CAR_Public/120113.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Friday, January 13, 2012, Vol. 14, No. 10

                             Headlines

CARMAX INC: Awaits Plaintiffs' Next Move Over Arbitration Order
CINTAS CORP:  Appeals From Summary Judgment Orders Remain Pending
COMPUCREDIT HOLDINGS: Credit Card Suit to Go to Arbitration
COX COMMUNICATIONS: Faces Class Action Over Unpaid Overtime
DEMANDTEC INC: Faces IBM Merger-Related Class Suit in California

FORD MOTOR: Faces Class Action Over Defective Spark Plugs
HONDA: January 25 Trial Set for Hybrid Mileage Suit
LAND OF NOD: Recalls 1,600 Bed Frames Due to Entrapment Hazard
LIVE NATION: Seeks Transfer of RICO Class Action to Maryland
MICROSOFT: Sued in Calif. for Violating "Shine the Light Law"

NCAA: Fox Challenges Discovery in Antitrust Class Action
PACIFIC WEBWORKS: Awaits Ruling on Bids to Dismiss Class Suits
QUANTUM RESIDENTIAL: Oregon Tenants File Class Action Over Bonds
RAPONI & HUNTER: Sued in Florida Over Settlement Consulting Fee
REDBOX: Faces Class Action Over Deceptive Trade Practices

RED HAT: Awaits Ruling on Bid for Fund Disbursement in N.C. Suit
RED HAT: Awaits Ruling on Motion to Dismiss IPO Suit Appeal
ROLF'S PATISSERIE: Workers Mull Class Action Over Unpaid Wages
SCHIFF NUTRITION: Faces Another Suit Over Schiff Move Free Ads
SOUNDBITE COMMUNICATIONS: To Indemnify GameStop in "Karayan" Suit

STATE OF OKLAHOMA: Foster Care Suit Legal Costs Nearly $7 Mil.
SYMANTEC CORP: Consumers File Class Action in California
TROPICANA PRODUCTS: Sued for Falsely Advertising Orange Juice
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: Data Breach Class Action Won't Proceed
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: Lecturer Files Discrimination Suit

VOXX INTERNATIONAL: RF Radiation-Related MDL Remains Pending
WASHINGTON MUTUAL: Judge Certifies Home Equity Class Action
ZEP INC: May Enter Into More Talks to Settle California Suit


                        Asbestos Litigation

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Recused Miss. Judge Vacates $322-Mil. Verdict
ASBESTOS UPDATE: $5.5MM Verdict Against Honeywell Reversed
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Baron & Budd Wins $8.4MM Verdict Against Ashland
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Union Pacific Faces 4 Separate Asbestos Lawsuits
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Aristech Chem and 198 Others Face Lawsuit

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Rubbles at Joplin Tornado Aftermath To Be Tested
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Geelong Sheds Closed Due to Airborne Toxic Fibers
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Israel Environment Head Doubles Abatement Budget
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Everett Firemen Get Free lifetime Health Monitor
ASBESTOS UPDATE: School Opts Abatement Costs Over Future Lawsuits

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Lac d'Amiante and Jeffrey May Yet Reopen in 2012
ASBESTOS UPDATE: More Toxic Materials Add 50% to Abatement Fees
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Abatement at Wash. School May Cost Millions
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Lowest Bid for SportsPlex Abatement is at $32,523
ASBESTOS UPDATE: LAB Chrysotile in Bankruptcy; Meeting on Jan. 23

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Judge Harrison is New Madison Cty Docket Master
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Woman With Mesothelioma Achieves Full Remission
ASBESTOS UPDATE: ZMDC Eager to Resume Operations, Pays Out Workers
ASBESTOS UPDATE: "Can't Tell Firms Not to File Here," Judge Says
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Widower Secures Six-Figure Payout Out of Court

ASBESTOS UPDATE: MassDEP Fines Bldg Owner for Violations
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Marycrest Owner Pays Improper Abatement Fine
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Scheduling for Asbestos Docket on March 26
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Shuttered Roro Mines Continue to Pose Risk
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Law Firm Belluck & Fox Cites EPA's Fails

ASBESTOS UPDATE: News Agency Tackles Sri Lankan Asbestos Industry
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Raymark Site Mulls $40M Thermochemical Cure
ASBESTOS UPDATE: CBC Video Blasts Jeffrey Mine Head's Claim
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Bad Abatement Contaminates Neighbors in Chelsea
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Hazmat Assessors Clears Razed Wauchope Apartment

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Retiree Talks About Valley Forge Contamination
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Bags of Toxic Waste Litter Dumped in Barnaby
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Tasmania Updates Asbestos Registers State-wide
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Lovett Contracting Inc. Faces EPA Lawsuit
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Abatement in Perth to Be Completed in 1 Month

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Most Claims vs. Bondex & SPHC Remain Stayed
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Calif. Court Dismisses Suit vs. Supro Corp.
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Worker's Suit Survives Motion to Dismiss
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Texas Appeals Court Rules in Whistleblower Suit
ASBESTOS UPDATE: GEICO Directed to Reimburse Austin Power


                          *********

CARMAX INC: Awaits Plaintiffs' Next Move Over Arbitration Order
---------------------------------------------------------------
CarMax, Inc. is awaiting plaintiffs' next step in connection with
a November 2011 court decision granting the Company's motion to
lift stay and compel their remaining claims into arbitration on an
individualized basis, according to the Company's January 9, 2012,
Form 10-Q filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
for the quarter ended November 30, 2011.

On April 2, 2008, John Fowler filed a putative class action
lawsuit against CarMax Auto Superstores California, LLC and CarMax
Auto Superstores West Coast, Inc. in the Superior Court of
California, County of Los Angeles.  Subsequently, two other
lawsuits, Leena Areso et al. v. CarMax Auto Superstores
California, LLC and Justin Weaver v. CarMax Auto Superstores
California, LLC, were consolidated as part of the Fowler case.
The allegations in the consolidated case involved: (1) failure to
provide meal and rest breaks or compensation in lieu thereof; (2)
failure to pay wages of terminated or resigned employees related
to meal and rest breaks and overtime; (3) failure to pay overtime;
(4) failure to comply with itemized employee wage statement
provisions; and (5) unfair competition/California's Labor Code
Private Attorney General Act.  The putative class consisted of
sales consultants, sales managers, and other hourly employees who
worked for the company in California from April 2, 2004, to the
present.  On May 12, 2009, the court dismissed all of the class
claims with respect to the sales manager putative class.  On June
16, 2009, the court dismissed all claims related to the failure to
comply with the itemized employee wage statement provisions.  The
court also granted CarMax's motion for summary adjudication with
regard to CarMax's alleged failure to pay overtime to the sales
consultant putative class.  The plaintiffs appealed the court's
ruling regarding the sales consultant overtime claim.

On May 20, 2011, the California Court of Appeals affirmed the
court's ruling in favor of CarMax.  The plaintiffs filed a
Petition of Review with the California Supreme Court, which was
denied.  As a result, the plaintiffs' overtime claims are no
longer part of the case.

The claims currently remaining in the lawsuit regarding the sales
consultant putative class are: (1) failure to provide meal and
rest breaks or compensation in lieu thereof; (2) failure to pay
wages of terminated or resigned employees related to meal and rest
breaks; and (3) unfair competition/California's Labor Code Private
Attorney General Act.  On June 16, 2009, the court entered a stay
of these claims pending the outcome of a California Supreme Court
case involving unrelated third parties but related legal issues.
Subsequently, CarMax moved to lift the stay and compel the
plaintiffs' remaining claims into arbitration on an individualized
basis, which the court granted on
November 21, 2011.  Plaintiffs may file an appeal.  The Fowler
lawsuit seeks compensatory and special damages, wages, interest,
civil and statutory penalties, restitution, injunctive relief and
the recovery of attorneys' fees.  The Company says it is unable to
make a reasonable estimate of the amount or range of loss that
could result from an unfavorable outcome in these matters.


CINTAS CORP:  Appeals From Summary Judgment Orders Remain Pending
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Cintas Corporation is a defendant in a purported class action
lawsuit, Mirna E. Serrano, et al. v. Cintas Corporation (Serrano),
filed on May 10, 2004, and pending in the United States District
Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.  The
Serrano plaintiffs alleged that Cintas discriminated against women
in hiring into various service sales representative positions
across all divisions of Cintas.  On November 15, 2005, the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) intervened in the Serrano
lawsuit.  The Serrano plaintiffs seek injunctive relief,
compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys' fees and other
remedies.  On October 27, 2008, the United States District Court
in the Eastern District of Michigan granted summary judgment in
favor of Cintas limiting the scope of the putative class in the
Serrano lawsuit to female applicants for service sales
representative positions at Cintas locations within the state of
Michigan.  Consequently, all claims brought by female applicants
for service sales representative positions outside of the state of
Michigan were dismissed.  Similarly, any claims brought by the
EEOC on behalf of similarly situated female applicants outside of
the state of Michigan have also been dismissed from the Serrano
lawsuit.  Cintas is a defendant in another purported class action
lawsuit, Blanca Nelly Avalos, et al. v. Cintas Corporation
(Avalos), which was filed in the United States District Court,
Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.  The Avalos
plaintiffs alleged that Cintas discriminated against women,
African-Americans and Hispanics in hiring into various service
sales representative positions in Cintas' Rental division only
throughout the United States.  The Avalos plaintiffs sought
injunctive relief, compensatory damages, punitive damages,
attorneys' fees and other remedies.  The claims in Avalos
originally were brought in the lawsuit captioned Robert Ramirez,
et al. v. Cintas Corporation (Ramirez), filed on
January 20, 2004, in the United States District Court, Northern
District of California, San Francisco Division.

On May 11, 2006, the Ramirez and Avalos African-American, Hispanic
and female failure to hire into service sales representative
positions claims and the EEOC's intervention were consolidated for
pretrial purposes with the Serrano case and transferred to the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan,
Southern Division.  The consolidated case was known as Mirna E.
Serrano/Blanca Nelly Avalos, et al. v. Cintas Corporation
(Serrano/Avalos).  On March 31, 2009, the United States District
Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division entered an
order denying class certification to all plaintiffs in the
Serrano/Avalos lawsuits.   Following denial of class
certification, the Court permitted the individual Avalos and
Serrano plaintiffs to proceed separately.  In the Avalos case, the
Court dismissed the remaining claims of the individual plaintiffs
who remained in that case after the denial of class certification.

On May 11, 2010, Plaintiff Tanesha Davis, on behalf of all
similarly situated plaintiffs in the Avalos case, filed a notice
of appeal of the District Court's summary judgment order in the
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  The
Appellate Court has made no determination regarding the merits of
Davis' appeal.  In September 2010, the Court in Serrano dismissed
all private individual claims and all claims of the EEOC and the
13 individuals it claimed to represent.  The EEOC has appealed the
District Court's summary judgment decisions and various other
rulings to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth
Circuit.  The Court of Appeals has not yet ruled on the EEOC's
appeal.

No further updates were reported in the Company's January 9, 2012,
Form 10-Q filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
for the quarter ended November 30, 2011.

The litigation, if decided or settled adversely to Cintas, may,
individually or in the aggregate, result in liability material to
Cintas' consolidated financial condition or consolidated results
of operation and could increase costs of operations on an ongoing
basis.  Any estimated liability relating to these proceedings is
not determinable at this time.  Cintas may enter into discussions
regarding settlement of these and other lawsuits, and may enter
into settlement agreements if it believes such settlement is in
the best interest of Cintas' shareholders.


COMPUCREDIT HOLDINGS: Credit Card Suit to Go to Arbitration
-----------------------------------------------------------
Brent Kendall, writing for Dow Jones Newswires, reports that the
Supreme Court on Jan. 10 blocked a class-action lawsuit alleging
that a CompuCredit Holdings Corp. (CCRT) subsidiary misrepresented
a credit card it offered to consumers with poor credit, ruling the
plaintiffs must arbitrate their claims instead of proceeding in
court.

The ruling is the latest in a line of high-court opinions that
have enforced binding arbitration clauses that are routinely
included in consumer contracts.

The case examined whether consumers' legal claims under the
federal Credit Repair Organizations Act can be steered into
arbitration instead of the courts.  The 1996 law was designed to
protect consumers from unfair or deceptive practices by credit
repair organizations.

The plaintiffs alleged CompuCredit Corp. deceived consumers in its
marketing of the Aspire Visa credit card, a product aimed at
consumers with poor credit.  The plaintiffs alleged that
CompuCredit advertised the card as a way for individuals to
rebuild their credit, but due to hidden fees and high charges, the
card would have the opposite effect.  The plaintiffs also brought
claims against Synovus Bank, which issued the card.

Lower courts ruled the plaintiffs could proceed in court, but the
Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that the case must go to arbitration, as
required by the credit-card contract the consumers signed.
Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the court, said nothing in the
credit-repair law barred the use of arbitration.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the court's only dissenter.

Businesses say arbitration is a quick and cost-effective way to
resolve disputes.  Consumer advocates generally dislike
arbitration because it can prevent individuals from pooling their
claims into class-action lawsuits.  They also believe the
arbitration process is less fair and transparent than the court
system.

The case is CompuCredit v. Greenwood, 10-948.


COX COMMUNICATIONS: Faces Class Action Over Unpaid Overtime
-----------------------------------------------------------
Courthouse News Service reports that Cox Communications stiffs its
service techs for overtime, according to a federal class action.

A copy of the Complaint in Simon v. Cox Enterprises, Inc., et al.,
Case No. 12-cv-00024 (W.D. Ok.), is available at:

     http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/10/Employ.pdf

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Rand C. Eddy, Esq.
          EDDY LAW FIRM, PC
          228 Robert S. Kerr Ave., Suite 220
          Oklahoma City, OK 73102
          Telephone: (405) 239-2524

               - and -
          Melissa S. Hedrick, Esq.
          Daniel P. Markoff, Esq.
          ATKINS & MARKOFF
          9211 Lake Hefner Parkway, Suite 104
          Oklahoma City, OK 73120
          Telephone: (405) 607-8757


DEMANDTEC INC: Faces IBM Merger-Related Class Suit in California
----------------------------------------------------------------
DemandTec, Inc., is facing a class action lawsuit in California in
connection with its proposed merger with a subsidiary of
International Business Machines Corporation, according to the
Company's January 9, 2012, Form 10-Q filing with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission for the quarter ended
November 30, 2011.

On December 7, 2011, the Company entered into a definitive
agreement and plan of merger (the "Merger Agreement") with
International Business Machines Corporation ("IBM") and Cudgee
Acquisition Corp. ("Sub"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of IBM.
Subject to the terms of the Merger Agreement and subject to the
conditions thereof, Sub will merge with and into DemandTec, and
DemandTec will become a wholly owned subsidiary of IBM (the
"Merger").  If the Merger is completed, DemandTec's stockholders
will be entitled to receive $13.20 in cash (the "Merger
Consideration") for each share of DemandTec's common stock owned
by them as of the date of the Merger.

The Company is aware of one purported class action lawsuit filed
in the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the
County of Santa Clara that an alleged DemandTec stockholder has
filed against the Company, each member of its board of directors,
IBM and Cudgee in connection with the Merger.  The complaint
asserts claims for breach of fiduciary duty and aiding and
abetting breach of fiduciary duty and seeks equitable relief,
including an injunction preventing the consummation of the Merger,
rescission in the event the Merger is consummated, and an award of
damages.

The Company says the outcome of any such litigation is uncertain.
If a dismissal is not granted or a settlement is not reached, this
lawsuit could prevent or delay completion of the Merger and result
in substantial costs to the Company, including any costs
associated with the indemnification of its directors and officers.
Other DemandTec shareholders may also file additional lawsuits
against it, IBM, and/or its directors and officers in connection
with the Merger.


FORD MOTOR: Faces Class Action Over Defective Spark Plugs
---------------------------------------------------------
Courthouse News Service reports that a federal class action claims
Ford sold F-150 trucks, Mustangs and Explorers with "defective
spark plugs and related engine defects" in model years 2004-08.

A copy of the Complaint in Lanzi v. Ford Motor Company, Case No.
12-cv-60037 (S.D. Fla.), is available at:

     http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/10/Ford.pdf

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Lewis S. Eidson, Esq.
          Curtis B. Miner, Esq.
          Francisco R. Maderal, Esq.
          COLSON HICKS EIDSON
          255 Alhambra Circle, Penthouse
          Coral Gables, FL 33134
          Telephone: (305) 476-7400
          E-mail: mike@colson.com
                  curt@colson.com
                  frank@colson.com


HONDA: January 25 Trial Set for Hybrid Mileage Suit
---------------------------------------------------
Linda Deutsch, writing for The Associated Press, reports that a
Honda hybrid car owner who took the auto giant to small-claims
court for failing to deliver promised mileage is heading back to
court for another round after a judge ordered a continuation of
her trial on Jan. 10.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Commissioner Douglas Carnahan
did not address the substance of the unusual lawsuit by Heather
Peters, the owner of a hybrid Honda Civic.  But he sought more
information on technicalities of its filing, such as the
possibility of a statute-of-limitations problem.

"Of particular interest to the court is whether, considering the
date of purchase of the vehicle, the plaintiff is within operative
statutes of limitations relating to claims of relief,"
Mr. Carnahan said.

He asked for additional legal arguments and scheduled another
session of the trial for Jan. 25 in Torrance, the U.S.
headquarters for Honda.  After testimony and arguments on Jan. 3,
he took the matter under submission and said he would have a
ruling soon.  But he removed it from submission on Jan. 10 in
order to get clarification.

A class-action lawsuit involving the hybrid Civic has already been
filed, with Honda proposing a settlement that would give each
owner $100 to $200 and a $1,000 credit on the purchase of a new
Honda.

Ms. Peters has acknowledged that the statute of limitations for
individual fraud suits like hers can be from one to four years in
California.  She said, however, that the filing of the class-
action lawsuit "stops the ticking of the clock" under a legal
theory known as "equitable tolling."

Experts on class-action law agreed with her interpretation.
"The clock stopped ticking when the class action was filed," said
attorney Clifford Pearson.

Attorney Aaron Jacoby noted that the statute would start tolling
again on the day she opted out of the class-action lawsuit which
was Dec. 8, 2011.  He said the statute is four years.

Ms. Peters bought her car in April 2006 and the first class-action
lawsuit over the mileage issue was filed in March.

Ms. Peters claimed the car never came close to the 50 miles per
gallon promised and that it got no more than 30 miles per gallon
when the battery began deteriorating.  She still owns the car and
wants to be compensated for money lost on gas, as well as punitive
damages, amounting to $10,000.

Ms. Peters, a former lawyer, took the unique action of opting out
of the class-action lawsuit involving thousands of hybrid Honda
owners.  She has said that if all owners of the problem cars won
in small-claims court, it could cost Honda $2 billion.

In addition to seeking more information on the statute-of-
limitations issue, Mr. Carnahan also requested arguments on the
effect of a "presuit notice requirement."

"I am confident that I will prevail on the questions raised in the
Court's order," Ms. Peters said.  She said she was encouraged by
the fact that the commissioner was giving the case close
consideration.

Mr. Carnahan ruled in favor of Ms. Peters on one issue when he
refused to consider a brief filed by Honda's chief counsel.  He
rejected it because litigants are not allowed to have lawyers in
small-claims court.

Ms. Peters has urged other owners of the cars to reject Honda's
proposed class-action settlement and has launched a Web site
called DontsettlewithHonda.com.

Chris Martin, spokesman for Honda, said the company would "be
reviewing the communication from the court and we will participate
in the Jan. 25 hearing."


LAND OF NOD: Recalls 1,600 Bed Frames Due to Entrapment Hazard
--------------------------------------------------------------
About 1,600 Blake Bed Frames were voluntarily recalled by The Land
of Nod, of Morton Grove, Illinois, in cooperation with the U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Commission.  Consumers should stop using
the product immediately unless otherwise instructed.  It is
illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer
product.

A child's torso can become lodged in the gap between the
footboard's top rail and the mattress, posing an entrapment hazard
to the child.

The firm has received one report of a child becoming entrapped in
the gap.  The child was freed by her parents without injury.

This recall involves Blake model bed frames.  The frames were sold
in full and twin sizes, in either a blonde stain or painted white.
"The Land of Nod" and "Blake" are printed on a barcode sticker
affixed to the headboard.  A picture of the recalled products is
available at:

     http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12711.html

The recalled products were manufactured in Vietnam and sold
exclusively at The Land of Nod stores in Illinois and Washington,
The Land of Nod catalog and Web site from September 2009 through
October 2011 for about $600 for the twin size and $700 for full
size.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled footboard and
contact The Land of Nod for a replacement footboard with a closed-
gap design.  For more information, contact The Land of Nod at
(800) 933-9904 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Central Time Monday
through Friday, visit the firm's Web site at
http://www.landofnod.comor e-mail the firm at
recall@landofnod.com


LIVE NATION: Seeks Transfer of RICO Class Action to Maryland
------------------------------------------------------------
Deborah Speer, writing for Pollstar, reports that Live Nation
moved to send a class action complaint alleging illegal service
charges, kickbacks and RICO violations to Maryland federal court,
saying it is the proper venue to hear the case.

The original suit, filed by plaintiff Andre Bourgeois in
Baltimore, claims a city ordinance limits ticket service charges
to 50 cents.  He also claims LN violated Racketeer Influenced and
Corrupt Organization laws by conspiring with Lyric Productions,
which operates the Lyric Opera House in Baltimore, and paying it a
"kickback."

The suit was originally filed in June.  Live Nation moved for
dismissal in October and Bourgeois voluntarily asked that it be
dismissed the next month.  He then refiled the case to include
Lyric.

"The defendants have completely ignored the restrictions of the
law and have criminally overcharged and conspired to overcharge
their customers," the suit said.  "They have reaped huge financial
windfalls from operating outside of the rules which apply to
them."

Live Nation responded in court filings that the ordinance does not
apply to its sale of tickets.  "The universal understanding of
'ticket scalping' encompasses only the reselling of tickets (and
not an original sale as alleged here)," the company said in a
filing.

Mr. Bourgeois alleges he bought a ticket to see Jackson Browne at
Lyric Opera House in 2009 and had a service charge exceeding $12
on top of the $52 face value.  He bought his ducat through
Ticketmaster, but Live Nation is a defendant because of the merger
of the two.

The lawsuit claims Baltimore City Code prohibits the sale of
tickets, at face value or above, by anyone not licensed as a
"ticket agency" by the Baltimore City Director of Finance.
Neither Live Nation nor fellow defendant Monumental Ticketing --
previously known as Ticketmaster Group Limited Partnership -- are
licensed as ticketing agencies in Baltimore, according to the
suit.  And, if they were, the city code allows them to have a
maximum service charge of 50 cents per ticket.

The suit specifically alleges violations of the RICO Act, the
Maryland Consumer Protection Act, negligent misrepresentation and
other state law claims.  It seeks to represent a class of everyone
who bought tickets to an event in Baltimore through Live Nation
over the last four years.


MICROSOFT: Sued in Calif. for Violating "Shine the Light Law"
-------------------------------------------------------------
Courthouse News Service reports that a Los Angeles Superior Court
class action claims Microsoft violates California's "Shine the
Light Law" by failing to tell subscribers to its Web sites what
personal information the company will sell or share with third-
party marketers.


NCAA: Fox Challenges Discovery in Antitrust Class Action
--------------------------------------------------------
Matt Reynolds at Courthouse News Service reports that Fox does not
want to let Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson look at broadcasting
agreements with the NCAA, in a fight over video games.

The athletes claim that the NCAA, its for-profit partner
Collegiate Licensing Co. and video game-maker Electronic Arts (EA)
used their "names, images and likenesses" without paying them.
Fox Broadcasting is not a defendant in the antitrust case.  This
article is based on a Joint Stipulation on Motion to Enforce Fox
Broadcasting Co.'s Responses to Plaintiffs' Subpoena, filed on
Jan 5 in Federal Court.  The cutoff date for discovery in the case
is Jan. 31, according to the document.

"Plaintiffs allege that the NCAA accomplishes its scheme in part
by requiring all student athletes, as a condition of their
eligibility to compete in NCAA athletic events, to sign a form
each year that purports to relinquish in perpetuity all rights to
the commercial use of their names and images, even after they
graduate and are no longer subject to NCAA rules," the class says.

The athletes say the release forms and NCAA rules allow licensees
and broadcasters to use "footage containing the images and
likenesses of student athletes, thus creating a broad range of
multimedia revenue streams for themselves.  These revenue streams
flow from, among other things, 'classic' games shown on cable
television networks owned by Fox Broadcasting Co. ('Fox') and
others, sales and rentals of DVDs of game films, sales of on-
demand game films, and 'stock footage' for corporate advertisers
and video games.  The complaint alleges that the 'collegiate
licensing market' generates billions in revenues for the NCAA and
its member institutions while the former players, whose names,
images and likenesses are exploited to generate this money, make
nothing."

The players add: "Fox is an integral source of information
regarding plaintiffs' antitrust claims involving the licensing,
sale, and use of former student athletes' names, images and
likeness.  Fox, along with NCAA member conference the Big Ten,
jointly own the Big Ten Network.  Plaintiffs allege that the NCAA,
and its member schools and conferences, worked with various third
parties to 'monetize' the student athletes' names and images by
selling, licensing, and marketing them to businesses and consumers
(such as Fox and the Big Ten Network)."

"The television contracts and licensing agreements sought by the
subpoena demonstrate how NCAA rules and regulations are used to
carry out this scheme and the ways in which they affect the future
rights of student athletes and must be produced," the class
claims.

But Fox claims that its TV and broadcast agreements are irrelevant
to the players' claims.

"Although an athlete may insist on being paid when an advertiser
uses his or her image to endorse a restaurant or sell cars, it is
well settled that television networks may freely broadcast and
distribute footage of sporting events without obtaining each
participant's consent," Fox states in the joint stipulation.
"This applies to live broadcasts as well as re-broadcasts on
television or online.  Any contrary rule would severely infringe
on the public's First Amendment right of access to newsworthy
events and matters of public interest.  Indeed, as a practical
matter, if a television network like Fox were required to obtain
consent from, and compensate, every single athlete, coach,
cheerleader, and spectator before broadcasting a sporting event,
it would be impossible to continue televising sports.  Tellingly,
plaintiffs have not sued Fox or any other television network
because they know full well that sports broadcasts are privileged
under California law and the First Amendment."

Fox claims that the athletes' demands are based "on the novel and
farfetched assertion that that student athletes are arguably
entitled to a share of the revenues generated from Fox's broadcast
of college sports.  Plaintiffs claim that Fox's television
broadcast agreements would shed light on their antitrust injures
because their damages supposedly include millions of dollars in
lost television revenue.  But plaintiffs' claim of relevance is
entirely without merit because Fox is not a defendant or alleged
co-conspirator and has a statutory and constitutional right to
televise sports without paying each athlete."

Fox claims that responding to the records request would be "unduly
burdensome," and would "literally require hundreds of hours of
labor and threaten to disrupt" the operations of Fox's "sister
networks," which Fox does not control.

"Plaintiffs seek every single document that has ever mentioned
plaintiffs' highly publicized lawsuit, regardless of context or
substance.  This alone evidences a classic fishing expedition,
with no regard for relevance or burden on Fox, a nonparty to this
lawsuit," Fox says.

It also objects to the release of "highly confidential
information, such as nonpublic contracts, financial terms, revenue
information, and negotiations."

"Plaintiffs' lawsuit against the NCAA does not give plaintiffs
unbridled authority to inspect the books and records of a non-
party based solely on the fact that the non-party may have done
business with another non-party that, in turn, has a business
relationship with a named party," Fox says.

The broadcaster says it offered excerpts of television agreements
which mentioned student athlete licensing rights, as well as "non-
privileged correspondence between Fox and other parties" involved
in the lawsuit.

But Fox says the players rejected its "reasonable proposal" out of
hand.

A copy of the Joint Stipulation on Motion to Enforce Fox
Broadcasting Co.'s Responses to Plaintiffs' Subpoena in In re NCAA
Student-Athlete Name & Likeness Licensing Litigation, Case No. 12-
cv-00114 (C.D. Calif.), is available at:

     http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/09/JointStip.pdf

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

          Jon T. King, Esq.
          HAUSFELD LLP
          44 Montgomery Street, Suite 3400
          San Francisco, CA 94104
          Telephone: (415) 633-1908
          E-mail: jking@hausfeldllp.com


PACIFIC WEBWORKS: Awaits Ruling on Bids to Dismiss Class Suits
--------------------------------------------------------------
Pacific WebWorks, Inc. is awaiting court decisions on its motions
to dismiss certain class action lawsuits pending in various
jurisdictions, according to the Company's January 9, 2012, Form
10-K/A filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for
the year ended December 31, 2010.

During November 2009, three lawsuits were filed against Pacific
WebWorks in various jurisdictions.  The legal actions allege
similar claims related to procedures the Company use to sell its
products in its ordinary course of business.  On November 9, 2009,
Barbara Ford filed an action in the Circuit Court of Cook County,
Illinois, Chancery Division.  A second action was filed on
November 12, 2009, by Deanna Pelletier in the Superior Court of
the State of California, County of Solano.  A third action was
filed by Lisa Rasmussen on November 20, 2009, in the Superior
Court of Washington, Snohomish County.  On December 18, 2009, the
Barbara Ford matter was removed to the United States District
Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  On December 18,
2009, the Deanna Pelletier matter was removed to the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of California.  On
December 23, 2009, the Lisa Rasmussen matter was removed to the
United States District Court for the Western District of
Washington.

On July 9, 2010 a lawsuit was brought in Florida by the same law
firm as the three cases.  On July 9, 2010, Randy Guffey filed an
action in the Circuit Court for the Twentieth Judicial Circuit,
Collier County, Florida, which action was removed to the United
States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Ft.
Myers Division.  On January 21, 2010, the State of Florida served
the Pacific WebWorks with a subpoena seeking production of
documents related to an alleged violation of consumer protection
laws in Florida.  The Company denied any violation of Florida
consumer protection laws and responded to the subpoena.  The State
of Florida and Pacific WebWorks have come to a resolution as to
the settlement of this dispute with a Settlement Agreement being
fully executed on July 11, 2011, which required the Company to pay
$19,000 for costs, attorneys' fees and future monitoring by the
State of Florida Department of Legal Affairs Revolving Trust Fund.

On July 10, 2010, Thomas Aikens filed an action in the Circuit
Court of Jackson County, Missouri, which matter was removed to the
United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
This matter was brought by the same law firm as the other cases.

On September 19, 2011, Lynette Booth filed an action in the
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, Chancery Division alleging
violations of consumer protection laws by Pacific WebWorks.  This
case was removed to the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois on December 1, 2011.  Damages are
unspecified in this action.  Pacific WebWorks has answered the
complaint and denied liability and intends to defend against all
such claims.

All plaintiffs in these cases are being represented by the same
legal firm and each complaint seeks class action certification.
The complaints allege that Pacific WebWorks violated consumer
protection laws, committed fraud and used deceptive trade
practices in relation to the manner in which Pacific WebWorks
charged for purchases of its products.  Each action seeks
compensatory and punitive damages, plus reasonable costs and
attorney fees.  In response to these actions, Pacific WebWorks
retained the law firm of Snell & Wilmer as legal counsel to
vigorously defend the Company in these lawsuits.  Discovery began
on the class certification phase in the Illinois, Washington and
California lawsuits.  The Company's legal counsel intends to
oppose class certification and filed motions to dismiss all claims
in the Illinois and Washington actions, which motions were granted
in part and denied in part.  Pacific WebWorks has renewed its
motion to dismiss in the Illinois action, which motion has not yet
been ruled upon.  In addition, Pacific Webworks has brought
motions to dismiss the Pelletier, Guffey and Aikens actions, which
motions have not yet been ruled upon.

As a result of the class actions lawsuits, Blooksy Interactive,
LLC has threatened claims of indemnification against Pacific
WebWorks.  The Company has denied that it has any duty to defend
or indemnify Blooksy.


QUANTUM RESIDENTIAL: Oregon Tenants File Class Action Over Bonds
----------------------------------------------------------------
Lee Fehrenbacher, writing for DJC Oregon, reports that Oregon
tenants are bringing a class action lawsuit against a Northwest
property management firm.  The lawsuit challenges Vancouver,
Wash.-based Quantum Residential Inc.'s practice of allegedly
requiring tenants to purchase nonrefundable bonds in lieu of
providing security deposits.  Portland-based Stoll Berne filed the
original complaint.


RAPONI & HUNTER: Sued in Florida Over Settlement Consulting Fee
---------------------------------------------------------------
Marimer Matos at Courthouse News Service reports that Argentinean
attorneys claim a Miami law firm stiffed them for a 23 percent
consulting fee from a $410 million consumer class action
settlement "and one of the largest attorney's fee awards in such a
case, over $100 million."

The class action involved U.S. banks' chronologically rearranging
debit transactions from largest to smallest, to generate "billions
of dollars of additional overdraft fees."

Raponi & Hunter Abogados claim Jeremy Alters "sold off or assigned
interests in the recovery from the class actions lawsuits to fund
his law firm and/or his lavish, extravagant lifestyle."

They also claim: "On December 28, 2011, The Florida Supreme Court
suspended Alters from the practice of law, until further order of
the court, in regard to the pending Florida Bar complaint against
Alters for trust account misappropriation."

Raponi & Hunter sued Alters Morelli Ranter fka the Alters Law Firm
fka Alters, Boldt, Brown, Rash, Culmo; Jeremy W. Alters, Bruce S.
Rogow PA and Bruce S. Rogow in Miami-Dade County Court.

According to the Argentinean partners, Osvaldo Raponi and Jaime
Hunter: "In August, 2008, Raponi, an expert in banking law, and
Hunter, brought to Alters and his firm the most significant case
in Alters' legal career, litigation over the unfair assessment of
overdraft fees by banking institutions in the United States and
elsewhere that chronologically altered the order of debit
transactions to highest to lowest, resulting in billions of
dollars of additional overdraft fees.  This was the first consumer
banking class action in which Alters or his firm were involved.
Raponi and his firm were the architects of the claims brought by
Alters, which resulted in one of the largest consumer class action
settlements in history, $410 million, and one of the largest
attorney's fee awards in such a case, over $100 million.

"Not only did Raponi and Hunter bring this case to Alters and his
firm, Raponi also provided important and valuable contributions to
Alters in pursuing the litigation.  In a deposition given in
litigation involving the Argentinean attorney [Adrian Campos] who
introduced Alters to Raponi and Hunter, Alters acknowledged that
Raponi consulted in the overdraft case in a 'meaningful way that
deserves compensation for his work,' that he has done work, '(a)
lot of it,' that Raponi provided information 'that we probably
couldn't have gotten elsewhere that benefitted the common benefit
(sic) of the MDL going forward,' and that 'we have met with him
and spoken to him on countless occasions about the case, about the
future of the case, about the press, about everything.  And that
was an ongoing working relationship' Alters also acknowledged that
Raponi was able to provide information about the case, that he
followed the case, 'not just ours but others'; and that he
provided helpful insight into what the case was about or where to
look for things.

"In exchange for originating the case and providing this
assistance, Alters agreed that Raponi and Hunter would receive 23
percent of his firms' fee from this litigation.

"Years later, after the Bank of America case settled, Alters
betrayed Raponi and Hunter and misrepresented that the fee
agreement was unenforceable and that they could receive a mere
fraction of the agreed upon fee as 'consultants,' not as foreign
lawyers, or they would receive nothing at all," according to the
complaint.

Raponi & Hunter says Bank of America settled with the Miami
lawyers in February 2011 for $410 million.

The Argentinean lawyers say: "No one from ALF [the Alters Law
Firm], Alters and Rogow included, notified Raponi and Hunter of
this settlement.  Instead, Raponi and Hunter learned of the
settlement when it was released in the news.

"Concerned over this lack of disclosure, Raponi and Hunter flew to
Miami to meet with Alters in mid-February, 2011.  This was their
first meeting with Alters in 22 months.  At the meeting, Alters
represented to Raponi and Hunter that he had spoken to Rogow about
the validity of the fee agreement and that Rogow had advised him
that the agreement for 23 percent contract was not enforceable.
Alters further stated that the agreement was not valid because it
was for the sharing of legal fees between a Florida lawyer and a
non-lawyer, that it would not be enforced by the Court.  Alters
stated that he was willing to restructure it as a consulting
agreement for 5 percent, and therefore it would not need approval
of the court.  Based on Alters' representations and his statements
that Raponi and Hunter would not be able to recover any fee if
they did not sign a new contract, they had no choice but to sign a
new contract for 6 percent of the ALF fee after Alters agreed to
increase it by 1 percent to cover taxes that would be due from
fees paid to R&H under the agreement.  Raponi signed the new
agreement on February 16, 2011, only because Alters convinced
Raponi and Hunter that they would otherwise lose any fee.  . . .

"At no point did Alters or ALF inform the plaintiffs that Rule 4-
5.5 of the Regulating the Florida Bar specifically authorizes
lawyers admitted in non-United States jurisdictions, such as
Raponi and Hunter, to perform temporary legal services in Florida
when undertaken in association with a lawyer, such as Alters or
Rogow, who is admitted to practice in Florida and who actively
participates in the matter.

"Nor did Alters or ALF inform the plaintiffs that the BofA
settlement would allow the attorney's fees to be awarded under the
agreement to be allocated among class counsel without the approval
of the court."

The Argentinean lawyers say they also learned from the news that
Adrian Campos was suing Alters and his law firm for refusing to
pay his referral fee.

Raponi & Hunter says Alters had told them the referral fee was 2
percent, though Mr. Campos claims it was 25 percent.

The complaint states: "Recognizing that Alters never made that
disclosure to them, the Plaintiffs suspected that Alters had
deceived them as to his purported justification for reducing their
fee percentage.

"On information and belief, Alters prevailed upon plaintiffs to
enter into the reduced fee percentages not because of the
purported unenforceability of Contract 1 [their original
contract], but because Alters had sold off or assigned interests
in the recovery from the class actions lawsuits to fund his law
firm and/or his lavish, extravagant lifestyle."

According to the complaint: "Since the Bank of America Settlement,
the following six banks in the Overdraft MDL have settled: (1)
Union Bank, N.A for $35 million on November 1, 2011 in Larson v.
Union Bank, NA., S.D. Fla. Case No. 09-23235-KlNG; (2) Bank of
Oklahoma, N.A for $19 million on November 15, 2011 in Case v. Bank
of Oklahoma, NA., S.D. Fla. Case No. 11-20815-KING; (3) Associated
Bank, N.A for $13 million on November 23,2011 in Harris v.
Associated Bank, NA., S.D. Fla. Case No. 10-22948-KING; (4) Great
Western Bank for $2.2 million on December 13,2011 in McKinley v.
Great Western Bank, S.D. Fla. Case No. 10-22770-KING; (5) BMO
Harris Bank, N.A for $9.4 million on November 30, 2011 in Blahut
v. BMO Harris Bank, NA., S.D. Fla. Case No. 1O-21821-KING; and (6)
Commerce Bank for $18.3 million on December 23,2011 in Wolfgeher
v. Commerce Bank, S.D. Fla. Case No. 10-22017-KING.  On
information and belief, ALF, Alters, Rogow, or Rogow, P.A will
receive a portion of the attorney fees to be awarded in these
cases."

Raponi & Hunter ask the court to declare that their first contract
is valid, plus damages for unjust enrichment, breach of contract,
fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, and
they seek rescission of Contract 2 for fraud, lack of
consideration and mutual mistake.

A copy of the Complaint in Raponi & Hunter Abogados, et al. v.
Alters Morelli Ratner, P.A., et al., Case No. 11-43671 (Fla. Cir.
Ct., Miami-Dade Cty.), is available at:

     http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/10/Raponi.pdf

The Plaintiffs are represented by:

          Herman J. Russomanno, Esq.
          Robert J. Borrello, Esq.
          Hermano J. Russomanno III, Esq.
          RUSSOMANNO & BORRELLO, P.A.
          Museum Tower - Penthouse 2800
          150 West Flagler Street
          Miami, FL 33130
          Telephone: (305) 373-2101

               - and -

          Richard J. Diaz, Esq.
          RICHARD J. DIAZ, P.A.
          3127 Ponce De Leon Blvd.
          Coral Gables, FL 33134
          Telephone: (305) 444-7181

               - and -

          Stuart N. Ratzan, Esq.
          RATZAN LAW GROUP, P.A.
          1450 Brickell Avenue
          Suite 2600
          Miami, FL 33131-3456
          Telephone: (305) 374-6366
          E-mail: stuart@ratzanlawgroup.com


REDBOX: Faces Class Action Over Deceptive Trade Practices
---------------------------------------------------------
Nick Divito at Courthouse News Service reports that Redbox e-mails
customers telling them they can keep rented movies an extra day
for free, then charges them for the extra day, a class action
claims in federal court.

Class representative Bruce Forkush says Coinstar, which owns
Redbox and its $1-per-movie rental kiosks, set up an online
reservation system that allows customers to reserve movies and
video games for pick up the next day.

He says Redbox sent him an e-mail saying that he could keep the
movie an extra day at no additional charge, then turned around and
charged him for the next day's rental.

Mr. Forkush seeks unspecified damages for alleged violations of
the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

A copy of the Complaint in Forkush v. Coinstar, Inc., Case No. 12-
cv-00006 (D. Nev.), is available at:

     http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/09/42862.htm

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Robert B. Gerard, Esq.
          Ricardo R. Ehmann, Esq.
          GERARD & ASSOCIATES
          2840 South Jones Boulevard
          Building D, Suite #4
          Las Vegas, NV 89146
          Telephone: (702) 251-0093
          E-mail: rgerard@gerardlaw.com
                  rehmann@gerardlaw.com


RED HAT: Awaits Ruling on Bid for Fund Disbursement in N.C. Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Red Hat, Inc. is awaiting a court decision on a final motion for
disbursement of additional funds relating to its settlement of a
consolidated shareholder lawsuit in North Carolina, according to
the Company's January 9, 2012, Form 10-Q filing with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission for the quarter ended
November 30, 2011.

In the summer of 2004, 14 class action lawsuits were filed against
the Company and several of its former officers on behalf of
investors who purchased the Company's securities during various
periods from June 19, 2001, through July 13, 2004.  All 14
lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of North Carolina.  In each of the actions, plaintiffs
sought to represent a class of purchasers of the Company's common
stock during some or all of the period from June 19, 2001, through
July 13, 2004.  All of the claims arose in connection with the
Company's announcement on July 13, 2004, that it would restate
certain of its financial statements (the "Restatement").  One or
more of the plaintiffs asserted that certain former officers (the
"Individual Defendants") and the Company violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the
"Securities Exchange Act"), and Rule l0b-5 thereunder by issuing
the financial statements that the Company subsequently restated.
One or more of the plaintiffs sought unspecified damages,
interest, costs, attorneys' and experts' fees, an accounting of
certain profits obtained by the Individual Defendants from trading
in the Company's common stock, disgorgement by the Company's
former chief executive officer and former chief financial officer
of certain compensation and profits from trading in the Company's
common stock pursuant to Section 304 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of
2002 and other relief.  As of September 8, 2004, all of these
class action lawsuits were consolidated into a single action
referenced as Civil Action No. 5:04-C V-473BR and titled In re Red
Hat, Inc. Securities Litigation.

On May 6, 2005, the plaintiffs filed an amended consolidated class
action complaint.  On July 29, 2005, the Company, on behalf of
itself and the Individual Defendants, filed a motion to dismiss
the action for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted.  Also on that date, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP ("PwC"),
another defendant, filed a separate motion to dismiss.  On May 12,
2006, the Court issued an order granting the motion to dismiss the
Securities Exchange Act claims against several of the Individual
Defendants, but denying the motion to dismiss the Securities
Exchange Act claims against the Company, its former chief
executive officer and former chief financial officer.  The Court
dismissed the claims under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in their
entirety, and also granted PwC's motion to dismiss.  On
November 6, 2006, the plaintiffs filed a motion for class
certification.  Subsequent to the filing of that motion, several
plaintiffs withdrew as potential class representatives, and the
Company opposed the certification of the remaining proposed class
representatives.  On May 11, 2007, the Court entered an order
denying class certification and denying all other pending motions
as moot.  Thereafter, on July 13, 2007, Charles Gilbert filed a
renewed motion for appointment as lead plaintiff and approval of
selection of lead counsel.  On November 13, 2007, the Court
entered an Order allowing Gilbert's motion, appointing him lead
plaintiff, adding him as a party plaintiff and appointing lead
counsel.  On January 14, 2008, Gilbert's counsel filed a motion to
certify the action as a class action.  On August 28, 2009, the
Court entered an Order certifying the action as a class action,
appointing Gilbert as the class representative, and defining the
class as "all purchasers of the common stock of Red Hat, Inc.
between December 17, 2002, and July 12, 2004, inclusive and who
were damaged thereby," excluding Company insiders.

On December 15, 2009, the Company announced that it had reached an
agreement in principle to settle this matter, subject, among other
matters, to completion of a final written settlement agreement and
court approval.  The Company recorded, for its quarter ended
November 30, 2009, an estimated liability in the amount of $8.8
million for its portion of the proposed settlement.  On March 29,
2010, counsel for the class filed a Motion for Preliminary
Approval of the Settlement and, on
June 11, 2010, a United States Magistrate Judge issued a
Memorandum and Recommendation to the presiding judge that the
motion be approved.  On July 8, 2010, the presiding judge approved
the motion and set the hearing for the final fairness hearing on
December 7, 2010.  The settlement was approved by the District
Court in an order dated December 10, 2010.  On March 30, 2011, the
Court ordered the cases removed from the active docket.  Since
that time, the Court has approved a Motion for Disbursement of
Funds and currently has before it a final motion for disbursement
of additional funds.


RED HAT: Awaits Ruling on Motion to Dismiss IPO Suit Appeal
-----------------------------------------------------------
Red Hat, Inc. is awaiting a court decision on plaintiffs' motion
to dismiss an appeal by a remaining objector-appellant in
connection with the settlement of a consolidated initial public
offering-related lawsuit, according to the Company's January 9,
2012, Form 10-Q filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission for the quarter ended November 30, 2011.

Commencing on or about March 2001, the Company and certain of its
officers and directors were named as defendants in a series of
purported class action lawsuits arising out of the Company's
initial public offering and secondary offering.  Approximately 310
other IPO issuers were named as defendants in similar class action
complaints (together, the "IPO Allocation Actions").  On August 8,
2001, Chief Judge Michael Mukasey of the U.S. District Court for
the Southern District of New York issued an order that transferred
all of the IPO Allocation Actions, including the complaints
involving the Company, to one judge for coordinated pre-trial
proceedings (Case No. 21 MC 92).  The plaintiffs contend that the
defendants violated federal securities laws by issuing
registration statements and prospectuses that contained materially
false and misleading information and failed to disclose material
information.  Plaintiffs also challenge certain IPO allocation
practices by underwriters and the lack of disclosure thereof in
initial public offering documents.  On April 19, 2002, plaintiffs
filed amended complaints in each of the 310 consolidated actions,
including the Red Hat action.  The relief sought consists of
unspecified damages, attorneys' and expert fees and other
unspecified costs.  In October of 2002, the individual director
and officer defendants of the Company were dismissed from the case
without prejudice.  In October of 2004, the District Court
certified a class in six of the 310 actions (the "focus cases")
and noted that the decision is intended to provide strong guidance
to all parties regarding class certification in the remaining
cases.  The Company's action is not one of the focus cases.  On
December 5, 2006, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
vacated the District Court's class certification with respect to
the focus cases and remanded the matter for further consideration.

In September 2007, discovery moved forward in the focus cases and
plaintiff filed and amended complaints against the focus case
issuer and underwriter defendants.  Defendants in the focus cases
filed motions to dismiss the second amended complaints in November
2007 and filed their oppositions to plaintiffs' motion for class
certification in December 2007.  The motions to dismiss in the
focus cases were granted in part.  On April 2, 2009, the
plaintiffs' executive committee on behalf of the proposed class
filed a motion for preliminary approval of a settlement agreement
to resolve the lawsuit, to which the Company has consented and for
which payments called for by the settlement agreement are to be
paid by the defendant insurers.  The trial court heard arguments
on September 10, 2009, on the fairness of the settlement.  In an
opinion and order filed October 5, 2009, the trial court approved
the class, granted plaintiffs' motion for approval of the
settlement and directed the clerk of the court to close the
action.  Appeals have been filed and briefed before the Court of
Appeals for the Second Circuit.

On May 17, 2011, the Second Circuit issued a ruling on the two
pending appeals, granting the motion to dismiss one of the
appeals, and remanding the other appeal back to the District Court
to determine procedural issues relating to the standing of the
remaining objector-appellant.  On August 25, 2011, the Court
rejected the claims of that remaining objector-appellant.  A
notice of appeal of this decision was filed on September 26, 2011.
On November 10, 2011, Plaintiffs moved to dismiss with prejudice
the appeal by the remaining objector-appellant, and requested that
the Court consider the motion on an expedited basis.  The
remaining objector-appellant filed a brief in opposition to
Plaintiffs' motion to dismiss on November 4, 2011.


ROLF'S PATISSERIE: Workers Mull Class Action Over Unpaid Wages
--------------------------------------------------------------
Andrew Huff, writing for Gapers Block, reports that Rolf's
Patisserie, one of the area's largest contract and wedding
bakeries, abruptly closed on Dec. 10, citing "sharply higher
operating costs, the cost of financing an expansion project and
the inability to operationally meet the seasonal demands of our
customers."  Rolf's was the subject of two FDA recalls around
Christmastime 2010, when cream-filled eclairs from the bakery
caused more than 100 cases of food poisoning.

The bakery's 136 employees learned of the closure via the
company's Web site, after being sent home while the bakery went
through an intensive weekend cleaning.  According to a news
release from Arise Chicago, the workers' last paychecks bounced
when they tried to cash them.  On Jan. 10 at 11:00 a.m., the
workers plan to announce a class action lawsuit against Rolf's for
unpaid wages and its failure to give 60 days notice of the
closing, in violation of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining
Notification (WARN) Act and the Illinois Wage Payment and
Collection Act.


SCHIFF NUTRITION: Faces Another Suit Over Schiff Move Free Ads
--------------------------------------------------------------
Schiff Nutrition International, Inc., is facing another lawsuit
concerning advertising statements relating to its Schiff Move Free
Advanced products, according to the Company's January 9, 2012,
Form 10-Q filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
for the quarter ended November 30, 2011.

The Company is engaged in litigation concerning advertising
statements relating to its Schiff Move Free Advanced products.
The first case was filed in May 2011 and is pending in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of California.  In
this action, the plaintiff has brought two California statutory
claims (under the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and the Unfair
Competition Law) and a common law breach of express warranty
claim, each of which alleges false or misleading advertising by
the Company.  The plaintiff seeks to certify a class, which would
consist of all California residents who purchased Schiff Move Free
Advanced within the class period.  The plaintiff seeks actual
damages, punitive damages and injunctive relief on behalf of this
purported class.

A second case was filed in December 2011 and is pending in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois, Eastern Division.  In this action, the plaintiff alleges
violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act and similar state
consumer fraud statutes relating to the Company's advertising for
Schiff Move Free Advanced, as well as personal injury and
negligence claims.  The plaintiff seeks to certify a class
consisting of purchasers of Schiff Move Free Advanced within the
applicable statute of limitations period or, alternatively, all
Illinois residents who purchased these products within the
applicable limitations period.  The plaintiff seeks actual
damages, medical monitoring and attorneys' fees.

The Company disputes the allegations contained in these actions
and intends to vigorously defend itself in the litigation.  At
this time, however, the Company says it is unable to determine the
amount of loss, if any, from these matters.


SOUNDBITE COMMUNICATIONS: To Indemnify GameStop in "Karayan" Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------
On January 6, 2012, SoundBite Communications, Inc. delivered a
letter agreement to GameStop Corp. and GameStop Inc., in which it
agreed to indemnify GameStop in relation to class action
litigation entitled Karayan v. GameStop Corp. and GameStop Inc.
The Company is not a named defendant or other party in the
Litigation, according to the Company's January 9, 2012, Form 8-K
filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

When using SoundBite's proactive customer communications service
for text messaging, companies provide for the use of "mobile
termination" text messages, which are transmitted automatically
when a company receives a text message indicating that the sender
wishes to "opt out" of further text communications from the
company.  A mobile termination text message confirms that the
company received the opt-out message and will not send any
additional text messages.  The transmission of mobile termination
text messages is identified as a "best practice" in the U.S.
Consumer Best Practices Manual of the Mobile Marketing
Association, a leading global trade association, and is required
by the terms of SoundBite's agreements with its data aggregators.

Over the past several months, class action litigation has been
initiated against a number of banks and retailers, including some
of SoundBite's clients, alleging that mobile termination text
messages violate the U.S. Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which
seeks to protect the privacy interests of residential telephone
subscribers.  On October 21, 2011, SoundBite received a notice
from GameStop requesting indemnification in connection with the
Litigation.

After investigation, the Company determined to deliver the letter
agreement dated January 6, 2012 in order to, pursuant to the
provisions of SoundBite's Master Pricing Agreement with GameStop,
(a) indemnify GameStop for damages, losses and fees resulting from
the aspects of the Litigation relating to mobile termination text
messages and (b) confirm that SoundBite will take sole control
over the defense, and any settlement, of those aspects of the
Litigation.  In addition to claims relating to mobile termination
text messages, the Litigation also asserts claims alleging that
GameStop is liable to certain of its customers because it failed
to obtain prior express consent to the delivery of text messages.
In the letter agreement, SoundBite reserved its rights concerning
any argument that it may have as to its obligation to indemnify
GameStop with respect to the aspects of the Litigation relating to
the alleged lack of prior express consent.

SoundBite says it intends to defend vigorously against the claims
in the Litigation that allege GameStop violated provisions of the
U.S. Telephone Consumer Protection Act in delivering mobile
termination text messages.  SoundBite is continuing to investigate
this matter.  At this time it is not possible for SoundBite to
estimate the amount, if any, of damages, losses, fees and other
expenses that it will incur as the result of its indemnification
obligations to GameStop, but such an amount could have a material
adverse effect on SoundBite's business, financial condition and
operating results.  Even if SoundBite succeeds in defending
against the Litigation, it is likely to incur substantial costs
and its management's attention will be diverted from its
operations.

SoundBite Communications, Inc. -- http://soundbite.com/-- is a
global provider of cloud-based, multi-channel proactive customer
communications solutions designed to transform the way
organizations communicate throughout the customer lifecycle to
build trusted, lifelong and profitable relationships.


STATE OF OKLAHOMA: Foster Care Suit Legal Costs Nearly $7 Mil.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Ginnie Graham, writing for Tulsa World, reports that a federal
lawsuit filed against the Oklahoma Department of Human Services
has cost the state nearly $7 million in legal costs, and that
figure will continue to climb.

The lawsuit was filed in February 2008 in the U.S. District Court
for the Northern District of Oklahoma by Children's Rights, a New
York-based nonprofit, on behalf of nine children in foster care.
It was expanded in March 2009 to class-action on behalf of all
current or future Oklahoma foster children.

After the lawsuit was filed, DHS officials received approval from
the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office to hire private defense
attorneys.  The expenditure was not specifically approved by the
commission.

DHS has spent nearly $7 million on outside attorneys.  In October,
the commission approved another $2 million for further legal
costs.

The next action will be for the court to schedule a fairness
hearing, a requirement in class-action cases.  Class members will
provide testimony to the court, and a judge will rule on whether
the settlement agreement is acceptable.

The agreement states that the federal court will also determine
how much more taxpayers will pay in legal costs to Children's
Rights.

For two decades, the child advocacy group has filed legal
challenges in 15 states and jurisdictions seeking reforms in
child-welfare systems.

In all but two, judicial orders or consent decrees were enacted to
force improvements in the public systems.  Court fees received by
the nonprofit have ranged from about $6 million to nearly $11
million.

Children's Rights Executive Director Marcia Lowry said she does
not know a range of potential court costs, but Oklahoma has
entered more court entries than any case she tried.

"The number of motions and interrogatories and amount of activity
we have seen from the defendants far exceeds anything we've seen
in any other case," Ms. Lowry said.

The organization claims that Oklahoma foster children have been
scalded in bath water, molested, beaten with tree switches and
belts, and hit in the face.  It argues that these abuses are
systemic problems, not isolated incidents.

The settlement sets out a panel of three monitors who will approve
a plan for improved standards in 15 targeted areas.

The federal court will retain jurisdiction, but the monitors will
arbitrate disagreements.

The state will not be under a judicial consent decree, but the
monitors will operate with full authority from the court.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who took office a year
ago, criticized the amount of money spent by DHS on the defense, a
move approved by former attorney general Drew Edmondson.

After the agreement was approved on Jan. 4, Mr. Pruitt said he
immediately got involved with the negotiations to minimize the
cost and protect Oklahoma's interest in fiscal management and
safety of children.

"That decision was made before my election," Mr. Pruitt said.  "In
the event the state should have a case presented like this in the
future, I will be zealous in making sure we represent the state
and not continue to move that away to outside attorneys.  It's the
attorney general's responsibility to represent the state."


SYMANTEC CORP: Consumers File Class Action in California
--------------------------------------------------------
Jim Finkle, writing for Reuters, reports that a lawsuit filed
against Symantec Corp. claims that the software maker seeks to
persuade consumers to buy its products by scaring them with
misleading information about the health of their computers.

James Gross, a resident of the state of Washington, filed
the suit in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California on
Jan. 10, according to his attorneys.

A copy of the complaint provided to Reuters by Mr. Gross's
attorneys alleges that Symantec distributes trial versions of
its products that scan a consumer's system, then invariably
report that harmful errors, privacy risks and other problems
exists on the PC, regardless of the real condition of the
machine.

A Symantec representative could not immediately comment on
the lawsuit, which seeks class-action status.


TROPICANA PRODUCTS: Sued for Falsely Advertising Orange Juice
-------------------------------------------------------------
Courthouse News Service reports that a federal class action claims
Tropicana falsely advertises its orange juice as "100% pure and
natural," though it's actually "heavily processed and flavored."

A copy of the Complaint in Lewis v. Tropicana Products, Inc., Case
No. 12-cv-00049 (E.D. Calif.), is available at:

     http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/10/Tropicana.pdf

The Plaintiff is represented by:

          L. Timothy Fisher, Esq.
          Sarah N. Westcot, Esq.
          BURSOR & FISHER, P.A.
          1990 North California Boulevard, Suite 940
          Walnut Creek, CA 94596
          Telephone: (925) 300-4455
          E-mail: ltfisher@bursor.com
                  swestcot@bursor.com

               - and -

          Scott A. Bursor, Esq.
          BURSOR & FISHER, P.A.
          369 Lexington Avenue, 10th Floor
          New York, NY 10017
          Telephone: (212) 989-9113
          E-mail: scott@bursor.com


UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: Data Breach Class Action Won't Proceed
----------------------------------------------------------------
Daniel Riesenbach, writing for Daily Bruin, reports that a class-
action lawsuit filed in December 2011 against the UC Board of
Regents in response to the theft of personal information of UCLA
Health System patients in early September 2011 has failed to move
forward, according to the plaintiff's attorney.

Brian Kabateck, a lead attorney from Los Angeles-based firm
Kabateck Brown Kellner, said legal representation for the UC
regents has been nonresponsive since the complaint was filed.

The UCLA Health System reported in November 2011 that a hard drive
containing more than 16,000 patients' information had been stolen
from the home of a UCLA physician on Sept. 6, 2011.

Social Security numbers and financial information were not among
the documents stolen, but they did include first and last names
and may have contained birth dates, medical record numbers,
addresses and medical record information, according to the Health
System's statement.

The lawsuit claims the September incident was a violation of the
California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act, in place to
protect the privacy of patients' personal histories and
information.  The suit is calling for $1,000 in damages for each
patient on the hard drive.

The total cost of the suit for the Health System could amount to
as much as $16 million, including the legal fees associated with
the case.

"We believe it was negligent for the hospital to allow (patient
information) to be taken to a private residence, and not having a
program in place to better protect their patients," said
Mr. Kabateck.  His firm filed the case with the Superior Court of
Los Angeles County on Dec. 14, 2011.

Though there is no evidence of misuse of the patients' information
since the burglary, Mr. Kabateck said the case hinges on the
negligence concerning the protection of digital information in the
evolving medical world.  He said he hopes the suit will force
hospitals to be more careful.

While storing information online is an increasingly common
practice, and can certainly coexist with patient privacy rights,
the potential for data breach is significantly higher than a
paper-based system, said Tena Friery, research director at the
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a national nonprofit organization
focused on consumer privacy protection.

She also cited a 2011 study revealing that 71 percent of health
care organizations had suffered a data breach in the last year.

Mr. Kabateck was also involved in a case concerning similar
violations against Stanford University's Hospital and Clinics late
last year, filed on behalf of 20,000 patients whose information
was released onto a public Web site through a third party.

That case was settled outside of court.  That is an option
Mr. Kabateck said he would not be opposed to with the UC regents,
though there has been no dialogue between the two parties since
the filing of the complaint.

The current suit also follows in the wake of a separate agreement
last July, in which the Health System paid a fine of $865,500 to
settle potential Health Insurance Portability and Accountability
Act privacy violations.  That settlement was also in regards to
improper disclosures of medical records.

The UC Office of the President could not be reached for comment.
A spokesman for the UCLA Health System declined to comment on the
lawsuit, citing its policy on pending litigation.

Mr. Kabateck can be reached at:

          Brian S. Kabateck, Esq.
          KABATECK BROWN KELLNER, LLP
          Engine Company No. 28 Building
          644 South Figueroa Street
          Los Angeles, CA 90017
          Telephone: (213) 217-5000
          E-mail: bsk@kbklawyers.com


UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA: Lecturer Files Discrimination Suit
------------------------------------------------------------
San Francisco Chronicle reports that a UC Berkeley lecturer
arrested on campus for allegedly soliciting lewd acts with an
undercover officer has filed a federal class-action lawsuit,
saying officers are engaging in discrimination because they never
target suspects of the opposite sex.

The plaintiff, identified only as John Doe in court documents,
said he was arrested in October 2010 after he signaled, by tapping
his toe, that he was interested in "intimate conduct" with someone
in an adjacent stall of a campus bathroom.  The suit did not
elaborate, but campus police logs said the incident happened in a
men's restroom in Dwinelle Hall.

The person in the adjoining stall turned out to be UC Berkeley
police Officer Reza Pourfarhani, working undercover.  After
Pourfarhani "tapped back indicating his interest in sexual
conduct,"  the plaintiff sent him a note asking what he was
interested in, the suit said.  Ms. Pourfarhani sent back a note
"with a smiley face" that read, "I could ask you the same thing,"
according to the suit filed earlier this month in U.S. District
Court in San Francisco.

After the officer suggested that they go outside, the two left the
restroom, and the plaintiff was arrested for "loitering around a
toilet intending to engage in or solicit a lewd act in public,"
the suit said.

The plaintiff, a lecturer in the campus' college writing programs,
acknowledged that he had been seeking sex but said his arrest "was
false" because he had never solicited any act "intending to
perform it in public."  He said police had violated 14th
Amendment's equal protection clause because officers of one sex
never target those of the other.

A judge dismissed the criminal charges against the plaintiff, said
the suit, which seeks unspecified damages.  It names the UC Board
of Regents, UC Berkeley police, campus Police Chief Mitch Celaya,
Pourfarhani and a second officer as defendants.  The defendants
have not responded in court.

The lecturer's attorney, Bruce Nickerson, is seeking class-action
status for the suit so he can represent other people who have been
arrested by campus police in similar cases.  Mr. Nickerson has
filed similar suits in the past challenging arrests for public
solicitations of sex, including one against San Rafael police that
was later settled.

Mr. Nickerson can be reached at:

          Bruce W. Nickerson, Esq.
          LAW OFFICE OF BRUCE W. NICKERSON
          Telephone: (650) 594-0195
          E-mail: brucenic@pacbell.net


VOXX INTERNATIONAL: RF Radiation-Related MDL Remains Pending
------------------------------------------------------------
A multidistrict litigation against suppliers, manufacturers and
distributors of hand-held wireless telephones, including VOXX
International Corporation, remains pending, according to the
Company's January 9, 2012, Form 10-Q filing with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission for the quarter ended
November 30, 2011.

Certain consolidated class actions transferred to a Multi-District
Litigation Panel of the United States District Court of the
District of Maryland against the Company and other suppliers,
manufacturers and distributors of hand-held wireless telephones
alleging damages relating to exposure to radio frequency radiation
from hand-held wireless telephones are still pending.  The Company
says no assurances regarding the outcome of this matter can be
given, as the Company is unable to assess the degree of
probability of an unfavorable outcome or estimated loss or
liability, if any.  Accordingly, no estimated loss has been
recorded for the case.


WASHINGTON MUTUAL: Judge Certifies Home Equity Class Action
-----------------------------------------------------------
Nick McCann at Courthouse News Service reports that a federal
judge certified a class led by a Cupertino couple who say
Washington Mutual and JPMorgan Chase suspended and reduced credit
limits on their home equity credit lines without valid reasons.

Jeffrey and Jenifer Schulken sued Washington Mutual Bank and
JPMorgan Chase in 2009, alleging Truth in Lending Act violations,
unfair competition and other claims.

The Schulkens say Chase informed them by letter that their home
equity credit lines would be suspended because they did not have
enough monthly income to satisfy their debts.

The couple say the $11,200 monthly income stated by the banks was
"inaccurate," that they had never "provided such an inflated
income figure to WaMu, and that if the Schulkens' file indicated
such an income, then WaMu had intentionally misrepresented their
income."

Chase, which acquired Washington Mutual in 2008, tried to dismiss
the complaint four times, and the Schulkens amended the complaint
five times.

The fifth amended complaint sought to certify two classes of
borrowers, an "inability to verify" class and a "stated income"
class.

The "inability to verify" class would be borrowers whose home
equity credit lines were blocked because they did not provide
Chase with tax returns or pay stubs; the "stated income" class
would be borrowers whose credit lines were blocked because Chase
found a "material adverse change in their finances."

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh partly certified the action in a 23-
page order.  Judge Koh certified the "inability to verify" class,
and a subclass of borrowers whose credit lines were suspended
because Chase could not verify their financial circumstances.

Judge Koh amended the plaintiffs' class definition to include
"only those members who signed contracts that (1) arise from
heritage WaMu customers, and (2) state that the borrower must
provide, upon the lender's request, 'a current financial
statement, new credit application, or both.'"

Judge Koh named the Schulkens as class representatives, and found
that the Edelson McGuire law firm can litigate the case.  She set
a case management conference for Feb. 15.

A copy of the Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Motion to
Certify Class Action in Schulken, et al. v. Washington Mutual
Bank, et al., Case No. 09-cv-02708 (N.D. Calif.), is available at:

     http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/01/10/WaMuClass.pdf


ZEP INC: May Enter Into More Talks to Settle California Suit
------------------------------------------------------------
Zep Inc. said in its January 9, 2012, Form 10-Q filing with the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the quarter ended
November 30, 2011, that it may enter into additional discussions
regarding settlement of a class action lawsuit pending in
California.

The Company is a defendant in Britto and Cowan v. Zep Inc. and
Acuity Specialty Products, Inc., a lawsuit that commenced in
December 2010 in the Superior Court in Alameda County, California.
The plaintiffs, who were formerly employed as sales
representatives by Acuity Specialty Products, Inc., a subsidiary
of the Company ("Acuity"), brought the lawsuit on behalf of
themselves and on behalf of a putative class that includes all of
Acuity's current sales representatives based in California and all
former sales representatives based in California who were employed
by Acuity on December 30, 2006, or thereafter.  The putative class
consists of 141 members, including 30 current sales
representatives and 111 former sales representatives.  The
plaintiffs allege that Acuity failed to reimburse the putative
class members for work-related expenses and failed to pay the
putative class members their wages by assessing unlawful
deductions from commissions.  The Plaintiffs are also seeking to
recover statutory and/or civil penalties pursuant to the
California Labor Private Attorney General Act.  The Court has not
yet considered whether to certify the putative class.  The Company
believes it has substantial factual and legal defenses to the
claims made in the lawsuit, and it intends to assert the defenses
aggressively.

In May 2011, the Company made settlement offers to all members of
the putative class, other than the named plaintiffs, who were then
currently employed by Acuity in an effort to reduce the expenses
of litigating the case and to eliminate any potential adverse
impact to ongoing selling efforts.  Approximately 30 of the
offerees accepted the settlement offer.  In September 2011, the
Company participated in an unsuccessful, non-binding mediation
process in an attempt to settle the lawsuit.  In October 2011, the
Company made a second offer of settlement to the members of the
putative class who are currently employed and who did not accept
the first settlement offer, as well as a first settlement offer to
all members of the putative class who are former employees of
Acuity.  The Company subsequently withdrew the offer to members of
the putative class that the Company currently employs.  As of
December 15, 2011, approximately 59 members of the putative class
who are former employees have accepted a settlement offer.  The
Company says it may enter into additional discussions regarding
settlement of the lawsuit with the named plaintiffs and other
members of the putative class, and it may enter into settlement
agreements, if it believes settlement is in the best interest of
its shareholders.

During the year ended August 31, 2011, the Company established a
$1.8 million accrual, which, based on the facts known as of the
time of filing of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, continues to
represent the Company's best estimate of the probable loss related
to this litigation.  If the Company is not successful in its
defense against the claims asserted in the lawsuit and if there is
an adverse verdict on the merits from which there is no successful
appeal, or in the event of a negotiated settlement of the
litigation, the resulting liability could be material to the
Company's financial condition or results of operations.  However,
because of the uncertainty of the outcome of the lawsuit,
including whether the class will be certified and the amount of
damages, if any, any class member may be able to prove, and
because the Company's liability, if any, arising from the
litigation, including the size of any damages awarded if
plaintiffs are successful in the litigation or any negotiated
settlement, could vary widely, the Company cannot estimate the
reasonably possible losses or range of loss that may arise from
the litigation in excess of the amounts established.  The Company
continues to anticipate incurring approximately $1.2 million of
costs associated with legal defense fees during the first half of
fiscal year 2012 in connection with this matter.


                        Asbestos Litigation

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Recused Miss. Judge Vacates $322-Mil. Verdict
--------------------------------------------------------------
Holbrook Mohr at The Associated Press reports that a Mississippi
judge has thrown out a $322 million lawsuit verdict that had been
hailed as the largest asbestos award for a single plaintiff in
U.S. history.

The case began to unravel last year after defense lawyers asked
the Mississippi Supreme Court to remove the presiding judge
because he alle0gedly neglected to disclose that his parents had
been involved in similar asbestos litigation against one of the
same companies.  A specially appointed judge, William Coleman,
issued an order vacating the verdict and award on Dec. 27.

The case from Smith County, Mississippi, involved a lawsuit filed
by Thomas Brown, who claimed he had inhaled asbestos dust while
mixing drilling mud sold and manufactured by Chevron Phillips
Chemical Co. and Union Carbide Corporation.

Union Carbide spokesman Scot Wheeler said in an email to The
Associated Press that the company was pleased with the verdict
because it "was outrageous and completely unsupported by the facts
and applicable law."

"Union Carbide will continue to vigorously defend all asbestos
cases brought against the company," he said.

Wheeler said a retrial has been set for April but the venue for
the trial has not been determined.

Brown, who was 48 at the time of the award in May, said he was
diagnosed with asbestosis and required to take oxygen 24-hours a
day.  The jury awarded Brown $300 million in punitive damages and
$22 million in actual damages.  Brown's lawyer, Allen Hossley --
allen@hossleyembry.com -- said it was the biggest asbestos award
ever to a single plaintiff.

Hossley, a Dallas attorney, didn't immediately respond to a
message requesting comment.

Union Carbide first asked Circuit Judge Eddie Bowen to toss out
verdict not long after the record award was handed down.  They
also asked Bowen to step down from the case.  When Bowen didn't
respond, Union Carbide went to the Supreme Court and asked the
justices to remove him.

Union Carbide claimed Bowen was a practicing attorney when his
father and mother sued Union Carbide, seeking $1 million for
emotional distress.  The company said that after the trial, it
"learned that Judge Bowen's father had filed two asbestos
lawsuits, one of which remains pending; and that both Judge
Bowen's father and mother had settled asbestos claims with UCC and
other defendants based on a diagnosis of asbestosis -- which is
the same disease claimed in this case."

The earliest lawsuit involving the judge's father dated back to
1989 and was filed in Jackson County on the Mississippi Gulf
Coast.

Union Carbide said in its motion that Bowen's bias and prejudice
against Union Carbide and Chevron Phillips were clear from his
rulings, comments in front of the jury, and his coaching of
Brown's attorneys in questioning witnesses.

The Mississippi Supreme Court granted Union Carbide's request to
remove Bowen in October.

Coleman, who was appointed to take over, said in his order that he
was vacating "the judgment, the underlying jury verdict, and all
rulings and orders of the former trial judge."

The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical
Company, according to its website, with over 2,400 employees.  Its
corporate center is in Houston and it has other locations in
Texas, New Jersey, Louisiana and West Virginia.

Chevron Phillips Chemical Company is based in The Woodlands,
Texas.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: $5.5MM Verdict Against Honeywell Reversed
----------------------------------------------------------
Steve Korris of The Madison/St. Clair Record reports that five
months after the Fourth District appellate judges reversed a
McLean County jury's asbestos conspiracy verdict against Honeywell
International, another panel of the same court tossed out another
conspiracy verdict against Honeywell.

On Dec. 23, three judges found Circuit Judge Scott Drazewski
should have rejected a jury's $5.5 million award to three widows.

"The record contains no evidence defendant entered into an
agreement with any other corporation to falsely assert asbestos
was safe or to keep quiet about the dangers of asbestos, although
the record contains evidence defendant, on its own, did those
things," Justice James Knecht wrote.

"The evidence must be clear and convincing if a conspiracy is to
be proved solely by circumstantial evidence," Justice Knecht
wrote.

Justice Thomas Appleton, author of a July opinion that greatly
reduced the range of conspiracy expert Barry Castleman, concurred
in the December opinion.  Justice Robert Steigmann also concurred.

As Appleton had done in July, Knecht knocked down precedents that
allowed lawyer James Walker to stage a series of sensational
conspiracy trials.

Walker blames lung diseases on Honeywell as successor to brake
maker Bendix, one of the companies in the conspiracy.

Walker also pursues conspiracy claims against Owens-Illinois and
against Pneumo-Abex as successor to American Brake and Block.

The widows, whose husbands worked at Unarco asbestos plant in
Bloomington, had all won separate jury verdicts years ago.

Honeywell secured new trials at the Fourth District, and Drazewski
consolidated the three cases for a single trial in 2009.

Jurors awarded $2,401,000 to Doris Dukes as widow of Merlon Dukes,
$1,860,000 to Ruth Watkins as widow of John Watkins, and
$1,303,000 to Judy Blessing as widow of Robert Blessing.

Honeywell appealed again to the Fourth District, where a panel had
already taken up an appeal of a $2.5 million verdict against
Honeywell and Pneumo-Abex.

In that case, Drazewski reduced Juanita Rodarmel's compensatory
damages from $2 million to $183,333, after subtracting settlements
of other defendants.

The decision in that case, in July, left no apparent room for
Wylder and Castleman to carry any more conspiracy cases to trial.

Appleton wrote that companies didn't have to publish a report on
tumors in mice 60 years ago, because the author told them it meant
nothing.  "It cannot be unlawful to hide information that is
devoid of significance," he wrote.  Justices John McCullough and
John Turner concurred.

The panel on the triple trial adopted the July decision whole.
"We need not repeat the court's reasoning here," Knecht wrote.  "A
quick summary will suffice," Knecht added.

"The fact Johns-Manville was the exclusive supplier of asbestos
fiber to Bendix for many decades does not support the inference
Bendix and Johns-Manville entered into an agreement to conceal the
dangers of asbestos," Knecht wrote.

Knecht wrote that conspiracy can't be inferred from membership in
a trade organization.  Knecht wrote that implying conspiracy from
a shared director would be speculation.  "We note the same
evidence discussed in Rodarmel was introduced for the same
purposes in this case and is equally unsatisfactory to prove a
civil conspiracy in this case," Knecht wrote.  "That evidence is
as consistent with innocence as with guilt," he added.  He also
added that it wasn't unusual for companies in the brake industry
to do business with each other.

"They were all in the same industry at the same time and the fact
they did business with each other on occasion should not raise an
inference of a wrongful conspiracy as it could just as easily
raise the inference of ordinary commerce between companies in the
same industry," Knecht wrote.

A $90 million verdict, the biggest in 30 years of McLean County
asbestos litigation, remains pending at the Fourth District.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Baron & Budd Wins $8.4MM Verdict Against Ashland
-----------------------------------------------------------------
A Dallas County jury recently awarded an $8.4 million verdict to a
mesothelioma cancer patient's widow after finding Ashland Inc.
subsidiary, Hercules Inc., liable for the patient's mesothelioma,
a deadly cancer of the lining of the lung caused by asbestos
exposure.  The verdict is believed to be the first asbestos cancer
verdict reached against Hercules for exposure at a Dow Chemical
refinery and could set a precedent for similar results.

The mesothelioma lawsuit was brought on behalf of the late John
Gensler, and his widow Martha Gensler.  Attorneys John Langdoc --
jlangdoc@baronbudd.com -- and Alana Kalantzakis --
akalantzakis@baronbudd.com -- of the mesothelioma law firm of
Baron and Budd represented the Genslers at trial with the Hon.
Judge Martin Hoffman presiding.

Hercules is no stranger to fines and other liabilities due to its
manufacture of carcinogenic products.  The company has been found
responsible for exposing military veterans to carcinogens
including Agent Orange, which Hercules manufactured.  Hercules has
also paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) fines related to Superfund clean-up of
harmful dioxins and other herbicides.

Even after the government begin requiring warning labels for
asbestos-containing products in 1971, Hercules actively chose not
to place the warning labels on its products.  Langdoc and
Kalantzakis proved during the three-week trial that Hercules knew
it was exposing Gensler and other workers to dangerous asbestos
pipe products during the late 1960s and early 1970s and did
nothing to warn workers.

"Hercules has a history of corporate misconduct and environmental
contamination," said Langdoc.  "The company insisted on using the
most carcinogenic type of asbestos available.  While other
asbestos pipes contained approximately 3 to 5 percent asbestos,
Hercules' asbestos pipes contained 50% asbestos, an amount found
to be extremely dangerous to workers and the environment."

Baron and Budd has been defending the rights of asbestos cancer
sufferers and their families for more than 30 years and was one of
the first law firms to successfully litigate a mesothelioma
lawsuit.  The firm has achieved numerous landmark mesothelioma
verdicts throughout its history, including a $55 million verdict
in 2001, one of the largest in the state of Texas, and a $20
million mesothelioma verdict in California.

                  About Baron & Budd, P.C.

The national mesothelioma law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C. has a
more than 30-year history of "Protecting What's Right" for
asbestos sufferers and their families. As one of the first law
firms to successfully litigate an asbestos lawsuit, Baron & Budd
continues to actively represent veterans, industry workers and
others who are suffering as a result of exposure to asbestos.
Baron & Budd achieved the largest mesothelioma verdict ever in the
state of Texas, a $55 million verdict for an asbestos sufferer and
his family in El Paso, Texas. Contact Baron and Budd at
(866) 855-1229 for additional information on mesothelioma
treatments, mesothelioma cancer doctors and treatment centers and
mesothelioma attorneys.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Union Pacific Faces 4 Separate Asbestos Lawsuits
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Michelle Keahey of The Southeast Texas Record reports that Houston
lawyer John G. Zgourides of the law firm Sammons & Berry has filed
four separate lawsuits against Union Pacific regarding alleged
asbestos exposure of several railroad workers.

The workers claim that they were exposed to asbestos-containing
materials and as a result, have been diagnosed with asbestos-
related lung diseases.

The plaintiffs are John A. Saunders, Mark W. Saunders, Edgar D.
Weaver, Robert Donnell, Jesse Ford Jr., Lee H. Bell, Earnest E.
Bush, John A. Hollins, Alveron Jones Sr., George B. Currington,
Johnny L. Davis, Larry J. Kirkpatrick, William S. Pickering and
Charles R. Monroe.

Three lawsuits were filed on Dec. 14 in federal court in Tyler and
the fourth was filed in federal court in Beaumont.

The plaintiffs worked for Southern Pacific Transportation Co., St.
Louis Southwestern Railway Co., Missouri Pacific Railroad Co., the
Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Co. and the Chicago & Northwestern
Transportation Co.  The men worked as trainmen, engineers or car-
men sometime from 1960 until 2006.

Union Pacific is accused of negligence under the Federal
Employers' Liability Act for using asbestos-containing materials
for decades after becoming aware of hazardous and harmful nature
of the materials, for failing to inspect its equipment for the
presence of asbestos-containing material, and for failing to
remove asbestos-containing material from its equipment.

The defendant is also accused of negligence for failing to warn of
the presence of asbestos-containing material, failing to warn of
the synergistic effect between smoking and asbestos exposure,
failing to properly train employees, failing to provide proper
respirators, failing to conduct air monitoring, failing to provide
comprehensive asbestos medical examinations, failing to medically
monitor the plaintiffs and for violating its own policies
regarding the asbestos materials.

The plaintiffs are asking for an award of damages for medical
expenses, mental anguish, physical pain and suffering, fear of
cancer, physical impairment, court costs and interest.

Houston attorney J. Kirkland Sammons of Sammons & Berry is also
representing the plaintiffs.

Jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider is assigned to the cases.

Case Numbers 6:11-cv-00669; 6:11-cv-00670; 6:11-cv-00671; and
1:11-cv-00718


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Aristech Chem and 198 Others Face Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------
Kyla Asbury at The West Virginia Records reports that a man is
suing 199 companies he claims are responsible for his father's
lung injury and death.

Larry D. Westfall was a member of the Laborers Union Local No. 639
and worked throughout West Virginia and elsewhere, according to a
complaint filed Dec. 7 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Steven D. Westfall claims his father was diagnosed with asbestosis
and mesothelioma, from which he died.  The defendants failed to
exercise reasonable care to warn Larry Westfall of the danger to
which he was exposed by use of the asbestos-containing products,
according to the suit.

Steven Westfall claims the defendants failed to inform his father
of what would be safe and sufficient apparel for a person who was
exposed to or used the asbestos-containing products.  The
defendants also failed to inform Larry Westfall of what would be
safe and proper methods of handling and using the asbestos-
containing products, according to the suit.

Steven Westfall is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He
is being represented by David P. Chervenick, Bruce E. Mattock,
Leif J. Ocheltree and Scott S. Segal.

The case has been assigned to a visiting judge.

The 199 defendants named in the suit are 20th Century Glove
Corporation of Texas; 4520 Corp., Inc.; Air & Liquid Systems
Corporation; Ajax Magnethermic Corporation; AK Steel Corporation;
Alliance Machine Company; Allied Glove Corporation; American
Optical Corporation; Ametek, Inc.; Anderson Greenwood & Co.;
Aristech Chemical Corporation; Armstrong International, Inc.;
Armstrong Pumps, Inc.; Ashland, Inc.; Atlas Industries, Inc.;
Aurora Pump Company; Bayer Corporation; Bayer Cropscience, LP;
Beazer East, Inc.; Bechtel Corporation; Borg-Warner Corporation;
BP Amoco Chemical Company; BP Products North America, Inc.; Brand
Insulations, Inc.; Burnham Holdings, Inc.; Cabot Corporation;
Cameron International Corporation; Canadianoxy Offshore Production
Company; Cashco, Inc.; Catalytic Construction Company; CBS
Corporation; Certainteed Corporation; Chevron U.S.A., Inc.;
Cleaver-Brooks, Inc.; Columbia Paint Corp.; Columbian Chemicals
Company; Columbus McKinnon Corporation; Cooper Industries, Inc.;
Copes-Vulcan, Inc.; Coppus Turbines; Corbesco, Inc.; Crane
Company, Inc.; Crown, Cork & Seal Company (USA), Inc.; Cyprus Amax
Minerals Company; Dana Corporation; Degussa Corporation; DeZurik,
Inc.; Dow Chemical Company; Dravo Corporation; E.I. Du Pont De
Nemours & Company; Eaton Corporation; Eichleay Corporation; the
Fairbanks Company; Fairmont Supply Company; Flowserve U.S., Inc.,
and its Byron Jackson Pump Division; Flowserve U.S., Inc., f/k/a
Durametallic Corp.; Flowserve U.S., Inc., a/k/a Flowserve FSD
Corporation; Flowserve U.S., Inc., as successor to Edward Valves,
Inc.; Flowserve U.S., Inc., as successor to Valtek International;
Flsmidth, Inc.; Flsmidth Dorr-Oliver Eimco, Inc.; Flsmidth Salt
Lake City, Inc.; Fluor Constructors International; FMC
Corporation; Foseco, Inc.; Foster Wheeler, LLC; the Gage Company;
Gardner Denver, Inc.; General Electric Company; General
Refractories Company; Goodrich Corporation; the Goodyear Tire &
Rubber Company; Goulds Pumps, Inc.; Greene Tweed & Co.; Grinnell,
LLC; Gulf Oil Corporation; H.E. Neumann Company; Hedman Mines,
LTD.; Hercules Chemical Company, Inc.; Hinchliffe & Keener, Inc.;
Hoechst Celanese Chemical Group, Inc.; Honeywell International,
Inc.; Howden North America, Inc.; Huntington Alloys Corporation;
Huntsman International, LLC; IU North America, Inc.; IMO
Industries, Inc.; Industrial Holdings Corporation; Ingersoll-Rand
Company; Insul Company, Inc.; ITT Corporation; J.H. France
Refractories Company; Jabo Supply Corporation; Jacobs Engineering
Group, Inc.; John Crane, Inc.; Joseph T. Ryerson & Son, Inc.; Joy
Technologies, Inc.; Katy Industries, Inc.; Kentile Floors, Inc.;
Lockheed Martin Corporation; M.S. Jacobs & Associates, Inc.;
Magnetek, Inc.; Mallinckrodt, LLC; Manitowoc Company, Inc.; McCann
Shields Paint Company; McCarls, Inc.; McJunkin Redman Corporation;
Meadwestvaco Corporation; Metropolitan Life Insurance Company;
Milton Roy Company; Mine Safety Appliance, Inc.; Minnotte
Contracting Corporation; Mobil Corporation; Monongahela Power
Company; Morgan Engineering Systems, Inc.; Mueller Steam
Specialty; Nagle Pumps, Inc.; National Services Industries, Inc.;
Nitro Industrial Coverings, Inc.; O.C. Keckley Company; Occidental
Chemical Corporation; Oglebay Norton Company; Osram Sylvania,
Inc.; Owens-Illinois, Inc.; P&H Mining Equipment, Inc.; Parker-
Hannifin Corp.; Parker-Hannifin Corporation; Peerless Industries,
Inc.; Pennzoil-Quaker State Company; Pfaff and Smith Builders
Supply Company; Pharmacia Corporation; Plotkin Brothers Supply,
LLP; Pneumo Abex Corporation; Potomac Edison Company; Power Piping
Company; Powermaster Pacific Products; PPG Industries, Inc.;
Premier Refractories, Inc.; Rchnewcoil, LLC; Reading Crane;
Research-Cottrell, Inc.; Rhone-Poulenc AG Company, Inc.; Riley
Power, Inc.; Robinson Fans, Inc.; Rockwell Automation, Inc.; Roper
Pump Company; Rust Constructors, Inc.; Rust Engineering &
Construction, Inc.; Safety First Industries, Inc.; the Sager
Corporation; Saint-Gobain Abrasives, Inc.; Schneider Electric USA,
Inc.; Seco/Warwick Corporation; Seegott, Inc.; Selkirk Corp.;
Shell Oil Company; Simakas Company, Inc.; S.P. Kinney Engineers,
Inc.; Spirax Sarco, Inc.; SPX Cooling Technologies, Inc.; Sterling
Fluid Systems (USA), LLC; Sullair Corporation; Sunbeam Products,
Inc.; Sundyne Corporation; SVI Corporation; Taco, Inc.; Tasco
Insulation, Inc.; Team Industrial Services, Inc.; Townsend &
Bottum, Inc.; Trane U.S., Inc.; Trans-Pumps, Inc.; Trans-Pumps,
Inc. of Pittsburgh; UB West Virginia, Inc.; Unifrax Corporation;
Union Carbide Corporation; United Conveyor Corporation; United
States Steel Corporation; Universal Refractories Corporation;
Viacom, Inc.; Viking Pump, Inc.; Vimasco Corporation; Virginia
Electric and Power Company; Waco, Inc.; Warren Pumps, Inc.;
Washington Group International; Waste Management, Inc.; Watson
McDaniel Company; Weil-McLain Company; West Penn Power Company;
Westinghouse Airbrake and/or Wabco; Whiting Corporation; the
William Powell Company; WTI Rust Holdings, Inc.; Wyeth Holdings
Corporation; Yarway Corporation; the Young Group, LTD.; and Zurn
Industries, LLC.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-2181


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Rubbles at Joplin Tornado Aftermath To Be Tested
------------------------------------------------------------------
Pat Guth, writing for Mesothelioma News, relates that the May 22,
2011 tornado that touched down in Joplin, Mo., claimed both lives
and buildings, and now the city is finding it necessary to address
the fate of some 118 houses that suffered severe damaged but have
not been razed by the owners.  Before demolition can occur,
however, asbestos must be removed.

According to an article in The Joplin Globe, the 118 houses in
question must all undergo thorough asbestos inspections before the
wrecking ball appears.  Joplin's Assistant Director of Public
Works, Jack Schaller, told the press that the homes will be
addressed in groups of 20, with recently-hired asbestos inspectors
examining each house in the group before demolition begins.  It
will take about 30 days for each group to be inspected and for
reports to be filed as to the presence of toxic asbestos material.

Because the houses have been damaged, the asbestos materials are
especially dangerous as they most likely are in poor condition,
notes the EPA.  When asbestos is damaged or becomes "friable", it
can release tiny, sharp fibers into the air where they can be
inhaled by anyone working, living, or playing in the vicinity.

Because most of the homes in question were built prior to about
1977, when guidelines were issued about any new uses of asbestos,
a large portion of them are expected to contain asbestos
materials.  Asbestos was used liberally in the manufacture of such
construction-related items as pipe insulation, floor tiles,
adhesives, soundproofing material, cement, and more.  Experts have
deemed that even a small amount of asbestos exposure is unsafe and
may result in the development of diseases like mesothelioma later
in life.

Allowing the homes to be demolished without removing dangerous
asbestos material would be a violation of the federal Clean Air
Act.  Schaller added that the inspections are regulated by the
Missouri Department of Health and that requirements in regards to
removal are set forth by the Missouri Department of Natural
Resources.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Geelong Sheds Closed Due to Airborne Toxic Fibers
------------------------------------------------------------------
Cameron Best of the Geelong Advertiser reports that two large
cargo sheds at Corio Quay have been shut down because of an
airborne asbestos scare.

The 127m-long south shed and 91m north number two shed were both
deemed off limits by the port's operator, GeelongPort, with
workers at the facility advised they would remain closed "until
further notice".

WorkSafe officers descended on the facility on Dec. 22 following
concerns the sheds had airborne asbestos dust that had fallen to
the ground from roofing structures.

The two sheds are operated by two different companies.  A hygenist
company took dust samples from the sheds and subsequent tests
confirmed the dust contained asbestos.

Work has resumed in one shed, with air monitoring results failing
to find any levels to be above the "limit of detection".

The second shed remains closed but work will resume around the
facility.  A licensed asbestos removalist has been called in to
clean the closed shed of any settled dust that may contain
asbestos.

Geelong's port is the largest regional port in Victoria, with the
century-old Corio Quay used mainly for woodchip and bulk cargoes.

The sheds are close to GeelongPort's head office and the dry bulk
woodchip loader the result of a $25 million expansion of the Corio
Quay north wharf for woodchip exports in 2010.

The facility is also home to Australian Customs and Border
Protection Service and the Australian Quarantine Inspection
Service.

A Customs spokesperson said the shed shut-down was having no
effect on normal customs operations.

GeelongPort business manager John Murray was unavailable for
comment as of this report.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Israel Environment Head Doubles Abatement Budget
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Sharon Udasin of The Jerusalem Post reports Environmental
Protection Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) has doubled his ministry's
budget for asbestos removal to NIS40 million per year in an
attempt to eradicate within the next two years the material that
plagues the lungs of northern residents.

Erdan made the decision after touring Nahariya with its mayor on
Jan. 3, 2012, where he witnessed firsthand the process and work
that goes into removing the dangerous substance, his office said.

"Every day that we advance the project, a human life is saved, and
therefore, we doubled the budget designated for this year in order
to double the pace of executing the hazard's removal," Erdan said
in a statement released by his office.

"This is a life-saving project that is undertaken through the
leading professional standards in the world."

The Environmental Protection Ministry first began its asbestos
removal program last April in the Western Galilee, in which
asbestos industrial waste is scattered over about 150,000 cubic
meters of land, originating from the Etanit factory in Nahariya.
Some of the waste had been used as bases for roads and paths in
the region, many of which are now crumbling with asbestos exposed
on their surfaces.

Removing all of the asbestos from the area is expected to cost
about NIS300 million, and would originally encompass about five
years.  In addition to funds from the Environmental Protection
Ministry, the project also receives financing from the local
authorities as well as from the Etanit company, which is obliged
by the April 2011 Asbestos Hazards Prevention Law to pay
NIS150,000 of the costs, according to the ministry.  Doubling the
budget coming from the Environment Ministry is expected to shorten
the duration of the project, with completion achieved as early as
2014.

The Etanit portion of the funding is not guaranteed, however, as
the company has filed a petition to the High Court of Justice
about the matter, the ministry said.  But during Erdan's meetings
with local residents and mayors, he also requested that Etanit
co-owner Mickey Federman, who also owns the Dan hotel chain,
remove his petition and abide by the asbestos law.

Since the inception of the law, the ministry has overseen asbestos
eradication at 36 sites -- 14.14 million cubic meters worth of
waste -- at a total cost of NIS30 million, the office said.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Everett Firemen Get Free lifetime Health Monitor
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Michael Whitney, writing for the Tribune Snohomish County News,
reports the city settled a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that
accused the city of allowing firefighters to train in a house
containing asbestos.

The city agreed to pay for the health costs to monitor the
firefighters for asbestos for the rest of their lives.  In 2007,
about 50 firefighters trained in old houses, which consisted of
cutting holes and punching in ceilings that contained asbestos.
The city owned the houses and at least one fire official knew
about the asbestos, but nobody stopped the trainings from
happening at these houses.

The union sued in 2010.  The City Council signed off on settling
the lawsuit last month by agreeing to give the participating
firefighters lifetime asbestos monitoring.  That's exactly what
the union asked for, union president Paul Gagnon said.  He's
perplexed the city fought the firefighters.  "Mistakes happen,
it's just how you handle it," Gagnon said.  The city "swept it
under the rug (and said) it was (union) members' fault."

The lifetime monitoring will cost $15,000 next year.  The city
offered monitoring for 28 firefighters involved in the training
exercises.  The union wanted all of the firefighters covered and
sued the city for $9 million.

The $9 million was compiled on a per-head basis.  The union's
attorney came up with the figure, Gagnon said.

The Fire Department now has two people trained in identifying
asbestos.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: School Opts Abatement Costs Over Future Lawsuits
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Mesothelioma.net reports that school officials at the Newton North
High School in Massachusetts expected to pay a hefty sum toward
asbestos abatement costs when it demolished the old structure to
build a newer campus.  What they didn't expect was exactly how
much the abatement would cost them -- almost $14 million.

That's nearly double the budget the school originally had for
asbestos abatement costs.  In fact, with the costs of asbestos
removal at the school included, it makes the new Newton North High
School the most expensive high school ever built in Massachusetts,
which is not making many residents and tax payers very happy.

The $14 million bill came as the result of having to deconstruct
the old high school brick by brick to avoid polluting the air with
dangerous asbestos fibers that are known to cause asbestosis, lung
cancer and mesothelioma.  A multitude of asbestos-related
lawsuits, along with pressure from state and federal environmental
standards, persuaded the district to take extreme precaution with
the project.

Although many residents are outraged at the steep costs associated
with asbestos abatement at the Newton North High School, parents,
teachers and school officials are relieved and comforted knowing
that the building was properly abated and no threats of asbestos
contamination remain.

Despite the price of the abatement, it is possible that the
millions spent in abatement costs could pale in comparison to
possible future lawsuits from those exposed to the mineral due to
improper, although more affordable, asbestos removal from the
building.

Asbestos is a fire-retardant, naturally occurring mineral that was
used heavily in construction between the 1950s and 1970s, despite
confirmations that the mineral caused serious health conditions
and even fatalities in those exposed to it.  Although asbestos is
no longer used in to build homes, schools and other structures,
many buildings still contain the mineral.

The Environmental Protection Agency requires professional handling
and abatement of asbestos in those buildings before they can be
demolished in order to avoid causing workers and building
occupants to develop potentially deadly diseases.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Lac d'Amiante and Jeffrey May Yet Reopen in 2012
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Tim Povtak at The Mesothelioma Center reports that one of the last
two asbestos mines in Canada declared bankruptcy recently, but the
threat of a future reopening has not disappeared.

The president of LAB Chrysotile, which operates the Lac d'Amiante
mine in Quebec, told the Montreal Gazette this week that filing
for bankruptcy was a way to save the 350 jobs and eventually
restart production.

"I can't discuss the financial details, but our ultimate goal is
to restart operations under a new structure at the former
production rate," Simon Dupere said.  "The company is no long
financially viable in its present form."

The Lac d'Amiante mine, which halted production back in October,
produced chrysotile asbestos fiber and exporting most of it for
more than 50 years.

Much of the exportation in recent years went to Asia, the Middle
East and North Africa.  The bankruptcy filing, which was detailed
by the Gazette, listed assets of $3.36 million and liabilities of
$50.1 million.  Early in 2011, the company had listed annual
revenues at $50 million.

The shutdown at Lac d'Amiante last fall closely followed the
suspension of operation at the nearby Jeffrey Mine, which together
halted all production of asbestos in Canada for the first time in
130 years.  Owners of the Jeffrey mine already have said they want
to reopen, awaiting a government-backed loan guarantee.

Both mines possibly could be reopened late in 2012.

"We have a structural problem.  We have a problem with fixed costs
and this will be resolved with the (bankruptcy filing)," Dupere
told The Canadian Press.  Now we will talk to everyone involved,
and we will see how we're going forward and how we'll revive the
project."

The reopening of either mine in the future is expected to be met
with considerable protest from critics around the world, which
include health care experts and activists who know the dangers
that come with the mining.

Asbestos, which has been banned in more than 50 countries, is the
cause of mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis and a variety of
respiratory illnesses.  Neither Canada, nor the United States has
banned asbestos, although its use has been dramatically reduced
and tightly regulated.

The World Health Organization has estimated that up to 100,000
people die each year from occupational exposure to asbestos.

Proponents of the mines contend that certain types of asbestos can
be managed safely.  Asbestos, a naturally-occurring mineral, was
once widely coveted for its heat containing and fire resistant
qualities.  Industry executives also point to the hundreds of jobs
it creates in an economically-depressed area of Canada.

The Conservative government in Canada has resisted international
efforts to add asbestos to a hazardous chemicals list that would
make it more difficult to export.  The product remains in demand
throughout still-developing countries, which use it in both home
and business construction.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: More Toxic Materials Add 50% to Abatement Fees
---------------------------------------------------------------
Jessica Opoien of The Northwestern reports that the discovery of
asbestos has slowed down the demolition of two vacant buildings on
the land surrounding Park View Health Center, resulting in a cost
increase of almost 50% for the project.

The Winnebago County Board's Personnel and Finance Committee
approved a budget transfer of $345,000 at its Jan. 5 meeting
following a report on the project's progress from the county's
director of facilities and property management, Mike Elder.

Elder told committee members that as demolition of the properties
located on the lot at 725 Butler Ave. has progressed, the crew
razing the buildings has discovered more asbestos than was
initially spotted in a scan of the properties.

"We'd open up a wall cavity and then there was asbestos in the
bottom," Elder said.

In a preliminary asbestos survey, 11,000 square feet of asbestos
was found -- but Elder said they don't know where else the
substance might be located.  The buildings have been full of
surprises, from asbestos-based floor adhesive to pipes in the
walls that were hidden until demolition began.

These surprises have hindered the ability of Veit & Company Inc.,
the New Berlin-based salvage company that started razing the
buildings in October 2011, to make significant progress.  Veit
originally won the demolition contract with a $754,904 net bid.
Elder said the crew is working at about 40% to 50% of its
efficiency, and has requested $850 per hour of lost time.  That
fee, along with the cost of the additional asbestos removal,
amounts to the $345,000 budget transfer approved at Thursday's
meeting.

"You can't work in an area where you're doing asbestos removal,"
Elder said.

The stop-and-start nature of the demolition will tack on an
additional three to four weeks of work in attempts to take down
the five-story Rehabilitation Pavilion, which has a much larger
hidden asbestos problem than the three-story Pleasant Acres
building, Elder said.  Demolition on the Pavilion was originally
slated to be completed by the end of December 2011.

Several committee members balked at the additional expense,
questioning why it hadn't been accounted for in the original
estimate.  David Albrecht, the committee's vice-chair who
represents District 11, motioned to approve the expenditure, but
only after an extensive discussion.

The committee agreed that the alternative -- leaving two half-
demolished buildings on county property -- was unacceptable.

"Realistically, you're eventually going to tear the building
down," said Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris.

The owner of a building -- in this case, the county -- is
responsible for all asbestos, and a building can't be torn down
until all asbestos is removed, Elder said.

Harris assured the committee that they haven't exceeded the cost
of the project, which is intended to enhance the view of residents
of the county-owned nursing facility at its completion.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Abatement at Wash. School May Cost Millions
------------------------------------------------------------
Matt Finn at KIMATV.com reports that last Spring, a fire destroyed
the Safari and El Conquistador restaurants in Sunnyside, Wash.
However, it was only recently property owners learned the
situation was even worse.

Asbestos was found on the site.  An expensive removal process was
needed to complete demolition.  It's not simple or cheap.

"Basically guys had to have suits and respirators and come in and
do a wet removal, manual method, bag everything up in asbestos
bags," said Jerry Conduff, an asbestos-removal specialist with
Tri-Valley construction.

Asbestos can be a common occurrence in older buildings around the
Yakima Valley.

Ryan Mathews is part of a local consulting firm that tests about
100 sites a year.  He says most test positive for the toxic
material.

"Typical abatement project costs range from a couple thousand
dollars to, in some cases, more than a million dollars," Mathews
said.

One of those multi-million dollar projects might be located at
Eisenhower High School.  The building is known to contain
asbestos and when it's demolished in the next year or so,
taxpayers will pay the cost for its removal.

'It's a large high school.  There's piping, there's a ton of
flooring materials, just all kinds of materials in there that
could have asbestos in them," Conduff said.

Students are safe in school for now.  Asbestos isn't dangerous
until it's broken up.  When it comes time to demolish Eisenhower,
Mathews says taxpayers will most likely foot the bill as part of
the project.  He says the state refuses to pay for asbestos
removal in local buildings.

"It really could be a hidden cost, it can come out of the blue,"
said Dave Caprile of the Yakima Valley Clean Air Agency.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Lowest Bid for SportsPlex Abatement is at $32,523
------------------------------------------------------------------
Tim Jamison at wcfcourier.com reports that efforts to clear two
downtown city blocks for the Cedar Valley SportsPlex moved
forward.

Waterloo City Council members opened bids for asbestos removal at
four Jefferson Street buildings slated to be demolished for the
proposed $23 million field house, fitness and aquatic center.

Abatement Specialists Inc. of Cedar Rapids appeared to submit the
lowest of five bids received on the project at $32,523.  But those
bids will be reviewed before council members are asked to approve
the contract.

Community Planning and Development Director Noel Anderson said the
city is getting ready to seek demolition bids for the structures
so they can be torn down once asbestos hazards have been abated.

"We definitely want to tear down the SportsPlex (properties) as
quickly as possible," Anderson said.

The buildings were all acquired by the city with plans to remove
them -- and two other buildings -- for construction of the Sports-
Plex.  The four properties included in the contract include the
former automotive repair shop at 212 Jefferson; a house at 302
Jefferson; the former Teamsters Union building at 306-308
Jefferson; and the former Black Hawk Center for Independent Living
at 312 Jefferson.

The city is responsible for clearing the site for the proposed
127,300-square-foot SportsPlex under a development agreement with
the Waterloo Development Corp.  The WDC is using private funds and
gaming revenue to construct the facility, which would be managed
by the city's Leisure Services Commission and eventually turned
over to the city in 2023.

The city has already spent more than $2 million acquiring the
necessary property, but still needs to buy the Iowa Community
Credit Union site and a private home.

In other business, council members opened bids for the asbestos
removal in preparation for the demolition of the former Francis
Grout School at 330 Madison St.  Advanced Environmental Testing
and Abatement Inc., of Waterloo, appeared to submit the lowest
asbestos removal bid of $38,880.  The city has a grant to cover
the asbestos abatement but will need to come up with additional
funds for demolition.

Demolition of blighted homes at 915, 917, 919, 927 and 1021
Lafayette St. under a federal grant designed to improve the
neighborhood.  Frickson Brothers Trucking of Evansdale appeared to
submit the lowest bid of $28,700 on the project.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: LAB Chrysotile in Bankruptcy; Meeting on Jan. 23
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Robert Gibbens of The Montreal Gazette reports that LAB Chrysotile
Inc., one of the Quebec asbestos mining industry's two potential
survivors, said on Jan. 4 it has filed for bankruptcy because of
high fixed costs and sharply declining revenues.

"This is a straight bankruptcy and the company is no longer
financially viable in its present form," CEO Simon Dupere said.
"I can't discuss the financial details, but our ultimate goal is
to restart operations under a new structure at the former
production rate of 125,000 tonnes a year."

LAB operates the Lac d'Amiante mine near Thetford Mines in the
Eastern Townships.  It has been producing chrysotile asbestos
fiber mainly for export for more than 50 years.  It was backed
originally by Asarco Inc., the big U.S. copper and molybdenum
miner and refiner.

LAB halted production indefinitely at Lac d'Amiante last October
with the loss of 350 jobs.  Dupere then cited operating problems,
including labor and mine development issues.  The company then
showed annual revenue of about $50 million from exporting
chrysotile fiber mainly to North Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Dupere said many of the Lac d'Amiante workers have retired and the
others have found new jobs or are on unemployment.  He would not
disclose the company's ownership nor whether it can still ship
from inventory.

The Dec. 30 filing lists assets of $3.36 million and liabilities
of $50.1 million.  The first creditors' meeting is set for Jan.
23.

Earlier, LAB said in a statement it hopes to discuss its future
with all stakeholders later this month.

The company aims at getting back on a solid financial footing, but
admits big changes would have to be made at the Lac d'Amiante
mining operation to improve efficiency and ensure future financial
viability.

The much bigger Jeffrey open-pit mine at Asbestos, 90 kilometers
away, also halted production last autumn.  It has been awaiting a
Quebec government loan guarantee to help attract finance for new
underground operations for several months.  The government has
held back, possibly because of rising opposition to all asbestos
mining in the province.

Dupere refused to say where LAB could find new financial support,
but the company has not approached the government for a similar
loan guarantee.

The industry says longfiber chrysotile asbestos can be used safely
under controlled conditions for roofing, piping and many other
construction jobs.  It claims it sells the fiber only to approved
converters in countries such as India.

Critics say the use of any asbestos fiber is dangerous to health
and it is being removed from existing buildings in the U.S.,
Canada and many other countries.  They have mounted a massive
provincial campaign to ban all types of asbestos and indirectly
threaten the planned reopening of the Jeffrey and Lac d'Amiante
mines.

More than a decade ago, the former Noranda Mines invested $700
million in a new electrolytic refinery to convert the Jeffrey
mine's massive tailings into magnesium metal, using patented
technology developed at its Montreal research centre.  The Magnola
project failed after two years, unable to battle international
competition, especially from China.

                           *     *     *

Bertrand Marotte at The Globe and Mail relates that the "miracle
fiber" that helped drive Quebec's economy for more than a century
now represents an industry near death, despite government efforts
to keep it afloat.

In its heyday in the mid-1960s, Canada's asbestos industry
employed thousands and produced about 40% of the world's supply of
the silky-white product known for its resistance to fire, rust and
rot.  It was used widely in construction throughout North America,
including at the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.

Now, it's known more for being ripped out of walls as a danger to
public health.  Many developed nations have banned it outright,
and critics warn it's impossible to ensure its safe use in
developing countries.  These concerns over a known carcinogen have
put the industry on its last legs.

Production at one mine has been halted until it can get
refinancing, and another miner -- Thetford Mines, Que.-based LAB
Chrysotile -- filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 4, 2012, leaving no
active operations in Canada.

Yet a market still exists in the developing economies, and
industry officials say chrysotile asbestos -- popular in countries
such as India and Indonesia as a reinforcing agent in cement
products -- is safe when used properly.

Proponents insist it has a glowing future in global markets,
despite growing international pressure on the Canadian and Quebec
governments to cease financial and political backing of the
industry amid mounting evidence of asbestos's health hazards.

"I'm convinced we can re-launch the mine.  We're going to push for
a plan of action, talk to all the players," said a determined
Simon Dupere, president of LAB Chrysotile, which announced Jan. 4,
2012, it had to declare bankruptcy after a halt in production last
October led to mounting fixed costs with no revenue to offset
them.

The company's Lac d'Amiante mine in Quebec's Eastern Townships
employs about 350 people.

The mineral's growing pariah status -- it's been singled out by
medical and health authorities around the world as a major
carcinogen and contributor to lung disease, and has been banned in
dozens of countries -- doesn't faze Mr. Dupere.

"We've been fighting [the negative publicity].  I'm convinced that
this product can -- and is -- used in a safe fashion," he said.
"It's prized in many places as a low-cost infrastructure-building
material."

He aims to have the operations back up and running "as quickly as
possible" and isn't relying on government help, unlike the Jeffrey
Mine, which has been struggling for months to clinch a new
financing deal backstopped by Quebec.

The sector needs the clout and backing of the Quebec and federal
governments to survive, said Kathleen Ruff, senior human rights
adviser to the Rideau Institute.  "The industry is totally
bankrupt, but it continues to lobby to get public funds to save
itself," she said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government is adamant
that asbestos should not to be added to a global hazardous-
chemicals blacklist under a United Nations treaty called the
Rotterdam Convention.  The government agrees with industry
officials that asbestos is safe when used properly.

Officials in both the Quebec and federal governments were not
available to comment as of this report.

Worldwide production of asbestos is slipping, having fallen 5% to
just below two million tons in 2010 compared to a year earlier,
according to the U.S. Geological Survey.  Russia accounts for
about half that volume, followed by China at about 18% and Brazil
with 14%.

Sales of asbestos are also falling worldwide, as more developed
countries express concerns about health impacts.

John Ries, a business at the Sauder School of Business at the
University of British Columbia, said there are always victims in
declining industries, particularly those with higher-cost
operations.

As for the Canadian workers, Mr. Ries believes those who lose
employment be able to find positions in other areas of the
country's booming resources sector, particularly in rich mining
regions like Quebec.

"Hopefully these workers will find work elsewhere," he said.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Judge Harrison is New Madison Cty Docket Master
----------------------------------------------------------------
Christina Stueve of The Madison/St. Clair Record reports that
Madison County Associate Judge Clarence Harrison, settling in as
head of the nation's busiest state court asbestos docket,
reassured lawyers packed into his small second floor courtroom,
"Things will fit into place."

Harrison was hearing pre-trial motions, an occurrence that happens
almost weekly with local and out of state lawyers pleading their
cases in what is estimated to be thousands of pending asbestos
lawsuits.

Harrison replaced Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder last month after
it was learned she had accepted $30,000 in campaign contributions
from asbestos lawyers, days after she made a favorable ruling for
them.

Crowder, who said on Dec. 14 that she would return the money, has
denied doing anything that would have violated the code of
judicial conduct.

According to the State Board of Elections website, Crowder has not
yet filed a quarterly report which would reflect the return of
contributions that came from lawyers at the Simmons Firm in Alton
and the Goldenberg firm and Gori & Julian of Edwardsville. B
Quarterly reports are due Jan. 17.

At the Jan. 4 asbestos hearing, plaintiff attorney Eric Jackstadt
-- ejackstadt@toverdict.com -- of Granite City requested an
emergency motion to accelerate proceedings for his client in an
asbestos case filed just last month.

His client, Donald Norton of Elijay, Ga., is dying of malignant
mesothelioma, Jackstadt said.  He said he hopes to get Norton's
deposition taken before he dies.

His client became aware that he had the disease on Nov. 18; his
lawsuit was filed Dec. 12.

Jackstadt described the emergency motion as "routine."

"All these people will die from this illness," Jackstadt said.
"We try to be careful about asking for expedited settings."

Jackstadt requested that his client's testimony be placed on
record before he's unable to testify, or before he dies.  He said
he hopes to have a discovery deposition taken on Jan. 12 at
Norton's home, which is 75 miles north of Atlanta.  The next step
would be to set a trial date.

Others who spoke at the hearing included attorney Gary Saalman --
gjsaalman@vorys.com -- of Columbus, Ohio, who represents Goodyear
Tire and Rubber.  He had a motion to dismiss over judgment of a
case.

Attorney Amy Garrett -- agarrett@simmonsfirm.com -- with the
Simmons Firm said she needed medical releases and interrogatory
responses for one of her cases.

Harrison, who has previously handled the asbestos docket when, for
instance, Crowder was involved in presiding over a trial,
commented on the infrequency of asbestos trials in Madison County.

"By the time of trial, they come up with a negotiated settlement,"
he said.  "The attorneys handling cases are familiar with claims
and reasonable values to resolve or dismiss cases.  We have a lot
of very experienced individuals handling cases."

The last time an asbestos trial occurred in Madison County --
March 2010 -- jurors found in favor of defendant Ford Motor Co.

Plaintiffs' attorney Jonathan Ruckdeschel --
rucklawfirm@rucklawfirm.com -- of Maryland had asked for more than
$14 million in damages.

Ford was sued along with a number of other brake manufacturers for
allegedly selling products that caused a Chicago man's
mesothelioma.

Ford was the only defendant that did not settle its case with
plaintiffs Larry and Meta Williams.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Woman With Mesothelioma Achieves Full Remission
----------------------------------------------------------------
About Mesothelioma.net reports that Sherrie Moore, a 55-year-old
Missouri woman, hopes to live to see her grandchildren grow up.
As 2012 begins, Moore is marking more than just the new year.  She
is celebrating the remission of her mesothelioma for more than a
year.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer of the lining of the lungs
and abdomen caused by asbestos exposure.  But it can be difficult
to detect as Moore's circuitous path to a diagnosis shows.

Four years ago, Moore, who lives in Carl Junction, Missouri, was
experiencing fatigue, an elevated heart rate and eventually pain
in her right side that extended into her back.  She assumed it was
caused by the stress and physical exertion of caring for her
husband Ed who had prostate cancer.

According to an article in Cancerwise published by the M.D.
Anderson Cancer Center, Moore underwent a series of medical tests
that revealed a low hemoglobin count.  A colonoscopy showed normal
results as did a CT scan of her liver and pancreas.  The doctor
who performed a CT scan thought something looked abnormal about
her lungs and referred her to a pulmonologist.

A pulmonary specialist did an x-ray and discovered a small volume
of fluid in Moore's lung and put her on antibiotics.  Fluid in the
lungs, also called pleural effusions, is one of the common
symptoms of mesothelioma reported by many patients.  When Moore
returned at the urging of the pulmonologist, she had another CT
scan that revealed nearly two liters of fluid in her right lung.
She underwent an outpatient procedure and biopsy that were
inconclusive.

The cancer specialist to whom she was referred recommended an open
lung biopsy.  The surgeon who performed the procedure in November
2008 found 15 tumors in Moore's right lung and diagnosed Moore
with stage IV mesothelioma.

The doctor recommended that she seek treatment at M.D.  Anderson
Medical Center in Texas.

With patients with cancer limited to one lung, doctors may remove
the cancerous lung and surrounding tissue and perform chemotherapy
and radiation.  But Moore had mesothelioma in both lungs so she
had limited treatment options.

Moore underwent 28 chemotherapy treatments that lasted until
December 2010.  Before the treatments concluded, there was no
active sign of mesothelioma.  Moore's physician, Dr. Anne Tsao,
director of the mesothelioma program at M.D. Anderson, informed
Moore that she was the first of her patients to achieve full
remission.

Approximately 3,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with
mesothelioma each year.  Many are older workers, veterans and
retirees who were exposed to asbestos in the workplace decades
ago.  Typically, mesothelioma symptoms appear 30 years to 50 years
after initial exposure to asbestos.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: ZMDC Eager to Resume Operations, Pays Out Workers
------------------------------------------------------------------
New Ziana at the Malaysian National News Agency, BERNAMA, reports
that Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) is close to
completing the feasibility study that it is carrying out to pave
way for the resumption of asbestos mining operations at the
defunct Shabanie-Mashava Mines (SMM), an official says.

Formerly owned by South Africa-based businessman Mutumwa Mawere,
SMM is now administered by ZMDC on behalf of the Zimbabwean
government after it collapsed in 2008, leaving an estimated 3,000
workers jobless and Zvishavane and Mashava ghost towns.

ZMDC Chairman Goodwills Masimirembwa told New Ziana on Dec. 2 that
mining operations would commence within 90 days of the completion
of the feasibility study.

"We are almost completing the feasibility study which will pave
way for the commencement of mining operations at Shabanie Mashaba
Mines.  We hope that in the next 90 days mining operations will
have started."

Masimirembwa said the ZMDC was determined to revive SMM as it had
already paid the workers their outstanding salaries.  "To prove
that we are determined to revive the mines, we paid SMM workers
last week," he said.

Before suspending operations, SMM used to produce an estimated
200,000 tons of asbestos every year.  Once one of Africa's largest
asbestos producers, the mine had access to markets in the United
States, Britain, Angola, Nigeria, Zambia, Mozambique, India, Iran,
the United Arab Emirates, China and Indonesia.

SMM is believed to be sitting on reserves which could last for the
next 20 years, helping to strengthen the construction and
manufacturing industries which had been on the decline.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: "Can't Tell Firms Not to File Here," Judge Says
----------------------------------------------------------------
Christina Stueve of The Madison/St. Clair Record reports that
Madison County Board Member Mike Walters told Madison County Chief
Judge Ann Callis and members of the county judiciary  in a meeting
on Jan. 6 that being on the (American Tort Reform Association's)
Judicial Hellhole list "scares the hell out of me."

Walters, a Republican, has called for the resignation of Madison
County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder, who was removed as the
court's asbestos judge after accepting campaign contributions from
plaintiff's law firms.

Lawyers from the county's three biggest asbestos firms -- Simmons,
Goldenberg and Gori & Julian -- contributed a total of $30,000
just days after Crowder had entered a favorable ruling for them
last month.

Walters and Callis debated for about 45 minutes at the committee's
monthly meeting.

"I'm saying that this asbestos docket is killing us," Walters told
reporters after the meeting.  "I'd love to see Madison County
boom.  We have rivers, highways and airports.  Why aren't people
flocking here? I've heard it's the judicial system.

"To me, this is a serious problem," Walters said.

Callis sat with Associate Judge Steve Stobbs on her right and
Circuit Clerk Matt Melucci on her left.

"We can't tell firms not to file cases here," Callis said.

"It isn't illegal for a judge to take campaign donations."

Crowder, who said on Dec. 14 that she would return the money, has
denied doing anything that would have violated the code of
judicial conduct.

In addition to Walters calling for Crowder's resignation, Madison
County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan last month called for an
investigation by the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board (JIB).

A Dec. 28 letter from the JIB in response to Dunstan was passed
around at the meeting.

The JIB confirmed that it had received a complaint against "an
Illinois state court judge" and would determine if an
investigation is warranted.

Details of "any investigation" are not to be shared, the letter
stated, and only those documents filed with the commission during
a prosecution become public record.

After the board reaches a decision, Dunstan can expect a written
notification, the letter stated.

On Dec. 12, Callis reassigned Crowder to handle chancery,
miscellaneous remedies and eminent domain cases.

At the Jan. 6 meeting, Callis countered Walters by saying that in
the past five years, four asbestos jury trials have resulted in
defense verdicts.

"The asbestos docket represents less than one percent of all cases
going through Madison County, not that there are not issues," she
said.  She assured the committee that with the new judge (Clarence
Harrison) "everything will be looked at."

Walters then stated he wasn't blaming Callis.

"When we appear on the judicial hellhole list, that scares the
hell out of me," Walters said.  "It appears we're giving out dates
to attorneys.  My biggest concern is that we're working more to
help people who aren't in Madison County than people who are."

A vast majority of asbestos lawsuits filed in Madison County, the
busiest state court asbestos docket in the country, are from out
of state residents.

Walters pointed out that when businesses see the hellhole list,
they believe it.

Walters commended Callis for her quick action in removing Crowder
from the asbestos docket.

"I do defend you, and I get my rear end chewed out," he said.  "A
lot of people have asked, and I don't think I'm the first person
to ask, for her resignation."

Also at the meeting was a representative from the state's
attorney's office and Madison County Sheriff Bob Hertz.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Widower Secures Six-Figure Payout Out of Court
---------------------------------------------------------------
Solicitors Hodge Jones & Allen LLP reports that a widow has been
awarded compensation after her husband died as a result of
inhaling asbestos at work.

John Bromley, 62, had worked for Stafford Corporation -- now
Stafford Borough Council -- for 37 years as a building inspector
and surveyor, the Staffordshire Newsletter reports.

In the 1970s, his role involved making sure enough asbestos had
been sprayed on to beams to make them fireproof, so batches of the
deadly building material were often made up in his presence.

Mr. Bromley began to suffer from shortness of breath in October
2009, which worsened and then became a persistent cough and
vomiting.

Mr. Bromley was diagnosed with the terminal lung disease
mesothelioma and although he underwent months of chemotherapy, the
victim died in January 2010.

His widow Angela took legal action against Stafford Borough
Council and has now won an undisclosed six-figure sum in
compensation from its insurers as part of an out-of-court
settlement.

"Even as long ago as the 1950s, there was an awareness of the
dangers of asbestos and Stafford Corporation should have done more
to protect their employees," her legal representative said.

In late 2011, the widow of 66-year-old joiner William Wolff
secured GBP258,520 in compensation after he also died from
mesothelioma.

Mr. Wolff had breathed in asbestos fibers at Weir Construction,
which admitted that it had negligently exposed him to asbestos
dust and agreed to the settlement.

Anyone affected by industrial diseases should seek the advice of a
solicitor as soon as possible, even if the company where exposure
took place is no longer in existence, as it may be possible to
track down their insurers.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: MassDEP Fines Bldg Owner for Violations
--------------------------------------------------------
Banker & Tradesman reports that The Massachusetts Department of
Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has assessed an $18,187.50
penalty against 320 Elm LLC of Southbridge for violations of
MassDEP's asbestos regulations.

The violations occurred during the removal of asbestos-containing
transite siding shingles from a residential property located at
255-257 Marcy Street in Southbridge, a property the company owns.

During an inspection of the site in November 2009, MassDEP
personnel found the company had removed the asbestos-containing
siding itself without having provided prior notification to
MassDEP, and without following the required handling, packaging
and disposal procedures.  Numerous pieces of shattered asbestos
transite shingles were observed dry, uncontained on the ground and
in a roll-off dumpster at the property.

Upon discovery of the violations, the company was required to hire
a Massachusetts Division of Labor Standards-licensed asbestos
contractor to properly handle, package and dispose of all the
asbestos-containing waste materials, and to decontaminate all
impacted areas of the property.

MassDEP regulations require asbestos-containing transite materials
to be removed wet, in a manner that minimizes breakage, and then
carefully lowered to the ground.  The regulations also mandate
that asbestos waste be sealed, while wet, into leak tight
containers that have the appropriate asbestos warning labels
affixed to them.

Under the terms of the settlement, the company must pay $4,000 of
the assessed penalty, and MassDEP suspended the remaining $14,187
as long as there are no repeat violations for one year.

"Contractors and property owners must be fully aware of their
responsibilities to thoroughly inspect buildings, which they
intend to renovate for the presence of any asbestos containing-
materials," said Lee Dillard Adams, deputy director of MassDEP's
Central Regional Office in Worcester.  "Failure to identify and
properly remove asbestos-containing materials is an extremely
serious and ultimately a costly oversight that potentially exposes
workers, residents and the general public to a known carcinogen.
Noncompliance inevitably results in significant penalty exposure,
as well as escalated cleanup, decontamination, disposal and
monitoring costs to both the property owner and the contractor."


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Marycrest Owner Pays Improper Abatement Fine
-------------------------------------------------------------
Mary Owen of TribLocal Joliet reports that the owner of a Joliet
shopping center accused by state regulators of violating rules for
proper asbestos removal has agreed to pay $110,000 in fines as
part of a consent order agreement.

In November, the Illinois Attorney General's Office filed a
complaint against Schaumburg-based RMS Properties, Inc., which
owns Marycrest Shopping Center, 2112 Jefferson St., related to
allegations from 2008 and 2009.  During that period, RMS was
renovating the building, which was built in the 1950s.

The complaint, filed by the attorney general on behalf of the
Illinois Department of Public Health, outlines alleged violations
starting after an April 15, 2008, anonymous tip "regarding the
improper handling and removal of suspected asbestos-containing
material."

The complaint was filed Nov. 3 in Will County Circuit Court.  A
consent order was filed with the court Dec. 7 resolving the case.
A February hearing was thus canceled.

According to the complaint, unlicensed workers were removing
asbestos floor tiles and improperly discarding them into garbage
bins, both violations of asbestos removal regulations.  The
complaint outlines several counts, including violations related to
air pollution, failure to secure work areas to avoid the spread of
asbestos spores and failure to give notification of asbestos-
related work.

City officials shut down the project twice in 2008 and 2009 after
concerns about asbestos exposure.

State Environmental Protection Agency officials were notified by
anonymous tipsters on three separate occasions between April 2008
and February 2009 regarding asbestos.

Renovation at the shopping center is now completed, said Drake
Mertes -- drakemertes@ddmlaw.net -- attorney for RMS.  He declined
further comment, except noting that the order avoids further
litigation.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Scheduling for Asbestos Docket on March 26
-----------------------------------------------------------
Cynthia M. Ellis of The Telegraph reports that Madison County's
chief judge declined, on Jan. 6, to address demands by Republican
County Board members seeking the resignation of a second judge
over her acceptance of campaign contributions.

Chief 3rd Circuit Judge Ann Callis said she was bound by
confidentiality and rules of the court in what she could say about
Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder, who Callis removed from all
asbestos-related cases last month after it was learned she had
accepted campaign contributions from defense attorneys
specializing in asbestos cases.

Madison County Board member Mike Walters, R-Godfrey, called for
Crowder's resignation during the County Board meeting on Dec. 21.
He wrote a letter addressed to Callis that was signed by nine of
the 10 Republican board members but none of the 19 Democrats on
the Madison County Board.

County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan, D-Troy, has filed a complaint
with the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board to investigate whether
Crowder committed misconduct by accepting the contributions.
Crowder has said neither she nor her campaign committee violated
any ethical laws or codes, but she would return the money.

Crowder's campaign committee received $10,000 each from three
asbestos plaintiff firms: Gori, Julian and Associates; Goldenberg,
Heller, Antognoli and Rowland; and the Simmons Law Firm.  The
contributions were made just days after Crowder signed a
preliminary order that gave the majority of the trial slots for
the 2013 docket to those same firms.

Callis addressed the Madison County Judiciary Committee on Jan. 6
about the letter, stating she had heard about it but never
received a copy of it.  However, after Walters, a member of the
committee, provided her with a copy, she acknowledged that she
already had read it.

Callis cited the Illinois Constitution, Article 6, Section 15,
which she said is explicit about the confidentiality of the
judicial inquiry board process.

"I know everyone in this room respects our Illinois Constitution,"
she said.  "I have to follow that, and there is confidentiality in
this process."

She said Illinois Supreme Court Rule 21 and her code of judicial
conduct are the rules that she follows in such matters.

"I can assure you I have adhered to all of those rules, and I'm
duty-bound to adhere to those rules," Callis said.  "I have a
boss, too, and my boss is the Supreme Court of the state of
Illinois.  I would hope that all of you in this room would respect
that."

Walters said that he did.  He said people approached him following
reports about the contributions to Crowder's campaign and said it
"stinks to high heaven."

He said his concerns were about the asbestos docket and attorneys
being given court dates up to two years in advance.

"I'm no expert on this," he admitted.

Callis said she had a meeting with associate judges Steve Stobbs,
Tom Chapman and Clarence Harrison to discuss the direction in
which the court is headed.

"The court took immediate action when we discovered what
occurred," she said.  "Judge Harrison now is the asbestos judge."

She said that naming Harrison was the first significant change.
The second significant change was naming Stobbs as supervisor of
the civil associate division, and both he and Chapman would assist
Harrison in going forward with the asbestos docket.

Callis also said Harrison set a hearing at 10 a.m. March 26 to set
the scheduling order for the asbestos docket.

Stobbs, who also attended the judiciary meeting, said that
scheduling order previously set by Crowder was temporary, and that
anyone could file objections or complaints before the public
hearing.

Walters said his concern was that docket was set when there were
not even cases filed for the scheduled dates.

Both Stobbs and Callis said the process in how the scheduling
order came about happened years ago, and both plaintiff and
defense agreed.

"Since we have a new judge, everything is being looked at," she
said.

She said there have been only four jury trials in the past five
years, and every single one has ended with a verdict in favor of
the defendant.  The last trial to take place was in March 2010,
and jurors found in favor of Ford Motor Co.

"The asbestos docket represents less than one percent of all the
cases that come through the docket," Callis said.

She said many of the things that the court does may be overlooked
because of the "hyper-focus" on the asbestos docket.

Following the meeting, Walters said he wasn't attacking anyone,
but would hope that the hearing in March would result in a clear
process for how court dockets are set in Madison County.

"This is a step in the right direction regarding our judicial
system," Walters said.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Shuttered Roro Mines Continue to Pose Risk
-----------------------------------------------------------
Javed Iqbal of Daily News & Analysis-India relates that when miner
Dansingh Bodra was asked about the people from his village who he
worked with in the asbestos mines of Roro, who have all died
before their time, he slowly starts counting, first to himself,
and then loudly:

"gyaara, Pooliya Sondi . . . baara, Rohto Gop . . . taira, Bagan
Sondi . . . chowda, Vijay Singh Sondi . . . pandra, Gono Sondi
. . . sola, Harish Sondi . . . sattra, Sukmon Sondi . . . atthra,
Rahto Samadh."

Dansingh himself suffers from cancer, a huge tumor grows out of
his stomach.

It took him five minutes to remember the dead.  A few seconds to
denounce the company that laid them off one fine day when the
mines shut down in 1983.

"They gave us nothing, no healthcare, no pension, just these
illnesses."

"I worked in the mines for 12 years, and from that day itself I
used to cough, and slowly it started to get worse."

This man with a lump growing out of his stomach remains a
testament to the reality of internal colonization, of a company
that currently earns aggregate revenues of over Rs800 crore, of
industrial development, and the idea that mining offers jobs.
Dansingh Bodra awaits death in a village where his three
grandchildren sleep behind him suffering from fever.  The mines
have long but closed down, but the dust and pollution that
emanates from them, still spread across the fields.

Even today, as per law, especially as per section 22 of the Air
(Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981, all asbestos mines
have to be closed.  But Hyderabad Industry Limited, part of the CK
Birla Group, did not close their mines at Roro village at
Chaibasa, West Singhbhum, Jharkhand.  As a result, the asbestos
fibers that are blown into the wind, that seep into the fields and
rivers, still exist 30 years after the mines shut down.

"So many people died before they turned forty," said Birsingh
Sondi, who points to his neighbours house, "There lived
Mangalsingh Sondi, who was 25 when he died, and he never even
worked in the mine.  His father, Sukmon, worked there, and he died
a few years ago too."

Asbestos, whose use, manufacture and extraction is banned across
the European Union, is still used widely across India and is part
of a Rs4,000 crore industry dominated by around 18 companies who
justify the use of asbestos as a substitute for affordable
roofing, and claim that chrysotile asbestos can be safely
manufactured and used without risks.

The companies claim that the kind of asbestos used in India isn't
carcinogenic, even as all forms of asbestos are classified as
carcinogenic by the World Health Organization, the International
Labour Organization, and the International Agency For Research On
Cancer, who mention in a report that was published in 2010:

'Epidemiological evidence has increasingly shown an association of
all forms of asbestos (chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite,
tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite) with an increased risk
of lung cancer and mesothelioma.'  It goes on to mention that an
estimated 125 million people are still exposed to asbestos at the
workplace.

Yet, the Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association, one
of the main lobby groups for the continued production and use of
asbestos, has repeatedly claimed, "Some five hundred other
products and industrial processes are recognized as carcinogens,
but this does not mean that we must prohibit their use."

While the lobby has often reiterated that chrysotile asbestos is
safe, the chairman of the Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers
Association, Abhaya Shanker, is also the managing director of
Hyderabad Industries Limited.

In a telephonic interview with Abhaya Shanker, he said they have
closed the Roro mine, and that the mountains of asbestos tailings
from the mine are not carcinogenic.

"Roro is a finished chapter, a closed mine 30 years back, what's
the point of Roro? I don't understand," he exclaims.  "That is all
an old story, an old type of asbestos and that is all done.  The
mine is safely handed over, and closed, and handed over to the
government of India, and there is no danger to the public.  It's
all bullshit."

"According to the Supreme Court directives in the CERC case, you
have to monitor the health of your workers?  Do you also monitor
the health of your workers from Roro?" Iqbal asked.

"You can look at our world class health monitoring system, for our
workers . . . for several years we keep calling them, for check-
ups, for studying them," responds Shanker.

"Even the Roro workers?" Iqbal followed.

"The Roro workers are all finished, we would have done them (the
survey) for a couple of year, and it's been 30 years now, nobody
would be alive now," says Shanker.

Roro Hills at Chaibasa were first mined for chromite in the early
1960s by the Tatas.  The mines were sold to the CK Birla Group, as
the Tatas moved onto mining chromite at Sukinda, in Odisha, which
itself, according to international environmental group Blacksmith
Institute, is one of the 10 most polluted places in the world,
where approximately 70% of the surface water is contaminated by
hexavalent chromium, and 24.7% of the population living around the
mines are suffering from pollution-induced diseases.

When Iqbal visited the village of Suanla in Sukinda in 2010, an
old man scoffed at the media's ability to highlight the issue.  He
claimed that over 30 people have died in the past few months.
Some called the deaths in Suanla an exaggeration, but in the house
of Markand Hembram, four members of the household had died within
a year.

Quoting the report by the Blacksmith Institute, the government
itself had gone on to say: 'It is unique, it is gigantic and it is
beyond the means and purview of the [Orissa Pollution Control]
Board to solve the problem.'

Back at Roro, there were attempts to close the mountain and clean
up.  Way back in 2003, a public hearing was held where villagers
from 14 villages around the mines had spoken up about working in
the mines and the health issues in their villages.  The hearing
was organized by Jharkhand Organization For Human Rights, and was
paneled by a group of prominent doctors and advocates.

The report of the hearing was taken to the District Collector and
Chief Medical officer who were given representations for
conducting medical camps, to monitor health of workers and non-
workers, and to detail a scientific closure of mines and to hold
Hyderabad Industries Limited accountable to pay for health and
environmental damages.

Yet, till date, there have never been any attempt by any official
body -- from the Pollution Control Board, the Directorate General
of Mines Safety, the Mining Department, the company or the local
administration to remediate and clean up the mine tailings or do a
proper closure.

At Roro, only three miners who worked with the Birla Group are
left alive.  But not everyone worked directly under the company
since independent contractors had also taken on the work of
disposing asbestos dust, and they paid workers Rs1.50 per day, for
working from eight in the evening to eight in the morning, to
clear dust.

"There was no izzat in mining, we should never have allowed them
here," says Dansingh Bodra, who had even worked underground,
mining asbestos without any protective clothing.  And there were
accidents: Turam Sondi, Jida Sondi and Dausar Sondi were killed in
the mines in a few years before the lockout and the closing of the
mines.

"No one should ever have worked the way we did."


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Law Firm Belluck & Fox Cites EPA's Fails
---------------------------------------------------------
A recent report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
about its own apparent mishandling of asbestos in demolition
projects underscores the pervasive threat this cancer-causing
material poses to Americans' health, New York mesothelioma
attorney Joseph W. Belluck said.

"If the governmental body charged with keeping us safe from
environmental hazards can fail to protect its employees and
contractors from asbestos exposure, it is frightening to consider
the dangers faced by employees of less-conscientious
organizations," said Belluck, a partner in Belluck & Fox, a New
York personal injury firm that represents victims of asbestos
exposure.

Belluck was referring to a Dec. 14 memo from the EPA's inspector
general that highlighted concerns about the use of unapproved
demolition methods at EPA sites where asbestos was present.

Because inhaling asbestos fibers is known to cause lethal cancers
such as mesothelioma, demolition crews are required to follow
strict protocols to prevent exposure to the deadly material,
Belluck said.

The EPA report indicated that unapproved asbestos-handling methods
were in use at several sites, including one in Washington state
and another in Kentucky.  The inspector general also cited videos
and photos that showed unprotected government workers and
contractors present during experiments with unapproved alternative
asbestos control methods in Arkansas and Texas.

"Many of our clients developed mesothelioma or other asbestos-
related diseases after being exposed to toxic asbestos at work
decades ago," Belluck said.  "It is very alarming to think that
workers are still facing exposure to this cancer-causing substance
-- even at job sites that are under the control of the
government's environmental watchdog."

Asbestos, which was once extensively used in a wide variety of
applications, is the only known cause of mesothelioma.  The
disease is a rare but very aggressive form of cancer that usually
affects the lining of the lungs.  There is no known cure.  Many
victims do not develop mesothelioma until several decades after
their exposure.

Because asbestos products remain in many older structures, the EPA
has developed specific procedures for safer handling of asbestos
during demolitions and renovations.  The standards require
specialists to remove asbestos-containing materials while
minimizing the amount of asbestos dust produced.

Because the standards apparently were not followed at several EPA
sites, according to the inspector general, the agency should
notify workers and the public in the surrounding areas of the
possibility that they were exposed to asbestos.

Belluck encouraged anyone who has developed an asbestos-related
disease to seek qualified medical treatment.  He also emphasized
that it is important to consult with an experienced asbestos
exposure attorney.

                     About Belluck & Fox

Belluck & Fox, LLP, is a nationally recognized law firm that
represents individuals with asbestos and mesothelioma claims, as
well as victims of crime, motorcycle crashes, lead paint and other
serious injuries.  The firm provides personalized and professional
representation and has won over $400 million in compensation for
clients and their families.

Partner Joseph W. Belluck is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell and is
listed in Best Lawyers in America, New York Magazine's "Best
Lawyers in the New York Area" and in Super Lawyers.  Mr. Belluck
has won numerous cases involving injuries from asbestos, defective
medical products, tobacco and lead paint, including a recent
asbestos case that settled for more than $12 million.

Partner Jordan Fox is a well-known asbestos and mesothelioma
attorney who has been named to the Best Lawyers in America, New
York Magazine's "Best Lawyers in the New York Area" and to Super
Lawyers.  On two separate occasions his verdicts were featured as
the National Law Journal's Largest Verdict of the Year.  He
recently secured verdicts of $32 million and more than $19 million
on behalf of individuals who had contracted mesothelioma from
asbestos exposure.

In September, Belluck & Fox, LLP, won a coveted spot on a list of
America's best law firms, which was published jointly by U.S.
News & World Report and Best Lawyers magazine.  The listing
showcased 8,782 different law firms ranked in one or more of 81
major practice areas.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: News Agency Tackles Sri Lankan Asbestos Industry
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Rhian Deutrom at The Sunday Leader - Sri Lanka, in her article,
"Sri Lanka's Silent Killer" relates that as the sun rises over the
Ratmalana grounds of The Sunday Leader, across the road workers
lazily file through the gates of a colossal grey factory to begin
the day's production of asbestos-based building products.  This is
just one of the several asbestos product factories in Sri Lanka
which provides employment for thousands of people island wide.
Yet what these workers handle each day is one of the most deadly
substances in the world.

Asbestos is a mineral group which is widely used as a building
material in developing countries due to its strength, light weight
and low cost.

Studies show that inhaling exposed asbestos fibers can cause
serious illness including a lung cancer known as Mesothelioma as
well as Asbestosis, a debilitating lung condition.  Due to the
developing nature of this field of study, there is no cure for
either of these diseases -- the risks of handling asbestos are
real and the consequences are fatal.

Even more shocking is that these diseases will develop in the body
for up to forty years before showing any symptoms.

This disturbing evidence has prompted more than 55 countries
including Australia, the US, Canada, the European Union and Japan
to ban the use of all asbestos products.  Australian Foreign
Minister Kevin Rudd is currently working with the United Nations
to push for a worldwide ban on the production of asbestos
material.

Despite prohibiting the use of asbestos in its own country, Canada
has remained one of the largest exporters of the deadly material
in the world.

The controversial move has shocked the international community as
it continues to export the tax-free raw material to developing
nations across the globe.

It is highly immoral that Canada and other developed nations can
sell such deadly material to the third world.  As Sri Lanka
attempts to rebuild its infrastructure after a devastating civil
war, the temptation of a tax free construction material is simply
too good to resist.

National project manager of the SAICM department in the World
Health Organization, Dr. Harischandra Yakandawala told The Sunday
Leader, "The asbestos industry in Sri Lanka is old enough that
people will start showing symptoms of asbestos related diseases
from now on.  The industry may think it is safe now, but it is
only a matter of time".

With the help of aggressive media marketing, asbestos is the
number one roofing material in the island.  A highly placed source
in the Sri Lankan asbestos industry told The Sunday Leader, "Since
the war, the local market has increased substantially, especially
in the North and East."  However the source dismissed claims that
the wide use of asbestos is damaging to the health of workers.  "I
have been in this industry for fifty years and I am fine -- our
workers have medical checkups every couple of years and so far,
everything is alright," he said.

Environmental lawyer Jagath Gunawardena warns that this naivety
will change in time as more cases of asbestos-related diseases
emerge.

"There are many scientific studies which have proven that extended
exposure to asbestos fibers will cause health issues.  However, by
the time people develop ailments, it will be too late for them to
act," he said.

This frightening forecast has cast a dreary shadow over the
thriving asbestos industry in Sri Lanka.  Many asbestos
manufacturers did not wish to comment on any speculation that they
may be in serious danger.  For now, these companies remain safe as
health professionals do not test for Mesothelioma or Asbestosis.
Dr. Yakandawala said, "Sri Lankan hospitals do not have the
facilities and doctors do not have the training to effectively
diagnose asbestos related diseases -- this is a major issue in
this country".

Contrary to the common belief that only workers handling asbestos
are at risk, studies show that asbestos is carried through the air
and inhaled by unsuspecting victims.

On condition of anonymity, a source told The Sunday Leader, "As
long as the employees here work safely with the sheeting, there is
no problem -- the asbestos we use is perfectly safe."
Unfortunately, fibers which escape from these factories are
carried by the wind to surrounding dwellings and unsuspecting
victims.

Asbestos is also used to manufacture brake pads in buses and other
vehicles.

"What many people do not realize is that when these buses are
travelling at high speeds along Sri Lankan roads, braking friction
is high and large amounts of asbestos fibers are released into the
environment," said Dr. Yakandawala.

Across the globe, many victims of asbestos related diseases are
currently seeking compensation from their former employers for the
suffering and loss they have endured.

Infamous asbestos manufacturer James Hardie has paid billions of
dollars in compensation to victims and their families as a result
of legal action taken against the company.  Gunawardena says,
"Legal action is possible in Sri Lanka however many victims will
not be able to afford the medical or legal costs involved in
claiming compensation".

As Sri Lankans remain ignorant of the damaging health risks
associated with asbestos, potential victims will ultimately be
left without adequate assistance.

Dr. Yakandawala warns that to protect future generations of Sri
Lankans, the government must take action now to ban the use of
asbestos across the island.  "We must educate policy makers,
health professionals and communities of the dangers of using
asbestos products," he said.  While the country remains oblivious
to the dangers of asbestos related diseases for now, it will not
be long before Sri Lanka is hit with a major health epidemic
leading to a blowout in health expenditure and the potential for
legal action against manufacturers.  It is in the government's
best interests to act now to ban the use of asbestos in Sri Lanka,
before it is too late.

It is encouraging to note that the Ministry of Health is aware of
the problem and is taking steps to assess the situation as a
matter of urgency.  Time will tell whether any more lives will be
put at risk by this silent killer.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Raymark Site Mulls $40M Thermochemical Cure
------------------------------------------------------------
Brittany Lyte, staff writer at ctpost.com, reports that a
relatively new technology that neutralizes asbestos waste would
cost about $40 million to implement at the Raymark Superfund site,
according to correspondence between a federal agency and the
technology developer.

The process, thermochemical conversion, neutralizes not just
asbestos, but all organic compounds.  It destroys the very atoms
that make up asbestos through a heating process and yields clean
fill soil, according to ARI Technologies President Dale Timmons,
the Seattle geochemist who developed the process.

Save Stratford, a network of residents concerned about toxic waste
in town, has been pushing the federal Environmental Protection
Agency to determine whether thermochemical conversion could be
used to detoxify waste at the Raymark Superfund site and other
brownfields in town.

Four hazardous waste sites, including the Puget Sound Naval
Shipyard and a U.S. Department of Energy site in West Virginia
have been remediated this way since 1999.

The EPA has agreed to investigate whether thermochemical
conversion technology could work on Raymark waste, which is a
specific blend of polychlorinated biphenyls, chrysotile asbestos,
copper and lead.

In December, the EPA emailed Timmons a list of 21 questions.

Timmons' responses reveal it would cost about $20 million to
design and build a system large enough to process hazardous waste
at the Raymark Superfund site, along with another $20 million to
mobilize and demobilize the system.  About 350 tons of Raymark
waste could be treated at a cost of about $38,500 per day, Timmons
said.

About $21 million is now in an EPA remediation fund designated for
the Raymark site.

While the correspondence between Timmons and the EPA marks an
encouraging step forward for residents who have long advocated for
cleanup a solution that eliminates hazardous waste, rather than
merely burying it using a method of capping, Timmons' responses
indicate that ARI Technologies has never taken on a project as
large in scale as the Raymark site.

In fact, thermochemical conversion has never before been used to
neutralize automotive brake pads, fragments of which are known to
exist in Raymark waste, according to Timmons' responses to the
questionnaire.

"We did a fair amount of initial research talking to other people
at the EPA and people at the state," said Jim Murphy, a community
development coordinator for the EPA.  "We're going to review the
answers to the list of questions we sent out and then either send
more questions or request a meeting."


ASBESTOS UPDATE: CBC Video Blasts Jeffrey Mine Head's Claim
-----------------------------------------------------------
Kathleen Ruff of The Victoria Times Colonist reports that Bernard
Coulombe, president of Jeffrey Mine, Inc., says that reports
showing workers in India handling asbestos with their bare hands
is an example of "false information" ("Critics brand asbestos as
Canada's latest global sin," Dec. 28).

Coulombe claims that Quebec's asbestos is "used safely everywhere
we export it" and comments that "there might be some small mom-
and-pop shops who buy asbestos from China and do a bad job."

But the fact is that workers in India filmed by CBC's The
National, handling asbestos with their bare hands, were not
handling asbestos from China, but asbestos from Quebec.  The
clothes and skin of the workers were covered with asbestos fibers,
as they worked with sacks of asbestos from LAB Chrysotile Inc. in
Quebec.  The Indian company employing these workers, Eagle
Asbestos Pvt. Ltd, was a customer of LAB Chrysotile.

According to the asbestos industry, asbestos exported from Quebec
has been handled under rigorous safety conditions overseas since
1997, when the Canadian government and Quebec's last two asbestos
mines signed a memorandum of understanding promising this.  The
evidence shows that these are false assurances.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Bad Abatement Contaminates Neighbors in Chelsea
----------------------------------------------------------------
Dimity Barber at The Mordialloc Chelsea Leader reports that a
Chelsea family has been forced to evacuate their home after it was
showered with asbestos.

An uninsured contractor blasted the potentially lethal fibers over
the Bath St. property while cleaning a neighbor's roof with a
high-pressure water hose.

Site tests revealed three types of asbestos, including the variety
which, if inhaled, can cause malignant lung cancer mesothelioma.
Three houses in the street have also been affected, with the
clean-up bill expected to top $200,000.

Len Cubitt said his family moved out of their home after receiving
medical advice.

They have spent the past four weeks living in a nearby rental
property.  However, the contamination means trees, shrubs and even
the top soil will be removed.

Dr. Cubitt, a forensic engineer, said cleaning up after asbestos
contamination was a "huge process".  "They'll have to vacuum and
wash the brickwork, remove 100mm of soil, the paving, trees and
shrubs will all have to go - and possibly the air-conditioning and
water services as well - it's an environmental disaster," Dr.
Cubitt said.  He said he was "dumbfounded" by the contractor's
actions which he said had endangered his family.  "My daughter and
son-in-law were down from the country for Christmas and my
grandchildren were here," he said.

Kingston Council chief executive John Nevins said the clean-up,
starting this week, would take about 10 days.  "If the owners of
the asbestos garage fail to comply with the clean-up notice,
council will act to ensure the asbestos is safely removed," Mr.
Nevins said.

Environment Protection Authority spokesman Simon Frost said it was
a timely reminder to only use registered tradesmen who were
adequately insured.

WorkSafe has been notified about the incident.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Hazmat Assessors Clears Razed Wauchope Apartment
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Port Macquarie News reports that asbestos experts have assessed
the site of a Wauchope apartment fire.

Asbestos assessors on Jan. 6 arrived at a fire-damaged apartment
block in Nelson Street, Wauchope, after a fire on Jan. 4.

Flames leapt more than three meters above the roof at 9.20pm and
17 fire crew took 90 minutes to contain the fire.  It was the
second fire at the unit block in a week.

Two men were taken to Port Macquarie Base Hospital after the block
of eight caught alight five days earlier, sparked from a
resident's oxygen therapy unit.  A 78-year-old man was still in
intensive care last week.

Wauchope resident Kylie Vanacker, 37, said she was relieved when
asbestos assessment team arrived.  Ms. Vanacker lives across the
street with her children aged 8, 6 and 3.

"They walked around and looked at the levels of asbestos and we've
got the answers we want now; they said it was safe," Ms. Vanacker
said.  But she waited nervously before the all clear, she said.

Ms. Vanacker spent much of last week cleaning and re-cleaning her
walls and floors on the advice of fire and rescue crew.  A ducted
air-conditioning system was professionally cleaned twice to remove
asbestos dust, she said.

"The back of my house was completely full of smoke.

"I wanted details; I just wanted to know if it was okay," she
said.  "The block is absolutely full of asbestos (and) we didn't
know what to do next."

Wauchope Fire Service Acting Captain Robert Pursehouse said
asbestos was most dangerous when on fire.  "When we arrived the
front unit was engulfed in flames.

"Our crews wore breathing apparatus to extinguish the blaze," he
said.

Police forensics officers investigated the cause of the second
fire.  Mr. Pursehouse said the second fire was being treated as
suspicious.

A hazardous materials truck and three fire and rescue vehicles
attended.  Port Macquarie Fire Service Station Officer Dawn
Maynard said the asbestos was contained within the site.  "It
mainly poses a danger when it is burning and particles escape into
the air.  When it's damp it is safe," Ms. Maynard said.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Retiree Talks About Valley Forge Contamination
---------------------------------------------------------------
Jenny Dehuff of The Times Herald relates that a longtime voice in
township matters, Joseph Bartlett, now retired from the township
board of supervisors, recently entertained The Times Herald with
his institutional knowledge of the brass tacks of Upper Merion
Township.

From the quieted qualms of Valley Forge asbestos to secrets of the
Scouts' jamborees, Bartlett's roots in Upper Merion date back to
when he was a land surveyor.  He thinks he even may have surveyed
the land for The Plaza at King of Prussia and his own house in the
1950s.

Bartlett, a Republican, retired in November from the board of
supervisors, after a six-year stint.  Before that, he chaired the
Environmental Advisory Board, a subject, wherein, his true passion
lies.  He chaired that board for many years, he said, before he
realized he wanted to make changes on a bigger scale.

With a background in chemistry, Bartlett worked for Gulf Oil Corp.
before he retired to teach at Lincoln High School in Northeast
Philadelphia.  He now teaches evenings at St. Joseph's University
-- his alma mater.

"I like this, because it keeps me in contact with the kids," he
said.

Originally from Narberth, Bartlett said he saw some very troubling
things going on in the township, which is why he decided to run
for supervisor.

"I really didn't like the trend that things seemed to be going,"
he confessed.

"I ran for supervisor because I was concerned about maintaining
the quality of life we have here in Upper Merion Township.  It
just seemed to me there was a drift -- more of a concern with
procedures and talk and appearances.  There was an attitude that
anytime anybody wanted to come in and build, there was zero
opposition.  Build, build, build -- expand Upper Merion.  They
were turning King of Prussia into a city."

Bartlett said there is only about 500 acres of undeveloped land in
Upper Merion.

"If that's the case, developers can't go out, so they go up.  As a
result, we have more high rises.  They were building houses as
fast as the law would allow," he said.

Some may not know, said Bartlett, that Valley Forge National
Historical Park has a serious asbestos problem.  According to him,
the Kenne Corporation manufactured insulation materials, some of
which contained asbestos in the early years.  Trains adjacent to
the company carried the materials along railways, where it would
often spill onto park land.

According to the National Park Service, Valley Forge is considered
an asbestos release site, and the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) conducted emergency response measures that blocked public
access to the contaminated area.  It has excavated and removed
asbestos-contaminated soil for off-site disposal.  Signage around
the contaminated sites alerts visitors of potential health risks.

"Now, who's going to pay for the (cleanup)?" said Bartlett.

"A plan, finally approved for Valley Forge park, was to scrape off
a foot of soil, put it somewhere, and bring in replacement soil to
get us back to ground level.  But the logistics to that are
amazing, aren't they?"

Bartlett described Valley Forge as a "superfund" site -- a
location designated by the federal government as a site mandated
to be cleaned or at least remediated, under the Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980
(CERCLA).  These sites are determined to endanger public health or
the environment.

"Federal EPA rules say, 'it's your property, you are going to pay
for the cleanup,' -- or, 'the company that dumped the stuff, get
them to pay for it,'" he said.

"They finally agreed upon this method to dig up the dirt and take
it away, but that's where the process stopped.  Valley Forge
National Historical Park only became that in 1976.  Before that,
it was a state park.  When it was a state park, that's when the
asbestos problems came along.  So the feds are saying, it's a
national park, a superfund site, but it was your problem,
Pennsylvania, when it started.  Pennsylvania is saying, 'not us!'"
That was one problem Bartlett said he wanted to help mitigate.

Another fun fact, he said, was that beneath Valley Forge park lies
a water piping system, designed for Boy Scouts jamborees.  As many
as 50,000 Boy Scouts would trek to the park for jamborees, he
said, and the old method of acquiring water -- through a large,
canvas sack, called a "water buffalo," -- had proven inefficient.
"They put in a water piping system with spigots all over Valley
Forge park to help with irrigation, so when the jamboree came,
they would have tap water all throughout the park."

The shocking thing, he said -- "They've never used those pipes.
They've not held a jamboree since."

Barlett said he is unaware who paid for that irrigation system,
but that board supervisors have largely left the subject alone,
since it is out of their hands.  The board underwent a political
overhaul in November, when it became entirely Democratic -- the
first time in nearly 50 years it was not under Republican reign.

The grandfather of an autistic girl, Bartlett always wears his
autism awareness ribbon on his lapel.  The father of a volunteer
firefighter, he is a strong supporter of the firefighters.

Bartlett lost his wife, Sheila, to cancer a couple years ago.  The
couple had six children together.

"Environmental issues have a direct effect on the quality of life
for people here in Upper Merion," he told The Times Herald.  "We
have a lovely town with an excellent tax structure.  The
environment is one area where we have to start.  We will do this
by watching development, by watching possible contaminants,
anything that can have an impact upon us.  I've lived here a lot
of my life, I want it to be a nice place to live, and I'm going to
do whatever I can to help it along."


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Bags of Toxic Waste Litter Dumped in Barnaby
-------------------------------------------------------------
Dave White and Andrea Macpherson of News1130 report that at least
six garbage bags holding asbestos, some of them with warning
labels, have been dumped on the street in a North Burnaby
neighborhood.  The bags were lying on Blaine Drive and adjacent
alleyways, and some of them were ripped and strewn across the
road.

The bags were right in front of Rob Vesty's house and he's not
happy with what he saw.  "We have kids who play in the lane here
and I don't know what the fine is, it's probably less than what it
cost them to dump it.  I don't know how often this happens."


They contained a grey-brown substance and markings on the bags
labeled the material as asbestos and warned the contents shouldn't
be inhaled.

The bags were reported on Jan. 7 but may have been there since
Jan. 6.  Vesty says he and his neighbors complained to the City of
Burnaby but the bags were still there when crews showed up just
before noon.  "I'm surprised nobody saw them because we have a
real close-knit neighborhood and people watch out for each other."

Those city crews did not show up until after News1130's first
story aired late Jan. 9.  About 15 minutes after the initial
report was broadcast, city work crews showed up.  Shortly after
that, the RCMP arrived and the road was shut down.

The City of Burnaby says it originally knew nothing about the
asbestos.

"It appears to be asbestos," says acting Mayor Dan Johnston.  "But
there are several substances that are similar in nature.  My
understanding is that we have a consultant on site anytime now."

Mr.. Johnston claims someone was on scene minutes after the first
calls.  But photos taken by News1130's reporter just after 11am
show the bags sitting completely unattended.

Lambert Chu with the city's engineering department says the
initial call was only about dumped garbage, and mentioned nothing
hazardous.  "So we treated it as any dumped garbage on a city
right of way," he points out.  He adds if the city had known the
bags contained asbestos, it would have acted faster.

Burnaby Fire Department Chief Shawn Redmond says since the
material was secured in a garbage bag, it became more of a
disposal concern and less of a health issue.  The asbestos was
also wet from the rain and the fact it was out in open air
lessened any health risk.

RCMP say, for now, the incident is being investigated as an
abandoned garbage complaint.

The person responsible, if ever caught, could be handed a CAD2,000
fine.  Until then, taxpayers on the hook for the safe disposal.
The cost is unknown.

Asbestos has been linked to lung cancer and diseases like
mesothelioma.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Tasmania Updates Asbestos Registers State-wide
---------------------------------------------------------------
A press release from The Tasmanian Government states that
Tasmanian firm Johnstone, McGee and Gandy Pty. Ltd. has been
successful in winning a three year tender to update asbestos
registers for the Department of Education properties across the
state, the Acting Minister for Education and Skills, Brian
Wightman said on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

"This is a large, State-wide undertaking, with a total of 215
school and college sites, 30 libraries, 127 residences, 18
Polytechnic sites and 15 other sites, including offices, stores,
hostels and adult education facilities, to be covered," Mr..
Wightman said.

"At each site the register will cover all assets that exist on any
campus of the site, comprising buildings, sheds, fences, plant and
equipment, switchboards and teaching equipment such as Bunsen
burner mats and fume cupboards."

Mr.. Wightman said that while DoE properties around the State do
currently have asbestos registers, these will be updated and the
contract will also inspect and assess the condition of any
asbestos to ensure it does not pose any risk.

"The Department of Education takes all necessary steps to manage
the presence of any asbestos in Tasmanian Government schools and
departmental buildings and is committed to ensuring that asbestos
continues to be managed in an appropriate manner," Mr. Wightman
said.

"The updated registers will provide improved information on the
presence, awareness and management of asbestos at all DoE sites.

"As part of this process, the Department will also enforce a new
requirement where all staff are to sign an acknowledgement that
they understand that there is an asbestos register at the school.

"Clear guidelines for the management of asbestos containing
materials have been developed and conveyed to staff.

"Any asbestos that exists in areas to be redeveloped, or
identified during building works is removed, and all material
found to be damaged, or at risk of being damaged, is removed when
identified by licensed asbestos contractors."

"The Building the Education Revolution (BER) program also saw the
removal of significant levels of asbestos from many school
buildings, with a total expenditure of approximately CAD6 million
on asbestos removal."


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Lovett Contracting Inc. Faces EPA Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------
Courier-Post Online reports that federal environmental regulators
contend asbestos-containing pipes were improperly removed from an
industrial site in Gibbstown, N.J.

The Environmental Protection Agency says Lovett Contracting Inc.
did not take required precautions during demolition of a facility
at 200 North Repauno Ave.  The site, formerly leased by General
Chemical Corp., was razed in 2007.  Lovett Contracting also failed
to make required notices, the EPA alleges.

The agency has sued the firm in federal court in Camden, seeking
civil penalties for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.  The
demolition work involved about 5,000 linear feet of pipe and some
3,000 linear feet of asbestos-laden pipe insulation, according to
the lawsuit.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Abatement in Perth to Be Completed in 1 Month
--------------------------------------------------------------
Nikki Hutchinson of The Guardian Express reports that the
discovery of asbestos at an East Perth site has resulted in the
delay of building works while it is removed.

City of Perth acting chief executive Doug Forster said the
asbestos-containing-material (ACM) was predominantly traces of old
fence sheeting.

However, he said the risk to surrounding residents and public was
very low.  "The asbestos is bonded within the fiber cement
sheeting," Mr. Forster said.  "Asbestos in these forms is not
likely to release appreciable amounts of free asbestos fiber,
which presents the main risk from asbestos through inhalation.

Mr. Forster said remediation works started at the Goderich Street
site on Wednesday, Jan. 4, and would take up to four weeks.

"However, the City believes that the most important issue at this
time is to address the presence of asbestos and ensure the safety
of the community, both now and in the longer term," he said.

Mr. Forster said the site remediation works would include the
excavation, transport and disposal of ACM-impacted soils to a
controlled landfill licensed to accept asbestos waste.

He said building works stopped as soon as the sheeting was
detected and an environmental consultant was appointed to test the
site.

"The site has been secured from public access, all works have
ceased and the soil was sprayed with a protective layer of hydro
mulch to minimize any further disturbance until remediation
begins," Mr. Forster said.

Mr. Forster said the City promptly notified surrounding residents
and businesses about the issue with a letter drop on Dec. 12.

A second letter detailing the remedial work, as well as a contact
person for any questions, was sent to surrounding residents and
businesses on Dec. 22.

Mr. Forster said it was likely the asbestos-containing material
was buried with other building waste when the houses that used to
be at the site were demolished in the 1980s to make way for a car
park.  "Past demolition and disposal practices for asbestos
containing materials have resulted in many sites across Australia
being contaminated by ACM," he said.

The Key City Worker Development aims to provide affordable rental
accommodation in the City and will consist of a three-storey
apartment building with 48 units.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Most Claims vs. Bondex & SPHC Remain Stayed
------------------------------------------------------------
Bondex International, Inc. and its parent Specialty Products
Holding Corp. are defendants in various asbestos-related bodily
injury lawsuits filed in various state courts. These cases
generally seek unspecified damages for asbestos-related diseases
based on alleged exposures to asbestos-containing products.  SPHC
is a wholly owned subsidiary of RPM International Inc.

Bondex and its parent, SPHC, filed on May 31, 2010, voluntary
petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in
the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware 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 RPM International
Inc. and its affiliates that are derivative of the asbestos claims
against SPHC and Bondex, with the exception of certain cases with
respect to which the stay was lifted. Through the Chapter 11
proceedings, the filing entities intend ultimately to establish a
trust in accordance with section 524(g) of the Bankruptcy Code and
seek the imposition of a channeling injunction that will direct
all future SPHC-related and Bondex-related claims to the trust. It
is anticipated that the trust will compensate claims at
appropriate values established by the trust documents and approved
by the bankruptcy court.

According to RPM International's January 5, 2012, Form 10-Q filing
with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the quarterly
period ended November 30, 2011, at this time, it is not possible
to predict how long the proceedings will last, the form of any
ultimate resolution or when an ultimate resolution might occur.

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 $92.6 million,
which included defense-related payments during the year of $42.6
million. No claims have been paid since the bankruptcy filing and,
with the exception of certain potential payments, 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.

During calendar year 2003, the filing entities' third-party
insurers claimed exhaustion of coverage. On July 3, 2003, certain
of the Company's subsidiaries, including the filing entities,
filed the case of Bondex International, Inc. et al. v. Hartford
Accident and Indemnity Company et al., Case No. 1:03-cv-1322, in
the United States District Court for the Northern District of
Ohio, for declaratory judgment, breach of contract and bad faith
against the named third-party insurers, challenging their
assertion that their policies covering asbestos-related claims had
been exhausted.

On December 1, 2008, the trial court denied the plaintiffs'
motions for partial summary judgment and granted the defendants'
motions for summary judgment against plaintiffs, including the
filing entities, and entered judgment on all remaining claims and
counterclaims, and dismissed the action. Plaintiffs, including the
filing entities, appealed the trial court's decision to the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The Sixth Circuit affirmed
the trial court decision on alternative grounds. Following that
ruling, Bondex filed a motion with the Sixth Circuit for
reconsideration. Its motion was denied. Bondex has exhausted its
rights of appeal. Bondex did not include any potential benefits
from the insurance coverage litigation in calculating its asbestos
liability. RPM International Inc. was not a party to this
insurance litigation.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Calif. Court Dismisses Suit vs. Supro Corp.
------------------------------------------------------------
Richard and Evelyn Spencer appeal from the summary judgment order
dismissing their complaint against Supro Corporation, which
alleges personal injury claims from Mr. Spencer's alleged on-the-
job exposure to asbestos at a construction site during four months
between 1959 and 1961.

In a Jan. 6, 2012 memorandum and decision, Justice Lawrence D.
Rubin of the Court of Appeals of California, Second District,
Division Eight, affirmed the summary judgment after finding that
the Spencers were not able to show sufficient evidence to permit a
trier of fact to find that Mr. Spencer's exposure to asbestos from
a Supro product caused his injuries.  The mere possibility of
exposure to asbestos "does not create a triable issue of fact,"
Judge Rubin held.

Supro, on the other hand, established that the Spencers cannot
meet their burden of proof at trial that the company's asbestos
products injured Mr. Spencer.

The case is Spencer v. Supro Corporation, No. B230680 (Calif.).  A
copy of Justice Rubin's Decision is available at
http://is.gd/YBvuUxfrom Leagle.com

The Spencers are represented by:

         Stephen M. Fishback, Esq.
         KELLER, FISHBACK & JACKSON
         18425 Burbank Blvd., Suite 610
         Tarzana, CA 91356
         Tel: (818) 342-7442
         Fax: (818) 342-7616
         E-mail: sfishback@kflegal.com

Supro Corporation is represented by:

         James C. Parker, Esq.
         Thomas J. Moses, Esq.
         Erin M. Carpenter, Esq.
         BRYDON HUGO & PARKER
         135 Main Street, 20th Floor
         San Francisco, CA 94105
         Tel: (415) 808-0300
         Fax: (415-808-0333
         E-mail: jparker@bhplaw.com
                 tmoses@bhplaw.com
                 bbuddell@bhplaw.com


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Worker's Suit Survives Motion to Dismiss
--------------------------------------------------------
Illinois Central Railroad Company filed a motion to dismiss the
complaint filed by a former employee, Walter Fennell, in St. Clair
County, Illinois.  Mr. Fennell alleged that he suffers from
respiratory ailments as a result of exposure to asbestos, diesel
exhaust, sand, environmental tobacco smoke, and toxic dusts,
fumes, and gases throughout the course of his 37-year career with
the company.  Illinois Central filed the motion to dismiss on the
basis of interstate forum non conveniens.  The company said that
trial in Mr. Fennell's home county of Copiah County, Mississippi,
would be more convenient for all parties.

In a Jan. 3, 2012, memorandum and opinion, Justice Melissa A.
Chapman of the Appellate Court of Illinois, Fifth District, denied
the motion to dismiss finding that Illinois Central has failed to
meet its burden of demonstrating that Mr. Fennell's chosen forum
is inconvenient to the company and that the company's proposed
alternative forum is substantially more convenient for all
parties.

The Appellate Court initially considered that the transfer of the
trial of the case to Mississippi will not unduly burden Mr.
Fennell and his counsel.  In fact, the Appellate Court held that
the need for Mr. Fennell to present medical evidence from his
Mississippi medical providers tips the balance very slightly in
favor of a Mississippi forum.  But the Appellate Court does not
believe that Illinois Central carried its burden of demonstrating
that this factor strongly favors its chosen forum.

The case is Fennell v. Illinois Central Railroad Company, No. 5-
10-0504 (Ill.).  A copy of Justice Chapman's Decision is available
at http://is.gd/kYNzmxfrom Leagle.com

Illinois Central is represented by:

         Michael C. Hermann, Esq.
         Thomas R. Peters, Esq.
         BOYLE BRASHER LLC
         5000 West Main St.
         P.O. Box 23560
         Belleville, IL 62223-0560
         Tel: (618) 277-9000
         Fax: (618) 277-4594
         E-mail: mhermann@boylebrasher.com
                 tpeters@boylebrasher.com

Mr. Fennell is represented by:

         William P. Gavin, Esq.
         GAVIN LAW FIRM
         #17 Park Place Professional Centre
         Belleville, IL 62226
         Tel: (618) 236-0100
         Fax: (618) 236-2684


ASBESTOS UPDATE: Texas Appeals Court Rules in Whistleblower Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Mullins v. Dallas Independent School District, No. 05-11-00465-CV
(Tex. App. Ct.), involves a claim brought under the Texas
Whistleblower Act.  James Mullins sued the Dallas Independent
School District and asserted various claims based on the
termination of his employment with the DISD.  Mr. Mullins claimed
he was terminated in retaliation for reporting to DISD's Office of
Professional Responsibility violations of law by DISD and its
employees.  Mr. Mullins' past complaints include allegations of,
among others, asbestos issues at DISD facilities.  A trial court
granted the DISD's plea to the jurisdiction and dismissed Mr.
Mullins's claim.  Mr. Mullins appealed.

In a Jan. 5, 2012 memorandum and opinion, Justice Joseph B. Morris
of the Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas, affirmed
the trial court's order granting the plea after concluding that
Mr. Mullins failed to meet his burden to raise a fact question on
the issue of subject matter jurisdiction.

Mr. Mullins asserted in his complaint that employees were being
forced to work in asbestos hazard areas without the required
protective equipment or training.  He said this conduct violated
both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the
Clean Air Act.  The Appellate Court found that Mr. Mullins makes
no argument that OPR had the power to regulate under or enforce
any of the statutes or provisions he cites.  Nor does he assert
that he had a good faith belief that OPR could regulate under or
enforce those laws, the Court noted.  Mr. Mullins argues only that
he believed in good faith that OPR had the power to investigate
his allegations and this power made it an appropriate law
enforcement authority to which to make his report.

The Appellate Court explained that investigatory power may make a
governmental entity an appropriate law enforcement authority for
purposes of the act only if the plaintiff has reported a violation
of criminal law.  Furthermore, the criminal conduct reported must
be within the investigatory powers of the authority receiving the
plaintiff's report or the plaintiff must have a good faith belief
that the conduct was within the investigatory powers of the
authority to which he reported.  Of the provisions cited by Mr.
Mullins, only one provision of the Clean Air Act carries any
criminal penalties, the Court noted.  According to Mr. Mullins,
DISD was subject to criminal penalties for failing to follow the
asbestos work practice standards adopted by the federal
Environmental Protection Agency.  Even assuming the conduct Mr.
Mullins reported implicated the law he argues was violated, OPR's
investigatory authority does not include the power to investigate
alleged criminal violations of the Clean Air Act nor did Mr.
Mullins have any reasonable belief that it did so, the Appellate
Court ruled.

A full-text copy of Justice Morris's Decision is available at
http://is.gd/uUUD1Kfrom Leagle.com.


ASBESTOS UPDATE: GEICO Directed to Reimburse Austin Power
---------------------------------------------------------
Weldon Bradley and his wife sued several companies, including
Austin Power, Inc., alleging that Weldon was injured by his
exposure to the companies' asbestos-containing products and
machinery.  In the complaint, the Bradleys did not identify the
date Weldon's injury occurred.  In 2008, a trial court granted
summary judgment in favor of Austin Power and dismissed it from
the Bradley case.  The parties have stipulated that Austin Power
incurred $54,706.67 in attorney's fees and costs in defending the
Bradley case.

Austin Power held a commercial general liability insurance policy
issued by the predecessor of GEICO General Insurance Company,
covering the period from December 31, 1969, to December 31, 1970.
Austin Power demanded reimbursement for its defense costs from
GEICO.  The trial court in the coverage lawsuit granted
traditional summary judgment in favor of Austin Power, denied
GEICO's competing summary-judgment motion, and ordered GEICO to
pay Austin Power's attorney's fees and costs from the Bradley
suit, the coverage suit, and any appeals.  GEICO appeals the
judgment of the trial court, arguing that because the claim in the
Bradley petition lacked a specific temporal factual allegation it
was not a potentially covered claim under the insurance policy and
thus did not trigger GEICO's duty to defend.

In a Jan. 5, 2012 memorandum and opinion, Justice Tracy
Christopher of the Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District,
Houston, affirmed the judgment of the trial court after finding
that the pleadings in the asbestos lawsuit allege claims that
potentially falls within coverage under the insurance policy.

Under the policy's terms, GEICO is required to defend Austin
against any suits arising from "an accident, including injurious
exposure to conditions, which results, during the policy period,
in bodily injury."  The policy period is defined as December 31,
1969, to December 31, 1970.

Although in the Bradley case, there is no specific date of injury
alleged, the Appellate Court found other indications of time of
injury.  The Appellate Court held that Austin Power's coverage
claim does not depend on extrinsic evidence or on facts that are
no encompassed within the factual allegations in the Bradley case.
The allegations themselves, when construed liberally in favor of
the insured, are sufficient to state a claim that is potentially
within the coverage.

The case is GEICO General Insurance Company v. Austin Power Inc.,
No. 14-11-00049-CV (Tex. App. Ct.).  A copy of Justice
Christopher's Decision is available at http://is.gd/iFDeLCfrom
Leagle.com.


                           *********

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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania,
USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick, Maryland USA.  Noemi Irene
A. Adala, Joy A. Agravante, Ivy B. Magdadaro, Psyche A. Castillon,
Julie Anne L. Toledo, Christopher Patalinghug, Frauline Abangan
and Peter A. Chapman, Editors.

Copyright 2012.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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