CAR_Public/031205.mbx            C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
            Friday, December 5, 2003, Vol. 5, No. 241

                        Headlines                            

ABCDISTRIBUTING: Recalls Fleece Pant Sets Due to Product Defect
AMDOCS LIMITED: MO Court Dismisses Suits For Securities Fraud
ARISTOCRAT: Former CFO Launches Lawsuit Over "Termination Pay"
BARR FINANCIAL: SEC Refuses To Review Securities Fraud Ruling
BETZDEARBORN INC.: PA Court Enters Judgment For Insider Trading

BLUEBERRY FIRMS: Request Antitrust Suit Re-trial, For Jury Error
CANADA: Critics of Toronto Bridge Launch Lawsuit V. City Council
CANADA: Third Suit Filed V. Hospitals Over Unsanitary Equipment
CANADIAN TIRE: Consumers Sue Over Credit Card Interest Rates
CATHOLIC CHURCH: Lawyers Say OH Judge Not Biased Against Church

CATHOLIC CHURCH: Boston Archdiocese to Settle Sex Abuse Lawsuits
CYBERSURF CORPORATION: Sued Over Internet Service Termination
DEVON ENERGY: Private Royalty Owners Launch Lawsuits in WY Court
ECHINACEA: AMA Report Reveals Herbal Treatment As Ineffective
ENRON CORPORATION: Two More Banks Named In Securities Fraud Suit

EPHEDRA LITIGATION: Company Names ORIOLES in Bechler Injury Suit
GOODYEAR TIRE: Scott + Scott Files Securities Complaint
KINROSS GOLD: NV Court Orders Plaintiffs To Amend Stock Lawsuit
KINROSS GOLD: DE Court Dismisses Shareholder Derivative Lawsuit
LAKESIDE COLLECTION: Recalls Fleece Pants Set For Product Defect

LTD COMMODITIES: Recalls Fleece Pants Set Due To Product Defect
MENORAH GARDENS: Parent Agrees To Settle Grave Desecration Suit
MITSUBISHI MOTORS: Settles Shareholder Suit Over Defect Cover-up
MUTUAL FUNDS INDUSTRY: SEC Adapts New Trading Rules Amid Scandal
NANOPHASE TECHNOLOGIES: Final Approval Granted To IL Settlement

QLT INC.: Shareholders Launch Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
RAILTRACK PLC: Investors Launch Suit V. Govt Over "Fair Value"
SALOMON SMITH: Request For Dismissal In WorldCom Lawsuit Denied
SOLUTIA INC.: Refuses To Pay 3M in Asbestos Settlement Payouts
ST. FRANCIS: Agrees To Settle More than $100M in Creditor Claims

STATE FARM: Appeals Court Dismisses Insurance Suit Certification
TENNESSEE: Carter County, Sheriff Face Suit Over Jail Conditions
VERITAS SOFTWARE: Plaintiffs File Consolidated Stock Suit in CA
WORLDCOM/MCI: Asks NY Court For Leave To File Amended Stock Suit

                      Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ABI Faces 1,462 Pending Asbestos Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Cinergy Units Face Asbestos Related Suits
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Collins & Aikman Notes 820 Pending Suits
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CONSOL Unit Battles 22,500 Asbestos Suits
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Mestek Battles 60 Asbestos-Related Suits

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Goldenberg Miller Law Firm Gets Sued Anew
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Hartford Boosts Asbestos Reserves at $2.6
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Solutia Refuses to Pay $3M For Settlements
ASBESTOS ALERT: Bucyrus Faces 1,400 in Asbestos Related Suits
ASBESTOS ALERT: Highlands Continues to Battle Asbestos Woes

                   New Securities Fraud Cases    

ALGER FUNDS: Much Shelist Launches Securities Lawsuit in S.D. NY
FRIEDMAN'S INC: Marc Henzel Launches Securities Suit in S.D. GA
LEAPFROG: Charles Piven Launches Securities Lawsuit in N.D. CA
MARSH & MCLENNAN: Charles Piven Files Securities Suit in S.D. NY
MARSH & MCLENNAN: Kaplan Fox Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. NY

PBHG MUTUAL: Beatie Osborn Commences Securities Suit in E.D. PA
PILGRIM BAXTER: Spector, Roseman Commences Securities Fraud Suit
PMA CAPITAL: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Suit in E.D. PA
PUTNAM FUNDS: Spector, Roseman Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. NY

                          *********

ABCDISTRIBUTING: Recalls Fleece Pant Sets Due to Product Defect
----------------------------------------------------------------
ABCDistributing of North Miami, Florida, in cooperation with the
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is voluntarily
recalling 14,538 two-piece fleece pant set with long waist
drawstring on jacket since the waist drawstring on the jacket is
longer than 3 inches when the waist is expanded to its fullest
width, and there are toggles and knots at the end of the un-
tacked drawstring that can cause the drawstring to catch on
protrusions (such as bus doors or handles), - potentially
causing injury or death if the person is dragged by the vehicle.
There have been no reported of incidents or injuries with this
product.

The two-piece fleece pant set is pink and royal blue and comes
in sizes 4 to 6X.  The fleece pant sets, manufactured in India,
were sold at Catalog sales from July 14, 2003 to September 30,
2003 for about $12.

Customers are urged to pull the waist drawstrings out of the
jacket to prevent possible injury.  For more information, call
ABCDistributing at (305) 944-6971.


AMDOCS LIMITED: MO Court Dismisses Suits For Securities Fraud
-------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Missouri issued an order granting Amdocs Limited's motion to
dismiss the securities class action lawsuits that had been
pending against it and certain of its directors and officers
since June 2002.

The court's order also directed that judgment be entered in
favor of the defendants.  The consolidated complaint filed in
the action alleged that the Company and the individual
defendants had made false or misleading statements about its
business and future prospects during a putative class period
between July 18, 2000 and June 20, 2002.  Under the federal
rules the plaintiffs have a period of 30 days in which to appeal
the court's decision.

For more information, contact Thomas G. O'Brien, Treasurer and
Vice President of Investor Relations, Amdocs Limited, by Phone:
314/212-8328, or by E-mail: dox_info@amdocs.com.


ARISTOCRAT: Former CFO Launches Lawsuit Over "Termination Pay"
--------------------------------------------------------------
On only his second day in the job, Aristocrat's new Chief
Executive, Paul Oneile, faced yet another lawsuit as the
troubled poker machine maker prepared to defend itself against
another case of inadequate termination payments, Smh.com.au
reports.

The former chief financial officer, Lionel Jeyaraj, who was
shown the door in April after the company downgraded its 2002
profit forecasts by $28.8 million, is suing Aristocrat in the
NSW Industrial Relations Commission.  Mr. Jeyaraj is claiming
his employment contract with Aristocrat, signed in 2000, was
unfair and that the company owed him more than $1 million in
termination pay or the equivalent of two years' salary.

This latest lawsuit comes as an undisclosed number of
disgruntled shareholders mount a class action against Aristocrat
in the Victorian Supreme Court on the grounds the company
breached the Trades Practices Act, ASIC Act and Corporations Act
in relation to the profit downgrade in February.

Lawyers representing the shareholders placed advertisements in
metropolitan newspapers this week encouraging other former and
current shareholders to join the class action, which could cost
Aristocrat several hundred millions of dollars in damages.

Mr. Jeyaraj is the third former senior executive to take legal
action against Aristocrat since the company slashed profit
forecasts because of a failed contract in South America and
weaker-than-expected earnings in North America.  The former
chief executive, Des Randall, who was sacked in April, is
seeking almost $13 million in damages and an unpaid bonus.

Aristocrat has retaliated with a cross-claim against Mr Randall
and his wife Vivienne to retrieve more than $2.6 million in
loans, allegedly misused company funds and other costs.  The
case will be heard in the NSW Supreme Court next year.  

In addition, the former general manager of Aristocrat's
operations in Latin America, Mike Snyder, is seeking more than
$1.5 million in damages and costs.  Other senior management to
lose their jobs this year includes the former president of the
U.S. operations, Mark Newburg, chief financial officer Ron Rowan
and vice-president of sales David Lucchese.  The general manager
of investor relations, Alan Jury, resigned last week in the wake
of a bungled trading update.

In the Industrial Relations Commission yesterday, Justice Frank
Marks ordered lawyers for Mr. Jeyaraj and Aristocrat to return
to the commission on March 5 for conciliation in a last-ditch
attempt to settle the dispute out of court.  Justice Marks has
ordered Mr. Oneile or the board of directors to attend the
meeting.  If conciliation fails, the parties will return to the
commission to hear a notice of motion filed by Aristocrat to
have the case struck out on the grounds the NSW Industrial
Relations Commission does not have the jurisdiction to hear the
matter.

Shares in Aristocrat have fallen 21c, or more than 10 per cent,
to $1.84 since the company named Mr Oneile as the new chief
executive last Thursday.


BARR FINANCIAL: SEC Refuses To Review Securities Fraud Ruling
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission has denied a request by
the Barr Financial Group, Inc., an investment adviser, and
Alfred E. Barr, Barr Financial's president, for reconsideration
of a Commission decision finding that respondents had violated
the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and imposing sanctions.

The Commission found that respondents made untrue statements of
material fact in Commission filings during 1997 and 1998.  
Respondents' statements concerned the amount of assets Barr
Financial had under management and Barr's academic background.  
The Commission further found that respondents were permanently
enjoined in 1999 from violating the Advisers Act based on their
failure to cooperate with an examination of Barr Financial by
Commission staff.  

Based on these findings, the Commission ordered respondents to
cease and desist from violating the Advisers Act provisions they
had been found to have violated, barred Barr from associating
with an investment adviser, and revoked Barr Financial's
registration.
     
In determining to deny the reconsideration, the Commission
pointed out that respondents' contentions were indistinguishable
from those that they had made in their prior filings and at oral
argument, which the Commission had previously considered and
rejected.  
     

BETZDEARBORN INC.: PA Court Enters Judgment For Insider Trading
---------------------------------------------------------------
Judge William H. Yohn, Jr. in the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania entered a final judgment
against Joseph F. Doody IV of Newtown, Pennsylvania, in a
Commission action that charged him with insider trading in the
securities of BetzDearborn Inc.  This judgment represents the
final settlement in the five insider trading cases brought by
the Commission to address trading before the merger of
BetzDearborn and Hercules in 1998.  

The Commission filed suit against a total of eighteen
defendants, and obtained final judgments against each of them,
collectively ordering approximately $4 million in disgorgement,
prejudgment interest, and penalties.

The Commission alleged in its complaint in this matter, filed in
November 2001, that Diane C. Neiley, a former employee of
BetzDearborn Inc., Mr. Doody, and his father, Joseph F. Doody,
engaged in illegal insider trading in advance of the July 30,
1998, announcement that BetzDearborn Inc. and Hercules Inc. had
agreed to merge.  

The Commission alleged that Mr. Neiley, an executive assistant
at BetzDearborn, learned confidential information regarding the
merger and tipped her then-boyfriend, Mr. Doody, who in turn
tipped his father.  The Commission alleged that Mr. Doody
purchased BetzDearborn common stock and call options that he
sold after the merger announcement, realizing $240,953 in
illegal profits.  

The Commission further alleged that Mr. Doody also tipped his
father, Joseph F. Doody, who bought BetzDearborn common stock
that he sold after the announcement for unlawful profits of
$30,813.  In November 2001, Mr. Neiley settled with the
Commission by consenting to a final judgment that permanently
enjoined her from violating Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5, and
imposed no civil penalty based on her sworn financial statement.  

In July 2003, Joseph F. Doody settled with the Commission by
consenting to a final judgment that permanently enjoined him
from violating Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5, and ordered him to
disgorge his illegal profits of $30,813, together with $12,340
in prejudgment interest, and pay civil penalties of $30,813.
     
The final judgment entered by the court on November 18
permanently enjoined Mr. Doody from violating Section 10(b) of
the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.  It also waived
payment of his illegal profits of $240,953 and prejudgment
interest, and did not impose a civil penalty, based on Mr.
Doody's sworn financial statements demonstrating that he did not
have the means to pay the judgment.  

Mr. Doody settled the action without admitting or denying the
allegations in the Commission's complaint.  He is currently
serving an 18-month prison term in connection with a related
criminal proceeding in which he pled guilty to one count of
insider trading and one count of obstruction of justice in
December 2002.
     
The Commission also instituted administrative proceedings to bar
Mr. Doody from the securities industry.  Mr. Doody consented to
the entry of the Commission's Order, which bars him from
association with any broker, dealer, municipal securities
dealer, or investment adviser.   

The suit is styled "SEC v. Joseph F. Doody IV, Joseph F. Doody,
and Diane C. Neiley, NO. 02-2932 (E.D. Pa.)] (LR-18484)."


BLUEBERRY FIRMS: Request Antitrust Suit Re-trial, For Jury Error
----------------------------------------------------------------
Citing that the jury was "improperly instructed as to the nature
and quantity of evidence required to prove the existence of a
price-fixing conspiracy," attorneys for the three Down East
blueberry processing companies that last month lost a price-
fixing case filed a motion to set aside the jury's verdict,
Bangor Daily News reports.

The attorneys for Jasper Wyman and Son of Milbridge, Cherryfield
Foods Inc. of Cherryfield and Allen's Blueberry Freezer Inc. of
Ellsworth had 10 days to file since the judgment in the civil
class action was entered on November 19 at Knox County Superior
Court in Maine.  Because November 29 fell on the weekend, the
motion was filed on Monday.  The attorneys asked Justice Joseph
Jabar either to set aside the verdict and enter judgment in the
processors' favor, or alternatively, to grant a new trial.

Attorneys for the 500-plus growers behind the lawsuit now have
21 days to file their response to the processors' motion to
vacate the verdict.  Before that late-December date, however,
comes a conference call by the judge, the processors' three
attorneys and the growers' three attorneys.  Attorney James
Kilbreth, representing Wyman's, told Bangor Daily News he
expects that conference call will take place later this week.

The call will start to address numerous post-trial issues, such
as setting up a process for sorting out individual claims by the
growers.  Mr. Kilbreth and the other attorneys for the
processors are hoping that the judge will agree to a separate
hearing specific to the motion.  If the motion is denied, the
processors' attorneys will consider appealing the case to the
Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

"The basic point of our motion is that antitrust laws have long
recognized that there is a real risk in hurting competition in
these cases," Mr. Kilbreth said.  "It is very hard to
distinguish between what is competitive conduct and what might
be illegal conduct . The main thrust is that the jury didn't
understand, or wasn't instructed, that there has to be certain
evidence that allows you to infer that there is an agreement
(for price fixing)."

Company officials have been adamant that they did not engage in
price fixing during the 1996 to 1999 seasons, the four years for
which growers asked for money due them in place of the low
prices they received.  The same officials have acknowledged,
both in court and since the decision, that they engage in price
matching, a competitive practice which is legal.

Less than two weeks after the decision, discussions among
growers big and small are still lively at breakfast spots up and
down the coast, as many debate whether price fixing occurred or
not   

David Yarborough, the University of Maine Extension program's
wild blueberry specialist in Orono, is in a position to assess
the verdict's impact on the industry so far.  Mr. Yarborough,
who had expected to be called as a witness but was not, has
worked with growers and processors since 1979, helping them
benefit from new research and higher crop yields.  

"A lot of people are really apprehensive about the outcome," Mr.
Yarborough told the Daily News after hearing that the processors
filed to have the decision vacated. "There are some real
immediate repercussions from the ruling.  Right now, banks are
looking at these processing companies as poor credit risks, if
their assets are frozen."

"There can be some real disruptions in the long term, too. These
three processors handle 90 percent of the state's fruit. If you
wipe them out and start from scratch again, it can't be good,"
he continued.

Mr. Yarborough's personal opinion is that price fixing did not
take place.  "I can't speak for the jurors, because I don't know
where they were coming from," he said.  "But the case was a
complex thing, very slow-proceeding and very rigid with rules. A
lot of economics was presented . Maybe the jurors went with
emotional issues, and made their decision based on feelings, not
fact. Jury trials tend to go with the underdog anyway."


CANADA: Critics of Toronto Bridge Launch Lawsuit V. City Council
----------------------------------------------------------------
With threats of litigation flying from island airport expansion
proponents should city council vote to cancel the bridge,
opponents warned yesterday they would be prepared to launch
their own counter-suit, the Toronto Star reports.

"With all of these incredible lawsuits being threatened from the
other side, we felt now is time that we needed to roll this
out," Bill Freeman, a spokesperson for Community AIR told the
Toronto Star.  "We do not want the bridge to proceed."

If council does not vote tomorrow to reverse its earlier
decision allowing construction of the bridge, the non-profit
group says it will file a class action, valued at between $1
billion and $3 billion.  The lawsuit would target the city, the
Toronto Port Authority, a federal agency that operates the
airport, and REGCO (Regional Airlines Holdings Inc.), which
plans to fly out of the airport once the bridge is built.

Mr. Freeman said councilors should know there is a real
possibility of hefty financial penalties should they go ahead
with the bridge.  Mayor David Miller made canceling the bridge -
approved earlier this year by council in a 29-11 vote - the
focus of his election campaign.  The new city council, which
will be sworn in today, is expected to tackle the matter
tomorrow.  Mr. Miller has said he is confident he has the 23
votes required to overturn council's earlier decision.  

Last week, three groups threatened the city with lawsuits
totaling more than $1 billion if council votes to kill the
bridge.  The Toronto Port Authority, which manages the airport,
announced it would sue the city for hundreds of millions of
dollars and for the return of 240 hectares of waterfront land.  
The port authority originally sued the city for $1 billion
claiming that council improperly snatched the land.  That suit
was settled in May when council agreed to pay the port authority
$49 million, allow the bridge construction, and keep the
waterfront land in the city's hands.

Robert Deluce, president of REGCO, has also vowed to sue the
city for more than $500 million if the city's reverses its
decision on the bridge.  The startup airline plans to fly
turboprops to 17 North American cities after the bridge is
built.

Anthony Pappalardo, vice-president of Stolport Corporation,
which works off the island doing aircraft maintenance and
fueling service as well as a small charter service, has also
launched a $95.9 million lawsuit against the city.


CANADA: Third Suit Filed V. Hospitals Over Unsanitary Equipment
---------------------------------------------------------------
A Toronto dentist who doesn't want to go public because of the
stigma attached to HIV is behind a $200-million class action
lawsuit against Sunnybrook hospital over its use of improperly
sterilized equipment, the London Free Press reports.

The suit is the third class action involving two of the nine
Ontario hospitals, which have admitted not following proper
procedures in sterilizing equipment used on patients.

Sunnybrook "breached its duty of care to protect the health of
my clients," lawyer Douglas Elliott said yesterday in announcing
the class-action suit against Sunnybrook.  "My clients are
extremely disturbed at being exposed to a risk of contracting
these deadly infections," he said, adding the men are "also
concerned by the delay in discovering this problem, and in
reporting it."

The downtown Toronto hospital discovered the ultrasound wand
used in 861 prostate biopsies may not have been properly
sterilized between each use during an internal audit.  Mr.
Elliott is seeking compensation for pain and suffering as well
as loss of income for his clients.  He said the delay in
learning about the potential exposure to infectious diseases
left the patients worried they may have unknowingly infected
their families.

Judicial approval was granted last week to refer to the
plaintiff only as John Doe in court documents because of what
the lawyer said is "a real potential for negative societal
implications when someone is merely suspected of carrying one of
these diseases, especially HIV."

The men have been asked to take blood tests to determine whether
they have been infected.  No one has received results.  Mr.
Elliott says Doe suffered psychological trauma from the
potential exposure to life-threatening infections.

"He was sufficiently psychologically traumatized" by the letter
from Sunnybrook about needing to be tested that he has been
prescribed a sedative.  

Officials at Sunnybrook insist the risk of infection is less
than one in 100,000, London Free Press reports.


CANADIAN TIRE: Consumers Sue Over Credit Card Interest Rates
------------------------------------------------------------
Canadian Tire Financial Services Ltd. (CTFS) faces a motion
seeking the authorization of the Superior Court, Province of
Quebec, District of Montreal to institute a class action against
it, and asserting that the interest rate of 28.8% payable on
Canadian Tire credit card account balances is excessive.

The Petitioner's motion was adjourned without a specific date
for hearing on the understanding that it may be re-activated on
30 days notice.  

On a preliminary basis, CTFS has evaluated the allegations set
forth in the Petition and believes that they are without merit.  
If the class action litigation is certified and proceeds, CTFS
intends to vigorously defend any claims made against it,
including pursuing all appeals reasonably available to it in the
circumstances.

If, despite the strength of CTFS' available defenses, any of the
claims outlined in the Petition are ultimately successful, the
interest rate chargeable on Quebec Canadian Tire credit card
accounts could be reduced as of the effective date of the
ultimate court judgement.  In addition, a court may order
payments of financial compensation representing a damage award
to affected card members.  If CTFS failed or was unable to pay
any such final damage award, affected cardholders could reduce
their obligations owing under Accounts.  


CATHOLIC CHURCH: Lawyers Say OH Judge Not Biased Against Church
---------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs' lawyers have come to the defense of Boone County
Circuit Judge Jay Bamberger accused of being biased against the
Covington Diocese in the nation's first class action alleging
sexual misconduct by priests, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

Diocesan attorneys have petitioned Kentucky Supreme Court Chief
Justice Joseph Lambert to remove Judge Bamberger, citing his
friendship with a trial consultant hired by the plaintiffs and
the fact that he knows some of the alleged victims.

Attorneys Stan Chesley, Bob Steinberg and Michael O'Hara, who
represent the victims, filed court papers Monday with Judge
Lambert.  They accuse diocesan attorneys of smearing Judge
Bamberger's reputation in order to have the case reassigned.

"Defendant's tactic has been to make baseless accusations of
unethical behavior against Bamberger by filing a defective
motion to recuse, hoping to goad him into an angry response and
then seek disqualification based upon his alleged animosity
toward defendant for questioning his impartiality," Mr. Chesley
wrote in his 25-page response to the request to disqualify the
judge.  He claims diocesan attorneys Mark Guilfoyle and Carrie
Huff are "forum shopping."

Much of the debate about Judge Bamberger's objectivity centers
around his relationship with trial consultant Mark Modlin, who
has been hired by the plaintiffs.  Judge Bamberger says his
friendship with Mr. Modlin will not influence him.  Mr. Chesley
says diocesan attorneys Guilfoyle and Huff knew of Mr. Modlin's
involvement from the beginning, but didn't object until after
Judge Bamberger ruled against the diocese.  Judge Bamberger
certified the nation's first class action against a Catholic
diocese in October.  Diocesan attorneys filed a motion to have
Judge Bamberger recused on November 12, more than nine months
after the case was filed, and one day before a hearing scheduled
to set a trial date.  

The plaintiffs' lawsuit, filed February 4, claims an illegal
course of conduct by the diocese during a 50-year period allowed
hundreds of children to be sexually abused.  "The diocese
continuously and knowingly violated Kentucky law requirements to
report acts of child sexual abuse by known pedophiles that were
its priest and religious officials.  Instead, it consistently
reassigned these known pedophiles to positions where they had
close contact with children," Mr. Chesley wrote.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati in late November entered a plea of
no contest and has been convicted criminally of similar conduct,
he wrote.

Lawyers on both sides have declined comment and referred to
their written pleadings, The Dow Jones Business News reports.


CATHOLIC CHURCH: Boston Archdiocese to Settle Sex Abuse Lawsuits
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Boston Archdiocese has agreed to settle a clergy sex abuse
claim that had been dropped after the plaintiff's account was
questioned, AP news reports.

Paul R. Edwards, 36, of Winchendon claimed he was abused by the
late Rev. William Cummings during a 1982 trip to New York with a
Catholic youth group.  Even though the church initially denied
his claim, a review has found him to be at least as credible as
other clergy abuse victims who are participating in an $85
million settlement, said the Rev. Christopher Coyne, a spokesman
for the archdiocese.

Mr. Edwards' settlement will be separate from the $85 million
settlement, but his award, to be determined by an arbitrator,
will fall within the same $80,000 to $300,000 range as other
victims, The Boston Globe reports.  Mr. Edwards sued in August
2002 claiming he'd been abused by Rev. Cummings and the Rev.
Michael Foster, the archdiocese's top canon law specialist.

His allegations were dismissed by the archdiocese and denied by
Rev. Foster.  Friends of the priests denied the allegations, and
others questioned Mr. Edwards' account of the circumstances of
the alleged attacks.  A priest-psychiatrist called Mr. Edwards a
"pathological liar," but later admitted that he had never met
Mr. Edwards.

Mr. Edwards voluntarily withdrew his claims and he was excluded
from the settlement reached in September with 540 alleged
victims of abuse.  Later that month, Archbishop Sean P.
O'Malley, who has been trying to resolve the clergy sex abuse
crisis in Massachusetts, decided to take a second look at Mr.
Edwards' allegations against Rev. Cummings.  The claims against
Rev. Foster, who was cleared by an internal church inquiry, were
not reviewed, Rev. Coyne told AP.

Mr. Edwards' lawyer said the settlement was vindication for his
client.  "We are not done yet in restoring Paul's name,"
attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr. said. "The bottom line is that I
don't think that the archdiocese would be giving money to people
who were pathological liars."


CYBERSURF CORPORATION: Sued Over Internet Service Termination
-------------------------------------------------------------
Cybersurf Corporation faces three class actions filed relating
to 3Web Corporation's termination of its free internet access
service in the summer of 2001.  The suits were filed on behalf
of purchasers of the Canada Post 3web CD-ROM asserting claims
for, among other things, breach of contract and negligence by
the Company and Canada Post Corporation.

In a filing with the Canadian Securities and Exchange
Commission, management consulted with legal counsel prior to the
termination and determined that the termination of the free
service was within 3web Corporation's rights as the provider of
such service.

The Company also asserted in the filing that there can be no
assurance that a government, quasi-government
or self-regulating body will not initiate an action against
3web Corporation and/or the Corporation under one or more
consumer protection regulations or codes of conduct.  In the
event that any such claim or action or further claim or
action was initiated and was successful, the Company could
potentially be required to pay damages and/or reinstitute its
free service, either or both of which could have a material
adverse effect on the Corporation's business, results of
operations and financial condition.


DEVON ENERGY: Private Royalty Owners Launch Lawsuits in WY Court
----------------------------------------------------------------
Devon Energy Corporation faces certain private royalty owner
litigation filed in Wyoming court regarding deductibility of
certain post production costs from royalties payable by the
Company.

The plaintiffs in these lawsuits propose to expand them into
county or state-wide class actions relating specifically to
transportation and related costs associated with the Company's
Wyoming gas production.  A significant portion of such
production is, or will be, transported through facilities owned
by Thunder Creek Gas Services, L.L.C., of which Devon owns a 75%
interest.

The Company believes that it has acted reasonably and paid
royalties in good faith and in accordance with its obligations
under its oil and gas leases and applicable law, and it does not
believe that it is subject to material exposure in association
with this litigation, it revealed in a disclosure to the
Canadian Securities and Exchange Commission.


ECHINACEA: AMA Report Reveals Herbal Treatment As Ineffective
-------------------------------------------------------------
In one of the largest studies yet to question the benefits of
the popular but unproven herbal remedy, researchers claim that
Echinacea failed to relieve children's cold symptoms and even
appeared to cause skin rashes in some cases, AP news reports.

With reported sales of more than $300 million annually,
echinacea is one of the most widely used herbal remedies
nationwide. Also known as the purple coneflower, echinacea is
sold in a variety of over-the-counter preparations, including
pills, drops and lozenges that are purported to boost the body's
disease-fighting immune system.

Anecdotal reports and some animal studies suggest the herb can
prevent and relieve respiratory infections, but human studies
have had mixed results. The herb was not effective at treating
colds in a small study of college students published last year.
In the current study of 407 Seattle-area children ages 2 to 11,
echinacea plant extract worked no better than a dummy
preparation in reducing sneezing, runny noses and fever.

"We did not find any group of children in whom echinacea
appeared to have a positive benefit," said the researchers, led
by Dr. James Taylor of the University of Washington's Child
Health Institute.

Symptoms lasted an average of nine days in children given
echinacea and in those taking the placebo, and the overall
severity of symptoms were similar. Mild skin rashes occurred in
7 percent of colds treated with echinacea but in only 2.7
percent of colds treated with the dummy preparation. None of the
rashes required medical treatment.

The findings appear in Wednesday's Journal of the American
Medical Association.

Healthy patients were enrolled and followed for four months. At
the outset, parents were instructed to call the researchers when
their children developed at least two cold symptoms. Parents
then were asked to start administering treatment.

That lag time may explain why no benefits were found, said Mark
Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical
Council, an independent group that studies herbs. He said
echinacea is thought to work best if taken as soon as the first
symptoms appear.

Some of the children had multiple colds during the study, but
there were 33 fewer colds in the echinacea group - results
Blumenthal said suggest that echinacea might have helped prevent
subsequent colds. Taylor called those results could be just a
fluke. The study was not designed to examine prevention.

Blumenthal said the rashes that developed may have been a rare
side effect from pollen in the echinacea plant flower. The
echinacea used in the study was made by the German company
Madaus AG and contained extract mostly from the flower.
Blumenthal said many echinacea products are made instead from
the root.

Jim Bruce, president of Madaus' United States-based subsidiary,
said numerous previous studies showed the product to be
effective at preventing and treating colds.


ENRON CORPORATION: Two More Banks Named In Securities Fraud Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The University of California added Toronto-Dominion Bank and the
Royal Bank of Scotland to the list of defendants in the
securities class action against the bankers, lawyers, auditors
and company executives responsible for defrauding Enron
Corporation shareholders of billions of dollars invested in the
now-bankrupt energy firm, AScribe Newswire reports.

The filing, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District
Court of Texas in Houston, follows in the wake of additional
evidence detailed in the latest report by Enron bankruptcy
examiner Neal Batson.  The final Batson report, released to the
public on November 24, found evidence that Toronto-Dominion Bank
and the Royal Bank of Scotland knowingly assisted Enron's
officers in the falsification of Enron's financial statements.

In his report, Mr. Batson concluded that the Royal Bank of
Scotland "had actual knowledge of the wrongful conduct" in
Enron's special purpose entities transactions in which it
participated.  The report found that the Royal Bank of Scotland
"gave substantial assistance to (Enron's officers) by
participating in the transactions," and that injury to Enron
"was the direct or reasonably foreseeable result of such
conduct."

"This evidence is sufficient for a fact-finder to conclude that
the Royal Bank of Scotland aided and abetted certain (Enron
officers) in breaching their fiduciary duties," the report
stated.

The Batson report also concluded that Toronto-Dominion Bank
participated from December 1998 through December 2000 in six
"prepay" (disguised loans) transactions with Enron with a total
value of about $2 billion.  The report found evidence that
"Toronto-Dominion had actual knowledge of the wrongful conduct
in connection with those transactions."

"On behalf of the plaintiffs, the University of California is
naming Toronto-Dominion Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland as
defendants in the case," James E. Holst, general counsel for the
university, which serves as lead plaintiff in the shareholders'
suit, told AScribe.  "The examiner's fourth report further
underscores the fundamental role of the professionals who
enabled and perpetrated the Enron fraud. The Batson report is
consistent with the claims that we are preparing for trial."

Previously named in the shareholders' lawsuit were the financial
institutions of J. P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch,
Credit Suisse First Boston, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce,
Bank America, Barclays Bank, Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers,
considered key players in a series of fraudulent transactions
that ultimately cost Enron shareholders more than $25 billion.
Other defendants include various Enron former officers and
directors, its accountants, Arthur Andersen, and its Houston-
based corporate counsel Vinson & Elkins.

These banks set up false investments in clandestinely controlled
Enron partnerships, used offshore companies to disguise loans
and facilitated the phony sale of phantom Enron assets.  As a
result, Enron executives were able to deceive investors by
moving billions of dollars of debt off their balance sheets and
artificially inflating stock values.

In February 2002, the University of California was named lead
plaintiff in the Enron shareholders' class action previously
filed against 29 top executives of Enron and its accounting
firm, Arthur Andersen LLP.  UC filed a consolidated complaint on
April 8, 2002, adding the nine banks and two law firms as
defendants in the case.

In April 2003, U.S. District Court Judge Melinda Harmon
completed her rulings on the various defendants' motions to
dismiss and lifted the stay on discovery.  Following those
rulings, UC filed a second amended complaint on May 14, 2003.  
According to the pretrial schedule, depositions in the case may
begin January 10, 2004, with the trial slated to begin on
October 17, 2005.


EPHEDRA LITIGATION: Company Names ORIOLES in Bechler Injury Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Nutraquest, formerly known as Cytodyne Industries, and makers of
the controversial ephedra-based diet supplement Xenadrine RFA-1
has filed a motion to include the Orioles as a third-party
defendant in the $600 million lawsuit brought by the widow of
Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Nutraquest hopes to establish that the team was responsible for
Mr. Bechler's death from heatstroke, though Broward County
(Florida) medical examiner Joshua Perper pointed to his
ingestion of three Xenadrine capsules before a spring training
workout as one of the major contributing factors in the tragedy.

The company charged in the motion - as it did during a damage
control campaign in February - that the Orioles were negligent
because Mr. Bechler, 23, was in poor physical condition and had
pre-existing health problems that should have prevented him from
taking part in strenuous exercise.

"Obviously, it is a tragedy when a man dies at such a young
age," Nutraquest President Robert Chinery Jr., said in a
prepared statement.  "However, the conduct of the Baltimore
Orioles is tragic as well.  In this case, there is no credible
evidence whatsoever to support the theory that Xenadrine RFA-1
contributed to Mr. Bechler's death in any way.

"In fact, there is not a single published study linking
heatstroke to ephedra and out of tens of millions of users, this
represents the first case in which a fatal heatstroke has been
allegedly linked to ephedra.  Sadly, Mr. Bechler's death could
have been avoided if the Orioles acted properly," he added.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos responded with outrage when the same
charges were made publicly by company officials and industry
lobbyists.  Orioles counsel Russell Smouse echoed that outrage
yesterday in response to the potential lawsuit.  "To suggest
that the Orioles were responsible in any way, shape or form for
the unfortunate death of Steve Bechler is outrageous and
irresponsible," Mr. Smouse said.  "We will vigorously resist
this claim, which is baseless both in law and fact."

Mr. Smouse dismissed the motion as a desperate legal maneuver by
a company that has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to
insulate itself against a string of ephedra-related lawsuits.  
He lauded the performance of the Orioles' training and medical
staff after Mr. Bechler collapsed on February 16.

"Nobody with the Orioles did anything wrong," Mr. Smouse said.  
"None of our people did anything wrong that contributed to his
death.  In fact, they responded admirably to the circumstances
that were presented."

Kiley Bechler, who is represented by the New York law firm of
David Meiselman, sued Cytodyne Industries in July.  The company
filed for bankruptcy in October and changed its name to
Nutraquest.  The company listed assets of $50 million and debts
of $100 million and cited the rising tide of ephedra litigation
in public comments about the Chapter 11 filing.  Those debts
included $18 million owed to claimants in a California class
action suit.

Cytodyne Industries did hold liability insurance at the time of
the tragedy, so Kiley Bechler still could collect damages or
agree to an out-of-court settlement with the insurance carrier.  
The lawsuit also cites an industry funded forensic review of Mr.
Bechler's case by former New York City medical examiner Michael
Baden that concluded that Xenadrine did not cause his death.

"The Orioles clearly should have been equipped to treat someone
for heatstroke," said Nutraquest general counsel Shane Freedman.
"If they had employed that treatment properly, Steve Bechler
probably would be alive today."

Mr. Freedman failed to specify, however, what the Orioles'
medical staff should have done differently after Mr. Bechler's
collapse.


GOODYEAR TIRE: Scott + Scott Files Securities Complaint
-------------------------------------------------------
The Connecticut-based law firm of Scott + Scott, LLC added a
claim on behalf of class members who were purchasers of Goodyear
securities for disgorgement of certain compensation as to the
individual defendants in the securities fraud class action
against The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

The complaint was filed in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Ohio on behalf of a class consisting of
all persons, other than defendants, who purchased the securities
of Goodyear between October 23, 1998, and October 22, 2003,
inclusive, against various individual defendants including:

     (1) Samir G. Gibara,

     (2) Robert W. Tieken,

     (3) Robert J. Keegan, and,

     (4) Stephanie W. Bergeron.

Also filing this lawsuit with Scott + Scott, LLC is Kirk Migdal,
Esq. of Akron and the law firm of Tzangas, Plakas, Mannos &
Recupero of Akron and Canton.


KINROSS GOLD: NV Court Orders Plaintiffs To Amend Stock Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the District of Nevada
ruled that the plaintiffs in the class action filed against
Kinross Gold Corporation have failed to adequately make a
securities fraud claim, and asked them to amend their complaint,
which is styled "Robert A. Brown, et al. v. Kinross Gold U.S.A.,
Inc., et al., Case No. CV-S-02-0605-KJD-RJJ."

The suit also names as defendants:

     (1) Kinross Gold U.S.A., Inc.,

     (2) Kinam Gold Inc., and

     (3) Robert M. Buchan, president and C.E.O. of the Company

The complaint is brought on behalf of two potential classes,
those who tendered their Kinam preferred stock into the tender
offer for the Kinam $3.75 Series B Preferred Stock made by
Kinross Gold U.S.A. and those who did not.  Plaintiffs argue,
among other things, that:

     (i) amounts historically advanced by the Company to Kinam
         should be treated as capital contributions rather than
         loans,

    (ii) the purchase of Kinam preferred stock from
         institutional investors in July 2001 was a constructive
         redemption of the preferred stock, an impermissible
         amendment to the conversion rights of the preferred
         stock, or constituted the commencement of a tender
         offer,

   (iii) the Company and its subsidiaries have intentionally
         taken actions for the purpose of minimizing the value
         of the Kinam preferred stock, and

    (iv) the amount offered in the tender offer of $16.00 per
         share was not a fair valuation of the Kinam preferred
         stock.

The complaint alleges breach of contract based on the governing
provisions of the Kinam preferred stock, breach of fiduciary
duties, violations of the "best price" rule under Section 13(e)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and the New
York Stock Exchange rules, violations of Section 10(b) and 14(e)
of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and Rules
10b-5 and 14c-6(a) hereunder, common law fraud based on the acts
taken and information provided in connection with the tender
offer, violation of Nevada's anti-racketeering law, and control
person liability under Section 20A of the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934, as amended.

The plaintiffs seek damages ranging from $9.80 per share, plus
accrued dividends, to $39.25 per share of Kinam preferred stock
or, in the alternative, the issuance of 26.875 to 80.625 shares
of the Company for each Kinam preferred share.  They also seek
triple damages under Nevada statutes.

The Company brought a motion for judgement on the pleadings with
respect to the federal securities claims based on fraud.  
Discovery was stayed pending the resolution of this matter.  On
September 29, 2003, the Court ruled that plaintiffs had failed
to adequately state a federal securities fraud claim.  The
plaintiffs were given an opportunity to amend the complaint to
try and state a claim that would meet the pleading standards
established by the Court but, if they are unable to do so, these
claims will be dismissed.


KINROSS GOLD: DE Court Dismisses Shareholder Derivative Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Court of Chancery of Delaware dismissed the shareholder
derivative lawsuit filed against Kinross Gold Corporation's
directors, and Cyprus Amax, on behalf of a shareholder of the
Company, entitled "Harry Lewis v. Milton H.Ward, et al., C.A.
No. 15255-NC."  The Company is named as a nominal defendant.

The complaint alleges, among other things, that the defendants
engaged in self-dealing in connection with the Company's entry
in March 1996 into a demand loan facility provided by Cyprus
Amax.  The complaint seeks, among other things, a declaration
that the demand loan facility is not entirely fair to the
Company and damages in an unspecified amount.  

The Company subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the action
with the court.  On October 30, 2003, the Court of Chancery of
Delaware granted the Company's motion to dismiss the complaint.
The plaintiff has the right to appeal the decision of the court
within thirty days of the date of the judgment.


LAKESIDE COLLECTION: Recalls Fleece Pants Set For Product Defect
----------------------------------------------------------------
Lakeside Collection of Lincolnshire, Illinois, in cooperation
with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is
voluntarily recalling 3,628 two-piece fleece pant set with long
waist drawstring on jacket since the drawstring on the jacket is
longer than 3 inches when the waist is expanded to its fullest
width, and there are toggles and knots at the end of the un-
tacked drawstring which can cause the drawstring to catch on
protrusions (such as bus doors or handles), potentially causing
injury or death if the person is dragged by the vehicle.  No
reports of incidents/injuries have been made with this product.

The two-piece fleece pant set is pink and royal blue and comes
in sizes 4 to 6X.  The fleece pant set, manufactured in India,
was sold at catalog sales from August 2003 to October 2003 for
about $12.

Customers are urged to pull the waist drawstrings out of the
jacket to prevent possible injury. For more information, call
Lakeside toll-free at (866) 847-4327 or send an email to
customerservice@lakeside.com.


LTD COMMODITIES: Recalls Fleece Pants Set Due To Product Defect
---------------------------------------------------------------
LTD Commodities of Bannockburn, Illinois, in cooperation with
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is recalling
11,187 two-piece fleece pant sets with long waist drawstring on
jacket since the waist drawstring on jacket is longer than 3
inches when the waist is expanded to its fullest width, and
there are toggles and knots at the end of the un-tacked
drawstring that can cause the drawstring to catch on protrusions
(such as bus doors or handles), potentially causing injury or
death if the person is dragged by the vehicle.  There have been
no reports of incidents or injuries relating to this product.

The two-piece fleece pant set is pink and royal blue and comes
in sizes 4 to 6X.  The two piece fleece pant set, manufactured
in India, was sold at Catalog sales from August 2003 to October
30, 2003 for about $12.

Consumers are encouraged to pull the waist drawstrings out of
the jacket to prevent possible injury. For more information,
contact LTD Commodities by Phone: (866) 736-3654 or by E-mail:
custserv1@ltdcommodities.com.com.


MENORAH GARDENS: Parent Agrees To Settle Grave Desecration Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Houston-based Service Corporation International, the world's
largest funeral services firm, has agreed to pay $100 million to
settle a class-action lawsuit that included accusations that two
of its cemeteries dug up remains and threw them out to make room
for new bodies, AP news reports.

The settlement will be presented this week to Florida Federal
Judge Leonard Fleet, who must approve it.  Some details were
still being worked out.  The settlement would close a lawsuit
involving 2,000 Jewish families against Service Corporation
International, which owns two Menorah Gardens cemeteries accused
of mishandling remains in Florida.

Plaintiffs' attorney Neal Hirschfeld and SCI spokesman Don
Mathis confirmed some details of the settlement late Tuesday.
"The process had to move along," Mr. Mathis told AP.  "We're
trying to bring some closure for a lot of families."

The settlement will spell out how the $100 million will be
divided and outline a process for deciding individual damages.
SCI is already spending several million dollars to reorganize
the cemeteries and fix grave markers under a previous agreement
with the state.

"The families . are extremely satisfied that if the court
approves the settlement that they will not have to sit through
individual trials to be compensated," Mr. Hirschfeld said.

The bulk of the damage awards will likely go to families whose
loved ones were buried in the wrong place or those whose remains
were desecrated.  Plaintiffs' attorney Ervin Gonzalez has
previously estimated that number between 500 and 750 plaintiffs.

SCI has already settled a state lawsuit by paying $14 million in
fines and restitution and promising that burial problems won't
happen again.  However, another lawsuit filed by 67 people
against SCI will move forward despite Tuesday's settlement, Mr.
Mathis told AP.


MITSUBISHI MOTORS: Settles Shareholder Suit Over Defect Cover-up
----------------------------------------------------------------
Former executives at Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors
Corporation agreed to pay 180 million yen (US$1.63 million) to
settle a lawsuit brought by a shareholder who accused them of
leading a massive cover-up of vehicle defects spanning decades,
AP news reports.  The 11 ex-officials, including former
president Katsuhiko Kawazoe, and the shareholder, Isao Yotsuya,
reached their out-of-court settlement on Tuesday, Tokyo District
Court spokesman Makoto Murayama said.

The two sides agreed they wanted to avoid the possibility of a
long, drawn-out case, and stressed the importance of letting the
automaker's employees focus on boosting sales and profits, the
former executives' lawyers said.

Mr. Yotsuya, a retired engineer from the central city of
Toyohashi, filed the 1.18-billion-yen (US$10.6-million) damages
suit in March 2001, alleging the executives arranged a
systematic cover-up of driver complaints that resulted in a
recall costing the company some 10 billion yen (US$90.3
million).

The suit was a rare assertion of shareholders' rights in Japan,
where such lawsuits, although gradually rising, remain rare
compared with numerous class-action cases in the United States.  
In striking the deal, the former executives will not be held
responsible for the cover-up or losses, their lawyers said in a
statement.

They will pay the 180 million yen to the automaker, which will
use the money for compliance and safety, it said.  The ex-
officials, who have already paid 20 million yen (US$182,000),
will hand over the remaining 160 million yen (US$1.45 million)
by January 2004. Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Motors said it will
spend the cash "appropriately and effectively."

Mr. Yotsuya, who is also a member of a grass roots group
advocating shareholders' rights, has said he had decided to
invest in Mitsubishi Motors, Japan's fourth-largest automaker,
after it came out with a new cleaner engine.

Three years ago, Mitsubishi Motors said it systematically hid
auto defects to avoid recalls for more than two decades.  The
disclosure came after investigators found a stack of unreported
driver complaints in a company locker following an anonymous
tip.  The company later recalled more than a million vehicles.

Japanese prosecutors filed a criminal suit against the company
and four executives in April 2001.  A month later, the automaker
paid a fine of 400,000 yen (US$3,670) and the officials each
paid 200,000 yen (US$1,830).  Nobody was arrested.

Mitsubishi Motors, 37 percent owned by Germany's DaimlerChrysler
AG, has been trying to rebuild its image. Sales in Japan have
recovered only recently after suffering double-digit plunges
since the scandal surfaced.  On the Tokyo Stock Exchange
Tuesday, Mitsubishi Motors shares rose 1.33 percent to 229 yen
(US$2.10), following the announcement of the settlement.


MUTUAL FUNDS INDUSTRY: SEC Adapts New Trading Rules Amid Scandal
----------------------------------------------------------------
As the mutual fund scandal widens, Federal regulators are moving
to stanch the tide of trading abuses with new curbs on after-
hours trading which brings profits to a favored few fund
investors, AP news reports.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday is
tentatively adopting new trading rules to prevent future abuses
in a planned overhaul of how the $7 trillion fund industry
operates. To stem illegal late trading, the SEC moved toward
imposing a "hard cutoff" of 4 p.m. Eastern time for pricing of
fund shares.

By going through brokerage firms and other third parties, some
big investors such as hedge funds are able to cash in on after-
hours news ahead of most shareholders, who at that hour would be
forced to chance buying at the next day's closing price.
Under the rules, mutual funds rather than third parties would
have to receive trading orders by 4 p.m., before the funds price
their shares for the day. So the order must be in by then for
the investor to receive that day's price.

The proposals could be formally adopted by the five-member SEC
after the commission gathers public comment for several weeks.
They are meant "to provide immediate reassurances and protection
to mutual fund investors," SEC Chairman William Donaldson said
in Senate testimony last month.

The embattled mutual fund industry has embraced the proposals,
announced in October. But brokerage firms, which sell some 80
percent of all mutual fund shares and collect billions in fees
annually for those sales, are opposed. A recent SEC review found
a quarter of the nation's largest brokerage houses helped some
clients illegally trade mutual funds after hours.

Some 95 million Americans - half of all households - invest in
mutual funds. For many, they are the principal vehicle for
retirement savings and college funds. Before the scandal erupted
in early September, they generally were regarded as safe
investments.

The SEC move comes two weeks after the House overwhelmingly
passed legislation requiring mutual fund companies to disclose
more information to investors about fees and operations, and
making directors on fund company boards more independent from
fund managers.

The lawmakers and regulators are acting as problems spread
through the mutual fund and brokerage industries, more big-name
companies are cited for allowing special trading deals that
disadvantage ordinary investors and a money stampede continues
out of implicated funds.

In the latest enforcement, the SEC and New York Attorney General
Eliot Spitzer charged Invesco Funds Group Inc. and its chief
executive with civil fraud on Tuesday. They said the company
devised a system to recruit big-money market timers despite
complaints from its own employees that shareholders were being
harmed.

The regulators accused Raymond Cunningham and his Denver-based
company of defrauding ordinary shareholders by allowing certain
big clients to engage in market timing - rapid, short-term
trading that skimmed profits from long-term shareholders -
despite fund policies against the practice. Invesco denies any
wrongdoing.

Also to curb late trading, the SEC is weighing new rules
requiring mutual fund companies to clearly disclose their
market-timing policies and procedures in sales material. Market
timing, which capitalizes on short-term movements in stock
prices with quick "in and out" trading of shares, is not illegal
but violates the rules of most fund companies. In addition, the
agency is considering imposing a redemption fee on short-term
transactions to discourage market timing. The newly passed House
bill goes further, prohibiting market-timing trades by mutual
fund insiders.

Early next year, the SEC will consider a requirement that board
chairmen of fund companies be wholly independent from the
companies managing the funds. It also could consider requiring
that three-quarters of the directors sitting on a fund company
board be independent, up from the currently required 50 percent.


NANOPHASE TECHNOLOGIES: Final Approval Granted To IL Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois ordered final approval of a $2,500,000 settlement of
the securities class action filed against Nanophase Technologies
Corporation and certain of its current and former officers,
following a hearing held on December 1,2003.

The suit arose from plaintiffs' allegations concerning the
Company's public disclosures regarding its dealings with Celox,
a British customer.  Under the terms of the Stipulation of
Settlement given final approval by the court, the settlement
successfully resolves all claims against all defendants, without
any admission of liability or other wrongdoing by any party.

"We believe that settlement of this litigation for an amount
within insurance policy limits advances our shareholders' best
interests," said Joseph Cross, Nanophase's President and CEO, in
a statement.  "We would like our shareholders to know that a
separate suit filed by Nanophase against Celox recently resulted
in a $400,680 judgment in Nanophase's favor, collection of which
is unlikely."

For more information, contact Joseph Cross, President, CEO, Jess
Jankowski, VP, and Controller, or Nancy Baldwin, Investor
Relations, of Nanophase Technologies Corporation, on the
company's Web site: http://www.nanophase.com.


QLT INC.: Shareholders Launch Securities Fraud Suit in S.D. NY
--------------------------------------------------------------
QLT, Inc. faces a consolidated securities class action in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York on behalf of purchasers of the Company's common shares
between August 1, 2000 and December 14, 2000.  The suit names as
defendant the Company and:

     (1) Julia Levy, former President, Chief Executive Officer
         and a current Director of the Company; and

     (2) Kenneth Galbraith, the Company's former Executive Vice
         President, Chief Financial Officer and Corporate
         Secretary

The plaintiffs allege that the defendants violated Sections
10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The
plaintiffs allege that on December 14, 2000, the Company
announced that it expected to miss its Visudyne sales
estimates for the fourth-quarter 2000, and that in response, the
Company's common share price dropped approximately 31%.

The plaintiffs claim that the Company's December 14, 2000
statements contradicted prior information issued by
the defendants concerning the demand for Visudyne and the
Company's prospects.  The plaintiffs allege that the defendants
overstated the demand for Visudyne, did not properly disclose
reimbursement issues relating to Visudyne and that the
defendants had no basis in the months preceding the December
announcement for their projections of fourth-quarter sales.

The plaintiffs further allege that the intent of the individual
defendants to mislead investors can be inferred from their sale
of a substantial amount of the Company's common shares during
the months of August and September 2000.  The plaintiffs seek
injunctive relief, fees and expenses and compensatory damages in
an unspecified amount.

The Company believes that the plaintiffs' claims are without
merit, but if the lawsuit is not resolved in the Company's
favor, there can be no guarantee that the Company's insurance
will be sufficient to pay for any damages awarded to the
plaintiffs.


RAILTRACK PLC: Investors Launch Suit V. Govt Over "Fair Value"
--------------------------------------------------------------
In one of the country's biggest class actions, some 45,000
shareholders of collapsed railway operator Railtrack have filed
a claim in the High Court for "fair value" compensation from the
government, Reuters reports.

"These are not large institutional shareholders but just
ordinary people, many of whom took up the offer of shares by the
government in 1996," said Andrew Chalklen, chairman of the
Railtrack Private Shareholders' Action Group, in a statement on
Tuesday.  "Many worked and continue to work in the rail
industry."

The government forced Railtrack out of business in October 2001
when it withdrew funding after a fatal crash at Hatfield, north
of London, in 2000 rocked public confidence and exposed the
parlous state of the railways, sending costs soaring.  The
state-backed and debt-funded Network Rail Ltd, effectively a
mutual body owned by the rail industry itself, took control last
year of the 34,000 kilometers of track, 2,500 stations, 40,000
bridges and tunnels and 1,000 signal boxes.

Railtrack had been created in Britain's rush to privatize state
industries in the 1980s and 1990s.  Many small investors snapped
up Railtrack shares, which debuted on the London Stock Exchange
at 390 pence each in May 1996.  The government last year offered
shareholders 500 million pounds, or about 250 pence per share,
to buy back Railtrack's business for Network Rail.  The sale was
approved by just over half of the votes cast at a shareholders'
meeting.

"This is one of the biggest class actions ever launched in the
UK against the government," said David Greene of Edwin Coe,
lawyers for the Railtrack shareholders, adding that it would
probably take about 18 months for the case to get to trial.

The Transport Department said it would defend its decision. "We
are going to defend it robustly," a spokesman told Reuters.

Mr. Chalklen said the legal claim was not a political argument
about whether railways should be in private or public hands.
"What the government did was to manipulate events unlawfully so
that it could take away shareholders' assets without paying for
them," he said.  "That is not how a government should behave."


SALOMON SMITH: Request For Dismissal In WorldCom Lawsuit Denied
---------------------------------------------------------------
A federal judge dismissed Citigroup unit Salomon Smith Barney's
motion to dismiss civil claims against it related to its
research coverage of WorldCom Inc., Dow Jones Business News
reports.  A spokesman for Smith Barney, now known as Citigroup
Capital Markets, wasn't immediately available to comment on the
dismissal.

In a press release Tuesday, Parker & Waichman LLP said the unit
failed to convince the Southern District of New York's Judge
Denise Cote that press reports citing Smith Barney's conflict of
interest should have put plaintiffs on notice that its financial
reporting on WorldCom was biased.  WorldCom is now known as MCI
Inc.

Parker & Waichman's class action lawsuit against Citigroup
Global Markets was certified by Judge Cote in October.  The
affected class includes anyone who publicly traded shares of
WorldCom from April 29, 1999, to June 25, 2002.  The suit
alleges that, among other things, the brokerage firm violated
sections of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 by issuing
fraudulent research reports.


SOLUTIA INC.: Refuses To Pay 3M in Asbestos Settlement Payouts
---------------------------------------------------------------
Chemicals maker Solutia Inc. is refusing to pay $3 million as
part of a settlement of two asbestos lawsuits, arguing that its
spin-off from Monsanto Co. unjustly saddled it with hundreds of
millions of dollars in environmental cleanup costs and other
liabilities, AP/ Dow Jones Newswire reports.

The St. Louis-based company told Monsanto and the drugmaker
Pharmacia on Tuesday that it would weigh any future liability
payouts as they come due, and it followed up Wednesday by
accusing Monsanto of short-shrifting it in the 1997 spin-off.

At that time, "we were given half a loaf in terms of
businesses," spokesman Glenn Ruskin said for Solutia, which
makes nylon products, films for laminated safety glass and
aftermarket, water-treatment chemicals, heat-transfer fluids and
aviation hydraulic fluid.

"(Monsanto) sort of cherry picked what they wanted and threw in
all kinds of cats and dogs as part of a going-away present,"
including $1 billion in debt and environmental and litigation
costs accrued by Monsanto and Pharmacia over a century of
manufacturing, he said.

In 1999, Monsanto was acquired by Pharmacia & Upjohn to create
Pharmacia Corporation, which last year completed a spin-off of
its biotechnology and agricultural businesses to form the
current Monsanto Co. Pharmacia was acquired by Pfizer Inc. in
April.

Solutia said its obligation in the two class-action asbestos
settlements in Texas resulted from its contractual
responsibility to pay such liabilities of the old Monsanto
chemical business assigned to it in the spin-off.  Those
liabilities, Ruskin said, "all arose from a time period prior to
our existence," making the responsibility that of Monsanto and
Pharmacia.

Monsanto fired back Wednesday, saying in a statement that
"Solutia's failure to honor its payment obligations" with the $3
million payout would be a contractual breach, under which
Solutia "does not have the right to selectively determine which
obligations it honors."

In the Texas cases involving more than 100 plaintiffs and never
naming Solutia as a defendant, Ruskin said that "while we could
make the payment, we strategically made the determination that
we're not gonna do it."

In announcing its third-quarter earnings, Solutia warned in
October it could be forced to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection if it fails to shed debt, come up with cash for its
pension fund and address legacy liabilities costing the company
about $100 million annually.  Solutia has not turned a profit
for four straight quarters, posting a net loss of $178 million
in the third quarter.

In lawsuits brought against Pharmacia, Solutia said it is
defending about 570 asbestos actions involving 3,500 to 4,500
plaintiffs, about 30 cases involving alleged exposure from PCBs
made by Pharmacia before the spin-off, and roughly 90 general
and product liability claims.

Solutia also is on the hook for health care and insurance for
20,000 Monsanto retirees and their dependents.  Shares fell 28
cents, or 10.3%, to close at $2.45 Wednesday on the New York
Stock Exchange.  Monsanto shares closed at $27.65, down 35
cents.


ST. FRANCIS: Agrees To Settle More than $100M in Creditor Claims
----------------------------------------------------------------
Allegheny County Judge Frank Lucchino approved a deal that
settles more than $100 million in claims stemming from the
liquidation of the now defunct St. Francis Health System, the
Associated Press reports.

The claims against the hospital outstripped the $150 million the
137-year-old hospital received as part of a deal that allowed it
to close in September 2002 without filing for bankruptcy.  
Creditors - including bondholders, vendors and the hospital's
3,350 former workers - were seeking more than $135 million, and
Medicare had filed a $14.5 million lien.

"Everybody took a haircut," attorney Joseph Kravec Jr., who
filed a class action on behalf of pensioners arguing that the
termination of their pension plan was illegal, told AP.

Judge Lucchino last week approved a $13 million settlement
between the former hospital and pensioners.  The fund now has
about $62 million in assets.  "It was good move to get the
settlement," Mr. Kravec said.  "We would have been vying with
everyone else.  We could win our claim and have no money left in
the estate."

Settling the hospital system's debts was the last major
roadblock under a $520 million deal between the University of
Pittsburgh Medical Center and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield to
turn the former Pittsburgh hospital into a new facility for
Children's Hospital.  Two smaller hospitals, in Cranberry and
New Castle, were to be merged with other providers.


STATE FARM: Appeals Court Dismisses Insurance Suit Certification
----------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth District has vacated,
and remanded with instructions to dismiss, a ruling by the U.S.
District Court for the District of Montana granting class
certification of a lawsuit filed by Plaintiff Kristine Lierboe
against State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., over
insurance coverage following a car accident in which she
sustained serious physical injuries.

The lawsuit stems from an injuries sustained by Plaintiff on
September 9, 1996, while riding as a passenger in a Jeep
Cherokee that she owned and that State Farm Mutual Automobile
Insurance Company insured.  Plaintiff alleges that her combined
medical bills exceeded the Jeep policy's medical payment
coverage, which was subject to a "cap" or limit of $5,000.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff sought additional
coverage under a separate State Farm policy for a Dodge Dakota
pickup owned by, and listing as the named insured, her closely-
held business, Shining Mountain Design and Construction, Inc.
The Dodge policy stated that State Farm afforded no coverage for
"injury . sustained while occupying . a vehicle owned or leased
by you or any relative, which is not insured under this
coverage."  Based on that language in the policy, State Farm
denied coverage.
   
On February 2, 2001, plaintiff filed a class action in which she
appeared as the only named plaintiff, seeking payments for
insureds whose claims State Farm had limited by refusing to
"stack" more than one policy.  She argued that the alleged
"anti-stacking" provision in State Farm's Dodge policy was
rendered void by a 1997 Supreme Court of Montana case,
"Ruckdaschel v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 948 P.2d 700,"
which ruled that "[an] 'anti- stacking' provision is
unenforceable as a violation of Montana's public policy."  

The Plaintiff alleges breach of contract, violation of the
implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and unfair
claims practices.  It also sought injunctive relief to have
State Farm identify and notify all class members of their rights
concerning stackable coverages, and to require State Farm to pay
with interest all reasonable medical expenses covered under the
stackable policies.  In addition, plaintiff sought punitive
damages, interest, costs, and fees.

On June 15, 2001, State Farm moved to dismiss the complaint,
arguing that plaintiff's case did not involve a stacking issue
and that many of her claims were precluded by Montana statutory
law or barred by the statute of limitations.  On July 17, 2001,
plaintiff moved to certify the class under Fed.R.Civ.P. 23. On
November 30, 2001, the district court certified the class under
Rule 23(b)(3).  However, three days earlier, the district court
had certified to the Supreme Court of Montana two questions of
state law on which the district court sought interpretation from
Montana's highest state court.  The Supreme Court of Montana
ultimately addressed as dispositive one of these questions.

In addition, State Farm argued that because upon deposition it
became apparent that plaintiff was unaware that her counsel had
brought her suit as a class action, she had effectively
abdicated responsibility for controlling and directing the
litigation on behalf of the purported class.
      

TENNESSEE: Carter County, Sheriff Face Suit Over Jail Conditions
----------------------------------------------------------------
According to John Duffy, a Knoxville attorney for the defense, a
response to a lawsuit filed against Carter County and Sheriff
John Henson on November 3 citing "inhumane" conditions at the
Carter County Jail has not yet been filed but should be by
Christmas, Elizabethton Star reports.

Mr. Duffy on Tuesday stated that he has not yet had time to
familiarize himself with the case and conditions at the jail to
file a response within the deadline prescribed by the rules of
the US District Court in Greeneville, where the lawsuit was
filed.

"I was just assigned the lawsuit last week," he said.  "Lawyers
in East Tennessee are generally flexible with that and Mr.
(Scott) Pratt (the attorney for the plaintiffs) has been
gracious enough to be flexible on that with me.  We will be
filing a response sometime before Christmas."

According to Mr. Duffy, no date has been set for hearings,
motions or other actions in the case at this time.  "The
plaintiffs' counsel wants to tour the facility this month and
we're trying to get that set up," he added.

Mr. Pratt stated that interest in the lawsuit has grown since he
originally filed the complaint.  "I've gotten literally dozens
of calls about it from people who have been beaten up in the
jail, and describing the exact conditions named in the lawsuit
and people not getting proper medical treatment because the
county does not want to pay for prescriptions," he told the
Star, adding that several parties have expressed interest in
joining the suit once class-action certification has been
issued.

A judge determines how a lawsuit is designated, and Pratt said
he believes the case will receive class-action status due to the
circumstances of the complaint.  The lawsuit alleges that
conditions at the jail are, and have been for some time,
inhumane for inmates confined at the detention facility.

"The plaintiffs contend that the totality of conditions at the
Carter County Jail fall beneath the minimum standards for human
decency, inflict cruel and needless punishment on all of the
inmates, and create an environment that takes a tremendous toll
on the inmates' physical and emotional well-being," the
complaint states.

Violations of inmates' first, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth,
ninth and fourteenth amendment rights also occurred, according
to the lawsuit.  The complaint claims that the defendants in the
case, Carter County and Henson, are responsible for the
conditions at the jail "by their policies, procedures and
customs" and have failed to improve them.

"Despite direct and long term knowledge of the inhuman and
inhumane conditions at the Carter County Detention Center, and
the availability of public funds and grants for maintenance and
improvements, the defendants have deliberately failed to
exercise their power to improve conditions at the jail," the
lawsuit states.
   

VERITAS SOFTWARE: Plaintiffs File Consolidated Stock Suit in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
Veritas Software Corporation faces a consolidated securities
class action filed after it announced in January 2003 that it
would restate financial results as a result of transactions
entered into with AOL in September 2000.  

The suit is pending in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California alleging that the Company and
some of its officers and directors violated provisions of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The suit alleges that that the
Company made materially false and misleading statements with
respect to its 2000, 2001 and 2002 financial results included in
its filings with the SEC, press releases and other public
disclosures.

On May 2, 2003, a lead plaintiff and lead counsel were
appointed.

In addition, several complaints purporting to be derivative
actions have been filed in California state court against some
of the Company's directors and officers.  These complaints are
based on the same facts and circumstances as the class actions
and generally allege that the named directors and officers
breached their fiduciary duties by failing to oversee adequately
the Company's financial reporting.

The state court complaints have also been consolidated.  All of
the complaints generally seek an unspecified amount of damages.
The cases are still in the preliminary stages, and it is not
possible for the Company to quantify the extent of its potential
liability, if any.  An unfavorable outcome in any of these cases
could have a material adverse effect on its business, financial
condition, results of operations and cash flow.


WORLDCOM/MCI: Asks NY Court For Leave To File Amended Stock Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
granted Lead Plaintiff's motion seeking leave to file a
Corrected Amended Complaint in a Consolidated Class Action filed
on behalf of shareholders against WorldCom International.  The
motion seeks to add as defendants six foreign subsidiaries or
affiliates of some of the underwriter-defendants in this action.

The certified class consists of all persons and entities who
purchased or otherwise acquired publicly traded securities of
WorldCom during the period beginning April 29, 1999 through and
including June 25, 2002, and who were injured thereby, including
all persons or entities who acquired shares of WorldCom common   
stock in the secondary market or in exchange for shares of
acquired companies pursuant to a registration statement, and all
persons or entities who acquired debt securities of WorldCom in
the secondary market or pursuant to a registration statement

The class actions in the securities litigation stemming from the
collapse of WorldCom, Inc. were consolidated by Order dated
August 15, 2002, and a consolidated class action complaint was
filed October 11, 2002.  On May 19, 2003, the defendants'
motions to dismiss the complaint were, with limited exceptions,
denied.  Pursuant to an Order of July 21, an amended
consolidated class action was filed on August 1.
      
Among other things, the Amended Complaint asserts claims
pursuant to Sections 11 and 12(a)(2) of the Securities Act of
1933 against underwriters of WorldCom's massive May 2001 bond
offering. In the 2001 Offering, a tranche of notes was issued in
Euros and in British Pounds Sterling.  The $11.8 billion 2001
Offering consisted of $10.1 billion worth of bonds in U .S.
dollars, ?1.25 billion worth of notes in Euros, and u500
million worth of notes in British Pounds Sterling.  Some of the
Foreign Notes are alleged to have been sold through foreign
subsidiaries and/or affiliates of Underwriter Defendants. In the
Amended Complaint, Lead Plaintiff alleged that the U.S. parent
entity sold the U.S. notes and sold, "through" its foreign
affiliate, specific amounts of Foreign Notes.
     

                      Asbestos Alert


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ABI Faces 1,462 Pending Asbestos Claims
------------------------------------------------------------
American Biltrite Inc. reports in its latest regulatory filing
with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it remains to
be a co-defendant with many other manufacturers and distributors
of asbestos containing products in around 1,462 pending claims
involving around 3,028 individuals as of Sept. 30.

The claimants allege personal injury or death from exposure to
asbestos or asbestos-containing products.

As of Sept. 30, there were 884 beginning claims, up from Dec.
31, 2002's 464, 760 from last December's 528. The filing reports
that the total indemnity costs incurred to settle claims during
the first nine months was $224,000 paid by ABI's insurance
carriers, as were the related defense costs. The average
indemnity cost per resolved claim was roughly $1,228 for the
first nine months.

According to the filing, governmental authorities have
determined that asbestos-containing sheet and tile products are
nonfriable, meaning, they cannot be crumbled by hand pressure,
because the asbestos was encapsulated in the products during the
manufacturing process. Thus, governmental authorities have
concluded that these products do not pose a health risk when
they are properly maintained in place or properly removed so
that they remain nonfriable.

ABI said that it issued warnings not to remove asbestos-
containing flooring by sanding or other methods that may cause
the product to become friable. The Company estimates its
liability to defend and resolve current and reasonably
anticipated future asbestos-related claims (not including claims
asserted against Congoleum), based upon a strategy to actively
defend or seek settlement for those claims in the normal course
of business.

Factors such as recent and historical settlement and trial
results, the incidence of past and recent claims, the number of
cases pending against it and asbestos litigation developments
that may impact the exposure of the Company were considered in
performing these estimates.

In 2002, the Company engaged an outside actuary to assist it in
developing estimates of the Company's liability for resolving
asbestos claims at Dec. 31, 2002. The actuary estimated the
range of liability for settlement of current claims pending and
claims anticipated to be filed through 2008 was $8,500,000 to
$14,900,000. The Company believes no amount within this range is
more likely than any other, and accordingly has recorded the
minimum liability estimate of $8,500,000 in other liabilities.
The Company also believes that based on this minimum liability
estimate, the corresponding amount of insurance probable of
recovery is $8,500,000 at Dec. 31, 2002 and Sept. 30, 2003,
which has been included in other assets.

Due to the numerous variables and uncertainties, the Company
does not believe that reasonable estimates can be developed of
liabilities for claims beyond a five-year horizon. The Company
will continue to evaluate its range of future exposure, and the
related insurance coverage available, and when appropriate,
record future adjustments to those estimates, which could be
material, the filing said.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Cinergy Units Face Asbestos Related Suits
--------------------------------------------------------------
Cinergy Corporation reports that its operating units, CG&E and
PSI, face around 70 pending asbestos-related lawsuits at their
electric-generating stations.

In its latest filing with the Securities and Exchange
Commission, Cinergy reports that in these lawsuits, the
plaintiffs claim to have been exposed to asbestos-containing
products in the course of their work at the CG&E and PSI
generating stations.

The plaintiffs further claim that as the property owner of the
generating stations, CG&E and PSI should be held liable for
their injuries and illnesses based on an alleged duty to warn
and protect them from any asbestos exposure.

Cinergy said that most of the lawsuits have been brought against
PSI. The impact on CG&E's and PSI's financial position or
results of operations of these cases to date has not been
material.

Of these lawsuits, one case filed against PSI has been tried to
verdict. The jury returned a verdict against PSI in the amount
of around $500,000 on a negligence claim and for PSI on punitive
damages. PSI is appealing the judgment in this case. In
addition, the company settled a number of other lawsuits for
substantially less than $500,000, the filing said.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Collins & Aikman Notes 820 Pending Suits
-------------------------------------------------------------
Collins and Aikman Corp reports that as of Sept. 30, the Company
is party to around 820 pending cases alleging personal injury
from exposure to asbestos containing materials used in boilers
manufactured before 1966 by former operations of the
Company, which were sold in 1966, according to the company's
latest regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange
Commission.

Asbestos-containing refractory bricks lined the boilers and, in
some instances, the Company's former operations installed
asbestos-containing insulation around the boilers. These pending
cases do not include cases that have been dismissed or are
subject to agreements to dismiss due to the inability of the
plaintiffs to establish exposure to a relevant product and cases
that have been settled or are subject to settlement agreements.

Collins & Aikman said that the total settlement costs for these
cases have been less than $905,300 or an average of less than
$5,841 per settled case. The company's primary insurance
carriers under a claims handling agreement that expires in
August 2006 have substantially covered the defense and
settlement costs.

The Company said that it has primary, excess and umbrella
insurance coverage for various periods available for asbestos-
related boiler and other claims. The Company's primary carriers
have agreed to cover around 80% of certain defense and
settlement costs up to a limit of roughly $70,500,000 for all
claims made, subject to reservations of rights. The excess
insurance coverage, which varies in availability from year to
year, is around $620,000,000 in aggregate for all claims made.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CONSOL Unit Battles 22,500 Asbestos Suits
--------------------------------------------------------------
Consol Energy reports that one of its subsidiaries, Fairmont
Supply Company, which distributes industrial supplies, currently
is named as a defendant in around 22,500 asbestos claims in
state courts in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, New
Jersey and Mississippi.

Because a very small percentage of products manufactured by
third parties and supplied by Fairmont in the past may have
contained asbestos and many of the pending claims are part of
mass complaints filed by hundreds of plaintiffs against a
hundred or more defendants, it has been difficult for Fairmont
to determine how many of the cases actually involve valid claims
of plaintiffs who were actually exposed to asbestos-containing
products supplied by Fairmont.

The filing said that while Fairmont may be entitled to indemnity
or contribution in certain jurisdictions from manufacturers of
identified products, the availability of such indemnity or
contribution is unclear at this time and, in recent years, some
of the manufacturers named as defendants in these actions have
sought protection from these claims under bankruptcy laws.
Fairmont has no insurance coverage with respect to these
asbestos cases.

As of presstime, payments by Fairmont with respect to asbestos
cases have not been material.  However, there cannot be any
assurance that payments in the future with respect to pending or
future asbestos cases will not be material to the financial
position, results of operations or cash flows of CONSOL Energy.  



ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Mestek Battles 60 Asbestos-Related Suits
-------------------------------------------------------------
Mestek Inc. reports in its latest regulatory filing with the
Securities and Exchange Commission that it has been named in 60
outstanding asbestos-related products lawsuits, an increase of
around five cases since previous quarterly filing in June.

The filing said that all of these suits seek to establish
liability against the Company as successor to companies that may
have manufactured, sold or distributed products containing
asbestos materials, and who are currently in existence and
defending thousands of asbestos-related cases, or because the
Company currently sells and distributes boilers, an industry
that has been historically associated with asbestos-related
products. However, to the best of its knowledge, the Company has
never manufactured, sold or distributed any product containing
asbestos materials.

Mestek believes that it has valid defenses to all of the pending
claims and vigorously contests that it is a successor to
companies that may have manufactured, sold or distributed any
product containing asbestos materials. However, the results of
asbestos litigation have been unpredictable, and accordingly, an
adverse decision or adverse decisions in these cases,
individually or in the aggregate, could materially adversely
affect the financial position and results of operation of the
Company and could expose the Company to substantial additional
asbestos related litigation and the defense costs thereof.

The total requested damages of the asbestos-related cases are
over $3,000,000,000. Thus far, however, the Company has had 35
asbestos-related cases dismissed without any payment and it
settled around ten asbestos-related cases for a de minimis
value, the filing said.

Mestek added that through Sept. 30, the total costs of defending
the current and previously dismissed cases have totaled around
$575,000 over a number of years.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Goldenberg Miller Law Firm Gets Sued Anew
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Goldenberg, Miller, Heller and Antognoli law firm that
recently lost a legal malpractice trial faces another court
challenge alleging that its attorneys do not live up to their
billing as trial lawyers, because they rarely take cases to
trial, reports St. Louis Dispatch.

Attorney Roy Dripps said he would argue in a legal malpractice
suit that the Madison County law firm gets shortchanged on
settlements because they rarely see asbestos cases through to a
verdict.

It's a claim that one national legal scholar predicts could
prove troublesome for other lawyers, who usually prefer settling
lawsuits out of court rather than spending time and money on
trials.

"It's an argument that rings true," Ronald D. Rotunda, a law
professor at George Mason University in Arlington, Va., and
professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, where he
taught legal ethics for 28 years, told St. Louis Dispatch.
"There are a lot of attorneys who call themselves trial lawyers
that haven't had a trial in years.

"They basically file motions for a few years and then settle."

The Goldenberg firm and one of its former partners, John
Hopkins, were found negligent in Madison County Circuit Court on
Nov. 9 by a jury that awarded $657,000 to the parents of a child
killed in a traffic accident.

The couple, David and Jo Ann Merritt, of Scott City, Mo.,
claimed that the $200,000 Hopkins settled for on their behalf
was less than he could have won for them had he taken their case
to trial. Their lawyers argued that Hopkins did not work
diligently on the case, and that insurance company attorneys
took advantage of him.

Dripps said the firm recently admitted in a court pleading that
it had not taken an asbestos case to trial in 10 years.

Elizabeth Heller, a partner at the Goldenberg firm, declined to
comment on the pending suits. Her firm has said it will appeal
the Merritt verdict.

The malpractice trial also offered an inside look at a lingering
feud between Hopkins and another high-powered Madison County
attorney, John Simmons.

Simmons now heads The Simmons Firm in East Alton. He is a
defendant in one of two more malpractice suits that have been
filed against the Goldenberg firm, where he once worked.

At the malpractice trial earlier this month, defense attorneys
argued that Simmons had encouraged David Merritt to file the
suit to strike back at Simmons' former employers at Hopkins
Goldenberg.

The Simmons Firm and Goldenberg, Miller, Heller and Antognoli
represent the majority of plaintiffs in asbestos suits in this
area. Such claims can be worth millions of dollars each and are
prized commodities among law firms.

Asbestos litigation has also been the target of tort reform
groups who contend that the Madison County justice system is
tilted in favor of such powerful law firms, which contribute
generously to the re-election campaigns of local judges.

The arguments in the Merritt case are likely to rise again
should the other pending malpractice suits go to trial, said
Dripps, with The Lakin Firm in Wood River.

Dripps testified for the plaintiffs at the Merritt trial. He
recently filed suit against the Goldenberg firm on behalf of
Judy Buckles, the widow of a boilermaker who died of
mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by asbestos.

St. Louis attorney Stephen Tillery on behalf of Kevin Orr, a
paraplegic injured in a truck accident, filed the other legal
malpractice case against the Goldenberg firm. Tillery did not
return phone calls to discuss the case.

Like the Merritts before her, Buckles alleges that the
Goldenberg firm settled on her behalf for an inadequate sum. The
original settlement was confidential.

Dripps said he intends to argue that defense attorneys typically
offer less settlement money if they don't think the trial
lawyers will force a trial.

The Goldenberg firm "answered the interrogatory on our case
saying that they have not tried an asbestos case to verdict in
something like 10 years," Dripps said. "My philosophy is you
don't get top dollar unless you show you're willing to go to
trial.

"You've got to try some cases periodically, and if you don't,
you're going to be in trouble."

Rotunda, the law professor from George Mason University, said
he's seen a growing trend in legal malpractice claims.

"I tell my students that pretty soon we (lawyers) will just keep
suing each other and we will get rid of clients," Rotunda told
the St. Louis Dispatch.

He said such suits are more common than the public realizes,
because attorneys and insurance companies are quick to make
confidential settlements to resolve them.

"Attorneys that get sued are not anxious to brag about it,"
Rotunda said. "But I know from talking to insurance companies
that it's not as hard as it used to be to get a lawyer to
testify against a lawyer."

But rather than an emerging trend in litigation, one local
lawyer insists, "These suits are the result of a longtime feud
between John Simmons and John Hopkins." The lawyer declined to
be identified.

Hopkins' defense attorney, Dan Konicek, at the Merritt trial, in
fact, presented the feud theory.

Konicek, whose practice is in the Chicago area, told jurors in
his closing argument that, "Mr. Simmons leaves (Hopkins
Goldenberg) in the middle of the night and takes half their
(mesothelioma) cases with him. Then Mr. Simmons goes to Mr.
Merritt and says, 'How did Hopkins do for you in that wrongful
death case?'

"And then he tells Mr. Merritt, 'Sue him!'"

Simmons declined to discuss pending litigation but did not deny
that there was no love lost between him and Hopkins.

Hopkins split with Goldenberg in 2001 and now has his own firm
in Edwardsville.

Simmons left Hopkins Goldenberg in 1999. At that time, the firm
had 16 mesothelioma clients, whose cases are typically settled
for millions of dollars each.

"When I left, 13 of the mesothelioma cases came with me,"
Simmons said. "They went with me of their own free will, which
was their right to do," the article quoted Simmons.

Simmons said he "wasn't gone a week when Hopkins sued me."

Hopkins sued to collect for fees his firm had incurred on the
cases before Simmons took them, according to the report.

Simmons said he has since settled the case privately with the
Hopkins Goldenberg firm.

Simmons acknowledged that he had suggested that David Merritt
sue for a better settlement. But he insisted that the topic came
up while he was advising Merritt on another legal matter and
that vengeance against Hopkins was not a motive.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Hartford Boosts Asbestos Reserves at $2.6
--------------------------------------------------------------
A Connecticut insurer recently takes a significant hit from
asbestos trouble in the face of what its chief executive dubbed
a "rapidly deteriorating asbestos legal environment", reports
the Financial Times UK.

Hartford Financial Services Group said it would boost its
reserves for asbestos-related liabilities by $2,600,000,000. As
a result, it took a $1,700,000,000 charge in the first quarter,
producing a quarterly net loss of $1,390,000,000, or $5.46 per
share. The group plans to raise $1,850,000,000 in debt and
equity and eliminate 1,500 jobs, or about 5 per cent of its
workforce, to help pay for the reserve increase.

"The industry has seen a surge in bankruptcies in the past year
. . . which have increased exposure to bankrupt insureds and put
extraordinary pressure on solvent asbestos defendants," Ramani
Ayer, the chief executive, told FT.

He also told investors that Hartford was in talks to sell
HartRe, its small property-casualty reinsurance business, to an
unnamed group. One analyst welcomed a possible sale, saying
reinsurance was "a volatile commodity business that shouldn't
have a place in Hartford".

Hartford's additions were higher than some had anticipated. They
surpassed Travelers Property Casualty, which pushed itself into
the red for 2002 when it added $2,500,000,000 to its asbestos-
related reserves in January.

However, Andrew Kligerman of UBS Warburg, said Hartford's
reserve strengthening could "be viewed as a major positive". "It
clearly puts the asbestos question behind it."

In late trading in New York, Hartford's shares were up nearly 7
per cent at $46.50.

But in response, Moody's, the rating agency, said it might lower
Hartford's A2 credit rating, while Standard & Poor's put the
company on CreditWatch with negative implications until it
raised capital.

A couple of years ago, insurers appeared to have set aside
enough for asbestos. But litigation that had related directly to
miners and manufacturers has moved on to distributors, asbestos
installers or any company that may have had some connection with
the substance.

Although negotiations to find a solution to the asbestos crisis
are heating up on Capitol Hill, numerous hurdles to reach a
final settlement on asbestos lawsuits have yet to be cleared.
The interested parties agree on the concept of a trust fund, but
not its size or structure.

Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, is
finalizing legislation that would create a national trust fund
of about $108bn to pay victims of asbestos-related diseases.
However, it is still unclear whether there is enough support to
get this enacted through Congress.

By late 2000 more than 600,000 US residents had filed claims for
asbestos-related afflictions, according to a recent Rand study.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Solutia Refuses to Pay $3M For Settlements
---------------------------------------------------------------
Solutia Inc. recently informed Monsanto and Pharmacia that it
would not be making a $3,000,000 payment to satisfy litigation
settlements in two asbestos cases brought against Pharmacia, a
pharmaceuticals company that Pfizer Inc. acquired in April.

Solutia said that its only obligation related to this litigation
comes as a result of its contractual obligation to indemnify
legacy liabilities of the old Monsanto chemical business, which
were assigned to Solutia at the time of Solutia's creation in
1997. Solutia has given notice to Monsanto and Pharmacia to
enable them to make the required payments on their own behalf.

In a press release, Solutia said that when it was spun off from
Monsanto in 1997, Monsanto contractually obligated Solutia to
bear the responsibility for hundreds of millions of dollars of
legacy liabilities that accrued to Monsanto and its successor,
Pharmacia, over a century of manufacturing, primarily in the
areas of retiree benefits, environmental cleanup and litigation
defense costs. In its 2003 third quarter 10-Q filing, Solutia
disclosed that it must take action to reduce its current level
of legacy liabilities, which currently cost Solutia roughly
$100,000,000 every year.

Solutia has not advised Monsanto and Pharmacia that it will not
honor any remaining legacy liabilities. In fact, Solutia
continues to make other selected legacy liability payments. As
individual legacy liability payments come due, Solutia will
evaluate whether it is prudent for it to make those payments and
will, in all cases where it determines to not make such
payments, notify Monsanto and Pharmacia to enable them to pay
their obligations.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Bucyrus Faces 1,400 in Asbestos Related Suits
-------------------------------------------------------------
Buchyrus International Inc reports that it has been named as a
co-defendant in 285 personal injury liability asbestos cases,
involving around 1,400 plaintiffs, which are pending in various
state courts.  

Buchyrus said in its latest filing with the Securities and
Exchange Commission that in all of these cases, insurers have
accepted or are expected to accept the defense of such cases.  
The cases are in preliminary stages and Bucyrus does not believe
that costs associated with these matters will have a material
effect on the Company's financial position, results of
operations or cash flows, although no assurance to that effect
can be given.

COMPANY PROFILE
Bucyrus International, Inc.
1100 Milwaukee Ave.
South Milwaukee, WI 53172-0500
Phone: 414-768-4000
Fax: 414-768-4474
http://www.bucyrus.com

Employees   :        1,600
Revenue     : $299,700,000
Net Income  : $(10,500,000)
Assets      : $355,700,000
Liabilities : $338,600,000
As of Dec. 31, 2001

Description: Bucyrus International (formerly Bucyrus-Erie Co.)
makes large excavation machinery used for surface mining. Its
products, which include walking draglines, electric mining
shovels, and blast-hole drills, are used for mining coal, gold,
iron ore, and other minerals. Bucyrus markets primarily to large
companies and quasi-governmental agencies operating in South
America and Australia, Canada, China, India, South Africa, and
the US. The company also provides replacement parts and services
to the surface mining industry. American Industrial Partners
Capital Fund II owns Bucyrus.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Highlands Continues to Battle Asbestos Woes
-----------------------------------------------------------
Highlands Insurance Group, Inc. reports that it continues to
find ways to settle its asbestos-related liabilities.

Since 1994, Highlands and a number of other insurance companies
have been defendants in an action in the Superior Court for the
County of Los Angeles, California, brought by a corporation that
installed and removed building materials containing asbestos,
seeking to establish coverage for asbestos claims.

The plaintiff subsequently entered a bankruptcy proceeding in
which a statutory trust was created to fund asbestos claims. On
Aug. 1, the Los Angeles Superior Court, after a court and jury
trial, entered a judgment against Highlands and other insurers
totaling $190,700,000, of which Highlands' share was
$58,400,000.

Highlands and the other insurers were ordered to immediately
fund the trust in the amount of the judgment to cover potential
future liabilities. The insurers have appealed this judgment to
the California District Court of Appeal. Highlands also filed a
petition in the appellate court for a judicial order that would
in effect relieve Highlands from a requirement of posting an
appellate bond in the amount of 150% of the judgment, or
approximately $86,000,000. On Nov. 4, the appellate court
entered an order denying Highlands' petition. Highlands filed a
petition in the California Supreme Court for review of this
decision, which was denied.  

The effect of the Nov. 4 appellate decision is that the
plaintiff can now seek to execute on its $58,400,000 judgment
against Highlands, even though the appeal is pending. In its
petition filed with the appellate court, Highlands disclosed
that the Texas Department of Insurance had expressly denied
Highlands' request to post the appellate bond. Highlands further
stated that the Texas Department of Insurance told Highlands
that it would intervene to preserve Highlands' assets in the
event the plaintiff attempted to execute on its judgment.

On Nov. 6, the State of Texas obtained an order in the Texas
District Court appointing the Texas Insurance Commissioner as
the Receiver of Highlands and placing the Receiver in possession
of all assets of Highlands. The order specifically enjoined
various persons, including the plaintiff in the California
action, from taking any action against the assets of Highlands.

The order expressly provides that it does not constitute a
finding of Highlands' insolvency nor an authorization to
liquidate
Highlands. The ultimate impact to the Company of this additional
regulatory action against Highlands, if any, is not currently
determinable, but could be significant.  


COMPANY PROFILE

Highlands Insurance Group, Inc. (Pink Sheets: HIGPQ)
2755 Phillips Blvd.
Trenton, NJ 08618
Phone: 609-896-1921

Employees   :            629
Revenue     :   $567,200,000
Net Income  :  $(341,600,000)
Assets      : $1,820,600,000
Liabilities : $1,978,700,000
As of Dec. 31, 2001

Description: Highlands' primary product lines were commercial
multi-peril, workers' compensation, general liability, and
commercial auto insurance. The group also offered homeowners,
inland marine, and personal auto policies. Heavy industry,
retailers, service businesses, and other commercial concerns
were the company's main customers.

                   New Securities Fraud Cases    


ALGER FUNDS: Much Shelist Launches Securities Lawsuit in S.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Much Shelist Freed Denenberg Ament & Rubenstein,
P.C. initiated a securities class action in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf
of purchasers, redeemers and holders of shares of the Alger
Mutual Funds set forth below between November 1, 1998 and
September 3, 2003, inclusive.

The Funds that are the subject of this suit and their symbols
are as follows:

     (1) Alger SmallCap Portfolio (Nasdaq:ALSAX) (Nasdaq:ALSCX)
         (Nasdaq:AGSCX)

     (2) Alger SmallCap and MidCap Portfolio (Nasdaq:ALMAX)
         (Nasdaq:ALMBX) (Nasdaq:ALMCX)

     (3) Alger MidCap Growth Portfolio (Nasdaq:AMGAX)
         (Nasdaq:AMCGX) (Nasdaq:AMGCX)

     (4) Alger LargeCap Growth Portfolio (Nasdaq:ALGAX)
         (Nasdaq:AFGPX) (Nasdaq:ALGCX)

     (5) Alger Capital Appreciation Portfolio (Nasdaq:ACAAX)
         (Nasdaq:ACAPX) (Nasdaq:ALCCX)

     (6) Alger Health Sciences Portfolio (Nasdaq:AHSAX)
         (Nasdaq:AHSBX)(Nasdaq:AHSCX)

     (7) Alger Balanced Portfolio (Nasdaq:ALBAX) (Nasdaq:ALGBX)
         (Nasdaq:ALBCX)

     (8) Alger Small Cap Institutional Fund (Nasdaq:ALSRX)
         (Nasdaq:ASIRX)

     (9) Alger MidCap Institutional Fund (Nasdaq:ALMRX)
         (Nasdaq:ALGRX)

    (10) Alger LargeCap Growth Institutional Fund (Nasdaq:ALGRX)
         (Nasdaq:ALGIX)

    (11) Alger Capital Appreciation Institutional Fund
         (Nasdaq:ALARX) (Nasdaq:ACARX)

    (12) Alger Balanced Institutional Fund (Nasdaq:ABLRX)
         (Nasdaq:ABIRX)

    (13) Alger Socially Responsible Growth Institutional Fund
         (Nasdaq:ASRGX) (Nasdaq:ASRRX)

    (14) Spectra Fund (Nasdaq:SPEAX) (Nasdaq:SPECX)

The Complaint charges Fred Alger Management, Inc., the Alger
Funds, Veras Investment Partners, Inc., and others with
violating the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange
Act of 1934, the Investment Company Act of 1940, and with common
law breach of fiduciary duties.

Specifically, it is alleged that during the Class Period,
defendants failed to disclose that they improperly allowed
certain favored investors, including Veras Investment Partners,
Inc., to engage in the "market-timing" of their transactions in
the Funds.  Market timing is short term, arbitrage trading that
exploits inefficiencies in the way mutual funds are priced.  
Market timing injures long term mutual fund investors, who are
not allowed to engage in such practices, by, among other things,
diluting the profits they would otherwise receive and
concentrating their losses.  

Allegedly, in return for receiving extra fees from Veras
Investment Partners and other favored investors, Fred Alger
Management, and the other Alger defendants, allowed and
facilitated market-timing activities by Veras Investment
Partners and others, at the expense of class members and despite
restrictions on these practices in the prospectuses of the
Funds.

For more information, contact Carol V. Gilden or Louis A.
Kessler, by Phone: 1-800-470-6824 (toll free), or by E-mail:
investorhelp@muchshelist.com.


FRIEDMAN'S INC: Marc Henzel Launches Securities Suit in S.D. GA
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Georgia, on behalf of purchasers of the securities
of Friedman's Inc. between January 26, 2000 and November 11,
2003 inclusive.

The complaint alleges that Defendants issued a series of false
and misleading statements regarding FRM's financial results and
business model, resulting in the Company materially overstating
its earnings for the fiscal years 2000 through 2002, and the
first three quarters of 2003. The earnings issued and
representations concerning those results were false and
misleading when made, as FRM's financial statements during the
Class Period were in violation of GAAP and SEC rules. These
improper practices are now the subject of a Securities and
Exchange Commission investigation, as well as an investigation
by the Department of Justice.

It is alleged that Defendants knew and failed to disclose
material adverse information and misrepresented the truth about
the Company, its financial performance, earnings momentum, and
future business prospects, including:

     (1) the Company's allowance for doubtful accounts was
         woefully inadequate;

     (2) FRM's credit losses during the Class Period were
         significantly higher than its reserves and higher than
         defendants publicly represented; and

     (3) Defendants failed to properly write-off uncollectible
         receivables, and materially overstated FRM's financial
         results by maintaining known uncollectible accounts as
         assets during the Class Period.

As a result of the Defendants' false and misleading statements,
FRM's stock traded at inflated prices during the Class Period,
increasing to as high as $16.15 on September 8, 2003.

On November 11, 2003, FRM shocked the market by warning about
its future performance, and the material adverse impact of the
"increase in allowance for doubtful accounts". The Company also
revealed that FRM's Chief Financial Officer, Victoria Suglia,
had been placed on "leave" as a result of the government
investigations. As a result, FRM was forced to dramatically
boost its allowance for doubtful accounts, resulting in a
sizable charge of as much as $0.43 per share for 2003. In
response to the Company's devastating news concerning the
financial fraud, FRM's stock price plummeted by more than 40% on
volumes of about thirteen times the daily average.

It is believed that the Individual Defendants engaged in such a
scheme to inflate the price of FRM securities in order to:

     (i) protect and enhance their executive positions and the
         substantial compensation and prestige they obtained
         thereby;

    (ii) enhance the value of their personal holdings of FRM
         securities;

   (iii) complete public offerings;

    (iv) prevent violation of the covenants in the Company's
         credit facility agreement and maximize the amount
         allowed to be borrowed by the Company under this
         agreement; and

     (v) avoid repaying millions of dollars in personal loans
         from the Company.

For more information, contact Marc S. Henzel, by Mail: 273
Montgomery Ave, Suite 202 Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004-2808, by Phone:  
(888) 643-6735 or (610) 660-8000, by fax: (610) 660-8080, by E-
mail: Mhenzel182@aol.com, or visit the firm's Website:
http://members.aol.com/mhenzel182.



LEAPFROG: Charles Piven Launches Securities Lawsuit in N.D. CA
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities
class action in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California against defendant LeapFrog and
certain of its officers and directors, on behalf of shareholders
who purchased, converted, exchanged or otherwise acquired the
common stock of LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. between August 20,
2003 and October 21, 2003, inclusive.

The action charges that defendants violated federal securities
laws by issuing a series of materially false and misleading
statements to the market throughout the Class Period which
statements had the effect of artificially inflating the market
price of the Company's securities.

For more information, contact Charles J. Piven, by Mail: The
World Trade Center-Baltimore, 401 East Pratt Street, Suite 2525,
Baltimore, Maryland 21202, by Phone: 410/986-0036, or by E-mail:
hoffman@pivenlaw.com.


MARSH & MCLENNAN: Charles Piven Files Securities Suit in S.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities
class action in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York against defendant Marsh & McLennan
and certain of its officers and directors, on behalf of  
shareholders who purchased, converted, exchanged or otherwise
acquired the common stock of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.
between January 3, 2000 and November 3, 2003, inclusive.

The action charges that defendants violated federal securities
laws by issuing a series of materially false and misleading
statements to the market throughout the Class Period which
statements had the effect of artificially inflating the market
price of the Company's securities.

For more information, contact Charles J. Piven, by Mil: The
World Trade Center-Baltimore, 401 East Pratt Street, Suite 2525,
Baltimore, Maryland 21202, by Phone: 410/986-0036, or by E-mail:
hoffman@pivenlaw.com.


MARSH & MCLENNAN: Kaplan Fox Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP initiated a class
action suit in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York against Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.
and certain of its officers and directors, on behalf of all
persons and entities, other than defendants, who purchased Marsh
& McLennan common stock between January 3, 2000 and November 3,
2003, inclusive.

The complaint alleges that defendants were engaged in an
unlawful and deceitful course of conduct designed to improperly
financially advantage defendants to the detriment of plaintiff
and the other members of the Class. During the Class Period,
defendants violated the federal securities laws by disseminating
materially false and misleading information to the public
concerning Putman Investments, LLC, a Marsh & McLennan
subsidiary. In clear breach of their disclosure obligations,
defendants failed to disclose that Putnam allowed select favored
customers, and its own fund managers, to engage in market timing
(or rapid in-and-out trading) in certain Putnam mutual funds. It
is alleged that defendants engaged in this wrongful activity in
exchange for substantial fees and other income.

For more information, contact Frederic S. Fox, Laurence D. King,
or Christine M. Fox, by Mail: 555 Montgomery Street, San
Francisco, CA 94111, by Phone: (415) 772-4700, Fax:
(415) 772-4707, or by E-mail: mail@kaplanfox.com.


PBHG MUTUAL: Beatie Osborn Commences Securities Suit in E.D. PA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Beatie and Osborn LLP initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania on behalf of all purchasers, redeemers
and holders of shares of the PBHG Family of Funds operated by
the subsidiary of South African based financial services
company, Old Mutual plc , Old Mutual Asset Management and its
member firm Pilgrim Baxter & Associates, Ltd., between November
24, 1998 and November 12, 2003, inclusive.

The Complaint alleges, among other things, that defendants
violated the securities laws by failing to disclose that certain
hedge funds, such as Appalachian Trails, were permitted to
engage in "late trading" and "timing" of PBHG mutual funds to
the detriment of long-term investors in the funds.

In return for receiving extra fees from Appalachian Trails and
other favored investors, Old Mutual, Pilgrim Baxter and its
affiliates allowed and facilitated timing and late trading
activities in the funds. These practices were not disclosed in
the prospectuses of the PBHG mutual funds, which falsely
represented that the funds actively police against timing and
represented that post-4 P.M. EST trades will be priced based on
the next day's net asset value and that premature redemptions
will be assessed a charge.

   The mutual funds subject to this lawsuit are:


     (1) PBHG Strategic Small Company Fund (NASDAQ: PSSCX)

     (2) PBHG Disciplined Equity Fund (NASDAQ: PBDEX)

     (3) PBHG Mid-Cap Fund (formally known as PBHG Mid-Cap Value
         Fund) (NASDAQ:PBMCX)

     (4) PBHG Small Cap Fund (formally known as PBHG Small Cap
         Value Fund) (NASDAQ: PBSVX)

     (5) PBHG Clipper Focus Fund (NASDAQ: PBFOX)

     (6) PBHG Small Cap Value Fund (formally known as TS&W Small  
         Cap Value Fund, LLC) (NASDAQ: PSMVX)

     (7) PBHG REIT Fund (NASDAQ: PBRTX)

     (8) PBHG Technology & Communications Fund (NASDAQ: PBTCX)

     (9) PBHG IRA Capital Preservation Fund (NASDAQ: PBCPX)

    (10) PBHG Intermediate Fixed Income Fund (NASDAQ: PBFIX)

    (11) PBHG Cash Reserve Fund (NASDAQ: PBCXX)

For more information, contact Daniel A. Osborn, or Ben Coleman,
Legal Assistant, by Mail: 521 Fifth Ave - 34th Floor, New York,
New York 10175, by Phone: (212) 888-9000 or (800) 891-6305 toll
free, by Fax: (212) 888-9664, by E-mail:
Clientrelations@bandolaw.com, or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.bandolaw.com.


PILGRIM BAXTER: Spector, Roseman Commences Securities Fraud Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P.C. initiated a class action
lawsuit against Pilgrim Baxter & Associates on behalf of all
purchasers, redeemers and holders of shares of PBHG Growth Fund
(NASDAQ: PBHGX), PBHG Emerging Growth Fund (NASDAQ: PBEGX), PBHG
Large Cap Growth Fund (NASDAQ: PBHLX), PBHG Select Growth Fund
(formally known as PBHG Select Equity Fund) (NASDAQ: PBHEX),
PBHG Focused Fund (formally known as PBHG Focused Value Fund)
(NASDAQ: PBFVX), PBHG Large Cap Fund (formally known as PBHG
Large Cap Value Fund) (NASDAQ: PLCVX), PBHG Large Cap 20 Fund
(NASDAQ: PLCPX), and others in the PBHG Mutual Funds, which are
managed by Pilgrim Baxter from November 13, 1998 through
November 13, 2003.

The following PBHG Mutual Funds are subject to this class
action:

     (1) PBHG Strategic Small Company Fund (NASDAQ: PSSCX)

     (2) PBHG Disciplined Equity Fund (NASDAQ: PBDEX)

     (3) PBHG Mid-Cap Fund (formally known as PBHG Mid-Cap Value
         Fund) (NASDAQ:PBMCX)

     (4) PBHG Small Cap Fund (formally known as PBHG Small Cap
         Value Fund) (NASDAQ: PBSVX)

     (5) PBHG Clipper Focus Fund (NASDAQ: PBFOX)

     (6) PBHG Small Cap Value Fund (formally known as TS&W Small  
         Cap Value Fund, LLC) (NASDAQ: PSMVX)

     (7) PBHG REIT Fund (NASDAQ: PBRTX)

     (8) PBHG Technology & Communications Fund (NASDAQ: PBTCX)

     (9) PBHG IRA Capital Preservation Fund (NASDAQ: PBCPX)

    (10) PBHG Intermediate Fixed Income Fund (NASDAQ: PBFIX)

    (11) PBHG Cash Reserve Fund (NASDAQ: PBCXX)

The complaint charges defendants with violations of the
Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the
Investment Company Act of 1940, as well as common law fiduciary
duties.  It alleges that during the Class Period the PBHG Mutual
Funds and the other defendants engaged in illegal and improper
trading practices, in concert with certain institutional
traders, which caused financial injury to the shareholders of
the PBHG Mutual Funds.

According to the Complaint, the Defendants surreptitiously
permitted certain favored investors to illegally engage in
"timing" of the PBHG Mutual Funds whereby these favored
investors were permitted to conduct short-term, "in and out"
trading of mutual fund shares, despite explicit restrictions on
such activity in the PBHG Mutual Funds' prospectuses.

For more information, contact Robert M. Roseman, by Phone:
888-844-5862 (toll free), by E-mail: classaction@srk-law.com, or
visit the firm's Website: http://www.srk-law.com.


PMA CAPITAL: Marc Henzel Commences Securities Suit in E.D. PA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania on behalf of all persons who purchased
the securities of PMA Capital Corporation between November 13,
1998 and November 3, 2003 seeking remedies under the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934, on behalf of all persons who purchased
securities of PMA issued in public offerings dated October 16,
2002, 4.25% Convertible Senior Debentures Due 2022, and June 5,
2003, 8.5% Monthly Income Senior Notes due 2018, seeking
remedies under Sections 11, 12 (a), 20 and 15 of the Securities
Act of 1933.

On November 4, 2003, before the market opened, PMA disclosed in
a press release and a concurrent SEC filing on Form 8-K, that it
would record a pre-tax charge of $150 million primarily to
compensate for PMA Re's inadequate loss reserves. Defendants
stated that an internal review of the Company's reserves
revealed that the material charge "relates to higher than
expected underwriting losses in PMA Re's reinsurance operations,
primarily from casualty business written in accident years 1997
to 2000."

As a result of this charge, the Company suspended its common
stock dividend, and has engaged Banc of America Securities LLC
to explore "strategic alternatives." On the same day, PMA
announced that it was in discussions with the Pennsylvania
Insurance Department over the Company's insurance operations.
Immediately following this announcement, the price of PMA common
stock plummeted $8.11, or 61.7 percent, from its previous day's
trading, to close at $5.03 per share. On November 6, 2003, PMA
revealed that the write down will effectively force the Company
to withdraw from the reinsurance business, and that defendant
John W. Smithson had resigned as President and Chief Executive
Officer of PMA.

For more information, contact Marc S. Henzel, by Mail: 273
Montgomery Ave, Suite 202 Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004-2808, by Phone:
(888) 643-6735 or (610) 660-8000, by fax: (610) 660-8080, by E-
mail: Mhenzel182@aol.com, or visit the firm's Website:
http://members.aol.com/mhenzel182.



PUTNAM FUNDS: Spector, Roseman Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P.C. initiated a securities class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York, on behalf of all persons or
entities who purchased or otherwise acquired Putnam Family of
Funds, between November 1, 1998 and September 3, 2003,
inclusive, against Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., Putnam
Investments Trust, Putnam Investment Management LLC, Putnam
Investment Funds, each of the Funds, and John Does 1-100.

The Funds, and the symbols for the respective Funds named below,
are as follows:

     (1) Putnam American Government Income Fund

     (2) Putnam Arizona Tax Exempt Income Fund

     (3) Putnam Asset Allocation: Balanced Portfolio

     (4) Putnam Asset Allocation: Conservative Portfolio

     (5) Putnam Asset Allocation: Growth Portfolio (Sym: PAEAX)

     (6) Putnam California Tax Exempt Income Fund

     (7) Putnam Capital Appreciation Fund

     (8) Putnam Capital Opportunities Fund

     (9) Putnam Classic Equity Fund

    (10) Putnam Convertible Income-Growth Trust

    (11) Putnam Discovery Growth Fund

    (12) Putnam Diversified Income Trust

    (13) Putnam Equity Income Fund

    (14) Putnam Europe Equity Fund

    (15) Putnam Florida Tax Exempt Income Fund

    (16) Putnam Fund for Growth and Income (Sym: PGRWX)

    (17) George Putnam Fund of Boston

    (18) Putnam Global Equity Fund (Sym: PEQUX)

    (19) Putnam Global Income Trust

    (20) Putnam Global Natural Resources Fund

    (21) Putnam Growth Opportunities Fund (Sym: POGAX, POGBX,
         POGCX, PGOMX)

    (22) Putnam Health Sciences Trust

    (23) Putnam High Yield Advantage Fund

    (24) Putnam High Yield Trust

    (25) Putnam Income Fund

    (26) Putnam Intermediate U.S. Government Income Fund

    (27) Putnam International Capital Opportunities Fund

    (28) Putnam International Equity Fund

    (29) Putnam International Growth and Income Fund

    (30) Putnam International New Opportunities Fund (Sym:
         PINOX)

    (31) Putnam Investors Fund

    (32) Putnam Massachusetts Tax Exempt Income Fund

    (33) Putnam Michigan Tax Exempt Income Fund

    (34) Putnam Mid Cap Value Fund

    (35) Putnam Minnesota Tax Exempt Income Fund

    (36) Putnam Money Market Fund

    (37) Putnam Municipal Income Fund

    (38) Putnam New Jersey Tax Exempt Income Fund

    (39) Putnam New Opportunities Fund

    (40) Putnam New Value Fund (Sym: PANVX)

    (41) Putnam New York Tax Exempt Income Fund

    (42) Putnam New York Tax Exempt Opportunities Fund

    (43) Putnam OTC & Emerging Growth Fund

    (44) Putnam Ohio Tax Exempt Income Fund

    (45) Putnam Pennsylvania Tax Exempt Income Fund

    (46) Putnam Research Fund

    (47) Putnam Small Cap Growth Fund

    (48) Putnam Small Cap Value Fund

    (49) Putnam Tax Exempt Income Fund

    (50) Putnam Tax Exempt Money Market Fund

    (51) Putnam Tax Smart Equity Fund

    (52) Putnam Tax-Free High Yield Fund

    (53) Putnam Tax-Free Insured Fund

    (54) Putnam U.S. Government Income Trust

    (55) Putnam Utilities Growth and Income Fund

    (56) Putnam Vista Fund

    (57) Putnam Voyager Fund (Sym: PVOYX)

The Complaint alleges that defendants violated 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
thereunder; Sections 36(a) and 36(b) of the Investment Company
Act of 1940, as well as common law fiduciary duties.
Specifically, the Complaint charges that throughout the Class
Period, defendants failed to disclose that they improperly
allowed certain investors (the John Doe defendants) to engage in
the "timing" of their transactions in the Funds' securities. In
return for receiving extra fees defendants allowed the John Doe
defendants to engage in timing, to the detriment of class
members, who paid, dollar for dollar, for the favored investors'
improper profits. These practices were undisclosed in the
prospectuses of the Funds, which falsely represented that the
Funds actively police against timing.

For more information, contact Robert M. Roseman, by Phone:
888-844-5862 (toll free), by E-mail: classaction@srk-law.com, or
visit the firm's Website: http://www.srk-law.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.
7
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
Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless Hills,
Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick, Maryland
USA.  Roberto Amor, Aurora Fatima Antonio and Lyndsey Resnick,
Editors.

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

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without
prior written permission of the publishers.

Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed
to be reliable, but is not guaranteed.

The CAR subscription rate is $575 for six months delivered via
e-mail.  Additional e-mail subscriptions for members of the same
firm for the term of the initial subscription or balance thereof
are $25 each.  For subscription information, contact Christopher
Beard at 240/629-3300.

                  * * *  End of Transmission  * * *