CAR_Public/040116.mbx           C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R
  
           Friday, January 16, 2004, Vol. 6, No. 11

                        Headlines                            

AMAZON NATURAL: SEC Issues Remedial Sanctions V. Stock Trader
APOLLO GROUP: Trial in Overtime Suit Set May 4, 2004 in CA Court
APOLLO GROUP: Status Conference For Overtime Suit Set March 2004
BLUEBERRY PROCESSORS: Attorneys Appeal $56 Million Suit Judgment
CANADA: Retirees' Lawsuit V. Ontario Govt Granted Certification

CASH4 TITLES: Appeals Court Dismisses Award of Attorneys' Fees
COLORADO: Appeals Court Reverses in Part Ruling V. Health Dep't
DAIMLERCHRYSLER AG: Faces 'Dirty War' Human Rights Abuse Lawsuit
ETS PAYPHONE: Allows Suit Against Payphone Founder To Proceed
EUROPEAN BANKS: Appeals Court Vacates Antitrust Suit Dismissal

FLORIDA: State Jury Award Warns Landlords To Maintain Property
FRED ALGER: NY Judge Sentences Ex-Exec For Tampering of Evidence
GRACO: Recalls 398,000 Bumble Bee Toys Due To Choking Hazard
HPSC INC.: MA Court Enters Final Ruling Against Subsidiary Exec
INDIANAPOLIS POWER & LIGHT: IN Court Grants Plaintiffs' Motions

KINDERMUSIK INT'L: Recalls "Lily Pad Clackers" For Lead Content
OPULENTICA LLC: Court Grants Motion For Preliminary Injunction
QWEST COMMUNICATIONS: Remand of Stock Suit To State Court Sought
QWEST COMMUNICATIONS: Opposes Certification For ERISA Lawsuit
QWEST COMMUNICATIONS: CA Court Partially Dismisses Consumer Suit

QWEST COMMUNICATIONS: Asks NJ Court To Dismiss Securities Suit
QWEST COMMUNICATIONS: SURSI Files Unfair Practices Lawsuit in IL
QWEST COMMUNICATIONS: CO Court Refuses Summary Judgment in Suit
QWEST COMMUNICATIONS: Plaintiffs Appeal Right-of-Way Settlement
TELEPHONE COMPANIES: Court Restricts Federal Antitrust Lawsuits

TOBACCO LITIGATION: Canadian Smokers Injury Suit Lacks Evidence
TROPICAL SPORTSWEAR: Faces Securities Fraud Lawsuits in M.D. FL
UNITED STATES: High Court Tackles Suit over Disabled Rights
UNITED STATES: Study Indicates Awards, Fees Holding Steady
VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS: SC Ruling Could End Numerous Lawsuits

WAL-MART STORES: Employee Audit Reveals Many Labor Violations
WISCONSIN: County Insurer Asks To Deny Coverage In Pension Suit

                      Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Health Group Backs Anti-Asbestos Bill Ads
ASBESTOS ALERT: Coroner Says Death Asbestos-Related
ASBESTOS ALERT: Asbestos Removal Suit V. NY Contractor Heats Up
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Activist Group Asserts Asbestos Bill Unfair
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Anti-Asbestos Bill Group Rally at Capitol

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: RPM Accrues $49M in Asbestos Liabilities
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: AUS Faces $1B Asbestos Liability Bill
ASBESTOS ALERT: Workers Commence Injury Suit V. Former Employer

               New Securities Fraud Cases

AMERICAN PHYSICIANS: Charles Piven Lodges Securities Suit in MI
BIOPURE CORPORATION: Bernstein Liebhard Files Stock Suit in MA
BIOPURE CORPORATION: Pomerantz Haudek Files Stock Lawsuit in MA
CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: Stull Stull Commences Securities Suit in AZ
CAREER EDUCATION: Charles Piven Launches Securities Suit in IL

IBIS TECHNOLOGY: Abbey Gardy Commences Securities Lawsuit in MA
PARMALAT FINANZIARIA: Charles Piven Files Securities Suit in NY
SECURITY BROKERAGE: Cauley Geller Launches Securities Suit in NV

                        *********

AMAZON NATURAL: SEC Issues Remedial Sanctions V. Stock Trader
-------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission issued an
Order Making Findings and Imposing Remedial Sanctions Pursuant
to Section 15(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 against
Respondent Michael A. Sylver.

The Order found that on June 5, 2003, the US District Court for
the District of Nevada issued a judgment against Mr. Sylver
permanently enjoining him from further violations of Sections
5(a), 5(c) and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Sections
10(b), 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A) and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5, 12b-20, 12b-25, 13a-1,
13a-13, 13b2-1 and 13b2-2 thereunder.  The suit is styled "SEC
v. Amazon Natural Treasures, Inc., et al., Civ. No. CV-S-01-0229
(RLH-RJJ) D. Nev.

The Commission's complaint alleged, among other things, that
from 1997 though 2000, Mr. Sylver was the president of Amazon
Natural Treasures, Inc. of Las Vegas, Nevada.  During that
period, Mr. Sylver prepared and/or reviewed, and disseminated,
numerous materially false and misleading statements and
omissions made by Amazon in public filings with the Commission,
press releases, its Internet web site [www.amazon-
treasures.com], and other documents disseminated to the public
concerning the company's products, revenues and prospective
earnings.

The complaint further alleged that Mr. Sylver aided and abetted
Amazon's failure to develop and maintain adequate books and
records and internal accounting controls.  The complaint further
alleged that Mr. Sylver aided and abetted Amazon's failure to
file with the Commission its Form 10-KSB for the year ended
December 31, 1999, and its late filing of three Form 10-QSBs for
its fiscal years 1999 and 2000.  

Finally, the complaint alleged that, from at least 1997 through
1999, Mr. Sylver participated in Amazon's sales of millions of
shares of unregistered, non-exempt stock.  During that period,
Amazon common stock was a penny stock.

Based upon the above, the Commission issued an order barring Mr.
Sylver from participating in any offering of a penny stock.  Mr.
Sylver consented to the issuance of the administrative order
without admitting or denying the findings in the Order.   


APOLLO GROUP: Trial in Overtime Suit Set May 4, 2004 in CA Court
----------------------------------------------------------------
Trial in the class action filed against The Apollo Group, Inc.
is set for May 4, 2004 in the Superior Court of the State of
California for the County of Solano.  The suit is captioned
"Davis et. al. v. Apollo Group, Inc. et. al., Case No.
FCS018663."

Plaintiffs, one current and two former enrollment advisors with
University of Phoenix, filed this class action on behalf of
themselves and current and former enrollment advisors employed
by the Company in the State of California and seek certification
as a class, monetary damages in unspecified amounts, and
injunctive relief.

Plaintiffs allege that during their employment, they and other
enrollment advisors worked in excess of 8 hours per day or 40
hours per week, and contend that the Company failed to pay
overtime.  In July 2003, the Court denied the plaintiffs' motion
to allow the case to proceed as a class action.

Three status conferences have been held.  While the outcome of
this legal proceeding is currently not determinable, management
does not expect the results of this action will have a material
adverse effect on the Company's business, financial position,
results of operations, or cash flows, the Company stated in a
disclosure to the Securities and Exchange Commission.


APOLLO GROUP: Status Conference For Overtime Suit Set March 2004
----------------------------------------------------------------
Status conference for the class action filed against the Apollo
Group, Inc. is set for March 1, 2004 in the Superior Court of
the State of California for the County of Orange.  The suit is
styled "Bryan Sanders et. al. v. University of Phoenix, Inc. et.
al., Case No. 03CC00430."

The Plaintiff, a former academic advisor with University of
Phoenix, filed this class action on behalf of himself and
current and former academic advisors employed by the Company in
the State of California and seek certification as a class,
monetary damages in unspecified amounts, and injunctive relief.

Plaintiff alleges that during his employment, he and other
academic advisors worked in excess of 8 hours per day or 40
hours per week, and contend that the Company failed to pay
overtime.

While the outcome of this legal proceeding is currently not
determinable, management does not expect the results of this
action will have a material adverse effect on the Company's
business, financial position, results of operations, or cash
flows.


BLUEBERRY PROCESSORS: Attorneys Appeal $56 Million Suit Judgment
----------------------------------------------------------------

Attorneys representing three blueberry processors filed an
appeal Jan. 8 against the amended $56 million ruling made by
Superior Justice Joseph Jabar earlier this month, the Ellsworth
American reports.

The attorneys for the blueberry processors argue that the class-
action lawsuit serves "a relative few ... to the detriment of
the overwhelming majority." Meanwhile, both the processors and
the blueberry growers have begun negotiations that are expected
to resume Jan. 19. A statement of issues outlining the basis of
the appeal was filed after Jabar tripled the $18.6 million in
damages awarded by a jury in November. The award was tripled in
accordance with Maine's antitrust laws.

The attorneys are appealing the ruling that denied post-trial
motions to decertify the lawsuit's class action status. Defense
attorneys maintain the lawsuit serves "a relative few . to the
detriment of the overwhelming majority." Another issue raised in
the appeal is whether the jury had enough information to
substantiate antitrust violations against the processors.
The appeal document states, "Parallel pricing or matching
pricing does not support an inference of conspiracy."  

Defense attorneys also are appealing the court's decision to
withhold from the jury the fact that damages would be tripled.

In a 7-1 decision, the processors - Jasper Wyman and Son of
Milbridge; Cherryfield Foods Inc. of Cherryfield; and Allen's
Blueberry Freezer of Ellsworth - were found to have fixed prices
during the 1990s.

Attorneys for the processors are attempting to expedite the
appeal.

Wyman attorney James Kilbreth of Verrill & Dana in Portland
said, "Unless we get a decision to reverse this judgment soon,
the harvest for the coming year will be in jeopardy."

The appeal will be heard at the Maine Superior Judicial Court in
Portland. Normally, the appeal process can take anywhere from
six months to a year.

Meanwhile, a mediation session was held Jan. 12 in an effort to
bring the state's blueberry growers and processors together to
negotiate a settlement between the two sides. David Buston, a
professional facilitator from the state's Labor Relations Board,
was asked by Agricultural Commissioner Robert Spear to mediate.

Spear said negotiations continued until 7:30 p.m., and that
another mediation session has been arranged for Jan. 19. Spear
would not comment on any of the negotiations, except to say "I'm
pleased they're at the table."

Monday's meeting was held to continue negotiations that were
started on Jan. 2 at the Knox County Superior Court in Rockland.
The initial three-hour meeting included the 11 attorneys
representing both the growers and the processors along with
Spear and Assistant Attorney General Mark Randlett. Monday's
meeting included additional representative from the processors',
including Roy Allen from Allen's Blueberry Freezer in Ellsworth
and Ed Flanagan, CEO from Jasper Wyman and Son of Milbridge.

An unnamed representative from Cherryfield Foods Inc. of
Cherryfield also was involved in the discussion.


CANADA: Retirees' Lawsuit V. Ontario Govt Granted Certification
---------------------------------------------------------------
A class action lawsuit has been certified against the Ontario
Government on behalf of all retired former employees receiving
coverage under the Supplemental Health and Hospital Insurance,
Dental and Life Insurance Plan as of June 1, 2002.

The plaintiffs claim that the Ontario Government had no legal
right to change their retirement benefits after they retired and
that the reductions made were in contravention of the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  The class action, which was
certified on January 7, 2004 by the Ontario Superior Court of
Justice, was brought by Barbara Kranjcec of Mississauga on
behalf of an estimated 60,000 Ontario Government Retirees.

Ms. Kranjcec, the representative plaintiff, suffers from
multiple disabilities and as a result of the Government's
actions, she has been compelled to pay an increased amount
toward deductibles and other health care expenses.  In addition
she has foregone some care and has been forced to pay for
medication which previously was reimbursed.

According to Ms Kranjcec's Statement of Claim, the actions of
the Government were "...arbitrary, callous and high-handed ...
in unilaterally altering their (Retirees) retirement benefits
contrary to their legal rights, and at a time when Retirees were
most vulnerable to health problems and could least afford to
assume increased financial burdens".

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Barbara Kranjcec by
Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre & Cornish of Toronto
(cavalluzzo.com) and Siskinds of London, Ontario (siskinds.com).


CASH4 TITLES: Appeals Court Dismisses Award of Attorneys' Fees
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit dismissed
an appeal of a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of Florida, which awarded attorneys fees in
favor of the Plaintiffs, in a class action brought against Cash
4 Titles, et al., on behalf of Robert S. Wolff, Edward Turner,
Edward E. Waller, Grey Wolf Holdings, John G. Coughlin et al.,
alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations Act (RICO).

This appeal involves the fairness of the attorneys' fees the
district court awarded the plaintiffs' attorneys in a class
action brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations Act by the victims of a Ponzi scheme. The Scheme
involved the sale of securities of corporations formed for the
purpose of making high-interest loans to members of the public,
who would pledge their automobile titles as collateral.  The
named plaintiffs and the members of their class are the
purchasers of these securities; the defendants are the
issuer corporations and those entities and individuals who
devised or facilitated the scheme.
     
The plaintiffs' complaint, which was filed in the Southern
District of Florida on February 8, 2000, alleged that the
defendants fraudulently misrepresented that the proceeds of the
securities the plaintiffs purchased would be used to fund the
loans that were to be collateralized with the automobile titles,
because the defendants' intent was, instead, to divert most of
the proceeds to their own uses.  Such fraud and the defendants'
misappropriation of investment proceeds, the plaintiffs alleged,
violated the federal mail fraud, wire fraud, and money
laundering statutes, constituted "racketeering activity" under
RICO, and rendered the defendants liable in treble damages.

During their investigation of the matter, the plaintiffs'
attorneys concluded that some of the funds obtained from the
plaintiffs had passed through various bank accounts in the
United States and the Bank of Bermuda (Cayman) Limited. Counsel
concluded that the Bank had aided and abetted the defendants in
their perpetration of the alleged fraudulent scheme and, thus,
was answerable with the defendants in RICO damages. Counsel
therefore amended the plaintiffs' complaint to add the Bank as a
party defendant.
      
Several months later, on June 16, 2001, plaintiffs' counsel and
the Bank arrived at a settlement and entered into an agreement
which called for the Bank to pay the members of the plaintiff
class $67.5 million in exchange for releases of liability and
the dismissal of the plaintiffs' claims. Under the agreement,
the Bank would deposit this amount with Phillip S. Stenger, who,
acting as the administrator of the settlement, would pay the
class plaintiffs' claims.  After the parties submitted the
Settlement Agreement to the district court for approval, the
court held a fairness hearing.  No one objected to the
settlement, and the court therefore approved it.  Four days
later, on October 16, 2001, the court entered an order
dismissing the plaintiffs' claims against the Bank with
prejudice in a final judgment entered pursuant to Rule 54(b) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Settlement Agreement
provided that the fees for the plaintiffs' attorneys would be
paid out of the $67.5 million settlement fund.  The court
entered the final judgment (dismissing the claims against the
Bank) without fixing counsel's fees; apparently with the consent
of the parties, the court deferred ruling on counsel's fee
application. The court ruled on counsel's fee application at the
conclusion of a four-day hearing in which it heard from the
plaintiffs' attorneys;  members of the plaintiff  class; counsel
for the Securities and Exchange Commission, which, as indicated
below, was prosecuting a suit against the defendants other than
the Bank in the Northern District of Illinois;   and the
appellants.  After considering what they had to say, the court,
on November 9, 2001, awarded plaintiffs' counsel fees in the sum
of $11.475 million, which amounted to seventeen percent of the
settlement fund.

Phillip S. Stenger, as "Receiver," two "Joint Official
Liquidators" of Cayman Islands companies, and the Cayman Islands
Liquidations Creditors' Committee now appeal the district
court's attorneys' fee decision.  In a joint brief, they ask the
Court to vacate the district court's fee award as excessive and
to remand the case for further proceedings.  The plaintiffs'
attorneys, as appellees, ask the Court to dismiss the appeal on
the grounds that none of the appellants has standing to
prosecute it.


COLORADO: Appeals Court Reverses in Part Ruling V. Health Dep't
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit vacated an
injunction, and affirmed in part, reversed in part a ruling by
the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado denying
Plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction against the
implementation of Colorado Senate Bill 03-176 (SB 03-176), in a
lawsuit brought against Karen Reinertson, in her official
capacity as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of
Health Care Policy and Financing, and the United States of
America, as Intervenor, on behalf of Plaintiffs Valentin Soskin,
Bei Dei Howe, and Eva Rosenthal, et al., who argue that they
will lose their Medicaid benefits when SB 03-176 takes effect.

On March 27, 2003, Plaintiffs filed this class action lawsuit to
enjoin the implementation of SB 03-176. Class members include
legal aliens who rely on Medicaid to cover important medical
services, including chemotherapy, nursing home care, home health
care, surgical care, and life-sustaining prescription drug
coverage. Without Medicaid, Plaintiffs claim, they will be
unable to afford these necessary services and will suffer
serious injuries and irreparable harm. Plaintiffs contend that
in some cases the loss of medical care could be life
threatening.
      
Plaintiffs' suit seeks a judgment declaring that SB 03-176's
eligibility requirements violate the Equal Protection Clause of
the Fourteenth Amendment because they discriminate against legal
aliens, and that Defendant's procedures for terminating benefits
are inadequate under Medicaid law and the Due Process Clause of
the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiffs also seek an injunction
permanently enjoining termination of benefits under SB 03-176.
      
The district court granted Plaintiffs' request for a temporary
restraining order, but it later denied their motion for a
preliminary injunction and lifted the temporary restraining
order. Plaintiffs then moved this court for an injunction
pending appeal.


DAIMLERCHRYSLER AG: Faces 'Dirty War' Human Rights Abuse Lawsuit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Chavez & Gertler announced that DaimlerChrysler
AG, the manufacturer of Chrysler and Mercedes Benz automobiles,
has been sued for violating the human rights of trade unionists
during the so-called "Dirty War" in Argentina, Business Wire
reports.

The lawsuit, filed in Federal Court in San Francisco under the
Alien Tort Claims Act, seeks to hold DaimlerChrysler responsible
for the disappearance and presumed murder of 9 workers and the
detention and torture of 8 others. The workers were union
activists at the Mercedes Benz Argentina auto manufacturing
plant in Gonzalez-Catan, a suburb of Buenos Aires, when the
Argentine military seized power in 1976 and launched the Dirty
War.

The plaintiffs in the case -- the families of the disappeared
and the surviving victims of torture and forced exile -- say
that officials at the Mercedes Benz plant worked closely with,
aided and abetted security officials who carried out these
crimes during the height of the Dirty War in which approximately
30,000 people were "disappeared" by Argentina's military
dictatorship. Over half of the disappeared were blue-collar
workers. Most belonged to trade unions.

The suit contends that officials of Mercedes Benz Argentina, now
a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler, gave the names and addresses of
workers they deemed "subversive" to state security forces at a
time when it was well-known that "subversives" would be
detained, tortured and disappeared. In some cases, Mercedes
officials at the Gonzalez-Catan plant brought security forces
into the plant and assisted them in kidnapping workers, now
presumed dead, particularly those who led the independent union
elected by the workers at the plant.

According to Mark A. Chavez, one of the attorneys who filed the
lawsuit, a recently declassified State Department cable confirms
that the management of large corporations in Argentina
collaborated with state security forces in order to rid the
corporations of labor agitators. Chavez also observed that
"Mercedes Benz Argentina signed an agreement, approved by the
Labor Ministry, in which it expressly agreed to set aside 1% of
the company's sales for the 'eradication of negative elements'
among its employees." "They wanted to get rid of the union
leaders and branding them as subversives was an effective way to
do it," said Chavez. As an example of the close ties between
Mercedes Benz Argentina and the security forces, the complaint
alleges that one of the police officials involved in torturing
the workers was subsequently hired as Chief of Security by the
company.

Another lawyer for the plaintiffs, Kim E. Card, stated that,
"DaimlerChrysler has admitted that Mercedes Benz Argentina
officials released information to state security forces which
had forseeably 'fatal consequences' for one of the workers."

Mercedes Benz Argentina was Mercedes' first foreign venture
outside of Germany. It founded the Gonzalez-Catan plant in 1951.
Its most famous employee was the Nazi leader and the architect
of the Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, who came to Argentina under
the assumed name Ricardo Clement. Eichmann worked in Mercedez
Benz as an electrian "expert" until he was captured by Israeli
security forces in 1960.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are represented by a team of
lawyers, including Chavez & Gertler LLP, a class action firm
based in Mill Valley, California, Terry Collingsworth and the
Washington, D.C. based International Labor Rights Fund, a
leading human rights advocacy organization, and Dan Kovalik, a
labor rights attorney based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

For further information contact: Mark A. Chavez, or Kim E. Card,
by Mail: 42 Miller Avenue Mill Valley, CA 94941, by Phone:
(415) 381-5599, Fax: (415) 381-5572, E-mail:
mark@chavezgertler.com, or visit the firm's Website:
http://www.chavezgertler.com.


ETS PAYPHONE: Allows Suit Against Payphone Founder To Proceed
-------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Supreme Court voted 9-0 to allow the
government to pursue its lawsuit against ETS Payphones Inc.
founder Charles E. Edwards for investment fraud, the Associated
Press reports.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed the suit, styled
"Securities and Exchange Commission v. Edwards, 02-1196," for
10,000 people who invested $300 million in the Company.  The SEC
sued, claiming that investors in 38 states were not informed
that the phone company was losing money.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor began her opinion with criticism of
Mr. Edwards.  "Opportunity doesn't always knock ... sometimes it
rings.' And sometimes it hangs up. So it did for the 10,000
people who invested a total of $300 million in the payphone
sales-and-leaseback arrangements touted by (Edwards) under that
slogan," she wrote.

An appeals court ruled that pay phone contracts do not qualify
as security transactions under federal law.  Justices said the
appeals court was wrong to limit the type of investments covered
by the securities law, AP reports.


EUROPEAN BANKS: Appeals Court Vacates Antitrust Suit Dismissal
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit vacated and
remanded a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of New York dismissing a lawsuit brought against Bank
Austria AG, and several other European banks, on behalf of John
L. Sniado, III, et al., who allege violations of the Sherman and
Clayton Acts, based on alleged conspiracy to fix currency
exchange fees.

Having discovered that he was a victim of an alleged European
antitrust conspiracy, Mr. Sniado filed a putative class action
on behalf of all persons and businesses in the United States who
had paid foreign exchange fees at "supra-competitive" rates.  
The defendants are European banks, most of which are alleged to
have offices in the United States.  The Austrian banks include
Bank Austria AG, Erste Bank der Osterreichisechen Sparkassen AG,
Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG, Bank fur Arbeit  und
Wirtschaft AG, Osterreichische Postsparkasse,
Raiffeisenlandesbank Northern Austria-Vienna, Northern Austria
Landesbank- Hypothekenbank, and Osterreichische Volksbanken AG.
The Dutch banks include ABN AMRO Bank, N.V., ING Bank N.V., GWK
Bank N.V., and Fortis N.V. The Italian Banks include Banca
Intesta, Banca di Roma SpA, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro SpA,
UniCredito Italiano SpA, and Sanpaolo IMI SpA. The
solitary German bank is Deutsche Bank AG.
      
Mr. Sniado claims that, while in Europe, he paid what he called
supra-competitive foreign exchange fees to defendants, and he
now seeks to recover his financial losses.  He also alleges that
the defendants have "exchanged millions of dollars of European
currency in the United States and in Europe" for supra-
competitive fees.

In the district court, certain defendants moved to dismiss for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to the FTAIA, and
to dismiss for failure to state a claim.  Sniado expressed his
intention to amend his complaint and, in the meantime, the
defendants before the court agreed to withdraw their motion to
dismiss without prejudice.
      
After Sniado filed his amended complaint, the defendants refiled
their motion to dismiss.  They were joined, in this motion, by
additional defendants who had subsequently been served with the
amended complaint.  Certain defendants also moved to dismiss for
lack of personal jurisdiction.  However, the court postponed
briefing on  personal jurisdiction until the issue of subject
matter jurisdiction was resolved. Mr. Sniado opposed the motion
to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and sought
leave to conduct discovery relating to subject matter
jurisdiction.
      
After oral argument on the motion to dismiss, Mr. Sniado asked
Judge Schwartz to defer ruling on subject matter jurisdiction
until this Court passed on Kruman v. Christie's Int'l PLC, 129
F.Supp.2d 620 (S.D.N.Y.2001)--which was on appeal at the time--
and until the United States Supreme Court decided whether to
grant certiorari on a Fifth Circuit case, Den Norske Stats
Oljeselskap As v. HeereMac Vof, 241 F.3d 420 (5th Cir.2001).
Both cases addressed the same issue decided by the district
court below:  whether defendants' conduct must give rise to "a"
claim, generally, or to "the" specific antitrust claim of the
plaintiff.
      
Because defendants presented a facial challenge to Mr. Sniado's
amended complaint, the court denied Mr. Sniado's discovery
motion.  The district court also denied Mr. Sniado's motion for
a stay and dismissed his complaint


FLORIDA: State Jury Award Warns Landlords To Maintain Property
--------------------------------------------------------------
A Broward Circuit Court jury verdict awarding injured apartment
renter Morris Zisk almost $1 million should serve as a warning
to property owners, maintenance companies, landlords and average
homeowners to properly maintain appliances to ensure their
safety.

The jury recently found for Mr. Zisk, the 84-year-old plaintiff
and seasonal vacationer from New Jersey.  Last February, he
received fourth-degree burns after water from the tap scalded
his hands in an apartment he had rented with his wife.  He had
two fingers and part of a third amputated as a result of the
injury.  The jury awarded Mr. Zisk $925,000 in compensatory
damages.

After the mishap, it was discovered that the water heater's
thermostat had corroded, and the apartment's owner failed to
test the water before renting the unit.  Instead of heating
water to the recommended 120 degrees, water spiked to the
boiling point, or 212 degrees.

"Under Florida law, building owners or landlords must perform
reasonable inspections on facilities or appliances before
tenants move in," Mark Glassman, the lead counsel who tried the
case with Michael Freedland said in a press release.  Both are
partners with Weston-based firm The Law Offices of Freedland,
Glassman, Farmer & Sheller.

"Before turning over the keys, the landlord didn't inspect any
of the appliances," Mr. Glassman said.  "The law puts the duty
on the landlord to conduct a reasonable inspection. They're in
the best situation to uncover any defects . Whether renting an
apartment, a condo, a timeshare or even staying in a hotel, it's
important for the landlord to make sure the property is safe .
The jurors even recognized the importance of making sure their
own water heaters are set properly. As Mr. Zisk learned, the
consequences can be devastating."


FRED ALGER: NY Judge Sentences Ex-Exec For Tampering of Evidence
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Honorable James Yates of the Supreme Court of New York State
in Manhattan sentenced James P. Connelly Jr. to 1 to 3 years in
prison for tampering with evidence.  

Mr. Connelly, the former Vice Chairman of Fred Alger Management
Inc., had pled guilty on October 16, 2003, to one count of
Tampering with Physical Evidence, a Class E felony, in violation
of New York State law.   Also on October 16, 2003, the
Commission issued an order finding that Mr. Connelly had
violated the federal securities laws by permitting select
investors to "time" Alger mutual funds in exchange for
maintaining at least 20% of their Alger investment in buy-and-
hold positions, sometimes referred to as  "sticky assets."   

The Commission directed Connelly to cease and desist from future
violations of various provisions of the federal securities laws;
barred him from association with any broker, dealer or
investment adviser; barred him from serving in various
capacities with respect to any registered investment company;
and imposed a $400,000 civil penalty.  Mr. Connelly consented to
the Commission order without admitting or denying the findings.
     
The criminal charges against Mr. Connelly stemmed from his
repeated efforts to tamper with an ongoing investigation by the
New York Attorney General and the Commission of illegal trading
practices in the mutual funds industry, including by directing
subordinates to delete emails called for by subpoenas.  Mr.
Connelly had admitted his conduct under oath before Justice
Yates.  New York's statute outlawing tampering with evidence
calls for a maximum sentence of 4 years in state prison.


GRACO: Recalls 398,000 Bumble Bee Toys Due To Choking Hazard
------------------------------------------------------------
Graco Children's Products, Inc. of Exton, Pa., in cooperation
with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is
recalling 398,000 Bumble Bee Toys with blue antennae since the
blue antennae on the toy can break, posing a choking hazard to
young children. The Toys were sold with certain Graco high
chairs and Graco mobile entertainers, and also sold separately
as an accessory and replacement part.

Graco has received 26 reports of the antennae breaking off of
the Bumble Bee toys, including five reports of children who
started to choke on the broken antennae. One child's throat was
scratched when the child's mother removed the broken antenna
from the child's mouth.

All Bumble Bee toys with blue antennae distributed by Graco are
included in this recall. Specifically, Bumble Bee toys with blue
antennae were distributed with Graco High Chair model numbers
3656CUB, 3658FKB, 3659KER, 3659NGS, 3660WNN and 35605
manufactured between July 22, 2002 and March 9, 2003, and Graco
Tot Wheels Mobile Entertainer models 4522OTM, 4522TOTM, 4521ALP,
35628 and 4512FUN manufactured between November 8, 2001 and
March 9, 2003. Bumble Bee toys with blue antennae were also
distributed separately as an accessory and a replacement part
with model number 548094S. Bumble Bee toys with yellow or black
antennae are not affected.

The Bumble Bee Toys, manufactured in China, were sold at
discount, department and juvenile product stores from October
2001 through March 2003 on high chairs and mobile entertainers
for between $39 and $89, and individually, as accessories, for
$5.

Consumers are urged to discard immediately any Bumble Bee toys
with blue antennae in their possession and contact Graco to
receive a free replacement toy. For more information, contact
Graco at (800) 258-3213 anytime to receive a free replacement
toy.


HPSC INC.: MA Court Enters Final Ruling Against Subsidiary Exec
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Honorable Mark L. Wolf of the U.S. District Court for the
District of Massachusetts entered a final judgment by consent
against Kevin J. Morrison, 54, of West Hartford, Connecticut.   

Mr. Morrison was the executive vice-president of American
Commercial Financial Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of
Boston-based HPSC, Inc.  Without admitting or denying the
Commission's allegations, Mr. Morrison consented to the entry of
a final judgment that bars him from serving as an officer or
director of a public company and permanently enjoins him from
future violations of Sections 10(b) and 13(b)(5) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5 and 13b2-1
promulgated thereunder.
     
In its complaint, the Commission alleged that from at least 1997
through May 2002, Mr. Morrison improperly diverted nearly $5
million of corporate assets to relief defendant Mildred K.
Miller, a purported ACFC customer.  According to the complaint,
Mr. Morrison covered up his embezzlement by regularly providing
falsified financial reports to ACFC's president, HPSC, and
HPSC's outside auditors.  

Information contained in those reports was incorporated in
HPSC's financial statements for the periods ended December 31,
1997 through March 31, 2002, causing those financial statements
to contain material misstatements.  On August 14, 2002, after
becoming aware of Mr. Morrison's conduct, HPSC filed amended
Forms 10-K for the years ended December 31, 2000, and December
31, 2001, which restated the company's net income and earnings
per share for the years ended December 31, 1997, through
December 31, 2001, and for the quarters ended March 31, 2000,
through December 31, 2001.  The company also filed amended Forms
10-Q for the quarters ended September 30, 2001 and March 31,
2002.  The restatements reflect that Mr. Morrison's fraud
resulted in an overstatement of HPSC's net income and earnings
per share of between 4% and 112% during these periods.

The suit is styled "SEC v. Kevin J.  Morrison, et al., Civil
Action No. 02-11647-MLW, USDC, D. Mass."


INDIANAPOLIS POWER & LIGHT: IN Court Grants Plaintiffs' Motions
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
Indiana, Indianapolis Division granted Plaintiffs Motions to
Join Additional Parties, to Order Defendant to Produce List of
Potential Plaintiffs and To Approve Form of Class Notifice, in
regards a lawsuit, brought against the Indianapolis Power and
Light Company (IPL), on behalf of George M. Carter, Bobby M.
Majors, and Steven M. Glasgo, et al, alleging that IPL failed to
compensate them for overtime hours worked as required by the
Fair Labor Standards Act.  

The plaintiffs allege that despite their title of supervisor,
they were essentially non-exempt, hourly employees with no
management responsibilities. For instance, they were classified
as "non-exempt supervisors" on internal payroll records,
performed duties more similar to their union brethren in the
company than to other salaried management personnel, and were
never invited to attend management meetings. As such, plaintiffs
argue that under the wage and hour provisions of the FLSA, they
were entitled to be paid for overtime work at one and one-half
times their hourly rate rather than on a straight time basis
in contravention of the FLSA. In their Complaint, the plaintiffs
described the potential class of similarly situated employees as
hourly, non-managerial "supervisors" who were paid for overtime
work on a straight time basis. More   recently, however, the
plaintiffs have sought to expand the class to all patently non-
managerial employees who were paid on a straight time basis for
overtime hours worked.
      
In support of their motion for joinder of additional parties
(also referred to as a  motion for approval of class
notification), the plaintiffs submit three affidavits and a
consent form from a former employee who wishes to opt-in to the
litigation. Two former employees attest to the nature of their
job responsibilities and overtime compensation while IPL
supervisors. Former IPL employee, Jim Collins, asserts that the
company assigned a special payroll designation (wage hour
designation code 6) to those employees who were to receive
straight-time compensation for overtime hours. Finally, to
support the expansion of the proposed plaintiff class to include
other employees who were similarly underpaid for overtime hours,
but who, unlike the plaintiffs were not "supervisors," the
plaintiffs submit a consent form signed by "management trainer"
Debbie J. Johnson-Miller who wishes to join the litigation.
  
The suit seeks recovery on behalf of the Plaintiffs from
Indianapolis Power & Light Company for unpaid overtime pay for
certain employees and former employees of IPALCO. Those
employees are persons who are designated in the Complaint as
"supervisors" and who were paid straight time for their overtime
hours, as opposed to time and a half. The supervisors are
persons who are not members of the Union IBEW. The Plaintiffs
have represented in their suit that the primary duties of the
supervisors did not consist of management of IPALCO; that they
did not have authority to hire or fire other employees,
or to bind the company as to their suggestions and
recommendations concerning the hiring and firing of other
employees; they did not customarily and regularly exercise
discretion and independent judgment consistent with
administrative positions; and they could, occasionally, if
needed, perform manual work related to their employment.


KINDERMUSIK INT'L: Recalls "Lily Pad Clackers" For Lead Content
---------------------------------------------------------------
Kindermusik International, of Browns Summit, N.C., in
cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC), is recalling 430 "Lily Pad Clacker" Instruments since
the green coating on instruments contain high levels of lead,
posing a risk of poisoning to young children. There have been no
reports of injuries or incidents relating to the product.

The Lily Pad Clackers are wooden rhythm instruments designed for
use with the Frog Went A-Dancing kit sold by Do-Re-Me & You, a
Kindermusik affiliate. The recalled instrument is 5.25 inches
long, and is made of wood. It has two green "lily pads" that are
connected to the base by a string. The Clackers were sold as
part of a music kit.

The Lily Pad Clackers, manufactured in India, were sold by Do-
Re-Me & You! consultants in North Carolina, South Carolina,
Georgia, Virginia and Texas from October 2003 through December
2003 for about $30.

Customers are urged to return the Lily Pad Clackers to
Kindermusik International in the postage paid box provided by
the firm. Kindermusik will replace the product with a product of
comparable value. For more information, contact Kindermusik at
(800) 628-5687 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through
Friday or visit the firm's Web site at http://www.drmy.com.


OPULENTICA LLC: Court Grants Motion For Preliminary Injunction
--------------------------------------------------------------
The United States District Judge Richard J. Howell of the
Southern District of New York granted the Securities and
Exchange Commission's motion for a preliminary injunction and
other relief against defendants Opulentica, LLC, Zarrar Sheikh,
and relief defendant Saima Shahzadi.

The defendants and relief defendant filed no opposition to the
SEC's motion and ultimately consented to the relief.  The court
also granted the SEC's motion for a partial final consent
permanent injunction and other relief against defendant Nasser
A. Dawoud.

The January 9 order continues in place various forms of interim
relief initially ordered by the court on December 23, 2003, when
the court granted the Commission's motion for a temporary
restraining order, freezing the assets of the defendants and
relief defendant, prohibiting the destruction of documents,
granting expedited discovery and other relief to halt the fraud
perpetrated by the defendants.

Among other things, the January 9 order preliminarily enjoins
Opulentica and Mr. Sheikh from committing future violations of
the registration provisions, Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the
Securities Act of 1933, and of the antifraud provisions, Section
17(a) of the Securities Act and Section 10(b) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.   

In addition, the January 9 order:  

     (1) continues the freeze over the assets of the defendants
         and relief defendant;

     (2) directs the defendants and relief defendant to
         repatriate funds transferred to offshore accounts;  

     (3) prohibits the destruction of documents;  

     (4) imposes a limited stay of discovery and stays the time
         the defendants and relief defendant to respond to the
         Commission's complaint pending resolution of the
         criminal investigation; and  

     (5) prohibits the defendants and relief defendant from all
         contact with investors.   

The order, however, allows the Commission to take third-party
discovery during the pendency of the stay.

The SEC's complaint filed on December 23, 2003, alleges that,
between March 2002 and the present, Opulentica, Mr. Sheikh and
Nasser A. Dawoud fraudulently raised over $500,000 by making
material misrepresentations to actual and prospective investors
concerning monthly and annual returns on investments,
investments risks, and the existence of "insurance" to protect
against investment losses.

The SEC's complaint named the following defendants and relief
defendants:

     (1) Opulentica, a New York limited liability corporation
         that was formed on May 21, 2002, and whose purported
         office was located at 44 Wall Street, New York, New
         York.  Opulentica has operated a website, though which
         it offered to investors and potential investors a
         purported guaranteed return of 6% (which it claimed
         would yield an annual return of 72%) on short-term
         investments.
     
     (2) Mr. Sheikh, 33, was the registered agent of Opulentica
         and was identified as the contact person in
         Opulentica's advertisements in the "Weekly Pakistan
         News" and the "Pakistan Post" and as media relations
         contact in offering materials;
     
     (3) Mr. Dawoud, 31, resides in Brooklyn, New York.  In a
         bank account opening Statement, Mr. Dawoud held himself
         out to be the president of Opulentica;
     
     (4) Relief Defendant, Saima Shahzadi, is Mr. Sheikh's wife
         and received at least $56,200 in investor funds from
         Opulentica's bank accounts.
     
Further, the SEC's complaint alleges that as of December 9,
2003, the defendants raised approximately $538,000 from about
twenty (20) investors in Opulentica.  The defendants solicited
investors to open accounts with Opulentica for periods of 3, 6,
9, and 12 months.

Opulentica promised investors returns of 6% monthly or, as
described in the offering, 72% returns annually.  Opulentica's
website boasted that offered investors "the maximum gain with
the minimum of risk exposure" and "extensive insurance coverage"
over all of its accounts.  In its offering materials, Opulentica
listed fifteen individuals, including Mr. Sheikh, who it claimed
constituted  "a staff of dedicated, professional, and licensed
financial analysts."
     
In truth, Opulentica was an ongoing fraud.  Opulentica never
generated profits of 6% per month.  In fact, of the $538,000
raised, the defendants actually invested only $289,000 in
reckless day trading through which the defendants lost over
$117,000.  Opulentica's trading accounts were not protected by
insurance and investments in Opulentica's were not "risk-free."  
The defendants also failed to disclose that they had diverted
$249,000 of investor funds for their personal use and that of
Shahzadi.  

The suit is styled "SEC v. Zarrar Sheikh, Nasser A. Dawoud,
Opulentica, LLC and Relief Defendant Saima Shahzadi, Civil
Action No. 03 Civ 10165 (RJH) SDNY."
     

QWEST COMMUNICATIONS: Remand of Stock Suit To State Court Sought
----------------------------------------------------------------
Plaintiffs seek to remand the putative class action filed in the
District Court for the County of Boulder against Qwest
Communications on behalf of purchasers of Qwest Communications
International, Inc.'s (QCII) stock between June 28, 2000 and
June 27, 2002 and owners of U S WEST, Inc. stock on June 28,
2000.  The suit also names as defendants:

     (1) QCII, the Company's parent,

     (2) The Anschutz Family Investment Co.,

     (3) Philip Anschutz,

     (4) Joseph P. Nacchio and

     (5) Robin R. Szeliga

The complaint alleges, among other things, that QCII and the
individual defendants issued false and misleading statements and
engaged in improper accounting practices in order to accomplish
the June 30, 2000 acquisition of U S WEST, to make QCII appear
successful and to inflate the value of QCII's stock.  The
complaint asserts claims under Sections 11, 12, 15 and 17 of the
Securities Act of 1933, as amended.  The complaint seeks
unspecified monetary damages, disgorgement of illegal gains and
other relief.

On July 31, 2002, the defendants removed this state court action
to federal district court in Colorado and subsequently moved to
consolidate this action with another consolidated securities
action.  The plaintiffs have moved to remand the lawsuit back to
state court, which the defendants oppose.


QWEST COMMUNICATIONS: Opposes Certification For ERISA Lawsuit
-------------------------------------------------------------
Qwest Communications International, Inc. opposed the motion for
class certification of the consolidated lawsuit filed against it
on behalf of all participants and beneficiaries of the Qwest
Savings and Investment Plan and predecessor plans from March 7,
1999 until the present.  The suit names as defendants, among
others, the Company, several of its former and current
directors, officers and employees, Qwest Asset Management, the
Plan's Investment Committee, the Plan Administrative Committee
of the pre-Merger QCII 401(k) Savings Plan, and QCII's Plan
Design Committee.

The consolidated ERISA action, which is brought under the
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), alleges, among
other things, the defendants breached fiduciary duties to the
Plan members by:

     (1) excessively concentrating the Plan's assets invested in
         QCII's stock,

     (2) requiring certain participants in the Plan to hold the
         matching contributions received from QCII in the Qwest
         Shares Fund,

     (3) failing to disclose to the participants the alleged
         accounting improprieties that are the subject of the
         consolidated securities action,

     (4) failing to investigate the prudence of investing in
         QCII's stock,

     (5) continuing to offer QCII's stock as an investment
         option under the Plan,

     (6) failing to investigate the effect of the Merger on Plan
         assets and then failing to vote the Plan's shares
         against it,

     (7) preventing plan participants from acquiring QCII's
         stock during certain periods and,

     (8) as against some of the individual defendants,
         capitalizing on their private knowledge of QCII's
         financial condition to reap profits in stock sales

Plaintiffs seek equitable and declaratory relief, along with
attorneys' fees and costs and restitution. Defendants have also
filed motions to dismiss and those motions are also pending
before the court.


QWEST COMMUNICATIONS: CA Court Partially Dismisses Consumer Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Superior Court of the State of Calfornia, in and for the
County of San Francisco, dismissed without leave to amend one of
the claims in the lawsuit filed against Qwest Communications
International, Inc. by California State Teachers' Retirement
System, (CalSTRS).  The suit also named as defendants certain of
the Company's former officers and certain of its current
directors and several other defendants, including Arthur
Andersen LLP and several investment banks.

CalSTRS alleges that the defendants engaged in fraudulent
conduct that caused CalSTRS to lose in excess of $150 million
invested in QCII's equity and debt securities.  The complaint
alleges, among other things, that in press releases and other
public statements, defendants represented that QCII was one of
the highest revenue producing telecommunications companies in
the world, with highly favorable results and prospects.

CalSTRS alleges that defendants were engaged, however, "in a
scheme to falsely inflate QCII's revenue and decrease its
expenses so that QCII would appear more successful than it
actually was."  The complaint purported to state causes of
action against QCII for:

     (1) violation of California Corporations Code Section 25400
         et seq. (securities laws) (seeking, among other
         damages, the difference between the price at which
         CalSTRS sold QCII's notes and stock and their true
         value);

     (2) violation of California Corporations Code Section 17200
         et seq. (unfair competition);

     (3) fraud, deceit and concealment; and

     (4) breach of fiduciary duty

Among other requested relief, CalSTRS seeks compensatory,
special and punitive damages, restitution, pre-judgment interest
and costs.  QCII and the individual defendants filed a demurrer,
seeking dismissal of all claims.

In response, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the unfair
competition claim but maintained the balance of the complaint.  
The court denied the demurrer as to the California securities
law and fraud claims, but dismissed the breach of fiduciary duty
claim against QCII with leave to amend.  The court also
dismissed the claims against Robert S. Woodruff and Robin R.
Szeliga on jurisdictional grounds.

On July 25, 2003, plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint.  
The material allegations remain largely the same, but plaintiff
no longer alleges claims against Mr. Woodruff and Ms. Szeliga
following the court's dismissal of the claims against them, and
reasserted its claim against QCII for breach of fiduciary duty
as an allegation of aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary
duty. QCII filed a second demurrer to that claim, and on
November 7, 2003, the court dismissed that claim without leave
to amend.


QWEST COMMUNICATIONS: Asks NJ Court To Dismiss Securities Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Qwest Communications International, Inc. asked the New Jersey
Superior Court in Mercer County to dismiss the lawsuit filed
against it by the State of New Jersey (Treasury Department,
Division of Investment).

The suit alleges, among other things, that QCII, certain of
QCII's former officers and certain current directors and Arthur
Andersen LLP caused QCII's stock to trade at artificially
inflated prices by employing improper accounting practices, and
by issuing false statements about QCII's business, revenue and
profits.  As a result, New Jersey contends that it incurred tens
of millions of dollars in losses.  

New Jersey's complaint purports to state causes of action
against QCII for fraud, negligent misrepresentation and civil
conspiracy.  Among other requested relief, New Jersey seeks from
the defendants, jointly and severally, compensatory,
consequential, incidental and punitive damages.


QWEST COMMUNICATIONS: SURSI Files Unfair Practices Lawsuit in IL
----------------------------------------------------------------
Qwest Communications International, Inc. (QCII) faces an amended
lawsuit filed by the State Universities Retirement System of
Illinois (SURSI) in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.  
SURSI filed suit against QCII, certain of QCII's former officers
and certain current directors, and several other defendants,
including Arthur Andersen LLP and several investment banks.

The second amended complaint dropped certain individual and
corporate defendants and its claim under the Illinois Consumer
Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.  The second amended
complaint alleges that defendants engaged in fraudulent conduct
that caused it to lose in excess of $12.5 million invested in
QCII's common stock and debt and equity securities.  

The complaint alleges, among other things, that, in press
releases and other public statements, defendants represented
that QCII was one of the highest revenue producing
telecommunications companies in the world, with highly favorable
results and prospects.  SURSI alleges that defendants were
engaged, however, in a scheme to falsely inflate QCII's revenue
and decrease its expenses by, among other allegations, improper
conduct related to transactions with the Arizona School
Facilities Board, Genuity, Calpoint LLC, KMC, KPNQwest and
Koninklijke KPN, N.V.

The complaint purports to state causes of action against QCII
under:

     (1) the Illinois Securities Act;

     (2) common law fraud;

     (3) common law negligent misrepresentation; and

     (4) Section 11 of the 1933 Act.

SURSI seeks, among other relief, punitive and exemplary damages,
costs, equitable relief including an injunction to freeze or
prevent disposition of the defendants' assets and disgorgement.


QWEST COMMUNICATIONS: CO Court Refuses Summary Judgment in Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Denver District Court in Colorado denied both plaintiffs'
and defendants' summary judgment motions in the class action
filed against Qwest Communications International, Inc. and
certain of its current and former officers and directors
on behalf of stockholders of U S WEST.

The complaint alleges that QCII has a duty to pay a quarterly
dividend to U S WEST stockholders of record as of June 30, 2000.
Plaintiffs further claim that the defendants attempted to avoid
paying the dividend by changing the record date from June 30,
2000 to July 10, 2000.

In September 2002, QCII filed a motion for summary judgment on
all claims.  Plaintiffs filed a cross-motion for summary
judgment on their breach of contract claims only.


QWEST COMMUNICATIONS: Plaintiffs Appeal Right-of-Way Settlement
---------------------------------------------------------------
Several plaintiffs appealed the settlement proposed by Qwest
Communications International, Inc. (QCII) for several purported
class actions relating to the installation of fiber optic cable
in certain rights-of-way were filed in various courts against
QCII on behalf of landowners in:

     (1) Alabama,

     (2) California,

     (3) Colorado,

     (4) Georgia,

     (5) Illinois,

     (6) Indiana,

     (7) Kansas,

     (8) Louisiana,

     (9) Mississippi,

    (10) Missouri,

    (11) North Carolina,

    (12) Oregon,

    (13) South Carolina,

    (14) Tennessee and

    (15) Texas

Class certification was denied in the Louisiana proceeding and,
subsequently, summary judgment was granted in the Company's
favor.  A new Louisiana class action complaint has recently been
filed.  Class certification was also denied in the California
proceeding, although plaintiffs have filed a motion for
reconsideration.  Class certification was granted in the
Illinois proceeding. Class certification has not been resolved
yet in the other proceedings.

The complaints challenge QCII's right to install its fiber optic
cable in railroad rights-of-way and, in Colorado, Illinois and
Texas, also challenge QCII's right to install fiber optic cable
in utility and pipeline rights-of-way.  In Alabama, the
complaint challenges QCII's right to install fiber optic cable
in any right-of-way, including public highways.

The complaints allege that the railroads, utilities and pipeline
companies own a limited property right-of-way that did not
include the right to permit QCII to install its fiber optic
cable on the plaintiff's property.

The Indiana action purports to be on behalf of a national class
of landowners adjacent to railroad rights-of-way over which
QCII's network passes.  The Alabama, California, Colorado,
Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North
Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas actions
purport to be on behalf of a class of such landowners in those
states, respectively. The Illinois action purports to be on
behalf of landowners adjacent to railroad rights-of-way over
which QCII's network passes in Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky,
Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin.  Plaintiffs
in the Illinois action have filed a motion to expand the class
to a nationwide class.  The complaints seek damages on theories
of trespass and unjust enrichment, as well as punitive damages.  

Together with some of the other telecommunication carrier
defendants, in September 2002, QCII filed a proposed settlement
of all these matters 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 those 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 Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. At this
time, QCII cannot determine whether such settlement will be
ultimately approved or the final cost of the settlement if it is
approved.


TELEPHONE COMPANIES: Court Restricts Federal Antitrust Lawsuits
---------------------------------------------------------------
The United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously that consumers
cannot sue regional telephone companies for anticompetitive
practices, under federal antitrust law, with its lucrative
promise of triple damages to winners, the Associated Press
reports.

The ruling came in a class action filed against Verizon
Communications, formerly Bell Atlantic by AT&T customer Curtis
Trinko, alleging that the Company provided poor service to AT&T,
resulting in phone outages at his office.  Verizon has blamed
software glitches.

The suit is centered on telephone infrastructure, owned by the
regional phone companies. The regional companies are required to
allow competing telephone companies to lease their lines, but
rivals contend the former Baby Bells intentionally provide poor
service on leased lines to ruin their business, the Associated
Press reports.

Writing for the court, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the
court, said the "alleged insufficient assistance" that Verizon
is accused of is not a valid antitrust claim.  Justice Scalia
said there would be many complex disputes over the relationships
between regional companies and rivals if lawsuits were allowed.
"An antitrust court is unlikely to be an effective day-to-day
enforcer of these detailed sharing obligations," he wrote,
according to AP.

With the ruling, the court blocked an avenue for people to sue
over claims that phone companies are not cooperating with
government-ordered competition.  Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan,
told AP such lawsuits should be permitted when there are
questions about compliance with a 1996 law that ordered
competition in the telecommunications business.  "The only
response we can give is to draft legislation on a bipartisan
basis fixing the Supreme Court's horrible blunder," Mr. Conyers
said.

Verizon attorney John Thorne told AP the court's ruling could
affect about three dozen pending class-action cases and as many
as 10 competitor lawsuits.  He said the service problems that
they bring up are already addressed out-of-court and it is
disruptive to have them litigated in antitrust cases.


TOBACCO LITIGATION: Canadian Smokers Injury Suit Lacks Evidence
---------------------------------------------------------------
Lawyers for three of Canada's biggest tobacco companies asked
Canadian court to dismiss a smokers suit against them, due to of
a glaring lack of evidence, the Associated Press/Canadian Press
reports.

Plaintiffs David Caputo, Luna Roth, Lori Cawardine and Russell
Hyduk filed the suit nine years ago but were hampered by
numerous procedural delays.  The suit charges Rothmans, Benson &
Hedges, Imperial Tobacco Canada and JTI-Macdonald with
conspiring to hide the risks of smoking and the addictive nature
of tobacco from the public in order to boost cigarette sales.  

The suit alleges that the companies failed to give warnings to
consumers about cigarettes causing life-threatening diseases
like cancer up until 1972.  The plaintiffs seek $1-million each
in damages, as well as funding for nicotine addiction
rehabilitation centers.

Defense lawyer Deborah Glendinning said lawyers for the four
plaintiffs "glossed over" much of the evidence in their
statement of claim and opening remarks Monday during the class-
action certification hearing, AP reports.  "(They) threw the
spaghetti to see if it would stick," Ms. Glendinning said.  "But
they didn't file the evidence to support it."

She also asserted that the plaintiffs failed to show how the
public would benefit from such a suit and how the plaintiffs'
health and reasons for smoking are applicable to other smokers.  
"I encourage you to have a critical eye towards the evidence,"
She told Judge Warren Winkler.

Kirk Baert, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told Justice Winkler
the case was similar to more than 40 class actions involving
millions of smokers that have taken place south of the border.
"We can look to the United States courts to get background and
context," Mr. Baert said Tuesday.

Defense lawyer Lyndon Barnes asserted the statement of claim was
"over-inclusive" and that there was no rational connection
between every smoker in the province and the claims of the
plaintiffs, AP reports.

Under Ontario law, the public does not have to opt in if a class
action is approved, meaning millions of smokers could wind up
suing the three tobacco companies on their own if the suit
proceeds.  However, if approved, observers say the multimillion-
dollar class action could become the largest in Canadian
history.  Every past and present smoker in Ontario would be
eligible to participate.


TROPICAL SPORTSWEAR: Faces Securities Fraud Lawsuits in M.D. FL
---------------------------------------------------------------
Tropical Sportwear International Corporation faces two
securities class actions filed in the United States District
Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, on
behalf of all persons who purchased or otherwise acquired the
securities of the company during the period from April 17, 2002
through January 20, 2003.

The suits name the Company and certain of its current and former
officers and directors as defendants.  The lawsuits make a
number of allegations against the defendants, including
allegations that during the Class Period, the defendants
materially misled the investing public by publicly issuing false
and misleading statements and omitting to disclose material
facts concerning the company's operations and performance and
the retail market for its goods.

The Company has not yet responded to either complaint.  Because
these cases are in the early stages of litigation, the Company
is unable to form a reasonable estimate of potential loss, if
any, and has not established any reserves related to these
cases, it stated in a disclosure to the Securities and Exchange
Commission.


UNITED STATES: High Court Tackles Suit over Disabled Rights
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Untied States Supreme Court considered the case of
paraplegic George Lane, whose image of crawling up two flights
of stairs to reach a public courtroom is the dramatic backdrop
to the latest Supreme Court fight over protections for the
disabled, the Associated Press reports.  The case is one of the
most closely watched on the justices' busy calendar, now about
halfway complete.

In previous cases, the high court has repeatedly limited the
effect of the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act, a landmark
law meant to guarantee equality for the disabled.  At issue now
is the right of private citizens to sue over alleged violations
such as the lack of an elevator in the small-town courthouse
where Lane was scheduled to appear in 1996.

Mr. Lane wants to sue the state of Tennessee for up to $100,000
for what he claimed was humiliating treatment that violated the
Americans With Disabilities Act.  He crawled up the Polk County
courthouse steps once for an appearance in a reckless driving
case, but was arrested for failing to appear in court when he
refused to crawl a second time.  Courthouse employees say he
also refused offers of help.

Tennessee claims that Congress went too far in writing the ADA,
and argues that under the Constitution, a state government
cannot be sued in federal court without its consent.  That sets
up a conflict over states' rights and the powers of Congress. In
a series of cases since the late 1990s, the Supreme Court's
five-member conservative majority has gradually expanded the
sovereign rights of state governments while limiting federal
control and congressional power.

Advocates for the disabled maintain that lawsuits like Lane's
are an important way to force state governments to follow the
requirements of the ADA. "In many cases, damages are the only
means to remedy the very real injuries caused by the state's
unlawful and willful neglect," former Attorney General Dick
Thornburgh and a coalition of disability rights organizations
told the justices in a friend-of-the-court filing.

Without the opportunity to collect money, disabled people who
may also be poor and unemployed have little incentive to bear
the costs of bringing a court challenge, the brief argued.

The ADA guarantees against discrimination on the job, and
requires that public buildings and public services be open to
the disabled. The law is probably best known for prompting
installation of wheelchair ramps and other accommodations in
many buildings.

In a similar case three years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that
states cannot be sued by their own employees for failing to
comply with the ADA's guarantee against discrimination in the
workplace.

While Congress can override the states' usual sovereign immunity
in certain extraordinary circumstances, it did not demonstrate
why that step was necessary in the case of a nurse demoted after
breast cancer treatment, the high court said then.

In court filings, Tennessee argued that the same reasoning
applies to private suits over the ADA's separate guarantee of
access to public services. "The legislative record developed in
connection with the enactment of the ADA wholly fails to
demonstrate any persisting pattern of unconstitutional
discrimination against disabled persons by the states," lawyers
for Tennessee wrote.

Tennessee is backed by seven states: Alabama, Nebraska, Nevada,
North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

While unfortunate, the failure to install elevators and other
equipment to help the disabled does not violate the
Constitution, lawyers for those states told the court.

More states lined up on the other side. Connecticut, Delaware,
Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New
Mexico, New York, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin filed legal
briefs in support of Lane and Beverly Jones, a court reporter in
a wheelchair who claims she could not work in many Tennessee
courthouses.

The Bush administration sided with the disabled in the case,
arguing that Congress deliberately wrote the law to ensure that
people would have access to government officials, courthouses
and polling places.

"It determined that only a comprehensive effort to integrate
persons with disabilities would end the cycle of isolation,
segregation, and second-class citizenship, and deter further
discrimination," Solicitor General Theodore Olson told justices
in a filing.


UNITED STATES: Study Indicates Awards, Fees Holding Steady
----------------------------------------------------------
In lobbying for limits on class action lawsuits during the past
year, big businesses, their insurers and the Republican party
all have argued that such suits do little more than enrich
lawyers and drag down the economy, Bestwire states.

Ever-increasing lawyers fees, the argument goes, leave
victorious plaintiffs with only pennies on the dollar, while the
increasing amounts associated with the suits themselves drain
money from companies that could be better used to create jobs or
expand the economy.

However, a new, nonpartisan study of class action suits, being
hailed as the broadest yet of its kind, is calling that into
question.  Two law professors, writing in the latest issue of
the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, have found that lawsuit
awards and attorneys' fees actually held steady over the 10
years through 2002.  The report already is drawing criticism
from groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which seek to
renew a GOP-led effort at class action reform that stalled late
in 2003. That bill, the Class Action Fairness Act of 2003, S.
1751, passed the House but failed to overcome a filibuster in
the Senate before Congress adjourned for the year.

Senators have since announced a compromise on the bill, which is
due to reappear on the Senate floor shortly after Congress
reconvenes on January 20.  The class action bill would pull most
of those lawsuits, which are now filed in state courts, into the
federal system where they are less likely to be heard.  The
effect of the bill would be to limit insurers' exposure to big
judgments.  Democrats, in reaching a compromise sparked by their
filibuster, kept the key features of the bill but managed to
extract a number plaintiff-friendly changes from Republicans.

The Washington, D.C.,-based American Tort Reform Association,
which backed the class-action bill, denounced the study as
fatally flawed within hours of its publication the week of Jan.
12. "Even the study's author(s) admitted that, due to the
absence of published court opinions in these jurisdictions, 'it
is difficult to learn about state court settlements,' ATRA
President Sherman Joyce wrote in response to the study. "Any
policy conclusions drawn from this study are therefore
inconclusive."

The authors of the study, Cornell law professor Theodore
Eisenberg and New York University law professor Geoffrey P.
Miller, examined cases from 1993 to 2002, looking at recoveries
and fees and adjusting for inflation. "Contrary to popular
belief, we find no robust evidence that either recoveries for
plaintiffs or fees for their attorneys as a percentage of the
class recovery increased," the authors wrote.

The average class action settlement amounts during that 10-year
period came to $100 million, using constant 2002 dollars. There
was a peak of $274 million in 2000, the result of four $1
billion-plus settlements that year, with a low of $25 million in
1996. The professors concluded that the average amount awarded
to plaintiffs since 1993 "has not noticeably increased."

The study reported similar findings about lawyers' fees. The
average for those fees peaked at $31 million in 2000 but was
higher than $10 million in only two other years. As might be
expected, the study also found that the larger the amount of a
settlement, the smaller the percentage that went toward legal
fees; the largest 10% of settlements saw the lawyers get an
average of 12%, while the smallest 10% of settlements saw
lawyers get closer to 30%. The study also found higher fees
associated with riskier cases and those filed in federal court,
as opposed to those filed at the state level.


VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS: SC Ruling Could End Numerous Lawsuits
-------------------------------------------------------------
Officials at Verizon Communications Corporation believe that the
United States Supreme Court's ruling blocking antitrust lawsuits
against telecommunications companies for failing to comply with
1996 deregulation requirements could end a number of lawsuits
against regional phone companies, the Dow Jones Business News
reports.

The high court ruled that consumers could not file suits against
the Company under federal antitrust laws for allegations it
failed to give rivals timely access to its phone networks, as
required under the 1996 law.  The lawsuit was brought by Curtis
Trinko LLP, a New York law firm that sued on behalf of itself
and New York consumers.

The lawsuit was brought following allegations Verizon had
delayed competitor access to the its local phone networks. AT&T
Corp. (T) made the initial complaint, prompting a 2000
settlement between Verizon and state and federal regulators for
$13 million.

The unanimous Supreme Court ruling reversed a lower court
decision that has been used as the basis for a number of
consumer and corporate lawsuits against telecommunications
companies.  "There were a number of other cases filed in the
wake of Trinko," John Thorne, Verizon's deputy general counsel,
who handled the Supreme Court case for his company, told Dow
Jones. "Those will be dismissed."

Several cases at the Supreme Court have been awaiting the
Verizon decision, and the court moved Tuesday to dispense with
them as early as next week.  "Now instead of having to divert
financial and human resources defending ourselves against
frivolous lawsuits, SBC can go about its business," SBC
Communications Inc. (SBC) general counsel James Ellis told Dow
Jones. SBC is a telecommunications company based in San Antonio,
Texas.

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the high court's opinion, closing
the door on the antitrust suits.  "We conclude that Verizon's
alleged insufficient assistance in the provision of service to
rivals is not a recognized antitrust claim," he said.

After a federal trial judge dismissed the civil class-action
lawsuit, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New
York, ruled the Trinko lawsuit could proceed. In legal briefs,
the Trinko lawsuit argued the 1996 telecommunications law
authorized the civil lawsuit it was pursuing under long-standing
federal antitrust provisions.

The Supreme Court was blunt in striking down that argument.  "We
think the opposite," Justice Scalia said, adding the law firm
"fails to state a claim" under the antitrust laws.  In his
opinion, Justice Scalia rejected any right for the law firm to
sue on behalf of consumers under both antitrust laws and the
telecommunications act.  

He also cited existing federal regulation of the
telecommunications industry as a factor in determining whether
private civil actions could be brought in court.  "One factor of
particular importance is the existence of a regulatory structure
designed to deter and remedy anticompetitive harm," he said,
according to Dow Jones.  "Where such a structure exists, the
additional benefit to competition provided by antitrust
enforcement will tend to be small."

In ruling against the civil lawsuit, the Supreme Court agreed
with the position of the Justice Department, which had warned
the lower court ruling amounted to a significant expansion of
antitrust laws.  Tuesday's ruling could have an impact on
additional cases that have been brought against Baby Bell phone
companies, which have traditionally controlled local phone
services.  The high court reversed the Second Circuit ruling and
remanded the case to that court for further proceedings because
a separate legal issue was still pending in the case.


WAL-MART STORES: Employee Audit Reveals Many Labor Violations
-------------------------------------------------------------
An audit by retail giant Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. of about 25,000
employees uncovered thousands of labor violations, including
minors working during school hours and workers not taking breaks
or lunches, the Dow Jones Business News reports.

The audit, obtained by the New York Times, studied employee
records at 128 Wal-Mart stories nationwide.  The audit revealed
1,371 violations of child labor laws, including minors working
too late, too many hours in a day or during school hours.  On
more than 60,000 occasions, workers missed breaks and on 16,000
they skipped meal times, in violation of most state labor
regulations.

In a statement Tuesday, the Company said the audit was not a
valid study and should not be taken at face value.  The auditor
allegedly applied information that managers used to tell if
workers failed to punch out before taking their breaks.  The
managers would simply determine whether worker actually missed a
break or simply didn't log the time he or she didn't work.

"In some cases, associates modified their schedules to meet a
personal need, such as working through lunch in order to leave
early that day," the statement said, according to Dow Jones.  
Company officials declined interview requests Tuesday.

The retailing giant faces several labor lawsuits in 40 states,
with class actions pending in California, Indiana, Massachusetts
and Minnesota.  Early this week, a damages trial got under way
in Oregon in a lawsuit in which a jury already has found that
Wal-Mart did not fully pay its workers in that state.

James Finberg, an attorney who represents Wal-Mart employees
seeking class action in New York and Washington state on grounds
the company didn't pay for all hours worked, told Dow Jones the
audit shows Wal-Mart broke its own rules.  "The policy book says
the right things, but the pattern and practice is clear -
managers tell people to do the work, no matter how long it
takes, and they tell them they're not going to pay them
overtime," he said.

The company said its auditor looked at numbers alone and did not
examine employees' circumstances.  "As a result, the audit
erroneously assumed that each time an associate failed to clock
in or out and created an 'exception,' it was because the
associate missed a meal break or rest break," the company said,
according to Dow Jones.

The Company insists its practices have changed.  "We have been
aggressive in implementing new processes to ensure that
associates are paid for every minute they work, and receive
breaks and meals as scheduled," the company said in its
statement.  "We also have procedures to ensure that employment
and work schedules of minors at Wal-Mart are in strict
compliance with the law."


WISCONSIN: County Insurer Asks To Deny Coverage In Pension Suit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Milwaukee County stands to spend more than $30-40 million if
Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation succeeds in the
lawsuit it filed, seeking to deny coverage for claims in one of
the pension lawsuits against the county, Knight-Ridder/ Tribune
Business News reports.

The county faces a lawsuit filed in April by current and former
county workers, alleging that state law prohibits the county
from taking money from the pension fund for any purpose other
than providing retirement benefits.  Some of the fund has been
used for other purposes, including the management of the fund.  
Using money for other purposes, even managing the fund,
diminishes the fund, and the workers' property rights to the
money, even if it doesn't directly reduce any retirees' pension
benefits, the suit says.  Both sides have filed motions for
summary judgment.


To date, Wisconsin County Mutual has been defending Milwaukee
County in the case over administrative fees.  It will continue
to do so at least until a ruling from the court, scheduled for
April 14.  The case is proceeding before reserve Judge Robert
Pekowsky, a former Circuit Court judge in Dane County.  The
administrative fees at issue total roughly $10 million and the
investment fees roughly $30 million, said William Domina, the
county's corporation counsel.

Wisconsin County Mutual Insurance Corporation asserts the
county's policies won't cover investment and administrative fees
at issue in the suit.  The insurance carrier has asked the judge
presiding in the lawsuit to rule on the coverage question and
relieve it from its obligation to defend the county in the suit.

If a judge rules in favor of the insurance company and if the
workers prevail in the suit, it could cost the county between
$30 million and $40 million, in legal fees to defend itself in
the lawsuit and millions if the workers prevail and the county
is required to reimburse the pension fund. The reimbursements
would cover money drawn from the pension account to pay the
costs of managing the fund, dating back to 1992, and the fees
paid to money managers who guided investments over the past
dozen years.  A ruling on the insurance company's motion is
expected in April.

John Kircher, a law professor at Marquette University, told the
Tribune Business News disputes over insurance coverage are not
unusual.  If a company believes its policies don't cover a
particular action by the insured, it will seek to be removed
from the case.  "They want out so they don't have to defend it,"
he said.

"That would be a pretty devastating blow to the county," Robert
Elliott, an attorney representing workers in the pension case
against the county, told the Tribune Business News.  "If they
don't have coverage, that would have to come off the budget."

Linda Seemeyer, the director of administration for Milwaukee
County, told the Business News any money needed to reimburse the
pension fund or cover attorneys costs would take money from
other programs and services in the county.  "We don't need
this," she said.  "We already have a lot of fiscal problems to
deal with."



                     Asbestos Alert


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Health Group Backs Anti-Asbestos Bill Ads
--------------------------------------------------------------
Ocean State Action, a health advocacy group, sponsors ads that
voice opposition for the asbestos bill.  The Rhode Island group-
sponsored ads, which will air for two weeks, aim to urge
Senators Lincoln Chafee and Jack Reed to vote against the
proposed bill, according to an Associated Press report.

Congress is trying to determine what to do about the costly and
deadly fallout from the nation's long and wide-ranging use of
asbestos, AP reports.  Sick workers at many industrial plants
around the country have blamed asbestos contamination for their
illnesses.

The bill would create a settlement fund that would shield
asbestos-related companies from further lawsuits while providing
billions for people sickened by the products.  Critics contend
the legislation could let companies get out of proposed
settlements with victims and pay less into the new fund, AP
reports.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Coroner Says Death Asbestos-Related
---------------------------------------------------
An England coroner declared that the death of a former joiner is
a result of an industrial disease.  Glen Salt, who worked as a
joiner at companies including Plaxton and Wyseplan, died of an
asbestos-related illness, says Coroner Michael Oakley.

Mr. Salt was diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease
mesothelioma and died in St. Catherine's Hospice in July last
year.  Mr. Salt had made two statements prior to his death in
May last year giving detailed accounts of where and how he was
employed.  He stated that he could only recall being exposed to
asbestos at Plaxton, Wyseplan and when working for Scarborough
Council, according to a Scarborough Today article.

Mr. Oakley told the paper that Mr. Salt mentioned that he was
"never supplied with overalls but was given a small white mask
to use if he wished at Plaxton . He was never warned of the
dangers and did not suspect that the product contained
asbestos."

Mr. Salt built accommodation for the Ministry of Defence during
his time at Wyseplan, of Bridlington, and was given overalls and
a mask, the report says.  He did not bother to wear them but was
never given advice or reprimanded for not doing so.
Scarborough Council was safety conscious and provided all
employees with literature on asbestos.

Mr. Oakley further said that Mr. Salt was exposed to asbestos in
three particular occupations and contracted mesothelioma as a
result.  Mr. Salt turned out for a number of football teams in
the Saturday and Sunday leagues, including West Pier,
Strongwood, Wreyfield, Trafalgar and Eastfield as well as
managing Saturday league side Eastfield and Sunday team Traf,
the Scarborough Today reports.  A special memorial football game
took place in October for him and his father Mick, who died in
1999.  The Mick and Glen Salt Trophy will be played for
annually.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Asbestos Removal Suit V. NY Contractor Heats Up
---------------------------------------------------------------
Some of upstate New York's most prominent institutions might
have fallen victims to AAR Contractor Inc. of Latham, a company
on trial in federal court for asbestos-removal fraud, according
to an Associated Press report.

Federal officials say they believe there is no immediate danger
to employees or visitors of the buildings that were cleaned up
by the Albany-area company.  AAR and its owners, Raul and
Alexander Salvagno, are charged with running their company as a
criminal enterprise to defraud customers and violate the federal
Clean Air Act and Toxic Substance Control Act, AP reports.  

The father and son also are accused of mail fraud, money
laundering, obstructing justice and price fixing in a criminal
trial that began November 12 in U.S. District Court.  Alexander
Salvagno, 37, of Loudonville, faces up to 79 years in prison if
he is convicted. His father, Raul, 71, of Ormond Beach, Fla.,
could be sentenced to up to 35 years if convicted.  The two men
also could be ordered to forfeit more than $2,000,000 in profits
from their asbestos-removal business, according to the report.

Federal prosecutors contend Alex Salvagno fooled clients across
the state by setting up his own ``independent'' laboratory to
run false tests on his company's asbestos cleanup jobs. Salvagno
kept his ownership stake in Analytical Laboratories of Albany
hidden from regulators and customers, according to prosecutors.  
During the trial, former employees from the lab have testified
the lab falsified 50,000 to 75,000 samples over the course of 10
years, AP reports.

According to the article, prosecutors listed more than 1,500
projects as suspect in the documents filed with the court,
including ones at the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant
on Lake Ontario; the Museum of Science and Technology in
Syracuse, an interactive children's museum; the Anheuser-Busch
brewery in Lysander; St. Luke's Residential Health Care Facility
in Oswego; and numerous colleges, including Syracuse University
and SUNY campuses in Oneonta, Geneseo, Cobleskill and
Binghamton.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph A. Pavone told The Post-
Standard of Syracuse that prosecutors have notified about 40
customers listed in the indictment against AAR and its
affiliates that they may want to take tests to make sure the
asbestos was removed.  Mr. Pavone said his office is deciding
when and how to contact the rest of the potential victims.

``I'm not prepared to say we will visit every site. But if we
felt that somebody was in serious danger of significant health
risk immediately, we would take action,'' he told The Post-
Standard of Syracuse.

At least 13 employees of AAR Contractor or Analytical
Laboratories have pleaded guilty since 2000, when federal
prosecutors in Syracuse said they had uncovered a widespread
conspiracy in the state's asbestos-removal industry, according
to the report.

In October 2000, Timothy Carroll, co-owner of Analytical
Laboratory, admitted to federal prosecutors that he had
falsified, and permitted the falsification of, sample results
from asbestos projects, at AAR's behest, according to an article
last year in the American City Business Journals.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Activist Group Asserts Asbestos Bill Unfair
----------------------------------------------------------------
An activist group and labor union recently said that the
asbestos bill would take away billions of dollars in
compensation to workers who develop lung diseases from asbestos
exposure, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Wisconsin Citizen Action, backed by Laborers Local 113,
denounced legislation that would create a national trust fund
for asbestos victims. One problem with the proposed fund, they
said, is it would eliminate the right of critically ill people
to file lawsuits against companies that exposed them to
asbestos, the report said.

The payouts have become very complicated with more than 400,000
asbestos-related claims clogging the U.S. and state courts.

Victims want clear compensation packages. Congress, on the other
hand, has been urged to protect companies from the surge of
lawsuits. Business groups have said the majority of claims have
been from people who are not sick and may not be sick for
decades, the report said.

Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist, (R-Tenn.), and Sen. Orrin
Hatch, (R-Utah), have sponsored legislation that would create an
asbestos liability trust fund worth $108,000,000,000 aimed to
stop the growth of asbestos-related lawsuits.

Insurers and asbestos defendant companies will bank their money
in the trust fund.  Groups following the development of the bill
say Congress is expected to take action on the legislation soon.

For many asbestos victims, the fund would be too little, too
late, Christine Castore, Wisconsin Citizen Action program
director told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"This bill takes companies off the hook and leaves victims
without a clear way to get adequate compensation," she said. "In
some cases, compensation would be cut 75%."

Lawsuits can drag on for years, but some asbestos victims say
they have more faith in the courts than a trust fund.

"I stand a lot better chance with a jury of my peers than a
bunch of bureaucrats," said Christopher Stoeckler, who has
mesothelioma and is part of the Wisconsin Citizen Action
campaign.

Mr. Stoeckler, of Fort Atkinson, said he was exposed to asbestos
in the workplace for years before he was told that it was
dangerous. As an automobile mechanic, he worked in garages that
were filled with asbestos dust from brake linings, the report
said.

"What really gets me is the government knew about the dangers
for a very long time and didn't do anything," Mr. Stoeckler told
the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Now I am supposed to believe in
these guys and their trust fund?"

Wisconsin Citizen Action is participating in a national
advertising campaign that urges Congress to fix or scuttle the
Frist/Hatch legislation

At this point, the courts are better equipped to handle asbestos
cases than the proposed trust fund, Ms. Castore said. "Companies
need to be held responsible for their actions," she said. "The
burden of proof for these lawsuits is high enough to protect
them from frivolous lawsuits."

But the courts have so many pending asbestos claims, many of
which have no basis, Scott Tyre, president of the Wisconsin
Asbestos Litigation Reform Coalition, a pro-business group, told
the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The coalition supports the asbestos bill and wants a legal
standard set to show that someone is sick before collecting
damages.

"One of the problems now is that people who truly are sick can't
get compensation" because of the backlog of lawsuits and
companies running out of money, Tyre said.

Around 70 companies have already sought bankruptcy protection.

Some companies have been sued for asbestos illnesses because
they belonged to trade groups in which asbestos manufacturers
also were members. That was the case with Badger Meter Inc., of
Milwaukee, named a defendant in three Mississippi lawsuits.

Badger Meter never had a manufacturing plant in Mississippi. But
plaintiffs in one of the suits said the company had a duty to
inform Mississippi workers about the dangers of asbestos because
it belonged to national trade groups with safety information,
reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Anti-Asbestos Bill Group Rally at Capitol
--------------------------------------------------------------
A group opposing the U.S. Senate asbestos bill recently gathered
inside the state capitol urging Arkansans to join their fight,
according to a report from KATV.

The Coalition for Fairness to Asbestos Workers claims Senate
Bill 1125 would cancel thousands of settlements between
companies and employees who've gotten sick from asbestos, the
report said.

The group says it would also make it tougher for new
settlements. The group is paying for a television ad campaign
that will be running in Arkansas over the next two weeks.


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: RPM Accrues $49M in Asbestos Liabilities
-------------------------------------------------------------
RPM reports that it accrued $49,203,000 of asbestos-related
liabilities as of November 30, 2003.

Frank C. Sullivan, RPM's president and chief executive officer,
mentioned in a press release, that while managing asbestos
litigation continues to be a significant challenge for the
company, the costs associated with this exposure remain in line
with expectations.

"We are encouraged by recently enacted state tort reform
legislation," he said. "However, like many U.S. manufacturers,
passage of federal trust fund legislation would bring fairness,
predictability and finality to our asbestos exposure."


ASBESTOS LITIGATION: AUS Faces $1B Asbestos Liability Bill
----------------------------------------------------------
Australian government faces a liability bill of $1,000,000,000
for lawsuits brought by workers suffering from the asbestos
disease mesothelioma, a new audit report has warned, according
to The Age.

The amount is up sharply on previous estimates because of
escalating payouts, the emergence of more cases than expected
and a recent High Court case expanding the areas of government
liability, the report said.

Federal ministers have convened a special interdepartmental
committee to decide how to handle the problem, and expect to
receive recommendations soon.

A spokesman for Finance Minister Nick Minchin yesterday said the
Government was not ruling out a national legislative approach
designed to contain liability.

"We recognized in the last few years that this was going to
become a problem," he told The Age. "We will be looking at all
the options through the inter-departmental committee report."

Large companies with substantial asbestos liabilities, including
the building company James Hardie Industries, have been lobbying
for the adoption of a national approach to asbestos claims and
action to quell the rising tide of compensation payouts.

James Hardie established a special foundation of $300,000,000 to
handle its own claims in 2001, but has since signaled that it
will make no further contributions, amid reports that the fund
will run out within years.

The Australian National Audit Office, in the newly released
Audits of the Financial Statements of Australian Government
Entities, reports the revised liability figure, putting it at
$945,000,000, a sharp increase from previous estimates of about
$300,000,000.

Senator Minchin's spokesman said the review, not released, would
form a major part of the imminent departmental report to
ministers.

"This is a wide problem for the private and the public sector,"
he told The Age. "But it's a pretty horrible disease, and we do
have to look after our responsibilities."

One expected recommendation from the departmental committee is
that the Federal Government needs to establish a unified
approach to asbestos claims from former employees, rather than
letting individual departments deal individually with claims
against them.

Defense and former transport workers - especially dockworkers -
are the most common litigants, having worked with asbestos in
the 1960s and 1970s.

One reason for the recent re-evaluation of Commonwealth
liabilities, it is believed, is that payouts administered by the
NSW-based Dust Diseases Tribunal have been increasing, and
litigants from other states have been taking their cases to the
NSW tribunal.

Payments now average about $250,000. The NSW tribunal handled a
reported 633 cases in 2001-02.


ASBESTOS ALERT: Workers Commence Injury Suit V. Former Employer
---------------------------------------------------------------
Two workers sue a company in Ireland for terminating them after
voicing their concerns on an asbestos leak, reports The Belfast
Telegraph.

Jimmy Sweeny and Mark Harper claim they were sacked and they
believe they were unfairly dismissed after raising concerns
about an alleged asbestos leak at the center, which is used by
children, the report said.

The two youth workers filed their case in an industrial tribunal
in Belfast against the South Eastern Education and Library Board
(SEELB), who were formerly employed at the Killyleagh Outdoor
Education Center.

Sweeney and Harper worked there for around ten years and they
were mainly responsible for looking after the center's boats and
teaching children basic sailing skills.

Kevin Magill, who is representing both men at the hearing, said
that at the end of 1999 Harper made a complaint, which never
pushed through. Sweeney was supposed to be the witness to his
colleague's claims, the report said.

Magill said that around the same time, both men talked to the
press "regarding an allegation that there had been a breach of
asbestos regulations", according to The Belfast Telegraph.

COMPANY PROFILE
South Eastern Education and Library Board
Grahamsbridge Road
Dundonald
Belfast
BT16 2HS
Phone: +44 (0)28 9056 6200
Fax: +44 (0)28 9056 6266/7
Web: www.seelb.org.uk

Killyleagh Outdoor (One of the Centers of SEELB)
Education Center
Shore Road
KILLYLEAGH
BT30 9UE
Tel No: 028 4482 8511
Fax No: 028 4482 8482

Description: The Board was established in 1973, following a re-
organization of Local Government in Northern Ireland. It is a
corporate body, established under statute as the Local Authority
for education, library and youth services in the southeastern
region of the Province.

                   New Securities Fraud Cases

AMERICAN PHYSICIANS: Charles Piven Lodges Securities Suit in MI
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities
class action in the United States District Court for the Western
District of Michigan, on behalf of shareholders who purchased,
converted, exchanged or otherwise acquired the common stock of
American Physicians Capital, Inc. between February 13, 2003 and
November 6, 2003, inclusive, against American Physicians
Capital, Inc., William B. Cheeseman, and Frank H. Freund.

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.


BIOPURE CORPORATION: Bernstein Liebhard Files Stock Suit in MA
--------------------------------------------------------------
Bernstein, Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP initiated a securities class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
District of Massachusetts, on behalf of all persons who
purchased or acquired securities of Biopure Corporation between
March 17, 2003 through December 24, 2003, inclusive.

The complaint charges 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. The
complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
represented that Biopure submitted a biological license
application to the Food and Drug Administration on July 31, 2002
seeking approval to market the drug Hemopure in the United
States to treat adult anemic patients undergoing orthopedic
surgery and that in September 2002, the Company received a grant
from the U.S. Department of the Army to conduct clinical trials
of Hemopure for the treatment of trauma patients.

According to the complaint, in March 2003, the Company submitted
a "trauma study protocol" to the FDA in connection with its
plans to conduct a Phase II clinical trial of Hemopure for the
treatment of trauma patients. Unbeknownst to the investing
public, as early as March 2003, the FDA informed defendants that
the proposed clinical trials could not go forward, citing
"safety concerns" arising from adverse data submitted as part of
the company's BLA to market Hemopure to orthopedic surgery
patients. The complaint alleges that this put defendants on
notice that FDA approval of the BLA, which would allow the first
commercial distribution, if any, of Hemopure in the United
States, was in serious jeopardy and would be delayed beyond mid-
2003 as defendants had previously stated to the public. During
the Class Period, defendants failed to disclose any of these
adverse facts to the investing public, and materially misled
investors concerning the commercial viability of Hemopure in the
United States and the date by which marketing of Hemopure would
commence, resulting in the artificial inflation in the price of
Biopure's securities. Defendants were motivated to create such
favorable conditions for Biopure's securities to complete two
offerings of the Company's common stock during the Class Period,
generating millions of dollars in proceeds and further, allowing
certain Biopure insiders, including defendants Moore and Rausch,
to sell hundreds of thousands of their personally held Biopure
common stock to the unsuspecting public for proceeds of over
$1.6 million.

On December 24, 2003, the last day of the Class Period, after
the market closed, defendants revealed in a press release that
Biopure had received a Wells Notice from the SEC, indicating the
staff's preliminary decision to recommend that the commission
bring civil injunctive proceedings against the Company.
Defendants stated that they believed the notice was related to
the Company's lack of disclosures regarding its communications
with the FDA about the trauma study protocol and the BLA for
Hemopure marketing. Further, defendants shocked the market when
they disclosed that the FDA had halted further clinical trials
of Hemopure due to safety concerns, thereby jeopardizing the
marketability of the drug. Defendants also stated that they
would respond to the FDA's concerns by mid-2004, thereby
delaying the commercial release of Hemopure in the United
States, if at all, beyond the mid-2003 target date defendants
had previously stated.

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


BIOPURE CORPORATION: Pomerantz Haudek Files Stock Lawsuit in MA
----------------------------------------------------------------
Pomerantz Haudek Block Grossman & Gross LLP initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
District of Massachusetts against Biopure Corporation and three
of the Company's senior officers, on behalf of all persons or
entities who purchased the securities of Biopure during the
period between March 17, 2003 and December 24, 2003, inclusive.

The complaint alleges that Biopure, a leading developer,
manufacturer and marketer of "oxygen therapeutics" for both
human and veterinary use, and the Company's President, Chief
Technology Officer and Chief Financial Officer, violated
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
by falsely issuing a number of positive statements regarding the
progress of Biopure's application for regulatory approval to
market Hemopure in the United States for patients undergoing
orthopedic surgery, which was submitted to the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration.

As alleged in the Complaint, by the beginning of the Class
Period, the FDA had informed defendants of flaws in the Hemopure
application which put defendants on notice that FDA approval was
in serious doubt, including citing "safety concerns" arising
from adverse clinical data submitted as part of the Company's
application. Yet, before defendants disclosed these adverse
facts, they conducted at least two offerings of Biopure common
stock and generated millions of dollars in proceeds. In
addition, certain high-level Biopure insiders sold hundreds of
thousands of Biopure common shares at artificially inflated
prices.

On December 24, 2003, after the Securities & Exchange Commission
threatened civil litigation, defendants stunned the market by
announcing that, in fact, the FDA had halted further clinical
trials of Hemopure due to safety concerns. Defendants also
disclosed that the commercial release of Hemopure in the United
States would be delayed beyond mid-2004. As a result of these
disclosures, Biopure common stock lost 16% of their value on
December 26, 2003, to close at $2.43 per share. This was a
decline of more than 239% from the stock's Class Period high of
$8.25 per share, reached on or about August 21, 2003.

For more information, contact Andrew G. Tolan, by
Phone: 888-476-6529 (or (888) 4-POMLAW) toll free, or by E-mail:
agtolan@pomlaw.com.


CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: Stull Stull Commences Securities Suit in AZ
---------------------------------------------------------------
Stull, Stull & Brody initiated a class action lawsuit in the
United States District Court for the District of Arizona, on
behalf of a class consisting of all persons or entities who
purchased or otherwise acquired shares or other ownership units
of Janus Worldwide Fund, American Funds EuroPacific Fund, MFS
Emerging Growth Fund, Legg Mason Value Trust Fund, Artisan
International Fund, AXP International Y Fund, SEI International
Equity A Fund, SEI Emerging Markets I Fund or other mutual funds
between May 22, 2000 and July 3, 2003, inclusive.

The Complaint charges that, throughout the Class Period,
defendants Capital Management Investors Holdings, Inc., Security
Trust Company, Grant Seeger and William Kenyon violated Sections
10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule
10b-5 promulgated thereunder, and aided and abetted in the
breach of fiduciary duties. More specifically, the complaint
alleges that defendants STC, an unregistered financial
intermediary, Seeger, STC's former Chief Executive Officer, and
Kenyon, STC's former president, facilitated and participated in
fraudulent late trading and market timing schemes by a group of
related hedge funds. From May 2000 to July 2003, defendants
facilitated hundreds of trades by the hedge funds in nearly 400
different mutual funds. Approximately 99% of these trades were
transmitted to STC after the 4:00 p.m. EST market close; 82% of
the trades were sent to STC between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. EST.
The hedge funds' late trading was effected by defendants through
STC's electronic trading platform, which was designed primarily
for processing trades by third party administrators for
retirement plans. STC repeatedly misrepresented to mutual funds
that the hedge funds were a retirement plan account, even though
STC's employees and senior management, including Seeger and
Kenyon, knew that the hedge funds were not a TPA or a retirement
plan account. The mutual funds expected that retirement plans
and their TPAs required several hours after the market closed to
process trades submitted by thousands of plan participants
before market close, but the hedge funds had no such business
purpose for submitting their own trades as late as five hours
after market close.

In addition to late trading, defendants also assisted the hedge
funds in various strategies -- some devised by Seeger -- to
conceal their market-timing activities from mutual funds,
including misrepresenting that the hedge funds were retirement
accounts, allowing the hedge funds to trade in accounts marked
with STC's tax identification number, and "piggybacking" the
hedge funds' timing trades on the trades of other STC clients
without their knowledge. Late trading allowed the hedge funds to
trade mutual fund shares at the established 4:00 p.m. EST market
close price based upon events reported after close of the market
or perceived market momentum caused by after-hours trading.
Market timing allowed the hedge funds to engage in short-term
trading that exploited inefficiencies in mutual fund pricing. As
a result of the late trading and market timing activities
facilitated by defendants, the hedge funds realized a profit of
approximately $85 million. STC had a compensation arrangement
with the hedge funds that included a custodial fee as large as
1% (STC charged most of its TPA clients a custodial fee of just
.10%) and a 4% profit sharing arrangement with respect to most
of the hedge funds' trades. STC received over $5.8 million in
direct compensation from the hedge funds. Late trading and
market timing harmed mutual fund shareholders who did not
participate in the scheme between STC and the hedge funds.

As a result of "late trading" and "timing" of mutual funds, the
hedge funds and defendants and their intermediaries profited
handsomely. The losers were unsuspecting long-term mutual fund
investors. Defendants' profits came dollar-for-dollar out of
their pockets.

On November 25, 2003, the SEC announced that it had brought
civil charges against the STC Defendants based on the
allegations set forth above; the New York State Attorney General
announced that it had charged the STC Defendants with grand
larceny, fraud and falsifying business records; and the Office
of the Comptroller of the Currency, the federal bank regulator,
ordered STC to dissolve itself by March 31, 2004.

For more information, contact Tzivia Brody, by Mail: 6 East 45th
Street, New York, NY 10017, by Phone: 1-800-337-4983, Fax:
212/490-2022, or by E-mail: SSBNY@aol.com.


CAREER EDUCATION: Charles Piven Launches Securities Suit in 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 has been commenced, 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, by E-
mail: hoffman@pivenlaw.com.


IBIS TECHNOLOGY: Abbey Gardy Commences Securities Lawsuit in MA
---------------------------------------------------------------
Abbey Gardy, LLP initiated a Class Action lawsuit in the United
States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (04-cv-
10088 RCL), on behalf of a class of all persons who purchased or
acquired securities of IBIS Technology Corp. between October 2,
2003 and December 12, 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 thereby
artificially inflating the price of IBIS securities. More
specifically, complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period
Defendants issued a series of material misrepresentations to the
market regarding Ibis' new generation SIMOX-SOI implanter.

Specifically, Ibis had represented that the company had several
orders from Japanese manufacturers for its implanters, and that
these orders would close prior to December 31, 2003. On December
15, 2003, Defendants filed a Form 8-K with the SEC admitting
there would be no sales of the i2000 implanters to Japanese
manufacturers and that they now predicted that they would
receive an order for one implanter sometime in 2004.
Additionally, Defendants further admitted that they would record
a "material charge" due to the impairment of its smaller
production size equipment. In reaction to the announcement, the
price of Ibis' common stock fell from a $15.40 per share close
on December 12, 2003 to a close of $13.20 per share on December
15, 2003 and a closing price of $10.37 on December 16, 2003, on
extraordinary high combined volume of 4.4 million shares, almost
50% of the outstanding shares of Ibis common stock.

For more information, contact Susan Lee, by Mail: 212 East 39th
Street, New York, New York 10016, by Phone: (212) 889-3700 or      
(800) 889-3701 (Toll Free), or by E-mail: slee@abbeygardy.com.


PARMALAT FINANZIARIA: Charles Piven Files Securities Suit in NY
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities
class action in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York, on behalf of those who purchased
securities (including stock, bonds and notes (debt) of Parmalat
Finanziaria, SpA between January 5, 1999 and December 29, 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.


SECURITY BROKERAGE: Cauley Geller Launches Securities Suit in NV
----------------------------------------------------------------
Cauley Geller Bowman & Rudman, LLP initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of
Nevada, on behalf of all who purchased or otherwise acquired
shares or other ownership units of Alliance Capital Management's
AllianceBernstein Family of Mutual Funds and Massachusetts
Financial Services' Family of Mutual Funds, which is a
subsidiary of Sun Life Financial, Inc. from January 1, 2001
through September 30, 2003, inclusive.

The complaint charges that Security Brokerage, Inc. and Daniel
G. Calugar violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, and
aided and abetted in the breach of fiduciary duties. More
specifically, the complaint alleges that from at least 2001 to
September 2003, Calugar, trading through Security Brokerage,
engaged in a scheme involving market timing of various mutual
funds using investments totaling between $400-$500 million.
Market timing refers to the practice of short term buying and
selling of mutual fund shares in order to exploit inefficiencies
in mutual fund pricing.

Most of Calugar's market timing trades were through two mutual
fund families: Alliance Capital Management, LP and Massachusetts
Financial Services.

Calugar also engaged in late trading of MFS and Alliance funds.
Late trading refers to the practice of placing orders to buy or
sell mutual fund shares after close of market at 4:00 p.m. EST,
but at the mutual fund's Net Asset Value, or price, determined
at the market close. Late trading enables the trader to profit
from market events that occur after 4:00 p.m. EST but that are
not reflected in that day's price. Because of Security
Brokerage's status as a broker-dealer, it was permitted to
submit trades received from its clients before 4:00 pm EST to
the National Securities Clearing Corporation after 4:00 p.m.
EST.

Calugar and Security Brokerage thus participated in a scheme
with Alliance and MFS to engage in market timing that most other
fund investors were not permitted to do. The Mutual Funds as
well as Calugar profited at the expense of such investors.
Calugar and Security Brokerage made trading profits of $175
million from their market timing and late trading at Alliance
and MFS. The Mutual Funds profited by way of increased advisory
and other fees.

On December 22, 2003, the SEC filed civil fraud charges against
Security Brokerage, and its president and majority owner,
Calugar, for their participation in a scheme to defraud mutual
fund shareholders through improper late trading and market
timing. On December 24, 2003, the SEC announced that United
States District Judge Robert Clive Jones of the District of
Nevada issued a temporary restraining order freezing the assets
of the defendants, prohibiting the destruction of documents, and
granting expedited discovery.

For more information, contact Samuel H. Rudman, or David A.
Rosenfeld, Client Relations Department: Jackie Addison, Heather
Gann or Chandra West, by Mail: P.O. Box 25438, Little Rock, AR
72221-5438, by Phone: 1-888-551-9944 toll free, Fax:
1-501-312-8505, or by E-mail: info@cauleygeller.com.


                       *********

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

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

                        *********


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
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Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick, Maryland
USA.  Roberto Amor, Aurora Fatima Antonio and Lyndsey Resnick,
Editors.

Copyright 2004.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed
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