CAR_Public/051007.mbx             C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Friday, October 7, 2005, Vol. 7, No. 199

                            Headlines

AMERIGROUP CORPORATION: Firms File Securities Fraud Suits in VA
CLEARONE COMMUNICATIONS: Amends UT Securities Lawsuit Settlement
CREE INC.: NC Court Dismisses Securities Act Violations Lawsuit
DDI CORPORATION: Plaintiffs File Amended Securities Suit in CA
DELPHI CORPORATION: Shareholders File Suit in NY Over Sham Sales

ELECTRONIC ARTS: Settles Lawsuit by Graphics Artists For $15.6M
FLORIDA: Resident Launches Suit Challenging Cell Phone Insurance
FLUSHING MANOR: EEOC Launches Racial Discrimination Suit in NY
FRANCE: Website Triggers Debate on Class Action's Practicability
GEO GROUP: Forges Settlement For Overtime Wage Suit in CA Court

HOT TOPIC: Plaintiffs Appeal Lead Contamination Suit Dismissal
HOT TOPIC: Discovery Proceeds in CA Overtime Violations Lawsuits
MEDQUIST INC.: Transcriptionists File Putative Class Action Suit
O'CHARLEY'S INC.: Trying To Settle TN Hepatitis A Suits
PALMONE INC.: CA Court Approves Defective PDAs Suit Settlement

PARADIGM MEDICAL: UT Court Approves Securities Suit Settlement
RED ROBIN: Shareholders Commence Securities Fraud Lawsuit in CO
SALESFORCE.COM: CA Court Hears Motion To Dismiss Securities Suit
STATE FARM: IL Court Junks Motion For New Hearing on Avery Case
TIDEL TECHNOLOGIES: TX Court Approves Securities Suit Settlement

UNITED STATES: Workers Commence Lawsuit V. Commerce Department
VERTICALNET INC.: Fairness Hearing Set For January 2006 in NY
WISCONSIN: County Lawyer Argues V. Contempt, Awards in Jail Case
WISCONSIN: Firm Files Overcharging Suit V. Downtown Bar Owners

                     Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Fairfax Financial Builds A&E Loss Reserves
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Japan Reveals Asbestos Victims Payout Draft
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: 144 JPN Schools Exposed to Asbestos Danger
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Aussie Victims' Kin to Access Compensation
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: "Red Tape" Blamed for Japan Govt. Inaction

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: MT Lawmakers React to Grace Healthcare Cuts
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ANH Refractories Files Disclosure Statement
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Hazard in Aussie Site Sparks Locals' Fears
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: McDermott Discloses B&W's Joint POR Filing
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ISG Expects US$10 Million Abatement in 2005

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: 180 Libby, MT Individuals Misdiagnosed, GRA
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Poorly Regulated Hazard Still Used in Korea
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Icahn May Pay $775M to Increase FDMLQ Share
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: FDMLQ Settles to Exit Ch 11, Administration
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Senate To Ready Amendments in Case of Vote

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ACE Ltd Lists US$4,952 Million A&E Reserves
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: WR Grace, Ottawa Govt. Named in BC Lawsuit
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: HON Awards Widow $5M in Wrongful Death Suit
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: UK Mother Sues Council GBP250T for Exposure
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Relief Trust Set to Expand African Coverage

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: 433 Japan Hospitals and Nurseries At Risk
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: JPN Govt. Units Clash Over Victims' Payout
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Report Notes Lapses in JPN Govt.'s Actions
ASBESTOS ALERT: Affinia Group Faces 54 Product Liability Claims
ASBESTOS ALERT: 2 Firms Fined $4,675 Each for Abatement Breaches

ASBESTOS ALERT: UK Developer Fined GBP11,000 for Safety Breaches


                   New Securities Fraud Cases

DANA CORPORATION: Brodsky & Smith Lodges Securities Suit in OH
DANA CORPORATION: Dyer & Shuman Sets Lead Plaintiff Deadline
DANA CORPORATION: Milberg Weiss Lodges OH Securities Fraud Suit
DANA CORPORATION: Schatz & Nobel Lodges Securities Fraud in OH
GUIDANT CORPORATION: Charles J. Piven Lodges Fraud Suit in IN

MERCURY INTERACTIVE: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Fraud Suit in CA

                           *********

AMERIGROUP CORPORATION: Firms File Securities Fraud Suits in VA
---------------------------------------------------------------
Four law firms initiated class action suits against Amerigroup
Corporation on behalf of shareholders, claiming that the company
misled investors about its financial condition by not accounting
for $23 million worth of medical costs incurred earlier this
year, The Virginian-Pilot reports.

Specifically, the firms allege that the Virginia Beach-based
company inflated opportunities in the Medicaid managed-care
market, which kept the stock artificially high. The firms
further allege that during the past several months, Amerigroup
executives sold 170,712 shares, reaping $6.1 million.

The suits came less than a week after the Amerigroup, which
manages government health-care programs for the poor for several
states, stated that it would fall short of third-quarter
estimates. Company officials stated that they will probably lose
between $3 million and $4 million for the quarter, instead of
earning a profit of $24.7 million, as analysts expected.  The
suits, which were filed on behalf of shareholders who bought,
converted or exchanged Amerigroup stock between April 27 and
September 28, the day the company issued its warning after the
market closed, contend that the company violated federal
securities laws by not reporting the loss earlier. The firms
gave affected parties until December 2 to join the class.

The firms that filed suits in U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Virginia are the Law Offices of Charles J.
Piven, P.A. in Baltimore; Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman &
Robbins LLP in San Diego; Schatz & Nobel, P.C. in Hartford,
Connecticut; and Dyer & Shuman, LLP in Denver.


CLEARONE COMMUNICATIONS: Amends UT Securities Lawsuit Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------------
ClearOne Communications, Inc. amended the settlement for the
consolidated securities class action filed against it, eight of
its present or former officers and directors, and its former
auditor, Ernst & Young, in the United States District Court for
the District of Utah, on behalf of purchasers of the Company's
common stock during the period from April 17, 2001 through
January 15, 2003.

The complaints charge the Company and certain of its officers
and directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934.  The complaints allege that during the class period,
defendants caused Company shares to trade at artificially
inflated levels through the issuance of false and misleading
financial statements.

As a result of this inflation, ClearOne was able to complete a
private offering of 1.2 million shares, raising proceeds of
$25.5 million on December 11, 2001.  On January 15, 2003, the
Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint in the
United States District Court for the District of Utah seeking a
temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent
injunctions against ClearOne, Frances M. Flood, the Company's
Chairman, CEO and President, and Susie S. Strohm, the Company's
CFO and Vice President of Finance.  The stock dropped below
$1.50 per share on this news, more than 90% lower than its class
period high, an earlier Class Action Reporter story (February
27,2003) reports.

On December 4, 2003, the Company and all other defendants with
the exception of Ernst & Young, entered into a settlement
agreement with the class pursuant to which they agreed to pay
the class $5.0 million and issue the class 1.2 million shares of
the Company's common stock. The cash payment was made in two
equal installments, the first on November 10, 2003 and the
second on January 14, 2005. On May 23, 2005, the court order was
amended to provide that odd-lot numbers of shares (99 or fewer
shares) will not be issued from the settlement fund and
claimants who would otherwise be entitled to receive 99 or fewer
shares will be paid cash in lieu of such odd-lot number of
shares. As of the date hereof, 228,000 shares of the Company's
common stock have been issued to the class and we plan to
complete the issuance of the remaining shares in the near future
in accordance with the terms of the court order, subject to the
receipt of any required approvals from state regulatory
authorities.

The suit is styled "In re ClearOne Communications, Inc.
Securities Litigation, case no. 2:03-cv-00062-PGC," filed in the
United States District Court for the District of Utah, under
Judge Paul G. Cassell.  Representing the plaintiffs is William
S. Lerach, LERACH COUGHLIN STOIA GELLER RUDMAN & ROBBINS(SAN
DIEGO), 655 W. Broadway Ste 1900, San Diego CA 92101, Phone:
(619)231-1058.  Representing the Company are Raymond J
Etcheverry and Kent O. Roche of PARSONS BEHLE & LATIMER, 201 S.
Main St. Ste 1800, PO Box 45898, Salt Lake City, UT 84145-0898,
Phone: (801)532-1234, E-mail: ecf@parsonsbehle.com.


CREE INC.: NC Court Dismisses Securities Act Violations Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Middle District of
North Carolina dismissed the consolidated class action filed
against Cree, Inc., seeking damages for alleged violations of
securities laws by the Company and certain of its officers and
current and former directors.

A consolidated class action was initially filed, asserting,
among other claims, violations of federal securities laws,
including violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934, as amended, and Rule 10b-5, and violations of
Section 20(a) and Section 18 of the Exchange Act against the
individual defendants and also asserts claims against certain of
the Company's officers under Section 304 of the Sarbanes-Oxley
Act of 2002.

The suit alleged that the Company made false and misleading
statements concerning its investments in certain public and
privately held companies, the Company's acquisition of the
UltraRF division of Spectrian, its supply agreement with
Spectrian, its agreements with C&C, and its employment
relationship with Eric Hunter and that the Company's financial
statements did not comply with the requirements of the
securities laws during the class period, an earlier Class Action
Reporter story (August 28,2004) states.

The suit was filed on behalf of a plaintiff class consisting of
purchasers of Cree stock between August 12, 1998 and June 13,
2003 and seeks, among other relief, unspecified damages and
disgorgement of profits by the individual defendants, plus costs
and expenses, including attorneys' accountants' and experts'
fees.

In February 2004, the Company moved that the court dismiss the
consolidated amended complaint on the grounds that it failed to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted and did not
satisfy the pleading requirements under applicable law.  On
August 30, 2004, the court entered an order granting the motion
to dismiss without prejudice and allotting 45 days for the
plaintiffs to file an amended consolidated complaint.

The plaintiffs filed a First Amended Consolidated Class Action
Complaint on October 14, 2004, asserting essentially the same
claims and seeking the same relief as in their prior complaint.
The Company has filed a motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint,
which currently is pending.  The Company also filed an early
motion for summary judgment based on the statute of limitations.
The court denied the motion without prejudice to the Company's
ability to re-file the motion, if necessary, at a later point in
the litigation.

The Company filed a motion to dismiss this further amended
complaint.  On August 2, 2005, the court entered an order
granting the Company's motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' amended
complaint in its entirety with prejudice, thus bringing an end
to the lawsuit, subject to any appeal that the plaintiffs may
file.

The suit is styled "In re Cree, Inc. Securities Litigation, case
no. 03-CV-549," filed in the United States District Court for
the Middle District of North Carolina, under Judge Frank W.
Bullock, Jr.

Lawyers for the Company are:

     (1) Donald Hugh Tucker, Jr., Michael W. Mitchell, Smith
         Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan, Pob
         2611, Raleigh NC 27602-2611, Phone: 919-821-1220

     (2) Bruce G. Vanyo, Wilson, Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, 650
         Page Mill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304-1050, Phone: 650-
         493-9300

     (3) Gregory A. Harris, Nicholas I. Porritt, Wilson,
         Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, P.C., 11921 Freedom Dr.,
         Ste. 500 Reston, VA 20190-5634, Phone: 703-734-3100

Lawyers for the plaintiffs:

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

    (ii) Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP (New York,
         NY), 1285 Avenue of the Americas, 33rd Floor, New York,
         NY, 10019, Phone: 212.554.1400, Fax: 212.554.1444, E-
         mail: blbg@blbglaw.com

   (iii) Cauley Geller Bowman Coates & Rudman, LLP (New York),
         200 Broadhollow, Suite 406, Melville, NY, 11747, Phone:
         631.367.7100, Fax: 631.367.1173,

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

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

    (vi) 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

   (vii) Wechsler Harwood LLP, 488 Madison Avenue 8th Floor, New
         York, NY, 10022, Phone: 212.935.7400, E-mail:
         info@whhf.com


DDI CORPORATION: Plaintiffs File Amended Securities Suit in CA
--------------------------------------------------------------
Certain of DDi Corporation's officers and directors continue to
face a second amended consolidated securities class action filed
in the United States District Court for the Central District of
California.  The suit specifically names as defendants:

     (1) Bruce D. McMaster, President and Chief Executive
         Officer,

     (2) Joseph P. Gisch, former Chief Financial Officer,

     (3) Charles Dimick, former Chairman of its Board of
         Directors,

     (4) Gregory Halvorson, former Vice President of Operations,
         and

     (5) John Peters, former Vice President of Sales and
         Marketing

In October and November 2003, several class action complaints
were filed in the United States District Court for the Central
District of California on behalf of purchasers of the Company's
common stock, alleging violations of the federal securities laws
between December 19, 2000 and April 29, 2002.  Neither the
Company nor any of its subsidiaries was named in this lawsuit.

The complaints seek unspecified damages and allege that
defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 by, among other things, misrepresenting
and/or failing to disclose material facts about the Company's
reported and projected financial results during the class
period.  In December 2003, a related class action complaint was
filed in the Central District of California alleging similar
claims against the same parties and seeking unspecified damages,
but also adding causes of action under the Securities Act of
1933 in connection with the Company's February 2001 secondary
offering.  This complaint alleges that the defendants
misrepresented and/or failed to disclose material facts about
the Company's reported and projected financial results in
connection with the registration statement and prospectus for
the secondary offering.  This complaint also added former
directors David Dominik, Steven Pagliuca, Steven Zide and Mark
Benham as defendants, as well as Bain Capital, Inc. and the
underwriters of the February 2001 offering.

On December 16, 2003, a federal district court judge
consolidated the Central District of California actions in to a
single action, styled "In re DDi Corp. Securities Litigation,
Case No. CV 03-7063-MMM (SHx)."  On May 21, 2004, the Court
appointed as Lead Plaintiffs Paul Poppe, LeRoy Schneider, and
Rand Skolmick. On July 26, 2004, Lead Plaintiffs filed a
consolidated amended complaint on behalf of all persons or
entities who purchased Company common stock between December 19,
2000 and April 29, 2002, including those who acquired Company
common stock pursuant to, or traceable to, its February 14, 2001
secondary offering.

The consolidated amended complaint seeks unspecified damages and
alleges that defendants violated Sections 11, 12(a)(2), and 15
of the Securities Act and Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Exchange Act by, among other things, misrepresenting and/or
failing to disclose material facts about the Company's reported
and projected financial results during the class period,
including reported and projected financial results in connection
with the registration statement and prospectus for the secondary
offering.  Neither the Company nor any of it subsidiaries were
named as a defendant in this consolidated amended complaint.

Pursuant to a June 13, 2004 scheduling order, the defendants
responded to the consolidated amended complaint on September 9,
2004 with a motion to dismiss.  The plaintiffs filed their
opposition on October 25, 2004.  The defendants filed a reply in
support of the motion to dismiss in November 2004.  On January
7, 2005, without the necessity of oral argument, the Court
entered an Order Denying in Part and Granting in Part
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss the Consolidated Amended
Complaint.  The Court's Order denied the motions to dismiss to
the extent they relied upon statutes of limitations arguments.
The Court's Order granted the motions to dismiss on the grounds
that the Consolidated Amended Complaint failed to adequately
allege any materially false or misleading representations or
omissions. The Court's Order also granted Defendants' motions to
the extent the Consolidated Amended Complaint inappropriately
relied upon the group pleading or group published information
doctrine. As a consequence of this, the totality of plaintiffs'
claims were dismissed with leave to file a Second Amended
Consolidated Complaint. The plaintiffs filed a Second Amended
Complaint on February 22, 2005.  The defendants are in the
process of briefing a motion to dismiss this complaint in
accordance with the Court-ordered schedule.

The suit is styled "In re DDi Corp. Securities Litigation, Case
No. CV 03-7063-MMM (SHx)," filed in the United States District
Court for the Central District of California," under Judge
Nora M. Manella.  Representing the defendants are Christopher R.
Dillon, John D. Donovan, Jr., and Bonnie Schroeder McGuire,
Ropes and Gray, One International Place, Boston, MA 02110-2624,
Phone: 617-951-7949; and Harry A. Olivar, Jr., Quinn Emanuel
Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, 865 S Figueroa St, 10th Fl, Los
Angeles, CA 90017-2543, Phone: 213-624-7707, Fax: 213-624-0643.
Representing the plaintiffs are Gregory M. Castaldo and Andrew
L. Zivitz, Schiffrin & Barroway, 280 King of Prussia Road,
Radnor, PA 19087, Phone: 610-667-7706; and Christopher Kim and
Lisa J. Yang, Lim Ruger & Kim, 1055 W 7th St, Ste 2800, Los
Angeles, CA 90017, Phone: 213-955-9500, E-mail:
christopher.kim@lrklawyers.com or lisa.yang@lrklawyers.com.


DELPHI CORPORATION: Shareholders File Suit in NY Over Sham Sales
----------------------------------------------------------------
Two state pension funds and two European funds claiming in a
class action lawsuit filed in New York that Delphi Corporation
and several former and current senior executives engaged in a
series of sham sales of worthless inventory designed to boost
the company's bottom line, The Bloomberg News reports.

Specifically, the shareholders claim that Delphi, the biggest
U.S. auto parts maker, sold "problematic inventory" to third
parties for "enormous sums of money." They further claim in
their suit that Delphi agreed to buy the material back later,
while recording almost $300 million from those transactions.

According to the complaint, "Delphi knowingly gave the investing
public a misleadingly positive impression of its financial
performance by creating the appearance of income and cash flow-
generating sales that were in reality disguised loans."

The Securities and Exchange Commission has been investigating
the Troy, Michigan-based Company, which began an internal audit
after the company found that it had misstated finances for at
least three years. Currently, Delphi considering bankruptcy as
it seeks financial aid from its former parent, General Motors
Corporation, and concessions from its unions.

Shareholder involved in the suit, claims that Delphi improperly
booked proceeds from the sales as income to boost cash flow and
earnings from 1999 to 2001, citing a "senior manager" from
Delphi called Confidential Source 3, who had "significant
responsibilities pertaining to manufacturing, materials and
asset management issues." The source describes in the complaint
a transaction with Setech Inc. of Murfreesboro, Tennessee that
allegedly occurred in October 2000.

The source stated in the complaint that he "was staring down the
gun barrel of probably 25-30 millions of dollars of scrap that
was being booked as inventory when it was garbage that had been
intentionally put on the books." He also said "finance guys"
told him they had instructions from on high to book the scrap as
inventory.  The source also stated in the complaint that he
eventually grabbed "a couple of weasels" from Delphi
headquarters and made a "back room deal" with Setech.

Despite such serious allegations, Richard Eddinger, Setech's
chief financial officer told Bloomberg News, "The suit is
without merit, and we're confident in the integrity of our
business practices. We'll defend the suit vigorously."


ELECTRONIC ARTS: Settles Lawsuit by Graphics Artists For $15.6M
---------------------------------------------------------------
Electronic Arts Inc. stated that it would pay $15.6 million to
settle a class action lawsuit by computer graphic artists
seeking overtime compensation, The Associated Press reports.
Filed in July 2004, the suit alleged the company, which is the
world's largest video game maker, improperly classified the
workers as exempt from overtime and sought unspecified damages.

Trudy Miller, an Electronic Arts spokeswoman told The Associated
Press that though it must still be approved by Superior Court
judge, the settlement will call for reclassification of roughly
200 entry-level employees as eligible for overtime pay. She
explains that the reclassified employees will be able to earn
overtime, but will no longer receive stock options.

The Redwood City-based video game publisher was one of a number
of game companies that came under fire in recent years for
demanding grueling hours without paying its workers
compensation. Until it adopted a new overtime policy earlier
this year, Electronic Arts, like many other high-tech companies,
mostly offered stock options.

With the new policy and now the settlement a new trend is
emerging in the technology industry wherein companies are
increasingly rewarding workers with cash instead of stock-option
grants, which during the 1990s often translated into huge
windfalls. Still, Ms. Miller pointed out that the vast majority
of Video game maker's 6,500 employees remain exempt from
overtime.

Bob Schubert, a San Francisco attorney who represented the
plaintiffs in the lawsuit, would not comment on the settlement.
Court records show that Mr. Schubert's law firm has another
class action lawsuit filed on behalf of Electronic Art's
engineers pending.  However, Mr. Schubert told The Associated
Press, "Our view is that these are all production workers in the
industry. They're like steel workers. They're at the first level
of the pyramid and should be entitled to overtime pay."


FLORIDA: Resident Launches Suit Challenging Cell Phone Insurance
----------------------------------------------------------------
Cell phone equipment insurers are promoting cell phone insurance
in a "deceptive and outrageous" manner, a class action lawsuit
filed in federal court in Miami, Florida alleges, The
Newsinferno.com reports.

According to the suit, which was filed on behalf of a Dade
County, Florida resident, the insurance usually costs $4 or $5
per month and covers a lost, damaged or stolen phone with a
deductible of $35 to $100.  The suit alleges, a consumer could
easily pay up to $120 over two years for insurance and have
purchased only $20 in actual coverage when the $100 deductible
is subtracted. In many cases, the insurance actually costs more
than the purchase price of a new phone, the suit states.

Additionally, the suit alleges that replacement telephones are
often cheap, used, or refurbished models which further decrease
the value of the insurance and monthly premiums are misleading
since they don't really insure the phone in the event of a loss.
The suit also claims that insurers impose unlawful and
unreasonable stipulations for filing a claim, which includes
requiring a police report even if a phone is lost rather than
stolen.

The insurers, including three major companies (Asurion Insurance
Services in Nashville, Tennessee, Lock/Line LLC in Kansas City,
Missouri, and Signal Holdings in Wayne, Pennsylvania) are being
sued for unfair trade practices and other violations for
"falsely representing that the purchase of wireless phone
protection provides a benefit."

The suit is seeking class action status covering consumers in
Florida who bought insurance from any of the three defendants
from July 1, 2001 to the present, and consumers nationwide that
purchased insurance during the same period from Lock/Line, which
provides coverage to customers of AT&T Wireless and Cingular.
Damages sought include refunds for monthly premiums and
reimbursement of any deductibles paid that exceed the actual
cost of replacement phones, plus interest, costs and attorney
fees.


FLUSHING MANOR: EEOC Launches Racial Discrimination Suit in NY
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Flushing Manor Geriatric Center, which is accused of acting
with "malice or reckless indifference" to the civil rights of
its black employees was recently sued by the U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission for racial discrimination,
Newsday reports.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court
in Brooklyn, some managers of nursing home, which also goes by
the name of the William O. Benenson Rehabilitation Pavilion,
taunted the workers with racial slurs and subjected them to
stricter supervision and harsher discipline as well as
retaliation.  Though the class action lawsuit names just four
complainants, the EEOC told Newsday it could eventually cover
many other current and former employees. It claims violations of
race and national-origin protections under Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act.

Sunu P. Chandy, an EEOC senior trial attorney who is
representing the claimants told Newsday, "It's a hostile work
environment for numerous employees who are black or Caribbean,"
adding, "This has been brought to the attention of the
management several times, and the problems have persisted."

The nursing home's general counsel Michael Borrelli declined to
comment explaining that, "We have been advised by outside
counsel not to comment on pending litigation."

Marie Cilus, Frederick Hylton, Petrona Simms and Tanya Weir, the
four named complainants, worked at the center since 1998,
according to the EEOC. Court records show that most of them
worked as certified nursing assistants or attendants, and their
work included serving food, changing sheets and transporting
patients.

The complaint states that since at least October 2001, they and
others have endured racial slurs and other discriminatory
behavior. One supervisor said, "All the Haitians are the same.
They kill one another and do voodoo," while some workers were
told, "You're not in a Jamaican fish market. Go back on the
Banana Boat where you came from."  In addition, the complaint
states that the company permitted residents to call the black
workers "monkey" and other racially derogatory terms. The
company also prohibited the Haitian workers from speaking Creole
while other workers were allowed to speak in their native
languages.  The lawsuit seeks punitive damages and damages for
pain and suffering in amounts that would be determined at trial
or in a settlement.

In a statement provided by her attorney, Laura Watanabe, of the
Watanabe Law Firm in Manhattan, Ms. Sims said, "We now have hope
that justice will be done and that blacks and Caribbeans will be
treated with respect and dignity."

The suit is styled, "United States Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (U.S. EEOC) v. William O. Benenson Rehabilitation
Pavilion et al, Case No. 1:05-cv-04601-NG-RLM," filed in the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of New
York. Representing the Plaintiff/s is Sunu P. Chandy of the U.S.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 33 Whitehall St., 5th
Flr., New York, NY 10004, Phone: 212-336-3706, E-mail:
sunu.chandy@eeoc.gov.


FRANCE: Website Triggers Debate on Class Action's Practicability
----------------------------------------------------------------
A web site launched by attorney Jean-Marc Goldnadel that lets
people join class action lawsuits by signing up online with a
small payment triggered a debate on the filing of such suits in
France, The Associated Press reports.  Specifically, Mr.
Goldnadel web site, http://classaction.fr/,raised the
temperature of a debate on government plans to let plaintiffs
file U.S.-style class actions in French courts.

Opponents of the government's plans, which was made public by
President Jacques Chirac earlier this year, consider the
emergence of the web site as evidence that a class action law
would encourage the kind of "excesses" the United States is now
trying to curb: ambulance-chasing lawyers, ruinous damages
awards and spurious lawsuits.

Joelle Simon, head of legal affairs at France's main employers'
organization, Medef, told The Associated Press, "We know what
the American system costs their economy, and that is one import
we can really do without." Mr. Simon calls the U.S.-class action
model "an incitement to blackmail."

Just as class action lawsuits start arriving in Europe with
Britain and Sweden having recently opened their courts to
limited forms of class actions and Italy is considering them,
the United States is actively taking steps to rein them in.  As
part of his campaign to reign in such suits, President George
Bush signed a law in February that makes it harder to file "junk
lawsuits" that stand little chance of winning in court but
sometimes scare companies into settling anyway. Such suits drove
overall U.S. legal costs to $240 billion last year, President
Bush said.

However, French consumer groups say class actions are the only
way to obtain justice when, for instance, a company over bills
thousands of customers by a few hundred dollars each, which is
hardly worth suing for individually.  Whereas a single U.S.
consumer can file a class action covering all who have suffered
the same damage, French attorneys need a signed mandate from
each litigant. Rules barring them from advertising or
approaching prospective clients make it almost impossible to
gather plaintiffs.

Mr. Goldnadel and his associates work around the restrictions by
getting the clients to come to them. So far, up to 1,000
plaintiffs have signed up online for two pending lawsuits. The
first accuses movie distributors of breaching consumer rights by
copy-protecting DVDs, while the second seeks damages for
misleading financial information allegedly given to Vivendi
Universal SA shareholders.

While favoring the class action initiative, French consumer
organization UFC-Que Choisir and four smaller groups oppose
classaction.fr's methods pointing out that it unlawfully
deprives plaintiffs of control over their own lawsuits.  For
Example, the site tells visitors who have bought DVDs, "you have
suffered the following prejudices, for which we are demanding
damages in court." It then goes on to outline the case, inviting
users to click on a flashing red button to sign up and enter
credit card details. Fees start at $14.50 (euro12) up front,
plus 40 percent of any damages won.

Mr. Goldnadel though told The Associated Press that he is
confident he is operating within the law. He even stated in an
interview, "There is nothing outrageous about telling people
they've suffered a prejudice in a certain way," adding that, "It
is an attorney's job to do that -- it's not ambulance-chasing."

Currently, UFC-Que Choisir is pushing for a U.S.-style class
action procedure in France that automatically covers all
potential victims unless they opt out.  French employers though
would rather see a more limited "opt-in" system that obliges
attorneys to obtain mandates from every plaintiff, as
classaction.fr currently does. According to Medef's Mr. Simon,
"If a company's involved in a court case, it should know who it
is up against."

Paris-based attorney Ron Soffer, who is also qualified at the
New York bar told The Associated Press that others are arguing
that the more powerful class action procedure would actually
help corporations contain litigation risk because an opt-out
suit usually covers the "vast majority" of possible plaintiffs.
He pointed out, "Once it settles with the class, the company has
basically settled the entire case and will probably never hear
of it again." Such a step could require changes to existing
French laws as well as to the constitution though.

While the government is has been quiet pending a working group's
recommendations that is expected this month, comments by
ministers suggest their approach will be gentler.  Finance
Minister Thierry Breton previously said that the government is
keen to avoid the "abuse" of class actions seen in the United
States. The minister further told reporter recently that their
introduction would go ahead "in a French context and in a more
controlled way," adding that, "It is a wonderful business for
the lawyers, but not always for the consumer."


GEO GROUP: Forges Settlement For Overtime Wage Suit in CA Court
---------------------------------------------------------------
Geo Group, Inc. (formerly Wackenhut Corrections Corporation)
reached a final settlement for the wage and hour class action
lawsuit filed against it, styled "Salas et al v. WCC."

Ten of the Company's current and former employees filed the suit
in 2001 in Kern County Superior Court in California.  The suit
alleges that the Company required employees at the Taft
Correctional Institution to work unpaid overtime, according to
an earlier Class Action Reporter story (September 6,2004).

In January 2005, this lawsuit was settled by a satisfaction of
judgment and a release of all claims executed by the plaintiffs
which was filed with the Superior Court of California in Kern
County.  As part of the settlement, the Company made a cash
payment of approximately $3.1 million and it is required to
provide certain non-cash considerations to current California
employees who were included in the lawsuit.  The non-cash
considerations include a designated number of paid days off
according to longevity of employment, modifications to our human
resources department, and changes in certain operational
procedures at the Company's correctional facilities in
California. The settlement encompasses all of the Company's
current and former employees in California through the approval
date of the settlement and constitutes a full and final
settlement of all actual and potential wage and hour claims
against it in California for the period preceding July 29, 2004.


HOT TOPIC: Plaintiffs Appeal Lead Contamination Suit Dismissal
--------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs appealed a Tennessee Superior Court ruling dismissing
the class action filed against Hot Topic, Inc. and over two
dozen retailers, including teen retailers like Claire's and Wet
Seal, department stores like Sears, Nordstrom, Macy's and J.C.
Penney, and large retailers like Wal-Mart and Target.

A similar case, filed by the non-profit corporation named Center
for Environmental Health in June 2004, is pending in the United
States District Court for the Central District of California.
Certain of the defendants, but not the Company, were also named
defendants in a substantially similar lawsuit filed by the State
of California.

The suit alleges the defendants sold jewelry that has been shown
to contain dangerous amounts of lead. Most of the toxic jewelry
is imported costume jewelry specifically marketed to children
and women of child-bearing age.  Lead can affect brain
development and is especially harmful to fetuses, infants and
young children, CEH said in a press release, an earlier Class
Action Reporter story (May 19,2005) states.

"It's frightening to think that a necklace could be a toxic
noose around your daughter's neck," CEH Executive Director
Michael Green said in a statement.  "We expect these companies
to stop selling lead-contaminated jewelry immediately and put an
end to this real fashion emergency."

The jewelry found with high levels of lead include necklaces
made with plastic cords and metal jewelry made with tin. Poly
vinyl chloride (PVC) plastic in the cords leaches lead, and low-
grade tin in pendants and clasps is often lead-contaminated.
Exposure to lead is a special concern when women or children
chew on jewelry cords or metal parts.  Brand names include:
Orion (Burlington), Claire's, Forever 21, Worthington (J. C.
Penney), Juststyle (K-Mart), Lane Bryant, Nairi (Nordstrom),
Eitenne V (Nordstrom), Apostrophe (Sears), Mainframe (Sears),
and Xhilaration (Target).

The complaint in each case alleges, in general, that the
defendant retailers have violated certain California statutes by
not providing sufficient warning about an alleged potential for
lead exposure relating to costume jewelry sold in stores.  The
complaints do not contain allegations of personal injury.

In August 2004, the Company was served another complaint, filed
in the Circuit Court of Shelby County, Tennessee, claiming it
are liable due to alleged lead content in its costume jewelry we
allegedly target to children. This complaint is an alleged class
action, again excluding any personal injury claim, with counts
of negligence and breach of implied warranty.  Similar claims
had been made in Tennessee, prior to service upon the Company,
against other retailers in the same jurisdiction by plaintiffs
represented by the same law firm.

The plaintiffs in the above California cases seek unspecified
fines and penalties, attorneys' fees and costs, and injunctive
and other equitable relief; and the plaintiff in the Tennessee
case seeks unspecified money damages, punitive damages,
attorneys' fees and injunctive relief on behalf of the alleged
class.


HOT TOPIC: Discovery Proceeds in CA Overtime Violations Lawsuits
----------------------------------------------------------------
Discovery is proceeding in the two class actions filed against
Hot Topic, Inc. in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County,
California, alleging violations of the state's labor laws.

On September 17, 2004, a former Torrid employee filed a lawsuit
against the Company in Superior Court of Los Angeles County, on
behalf of a purported class.  The lawsuit asserts claims for
failure to provide adequate meal or rest breaks, improper
payment of overtime wages, failure to timely pay wages at end of
employment and unfair business practices. The lawsuit seeks
compensatory damages, statutory penalties, punitive damages,
attorneys' fees and injunctive relief.  On October 21, 2004, the
Company filed an answer denying the material allegations of the
complaint.

On November 18, 2004, a former Torrid employee filed the suit,
asserting claims for, among other things, failure to pay
overtime wages and unfair business practices.  The lawsuit seeks
compensatory damages, statutory penalties, restitution, interest
and other costs, and attorneys' fees.  On January 7, 2005, the
Company filed an answer denying the material allegations of the
complaint, saying it intended to vigorously defend itself
against the various claims.


MEDQUIST INC.: Transcriptionists File Putative Class Action Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
MedQuist Inc. (Pink Sheets: MEDQ.PK) reports the filing of a new
lawsuit against the Company, styled Myers, et al. v. MedQuist
Inc. and MedQuist Transcriptions, Ltd., Case No. 05CV 4608
(JBS).

The action is allegedly brought on behalf of a putative class of
MedQuist's employee and independent contractor transcriptionists
who claim that they contracted with the Company to be paid per
"AAMT line," but were underpaid due to intentional miscounting
of the number of characters and lines transcribed. The AAMT unit
of measure was jointly developed by the American Association of
Medical Transcriptionists and other industry groups, but is no
longer supported by these groups due to ambiguities inherent in
the definition. The named plaintiffs assert claims for breach of
contract, unjust enrichment, and request an accounting.

The allegations of the Myers case are substantially similar to
those in Hoffman, et al. v. MedQuist, et al., Case No. 1:04-CV-
3452 (WSD), another putative class action filed earlier this
year in federal court in Georgia. The Company is seeking to have
the Hoffman action transferred to New Jersey and will request
that it be consolidated with the Myers case. As with the Hoffman
action, the Company believes that the claims asserted in Myers
have no merit, and will vigorously defend against the
allegations.


O'CHARLEY'S INC.: Trying To Settle TN Hepatitis A Suits
-------------------------------------------------------
O'Charley's, Inc. continues working to settle litigation filed
over the September 2003 outbreak of Hepatitis A among its
customers and employees at one of its Knoxville, Tennessee
restaurants.

Several customers and employees were exposed to the Hepatitis A
virus, which resulted in a number of them becoming infected.
The Company worked closely with the Knox County Health
Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
when the Company became aware of this incident and cooperated
fully with their directives and recommendations.  81 individuals
contracted the Hepatitis A virus, most of whom have been linked
to the Company's Knoxville restaurant during the time of the
outbreak.

56 lawsuits have been filed against the Company, all but one of
which have been filed in the Circuit Court for Knox County,
Tennessee, that allege injuries or fear of injuries from the
Hepatitis A incident.  As of May 24, 2005, the Company and other
defendants have entered into agreements to settle 33 of the
cases.  A number of the remaining suits seek substantial
damages, including treble damages under Tennessee consumer
protection laws and punitive damages, and some of which seek to
be certified as class actions.

One of the lawsuits was filed by an individual who contracted
Hepatitis A and died following the filing of his lawsuit.  This
suit has been amended to seek compensatory damages not to exceed
$7.5 million and punitive damages not to exceed $10.0 million
alleging wrongful death. Other plaintiffs have alleged
significant health concerns, including ailments requiring
hospitalization.

Each of the Knox County Health Department, the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug
Administration have tentatively associated the outbreak of the
Hepatitis A virus to eating green onions (scallions).


PALMONE INC.: CA Court Approves Defective PDAs Suit Settlement
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Los Angeles Superior Court in California approved the
proposed settlement of the class action filed against PalmOne,
Inc. (formerly known as Palm, Inc.), styled "Chet Taylor V.
Palm, Inc.," which involves the m100, m105 and m125
handhelds/Personal Digital Assistants (PDA).

The suit alleged that the PDAs might be defective in that they
sometimes lose data during the process of replacing batteries
even when the user follows Palm's recommended procedure. The
problem stemmed from bad backup capacitors in the affected
units.  In addition, the suit alleged that Palm failed to
communicate and disclose certain facts and circumstances in
connection with data loss. The suit represents anyone who owned
any of the three models for their own use and not for resale
from June 1, 1999 to the present.

Under the settlement terms anyone with a dead PDA and who has
filled the appropriate paperwork can send his or her unit to
Palm, which the firm will replace with a new or refurbished Palm
PDA of the same or higher model. The settlement only applies to
U.S. citizens.

The suit is styled Chet Taylor V. Palm, Inc., Case No. BC
299134, and was filed in the in the Superior Court of
California, County of Los Angeles. The Lead Plaintiff and Class
Representative, Chet Taylor was represented by Hector Gancedo of
Gancedo & Nieves, LLP, 144 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA,
91105, Phone: (626) 685-9800, Fax: (626) 685-9808. The
Defendant, Palm, Inc., was represented by Kenneth R. Chiate,
Esq. of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, LLP, 865 S.
Figueroa St., 10th Floor, Los Angeles, CA, 90017, Phone:
(213) 443-3000, Fax: (213) 624-0643.

For more details, visit http://www.taylorsettlement.com/.


PARADIGM MEDICAL: UT Court Approves Securities Suit Settlement
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of Utah will
granted final approval to the settlement of the consolidated
securities class action filed against Paradigm Medical
Industries, Inc.

On June 2, 2003, a complaint captioned "Michael Marrone v.
Paradigm Medical Industries, Inc., Thomas Motter, Mark Miehle
and John Hemmer, Case No. 2:03 CV00513 PGC," was filed.  On July
11, 2003, a complaint was filed in the same United States
District Court, captioned "Lidia Milian v. Paradigm Medical
Industries, Inc., Thomas Motter, Mark Miehle and John Hemmer,
Case No. 2:03 CV00617PGC."

These cases are substantially similar in nature and contend that
as a result of allegedly false statements regarding the Blood
Flow Analyzer(TM) and the purchase order from Westland Financial
Corporation and Valdespino Associates Enterprises, the price of
the Company's common stock was artificially inflated and the
persons who purchased the Company's common shares during the
class period suffered substantial damages.

In a press release dated July 11, 2003, captioned "Milberg Weiss
announces the filing of a class action suit against Paradigm
Medical Industries, Inc. on behalf of investors," the law firm
of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP, which represents
purchasers of Company securities in the class action suit filed
on July 11, 2003, stated that the Company's alleged
misrepresentations caused the market price of the stock to be
artificially inflated during the class period.  As a result, it
is alleged that investors suffered millions of dollars in
damages from the Company's alleged misstatements.

The cases request judgment for unspecified damages, together
with interest and attorney's fees.  These cases have now been
consolidated with the Meyer case into a single action, captioned
"In re: Paradigm Medical Industries Securities Litigation, Case
No. 03-CV-448TC."  The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad &
Schulman LLP is representing purchasers of the Company's
securities in the consolidated class action.

On June 28, 2004, a consolidated amended class action complaint
was filed on behalf of purchasers of the Company's securities.
The consolidated complaint is similar to the three class action
complaints and alleges that the Company made false
representations regarding the CPT code for the Blood Flow
Analyzer(TM), but it includes additional allegations that the
Company failed to disclose in a timely manner that doctors were
being denied reimbursement for procedures performed with the
Blood Flow Analyzer(TM).  The consolidated complaint also
alleges that the Company made false statements regarding the
purchase order from Westland Financial Corporation and
Valdespino Associates Enterprises.

Earlier this year, the Company reached a settlement agreement
for the suit.  Under the terms of settlement of the federal
court class action lawsuit, U.S. Fire Insurance Company, which
issued a Directors and Officers Liability and Company
Reimbursement Policy to Paradigm Medical for the period from
July 10, 2002 to July 10, 2003, has agreed to pay the sum of
$1,507,500 in cash to the class members that purchased
securities of Paradigm Medical during the period between April
17, 2002 and November 4, 2002, an earlier Class Action Reporter
story (February 1,2005) reports.

The suit is styled "Rock Solid Invst Mia v. Paradigm Med Ind, et
al., case no. 2:03-cv-00448-TC," filed in the United States
District Court for the District of Utah, under Judge Tena
Campbell.  Representing the plaintiffs are Theodore M. Hess-
Mahan, SHAPIRO HABER & URMY, 1 Exchange PL Ste 3750, Boston MA,
02109-2817, Phone: (617)439-3939; and Thomas R. Karrenberg,
ANDERSON & KARRENBERG, 50 W. Broadway Ste 700, Salt Lake City
Utah 84101, Phone: (801)-534-1700, E-mail:
tkarrenberg@aklawfirm.com.  Representing the Company was Brent
O. Hatch, HATCH JAMES & DODGE, 10 W BROADWAY STE 400, SALT LAKE
CITY, UT 84101, Phone: (801) 363-6363, E-mail:
bhatch@hjdlaw.com.


RED ROBIN: Shareholders Commence Securities Fraud Lawsuit in CO
---------------------------------------------------------------
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. faces a purported class action
complaint filed in the United States District Court for the
District of Colorado on behalf purchasers of the Company's
common stock during the putative class period of November 8,
2004 through August 11, 2005.

Andre Andropolis filed the suit against the Company, our former
chief executive officer and former chief financial officer.  The
complaint alleges violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. According to the complaint, the defendants caused the
Company's shares to trade at artificially inflated levels by
issuing a series of materially false and misleading statements
regarding the Company's financial statements and business
prospects and by concealing improper self dealing by the
Company's former chief executive officer.

The Company is aware that other law firms have recently issued
press releases encouraging stockholders to participate in this
lawsuit. The Company has not yet been served with the Andropolis
complaint.

The suit is styled "Andropolis v. Red Robin Gourmet Burgers,
Inc. et al., case no. 1:05-cv-01563-EWN-BNB," filed in the
United States District Court in Colorado under Judge Edward W.
Nottingham.  Representing the plaintiff is Kip Brian Shuman of
Dyer & Shuman, LLP, 801 East 17th Avenue, Denver, CO 80218-1417,
U.S.A, Phone: 303-861-3003, Fax: 303-830-6920, E-mail:
KShuman@DyerShuman.com.  Representing the Company are Andrew
Ryan Shoemaker, and Thomas Lee Strickland, Hogan & Hartson, LLP-
Boulder, 1470 Walnut Street, #200, Boulder, CO 80302, U.S.A.,
Phone: 720-406-5360, Fax: 720-406-5301, E-mail:
arshoemaker@hhlaw.com or tlstrickland@hhlaw.com.


SALESFORCE.COM: CA Court Hears Motion To Dismiss Securities Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Northern District of
California heard salesforce.com, inc.'s motion to dismiss the
consolidated securities class action filed against it, its chief
executive officer and its chief financial officer, styled "In re
salesforce.com, inc. Securities Litigation, Case No. C-04-3009
JSW (N.D. Cal.)."

On July 26, 2004, a purported class action complaint was filed
in the United States District Court for the Northern District of
California, entitled "Morrison v. salesforce.com, et al.,"
against the Company, its Chief Executive Officer and its Chief
Financial Officer.  The complaint alleged violations of Section
10(b) and Section 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934,
as amended, purportedly on behalf of all persons who purchased
the Company's common stock between June 21, 2004 and July 21,
2004, inclusive.   The claims were based upon allegations that
defendants failed to disclose an allegedly declining trend in
its revenues and earnings.

Subsequently, four other substantially similar class action
complaints were filed in the same district based upon the same
facts and allegations, asserting claims under Section 10(b) and
Section 20(a) of the 1934 Act and Section 11 and Section 15 of
the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. The actions have been
consolidated.  On December 22, 2004, the Court appointed Chuo
Zhu as lead plaintiff.  On February 22, 2005, lead plaintiff
filed a Consolidated and Amended Class Action Complaint.

The suit alleged violations of Section 10(b) and Section 20(a)
of the 1934 Act, purportedly on behalf of all persons who
purchased the Company's common stock between June 23, 2004 and
July 21, 2004, inclusive.  As in the original complaints, the
claims in the suit were based upon allegations that defendants
failed to disclose an allegedly declining trend in its revenues
and earnings.

On April 14, 2005, defendants filed a motion to dismiss the
suit.  On April 15, 2005, the Court granted lead plaintiff leave
to file an amended/superseding complaint.  On April 22, 2005,
lead plaintiff filed a Corrected and Superceding [sic] First
Amended Class Action Complaint.  As in the first suit, the
amended suit alleges violations of Section 10(b) and Section
20(a) of the 1934 Act, purportedly on behalf of all persons who
purchased the Company's common stock between June 23, 2004 and
July 21, 2004, inclusive.  The claims in the suit are based upon
allegations that defendants failed to disclose an internal
forecast that earnings for fiscal year 2005 would decline from
the prior fiscal year. On April 29, 2005, defendants filed a
motion to dismiss the suit.  The hearing on the motion to
dismiss the suit was held on August 26, 2005.

The suit is styled "In re salesforce.com, inc. Securities
Litigation, Case No. C-04-3009 JSW," filed in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of California under
Judge Jeffrey S. White.  Chuo Zho has been appointed as lead
plaintiff in the suit.  The plaintiff firms in this litigation
are:

     (1) Cauley Geller Bowman Coates & Rudman, LLP (New York),
         200 Broadhollow, Suite 406, Melville, NY, 11747, Phone:
         631.367.7100, Fax: 631.367.1173,

     (2) Cauley Geller, Bowman Coates & Rudman, LLP (Boca Raton,
         FL), One Boca Place, 2255 Glades Road, Suite 421A, Boca
         Raton, FL, 33431, Phone: 561.750.3000, Fax:
         561.750.3364,

     (3) Green & Jigarjian LLP (proposed liaison counsel), 235
         Pine Street, 15th Floor, San Francisco, CA, 94104,
         Phone: 415.477.6700, Fax: 415.477.6710,

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

Representing the Company is John P. Stigi, III of Wilson Sonsini
Goodrich & Rosati, 650 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304-1050,
Phone: (650) 493-9300, E-mail: jstigi@wsgr.com


STATE FARM: IL Court Junks Motion For New Hearing on Avery Case
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Illinois Supreme Court rejected a motion for a new hearing
regarding the Avery vs. State Farm Insurance case, which
challenges the insurance firm's use of aftermarket parts for
collision repairs, The Automotive Body Repair News reports.

Filed by the plaintiffs of the national class action lawsuit on
September 8, the motion for a new hearing contended that the
justice who cast the deciding vote in the 4-2 ruling, Lloyd
Karmeier, was biased because he allegedly accepted campaign
contributions from donors connected to State Farm.

As is the custom with the panel, the justices allowed Judge
Karmeier himself to decide if he was indeed biased, but he said,
"No," and thus on September 26 the court denied the plaintiffs'
petition.

The rejection of the plaintiffs' motion effectively ends the
case in Illinois. Thus, the next step would be an appeal to the
United States Supreme Court.

According to observers of the legal scene in Illinois, the
plaintiffs had a weak case that should have never gotten as far
as the Illinois high court in the first place. The panel's
stunning reversal of the verdict in which it cited four serious
legal errors is viewed as a pointed reprimand to several lower
courts and the Fifth District Appellate Court, who all have had
a reputation of favoring anti-business class action lawsuits
based on questionable evidence.

John Kirkton, an editor with the Chicago Daily Legal Bulletin
explains to Automotive Body Repair News, "Madison and St. Clair
(counties) have been raked over the coals as a hotbed of class
action." He said of the Avery case, which had awarded the 4.7
million class members more than $1 billion prior to the court's
reversal, "It was the largest civil verdict in Illinois history.
Turning this into a class action (with plaintiffs from outside
the state) was ill-conceived."

Adding color to the case was a bitter campaign for a Supreme
Court seat waged between Judge Karmeier and Gordon Maag, the
appellate judge who had written the Avery decision under review
by the high court.

Legal journalist Steve Korris, a regular contributor to several
publications, including Time magazine told The Automotive Body
Repair News, "It was one of the bloodiest, knock-down political
fights that Illinois has ever seen." He dismisses though the
allegations of bias stemming from Judge Karmeier's acceptance of
campaign contributions saying, "Judge Maag got as much support
from plaintiffs attorneys as Judge Karmeier got from defense
attorneys. What's good for the goose is good for the gander."

Judge Karmeier won the election, and the Avery victories at the
trial and appellate levels were set aside. Mr. Korris tells The
Automotive Body Repair News that the harsh opinion written by
the high court justices heaped "humiliation" on the appellate
panel of whom five out of the six members are from Madison or
St. Clair.

Mr. Korris, referring to the Madison/St. Clair axis, told The
Automotive Body Repair News, "They always upheld these crazy
lawsuits. The judges allowed complaints from other states to be
filed here. They've been applying Illinois consumer law to all
transactions in the country." He goes on to say that at the
Supreme Court, "They knew this ruling would put the class action
business out of business. This was that much of a message: The
party's over."

Michael Avery, the lead plaintiff, who lives in Louisiana,
bought his insurance policy in Louisiana, and it is there where
he had his crash and sought the repairs in question. The Supreme
Court stated in its ruling that the only aggrieved plaintiffs in
this case could be those from Illinois.

Thus, attorneys presented plaintiff Sam DeFrank of Illinois, who
made the claim that State Farm defrauded him in its estimate and
in a brochure through misrepresentations and failure to disclose
the supposed inferiority of non-OEM parts. But, according to the
high court's ruling, Mr. DeFrank was unable to prove that he
suffered any damage from the specifying of aftermarket parts.

Mr. Korris recounts to The Automotive Body Repair News, "Once
they whittled it down to Mr. DeFrank, they (the justices) said,
`There's no damage here - goodbye.'" He also pointed out that
the plaintiffs "never tried to prove the parts were inferior,"
and that, "Mr. DeFrank sold his truck to his brother at Blue
Book value."

According to Mr. Korris, the Supreme Court concluded that the
two lower courts "had to concoct this theory that the damages
occurred at the moment of specification."

However, that was not to be. "If they had found a person who
actually suffered damage, they probably could have carried off a
good case," Mr. Korris opines.

Chief Justice Mary Ann McMorrow wrote thusly: "Plaintiffs do not
claim to have proven that any of the non-OEM parts specified by
State Farm in its repair estimates were defective.Plaintiffs
deliberately avoided any theory relating to defective parts at
trial because such a theory would have significantly increased
their burden of proof.

"Plaintiffs claim to have proven.that non-OEM parts are
`categorically inferior' to OEM parts. But `categorically
inferior' is not the same thing as `categorically defective.'
This point is important.

"Both the circuit (trial) court and the appellate court refer to
State Farm's specification of `categorically inferior' parts as
if the act of specifying non-defective parts, by itself, is
fraudulent.However, it is no more fraudulent - in and of itself
- to specify non-OEM parts while knowing that they are not as
good as OEM parts than it is to sell Chevrolet automobiles while
knowing that they are not as good as Cadillacs.

"Plaintiffs object to two phrases describing non-OEM parts.The
first phrase plaintiffs point to is `quality replacement
parts'...The second phrase is `very high performance
criteria'.Plaintiffs maintain that both these phrases are
deceptive under the Consumer Fraud Act.

"State Farm, however, contends that these phrases are merely
`puffing'.We agree.Describing a product as `quality' or as
having `high performance criteria' are the types of subjective
characterizations that Illinois courts have repeatedly held to
be mere puffing.

"The circuit court held that State Farm violated the Consumer
Fraud Act by providing a guarantee.It is not clear what the
circuit court meant when it held that State Farm's guarantee
improperly put a `burden' on policyholders. Every guarantee
places a burden on the consumer...

"The circuit court cannot be correct if it meant that the
guarantee is fraudulent because it required the policyholders to
take action. If this were true, every guarantee, no matter how
comprehensive or generous, would be inherently fraudulent.

"None of the named plaintiffs in this case testified that they
had problems using the guarantee. Indeed, none of the named
plaintiffs made any attempt to invoke it.

"When State Farm specified a non-OEM part in one of its repairs,
it disclosed the use of that part.According to plaintiffs, State
Farm should also have disclosed the categorical inferiority of
non-OEM parts.But many businesses undoubtedly sell products with
the knowledge that those products are not as good as other
brands on the market.

"Under plaintiffs' reasoning, it would appear that to avoid
liability under the Act, every knowing sale of a brand of
product which is not the top brand would have to carry a
disclaimer: `Notice, our brand is not, on the whole, as good as
our competitor's'."


TIDEL TECHNOLOGIES: TX Court Approves Securities Suit Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
Texas approved the settlement of the securities class action
filed against Tidel Technologies, Inc. and certain of its
officers and directors.

A purported class action was initially filed on October 31,
2001, styled "George Lehockey v. Tidel Technologies, et al., H-
01-3741." Subsequent to the filing of this suit, four identical
suits were also filed in the Southern District.  On March 18,
2002, the Court consolidated all of the pending class actions
and appointed a lead plaintiff under the Private Securities
Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("Reform Act").

On April 10, 2002, the lead plaintiff filed a Consolidated
Amended Complaint ("CAC") that alleged that the Defendants made
material misrepresentations and omissions concerning the
Company's financial condition and prospects between January 14,
2000 and February 8, 2001 (the putative class period).

In June 2004, the Company reached an agreement in principle to
settle these class action lawsuits. The settlement, which was
subject to a definitive agreement and court approval, provided
for a cash payment of $3 million to be funded by the Company's
liability insurance carrier and the issuance of two million
shares of common stock by the Company. In October 2004, the
court approved the settlement and the shares were issued in
November 2004.


UNITED STATES: Workers Commence Lawsuit V. Commerce Department
--------------------------------------------------------------
Thirteen current and former employees of the Commerce Department
initiated a $500 million class action lawsuit against their
employer, claiming that its hiring and promotion practices are
racially discriminatory and subjective, The Associated Press
reports.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia,
the suit's plaintiffs include 11 black and two white workers.
The plaintiffs are aiming to represent all black employees who
have worked at the department in the last 10 years as well as
black and non-black employees who claim retaliation after
speaking out against what the suit calls "systemic race
discrimination" at the agency. Individuals familiar with the
matter stated that the suit could include more than 6,000
people.

Commerce spokesman Dan Nelson told The Associated Press that the
department "remains committed to fairness in all matters related
to labor and employment and to nondiscrimination against anyone
on the basis of race, sex or national origin."

Court records show that one of the plaintiffs, Janet Howard, had
filed a similar complaint in 1995 with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission. That case though is still pending after
10 years.  Ms. Howard, an export compliance specialist who has
worked for the agency since 1983, told The Associated Press that
she has routinely been denied promotions as white colleagues
work their way through the department ranks. She explains of the
black workers at Commerce, "Usually the only way you can get
promoted is by filing an EEO complaint and once you file that
complaint your career is over," and added, "The retaliation is
real and it's very painful."

David Sanford of Sanford, Wittels & Heisler, which is
representing the plaintiffs, requested that the case be handled
speedily and hopes for a jury trial within 18 months. He told
The Associated Press, "The goal of this lawsuit is to eliminate
this culture of fear and to eradicate the pervasive race
discrimination at the department."

Aside from at least $500 million amount, the suit seeks
administrative fixes, like making employment and promotion
decisions less subjective, offering training and forming a task
force to oversee the changes.

Ms. Howard pointed out to The Associated Press, "Since the
government is in charge of the public trust, the government
should be an example of how things are done right." She adds,
"The only way you get them to change the way they do things is
by hitting their pocket."


VERTICALNET INC.: Fairness Hearing Set For January 2006 in NY
-------------------------------------------------------------
Final fairness hearing for the settlement of the consolidated
securities class action filed against Verticalnet, Inc. and
certain of its officers and directors is set for January 2006 in
the United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York.

On June 12, 2001, a class action lawsuit was filed against the
Company and several of its officers and directors in U.S.
Federal Court for the Southern District of New York in an action
captioned "CJA Acquisition, Inc. v. Verticalnet, et al., C.A.
No. 01-CV-5241."  Also named as defendants were four
underwriters involved in the issuance and initial public
offering of our common stock in February 1999:

     (1) Lehman Brothers Inc.,

     (2) Hambrecht & Quist LLC,

     (3) Volpe Brown Whelan & Company LLC, and

     (4) WIT Capital Corporation

The complaint in the CJA Action alleges violations of Sections
11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated there
under, based on, among other things, claims that the four
underwriters awarded material portions of the initial shares to
certain favored customers in exchange for excessive commissions.
The plaintiff also asserts that the underwriters engaged in a
practice known as "laddering," whereby the clients or customers
agreed that in exchange for IPO shares they would purchase
additional shares at progressively higher prices after the IPO.
With respect to the Company, the complaint alleges that the
Company and its officers and directors failed to disclose in the
prospectus and the registration statement the existence of these
purported excessive commissions and laddering agreements.

After the CJA Action was filed, several copycat complaints were
filed in U.S. Federal Court for the Southern District of New
York.  Those complaints, whose allegations mirror those found in
the CJA Action, include:

     (i) Ezra Charitable Trust v. Verticalnet, et al., C.A. No.
         01-CV-5350;

    (ii) Kofsky v. Verticalnet, et al., C.A. No. 01-CV-5628;

   (iii) Reeberg v. Verticalnet, C.A. No. 01-CV-5730;

    (iv) Lee v. Verticalnet, et al., C.A. No. 01-CV-7385;

     (v) Hoang v. Verticalnet, et al., C.A. No. 01-CV-6864;

    (vi) Morris v. Verticalnet, et al., C.A. No. 01-CV-9459; and

   (vii) Murphy v. Verticalnet, et al., C.A. No. 01-CV-8084.

None of the complaints state the amount of any damages being
sought, but do ask the court to award rescissory damages.  All
of the foregoing suits were amended and consolidated into a
single complaint that was filed with the U.S. Federal Court on
April 19, 2002.  This amended complaint contains additional
factual allegations concerning the events discussed in the
original complaints, and asserts that, in addition to Sections
11 and 15 of the Securities Act, the Company and its officers
and directors also violated Sections 10(b), 20(a), and Rule 10b-
5 of the Exchange Act in connection with the IPO.

In addition to this amended and consolidated complaint, the
plaintiffs in this lawsuit and in the hundreds of other similar
suits filed against other companies in connection with IPOs that
occurred in the late 1990s have filed "master allegations" that
primarily focus on the conduct of the underwriters of the IPOs,
including the Company's IPO. On October 9, 2002, the U.S.
Federal Court for the Southern District of New York entered an
order dismissing, without prejudice, the claims against the
individual Verticalnet officers and directors who had been named
as defendants in the various complaints. In February 2003, the
District Court entered an order denying a motion made by the
defendants to dismiss the actions in their entirety, but
granting the motion as to certain of the claims against some
defendants. However, the District Court did not dismiss any
claims against Verticalnet. On or about June 5, 2003,
Verticalnet's counsel, with the approval of the Company's
directors, executed a memorandum of understanding on behalf of
Verticalnet with respect to a proposed settlement of the
plaintiff's claims against Verticalnet. This proposed resolution
of the litigation has been publicly announced (although not yet
formally accepted by the plaintiffs) and widely reported in the
press. The proposed settlement, if approved by the District
Court, would result in, among other things, the dismissal of all
claims against Verticalnet, its officers, and directors. Under
the present terms of the proposed settlement described above,
Verticalnet would also assign its claims against the
underwriters to the plaintiffs in the consolidated actions. In
February 2005, the District Court preliminarily approved the
proposed settlement.

The proposed settlement, if finally approved by the District
Court, would result in, among other things, the dismissal of all
claims against the Company and its officers and directors. Under
the present terms of the proposed settlement, the Company would
also assign its claims against the underwriters to the
plaintiffs in the consolidated actions. In February 2005, the
District Court preliminarily approved the proposed settlement
and scheduled a final fairness hearing on the settlement for
January 2006.

The suit is styled "IN RE VERTICALNET, INC. INITIAL PUBLIC
OFFERING SECURITIES LITIGATION," filed in relation to "IN RE
INITIAL PUBLIC OFFERING SECURITIES LITIGATION, Master File No.
21 MC 92 (SAS)," both pending in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York, under Judge Shira
N. Scheindlin.  The plaintiff firms in this litigation are:

     (a) 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

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

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

     (d) 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

     (e) 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

     (f) 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


WISCONSIN: County Lawyer Argues V. Contempt, Awards in Jail Case
----------------------------------------------------------------
Nathan A. Fishbach argued at a recent hearing in Milwaukee
County Circuit Court that even though thousands of people might
have been held in the booking room of the county jail for more
than 30 hours in violation of a legal settlement, the conditions
were not deplorable and the county should not be held in
contempt and ordered to pay damages, The Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel reports.

Arguing that to find the county in contempt and award damages
would be "an extraordinary remedy," Mr. Fishbach pointed out
that monetary damages were never mentioned in the original 1996
lawsuit over jail conditions and crowding, the certification of
the suit as a class action, or the 2001 consent order in which
the county agreed not to hold inmates more than 30 hours in the
booking room. The consent order, according to him, was intended
to bring about systematic changes in the jail, and conditions
have improved.

In addition, Mr. Fishbach also disputed affidavits filed by 19
people in the case describing conditions their attorney called
"deplorable." He contends, "Conditions, as a whole, were not
deplorable." Inspections have shown that the booking room was
"lit, clean, had TV sets, and was close to medical personnel. .
. . There were no injuries and no deaths. . . . Affidavits
stating people were not getting medical treatment and that
conditions were deplorable were, at best, mistaken."  He
acknowledges that "mistakes were made" in holding inmates more
than 30 hours, but reiterated that the practice has been
corrected, therefore, the county is not in contempt.

However, attorneys for plaintiffs in the case, which was brought
by the Legal Aid Society and the American Civil Liberties Union
of Wisconsin, argued that there was no provision for damages in
the settlement decree since it was expected that the decree
would be followed. It was not anticipated that people would
suffer damages as a result of a violation of the consent decree,
according to attorney Patrick W. Patterson.

Mr. Patterson pointed out, "We agree that contempt is an
extraordinary remedy . . . but there were multiple, intentional
violations of the consent decree." He also said that unless
damages are assessed, decrees would be meaningless. About eight
of those who filed affidavits in the case describing their
experiences in the booking room were in court.

In April 2004, the sheriff's office conceded and Circuit Judge
Jeffrey Kremers ruled that the county had violated the May 2001
settlement agreement. Attorneys in the case found that between
October 2002 and February 2004, more than 13,000 people had been
held in the booking area for more than 30 hours. According to
plaintiffs' attorneys, from November 2001 to May 2004, some
16,000 men and women were held "in conditions that were cramped,
stressful, degrading, dehumanizing and dangerous to both inmates
and jail personnel."

Mr. Patterson said the county was aware that the violations
existed, and it wasn't until the case was taken to court that
county officials corrected the situation. He added that while
the county argues that the jail population is down, the problem
has not been fixed. He also said that more beds in the House of
Correction are being used for pretrial detainees who are bused
from the jail. "That doesn't bode well for the long term."

After hearing both sides' arguments, Circuit Judge Clare
Fiorenza said that she would issue a ruling in 45 days.


WISCONSIN: Firm Files Overcharging Suit V. Downtown Bar Owners
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Minneapolis law firm of Lommen, Nelson, Cole & Stageberg,
filed a federal lawsuit accusing 25 bars near University of
Wisconsin (UW) - Madison and their trade association of
conspiring to inflate drink prices from 1990 until last year,
The Wisconsin State Journal reports.

The class action lawsuit seeks relief for revelers that it
claims were ripped off. It also names as defendants UW-Madison
Chancellor John Wiley and two city officials for pressuring bars
to illegally raise their prices in an effort to cut down on
alcohol-related problems involving students.

Previously, thee University of Wisconsin students teamed up with
a the same law firm and filed a similar class action anti-trust
suit last year, which had a very strong chance of forcing most
downtown Madison bars into bankruptcy. That lawsuit accused bars
of illegal price fixing when they agreed in 2002 to voluntarily
stop weekend drink specials to stave off a tougher ban on drink
discounts the city was considering. In April though a judge
dismissed, saying there was no conspiracy.

The new lawsuit, which was filed in federal court, claims that
the voluntary ban on weekend drink specials was meant to
maximize bars' profits but alleges the violation of federal
antitrust laws goes back even further.

Steve Uhr, the attorney who filed the suit told The Wisconsin
State Journal, "This one is broader in scope." He also said that
he's seeking damages in the millions of dollars for overcharges
on behalf of thousands of customers.

The 84-page lawsuit claims that for the last 15 years, drinkers
"were charged supra-competitive, excessive and fixed prices for
alcohol" at the taverns. It further claims that through private
conversations and secret deals, the bars agreed when to increase
prices and offer drink specials.

According to the suit, the conspiracy allegedly started after
Wisconsin increased its drinking age from 18 to 21 in 1987. The
suit claims that despite reduced demand, drink prices increased
faster than inflation in the 1990s "and the timing and sequence
of those increases were agreed upon" by bar owners during
monthly meetings of the Madison Tavern League."

News of the lawsuit is likely to infuriate bar owners who spent
more than $250,000 in legal fees fighting the first case, which
Mr. Uhr is appealing.

Kevin O'Connor, a Madison lawyer who represented the bars in the
earlier case told The Wisconsin State Journal, "They simply want
to pretend the state court case never happened and start all
over again. This is a gross misuse of the judicial system."

Commenting on the suit, John Lucas, spokesman for Mr. Wiley told
The Wisconsin State Journal that the suit had no merit pointed
out that, "The University believes that the bars acted in the
interest of student and public health in addressing the drink
special issue."



                          Asbestos Alert



ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Fairfax Financial Builds A&E Loss Reserves
---------------------------------------------------------------
Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (NYSE: FFH), an insurance and
reinsurance holding company, establishes loss reserves for
asbestos, environmental and other latent claims, according to a
report submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Toronto, Ontario-based Company created reserves that
represent its best estimate of ultimate claims and claim
adjustment expenses based upon known facts and current law. The
Company's gross asbestos reserves were US$1.6 billion at
December 31, 2003 and its environmental and other latent claims
gross reserves were US$722.2 million. The Company's asbestos
reserves, net of reinsurance but excluding vendor indemnities,
were US$772.2 million at December 31, 2003 and environmental and
other latent claims reserves, net of reinsurance but excluding
vendor indemnities, were US$307.9 million.

Insurers, including the Company, are experiencing an increase in
the number of asbestos-related claims due to more intensive
advertising by lawyers seeking asbestos claimants, the
increasing focus by plaintiffs on new and previously peripheral
defendants and an increase in the number of entities seeking
bankruptcy protection as a result of asbestos-related
liabilities. Adding to contributing to claims' increase, such
bankruptcy proceedings may have the effect of significantly
accelerating and increasing loss payments by insurers, including
Fairfax.

Policyholders have been asserting that their claims for
asbestos-related insurance are not subject to aggregate limits
on coverage and that each individual bodily injury claim should
be treated as a separate occurrence under the policy. Although
it is difficult to predict whether these policyholders will be
successful on either of these issues, to the extent either issue
is resolved in their favor, the Company's coverage obligations
under the policies at issue would be materially increased and
bounded only by the applicable per occurrence limits and the
number of asbestos bodily injury claims made by the
policyholders.

Proceedings have recently been launched directly against
insurers, including the Company, challenging insurers' conduct
in respect of asbestos claims, including in some cases with
respect to previous settlements. Some plaintiffs have also
advanced claims against us as defendants in asbestos personal
injury cases that are close to trial. The Company anticipates
the filing of other direct actions against insurers, including
it, in the future.

As a result of various regulatory efforts aimed at environmental
remediation, companies in the insurance industry, including
Fairfax, continue to be involved in litigation involving policy
coverage and liability issues with respect to environmental
claims. The results of court decisions affecting the industry's
coverage positions continue to be inconsistent and have expanded
coverage beyond its original intent.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Japan Reveals Asbestos Victims Payout Draft
----------------------------------------------------------------
In the face of concerns following hundreds of asbestos-related
deaths, the Japanese Government released a draft of a bill
designed to compensate victims of asbestos-related illnesses,
including those who live near asbestos factories and families of
plant workers.

During a meeting, Cabinet ministers from allied ministries
agreed on the outline of the bill, which would also create a
relief fund for asbestos victims, including medical and funeral
costs, and provide subsidies for asbestos disposal. Officials
also accepted their responsibility for failing to take measures
sooner, and agreed to set up a government task force
specializing in hazardous chemicals.

Officials at the asbestos meeting also agreed on a complete ban
on asbestos use by 2008. However, Health Minister Hidehisa
Otsuji called for a ban by the end of 2006.

The bill, to be submitted to parliament next year, would also
provide compensation for the relatives of those who died of
asbestos-related cancers without receiving other forms of
compensation.

Recent government surveys pegged the number of people who died
from asbestos-related cancers at more than 500. Japan has
trailed behind other developed nations in banning the material,
only prohibiting use of its most common forms last year.

Currently, at least 42 factories across the country still
manufacture asbestos products, according to the Environment
Ministry. A loophole still exists in Japan's asbestos ban that
allows the material to be used when there are no substitutes.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: 144 JPN Schools Exposed to Asbestos Danger
---------------------------------------------------------------
According to an initial report of an ongoing survey conducted by
Japan's Education, Science and Technology Ministry, asbestos,
which is used at 144 public schools, may cause air
contamination, The Yomiuri Shimbun reports.

As of the end of August, the preliminary report covers 55,704
entities, or 34% of the total. The report disclosed that 1,995
schools and institutions (3.6%) were found to have used asbestos
in their buildings.

Among the public schools, 144 schools, including two
kindergartens, 77 primary schools, 40 middle schools and 19 high
schools, were seen as dangerous. Among private schools, a total
of 352 entities, used asbestos in their buildings, with 37
deemed potentially hazardous.

The survey was carried out on 17,036 public schools, or 39.1% of
the total. Eight hundred seven schools, or 4.7%, used asbestos
in their buildings, and 0.8% of the cases were deemed
potentially hazardous.

The survey targeted 163,834 educational and cultural entities,
built in 1996 or before, including kindergarten, primary, middle
and high schools, universities, public sports facilities,
cultural facilities and independent administrative institutions
under the ministry's jurisdiction.

The ministry instructed education boards to prohibit entrance
into buildings seen as dangerous and to take measures to remove
asbestos as soon as possible.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Aussie Victims' Kin to Access Compensation
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Queensland State Parliament passed laws enabling families of
asbestos victims, who die before their cases are finalized in
court, to have access to compensation payouts, The Courier-Mail
reports.

Landmark changes supported by all sides of politics will also
relax the three-year time limit on bringing action before the
courts in an acknowledgment that asbestos-related diseases can
often flare up 20 years after a person comes into contact with
the substance.

Attorney-General Linda Lavarch said rising numbers of asbestos-
related diseases heightened the need for the legal system to
give victims a "fair go." She added medical experts estimated
the diagnosis of asbestos-related diseases would continue to
rise over the next 10 to 20 years.

Under the changes, victims' estates will now be entitled to
claim damages, which the victim would have received. They will
also have more time to make a claim because the three-year limit
will not apply until they have a "diagnosis of a serious
nature."


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: "Red Tape" Blamed for Japan Govt. Inaction
---------------------------------------------------------------
Admitting for the first time its partial responsibility for
asbestos-related diseases, the Japanese Government says that
bureaucratic red tape prevented it from taking more aggressive
measures against asbestos use in the past, The Japan Times
reports.

The Government said it would provide aid to lung disease and
lung cancer victims who cannot apply for workers' compensation.
It will provide aid to the next of kin of those who died due to
asbestos-related lung disease five or more years ago but cannot
apply for compensation because the statute of limitations has
run out. The aid money will cover medical costs, funeral
expenses and one-time payments to the next of kin.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare plans to completely
eradicate asbestos use in 2008. The decision was made after
recent revelations that use of the mineral may have caused the
deaths of hundreds of workers at various companies over the past
few decades.

The domestic use of asbestos is banned in principle, except in
cases where there are no substitutes. It is still used to make
machinery gaskets, insulating plates for switchboards, seals for
chemical plants and industrial rope.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: MT Lawmakers React to Grace Healthcare Cuts
----------------------------------------------------------------
Montana's congressional delegation advocates swift action
against WR Grace & Co. (NYSE: GRA), for the healthcare
compensation reduction for hundreds of individuals sickened by
asbestos from the Company's mine near Libby, MT.

In the September 30, 2005 Class Action Reporter edition, MT
Democrat Senator Max Baucus introduced legislation that would
require WR Grace to put US$250 million in a health care trust
fund for Libby victims of asbestos exposure.

Meanwhile, Montana Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg asked
Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt to check
HNA/Triveras, WR Grace's health care administrator, which sent
letters to about 700 Libby residents, saying they no longer have
asbestos-related disease or may not be as sick as they thought.

The Libby Asbestos Medical Plan was funded by a US$2.75 million
court settlement between Grace and the US Environmental
Protection Agency, with the money tagged to help pay for health
care needs not otherwise covered through WR Grace.

A bill passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee includes a
provision that would pay sickened Libby residents up to US$1.1
million each for asbestos-related diseases. The size of
individual payments would depend on the level of sickness. The
highest payments would be for people suffering from
mesothelioma, but all those sickened would get at least
US$400,000.

The legislation would end asbestos liability lawsuits in
exchange for a US$140 billion Asbestos Compensation Fund. Sen.
Baucus, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, has
said he will withhold support for the bill unless Libby
residents are compensated.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ANH Refractories Files Disclosure Statement
----------------------------------------------------------------
ANH Refractories Company files its first amended disclosure
statement, which summarizes the establishment of three trusts to
pay asbestos and silica related claims, The Deal reports.

Based in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, ANH Refractories Co sells
and services under the well-known trade names: AP Green, North
American Refractories Co, and Harbison-Walker. The brands
provide high-grade fireproof ceramic refractory products and
services for high-temperature applications in various
industries.

ANH is the parent of North American Refractories Co and Global
Industrial Technologies Inc, which include GIT subsidiaries AP
Green Industries Inc and Harbison-Walker Refractories Co. Before
filing bankruptcy, Narco, Harbison-Walker and APG were competing
in the refractory industry, where they produced fireproof
materials used in steel making.

In 1997, RHI AG, an Austrian fireproof materials maker, bought
Narco. Two years later, RHI acquired GIT and its subsidiaries.
Narco filed for Chapter 11 on January 4, 2002, while GIT and its
subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy on February 14, 2002. RHI's US
subsidiary, RHI Services Inc, subsequently changed its name to
ANH.

ANH said, in its disclosure statement, its companies filed for
Chapter 11 protection because the costs of asbestos litigation
rose dramatically from 2000 to early 2002. ANH's disclosure
statement actually encompasses two reorganization plans: one for
Narco and the other for GIT.

The Narco plan establishes the Narco Asbestos Trust, which will
be funded with 79% of outstanding common stock of reorganized
ANH plus cash. Moreover, Narco's unsecured creditors who don't
hold asbestos or silica claims will share a US$19 million fund.

The GIT plan establishes the APG Asbestos Trust and the APG
Silica Trust, which would be funded with 21% of reorganized ANH,
cash and insurance proceeds. GIT's unsecured creditor fund is
US$51.4 million.

Asbestos and silica claims against Harbison-Walker will be
channeled to the trust established as part of DII Industries
LLC's prepackaged reorganization plan filed with that Company's
Chapter 11 petition on December 16, 2003.

DII Industries, once known as Dresser Industries, had owned
Harbison-Walker. Dresser is now a unit of Halliburton Co, which
has already reached a US$4 billion settlement with its asbestos
plaintiffs.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Hazard in Aussie Site Sparks Locals' Fears
---------------------------------------------------------------
Workplace Standards Tasmania closed a demolition site, which
used to be a liquor store that burned down last April, on
Huonville's Main Road, due to the presence of sheet asbestos
that was broken and scattered following demolition, thereby
raising fears of nearby residents, The Mercury reports.

Bill White, the Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy
Union's assistant secretary, said he was concerned about the
speed of the demolition. He added a licensed asbestos abatement
contractor had estimated it would take about three weeks to
handle the material safely.

The contractor said the best removal of asbestos involved
placing contaminated material in plastic and then removing it
piece by piece. He said the potential dangers were "very
serious."

Mr. White said the site should be urgently cleaned up and locals
should be offered free lung function tests to determine asbestos
exposure. He said any crew working alongside the excavator and
who did not wear proper attire were also at risk from inhaling
fibers.

Peter Coad and Mike Wilson, Huon Valley councilors, expressed
concerns about the spread of asbestos fibers. They called for
immediate tests to determine whether surrounding areas had been
contaminated.

Workplace Standards is examining the demolition site and ordered
all further work to be done in accordance with the code of
practice for the removal of asbestos.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: McDermott Discloses B&W's Joint POR Filing
---------------------------------------------------------------
McDermott International, Inc (NYSE: MDR) announced that its
subsidiary, The Babcock & Wilcox Co and some of B&W's
subsidiaries, together with the Asbestos Claimants' Committee
and the Legal Representative for Future Asbestos-Related
Claimants, have filed a Joint Plan of Reorganization and Summary
Disclosure Statement with the Honorable Judge Jerry Brown in the
US Bankruptcy Court for Louisiana's Eastern District.

The Court has scheduled a hearing to consider approval of the
Disclosure Statement on October 26, 2005.

New Orleans, LA-based McDermott International, Inc is a leading
worldwide energy services company. Its subsidiaries provide
engineering, fabrication, installation, procurement, research,
manufacturing, environmental systems, and project and facility
management services to a various customers in the energy and
power industries, including the US Department of Energy.

"Filing the Joint Plan of Reorganization and Summary Disclosure
Statement with the Bankruptcy Court is a critical step in B&W
exiting from bankruptcy and achieving our goal of
reconsolidating its operations," said Bruce W. Wilkinson,
McDermott Chairman and CEO.

"I am pleased that all constituent groups were able to quickly
document our previously announced revised settlement terms into
this new plan of reorganization. We now expect to advance the
process forward in the Courts, with our shareholders and with
B&W's claimants in accordance with our previously announced
timetable."


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ISG Expects US$10 Million Abatement in 2005
----------------------------------------------------------------
International Steel Group, Inc. assumes spending about US$51
million over the next 40 years, including US$10 million during
2005, to address the disposal of PCB equipment and asbestos
material encountered during the operation of its facilities, in
a report submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

ISG purchased only selected assets of Georgetown, Weirton,
Bethlehem, Acme and LTV through sales in bankruptcy proceedings.
The sales orders issued by the US Bankruptcy Courts having
jurisdiction over each transaction explicitly provide that the
sellers retained certain historic liabilities, including
employee asbestos-related liability, and that ISG shall not be
deemed as a successor to any seller with respect to asbestos-
related liabilities or any other matter.

Despite the foregoing, it is possible that future claims with
respect to historic asbestos exposure might be directed at ISG.
The Company considers the risk of incurring liability as the
result of such claims extremely remote.

Established in April 2002, Richfield, Ohio-based International
Steel Group Inc is one of the leading competitors in the global
steel industry. ISG also owns extensive coal reserves, iron ore
and coke operations, a hot briquetted iron (HBI) plant in
Trinidad, lake shipping and trucking operations, and operates
seven short line railroads.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: 180 Libby, MT Individuals Misdiagnosed, GRA
----------------------------------------------------------------
Specialty chemicals manufacturer WR Grace & Co (NYSE: GRA), in a
recent statement, asserts that about 180 people, diagnosed with
asbestos-related illnesses linked to the Company's now defunct
Libby mine, were misdiagnosed, The Washington Post reports.

The finding is based on an audit by HNA/Triveris, the Company's
Libby health care administrator, which had its panel of
certified radiologists review the X-rays and CT scans of Libby
residents admitted to the plan because local physicians
determined they contracted asbestos-related diseases from the
Libby mine.

In a letter to the 180 participants, HNA/Triveris assured them
that they are entitled to keep the "core benefits," such as
annual exams, chest X-rays, flu shots, gym memberships, inhalers
and even hospice care not related to asbestos diseases.

Plan participants who are diagnosed with asbestos-related
disease are entitled to broader benefits, including "any care
that's appropriate for an asbestos-related condition," according
to an anonymous person familiar with the plan.

Columbia, MD-based WR Grace purchased a mine with abundant
vermiculite deposits, which contained naturally occurring
asbestos, in Libby, Montana back in 1963. Vermiculite was used
in fireproofing spray, potting soil and attic insulation.

In February, federal prosecutors charged the Company with
burying a paper trail dating to 1976 that demonstrated the
asbestos exposure of Libby's residents. They said the death rate
from asbestos is now 40 to 80 times as high in Libby and nearby
areas as elsewhere in the US and that 1,200 area residents have
lung abnormalities linked to the asbestos exposure.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Poorly Regulated Hazard Still Used in Korea
----------------------------------------------------------------
Korea still allows the application of asbestos in industrial
uses, with around 14,000 tons imported in 2004 and another 3,200
tons being imported in 2005 until August, as the combined import
over the past four decades surpasses 2 million tons, The Korea
Times reports.

The Government said it is well aware of the material's harmful
effects and accordingly banned five of the six kinds of
asbestos. However, white asbestos is still used and the
Government asserts that the white asbestos is less harmful and
has many advantages as a construction material.

"Other similar materials like glass fiber are too expensive and
lag far behind asbestos in persistence and fire resistance. If
cheap replacement with improved property becomes available, we
may consider banning the material," said Kim Hwan-gung, Deputy
Director of Industrial Safety and Health Division at the
Ministry of Labor said.

Experts said the partial asbestos ban does not make any
difference because the white asbestos is equally harmful to
human body. Among all asbestos used commercially in the country,
white asbestos accounted for more than 90%, in which experts
criticized the Government's reform efforts as "ostrich-like
policy-making."

According to the Korean Teachers and Education Workers' Union,
students of three out of ten schools in Inchon are exposed to
the risk of asbestos inhalation, as the asbestos-made ceiling
materials remain.

The number of people who had been diagnosed with asbestos-
related cancer for the past five years reached 29. Among lung
cancer and pleura-cancer victims, 22 people already died and the
survival chance of the remainder is slim.

During the industrialization period of the 1970s and 1980s, many
Koreans have been exposed to asbestos and it takes 20 to 50
years for them to develop asbestos-related diseases.

Once commonly used for acoustic or thermal insulation, fire
proofing and in other building materials, asbestos was found to
cause serious health problems, such as cancer when inhaled. The
material had been banned for industrial use in the European
Union for decades and last year in Japan and Australia. Other
countries also banned its use or importation.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Icahn May Pay $775M to Increase FDMLQ Share
----------------------------------------------------------------
According to court papers, billionaire investor Carl Icahn could
pay US$775 million to increase his stake in Federal-Mogul Corp
(OTC: FDMLQ) by buying additional stock from a trust set aside
to cover asbestos liabilities, The Associated Press reports.

The Southfield, MI-based auto parts maker said that its Chapter
11 plan is being amended to give Mr. Icahn an option to become
the controlling shareholder of the Company, which is on its way
out of bankruptcy.

Once the Company emerges out of bankruptcy, Mr. Icahn is
expected to be a significant shareholder since he owns ample
debt and debt holders will get nearly half the new Company. If
he exercises the option, the trust will be funded instead with
US$375 million in cash and a US$400 million note, according to
details of the deal filed with the Delaware US Bankruptcy Court.
Current shareholders are slated to get warrants under Federal-
Mogul's Chapter 11 plan. Existing shares will be canceled.

Mr. Icahn has built a sizable fortune as well as a formidable
reputation on Wall Street by taking stakes in firms and then
coercing management to make aggressive moves to raise the
company's stock.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: FDMLQ Settles to Exit Ch 11, Administration
----------------------------------------------------------------
Federal-Mogul Corp (OTC: FDMLQ) files agreements summarized in
the Delaware US Bankruptcy Court, which includes a settlement
pact among the Company, the Plan Proponents and the UK
Administrators, to settle all outstanding matters.

The Asbestos Committee agreed that the Asbestos Trust would
satisfy payment obligations to the Southfield, MI-based auto
parts manufacturer by delivering a portion of the Trust's equity
back to the Company.

With the settlement agreement, the Committee requested that
billionaire investor and stakeholder Carl Icahn provide the
Asbestos Trust, upon the effectiveness of the Plan of
Reorganization, with immediate liquidity.

Mr. Icahn agreed that one of his entities would provide the
Asbestos Trust its desired liquidity by either exercising an
option, after the effective date of the Plan, to acquire the
Asbestos Trust's position in the Company or, if it did not
exercise the option, by providing certain financing to the
Trust.

Mr. Icahn stated that he was extremely pleased by the settlement
agreement among the parties and was gratified that he was able
to lend assistance to the settlement process. He further stated
that he looked forward to the Company's early emergence from
Chapter 11.

Jos‚ Maria Alapont, Federal-Mogul Chairman, President and CEO,
said the agreements represent one of the most significant steps
toward Chapter 11 emergence in the US and Administration in the
UK.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Senate To Ready Amendments in Case of Vote
---------------------------------------------------------------
Senators Arlen Specter, a PA Republican, and Patrick Leahy, a VT
Democrat, of the US Senate Judiciary Committee asks senators,
through letters, to prepare amendments in case legislation to
establish a US$140 billion Asbestos Compensation Fund will be
raised in October, Reuters reports.

The legislation, co-authored by Senators Specter and Leahy, was
voted out of judiciary committee in May 2005, but amid doubts
about the bill in both the Republican and Democrat parties, it
has not been brought to the Senate floor. Senator Specter
insisted that it was realistic to hope the asbestos legislation
could be brought up for a vote in October. He said he had
"plenty of time" to deal with the complex legislation.

Senate's Majority Leader Bill Frist, a TN Republican, had
pledged to bring the asbestos bill up for a vote in autumn
before matters related to Hurricane Katrina and Two Supreme
Court nominations inundated Washington.

Senator John Cornyn, a TX Republican, who had questioned about
the proposed asbestos fund's solvency and fairness to companies
that would be paying into the fund, said that the Senate's
crowded agenda was clearly squeezing the legislation in
Katrina's aftermath.

Patrick Hanlon, an attorney for the National Association of
Manufacturers, said he thought the bill would be voted on in the
Senate either this year or early next year.

Asbestos has been used in building materials, auto parts and
other products for decades, but is linked to cancer and other
diseases. Hundreds of thousands of injury claims have pushed
many companies into bankruptcy.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ACE Ltd Lists US$4,952 Million A&E Reserves
----------------------------------------------------------------
Property and casualty insurance firm ACE Ltd (NYSE: ACE), in its
prospectus supplement submitted to the Securities and Exchange
Commission, reports that as of December 31, 2004, it had
US$4,952 million of gross reserves, US$984 million net of
reinsurance, related to A&E exposures.

In 2004, the Company increased its net reserve for asbestos,
environmental and other run-off claims by US$465 million. The
net additions comprised A&E reserve increases of US$554 million
including the provision for bad debts of US$95 million and
favorable prior period development of US$89 million in other
run-off reserves. In 2002, the prior period development included
US$516 million related to A&E.

The Company's A&E liability claims are principally related to
claims arising from remediation costs associated with hazardous
waste sites and bodily-injury claims related to exposure to
asbestos products and environmental hazards.

Hamilton, Bermuda-based ACE Ltd, a holding company, provides
insurance and reinsurance products worldwide. It operates
through four segments: Insurance North American, Insurance
Overseas General, Global Reinsurance, and Financial Services.
The Company provides claim management and loss-cost reduction
services, including medical managed care, integrated disability
services, and pre-loss control and risk management services, as
well as sells salvage and subrogation, and health care recovery
services.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: WR Grace, Ottawa Govt. Named in BC Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit, filed in Canada's British Columbia
Supreme Court, names US construction giant WR Grace & Co,
affiliates that sold Zonolite and the Ottawa federal government,
mainly the Department of National Defense, for allegedly pushing
asbestos' use despite knowledge of its potential harm.

The statement of claim, which remains unproven, alleged the
defendants knew or should have known asbestos-containing
products like Zonolite posed a health risk, especially if the
microscopic fibers were inhaled.

The suit singles out the government for "putting political and
business interests above the health and well being of the
plaintiffs and other class members, recklessly and deliberately,
and instead advancing and protecting the interests of the
Canadian asbestos industry."

Lawyers said the impact could be as far-reaching as the furor
over urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, known as UFFI, which
forced the federal government to compensate $181 million to
homeowners who were forced to gut their houses of the toxic
material.

Ottawa promoted the use of both Zonolite and UFFI during the
oil-price hikes of the 1970s and early 1980s to conserve energy,
offering grants and rebates to homeowners who installed the
materials.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: HON Awards Widow $5M in Wrongful Death Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON) compensates
Bloomington, Illinois-based Doris Dukes more than US$5 million
in the wrongful death of her husband, Merlan, who died from
mesothelioma caused by asbestos.

The McLean County Civil Court jury found Honeywell liable for
damages in the death of the 69-year-old Mr. Dukes, who died in
May. He was exposed to asbestos in the 1950s when he worked at
the Unarco asbestos plant on Bloomington's west side.

The jury agreed and ordered Honeywell to pay US$1 million in
damages for the Dukes family's pain and suffering, US$500,000
for Mrs. Dukes' pain and suffering, and US$3.675 million in
wrongful death damages, Jim Walker, the attorney representing
the Dukes, said.

Mr. Walker said that although Mr. Dukes lived for more than 40
years without any symptoms, he was diagnosed with a slow-
developing form of lung cancer called mesothelioma in January
2004.

"She was pleased with the jury's verdict," Mr. Walker said. "The
jury's verdict reaffirmed our position that corporations have an
obligation to tell workers what the corporations know about the
hazards in the workplace."

Honeywell, a diversified manufacturing giant, recently merged
with Bendix, a company that allegedly conspired to conceal
health hazards at the Unarco asbestos plant that used to be on
West Perry Street, Mr. Walker said.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: UK Mother Sues Council GBP250T for Exposure
----------------------------------------------------------------
June Costello, a dying mother suffering from mesothelioma,
launches a landmark legal compensation battle for GBP250,000
against Newham Council, the former employers of her son Mark
Costello, for asbestos exposure, the Newham Recorder reports.

According to a High Court writ, 65-year-old Mrs. Costello
developed cancer after washing the dusty overalls of Mr.
Costello, who was exposed to substantial amounts of asbestos
when he worked for the Council as an apprentice plumber, and
subsequently a plumber, between 1980 and 1985.

Mr. Costello often had to work in boiler houses, ducts and
underneath swimming pools, crawling on his hands and knees,
removing asbestos lagging as well as cutting asbestos flues, the
writ further stated.

Mrs. Costello said she inhaled substantial amounts of asbestos
on her son's working days, shook or dusted his overalls, and
washing them twice a week. She claimed the Council was
negligent, and exposed her and her son to a major risk of fatal
injury without protection, and without warning them of the
risks.

The writ concluded that the Council negligently failed to ensure
Mr. Costello's contaminated overalls not to be sent home without
being decontaminated, therefore failing to minimize risks.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Relief Trust Set to Expand African Coverage
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Asbestos Relief Trust, responsible for indemnifying asbestos
victims, will be expanding its services to South Africa's
neighboring countries so that former mine workers need not
travel to South Africa to lodge claims.

Trust manager Tina da Cruz said talks had been held with the
Governments of Lesotho and Swaziland to explore any possibility
of setting up the offices to process claims. She said this after
a some disgruntled former Msauli mineworkers in Mpumalanga
complained on a number of issues, among which was that the
Ekulindeni office in Mpumalanga was turning away claimants and
was not giving them any transport money.

The Asbestos Relief Trust was formed during an out-of-court
settlement in 2003 after Msauli, Gencor and Gefco and the
workers' lawyers agreed that ZAR460 million should be set aside
to compensate ex-workers of the Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Northern
Cape mines. ZAR44.5 million had been paid to claimants by
September 19 of this year, and the trust aims to pay ZAR13
million by the end of 2005.

The Trust's formation followed a victory by about 7,000 former
British multinational company Cape PLC's employees who set a
precedent by forcing it to fork out about ZAR97 million in 2001
to compensate sickly workers and relatives of those that died of
asbestos-related diseases.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: 433 Japan Hospitals and Nurseries At Risk
--------------------------------------------------------------
According to a survey released by Japan's Ministry of Health,
Labor and Welfare, people face risk of asbestos exposure at 341
hospitals and 92 nurseries across the country, Kyodo News
reports.

The report was based on responses from 4,433 hospitals and 8,609
nurseries as of the end of September. Ministry officials said
that a final report would be made at the end of November,
covering a total of 8,964 hospitals, and about 75,000 welfare
facilities, including 15,007 nurseries.

Of the hospitals that responded to the survey, 1,281 facilities
were found to have used asbestos or rock wool. At 341 hospitals,
asbestos may have spread due to the asbestos-sprinkled portion
torn off or damaged, the report said.

Asbestos was found used at 914 nursery facilities, of which 92
nurseries have the risk of it spreading. Meanwhile, 52 nursing
homes for the elderly and 12 rehabilitation centers for people
with mental disabilities had the risk of asbestos spreading.

The ministry also surveyed about 3,300 public vocational
training centers and found that 15 facilities had the risk.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: JPN Govt. Units Clash Over Victims' Payout
---------------------------------------------------------------
Sources say that the Japan Government's ruling parties, the
Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the Environment Ministry,
and allied industries are embroiled in a battle as to who will
shoulder the proposed compensation for asbestos victims, Kyodo
News reports.

The Government created a draft for a special new bill to benefit
asbestos victims, but even officials in charge said the bill
couldn't be said to be a framework because it keeps putting off
deliberating the lump sum amount to be paid to victims and their
families.

The bill, in principle, provides for all mesothelioma victims to
be compensated. In 2003, 878 people died of the disease, and if
the family of each victim is to be paid JPY10 million, the
proposed would amount to JPY8.78 billion.

METI is resisting attempts to make industries fund the proposed
bill. Initially, there was a suggestion in the draft bill that
industries, such as the automobile industry, be listed and asked
to donate to the compensation fund, but it was dropped in the
final bill.

Since the number of deaths from the disease is expected to rise,
industries being asked to donate to the compensation fund are
showing great interest in the amount of the lump sum.

The Japan Asbestos Association, which represents asbestos-
producing companies, said the association had received a phone
call from an executive at one enterprise who said, "We used
asbestos after being told that it was safe if well managed. Why
should we donate money?"


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Report Notes Lapses in JPN Govt.'s Actions
---------------------------------------------------------------
A Japanese Government interim report, which reported the
presence of asbestos in 807 public schools out of 17,036 by the
end of August 2005, notes that the Ministry of Education,
Science and Technology was negligent in its responsibilities and
downplayed the seriousness of the situation, The Daily Yomiuri
reports.

The report concluded that there was a risk of airborne asbestos
contamination at 144 of the schools. As only 40% of public
schools were inspected, the final tally is expected to be higher
when the final report is released at the end of November.

METI thought the public school asbestos problem had been solved
some time back since they told a Government liaison conference
in July that appropriate measures had been taken at most schools
where asbestos had been used.

In 1987, the Education Ministry, METI's predecessor, inspected
schools and determined that asbestos had been used at 1,337 of
them. The Ministry instructed municipalities to remove or
contain the material, and dispensed subsidies to fund the work.

Having taken these steps, METI took it as an indication that
municipalities would take appropriate action.

The Government's negligence and tardiness in taking appropriate
measures has seriously compromised the people's safety and
health. That students at 144 schools have been at risk for so
long could have been avoided if METI had followed up on the 1987
inspection.

Schools have taken measures such as closing classrooms and other
areas where asbestos may be a threat. However, a local official
said, "We'll have to rack our brain over how we can finance it
if we have to remove these facilities, while our budget is
pinched."


ASBESTOS ALERT: Affinia Group Faces 54 Product Liability Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------
Affinia Group Inc., including subsidiaries acquired from Dana
Corp. (NYSE: DCN), listed 54 pending asbestos-related product
liability claims as of December 31, 2004, according to the
Company's prospectus submitted to the Securities and Exchange
Commission.

On July 8, 2004, Affinia, a Corporation controlled by affiliates
of The Cypress Group LLC, entered into a stock and asset
purchase agreement with Dana. The stock and asset purchase
agreement provided for the acquisition by Affinia of all of the
outstanding shares of capital stock of specified subsidiaries
and certain assets consisting primarily of Dana's automotive
aftermarket business operations (the "Acquisition").

As part of the Acquisition, Dana retained responsibility for the
defense of, and all liabilities associated with these claims.
Dana retained responsibility for all asbestos-related
liabilities arising from products manufactured or sold, or
services performed, prior to November 30, 2004.

The Company had about 270 pending asbestos-related product
liability claims at December 31, 2003, compared to about 310
pending claims at December 31, 2002.

At December 31, 2002, 2003, and 2004 the Company had US$2
million, US$1 million and less than US$1 million accrued,
respectively. There are no recoveries expected from third
parties. There was no difference between the Company's minimum
and maximum estimates for these liabilities at either date.

The Company estimates contingent environmental liabilities based
on the most probable method of remediation, current laws and
regulations and existing technology. Estimates are made on an
undiscounted basis and exclude the effects of inflation. If
there is a range of equally probable remediation methods or
outcomes, the Company can accrue the lower end of the range.


COMPANY PROFILE

Affinia Group Inc.
1101 Technology Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Tel: (734) 827-5400
E-mail: info@affiniagroup.com
Website: http://www.affiniagroup.com/

Description:
Affinia Group Inc. is a leading designer, manufacturer and
distributor of motor vehicle components, primarily to the
aftermarket, for passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, light
and heavy trucks and off-highway vehicles. Its broad range of
brake, filtration and chassis products, which are sold in North
America, Mexico, Europe and South America, represented about 86%
of its net sales in 2004. Company brands include WIX, Raybestos,
AIMCO, McQuay-Norris, Nakata and Quinton Hazell.


ASBESTOS ALERT: 2 Firms Fined $4,675 Each for Abatement Breaches
----------------------------------------------------------------
The US Environmental Protection Agency slapped asbestos
abatement firms Tri Span, Inc. and CST Environmental, Inc.
US$4,675 each for allegedly violating federal regulations
concerning asbestos removal, Recycling Today reports.

Last August and September, Tri Span removed and disposed of
about 34,586 square feet of asbestos-containing material from a
commercial building in Riverside. Similarly, from March through
August of 2004 CST Environmental removed about 966,664 square
feet of asbestos-containing material from the ABC Entertainment
Center in Century City.

The materials included acoustic ceiling components, mastic,
linoleum, and insulation from the Riverside site and stucco,
fireproofing, mastic, floor tiles, transite, and roofing from
the Century City site.

In violation of federal law, both contractors separately failed
to require or provide for the proper training of one their
employees who participated in the asbestos removal.


COMPANY PROFILE

Tri Span, Inc.
591 W. Explorer St.
Brea, CA 92821
Tel: 714.257.9680 or 877.874.7730
Fax: 714.257.9681
E-mail: tsi2@earthlink.net
Website: www.trispaninc.com

Description:
Tri Span, Inc. (TSI) is a privately owned, minority certified
California corporation and one of the most prominent and
competitive general contracting firms in Orange County, CA.


COMPANY PROFILE

CST Environmental, Inc. (Corporate Office)
404 N. Berry Street
Brea, CA-92821
Contact: Joseph Chelstowski
Tel: 714-672-3500
Fax: 714-672-3501
Email: demolition@cstenv.com
Website: www.cstenv.com

Description:
CST Environmental, Inc. is a general contracting firm that
specializes in demolition, asbestos abatement, lead abatement,
and environmental remediation.


ASBESTOS ALERT: UK Developer Fined GBP11,000 for Safety Breaches
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Guilford Magistrates' Court fined Maddox Homes Ltd a total
of GBP11,000 for violating health and safety legislation, the
Health and Safety Executive reports.

Maddox Homes of Church Road, Great Bookham, Surrey pleaded
guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc Act of
1974 and fined GBP10,000. The developer also violated
Construction (Design and Management) Regulations of 1994 and
fined GBP1,000. No separate fines were awarded for the other
offenses but the Court ordered the Company to pay GBP4,107.40.

The prosecution followed an investigation by the HSE into
allegations that employees had been exposed to asbestos during
an extensive refurbishment and construction project at The Old
Rectory site in Bookham, Surrey between July 23, 2004 and
November 11, 2004. While the workers suffered no immediate ill
effects, the exposure could result in future long-term illness.

After the hearing, Abosede Ogunsekan, HM Inspector of HSE said,
"Asbestos-related disease is responsible for over 3,000 deaths
each year in this country and an asbestos survey must be carried
out on premises prior to any major refurbishment or demolition
works. Where asbestos is identified licensed asbestos removal
contractors should remove it. This case indicates that the
courts take exposure to asbestos seriously and I hope that other
companies learn from this and ensure that similar incidents are
prevented."

HSE information and press releases can be accessed on the
Internet: http://www.hse.gov.uk/


                   New Securities Fraud Cases


DANA CORPORATION: Brodsky & Smith Lodges Securities Suit in OH
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Law offices of Brodsky & Smith, LLC, initiated a securities
class action lawsuit filed on behalf of shareholders who
purchased the common stock and other securities of Dana
Corporation (NYSE: DCN) ("Dana" or the "Company") between March
23, 2005 and September 14, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period").
The class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District
Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

The Complaint alleges that defendants violated federal
securities laws by issuing a series of material
misrepresentations to the market during the Class Period,
thereby artificially inflating the price of Dana Corporation
securities. No class has yet been certified in the above action.

For more details, contact Evan J. Smith, Esq. or Marc L.
Ackerman, Esq. of Brodsky & Smith, LLC, Two Bala Plaza, Suite
602, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004, Phone: 877-LEGAL-90 E-mail:
clients@brodsky-smith.com.


DANA CORPORATION: Dyer & Shuman Sets Lead Plaintiff Deadline
------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Dyer & Shuman, LLP, is encouraging all persons
who purchased the common stock of Dana Corporation (NYSE: DCN)
between March 23, 2005 and September 14, 2005 ("Class Members")
to contact Kip B. Shuman of Dyer & Shuman, LLP at 1-800-711-6483
or via email at KShuman@DyerShuman.com, or their counsel of
choice, concerning their rights and interests as potential class
members in the shareholder class action lawsuit recently filed
in the United States District Court for the Northern District of
Ohio against Dana Corporation. The lawsuit alleges that Dana
Corporation violated federal securities laws.

The firm reminds investors that they have until December 5, 2005
to file for lead plaintiff in the case.

For more details, contact Kip B. Shuman of Dyer & Shuman, LLP,
Phone: 1-800-711-6483, E-mail: KShuman@DyerShuman.com, Web site:
http://www.dyershuman.com.



DANA CORPORATION: Milberg Weiss Lodges OH Securities Fraud Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, LLP, initiated
a class action lawsuit was filed on October 4, 2005, on behalf
of purchasers of the securities of Dana Corporation ("Dana" or
the "Company") (NYSE: DCN) between March 23, 2005 to September
14, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period"), seeking to pursue
remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the
"Exchange Act").

The action, numbered 3:05cv7388, is pending in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, against
defendants Dana, Michael J. Burns (CEO, Chairman) and Robert C.
Richter (CFO).

The Complaint alleges that by the beginning of the Class Period,
Dana's profits were being negatively impacted by an increase in
the price of raw materials - steel, in particular - which was
disconcerting to investors. In order to assure the market that
the Company's business was performing according to plan, and
would continue to perform well even if steel prices did not
decline materially, defendants artificially inflated Dana's net
income through improper accounting and, in addition, issued
earnings guidance that lacked any reasonable basis given the
Company's true performance and prospects, which were known to
defendants but not the investing public. In particular,
defendants' Class Period representations regarding Dana's
historical financial performance and condition and its expected
2005 earnings were materially false and misleading because:

     (1) the Company had improperly accounted for price
         increases, which materially artificially inflated its
         second quarter of 2005 income;

     (2) the Individual Defendants' assurances, made in written
         certifications filed with the SEC, that the second
         quarter Form 10-Q was free from misstatements and
         fairly presented the Company's financial condition and
         results of operations was patently false;

     (3) the Company's apparent success was the result of
         improper accounting, did not reflect the reality of its
         business and deceived investors; and

     (4) in light of these facts, which were known to
         defendants, defendants' guidance lacked any rational
         basis and could not be met without a material drop in
         raw material prices, contrary to defendants' repeated
         assurances to the contrary.

On September 15, 2005, before the open of ordinary trading, Dana
issued a press release announcing that it would likely restate
second quarter 2005 financial results and that it had
dramatically lowered its 2005 earnings guidance, to $0.60 to
$0.70 per share from $1.30 to $1.45, a more than 100% reduction.
Because of the expected earnings shortfall, the Company may have
to write down its U.S. deferred tax assets and may be in
violation of covenants contained in a loan agreement, according
to the press release. A main reason given for the halving of the
2005 guidance was high steel costs, a factor that defendants
repeatedly assured the market was already considered, and
accounted for, in the guidance.

In reaction to this announcement, the price of Dana stock fell
dramatically, from $12.78 per share on September 14, 2005 to
$9.86 per share on September 15, 2005, a one-day drop of 22.8%
on unusually heavy trading volume.

For more details, contact Steven G. Schulman, Peter E. Seidman
or Andrei V. Rado of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, LLP, One
Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th fl., New York, NY, 10119-0165, Phone:
(800) 320-5081, E-mail: sfeerick@milbergweiss.com, Web site:
http://www.milbergweiss.com.


DANA CORPORATION: Schatz & Nobel Lodges Securities Fraud in OH
--------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Schatz & Nobel, P.C., initiated a lawsuit
seeking class action status in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of Ohio on behalf of all persons who
purchased the publicly traded securities of Dana Corporation
(NYSE:DCN) ("Dana") between March 23, 2005 and September 14,
2005 (the "Class Period").

The Complaint alleges that Dana violated federal securities laws
by making false or misleading public statements. On September
15, 2005, Dana announced that it would restate its second
quarter 2005 financial results and lowered its 2005 earnings
guidance from $1.30 - $1.45 per share, to $0.60 - $0.70 per
share. On this news, Dana stock fell from a close of $12.78 per
share on September 14, 2005, to close at $9.86 per share on
September 15, 2005.

For more details, contact Wayne T. Boulton or Nancy Kulesa of
Schatz & Nobel, P.C., Phone: (800) 797-5499, E-mail:
sn06106@aol.com, Web site: http://www.snlaw.net.


GUIDANT CORPORATION: Charles J. Piven Lodges Fraud Suit in IN
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities
class action on behalf of shareholders who purchased, converted,
exchanged or otherwise acquired the common stock of Guidant
Corporation (NYSE: GDT) between December 15, 2004 and June 17,
2005, inclusive (the "Class Period").

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

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


MERCURY INTERACTIVE: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Fraud Suit in CA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, 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 Mercury Interactive Corporation (Nasdaq: MERQE)
("Mercury" or the "Company") from October 22, 2003 through
October 4, 2005 inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Mercury, Amnon Landan, Douglas P. Smith,
Anthony Zingale, and Bryan Leblanc 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 lacked adequate internal controls to
         issue accurate financial reports and projections;

     (2) that the Company's earnings and retained earnings were
         materially inflated because Mercury improperly recorded
         stock-based compensation expenses, which caused the
         Company's financial results to be presented in
         violation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles
         ("GAAP"); and

     (3) that as a consequence of the foregoing, the Company's
         representations to investors and public disclosures
         lacked in completeness and veracity.

Mercury's fraudulent scheme began to unravel on July 5, 2005
when Mercury revealed that a SEC inquiry into the Company's
option grants could cause the Company to restate its financial
statement. On this news, shares of Mercury fell $0.25 per share
to close at $37.96 per share. Following this news, the Company
further disclosed, on July 28, 2005, that a restatement would be
material and have the effect of decreasing the Company's
earnings. On this news, shares of Mercury fell an additional
$1.11 per share to close at $39.15 per share. Later, on August
17, 2005, Mercury announced that there was a strong indicator of
a "material weakness" in the Company's design and operation of
internal control over financial reporting. On this news, shares
of Mercury fell $0.28 per share to close at $37.50 per share.

Then, on August 29, 2005, Mercury announced that its previously
issued financial statements for the fiscal years 2002, 2003 and
2004 should no longer be relied upon and would be restated.
Lastly, on October 4, 2005, Mercury announced that the
previously disclosed informal inquiry from the SEC had been
converted to a formal investigation and that the Company's third
quarter 2005 financial results would be below expectations. On
this news, shares Mercury fell $5.29 per share, or 14.34
percent, to close at $31.61 per share on unusually high trading
volume.

For more details, contact Darren J. Check, Esq. or Richard A.
Maniskas, Esq. of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, 280 King of Prussia
Road, Radnor, PA 19087, Phone: 1-888-299-7706 or 1-610-667-7706,
E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com, Web site:
http://www.sbclasslaw.com.


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asbestos defendants that, according to independent researches,
collectively face billions of dollars in asbestos-related
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                            *********


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Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
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Copyright 2005.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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