CAR_Public/030110.mbx                C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

                Friday, January 10, 2003, Vol. 5, No. 7

                            Headlines

3COM CORPORATION: Plaintiffs File Amended Securities Suit in CA Court
ALABAMA: Schools, Organizations Receive Computers As Part of Settlement
ALEXA INTERNET: Reaches Agreement To Settle Internet Privacy Lawsuits
ARTHUR ANDERSEN: Retired Partner Adds Two Firms To Liability Lawsuit
CALIFORNIA: Defendants Agree To Settle For $4M Suit Over 1990 Oil Spill

CANADA: Prominent Lawyer Agrees To Help in Amite Train Derailment Suit
DUPONT: Ohio EPA Confirms Chemical Harmless To Water Quality
EL PASO: Union Workers Withdraw as Plaintiffs In Retirement Funds Suit
ENRON CORPORATION: Shareholders Ask For Lifting of Bankruptcy Stay
FARMERS INSURANCE: TX Court Allows Lawyers To Intervene in Settlement

GMO LITIGATION: Court Grants Certification To Organic Farmers' Lawsuit
ILLINOIS: Board, Governor Face Suits Over Developmental Center Closures
MASSACHUSETTS: High School Seniors Re-file Lawsuit Against MCAS Test
NEW YORK: Settles Suit Over Mentally-Ill Inmates Post-Release Treatment
NORTEL NETWORKS: 360Networks Creditors Launch Suit To Recover $100M

RICA FOODS: Suits Dismissal Final After Plaintiffs Fail To File Appeal
TRANSMETA CORPORATION: Fairness Hearing For Settlement Set March 2003
TRI-STATE CREMATORY: Operator's Parents Asked To Be Dismissed From Suit
WEST VIRGINIA: Residents, Environmentalists Sue Overweight Coal Haulers

*Israeli Lawyers Continue Human Rights Battle by Defending Palestinians

                           Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Insurers Reserve Judgment on Mississippi Reform
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Asbestos Toll Only Mounting for Corporate America
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ABB Nears Completion of Unit's Bankruptcy Plan
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NY Judge Delays Trials for "Minimally Impaired"
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Crewe Works Employee's Family Starts Legal Battle

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Gencor, Asbestos Claimants Close to Pact
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Victim's Family Wins 50T in Suit V. Haden-Young
ASBESTOS ALERT: AAI Corporation Becomes Indirect Victim of Asbestos
ASBESTOS ALERT: Saint-Gobain confirms EUR100M Asbestos Related Claims

                      New Securities Fraud Cases

800AMERICA.COM: Wechsler Harwood Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY
800AMERICA.COM: Bull & Lifshitz Launches Securities Fraud Suit in NY
MOTOROLA INC.: Schiffrin & Barroway Commences Securities Suit in NY
MOTOROLA INC.: Cauley Geller Commences Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
SEACHANGE INTERNATIONAL: Bernstein Liebhard Files Securities Suit in MA

                            *********


3COM CORPORATION: Plaintiffs File Amended Securities Suit in CA Court
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in the shareholder derivative and class action against 3Com
Corporation filed an amended lawsuit in the California Superior Court,
alleges that the Company's directors and officers made
misrepresentations and/or omissions and breached their fiduciary duties
to the Company in connection with the adjustment of employee and
director stock options in connection with the separation of 3Com and
Palm, Inc. (Palm).

It is unclear whether the plaintiff is seeking recovery from the
company or if 3Com was named solely as a nominal defendant, against
whom the plaintiff seeks no recovery.  On November 29, 2001, the court
granted the defendants' demurrer with leave to amend.  The plaintiff
filed a first amended suit to which defendants again demurred.  On July
9, 2002, the court again granted the defendants' demurrer to the
plaintiff's first amended suit with leave to amend.  In December 13,
2002, the plaintiff filed a second amended suit.  The Company's
response to such second amended complaint is currently due by January
13, 2003.


ALABAMA: Schools, Organizations Receive Computers As Part of Settlement
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Alabama's schools, community organizations and individuals will be
receiving $1,987,200 worth of Toshiba computers from the Beaumont
Foundation of America, as part of the settlement proposed by Toshiba
relating to a class action pending against them, the Outlook (Alexander
City, AL) reports.

Alabama is one of the 21 states that are receiving the Community,
Education and Individual Grants in 2003.  The remaining 29 states will
receive the grants in 2004.  Overall, the Beaumont Foundation will be
awarding $350 million worth of computers across the United States.
"This is such a massive operation that we have to divide it into two
shifts," Beaumont Foundation Spokesman Mark Sanders told the Outlook.

The $350 million came from a lawsuit against Toshiba, who had to pay
$2.1 billion in the settlement.  However, there was $350 million left
over, and the judge and lawyer decided to create a foundation for the
money.

Lt. Gov.-elect Lucy Baxley said the initiative will benefit many people
in Alabama.  "I am excited about this program which benefits Alabama's
children and working families without placing another burden on the
taxpayers," Ms. Baxley told the Outlook.  "Accessibility to today's
technology and the knowledge of how to use it can only help our state
in its' effort to provide the best all-around education possible. I
commend the Beaumont Foundation for their commitment to digital
inclusion."

The Beaumont Foundation wants every child to have access to computer
technology according to the Foundation's Executive Director W. Frank
Newton.  "I'd like to see to it that there is not a child in this
country who is denied access to a computer, nor is there a child in
this country who has access to a computer but does not have a teacher
who can teach him how to use it," Newton told the Outlook.

In order to get the word out that organizations and individuals in
Alabama have the opportunity to receive free computer hardware, the
Beaumont Foundation has a national advertising campaign that primarily
consists of print publications.


ALEXA INTERNET: Reaches Agreement To Settle Internet Privacy Lawsuits
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Amazon.com subsidiary Alexa Internet agreed to settle several class
actions, alleging that it misused consumers' personal information
without their consent, CNet News reports.

Under the settlement, the Company agreed to destroy some of the
personally identifiable records in its database and pay up to $40 per
person to customers whose records were found in the database.  The rest
of the money was spread among 17 schools and organizations through
grants ranging from $50,000 to $250,000.  The beneficiaries include:


     (1) the Internet Education Foundation,

     (2) the Electronic Frontier Foundation,

     (3) the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression,

     (4) the Center for Democracy and Technology,

     (5) the University of San Francisco,

     (6) the University of Washington and

     (7) Carnegie Mellon University

Canada's University of Ottawa said it will use its $150,000 grant to
establish a center to study technology law.  The center, set to open in
the spring, will offer students at the university the opportunity to do
litigation and public policy research, a university representative told
CNet News.

"While the U.S. has several such (centers), a similar undertaking has
been notably missing in Canada," Michael Geist, a professor of law at
the university, said in a statement. "This initiative will fill that
void by taking on cases that might not otherwise make their way into
the Canadian court system.  As the federal and provincial governments
contemplate new Internet regulation, representation of the public
interest is crucial to the creation of a well-balanced policy and
regulatory framework related to Internet issues."


ARTHUR ANDERSEN: Retired Partner Adds Two Firms To Liability Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------------
A retired Arthur Andersen partner, who is suing firms that acquired
large parts of Andersen's business in the wake of its downfall, has
amended his lawsuit to include Grant Thornton LLP and
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the nation's largest accounting firm, The
Wall Street Journal reports.

Gilbert Viets, a 35-year former partner at Arthur Andersen, filed the
lawsuit and is seeking class action status on behalf of roughly 1,000
former partners and is asking damages of $500 million to $1billion to
cover lost retirement payments.  The original lawsuit, filed in
November, named as defendants:

     (1) Deloitte & Touche LLP,

     (2) Ernst & Young LLP,

     (3) KPMG LLP, and

     (4) consulting firm Bearing Point Inc., which formerly was KPMG
         Consulting Inc.

The original lawsuit alleged that the defendants:

     (i) interfered with contractual relations;

    (ii) acquired Andersen's assets at below fair value; and

   (iii) conspired to suppress that value.

The amendment, recently filed in Indiana state court, provides details
about revenue it says was added through acquisition of Andersen assets,
and may heighten concerns about the legal liability facing firms that
acquired those assets.

The amended filing further alleges that all defendants bear liability
as successors to Andersen "including but not limited to liability for
the retirement benefits obligations" owed to Mr. Viets and others.  The
lawsuit says each accounting firm added as much as $400 million in
revenue from Andersen clients as of July 2002, and $1.4 billion in the
case of Bearing Point.

Grant Thornton LLP said that the company sympathizes with the plight of
the retired Andersen partners who have lost capital accounts, "but the
Andersen acquisition process was an open and competitive one amongst a
number of firms and was supervised by Andersen."  A spokesman for
Ernst, named as defendant in the original lawsuit, said, "Our view is
that we do not have successor liability.  The transactions were
structured in such a way so as to prevent that."


CALIFORNIA: Defendants Agree To Settle For $4M Suit Over 1990 Oil Spill
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Defendants in the class action filed over damages caused by a 1990
spill of Alaska crude oil in California agreed to settle the suit for
$4 million, the Alaska Oil and Gas Reporter states.  If approved by a
federal judge, the agreement would end nearly 12 years of litigation
stemming from one of California's worst oil spills.  The money would go
into a fund for about 250 fishermen, businesses and property owners who
claimed financial losses.

In 1990, the tanker American Trader ran over its own anchor while
mooring near Huntington Beach, spilling about 400,000 gallons of crude
oil.  The spill killed and injured about 1,000 birds, gummed up 15
miles of coastline for a month and closed miles of Orange County
beaches, harbors and fishing grounds. The suit names as defendants:

     (1) Attransco Inc.,

     (2) BP America Inc.,

     (3) terminal operator Golden West Refining Co. and

     (4) Brandenburger Marine Inc., which employed the American
         Trader's harbor pilot.

The defendants denied wrongdoing in the proposed settlement but agreed
to pay court costs and legal fees, the Alaska Oil and Gas Reporter
asserts.  Three years ago, Attransco agreed to a $16 million settlement
to compensate California localities and state agencies for lost use of
public beaches following the spill.

A California judge is scheduled to rule on the agreement on January
13,2003.


CANADA: Prominent Lawyer Agrees To Help in Amite Train Derailment Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Prominent lawyer Johnnie Cochran has joined Amite residents in their
class action against the Canadian National Railroad, after a freight
train was derailed on October 12,2002.  The accident caused a three-day
evacuation of downtown Amite, although nobody was seriously hurt in the
accident, the Times Picayune reports.  Officials say that a broken rail
probably caused 22 cars to jump off the tracks.

Mr. Cochran, best known for working on the defense team that won OJ
Simpson's acquittal on a murder charge, said the way people were moved
out of danger of chemicals spilled from a derailed train was
mishandled.  He further alleges that the situation for evacuees may
have been made worse by a lack of evacuation routes, inadequate
resources and fire stations.

"We don't ever want to see tragedies like this, but it could have been
handled a lot better," Mr. Cochran told the Times Picayune.

More than a dozen attorneys filed at least four separate class actions
after the incident, in the United States District Court in New Orleans.
Judge Jay Zaney is scheduled to hold hearings on the suits on January
29, 2003.

Mr. Cochran and six other lawyers met about 300 residents at the Butler
AME Zion Church on Tuesday to discuss legal strategy.  Cochran told
residents to maintain health records since the derailment, and he
cautioned the plaintiffs not to expect money quickly.  "Just because we
file a lawsuit doesn't mean you will get a check tomorrow," Cochran
said, according to the Times Picayune.


DUPONT: Ohio EPA Confirms Chemical Harmless To Water Quality
------------------------------------------------------------
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed a state
study's findings that an unregulated chemical used by DuPont to make
Teflon does not threaten drinking water supplies around DuPont's Wood
County plant, Associated Press Newswires reports.

Claims by plaintiffs in a class action filed against DuPont, alleging
that the state's study was flawed, are without merit, said Cindy
Hafner, chief of the Ohio EPA's Division of Emergency and Remedial
Response, in a letter to Director Christopher Jones.  The West
Virginia Department of Environmental Protection recently released Ms.
Hafner's letter.  "Although some level of subjectivity is included in
the derivation of toxicity criteria, the claim that the (study team's)
analysis is 'fundamentally inconsistent with the facts and agency
guidance' is not valid," Ms. Hafner wrote.

A team of state, federal and private researchers studied the potential
hazards of ammonium perflourooctanoate, also known as C8, as part of a
November 2001 consent order between state regulators and DuPont.  The
chemical has been used by DuPont's Washington Works plant for more than
50 years in various manufacturing processes.


EL PASO: Union Workers Withdraw as Plaintiffs In Retirement Funds Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The United Auto Workers International (UAW) union withdrew as a
plaintiff in a class action involving hundreds of Case-Tenneco retirees
who lost the free lifetime health benefits they were given at
retirement, the Quad Online reports.

The UAW and retirees originally filed the suit in October 2002 after a
change in the retirees' benefits.  The suit, which was later re-filed
in the United States District Court in Detroit, Michigan, names El Paso
Tennessee Pipeline Co., the company in charge of the retirees'
benefits, and Case Corporation as defendants.

In August 2002, El Paso informed the retirees and their spouses that
they would have to begin paying a $290 monthly premium in order to
maintain the health benefits.  Previously, the retirees had been
receiving free health benefits, as promised when they retired.  The
premium jumped to $501 a month as of January 1, affecting all Case
workers who retired on or before July 1, 1994, including an estimated
600 retirees in the Quad-Cities, the Quad Online reports.

In the new suit, filed the same day, the UAW was removed from the list
of plaintiffs at its request.  A new lead plaintiff also was named
after one of the retirees died last month.   The UAW has always been
supportive of the retirees and continues to be supportive. It continues
to be the primary force in trying to protect them," Roger McClow,
attorney for the plaintiffs, told Quad Online. "It doesn't mean they
are withdrawing the support."

Representatives of the UAW International could not be reached for
comment by the Quad-City Times.  Jeffrey Walsh, the senior director of
external communications for CNH Global, Case Corporation's successor,
said the company now has three weeks to provide a response to the court
because of the new suit.  CNH had been granted an extension before the
first suit was withdrawn.

Mr. McClow said the next step is for the attorneys to begin settlement
discussions.   "It's going to take some time . trying to figure out how
to settle a retiree healthcare case is not an easy matter. We want to
make sure we take care of them," he said.


ENRON CORPORATION: Shareholders Ask For Lifting of Bankruptcy Stay
------------------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of fallen energy trader Enron Corporation have filed
motions in US Bankruptcy Court in New York seeking to lift the stay
imposed on the Company upon its bankruptcy in December 2001, shielding
the Company from lawsuits, the Associated Press reports.  Judge Arthur
Gonzalez, who oversees Enron's bankruptcy proceedings, will hear the
shareholders' motion this week.

Having recently won the go-ahead for the class action, the shareholders
have to prove that the litigation won't needlessly encumber the
bankrupt company while it tries to reorganize to repay creditors.
According to the priority recovery rule, equity holders are among the
last to get a crack at a company's assets.  Enron's post-bankruptcy
management, meanwhile, already has made it clear that any
reorganization plan to be accepted by the bankruptcy court "will not
provide the company's existing equity (holders) with any recovery."
So, even if Enron is named a defendant and found guilty of having
defrauded investors with false financial statements, as alleged by the
shareholders, the bankruptcy rule could mean zero actual payout from
the company to shareholders, AP states.

The company and its creditors committee both have argued that the
shareholders' request, if granted, would lead to a wasteful litigation
for "a worthless judgment," according to court filings in New York.

William Lerach, chief lawyer for the University of California regents,
the lead plaintiffs in the securities fraud class action, nevertheless
argued, "How could you tell the Enron story without the company (being
a defendant?)"

Mr. Lerach told AP Enron stockholders have a claim against the company
for the damages they suffered due to the alleged fraud. "That claim has
to be quantified."


FARMERS INSURANCE: TX Court Allows Lawyers To Intervene in Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Texas District Court Judge Scott Jenkins ruled that lawyers for
policyholders intervening in the proposed $100 million settlement
between the State of Texas and Farmers Insurance Group have a right to
question top officials about how the deal was reached and whether it's
fair to consumers, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

In April 2002, the State Department of Insurance and the Company signed
a consent order that requires the Company, the third-largest insurance
company in Texas, to pay $10.6 million in restitution to customers,
plus 10 percent per year for overcharges dating back to 1991, an
earlier Class Action Reporter story states.

The ruling by state District Judge Scott Jenkins puts the settlemen in
limbo because it means a final resolution of the dispute could be a
month or more away.  Judge Jenkins has to approve it before it takes
effect.  Several policyholders filed lawsuits after the settlement was
announced, contending that the state didn't adequately represent
consumers in the negotiations.  They also say the agreement is too
broad and could be interpreted in such a way that it could wipe out
future claims against the Company, including lawsuits filed by
automobile customers, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Jenkins said he would let Phil Maxwell, who represents some
policyholders, and lawyer Joe Longley subpoena state and Farmers
officials who were involved in the weeks-long negotiations or who are
familiar with the settlement.  Officials who will testify at an as-yet
unscheduled hearing include:

     (1) Insurance Commissioner Jose Montemayor;

     (2) John Hageman, Farmers' state director in Texas; and

     (3) several staff members from the Texas Department of Insurance
         and the attorney general's office

Mr. Longley contends that Montemayor exceeded his authority by
recommending that the agreement be turned into a class-action
settlement, which Mr. Longley said could "extinguish" Farmers'
policyholders rights to sue the company, the Austin American-Statesman
reports.


GMO LITIGATION: Court Grants Certification To Organic Farmers' Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Saskatoon's Court of Queen's Bench certified as a class action a suit
filed by a group of Saskatchewan organic farmers launched a class
action against genetically modified crop developers Monsanto and
Aventis, the Western Producer reports.  The suit alleges that
genetically modified canola contaminated their organic crops, causing
an estimated $14 million in damages.  They are also seeking an
injunction against the introduction of GM wheat.

The farmers had intended to commence the suit since January 2002, but
was delayed when the two chemical companies named in the suit balked at
a judge's order to provide statements of defence in advance of the
class certification hearing.  Monsanto and Aventis appealed that
decision and won, meaning they will not have to provide statements of
defence until a trial judge has determined whether or not the case will
proceed as a class action.

Terry Zakreski, legal counsel for the farmers, said "It's the first big
step that we've had to take."  Mr. Zakresi added that the two suits are
similar in that they both pit farmers against chemical companies, but
there is a major difference in terms of the legal issue at stake.

Derrick Rozdeba of Bayer, which bought Aventis, told the Producer that
his Company doesn't comment on matters before the courts.  A Monsanto
spokesperson did not return phone calls.

A consultant working on behalf of the plaintiffs has computed an
economic estimate of the impact of GM contamination on organic crops.
Wally Hamm of darWall Consultants Inc. says the losses due to the
introduction of GM canola amount to $14 million.  If GM wheat is
introduced, organic producers could lose a further $85 million in sales
to the European Union over the next decade.

Dale Beaudoin, one of two representative plaintiffs named in the
lawsuit, filed an affidavit stating his 1999 canola crop was refused by
a European buyer after it tested positive for GM content.  He doesn't
want the same thing to happen to wheat, which is his principal crop.

"I do not believe I will be able to survive not being able to grow
wheat organically should GMO wheat contaminate the environment to the
extent of GMO canola," Mr. Beaudoin told the Western Producer.


ILLINOIS: Board, Governor Face Suits Over Developmental Center Closures
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board and Illinois Gov. George
Ryan faces two class actions filed in Sangamon County Court, charging
them with wrongfully closing the Lincoln Developmental Center (LDC) and
two other facilities, the Lincoln Courier reports.  Another similar
suit filed in the same court seeks to have the governor and board show
by what authority they made the rulings.

The suits seek to have the court rule all actions taken by the Illinois
Health Facilities Planning Board at meetings August 15, October 3 and
November 21 ruled "invalid, illegal, and without authority."

Gov. Ryan's lone term as governor ends Monday. Incoming governor Rod
Blagojevich has pledged to do what he can to reopen LDC.

The LDC closed August 31 after board action two weeks earlier, the
Lincoln Courier states.  The center was ordered closed after four
residents' deaths over several years and failed public health
inspections led to LDC's decertification, ending federal funding for
half of LDC's $30 million budget.

LeRoy attorney Thomas Pliura filed the latest suits, which claim Ryan
and the board "unlawfully usurped and illegally exercised their
authority" with 11th-hour health facilities planning board appointments
"and by conducting a meeting (Aug. 15) and taking action on business
matters in the absence of a legal quorum."  The suits also seek to have
board action at October 3 and November 21 meetings also ruled illegal.

Mr. Pliura told The Courier he was the managing member of Champaign-
Urbana Healthcare Limited Liability Co., which was shut down by the
board, along with LDC and Zeller Mental Health Center, since August 15.
Pat and Linda Brown of LeRoy were co-presidents of the LDC Parents
Association.


MASSACHUSETTS: High School Seniors Re-file Lawsuit Against MCAS Test
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Six high school seniors re-filed their lawsuit against the
Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test after a
federal court refused to hear the suit five weeks ago, the Boston Globe
reports.  The suit, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges that state
education officials illegally enacted the exam as a graduation
requirement.

In September, lawyers filed the federal suit in US District Court in
Springfield, which relied heavily on legal precedents.  According to an
earlier Class Action Reporter story, the lawsuit claims that the exam
is invalid under the equal protection clauses of the state and federal
constitutions, and that it is unreliable and unfair.  The students,
chiefly black and Hispanic with limited English, not only challenge the
test but also the requirement that the students must pass the test as a
graduation requirement.

The students' lawyers state officials had a "warped philosophy" when
they used the "hammer" of a tough high-stakes exam to boost education
for Bay State high school students, rather than focus on real
improvements in teaching.  In addition, by requiring high-schoolers to
pass only the math and English sections on MCAS, state officials are
ignoring the other subjects students must master under the Education
Reform Act of 1993, the lawyers asserted, according to the Boston
Globe.

The suit seeks class action status for the unidentified plaintiffs.
The seniors are from Billerica, Leeds, and Holyoke, and have yet to
pass the MCAS test.  They are members of the class of 2003, which is
the first that must pass the 10th-grade Massachusetts Comprehensive
Assessment System test to earn a high school diploma.  About 12,000
students, a fifth of the class, haven't passed so far, the Boston Globe
states.  The suit names as defendants:

     (1) Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll,

     (2) Board of Education Chairman James A. Peyser, and

     (3) other state education officials

"There's a lot of egregious evidence in there that shows how the
original intent of the education reform law was really changed over the
years, and that the Board of Education was no longer concerned about a
real, substantive, quality education," Nadine Cohen, a plaintiffs'
lawyer with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of the
Boston Bar Association told the Globe.  "They were focused in on just
making sure kids pass the two exams."

A Department of Education spokeswoman, Heidi B. Perlman, said state
officials will not back off the test, one of the nation's toughest
standardized exams, and will file a response in the next few weeks.
"We stand by the high standards we've set for students in
Massachusetts, and we truly believe what we're doing is what's best for
kids," she told the Globe.


NEW YORK: Settles Suit Over Mentally-Ill Inmates Post-Release Treatment
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The City of New York agreed to provide mentally ill jail inmates with
treatment and other services when they were released, in compliance
with a settlement for a class action filed against it on behalf of
seven mentally ill inmates, the New York Times reports.

For many years, most mentally ill inmates at Rikers Island jail were
released without assistance of any kind, or dropped off in Queens with
a $3 MetroCard and $1.50 in cash - the routine practice with other
inmates.  In August 1999, the suit was filed alleging that the 25,000
inmates treated for mental illness each year at the jail were being
released without proper provision for treatment or a way to continue
their medication.

That changed in 2000, when Justice Richard F. Braun of the State
Supreme Court granted an injunction in the lawsuit, causing the city to
provide for treatment upon release.  Justice Braun called the agreement
that was signed yesterday "excellent and very comprehensive."

Under the pact, the city agreed to provide mentally ill inmates access
to treatment they need to maintain psychiatric stability after their
release, the NY Times states.  That treatment could include assistance
to secure appropriate housing, access to outpatient treatment and
medication and the means to pay for those services if the inmate is
indigent, lawyers for the plaintiffs said.

The agreement, which must now be submitted to members of the class for
comment and is subject to a public hearing before Justice Braun accepts
it as final, would cover all city jails.  "We think it's a terrific
result, and it will, once implemented, do great things for a terribly
vulnerable population," Christopher K. Tahbaz, a partner at Debevoise &
Plimpton, a Manhattan law firm that provided pro bono assistance to the
Urban Justice Center, a nonprofit advocacy group that brought the suit
with the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, told the NY Times.

John A. Gresham, a senior lawyer with the New York Lawyers for the
Public Interest, told the Times, "I think by agreeing to settle, the
city is doing a good thing. It's very much the humane thing to do, and
in the interest of the city generally."

The City had earlier said that the Rikers inmates had no legal right to
the kind of prerelease planning required for mental hospital patients
under state law.  They also contended that because the seven named
plaintiffs were mentally ill, they could not adequately represent a
class.  However, the city recognized the benefit that such discharge
planning services provided both for the released inmate and for society
in general, according to a statement yesterday from the city's
corporation counsel, Michael A. Cardozo.  He also said that settlement
discussions had been prolonged because of the complexities of
coordinating the agencies needed to enact a plan.

"Despite these complexities, New York City has developed a program
unique in the country in its content and scope which we believe will
provide significant assistance to mentally ill inmates with the hope
that these inmates will be able to successfully reintegrate into the
community," he said.


NORTEL NETWORKS: 360Networks Creditors Launch Suit To Recover $100M
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Unsecured creditors of 360networks Inc. have filed a class action
against Nortel Networks Ltd. to recover $100 million, the RCR Network
News reports.  The creditors are represented by law firm Sidley Brown
&Wood LLP.

"The Committee is very confident that it will be able to achieve
substantial recoveries against Nortel and other defendants, which will
go a long way toward achieving the recoveries projected for creditors
in 360networks' plan," said Norman Kinel, counsel to the Creditors
Committee and a partner at Sidley Austin Brown & Wood in New York.

Although the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Chapter
11 bankruptcy plans to commence hundreds of such lawsuits, it says the
suit against Nortel will be the largest.


RICA FOODS: Suits Dismissal Final After Plaintiffs Fail To File Appeal
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The dismissal of securities class actions filed against Rica Foods,
Inc. has been deemed final, after plaintiffs failed to appeal an
earlier ruling by the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Florida, Bloomberg.com reports.

Several suits were filed against the Company on on behalf of all
persons who acquired its common stock between January 16, 2001 and
December 28, 2001.  The suit also names as defendants:

     (1) Calixto Chaves, the Company's Chairman and CEO,

     (2) Randall Piedra, the Company's CFO and

     (3) Jose Pablo Chaves, the Company's COO.

The suit charges defendants with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder.  The suit alleges, among other things that throughout the
class period, defendants filed documents with the SEC, which failed to
disclose that the Company was not in compliance with the credit
agreement entered into with Pacific Life Insurance Company on January
16, 2001, an earlier Class Action Reporter story states.

In November, the court dismissed the suit.  "The ruling was subject to
appeal within thirty days, yet the plaintiffs did not file such
statement, closing the case for good.  The court concluded, among other
things, that the plaintiffs failed to establish that the failure to
disclose this non-compliance was an omission of a material fact,"
Mauricio Marenco, General Counsel of Rica, cited from the original
judicial resolution.

"This outcome confirms our initial position on this case, as the
Company continues its intent to concentrate in improving our
fundamentals, leaving this chapter behind us to enhance shareholder
value," said Monica Chaves, Head of Investor Relations.


TRANSMETA CORPORATION: Fairness Hearing For Settlement Set March 2003
---------------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court in San Francisco California will hold
a fairness hearing on March 13,2003 relating to the $5.5 million
settlement proposed by Transmeta Corporation to settle a class action,
accusing it of manipulating its own stock, the Inquirer reports.

The original complaint alleged that the defendants issued false and
misleading statements about the Company's business and its "Crusoe" X86
microprocessors.  The suit was filed on behalf of purchasers of the
Company's stock between November 7, 2000 to July 19, 2001.

Those that joined in the suit received letters from the solicitor
representing the defendants, which include the Company, Mark Allen and
David Ditzel.  The lawyers' letter, which complainants received this
week, said that there would be a proposed allocation of settlements
which had to be approved, plus an award to the lawyers themselves, and
the question would be put as to whether the litigation would be
dismissed - with prejudice, the Inquirer states.

The court has already given preliminary approval to the settlement,
according to the documents.  Judge William H. Alsup will preside over
the fairness hearing.


TRI-STATE CREMATORY: Operator's Parents Asked To Be Dismissed From Suit
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The parents of indicted Tri-State Crematory operator Ray Brent Marsh
asked a Tennessee judge to exempt them as defendants in a class action
charging the crematory and other funeral homes in Georgia with grave
desecration, the Associated Press reports.

Clara and Tommy Ray Brent asked to be dropped from the lawsuit, which
was filed by persons whose relatives' remains were among the more than
250 bodies that Tennessee funeral homes sent to the Tri-State Crematory
at Noble, Georgia, since 1998.  The suing families say the funeral
homes are all liable in the matter because they all used an unlicensed
crematory, an earlier Class Action Reporter story states.

Stuart James, the Marsh's lawyer, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press
there's no evidence the two had anything to do with the crematory since
1996.  Clara Marsh is Tommy Ray Marsh's wife and the mother of Ray
Brent Marsh.  Lawyers say Tommy Ray Marsh started the crematory at
Noble, Georgia, in 1982 before turning over the operation to his son.
Ray Brent Marsh, 29, was arrested in February 2001 and has been accused
of accepting money for cremations he never performed.


WEST VIRGINIA: Residents, Environmentalists Sue Overweight Coal Haulers
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
A group of state residents and environmentalists have filed a lawsuit
seeking to keep overweight coal trucks off West Virginia's roadways by
blocking illegal loads, the Associated Press Newswires reports.  The
lawsuit, which seeks class action status, was filed recently by Coal
River Mountain Watch in Kanawha County Circuit Court.

Other plaintiffs include 17 residents of Boone, Kanawha and Raleigh
counties.  All are represented by Charleston, West Virginia lawyers
Stuart Calwell, Thomas White and Vincent Truvekku.  Mr. Calwell asked
that the case be heard as a class action on behalf of all residents
whose lives are endangered or damaged by overweight trucks.  The
lawsuit alleges that the trucks are both a private and public nuisance.

Named as defendants are 15 coal companies and coal-transport companies,
most of which have direct ties to Massey Energy Company.  The lawsuit
says that the 15 named defendant companies, in turn, hire trucking
companies or individual truckers to haul their coal, but these haulers
are not named as defendants.

In West Virginia, the legal weight limits on most two-lane roads is
65,000 pounds.  On interstate highways, 80,000-pound loads are legal.
However, the lawsuit cites a January 2002, report in which the state
Division of Highways said that coal trucks routinely violate these
limits.  The lawsuit further says that these trucks cause, among other
things:

     (1) noise, dust and mud on local roads and homes;

     (2) destruction of roads and bridges;

     (3) increased risk of injury or death on roads;

     (4) increased motor vehicle insurance; and

     (5) reduced property values

The lawsuit asks for an injunction to block the use of overweight
trucks, and for damages to compensate the plaintiffs and punish the
coal companies.


*Israeli Lawyers Continue Human Rights Battle by Defending Palestinians
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
For three decades, Leah Tzemel, an Israeli lawyer, has been
representing Palestinians in Israeli courts.  The people she defends
have ranged from terror suspects to refugees to the sometimes unwitting
families of murdering militants, The Miami Herald reports.

Her work and her extreme-left politics, make Ms. Tzemel one of the most
despised women in Israel.  She has been accused of treason and
physically attacked.  Despite it all, she continues to fight what is
essentially a losing battle - defending the fundamental rights of even
those her nation considers the enemy.

Ms. Tzemel, 57, was the pioneer.  Today, an entire cadre of Israeli has
emerged to specialize in human rights and represent Palestinians.
Human rights work has gained a modicum of prestige and respect, they
say.  "I used to be the 'lawyer of Satan,' " said Ms. Tzemel.  "Now I'm
a 'human rights defender.' "

She didn't change. She says Israel did.  However, in the present
atmosphere of war, she and other attorneys worry they once again will
be regarded as the devil's accomplices.  That Ms. Tzemel and her
colleagues do the work they do is a testament to Israel's democracy.
That the work is increasingly difficult testifies to an erosion in
basic democratic values, The Miami Herald reports.

In the last two years of conflict, a horrific spate of suicide bombings
targeting Jews has created a climate of fear and hate that leaves many
Israelis believing human rights and due process for Palestinians is an
unaffordable luxury.  Consequently, the caseload for Ms. Tzemel and
attorneys like her is full of controversial issues and questions of
international law:  home demolitions, deportations, alleged torture of
prisoners, assassinations.  They rarely, if ever, win, The Miami Herald
reports.

                           Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Insurers Reserve Judgment on Mississippi Reform
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Mississippi state courts must enforce the new tort-reform law that took
effect January 1 before the measure can have the desired effect of
changing the legal climate and returning insurers to the market, said a
spokesman for an insurance association.

Mississippi has a reputation for being a "Mecca" for plaintiffs'
lawyers seeking large awards, said William Stander, a government
affairs representative for the Alliance of American Insurers' Southeast
region.  The new law, H.B. 19, includes measures to protect "innocent
sellers" and is touted in the state as being pro-small business, he
said.  The bill also restricts venue shopping.

The law could be a good beginning with regard to asbestos litigation
reform, said Julie Pulliam, a public affairs director for the American
Insurance Association.  The bill makes changes to joint-and-several
liability so defendant pay amounts proportionate to their liability.

"The venue-shopping provisions are good, but more could be done," Ms.
Pulliam said.

While attorneys were rushing to get cases filed before the law's Jan. 1
effective date, it doesn't mean the bill has solved the entire tort-
reform problem, Ms. Pulliam said.  "This bill is not the death knell to
attorneys wanting to file massive cases in Mississippi," she said.
Mississippi's legislature goes into session this month and the business
coalition that pushed for this tort-reform bill last year is expected
to push additional tort-reform legislation this year that could include
provisions related to asbestos litigation, she added.

"We would like to see tighter venue law.  All these cases brought in
from out of state are brought in just because some counties have a
reputation for giving large verdicts," Ms. Pulliam said.

In a 2001 study, consulting firm Tillinghast-Towers Perrin estimated
that asbestos claims in the United States ultimately would top $200
billion, with the US insurance industry picking up roughly 30% of the
tab.  Overseas insurers would bear 31%, and other defendants, including
manufacturers, would retain about 39% of the costs.

Those percentages translate to about $60 billion for U.S. insurers and
reinsurers, $62 billion for overseas insurers and reinsurers, and $78
billion for asbestos defendants, said Randy Maniloff, an attorney with
the Philadelphia firm Christie, Pabarue, Mortensen and Young.

The key figure isn't the $200 billion, but the $78 billion expected to
come from asbestos defendants--a large piece of the pie not thought to
have any ties to insurance, Mr. Maniloff said.  The plaintiffs' bar
wants to shift as much of that $78 billion to the insurance industry as
possible.  Going after defendants such as manufacturers presents
uncertainties for the plaintiffs' bar, said Mr. Maniloff, who
concentrates his practice on representing insurers in coverage
disputes.  It's "highly debatable" how much a company has for asbestos
liabilities, and a company's ability to pay a judgment is related to
its sales or the overall state of its business, he said.

To tap into that $78 billion, plaintiffs' attorneys would rather go
after an entity that's "in the business of paying claims," rather than
an entity subject to factors that make collecting a judgment uncertain,
he said.  "We all know plaintiffs' attorneys would always prefer to sue
those with insurance than those without insurance," he said.  "Unless
it's a really big company, you don't see uninsured companies paying
asbestos claims. The game that's going on now is really to find new
insurance."

Insurance advocates say it's too early to tell whether Mississippi's
new law will send attorneys looking for new, "friendly" places to file
class actions.  However, any law passed by the Legislature has to be
enforced in the state courts to have an effect, said Mr. Stander.
"Insurers are not going to jump back into the market just because of
this new law. That will be determined over time," he said.

"Insurance is built on history, not anticipation. We have to see if the
courts will uphold this law--if they'll determine it, or parts of it,
unconstitutional," he continued.  "Just because the Legislature passes
a law doesn't mean anything will happen. We have to see what effect the
law has on the legal climate . I'm sure cases have already have been
filed challenging parts of this law."

Unlike in many states, 2003 is an election year in Mississippi,
including races for governor and the legislature, Ms. Pulliam noted.
"There's going to be a lot of political pressure put on those
candidates," she said. "There will be a lot of rhetoric on tort reform.
We hope to use that to our advantage."


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Asbestos Toll Only Mounting for Corporate America
----------------------------------------------------------------------
It's the litigation that won't go away.  Asbestos lawsuits, a fixture
on the US court docket for more than 20 years, show no sign of abating.
The cost of injury to the hundreds of thousands of Americans exposed to
the material is in the tens of billions of dollars and climbing.  The
cost already dwarfs the financial losses from the terrorist attacks on
the World Trade Center and Florida's 1992 Hurricane Andrew -- combined.

The companies with sufficient assets to stand the legal barrage are
becoming fewer and fewer as firms with the greatest exposure seek the
protection of federal bankruptcy laws.  New estimates forecast another
20 to 30 years of settlements totaling billions more as second-and
third-generation victims develop long-latent asbestos illnesses,
including deadly mesothelioma.

Larry Fix is an example of how long it takes for asbestos exposure to
manifest itself as a disease.  Mr. Fix, a 55-year-old Navy veteran of
Vietnam, mixed asbestos with plastics in a coloring process in 1969 for
a Winona plastics company.  Mr. Fix, who now lives in Mankato, took the
job three days after his discharge from the Navy and worked there for
two years while he attended vocational school for electronics training.

Twenty-seven years later, after a career spent repairing machines for
Xerox, Mr. Fix's doctor told him he had a tumor in his lung.  During
surgery to remove the tumor, Mr. Fix's doctor discovered it was in the
lung lining, the area where mesothelioma appears.

"He asked if I'd been exposed to asbestos. I said, 'Yeah,'" Mr. Fix
recalled. "He said, 'You have a year, maybe two, to live.'"

That was six years ago.  Mr. Fix, who is married and has three
children, managed to outlive the initial prognosis but hasn't been able
to work since 1997 because of the disability.  "It was a real shock,"
Mr. Fix said of the lung disease. "For the first three or four months,
my wife, Diane, and I couldn't look at each other without crying."

He said he regularly visits with other mesothelioma sufferers, people
who sometimes die within six to nine months of receiving their
diagnosis.  "I thank God every day" to be alive, Mr. Fix said.

Mr. Fix is one of 600,000 people who have filed claims against 6,000
different defendant companies, according to a comprehensive study of
asbestos litigation prepared by the Rand Institute for Civil Justice
and released earlier this year.  He has received a number of
settlements but can't discuss the terms due to confidentiality clauses.
So far, $54 billion has been spent on asbestos claims, with the total
projected to grow to between $200 billion and $265 billion when all the
cases are settled, according to the Rand study.

"All accounts agree that, at best, only about half the final number of
claimants have come forward," the report concludes. "At worst, only
one-fifth of all claimants have filed claims to date."

While few of the cases go to trial, the litigation is complex because
of the multiple defendants and multiple plaintiffs and degrees of
injury involved.  Increasingly, claims are from people who have yet to
manifest any condition that affects their daily lives.  The Rand study
said that nearly two-thirds of the $54 billion paid to date has been
for such cases.

"As the litigation evolved, the circle of plaintiffs moved outward,"
said Bruce Jones, an attorney with the Minneapolis firm of Faegre &
Benson who represents business defendants. "As the circle of plaintiffs
widened, so did the circle of defendants to anything that contained
asbestos, even a small percentage."

Maplewood-based 3M Co., for example, faces 43,000 claims from workers
who wore a 3M facial mask or other respirator products for protection
against asbestos exposure, regardless of whether they currently have
any diagnosed asbestos-related condition.  Earlier this year, 3M faced
nearly 75,000 asbestos-related claims.  "In the third quarter we had
the opportunity to settle a number of claims and we did, which allowed
us to reduce our litigation costs," said 3M spokeswoman Jacqueline
Berry.

A move is expected in Congress to limit asbestos awards, and a case to
limit asbestos lawsuits is pending before the US Supreme Court.  The
Rand study said half of the successful asbestos claims are eaten up by
transactional expenses, including lawyer's fees.  However, plaintiff's
attorneys said that is a necessary cost of doing business in a risky
area where a plaintiff may get nothing and that it would be wrong to
cap awards and fees.

"These are not frivolous lawsuits. These are not lawsuits against the
fast-food industry," said Michael Polk, a Hastings attorney who
specializes in asbestos cases. "These people are sick, they're dying.
This is the worst death . If you limit fees or put fees on a scale, all
of these victims, they don't have a lawyer anymore because it can't be
done. It's not profitable to lawyer anymore."

Mr. Polk's legal partner, Mike Sieben, said even individuals with low-
end asbestos exposure have a right to file a claim.  "Most of these
diseases are progressive," Mr. Sieben said. "Having an asbestos injury
increases the risk of getting other diseases, particularly lung
cancer."

However, the debate continues about who should be reimbursed,
particularly in light of the number of companies filing for bankruptcy
because of asbestos claims.  "The concern, even on the plaintiff's
side, is, 'Are we paying too much on those claims?'" said David Prince,
a professor of tort law at William Mitchell College of Law. "With all
of these companies going bankrupt, where are we going to get the money
to help those who are truly sick?"

The first generation of asbestos claims involved workers, usually
asbestos manufacturing employees and building insulators, who directly
handled the insulation product.  Those cases began showing up in the
courts in the 1970s.  The next wave involved other construction-trade
workers who were in the general area when insulation was being
installed and were indirectly exposed via microscopic fibers in the
air.

The third generation involves family members, such as wives, who picked
up exposure from asbestos that got on clothing.  The most recent
generation of asbestos victims are workers' children, who inhaled
asbestos particles at home after coming in contact with a parent's
clothing and other items.

Before the federal government put limits on exposure to asbestos in the
1970s, workers, such as janitors and office staff, in buildings
insulated with asbestos also were susceptible to injury.
There are basically four types of injury due to asbestos exposure. The
first is pleural plaques, or thickening of the lung lining -- the
least-serious of the asbestos illnesses.  Next is asbestosis, or
scarring inside the lung, which can affect breathing capacity.  Third
is lung cancer and other cancers of the respiratory and digestive
systems.  The most serious condition is mesothelioma, a cancer of the
lung lining that is fatal.

Mr. Fix, the Mankato asbestos-exposure victim, was represented by the
Hastings law firm of Sieben Polk LaVerdiere & Hawn, which developed a
specialty in asbestos-injury claims since filing its first asbestos
lawsuit in the late 1970s.

In Minnesota, all asbestos claims have been consolidated in Ramsey
County District Court.  The state Supreme Court created the special
jurisdiction in 1988, and about 3,000 cases have been filed since then.
Elsewhere in the country, asbestos litigation threatens to overwhelm
some courts.

"It shows you how inefficient our legal system is in dealing with mass
injury," said Mr. Prince, the law professor. "This is not a system to
deal with this number of claims.  Dockets are overloaded with claims,
and the courts don't have the people power to handle the claims one at
a time. It's a mess."


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ABB Nears Completion of Unit's Bankruptcy Plan
-------------------------------------------------------------------
ABB Ltd., Europe's biggest electrical-engineering company, will in the
next few days propose a plan to reorganize a US unit facing 111,000
asbestos claims.  The Swiss company, which has already offered a $1.1
billion settlement, must persuade 75 percent of those suing Combustion
Engineering Inc. to accept the plan to put the unit into bankruptcy
protection before asking a judge for final approval.

ABB has said it had a second-straight loss last year amid mounting
costs for asbestos claims.  After paying $1 billion since 1990 for
claims against the US unit, the company is now trying to reach an
agreement with the rest of those suing Combustion Engineering to cap
losses.

"We're working on the process in steps and should be ready to send a
detailed Chapter 11 reorganization proposal to plaintiffs in the next
few days," spokesman Thomas Schmidt said.  "We're sticking to the
original schedule" and expect a judge to approve a settlement for all
asbestos claims by April, he said.

Some analysts have said the company will have to raise its offer to
persuade those suing it to back its proposal, which is called a "pre-
packaged bankruptcy."  Similar agreements have been used to settle
asbestos claims against Johns Manville Corp. and building-materials
maker PPG Industries Inc.

Gencor Ltd., a South African mining company, said today it's in talks
with lawyers that could result in an agreement over the amount it may
pay to settle asbestos lawsuits against it.  Gencor held stakes in
asbestos mines until 1998.  Phone calls to David Bernick, a US lawyer
representing ABB in the claims, weren't immediately returned.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NY Judge Delays Trials for "Minimally Impaired"
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Thousands of asbestos exposure claims by individuals with "minimal or
non-impairment" won't be heard until those suffering from cancer and
other serious illnesses get their day in court, a New York state judge
ruled.

Judge Helen Freedman, noting that the overwhelming cost of asbestos
litigation has pushed many companies into bankruptcy, said she acted to
"protect the interests of the significantly impaired."  Judge Freedman
said her decision will delay about 19,000 of the 21,000 pending cases
in New York City.  "Recoveries by unimpaired or minimally impaired
plaintiffs deplete the funds need to compensate present and future
claimants with serious illnesses," she said, in an order handed down
December 19, 2002.

Companies facing asbestos claims say they can't afford a deluge of
settlements with individuals not suffering from serious injuries and
are pressing Congress for lawsuit limits.  Asbestos suits have forced
more than 60 companies, including W.R. Grace & Co. and Owens Corning,
into bankruptcy since 1982.  The Towers Perrin consulting firm
estimates that asbestos suits may cost US companies and insurers as
much as $200 billion.

Asbestos was widely used as a fire retardant in building material
through the 1980s.  Asbestos-related disease has a decades-long latency
period, which means many people who have been exposed don't yet know
whether they will contract cancer.

Courts in Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Illinois and
Washington also have set up two tracks for asbestos suits to accelerate
trials for those already suffering serious illnesses, said the
Coalition for Asbestos Justice.

Judge Freedman has set minimum criteria for assignment of suits to the
accelerated trial track.  Medical experts must determine that a
patient's lungs are significantly damaged or diagnosed with cancer that
``to a reasonable degree of medical certainty,'' was caused by asbestos
exposure, the order says.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Crewe Works Employee's Family Starts Legal Battle
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Solicitors are taking up a legal battle for the family of a man who
died after exposure to asbestos at Crewe Works.  An inquest in Crewe
heard how Frederick Bickerton, 77, of Audlem Road, Nantwich died from
asbestosis.  Mr. Bickerton came into contact with the substance through
his work as a locomotive fitter.  Bad health forced him into an early
retirement in 1987 at the age of 62 after 48 years of service to the
company.

He did not realize at the time that his breathlessness was caused by
exposure to asbestos and it was not long before his death at home on
August 17 that he found out.  Post-mortem evidence from Dr Joanne
Stafford, a consultant pathologist at Leighton Hospital concluded that
Mr Bickerton died from a carcinoma of the lung that she believed was
directly attributable to asbestosis.  The post-mortem examination also
revealed that while there was evidence of damage to Mr Bickerton's
lungs from smoking this did not cause his death.

A statement from Dennis Murphy, who worked with Mr Bickerton, was read
out at the hearing.  He said, "From day one every member of staff was
aware they were exposed to asbestos. It was widely used on steam
locomotives . But staff were not warned that it was harmful and there
was no protective clothing."  He also described how the asbestos dust
would lie on the workshop floor for days.  He described the air as
speckled with dust, especially on a sunny day.

Mr Bickerton's wife Joan, 74, also gave evidence. Asked how many
cigarettes her husband smoked she said that he used to smoke about 10 a
day but he cut down when he was ill.  Coroner Nicholas Rheniberg said,
"It is well known in Crewe that people involved in the railway would be
involved with asbestos . I am satisfied that it led to Mr Bickerton's
death and I am recording a formal finding of the industrial disease of
asbestosis."

The Bickertons' solicitor, Diana Washington, specializes is taking on
BRB Residual Limited, formerly British Rail, for compensation.  She
said there are scores of claims being drawn up from families of workers
who have died from asbestosis in the Crewe area.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Gencor, Asbestos Claimants Close to Pact
-------------------------------------------------------------
An agreement over a payment to asbestos victims that would clear the
way for the distribution of a $2 billion stake in Impala Platinum
Holdings (Implats) was near completion, former mining house Gencor
said.  A formal agreement was still to be reached, said company
spokesperson Francois Baird.  "There seems to be a convergence of views
regarding a number," he said.

Lawyers representing asbestos victims last year sued Gencor to block
the distribution to shareholders of the 46 percent stake in the world's
second-largest platinum producer until money had been set aside to pay
any successful claims.  Gencor plans to begin closing its business
after distribution of the Implats stake.

Asbestos victims want to ensure that Gencor, which held stakes in
asbestos mines until 1988, has enough money to pay if their cases
succeed.  "The money would be paid into a trust," from which claims
would be met, said Richard Spoor, one of the lawyers representing
victims.  "There is an agreement" around a figure, Mr. Spoor said.
However, he said negotiations between some of the law firms
representing victims was holding up the settlement.

Mr. Baird and Mr. Spoor declined to mention the amount being
considered.  Spoor's firm, Ntuli, Noble & Spoor, is representing 37
former employees of the asbestos miner.  Mr. Spoor said if high court
Judge Philip Boruchowitz gave permission, they would file a class
action lawsuit that might include thousands more.  Judge Boruchowitz
said he would rule on the application on an unspecified date.

Lawyers from London's Leigh Day & Co, representing 7 500 former
employees of Cape plc, want Gencor to halt the Implats distribution.
Cape, whose asbestos operations were bought by Griqualand Exploration &
Finance (Gefco), in which Gencor held a stake, has failed to pay a P21
million settlement.  Gencor has denied liability, arguing it did not
employ the sufferers of the disease.  The company owned about 40
percent of Gefco until 1988.

Gencor had previously offered to set aside R300 million to cover
successful claims.  Defense attorneys said that was not sufficient.
Mr. Spoor had previously estimated the claims were worth R1.5 billion.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Victim's Family Wins 50T in Suit V. Haden-Young
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Lawyers and campaigners for the victims of the asbestos industry have
won 50,000 compensation for the family of a man who died after
spending all his working life with a Watford based building services
company.  However, neither Ronald Weller nor his wife Dorothy lived
long enough to see the award made.

Mr. Weller died in February at the age of 69 from mesothelioma, the
deadly asbestos cancer.  Mrs. Weller died unexpectedly just five days
later from natural causes.  Mr. Weller started work for G N Haden (now
Haden Young) as an apprentice pipe fitter when he was 16 and worked on
various sites around the country.  Later in his career he was office-
based and retired after spending his last years in the training
department.

Mr. Weller and his fellow workers were exposed at different times to
asbestos in buildings as they used asbestos rope to seal boilers and
breathed in the dust from the asbestos used to fireproof ceilings and
walls.  They also used asbestos-containing insulation products.
Several of Mr. Weller's colleagues contracted asbestos-related diseases
and he himself was diagnosed in October last year.  He died four months
later.

He was being given chemotherapy at the Royal Marston Hospital and had
spent time in Mount Vernon Hospital where doctors were trying to help
him control his pain.  His case was taken up by Thompsons Solicitors
after he was referred by Cheshire Asbestos Victim Support Group
(CAVSG), which campaigns nationally for justice for the victims of
asbestos.

Mr. Weller's son Neil said, "Dad felt strongly that mum should be
compensated for his untimely death and it would have given him peace of
mind to know that he had won his case.  Unfortunately the end came
quicker than we all expected . To his children the award means that one
of his last wishes was honored which is some comfort to us . At the end
of the day no amount of money could ever replace the parents we loved
so much and we will always see mesothelioma as the disease that took
them both from us."

Client adviser at CAVSG, Mr Brian Dellaway, said, "Years after asbestos
was banned we are seeing an alarming rise in the number of new types of
cancer that appear to be asbestos-related.  Asbestos will be, without a
doubt, the biggest industrial killer of all time."


ASBESTOS ALERT: AAI Corporation Becomes Indirect Victim of Asbestos
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Local defense contractor was about to be sold as part of deal for its
parent, everything's now on hold and minor subsidiary found itself
suddenly facing 10,000 asbestos claims.  The employees of AAI
Corporation were supposed to be working for somebody else by now.

The unmanned airplanes and computerized simulators they make - all
prized by the modern military - are the envy of gobs of potential
buyers, and AAI's bosses have been eager to make a deal.  Last August,
when management pledged to "intensify and accelerate" efforts to sell,
analysts figured the only step left was to sign the papers and count
the cash.

However, AAI does not have a new owner this year, despite the
expectations, and no one is likely to buy it anytime soon.  Instead,
negotiations have stalled, the stock price of its parent company is
barely half what it was, and none of the success at the Hunt Valley
company can make its dilemma disappear.

AAI's troubles, it seem, have nothing to do with its defense industry
future, which remains promising.  Rather, its problems stem from the
long-ago past of an industrial manufacturing company in southern
Michigan, owned by the same corporate parent as AAI, which pioneered
the use of coal-burning furnaces for making steam power 103 years ago.

That company - Detroit Stoker Co. - once sold products that contained
asbestos.  The engineers, technicians, programmers, high-tech military
specialists and the rest of the 900 employees of AAI Corporation may
never live it down.

"There is continued interest in the company, in the whole or some of
its parts," said James H. Perry, chief financial officer of United
Industrial Corporation, the parent company of both AAI and Detroit
Stoker.  "Clearly, though, the asbestos issue has complicated the
process."

Defense industry watchers often forget the name United Industrial
Corporation.  Based in a small Manhattan office, far removed from any
of the engineers or factory workers that keep it in business, United
Industrial exists largely to oversee the Maryland subsidiary that earns
more than 90 percent of its revenue.

Once known as Aircraft Armaments Inc., AAI builds training simulators
and unmanned surveillance planes and is a well-known commodity in the
defense industry. Its Pioneer unmanned aircraft was one of the first
used in combat, and its latest, the Shadow, is about to enter full
production for the U.S. Army, a first for any aircraft of its kind.

In April, under pressure from shareholders, United Industrial
executives announced that they had hired an investment bank to pursue
the sale of the company either in whole or in parts.  Thanks to AAI,
the company is considered an attractive takeover target and executives
expected few complications.  They predicted privately that a deal would
be announced by the end of 2002.

But the effort to sell has since morphed into a stinging reminder that
United Industrial is more than just AAI wrapped in a different name and
a swankier locale.  Potential buyers also have to deal with Detroit
Stoker, the company's lesser-known and troubled stepchild.

Detroit Stoker makes equipment used in furnaces, boilers and various
industrial-grade heating and power-generation systems.  It is a remnant
of United Industrial's decades-old flirtation with expansion, and
employs roughly 160 people in the suburban community of Monroe,
Michigan.  Today, it is the only non-defense-related enterprise that
United Industrial owns.

Like virtually every company that built boilers and furnaces in the
20th century, Detroit Stoker once used asbestos.  It never milled or
manufactured the heat-resistant material, and stopped using it
altogether in 1981, but the company delivered enough asbestos-laden
products over the years that it has long been a target of lawsuits from
cancer victims who think their illness is linked to Detroit Stoker
products.

Until recently United Industrial treated the litigation mostly as an
afterthought, one that "will not have a materially adverse effect on
the company's financial position," according to documents filed with
the Securities and Exchange Commission.  During most of the past five
years, the legal fees and other costs of asbestos litigation amounted
to $467,000, according to company documents - not enough to raise
concern.

However, in September and October of last year, just as negotiations
with a potential buyer of United Industrial were entering the late
stages of "due diligence," according to a company source, the asbestos
litigation industry seemed to rediscover Detroit Stoker.

In two months, roughly 8,300 asbestos-related claims were filed against
Detroit Stoker in courthouses scattered around Louisiana, Michigan,
Mississippi, Ohio, New York and North Dakota.  At year's end the
company had nearly 10,000 claims filed against it.

Nothing had changed at Detroit Stoker - no devastating developments or
revelations that suddenly made it prime target for "toxic torts."
Legal experts say the company was probably just the next defendant in
line.  Manufacturers of asbestos have long since gone bankrupt, and
asbestos attorneys throughout the country have moved on to suing
secondary targets such as Detroit Stoker.

"As a practical matter, asbestos litigation tends to move in ripples
toward the same companies," said Stephen Carroll, a senior economist
for Rand Corp. who is studying the effect that asbestos lawsuits have
had on American businesses.  "Everyone tends to go after the same
defendants because there's a lot of evidence lying around. Once one
plaintiff finds them, everyone will find them."

United Industrial executives, no longer certain that the potential
costs were immaterial, filed a statement with the SEC in November
saying that asbestos lawsuits against Detroit Stoker might cost $75
million through 2055.  Investors reacted immediately, hammering the
company's stock for a 34 percent loss in one day.

Chief Executive Officer Richard R. Erkeneff tried to soften the blow.
"We are excited about United Industrial's prospects for continued
growth and value creation," he wrote in a letter to investors.  "AAI
has established strong positions in attractive defense markets and key
programs . our defense businesses are well aligned with stated
Department of Defense needs, and we stand ready to support the war on
terrorism and homeland security . With or without a sale, United
Industrial is favorably positioned for the future."

However, potential buyers recoiled nonetheless, unwilling to take on a
business, however promising, that was attached to Detroit Stoker and
its unknown liabilities.  Company officials now say privately that
takeover negotiations have been set back at least six to nine months,
assuming the asbestos problem doesn't worsen.  United Industrial has
hired a private consultant to estimate the potential liability that
Detroit Stoker faces, and a report is expected by spring.

In its SEC filing, the company said it doubts that many plaintiffs can
prove a clear link between their asbestos-related illnesses and
anything sold by Detroit Stoker.  All of the lawsuits name numerous
corporate defendants in addition to Detroit Stoker, sometimes several
dozen.

However, regardless of the merits of the claims against it, United
Industrial finds itself in the grips of a legal phenomenon that has
already cost American businesses more than $54 billion and is expected
to soon cost $210 billion more, according to the Rand study.

Carroll estimates that about 600,000 people in the United States have
filed asbestos-related claims against companies such as Detroit Stoker,
and that another 2.4 million might file claims in the coming years.
Asbestos-related illness can take 40 years or more to develop.

"This surge challenges the notion that the litigation is manageable and
raises new questions about whether there will be enough money to pay
all the claims that are likely to be filed," Mr. Carroll said.  While
not familiar with Detroit Stoker specifically, Mr. Carroll said of the
company: "If it ever used asbestos, it's got a problem. The only
question is the extent of the problem."

A study released last month by the American Insurance Association in
Washington estimated that 61 American corporations have gone bankrupt
as a direct result of asbestos liabilities, and that the pace is
accelerating.  Executives at United Industrial foresee no such
calamity.  They expect to take a charge against the company's earnings
in the near future, but think the long-term effect on profits will be
minimal.  AAI, meanwhile, anticipates several lucrative contracts from
the federal government this year.  The prospects of a sale, however,
are more difficult to assess.  Plenty of competitors still want AAI,
company officials say.  Finding one that also wants Detroit Stoker is
the challenge.

"Nobody knows what the future will hold, of course, but all of the
factors that made the company attractive are still there," said Mr.
Perry, the chief financial officer.  "There's still interest out there,
and that won't change. Regardless of what happens with the sales
process, this is still a very good company with strong growth
prospects."


COMPANY PROFILE

AAI Corp., a subsidiary of 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 of UIC)

Description: AAI makes training and simulation systems, automatic test
equipment, unmanned aerial vehicle systems, ordnance systems, and
mechanical support systems; military accounts make up 77% of its sales.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Saint-Gobain confirms EUR100M Asbestos Related Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain chairman Jean-Louis Beffa confirmed the group
will take a 100 million euro provision to cover liability risks from
asbestos-related claims this year, adding that the cost of claims in
the US have stabilized for the moment.

Mr. Beffa said claims from individuals exposed to asbestos used by
Saint-Gobain in the past are "a thorn in our side", at a press
conference.  He added that profitability in the second half of this
year will be above levels seen in the first half, without providing
further details.

Saint-Gobain posted first half net profit of 498 million euro, down
from 663 million in the same period the previous year.  In September,
the Company said it expects full year net profit before exceptionals to
be in line with the 1.06 billion euro posted in 2001.


COMPANY PROFILE

Compagnie de Saint-Gobain
Les Miroirs, 18 Avenue d'Alsace
92096 Paris La Dfense Cedex, France
Phone: +33-1-47-62-30-00
Fax: +33-1-47-78-45-03
http://www.saint-gobain.com

Employees                  : 173,329
Revenue                     : $26,919,500,000
Net Income             : $1,004.5,500,000
Assets                     : $28,471,400,000
Liabilities             : $17,533,500,000
(As of December 31,2001)

Description: Saint-Gobain controls more than 1,000 companies with
operations in three sectors.  Its Housing Products businesses (nearly
half of sales) make and distributes building materials (roofing,
mortars, wall facing) and pipe.  The group's Glass Products operations
make containers, flat glass, and insulation and reinforcements.  Its
High-Performance Materials unit includes ceramics, plastics, and
abrasives businesses.  Saint-Gobain is a world leader in many of its
business segments.  The operation dates to the 1660s, when it provided
glass for Versailles; today it makes 30 billion glass containers a year
and provides insulation for 20% of all US homes.


                       New Securities Fraud Cases


800AMERICA.COM: Wechsler Harwood Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Wechsler Harwood LLP initiated a securities class action on behalf of
persons or entities who purchased or otherwise acquired the securities
of 800America.com (Other OTC:ACCO) during the period between January
17, 2001 and November 13, 2002, inclusive, in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York against the
Company, certain of its officers and directors, and its accountant.

The lawsuit charges that defendants violated Sections 10(b) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by engaging in a massive, multifaceted
scheme to artificially inflate the value of Company stock by "cooking"
its books and records, and by issuing public filings that grossly
distorted the Company's true state of affairs.

The suit alleges that, throughout the class period, defendants engaged
in fraudulent actions which included, among other things:

     (1) reporting millions of dollars in fictitious earnings,
         revenues, expenses and assets, deliberately concealed by
         defendants' creation of phony bank statements, checks,
         invoices and a general ledger, which they supplied to
         800America's auditor;

     (2) the misappropriation and looting of substantial assets of the
         Company by defendants David Elie Rabi and Tillie Ruth Steeples
         through transfers of funds from 800America accounts to
         accounts controlled by Mr. Rabi and/or Ms. Steeples;

     (3) the issuance of a press release falsely denying Mr. Rabi's
         criminal past and failing to disclose that Ms. Steeples was a
         control person of the Company; and

     (4) the filing of a 10-KSB which listed as officers and/or
         directors or "significant employees" several individuals who
         had either left the Company or could not be located by the
         Company.

The suit further alleges that the Company maintained two separate sets
of books in furtherance of their fraud, in which virtually all of its
reported revenues in fiscal years 2001 and 2002 were fictitious.  In
addition, the Company reported approximately $13.2 million in cash
assets for fiscal year 2001-supported by a phony bank statement
provided to the Company's auditor reflecting approximately $12.67
million in cash-while the actual bank statement reflected that such
account never contained more than $640.66 for that entire period.

On November 13, 2002, the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) filed
a civil action against the Company, Mr. Rabi and Ms. Steeples in the
Southern District of New York, alleging that the Company falsified
virtually all of its reported revenue, concealed the criminal histories
of Mr. Rabi and Ms. Steeples, and otherwise perpetrated a massive fraud
against investors. Both Mr. Rabi and Ms. Steeples were arrested on
criminal charges in connection with this fraud.

For more details, contact David Leifer by Mail: 488 Madison Avenue, 8th
Floor, New York, New York 10022 by Phone: (877) 935-7400 or by E-mail:
clowther@whesq.com


800AMERICA.COM: Bull & Lifshitz Launches Securities Fraud Suit in NY
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Bull & Lifshitz, LLP initiated a securities class action in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York against
800America.com, Inc. (Other OTC:ACCO) and two of its former controlling
members of 800America on behalf of all purchasers of the Company's
securities from February 20, 2001 to November 13, 2002, inclusive.

The complaint charges the Company and two of its former controlling
members with issuing false and misleading statements regarding its
revenue, expenses and profits, press releases and SEC filings.  In such
a manner, the Company artificially inflated its revenue, growth,
expenses and profits, in violation of Generally Accepted Accounting
Principles (GAAP).

The Company's press releases and SEC filings were also false and
misleading because they failed to divulge the 800America's two former
controlling member's criminal background.  Moreover, two of the
Company's former controlling members profited substantially from
insider trading and selling unauthorized private placements.

On November 13, 2002, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
filed an enforcement action against 800America and its two former
controlling members for securities fraud and halted trading of
800America's securities entirely.  800America was, thereafter,
appointed a receiver to preserve what is left of the Company.

For more details, contact Peter D. Bull or Joshua M. Lifshitz by Phone:
(212) 213-6222 by Fax: (212) 213-9405 or by E-mail:
counsel@nyclasslaw.com


MOTOROLA INC.: Schiffrin & Barroway Commences Securities Suit in NY
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP initiated a securities class action in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on
behalf of all purchasers of Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT), securities from
February 3, 2000 through May 14, 2001, inclusive.

The suit alleges that defendant violated Section 10(b) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and breached his fiduciary duty to the
class by issuing a series of materially false and misleading statements
about the Company's financial results.  The complaint alleges that
Motorola's vendor financing commitments - including over $1.7 billion
in vendor financing to a customer in Turkey - were never properly
disclosed.

The complaint alleges that as a result of these false and misleading
statements, the price of Motorola common stock was artificially
inflated throughout the class period causing plaintiffs and the other
members of the class to suffer damages.

For more details, contact Marc A. Topaz or Stuart L. Berman by Mail:
Three Bala Plaza East, Suite 400, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 by Phone:
888-299-7706 (toll free) or 1-610-667-7706 by E-mail:
info@sbclasslaw.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.sbclasslaw.com


MOTOROLA INC.: Cauley Geller Commences Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Cauley Geller Bowman & Coates, LLP initiated a securities class action
in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York on behalf of purchasers of Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) publicly
traded securities during the period between February 3, 2000 and May
14, 2001, inclusive.

The complaint alleges that defendant Carl F. Koenemann violated Section
10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and breached his fiduciary
duty to the class by issuing a series of materially false and
misleading statements about the Company's financial results.

The complaint alleges that Motorola's vendor financing commitments --
including over $1.7 billion in vendor financing to a customer in Turkey
-- were never properly disclosed.  The complaint alleges that as a
result of these false and misleading statements, the price of the
Company's common stock was artificially inflated throughout the class
period causing plaintiffs and the other members of the class to suffer
damages.

For more details, contact Jackie Addison, Heather Gann or Sue Null by
Mail: P.O. Box 25438, Little Rock, AR 72221-5438 by Phone:
1-888-551-9944 by E-mail: info@cauleygeller.com or visit the firm's
Website: http://www.cauleygeller.com/library/user--images/motorola.pdf


SEACHANGE INTERNATIONAL: Bernstein Liebhard Files Securities Suit in MA
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP initiated a securities class action
in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts,
on behalf of all persons who purchased SeaChange International, Inc.
common stock (NASDAQ: SEAC) in or traceable to the offering conducted
by the Company on January 29, 2002.

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, at
all relevant times, the Company purported to be a leading developer,
manufacturer and marketer of video storage systems which purportedly
automate the management and distribution of video streams, such as
movies and other feature presentations and advertisements.

The suit further alleges that the prospectus was materially false and
misleading because it failed to disclose, among other things, that the
Company was unable to compete effectively due to its inability to
provide server systems large enough to meet the needs of cable
companies located in major metropolitan areas and that the Company's
products were dependent on technology, developed and patented by a key
competitor, as to which SeaChange did not have proprietary rights.

For more details, contact Linda Flood, Director of Shareholder
Relations by Mail: 10 East 40th Street, New York, New York 10016 by
Phone: (800) 217-1522 or (212) 779-1414 or by E-mail:
SEAC@bernlieb.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
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