/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/061229.mbx             C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

            Friday, December 29, 2006, Vol. 8, No. 258


AMERIGROUP CORP: Feb. Hearing Set for $5M Stock Suit Settlement
AUSTRALIA: Market Users Seek High Court Help to Stop MMA Move
BLOCKBUSTER INC: Court Issues Opinion in Suit Over Fee Program
BLUE CROSS: Calif. Doctors to Join Insurance Rescission Lawsuit
CANADA: Attorney to Block Cash Offer Over Herbicide Spraying

CANADA: Court to Hear Papaschase Indian's City Land-Claim Case
CANADA: Plaintiff in Tainted Blood Case Seeks Change of Venue
CELEBRATE EXPRESS: Recalls Rings Over Lead Poisoning Hazard
CLEAN HARBORS: Faces Ark. Lawsuits Over 2005 Incinerator Fire
CONSTANTINE CANNON: Issues Update on Merchants' Suit Settlement

ELI LILLY: Former Salesperson Files Lawsuit For Overtime Wages
FOREST HILL: Faces Tenn., Mich. Suits Over Funeral Policies
G. WILLI-FOOD: Receives $5.6M Lawsuit Over Tuna Product Content
HANOVER DIRECT: Amended Complaint Filed For Privatization Suit
HOGLA-KIMBERLY LTD: Faces Lawsuit in Israel Over "Kleenex"

LANTRONIX INC: Settles Calif. Securities Litigation for $15.2M
MASSACHUSETTS: Settlement Entitles LCDHC Tenants to Back Rent
MICROSOFT CORP: Repeat Witnesses Okayed in Iowa Antitrust Case
MONY LIFE: Mich. Lawsuit Over Life Insurance Policies Dismissed
PHILIPPINES: Local Journalists File P15M Suit v. First Gentleman

TEXAS: City Faces Suit Over "Unconstitutional" Rental Ordinance
THINKGEEK INC: Recalls RC Helicopter Toys Over Burn Hazard
UNIVERSITY OF B.C.: Canadian Judge Okays Suit Over Parking Rules
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: Still Faces Players' Title IX Suit
WORLDCOM INC: Settlement Fund Initial Distribution Notice Issued

                         Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Denies Sears Move to Junk Ballew Suit
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Elk City Bears Legal Expense for 2 Workers
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Links Dockworker's Death to Exposure
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: USGS Calls for More Study to Detect Risks
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: USG Makes $3.05B Final Payment to PI Trust

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CSR Ltd. Inks $94M Deal With ACE for Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Removal Methods Pose Risk to Safety, ADSSA
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Joy Global Inc. Faces More Than 1,000 Cases
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: U.S. Court Rejects Pittsburgh Corning Plan
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: S.C. Orders Hardie to Pay AUD762T Damages

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Mass. Court OKs Payout to McDonough's Widow
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Canadian Agency Probes Tenant Warning Delay
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Ohio Court Reconsiders in Favor of Elliott
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: S.C. Favors Workers' Board in Gropper Case
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Upholds Decision to Favor A.O. Smith

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: MRCF to Sue Hardie if $1.5B Deal Crashes
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: McDermott Completes B&W Settlement Payments
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Renews Rettig Suit v. General Motors
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Fla. Police Reports Illegal Disposal in Lot
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: School Officials Manage Floor-Tile Removal

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Workers Start Removal in Ga. Public Library

                   New Securities Fraud Cases

IKANOS COMMS: Bruce G. Murphy Files N.Y. Securities Fraud Suit
TECHNICAL OLYMPIC: Saxena White Files Securities Suit in Fla.
TOP TANKERS: Finkelstein Thompson Announces Stock Suit Filing


AMERIGROUP CORP: Feb. Hearing Set for $5M Stock Suit Settlement
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
will hold on Feb. 5, 2007, 11:00 a.m, an approval hearing in the
$5 million settlement of the class action "Illinois State Board
of Investment v. Amerigroup Corp., et al., Case No. 2:05-cv-

The class consists of all persons who purchased or otherwise
acquired shares of Amerigroup Corp. common stock during the
period from Feb. 16, 2005 through Sept. 28, 2005.

The hearing will be at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of Virginia in the courtroom of the Judge Henry Coke

Deadline to file for exclusion and objection is Jan. 26, 2007.  
Deadline to file claims is March 20, 2007.

                        Case Background

In 2005, five company shareholders sued the company in separate
lawsuits, contending that Amerigroup defrauded them.  The suits
were prompted by the collapse of company's stock price after the
disclosure of a third-quarter loss and actuarial difficulties
within the company.   

The state's Board of Investment, which is the overseer of the
assets of public-employee pension funds, was one of five company
shareholders who filed the suit.  It gained lead plaintiff
status when the suits were consolidated in Jan. 10, 2006.

The suit also named as defendants certain company officers,
including Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey L.
McWaters.  He is accused of taking advantage of the favorable
earnings forecasts by selling shares before the company's
disclosures of internal difficulties and its loss for the July-
through-September quarter.  

Earlier, Amerigroup Corp. reached an agreement in principle to
resolve the class action where, the company's insurance carrier
to end all claims against the company will create a settlement
fund of $5,000,000.  In addition, all claims asserted against
the individuals named in the lawsuit will be immediately
dismissed (Class Action Reporter, Oct. 31, 2006).

The settlement is subject to, among other things, execution of a
definitive agreement and the court's approval.  The company
continues to deny wrongdoing.

The suit is "Illinois State Board of Investment v. Amerigroup
Corp., et al., Case No. 2:05-cv-00701-HCM-FBS," filed in the
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia under
Judge Henry C. Morgan, Jr. with referral to Judge F. Bradford

Representing the plaintiffs are:   

     (1) Edward James Powers of Vandeventer Black, LLP, 500   
         World Trade Ctr., Norfolk, VA 23510, Phone: (757) 446-  

     (2) Jeffrey Arnold Breit of Breit Drescher & Imprevento,   
         PC, 1000 Dominion Tower, 999 Waterside Dr., Norfolk, VA   
         23510-3320, Phone: (757) 622-6000; and  

     (3) Michael Andrew Glasser of Glasser & Glasser, PLC, 580   
         E. Main St., Suite 600, Norfolk, VA 23510, Phone: (757)   

Representing the defendants are:   

     (i) Stephen Edward Noona of Kaufman & Canoles, PC, 150 W.   
         Main St., P.O. Box 3037, Norfolk, VA 23510, Phone:   
         (757) 624-3000; and   

    (ii) Jay B. Kasner of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom,  
         LLP & Affiliates, Four Times Square, New York, NY   
         10036, Phone: (212) 735-2628, Fax: (917) 777-2628, E-  
         mail: jkasner@skadden.com.

AUSTRALIA: Market Users Seek High Court Help to Stop MMA Move
Lawyer Paul Somers of Wilmoth Field Warne prepared a writ to be
heard in the Supreme Court in a bid to prevent the Melbourne
Wholesale Markets from moving to Epping, The Star News Group

In November, lawyers representing an alliance of market users
lodged a class action against the Melbourne Market Authority
(MMA) claiming, among other things, that stallholders were not
offered compensation for the proposed move from Footscray to

Stallholders claim they had previously been encouraged to invest
in the existing Footscray Rd. site and detail millions of
dollars worth of equipment in the writ, including cool rooms,
weighing and packaging machines.

The Supreme Court writ also states the MMA refused to renew
leases beyond 2010 - the projected date for the official move to
Cooper St, Epping - therefore devaluing businesses along with a
loss of substantial goodwill.

The writ further states that relocations costs had also not been
factored in.

Market users alliance spokesman Jeffrey Thomas said, "This class
action on behalf of all the market users will expose the
government and we intend to proceed with that.  We will show the
stupidity of this whole exercise."

Mr. Thomas added the class action was not a desperate action,
despite the recent setback in the state election: Liberal leader
Ted Baillieu had promised that if elected he would keep the
wholesale markets at Footscray Rd.

It is the latest move in a long-running battle between the
market users, who are refusing to pack up their Footscray home,
and the State Government.

Stallholders have previously threatened to buy their own site
and privatize the market like those in Queensland and NSW.

Mr. Thomas said users were hoping to start talks with the newly
appointed agriculture and major project ministers.

"The government might see a bit more sense now. It's just futile
building a market at Epping if people aren't going to go there,"
he said.

Mr. Thomas also suggested the MMA, which has stuck to the State
Government line, is becoming concerned over the protracted
disputes over the move to Epping.

A spokesman for new Agriculture Minister Joe Helper said the
Melbourne Wholesale Markets would be moving to Epping.

"The Bracks Government made the decision to relocate the markets
to the North after overwhelming tenant support for the Epping
site," he said.

He, however, did not comment on the class action.  A directions
hearing for the class suit is set for Feb. 5, 2007.

BLOCKBUSTER INC: Court Issues Opinion in Suit Over Fee Program
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has stated in
an opinion in the class action against Blockbuster, Inc. that a
defendant has the burden of proof in attempting to remove a case
to federal court, The New York Law Journal reports.

The opinion was an interpretation on the Class Action Fairness
Act (CAFA), a 2005 law designed to expand federal jurisdiction
over class actions.  

Back in March, the court ordered the case back to the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of New York to
determine whether the 2005 statute's requirement that claims of
more than $5 million be at stake had been met in a case charging
that the Blockbuster video chain had been deceptive in promoting
its no-late-fee program.

In ordering its return, the Second Circuit had ordered that the
case to be sent back to Judge George B. Daniels, since CAFA
required appeals to be decided within 60 days after they are

The recently issued opinion explains the Second Circuit's
reasons for its earlier decision, which was handed down by
Judges Richard J. Cardamone, John W. Walker, and Sonia

                        Case Background

Despite the newly issued opinion, there has been no further
development in the case, which was filed by Michael Galeno, the
designated lead plaintiff.

Initially, Mr. Galeno brought the class action in New York state
court on behalf of all New Yorkers claiming that Blockbuster's
no-late-fee policy, which was effective on Jan. 1, 2005, was

Instead of charging late fees, Blockbuster began to charge its
customers the sale price of any video kept for more than eight
days. Blockbuster deducted the initial rental fee from the
price, and also agreed to refund the price (less a $1.25 fee)
for any video returned within 30 days of the sale date.

Under the pressure of a lawsuit brought by the attorneys general
of 47 states and the District of Columbia, Blockbuster agreed to
a settlement that ended the no-late-fee program in March 2005.

The New York lawsuit, which was filed about three weeks before
the practice was ended, differed from the suit brought by the
attorneys general in that it is seeking statutory and common law
damages for New Yorkers who were assessed fees after the no-
late-fee policy went into effect, according to Michael P.
Malakoff, who represents the plaintiffs.  A class has yet to be

Shortly after the plaintiffs filed their lawsuit on Feb. 25,
2005, Blockbuster removed it to federal court under CAFA, which
makes removal easier by relaxing requirements for diversity and
removal.  CAFA also requires that to sustain jurisdiction, there
be 100 plaintiffs and a minimum of $5 million to be at stake.

                  Second Circuit's Explanation

In explaining its ruling, Judge Cardamone pointed out that the
crucial question before the court was whether CAFA changed the
prior rule that required Blockbuster, as the party seeking
removal, to sustain the burden of proving that removal was

Judge Daniels had not squarely addressed that question, in
rejecting the plaintiffs' request that the case be returned to
state court, according to the Second Circuit's opinion.

Turning to the burden-of-proof question, the opinion concluded
that CAFA left intact the old rule that the party seeking
removal has the burden.

Thus, the judge remanded the case back to Judge Daniels to
determine whether Blockbuster could make a sufficient showing
that the $5 million threshold in potential damages had been met.

Judge Cardamone noted that the statute did not explicitly repeal
the pre-existing rule and shift the burden to the plaintiffs to
prove that removal was inappropriate under the act's standards.

The judge also discounted Blockbuster's reliance on language in
a U.S. Senate committee report, stating that the named
plaintiff(s) should bear the burden of demonstrating that the
removal was improvident.

Since the report was issued 10 days after the enactment of CAFA,
Judge Cardamone wrote, that to adopt Blockbuster's position
"would be to ignore the Constitution's requirement of
bicameralism and presentment."

Michael L. Raff, Robert C. Walters, Jennifer B. Poppe, and
Steven Paradise, all of Vinson & Elkins, represented

Representing the plaintiffs in addition to Mr. Malakoff of
Malakoff Doyle & Finberg is Ronen Sarraf of Sarraf Gentile.

BLUE CROSS: Calif. Doctors to Join Insurance Rescission Lawsuit
The national health law firm of Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, Inc.
filed a motion to intervene, requesting that the California
Medical Association, on behalf of its more than 30,000 physician
members, be permitted to join the class action filed in Los
Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of California hospitals.

In October, Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, Inc. filed a class action
complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court, seeking to
expand protection of hospitals statewide from the practice of
retroactively rescinding insurance policy coverage for numerous
patients after the health care services have been provided by
the hospitals (Class Action Reporter, Oct. 17, 2006).

That illegal practice is allegedly being perpetrated by:

     -- Blue Cross of California,
     -- Blue Cross Life and Health, and
     -- their parent company, Wellpoint, Inc.

The complaint in intervention seeks to protect physicians and
their patients from the Blue Cross' illegal practice.  It
specifically seeks to protect them from the practice of
retroactively rescinding insurance policy coverage for patients
after the physicians have provided the necessary health care

The complaint explains that California law prohibits Blue Cross
from retroactively denying payment after the services have been
provided in good faith.

The class action and complaint to intervene follow lawsuits that
were filed by Hooper, Lundy & Bookman in May of this year, on
behalf of hospitals challenging these types of retroactive
policy rescissions.

"Blue Cross' tactics have been to divide and conquer," said
Daron Tooch, one of the lead attorneys in the case.  "We believe
that health care providers and their patients have the same
interests in this matter, and that ultimate resolution of the
issues involving Blue Cross' retroactive rescission of patient
policies needs to be achieved at the same time and in the same

Blue Cross has been the subject of dozens of lawsuits by
patients alleging that Blue Cross routinely looks for after-the-
fact reasons to cancel policies by reviewing previously approved

The rescissions, however, directly impact the hospitals and
physicians, because they are not being paid for their services,
and instead are being directed by Blue Cross to collect from the

"The entire health care system is strained when insurers do not
pay valid claims based on improper rescissions," said Glenn
Solomon, who filed the complaint with Mr. Tooch. "Patients
suffer and providers are weakened. Plus, it pushes more people
onto the roles of the uninsured, which strains limited public

The case is BC360235 (CCW).

For more information, contact Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, Inc., Los
Angeles Daron Tooch, Principal, 310-551-8192 Cell: 310-702-8192
Glenn Solomon, Principal, 310-551-8179 Cell: 310-503-2553,
Website: http://www.health-law.com.

CANADA: Attorney to Block Cash Offer Over Herbicide Spraying
Tony Merchant, an attorney representing former workers at
Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, says he will challenge a federal
compensation package expected for people harmed by herbicide
spraying, The CBC News reports.

According to Mr. Merchant, the government should not offer
people payments until a lawsuit he is in the process of
launching is resolved.

Back in Nov., a health report revealed that soldiers who trained
near spraying areas at the base were not at risk of long-term
health effects.

The report studied 50 years of chemical spraying on the base,
and concluded that contractors who mixed and sprayed herbicides
were at risk of long-term illness, including cancer and a
variety of immune, reproductive and nervous system problems.  It
pointed out though that soldiers who trained near the spraying
would not have become sick as a result.

Mr. Merchant is trying to get the courts to certify or approve a
class action on behalf of hundreds of former base workers.  He
is worried that the government will use the recent report to
pressure the soldiers to accept a relatively small compensation
package in exchange for their right to sue for more.

He is asking a judge in Newfoundland to block any compensation
offer until the suit goes ahead.  If the judge won't do that,
Mr. Merchant wants the court to order the government to explain
the options available to former base workers.

It was earlier reported that Veterans Affairs Minister Greg
Thompson hoped to take a compensation package to federal cabinet
in the fall for people who claimed that they harmed by defoliant
spraying at CFB Gagetown (Class Action Reporter, Nov. 10, 2006).

According to the minister, he expects the proposed compensation
to be around $20,000 per person, but cabinet ultimately will
approve the amount.

The money could be handed out next year to people, who claim to
have suffered, because of the chemical sprays applied liberally
to the sprawling training base in southern New Brunswick from
the 1950s to the 1980s.

The spray programs included U.S. military tests of defoliants
such as Agent Orange and Agent Purple in the 1960s.  The sprays
were used along with a host of other agents to clear jungles
during the Vietnam War.

Hundreds of people who worked on the base or lived near it when
the aerial sprays were used say the spraying activities harmed
their health.

Minister Thompson though cautions that compensation will be
limited to people that can prove they are suffering from
illnesses linked to exposure to toxins in the chemical sprays.

He adds that the government will rely on research put together
by the U.S. Institute of Medicine, which has listed five
conditions linked to Agent Orange exposure, including non-
Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, a type of leukemia and
soft tissue sarcomas.

The institute has also identified several other diseases that
may be associated with dioxin exposure, including prostate
cancer, diabetes and spina bifida in the children of veterans.

When asked about the compensation process, the minister said
that most of it would hinge on existing medical information,
which has been established by the U.S. Institute of Medicine,
where most of the research has been done on Agent Orange.  He
pointed out "that is where the consideration for compensation
will have to fall, on that body of medicine."

Merchant Law Group on the Net: http://www.merchantlaw.com/.

CANADA: Court to Hear Papaschase Indian's City Land-Claim Case
Alberta Court of Appeal gave a group of five people, who say
that they are descendants of the Papaschase Indian band, the
right to go to trial with their land claim for a portion of
south Edmonton worth CAD$2.5 billion, The Edmonton Journal

Essentially, Justice Jean Cote overturned a September 2004 Court
of Queen's Bench ruling and decided the group will get to argue
its case at trial.

In his written decision, Justice Cote noted that as the lands
once constituting the cancelled reserve are now a big part of
Edmonton, any amount of money presumably could be huge.

Chief Rose Lameman of the Papaschase Indian band expressed her
joy at the decision by saying that this is the first positive
decision the have had.

Chief Lameman, 51, is the great great granddaughter of Chief
Papastayo, who signed a treaty in 1877 for about 130 square

Ten years later that land was lost in what Chief Lameman calls
"an illegal surrender."  It was an event she heard about
frequently as she was growing up.  

Chief Lameman left the province to pursue a social sciences
degree at the University of Ottawa.  However, when she returned
to run the Calgary Native Women's Shelter, she soon became
immersed in the issue.  

In 1999, she was elected chief of the band and two years later
they filed their class action against the federal government.

Though not officially recognized by the federal government, the
band wants its status reinstated and compensation for the
reserve land it surrendered in 1886.

According to Judge Cote's decision, in the 1800s, the newly
formed Papaschase Indian band got a reserve, which members
quickly abandoned.  

The small band was made up of about 80 people, about 10 of them
adult men.  Some members gave up their status as treaty Indians
and became Metis, while others moved to other reserves and
joined other bands.  

The government then cancelled the reserve, sold the lands and
handed money from the sale over to the Enoch band.  It is
believed that about 10 Papaschase members moved to the Enoch

In the lawsuit, the band argues that the land sale was invalid,
since a majority of male band members needed to vote to approve
the land's surrender.  There is evidence that only three men
signed the surrender.

The Crown has argued the land sale was properly authorized and
that the plaintiffs have no right to sue, since they do not
represent the Papaschase Indian band and are not successors to
the land's title.

After the lawsuit was filed, the Crown immediately tried to have
it thrown out.  A Court of Queen's Bench justice largely
dismissed the lawsuit two years ago, but the band appealed.

In its recent decision, the Court of Appeal rejected and
criticized argument after argument from the band's lawyer.

Judge Cote though acknowledged the possibility that there are
living descendants of the tiny band who might have a claim on
the land.  

It could also be argued that descendants of about 10 Papaschase
band members who moved to the Enoch band might have some special
standing to make a land claim, Judge Cote added.

The judge essentially concluded that the complex land claim on
behalf of Papaschase descents should go to court so a trial
judge can decide on the issues.

CANADA: Plaintiff in Tainted Blood Case Seeks Change of Venue
One of the still living plaintiffs in a class action over
Canada's tainted blood scandal is asking for a change of venue
of the case, NorthernLife.ca reports.

Chris Leblanc, 25, is now the centerpiece of the case.  The
Greater Sudbury resident contracted HIV from tainted blood when
he was a toddler.  

Two of the other plaintiffs have died from tainted blood
complications though their estates are named.  Despite that the
case continues to move through the country's legal system.

The CAD$450-million lawsuit claims that federal government
employees purposely destroyed key documents surrounding Canada's
the scandal.  

It targeted the Attorney General of Canada, federal minister of
Health, and former blood services employees, accusing them of
knowingly destroying documents.

Back in 2000, an Ontario judge awarded Mr. Leblanc more than
$660,000 in damages, but the federal government appealed the
decision and the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned it.

Soon after, Mr. Leblanc's lawyer, Ken Arenson, initiated the
class action, which is now representing more than 1,100 people
infected with tainted blood.

Messrs. Leblanc and Arenson filed the "change of venue
application" in the Sudbury courthouse this month.  Justice
Patricia Hennessy heard arguments over whether Mr. Leblanc
should be able to proceed in the class action here in Sudbury or
have to travel for trial to Toronto.  

The judge's decision on the change of venue application is
expected early 2007.  Mr. Arenson said he's hopeful the trial
could begin by the summer or fall of 2007.

A huge part of Mr. Arenson's lawsuit deals with the destroyed
documents as the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled there was
insufficient evidence before the original judge for her to have
ruled in favor of Mr. Leblanc and the other plaintiffs,
according to Mr. Arenson.

The class action states that plaintiffs have "suffered
physically, psychologically and emotionally, in the form of
mental distress, anger, depression and anxiety as a direct
result of the defendants spoilation of verbatim records."

It also states having those records would have allowed
plaintiffs to obtain significantly better settlements and be
able to prove liability and win trials in other cases.

According to a 77-page statement of claim, Mr. Leblanc and other
plaintiffs are part of a large group of representatives who
received either of the Extraordinary Assistance Programs (EAP)
from the federal government or who lost lawsuits or accepted
reduced payment compared to tort damages to release their claims
for compensation for HIV infection due to tainted blood.

The statement alleges Canadian Blood Committee (CBC) members
knowingly destroyed verbatim records of committee meetings,
which contained material evidence on liability for tainted blood

The class action asks all 1,100 plaintiffs receive:

      -- CAD$20,000 each in punitive and exemplary damages,
      -- another CAD$20,000 each in aggravated damages for
         mental distress, and

      -- a fund of CAD$350 million be established to be settled
         by a trustee administered under court supervision.

The statement of claim alleges the EAP payment offered to
hundreds of plaintiffs was "much below" the level of
compensation for the injuries in question.

The EAP program was introduced with the realization victims were
free to sue other non-federal players in the blood system,
namely those in the provincial sector.

The statement claims no disclosure was made concerning the
destruction of verbatim records of CBC meetings by the federal
government, greatly reducing the chances of success at trial and
during the appeals process.

It's alleged that CBC staffers sought and obtained permission to
destroy verbatim records in May of 1989.  Defendants destroyed
evidence they knew or ought to have known would be material to
the success of accruing claims for injury from HIV-tainted blood
products, according to the statement of claim.

CELEBRATE EXPRESS: Recalls Rings Over Lead Poisoning Hazard
Celebrate Express Inc., of Kirkland, Washington, in cooperation
with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, is recalling
about 194,000 gigantic gemstone rings.

The company said the recalled rings could contain high levels of
lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause
adverse health effects.  No injuries or incidents have been

The recalled children's Gigantic Gemstone Ring toy is a silver-
colored metallic ring with a large plastic gemstone.  The
gemstone colors include: blue, red, purple, green and clear.  
The rings were sold individually and as part of various party
favor, costume and heirloom sets.

These gigantic gemstone rings were manufactured in China and are
being sold at Celebrate Express' Birthday Express, Costume
Express and Storybook Heirloom Web sites and catalogs, and at
the Birthday Express retail outlet store located in Kirkland,
Wash.  The recalled products were sold from October 2003 through
October 2006 for about $1.50.

Picture of the recalled gigantic gemstone rings:

Consumers are advised to take the recalled party favors away
from children immediately and contact the company for a refund.  
Celebrate Express has directly contacted purchasers of the
products by mail.

For more information, call Celebrate Express at (888) 551-3995
between 4:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, or visit
the firm's Web site: http://www.celebrateexpress.com.

CLEAN HARBORS: Faces Ark. Lawsuits Over 2005 Incinerator Fire
Clean Harbors El Dorado, LLC, faces several purported class
actions in arising from a fire on Jan. 2, 2005, at the
incineration facility owned and operated, according to the
company's Nov. 13, 2006 Form 10-Q filing with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission for the period ended Sept.
30, 2006.

On Aug. 18, 2006, the Clean Harbors, Inc., purchased all of the
outstanding membership interests in Teris LLC, a Delaware
limited liability company, and changed the name of Teris to
Clean Harbors El Dorado, LLC (CH El Dorado).  As a result of
that purchase, CH El Dorado became a wholly owned subsidiary of
the Clean Harbors, Inc.  

At the time of the acquisition, Teris was, and CH El Dorado now
is, involved in certain legal proceedings arising from a fire on
a Jan. 2, 2005, at the incineration facility owned and operated
by Teris in El Dorado, Arkansas.

The fire destroyed a warehouse on the facility site but there
were no personal injuries to any Teris personnel.  The decision
was made early after the report of the fire to let it burn
itself out.  

Teris notified the appropriate regulatory bodies, including the
Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the EPA, which
sent personnel to the facility shortly after the fire, was

Continuous air monitoring during the fire and extensive soil and
water sampling after the fire was extinguished has revealed no
migration of hazardous materials off the plant site.

As a precautionary measure, the El Dorado police ordered a
number of nearby residents to be evacuated from their homes

Ultimately, certain of those residents filed three lawsuits in
the Circuit Court of Union County, Arkansas against Teris
claiming nuisance, property damage, personal injury, diminished
value of property, and the need for future medical monitoring.  

All three suits claimed the right to be certified as class
actions.  Two of the suits also claimed violation of various
federal environmental statutes.  

The third suit specifically stated that it was not claiming that
any federal statutes or regulations were violated.  The two
suits claiming violation of federal law were removed to the U.S.
District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.  

Those suits were ultimately remanded back to the state court
after the federal judge found that the plaintiffs had failed to
provide notice of the alleged violations of federal law to the
appropriate federal agencies and that there was no other basis
for federal court jurisdiction because the amount of each
individual plaintiff's claim would not exceed $75 thousand.  
They are now in state court awaiting the outcome of the appeal
of class certification in the third suit.  

The third suit was certified as a class action by the state
court judge in July 2006.  That order has been appealed to the
Arkansas Supreme Court.  Briefing time has not yet been
scheduled but it is anticipated that the appeal of class
certification will not be decided until late 2007 or early 2008.

CONSTANTINE CANNON: Issues Update on Merchants' Suit Settlement
Constantine Cannon (formerly Constantine & Partners) has
directed the claims administrator in "Visa Check/MasterMoney
Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 96-5238," to mail checks to class
members for overcharges on Visa and MasterCard signature debit
and credit card transactions during the period October 1992 to
July 2003.  

These payments include claims that were filed and approved by
March 10, 2006 that did not involve the consolidation of
multiple store locations or divisions.  Claims that required
consolidation and were filed and approved by Oct. 20, 2006, are
also being paid at this time.  

This distribution of approximately 128,000 payments involves
more than $300 million.  This is the third round of
distribution, the first having occurred in December 2005 and the
second in June 2006, involving more than $650 million in claim

Constantine Cannon, the lead counsel in the case expects that
the remaining claim forms involving payments for signature debit
and credit card overcharges will be approved and ready for
payment before the end of 2007.  It also expects that payments
for online PIN debit overcharges will be made to all or most
qualifying class members in 2007.

Among the 128,000 checks to be mailed by the claims
administrator during the next few days, there are approximately
29,400 checks of $1,000.00 or more; 1,790 checks of $10,000.00
or more; 308 checks of $100,000.00 or more; and 40 checks of
$1,000,000.00 or more.

In addition to this cash monetary relief, the settlement in this
case includes an injunction valued by the court in the range of
$25-$87 billion to U.S. merchants and consumers.  

In approving the settlement, the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of New York and the U.S. Court of Appeals for
the Second Circuit stated that it is "the largest antitrust
settlement in history," that "the compensatory relief by itself
constitutes the largest settlement ever approved by a federal
court;" and "produced significant and lasting benefits for
America's merchants and consumers."

                         Case Background

The $3.1 billion settlement fund stems from class action
captioned, "In re Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation,"
which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of New York.  

The suit was between retailers nationwide and credit providers
Visa and MasterCard and relates to how the stores process
transactions made with debit cards, which deduct cash from
consumers' existing bank accounts, rather than building up their
debt with credit accounts.  

It charges both MasterCard and Visa USA with violating U.S.
antitrust law by monopolistic and anticompetitive business
practices concerning debit cards.

The suit specifically alleges that Visa and MasterCard violated
antitrust laws by insisting that merchants who accept their
credit cards must also accept their debit cards, and also that
the two card companies charge unfair fees, eventually driving up
costs for consumers, (Class Action Reporter, April 30, 2003).

The case was certified as a class action in February of 2000,
included five million merchants in the U.S. and is said to
involve billions of dollars.

On the eve of trial, the parties agreed to settle with the final
settlement agreements being signed on June 4, 2003 and the
federal judge overseeing the case, Judge John Gleeson, granting
preliminary approval to the deal and the notice plan on June 13,
2003, (Class Action Reporter story July 24, 2003).  

Objections to the terms of the settlements and plan of
allocation were due last Sept. 5, 2003.  A fairness hearing took
place on September 25, 2003, in U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of New York before Judge Gleeson.

The settlement will bring awards ranging from healthy to
adequate.  According to those overseeing the suit, the $3
billion-plus compensation should begin in 2006.  

They say that the antitrust class award would go to all
businesses and organizations in the United States that accepted
Visa and MasterCard debit and credit cards between Oct. 25, 1992
and June 21, 2003, (Class Action Reporter, Nov. 24, 2005).

Alongside the $3 billion compensation award, the settlement also
called for the providers to stop requiring merchants that accept
credit cards to also accept certain debit card transactions. The
companies also agreed to lower debit card fees that they charge
merchants for an interim period, by one-third.

Some of retail's heaviest hitters led the suit, including Wal-
Mart Stores Inc., Sears Roebuck and Co., Circuit City Stores
Inc. and Safeway Inc.  Those stores will collect exponentially
more than a business the size of the smaller companies involved
in the case.

For more details, call 1-888-641-4437 or 212-350-2799 or visit,

The suit is "Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, et al v. Visa USA, Inc., et
al, Case No. 1:96-cv-05238-JG-RLM," filed in the U.S. District
Court for the Eastern District of New York, under Judge John
Gleeson with referral to Roanne L. Mann.  

Representing the plaintiffs are Lloyd Constantine, Matthew L.
Cantor, Jeffrey Issac Shinder and Robert L. Begleiter of
Constantine Cannon, P.C., 477 Madison Ave., 11th Floor, New
York, NY 10022, Phone: 212-350-2700, Fax: 212-350-2701, E-mail:
lconstatine@cpny.com, mcantor@cpny.com, jshinder@cpny.com and

Representing the defendants are:

     (1) Kevin J. Arquit of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, 425
         Lexington Ave., 29th Floor, New York, NY 10017, Phone:
         (212) 455-7680 or -2000, Fax: (212) 455-2502, E-mail:
         karquit@stblaw.com, and

     (2) Stephen V. Bomse, Brian P. Brosnahan and Thomas P.
         Brown of Heller, Ehrman, White and McAuliffe, 333 Bush
         St., Suite 3100, San Francisco, CA 94104-2878, Phone:
         (415) 772-6000, E-mail: sbomse@hewm.com,
         bbrosnahan@hewm.com and tbrown@hewm.com.

ELI LILLY: Former Salesperson Files Lawsuit For Overtime Wages
Eli Lilly & Co. faces a purported class action from one of its
former employees, seeking back pay as far back as six years, The
Associated Press reports.

The suit was by Susan Schaefer LaRose.  Her lawsuit, part of a
series of class action claims filed in November against nine
major drug companies, seeks tens of millions of dollars in back
pay for the thousands of drug company salespeople across the

According to Mrs. Schaefer LaRose, a 50-year-old mother of two
from Chittenango, N.Y., she was told when she started with Eli
Lilly that she was exempt from overtime and she never thought to
question it.

The lawsuits, filed in New York, California, New Jersey and
Connecticut, are the latest in a series of mass tort claims
seeking overtime pay from U.S. businesses in recent years.

The company lawsuits seek overtime wages dating back two to six
years, under federal and state statutes of limitations.

Other pharmaceutical companies affected by the lawsuits are:

      -- Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc.,
      -- AstraZeneca PLC,
      -- Pfizer, Inc.,
      -- Johnson & Johnson,
      -- Amgen, Inc.,
      -- Hoffman Larouch,
      -- GlaxoSmithKline PLC, and
      -- Bayer AG.

FOREST HILL: Faces Tenn., Mich. Suits Over Funeral Policies
Forest Hill Cemeteries and Funeral Homes and its owner, Clayton
Smart are facing five purported class action in Tennessee and
Michigan over allegations that its owners are not honoring pre-
need funeral policies, WMC-TV reports.

B.J. Wade of Glassman, Edwards, Wade & Wyatt P.C. is the lead
attorney in one of five class actions.

Policyholders of pre-need burial contracts sued less than a week
after the company announced it would not honor the policies.  In
one of the suits, they allege that the company intentionally
deceived them into thinking that the contracts would be fully
honored (Class Action Reporter, July 17, 2006).

Mr. Wade, and Tom Clary, also of Glassman, Edwards, Wade & Wyatt
P.C. and Martin Zummach of Sparkman-Zummach on behalf of Dianne
Camp and David Camp of Mississippi, filed that suit.

According to the complaint, the words and actions of company in
informing plaintiffs and the general public that the pre-need
contracts would no longer be honored amounts to a total and
unqualified refusal to perform the pre-need contracts.

Mr. Smart, the owner of the three funeral homes and 270 acres of
cemeteries making up the Forest Hill properties, previously said
that his company would no longer honor the policies, since a
trust fund it was supposed to maintain to cover the contracts
was insufficient.

The announcement constituted an anticipatory breach of contract,
according to the complaint, which seeks actual and punitive
damages as well as other remedies to be determined by the court.

Another class action is also in the works against the funeral
home.  To be filed by Germantown attorney Kevin Snider, it could
name up to 20 plaintiff's making the same claims.  Mr. Snider is
claiming the funeral home violated at least four state laws
including the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act.

For more details, contact:

     (1) Glassman, Edwards, Wade & Wyatt, P.C., 26 N. Second
         Street, Memphis, TN 38103, Phone: (901) 527-4673, Fax:
         (901) 521-0940, Web site: http://www.gewwlaw.com;and

     (2) Sparkman-Zummach, PC, Phone: 901 757 4838 and 662 349
         6900, Fax: 901 737 2738, E-mail: zummach@aol.com.

G. WILLI-FOOD: Receives $5.6M Lawsuit Over Tuna Product Content
G. Willi-Food International Ltd. received a lawsuit alleging
that the Yavneh, Israel, kosher-food producer misled customers
by "reducing the content in its tuna containers and then
charging the same price as before."

The suit, seeking status as a class action, was filed in Tel
Aviv District Court.

The complaint seeks damages of $5.6 million, half "for return of
the overcharge" and half for "additional compensation," G.
Willi-Food said.

The company believes that the complaint is without merit and
intends to vigorously defend against the litigation.

G. Willi-Food International Ltd. on the Internet:

HANOVER DIRECT: Amended Complaint Filed For Privatization Suit
Hanover Direct, Inc. (PINK SHEETS: HNVD.PK) shareholders, Glenn
Freedman and L.I.S.T., Inc., filed an amended complaint in
Delaware Chancery Court arising out of the previously announced
planned privatization.

On Nov. 27, 2006, an agreement and plan of merger was executed
by and among:

     -- Chelsey Direct, LLC (Chelsey Direct),
     -- Chelsey Acquisition, Inc. and
     -- HDI.

In that deal, Chelsey Direct, HDI's largest shareholder, would
acquire the common stock that it did not already own for $0.25
per share.

The amended complaint amends a complaint filed on March 1, 2006
arising out of Chelsey's initial proposal to take HDI private.
On May 25, 2006, Chelsey withdrew its initial going private

Under the amended complaint, in which HDI, Chelsey and the HDI
directors are named as defendants, follows the execution of the
Merger Agreement and HDI's filing of a Preliminary Proxy
Statement (Proxy) and Schedule 13E-3 with the SEC on Dec. 15,

It alleges, among other things:

     -- that the consideration in the proposed transaction is
        grossly inadequate;

     -- that each of the HDI directors had conflicts of interest
        in approving the merger agreement;

     -- that the Merger Agreement was approved without benefit
        of a fairness opinion, that the valuation analysis
        prepared by Goldsmith, Agio, Helms & Lynner and relied
        upon by HDI and the HDI directors was flawed for a
        number of reasons, including that it did not take into
        account the market price of the HDI common stock;

     -- that Chelsey opportunistically timed the Proposed
        Transaction to freeze out the minority shareholders for
        an inadequate price during what the Amended Complaint
        characterizes as a "temporary" decline in revenues; and

     -- that the proxy is materially false and misleading.

The amended complaint also alleges that the defendants breached
their fiduciary duties of due care and loyalty to the minority
shareholders of HDI which requires that the HDI shareholders be
provided with a fair price and a fair process in a going private
transaction as well as their fiduciary duty of full disclosure.

The plaintiffs seek class certification on behalf of other
minority shareholders, an injunction against the consummation of
the proposed transaction, or rescission and rescissory damages
from Chelsey, if the transaction goes forward, together with

The plaintiffs also filed motions for an expedited proceeding
and for a preliminary injunction against consummation of the
Proposed Transaction.

HDI believes the complaint is without merit and plans a vigorous

Previously, HDI had agreed in a stipulation and order of
dismissal filed on Nov. 27, 2006 in the Delaware Chancery Court,
to hold its annual meeting of shareholders on Jan. 10, 2007 in
response to an action to compel HDI to hold an annual
shareholders meeting filed by Glenn Freedman, one of the
plaintiffs in the action described above.

Because the proxy will not be approved in time to hold the
annual meeting by Jan. 10, 2007, the parties agreed in an
Amended Stipulation and Order filed on Dec. 21, 2006 to postpone
the annual meeting date until the earliest practicable date
following the SEC's review of the Proxy provided that if the
annual meeting has not been held by March 15, 2007, it will be
scheduled to be held on April 15, 2007, subject to further
extension by the parties' agreement or order of the Chancery

Hanover Direct, Inc. on the Net: http://www.hanoverdirect.com.

HOGLA-KIMBERLY LTD: Faces Lawsuit in Israel Over "Kleenex"
Hogla-Kimberly Ltd., an affiliated company of American Israeli
Paper Mills Ltd., faces a petition that seeks for the approval
of a class action.

The petition stated that 3.5 years ago, Hogla-Kimberly reduced
the quantity of paper in the toilet packages of its "Kleenex(R)
Premium" brand.  It alleges that the company misled the public
and is thus in violation of the Israeli Consumer Protection Act.

The plaintiff estimates the scope of the class action to be
approximately NIS43 million ($10.2 million).  The Hogla-Kimberly
rejects the claims and intends to defend itself against the

At this early stage, Hogla-Kimberly is not able to assess the
chances of the class action and its influences.

For more information, contact Philip Y. Sardoff of American
Israeli Paper Mills Ltd., Phone: +1-908 -686-7500, Fax: +1-908-
686- 4757, E-mail: glmcn@aol.corn.

LANTRONIX INC: Settles Calif. Securities Litigation for $15.2M
Lantronix, Inc. announced a $15.2 million settlement for the
class action, "In re Lantronix, Inc. (LTRX) Securities
Litigation, Master File No.: CV-02-3899 GPS (JTLx)," The Orange
County Register reports.

The company said $13.9 million in insurance would pay most of
the settlement.

Beginning on May 15, 2002, a number of securities class actions
were filed against the company and certain of its current and
former directors and former officers alleging violations of the
federal securities laws, consolidated into a single action
entitled, "In re Lantronix, Inc. Securities Litigation, Case No.
CV 02-3899 GPS."  

After the court appointed a lead plaintiff, the plaintiff filed
amended complaints, and the defendants filed various motions to
dismiss directed at particular allegations.  Through that
process, the court dismissed certain of the allegations.

On Oct. 18, 2004, the plaintiff filed the third amended
complaint, which was the operative complaint in the action.  The
complaint alleges violations of Sections 11 and 15 of the U.S.
Securities Act of 1933, as amended and violations of Sections
10(b) and 20(a) and Rule 10b-5 of the U.S. Securities Exchange
Act of 1934, as amended.

The Securities Act claims are brought on behalf of all persons
who purchased common stock of Lantronix pursuant or traceable to
the company's Aug. 4, 2000 initial public offering.

The Exchange Act claims are based on alleged misstatements
related to the company's financial results that were contained
in the Registration Statement and Prospectus for the IPO.  

The claims brought under the Exchange Act are brought on behalf
of all persons and entities that purchased or acquired Lantronix
securities from Nov. 1, 2000 through May 30, 2002.   

The complaint alleges that defendants issued false and
misleading statements concerning the business and financial
condition in order to allegedly inflate the value of the
company's securities during the class period.

The complaint further alleges that during the class period,
Lantronix overstated financial results through improper revenue
recognition and failure to comply with Generally Accepted
Accounting Principles.

While the complaint did not specify the damages plaintiff may
seek on behalf of the purported classes of stockholders, a
recovery by the plaintiff and the plaintiff classes could have a
material adverse impact on the company.  

Recently, the company reached an agreement with plaintiffs to
settle the lawsuit.  The company has also reached agreements
with its relevant insurance carriers with respect to the funding
of the cash portions of the settlement with plaintiffs (Class
Action Reporter, Oct. 3, 2006).

Under the terms of the agreement with the plaintiffs, the
company will not be required to contribute any cash to the
settlement, as all cash contributed would be from the company's
insurance carriers.

However, as part of the agreement with the plaintiffs in the
lawsuit, the company has agreed to issue certain Lantronix
securities to the plaintiffs.  

On Aug. 29, 2006, the court held a hearing to consider a motion
for preliminary approval of the settlement.  It granted
preliminary approval on Sept. 8, 2006 (Class Action Reporter,
Sept. 18, 2006).

Deadline to file claims is Jan. 6, 2007.

The suit is "In re Lantronix, Inc. Securities Litigation, Case
No. CV 02-3899 GPS (JTLx)," is pending in the U.S. District
Court for the Central District of California under Judge George
P. Schiavelli.

Representing the plaintiffs are:  

     (1) Weiss & Yourman (Los Angeles, CA), 10940 Wilshire Blvd.  
         - 24th Floor, Los Angeles, CA, 90024, Phone: 310-725-
         6400 and 310.208.2800, Fax; 310.209.2348, E-mail:  

     (2) Andrew J. Brown of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman  
         and Robbins, 655 West Broadway, Suite 1900, San Diego,  
         CA 92101, Phone: 619-231-1058, E-mail:
         andrewb@lerachlaw.com; and  

     (3) Karnit Daniel of Weiss and Lurie, 10940 Wilshire,  
         Boulevard, 24th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90024, Phone:  
         310-208-2800, E-mail: service@wyca.com.

Representing the defendants are, Keith E. Eggleton, Boris  
Feldman, Kelley E. Moohr and Daniel W. Turbow of Wilson Sonsini  
Goodrich & Rosati, 650 Page Mill Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94304-1050,  
Phone: 650-493-9300, Fax: 650-565-5100.

MASSACHUSETTS: Settlement Entitles LCDHC Tenants to Back Rent
A settlement was reached in a class action that was filed in the
Northeast Housing Court in Massachusetts involving Lynn
Community Development Housing Corp. (LCDHC) and former tenants,
The Daily Item of Lynn reports.

Filed earlier this month in Housing Court, the settlement
entitled former tenants of six different rooming houses in Lynn
to a rent refund and other claims.  Associate Justice David
Kerman approved the deal.

Documents filed in Northeast Housing court revealed that under
the settlement, up to 200 former tenants are eligible for a rent

The suit was based on claims of unfair and deceptive practices
and inadequate living conditions at these buildings.  It was
filed in 1996 on behalf of 15 plaintiffs who were tenants at:

      -- Friend Crest at 52 Friend St.;
      -- New Crest at 50 Andrew St.;
      -- Oxford Crest at 187-189 Oxford St.;
      -- Bel Crest at 63-75 Union St.;
      -- High Crest at 33 High St.; and
      -- Forest Crest at 33 Forest St.

Some of these buildings have since been torn down, but LCDHC
officials were not available to confirm the status of these
rooming houses.

Mark Potvin, the attorney who represented the plaintiffs said
that they see the deal as a fair settlement to a protracted

The case was handled in two parts and a separate settlement
reached a few years ago qualified a number of tenants to federal
relocation funds, according to Mr. Potvin.

Leo Allard is the former owner of the rooming houses, but
foreclosed on these properties.  LCDHC took control of these
properties in 1996, but has since reportedly sold off majority
of the buildings.

Any former tenants who think they are eligible can submit a
settlement claim form to Neighborhood Legal Services in Lawrence
no later than April 30, 2007 to see if they qualify for a

MICROSOFT CORP: Repeat Witnesses Okayed in Iowa Antitrust Case
Judge Scott Rosenberg of the Polk County Circuit Court in Iowa
allows repeat witnesses in the antitrust class action against
Microsoft Corp., The Sioux City Journal reports.

The Polk County jury has already sat through weeks of opening
arguments and 10 hours of taped deposition from Microsoft
Chairman Bill Gates in a trial that's expected to last six

With the judges order Roxanne Conlin, the Iowa attorney
representing plaintiffs, will now be allowed to call the same
witness more than once.

Normally attorneys are not permitted to recall witnesses, but
Ms. Conlin argued that she can explain her case more clearly one
subject at a time and that she may need to recall witnesses to
testify on a variety of topics.

In the case, Ms. Conlin alleges that the computer software
manufacturer violated the state's fair competition laws and
illegally drove prices up for its products.

Plaintiffs in the case are Joe Comes, a Des Moines businessman;
Riley Paint, a small manufacturing plant in southeast Iowa;
Skeffington's Formal Wear of Iowa and Patricia Anne Larsen, a
retiree in northwest Iowa.

Expert witnesses will place damages at more than $330 million
for Iowans who bought certain Microsoft software since 1994.

Company attorneys though have resisted Ms. Conlin's request to
call witnesses multiple times.  One such attorney, Rich Wallis
contends that it drags out a trial and interferes with cross-
examination.  Essentially, according to him, it does make it
more difficult.

Mr. Wallis said he's never heard of a trial conducted in such a
manner, but he has no problem with it if the rule is applied to
both parties.

Judge Rosenberg filed a ruling in Polk County District Court,
which concluded that he does have the authority to control
presentation of witnesses.

According to the judge, Ms. Conlin's request to recall witnesses
"is logical and, in a trial of this length, more likely to
assist the jury in dealing with complex issues."  

He also explained that attorneys may call witnesses more than
once on different issues and subjects, but any witnesses
recalled may not repeat testimony already given unless the court
allows it.

Jurors in the case were sent home for the holidays and will
return in January.

MONY LIFE: Mich. Lawsuit Over Life Insurance Policies Dismissed
A putative class action pending in the U.S. District Court for
Eastern District of Michigan against MONY Life Insurance Company
(MLOA) of America has been dismissed, according to the company's
Nov. 13, 2006 Form 10-Q filing with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission for the period ended Sept. 30, 2006.

The suit is "Stockler v. Mony Life Insurance Company of America"
is in regards to the sale of whole and universal life insurance
policies from the early 1980s through the mid 1990s.

It generally alleges that the company engaged in deceptive sales
practices in connection with the sale of whole and universal
life insurance policies.

Earlier in 2006, MLOA filed a motion for summary judgment that
is currently pending.  However, in March 2006, the case was
dismissed by agreement of the parties.  In September 2006, the
last remaining putative class action was voluntarily dismissed
without prejudice.

PHILIPPINES: Local Journalists File P15M Suit v. First Gentleman
Dozens of Filipino journalists who are facing libel suits filed
by the Philippines' First Gentleman, Jose Miguel Arroyo, are
filing a civil class action suit against the presidential spouse
today (Dec. 28) at the Makati Regional Trial Court, The
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism reports.

Plaintiffs most of whom are charged by Mr. Arroyo with libel are
backed by other journalists, media, and journalists'
organizations.  Such groups include the Philippine Center for
Investigative Journalism and Center for Media Freedom and

They are contesting the First Gentleman's claim that he has been
maligned as a private citizen, for which he is seeking at least
$2,872,275.41 (P141 million) in damages.

The libel cases were in connection with reports of alleged
election fraud and corruption involving Mr. Arroyo.  The
journalists are accusing Mr. Arroyo of trying to stifle freedom
of the press (Class Action Reporter, Nov. 21, 2006).

Retaliating against the charges filed against them, the
journalists are in turn suing Mr. Arroyo for abuse of power and
for seeking to undermine civil liberties.

The suit is asking for about $305,561.21 (P15 million) in
damages for the anxiety, loss of income and other inconveniences
Mr. Arroyo's libel suits have allegedly caused.

However, it also argues that the suits have not only caused the
respondents sleepless nights.  The suits also have a chilling
effect on press freedom, according to plaintiffs.  Should the
case prosper, the sought amount will go into a press freedom

Arguing that the reports are fair commentaries on matters of
public interest, the journalists assert that the "sheer number
of libel suits Mr. Arroyo has filed suggests that these are
primarily intended to intimidate the press and silence

"Mr. Arroyo is not out to defend his honor; he is out to chill
the media in their exercise of the freedom of the press," said
lawyer Harry Roque, a professor of international law at the
University of the Philippines who drafted the complaint in
behalf of the journalists.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines also
expressed support for the journalists who are filing the case.

TEXAS: City Faces Suit Over "Unconstitutional" Rental Ordinance
Latino residents of the Farmers Branch, Texas filed a purported
class in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
Texas, challenging City Ordinance No. 2892, The Courthouse News
Service reports.

On Nov. 13, 2006 the City Council enacted the ordinance, which
requires landlords and property managers of apartment complexes
in Farmers Branch to document the U.S. citizenship or "eligible
immigration stays" of all tenants prior to allowing the tenants
to occupy an apartment.

The ordinance seeks to regulate immigration at the local level
and imposes severe burdens on tenants living in apartment
complexes and the local business people who operate those

However, plaintiffs claim that the ordinance violates the U.S.
Constitution and certain federal statutes.  The ordinance
imposes substantial criminal penalties on property owners,
property managers and tenants, but provides no guidance on its
implementation, putting local business owners and tenants at
substantial and imminent risk of violating a law they cannot
understand, according to the suit.

The ordinance, the suit pointed out, also irrationally
apportions its burdens on classes of tenants and landlords,
exempting some landlords completely from the law's requirements
and banning some lawful immigrants from renting in an apartment

Lead plaintiff Alfredo Vasquez sues on behalf of apartment
landlords who could be fined severely if they violate the city

Plaintiffs claim the City Council has subjected them to
liability for lawsuits from legal permanent residents, and from
families who are forcibly separated, among other things.

Plaintiffs request the following relief:

     -- a declaratory judgment pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sections
        2201 and 2202 declaring the ordinance void because it
        violates numerous provisions of the United States
        Constitution and other federal laws;

     -- a temporary restraining order and a preliminary and/or
        permanent injunction pursuant to Fed. Civ. P. 65
        prohibiting defendant and its officials, employees and
        agents from implementing or enforcing the ordinance;

     -- an order awarding plaintiffs costs and attorneys' fees,
        pursuant to the statutes cited herein, 42 U.S.C. Section
        1988, and any other applicable law; and

     -- such other and further relief as the court deems just
        and proper.

The suit is "Vasquez et al v. City of Farmers Branch, Case No.
3-06CV2376-R," filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of Texas.

Representing plaintiffs are:

     (1) Nina Perales, Marisol L. Perez, David Urias, David
         Hinojosa, Diego Bernal, and Marisa Bono all of the
         Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund,
         110 Broadway St., Suite 300, San Antonio, TX 78205,
         Phone: (210) 224-5476, Fax: (210) 224-5382;

     (2) Lisa Graybill-Legal Director of the American Civil
         Liberties Union Foundation of Texas, 1210 Rosewood
         Avenue, Austin, Texas 78702, Phone: (512) 478-7300,
         Fax: (512) 478-7303;

     (3) Omar C. Jadwat of the American Civil Liberties Union
         Foundation - Immigrants Rights Project, 125 Broad St.,
         18th Fl., New York, NY 10004, Phone: (212) 549-2620,
         Fax: (212) 549-2654;

     (4) David J. Healey of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, 700
         Louisiana Street, Suite 1600, Houston, Texas 77002,
         Phone: (713) 546-5111, Fax: (713) 224-9511; and

     (5) David Broiles of Cagle and Broiles, 100 N. Forest Park,
         Suite 220, Ft. Worth, Texas 76102, Phone: (817) 335-
         3311, Fax: (817) 335-7733.

THINKGEEK INC: Recalls RC Helicopter Toys Over Burn Hazard
ThinkGeek Inc., of Fairfax, Virginia, in cooperation with the
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, is recalling about
1,600 remote-control Dragonfly King HX-242 helicopters, also
known as the Micro R/C Helicopters.

The company said the helicopter battery can overheat and catch
fire, posing a burn hazard to consumers.

ThinkGeek has received five reports of the battery overheating.
No fires or injuries have been reported.

The recalled toy helicopters are remote-controlled lightweight
plastic toy helicopters.  The helicopter is sold with a control
unit, a charger and rechargeable batteries in the body of the
toy.  The body of the helicopter measures about 13 inches in
length and the rotor diameter is about 10 inches.  The
helicopter is yellow and red with green rotors. The helicopter
has a label on the front that reads "Champion HX242 Electric
Power Helicopter."

These recalled remote-controlled helicopter toys were
manufactured in China and are being sold exclusively at
ThinkGeek.com Web site during November 2006 for about $40.

Picture of the recalled remote-controlled helicopter toys:

Consumers are advised to immediately stop using the recalled toy
helicopters and contact ThinkGeek to receive a refund or a
replacement product.

For additional information, contact ThinkGeek at (888) 433-5788
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the
firm's Web site: http://www.thinkgeek.com- consumers may also  
E-mail: recall@thinkgeek.com.

UNIVERSITY OF B.C.: Canadian Judge Okays Suit Over Parking Rules
A judge has approved a class-action suit filed by Daniel
Barbour, a Vancouver chartered accountant, against University of
B.C. (UBC), Keith Fraser of The Province reports.

The suit alleges that the university's parking regulations --
enforced for the past 16 years -- are illegal.  It seeks refunds
for anyone who was issued either a parking fine or a towing
charge at UBC since 1990.

If the judge agrees with Mr. Barbour's arguments, about 100,000
people who have paid nearly CAD$4 million in fines and towing
charges would be eligible to receive a refund from the

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Richard Goepel said in granting
approval that the class action has raised an arguable case as to
the legality of the fines.

He explains that without a class-action suit, UBC's conduct will
go unchallenged because individual claims won't have any impact
and, thus, "a class action is the only realistic method of
challenging the legality of the parking regulations and
modifying UBC's behaviour if that behaviour is found to be

Mr. Barbour, who has been named the representative plaintiff in
the case, filed suit after he was forced to pay CAD$200 when his
car was towed from a parking lot on Wesbrook Mall on March 26,

He was charged with assault after getting into a confrontation
with a tow-truck driver, but a judge who found the tow-truck
driver was at fault dismissed the charge.  

Afterwards, Mr. Barbour, represented by attorney Sharon
Matthews, scrutinized UBC's parking regulations and found what
he considers to be a serious flaw.  His argument is that UBC has
tried to assume enforcement authority through the Motor Vehicle
Act and the Highway Act when it appears to have no authority to
do so.

In addition, he says the regulations were not enacted by the
Lieutenant Governor in Council, contrary to requirements of the
University Act.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: Still Faces Players' Title IX Suit
The University of California - Davis (UCD) remains a defendant
in a purported federal class action filed on behalf of three
former varsity wrestlers and another who had planned to attend
UCD based on its support of women's wrestling, The Davis
Enterprise reports.

The four women are alleging discrimination under Title IX, a
landmark federal law passed in 1972 to ensure equal access to
athletic opportunities.

Plaintiffs are either current students or plan to return to the
university.  Attorney Kristen Galles represents them in the
Title IX case.

Defendants named in the suit include UCD chancellor Larry
Vanderhoef, associate vice chancellor Bob Franks, athletic
director Greg Warzecka, associate athletic directors Pam Gill-
Fisher and Larry Swanson (Class Action Reporter, Dec. 30, 2003).

The suit alleges that cutting women from the wrestling team made
an imbalance on the campus worse.  It is thus seeking
reinstatement for the female wrestlers, an increase in athletic
scholarships for women, and unspecified monetary damages.  

The case stems from the controversial decision to drop two
female athletes, Chris Ng and Arezou Mansourian, from the
wrestling team before the 2000-2001 season.  The women continued
to practice with the team until January 2001.  

At that time, Ms. Mansourian injured her back, but was not
treated by the UCD training staff because she was not officially
a varsity athlete.

That prompted a meeting between Mr. Warzecka and the female
wrestlers, from which both sides emerged with differing stories.

According to wrestling coach Mike Burch, the women were not on
the roster because the athletic department had told him to leave
them off.  "The roster I turned in was the roster they asked of
me," Mr. Burch said.  

However, athletics officials dismissed that claim.  Mr. Gill-
Fisher said that Mr. Burch can say what he wants, but he
reiterated that they don't create these rosters.

That discrepancy was the basis of the complaint that Ms. Ng
filed in April 24, 2001 with U.S. Department of Education's
Office of Civil Rights (OCR).  

In May 2001, Ms. Ng and Ms. Mansourian were reinstated to the
team.  In October 2001, the OCR ruled that both complaints were
unfounded and it appeared the issue had been resolved.  

A trial date for the female wrestlers' case against UCD is
expected to be set early next year, according to a report by The
Davis Enterprise.

WORLDCOM INC: Settlement Fund Initial Distribution Notice Issued
WorldCom, Inc. announces that the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of New York issued a notice of initial
distribution of the Net Settlement Fund in the class action, "In
Re: Worldcom, Inc. Securities Litigation, Master File No. 02
Civ. 3288 (DLC)."

Earlier, Judge Denise L. Cote of the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of New York authorized the release of a $4.52
billion payout in the main class action over WorldCom, Inc.'s
collapse (Class Action Reporter, Nov. 30, 2006).

In the last several months, several defendants have made
payments billion to resolve allegations that they helped
WorldCom sell bonds when they should have known the phone
company was concealing its true financial condition.

                        Case Background

The litigation -- http://www.worldcomlitigation.com/-- is a  
consolidated, certified class action that is being prosecuted on
behalf of a court-certified class of all individuals or entities
who purchased or acquired publicly traded securities of
WorldCom, Inc. from April 29, 1999 through and including June
25, 2002, and who were injured thereby.  

                         Lead Plaintiff  

On Aug. 15, 2002, Judge Cote appointed the Comptroller of the
State of New York, the sole Trustee of the New York State Common
Retirement Fund, which is the nation's second-largest public
pension fund, to serve as lead plaintiff in the WorldCom
Securities Litigation and approved lead plaintiff's selection of
Barrack, Rodos & Bacine and Bernstein Litowitz Berger &
Grossmann LLP as co-lead counsel for the class.  

Fresno County Employees Retirement Association, the County of
Fresno, California and HGK Asset Management are additional named
plaintiffs and class representatives.

The consolidated complaint of the lead plaintiff was filed in
the fall of 2002, and updated in August 2003 and in December

On Nov. 7, 2002, Judge Cote ordered the parties to participate
in settlement negotiations under the supervision of Magistrate
Judge Michael H. Dolinger.  In the fall of 2003, the court
invited the Honorable Robert W. Sweet, U.S. District Court
Judge, to assist in oversight of the settlement discussions.

Judge Cote certified the lawsuit as a class action on Oct. 24,  


The director defendants were: Bernard J. Ebbers, former
president, CEO; Scott D. Sullivan, former CFO; James C. Allen,
former member of the audit committee; Judith Areen, former
member of the audit committee; Carl J. Aycock; Max E. Bobbitt,
former chairman of the audit committee; Francesco Galesi, former
member of the audit committee; Clifford L. Alexander, Jr.;
Stiles A. Kellett, Jr., former chairman of compensation
committee; Gordon S. Macklin; John A. Porter; Bert C. Roberts,
Jr., former chairman; John W. Sidgmore, former vice chairman;
and Lawrence C. Tucker.

Other individual defendants were: David F. Myers, controller and
senior vice president; Buford Yates, Jr., director of General
Accounting; and Arthur Andersen LLP.

Underwriter defendants were: Salomon Smith Barney, Inc., Salomon
Brothers International Limited; J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.; J.P.
Morgan Securities, Inc.; J.P. Morgan Securities, Ltd.; Banc of
America Securities LLC; Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. (n/k/a
Deutsche Bank Alex Brown Inc.; Chase Securities Inc. (n/k/a J.P.
Morgan Securities, Inc.; Lehman Brothers Inc.; Blaylock &
Partners, L.P.; Credit Suisse First Boston Corp.; Goldman, Sachs
& Co.; UBS Warburg LLC; ABN/AMRO Inc.; Utendahl Capital; Tokyo-
Mitsubishi International plc; Westdeutsche Landesbank;
Girozentrale (n/k/a WestLB AG); BNP Paribas Securities Corp.;
Caboto Holding SIM S.p.A.; Fleet Securities, Inc.; Mizuho
International plc.

The Salomon defendants were: Salomon Smith Barney, Inc., as
employer of Jack Grubman; Salomon Brothers International
Limited; Jack B. Grubman, former telecommunications analyst at
Salomon; Citigroup, Inc., corporate parent of Salomon.

WorldCom, Inc. -- http://www.worldcom.com/-- was not a  
defendant because on July 21, 2002, it filed for bankruptcy
protection.  The bankruptcy court in the Southern District of
New York confirmed WorldCom's Plan on Oct. 31, 2003, and on Apr.
20, 2004, the company formally emerged from U.S. Chapter 11
protection as MCI, Inc.


* Former WorldCom executives                   $6.136 billion
  Scott Sullivan, David Myers,
  and Buford Yates (taken with the  
  anticipated proceeds from the  
  Sullivan settlement)                    

* Arthur Andersen LLP                         $65 million  
  (funds have already been transferred  
   to an escrow account)

* Former Chairman Bert Roberts                 $4.5 million  

* 11 Other former director defendants         $20.25 million  

* Insurance companies that had written        $36 million
  directors and officers liability coverage  
  ($1 million to settle the claims against  
   Mr. Roberts and an additional $35 million  
   to settle the claims against the other  
   former directors)

* Bank of America                            $460.5 million  

* Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs,            $100.3 million
  Credit Suisse First Boston, and  
  UBS Warburg  

* ABN AMRO, Mitsubishi Securities            $428.4 million
  International, BNP Paribas  
  Securities Corp. and Mizuho Int'l.     

* WestLB and Cabato Holding                   $112.5 million  

* Deutsche Bank                               $325 million  

* Blaylock & Partners, L.P.                   $572,840  

* Utendahl Capital Partners, L.P.             $234,000  

* J. P. Morgan Securities  
  and certain of affiliates                   $2 billion  

* Citigroup Defendants                        $2.575 billion  
  (including Salomon Smith Barney,  
  Inc. as employer of Jack Grubman;  
  Salomon Brothers International Ltd.;
  Jack B. Grubman, former  
  telecommunications analyst at  
  Salomon; Citigroup, Inc.)

For more details, contact WorldCom, Inc. Securities Litigation
c/o The Garden City Group, Inc., Claims Administrator, P.O. Box
9000 #6247, Merrick, NY 11566-9000, Phone: 1-866-808-3556, Fax:
1-631-940-6549, E-mail: worldcominfo@gardencitygroup.com.

                         Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Denies Sears Move to Junk Ballew Suit
The Rhode Island Superior Court, Providence County, denied the
dismissal motion of Sears, Roebuck and Co. in the asbestos-
related lawsuit filed by Clarence Ballew.

Justice Alice Bridget Gibney handed down the decision of Civil
Action No. PC/05-5108 on Nov. 27, 2006.

On Sept. 30, 2005, Mr. Ballew sued several defendants, of which
Sears was not listed, alleging that he has suffered personal
injuries as a result of his exposure to asbestos and asbestos-
containing products.

On June 14, 2006, the Court allowed Mr. Ballew to file an
amended complaint, which was filed on June 20, 2006, and named
28 more defendants in this case, including Sears.

The newly named defendants, except Sears, were served with the
summons and amended complaint. When Mr. Ballew's counsel became
aware of this omission, the summons and complaint were handed to
CT Corporation System, Sears' agent for service of process in
Rhode Island. The return receipt on the certified mailing was
signed on Oct. 12, 2006.

Sears then moved for dismissal, arguing that the service of the
summons and complaint should have been done in person, and not
by certified mail.

Mr. Ballew objected to the motion, claiming that service upon CT
Corporation via certified mail is proper because CT Corporation
instructed plaintiffs to serve summons and complaints by
certified mail. Mr. Ballew has stated that CT Corporation has
been accepting service of process by certified mail for several

Moreover, Mr. Ballew sent the summons by certified mail after
contacting CT Corporation and speaking with a representative,
who testified that service by certified mail was acceptable. The
Court found that the service was proper in this case.

However, the Court recognized that, Sears was the only defendant
not immediately served after the amended complaint was filed.

Therefore, the Court severed Mr. Ballew's claims against Sears
from his claims against the other defendants, and ordered a
separate trial for Sears, which will commence on Jan. 21, 2007.
Accordingly, Sears' motion was denied.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Elk City Bears Legal Expense for 2 Workers
Mayor Teresa Mullican of Elk City, Okla. said the City plans to
pay for the legal defense of City Manager Guy R. Hylton, Jr. and
employee Chick Arthur Little in an asbestos-related case,
Associated Press reports.

Mr. Hylton and Mr. Little both face federal environmental

Mr. Hylton and Mr. Little are accused of knowingly using State
inmates to renovate a historic structure with asbestos
insulation and later trying to cover it up.

Mayor Mullican said Mr. Hylton and Mr. Little are entitled to a
legal defense at the City's expense.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Links Dockworker's Death to Exposure
The Southampton Coroner's Court in the United Kingdom in a
hearing announced that William Lynn, a former dockworker, died
after years of working around asbestos, Hampshire News reports.

Mr. Lynn worked as a plumbing and heating engineer at sites at
Southampton Gas, Fawley Refinery and Vosper Thorneycroft
shipyard in the 1950s before moving to Southampton docks.

The Court heard that Mr. Lynn worked with pipes and lagging on
the big liners of the time, and that he cleared asbestos from
pipe joints. He also came into contact with asbestos when
working in the boiler rooms of a local cinema.

Mr. Lynn died at Southampton General Hospital on Sept. 6, 2006
at the age of 78. A post-mortem examination found two million
asbestos fibers per gram of tissue in his lungs.

Southampton coroner Keith Wiseman recorded a verdict of death by
industrial disease.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: USGS Calls for More Study to Detect Risks
A U.S. Geological Survey report said that more study is needed
to determine if 31,000 residents of El Dorado Hills in
California are at risk from naturally occurring asbestos, the
Associated Press reports.

In the report, the USGS said most of the fibers found by a 2005
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study did not meet the
definition of commercial-grade asbestos, the sort linked to
life-threatening asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

The U.S. EPA had reported that everyday activities like bike
riding along a nature trail or playing baseball increased the
risk from cancer-causing asbestos fibers found in the rocks and
soil around El Dorado Hills, about 25 miles east of Sacramento,

The report concluded that more research is needed "to develop a
better understanding of potential health effects of what is
currently called 'naturally occurring asbestos.'"

Asbestos-bearing rock is a concern in communities across
California. The mineral is found in 44 of the State's 58
counties, usually in serpentine.

The U.S. EPA considered the problem to be worse in El Dorado
Hills because rocks near the surface often contain tremolite, a
more toxic form of asbestos.

The USGS study supports the U.S. EPA's view that communities in
areas with asbestos should minimize dust, said Daniel Meer, a
supervisor in the U.S. EPA's Superfund Division.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: USG Makes $3.05B Final Payment to PI Trust
USG Corp. made the final US$3.05 billion payment to the United
States Gypsum Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust,
according to a Company press release dated Dec. 21, 2006.

The US$3.05 billion payment represents the final amounts due
under the previously announced settlement agreement and plan of
reorganization that enabled the Company to emerge from its
reorganization proceedings on June 20, 2006.

Under terms of the Company's bankruptcy plan of reorganization,
USG agreed to make three payments totaling US$3.95 billion to a
trust that will compensate asbestos personal injury claimants.
The first payment of US$900 million was made on June 20, 2006.

The Company elected to combine into a single US$3.05 billion
payment the second required installment, due 10 days after the
adjournment of the 109th Congress, and the third installment,
due 180 days following the second payment.

Accelerating the third payment permits the Company to maximize
2006 deductions necessary for a US$1.1 billion federal tax
refund expected in 2007.

The payment was funded using cash on hand, proceeds from the
US$500 million senior note offering completed in November 2006
and borrowings under the bank term loan and tax bridge term loan
facilities established in August 2006.

A federal tax refund of US$1.1 billion will be used to repay
borrowing under the tax bridge term loan facility.

William C. Foote, USG Chairman and CEO, said, "We achieved the
goals we established when we filed for chapter 11 protection in
2001. Our shareholders' interests were preserved, our creditors
are being paid in full with interest, asbestos personal injury
claims have been permanently resolved and USG's operations are
stronger than ever before."

Headquartered in Chicago, Ill., USG Corp., together with
subsidiaries, makes gypsum wallboard, joint compound and related
gypsum products, cement board, gypsum fiber panels, and ceiling
panels and grid. The Company also distributes building products.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CSR Ltd. Inks $94M Deal With ACE for Claims
ACE Ltd. will be paying US$94 million (AUD120 million) to CSR
Ltd. under a settlement agreement intended to put an end to
longstanding U.S. asbestos claims against numerous insurers,
Business Insurance reports.

The Company said it began litigation in 1995 in New Jersey
federal court against insurers seeking indemnity for U.S.
asbestos claims under policies issued to CSR from about 1978 to

The Company said the ACE settlement concluded claims against all
defendants in the New Jersey litigation except those that the
Company said are insolvent.

In April 2006, the Company said that it had settled with 48
Australian and European insurers in the asbestos dispute. Under
terms of that settlement, CSR said the insurers would pay it
about AUD75.6 million.

The Company said it had reached an AUD32 million settlement deal
in 2004 with a group of Lloyd's of London underwriters reinsured
by Equitas Ltd., the runoff reinsurer for Lloyd's syndicates'
pre-1993 long-tail liabilities.

The Company said the latest settlement, which amounts to AUD103
million, net of litigation costs, would be recorded as a
significant item for the year ending March 31, 2007.

Alec Brennan, the Company's CEO and managing director, said, "We
are pleased to have achieved a commercial resolution with ACE.
Since commencing this litigation in 1995, settlements have
totaled AUD279 million before legal costs."

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Removal Methods Pose Risk to Safety, ADSSA
The Asbestos Diseases Society SA said that South Australian
lives are being put at risk through lax asbestos removal
methods, The Advertiser reports.

Society president Kay Tidswell said complaints from residents
about council workers, neighbors and contractors for Housing SA
not taking proper precautions when removing asbestos, had
triggered "major alarm bells."

One Sturt resident, who filed a complaint with ADSSA, told The
Advertiser that workers demolishing an "asbestos-riddled"
Housing Trust home next door had simply "hacked into the roof
and walls with crowbars."

The Advertiser collected five samples from the littered block,
with tests showing one of the samples to be asbestos.

However, Families and Communities Housing acting general manager
Dennis Huxley said, "All asbestos removal from Housing SA
properties is undertaken by licensed contractors to strict
procedures laid down in legislation."

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Joy Global Inc. Faces More Than 1,000 Cases
Joy Global Inc. and its subsidiaries face unresolved legal
matters, the most prevalent of which relate to product
liability, including over 1,000 and silica-related cases,
according to the Company's annual report, on Form 10-K, for the
year ended Oct. 28, 2006 filed with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission.

As a normal part of operations, the Company's subsidiaries
undertake contractual obligations, warranties and guarantees
related to the sale of products or services.

Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., Joy Global Inc. makes heavy
equipment for the mining industry through two subsidiaries. Its
Joy Mining Machinery unit makes underground coal-mining
equipment. Subsidiary P&H Mining Equipment makes draglines,
blast hole drills, and other equipment used by surface miners.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: U.S. Court Rejects Pittsburgh Corning Plan
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of
Pennsylvania declined to confirm the Plan of Reorganization
proposed as part of the Pittsburgh Corning Corp. bankruptcy
proceeding, according to an 8-K Report by The St. Paul Travelers
Companies Inc., dated Dec. 21, 2006 filed with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission.

Plan confirmation was one of the conditions to the May 2002
agreement among the Company, about three dozen other insurers
and PPG Industries Inc. to settle asbestos-related coverage
litigation under insurance policies issued to PPG.  

Under the proposed Plan, PCC and certain specified other
companies, including PPG and Corning Inc., were to receive the
protections afforded by the Bankruptcy Code from certain
asbestos-related bodily injury claims.

The Company said that it understands that PPG is studying the
bankruptcy court's decision to determine its next steps, which
could include plan modifications, reconsideration by the
bankruptcy court and/or appeals.  

Headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., The St. Paul Travelers
Companies Inc. offers personal and commercial liability and
casualty, property, workers' compensation, auto, marine, and
other coverage to companies in North America and the U.K.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: S.C. Orders Hardie to Pay AUD762T Damages
The Supreme Court in Perth, Australia has ordered James Hardie
Industries N.V. to pay more than AUD762,000 compensation, for
asbestos exposure, to 64-year-old David Hannell and 79-year-old
Dennis Moss, ABC NewsOnline reports.

The Court has ordered Hardie to pay more than AUD500,000 to Mr.
Hannell. Mr. Moss has been awarded AUD225,000.

The two British migrants are the first Western Australians to be
awarded compensation after contracting mesothelioma from
asbestos products in their backyards.

Both men had cut up asbestos on their properties in the 1980s
and 1990s.

Law firm Slater and Gordon has welcomed the payouts. Lawyer Tim
Hammond said there are likely to be many more of those claims.

Mr. Hammond said the latest ruling would assist those victims
with their claims.

The Court ruling coincides with the Western Australian
Government's decision to vacate the former asbestos mining town
of Wittenoom and remove any reference to it on maps and road

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Mass. Court OKs Payout to McDonough's Widow
The Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts would allow the
widow of Joseph V. McDonough, whose death stemmed from workplace
asbestos exposure, to collect the minimum workers' compensation
benefit of US$110 a week, The Patriot Ledger reports.

The Court ruled that Mr. McDonough's widow, Martha, was entitled
to payment although Mr. McDonough had retired before his death
and was not earning any salary.

Mr. McDonough, who was 69, died on May 10, 1996, a month after
he was diagnosed with asbestos-related lung disease. From 1961
to 1978, he had been exposed to asbestos when he worked as a
mechanic for Boston Edison Co., the predecessor to NStar, the
Court said. In 1991, Mr. McDonough retired after 40 years at the
utility, receiving a lump-sum pension payment.

In 2003, the Court struck down a workers' compensation rule that
would have given Mrs. McDonough two-thirds of Mr. McDonough's
US$1,077 weekly salary at the time of his retirement.

The regulation provided that survivors of injured workers could
collect the full amount even if the employees were not earning
anything when they died. The Court said the rule contradicted
the law. Denying benefits to Mrs. McDonough, "while appearing
harsh, is consistent with the purpose of the workers'
compensation law," the 2003 decision said.

However, the justices sent the case back to the Industrial
Accidents Board to determine whether Mr. McDonough fell under
another rule that guarantees a minimum of US$110 a week to
survivors in all cases.

The Court Friday upheld the minimum payment over the objection
of workers' compensation insurer Liberty Mutual. The ruling also
awarded legal fees to Mrs. McDonough.

Newton, Mass. attorney Franklin Lewenberg, who represented Mrs.
McDonough, said the decision is "significant" although it gives
survivors like Mrs. McDonough US$5,720 a year.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Canadian Agency Probes Tenant Warning Delay
Bruce Nunn, spokesman of the Department of Environment and
Labour in Nova Scotia, Canada said investigators continue to
speak with the Crown prosecutors' office about information
regarding a delay in warning tenants that there was asbestos in
public housing units, the Cape Breton Post reports.

While Mr. Nunn said "a decision is forthcoming," and the
information-gathering portion of the investigation has
concluded, he could not say when the probe will be officially

The Department of Community Services has said an internal report
into the delay, authored by senior staffers Dave Ryan and Cyril
LeBlanc, would not be made public until the Environment Dept.
file is closed.

While a report confirming the presence of actinolite asbestos in
insulation in a Sydney unit was confirmed to a Cape Breton
Regional Housing Authority official in October 2005, other
management and tenants did not learn of the discovery for almost
six months.

A Community Services spokesperson has noted the Environment
Dept. checked with Justice Department lawyers who have advised
ensuring anyone's legal rights are not compromised before the
Environment and Labour probe is complete.

Community Services said it will leave the insulation in the
attics, based on the recommendations of a report from Pinchin
LeBlanc Environmental Ltd. and set up a system to continue to
monitor the material.

Air quality tests have indicated there are currently no airborne
asbestos fibers.

The Authority has sealed furnace exhaust piping and light
fixtures and attics were sealed with metal plates to prevent the
insulation from being disturbed.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Ohio Court Reconsiders in Favor of Elliott
The U.S. District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division granted
Elliott Co.'s motion for reconsideration in an asbestos-related
insurance lawsuit filed against Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.

The Court also denied Elliot's alternative motions to certify
and amend.

On Aug. 8, 2006, District Judge Patricia A. Gaughan handed down
the decision of Case No. 1:05 CV 1387.

The Court's May 10, 2006 Opinion and Order resolved issues
regarding Elliott's right to coverage for asbestos-related
claims under insurance policies issued by Liberty Mutual
covering 1957-1963 and 1980-1986. The Court said that Elliott
was not entitled to coverage under the 1957-1963 "Carrier
Policies" and the 1980-1985 "UTC Policies."

Elliott sought reconsideration of the Court's conclusion that
coverage under the 1957-1963 Carrier Policies did not transfer
to Elliott by contract.

In the alternative, Elliott sought to direct entry of final
judgment as to all of the Carrier Policies and the 1980-1985 UTC
Policies. As a second alternative, Elliott sought to amend its
Order to state that it involved a controlling question of law as
to which there is a substantial ground for difference of opinion
and that an immediate appeal from the order may advance the
ultimate termination of the litigation.

Elliott contended that the Court erred in concluding that
coverage under the Carrier Policies did not transfer to Elliott
by contract.

In 1957, Elliott merged with the Carrier Corp. at which time it
was dissolved and operated as a division of Carrier. From 1957
through 1963, the Carrier Policies covered the Elliott Division.

As the Court had explained: United Technologies Corp. bought
Carrier in 1979. The Elliott Division continued as an
unincorporated division of Carrier until Aug. 21, 1981, when it
was incorporated as Elliott Turbomachinery Inc.

Carrier, UTC and Elliott Turbo entered into "an Agreement and
Plan of Reorganization and Corporate Separation" dated Dec. 21,
1981. Elliott Turbo was assigned the liabilities of the Elliott

The Court granted Elliott's motion for reconsideration. However,
Elliott's motions to certify and to amend are denied.

Michael H. Ginsberg and Laura A. Meaden of Jones Day in
Pittsburgh, Pa., Erin L. Dickinson and Paula Gallito Shakelton
of Jones Day in Cleveland, Ohio, represented Elliott Co.

Brad A. Rimmel and Susan Squire Box of Roetzel & Andress in
Akron, Ohio, and John C. Sullivan of Post & Schell in
Philadelphia, Pa., represented Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: S.C. Favors Workers' Board in Gropper Case
The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department
affirmed a Workers' Compensation Board decision, which
disqualified Leonard Gropper from receiving wage replacement
benefits, in an asbestos-related compensation lawsuit.

The Panel, comprised of Presiding Judge Cardona, Judges Mercure,
Spain, Carpinello, and Mugglin, handed down the case's decision
on Dec. 7, 2006.

Mr. Gropper was a steamfitter and claimed that he had been
exposed to asbestos. In 1998, he was diagnosed with asbestos-
related pleural disease and further diagnosed on Nov. 30, 1999
with pulmonary asbestosis.

In December 1999 and January 2000, Mr. Gropper filed for
workers' compensation benefits identifying his employer as GPA
Mechanical, an entity of which he was the only officer and sole

A Workers' Compensation Law Judge barred the claim on the basis
that, as an executive officer, Mr. Gropper had intentionally
excluded himself from coverage under the terms of his company's
workers' compensation policy.

Mr. Gropper submitted an application review asserting that he
had been added as an insured under the policy effective Nov. 19,
1999. Upon his appeal, the Board concluded that more development
of the record was necessary.

In a March 2004 hearing, the workers' compensation carrier
conceded that claimant had been added to the policy effective
Nov. 19, 1999.

A Workers' Compensation Law Judge determined occupational
disease, notice and causal relationship for asbestos related
pleural disease and concluded that Mr. Gropper's date of
disablement was Nov. 30, 1999. As a result, the carrier
submitted an application for Board review.

After oral argument in March 2005, the Board reversed, finding
that Mr. Gropper lacked credibility as to when he had last
worked because his testimony on this point was contradicted by
written documents before it. The Board concluded that Mr.
Gropper made materially false representations in violation of
Workers' Compensation Law and disallowed the claim. Mr. Gropper

The Court affirmed the Board decision, without costs.

Victor Pasternack of Breacher, Fishman, Pasternack, Popish,
Heller, Reiff & Walsh in New York City represented Leonard

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Upholds Decision to Favor A.O. Smith
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals upheld a Milwaukee County Court
ruling, which ruled in favor of A.O. Smith Corp. in an asbestos-
related lawsuit that also involved SPX Corp.

The judicial panel, comprised of Judges Wedemeyer, Curley, and
Kessler, handed down the decision of Case No. 2005AP2253 on Dec.
5, 2006.

SPX appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of A.O.
Smith Corp. This case arose out of suits filed against SPX for
asbestos-related illnesses, in response to which SPX argued that
a 1972 stock purchase agreement mandated that it be held
harmless by A.O. Smith for asbestos liability where the exposure
took place before 1972.

The Milwaukee County Court concluded that A.O. Smith was not
obligated to hold SPX harmless. SPX contended that the
indemnification clause of the 1972 agreement showed that it does
include liability for pre-1972 asbestos exposure, and that the
Trial Court misinterpreted the agreement by imposing a new and
different meaning.

The Appeals Court concluded that the relevant provision of the
1972 agreement is an accounting provision whose terms mandate
indemnity when the liability could and should have been reported
on the 1972 balance sheet.

In 1969, A.O. Smith acquired Layne & Bowler Pump Co., which
specialized in pumps production. On Feb. 17, 1972, A.O. Smith
sold Layne & Bowler to General Signal Corp. by entering into a
stock sale agreement. In 1998, SPX acquired General Signal, and
in 2001, SPX and General Signal merged into SPX.

Starting in 2002, suits naming SPX as a defendant have been
brought related to illnesses allegedly resulting from exposure
to asbestos-containing components in or on pumps made and sold
by Layne & Bowler. Many of the complaints filed against SPX
alleged that the exposure had taken place before 1972.

Because the asbestos liabilities in question could not have been
foreseen in 1972, A.O. Smith is not obligated to hold SPX
harmless. Therefore, the Appeals Court affirmed the Trial
Court's ruling.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: MRCF to Sue Hardie if $1.5B Deal Crashes  
The Medical Research and Compensation Foundation is prepared to
sue James Hardie Industries N.V. if shareholders reject an
AUD1.5 billion compensation deal for Hardie's asbestos victims,
The Australian reports.

Hardie established MRCF to meet its asbestos disease
responsibilities. Hardie established the MRCF on Feb. 15, 2001,
with what turned out to be an AUD1 billion-plus shortfall.

The MRCF will lodge a statement of claim if the extraordinary
general meeting, set for Feb. 7, 2007 in Amsterdam, The
Netherlands, does not approve the agreement. The MRCF would be
ready to act within a week of the meeting to keep within the
six-year statute of limitations.

The plan has been developed by MRCF chairman Ian Hutchinson and
co-directors Nancy Milne and Graham Kelly.

The Hardie board will recommend to shareholders they approve the
plan to pay up to 35 per cent of Hardie's free cashflow each
year into a new special-purpose fund to meet compensation claims
from future victims of the asbestos Hardie produced up until

However, Hardie chairwoman Meredith Hellicar told an annual
meeting that some shareholders had expressed concern that the
Company intended to pay the money even though it maintains it
has no legal obligation to do so.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is
investigating New South Wales Special Commissioner David
Jackson's findings of wrongdoing by Hardie and its officers in
relation to MRCF's establishment.

James Hardie Industries N.V. uses cellulose-reinforced fiber
cement to create products for residential and commercial
construction, including siding, external cladding, walls,
fencing, and roofing. The Company makes fiber-reinforced
concrete pipe through its Hardie Pipe business and roofing
through Artisan Roofing. The Company is based in Amsterdam, The

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: McDermott Completes B&W Settlement Payments
McDermott International Inc. said that it has completed ahead of
schedule its remaining financial obligations it was required to
make under The Babcock & Wilcox Co.'s plan of reorganization and
settlement agreement to fund the B&W asbestos trust, according
to a Company press release dated Dec. 27, 2006.

On Dec. 21, 2006, the Company paid from cash on hand the US$355
million contingent payment right and, on Dec. 1, 2006, the
Company retired the US$250 million contingent promissory note
utilizing proceeds from B&W's credit facility.

The contingent payment right and contingent note was vested on
Dec. 1, 2006 as a result of the Fairness in Asbestos Injury
Resolution Act of 2005, or other similar legislation, failing to
become law by Nov. 30, 2006.

Frank Kalman, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial
Officer, said, "We currently expect to receive a cash tax refund
of approximately US$250 million, most likely in late 2007 or
early 2008, subject to the resolution of open IRS tax audits. In
addition, with the completion of these payments, the Company has
satisfied all of its financial obligations to the B&W asbestos

To retire the contingent promissory note, B&W used the term loan
feature under its credit facility. The new term debt matures on
Feb. 22, 2012 and bears interest at the London Interbank Offered
Rate plus 3 percent.

As a result of the contingent note retirement, the Company
expects it will incur a charge of about US$5 million in the
2006-4th quarter.

Moreover, the Company intends to combine its two groups of U.S.
legal entities, McDermott Inc., the indirect parent company of
B&W and BWX Technologies Inc., and J. Ray McDermott Holdings
LLC, currently the holding company of J. Ray McDermott S.A.'s
U.S. operations, into a single U.S. consolidated group.

After completion of the proposed consolidation, the Company
expects at least US$275 million of net operating losses to be
available to offset the combined future taxable income generated
by the single consolidated group. The Company expects that this
combination will be completed by Dec. 31, 2006.

McDermott International Inc. is a worldwide energy services
firm. Subsidiaries provide engineering, construction,
installation, procurement, research, manufacturing,
environmental systems, project management and facility
management services to customers in the power and energy
industries. The Company is based in Houston, Tex.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Renews Rettig Suit v. General Motors
The Ohio Court of Appeals, Eighth Appellate District, on Dec.
14, 2006, has reinstated the asbestos-related lawsuit filed by
Lee C. Rettig against General Motors Corp., The Toledo Times

A Court panel ruled that a Cleveland judge erred in dismissing
Mr. Rettig's suit against the Company, for which Mr. Rettig
performed repairs at plants including a Defiance, Ohio foundry
from 1953 to 1990.

Mr. Rettig contended that he contracted mesothelioma on the job
from exposure to asbestos-containing steampipe insulation and

The Appeals court sided with Mr. Rettig's lawyers, who argued
that the Company was aware of the dangers of asbestos and had a
duty to warn Mr. Rettig.

The Company had convinced the original judge, in Cuyahoga County
Common Pleas Court, that it was not responsible because Mr.
Rettig's work as an electrician was inherently dangerous.

Mr. Rettig countered that neither he nor the electrical
contractors who sent him to General Motors were aware of
asbestos' dangers and that exposure to the substance "is not
inherent in the craft of an electrician."

Thomas Bevan, a lawyer in Northfield, Ohio, said that Mr.
Rettig's case was heard in Cleveland, Ohio because asbestos-
liability claims are funneled there from other Ohio courts.

Mr. Bevan said the ruling sets a precedent that could ease the
way for other trades workers who contracted asbestos-related
diseases while on the job.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Fla. Police Reports Illegal Disposal in Lot
Police Chief Roger Reinke of Marco Island City, Fla. said that
asbestos on a Marco Island public lot was illegally dumped,
Naples Daily News reports.

"We have evidence that illegal dumping occurred," Mr. Reinke

Mr. Reinke declined to discuss specifics of the investigation. A
conclusion to the case still is "several weeks" away, he said.

On Oct. 26, 2006, the Marco Island Police Department began an
investigation when asbestos was found on what is known as "Site
C" at the corner of Elkcam and Joy circles, the site of the
future Veterans Park.

The 1.1-acre site had been certified cleaned of asbestos in
April 2006 by an environmental consulting firm. City officials
have speculated that asbestos pipe first came to the property
during Hurricane Wilma preparations in October 2005.

Headed by Detective Linda Guerrero, this investigation has
yielded a significant amount of information, Mr. Reinke said.

Mr. Reinke and Ms. Guerrero have consulted with the Florida
Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP assigned an
investigator to the case, according to Mr. Reinke and DEP
spokesman Elijah Fleishauer.

The environmental consulting firm American Management Resources
Corp., which was hired by the City, has 19 tarped dump trucks
transported 342 cubic yards of soil from the site to the Collier
County landfill, according to AMRC president Jack Snider.

Although Mr. Reinke did not identify individuals questioned in
the investigation, the former chairman of a Marco political
action committee sent an e-mail to police, city staff and the
media at the end of November 2006 saying he was in possession of
asbestos taken from Site C last spring.

Ed Foster, the former chairman of Citizens Advocating
Responsible Environmental Solutions, which sued the city over
the handling of asbestos, said he had about 20 pounds of
asbestos pipe stored in plastic bags in his garage.

Mr. Foster said he collected the asbestos because he was afraid
that evidence relevant to the CARES lawsuit could be lost.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: School Officials Manage Floor-Tile Removal
Officials at Winslow High School in Winslow, Maine held a
meeting with high school staff on how to lessen concerns about
the ongoing removal of the school's asbestos floor tiles, the
Morning Sentinel reports.

The removal process is part of a US$9 million renovation and
upgrade of the building, which began this fall and is expected
to take 18 months to complete.

Maintenance and grounds supervisor Shelley Phillips said the
school department has made sure to monitor air quality for
asbestos fibers and has yet to find levels that pose any health

John Bucci of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection
confirmed that the asbestos removal has been done safely and

However, Ms. Phillips said several people have called the
central office to voice their concern about the work. She said
people also have contacted the Maine DEP about their concerns.

Ms. Phillips said that, at the staff meeting, the school
department had an industrial hygienist and a DEP mitigation
specialist on hand to explain the asbestos tile removal process,
as well as the testing to determine air quality.

So far an industrial arts area, a small hallway and two academic
classrooms have been stripped of their asbestos tiles, Ms.
Phillips said. She also said removal was done on weekends or
during school breaks with the exception of the industrial arts

Ms. Phillips added that most of the remaining asbestos removal
would take place in the main academic wing on the west side of
the school.

However, Ms. Phillips said, that work would not take place until
in 2007 after students are moved into the science and technology
addition now under construction.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Workers Start Removal in Ga. Public Library
Workers began to remove asbestos from the 93-year-old Tifton-
Tift County Public Library in Tifton, Ga., a first step in
completing renovations for the building on Love Avenue, The
Tifton Gazette reports.

Head librarian Sara Paulk said, "It's a great old building, but
because it is so old there is asbestos on all three floors. We
have to do the abatement first because it's a safety and health

Ms. Paulk said that the asbestos had not posed a health risk for
staff members and library patrons in previous years because it
was not being disturbed. However, with complete renovations on
the horizon, it had to be removed.

Warren Witherington, the president of Schweiger & Associates
Inc., the environmental testing and consulting firm hired to
take the asbestos out of the building, said that the two-week
process would be complicated.

Mr. Witherington said, "We have to contain the area under
negative air pressure, which means that air can go in but
nothing can go out. The air that does go out is HEPA-filtered to
make sure that there are no (asbestos) fibers in it."

Mr. Witherington said that the air outside the contained areas
is tested to make sure that stray fibers are not getting out
and, at the end of each shift, workers are required to go
through a decontamination process before they can leave the work

                   New Securities Fraud Cases

IKANOS COMMS: Bruce G. Murphy Files N.Y. Securities Fraud Suit
The Law Offices of Bruce G. Murphy commenced a class action suit
on behalf of investors of Ikanos Communication, Inc. who
purchased the common stock of Ikanos pursuant or traceable to
the company's initial public offering on Sept. 22, 2005 or its
secondary offering on March 8, 2006 seeking remedies under the
Securities Act of 1933.

The action "Sherukuri v. Ikanos Communications, Inc., Case No.
06-cv-13174 (PAC)," is pending in the U.S. District Court for
the Southern District of New York, and names as defendants the
company as well as certain senior officers and directors.

The complaint alleges that Ikanos and certain of its officers
and directors violated federal securities laws by making false
and misleading statements and omissions concerning Ikanos'
financial health and business prospects in the company's
Registration Statements and Prospectuses for the initial and
secondary offerings, respectively.

Specifically, Ikanos failed to disclose that its financial
results would be adversely affected by shipment of chipset
products to its customers in Japan in excess of demand.

On Oct. 4, 2006, the company issued a press release announcing,
among other things, that its revenues results for the third
quarter would be lower than expected, leading to fall in the
value of the stock.

The deadline to move for appointment as lead plaintiff in the
case is on Jan. 5, 2007.

For more information, contact Bruce G. Murphy of the Law Offices
of Bruce G. Murphy, 265 Llwyds Lane, Vero Beach, FL  32963,
Phone: (772) 231-4202.

TECHNICAL OLYMPIC: Saxena White Files Securities Suit in Fla.
Saxena White P.A. filed a class action on behalf of shareholders
against Technical Olympic USA in the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of Florida, accusing the company of securities
law violations.

The complaint seeks damages for violations of federal securities
laws on behalf of all investors who acquired TOA stock from Aug.
1, 2005 through and including Nov. 6, 2006.  

Based in Hollywood, Florida, TOA is a builder and marketer of
single-family homes and condominiums.  The action also seeks to
pursue remedies on behalf of all purchasers of TOA stock who
purchased pursuant to a Sept. 13, 2005 public offering.

The lawsuit claims that TOA, its Chief Executive Officer Antonio
P. Mon, its Chief Financial Officer, David J. Keller, and its
Chief Accounting Officer, Randy L. Kotler, violated Sections
10(b) and 20(a) of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and
Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 by issuing
false and misleading statements to the investing public.

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that on August 1, 2005,
defendants announced the formation of a joint venture formed to
acquire the assets of a homebuilding company, Transeastern
Properties, Inc.  

The homebuilding assets of Transeastern were purchased for $857
million, with debt funded in part by Deutsche Bank.  Defendants
regularly emphasized the glowing prospects of the joint venture,
and assured investors that the debt was secured only by the
joint venture's assets, and was non-recourse to TOA.  In
response to these positive announcements, TOA stock traded at
over $29 per share during 2005.

On Nov. 6, 2006, in a filing with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission, Defendants announced, for the first time,
that TOA was liable for the debt of the joint venture under
certain circumstances.  

In December 2006, Deutsche Bank filed a lawsuit against TOA
stemming from the company's obligations under the joint venture.

In response to the news that the debt was not, as previously
represented, non-recourse to TOA, the stock plunged by 35% on
unusually heavy trading volumes of nearly 8 million shares, far
greater than the stock's average trading volumes of
approximately 1 million shares per day.

Interested parties may move the court no later than Feb. 12,
2007 for appointment as lead plaintiff.

For more details, contact Saxena White P.A., 2424 North Federal
Highway Suite 257 Boca Raton, FL 33431, Phone: (561) 394-3399,
E-mail: msaxena@saxenawhite.com or jwhite@saxenawhite.com.

TOP TANKERS: Finkelstein Thompson Announces Stock Suit Filing
The law firm of Finkelstein, Thompson & Loughran announces that
a lawsuit seeking class action status has been filed in the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of New York against TOP
Tankers, Inc.

The putative class action alleges that TOP and certain officers
and directors violated federal securities laws by issuing a
series of false and misleading statements.  

Specifically, the complaint alleges that the company failed to
disclose and misrepresented material adverse facts concerning
the company's financial results in order to:

      -- inflate the price of TOP shares by deceiving
         shareholders regarding the Company's internal
         operational controls, financial procedures, and the
         intrinsic value of TOP common stock;

      -- register for sale with the SEC millions of shares of
         TOP stock, and grant shareholders a massive dividend of
         $7.50 per share -- approximately $40 million of which
         was paid to defendants and their families; and

      -- permit Kingdom Holdings, an entity owned by the family
         of defendant Evangelos Pistiolis, to liquidate almost
         900,000 shares of TOP stock during the class period
         while in possession of material adverse information
         about the company.

On Nov. 29, 2006, the company disclosed that its auditors, Ernst
& Young, LLP, had resigned over a disagreement related to its
accounting for certain sale and leaseback transactions that
closed in March and April 2006.

The company also said that it would restate its interim
financial statements for the first and second quarters of 2006.
The market responded sharply to this news with TOP's share price
plummeting approximately 14 percent to a close of $5.04.

FTL has spent almost three decades delivering outstanding
representation to institutional and individual clients in
connection with securities and other finance-related litigation,
and has been appointed as lead or co-lead counsel in dozens of
shareholder class actions.

Indeed, in the past ten years, the firm has served in leadership
roles in cases that have recovered over $1 billion for investors
and consumers.

For more details, contact Finkelstein, Thompson & Loughran,
Phone: +1-877-337-1050, E-mail: contact@ftllaw.com, Web site:


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

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


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
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USA.   Glenn Ruel Senorin, Maria Cristina Canson, and Janice
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Copyright 2006.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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