CAR_Public/060120.mbx             C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Friday, January 20, 2006, Vol. 8, No. 15

                            Headlines

ARVIDA/JMB PARTNERS: Second Amended Complaint Filed in FL Court
BIOLASE TECHNOLOGY: Wins Motion to Dismiss Securities Fraud Suit
BOEING CO.: Court Throws out Claim Against Promotion System
CAPRIUS INC.: NJ Federal Court Dismisses Securities Fraud Suit
FEDEX GROUND: JPMDL Moves Owner-Operators' Suit to IN Court

GENERAL MOTORS: Appeals Court Reinstates Suit Against GMAC
HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.: Suits Over "Smart Chips" Consolidated in CA
HILLENBRAND INDUSTRIES: Enters Into MOU in SC Antitrust Lawsuit  
HILLENBRAND INDUSTRIES: Files Motion V. Distributors' Suit in TX
HILLENBRAND INDUSTRIES: TX Antitrust Suit set for 2006 Hearing

INTEGRATED ELECTRICAL: Asks TX Court To Dismiss Securities Suit
INTUIT INC.: H&R Block's Suit Against Ad Wins Partial Victory
KELLOGG CO.: Group Warns of Possible Junk Food Marketing Suit
MASSACHUSETTS: Soldiers Seeking $73M Reimbursement File Suit
MICHIGAN: Court Junks Detroit's Anti-Ticket Scalping Ordinance

MICHIGAN: Judge Sued for Refusal to Appoint Counsel to Poor
NETFLIX INC.: Hearing on $4M Settlement Rescheduled by a Month
ORACLE CORPORATION: Trial in Securities Suit Set September 2006
SECURITY BROKERAGE: Paying $150M to Settle SEC Fraud Suit
SEMPRA ENERGY: Paying Nevada $30M to Settle Natural Gas Suit

SIPEX CORPORATION: Settles Shareholder Lawsuit for $6M
SPEAR & JACKSON: Trial Slated for Consolidated Stock Suit in FL
TASER INTERNATIONAL: Discovery Begins in IL Stun Gun Suit


                         Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: FL Clients Seek $13.5M Settlement Recovery
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Grace's Request For Venue Transfer Denied
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Malta Court Penalizes Directors for Risks
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Liberty Mutual Bolsters Reserves by US$203M
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: SDG&E, Contractor Cited in Unlawful Removal

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: WV Couple Names 35 Firms in Injury Lawsuit
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: MO Court Grants 3M's Stay Despite Arguments
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: UNI Pledges Support for Global Asbestos Ban
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: TX City May Face Suit for Removal Breaches
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Ground Zero Deaths Possibly Asbestos-Linked

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Rules Abex Not Sole Employer in Suit
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: GlobalSantaFe Lawsuit v. Insurers Remanded
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: KY Court Ruling Dismisses Builders
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Approves Sale of Owens Corning NJ Lot
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: LA Court Ratifies Babcock & Wilcox Co. Plan

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Gencor Agrees to Rehabilitate Former Mines
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: UT Court Acquits Worker of CAA Violations
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Cape Expects Payout Application by Feb 2006
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: OR Council Urges Congressmen to Oppose Law
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Trust to Aid Over 1,500 Mozambicans in 2006

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Longview Fibre Fends Off Lone Suit from MO  
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Longview Fibre Reports `05 Court Dismissals
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Senate May Tackle US$140B Bill by Feb. 2006
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: India to Tighten Safety Standards, Not Ban
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Charges Dropped in Philbin v. Con Edison

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NY Court Drops Worker's Claim v. Con Edison

                  New Securities Fraud Cases

FARO TECHNOLOGIES: Goldman Scarlato Files Securities Suit in FL
IMPAC MORTGAGE: Labaton Sucharow Files CA Securities Fraud Suit
IMPAC MORTGAGE: Wechsler Harwood Files CA Securities Fraud Suit
SERACARE LIFE: Berman DeValerio Files CA Securities Fraud Suit
SFBC INTERNATIONAL: Berman DeValerio Pease Files Securities Suit

SFBC INTERNATIONAL: Hanzman & Criden Files Securities Fraud Suit
SFBC INTERNATIONAL: Labaton Sucharow Files Securities Fraud Suit
SFBC INTERNATIONAL: Lerach Coughlin Files Securities Fraud Suit


                          *********


ARVIDA/JMB PARTNERS: Second Amended Complaint Filed in FL Court
---------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in the suit, "Rothal v. Arvida/JMB Partners Ltd. et
al., Case No. 03-10709 CACE 12," launched second amended
complaint in Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit in and
for Broward County, Florida against Arvida/JMB Partners, L.P.
("Partnership"), its General Partner Arvida/JMB Managers, Inc.,
and certain related and unrelated parties.

Originally filed on June 20, 2003, plaintiffs in the case
purports to bring a class action allegedly arising out of
construction defects occurring during the development of
Camellia Island in Weston, which has approximately 150 homes.  
On September 20, 2004, plaintiffs filed a twelve count amended
complaint seeking unspecified general damages, special damages,
statutory damages, prejudgment and post-judgment interest,
costs, attorneys' fees, and such other relief as the court may
deem just and proper.  Plaintiffs allege, among other things,
that:

     (1) the homes were not built of high quality and adequate
         construction,

     (2) the homes were not built in conformity with the South
         Florida Building Code and plans on file with Broward
         County, Florida,

     (3) the roofs were not properly attached or were
         inadequate,

     (4) the truss systems and installation thereof were
         improper, and

     (5) the homes suffer from improper shutter storm protection
         systems.  

The amended complaint was dismissed pursuant to the
Partnership's motion to dismiss and the plaintiffs were given
the right to file a further amended complaint.  The Partnership
will file an appropriate response to the further amended
complaint, when filed.  

On May 9, 2005, plaintiffs filed a nearly-identical, nine-count
second amended complaint The Partnership filed a motion to
dismiss the second amended complaint, which was scheduled for a
hearing December 16, 2005.  


BIOLASE TECHNOLOGY: Wins Motion to Dismiss Securities Fraud Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Medical technology company BIOLASE Technology, Inc. said that
the United States District Court for the Central District of
California dismissed without prejudice all claims against the
Company and its officers and directors in the consolidated
shareholder class action lawsuits filed starting in August 2004.

The suits alleged that BIOLASE failed to disclose material
information, made false statements and took actions to
artificially inflate and maintain the market price of the
Company's common stock during the class period of October 29,
2003 to July 16, 2004. BIOLASE's motion to dismiss the second
amended consolidated class action complaint was granted and the
action was dismissed by the order of the Honorable David O.
Carter, United States District Judge for the Central District of
California. The court gave the plaintiffs 30 days to amend their
complaint.

The suit is styled "Van Dam Holdings Ltd. v. Biolase Technology,
Inc., et al, Case No. 8:04-cv-947," filed in the United States
District Court for the Central District of California, under
Judge David O. Carter.  Lead plaintiffs Alan Harvey and
Elizabeth Paul are represented by Dale Joseph MacDiarmid, Lionel
Z. Glancy, Peter Arthur Binkow of Glancy Binkow and Goldberg,
1801 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 311 Los Angeles, CA 90067, USA,
Phone: 310-201-9150.

For more information, contact: Robert E. Grant, President & CEO;
Richard L. Harrison, Executive Vice President and CFO; or Scott
Jorgensen, Director of Finance & Investor Relations, of BIOLASE
Technology, Inc. (http://www.biolase.com;Phone:  
1-949-361-1200.


BOEING CO.: Court Throws out Claim Against Promotion System
-----------------------------------------------------------
U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman recently threw out arguments
of plaintiffs suing Boeing Co. for unfair promotion policies,
according to the Associated Press.  The ruling is a separate but
related decision to the one made by the federal jury on Dec. 21
rejecting the claim of the same group of plaintiff -- about
4,200 salaried workers -- that they had been victims of
'disparate treatment' or intentional discrimination.

According to the report, the judge's ruling involved a legal
principle called "disparate impact," which occurs when neutral
policies affect certain individuals differently than others,
despite their employers' best intentions.  She rejected the
group's allegations of "undisciplined" promotion system noting
that Boeing has in place written guidelines governing it.

Some African-American employees of Boeing filed a case in June
1998 alleging that the firm discriminated against African
Americans in promotions (Class Action Reporter, Dec. 3, 2005).

In January 1999, as part of a high-profile settlement brokered
by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Boeing agreed to pay $7.3 million to
settle a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of 15,000 African-
American employees. In a settlement with a total value of $15
million, the company, which admitted no wrongdoing, also agreed
to make several changes in promotion and hiring practices, and
in the way it monitors compliance with federal anti-
discrimination laws.  However in April 2003, the 9th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the settlement, agreeing with
objecting class members who said the payout was inadequate and
unfairly distributed, and that the attorney fees of $4 million
were too high.  

The suit is styled, "Williams, et al v. Boeing Company, et al,
Case No. 2:98-cv-00761-MJP," filed in the United States District
Court for the Western District of Washington, under Judge Marsha
J. Pechman. Representing the Plaintiff/s are:

     (1) Ivy D. Arai, Steve W. Berman, Craig R. Spiegel and
         Jeffrey Todd Sprung of HAGENS BERMAN SOBOL SHAPIRO,
         LLP, 1301 5TH AVE., STE. 2900, SEATTLE, WA 98101,
         Phone: 206-623-7292, Fax: 206-623-0594, E-mail:
         ivy@hbsslaw.com, steve@hbsslaw.com, craigs@hbsslaw.com  
         and jeff@hbsslaw.com;  

     (2) Harish Bharti, 5516 17TH AVE. NW SEATTLE, WA 98107,
         Phone: 206-706-6400, Fax: 706-6401, E-mail:
         bharti@lawyer.com;  

     (3) Mark E. Brennan of RINEHART ROBBLEE & HANNAH, 1100
         OLIVE WAY, STE. 1620, SEATTLE, WA 98101, Phone: 206-
         467-6700, Fax: 467-7589, E-mail:
         mbrennan@unionattorneysnw.com;  

     (4) Oscar Edward Desper, III and Bruce A. Harrell of
         HARRELL DESPER CONNELL & ROESCH, 1325 4TH AVE., STE.
         600, SEATTLE, WA 98101-2359, Phone: 206-583-0050, Fax:
         583-0051, E-mail: odesper@seattlecounsel.com and
         bharrell@seattlecounsel.com;  

     (5) Alan B. Epstein of SPECTOR GADON & ROSEN, 1635 MARKET
         ST., 7TH FL. SEVEN PENN CTR., PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103,
         Phone: 215-241-8888, E-mail: aepstein@lawsgr.com;  

     (6) Mary R. Mann of MARY RUTH MANN & ASSOCIATES, 615 2ND
         AVE., SUITE 760 BRODERICK BLDG., SEATTLE, WA 98104-
         2203, Phone: 206-587-2700, E-mail:
         mrmann@mrmannlaw.com; and

     (7) Joseph Marc Sellers, Steven J. Toll and Christine E.
         Webber of COHEN MILSTEIN HAUSFELD & TOLL, 1100 NEW YORK
         AVE. NW WEST TOWER STE. 500, WASHINGTON, DC 20005-3934,
         Phone: 202-408-4600, Fax: 1-202-408-4699, E-mail:
         jsellers@cmht.com, stoll@cmht.com and cwebber@cmht.com.  

Representing the Defendant are:

     (i) Barbara Berish Brown of PAUL, HASTINGS, JANOFSKY &
         WALKER, 1299 PENNSYLVANIA AVE. NW STE. 1000,
         WASHINGTON, DC 20004, Phone: 202-508-9500, Fax: 1-202-
         508-9700, E-mail: barbarabrown@paulhastings.com;  

    (ii) C. Geoffrey Weirich of PAUL HASTINGS JANOFSKY & WALKER,
         600 PEACHTREE ST. NE STE. 2400, ATLANTA, GA 30308-2222,          
         Phone: 404-815-2400, Fax: 1-404-815-2424, E-mail:
         geoffweirich@paulhastings.com;  

   (iii) Boyd A. Byers of FOULSTON & SIEFKIN, 1551 NORTH
         WATERFRONT PARKWAY, STE. 100, WICHITA, KS 67206,
         Phone: 316-291-9716, E-mail: bbyers@foulston.com;  

    (iv) Rebecca Shapiro Cohen and Michael Reiss of DAVIS WRIGHT
         TREMAINE, LLP, 1501 4TH AVE., STE. 2600, SEATTLE, WA
         98101-1688, Phone: 206-622-3150, Fax: 628-7699, E-mail:
         rebeccashapirocohen@dwt.com and mikereiss@dwt.com; and

     (v) Jeffrey Alan Hollingsworth of PERKINS COIE, 1201 3RD
         AVE., STE. 4800, SEATTLE, WA 98101-3099, Phone: 206-
         583-8888, Fax: 583-8500, E-mail:
         JHollingsworth@perkinscoie.com.  


CAPRIUS INC.: NJ Federal Court Dismisses Securities Fraud Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court of New Jersey dismissed the
securities class action filed against Caprius, Inc. and its
principal officers and directors.  

In September 2002, the Company was served with a complaint
naming it and its principal officers and directors in the
Federal District Court of New Jersey as a purported class action
(the "Class Action").  The allegations in the complaint cover
the period between February 14, 2000 and June 20, 2002.  The
initial plaintiff is a relative of the wife of the plaintiff in
the State Court Action and Federal Derivative Action against the
Company.

The suit alleges that the individual defendants made alleged
misrepresentations to the plaintiff upon their acquisition of a
controlling interest in the Company in 1999 and thereafter made
other alleged misrepresentations and took other actions as to
the plaintiff to the supposed detriment of the plaintiff and the
Company.  The complaint seeks an unspecified amount of monetary
damages, as well as the removal of the defendant officers as
shareholders of the Company.

In January 2003, an order was entered in the Federal District
Court in New Jersey consolidating the derivative action and the
class action.  The order further provides that the time for the
defendants to answer or otherwise move with respect to the
complaint in the class action is extended.  The order also
provides that all discovery in the consolidated actions is
stayed pending resolution of the motions to dismiss.

On April 9, 2003, an amended complaint was filed in the
purported class action naming an additional plaintiff.  On
September 23, 2003, the Court entered an order appointing
plaintiffs Eugene Schwartz and Dallas Williams as lead
plaintiffs and appointing the law firm of Lowenstein Sandler as
lead counsel for the class.

On May 3, 2004, in a decision separate from the decision in the
Federal Derivative Action, the Court granted the defendants'
motion and dismissed the Class Action.  The Federal securities
claims asserted by the plaintiffs were dismissed with prejudice,
and having dismissed all Federal law claims, the Court declined
to exercise jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims and
dismissed those claims without prejudice.  On May 14, 2004, the
plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration, which defendants
opposed and subsequently the motion for re-argument was denied.
The plaintiff did not file a notice of appeal during the
statutory time period.


FEDEX GROUND: JPMDL Moves Owner-Operators' Suit to IN Court
-----------------------------------------------------------
FedEx Ground Package Systems, Inc., which is involved in
numerous purported class action lawsuits and other proceedings
in which the threshold issue is whether some or all of FedEx
Ground's owner-operators are in fact employees, rather than
independent contractors, succeeded in convincing the Judicial
Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) to transfer the cases
for pre-trial coordination to a single federal court in Indiana.

On August 10, 2005, the JPMDL granted the Company's motion to
transfer and consolidate the majority of the class action
lawsuits for administration of the pre-trial proceedings by a
single federal court, the U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of Indiana.

The suit is styled, "In re: FedEx Ground Package Systems, Inc.
Employment Practices Litigation (U.S.D.C. MDL Case No. 1700,
N.D. Ind.)," filed in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Indiana, under Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.,
with referral to Judge Christopher A. Nuechterlein. Representing
the Plaintiff/s are:

     (1) George A Barton of Law Offices of George A. Barton, PC,
         800 West, 47th St., Suite 700, Kansas City, MO 64112,
         Phone: 816-300-6250, Fax: 816-300-6259, E-mail:
         gbarton@birch.net;

     (2) Joree Brownlow of Law Office of Joree G. Brownlow, 1444
         Gillham Dr., Ste. 200, Bartlett, TN 38134, Phone: 901-
         266-9902, Fax: 901-266-5985;

     (3) Bruce Carlson of Carlson Lynch, Ltd., 231 Melville
         Lane, P.O. Box 367, Sewickley, PA 15143, Phone: 412-
         749-1677;

     (4) Kevin M. Costello of Levow & Costello, PA, Cherry Hill
         Plaza Suite 200, 1415 Route, 70 East, Cherry Hill, NJ
         08034, Phone: 856-428-5055;

     (5) Jerald R. Cureton of Cureton Caplan, 950B Chester Ave.,
         Delran, NJ 08075, Phone: 856-824-1001, Fax: 856-824-
         1008, E-mail: jcureton@curetoncaplan.com;

     (6) Kevin J. Driscoll and Jack D. Hilmes of Finley Alt
         Smith Scharnbert Craig Hilmes & Gaffney, PC, 699 Walnut
         St., 1900 Hub Tower, Des Moines, IA 50309, US, Phone:
         515-288-0145, Fax: 515-288-2724;

     (7) Susan E. Ellingstad Lockridge Grindal Nauen, PLLP, 100
         Washington Ave., South Suite 2200, Minneapolis, MN
         55401, Phone: 612-339-6900, Fax: 612-339-0981, E-mail:
         seellingstad@locklaw.com; and

     (8) Lynn R. Faris of Leonard Carder, LLP, 1330 Broadway,
         Suite 1450, Oakland, CA 94612, Phone: 510-272-0169,
         Fax: 510-272-0174, E-mail: lfaris@leonardcarder.com.

Representing the Defendant/s are:

     (i) Evelyn L. Becker PHV and Tom A. Jerman of O'Melveny &
         Myers, LLP - Was/DC, 1625 Eye St., NW Suite 10,
         Washington, DC 20006-4001, Phone: 202-383-5378 and 202-
         383-5233, Fax: 202-383-5414 and 202-383-5414, E-mail:
         ebecker@omm.com and tjerman@omm.com;

    (ii) Edward J. Efkeman of Federal Express Corporation,
         Building B, 3rd Floor, 3620 Hacks Cross Road, Memphis,
         TN 38125, Phone: 901-434-8555, Fax: 901-434-9271, E-
         mail: eefkeman@fedex.com;

   (iii) William T. Fiala of Lewis Fisher Henderson Claxton &
         Mulroy, 6410 Poplar Ave., Ste. 300, Memphis, TN 38119,
         Phone: 901-767-6160;

    (iv) Eric E. Hobbs of Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP, 100 E.
         Wisconsin Ave., Ste. 3300, Milwaukee, WI 53202-4108,
         Phone: 414-225-4991, Fax: 414-277-0656; and

     (v) Karen P. Kruse PHV of Jackson Lewis, LLP - Sea/WA, One
         Union Square, 600 University St., Suite 2900, Seattle,
         WA 98101, Phone: 206-405-0404, Fax: 206-405-4450.


GENERAL MOTORS: Appeals Court Reinstates Suit Against GMAC
----------------------------------------------------------
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago allowed a class
action against General Motor Corp.'s finance unit to proceed,
reversing an earlier judgment by a district court.  

The case, alleging that General Motors Acceptance Corp. made
home loan solicitations that violated fair lending laws, seeks
as much as $1,000 for each loan offer.  The court also supported
Nancy Murray's as representative of the class, which consisted
of about 1.2 million consumers

In November, GMAC initially agreed to settle the case for
$950,000 after the district court refused to allow it to
proceed.  The settlement would have given each claimant less
than $1.


HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.: Suits Over "Smart Chips" Consolidated in CA
----------------------------------------------------------------
Several consumer cases involving Hewlett-Packard Company's
"Smart Chips" were formally consolidated in a single proceeding
in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
California under "In re: HP Inkjet Printer Litigation."

The Company faces several lawsuits filed in California State and
Federal Courts, over its use of "smart chips" that allegedly
signal to the customer that certain inkjet printer cartridges
need to be replaced before they are really empty, and include an
expiration date that is allegedly not documented in marketing
materials provided to consumers.

The first suit, styled "Tyler v. HP," was filed in state court
in Santa Clara, California on February 17, 2005, alleging that
the Company engaged in wrongful business practices (including
unfair competition, deceptive advertising, fraud and deceit,
breach of express and implied warranty, and breach of the
covenants of good faith and fair dealing).  Among other things,
plaintiffs alleged that the Company engineered "smart chip"
inkjet cartridges for use in certain inkjet printers to register
ink depletion prematurely and to render the cartridge unusable
through a built-in expiration date that is hidden, not
documented in marketing materials to consumers, or both.
Plaintiffs also contend that consumers received false ink
depletion warnings and that the design of the smart chip
cartridge limits the ability of consumers to use the cartridge
to its full capacity or to choose competitive products.

On February 17, 2005, and March 18, 2005, lawsuits captioned
"Obi v. HP" and "Weingart v. HP," respectively, were filed in
state court in Los Angeles, California with similar allegations.

The parties agreed to coordinate these cases, and, on May 25,
2005, the court granted the petition for coordination and
recommended that the matters be coordinated in state court in
Santa Clara, California.

The suit, styled "Grabell v. HP," was filed in the United States
District Court for the District of New Jersey on March 18, 2005
and asserts causes of action under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud
Act and for unjust enrichment and breach of the implied covenant
of good faith and fair dealing.  The allegations in the
"Grabell" case are substantively identical to those in "Tyler"
and "Obi."  

"Just v. HP" is another federal class action lawsuit filed in
the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New
York on April 20, 2005 and asserts causes of action under the
New York General Business Law 349/350 and for unjust enrichment
and breach of the implied covenants of good faith and fair
dealing. The allegations in the "Just" case substantially
identical to the past four cases.

The suits, "Feder v. HP" and "Ciolino v. Hewlett-Packard
Company" were filed in the United States District
Court for the Northern District of California on June 16, 2005,
and September 6, 2005, respectively.  Both the "Feder" and
"Ciolino" suits entail allegations similar to the state court
cases.

All of these actions are putative class actions which seek
certification of a statewide class, a nationwide class, or both,
"of purchasers of inkjet printers which use cartridges, that
contain a chip, or other device, which prematurely register that
the cartridge is empty or expired, and/or purchasers of HP
inkjet cartridges with such technology."  The plaintiffs in all
of these cases also seek restitution, damages (including
enhanced damages), injunctive relief, interest, costs and
attorneys' fees.

The suit is styled, "In re: HP INKJET PRINTER LITIGATION, Case
No. 5:05-cv-03580-JF," filed in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California under Judge Jeremy Fogel
with referral to Judge Patricia V. Trumbull. Representing the
Plaintiff/s is Bruce Lee Simon of Cotchett Pitre & Simon, San
Francisco Airport Office Center, 840 Malcolm Road, Suite 200,
Burlingame, CA 94010, Phone: 650.697.6000, Fax: 650.692.3606, E-
mail: bsimon@cpsmlaw.com.  Representing the Defendant/s is Sally
J. Berens of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP, 1881 Page Mill Road,
Palo Alto, CA 94304, U.S.A., Phone: 650-849-5300, Fax:
650-849-5333, E-mail: sberens@gibsondunn.com.


HILLENBRAND INDUSTRIES: Enters Into MOU in SC Antitrust Lawsuit  
---------------------------------------------------------------
Hillenbrand Industries, Inc. entered into a memorandum of
understanding (MOU) to settle a purported antitrust class action
lawsuit by the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. On June
30, 2003, Spartanburg Regional filed the suit against
Hillenbrand, Hill-Rom, Inc. and Hill-Rom Company, Inc. in the
United States District Court for the District of South Carolina.

As of November 7, 2005, all proceedings in the lawsuit were
stayed except those relating to the parties' efforts to complete
a settlement.  The Company and its Hill-Rom subsidiaries have
entered into a memorandum of understanding to settle the case
for $337.5 million in cash.  The proposed settlement also
includes Hill-Rom's commitment to continue certain company
initiated discounting practices for a period of three years.

The proposed settlement is subject to a number of conditions,
including the negotiation of a definitive settlement agreement
and final Court approval of that agreement following notice to
class members, which is not anticipated to occur until calendar
year 2006.  If finally approved by the Court, the settlement is
expected to resolve all of the plaintiffs' claims and all
potential claims of most North American purchasers or renters of
Hill-Rom products from 1990 through the present related to or
arising out of the subject matter of the lawsuit.

The suit is styled, "Spartanburg Regional Health Services
District, Inc. v. Hillenbrand Industries Inc., et al., Case No.
7:03-cv-02141-HFF," filed in the United States District Court
for the District of South Carolina, under Judge Henry F. Floyd.  
Representing the Plaintiffs are, John Gressette Felder of Felder
and McGee, P.O. Box 346, Saint Matthews, SC 29135, Phone:
803-874-1430, Fax: 803-655-7167, E-mail: johngfelder@sc.rr.com
and John Gressette Felder, Jr. of McGowan Hood and Felder, 3710
Landmark Drive, Suite 114, Columbia, SC 29204, Phone:
803-327-7800, Fax: 803-328-5656, E-mail:
jfelder@mcgowanhood.com. Representing the Defendant/s are, J.
Theodore Gentry and Frank S. Holleman, III of Wyche Burgess
Freeman and Parham, P.O. Box 728, Greenville, SC 29602, Phone:
864-242-8200, Fax: 864-235-8900, E-mail: tgentry@wyche.com and
fholleman@wyche.com; and Richard A. Feinstein of Boies Schiller
and Flexner, 5301 Wisconsin Ave., NW Suite 800, Washington, DC
20015, Phone: 202-895-5243, E-mail: rfeinstein@bsfllp.com.


HILLENBRAND INDUSTRIES: Files Motion V. Distributors' Suit in TX
----------------------------------------------------------------
Hillenbrand Industries, Inc., filed a motion to dismiss against  
a lawsuit on behalf of a class of "independent casket
distributors," which alleges violations of state and federal
antitrust law and state unfair and deceptive practices laws.

The class action lawsuit was originally filed in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of California.
Pioneer Valley Casket Co. (Pioneer Valley), a casket store and
Internet retailer, filed the suit against the Company, its
Batesville Casket Company, Inc. subsidiary and three of
Batesville's national funeral home customers, Service
Corporation International (SCI), Alderwoods Group, Inc.
(Alderwoods), and Stewart Enterprises, Inc. (Stewart).

Pioneer Valley alleges that it and other independent casket
distributors were injured by the defendants' alleged conspiracy
to boycott and suppress competition in the alleged market for
caskets, and by a conspiracy among SCI, Alderwoods, Stewart and
other unnamed co-conspirators to monopolize the alleged market
for funeral caskets.  

The defendants anticipate that they will move to transfer this
action to the Southern District of Texas, as well, and move to
dismiss at the appropriate time.  Plaintiff Pioneer Valley seeks
certification of a class of all independent casket distributors
who are now in business or have been in business since July 8,
2001.  Pioneer Valley generally seeks actual unspecified
monetary damages on behalf of the purported class, trebling of
any such damages that may be awarded, recovery of attorneys'
fees and costs and injunctive relief.

The complaint styled, "Pioneer Valley Casket Co., Inc. v.
Service Corporation International et al., Case No. 3:05-cv-
02806-WHA," was recently transferred to the Southern District of
Texas, but was not consolidated with the FCA Action, although
the scheduling orders for both cases are identical.  

On October 21, 2005, Pioneer Valley filed an amended complaint
adding three new plaintiffs, each of whom purports to be a
current or former "independent casket distributor."  Like
Pioneer Valley's original complaint, the amended complaint
alleges violations of federal antitrust laws, but it has dropped
the causes of actions for alleged price fixing, conspiracy to
monopolize, and violations of state antitrust law and state
unfair and deceptive practices laws.  On December 1, 2005, the
Company and Batesville filed a motion to dismiss this complaint.


HILLENBRAND INDUSTRIES: TX Antitrust Suit Set for 2006 Hearing
--------------------------------------------------------------
A consolidated antitrust lawsuit alleging a conspiracy to
suppress competition in the funeral casket market by Hillenbrand
Industries is slated for a December 5, 2006 class certification
hearing.

Originally, several suits were filed in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of California  
regarding the alleged conspiracy. These suits were latter
consolidated and transferred to the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of Texas.

The original suits also name as defendants the Company's
Batesville Casket Company, Inc. subsidiary and three of
Batesville's national funeral home customers, Service
Corporation International (SCI), Alderwoods Group, Inc.
(Alderwoods), and Stewart Enterprises, Inc. (Stewart).

On May 2, 2005, a non-profit entity called Funeral Consumers
Alliance, Inc. (FCA) and several filed the first suit, alleging
a conspiracy to suppress competition in an alleged market for
the sale of caskets through a group boycott of so-called
"independent casket discounters;" a campaign of disparagement
against these independent casket discounters; and concerted
efforts to restrict casket price competition and to coordinate
and fix casket pricing, all in violation of federal antitrust
law and California's Unfair Competition Law.  The lawsuit
claims, among other things, that Batesville's maintenance and
enforcement of, and alleged modifications to, its long-standing
policy of selling caskets only to licensed funeral homes were
the product of a conspiracy among Batesville and the other
defendants to exclude "independent casket discounters," that is,
casket retailers who are not licensed funeral homes and who do
not offer funeral services, and this alleged conspiracy,
combined with other alleged matters, suppressed competition in
the alleged market for caskets and led consumers to pay higher
than competitive prices for caskets. The Complaint also alleges
that SCI, Alderwoods, Stewart and other unnamed co-conspirators
conspired to monopolize the alleged market for the sale of
caskets in the United States.

Since that case was filed, several more purported class action
lawsuits on behalf of consumers have been filed in the Court
based on essentially the same factual allegations and alleging
violations of federal antitrust law and related state law
claims. Two similar cases filed in other districts were
voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs.  The Company
anticipates that they will be refiled. Though the purported
classes vary slightly, all of these actions purport to represent
classes that include purchasers of Batesville caskets.  Each
case alleges that two of Batesville's competitors, York Group,
Inc. and Aurora Casket Company, are co-conspirators but does not
name them as defendants.  It is not unusual to have multiple
copycat class action suits filed after an initial filing, and it
is possible that additional suits based on the same or similar
allegations will be brought against the Company and Batesville.
Some of these cases have been consolidated in the Court, and the
Company anticipates that any others will also be consolidated
with the Court, subject to the motion to transfer venue.

Plaintiffs are seeking certification of various classes,
including, among others, all United States consumers who
purchased Batesville caskets from the co-defendants at any time
from January 1, 1994 until the present.  Plaintiffs generally
seek actual unspecified monetary damages on behalf of the
purported classes, trebling of any such damages that may be
awarded, recovery of attorneys' fees and costs and injunctive
relief.  In order to transfer the litigation to a venue that is
more convenient for all parties, the defendants have jointly
moved to transfer these cases to the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Texas.  All the plaintiffs
oppose this motion.  In addition, Batesville, the Company, and
the other defendants have moved to dismiss the FCA Action on the
grounds that it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. Batesville and the Company intend to move to dismiss
the other cases at the appropriate time.  The motion to transfer
and the motion to dismiss are scheduled to be heard by the Court
on September 8, 2005.

The Court held a case management conference on August 4, 2005.
At the conference, the Court ordered discovery to commence
immediately, set a hearing for class certification of the FCA
plaintiffs' proposed class for January 24, 2006, and set a trial
date of December 4, 2006.  If the motion to transfer is granted,
it is likely, but not certain, that the new court to which the
case is assigned would set its own case management schedule.

However, on October 12, 2005, the FCA plaintiffs filed an
amended complaint consolidating all but one of the other
purported consumer class actions in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Texas. The amended complaint
contains the same basic allegations as the original complaint.
Defendants anticipate moving shortly to consolidate the one
purported consumer class action that has not yet been
consolidated with the FCA Action, "Fancher v. Service
Corporation International et al., Case No. 3:05-cv-03855-BZ,"
filed on September 23, 2005, which has also been transferred to
Houston, Texas.

The FCA plaintiffs are seeking certification of a class that
includes all United States consumers who purchased Batesville
caskets from any of the funeral home co-defendants at any time
during the fullest period permitted by the applicable statute of
limitations.  Plaintiffs generally seek actual unspecified
monetary damages, trebling of any such damages that may be
awarded, recovery of attorneys' fees and costs and injunctive
relief.

On November 10, 2005, Batesville, the Company, and other
defendants moved to dismiss the amended complaint.  A hearing on
scheduling occurred on December 6, 2005.  As a result, the Class
Certification hearing is scheduled to occur on December 5, 2006.  
The trial in this matter is scheduled to begin on or about
February 4, 2008.


INTEGRATED ELECTRICAL: Asks TX Court To Dismiss Securities Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in the suit styled, "In re Integrated Electrical
Services, Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 4:04-CV-3342," filed
its opposition to Integrated Electrical Services, Inc.'s motion
to dismiss the consolidated securities class action filed
against it and certain of its officers and directors, which is
pending in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Texas.

On March 23, 2005, the Court appointed Central Laborers' Pension
Fund as lead plaintiff and appointed lead counsel.  Pursuant to
the parties' agreed scheduling order, lead plaintiff filed its
amended complaint on June 6, 2005.  The amended complaint
alleges that defendants violated Section 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by making materially false and
misleading statements during the proposed class period of
November 10, 2003 to August 13, 2004.

Specifically, the amended complaint alleges that defendants
misrepresented the Company's financial condition in 2003 and
2004 as evidenced by the restatement, violated generally
accepted accounting principles, and misrepresented the
sufficiency of the Company's internal controls so that they
could engage in insider trading at artificially-inflated prices,
retain their positions at the Company, and obtain a $175 million
credit facility for the Company.

On August 5, 2005, the defendants moved to dismiss the amended
complaint for failure to state a claim. The defendants argued
that the amended complaint fails to allege fraud with
particularity as required by Rule 9(b) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure and fails to satisfy the heightened pleading
requirements for securities fraud class actions under the
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Specifically,
defendants argue that the amended complaint does not allege
fraud with particularity as to numerous GAAP violations and
opinion statements about internal controls, fails to raise a
strong inference that defendants acted knowingly or with severe
recklessness, and includes vague and conclusive allegations from
confidential witnesses, without a proper factual basis.  

On September 28, 2005, the suit's lead plaintiff filed its
opposition to the motion to dismiss and defendants filed their
reply in support of the motion to dismiss on November 14,
2005.

The suit styled, "In re Integrated Electrical Services, Inc.
Securities Litigation, No. 4:04-CV-3342," filed in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York
under Judge Melinda Harmon.  Representing the Company is Fraser
A. McAlpine, Akin Gump et al, 1111 Louisiana St, 44th Floor
Houston, TX 77002, Phone: 713-250-8129, Fax: 713-236-0822 E-
mail: fmcalpine@akingump.com.  The plaintiff firms in this
litigation are:

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

     (2) Brian Felgoise, 230 South Broad Street, Suite 404 ,
         Philadelphia, PA, 19102, Phone: 215.735.6810, Fax:
         215/735.5185;

     (3) Brodsky & Smith, LLC, 11 Bala Avenue, Suite 39, Bala
         Cynwyd, PA, 19004, Phone: 610.668.7987, Fax:
         610.660.0450, E-mail: esmith@Brodsky-Smith.com;

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

     (5) 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;

     (6) Federman & Sherwood, 120 North Robinson, Suite 2720,
         Oklahoma City, OK, 73102, Phone: 405-235-1560, E-mail:
         wfederman@aol.com;

     (7) Hoeffner & Bilek, LLP, 440 Louisiana - Suite 720,
         Houston, TX, 77002, Phone: 713.227.7720;

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

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

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


INTUIT INC.: H&R Block's Suit Against Ad Wins Partial Victory
-------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
ordered Intuit Inc. to immediately change its television and
radio commercials that H&R Block claimed were inaccurate.

H&R Block (NYSE: HRB), the tax industry leader and second
largest tax online and software provider, challenged its
competitor's claim that its tax preparation software prepared
more tax returns than in H&R Block's offices. H&R Block
requested that Intuit provide supporting data and took its
competitor to court last week when Intuit failed to adequately
respond. Rather than continue to contest this issue in court,
Intuit agreed to change its commercials, and the District Court
confirmed that agreement with an order requiring Intuit to do
so.

"It's common for smaller businesses to target an industry leader
such as H&R Block in their advertising claims. However, these
claims must be substantiated," said Tim Gokey, president, H&R
Block Tax Services Inc. "We're pleased with [the] result."  H&R
Block's claims for money damages and a permanent injunction are
still pending.

For more information, contact H&R Block Media Relations: Linda
McDougall, Phone: 816-932-7542; E-mail: lmcdougall@hrblock.com;
or Investor Relations: Scott Dudley, Phone: 816-932-8342, E-
mail: scottdudley@hrblock.com.


KELLOGG CO.: Group Warns of Possible Junk Food Marketing Suit
-------------------------------------------------------------
A consumer group is threatening to file class action against
cereals maker Kellogg Co. and media group Viacom Inc. to force
them to change strategy in promoting junk foods to children.  

The Center for Science in the Public Interest said it sent
letters to the companies proposing they commit to change some
marketing practices aimed at children within 30 days to avoid a
lawsuit.  Should the companies refuse to do so, it would ask a
Massachusetts court to stop the companies from marketing junk
foods in venues where 15 percent or more of the audience is
under age 8, and to stop promoting junk foods through Web sites,
toy giveaways, contests and other techniques aimed at that age
group, according to Reuters.  The center's executive director is
Michael Jacobson.

The would-be plaintiffs include the Center, the Campaign for a
Commercial-Free Childhood and two individual parents, the report
said.  The group asserts that Kellogg and Viacom could be forced
to pay billions of dollars in damages if found liable in a
trial.


MASSACHUSETTS: Soldiers Seeking $73M Reimbursement File Suit
------------------------------------------------------------
Four Massachusetts National Guard soldiers filed a class action
on Jan. 12 in the U.S. District Court in Boston claiming the
Massachusetts National Guard refused to reimburse millions of
dollars to soldiers called to active duty following the 2001
terror attacks.  It also said the office threatened guardsmen
who pursued their financial claims.

According to attorneys for the plaintiffs, the Massachusetts
National Guard (MNG) refused to reimburse more than $73 million
in food, lodging and commuting expenses to hundreds, if not
thousands, of MNG soldiers who served active duty from Sept. 12,
2001, through now. Many of these soldiers, including one of the
plaintiffs, served in Massachusetts before deployment to Iraq.

The soldiers involved sometimes traveled more than 100 miles a
day to perform their duties at locations around the state,
including Cape Cod, Ayer, Bedford, Chicopee, Plymouth and the
Quabbin Reservoir. Many had to buy their own meals and pay $6 a
night to sleep in a barracks bed.

"These men and women interrupted their lives to answer the
call of their country. They've done so at significant personal
expense. Yet instead of rewarding them, the government has
cashed in on their sacrifices," said John Shek, attorney for the
plaintiffs. "Worse, when some of these soldiers fought for the
reimbursements that were rightly theirs, the bureaucrats at the
Massachusetts National Guard declared war on them."

The lawsuit, "Tortorella, et al. v. Donald H. Rumsfeld, et al.,"
names all U.S., Massachusetts, Army and MNG officials needed
to obtain payment of the soldiers' reimbursement claims. The
complaint also specifically identifies leaders at the MNG
Command Center who denied the reimbursements. The current
presiding MNG Adjutant General, Brigadier General Oliver J.
Mason Jr., was in charge of MNG Operations, including personnel
issues, during the class period.

The four plaintiffs were among many Massachusetts National Guard
soldiers activated for temporary duty in early December 2001. In
the post 9/11, anti-terror environment, their assignments
included security patrols, lock-downs and construction projects
at bases across the state.

The temporary duty assignments were standard operating procedure
for the military, but the orders themselves were highly
irregular, said Constance Driscoll, a military law specialist
who is advising the plaintiffs. Soldiers on temporary duty, known
as TDY, have historically been reimbursed for meals - up to $34
a day - plus lodging and commuting expenses. But, to the
puzzlement and detriment of these soldiers, their activation
orders stated: "Per Diem Not Authorized."

When the plaintiffs sought reimbursement of these basic expenses,
their senior officers refused and threatened to drop them from
their missions.

Retired Capt. Louis P. Tortorella, one of the plaintiffs,
spent $14,625 of his own money for basic living expenses while
on active duty for 21 months at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts
Military Reservation on Cape Cod.

"When you enlist in the military, you expect to make many
sacrifices. But requiring us to spend our own money for food
and shelter while on active duty is just plain wrong," said Mr.
Tortorella, of Brookline, N.H. "The military is treating us
like second class citizens. It's sad that we have to resort to
the courts for reimbursement of basic necessities."

The other plaintiffs in the case are: Sgt. Wayne R. Gutierrez,
of New Bedford, Mass., who served at Camp Edwards; Sgt. Steven
M. Littlefield, of Plymouth, Mass., who served at Camp Edwards
until ordered to Iraq in June 2004; and Joseph P. Murphy, of
Derry, N.H., a specialist at Camp Edwards.

"It defies common sense that these soldiers have been denied
their right to the reimbursement they are due under the law,"
said Mr. Shek, who praised the plaintiffs for coming forward
against their Command.

The suit seeks reimbursement of all per diem expenses, plus
damages to the plaintiffs and the class.

The suit is styled, "Tortorella et al. v. United States of
America et al., Case No. 1:06-cv-10054-RGS," filed in the
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts,
under Judge Richard G. Stearns. Representing the Plaintiff/s
are, John R. Shek of Weston, Patrick, Willard & Redding, PA,
84 State Street, 11th Floor, Boston, MA 02109-2299, Phone:
617-742-9310, Fax: 617-742-5734, E-mail: jrs@wpwr.com.

For more information, contact Weston, Patrick, Willard & Redding
John Shek, Esq., Phone: 617-742-9310; or Robin Estrin, Phone:
781-201-9342 (cell).


MICHIGAN: Court Junks Detroit's Anti-Ticket Scalping Ordinance
--------------------------------------------------------------
U.S. District Judge John Corbett O'Meara granted class action
status to the lawsuit seeking compensation for charges that the
city of Detroit made in implementing its anti-ticket scalping
ordinance, according to Crain's Detroit.  "Scalping" is
reselling tickets for greater than face value.  The ruling came
as the judge declared the ordinance unconstitutional and
unenforceable because it failed to establish substantial
interest from the government.  

Judge O'Meara directed Thomas Cecil, a Mason-based lawyer
representing four men who have been charged in relation to
ticket scalping, to present a plan for informing potential
claimants.  Mr. Cecil said there could be up to 1,500 people
eligible for compensation from the city.  

The suit is styled, "Carroll et al v. City of Detroit, Case No.
2:04-cv-74984-JCO-WC," filed in the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Michigan, under Judge John Corbett
O'Meara with referral to Judge Wallace Capel.  Representing the
Plaintiff/s is Thomas G. Cecil of Thomas G. Cecil Assoc., 144 E.
Ash St., P.O. Box 127, Mason, MI 48854, Phone: 517-676-8099,
Fax: 517-676-8020, E-mail: tomcecillaw@hotmail.com.  
Representing the Defendant/s is Edward V. Keelean of Detroit
City Law Department, 1650 First National Building, Detroit, MI
48226, Phone: 313-224-4550, Fax: 313-224-5505, E-mail:
keele@law.ci.detroit.mi.us.


MICHIGAN: Judge Sued for Refusal to Appoint Counsel to Poor
-----------------------------------------------------------
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a class
action in the Michigan Court of Appeals against a state judge to
compel him to follow U.S. Supreme Court ruling granting poor
people the right to attorneys on appeal.

The ACLU requested the Court of Appeals to exercise
superintending control over against Kent County Circuit Court
Judge Dennis C. Kolenda, who denied appellate counsel to several
poor people.  He explicitly refused to follow a recent Supreme
Court ruling on appointing counsel to defendants who are
financially incapable of hiring counsel, according to the North
Country Gazette.  

In June, in the Halbert v. Michigan case, the U.S. Supreme Court
allowed the judges to appoint attorneys to help poor people who
have pled guilty to appeal their sentences by striking down a
1999 Michigan law barring them from doing so. The report said
Judge Kolenda also repeatedly ignored the Michigan Supreme
Court's order to follow the decision.

"The tragedy of this case is that while Judge Kolenda is defying
the Supreme Court, dozens of individuals are being denied their
constitutional right to counsel simply because they are poor,"
said ACLU Cooperating Attorney David Moran.  It is unclear
exactly how many people are affected by Judge Kolenda's refusal
to appoint counsel, the report said.


NETFLIX INC.: Hearing on $4M Settlement Rescheduled by a Month
--------------------------------------------------------------
The California Superior Court postponed to Feb. 22, 2006 the
Jan. 18 hearing on a proposed $4 million settlement between
Neflix Inc. and its customers due to heavy objections.  Several
parties -- including the Federal Trade Commission and the Trial
Lawyers for Public Justice, a national public-interest law firm
-- claim the deal is unfair to consumers.  According to the
Washington Post, plaintiff attorneys said the delay enables both
sides to review more than 50 objections.

The Company was sued more than a year ago in California, where
the company is based, after a consumer learned that the company
used several different methods to limit how many DVDs a customer
could receive a month, even though the company promoted its
service as offering unlimited rentals.

The national class action lawsuit, filed on September 2004 in
San Francisco Superior Court, alleged that Netflix misled
consumers by failing to deliver DVDs as promised, within one
business day. In reality, according to the suit, it would often
take as long as four to six business days for customers to
receive requested DVDs. And that meant customers could watch
fewer videos than they had signed up for under Netflix's monthly
membership plan, an earlier Class Action Reporter story (January
11, 2006) reports.

The Company has denied wrongdoing, but agreed to settle the
suit, whose costs dragged down its third-quarter net income by
$3.4 million. According to the proposed settlement, Netflix
subscribers who joined the service before January 15 and
remained members through October 19, will get a one-month
upgrade in their service level while paying their usual
subscription price. For example, subscribers to the three-
movies-out plan would pay $17.99 but would get four movies out
at a time for one month. Meanwhile, those who subscribed to
Netflix before January 15 but canceled their membership before
October 19 are eligible to one month of free service. Netflix
users must register by February 17 to receive the upgrade, an
earlier Class Action Reporter story (November 4, 2005) reports.

In the proposed settlement, plaintiffs' lawyers would receive
$2.5 million, but the plaintiffs, in this case, the class of
current and former Netflix customers would receive either a free
service upgrade for one month or a coupon for free service for
one month. However, if customers receiving the freebies do not
cancel the upgrades or service before the end of the month is
up, Netflix would begin charging them for the extra services.  
Adam Gutride is the plaintiffs' attorney.

The suit is styled "FRANK CHAVEZ VS. NETFLIX, INC., A FOREIGN
CORPORATION et al, Case No. CGC-04-434884."  Representing the
Company is Keith Eggleton of WILSON SONSINI GOODRICH & ROSATI,
650 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304-1050, USA, Phone: (650)
493-9300.  Representing the plaintiffs are Adam Gutride LAW
OFFICES OF ADAM GUTRRIDE 835 Douglass Street, San Francisco, CA
94114, USA, Phone: (415) 271-6469; and Seth Safire, 6467
California, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA Phone: (415) 876-4345.

Fort more details, visit http://www.netflix.com/settlementor  
http://netflixsettlementsucks.com/.


ORACLE CORPORATION: Trial in Securities Suit Set September 2006
---------------------------------------------------------------
Trial in the consolidated securities class action filed against
Oracle Corporation and certain of its officers and directors is
set for September 11, 2006 in the United States District Court
for the Northern District of California.

Stockholder class actions were initially filed against the
Company and our Chief Executive Officer on and after March 9,
2001.  On June 20, 2001, the court consolidated the class
actions into a single action and appointed a lead plaintiff and
class counsel.  A consolidated amended complaint, adding the
Company's then Chief Financial Officer (who currently is
Chairman of its Board of Directors) and a former Executive Vice
President as defendants, was filed on August 3, 2001.

The consolidated amended complaint was brought on behalf of
purchasers of Company stock during the period from December 15,
2000 through March 1, 2001.  Plaintiffs alleged that the
defendants made false and misleading statements about the
company's actual and expected financial performance and the
performance of certain of its applications products, while
certain individual defendants were selling Oracle stock in
violation of federal securities laws.  Plaintiffs further
alleged that certain individual defendants sold Oracle stock
while in possession of material non-public information.

On March 12, 2002, the court granted the Company's and the
individual defendants' motion to dismiss the amended
consolidated complaint.  On April 10, 2002, plaintiffs filed a
first amended consolidated complaint, brought on behalf of
purchasers of Company stock during the period from December 14,
2000 through March 1, 2001.  On September 11, 2002, the court
granted defendants' motion to dismiss that complaint.

On October 11, 2002, the plaintiffs filed a second amended
complaint.  In this second amended complaint, the plaintiffs
added allegations that the defendants engaged in accounting
violations and made misstatements about the Company's financial
performance, beginning on December 14, 2000 through March 1,
2001.  On March 24, 2003, the court dismissed the second amended
complaint with prejudice.  Plaintiffs appealed that dismissal
and, on September 1, 2004, the United States Court of Appeals
for the Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal order and remanded
the case for further proceedings.  The Company and the
individual defendants petitioned for rehearing of the Ninth
Circuit's decision, and on October 21, 2004, the petition for
rehearing was denied.

The suit is styled, "Nursing Home Pension Fund et al. v. Oracle
Corporation et al., Case No. 3:01-cv-00988-MJJ," filed in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of
California, under Judge Martin J. Jenkins with referral to Judge
Joseph C. Spero.  Representing the Plaintiff/s is Jennie Lee
Anderson, Eli Greenstein, Mark Solomon and Monique Winkler of
Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins, LLP, 100 Pine
St., Suite 2600, San Francisco, CA 94111, Phone: 415-288-4545
and 619-231-1058, Fax: 619-231-7423 and415-288-4534, E-mail:
jenniea@lerachlaw.com, Elig@lerachlaw.com, marks@lerachlaw.com
and MoniqueW@lerachlaw.com. Representing the Defendant/s are:

     (1) Dorian Daley, 500 Oracle Parkway, Redwood City, CA
         94065, Phone: (650) 506-5200, Fax: (650) 506-7114;

     (2) James C. Maroulis of Oracle Corporation, 500 Oracle
         Parkway, M/S 5OP7, Redwood Shores, CA 94065, Phone:
         650-506-4517, Fax: 650-506-7114, E-mail:
         jim.maroulis@oracle.com; and

     (3) Lee Howard Rubin of Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, LLP, Two
         Palo Alto Square, Suite 300, 3000 El Camino Real, Palo
         Alto, CA 94306-2112, Phone: 650-331-2037, Fax: 540-331-
         4537, E-mail: lrubin@mayerbrownrowe.com.


SECURITY BROKERAGE: Paying $150M to Settle SEC Fraud Suit
---------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission said that Daniel Calugar
and his former registered broker-dealer, Security Brokerage,
Inc. (SBI), agreed to settle the SEC's charges alleging that
they defrauded mutual fund investors through improper late
trading and market timing. As part of the settlement, Mr.
Calugar will disgorge $103 million in ill-gotten gains and pay a
civil penalty of $50 million.

Mr. Calugar, age 51, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and SBI,
formerly based in Las Vegas, have consented to the entry of a
final judgment in the SEC's civil litigation pending against
them in the United States District Court for the District of
Nevada. The final judgment, which is subject to approval by the
Honorable Robert C. Jones, permanently enjoins Calugar and SBI
from future violations of the antifraud provisions of the
federal securities laws and orders Mr. Calugar to pay a total of
$153 million in disgorgement and penalties. Mr. Calugar also
consented to the issuance of an SEC order, based on the entry of
the injunction in the federal court action that will permanently
bar him from association with any broker or dealer. SBI ceased
to be a registered broker-dealer in November 2003. Mr. Calugar
and SBI consented to the final judgment and SEC order without
admitting or denying the allegations.

Linda Chatman Thomsen, Director of the SEC's Division of
Enforcement, said, "Daniel Calugar's late trading was
phenomenally profitable to him and came at the expense of long-
term mutual fund shareholders. The magnitude of this settlement
reflects both the seriousness of the wrongdoing and the
Commission's resolve to hold accountable those who defraud
mutual fund shareholders."

Randall R. Lee, Regional Director of the Pacific Regional
Office, added: "Not only will Calugar be stripped of his ill-
gotten gains, the $50 million penalty against him - the largest
amount thus far imposed by the Commission on an individual in a
late trading or market timing case - will serve to punish [Mr.]
Calugar's egregious fraud, to deter future misconduct, and to
provide a source of additional funds that may be distributed to
victims of his offenses."

In addition to $72 million that Mr. Calugar previously paid in
settlement of a class action lawsuit, the $103 million that he
has agreed to pay in settlement of the SEC's action has been
placed in an escrow account, which the Commission will ask to
have distributed to harmed investors. The total of $175 million
represents the trading profits that the SEC alleged that Mr.
Calugar received through his illegal conduct. In addition,
pursuant to the Fair Funds provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act
of 2002, the Commission will also seek to have the $50 million
penalty distributed to victims of the violations.

In December 2003, the SEC filed an emergency action in federal
court seeking an asset freeze, preliminary injunction, and other
relief against Mr. Calugar and SBI. The SEC's complaint alleged
that from at least 2001 to 2003, Mr. Calugar reaped profits of
approximately $175 million through improper late trading and
market timing, principally through mutual funds managed by
Alliance Capital Management and Massachusetts Financial Services
(MFS). The complaint also alleged that Mr. Calugar routinely
transmitted trading decisions for his own account through SBI
one to two hours after 4:00 p.m. EST (the close of the market)
without any legitimate reason, and that SBI created false
internal records in which the order time for all trades was
entered as 3:59 p.m. EST.

The SEC's complaint further alleged that from at least March
2001 to September 2003, the defendants engaged in extensive
market timing of Alliance and MFS funds despite knowing that the
prospectuses for those funds either prohibited or discouraged
timing and that timing was not available to most investors. In
the case of Alliance, Mr. Calugar agreed to make long-term
investments (referred to as sticky assets) in Alliance hedge
funds in exchange for Alliance permitting him to engage in
market timing in its mutual funds. Mr. Calugar was the single
largest timer at Alliance during the relevant period, according
to the complaint.

The complaint alleges that Mr. Calugar and SBI violated Section
17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 under the
Exchange Act.


SEMPRA ENERGY: Paying Nevada $30M to Settle Natural Gas Suit
------------------------------------------------------------
Attorney General George Chanos said Sempra Energy Corporation
agreed to pay Nevada $30 million over the next 7 years to settle
a lawsuit filed in November 2002, alleging conspiracy to
manipulate of the energy market.

"This is a significant settlement for Nevada," said Mr. Chanos.  
"Besides providing $30 million dollars in relief for southern
Nevada ratepayers, the agreement removes uncertainty of the
eventual outcome of litigation and avoids what could be many
years of protracted proceedings and legal appeals, as well as
potential bankruptcy issues that could cause even further delays
in litigating the case."

Consumer Advocate Eric Witkoski, Chief of the Attorney General's
Bureau of Consumer Protection, explained that the settlement
amount was based on a "but for" damage model showing that the
price of natural gas escalated to artificially inflated prices.  
Nevada's $30 million share of the settlement was derived from a
uniform formula based primarily upon usage. The agreement is
subject to approval by the Nevada District Court for Clark
County.

Nevada settled a similar lawsuit with El Paso Corporation, in
2003 for $48.2 million in relief for Southern Nevada electricity
and gas ratepayers to be paid over 20 years. Under an early
payment provision of the agreement El Paso satisfied their
entire settlement obligation in 2005, in return for a reduction
in the settlement amount.


SIPEX CORPORATION: Settles Shareholder Lawsuit for $6M
------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Northern District of
California, San Francisco, preliminarily approved the settlement
of a shareholder class action lawsuit (In re Sipex Corporation
Securities Litigation, Master File No. 05-CV-00392) pending
against Sipex Corporation (OTC: SIPX.PK) and a former
director/officer. The $6 million settlement will be entirely
funded by directors' and officers' insurance policy proceeds.
Terms for distribution of the settlement fund to class members
will be disclosed in a notice to be sent to class members.

A final hearing will be held after delivery of notice to the
class members. At that time, the court will determine whether to
grant final approval of the settlement.

"This is a major accomplishment and allows us to move the
company forward without monetary impact," said Sipex CEO, Ralph
Schmitt.

The suit is styled, "In re Sipex Corporation Securities
Litigation, Case No. 3:05-cv-00392-WHA," filed in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of California,
under Judge William H. Alsup.  Representing the Plaintiff/s are,
Michael M. Goldberg and Susan G. Kupfer of Glancy & Binkow, LLP,
1801 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 311, Los Angeles, CA 90067,
Phone: 310/201-9150 and 415-972-8160, Fax: (310) 201-9160 and
415-972-8166, E-mail: info@glancylaw.com and
skupfer@glancylaw.com; and Elizabeth P. Lin of Milberg Weiss
Bershad & Schulman, LLP, 355 South Grand Ave., Suite 4170, Los
Angeles, CA 90071, Phone: 213/617-1200, Fax: (213) 617-1975, E-
mail: elin@milbergweiss.com.  Representing the Defendant/s are,
Dale Richard Bish and Boris Feldman of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich &
Rosati, 650 Page Mill Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94304, Phone:
650-804-4018 and 650-493-9300, Fax: 650-565-5100, E-mail:
dbish@wsgr.com and boris.feldman@wsgr.com; and David A. Priebe
of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary US LLP, 2000 University Ave.,
East Palo Alto, CA 94303-2248, Phone: 650-833-2000, Fax:
650-833-2001, E-mail: david.priebe@dlapiper.com.


SPEAR & JACKSON: Trial Slated for Consolidated Stock Suit in FL
---------------------------------------------------------------
The consolidated class action styled, "In re: Spear & Jackson,
Inc. Securities Litigation," which was filed in the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of Florida is set for
an October 2006 trial.

Filed on behalf of purchasers of the Company's publicly traded
securities during the period between July 14, 2003 and April 15,
2004, the suit also names as defendants Sherb & Co. LLP, the
Company's outside auditor, and certain of the Company's
directors and officers, including Dennis Crowley, its chief
executive officer and William Fletcher, chief financial officer.  
It charges the Company and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  

After its consolidation, the defendants filed certain Motions to
Dismiss with regard to the Complaint and on October 19, 2005,
the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
entered its Order regarding these Motions.  The Order denied the
Company's motion as well as that of Dennis Crowley, the former
Chief Executive Officer of Spear & Jackson.  The Company is in
the process of preparing its answer and defenses to the
Complaint.  The Court granted the Motion to Dismiss on behalf of
William Fletcher, the Company's interim Chief Executive Officer
and also granted the Motion to Dismiss of the Company's former
auditor, Sherb & Co., LLP.  The class plaintiff has since filed
an appeal regarding the trial court's decision to dismiss the
case against Sherb & Co., LLP, which appeal is presently
pending.  No appeal was filed with respect to the decision to
dismiss the case against William Fletcher.

The Court denied the motion of Spear & Jackson's Monitor to
abate the litigation for a six-month period pending the
administration of the SEC's restitution fund.  The Court also
denied Plaintiff's Motion for Clarification and established a
new cut-off for discovery until December 19, 2005.  The case had
initially been set on the Court's two-week calendar beginning
March 6, 2006. The trial date has since been reset for October
2006.

The suit is styled, "In re: Spear & Jackson, Inc. Securities
Litigation, Case No. 04-CV-80375," filed in the U.S. District
Court Southern District of Florida (W.Palm Beach), under Judge
Donald M. Middlebrooks.  Representing the Defendant/s is Allan
Michael Lerner, 2888 E Oakland Park Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale,
FL 33306, Phone: 954-563-8111. Plaintiffs firm involved in the
and similar cases:

     (1) Berman, DeValerio, Pease, Tabacco Burt & Pucillo (FL),
         515 North Flagler Drive - Suite 1701, West Palm Beach,
         FL, 33401, Phone: 561.835.9400;
   
     (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) Charles J. Piven, World Trade Center-Baltimore, 401
         East, Pratt Suite 2525, Baltimore, MD, 21202, Phone:
         410.332.0030, Fax: pivenlaw@erols.com;

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

     (5) Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach, LLP (Boca Raton,
         FL), 5355 Town Center Road - Suite 900, Boca Raton, FL,
         33486, Phone: 561.361.5000, Fax: 561.367.8400;

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

     (7) Scott & Scott, LLC, P.O. Box 192, 108 Norwich Ave.,
         Colchester, CT, 06415, Phone: 860.537.5537, Fax:
         860.537.4432, E-mail: scottlaw@scott-scott.com;
   
     (8) Vianale & Vianale, LLP, The Plaza - Suite 801, 5355
         Town Center Road, Boca Raton, FL, 33486, Phone:
         561.391.4900, Fax: 561.368.9274, E-mail:
         info@vianalelaw.com;

     (9) Wechsler Harwood, LLP, 488 Madison Ave., 8th Floor, New
         York, NY, 10022, Phone: 212.935.7400, Fax:
         212.753.3630, E-mail: info@whesq.com; and

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


TASER INTERNATIONAL: Discovery Begins in IL Stun Gun Suit
---------------------------------------------------------
Discovery is now moving forward in an Illinois lawsuit, styled,
"Village of Dolton v. TASER International," over stuns guns that
the Company manufactures.

The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago back
in July 2005, alleges that the Company misled police departments
across the country about the safety of its stun guns and left
them with weapons that are too dangerous to use on the street
without added safety provisions.  It is the first known suit by
a city or police department challenging the Company's statements
about the science and safety of the stun guns.  In August 2005,
the Company was served with a summons and complaint in the case,
an earlier Class Action Reporter story (October 18, 2005)
reports.

The plaintiff is seeking to certify the lawsuit as a class
action as well as damages.  The Company filed an answer to the
complaint and a motion to dismiss.  In October 2005, the Company
filed a declaration of the former chief of police for the
Village of Dolton, which refutes many of the allegations made in
the complaint and the Company filed a motion for sanctions. In
that same month, the Court issued an order partially granting
the Company's Motion to Dismiss, and denied the balance of the
motions. The case is now moving forward with discovery.

The suit is styled, "Village of Dolton v. Taser International
Inc., Case No. 1:05-cv-04126," filed in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, under
Judge James F. Holderman.  Representing the Plaintiff/s is John
K. Vrdolyak of Edward R. Vrdolyak, Ltd., 741 North Dearborn St.,
Chicago, IL 60610, Phone: (312) 482-8200.  Representing the
Defendant is David Thomas Ballard of Barnes & Thornburg, One
North Wacker Drive, Suite 4400, Chicago, IL 60606, Phone:
312-357-1313, E-mail: dballard@btlaw.com.



                         Asbestos Alert


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: FL Clients Seek $13.5M Settlement Recovery
----------------------------------------------------------------
Over 4,000 people suffering from asbestos exposure sued the
Florida Bar to recover US$13.5 million in damage settlements
allegedly pilfered by a disbarred Miami lawyer, The Miami Herald
reports.

Formerly represented by ex-attorney Louis Robles, the victims
sought civil relief in Miami Federal Court after the Bar refused
to pay any of the misused settlements from a special fund.
Florida Bar member Thomas Tew represents the victims in the
class action suit.

In early 2003, the Miami-Dade Circuit Court assigned Mr. Tew to
organize thousands of asbestos claims left after Mr. Robles shut
down his firm.

Mr. Tew said he has tried to compel the Bar to pay Mr. Robles'
former clients from a client security fund collected from 70,000
member lawyers. Spokeswoman Francine Walker said the Bar has
never been sued by people who have suffered losses because of
their attorneys' misconduct. She said the Bar's security fund
program is designed to compensate individuals victimized by
their lawyers.

Ms. Walker said the Bar's Board of Governors reviews each claim,
drawing from a security fund with about US$3 million this fiscal
year. The Bar has authorized about US$532,000 in compensation to
victims.

Mr. Robles shut down his firm in October 2002 because he said he
could no longer carry the long-term costs of handling thousands
of asbestos, pharmaceutical, breast-implant and other personal-
injury cases. After he ceased practicing, a Bar complaint stated
he overcharged his asbestos clients and misappropriated about
US$803,000 from about 300 of them. The Bar took away his license
in May 2003.

Mr. Tew's firm then appointed another lawyer, asbestos
litigation expert James Ferraro, to represent Mr. Robles' former
clients in their remaining claims.

In the lawsuit, Mr. Tew's firm alleged that after Mr. Robles
settled with asbestos manufacturers, he would deposit the
payouts in his trust account and then steal them, instead of
mailing them to his clients as promised.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Grace's Request For Venue Transfer Denied
----------------------------------------------------------------
U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy denied W.R. Grace and Co.'s
motion to transfer its criminal trial away from Montana, where
the Company's vermiculite mine released deadly asbestos into the
air, The Missoulian reports.

Seven of the Company's current and former employees will stand
trial on September 11, 2006 in Missoula for conspiracy charges,
Clean Air Act violations and other criminal charges.

A February 2005 indictment charges that Grace and its top
executives knew their mine in Libby, Montana was releasing
dangerous cancer-causing asbestos into the air and conspired to
hide the hazards from workers and residents.

In September 2005, Grace attorneys petitioned Judge Molloy to
transfer the case, arguing that six years of damaging press
coverage has prejudiced the jury in Montana.

At the December 1, 2005 change-of-venue hearing, the defense
illustrated its point by drawing testimony from social scientist
and trial consultant, Edward J. Bronson. He reviewed more than
1,000 news articles published about Grace, in addition to books,
news broadcasts and video documentaries.

Grace officials also presented evidence of a telephone survey
that, officials argue, demonstrates an ongoing bias against them
among prospective Montana jurors. The June 2005 survey found
that of 2,008 Montana residents eligible for jury service, more
than half are already convinced Grace is guilty.

While Judge Molloy agreed that the Libby events have been
covered extensively in the local news media over the past six
years, he wrote that jurors are not required to be totally
ignorant of the facts and issues involved in the case.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Malta Court Penalizes Directors for Risks
----------------------------------------------------------------
Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera imposed a MTL600 fine on
several directors of a Malta firm for allowing the removal of
asbestos-containing items in a place known to be unfit for work,
the Occupational Health and Safety Authority said.

The Gozo Court convicted the directors of failing to carry
asbestos dust or fibers in labeled polythene bags. They failed
to obey orders by OHS officers and did not provide workers with
the necessary information, training and supervision.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Liberty Mutual Bolsters Reserves by US$203M
----------------------------------------------------------------
In the 2005 3rd quarter, Liberty Mutual Group strengthened its
asbestos liability reserves by US$203 million, which was about
US$50 million above the Company's internal actuaries' point
estimate and reflects management's best estimate of the reserve
requirement, according to a Company press release.

Total held asbestos liability reserves, including allowance for
reinsurance on unpaid losses, were US$1.194 billion as of
September 30, 2005.

An external actuarial firm noted that the Company's asbestos
exposure will be shorter tailed than many commercial insurers'
because the Company mainly wrote primary coverage and also
benefited from several manuscript policy provisions that reduced
loss limits available to pay asbestos claims.

The external review resulted in an indicated reserve that was
about US$60 million above the Company's carried reserves as of
September 30, 2005.

The Company is comfortable with its third quarter best estimate
of required asbestos reserves and will not adjust its asbestos
reserves for any difference between the independent actuarial
firm's estimate and the Company's carried reserves, as both
estimates are reasonable.

Boston, MA-based Liberty Mutual Group, a Liberty Mutual Holding,
Co. Inc. subsidiary, offers property-casualty insurance products
and services to businesses and individuals. It also offers
homeowners' insurance and commercial lines for small to large
companies. The Company operates in 900 offices worldwide.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: SDG&E, Contractor Cited in Unlawful Removal
----------------------------------------------------------------
A federal grand jury indicted San Diego Gas & Electric Co., two
of its employees, and a contractor on allegations that they
illegally removed asbestos from 9.23 miles of underground piping
at the former Encanto Gas Holder Facility in Lemon Grove in
2001.

SDG&E, its employees Jacquelyn McHugh and David Williamson, and
contractor Kyle Rhuebottom were each charged with one count of
conspiracy to unlawfully remove asbestos, three counts of
unlawful removal of asbestos and one count of making false
statements. They all pleaded not guilty.

SDG&E, Ms. McHugh, and Mr. Williamson have pleaded not guilty
and were allowed to post US$10,000 bail.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie K. Pierson, the
defendants are charged with conspiring to violate the asbestos
work practice standards of the Clean Air Act in the removal of
the asbestos at the site in order to save time and money.

The indictment states an analysis of a sample of the coating of
the underground piping at the Encanto facility indicated in
January 1998 that the coating was regulated asbestos-containing
material (RACM). A consultant hired by SDG&E concurred.

The indictment also alleges that SDG&E entered into a tentative
agreement for the sale of the Encanto facility, and in June
2000, the utility began soliciting bids from contractors to
handle the demolition of the facility and the removal of the
underground piping.

The indictment identifies Mr. Rhuebottom as the project
superintendent for the general contractor awarded the demolition
contract, Ms. McHugh as a supervisor in the Environmental
Department of SDG&E, and Mr. Williamson as an Environmental
Specialist for SDG&E.

W. Davis Smith, SDG&E general counsel, said in a statement,
"SDG&E strongly believes that the indictment allegations have no
merit. The utility and its employees conduct its operations at
the highest business and ethical levels. The Encanto site is
safe today and has been safe since the excavation began in
2000."


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: WV Couple Names 35 Firms in Injury Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
On December 21, 2005, spouses Larry and Kathy Smith tagged 35
companies, from local businesses to global giants, as defendants
in an asbestos-related personal injury lawsuit filed in Kanawha
Circuit Court, The West Virginia Record reports.

Named as defendants in the 12-count suit are A&I Company,
Adience Company, Airco Inc., Airco Welding Products, American
Optical Corporation, Anchor Packing Company, Atlas Industries
Inc., A.W. Chesterton Company, Beazer East Inc., Carborundum
Corporation, Certainteed Corporation, Crown Cork & Seal Company
(USA) Inc., Flowserve FSD Corporation, FMC Corporation, Garlock
Inc., Georgia-Pacific Corp., Hercules Incorporated, Industrial
Holdings LLC, Industrial Supply Solutions, Metropolitan Life
Insurance Company, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company,
Nitro Industrial Coverings Inc., Ohio Valley Insulating Company
Inc., Owens-Illinois Inc., Persingers Incorporated, Pulmosan
Safety Equipment Corporation, Riley Power Inc., Unifrax
Corporation, Union Carbide Chemical and Plastics Company Inc.,
Uniroyal Inc., Viacom, Vimasco Corporation, Wheeler Protective
Apparel, Wheelabrator-Frye Inc. and Wheelabrator Technologies
Inc.

Mr. Smith was a plant worker and pipe fitter at FMC's rayon
plant in Nitro from 1966 to 1977 before moving to Virginia. At
the FMC plant, Mr. Smith claims he was exposed to asbestos
insulation from a steam-generating boiler, associated piping,
processing corrugating equipment and other sources of breathable
asbestos fibers.

Before working at the FMC plant, Mr. Smith says he worked at the
Union Carbide Institute plant in Institute in 1965 as a general
laborer, doing general cleanup in one of the boiler houses.

In the fall of 2005, Mr. Smith was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Mr. Smith seeks punitive damages from the defendants, citing
that their actions were willful, wanton, malicious and in
reckless disregard of the safety of himself and others. Mrs.
Smith sues for loss of spousal consortium, loss of financial
support, loss of general services, companionship and society.

Attorney John Skaggs, of The Calwell Practice in Charleston,
represents the Smiths.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: MO Court Grants 3M's Stay Despite Arguments
----------------------------------------------------------------
Despite a plaintiff's assertions that a stay would hamper
discovery proceedings, the U.S. District Court in Missouri still
affirmed 3M Company's motions related to asbestos-related cases.

District Judge E. Richard Webber ruled on the suit, with Case
No. 4:05CV01356ERW, on January 3, 2006.

On July 29, 1991, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
transferred asbestos-related personal injury or wrongful death
cases to the Pennsylvania District Court for coordinated or
consolidated pretrial proceedings. The order also applied to
"tag-along" actions filed after January 17, 1991. 3M had
notified the JPMDL that this case is a potential tag-along
action.

According to 3M, the JPMDL will meet in January 2006, and a
decision ruling this matter as a tag-along action is expected.
3M requested that the Court stay these proceedings pending the
MDL's decision on transferring the Case to the District Court in
Pennsylvania.

Ronald G. Toppins conceded that his claims are asbestos-related,
but argued that they are unique because they involve silica dust
exposure. He contended that obtaining discovery from witnesses
employed or controlled by 3M would be hampered if a stay is
issued.

The Court concluded that, although Mr. Toppins will be subjected
to delay from the stay's issuance, prejudice does not outweigh
judicial efficiency concerns.

Jerome F. Raskas, Sr., Lori R. Koch, Goffstein and Raskas, H.
Kent Munson, Stolar Partnership, St. Louis, MO, represented
Ronald G. Toppins.

Richard E. Boyle, Gundlach and Lee, Belleville, IL, represented
the 3M Company.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: UNI Pledges Support for Global Asbestos Ban
----------------------------------------------------------------
Union Network International adds its support to the union
campaign for the global asbestos ban, the Group announces in a
statement.

Among the unions already involved in the campaign are the
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions; International
Metalworkers' Federation; International Federation of Chemical,
Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions; International Union of
Food; International Federation of Journalists; and International
Federation of Building and Wood Workers.

Many industrialized countries, including Japan, have already
banned the use of asbestos. However, Canada and other producer
countries still export asbestos to developing countries.
Production decreased during the 1990s but there is evidence that
production is now increasing.

Global unions are calling for an immediate global ban, the
transition to safe and sustainable jobs, and justice for the
victims of asbestos.

A draft resolution on the issue will be debated at the
International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland in June
2006.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: TX City May Face Suit for Removal Breaches
----------------------------------------------------------------
The city of Clute, Texas could face an environmental law
violation when it demolished an old asbestos-laden house on
Mansfield Street to make way for the new city hall, The Facts
reports.

"The possible violations are failure to notify, failure to
remove asbestos before demolition and also probably failure to
perform an asbestos survey," said Todd Wingler, an engineer for
the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants.  

Assistant City Manager Dennis Smith said he told Clute's
volunteer fire department it could conduct a training exercise
in the house. They cut holes in the walls and ceiling, which
officials say damaged the building and rendered it unsafe.

City workers tore down the house without notifying the Texas
Department of State Health Services of the demolition or
addressing the asbestos-containing material inside. The city
should also have notified the state of the impending demolition
10 days in advance regardless of the house's asbestos status,
Mr. Wingler said.

Gene Tumlinson, public services director, and Mr. Smith said the
asbestos removal of the Mansfield house was handled the same way
the city typically handles other condemned houses, which
generally do not have to be abated.

Angleton, TX asbestos consultant Al Mayo of DEAL Enterprises
said he conducted an asbestos survey of the house at the request
of Vernor Material and Equipment Co., which was bidding on the
project. He said he took samples to determine asbestos levels
and found some on the backing of linoleum in several rooms and
in some ceiling finish. He did not determine the quantity of
asbestos present.

A regional inspector for the state visited the site a few hours
after the house had been torn down. When the investigation is
finished, it will go through a review process at the agency
before a "notice of alleged violation" is issued, Mr. Wingler
said.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Ground Zero Deaths Possibly Asbestos-Linked
----------------------------------------------------------------
The deaths of three 9/11 volunteers have led experts to assume
that these were caused by asbestos-related respiratory illnesses
incurred during their work at the former World Trade Center
site.

There are now fears that about 50,000 emergency workers and
volunteers who helped with the cleanup after the September 11
terror attack could suffer long-term health problems.

Emergency Medical Technician Timothy Keller, 41, died on June
23, 2005 of heart disease complicated by bronchitis and
emphysema, the Nassau County medical examiner's office said.

Emergency Medical Technician Felix Hernandez, 31, stopped
working in 2004 when he became too weak to climb the stairs and
died on October 23, 2005 of respiratory ailments in Florida,
said colleagues who spoke with his family.

Both Mr. Keller and Mr. Hernandez were nonsmokers and had no
previous health problems before September 11, 2001.

Detective James Zadroga, 34, of the NYPD worked at the World
Trade Center searching through rubble for the remains of his
colleagues. His family is convinced his death was caused by
deadly asbestos fibers inhaled during his work at Ground Zero.

Robin Herbert, who directs a medical-monitoring program at Mount
Sinai Medical Center for more than 14,000 ground zero workers,
said it is not inconceivable that a person could die of
respiratory disease related to September 11th. The city's
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which is tracking the
health of 71,000 people exposed to September 11th dust and
debris, said it is too soon to say whether any deaths among its
enrolled members are linked to trade center exposure.

David Worby, an attorney for more than 5,000 people who are
suing the 9/11 cleanup supervisors because of their illnesses,
said 21 of his clients have died of September 11th-related
diseases since the middle of 2004.

Congressman Jerry Nadler, whose district includes the World
Trade Center site, blames some of the illnesses on the failure
to provide some workers with proper masks or respiratory
protection.

A Center for Disease Control and Prevention study found in 2004
that only one in five workers wore respirators to block out the
dust laced with asbestos, glass fibers, pulverized cement and
other chemicals.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Rules Abex Not Sole Employer in Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenth District of the Ohio Court of Appeals ordered the
Industrial Commission of Ohio to vacate its order declaring Abex
as the sole employer in the asbestos personal injury claim filed
by Michael J. Barvincak.

Judge Judith L. French issued the ruling on Case No. 04AP-1097,
together with Judges Peggy Bryant and Alan C. Travis on December
29, 2005.

Abex Corporation requested to join Mr. Barvincak's other former
employers in entering an order that determines employer
liability for Mr. Barvincak's inoperable mesothelioma.

On November 30, 1999, Mr. Barvincak filed a claim alleging that
he developed mesothelioma and tagged "Abex" as his employer
between 1976 and 1999, with the exception of 1987 to 1989.

By letter dated August 4, 2000, Abex's counsel requested that
the Commission notify the other employers when the matter was
set for hearing. Abex's counsel stated that Whitman Corp. sold
Abex Corp. in August 1988, when Abex became Electric Alloys or
Manoir Electro Alloys.

On October 12, 2001, Abex appealed in the Cuyahoga County Court
of Common Pleas. Abex also moved to dismiss the action stating
that Mr. Barvincak did not assert a claim against Manoir. Mr.
Barvincak died in August 2005 and did not re-file the common
pleas action prior to his death.

The medical reports supported Mr. Barvincak's claim for
workplace-related mesothelioma. The reports did not identify
Abex or ElectroAlloys in determining whether the Abex employment
was the sole cause of his exposure.

J. Kent Breslin and Eric A. Rich of Scheur Mackin & Breslin, LLC
represented Abex Corporation/Electro Alloys Division. Attorney
General Jim Petro and Dennis L. Hufstader, represented the
Industrial Commission of Ohio. Robert A. Marcis, II and Cory W.
Frost of Kelley & Ferraro, LLP represented Michael J. Barvincak.
                                       

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: GlobalSantaFe Lawsuit v. Insurers Remanded
----------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. District Court for California's Northern District
remanded to State Court a case filed by GlobalSantaFe Drilling
Company, which sought full payment for a former employee's claim
against an insurance company.

Judge Claudia Wilken ruled on Case No. C 05-4411 CW. January 3,
2006.

Removing Defendants The Mutual Insurance Association Gard,
Associated Electrical and Gas Insurance Services Ltd., and The
United Kingdom Mutual Steamship Assurance Association (Bermuda)
Ltd. (UK Club) opposed this motion.

William Lightbown worked on GlobalSantaFe's vessels from 1969
through 2001 and died of mesothelioma in 2002. His widow sued
GlobalSantaFe, alleging that Mr. Lightbown died of occupational
asbestos exposure. In October 2004, the Company settled the suit
for a substantial amount.

Insurers had issued liability insurance coverage policies to
GlobalSantaFe that were current when Mr. Lightbown worked with
GlobalSantaFe. GlobalSantaFe chose Insurance Company of the
State of Pennsylvania's (ICP) policy and demanded full indemnity
under that policy. Insurance Company had paid GlobalSantaFe only
a share of the settlement.

Houston, TX-based GlobalSantaFe sued ICP and the other insurers
in State Court citing breach of contract and insurance bad
faith. GlobalSantaFe sought declaratory relief against the other
insurers who had provided liability coverage to GlobalSantaFe
between 1969 and 2002.

On October 28, 2005, the defendants removed this action to the
California court. GlobalSantaFe voluntarily dismissed all claims
against the defendants five days after removal. ICP sought
declaratory relief against GlobalSantaFe and sought equitable
contribution and subrogation against the other insurers,
including Removing Defendants.
                                       
Removing Defendants' argue that the Court has no discretion to
remand this case because Insurance Company's cross-claims raise
the same federal subject matter jurisdiction, which was the
basis for removal in the first place.

Richard Shively and Philip Landsdale Pillsbury, Jr. of Pillsbury
& Levinson, LLP, San Francisco, CA, represented GlobalSantaFe
Drilling Co.

Kathleen E. Bailey of Irvine, CA, Edward J. Tafe and Marsha L.
Morrow of Colliau Elenius Murphy Carluccio Keener & Morrow, San
Francisco, CA, represented The Insurance Company of the State of
Pennsylvania.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: KY Court Ruling Excludes Builders
------------------------------------------------------
The Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld the Jefferson Circuit
Court's decision in granting two firms, Albert Kahn &
Associates, Inc. and Turner Construction Company, summary
judgment, and dismissing an asbestos claimant's appeal due to a
filing deadline.

Decided on January 6, 2006, Judges David A. Barber, John D.
Minton, Jr., and Jeff S. Taylor reviewed Case No. 2004-CA-
002178-MR.

From 1973 through 1999, Virgil Combs work at the General
Electric Appliance Park where he allegedly inhaled the asbestos
from the decaying insulation of the structures built from 1951
through 1954. In January 2000, he was diagnosed with asbestosis.

On July 27, 2000, Mr. Combs and his wife, Judy, sued a number of
manufacturers or distributors of asbestos-containing products.
In March 2003, Mr. Combs was diagnosed with lung cancer. On
April 9, 2003, the Combses moved to amend their suit to add a
lung cancer claim. They also sought to add two new defendants,
Kahn & Associates, the firm responsible for the architectural
and structural design of Appliance Park, and Turner
Construction, the Park's general contractor.

The Combses alleged that Kahn and Turner Construction failed to
warn Appliance Park workers of the risks of asbestos exposure.
The Combses' counsel, however, sought to hold Kahn and Turner
Construction liable only for claims related to Mr. Combs' lung
cancer. The Combses then asserted that their actions against
Kahn and Turner Construction did not accrue until July 19, 2002,
because they did not know until that date of the involvement the
two had in the building of the Appliance Park.

The statute of limitations for the claims that the Combses filed
against Kahn and Turner Construction to amend their complaint
expired in January of 2001, one year after Mr. Combs developed
asbestosis.  As all of the claims against Kahn and Turner
Construction were untimely, the Circuit Court granted summary
judgment in their favor. The Appeals Court affirmed the Circuit
Court's order.

Kenneth L. Sales, Joseph D. Satterley, and Paul J. Kelley of
Louisville, KY, represented Judy L. Combs. James M. Gary,
Russell H. Saunders, and Patrick W. Gault of Louisville, KY,
represented Albert Kahn & Associates, Inc. Rebecca F. Schupbach
and Rania M. Basha of Louisville, KY, represented Turner
Construction Company.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Approves Sale of Owens Corning NJ Lot
----------------------------------------------------------------
On September 26, 2005, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware
permitted Berlin Jackson LLC to purchase a 45-acre Berlin, NJ
property, which Owens Corning used for making the asbestos-
containing insulation product known as Kaylo.

Berlin Jackson agreed to buy the property for US$1 million in
exchange for assuming responsibility for the remediation of the
property's environmental condition.

Based in Toledo, Ohio, Owens Corning makes fiberglass and
composite materials. Accounting for 80% of the sales, the
Company's building materials unit makes thermal, acoustic, and
foam insulation, roofing shingles, vinyl windows and siding,
stone veneer building products, housewrap, patio doors, and rain
gutters.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: LA Court Ratifies Babcock & Wilcox Co. Plan
----------------------------------------------------------------
On January 17, 2006, the Honorable Judge Sarah S. Vance of the
U.S. District Court in Louisiana affirmed The Babcock & Wilcox
Co.'s Chapter 11 Joint Plan of Reorganization and the associated
proposed settlement agreement, according to a press release
issued by B&W's parent McDermott International, Inc.

Once approved, the settlement will settle as many as 300,000
asbestos injury claims ranging US$375 million to US$955 million
in costs for the Company, depending on whether Congress creates
a national trust to handle all such cases.

B&W filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in New Orleans, Louisiana,
on February 22, 2000 as a result of asbestos-related claims. In
2002, McDermott took a US$224.7 million write-off for its
investment in Babcock & Wilcox and removed the unit from its
financial statements.

On August 29, 2005, B&W, McDermott, the Asbestos Claimants
Committee and the Future Asbestos-Related Claimants'
Representative reached an agreement in principle on the terms of
the currently proposed Plan and associated settlement. Once the
Plan becomes effective, B&W will be reconsolidated in
McDermott's financial statements.

Remaining items required for the Plan to become effective
include receiving McDermott's shareholder approval, obtaining
exit financing for B&W and the completion of certain other
conditions by February 22, 2006, the effective date deadline
under the Plan.

New Orleans, LA-based McDermott International, Inc.'s
subsidiaries provide engineering, fabrication, installation,
procurement, research, manufacturing, environmental systems,
project management and facility management services to customers
in the energy and power industries.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Gencor Agrees to Rehabilitate Former Mines
----------------------------------------------------------------
Mining holding firm Gencor Ltd reached an agreement with several
asbestos claimants to rehabilitate certain areas of land in and
around Heuningvlei and the Bute asbestos mine, The Sunday Times
reported.

Gencor settled with the Bareki Tribal Authority and the
Nkululeko Environmental and Development Group.
The settlement dictates that claimants would waive and abandon
any claims against Gencor for rehabilitation in the Bute and
Heuningvlei areas. Gencor would make no payment under the
agreement.

The Department of Minerals and Energy would undertake certain
rehabilitation work in and around Bute and Heuningvlei.

"As the outstanding rehabilitation matters have now been
resolved fully and finally, Gencor's board of directors will
advise shareholders in the near future on the possibility of
Gencor being voluntarily liquidated," Gencor said in a
statement.

In July 2003, Gencor advised that the claimants had instituted
their claims. Gencor set aside an amount of ZAR35 million in
cash as security for the claim.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: UT Court Acquits Worker of CAA Violations
----------------------------------------------------------------
A Salt Lake City, UT federal jury cleared a St. George worker
accused of two counts of Clean Air Act violations and one count
of conspiring to hide the alleged violations during the
construction of Black Ridge Road in 2001, The Spectrum reports.

The federal indictment alleged that Alan Young directed the
excavation and crushing of asbestos-containing water pipes at
the project without complying with work practice standards to
control asbestos emission.

Mr. Young said the verdict absolved him and construction firm
Merrick Young, Inc., which his son formerly owned, of liability
in the disposal.

When charges were filed in 2005, Marc Mortensen, St. George City
Manager's assistant, said a city worker had discovered crushed
asbestos material buried at the site and notified the
Environmental Protection Agency, which cleaned up and disposed
of the material.
  
Greg Skordas, one of Mr. Young's attorneys, said he believes his
client was acquitted because he did not intend to commit a
crime. He said Mr. Young came upon the pipe, but did not know it
contained asbestos material. Mr. Skordas added that not only did
Mr. Young pay for the cleanup, but he had the prospect of prison
time hanging over him since the charges were filed.

Mr. Young said federal prosecutors offered a plea bargain three
days before he went to trial, but Mr. Young said he wanted to go
to trial and prove his innocence, which they did. He also
alleged that the criminal investigator and the prosecution
fabricated evidence against him.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Cape Expects Payout Application by Feb 2006
----------------------------------------------------------------
Cape PLC said it expects by February 2006 a court application to
convene creditors' meetings of the scheme for funding the
majority of future asbestos related claims against the Company,
Interactive Investor reports.

The Company said it is continuing discussions with its bank
about funding for the scheme. The meetings could be held in
April or May 2006.

In 2004, the Company reached an out-of-court settlement to
compensate its South Africa facilities' 7,500 workers who had
suffered asbestos-related diseases. The litigation, sparked
years earlier, was hailed as a landmark case for victims of
asbestosis, according to Class Action Reporter (October 21,
2005).

The Company expects second half 2005 results to be in line with
market expectations. Sales continued to grow both in the UK and
overseas, and the Middle East business units continued their
strong performance of the past 18 months.

Cape said new sales prospects and opportunities in the UK and
Middle East, together with surging energy prices and the recent
disruption to gas supplies from Russia, "lead the directors to
view the group's prospects for 2006 with confidence."

West Yorkshire, UK-based Cape PLC manufactures fire protection,
insulation, and building products for the construction industry.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: OR Council Urges Congressmen to Oppose Law
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Portland, Oregon City Council urged two Congress members to
oppose an attempt to shield firms that produce asbestos from
full financial liability, The Oregonian reports.

In a letter, Mayor Tom Potter and his City Council colleagues
asked Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith to oppose the
"Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, has
promised to bring the FAIR Act up for a vote when Congress
returns next month to Washington, D.C.

Under the proposal, firms that may be liable for asbestos-
related illnesses would fund a US$140 billion trust for victims
of asbestos-related illnesses. People who can show that asbestos
caused their health problems could apply to the Government for
financial relief, rather than suing asbestos producers. The
Federal Government would oversee the trust fund.

Supporters say the bill would help keep big manufacturers such
as Owens Corning and W.R. Grace in business while ensuring that
people suffering from cancer and other asbestos-related illness
receive financial compensation. Critics assert the US$140
billion is not enough to help all the people who are ill because
of asbestos.

Despite its potential for causing cancer and other serious
illness if inhaled, asbestos is still a regular component in
brake liners, insulation and tile. Over 70 U.S. companies have
gone into bankruptcy because of asbestos lawsuits.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Trust to Aid Over 1,500 Mozambicans in 2006
----------------------------------------------------------------
In 2006, the Asbestos Relief Trust aims to compensate over 1,500
Mozambicans suffering from diseases from working on South
African asbestos mines, BuaNews Online reports.

Trust Manager Tina Da Cruz said the trust was waiting for
feedback from the Swaziland and Lesotho governments and was
hoping to set up claim processes "fairly shortly" in these
countries.

Ms. Da Cruz said the Trust had approved about ZAR100.9 million
to date, to be paid to qualifying former mineworkers. She said
ZAR60.3 million of the amount had already been paid to victims,
while the remaining ZAR40.6 million would be paid after the
claimants' banking and other details had been confirmed.

Toward the end of 2005, a number of ex-miners in Mpumalanga
complained that they were not able to get any help from the
Trust's Ekulindeni office in Kromdraai, South Africa. They
claimed workers exposed to asbestos for as many as 30 years had
their applications for compensation rejected. Victims were also
denied their medical records and were not represented in the
Asbestos Relief Trust.

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.

The Trust's formation followed a victory by about 7,000 asbestos
victims who worked for the British multinational, Cape PLC. Its
employees forced the Company to pay about ZAR97 million in 2001
to compensate sickly workers and relatives of workers who had
died from asbestos-related diseases.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Longview Fibre Fends Off Lone Suit from MO  
----------------------------------------------------------------
As of December 31, 2005, claimants from Madison County, IL and
St. Louis, MO agreed to dismiss Longview Fibre Co. from all but
one asbestos-related lawsuit, according to the Company's 2005
annual report.

In each instance, the Company was dismissed without any payment
or liability to the plaintiffs. However, each of the dismissals
was without prejudice, meaning that the plaintiffs could re-
institute those cases.

In the St. Louis, MO suit, the plaintiff alleges asbestos-
related injuries from exposure to the defendants' asbestos
products, as well as asbestos exposure while working on certain
of the defendants' premises. The claims are not specific as to
what contacts the plaintiff had with the Company or its
manufacturing plants or products. The suit does not specify
damages sought from the Company individually, but the plaintiff
alleges a general jurisdictional amount against all defendants.

Since 2002, Longview Fibre has defended numerous asbestos-
related actions in Madison County, Illinois and St. Louis,
Missouri, along with numerous other defendants.

Longview, WA-based Longview Fibre Company owns and operates tree
farms, a pulp and paper mill, and 15 converting plants in 12
states. The Company is considering converting into a real estate
investment trust.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Longview Fibre Reports `05 Court Dismissals
----------------------------------------------------------------
Longview Fibre Company documents its asbestos-related court
dismissals for the year 2005, according to the Company's 2005
annual report.

In January 2003, the Company defended a complaint filed in King
County, Washington Superior Court entitled Gerald Shellenbarger
v. Longview Fibre Company, et al. Plaintiffs alleged that one of
the Company's former employees was exposed to asbestos while
working at the Company's paper mill from 1959 to 1964 and from
1976 to 1996. In October 2003, Longview's motion for summary
judgment was granted and the dismissal became final in September
2005.

In April 2004, the Company defended a complaint filed in King
County, Washington Superior Court entitled Crawford v. Longview
Fibre Company, et al. Plaintiffs alleged that one of the
Company's former employees was exposed to asbestos when he
worked at the Company's Longview mill from 1946 to 1987.
Longview settled this matter for a non-material sum in December
2005.

In February 2004, the Company was named as one of eight
defendants in a case filed in Cowlitz County, Washington
Superior Court entitled Brent v. Weyerhaeuser Corp., et al. The
plaintiff alleged that he suffers from an asbestos-related lung
disease as a result of his exposure to asbestos during his work
at the Longview mill as a carpenter's apprentice for a third-
party contractor between 1957 and 1963. In June 2005, the
Washington Superior Court granted the Company's motion for
summary judgment. Since plaintiff did not appeal this ruling,
the dismissal became final in July 2005.

In November 2005, the Company defended a multi-defendant case
filed in Wharton County, Texas District Court entitled Stalik v.
A.W. Chesterton Co.; et al. The plaintiff alleges that he
suffers from an asbestos-related lung disease as a result of his
exposure to asbestos during his work for a contractor at the
Longview mill in the late 1960s and at other undisclosed dates.
He also alleges exposure to asbestos at facilities owned by
others during his work in various shipyards, steel mills,
refineries, paper mills, chemical plants or other facilities in
the United States. The Company anticipates filing one or more
motions to dismiss it from this litigation later in 2006.

Longview, WA-based Longview Fibre Company owns and operates tree
farms, a pulp and paper mill, and 15 converting plants in 12
states. The Company is considering converting into a real estate
investment trust.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Senate May Tackle US$140B Bill by Feb. 2006
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Stanford Washington Research Group states that the US$140
billion liability fund to benefit asbestos exposure victims
could come to the U.S. Senate floor for debate as soon as the
week of February 6, Reuters reports.

Citing sources, the Group said Senate Majority Leader Bill
Frist, a Tennessee Republican, told Nevada Democrat and Minority
Leader Harry Reid that he has the votes to bring the bill to the
floor.

Asbestos defendant companies and their insurers would pay for
the fund. Among the companies to be tapped to fund the bill are
W.R. Grace and Co., Owens Corning and McDermott International
Inc.

Asbestos was used for insulation and fireproofing until the
1970s. Scientists say inhaled fibers are linked to cancer and
other diseases. However, injury claims, including some filed by
people who were exposed to the mineral but are not ill, have
pushed more than U.S. companies into bankruptcy.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: India to Tighten Safety Standards, Not Ban
----------------------------------------------------------------
A senior official of India's Ministry of Environment and Forests
states the country aims to tighten health and safety norms in
units producing asbestos cement sheets and pipes, India News
reports.

While India has curbed the use of the highly hazardous blue
asbestos in insulation, a similar step has not been taken for
white asbestos.

Minister for Environment and Forests A. Raja said, "White
asbestos when embedded in cement is not a health hazard." He
added, "There is no convincing proof that white asbestos when
mixed with cement is hazardous. In any case, we have not found
any substitute for asbestos-cement sheets used mostly as
material for low cost housing."

In the case of manufacturing units, the Minister assured that
safety regulations are being further tightened.

More than a dozen countries have already banned the manufacture
and use of any type of asbestos, which is known to cause cancer
and several other health problems.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Charges Dropped in Philbin v. Con Edison
----------------------------------------------------------------
The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division dismissed all
charges against Consolidated Edison Company for plaintiff's
failure to present sufficient evidence.

Entered January 10, 2006, Presiding Judge Peter Tom reviewed the
case together with Judges Richard T. Andrias, David Friedman,
Joseph P. Sullivan, and Bernard Malone.

According to Muriel Philbin's appeal, the claim against Con
Edison is based on the decedent's testimony that, while employed
on a roofing project at a Company facility in the 1970s, his
work exposed him to asbestos dust. Ms. Philbin failed to present
any evidence that the decedent had cut asbestos-containing
roofing material.

The Court rejected Ms. Philbin's argument that Con Edison's
moving papers failed to establish a prima facie entitlement to
judgment.  

Timothy M. McCann of Richard W. Babinecz, New York represented
Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. Stephen J. Riegel
of Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., New York represented Muriel Philbin
and others.

                                       
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NY Court Drops Worker's Claim v. Con Edison
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court dismissed
Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. as defendant for
plaintiff's failure to submit adequate evidence.

Entered January 10, 2006, Presiding Judge Peter Tom reviewed the
case together with Judges Richard T. Andrias, David Friedman,
Joseph P. Sullivan, and Bernard Malone.

The claim against Con Edison is based on the alleged exposure of
the decedent, an electrician, to asbestos dust while he was
installing emergency generators and lighting at a Company
facility in the mid-1960s.  

There is no evidence that Con Edison exercised supervisory
control over the work of either the insulation contractors or
the decedent, or that Con Edison coordinated the work of the
various trades or had the authority to exclude workers from
particular sites. There is no evidence that the alleged asbestos
exposure resulted from a workplace condition created by Con
Edison.  

The Court rejected plaintiff Angela Tortorella's argument that
Con Edison's moving papers failed to establish a prima facie
entitlement to judgment.  

Andrew J. Czerepak of Richard W. Babinecz, New York represented
Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. Stephen J. Riegel
of Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., New York represented Angela
Tortorella and others.


                 New Securities Fraud Cases

FARO TECHNOLOGIES: Goldman Scarlato Files Securities Suit in FL
---------------------------------------------------------------
Goldman Scarlato & Karon, P.C. filed a lawsuit in the United
States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, on
behalf of persons who purchased or otherwise acquired publicly
traded securities of FARO Technologies Inc. between May 6, 2004
and November 3, 2005, inclusive.  The lawsuit was filed against
FARO and certain officers and directors.

The complaint alleges that Defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder. Specifically, the complaint alleges that
FARO repeatedly issued false and misleading quarterly and
annualized financial guidance during the Class Period in
reckless disregard of the Company's deficient internal control
systems. The complaint alleges that FARO represented itself as
having implemented lean manufacturing principles that had
brought about numerous operating and efficiency improvements in
its production capacity. However, theses statements were
materially false and misleading because the Company's internal
inventory and accounting controls were defective during the
class period.

On November 3, 2005, investors learned the truth regarding the
adverse impact of the Company's deficient control systems and
poor financial performance. After the market closed, the Company
disclosed that it had incurred $1.6 million in inventory costing
and consumption variances due to processing problems related to
the implementation of a new ERP system. As a result of this
disclosure, FARO stock fell $5.88 per share to close at $16.50
per share on November 7, 2005.

For more information, contact Goldman Scarlato & Karon, P.C., E-
mail: info@gsk-law.com; Phone: (888) 753-2796.


IMPAC MORTGAGE: Labaton Sucharow Files CA Securities Fraud Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Labaton Sucharow & Rudoff LLP filed a class action lawsuit in
the United States District Court for the Central District of
California, on behalf of persons who purchased or otherwise
acquired publicly traded securities of Impac Mortgage Holdings,
Inc. (IMH) between May 13, 2005 and August 9, 2005, inclusive.  
The lawsuit was filed against Impac and certain officers and
directors of the Company.  To see the complaint and join the
class action, see: http://www.labaton.com/get/?case=Impac.

The complaint alleges that Defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder. Specifically, the complaint alleges that
the Company failed to disclose or misrepresented these material
adverse facts, which were known to Defendants or recklessly
disregarded by them: The Company's margins were negatively
impacted by the rise in short-term interest rates. As a result,
Impac would not be able to sustain its dividend payouts; The
Company lacked adequate internal controls; The Company's
statements with respect to its financial condition and future
prospects lacked any reasonable basis when made.

On August 9, 2005, Impac announced that it had posted a net loss
of $55 million, or $(0.78) per share, versus a profit of $143.2
million or $2.17 per share. The Company also announced that it
had now forecasted a cut in its dividend from $0.75 per share to
$0.50 to $0.60 per share in the third quarter. In reaction to
this news, shares of Impac fell $2.39 per share, or 14.6% on
August 10, 2005, to close at $13.98 per share.

For more information, contact Labaton Sucharow & Rudoff LLP
Christopher Keller, Esq., Phone: 800-321-0476.


IMPAC MORTGAGE: Wechsler Harwood Files CA Securities Fraud Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Wechsler Harwood LLP initiated a class action suit on behalf of
all securities purchasers of Impac Mortgage Holdings, Inc. (IMH)
between May 13, 2005, and August 9, 2005, both dates inclusive.  
The action, entitled Schriver v. Impac Mortgage Holdings, Inc.
Case No. SACV-06-0031 CIC (RNBx), was filed in the United States
District Court for the Central District of California, and names
as defendants, the Company as well as certain senior officers
and directors.

Wechsler Harwood's complaint, following a comprehensive
investigation undertaken by the firm, alleges a series of false
and misleading statements issued by the Company aimed at
artificially inflating the price of IMH common stock so that
Company insiders could dump hundreds of thousands of personally
held shares and reap millions in profits. Following the
announcement of the case on January 11, 2006, a number of other
law firms issued press releases claiming to offer "information"
about joining the suit. Investors should be advised that most of
these firms have not filed complaints, are unaware of the
underlying claims, and appear to be advertising for the sole
purpose of soliciting clients so that the firms can participate
in this case.

For more information, contact Jeffrey M. Norton of Wechsler
Harwood (http://www.whesq.com),Phone: 877-935-7400 (ext. 286).


SERACARE LIFE: Berman DeValerio Files CA Securities Fraud Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
A securities fraud lawsuit is pending against SeraCare Life
Sciences, Inc. (SRLS) in federal court, Berman DeValerio Pease
Tabacco Burt & Pucillo said.  Berman DeValerio
(http://www.bermanesq.com)filed the class action January 5, in  
the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California,
Case No. 06-CV-0022 LBLM. The complaint seeks damages for
violations of federal securities laws on behalf of all investors
who purchased SeraCare common stock between February 9, 2005 and
December 19, 2005, inclusive.  A copy of the complaint is at
http://www.bermanesq.com/pdf/SeraCare-Cplt.pdf.

The lawsuit claims that SeraCare and a number of individual
defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act"), 15 U.S.C. ##78j(b) and
78t, and SEC Rule 10b-5, 17 C.F.R. #240.10b-5 promulgated
thereunder.

The complaint alleges that the defendants issued materially
false and misleading statements that artificially inflated the
Company's stock price. Specifically, the plaintiffs claim that
during the Class Period, the defendants issued false and
misleading statements or failed to disclose that SeraCare had
improperly recognized revenue, thus inflating its financial
results; The Company had used faulty methods to account for and
value its inventory; The defendants had failed to prevent
certain board members from exerting undue influence on
SeraCare's financial reporting and auditing processes; The
timeliness, quality and completeness of the Company's
implementation and testing of its internal controls were faulty;
and SeraCare's financial statements had violated Generally
Accepted Accounting Principles.

According to the complaint, SeraCare's stock price fell by as
much as 62 percent on December 20, 2005, after the Company
revealed that its independent auditors had issued a report about
the above issues. The Nasdaq Stock Market subsequently delisted
SeraCare's shares.

For more information, contact Berman DeValerio Pease Tabacco
Burt & Pucillo, Phone: (800) 516-9926; Nicole Lavallee, Esq.,
and Julie Bai, Esq., 425 California Street, Suite 2100, San
Francisco, CA 94104, Phone: (415) 433-3200; E-mail:
sflaw@bermanesq.com. To apply as lead plaintiff, see
http://www.bermanesq.com/Securities/Signup1.asp?caseid=563.


SFBC INTERNATIONAL: Berman DeValerio Pease Files Securities Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Berman DeValerio Pease Tabacco Burt & Pucillo initiated a class
action (case no. 06-CV-20120) in the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of Florida on behalf of all investors who
purchased SFBC common stock between February 17, 2004 and
December 15, 2005, inclusive. The complaint seeks damages for
violations of federal securities laws.  A copy of the complaint
is at http://www.bermanesq.com/pdf/sfbc-cplt.pdf.

The lawsuit claims that SFBC and a number of individual
defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act"), 15 U.S.C. Sections 78j(b)
and 78t, and SEC Rule 10b-5, 17 C.F.R. Section 240.10b-5,
promulgated thereunder.

The plaintiffs maintain that these statements and omissions
artificially inflated the value of the Company's stock during
the Class Period and allowed the defendants to obtain
substantial bonuses and salaries. The publication of a Bloomberg
News investigative article November 2, 2005 began a chain of
revelations about SFBC that culminated on December 15, 2005,
when the Company announced the results of an investigation by
two outside law firms.

Among other things, the news articles and law firm investigation
revealed that the defendants had failed to disclose that:

     (1) SFBC had used payment schemes to discourage drug trial
         participants from reporting uncomfortable or adverse
         reactions to drug tests, thus assuring the
         manufacturers' continuation of the tests;

     (2) SFBC officials had threatened to deport some drug trial
         participants who were undocumented aliens;

     (3) There were inherent conflicts of interest in the
         Company's management structures and regulatory
         controls, including the fact that one of its
         Institutional Review Boards was owned an SFBC
         executive's wife;

     (4) The Company's vice president of legal affairs had a
         history of run-ins with regulatory agencies and has a
         close relationship with SFBC's Chairman of the Board,
         who substantially benefited from the sale of
         artificially inflated SBFC stock; and SFBC's chairman
         was never licensed to practice medicine in the United
         States, though the Company repeatedly described her as
         a medical doctor in its literature and SEC filings.

From the day Bloomberg published its first article November 2,
2005 until December 15, 2005, the Company's stock price fell
more than 60%, from $41.49 to $15.78.

For more information, contact Michael J. Pucillo, Esq., Jay W.
Eng, Esq. of Berman DeValerio Pease Tabacco Burt & Pucillo,
Esperante Building, 222 Lakeview Avenue, Suite 900, West Palm
Beach, FL 33401, E-mail: lawfla@bermanesq.com; Phone:
(561) 835-9400.


SFBC INTERNATIONAL: Hanzman & Criden Files Securities Fraud Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Hanzman & Criden, P.A. initiated class action in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on
behalf of all persons who purchased the publicly traded
securities of SFBC International, Inc. between February 17, 2004
and December 15, 2005, inclusive.  A copy of the complaint is
available from the Court, or by calling (305) 357-9010.

The complaint alleges that defendants violated federal
securities laws by issuing a series of materially false
statements concerning SFBC's business condition. Specifically,
defendants touted the Company's strong revenue, earnings, and
its ability to outperform competitors and obtain large contracts
from drug companies, because of the large numbers of
participants its facilities could handle, and its ability to
quickly recruit participants for drug trails. SFBC's financial
success, however, was the result of business practices that were
improper and reckless, and if discovered, would cause the
Company to lose its credibility for accurate drug testing, and
thus lose customers, expose the Company to fines and possible
lawsuits from victims of faulty drugs, and face heavy regulation
such that its ability to outperform competitors and quickly
recruit large groups of participants could no longer be
sustained.

When news of SFBC's improper business practices was revealed to
the market beginning on November 2, 2005, through the end of the
Class Period on December 15, 2005, the Company's stock price
fell more than 60% from $41.49 to $15.78.

For more information, contact Kevin Love at Hanzman & Criden, E-
mail: klove@hanzmancriden.com; Phone: (305) 357-9000.


SFBC INTERNATIONAL: Labaton Sucharow Files Securities Fraud Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Labaton Sucharow & Rudoff LLP initiated a class action lawsuit
in the United States District Court for the District of New
Jersey, on behalf of persons who purchased or otherwise acquired
publicly traded securities of SFBC International, Inc. between
August 4, 2003 and December 15, 2005, inclusive.  The lawsuit
was filed against SFBC and certain officers and directors.  See
http://www.labaton.com/get/?case=SFBCfor a copy of the  
complaint.

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


     (1) The Company failed to prevent participants from
         applying to concurrent drug trials at other facilities
         run by the Company; The Company engaged in highly
         improper and reckless recruiting processes;

     (2) The Company used unethical compensation schemes to
         assure that its trial participants did not report
         adverse reactions to drugs;

     (3) The Company kept in place management structures and
         regulatory controls which were wrought with conflicts
         of interest;

     (4) As a result, a material portion of SFBC's revenue
         growth resulted from, and was anticipated to continue
         to be generated from, highly improper business
         practices and faulty drug trials; and

     (5) Defendants hid their improper business practices so
         that SFBC could continue to report positive trends in
         revenue, earnings, and stress their ability to
         outperform the competition due to the large number of
         testers and facilities it could operate and its ability
         to quickly.

On November 2, 2005, certain issues concerning the health safety
of human drug testing at SFBC were revealed. In reaction to the
news article, shares of SFBC declined almost $10 per share, or
approximately 26.3% to close at $27.91 per share on November 3,
2005. On November 16, 2005, Bloomberg revealed that SFBC had
threatened using deportation for Latin American immigrants who
participated in its trials who disclosed the health risks in the
Company's administration of these trials. SFBC reacted
negatively to this news as well, falling $7.20 per share, or
21.7% to close at $25.97 per share. On December 15, 2005, SFBC
lowered its profit expectations for 2005 to a range of $1.56 to
$1.61 per share from a previous range of $1.66 to $1.72 per
share. Additionally, on that day, Bloomberg published another
article where it indicated that nine participants in a September
drug trial tested positive for latent tuberculosis. In reaction
to this news shares of SFBC fell $1.88 per share, or
approximately 10.7% to close at $15.78 per share on December 15,
2005.

For more information, contact Christopher Keller, Esq. of
Labaton Sucharow & Rudoff LLP, Phone: 800-321-0476.


SFBC INTERNATIONAL: Lerach Coughlin Files Securities Fraud Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP initiated a
class action in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of Florida on behalf of purchasers of SFBC
International, Inc. publicly traded securities between August 4,
2003 and December 15, 2005.  A copy of the complaint is at
http://www.lerachlaw.com/cases/sfbc/.

The complaint charges SFBC and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. SFBC is a drug development services company, which
provides a range of early and late stage clinical drug
development services to branded pharmaceutical, biotechnology,
generic drug, and medical device companies worldwide.

The complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period,
defendants made materially false and misleading statements
regarding the Company's business and prospects, including that
it was achieving record results from its worldwide recognition
as a top drug development services company. As a result of the
defendants' false statements, SFBC stock traded at inflated
levels during the Class Period, whereby the Company's top
officers and directors sold more than $29 million worth of their
own shares together with assisting the Company to sell more than
$326 million worth of the Company shares in three separate
offerings.

On November 2, 2005, however, Bloomberg ran an article revealing
the true nature of the Company's business. The article revealed,
among other things, that, in order to insure that it had enough
participants for its drug testing contracts, the Company
provided inadequate disclosures in its consent forms regarding
the dangers of particular tests, and that the Company had
manipulated participants vis-a-vis its compensation payments to
assure its participants would not drop out of a drug testing
trial or report uncomfortable or adverse reactions to a drug. In
a related article on November 16, 2005, Bloomberg reported that
the Company's top officers and directors had confronted certain
participants they believed to have been responsible for
revealing information to Bloomberg and advised them that they
would call the Immigration and Naturalization Service and have
them deported unless they signed sworn statements containing
false statements contradicting those in the Bloomberg article.

Then, on December 15, 2005, SFBC announced the results of its
own "internal investigation" of the allegations in the Bloomberg
articles. According to the complaint, the "internal
investigation" was actually a concerted effort to "white-wash"
the complicity of SFBC's senior officers and directors and
failed to explain the defects in SFBC's recruiting and
administrative practices. From the day before Bloomberg
published its first article on November 2, 2005, through the end
of the Class Period on December 15, 2005, SFBC's stock price
fell from $41.49 to $15.78, a 61% drop.

Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of all purchasers
of SFBC publicly traded securities during the Class Period.

For more information, contact plaintiff's counsel, William
Lerach or Darren Robbins of Lerach Coughlin, Phone: 800/449-4900
or 619/231-1058: E-mail: wsl@lerachlaw.com.


                            *********


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collectively face billions of dollars in asbestos-related
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                            *********


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
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Copyright 2006.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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