CAR_Public/030926.mbx            C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
          Friday, September 26, 2003, Vol. 5, No. 191

                        Headlines                            

CHERRYWOOD PUBLISHING: SEC Files Enforcement Action Over Fraud
KONA SMOKE: Recalls 200 lbs of Beef Over Listeria Contamination
NETWORK SOLUTIONS: Settles FTC Charges Over Solicitation Notices
NEW JERSEY: Wants 80 Firms To Pay Millions For Pollution Damage
NORTHSHORE MINING: MN Court Expands Class in Gender Bias Lawsuit

OREGON: Lead Poisoning Spurs Recall of 1.4 Million Toy Necklaces
ORLEANS HOMEBUILDERS: Reaches Settlement For NJ Homeowners' Suit
SCIENTIFIC ATLANTA: Named As Defendant in Charter MO Stock Suit
SCIENTIFIC ATLANTA: Briefing on Interlocutory Appeal Completed
SCIENTIFIC ATLANTA: Plaintiffs To Drop Class Claims in GA Suit

SMART & FINAL: Agrees To Settle Overtime Wage Suits In CA Courts
SOUTH CAROLINA: High Court To Rule on Suit On Retirees' Pensions
ST. JUDE: Canada Court Allows Silzone Valves Lawsuit To Proceed
TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE: Family of Highway Shooting To File Lawsuit
TENNESSEE: Inmates File Suit Over Lack of Necessary Medical Care

TOBACCO LITIGATION: Court Won't Re-hear Engle Verdict Reversal
UNISTAR FINANCIAL: SEC Files Injunctive Action For Stock Fraud
UNITED STATES: Firms To Pay $1.5M Fine For Not Revealing Defects
UNITED STATES: CPSC Warns of Strangulation Risk For Yo-yo Toy
VL DISSOLUTION: Approves Issuance of Settlement Shares For Suit

WAL-MART STORES: Asks CA Court To Dismiss Huge Sex Bias Lawsuit
WELLS FARGO: MD Customers Launch Lawsuit Over Fraudulent Fees

                       Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Asbestos Advisory Sparks Fear of Injury
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: New Asbestos Legislation May Not Be Passed
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Council to Pay GBP3T for Health Violations
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Asbestos Defendant Gets 5 Years in Denver
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: OH Council To Pay Cost of Asbestos Cleanup

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Cooper Updates Asbestos Liability Status
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Dupont Battles 11 Asbestos Cases in Ireland
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Foster Wheeler Gets 20,500 New Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Halliburton Units Consider Asbestos Deals
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Longview Fibre Gets New Asbestos Litigation

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Lowry Air Force Base Agreement Nears End
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Roper Maintains Stance of Non-Liability
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Tenneco, Units Continue to Battle Lawsuits
ASBESTOS ALERT: Midwest Generation Posts $5M Indemnity Cost
ASBESTOS ALERT: United National Accrues $5.7M Loss on Asbestos


                    New Securities Fraud Cases

FIRSTENERGY CORPORATION: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Suit in Ohio
FLOWSERVE CORPORATION: Stanley Mandel Lodges TX Securities Suit
JANUS CAPITAL: Barrack Rodos Lodges Securities Suit in NJ Court
POLAROID CORPORATION: Bernstein Liebhard Files Suit in N.D. Ohio
STRONG FINANCIAL: Barrack Rodos Lodges Securities Lawsuit in NJ

SUREBEAM CORPORATION: Wolf Haldenstein Files CA Securities Suit
TYCOM LTD.: Wolf Popper Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in NJ Court
VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS: Schiffrin & Barroway Files MA Stock Suit

                         *********

CHERRYWOOD PUBLISHING: SEC Files Enforcement Action Over Fraud
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed an action on
September 23 in Massachusetts federal court to enforce
investigative subpoenas against Gary C. Halbert, Bond Halbert,
Cherrywood Publishing, Inc. and John Doe (a/k/a Cherrywood's
Keeper of Records).   

The Commission alleges in its application filed with the court
that Gary C. Halbert, Bond Halbert, Cherrywood, and Cherrywood's
Keeper of Records failed to comply with administrative subpoenas
requiring them to produce documents and testify in connection
with an investigation to determine whether they and others may
have violated the antifraud provisions of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

In its application and supporting papers, the Commission alleges
that, on August 12, 2003, the Commission issued a formal order
of private investigation entitled In the Matter of Cherrywood
Publishing, Inc., File No. B-01967 (Formal Order).  The Formal
Order directed the Commission staff to undertake a private
investigation to determine if there were violations of the
federal securities laws.  According to the Commission's court
papers, the Commission staff is investigating possible material
false statements concerning a stock trading system made by or on
behalf of Gary C. Halbert and Cherrywood in newspaper
advertisements that appeared in USA Today and on a website
purportedly operated by Gary C. Halbert.

According to the application, the Commission staff issued
subpoenas to Gary C. Halbert, Bond Halbert, Cherrywood, and
Cherrywood's Keeper of Records on August 12, 2003 and issued a
second subpoena to Bond Halbert on August 20, 2003, requiring
them to produce documents and testify concerning matters
relevant to the investigation.  As of September 23, 2003, the
Commission alleges that the parties have not produced the
responsive documents and have not testified as compelled by the
subpoenas.  


KONA SMOKE: Recalls 200 lbs of Beef Over Listeria Contamination
---------------------------------------------------------------
Kona Smoke House is voluntarily recalling approximately 200
pounds of beef products that may be contaminated with Listeria
monocytogenes, the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety
and Inspection Service announced.

The products subject to recall are:

     (1) "KONA GOLD, SOFT AND DELICIOUS, TERIYAKI BEEF, Kippered
         Beef Steak Nuggets" in 7 oz. packages.  The packages
         included in the recall bear a lot code of 121,

     (2) "Las Vegas Jerkys, Etc., Kippered Beef Nuggets" in 7
         oz. packages.  The packages included in the recall bear
         a lot code of 122.

The products were produced on September 4, 2003.  Each package
bears the establishment number "17175" inside the USDA mark of
inspection.

The products were distributed to wholesale establishments in Las
Vegas, Nevada.  FSIS has received no reports of illnesses
associated with consumption of the products.  Anyone concerned
about an illness should contact a physician.  The problem was
discovered through routine FSIS microbiological testing.

Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can
cause listeriosis, an uncommon but potentially fatal disease.  
Healthy people rarely contract listeriosis.  However,
listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck
stiffness and nausea.  Listeriosis can also cause miscarriages
and stillbirths, as well as serious and sometimes fatal
infections in those with weak immune systems - infants, the
frail or elderly and persons with chronic disease, HIV infection
or in chemotherapy.

For more details, contact Kurt Stalvig, General Manager, by
Phone: (206) 214-8454.


NETWORK SOLUTIONS: Settles FTC Charges Over Solicitation Notices
----------------------------------------------------------------
Network Solutions, Inc. settled the Federal Trade Commission's
(FTC) charges that it sent its customers solicitation notices
that tricked them into transferring their domain name
registrations to the Company, the Ledger Independent reports.

The FTC charged the Company with mailing solicitation notices
that looked like expiration notices from consumers' current
registrars.  The notices told customers their domain names were
about to expire and the Company would renew their domain names
for a fee.

The FTC charged this practice was deceptive because the notices
claimed that the domain names would soon expire, but failed to
identify the actual expiration dates--in some cases, months or
years later.

Under the settlement, the Company is enjoined from engaging in
such practices, and is required to follow through on a class
action it recently settled.  The company did not immediately
return a phone call seeking comment, the Ledger Independent
reports.


NEW JERSEY: Wants 80 Firms To Pay Millions For Pollution Damage
---------------------------------------------------------------
The state of New Jersey has notified more than 80 companies that
it wants them to pay millions of dollars for polluting rivers
and other natural sites in the Garden State, according to a
report by Associated Press Newswires.

The Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney
General's Office sent letters to the companies earlier this
month, demanding they quickly enter settlement talks over
natural-resource damages, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported
recently.  The list includes close to 20 industrial giants with
known contaminated sites in New Jersey, including Johnson &
Johnson, ExxonMobil and Lockheed Martin.

New jersey has more than 12,000 contaminated sites, and may file
for natural-resource damages related to thousands of them as the
program gears up, state officials said.  The penalties will
compensate the public for everything from spoiled water to lost
recreation opportunities.

Some of the companies criticized the state's actions, saying
they would hurt efforts to bring businesses to the Garden State.  
Most said they were still reviewing the letters and had not
decided on a course of action.

Allen Kanner, a prominent Louisiana attorney known for winning
large class-action lawsuits, is spearheading New Jersey's effort
along with Lynch Martin, the law firm of former Senate President
John Lynch.  Mr. Kanner's compensation will range from 15
percent to 25 percent of every claim he handles, depending on
whether it is settled or goes to trial.

Determining how much polluters should pay for contaminating
public lands is something of an art, experts said.  Methods that
have been used in the past include surveying area residents to
discover how much value they place on a natural feature.

State officials have said they favor letting companies offset
the damage they did, a policy companies often prefer because it
is usually less expensive than other alternatives.  For
instance, a company that polluted a marsh could restore one at
another site.


NORTHSHORE MINING: MN Court Expands Class in Gender Bias Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court in Minnesota expanded the class
in the lawsuit filed against Northshore Mining Co. to include
all female hourly-wage workers employed by the Company on or
after April 24,1998, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

A group of four women employees filed the suit, charging the
Company with discriminating against women in terms of training,
promotions and overtime pay.  Plaintiffs Holly Holly Mathers,
Sue Gundy, Rose Seelen and Dianne Thiel were employed by
Northshore's mine operations department in Babbitt, Minnesota.  
All but Ms. Thiel, who resigned in 1997, continue to work for
the company.

The suit was filed in December 1999, but discovery proceedings
proved quite lengthy.  Attorney for the plaintiffs first
requested payroll, training and personnel documents from the
Company, pored over 30,000 pages of material and hired David
West Peterson, a statistician, to analyze the information.  

Mr. Peterson later concluded that between 1994 and 2000, female
hourly workers at Northshore on average received $2,920 less
regular pay and $821 less overtime pay than their male
counterparts.  He also found that, on average, it took women
longer to receive promotions at Northshore than it did men
employees, the News Tribune reports.

Northshore hired its own statistician to review the data,
questioning Mr. Peterson's findings and asking Judge Michael J.
Davis to disregard his report.  Judge Davis rejected that
request and signed an order allowing a case filed by the women
to be expanded.

The Company has denied the charges.  When contacted by the
Duluth News Tribune on Wednesday, however, Northshore's
attorney, Kathleen Bray, declined to discuss the case.  "My
client is not willing to comment on pending litigation," she
said.  "We're not going to try this case in the media."

The sex discrimination lawsuit titled Holly Mathers et al. v.
Northshore Mining Company, case number Civ. No. 99-1938
(MJD/RLE), was filed in the US District Court of the District of
Minnesota, Fifth Division on June 25, 2002.


OREGON: Lead Poisoning Spurs Recall of 1.4 Million Toy Necklaces
----------------------------------------------------------------
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a national
recall of more than 1.4 million metal toy necklaces after a
Deschutes County child who owned the toy came down with lead
poisoning, KATU.com reports.  

"Even though a recall is underway, we want parents to know that
some vending machines in Oregon may still contain these
medallions," said Michael Heuman, epidemiologist at the Oregon
Department of Human Services.

"Parents should check their child's toys at home for these
items," Mr. Heuman said.  "If you find one of these medallions,
discard it and wash your hands after handling."

The Deschutes County child was hospitalized in August with lead
poisoning after swallowing the lead medallion on a necklace
purchased through a toy vending machine.  

Lab analysis of two similar medallions found 37 percent and 44
percent lead content, respectively, according to Mr. Heuman.  
The medallion the Deschutes County child swallowed was 39
percent lead, according to the Oregon agency.

Ingesting or breathing even small amounts of lead can be
harmful, experts said.  It is especially dangerous to children
because it can accumulate in bone and slow growth and
development.

The child in Deschutes County is recovering following treatment,
Mr. Heuman said.


ORLEANS HOMEBUILDERS: Reaches Settlement For NJ Homeowners' Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Orleans Homebuilders, Inc. agreed to settle a class action filed
against it and certain of its unnamed affiliates, in Burlington
County Court, New Jersey.  The Township of Mount Laurel
intervened as a party in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleged, in part, that certain townhomes and
condominiums designed and constructed by Orleans Homebuilders,
Inc. and certain of its affiliates did not have sufficient
combustion air in the utility rooms, thereby causing a carbon
monoxide build-up in the homes.

In January 2003, the Company reached a settlement of the
lawsuit.  Approximately 3,600 homeowners will be given the
opportunity to have their homes inspected by the Township of
Mount Laurel to determine whether the utility room has adequate
combustion air as required by the applicable construction code
in effect at the time the home was constructed.  If the
inspection reveals inadequate combustion air, the Company, at
its sole cost, will repair the home.

In addition, those homeowners given the opportunity to have
their homes inspected also will be given the opportunity to
receive a carbon monoxide detector at the Company's sole cost
and expense.  The Township of Mount Laurel will act as
administrator and the Company has agreed to pay the township for
the homes inspected, up to an aggregate of $100,000.

Further, approximately 1,700 homeowners will be given a one time
opportunity to have their gas-fired appliances inspected and
cleaned at the Company's sole cost and expense.  The Company has
agreed to pay plaintiffs' attorneys' fees and costs of $445,000.


SCIENTIFIC ATLANTA: Named As Defendant in Charter MO Stock Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Scientific Atlanta, Inc. was named as co-defendant in securities
class actions pending against Charter Communications, Inc. and
certain of Charter's present/former officers and directors in
the United States District Court of the Eastern District of
Missouri.

Plaintiffs in these cases seek to represent a putative class of
investors in Charter stock from November 8, 1999 to July 17,
2002, and allege various securities law violations by Charter
and its management.  The consolidated complaint further alleges
that certain commercial transactions between Charter and
Scientific-Atlanta relating to Charter's purchase of digital
set-top boxes and a marketing support arrangement resulted in
violations of securities laws as to investors in Charter's
securities.

The consolidated complaint does not allege any impropriety as to
the Company's financial statements or statements made to its
investors.  Plaintiffs are seeking to recover damages from the
Company in an unspecified amount.


SCIENTIFIC ATLANTA: Briefing on Interlocutory Appeal Completed
--------------------------------------------------------------
Briefing on Scientific Atlanta, Inc.'s motion for the
certification of interlocutory appeal for the securities class
action filed against it and certain of its officers has been
completed in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Georgia.  The suit alleges violations of the federal
securities laws.   

The Company asked the court to dismiss the suit, which the court
denied on December 23, 2002.  The court certified for appeal on
April 15, 2003 an issue raised by the Company in its motion for
certification of interlocutory appeal and stayed discovery in
the securities class action pending resolution of such appeal.
The appeals court granted the petition for interlocutory appeal
on June 12, 2003.  

The securities fraud suit styled Cyntje v. Scientific Atlanta
Inc. et al. was filed on August 3, 2001 in the U.S. District
Court for the Northern District of Georgia.  Plaintiffs in this
action are represented by Fred Taylor Isquith, Esq., Gregory M.
Nespole, Esq., Gustavo Bruckner, Esq., Michael Miske, Esq., and
George Peters of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP.


SCIENTIFIC ATLANTA: Plaintiffs To Drop Class Claims in GA Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs in a class action filed against Scientific Atlanta,
Inc., alleging violations of the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act (ERISA) asked the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Georgia to allow him to remove the
class action claims in the suit.

The suit was brought against the Company and several of its
officers and directors alleging breaches of fiduciary
obligations to participants in Scientific-Atlanta's 401(k) plan.  
The Company asked for the suit's dismissal.  In response to the
motion to dismiss, plaintiff Randolph J. Schaubs, has moved the
court to allow him to amend his complaint to remove all ERISA
claims, remove all class action claims and convert the complaint
into an individual claim for damages under the Georgia
securities laws.  The court has not yet ruled on the plaintiff's
motion to amend his complaint.

The ERISA suit against Scientific Atlanta Inc. was filed on
January 3, 2003 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of Georgia.  Plaintiffs in this action are represented
by Lynn Sarko of Keller Rohrback LLP, and defendant by Alston &
Bird LLP, who filed motion for dismissal on June 16, 2003.


SMART & FINAL: Agrees To Settle Overtime Wage Suits In CA Courts
----------------------------------------------------------------
Smart & Final Inc. entered into an agreement to settle all
claims related to two purported class action lawsuits involving
the compensation of certain California-based managerial
employees, Businesswire reports.

The lawsuits are Camacho v. Smart & Final Inc., which asserted
that salaried California store managers and assistant managers
may be entitled to overtime pay, and Perea v. Smart & Final
Inc., which challenged Smart & Final's calculation of store
managers' profit sharing.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Smart & Final will
pay $7.6 million in cash and $1.5 million in scrip redeemable in
its stores.  Plaintiffs' attorney fees, costs and administrative
expenses will be paid from the settlement amount.  The remaining
amount will be distributed among eligible class members who
submit timely claim forms.  The proposed settlement will be
submitted jointly by the parties to the court for final
approval.

Smart & Final denies all liability in these cases, and the
settlement agreement disclaims any liability or wrongdoing by
the company.  The company has agreed to the settlement in order
to resolve all of the plaintiff's claims without the continuing
distraction and expense of protracted litigation.


SOUTH CAROLINA: High Court To Rule on Suit On Retirees' Pensions
----------------------------------------------------------------
The South Carolina High Court will rule in a class action
challenging a 1989 state law taxing federal and state retirees'
pensions, the Columbia State reports.

Federal retiree Doris Stieglitz Ward filed the suit in 1998 in
Richland County State Court, charging the state law was
unconstitutional.  Ms. Ward filed the suit on behalf of an
estimated 65,000 federal retirees and more than 94,000 state
retirees in South Carolina.

The suit charges South Carolina with not complying with an 1989
US Supreme Court ruling, which said that states could no longer
tax state and federal retirees' pensions differently.  At the
time, South Carolina was among 23 states that taxed federal
retirees' pensions but exempted state retirees' pensions.  The
High Court said states had to either exempt both groups from
income taxes or tax them both.

In 1989, the state legislature started taxing state retirees'
pensions, but also increased state pensions by 7 percent - the
state income tax rate.  Ms. Ward alleged that this gave "tax
rebates" to state retirees, discriminating against federal
retirees.

If the High Court ruled in favor of the federal retirees, the
state could be forced to pay more than $200 million in income
tax refunds going back to 1995, and would lose another $22.5
million a year in income taxes, Michael Sponhour, spokesman for
the state Budget and Control Board said, the Columbia State
reports.

The state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Ward's case
yesterday.  Any decision likely will be appealed to the US
Supreme Court.  That means eligible federal retirees would not
receive any refunds immediately, even with a state Supreme Court
ruling in their favor.

The state, in court papers, argues that lawmakers didn't violate
the 1989 ruling by increasing state pensions, pointing out that
both groups pay the same tax rate.  "On the flimsiest of legal
grounds, federal retirees are demanding that this court, in
effect, issue them a check in the amount of several hundred
million dollars," the state said in its legal brief.


ST. JUDE: Canada Court Allows Silzone Valves Lawsuit To Proceed
---------------------------------------------------------------
An Ontario, Canada court allowed the lawsuit filed against St.
Judge Medical over its Silzone mechanical heart valves to
proceed as a class action, CBC News reports.

Silzone valves were coated in silver to reduce the rate of
infection in patients.  In 1997, Health Canada approved the
valve, despite internal documents questioning the company's
claim that the silver reduced infection rates.  In 2000, the
Company recalled the valve because they were making people sick.

Lead plaintiff Eric Anderson received Silzone heart valves in
1998, one of about 2,300 Canadians who were implanted with the
devices between 1997 and 2000.  The sutures on one of the valves
tore away from the heart muscles, causing a leak that made his
heart work harder than it should have.

"It's a terrible feeling always to be scared that something can
happen tomorrow," Mr. Anderson told CBC News.

The suit charges the Company with being negligent in its
research and development of the valve.  Mr. Anderson's lawyer
James Newland told CBC News that the company should have known
there would be problems with the valve before it sought approval
from government regulators.  He further stated that the company
vigorously marketed the product without proper testing.

The Company denied the allegations, saying it acted responsibly
when it recalled the valve.  "We did a voluntary recall of this
valve back in January 2000 and we've been responding to claims
from litigants and their attorneys since then," spokesman Peter
Gove told CBC News.

The Company is opposing class certification for the suit,
because each patient's history and experience is different.  St.
Jude has until next week to appeal the decision to allow the
suit to go forward as a class action.


TAKE-TWO INTERACTIVE: Family of Highway Shooting To File Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Games publisher Take-Two Interactive faces a potential class
action, after two boys, allegedly influenced by the "Grand Theft
Auto" games, opened fire on vehicles on a highway,
gamesindustry.biz reports.

Two boys, aged 16 and 14 years old, shot vehicles on a highway
with a .22 rifle, killing one man and injuring another severely.  
Relatives of the man are preparing to file a US$100 million
lawsuit, after the boys said they were acting out something they
had seen in Grand Theft Auto 3, their favorite video game.

Lawyer for the family Jack Thompson believes he has grounds to
file a class action suit against the publisher, which could
include hundreds of other cases.  "We want to tell the video
game industry that if they're going to continue to market adult-
rated games to children with these horrific consequences, then
we're going to take their blood money," Mr. Thompson said in a
statement this week, gamesindustry.biz reports.

"In the past few days I have been contacted by dozens of other
people, and there may be hundreds more cases.  This will send a
message that they have to stop this practice or there will be
other suits on behalf of other people, killed by these games,"
he said.


TENNESSEE: Inmates File Suit Over Lack of Necessary Medical Care
----------------------------------------------------------------
Washington County, Tennessee authorities face a class action
filed in the United States District Court in Tennessee, by four
jail inmates who alleged they were being denied necessary
medical care, the Knoxville News reports.

Inmates David Hartsell, Roger Blaylock Jr., Keith Largent and
Jimmy Kinney filed the civil rights suit, alleging that Sheriff
Ed Graybeal, Assistant Deputy Chief Brenda Downes, Dr. Vince
Pinyard and registered nurse Pat Hollifield, medical director
for the jail, allegedly refused to give Mr. Hartsell his
prescriptions for chronic pain and anxiety disorder.  The
plaintiffs seek $10 million in combined compensatory and
punitive damages.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Court Won't Re-hear Engle Verdict Reversal
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Third District Court of Appeals in Florida will not hear any
more arguments over its decision to reject the landmark $145
billion verdict in a class action filed by a group of Florida
smokers against some of the nation's largest cigarette
companies, it announced this week, law.com reports.

Florida's smokers filed the suit in 1994 in the Miami-Dade
Circuit Court, alleging the tobacco firms conspired to cover up
the health effects of smoking.  The suit further alleges that
the victims were unable to stop smoking as they were addicted to
nicotine and developed medical problems as a result, like cancer
and heart disease.  The suit named as defendants:

     (1) Philip Morris,

     (2) The Liggett Group,

     (3) Brown & Williamson,

     (4) Lorillard and

     (5) RJ Reynolds Co.

In 1996, the appellate court allowed the suit to proceed as a
class action.  In July 2000, the state court awarded plaintiffs
with $145 billion in damages, the largest punitive award in US
history.  

In its May ruling decertifying the class, the appeals court
stated that the claims of each class-member were too unique to
be tried collectively.  The court also criticized the trial
plan, which allowed the jury to award class-wide punitive
damages before determining the injuries to each individual
member.  The Court also criticized lawyer for the plaintiffs
Stanley Rosenblatt for allegedly making improper, race-based
appeals to the predominantly black jury during closing
arguments.  The court also stated that the $145 billion verdict
was improper because it would bankrupt the companies.

This week, the appellate panel, composed of Judges David
Gersten, David Levy and Mario Goderich, denied a motion for
rehearing in the suit as well as a motion to certify the case to
the Florida Supreme Court as an issue of great public
importance.  The court also refused to rehear the case en banc.  
The order did not say why the court declined to take another
look, law.com reports.

"We are very pleased and gratified by the court's ruling,"
Elliot Scherker, a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig in Miami who
represented the tobacco companies in the appeal, told law.com.

Lawyer for the plaintiffs Stanley and Susan Rosenblatt's only
legal recourse is to seek review by the Florida Supreme Court.  
Legal experts assert that the only way the high court can take
jurisdiction is for the Rosenblatts to prove that the 3rd DCA's
opinion conflicts with another appellate district, legal experts
say.

"The 3rd District's decision is based on very well-established
principals of law," Mr. Scherker told law.com.  "We are
confident that there is no basis for a claim of conflict."

If the Florida Supreme Court denies review, the Rosenblatts can
petition the US Supreme Court.

Stanley Rosenblatt declined comment, but in court papers, he
accused Judge Gersten of lifting entire passages of arguments
submitted to the court by the industry, and using the language
as the basis for tossing the verdict, law.com reports.


The smokers class action Engle v. RJ Reynolds, Philip Morris et
al. filed in 1994 was originally in the Eleventh Judicial Court
of Dade County, Florida before Judge James Lawrence King, case
number 94-08273.  On May 21, 2003, the 3rd District Court of
Appeals in Florida issued an opinion stating the failure of the
case to meet class certification, and reversing the damages
award.  Plaintiffs in this action are represented by Stanley &
Susan Rosenblatt, and defendants by Alvin Davis, Elliot Scherker
and Edward Moss.


UNISTAR FINANCIAL: SEC Files Injunctive Action For Stock Fraud
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed
a civil injunctive action against Unistar Financial Service
Corporation, formerly a Dallas-based insurance and financial
services reporting company and:

     (1) Marc A. Sparks, 45, of Dallas, Texas,  

     (2) Phillip H. Clayton, 55, of Houston, Texas, and

     (3) Dino A. Romano, 34, of Staten Island, New York, and
         Delray Beach, Florida, and

     (4) others

The complaint alleges that Mr. Sparks, Unistar's former chairman
and CEO, Mr. Clayton, a convicted felon, and Mr. Romano, a
securities fraud recidivist, engaged in a manipulative scheme
that drove Unistar's stock price to $61 per share in 1999 and
enabled the company to make the Russell 2000 index.   

The three individuals realized $32 million in proceeds by
directly and indirectly selling thousands of Unistar shares into
the inflated market in a series of unregistered transactions.  
Other defendants include F. Jeffrey Nelson, 46, a resident of
Meridian, Texas, the former president and CFO of Unistar,
Cynthia Jackson, 44, of Houston, Texas, Nicole Clayton Caver,
30, of Dallas, Texas, Mr. Clayton's daughter, and Intermark
Investments, Inc., and Turner Holdings, Inc., two Texas
corporations.   The Commission is seeking various remedies,
including permanent injunctions, disgorgement, and civil money
penalties.  


UNITED STATES: Firms To Pay $1.5M Fine For Not Revealing Defects
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Tuesday that it
has settled three cases involving Brunswick Corporation, Murray
Inc., and Blue Coral-Slick 50 Inc. and imposed penalties
totaling $1.5 million, AP Newswire reports.

Brunswick Corporation agreed to a $1 million penalty over
allegations that it didn't report in a timely manner that it had
learned of injuries involving defective forks on its Mongoose
and Roadmaster bicycles.  The company conducted three recalls
with CPSC between May 2000 and April 2002, with a final recall
total of 103,000 bikes.

Murray Inc. agreed to $375,000 in civil penalties to settle
allegations that between November 2000 and February 2002, the
company received over 900 reports of riding lawn mower gas tanks
cracking and leaking fuel, resulting in six fires and one burn
injury, and failed to inform CPSC of the incidents.  In March
2002, Murray agreed to a recall of nearly 100,000 lawnmowers
sold under the Murray, Murray Select, Craftsman and Wizard brand
names.

Blue Coral-Slick 50 Inc. agreed to a $150,000 penalty for
failing to package some of its windshield products in child-
resistant packaging.  The firm distributed about 1 million
bottles and pouches of Rain-X Super Glass Cleaner Concentrate,
Washer Fluid Additive and Plus Washer Fluid Concentrate without
child resistant closures, as required by law. This represents
the first civil penalty the CPSC has imposed against a company
for violating the Poison Prevention Packaging Act.

The companies deny knowingly violating the law.

    
UNITED STATES: CPSC Warns of Strangulation Risk For Yo-yo Toy
-------------------------------------------------------------
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission announced recently
that, based on current information, it believes there is a low
but potential risk of strangulation from the "yo-yo water ball
toy", especially for younger children.

Based on the pattern of incidents, the number of products
involved, the low likelihood of strangulation, and the technical
staff's assessment of the risk of injury presented by the
product, the yo-yo water ball toy does not meet congressionally
mandated standards for product recall.

The commission has received 186 reports of incidents in which
the yo-yo ball toy's cord wrapped around a child's neck. In all
cases, a parent or child successfully removed the cord from the
child's neck.  Although there were no lasting injuries, seven
cases reported broken blood vessels affecting eyes, eyelids,
cheeks, neck, scalp or the area behind the ears.  CPSC staff
realizes that the reported incidents are uncomfortable and
anxiety-provoking events for children and adults.

Parents who are concerned about this risk could, in addition to
closely supervising the use of this toy, cut the cord off the
toy (leaving a squishy toy ball for children to play with) or
throw the toy away.

"We believe that parents should exercise caution in allowing
children to play with this toy," said CPSC Chairman Hal
Stratton.  "The commission will continue to monitor incidents
involving the yo-yo water ball toy."

The commission also investigated reports of potential toxicity
from the liquid inside the toy and flammability from a flame
test of the yo-yo ball toy.  CPSC staff found no toxicity or
flammability concerns.


VL DISSOLUTION: Approves Issuance of Settlement Shares For Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
VL Dissolution Corporation approved the issuance of the 2.0
million settlement shares to the class members, which issuance
is anticipated to be completed by Computershare, the transfer
agent for the Company's capital stock, within 10 to 14 days from
the approval of the issuance.

A number of private shareholder class actions alleging
violations of federal securities laws were filed against the
Company and certain of its former officers in the United States
District Court for the District of Colorado beginning in June
2000.

On January 22, 2003, the Company, the class action
representatives and the individual defendants executed and filed
a stipulation of settlement with the court.  The terms under the
Stipulation provided that the Company pay $250,000 in cash and
issue 2.0 million shares of its common stock to settle that
action.  On March 28, 2003, the court approved the settlement of
the private securities class action as fair and reasonable to
the members of the class.  Following the hearing, the court
entered its final judgment and order of dismissal of the actions
with prejudice.

On May 7, 2003, the Company paid $250,000 in cash to the class.  
On September 12, 2003, the Company received from the class
action representatives&' claims administrator the names of the
shareholders in the plaintiff class and the amount of shares to
be issued to each shareholder pursuant to the settlement.  On
September 15, 2003, the Company's Board of Directors approved
the issuance of the 2.0 million settlement shares to the class
members, which issuance is anticipated to be completed by
Computershare, the transfer agent for the Company's capital
stock, within 10 to 14 days from the approval of the issuance.

The securities fraud class action against VL Dissolution was
initiated on June 9, 2000.  The US District Court for the
District of Colorado held a fairness hearing and approved the
settlement of the class action on March 28, 2003.  Plaintiffs in
this action are represented by Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman &
Herz LLP, Charles W. Lilley, Pomerantz Haudek Block Grossman &
Gross LLP, and Anthony Vozzolo, Esq., of Faruqi & Faruqi LLP,
among others.


WAL-MART STORES: Asks CA Court To Dismiss Huge Sex Bias Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. asked the United States District Court for
the Northern District of California to dismiss the gender
discrimination class action filed against each of its 3,473
stores nationwide on behalf of 1.6 million current and former
women workers, the Rapid City Journal reports.

Seven current and former female Wal-Mart employees sued the
Bentonville, Arkansas, company, charging that Wal-Mart
systematically denies women equal pay and opportunities for
promotion.  The women are asking the court to expand the
plaintiffs' group to all current and former female Wal-Mart
employees in the United States since December 1998, an earlier
Class Action Reporter story states.  The suit charges the
Company with setting up a system that pays its female workers
less than their male counterparts and bypasses women for key
promotions.

The Company told Federal Judge Martin Jenkins that the suit
ignores the thousands of women who earn more than their male
counterparts.  The Company said the lawsuit's allegations are
flawed because they don't consider the factors that cause one
job to pay more than another.

The Company also asserted that its stores operated with so much
autonomy that they were more like independent businesses with
different management styles.  Pursuing the allegations as a
single class action "is absolutely unmanageable on a nationwide
basis," Mr. Grossman told the court.  "It would require a mind-
boggling number of individual determinations."

Company lawyer Nancy Abell told Judge Jenkins that if the suit
were certified as a class, the company will seek testimony from
4,000 store managers, resulting in a trial that would last 13
years.  

Lawyer for the plaintiffs Brad Seligman dismissed the Company's
assertions, saying, "Wal-Mart stores are virtually identical in
structure and job duties . There is a high emphasis on a common
culture, which is the glue that holds the company together."

Judge Jenkins didn't issue a decision Wednesday after listening
to more than six hours of arguments in a packed San Francisco
courtroom, the Rapid City Journal stated.  He didn't provide a
timetable for making his decision.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., is pending in the US District Court of the
Northern District of California before Judge Martin Jenkins,
case number C-01-2252 MJJ.  Plaintiffs in this action are
represented by lead plaintiffs' lawyer Brad Seligman of The
Impact Fund, Equal Rights Advocates, Public Justice Center,
Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll, Davis Cowell & Bowe and Tinkler
& Bennett, and defendant by Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker
partner Nancy Abell as lead counsel.



WELLS FARGO: MD Customers Launch Lawsuit Over Fraudulent Fees
-------------------------------------------------------------
Wells Fargo Bank faces a class action filed in Baltimore County
Circuit Court, asserting the top home mortgage lender
fraudulently overcharged customers on home equity loans, the
Associated Press reports.  

The suit further alleges that the Company collected recordation
fees from its customers even though refinancing loans are exempt
from such fees, and makes claims for:

     (1) negligence,

     (2) breach of contract and

     (3) violations of Maryland's Consumer Protection Act

Attorney for the plaintiffs Matthew H. Azrael of Towson told The
(Baltimore) Daily Record that he is unsure of how many Maryland
residents may be affected by the overcharges, but said a study
in Frederick County, Maryland found 97 similar transactions
related to Wells Fargo customers.

"If the sampling in Frederick County is any indication, we
believe it's a very large class of consumers that's affected by
this," Mr. Azrael told the Daily Record.

Dennis Wyss, a Wells Fargo spokesman, declined to comment,
citing the company's policy against discussing pending
litigation, the Associated Press reports.

The consumer fraud suit against San Francisco-based Wells Fargo
Bank, was filed on September 24, 2003 in the Circuit Court of
Baltimore County, Maryland.  Named plaintiffs Lawrence D.
Adashek and Karen H. Adashek are represented by attorney Matthew
H. Azrael of Azrael Gann & Franz LLP.


                       Asbestos Alert




ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Asbestos Advisory Sparks Fear of Injury
------------------------------------------------------------
The Department of Communication and Information released an
advisory on how to handle asbestos dust.  Two weeks after the
Hurricane Fabian struck, DCI's statement circulated saying there
is an abundance of asbestos roofing debris created by the
hurricane and that affected homeowners should, ideally, hire an
asbestos abatement contractor to prepare the substance for
collection by Government, according to a report from the Royal
Gazette.

"I can't speak to that - not being a health expert but asbestos
is dangerous when airborne," said Health Minister Patrice Minors
when asked whether there was a looming public health crisis.  
"It has been indicated to me by my technical officers that there
is no reason for alarm but we would want people to use
precaution if they have reason to believe that asbestos is
indicated."

She said those who were not sure whether they had asbestos
debris should contact the Health Department.  Government
officials contacted yesterday could not say how many Island
residences were known to have asbestos.

"I would not have used that word (abundance) to be honest," said
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Cann.  "I would agree the word
abundance was not the appropriate term.  There is no reason for
people to panic."

The press release was "just a precautionary measure reminding
people of something that's been repeated many times over", he
said.  

Dr. Cann said that the advisory was prepared in response to
calls to his department and acknowledged that they could have
been more 'proactive" and issued the warnings earlier.  In years
past asbestos was widely used in corrugated roofing for small
structures like sheds.  It is also used, in its potentially more
dangerous form, as insulation for pipes and soundproofing.  
Either way it has to be made airborne for it to be harmful.

"As long as its not disturbed - if you don't saw it or drill
into it - it's okay," Dr. Cann continued.  "But we still
encourage people who deal with it to let us know so we can
recommend the appropriate contractor.  And our concern was that
there may still be some people who still have asbestos or
building materials that may have some form of asbestos that may
have been damaged in the hurricane.  I would say that there is
no cause for alarm."

Government does have a handle on commercial and public use
buildings with asbestos in them, but they have no idea what the
situation is in the private residential sector.  He dismissed a
suggestion that the advisory is likely useless because most
residential areas have already been cleaned up.

"I can't one hundred percent agree with that because people are
going to be concerned with their own roofs first, and damage to
their houses," he continued.

The advisory was a joint release between the Works and
Engineering Department and the Health Department.  It recommends
wearing gloves and a dust mask when handling the substance,
wetting it to minimize airborne fibers, placing in a cardboard
box and then double wrapping the box and taping thoroughly.  
Government begins collecting the debris this week until
September 30.  Those who do not put their asbestos out for
collection will have to deliver it to the Government Quarry in
Bailey's Bay.

The latest Government report on asbestos has been completed but
not yet released.  Mrs. Minors said that she intends to release
it during the next parliamentary session.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: New Asbestos Legislation May Not Be Passed
---------------------------------------------------------------
Creating a trust fund that would virtually limit asbestos-
related lawsuits and bankruptcies and help asbestos victims is
having a hard time getting the green light.

"That's a bill that looks like it is languishing," said J.P.
Dowd, who is a spokesman for Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

It seems that Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-
Utah is the lone optimistic believer of the passage of SB1125.  
"I am going to get it done, just count on it," said Sen. Hatch.

The Republicans did not quite like the way Hatch tried to
increase the benefits that asbestos victims would receive. Labor
unions and the business sector have also grown disillusioned
with the effort and are urging legislators to kill it.  

An officer of business organizations initially backed Sen. Hatch
because they say a flood of asbestos lawsuits is blocking the
growth of the economy and is responsible for more than 60
bankruptcies since 2000.  Critics of the lawsuit say many of the
people who have filed them have not been made ill by their
exposure to asbestos.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Council to Pay GBP3T for Health Violations
---------------------------------------------------------------
A local council was fined GBP3000 for health and safety rules
violations after workers were exposed to asbestos.  West Lothian
Council admitted three health and safety offences at Livingston
Sheriff Court, Great Britain.

The violation was discovered when council electricians worked to
rewire Uphall Primary School, which was immediately shut down
and around 300 pupils due to start the new term a week later
were transferred to surrounding schools for the next three
months.  The authority was blamed for failing to carry out an
adequate assessment of risks, failing to identify the particular
type of asbestos and for not having an adequate system in place
to remove the asbestos.

Sheriff Grahame Fleming said, "These are serious charges and
will no doubt cause great anxiety to the workers involved."

The court heard how a council inspection of the school before
work started in summer 2002 had spotted asbestos in ceiling
tiles in the toilets and kitchen areas, but, crucially, missed
the substance in the ceiling tiles of classrooms.  Expert teams
were called in to remove the material from part of the school,
but rewiring of the classrooms was left to ordinary
electricians.

The workmen had cut into ceiling tiles to gain access to
lighting fixtures, unaware the backs of the tiles were coated
with an asbestos mixture used as a protection against fire.  An
expert working in another part of the school later pointed out
the danger.

There are three types of asbestos - white, brown and blue - and
all are dangerous, although white, the color found at the
school, is the least hazardous.

Deputy fiscal Fiona Macdonald told the court how the men had to
smash through the tiles to get them down, adding, "This resulted
in dusty conditions and, obviously, exposure to the asbestos.  
The work continued seven days a week for about five weeks."

Defense agent Laurence Murphy QC told the court that the council
had later spent GBP350 thousand removing the asbestos from the
classrooms after it was discovered.  He told how the council was
now surveying every building it owns to produce a register of
asbestos problems.

A West Lothian Council spokesman said the GBP3000 fine was
imposed on one charge and that the council had been admonished
on another two.  Not guilty pleas were accepted in respect of
another three charges, according to a report from Edinburgh
News.  

He said, "The charges arose from a failure to adequately
investigate the circumstances at this particular school . This
can be explained to some extent by the fact that the asbestos
was hidden.  In imposing sentence, the sheriff accepted it was
an error of judgment rather than a flagrant breach of
regulations.  Work was stopped as soon as asbestos was
discovered in ceiling tiles and the Health and Safety Executive
was contacted immediately."

He added, "The council is currently carrying out an asbestos
survey of all its buildings and a comprehensive register will be
in place by April next year to comply with new regulations."  


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Asbestos Defendant Gets 5 Years in Denver
-----------------------------------------------------------
Daniel Argil, one of two defendants in the Fort Morgan High
School asbestos crisis of 1999-2000, has been sentenced to 68
months in federal prison.  Mr. Argill, 55, Houston, Texas, was
sentenced by US District Court Judge Edward W. Nottingham in
Denver for his role in illegal handling of asbestos at the
school during the summer of 1999, said John Suthers, United
States attorney for the district of Colorado, according to a
report from Fort Morgan Times.

Mr. Argil was also ordered to pay restitution of $232,052.90 to
the Fort Morgan School District.  He was remanded into custody
and ordered to start serving his sentence immediately.  

A sentencing hearing was held at the same time for co-defendant
David Backus, 56, of Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Mr. Backus was indicted
by a federal grand jury in Denver on March 15, 2003, and pleaded
guilty on May 8, 2003.  Mr. Backus' sentencing hearing was
continued until November.  He is free on bond pending
sentencing.

"Justice has been served," said Dr. Dan Patterson, Fort Morgan
superintendent of schools.  "He (Argil) made it very clear that
he was accountable and would take the punishment that the judge
gave him."

Mr. Argil's sentence is the longest handed down in relation to
the illegal handling of asbestos, Mr. Suthers said.  Factors
that led to Mr. Argil's lengthy prison sentence included
findings by Nottingham that the defendant's actions resulted in
a substantial risk to the health of the occupants of the school
as well as the fact that his illegal handling of the asbestos
caused the high school to be closed for a substantial period of
time.

Mr. Patterson said the sentence could have been longer but that
Argil helped the government in its case.  The superintendent has
said that the asbestos problems cost the district as much as $8
million, some of which was mitigated by state funding
assistance.

A federal grand jury in Denver returned an indictment March 13,
2001, charging Argil with violating the Clean Air Act and Clean
Water Act, as well as making false statements and mail fraud.  
Mr. Argil pleaded guilty Dec. 11, 2002.

According to the indictment, Mr. Argil was employed by National
Service Cleaning Corp. (NSCC), an asbestos abatement company
hired to remove asbestos at Fort Morgan High School.  He was a
project supervisor responsible for overseeing all abatement
activities.  Steve Herron and Associates Inc., an independent
consultant hired by Morgan County School District to monitor the
asbestos abatement, employed Backus.

According to the plea agreement, Mr. Argil knowingly caused
hazardous asbestos to be released into the air, causing a
substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to Fort
Morgan High School students, faculty, staff and NSCC employees,
if the contamination he caused had not been taken care of.  He
knowingly directed employees to mishandle the asbestos during
the removal process, the agreement specified.  

A high-powered water sprayer was used to remove the asbestos,
which resulted in asbestos being discharged outside the
containment area.  The water-laden asbestos migrated to areas
within the school, including inside lockers and wall systems.  
After the water evaporated, the asbestos remained as a dry
powder that easily became airborne and thus was much more
dangerous.

As a result of their actions, Mr. Argil and Mr. Backus left Fort
Morgan High School contaminated with asbestos when students,
faculty, staff and employees returned to the school in the fall
of 1999.  Further, NSCC employees allegedly undertook tasks to
conceal NSCC's failure to conduct the asbestos abatement
project.

The school was closed by a Colorado Department of Health and
Environment order in February 2000, and remained closed the rest
of the semester while a massive school-wide abatement was
undertaken.  High school and middle school classes went on an
alternating extended days schedule at the middle school until
the high school reopened for the fall, 2000, term.

This case was investigated by the Environmental Protection
Agency, the Internal Revenue Service and the Immigration and
Naturalization Service (now the Bureau of Immigration and
Customs Enforcement).  The case was prosecuted by assistant
United States attorneys John Haried, Robert Mydans and James
Hearty.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: OH Council To Pay Cost of Asbestos Cleanup
---------------------------------------------------------------
County council chiefs are proposing to pay for decontamination
work at Southfield School for Girls in Kettering, Ohio and then
claim the cash back from the school's insurers, according to a
report from Kettering Today.  GBP1 million is reserved already
to defray the cost of mobile classrooms at the school site from
November.

Andrew Sortwell, director of education and community learning,
is proposing the move but needs the backing of the council's
executive committee before it is finalized.  "I will be asking
for county reserves to be used to fund the refurbishment of the
school in the first instance.  Obviously the intention will be
to claim this money back from insurers because at the end of the
day it is taxpayers' money," Mr. Sortwell said.

More than 60 specialist workers will move into the Lewis Road
building at the start of next month.  They will have to wear
chemical suits and respirators.  It is hoped some parts of the
school will be back in use by the end of November, but the main
school building will not be open again until Easter at the
earliest.  The school has been shut since the start of term
because ceiling tiles containing brown and white asbestos were
not properly removed during electrical work.

Students continue to be taught at Kettering Leisure Village,
Wicksteed Park, the Woodcroft Scout Centre and Kettering Rugby
Club.  The school had asked to use the former Our Lady's Convent
School, which closed in July, but changes in the insurance
coverage on the Hall Lane building mean this is not possible.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Cooper Updates Asbestos Liability Status
-------------------------------------------------------------
Cooper Industries Ltd reports that it is obligated to Pneumo, a
former unit, for any asbestos-related claims arising from the
Abex product line.

In October 1998, Cooper sold its Automotive Products business to
Federal-Mogul Corporation.  These discontinued businesses
(including the Abex product line obtained from Pneumo-Abex
Corporation in 1994) were operated through subsidiary companies,
and the stock of those subsidiaries was sold to Federal-Mogul
pursuant to a Purchase and Sale Agreement dated August 17, 1998.  
In conjunction with the sale, Federal-Mogul indemnified Cooper
for certain liabilities of these subsidiary companies, including
liabilities related to the Abex product line and any potential
liability that Cooper may have to Pneumo pursuant to a 1994
Mutual Guaranty Agreement between Cooper and Pneumo.

Based on information provided by representatives of Federal-
Mogul and recent claims experience, from August 28, 1998 through
June 30, 2003, a total of 108,739 Abex Claims were filed, of
which 50,689 claims have been resolved leaving 58,050 Abex
Claims pending at June 30, 2003, that are the responsibility of
Federal-Mogul. During the three months ended June 30, 2003,
5,438 claims were filed and 14,748 claims were resolved.  Since
August 28, 1998, the average indemnity payment for resolved Abex
Claims was $1,166 before insurance.  Cooper has rights,
confirmed by Pneumo, to significant insurance for such claims.

A total of $44,000,000 was spent on defense costs for the period
August 28, 1998 through June 30, 2003.  Historically, existing
insurance coverage has provided 50% to 80% of the total defense
and indemnity payments for Abex Claims.

With the assistance of independent advisors, Bates White &
Ballentine, LLC, in the fourth quarter of 2001 Cooper completed
a thorough analysis of its potential exposure for asbestos
liabilities in the event Federal-Mogul rejects the 1998
Agreement.

The analysis included a review of the twenty-year history of
Abex Claims; the average indemnity payments for resolved claims;
the jurisdictions in which claims had been filed; Bates White &
Ballentine, LLC data on the incidence of asbestos exposure and
diseases in various industries; existing insurance coverage
including the insurance recovered by Pneumo and Federal-Mogul
for pre-bankruptcy claims and the contractual indemnities.

Assumptions were made regarding future claim filings and
indemnity payments, and, based on the advisor's data, the
expected population of persons exposed to asbestos in particular
industries.  All of this data was used to determine a reasonable
expectation of future claims, indemnity payments and insurance
coverage.  At this time, the manner in which this issue
ultimately will be resolved is not known.  Cooper is preserving
its rights as a creditor for breach of Federal-Mogul's
indemnification to Cooper and its rights against all Federal-
Mogul subsidiaries.

Cooper intends to take all actions to seek a resolution of the
indemnification issues and future handling of the Abex-related
claims within the Federal-Mogul bankruptcy proceedings.  At June
30, 2003, the accrual for potential liabilities related to the
Federal-Mogul bankruptcy was $76,400,000.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Dupont Battles 11 Asbestos Cases in Ireland
----------------------------------------------------------------
DuPont reports that it faces 11 asbestos-related lawsuits
alleging personal injuries.  The Londonderry-based company
denied all accusations saying it has stopped using asbestos in
its Maydown plant since 1978.

Spokesman of the company said, "Eleven asbestos-related claims
are being dealt with, for a site which has employed several
thousand people over a period of 45 years."

A new group has been formed to back alleged asbestos-related
disease victims.  According to the spokesman, DuPont is open to
talks with the group and with the whole community to settle the
ongoing controversy.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Foster Wheeler Gets 20,500 New Claims
----------------------------------------------------------
Foster Wheeler Ltd reports that during the quarter it has
received 20,500 new asbestos-related claims and resolved 1,700
and at quarter-end, about 169,900 claims pending.  Asbestos
indemnity and defense costs were pegged at $25,300,000 in the
second quarter, substantially all of which is covered by
insurance.

As previously reported in its regulatory filings, the company's
coverage-in-place arrangement for the funding of its asbestos
program, which covered 95% of all asbestos related costs, was
terminated in June 2001.  Since then the number of pending
claims has increased because of the delay it has experienced in
accessing insurance proceeds.  In the second quarter Foster
Wheeler took an important step in resolving this issue by
entering into a settlement agreement with Liberty Mutual
Insurance Company.

The agreement will provide a significant portion of the funding
for asbestos related costs over a 19-year period.  In July,
Foster Wheeler received an initial payment of $6,000,000.  The
company continues to negotiate similar settlements with other
insurance companies in its portfolio.  As proceeds of insurance
policies become available Foster Wheeler expects the number of
open claims in our portfolio to return to historical levels.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Halliburton Units Consider Asbestos Deals
--------------------------------------------------------------
Halliburton Co.'s units, DII Industries, Kellogg Brown & Root
and others try to wiggle out of their asbestos woes.  According
to a 673-page disclosure statement mailed to some 345,000
claimants, Halliburton, a Houston-based oilfield services firm,
estimates the cash portion of the settlement could be as high as
$3 billion or 9.8 percent higher than previous forecasts, citing
data from lawyers representing claimants, Reuter reports.  
Combined with the value of 59,500,000 common shares to be
contributed to a trust fund for future claimants, the total cost
of the settlement could exceed $4,500,000,000.

In the disclosure statement Halliburton said it expects the
total cost would be less once it completed its own review of the
claims.  Halliburton has come under fire in recent years as
hundreds of thousands of claims were filed by people who say
they were exposed to cancer-causing asbestos and silica at DII
and KBR facilities, Houston Business Journal reports.

Last year, the company agreed to pay about $4,000,000,000 in
stock and cash to settle suits.  However, reaching a definitive
settlement has been delayed as more claimants step forward.  In
July, the company told investors it expected the final
settlement to "modesty exceed" its estimates of $2.780 billion.

According to Reuters, the company said the solicitation will be
completed in less than two weeks, and claimants have been asked
to submit votes by November 5.  If this and several other
conditions are satisfied, Halliburton said DII, KBR and the
other affected units could file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in
November.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Longview Fibre Gets New Asbestos Litigation
----------------------------------------------------------------
Longview Fibre Co. reports that in July and August 23 asbestos-
related actions in Madison County, Illinois named the company as
a defendant.  Given the relatively recent filing of these
lawsuits and the company's dismissal of asbestos-related claims
in Madison County, Longview Fibre is attempting to determine
more specifically the nature of the claims and the reasons why
it is named as a defendant.  

In 2002 Longview Fibre was named a defendant in numerous
asbestos-related actions in Madison County, Illinois and St.
Louis, Missouri, along with numerous other defendants.  In
January 2003, the Madison County, Illinois and St. Louis,
Missouri plaintiffs agreed to dismiss it from all pending
lawsuits in those jurisdictions.  

In each instance, the company was dismissed without any payment
or liability to the plaintiffs.  However, each of the dismissals
was without prejudice, meaning that the plaintiffs could re-
institute those cases.

At this time, Longview Fibre believes that these claims will not
result in its having material liability, if any, for damages.  
It is not possible, however, to predict with certainty the
outcome of these matters.  Predictions as to the outcome of
pending litigation are inherently subject to substantial
uncertainties with respect to, among other things, factual and
judicial determinations.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Lowry Air Force Base Agreement Nears End
-------------------------------------------------------------
Assistant Secretary Nelson Gibbs will sit down and talk with
developers and state health officials for the cleanup at the
former Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado.  The assistant
secretary for installation, environment and logistics, will
visit by the end of the month.

Mr. Gibbs also met with five members of Colorado's congressional
delegation, who has been asking the Air Force to pay the
$4,000,000 the cleanup costs, September 17.  The homebuilders
and the Lowry Redevelopment Authority have spent around that
much so far to remove asbestos at the former base.

The site is being converted into a community of homes and
businesses.  The state health department has proposed a cleanup
plan for the asbestos, but the Air Force argues that the state
standards are too stringent compared with the Air Force's own
asbestos requirements, according to a report from the Aurora
Sentinel.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Roper Maintains Stance of Non-Liability
------------------------------------------------------------
Roper Industries declares in its latest regulatory filing that
it has not incurred any significant cost in connection to
asbestos-claims filed against the company.

There has been a significant increase in certain US states in
asbestos-related litigation claims against numerous industrial
companies.  Roper or its subsidiaries have been named as
defendants in some such cases.

Roper believes it has valid defenses to such claims and, if
required, intends to defend them vigorously.  Given the state of
these claims it is not currently possible to determine the
potential liability, if any, that may be incurred by Roper.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Tenneco, Units Continue to Battle Lawsuits
---------------------------------------------------------------
Tenneco Automotive and its units continue to face asbestos-
related lawsuits by a significant number of claimants.  Many of
the asbestos-related cases involve significant numbers of
individual claimants that involve numerous defendants, with the
number of each in some cases exceeding 200 defendants from a
variety of industries.

Tenneco reveals that it is experiencing an increasing number of
these claims.  The company believes that this is likely due to
bankruptcies of major asbestos manufacturers.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Midwest Generation Posts $5M Indemnity Cost
-----------------------------------------------------------
Midwest Generation records $5,000,000 of liability on known
claims provided by Commonwealth Edison as at June 30, 2003,
according to Mission Energy's latest regulatory filing.

Midwest Generation entered into a supplemental agreement with
Commonwealth Edison on February 20, 2003 to resolve a dispute
regarding interpretation of its reimbursement obligation for
asbestos claims under the environmental indemnities set forth in
the Asset Sale Agreement.

Under this supplemental agreement, Midwest Generation agreed to
reimburse Commonwealth Edison 50% of specific existing asbestos
claims less recovery of insurance costs, and agreed to a sharing
arrangement for liabilities associated with future asbestos-
related claims as specified in the agreement.

The obligations under this agreement are not subject to a
maximum liability.  The supplemental agreement has a five-year
term with an automatic renewal provision (subject to the right
to terminate).  Payments are made under this indemnity by a
valid claim provided from Commonwealth Edison.

Midwest Generation generates and sells electricity wholesale in
the open market.  The company owns 12 electric power-generating
facilities in Illinois and oversees the operation of a
Pennsylvania plant.  The power distributor is a subsidiary of
Edison Mission Energy, a unit of Edison International.


COMPANY PROFILE

Midwest Generation, LLC
One Financial Place, 440 S. LaSalle St., Ste. 3500
Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: 312-583-6000
Fax: 312-583-6111


ASBESTOS ALERT: United National Accrues $5.7M Loss on Asbestos
--------------------------------------------------------------
United National group Ltd reports that as of June 30, 2003, it
has $5,700,000 of net loss reserves for asbestos related claims.  
The group's environmental exposure arises from the sale of
general liability and commercial multi-peril insurance.  
Currently, its policies continue to exclude classic
environmental contamination claims.  In some states United
National is required, however, depending on the facts, to
provide coverage for such bodily injury claims as an
individual's exposure to a release of chemicals.

United National has issued policies that were intended to
provide limited pollution and exposure coverage.  These policies
were specific to certain types of products underwritten by us.  
The group receives a number of asbestos related claims.  Most of
these claims are declined based on well-established exclusions.

The company tries to estimate the full impact of the
environmental and asbestos exposure by establishing full case
reserves on all known losses.  In 2001 and prior years, United
National did not provide specific amounts of IBNR reserves for
these coverages.  In 2002, it identified that portion of its
IBNR reserves related to environmental and asbestos.


COMPANY PROFILE

United National Group, Ltd. (NASDAQ: UNGL Proposed)
Walker House, 87 Mary St.
George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Phone: 345-949-0000
Primary US Office
Subscribers Only
http://www.unitednat.com

Employees      : 260
Revenue        :   $168,700,000
Net Income     :   $(61,700,000)
Assets         : $2,685,600,000
Liabilities    : $2,417,000,000
(As of December 31, 2002)

Description: United National Group, doing business through its
United National and Diamond State subsidiaries, provides
specialty and surplus property & casualty program insurance (a
collection of risks), including insurance for social service
agencies, equine mortality risks, and vacant properties. The
group, one of the top ten surplus lines insurers in the US,
operates through agents and program managers all over the United
States. Investment firm Fox Paine owns a majority stake in the
company, which plans to go public in 2003.


                     New Securities Fraud Cases


FIRSTENERGY CORPORATION: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Suit in Ohio
----------------------------------------------------------------
Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP expanded the class in the lawsuit
filed in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Ohio to include purchasers of the common stock of
FirstEnergy Corporation (NYSE:FE) between April 24, 2002 and
August 19, 2003, inclusive.

The complaint charges FirstEnergy and certain of its officers
and directors with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder.  More specifically, the complaint alleges that
defendants issued a series of material misrepresentations to the
market during the Class Period, thereby artificially inflating
the price of FirstEnergy's common stock.

The Complaint alleges that these statements were materially
false and misleading because they failed to disclose and
misrepresented the following adverse facts, among others:

     (1) that the Company had materially overstated its
         earnings, revenues, net income, and earnings per share;

     (2) that the Company was improperly accounting for its
         annual amortization expenses by using all transition
         revenues recorded on all regulatory books rather using
         only the portion of transition revenue that
         corresponded to transition costs to determine the
         appropriate amortization;

     (3) that the Company was improperly accounting for above-
         market leases;

     (4) that the Company lacked adequate internal controls and
         was therefore unable to ascertain the true financial
         condition of the Company; and

     (5) that as a result, the value of the Company's net income
         and financial results were materially overstated at all
         relevant times.

On August 5, 2003, the Company reported that it would have to
restate its financial results for fiscal year 2002 and the first
quarter of 2003 due to its improper accounting for its annual
amortization expenses and for above-market leases.  News of this
shocked the market.  Shares of FirstEnergy fell 8.5 percent to
close at $31.33 per share on extremely heaving trading volume.

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: 1-888-299-7706 (toll free) or 1-610-667-7706 or by E-
mail: info@sbclasslaw.com


FLOWSERVE CORPORATION: Stanley Mandel Lodges TX Securities Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Stanley, Mandel & Iola, LLP initiated a securities class action
in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas,
Dallas Division, on behalf of all purchasers of securities of
Flowserve Corporation, between October 23, 2001, and September
27, 2002, inclusive.  The suit names as defendants:

     (1) Flowserve Corporation,

     (2) C. Scott Greer, and
     
     (3) Renee J. Hornbaker.

The Complaint alleges that the defendants violated Sections
10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule
10b-5 promulgated thereunder, by issuing a series of material
misrepresentations to the market between October 23, 2001 and
September 27, 2002, thereby artificially inflating the price of
Flowserve securities.  During the Class Period, plaintiffs
allege that defendants, among other things:

     (i) misrepresented that Flowserve's aftermarket sales
         (Flowserve's "quick turnaround" business) were steady,
         stable and consistent streams of revenue;

    (ii) misrepresented that Flowserve's growth made it less
         dependent upon the chemical and industrial segments,
         which had historically been very sensitive to economic
         downturn;

   (iii) failed to disclose that Flowserve had instructed one or
         more of its plants to stop building inventory as a
         result of the projected (albeit undisclosed) continuing
         decline in sales; and,

    (iv) without any reasonable basis, projected full year 2002
         earnings at ranges that were unattainable due to the
         decline that Flowserve was experiencing in critical
         business segments.

On September 27, 2002, Flowserve warned of a 21% earnings
shortfall for the quarter ending September 30, 2002, and cut its
full year 2002 earnings guidance by over 60%, to $1.45 per
share, from the $2.30 per share earnings guidance shared with
investors during road show presentations promoting Flowserve's
public offerings less than six months prior.

Market reaction to the Company's announcement was swift and
severe.  Flowserve shares fell over 38% to close at $8.70 on
September 27, 2002, a decline of more than 75% from the Class
Period high of $34.90 reached on May 2, 2002.

Prior to disclosure of the true facts, Flowserve completed two
public offerings of its common stock, thereby raising more than
$430 million, and Flowserve insiders sold their personally-held
Flowserve common stock for substantial profit.

For more details, contact Marc R. Stanley by Phone: 214-443-4300
or 800-687-3333 by Fax: 214-443-0358 or visit the firm's
Website: http://www.smi-law.com


JANUS CAPITAL: Barrack Rodos Lodges Securities Suit in NJ Court
---------------------------------------------------------------
Barrack, Rodos & Bacine initiated a securities class action in
the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
on behalf of purchasers of the Janus Funds family of funds owned
and operated by Janus Capital Group, Inc. (NYSE: JNS) and its
subsidiaries and affiliates between October 1, 1998 and July 3,
2003, inclusive.  The action has been brought against:

     (1) Janus Capital Group Inc.,

     (2) Janus Capital Corporation,

     (3) Janus Capital Management, LLC,

     (4) Janus Investment Fund,

     (5) Edward J. Stern,

     (6) Canary Capital Partners, LLC,

     (7) Canary Investment Management, LLC,

     (8) Canary Capital Partners, Ltd.,

     (9) each of the Funds and

    (10) John Does 1-100

The complaint charges defendants with violations of Sections 11
and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933; Sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated there under; and Section 206 of the Investment
Advisers Act of 1940.  The Complaint charges that, throughout
the Class Period, defendants failed to disclose that they
improperly allowed certain hedge funds, such as Canary, to
engage in "timing" of their transactions in the Funds'
securities.

Timing is excessive, arbitrage trading undertaken to turn a
quick profit.  In return from earning extra fees from Canary,
Janus Capital Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates
facilitated Canary's timing activities to the detriment of class
members who paid, dollar for dollar, for Canary's improper
profits.  These practices were undisclosed in the prospectuses
of the Funds, which falsely represented that the Funds actively
discouraged short-term timing transactions.

For more details, contact Maxine Goldman, Shareholder Relations
Manager by Mail: 3300 Two Commerce Square, 2001 Market Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19103, by Phone: 800- 417-7305 or 215-963-0600,
by Fax: 888-417-7306 or 215-963-0838 by E-mail:
mgoldman@barrack.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.barrack.com.


POLAROID CORPORATION: Bernstein Liebhard Files Suit in N.D. Ohio
----------------------------------------------------------------
Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP initiated a securities class
action in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Ohio on behalf of all persons who purchased or
acquired FirstEnergy Corporation securities between April 24,
2002 to August 19, 2003, inclusive.

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, by issuing a series of materially false
and misleading representations to the market between April 24,
2002 and August 19, 2003.

The complaint alleges that FirstEnergy failed to disclose that
its power generation and transmission equipment and systems had
fallen into disrepair due to inadequate maintenance and failures
to upgrade and modernize aging equipment and, in addition, that
the Company did not have an adequate warning system to warn of
plant shutdowns or the necessary systems to ensure that plant
shutdowns could be quickly and effectively isolated and
prevented from spreading.

In addition, the Complaint further alleges that First Energy's
Class Period quarterly press releases and financial reports
filed with the SEC deceived investors by improperly understating
liabilities connected with certain of its leased generation
plants and improperly accounting for deregulation costs by
employing an inappropriately long amortization schedule, thereby
artificially and materially inflating its reported financial
results and condition.

For more details, contact Ms. 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: FE@bernlieb.com.  


STRONG FINANCIAL: Barrack Rodos Lodges Securities Lawsuit in NJ
---------------------------------------------------------------
Barrack, Rodos & Bacine initiated a securities class action in
the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
on behalf of purchasers of the Strong Funds family of funds
owned and operated by Strong Financial Corporation and its
subsidiaries and affiliates between October 1, 1998 and July 3,
2003, inclusive.  The action has been brought against:

     (1) Strong Financial Corporation,

     (2) Strong Capital Management, Inc.,

     (3) each of the Funds registrants and issuers,

     (4) Edward J. Stern,

     (5) Canary Capital Partners, LLC,

     (6) Canary Investment Management, LLC,

     (7) Canary Capital Partners, Ltd.,

     (8) each of the Funds and

     (9) John Does 1-100

The complaint charges defendants with violations of Sections 11
and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933; Sections 10(b) and 20(a)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated there under; and Section 206 of the Investment
Advisers Act of 1940.  

The Complaint charges that, throughout the Class Period,
defendants failed to disclose that they improperly allowed
certain hedge funds, such as Canary, to engage in "timing" of
their transactions in the Funds' securities.  Timing is
excessive, arbitrage trading undertaken to turn a quick profit.

In return from earning extra fees from Canary, Strong Financial
Corp. and its subsidiaries and affiliates facilitated Canary's
timing activities to the detriment of class members who paid,
dollar for dollar, for Canary's improper profits.  These
practices were undisclosed in the prospectuses of the Funds,
which falsely represented that the Funds actively discouraged
short-term timing transactions.

For more details, contact Maxine Goldman, the Shareholder
Relations Manager by Mail: 3300 Two Commerce Square, 2001 Market
Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103 by Phone: 800-417-7305 or 215-
963-0600, by Fax: 888-417-7306 or 215-963-0838 by E-mail:
mgoldman@barrack.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.barrack.com.


SUREBEAM CORPORATION: Wolf Haldenstein Files CA Securities Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP initiated a securities
class action in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of California, on behalf of all persons who
purchased securities of SureBeam Corporation (Nasdaq: SUREE)
between March 16, 2001 and August 25, 2003, inclusive, against
the Company and certain officers of the Company.

The Complaint alleges that defendants issued a series of
material misrepresentations to the market during the Class
Period.  The Complaint alleges the statements were materially
false and misleading because they omitted and/or misrepresented
several adverse facts, such as:

     (1) the Company was violating GAAP through improperly
         recognizing revenue;

     (2) SureBeam recognized improper revenue when it made
         recognition of revenue from non-affiliated parties
         although the Company understood that such parties would
         be unable to pay;

     (3) SureBeam could not accurately determine its financial
         condition because the Company lacked adequate internal
         controls.

As a result of the foregoing, the values of the Company's
earnings, net income and earnings per share were materially
overstated during the Class Period.

On June 10, 2003, SureBeam filed a current report with the SEC
on Form 8-K, and revealed that it was releasing KPMG LLP as its
independent auditor and that it was hiring Deloitte & Touche LLP
as its new auditor.  The Company also issued a press release on
July 30, 2003, announcing that there would be a delay of the
release of its second quarter earnings from the planned date of
July 31, 2003 until August 12, 2003.

On August 12, 2003, SureBeam announced that its delay of the
release of its second quarter earnings would continue until
after the Company's Form 10-Q for the second quarter had been
filed.

SureBeam's accounting difficulties remained, and on August 21,
2003, the Company announced that it was terminating Deloitte &
Touche relating to issues that had not been resolved to the
auditor's approval.  Specifically, Deloitte & Touche was
unsatisfied with particular aspects of the Company's revenue
recognition policies and particular contracts begun in 2000 and
affecting succeeding periods.

For more details, contact Fred Taylor Isquith, Michael J. Miske,
George Peters, or Derek Behnke by Mail: 270 Madison Avenue, New
York, New York 10016, by Phone: (800) 575-0735 by E-mail:
classmember@whafh.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.whafh.com. All e-mail correspondence should make  
reference to SureBeam.


TYCOM LTD.: Wolf Popper Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in NJ Court
----------------------------------------------------------------
Wolf Popper LLP filed a securities class action against TyCom,
Ltd. Tyco International, Ltd. L. Dennis Kozlowski, Mark H.
Swartz, and Neil R. Garvey on behalf of purchasers of TyCom
common stock between July 26, 2000 and December 18, 2001,
inclusive, in the United States District Court in New Jersey.

The complaint alleges, among other things, that during the Class
Period, defendants made materially false and misleading
statements about the underlying purpose for Tycom's July 26,
2000 IPO and failed to disclose that the true purpose for the
offering was to generate ``bonuses'' that would be used by
Kozlowski and Swartz and approximately 40 other Tyco officers to
repay approximately $100 million in undisclosed and unauthorized
loans from Tyco.

The Complaint further alleges that the Registration Statement
misrepresented and failed to disclose in its summary
compensation table, tens of millions of dollars of other
unauthorized loans and payments from Tyco to the individual
defendants.

On December 18, 2001, having realized their goals of generating
bonuses to repay the outstanding loans, defendants caused Tyco
to acquire the minority interest of TyCom at a price
approximately 50% below the offering price of those shares in
July 2000.  Members of the plaintiff class who purchased shares
of Tycom common stock pursuant to the Registration Statement
suffered a decline in value of those shares of approximately one
billion dollars.

Tycom became a public company on July 26, 2000 by the issuance
of approximately 60 million shares of its common stock
(equivalent to approximately 10% of Tycom's shares outstanding)
in an initial public offering pursuant to a Registration
Statement.  Each of the individual defendants were signatories
to that Registration Statement.

For more details, contact Robert C. Finkel by Mail: 845 Third
Avenue, New York, NY 10022-6689 by Phone: 212-451-9620 or
877-370-7703 by Fax: 212-486-2093 or 877-370-7704 by E-mail:
irrep@wolfpopper.com or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.wolfpopper.com


VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS: Schiffrin & Barroway Files MA Stock Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP initiated a securities class action in
the United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts on behalf of purchasers of Vertex Pharmaceuticals,
Inc. publicly traded securities during the period between March
27, 2000 and September 24, 2001, inclusive.

The complaint charges Vertex and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934, and alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
artificially inflated the price of Vertex stock by concealing
critical material information regarding its p38 mitogen-
activated protein kinase (MAPK) program, for Vertex development
compound VX-745.

The following facts which were known by each of the defendants
during the Class Period, but were concealed from the investing
public, were as follows:

     (1) that p38 MAPK has a varied tissue distribution and is
         implicated not only in inflammation and arthritis, but
         also in cellular models for neuronal differentiation
         and effects, presenting multiple targets and
         significant drug design challenges, which defendants
         knew from well before the beginning of the Class
         Period;

     (2) that small, highly lipophilic molecules designed as
         inhibitors of p38 MAPK are at great risk of crossing
         the blood-brain barrier and of causing neuronal
         effects;

     (3) that defendants already knew or should have known what
         constituted an acceptable absorption, distribution,
         metabolism and excretion (ADME) profile for p38 MAPK
         inhibitors targeting inflammation and arthritis, as
         opposed to inhibitor targets for neuronal effects,
         particularly the desired molecular weight and
         lipophilicity, as well as the correlation of
         lipophilicity with the potential for p38 MAPK related
         neuronal effects;

     (4) that defendants knew or should have known, as early as
         1998, of the importance of lipophilicity in the design
         of p38 MAPK inhibitors, since they had designed at
         least one other class of potential inhibitory molecules
         targeting p38 MAPK, possessing significantly lower
         lipophilicity;

     (5) that VX- 745, a potential p38 MAPK inhibitor intended
         to target inflammatory disease, asthma, crohn's disease
         and rheumatoid arthritis, was exceptionally lipophilic
         and thus would be predicted to cross the blood-brain
         barrier and thus to cause neuronal effects;

     (6) that once clinical testing of VX-745 had commenced,
         defendants quietly continued the preclinical testing of
         VX-745 in secret, despite public assurances that they
         would not commence clinical development until all
         pre-clinical studies were completed;

     (7) that defendants purposefully delayed the announcement
         of renewed long-term preclinical studies of VX-745 in
         animals until announcement of study results to avoid
         connection of the need for the renewed studies with the
         October 2000 disclosure of defendants' problems with
         the Vertex first-generation drug candidate selection
         process;

     (8) that the announcement of the unsuitability of VX-745 as
         a drug candidate was similarly delayed until two months
         after completion of the merger with Aurora Biosciences
         Corporation; and

     (9) that the failure to disclose the defective nature of
         the VX-745 program, including but not limited to
         physical and chemical properties, ADME profile, tests,
         experiments and preclinical and clinical studies, would
         prevent investors and Aurora Biosciences Corporation
         shareholders from learning the extent of the
         misrepresentations made to them during the Class
         Period.

The announcement on September 24, 2001 of the termination of the
VX-745 drug development program caused Vertex's stock price to
drop to as low as $17.74 from its Class Period high of $97.25,
on record volume of over 9.8 million shares, causing hundreds of
millions of dollars in damages to members of the Class.

Vertex is a global biotechnology company focused on the
discovery, development and commercialization of breakthrough
drugs for a range of serious diseases.

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: 1-888-299-7706 (toll free) or 1-610-667-7706 or by E-
mail: info@sbclasslaw.com.


                        *********

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

Each Friday's edition of the CAR includes a section featuring
news on asbestos-related litigation and profiles of target
asbestos defendants that, according to independent researches,
collectively face billions of dollars in asbestos-related
liabilities.  The Asbestos Defendant Profiles is backed by an
online database created to respond to custom searches. Go to
http://litigationdatasource.com/asbestos_defendant_profiles.html

                        *********


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
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Amor, Aurora Fatima Antonio and Lyndsey Resnick, Editors.

Copyright 2003.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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