CAR_Public/031212.mbx            C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
           Friday, December 12, 2003, Vol. 5, No. 246

                        Headlines                            

ALBERTSONS INC: Appeals Court Reverses Wage Suit Certification
ALBERTSONS INC: CA Suit On Hold Pending Review of Similar Suit
ALBERTSONS INC: Settlement Agreement Reached For Eight Suits
BROWN-FORMAN CORPORATION: Faces Consumer Fraud Suit in DC Court
CASUAL MALE: Former Employee Launches Overtime Wage Suit in CA

DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Company Kept Merger Promises, Says Former CEO
DRESS BARN: Employees Launch Overtime Wage Lawsuit in CA Court
ELECTRONICS BOUTIQUE: Faces Overtime Wage Suit in CA State Court
FARMERS INSURANCE: OR Jury Rules PIP Review Constitutes Fraud
GLOBAL CROSSING: Execs Negotiating For NY Stock Suit Settlement

GLOBAL CROSSING: Plaintiffs File Consolidated ERISA Suit in NY
GLOBAL CROSSING: Seeking Settlement of NY Securities Fraud Suit
GLOBAL CROSSING: IL Court Approves Rights-of-Way Suit Settlement
HMO LITIGATION: Florida Judge Denies Insurer's Motion to Dismiss
INTERPUBLIC GROUP: Asks NY Court To Dismiss Securities Lawsuit

INTERPUBLIC GROUP: IL Court Remands Stock Lawsuit To State Court
KENTUCKY: Priest To Stay At MO Facility After Serving Jail Term
NEW YORK: 3 Missing After Dutch Ship Capsizes in Hudson River
NORDSTROM INC.: Fairness Hearing For Antitrust Settlement in CA
RHODE ISLAND: Grand Jury Releases Report on Feb. Night Club Fire

SK ENTERPIRSES: Recalls Pressure Washers For Fire/ Injury Hazard
SPECIALIZED BICYCLE: Recalls 250 Mountain Bikes For Brake Defect
TOBACCO LITIGTION: R.J. Reynolds Wins Individual Smoker Lawsuit
TOBACCO LITIGATION: Seeks Reversal In Light Cigarettes Lawsuit
TUNA FISH: FDA Faces Criticism on Advice Over Mercury in Fish

U.S. STEEL: Row Deepens In Orem Plant Workers Lawsuit Settlement  
WAL-MART STORES: PA Grand Jury Set To Deliberate On Workers Case  

                     Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Alstom SA Battles Lawsuits in France, US
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Chase Corp. Continues to Face Asbestos Woes
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Insurer Labels Asbestos Exposure 'Minimal'
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Tower Gets Amended Suit from Former Tenant
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: U.S. Steel Corporation Faces 16T Plaintiffs

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Standard Motor Posts $27M Liability
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Zurn Industries Posts Latest Asbestos Stats
ASBESTOS ALERT: CompuDyne Corp. Receives Personal-Injury Suits
ASBESTOS ALERT: United National Reveals 264 Asbestos Claims
ASBESTOS ALERT: Reunion Lists 1,259 Asbestos-Related Lawsuits

                    New Securities Fraud Cases

CAMBREX CORP: Shepherd Finkelman Files Securities Lawsuit in NJ
CAREER EDUCATION: Milberg Weiss Commences Securities Suit in IL
CAREER EDUCATION: Charles Piven Files Securities Suit in N.D. IL
FEDERATED FUNDS: Zwerling Schachter Files Securities Suit in PA
FRED ALGER: Charles Piven Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY

MORGAN STANLEY: Charles Piven Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. NY
PORTAL SOFTWARE: Goodkind Labaton Lodges Securities Suit in CA
PORTAL SOFTWARE: Wechsler Harwood Launches Securities Suit in CA
PRICESMART INC: Goodkind Labaton Files Stock Lawsuit in S.D. CA
WATSON PHARMACEUTICALS: Schatz & Nobel Files CA Securities Suit

                       *********

ALBERTSONS INC: Appeals Court Reverses Wage Suit Certification
--------------------------------------------------------------
The California Court of Appeals, Second Appellate District
reversed a ruling by the Superior Court for the County of Los
Angeles, which granted certification of a lawsuit, filed against
Albertsons, Inc. subsidiary, Sav-on Drug Stores (Rocher, Dahlin,
et al. v. Sav-on Drug Stores, Inc.), on behalf of the assistant
managers and operating managers seeking recovery of overtime pay
based upon plaintiffs' allegation that they were improperly
classified as "exempt" under California law.

The California Supreme Court has accepted plaintiffs' request
for review of this class de-certification.  


ALBERTSONS INC: CA Suit On Hold Pending Review of Similar Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
A class action filed against Albertsons, Inc. in the Superior
Court for the County of Los Angeles, California, styled
"Gardner, et al. v. American Stores Company, et al.," has been
put on hold, pending review of another complaint, styled
"Rocher, Dahlin, et al. v. Sav-on Drug Stores, Inc."

The suit also names as defendants the Company's wholly owned
subsidiaries:

     (1) American Stores Company,

     (2) American Drug Stores, Inc.,

     (3) Sav-on Drug Stores, Inc. and

     (4) Lucky Stores, Inc.

The suit was filed by assistant managers seeking recovery of
overtime pay based upon plaintiffs' allegation that they were
improperly classified as exempt under California law.  The case
is on hold pending review of the Rocher complaint, which was
decertified by the California Supreme court.


ALBERTSONS INC: Settlement Agreement Reached For Eight Suits
------------------------------------------------------------
An agreement was reached, and court approval granted, to settle
eight purported class and/or collective actions which were
consolidated in the United States District Court in Boise,
Idaho, and which raised various issues including "off-the-clock"  
work allegations and allegations regarding certain salaried
grocery managers' exempt status.  

Under the settlement agreement, current and former employees who
met eligibility criteria have been allowed to present their off-
the-clock work claims to a settlement administrator.  
Additionally, current and former grocery managers employed in
the State of California have been allowed to present their
exempt status claims to a settlement administrator.

The Company mailed notices of the settlement and claims forms to
approximately 80,000 associates and former associates.  
Approximately 6,000 claim forms were returned, of which
approximately 5,000 were deemed by the settlement administrator
to be incapable of valuation, presumed untimely, or both.  The
claims administrator was able to assign a value to approximately
1,000 claims, which amount to a total of approximately $14,
although the value of many of those claims is still subject to
challenge by the Company.

A second claim process was ordered by the court, but the parties
are still waiting for final instructions from the Court.  


BROWN-FORMAN CORPORATION: Faces Consumer Fraud Suit in DC Court
---------------------------------------------------------------
Brown-Forman Corporation and certain other beer, spirits and
wine producers are defendants in a civil action entitled  "Hakki
v. Adolph Coors Company", et. al, in the Superior Court of the
District of Columbia, No. 03-9183.

The suit alleges that the defendants have engaged in deceptive
advertising in violation of the District of Columbia Consumer
Protection Procedures Act by marketing their beverage alcohol
products to purchasers under the legal drinking age.  Plaintiff
alleges that defendants violated the Act by:

     (1) unfair and deceptive trade practices,

     (2) engaging in wrongful conduct resulting in unjust  
         enrichment,

     (3) negligently marketing their products, and

     (4) fraudulently  concealing their alleged misconduct

The plaintiff seeks class action certification of the suit on
behalf of:

     (i) a guardian class, consisting of all persons who are or
         were parents or guardians of children whose funds were
         used to purchase beverage alcohol marketed by the
         defendants which were consumed  without their prior
         knowledge by their children under the age of 21 during
         the period 1982 to present; and

    (ii) an injunctive class, consisting of the parents and
         guardians of all children under the age of 21

The plaintiff seeks a declaration that the defendants violated
the Act; disgorgement of all proceeds resulting from such
alleged underage sales; rescission of all sales to underage
consumers and refund of those revenues to the classes; an
injunction against the defendants from marketing beverage
alcohol to underage persons; an award of damages against all
defendants jointly and severally for all actual damages
sustained by the plaintiff classes, plus treble damages or $1500
per violation, whichever is greater, punitive damages and
attorneys fees.

The Company denies that its marketing violates the Act, and
denies that it intentionally markets its beverage alcohol
products to minors.


CASUAL MALE: Former Employee Launches Overtime Wage Suit in CA
--------------------------------------------------------------
Casual Male Retail Group, Inc. faces a class action filed in the
Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, by Robin J.
Tucker, a former employee.

The complaint alleges, among other things, that the Company
failed to pay overtime compensation and to provide meal and rest
periods to its California store managers for the period from May
14, 2002 to the present.


DAIMLERCHRYSLER: Company Kept Merger Promises, Says Former CEO
--------------------------------------------------------------
DaimlerChrysler CEO Jurgen Schrempp testified Wednesday that the
company abided by its promise of a merger of equals, as that
term was defined in the business combination agreement, Dow
Jones Newswire reports.

The Financial Times interview gave the opposite impression to
the one he intended, Mr. Schrempp said.  However, he was able to
tell former Chrysler employees angered by the interview that the
merger of equals "in spirit" had been achieved.  On cross-
examination by Kirk Kerkorian's attorney Terry Christensen, Mr.
Schrempp said he did not recall much about an interview with
Barron's one week after the Financial Times interview.

According to Mr. Christensen, Mr. Schrempp passed up an
opportunity to clear up the claimed misunderstanding in the
Financial Times, and repeated to Barron's the statements he had
made to the London-based publication.  He said he exaggerated in
response to a question about Daimler control and heavy-
handedness in the post-merger company, and the exodus of former
Chrysler executives.

Mr. Schrempp responded to the question by saying DaimlerChrysler
got more than it lost in the changes and picked up younger and
more competent managers.  "I wanted to make the point that we
are not bleeding," he said.

In an "off-the-record" portion of The Financial Times interview,
CEO Schrempp talked about his plan to acquire control of
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation's truck line, a plan that he said
he could not "announce to the world."  Kirk Kerkorian's
attorneys have pointed to the Mitsubishi discussion as part of a
pattern of deceptive takeover moves by DaimlerChrysler.

On the stand Wednesday, Mr. Schrempp said the Mitsubishi truck
strategy was not a covert takeover plan.  Instead, he said, he
intended to sit down quietly with all interested parties and
talk out differences before making the deal public.  "There are
certain discussions you can only bring out in the open once you
find an amicable solution," he said.

Lawyers in a shareholder class action obtained the off-the-
record portion of The Financial Times interview from the
newspaper.  DaimlerChrysler settled the class-action suit soon
afterwards.


DRESS BARN: Employees Launch Overtime Wage Lawsuit in CA Court
--------------------------------------------------------------
A class action complaint was filed in California Court against
Dress Barn, Inc., on behalf of all Managers, Assistant Managers
and Associate Managers who worked for Dress Barn in California
for the past four years.

The complaint alleges that Dress Barn improperly classified
these employees as "salaried exempt."  Plaintiff's argument is
that if the employee spent 50% or more of their time doing work
similar to that done by hourly associates, they should be
entitled to overtime, etc.  


ELECTRONICS BOUTIQUE: Faces Overtime Wage Suit in CA State Court
----------------------------------------------------------------
A subsidiary of the Company was served with a complaint in a
proposed class action entitled Chalmers v. Electronics Boutique
of America, Inc. in the California Superior Court in Los Angeles
County.

The suit alleges that Electronics Boutique of America Inc.
improperly classified store management employees as exempt from
the overtime provisions of California wage-and-hour laws and
seeks recovery of wages for overtime hours worked.  The Company
is assessing the merits of, and the potential exposure from, the
suit.


FARMERS INSURANCE: OR Jury Rules PIP Review Constitutes Fraud
-------------------------------------------------------------
An Oregon court has ordered three subsidiaries of Farmers
Insurance to pay $9.5 million to a class of 7,200 policyholders
who claim the company's medical-expense review process for
personal injury protection benefits amounted to fraud, BestWire
Services reports.

Settling a nearly 4-year-old class action originally brought by
Beaverton, Oregon resident Mark Strawn - a Farmers Insurance
Company of Oregon policyholder - the Multnomah County Circuit
Court jury awarded $8 million in punitive damages and $1.5
million in compensatory damages and interest.  Fellow Farmers
subsidiaries Mid-Century Insurance Co. and Truck Insurance
Exchange also were named as defendants in the suit.

Mr. Strawn filed suit in early 2000 after claims he made
stemming from a 1997 automobile accident were reimbursed at less
than face value, according to the suit.  Mr. Strawn and the
other plaintiffs claimed that Farmers' practice of setting PIP
payment amounts, which were based on a review of comparable
medical services in a given geographic area, constituted fraud
and violated the state's law requiring auto insurers pay "all
reasonable and necessary" medical expenses.

"They used a bill-review service, put the bills through, and
claimed that the physicians' charges were an unreasonable
amount, and therefore reduced payment if a bill exceeded the
80th percentile compared to other bills in the database," said
Mr. Strawn's attorney, Richard Yugler, of the Portland firm
Landye Bennett Blumstein.

According to the suit, Farmers authorized bill reviews to be
performed by a data-services company called Medical Management
Online Inc.  The company used the 80th percentile threshold as a
benchmark for claims from January 26, 1998, until May 21, 1999,
when it was raised to the 90th percentile.  In July 1999, the
company again raised the threshold to the 99th percentile.

"The fraud consisted of not disclosing it in the policy," Mr.
Yugler said.  "Further, when they would describe it to people,
when people would complain, they did not state that was the real
reason it was being reduced.  And when they did state that they
were applying a percentile, they mis-described it as applying to
the percentile of providers, saying 'your doctor is charging
more than eight of 10 doctors,' and that wasn't true."

According to Mr. Yugler, although there were some cases in which
patients paid the balance initially and awaited indemnity from
the insurers, in most cases it was medical providers who simply
walked away from the bill. Because the differences between
payment and claims amounts were less than $10 in most cases,
doctors and other medical providers usually couldn't afford to
pursue the matter by rebilling, he added.

After the verdict, Farmers said in a statement that it would
appeal the decision on grounds that "important and relevant
evidence was excluded from the jury, such as how and why Farmers
utilizes its med-pay review program, the fact that the process
results in lower premiums for insureds, and the fact that Mr.
Strawn was made whole in his suit against the negligent driver."

"As the policy language allows, Farmers has followed a long-time
customary practice of reviewing medical bills to determine
whether the amount is reasonable, based on the usual and
customary charges in the community," the company said.  "The
primary purpose of this review is to help control the ever-
increasing cost of medical care for its insureds and other
claimants. The vast majority of medical providers understand and
accept the review process, which is used by virtually all of the
major insurers in the country, and results in lower costs for
coverage."

Farmers Insurance of Oregon is a member of Zurich Financial
Services Group. Both the insurer and the group have financial
strength ratings of A (Excellent) from A.M. Best Co.


GLOBAL CROSSING: Execs Negotiating For NY Stock Suit Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------
Certain of Global Crossing, Ltd.'s current and former officers
are negotiating for a settlement of the consolidated securities
class action filed against them following the Company's
bankruptcy filing on January 28, 2002.   The suit is pending in
the District Court for the Southern District of New York under
the caption "In re Global Crossing Ltd. Securities Litigation."

The plaintiffs allege that the defendants committed fraud under
the federal securities laws in connection with its financial
statements and disclosures and certain other public statements
made by the Company's representatives and seek compensatory
damages, costs and expenses, and equitable and other relief.  

In addition, a number of individual securities cases or other
actions based on federal or state law claims and arising out of
similar underlying facts have been filed (and in the future,
additional cases may be filed) against certain of the Company's
current and former officers, directors, and employees, seeking
damages for alleged violations of federal and state securities
laws, breach of fiduciary duties, violations of state whistle-
blower statutes, and allegations that certain former employees
were improperly restricted from selling GCL common stock before
the price collapsed.  The Company is involved only indirectly in
these cases and are not a named defendant.

The Company denied any liability for the claims asserted in
these actions, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange
Commission.  The Company said that it understands that its
former and present officers and directors have been negotiating
the terms of a settlement with the plaintiffs in the
consolidated securities action, but that no agreement has been
reached.
             

GLOBAL CROSSING: Plaintiffs File Consolidated ERISA Suit in NY
--------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs filed a consolidated class action against Global
Crossing, Ltd. and its current and former officers, directors,
and employees pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) in the United States District Court
for the Southern District of New York.  The suit is styled "In
re Global Crossing Ltd. ERISA Litigation."

The suit was filed in connection with the administration of its
401(k) retirement savings plans.  The plaintiffs allege, among
other things that the ERISA fiduciaries breached their duties to
the 401(k) plan participants by directing or otherwise being
responsible for the plans' acquiring and continuing to maintain
investments in the Company's common stock.

The consolidated complaint seeks, among other things, a
declaration that the defendants breached their fiduciary duties
to the plaintiff class, an order compelling defendants to make
good on the losses sustained by the plans, the imposition of a
constructive trust on any amounts by which the defendants were
unjustly enriched by their actions, and an order of equitable
restitution.

Although the Company is named as a defendant in the consolidated
ERISA case, plaintiffs assert in their consolidated complaint
that they will not prosecute their action against the Company
unless or until the Bankruptcy Court lifts or grants relief from
the automatic stay of litigation imposed by the Bankruptcy Code.

The Company denied any liability for the claims asserted in
these matters and understand that its past and present officers
and directors have been negotiating the terms of a settlement
with the plaintiffs in these actions, but that no agreement has
been reached.  

On April 30, 2002, an additional case, Pusloskie v. Winnick et
al, was commenced in the United States District Court for the
Southern District Court against certain of its current and
former directors, officers and employees.  This case is brought
on behalf of a putative class of the Company's former employees
and asserts claims for breach of fiduciary duties in connection
with the administration of one of its 401(k) retirement plans.  
This additional case does not name the Company as a defendant
and was not consolidated with the other ERISA cases.

Another class action was filed against the Company's current and
former officers, directors, and employees and against the
Frontier Corporation/Global Crossing Change of Control Severance
Plan (the "Severance Plan") under ERISA in connection with the
administration of the Severance Plan.

The plaintiffs allege, among other things, that the purported
ERISA fiduciaries and the Severance Plan breached their duties
to the plan's participants in suspending payments of severance
benefits in connection with the Company's bankruptcy filing.  
The case has been coordinated (but not consolidated) with the
securities and the other ERISA class actions in the Southern
District of New York, where it is pending under the caption
"Simonetti v. Perrone."

The Company is not named as a defendant in the Simonetti case.  
The Company denies any liability for the claims asserted and
understands that the defendants have been negotiating the terms
of a settlement with the plaintiffs but that no agreement has
been reached.  


GLOBAL CROSSING: Seeking Settlement of NY Securities Fraud Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Global Crossing, Ltd. is working for the settlement of a
consolidated securities class action filed in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York, styled "In
re Global Crossing Ltd. Initial Public Offering Securities
Litigation."

The suit alleges that certain of its current and former officers
and directors violated the federal securities laws through
agreements with underwriters in connection with the Company's
initial public offering and other offerings of our shares.  The
complaint seeks damages in an unstated amount, pre-judgment and
post-judgment interest, and attorneys' and expert witness fees.

This consolidated action is further consolidated with cases
against approximately 309 other public issuers and their
underwriters under the caption "In re Initial Public Offering
Securities Litigation."

Pursuant to the automatic stay of litigation imposed by the
Bankruptcy Code, the Company is not a defendant in this action.   
The Company believes that any liability it may have in respect
of this action is subject to indemnification by the firms that
acted as underwriters in the applicable securities offerings.  
Any monetary liability would, in any event, be discharged upon
consummation of its Plan of Reorganization.


GLOBAL CROSSING: IL Court Approves Rights-of-Way Suit Settlement
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
Illinois granted preliminary approval of the settlement proposed
by Qwest Communications and Global Crossing, Ltd. for the class
action filed against three Global Crossing subsidiaries.

The complaint alleges that the defendants had no right to
install a fiber optic cable in rights-of-way granted by the
plaintiffs to certain railroads.  Pursuant to an agreement with
Qwest Communications Corporation, the Company has an
indefeasible right to use certain fiber optical cables in a
fiber optic communications system constructed by Qwest within
the rights-of- way.

The complaint alleges that the railroads had only limited
rights-of-way granted to them that did not include permission to
install fiber optic cable for use by Qwest or any other
entities.  The action has been brought on behalf of a national
class of landowners whose property underlies or is adjacent to a
railroad right-of-way within which the fiber optic cables have
been installed.  The action seeks actual damages in an unstated
amount and alleges that the wrongs done by the Company involve:

     (1) fraud,

     (2) malice,

     (3) intentional wrongdoing,

     (4) willful or wanton conduct and/or

     (5) reckless disregard for the rights of the plaintiff
         landowners

As a result, plaintiffs also request an award of punitive
damages.  The Company has made a demand of Qwest to defend and
indemnify it in the lawsuit.  In response, Qwest has appointed
defense counsel to protect the Company's interests.

In September 2002, Qwest and certain of the other
telecommunication carrier defendants filed a proposed settlement
agreement in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois.  On July 25, 2003, the court granted
preliminary approval of the settlement and entered an order
enjoining competing class action claims, except for certain
claims in Louisiana.  The settlement and the court's injunction
are opposed by some, but not all, of the plaintiffs' counsel and
are on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh
Circuit.


HMO LITIGATION: Florida Judge Denies Insurer's Motion to Dismiss
----------------------------------------------------------------
U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno of the Southern District of
Florida has denied a request by health maintenance organizations
to dismiss a landmark class action filed on behalf of 700,000
physicians who are alleging violations of the federal Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, BestWire reports.

Judge Moreno ruled that the physicians' case could go forward in
court, rejecting a motion to dismiss from the HMOs involved in
the litigation, according to a statement from the physicians'
attorney, Archie Lamb.  As a result, "the nation's largest
managed-care companies must stand trial as co-conspirators who
have violated contracts and defrauded doctors," the statement
said.  Defendants in the lawsuit include:

     (1) United Healthcare,

     (2) Coventry Health Care,

     (3) WellPoint Health Networks Inc.,

     (4) Humana Health Plan Inc.,

     (5) PacifiCare Health Systems Inc. and

     (6) Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield

"Judge Moreno's order is very encouraging for all of America's
physicians," Dr. Jack Lewin, chief executive officer of the
California Medical Association, said in the statement.  "This
case represents the beginning of a new and positive relationship
between physicians and the nation's health plans."

An attempt to reach attorneys for the defendants was
unsuccessful, BestWire reports.

Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corp. also had been part of the lawsuit but
settled earlier in the year. Aetna's $470 million settlement,
which Moreno approved in October, included $100 million to
settle claims with physicians who had been denied reimbursement
for services, as well as $50 million to cover legal costs of the
medical societies that brought the suit. The company also will
donate $20 million to a nonprofit foundation and make procedural
changes estimated to save roughly $300 million in administrative
costs (BestWire, May 22 and Oct. 27, 2003).

Cigna's settlement, valued at $540 million, has so far received
preliminary approval. It includes $85 million to pay physicians
for claims and as much as $55 million in legal fees. The company
also spent $400 million to change the way it does business,
including multiple changes to its claims-payment practices, and
donated $15 million to a physicians' charitable foundation
(BestWire, Sept. 5, 2003).

More than 200 attorneys are representing the physicians and have
been preparing to take the case to court, Lamb said.

Moreno granted the case class-action status in September 2002.


INTERPUBLIC GROUP: Asks NY Court To Dismiss Securities Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. asked the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York to dismiss
the consolidated securities class action filed against it and
certain of its present and former directors and officers by a
purported class of purchasers of Interpublic stock shortly after
the Company's August 13, 2002 announcement regarding the
restatement of its previously reported earnings for the periods
January 1, 1997 through March 31, 2002.

The purported classes consist of Interpublic shareholders who
purchased Interpublic stock in the period from October 1997 to
October 2002.  Specifically, the consolidated amended complaint
alleges that Interpublic and certain of its present and former
directors and officers allegedly made misleading statements to
its shareholders between October 1997 and October 2002,
including the alleged failure to disclose the existence of
additional charges that would need to be expensed and the lack
of adequate internal financial controls, which allegedly
resulted in an overstatement of Interpublic's financial results
during those periods.

The consolidated amended complaint alleges that such false and
misleading statements constitute violations of Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder.  The consolidated amended complaint also alleges
violations of Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933
in connection with Interpublic's acquisition of True North
Communications, Inc.  No amount of damages is specified.


INTERPUBLIC GROUP: IL Court Remands Stock Lawsuit To State Court
----------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois granted plaintiffs' motion to remand to state court the
consolidated class action filed against The Interpublic Group of
Companies, and certain of its present and former directors and
officers by a purported class of purchasers of Interpublic stock
shortly after the Company's November 13, 2002 announcement
regarding the restatement of its previously reported earnings
for the periods January 1, 1997 through March 31, 2002.

The purported classes consist of Interpublic shareholders who
acquired Interpublic stock on or about June 25, 2001 in
connection with Interpublic's acquisition of True North.  The
suit alleges that Interpublic and certain of its present and
former directors and officers allegedly made misleading
statements in connection with the filing of a registration
statement on May 9, 2001 in which Interpublic issued 67,644,272
shares of its common stock for the purpose of acquiring True
North, including the alleged failure to disclose the existence
of additional charges that would need to be expensed and the
lack of adequate internal financial controls, which allegedly
resulted in an overstatement of Interpublic's financial results
at that time.

The suit alleges that such misleading statements constitute
violations of Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933.  
No amount of damages is specified in the complaints.

The suit was initially filed in the Circuit Court of Cook
County, Illinois, but was later removed to federal court.  
Thereafter, on January 10, 2003, defendants moved to transfer
these two actions to the Southern District of New York.  
Plaintiffs moved to remand these actions. The Company intends to
move to dismiss or stay these actions at the appropriate time.


KENTUCKY: Priest To Stay At MO Facility After Serving Jail Term
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington will order 97-year-old
Leonard Nienaber to remain at a treatment center in Missouri
after he finishes serving a sentence for child sexual abuse, AP
news reports.

Mr. Nienaber was convicted in 1994 on 10 counts of child sexual
abuse and was ordered to serve a 10-year sentence at the
treatment center of the Servants of the Paraclete, a Catholic
organization.  His sentence would be completed next year, but 18
of the priest's alleged victims had expressed concern about his
return to Lexington, said their attorney, Angela Ford.

As part of a settlement reached last week between the diocese
and 24 plaintiffs who had sued the diocese, Lexington Bishop
Ronald Gainer agreed to order Mr. Nienaber to spend the rest of
his life at the center.  The bishop has no legal authority over
Mr. Nienaber, but Jim Paris, the diocese's chancellor, said
priests take a vow of obedience to their bishop.  "Thus far he
(Nienaber) has always been obedient," Mr. Paris said.

The diocese will continue funding counseling for the plaintiffs,
which it has done since last year, said Paris and Ford.  Also
last week, the plaintiffs received their shares of a $5.2
million settlement reached in October with the Diocese of
Covington.

The Lexington settlement ended a year-long legal battle between
a group that sued both dioceses and accused Mr. Nienaber and at
least five other priests of sexual misconduct.  Fayette County
Circuit Court Judge Mary Noble dismissed the Lexington diocese
from the lawsuit in May, but allowed the suit to continue
against the Covington diocese.  The Lexington diocese was formed
from the Covington diocese after the alleged abuse took place.

Ford said she would drop an appeal of Judge Noble's decision to
dismiss the Lexington diocese from the lawsuit.  "All of my
clients will know counseling is there and is an expense that
will be covered, which was very important," Mr. Ford said.

A separate class action lawsuit filed in Boone County is pending
against the Covington diocese.


NEW YORK: 3 Missing After Dutch Ship Capsizes in Hudson River
-------------------------------------------------------------
Three crew members of a Dutch cargo ship in the Hudson River
were missing after the ship turned on its side after its load of
steel turbines apparently shifted, officials said, AP news
reports.

The three could be in the river, where temperatures had dipped
to about 20 degrees overnight, or in the ship's hull, said
authorities, who planned to resume their search Wednesday
morning.  

Of the crew of 18, eight were thrown into the partly frozen
water.  All were pulled out.  One crewmember listed in critical
condition was upgraded to serious condition at a hospital
Tuesday night, while another was in fair condition.  A third was
treated and released.  Seven others were rescued from the ship,
some by helicopter.

As the ship started taking on water Tuesday night, city police
and fire department rescue divers were pulled from the river for
their safety, authorities said.  A listening device was being
used to detect any sounds or movement in the ship, carrying 661
tons of steel turbines bound for Italy and Romania.  The Coast
Guard took over the investigation and had closed off a mile-long
stretch of the river around the vessel.

The 289-foot ship remained on its side hours after it tipped
over, tethered to the dock at a sharp angle but apparently
stable.  The ship is a Stellamare, part of a fleet of 11 heavy-
lift vessels ships belonging to Netherland-based Jumbo shipping
company.  Jumbo officials said the crew was Russian.


NORDSTROM INC.: Fairness Hearing For Antitrust Settlement in CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
Final fairness hearing for the settlement of the consolidated
amended antitrust class action filed against Nordstrom, Inc. and
other department store and specialty retailers is set for June
8,2004 in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California.

The Company was originally named as a defendant along with other
department store and specialty retailers in nine separate but
virtually identical class actions filed in various Superior
Courts of the State of California in May, June and July 1998
that have now been consolidated in Marin County Superior Court.  

In May 2000, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint naming a
number of manufacturers of cosmetics and fragrances and two
other retailers as additional defendants.  Plaintiffs' amended
complaint alleges that the retail price of the "prestige" or
"Department Store" cosmetics sold in department and specialty
stores was collusively controlled by the retailer and
manufacturer defendants in violation of the Cartwright Act and
the California Unfair Competition Act.

Plaintiffs seek treble damages and restitution in an unspecified
amount, attorneys' fees and prejudgment interest, on behalf of a
class of all California residents who purchased cosmetics and
fragrances for personal use from any of the defendants during
the four years prior to the filing of the amended complaint.  

Defendants, including the Company, have answered the amended
complaint denying the allegations.   The defendants have
produced documents and responded to plaintiffs' other discovery
requests, including providing witnesses for depositions.

The Company entered into a settlement agreement with the
plaintiffs and the other defendants on July 16, 2003.  In
furtherance of the settlement agreement, the case was re-filed
in the United States District Court for the Northern District
of California on behalf of a class of all persons who currently
reside in the United States and who purchased "Department Store"
cosmetics from the defendants during the period May 29, 1994
through July 16, 2003.  The court has given preliminary approval
to the settlement.  A summary notice of class certification and
the terms of the settlement will be disseminated to class
members.  

If approved by the court, the settlement will result in the
plaintiffs' claims and the claims of all class members being
dismissed, with prejudice, in their entirety.  In connection
with the settlement agreement, the defendants will provide class
members with certain free products and pay the plaintiffs'
attorneys' fees.  


RHODE ISLAND: Grand Jury Releases Report on Feb. Night Club Fire
----------------------------------------------------------------
The grand jury investigating the Station nightclub fire in Rhode
Island that caused the death of 100 people has issued its report
on the tragedy, the Associated Press reports.

More than 200 people were injured while 80s rock band Great
White was playing in the nightclub.  The band's pyrotechnics set
fire to flammable foam placed around the stage as soundproofing.  
Habitues were trapped in smoke and flames as the crowd rushed
for the exits.

Several suits have been filed against the band and nightclub
owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian.  The grand jury probed the
blaze on and off for nine months, before releasing its report.  
State Attorney General Patrick Lynch has also set a meeting with
victim's families.  

However, Superior Court Judge Netti Vogel would not say if the
grand jury had issued any indictments, AP reports.  Before
meeting with the grand jury, Ms. Vogel cleared her courtroom of
reporters, saying, "If there are any indictments that are going
to be returned, they may be sealed."

Some victims' families and survivors hoped Attorney General
Patrick Lynch would announce criminal charges at a meeting set
for Tuesday afternoon.  "Who suffers now? I tell you who - the
parents," Charles Sweet, 68, of Pembroke, Massachusetts, whose
28-year-old son was among the dead, told AP.

AG Lynch's spokesman, Michael Healey, said only that Lynch
planned to "tell people what he legally and ethically can."  AG
Lynch planned a news conference after the meeting with families.  

Some legal experts however said that the meeting could indicate
a decision on criminal charges.  "I can't imagine our attorney
general is calling together all of these victims just to give
them a status report," attorney Michael St. Pierre, who
represents some survivors and relatives, told AP.

Jeff Pine, who represents Jeffrey Derderian, said he understands
that some want to blame the brothers, though he doesn't think
his client committed any crime, AP reports.  "I don't take issue
with anyone's personal feelings," Mr. Pine said.  "The
Derderians lost friends in the fire as well.  We certainly
understand the magnitude of this tragedy."


SK ENTERPIRSES: Recalls Pressure Washers For Fire/ Injury Hazard
----------------------------------------------------------------
SK Enterprises, Inc., of Newburgh, New York, in cooperation with
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is recalling
38,000 Strategy 1500 PSI Mobile Pressure Washer since the
appliance can overheat, posing a potential fire and injury
hazard. The company has received 15 reports of overheating,
although no injuries or property damage have occurred.

The blue and gray electric pressure washers are labeled
"Strategy 1500 PSI Powerwasher" and were sold as QVC item number
V16257.  The washers, manufactured by Shanghai Mei Hao Electric
Appliance Co. Ltd., Shanghai, China, were sold directly through
QVC, Inc. to consumers via Internet and television.

QVC is contacting each purchaser by direct mail to arrange for
the return of each pressure washer for a full credit or refund.
For more information, contact QVC Customer Service at
(800) 367-9444 or visit their Web site at http://www.qvc.com.


SPECIALIZED BICYCLE: Recalls 250 Mountain Bikes For Brake Defect
----------------------------------------------------------------
Specialized Bicycle Components Inc., of Morgan Hill, California,
in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC), is recalling 250 specialized mountain bikes since,
during heavy braking, the brake tabs on the front forks could
break off, possibly causing a loss of control and fall from the
bicycle. There have been no reports of injuries made.

The recalled mountain bikes are 2004 S Works Enduro and 2004
Enduro Expert mountain bikes with 8-inch brake rotors in the
front.  The bikes, manufactured in Taiwan, were sold at
Authorized Specialized retailers during September 2004 for
between $2,390 and $4,880.

Specialized has agreed to replace the 8-inch brake rotors on
these bikes with 6-inch rotors at no cost to the consumer.  
Consumers should stop riding these bikes and return them to an
authorized retailer.

For more information, contact Specialized at (800) 432-4144
between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. MT Monday through Friday


TOBACCO LITIGTION: R.J. Reynolds Wins Individual Smoker Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
A Florida jury Wednesday concluded that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco
Holdings Inc. and Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation were
not responsible for the illnesses of a smoker who had sued them,
AP news reports.

Emmett A. Hall claimed he developed lung cancer and chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, from smoking the
companies' cigarettes.  He sued them in February 2000.

In a press release, R.J. Reynolds, which is based in Winston-
Salem, said the jury in the Circuit Court of the 13th Judicial
Circuit in Hillsborough County, Florida, agreed that there was
ample evidence Mr. Hall had long been aware of the potential
health risks of smoking but nevertheless chose to smoke.
Reynolds also said that Mr. Hall had not conclusively shown that
smoking had caused his illnesses.

Mr. Hall smoked from age 15 in 1943 until 1998.  R.J. Reynolds
spokeswoman Ellen Matthews said Hall smoked Camels in the 1940s
and switched to the Winston brand in the 1950s and also tried
other manufacturers' brands.  

One of Mr. Hall's attorneys told Dow Jones Newswires that the
plaintiff plans to appeal the verdict.  The court would not
allow the plaintiff to say he was partially at fault.  Thus,
blame could not be shared between the plaintiff and cigarette
makers, said Howard Acosta of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Brown & Williamson, a unit of Louisville-based British American
Tobacco PLC, said it was "pleased" with the outcome of the
trial.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Seeks Reversal In Light Cigarettes Lawsuit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Philip Morris USA Wednesday filed its initial appellate brief
with the Illinois Supreme Court, seeking the reversal of the
$10.1 billion verdict in the Price class action case, Dow Jones
Newswire reports.

In March, Madison County Circuit Court Judge Nicholas Byron
ruled Philip Morris, an Altria Group, Inc. unit violated
Illinois consumer fraud statutes and deceived Illinois
purchasers of Marlboro Lights and Cambridge Lights by leading
them to believe the cigarettes were less hazardous than the
company's full-flavored varieties.  In doing so, Judge Byron
made several "legal errors" that require the decision to be
reversed, said Philip Morris USA in the brief filed Wednesday.

In the more than 100-page brief, Philip Morris argues against
the verdict primarily on four grounds.  Philip Morris believes
the trial court's certification of the case as a class action
violated Illinois state law governing class actions and deprived
the company of due process under state and federal law.  The
company also believes the plaintiffs' claims were barred under
Illinois' law because there are federal regulations that govern
cigarette advertising, labeling and tar and nicotine
disclosures.

Philip Morris also argues the plaintiffs failed to establish
liability for the class representatives or the class as a whole.  
The brief also details why Philip Morris, which is the largest
US producer of cigarettes, believes the $10.1 billion damage
award lacked "any legal or factual basis."

"Judge Byron awarded an enormous amount of money to a group of
smokers who claimed no personal injuries, smoked cigarettes that
always were labeled with government health warnings and, for the
most part, continued to purchase the company's 'lights'
cigarettes despite their claims of deception," William S.
Ohlemeyer, the company's vice president and associate general
counsel said, quoted by Dow Jones.

Under the procedures of the Illinois Supreme Court, the
plaintiff has 35 days to file a response to Philip Morris'
initial brief, unless an extension is requested and granted, Mr.
Ohlemeyer said.

The case, which was initially known as Miles for its original
lead plaintiff, has been closely watched.  Some expect that if
the plaintiffs are successful in having Judge Byron's verdict
upheld, the case could spark future "lights" cases in other
states.

Philip Morris is "very optimistic" about its appeal, Mr.
Ohlemeyer said.  "We have presented a very compelling argument
about why it should be set aside," he added.

In September, the Illinois Supreme Court granted Philip Morris
with a direct review of the verdict.  The highly unusual step
cut short the normal appellate process.


TUNA FISH: FDA Faces Criticism on Advice Over Mercury in Fish
-------------------------------------------------------------
Consumer advocates are again urging the government to advise
pregnant women to limit tuna consumption, arguing that some
varieties contain more potentially harmful mercury than others.  
However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which
plans to issue new consumer advice on mercury in fish next
spring, says stronger warnings are not needed, AP news reports.

Fish, including tuna, is very nutritious.  Many species contain
certain fats called omega-3s that are very heart-healthy and
important for fetal brain development.  The American Heart
Association recommends eating fish twice a week.  However, fish
also can harbor mercury, a metal that accumulates in the bodies
of fish-eaters and can damage the growing brains of fetuses and
young children.  About 8 percent of U.S. women of childbearing
age have enough mercury in their blood to put a fetus at risk.
Some fish varieties harbor more mercury than others. The FDA has
long told women who may become pregnant to avoid shark,
swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.

However, the FDA in 2001 said a few servings a week - totaling
12 ounces - of any other fish is healthy during pregnancy.  That
sparked fierce criticism from consumer advocates who argue that
tuna, with moderately high mercury levels, is eaten so often by
pregnant women and young children that it needed warnings.

In 2002, the FDA's own advisers recommended saying that two 6-
ounce cans of tuna a week is fine if that's the only fish
pregnant women eat; a single can is OK if they eat other fish,
the agency said.  The FDA released its new fish testing data on
Tuesday, showing that more expensive white, or albacore, canned
tuna contains almost three times as much mercury than cheaper
"light" canned tuna.

Drafts of new consumer advice the agency is planning don't spell
out that difference - or heed the 2002 recommendation. Instead,
the FDA plans to tell pregnant women that mercury levels in tuna
vary and that tuna steaks and canned albacore "generally contain
higher levels of mercury than canned light tuna."  

The new advice also stresses eating a variety of fish, not the
same type more than once a week, said Dr. David Acheson, the
FDA's medical officer in charge of the issue.  However, it
doesn't single out limits for tuna. "We believe that if people
follow what's written in the advisory, there will be a
significant level of protection," he said.

That doesn't go far enough, consumer advocates plan to tell the
FDA's advisers this week.  "They've completely failed in their
obligation to protect the public," said Richard Wiles of the
Environmental Working Group, which plans a legal challenge if
the FDA doesn't change its position. He said a single 6-ounce
can of albacore a week could put many women, depending on their
size, over the safe mercury limit.

Mercury accumulates in fish over time; canned light tuna comes
from small fish, albacore and steaks from large ones.  Eleven
states already tell pregnant women to limit consumption of
canned tuna, and Rhode Island last summer told them to avoid
albacore, said Michael Bender of the Mercury Policy Project.

Nobody actually knows how much tuna or other mercury-containing
fish pregnant women and young children eat today.  Last year
tuna slipped from the most-eaten seafood to No. 2, replaced by
shrimp.  Even though albacore has more mercury than light tuna,
it still contains levels well below the FDA's safe limits,
stressed Dave Burney of the U.S. Tuna Foundation.

"Albacore tuna happens to have more omega-3 in it than any other
fish," he said.  "Any advice for women to not eat fish is the
wrong message to send."

However, Consumers Union is urging the FDA to rewrite its advice
and tell consumers what the lowest-mercury options are - such as
crab, catfish, flounder, salmon and shrimp - instead of focusing
just on what to avoid.  "The message should be, 'Eat more fish
for your health while minimizing your mercury intake,'" said
Consumers Union scientist Edward Groth.

Also, parents need to know how much fish is safe for young
children, he said.  The FDA's planned advice just says they
should eat less than adults.

Tuna aside, the FDA's draft advice does warn that fish caught
from local lakes and rivers often contains more mercury than
commercial fish - so heed local warnings on which freshwater
fish to avoid.  If there is no advice for your area, eat no more
than 6 ounces of locally caught fish a week, the draft says.


U.S. STEEL: Row Deepens In Orem Plant Workers Lawsuit Settlement  
----------------------------------------------------------------
A legal battle has intensified between a group of former U.S.
Steel Corporation workers and their attorney over a $47 million
payout to settle wage and pension claims relating to the closure
of a U.S. Steel plant in Orem, the Daily Herald reports.  U.S.
Steel, now renamed USX Corporation, closed the Orem steel plant
in February 1987.  The plant was sold in September 1987 and
renamed Geneva Steel.

A 3rd District judge last week denied a motion by Springville
attorney Allen Young to dismiss legal malpractice and negligence
claims brought against him by more than 120 former U.S. Steel
workers on November 5, 2002, in 4th District Court.  The
plaintiffs alleged they were duped into accepting a $47 million
settlement that didn't include a court-ordered award of vacation
pay for 1988.

"The plaintiffs were clients of a defendant attorney in a
complex class action litigation who relied on the advice of
counsel," said 3rd District Judge Pat Brian in a ruling December
5.  "There are insufficient facts before the court to decide as
a matter of law that the defendant is entitled to summary
judgment."

Mr. Young disagreed, saying he plans to begin discovery
proceedings and "make each person prove the amount he or she
lost in terms of vacation pay."

Some 2,000 U.S. Steel workers had sued USX Corporation in 1987,
alleging it closed the Orem plant early to avoid paying the
workers' pensions, wages and other employee compensation.  The
workers had hired Mr. Young as their legal representative in the
class action lawsuit, which was settled in their favor for $47
million in 1995.

"We asked Young for an accounting of the settlement to determine
who got what and how much. But he refused," said Ronald Chilton,
a former U.S. Steel pipefitter of 19 years and a plaintiff in
both the 1987 and 2002 lawsuits.  Mr. Chilton said Mr. Young had
told the plaintiffs they would receive back pay, wages, sick
pay, vacation pay, incentive pay and other employee
compensations equal to the amount they would have received
during the plant's idle period between February and September
1987.  That amount would exclude any income earned through
alternative employment during the period.

"All we got were seven months of back wages," Mr. Chilton said.  
"But the judge's ruling allows us to go ahead and prove in a
trial what damages should be assessed against Young.  We
estimate the plaintiffs are each owed about $20,000 in vacation
pay for 1988."

Mr. Young disputed Chilton's claims.  "The court only awarded
four to seven months of back wages.  The workers were not
awarded vacation pay for 1988," he said.  "But they got vacation
pay even though the court didn't award it.  Each worker got
between $12,000 and $50,000, which includes primarily backpay."

"When we calculated a worker's loss, we were supposed to deduct
income he made from alternative employment between February and
September 1987, as well as vacation pay for which he was paid
for in 1987 prior to the plant's closure," he added.  "But we
didn't because we had more money from the settlement.  So the
workers got their vacation pay."


WAL-MART STORES: PA Grand Jury Set To Deliberate On Workers Case  
----------------------------------------------------------------
A grand jury in Pennsylvania will convene to consider a case
against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., in which the world's largest
retailer is accused of using illegal workers to clean floors in
its stores, AP news reports.

U.S. Assistant Attorney Wayne Samuelson, whose office in
Williamsport, Philadelphia, is handling the case, said the grand
jury would meet Thursday but he would not discuss details of the
case.  "All I can say is it's going to be a long investigation,"
Mr. Samuelson said Wednesday.  "Don't anticipate anything
(Thursday) afternoon or in the next couple of weeks."

Grand juries meet in secret and can hand up indictments.  Wal-
Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams said Wednesday that the company
was bound by federal rules surrounding grand jury secrecy and
could not comment.  Earlier, the company acknowledged it was the
target of the investigation.

Janitorial companies hired by Wal-Mart were at the center of a
21-state sweep of 60 stores on October 23.  About 250 workers
from 18 countries were arrested, and 10 of them were employed by
Wal-Mart itself.  Some of the workers have sued the Bentonville-
based company alleging that it conspired with the contractors to
create a criminal enterprise that violated the civil rights and
wage protections of immigrants who cleaned its stores. The
lawsuit in federal court in New Jersey seeks class-action status
for perhaps thousands of immigrants hired by companies that
clean floors for Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart has said federal prosecutors told the company it was
the target of a probe into whether it broke immigration laws by
having contractors that employed illegal workers.  Wal-Mart has
not been charged with a crime.  In the raids, the office of an
executive at the Bentonville headquarters was searched and
federal agents carted away boxes of files.

Arrests were made in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut,
Delaware, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, North
Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma,
Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and
West Virginia.

Wal-Mart Stores, which employs about 1.1 million people in the
United States and 300,000 in other countries, had sales last
year of $244.5 billion.  The company has 1,494 discount stores,
1,386 Supercenters, 532 Sam's Clubs and 56 Neighborhood Markets
in the United States.

Shares in Wal-Mart were up 34 cents to close at $52.95 on the
New York Stock Exchange.


                     Asbestos Alert


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Alstom SA Battles Lawsuits in France, US
-------------------------------------------------------------
Alstom reports in its latest regulatory filing with the
Securities and Exchange Commission that it continues to be
subject to regulations, including in France, the U.S. and the
UK, regarding the control and removal of asbestos-containing
material and identification of potential exposure of employees
to asbestos.  

It has been the Group's policy for many years to abandon
definitively the use of products containing asbestos by all of
our operating units world-wide and to promote the application of
this principle to all of our suppliers, including in those
countries where the use of asbestos is permitted.  In the past,
however, the Group has used and sold some products containing
asbestos, particularly in France in its Marine Sector and to a
lesser extent in the other Sectors.

Alstom reports that as of Sept. 30, in France, the Group knows
of around 1,990 asbestos-related sickness declarations accepted
by the French Social Security authorities in France concerning
its employees,  former employees or from third parties,  arising
out of its activities in France. Alstom said that all of such
cases are treated under the French Social Security system, which
pays the medical and other costs of those who are sick and which
pays a lump sum indemnity.  

Out of the 1,990 declarations, Alstom accounts only 156
asbestos-related cases in France from its employees, former
employees or from third parties. These persons have instituted
judicial proceedings against certain of its subsidiaries with
the aim of obtaining a court decision holding these subsidiaries
liable for an inexcusable fault (FAUTE INEXCUSABLE) in order to
obtain a supplementary compensation above payments made by the
French Social Security funds of related medical costs.

All decisions rendered as of the Company's by the Social
Security Affairs Courts in proceedings involving ALSTOM's  
subsidiaries have found these subsidiaries liable on the grounds
of inexcusable fault. Decisions of the Courts of Appeal have all
confirmed  these findings of inexcusable fault (25 decisions
rendered as of Sept. 30). The Group has appealed all of such
decisions to the French Supreme Court. Even where the Group has
been found liable on the grounds of inexcusable fault, it does
not expect to suffer any material adverse financial
consequences, because the financial consequences of any
liability for inexcusable fault have been attributed by court
decision or by applicable regulations to the French Social
Security (medical) funds.  Thus, in 102 of the 156 proceedings
before French courts at Sept.30, which concern the Marine
Sector, the social security authorities have ruled that the
financial consequences of any liabilities for inexcusable fault
will not be attributed to the Marine Sector and will be borne by
the Social Security authorities.

Although as of Sept. 30 the Group had not yet obtained a
specific ruling from the relevant French Social Security
authorities in respect of the remaining 54 proceedings, of which
40 concern the Power Sector, the Group believes the same
principle affording the Company financial protection will apply
to such proceedings and that, accordingly, it will not suffer
any material adverse financial consequences as a result of such
asbestos related litigations in France.

The Group therefore believes that compensation for most of the
current 156 proceedings involving certain of its subsidiaries as
of Sept. 30, including cases where we may be found to be at
fault, is or will be borne by the general French Social Security
(medical) funds. Based on applicable legislation and current
case law, the Group also believes that the publicly funded
Indemnification Fund for Asbestos Victims (FIVA),  created in
2001 and effective since 29 March 2002,  does not increase its
current risk exposure.  The FIVA was implemented to compensate
persons harmed by exposure to asbestos in France.

Once a person has received an offer of compensation, the fund
itself may then take action against the employer considered  
responsible.  However this subrogatory right can only be
exercised pursuant to and within the limits of French Social
Security regulations. The Group believes that those cases where
compensation may not be definitely borne by the general French
Social Security (medical) funds or by the FIVA represent an
immaterial exposure for which it has not made any provisions.

In addition to the foregoing, in the United States, as of Sept.
30, the Group was subject to around 154 asbestos-related
personal injury lawsuits which have their origin solely in the
Company's purchase of some of ABB's power generation business,
for which it is indemnified by ABB.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Chase Corp. Continues to Face Asbestos Woes
----------------------------------------------------------------
Chase Corporation reports in its latest regulatory filing with
the Securities and Exchange Commission that it continues to
battle asbestos-related woes.

In 2003, the Company was a defendant in six personal injury
lawsuits, all of which allege personal injury from exposure to
asbestos contained in the Company's products. Of these lawsuits,
four were pending in Mississippi, one was pending in Texas and
one was pending in Ohio.

The Company has been dismissed without prejudice from two of the
cases in Mississippi and the one in Texas. The case in Ohio has
been stayed as to the Company for six months (until around 2004)
and the Company is in discussions with respect to dismissal
without prejudice from another one of the cases in Mississippi.

This leaves only one active case against the Company, which was
filed in Mississippi on Aug. 14, 2003 on behalf of 50
plaintiffs. The Company's insurer had assumed defense of these
claims subject to reservation of its rights as to coverage for
any underlying liability assessed until that insurer was
liquidated in May 2003. The Company is now working to confirm
coverage under the appropriate state guaranty funds. Although
the Company cannot predict whether or how any of these claims
will be pursued, management believes that such claims will not
have any material financial impact on the Company.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Insurer Labels Asbestos Exposure 'Minimal'
--------------------------------------------------------------
Navigators Group Inc. reports in its Securities and Exchange
Commission filing that it has minimal exposure to asbestos and
environmental liability, largely stemming from marine liability
insurance written on an occurrence basis during the mid-1980's.

In general, its participation on such risks is in the higher
excess layers, which requires the underlying coverage to be
exhausted prior to coverage being triggered in its layer.  In
many instances the Navigators Group one of many insurers who
participate in the defense and ultimate settlement of these
claims, and the Company is generally a minor participant in the
overall insurance coverage and settlement.

Navigator further says that since most of its policies were
issued after the industry was apprised of asbestos exposures,
many of the policies on which Navigators participates have
exclusions that may preclude coverage.  Many of the claims have
been inactive for several years and may be closed in the near
future.

Management believes that the Company's reserves for such claims
are adequate because the Company's participation in such risks
is generally in the higher excess layers and, based on a
continuing review of such claims, management believes that a
majority of these claims will be unlikely to penetrate such high
excess layers of coverage; however, due to significant
assumptions inherent in estimating these exposures, actual
liabilities could differ from current estimates.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Tower Gets Amended Suit from Former Tenant
---------------------------------------------------------------
Tower Properties Co reports in its latest Securities and
Exchange Commission filing that it continues to face asbestos-
related litigation.

A former tenant of the Commerce Tower Building has dismissed his
civil action against the Company and re-filed it in amended
form. The suit alleges that asbestos fibers were released in the
course of repairs after a July 22, 2000 fire in a suite in the
building. The suit seeks damages for alleged property damage,
medical monitoring and relocation on theories of negligence,
fraudulent concealment, nuisance and breach of contract. There
is also a claim for punitive damages.

According to the filing, the plaintiff originally filed suit in
2001. He dismissed his first suit voluntarily on May 30, 2003,
immediately re-filed and the Company was served on July 8, 2003.
Plaintiff alleges that he brings the suit on behalf of a class
of all tenants.

Monitoring performed during the repair process indicated that
fibers were properly contained. Tower maintains that it   
believes the suit is without merit.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: U.S. Steel Corporation Faces 16T Plaintiffs
----------------------------------------------------------------
United States Steel Corporation reports that it is a defendant
in a large number of active cases in which, as of Sept. 30,
where around 16,000 plaintiffs have filed claims alleging injury
resulting from exposure to asbestos.

These claims fall into three major groups: (1) claims made under
certain federal and general maritime laws by employees of
the Great Lakes Fleet or Intercoastal Fleet, former operations
of U. S. Steel; (2) claims made by persons who allegedly were
exposed to asbestos at U. S. Steel facilities; and (3) claims
made by industrial workers allegedly exposed to an electrical
cable product formerly manufactured by U. S. Steel.

The cases filed against United States Steel allege a variety of
respiratory and other diseases based on alleged exposure to
asbestos; around 200 plaintiffs allege they are suffering from
mesothelioma. The potential for damages may be greater in cases
in which the plaintiffs can prove mesothelioma, although in many
such cases, the plaintiffs have been unable to establish any
casual relationship to U. S. Steel or its products or premises.

While U. S. Steel has excess casualty insurance, these policies
have multi-million dollar self-insured retentions and, to date,
U. S. Steel has not received any payments under these policies
relating to asbestos claims. In most cases, this excess casualty
insurance is the only insurance applicable to asbestos claims
and it is not likely insurance coverage will be available for
any particular asbestos claim.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Standard Motor Posts $27M Liability
---------------------------------------------------------
Standard Motor Products Inc. reports that it reflected a total
liability of around $27,000,000 for asbestos-related expenses.

In 1986, Standard Motor acquired a brake business, which it
subsequently sold in March 1998 and which is accounted for as a
discontinued operation in the accompanying consolidated
financial statements. When the Company originally acquired this
brake business, it assumed future liabilities relating to any
alleged exposure to asbestos-containing products manufactured by
the seller of the acquired brake business. In accordance with
the related purchase agreement, Standard Motor agreed to assume
the liabilities for all new claims filed on or after September
1, 2001.

According to the filing, the Company's ultimate exposure to us
will depend upon the number of claims filed against it on or
after Sept. 1, 2001 and the amounts paid for indemnity and
defense thereof. At Dec. 31, 2001, around 100 cases were
outstanding for which Standard Motor was responsible for any
related liabilities. At Dec. 31, 2002, the number of cases
outstanding for which the Company was responsible for related
liabilities increased to around 2,500, which include roughly
1,600 cases filed in December 2002 in Mississippi.

Standard Motor believes that these Mississippi cases filed
against it in December 2002 were due in large part to potential
plaintiffs accelerating the filing of their claims prior to the
effective date of Mississippi's tort reform statue in January
2003, which statute eliminated the ability of plaintiffs to file
consolidated cases. At Mar. 31, 2003, around 2,700 cases were
outstanding for which Standard Motor is deemed liable. To date,
the amounts paid for settled claims have been immaterial.
Standard Motor does not have insurance coverage for the defense
and indemnity costs associated with these claims.

Standard Motor declares that it is responsible for certain
future liabilities relating to alleged exposure to asbestos-
containing products. A September 2002 actuarial study estimated
a liability for settlement payments ranging from $27,300,000 to
$58,000,000. It concluded that no amount within the range of
settlement payments was more likely than any other and,
therefore, recorded the low end of the range as the liability
associated with future settlement payments through 2052 in its
consolidated financial statements, in accordance with generally
accepted accounting principles.

As is its accounting policy, the actuarial study was updated as
of Aug. 31, 2003 using methodologies consistent with the
September 2002 study. The updated study has estimated an
undiscounted liability for settlement payments, excluding
legal costs, ranging from $27,000,000 to $71,000,000 for the
period through 2052.

The Company continues to believe that no amount within the range
was a better estimate after the updated study, therefore, no
adjustment was recorded as its consolidated balance sheet at
September 30 reflects a total liability of around $27,000,000.

Standard Motor plans on performing a similar annual actuarial
analysis during the third quarter of each year for the
foreseeable future. Based on this analysis and all other
available information, it will reassess the recorded liability,
and if deemed necessary, record an adjustment to the reserve,
which will be reflected as a loss or gain from discontinued
operations.  Legal expenses associated with asbestos-related
matters are expensed as incurred and recorded as a loss from
discontinued operations in the statement of operations.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Zurn Industries Posts Latest Asbestos Stats
----------------------------------------------------------------
Zurn Industries, Inc. reveals that it is a co-defendant in
numerous asbestos related lawsuits pending in the United States
wherein the plaintiffs allege personal injuries allegedly caused
by exposure to asbestos used primarily in industrial boilers.

In June 1998, Jacuzzi Brands acquired Zurn Industries, Inc.,
which itself owned various subsidiaries.  Zurn is a wholly owned
subsidiary of the Company.

According to the filing, the number of asbestos claims pending
against Zurn on June 30, 2003 was around 58,000. These 58,000
claims were included in around 6,000 lawsuits, in which Zurn and
an average of 100 other companies are named as defendants, and
which cumulatively allege damages of roughly $12,000,000,000
against all defendants.

Asbestos claims pending against Zurn as of Sept. 30, 2000, Sept.
30, 2001 and Sept. 30, 2002 were roughly 38,000, 52,000 and
65,000, respectively. For the three months ending June 30, 2003,
around 9,000 new asbestos claims were filed against Zurn.

Asbestos claims filed against Zurn, and settled unfiled claims
treated as if filed, for the twelve months ending Sept. 30, 2001
and Sept. 30, 2002 were around 34,000 and 31,000, respectively,
and totaled about 29,000 for the nine months ending June 30,
2003.

According to the filing with the Securities and Exchange
Commission, since Zurn received its first asbestos claim in the
1980's, it has settled or agreed to settle around 86,000 and
obtained dismissal of roughly 6,500 asbestos claims through June
30, 2003. These figures include settlement of around 16,000
claims and dismissal of around 1,000 claims during the period
ended Sept. 30, 2001; settlement of around 22,000 claims,
including around 4,000 unfiled claims, and dismissals of around
3,000 claims during the period ended Sept. 30, 2002; settlement
of around 26,500 claims, including around 7,000 unfiled claims,
and dismissal of about 2,500 claims during the nine-month period
ended June 30, 2003; and settlement of about 500 claims and
dismissal of approximately 500 claims during the three-month
period ended June 30, 2003.

Zurn's insurers have paid or have agreed to pay all settlement
costs relating to these claims. Zurn's insurers are currently
paying defense costs without eroding the coverage amounts of its
insurance policies, although a few policies that will be
accessed in the future may count defense costs toward aggregate
limits.

Zurn maintains its defense that it did not manufacture asbestos
or asbestos components but purchased it from other suppliers.


ASBESTOS ALERT: CompuDyne Corp. Receives Personal-Injury Suits
--------------------------------------------------------------
CompuDyne Corporation reports that it has been named in lawsuits
involving asbestos-related personal injury and death claims in
which the Company individually and as an alleged successor, is a
defendant.

CompuDyne reports that it has been named as a defendant in cases
related to claims for asbestos exposure allegedly due to
asbestos contained in certain of its predecessor's products.  
The name of its predecessor is not disclosed in the latest
filing of the Company with the Securities and Exchange
Commission.  CompuDyne neither specified the number of cases
that the Company faces, nor the number of its claimants.

The Company advised its insurers of each of these cases, and the
insurers are providing a defense pursuant to agreement with it,
subject to reservation of rights by the insurers. The insurers
have advised that claims in such litigation for punitive
damages, exemplary damages, malicious and willful and wanton
behavior and intentional conduct are not covered.

One of the carriers has given notice that asbestos-related
claims are excluded from certain of these policies. The insurers
have additional coverage defenses, which are reserved, including
that claims may fall outside of a particular policy period of
coverage.

The Company admits that it cannot ascertain the total amount of
potential liability, if any, with respect to these matters.
Litigation costs to date have not been significant and it has
not paid any settlements from its own funds. The Company
believes that any such liability would not have a material
effect on its financial position, future operations or future
cash flows. However, litigation is inherently risky and
unexpected results could have a material adverse effect on
CompuDyne.


ASBESTOS ALERT: United National Reveals 264 Asbestos Claims
-----------------------------------------------------------
United National Group Ltd reveals in its latest filing with the
Securities and Exchange Commission that it had 263 asbestos
claims outstanding as of Sept. 30.

United National adds that for the year ended Dec. 31, 2002, it
had 220 claims outstanding, compared with 379 asbestos claims
outstanding as of Dec. 31, 2001 and with 617 asbestos claims
outstanding as of Dec. 31, 2000.

The filing said that for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 194
claims were opened and 151 claims were closed. In 2002, 179
claims were opened and 338 claims were closed. In 2001, 149
claims were opened, and 387 claims were closed. In 2000, 239
claims were opened, and 241 claims were closed.

Indemnity payments per claim have varied over time due primarily
to variations in insureds, policy terms and types of claims.
Payments for asbestos claims were $300,000 for the nine months
ended Sept. 30. Payments for asbestos claims were $700,000,
$300,000 and $500,000 for the years ended Dec. 31, 2000, 2001
and 2002, respectively. Management cannot predict whether
indemnity payments per claim will increase, decrease or remain
the same.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Reunion Lists 1,259 Asbestos-Related Lawsuits
-------------------------------------------------------------
Reunion Industries Inc. reports that it has been named in around
1,250 separate asbestos suits filed since Jan. 1, 2001 by three
plaintiffs' law firms in Wayne County, Michigan, according to
its latest regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange
Commission.

The claims allege that cranes from the Company's crane
manufacturing location in Alliance, Ohio were present in various
parts of McLouth and Great Lakes Steel Mills in Wayne County,
Michigan and that those cranes contained asbestos to which
plaintiffs were exposed over a 40 year span, the filing said.  

According to Reunion, their counsel has filed an answer to each
complaint denying liability by the Company and asserting all
alternative defenses permitted under the Court's Case Management
Order.  Counsel for the Company has successfully resolved 401
cases with little or no cost to the Company.  The Company denies
that it manufactured any products containing asbestos or
otherwise knew or should have known that any component part
manufacturers provided products containing asbestos.  It has
been further denied that component part manufacturers otherwise
advised the Company that component parts could be hazardous, or
otherwise constitute a health risk.  The Company intends to
vigorously defend against these lawsuits.

The Company has been besieged by various legal actions, some
involving multiple plaintiffs, alleging personal injury/wrongful
death from asbestos exposure have been filed in multiple states,
including California, Oregon, Washington, New York and
Mississippi, against a large number of defendants, including
Oneida Rostone Corporation (ORC), pre-merger Reunion's Plastics
subsidiary and the Company's Plastics segment since July 10,
2001.  

Reunion reveals that has been named in 32 separate asbestos
suits filed in August 2003 by three plaintiffs' law firms in the
State Court of Fulton County, Georgia.  The claims allege that
cylinders from the Company's cylinder manufacturing location in
Chicago, IL were present in various parts of Marathon Oil
Corporation's (f/k/a USX Corporation) and United States Steel
Corporation's manufacturing facilities in or around Birmingham,
Alabama from 1950 to 1970 and that asbestos containing materials
were used in those facilities to which plaintiffs were exposed.  
The Company denies that it manufactured any products containing
asbestos or otherwise knew or should have known that any
component part manufacturers provided products containing
asbestos.  The Company believes it has meritorious defenses
against these allegations.

                    New Securities Fraud Cases

CAMBREX CORP: Shepherd Finkelman Files Securities Lawsuit in NJ
---------------------------------------------------------------
Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLC initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of
New Jersey, on behalf of all purchasers of securities of Cambrex
Corp., between and including October 21, 1998 and July 25, 2003,
against the Company and:

     (1) Luke M. Beshar,

     (2) Claes Glassell,

     (3) Salvatore J. Guccione,

     (4) James A. Mack and

     (5) Douglas H. MacMillan

The complaint alleges that Defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder.  Specifically, the Complaint alleges
that, throughout the Class Period, Defendants issued numerous
statements concerning Cambrex's profits, business operations and
prospects without disclosing that it had overstated its net
income by $5 million due to improper accounting from 1997 to
2001 and that it would be forced to restate its financial
results for this five year period.  Throughout the Class Period,
Defendants also failed to disclose that the SEC had commenced an
informal investigation into the Company's improper accounting
practices.

In addition, the Complaint alleges that, during the Class
Period, Defendants issued false and misleading statements that
failed to disclose the loss of a major contract between Cambrex
and Transkaryotic Therapies, Inc. to manufacture the drug
ReplagalT to treat Fabry disease, and the effect of the loss on
the Company's financial prospects.

The Complaint alleges that, as early as October of 2002,
Defendants knew that it was more likely than not that the
Company would lose the TKT contract as a result of FDA concerns
with TKT's Replagal application, and that Cambrex would not be
able to adequately and efficiently replace the business
resulting from this likely loss.  Despite additional and
compelling notice that the TKT contract was likely to be lost,
it was not until April 3, 2003, nearly three months later, that
Defendants revised Cambrex's earnings and revenues guidance
downward to account for the loss of the TKT contract.

Once this news was disclosed, the market reacted swiftly and
Cambrex's stock experienced a 37% drop in price.  Defendants
also never timely disclosed the TKT contract and the effect of
its cancellation on its financial prospects.

In fact, the existence of this contract only became a matter of
public knowledge on April 28, 2003 when it was disclosed in a
trade publication.  On July 25, 2003, the last day of the Class
Period, Defendants finally conceded that they knew about the
loss of the TKT contract when they issued their profit warnings.  
The market again reacted swiftly and dramatically to this news,
causing the price of Cambrex common stock to drop $5.09 or 20%
from its previous day's close.

For more information, contact James C. Shah, by Phone:
877/891-9880, or by E-mail: jshah@classactioncounsel.com; or
James E. Miller, by Phone: 866/540-5505, or by E-mail:
jmiller@classactioncounsel.com.


CAREER EDUCATION: Milberg Weiss Commences Securities Suit in IL
----------------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, on behalf of
purchasers of Career Education Corporation (CEC) securities, who
were damaged thereby, during the period between April 22, 2003
and December 2, 2003, inclusive, against the Company and:

     (1) John M. Larson (CEO, Pres. and Chairman), and

     (2) Patrick K. Pesch (CFO)

The complaint charges CEC and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934.  The complaint alleges that Career Education publicly
touted its business and financial performance, the performance
of its stock price and its industry leading position as reasons
for why investors should purchase its stock.

These, and other statements particularized in the complaint,
were materially false and misleading because they failed to
disclose that CEC had been regularly falsifying student records
in order to increase graduation rates and enrollment, conceal
problems that could have threatened the accreditation of its
schools, and generally, to allow it to increase its
profitability.

On December 3, 2003, the market learned that the former
registrar of CEC's Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa
Barbara, California alleged, in a complaint filed with an
accreditation agency, that the school falsified student records
to ensure that the school passed inspections by accreditation
auditors and to increase enrollment.

In reaction to this announcement, CEC's stock price plummeted,
falling from $54.76 per share on December 2, 2003 to $39.48 on
December 3, 2003, a one-day drop of 28%, on trading volume of
18.2 million shares -- more than nine times the Company's three-
month daily average.

Throughout the Class Period, Career Education insiders,
including the individual defendants, sold a total of 1.7 million
(split-adjusted) shares of Career Education common stock at
artificially inflated prices, reaping gross proceeds in excess
of $69 million.

For more information, contact Steven G. Schulman, Peter E.
Seidman or Andrei V. Rado, by Mail: One Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th
fl., New York, NY, 10119-0165, by Phone: 800-320-5081, by E-
mail: CECcase@milberg.com, or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.milberg.com.


CAREER EDUCATION: Charles Piven Files Securities Suit in N.D. IL
----------------------------------------------------------------
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 Illinois, Eastern Division against
defendant Career Education Corporation and certain of its
officers and directors, on behalf of shareholders who purchased,
converted, exchanged or otherwise acquired the common stock of
Career Education Corporation between April 22, 2003 and December
2, 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, P.A., 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.


FEDERATED FUNDS: Zwerling Schachter Files Securities Suit in PA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Zwerling, Schachter & Zwerling, LLP initiated a
class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Western District of Pennsylvania, on behalf of all persons and
entities who purchased, redeemed or otherwise held mutual fund
shares in the Federated Family of Funds which are managed by
Federated Investors, Inc. between November 1, 1998 and September
3, 2003, inclusive.

The complaint alleges that defendants violated Sections 11 and
15 of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder, and the Investment Company Act of 1940. As alleged
in the complaint, defendants engaged in illegal and improper
trading practices, in concert with certain institutional
traders, which caused financial injury to the shareholders of
the Federated Funds.

Among other things, the defendants permitted certain favored
investors to illegally receive the prior day's price for orders
placed after 4:00 p.m. This practice, known as late trading,
allowed certain favored mutual fund investors who engaged in
this wrongful course of conduct to capitalize on post-4:00 pm.
information.

The complaint further alleges that defendants permitted certain
favored investors to engage in "timing" of the Federated Funds
whereby these favored investors were permitted to conduct short-
term, rapid, "in and out" trading of mutual fund shares, despite
explicit restrictions on such activity as represented in the
Federated Funds' prospectuses.

For more information, contact Shaye J. Fuchs, or Willy Gonzalez,
by Phone: 1-800-721-3900, or by E-mail: sfuchs@zsz.com, or
wgonzalez@zsz.com.


FRED ALGER: Charles Piven Commences Securities Suit in S.D. NY
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York on behalf of all purchasers of
shares of the Alger Funds family of funds during the period
between November 1, 1998 and September 3, 2003, inclusive,
seeking to pursue remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of
1934, the Securities Act of 1933 and the Investment Advisers Act
of 1940.

The Funds and the symbols for the respective Funds subject to
the lawsuit are:

     (1) Alger SmallCap Portfolio (Sym: ALSAX, ALSCX, AGSCX)

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

     (3) Alger MidCap Growth Portfolio (Sym: AMGAX, AMCGX,
         AMGCX)

     (4) Alger LargeCap Growth Portfolio (Sym: ALGAX, AFGPX,
         ALGCX)

     (5) Alger Capital Appreciation Portfolio (Sym: ACAAX,
         ACAPX, ALCCX)

     (6) Alger Health Sciences Portfolio (Sym: AHSAX, AHSBX,
         AHSCX)

     (7) Alger Balanced Portfolio (Sym: ALBAX, ALGBX, ALBCX)

     (8) Alger Small Cap Institutional Fund (Sym: ALSRX, ASIRX)

     (9) Alger MidCap Institutional Fund (Sym: ALMRX, ALGRX)

    (10) Alger LargeCap Growth Institutional Fund (Sym: ALGRX,
         ALGIX)

    (11) Alger Capital Appreciation Institutional Fund (Sym:
         ALARX, ACARX)

    (12) Alger Balanced Institutional Fund (Sym: ABLRX, ABIRX)

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

    (14) Spectra Fund (Sym: SPEAX, SPECX)

The wrongful conduct alleged in and which is the subject of the
lawsuit relates to ``timing.'  The lawsuit alleges that timing
injures ordinary mutual fund investors who are not allowed to
engage in such practices and benefits the mutual fund companies.

For more information, contact Charles J. Piven, P.A., 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.


MORGAN STANLEY: Charles Piven Lodges Securities Suit in S.D. NY
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York on behalf of purchasers of certain
Morgan Stanley and Van Kampen Mutual Funds from October 1, 1999
through December 31, 2002.

The conduct alleged in the lawsuit may have impacted the value
of one or more of these funds:

     (1) Morgan Stanley 21st Century Trend Fund (TCTAX, TCTBX,
         TCTCX, TCTDX)

     (2) Morgan Stanley Aggressive Equity Fund (AEQAX, AEQBX,
         AEQCX, AEQDX)

     (3) Morgan Stanley All Star Growth Fund (ALLAX, ALLBX,
         ALLCX, ALLDX)

     (4) Morgan Stanley American Opportunities Fund (AMOAX,
         AMOBX, AMOCX, AMODX)

     (5) Morgan Stanley Biotechnology Fund (BTKAX, BTKBX, BTKCX,
         BTKDX)

     (6) Morgan Stanley Capital Opportunities Trust (CPOAX,
         CPOBX, CPOCX, CPODX)

     (7) Morgan Stanley Developing Growth Securities (DGRAX,
         DGRBX, DGRCX, DGRDX)

     (8) Morgan Stanley Financial Services Trust (FSVAX, FSVBX,
         FSVCX, FSVDX)

     (9) Morgan Stanley Growth Fund (GRTAX, GRTBX, GRTCX, GRTDX)

    (10) Morgan Stanley Health Sciences Trust (HCRAX, HCRBX,
         HCRCX, HCRDX)

    (11) Morgan Stanley Information Fund (IFOAX, IFOBX, IFOCX,
         IFODX)

    (12) Morgan Stanley KLD Social Index Fund (SIXAX, SIXBX,
         SIXCX, SIXDX)

    (13) Morgan Stanley Market Leader Trust (MLDAX, MLDBX,
         MLDCX, MLDDX)

    (14) Morgan Stanley Mid-Cap Value Fund (MDFAX, MDFBX, MDFCX,
         MDFDX)

    (15) Morgan Stanley Nasdaq-100 Index Fund (NSQAX, NSQBX,
         NSQCX, NSQDX)

    (16) Morgan Stanley Natural Resource Development Securities
         (NREAX, NREBX, NRECX, NREDX)

    (17) Morgan Stanley New Discoveries Fund (NDFAX, NDFBX,
         NDFCX, NDFDX)

    (18) Morgan Stanley Next Generation Trust (NGTAX, NGTBX,
         NGTCX, NGTDX)

    (19) Morgan Stanley Small-Mid Special Value Fund (JBJAX,
         JBJBX, JBJCX, JBJDX)

    (20) Morgan Stanley Special Growth Fund (SMPAX, SMPBX,
         SMPCX, SMPD)

    (21) Morgan Stanley Special Value Fund (SVFAX, SVFBX, SVFCX,
         SVFDX)

    (22) Morgan Stanley Tax-Managed Growth Fund (TGXAX, TGXBX,
         TGXCX, TGXDX)

    (23) Morgan Stanley Technology Fund (TEKAX, TEKBX, TEKCX,
         TEKDX)

    (24) Morgan Stanley European Growth Fund (EUGAX, EUGBX,
         EUGCX, EUGDX)

    (25) Morgan Stanley Fund of Funds - International Portfolio
         (IOFBX, IOFCX, IOFDX)

    (26) Morgan Stanley Global Advantage Fund, (GADAX, GADBX,
         GADCX, GADDX)

    (27) Morgan Stanley Global Dividend Growth Securities
         (GLBAX, GLBBX, GLBCX, GLBDX)

    (28) Morgan Stanley Global Utilities Fund (GUTAX, GUTBX,
         GUTCX, GUTDX)

    (29) Morgan Stanley International Fund (INLAX, INLBX, INLCX,
         INLDX)

    (30) Morgan Stanley International Smallcap Fund (ISMAX,
         SMBX, ISMCX, ISMDX)

    (31) Morgan Stanley International Value Equity Fund (IVQAX,
         IVQBX, IVQCX, IVQDX)

    (32) Morgan Stanley Japan Fund (JPNAX, JPNBX, JPNCX, JPNDX)

    (33) Morgan Stanley Latin American Growth Fund (LATAX,
         LATBX, LATCX, LATDX)

    (34) Morgan Stanley Pacific Growth Fund (TGRAX, TGRBX,
         TGRCX, TGRDX)

    (35) Morgan Stanley Allocator Fund (ALRAX, ALRBX, ALRCX,
         ALRDX)

    (36) Morgan Stanley Balanced Growth Fund (BGRAX, BGRBX,
         BGRCX, BGRDX)

    (37) Morgan Stanley Balanced Income Fund, (BINAX, BINBX,
         BINCX, BINDX)

    (38) Morgan Stanley Convertible Securities Trust, (CNSAX,
         CNSBX, CNSCX, CNSDX)

    (39) Morgan Stanley Dividend Growth Securities, (DIVAX,
         DIVBX, DIVCX, DIVDX)

    (40) Morgan Stanley Equity Fund (EQFAX, EQFBX, EQFCX, EQFDX)

    (41) Morgan Stanley Fund of Funds - Domestic Portfolio
         (DOFAX, DOFBX, DOFCX, DOFDX)

    (42) Morgan Stanley Fundamental Value Fund (FVFAX, FVFBX,
         FVFCX, FVFDX)

    (43) Morgan Stanley Income Builder Fund, (INBAX, INBBX,
         INBCX, INBDX)

    (44) Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund (REFAX, REFBX, REFCX,
         REFDX)

    (45) Morgan Stanley S&P 500 Index Fund (SPIAX, SPIBX, SPICX,
         SPIDX)

    (46) Morgan Stanley Strategist Fund (SRTAX, SRTBX, SRTCX,
         SRTDX)

    (47) Morgan Stanley Total Market Index Fund (TMIAX, TMIBX,
         TMICX, TMIDX)

    (48) Morgan Stanley Total Return Trust (TRFAX, TRFBX, TRFCX,
         TRFDX)

    (49) Morgan Stanley Utilities Fund (UTLAX, UTLBX, UTLCX,
         UTLDX)

    (50) Morgan Stanley Value Fund (VLUAX, VLUBX, VLUCX, VLUDX)

    (51) Morgan Stanley Value-Added Market Series/Equity
         Portfolio (VADAX, VADBX, VADCX, VADDX)

    (52) Morgan Stanley Active Assets California Tax-Free Trust
         (AACXX)

    (53) Morgan Stanley Active Assets Government Securities
         Trust (AAGXX)

    (54) Morgan Stanley Active Assets Institutional Money Trust
         (AVIXX)

    (55) Morgan Stanley Active Assets Money Trust (AAMXX)

    (56) Morgan Stanley Active Assets Tax-Free Trust (AATXX)

    (57) Morgan Stanley Flexible Income Trust (DINAX, DINBX,
         DINCX, DINDX,)

    (58) Morgan Stanley Federal Securities Trust (FDLAX, FDLBX,
         FDLCX, FDLDX)

    (59) Morgan Stanley High Yield Securities (HYLAX, HYLBX,
         HYLCX, HYLDX)

    (60) Morgan Stanley Quality Income Trust (IISAX, IISBX,
         IISCX, IISDX)

    (61) Morgan Stanley Limited Duration Fund (MSLDX)

    (62) Morgan Stanley Limited Duration U.S. Treasury Trust
         (LDTRX)

    (63) Morgan Stanley Liquid Asset Fund (DWLXX)

    (64) Morgan Stanley Prime Income Trust (XPITX)

    (65) Morgan Stanley U.S. Government Money Market Trust
         (DWGXX)

    (66) Morgan Stanley U.S. Government Securities Trust (USGAX,
         USGBX, USGCX, USGDX)

    (67) Morgan Stanley California Tax-Free Daily Income Trust
         (DSCXX)

    (68) Morgan Stanley California Tax-Free Income Fund (CLFAX,
         CLFBX, CLFCX, CLFDX)

    (69) Morgan Stanley Hawaii Municipal Trust (DWHIX)

    (70) Morgan Stanley Limited Term Municipal Trust (DWLTX)

    (71) Morgan Stanley Multi-State Municipal Series Trust,
         Arizona Series (DWAZX)

    (72) Morgan Stanley Multi-State Municipal Series Trust,
         Florida Series (DWFLX)

    (73) Morgan Stanley Multi-State Municipal Series Trust, New
         Jersey Series (DWNJX)

    (74) Morgan Stanley Multi-State Municipal Series Trust,
         Pennsylvania Series (DWPAX)

    (75) Morgan Stanley New York Municipal Money Market Trust
         (DWNXX)

    (76) Morgan Stanley New York Tax-Free Income Fund (NYFAX,
         NYFBX, NYFCX, NYFDX)

    (77) Morgan Stanley Tax-Exempt Securities Trust (TAXAX,
         TAXBX, TAXCX, TAXDX)

    (78) Morgan Stanley Tax-Free Daily Income Trust (DSTXX)

    (79) Van Kampen Advantage Municipal Income Trust (VKA)

    (80) Van Kampen Advantage Municipal Income Trust II (VKI)

    (81) Van Kampen Advantage Pennsylvania Municipal Income
         Trust (VAP)

    (82) Van Kampen Bond Fund (IOBIX, VBF)

    (83) Van Kampen California Municipal Trust (VKC)

    (84) Van Kampen California Quality Municipal Trust (VQC)

    (85) Van Kampen California Value Municipal Income Trust
         (VCV)

    (86) Van Kampen Comstock Fund (ACSTX, ACSWX, ACSYX, ACSRX)

    (87) Van Kampen Convertible Securities Fund (VXS)

    (88) Van Kampen Corporate Bond Fund (ACCBX, ACCDX, ACCEX)

    (89) Van Kampen Emerging Growth Fund (ACEGX, ACEMX, ACEFX,
         ACEEX)

    (90) Van Kampen Enterprise Fund (ACENX, ACEOX, ACEPX)

    (91) Van Kampen Equity & Income Fund (ACEIX, ACEQX, ACERX,
         ACESX)

    (92) Van Kampen Florida Municipal Opportunity Trust (VMO)

    (93) Van Kampen Florida Quality Municipal Trust (VFM)

    (94) Van Kampen Government Securities Fund (ACGSX, ACGTX,
         ACGVX)

    (95) Van Kampen Growth & Income Fund (ACGIX, ACGJX, ACGKX,
         ACGLX)

    (96) Van Kampen Harbor Fund (ACHBX, ACHAX, ACHCX)

    (97) Van Kampen High Income Corporate Bond Fund (ACHYX,
         ACHZX, ACHWX)

    (98) Van Kampen Income Trust (VIN)

    (99) Van Kampen High Income Trust (VIT)

   (100) Van Kampen Investment Grade Municipal Trust (VIG)

   (101) Van Kampen Limited Maturity Government Fund (ACFMX,
         ACFTX, ACFWX)

   (102) Van Kampen High Income Trust II (VLT)

   (103) Van Kampen Massachusetts Value Municipal (VMV)

   (104) Van Kampen Municipal Income Trust (VMT)


The lawsuit alleges that Morgan Stanley, Morgan Stanley DW Inc.,
Morgan Stanley Investment Advisors Inc., Morgan Stanley
Investments LP., Morgan Stanley Distributors Inc., Van Kampen
Investment Advisory Corp., Van Kampen Asset Management Inc., and
Van Kampen Funds Inc., violated the Securities Act of 1933, the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Advisers Act of
1940,and the Investment Company Act of 1940, and breached common
law fiduciary duties for failing to properly disclose that
Morgan Stanley had been aggressively prompting its brokers to
sell Morgan Stanley and Van Kampen mutual funds instead of other
mutual funds.

The lawsuit further alleges that this practice was carried out
through a series of contests whereby brokers who sold the most
of these funds were awarded various prizes and non-cash
compensation.  The lawsuit further alleges that advisors to the
funds (Morgan Stanley Investment Advisors, Inc., Morgan Stanley
Advisors LP, Van Kampen Investment Advisory Corp., and Van
Kampen Asset Management Inc.) paid excessive commissions,
directly or indirectly, to MSDW, the broker dealer, which came
out of the funds' assets, as payments to MSDW for steering
clients towards Morgan Stanley and Van Kampen's funds. The
lawsuit also alleges that the advisors (and their parent, Morgan
Stanley) profited from this scheme by earning increased
management fees and that MSDW (and its parent Morgan Stanley)
benefited from increased commissions generated by this scheme.

For more information, contact Charles J. Piven, P.A., 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.


PORTAL SOFTWARE: Goodkind Labaton Lodges Securities Suit in CA
--------------------------------------------------------------
Goodkind Labaton Rudoff & Sucharow LLP initiated a securities
class action in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California against Portal Software Inc. and
certain officers and directors, on behalf of persons who
purchased or otherwise acquired the Company's publicly traded
securities between May 20, 2003 and November 13, 2003,
inclusive.

The complaint alleges that Defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder, by issuing a series of material
misrepresentations to the market during the Class Period.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that Defendants issued
numerous public statements concerning the Company's revenue
growth, product and marketing initiatives, and increasing
revenues and profits while failing to disclose that demand for
its products was materially declining.  Prior to the disclosure
of the adverse information, the Company completed a public
offering of stock, raising over $56 million in net proceeds.

On November 13, 2003, Portal issued a press release announcing
that it expected net losses of $0.36 to $0.40 per share for the
third quarter fiscal 2004 versus prior earnings guidance of net
profits of $0.04 per share. Defendants attributed the lower
guidance to contract delays and revenue recognition deferrals.
Reaction to the negative news was swift. In after hours trading
on November 13, 2003, Portal common shares fell more than 42.5%
to open at $8.77 per share on November 14, 2003.

For more information, contact Christopher Keller, by Phone:
800-321-0476.


PORTAL SOFTWARE: Wechsler Harwood Launches Securities Suit in CA
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Firm of Wechsler Harwood LLP initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California, on behalf of purchasers of Portal
Software, Inc. common stock between May 20, 2003 and November
13, 2003, both dates inclusive, against the Company and:

     (1) John E. Little,

     (2) Howard A. Bain, III,

     (3) David Labuda,

     (4) Marc Aronson, and

     (5) Arthur C. Patterson.

The Complaint alleges that defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder, by issuing a series of material
misrepresentations to the market between May 20, 2003 and
November 13, 2003, thereby artificially inflating the price of
Portal Software common stock.

The Complaint alleges that defendants issued numerous public
statements concerning Portal Software's revenue growth, product
and marketing initiatives, and increasing revenues and profits
while failing to disclose that demand for the Company's products
was materially declining.

Prior to the disclosure of this adverse information to the
market, the Company completed a public offering of Portal
Software common stock raising over $56 million in net proceeds
and the Individual Defendants, as well as other high-level
executives of Portal Software, sold their personally-held Portal
Software common stock to the unsuspecting public reaping
proceeds of more than $4.8 million.

As alleged in the Complaint, the Class Period commences on May
20, 2003, the date on which the Company issued a press release
announcing its first quarter financial results, for the period
ending May 2, 2003.  

In addition to announcing the Company's financial results, as
alleged in the Complaint, defendants represented in the May 2nd
Press release, among other things that "We are the only company
in our market reporting increasing revenues and quarter-to-
quarter product license growth" and that the Company would
"return to pro forma profitability (excluding certain
acquisition costs) and positive cash flow operations within the
current fiscal year."

Then, as alleged in the Complaint, in the June 2003 issue of
Worldwide Telecom, Portal Software announced that Eircom, an
Ireland-based provider of fixed telecommunications, had
successfully implemented Portal Software's convergent billing
platform, Infranet.  

On August 19, 2003, as alleged in the Complaint, Portal Software
issued a press release announcing its financial results for the
second quarter of 2003, the period ending August 1, 2003.  The
Company reported revenues of $33.2 million for the second
quarter.  On September 12, 2003, Portal Software announced that
it had priced a public offering of more than 22 million shares
of its common stock, raising more than $56 million for the
Company. In connection with the offering, Portal Software filed
a registration statement with the SEC which included, among
other things, positive representations concerning the Company's
business and its core product, Infranet.

The Complaint alleges that the statements referenced above, in
addition to others alleged in the Complaint, were each
materially false and misleading when made as they misrepresented
and/or omitted the following adverse facts which then existed
and disclosure of which was necessary to make the statements
made not false and/or misleading, including:

     (i) that the Company's sales and marketing efforts were not
         performing well and the Company was experiencing
         declining demand for its products and services;

    (ii) that the Company was experiencing an adverse and
         material lengthening of product sales cycles and a
         material increase in deferred revenues;

   (iii) that due to continuing and severe problems with the
         Company's core products, the Company was unable to
         service its existing customers, causing additional
         erosion of the Company's revenue streams; and

    (iv) as a result of the foregoing, defendants' lacked a
         reasonable basis for their earnings projections at all
         times.

The Class Period ends on November 13, 2003.  On that date,
Portal Software issued a press release announcing that it
expected net losses of $0.36-0.40 per share for the third
quarter fiscal 2004 versus prior earnings guidance of net
profits of $0.04 per share.  Defendants cited contract delays
and revenue recognition deferrals.

Market reaction to defendants' belated disclosures was swift and
severe. In after-hours trading on November 13, 2003, the price
of Portal Software common shares fell more than 42.5% to open at
$8.77 per share on November 14, 2003, and have decreased more
than 51% from a Class Period high of $17.93 per share reached
less than a month before on October 15, 2003.

For more information, contact Craig Lowther, Wechsler Harwood
Shareholder Relations, by Mail: 488 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, New York 10022, by Phone: (877) 935-7400 toll free,
or by E-mail: clowther@whesq.com (Ext. 257)


PRICESMART INC: Goodkind Labaton Files Stock Lawsuit in S.D. CA
---------------------------------------------------------------
Goodkind Labaton Rudoff & Sucharow LLP initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of California against PriceSmart and certain officers
and directors, on behalf of persons who purchased or otherwise
acquired publicly traded securities of PriceSmart, Inc. between
December 20, 2001 and November 7, 2003, inclusive.

The complaint alleges that Defendants, during the Class Period,
disseminated or approved false statements about the business and
its prospects, which they knew or recklessly disregarded were
materially false and misleading.  On November 10, 2003,
PriceSmart admitted that it inappropriately recorded
transactions included in its 2002 to 2003 results, and will have
to restate those results to remove millions of improperly
reported revenues.

In reaction to the news, shares of PriceSmart reacted
negatively, falling to $6 per share, from a class period high of
$42 per share.

For more information, contact Christopher Keller, by Phone:  
800-321-0476.


WATSON PHARMACEUTICALS: Schatz & Nobel Files CA Securities Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Schatz & Nobel, P.C., initiated a lawsuit
seeking class action in the United States District Court for the
Central District of California on behalf of all persons who
purchased the common stock of Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. from
November 2, 1999 through November 13, 2001, inclusive. Also
included are all those who acquired Watson's shares through its
acquisitions of Schein Pharmaceutical and Makoff R&D
Laboratories, Inc.

The Complaint alleges that Watson, a company which manufactures,
markets and distributes branded and generic pharmaceutical
products, and certain of its officers and directors issued
material misrepresentations.

Specifically, defendants failed to disclose that Watson was
materially overstating its financial results by failing to write
down the value of its inventories and certain assets. It is also
alleged that Watson was experiencing increased competition and
manufacturing difficulties for its generic drugs. As a result,
defendants were able to use millions of shares of Watson stock
to acquire other businesses.

On November 13, 2001, Watson announced its financial results for
the third quarter of 2001, which were well below expectations.
Additionally, Watson announced that it was writing off almost
all of its investment in Dilacor XR and over $20 million in
additional impaired inventory. On this news, shares of Watson
fell almost $20, to close at $28.54 per share. During the class
period, Watson traded as high as $71.50 per share.

For more information, contact Nancy A. Kulesa, by Phone:
(800) 797-5499, by E-mail: sn06106@aol.com, or visit the firm's
Website: http://www.snlaw.net.


                        *********

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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
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                        *********


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.

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