/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/110121.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Friday, January 21, 2011, Vol. 13, No. 15


ABBOTT LABS: Norvir Monopolization Suit Goes to Trial Feb. 28
ALTERNATE ENERGY: Faces Shareholder Class Action in Idaho
ARCTIC CAT: Recalls 16,500 Snowmobiles
BAYER AG: Sup. Ct. Questions Decision to Bar Baycol Class Action
BILL ME LATER: Faces Second Class Action Over Excessive Charges

BOUCHARD TRANSPORT: Class Action Settlement Gets Preliminary Nod
BP PLC: Multidistrict Litigation Status Conference Set for Today
CHINA EDUCATION: Accused of Providing Misleading Information
CINCINNATI CASUALTY: Jan. 21 Deadline Set for Settlement Papers
ELSIE MASON: Tenants Want Bed Bug Class Action Certified

ESCONDIDO, CA: May Face Class Action Over Checkpoints Practice
GMAC MORTGAGE: Mulls Foreclosure Dismissals to Avoid Class Suits
HARD ROCK: Faces Class Action Over Failure to Pay Minimum Wage
JP MORGAN: Sued in Illinois for Not Paying Overtime to Workers
MELA SCIENCES: Bids for Lead Plaintiff Due Today

PELLA CORP: Supreme Court Won't Block Class Action
QUENNSLAND INSURERS: Retailers Mull Flood Insurance Class Action
RJ REYNOLDS: Judge Junks Class Action Over Camel Cash Program
SEQUENOM INC: Settlement Administrator Completes Claim Procedures
TOLEDO FOAM COS: Jan. 19 Pretrial Set in Price-Fixing Suit

UNITED STATES: Medicare Rights Group Launches Class Action
UNITED STATES: Pigford Settlement Claimants Face Year-Long Wait
UNIV. OF PUERTO RICO: May Face Class Action Over Fee Hike
XANTREX TECHNOLOGY: Recalls 25,000 Tie Solar Inverters

                        Asbestos Litigation

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Bondex, SPHC Still Party to Bodily Injury Suits
ASBESTOS UPDATE: IDEM Probing Hazard at Jefferson Proving Ground
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Deutsche Bank Tower in N.Y. Finally Demolished
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Greeneville School Remediation to Cost $500,000
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Red Willow Cty. Still Awaiting Cleanup Estimates

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Cleanup, Demolition at White Store Costs $372T
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Asbestos Found at Wyong Council's Landfill Site
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Cleanup at Erie Terminal Estimated at $500,000
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Asbestos to be Removed From Farmland Industries
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Edwards Family Awarded $2.4Mil in Compensation

ASBESTOS UPDATE: East Haddon Hill Site Investigated for Hazards
ASBESTOS UPDATE: 3 Broward Judges Requesting Tests at Courthouse
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Hampshire Police Officer Settles Payout Claim
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Parts of Welsh Hospital to be Closed March 2011
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Chism Files First Case for 2011 in Madison Cty.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Gilland Case v. 76 Firms Filed in Kanawha Court
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Scarborough Court Rules on ICI Employee's Death
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Ireland Dealing With 12 Asbestos Exposure Cases
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Cleanup at Former City Hall in Troy to Commence
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Railway Man's Death Linked to Asbestos Exposure

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Enviromex Chosen to Remove Hazard From Gervais
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Halifax Firm Fined GBP30T for Safety Breaches
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Montgomery Courthouse Cleanup Estimated at $40T
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Employees Exposed to Asbestos at School in Lynn
ASBESTOS UPDATE: NIOSH to Issue Final "Asbestos Roadmap" in 2011

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Rotherham Housing Firm Fined for Safety Breach
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Aussie Cadet Headquarters Slated for Demolition
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Hazard to Be Removed From Albion Village Office
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Court Sets Aside Ruling, Remands Usher's Claim
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Appeals Court OKs Board Ruling in Noreen's Claim


ABBOTT LABS: Norvir Monopolization Suit Goes to Trial Feb. 28
In a comprehensive, 46-page order filed on Jan. 17, U.S. District
Judge Claudia Wilken found that plaintiffs, a group of retailers
and GlaxoSmithKline, presented sufficient evidence that Abbott
Laboratories monopolized the market for AIDS medicines used in
conjunction with Abbott's prescription drug Norvir.  These drugs,
known as Protease Inhibitors, have enabled patients with HIV to
fight off the disease and live longer.  Judge Wilken denied
Abbott's motion for summary judgment on plaintiffs' monopolization
claim.  The trial is scheduled to start on February 28, 2011.

"Norvir when used in combination with other Protease Inhibitors
was a life-saving drug for patients with HIV," stated Joseph R.
Saveri of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, and co-counsel
for the class of retailer plaintiffs.  "We are confident the
evidence at trial will show Abbott abused its monopoly power in
the HIV-drugs market to grossly inflate the price of Norvir.
Abbott engaged in this wrongful conduct despite the financial
hardship inflicted on patients with HIV, many of whom are unable
to work and faced overwhelming medical expenses."

Factual Background

In 1996, Abbott introduced Norvir, a standalone Protease Inhibitor
used to treat HIV.  Around the time of Norvir's launch, it was
discovered that, when taken in small quantities with another
Protease Inhibitor, Norvir would "boost" the effectiveness of that
PI.  Norvir is the brand name for ritonavir.

In 2000, Abbott introduced Kaletra, which is a combination therapy
pill containing two active ingredients: lopinavir and ritonavir.
Ritonavir is used to boost the effects of lopinavir.  Kaletra is
known as a "boosted" Protease Inhibitor.

In July 2003, a new boosted Protease Inhibitor, Bristol-Myers
Squibb's Reyataz, was successfully introduced into the market.
Reyataz is designed to be boosted with Norvir, which must be
purchased separately.  As a result of Reyataz's launch, Abbott
began to lose sales of Kaletra.

In November 2003, GSK introduced Lexiva, another Protease
Inhibitor drug that competed with Abbott's Kaletra, into the
market.  Before launching Lexiva, GSK signed a contract with
Abbott which allowed GSK to co-promote and co-market Lexiva with
Abbott's Norvir.

On December 3, 2003, Abbott instituted a massive 400 increase in
the wholesale price of Norvir overnight, while keeping the price
of Kaletra, which contains the active ingredient in Norvir, the
same.  That increase drove up prices and damaged competition in
the market.

Summary of Plaintiffs' Allegations

The retail plaintiffs and GSK allege that the Norvir price
increase violated U.S. antitrust laws because Abbott exploited its
monopoly position as the sole manufacturer of Norvir, the drug
that has boosting properties, in order to protect another Abbott
drug, Kaletra from competition.

Plaintiffs also assert that by strategically raising Norvir's
price at the crucial time of Lexiva's launch, Abbott raised the
costs of using Lexiva, Reyataz, and other boosted Protease
Inhibitors that competed with Kaletra, all of which are taken with
Norvir.  Plaintiffs claim that by taking these steps, Abbott was
able to restrict competition in the sales of boosted Protease
Inhibitors, slow the decline in Kaletra's sales, and maintain its
monopoly position.

Contact: Joseph R. Saveri, Esq.
         275 Battery Street, 29th Floor
         San Francisco, CA 94111-3339
         Telephone: 415-956-1000
         E-mail: jsaveri@lchb.com

              - and -

         Steve D. Shadowen, Esq.
         30 North Third Street, Suite 700
         Harrisburg, PA 17101-1701
         Telephone: 717-364-1010
         Facsimile: 717-364-1020
         E-mail: sshadowen@hangley.com

ALTERNATE ENERGY: Faces Shareholder Class Action in Idaho
Holzer Holzer & Fistel, LLC on January 18 disclosed that a class
action lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court
for the District of Idaho on behalf of purchasers of Alternate
Energy Holdings, Inc. common stock who purchased shares between
September 20, 2006 and December 14, 2010, inclusive.  The lawsuit
alleges, among other things, that certain Company executives
manipulated Alternate Energy stock prices during the Class Period.
On December 14, 2010, the United States Securities and Exchange
Commission suspended the trading of Alternate Energy stock due to
concerns over the alleged manipulation.

If you purchased shares of Alternate Energy common stock during
the Class Period, you have the legal right to petition the Court
to be appointed a "lead plaintiff."  A lead plaintiff is a
representative party that acts on behalf of other class members in
directing the litigation.  Any such request must satisfy certain
criteria and be made no later than March 8, 2011.  Any member of
the purported class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff
through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and
remain an absent class member.  If you are an Alternate Energy
investor who lost more than $10,000 on your investment and would
like to discuss a potential lead plaintiff appointment, or your
rights and interests with respect to the lawsuit, you may contact:

          Michael I. Fistel, Jr., Esq.
          Marshall P. Dees, Esq.
          Telephone: (888) 508-6832
          E-mail: mfistel@holzerlaw.com

Holzer Holzer & Fistel, LLC -- http://www.holzerlaw.com/-- is an
Atlanta, Georgia law firm that dedicates its practice to vigorous
representation of shareholders and investors in litigation
nationwide, including shareholder class action and derivative

ARCTIC CAT: Recalls 16,500 Snowmobiles
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with
Arctic Cat Inc., of Thief River Falls, Minn., announced a
voluntary recall of 16,500 Snowmobiles.  Consumers should stop
using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

The front lower suspension arm can crack during use which could
lead to loss of control, posing a risk of severe injury or death.

Arctic Cat has received 13 reports of suspension arms cracking. No
injuries or accidents have been reported.

This recall involves all 2010 Arctic Cat Z1, TZ1, F, Bearcat, M,
and CF model snowmobiles.  All variations of color and model
features of the models listed are included in this recall.  The
model name is indicated on the side of vehicle, in the
registration materials and owner's manual.  Pictures of the
recalled products are available at:


The recalled products were manufactured in the United States and
sold through Arctic Cat dealerships nationwide from June 2009
through January 2011 for between $6,800 and $15,000.

Consumers should immediately stop using these snowmobiles and
contact their local Arctic Cat snowmobile dealer to schedule a
free repair.  Registered owners have been directly notified about
this recall by mail.  For additional information, contact Arctic
Cat at (800) 279-6851 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Central
Time, Monday through Friday or visit the firm's Web site at

BAYER AG: Sup. Ct. Questions Decision to Bar Baycol Class Action
Brent Kendall at Dow Jones Newswires reports the U.S. Supreme
Court on Jan. 18 questioned a federal judge's decision to bar a
group of West Virginia plaintiffs from proceeding with a class-
action lawsuit over Bayer AG's cholesterol-lowering drug Baycol,
which was withdrawn from the U.S. market in 2001.

The West Virginia plaintiffs were seeking to sue Bayer for
economic losses, arguing they paid for a drug that turned out to
be inferior.

A Minnesota-based federal judge, who has overseen thousands of
Baycol lawsuits from around the country that were consolidated in
his court, issued an injunction in 2008 that barred the West
Virginia state-court case from proceeding.

U.S. Chief District Court Judge Michael Davis said the class-
action lawsuit couldn't be considered by West Virginia's courts
because he had already ruled that a different group of West
Virginia plaintiffs, making similar claims, didn't meet the
standards for allowing the case to proceed as a class-action.

Class-action lawsuits allow plaintiffs to pool their smaller
individual claims into one large lawsuit.

Baycol was on the U.S. market from 1997 until 2001.  The drug was
withdrawn after it was linked to 31 deaths.  Bayer says it has
paid $1.17 billion to resolve claims from users who allegedly
suffered serious side effects.

The company said none of the West Virginia plaintiffs suffered an
injury caused by Baycol.

During an hour-long oral argument on Jan. 18, some members of the
Supreme Court questioned whether Judge Davis went too far in
issuing an injunction that barred the state-court class
proceedings from taking place.

"The basic principle is you're entitled to your day in court,"
Chief Justice John Roberts said.

Justice Elena Kagan said there was an argument to be made that the
West Virginia courts have a different approach to allowing class
actions than the federal courts.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said federal judges "are not the last
word on what the state law is."  However, Ginsburg also questioned
whether under the plaintiffs' approach, lawyers could file suits
over and over again until they found a judge who would allow a
class-action to proceed.

Bayer lawyer Philip Beck said the judge's injunction was needed to
protect his ruling that West Virginia plaintiffs hadn't met the
conditions necessary for proceeding with a class-action lawsuit.
He said the plaintiffs were seeking to re-litigate the case.

Richard Monahan, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said his clients
hadn't been aware of the other similar West Virginia lawsuit.  He
said his clients had a legal right to be heard, an opportunity
they hadn't been given.

The case is Smith v. Bayer Corp., 09-1205.  A decision is expected
by the end of June.

BILL ME LATER: Faces Second Class Action Over Excessive Charges
Jon Hood, writing for ConsumerAffairs.com, reports Bill Me Later
is facing a second class action lawsuit accusing the service of
charging excessive interest and late fees.

The latest suit, filed by plaintiff April Colombu, says Bill Me
Later is tricking consumers into using its services, thereby
subjecting them to heavy finance charges and other headaches.

Ms. Columbu booked tickets through JetBlue and clicked a button
reading "bill me later," thinking that it was part of JetBlue's
internal site.  What she didn't know, according to the suit, was
that the button created a contract with Bill Me Later, exposing
Ms. Columbu to high interest and late fees.

"Work wouldn't let [my husband] off, so I canceled [the flight],
printed out my cancellation, [and] thought nothing more of it,"
Ms. Columbu told ABC News.

Three months later, Ms. Columbu got a bill for the canceled flight
in the mail.  Despite Ms. Columbu's call to Bill Me Later -- in
which she told the service that she "canceled the flight within 24
hours and that I never flew" -- she was hit with monthly late fees
of $39, along with 19.99% interest.  A year and a half later,
Ms. Columbu was $649 in the hole.

Second of its kind

The suit, like a similar action filed last January, accuses Bill
Me Later of violating California usury laws, which prohibit non-
bank entities from charging interest rates above 10%.  Last year's
suit claimed that Bill Me Later tried to skirt the "non-bank
entity" requirement by enlisting CIT Bank to provide banking
services for the company's transactions.  This arrangement
essentially meant that Bill Me Later was "renting" CIT's name,
according to that suit.

Attorney Jeff Friedman, who filed both actions, said almost all of
Bill Me Later's loans have an interest rate exceeding 10%, with
many exceeding 100%.  One of the plaintiffs said he was charged an
astronomical 116.67%.

eBay's influence

Bill Me Later was purchased by eBay for $945 million in 2008.
Since then, the auction supersite has been working to integrate
Bill Me Later into other websites, causing the type of confusion
and misunderstanding that led to Ms. Columbu's suit.

In a statement, eBay said "the allegations in the lawsuit are

"Many consumers choose Bill Me Later because there is no annual
fee," eBay said, insisting that consumers face "no fee and no
charge as long as the bill is paid on time."

Following last year's suit, eBay suggested in a shareholder report
that a settlement could force changes in how Bill Me Later does

"We intend to vigorously defend against these lawsuits," the
filing said.  "However, this and other . . . claims could result
in costly litigation and, if successful, could require us to
change the way we or our users do business in ways that increase
costs or reduce revenues (for example, by forcing us to prohibit
listings of certain items for some locations).  We could also be
subject to fines or other penalties, and any of these outcomes
could harm our business."

Consumer complaints

ConsumerAffairs.com has received its fair share of complaints
describing issues similar to those alleged in Ms. Columbu's suit.
Laurie of West Hollywood, CA, provides a typical account:

"Buyer Beware when using Bill Me Later.  I made a purchase through
adorama.com for the 500 required to qualify for no payments to 6
months.  BML put the charge through as a standard purchase at an
obscenely inflated interest rate of %25.99! Phone calls to their
call center produce no results except the run around by employees
and a different response each time you call to complain.  BML also
refuses you to speak to a supervisor, contending their 'managers'
are unavailable and one will call you back in about 'two hours.'"

BOUCHARD TRANSPORT: Class Action Settlement Gets Preliminary Nod
Chris Reagle, writing for Wicked Local Mattapoisett, reports that
after more than eight years of waiting, some Mattapoisett
residents may receive compensation for property damaged caused by
the April 27, 2003 Bouchard Transportation Company barge oil spill
in Buzzards Bay.

After 16 months of negotiations, Massachusetts Superior Court
Judge Raymond Brassard has granted the plaintiffs' motion in a
class action suit against Bouchard for preliminary approval of a
settlement agreement with the oil carrier and related entities,
which will resolve the class action brought against Bouchard on
behalf of more than 1,000 Mattapoisett homeowners affected by the
oil spill eight years ago.

This class action lawsuit is separate from several others
settlements against Bouchard, include a $13 million settlement
with 27 Buzzards Bay communities, and $6.2 million settlement with
NOAA finalized last year for beach and environmental restoration.

Under the agreement reached Jan. 7, Bouchard Transportation will
provide up to $12.375 million to settle the class claims.  The
funds will be made available to persons who owned the affected
Mattapoisett homes April 27, 2003, which is the date the Bouchard
Barge B-120 spilled up to 98,000 gallons of oil into Buzzards Bay,
fouling approximately 90 miles of shoreline.

Martin Levin, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, estimated that the
remuneration available for each home will range from $1,500 to
$30,000, depending on such factors as the severity of the oiling
and whether the affected property included a private or shared

Eligible homeowners will have to submit a simple claim form to
receive payment.  The funds will also be used to pay the fees and
costs of the litigation, but Mr. Levin stated that these payments
do not affect his estimate of the recoveries most homeowners can
expect under the settlement.

The case, filed in 2004 in Plymouth County Superior Court by
Mattapoisett homeowners Kim DeLeo, Frank Haggerty, and Earl
Cornish, was the first environmental class action ever to be
certified in Massachusetts.  At a "test case" trial that concluded
in April of 2010, a 13-person jury determined that eight
Mattapoisett homeowner's sustained damages ranging between $1,575
and $22,650 per property as a result of Bouchard's negligence in
causing the oil spill.

"We are pleased that the court granted preliminary approval to the
proposed settlement, which we believe will provide fair
compensation to Mattapoisett homeowners who suffered interference
with their right to use and enjoy their beaches as a result of the
oil spill," Mr. Levin, Esq., attorney at Stern, Shapiro, Weissberg
& Garin, said.  "Ms. DeLeo, Mr. Haggerty and Mr. Cornish deserve
all the credit in the world for initiating this case and then
seeing it through many hard-fought battles to get to this

Mr. Levin may be reached at:

          Martin E. Levin, Esq.
          90 Canal Street, Boston, MA 02114 - 2022
          Telephone: 617-742-5800
          Facsimile: 617-742-5858
          E-mail: mlevin@sswg.com

The court scheduled a final hearing on the proposed settlement for
April 25, at which time Judge Brassard will decide whether to
grant the settlement final approval.

BP PLC: Multidistrict Litigation Status Conference Set for Today
Alejandro de los Rios, writing for The Louisiana Record, reports
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier issued an order Jan. 18
stipulating deadlines for the filing of the plaintiff's
consolidated class action and any RICO complaints in BP oil spill
multidistrict litigation.

According to Judge Barbier's order, the consolidated class action
complaint and claims asserted under the Racketeer Influenced and
Corrupt Organizations Act must be filed by Jan. 24.

Judge Barbier presides in federal court at New Orleans over claims
arising from the Deepwater Horizon explosion last April.

Any defendants named in the consolidated class action have until
Feb. 28 to respond.  The order also stipulates that any defendants
seeking to file a Rule 12 motion must filed a memorandum in
support that is no more than 50 pages long.

Any oppositions or motions to dismiss must be submitted on or
before March 28, and also should not exceed 50 pages.  Reply
briefs are due April 25 and are not to exceed 25 pages.

The next status conference in the BP MDL is set for Jan. 21 at
9:00 a.m. in Judge Barbier's court.

Federal MDL 2:10-md-02179-CJB-SS

CHINA EDUCATION: Accused of Providing Misleading Information
China Education Alliance, Inc., and certain of its officers were
named as defendants of a stockholder class action lawsuit in
California for allegedly providing misleading information and
hiding facts that are adverse to the Company's business, according
to a Form 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission on Jan. 14, 2011.

On January 6, 2011, the Company was served notice of a stockholder
class action lawsuit filed on December 28, 2010 in the U.S.
District Court for the Central District of California against the
Company, Xiqun Yu, the Company's Chief Executive Officer, Susan
Liu, the Company's ex-Chief Financial Officer and Zibing Pan, the
Company's Chief Financial Officer.

The complaint in the lawsuit, Walter C. Clemens, Jr. v. China
Education Alliance, Inc., Xiqun Yu, Susan liu and Zibing Pan,
CV10-09987JFW(AGRX) alleges, among other claims, that the Company
made false or misleading statements, as well as failed to disclose
material adverse facts about the Company's business, operations,
and prospects.  The complaint seeks, among other relief,
compensatory damages in favor of plaintiff and the other class
members against all defendants, jointly and severally, for all
damages sustained as a result of defendants' wrongdoing, in an
amount to be proven at trial including interest thereon, pre-
judgment and post-judgment interest, as well as reasonable
attorneys' fees, expert fees and other costs, rescissionary
damages and such other equitable, injunctive or other relief as
the court may deem just and proper.  Mr. Clemens purports to sue
on his own behalf and on behalf of a class consisting of the
Company's stockholders (other than the defendants and their
affiliates).  The Company believes that the complaint has no merit
and  intends to vigorously defend the lawsuit.

CINCINNATI CASUALTY: Jan. 21 Deadline Set for Settlement Papers
Amelia Flood, writing for Madison St. Clair Record, reports the
parties attempting to hammer out a disputed settlement worth more
than $500,000 in a 2005 class action against Cincinnati Casualty
Company and Cincinnati Insurance, have more time to file
additional paperwork.

Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge had originally required
the Cincinnati defendants and the Illinois Bone and Joint
Institute until Jan. 14 to file additional papers.

Cincinnati asked for the extension Jan. 13 citing "an unexpectedly
heavy litigation schedule."

The new deadline is Jan. 21.

IBJI was part of a class of 32,000 Illinois health care providers
that lead plaintiff Frank Bemis claimed had been gypped out of
money they were owed for treating workers' compensation cases.

The 2005 class action alleged that the defendants unfairly took
Preferred Provider Organization discounts they were not entitled

Mr. Bemis, a chiropractor, has helmed a number of nearly identical
cases filed within the last decade.

He was originally represented by attorneys from both the Lakin Law
Firm of Wood River and the Chicago firm of Freed & Weiss.

That partnership ended in 2007.

The Lakin firm -- now called LakinChapman LLC -- represents the

The Cincinnati settlement was worth up to $3.5 million.

Lead counsel Bradley Lakin and Robert Schmieder III were awarded
more than $700,000 in fees.

Mr. Bemis, as lead representative, got $5,000.

IBJI initially submitted a settlement claim worth about $458,000.

The defendants paid $57,000 of that claim and denied the rest,
claiming that spreadsheets provided by IBJI were not the proper
claim documentation.

IBJI then discovered what it claims were more claims that were
wrongly discounted.

That brought its total settlement claim to over $500,000.

Cincinnati denied the new claim last March.

IBJI is asking that its claim be paid.

The defendants counter that they can expect class members to
follow the documentation protocols and those claims that don't can
be denied.

After hearing arguments on the matter Dec. 17, Judge Mudge took
the issue under advisement.

Omar Odland represents the defense.

The case was previously assigned to Madison County Circuit Judge
Barbara Crowder and former Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel

The case is Madison case number 05-L-178.

ELSIE MASON: Tenants Want Bed Bug Class Action Certified
Jeff Eckhoff, writing for Des Moines Register, reports lawyers for
roughly 300 current and former residents of two Des Moines
apartment buildings for the elderly and disabled filed court
papers on Jan. 18 alleging that managers knew about a massive
bedbug infestation for more than two years but refused to warn
tenants or to properly treat it until they were sued.

The documents, filed on Jan. 18 as part of a March 2010 Polk
County lawsuit, ask a judge to kick-start the slow-moving case by
formally certifying it as a class action and pushing it closer
toward trial.

Attorney Jeff Lipman said tenants at Elsie Mason Manor and Ligutti
Towers in Des Moines continue to seek money for back rent, lost
property and other hardships suffered because of the inadequately
controlled bedbug problem.  Residents sued last year amid
complaints that they'd been repeatedly bitten, forced to discard
infested furniture and shunned both by relatives and by other
landlords now too afraid to rent to them.

"Everybody sleeps on the floor now," Elsie Mason resident Robert
Hobbs said last year.  "You have to."

Court records show little movement on the lawsuit since it was
filed -- despite last Spring's acknowledgment of failure by the
head of American Baptist Homes of the Midwest, a Minnesota-based
agency that manages the buildings for a Johnston-based foundation,
and a pledge by American Baptist to do better.

"Although we never foreclosed the possibility of settlement, we
now find it necessary to take this next step," Mr. Lipman said of
the documents filed on Jan. 18.

Dave Zwickey, president of American Baptist, acknowledged that the
buildings are still not bedbug free but stressed his agency's
tremendous progress.  Last year's long round of "thermal
remediation," a six- to eight-hour process that involves bathing
infested apartments in 140-degree air, has been followed with
quarterly inspections of every apartment by a bedbug-sniffing dog.

"It's a much different situation than we had last March,"
Mr. Zwickey said.

"The only thing else they could do is probably fumigate,"
Mr. Lipman said.  "But then you've got to put (all the tenants) in
a hotel.  Who's going to pay for that? And which hotel's going to
take them?"

New court documents say the bedbug infestation at Elsie Mason
Manor and Ligutti Towers dates back to at least October 2007, when
ABC Pest Control treated one apartment on Elsie Mason's 17th
floor.  By the end of that year, the bedbugs had spread to two
other floors in the 17-story building.  By the end of 2008, they
had been found on 10 floors.  By December 2009, the still-growing
problem was evident on 14 floors of Elsie Mason and five floors of

Documents say part of the issue was that Elsie Mason's management
left it up to the low-income elderly and disabled residents to
prepare their apartments for visits by chemical-wielding
exterminators.  Roughly half of the tenants simply were unable to
complete time- and labor-consuming steps such as repeatedly
drying, washing, then re-drying clothes, bagging belongings in
plastic and moving furniture away from baseboards.

According to an affidavit from ABC Pest Control technician Steve
Randolph contained in the new paperwork, building manager
Frank Spoerl repeatedly refused the company's proposal to provide
preparation help for tenants because the attached fee was deemed
too expensive.  Mr. Randolph said ABC supplied free bedbug
monitors to be placed in the apartments, but it's uncertain
whether any were ever installed.

Building management "has been completely lethargic," Mr. Randolph
says in the documents.  "I am confident that had the
recommendations we offered as far back as September of 2008 to
more aggressively treat the building not been ignored and
dismissed, this problem could have been controlled at a fraction
of the costs, and the inconvenience and disruption of residents'
lives could have been minimized or avoided altogether."

Court papers quote Dawn Edwards, a former receptionist at Elsie
Mason and Ligutti, as saying she was told not to mention bedbugs
to prospective tenants because managers "wanted to create the
impression the building was 'a warm and welcoming place.'"

"Frank continually denied that bedbugs were a problem," according
to Ms. Edwards.  "Once, when I brought the situation to his
attention, he simply replied 'Everyone is going to get them.'"

Documents say at least one-third of the 284 apartments in the two
buildings "were directly infested with bedbugs at least one time"
after Jan. 1, 2008.  Some Elsie Mason apartments had to be
revisited by exterminators as many as nine times.

According to 106 interviews and affidavits collected from current
and former tenants for the lawsuit, roughly 68% of Elsie Mason and
Ligutti residents signed leases without being told about the
bedbug issue.  Sixty-five percent have told lawyers they ended up
with bedbugs in their apartment at least one time, according to
the lawsuit.  Roughly 54% said they've been bitten by bedbugs at
one of the buildings.

Mr. Zwickey on Jan. 18 said current tenants are "very satisfied
with how we've managed the situation" since last March.

American Baptist fully intends to settle up with financially
damaged residents at some point, Mr. Zwickey said.  But the agency
believes that class certification is an important step toward
determining exactly who is owed money and how much.

"It's a long process," Mr. Zwickey said.  "What you're really
talking about is how many people have been really affected by

ESCONDIDO, CA: May Face Class Action Over Checkpoints Practice
Ruxandra Guidi, writing for KPBS, reports that in 2009, Rich Dudka
went through one of the city's checkpoints, and his truck was
impounded.  Since he could not afford the impound fees, his truck
was eventually sold.  Mr. Dudka sued the city in August, and now,
he's exploring the possibility of a class-action lawsuit, on
behalf of all the people whose cars were impounded over the last
six years.

Escondido Police Chief Jim Maher defends the checkpoints.  But
when asked about them a few months ago, Mr. Maher acknowledged
that a lawsuit was likely.

"Every single car that approaches is just asked to show a driver's
license," said Mr. Maher.  "We're modifying that process and we
haven't settled on a final process because the ACLU threatened to
sue us.  So we may have to check for other things besides just a
driver's license."

One of the reasons the checkpoints have been so controversial is
because they've led to an increase in deportations of undocumented
immigrants who aren't, by law, allowed to get a driver's license.

Mr. Maher says the uproar over the checkpoints is not justified.

"It's wrong to not try to use every available legal tool to remove
criminals," says Mr. Maher.  "If you lived with a gang member,
child molester, drug dealer next door, that the police could go
and have deported, and we refused to do that--then I would be more

Carlos Batara is a lawyer working in Escondido.  He says the
checkpoints have serious implications for the community, but
whether the practice is illegal is something that would need to be
decided by the courts.

"In my mind, so many of these measures violate constitutional
concerns, like due process, but I'm not going to be the final
judge of that," says Mr. Batara.  "Ultimately, that issue needs to
be taken up by the higher courts."

There's no telling yet whether Mr. Dudka's lawsuit will reach a
class-auction status, and what implications, if any, it would have
on the six year-old checkpoints practice.

GMAC MORTGAGE: Mulls Foreclosure Dismissals to Avoid Class Suits
Nick Timiraos, writing for The Wall Street Journal, reports
GMAC Mortgage Corp., a unit of Ally Financial Inc., told a
Maryland court on Jan. 14 that it would dismiss around 250 pending
foreclosures in the state to avoid a potentially lengthy class
action lawsuit.

The bulk dismissals allow the bank to restart foreclosure
proceedings without the threat of litigation and title disputes.
But they could lead to delays because Maryland has stepped up
scrutiny of banks' foreclosure filings in recent months, and the
state last year began requiring banks to conduct mediation with
delinquent borrowers in a bid to avert foreclosures.

A spokeswoman for GMAC says that the company had already begun
dismissing and re-filing all Maryland foreclosure filings signed
by Jeffrey Stephan, a back-office employee who had admitted under
oath to signing documents without first reviewing them.

"The process to file for dismissal has been well underway," said
Gina Proia, the company spokeswoman.

GMAC initiated the policy to dismiss Maryland foreclosures in
November at the same time that attorneys for Kevin J. Matthews, a
Baltimore homeowner facing foreclosure by GMAC, initiated
proceedings to begin a class action lawsuit for all borrowers in
foreclosure that had foreclosure paperwork signed by Mr. Stephan.

In other states, GMAC has moved to swap out improper affidavits
and replace them with new ones instead of voiding foreclosures and
re-filing them, which can be more expensive and time-consuming.
Lawyers for Mr. Matthews credited the threat of a class-action
lawsuit with GMAC's decision to handle foreclosure filings
differently in Maryland.

Anthony DePastina, a lawyer at Civil Justice, the Baltimore legal
nonprofit that represented Mr. Matthews, says he's already heard
from dozens of lawyers interested in mounting similar class-action
challenges in other states.  "This could lead to a cascade event,"
he said.  "The banks are going to be faced with either deciding to
step up to the plate and dismiss their actions across the board or
fight" additional lawsuits.

The action represents the latest fallout from the mortgage
industry's use of so-called "robo-signers" and illustrates the
risk to banks that their sloppy paperwork invites further
lawsuits, slowing the foreclosure process.

GMAC isn't allowed to pass along the cost of foreclosure delays
onto delinquent homeowners.  The agreement doesn't necessarily
resolve potential problems with properties that have already gone
through the foreclosure process, including those that may have
been sold to third parties.

Maryland doesn't require banks to conduct foreclosure proceedings
through courts, but unlike other non-judicial states, Maryland
requires banks to go back to court and confirm completed
foreclosure sales.  The state also makes it easier for homeowners
to challenge those foreclosures in court before the property is

A separate suit was filed in November on behalf of homeowners with
loans signed by a Wells Fargo employee, and a hearing is set for
next month.  A spokeswoman for Wells Fargo had no immediate

HARD ROCK: Faces Class Action Over Failure to Pay Minimum Wage
Two Hard Rock Cafe International (Orlando), Inc. employees, who
worked in the Hard Rock Cafe at Universal Studios in Orlando,
Florida, on January 18 filed a class action lawsuit against Hard
Rock for the company's alleged failure to pay minimum wages that
were required under Florida law.  The Orlando Hard Rock Cafe is
the largest Hard Rock Cafe in the world.  The case was brought
under the minimum wage provisions of Florida's Constitution, which
was passed by citizen's initiative and became effective as of
May 2, 2005.

The putative class action was filed in Circuit Court in Orange
County, Florida.  The complaint alleges that Hard Rock's servers
and bartenders were paid less than minimum wage during the period
January 14, 2006, until approximately July 2009.  The complaint
asserts that Hard Rock attempted to pay the servers and bartenders
less than minimum wages while taking a tip credit allowable under
Florida and federal law only when the servers and bartenders are
allowed to retain all of their tips or where a legal tip pooling
arrangement is instituted among employees "who customarily and
regularly receive tips."  The complaint alleges that servers and
bartenders improperly shared their tips with individuals who were
employed as expediters.  The complaint asserts that the expediters
at the Orlando Hard Rock Cafe are not customarily and regularly
tipped employees; instead, they are kitchen employees who are
responsible for ensuring food is prepared and garnished properly.
The Complaint alleges that Hard Rock was not entitled to the tip
credit because servers and bartenders did not retain all their
tips and paid a portion of their tips to expediters.

Sam J. Smith, Burr & Smith, LLP, Tampa, stated, "This case is
unique because it is one of the first class actions filed solely
using the minimum wage provisions of the Florida Constitution
which has a five-year statute of limitations for willful
violations and provides for full recovery of the minimum wages and
an equal amount of liquidated damages."

Hillary Schwab, Lichten & Liss-Riordan, P.C., Boston,
Massachusetts, added, "In this economy, servers and bartenders
need all the tips they can get.  Hard Rock should have known that
a tip sharing arrangement that included kitchen staff violated
Florida and federal law."

The Florida Constitution, Article X, Section 24(a) provides that
"[a]ll working Floridians are entitled to be paid a minimum wage
that is sufficient to provide a decent and healthy life for them
and their families."  In doing so, FMWA permits employers to pay
less than the Florida minimum wage to employees who receive tips
only if the eligibility requirements for the tip credit under the
Federal Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") are met.  Id. at section
24(c).  If an employer satisfies the tip credit requirements, it
may apply a portion of the employee's tips (up to a maximum of
$3.02 per hour) to satisfy its own minimum wage obligation.

To utilize the tip credit under the FLSA, and therewith the FMWA,
the employer must allow its tipped employees to retain all the
tips they receive, except when there is a valid arrangement for
"pooling of tips among employees who customarily and regularly
receive tips."  29 U.S.C. section 203(m).  If an employer fails to
satisfy this requirement, it may not take advantage of the tip
credit and must directly pay its tipped employees the full minimum

Florida's minimum wage provision has recently been in the news
because the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation was sued for
allegedly improperly calculating the minimum wage under Florida

Plaintiffs are represented by the law firms of Burr & Smith, LLP
-- http://www.burrandsmithlaw.com/-- and Lichten & Liss-Riordan,
P.C. -- http://www.llrlaw.com/

Persons who have evidence regarding this case or who wish to
contact Plaintiffs' counsel may call or email:

          Hillary Schwab, Esq.
          100 Cambridge Street, 20th Floor
          Boston, MA 02114
          Telephone: 617-994-5800
          Facsimile: 617-994-5801
          E-mail: hschwab@llrlaw.com

               - or -

          Sam J. Smith, Esq.
          BURR & SMITH, LLP
          Grand Central Place
          442 W Kennedy Blvd., Suite 300
          Tampa, FL 33606
          Telephone: 813-253-2010
          Facsimile: 813-254-8391

JP MORGAN: Sued in Illinois for Not Paying Overtime to Workers
Courthouse News Service reports that a class action filed in a
federal court in Chicago claims JP Morgan Chase & Co. stiffs
workers for overtime.

MELA SCIENCES: Bids for Lead Plaintiff Due Today
Shareholders of MELA Sciences, Inc. are reminded of the securities
class action lawsuit filed against MELA and certain of its
officers.  The class action (Civil Action No.: 10 Civ 9024 (JFM))
pending in the Southern District of New York is on behalf of a
class consisting of all persons or entities who purchased MELA
securities from February 13, 2009 through November 16, 2010.  The
Complaint alleges violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated

If you are a shareholder who purchased MELA securities during the
Class Period, you have until January 21, 2011 to ask the Court to
appoint you as lead plaintiff for the class.  A copy of the
complaint can be obtained at http://www.pomerantzlaw.com/

To discuss this action, contact:

          Rachelle R. Boyle
          Telephone: 888-476-6529 (ext. 237)
          E-mail: rrboyle@pomlaw.com

Throughout the Class Period, Defendants represented to the
investing public that an approval of MelaFind by the United States
Food and Drug Administration would be forthcoming through a series
of materially false and misleading statements regarding the status
of MelaFind's ongoing clinical studies, and the safety and
efficacy of the Company's products.  For instance, at the
beginning of the Class Period, Defendants announced "positive top-
line results of its pivotal trial of MelaFind, a non-invasive,
point-of-care instrument to assist in the early detection of
melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer."

In misrepresenting positive aspects of MelaFind, Defendants were
able to, among other things: (a) deceive the investing public
regarding MELA's business and management; (b) deceive the
investing public regarding the efficacy of MelaFind and its
prospects for approval; and (c) enable Defendants to sell almost
$79 million of MELA's common stock to the public while in
possession of material adverse non-public information about the

On November 16, 2010, it was reported, in part, that MelaFind
"could cause harm because of the potential for misdiagnosis," and
that "FDA staff pointed to numerous problems with MELA's study of
the device, called MelaFind, including a significant lack of data,
and urged a new clinical trial." On this news, MELA's stock
plummeted approximately 54% or $3.45 per share.

The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New York, Chicago and
Washington, D.C., is acknowledged as one of the premier firms in
the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class
litigation.  Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known as
the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm pioneered the
field of securities class actions.  Today, more than 70 years
later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the tradition he
established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities
fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The
Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar damages awards on
behalf of class members.

PELLA CORP: Supreme Court Won't Block Class Action
The Associated Press reports the Supreme Court won't stop the
class-action certification of a lawsuit against Pella Corp. over a
purported defect in one of its windows.

The high court on Jan. 18 refused to hear an appeal from the

The lower courts have certified a class-action lawsuit against
Pella.  The lawsuit alleges that Pella's aluminum clad wood
"Proline" casement windows have a design defect that allows water
to seep behind the aluminum cladding.  They claim that allows the
wood to rot at an accelerated rate, and that Pella committed
consumer fraud by not declaring publicly the role that the
purported design flaw had in the rot.

But Pella fought the class-action certification, saying consumer
fraud claims are inappropriate for class treatment.

The case is Pella v. Saltzman, 10-355.

QUENNSLAND INSURERS: Retailers Mull Flood Insurance Class Action
ABC News reports Queensland retailers are gearing up for a legal
battle against insurance companies trying to avoid flood damage

The insurance industry has been facing widespread criticism about
policies being complicated in terms of whether flood cover is for
a river flood, a flash flood or a problem with storm water.

United Retail Federation national president Scott Driscoll says he
has been approached by scores of businesses who have been told
they are not covered for the floods.

He says he is in discussions with law firms about a possible class
action against insurers.

"We have had some discussions with solicitors who are very, very
interested to explore a class action further," he said.

"We are certainly taking soundings from across our membership,
which numbers the thousands across Queensland, and given the sort
of determination that a lot of these businesses have and how they
have been let down by the insurers.

"I think there is a lot of momentum."

Mr. Driscoll says members are ready for a fight with insurers who
try to shirk their responsibilities.

"I think any insurance company listening to this needs to
understand that this can happen one of two ways," he said.

"They can either do the right thing -- pay out the claims and make
sure the Queensland community is getting back on its feet.

"Or they can kick and scream and scratch and we will drag them all
the way until justice is served."


The retailers' action comes as the Insurance Council of Australia
rejected complaints that flood policies are too complicated and is
instead blaming customers for not reading their contracts.

Karl Sullivan, the council's general manager of risk, said
customers are often complacent.

"Most of the definitions are written in very plain English and are
very simple for a layman to understand," he said.

"Unfortunately a lot of people maybe don't make the effort to
understand what the risks are that they're facing."

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has foreshadowed changes to the
insurance industry as part of the Government's response to the
Queensland floods.

RJ REYNOLDS: Judge Junks Class Action Over Camel Cash Program
Jon Hood, writing for ConsumerAffairs.com, reports a federal judge
has dismissed a class action lawsuit claiming that Camel breached
a contract when it ended its "Camel Cash" program in 2007 --
ruling that Camel manufacturer R.J. Reynolds was merely extending
an offer and had no duty to honor customer orders.

The Camel Cash -- C-Note -- program was introduced in the fall of
1991.  A typical smokers' loyalty program, Camel Cash was intended
"to increase sales of Camel cigarettes by adding value to the
Camel brand in order to retain then-current smokers and to attract
smokers of competitive brands," according to the complaint.

Under the program, smokers traded in Camel Cash for branded
merchandise, such as jackets and lighters.  Marlboro offered a
comparable program -- Marlboro Miles -- which was discontinued in

In their suit, the plaintiffs contended that, by canceling the
C-Note program, Camel "breached its contract with [the] plaintiffs
and engaged in unfair business practices by failing to supply
[the] plaintiffs . . . with any catalogs or merchandise."  As a
result, the suit said, "from October 2006 through March 31, 2007,
any efforts by [the] plaintiffs . . . to redeem their certificates
were, and would have been, futile."

Although Camel reserved the right to discontinue the Camel Cash
program at any time, the plaintiffs maintained that, under the
program, "a contractual relationship was formed which vested the
plaintiffs with the right to accumulate and redeem their Camel
Cash certificates."

Importantly, the suit said that "the breach of contract alleged is
not that [R.J.] Reynolds was prohibited from terminating the
program, but that, during the program's duration, Reynolds had the
obligation to perform through the program's termination date."

As a result, the suit alleged, Reynolds "waived any right to
terminate without notice when . . . it announced by mailing a
notice to program members, that the program would terminate as of
March 31, 2007."

Essentially, the plaintiffs claim Camel obligated itself to honor
C-Note through the termination date, adding that Reynolds "gave
notice of termination and represented that [the] plaintiffs could
redeem their Camel Cash certificates for six months."

Judge: Offer, not a contract

Judge Christina Synder, of the Central District of California,
disagreed with the plaintiffs' argument and ultimately dismissed
the lawsuit.  Judge Snyder said that, in order for a valid
contract to be formed, Camel would have to process payment for a
customer's order.  The most the plaintiffs had alleged,
Judge Snyder said, was that Camel had invited them to place orders
from its catalog.  Camel was not obligated to do anything in

The suit was led by plaintiffs from California, New York, Texas,
South Dakota, and Iowa.  The complaint alleged breach of contract,
promissory estoppel, and violations of several California consumer
protection statutes.

SEQUENOM INC: Settlement Administrator Completes Claim Procedures
Rust Consulting, Inc., which was appointed as the settlement
administrator for the stipulation of settlement related to the
class action securities lawsuits consolidated under the caption In
re Sequenom, Inc., Securities Litigation, Master File No. 3:09-cv-
00921 LAB-WMC, has completed the class action claim procedures and
provided final information to the Company's transfer agent,
American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC, to permit the
issuance of the stock certificates to members of the plaintiffs'
class for a total of 6,407,738 shares of the Company's common
stock.  The stock certificates are being issued effective as of
December 31, 2010.  An additional 409,005 shares of common stock
had been issued on June 10, 2010, to counsel for the plaintiffs'
class in accordance with the stipulation of settlement.

All inquires about individual stock certificates being issued
pursuant to the stipulation of settlement should be directed to
Rust Consulting, Inc. or Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP, lead counsel
for the plaintiffs' class.

As of January 13, 2011, the Company had 98,849,901 shares of its
common stock outstanding, according to Sequenom's Form 8-K filed
with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Jan. 14, 2011.

TOLEDO FOAM COS: Jan. 19 Pretrial Set in Price-Fixing Suit
Sheena Harrison, writing for The Blade, reports dozens of lawyers
from around the country were to flock to Toledo this week for
pretrial proceedings in a class action lawsuit involving an
alleged price-fixing scheme.

Eleven companies, including two in northwest Ohio, are accused of
violating anti-trust laws by conspiring to fix prices charged for
polyurethane foam.  Judge Jack Zouhary of the U.S. District Court
in Toledo is assigned to consider pretrial motions in the case,
which was scheduled to start on Wednesday, Jan. 19.

About 100 lawyers were expected to attend Wednesday's hearing,
said David Zoll of Zoll, Kranz & Borgess LLC in Toledo, one of the
law firms representing plaintiffs in the case.  He said it could
bring an economic boost to Toledo because many of those lawyers
will stay at local hotels, eat at area restaurants, and buy
services from Toledo firms.  "It's a big deal," he said.

Although this week's hearing is expected to last one day, Mr. Zoll
said the business is likely to be repeated because pretrial
proceedings typically are held every 60 to 90 days.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, made up of
seven judges, decides whether to consolidate civil lawsuits and
transfer them to one federal district court.  Cases typically are
consolidated to make the proceedings more efficient and prevent
inconsistencies between numerous cases with similar details,
Mr. Zoll said.

The judicial panel usually presents consolidated cases to judges
who have shown ability to handle complicated proceedings, said
Jenna Grubb, spokesman for the Toledo Bar Association.  "It's a
vote of confidence for the local federal judiciary and
satisfaction with Toledo being the host," she said.

Mr. Zoll said Toledo is considered a prime location for hearing
consolidated class-action lawsuits because it is centrally located
and is near Detroit Metro Airport.

A second class-action lawsuit, involving hip-replacement devices
recalled by DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. of Warsaw, Ind., is being
heard by U.S. District Judge David Katz of Toledo.  It was
assigned to Judge Katz by the Multidistrict Litigation panel.  The
case starts Thursday, Jan. 20, in Florida, but future hearings are
expected to be held in Toledo, Mr. Zoll said.

Scottdel Inc., a carpet padding manufacturer in Swanton, is one of
the defendants in the foam case.  Chief Financial Officer Kevin
Thornton said his company is defending itself against the lawsuit
and does not believe it should have been named in the action.

Flexible Foam Products Inc., a polyurethane foam maker based in
Spencerville, Ohio, also is named as a defendant.  Company
spokesman Mike Crowell declined to comment on the case.

UNITED STATES: Medicare Rights Group Launches Class Action
Julian Pecquet, writing for The Hill's Healthwatch, reports a
Medicare rights group filed a class action lawsuit against the
federal government on Jan. 18 that could affect many thousands of
Americans seniors.

The suit seeks to require Medicare to cover certain types of
rehabilitative care even when it likely won't lead to an
"improvement" in patients' condition.

"This has been the main barrier keeping people from getting the
care and services they need," said Judith Stein of the Center for
Medicare Advocacy, which filed the lawsuit in United States
District Court in Burlington, Vt.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of four individuals from
Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maine and five
organizations.  These include the National Committee to Preserve
Social Security and Medicare; the National Multiple Sclerosis
Society; Parkinson's Action Network; Paralyzed Veterans of
America; and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and

Plaintiffs say almost 78% of the 46 million or so Medicare
beneficiaries have at least one chronic condition, such as
multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer's.  Denying them care if they
don't meet the so-called "Improvement Standard," the advocates
argue, can prevent them from performing routine daily activities
or even cause their condition to deteriorate -- leading to higher
costs down the road.

In May 2010, 17 Democratic lawmakers led by Rep. Joe Courtney
(D-Conn.) wrote a letter to the Medicare agency arguing that the
improvement standard is illegal and urging the agency to clarify
its reimbursement policies.  The agency's claims are processed by
private subcontractors, many of whom require improvements in
patient conditions and deny coverage to thousands of people every
year as a result.

"Medicare coverage determinations should not be based on whether
the patient's underlying condition is likely to improve," the
lawmakers wrote.  "In fact, federal regulation actually states the

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officially agrees
that coverage approval, generally speaking, should depend on a
service being reasonable and medically necessary.  In the case of
therapy services, that means that the individual needs the type of
services that require the assistance of or supervision by a
skilled professional.

"We have not yet had a chance to review the complaint, and
therefore are not in a position to comment on the lawsuit," said a
CMS spokesperson.

This fall two federal courts, in Pennsylvania and Vermont, ruled
that beneficiaries don't have to meet the improvement standard in
order to qualify for skilled nursing care and home health
services.  The rulings in those lawsuits, however, only applied to
the individuals who brought them and not to all beneficiaries.

The new lawsuit seeks to have the court certify a national class,
which would make its ruling mandatory with regards to people in
similar circumstances.  The administration has 60 days to respond.

Ms. Stein's group launched an advocacy and education campaign on
the issue in October 2009 but held off on a class action suit
until now because it was trying to work with the Obama
administration to resolve the issue.  The administration has been
receptive to beneficiaries' concerns, Stein told The Hill -- she
said federal regulators this fall "dramatically improved" proposed
regulations regarding home care therapy services - but has not
gone far enough.

"We need the policies at all levels cleared up," Ms. Stein said.
"It's not resolved sufficiently, and people are injured all the

UNITED STATES: Pigford Settlement Claimants Face Year-Long Wait
Phil Sarata, writing for The Times and Democrat, reports that
Although Congress has approved settlement funds in the Black
Farmers Discrimination case, a local state legislator says making
payments to claimants is still at least a year away.

State Rep. Bakari Sellers, D-Denmark, works with Strom Law Firm of
Columbia, which represents 10,311 South Carolina claimants in the
Pigford v. Glickman class action lawsuit.  Combined with similar
lawsuits, the action is known as the Black Farmers Discrimination

"I've been working on this since law school," Mr. Sellers said.
"South Carolina has the third largest number of claimants in the
case behind only Mississippi and Alabama.

"We now have the funding, but we have a settlement timeline we
have been working since 2007.  We have to get it approved by a
federal judge and set up a claims process."

President Barack Obama signed legislation Dec. 8 that will pay
American Indians and black farmers $4.6 billion to settle claims
of government discrimination over many decades.  More than $1.15
billion has been earmarked to pay Pigford claimants.

Congressman James Clyburn, D-S.C., released a statement following
passage of the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, saying the law
"removed the stain on our country's history and rectified these

"After more than a decade, this bill finally, in some significant
measure, resolves the Pigford v. Glickman class action lawsuit
settlement reached in 1999," Mr. Clyburn said.  "(It) was filed by
African-American farmers against the Department of Agriculture for
discriminating against black farmers who applied for access to
loans and other assistance."

The House of Representatives passed two previous measures to pay
for the settlement, but the legislation failed nine times in the

Mr. Sellers said he didn't know how many current or past black
farmers in Bamberg, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties would be
affected.  How much money each South Carolina claimant may receive
is still unknown, he said.

"There was a problem with the notice requirement involving the
first Pigford claim filing," Mr. Sellers said.  "We are trying to
settle late claims.  For those that attempted, there will be a
possibility to file.

"To be accepted as a claimant, the individual has to prove he
tried to file during the first filing.  We and Congress have
attempted to eliminate filing fraud as much as possible."

In the 2008 Farm Bill passed by Congress, certain rights were
given to African-American farmers who filed discrimination claims
in the Pigford case.  Many of them have not had their claims
resolved because they were filed after the Oct. 12, 1999 claims

Mr. Sellers said the Congressional claims resolution measure is a
fully-funded offset, meaning it will not add to the federal

"These people were denied loans that would allow them to start
farming or continue farming," Mr. Sellers said.  "We have to do
everything we can to ensure these South Carolinians receive the
justice they deserve."

UNIV. OF PUERTO RICO: May Face Class Action Over Fee Hike
Maritza Stanchich, writing for The Huffington Post, reports the
imposition of student fees appears imminent at University of
Puerto Rico despite violent clashes of striking students with riot
police last week.  The final date to pay the fee was on
Jan. 19.  The student movement is now regrouping into another
phase of the struggle, with plans to continue the strike and
preparing for future reimbursement of the fee through a possible
class-action lawsuit.

Strike leaders on Jan. 18 are asking students who oppose the $800
fee-the vast majority regardless of their position on the strike-
to opt for paying the first installment and thereby retain their
status of enrolment.  Assuming it is not hiked, the fee will be
$400 in the ensuing semesters.

"Paying and remaining students is not undermining the strike.
Rather it's pay and protest-the process continues," said Xiomara
Caro, a law school student and one of the spokespersons for the
Comite de Representacion Estudiantil (Student Representative

Students are also being advised to write "Pago Bajo Protesta" or
"Payment Under Protest" on payments via checks or money orders for
evidence of their opposition in the event of reimbursements
through a class action lawsuit, successfully achieved in a 2010
ruling against University of California (as well as in an earlier
class action suit against that same institution, Kashmiri v. UC
Regents).  However, the administration automatically charged the
full fee from thousands of Pell Grant allocations without consent.
Promised government measures to cushion the blow of the fee have
not yet been institutionalized.  It is estimated at least 10,000
students system-wide will drop out, including graduate students
whose tuition is more expensive.

The University of Puerto Rico serves about 65,000 students on 11
campuses, and is the largest institution of higher learning in the
Caribbean, the most important center of research in Puerto Rico
with millions in scientific funding, and the largest Hispanic-
serving university in the United States (since Puerto Rico is
technically a U.S. territory).

The forced institutionalization of fees comes after violent
clashes with strike police last week as the fees began to be
processed on Thursday, when protesting students blocked workers
from entering Plaza Universitaria, the administrative building
housing the offices to process payments.  The students brandished
multilingual banners of "No a La Cuota!" and home-made shields of
wood and plastic, some stenciled with "A Defender la UPR" slogans
with the university's emblematic clock tower.  Strike police
dislodged the students with full force, using tear gas, pepper
spray and wielding batons and Taser guns, arresting seven, six of
whom were later released without charges.  One female student
appeared to have been arbitrarily clubbed at her brow, and another
hit by a car across campus on a main thoroughfare of Avenida

Here are two videos of what transpired that day.  The first --
http://is.gd/HBgu0x-- from the independent online university
newspaper Dialogo Digital, shows police videotaping student
protestors.  Fears abound that such videos are later used to make
targeted arrests, a practice with a widely documented history in
the persecution of independence movements throughout the 20th
Century, often in collaboration with the FBI. P uerto Ricans have
created their own word for this, "carpeteo," coming from the word
"carpeta" or file, and reminiscent of McCarthyism.

In this second video -- http://is.gd/7ggwlj-- by Telenoticias
from Telemundo, at about six minutes, disabled American veteran
Todd Wesley Fick, is arrested for allegedly attempting to block
riot police but was later released without charges after having
his leg prosthetic removed and being handled in such a way as to
later require medical treatment; legal experts opined that the
method of arrest may be in violation of the American Disabilities

Meanwhile, Statehood Party and Reaganite aficionado Republican
Gov. Luis Fortuno was in Spain, participating in a celebration of
Spanish Conquistador and Puerto Rico's first governor, Juan Ponce
de Leon.

The fee was processed with fewer clashes the next day with a
campus under police occupation.  Everyone entering the campus is
required to show university identification and occasionally bags
are inspected.  Ignored were calls from important sectors such as
the Academic Senate for an end to the police occupation, a
temporary moratorium on the fee, a postponement of the strike and
in-depth dialogue between parties.

In response to the climate of repression, a broad coalition began
last week with a day of solemn commemoration and tense protest on
Tuesday, when the University reopened after the holidays to
complete the fall semester, which had been ext ended due to brief
semester interruptions related to the unrest. The traditional
celebration marking the national holiday for Eugenio Maria de
Hostos, a renown 19th Century, pro-Independence philosopher and
liberal who was politically exiled from Puerto Rico, attracted
about 300 participants drawn from 56 political, labor and civil
rights organizations.  The coalition entered the campus in
violation of prohibitions against protest and assembly of any kind
on campus from the local Supreme Court and the Chancellor Ana
Guadalupe.  The Chancellor's edict was recently extended another
month by the UPR Board of Trustees.

The event later turned sour when riot police intervened during a
student-led march from the commemoration throughout the large
campus, as members of a small, militant wing of the student
movement, called "encapuchados" for the masks they wear to elude
the aforementioned "carpeteo" practices, set off smoke bombs to
disrupt classes being held despite the strike, and smashed windows
and overturned tables in the Student Center's fast food area.  TV
crews and journalists captured the mayhem, later broadcast and
published as top news.  Oddly no arrests were made, though police
were present throughout the march. Leaders of Puerto Rico's small
Independence Party issued statements reminding that their movement
has always been infiltrated by provocateur and saboteur agents
(perhaps most notoriously in the 1978 Cerro Maravilla political
killings of two UPR students).  The student movement committees
issued statements repudiating the vandalism.  The main professors'
organization, a supporter of the student movement, Asociacion of
Profesores Puertoriquenos Universitarios, called for prudence.
Nevertheless, the governor seized the moment to denounce the
student movement as violent and not open to dialogue.

Suspicions of foul play on the part of the government were fanned
when the following day police arrested 10 students for handing out
informative flyers in a classroom, all of whom were later released
without charges.  The blind eye of the police to the vandalism of
the previous day had quickly morphed into its opposite, a carte
blanche to arrest.  One witness, retired telephone company
employee and UPR alum Enrique Miranda, seen in the striped shirt
trying to intervene in the following brief YouTube video --
http://is.gd/QhppWe-- from WAPA TV, said he felt the incident had
been orchestrated.

These incidents capped off a holiday season of extraordinary
organizing on the part of the student movement: student leaders
broadcast sophisticated videos explaining the issues; student
groups reached out to economically-marginalized communities and
their leaders; the groundbreaking, student-run radio station
RadioHuelga projected an edgy cache; Facebook pages and online
independent student journalism stoked constant debate; protesters
converged on the Plaza Las Americas Mall and more recently blocked
major avenues of transit; street theater, including the two-story
tall puppet emblazoned with UPR No se Vende (UPR Not for Sale),
became a leitmotif; and multiple spokespersons and leaders
imparted a vibrant array of voices.

The administration response included suspensions of student
leaders, and full-page newspaper advertisements as well as am
radio ads, on a daily basis. Slick and sophisticated ads belie the
administration's claim to fiscal crisis, promoting a few options
such as new scholarship and work-study program to defray the
impact of the fee.  Students greeted these measures as superficial
and a smokescreen for eventual privatization. Demands for fiscal
transparency have been studiously ignored, along with suggestions
for improving efficiency.

The governor and party leaders met briefly with select student
leaders before Christmas, taking advantage of slow news days for
prominent photo-ops and then dismissed or misrepresented student
proposals.  Media blitz notwithstanding, few Puerto Rican voters
fancy the spectacle of police clubbing unarmed students live on
TV.  The images come on the heels of recent coverage from The
Economist that forecast Puerto Rico will have one of the lowest
economic growth rates in the world next year.

"Around the world the fiscal crisis is being used as an excuse to
abandon affordable public education and student activists
worldwide cannot lose faith in the possibility of resistance,"
said student spokesperson Caro.  "We are not fighting for
something small or simple and because of that it is a determined

Indeed student movements as far flung as Croatia and Pakistan are
following the UPR strike, judging from international blog posts.

"The epicenter of the struggle for the public university in Latin
America is Puerto Rico," declared Jose Carlos Luque Brazan, a
professor and researcher of political science and urban planning
at Universidad Autonoma de la Cuidad de Mexico.  "My warmest
regards to fellow allies in the struggle!"

XANTREX TECHNOLOGY: Recalls 25,000 Tie Solar Inverters
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with
Xantrex Technology Inc. -- a subsidiary of Schneider Electric, of
Livermore, Calif. -- announced a voluntary recall of about 25,000
Xantrex Grid Tie Solar Inverters.  Consumers should stop using
recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

A component of the inverter can degrade, causing out gassing
within the wiring compartment of the inverter.  When arcing
occurs, gasses could build and force the compartment cover to be
blown off.  If the cover is blown off with sufficient force it can
injure the user or person, or cause damage to property in close
proximity to the inverter.

Schneider Electric has received five reports of wiring compartment
covers being blown off.  No injuries or property damage have been

The recalled products involved inverter that converts solar
photovoltaic voltages into utility grid voltages; allowing the
owner to feed power into the electrical grid.  The recalled units
were manufactured between September 2005 and August 2010.  These
products were sold under the Xantrex, Sunpower, and General
Electric brands.  The brand name is printed on the front of the

Affected part numbers, printed on the top of the unit, include the

864-0002 864-0117 864-0128 864-0139 864-1006    864-1011 864-1019
864-0107 864-0118 864-0130 864-0140 864-1006-02 864-1012 864-1021
864-0108 864-0119 864-0131 864-1001 864-1007    864-1013 864-1022
864-0111 864-0124 864-0132 864-1001 864-1008-02 864-1014 864-1032
864-0112 864-0125 864-0133 864-1002 864-1009    864-1015 864-1032-
864-0114 864-0126 864-0135 864-1004 864-1009-02 864-1016
864-0116 864-0127 864-0136 864-1005 864-1010    864-1018

X-864-0002 X-864-0117 X-864-0128 X-864-0139 X-864-1007 X-864-1014

X-864-0107 X-864-0118 X-864-0130 X-864-0140 X-864-1008 X-864-1015
X-864-0108 X-864-0119 X-864-0131 X-864-1001 X-864-1009 X-864-1016
X-864-0111 X-864-0124 X-864-0132 X-864-1002 X-864-1010 X-864-1018
X-864-0112 X-864-0125 X-864-0133 X-864-1004 X-864-1011 X-864-1019
X-864-0114 X-864-0126 X-864-0135 X-864-1005 X-864-1012 X-864-1021
X-864-0116 X-864-0127 X-864-0136 X-864-1006 X-864-1013 X-864-1022

Pictures of the recalled products are available at:


The recalled products were manufactured in China and sold through
Solar distributors and system integrators nationwide and in Canada
from September 2005 through January 2011 for between about $2,500
and $4,000.

Consumers should immediately contact their authorized dealer to
set up an appointment to get a free repair of the inverter.  For
more information, contact Xantrex Technology at (800) 714-7176
between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Pacific Time, Monday through

                        Asbestos Litigation

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Bondex, SPHC Still Party to Bodily Injury Suits
RPM International Inc.'s subsidiary Bondex International, Inc.,
and its parent, Specialty Products Holding Corp., remain as
defendants in various asbestos-related bodily injury lawsuits
filed in various state courts.

On May 31, 2010, Bondex and SPHC filed voluntary petitions for
relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

SPHC, the parent company of Bondex, is also the parent company
for various operating companies that are not part of the
reorganization filing, including Chemical Specialties
Manufacturing Corp., Day-Glo Color Corp., Dryvit Holdings, Inc.,
Guardian Protection Products Inc., Kop-Coat Inc., TCI, Inc. and
RPM Wood Finishes Group, Inc.

SPHC and Bondex filed for bankruptcy to permanently and
comprehensively resolve all pending and future asbestos-related
liability claims associated with Bondex and SPHC-related products.
As a result of the filing, all Bondex and SPHC asbestos personal
injury lawsuits have been stayed due to the imposition of an
automatic stay applicable in bankruptcy cases.

In addition, at the request of SPHC and Bondex, the bankruptcy
court has entered orders staying all claims against the Company
and its affiliates that are derivative of the asbestos claims
against SPHC and Bondex.

Prior to the bankruptcy filing, the filing entities had engaged in
a strategy of litigating asbestos-related products liability
claims brought against them.  Claims paid during the year ended
May 31, 2010, prior to the bankruptcy filing, were US$92.6
million, which included defense-related payments during the year
of US$42.6 million.

No claims have been paid since the bankruptcy filing and it is not
contemplated that any claims will be paid until a plan of
reorganization is confirmed and an asbestos trust is established
and operating.

RPM International Inc. makes home repair products like Rust-Oleum,
Zinsser, and DAP.  The Company is divided into two units:
Industrial and consumer products.  Industrial offerings, which
account for about two-thirds of sales, include products for
waterproofing, corrosion resistance, floor maintenance, and wall
finishing. The Company is based in Medina, Ohio.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: IDEM Probing Hazard at Jefferson Proving Ground
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is
investigating the removal of asbestos from outdoor steam-heat
pipes at the former Jefferson Proving Ground, in Madison, Ind.,
The Republic reports.

IDEM spokeswoman Amy Hartsock says IDEM inspected the site last
Nov. 30, 2010 after receiving an anonymous complaint.  Tests on
material found stripped from the piping confirmed that it was

Ms. Hartsock says the land's current owner has taken full
responsibility for the asbestos removal and was working with state
officials.  She says the cleanup probably will take a few more

The Madison Courier reports that state and local health officials
and state workplace safety investigators also are looking into the

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Deutsche Bank Tower in N.Y. Finally Demolished
The damaged 41-story Deutsche Bank Tower, which is located in the
vicinity of the World Trade Center Site in Lower Manhattan and is
contaminated with asbestos and other dangerous debris, is finally
being demolished, Asbestos.Net reports.

The Tower, which had a 12-story hole torn in its side during the
collapse of the WTC's South Tower on Sept. 11, 2001, has been
involved in legal battles regarding ownership of the property, and
a number of lawsuits involving mishaps by cleanup workers.

However, a distinct issue that the building faced issue
surrounding the Deutsche Bank tower is the large amount of deadly
fibers and chemicals -- as well as human remains of WTC attack
victims -- that were stuck in the building following the attack,
asbestos included.

While many attempts were made to quickly remove any dangerous
toxins from the building, they were often derailed or delayed when
no proper way could be decided upon to get the dangerous debris
out of Manhattan safely.  As a result, the 12-story hole was
simply covered in a black tarp to keep the toxins from getting
into the City's air for a period of time.

However, with the building now finally being disassembled, one can
only hope that an important step has been taken to limit the
damage caused by the WTC attacks in terms of the City's air

Air tests taken following the attacks found that asbestos levels
were comparable to those found in Libby, Mont., back in 2001, and
it is still unknown how many New Yorkers may develop mesothelioma
or any asbestos-related disease as a result.

NYC Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told the Associated Press,
"It's one more symbol that lower Manhattan will come back from
Sept. 11 bigger, better and stronger than ever before."

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Greeneville School Remediation to Cost $500,000
Norwich, Conn., city officials recently learned that it would cost
about US$500,000 to remove all hazardous materials, including
asbestos, from the former Greeneville School and another
US$100,000 to demolish the building, The Day reports.

Mystic Air Quality Consultants submitted its report on the former
Greeneville School to the city planning office on Jan. 6, 2010.
City officials have asked for cost estimates for environmental
abatement and demolition of the school and another, the former
William A. Buckingham School.

The report said there is asbestos throughout the 1956 Greeneville
School building, from the roof to the basement piping, including
floor tiles and caulking around all the doors and windows and
brick sealers.

The abatement estimate totaled US$450,000 not including any
contingency amount, which would bring the total to about
US$500,000, City Manager Alan Bergren said.  Demolition costs were
estimated at US$70,000 to US$80,000 not including contingency,
bringing that total to about US$100,000, he added.

Mr. Bergren said the estimates should not be surprising, given the
"very liberal use" of asbestos in the 1950s, when the schools were
built.  He said no matter what city officials decide to do with
the two buildings, abatement would have to be done.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Red Willow Cty. Still Awaiting Cleanup Estimates
Commissioners at Red Willow County, Nebr., are still waiting for
an asbestos removal cost estimated for a county-owned, 98-year-old
apartment building, Mesothelioma.com reports.

Commissioners have accepted a US$24,500 bid from Maris General
Construction LLC of McCook, Nebr., to demolish the apartment
building.  The bid covers demolition, hauling of debris and
backfilling the basement.  However, it does not cover the removal
of asbestos from floor tiles and piping.

The abatement and that of demolition will be paid for from the
county's jail sinking fund.  If work is ever required on a county
jail, this money may have to be paid back to the inheritance fund.

Demolition is the county's sole option, as rehabbing the house for
use would cost considerably more.  Even if the building was to
undergo renovation rather than demolition, asbestos would still be
an issue.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Cleanup, Demolition at White Store Costs $372T
The asbestos removal and the demolition of the White Store in
downtown Joliet, Ill., are costing a total of US$372,500, and
asbestos removal should be completed as soon as possible,
Mesothelioma.com reports.

The White Store has served the community for over 100 years, but
in January 2011, the four-story building at 235 Chicago St. is
being torn down to make room for a Joliet Junior College campus
center.  Stage one of the demolition procedure involves asbestos
removal from the store's floors and pipes.

A protective fence will be erected around the building prior to
demolition to prevent any exposure to hazardous materials.
Moreover, as many materials as possible will be recycled, but
items tainted with asbestos will be excluded.  All asbestos waste
must be safely deposited in special landfills.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Asbestos Found at Wyong Council's Landfill Site
Asbestos has been found on Wyong Shire Council's closed landfill
site at Shelly Beach, New South Wales, Australia, the Central
Coast Express Advocate reports.

The Council is securing the site and has engaged experts for a
more detailed inspection.  Qualified contractors will remove the
asbestos and fix up the site.

The Council estimates the work will take about three weeks to
complete and will be funded from its AUD12 million tip
rehabilitation fund.

Work at the landfill site stopped in the early 1970s and is
largely covered by the car park between the southern boundary of
the Toowoon Bay Holiday Park and Tuggerah Lakes Golf Club.

The Council's contracts and special projects manager Mike Long
said small pieces of fiber cement sheeting were found scattered in
small numbers during an audit.  Tests confirmed they contained

Mr. Long said a report from a hygienist recommended an initial
clean-up of the small fragments by a licensed contractor, followed
by a clean-up of excess material and capping and turfing of
certain areas.  Work to secure, recover and revegetate the eastern
perimeter of the site was also needed.

The Council is erecting temporary fencing along the southern side
of the car park and roadway, along with appropriate signs to
ensure public safety.  This latest incident follows the discovery
of asbestos on the Council's landfill site at Gwandalan about two
months ago.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Cleanup at Erie Terminal Estimated at $500,000
Youngstown finance director David Bozanich said the removal of
asbestos from the Erie Terminal in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, is
estimated at US$500,000, vindy.com reports.

The sale of the Erie Terminal is delayed a month, but a major
renovation project of the historic building is on track to be done
by the end of 2011.

Louis Frangos of Cleveland, a real-estate developer who owns
several properties in the City's downtown, was to sell the
building on West Commerce Street last December 2010 to Dominic
Marchionda of Poland, Ohio.

Mr. Marchionda's firm, US Campus Suites LLC, built the US$8
million, 114-bed Flats at Wick student-housing complex off of
Madison Avenue and Elm Street near Youngstown State University.

The two sides agreed to extend the purchase date until Jan. 31
because of "last-minute" minor paperwork that needs to be
finalized, Mr. Frangos said on Jan. 6, 2011.

The City's board of control hired the Howland Company LLC of
Youngstown for US$5,995 on Jan. 6, 2011 to do an asbestos survey
of the property.

The board of control, of which Mr. Bozanich is a member, hired
Brownfield Restoration Group LLC of Canandaigua, N.Y., for
US$11,000 in September 2010 to apply for money from the Clean Ohio
state program for the clean-up work at Erie.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Asbestos to be Removed From Farmland Industries
Asbestos is slated to be removed from the former Farmland
Industries site in Lawrence, Kans., before the demolition of the
building, Mesothelioma.com reports.

Lawrence City commissioners have approved a proposal cleaning the
buildings, equipment and other debris at the site.  The
commissioners have accepted a US$252,000 proposal from R.D.
Johnson Excavating, which would allow Johnson to keep the first
1,500 tons of salvageable steel and the City to keep 25 percent of
the value of steel salvaged above the 1,500 tons.

However, Johnson was not awarded a contract for asbestos removal.
Commissioners found the proposed US$180,000 too high and will
rebid that part of the project in the hopes of finding a lower

Asbestos removal bids have run high due in part to the fact that
it is not known how much asbestos will be found in the facility's

City Commissioner Mike Dever has thusly recommended an inspection
to determine the amount of asbestos on site before requesting
removal rebids.  He said, "It is possible we could end up saving
US$80,000 to US$100,000 on the abatement."

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Edwards Family Awarded $2.4Mil in Compensation
A jury in Maryland has awarded US$2.4 million to the family of
Daniel Edwards, a forklift driver who filed a mesothelioma lawsuit
against Union Carbide Corporation, which will be reduced to US$2.2
million under the Maryland cap on damages, AboutLawsuits.com

Mr. Edwards' family claimed that he contracted mesothelioma from
moving bags of asbestos with a forklift for six years for National
Gypsum, starting in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  The asbestos
was mined and supplied by Union Carbide, which allegedly failed to
warn workers about the risks of asbestos exposure.  Mr. Edwards
died in 2008.

The Maryland asbestos wrongful death lawsuit, brought by Mr.
Edwards' children and his estate, alleged that Union Carbide had
information on the link between asbestos and mesothelioma in 1967,
two years before Edwards began his stint at National Gypsum.

According to a report by the Maryland Daily Record, Union Carbide
attorneys argued that it was National Gypsum's responsibility to
warn its workers of the dangers associated with asbestos.

National Gypsum filed for bankruptcy in 1990 and was reorganized
in 1993, but did not have enough money to pay all of its previous
claims or creditors.

Following trial in the Baltimore City Circuit Court, the Maryland
jury found Union Carbide to be responsible for Mr. Edwards'
injury.  Testimony from former co-workers indicated that moving
and dropping Union Carbide bags into Mr. Edwards' forklift kicked
up asbestos dust.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: East Haddon Hill Site Investigated for Hazards
Concerns regarding asbestos are being investigated at the rural
industrial estate on East Haddon Hill near Great Brington,
England, which is the site of a fire that destroyed three
businesses, the Northampton Chronicle & Echo reports.

The Health Protection Agency has imposed a cordon around the site
until it is deemed safe.  Eight fire crews battled the blaze,
which started at around 1:00 pm on January 9, 2011, and on Jan.
10, 2011 fire crews remained on site as the fire burned itself

A lack of water caused major difficulties for firefighters, who
were initially unable to get close to the fire because of the
threat of highly flammable liquid petroleum gas cylinders on the

Firefighter Geoff Spokes, station manager for Long Buckby, and the
first to arrive on the scene, said, "It was a very large fire.
There was no water mains readily available and so we had major
problems with water.  We had to have help from RAF Croughton who
supplied us with a water carrier, plus eight fire appliances.
Because of the risk of the gas cylinders we had to have a 200
meter exclusion zone around the fire to protect the public."

Firefighters managed to stop the flames spreading to two
additional farm buildings and the main farm house bordering the
fire.  The businesses destroyed in the blaze were Cmex, an event
and exhibition supplier, and Ultimate Performance, an engine
manufacturer with an F3 racing team.  It is also thought that
welding and engineering firm, Precision Four, was damaged.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: 3 Broward Judges Requesting Tests at Courthouse
Three Broward County, Fla., judges -- Susan Greenhawt, Patti
Englander Henning and Mily Rodriguez Powell -- have moved their
chambers and requested environmental and asbestos testing at the
old county courthouse, SunSentinel.com reports.

Judge Englander Henning said, ""There were issues with a serious
illness with one or more judges in the area.  Prudence suggested
that we request to be moved until they can test and determine what
the problem is and how it can be remedied. And obviously, it was a
valid enough claim that they were good enough to move us."

The county recently launched a series of environmental tests.
Attorneys suing the county on behalf of courthouse employees
claiming exposure to toxic mold arranged for testing at the
request of several judges.

Another Broward County judge, Cheryl Aleman, died on Dec. 2, 2010,
weeks after learning she had an aggressive form of lung cancer.
She had visited the hospital with flu-like symptoms in early
October 2010 and soon after was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.

In the immediate aftermath of Judge Aleman's death, the judges
requested mold and asbestos testing in courtroom 995 and the
ninth-floor chambers of Judges Aleman, Greenhawt, Englander
Henning and Rodriguez Powell, according to a Dec. 31, 2010 report
reviewed by the Sun Sentinel.

The report showed varying levels of fungal growth in the tested
areas and asbestos fibers "above the regulatory limit" in Judge
Aleman's chambers and courtroom 995.  The report concluded that
her chambers had a "very high concentration of indicator fungal
spore types" that may be affecting nearby areas.

One week after that report was issued, the three judges moved to
different chambers and the county launched its own round of tests,
said Pete Corwin, assistant to the county administrator.  He said
a survey about 1-1/2 years ago showed the existence of asbestos in
the courthouse.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Hampshire Police Officer Settles Payout Claim
Robert Chegwidden, a retired police officer from Hampshire,
England, has settled an out-of-court compensation bid with his
employer, Hampshire Constabulary, the Southern Daily Echo reports.

The 62-year-old Mr. Chegwidden says he was exposed to asbestos
while investigating fires during his police service between 1968
and 1997 while he worked for Hampshire Constabulary.  He also
claims to have been exposed to asbestos fibers in 1984 to 1985
when it was being removed from the police station at the Civic
Centre, in Southampton, where he was based.

Earlier in 2011, Mr. Chegwidden launched a legal battle against
the Chief Constable of Hampshire for more than GBP500,000 in
compensation, but has settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
In doing so, the force said it does not accept liability.

Mr. Chegwidden blames his employers for negligently failing to
make proper inquiries into the known dangers of asbestos, failing
to provide suitable masks, respirators and protective clothing as
well as failing to give him a safe place to work.

Mr. Chegwidden's police notebooks showed he visited at least 37
buildings damaged by fire between 1968 and 1980, including houses,
hay barns, and industrial buildings.  The sites also included
Alton Conservative Club, garages, domestic caravans, an old jam
factory at Romsey Dukes Mill, buildings at Farnborough Air Show, a
church, a pub, a psychiatric hospital and industrial premises.

Mr. Chegwidden also worked at Southampton Central police station
at the Civic Centre, the old Ordnance Survey building in
Southampton's London Road, and the Old Bank buildings in London,
which all contained asbestos lagged pipe work, his legal writ

Mr. Chegwidden said it was at the Civic Centre where he was most
at risk because workmen were stripping some of the material while
he worked in his office.

Roger Trencher, solicitor for Hampshire Constabulary, said,
"Hampshire Constabulary has every sympathy for the position Mr.
Chegwidden finds himself in.  The force has settled based on legal
advice due to the cost and complexities of this case.

"There have been no admissions of liability, and the issue as to
how Mr. Chegwidden became exposed to asbestos has not been

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Parts of Welsh Hospital to be Closed March 2011
Six operating theaters at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, a hospital in Wales,
will be closed for 14 months from March 2011, after asbestos was
discovered in their ceilings and adjacent corridors, WalesOnline

Asbestos was used in the construction of the hospital, near Rhyl,
which was opened in 1980.

A spokeswoman for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which
runs the hospital, said, "Plans are currently being drawn up to
ensure that emergency and elective surgery will continue despite
the disruption, and these plans should be finalized by the end of

"Medical staff are leading the planning to make sure patients can
access care as needed whilst this important and much needed work
is done."

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Chism Files First Case for 2011 in Madison Cty.
The first lawsuit filed in 2011 in Madison County, Ill., is a
mesothelioma claim filed by Arkansas residents Opie Chism and his
wife, Bonnie Chism, The Madison/St. Clair Record reports.

In the Chism suit, the Chisms claim that during his work at
factories and car service shops throughout Illinois beginning in
the 1950s, Mr. Chism was exposed to asbestos.

That exposure allegedly caused Mr. Chism to develop mesothelioma
and other asbestos related diseases.  He was diagnosed with
mesothelioma in November 2010.

The Chisms are suing BorgWarner and other companies for making the
asbestos that led to his disease.  His wife is also suing for loss
of consortium.

The Chisms seek damages in excess of US$50,000 for each of the
eight counts of the case.  Nate Mudd, Esq., of Maune Raichile
Hartley French & Mudd represents the Chisms in Case No. 11-L-001.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Gilland Case v. 76 Firms Filed in Kanawha Court
Larry B. and Brenda K. Gilland, of New Haven, W.Va., on Dec. 14,
2010, filed an asbestos lawsuit against 76 defendant corporations
in Kanawha Circuit Court, W.Va., The West Virginia Record reports.

Mr. Gilland was diagnosed with lung cancer last Nov. 5, 2010,
according to the complaint.  He was employed at Foote Mineral from
1966 until 1983.  He claims he has never smoked.

According to the case, the defendants are being sued for
negligence, contaminated buildings, breach of express/implied
warranty, strict liability, intentional tort, conspiracy,
misrepresentations and post-sale duty to warn.

The Gillands seek a jury trial to resolve all issues involved.
Edwin W. Pancake, Esq., and Victoria Antion, Esq., represent the

Case No. 10-C-2234 has been assigned to a visiting judge.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Scarborough Court Rules on ICI Employee's Death
A Scarborough County Court inquest heard that the death of
79-year-old Raymond Wilson, a former employee of chemical giant
ICI, was related to exposure to asbestos, the Scarborough Evening
News reports.

Mr. Wilson, of Whitby, North Yorkshire, England, who had also
worked for a former Whitby district council, was exposed to
asbestos for decades without protection.  It was in the 1980s,
near the end of his career, that he was warned about its dangers,
and told to protect himself.

However, in July 2010, Mr. Wilson he was diagnosed with malignant
mesothelioma, and within a month he succumbed to the disease.

The inquest heard from Dr. David Russel who described how he found
traces of both the blue and brown types of asbestos in Mr.
Wilson's system while carrying out a post-mortem.

Coroner Michael Oakley recorded a verdict that Mr. Wilson died of
an industrial disease.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Ireland Dealing With 12 Asbestos Exposure Cases
The State Claims Agency in Ireland confirmed that the State of
Ireland is currently dealing with 12 claims from people who say
they were exposed to asbestos in publicly-owned properties, The
Irish Times reports.

Since the Agency was established 10 years ago, it has paid out
EUR217,000 in settlements to two plaintiffs for asbestos-related
claims.  It has also concluded about 520 asbestos "worried well"
claims, most of which were discontinued or struck out.

The "worried well" claims refer to individuals who have not
suffered any physical injury from asbestos exposure, but say they
suffered worry and anxiety as a result of being exposed to
asbestos in State-owned buildings.  Most cases were taken by State

Asked about the outcome of the "worried well" claims, the State
Claims Agency said 84 percent of claims had been discontinued or
struck out.  A State Claims Agency spokeswoman said, "A
substantial sum of money, in respect of the State's costs in these
worried well actions, has been recovered and refunded to the
State."  She added the State had recovered "a six-figure sum" in
these cases.

The spokeswoman said the State Claims Agency had entered into
confidentiality agreements with many plaintiffs so it was
precluded from commenting further.  Of the concluded claims, a
further 13 percent were statute barred, i.e., they had exceeded
the time limit allowed for taking the case, while 2.5% of cases
were dismissed.

The spokeswoman said the 12 ongoing cases were at various
pre-litigation and litigation stages.

The Office of Public Works, which maintains State-owned buildings,
began a major asbestos removal program in 1999.  In one of its
busiest years, 2007, it spent EUR42.5 million on asbestos removal
and reinstatement works in schools, Garda stations, Government
offices and other public buildings.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Cleanup at Former City Hall in Troy to Commence
The city engineer of Troy, N.Y., Russ Reeves said the removal of
asbestos from the former city hall at 1 Monument Square will soon
commence, the Times Union reports.

Mr. Reeves said DiTonno and Sons workers have been removing
materials from the three-story concrete building in preparation
for the asbestos cleanup.

The question of asbestos abatement in the 35-year-old building has
been a point of conflict between Mayor Harry Tutunjian and city
residents and City Council members.  Mr. Reeves said, "We are in
full compliance.  We're handling it in consultation with the state
Department of Labor."

DiTonno and Sons, which has a US$405,800 demolition contract for
the project, is licensed for asbestos abatement. The city has
moved forward with preparing and further site assessment prior to
removing the asbestos beginning Jan. 17, 2010 or Jan. 18, 2010,
Mr. Reeves said.

The often contentious discussion has been fed in part by the start
of demolition on Dec. 31, 2010 without prior approval of the City

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Railway Man's Death Linked to Asbestos Exposure
An inquest heard that the death of 74-year-old Richard Horwood, a
former railway worker, was related to workplace exposure to
asbestos, the Evening Post reports.

Mr. Horwood was a fitter for Gloucestershire Railway and Wagon
Works from 1959 to 1961.  In a statement for an industrial injury
claim before he died, he said he had been exposed to asbestos on a
regular basis.

Mr. Horwood said, "While working on the carriages other employees
were spraying it inside with asbestos.  We were never made aware
of the dangers of working near asbestos."

The inquest heard Mr. Horwood died on July 31, 2010 at Beach Lawns
Care Home, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England, due to a tumor in
his lungs.

Assistant Deputy Coroner David Dooley recorded a verdict of death
from industrial disease at the inquest into his death at Avon
Coroners' Court.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Enviromex Chosen to Remove Hazard From Gervais
At a Jan. 6, 2011 meeting, councilors of the city of Gervais,
Ore., voted to give a US$17,500 asbestos abatement contract to
Enviromex Contracting, Inc. in Salem, Ore., the Woodburn
Independent reports.

The city has voted on Enviromex to do asbestos work at the new
City Hall site.  If the contract goes through, Enviromex will
remove asbestos from the Resch property on Fourth Street and Fir
Avenue where the Laundromat used to be.  After the work is done,
the city can move forward in knocking the building down.

Mayor Shanti Platt pointed to studies that were done indicating
the need for the work, given the age of the building.  She said
there are issues particularly in the flooring.  The work is only
expected to take a couple weeks and Mayor Platt guessed it will be
completed by February 2011.

It remains unclear if the city will then seek one contractor to
both demolish and construct the new building, or if those things
will be done separately.  Mayor Platt said it will depend on
financial logistics.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Halifax Firm Fined GBP30T for Safety Breaches
Property management company MA Estates Limited of Holmfield,
Halifax, West Yorkshire, England, was fined GBP30,100 on Jan. 12,
2011 after admitting a series of offenses which led to workers
being exposed to asbestos fibers, according to a Health and Safety
Executive press release dated Jan. 12, 2011.

The company, which is the owner and landlord of a factory building
in Holdsfield Road, was prosecuted by the HSE for failing to
properly manage the removal of asbestos-containing materials when
employees were replacing a roof at the factory in June 2007.

Halifax Magistrates' Court was told that up to 15 employees from
two businesses, both part of the same group as MA Estates and both
occupants of the building, were working to upgrade the roof.  This
included stripping materials from support beams which, when later
tested by HSE, were found to contain asbestos in limpet/spray

A local business complained to HSE after seeing the stripped
materials, suspecting that they included asbestos fibers.  After
visiting the premises, HSE served a Prohibition Notice on MA
Estates to stop work immediately.

The HSE investigation found the company had failed to carry out an
asbestos survey or risk assessment, had no license to remove
asbestos, had given staff no instruction or training in removing
it, and had left workers exposed, with no attempts to limit the
spread of asbestos or exposure to it.

HSE inspector, Rachel Brittain, said, "The dangers of asbestos
should never be underestimated and are well known in the property
industry and beyond.  For a company to put workers at this level
of risk shows a total disregard for their safety and welfare.

"I can't stress enough how important it is for anyone carrying out
building work to obtain the proper asbestos surveys and then act
upon them."

MA Estates Limited pleaded guilty to seven charges under the
Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and of breaching Section 3(1)
of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974.  The company was also
ordered to pay GBP2,475.40 in costs.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Montgomery Courthouse Cleanup Estimated at $40T
Asbestos removal at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Hillsboro,
Ill., is currently estimated at US$40,000, Mesothelioma.com

The City is currently discussing the possibility of renovating the
historical Montgomery County Courthouse.  According to Board
chairman Mike Plunkett, the building once housed a jail on the
third floor and the sheriff's living quarters below, and the
National Register of Historic Buildings lists the building as the
location of one birth -- a sheriff's son -- and one death -- a

The estimated cost of the courthouse renovation is between US$1.3
and US$1.4 million.  Mr. Plunkett argues that this is the ideal
time for the renovation because US$5.4 million is currently on
hand from the selling of coal rights.

Moreover, the ceiling in the clerk's office has collapsed, but the
building remains structurally sound.  Adding to the cost of
renovation is the need for some asbestos abatement.

There has been enquiry into whether the asbestos could be left
undisturbed, as was the case when the county spent US$20,000 on
wrapping pipes to prevent asbestos infiltration into the air.
However, the safest bet is to remove the asbestos, which if not
done now, would have to be done eventually.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Employees Exposed to Asbestos at School in Lynn
Officials in Lynn, Mass., are explaining how as many as four
janitors were exposed to asbestos at the 100-year-old Fecteau-
Leary School in mid-December 2010, The Daily Item reports.

Director of the city's Inspectional Services Department Michael
Donovan said the janitors working a weekend shift found broken
floor tiles and a puddle of water on the school's first floor.

According to Mr. Donovan, a steam leak buckled the floor, forcing
the tiles to give way.  He said, "The tiles popped up and the
custodians cleaned up the area.  It's an old building.  When we
saw the situation, I reported the violation to DEP (state
Department of Environmental Protection).  I turned myself in."

DEP inspectors conducted tests on the tiles last Jan. 8, 2011 and
took air samples to determine if asbestos fibers remained in the
atmosphere.  Mr. Donovan said, "The tiles were not asbestos, but
the glue or mastic that holds them in place did contain asbestos.
The DEP was in here Friday night to check the first floor.  They
didn't find any asbestos dust, but the investigation is ongoing
but we expect the results of the first tests tomorrow. If the
results come back positive, we will have to decontaminate the

The barrels were taken to the basement of the school for
alternative students.  DEP inspectors have turned their attention
to that area of the building near the custodial quarters.  Mr.
Donovan said 90 city employees have since attended an asbestos
awareness class.

The Fecteau-Leary School on Lynn Commons, formerly Lynn Classical
High School, was built in 1911.  Four custodians are assigned to
the building.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: NIOSH to Issue Final "Asbestos Roadmap" in 2011
In his latest message about the National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health, Director Dr. John Howard said a
final version of Asbestos and Other Elongated Mineral Particles:
State of the Science and Roadmap for Research will come out "in
the early weeks of 2011," OH&S reports.

The first item mentioned in Director Howard's early 2011 message
to the safety and health community is issuing a final edition of
Asbestos and Other Elongated Mineral Particles: State of the
Science and Roadmap for Research, known as the Asbestos Roadmap.

Director Howard listed it first in his outline of the core
research work the agency will do in 2011, which is the 40th
anniversary of both NIOSH and OSHA, as well as the 15th
anniversary of the National Occupational Research Agenda.

Director Howard said the document will be released early in 2011.
It identifies gaps to be filled by research about the
identification and application of the term "asbestos" for health
and regulatory purposes, in Director Howard's description.

The document has undergone scientific review and comments by the
National Academies.  Once it is issued, NIOSH will work with
partner organizations to carry out the research it outlines,
Director Howard wrote.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Rotherham Housing Firm Fined for Safety Breach
2010 Rotherham Limited, a company set up by Rotherham Council to
manage and improve council houses, has been penalized after
allowing a plumber to be exposed to up to 50 times the legal limit
for asbestos, according to a Health and Safety Executive press
release dated Jan. 12, 2011.

2010 Rotherham Limited was prosecuted by the HSE for a breach of
the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.  Rotherham Magistrates
heard that the company employed a sub-contactor, Nugas of
Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England, to remove an old bathroom and
install a level-access shower room at a house in Orchard Place.

Despite an asbestos survey carried out for 2010 Rotherham on a
similar property next door eight weeks earlier that highlighted
the presence of asbestos in the bathroom, the results were not
passed on to Nugas.

The result was that their worker unknowingly removed tiles bonded
to a wall of asbestos insulating board (AIB), causing significant
damage to the wall.  He was not wearing any protective clothing
nor respiratory protection.

At the same time, a licensed asbestos removal company was in the
process of removing the same wall in the flat next door after
being appointed by 2010 Rotherham Ltd.

The court was told that the company had received previous advice
and enforcement action regarding the risks from asbestos during
refurbishment work including two enforcement notices in 2005 and
2008.  The company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health & Safety
at Work Act and was fined GBP7,000 with GBP3,418 costs.

After the case, HSE Inspector Dave Bradley said, "The method of
removal of the tiles by Nugas' plumber, and the subsequent
cleaning and bagging of the debris, are liable to have resulted in
a significant exposure to asbestos fibers.

"It is imperative that information on the location of asbestos is
provided to contractors before they are allowed to begin work.  In
this case 2010 Rotherham could have done this as they had the
results from an asbestos survey on an identical property next
door, and probably entirely prevented the asbestos fiber

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Aussie Cadet Headquarters Slated for Demolition
An asbestos-laden building owned by the City Council of Redland,
Australia, is slated for demolition sometime early in 2011, the
Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center reports.

However, this leaves 44 TS Diamantina Navy Cadets without a
headquarters and a place to store their gear.  The land on which
the building now stands is being leased to the Redland Bay Golf
Club, but the city would like to take back the 2,000 square meters
of land and use it for "community purposes," which may or may not
include a space for the cadets.

The cadets were initially ordered by the navy to move out of the
premises in 2010 because of the asbestos.  Navy Commanding Officer
Lieutenant Ron Thorne said, "When we first moved into the building
in 2007, the cadets spent about $4,000 removing the exposed
asbestos and patching up holes in walls and floors."

This removal work was of the utmost importance, as exposed or
disturbed asbestos pose a serious health risk.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Hazard to Be Removed From Albion Village Office
One priority at the historical village offices in Albion, N.Y., is
the removal of asbestos, Mesothelioma.com reports.

Asbestos was found in the floor tiles of the second-floor room
used to store Christmas decorations, village records and bicycles
belonging to the Police Department.  The village will soon begin a
search for asbestos removal bids.

The historical village offices may look well cared for, but the
fact of the matter is that the two neighboring buildings are
energy inefficient, have poor room configuration and cost much
more than they should to maintain.  The buildings constructed in
1873 may be structurally sound, but they still need a lot of work.

Village officials have acknowledged the village office complex's
shortcomings, but moving to another facility or building a new one
would be too costly.

Therefore, the village will have to address needs in the order of
importance and tackle them one by one.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Court Sets Aside Ruling, Remands Usher's Claim
The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims set aside the Board
of Veterans' Appeals March 6, 2009 ruling, which denied dependency
and indemnity compensation to Debra H. Usher and remanded the
issues for further adjudication.

The case is styled Debra H. Usher, Appellant v. Eric K. Shinseki,
Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Appellee.

Judge Bruce E. Kasold entered judgment in Case No. 09-2296 on
Nov. 12, 2010.

Mrs. Debra H. Usher, surviving spouse of veteran Walter L. Usher,
appealed through counsel the March 6, 2009 Board ruling that
denied dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) because Mr.
Usher's death was not service connected.

Mrs. Usher argued generally that the Board erred when it:

-- Relied on a September 2003 VA-contracted examination report
   to find that the lung disability that caused Mr. Usher's
   death was not due to in-service exposure to asbestos and

-- Did not explain adequately why the September 2003 VA-
   contracted examination report was more probative than a
   private physician's September 2003 report.

The Secretary disputed these contentions.  The Board's decision
was set aside and the matter remanded for further adjudication.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Appeals Court OKs Board Ruling in Noreen's Claim
The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims upheld a May 2, 2007
ruling of the Board of Veterans' Appeals, which denied Elwood J.
Noreen entitlement to VA benefits for a lung disorder due to
asbestos exposure

The case is styled Elwood J. Noreen, Appellant v. Eric K.
Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Appellee.

Judge Lawrence B. Hagel entered judgment in Case No. No. 07-2514
on Nov. 19, 2010.

Mr. Noreen served on active duty in the U.S. Navy from January
1951 until November 1954, serving the majority of his time aboard
the U.S.S. Leyte.  His service entrance and separation
examinations are negative for any complaints or diagnoses of lung
or respiratory problems.  In October 2003, Mr. Noreen sought
disability benefits for "a lung condition secondary to asbestos

In February 2004, VA sent Mr. Noreen a letter requesting answers
to several questions regarding his asbestos exposure.  Later that
month, he responded, explaining his duties on board the U.S.S.
Leyte and how he was exposed to asbestos.  He also attached copies
of private computed tomography scan reports from December 2002 and
January 2003.

In March 2004, Mr. Noreen underwent a VA respiratory examination.
In May 2004, a VA regional office denied Mr. Noreen's claim.  In
April 2005, Mr. Noreen advised VA that he no longer wished to be
represented by Disabled American Veterans and requested that VA
send him copies of the material it had in his file to ensure that
VA had all of the material he had provided to Disabled American

In May 2005, VA requested private medical records from The Family
Health Center.  The VA noted that Mr. Noreen stated that he had
been treated at that facility in January 2000, December 2002,
January 2003, and October 2003.  In September 2005, the regional
office issued a Statement of the Case continuing to deny Mr.
Noreen's claim.  Mr. Noreen appealed to the Board.

In March 2006, VA issued a deferred rating decision to send a
follow-up request to The Family Health Center and to schedule Mr.
Noreen for a new VA examination.  In April 2006, the follow-up
request for records relating to a "lung condition" was sent and VA
notified Mr. Noreen that it had not yet received records from The
Family Health Center and requested that he contact the facility
and requested that his records be sent to VA.

In April 2006, Mr. Noreen underwent another VA respiratory
examination.  The examiner stated that he had reviewed Mr.
Noreen's claims file and noted his history of asbestos exposure as
well as his symptoms and complaints of a lung condition.  On
physical examination, Mr. Noreen's lungs were clear.

In May 2007, the Board issued the decision on appeal, denying
entitlement to benefits for a lung condition caused by in-service
exposure to asbestos.  The Board first determined that VA had
satisfied its duty to notify through February 2004 and April 2006

Next, the Board found that VA had satisfied its duty to assist Mr.
Noreen in obtaining evidence necessary to substantiate his claim.
The Board then summarized the medical evidence of record, from the
March 1989 radiological report to the December 2006 VA advisory
medical opinion.  The Board also noted the additional argument Mr.
Noreen submitted in February 2007.

Accordingly, the Board denied Mr. Noreen's claim.


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

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