CAR_Public/021129.mbx                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
    
               Friday, November 29, 2002, Vol. 4, No. 237
              
                              Headlines                            
  
AMERICAN EXPRESS: Plaintiffs File Consolidated Securities Suit in NY
AMERICAN EXPRESS: Faces Shareholder Derivative Suit in NY Supreme Court
AMERICAN EXPRESS: CA Court Approves Settlement in Credit Card Lawsuit
AMERICAN INCOME: Appeals Court Upholds TX Court Decision in ERISA Suit
BOEING CO.: Appeals Court Nullifies Race Discrimination Suit Settlement
  
CATHOLIC CHURCH:  Settles With Another Group Of Alleged Abuse Victims
COMMERCE GROUP: Application For Review of MA Insurance Policy Approved
CONCORD EFS: Securities Suits Allege Company, Officers Hid Vital Info
EFS NATIONAL: Settlement in TN Consumer Suit Deemed Final, Unappealable
ELKCORP: Reaches Settlement in Suits Over Defective Asphalt Shingles
  
ESSO AUSTRALIA: Blamed by State Coroner For Two Workers' Deaths in 1998
FLORIDA: Apartment Owner Sued Over Alleged Illegal Lease-Ending Fees
GOOD LAD: Voluntarily Recalls 52,000 Infant Garments For Choking Hazard
HMO LITIGATION: Cigna Corp. To Settle Suit Over Cuts In Doctors' Bills
INTERNATIONAL PAPER: Agrees To Settle NY Lawsuits Over Champion Merger
  
INTERNATIONAL PAPER: Certification For Linerboard Antitrust Suit Upheld
IVAX CORPORATION: Faces Several CA Suits Over Average Wholesale Prices
MGM MIRAGE: Appeals Court Allows Appeal of Lower Court Decision in Suit
PERKINELMER INC.: Plaintiffs Ask Court To Consolidate Securities Suits
PFIZER INC.: Labels "Without Merit" Suits Over Average Wholesale Prices
  
QUALITY SYSTEMS: Trial in Securities Lawsuit Set March 2003 in CA Court
RARE MEDIUM: Fairness Hearing For DE Securities Settlement Scheduled
SCHERING-PLOUGH: Subsidiary Faces Lawsuit Over Average Wholesale Prices
TECUMSEH PRODUCTS: Voluntarily Recalls 25,000 Engines For Fire Hazard
TENGASCO INC.: Faces Suit Alleging Firm, Chairman Defrauded Investors
  
WAL-MART STORES: Employees' Testimonies Contrast With Corporate Image
WASHINGTON DC: President Bush Seeks Limits On Class Action Lawyers' Fees
WELLS REAL: GA Court Rules in Firm's Favor In Securities Fraud Lawsuit
  
* Noted Lawyer, Shareholder Activist Seeks Better Corporate Governance
  
                            Asbestos Alert
  
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Three WV Residents Plead Guilty to Asbestos Crimes
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: US Firms Close to Settling Asbestos Related Suits
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Plans to Unbundle Gencor In Limbo In Face Of Suit
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Stocks Tied to Asbestos Litigation Experience Hit
ASBESTOS ALERT: Advance Auto Parts, Subsidiary Face Asbestos Lawsuits
  
ASBESTOS ALERT: Judge Hits Asbestos Litigation Denial by Aerojet Corp.
ASBESTOS ALERT: Alcoa Asks Judge to Order Asbestos Lawyers to Pay $500T
ASBESTOS ALERT: BP PLC Labels Asbestos Related Lawsuits "Not Material"
ASBESTOS ALERT: Genuine Parts Faces Various Asbestos-Related Lawsuits
ASBESTOS ALERT: Hanson Says New Asbestos Claims Filed; Profits to Fall
  
ASBESTOS ALERT: O'Reilly Automotive Reveals Asbestos Related Litigation
ASBESTOS ALERT: Pep Boys Says Asbestos-Related Litigation "Immaterial"
ASBESTOS ALERT: Raytech Reports Asbestos-Related Cases After Bankruptcy
ASBESTOS ALERT: Shell Faces Asbestos Suits, But Says Provisions Adequate
ASBESTOS ALERT: Scapa Group Posts GBP1M for Annual Asbestos Liabilities

ASBESTOS ALERT: United Industrial Says Asbestos Lawsuits Hindering Sale
  
                       New Securities Fraud Cases
  
ANSWERTHINK INC.: Robbins Umeda Files Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. FL
RAZORFISH INC.: Kaplan Fox Commences Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
SALOMON SMITH: Pomerantz Haudek Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
SEACHANGE INTERNATIONAL: Fruchster & Twersky Lodges MA Securities Suit
SYNCOR INTERNATIONAL: Weiss & Yourman Launches Securities Suit in CA
  
  
                              *********
  
AMERICAN EXPRESS: Plaintiffs File Consolidated Securities Suit in NY
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in the securities class actions pending against the American
Express Company filed a consolidated suit in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York.
  
Several suits were commenced in mid-July 2002 on behalf of all persons
who purchased, converted, exchanged or otherwise acquired the Company's
common stock between July 18, 1999 and July 17, 2001, inclusive. The
lawsuits assert claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated by the SEC thereunder
and seeks to recover damages, according to an earlier Class Action
Reporter story.  
  
The complaint alleges that the Company and certain of its officers and
directors made misstatements and omissions of material fact, including:
  
     (1) failing to disclose that the Company was investing in a risky
         portfolio of high-yield or "junk" bonds with ratings as low as
         "single-B" that carried the potential for substantial losses
         if default rates in the junk bond market increased;
  
     (2) failing to disclose the true extent of the Company's total
         exposure as a result of the foregoing after the Company wrote
         down $182 million of its junk bond portfolio in April 2001;
         and
  
     (3) failing to disclose that the Company was taking a substantial
         and unnecessary risk by investing in high-yield securities
         involving complex risk factors that American Express
         management and personnel did not fully comprehend.
  
The Company believes that it has meritorious defenses to these suits.
  
  
AMERICAN EXPRESS: Faces Shareholder Derivative Suit in NY Supreme Court
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The American Express Company faces a shareholder derivative suit filed
in the Supreme Court of New York against certain former and present
officers and directors of the Company.  The company was also named as a
nominal defendant.
  
The complaint alleges that the officers and directors failed to exercise
their duties and obligations in connection with the Company's
investments in high yield bonds and the subsequent write downs in the
2000-2001 time frame.
The Company intends to vigorously defend against the lawsuit, it stated
in a disclosure to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  
  
AMERICAN EXPRESS: CA Court Approves Settlement in Credit Card Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Central District of California
approved the preliminary settlement for a class action pending against
American Express Company and:
  
     (1) American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. and
  
     (2) American Express Centurion Bank (AECB)
  
The suit principally alleges class members improperly were charged daily
compounded interest on the Optima line of credit cards and that AECB
improperly applied credits for returned merchandise against Optima
balance transfer balances.  The suit asserts various claims including:
  
     (i) violation of the federal Truth In Lending Act,

    (ii) breach of contract,

   (iii) fraud and unfair and deceptive practices, and

    (iv) violations of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act.
  
Although the Company believes it has meritorious defenses to this
action, in light of the inherent uncertainties and the burden and
expense of lengthy litigation, the Company reached an agreement to
settle the lawsuit.  On November 4, 2002 the court preliminarily
approved the proposed settlement filed by the parties.  
  
The proposed settlement provides for certification of two classes.  The
first class, defined as the "finance charge" class, includes all
customers who incurred finance charges between August 1994 and September
2002.  The proposed settlement of the first class consists of a
settlement fund in the amount of $15,950,000 that will be distributed on
a pro rata basis to those class members who are entitled to a refund.

The second class, defined as the "delayed notice" class, includes all
customers who did not receive change in terms notices and who, as a
result, incurred increased charges between September 2001 and September
2002.  These class members will receive a refund of charges affected by
the terms changes that were incurred during the class period.
  
The Court is expected to hold a hearing to consider final approval of
the proposed settlement in April 2003.
  
  
AMERICAN INCOME: Appeals Court Upholds TX Court Decision in ERISA Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's
judgment favoring American Income Life Insurance Company in the class
action relating to its employee benefit plans.
  
The class action is pending in the United States District Court for the
Western District of Texas, on behalf of all current and former public
relations representatives of American Income.  The plaintiffs assert
that they were classified as independent contractors rather than
employees and denied participation in certain of the Company's employee
benefit plans.
  
The lawsuit alleged breach of fiduciary duty and wrongful denial of
access to plan documents and other information under the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
  
On September 12, 2000, the federal court granted the defendants' motions
for partial summary judgment and denied plaintiffs' motion for class
certification with leave to renew plaintiffs' class certification motion
if they provided the court with information regarding additional benefit
plans from which they had been improperly excluded.
  
Subsequently, in September 2000, plaintiffs submitted additional
information to the Court alleging additional benefit plans from which
plaintiffs had allegedly been improperly excluded, and plaintiffs also
filed a motion for reconsideration of the order granting defendants'
motion for summary judgment with respect to the Company's defined
benefit plan.
  
The court denied plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration and in September
2001 entered a final judgment for the Company.  Plaintiffs filed an
appeal, and the court heard oral arguments in the appeal on August 5,
2002.
  
  
BOEING CO.: Appeals Court Nullifies Race Discrimination Suit Settlement
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A federal appeals court has nullified the $15 million settlement of a
class action alleging race discrimination by Boeing Co. against about
15,000 black workers, the Associated Press Newswires reports.
  
The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals said recently that neither the $4
million in attorneys' fees under the 1999 accord, nor the disparity of
payments among class members, was justified.
  
The settlement covered two class actions on behalf of former and current
black Boeing workers who alleged discrimination against them was common
at Boeing plants nationwide, especially in selecting people for
promotion.  The lawsuits also alleged blacks were harassed and faced
retaliation when they complained.
  
Chicago-based Boeing admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed to spend $15
million to compensate the workers and set up programs to fight
discrimination.
  
When US District Judge John Coughenour approved the deal in 1999, the
Rev. Jesse Jackson and several employees of the company objected, saying
that the settlement was inadequate because it did not provide enough
money for some and did not go far enough to prevent further bias.
  
The appeals panel, ruling 2 to 1, agreed that the deal was
unsatisfactory.  Judge Marsh Berzon said there was no justification for
some class members receiving 16 times more than others from a $7.3
million restitution fund the settlement created.  The court also found
that the $3.85 million in attorneys' fees was unjustified, and could
have led attorneys for the class to undermine their clients.
  
The appeals panel found that the judge erroneously awarded the fees
based on a percentage of the $7.3 million restitution fund in addition
to a $3.64 million reserve fun required under the deal for the company
to make internal improvements.  That fund is for Boeing to revise its
selection process for managers, improving the promotions process for
hourly employees and putting in place a new system to investigate equal-
opportunity complaints from employees.
  
The legal fees, Judge Berzon wrote, give "too much leeway for lawyers
representing a class to spurn a fair, adequate and reasonable
settlement for their clients in favor of inflated attorneys' fees."
  
Alan Epstein, a Philadelphia attorney representing about 2,000 class
members who objected to the 1999 deal, said the decision means the case
will have to be litigated or a new settlement approved.
  
  
CATHOLIC CHURCH:  Settles With Another Group Of Alleged Abuse Victims
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, will pay more
than $5 million in a settlement with 62 people who say they were sexually
abused by priests, reports Associated Press Newswires.
  
The Rev. Edward Arsenault, the diocese's delegate on sexual misconduct
cases , said recently that the settlement marks an important day of
healing for the alleged victims, as well as for the church.  "I hope
that in addition to assisting these particular persons and their
families with healing , that this step also will continue to restore the
confidence and trust of the Christian faithful in the leadership of the
church," he said at a news conference.  He explained the church's
insurer will pay $2 million of the $5,074,000 total, and $900,000 will
come from a diocesan fund for unanticipated expenses.  The rest will
come from diocesan savings.
  
Rev. Arsenault would not say how much individuals will get, which he
said was at their request.  Peter Hutchins, the attorney for the group
of 62 individuals, said that no one will receive mor than $500,000, and
the median settlement was $41,250.
  
Mr. Hutchins said church officials never questioned the truthfulness of
his clients' claims.  However, Rev. Arsenault declined to say whether
the diocese acknowledges that all the claims are accurate.
  
The settlement involves accusations against 28 priests, one member of a
religious institute and two lay persons.  Rev. Arsenault said none
remain in active ministry.  All but five of the alleged victims were
men.
  
  
COMMERCE GROUP: Application For Review of MA Insurance Policy Approved
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Commerce Group, Inc.'s application to have the appellate court
review the issue relating to Massachusetts' policy for inherent
diminished value of automobiles was approved, relating to a class action
filed against it in Massachusetts state court.
  
The lawsuit, titled "Elena Given, individually and as a representative
of all persons similarly situated v. The Commerce Insurance Company,"
alleges damages as a result of the alleged inherent diminished value to
vehicles that are involved in accidents.  
  
In April 2002, the trial judge in that case entered partial summary
judgment for the plaintiff on the issue of whether the Massachusetts
automobile policy covers her claim, ruling that the plaintiff would be
entitled to reimbursement under the policy if the plaintiff were able
both to prove that her vehicle suffered "inherent diminished value" in
the accident and to quantify the amount of such diminution in value.
  
Subsequently, the Massachusetts Division of Insurance issued an Advisory
Ruling in which it stated, among other things, its position that the
policy does not cover claims for "inherent diminished value."  In July
2002, the trial judge allowed for limited additional discovery in the
case, stayed the trial, and granted the Company's motion to have the
appellate court review the issue of whether the Massachusetts automobile
policy provides coverage for inherent diminished value.  
  
During the third quarter of 2002, the Company applied for direct
appellate review of this issue by the Supreme Judicial Court of
Massachusetts (SJC) and this application was granted.  The parties are
in the process of submitting briefs on this issue to the SJC.
  
Oral arguments have not yet been scheduled.  The Company will continue
to vigorously contest the plaintiff's claim for diminished value
coverage, relying in part on the Advisory Ruling, and also intends to
vigorously contest any effort to certify the class.  
  
  
CONCORD EFS: Securities Suits Allege Company, Officers Hid Vital Info
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Concord EFS and its directors and certain of its officers face several
securities class actions in the United States District Court for the
Western District of Tennessee on behalf of purchasers of Concord EFS,
Inc. (NASDAQ: CEFT) common stock during the period between October 30,
2001 and September 4, 2002.
  
The complaint charges the Company and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The
Company is an electronic transaction processor.  The complaint alleges
that, during the class period, the Company and its top officers issued
false and misleading statements and concealed the truth about the
Company's results and business in order to allow Company stock to trade
at artificially inflated levels, an earlier Class Action Reporter
states.
  
Although these matters are in the preliminary stages, the Company
believes that the claims against it and its directors and officers are
without merit.
  
    
EFS NATIONAL: Settlement in TN Consumer Suit Deemed Final, Unappealable
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The settlement proposed in a consumer class action pending against EFS
National Bank has become final and unappealable, after the Circuit Court
of Tennessee for the Thirtieth Judicial District at Memphis granted
final approval to the settlement.
  
The suit alleges that certain of EFS National Bank's rate and fee
changes were improper under Tennessee law due to allegedly deficient
notice.  In May 2002, the plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint
alleging that the class consists of over 100,000 merchants who were
subjected to the allegedly improper rate and fee changes over a several-
year period.  The second amended complaint sought damages in excess of
$70.0 million as well as injunctive relief and unspecified punitive
damages, treble damages, attorney fees, and costs.
  
On May 16, 2002 the parties entered into a settlement agreement relating
to this litigation and received preliminary approval from the trial
court therefore.  On August 6, 2002 the trial court rejected the only
objection filed against the settlement agreement and gave the settlement
agreement its final approval.
  
The objector and his counsel subsequently reached an agreement with EFS
National Bank, plaintiffs and counsel for the plaintiffs, pursuant to
which EFS National Bank contributed an immaterial amount.  As a result,
no appeal was taken, and thus the settlement is now final and
unappealable.
  
The maximum amount of the credits and payments by EFS National Bank
under the settlement is $37.6 million, payable over a five-year period.
In connection with the settlement, the Company initially recorded a
charge of $20.8 million ($13.5 million, net of taxes) for the three
months ended June 30, 2002.  The charge was less than $37.6 million,
because the credits and payments are contingent upon merchant retention
and submission of claims.
  
On September 17, 2002, EFS National Bank paid plaintiffs' counsel and
the named plaintiffs a total of $5.0 million, as required by the
settlement agreement.  The deadline for the submission of claims by
class members was September 16, 2002.
  
Approximately 150,000 class members were eligible to make claims, but
less than 3,000 valid claims were actually submitted.  In the fourth
quarter the court-appointed claims administrator is expected to submit a
report on the total amount of the valid claims submitted.
  
Based on the low number of valid claims submitted, the Company has
reduced the charge by $11.0 million ($7.2 million, net of taxes) for the
three months ended September 30, 2002.  The Bank is also responsible for
the costs of claims administration and for its own costs and expenses,
including attorneys' fees.
  
  
ELKCORP: Reaches Settlement in Suits Over Defective Asphalt Shingles
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Elkcorp, and plaintiffs in two class actions against it, have arrived at
a settlement. The suits were originally filed in the United States
District Court in Newark, New Jersey and the Judicial District Court in
Hartford, Connecticut, on behalf of purchasers or current owners of
buildings with certain Elk asphalt shingles installed between January
1,1980 and present.
  
In February 2000, Wedgewood Knolls Condominium Association filed a
class action in the United States District Court in Newark, New Jersey
which, as amended, names two Elk subsidiaries.  The suit alleges, among
other things, that the shingles were uniformly defective.  It seeks
various remedies including damages and reformation of the limited
warranty applicable to the shingles on behalf of the plaintiff and the
purported class.
  
In late March 2002, the United States District Court for the District of
New Jersey issued its opinion denying the plaintiff's motion for class
certification in the Wedgewood Knolls lawsuit pending against the
Company.
  
In June 2000, an individual homeowner filed a purported class action,
Lastih v. Elk Corporation of Alabama, in the Judicial District of
Hartford, Connecticut.  The Lastih suit involves similar class
allegations and claims to those asserted in the Wedgewood Knolls suit
described above.
  
The Company has denied the claims asserted in both actions, and
vigorously defended them.  The Company has reached an agreement to
settle with all plaintiffs represented by the law firm prosecuting the
Wedgewood Knolls and Lastih cases, including without limitation
Wedgewood Knolls Condominium Association, Lastih and several other
individual plaintiffs.
  
The settlement is not a class settlement and does not have a material
adverse effect on the company's consolidated results of operations,
financial condition or liquidity.  The settlement is still subject to
the completion of a definitive written settlement agreement.
  
  
ESSO AUSTRALIA: Blamed by State Coroner For Two Workers' Deaths in 1998
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Esso Co. was solely responsible for the deaths of two workers in a 1998
gas explosion at its Longford plant in Australia, State Coroner Graeme
Johnstone ruled recently, The Age publication reported.  Mr. Johnstone
said that Esso's many failings, including a failure to provide a safe
workplace, contributed to the disaster, which cut Victoria's gas supply
for two weeks at a cost of $1.3 billion.
  
Peter Wilson, 51, and John Lowery, 49 died when a gas explosion ripped
through the plant in south-eastern Victoria, on September 25, 1998.
Eight other workers were injured.  Mr. Johnstone found that Esso ignored
earlier incidents at the plant, failed to conduct periodic risk
assessments, failed to ensure an incident-reporting system and failed to
properly train employees.
  
"Esso already had systems in place, which if fully implemented, would
have avoided the tragic outcome," Mr. Johnstone said.

Esso Australia Chairman Robert Olsen said the company had spent more
than $500 million on safety and operational improvements and Mr.
Olso said in a statement that Esso wished to "once again express our
sorrow to their families, our employees and the community for the
fatalities, injuries and other impacts of the Longford accident."

Australian Workers Union National Secretary William Shorten said that
using the word "accident" meant Esso had not accepted blame for the
tragedy.  "An accident is something that could not have been avoided,"
Mr. Shorten said.  "Esso is totally to blame."
  
The coroner recommended that Esso should continuously "hunt for errors"
in a "no-blame" culture and ensure a confidential worker safety
reporting plan.
  
  
FLORIDA: Apartment Owner Sued Over Alleged Illegal Lease-Ending Fees
--------------------------------------------------------------------
A group of Florida apartment tenants filed a lawsuit against Equity
Residential, the nation's largest apartment owner, alleging the company
charged them illegal fees for ending their leases, The Wall Street
Journal reports.
  
The lawsuit, brought by four tenants and filed Monday in the Circuit
Court of Palm Beach County, claims Equity Residential violated Florida
law by:
  
     (1) charging tenants an extra 60 days' rent plus a one-month
         lease-fulfillment fee for early termination of their leases;
  
     (2) charging tenants an extra two months' rent when they stayed
         through their lease term but failed to give 60 days' notice of
         their intent to move; and
  
     (3) failing to give tenants copies of their prospective leases.
  
An Equity Residential spokeswoman said lease terms vary from state to
state, based on the laws in each state, and that the company structures
its leases to comply with those laws.
  
The tenant's attorneys of the law firm Babbitt, Johnson, Osborne &
LeClainche in West Palm Beach, are seeking class-action status.  The
lawsuit asks that the company stop the 60-day penalty for all tenants,
and the 30-day lease-fulfillment penalty for those who terminate early
and provide relief for all tenants in the class. It seeks damages of
more than $15,000.
  
Analysts and tenant lawyers said disputes between tenants and landlords
over exactly what is owed upon breaking a lease or failing to give
appropriate notice are not uncommon, but could not recall many rising to
class-action status.
  
The tenants' attorneys argued that Equity Residential stepped over the
line in charging those tenants the fees even after the company released
the vacated properties.  They said that Equity Residential failed to
adjust the amount the tenants were required pay once the apartment was
rented to a new tenant.
  
"Equity Residential still seeks to collect additional three months'
rent; it makes no accounting for when the apartment is re-let," said Rod
Tennyson, a consumer lawyer representing the tenants.  "Tenants in this
state who terminate early are required to only pay for the days
the property goes unrented.  They should not have to pay any extra
penalty."
  
  
GOOD LAD: Voluntarily Recalls 52,000 Infant Garments For Choking Hazard
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Good Lad Apparel is cooperating with the United States Consumer Product
Safety Commission (CPSC) by voluntarily recalling about 52,000 infant
girls' garments and sandals.  Small, decorative items on the garments
can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.
          
The Company has received three reports of incidents involving the
decorative items.  A child swallowed a decorative ladybug and two others
began to choke on decorative flowers.  There have been no reports of
injury.
          
This recall involves three separate garment sets.  Two of the garment
sets include a newborn and infant dress with sandals.  The other
includes an infant capri set with sandals.  The dresses were sold in
either, red and yellow or chambray.  Both have decorative items like
ladybugs and flowers attached.  The capri sets were sold in lime, coral,
yellow and purple with flower attachments around the neckline and on the
sandals.  The Good Lad logo is printed on a label inside of the garment,
along with the words, "Good Lad of Philadelphia." The garments were made
for ages 3 to 24 months.  Department stores sold the infant garments
nationwide from January 2002 through April 2002 for about $15.
          
For more details, contact the Company by Phone: 877-599-5530 between
7:30 am and 4:30 pm ET Monday through Friday.
  
  
HMO LITIGATION: Cigna Corp. To Settle Suit Over Cuts In Doctors' Bills
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Cigna Corporation said it agreed to settle a class action covering
hundreds of thousands of physicians over the way the health insurer
automatically cuts doctors' bills in order to pay them less, according
to a report by The Wall Street Journal.  The Company says the settlement
will "make it easier for doctors to do business with the company."
  
However, a group of plaintiffs' attorneys is likely to try to hinder
approval of the settlement by the court, according to people familiar
with the litigation.  These attorneys object to the settlement because
it does not prohibit the Company from continuing its practice of using
software to automatically chop doctors' bills to what the Company
calculates are more appropriate payments.
  
Under the agreement, the Company will appoint a third-party
administrator to review certain claims that were denied since January
1996, to determine whether they should be paid.  The Company stressed,
however, that it believes its "claims processing actions over the years
have been appropriate and is not acknowledging any liability or
wrongdoing."
  
Philadelphia-based Cigna says the settlement gives doctors meaningful
concessions.  For instance, under terms of the settlement, Cigna will
disclose to doctors on its Web site the rules its software uses to cut
bills.  In the past, doctors have complained that these policies are
secret.  
  
The settlement could have implications for other health insurers, most
of whom use software similar to Cigna's for processing medical claims.
Cigna uses a software program called ClaimCheck, made by McKesson Corp.,
of San Francisco.  The program screens doctors' claims for certain
combinations of procedures and eliminates or changes payments for
certain procedures.  
  
Those automatic changes result in Cigna paying less than the doctor
billed.  Insurers say the practice helps them root out fraudulent,
unnecessary or erroneous claims.  Doctors argue it unfairly deprives
them of legitimate fees.
  
More than 450 health plans across the United States, about two-thirds of
all plans, use a group of software programs sold by McKesson to process
their claims in a similar way.
  
The court must approve the agreement before it can become final.  The
plaintiff attorneys who object to the terms of the current settlement
represent a number of vocal medical societies and doctors groups.  They
have an opportunity to complain to the court that the settlement does
not go far enough.  They complain that the current agreement makes it
difficult for doctors who have been improperly skimmed of money to get
any of their money back.
  
  
INTERNATIONAL PAPER: Agrees To Settle NY Lawsuits Over Champion Merger
----------------------------------------------------------------------
International Paper Co. agreed to settle several class actions pending
against Champion International, which it acquired in mid-2000.

In March and April 2000, Champion and 10 members of its board of
directors were served with six lawsuits that have been filed in the
Supreme Court for the State of New York, New York County.  Each of the
suits purports to be a class action filed on behalf of Champion
shareholders and alleges that the defendants breached their fiduciary
duties in connection with the proposed merger with UPM-Kymmene
Corporation and the merger proposal from International Paper.
  
On September 26, 2002, the parties signed a stipulation of settlement
providing for the settlement and final disposition of this lawsuit.
Pursuant to the stipulation, the Company will donate $100,000 to a law
school designated by the Court to fund educational programs in support
of corporate governance and shareholder rights.  The Company will also
pay such attorneys fees and expenses of plaintiffs' counsel as may be
awarded by the court, up to $300,000.  The court has scheduled a hearing
on the fairness of the proposed settlement on February 10, 2003.
  
  
INTERNATIONAL PAPER: Certification For Linerboard Antitrust Suit Upheld
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the class
certification for a consolidated antitrust class action filed against
International Paper Company, the former Union Camp Corporation and other
manufacturers of linerboard.
  
In May 1999, several suits were filed in the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleging that the
defendants conspired to fix prices for linerboard and corrugated sheets
during the period October 1, 1993, through November 30, 1995.  These
lawsuits seek injunctive relief as well as treble damages and other
costs associated with the litigation.  The cases were later
consolidated.
  
The plaintiffs in these consolidated cases sought certification on
behalf of both corrugated sheet purchasers and corrugated container
purchasers.  On September 4, 2001, the district court certified both
classes.  
  
Defendants promptly filed a petition appealing the certification order,
which the appeals court, in its discretion, granted. On September 5,
2002, the appeals court affirmed the district court's certification
decision.  Discovery in the case is ongoing.

While any proceeding or litigation has the element of uncertainty, the
Company believes that the outcome of the suit will not have a material
adverse effect on its consolidated financial position or results of
operations.
  
  
IVAX CORPORATION: Faces Several CA Suits Over Average Wholesale Prices
----------------------------------------------------------------------
IVAX Corporation faces several class actions filed in the Superior Court
of the State of California, alleging violations of California's Business
& Professional Code 17200 et seq. with respect to the way pharmaceutical
companies report their average wholesale price (AWP).
  
Plaintiffs allege that each defendant reported an AWP to Medicare and
Medicaid which materially misrepresented the actual prices paid to
defendants by physicians and pharmacies for prescription drugs.  The
complaint seeks unspecified damages, including punitive damages, and
injunctive relief.
  
The Company believes that it has substantial defenses to these claims.
However, as with any litigation, there can be no assurance that the
Company will prevail.
  
  
MGM MIRAGE: Appeals Court Allows Appeal of Lower Court Decision in Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals permitted plaintiffs to
appeal a lower court's decision denying class certification to a lawsuit
filed against MGM Mirage, Inc. and other manufacturers, distributors and
casino operators of video poker and electronic slot machines.
  
The suit is pending in the United States District Court for the Middle
District of Florida, alleging that the Company and the other defendants
have engaged in a course of fraudulent and misleading conduct intended
to induce people to play video poker and electronic slot machines based
on a false belief concerning how the gaming machines operate, as well as
the chances of winning.
  
Specifically, the plaintiffs allege that the gaming machines are not
truly random as advertised to the public, but are pre-programmed in a
predictable and manipulative manner.  The complaint alleges violations
of:
  
     (1) the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO),

     (2) common law fraud,
  
     (3) unjust enrichment and
  
     (4) negligent misrepresentation
  
In December 1997, the court granted in part and denied in part the
defendants' motions to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a
claim and ordered the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint, which
they filed in February 1998.
  
In June 2002, the federal court ruled that the plaintiffs met the
prerequisite requirements for class-action status, but the Court denied
the plaintiff's motion for class action certification, saying that the
proposed class lacked the cohesiveness required to settle common claims
against the casino industry.  The court had previously stayed discovery
pending resolution of these class certification issues.
  
The Company, along with most of the other defendants, have answered the
amended complaint and continue to deny the allegations it contains.
  
  
PERKINELMER INC.: Plaintiffs Ask Court To Consolidate Securities Suits
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in the securities class actions pending against PerkinElmer,
Inc. have requested the United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts consolidated the suits.
  
Several suits were commenced in July 2002 on behalf of purchasers of the
Company's common stock between July 15, 2001 and April 11, 2002.  The
suit also names as defendants Gregory L. Summe and Robert F. Friel.
  
The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of damages and claims violations
of Sections 10(b), 10b-5 and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934, alleging various statements made during the putative class period
by the Company and its management were misleading with respect to the
Company's prospects and future operating results.
  
The court has not yet ruled on the plaintiffs' motion to consolidate.
The Company believes it has meritorious defenses to the lawsuits and
intends to contest the actions vigorously.  The Company is currently
unable, however, to determine whether resolution of these matters will
have a material adverse impact on its financial position or results of
operations, or reasonably estimate the amount of the loss, if any, that
may result from resolution of these matters.
  
  
PFIZER INC.: Labels "Without Merit" Suits Over Average Wholesale Prices
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pfizer, Inc. was named as defendant in a purported consolidated class
action that had been previously pending in a Multidistrict proceeding in
the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

The amended complaint alleges that the Company and other pharmaceutical
manufacturers defrauded the plaintiff health care insurers and payors by
selling certain products at prices lower than the published "average
wholesale price" (AWP) at which the products were reimbursed by the
plaintiffs. The Company was also added as a defendant in a virtually
identical suit in state court in Los Angeles under California's unfair
competition laws.
  
Pretrial proceedings are at an early stage in both cases.  Because the
Company does not employ AWP in marketing its products, it believes both
complaints are without merit.
  
  
QUALITY SYSTEMS: Trial in Securities Lawsuit Set March 2003 in CA Court
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Trial in the consolidated securities class action pending against
Quality Systems, Inc. is set for March 24,2003 in the Superior Court of
the State of California for the County of Orange.
  
The suit was commenced in April 1997, on behalf of purchasers of the
Company's common stock between June 26, 1995 and July 3, 1996, and names
as defendant the Company and:
  
     (1) Sheldon Razin,

     (2) Robert J. Beck,

     (3) Gregory S. Flynn,

     (4) Abe C. LaLande,

     (5) Donn Neufeld,

     (6) Irma G. Carmona,

     (7) John A. Bowers,

     (8) Graeme H. Frehner, and

     (9) Gordon L. Setran

All of the foregoing individuals were either officers, directors or both
during the period from June 26, 1995 through July 3, 1996.  The
defendants, as well as other defendants not affiliated with the Company,
allegedly violated:

   (i) California Corporations Code Sections 25400 and 25500,

   (ii) California Civil Code Sections 1709 and 1710, and

  (iii) California Business and Professions Code Sections 17200 et.
        seq.
  
The defendants allegedly issued positive statements about the Company
that were knowingly false, in part, in order to assist the Company and
the individual defendants in selling common stock at an inflated price
in the Company's March 5, 1996 public offering and at other points
during the class period.

The Company and the other named defendants successfully demurred to the
plaintiffs' claim under California Civil Code Sections 1709 and 1710,
and that claim, which served as the only basis for plaintiffs' request
for punitive damages, has been dismissed from both actions.

In January 1999, the court denied plaintiffs' motion to certify the
class representative and class legal counsel.  Plaintiffs appealed that
decision as to class legal counsel.  The Fourth District Court of
Appeals later affirmed the order disqualifying the class legal counsel.
The Court of Appeals also later issued its Remittur certifying its
decision as final.
  
In May 2000, plaintiffs associated in additional class legal counsel,
and moved for approval by the court.  Upon defendants' objection, the
court on August 17, 2000, denied plaintiffs' motion, and ordered
plaintiffs to retain new class counsel.
  
At the end of November 2000, the plaintiffs retained new class counsel
who substituted for plaintiffs' previous class counsel.  The Company and
the other named defendants did not oppose plaintiffs' motion for
approval of the new class counsel.  On January 24, 2001, the court
granted the motion to certify class legal counsel.
  
On March 27, 2001, the court approved a notice of class certification to
be mailed to shareholders who are potential class members.  Between
April 9, 2001 and May 9, 2001, class notice was mailed to potential
class members.
  
Merits-related discovery in the action, which had been stayed pending
the appointment of class counsel, is now ongoing.  In March 2002,
defendant Graeme H. Frehner and certain other defendants not affiliated
with the Company were dismissed from the action with prejudice by
stipulated order.  The parties are scheduled to appear in court for the
next status conference on December 11, 2002.
  
Management is unable to assess the outcome of this case and therefore no
accrual has been made to the financial statements for any loses
resulting from this claim.
  
  
RARE MEDIUM: Fairness Hearing For DE Securities Settlement Scheduled
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Fairness hearing for the settlement proposed by Rare Medium Group, Inc.
in the consolidated class action against it has been set for December
2,2002 in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware.
  
The suit challenges the plan of merger with Motient Corporation that
was ultimately terminated on October 1, 2001, and names the Company,
members of the Company's board of directors as defendants, the holders
of the Company's preferred stock, and certain of their affiliates, as
defendants, and Motient as defendants.
  
The Delaware Chancery Court has not yet certified the consolidated
lawsuit as a class action.  The lawsuit alleges that the defendants
breached duties allegedly owed to the holders of the Company's common
stock in connection with the merger agreement and sought to stop the
merger and/or obtain monetary damages.
  
On April 2, 2002, the Company and its preferred stockholders entered
into a Stipulation of Settlement with the plaintiffs relating to the
suit, which is subject to a court hearing on December 2, 2002.  In
connection with the Settlement, the Company agreed to effect a one for
ten reverse stock split, to commence a rights offering and to take
certain other corporate actions.
  
Also in connection with the Settlement, the Company entered into an
investment agreement with its preferred stockholders who agreed to
purchase in advance of the rights offering 3,876,584 of shares of the
Company's non-voting common stock.

This purchase equaled the number of shares of voting common stock that
they would otherwise have been entitled to purchase in the rights
offering, after giving effect to the cancellation of 20% of the
outstanding warrants in connection with the Settlement.  An affiliate of
the preferred stockholders also commenced a cash tender offer for up to
1,500,291 shares of the Company's common stock on April 9, 2002.
  
           
SCHERING-PLOUGH: Subsidiary Faces Lawsuit Over Average Wholesale Prices
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Schering-Plough Corporation's generics subsidiary Warrick
Pharmaceuticals is confronting a class action pending in the United
States District Court in Boston, Massachusetts on behalf of all direct
and indirect "end-payers" for Medicare-covered sold by the Company.
  
The suit was initially filed in the United States District Court for the
District of Nevada by the Twin Cities Bakery Workers Health and Welfare
Fund, and another plaintiff.  The case alleges violations of:
  
     (1) Section 2 of The Sherman Antitrust Act,

     (2) the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act,  
          and
  
     (3) Statutory Fraud and Unjust Enrichment laws
  
The suit alleges violations for alleged overpayments as a result of
"inflated" average wholesale prices (AWPs) and alleged giving of free
samples and expecting that the samples would be billed to Medicare and
the "end-payers."  
  
In April 2002, the Company filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.  In
June 2002, this case was conditionally transferred to federal court in
Boston, Massachusetts as part of the coordination of all federal court
AWP cases from throughout the country.
  
The Company believes it has substantial defenses to these claims.
However, as with any litigation, there can be no assurance that the
Company will prevail.
  
  
TECUMSEH PRODUCTS: Voluntarily Recalls 25,000 Engines For Fire Hazard
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Tecumseh Products Company is cooperating with the US Consumer Product
Safety Commission (CPSC) by voluntarily recalling about 25,000 engines
used in various outdoor power equipment.  An incorrectly routed fuel
line in the engine can become damaged, allowing gasoline to escape,
posing a fire hazard to consumers. Though Company has not received any
reports of incidents, this recall is being conducted to prevent the
possibility of injuries.
          
The recalled engines, which were manufactured in the United States, have
model numbers HMSK 80 through 110 and HM 80 through 100, which can be
found on the lower left side of the engine housing.  The recalled
engines also have a date of manufacture code (DOM) between 02175 and
02268 followed by the letter "C", which can be found on the engine
identification decal.  The HMSK models are 8 to 11 horsepower Snow
King(r) snowthrower engines, while the HM models are 8 to 10 horsepower
Utility engines.  The power equipment, brand names, and retailers
involved in this recall include:
  
       (1) Power Equipment: Snowthrowers
           Brand Name: Ariens, Simplicity, Snapper, Toro
           Retailers/Dealers: Home Depot, Ariens Dealers, Blaine's Farm
           and Fleet, Simplicity Dealers, Snapper Dealers, Toro Dealers
  
       (2) Power Equipment: Chipper-Shredders
           Brand Name: MTD Yard Machines, Mighty Mac, Merry Mac, Baker,
           Earthquake, Simplicity
           Retailers/Dealers: Menards, Northern Tool, Home Depot,
           Mackissic Dealers, Northern Tool, Ardisam Dealers, Simplicity
           Dealers
  
       (3) Power Equipment: Generators     
           Brand Name: Coleman Powermate, North Star
           Retailers/Dealers: Menards, Northern Tool
  
       (4) Power Equipment: Pressure Washers       
           Brand Name: Tilton Aqua-Stripper, Tilton Hydra Storm    
           Retailers/Dealers: Tilton Dealers, Hydra Storm Dealers
  
       (5) Power Equipment: Wheeled Leaf Blowers   
           Brand Name: MTD Yard Machines
           Retailers/Dealers: Home Depot
          
Products equipped with the recalled engines were sold by retailers and
dealers nationwide from June 2002 through November 2002.  Sears, Roebuck
& Co. distributed a limited quantity of these recalled products under
its Craftsman brand name.  Equipment owners will receive direct mail
notice from Sears about this recall.
         
For more details, contact the Company by Phone: 888-271-4048 between 8
a.m. and 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit their Website:
http://www.tecumsehpower.com.  
          
  
TENGASCO INC.: Faces Suit Alleging Firm, Chairman Defrauded Investors
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Paul Miller is suing Tengasco Inc. and its chairman, claiming the
company defrauded investors by issuing false statements to artificially
inflate its stock price, reports Associated Press Newswires.  Mr.
Miller, a Tengasco shareholder, seeks class action status for people who
bought the Company's shares between August 1, 2001, and April 23, 2002.  
  
  
The lawsuit accuses the Company and its Chairman and Chief Executive
Mike Ratliff of violating the Securities Exchange Act by making false
statement that caused Mr. Miller and others to lose money.  The suit
asks for unspecified damages and a jury trial.
  
The suit states that during the spring and summer of 2001, the Company
was drilling new wells in Swan Creek, Tennessee, but began having
"operational problems" and was not likely to increase revenues
and produce earnings as promised.  Without successful wells, the suit
contends, it was unlikely that loans made by Mr. Ratliff and others
Company insiders would be paid.
  
Mr. Ratliff said he did not even know that a Paul Miller exists.  "We do
not know who he is or where he lives.  We have a private investigator
trying to find out who this man is."
  
David Briley of Nashville, is slated as attorney of record on the
lawsuit, but he does not know Mr. Miller.  Mr. Biley says that the key
attorney is Robert Susser of New York, who could not be reached for
comment.
  
  
WAL-MART STORES: Employees' Testimonies Contrast With Corporate Image
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Testimony in the first of 39 class actions to go to trial against Wal-
Mart Stores Inc., has shown a sharp contrast between actual working
conditions testified to and the retailer's heavily advertised image of
happy, smiling employees, according to Associated Press Newswires.
  
Carolyn Thiebes, who works at a Wal-Mart store in Salem, testified that
when her department failed to meet company expectations, her boss
singled out the personnel manager by hanging a red bandana near her door
for a month for co-workers to see.  Managers also circulate a trophy,
sculpted in the form of a donkey's rear end, called "the horse's ass
award," said Ms.Thiebes.  "It was humiliating."
  
She and four other employees testified that reprimands created an
environment of fear that compelled them to work off the clock, without
pay, to finish assigned tasks.  This kind of pressure worked, said Ms.
Thiebes, because there were not many alternative jobs in the community.
  
Ms. Thiebes and Betty Alderson filed suit against Wal-Mart in 1998,
alleging violation of federal and state wage and hour laws.  More than
400 Oregonians from 24 stores have joined the class-action complaint.
  
Wal-Mart attorneys acknowledged in court that employees occasionally
worked after clocking out.  However, they contended the workers did this
by coincide, in violation of company policy.  In opening statements last
week, Rudy Englund, an attorney for the company, spent several minutes
describing an atmosphere at Wal-Mart of trust, sharing, teamwork and
integrity.
  
However, attorneys for the workers described a different situation,
which they called the "Wal-Mart dilemma."   Top store managers, they
said, routinely gave lower managers and workers too much to do while
reprimanding them for claiming overtime or leaving work undone.  To
avoid losing their jobs, said attorneys, the workers clocked out and
returned to complete their tasks, in view of the store managers.
  
Daniel Corey, a former lawn and garden department manager for Wal-Mart
in the town of Pendeleton, said he worked off the clock because he had
few options.  "It is a small community and jobs are not that good
there," he said.
  
More than 400 employees from 24 of Wal-Mart's 27 Oregon stores have
joined the lawsuit, the first to come to trial of dozens of such
lawsuits around the country.  Plaintiffs are asking for back pay, which
their attorneys say could total several million dollars, according to an
earlier Class Action Reporter story.
  
  
WASHINGTON DC: President Bush Seeks Limits On Class Action Lawyers' Fees
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Opening a new assault on what he called the "legal class," President
George W. Bush said that he will seek to limit payments to plaintiffs'
lawyers under a new federal terrorism-insurance program, reports The
Wall Street Journal.
  
At a signing ceremony for the legislation in the White House East Room,
Mr. Bush said the Treasury Department would try to impose the curbs as
it implements the terrorism-insurance program, which will provide
federal support for the troubled insurance market.  "I look forward to
working with the new Congress on stronger measures to prevent abusive
lawsuits," the president added.
  
Reining in perceived litigation excesses is shaping up as one of the top
priorities of Mr. Bush and his business allies when Congress convenes
next year.  Last summer, the President opened the administration's
discussion on civil-justice-system changes, calling for new limits on
medical-malpractice awards as a way to make health care more affordable.
  
Now, with the Republican sweep in the November elections, momentum
appears to be growing for broader efforts.  Possible targets include
class actions, which critics say have spun out of control, as well as
punitive damage awards.
  
The effort is likely to include more-targeted attempted to ease the
impact of particular types of cases, such as asbestos claims.  The new
homeland-security law Mr. Bush signed last week protects pharmaceuticals
companies from some litigation over vaccines for childhood illnesses.
  
For months, the terror-insurance bill was a focus of efforts to alter
the legal system, too.  However, House Republicans eventually were
beaten back by Senate Democrats in their effort to prohibit punitive
damages from being awarded against businesses that were found liable in
the aftermath of terrorist assaults.  Instead, the bill imposed only
relatively minor procedural changes in such cases.
  
Mr. Bush yesterday signaled the administration would seek to impose
further restrictions.  He suggested that the Treasury Secretary, who
will oversee the terror-insurance program, will retain discretion over
the approval of settlements involving insurers that receive funds from
the government.  He added that the secretary "will work to ensure that
settlements are fair to victims, not windfalls for the legal class."
  
Treasury officials that they are just beginning the task of implementing
the complex legislation, but said they will be weighing standards for
determining the reasonableness of settlements, including attorneys'
fees.
  
  
WELLS REAL: GA Court Rules in Firm's Favor In Securities Fraud Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
issued several rulings in favor of the Wells Real Estate Fund I in the
class action pending against it and its general partners on behalf of
all Class A limited partners of the fund.
  
The suit alleged, among other things:
  
     (1) the Amended and Restated Consent Solicitation Statement dated
         August 25, 2000 (2000 Consent Solicitation) contained material
         misrepresentations or omissions of fact in violation of Rule
         14a-3 promulgated under Section 14(a) of the Securities
         Exchange Act of 1934 (Count One); and
  
    (2) the defendants had breached the Partnership Agreement and
        breached their fiduciary duties to the plaintiffs by holding
        net proceeds from the sale of the Partnership's  properties
        that should be distributed to the Class A limited partners.
  
In addition to seeking compensatory damages, the plaintiffs in the suit
were also seeking an injunction against the Partnership and the General
Partners from:
  
     (i) issuing consent solicitations for proxies to disburse monies
         in breach of the Partnership Agreement,
  
    (ii) submitting any further consent solicitations for proxies that
         do not meet the requirements of Rule 14a-3,

   (iii) modifying the Partnership Agreement provisions for cash
         distributions without the approval of 100% of the Class A
         limited partners, and
  
    (iv) disbursing the proceeds from the sale of the Partnership's
         properties to Class B limited partners.
  
In addition, the plaintiffs in the Weiss Litigation requested specific
performance to require the defendants to perform their obligations under
the Partnership Agreement and that an equitable accounting be made of
the nature and amount of net proceeds from the sale of the Partnership's
properties and the appropriate distribution and time for distribution of
such funds.
  
In March 2002, the Partnership and the General Partners filed their
answer to the Amended Complaint and a motion to dismiss Count One of the
Amended Complaint on the basis that:
  
     (a) the plaintiffs had failed to comply with the certain
         procedural requirements imposed on litigation of this type;
  
     (b) the plaintiffs' claims under Count One were time-barred
         because they were not filed within the applicable one-year
         statute of limitations period; and

     (c) the plaintiffs' claims were moot due to the fact that the 2000
         Consent Solicitation was withdrawn and terminated on January
         17, 2002.
  
In their answer, the Partnership and the General Partners denied that
they had breached the Partnership Agreement or breached their fiduciary
duties to the plaintiffs and opposed all relief sought under the Amended
Complaint.
  
On September 12, 2002, the Court dismissed the class action allegations
on the basis that the plaintiffs failed to comply with certain
procedural requirements relating to class action litigation, denied
defendants' motion to dismiss on this ground as to the plaintiffs'
individual claims and granted defendants' motion to dismiss Count One of
the Amended Complaint based upon defendants' contention that plaintiffs'
claims were time barred by the applicable statute of limitations.
  
  
* Noted Lawyer, Shareholder Activist Seeks Better Corporate Governance
----------------------------------------------------------------------
America's best known class action lawyer and a zealous shareholder
activist have joined forces to promote better corporate governance,
Fortune Magazine reports.
  
The lawyer is William Lerach of the law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes
& Lerach. His firm is currently suing more than 70 companies, including
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Qwest, Sprint and AOL Time Warner, as
well as Enron.  The shareholder activist, Robert A.G. Monks, is founder
of Institutional Shareholder Services. He has lobbied for 20 years to
promote better corporate governance.  Supporting both men are pension-
fund clients, such as the California Public Employees' Retirement System
(CalPERS), which, having lost money invested in scandal-plagued
corporations, wants to prevent it from happening again.
  
Mr. Lerach and Mr. Monks, in their new endeavor, are first targeting
Qwest and Sprint.  The pending Qwest suit accuses former executives of
cashing out stock at inflated prices while misleading investors about
the company's financial condition while the Sprint lawsuit charges
executives with wrongly exercising stock options in conjunction with the
aborted merger of Sprint and WorldCom.  Lawyers for both these companies
vigorously deny the charges.
  
In settlement talks, Milberg Weiss will be bringing in Mr. Monks to
press the companies to, for example, force out certain directors or
grant shareholders more rights.  "Historically, money has been the only
remedy sought and obtained in these lawsuits," says Mr. Lerach.  "Now
the idea is to seek money plus corporate-governance enhancements."
  
To deter future wrongdoing, pension funds also want directors and
executives to personally pay damages, but they will reward lawyers with
higher fees, if they can impose upon the corporations systems of
behavior that will guard against the wrongdoings happening again.
  
Mr. Monks, who says he will donate any fees he receives working on
such corporate-governance enhancements to a governance foundation,
decided to work with Milberg Weiss, because he is discouraged by the
government's response to corporate scandal.  "My commitment is to make
capitalism accountable," he says.  "This is my best shot right now."
  
                            Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Three WV Residents Plead Guilty to Asbestos Crimes
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Elaine Mauck, Ambers Scott Rind, and Jess Mauck, all of Martinsburg, WV,
entered guilty pleas on Nov. 19 in U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of West Virginia in Wheeling to crimes arising from the illegal
removal of asbestos. All three were co-owners of a company called "Crim
de la Crim."
  
Elaine Mauck pleaded guilty to illegally removing asbestos in violation
of the Clean Air Act and faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in
prison and/or a fine of up $250,000 when sentenced.  Ambers Rind and
Jess Mauck each pleaded guilty to illegally removing and disposing of
asbestos under the Toxic Substances and Control Act and each man faces a
maximum sentence of one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000
when sentenced.
  
An EPA Criminal Investigation Division (EPA/CID) Special Agent testified
that the defendants hired and exposed untrained workers to asbestos
without protection, during the removal and disposal of asbestos from the
building.  
  
EPA/CID, the FBI and the West Virginia Department of Environmental
Protection investigated the case with the assistance of EPA's National
Enforcement Investigations Center.  It is being prosecuted by the US
Attorney's office in Wheeling, WV and the Environmental Crimes Section
of the US Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
  
  
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: US Firms Close to Settling Asbestos Related Suits
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The opposing sides in asbestos liability lawsuits are close to an
agreement that would settle hundreds of thousands of claims against
Halliburton Co and Honeywell International Inc., a lawyer for the
plaintiffs said.
  
A settlement in the next few weeks has a reasonable chance of success,
Frederick Baron, a Dallas attorney representing plaintiffs, said.  The
main unresolved issue was the amount of money to be paid to the
claimants, Mr. Baron said, but he declined to give an estimate of the
amount.
  
Asbestos personal injury claims have cost more than $54 billion in
settlements so far and could cost U.S. companies more than $200 billion,
research firms have estimated.
  
In the past year worries about asbestos liability have depressed shares
of Halliburton, an energy and construction company formerly headed by
Vice President Dick Cheney, and Honeywell, a maker of airplane brakes,
wheels and electronics.  Shares of Honeywell rose $1.44 or 6 percent to
$24.34 and Halliburton gained $1.40 or 7 percent to $19.48 on the New
York Stock Exchange.
  
After six months of negotiations the companies told the lawyers for
plaintiffs they wanted to try and work out an arrangement, Mr. Baron
said. "We are close," he added.
  
A tactic used by the companies to try to influence plaintiffs' lawyers
to settle was to argue that the newly elected Republican majority in
Congress was more receptive to passing legislation that restricts
liability claims like those for asbestos, Mr. Baron said.
  
Representatives of the opposing sides are due to report the progress
they have made in negotiations in federal bankruptcy court in
Pennsylvania in early December, and a judge would have to approve any
settlement, Mr. Baron said.
  
Part of a proposed settlement could allow the companies to settle future
claims using the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the lawyer said. Asbestos, a fire
resistant material, can cause mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer, and
other fatal diseases, but the symptoms can take up to 40 years to show.
Experts expect new claims to pour in until 2010.
  
The bankruptcy code allows companies to establish a trust to pay future
claims, Mr. Baron said. "The companies want to be able to end their
asbestos litigation once and for all. The only way to do that is to take
advantage of the bankruptcy code," he said.  The most likely scenario
would be for a subsidiary with asbestos liability to file under Chapter
11 of the bankruptcy law, he added.
  
A Halliburton spokeswoman said the company "continues to pursue a global
resolution" of the asbestos litigation. A Honeywell spokesman declined
comment.
  
  
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Plans to Unbundle Gencor In Limbo In Face Of Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
If everything had gone according to plan, Gencor shareholders would now
be former Gencor shareholders who, since November 4, would either have
been holding Impala Platinum shares or, perhaps, have sold them off for
a tidy gain.
   
However, the plan as set out in Gencor's unbundling document published
in September, which presented the schedule for the unwinding of the
former mining houses assets, namely a 46% stake in SA's second largest
platinum producer worth about US$18B, has been derailed.
  
The delay comes as 37 people, alleging they are suffering from illnesses
related to asbestos as a result of working on asbestos mines in which
Gencor had an interest, seek to halt the unbundling and the distribution
of the firm's 46% share in Impala Platinum.
  
At its peak, Gencor was a large mining house and in time spawned a
number of other mining companies in SA some of which, in various forms,
still exist today.  Formed in the 1960s as Afrikaner power grew,
anglophile Anglo American sold part of its business to Afrikaners.
Gencor was created and later sold assets that helped create Gold Fields
and Billiton.
  
However, any plans Gencor may have had to disappear quietly have been
thwarted by the threat of a protracted legal battle that could stymie
its plans for a quiet end to this particular period in SA's mining
history.  The plan to delist is nothing new, and in July when its
guarantees to Billiton lapsed an unbundling announcement was expected.
  
The unbundling and ultimate delisting from the JSE Securities Exchange
SA is not only of significance to shareholders. Impala Platinum is also
keen to see the 46% stake held by Gencor distributed, allowing for
increased liquidity of the company's stock. Lawyers are now arguing the
unbundling would have implications for sufferers of asbestos-related
illnesses such as cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.  They want to
ensure there is enough money to pay any compensation claims should
Gencor be found liable.
  
Sanlam and Remgro, which are Gencor's biggest shareholders and together
hold more than 20%, would not comment on the delay to the unbundling on
Friday and the effect it could have on their investment, or that of
policy holders of pension funds, which hold Gencor shares.  A mining
analyst suggested Impala rather than Gencor's shareholders would feel
the biggest effect of the delay.
  
"The implications of the delay are more for Impala. Gencor can sit there
and tough it out   the major shareholders will want to make absolutely
there is no further potential liability," said the analyst. The
unbundling would increase Impala's free float allowing for increased
liquidity of the company's shares.
  
Gencor shares are trading at a discount to Impala's, and for a time
analysts had suggested they could have been a cheaper route into Impala.
"For risk-tolerant investors who are patient and believe Impala is worth
a lot more than share price at the moment would be dumb not to buy
Gencor," said the analyst.
  
If the hearing rumbles on into the New Year and the Gencor unbundling is
delayed indefinitely, there will be no winners.  The people who allege
they are suffering from illnesses as a result of exposure to asbestos
fibers may not get full financial relief if they are successful.
  
Gencor shareholders will not realize the true value of their investment
and Impala's share-holding structure, dominated by one large
shareholder, may deter investors.  The courts will have to play their
role, but considering the complex nature of the arguments, this could be
a drawn-out process.
  
Some analysts have suggested if the dispute is a protracted one, Gencor
may decide to follow through on requests by lawyers representing
asbestos sufferers and possible future claimants to set aside as much as
R2B in a trust fund while still denying any legal liability.  This would
allow for Gencor's exit from the SA mining industry.
  
  
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Stocks Tied to Asbestos Litigation Experience Hit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Sealed Air Corp. doesn't use asbestos in its manufacturing. It never
has.  Additionally, Honeywell International Inc. sold its major asbestos
business in 1986.  However, asbestos, an insulating and fireproofing
material that has been linked to cancer and respiratory disease,
continues to be an overriding issue with the two big companies and their
investors.
  
As happened earlier this year, Honeywell and Sealed Air stock have
seesawed in recent weeks, moving sharply whenever asbestos litigation
was in the news.  The news doesn't even have to be about them. As long
as it concerns asbestos, Honeywell, Sealed Air, and a handful of others
involved in asbestos litigation are likely to be affected.
  
"Wall Street is hyper on any mention of asbestos and the potential
liabilities because so many companies have been driven into bankruptcy
because of it," said Paul Nisbet, an analyst who follows Honeywell for
JSA Research Inc. in Newport, R.I.  The recent ups and downs in
Honeywell stock resulted from news involving the Morris Township-based
industrial giant. Many companies are facing similar pension shortfalls
because of the decline in stock prices, but this was the first time
Honeywell indicated it might not have enough money to pay for asbestos
liabilities, Mr. Nisbet said.
  
On Nov. 14, Honeywell stock fell 8.3 percent after a Securities and
Exchange Commission filing said it may not have enough insurance for
asbestos claims and that it may have to spend $900 million to fund its
pension plan.
  
All year, Honeywell had downplayed its asbestos exposure, citing $2
billion in insurance it has to pay for suits against its former North
American Refractories Co. unit.  Honeywell owned NARCO for seven years,
from 1979 to 1986, and less than 2 percent of the high temperature
bricks and cement it made for the steel industry contained asbestos, but
it faces 116,000 asbestos claims.
  
The sell-off was brief because on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal
reported that Honeywell and Halliburton Co. may soon settle their
asbestos-related suits.  Honeywell declined to comment on the report,
but its stock shot up 7.7 percent Thursday to $24.68, its highest level
since Nov. 13. It eased off Friday to $24.16.
  
Somewhat surprisingly, because it had nothing to do with the Honeywell-
Halliburton suits, Sealed Air stock did the same thing, soaring more
than 19 percent to $21.84 Thursday, before settling Friday at $21.33.
The irony is that the stock went up when the latest news was negative, a
court ruling that clears the way for what could be a costly trial to go
ahead next month.
  
"We never made (asbestos,) we never sold it in any of our businesses,"
said Philip Cook, a spokesman for the Saddle Brook-based company that
makes Bubble Wrap and other packaging materials.  But "good or bad,
asbestos news tends to impact our stock," Cook said. "That's been
happening for the past year."
  
In July, Sealed Air stock fell 34 percent in one day after a court ruled
it could be sued for claims made against W.R. Grace Co., which sold its
Cryovac packaging business to Sealed Air in 1998.  The suits involve
chemical products Grace retained.  Cryovac, which accounts for about 60
percent of Sealed Air's revenue, has no connection to asbestos, but with
Grace under bankruptcy court protection, creditors are suing Sealed Air,
charging that the 1998 sale was used to fraudulently shield the company
from asbestos liability.
  
On Sept. 30, 10 days before the trial was scheduled to start, the Third
Circuit ruled in the unrelated Cybergenics bankruptcy case that only a
debtor-in-possession or an appointed trustee and not a creditor or
creditors committee may make a fraudulent-transfer claim in a bankruptcy
proceeding.
  
Since creditors committees brought the case against Sealed Air, the
court said it would have to review whether the case should proceed, and
postponed the trial.  The reaction?  The price of Sealed Air stock rose
13 percent in the first three hours of trading after the postponement
was announced.
  
  
ASBESTOS ALERT: Advance Auto Parts, Subsidiary Face Asbestos Lawsuits
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Advance Auto Parts Inc's Western Auto subsidiary, together with other
defendants including automobile manufacturers, automotive parts
manufacturers and other retailers, has been named as a defendant in
lawsuits alleging injury as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing
products.
  
Together with Discount and Parts America, Advance also has been named as
defendants in many of these lawsuits.  The plaintiffs have alleged that
these products were manufactured, distributed and/or sold by the various
defendants.  To date, these products have included brake and clutch
parts and roofing materials.
  
The number of cases in which the Company or one of its subsidiaries has
been named as a defendant has increased in the past year.  Many of the
cases pending against them were filed recently and are in the early
stages of litigation.  The damages claimed against the defendants in
some of these proceedings are substantial.
  
Additionally, some of the automotive parts manufacturers that are named
as defendants in these lawsuits have declared bankruptcy, which will
limit plaintiffs' ability to recover monetary damages from those
defendants.
  
Advance Auto Parts believes it has valid defenses against these claims.
It also believes that most of these claims are at least partially
covered by insurance.  Based on discovery to date, it does not believe
the cases currently pending will have a material adverse effect on it.
However, if it were to incur an adverse verdict in one or more of these
claims and ordered to pay damages that were not covered by insurance,
these claims could have a material adverse affect on its operating
results, financial position and liquidity.
  
If the number of claims filed against it or any of its subsidiaries
alleging injury as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing products
increases substantially, the costs associated with concluding these
claims, including damages resulting from any adverse verdicts, could
have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial
position and liquidity in future periods.
  
  
COMPANY PROFILE

Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP)
5673 Airport Rd. NW
Roanoke, VA 24012    
Phone: 540-362-4911
Fax: 540-561-1448
http://www.advance-auto.com
  
Employees              : 25,736
Revenue                : $2,517,600,000
Net Income             : $11,400,000
Assets                 : $1,950,600,000
Liabilities            : $1,662,000,000
  
(As of December 31, 2001)
  
Description: Advance Auto Parts (formerly Advance Holding) is now the #2
chain (AutoZone is #1) after its 1998 acquisition of Sears, Roebuck's
Western Auto Supply and its 2001 purchase of Discount Auto Parts,
Advance operates more than 2,400 stores under the Advance Auto Parts,
Western Auto, and Discount Auto names in more than 35 states. It also
sells merchandise through about 470 independently owned Western Auto
stores in about 45 states. Advance runs online auto parts seller
PartsAmerica.com with partner CSK Auto. The company is buying 55 Trak
Auto Parts stores. Sears, Roebuck is selling its 24% share in Advance
Auto Parts.
  
  
ASBESTOS ALERT: Judge Hits Asbestos Litigation Denial by Aerojet Corp.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
A judge has sanctioned Rancho Cordova's Aerojet for falsely denying it
ever used cancer-causing asbestos in rockets and missiles it has
manufactured since the early 1950s.
   
Judge Robert Dierker of the Missouri Circuit Court in St. Louis barred
Aerojet from presenting its key defense in a jury trial over the death
of a 42-year-old woman who died of an asbestos-related cancer.  The jury
last Friday awarded a $5.1 million verdict in favor of the woman's
family in Missouri.
  
The jury was not aware Aerojet had claimed in court papers to have never
used asbestos.  However, members of the woman's family took offense when
attorneys for Aerojet later conceded they were wrong, said Randall Bono,
an attorney for the family.
  
"It's absolutely nothing but a bald-faced lie.  They said they had
nothing to do with asbestos.  They swore under oath," Mr. Bono argued in
a hearing outside the jury.
  
Attorneys for Aerojet said they were "incorrect" but denied they had
deceived the court.  Brian Sweeney, an attorney with Aerojet's parent
corporation, GenCorp, said Thursday the company had trouble finding
documentation and former workers to verify the use of the toxic
substance.  "We are talking about blueprints for intercontinental
ballistic missiles that were classified and subsequently destroyed under
orders of the Air Force," Mr. Sweeney said.
  
Aerojet, however, reported it had 64,000 pounds of asbestos stockpiled
at the plant in a 1988 inventory filed with Sacramento County.  The
unpublicized, two-week trial brought to light a sparsely documented
occupational hazard in the United States' space race with the former
Soviet Union.
  
Much attention has been devoted to the drinking water contamination
across the country from the historic open-pit dumping and leakage of
rocket fuels, industrial solvents and a solid propellant ingredient
called perchlorate.  Lesser known are the health effects aerospace
workers may have suffered from exposure to toxic fumes and substances,
especially asbestos.
  
Valued as an inexpensive fire retardant, asbestos was used in some
rocket motors and as an insulator in the rocket chambers and nozzles,
according to the former Aerojet engineers who testified in the St. Louis
trial.  The Air Force eventually eliminated asbestos in rocket
production.
  
In addition to this case, at least 14 former employees at the Rancho
Cordova plant contend in California workers' compensation claims they
are suffering from life-threatening disease as a result of asbestos
exposure on the job.
  
The Aerojet case also spotlights a new generation of asbestos victims.
The deceased, Stephanie Foster, allegedly was exposed as a toddler when
her father brought asbestos dust home on his clothing from work he had
done for Aerojet in 1959 through 1963.  The family lived in Citrus
Heights at the time.
  
Foster was among what health researchers call a "third wave" of
casualties from asbestos exposure.  The first were miners who dug the
minerals out of the earth and workers who sprayed asbestos insulation in
ships, buildings and homes.  The second generation included retired
construction workers, pipe fitters and those who worked with asbestos
products.  The third generation is made up of younger people, many of
whom have no idea how they came in contact with asbestos.
  
Some learned they inhaled the toxic fibers on the lap of their father
just home from work or in a laundry room where dusty overalls were
washed.
  
Robert Foster was a farmer turned machinist for an Aerojet
subcontractor, Automation Progress, about 40 years ago.  He cut rocket
motor parts to specification, including some containing asbestos,
according to Ted Gianaris, an attorney for the family.
  
Mr. Foster, who has not developed any asbestos-related illness, tracked
the asbestos home to his wife and three children, Mr. Gianaris said.
Stephanie had barely learned how to walk.  "He'd give her a hug when he
walked in the door, and the wife washed the clothing that got dust in
the house," Mr. Gianaris said.
  
Stephanie Foster learned in 1999 she had mesothelioma, an inoperable and
almost always fatal cancer of the membranes lining the chest.  The
disease, caused by asbestos fibers lodged deep in the lungs, typically
appears 15 to 40 years after the first exposure.  She died last March.
  
In the family's "wrongful death" case, attorneys for Fosters' parents,
siblings and her children asked Aerojet to produce "any and all
asbestos-containing products" that the company or any related firm had
at any time designed, manufactured or processed.
  
The Company categorically denied ever having such products.  Upon
finding evidence to the contrary, Judge Dierker prohibited Aerojet from
presenting the bulk of its defense, Aerojet attorneys said.  He directed
the jury to find that Ms. Foster was exposed to asbestos from Aerojet
and that the company knew the hazards of the fibrous minerals at the
time.
  
"Your honor, you're basically gutting our entire defense," said Michael
Vasquez, a San Rafael attorney representing Aerojet.  Aerojet officials
said they will likely appeal.
  
  
COMPANY PROFILE

Aerojet-General Corporation
Hwy. 50 and Aerojet Road
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670    
Phone: 916-355-1000
Fax: 916-351-8668
http://www.aerojet.com
  
Employees              : 10,877
Revenue                : $1,486,000,000
Net Income             : $128,000,000
Assets                 : $1,464,000,000
Liabilities            : $1,154,000,000
  
(As of November 30, 2001 of Gencorp)

Description: The company, a subsidiary of GenCorp, was founded in 1942
by a group of rocket scientists from the California Institute of
Technology. Aerojet makes missiles, space propulsion systems, armaments,
and other defense products. Products and services include solid and
liquid rocket engines and motors (for the Titan and Minuteman II),
control systems for rockets and missiles, submunition loading and
assembly, ejection seat propulsion systems, and warhead development. In
2001 Aerojet sold its Electronic and Information Systems unit (remote
sensing, ground processing, data fusion, and smart weapons programs) to
Northrop Grumman.
  
  
ASBESTOS ALERT: Alcoa Asks Judge to Order Asbestos Lawyers to Pay $500T
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Alcoa Inc.'s Reynolds Metal unit persuaded a Texas state judge to impose
a $500,000 fine on lawyers accused of filing duplicate asbestos lawsuits
in an attempt to find a more sympathetic judge.
  
Alcoa sought sanctions against Provost & Umphrey, a Beaumont, Texas-
based firm that represents contract workers who claim they were sickened
by cancer-causing asbestos at company work sites.  The company said the
multiple lawsuits were "a deliberate attempt to forum shop and
circumvent" court rules.
  
Judge Nanette Hasette in Corpus Christi ruled Nov. 7 that the workers'
lawyers "abused the judicial process" and "disrespected the integrity of
our judicial system."  The judge's order doesn't specify when the fine
must be paid.
  
Since 1999, 7,000 asbestos suits have been brought against Alcoa,
according to the company's most recent filing with the Securities and
Exchange Commission.  Asbestos litigation costs Alcoa about $1 million a
year, the company said.  Asbestos lawsuits have already pushed at least
60 U.S. companies into bankruptcy, according to the Rand Institute.
  
In Texas, Alcoa claimed the workers' lawyers tried to circumvent rules
requiring random assignment of cases by filing four similar single-
plaintiff lawsuits in three different courts within one hour on Feb. 27.

According to the company, the suits alleged "the very same claims and
damages against" Alcoa and 50 other defendants.  Once the suits were
assigned to judges, Provost & Umphrey sought to consolidate the suits
into a single case and added the claims of 300 more workers.

"We obviously disagree with the court's order," said Provost & Umphrey
partner Bryan Blevins.  "We are evaluating our options, including
appeal."
  
Shares of Pittsburgh-based Alcoa, the world's largest aluminum maker,
rose 82 cents to $23.17 at 2:54 p.m. in composite trading on the New
York Stock Exchange.  Among the companies that have filed for bankruptcy
over asbestos lawsuits are Kaiser Aluminum Corp., USG Corp., Federal-
Mogul Corp., and W.R. Grace & Co. Owens Corning, the largest U.S. maker
of insulation, sought protection from creditors in 2000, after agreeing
to pay more than $5 billion to settle lawsuits.
  
  
COMPANY PROFILE
  
Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA)
201 Isabella St. at 7th St. Bridge
Pittsburgh, PA 15212-5858    
Phone: 412-553-4545
Fax: 412-553-4498
http://www.alcoa.com
    
Employees           : 129,000
Revenue             : $22,859,000,000
Net Income          : $908,000,000
Assets              : $28,355,000,000
Liabilities         : $17,741,000,000
  
(As of December 31, 2001)
  
Description: The company is the world's #1 producer of alumina
(aluminum's principal ingredient, processed from bauxite) and aluminum.
Alcoa's vertically integrated operations include bauxite mining, alumina
refining, and aluminum smelting; primary products include alumina and
its chemicals, automotive components, and sheet aluminum for beverage
cans. Major markets include the packaging, automotive, construction, and
aerospace industries. Alcoa has gained presence in China's aluminum
market by forming a strategic alliance with Aluminum Corporation of
China (Chalco).
    
  
ASBESTOS ALERT: BP PLC Labels Asbestos Related Lawsuits "Not Material"
----------------------------------------------------------------------
BP Plc, Europe's second-largest oil company by market value, said it has
outstanding claims for asbestos, a material linked to cancer that has
been used for fireproofing and insulation.
  
"BP believes that the impact of these claims would not have a material
impact on the company's financial results," said Brian Dinges, a
spokesman for the company in Chicago, in a telephone interview.  He
declined to quantify the number of claims.
  
A growing number of European companies, such as ABB Ltd.,
DaimlerChrysler AG and Cie. de Saint-Gobain SA, are being ensnared by
asbestos claims.  ABB shares have plunged 85 percent this year as
concern mounted among analysts that potential liabilities would reach
into the billions of dollars.  ABB has more than 100,000 claims
outstanding.
  
The use of asbestos as an insulator and fire-break, which was widespread
in the U.S. until the 1970s and used in Europe until the 1990s, has been
linked to respiratory illnesses and mesothelioma, a form of cancer in
the chest and abdomen.
  
"It's not our policy to comment on specific litigation matters," Mr.
Dinges said.  "We have been actively managing this for years."
  
  
COMPANY PROFILE
  
BP plc. (NYSE: BP)
Britannic House, 1 Finsbury Circus
London EC2M 7BA, United Kingdom     
Phone: +44-20-7496-4000
Fax: +44-20-7496-4630
http://www.bp.com
  
Employees           : 110,150
Revenue             : $174,218,000,000
Net Income          : $8,010,000,000
Assets              : $141,158,000,000
Liabilities         : $66,791,000,000  
  
(As of December 31, 2001)
  
Description: BP, formerly BP Amoco, is the world's #2 integrated oil
company, behind Exxon Mobil. The company, which was formed in 1998 from
the merger of British Petroleum and Amoco, has grown further by buying
Atlantic Richfield Company(ARCO). BP has proved reserves of 15.2 billion
barrels of oil equivalent, including large holdings in Alaska.. It is
the largest US oil and gas producer. Also a top refiner (3.4 million
barrels of oil per day capacity) and petrochemicals and specialty
chemicals manufacturer, it has expanded by buying motor-oil maker Burmah
Castrol. BP operates 29,000 gas stations worldwide.  
  
  
ASBESTOS ALERT: Genuine Parts Faces Various Asbestos-Related Lawsuits
---------------------------------------------------------------------
In response to recent releases regarding the automotive aftermarket and
litigation, Genuine Parts Company (NYSE: GPC) said that it has been
named as one of many defendants in a relatively small number of lawsuits
regarding the sale of products containing asbestos.
   
While litigation of any type contains an element of uncertainty, Genuine
Parts Company believes that its defense and ultimate resolution of
pending and reasonably anticipated claims will continue to occur within
the ordinary course of Genuine Parts Company's business, and that
resolution of these claims will not have a material adverse effect on
Genuine Parts Company's operations or consolidated business and
financial condition.
  
  
COMPANY PROFILE
  
Genuine Parts Company (NYSE: GPC)
2999 Circle 75 Pkwy.
Atlanta, GA 30339    
Phone: 770-953-1700
Fax: 770-956-2211
http://www.genpt.com
    
Employees              : 31,000
Revenue                : $8,220,700,000
Net Income             : $297,100,000
Assets                 : $4,206,600,000
Liabilities            : $1,861,600,000
  
(As of December 31, 2001)
  
Description: Genuine Parts Company is a distributor of automotive
replacement parts in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The Company also
distributes industrial replacement parts in the U.S., Canada and Mexico
through its Motion Industries subsidiary. S.P. Richards Company, the
Office Products Group, distributes product nationwide in the U.S. and in
Canada. The Electrical/Electronic Group, EIS, Inc., distributes
electrical and electronic components throughout the U.S. and Mexico.
  
  
ASBESTOS ALERT: Hanson Says New Asbestos Claims Filed; Profits to Fall
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Hanson Plc, the largest producer of crushed rock, said 3,400 new
asbestos claims have been filed this year and profit in 2002 will
decline on slowing economic growth.
  
The London-based company said it still faced claims from 75,000 people
even after resolving 11,400 claims this year.  Each settlement is worth
about $2,600 and about half of all claims have been dismissed so far,
the company said.  It has $125 million in provisions against future
settlements, which won't be increased for now, and $125 million in
insurance coverage.
  
Investor concern about asbestos has risen as companies such as
electrical engineer ABB Ltd. and car-maker DaimlerChrysler AG face
lawsuits in the U.S.  Asbestos claims in the world's biggest economy
totaled more than $54 billion by the end of 2000 and may cost a further
$210 billion, according to the Rand Institute.
  
"Asbestos for anybody who's got an involvement has got to be a problem
that can't be quantified," said David Taylor, an analyst at Teather &
Greenwood, who has a "hold" recommendation on the company.  "Investors
will just take the view that this is best avoided until they can make
some sense of it."
  
Hanson shares fell 11.75 pence, or 4.1 percent, to 276p in London.  The
shares have dropped 42 percent this year, worse than the 15 percent
decline in the 49-member Bloomberg Europe Building Materials Index.  "We
still believe that current and future asbestos-related claims should not
be material to the Hanson group," Chief Executive Officer Alan Murray
said in a conference call with analysts and investors.
  
The claims against Hanson's subsidiaries, such as Kaiser Cement Corp.
and Beazer Plc, relate to products whose production ended between 1975
and 1984.  They include coke oven batteries, which are used in the
conversion of coal to coke in the steel industry, and gun plastic cement
used in construction.  Hanson's senior unsecured debt rating was
maintained at BBB+ by Fitch and its short-term rating at F2, with a
stable outlook.

"Fitch believes that the current U.S. asbestos liabilities will not
materially affect the group's credit profile in the near term," the
agency said in a statement.
  
Hanson also said it expects to report a 2002 pretax profit, before one-
time items, of 345 million pounds ($546 million), the company said. That
compares with 351 million pounds last year.  The company in August said
it would probably have a "marginal improvement" in pretax profit.
  
Hanson's main markets in the U.S. remained weak with shortfalls in
volumes in the third quarter ``marginally'' better than in the first
half, the company said.  Business outside the U.S. has been
disappointing so far, with similar levels to the company's sales in the
first half of the year.
  
The U.S. is struggling to recover from a recession that cut spending on
new commercial and industrial properties, such as offices and shops.
Like rivals CRH Plc and Aggregate Industries Plc, Hanson has made
acquisitions to gain more market share in the U.S., which accounts for
more than half of revenue.
  
In the U.K., which accounts for just over a third of total revenue,
business is ``disappointing,'' Hanson said. Third-quarter sales of
crushed rock were 9 percent below the year-ago period, while sales of
bricks were 3 percent lower.  Business in Spain, the European building
materials unit's other main market, has been ``good,'' Hanson said.
  
Trading conditions in Australia has been ``strong'' and profits should
be ``significantly'' higher than a year ago.  Sales in Hong Kong and
Malaysia have been weaker.  Debt is expected to decline to 1.2 billion
pounds by the end of the year, 230 million pounds less than a year ago.
The company has spent 130 million pounds on acquisitions.
  
The company said it expected to make about 13 million-pound profit this
year from the sale of property.
  
  
COMPANY PROFILE
  
Hanson PLC (NYSE: HAN)
1 Grosvenor Place
London SW1X 7JH, United Kingdom     
Phone: +44-20-7245-1245
Fax: +44-20-7235-3455
http://www.hansonplc.com
  
Employees            : 26,900
Revenue              : $5,568,100,000
Net Income           : $406,000,000
Assets               : $10,125,000,000
Liabilities          : $6,163,000,000
  
(As of December 31, 2001)
   
Description:  Its Hanson Building Materials America (nearly half of
sales) provides the US and Canada with aggregates, cement, bricks, and
concrete pipe. Hanson Building Materials Europe is a leading brickmaker
on the Continent and one of the UK's top producers of aggregates and
concrete products. Hanson Europe also operates landfills and a marine
aggregate dredging business. Other operations include Hanson Australia
and Hanson Pacific. The company is what's left of the Hanson Group -- a
huge industrial conglomerate before it was broke up into four publicly
traded enterprises involving tobacco, coal, chemicals, and building
materials.  
  
  
ASBESTOS ALERT: O'Reilly Automotive Reveals Asbestos Related Litigation
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
O'Reilly Automotive, Inc. (Nasdaq: ORLY), makes statement in response to
questions prompted by asbestos litigation disclosure by Advance Auto
Parts, Inc. reported in its third quarter Form 10-Q filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission on November 19, 2002, and public
statements issued by AutoZone, Inc., Pep Boys and CSK Auto Corporation.

While the Company has been named as a defendant in a few claims over the
last several years, there have been no new claims in recent months and
the Company has only incurred very small and insignificant payments.
Accordingly, the Company believes that future lawsuits of this nature,
if any, would not be material, in the aggregate, to the Company's
financial position or results of operations.
  
O'Reilly Automotive, Inc. has never manufactured or installed any
products containing asbestos.
  
  
COMPANY PROFILE

O'Reilly Automotive, Inc. (NASDAQ: ORLY)
233 S. Patterson
Springfield, MO 65802    
Phone: 417-862-6708
Fax: 417-874-7163
http://www.oreillyauto.com
    
Employees              : 12,676
Revenue                : $1,092,100,000
Net Income             : $66,400,000
Assets                 : $856,900,000
Liabilities            : $300,500,000
  
(As of December 31, 2001)
  
Description: O'Reilly Automotive is one of the largest specialty
retailers of automotive aftermarket parts, tools, supplies, equipment
and accessories in the United States, serving both the do-it-yourself
and professional installer markets. Founded in 1957 by the O'Reilly
family, the Company operated 958 stores within the states of Alabama,
Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky,
Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee and
Texas as of September 30, 2002.
  
  
ASBESTOS ALERT: Pep Boys Says Asbestos-Related Litigation "Immaterial"
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pep Boys said that their involvement in asbestos-related litigation is
not, singularly or in the aggregate, material to the Company's financial
position or results of operations.
  
Pep Boys further emphasizes that the health and safety of its customers
and associates have been and continues to be of significant importance
to the Company.  The Company has a stringent set of established
standards to provide satisfaction to its customers and associates in a
healthy and safe environment.

Pep Boys prides itself on its history of providing honest, reliable
automotive service and high quality products.
  
  
COMPANY PROFILE

The Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack (NYSE: PBY)
3111 W. Allegheny Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19132    
Phone: 215-430-9000
Fax: 215-227-7513
Toll Free: 1-800-PEP BOYS
http://www.pepboys.com
  
Employees          : 22,201
Revenue            : $2,183,700,000
Net Income         : $35,300,000
Assets             : $1,812,700,000
Liabilities        : $1,194,800,000
  
(As of January 31, 2002)
  
Description: The Pep Boys operates about 630 stores and over 6,500
service bays in 36 states and Puerto Rico, selling brand-name and
private-label automotive parts and offering on-site service facilities.
Pep Boys stores stock about 25,000 car parts and accessories, including
tires, and typically operate 12 service bays for parts installation,
repair, and vehicle inspection. Pep Boys serve four segments of the
automotive aftermarket: do-it-yourself, do-it-for-me (service), buy-for-
resale (sales to professional garages), and tire sales.
  
  
ASBESTOS ALERT: Raytech Reports Asbestos-Related Cases After Bankruptcy
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Raytech Corporation was incorporated in June 1986 in Delaware and held
as a subsidiary of Raymark Corporation.
  
In October 1986, Raytech became the publicly traded (NYSE) holding
company of Raymark stock through a triangular merger restructuring plan
approved by Raymark's shareholders whereby each share of common stock of
Raymark was automatically converted into a share of Raytech common
stock. In May 1988, Raytech divested all of the Raymark stock.
  
In accordance with the restructuring plan, Raytech, through its
subsidiaries, purchased certain non-asbestos businesses of Raymark in
1987, including the Wet Clutch and Brake Division and Raybestos
Industrie-Produkte GmbH, a German subsidiary.  Despite the restructuring
plan implementation and subsequent divestiture of Raymark, Raytech was
named a co-defendant with Raymark and other named defendants in numerous
asbestos-related lawsuits as a successor in liability to Raymark.
  
In one of the asbestos-related personal injury cases decided in October
1988 in a U.S. District Court in Oregon, Raytech was ruled under Oregon
equity law to be a successor to Raymark's asbestos-related liability.
Raytech appealed the successor ruling and in October 1992 the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's judgment.
  
The effect of this decision extended beyond the Oregon District due to a
Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision in a related case wherein
Raytech was collaterally estopped (precluded) from relitigating the
issue of its successor liability for Raymark's asbestos-related
liabilities.  In order to stay the asbestos-related litigation, on March
10, 1989, Raytech filed a petition seeking relief under Chapter 11 of
Title 11, United States Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court,
District of Connecticut.
  
After several Court rulings, including an appeal to the U.S. Supreme
Court, the Oregon case, as affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals, remained as the prevailing decision holding Raytech to be a
successor to Raymark's asbestos-related liabilities.  As a result of the
referenced Court rulings, in October, 1998 Raytech reached a tentative
settlement with its creditors for a consensual plan of reorganization,
providing for all general unsecured creditors including all asbestos and
environmental claimants to receive 90% of the equity in Raytech in
exchange for their claims.
  
As such, an asbestos personal injury trust established under the
Bankruptcy Code would receive approximately 84% of the equity of Raytech
and the Governments and others would receive approximately 6% of the
equity of Raytech.  In addition, any and all refunds of taxes resulting
from the implementation of the Plan would be paid to the PI Trust.  The
existing equity holders in Raytech were to retain 10% of the equity in
Raytech.
  
As a result of the final estimation of allowed claims, Raytech recorded
asbestos claims of $6.76 billion, Government claims of $431.8 million,
pension liability claims of $16 million and retiree benefit claims of
$2.5 million during 2000.  The total estimated amount of allowed claims
was $7.2 billion.
  
On August 31, 2000, the Bankruptcy Court confirmed Raytech's Plan, which
confirmation was affirmed by the U.S. District Court on September 13,
2000.  All conditions under the confirmation of the Plan were
subsequently met, and the Plan became effective on April 18, 2001,
resulting in Raytech emerging from bankruptcy.
  
On the Effective Date, a channeling injunction ordered by the Bankruptcy
Court pursuant to Section 524(g) of the Bankruptcy Code has and will
permanently and forever stay, enjoin and restrain any asbestos-related
claims against Raytech and subsidiaries, thereby channeling such claims
to the PI Trust for resolution.
  
On the Effective Date, the rights afforded and the treatment of all
claims and equity interests in the Plan were in exchange for and in
complete satisfaction, discharge and release of, all claims and equity
interests against Raytech.
  
The Company's Certificate of Incorporation was amended and restated in
accordance with the Plan providing for authority to issue up to 55
million shares of stock, of which 50 million is common and 5 million is
preferred.  In settlement of the estimated amount of allowed claims of
$7.2 billion, approximately 38 million shares of common stock were
issued and $2.5 million in cash was payable to the allowed claimants and
a commitment was made to pay to the PI Trust any and all refunds of
taxes paid or net reductions in taxes resulting from the implementation
of the Plan.  The shares issued are exempt from registration pursuant to
the Bankruptcy Code however, shares issued to the PI Trust have
restrictions on resale as a result of their high percentage of ownership
in Raytech.
  
In addition, Raytech had assumed the liability for the Raymark pension
plan claim.  In September 2002 with the final Court decision denying
Raytech's appeal, the Company assumed the administration of the plans.
  
It has been represented to Raytech by the Raymark Trustee that the
retiree benefit claim will be retained by Raymark.  Settlement of the
Raymark claims resulted in cancellation in full of the Raymark debt and
accrued interest of $12.0 million and a commitment of Raytech to
backstop the Raymark Trustee for professional fees in the event the
Raymark Trustee has insufficient recovery of funds for such purposes up
to $1 million.  On September 29, 2002, the Company has $1 million
included in accrued liabilities related to this commitment.
  
  
COMPANY PROFILE
  
Raytech Corporation (NYSE: RAY)
4 Corporate Dr., Ste. 295
Shelton, CT 06484    
Phone: 203-925-8023
Fax: 203-925-8088
http://www.raytech.com
  
Employees         : 1,531
Revenue           : $146,100,000
Assets            : $320,800,000
Liabilities       : $176,700,000
  
(As of December 31, 2001)

Description: Raytech Corporation makes wet-engineered friction products
that are used in an oil-immersed environment for heat resistance,
inertia control, energy absorption, and transmissions in trucks, buses,
and farm machinery. Its dry friction components include clutch facings
used in car and truck manual transmissions. Raytech also makes
aftermarket transmission components, which it sells to warehouse
distributors and retailers. Major customers include DaimlerChrysler and
Caterpillar. Due to asbestos liabilities, Raytech entered Chapter 11 in
1989 and finally emerged from bankruptcy in 2001.
    
  
ASBESTOS ALERT: Shell Faces Asbestos Suits, But Says Provisions Adequate
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Europe's largest oil company by market value,
said it has set aside money to deal with outstanding claims for
asbestos, a material linked to cancer.

"The group has got a number of legal claims lodged against it, primarily
in the U.S.," said Kate Hill, a Shell spokeswoman in London.  "Adequate
provision has been made in our accounts for the claims."
  
A growing number of European companies are being ensnared by asbestos
claims. For Shell, the sums of money involved are "not material to the
group," and are less than $50 million, Ms. Hill said.  She declined to
specify the number of claims.
  
  
COMPANY PROFILE

Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies
30, Carel van Bylandtlaan
2596 HR The Hague, The Netherlands     
Phone: +31-70-377-9111
Fax: +31-70-377-3115
http://www.shell.com
  
Employees          : 91,000
Revenue            : $135,211,000,000
Net Income         : $10,852,000,000
Assets             : $111,543,000,000  
Liabilities        : $55,383,000,000
  
(As of December 31, 2001)
  
Description: The world's #3 oil and gas group has proved reserves of 9.5
billion barrels of oil and 55.8 trillion cu. ft. of gas. The Group, a
unique joint venture between Royal Dutch Petroleum (60%) and "Shell"
Transport and Trading (40%), generates sales mainly from oil products,
but it also makes chemicals, transports natural gas, trades gas and
electricity, and develops renewable energy sources. It operates more
than 46,000 gas stations worldwide. Most of the oil giant's crude is
produced in Nigeria, Oman, the UK, and the US. Royal Dutch/Shell owns or
has interests in about 50 refineries worldwide.  
    
  
ASBESTOS ALERT: Scapa Group Posts GBP1M for Annual Asbestos Liabilities
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Scapa Group Plc, a U.K. maker of industrial tape, is paying about 1
million pounds a year to defend itself against asbestos liabilities from
units it has sold.  Watson said he doesn't expect this to increase
significantly.  Blackburn, Morthern England-based Scapa posted a first-
half loss because of costs related to the sale of its paper-making
products unit and said it doesn't see any early pickup in demand.
  
Scapa has cut costs by 1.5 million pounds so far and Watson expects a
further 2.5 million pounds in the next financial year.  The company
closed a site in the Netherlands this year and intends to shut five more
in Europe during the next 12 months.  About 80 Jobs will be lost.
  
  
COMPANY PROFILE
  
Scapa Group plc
Oakfield House, 93 Preston New Rd.
Blackburn, Lancashire BB2 6AY, United Kingdom     
Phone: +44-1254-580-123
Fax: +44-1254-517-64
http://www.scapa.com
  
Employees            : 1,814
Revenue              : $264,900,000
Net Income           : $(7,400,000)
Assets               : $314,500,000
Liabilities          : $152,100,000
  
(As of March 31, 2002)
  
Description: The company makes technical adhesive tapes and films used
by the automotive, aerospace, graphic arts, sports, electronics,
industrial assembly, and medical markets. Scapa's commercial customers
use its technical tapes for assembly and repair, protection, insulation,
and identification. Specific uses range from medical bandages to shin
guard protection for hockey players and electronic component assembly.
Scapa's Acutek International subsidiary is a medical products
manufacturer specializing in adhesive components. Scapa has sold most of
its noncore operations to focus on tapes. The company has operations
worldwide, with roughly 60% of its sales in Europe.
  
  
ASBESTOS ALERT: United Industrial Says Asbestos Lawsuits Hindering Sale
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Claims of asbestos-related injuries against United Industrial Corp.
(UIC) and its energy systems subsidiary and ongoing litigation to
resolve those claims are hindering the sale of the company, United
Industrial disclosed in its quarterly report.
  
The claims against UIC and its Detroit Stoker unit are part of an
avalanche of personal injury lawsuits involving "hundreds" of industrial
companies, the company said.  At the end of October, UIC was a named
defendant in 335 active cases involving about 9,500 claimants, the
company said.
  
The news contained in the quarterly report sent shares of the defense
and energy company plunging more than 34 percent to close at $12.75 amid
exceptionally high volume, prompting the New York Stock Exchange to seek
comment from United Industrial.
  
In a press release, the company said it does not comment on the trading
activity of its stock but it did distribute the relevant portions of the
quarterly report to a wider audience.  UIC put itself up for sale in the
spring and has maintained for a while that it has been in discussions
with potential buyers.  However, the company said in the SEC filing that
so far there have only been buyers interested in parts of the company,
not the entire company.
  
"The primary reason expressed by certain potential buyers for their
unwillingness to acquire the entire company relates to the risks
associated with the asbestos-related litigation," the company said.
  
In addition to its Detroit Stoker energy business, UIC also operates
AAI, which makes the Army's Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (TUAV), the
first U.S. military UAV program in full-rate production.  The Maryland-
based AAI subsidiary also makes training and testing systems and
provides engineering and maintenance services.
  
UIC has spent a little more than $450,000 the past five years defending
itself on asbestos issues but is unable at the moment to estimate a
potential loss provision stemming from the claims.  The company warned
however that paying for the claims could have "an adverse material
affect" in a particular reporting period but not on its long-term
financial health.  UIC estimates that potential liabilities could reach
$75 million through 2055, with insurance covering all but $15 million.
  
Still, the company feels it is insulated from most of the claims.
"Management believes that the claimants in the vast majority of cases
cannot demonstrate that they have been exposed to the company's
asbestos- containing products or suffered any compensable loss as a
result of such exposure," the company said in its quarterly report.
  
  
COMPANY PROFILE
  
United Industrial Corporation (NYSE: UIC),
570 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY 10022    
Phone: 212-752-8787
Fax: 212-838-4629
http://www.unitedindustrial.com
    
Employees             : 1,500
Revenue               : $238,500,000
Net Income            : $5,400,000
Assets                : $252,500,000
Liabilities           : $132,100,000
  
(As of December 31, 2001)
  
Description: Through subsidiary AAI (87% of sales) it makes training and
simulation systems, automatic test equipment, unmanned aerial vehicle
systems, ordnance systems, and mechanical support systems; the military
accounts for 77% of AAI's sales. United Industrial also has an energy
business, Detroit Stoker, which makes industrial stokers, gas and oil
burners, alternative energy systems, and municipal solid-waste
combustion systems used to produce steam for heating, industrial
processing and electric power generation. The company has sold its
Symtron Systems subsidiary (firefighter training systems) and
discontinued its transportation business.
  
  
                       New Securities Fraud Cases

ANSWERTHINK INC.: Robbins Umeda Files Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. FL
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Robbins Umeda & Fink, LLP initiated a securities class action on behalf
of purchasers of the securities of Answerthink, Inc. (Nasdaq:ANSR)
between October 17, 2000 and April 25, 2002, inclusive, in the United
States District Court, Southern District of Florida, against the Company
and:
  
     (1) John F. Brennan,

     (2) Ted A. Fernandez,
  
     (3) Allan R. Frank,
  
     (4) Edmund R. Miller,
  
     (5) William Kessinger and
  
     (6) Bruce Rauner
  
The Complaint alleges that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder.  As alleged in the complaint, throughout the class period,
defendants issues a series of false and misleading statements announcing
"record" financial results.
  
In violation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), the
complaint alleges, defendants failed to disclose that the "record"
results included revenues recognized from transactions with related
parties who were near-bankruptcy and lacked the financial means to
finalize the sales.
  
Specifically, in order to boost reported revenues and earnings during
the third and fourth quarters of 2000, the Company recognized
approximately $16.7 million of revenue in connection with various
transactions with related parties who were either facing imminent
bankruptcy or were otherwise unable to survive as a going concern and
remit the full $16.7 million as promised.
  
As a result, the complaint alleges, defendants were able to report
artificially inflated results which permitted Mr. Fernandez and Mr.
Frank to receive performance-based bonuses and allowed certain of the
defendants to sell stock at inflated prices.  Ultimately, more than $6
million of receivables and worthless stock in one of the related party
companies, which was received as partial payment, was written off
through a charge to earnings.
  
On February 7, 2002, when defendants were no longer able to include
these illusory revenues in their financial results, the Company reported
a huge drop in revenues.  As a result, Answerthink investors who
purchased stock in reliance on the integrity of defendants' statements
and publicly filed financial reports have sustained tremendous losses.
  
Answerthink stock, which traded at $18 per share on October 17, 2000,
has dramatically declined and is currently trading at only $2.05 per
share as of November 26, 2002.
  
For more details, contact Jeffrey P. Fink by Mail: 1010 Second Ave.,
Suite 2360, San Diego, CA 92101 by Phone: 800-350-6003 or by E-mail:
fink@ruflaw.com
                    
  
RAZORFISH INC.: Kaplan Fox Commences Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP filed a securities class action against
Credit Suisse First Boston Corporation (CSFB), in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of all
persons or entities who purchased the common stock of Razorfish, Inc,
(NASDAQ: RAZF) between June 14, 1999 and May 4 2001 inclusive.
  
The complaint alleges that defendant CSFB violated the federal
securities laws by issuing analyst reports regarding Razorfish that
recommended the purchase of Razorfish common stock and which set price
targets for Razorfish common stock, without any reasonable factual
basis.
  
The complaint further alleges, among other things, that when issuing its
Razorfish analyst reports, defendant CSFB failed to disclose material,
non-public, adverse information which it possessed about Razorfish.
Throughout the proposed class period, CSFB maintained positive
recommendation on Razorfish in order to obtain and support lucrative
financial deals for CSFB.
  
The class period begins on June 14, 1999 at which time CSFB maintained a
"BUY" rating for Razorfish common stock.  The class period ends on May
4, 2001 the date CSFB belatedly downgraded Razorfish to a "HOLD" rating.
As a result of CSFB's false and misleading analyst reports, Razorfish
common stock traded at artificially inflated levels during the proposed
Class Period.
  
For more details, contact Joel B. Strauss, Donald R. Hall by Mail: 805
Third Avenue, 22nd Floor, New York, NY 10022 by Phone: (800) 290-1952    
by Fax: (212) 687-7714 or by E-mail: mail@kaplanfox.com
  
  
SALOMON SMITH: Pomerantz Haudek Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pomerantz Haudek Block Grossman & Gross LLP filed a securities class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York against Salomon Smith Barney, Inc. and its former
telecommunications research analyst Jack B. Grubman on behalf of
investors who purchased the securities of Metromedia Fiber Network, Inc.
(Pink Sheets:MFNXQ) during the period from November 25, 1997 through
July 25, 2001, inclusive.
  
The lawsuit charges that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by issuing false and misleading
analyst reports on Metromedia, a telecommunications company, in a bid to
win or maintain lucrative banking and advisory work from the Company.
  
The complaint alleges that Salomon and Mr. Grubman urged investors to
purchase Metromedia stock by issuing false and misleading analyst
reports rather than providing independent objective analysis.  Salomon
initiated coverage of Metromedia on November 25, 1997 at a "Buy,"
Salomon's highest rating, and continued at that level through July 25,
2002, when Salomon downgraded its rating. However, by that time
Metromedia stock was trading at $0.80 per share.
  
Between October 1997 and October 2001, Salomon advised Metromedia on
approximately 15 investment banking deals and billed the Company
approximately $47 million.  As a result of defendants' false and
misleading statements, the market price of Metromedia securities was
artificially inflated, maintained or stabilized during the Class Period.
  
On September 30, 2002, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer
sued Metromedia Chairman Stephen A. Garofalo, along with four other
current and former executives of three other telecom companies, for
repayment of proceeds realized through "profiteering in Initial Public
Offerings ("IPOs") and phony stock ratings."
  
According to the complaint, Mr. Garofalo received the first of his 37
hot IPO allocations from Salomon in September 1997, one month prior to
Salomon's first banking fee from Metromedia for Salomon's role as a lead
manager in the Company's $146 million initial public offering.  Mr.
Garofalo eventually sold the hot IPO shares for a personal profit of
approximately $1.5 million.
  
For more details, contact Andrew G. Tolan by Phone: 888-476-6529
((888) 4-POMLAW) or by E-mail: agtolan@pomlaw.com
  
  
SEACHANGE INTERNATIONAL: Fruchster & Twersky Lodges MA Securities Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Fruchter & Twersky LLP initiated a securities class action on behalf of
purchasers of the securities of SeaChange International, Inc. (Nasdaq:
SEAC) in or traceable to the offering conducted by SeaChange on or about
January 29, 2002, in the United States District Court for District of
Massachusetts against the Company, certain of the Company's directors
and officers and the lead underwriters of the Offering
  
The suit alleges that defendants violated Sections 11, 12(a)(2) and 15
of the Securities Act of 1933 by issuing a false and misleading
prospectus on or about January 29, 2002.  As alleged in the suit, the
Prospectus was materially false and misleading because it failed to
disclose material information regarding the Company's ability to
effectively compete in its market and that the Company's products were
dependent on technology to which it did not have proprietary rights.
  
For more details, contact Jack G. Fruchter by Mail: One Pennsylvania
Plaza, Suite 1910, New York, New York 10119, by Phone: 212-279-5050,
800-440-8986 by Fax: 212-279-3655, or by E-mail:
JFruchter@FruchterTwersky.com.  
  
  
SYNCOR INTERNATIONAL: Weiss & Yourman Launches Securities Suit in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Weiss & Yourman initiated a securities class action lawsuit has been
filed against Syncor International Corp. (Nasdaq: SCOR) on behalf of
shareholders who purchased stock between March 30, 2000 and November 5,
2002.  Syncor is a leading provider of high technology health care
services.
  
The suit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the
Central District of California, charges that defendants violated
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule
10-b(5), specifically alleging that the Company's Chairman of the Board
and the director of its Asian division made illegal payments to Syncor's
overseas customers and that as a result, the Company's financials
throughout the class period were artificially inflated.
  
On November 6, 2002, the Company announced that it was conducting an
internal investigation into these illegal payments and that the Justice
Department and the Securities Exchange Commission had been contacted,
and that its previously announced acquisition by Cardinal Health, Inc.
was in doubt.  As a result of these revelations, Syncor's stock price
fell by over 40% and Nasdaq temporarily halted trading in the Company's
stock.
  
For more details, contact Weiss & Yourman - Los Angeles by Phone:
800-437-7918 by E-mail: info@wyca.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.wyca.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., Trenton, New Jersey, and
Beard Group, Inc., Washington, D.C.  Enid Sterling, Aurora Fatima
Antonio and Lyndsey Resnick, Editors.
  
Copyright 2002.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.
  
This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic re-
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to be
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term of the initial subscription or balance thereof are $25 each.  For
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