/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/041015.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Friday, October 15, 2004, Vol. 6, No. 205


3M CORPORATION: MN Residents Lodge Suit Over PFOA Contamination
9094-5114 QUEBEC: Settles FTC Complaint Over Advance-Fee Cards
AA CHECK CASHIERS: Motion To Employ Administrator Filed in AR
BAYER AG: Agrees To Pay $4.7 Mil Fine For Chemical Price-Fixing
CALAMP CORPORATION: Inks Settlement For CA Labor Violations Suit

CHIRON CORPORATION: SEC Probes Vaccine Manufacturing Problems
DALEEN TECHNOLOGIES: Agrees in Principle To Settle DE Stock Suit
DC ENTERPRISES: Pays $25,000 To Settle MA AG Spam Mail Lawsuit
DELTA DENTAL: Pays $5T To Settle Misleading Advertising Charges
EUROPE: EU Sends Letters To Four Members Over Intel "Favoritism"

FAB INDUSTRIES: Faces Breach of Fiduciary Duty Suit in DE Court
GIANT BICYCLE: Recalls 160 Mountain Bikes Due To Injury Hazard
ILLINOIS: Crash Victim's Spouse Files Injury Suit V. AR Bus Firm
INDIANA: Valparaiso Attorney Lodges Malpractice Suit V. Doctor
INTER-VOICE BRITE: Oral Arguments Made For Suit Dismissal Appeal

INTERNATIONAL LAW: ME AG Sues Over Telephone Solicitation Scheme
IPO SECURITIES: NY Judge Certifies Lawsuit, Six Companies Named
LACROSSE FOOTWEAR: Recalls 8.4T Work Boots Due To Toecap Defect
LCR TELECOMMUNICATIONS: MI A.G. Hatch Files Consumer Fraud Suit
LEVI STRAUSS: CA Court To Hear Motion To Dismiss Securities Suit

LITTLE GIANT PUMP: Recalls 150T Cooler Pumps Due To Fire Hazard
MERCK & CO.: Stevenson & Associates Lodges Suit V. Vioxx Effects
NEWSDAY: Deadline Looms For Advertisers To Accept Settlement Bid
NEWSPAPER INDUSTRY: SEC To Start Probe Of Circulation Practices
OREGON: Bricker Zacovics Reaches $1.5 Mil Malpractice Settlement

PIZZA HUT: Plaintiff Seeks Additional Class For CA Overtime Suit
RED HAT: Plaintiffs File Consolidated Securities Suit in E.D. NC
ROYAL AHOLD: SEC Initiates Shareholder Fraud Complaint in D.C.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Couple Launches Overcharging Lawsuit V. Hospital
SYCAMORE NETWORKS: NY Judge Grants Certifies Shareholders' Suit

TACO BELL: CA Court Orders ADA Violations Suit Trial Bifurcated

                          Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Leigh, Day Comments on Cape Evidence Issue
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Vets Urge Congress to Approve Reform Bill
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Peculiarities Key to Cancer Therapy - Study
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Victim Calls for Asbestos Eradication in UK
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Madison Judge Scraps 3 Out-of-State Suits

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: General Cable Corp Faces 15T Pending Cases
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Burlington Northern Take Charge of Earnings
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: MDC to Take Action to Recover Asbestos Cost
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Oglebay Norton's Bankruptcy Plan Rejected
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ACC Seeks Clarification on Victim's Claims

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Converium AG Faces Liabilities for Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Study Rules Out Vaccine as Cause of Cancers
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Workers Clean Up Asbestos in Hazard, KY
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Study Aims for Early Detection of Diseases
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: HSE Marks Health & Safety Wk with Campaign

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: District Moves to End Rumors at FL School
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: UK Surveyor Advises on New Work Regulations
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Asbestos-Related Cancers May Be Undiagnosed
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Asbestos Mapping Fails to Disclose Presence
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Feds Tighten Pit Rules After Asbestos Find

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Docufilm Tells of Town's Tragic Experiences
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Asbestos Anxiety Earns Man Landmark Payout
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Ashfield Creates New Asbestos Guidelines
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: James Hardie Industries Won't Bypass Courts
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Residents Oppose Planned Asbestos Station

ASBESTOS ALERT: BlueLinx Directs Claims to Georgia-Pacific Corp.
ASBESTOS ALERT: Neighbors Worry Over Renovation at Ohio Clinic
ASBESTOS ALERT: County Judge Declares WVU Lawsuit A Class Action
ASBESTOS ALERT: TN Residents Raise Alarm Over KCDC Demolition
ASBESTOS ALERT: Worker Offered $20T to Drop Case V. BHP Billiton

ASBESTOS ALERT: Health Dept's Probe of Vets Home Exposes Threats
ASBESTOS ALERT: UK Hospital Staff Alarmed Over Asbestos Hazards
ASBESTOS ALERT: Contractor Sues Hilton For Refurbishment Deal
ASBESTOS ALERT: Brazilian Victim Was Not Warned of Asbestos Risk
ASBESTOS ALERT: Aurora Workers Exposed to Asbestos in Old Lights

ASBESTOS ALERT: Landlord Charged for Violating the Clean Air Act
ASBESTOS ALERT: EPA fines 2 NV Businesses US$50T for Violations

                 New Securities Fraud Cases

APOLLO GROUP: Charles J. Piven Files Securities Fraud Suit in AZ
APOLLO GROUP: Schatz & Nobel Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in AZ
CONVERIUM HOLDING: Zwerling Schachter Lodges NY Securities Suit
INTELLIGROUP, INC.: Charles J. Piven Files Securities Suit in AZ
INTELLIGROUP INC.: Schatz & Nobel Lodges Securities Suit in NJ

PETMED EXPRESS: Bernstein Liebhard Lodges Securities Suit in FL


3M CORPORATION: MN Residents Lodge Suit Over PFOA Contamination
Residents of Cottage Cove, who live near a 3M Corporation plant,
initiated a lawsuit seeking class action status against the
company for allegedly harming their properties by a chemical
once made at the plant, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

The chemical in question is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), an
essential ingredient in the manufacture of Teflon and durable
coatings for fabrics and industrial products. Once made by 3M at
the Cottage Cove plant, PFOA along with another stain-resistant
chemical have been found widely in the environment, which has
recently resulted in the filing of suits.

The most recent of the suits was filed in Washington County
District Court, which stresses that the two 3M chemicals
contaminated the properties of plaintiffs Felicia Palmer and
Sesario Briseno and possibly other neighbors.

According to Gale Pearson, a Minneapolis attorney representing
the two residents, the lawsuit is also seeking medical
monitoring of residents as well as unspecified money damages.

However, 3M's spokesman Rick Renner denied the latest suit's
allegation and pointed out that the company had stopped
manufacturing PFOA at the Cottage Grove plant four years ago and
that it also ceased the manufacture of another chemical used in
stain-resistant coatings, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).

Jim Kelly, a health assessor for the Minnesota Health
Department, which conducted tests on wells of four homes near
the Cottage Grove plant, stated that they did not detect any
PFOA in them, thus bolstering the company's claims that the suit
has no merit and misrepresents extensive scientific research.

Mr. Kelly further stated that groundwater on 3M's property and
wells near a Lake Elmo landfill contained PFOA, but that he
knows of no tests that found the chemical in wells near the
plant in Cottage Grove.

9094-5114 QUEBEC: Settles FTC Complaint Over Advance-Fee Cards
A federal district court has ordered a Montreal-based enterprise
to stop calling consumers and selling nonexistent credit cards,
the Federal Trade Commission announced in a statement.

In October 2003, the FTC filed a complaint against 9094-5114
Quebec, Inc. (operating as Kinito); Nikolaos Rothos; Stelios
(Steve) Vrontakis; Anna Vrontakis; and Roberto Mendez alleging
that they violated the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule
(TSR) in promoting advance-fee credit cards, and never
delivering the credit cards.

The complaint alleged that the defendants cold-called United
States' consumers and promised them low interest, no annual fee
credit cards, such as MasterCard and Visa, for up-front fees of
as much as $299.  The fees were electronically debited from
consumers' bank accounts using the Automated Clearing House
(ACH) system, and the defendants never delivered the promised
credit cards.

It is illegal to charge an advance fee for a credit card, the
FTC said in a statement.  The settlement prohibits the
defendants from, among other things, misrepresenting their
ability to arrange for major credit cards for consumers and
requires them to pay redress.

The FTC has amended the complaint by adding ACMS, Inc., a Nevada
company owned by Kinito. The defendants used ACMS to debit
consumers' bank accounts. The FTC also dismissed Anna Vrontakis
as a defendant.

The stipulated order for permanent injunction and final judgment
prohibits the defendants from misrepresenting that they will
provide, or arrange for, consumers to receive major credit
cards; and their ability to provide any credit-related product,
program, or service.

The order further prohibits the defendants from making
misrepresentations or violating, or assisting others to violate,
the TSR, including the provision that makes it illegal to offer
a credit card for an advance fee. The order requires the
defendants to pay redress from the account held by the ACH
processor that they used, and contains a $6,546,126 suspended
judgment that would become due if the court were to find that
the defendants misrepresented their financial situation.

The FTC worked closely with the Canadian Competition Bureau on
this case, and expresses its gratitude for the fine cooperation
that it received from this consumer protection agency.

The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the proposed
stipulated order for permanent injunction and final judgment,
amend the complaint by adding AMCS, and to dismiss the complaint
as to defendant Anna Vrontakis was 5-0. The documents were
entered by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
Illinois, Eastern Division, on October 1, 2004.

For more details, contact the FTC by Mail: Consumer Response
Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington,
D.C. 20580 or visit the FTC's Web site: http://www.ftc.gov. For
more details, also contact Brenda Mack of the Office of Public
Affairs by Phone: 202-326-2182 or C. Steven Baker or John C.
Hallerud of FTC Midwest Region - Chicago by Phone: 312-960-5628
or 312-960-5634

AA CHECK CASHIERS: Motion To Employ Administrator Filed in AR
A joint motion to approve employment of class administrator,
Analytics Inc., was filed in the Washington County Circuit
Clerk's office in the class action settlement involving Teresa
Ballard, Regayla Loveless and Kenisha Bryant and others
similarly situated versus AA Check Cashiers Inc., which also
does business as Payday Check Cashiers, Roger C. Limore, Cathy
S. Limore, All-American Computer of Fort Smith, All American
Computer of Springdale and All American Computer of Van Buren,
the Northwest Arkansas Times reports.

The original lawsuit alleges violation of Arkansas usury laws
and other related state and federal laws in connection with
Payday Lending transactions with customers. The All American
defendants were added August 31 this year.

The defendants have disputed all claims against them, however,
the court, having found there are common questions of law and
fact involved in the suit, has conditionally certified the
lawsuit as a class action for purposes of settlement and has
defined the classes all people who entered into Payday Lending
transactions with the defendants on and after January 1, 1996.

BAYER AG: Agrees To Pay $4.7 Mil Fine For Chemical Price-Fixing
Bayer AG agreed to pay a $4.7 million fine to the United States
Department of Justice to settle charges of conspiring to fix
prices of a synthetic rubber used in automotive parts and other
products, the Associated Press reports.

In papers filed with the United States District Court in San
Francisco, California, the Company pled guilty to charges of
conspiring from May to December 2002 to fix prices and suppress
competition in the United States for a rubber compound used in
hoses, belts, seals, adhesives and sealants.

In July, the Company pleaded guilty to similar charges and
agreed to pay a $66 million fine.  Its U.S. subsidiary, based in
Pittsburgh, agreed to a $33 million fine in September in a
chemical price-fixing case, according to AP.  Bayer said in a
statement that it cooperated in the investigation, which is

CALAMP CORPORATION: Inks Settlement For CA Labor Violations Suit
CalAmp Corporation (formerly California Amplifier, Inc.) reached
a settlement for a class action filed against it in California
State Court, alleging certain violations of the California labor
code.  Among other charges, the complaint alleges that from
October 2000 to the present time certain hourly employees did
not take their lunch break within the time period prescribed by
state law.

In September 2004, the Company entered into a settlement
agreement with the plaintiffs that is subject to review and
approval by the court.  As a result of the settlement agreement,
the Company lowered its reserve by $200,000 in the quarter ended
August 31, 2004, which reduced Product Division cost of revenue
by the same amount.

CHIRON CORPORATION: SEC Probes Vaccine Manufacturing Problems
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission initiated
an informal inquiry into how Chiron Corporation handled the
disclosure of vaccine manufacturing problems that caused the
nation's flu shot crisis, the company said Wednesday, the
Associated Press reports.

In early September, the Company announced that it will halt the
shipment of about 50 million flu shots, after it found tainted
doses in its factory, an earlier Class Action Reporter story
(September 6,2004) states.   The announcement came right before
the flu season, causing U.S. health officials to express concern
over the adequacy of the supply of the vaccine.  Vaccinations
usually begin in September and continue through the flu season,
with demand usually peaking in October and November.

Because of the production problems, Chiron also warned that its
earnings will meet the "low end" of a forecast range.  The
company made the announcement after the stock markets closed.
In after hours trading, the company's stock was down about $3,
or 6 percent, to $44.50.

On October 4, the United Kingdom's Medicines and Healthcare
Products Regulatory Agency suspended Chiron's license to make
its flu vaccine, Fluvirin, at its Liverpool plant for three
months because of contamination concerns.  As a result of the
suspension, Chiron might not be able to produce its planned 46
to 48 million flu shots this year, which has led to the
rationing of the flu shots, an earlier Class Action Reporter
story (October 6,2004) states.

The Company's shares have tumbled 30% since the Company
disclosed the halted shipments.  It's stock slide continued with
the suspension of its license, with the shares losing another
5.5 percent.

The SEC is examining the Company's actions in relation to the
decision to suspend the Company's license, company spokesman
John Gallagher said, according to AP.  The SEC declined to
further comment.

As recently as two weeks ago, Chiron Chief Executive Howard Pien
testified before Congress that the company had lost only about 4
million doses and fully expected to help meet the nation's flu
vaccine needs.  After the announcement of the suspension of the
license, Mr. Pien has said that the British action was
unexpected and caught the company by surprise. Nonetheless,
questions linger over who knew what when.

A federal grand jury in New York also is investigating the
matter and has demanded documents and other information.
Several shareholder suits have also been filed, alleging that
company executives purposely misled investors throughout the
year about the status of the Liverpool factory.

"Chiron did not at any time mislead public health stakeholders
or the public," Mr. Pien said in written testimony submitted to
a congressional committee that also is investigating, AP
reports.  "The results of Chiron's internal investigations
confirmed our belief that our product was safe."

DALEEN TECHNOLOGIES: Agrees in Principle To Settle DE Stock Suit
Daleen Technologies, Inc. (OTCBB:DALN) reached an agreement in
principle with plaintiffs to settle a consolidated class action
lawsuit brought on behalf of a purported class of stockholders
of Daleen common stock against Daleen, its directors, Behrman
Capital II, L.P. and certain affiliates, Daleen's largest
stockholder ("Behrman"), and Quadrangle Group LLC and certain
affiliates ("Quadrangle"). The agreement in principle is subject
to a number of conditions including the execution of a formal
settlement agreement and approval by the Court of Chancery of
the State of Delaware.

In connection with the settlement, Daleen has agreed that, upon
final court approval of the settlement and subject to
consummation of Daleen's merger and going private transaction,
each record holder of Daleen common stock as of the effective
time of the merger (other than the defendants and the holders of
Daleen's Series F Preferred Stock and their affiliates,
including Behrman, who are excluded from the purported class)
will be entitled to a cash settlement payment equivalent to
$0.0366 per share of common stock.

The proposed settlement further contemplates that counsel for
the plaintiffs will apply to the court for an award of fees and
expenses not in excess of $125,000 in the aggregate. This
settlement amount and the fees and expenses are in addition to
the cash consideration of $0.0384 per share of common stock to
which such holders are entitled in the transactions. If the
settlement is approved, all claims against Daleen, its
directors, Behrman and Quadrangle will be dismissed with

DC ENTERPRISES: Pays $25,000 To Settle MA AG Spam Mail Lawsuit
A Florida-based company accused of sending thousands of
unsolicited electronic messages -- commonly referred to as
"spam" -- in violation of state and federal law, must pay
$25,000 and put an end to the practice, Massachusetts Attorney
General Tom Reilly announced in a statement.

The settlement, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, resolves
allegations that DC Enterprises, an unincorporated business, and
its company principal, William C. Carson of Weston, Florida sent
thousands of commercial e-mails from a business address in
Newton, where the company had no physical presence.  These
allegations, outlined in a June 2004 lawsuit filed by AG Reilly,
violate the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act and the new
federal CAN-SPAM Act.

"Internet marketers should note that Massachusetts takes
seriously federal and state laws meant to protect against
unwanted and misleading e-mails," AG Reilly said.  "These
messages are the type of unwanted and annoying solicitations
that have become the scourge of Internet users and threaten the
credibility of companies using email for legitimate purposes."

AG Reilly's June lawsuit was the first enforcement action taken
by a state under the federal CAN-SPAM Act, which went into
effect on January 1. The settlement with DC Enterprises resolves
allegations that the company failed to include an opt-out
provision, which allows consumers to decline future e-mails;
failed to clearly identify messages as advertisements; and used
a non-functioning sender address when disseminating messages,
all of which violate the federal law that protects against
unwanted spam and the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act.

The spam allegedly sent by DC Enterprises touted low interest
mortgage loans for anyone, even consumers with bad credit and
included a link to a loan application that required applicants
to provide personal and financial information.  When consumers
clicked on the "opt-out" button at the bottom of the
application, the function failed to work.

Consumers who attempted to reply directly to DC Enterprises by
e-mail discovered that the company's sender addresses were not
valid.  Those who sent postal letters to the addresses listed in
their e-mails - DC Enterprises, Paragon Towers, 233 Needham
Street, Suite 300, Newton, MA - received no response.

AG Reilly's settlement also prohibits DC Enterprises, Carson,
and anyone acting on their behalf from violating the federal
CAN-SPAM Act, the Massachusetts Mortgage Broker Statute or the
Massachusetts Advertising Regulations. These laws require
mortgage brokers who advertise in Massachusetts to display their
license numbers on all advertisements and their messages must
contain a conspicuous notification to recipients that they are
an advertisement or solicitation.

Assistant Attorney General Thuy Wagner of AG Reilly's Consumer
Protection and Antitrust Division handled this case with
assistance from investigators Monique Cascarano and Todd Davis.
AG Reilly's Office also received assistance from Microsoft
Corporation and the Federal Trade Commission.

DELTA DENTAL: Pays $5T To Settle Misleading Advertising Charges
Delta Dental Plan of Massachusetts must pay $5,000 and change
misleading advertising and marketing materials, under the terms
of a settlement, Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly
announced in a statement.

The settlement, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, stems from
allegations that Delta Dental did not properly explain a policy
that allows dentists to charge higher prices after a patient
reaches an annual maximum allowance or cap. As a result,
consumers may have been forced to pay unexpected charges.

Delta Dental, the largest dental insurance company in the state,
offers plans that cover dental procedures up to an annual
maximum allowance or cap. Dentists enter into agreements with
Delta Dental that determine the cost of procedures the insurance
provider covers.  These agreements, however, do not limit the
amount dentists can charge after a patient exceeds the annual
cap.  As a result, dentists may charge consumers more for
procedures that cause them to exceed their yearly cap.

Under the terms of the settlement, Delta Dental has agreed to
modify its advertising and marketing materials to more clearly
explain the charges that consumers are responsible for beyond
the annual allowance. Delta has agreed to explicitly describe
its policy through marketing materials and contact with current
and potential members.

For more information about dental insurance, contact AG Reilly's
Insurance Hotline: (888) 830-6277.  Assistant Attorney General
Monica Brookman of the AG Reilly's Insurance Division handled
this matter.

EUROPE: EU Sends Letters To Four Members Over Intel "Favoritism"
The European Union's head office sent formal notices to four EU
member nations, expanding its investigation whether EU
governments are illegally requiring that the computers they buy
must contain microprocessors made by Intel Corporation, the
Associated Press reports.

Letters were sent to France, the Netherlands, Finland and
Sweden, seeking more information on public tenders for computers
that either contain Intel chips or specify a chip speed only the
U.S. giant can provide.  Similar letters have already been sent
to Italy and Germany and their replies are now being evaluated.

Intel's competitors began complaining about the practice to the
Commission, thus spurring the probe.  EU officials would not
name the companies, but Intel's largest rival is Advanced Micro
Devices Inc. (AMD).  Both are based in California and have a
strong presence in Europe, AP reports.  AMD has accused the
Company of unfair sales practices in Europe, such as offering
loyalty rebates to customers and signing exclusive purchasing

In 2002, the EU reached preliminary findings, saying that there
was insufficient evidence for the charges.  However, AMD refused
to withdraw its complaint, spurring antitrust regulators to
start a new probe.

In the latest probe, EU officials have backed away from accusing
Intel of violating EU competition rules, adding they did not
know why governments put Intel-only clauses in bid requirements.
The four countries cited have two months to respond to the
notices.  They could be hauled before the European Court of
Justice if the contracts are found to violate EU rules and they
fail to rectify them, AP reports.

The commission said it believes such requirements violate
European law on public procurement.  "You can specify the
performance you are looking for in a particular computer
problem, but not a specification that can only be met by one
manufacturer," said commission spokesman Jonathan Todd,
according to AP.

Intel spokesman Kristof Sehmke in Belgium had no immediate
comment Wednesday, AP reports.  AMD spokesmen in Germany did not
immediately respond to messages left with them.

The commission said it was concerned about roughly a dozen
tenders by local authorities or public bodies in France; an
invitation to tender by the municipality of Amsterdam; three
tenders from the Universities of Jyvaskyla and Tampere and Hame
Polytechnic in Finland; and others by the Swedish municipality
of Filipstad, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden's
national police authority and the Uppsala regional authority, AP

FAB INDUSTRIES: Faces Breach of Fiduciary Duty Suit in DE Court
Fab Industries, Inc. and certain of its officers and directors
continue to face several shareholder class actions filed in
Delaware Chancery Court.

On November 10, 2003, a class action suit was filed against the
Company in Delaware Chancery Court.  The complaint asserts
claims against the Company and certain of its officers and
directors based on the management buy-out proposal at a price
allegedly lower than the cash value and book value of the
Company's shares and which was an allegedly interested
transaction, the amendment to Chief Executive Officer Samson
Bitensky's employment contract, the Company's failure to seek
stockholder approval for the management buyout and the Company's
failure to file a certificate of dissolution with the Delaware
Secretary of State.

The complaint alleges such actions constitute violations of
defendant's fiduciary duties as well as the provisions of the
Delaware General Corporation.  The complaint does not seek a
specific amount of damages, and seeks to enjoin defendants from
effectuating the planned management buyout.

The company served an answer to the complainant on December 11,
2003.  On November 21 and November 26, 2003, class action
lawsuits were initiated against the Company in Delaware Chancery
Court asserting substantially the same allegations as the first

GIANT BICYCLE: Recalls 160 Mountain Bikes Due To Injury Hazard
Giant Bicycle Inc., of Newbury Park, California is cooperating
with the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission by
voluntarily recalling about 160 Rainier Mountain Bicycles

The front brake mounting tabs can break, causing the brakes to
fail and the rider to lose control of the bicycle. The company
has received six reports of the tabs breaking. No injuries have
been reported.

The recall involves only 2004 Rainier model mountain bicycles
with Marzocchi EXR Comp front forks. Model numbers included in
the recall are 333502, 333503, 333504 and 333505. The bicycle is
blue and silver and is made of aluminum. The names "Giant" and
"Rainier" are printed on the frame of the bicycle. Earlier
models of this bicycle are not included in this recall.

Manufactured in Taiwan, the bicycles were sold at authorized
Giant Bicycle dealers nationwide from February 2004 through
March 2004 for about $850.

Consumers should contact Giant Bicycle to determine whether
their bicycle is included in this recall. Authorized dealers who
sold these bicycles will schedule an inspection and free repair.

Consumer Contact: Contact Giant Bicycle at (866) 458-2555
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, or go to the
firm's Web site at http://www.giantbicycle.com

ILLINOIS: Crash Victim's Spouse Files Injury Suit V. AR Bus Firm
The husband of one of the victims of October 9 Arkansas tour bus
crash filed the first lawsuit against the bus company and the
driver's estate in Cook County Circuit Court, Illinois, the
Associated Press reports.

Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the
accident.  Sixteen people out of thirty were injured when the
Mississippi-bound charter bus from Chicago flipped over early
Saturday on Interstate 55, 25 miles north of Memphis.  The
passengers were on a semi-annual trip to a casino in Tunica,

McKinley Jacobs, 71, filed the suit, which seeks more than
$50,000 in damages, against Roosevelt Walters, his bus company,
and the estate of his late brother, Herbert Walters, who was
driving and was also killed.  The suit alleges that negligence,
brake problems and excessive speed caused the crash that killed
his wife, 67-year-old Fannie Jacobs, and 13 others.

"You could handle it better if it was a natural cause, but this
is a tragic situation," Mr. Jacobs said, according to AP.  He
said a 1984 crane accident crushed his legs, and he had depended
on his wife to get along ever since.

Investigators planned to create computer models of the accident
in their search for a cause.  On Sunday, they combed through the
grass, looking for clues as to why the bus drifted off the
pavement.  A reconstruction of the accident was underway,
however, officials told AP that a final police report would not
be ready for a week.

Authorities said the probe would include an attempt to determine
if the driver fell asleep, and a review of the mechanical
condition of the bus. Investigators also want to know if weather
or road conditions contributed to the wreck.

Gary Van Etten, an investigator for the National Transportation
Safety Board, said regulations prohibit drivers from driving
more than 10 hours in a 24-hour period.  Mr. Walters' family
said the bus left Chicago at 8:30 p.m. Friday and the accident
occurred at 5 a.m. Saturday - a period of 8 1/2 hours, AP
reports. The bus was less than an hour from its destination when
it crashed.

Elliott Price, attorney for Walters' bus company, had not seen
the lawsuit Tuesday and said he wouldn't comment, AP stated.

INDIANA: Valparaiso Attorney Lodges Malpractice Suit V. Doctor
Valparaiso attorney Kenneth Allen initiated a lawsuit in Lake
County Circuit Court that accuses Dr. Mark Weinberger, a
Merrillville-based sinus doctor, who operates the Weinberger
Sinus Clinic at 255 E. 90th Drive of medical malpractice, the
Munster Times reports.

According to Peggy Hood, the sister of Phyllis Barnes, a 50-
year-old Valparaiso woman, who had died on September 16 due to
an incorrect diagnosis and unnecessary treatment by Dr.
Weinberger, contends that the delay in getting necessary
treatment for what was several months later diagnosed in a
hospital emergency room as the final stages of cancer cost Mrs.
Barnes' her life.

Dr. Weinberger, who markets himself as "the Nose Doctor," has
not been at his office for several weeks, and it is believed
that he went on vacation to Europe a couple of weeks ago and did
not return, said Robert Handler, a court-appointed spokesman for
the medical business.

Mr. Allen, who is representing Barnes' estate, including her
only child, Shawn Barnes, 19, is hoping to join forces with
other patients who have alleged malpractice on the part of " the
Nose Doctor", including 18 to 20 clients that are being
represented by Merrillville attorney Barry Rooth. He further
stated that his clients filed a class-action suit because they
sought a consolidation of cases so others can get a fair
compensation for needless suffering.

Mr. Allen also stated that Dr. Weinberger had operated what
amounted to a sinus mill, seeing patients, diagnosing them with
his own in-house scanning equipment and treating them at a cost
of $17,000 to $40,000 per patient.

INTER-VOICE BRITE: Oral Arguments Made For Suit Dismissal Appeal
Oral arguments have been made for and against plaintiff's appeal
of the dismissal of consolidated securities class action filed
against InterVoice-Brite, Inc., styled "David Barrie, et al., on
Behalf of Themselves and All Others Similarly Situated v.
InterVoice-Brite, Inc., et al., No. 3-01CV1071-D."

Several related class action lawsuits were filed in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Texas on
behalf of purchasers of common stock of the Company during the
period from October 12, 1999 through June 6, 2000.  Plaintiffs
have filed claims, which were consolidated into one proceeding,
under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 and Securities Exchange Act Rule 10b-5 against the Company
as well as certain named current and former officers and
directors of the Company on behalf of the alleged class members.

In the complaint, Plaintiffs claim that the Company and the
named current and former officers and directors issued false and
misleading statements during the Class Period concerning the
financial condition of the Company, the results of the Company's
merger with Brite Voice Systems, Inc. and the alleged future
business projections of the Company.  Plaintiffs have asserted
that these alleged statements resulted in artificially inflated
stock prices.

The Company responded to this complaint by filing a motion to
dismiss the complaint in the consolidated proceeding.  The
Company asserted that the complaint lacked the degree of
specificity and factual support to meet the pleading standards
applicable to federal securities litigation.  On this basis,
the Company requested that the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Texas dismiss the complaint in its

On August 8, 2002, the Court entered an order granting the
Company's motion to dismiss the class action lawsuit.  In the
order dismissing the lawsuit, the Court granted plaintiffs an
opportunity to reinstate the lawsuit by filing an amended
complaint.  Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on September
23, 2002.

On September 15, 2003, the Court granted the Company's motion to
dismiss the amended class action complaint.  Unlike the Court's
prior order dismissing the original class action complaint, the
order dismissing the amended complaint did not grant plaintiffs
an opportunity to reinstate the lawsuit by filing a new amended
complaint.  On October 9, 2003, the Plaintiffs filed a notice of
appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals from the trial
court's order of dismissal entered on September 15, 2003.

The Plaintiffs filed their appellant brief on February 20, 2004,
and the Company filed its brief in opposition to the Plaintiff's
appeal on May 10, 2004.  On June 7, 2004, Plaintiffs filed a
response to the Company's brief.  The Company and the Plaintiffs
made oral arguments before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on
October 6, 2004.

INTERNATIONAL LAW: ME AG Sues Over Telephone Solicitation Scheme
Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe's Office filed suit against
Florida-based International Law Enforcement Games, Inc., and its
paid fundraiser All-Pro Telemarketing Associates Corporation, in
connection with a telephone solicitation campaign that they
conducted in Maine in late 2003 and early 2004.

The complaint, filed in the Kennebec County Superior Court,
alleges that the two entities violated the Maine Solicitation by
Law Enforcement Officers Act by representing to prospective
Maine donors that donations would benefit law enforcement
officers, agencies, or associations.

The complaint further alleges that both defendants violated the
Unfair Trade Practices Act by representing that their
contributions would assist a "major children's wish fulfillment
organization" that they failed to identify.  They misled
numerous prospective donors into believing that their
contributions would benefit the more commonly known Make-A-Wish
Foundation of Maine.

Finally, the complaint alleges that the paid professional
fundraiser violated the Charitable Solicitations Act by
soliciting contributions from Maine residents without fully
disclosing to them at the time of solicitation but prior to the
request for contributions both its name and address and the fact
that it was a professional charitable fund raiser.  The
complaint seeks an injunction against the two defendants, as
well as civil penalties, restitution, and costs.

IPO SECURITIES: NY Judge Certifies Lawsuit, Six Companies Named
Judge Shira Scheindlin in the Southern District of New York
certified and narrowed a class action lawsuit over the initial
public offerings to six companies, according to the lawyers
representing the plaintiffs, CBS Marketwatch reports.

The Initial Public Offering Securities Litigation consists of
more than 300 class actions involving IPOs marketed between 1998
and 2000.  The issued order permits the six selected focus
cases, among more than 300 coordinated cases, to proceed as
class actions.

The lawsuit alleges that the IPO offerings were manipulated by
the investment banks to artificially inflate the market price of
those securities and to reap excessive compensation.
Furthermore, the suit also alleges that their conduct was
concealed from the public, in violation of the federal
securities law.

The narrowed lawsuit names six companies: Corvis, Engage
Technologies (ENGA), Firepond (FIRE), iXL Enterprises, Sycamore
Networks (SCMR), and VA Linux. Corvis has recently changed its
name to Broadwing Communications (BWNG) and VA Linux changed its
name to VA Software (LNUX).  In addition to the companies named,
the defendants also include certain officers, directors and 55
of the investment banks that brought the companies' public and
underwrote their offerings.

LACROSSE FOOTWEAR: Recalls 8.4T Work Boots Due To Toecap Defect
LaCrosse Footwear Inc., of Portland, Oregon is cooperating with
the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission by
voluntarily recalling about 8,400 Polar and Trailblazer Work

The protective toecap on the boots may not provide sufficient
impact and compression protection. This could result in
crushing, bruising, or other injury to the wearer's foot.

The Polar and Trailblazer style boots were sold in black or
brown with the company name "LaCrosse" written on the side of
the boot. The boots have the style name "Polar" or "Trailblazer"
and one of the following style numbers on the inside of the
tongue of the boot: 693100, 00693100, and 466000. Only these
style numbers are included in this recall.

Manufactured in China, the boots were sold at independent
sporting goods, farm, work and shoe stores nationwide as well as
through safety distributors from June 2002 to July 2004 for
between $67 and $110.

Consumers should stop using the boots immediately and contact
LaCrosse to receive a store credit toward the purchase of a new
pair of boots.

Consumer Contact: For more information, call LaCrosse Footwear
at (800) 890-3505 between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through
Friday, send an email to lacrosserecall@lacrossefootwear.com, or
write to LaCrosse Footwear Recall Department, 18550 N.E.
Riverside Parkway, Portland, OR 97230, Attention:
Polar/Trailblazer Protective Toe Recall. Consumers also can
visit the LaCrosse Web site at http://www.lacrossefootwear.com

LCR TELECOMMUNICATIONS: MI A.G. Hatch Files Consumer Fraud Suit
Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch filed suit against LCR
Telecommunications L.L.C. for consumer fraud, alleging that the
Company engaged in an egregious slamming scheme aimed at small
businesses by allowing its telemarketers to impersonate
Minnesota business employees to fraudulently "verify" the
business's switch to LCR service.

Unsuspecting residents were also affected as LCR's telemarketers
often included randomly selected residential numbers as part of
a multi-line switch to LCR service.  LCR may have deceptively
switched the long distance service of up to 2,700 small
businesses and individuals in Minnesota.

"By having telemarketers blatantly impersonate business owners
to fraudulently switch the business to their long distance
service, LCR brings the practice of slamming to a new low," said
Deputy Attorney General Kris Eiden.  "As a result of these
tactics, LCR saw its customer base explode from four to 2700 in
a span of just months."

After nearly 100 Minnesota businesses and individuals complained
to the Attorney General's Office that their long distance
service was switched to LCR without their permission, the Office
investigated and found that LCR did more than just "slam"
Minnesota businesses.

The Attorney General's Office asked LCR to produce the
statutorily required verification that each complaining business
or individual had indeed agreed to have their long distance
service switched to LCR. LCR provided audio recordings of
telephone conversions which it claimed had the customer
authorizing the switch.

However, every recording provided by LCR to the Attorney
General's Office had an imposter authorizing the switch.
Richard Lambert of RL Lambert and Associates saw charges for LCR
on his telephone bill even though he had protections on his
account to prevent slamming. The verification tape contains the
voice of a person claiming to be Dick Lambert, Owner, but the
date of birth is incorrect and the voice is not Mr. Lambert.

Midwest Express noticed a bill of nearly $170 in LCR long
distance charges on its telephone bill.  Knowing they had made
no changes to their long distance carrier, they became
suspicious.  LCR provided a tape containing the voice of a
person claiming to be Andy Grafe, the owner of Midwest Express.
The voice is clearly not that of the actual Andy Grafe, and in
addition there are other discrepancies on the tape such as an
improper business address, the improper pronunciation of the
town's name, an inconsistent title for Mr. Grafe and the
incorrect date of birth for Mr. Grafe.

Matthew Jacobson complained to the Attorney General because his
business, Clim-A-Tech Industries, Inc., had its long distance
service "slammed" by LCR. The verification recording provided by
LCR has a female voice claiming to be the owner, "Maddy"
Jacobson. "No one named Maddy or Mattie Jacobson has ever worked
for Clim-A-Tech, nor do I know anyone by that name" said Matthew
Jacobson. "I believe that the person on the phone was intending
to impersonate me but made a mistake in her information

LCR's scheme to target businesses included slamming five lines
as part of each fraudulent "sale," whether or not the business
had five lines. As a result, in some instances, the business
caught in the fraudulent scheme had five of its lines slammed
even though it actually had more than five business lines.
(Businesses usually switch all, not just a few, of their phone
lines to another long distance carrier.)

In other instances, LCR included both the targeted business
lines and randomly selected residential lines in the five lines
to be switched as part of the "sale" transaction. This appears
to have occurred when LCR's telemarketers did not know that five
business numbers existed for the business LCR slammed.

Gary Nelson's was surprised when he couldn't make a long
distance call from his line. Checking his bill, he saw that his
long distance had been switched to LCR. LCR told the Attorney
General's Office that his number had been "mistakenly entered"
and that a "clerical error" had occurred. Upon hearing the
verification tape, Mr. Nelson said, "The sales representative on
the verification recording clearly gave my number as part of a
business account and the person claiming to be the business
owner confirmed the numbers to be correct."

Jackie Swanson reported that her long distance telephone service
was slammed. LCR told the Attorney General's Office that her
number had been "mistakenly entered" and that a "clerical error"
had occurred. The verification recording was for an electric
contractor called Lano's Electric and the person claiming to be
Cindy Lano verified Jackie Swanson's phone number as that of
their business.

AG Hatch believes there may be hundreds of Minnesotans affected
by this slamming scheme. Hatch asks Minnesotans to review their
telephone bills because he noted that some citizens contacted by
his Office as part of the LCR investigation had no idea their
long distance service had been switched to LCR.

For more details, contact the Office of Minnesota Attorney
General Mike Hatch by Mail: 1400 NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street
St. Paul, MN 55101 or by Phone: (651) 296-3353 or 1-800-657-3787

LEVI STRAUSS: CA Court To Hear Motion To Dismiss Securities Suit
The United States District Court for the Northern District of
California is scheduled to hear today the motion to dismiss the
consolidated securities class action filed against Levi Strauss
& Co, in connection with its April 6,2001 and June 16,2003
registered bond offerings.  The suit, styled "In re Levi Strauss
& Co., Securities Litigation, Case No. C-03-05605 RMW," also
names as defendants:

     (1) the Company's chief executive officer,

     (2) its former chief financial officer,

     (3) its corporate controller,

     (4) its directors and

     (5) its underwriters

The court has appointed a lead plaintiff and approved the
selection of lead counsel.  The action purports to be brought on
behalf of purchasers of the Company's bonds who made purchases
pursuant or traceable to the Company's s prospectuses dated
March 8, 2001 or April 28, 2003, or who purchased the Company's
bonds in the open market from January 10, 2001 to October 9,

The action makes claims under the federal securities laws,
including Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933, and
Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934,
relating to the Company's SEC filings and other public

Specifically, the action alleges that certain of the Company's
financial statements and other public statements during this
period materially overstated its net income and other financial
results and were otherwise false and misleading, and that the
Company's public disclosures omitted to state that it made
reserve adjustments that plaintiffs allege were improper.
Plaintiffs contend that these statements and omissions caused
the trading price of the Company's bonds to be artificially
inflated.  Plaintiffs seek compensatory damages as well as other

LITTLE GIANT PUMP: Recalls 150T Cooler Pumps Due To Fire Hazard
Little Giant Pump Company, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is
cooperating with the United States Consumer Product Safety
Commission by voluntarily recalling about 150,000 Evaporative
Cooler Pumps.

The motor caps on the cooler pumps are not made with flame-
retardant material and an internal electrical failure can ignite
the cap, posing a fire hazard to consumers. The firm has
received 26 reports of pump fires with two incidents involving
property damage.

The recalled pumps circulate water in evaporative coolers, which
cool the air in a room or building through the evaporation of
water. The recalled units have a light blue motor cap and
include the following model and item numbers, which can be found
on a label on the motor cap:

Model # = Item #
CP1 - 115 = 540005
CP1 - 230 = 540015
CP2 - 115 = 541005
CP2 - 230 = 541015
CP3 - 115 = 542005
CP3 - 230 = 542015

Units with beige motor caps are not included in this recall.

Manufactured in China, the pumps were sold at industrial/HVAC
distributors and hardware stores from February 2003 through
August 2004 for between $35 and $85.

Consumers should stop using the pump immediately and contact
Little Giant to receive a replacement cap and instructions free
of charge.

Consumer Contact: Contact the company toll-free at
(888) 271-1369 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through
Friday and between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. CT on Saturday or log on
to the company's Web site at

MERCK & CO.: Stevenson & Associates Lodges Suit V. Vioxx Effects
The law firm of Stevenson & Associates commenced a class action
in the Ontario Superior Court against the makers of Vioxx for
damages claiming $600,000,000.00.

The action has been brought on behalf of all persons in Canada
who took Vioxx for a period of 18 months or more and who suffer
certain specific disorders as set out in the statement of claim.
The claim has been brought on behalf of Grace DiCaro who took
Vioxx for 18 months and subsequently was diagnosed with severe
hypertension. She is now unable to work and is under constant
medical care.

The lawyers for the plaintiff, Harvin Pitch, counsel to
Stevenson & Associates and Colin Stevenson intend to work with
law firms across Canada in a combined and national Canadian
class action against the manufacturer and distributor of Vioxx,
Merck Pharmaceuticals.

For more details, contact Harvin Pitch or Colin Stevenson of
Stevenson & Associates by Phone: 416-599-7900 or 905-760-2794 or
by E-mail: hpitch@teplitskycolson.com or

NEWSDAY: Deadline Looms For Advertisers To Accept Settlement Bid
The deadline for Newsday advertisers to accept settlement offers
for a circulation scandal that has rocked the Tribune Co.-owned
Long Island newspaper is fast approaching, the Chicago Sun Times

According to the paper's spokesman Stu Vincent, by the end of
this week, executives at Tribune Co. will know exactly how many
advertisers accepted the more than 40,000 settlement offers of
which about 14,000, just over a third, have accepted as of late.

Mr. Vincent points out that advertisers have until Friday to
accept the deals. Those who do not could sue Tribune Co. or join
one of the existing lawsuits, including a $100 million class-
action claim.

The $100 million suits against Newsday stems from last month's
admission that its circulation had been overstated by up to
100,000 copies daily. Newsday's actual sales from September 2002
through March 2004 were 480,000 to 490,000 copies daily, which
were clearly far below the 580,000 Newsday claimed. Tribune also
admitted to circulation overstatements at Hoy, its Spanish
language daily now published in Chicago and Los Angeles, as well
as New York City. The Hoy sales inflation happened only in New
York City.

Mr. Vincent further stated that Tribune's settlement offers
consisted mostly of credits to get future ads at reduced rates
and that they also offered advertisers the option of receiving
cash.  Those who do not settle could end up joining the class-
action suit filed by Queens attorney Joseph Giaimo in February.
Mr. Giaimo represents 10 businesses that claim Newsday bilked

NEWSPAPER INDUSTRY: SEC To Start Probe Of Circulation Practices
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission is
initiating an investigation into circulation practices of
prominent newspapers, following several disclosures of fraud in
the recent months, the Associated Press reports.

Several newspaper companies have come under fire over its
circulation practices.  In August, Belo Corporation, publisher
of The Dallas Morning News, revealed that the Morning News had
overstated 2003 newspaper sales by 5% on Sundays and by 1.5% on
other days.  Company officials attributed the overstatement to
sales incentives that began in early 1999, which have since been
stopped.  The Company's stock prices dropped because of the
announcement and several shareholder class actions are now
pending against it in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Texas.

Chicago Sun-Times publisher Hollinger International, Inc. also
disclosed inflated circulation figures for the newspaper and its
other publications.  The Company and its founder Conrad Black
are now facing various lawsuits over the revelation, including
shareholder class actions.  A spokeswoman declined to comment on
whether the Company had been contacted by the SEC on the matter,
AP reports.

Major publisher Tribune Co. also revised the circulation figures
of its Newsday newspaper on New York's Long Island and at its
Spanish-language newspaper Hoy.  The SEC has launched an
investigation of the Company because of improper reporting
practices.  Tribune has said it is cooperating with queries from
the SEC into circulation matters, AP states.

The misstatements have undermined the confidence of advertisers
in the integrity of the reporting process for circulation
figures, which are used to set advertising rates.  Tribune, Belo
and Hollinger International have all said they plan to make
restitution to advertisers for the misstatements.

Catherine Mathis, a spokeswoman for The New York Times, said
Wednesday the SEC is taking an "industrywide look" at
circulation practices, but she declined to be more specific
about the inquiry, AP reports.  She said the Times stood by its
own circulation reporting, and she also added: "We welcome the
SEC's action because we believe it will help put to rest any
lingering doubts created by the improper actions of a few."

The SEC, in keeping with its usual practice, declined to comment
on whether any such investigation was under way, according to
AP.  Heidi Chen, a spokeswoman for the Audit Bureau of
Circulations, a circulation reporting group, confirmed that the
organization had been contacted by the SEC, but she declined to
make any comment. The ABC has censured Newsday, Hoy and the Sun-
Times for misstating their circulation figures.

Ms. Mathis declined to give more details about the SEC inquiry,
but a story in Wednesday editions of the Times said that Dow
Jones & Co., Gannett Co., McClatchy Co. and others were among
those contacted.  Representatives for all three companies
declined to comment, AP states.

OREGON: Bricker Zacovics Reaches $1.5 Mil Malpractice Settlement
The defunct law firm of Bricker Zacovics Querin Thompson &
Ritchey (BZQ) recently agreed to settle for $1.5M a malpractice
suit that accuses it of conspiring with a defendant to secure an
inferior settlement for its clients, the NY Lawyer, NY reports.

The charges against the Portland, Oregon-based firm surfaced in
2001 when 800 former clients joined in a class action, In re
Burlington, Northern MDL No. 1418 (W.D. Wash.), which accusing
the it of malpractice.

The former clients, who were railroad workers of the Burlington
Northern & Sante Fe Railway Co., alleged that BZQ had entered
into a "secret agreement" with the company to settle their
hearing loss claims at less than what they were worth.

Adamantly denying the charges, the former lawyers of the now
dissolved firm reiterated that they decided to settle because of
depleted insurance money and the expense of litigation to defend
itself further.  "BZQ did a great job for its clients," said the
firm's lawyer, Robert E. Maloney, who is now a partner in the
Portland office of Seattle-based Lane Powell Spears Lubersky.

Since the break up of BZQ some of the former BZQ lawyers, aside
from Mr. Lubersky have opened a new Portland-based firm called
Zakovics, Thompson & Ritchey.

However, lead lawyer Steve Berman of Seattle's Hagens Berman,
the firm that brought the suit against BZQ stated that despite
BZQ's denial of the charges, a federal judge in Seattle heard
three days of depositions from a whistleblower, a former claims
adjuster, and decided that there was enough evidence to take the
case to a jury.

PIZZA HUT: Plaintiff Seeks Additional Class For CA Overtime Suit
Plaintiff in the employee class action filed against Pizza Hut,
Inc. is asking the United States District Court for the Central
District of California to grant an additional class of current
and former California restaurant general managers (RGMs).

On August 13, 2003, a class action lawsuit styled "Coldiron v.
Pizza Hut, Inc." was filed, alleging that current and former
Pizza Hut RGMs were improperly classified as exempt employees
under the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  There is also a
pendent state law claim, alleging that current and former RGMs
in California were misclassified under that state's law.
Plaintiff seeks unpaid overtime wages and penalties.

On May 5, 2004, the District Court granted conditional
certification of a nationwide class of RGM's under the FLSA
claim, providing notice to prospective class members and an
opportunity to join the class.  Less than 10 percent of the
eligible class members have joined the litigation.  Once class
certification discovery is completed, the Company intends to
challenge the propriety of conditional class certification.

On July 20, 2004, the Court granted summary judgment on Ms.
Coldiron's individual FLSA claim.  The Company believes that the
District Court's summary judgment ruling in favor of Ms.
Coldiron is clearly erroneous under well-established legal
precedent, and is currently considering whether to seek a writ
of mandamus review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth
Circuit, requesting that the Court of Appeals vacate the
District Court's decision granting Ms. Coldiron's motion for
summary judgment, the Company stated in a regulatory filing.

As of September 28, 2004, Ms. Coldiron has also filed motions to
certify an additional class of current and former California
RGMs under California state law, and a motion requesting that
the District Court enter summary judgment on the damages that
FLSA class members would be due upon successful prosecution of
the class-wide litigation.

RED HAT: Plaintiffs File Consolidated Securities Suit in E.D. NC
Red Hat, Inc. faces a consolidated securities class action filed
in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
North Carolina, designated as Civil Action No. 5:04-CV-473BR and
titled "In re Red Hat, Inc. Securities Litigation."

As of August 31, 2004, 14 class action lawsuits were filed
against the Company and several of its present and former
officers on behalf of investors who purchased the Company's
securities during various periods from June 19, 2001 through
July 13, 2004.

All of the claims arise in connection with the Company
announcement on July 13, 2004 that it would restate certain of
its financial statements.  One or more of the plaintiffs assert
that certain present and former officers and the Company
variously violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder by issuing the
financial statements that the Company subsequently restated.
One or more of the plaintiffs seek unspecified damages,
interest, costs, attorneys' and experts' fees, an accounting of
certain profits obtained by the Individual Defendants from
trading in Red Hat common stock; disgorgement by the Company's
Chief Executive and former Chief Financial Officers of certain
compensation and profits from trading in the Company's common
stock, pursuant to Section 304 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of
2002, and other relief.

Plaintiffs' counsel is now seeking designation as lead counsel.
The Company intends to vigorously defend this class action
lawsuit.  There can be no assurance, however, that the Company
will be successful, and an adverse resolution of the lawsuit
could have a material adverse effect on the Company's financial
position and results of operations in the period in which the
lawsuit is resolved, the Company said in a disclosure to the
Securities and Exchange Commission.

In addition to the class action claims, two purported
shareholder derivative actions were filed on July 22, 2004 and
August 24, 2004, respectively, in the New Castle County Court of
Chancery in Delaware against certain present and former officers
and directors of the Company, against PricewaterhouseCoopers
LLP, and also naming the Company as a nominal defendant.

The suits claim that certain of the Company's present and former
officers and directors breached their fiduciary duties to the
Company's stockholders and to the Company.  The complaints are
derivative in nature and do not seek relief from the Company.

On September 29, 2004, an order was entered consolidating the
two actions into a single action referenced as Consolidated
Civil Action No. 586-N and titled "In re Red Hat, Inc.
Derivative Litigation."

ROYAL AHOLD: SEC Initiates Shareholder Fraud Complaint in D.C.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed fraud and other
charges in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
against Royal Ahold (Koninklijke Ahold N.V.) (Ahold) and three
former top executives: Cees van der Hoeven, former CEO and
chairman of the executive board; A. Michiel Meurs, former CFO
and executive board member; and Jan Andreae, former executive
vice president and executive board member.

The Commission also filed a related administrative action
charging Roland Fahlin, a former member of Ahold's supervisory
board and audit committee, with causing violations of the
reporting, books and records, and internal controls provisions
of the securities laws.

The SEC's complaints allege that, as a result of the fraudulent
inflation of promotional allowances at U.S. Foodservice, Ahold's
wholly-owned subsidiary, the improper consolidation of joint
ventures through fraudulent side letters, and other accounting
errors and irregularities, Ahold's original SEC filings for at
least fiscal years 2000, 2001, and the first three quarters of
2002 materially overstated net sales, operating income, and net

With respect to the fraud at U.S. Foodservice (USF), Ahold's
wholly-owned subsidiary based in Columbia, Maryland, the
Commission's complaint against Ahold alleges that a significant
portion of USF's operating income was based on vendor payments
known as promotional allowances.  USF executives materially
inflated the amount of promotional allowances recorded by USF
and reflected in operating income on USF's financial statements,
which were included in Ahold's Commission filings and other
public statements.

USF executives also provided, or assisted in providing, Ahold's
independent auditors with false and misleading information by,
for example, persuading personnel at many of USF's major vendors
to falsely confirm overstated promotional allowances to the
auditors in connection with year-end audits.
The overstated promotional allowances aggregated at least $700
million for fiscal years 2001 and 2002 and caused Ahold to
report materially false operating and net income for those and
other periods.

With respect to the joint venture accounting fraud, the
Commission's complaints allege that the Company fully
consolidated several joint ventures in its financial statements
despite owning no more than fifty percent of the voting shares
and shareholders' agreements that clearly provided for joint
control by Ahold and its joint venture partners. To justify full
consolidation of certain joint ventures, Ahold gave its
independent auditors side letters to the joint venture
agreements, signed by Ahold and its joint venture partners,
which stated, in effect, that Ahold controlled the joint
ventures (control letters).  However, at the time or soon after
executing the control letters, Ahold and its joint venture
partners executed side letters that rescinded the control
letters - and thus the basis for full consolidation (rescinding

Meurs signed all but one of the control and rescinding letters
on behalf of Ahold. He also knew that Ahold's auditors were
relying on the control letters and were unaware of the existence
of the rescinding letters.  Van der Hoeven cosigned one of the
rescinding letters and he was at least reckless in not knowing
that the auditors were unaware of its existence.

Andreae participated in the fraud by signing the control and
rescinding letters for ICA, Ahold's Scandinavian joint venture,
and by knowingly or recklessly concealing the existence of the
ICA rescinding letter from the auditors.

As a result of the fraud, Ahold materially overstated net sales
by approximately EUR 4.8 billion ($5.1 billion) for fiscal year
1999, EUR 10.6 billion ($9.8 billion) for fiscal year 2000, and
EUR 12.2 billion ($10.9 billion) for fiscal year 2001. Ahold
materially overstated operating income by approximately EUR 222
million ($236 million) for fiscal year 1999, EUR 448 million
($413 million) for year 2000, and EUR 485 million ($434) for
fiscal year 2001.

In its administrative action against Fahlin, the Commission
alleges he signed the ICA control and rescinding letters on
behalf of F”rbundet, one of Ahold's partners in the ICA joint
venture. He later left ICA F”rbundet and became a member of
Ahold's supervisory board and audit committee. In that capacity,
he received a report indicating that the auditors were relying
on a "control letter" to accept the consolidation of ICA.
Fahlin's failure to determine whether this "control letter" was
the same letter he had signed and then rescinded was a cause of
Ahold's violations of certain provisions of the securities laws.

Ahold has agreed to settle the Commission's action, without
admitting or denying the allegations in the complaint, by
consenting to the entry of a judgment permanently enjoining the
company from violating the antifraud, reporting, books and
records, and internal controls provisions of the federal
securities laws (Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933
(Securities Act); Sections 10(b), 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A) and
13(b)(2)(B) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange
Act); and Exchange Act Rules 10b-5, 12b-20, 13a-1, and  13a-16).

Van der Hoeven and Meurs have agreed to settle the Commission's
action, without admitting or denying the allegations in the
complaint, by consenting to the entry of judgments permanently
enjoining each of them from violating Section 17(a) of the
Securities Act, Sections 10(b) and 13(b)(5) of the Exchange Act,
and Exchange Act Rules 10b-5, 13b2-1, and 13b2-2, and from
aiding and abetting violations of Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A)
and  13(b)(2)(B) and Exchange Act Rules 13a-1 and 13a-16. Van
der Hoeven and Meurs have also consented to orders barring each
of them from serving as an officer or director of a public

Fahlin has agreed to settle the Commission's action by
consenting to the entry of an order, without admitting or
denying the findings in the order, directing him to cease and
desist from causing any violations and any future violations of
Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A) and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Exchange Act
and Rules 13a-1 and 13a-16 thereunder.

The Commission has not reached a settlement with Andreae. The
Commission has charged Andreae with fraud (Section  17(a) of
the Securities Act,  Sections 10(b) of the Exchange Act, and
Exchange Act Rules 10b-5), falsifying  accounting records and
lying to auditors (Exchange Act Section 13(b)(5) and Exchange
Act Rules 13b2-1 and 13b2-2) or aiding and abetting violations
of Sections 10(b) and 13(b)(5) of the Exchange Act and Exchange
Act Rules 10b-5, 13b2-1, and  13b2-2. The Commission has also
charged Andreae with aiding and abetting violations of the books
and records and reporting requirements (Sections 13(a),
13(b)(2)(A), and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Exchange Act and Exchange
Act Rules 13a-1 and 13a-16). The Commission seeks an injunction
against future violations of the above provisions, an order
prohibiting Andreae from acting as an officer or director of any
public company, and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with
prejudgment interest. The Commission's investigation is
continuing. [SEC v. Koninklijke Ahold N.V. (Royal Ahold), Civil
Action No. 04-1742 (RMU) (D.D.C.)]; [SEC v. A. Michiel Meurs and
Cees van der Hoeven, Civil Action No. 04-1743 (RMU) (D.D.C.)];
[SEC v. Johannes Gerhardus Andreae, Civil Action No. 04-1741
(RMU) (D.D.C.)] (LR-18929; AAE Rel. 2124).

SOUTH DAKOTA: Couple Launches Overcharging Lawsuit V. Hospital
Brett and Deborah Burgher initiated a class action lawsuit
against the Rapid City Regional Hospital alleging that it
overcharges uninsured patients and "harasses" them for payments,
the KOTA, SD reports.  The lawsuit also alleges that the
hospital provides discounts to patients covered under private
insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid.

As a non-profit hospital, Rapid City Regional is exempt from
federal and state taxes in exchange for affordable services.
According to Philip Pfaffly, one of the couple's attorneys, the
hospital took advantage of his client's uninsured status,
inflated their costs, and tried to cover it up, which eventually
resulted in the Burghers going bankrupt from hospital charges
that totaled more than $100,000.

However, Regional Hospital's general counsel Mary Masten pointed
out that the couple had visited Rapid City Regional 109 times in
a five-year span. She also reiterated that regardless of their
ability to pay, everyone is charged the same rate for
procedures.  Though filed only by Burghers, the suit has the
potential to include other uninsured patients, if the judge

SYCAMORE NETWORKS: NY Judge Grants Certifies Shareholders' Suit
A New York federal judge reportedly approved class action status
for a lawsuit against Chelmsford-based Sycamore Networks Inc.,
the makers of optical signal switches for use in
telecommunications networks, the Boston Business Journal

According to a report by the Reuters news agency, five other
companies were slapped with class action lawsuits, including
Firepond Inc., a former Waltham company that now has its
headquarters in Minneapolis; and Engage Technologies, a former
Andover subsidiary of CMGI Inc., which itself is now based in

Legal experts believe that the cases may provide a basis for how
hundreds of other pending lawsuits will proceed, suits that have
been brought by shareholders in the wake of Internet-era initial
public offerings of stock.

In her decision, Reuters quoted Judge Shira Sheindlin as
writing, "in their zeal to defeat the motion for class
certification, defendants have launched such a broad attack that
accepting their arguments would sound the death knell of
securities class actions."

TACO BELL: CA Court Orders ADA Violations Suit Trial Bifurcated
The United States District Court for the Northern District of
California ordered trial in the class action filed against Taco
Bell Corporation, styled "Moeller, et al. v. Taco Bell Corp.,"
to be bifurcated.

On August 4, 2003, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint that
alleges, among other things, that the Company has discriminated
against the class of people who use wheelchairs or scooters for
mobility by failing to make its approximately 220 company-owned
restaurants in California accessible to the class.  Plaintiffs
contend that queue rails and other architectural and structural
elements of the Taco Bell restaurants relating to the path of
travel and use of the facilities by persons with mobility-
related disabilities (including parking spaces, ramps, counters,
restroom facilities, and seating) do not comply with the U.S.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Unruh Civil Rights
Act (the "Unruh Act"), and the California Disabled Persons Act

Plaintiffs have requested:

     (1) an injunction from the District Court ordering Taco
         Bell to comply with the ADA and its implementing

     (2) that the District Court declare Taco Bell in violation
         of the ADA, the Unruh Act, and the CDPA; and

     (3) monetary relief under the Unruh Act or CDPA.

Plaintiffs, on behalf of the class, are seeking the minimum
statutory damages per offense of either $4,000 under the Unruh
Act or $1,000 under the CDPA for each aggrieved member of the
class.  Plaintiffs contend that there may be in excess of
100,000 individuals in the class.  For themselves, the four
named plaintiffs have claimed aggregate minimum statutory
damages of no less than $16,000, but are expected to claim
greater amounts based on the number of Taco Bell outlets they
visited at which they claim to have suffered discrimination.

On February 23, 2004, the District Court granted Plaintiffs'
motion for class certification.  The District Court certified a
Rule 23(b)(2) mandatory injunctive relief class of all
individuals with disabilities who use wheelchairs or electric
scooters for mobility who, at any time on or after December 17,
2001, were denied, or are currently being denied, on the basis
of disability, the full and equal enjoyment of the California
Restaurants.  The class includes claims for injunctive relief
and minimum statutory damages.

Pursuant to the parties' agreement, on August 31, 2004, the
District Court ordered that the trial of this action be
bifurcated so that stage one will resolve Plaintiffs' claims for
equitable relief and stage two will resolve Plaintiffs' claims
for damages.  The parties are currently proceeding with the
equitable relief stage of this action.

During this stage, the Company intends to file a motion to
partially decertify the class to exclude from the Rule 23(b)(2)
class claims for monetary damages.  Plaintiffs have stated their
intent to oppose Taco Bell's motion and to file their own motion
for summary judgment as to liability relating to a subset of the
California Restaurants.

                          Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Leigh, Day Comments on Cape Evidence Issue
Leigh, Day & Co. denied charges of agreeing with Cape plc to
destroy documents related to the compensation of asbestos
related illnesses.

A news story published in Class Action Reporter last October 1
declares that the London firm signed an agreement with Cape plc
to destroy documents, which other plaintiff lawyers allege could
be useful to their clients' own claims for compensation due to
asbestos-related illnesses.

Tony Worthington, the Labor MP for Clydebank and Milngavie, said
that although the law firm deserved credit for claiming the
compensation for South African workers, all the documents should
still be made publicly available.  He considered the agreement
unacceptable and has since then embarked on actions hoping to
block this deal.

Sally Moore, a partner with the firm, wrote, "Barrie Clement's
article (27 September) on the handling of documents disclosed by
Cape plc is misplaced. In 2002, working alongside Messrs John
Pickering and Partners, we were able to reach agreement with
Cape that they would pay many millions of pounds to some 7,500
South African asbestos disease victims and their families."

"It is correct that as a part of the final agreement we agreed
to destroy the copies of the documents gathered during the Cape
case. However, the reason for agreeing to this was not as
suggested by Mr. Clement as an attempt to prevent other lawyers
and victims having access to them," she continued.

"These copies could never have been used by future victims,
whether they were archived or destroyed. The rules of court
simply do not allow for this and we have a duty to abide by
these rules. Secondly, as lawyers, we have an overriding duty to
our clients - in this case 7,500 impoverished South African
asbestos victims and their families," she asserted.  "Had we
refused Cape's demands the settlement negotiations would have
collapsed and our clients would have received nothing at all
after a long and bitterly fought battle."

"Where the Cape case did help future sufferers of chronically
bad corporate health and safety policies is in opening up the
British court system to those unable to obtain justice in their
own countries. For this, and the compensation we won for 7,500
South Africans, we are proud of our record and the work of the
many other determined campaigners for justice for asbestos
victims," she reiterated.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Vets Urge Congress to Approve Reform Bill
A U.S. veteran wrote the Class Action Reporter, saying that he
hoped Congress would approve a bill that will "provide relief to
our men and women in uniform who were exposed to deadly asbestos
during their tours of duty gone by and now find themselves
fighting a powerful enemy: asbestos-related disease."

Last week, the Class Action Reporter published an article that
described a dim outlook for the approval of the Asbestos Reform
Bill this year as time constraints and continued disagreement
still plagued the ongoing negotiations.

Veteran Eric Halverson writes, "For more than 30 years from
World War II through most of the Vietnam War, asbestos was used
widely in military constructions. Aboard Navy ships of that era,
it could be found from the boiler rooms to the bulkheads."

"The military stopped using this substance in the mid 1970s when
it was becoming apparent the substance was dangerous and even
deadly. But too late for the many thousands of veterans who had
already been exposed," he continued.  "Today, veterans battling
asbestos related illnesses have literally nowhere to turn for
compensation or relief. Unlike other workers, who can seek
relief in the courts from the employer responsible for their
exposure, veterans are prohibited from suing the government for
compensation. While veterans could, in theory, sue the companies
who sold asbestos to the U.S. military, in fact, those companies
have disappeared into bankruptcy."

"Congress has a rare opportunity today to fix a badly broken
asbestos litigation system that leaves sick veterans and other
victims of asbestos exposure stranded in our courts. A proposal
in the U.S. Senate would create a $140 billion privately funded
victims' fund to compensate the truly sick fairly and quickly,"
he added.  "And it responds specifically to the plight of
veterans, by creating a simple avenue for them to seek
compensation . While asbestos exposure is mostly a thing of the
past, asbestos-related diseases most surely are not. Because of
the long latency periods of these illnesses, many of our
veterans who were exposed years ago are only learning today that
they are sick."

"And sadly, there may be another generation of veterans that
will wrestle with this problem. According to recent news
reports, a National Guard unit in Iraq was exposed to asbestos
in the military base outside Mosul where they were stationed for
nine months. It could be decades before these soldiers learn
whether they will become sick from this exposure. But these
brave soldiers need assurance that they will be taken care of if
they do wind up sick with asbestos-related diseases," he added.
"I urge Senators Stabenow and Levin to support asbestos victim
compensation fund legislation when they go back and to make sure
that this bill is approved and sent to the President this year .
The U.S. Congress left behind an unusually long list of stalled
or dead bills, as lawmakers went home to ask voters to reelect
them next month. Among these was the asbestos reform bill
seeking to create a fund to compensate victims."

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Peculiarities Key to Cancer Therapy - Study
A pathologist's description of the peculiarities of each
mesothelioma might be the key to a more individual therapy in
the future, according to recent research published in the
journal, Lung Cancer.

The authors of this study reported that types of mesotheliomas
are very diverse in terms of histological appearances and of
prognosis. At present, the only means for diagnosing this
disease is conventional histology in combination with additional
immunohistochemical analysis. They've indicated that
differentiation between two types of lesions can therefore be
extremely difficult.

The researchers said there are some characteristic patterns of
chromosomal imbalances that are detectable but at present,
specific chromosomal or genetic defects that give rise to
mesothelioma are not known. They realize that a reliable
diagnosis is extremely important, as it is often the only basis
for therapeutic, prognostic, and medico-legal consequences. They
conclude that it can best be achieved by thoracoscopic
inspection with specifically directed biopsy.

The incidence of malignant mesotheliomas in Germany has
increased since about the mid 1980s, and a further increase is
expected until about 2020 due to the peak in asbestos processing
in Germany between 1965 and 1980.

"About 90% of the mesotheliomas recorded in the files of the
German Mesothelioma Registry in, Bochum are asbestos-related and
therefore possibly due to an occupational exposure. In 2003, 717
mesotheliomas were newly diagnosed at the German Mesothelioma
Registry," wrote M. Krismann and colleagues of the University
Clinical Bergmannsheil Bochum.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Victim Calls for Asbestos Eradication in UK
A campaigning Sheffield man who inhaled asbestos fibers wants a
law passed to force the owners of old derelict properties to rid
them of the material.

Chris Garrett, aged 58, claims many rundown buildings insulated
with asbestos have become health hazards over the years because
the material has become exposed and the fibers have become
airborne. He said it was unfair for people to be put at risk by
the owners of buildings who may not realize the danger asbestos
poses. He said derelict factories with damaged roofs are a prime
example of the way asbestos fibers can make their way into the

Mr. Garrett discovered he had inhaled asbestos fibers when the
results of a scan on his heart came back. The former carpenter,
who worked for an asbestos stockist during his early working
days, suspects he inhaled the fibers. He now wants to prevent
people from unknowingly being affected by the material while
leading their day-to-day lives.

Mr. Garrett, of Studfield Hill, Wisewood, is so concerned about
the issue he has written to Prime Minister Tony Blair and
Sheffield Brightside MP and Home Secretary David Blunkett
informing him of his concerns.

He is now urging the public with similar worries to contact him
to add their weight to his campaign. He also wants them to lobby
their MPs urging them to try to discuss asbestos problems in the
House of Commons.

"The dangers of asbestos are well documented now but there isn't
any kind of law which forces people with the material in their
buildings to get rid of it, which I think is wrong. I think it
is terrible that young generations are being put at risk by a
substance no longer used because it is known to cause health

"My campaign is urging local authorities and those in power to
do all they can to ensure that old buildings containing asbestos
are made safe because unless something is done and more and more
buildings are allowed to fall into a state of disrepair I fear
for the health of future generations."

For more details, contact Mr. Garrett by Phone: 0771 9715762.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Madison Judge Scraps 3 Out-of-State Suits
In his first rulings as chief asbestos judge, Madison County
Circuit Judge Daniel J. Stack dismissed three out-of-state
asbestos cases, criticizing such lawsuits as a "cash cow" for
the county.  The order could set the precedent for a change in
how asbestos claims are handled.

Judge Stack inherited a backlog of asbestos cases on September 8
from Circuit Judge Nicholas G. Byron, who resigned from the
docket in July to handle other civil cases.

His decisions came after it was disclosed that the huge volume
of lawsuits filed in the county has become a national center for
asbestos litigation. More than 1,000 asbestos claims, worth in
excess of US$1 billion by conservative estimates, were filed in
Madison County last year. People who had never lived or worked
in Illinois filed most of these.  It was discovered that a
single asbestos lawsuit could generate US$10,000 or more in
filing fees, which goes to Madison County's general fund.

"Taxpayers of Madison County are actually being enriched by this
docket. The problem with this is, however, that it is not the
function of the courts to make money. This is not a business,"
Judge Stack wrote in his order to dismiss the lawsuit of Paul
Palmer Sr., a Louisiana man suffering from mesothelioma, a
cancer of the lining of the heart and lungs caused only by

The other two cases Stack ruled on, involving plaintiffs from
Massachusetts and Florida, also involved mesothelioma. None of
the plaintiffs ever lived or worked in Illinois. The personal
injury firm of Wise & Julian filed the cases, which named more
than 80 defendants.

"Each case has to be decided on its own set of facts but these
[Stack's] decisions were unquestionably the right decisions,"
said Robert Barney Shultz, the managing partner at the firm
representing Union Carbide, one of the defendants. Mr. Shultz
asserted that a non-resident plaintiff is accorded less
deference in regard to choice of forum, even less if his
injuries were not incurred in the state.

For so long now, asbestos defendants have complained that the
thousands of cases filed leave them no time to prepare for
trial, so they are forced to settle out of court. Judge Stack
cited that one of the reasons there are so few trials taken up
is because there are so many of these cases pending.

In ordering the dismissal, Judge Stack cited Illinois Supreme
Court Rule 187, which gives the plaintiffs six months to file
their lawsuits in another court.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: General Cable Corp Faces 15T Pending Cases
There are approximately 15,000 pending non-maritime asbestos
cases involving its subsidiaries. The majority of these cases
involve plaintiffs alleging exposure to asbestos-containing
cable manufactured by its predecessors.

In addition to its subsidiaries, numerous other wire and cable
manufacturers have been named as defendants in these cases. Its
subsidiaries have also been named, along with numerous other
product manufacturers, as defendants in approximately 33,000
suits in which plaintiffs alleged that they suffered an
asbestos-related injury while working in the maritime industry.
These cases are referred to as MARDOC cases and are currently
managed under the supervision of the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

On May 1, 1996, the District Court ordered that all pending
MARDOC cases be administratively dismissed without prejudice and
the cases cannot be reinstated, except in certain circumstances
involving specific proof of injury. The company cannot give the
assurance that any judgments or settlements of the pending non-
maritime and/or MARDOC asbestos cases or any cases which may be
filed in the future will not have a material adverse effect on
their financial results, cash flows or financial position.

Moreover, certain of the Company's insurers may be financially
unstable and in the event one or more of these insurers enter
into insurance liquidation proceedings, it will be required to
pay a larger portion of the costs incurred in connection with
these cases.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Burlington Northern Take Charge of Earnings
Freight railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., one of the
largest U.S. railways, said it will take a US$288 million after-
tax charge against earnings for the third quarter to cover
liability for asbestos and environmental problems.

Despite the non-cash charge, equal to 76 cents per share, to
reflect changes in the way the company estimates its asbestos
and environmental cleanup liabilities, Burlington Northern
raised its outlook for third-quarter profit. The company said it
would earn between 75 cents and 77 cents per share, excluding
the charge. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had forecast
profit of 70 cents per share.

Donald Broughton, analyst with A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc, said the
charge was an accounting move that won't hurt Burlington
Northern's cash flow. He said railroads were benefiting from
higher shipping volumes that were allowing them to raise rates.

Burlington Northern said the improved outlook was due to revenue
growth and cost controls. The company said operating expenses
would decrease in the fourth quarter, helping earnings by about
2 cents per share. The company is scheduled to report July-
September results on October 26.

Chief Financial Officer Thomas N. Hund said the Company just
finished a review of its method of estimating asbestos and
environmental liabilities after recent quarterly expenses came
in. He said the Company worked with actuaries to estimate clean-
up costs. The Company said the charge covered environmental
contamination that mostly occurred decades ago. Burlington said
the charge isn't expected to have any impact on the timing of
claim payments.

The Company's Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co. unit
operates 32,500 miles of track in 28 states and two Canadian

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: MDC to Take Action to Recover Asbestos Cost
MDC Holdings Inc is currently evaluating legal remedies to
recover costs incurred with asbestos removal in vacated lots
within the former Lowry Air Force Base.

The Company previously purchased 63 lots within the former base,
in an area known as the Northwest Neighborhood, in Denver,
Colorado. As of June 30, 2004, they had sold homes on all 63
lots, completed construction of homes on 51 of these lots,
closed 51 of the homes, and commenced construction on the
remaining 12 lots. Asbestos, believed to have resulted from
historic activities of the United States Air Force, has been
discovered in this area.

In August 2003, the Colorado Department of Public Health and
Environment issued a Final Response Plan imposing requirements
to remediate the asbestos. Through June 30, 2004, the company
had expended approximately US$3.5 million in sampling and
remediation costs and we currently project the total costs of
these efforts to be approximately US$3.6 million. It had
completed remediation of all 63 lots as of June 30, 2004.

They have notified the Air Force and the United States
Department of Defense of their responsibility to reimburse the
company for all costs associated with the asbestos. Those
agencies currently dispute their responsibility to reimburse MDC
Holdings and the other landowners.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Oglebay Norton's Bankruptcy Plan Rejected
Mineral miner and shipper Oglebay Norton Co.'s bankruptcy
reorganization plan was rejected by a judge who said the plan
lacked information about how the company would make settlement
payments to thousands of people who claim to have been sickened
by asbestos. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Joel Rosenthal rejected the
proposal last week at a hearing in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Oglebay Norton is a co-defendant in lawsuits that claim 72,000
people were sickened by fire-resistant asbestos, which was
sometimes used in the construction of ships. Exposure to
asbestos can cause asbestosis, in which the fibers scar the
lungs, making it difficult to breathe.

During the bankruptcy hearing, attorneys representing some of
the claimants objected to confirming Oglebay's plan, which was
already approved by a majority of creditors. The company says
that it would not have to pay any asbestos claims directly
because it has insurance and an insurance trust fund.

"We obviously are disappointed with the ruling. But we are
gratified that the judge overruled all other objections related
to the plan," said Michael D. Lundin, Oglebay's chief executive.

Oglebay's reorganization plan would have paid holders of US$104
millions in debt dollar for dollar. Unsecured creditors who are
owed US$26.9 million also would have been paid in full.

The Cleveland Company, which took over John D. Rockefeller's
iron ore properties in Minnesota in 1890, was created as an iron
ore agency business in 1854 and entered lake shipping in the
1920s. When Oglebay purchased mineral properties to reduce
reliance on a then-sputtering steel industry in 1998, the debt
from the rapid diversification swamped the company after the
economy turned sharply worse.

The Company said in a statement that it would ask the judge for
permission to submit more evidence to the court, which scheduled
a hearing for October 28 in Delaware.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ACC Seeks Clarification on Victim's Claims
The Accident Compensation Corporation is seeking clarification
of an earlier decision by the District Court, which said the
estate of Ross Lehman was entitled to a lump sum payment from
ACC due to his asbestos-related death.

The Company is disputing the decision pushing for the lump sum
payment as Mr. Lehman was exposed to the asbestos before the
first of April 2002, the cut-off point.

It could be faced with millions of dollars worth of extra
compensation claims unless a High Court case goes their way. ACC
Chairman David Caygill says with so much money at stake it is
important the issue is clarified quickly. He says the principal
is also an important factor to take into account.

David Caygill says as unfortunate as it is to have to cause the
Lehman family further stress it is important the corporation
knows where it stands in the eyes of the law. He says hundreds
of claimants and millions of dollars could be at stake.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Converium AG Faces Liabilities for Claims
Converium Holding AG admits to having exposure to liabilities
for asbestos and environmental impairment from assumed
reinsurance contracts, primarily arising from business written
by Converium (Deutschland) AG.

Its asbestos and environmental exposure primarily originates
from U.S. business written through the London Market and from
treaties directly written with reinsurers in the United States.
It canceled its relevant London Market reinsurance contracts in
1966 and 1967. At the time, it reduced its participation in
asbestos and environmental-exposed U.S. treaties, with the
eventual result that Converium (Deutschland) AG ceased property
and liability underwriting in the United States in 1990.

Due to uncertainties with the definitions and the incomplete
reporting from clients, exact separation of asbestos and
environmental exposures cannot be reached. The company believes
that its exposure to asbestos-related and environmental
pollution claims is limited due to the diminutive amount of
business written prior to 1987 and the protection provided by
the continuing reinsurance protections.

In addition, Converium AG's exposure is also minimal because,
under the terms of the Quota Share Retrocession Agreement,
Converium AG will only reinsure business written with an
inception or renewal date on or after January 1, 1987. In 1986,
its contract wording was revised, consistent with a general
industry change, such that asbestos and environmental claims
were generally excluded.

Survival ratio is an industry measure of the number of years it
would take a company to exhaust its reserves for asbestos and
environmental liabilities based on that company's current level
of claims payments. They currently have no retrocessional
protection for our U.S.-originated asbestos and environmental
exposure, other than the arrangements with Zurich Financial
Services provided by the stop-loss agreement and the other

Reserving for asbestos and environmental claims is subject to a
range of uncertainties that has historically been greater than
those presented by other types of claims. Among the
complications are a lack of historical data, long reporting
delays and uncertainty as to the number and identity of insureds
with potential exposure. In addition, there are complex,
unresolved legal issues regarding policy coverage and the extent
and timing of contractual liability.

The U.S. Senate is considering a bill called the Fairness in
Asbestos Injury Resolution Act of 2004. The proposed bill would
establish a privately financed trust fund to provide payments to
individuals with asbestos-related illnesses and would remove
asbestos claims from the tort litigation system. The trust would
be funded with more than $100 billion and would be financed by
primary insurers, reinsurers and industrial enterprises. The
insurance industry would be responsible for funding a certain
share of the total costs. The proposed bill would establish a
U.S. Court of Asbestos Claims as the sole forum for asbestos
claim resolution and would establish medical criteria to ensure
that only people who showed signs of asbestos-related illnesses
would be entitled to payments from the trust.

Converium believes that its exposure to environmental impairment
liability and asbestos-related claims is relatively small due to
the diminutive amount of business written prior to 1987 for
Converium AG and Converium Reinsurance (North America) Inc.

As of December 31, 2003, 2002 and 2001, Converium (Deutschland)
AG had reserves for environmental impairment liability and
asbestos-related claims of US$45.8 million, US$44.6 million and
US$44.6 million, respectively, representing a survival ratio of
13.6 years, 13.5 years and 13.8 years, respectively.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Study Rules Out Vaccine as Cause of Cancers
A recent study found no evidence that a polio vaccine
contaminant played a significant role in human mesotheliomas.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer of the chest cavity that
kills about 2000 people a year in the United States. Most
patients with this rare cancer have had exposure to asbestos. It
has been proposed that simian virus 40, a contaminant in some
polio vaccines administered in the 1950s and 1960s, might be a

However, studies reporting the detection of SV40 DNA in human
tumors, including mesotheliomas, and also some lymphomas, brain
cancers and bone cancers, have not consistently yielded the same
results when repeated by other groups. This has fueled an
ongoing debate over laboratory methods and the strength of the
association of SV40 with these tumors.

A study calls into question this proposed link between SV40 and
pleural mesothelioma and provides a possible explanation for the
discrepancies in the results obtained by different groups.

Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center used
several independent methods to detect SV40 DNA, SV40 RNA and
SV40 proteins in human pleural mesothelioma samples.
Unexpectedly, they found that the SV40 DNA fragments detected in
some assays were not derived from genuine SV40 in the tissue
samples but from SV40 DNA fragments engineered into common
laboratory plasmid vectors used in molecular biology research.
This source of SV40 DNA fragments may be unrecognized, leading
to misinterpretation of assay results as indicating the presence
of genuine SV40 in human tumors.

Their findings are a caution to other researchers to be vigilant
in avoiding these technical errors when planning future studies
with SV40. According to the study, the methodology used by most
researchers for the detection of SV40 DNA is associated with a
high risk of false-positive results. Therefore, the authors
propose that data on SV40 in human tumors need to be carefully

"Our previous work on mesothelioma showed that about 80% of
tumors have lost both copies of the tumor-suppressor gene
designated p16 or CDKN2A, and this led us to ask whether SV40
infection might be a possible mechanism in the remaining 20%,"
said Marc Ladanyi, MD, director, Diagnostic Molecular Pathology
Laboratory, and the study's senior author.

"We hope these results will hasten medical progress on this
deadly cancer," Mr. Ladanvi said.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Workers Clean Up Asbestos in Hazard, KY
After news that a contractor attempted to illegally dump
asbestos, environmental workers have cleaned up the material
left inside the buildings along downtown Hazard, which were
destroyed by fire in March.

Authorities became aware of the dangerous roofing substance
embedded densely inside the charred walls of these buildings
after two men were caught attempting to illegally dump the
fibrous material elsewhere without a license.

To protect the public, the area has been cordoned and clean-up
workers were required to wear protective clothing and
respirators. They also used water to control dust, so the
asbestos was less likely to become airborne. But since the
clean-up was outdoors, exposure was reduced considerably.

With asbestos being outlawed for use in most buildings, experts
say no one should handle it or attempt to dump it without proper
certification. Environmental officials warned the public against
exposure to asbestos since serious lung complications can arise.

"If you illegally dump this garbage, you're going to pay! It's
wrong, it's a criminal violation," said Tony Lewis of Solid
Waste Management.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Study Aims for Early Detection of Diseases
Researchers from Poland reported that biological markers,
including tissue polypeptide antigen, might aid in the early
detection of asbestos-related diseases in at-risk individuals.

In this recent study published in the journal, Lung Cancer, it
cited that workers at extraction facilities have the greatest
risk of exposure to asbestos and therefore, these workers most
likely face the development of asbestos-related diseases,
commonly mesothelioma.

Other individuals at a high risk of exposure include asbestos-
cement, insulation, and shipyard workers. Environmental exposure
to asbestos can occur as a result of living in areas either
characterized by natural outcrops of asbestos or asbestos-
related materials, or those close to asbestos-producing or
asbestos-using plants.

A characteristic of mesothelioma is that there is a long latency
period, about 20 to 30 years, before the signs and symptoms of
the disease become apparent.

The researchers recognize that asbestos has been considered a
potential health hazard since the 1940s. After all these years,
J. Niklinski and his co-authors lament the fact that diagnosis
of the disease remain to be difficult. Hopefully, this study
would aid in earlier and more accurate detection of the dreaded

"Unfortunately, man-made fiber alternatives to asbestos, such as
rock and stag-wool and glass wool, have also been shown to have
a detrimental effect on human health," stated the researchers.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: HSE Marks Health & Safety Wk with Campaign
Scotland's Health & Safety Executive is engaging in a campaign
to encourage all Europeans to take action in the proper handling
of asbestos in buildings and in safeguarding the health of

During this year's European Health and Safety Week, from October
18 to 22, and for several weeks afterwards, facilities will be
made available for employers, employees and members of the
public to see a short computer-based presentation about the need
to manage asbestos within buildings. South Ayrshire Council,
using material provided by HSE, has created the presentation,
which lasts about 30 minutes. Staff from local council
Environmental Health Departments will be on hand to provide
additional information if required and to answer any questions.

Jane Kennedy, Minister of State for Work, asserts that the HSE
has the government's whole-hearted support in getting the
message across to the huge audience who need to know more
information on asbestos and its effects. She stated, "It must
surely make good business sense to find out whether your
premises contain asbestos, and then make certain that building
and maintenance workers are warned in advance."

Local Authorities, through their Environmental Health
Departments, have the responsibility to enforce health and
safety legislation in the Service industries involving premises
such as shops, offices, hotels, and warehouses, where there is a
strong possibility of the presence of asbestos containing

During European Health and Safety Week, local authorities will
direct part of their resources to those who have the duty to
manage asbestos, primarily through this awareness campaign but
also by establishing whether assessments have been carried out
and written management plans prepared where appropriate. Where
non-compliance or inadequate management is found, local
authorities will take action through the issue of advice and
guidance on what must be done. However, if it is revealed that
there is a risk from asbestos due to its condition then
appropriate enforcement action may be taken to ensure

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: District Moves to End Rumors at FL School
School district officials are trying to calm fears and squelch
rumors about Fort Lauderdale High students' and teachers'
asbestos exposure.

Concerns began when construction started in the media center
this school year while classes were ongoing on the building's
second floor. Anxiety levels rose when signs warning of asbestos
were posted. Some teachers asked to be transferred.

One of the seniors, Nicholas Zantop, said that when asked, the
assistant principal informed the students that he was not aware
of plans to properly dispose of asbestos. This prompted him to
write a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency and to the
local news media.

Robert Krickovich, a project manager with the school district,
now says a special firm hired specifically for asbestos removal
removed the poisonous floor tiles and air conditioning duct
insulation according to proper procedures. After the work was
done, workers tested the air and declared it safe, Mr.
Krickovich said.

Mr. Zantop said he is happy officials are finally taking student
and teacher complaints seriously but he still doesn't believe
the district's story. In the past, the district's credibility
has suffered after officials told students in mold-filled
schools that there was no problem, only to admit later there
was. Since then parents have filed lawsuits, and the district
has spent millions to improve air quality control measures and
try and rebuild the community's trust.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: UK Surveyor Advises on New Work Regulations
A Swindon surveyor has warned companies not to panic if they are
told they have asbestos in their buildings.

This year has seen the phased introduction of the Asbestos at
Work regulations, which have tightened up the rules on checking
for asbestos. In May, the responsibility of checking for
asbestos was shifted from contractors to employers, and next
month a licensing scheme will come in for laboratories that
analyze samples of building materials to check for asbestos.

Because of the widespread use of asbestos in the railway works
in Swindon, and the subsequent high rates of mesothelioma, which
became known as the Swindon disease, all company heads have been
warned to learn the new regulations.

But Chris Bishop, managing director of QHS Services in Cheney
Manor, says that although asbestos has rightly become a serious
subject, there is not necessarily a need to have it removed,
which can be a costly operation.

Mr. Bishop, who has been surveying for three years, has only
once recommended asbestos is taken out. He said that a lot of
organizations have been ill advised to remove the asbestos. He
explained that what the regulations require is only for the
asbestos to be identified and measures put in place to control
it. The employer is given the option to seal it, encapsulate it,
or as a last resort, remove it.

"The only time you need to worry about the removal is when the
building is to be demolished - as long as there is no hazard or
threat to people, it can be safely controlled," Mr. Bishop

Keith Taylor, a consultant for Continuity Business Services in
Purton, said, "The Health and Safety Executive has stated that
as long as the asbestos is in good condition it's best to leave
it place rather than disturb it."

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Asbestos-Related Cancers May Be Undiagnosed
A leading pathologist says lung cancer caused by exposure to
asbestos may be far more prevalent than previously thought.
Flinders University Director of Pathology will be presenting the
complete findings to a Royal College of Pathologists conference
in Brisbane this week.

Dr. Henderson said his research shows asbestosis, or scarring of
the lungs, is not required to cause lung cancer. He said lung
cancers previously attributed to smoking may in fact have been
caused by asbestos.

"In the United Kingdom, for example, when you look at
compensation payments for lung cancer disablement we know they
are under-recognizing those asbestos-associated lung cancers by
a factor of at least 10, that is 90 percent of them are escaping

"The simple fact is we tend to grossly underestimate the numbers
of asbestos-related lung cancers," he said.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Asbestos Mapping Fails to Disclose Presence
Despite the assurances of experts, some construction sites in El
Dorado County uncovered naturally-occurring asbestos in the soil
and rock. In April 2003, the local school district discovered
the potentially fatal material in the soil and rock beneath the
site of a new elementary school. Then this past summer asbestos
turned up in a section of the Promontory being developed by
Christopherson Homes.

The state of California chose western El Dorado County for its
first and only attempt to locally map naturally-occurring
asbestos. In March 2000, the state Department of Conservation
published its study to help local planners and developers
anticipate rock and soil formations most likely to contain

"It was an educational experience for us because a map like this
has never been made before," map author Ron Churchill said.
However, development in the four years since the map was
published demonstrates the hit-and-miss nature of trying to
predict what lies underground.

The 2000 map correctly anticipated the asbestos later discovered
under the campus of Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills. It
also came reasonably close to identifying the asbestos found
under the new Hollow Oak subdivision near Bass Lake Road and US-

Asbestos wasn't even an issue when El Dorado County approved the
massive Promontory housing development near the Sacramento
County line. A 1999 staff report dismissed the possibility of
finding asbestos under the Promontory project, based on
information from environmental consultant Youngdahl and
Associates. That view was supported a year later in the map
published by the state. After the discovery, Mr. Christopherson
adopted strict dust-control measures and air monitoring. By
then, however, blasting and heavy excavation had already been
going on for months.

At roughly the same time, asbestos was discovered across the
county line in Folsom's Empire Ranch development. For the first
time, naturally-occurring asbestos became a worry for Sacramento
County residents.

Despite the obvious holes in the asbestos map, local planners
still use it to shape public policy. A proposed El Dorado County
ordinance would require home sellers to disclose the likelihood
of finding naturally-occurring asbestos on their property based
on the 2000 Department of Conservation map.

That came as a surprise to the map's author, who said it was
never meant to be anything more than a general guide. Mr.
Churchill said the map couldn't show every occurrence of
asbestos in the area.

Geologists say the only way to know for sure whether there's
asbestos on a particular property is to test for it. When a test
was done on an area adjacent to the promontory, the results from
a southern California lab show how concentrations of asbestos
can vary widely even across short distances.

In a booming area like El Dorado Hills, the EPA concedes there's
probably no way to avoid naturally-occurring asbestos entirely.
"It's kind of up to each individual to decide what their
personal comfort level is with that," said a manager from the
EPA's superfund division.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Feds Tighten Pit Rules After Asbestos Find
This is an update on a CAR story published last October 1 about
the shutting down of operations at an old metal dump in Canada
while a possible asbestos contamination was being investigated.
Government testing now reveals that the hundreds of garbage bags
found at the Iqaluit gravel pit contain asbestos.

The bags, discovered in late September, tested positive for
asbestos according to the federal and territorial governments.
Officials say the results are partly responsible for new rules
at the former metal dump, to ensure the material coming out of
the pit is safe.

"We're going to require sampling of all material that comes out
of there," says Bernie MacIsaac of Indian and Northern Affairs.

This summer, the federal government entered into a temporary
agreement with Iqaluit city officials that allowed the city and
its contractors to remove stockpiled gravel. But the federal
government says the agreement's testing requirements weren't
being met.

The federal government has now reopened the pit to restricted
extraction. It says it will work with the city to find a new and
affordable gravel site. Meanwhile, the city is also working with
a company to clean up the asbestos.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Docufilm Tells of Town's Tragic Experiences
A documentary film set for release this year tells the tragic
story of a sleepy mining town's experience with asbestos. Libby,
Montana, the new non-fictions feature by Drury Gunn Carr and
Doug Hawes-Davis, is about residents of Libby Montana who find
themselves beleaguered by medical and economic questions in the
wake of the mine shutdown and the bankruptcy proceedings of the
former owners.

Libby, a small town in Montana, started out as a logging center,
then when the trees were gone, they turned to mining the earth.
Libby has a mountain that's rich in a fibrous material with
amazing properties. The material doesn't burn easily, and when
it does it expands in only one direction. Its discoverer called
it vermiculite, and it soon found dozens of uses, sold under the
name Zonolite. Primarily used as an insulation material due to
its fire-retardant properties, Zonolite caused Libby's economy
to begin to boom in the 1950s. Soon, 80% of all vermiculite was
being mined in this little town.

People started getting sick with lung problems. Before long, 200
people were dead. The Zonolite operation was eventually
purchased by the notorious chemical company W.R. Grace, and
years later, 92% of those people who worked for the mine more
than 20 years would be dead from lung disease.

Zonolite is, of course, asbestos, and the movie somberly
discusses the devastating impact asbestos mining has had on
Libby for the last century. The mines are gone, but the memories
remain. A scant few survivors, who are unable to get off the
couch due to decreased lung capacity, remain to tell their
tales. The film is mainly concerned with the fact that no one
bothered to tell the workers about the dangers of asbestos.
Management just shrugged it off. No one even wore respirators
until the 1960s.

Zonolite's manufacturers had stumped for Zonolite to be used for
everything. It wasn't just good for insulation, it was a great
soil conditioner, it could be pressed into building materials,
and there was even a recipe for making cookies out of it.

Even a decade after the plants had been shut down and razed,
asbestos was everywhere in Libby. The latter half of the film
involves the EPA's arrival in Libby in 1999, and the debate over
whether to name Libby as a Superfund site or not. The
bureaucratic wrangling that ensues is just as tragic as the
medical problems the asbestos created.

Nearly 1,500 people in the small town have been diagnosed with
some form of asbestos-related lung disease, and the U.S. Public
Health Service estimates that at least one-third of the
population have some form of lung problems.

Libby, Montana will soon be released to theatrical, broadcast
and educational markets.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Asbestos Anxiety Earns Man Landmark Payout
A former asbestos worker has won a payout worth hundreds of
thousands of dollars because he suffers from a psychiatric
condition connected to his fear of dying from an asbestos-
related disease.

The Supreme Court in Perth has ruled that Arthur Della
Maddalena, a worker at the asbestos mine in Western Australia,
is entitled to compensation from CSR, which owns Mildalco,
formerly known as Australian Blue Asbestos. In a unanimous
decision, the Court ruled that Mr. Maddalena, now 61, had
suffered psychiatric injury caused by exposure to asbestos,
despite the fact that he does not suffer from mesothelioma.

Mr. Maddalena began legal action against CSR and its subsidiary
Midalco in 1994, but District Court Judge Michael O'Sullivan,
who was not convinced the former mill worker had suffered any
psychiatric injury, dismissed his claim in 2002.

Mr. Maddalena was one of 42 Italian immigrants who worked at
Wittenoom in the early 1960s and only three of those men are
still alive. He watched his brother die from mesothelioma and
fears he will have the same torturous death. He told the court
his brother's long, painful death had been terrifying.

"[I was] always thinking about the way I'm going to end up, like
my friends, also in hospital, dying of mesothelioma," he said.
"It's the worst thing you can see a person die, not even a dog
you would see dying like that. It's very, very painful."

His lawyer, Tim Hammond, said his quality of life had been
severely impeded because of his psychiatric condition. He
suffers from anxiety, depression, panic attacks and
sleeplessness caused by the chronic fear that has ruined his

Asbestos Diseases Society President Robert Vojakovic said, "I
think this is the first case in history where psychiatric injury
has been recognized because he's disabled, both physically and
mentally, as a result of exposure to asbestos at Wittenoom when
he worked for CSR."

In his findings, Justice Templeman ruled that "the appellant has
suffered a psychiatric injury caused by his exposure to asbestos
while in the employ of at least one of the respondents at
Wittenoom and that his injury was caused by the respondents'
negligence." The Western Australian District Court has yet to
assess the claim for compensation.

It is believed to be the first time in Australia a claim has
been successful on the basis of a purely psychiatric injury
being caused by asbestos exposure, without a physical injury
also being present. Mr. Vojakovic said he believed the case
would set a precedent and lead to many more such cases.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Ashfield Creates New Asbestos Guidelines
Earlier this week, the Ashfield Council in Sydney's inner west
voted to require that renovators and developers comply with new
guidelines on the potentially fatal product. Councilors
overwhelmingly endorsed the measure as western Sydney
municipalities move the asbestos debate from compensation to

The certificate, which will be required for development
applications, is the headline grabber in a three-pronged
approach that will see Ashfield establish an asbestos register
and lobby state government for greater powers to access and
remove the deadly fiber from private properties.

Ashfield is like many Australian suburbs where asbestos was the
building material of choice right up until the early 1980s. As
many as 8,000 homes and businesses in the Ashfield Council area
could have asbestos in them.

Councilor Mark Bonnano said he knows that asbestos can remain
safely intact for years, but if it's disturbed the fibers can be
deadly. That's why he says the next wave of victims are likely
to be do-it-yourself renovators who aren't aware of the asbestos
in their homes. He added, "Obviously, if it's dangerous, it will
have to go but if it is intact it will be added to the register
which potential buyers or renovators will be able to access."

Ashfield Council is the first in New South Wales to adopt
tougher measures for dealing with asbestos, but there is
interest from at least 12 other councils in New South Wales
alone. Asbestos victims groups have been lobbying some state
governments to go even further to make it compulsory for those
selling their homes to be subjected to asbestos certification.

Offering resistance to the move, Rowen Kelly, President of the
Real Estate Institute of New South Wales welcomes the policy on
renovations, but he doesn't see the need for a blanket
certification on homes.

Garrett Purtill, a policy advisor in the ACT, said, "That's why
we've put the legislation in place, put a taskforce in place, so
that we can say to people, look, there is an orderly way by
which this thing will be addressed. It will not affect property

Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union state secretary
Andrew Ferguson hopes other local councils will adopt similar

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: James Hardie Industries Won't Bypass Courts
James Hardie Industries appears to have given up on its proposed
statutory scheme that would allow a NSW government tribunal to
decide payouts based on a formula, according to a source close
to the negotiations.

Hardie seems to have already abandoned its original plan to
eliminate the current system, in which victims sue through the
courts. The concession would be a major victory for unions and
asbestos disease victim groups, which have entered talks with
Hardie following the discovery of a shortfall of up to $2
billion in the trust the company set up to cover future claims
of those exposed to its asbestos products.

The company had originally argued that a statutory scheme would
be essential to making it affordable to the company, saying
legal fees accounted for $400 million of its estimate of $1.5
billion in future liabilities. Hardie spokesman John Noble said
recently that the company was talking about "solutions" rather
than specific statutory schemes.

The Australian Council of Trade Union movement's public position
has been that the company must continuously fund the liabilities
- now about $60 million to $70 million a year - to the trust,
the Medical Research and Compensation Foundation. The parties
have held two rounds of formal talks, and a further meeting may
be held this week. Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia
vice-president Bernie Banton said that he feels the negotiations
are moving forward.

ACTU secretary Greg Combet said Hardie had yet to state publicly
that it would make an unconditional commitment to pay all future
asbestos liabilities. Unions have mounted a campaign against the
company, including encouraging voluntary bans on its products by
local councils, builders and consumers. Hardie has argued that
the bans are counterproductive, hurting workers and reducing the
company's capacity to pay future compensation.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Residents Oppose Planned Asbestos Station
Following a direct request by Alliance MLA David Ford, Minister
for the Environment Angela Smith MP has agreed to hear at first
hand the concerns of Crumlin residents opposed to the proposed
asbestos transfer station.

Upon hearing that the Planning Service was still recommending
approval for the asbestos station, Mr. Ford wrote to the
Minister repeating his request that she meet with the local
people. The Minister readily agreed to meet a local delegation
led by Mr. Ford and Councilor Thomas Burns.

Mr. Ford said that although it seems that the Minister is now
prepared to treat this matter seriously, many residents still
have many concerns with the behavior of some of Ireland's

The much-anticipated meeting will most likely take place in
early November. The representatives of Crumlin community and the
councilors have already met on previous occasions to discuss the
approach to be taken at the meeting.

"It is now up to the Minister to ensure that all the responsible
officials, in Planning Service and in Waste Management give an
account of their actions past and present," concluded Mr. Ford.

ASBESTOS ALERT: BlueLinx Directs Claims to Georgia-Pacific Corp.
Originally a lumber outlet division owned by paper and building
products giant Georgia-Pacific Corp., BlueLinx Holdings Inc.
released a statement that its company cannot be held legally
liable for Georgia-Pacific's asbestos product liability claims.

BlueLinx, the country's largest supplier of construction
products, was formed after being acquired by investment firm
Cerberus Capital Management.

Georgia-Pacific and many other companies are defendants in suits
brought in various courts around the nation by plaintiffs who
claim that they have suffered personal injury as a result of
exposure to products containing asbestos. These suits allege a
variety of lung and other diseases resulted from alleged
exposure to products previously manufactured by Georgia-Pacific.
These liabilities relate primarily to joint system products
manufactured by Bestwall Gypsum Company and Georgia-Pacific's
gypsum business. Georgia-Pacific discontinued using asbestos in
the manufacture of these products in 1977.

The assets sold to BlueLinx by Georgia-Pacific do not include
the joint systems products, Georgia-Pacific's gypsum business or
any other products containing asbestos. In addition, the terms
of the asset purchase agreement specifically provide that
Georgia-Pacific retains, and will hold BlueLinx harmless against
all obligations and liabilities arising out of any product
liability claims with respect to Georgia-Pacific's products.

Furthermore, BlueLinx states that the determination of damages
awarded in products liability cases may be difficult to predict.
It admits that asbestos claims could adversely impact its
selling, general and administrative expenses in the event that
Georgia-Pacific or its affiliates fail to fulfill their
obligations under the asset purchase agreement or Georgia-
Pacific fails to defend product liability claims brought against

Company Profile:
Georgia Pacific Corp
133 Peachtree St., NE
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404-652-4000
Fax: 404-230-1674

2003 Sales (mil.)   ś11,389.4
1-Year Sales Growth   13.0%
2003 Net Income (mil.)   ś142.8
2003 Employees         61,000

Georgia-Pacific, the paper and building products giant, is #2 in
the world behind International Paper. Other businesses focus on
manufacturing and distributing building products (plywood,
lumber, oriented strand board, gypsum wallboard, particleboard,
adhesives), and bleached pulp and paper. The company sold 60% of
its Unisource Worldwide distribution segment in 2002, and in
2004 agreed to sell its building products distribution business.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Neighbors Worry Over Renovation at Ohio Clinic
The neighbors of OVMC's Dillonvale Health Clinic are
apprehensive over the renovation work being conducted at the

Carolyn Herron, one of the neighbors, says asbestos is being
blown out of the building, while floor tiles containing the
dangerous substance are removed inside. She has a daughter with
asthma and a boyfriend with emphysema, and fears the fans
sitting in the clinic doorway, while sealed, are blowing
asbestos out into the open.

The company doing the work, Norris Environmental Inc of St.
Clairsville, says the work is not hazardous at all. The fans in
the doorway are HEPA filters, which remove even the tiniest
invisible asbestos particles from the air. The asbestos floor
tiles are not even a substance regulated by the Southeastern
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency or local health

The EPA has never cited the company for any violation. For
larger jobs, it keeps a third party on hand for supervision of
the work.

Company Profile:
Norris Environmental Inc.
68011 Vineyard Rd.
St. Clairsville, OH  43950
Phone:  740-695-6827
Fax:    740-695-6820

Norris Environmental Inc. specializes in asbestos removal,
building inspections, and air monitoring. Services are provided
to both commercial and residential clients. It is fully insured
and licensed in both Ohio and West Virginia.  In October 1996,
Norris Environmental Services was purchased by USFilter Recovery
Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of United States Filter

ASBESTOS ALERT: County Judge Declares WVU Lawsuit A Class Action
A suit against West Virginia University seeking medical care and
monetary damages from asbestos exposure has been certified as a
class action by a Kanawha County Circuit Court judge.

Judge Tod J. Kaufman found it "credible" that the claims of an
estimated 5,600 people share a significant risk of asbestos-
related disease due to their exposure to asbestos as WVU
employees. Any full-time WVU employee on the Morgantown campus
who has worked there for a total of five years from 1986 to the
present could become a party in the suit, according to a
statement by Becky Lofstead, WVU spokeswoman. Judge Kaufman
ordered the defendants to provide plaintiffs' counsel the names
and addresses of all past and present employees falling within
the definition.

The certification in no way implies a decision on the merits of
the case, and is simply a procedural ruling on who can be a
plaintiff in the lawsuit, according to university officials.

Litigation to classify the suit as a class action was brought
forward in 2000, when six WVU employees wanted the university to
provide medical monitoring concerning possible health-related
problems. Plaintiffs want WVU to establish and maintain a
medical monitoring program for those exposed to asbestos. They
also are seeking an undisclosed monetary settlement, contending
they suffered emotional distress brought on by the exposure.

Sam Nadler Jr., a WVU mathematics professor, filed a complaint
with the Monongalia County Health Department in 1998. The health
department then inspected Armstrong Hall and declared it
unsuitable for use.

According to WVU officials, the litigation against the school
means "any state or public agency with asbestos-containing
materials in their buildings may be subject to similar class
action." They said that WVU's Environmental Health and Safety
unit has strictly adhered to all EPA guidelines for monitoring
and managing the condition of asbestos in the school's

"WVU remains committed to an aggressive, proactive asbestos
abatement and management program in our campuses for the safety
of all employees, students and visitors," school officials said.
"Beyond this statement, WVU officials do not plan to comment
further on the pending litigation."

ASBESTOS ALERT: TN Residents Raise Alarm Over KCDC Demolition
Residents of east Knoxville's Austin Homes neighborhood are
appalled over the danger they've been facing ever since a
demolition crew has started knocking down the 23 buildings in an
area of Austin Homes.

Knoxville Community Development Corp. is heading the project to
create more green space.  Neighbors are increasingly worried
over the debris left behind. They believe that the poisonous
substance poses a hazard, especially to their children.

Eric Sewell had to move out of one of the buildings set for
demolition. He now lives across the street, facing the first
section being demolished. He said, "They just opened and busted
the top of it and let the asbestos just flow around through the
projects and people breathe it. It might not take effect on them
right now, but eventually it will."

However, KCDC President Alvin Nance said that none of the
asbestos is the airborne kind. He says it was in the glue used
to install the floor tile during the 1930's and doesn't pose a
major health threat. He said none of the buildings will be
knocked down until an asbestos removal team takes it all out and
they'll follow all state and city regulations for removal.

The demolition Company says it will take four months to knock
down all the buildings. They have six to eight men crews working
eight hours a day Monday through Friday until they're done. The
demolition crew has been instructed to remove debris as they
knock down each building.

Meanwhile, KCDC asks parents to keep their kids away from the
debris until it's removed.

Company Profile:

Knoxville's Community Development Corporation
901 Broadway NE, Knoxville
TN 37917
Phone: (865) 403-1100
Fax:   (865) 594-8791

Knoxville's Community Development Corporation, commonly known as
KCDC, is the housing authority and redevelopment agency for
Knoxville. Since 1936, KCDC has been dedicated to enhancing the
quality of life for the citizens of Knoxville. In three decades,
KCDC has grown from administering two housing developments to
overseeing 12 developments. The agency has expanded the role of
a public housing agency to include social services, and has
become the City's redevelopment agency.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Worker Offered $20T to Drop Case V. BHP Billiton
Geoff Arbon, a former boilermaker and welder in the shipyards of
BHP Billiton, received a compensation offer of AUD20,000 after
being diagnosed with pleural plaques on his lungs, a non life-
threatening indicator of exposure to asbestos.

Mr. Arbon worked for more than a decade in the poisonous
atmosphere of the old Whyalla Shipyards, exposed to the
substance on a daily basis. Now facing health problems, he is
having to gamble on his life - either ignore a compensation
offer from his old employers BHP Billiton, or take the money and
hope he never has to claim for anything more serious.

At last count, 69 former workers associated with asbestos
exposure at the shipyards have died of mesothelioma or related
diseases. Up to 20,000 employees worked in the shipyards over 37
years when they were a central part of South Australia's

He left the shipyards in the 70s, later working for BHP in other
capacities. Then, three years ago, he developed a cough he
couldn't shake. He got it checked out last year and found he had
pleural plaques on his lungs. They are not dangerous in
themselves, but people who get them sometimes develop other

When the test results came back, BHP had a surprise offer of
AUD20,000 in compensation, including AUD2,000 to redeem future
medical and other expenses.

"I thought: '#@*%, there must be something going on. In one
breath they're saying there's nothing wrong with me, and in
another breath, here's AUD20,000,'" he said.

Now 55, he works as an operator of heavy machinery for a company
called Multiserve and is worried about his health and an unknown
future. He would not accept the offer since he says if this was
going to kill him, then that amount certainly is not going to
help his wife survive.

A spokeswoman for BHP Billiton said it could not comment on
individual cases.

Jane McDermott, a partner in the Adelaide office of law firm
Slater & Gordon, said the health and financial considerations
were "far reaching" if people developed mesothelioma or other
asbestos-related diseases after agreeing to the offer. Under
South Australian workers compensation law, workers are allowed
to finalize only one claim against their employer.

"The AUD20,000 is a flat, one-off payment but an average claim
for mesothelioma or an asbestos-related cancer would be
AUD300,000," she said.

Company Profile:
BHP Billiton Limited
BHP Billiton Centre
180 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000
Phone: (61) 1300 55 47 57
Fax: (61 3) 9609 3015

2004 Sales (mil.)        ś12,663.4
1-Year Sales Growth   46.6%
2004 Net Income (mil.)   ś1,882.9
1-Year Net Income Growth  79.1%
2004 Employees    35,070

BHP Billiton is the world's largest diversified resources
company. Formed from a merger between BHP and Billiton, the
company brings together an exceptional mix of quality, low-cost
resource assets. The company boasts of a unique breadth and
quality of products, which includes aluminum, base metals,
carbon steel materials, diamonds and specialty products, energy
coal, and petroleum.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Health Dept's Probe of Vets Home Exposes Threats
The Health Department is considering the imposition of penalties
as recent investigation revealed that workers at the state
Veterans Home in Lisbon were exposed to asbestos when their
supervisor directed them to tear out a powerhouse ceiling
without protective gear.

The incident happened in April but the state was not notified
until July 27, when the North Dakota Public Employees
Association wrote to the state Risk Management Agency. Risk
Management asked the Health Department to investigate and called
the Veterans Home the same day.

Three maintenance employees, James Steele, Al Lere, and Chuck
Even, plus one resident to work on the one-day task were said to
be involved in removing the boards from the ceiling. When the
workers noticed that the boards were stamped Fiberboard
Asbestos, they notified Bob Nelson, the maintenance supervisor,
and were promptly instructed to keep working. The material was
dumped in a nearby tree row, where it remained for about four

"Mr. Nelson replied that he had been removing asbestos for years
and it hadn't done anything to him," wrote NDPEA's Kelly Noack.

Ken Wangler, manager of the state Radiation and Indoor Air
Quality Program, said that although the workers suffered little
exposure to the cancer-causing substance and residents of the
home and Lisbon likely weren't exposed, the Health Department is
nevertheless considering enforcement action. The supervisor who
ordered the work should have consulted state officials or
licensed asbestos handlers, he said.

In response, Veterans Home Administrator Neal Asper said the
employees' exposure was low and the size of the job was so
small, most people would do it themselves. NDPEA's letter is
"not the way it happened," said Mr. Asper, who questioned the
group's motivation and why the letter was written months after
the incident. But he said Bob Nelson, the maintenance supervisor
who ordered the work done, should have sought a professional

As soon as the Health Department was notified in late July, it
ordered the Veterans Home to hire a licensed asbestos-handling
firm to haul away the piles. It was cleaned up within three

The employees didn't report the incident because they feared
retaliation, said NDPEA Executive Director Chris Runge. It was
important to report it in case a future workers' compensation
claim arises, she said. Mr. Asper said there would have been no
retaliation and the workers should have immediately gone to the
facility's safety committee, where he serves as chairman.

Mr. Wangler said state penalties for improper asbestos handling
range from a warning to a fine of US$10,000 per violation per
day, but he said any action against the Veterans Home would not
be severe.

Company Profile:

North Dakota Veterans Home
1400 Rose St
Lisbon, ND 58054
Phone: (701) 683-6500
Fax: (701) 683-6550

Veteran Homes were established by an Act of Congress in 1887.
Certain lands were set aside in a number of states and
territories for the establishment and maintenance of homes for
Veteran Union Soldiers. The North Dakota Veterans Home was
established in 1891 and has been in operation since 1893. The
North Dakota Veterans Home is owned and operated by the State of
North Dakota and is currently providing care to North Dakota
veterans and spouses.

ASBESTOS ALERT: UK Hospital Staff Alarmed Over Asbestos Hazards
Maintenance workers at the city's Leeds General Infirmary and St
James's Hospital believe their health is being put at risk by
the failure to get to grips with the deadly dust. They are
urging health authorities to come clean about the scale of the
asbestos problem in the hospital.

They have begun official grievance procedures against senior
management, claiming they are being kept in the dark about the
amount and whereabouts of the asbestos. One staff member said
that significant amounts of asbestos had been found in plant
rooms, storerooms and even in areas where air conditioning
systems were maintained.

He added, "They have failed to provide us with adequate
information, proper protection or health checks. Our health is
potentially being put at risk and no one seems to be concerned
except us. Ultimately, the patients could also be in danger."

Representatives from the union, Unison, one of the bodies acting
for the staff, have now written to Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS
Trust "to seek important answers about the asbestos on site."
Regional officer Imelda Bennett said, "The situation is
certainly unacceptable - and we are finding it as hard as the
staff to gain answers. What we need is a clear understanding of
how much asbestos there is, where it is, and to ensure that
adequate precautions are being taken."

The hospitals' age, dating as far as the Victorian period, mean
that throughout the years, asbestos has regularly been used as a
building material, until its eventual ban in the late 1980s.
The cost of ridding the sites of the fibrous material is an
estimated GBD30 million to GBD35 million. However, it will take
years to overhaul the areas with asbestos and some of it may
never be removed, as often it may be safer to leave asbestos

Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust said it had worked hard to
meet exacting health and safety standards in dealing with
asbestos. A spokesman said that the Trust is committed to
respond fully to any concerns that may be raised.

"Asbestos is a common material in older buildings and the
problems faced by this Trust are by no means unique. However,
national guidance makes it clear that complete removal is only
one of several options to consider, based on risk assessment. In
some cases, it is potentially more dangerous to remove asbestos
than to leave it undisturbed," said the Trust spokesman.

He explained that a comprehensive strategy recommended by the
Health & Safety Executive is in place, combining risk
management, prioritization, removal and containment.

Company Profile:

Leeds General Infirmary and St James's Hospital
Trust Headquarters
Beckett Street, Leeds
Phone: 0845 4647

The Combination of the Leeds General Infirmary with the Seacroft
and St. James's teaching Hospitals has made it the largest
teaching hospital in Europe. St James's and Seacroft University
Hospitals NHS Trust is a large acute trust which has 1388-1500
beds/cots and over 6,000 staff. The Trust deals with around
330,000 out-patients, 70,000 in-patients, 50,000 day cases and
delivers approximately 4,500 babies in the maternity unit per
annum. As well as providing a comprehensive range of high
quality health services to its local catchment population of
342,000, the Trust also provides services for the rest of the
Yorkshire Region and beyond in a number of highly specialist

ASBESTOS ALERT: Contractor Sues Hilton For Refurbishment Deal
Builder Leighton Contractors has initiated Federal Court
proceedings against the Hilton Group and nine other parties over
the asbestos-plagued $182 million Sydney Hilton refurbishment

During the preliminary hearings, Leighton applied for discovery
of a raft of documents concerning asbestos, fire safety and
other issues at the building prior to the signing of the
construction contract in August 2002.

Appearing before Judge Graham Hill, Mallesons Stephen Jaques
partner Peter Perther claimed Leighton might have a case against
the respondents for allegedly misleading and deceptive conduct
before Leighton entered the construction contract.

Apart from the Hilton Group, the named respondents included:
Sunrise Resources (Aust) Ltd; Page Kirkland Management Pty Ltd;
HLA-Envirosciences Pty Ltd; Tyco Australia Pty Ltd; Linker &
Barker Pty Ltd and four individuals.

Leighton also applied for court orders for a number of these
respondents to appear to explain the terms on which the Hilton
Group, prior to the signing of the construction contract,
employed them.

Company Profile:

Hilton Hotels Corporation
9336 Civic Center Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone: 310-278-4321
Fax: 310-205-7678

Employees    :           70,000
2003 Sales (mil.)  :           ś2,147.4
1-Year Sales Growth  :   50.4%
2003 Net Income (mil.)  :   ś92.2
1-Year Net Income Growth:   (17.2%)

The company's lodging empire includes some 2,000 hotels.
Hilton's hotels mostly are located in the US, but the company
does manage and own some properties in about 15 other countries.
Hilton also operates nearly 30 vacation ownership resorts in the
US and owns the famed Waldorf-Astoria and Palmer House Hilton
hotels in New York and Chicago, respectively.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Brazilian Victim Was Not Warned of Asbestos Risk
A former employee of Brasilit, a building materials company,
claims to have received no warning from his employer about the
dangers asbestos posed on its workers.

Sebastiao Alves da Silva, 67 years old, is a victim of
asbestosis, the disease caused by the toxic fibers blocking his
lungs. He served as the company's health and safety adviser to
its employees for many years. He later became a bandeira, a
leader or "flag-waver" for a generation of workers who have
fought a decade-long battle to bring a class action against
their former negligent employers.

Brasilit, owned by French multinational Saint-Gobain, said they
have been unaware of risks during the years of production in the
60s up to the 80s. Saint-Gobain employs 173,000 workers in 47
countries and has been operating in Brazil since 1937.

Finally in August this year, Judge Teresa Rodrigues dos Santos
made an unprecedented ruling that the company Eternit, also
owned by Saint-Gobain until December 2003, would have to
compensate the 2500 claimants by up to $160 million. The
payments will be a lifetime pension and a lump sum for moral

Asbestosis can lie dormant for 30 to 40 years before eventually
being discovered, giving the victim a life expectancy of about
two years. Many of those who brought the action were first
contacted at the funerals of others. The legal wheels are still
turning for the claims against Brasilit.

France banned asbestos in 1997 and all production stopped. Annie
Thebaud-Mony is a member of the international Ban Asbestos
Network and France's National Association for the Defense of
Asbestos Victims. She said, "We still don't have real prevention
against places that still have asbestos. We have more than 1,300
cases known each year of cancers caused by asbestos, but the
real figure is more like 3,000." She added that the cases hinge
on "indisputable proof" of the illness being caused by just
asbestos, which is difficult to prove. So only 2000 of these
cases have been successful in five years.

Fernanda Giannasi has worked at the Brazilian Ministry of
Employment for 21 years and gained international fame after
waging a fierce campaign to ban the toxic substance. She
acknowledges that for the first time, the problem of asbestos is
being taken seriously.

"There's been some small individual success but with meager
compensation. This is an action which recognizes victims and
condemns the company," she said.

To ban asbestos would bring huge unemployment to states such as
Goias, where 200,000 people are involved in the production
chain. Exports are worth in excess of $30 million to Brazil
every year.

The companies had profits when the workers were healthy and now
they are trying to continue earning profits when they are sick.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sebastiao, who became a founding member of Abrea,
a victims' association, lies in a hospital bed hoping that what
happened to him will be not happen to a single other person

Company Profile:

Saint-Gobain plc
81 Aldwych London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7400 8800
Fax: +44 (0)20 7400 8899

The Saint-Gobain Group is a worldwide corporation headquartered
in France. The company employs over 172,000 people in 46
countries, and has an annual turnover of ś20 billion. In the UK
and Ireland, Saint-Gobain has built a strong presence since
establishing its first major base in 1985. Today, the company
consists of over 40 subsidiary businesses, involved in a range
of manufacturing and building materials distribution activities.
Together, these companies employ around 18,000 people and have
total annual sales of over ś2.2 billion.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Aurora Workers Exposed to Asbestos in Old Lights
Several Aurora Energy employees may have been exposed to deadly
asbestos in Tasmania's old street lighting equipment.

The Electrical Trades Union raised the alarm last week after two
workers revealed they came in contact with asbestos while
replacing old street light fittings on the Brooker Highway. They
were reportedly not wearing protective gloves or masks.

In the wake of the incident, Aurora Energy is conducting an
independent review of its procedures for handling asbestos in
the old streetlights. It has suspended a program to replace up
to 5000 of the pre-1980s streetlights still in service across
the state.

ETU state secretary Kevin Harkins is worried many more workers
and meter readers may have inadvertently come in contact with
asbestos and other hazardous materials. He demands that all
lights containing asbestos must be identified. He expressed
apprehensions that a number of workers may have already been
exposed to the material over the years.

"It is a bit lax that this has been allowed to happen when there
is a long-term program to replace old street light fittings,"
Mr. Harkins said. He was also concerned that some old meter
boxes contained asbestos sheeting and meter readers could have
asbestos dust blown in their faces.

Aurora's Network Services manager Rob Kingsley said Aurora had
detailed procedures for handling and disposing of asbestos and
street lighting capacitors containing polychlorinated biphenyls
or PCBs.

"The concerns raised by our workers are being taken seriously
and all employees involved in handling these materials will
undertake refresher training to ensure all the correct
procedures are followed," said Mr. Kingsley. A consultant's
review, he said, would ensure procedures met best practice.

Company Profile:

Aurora Energy Pty Ltd
21 Kirksway Place, Hobart
Tasmania 7001
Phone: 1300 13 2045/ 1800 800 753.

Aurora Energy is the only electricity retailer and distributor
on the Tasmanian mainland. It operates at sites right around
Tasmania. The company also has employees on the Bass Strait
islands, where it provides a contract power delivery service to
customers on behalf of Hydro Tasmania. Aurora Energy purchases
the majority of its bulk electricity from Tasmania's principal
generation business, the Hydro-Electric Corporation, trading as
Hydro Tasmania.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Landlord Charged for Violating the Clean Air Act
The owner of a Hayward building complex has been charged in
federal court with releasing asbestos into the air during a
renovation.  Clifford Cheng was charged last week in the U.S.
District Court in Oakland with negligent release of a hazardous
air pollutant, a violation of the federal Clean Air Act.

In the fall of 2000, Mr. Cheng hired a contractor to renovate a
group of buildings on Main Street and Maple Court. During a
visit to the site, an inspector with the Bay Area Air Quality
Management Division found four dumpsters and piles of
construction debris that contained asbestos, authorities said.

Workers at the site didn't have adequate protective clothing,
and "there were clouds of dust throughout the inside and
immediately outside" the site, a court document said.  Mr. Cheng
"knew that this material [at the complex] contained asbestos,"
the document said.

ASBESTOS ALERT: EPA fines 2 NV Businesses US$50T for Violations
The owners of a restaurant and a motel on Lake Tahoe's south
shore will pay a combined US$50,000 fine for an asbestos
violation.  The owners of Mulligan's Irish Pub and the
neighboring South Lake Tahoe Super Eight Motel agreed to the
fine in a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection

EPA officials said the two companies had been accused of
violating the Clean Air Act by failing to notify officials of
improper asbestos removal and disposal during renovation work in
2001. Deborah Jordan of the EPA's Air Division in Los Angeles
discovered that during the remodeling of Mulligan's Irish Pub in
July 2001, the EPA and the California Air Resources Board
observed improper disturbance and disposal of asbestos-laden
ceiling material.

She said asbestos is a hazard if not handled properly. Asbestos
material also was found outside in the open air, exposing the
general public and workers to the potentially fatal substance.
"The EPA and the California Air Resources Board will continue to
do inspections and enforce any asbestos removal violations to
ensure companies follow the rules to protect public health,"
said Ms. Jordan.

                 New Securities Fraud Cases

APOLLO GROUP: Charles J. Piven Files Securities Fraud Suit in AZ
The law offices of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities
class action on behalf of shareholders who purchased, converted,
exchanged or otherwise acquired the common stock of Apollo
Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:APOL) between March 12, 2004 and September
14, 2004, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
District of Arizona. 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. No class
has yet been certified in the above action.

For more details, contact the Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven,
P.A. by Phone: The World Trade Center-Baltimore, 401 East Pratt
Street, Suite 2525, Baltimore, MD 21202 by Phone: 410/986-0036
or by E-mail: hoffman@pivenlaw.com

APOLLO GROUP: Schatz & Nobel Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in AZ
The law firm of Schatz & Nobel, P.C. initiated a lawsuit seeking
class action status in the United States District Court for the
District of Arizona on behalf of all persons who purchased the
securities of Apollo Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL) ("Apollo")
between March 12, 2004 and September 14, 2004 (the "Class

Apollo provides higher education to working adults through its
subsidiaries, The University of Phoenix, Inc., University of
Phoenix Online, Institute for Professional Development, The
College for Financial Planning Institutes Corporation and
Western International University, Inc. The Complaint alleges
that Apollo and certain of its key officers violated securities
laws by making misrepresentations in connection with its student
recruiting practices. On September 15, 2004, the Wall Street
Journal published an article entitled "Will Apollo's Bad Report
Card Get Its Shares Grounded?" in which the author reported that
Apollo sales personnel were rewarded for enrolling
underqualified students, in violation of federal regulations. On
this news, shares of Apollo fell $1.41 per share to close at
$78.68 per share on September 15, 2004.

For more details, contact Wayne T. Boulton or Nancy Kulesa of
Schatz & Nobel toll-free by Phone: (800) 797-5499 by E-mail:
sn06106@aol.com or visit their Web site: http://www.snlaw.net

CONVERIUM HOLDING: Zwerling Schachter Lodges NY Securities Suit
The law firm of Zwerling, Schachter & Zwerling, LLP ("Zwerling
Schachter") initiated a class action lawsuit in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York on
behalf of all persons and entities who purchased securities
(ADSs) of Converium Holding AG ("Converium" or the "Company")
(NYSE: CHR) between December 11, 2001 and July 20, 2004,
inclusive (the "Class Period"). The deadline to file a motion
seeking to be appointed lead plaintiff is December 3, 2004.

The complaint charges that Converium and two of its officers,
Dirk Lohmann, and Martin Kauer, violated Sections 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder. Specifically, it alleges that the
defendants failed to disclose and misrepresented the following
material adverse facts, which were known to defendants or
recklessly disregarded by them:

     (1) that Converium maintained inadequate loss reserves in
         its Converium North America subsidiary;

     (2) that the Company did not, as it had announced,
         establish adequate loss reserves to cover claims by
         Converium North America policy holders;

     (3) that reserve increases announced by the Company during
         the Class Period were materially insufficient; and

     (4) as a consequence of the understatement of loss
         reserves, Converium's earnings and assets were
         materially overstated during the Class Period.

On July 20, 2004, the Company announced that its second quarter
results would be impacted by a reserve strengthening for US
casualty business and subsequent asset impairments on the
balance sheet of Converium North America. On this disclosure,
shares of Converium collapsed $11.12 per share, or approximately
44 percent, on July 20, 2004, to close at $13.90 per share.

For more details, contact Shaye J. Fuchs, Esq. or Jayne Nykolyn
of Zwerling Schachter by Phone: 1-800-721-3900 or by E-mail:
sfuchs@zsz.com or jnykolyn@zsz.com

INTELLIGROUP, INC.: Charles J. Piven Files Securities Suit in AZ
The law offices of Charles J. Piven, P.A. initiated a securities
class action behalf of shareholders who purchased, converted,
exchanged or otherwise acquired the common stock of
Intelligroup, Inc. (NASDAQ:ITIGE) between May 1, 2001 and
September 24, 2004, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
District of Arizona against defendant Intelligroup and one or
more of its officers and/or directors. 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. No class has yet been certified in the above action.

For more details, contact the Law Offices Of Charles J. Piven,
P.A. by Phone: The World Trade Center-Baltimore, 401 East Pratt
Street, Suite 2525, Baltimore, MD 21202 by Phone: 410/986-0036
or by E-mail: hoffman@pivenlaw.com

INTELLIGROUP INC.: Schatz & Nobel Lodges Securities Suit in NJ
The law firm of Schatz & Nobel, P.C. initiated a lawsuit seeking
class action status in the United States District Court for the
District of New Jersey on behalf of all persons who purchased
the securities of Intelligroup Inc. (Nasdaq: ITIGE)
("Intelligroup") between May 1, 2001 and September 24, 2004 (the
"Class Period").

On August 11, 2004, Intelligroup announced that Deloitte &
Touche LLP was resigning as the Company's independent auditor.
Thereafter, on August 17, 2004, Intelligroup announced that it
was delaying the filing of its second quarter 2004 Form 10-Q.
Finally, on September 24, 2004, Intelligroup announced that it
was restating its previously issued financial statements for the
years 2001, 2002 and 2003. On this news, Intelligroup shares
fell 32% to close at $1.13 per share. The Complaint alleges that
Intelligroup and certain of its key officers violated the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and seeks to recover damages on
behalf of purchasers of Intelligroup securities during the Class

For more details, contact Wayne T. Boulton or Nancy Kulesa of
Schatz & Nobel toll-free by Phone: (800) 797-5499 by E-mail:
sn06106@aol.com or visit their Web site: http://www.snlaw.net

PETMED EXPRESS: Bernstein Liebhard Lodges Securities Suit in FL
The law firm of Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP initiated a
securities class action lawsuit in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Florida, on behalf of all
persons who purchased or acquired PetMed Express, Inc. (NASDAQ:
PETS) ("PetMed" or the "Company") securities (the "Class")
between June 18, 2003, and July 26, 2004, inclusive (the "Class

Plaintiff charges PetMed, Menderes Akdag, Marc Puleo, and Bruce
S. Rosenbloom with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that the Company
failed to disclose and misrepresented the following material,
adverse facts which were known to defendants or recklessly
disregarded by them:

     (1) the Company's business model only enabled the company
         to experience sustained financial growth because the
         model shifted costs to veterinarians (who are the
         Company's competitors);

     (2) the business model made the Company dependent on the
         cooperation of veterinarians to fill prescriptions;

     (3) the defendants could not guarantee the quality, safety
         or efficacy of PetMed drugs because, as an unauthorized
         reseller of many products, the Company had to obtain
         such products through unauthorized channels, prompting
         veterinarians to refuse refilling prescriptions through
         PetMed; and

     (4) as a result, the Company's financial results were not
         sustainable, causing the stock to trade at artificially
         high prices. During the Class Period, while PetMed's
         stock price was inflated, Defendants and Company
         insiders sold almost $65 million in privately held
         PetMed's stock.

On July 26, 2004, defendants shocked the market when they
belatedly disclosed that the Company was operating well below
defendants' previous guidance and that PetMed revenues and
earnings were well below plan. Shares of PetMed fell $2.07 per
share or 29.70 percent, on July 26, 2004, to close at $4.90 per

For more details, contact Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, LLP by
Phone: (800) 217-1522 by E-mail: PETS@bernlieb.com or visit
their Web site: http://www.bernlieb.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


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless Hills,
Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick, Maryland
USA.   Glenn Ruel Se¤orin, 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
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without
prior written permission of the publishers.

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

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

                  * * *  End of Transmission  * * *