her kitchen.

Miss Cox, who has lived in her home for 10 years, said, "I was
really worried about it, but was told it wasn't that dangerous
unless it was broken. I was told that they would get someone to
take it out within three weeks in September, but no one has
been."

A council spokesman said, "We have informed our tenants through
a newsletter that if they have concerns about asbestos to
contact us to arrange an inspection."

The spokesman added, "We apologize for the delay in dealing with
this matter and understand Miss Cox's concerns. We would like to
reassure her that the asbestos is in an undamaged and safe
condition."

In 2003, Cherwell Family Housing Association had to move tenants
out of 18 flats and 10 houses in Webb's Close, Wolvercote, while
asbestos was removed. The same year the substance was found in
the window frames of two city council flats in Preacher's Lane,
Oxford.


ASBESTOS ALERT: UK Agency Imposes GBP900 Fine on Building Firm
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Environment Agency, which found a building company liable
for illegally transporting and depositing asbestos from a
renovated cottage, ordered the firm to pay GBP900 in fines and
costs.

An Environment Agency officer discovered that asbestos from a
building at South Zeal, near Okehampton, was stored at North
Cleave Farm, Hatherleigh. The farm was being used as the company
yard for the Bryant and Chandler building firm, of Lustleigh in
Devon.

The asbestos was piled at one end of the yard, along with other
construction demolition waste such as brick, slate and soil. It
was uncovered and stored directly on the ground, possibly
allowing the release of asbestos fibers in the air. The asbestos
was left in this condition for at least six weeks.

The firm claimed an employee acted against instructions and
deposited the waste but they nevertheless agreed to have the
pile removed.

The firm pleaded guilty to four offenses under the Environmental
Protection Act 1990 including keeping asbestos sheeting on
unlicensed land. It was fined GBP150 with GBP750 costs and given
a six-month conditional discharge.

Jay Rowntree, of the Environment Agency, said, "In order to
transport any controlled waste such as asbestos, a person must
have a registered waste carrier's license and a special waste
consignment note. There was potential for contamination of the
land."


ASBESTOS ALERT: Inspector Fears Health Risks in Ohio College
------------------------------------------------------------
Health and safety inspectors are alarmed over the health risk
that exposed asbestos poses to employees and students who use
the local college's athletics facility. Officials at Oberlin
College have allegedly been slow to remedy the situation.

After several attempts of bringing the issue to the attention of
the college, Art Fruner, an Oberlin health and safety inspector,
went public with the information regarding the insulation
hanging down off the pipes in the Field House. He said, "To not
do anything about this is just negligent." He believes that this
is indicative of a larger disregard for worker safety in
Oberlin.

The problem at the Jones Field House was first noted last May,
when employees noticed that the cloth insulation around the
ceiling pipes had begun to tear, exposing asbestos insulation to
the air. The Jones Field House is an athletics facility commonly
used by the soccer and lacrosse teams for practices.

Eric McMillion, the associate executive director of facilities,
said that a storm blew the asbestos inside the building.

"There's asbestos in many of our buildings and it's completely
safe. When it becomes exposed appropriate steps are taken to
abate it," said Mike Will, director of facilities and acting
director of environmental health and safety.

"Some of the asbestos around the pipe elbows had been disturbed
by wind damage and needed to be abated," Mr. McMillion said.
"Some of the fabric in other areas has torn but an asbestos
consultant came out to review the site and said that because of
the location of the pipes it was not a danger."

However, Mr. Fruner is not satisfied by this explanation. He
lamented that asbestos was still exposed in several places. He
said, "They keep telling me that it's in the next budget but
nothing ever gets done."

Mr. Will acknowledged these complaints but did not believe the
College had avoided any action. The Occupational Safety and
Health Administration mandates that certain actions be taken
when exposed or "friable" asbestos is discovered. One of these
involves testing exposed workers for lung damage.

Mr. Fruner took the steps of posting warning signs about the
presence of asbestos. But unknown persons later took down these
signs. No one had since admitted to this deed.

"Those signs should never have been there in the first place,"
said Mr. McMillion. "There is no danger."

Mr. Will defended the College's commitment to worker safety.
"Anything dealing with employee health or safety we take
seriously," he said. "We don't play around with the health and
safety of people both because of their personal protection as
well as liability for the College."


ASBESTOS ALERT: NE County Investigates Illegal Asbestos Dumping
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Otoe County Sheriff's Department continues to investigate
the illegal dumping of asbestos, a carcinogenic material
previously used extensively in manufacturing and construction,
on a county road two weeks ago.

According to Chief Deputy Mike Holland, someone dumped about
half a pickup load of siding or roofing material that contained
asbestos. It was dumped about 2 miles north of Nebraska 2 on
the Otoe and Lancaster county line, between Palmyra and Bennet.
He added that a white Dodge diesel pickup was spotted in the
area on the day of the dumping.

Mr. Holland believes the health risks were considerable, as the
material could have caused an accident, in addition to exposing
passersby to the cancer-causing agent. The county brought in a
hazardous materials team, McGill Asbestos Abatement in Omaha, to
clean up the mess. It took two hours and cost the county about
US$2,000.

Doug Gillespie, program manager for Health and Human Services'
asbestos control program, said he gets about two or three
reports a year about illegal asbestos dumping somewhere in the
state. He believes that the asbestos material was dumped because
the person or persons wanted to avoid the cost and heavy labor
associated with disposing of it properly.

Anyone with information on the dumping can call the Otoe County
Sheriff's Office at 873-9560. The person or company involved
will be facing charges for illegal dumping, said Mr. Holland.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Alarm Sounded Over UK Council's Lack of Action
--------------------------------------------------------------
Blackpool residents sounded the alarm after children were
spotted playing with pieces of an asbestos-riddled garage roof.
These youngsters built a den out of the dangerous material in an
alleyway off Thursfield Avenue in Marton.

Stewart Forshaw, who contacted Blackpool council's environmental
health department about the issue, claims that little was done.
He said officers told him the dumped garage roof would not be
removed because it was on private land. Mr. Forshaw added that
he felt angry about the way he had been treated, particularly
since he called the council out of concern over the children's
health.

Mr. Forshaw claimed that he was told an inspection would be done
but two days later, he found that the asbestos remained
scattered across the ground. He had then spoken to an official
at the council who told him they would not be removing the
material. "I have worked with asbestos and I know the dangers it
poses so I believed I had a responsibility to report it - and
then nothing was done," exclaimed Mr. Fornshaw.

Mr. Forshaw, who is a retired council worker, said he was
stunned by the lack of response from the environmental health
department. He then called the Government Environmental Agency
in Warrington, who came out to investigate the incident almost
immediately.

"The man at the council said a worker was sent out but he only
found two pieces. The Environment Agency counted 20 pieces. All
I can imagine is the inspector must have visited the wrong
spot."

Councilor Fred Jackson, portfolio holder for urban environment,
said he was looking into the matter. He said he was surprised by
claims that the council has not dealt with the matter. He added,
"I have now spoken with cleansing and have been told the
asbestos is not the kind which is deemed dangerous because it is
covered in concrete. However, officers are due to go down to the
site with bags to dispose of it as soon as possible."


ASBESTOS ALERT: Inquest Shows Joiner Died of Industrial Disease
---------------------------------------------------------------
A Reading inquest returned a verdict of death by industrial
disease in the case of a Newbury joiner who experienced
prolonged contact with asbestos. He was diagnosed with
mesothelioma, a malignant cancer of the lung lining, in October
2004, and died a few months later on Feb. 17, 2005.

Berkshire coroner heard how Melvin Raymond, aged 63, a resident
of Thatcham, used to cut asbestos sheets like "planks of wood."
He worked with the harmful substance without protective gear,
during stints with Vickers Armstrong, Hedges Joinery and
Stradlings in Newbury.

Before Mr. Raymond was diagnosed with the illness, he underwent
several rounds of medical examinations, including biopsies and
X-ray scans, after doctors discovered fluid in his lungs in
February last year. He eventually died of bronchial pneumonia
caused by the tumor at the Duchess of Kent hospice in Liebenrood
Road, Reading.

Mr. Bedford said, "This is an all too sad and familiar set of
circumstances. It's a truly horrible disease, and I'm so sorry
it had to happen to a member of your family."


ASBESTOS ALERT: Family Claims UK Council Exposed Them to Risks
--------------------------------------------------------------
A Kilmington family, who moved into a Hill Crest house last
summer, is claiming the East Devon District Council put their
health at risk by placing them in a house with asbestos
ceilings. They now want the council to provide them with more
appropriate living arrangements.

An EDDC spokesman said the council was aware of the asbestos
cement in the ceiling but that they had not had the time to
remove the material because the family moved in immediately
after the former tenant left the house. He admitted however,
that the council owned 134 properties with asbestos present in
the building structure.

In a letter to Mike Jones dated March 8, 2005, John Golding, the
council's head of housing and social inclusion, said, "Had the
property been vacant before these tenants moved in, we would
have used that opportunity to replace the ceiling panels, which
is much easier to do when a property is unoccupied."

Mr. Jones is joined in the house with his wife Clare and their
two children, Grant and Kylie. Mr. Jones, who works from home
using the Internet, reported that he previously drilled the
walls to sort out wiring for the computer, completely unaware
that his health was in danger.

"When we found out it was asbestos, the council first of all
denied it and said we had some sort of fiberglass. When someone
eventually came out to inspect it, they agreed it was asbestos,
and then gave us an out of date booklet on asbestos and advised
us not to drill or tamper with the ceiling," said Mr. Jones.

EDDC had already confirmed that it would arrange to replace or
enclose the ceilings at the earliest opportunity. Mr. Golding
said that the asbestos cement in the structure was a low-risk
compound.

"We will be discussing with the tenant the options available
with the aim of finding a mutually acceptable arrangement,"
added Mr. Golding.


ASBESTOS ALERT: CA Court Awards US$140,000 to Couple V. Caltrans
----------------------------------------------------------------
A grand jury awarded US$140,000 in damages to a couple who
purchased a Willow Creek home, and later discovered that
Caltrans had dumped "truckloads" of asbestos on the property.

Headquartered in Sacramento, Caltrans or the California
Department of Transportation has more than 23,000 employees with
an annual budget of about US$10 billion. It is responsible for
planning, designing, building, operating and maintaining
California's state highway system. Over time, that role has
evolved to include rail and mass transit.

Judge Harold E. Neville Jr. presided over the Superior Court
case that favored Katherine M. Shannon and the New River Timber
Co. Inc.

The six-year-old case began in 1998 when Patrick and Katherine
Shannon had noticed that Caltrans was dumping tons of material
on the site. Four years later, they found that it had contained
asbestos, which spanned a half-acre.

Ms. Shannon was aghast at the serious health issue it created.
She said, "I did not sue Caltrans on the basis of a tort to
collect millions. My claim of inverse condemnation was to
recover the value of the damage to my property. I hope the state
of California will provide our local Caltrans office the funding
it needs to abate all matters pertaining to the airborne
asbestos along the 299 corridor and the piles of asbestos that
are eroding into our drinking water."

The settlement noted that the jury awarded US$140,000, plus
court costs, expenses and attorney fees to the Shannons and that
Caltrans is required to make repairs to the site.

Katherine Shannon said she and her husband got the services of
other companies to do various studies of the area since Caltrans
first denied any liability. The presence of asbestos ranged from
7 million to a hundred million particles per square foot in
different points. She said that with the erosion and the wind,
the asbestos became airborne and was "like a tornado."

"The jury was wonderful, very attentive," Katherine Shannon
said. "We went through the legal process twice, we wrote
letters, we filed claims, we heard from Caltrans that this was
not their fault, that the statute of limitations had run out. We
just want the state to give us the money so we can take care of
our home site."

Richard Smith and Allison G. Jackson of Harland Law Firm of
Eureka, CA represented the Shannons.


ASBESTOS ALERT: CA Fire May Have Exposed Occupants to Asbestos
--------------------------------------------------------------
Former residents at the Glen Willow apartments are forced to
decide whether to risk their health to retrieve the few
possessions they still have inside the asbestos-riddled site.
Some residents who returned to the 42-year-old complex had to
sign a waiver before entering the burned building, said Cynthia
Shaw, a Red Cross spokeswoman.

The building's insurance company said there is now evidence of
asbestos at the apartments. Fire Capt. Allison Cabral said a
preliminary assessment found 1 percent of asbestos in the walls
and 7 percent to 8 percent in the ceilings, some of which became
airborne after the fire.

Terry Lee of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said
the agency has been notified of asbestos in the building and
will monitor the material's disposal. Authorities typically will
find 2 percent to 3 percent asbestos in ceilings of older
buildings, though asbestos in insulation or piping could
increase the amount detected.

The federal government banned the use of asbestos in building
materials in 1978; the Glen Willow Apartments were built in
1963.

However, almost all the residents were willing to sign the
waiver, hoping the reward will outweigh the risk.

Sal Castro, a resident said, "People are being forced to sign
forms to release management from being responsible for something
they should've been responsible for all along."

Fire administrators have warned the firefighters who worked this
six-alarm fire about their potential exposure and have ordered
them to decontaminate all of their gear. Officials directed the
firefighters who worked on the fire to decontaminate their
equipment, jackets, pants, hoods and gloves as a precaution. A
notice that they may have been exposed to asbestos will also be
put in the firefighters' personnel files.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Jury Awards US$2.245Mil to Caterpillar Employee
---------------------------------------------------------------
A San Francisco jury on March 16, 2005 awarded US$2.245 million
to Daniel and Veneisa Johnson of Marion, North Carolina in their
asbestos-related claim for compensation. Six days of jury
deliberation led to this ruling, credited to be the first
verdict in the US involving asbestos exposure from Caterpillar
machinery.

Judge Donald S. Mitchell presided over the 17-day trial, which
commenced on Feb. 14, 2005.

Mr. Johnson believed he was dying from mesothelioma caused by
the totality of his asbestos exposure, including from
Caterpillar, Inc.'s products. Alleged exposure occurred as he
served a boilertender in the Navy for four years between 1967
and 1970 aboard the U.S.S. Yorktown and U.S.S. Independence and
at Todd Shipyard in Southern California for several weeks in
1971. From 1976 to 2004, Mr. was employed as a bulldozer
operator in Marion, North Carolina. From 1978 to 1985, he
assisted in the maintenance of brakes and the changing of
gaskets on three bulldozers on approximately 15 to 20 occasions.

Daniel Johnson, aged 58, was diagnosed in March 2004 with
malignant mesothelioma, a cancer whose only known cause is
asbestos. The prognosis was terminal and he was given three to
six months to live.

Mr. Johnson filed his lawsuit in San Francisco on July 15, 2004.
In March 2005, the jury found that the remaining defendant,
Caterpillar, Inc., was responsible, in part, for Daniel
Johnson's cancer.

The jury found that Mr. Johnson suffered US$995,000 in lost
income and medical expenses and awarded US$1 million in pain and
suffering.  In addition, Mrs. Johnson was awarded US$250,000 for
loss of her husband's care, comfort and society.

Philip A. Harley of Paul, Hanley & Harley, from Berkeley, CA,
said Caterpillar's portion of the judgment for San Francisco
Superior Court Case No. 432923 should be about US$900,000
because the jury found it only partially liable. The Court found
the lone remaining defendant, Caterpillar, 5 percent liable for
Johnson's injuries. The jury said the Company's products were
defective and the company failed to properly warn of asbestos
hazards. The verdict held several non-parties and previously
settled defendants liable for 95 percent of the plaintiff's
injuries.

Caterpillar alleged that there was no appreciable asbestos
exposure during maintenance of such bulldozers. A special study
from 2003 was presented to prove that assertion. In addition,
Caterpillar presented a chrysotile defense. Caterpillar's
position was that the Navy exposure alone caused Mr. Johnson's
mesothelioma.


Company Profile:

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT)
100 NE Adams St.
Peoria, IL 61629
Phone: 309-675-1000
Fax: 309-675-1182
http://www.cat.com/

Fiscal Year-End    : December
2004 Sales (mil.)   :  GBP15,700.3
1-Year Sales Growth   :  32.9%
2004 Net Income (mil)   :  GBP1,056.2
1-Year Net Income Growth  :  85.2%
2004 Employees    :  76,920
1-Year Employee Growth   :  11.3%

Description:
Caterpillar is the world's #1 maker of earthmoving machinery and
a leading supplier of agricultural equipment. The company makes
construction, mining, and logging machinery; diesel and natural
gas engines; industrial gas turbines; and electrical power-
generation systems.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Aviall Discloses Two Pending Asbestos Lawsuits
--------------------------------------------------------------
Distributor of aviation parts Aviall, Inc. (NYSE: AVL) revealed
that it had two pending asbestos-related lawsuits as of Dec. 31,
2004. At yearend, it established a US$0.3 million reserve for
these lawsuits. Accrued environmental liabilities related to
previously owned businesses comprised US$2.3 million on Dec. 31,
2004 as compared to US$3.1 million in the previous year.

Environmental expense related to the ongoing business was US$0.3
million in 2004. No environmental expense related to its ongoing
business was recorded in 2003 or 2002.

Based on information presently available and programs to detect
and minimize contamination, the Company believes the ultimate
disposition of pending environmental matters will not have a
material adverse effect on the results of operations, cash flows
or financial condition.

The Company is involved in various stages of investigation,
cleanup, maintenance and closure to comply with federal, state,
local or foreign regulations. The Company believes existing
environmental financial reserves for these previously owned
properties are sufficient.

Aviall Services' business includes parts repair operations that
require the use, storage and disposal of certain chemicals in
small quantities. These chemicals are regulated under various
federal, state, local or foreign environmental protection laws,
which require it to eliminate or mitigate the impact of these
substances on the environment.


Company Profile:

Aviall, Inc.
2750 Regent Blvd.
Dallas Fort Worth Airport
TX 75261-9048
Phone: 972-586-1000
Fax: 972-586-1361
Toll Fee: 800-284-2551
http://www.aviall.com/

Fiscal Year-End    :  December
2004 Sales (mil.)   :  GBP604.1
1-Year Sales Growth   :  14.9%
2004 Net Income (mil)  :  GBP22.4
1-Year Net Income Growth  :  107.7%
2004 Employees    : 939
1-Year Employee Growth   :  4.2%

Description:
Aviall, Inc. [NYSE: AVL] is a solutions provider of aftermarket
supply-chain management services for the aerospace, defense and
marine industries. Aviall is comprised of two operating units.
The Aviall Services business unit markets and distributes
products for over 215 manufacturers and offers about 300,000
catalog items from customer service centers located in North
America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Aviall Services also offers a
full line of aviation batteries, hoses, wheels and brakes,
oxygen and paint services.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Advance Auto Parts Named in Exposure Lawsuits
-------------------------------------------------------------
Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP) and some of its
subsidiaries including Western Auto has been named as a
defendant in lawsuits alleging injury as a result of exposure to
asbestos-containing products. In many of these lawsuits, the
Company is named together with other defendants including
automobile manufacturers, automotive parts manufacturers and
other retailers.

The plaintiffs have alleged that these products were
manufactured, distributed or sold by the various defendants.
These products have included brake and clutch parts and roofing
materials.

Many of the cases pending against its subsidiaries are in the
early stages of litigation. The damages claimed against the
defendants in some of these proceedings are substantial.
Additionally, some of the automotive parts manufacturers named
as defendants in these lawsuits have declared bankruptcy, which
will limit plaintiffs' ability to recover monetary damages from
those defendants.

The Company believes that it has valid defenses against these
claims and that most of these claims are at least partially
covered by insurance.


Company Profile:

Advance Auto Parts, Inc.
5673 Airport Rd.
Roanoke, VA 24012
Phone: 540-362-4911
Fax: 540-561-1448
http://www.advance-auto.com/

Fiscal Year-End   :  December
2004 Sales (mil.)   :  GBP1,956.8
1-Year Sales Growth  :  7.9%
2004 Net Income (mil)   :  GBP97.6
1-Year Net Income Growth  :  50.5%
2004 Employees    :  37,795
1-Year Employee Growth   :   8.1%

Description:
Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is the second largest auto parts chain
company in the nation. With over 2500 stores in 39 states,
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the company serves both the
do-it-yourselfer and professional installer markets.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Court Holds Site Owners Not Liable for Exposure
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Superior Court of Pennsylvania ruled in favor of the site
owners in the appeal on a case filed by a plumber who allegedly
contracted mesothelioma, an asbestos-related illness, due to
occupational exposure. The Court submitted the ruling for Case
No. 130 WDA 2004 on Feb. 17, 2005.

Hired by independent contractors, Levi Rudy worked as a
pipefitter at the Three Mile Island Power Station from 1969 to
1980. The owners included Metropolitan Edison Company, Jersey
Central Power & Light Company, Pennsylvania Electric Company,
GPU Service, Inc., GPU Nuclear, Inc., and GPU, Inc. These
companies were known collectively in court as the TMI
defendants.

On Jan. 3, 2001, Levi Rudy and his wife Charlotte filed a multi-
count complaint against the TMI defendants. The defendants
argued that they were not liable for Mr. Rudy's exposure and the
trial court agreed with the defense on Sept. 10, 2003. Upon the
death of the alleged victim, Charlotte and the executor of his
estate, Troy Rudy, filed the appeal from the order dated Dec.
16, 2003. The Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County had then
entered a final judgment in favor of the defendants.

Appellants argued that based on the principles of premises
liability, the TMI defendants were responsible because they
possessed the site and negligently failed to provide a safe work
environment for its workers.

Judge Maureen Lally-Green, who wrote for the Court, explained
that Pennsylvania's law of premises liability generally
insulates possessors of land from liability for harm suffered by
employees of independent contractors.


Company Profile:
FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE)
76 S. Main St.
Akron, OH 44308
Phone; 800-3-646-0400
Fax: 330-384-3866
http://www.firstenergy.com/

Fiscal Year-End    :  December
2004 Sales (mil.)   :  GBP6,463.1
1-year Sales Growth   :  1.2%
2004 Net Income (mil.)   :  GBP455.8
1-Year Net Income Growth  :  107.8%
2003 Employees    :  15,905
1-Year Employee Growth   :  (9.4%)

Description:
FirstEnergy now owns Metropolitan Edison. FirstEnergy is a
registered public utility holding company, with its subsidiaries
producing more than US$12 billion in annual revenues and selling
124 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. FirstEnergy's
electric utility operating companies - Ohio Edison, The
Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison in
Ohio; Metropolitan Edison, Pennsylvania Electric and
Pennsylvania Power in Pennsylvania; and Jersey Central Power &
Light - comprise the nation's fourth largest investor-owned
electric system.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Court Keeps Compensation Denial to DuPont Worker
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Superior Court of Delaware affirmed a decision of the
Industrial Accident Board denying worker's compensation benefits
to the estate of Howard Spencer. Judge John E. Babiarz Jr.
upheld the Board's rejection of the claim against chemical maker
E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. based on credible expert testimony.
The Court handed down the ruling for Case No. Civ.A. 03A-10-
003JEB on Feb. 11, 2005.

Thomas C. Crumplar, of Wilmington, Delaware, represented the
claimant Louise Spencer, the wife of the alleged victim.

Robert W. Ralston, of Wilmington, Delaware, stood in behalf of
E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co.

Mr. Spencer worked for DuPont at its plant in Seaford, Delaware,
from 1949 to 1985. During this time, the Court determined that
he was exposed to asbestos in the course of installing and
removing asbestos-containing insulation throughout the plant.

Court documents revealed that he was a heavy cigarette smoker
until he quit in 1997. However, he was never diagnosed with
either an asbestos-related condition or a tobacco-related
condition until 2002, when he was found to have lung cancer. He
was hospitalized in December 2002 and died in January 2003.

In March 2003, a petition to determine workers' compensation
benefits was filed on behalf of Mrs. Spencer alleging that Mr.
Spencer developed and died of lung cancer as a result of
asbestos exposure during his work at DuPont. At the hearing
conduct by the Industrial Accident Board, DuPont conceded that
Mr. Spencer had died from lung cancer and that he was exposed to
asbestos at work. Thus the issue to be decided by the Board was
causation.

DuPont's medical expert, Michael D. Walkenstein, M.D., testified
that he found documentation of years of heavy cigarette smoking
coupled with exposure to asbestos. Mr. Spencer's chest-rays from
1968 through 1990 showed no evidence of problems associated with
asbestos exposure. Lung cancer was diagnosed in the fall of
2002. His expert opinion was that the claimant never suffered
from asbestosis and that heavy cigarette smoking was the primary
cause of the lung cancer.

Gerald L. Abraham, M.D., testified on behalf of the claimant's
estate. A board-certified pathologist who specializes in
occupational medicine and asbestos-related diseases, Dr. Abraham
testified that the sample drawn by the needle biopsy of Mr.
Spencer's lungs in 2002 was not sufficient to determine whether
or not he had asbestosis. He noted that the thickening in the
lungs observed in the November 2002 x-ray could have been as a
result of exposure to asbestos but may also have resulted from
Claimant's congestive heart failure. He concluded that both the
asbestos exposure and the cigarette smoking were "substantial
causes of [the claimant's] lung cancer."

The Board found the testimony of Dr. Walkenstein to be more
convincing than that of Dr. Abraham. As noted by Dr.
Walkenstein, 22 years of clinical examinations and radiographic
studies showed no sign of any lung disease or condition.

The petition for workers' compensation benefits was therefore
denied. On appeal, claimant attempted to meet this standard by
alleging that he contracted asbestosis as a result of his
employment and that his lung cancer was a consequence of the
asbestosis. The Court found no error of law in the Board's
causation analysis.


Company Profile:
E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (NYSE: DD)
1007 Market St.
Wilmington, DE 19898
Phone: 302-774-1000
Fax: 302-999-4399
http://www.dupont.com/

Fiscal Year-End   :  December
2004 Sales (mil.)   :  GBP14,189.5
1-Year Sales Growth   :  1.3%
2004 Net Income (mil.)   :  GBP923.8
1-Year Net Income Growth  :  82.9%
2004 Employees     :  60,000
1-year Employee Growth   :  (25.9%)

Description:
Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range
of innovative products and services for markets including
agriculture, nutrition, electronics, communications, safety and
protection, home and construction, transportation and apparel.


ASBESTOS ALERT: NY Appeals Court Dismisses Suit V. Hardie-Tynes
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York on Feb.
15, 2005 entered a ruling on an appeal in favor of multiple
defendants including Hardie-Tynes Co., Inc., also known as New
H-T, an Alabama corporation.

Rory Lancman, of Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., in New York, stood as
counsel for Donna Van Nocker, as personal representative for the
estate of Peter M. Demmerle.

Ira M. Schulman, of Mazur, Carp & Rubin, P.C., in New York,
represented Hardie-Tynes Co., Inc.

On Nov. 6, 2003, Judge Helen Freedman of the New York County
Supreme Court, dismissed the complaint brought against it by the
plaintiff who claimed that during Mr. Demmerle's military
service between 1957 and 1972, he was exposed to asbestos in
products manufactured by Hardie-Tynes Manufacturing Company (Old
H-T), a Delaware corporation with its principal place of
business in Alabama.

On Dec. 31, 1997, Old H-T sold substantially all of its
operating assets, for US$1 million cash, to defendant Hardie-
Tynes Co., Inc. (New H-T). Consequently, New H-T was sued as the
alleged successor to Old H-T's tort liabilities. New H-T denied
that any such successor liability could be imposed on it.

Commenced in 2002, this court action sought various damages for
Mr. Demmerle's asbestos-related injuries.

Court documents showed that although Old H-T was incorporated in
1979, the business dates back to the 1890s, and it is undisputed
that Old H-T succeeded to any tort liability arising from the
conduct of the business prior to Old H-T's incorporation.

New H-T moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that its
interrogatory responses and documentary evidence establish that
it cannot be held liable as a successor to Old H-T's tort
liabilities.

In opposition, plaintiff argued that, at a minimum, a triable
issue exists as to whether New H-T's purchase of Old H-T's
assets constituted a de facto merger, so as to cause New H-T to
succeed to Old H-T's tort liabilities.

The appellate division, led by Presiding Justice Peter Tom,
upheld the trial court's decision to grant New H-T's motion. He
wrote, "As a matter of law, the subject transaction was not a de
facto merger."

Company Profile:
Hardie-Tynes Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 12166
Birmingham, AL 35202
Phone: 205-252-5191
Fax: 205-252-3254
http://www.hardie-tynes.com/

Description:
Hardie-Tynes Co., Inc. is a world leader in the design and
manufacture of water control gates and valves, and associated
operating machinery, steam turbines, pressure vessels & large
precision machined components.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Kaman Corp. Confronted with 43 Legal Proceedings
----------------------------------------------------------------
From 1997 to the present, Kaman Corporation (NASDAQ: KAMNA) has
dealt with a total of 43 legal proceedings, related to about 85
individuals, involving alleged exposure to asbestos-containing
products. In all proceedings, the corporation was one of many
unrelated defendants.

The Bloomfield, CT-based Company said that the proceedings
relate primarily to products allegedly supplied to the U.S. Navy
by a company from which the Segment acquired assets, more than
25 years ago. Management believes that it has good defenses to
these claims.

Nine of the proceedings were resolved with no payments being
made. Six proceedings are outstanding at this time. The
remainder of the proceedings has been settled for an aggregate
amount that is immaterial, with contribution from insurance
carriers who address these matters on a case-by-case basis with
no assurance of contribution in any potential future case.

Because of the immaterial nature of these settlements in each
instance and in the aggregate, no reserve has so far been
required. At this time, management continues to believe that its
overall exposure to liability in these matters is minimal in
nature.


Company Profile:

Kaman Corporation
1332 Blue Hills Ave.
Bloomfield, CT
06002-0001
Phone: 860-243-7100
Fax: 860-243-6365
http://www.kaman.com/

Description:
Kaman was founded in 1945 as a pioneering company in the
helicopter industry. In addition to manufacturing aircraft
structures and components and a range of technology products,
Kaman also ranks among the top distributors of parts and
equipment to North American industry, and is the largest
independent distributor of musical instruments and accessories.


                  New Securities Fraud Cases

APPLIED SIGNAL: Baron & Budd Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C. initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California on behalf of purchasers of Applied Signal
Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq:APSG) ("Applied Signal" or the
"Company") securities during the period between May 25, 2004 and
February 22, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint alleges that the Company, its CEO and CFO,
violated federal securities laws through statements regarding
the Company's performance and financial results. These
statements were materially false and misleading because the
Company failed to disclose and misrepresented the following
material adverse facts known to defendants or recklessly
disregarded by them:

     (1) that the Company lacked the staffing necessary to
         execute on current projects while bidding for new
         business;

     (2) that the Company struggled to maintain adequate levels
         of backlog; and

     (3) that as a result of the foregoing, the defendants'
         positive statements about managing the Company's
         workflow and growth while maintaining profitability
         were lacking material basis when made.

On February 22, 2005, Applied Signal announced that its
operating results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2005 were
below expectations.

As a result, the Company's shares reacted negatively to this
news and fell to $23.24, down 15.55% from a previous closing
price at $27.52.

For more details, contact Randall K. Pulliam, Esq. or Max Jodry
of Baron & Budd, P.C. by Phone: 800-222-2766 by E-mail:
info@baronbudd.com or visit their Web site:
http://www.baronandbudd.com.


CHOICEPOINT INC.: Cohen Milstein Lodges Securities Suit in GA
-------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C.
initiated a lawsuit on behalf of its client and on behalf of
purchasers of the securities of ChoicePoint, Inc. (NYSE:CPS)
("ChoicePoint" or the "Company") between March 12, 2004 and
March 3, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period"), in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

The lawsuit charges ChoicePoint and certain executive officers
of ChoicePoint with violations of federal securities laws.
ChoicePoint provides identification and credential verification
services to business, government and individual customers. The
Complaint alleges that during the Class Period, the defendants
issued false and misleading statements concerning the security
of the Company's systems, its results, and operations. Prior to
and during the Class Period, ChoicePoint suffered breaches of
its systems wherein consumer information was obtained by
criminals. At the same time that ChoicePoint's security breaches
were concealed, two top executive officers sold more than $15
million worth of their ChoicePoint stock.

The Complaint further alleges that the true facts, which were
known by each of the defendants but concealed from the investing
public during the Class Period, were as follows:

     (1) ChoicePoint's customer credentialing procedures were
         inadequate and ineffective at limiting the
         dissemination of information to only authorized users;

     (2) ChoicePoint did not have the proper audit procedures in
         place to verify that the Company was properly limiting
         the dissemination of information to only authorized
         users;

     (3) ChoicePoint did not have the proper fraud detection
         procedures in place in order to timely detect
         fraudulent activity in case a breach did occur;

     (4) ChoicePoint's security had been breached in similar
         fashion on at least two prior occasions, once in 2000
         and again in 2002; and

     (5) due to ChoicePoint's failures to maintain proper
         security measures, tens of thousands or even hundreds
         of thousands of people were exposed to the risk of
         identity theft.

Following disclosure to the market that ChoicePoint's databases
had been accessed by criminals on February 15, 2005, and that
prior breaches had occurred at ChoicePoint, the stock fell from
a high of $47.95 per share during the Class Period to as low as
$37.65 per share on March 4, 2005. If you purchased or acquired
ChoicePoint securities during the Class Period, you may, no
later than May 3, 2005, move the court to be appointed as Lead
Plaintiff. There are certain legal requirements to serve as Lead
Plaintiff.

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


DELPHI CORPORATION: Glancy Binkow Lodges Securities Fraud in NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP initiated a Class
Action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York on behalf of a class (the "Class")
consisting of all persons or entities who purchased or otherwise
acquired securities of Delphi Corporation ("Delphi" or the
"Company")(NYSE:DPH) between January 17, 2001 and March 3, 2005,
inclusive (the "Class Period").

The Complaint charges Delphi and certain of the Company's
executive officers with violations of federal securities laws.
Plaintiff claims defendants' omissions and material
misrepresentations during the Class Period artificially inflated
the Company's stock price, inflicting damages on investors.
Delphi is a global supplier of vehicle electronics,
transportation components, integrated systems and modules, and
other electronic technology to vehicle manufacturers. The
Complaint alleges that defendants issued materially false and
misleading financial statements as a result of Delphi's improper
accounting for off-balance sheet financing and vendor rebates.

On March 4, 2005, the Company reported to the Securities and
Exchange Commission that the preliminary results of an ongoing
internal investigation by the Company's Audit Committee indicate
"certain prior transactions involving the receipt of rebates,
credits or other lump-sum payments from suppliers and off-
balance sheet financing of certain indirect materials and
inventory were accounted for improperly." The Company further
stated that, based on information to date, the improper
accounting for off-balance sheet financing transactions may have
resulted in the Company overstating cash flow from operations
for 2000 by approximately $200 million, and that the improper
accounting for rebate transactions resulted in the Company
overstating its 2001 pre-tax income under Generally Accepted
Accounting Principles (GAAP) by approximately $61 million. The
Company also reported that the Audit Committee has concluded, as
a result of its continuing investigation, that "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." This news shocked the
market, causing Delphi stock to fall $5.41 per share - a one-day
drop of 14% - to close on March 4, 2005, at $5.46, which was 68%
below the Class Period high of $17.40. Plaintiff seeks to
recover damages on behalf of Class members and is represented by
Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP, a law firm with significant
experience in prosecuting class actions, and substantial
expertise in actions involving corporate fraud.

For more details, contact Lionel Z. Glancy or Michael Goldberg
of Glancy Binkow & Goldberg LLP by Phone: (310) 201-9150 or
(888) 773-9224 by E-mail: info@glancylaw.com or visit their Web
site: http://www.glancylaw.com.


ELECTRONIC ARTS: Goldman Scarlato Lodges Securities Suit in CA
--------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Goldman Scarlato & Karon, P.C., initiated a
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California, on behalf of persons who purchased or
otherwise acquired publicly traded securities of Electronic Arts
Inc. ("EA" or the "Company") (Nasdaq: ERTS) between January 25,
2005 and March 21, 2005, inclusive, (the "Class Period"). The
lawsuit was filed against EA, Lawrence Probst, III, and Warren
Jenson ("Defendants").

The complaint alleges that Defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder. Specifically, the complaint alleges that
the Company failed to disclose or misrepresented that the
Company was suffering from increasing competition, that game
console shortages would have a material impact on the Company's
earnings, that the Company's new software titles were not
meeting sales expectations, that due to increased competition,
the Company was forced to dramatically cut prices on its sports
titles, and that as a result of the foregoing, the Company
lacked any reasonable basis upon which to provide guidance to
the investment community.

On March 21, 2005, after the market closed, EA lowered estimates
for the second time in two months, to a range of $1.70 to $1.72
per share, vs. previous estimates, set only two months earlier
at $1.82 to $1.87. EA's share price took a beating in reaction
to the news, sending investors scampering and the share price
down $11.20 per share, from $66.35 per share to $55.15 per share
or 16.9%.

For more details, contact Goldman Scarlato & Karon, P.C., by
Phone: +1-888-753-2796 or by E-mail: goldman@gsk-law.com.


ELECTRONIC ARTS: Marc S. Henzel Files Securities Suit in N.D. CA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a class action
lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California on behalf of all securities
purchasers of Electronic Arts Inc. (Nasdaq: ERTS) between
January 25, 2005 and March 21, 2005, inclusive (the "Class
Period").

The complaint charges EA, Lawrence Probst, III, and Warren
Jenson with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
More specifically, the Complaint alleges that the Company failed
to disclose and misrepresented the following material adverse
facts which were known to defendants or recklessly disregarded
by them:

     (1) that increased competition from its competitors was
         eroding EA market share;

     (2) that hardware shortages were material;

     (3) that EA continued to suffer from operating margin
         compression; and

     (4) that as a result of the above, the Company's statements
         about its financial performance were lacking in any
         reasonable basis when made.

On March 21, 2005, after the market closed, EA announced revised
estimates for the Company's fiscal year ending March 31, 2005.
News of this shocked the market. Shares of EA fell $11.20 per
share or 16.88 percent, on March 22, 2005, to close at $55.15
per share.

For more details, contact the Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel by
Mail: 273 Montgomery Ave., Suite 202, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 by
Phone: 610-660-8000 or 888-643-6735 by Fax: 610-660-8080 or by
E-Mail: mhenzel182@aol.com.


GENERAL MOTORS: Charles J. Piven Launches ERISA Complaint in MI
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a class
action lawsuit against General Motors Corporation (NYSE:GM),
alleging it improperly invested billions of dollars in GM stock
in employee 401(k) plans in violation of the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act ("ERISA").

The case was filed March 18, 2005 in the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against defendant
General Motors Corporation and certain General Motors Directors
who served on the Investment Fund Committee of the Board of
Directors of General Motors.

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


MOLEX INC.: Cohen Milstein Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in IL
-------------------------------------------------------------
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 Molex
Incorporated ("Molex" or the "Company") (NASDAQ:MOLXE) common
stock between April 15, 2004, and February 14, 2005, inclusive
(the "Class Period"), in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Illinois.

The complaint charges Molex and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. According to the Company, Molex manufactures and sells
more than 100,000 electronic component products, including
terminals, connectors, planar cables, cable assemblies,
interconnection systems, fiber-optic interconnection systems,
backplanes, mechanical and electronic switches, and other
products.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
caused Molex's shares to trade at artificially inflated levels
through the issuance of materially false and misleading
financial statements. The complaint claims that as a result of
this inflation, certain Molex officers and directors were able
to sell over $34 million worth of the Company's common stock at
inflated prices.

According to the complaint, on November 11, 2004, Molex
announced that it had replaced and demoted its Chief Financial
Officer ("CFO"), delayed its latest quarterly report to federal
securities regulators, and said it would report a charge against
earnings because of inventory accounting issues. It is alleged
that the Company's press release indicated that its independent
auditors, Deloitte & Touche LLP ("Deloitte"), faulted the
Company's Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") and CFO, stating that
problems regarding inventory accounting information should have
been disclosed by them to the auditor earlier. Further, it is
alleged that the Company's press release stated that Deloitte
would never again accept the signature of the Company's CFO on
the Company's financial results and was reviewing whether it
would ever again accept the signature of the Company's CEO on
future financial filings. The complaint claims that on November
15, 2004, Deloitte resigned, citing Molex's refusal to oust its
CEO or its CFO (who had merely been demoted to Treasurer).
Thereafter, it is alleged that in a regulatory filing, Deloitte
disputed many of Molex's characterizations of what happened
during the chain of events leading up to Deloitte's resignation.
Likewise the complaint claims that as a result of Deloitte's
resignation, the Company's first quarter 2005 financial results
were filed without being audited. Thereafter the complaint
claims that Molex was notified by the Nasdaq it was not in
compliance with Nasdaq Marketplace Rule 4310(c)(14), which
required Molex to file audited financial statements with the
Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), and the Company's
securities were, therefore, subject to delisting from the Nasdaq
National Market. On December 10, 2004, both Molex's CEO and CFO
were terminated at the insistence of the new auditors hired to
replace Deloitte.

Finally, the complaint claims that on February 14, 2005, Molex
revealed that its results for its first quarter 2005, and
possibly other quarters, were false when issued and that the SEC
was investigating and did not agree with the Company's
accounting treatment. Following this news, the Company's stock
dropped below $25.00 per share, erasing millions of dollars of
shareholder value.

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


MOLEX INC.: Marc S. Henzel Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in IL
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on
behalf of all purchasers of the common stock of Molex
Incorporated (Nasdaq: MOLXE) between July 27, 2004 to February
14, 2005 inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Molex, J. Joseph King and Diane S. Bullock
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. More
specifically, the complaint alleges that the Company failed to
disclose and misrepresented the following material adverse
facts, which were known to defendants or recklessly disregarded
by them:

     (1) that the Company hid $5.8 million in inventory expenses
         in order to inflate its earnings;

     (2) that as a result the foregoing Molex had to take an
         $9.1 million inventory charge;

     (3) that, in addition to hiding inventory expenses, the
         Company improperly accounted for its accrual for
         vacation pay, its recording of a contingent gain, and
         its recording of the first quarter profit-in-inventory
         charge;

     (4) that the Company's financial results were in violation
         of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ("GAAP");

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

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

On November 11, 2004, Molex announced that it was delaying the
filing of its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter
ended September 30, 2004 and that Diane S. Bullock had been
replaced as Chief Financial Officer. The Company also revealed
that it identified certain improper accounting practices. On
November 15, 2004, Molex issued a press release announcing that
Deloitte & Touche LLP had resigned as the Company's independent
auditor. On February 14, 2005, Molex released its financial and
operational results for the second quarter ended December 31,
2004 and the restated results for the Company's first fiscal
quarter ended September 30, 2004, which reflected the
appropriate adjustments given the accounting irregularities.
News of this shocked the market. Shares of Molex fell $3.34 per
share or 11.60 percent, on February 15, 2005, to close at $25.45
per share.

For more details, contact the Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel by
Mail: 273 Montgomery Ave., Suite 202, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 by
Phone: 610-660-8000 or 888-643-6735 by Fax: 610-660-8080 or by
E-Mail: mhenzel182@aol.com.


SINA CORPORATION: Wechsler Harwood Lodges Securities Suit in NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Wechsler Harwood LLP initiated a securities
class action lawsuit on behalf of shareholders who purchased the
common stock and other securities of SINA Corporation ("SINA" or
the "Company") (Nasdaq:SINA) between October 26, 2004 and
February 7, 2005 inclusive (the "Class Period"). The complaint,
Civ. A. No. 05cv2391, was filed in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York.

The complaint alleges that Sina is an online media company and
"value-added" information services provider in China and for
Chinese communities worldwide. The Company reported robust
earnings and revenue growth during the third quarter of 2004 and
guided analysts to expect substantial revenue and earnings
growth during the fourth quarter as well. The complaint alleges
that at the time the defendants, CEO and President of the
Company, Wang Yan, and Chief Financial Officer and Co-Chief
Operating Officer, Charles Chao, made these statements and
representations, they knew or recklessly disregarded, and failed
to disclose, the very material extent to which the Company's
financial performance and prospects were dependent on revenue
and earnings derived from SMS (short message services) related
to "fortune-telling" type horoscopes services. The complaint
further alleges that defendants knew or recklessly disregarded,
and failed to disclose, the very material risk that the Chinese
government would shut down radio and television advertisement of
such services, thereby preventing Sina from promoting its
primary revenue generator. The complaint further alleges that
defendants also knew or recklessly disregarded, but failed to
disclose, that recent changes to China Mobile Communications
Corp. billing process, would have a materially adverse effect on
the Company's financial performance.

For more details, contact Craig Lowther, Wechsler Harwood
Shareholder Relations Department, 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.


VIISAGE TECHNOLOGY: Seeger Weiss Lodges Securities Suit in MA
-------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm Seeger Weiss LLP announces that it filed a class
action lawsuit yesterday in the United States District Court for
the District of Massachusetts on behalf of all purchasers of the
common stock of Viisage Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq:VISG)
("Viisage" or the "Company"), between July 22, 2004 and March 2,
2005, inclusive (the "Class Period"), seeking to pursue remedies
under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act")
against defendants Viisage, Bernard Bailey, William Aulet, and
Denis K. Berube.

The complaint charges defendants with violations of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934. More specifically, the
Complaint alleges that the Company failed to disclose and
misrepresented the following material adverse facts, which were
known to defendants or recklessly disregarded by them:

     (1) Viisage had engaged in improper conduct with respect to
         a $20 million contract with the State of Georgia's
         Department of Motor Vehicles ("Ga. DMV");

     (2) in order to make the Company more attractive to lenders
         and relieve the controlling shareholder from its role
         as the Company's creditor, Viisage artificially
         inflated its third quarter 2004 profit and made
         baseless earnings projections;

     (3) Viisage inflated its third quarter 2004 profit by
         improperly recognizing certain corporate benefits,
         while deferring the recognition of certain corporate
         expenses; and

     (4) Viisage's internal accounting controls were so flawed
         that they qualified as having "material weaknesses"
         under Public Accounting Oversight Board's Accounting
         Standard No. 2 and, as such, violated the provisions of
         Sarbanes-Oxley relating to the Company's ability to
         file accurate financial statements.

On February 7, 2004, Viisage announced that earnings and net
income were expected to fall below guidance. News of this
shocked the market. Shares of Viisage fell $1.36 per share or
18.71 percent, on February 8, 2005, to close at $5.91 per share.
On March 2, 2005, Viisage reported final results for its fourth
quarter and year ended December 31, 2004. The net loss for the
fourth quarter of 2004 was $5.2 million, or $0.11 per fully
diluted share. Additionally, Viisage reported that the Company
determined that it had an internal control deficiency. On this
news shares of Viisage fell even further.

For more details, contact Stephen A. Weiss, Esq. or Eric T.
Chaffin, Esq. of Seeger Weiss LLP by Mail: One William Street,
New York, New York 10004 by Phone: (212) 584-0700 or
(877) 541-3273 by E-Mail: sweiss@seegerweiss.com or
echaffin@seegerweiss.com or visit their Web site:
http://www.seegerweiss.com.


                            *********


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

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

                            *********


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
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USA.   Glenn Ruel Senorin, Aurora Fatima Antonio and Lyndsey
Resnick, Editors.

Copyright 2005.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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