/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/050422.mbx             C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Friday, April 22, 2005, Vol. 7, No. 79


AIKEN REGIONAL: Faces Uninsured Patients' Lawsuit in SC Court
ALABAMA: Judge Set To Approve $5.5M ALDOT Pollution Settlement
ALASKA: Nurse Lodges Suit To Keep Address Out of Public Records
AON CORPORATION: IL Court Preliminarily Approves Suit Settlement
AON CORPORATION: Faces Consumer Fraud Lawsuits in Various Courts

BLOCKBUSTER INC.: Employees Launch Overtime Wage Lawsuit in TX
CALIFORNIA: Racial Bias Suit Lodged V. MTC Over Funding Patterns
CALIFORNIA INTERNATIONAL: Recalls 5T Products For Choking Hazard
FEDEX CORPORATION: Former Drivers Files Suit Over Benefits in IL
GENERAL MOTORS: Continues To Face Suits Over Paint on Vehicles

GENERAL MOTORS: Faces 79 Passenger Vehicle Antitrust Lawsuits
GENERAL MOTORS: Working To Settle CA, DE Shareholder Fraud Suits
GERMANY: Attorneys Gear Up For New U.S.-Style Class Action Law
GOODYEAR TIRE: Asks OH Court To Dismiss Securities Fraud Suits
GOODYEAR TIRE: Continues To Face Property Damage Suit in S.D. OH

HAEMALKN SIKPOOM: Recalls Cookies Due To Undeclared Ingredients
HERCULES INC.: Reaches Settlement For Antitrust Suit in C.D. CA
HERCULES INC.: NY Court Dismisses Claims in Agent Orange Suit
KMART CORPORATION: Recalls 16T Candle Sets Due To Burn Hazard
MASSEY ENERGY: Faces Property Damage Lawsuits in WV State Court

MASSEY ENERGY: 7 Subsidiaries Face Property Damage Suits in WV
MASSEY ENERGY: Working To Resolve Suits V. WV Mining Activities
MERCK & CO.: Judge Appoints Firm as Co-Led Counsel in ERISA Case
NEW YORK: Suit Launched V. Daily News Over Sweepstakes Blunder
NORTH DAKOTA: Farmers Hope To Meet USDA Head, Ask For Moratorium

PUBLIC STORAGE: Plaintiffs Withdraw Consumer Fraud Lawsuit in CA
TENNESSEE: Judge Praises Improvement, Hints at Lifting Oversight
THORATEC CORPORATION: Shareholders File Securities Suits in CA
TITAN CORPORATION: Plaintiffs Lodge Consolidated Lawsuit in CA
TITAN CORPORATION: CA Securities Suit Dismissed in Part

TITAN INC.: Asks CA Court To Dismiss Securities Fraud Lawsuit
TRISTAR FOOD: Recalls Lotus Roots Due To Undeclared Sulfites
UNITED KINGDOM: High Court Ruling Derails Railtrack Legal Action
UNIVERSAL HEALTH: PA Court Hears Motion To Dismiss Stock Lawsuit
UNIVERSAL HEALTH: Seeks Removal of RICO Suit To NV Federal Court

VIRGINIA: Appeals Court Denies Motion To Rehear Headset Lawsuits

                         Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Met-Pro Asserts Claims Are Without Merit
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Ex-workers of WR Grace Plant in FL at Risk
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Hanson Close to Concluding Asbestos Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Owens Corning Judge Reaffirms $7B Estimate
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Hardie to Compensate Victims in NSW Town

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Georgia Enacts Asbestos Reform Bill 416
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Woman Requests Certification for Cases
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: UK Council Warns Flytippers of GBP20T Fine
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Kaiser Ventures LLC Faces 17 Pending Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Three Claims V. Champion Parts Remain Open

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Home Renovators at Risk of Asbestos Illness
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Widow Settles for GBP157T from British Rail
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Lawmakers Plan Inquiry Into WR Grace Issue
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: AU Unveils Breakthrough Diagnostic Method
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Asclear Meets Concerns Raised by Community

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Reunion Named in 2,400 Suits Since 2001
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Doe Run Corp. Faces Suits Claiming Exposure
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CDRV Investors Reveals VWR Named in Suits
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Katy Industries Faces 4 Suits by Ex-workers
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: DC Court Reverses Order V. 8 Boiler Makers

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Goodyear Settles Liabilities With Equitas
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Denmark Asks India to Return Toxic Vessel
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Mobil Fined Nearly $1M for Polluting UT Air
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Fire at Former WR Grace Plant Prompts Fears
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Family of Dead Victim Can Now Pursue Claims

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: SA Victims Applaud Plan to Speed Up Cases
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Minister Says He Can't Rule on Drug Subsidy
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Affirms Denial of Benefits to Retiree
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Senate Faces Vote on Bill for Asbestos Fund
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Man Charged with Disposal Violations in OH

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NSW Air Force Says Tests Reveal Low Risks
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Students Urged to Undergo Medical Screening
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Demolition Plans Worry Swansea, UK's Locals
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Plan to Pass Liability to Councils Opposed
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NJ Officers Trail Illegal Asbestos Dumpers

ASBESTOS ALERT: Court Orders School to Pay GBP21T for Violations
ASBESTOS ALERT: Inspection Reveals Asbestos in Hospital Complex
ASBESTOS ALERT: EPA Cites 3 PA Catholic Schools for Violations
ASBESTOS ALERT: Homeowner Says Builder's Advice Put Him at Risk
ASBESTOS ALERT: Universal Supply Group Faces Suits in NJ Court

                  New Securities Fraud Cases

BLUE COAT: Brodsky & Smith Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CA
CELL THERAPEUTICS: Schoengold Sporn Lodges Securities Suit in WA
DORAL FINANCIAL: Scott + Scott To Launch Securities Fraud Suit
ELECTRONIC ARTS: Wechsler Harwood Lodges Securities Suit in CA
SHARPER IMAGE: Baron & Budd Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CA

SHARPER IMAGE: Lasky & Rifkind Files Securities Fraud Suit in CA
WATCHGUARD TECHNOLOGIES: Pomerantz Haudek Files Stock Suit in WA


AIKEN REGIONAL: Faces Uninsured Patients' Lawsuit in SC Court
Aiken Regional Medical Centers, Inc., a subsidiary of Universal
Health Services, Inc. faces a class action filed in South
Carolina State Court, designated Case No. 04-CP-02-1275.

The complaint, filed by the plaintiff individually and on behalf
of other unnamed, putative class members, alleges that the
Company breached its contract with the plaintiff (and other
putative plaintiffs), or in the alternative the Company was
unjustly enriched, by virtue of billing and collecting full
hospital charges from the plaintiff and other putative class

ALABAMA: Judge Set To Approve $5.5M ALDOT Pollution Settlement
Circuit Judge Charles Price said that he would approve a $5.5
million settlement in a class-action lawsuit by Coliseum
Boulevard area residents, which was filed against the Alabama
Department of Transportation (ALDOT) more than four years ago,
The Montgomery Advertiser reports.

Originally, the suit had claimed the department contaminated the
residents' land. Attorneys for both sides have already agreed to
the settlement terms.  Court documents revealed that ALDOT had
been accused of disposing chemicals and solvents in ditches,
which eventually got into groundwater and nearby neighborhoods
and suburbs. In addition, a plume developed and extended into
parts of Chisholm, Eastern Meadows and Vista View.

The attorneys decided to settle after months of negotiations
involving a mediator and after at least 100 witnesses gave
pretrial testimonies.  Under the settlement, residents will
receive 5 percent of their 2003 property values, while the
attorneys for the residents will receive approximately one-third
of the total amount of the settlement.

ALASKA: Nurse Lodges Suit To Keep Address Out of Public Records
In an attempt to keep her personal address out of the public
files, Maryjane Hinman, a Juneau nurse, who is represented by
the Alaska Civil Liberties Union, filed a class action lawsuit
against the state of Alaska, The Anchorage Daily News reports.

The suit centers on nurse's complaint that her address was made
public through her professional licensing file. Specifically,
she stated that that her address is available on a state
Division of Occupational Licensing Web site. Jason Brandeis, an
attorney with the ACLU told The Anchorage Daily News that her
address could also be obtained by purchasing a compact disc or
filing a public records request.  He added that the case looks
at the balance between opening up public information and
protecting a person's private rights. In this case, he pointed
out, private rights need to prevail. He said that keeping an
address in a public file does not further the state's mission of
regulating professions and ensuring the public is receiving safe
and adequate services.

However, a director with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of
the Press said this information is valuable to reporters and
watchdog groups, which use addresses to verify a person's
identity. Rebecca Daugherty, Freedom of Information Service
Center director for the group based in Virginia told The
Anchorage Daily News, "We've been very concerned with the real
drive to take off residential addresses from public records."
She also adds that she would not object to someone asking for an
exception in the case of domestic abuse or stalking, but the
exception should not become the rule for everyone.

Patrick Dougherty, editor of the Daily News, said there's a
clear public interest in the credentials of certain
professionals, including nurses. He points out, "This lawsuit
attempts to undermine public access under the mistaken
impression that the plaintiff's problem will be solved. In 30
minutes, I was able to find Ms. Hinman's address in half a dozen
different public sources, including reference books that are
standard in any public library. That will be true whether she
succeeds or fails in her lawsuit."

Licensing information and addresses for architects, dietitians,
real estate brokers and other professionals are publicly
available at http://www.commerce.state.ak.us/occ/through the
link called "Professional license search."

Mr. Brandeis said that Ms. Hinman contacted the ACLU in
Anchorage, concerned about her right to privacy and a general
fear of stalkers getting personal information. He said, "We did
some research, and we determined that this was an egregious
violation of not only her right to privacy but the rights of
privacy of all licensed nurses in the state."

According to Mr. Brandeis, Ms. Hinman's suit is a class-action
suit on behalf of all registered nurses in Alaska. Michael
Macleod-Ball, executive director of the Alaska ACLU affiliate
told The Anchorage Daily News that the ACLU, along with other
Alaska lawyers, volunteered to advise Ms. Hinman and help her
file the suit in the Alaska Superior Court. The defendants
include the state: Edgar Blatchford, commissioner of the state
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development and
Rick Urion, director of the state Division of Occupational

Ms. Hinman's complaint states that she was required to give a
mailing address when she applied for a license in Alaska. Valid
addresses included her business or home address or a post office
box, Mr. Brandeis said. Ms. Hinman's employer did not want her
receiving personal mail at work.  Ms. Hinman contends that she
didn't think she should have to pay for a post office box. Since
2000, Ms. Hinman asked the state several times to stop making
her address public, Mr. Brandeis told The Anchorage Daily News.

Barbara Gabier, chief of licensing for the state Division of
Occupational Licensing, told The Anchorage Daly News that her
division has heard similar complaints and has told people their
address is considered public information. "So we're not allowed
to withhold it," she pointed out.

AON CORPORATION: IL Court Preliminarily Approves Suit Settlement
The Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois granted preliminary
approval to the settlement of a class action fled against Aon
Corporation, styled "Daniel v. Aon (Affinity)."

Several suits were initially filed against Aon subsidiaries
Affinity Insurance Services Inc. and K&K Insurance Group,
alleging that they entered into "profit-sharing" relationships
with the underwriters without disclosing the income to their
policyholder clients.  The suit seeks to determine whether the
Company's having received or being eligible for receipt, without
consent of its clients, undisclosed commissions or 'kickbacks'
in connection with the placement of insurance, violates the
fiduciary or confidential obligations imposed under Illinois
law, according to an earlier Class Action Reporter story (August

The suit was filed on behalf of of current or former
policyholders of the Aon Corporation, Aon Group, and Aon
Services Group as class members alongside lead Plaintiffs Alan
S. Daniel and the Williamson County (Illinois) Agricultural
Association.  On July 28, 2004, the Court granted plaintiff's
motion for class certification.  On March 9, 2005, the Court
gave preliminary approval to a nationwide class action
settlement within the $40 million reserve established in the
fourth quarter of 2004.

The suit is styled "Daniel v. Aon (Affinity), case no. 1999-CH-
11893," filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois,
under Judge Julia M. Nowicki.  Plaintiff Alan S. Daniel is
represented by HARTUNIAN FUTTERMAN & HOW, 122 S. Michigan 1850,
Chicago IL 60603, Phone: (312) 427-3600.  The Company is
represented by KIRKLAND & ELLIS LLP, 200 E. Randolph Dr.,
Chicago IL 60601, Phone: (312) 861-2000

AON CORPORATION: Faces Consumer Fraud Lawsuits in Various Courts
Aon Corporation and other insurance companies face a number of
putative class actions have been filed by purported clients
under a variety of legal theories, including state tort,
contract, fiduciary duty, and statutory theories, and federal
antitrust and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations
Act theories (RICO).

These actions are currently pending at early stages in state
court in California and Florida and in federal court in
Illinois, South Carolina and New Jersey.  The Company believes
it has meritorious defenses in all of these cases, and intends
to vigorously defend itself against these claims, it stated in a
regulatory filing.

BLOCKBUSTER INC.: Employees Launch Overtime Wage Lawsuit in TX
A lawsuit filed in the U.S. federal court in Dallas is accusing
video rental giant Blockbuster Inc. of refusing to pay past
overtime to office employees, The Dallas Business Journal

Specifically, the suit alleges that Blockbuster tricked
employees into thinking they were not entitled to overtime they
had already worked. A former Blockbuster employee on behalf of
other current and former employees filed the suit as a
collective action. Unlike class actions, a collective action
requires potential participants to opt in to the lawsuit.
Represented by Dallas attorney Matthew D. Hill, Kendra Shapiro
is the named plaintiff in the suit.

According to the lawsuit, Blockbuster converted a large number
of employees from salaried to hourly in summer 2004, telling
them through meetings, memos and publications that they were not
entitled to previously worked overtime. The suit further states
that the company began paying employees for overtime only after
the conversion and did not compensate employees for overtime
worked before the conversion.   The suit seeks damages for
overtime wages worked by employees in Blockbuster's Dallas and
McKinney offices in the three years leading up to the conversion
from salaried to hourly classifications.

Mr. Hill, a lawyer representing the workers, told The Dallas
Business Journal that he has not learned from Blockbuster how
many employees were affected. He estimates though that hundreds
of workers are owed money with a potential recovery for some
workers of more than $100,000 with the total amount owed
employees reaching several million dollars.

The suit comes on the heels of a proxy fight between Dallas-
based Blockbuster (NYSE:BBI) and billionaire financier Carl
Icahn, a recent $630,000 settlement the company paid to settle a
class action suit regarding it "No Late Fees" campaign and a
recent announcement the company could cut as much as 30 percent
of its staff in a cost savings effort.

CALIFORNIA: Racial Bias Suit Lodged V. MTC Over Funding Patterns
A federal lawsuit has been initiated in a California court
against the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)
alleging that it violates East Bay minority bus riders' civil
rights by funneling money away from AC Transit to favor mostly
white, suburban BART and Caltrain riders, The Inside Bay Area

Represented by attorneys including the federal government's
chief civil rights lawyer during the Clinton administration's
later years, the plaintiffs' alleged that Caltrain's ridership
is 60 percent white and that the agency gets a $13.79 federal
and state subsidy per rider, while BART's ridership is about 43
percent white, with a $6.14 subsidy per rider. However,
according to the plaintiffs, AC Transit, with a ridership of
around 21 percent white, gets a per-rider subsidy of only $2.78,
based on data for 1989 through 2003 from the National Transit

Attorney Bill Lann Lee, paraphrasing the "separate but equal"
racial segregation doctrine struck down by the U.S. Supreme
Court in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision of
1955 told The Inside Bay Area, "There's a separate but unequal
transit system."

Mr. Lee, who was the U.S. Justice Department's Assistant
Attorney General for Civil Rights from 1997 through 2001, also
reiterated that this is no accident and accused the MTC of
investing billions in expanding rail services for predominately
white suburbs while denying money to bus projects serving
minority-heavy inner cities.   The MTC, which is the nine-county
Bay Area's transportation planning, financing and coordinating
agency, is responsible for funneling state and federal money to
local transit agencies.

Early in his career, Mr. Lee was a civil rights attorney in Los
Angeles who helped file a 1994 class-action civil rights lawsuit
similar to this one. That case had resulted in a 1996 consent
decree forcing the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation
Authority to improve the city's bus system and make the bus
system and transit-dependent riders its top funding priority.

Plaintiffs in the federal suit include, Sylvia Darensburg, 45,
who is a mother of three teenagers, lives in East Oakland, works
as an administrative assistant in downtown Oakland and is
pursuing a biology degree at Chabot College in Hayward. Ms.
Darensburg told The Inside Bay Area that she relies on AC
Transit yet must wait hours and change buses often to get where
she's going as fares continue to rise.

The case's other named plaintiffs are Virginia Martinez, a
Richmond mother of four whose family relies on AC Transit to get
to school, work, shopping, church and leisure; Vivian Hain, an
East Oakland mother of three whose household's car only works a
few weeks per month; Communities for a Better Environment, a
nonprofit environmental health and justice group; and the
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192, comprised mostly of AC
Transit drivers, mechanics and other workers.

The lawsuit says a longstanding pattern of race discrimination
by the MTC exists, violating the plaintiffs' equal protection
rights under the 14th Amendment as well as federal and state
civil rights laws.

CALIFORNIA INTERNATIONAL: Recalls 5T Products For Choking Hazard
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC), California International Trading, of Los Angeles,
California, is voluntarily recalling about 5,000 Light-up
Pacifiers, New Style Pianos, and High Toys Choochoo Toy Trains.

The pacifiers and toys can easily break apart, exposing small
parts. This poses a choking hazard to young children.  The
recall includes one type of pacifier (Light-up Pacifiers) and
two types of toys (New Style Pianos and High Toys Choochoo Toy
Trains). The Light-up Pacifier is a plastic pacifier, which also
acts as a whistle. When a button on the pacifier's handle is
pushed, the pacifier lights up with flashing LED lights. The New
Style Piano is a battery operated musical piano, which measures
about 6 inches across and comes in orange and blue colors. The
High Toys Choochoo Toy Train is a battery operated train that
measures about 8 inches across and 5 inches high. The main body
of the train is light blue with red wheels, with tiny foam balls
contained inside its pink smokestack.

Manufactured in China, the products were sold at swap meets and
flea markets in the Los Angeles area from July 2004 through
February 2005 for between $1 and $2.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled pacifiers and
toys away from young children and call California International
Trading to find out how to get a refund and postage
reimbursement.  Consumer Contact: For additional information,
contact California International Trading toll-free at
(800) 416-4491 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through

FEDEX CORPORATION: Former Drivers Files Suit Over Benefits in IL
Former delivery drivers initiated a class-action lawsuit against
FedEx Corporation alleging that the company wrongfully denied
them benefits and avoided paying a range of expenses, The
Associated Press reports.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, the three named
plaintiffs in the suit allege that they were victims of what
amounted to a bait-and-switch. They further allege that they
took the jobs with the understanding that they would be
independent contractors, but soon learned they were subject to
the same restrictions as employees of the company without
receiving any benefits employees are afforded.

Plaintiffs pointed out that while they drove their own vehicles,
paid for gas and repairs and did not receive any benefits such
as health insurance or automobile insurance, they were required
to work a minimum number of hours for FedEx and were also
prohibited from driving for other delivery companies.

The former drivers' attorney Michael A. Johnson of Chicago
argued, "They are using them as employees and not giving them
any employee benefits. They're not getting health insurance, car
insurance, life insurance, retirement benefits, nothing." He
also pointed out to The Associated Press that because the
contractors must buy or lease the trucks and purchase uniforms,
even if they don't like the working conditions they continue to
drive for the Memphis, Tennessee-based company because they
cannot afford not to. "They're stuck with a big box truck with
Federal Express on it. What are they going to do with that?" he

For its part, FedEx spokesman David Westrick told The Associated
Press that while he had not seen the lawsuit and the company
does not comment on pending litigation, its hiring of
independent contractors is perfectly legal. He also adds, "We
have been using independent contractors since our inception in
1985 and more than 120 agencies and regulatory bodies have
upheld our model over the years. We plan to vigorously defend
the model because we think it works for the vast majority of our
contractors and customers."

Mr. Johnson alleges that FedEx has saved hundreds of millions of
dollars over the years by classifying workers as independent
contractors rather than employees.

GENERAL MOTORS: Continues To Face Suits Over Paint on Vehicles
Six putative nationwide and statewide class actions are pending
against General Motors Corporation in state and federal courts
alleging that the paint or paint application process used on
some GM vehicles was defective due to the omission of a primer
surfacer layer.  Generally, plaintiffs allege that GM's failure
to disclose the alleged paint defect is a fraudulent omission
and a violation of various states' consumer protection laws.

There are three purported nationwide suits, styled:

     (1) Christian Amedee and Louis Fuxan v. General Motors
         Corporation, et al., filed in the Civil District Court
         for the Parish of New Orleans, State of Louisiana on
         March 24, 1995,

     (2) Cherise Miller, et al., v. General Motors Corporation,
         United States District Court for the Northern District
         of Illinois, filed on April 8, 1998 (the court
         determined that plaintiffs had not demonstrated that
         they could meet the requirements for certification of a
         nationwide class), and

     (3) Rose Ann Hayes v. General Motors Corporation et al.
         filed on May 22, 2001 in the Circuit Court for Madison
         County Illinois

Two are California statewide class actions - "Eddie Glorioso v.
General Motors Corporation" and "Scott Arnold v. General Motors
Corporation," - consolidated in Superior Court for the City and
County of San Francisco, California, both filed in July 1998.

Another suit, styled "Scott Haverdink v. General Motors
Corporation, Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County,
Pennsylvania," filed on May 16, 1999, is a putative Pennsylvania
statewide class action.  "Darryl Oshanek v. General Motors
Corporation and General Motors of Canada, Limited," filed in the
Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada, on June 2, 1999, is a
putative class action on behalf of residents of British
Columbia, has been dismissed.

GENERAL MOTORS: Faces 79 Passenger Vehicle Antitrust Lawsuits
General Motors Corporation faces seventy-nine purported class
actions on behalf of all purchasers of new motor vehicles in the
United States since January 1, 2001, filed in various state and
federal courts against it, General Motors of Canada Ltd. and
other automotive companies, namely Ford, Daimler Chrysler,
Toyota, Honda, Nissan and BMW and their Canadian affiliates, the
National Automobile Dealers Association and the Canadian
Automobile Dealers Association.

The federal court actions have been consolidated for coordinated
pretrial proceedings in federal court in the State of Maine and
the more than 30 California cases have been consolidated in
state court in San Francisco, California.  The nearly identical
complaints allege that the defendant manufacturers, aided by the
association defendants, conspired among themselves and with
their dealers to prevent the sale to United States citizens of
vehicles produced for the Canadian market and sold by dealers in
Canada.  The complaints allege that new vehicle prices in Canada
are ten to thirty percent lower than those in the United States
and that preventing the sale of these vehicles to United States
citizens resulted in the payment of supracompetitive prices by
United States consumers.  The complaints, as amended, seek
treble damages under federal and state antitrust laws, but do
not specify damages.  The complaints further allege unjust
enrichment and violations of state unfair trade practices act.

No determination has been made to certify any of these cases as
a class action. On March 5, 2004, the Court in Maine issued a
decision holding that the purported indirect purchaser classes
failed to state a claim for damages and allowed a separate claim
seeking to enjoin future alleged violations to continue.

GENERAL MOTORS: Working To Settle CA, DE Shareholder Fraud Suits
General Motors Corporation is working to resolve two
consolidated class actions filed in Delaware and California
courts, alleging the Company and its directors breached their
fiduciary duties to their stockholders.

On April 11 and 14, 2003, two purported class actions, styled
"Young v. Pearce, et al." and "Silverstein v. Pearce, et al.,"
were filed in Delaware Chancery Court on behalf of owners of GM
Class H shares against the Company, Hughes Electronics
Corporation, News Corporation and the Hughes directors.

On April 11 and 15, 2003, two purported class actions, styled
"Matcovsky, et al., v. Hughes Electronics Corporation, et al.,"
and "Brody v. Hughes Electronics Corporation, et al.," were
filed in Superior Court in Los Angeles, California, against the
Company, Hughes, and the Hughes and GM directors.

Two purported stockholder class actions which name only the
Company and the GM directors have been brought in Delaware
Chancery Court challenging the agreements with News Corporation
- "Wyser-Pratte Management Company v. General Motors
Corporation, et al.," which was filed April 18, 2003, and
"Robert LaMarche v. General Motors Corporation, et al.," which
was filed April 28, 2003.

The Delaware cases have been consolidated in the Delaware
Chancery Court and the California cases have been consolidated
in state court in Los Angeles and plaintiffs in both cases have
filed consolidated complaints.

The Delaware cases allege that the Company and its directors
performed ultra vires acts and that the directors breached their
fiduciary duties by approving a transaction that is more
favorable to the holders of GM $1-2/3 par value common stock
than the holders of GM Class H Common stock. They claim that the
holders of GM Class H Common Stock were treated unfairly

     (1) the Company received mostly cash for its shares while
         the holders of GM Class H Common Stock received News
         Corp. American Depositary Shares (ADSs) that may
         fluctuate in value,

     (2) the Company received a $275 million payment from

     (3) a substantial number of shares of GM Class H Common
         Stock were contributed to various GM employee benefit
         plans prior to announcement of the deal to improve the
         prospects of shareholder approval, and

     (4) the transaction was announced just prior to the
         announcement of improved financial results at Hughes
         and PanAmSat to make it appear that holders of GM Class
         H Common Stock would receive a premium that would
         exceed the 20 percent recapitalization premium provided
         for in the GM Restated Certificate of Incorporation, as

The California cases allege that the transactions involving News
Corp.'s acquisition of a 34% interest in Hughes provides
benefits to the Company not available to all GM Class H
shareholders, in violation of fiduciary duties. The new
consolidated complaints are similar to the original complaints,
except that the Delaware complaint adds allegations challenging
the adequacy of the disclosures in the Consent Solicitation and
only names the Company and members of the GM board of directors
as defendants. Plaintiffs in both cases seek unspecified

The Company has moved to dismiss the Delaware cases and
plaintiffs are seeking to amend their complaint. In the
California cases, the claims against directors without any
connection to California have been dismissed and the
consolidated case has been stayed pending a ruling on the motion
to dismiss the Delaware consolidated complaint.

GERMANY: Attorneys Gear Up For New U.S.-Style Class Action Law
German attorneys are now gearing up for key reforms modeled on
U.S.-style `class action' proceedings, which will make it easier
for investors to pursue claims against major companies, The
Legal Week reports.

According to legal experts, for the first time ever, a new law,
which is known as the Capital Investors Model Proceedings Act,
will allow individual investors to file group claims, a key
feature of U.S. securities litigation. It is set to come into
effect in November in what promises to be a major cultural shift
for Germany's legal community.

The new legislation, which has received mixed welcome, is part
of a bid by the German Government to improve corporate
accountability in a country where executives have shown little
regard for shareholder power. It promises, according to the
government, to be a major upturn in securities litigation.  The
reforms though stop short of allowing the use of contingency
fees, which enable claimant lawyers to charge a percentage of
damages as fees.

Legal experts point out that under a claim already filed by
15,000 investors in Frankfurt's Regional Court against Deutsche
Telekom, the new law's scope is expected to quickly receive a
high-profile test.  The court has delayed the proceedings, which
allege that the telecoms giant overstated its property assets to
inflate the price of stock offered to the public until the new
statute comes into force.

However, despite the prospect of a substantial upturn in
litigation, the new legislation has provoked a mixed response
from the German legal community.

Lovells litigation partner Eckart Wilcke told Legal Week that
the expected surge in investor claims against large companies
was likely to see an increase in the fees generated by
litigation, as clients became more concerned about their
liabilities. "Clients will recognize the importance of the case
and be willing to pay their lawyers higher fees," he added.

Clifford Chance's Fabian von Schlabrendorff also told Legal Week
that the legislation represented a "further push to the already
on-going development of a plaintiff lawyers' industry similar to
that in the United Kingdom and the United States."

Attorneys have criticized the act for lack of detail on how the
legislation will work.  Baker & McKenzie's German head of
litigation, Guenter Pick-rahn, told Legal Week that the
legislation would do little to solve the "procedural nightmare"
facing German courts.   However, Gleiss Lutz litigator Stefan
Ruetzel counters that statement by telling Legal Week,
"Regardless of its imperfections, the new legislation will be a
major step towards effectively enforcing investor rights in the
German courts."

GOODYEAR TIRE: Asks OH Court To Dismiss Securities Fraud Suits
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. asked the United States District
Court for the Northern District of Ohio to dismiss the
consolidated securities class actions filed against it and
certain of its officers and directors.

On October 23, 2003, a purported class action lawsuit was filed
against the Company in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Ohio on behalf of purchasers of its common
stock alleging violations of the federal securities laws.  After
that date, a total of 20 of these purported class actions were
filed against the Company in that court.  These lawsuits also
name as defendants several of the Company's present or former
officers and directors, including:

     (1) current chief executive officer Robert J. Keegan,

     (2) current chief financial officer Richard J. Kramer, and

     (3) former chief financial officer, Robert W. Tieken

The suit alleges, among other things, that the Company and the
other named defendants violated federal securities laws by
artificially inflating and maintaining the market price of the
Company's securities.

Five derivative lawsuits were also filed by purported
shareholders on behalf of the Company in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and two similar
derivative lawsuits originally filed in the Court of Common
Pleas for Summit County, Ohio were removed to federal court. The
derivative actions are against present and former directors, the
Company's present and former chief executive officers and its
former chief financial officer.  The suits allege, among other
things, breach of fiduciary duty and corporate waste arising out
of the same events and circumstances upon which the securities
class actions are based.  The plaintiffs in the federal
derivative actions also allege violations of Section 304 of the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, by certain of the named defendants.

Finally, at least 11 lawsuits have been filed in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio against
the Company, The Northern Trust Company, and current and/or
former officers of the Company asserting breach of fiduciary
claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
on behalf of a putative class of participants in the Company's
Employee Savings Plan for Bargaining Unit Employees and the
Company's Savings Plan for Salaried Employees. The plaintiffs'
claims in these actions arise out of the same events and
circumstances upon which the securities class actions and
derivative actions are based. All of these actions have been
consolidated into three separate actions before the Honorable
Judge John Adams in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Ohio.

On June 28 and July 16, 2004, amended complaints were filed in
each of the three consolidated actions. The amended complaint in
the purported ERISA class action added certain current and
former directors and associates of Goodyear as additional
defendants and the Northern Trust Company was subsequently
dismissed without prejudice from this action.  On November 15,
2004, the defendants filed motions to dismiss all three
consolidated cases and the Court is considering these motions.

GOODYEAR TIRE: Continues To Face Property Damage Suit in S.D. OH
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. continues to face a civil action
filed in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Ohio, Eastern Division, styled "Adkins, et al. v.
Divested Atomic Corporation, et al., case no. C2-98-595."

On June 8, 1998, a civil action was filed against Divested
Atomic Corporation (DAC), the Company and Lockheed Martin Energy
Systems (LMES) on behalf of approximately 276 persons who
currently reside, or in the past resided, near the Portsmouth
Uranium Enrichment Complex, a facility owned by the United
States Department of Energy located in Pike County, Ohio (DOE
Plant).  The plaintiffs allege, on behalf of themselves and a
putative class of all persons who were residents, property
owners or lessees of property subject to alleged windborne
particulates and water run off from the DOE Plant, that DAC
(and, therefore, the Company) and LMES in their operation of the
Portsmouth DOE Plant:

     (1) negligently contaminated, and are strictly liable for
         contaminating, the plaintiffs and their property with
         allegedly toxic substances,

     (2) have in the past maintained, and are continuing to
         maintain, a private nuisance,

     (3) have committed, and continue to commit, trespass, and

     (4) violated the Comprehensive Environmental Response,
         Compensation and Liability Act of 1980

The plaintiffs are seeking $30 million in actual damages, $300
million in punitive damages, other unspecified legal and
equitable remedies, costs, expenses and attorney's fees.

HAEMALKN SIKPOOM: Recalls Cookies Due To Undeclared Ingredients
Haemalkn Sikpoom, Inc., 230 & 250 FOREST DR. - EAST HILLS, NY
11548, is recalling Couque D'asse Coffee Cookies because they
may contain undeclared dairy, egg, and hazelnut ingredients.
Consumers who are allergic to dairy, and/or egg, and/or hazelnut
products may run the risk of serious or life-threatening
allergic reactions if they consume this product.

The recalled Couque D'asse Coffee Cookies, 2.26 oz. (64 g) &
5.08 oz. (144 g) boxes, Code: 2004.10.11A2005.10.10, were sold
in NY, MA, MD, NH, and CT.

The recall was initiated after routine sampling by New York
State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Inspectors and
subsequent analysis by laboratory personnel revealed the
presence of undeclared dairy, egg, and hazelnut ingredients in
Couque D'asse Coffee cookies in packages which did not declare
dairy, egg, or hazelnut ingredients on the label.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this
problem.  Consumers who are allergic to dairy, and/or egg,
and/or hazelnut ingredients and purchased Couque D'asse Coffee
cookies are urged to return them to the place of purchase.
Consumers with questions may contact the company at
(516) 484-9494.

HERCULES INC.: Reaches Settlement For Antitrust Suit in C.D. CA
Hercules, Inc. reached a settlement for the consolidated class
action filed against it in the United States District Court for
the Central District of California, styled "Thomas & Thomas
Rodmakers v. Newport Adhesives and Composites, Case No. CV-99-
07796-GHK (CTx)."

In August 1999, the Company was sued in an action styled as
"Cape Composites, Inc. v. Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd., Case No.
99-08260," one of a series of similar purported class action
lawsuits brought on behalf of purchasers (excluding government
purchasers) of carbon fiber and carbon prepreg in the United
States from the named defendants from January 1, 1993 through
January 31, 1999.  The lawsuits were brought following published
reports of a Los Angeles federal grand jury investigation of the
carbon fiber and carbon prepreg industries.  In these lawsuits,
plaintiffs allege violations of Section 1 of the Sherman
Antitrust Act for alleged price fixing.

In September 1999, these lawsuits were consolidated into the
Thomas & Thomas Rodmakers suit, with all related cases ordered
dismissed.  This lawsuit is proceeding through discovery and
motion practice.  On May 2, 2002, the Court granted plaintiffs'
Motion to Certify Class.  The Company is named in connection
with its former Composites Products Division, which was sold to
Hexcel Corporation in 1996.

During the third quarter of 2004, the Company learned that four
of its co-defendants had reached settlements with the
plaintiffs.  Those settlements were approved by the court on
January 31, 2005.  On February 25, 2005, the Company reached a
settlement in principle with the plaintiffs for $11.25 million.
The settlement is subject to court approval.   The Company has
denied and continues to deny liability to plaintiffs but entered
into the settlement to avoid the risks, uncertainties and costs
inherent in litigation.  The settlement was agreed to by the
Company without any admission of liability.

HERCULES INC.: NY Court Dismisses Claims in Agent Orange Suit
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New
York dismissed the twenty-three lawsuits, including two
purported class actions filed against Hercules, Inc.  Plaintiffs
filed the suits, alleging that exposure to Agent Orange caused
them to sustain various personal injuries.

On February 9, 2004, the court issued a series of rulings
granting several motions filed by defendants in the two cases
that had been remanded to the U.S. District Court by the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on remand from the U.S.
Supreme Court, namely "In re: Agent Orange Product Liability
Litigation: Joe Isaacson, et al v. Dow Chemical Company, et al.
and Daniel Ray Stephenson, et al. v. Dow Chemical Company, et
al.; (MDL 381, CV 98-6383 (JBW), CV 99-3056 (JBW)))."

In relevant part, those rulings held that plaintiffs' claims
against the defendant manufacturers of Agent Orange are properly
removable to federal court under the "federal officer removal
statute" and that such claims are subject to dismissal by
application of the "government contractor defense."  The Court
then dismissed plaintiffs' claims, but stayed its decision to
allow plaintiffs to obtain additional discovery and to move for
reconsideration of the Court's decision.  A hearing on the
motion for reconsideration was held on February 28, 2005.  By
Orders dated March 2, 2005, the Court denied reconsideration,
lifted the stay of the earlier decision, and dismissed
plaintiffs' claims in all twenty-three pending lawsuits.  The
Company anticipates that plaintiffs will appeal the dismissals
of their claims.

KMART CORPORATION: Recalls 16T Candle Sets Due To Burn Hazard
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC), Kmart Corporation, of Troy, Michigan and Global Gift
Industries, of San Diego, California is voluntarily recalling
about 16,000 Martha Stewart Everyday "sunny meadow" four-piece
sanded votive candle sets.

These candles can have a high flame, posing a risk of burn
injuries to consumers. Kmart has received one report of a high
flame with these candles. No injuries were reported.

These scented, flowerpot-shaped candles are about 2.5-inches
high and have a sand coating. They were sold in two different
four-piece sets. One set containing three candles of different
shades of green and one ivory candle with code number KMS8428
and UPC number 7 50197 88428 9. The other set contains a blue,
white, orange and cream colored candle with code number KMS8427
and UPC number 7 50197 88427 2. The code numbers and UPC can be
found in the white box on the bottom of the packaging. Other
writing on the packaging includes, "MARTH STEWART everyday" and
"sunny meadow."

Manufactured in China, the sets were sold at all Kmart stores
nationwide from April 2004 through January 2005 for about $6.

Consumers should stop using these candles immediately and
contact Global Gift Industries to request a free replacement
product, or return them to any Kmart store for a full refund.

Consumer Contact: Call Global Gift Industries toll-free at
(800) 622-6353 Ext. 255 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday
through Friday, or send an E-mail: cservice@lavaenterprises.com.

MASSEY ENERGY: Faces Property Damage Lawsuits in WV State Court
Massey Energy Co. and 12 of its subsidiaries face litigation,
alleged that defendants illegally transported coal in overloaded
trucks, causing damage to state roads, thereby interfering with
plaintiffs' use and enjoyment of their properties and their
right to use the public roads.  Plaintiffs seek injunctive
relief and unquantified compensatory and punitive damages.

An advocacy group representing residents in the Counties of
Boone, Raleigh and Kanawha, West Virginia, and other plaintiffs,
filed 16 suits in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, West
Virginia filed the suit in January 2003.  The Supreme Court of
Appeals of West Virginia referred the consolidated lawsuits, and
three similar lawsuits against other coal and transportation
companies not involving the Company's subsidiaries, to the
Circuit Court of Lincoln County, West Virginia, to be handled by
a mass litigation panel.

In March 2004, seven residents of Mingo County, West Virginia,
filed a similar lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Mingo County,
West Virginia, against the Company and three subsidiaries,
raising similar claims and seeking similar relief. The Supreme
Court of Appeals referred this case to the mass litigation panel
also.  The plaintiffs in all five trucking cases have requested
that the cases be further consolidated, the scope of their
claims be expanded statewide, claims be added against land
companies, and class action status be granted.

MASSEY ENERGY: 7 Subsidiaries Face Property Damage Suits in WV
Seven of Massey Energy Co.'s subsidiaries, along with
approximately 170 other companies, face 35 separate complaints
alleging flood and property damage, now pending in the Circuit
Court of Raleigh County, West Virginia, before a mass litigation

Several suits were initially filed in the Circuit Courts of
Boone, Fayette, Kanawha, McDowell, Mercer, Raleigh and Wyoming
Counties, West Virginia, filed since July 2001.  These cases
cover approximately 2,200 plaintiffs who filed suit on behalf of
themselves and others similarly situated, seeking unquantified
damages for property damage and personal injuries arising out of
flooding that occurred on or about July 8, 2001. The Supreme
Court of Appeals of West Virginia transferred these cases, along
with approximately 21 additional flood damage cases not
involving the Company's subsidiaries, to the Circuit Court of
Raleigh County, West Virginia, to be handled by a mass
litigation panel.  On August 1, 2003, the panel certified nine
questions to the Supreme Court of Appeals, which were answered
on December 9, 2004.

In August 2004, five of the same seven subsidiaries of the
Company were named in six civil actions filed in Boone,
McDowell, Mingo, Raleigh, Summers, and Wyoming Counties, West
Virginia, seeking unquantified damages for property damage and
personal injuries arising out of flooding on or about May 2,
2002.  These complaints name approximately 360 plaintiffs and 35
defendants.  The Company's subsidiaries responded, filing
motions to dismiss or, in the alternative, for a more definite
statement of the allegations.  These claims are not part of the
mass litigation noted above.

MASSEY ENERGY: Working To Resolve Suits V. WV Mining Activities
Massey Energy Co. is working to resolve two cases filed by
approximately 230 plaintiffs in the Circuit Court of Mingo
County, West Virginia, alleging that the Company's Delbarton
Mining Company's mining activities destroyed nearby residents'
water supplies.

On September 17, 2004, the jury awarded $1.6 million in
compensatory damages. The Court denied plaintiffs' request for a
new trial and litigation costs.  Plaintiffs seek an award of
attorneys' and experts' fees.

MERCK & CO.: Judge Appoints Firm as Co-Led Counsel in ERISA Case
The Honorable Stanley Chesler of the United States District
Court for the District of New Jersey (Trenton) appointed Keller
Rohrback L.L.P. as one of four Co-Lead Counsel for the ERISA
class action brought on behalf of the participants and
beneficiaries in the Merck & Co., Inc. Employee Stock Purchase
Plan, the Merck & Co., Inc. Employee Savings and Security Plan,
the Medco 401(k) Plan, the Merck-Medco Managed Care 401(k)
Savings Plan, and the Medco Health Solutions, Inc. 401(k)
Savings Plan (the "Plans"), who held and/or purchased Merck &
Co.,, Inc. ("Merck") (NYSE:MRK) stock in their Plan accounts
between May 21, 1999 and the present (the "Class Period").

Judge Chesler appointed Keller Rohrback L.L.P., together with
the law firms of Schatz & Nobel, P.S. (Chair), Cohen, Milstein,
Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C., and Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP to
serve on a Co-Lead Counsel Committee, and appointed the law firm
of Trujillo & Rodriguez as Liaison Counsel. The Court also
appointed Lite DePalma Greenberg & Rivas, LLC, Lockridge Grindal
Nauen P.L.L.P., Scott & Scott, and Johnson & Perkinson as
members of a discovery committee for the ERISA plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants breached their ERISA
fiduciary duties by imprudently permitting the Plans to hold and
acquire hundreds of millions of dollars in Merck stock. They did
so despite the fact that Defendants knew or should have known
that Merck stock was not a suitable and appropriate investment
for the Plans, in light of Merck's continued problems with
regard to VIOXX and its poor performance in general.

The law firm of Jennifer Tuato'o of Keller Rohrback L.L.P. by
Phone: (800) 776-6044 by E-mail: investor@kellerrohrback.com or
visit the following Web sites: http://erisafraud.com/merckor

NEW YORK: Suit Launched V. Daily News Over Sweepstakes Blunder
After a public outcry, Moustapha Diop, one of thousands of
phantom winners in a New York Daily News sweepstakes game, asked
a New York state judge to suspend the contest along with a
conciliation drawing instituted by the newspaper, The
Newsday.com reports.

Through his lawyer, Mr. Diop, 49, requested a hearing in State
Supreme Court in the Bronx to seek restitution of the prize
money and damages. Until the hearing can be held, Mr. Diop along
with other aggrieved Scratch n' Match players want the game
suspended.  Referring to two $100,000 winning tickets held by
him and his wife, Mr. Diop, an immigrant from Senegal who works
as a court interpreter told Newsday, "I think I'm a winner, and
I think I should get my money. I want the judge to stop them
(Daily News) ... They are going to rip us off again."

Mr. Diop also added that he had hoped to use the prize money to
buy a house in Queens for his five children, who live with their
parents in a cramped Parkchester apartment. "I feel very
disappointed," he said during a news conference on the
courthouse steps.

Responding to the accusations, Daily News spokeswoman Eileen
Murphy described Mr. Diop's lawsuit, which seeks class-action
status, as "totally without merit." She also said that the paper
would oppose any motion for a restraining order against the
continuation of Scratch n' Match. Furthermore, Ms. Murphy said a
private investigations firm in Floral Park had determined that
the incorrect contest number published on March 19 was because
of a clerical error by D.L. Blair in Garden City, which
administers the sweepstakes. That probe would wrap up "very
soon," although the paper's 33-year relationship with D.L. Blair
"is still under review," she adds.

The Scratch n' Match problem led hundreds of phantom winners to
stand on line for hours outside the Daily News seeking answers.
At least 2,000 have contacted Queens attorney Steven Gildin, who
filed the lawsuit on April 1 in which Mr. Diop is the lead

Mr. Gildin told Newsday, "We're alleging gross negligence - this
has happened before at the Daily News. We also will argue that
this is a breach of contract and consumer fraud." The case is
among at least three filed against the paper the others are on
Long Island and in New Jersey.

About 10,000 people so far have submitted their "winning"
tickets to be eligible for a $1-million conciliation drawing
later this year, according to the Daily News.

NORTH DAKOTA: Farmers Hope To Meet USDA Head, Ask For Moratorium
American Indians alleging discriminatory farm lending practices
by the government hope to meet with the U.S. agriculture
secretary when he visits a farm near Harwood, North Dakota on
April 21, 2005, The In-Forum.com reports.  One message they plan
to deliver: The government should halt foreclosure proceedings
against suing farmers and ranchers until their lawsuit, now past
its fifth year, can be resolved.

Plaintiffs in the national class-action lawsuit including an
estimated 200 from the Fort Berthold and Standing Rock
reservations in North Dakota contend the government has sought
to delay the case with repeated procedural challenges. They also
contend that at the same time, the government has gone ahead
with foreclosures against plaintiffs, instead of agreeing to a
moratorium, as it did in a discrimination lawsuit filed earlier
by black farmers. Agriculture officials though have denied using
stalling tactics in defending the lawsuit.

According to Claryca Mandan, who ranches near Mandaree, on the
Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, the American Indian plaintiffs
are the only class with discrimination complaints in which the
government is forcing them to "offset" their debts by
withholding or collecting other government payments. Ms. Mandan,
who hopes to plead her case with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike
Johanns, who will meet with farmers near Harwood and hold a
public forum at North Dakota State University in Fargo told In-
Forum, "We're receiving even more retaliation by the government.
The way we've been treated by the department in this case is
shameful. We're just asking him to do the right thing."

Last month, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., denied a
government request to bar complaints made verbally with area
USDA farm lending officials or other representatives.  U.S.
District Judge Emmet Sullivan also denied dismissal of claims by
plaintiffs who had sought bankruptcy protection or had filed
federal lawsuits before the class action was filed in 1999.

Ms. Mandan points out, "We have a lot of people who
traditionally follow that practice. We're more of an oral
culture than a written culture."

Tex Hall, chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes at Fort
Berthold told In-Forum, "The judge's ruling represents a
significant win." He also said in a press statement that the
rejection of the government's move to exclude plaintiffs who
made oral complaints keeps many endangered farmers' claims
alive. "We want this suit to be as inclusive as possible to the
thousands of Native Americans who were denied loans and loan
servicing," Mr. Hall adds.

The plaintiffs' lawyers will try once again to halt foreclosures
as the case drags on. By contrast, the government settled with
black farmers two years after their class action was filed.

"It's created a real hardship for many of our plaintiffs,"
according to Ms. Mandan, who also adds, "A lot of these
plaintiffs are elderly now. They just want to go to their graves
with some peace, secure in the knowledge they have something to
pass on to their children."

PUBLIC STORAGE: Plaintiffs Withdraw Consumer Fraud Lawsuit in CA
Plaintiffs withdrew the class action filed against Public
Storage, Inc. in the California Superior Court for Los Angeles
County, styled "Salaam et al v. Public Storage, Inc."

The suit was filed on behalf of a putative class of California
resident property managers who claim that they were not
compensated for all the hours they worked.  The named plaintiffs
have indicated that their claims total less than $20,000 in
aggregate, an earlier Class Action Reporter story (May 26,2004)

On December 1, 2003, the California Court of Appeals affirmed
the Supreme Court's 2002 denial of plaintiff's motion for class
certification.  The maximum potential liability cannot be
estimated, but can only be increased if claims are permitted to
be brought on behalf of others under the California Unfair
Business Practices Act.  The affirmation of denial of class
certification does not address the claim under the California
Unfair Business Practices Act.

TENNESSEE: Judge Praises Improvement, Hints at Lifting Oversight
Federal judge Jon McCalla in Memphis, Tennessee says Shelby
County officials have made tremendous progress correcting jail
problems and hinted strongly that he'll soon lift his court
order imposed four years ago over a class action lawsuit that
held the county in contempt and requires regular reports to him,
The Associated Press reports.

According to Judge McCalla a recent court hearing, "It's just
been phenomenal what's been accomplished." He also praised
Sheriff Mark Luttrell, court-appointed monitor Chuck Fisher and
Robert Hutton an attorney representing jail inmates.

The order came down after years of court battles over a class-
action lawsuit that was filed by Mr. Hutton on behalf of a young
man who was raped by gang members. In 2000, Judge McCalla held
county officials in contempt for failing to stop the violence in
the lockup.

THORATEC CORPORATION: Shareholders File Securities Suits in CA
Thoratec Corporation faces a consolidated securities class
action filed in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California on behalf of purchasers of its
publicly traded securities during the period between April 28,
2004 and June 29, 2004.

Commencing on or about August 3, 2004, several federal
securities law putative class action suits were filed, alleging
the Company and certain of its officers and directors with
violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The
Complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants made
a number of false and misleading statements regarding expected
sales and the market for the HeartMate as a "Destination
Therapy" treatment for end-stage heart failure patients.  As a
result of these statements, Thoratec's stock traded at
artificially inflated levels and defendants were able to
complete a $143.7 million note offering, an earlier Class Action
Reporter (September 30,2004) reports.

These suits were consolidated in a consolidated complaint filed
on or about January 18, 2005.  The complaint seeks to recover
unspecified damages on behalf of all purchasers of the Company's
publicly traded securities during the class period.

TITAN CORPORATION: Plaintiffs Lodge Consolidated Lawsuit in CA
Plaintiffs filed a consolidated stockholder class action in the
Superior Court for the State of California, in and for San Diego
County, against certain of Titan Corporation's officers,
alleging that they breached their fiduciary duties to the
Company's shareholders.

Since April 7, 2004, two stockholder class action complaints
were filed, styled "Paul Berger v. Gene W. Ray, et al. No. GIC
828346," and "Robert Garfield v. Mark W. Sopp, et al., No. GIC
828345."  The fiduciary duty actions purport to be brought on
behalf of all holders of Titan common stock as of April 7, 2004.
The fiduciary duty actions allege, among other things, that the
defendants breached their fiduciary duties by acquiescing in or
condoning the Company's alleged violations of the Foreign
Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by failing to establish adequate
procedures to prevent the alleged FCPA violations, and by
failing, in bad faith, to voluntarily report the alleged FCPA
violations to government officials.  The complaints seek
compensatory damages in respect of the loss of value sustained
by the Company's stockholders as a result of the reduction in
merger consideration payable to them under the terms of the
amendment to the merger agreement with Lockheed Martin delivered
on April 7, 2004.  The two suits have been consolidated and are
now treated, for all purposes, as the "Garfield matter.
Additionally, plaintiffs and defendants have agreed that
defendants are not required to answer or otherwise respond to
the Garfield complaint until the motions to dismiss in the
federal securities action have been denied or granted with

TITAN CORPORATION: CA Securities Suit Dismissed in Part
The United States District Court for the Southern District of
California granted in part the motion to dismiss the
consolidated securities class action filed against Titan
Corporation, certain corporate officers of SureBeam Corporation,
a former subsidiary of Titan, Dr. Gene Ray and Susan Golding, as
SureBeam directors, and certain investment banks that served as
lead underwriters for SureBeam's March 2001 initial public

Several suits were initially filed and later consolidated into
"In re SureBeam Corporation Securities Litigation, case no. 03-
CV-001721-JM (POR)," a single class action for which an amended
consolidated class action complaint was filed on March 24, 2004.
The complaint seeks an unspecified amount of damages.  The
SureBeam class action complaint alleges that each of the
defendants, including the Company, as a "control person" of
SureBeam within the meaning of Section 15 of the Securities Act
of 1933, as amended (the Securities Act), should be held liable
under Section 11 of the Securities Act because the prospectus
for SureBeam's initial public offering was allegedly inaccurate
and misleading, contained untrue statements of material facts,
and omitted to state other facts necessary to make the
statements made not misleading.

The SureBeam class action complaint also alleges that the
defendants, including the Company, as a control person of
SureBeam within the meaning of Section 20(a) of the Exchange
Act, should be held liable under Section 10(b) of the Exchange
Act for false and misleading statements made during the period
from March 16, 2001 to August 27, 2003.  On January 3, 2005, the
court granted in part and denied in part motions to dismiss the
amended consolidated complaint.  The court granted plaintiffs 45
days leave to amend their complaint, which amended complaint has
been filed.

The suit is styled "In re SureBeam Corporation Securities
Litigation, case no. 03-CV-1721," filed in the U.S. District
Court Southern District of California (San Diego), under Judge
Jeffrey T Miller.  Representing the plaintiffs is Darren Jay
Robbins of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman and Robbins, 401
B Street Suite 1600 San Diego, CA 92101 Phone: (619) 231-1058.
Representing the Company is Jeremy E. Pendrey, Alschuler
Grossman Stein and Kahan, 1620 26th Street Suite 400 Santa
Monica, CA 90404 Phone: (310) 255-9179

TITAN INC.: Asks CA Court To Dismiss Securities Fraud Lawsuit
Titan, Inc. asked the United States District Court for the
Southern District of California to dismiss the consolidated
securities class action filed against it and certain of its
officers, styled "In re Titan, Inc. Securities Litigation, No.

Since April 2, 2004, two stockholder class action lawsuits have
been filed against the Company and certain of its officers,
asserting claims under the federal securities laws.  On
September 17, 2004, these class action lawsuits were

The federal securities action purports to be brought on behalf
of all purchasers of Titan common stock during the period from
July 24, 2003 through and including March 22, 2004.  The
complaint seeks an unspecified amount of damages. The complaint
alleges, among other things, that the defendants violated
Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended
(the Exchange Act), and SEC Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder,
and Section 20(a) of the Exchange Act, by issuing a series of
press releases, public statements and filings disclosing
significant historical and future revenue growth, but omitting
to mention certain allegedly improper payments involving
international consultants in connection with the Company's
international operations, thereby artificially inflating the
trading price of its common stock.

On January 14, 2005, Titan and certain individual defendants
jointly filed a motion to dismiss. The hearing on the
defendants' motion is currently scheduled to be heard on May 9,

TRISTAR FOOD: Recalls Lotus Roots Due To Undeclared Sulfites
Tristar Food Wholesale, 115 Amity Street, Jersey City, NJ 07304
is recalling Dried Sliced Lotus Root because it may contain
undeclared sulfites. People who have severe sensitivity to
sulfites run the risk of serious or life threatening allergic
reactions if they consume this product.

The recalled Dried Sliced Lotus Root, a product of China, is
distributed in uncoded 7 oz. plastic bags. The Dried Sliced
Lotus Root was sold in New York City.

The recall was initiated after routine sampling by New York
State Department of Agriculture and Markets Food Inspectors and
subsequent analysis by the Department's food laboratory
personnel revealed the presence of undeclared sulfites in Dried
Sliced Lotus Root in packages which did not declare sulfites on
the label. The consumption of 10 milligrams of sulfites per
serving has been reported to elicit severe reactions in some
asthmatics. Anaphylactic shock could occur in certain sulfite
sensitive individuals upon ingesting 10 milligrams or more of

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this

Consumers who have purchased Dried Sliced Lotus Root should
return it to the place of purchase. Consumers with questions may
contact the company at 201-938-2590.

UNITED KINGDOM: High Court Ruling Derails Railtrack Legal Action
Britain's largest potential class action that was initiated by
55,000 shareholders against government ministers over the demise
of Railtrack is on the brink of collapse after a high court
ruling, which left the group facing an estimated $1.73 million
(900,000) shortfall in funds, The Guardian reports.

The case, which is potentially Britain's biggest class action to
date, suffered what could be a fatal blow when a judge ruled
that shareholders must pay about $4.32 million (2.25 million)
into court to cover the government's costs in the event of their

Leaders of the Railtrack private shareholders' action group
admitted to The Guardian that they had insufficient money and
that the decision was likely to mean the end of their three-year
battle unless a "white knight" offered cash to top up their

The shareholders had accused former transport secretary Stephen
Byers of misfeasance in public office over his controversial
move in putting Railtrack into administration in 2001. They
insist that the firm was solvent and that his actions amounted
to renationalization without full compensation.

The case was brought in the name of a single shareholder,
Geoffrey Weir, who told The Guardian: "This is a very
disappointing outcome and it could be the end of our claim." Mr.
Weir also said that the judge's ruling made it difficult for any
group of citizens to challenge the government, as the amount
needed to cover a possible defeat was out of reach.

A middle-ranking Railtrack executive, Andrew Chalklen, who urged
shareholders to donate 10p for every share they held, formed the
action group. It recruited law firm Edwin Coe and a leading
barrister, Michael Crystal QC.

According to advisers of the group, it's fighting fund peaked at
$4.61 million (2.4 million) but it has already spent $384,000
(200,000), and if it gives up it will be liable for the
government's costs to date of $2.88 million (1.5 million). The
advisers also said that unless a benefactor came forward, all
55,000 supporters would have to donate between 40 and 50 to
proceed to a full hearing.

Though the Department for Transport declined to comment, it
previously defended Mr. Byers' actions by pointing out that
shareholders ended up with a cash settlement of 250p a share -
not far short of the 280p at which the company was put into
administration.  Network Rail, the not-for-dividend company,
ultimately replaced Railtrack.

UNIVERSAL HEALTH: PA Court Hears Motion To Dismiss Stock Lawsuit
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania heard Universal Health Services, Inc.'s motion to
dismiss the consolidated securities class action filed against
it and certain of its officers and directors.

On or about March 22 through March 26, 2004 two purported class
action complaints were filed against the Company and certain of
its officers and directors, alleging that defendants violated
Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 promulgated
thereunder by disclosing materially false and misleading
information or failing to disclose material information
necessary to make other disclosure not misleading or to correct
prior disclosure with respect to the Company's financial
condition and operations.  A claim is asserted against the
individual defendants under section 20(a) of the Exchange Act
alleging that because they controlled the Company, they should
be held liable for damages caused by the Company's violation of
section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.  Plaintiffs seek, on
behalf of a purported class of purchasers of the Company's
common stock during a class period from July 21, 2003 through
February 27, 2004, unspecified money damages, restitution,
attorneys' fees and reimbursement of expenses.

Pursuant to an Order of the Court, these two cases were
consolidated into one action captioned: "In re Universal Health
Services, Inc. Securities Litigation, Case No. CV-04-01233-JP."
Subsequently, the plaintiffs filed an Amended Consolidated Class
Action Complaint.  The defendants have moved to dismiss that
complaint.  The motion to dismiss has been fully briefed and
oral argument was held on March 9, 2005.

The suit is styled "In re Universal Health Services, Inc.
Securities Litigation, Case No. CV-04-01233-JP," filed in the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania, under Judge John R. Padova.  Representing the
plaintiffs are:

     (1) Michael T. Fantini, Sherri R. Savett, BERGER AND
         MONTAGUE, P.C. 1622 Locust St., Philadelphia PA Phone:
         215-875-5710 Fax: 215-875-5804

     (2) Deborah R. Gross, LAW OFFICES BERNARD M. GROSS, PC, 100
         Penn Square West, Juniper & Market Sts., John Wanamaker
         Bldg, Suite 450 Philadelphia PA 19107 Phone: 215-561-
         3600 Fax: 215-561-3000 E-mail: debbie@bernardmgross.com

         & ROBBINS LLP, 401 B. Street Suite 1600, San Diego CA
         Phone: 619-231-1058

Representing the Company are:

     (1) Glen P. Banks and James Nespole, FULBRIGHT JAWORSKI,
         LLP 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10103-3198 Phone:

     (2) Neil G. Epstein, ECKERT, SEAMANS, CHERIN & MELLOTT,
         LLC, 1515 Market Street 9th Floor, Philadelphia PA
         19102-1909 Phone: 215-851-8408 Fax: 215-851-8383 E-
         mail: nge@escm.com

UNIVERSAL HEALTH: Seeks Removal of RICO Suit To NV Federal Court
Universal Health Services, Inc. asked for the removal of a class
action filed against it and its subsidiary Valley Hospital
Medical Center, Inc. to Nevada federal court.  The suit, styled
"Deborah Louise Poblocki v. Universal Health Services, Inc., et
al., No. 04-A-489927-C," is pending in the District Court of
Clark County, Nevada.

The plaintiff alleges that the Company overcharged her and other
similarly situated patients who lacked health insurance. The
complaint seeks class action treatment.  The complaint, filed by
plaintiff individually and on behalf of other unnamed class
members, alleges that Valley Hospital Medical Center charged her
"unconscionable rates" because it charged her, an uninsured
outpatient, more than it charged insured patients and more than
the cost of the services provided.  She claims that this alleged
conduct violates state civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations (RICO) laws as well as other state statutory and
common law.  The company filed a notice of removal to federal
court, and plaintiff filed a motion to remand back to state
court.  The court has not yet ruled on plaintiff's motion.

The suit is styled "Deborah Louise Poblocki v. Universal Health
Services, Inc., et al., No. 04-A-489927-C," filed in the
District Court of Clark County, Nevada under Judge Mark R.
Denton.  Gerald I. Gillock is representing plaintiff Deborah

VIRGINIA: Appeals Court Denies Motion To Rehear Headset Lawsuits
Setting the stage for a possible battle in the nation's high
court, the full 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the
mobile-phone industry's motion to rehear arguments in five
class-action headset lawsuits, which a divided three-judge panel
remanded to state courts recently, The RCR Wireless News

As previously reported in the April 7, 2005 edition of the Class
Action Reporter, wireless carriers and manufacturers had asked
the appeals court to rehear arguments in the class-action
headset lawsuits.

According to the groups' 24-page rehearing petition, the
Richmond, Virginia-based federal appeals court's 2-1 decision
conflicts with other circuit court rulings and "seriously
threatens the regulatory uniformity mandated by Congress" for
the cell phone industry. The petition appears to lay the
groundwork for a possible Supreme Court appeal.

Despite the latest 4th Circuit ruling though, industry lawyers
still may be able to keep at least temporarily the headset suits
from returning to state courts in Maryland, New York, Georgia
and Pennsylvania for further litigation.

On April 15, attorneys for wireless carriers and manufacturers
asked the 4th Circuit to stay the March 16 headset ruling
pending a petition to have the U.S. Supreme Court review the
case, a request that according to one industry lawyer, federal
appeals courts generally grant. Former independent counsel
Kenneth Starr is heading industry's defense efforts in the
headset litigation.

Commenting on the recent ruling, Joe Farren, a spokesman for
CTIA, the national mobile phone trade association told The RCR
Wireless News, "Obviously, we're disappointed and are exploring
our options."

Plaintiffs have argued that wireless firms have long known about
health uncertainties associated with cell-phone use and
therefore should have supplied consumers from the start with
headsets to reduce their exposure to handset radiation.

But, the cellular industry replies scientists largely have
failed to find an association between cell phones and cancer or
other diseases. The courts have upheld the federal radiation-
exposure standard.

As previously reported in the March 18, 2005 edition of the
Class Action Reporter, a divided federal appeals court in
Richmond, Virginia reinstated five lawsuits claiming that the
cell phone industry has failed to protect consumers from unsafe
levels of radiation.

The class-action lawsuits seek to force cell phone manufacturers
to provide headsets, which they say could reduce risks of brain
tumors. In addition, they also seek punitive damages. The suits
were originally filed in state courts in Maryland, Pennsylvania,
New York, Georgia and Louisiana, but were consolidated and
transferred to federal court in Baltimore.

Ruling that federal standards regulating wireless phones
including uniform national limits on radiation emissions pre-
empt the state law claims, Judge Catherine Blake dismissed the
lawsuits last March.

However, a panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
reversed Judge Blake's ruling in a recent 2-1 decision, thus
four of the cases were returned to state courts while one was
sent to federal district court for further proceedings.

Though several studies have found no adverse health effects from
cell phones, plaintiffs' claims included allegations that the
industry's actions violated various state laws on consumer
protection, product liability, implied warranty, negligence,
fraud and civil conspiracy.

According to Judge M. Blane Michael, who wrote in the majority
opinion, who was also joined by Judge Michael Luttig, "We have
thoroughly examined the claims ... and one thing is clear: the
elements of each of the claims depend only on the resolution of
questions of state law."

Dissenting against the ruling was Judge Jackson L. Kiser, who
said that the claims require the courts to explore the adequacy
of the Federal Communications Commission's radiation emission
standards. Additionally, he wrote in his opinion, "It is well-
settled that a suit to invalidate a federal regulation arises
under federal law." "... This thinly disguised attack on the
validity of the FCC standards raises a substantial federal

Neither Michael R. Allweiss, lawyer for the plaintiffs or cell
phone industry attorney Kenneth W. Starr immediately returned
phone calls seeking comment.

                         Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Met-Pro Asserts Claims Are Without Merit
Met-Pro Corporation (NYSE: MPR) noted a significant increase
during the last several years in asbestos-related claims filed
against the Company in particular states. These claims referred
to both a single plaintiff and on a mass basis by large numbers
of plaintiffs against a large number of industrial companies in
the pump and fluid handling industries.

Beginning in 2002, the Harleysville, PA-based Company and one of
its divisions began to be named as one of many defendants in a
number of these claims, predominantly in Mississippi. The
allegations against Met-Pro are vague, general and speculative,
but in general, state that it sold unidentified asbestos-
containing products and engaged in other related actions which
caused injuries and loss to the plaintiffs.

The Company believes that these cases are without merit and that
none of its products were a cause of any injury or loss to any
of the plaintiffs. The Company's insurers have hired attorneys
who together with the Company are vigorously defending these

The Company and the division has resolved and been dismissed
from a number of these cases. Most of these cases have not
advanced beyond the early stages of discovery, although several
cases have been scheduled for trial. Given the current status of
these cases, the Company does not presently believe that these
proceedings will have a material adverse impact upon the
Company's results of operations, liquidity or financial

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Ex-workers of WR Grace Plant in FL at Risk
A public health report stated that W.R. Grace & Co. workers and
their household members were exposed to hazardous levels of
asbestos in the Company's former plant in Tampa, FL from the
1950s to 1991.

Before the plant closed, it processed vermiculite, a mineral
used in insulation that had been mined in Libby, Montana. The
vermiculite contained asbestos, which is linked to respiratory

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry is working
with other federal, state, and local environmental and public
health agencies to evaluate the public health impact of this
asbestos at sites that processed Libby vermiculite. This project
is called the National Asbestos Exposure Review.

The ATSDR recommended that former workers and the people they
lived with at the time have themselves undergo medical tests to
check for asbestos-related lung disease.

In February, federal prosecutors charged W.R. Grace & Co. and
seven of its executives with conspiracy, wire fraud, obstruction
of justice and violations of the federal Clean Air Act. They
were accused of intentionally withholding numerous studies
stating the risk cancer-causing tremolite asbestos posted to its
customers, employees and Libby residents.

W.R. Grace, which filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2001
under a flood of thousands of asbestos claims nationwide, denies
the charges.

A copy of this health report can be found at:

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Hanson Close to Concluding Asbestos Claims
London-based building materials group Hanson PLC is close to
putting an end to legal claims brought by the victims of
asbestos-related illnesses, the Huddersfield Daily Examiner

Several of Hanson's US subsidiaries are defendants in a series
of lawsuits by former employees alleging injury due to exposure
to products containing asbestos. The claims relate to employees
who worked for the subsidiaries before 1984.

Now moves are under way to end the asbestos liability claims in
return for a GBP740 million victims' compensation fund.

As previously reported in the March 4, 2005 edition of the Class
Action Reporter, Hanson faced about 135,750 outstanding
claimants as of the end of last year. According to the
regulatory filing it submitted to the US Securities and Exchange
Commission, there were 18,700 new claimants in 2004 compared to
the 28,900 new claimants received in 2003.

In February, Hanson said it had set aside more than GBP211.6
million to cover claims. Resolving claims in 2004 cost the group
GBP31.3 million. However, about 80% of claims resolved last year
were dismissed without payment.

Asbestos is a fibrous material commonly used until the mid-1970s
in insulation and for fireproofing building materials. It has
been shown to cause lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Owens Corning Judge Reaffirms $7B Estimate
Judge John P. Fullam of the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia,
the federal judge overseeing the bankruptcy of Owens Corning,
last week rejected a request from financial creditors to
reconsider his US$7 billion estimate of the company's
liabilities for asbestos damages, Dow Jones reports.

Judge Fullam said he would retain the US$7 billion figure, a
number that was about US$4 billion less than asbestos claimants
had asked and about US$4 billion more than bank debt holders
said was appropriate. The larger the asbestos liability
estimate, the less Owens Corning will have available to pay
holders of bank and bond debt.

Holders of bank debt, who filed for the motion for
reconsideration, asked Judge Fullam to peg Owens Corning's
asbestos liabilities at US$4.8 billion to US$5.1 billion, a
figure they say is more in line with evidence. The move pushed
off the deadline for appealing the ruling to a higher federal

At estimation hearings earlier this year, holders of Owens
Corning's bank debt had argued for US$3 billion or less to be
set aside to pay claims due to asbestos products the company
stopped making decades ago.

So far, no appeal or motion for reconsideration from asbestos
claimants has shown up on the court docket.

Judge Fullam earlier ruled on another critical point in the
Chapter 11 case, stating that Owens Corning should be viewed as
one company. This finding was challenged by Credit Suisse First
Boston, acting as agent for a group of bank debt holders. This
issue is already on appeal to the Third Circuit Court of

Some of the bondholders who filed papers backing the request for
reconsideration -- King Street Capital Management LLC, D.E. Shaw
Laminar Portfolios LLC, Harbert Distressed Master Fund Ltd.,
Canyon Capital Advisors LLC and Lehman Brothers Inc. -- are
believed to also hold major pieces of bank debt, attorneys have
said at hearings in the case.

Harbert and Lehman Brothers, two of the bondholders who weighed
in on the asbestos estimate, also hold major equity stakes in
Owens Corning, according to court documents.

In denying the motion for reconsideration, Judge Fullam said
asbestos claims against Owens Corning aren't likely to prove as
meritless as holders of bank debt say they are.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Hardie to Compensate Victims in NSW Town
Building products firm James Hardie Industries ended months of
uncertainty for former workers at a New South Wales mining town
by confirming it would compensate the victims suffering from
asbestos-related illnesses. Hardie said that former miners and
inhabitants of Baryulgil, who mounted legal actions seeking an
estimated US$50 million in damages, would now be covered by the

The Baryulgil community had been worried it had been left out of
the company's $1.5 billion Australian agreement. Hardie, through
spokesman James Rickards, had initially refused to accept legal
or moral responsibility. He said "corporate veil" laws protected
the Company, under which parent companies are not liable for
physical or human damage caused by their subsidiaries.

In a landmark compensation agreement decided in December, James
Hardie agreed to fund a multibillion-dollar Special Purpose Fund
for asbestos victims. A final, binding deal is expected to be
signed in early June.

James Hardie owned an asbestos mine in the town from 1944 to
1976 as part of a joint venture with another company, but the
mine had also been owned by other companies. Baryulgil
mineworkers were worried that legal loopholes had excluded them.

James Hardie commenced a review to see whether it was required
to compensate victims of asbestos-related disease linked to the
mine. The review is now complete, with the company committing to
compensate victims that can't be covered by workers compensation
insurance. The company said it did not expect this would
significantly increase the total value of Australian claims.

NSW Premier Bob Carr welcomed James Hardie's move. "I think it
also shows a genuine effort by James Hardie to resolve its
asbestos issues once and for all."

James Hardie said the total workforce at the mine between the
early 1940s and its closure in 1979 was about 350 people, while
the estimated population of the town during this time was
between 100 and 200 people.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Georgia Enacts Asbestos Reform Bill 416
Georgia enacted an asbestos/silica claim medical-criteria law,
joining Ohio, which passed its own law last year. The law
requires that plaintiffs meet specific medical criteria before
they can pursue a claim in the court system, the Insurance
Journal reports.

Gov. Sonny Perdue signed House Bill 416, which allows claims to
be filed only in the county where the plaintiff resides or had

Similar legislation in Texas is currently before the Senate
State Affairs Committee and is expected to be voted on this
week. There is also a bill pending in Florida.

"The enactment of this legislation in Georgia is a major victory
and will help to end the litigation abuse cycle," said Robert
Herlong, vice president and regional manager for the Property
Casualty Insurers Association of America.

"Across the country, litigation costs in these cases drain
resources that would be available to aid truly sick individuals
by clogging the court system and bankrupting defendants. Under
this new law, only the truly injured claimants will be eligible
for compensation."

The Georgia law contains the following elements:

(1) Civil action alleging an asbestos or silica claim can not be
filed unless the person makes a clear showing that he or she
suffers from a medical condition to which exposure to asbestos
or silica was a substantial contributing factor;

(2) Medically accepted standards for differentiating between
persons who are truly impaired and those who are not are

(3) The right to bring suit is preserved by those who have been
exposed to asbestos or silica, but are unimpaired, until when
and if they develop an asbestos-related or silica-related
disease or injury;

(4) Claims relating to more than one exposed person cannot be
joined for a single trial unless all parties agree. These
provisions address a current practice that has been a
significant problem in asbestos litigation-joining multiple
unrelated plaintiffs who have claims against multiple unrelated
defendants; and

(5) Asbestos or silica claims may only be filed in the county
where the plaintiff resides or the county in which the exposure
to asbestos or silica occurred to eliminate abusive forum

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Woman Requests Certification for Cases
An aboriginal woman who says the insulation in her childhood
home has made her and her family sick said she has found seven
similar cases on reserves in Manitoba, the Canadian Press

Raven Thundersky said the federal government must act quickly to
encourage hundreds of others who have lived in similar houses
across Canada to get testing and treatment if needed. The cases
she and her husband Allan Aitken have identified were diagnosed
with lung or stomach cancer but they believe there is a clear
link. Mrs. Thundersky is hoping a judge will certify the case as
a class-action lawsuit, which would allow others to join.

As previously reported in the Class Action Reporter edition on
Nov. 5, 2005, Ms. Thundersky, 39, and Rebecca Bruce, 44, had
sought for unspecified damages. According to their statement of
claim, the family was exposed to and inhaled asbestos fibers
over a period of 17 years. The women grew up on the Popular
River First Nation in Manitoba, near Winnipeg. Their home was
insulated with Zonolite, the brand name of a type of vermiculite
insulation that has been found to contain asbestos, which has
been linked to chest and abdominal cancer.

Ms. Thundersky said she has been diagnosed with asbestosis in
her lungs and six other relatives have had health problems she
believes are directly linked to exposure to asbestos fibers.

The federal government has not yet responded to the lawsuit.

Dennis White Bird, grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba
Chiefs, said residents from more than 200 homes could be
interested in joining.

A spokeswoman for Indian and Northern Affairs said officials
sent a letter to chiefs across Canada earlier this month asking
for their help in reaching out to those who lived, or may still
be living, in houses built with Zonolite. The letter urges
people who have concerns to contact Health Canada for a visual
inspection. If asbestos is found, Indian Affairs will decide
what to do "on a case-by-case basis."

Housing Minister Joe Fontana said earlier this year the
government won't pay to have all the insulation removed because
he's not yet convinced it poses anything more than "a potential
health risk."

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: UK Council Warns Flytippers of GBP20T Fine
A fine of up to GBP20,000 could be imposed on illegal asbestos
dumpers if convicted, warned Torbay Council after another major
fly-tipping incident. The council lashed out at the criminal
offense, citing that the irresponsible act could have caused
injury or illness to those who came into contact with it.

With the help of a removal specialist, the Council cleared the
cancer-causing material in the form of old, broken roofing
sheets dumped at Easterfield Lane, Watcombe, Torquay, next to
the King George V playing field. Since it rained during the
night, the council doesn't believe that asbestos dust put nearby
people at risk.

Environment councilor Colin Charlwood said, "Thousands of pounds
of taxpayers' money is spent each year by Torbay Council
clearing up after people and businesses who do not dispose of
rubbish properly."

He said the money could be better spent on providing extra
services and better facilities that all the residents in Torbay
could benefit from. He is strongly encouraging anyone who has
any information about this case to come forward so that the
necessary legal action could be taken.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Kaiser Ventures LLC Faces 17 Pending Claims
Kaiser Ventures LLC disclosed in its latest filing to the
Securities and Exchange Commission that there are 17 pending
asbestos litigation claims, primarily bodily injury, against the
Ontario, CA-based Company and Kaiser Steel Corporation. The
bankruptcy estate of Kaiser Steel Corporation is embodied in KSC
Recovery, Inc.

Most of the plaintiffs allege that they were aboard Kaiser ships
or worked in shipyards in the Oakland/San Francisco, California
area or Vancouver, Washington area in the 1940s and that the
Company and KSC Recovery were in some manner associated with one
or more shipyards or has successor liability. However, the
Company is beginning to see the focus of the claims shifting
from ships and shipyards to other facilities such as the former
Kaiser Steel Mill Site Property. Plaintiff's attorneys are
increasingly requesting mill site and Eagle Mountain related
documents in an effort to build a "war chest" of documents for
future litigation.

Most of these lawsuits are third party premises claims alleging
injury resulting from exposure to asbestos or asbestos
containing products and involve multiple defendants. The Company
anticipates that it, often along with KSC Recovery, will be
named as a defendant in additional asbestos lawsuits.

Virtually all of the complaints against Kaiser Ventures and KSC
Recovery are non-specific, but involve allegations relating to
pre-bankruptcy activities.

It is difficult to determine the amount of damages that the
Company could be liable for in any particular case until near
the time of trial; indeed, many of these cases do not include
pleadings with specific damages. The Company defends all
asbestos claims as is appropriate for a particular case.

Of the claims resolved to date, about 76% have been resolved
without payment to the plaintiffs, and of the 45 cases that have
been settled to date involving a payment made to plaintiffs, the
settlement amount was US$37,500 or less for 38 of such cases.
The Company believes that it currently has substantial insurance
coverage for the asbestos claims and has tendered these suits to
appropriate insurance carriers.

From time to time various environmental and similar types of
claims that relate to Kaiser Steel pre-bankruptcy activities,
are asserted against KSC and Kaiser LLC. Excluding the asbestos
claims, there has been an average of two to four such claims a
year for the past several years.

In connection with the KSC plan of reorganization, Kaiser, as
the reorganized successor to KSC, was discharged from all
liabilities that may have arisen prior to confirmation of the
plan, except as otherwise provided by the plan and by law.
Although Kaiser believes that in general all pre-petition claims
were discharged under the KSC bankruptcy plan, there have been
some challenges as to the validity of the discharge of certain
specified claims, such as asbestos claims. If any of these or
other similar claims are ultimately determined to survive the
KSC bankruptcy, it could have a materially adverse effect on
Kaiser's business and value.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Three Claims V. Champion Parts Remain Open
Champion Parts, Inc. (OTC: CREB) revealed in its regulatory
filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that only three
asbestos-related cases remain open, less than ten percent of the
cases that were filed.

In 2004 and certain prior years, the Hope, AR-based Company was
one of numerous defendants named in suits for personal injuries
caused by exposure to products containing asbestos. The Company
put its insurance carriers on notice and its attorneys have
filed answers denying the allegations in the complaints. The
Company's insurance carriers have agreed to defend the Company
under a reservation of rights.

Champion Parts remanufactures fuel system components, air
conditioning compressors, front wheel drive assemblies, and
other underhood electrical and mechanical products for the
passenger car and light truck, agricultural, heavy-duty truck
and marine parts aftermarket.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Home Renovators at Risk of Asbestos Illness
The popularity of home renovation in Australia has been blamed
for a surge of asbestos-related diseases. After a study showing
how cases in Victoria have quadrupled since 1982, renovators are
now being warned that even small jobs can be fatal.

In addition, Queensland Health figures show the number of
terminal asbestos cases has risen from 49 in 1993 to 73 in 1998,
illustrating a 50 percent increase in just five years.
Alarmingly, medical experts and asbestos support groups expect
that the situation will get worse.

The disease was once limited to people exposed to asbestos at
work, such as wharfies and tradespeople, and their families,
said Barry Robson, president of the Asbestos Diseases Foundation
of Australia.

Dormancy of at least 15 years between exposure to asbestos and
the onset of mesothelioma can cause a steep rise in cases in the
near future. Currently, renovators account for up to 25% of
mesothelioma cases.

Queensland Asbestos Related Support Society president Shirley
White said something had to be done to stop "people unknowingly
exposing themselves to a substance which can cause creeping
cancer." She said many renovators were unaware the deadly
substance was extremely common - found in hair-dryers, ceilings,
ovens, linoleum tiles, downpipes and fences.

One in three homes built before 1987 contains the fibers. The
support society has a register of 584 sufferers but that figure
is expected to swell, with experts estimating 40,000 cases of
mesothelioma will emerge in the next 35 years.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Widow Settles for GBP157T from British Rail
The widow of a former railway worker received GBP157,000 in an
out-of-court settlement from British Rail, the Evening
Advertiser reports.

Rosemary Panting, who moved to Australia with her husband
Christopher in 1963, brought the claim against British Rail
after he died from mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, in
2002. She claimed that the death of her husband was a direct
result from exposure to asbestos.

Mr. Panting worked as a coach finisher for British Rail in
Swindon from 1954 until he emigrated in 1963. That period
represented the only time he was exposed to asbestos in his
working life. When he arrived in Australia, he worked for many
years as a carpenter.

The deadly condition is now so common in railworkers, it is
sometimes referred to as "Swindon Disease," after the Wiltshire
rail town. Swindon has an asbestos memorial garden to
commemorate victims.

Brigitte Chandler of Swindon solicitors, of Charles Lucas and
Marshall, who handled the case, said she represents people who
were originally exposed to asbestos in England and then later in
life developed asbestos-related disease. The latest settlement
means that, over the last six weeks, Ms. Chandler has won claims
totaling more than GBP750,000 on behalf of asbestos victims. She
is currently working with claimants based all over the world,
including Canada, Thailand and Europe.

"Mrs. Panting is very pleased with the result and also that it
was settled out of court - as otherwise she would have had to
come to England to give evidence which would have been a very
long journey for her," said Ms. Chandler.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Lawmakers Plan Inquiry Into WR Grace Issue
While the EPA awaits the results for testing done at the former
W.R. Grace Zonolite plant factory, state lawmakers intend to
launch an inquiry to determine whether the Company covered up
contamination at its plant and whether state and federal
environmental officials aggressively failed to pursue a cleanup,
according to a report by The Times.

Assembly members Linda Greenstein and John McKeon said they
would bring together the judicial and environmental committees
in joint hearings starting May 5. The information gathered from
the hearings will be turned over to the state Attorney General
and the U.S. Attorney's Office for possible criminal

The two Assembly members plan to call W.R. Grace executives and
officials from the EPA, DEP and an environmental consulting
company hired by W.R. Grace more than a decade ago.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-Hamilton, has teamed with
U.S. Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., chairman of the Committee on
Government Reform, to seek a federal investigation of the EPA's
role in the cleanup of W.R. Grace's plants. Mr. Smith said he
hoped the federal Government Accountability Office would help to
determine what obstacles remained to cleaning up the site.

From 1948 until 1991, the Hamilton plant processed vermiculite
ore shipped from a mine in Libby, Mont., that later was found to
be contaminated with asbestos. Grace closed the Hamilton plant
in 1994. Environmental Resources Management submitted a report
to the state Department of Environmental Protection saying there
was an insignificant amount of asbestos on the property. The
agency required no further testing on the property and the
matter was closed until news reports in 1999 detailed widespread
health problems in Libby residents.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency then began looking into
as many as 200 plants around the country that processed the raw
vermiculite into fireproofing and insulation as well as garden
supply products.

In 2000, EPA testing revealed asbestos on the grounds of the
Hamilton plant in concentrations as high as 40 percent and
ordered the removal of 9,000 tons of soil. That cleanup was
completed last March, but questions have arisen about the
handling of the plant by both the DEP and EPA.

Last month, the state Department of Health and Senior Services
determined that former workers and their families were at the
greatest risk from asbestos exposure. The report also states
that neighboring businesses and residents and employees of the
building's current occupant, Accurate Document Destruction Inc.,
may have been exposed. It was disclosed that the EPA knew of the
plants' dangers as early as 1985.

"The more information becomes public, the more it becomes
obvious that environmental regulators knew at least two decades
ago that W.R. Grace's facility was littered with asbestos and
that workers and their families were exposed to this danger,"
Ms. Greenstein said.

An additional 6,000 tons of soil will be removed from the
plant's grounds this summer. The EPA officials announced that
testing of dust within the plant revealed trace amounts of
asbestos, but said no determination can be made about the health
hazards it poses until the air sample results are available.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: AU Unveils Breakthrough Diagnostic Method
In Australia, the world's first blood test for the early
detection of the lung cancer mesothelioma was launched earlier
this week. Considered a breakthrough, University of Western
Australia Professor Bruce Robinson and a team of researchers
developed this non-invasive blood test. They are hopeful early
detection will lead to better treatment, and possibly even a

Under the current methods, diagnosis is a long process that
includes blood tests, chest x-rays, CT scans, drainage and
laboratory analysis of the pleural fluid to help differentiate
mesothelioma from other similar conditions.

The new blood test, named MESOMARK, was originally developed for
cervical cancer at the Pacific Northwest Research Institute in
the US. The blood test measures the amount of protein in the
blood so a patient who returned a low reading would register a
negative result. But if the patient returned a high reading then
they would be sent for a second test to confirm the result.

Dr. Nick Pavlakis, a leading mesothelioma researcher in Sydney,
said the blood test would be a valuable diagnostic aid for

"The test is a breakthrough because it's a simple blood test, it
could therefore be applied to patients who are at risk, those
who have a history of exposure or symptoms of the disease," Dr.
Pavlakis told AAP.

About 700 people every year are diagnosed with the disease in
Australia, which has the highest reported incidence in the
world. The number of people diagnosed with the disease is
expected to peak between 2010 and 2020 when the symptoms had
fully developed.

Professor Robinson said the blood test would mean immediate
diagnosis. But he believes more money needs to be channeled into
research. He said that although it is exciting Australia's
scientists and clinicians are world leaders in asbestos
research, it is also frustrating.

Professor Robinson explained, "I think it's kind of hard
sometimes to get companies like James Hardie and even the
government to realize that hey, there's a chance that we really
might be successful in this disease.

"When you think about it, they're all spending billions of
dollars in compensation and yet here's a chance - well, I think
they are thinking of putting some money into this kind of
research, around the country, because for the first time there
might be a cure, might save them some money."

Professor Robinson expects the blood test to be available to the
public within the next few weeks.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Asclear Meets Concerns Raised by Community
Asclear, the Company seeking to establish an asbestos disposal
facility in Victoria, admitted the Company is facing opposition
from the community. It hopes to dispel fears that the
carcinogenic asbestos fibers would cause the residents any harm.

The Company has already applied for approval to the Environment
Protection Authority for the US$50,000 asbestos dump it plans to
set up in Morwell. Asclear director Brian Hastings said that
materials will be washed down and stored in a weather-sealed
shed with a concrete floor before being transferred to Dutson
Downs. He assured that no fibers will escape and instead, the
community should worry about the rising instances of illegal

"Currently, unofficially of course, there is a lot of material
which is dumped along the side of the road in river beds and so
forth and what we're trying to do is to provide a facility that
will alleviate that and therefore save the councils or property
owners money in respect to clean-ups," Mr. Hastings said.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Reunion Named in 2,400 Suits Since 2001
Reunion Industries, Inc. (AMEX: RUN) has been named in about
2,400 separate asbestos suits filed since Jan. 1, 2001 by
various plaintiffs' law firms in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio,
Illinois, Maryland, Alabama and W. Virginia. The claims are
primarily directed against over 100 defendants, including
Reunion, and allege that cranes from the Company's former crane
manufacturing location in Alliance, OH, were present in various
steel mills located in those states and that those cranes
contained asbestos to which plaintiffs were exposed over a 40-
year span.

Counsel for the Pittsburgh, PA-based Company has filed an answer
to each complaint denying liability by the Company and asserting
all alternative defenses permitted under the various Courts'
Case Management Orders. Counsel for the Company has successfully
resolved about 500 to 600 cases with no cost to the Company.

The Company, whose main customers are in the chemical, home
electronics, public utilities, and small utility vehicle
industries, denies that it manufactured any products containing
asbestos or otherwise knew or should have known that any
component part manufacturers provided products containing
asbestos. It has further denied that manufacturers advised the
Company that component parts could be hazardous, or otherwise
constitutes a health risk.

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

In October 2001, Allen-Bradley Company, a former owner of the
Rostone business of ORC, accepted Reunion Industries' tender of
its defense and indemnification in the first such lawsuit filed,
pursuant to a contractual obligation to do so. Subsequent to the
acceptance of the tender of defense and indemnification in the
first lawsuit, Allen-Bradley Company has accepted the Company's
tender of defense and indemnification in a total of 135 separate
actions, all of which have been defended by Allen-Bradley

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Doe Run Corp. Faces Suits Claiming Exposure
Doe Run Resources Corporation disclosed in the filing it
submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission that it has
been named in an asbestos injury suit. The individual plaintiff
alleges that he was exposed to asbestos at the premises of the
St. Joe Minerals Corporation (Doe Run's predecessor). The suit
also named numerous other companies and public entities.

Headquartered in St. Louis, MO, the Company was named in two
similar suits filed in Madison County, Illinois, one alleging
that a worker was exposed to asbestos at premises of the St. Joe
Minerals Corporation, in which Doe Run has not been properly
served, and the other filed by a person who did laundry for
insulation workers in her family who were allegedly exposed to
asbestos at Doe Run's Herculaneum, Missouri facility. Doe Run
was served a Writ of Summons in a fourth case filed in
Pennsylvania in May 2003 but has not yet been served with a
complaint, so few details of the case are known, including the
alleged location of the exposure.

The Doe Run Resources Corporation is a producer of base and
precious metals with operations in the United States and Peru.
The Company is the largest integrated lead producer in North
America and the largest primary lead producer in the western

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CDRV Investors Reveals VWR Named in Suits
CDRV Investors, Inc., the parent company that indirectly owns
all of the outstanding capital stock of VWR International, Inc.,
revealed that VWR has been named as a defendant in cases as a
result of VWR's and its predecessors' distribution of scientific
supplies and asbestos-containing products.

Until 1987, the Company distributed certain asbestos-containing
products primarily for use in laboratories, including pads,
protective clothing and laboratory equipment. Individuals who
were exposed to these products have brought claims against the
Company for various asbestos-related injuries.

In addition, the Company disclosed that insurance for some
liabilities, including asbestos, is not available. Accordingly,
it could be subject to uninsured and unindemnified future
liabilities, and an unfavorable result in a case for which
adequate insurance or indemnification is not available could
result in a material adverse effect on its business, financial
condition and results of operations.

Headquartered in West Chester, PA, VWR International is a global
distributor of scientific supplies, with worldwide sales last
year of US$2.8 billion. VWR International's business is highly
diversified across a spectrum of products and services, customer
groups and geography. The company offers more than 750,000
products, from more than 5,000 manufacturers, to over 250,000
customers throughout North America and Europe.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Katy Industries Faces 4 Suits by Ex-workers
Middlebury, CT-based Katy Industries, Inc. (NYSE: KT) has
recently been named as a defendant in four lawsuits filed in
state court in Alabama by a total of about 24 individual
plaintiffs. There are over 100 defendants named in each case.

In all four cases, the plaintiffs claim that they were exposed
to asbestos in the course of their employment at a former U.S.
Steel plant in Alabama and, as a result, contracted
mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer or other illness. They
claim that they were exposed to asbestos in products in the
plant that were manufactured by each defendant. In three of the
cases, plaintiffs also assert wrongful death claims.

Sterling Fluid Systems (USA) has tendered over 1,500 cases
pending in Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois, Nevada, Mississippi,
Wyoming, Louisiana, Massachusetts and California to the Company
for defense and indemnification. Sterling bases its tender of
the complaints on the provisions contained in a 1993 Purchase
Agreement between the parties whereby Sterling purchased the
LaBour Pump business and other assets from the Company. Sterling
has not filed a lawsuit against Katy in connection with these

The tendered complaints all purport to state claims against
Sterling and its subsidiaries. The Company and its current
subsidiaries are not named as defendants. The plaintiffs in the
cases also allege that they were exposed to asbestos and
products containing asbestos in the course of their employment.
Each complaint names as defendants many manufacturers of
products containing asbestos, apparently because plaintiffs came
into contact with a variety of different products in the course
of their employment. Plaintiffs claim that LaBour Pump or
Sterling may have manufactured some of those products.

With respect to many of the tendered complaints, the Company has
taken the position that Sterling has waived its right to
indemnity by failing to timely request it as required under the
1993 Purchase Agreement. With respect to the balance of the
tendered complaints, the Company has elected not to assume the
defense of Sterling in these matters.

LaBour Pump Company, a former subsidiary of the Company, has
been named as a defendant in over 280 similar cases in New
Jersey. These cases have also been tendered by Sterling.  The
Company has elected to defend these cases, many of which have
been dismissed or settled for nominal sums.

While the ultimate liability of the Company related to the
asbestos matters cannot be determined at this time, the Company
has recorded and accrued amounts that it deems reasonable for
prospective liabilities with respect to this matter.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: DC Court Reverses Order V. 8 Boiler Makers
Associate Judge Frank E. Schwelb of the District Court of
Columbia Court of Appeals on April 14, 2005 reversed the order
favoring Burnham Corp., et al.

Basil Weakley Jr. filed the appeal for Case No. 03-CV-710, which
accused eight boiler manufacturers of negligence, failure to
warn, and strict liability. The plaintiff sought damages for
having contracted asbestosis, the illness he contracted
allegedly through exposure to asbestos.

Mr. Weakley was employed as a boiler service worker in the
Washington, D.C. metropolitan area from 1964 to 1979. For the
next two years he worked principally for Fairfax County Public
Schools. Subsequently, he worked for Allen Mitchell & Co. and by
Capital Boiler Works.

Mr. Weakley alleges that the components of boilers on which he
worked, e.g., insulation on pipes, fire-retardant bricks, and
gaskets, contained asbestos, and that he was frequently exposed
to asbestos dust. According to him, there were no warning labels
on any of the boilers that he serviced, and neither the
manufacturers nor his employers apprised him of the dangers of
working with asbestos. As a result, he never wore respiratory
protection, nor was he advised to do so.

Mr. Weakley filed this action on Jan. 24, 2002, more than 37
years after he began servicing boilers, and more than 23 years
after he discontinued working with them.

In his work history, Mr. Weakley included the approximate time
of the claimed exposure; the identity of his employer at the
time; the jobsite at which the boiler was allegedly serviced;
the identity of the manufacturer of the boiler; and the name of
a coworker. However, he was unaware of the identities of the
manufacturers of some of the boilers with which he came into

In October and November 2002, following the close of discovery
on Oct. 5, the defendants filed motions for summary judgment.
All of the defendants contended that Mr. Weakley had failed to
show that their conduct had caused any injury. The defendants
asserted that no genuine issue of material fact had been

Finally, on December 9, 2002, Mr. Weakley filed a detailed
affidavit, summarizing his contacts with the defendants'

In three separate orders, the Superior Court granted summary
judgment in favor of the manufacturers, concluding that the
plaintiff had presented insufficient evidence of causation. Mr.
Weakley then appealed the judgments in favor of five of the
manufacturers: Burnham Corporation, Cleaver Brooks, Foster
Wheeler, L.L.C., The Marley Company, and Oakfabco, Inc.

The Appeals Court said that given the decades that have elapsed
between his alleged encounters with these defendants' products
and his contraction of asbestosis, it concluded that to demand
more evidence before permitting him to conduct discovery would
place an all-but unsustainable burden. The Court ruled that a
plaintiff cannot reasonably be expected to recall, decades
later, exactly where and when he encountered a particular
manufacturer's product.

Along with orders reversing the award of summary judgment to the
defendants, the protective orders are also vacated and the case
remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

Peter T. Enslein, with whom Patrick S. Guilfoyle was on the
brief, represented Mr. Weakley.

R. Thomas Radcliffe, Jr., and Steven J. Parrott filed the brief
for Burnham Corporation.

Robin Silver, with whom Laura A. Cellucci and Michelle Noorani
were on the brief, stood for Cleaver Brooks. Laura N. Steel,
with whom David A. Seltzer was on the brief, was for Oakfabco,
Inc. Thomas P. Bernier filed the brief for The Marley Company.
Scott H. Phillips represented appellee Foster Wheeler, L.L.C.

Company Profile:
Burnham Corporation
PO Box 3079
Lancaster, PA
Phone: 717-397-4701
Fax: 717-293-5827

Burnham Corp. is a producer of boilers and related heating
equipment for residential, commercial, and industrial

Company Profile:
Cleaver Brooks
7800 N. 113th St.,
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53224
Phone: 414-359-0600
Fax: 414-577-3159

Cleaver-Brooks is a manufacturer of packaged high pressure and
low-pressure commercial and industrial boilers and boiler room

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Goodyear Settles Liabilities With Equitas
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (NYSE: GT) will receive US$22
million in an insurance settlement for asbestos and pollution
related claims previously filed by the Company. Equitas Ltd. is
expected to produce this payment in the second quarter of 2005.

In addition, a US$39 million trust fund will be used to
reimburse Goodyear for future asbestos-related costs, subject to
a monthly limit on payments from the fund and other confidential
criteria, according to a Goodyear 8-K filing with the Securities
and Exchange Commission.

The settlement covers pre-1993 policies issued to Goodyear by
Lloyd's of London underwriters and reinsured by Equitas. The
insurance company will make the payment in exchange for "a
complete termination" of its obligation.

If federal asbestos reform legislation is enacted before Jan. 3,
2007, London-based Equitas may recover some or all of the money
then remaining in the trust under the terms of the deal. If no
legislation is enacted by then, the remaining funds will be paid
to Goodyear.

Goodyear was a defendant in lawsuits filed by 127,300 claimants
as of the end of 2004, and the company and its insurers spent
US$29.9 million defending and settling asbestos claims last
year, according to Goodyear's 2004 10-K report.

From 1914 to 1973, Goodyear manufactured rubber-coated asbestos
sheets used to manufacture gaskets, and before 1987 produced
aircraft brake systems that contained asbestos, the filing

Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, the company manufactures tires,
engineered rubber products and chemicals in more than 90
facilities in 28 countries. It has marketing operations in
almost every country around the world. Goodyear employs more
than 80,000 people worldwide.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Denmark Asks India to Return Toxic Vessel
The Danish Government has alerted India about a toxic ship-for-
scrap carrying carcinogenic asbestos insulation headed for Alang
yard in Gujarat to be dismantled, The Hindu reports. The ship,
Kong Frederik IX, left Denmark on March 16 and is expected to
arrive in India by Wednesday.

After receiving orders to hold the ship until it is
decontaminated, the ship owners still managed to escape the
Danish authorities by quickly changing its flag and name.

Danish Environment Minister Connie Hedegaard asked India to
consider the ship illegal traffic under the Basel Convention. In
a fax sent to A. Raja, India's Environment Minister, Ms.
Hedegaard requested that the ship be returned to Denmark so it
could be stripped of hazardous substances.

Ms. Hedegaard wrote, "By this we can send a strong signal that
neither India nor Denmark will accept export of environmental
problems that could be solved locally, and that we, as
governments, will not accept this kind of foul play which
results in lasting damage to the environment."

The letter also reminded Indian authorities of the Supreme Court
order prohibiting the import of hazardous wastes and requiring
India to participate in international negotiations with a clear
mandate for the decontamination of ships of all hazardous
substances prior to export.

Speaking for a large coalition of environmental and trade union
groups, Ramapati Kumar, toxics campaigner, Greenpeace India,
said, "Instead of enforcing full decontamination, the Indian
Government has shown remarkable leniency towards ship-breakers
who violate the law by importing ships containing hundreds of
tons of toxic substances including asbestos and chemicals such
as polychlorinated biphenyls."

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Mobil Fined Nearly $1M for Polluting UT Air
The Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency have agreed to a settlement worth nearly US$1 million for
alleged Clean Air Act violations at Mobil's oil production
facility on the Navajo Nation in the Four Corners area near
Aneth, Utah.

Mobil allegedly operated unpermitted equipment, exceeded air
pollution emission limits for sulfur dioxide and volatile
organic compounds, failed to monitor its main flare and
equipment leaks, and failed to notify the EPA that the company
was demolishing its gas plant that may have contained asbestos.
The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court of Utah.

Mobil will pay a US$350,000 penalty and spend about US$500,000
on operation improvements to control air pollution at its oil
field. The Company will also spend US$99,849 on a public health
project that will provide X-ray equipment, an X-ray processor
and a pulmonary function testing machine to the Montezuma Creek
Community Health Center in Montezuma Creek, Utah.

Wayne Nastri, the EPA's regional administrator for the Pacific
Southwest region, said, "Today's action not only ensures that
Mobil will better control air pollution from its oil field, but
also provides much needed diagnostic equipment to the local
health center for residents who live near Mobil's operations."

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Fire at Former WR Grace Plant Prompts Fears
Fire tore through a former W.R. Grace plant in Hamilton,
damaging a site that has come under intense scrutiny for
possible asbestos contamination.

No injuries were reported in the fire that ensued a quarter of a
mile from a residential area. The report came in at 5:15 a.m.
but firefighters got it under control at about a couple of hours
later. Structural damage was considerable, as walls in the
40,000 square-foot commercial building have partially collapsed.

Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein, D-Middlesex alerted the state's
environmental chief of the possibility of latent asbestos
becoming airborne at the site. The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency quickly deployed 15 air-monitoring stations within a 2-
mile radius of the plant. They are still awaiting results.

W.R. Grace & Co. shut down the Hamilton plant 11 years ago and
hired an environmental company to study the site. That company,
Environmental Resources Management, later submitted a report to
the DEP that stated an insignificant amount of asbestos remained
on the property. No further testing was required at the site and
the matter was closed until 1999, when the EPA began examining
200 plants nationwide that processed raw vermiculite.

EPA tests five years ago found concentrations of asbestos and
ordered the removal of 9,000 tons of soil from the Hamilton
plant grounds.

A state health report last month determined that former workers
and their families were at risk from asbestos exposure. It also
indicated that nearby businesses and residents, as well as
employees of the current building occupant, may have been

EPA spokeswoman Mary Mears noted however, that the earlier round
of testing was later determined to be improperly conducted and,
therefore, inconclusive.

Results of a second round of tests are not yet available, said
Ms. Mears, who described the earlier samples as "undergoing a
more sophisticated type of analysis."

State and federal officials studying contamination at the plant
during its years of operation, as well as residual pollution
left at the site by W.R. Grace, insist their investigations are
not hampered by the loss of the plant, which was destroyed in
the fire.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Family of Dead Victim Can Now Pursue Claims
New Queensland laws now allow family members to pursue
compensation claims after the victim of asbestos-related illness
has died, AAP reports. These laws are aimed at preventing
defendants delaying proceedings of the lawsuit, hoping to
outlast the dying plaintiff.

Changes to the Succession Act 1981 and the Limitation of Actions
Act 1974 would ensure general damages claims survived the death
of the sufferer. Previously, most compensation was lost if a
person died before their case was concluded.

Attorney General and Minister for Justice Rod Welford said, "If
a person suffering from an asbestos-related disease dies before
their claim for compensation is finalized, their family will be
able to still pursue the claim."

Mr. Welford said the state Government was also removing a strict
requirement for a court action to be brought within three years
of the date from which exposure to asbestos occurred.

Lawyers representing Queenslanders dying from asbestos-related
diseases have welcomed the changes.

"Terminally ill asbestos victims should be focusing on their
quality of life and enjoying time with their family, not
worrying about courts and lawyers," Jim Higgins from Slater and
Gordon Lawyers said.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: SA Victims Applaud Plan to Speed Up Cases
In a meeting with the Asbestos Victims Association of South
Australia, Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has agreed to
consider changes to legislation that would allow compensation
cases for asbestos-related victims to be processed quickly, ABC
News reports. Mr. Atkinson said that he would try to work
through the District Court to streamline the process.

Terry Miller, from the group, said South Australia needs a
system similar to that in New South Wales where cases can start
and finish in only a few months. He said that there is a need
for these cases to be heard in the victim's lifetime so that he
can at least know that the case is over and done with.

"When people are dying of malignant conditions you need to get
this done ASAP and the way we see it is why should South
Australian victims have less rights than the victims in NSW when
they work for the same company and they end up with the same
disease - they should get the same compensation," Mr. Miller

Mr. Atkinson said, "We'll do it as quickly as possible and if
it's necessary to pass legislation through Parliament we'll do
that. If it can be achieved through regulation, we'll do that as
quickly as possible."

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Minister Says He Can't Rule on Drug Subsidy
A spokeswoman for federal Health Minister Tony Abbott said the
Government has no power to influence the outcomes of decisions
made by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme advisory committee.
She said that the committee's decision was final and there is no
scope for the minister to intervene.

Last Friday's edition of the Class Action Reporter had disclosed
that the Asbestos Diseases Society was pressuring the health
minister to expand the PBS Scheme and include Alimta on the
list. The group asked that Mr. Abbott take the matter seriously
as the cost of the drug was prohibitive for most of the victims.

Groups representing asbestos-related cancer sufferers have
criticized the committee's decision not to subsidize the new
mesothelioma drug called Alimta. It has been proven to extend
the life expectancy of patients with malignant pleural
mesothelioma an average of 12 months, compared with six to eight
months on existing treatments. It has also been shown to manage
symptoms, reduce pain and treat shortness of breath.

The Asbestos Diseases Society of Victoria's Dr. Stephen Vaughan
said the rejection of the drug is not consistent with other PBS
advisory committee decisions.

"The puzzling thing about the decision is they've approved many
other drugs that are less effective than Alimta, that have
shorter survival gains or less effect on quality of life," Dr.
Vaughan said.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Affirms Denial of Benefits to Retiree
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York on April
14, 2005 affirmed a ruling made by the Workers' Compensation
Board, denying compensation benefits to a retired employee
alleging occupational exposure to asbestos, dust and smoke.

Judge Carl J. Mugglin delivered the decision for the case
(Lawrence J. Trank v. Consolidated Edison Company of New York,
Inc. et al.).

Mr. Trank, a 41-year employee at the time of his retirement on
Dec. 1, 2001, held the position of Mechanic A for approximately
the last 30 years of his employment. In 1995, claimant was
diagnosed with lung conditions resulting from occupational
exposure to asbestos, dust and smoke.

In 2002, a Workers' Compensation Law Judge classified claimant
as permanently partially disabled and awarded disability
payments for reduced earnings.

Upon its review, the Workers' Compensation Board modified that
decision by canceling the compensation award. The Board found
that Mr. Trank had voluntarily left the labor market by retiring
on Dec. 1, 2001. Most certainly, Mr. Trank filed an appeal. On
July 30, 2003, the Board again denied his claim for workers'
compensation benefits.

The Appellate Court found that the claimant's testimony lends
little support to the conclusion that his decision to retire was
prompted by his disability. He worked continuously performing
the same duties from his initial diagnosis in 1995 until he
retired. He also did not complain to his supervisor, ask for a
reassignment, nor file for disability retirement. Further, he
did not receive any medical advice to retire.

With these findings, the Court asserted that the Board does not
owe him compensation benefits.

Kossover Law Offices L.L.P., New Paltz, stood for the appellant,
Lawrence R. Trank.

Cherry, Edson & Kelly, Hempstead, represented Consolidated
Edison Company of New York, Inc.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Senate Faces Vote on Bill for Asbestos Fund
Despite continuing objections, proponents seeking to pass
legislation to compensate asbestos victims said they were
confident it would attract enough support to at least help vote
the bill out of the committee on April 28.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter introduced the
bill on Tuesday even while still uncertain how much support it
would have on his committee, which has ten Republicans and eight
Democrats. He has been trying to build a consensus around the
bill, which would establish a US$140 billion fund to pay for
asbestos claims. Companies and insurers would fund it, finally
putting an end to costly asbestos claims litigation.

A number of Republicans are opposed to the bill because they are
wary that some claims could still end up in court. Some
Democrats have argued that the proposed fund is too small. Trial
lawyers and insurers have also expressed concerns. However
Senator Specter is hopeful he will be able to iron out
differences between the parties and see the bill signed into

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the
committee, said several Democrats already had told him privately
they would support the bill. He believes it will get passed with
a very comfortable margin.

Separately, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican,
said that if the Senate passed a bill tackling the asbestos
problem, the House would look at it.

Five Republican senators on the panel are pressing for changes
in the bill before they will back it -- John Cornyn of Texas,
Jon Kyl of Arizona, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Sam Brownback of
Kansas, and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. These five senators are in
turn being pressured to oppose the bill by activists for Freedom
Works, a free-market advocacy group founded by former House
Majority Leader Dick Armey.

As an alternative, FreedomWorks supports enacting strict medical
criteria to provide prompt and just compensation to the truly
injured. Beginning this week, FreedomWorks has been calling its
members in key states to generate 350 live telephone calls a day
in opposition to the trust fund.

More action is planned as this debate moves forward.
FreedomWorks will expand its grassroots and paid media campaign
to include Missouri, South Carolina, North Carolina, North
Dakota, Florida, and Oregon.

California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, another co-sponsor,
said that before voting for the bill out of committee, she would
like to see a list of the companies that would be expected to
pay into the fund. Sen. Specter said he was trying to meet her

"The companies have been very reluctant to say who is putting in
how much money ... but we're trying to get as much transparency
as we can," Sen. Specter said.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Man Charged with Disposal Violations in OH
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard H. Blake filed a single-count
charge against a man for allegedly violating federal asbestos
disposal regulations, the Medina Gazette reports.

Following an investigation by the Environmental Protection
Agency's Criminal Investigations Division, Michael A. Pace, aged
62, from Wadsworth, supposedly instigated the illegal disposal
incident between November 2003 and February 2004.

According to the bill of information, Mr. Pace directed other
individuals to remove and dispose of more than 160 square feet
of asbestos insulation from buildings that Pace owned and
controlled at 2501 Ley Drive in Akron, Ohio. It also stressed
that Mr. Pace had knowledge that his method of removal violated
federal asbestos abatement regulations.

Mr. Blake and U.S. Assistant Attorney Brad J. Beeson are
prosecuting the case. Both are with the U.S. Attorney's Office
for the Northern District of Ohio.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NSW Air Force Says Tests Reveal Low Risks
The Air Force put to rest fears that hundreds of defense
personnel may have come into contact with asbestos at a New
South Wales training base over the past six years. It said that
the number of people affected could be much smaller than first

In a routine maintenance inspection, three planes used to train
air force engineers were found to contain asbestos. This
discovery in Wagga Wagga RAAF base sparked an alert on March 2
to defense and civilian workers who had gone through the base
since 1999.

The head of the Forest Hill Air Base, Wing Commander Graeme
Wren, says personnel records are still being reviewed. So far,
Wing Commander Wren says only 26 people have phoned the Defense
asbestos hotline since the problem with the planes was revealed.

"As you can appreciate we have a number of people go through the
training program, but it's important to note that only a small
number of those are actually involved in the particular
scenarios involved in training on these particular aircraft
because there's only particular aircraft trades which are
involved in that type of training," he said.

There have been reassuring results from tests to establish what
level of exposure the trainees may have had. Detailed testing
from civilian professional organizations has actually determined
the risk of exposure to be low.

Experts will be removing the white asbestos from the engine and
internal piping of all three training planes and they are
expected to be back in use by June.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Students Urged to Undergo Medical Screening
Federal health officials are recommending that past users of
athletic fields and dirt pathways, including student-athletes,
coaches and maintenance workers, at Oak Ridge High School in El
Dorado Hills, Calif. be checked for early signs of asbestos-
related diseases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the
medical screening for those who used or worked on the running
track, dirt paths and baseball diamonds at the high school prior
to the 2004-2005 school year. Symptoms to watch out for include
persistent coughing, shortness of breath and chest pain.

Last year the school district and the federal Environmental
Protection Agency completed asbestos-containment work on the
campus of 1,800 students. School grounds were paved and
landscaped and the asbestos-laden soil removed and replaced from
baseball diamonds.

The CDC report addresses persons who may have had some fairly
long-term exposure to amphibole asbestos fibers prior to the
cleanup. Tremolite is the kind of naturally occurring asbestos
prevalent in El Dorado Hills. Inhaling the fibers increases the
risk of pleura disease and mesothelioma cancer.

The school district believes there is much less asbestos-
exposure risk now on the foothills campus.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Demolition Plans Worry Swansea, UK's Locals
Plans to demolish what used to be the site of a railway wagon
yard in Swansea's Eastside have raised worries that asbestos
fibers could be released into the air and cause health risks to
the nearby residents, the Evening Post reports.

Outline planning permission has been newly granted for the
construction of more than 200 affordable homes at the Marcroft
Engineering site in Port Tennant. However, Dawnus managing
director Bob Jones confirmed that much of the soil is

Armed with their concerns, residents approached local councilor
Alan Richards, who assured that they will be informed when the
demolition work would take place.

"Dawnus Construction will meet with people before they take the
buildings down. That's the way it should work," said Councilor

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Plan to Pass Liability to Councils Opposed
The Queensland Liberals are opposing the State Government's plan
to make individual local councils responsible for asbestos
containment during home renovations.

Deputy Leader Bruce Flegg said changes to the Public Health Bill
were recently introduced which will make Queensland's 125
councils directly responsible. He believes the Government is
off-loading liabilities on to councils, instead of developing a
statewide asbestos regime.

The local councils are not equipped and do not have people
trained to deal with asbestos safely.

"It will be a reactive system where it will be based on somebody
working out what's going on and complaining and then a very slow
response," Mr. Flegg said.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NJ Officers Trail Illegal Asbestos Dumpers
Investigators are now on the trail of whoever dumped more than
100 bags of asbestos-riddled waste found last week in a
Greenville lot in New Jersey. This came about after
investigators, in protective suits and respirators, pored
through the bags, searching for clues.

"We have an address, which I can't give you at this point," said
Ed Bonanno, supervising deputy attorney general of the
Environmental Crimes Bureau of the Attorney General's Office.

The material was found in an empty lot on Garfield Avenue. It
seemed to be insulation and contained the sort of asbestos that
easily becomes airborne. It would have cost several thousand
dollars to dispose of legally, Mr. Bonanno said.

Mr. Bonanno said the lot has lately been a regular illegal
dumping ground and the city has spent US$50,000 in the past six
months removing material from it.

In March, Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that his
office had indicted businessman Branko Rovcanin of Wayne and his
corporation, Betal Environmental Inc. of Paterson, on charges of
placing 33 bags of asbestos in a trailer and abandoning it on
East 38th Street in Paterson.

The trailer, recovered by Paterson police in July, also
contained construction debris, soil, wood, metal, carpet and
pieces of fiberglass boat hulls. He faces more than 20 years
incarceration and fines of up to US$120,000.

Though the "midnight dumping" of toxic materials was far more
common a few decades ago, it is said to remain a regular
occurrence in urban areas.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Court Orders School to Pay GBP21T for Violations
Trustees of St. Albans School pleaded guilty at a UK
Magistrates' Court last week to four separate counts of
breaching asbestos regulations over a four-year period. The
renowned public school allegedly placed its employees at risk of
respiratory illnesses after it ignored reports identifying sites
where broken and decaying asbestos was exposed.

The school was ordered to pay more than GBP21,000, made up of
GBP14,000 in fines and GBP7,390 in court costs.

An initial report in 1999 named three sites where the asbestos
should be removed, including the loft in the head teacher's
house, the boiler house and the schoolhouse loft. It recommended
that qualified contractors using specialist equipment remove all
the asbestos, loft insulation and material that could not be

A second report in the summer of 2000 specified 29 other areas
where asbestos was present. Because they were used on a daily
basis by maintenance staff, five of those posed a serious risk
to health and safety and required immediate attention. Although
these were located at a building used by teachers and students,
it was pointed out that the risk to their health would have been

Geoffrey Knipe, who represented the prosecution, said, "They
have taken risks that will be detrimental to their health on
numerous occasions and only time will tell if it has been."

Although the five sites that required immediate attention were
professionally cleared, the remaining 27 were left in the same
state and were still in use until 2003.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Inspection Reveals Asbestos in Hospital Complex
A major survey at the Royal Group of Hospitals in Belfast
identified several areas in the complex to contain asbestos, a
potentially hazardous material linked to 3,000 deaths in the UK
each year. Around GBP35,000 was spent in the removal of residual
asbestos from one of its two boiler houses.

Gordon McKeown, manager of Estates at the Royal, stressed that
patients were not exposed since these areas were located in the
"bowels of the building." He said a survey to identify the areas
has allowed remedial action to be done where needed as required
by law.

In addition, staff working in the boiler houses and boiler rooms
had been kept informed, offered counseling and appointments with
occupational health experts. He expressed satisfaction with the
precautions that the hospital established.

A business case is being drawn up to secure appropriate funding
to remove asbestos from the rest of the areas identified. Mr.
McKeown said the amount of money needed to remove asbestos would
be "substantial."

At the end of last year more than 420 primary schools in
Northern Ireland had been identified to contain asbestos.
Education Minister Barry Gardiner released the figures in
response to a written parliamentary question from North Down MP,
Lady Sylvia Hermon.

ASBESTOS ALERT: EPA Cites 3 PA Catholic Schools for Violations
The Environmental Protection Agency cited three Bucks Catholic
schools for asbestos violations, Bucks County Courier Times

Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, Our Lady of Grace
Parish School in Penndel and St. Bede the Venerable School in
Northampton allegedly failed to regularly inspect the asbestos
in their schools and harbored no plans to contain it.

Asbestos, a mineral used commonly for building insulation and
fire resistance, can cause cancer or asbestosis when inhaled.
The EPA has banned or restricted its use in manufacturing and

The federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act requires all
schools to develop an asbestos management plan, which includes
continual monitoring of the material. St. Bede and Our Lady of
Grace are among nine Catholic schools in the Philadelphia
Archdiocese that violated this law. However, officials from Holy
Ghost and Our Lady of Grace said the violations were paperwork
errors that have been remedied.

Our Lady of Grace missed its three-year inspection of its
asbestos materials by a few months and didn't have the paperwork
required stating that biannual checks were conducted. Business
Manager John Duffner said that was an oversight that occurred as
the church's former business manager retired and he took the
job. Otherwise, the church and school have monitored its
asbestos closely over the years with the paperwork to prove it,
he said.

Holy Ghost was cited for not inspecting its asbestos or
notifying parents each year of its asbestos monitoring program.
Holy Ghost officials said it is in full compliance now.

Bruce Marro, school director of development, said, "It was a
matter of the proper things we were doing not being reported
properly. The paperwork is there for the purpose of preventing
problems from occurring."

ASBESTOS ALERT: Homeowner Says Builder's Advice Put Him at Risk
After a builder moved the asbestos at their home without
specialized equipment, a teacher and his family's health were
put at risk while they were undergoing renovation at their home.
The builder assured them that the asbestos discovered through a
building inspection was not dangerous.

John Cleary, who teaches at Gympie, decided to renovate his
fibro home bought in Buderim five years ago. He said that for
six weeks, they lived in the house with asbestos falling down
constantly. He blamed the builder, who can't be named for legal
reasons, for unnecessarily risking their lives.

An electrician who came later told Mr. Cleary that there was
broken asbestos lying around in the ceiling. Samples sent to the
National Safety Council of Australia and the Department of
Natural Resources and Mines came back positive for asbestos.

Mr. Cleary then contacted Workplace Health and Safety officials
to report the builder, but no action was taken. "They said we
couldn't prove it was our builder, because other tradesmen had
been in the roof since he was there. Basically he said he didn't
break up the asbestos, and that was enough to get off scot-

A Department of Industrial Relations spokesman said the Cleary
family couldn't prove the builder unsafely removed the material.

Mrs. Cleary said she that since the renovations were completed,
she had developed a persistent cough, one of the symptoms of
asbestos inhalation. Other warning signs include shortness of
breath and chest pains.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Universal Supply Group Faces Suits in NJ Court
Colonial Commercial Corp. (Pink Sheets: CCOM) submitted a filing
to the Securities and Exchange Commission stating that its
subsidiary, Universal Supply Group, has been joined as a
defendant with predecessors and many other companies in numerous
product liability lawsuits brought in the Superior Court of New
Jersey (Middlesex County) that allege injury due to asbestos.
These claims that have been filed to date stem primarily from
asbestos-containing products sold by the predecessors prior to
1999 that were manufactured or packaged by a third party.

The predecessor's historic product liability insurance carriers
have managed these actions. All claims, including all defense
and settlement costs, to date have been covered and paid by
those carriers.

Counsel representing the Company in these matters has advised
that they are not aware of any material pending or threatened
litigation, claims or assessments, except for one matter of
which any verdict or settlement will be covered by insurance.
John A. Hildebrandt, Paul Hildebrandt and the predecessors have
also indemnified Universal Supply against all asbestos claims.

Company Profile:
Universal Supply Group, Inc.
275 Wagaraw Rd.
Hawthorne, NJ 07506
Phone: 973-427-3320
Fax: 973-427-6981

Universal Supply Group distributes heating, ventilation, and
air-conditioning equipment and supplies, as well as building-
automation equipment through more than ten locations in New
York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

                  New Securities Fraud Cases

BLUE COAT: Brodsky & Smith Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CA
The Law offices of Brodsky & Smith, LLC initiated a securities
class action lawsuit on behalf of shareholders who purchased the
common stock and other securities of Blue Coat Systems, Inc.
("Blue Coat" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:BCSI), between February
20, 2004 and May 27, 2004 inclusive (the "Class Period"). The
class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District
Court for the Northern District of California.

The Complaint alleges that defendants violated federal
securities laws by issuing a series of material
misrepresentations to the market during the Class Period,
thereby artificially inflating the price of Blue Coat
securities. No class has yet been certified in the above action.

For more details, contact Marc L. Ackerman, Esq. or Evan J.
Smith, Esq. of Brodsky & Smith, LLC by Mail: Two Bala Plaza,
Suite 602, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 by Phone: 877-LEGAL-90 or by E-
mail: clients@brodsky-smith.com.

CELL THERAPEUTICS: Schoengold Sporn Lodges Securities Suit in WA
The law firm of Schoengold Sporn Laitman & Lometti, P.C.
initiated a class action lawsuit against Cell Therapeutics, Inc.
("CTIC" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: CTIC) and certain key
officers and directors in the United States District Court for
the Western District of Washington on behalf of all purchasers
of CTIC securities during the period between June 7, 2004 and
March 4, 2005 (the "Class Period").

The complaint alleges that defendants' Class Period statements
regarding XYOTAX, one of the Company's lung cancer drugs
undergoing efficacy testing, were materially false and
misleading for the following reasons:

     (1) contrary to the defendants' repeated representations
         that observed results of the study were positive and
         encouraging, the results in fact showed that XYOTAX
         would not meet its primary endpoint;

     (2) XYOTAX did not boost survival for non-small cell lung
         cancer any better than Taxol, a chemotherapeutic agent
         that had been on the market for years;

     (3) based on the results of the trial the Company would not
         be able to begin pre-launch activities and to position
         itself to submit a new drug application for XYOTAX in
         the foreseeable future.

The complaint further alleges that defendants were motivated to
commit the fraud alleged herein so that CTIC's private offering
would yield more money for the Company than if the truth was
known. On December 20, 2004, CTIC launched an "$18.4 Million
Direct Equity Placement," selling approximately 2,586,000 shares
of its common stock to institutional investors at a negotiated
price per share of $7.10. In addition, during the Class Period,
defendant Bianco sold 39,625 shares at artificially inflated
prices for proceeds of $300,877.

On March 7, 2005, prior to the opening of the market, CTIC
issued a press release announcing that XYOTAX failed to meet the
endpoint of the STELLAR 3 Pivotal Trial, which had been touted
throughout the Class Period. The study showed that XYOTAX was no
better at boosting cancer survival than existing chemotherapy
agents. In reaction to this announcement, CTIC shares fell $4.75
per share or 47.5%, on March 7, 2005, to close at $5.25 per

For more details, contact Schoengold Sporn Laitman & Lometti's
by Phone: (866) 348-7700 by E-mail:
shareholderrelations@spornlaw.com or visit their Web site:

DORAL FINANCIAL: Scott + Scott To Launch Securities Fraud Suit
The law firm of Scott + Scott, LLC is set to file a shareholder
class action lawsuit on behalf of purchasers of Doral Financial
Corp. (NYSE:DRL) securities between March 15, 2004 and April 15,

It is alleged, among other things, that during the restatement
period Doral improperly valued its I/Os by using flawed loss
assumption, artificially high prepayment assumptions and
artificially low discount rates. As a result of such conduct,
Doral's stock price traded at artificially inflated levels. It
is further alleged that during the restatement period Doral
falsely reported its results through its failure to accurately
account for its I/O assets, thereby overstating its net income
and revenue and understating the Company's net liabilities in
violation U.S. GAAP. This enabled certain insiders to reap more
than $10,000,000 dollars in insider trading profits, as well as
cash incentive bonuses.

It is further alleged that in the 4Q:04, the impact of the
flattening yield curve caught up to the defendants. In their
quarterly filing, Doral recorded a $97.5 million pretax
impairment charge on the I/O strips as the result of an increase
in interest rates, specifically a rise in LIBOR -- the London
interbank offered rate. Rather than come clean and disclose that
they had been misleading investors, it is alleged that Doral
attempted to further this false story. In its quarterly filing
for 4Q:04, the Company noted its bottom line had been increased,
with a $77 million tax benefit stemming from a temporary 50%
reduction in Puerto Rico's long-term capital gains rate. This
tax benefit applied to transactions between July 1, 2004, and
June 30, 2005. Doral claimed that the tax reduction offset a $95
million trading loss it incurred on some of its I/O strips that
were used to hedge against interest rate fluctuations. The
Company stated that the new law prompted it to "accelerate" the
time frame for recording an impairment charge on the value of
its I/O strips.

Salomon Levis (Doral's CEO), in an email response to a
journalist's question about the bank's earnings, tried to
further mislead the public about the true nature of Doral's
finances. It is alleged that these statements were false and
misleading when made since Solomon Levis knew that the temporary
tax benefit simply "masked' the Company's derivative shortfall
and indicated that Doral's hedging strategy against interest
rate changes was inadequate to safeguard the value of its I/O
portfolio from interest rate swings. In Aprilof 2005, the
Company finally disclosed the magnitude of the problems at
Doral. The stock price crashed, going from a $49.25 to $16.15 in
less than three months.

For more details, contact Neil Rothstein of Scott + Scott, LLC,
Colchester by Phone: 860-537-3818 by Fax: 860-537-4432 by E-
mail: nrothstein@scott-scott.com.

ELECTRONIC ARTS: Wechsler Harwood Lodges Securities Suit in CA
The law firm of Wechsler Harwood LLP initiated a Federal
Securities fraud class action suit on behalf of all purchasers
of the common stock of Electronic Arts, Inc. ("Electronic Arts"
or the "Company") (NASDAQ:ERTS) from January 25, 2005 to March
21, 2005, both dates inclusive (the "Class Period").

The action, entitled Raspa v. Electronic Arts, Inc. et al., Case
No. (not yet assigned), is pending in the United States District
Court for the Northern District of California, and names as
defendants, the Company, its Chairman of the Board and Chief
Executive Officer, Lawrence F. Probst, III, and its Executive
Vice President, Chief Financial and Administration Officer,
Warren Jenson.

The Complaint charges defendants with violations of Sections
10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule
10b-5 promulgated thereunder. Specifically, the Complaint
alleges that defendants issued a series of materially false and
misleading statements contained in press releases and filings
with the Securities and Exchange Commission during the Class
Period. According to the Complaint, the defendants disseminated
knowingly false favorable projections for the Company's fourth
quarter, ending on March 31, 2005, so that they could sell their
personally held Electronic Arts stock at artificially inflated

On January 25, 2005, defendants issued a press release and held
an investors' teleconference wherein they reiterated previously
issued, and very positive, performance projections for the
Company's fourth quarter of 2004. In reaction to this
announcement, the price of Electronic Arts stock jumped by $5.30
per share in one day. However, less than three days after
releasing this news, insiders began dumping their personally
held Electronic Arts stock - a total of 926,739 shares - for
gross proceeds of $58,460,483.

Then, on March 21, 2005, prior to the open of trading, the
Company announced that its results for the quarter would be
materially less than was previously announced. In a telephone
interview with Bloomberg News, defendant Jenson, who himself
sold 200,000 shares during the Class Period, attributed the
shortfall to poor sales of holiday releases. The market reacted
swiftly to this announcement, sending the price of Electronic
Arts common stock plummeting $11.20 per share, or 16.8%, on
unusually high trading volume of over 39.5 million shares.

According to the complaint, when defendants were dumping their
personally held stock just days after offering glowing
projections, they were aware that the 2004 holiday releases did
not meet expectations and that the quarter's results would be
substantially off their stated projections. Rather than disclose
this news to investors, defendants chose instead to sell their
artificially inflated shares for tens of millions in proceeds.

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

SHARPER IMAGE: Baron & Budd Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CA
The law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C. announces that a class action
lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of California on behalf of purchasers of
Sharper Image Corporation (Nasdaq:SHRP)("Sharper Image" or the
"Company") securities during the period between February 5, 2004
and August 4, 2004, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The Complaint alleges that Sharper Image Corporation violated
federal securities laws by issuing false or misleading
information about the Company's financial condition and that the
Company failed to disclose and misrepresented the following
material adverse facts which were known or recklessly
disregarded by defendants. Specifically, the Complaint alleges:

     (1) rather than increasing sales, the Company's businesses
         were diverting sales from the Company's retail and
         infomercial sales;

     (2) a drastic slow down in sales of Sharper Image's key
         product, the Ionic Breeze family of air purifiers, was
         adversely affecting the Company's profitability;

     (3) the Company's margins associated with the Ionic Breeze
         family of products were seriously impacted by the
         additional costs of the defendants attempts to acquire
         additional blocks of time for infomercials that had
         already been acquired as a result of the Olympics and
         the Presidential election; and

     (4) as a result, the Company's second quarter 2004
         projections of earnings per share of $0.09-$0.11 were
         grossly overstated.

On August 5, 2004, Sharper Image announced that Q2 2004 results
would be worse than previously represented, with EPS of only
$0.03-$0.05 as opposed to representations of $0.09-$0.11. The
market reacted negatively to this news, and the Company's shares
fell sharply to $19.24, down 23.77% from a previous closing
price at $25.49.

If you acquired the securities of Sharper Image Corporation
during the Class Period and meet certain legal requirements, you
may, no later than June 17, 2005, move for appointment as lead
plaintiff on behalf of the proposed class.

For more details, contact Randall K. Pulliam, Esq. or Max Jodry
of Baron & Budd, P.C. by Phone: 800-222-2766 by E-mail:
info@baronbudd.com or visit their Web sites:
http://www.securitiesactions.comor http://www.baronandbudd.com.

SHARPER IMAGE: Lasky & Rifkind Files Securities Fraud Suit in CA
The law firm of Lasky & Rifkind, Ltd., initiated a lawsuit in
the United States District Court for the Northern District of
California, on behalf of persons who purchased or otherwise
acquired publicly traded securities of Sharper Image Corp.
("Sharper Image" or the "Company") (NASDAQ:SHRP) between
February 5, 2004 and August 4, 2004, inclusive, (the "Class
Period"). The lawsuit was filed against Sharper Image and
certain officers and directors ("Defendants").

The complaint alleges that Defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder. Specifically, the complaint alleges that
Defendants made false and misleading statements regarding the
Company and its business prospects. More specifically, the
Defendants knew but concealed that the Company's on the ground
retail business was being cannibalized by its wholesale and
Internet businesses, that the Company's profitability was being
adversely impacted by a marked slowdown in sales of the
Company's key product, the Ionic Breeze, and that additional
incremental costs associated with purchasing its infomercial
time were impacting margins in a material manner.

On August 5, 2004, Sharper Image announced that second quarter
2004 results would be lower than expected, with earnings per
share of only $0.03 to $0.05 versus prior representations of
$0.09 to $0.011. In reaction to this news, shares of Sharper
Image fell 23%.

For more details, contact Lasky & Rifkind, Ltd. by Phone:
(800) 495-1868 or by E-mail: investorrelations@laskyrifkind.com.

WATCHGUARD TECHNOLOGIES: Pomerantz Haudek Files Stock Suit in WA
The law firm of Pomerantz Haudek Block Grossman & Gross LLP
initiated a class action lawsuit in the United States District
Court, Western District of Washington, on behalf of purchasers
of WatchGuard Technologies, Inc. ("WatchGuard" or the "Company")
(NASDAQ:WGRD) securities during the period from February 12,
2004 to March 15, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint alleges that WatchGuard and certain of its
officers and directors knowingly or recklessly misrepresented
the Company's earnings throughout the Class Period, and thereby
caused the Company's stock price to trade at artificially
inflated prices in violation of the Securities Exchange Act of

The facts, known to each of the defendants but concealed from
the investing public, were:

     (1) WatchGuard's Q1-Q3 2004 reported financial results were
         materially false and misleading due to inaccurate
         income statement classification of early pay incentive
         discounts taken by customers, under-accrual of customer
         rebate obligations and timing of revenue recognition
         associated with specific products and services
         (resulting from an overstatement of product revenue and
         understatement of deferred revenue);

     (2) the Company's February 12, 2004 projections were
         materially false and misleading;

     (3) The functionality and value of the Company's "Firebox
         X" product was grossly overstated, and this product did
         not materially or accurately improve the Company's
         gross margins, streamline the Company's management or
         otherwise reduce its reliance on custom components; and

     (4) contrary to defendants' statements, the Firebox X was
         not tracking as defendants claimed.

On March 16, 2005, WatchGuard disclosed that

     (i) certain errors were discovered in its audit process and
         that it would need to reclassify early pay incentive
         discounts from interest expense to reduce its revenue
         for its previous financial results for 2002, 2003 and
         the first three quarters of 2004;

    (ii) an error was discovered in the Company's handling of
         lease incentives; and

   (iii) the errors reflected a material weakness in the
         Company's internal controls over financial reporting.

The market reacted swiftly to this disclosure, with the
Company's stock price falling to a closing price of $3.17 on
March 16, 2005.

For more details, contact Carolyn S. Moskowitz of Pomerantz
Haudek Block Grossman & Gross LLP by Phone: 888-476-6529 or by
E-mail: csmoskowitz@pomlaw.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
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Copyright 2005.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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