/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/050715.mbx             C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

              Friday, July 15, 2005, Vol. 7, No. 139


AEROSONIC CORPORATION: Reaches Settlement For Derivative Lawsuit
BANK OF AMERICA: Dismissed by NY Court From Parmalat Stock Suit
CALIFORNIA: Blind Passengers File Suit V. County Transit System
CALIFORNIA: SEC Litigation Leads to Indictment of William Whelan
CARDSYSTEMS SOLUTIONS: MO AG Joins Call For More Info on Breach

CCC INFORMATION: Signs Settlement Agreement For Pending IL Suits
CHASE BANK: ME Attorney General To File Suit For Marketing Fraud
CHASE BANK: CA AG Files Consumer Lawsuit V. Membership Programs
CHRONIC CANDY: CT AG Considers Ban on Marijuana-Flavored Candy
ESTATE GROWTH: MI AG Sues Financial Advisors For Investor Fraud

EXXON MOBIL: MI AG Forges Settlement To Cover Well Clean-Up Cost
FAMILY HERITAGE: SEC Settles Fraud Charges V. Firm's Ex-Officers
FIRST PREMIER: Agrees To Set Measures Against Fraudulent Schemes
FLORIDA: AG Crist Subpoenas Two Gas Firms Due To Price-Gouging
GILLETTE STADIUM: MA Food Service Workers To Get $23T in Tips

GLOBAL HORIZONS: WA Farm Workers Launches Suit Over H-2A Program
JESSE L. CORBIN: Funeral Home Director To Pay Fine Due To Fraud
LADOVA HEIGHTS: MD AG Issues Cease-And-Desist Order Due To Fraud
LAPPERT'S ICE: Recalls Ice Cream Due to Listeria Contamination
MARYLAND: AG Curran Sues 15 Builders For State Law Violations

MICROSOFT CORPORATION: WI Supreme Court Allows Antitrust Lawsuit
MINNESOTA: Hospitals Agree To Improve Debt Collection Practices
MISSOURI: AG Nixon Sues Two Gas Companies Due To Petroleum Leak
MONARCH PLASTIC: Patients Launch Lawsuit Over Mishandled Records
NEW YORK: Reaches Settlement For Illegal Strip Search Lawsuit

P. WILES: Agrees To Pay $19,000 in Back Wages To MA Employees
PHARMA L.P.: FDA Wants Palladone Drug Withdrawn From The Market
RTC RESEARCH: FTC Files Complaint V. Xenadrine EFX Supplement
SHARPER IMAGE: Stockholder Lawsuits in CA Voluntarily Dismissed
TOYOBO CO.: Reaches $29M Settlement For OK Zylon Vest Litigation

TRAUTMAN WASSERMAN: SEC Files Injunctive Action in NY V. Broker
TRILEGIANT OF NORWALK: CT AG To Initiate Consumer Fraud Lawsuit
VALUE CITY: Recalls 300 African Blow Dart Guns For Injury Hazard
WELLPOINT INC.: Reaches Settlement For Physicians' Federal Suit
WHIRLPOOL CORPORATION: TN Employees Commence Race Bias Lawsuit

                      Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Constar Wary of Claims from CC&S Creditors
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Raytech Completes Settlement with Creditors
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Lehmann's Lawyer Seeks to Appeal Other Case
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Cape PLC to Put Up GBP40MM Fund for Victims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Italian Prosecutor to Access Eternit Files

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Aussie Widow Pushes for Compensation Change
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Campaign Urges VA Delegation to Fight Bill
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ABB Says First Hearing Was "Very Positive"
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: S.B. 852 Unlikely to Reach Floor in July
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CT Court Denies Motion for Early Release

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Eli Lilly's Alimta Proven to Prolong Lives
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Filipino Group Seeks Total Ban of Asbestos
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Canada Launching New Regulations
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Sets Hearing in DaimlerChrysler Suit
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CA Court Orders New Trial for Leslie Case

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: South African Lawyer Queries Cape's UK Fund
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NSW Premier Under Fire for Rejecting Plan
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Survey Reveals Public Opinion on S.B. 852
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Japan Agency to Ban Asbestos Use by 2008
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NSW Community to Consult on Legal Options

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Japanese Govt to Compile Report on Diseases
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Minority of Deaths Reported as Work-related
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: James Hardie Shares Soar to a Record High
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: IN Court Affirms Ruling V. PSI Energy Inc.
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: MD Court Remands Benjamin Case to Baltimore

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: High Hopes Go with Survey in South Africa
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Iowa Resident Drops Caterpillar from Suit
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: IN Court Favors Widow in Suit V. Four Firms
ASBESTOS ALERT: VA Firms Plead Guilty to Faking Training Records
ASBESTOS ALERT: 14 Sumitomo Ex-Workers Mesothelioma Victims

ASBESTOS ALERT: Ruling V. American Cyanamid, Tate & Lyle Amended

                  New Securities Fraud Cases

CONAGRA FOODS: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Securities Suit in NE
GUIDANT CORPORATION: Marc S. Henzel Files Securities Suit in IN
HARLEY-DAVIDSON INC.: Spector Roseman Lodges Stock Lawsuit in WA
STARTEK INC.: Lerach Coughlin Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CO
TREX COMPANY: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Securities Suit in VA


AEROSONIC CORPORATION: Reaches Settlement For Derivative Lawsuit
Aerosonic Corporation (AMEX:AIM), a leading supplier of
precision flight products for commercial, business and military
aircraft, said that it and the other parties to the Aerosonic
Corporation Derivative Litigation have entered into an agreement
to settle the derivative litigation. The agreement provides for
appointment of a new independent director to replace William
Parker, who passed away in April 2005, standing authority to the
Audit Committee to investigate any matters it deems appropriate,
and payment of up to $75,000 in attorneys' fees and costs, which
would be paid by Aerosonic's insurance carrier and its former
auditor. This settlement, which should facilitate the pending
settlement of the Company's Securities Class Action Litigation,
is contingent upon preliminary and final court approval.

"We look forward to completing the final phases of resolving our
outstanding litigation so that we can focus our fullest
attention on the growth of the Company," stated David A.
Baldini, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Aerosonic Corporation, headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, is
principally engaged in the manufacture of aviation products.
Locations of the Company include the Clearwater, Florida
Instrument Division (Clearwater Instruments), the Aerosonic
Wichita, Kansas Division (Kansas Instruments), and Avionics
Specialties, Inc., a Virginia corporation wholly owned by the

For more details, contact P. Mark Perkins of Aerosonic
Corporation, Clearwater, Phone: 727-461-3000, E-mail:
mperkins@aerosonic.com, Web site: http://www.aerosonic.com.

BANK OF AMERICA: Dismissed by NY Court From Parmalat Stock Suit
The United States District Court in Manhattan, New York
dismissed the investor class action filed against Bank of
America, that accused it of helping Italian food company
Parmalat Finanziaria SpA commit securities fraud, Reuters News
Agency reports.

Court documents revealed that the plaintiffs sought to hold the
No. 2 U.S. bank liable for its actions related to a 1999
Parmalat private placement, and to various loans backed by funds
from private debt placements.   Plaintiffs claimed in their suit
that the bank knew of Parmalat's true value, but was "motivated
to participate" in a fraud to keep its lucrative banking
relationship with the company.  Filed on behalf of investors who
bought Parmalat securities from 1999 through 2003, the 368-page
complaint details various alleged fraudulent acts by Parmalat
and the banks.

In addition to the BofA dismissal, Judge Lewis Kaplan's 74-page
decision, also dismissed claims against Citigroup Inc. over its
role in various transactions, as well as its alleged role in
approving a 2003 Parmalat press release related to a Citigroup
financing vehicle, Buconero LLC. Buconero means "black hole" in
Italian.  However, Judge Kaplan left intact claims against
Citigroup and Italy's Banca Nazionale del Lavoro SpA involving
allegedly worthless invoices. Additionally, the judge also
refused to throw out claims that Credit Suisse Group Inc.'s
Credit Suisse First Boston unit designed some transactions it
knew Parmalat would use to conceal debt.

Parmalat, known for its long-life milk, filed for insolvency in
December 2003 under the weight of about 14 billion euros of
debt, after learning of a 4 billion euro hole in its accounts.
Judge Kaplan's decision though does not affect the $10 billion
lawsuits that Parmalat's administrator, Enrico Bondi, who has
sued some 50 banks over Parmalat's collapse, filed against Bank
of America, Citigroup, and former Parmalat auditors Deloitte &
Touche and Grant Thornton.

Many of the banks' arguments in the investor lawsuit turned on a
1994 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the banks claims to have
freed them from civil liability for aiding and abetting
securities fraud at Parmalat.  Judge Kaplan, who gave the
plaintiffs until August 8 to amend their complaint, said the
banks argued that, "they merely structured or participated in
transactions that Parmalat misdescribed," while the plaintiffs
said the banks were liable as "primary violators."  Saying that
he lacked jurisdiction, the judge separately dismissed some
claims against Banca Nazionale and Credit Suisse involving non-
U.S. investors.

CALIFORNIA: Blind Passengers File Suit V. County Transit System
Bus drivers for Los Angeles' county transit system discriminate
against blind passengers by sometimes refusing to pick them up
and failing to announce upcoming stops, according to a lawsuit
by two blind riders, The Associated Press reports.

The suit, which seeks class action status, claimed that the
Metropolitan Transit Authority also violates the civil rights of
blind bus riders by allowing able-bodied people to use seating
reserved for the disabled.

MTA spokesman Mark Littman told The Associated Press that he was
aware of similar complaints but could not comment on the new
suit, which was filed in Superior Court, whose two plaintiffs
are Rick Boggs and Amber McClain.

CALIFORNIA: SEC Litigation Leads to Indictment of William Whelan
William Whelan, of Visalia, California, was indicted on criminal
charges brought by the United States Attorney for the Eastern
District of California. Mr. Whelan was named in a seven count
indictment charging him with perjury, obstruction of justice and
providing false statements in connection with a deposition
provided to the Securities and Exchange Commission in the SEC v.
Cook matter (LR-16089/March 17, 1999).

The SEC v. Cook case involved an emergency action brought by the
Commission in March 1999 to halt an ongoing Ponzi scheme
centered around the offer and sale of non-existent prime bank
securities issued by Dennel Finance Limited. The Commission,
after successfully shutting down the Dennel scheme, learned that
certain individuals affiliated with Dennel were conducting a
nearly identical fraud under a new name, Resource Development
International, LLC. As a result, the Commission successfully
brought a second emergency action in March 2002 against Resource
Development and others to end the related scheme. William Whelan
was a named Defendant in the SEC v. Resource Development
litigation (LR-17438/March 26, 2002).

The indictment alleges that Mr. Whelan, a licensed insurance
agent, was sued by the Court-appointed Receiver in the SEC v.
Cook case after he was identified as "facilitator" who received
commissions from the offer and sale of the fraudulent Dennel
program. The Commission and Receiver deposed Whelan in SEC v.
Cook in August 2000 and Mr. Whelan was questioned about his
involvement in other high-yield, prime bank programs, including,
specifically, the Resource Development program. The indictment
also alleges that Whelan, during his deposition, testified
falsely numerous times about his role in the Resource
Development program. Mr. Whelan testified that he had never
received any commissions for offering or selling any high-yield
bank debenture-type program other than the Dennel program.
Whelan further testified that he had never seen documents
relating to the Resource Development program.

In addition, Mr. Whelan testified that he had never heard of an
entity called "Resource Development." Contrary to Mr. Whelan's
statements, he had, in fact, been offering and selling the
fraudulent Resource Development program for several months prior
to his testimony, had received commissions for selling the
Resource Development investment, and had utilized the documents
disseminated by Resource Development in the course of selling
the program.  [SEC v. Benjamin Franklin Cook, et al., Civil
Action No. 3:99-CV-571-R, USDC, NDTX (Dallas Division); SEC v.
Resource Development International, LLC, et. al., Civil Action
No. 4-97CV-1018Y, USDC, NDTX (Dallas Division); U.S. v. William
Whelan, Criminal Action No. 05CR00226OWW, USDC, EDCA] (LR-

CARDSYSTEMS SOLUTIONS: MO AG Joins Call For More Info on Breach
Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon has joined attorneys general
from across the nation in calling upon CardSystems Solutions -
the target of a security breach that compromised the personal
financial information of millions of credit card holders - to
give an accounting of the extent of the information that was
stolen, and how the company will prevent similar breaches in the

The letter, coming in the wake of news reports of the security
breach, was sent to Linda P. Ford, senior vice president and
legal counsel for CardSystems in Tucson, Arizona.  The letter
states: "...your company may have violated provisions of the
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, a set of security
requirements for merchants and payment processors that includes
implementing strong access control measures, regularly
monitoring and testing networks, and maintaining an information
security policy. This is unacceptable."

Estimates indicate that as many as 22 million Visa card holders
and 14 million MasterCard holders may have been exposed to the
security breach, which occurred in late May.

"In this information age - where the exposure of an individual's
personal financial information could have dire consequences -- a
company using less than the most secure means to safeguard that
data is irresponsible," Mr. Nixon said. "These customers deserve
an immediate accounting, and deserve assurances that it will not
happen again."

Specifically, CardSystems is being called on to:

     (1) Report the total number of consumers impacted in each

     (2) Provide an explanation of how the breach occurred and
         the steps the company will take to mitigate the
         consumer injury, including efforts to notify affected

     (3) Provide an outline of a plan to prevent a reoccurrence,
         and a timeline for implementation.

For more details, contact Press Secretary Jim Gardner by Phone:
573-751-8844 or by Fax: 573-751-5818 or by E-mail:

CCC INFORMATION: Signs Settlement Agreement For Pending IL Suits
CCC Information Services Inc., a subsidiary of CCC Information
Services Group Inc. (Nasdaq:CCCG), recently signed a settlement
agreement with the plaintiffs in various class action suits
pending in Madison County, Illinois.

These consolidated suits, In re Total Loss Class Action
Litigation, Case Nos. 01 L 157, et al., relate to the valuation
of vehicles that have been declared total losses by insurers.
This settlement includes no admission of liability or wrongdoing
by CCC or its customers. The proposed classes represent all
customers of the settling carriers who had a total loss claim
from January 28, 1989 to the present, for which CCC's product
and service (now called CCC Valuescope(R)) were used to perform
the valuation.

The settlement itself is subject to Court approval, and a motion
seeking preliminary approval of the settlement was filed with
the Court today. Notice to members of the settling classes will
then be issued, and the Company anticipates that a final
approval hearing will take place before the end of the year.

"We are pleased that we have been able to work with our
participating insurance company customers and agree upon terms
that are equitable for all involved," said Robert S. Guttman,
Senior Vice President and General Counsel for CCC. "The Company
has a strong belief in the integrity and accuracy of our
valuation product and service. We concluded, however, that
settlement of these suits is the best course of action in order
to avoid further protracted litigation, expense and

Terms of the settlement agreement will require CCC to pay notice
and administration fees and other costs associated with the
settlement. The Company estimates that these costs will total
approximately $8 million, and including available insurance
proceeds of $1.8 million, the Company is fully reserved for
these payments. Other settlement costs, including claims by
class members, will be paid by the insurance companies that are
participating in the settlement. In addition to its settlement
contribution, CCC will also engage the services of an
independent, third party as a Court-appointed monitor to
periodically review CCC Valuescope's methodology for five years
following settlement and to oversee the performance of various
product validation studies.

CHASE BANK: ME Attorney General To File Suit For Marketing Fraud
Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe issued a notice of intent to
sue Trilegiant Corporation, Chase Bank USA, N.A., and Chase
Manhattan Mortgage Corporation for violating the Maine Unfair
Trade Practices Act in connection with their marketing of
membership clubs to Maine residents.  Maine law requires that
the notices be sent at least ten days prior to filing suit
seeking an injunction in court.

The Attorney General alleges that the Chase companies and
Trilegiant misled Maine consumers into signing up for
memberships in so-called "discount buying clubs" without the
consumers' knowledge or consent.  Chase Bank checks were mailed
to customers along with notices indicating that the checks were
rewards to valued customers.  But cashing the checks enrolled
the customers in discount buying clubs, and their credit card
accounts were charged for recurring annual club dues ranging
from $44.99 to $99.99.  Rowe alleges that the disclosures
accompanying the checks were insufficient to inform consumers
that they were agreeing to have their accounts charged.

"We have heard from more than 100 Maine residents who did not
consent to charges on their Chase credit cards or mortgage
balances for membership in these clubs.  After learning they had
been charged membership dues, many residents had difficulty
canceling and obtaining refunds," said Mr. Rowe.

Mr. Rowe asked Mainers to carefully check their credit card and
mortgage statements and to question any unfamiliar charges.  The
clubs have various names including Travel Advantage, Shoppers
Advantage, Complete Home and Auto Vantage Gold.  They purport to
offer consumers discounts and savings on products and services.
"We must all be vigilant about checking our statements.
Consumer law enforcement is driven by consumer complaints, and
consumers can't complain unless they notice they've been taken,"
said Rowe.

The California Attorney General also today filed suit against
the companies for similar conduct in that state.  Trilegiant is
a Delaware Corporation operating in Connecticut.  Chase Bank
USA, N. A. is a national bank located in Newark, Delaware; and
Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corporation is a New Jersey
Corporation.  In 2001, Mr. Rowe joined the Federal Trade
Commission and many other states in a settlement of suits
against another discount buying club called Triad.

For more details, contact Linda Conti, Assistant Attorney
General by Phone: 207-626-8591 or visit the Website:

CHASE BANK: CA AG Files Consumer Lawsuit V. Membership Programs
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed a lawsuit against
Chase Bank and Trilegiant Corporation alleging the defendants
unlawfully deceived tens of thousands of California consumers
into paying for membership programs that purportedly provided
discounts on car and home repair, shopping, and other goods and

"In colluding to perpetrate this unsavory scheme, Chase and
Trilegiant preyed on vulnerable senior citizens and consumers
who read and speak limited English," said Mr. Lockyer. "After
tricking victims into joining these membership programs, the
defendants used deceptive billing practices to maintain their
ill-gotten income stream. We're filing this lawsuit to make the
victims whole and obtain penalties to hold the companies

Filed in San Diego County Superior Court, Mr. Lockyer's
complaint alleges the Bank, Trilegiant and other defendants
violated California laws that prohibit false or deceptive
advertising, and unfair business practices. The number of
California victims is not specified in the complaint, but Mr.
Lockyer's office said the total reached into the tens of

The complaint seeks restitution for victims, civil penalties of
$2,500 per unlawful act, an additional $2,500 penalty for each
violation that victimized seniors, and an order permanently
barring the defendants from engaging in the alleged practices.
The named defendants include: Chase Bank USA and Chase Manhattan
Mortgage Corporation (Chase); and Trilegiant Corporation and TRL
Group, Inc. (Trilegiant).

Cendant Corporation in January 2004 changed the name of one of
its subsidiaries to Trilegiant Corporation, according to the
complaint. The subsidiary, the complaint alleges, continued the
membership scheme under that name.  Cendant, which had an
ownership stake in Trilegiant Corporation prior to January 2004,
is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

The complaint alleges Chase and Trilegiant enter agreements
under which Trilegiant gains access to Chase's customers for the
purpose of marketing the membership programs. In soliciting
Chase customers, Trilegiant uses Chase's name, and Chase reviews
and approves marketing materials used by Trilegiant, according
to the complaint. On occasion, the complaint alleges, Chase
includes the solicitations in its customers' monthly statements.

"Chase receives substantial compensation for its participation
in this marketing scheme, including commissions on initial sales
and automatic renewals of Trilegiant's products and services to
Chase customers," according to the complaint.

The defendants' solicitations offer consumers "free" trial
memberships in discount purchasing programs, the complaint
alleges, without adequately informing consumers they will be
billed automatically for a one-year membership if they do not
affirmatively cancel with a specified period time. Typically,
the cancellation period is 30 days.   The solicitations include
checks that consumers are urged to cash as a "reward for being a
valued Chase customer," the complaint alleges. The defendants do
not adequately disclose to consumers that if they cash the
checks, they automatically become members in the discount buying
program, and will be billed for a one-year membership if they do
not cancel by the specified deadline, according to the

"Consumers are unaware that Chase allows Trilegiant to charge
fees to consumers' Chase bank accounts or add the fees to their
Chase monthly mortgage statements, merely upon the consumer
cashing a `reward' check or accepting a `free' trial offer," the
complaint alleges.  The annual membership fee ranges from $69.99
to $119.88, the complaint alleges. The defendants fail to
adequately disclose the membership will be renewed every year
unless the consumer affirmatively cancels, according to the

However, the defendants' deceptive billing practices make it
difficult for consumers to know they are members, or are paying
for a membership. "Consumers do not realize they have been
billed for such membership services because the membership fees
are sometimes described as `Optional Products' or described in a
manner that does not clearly identify the particular membership
program, seller or nature of the charge," the complaint alleges.

The alleged scheme has hit hardest some of the most vulnerable
consumers, according to the complaint. "Through this marketing
scheme, (the) defendants prey on consumers, many of whom are
unsophisticated, elderly or do not read or speak English as a
first language," the complaint alleges.  The membership programs
offer purported discounts on a variety of goods and services,
including car maintenance, home repair, car rentals, travel
services, shopping and pet products, according to the complaint.
The programs are marketed under the following names:
AutoVantage, AutoVantage Gold, Travelers Advantage, Complete
Home, Shoppers Advantage, Buyers Advantage, Pet Privileges and
Just for Me.

Consumers who believe they have been victimized by the scheme
alleged in the lawsuit, or similar membership programs, should
contact the Attorney General's Office by Mail: Public Inquiry
Unit of the Attorney General's Office at P.O. Box 944255,
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550 or visit the Website:

CHRONIC CANDY: CT AG Considers Ban on Marijuana-Flavored Candy
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal intends to
sponsor a statewide ban on marijuana-flavored candy - dubbed
"Pot Suckers" or "Chronic Candy."

The green marijuana candy is flavored with real hemp and is sold
as lollipops and other hard candy. The candy is marketed in
novelty stores throughout the state with slogans such as "Tastes
like the Real 'Deal'" or "Every lick is like taking a hit."
While eating the candy is not dangerous - it contains no
tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the hallucinogenic property of
marijuana - it dangerously glamorizes drugs for children, Mr.
Blumenthal said.

"This candy blatantly appeals to children - a gateway product
leading to substance abuse - and should be stopped," Mr.
Blumenthal said. "With drug lingo such as 'tastes like the real
deal' and 'every lick is like taking a hit,' these products
perniciously promote drug use. As a parent of four children, I
was floored when I learned this candy is sold in malls across
the state, creating an aura and mystique about marijuana.
Parents ought to be aware and outraged . A total ban on these
gateway products is a valid public health measure. Marijuana
candy should go the way of candy cigarettes - off our store

Some cities across the country, including Chicago and Suffolk
County, N.Y., recently imposed bans on the candy. Other cities
and states - New York City, Michigan, New Jersey and Georgia -
are considering bans.

Late last month, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office
probed Chrnoic Candy, seeking further information regarding its
advertising and marketing practices.   Early this month, the New
Jersey-based company agreed to stop selling the lollipops in
Illinois, according to an earlier Class Action Reporter story
(June 12,2005).

ESTATE GROWTH: MI AG Sues Financial Advisors For Investor Fraud
Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, Grand Traverse County
Sheriff Scott S. Fewins, and Colonel Tadarial J. Sturdivant,
director of the Michigan State Police announced the arrest of
two owners and an employee of a Traverse City investment firm
for defrauding 14 Northern Michigan investors of more than $1.1
million on July 8,2005.

The victims include an 80-year-old Traverse City nursing home
resident who has been forced onto Medicaid as a result of losing
her savings, and a 74-year-old Traverse City assisted living
care patient who was also using her savings to pay for her care.
The victims span six counties -- Grand Traverse, Leelanau,
Benzie, Cheboygan, Charlevoix, and Manistee.

"To betray the trust of clients and steal their entire life
savings is reprehensible," said Mr. Cox.  "I will not allow our
most vulnerable adults to be taken advantage of. My office will
do everything in its power to step in to protect Michigan
seniors and seek justice on their behalf."

Grand Traverse County Sheriffs and Michigan State Police took
Estate Growth Management co-owners Margaret Florence Zimmerman,
47, and Gary Louis Singer, 54, both of Traverse City, into
custody Friday morning. Zimmerman was arraigned before Chief
Judge Michael J. Haley in Traverse City's 86 District Court on
eight criminal charges, including: two counts of Embezzlement of
a Vulnerable Adult by a Person in a Relationship of Trust Over
$20,000, a 10-year felony; one count of Embezzlement of a
Vulnerable Adult by a Person in a Relationship of Trust Over
$1,000 but Less Than $20,000, a five-year felony; five counts of
Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses Over $20,000, a 10-year
felony; and one count of Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses
Over $1,000 but Less Than $20,000, a five-year felony.  Mr.
Singer was also arraigned before Judge Haley on four counts of
Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses Over $20,000.

Estate Growth Management employee Jonathon Lee Brzezinski, 24,
of Traverse City was arrested Friday and arraigned before Judge
Haley on four counts, including: three counts of Embezzlement of
a Vulnerable Adult by a Person in a Relationship of Trust Over
$20,000; and one count of Embezzlement of a Vulnerable Adult by
a Person in a Relationship of Trust Over $1,000 but Less Than
$20,000.  All three defendants were released on $25,000/10% bond
and waived their right to a preliminary examination. The next
court date has not yet been scheduled.

In addition to the three individuals, Cox charged Estate Growth
Management, a non-incorporated company doing business as a
financial investment firm located at 2361/2 Front Street in
Traverse City, with nine criminal charges including: two counts
of Embezzlement of a Vulnerable Adult by a Person in a
Relationship of Trust Over $20,000; one count of Embezzlement of
a Vulnerable Adult by a Person in a Relationship of Trust Over
$1,000 but Less Than $20,000; five counts of Obtaining Money
Under False Pretenses Over $20,000; and one count of Obtaining
Money Under False Pretenses Over $1,000 but Less Than $20,000.
The corporation faces substantial fines, court costs,
restitution, and a possible forfeiture of corporate assets.

"In an ideal world, we would all be free from anyone trying to
take advantage of us, hurt us, or take away what we have worked
so hard for," said Mr. Fewins.  "However, when our children,
seniors, or vulnerable adults are the targets of opportunists,
it becomes more personal than if they came after someone more
fortunate. I wish for our community that the judicial system is
able to successfully submit this case to a jury of their peers
and the jury is able to make the appropriate decisions. Further,
if those decisions are that these suspects are guilty, that the
sentencing judge is able to give them a severe penalty to show
others this is unacceptable and we cannot continue to have our
vulnerable adults victimized."

The charges arise from a year-long investigation into the
company's businesses practices by Cox's Health Care Fraud
Division. While 14 of the company's clients lost more than $1.1
million, the defendants earned commissions in excess of
$340,000.  In each case, the defendants persuaded their clients
to invest in two California-based companies, Network Services
Depot and Bikini Vending. Both companies were shut down by
California authorities in April of 2004 for violating securities
laws and the Federal Trade Commission is pursuing company
executives for violations of federal law. In many cases, clients
lost money due to early cancellation penalties, taxes, and fees
on fraudulent investments designed to earn the defendants high

"These arrests are another example of cooperation between law
enforcement agencies and the Attorney General's Office," said
Mr. Sturdivant.  "We will continue to work together to
investigate these crimes and arrest the perpetrators."

A criminal charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is
presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.  To report
Medicaid provider fraud or identity theft/patient abuse in a
resident care facility, call the Attorney General's 24-hour
Hotline: 800 24-ABUSE (800-242-2873); E-mail: hcf@michigan.gov;
or visit the Attorney General's Web site:

EXXON MOBIL: MI AG Forges Settlement To Cover Well Clean-Up Cost
Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox reached a settlement
recovering costs of more than $2 million for the clean up of 92
Michigan oil and gas wells once owned by ExxonMobil and Petco.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) sought
recovery of the costs incurred to restore the sites after the
wells were abandoned in 1997.

"This settlement sends a message that contamination will not be
tolerated in Michigan," said Mr. Cox. "Companies are responsible
for the clean-up of their sites, and we will continue to hold
corporations responsible for removing harmful substances from
the environment."

The oil and gas wells involved began production in the 1950s and
1960s when Humble Oil and Gas Company, a predecessor to
ExxonMobil Corporation, received permits from the State to drill
and operate the wells. The wells were sold in 1990 and were
operated by Petco Petroleum Company, which abandoned the wells
in 1997.

After Petco and ExxonMobil failed to take action to cleanup the
sites, MDEQ plugged the oil wells and restored the soil at each
of the sites, work that was completed in 2000. The Attorney
General sought recovery of the costs incurred in the cleanup
from ExxonMobil, Petco, and personally from Jay D. Bergman,
President of Petco. A total settlement of $2,050,000 was reached
and a judgment was entered by the Ingham County Circuit Court on
July 6, 2005.

The settlement continues the Attorney General's commitment to
protecting Michigan's environment.  Mr. Cox's Environment,
Natural Resources, and Agriculture Division (ENRA) has collected
more than $25 million in settlements on behalf of Michigan
residents since 2003.

FAMILY HERITAGE: SEC Settles Fraud Charges V. Firm's Ex-Officers
The Securities and Exchange Commission settled its previously
filed civil injunctive action against former Family Heritage
Estate Portfolio, Inc. (Family Heritage) officers and owners
William L. Atkinson, II and James R. Walker.  Without admitting
or denying the allegations in the complaint, Atkinson and Walker
each consented to the entry of a Final Judgment, permanently
enjoining them from further violations of the antifraud and
registration provisions of the federal securities laws.   In
addition, Mr. Walker agreed to pay disgorgement totaling
$100,000, which monies will be paid to Family Heritage
investors, through the Family Heritage receivership established
by the Court of the Common Pleas of Allegheny County,

The Court entered Final Judgment against Atkinson on June 9,
2005, and Final Judgment was entered against Walker on July 8,
2005.  The Commission's complaint, filed in September 2004, in
the United States District Court for the Western District of
Pennsylvania, in Pittsburgh, alleged fraud in the offer and sale
of unregistered investments in automatic teller machines (ATMs).

Specifically, the complaint alleged that, from 1998 through
April 2003, Atkinson and Walker defrauded investors through the
offer and sale of unregistered securities, in the form of
investment contracts issued by Family Heritage. Directly and
through salespersons, the defendants fraudulently induced
individuals to purchase securities by making numerous
misrepresentations and omissions of material facts. The
complaint alleges that the defendants misled investors about the
risks of the investment and Family Heritage's use of new
investor funds to make monthly payments to other investors. The
complaint also alleges that Mr. Walker falsely told investors
that they could not lose their investment and that their money
could be withdrawn at any time. In total, the defendants
fraudulently raised $6.34 million from more than 320 investors.

The Commission's complaint alleged that the sale of unregistered
investment contracts by Atkinson and Walker violated Sections
5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act);
and that the defendants' fraudulent omissions and
misrepresentations in connection with the sales of those
investment contracts violated Sections 17(a) of the Securities
Act and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934,
and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The action is styled, SEC v. William
L. Atkinson, II and James R. Walker, Civil Action No. 04cv1477,
WDPA (LR-19296).

FIRST PREMIER: Agrees To Set Measures Against Fraudulent Schemes
A South Dakota bank that processed electronic withdrawals from
the bank accounts of Iowa victims of telemarketing schemes has
agreed to adopt a set of proactive measures designed to screen
out such operations and prevent facilitating fraudulent schemes,
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said in a statement.

"We are very pleased that First PREMIER Bank of Sioux Falls, SD,
has agreed to take many positive steps to avoid processing
withdrawals for fraudulent schemes -- scams such as illegal and
deceptive telemarketing of credit cards for advance fees," Mr.
Miller said.

"First PREMIER has agreed to screen potential clients in
advance, monitor their practices, investigate warning signs, and
stop processing for clients that appear to be deceiving
consumers," he said. "We appreciate the Bank's leadership." The
agreement is in the form of an "Assurance of Voluntary
Compliance" between the Bank and Miller's office.

"In recent years telemarketing boiler-rooms operating out of the
U.S. and Canada have increasingly used automatic withdrawals to
get victims' money. Many schemes count on U.S. banks to gain
entry to the system for making these withdrawals. Active
monitoring by banks makes it harder for telemarketing con-
artists, and that's an important development," Mr. Miller said.
"In our view, the law requires banks NOT to assist any
telemarketer when the bank knows or should have known that the
telemarketer is engaged in fraudulent conduct."

Mr. Miller said his Consumer Protection Division worked jointly
with the offices of the Minnesota and South Dakota Attorneys
General in reaching the accord with First PREMIER. All three
offices entered the same agreement with First PREMIER Bank. The
Iowa and Minnesota Attorneys General initially contacted the
bank in 2002 in connection with efforts to investigate the
complaints of telemarketing fraud victims who had money
extracted from their bank accounts. The agreement announced
Wednesday also involved a total payment of $200,000 by the bank
to be divided among the three states. The funds will be used to
help cover costs of the investigation and consumer and industry

"Services provided by the bank to fraudulent operators created
problems for consumers," Mr. Miller said, "but now the bank is
part of the solution. We hope other banks and other participants
in the ACH system - the network designed to allow for electronic
withdrawals from bank accounts - will follow First PREMIER's
lead in cracking down on schemes that victimize consumers."

Under the agreement, First PREMIER will investigate would-be
clients before granting them access to the automated withdrawal
network. Once a pre-screened business is granted access, First
PREMIER will monitor the business's activities and cut off ACH
processing services if the business develops a high rate of
returned transactions or generates complaints that suggest
fraud.  First PREMIER also agreed not to provide services to
operations selling credit cards or offering loans for an advance

Mr. Miller said the telemarketers involved in the underlying
schemes that drew the attention of investigators included
Rockwell Holdings, Inc., Hartford Auto Club, Premium Mega Saver,
and Capital First Benefits.  He said that many of the fraudulent
telemarketers worked through an intermediary called a "third
party processor," namely, Global eTelecom, Inc. ("GETI").

First PREMIER Bank was not directly involved with any
telemarketing misconduct and assisted the Federal Trade
Commission in connection with its investigation and prosecution
of the telemarketers. Through the controls in place at the time,
First PREMIER Bank identified the problem companies and
ultimately stopped processing ACH transactions for them. The
Bank responded to inquiries from the Attorneys General offices
regarding the Bank's processing of the ACH transactions for the
telemarketers in question.

For more details, contact Bob Brammer by Phone: 515-281-6699.
To access the Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, visit the

FLORIDA: AG Crist Subpoenas Two Gas Firms Due To Price-Gouging
Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist's office issued subpoenas
to two petroleum companies to determine why gasoline prices
charged to gas stations increased as much as 30 cents per gallon
as Hurricane Dennis approached the Florida coastline.  Tate Oil
Company, Inc., a gas distributor, and Motiva Enterprises, LLC,
one of its suppliers, were served their subpoenas Monday
afternoon. Motiva is a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell.

Based on a staggering number of price gouging complaints logged
in conjunction with Hurricane Dennis, the Attorney General's
Office has launched a widespread investigation into allegations
that fuel prices across the state may have been raised
improperly. The Attorney General's preliminary investigation has
found that the number of Shell gas retailers involved in price
gouging complaints was more than double any other retail brand.
The early stages of the investigation have revealed that
individual station owners may have been instructed to raise
prices by suppliers or corporate officials.

Initial questioning by Attorney General's investigators showed
that many of the stations targeted by price gouging complaints
are Shell stations that receive their gas from Tate Oil. A
portion of Tate Oil's supply is purchased from Motiva. Tate Oil,
which is owned by Phillips Oil, Inc., of Crestview, also owns
some gas stations throughout the state. The subpoenas request
information from both companies, including their prices for the
previous 30 days, lists of stations they supply and the amount
their prices increased after Governor Jeb Bush declared a state
of emergency on Thursday. Responses to the subpoenas are due by
July 25.

"Floridians are unfortunately all too familiar with the danger
and devastation that hurricanes bring. Many of the citizens who
complained about gas prices were doing the most important thing
they could do as Dennis approached - moving their families out
of harm's way," said Mr. Crist.  "Price gouging is one of the
worst ways to take advantage of people in a time of great need.
We will get to the bottom of this."

The Attorney General's No-Scam Hotline logged more than 1,600
calls after Governor Bush declared Florida to be under a state
of emergency on Thursday. The hotline remained active through
the weekend, fielding price gouging complaints from across the
state. The overwhelming majority of the complaints were
gasoline-related, with more than 1,550 incidents of gas price
hikes reported. Reports of increases at the pump have ranged
from 10 cents to one dollar per gallon. Of the complaints
regarding gas price gouging, 243 involve Shell gas stations.

Those wishing to report suspected price gouging may call the
Attorney General's Fraud Hotline at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM or
1-866-966-7226.  A copy of the subpoena issued to Tate Oil can
be found at: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/MRAY-
6E8K3D/$file/TateOilSubpoena.pdf.  A copy of the subpoena issued
to Motiva can be found at:

GILLETTE STADIUM: MA Food Service Workers To Get $23T in Tips
More than 200 food service workers at Gillette Stadium in
Foxborough, Massachusetts will be paid approximately $23,000 in
gratuities under an agreement reached by state Attorney General
Tom Reilly.  NPS LLC, (NPS), located at One Patriot Place in
Foxborough, has agreed to repay 222 food-service workers $23,222
in back wages.

As a result of complaints received at the Attorney General's
Fair Labor and Business Practices Division, investigators began
looking at alleged violations of the tip pooling statute at
Gillette Stadium.  The Attorney General's investigation found
that from August 13, 2004 through January 16, 2005, NPS
collected a 25 percent deduction from the gratuity paid to the
suite attendants at Foxborough Stadium, and distributed tips to
people who have managerial duties in violation of Massachusetts
General Laws Chapter 149 Section 152A. Further investigation
revealed that during this period, NPS had redistributed
gratuities to the suite captains in the amount of $23,222.

"Service employees who work hard depend on their gratuities to
earn a living," Mr. Reilly said. "My Office will continue to
ensure that workers get the pay they deserve and fair work
environment they are entitled to. In this case, thousands of
dollars in tips that should have been going to the suite
attendants were instead being paid to managers."

Under Massachusetts law, it is illegal for an employer to retain
gratuities given to the employer for the benefit of the
employees. In June 2004, an amended tip pooling bill proposed by
Mr. Reilly was passed by the legislature. House Bill 4431
amended the tip pooling statute to clarify language which
forbids employers from forcing service employees to surrender
their tips to a pool in which managers or owners share. It also
expanded the statute to protect all tipped employees and allowed
for civil citations to be issued for tip pooling law violations.
The legislation also made violations of the statute enforceable
under the enhanced criminal penalty provisions, which include
fines of up to $25,000 and jail time of up to two years and set
a three-year statute of limitations for private civil actions by

NPS cooperated fully with the Attorney General's inquiry and has
agreed to redistribute gratuities to their food service workers.
As part of today's settlement, NPS resolves any and all claims
or causes of action that may have been brought under the
Massachusetts tip pooling statute. As part of the agreement,
NPS, its directors and officers further agree to abide by all
employment related provisions and to implement a plan of
compliance with all applicable statutes. NPS neither admits nor
denies the allegations in this agreement.

Assistant Attorney General Bruce Trager and Division Deputy
Chief, Chris Buscaglia of AG Reilly's Fair Labor and Business
Practices Division handled the case.  For more details, contact
Beth Stone by Phone: (617) 727-2543, or visit the Website:

GLOBAL HORIZONS: WA Farm Workers Launches Suit Over H-2A Program
Several Yakima Valley farm workers initiated a lawsuit against a
Los Angeles-based labor contractor, Global Horizons, alleging
that the firm violated state and federal law when it displaced
them with workers from Thailand, The Associated Press reports.
Filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, the suit challenges
the use of foreign workers under the federal H-2A guest-worker
program. It seeks class-action status for at least 490 farm
workers in the Yakima Valley.

Under the federal guest-worker program, employers may import
foreign labor only after they've shown they can't find local
workers.  According to Lori Isley of Columbia Legal Services of
Yakima, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of farm workers Jose
Guadalupe Perez-Farias, Jose F. Sanchez and Ricardo Betancourt,
"This is a case about the future of agriculture in our Valley."

The complaint also names as defendants Valley Fruit Orchards of
Wapato, Green Acre Farms of Harrah and Platte River Insurance
Co. of Madison, Wisconsin, which posted a bond for Global

Previously, company President Mordechai Orian told the Yakima
Herald-Republic that Global, which imported roughly 200 Thai
workers to harvest Yakima Valley apples and cherries last year,
tried to negotiate a settlement, but Columbia Legal Services
wanted to litigate. "We'll fight it. They continue to harass
employers on H-2A," Orian told the paper in a telephone
interview from Hawaii.

Additionally, the lawsuit claims that Global reneged on verbal
agreements to hire local farm workers by never telling them when
and where to report. It also claims that employers imposed
productivity requirements that weren't explained in writing - as
required by law.

Laura Contreras, a lawyer with Columbia Legal Services, told The
Associated Press, "They believe the actions taken were used to
discourage them from applying or to force them out of the job in
order to create a false impression of a shortage of local

Some workers claim they were fired from Valley Fruit Orchards
after they objected to receiving a lower price per fruit bin
than promised by employers. They also say they were told other
workers were ready to replace them.

Mr. Sanchez, who worked for Global Horizons and Green Acre last
year told The Associated Press, "I have worked in agriculture in
the Yakima Valley for many years and want to continue to do this
work." He also said that they fired him and other local workers
and replaced them with Thai workers. He adds, "If these
companies are allowed to replace me like they did last year, it
will be more and more difficult for local workers to find jobs.
Without work in the fields, how will we support our families?"

The lawsuit also alleges that in 2004 Green Acre and Valley
Fruit hired Global to recruit workers, even though the company
was operating without a state recruiter license for more than
nine months, which is a violation of Washington's Farm Labor
Contractor Act.

JESSE L. CORBIN: Funeral Home Director To Pay Fine Due To Fraud
Former funeral home director Jesse L. Corbin agreed to pay more
than $27,000 in penalties and full restitution to consumers who
entered into "pre-need" contracts for funerals, Attorney General
Tom Reilly announced in a statement dated June 16,2005.

The settlement, filed in Suffolk Superior Court in
Massachusetts, resolves allegations that Mr. Corbin, who ran the
Jesse L. Corbin Funeral Home in Mattapan, collected payments
from consumers for "pre-need" funerals and then failed to
account for the deposits and spent the money on personal
expenses.  The settlement requires Corbin to pay $27,527.96,
which represents full restitution for consumers as well as
interest, and $10,000 in attorneys' fees and penalties.

The settlement stems from Mr. Reilly's 2004 lawsuit alleging
that Mr. Corbin violated a state law requiring funeral homes to
place funds for pre-need funerals in a separate trust account
and maintain appropriate records. In conjunction with the
lawsuit, Mr. Reilly obtained a lien of $50,000 on Corbin's
property as well as a court order prohibiting him from
transferring any assets until the case was resolved.

The case was referred to Mr. Reilly's Office by the Division of
Professional Licensure after it was denied access to Mr.
Corbin's records during an investigation into a consumer
complaint.  Mr. Reilly's suit sought access to Mr. Corbin's
records to determine the number of consumers injured,
restitution for those harmed consumers as well as penalties and

The settlement will return payments, ranging from $575 to $7,292
to five consumers.  Officials from Mr. Reilly's Consumer
Protection and Antitrust Division (CPAD) will contact each
injured consumer to determine whether the restitution payment
will be sent to the consumer or transferred to another funeral

Assistant Attorneys General Stephanie Kahn and April English of
AG Reilly's Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division are
handling this case. John Bresnahan investigated the case for the
Division of Professional Licensure.

LADOVA HEIGHTS: MD AG Issues Cease-And-Desist Order Due To Fraud
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.'s Consumer Protection
Division issued a cease and desist order requiring two related
home builders and their principals to pay $140,203 in
restitution for taking deposits and payments from consumers,
failing to complete construction or refund the payments, and
misusing a home builder registration number.

According to charges filed by the Division, LaDova Heights, LLC
and Rehco Company, Inc. of Bethesda, Maryland are owned by
Robert Hahn and David Hahn. The Division's order found that
LaDova Heights, LLC, an unregistered builder, entered into
contracts with consumers to construct homes in Prince George's
County, accepted payments from those consumers, and promised to
complete the homes. To date, however, LaDova Heights, LLC has
not completed the homes or refunded the monies paid. The charges
further allege that LaDova Heights used the registration number
of Rehco Company, Inc. in its contracts with consumers.

The Division found that LaDova Heights, LLC violated the
Maryland New Home Deposits Act by failing to place deposits and
payments into an escrow account or having a surety bond to cover
the deposit, and violated the Home Builder Registration Act by
acting as a new home builder while not registered as required by
law and by fraudulently using the registration number of another
builder. The Division also found that Rehco Company, Inc.
fraudulently allowed its registration number to be used.

"Under Maryland law, home builders must be registered before
they can enter into contracts to build homes for consumers, and
they must protect a customer's deposit until the house is
completed or they refund the deposit," said Mr. Curran.  He
urged consumers to check with the Home Builder Registration Unit
of his office before putting down a deposit on a home.

The Division's ex parte cease and desist order immediately bars
LaDova Heights, LLC, Rehco Company, Inc., Robert Hahn, and David
Hahn from acting or offering to act as a home builder in the
State of Maryland, and orders them to pay restitution and costs.
At a hearing in August, the Division will ask for an order
requiring LaDova Heights, LLC, Rehco Company, Inc., and their
principals, Robert Hahn and David Hahn to pay a $1,000 civil
penalty per day of unlawful practice.

The public hearing on the charges will be held at the Maryland
Office of Administrative Hearings, 11101 Gilroy Road, Hunt
Valley, Md., on August 26, 2005. Consumers who may have had
problems with LaDova Heights, LLC, Rehco Company, Inc., Robert
Hahn, or David Hahn should call the Home Builder Registration
Unit immediately at (410) 576-6573 or toll-free 1-877-259-4525.

LAPPERT'S ICE: Recalls Ice Cream Due to Listeria Contamination
Lappert's Ice Cream of Richmond California is recalling its
Banana Caramel Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, because it has the
potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an
organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections
in young children, frail or elderly people, and other with
weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer
only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache,
stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeria
infection can cause miscarriages, and stillbirths among pregnant

There have been no reported instances of illness caused by this
product, and Lappert's has removed the flavor from shelves. All
other Lappert's flavors tested showed no contamination. It is
thought the pathogen entered through the fresh bananas used as
an ingredient.  The product was distributed to sub-
accounts/retail stores throughout Western Washington and into
Portland, OR and also in CA, San Francisco Bay area.  The
product is sold in standard one pint ice cream cartons and is
identified as "Banana Caramel Chocolate Chip". The product
contains no date code.

The recall was a result of routine testing by the State of
Washington Agriculture Department, which sampled several of the
company's flavors. All flavors tested showed no problems, except
for the recalled flavor. The company has ceased production of
this flavor.

Anyone who has purchased this product is invited to return the
un-used portion to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Consumers with questions related to this recall can call
Lappert's at 510 231 2340.

MARYLAND: AG Curran Sues 15 Builders For State Law Violations
Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.'s Consumer
Protection Division entered into settlement agreements with 15
home builders who have agreed to pay a total of $23,000 in
penalties to settle allegations that they violated building laws
including operating without being registered with the state's
Home Builder Registration Unit or not providing required
protection for consumer deposits.

"Under Maryland law, home builders must be registered before
they can enter into contracts to build homes for consumers," Mr.
Curran said.  "Builders must also protect advance payments made
by consumers through an escrow account or by posting a surety
bond or letter of credit with the Consumer Protection Division."

Each of these companies entered into a settlement agreement with
the Division, prohibiting it from acting as a home builder in
the state unless registered with the Home Builder Registration
Unit. The settlements also require the builders to comply with
other Maryland laws governing home builders, including the laws
requiring protection of consumer deposits and other advance
payments. The companies also agreed to submit to arbitration
consumer complaints that cannot be resolved through mediation,
using the Division's arbitration program.

The Division settled with the following builders to resolve
allegations that they failed to place consumer deposits in
escrow accounts or protect them with a surety bond or letter of

     (1) Anchor Down Homes, Inc. and Mark S. McCulley

     (2) Cher-Chris Construction, Inc., Michael S. Aiello and
         Christopher M. Aiello (Cockeysville)

     (3) Liller Construction and Dwight Owens Liller (Oakland)

The Division settled with the following builders to resolve
allegations that the builders operated as new home builders in
Maryland without being registered with the Home Builder
Registration Unit:

     (i) A&M General Contracting, Inc. (Salisbury)

    (ii) B&F, LLC (Potomac)

   (iii) Barnett Ventures, LLC (Severn)

    (iv) Charles Black Construction Company, LLC. (Upper

     (v) Donald L. Hooper t/a Country Carpentry Construction
         (Prince Frederick)

    (vi) Halp Properties, LLC (Phoenix)

   (vii) Maxxam Homes, LLC and, Sassan Emral Shaool (Hagerstown)

  (viii) October Development, LLC and July Development, LLC

    (ix) Park Place Residential Condominium Trust (Annapolis)

     (x) River Run Development Associates, LLC (Huntington, New

    (xi) Southern Builders, Inc. (Salisbury)

Consumers who may have had problems with one of these builders
may call the Consumer Protection Division at (410) 528-8662.
Mr. Curran encouraged new home buyers to check whether their
builder is registered by contacting the Division's Home Builder
Registration Unit by Phone: (410) 576-6573 or toll-free at
(877) 259-4525, or by visiting the Attorney General's Website:

MICROSOFT CORPORATION: WI Supreme Court Allows Antitrust Lawsuit
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that a Milwaukee man could sue
Microsoft Corporation in state court over his claim that the
software giant created a monopoly to artificially inflate prices
for consumers, even though the alleged conduct happened outside
the state, The Associated Press reports.

In a unanimous 5-0 decision, the court ruled that Wisconsin's
antitrust laws apply to interstate commerce in two instances:
when a conspiracy was formed in Wisconsin even if the effects
were felt primarily outside the state, and when the alleged
conduct substantially affects Wisconsin residents even if it
occurred predominantly or exclusively outside the state.
Previously, a circuit court judge dismissed Gene Olstad's
lawsuit, ruling that Wisconsin antitrust laws only applied to
commerce within the state. However, the Supreme Court reversed
that decision.

After the ruling was handed down, Mr. Olstad's attorney John
Maloney called it a big win for Wisconsin consumers because it
opens the door to such lawsuits.  On the other hand, Microsoft
spokesman Kent Hollenbeck declined comment on the case other
than to say the company was "confident we would prevail on the
merits of our case," AP reports

The allegations in Olstad's suit mirror those raised by the
states and federal government in an antitrust suit. The action
eventually led to a settlement that included Microsoft's
agreement in 2002 to give rivals more flexibility to offer
competing software features on computers running Windows.  In
his suit, Mr. Olstad, who is seeking a class action status for
his suit, claims Wisconsin consumers have paid artificially high
prices for Microsoft products over the past six years as a
result of its anticompetitive conduct.

Mr. Maloney estimated 7 million Microsoft programs were sold to
Wisconsin consumers during that time. He also claims Microsoft's
dominant market share acts as a barrier for would-be competitors
and that the company has created a monopoly.

The software giant denied the allegations in Milwaukee County
Circuit Court and argued Wisconsin courts had consistently held
the state's antitrust law does not apply to conduct primarily
affecting interstate commerce.

Even with the decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court was quick to
note that it does not deal with the merits of Mr. Olstad's
claims. Rather, it only decided the case should go back to
circuit court and be tried under the new standards it devised.

MINNESOTA: Hospitals Agree To Improve Debt Collection Practices
An additional 35 hospitals throughout Minnesota have signed
agreements with the state Attorney General's Office to offer
uninsured patients a fair price for hospital services and
improve the debt collection practices that currently exist in
the hospital industry, Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch,
Minnesota Hospital Association President Bruce Rueben, and
Lawrence Massa, CEO of Rice Memorial Hospital and Chairman of
the Minnesota Hospital Association, announced in a statement
dated June 2,2005.

The announcement of the multiple agreements, when combined with
the State's prior agreements with Fairview Health Services,
Allina Health Systems, North Memorial Health Care, HealthEast
Care System and Park Nicollet Health Services, means that the
uninsured in Minnesota will receive a fairer price from
approximately 76% of the hospital capacity in the State.

"Everyone understands that the health care financing system is
broken," said Mr. Rueben, MHA president.  "But instead of
waiting around for an ultimate fix, Minnesota hospitals are
doing what we can to limit how government cost-shifting
negatively impacts the uninsured. We're making certain that the
uninsured are asked to pay an amount that is fair and just."

"I congratulate these hospitals for stepping forward and
addressing this issue, which is in the forefront of almost every
state," said Mr. Hatch.  "By exercising this leadership, these
hospitals honor their communities and their patients."

Thirty-five hospitals and systems of all sizes and from all
corners of the state decided that the new standards for billing
and collection practices make sense for their communities.
Hospitals newly signing the agreement include St. Mary's Medical
Center in Duluth; RiverView Healthcare Association in Crookston,
in the northwest; Stevens Community Center in Morris, near the
South Dakota border; St. Cloud Hospital in central Minnesota and
the Mayo Health System and Mayo Clinic hospitals in the

Size-wise, they range from the 18-bed Lake City Medical Center
to the 1,157-bed Saint Mary's Hospital in Rochester - both part
of the Mayo systems. Other newly signed-on hospitals include
Children's Hospitals & Clinics of Minnesota, Willmar's Rice
Memorial Hospital, Brainerd's St. Joseph's Medical Center,
Bemidji's North Country Regional Hospital and New Prague's Queen
of Peace Hospital.

In early May four Twin Cities-based systems announced they had
signed agreements, representing 17 hospitals. The additional 35
hospitals that signed since then are largely from Greater
Minnesota. In the Metro area, today's agreement included
Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, both the St. Paul
and Minneapolis systems, as well as Gillette Children's
Specialty Health Care -- facilities which provide care for
children throughout Minnesota. A comprehensive list of all the
hospitals is attached.

When Fairview Health Services' similar arrangement is taken into
account, the hospitals agreeing to a new community standard for
uninsured patients represent over 75 percent of all admissions
in the state.  Each hospital or health care system individually
signed an agreement with the Minnesota Attorney General's Office
to provide fair pricing to uninsured patients and establish a
code of conduct for debt collection practices.

A recent Harvard University study found that health care causes
over 50% of the bankruptcies in America, with most of the
bankruptcies filed by people who were part of the middle class
at the onset of their illness (the poor are insulated from this
exposure because of medical assistance). This means that in
Minnesota, approximately 7,000 families file for bankruptcy due
to health care. That's why Minnesota Hospitals and the Attorney
General felt it was important to address this problem. The
parties worked collaboratively to reach a fair and just solution
to the challenge of billing the uninsured.

Under the settlement, the hospitals will not charge a patient
whose annual household income is less than $125,000 for any
uninsured treatment in an amount greater than the amount the
provider would be reimbursed for that service or treatment from
the insurance company which provided that hospital with the most
revenue for its services in the previous calendar year.

The Agreement also establishes standards that hospitals and
clinics will follow when attempting to collect medical debt from
patients.  Prior to filing any lawsuit against a patient or
referring any patient's account to a debt collection agency or
attorney, the hospitals and clinics will undertake due diligence
to ensure that:

     (1) the patient owes the debt,

     (2) all insurance companies that may be responsible to pay
         the claim have been billed,

     (3) the patient has been offered a payment plan if the
         patient cannot afford to pay the entire bill at once,

     (4) the patient has been offered any free or discounted
         care for which the patient may be eligible under the
         hospital's charity care policy.

Prior to garnishing any patient's wages or bank account, the
hospitals and clinics will undertake the same due diligence to
ensure that impoverished patients are not improperly garnished.
To ensure adequate judicial supervision over such actions, the
hospitals and clinics will not pursue any garnishment without
first obtaining a judgment against the patient.

Hospitals and clinics also will adopt a number of other specific
debt collection reforms.  For instance:

     (i) they will develop a zero tolerance policy for abusive
         and harassing debt collection conduct;

    (ii) they will instruct their attorneys not to petition to
         have a debtor arrested as a result of a debt collection

   (iii) they will periodically review their contracts with
         outside debt collection agencies and attorneys to
         ensure they are acting in accordance with the law and
         the hospital's mission;

     (4) they will ensure that all lawsuits are promptly filed
         in court, that service of the lawsuit upon the patient
         is documented, and that no default judgment is obtained
         against the patient until the patient has been given a
         fair opportunity to respond.

Hospitals and clinics will establish a streamlined process for
patients to question or dispute bills, including a toll-free
number they may call and an address to which they may write.
Hospitals and clinics will promptly respond to patient
inquiries. Collection notices will list the number for the
Attorney General's Office for patients who need assistance.
Rueben and Hatch added that although this agreement addresses
one of the symptoms of our flawed health care financing system,
the public should know that discounted prices are no substitute
for health care coverage. Health insurance remains the best way
for Minnesotans to finance their health care. Unfortunately,
government under-funding and reductions of health care coverage
puts more Minnesotan's at risk for being uninsured and causes
cost shifting from those who don't pay to those who can.

The list of hospitals in the agreement can be accessed through
the Website:
ngList.htm.  For more details, contact the Office of Minnesota
Attorney General Mike Hatch by Mail: 1400 Bremer Tower, 445
Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101, Phone: (651) 296-3353,
1-800-657-3787, TTY: (651) 297-7206, TTY: 1-800-366-4812.

MISSOURI: AG Nixon Sues Two Gas Companies Due To Petroleum Leak
Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon has filed a lawsuit to
recover the state's cost from two Texas companies that allegedly
caused a 2,300-gallon petroleum leak at a Kansas City, Mo., gas

A petition filed in Cole County Circuit Court alleges that KRB
Environmental Resources of Irving, Texas, and C.T.T.
Environmental Services of Houston were contracted to conduct
petroleum line tightness tests in 1998 and 1999 at a Total
Petroleum store at 4621 N.E. Vivion Road.

The petition alleges that negligence on the part of the
companies caused a hairline crack in a petroleum line's shear
valve and that more than 2,300 gallons of petroleum escaped
through the crack before the leak was discovered on June 27,
2000. By that time, petroleum had seeped through the soil and
into the local storm sewer drainage system.

"Missouri taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill for the
environmental damage caused by this negligence," Mr. Nixon said.
"I want to make sure the companies that caused the petroleum
spill pay to clean up the land and water they damaged."

Total is a member of the Missouri Petroleum Storage Tank
Insurance Fund (PSTIF), which paid the costs of the cleanup
beyond Total's $10,000 deductible. So far, PSTIF has invested
$30,396.55, and the PSTIF Board estimates that the fund will
have to pay an addition $75,000 to complete the cleanup project.
Mr. Nixon is asking to court to order the KRB and C.T.T. to pay
for the damages caused by the spill and the costs of bringing
the lawsuit.

For more details, contact Press Secretary Jim Gardner by Phone:
573-751-8844, by Fax: 573-751-5818 or by E-mail:

MONARCH PLASTIC: Patients Launch Lawsuit Over Mishandled Records
Two patients of Leawood plastic surgeon Daniel Bortnick filed a
class action lawsuit in Johnson County District Court against
the physician and his practice, Monarch Plastic Surgery over the
careless disposal of a computer with private patient records,
The Kansas City Star reports.

The suit, which seeks unspecified damages for negligence,
invasion of privacy and breach of fiduciary duty, alleges that
Dr. Bortnick's and Monarch's conduct "constitutes an outrage, is
beyond the bounds of what persons should have to tolerate in
civil society and has caused the plaintiffs extreme emotional
distress, embarrassment and humiliation."

Last month, Dr. Bortnick found himself at the center of a legal
maelstrom after KCTV, Channel 5, obtained his patient records
and began contacting the patients. The station got the records
from a scavenger who picked up the computer from the curb of Mr.
Bortnick's Mission Hills home who retrieved the records from the
computer and turned them over to KCTV.  The doctor, upon
learning of the records, sought and obtained a restraining order
against the station, barring it from contacting the patients or
using the records.  The station has appealed to the Kansas
Supreme Court, arguing that the court should overturn the order
on the grounds that it is an unconstitutional prior restraint.

Although the restraining order remains in place, on June 30 KCTV
broadcast a story about Dr. Bortnick's alleged carelessness in
throwing away the computer and interviewed a patient who was not
identified by name. In that interview, the patient expressed
dismay over the carelessly treated confidential records.

In court documents, Dr. Bortnick stated that he believed the
computer's hard drive had been wiped clean and that he had
removed the computer's random access memory to render it

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Riverside resident Kathy Jenne
and Meriden, Kansas resident Michelle Grandmontagne, who are
seeking damages on behalf of all similarly situated patients.

According to the suit, it should be certified as a class action
because all the patients share similar issues in common,
including whether Monarch and Dr. Bortnick had a duty to
maintain the confidentiality of medical records under the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, whether
they had a system for maintaining the records and whether they
breached their duty of care to the patients.

NEW YORK: Reaches Settlement For Illegal Strip Search Lawsuit
The Bloomberg administration recently sent settlement notices to
thousands of people who were illegally strip-searched in at
least six different New York detention centers between 1999 and
2002, The New York Times reports.

The settlement, which is the second of its kind in a span of
five years, ends a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of
some 40,000 people, all of whom were arrested for misdemeanor
violations, arraigned, and strip-searched as they entered
detention centers, including Rikers Island.

According to court documents, the plaintiffs claimed that they
were forced to "strip naked, squat, cough, and spread their legs
and buttocks." They further claimed that if they complained
about the searches, correction officers threatened or abused
them and told them they would be held in "an extremely
unpleasant environment."  The suit also claimed that female
inmates were subjected to "nonconsensual gynecological
examinations" as they entered Rikers Island, and threatened with
retaliation if they refused.

David C. Cence, a Staten Island tow-truck driver who is one of
the plaintiffs told New York Times, "I understand that people
who do something wrong need to be punished. But if a guy forgets
to pay a parking ticket, and then he needs to go through that
situation - it's inhumane."

Richard J. Cardinale, one of the lawyers who filed the lawsuit,
told The New York Times that the searches took place in at least
six city detention centers.

The settlement, which was first reported in The Daily News,
would go to individuals who were awaiting trial on charges
unrelated to weapons or drugs. It also provides payments of $750
to people who were strip-searched once, and $1,000 for those who
were subjected to at least two searches.  Aside from the
monetary compensation, the settlement, which was finalized in
May, also stipulates that female detainees can refuse
gynecological exams without fear of retaliation.  If all the
plaintiffs respond, the settlement could cost the city as much
as $30 million, though lawyers from both sides called that large
a response unlikely.

P. WILES: Agrees To Pay $19,000 in Back Wages To MA Employees
The corporation and president that operate two Cape Cod Agway
stores have agreed to pay more than $19,000 to resolve
allegations they owed payment to 56 past and present employees,
Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly announced in a
statement.  The employers will pay more than $19,800 in
restitution and a $700 penalty as part of the settlement.

P. Wile's Inc., d/b/a Agway of Orleans and Dennis, and its
President, Peter C. Wile, 55, of Brewster, entered into a
settlement agreement to pay more than $19,800 in restitution and
a $700 penalty. The restitution and penalty relate to P. Wile's
unintentional failure to pay time and one half premium pay to
employees working on Sundays. These employees worked at Agway
stores located in Orleans and Dennis during the time period of
November 2002 through January 2004. The restitution owed to
employees ranges from $10 to $1,575.

State law requires that most employees working in retail
establishments be paid time and one half for work performed on
Sundays.  Both Mr. Wile and P. Wile's fully cooperated with AG
Reilly's investigation.

Assistant Attorney General Robert Lang and Inspector Paul Gordon
of AG Reilly's Fair Labor and Business Practices Division,
handled the case.  For more details, contact AG Reilly's Fair
Labor Business Practices Division's hotline: (617) 727-3465.

PHARMA L.P.: FDA Wants Palladone Drug Withdrawn From The Market
After acquiring new information that serious and potentially
fatal adverse reactions can occur when Palladone (hydromorphone
hydrochloride) extended release capsules are taken together with
alcohol, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has asked Purdue
Pharma L.P., the makers of the drug, to withdraw it from the

Palladone is a once-a-day pain management drug containing a very
potent narcotic. New data gathered from a company-sponsored
study testing the potential effects of alcohol use shows that
when Palladone is taken with alcohol the extended release
mechanism is harmed which can lead to dose-dumping. Dose-dumping
is a term that describes the rapid release of the active
ingredient from an extended release product into the blood
stream. The consequences of dose dumping at the lowest marketed
dose (12 mg.) of Palladone could lead to serious, or even fatal,
adverse events in some patients and the risk is even greater for
the higher strengths of the product. As a result of this
potential serious safety risk, the FDA has asked Purdue Pharma,
and they have agreed, to suspend all sales and marketing of
Palladone in the U.S. pending further discussions with the

"All powerful pain management drugs have serious risks if used
incorrectly, but the current formulation of Palladone presents
an unacceptably high level of patient risk" said Dr. Steven
Galson, FDA Acting Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation
and Research. "Although we have not received reports of serious
problems, this product has so far been used in a relatively
small number of patients. We are concerned that as more patients
take this drug, safety problems will arise since even having one
alcoholic drink could have fatal implications."

The current labeling for Palladone, approved in September 2004,
already includes the standard opioid warning against the use of
alcohol and Palladone. However, the FDA does not believe that
the risk of serious, and potentially fatal, adverse events can
be effectively managed by label warnings alone and a risk
management plan.

Patients currently taking Palladone should consult with their
physicians for alternative treatments. For additional
information, please go to:

RTC RESEARCH: FTC Files Complaint V. Xenadrine EFX Supplement
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a federal district
court complaint charging Robert Chinery, Jr., Tracy Chinery, and
their company, RTC Research & Development, LLC (the Chinery
defendants) with making misleading weight loss claims for the
popular dietary supplement Xenadrine EFX.

In addition, the Commission has accepted a consent agreement
with another group of entities, Cytodyne, LLC, Evergood Products
Corp., and Melvin Rich (the Rich respondents), for their role in
the advertising and marketing of Xenadrine EFX, which contains,
among other ingredients, green tea extract, yerba mate, and
bitter orange. A 120-tablet bottle - a one-month supply -
retailed for approximately $40. Since its introduction in 2002,
Xenadrine EFX's sales have topped $160 million.

According to the FTC, the defendants and respondents advertised
Xenadrine EFX heavily in print and on TV, including in such
publications as People, TV Guide, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Let's
Live, Men's Fitness, and Women's World. They also disseminated
Spanish language ads for Xenadrine EFX. The advertisements
claimed that Xenadrine EFX causes rapid and substantial weight
and fat loss, such weight loss without the need to diet or
exercise, permanent or long-term weight loss, and is clinically
proven to work. The ads relied heavily on testimonials from
supposedly satisfied customers, some of whom claimed to have
lost over 100 pounds.

The FTC's complaint alleges that the New Jersey-based Chinery
defendants made false and unsubstantiated claims for Xenadrine
EFX, including that it was clinically proven to cause rapid and
substantial weight loss and clinically proven to be more
effective than leading ephedrine-based diet products. According
to the complaint, Robert Chinery commissioned several studies of
Xenadrine EFX, none of which showed substantial weight loss. The
complaint alleges that in one of these studies, subjects taking
Xenadrine EFX lost an average of only 1.5 pounds over the 10-
week study, while a control group taking a placebo lost an
average of 2.5 pounds over the same period.

The complaint also alleges that the defendants falsely
represented that persons appearing in the ads achieved the
reported weight loss solely by using Xenadrine EFX. According to
the FTC complaint, consumer endorsers, in fact, lost weight by
engaging in rigorous diet and/or exercise programs. The
complaint alleges that the defendants also failed to disclose
that the endorsers were paid from $1,000 to $20,000 in
connection with their testimonials.

Another company controlled by the Chinery defendants,
Nutraquest, was not named in the complaint; it is currently in
bankruptcy and facing numerous product liability, class action,
and advertising claims relating to an ephedra product, Xenadrine

The New York-based Rich respondents have entered into an
administrative settlement with the FTC. The consent order
requires the respondents to pay $100,000 to the FTC. It also
prohibits the Rich respondents from claiming that Xenadrine EFX
or any other substantially similar product causes rapid and
substantial weight or fat loss and prohibits the claim that any
weight-loss product causes rapid and substantial weight loss
without diet or exercise.

The settlement further prohibits the respondents from claiming
that any weight-loss product, dietary supplement, food, drug, or
device causes weight or fat loss, causes permanent or long-term
weight loss, or causes users to lose weight or fat without diet
or exercise unless they have competent and reliable scientific
evidence to substantiate the claims. It also requires that the
respondents have competent and reliable scientific evidence for
any claims they make about the health benefits, performance,
efficacy, safety, or side effects of any such product and
prohibits them from misrepresenting any test, study, or research
for any such product.

In addition, the settlement prohibits the respondents from
misrepresenting the experience described in any user
testimonials for any weight loss product, dietary supplement,
food, drug or device. It requires the respondents to disclose
any material connection - including monetary payments - between
the endorser and the respondents or any person or entity
involved in manufacturing, marketing, or selling the product.

The Commission vote to authorize the staff to file the complaint
against the Chinery defendants was 5-0. The complaint was filed
in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on
July 11, 2005.

The Commission vote to accept the proposed consent agreement
with the Rich respondents for public comment was 5-0. The FTC
will publish an announcement regarding the agreement in the
Federal Register shortly. The agreement will be subject to
public comment for 30 days, beginning today and continuing
through August 10, 2005, after which the Commission will decide
whether to make it final. Comments should be addressed to the
FTC, Office of the Secretary, Room H-159, 600 Pennsylvania
Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. The FTC is requesting that
any comment filed in paper form near the end of the public
comment period be sent by courier or overnight service, if
possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at
the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security

Copies of the complaints, proposed consent agreement, and an
analysis of the agreement to aid in public comment are available
from the FTC's Web site at http://www.ftc.govand also from the
FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania
Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the
consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business
practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help
consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in
English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take
complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer
topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use
the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov.The FTC enters
Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related
complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database
available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement
agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  For more details, contact
Mitchell J. Katz of the Office of Public Affairs by Phone:
202-326-2161 or contact Peter Miller or Michael Ostheimer of the
Bureau of Consumer Protection by Phone: 202-326-2629 or
202-326-2699 or visit the Website:

SHARPER IMAGE: Stockholder Lawsuits in CA Voluntarily Dismissed
Sharper Image Corporation (NASDAQ:SHRP) reports the voluntary
dismissal of the stockholder class action lawsuits filed in mid-
April 2005 in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of California.

As disclosed in the Company's first quarter report on Form 10-Q,
purported stockholder class actions lawsuits were commenced on
and after April 18, 2005 in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of California on behalf of purchasers of
the Company's common stock during the period of February 5, 2004
and August 4, 2004. Although a number of lawsuits were
announced, only two lawsuits were filed. The first of these
lawsuits was voluntarily dismissed on June 20, 2005 and the
second was voluntarily dismissed on July 11, 2005.

The Sharper Image is a specialty retailer that is nationally and
internationally renowned as a leading source of new, innovative,
high-quality products that make life better and more enjoyable.

TOYOBO CO.: Reaches $29M Settlement For OK Zylon Vest Litigation
The law firm of Allan Kanner & Associates, P.L.L.C. reports that
a $29 million class action settlement was reached between a
certified national class of consumers who purchased Second
Chance bullet proof vests and Defendants Toyobo Company, Ltd.
and Toyobo America, Inc. The vests were manufactured using
Zylon(r) and marketed under the name Ultima, Ultimax, and Tri-
Flex. The settlement of the case, Lemmings, et al vs. Second
Chance Body Armor Inc. (Case No. CJ-2004-62) in the District
Court for Mayes County, Oklahoma, does not resolve ongoing
claims against Second Chance, which is currently going through
Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

"We would like to thank the various state attorneys general,
police fraternal organizations and professional police
organizations for their support in achieving this important
Settlement. We very much appreciate the network of law firms
nationwide that have worked hard over the past year and a half
to achieve the benefits obtained in this Settlement for law
enforcement officers and agencies throughout the United States,"
said Lead Class Counsel Allan Kanner while thanking the many
various organizations that helped bring about the Settlement.
"We will do everything we can in order to get the benefits
provided by this settlement to Class Members as soon as

For those seeking additional information on the Settlement and
their legal rights, a Web site including the complete notice
form, appropriate contact information, and all related Court
documents has been established at:

The suit is styled, Lemmings, et al vs. Second Chance Body Armor
Inc., (Case No. CJ-2004-62) filed in the Cistrict Court for
Mayes County, Oklahoma with the Honorable James D. Goodpaster
presiding. The plaintiffs, Steven M. Lemmings and the City of
Pryor Creek are represented by the law firm of Allan Kanner &
Associates, P.L.L.C. The defendants are Second Chance Body
Armor, Inc., Toyobo Company, Ltd., Toyobo America, Inc.,
Oklahoma Police Supply, Inc., John Doe, insurance companies,
sellers, distributors, advertisers and individuals.

For more details, contact Zylon Class Administrator, P.O. Box
1700, Faribault, MN, 55021-1700, Phone: (877) 567-2754, Web
site: http://www.zylonvestclassaction.com.

TRAUTMAN WASSERMAN: SEC Files Injunctive Action in NY V. Broker
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil injunctive
action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of
New York against Scott A. Christian (Christian), a registered
representative (or broker) at Trautman Wasserman & Co., Inc.
(Trautman Wasserman), who participated in a scheme to defraud
mutual funds and their shareholders by engaging in late trading
and disruptive market timing of mutual fund shares for
customers. The Commission's complaint alleges that Mr. Christian
executed tens of thousands of "late trades" for hedge fund
customers and engaged in deceptive conduct to evade restrictions
that mutual fund companies sought to place on his customers'
frequent, short-term trading of mutual fund shares.
Additionally, Mr. Christian created false records to conceal
late trading.

The Commission filed its complaint against Christian, 29 years
old, a resident of New York, New York. At all relevant times,
Mr. Christian was employed by Trautman Wasserman as a registered
representative. The complaint alleges the following: Between
January 2001 and September 2003, Mr. Christian, together with
others at Trautman Wasserman, engaged in late trading on behalf
of customers. "Late trading" refers to the practice of placing
orders to buy, redeem, or exchange mutual fund shares after 4:00
p.m. Eastern Time, the time as of which mutual funds typically
calculate their net asset value (NAV), but receiving the priced
based on the prior NAV already determined as of 4:00 p.m.  Late
trading enables the trader to profit by basing trades on market
events that occur after 4:00 p.m. Mr. Christian carried out the
late-trading scheme by having customers submit proposed mutual-
fund trading orders during the trading day and time-stamping
them just before 4:00 p.m. to make it appear that customer
orders were received before 4:00 p.m.  Mr. Christian did not,
however, enter these proposed trades for execution.   Instead,
Christian communicated with customers after 4:00 p.m. and often
until 6:30 p.m. or later to determine if the customers wanted to
execute the proposed orders or submit different orders based on
post-4:00 p.m. market information.  After customers made their
final post-4:00 p.m. trading decisions, Christian entered orders
into the trading system used by Trautman Wasserman.

Additionally, Christian engaged in deceptive conduct to evade
restrictions that mutual fund companies sought to place on Mr.
Christian's potentially harmful market timing trades. "Market
timing" includes frequent, short-term trading in mutual fund
shares to exploit inefficiencies in mutual fund pricing.  Market
timing, while not illegal per se, can harm other mutual fund
shareholders because it can dilute the value of their shares,
disrupt the management of the mutual fund's investment
portfolio, and cause other shareholders to bear the costs
incurred by accommodating frequent trading by the market timer.
During the period March 2001 through April 2003, Christian and
Trautman Wasserman received 307 letters from 40 fund companies
seeking to stop excessive trading by accounts at Trautman
Wasserman. Knowing that mutual fund companies monitored market-
timing activity by account number and registered representative
identification number, Christian opened and traded in multiple
accounts for his market-timing customers and utilized numerous
different registered representative identification numbers, so
that his customers could evade mutual fund companies'
restrictions on their trading.

The Commission charges Christian with violating Section 17(a) of
the Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act), Section 10(b) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) and Rule 10b-
5 thereunder, and with aiding and abetting violations of
Sections 10(b), 15(c) and 17(a) of the Exchange Act and Rules
10b-3, 10b-5 and 17a-3 thereunder. The Commission seeks a
permanent injunction against future violations of these
provisions, disgorgement plus prejudgment interest, and civil
penalties. The suit is styled, SEC v. Scott A. Christian, CV 05
6239 (LTS) SDNY (LR-19294).

TRILEGIANT OF NORWALK: CT AG To Initiate Consumer Fraud Lawsuit
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Department
of Consumer Protection (DCP) Commissioner Edwin R. Rodriguez
filed a lawsuit against a nationwide membership club company for
allegedly deceiving consumers into enrolling in its clubs.

Trilegiant of Norwalk operates various national discount clubs,
soliciting consumers to subscribe as paid members. It markets a
variety of programs such as discount travel, health, dental,
entertainment and other consumer services. The clubs include
AutoVantage, Buyers Advantage, Complete home, Health Saver,
Travelers Advantage, Privacy Advantage and Shoppers Advantage.

The company allegedly enrolls consumers through forms disguised
as complimentary checks for nominal amounts, Internet surveys
and through telemarketing. If consumers fail to cancel the trial
membership, their credit cards are charged annual membership
fees ranging from $59.95 to $89.95.

Mr. Blumenthal's office has received hundreds of complaints from
consumers who say they were enrolled against their will, and
then unable to cancel the membership.  "Trilegiant is a club
that deserves no members - tricking consumers with so called
reward checks and then hitting them with automatic renewal
fees," Mr. Blumenthal said. "Trilegiant uses 'Advantage' to name
its clubs - but the only real advantage goes to Trilegiant. My
office has intervened on behalf of hundreds of consumers, but
Trilegiant persisted its predatory enrollment practices over and
over again. We're investigating involvement of other companies -
credit card issuers and national banks - that may be knowingly
aiding this scheme."

"Many Connecticut consumers at one time or another have received
mail with these complimentary checks that, when cashed, force
the consumer into an unwanted agreement with costly
consequences," Mr. Rodriguez said.  "These deceptive business
practices will not be tolerated in Connecticut and this lawsuit
should send a clear message to the marketplace that our state
will prosecute companies that try to rip off consumers."

The state is also investigating apparent marketing agreements
between Trilegiant and several other businesses, particularly
national banks that issue credit cards. The membership clubs are
often marketed to credit card holders, often through the use of
'rewards' checks that appear to be rebates or rewards from the
bank to their customers.  In reality, cashing the check enrolls
the consumer in a 'trial offer' buying club membership. The
consumer is then automatically billed for the annual membership
if they fail to cancel during the trial offer period. Consumers
have also reported difficulty canceling the membership after
they discover the charges on their credit cards.

Mr. Blumenthal and Mr. Rodriguez said the enrollment practices
and efforts to prevent consumers from canceling memberships
violates the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practice advertising
regulations concerning disclosure of the terms adjacent to an

For more details, contact the Attorney General's office by E-
mail: attorney.general@po.state.ct.us or visit the Website:

VALUE CITY: Recalls 300 African Blow Dart Guns For Injury Hazard
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC), Value City Department Stores, of Columbus, Ohio is
voluntarily recalling about 300 units of African Blow Dart Guns.

Consumers may have mistakenly purchased the dart guns thinking
it was a decorative walking stick, posing the risk of injury if
someone used the gun for its intended purpose.

The blow dart gun is a 51-inch long decorative wooden tube with
an attached pouch containing five darts. The brown, bamboo-
shaped gun has a black, small barrel-like container attached to
the top.

Manufactured in Indonesia, the blow dart guns are sold at all
Value City stores nationwide from June 2005 through July 1, 2005
for about $5.

Consumers should secure the blow dart gun and darts and return
them to any Value City store for a full cash refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Value City
toll-free at (888) 278-6370 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday
through Friday, or visit the firm's Web site:

WELLPOINT INC.: Reaches Settlement For Physicians' Federal Suit
WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP) and representatives of over 700,000
physicians, state and other medical societies received
preliminary approval of the landmark settlement agreement in the
national class action pending in the federal court for the
Southern District of Florida. The agreement includes industry-
leading improvements to physician-related business practices.

U.S. District Court Judge Federico Moreno granted preliminary
approval of the settlement agreement today in Miami and set
Friday, December 2, 2005 as the date for the fairness hearing.
An order will be drafted and issued on the findings announced by
Judge Moreno in open court today.

The settlement agreement that was granted preliminary approval
recently, came in response to a lawsuit filed to combat
widespread and chronic abuses by some of the nation's largest
for-profit health maintenance organizations (HMOs). The suit
identified Wellpoint, as well as Aetna, United Healthcare,
CIGNA, Coventry, Humana Health Plan, Inc, and Pacificare Health
Systems, Inc. as co-conspirators who have violated contracts and
defrauded doctors in violation of the federal Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO). The lawsuit
against the four remaining defendants continues before Judge
Moreno with a January trial date.

Co-lead counsel for the Plaintiff Physicians, Archie Lamb noted
that, "This settlement is a landmark accord that reiterates the
supremacy of the physician and his patient's input in all
healthcare decisions. We are pleased with today's prompt
preliminary approval and look forward to the next step toward
final judicial approval."

The case is being heard in the United States District Court,
Southern District of Florida, Miami Division: MDL No. 1334;
Master File No. 00-1334-MD-Moreno.

For more details, contact Tami Durle, Investor Relations and
James P. Kappel, Media Contact, both of WellPoint, Inc., Phone:
+1-317-488-6390 or +1-317-488-6400, E-mail:
http://www.wellpoint.comOR Audrey Mullen, Phone: 703-548-1160
or 202-270-2772, E-mail: Audrey@advocacyink.com, Web site:
http://www.hmocrisis.com/index1.htmlOR HMO Crisis Newsroom,
Phone: (800) 324-4425.

WHIRLPOOL CORPORATION: TN Employees Commence Race Bias Lawsuit
Fifteen African-American employees of Whirlpool Corporation's La
Vergne, Tennessee facility filed a race discrimination class
action lawsuit in the Middle District of Tennessee (Case No. 3-
03-cv-1250), alleging severe racial hostility that disrupts its
workforce on a daily basis.

The employees filed their lawsuit in December 2003 and Attorney
David Sanford of Sanford, Wittels & Heisler, LLP, recently
stated that it gained the support of twelve white employees who
witnessed the racial hostility first hand. Mr. Sanford stated
that twelve white employees of Whirlpool have supplied
statements describing an environment in which other white
employees, including managers and supervisors, routinely bully
their black co-workers referring to them as "n-----" or
"monkey," tell racists jokes, make racist slurs and comments on
a regular basis, and write racist graffiti on the walls of the
plants. Mr. Sanford further stated that some employees supplied
sworn written statements describing hearing jokes about the
assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., others tell of KKK
meetings, still others describe an environment awash with
Confederate flag pins on shirts and Confederate flags on

Attorney Grant Morris says that the evidence amassed to date is
overwhelming: "We have photos of racist graffiti and racist
tape-recorded messages to provide the jury." Nashville attorney
Kevin Sharp, co-counsel in this case for the plaintiffs, stated,
"the conditions in the Whirlpool facility constitute systematic
racial discrimination that can no longer be tolerated in a
civilized society."

One current white employee, Lynette Barrett, says that Whirlpool
supervisors and managers routinely hear and participate in the
telling of racial jokes, and regularly utter racial slurs. Ms.
Barrett and 11 other white employees acknowledge that the work
environment at Whirlpool is extremely hostile to African-
American and minority employees.

Sanford says that the damages suffered by both black and white
employees as a result of the racist environment at Whirlpool are
extensive: "We will ask a jury in Nashville to award the class
of African-Americans in excess of 50 million dollars."

Whirlpool is the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of
major home appliances, with annual sales of over $13 billion and
68,000 employees. The La Vergne, Tennessee manufacturing
facility produces room air conditioners, built-in refrigerators,
air purifiers and dehumidifiers.

The suit is styled, Armstrong, et al v. Whirlpool Corporation,
et al, with the Honorable Aleta A. Trauger, presiding (Case No.
3-03-cv-1250). The legal team for plaintiffs and the class
includes David Sanford of the Washington, D.C. firm of Sanford,
Wittels & Heisler; Grant Morris of the Law Offices of Grant
Morris; and Kevin Sharp of Drescher & Sharp in Nashville,
Tennessee. The defendants, Whirlpool Corporation and Local S-272
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders,
Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers are represented by Rachel F.
Barner of Littler, Mendelson, P.C. and G. Gordon Atcheson of
Blake & Uhlig, P.A.

For more details, contact David Sanford of Sanford, Wittels &
Heisler, LLP, Phone: 202-942-9124 or 202-276-4028, E-mail:
dsanford@nydclaw.com, Web site: http://www.nydclaw.comOR Grant
Morris of the Law Offices of Grant Morris, Phone: 202-486-0678,
E-mail: grantemorris@gmail.com OR Kevin Sharp of Drescher &
Sharp, Phone: 615-320-0323, E-mail: ksharp@drescherandsharp.com
OR Rachel F. Barner of Littler, Mendelson, P.C., 200 N LaSalle
Street, Suite 2900, Chicago, IL, 60601, Phone: (312) 372-5520,
G. Gordon Atcheson of Blake & Uhlig, P.A., 753 State Avenue,
Suite 475, Kansas City, KS, 66101, Phone: (913) 321-8884.

                      Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Constar Wary of Claims from CC&S Creditors
Constar International Inc. expressed its apprehensions that
Crown Cork & Seal's creditors would issue claims against the
Company, resulting in significant liabilities.

The Company, which was spun off by Crown Cork & Seal in 2002,
asserted that this might occur if Crown is unable to meet its
financial obligations, including obligations to its lenders,
pension plan obligations and payments to settle asbestos-related

In addition, Constar disclosed that Crown is highly leveraged
and, as of December 31, 2004 and March 31, 2005, the aggregate
amount of its outstanding indebtedness was about US$3.9 billion
and US$4.0 billion, respectively. A significant portion of
Crown's operating cash flow is used for the payment of principal
and interest, funding pension plan obligations and for payments
to settle asbestos-related claims. Crown may not be able to
access the capital markets in the future, or successfully repay,
refinance or restructure its debt, according further to the
filing Constar submitted to the Securities and Exchange

Constar asserted however that so far, Crown's own creditors have
not asserted any claims against it nor have asbestos-related
claims been brought against it. While Constar believe it is
unlikely that its historical relationship with Crown would
result in liability for claims by Crown's creditors, it may not
prevail in such a claim. In any case, if any of these claims are
brought against it in the future, they may be costly to defend
and they may reduce its cash flow.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, Constar is one of the largest
makers of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) food and beverage
containers. Its customers include major brand marketers
throughout North America and Europe.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Raytech Completes Settlement with Creditors
The Raytech Corporation Asbestos Personal Injury Trust signed a
supplemental settlement agreement with the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, the Connecticut Department of Environmental
Protection and FMC Corporation, shareholders who were the
environmental creditors of Raytech Corporation in its 2001
Chapter 11 reorganization. The trust also announced that it
intends to undertake a going private transaction of Raytech.

The agreement, which replaces 2000 and 2001 agreements, calls
for the environmental creditors to sell to the trust a total of
3,228,888 Raytech shares or about 7.7% of the outstanding

The environmental creditors will also assign to the trust their
claims to certain assets of the bankruptcy estates of Raymark
Industries, Inc., Raymark Corporation and Universal Friction
Composites, formerly related companies of Raytech, including
their rights to recovery under an insurance claim, and rights in
Raytech tax benefits currently owned by the environmental
creditors pursuant to Raytech's reorganization in 2001. The
trust will pay an aggregate cash purchase price of US$9,457,777
for the stock and the assignments.

After completing the settlement, which is subject to approval
from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Connecticut,
the trust will own about 90.6 percent of Raytech's outstanding

After completing the stock purchase, the trust intends to merge
Raytech into a newly created subsidiary. The trust expects to
indirectly acquire of all of the outstanding shares of Raytech
common stock in the merger for a cash payment of US$1.32 per
share for each share held by the unaffiliated public
stockholders of Raytech. This price equals the closing sale
price per share of the common stock on July 6, 2005.

After the short-form merger, the trust intends to delist the
Raytech common stock from trading on the New York Stock
Exchange, and to terminate the registration of the stock with
the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In late June, Raytech said the New York Stock Exchange warned it
would likely delist the company's shares after July 29 due to
revised standards for continued listing. The company has said it
doesn't believe it can maintain a market capitalization of at
least US$75 million over 30 trading days - a listing requirement
- and planned to evaluate its alternatives. Raytech recently
posted a slight rise in first-quarter income on stronger sales
and lower payments to the company's asbestos settlement fund.

The Asbestos Personal Injury Trust, the largest shareholder of
Raytech Corporation, was formed as an irrevocable trust with the
approval of the United States Bankruptcy Court. The Trust's
purpose is to use its assets and income to make payments to
people who were allegedly injured due to exposure to products
containing asbestos sold by Raytech.

Raytech Corporation, headquartered in Shelton, Connecticut,
operates manufacturing facilities in the United States, Germany
and China as well as technology and research centers in Indiana
and Germany. Its operations are strategically situated in close
proximity to major customers and within easy reach of
geographical areas with demonstrated growth potential.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Lehmann's Lawyer Seeks to Appeal Other Case
After the widow involved in the landmark asbestos case gave up
on pursuing further legal battles, her lawyer plans to take
another case to the Court of Appeal, The New Zealand Herald

Last year, the Wellington District Court set a precedent when it
ordered the lump sum award to Mr. Lehmann's widow. This landmark
case allowed other claimants, who were all exposed before April
1, 2002, to be entitled to the lump sum payment instead of the
$67 weekly allowance previously allocated for them.

As disclosed in the July 8, 2005 Class Action Reporter edition,
Dawn Lehmann's plan to abandon the appeal would allow the
Accident Compensation Corporation to take back the $100,000 lump
sum it paid to each of the 25 other claimants. Last month,
Justice Lowell Goddard overturned a District Court decision,
which ordered ACC to pay the lump sum to the estate of Ross
Lehmann. Following this decision, the ACC had filed 19 district
court appeals against payments to asbestos sufferers.

The Accident Compensation Corporation administers New Zealand's
accident compensation scheme, which provides personal injury
cover for all New Zealand citizens, residents and temporary
visitors to New Zealand.

Wellington lawyer John Miller said he was confident another case
involving a Wanganui widow could be fast-tracked to the Court of
Appeal without the need for hearings. The Wanganui case was
heard after the High Court decision and a lump sum had not been
awarded. Mr. Miller had already appealed in the District Court.

It had "the same precedent value" as the Lehmann case. "If we
win this case in the Court of Appeal, all the other cases are
satisfied as well. None of them will have to pay the money
back," said Mr. Miller

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Cape PLC to Put Up GBP40MM Fund for Victims
Cape PLC plans to set up a GBP40 million fund to pay
compensation to sufferers of asbestos-related illnesses from
exposure at its Barking's factory in the United Kingdom.
Officials intend the figure to cover claims for the next 12
years, although the fund will be independently reviewed every
three years with Cape topping up any shortfall.

Cape, which owned the factory in Harts Lane until the 1960s when
it was closed, allocated the fund to cover all UK claims made by
former employees, who have contracted the asbestos-related lung
cancer and other respiratory illnesses, including their

Martin May, chairman of Cape, said, "Cape's UK industrial
activities used to involve working with asbestos, which we now
know carries significant health risks. The intention of our
proposal is that there should be enough money now and in the
future to pay compensation to employees, past and present, their
relatives or dependents and any other effected parties."

Experts predict that deaths from asbestos will continue rising
until 2020.

Sally Moore, from solicitors Leigh, Day and Co. and who
specializes in asbestos claims, said, "The first worry is that
there will not be enough money to compensate people properly. If
they have underestimated liability in terms of future claims the
money will be insufficient. I think the devil will be in the

Diagnosed with asbestosis in 1997, Katherine Carter, from
Dagenham, believes Cape has an obligation to set up the fund.
Her mother, aunt and uncle had all worked at the Cape factory.
She claimed that she and her brother probably got the disease
upon inhaling the fibers as her mother washed the clothes worn
in the factory. She plans to put up a claim against the company
even if it takes years.

Tom Baillie, branch secretary for the GMB Union, welcomed the
fund but considered it deficient since after 13 years, there
would still be people dying from asbestos exposure.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Italian Prosecutor to Access Eternit Files
A justice ministry ruling would now force the Swiss national
accident insurer to release the medical files of Italian workers
who brought asbestos-related claims against the Swiss company

As part of its investigation, the public prosecutor's office in
Turin demanded for the documents last year in response to legal
proceedings initiated by former Eternit workers or the relatives
of those who have died. They claimed that the Company should be
held responsible for their asbestos-induced illnesses such as
lung cancer and other respiratory problems.

Suva, the Swiss national accident insurer, which handles medical
claims, had been fighting against releasing its files to Italian
authorities but the justice ministry has ruled against it last
June 17, 2005. In its appeal to the justice ministry to block
the aid, Suva argued that it was unacceptable for a foreign
judge to examine the work of a federal authority. Suva also
raised the issue of data protection and argued that the Italian
prosecutor had already obtained documents from Switzerland in
September 2003. In addition, Suva pointed out that it would
probably cost several million francs to search for the files, a
cost that those insured would have to bear.

The records will now first pass to justice authorities in canton
Glarus where the former Eternit company had its registered
office. They will then decide if the documents will be handed
over to Italy.

"This may take some time because thousands of files dating back
to 1950 have to be processed," said Manfred Brnnler, a Suva
spokesman. He confirmed that the insurer had already made
contact with the Glarus justice authorities.

Last August, the Turin prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello, who
leads the investigation into Italian asbestos victims, presented
another request for judicial aid. Mr. Guariniello asked for
thousands of records of workers at the Eternit factories in
Niederurnen, canton Glarus, and Payerne, canton Vaud, from 1950
to 1993.

Italian asbestos victims have handed in more than 2,000 claims
for damages to Turin judicial authorities. They claim that the
company knew about the health dangers of asbestos. The
complaints are aimed mainly at Swiss industrialists Stephan and
Thomas Schmidheiny who were the former owners of the Eternit

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Aussie Widow Pushes for Compensation Change
Christine Whiteley, an asbestos victim's widow, pleaded with the
Tasmanian government to stop the protection of large
establishments at the expense of families affected by asbestos-
related diseases, The Mercury reports.

Tasmania is the only Australian state where pain and suffering
claims, mostly compensation claims, are extinguished when a
victim dies. Her 53-year-old husband, Tony, developed
mesothelioma after working for 38 years at Burnie's paper mill
and died in July 2003. However, she says that she is worn down
by the fight and will give up if the Government doesn't act this

Mrs. Whiteley claimed that Judy Jackson, the Attorney General,
vowed 16 months ago to consider changing the compensation laws
to bring them in line with the other states. However, since then
she has not heard of anything that had been done. She said she
decided to propel her campaign one last time after a decision of
the Queensland Government to allow asbestos victims' families in
continuing their legal claims if it is begun before the death.

As reported in the July 8, 2005 edition of the Class Action
Reporter, Margaret Kent, Mrs. Whiteley's lawyer, emphasized the
need to pass a government law to allow a claim to survive after
the victim's death.

The Government expects to finalize a position paper on the
survivorship provisions relating to pain and suffering claims by
the estates of asbestos victims by the end of the year, asserts
Ms. Jackson. She rejected allegations that the Government
protects businesses responsible for asbestos exposure.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Campaign Urges VA Delegation to Fight Bill
Legislation to create an asbestos trust fund encountered more
opposition from a unified group urging the West Virginia
congressional delegation to vote against the bill, The
Charleston Gazette reports.

Consumer advocates, labor leaders, asbestos victims and their
relatives launched a campaign against Senate Bill 852 or the
Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act of 2005, which they
believe would result to a denial of benefits to sufferers of
asbestos-related illnesses.

"The emphasis in this debate has shifted from the victims to the
lawyers. We want to shift it back to the victims," said Norm
Steenstra, West Virginia Citizen Action Group director.

Karen Boles, a widow of a victim of asbestos-related cancer,
said that her case was quickly settled and she is now collecting
benefits from her husband's death. She believes however, that if
proposed legislation passes, future asbestos victims and their
survivors will have a much harder time collecting benefits.

The proposed federal bill would create a US$140 billion
industry-financed trust fund to compensate future asbestos
victims. Public Citizen said it will not provide nearly enough
to help all asbestos victims and their survivors. Victims whose
exposure to asbestos began in 1986 or later will not be allowed
to collect anything from the fund until 2038 under the new bill.

Kenny Perdue, president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO, said that
hundreds of retirees in West Virginia have been exposed to
asbestos and that in fact, more people continue to work with the
material to this day. He cited that asbestos victims could also
include wives and children of workers who come home with
asbestos fibers on their clothes, exposing these family members
to the same health risks.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: ABB Says First Hearing Was "Very Positive"
Switzerland-based electrical engineering company ABB Ltd.'s
first hearings on the revised chapter 11 plans for its US
subsidiaries Combustion Engineering and Lummus were "very
positive" and no substantial problems arose, said ABB spokesman,
Thomas Schmidt.

Mr. Schmidt added that there were no issues of substance
regarding the plan and that although new questions concerning
its revised asbestos settlement plan did come up, he gave
assurances that these will be addressed in time.

The Company hopes to settle its pending asbestos litigation in
the U.S. with its US$1.43 billion plan as soon as possible.
Analysts say a final settlement could be reached later this
year. To be finalized, the settlement plan needs to be accepted
by two U.S. courts. Prior to the court rulings, hearings between
the involved parties usually take place.

ABB said the second hearing has been scheduled for Aug 19, 2005
at which time the disclosure statement will be discussed.

ABB has around 100,000 asbestos lawsuits pending in the U.S.,
stemming from people who claim to have been exposed to the fiber
products manufactured at ABB's U.S. Combustion Engineering unit.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: S.B. 852 Unlikely to Reach Floor in July
U.S. Senate aides expressed skepticism that the Senate will be
able to take up asbestos litigation reform legislation next
month, Dow Jones reports.

After the Senate returns from a five-day July 4 break, it plans
to remain in town for three-weeks before taking a five-week
August vacation. In that period, the Senate is tasked to pass 11
remaining annual spending bills for fiscal year 2006. So far,
the Senate has passed just three.

The asbestos bill's co-author, Senate Judiciary Committee
Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., will also likely have his time
occupied preparing for hearings on a Supreme Court nomination by
President George W. Bush.

Sen. Specter said that he is still pressing to bring the bill up
in July. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., stated that
although he doesn't rule that expectation out, there was still
no decision on when to bring the measure to the floor.

Several Republic aides predicted that if the bill won't be taken
up in July then it would likely take place in September or

Both the Asbestos Alliance and the Asbestos Study Group, which
represents asbestos litigation defendant companies, wrote
separate letters to Sen. Frist emphasizing the importance of
timing for the passage of this legislation.

Twenty asbestos victims groups announced they would be joining
forces to fight Specter's bill, while 17 insurance companies
representing "a vast majority of insurers who have a stake in
the outcome of this legislation" wrote the Senate's 100 members
to explain their opposition to the bill.

While arguments from both sides continue to plague the bill, the
fact that those concerns remain dispels any thoughts that the
bill could be quickly debated on the Senate floor.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CT Court Denies Motion for Early Release
The U.S. District Court of Connecticut on June 10, 2005 denied
the request for early termination of supervised release in the
case involving a man convicted of illegal removal and disposal
of asbestos.

A jury trial in October 1999 had convicted Melvin Weintraub of
five counts of violations at a construction site. Based on the
investigation report, Mr. Weintraub faced from 41 to 51 months
imprisonment.  In consideration of his poor health, the Court on
May 11, 2000 handed a lowered sentence of one year and one day
in prison, followed by a three-year term of supervised release.
The Court also imposed a US$250,000 fine, US$12,000 in
restitution, and ordered him to pay the costs of his
incarceration and supervision.

Mr. Weintraub began serving his term of incarceration in March
2002 and was released after serving about ten months on January
30, 2003. He has been on supervised release since then. He has
paid the fine and restitution obligations of his sentence in
full, and his probation officer reports that he has complied
with all the other terms and conditions of his supervised

Mr. Weintraub requested for the early termination of his
supervised release, which otherwise will end in about seven
months. His motion stated that he "is now 77 years old and in
poor health," having undergone heart surgery in February 2005.
He further stated that his "wife continues to suffer serious
health problems in the wake of back surgery in December 2003."

However, Mr. Weintraub offered no evidence of changed
circumstances. His health has not been shown to have materially
further declined to some substantially graver condition, and he
does not argue that treatment for his condition has been
hampered by his supervised release. The health problems of his
wife have likewise not been shown to be affected by his
supervised release in any way.

Although the United States Probation Office supported Mr.
Weintraub's request, the United States Attorney's Office opposed
the motion.

District Judge Janet Bond Arterton held that although Mr.
Weintraub's compliance with all conditions of supervised
release, including payment of the fine and restitution, is
commendable, he has not shown additional "exceptionally good
behavior" that would merit special consideration. He has not
shown that he has participated in construction projects since
his release from prison in which he has complied with all
environmental requirements, such as proper asbestos removal.

The Court also noted several aspects of Weintraub's criminal
conduct militate against early termination. First, his role in
the offense was as a leader, serving as the head of a prominent
real estate development concern during the offense of
conviction. Second, the defendant's conduct placed the public
and his low-level employees at risk of extremely serious health

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Eli Lilly's Alimta Proven to Prolong Lives
Experts revealed that Alimta, the breakthrough treatment for
asbestos-related cancer, allowed patients to live longer than
previously reported, Medical News Today reports.

At the 11th annual World Conference on Lung Cancer earlier this
week, mature data presented showed that patients treated with
Alimta plus cisplatin survived almost 13 months or 42% longer
than patients who received cisplatin alone.

Eli Lilly and Company's Alimta (pemetrexed) is the first and
only approved therapy to show a statistically significant
survival advantage in patients suffering from this difficult-to-
treat cancer. Alimta is also approved in the United States, the
European Union and several other countries as a monotherapy for
second-line non-small cell lung cancer.

"Before Alimta was available, patients suffering from
mesothelioma had no hope -- rarely living a year after
diagnosis," said Nicholas J. Vogelzang, MD, director of the
Nevada Cancer Institute in Las Vegas. "At 18 months, there is
still a statistically significant difference in survival, which
demonstrates patients are living longer when treated with this
Alimta combination. If you look out further to 24 months, 22
percent of patients treated with Alimta are still alive."

When Alimta is given as a single agent, the most common side
effects include disorders of the blood and lymphatic system,
gastrointestinal disorders, fatigue and rash. However, the risk
and severity of side effects associated with Alimta can be
controlled when used with folic acid and vitamin B12, a
supplement unique to Alimta therapy.

In addition, elderly patients benefit From Alimta in second-line
treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Karen Kelly,
M.D., medical director for lung and chest cancer at the
University of Colorado at Denver Health Services Center, said
that Alimta improved survival as compared to Docetaxel. Patients
who received Alimta also spent a statistically significant
longer period of time without toxicity when compared to

Malignant pleural mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the
lungs, is often associated with asbestos exposure and has a
latency period of between 20 and 40 years. Most people are not
diagnosed until the cancer is in advanced stages and treatment
with surgery or radiation is not an option. Between 10,000 and
15,000 people around the world are diagnosed annually with this
disease, though incidence numbers are expected to increase
within the next few years.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Filipino Group Seeks Total Ban of Asbestos
At the first ever Asbestos Forum led by the Philippine Ban
Asbestos Network, proponent Dr. Marlito Cardenas reiterated the
group's call for a total ban of asbestos in the country.

In its position paper entitled "Exposing the silent killer:
Asbestos and the risks Filipinos face," PBAN disclosed that in
the construction industry, more than a million asbestos-
containing cement boards are cheaply sold, exposing many people
to the dangers of the material.

Dr. Cardenas lamented that although a Chemical Control Order for
asbestos (known as Department Order 2000-02) was released in
order to regulate the use of asbestos in the country, it fails
to adequately cover various issues that guarantee safe asbestos

According to Lung Center of the Philippines pulmonologist Dr.
Dina V. Diaz, microscopic airborne asbestos fibers are
carcinogenic substances, and when inhaled, can cause various
types of lung diseases. Some of these pulmonary diseases are:
calcified pleural plaques; asbestosis, which is the most common
lung disease from asbestos, is the diffuse, interstitial or
"scarring" of the lungs; asbestos-related lung cancer; and
mesothelioma, a tumor on the outer lining of the lung.

Construction workers, seamen and firefighters are at great risk
of developing lung cancer from close contact with asbestos, a
construction material often used and patronized for its cheap
price, but is banned and considered harmful in 40 countries.
What's more alarming is that the manifestation of asbestos-
related diseases from the period of exposure can be as long as
60 years, and that medical practitioners who are not familiar
with the disorder often mistake the ailment for tuberculosis or
pneumonia, and end up administering the wrong medication.

Dr. Diaz also stressed that the higher the inhaled dust from
asbestos, the greater the health risk. She warned that smokers
have 50 times greater risk of developing lung cancer as compared
to non-smokers exposed to asbestos dust.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Canada Launching New Regulations
The Canadian government plans to implement a new regulation
known as Ontario Regulation 278/05, which updates safe work
measures and procedures and enhances respiratory protection for
workers, largely into effect on November 1, 2005 although
several sections will not be effective until November 1, 2007.
This regulation will replace Ontario Regulation 838/90, which
has been unchanged since 1985.

In the fall of 2004, the Ministry of Labor held a consultation
on proposed amendments to the Regulation respecting Asbestos on
Construction Projects and in Building and Repair Operations
under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The MOL received
about 70 submissions from asbestos abatement workers and
industry, schools, municipalities, building owners and managers,
and members of the public.

The new regulation reflects many of the recommendations made in
the submissions received. They provide for enhanced worker
protection and training as well as more stringent requirements
for building owners who are required to prepare an asbestos
management program for their properties.

Key highlights of the new regulation include:

(1) Introducing a definition for asbestos-containing material;

(2) Updating respiratory protection requirements and
reclassifying work procedures;

(3) Clarifying the duties of an owner to inspect for asbestos
and the intent of the asbestos management program;

(4) Removing the variance approval process and introducing a
requirement to provide advance written notice to the joint
health and safety committee or representative when equivalent
procedures providing at least equal protection to the regulation
will be used; and,

(5) Providing new and updated requirements for Asbestos bulk
sample analysis; including non-friable asbestos in the asbestos
management program; glove bag requirements and procedures; the
use of negative air pressure to prevent the leakage of dust that
may contain asbestos from some type 3 enclosures; and clearance
air testing requirements.

New requirements for asbestos workers and supervisors involved
in Type 3 operations to successfully complete a training program
approved by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
will come into effect on November 1, 2007. The program is being
developed in consultation with the industry, labor and the MOL.
The current general training provisions will remain for those
involved in Type 1 and Type 2 operations.

Changes to some provisions of the asbestos management program
will also come into effect on November 1, 2007, in order to
provide owners with time to review and update existing plans to
include non-friable asbestos-containing materials.

The new regulation, once in force, will replace the industry
respiratory protection advisory that MOL issued on June 1, 2004.
In the interim, the ministry will continue to enforce Regulation
838, and to recommend the measures contained in the advisory as
a good practice to strengthen worker protection.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Sets Hearing in DaimlerChrysler Suit
The Supreme Court of New York on June 27, 2005 ordered that a
pre-trial evidentiary hearing be held before it decides on the
summary judgment motion filed by defendant DaimlerChrysler
Corporation in the asbestos-related injury case against it.

David A. DeMeyer commenced a personal injury action against the
defendant based upon claims of occupational exposure to asbestos
products. Upon his death on December 29, 2004, his widow,
Dorothy A. DeMeyer as his executrix, substituted as plaintiff.
The complaint was then amended to include a cause of action for
wrongful death.

The plaintiff's counsel provided expert witness disclosure from
two medical doctors, Jacqueline Moline and Jerrold L. Abraham,
who referenced Mr. DeMeyer's occupational exposure to asbestos
products while employed as a machine operator, in addition to
other jobs, at Garlock, Inc., from 1967 until 1982, and
thereafter, as owner and operator of "Tire Rack."

Dr. Moline, who is board certified in internal medicine and
preventive medicine, and specializes in occupational health,
concluded that Mr. DeMeyer, who was 55 years of age, died from
malignant mesothelioma as a result of occupational exposure to
asbestos. Dr. Abraham, who is board certified by the National
Board of Medical Examiners and in the specialty of anatomic
pathology, similarly rendered an opinion that Mr. DeMeyer's
asbestos exposure was the cause of malignant mesothelioma and

Neither expert, in reaching opinions on the issue of medical
causation of the mesothelioma, attempted to distinguish between
Mr. DeMeyer's exposure to asbestos while employed at Garlock,
Inc., and his later exposure as an automotive mechanic at the
"Tire Rack."

DaimlerChrysler Corporation, a defendant named because of Mr.
DeMeyer's alleged exposure to asbestos while working on brakes
at his own business, moved to preclude the opinions of both Dr.
Moline and Dr. Abraham, as scientifically unreliable. In support
of the application, DaimlerChrysler submitted the affidavit of
Mary Jane Teta, who has over 25 years experience as an
epidemiologist. Dr. Teta has published a number of occupational
and cancer epidemiology studies, including those relating to a
causal relationship between asbestos and cancer. In her
affidavit, Dr. Teta states that the scientific and medical
communities require epidemiologic studies in order to determine
causation of a particular disease. She acknowledged that
epidemiological studies have demonstrated an elevated risk of
developing mesothelioma as the result of asbestos exposure, in
regard to certain occupations, but not for automobile mechanics
working on friction products such as brakes. In essence, counsel
for DaimlerChrysler contended that the opinions of the
plaintiff's experts are unreliable because of not being based
upon a generally accepted methodology.

Counsel for the plaintiff candidly acknowledged that the
opinions of Dr. Moline and Dr. Abraham were not based upon
epidemiological studies, but rather upon a "constellation" of
other evidence, including historical case reports and studies,
which is a generally accepted methodology and is not novel in
the scientific community. However, the problem, presented on the
current record in the case, is the fact that the plaintiff has
not submitted a sworn affidavit from an expert witness.

Judge Raymond E. Cornelius, who presided over the case, held
that faced with the uncontroverted sworn affidavits from Dr.
Teta, this Court has no means by which to make a finding of
general acceptance, based simply upon review of the voluminous
documents, which have been submitted by the plaintiff.

The Court directed that the plaintiff would bear the burden of
proof to establish general acceptance of the methodologies
employed by Dr. Moline and Dr. Abraham, in reaching their
respective opinions regarding causation. As with any evidentiary
hearing, this should be proved, by producing sworn witnesses,
who will be subject to cross-examination, and introducing
documentary evidence after establishing a sufficient foundation.

Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., New York City (Jerry Kristal, Esq., and
Thomas M. Comerford, Esq., of Counsel), stood as Attorneys for

Gibson, McAskill & Crosby, LLP, Buffalo (Terrance P. Flynn,
Esq., of Counsel), Thelen, Reid & Priest, LLP, San Francisco, CA
(Ronald Lopez, Esq., and Robert J. Saville, Esq., of Counsel,
Pro Hac Vice), stood as Attorneys for Defendant, DaimlerChrysler

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CA Court Orders New Trial for Leslie Case
The First District of the Court of Appeal of California on July
7, 2005 affirmed the motion for a new trial order filed by
Leslie Controls Inc. in the asbestos-related negligence claim
against it.

Edward Jones, now deceased, and his wife Elleree Jones, filed
the appeal seeking to have the court reject the order granting
Leslie a new trial. The plaintiffs had previously obtained a
favorable verdict in which the jury found that they incurred
US$917,000 economic damages and assigned 0.05% of the
responsibility for plaintiffs' harm to Leslie, resulting in
US$1,750 non-economic damages to Mr. Jones and US$250 non-
economic damages to his wife for loss of consortium.

Plaintiffs originally brought suit against multiple defendants
for personal injury and loss of consortium arising out of Mr.
Jones's exposure to numerous asbestos-containing products over
his lengthy occupational career. During the course of the
litigation the complaint was amended to add Leslie as a
defendant. Only seven defendants remained in the case when trial
began, and by the end of trial there were only two, Leslie and
John Crane, Inc.

Leslie manufactured asbestos-containing steam control valves it
sold to the Navy. As a machinist's mate and engineer in the Navy
from 1951 to 1977, Mr. Jones was allegedly exposed to asbestos
from Leslie's valves while working aboard certain Navy ships. He
developed several forms of asbestos-related disease and
ultimately was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Experts testified to show that Mr. Jones's exposure to asbestos
dust, including dust released from Leslie's valves during
disassembly and replacement aboard ship, contributed to the
development of his lung cancer. There was also evidence that
although Leslie claimed not to have learned of the health
hazards of asbestos until the 1980s, information about these
health risks became public information between the 1920s and
1940s and was more widely known thereafter. Leslie's valves were
accompanied by no warnings or instructions concerning measures
to prevent asbestos exposure. The Company also did not inspect
or test its products while they were in use.

The plaintiffs brought up multiple theories of liability,
including: strict product liability based upon both a design
defect and a failure to warn, general negligence, negligent
failure to warn and manufacturer negligence. In argument,
plaintiffs' counsel made passing reference to Leslie's failure
to test or inspect its products, and mentioned that a failure to
warn could establish both a defective product and negligence.
The emphasis, however, was on a design defect, based on the
consumer expectation theory. At no point did plaintiffs' counsel
suggest to the jury that liability could be based on a failure
to provide warnings, or to recall product, after Leslie had sold
and distributed its valves.

Subsequently, the jury found that there was no defect in design
or a failure to warn product defect however, it ruled that
Leslie had been negligent, which caused harm.

After the jury gave the verdict favoring the plaintiffs, Leslie
timely moved for a new trial. Following briefing and argument,
the court granted the motion and signed an order prepared by
Leslie's attorney that failed to specify its reasons for the

In this Appeal Court's decision on the plaintiffs' appeal, Judge
Stuart R. Pollak held that despite its close scrutiny of the
entire record, it failed to find another basis on which the jury
could have found Leslie to be negligent. Under these
circumstances, it concluded that none of these verdicts may

David Polin, Lloyd F. LeRoy, Brayton Purcell, Novato, CA,
represented the plaintiff-appellant, Mrs. Elleree Jones.

Ken McCarthy, Knox, Ricksen, et al., Oakland, CA, represented
the defendant-respondent, Leslie Controls Inc.

A division of Circor International, Leslie Controls Inc. is a
manufacturer of control valves and instrumentation and is based
in Tampa, Florida.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: South African Lawyer Queries Cape's UK Fund
After Cape plc revealed plans to set up a GBP40 million fund to
meet asbestos-related claims in the UK, a lawyer expressed
surprise at this move especially since the Company had pleaded
lack of funds in its dealings with South African claimants.

Richard Spoor, a South African occupational health specialist
attorney from Nelspruit, wrote to the British engineering
services group citing that there still are numerous outstanding
South African claims and that new claims are expected to rise
because of the latency period for asbestos-related diseases.

A related article in this Class Action Reporter edition,
headlined "Cape PLC Puts Up GBP40Mil Fund for Victims," stated
that Cape officials intend that the amount cover claims for the
next 12 years, although the fund will be independently reviewed
every three years with Cape topping up any shortfall. Cape plc
noted a rights offer of GBP32 million as part of its plans to
raise cash for the fund. However, it is not known how many
British claimants are involved and how long the fund will remain
in existence.

The proposed UK fund would be almost five and a half times
bigger than the GBP7.5 million out-of-court settlement Cape plc
made to 7,500 South Africans who instituted a GBP100 million
damages action against the group in the London high court.
Before it reached settlement with the South Africans, Cape plc
warned that if it were to lose the damages claim it could go
bankrupt, leaving the claimants with nothing.

Since the settlement, new cases of asbestos-related cancer
mesothelioma have arisen among former employees of Cape
subsidiaries, particularly in the Northern Cape, and among
people who lived at or near Cape plc mines and mills in the
area, said Mr. Spoor.

Martin May, Cape plc's chairman, said compensation claims in
Britain could total between GBP49.5 million and GBP160 million
over the next 46 years, though the best estimate would be
GBP80.9 million. He added that Cape plc would put GBP22 million
from the rights issue into the compensation fund and add GBP3
million from its own resources and GBP15 million from increased
borrowings. The fund would be ring-fenced, with two independent
directors representing the claimants on its board.

Mr. Spoor, who has for years represented asbestos claimants,
said in his letter that the 2003 Cape plc settlement had been
limited to the clients of the English lawyers only. Asbestos
victims who were exposed to asbestos on Cape plc mines in South
Africa who were not able to join the action had been excluded
from the settlement, as had those who had not been diagnosed
with an asbestos-related disease at the time, those who had
missed the cutoff date and those who had not qualified for legal
aid in the UK.

John Doidge, the chairman of the Asbestos Relief Trust, said
that it was iniquitous that Cape plc should find GBP40 million
to settle claims in the UK when it had reneged on its original
undertaking to pay GBP20 million to South African sufferers.

Cape plc owned extensive asbestos mines and mills in the
Northern Cape and Limpopo before it quit South Africa in 1979.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NSW Premier Under Fire for Rejecting Plan
New South Wales Premier Bob Carr rejected calls for the
Government to set up an investigating body to determine the
number of homes in the region insulated with loose-fill asbestos

Various groups had recommended that an asbestos task force be
set up in the state's southeast to address public health issues
associated with this type of insulation. However, Mr. Carr
responded that the New South Wales Health department had already
considered the issue in the 1990s and is not planning to do so

Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring
minerals used primarily in the mining, shipbuilding and
construction industries. Serious respiratory illnesses, even
cancer, have been proven to result from the inhalation of its

The Liberal Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, said the
Premier's decision shows contempt for families who have the
dangerous substance in their homes. He said that Mr. Carr's
contention that protecting people's health is the responsibility
of the homeowner is not the solution to the problem. Instead,
Mr. Constance believes that the government should be issuing a
public health warning.

"We do not know the full extent of this problem throughout the
state's southeast and far south coast and it's very important
that the Government be seen to act," added Mr. Constance.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Survey Reveals Public Opinion on S.B. 852
Support for the Asbestos Trust Fund weakened and opposition grew
the more the public learned about it, according to a survey
conducted by Mercury Public Affairs and Fleishman-Hillard on
behalf of the Coalition for Asbestos Reform (CAR).

Americans were evenly divided (40% - 37%) between the proposal,
also known as Senate Bill 852, and the current tort system.
However, Americans, by overwhelming margins (66% - 18%) said
they prefer reforming the asbestos litigation system by
requiring people to meet minimum medical criteria proving that
asbestos caused their health problems, as opposed to the no-
fault trust fund approach.

The national survey was conducted on June 14, 2005, with a
sample of 600 likely voters and a margin of error of +/- 4.0%.

"This survey makes it very clear what most advocates of asbestos
reform have known all along -- S. 852 is the wrong solution for
this problem," said Thomas O'Brien, Chairman of the CAR.

The CAR opposes the bill on grounds that it represents a new
US$140 billion tax on businesses and an unreasonable shifting of
financial responsibility from Fortune 100 companies to other
businesses, bringing the threat of bankruptcy to smaller firms.
It also represented US$7 billion in fees to trial lawyers and is
believed to cause immediate government borrowing to support the

When those surveyed heard these contentions, support for the
Trust Fund dropped from 40% to 19%, while opposition grew to 60%
from 37%.

The "Additional Views" filed on July 1 by U.S. Senators Sam
Brownback (R-KS), Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Cornyn (R-TX), Lindsay
Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Jeff
Sessions (R-AL), who voted to report the bill to the full Senate
in May, stated that after thoroughly researching the issues
related to S. 852, they continue to have "serious reservations"
about the trust fund approach.

Like the poll respondents, the Senators expressed concern
regarding the unfair tax burden placed on smaller businesses by
the allocation formulas; the potential for additional
bankruptcies among those businesses; the creation of a new
government bureaucracy; excessive payments to trial lawyers; the
desire for medical criteria to ensure the truly sick receive
medical care and compensation; and ultimately whether the Fund
would remain financially viable long enough to provide
compensation to the victims.

Significantly, Judiciary Committee Democrats who opposed the
bill shared some of the concerns of the Republicans who voted.
The Minority Views signed by Senators Joe Biden (D-DE), Richard
Durbin (D-IL), Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA),
seriously questioned the trust fund approach to the asbestos
liability problem.

"It is now clear that both the general public and certain
Senators recognize S.B. 852 will not achieve the goals of
asbestos litigation reform: providing meaningful support for the
victims of asbestos exposure and finality to the businesses
affected by litigation. We at the Coalition look forward to
working with the U.S. Senate to develop legislation that will
meet those goals and be the right solution," said Mr. O'Brien.

The Coalition for Asbestos Reform is a group of small and medium
sized businesses and major insurance companies, committed to
educating U.S. businesses and policymakers about the serious
flaws in S. 852.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Japan Agency to Ban Asbestos Use by 2008
Following reports that hundreds of workers at various companies
have died from asbestos-related diseases, the health ministry
plans to ban all use of asbestos by 2008 while also announcing a
set of measures to ease public anxiety about asbestos-linked
diseases, reports The Japan Times.

The domestic use of asbestos is banned in principle however, it
is still used in cases where there are no substitutes. Asbestos
remains to be used to make gaskets for machinery, insulating
plates for switchboards, seals for chemical plants and
industrial rope.

Japan's asbestos imports have fallen from their peak of 350,000
tons in 1974 to 8,000 tons last year, and are expected to fall
further to just several dozen tons this year as the
manufacturing and other industries develop substitutes.

In line with the health ministry's plan to have asbestos
completely banned by 2008, it will set up a panel next year to
discuss how to revise legislation to attain its goal. It also
said it would increase efforts to find a cure for mesothelioma,
the cancer caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers.

Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Hidehisa Otsuji said the
ministry would investigate companies where such deaths have been
reported, facilitate processing of industrial insurance claims,
and offer consultations at local health centers. The ministry
also will instruct companies to conduct health checks on current
and retired employees and reinforce protection for workers
involved in demolishing buildings insulated with asbestos.

Aside from revelations from Japanese companies that former
workers have died from diseases caused by asbestos exposure, the
government is also fast becoming concerned with reports that
spouses of these workers and even nearby residents are
succumbing to the dreaded substance.

In fact, The Asahi Shimbun reports that more than 80 percent of
women with mesothelioma caused by asbestos do not recall ever
being exposed to the toxic substance, according to a government

A study group set by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare
found that among 65 women patients, only 8 admitted they might
have been exposed to the substance. It also found that among
patients whose scans confirmed the diagnosis of mesothelioma,
only three of the 16 women gave a similar reply.

The high ratio of patients who had possibly inhaled asbestos
without knowing it indicates that asbestos-related deaths and
diseases can be categorized not only as industrial accidents,
but also as a result of environmental pollution.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NSW Community to Consult on Legal Options
The Baryulgil Community in the north of New South Wales will
seek legal advice on how to get compensation for asbestos-
related diseases.

In March and in May, the board's "Lung Bus" traveled to the
indigenous community, a former mining town that bears the
consequences of the asbestos contamination that occurred from
the 1940s to 1979. A total of 243 residents went through medical
tests to check for the dreaded respiratory illnesses associated
with exposure to the material.

Many people came in contact with the nearby asbestos mine, which
was then run by James Hardie Industries. The Company had already
committed to compensating former miners and inhabitants of
Baryulgil who suffer from asbestos-related illnesses.

Gloria Strachan, of the Aboriginal Medical Service confirmed
that two of the 12 residents who went through further testing
were diagnosed to have lung cancers. She said, however, that
some need more tests to confirm the illness.

Ms. Strachan said residents would be discussing their legal
options with the solicitor and a committee from Sydney at a
public meeting on July 23, 2005.

As previously noted on the May 20, 2005 edition of the Class
Action Reporter, James Hardie Industries revealed that its new
estimate for all future asbestos-related claims payments went up
from the earlier figure of $1.54 billion to $1.68 billion on
March 31, 2005. The Company attributed the increase to the
addition of potential claims from the northern NSW town of
Baryulgil, as well as other minor changes to settlement

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Japanese Govt to Compile Report on Diseases
Amid a flurry of announcements from employers of their workers'
deaths linked to asbestos, the Japanese government seeks to
finish a compilation of a report on health problems at
shipbuilders and other companies that had used the material by
the end of the week.

Government officials said the Economy, Trade and Industry
Ministry will check the health of employees and former employees
of 65 asbestos-related companies, their families and people
living near their factories. The Ministry of Land,
Infrastructure and Transport will also check employees of major
shipbuilding companies first and then more than 1,000 smaller

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry had set up consultation
desks on asbestos-related problems at public health centers

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and
Technology will also investigate school buildings across the
nation although only few school buildings are built of materials
containing asbestos.

Prefectures and big cities have been requested to ensure that
industrial waste containing asbestos is disposed of properly.

So far, the death toll has risen by 19 to at least 397 at 33
companies that handled asbestos.

The 19 were once employees of JFE Engineering Corp., Nippon
Express Co., Mazda Motor Corp. and seven other firms that
disclosed information on the deaths.

JFE Engineering said seven former workers at its three
shipyards, in Kanagawa, Shizuoka and Mie prefectures, died
between June 1989 and last month.

Nippon Express said three of its former employees who used to
handle deliveries of asbestos products died of mesothelioma from
June 2000 to last April.

Hiroshima Prefecture-based Mazda, for its part, said an employee
who assembled three-wheeled bikes and other products for some
nine years died of an asbestos-related disease in 1991, while
another employee who worked at the same factory died in 1988.

The seven other firms, including Kawasaki Heavy Industries,
Tokyo Gas Co., East Japan Railway Co. and Hitachi Chemical Co.,
reported one death each.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Minority of Deaths Reported as Work-related
According to Japan's Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry,
although 6,060 people have died of mesothelioma since 1995, only
285 cases have been recognized as work-related, The Daily
Yomiuri reports.

Families of the deceased workers have not been able to claim
compensation due to a statute of limitations that requires
claims be made within five years of death.

Another factor said to complicate the compensation process is
the 30 to 40 years dormancy of the illness, resulting to
sufferers failing to link their symptoms to their work history.
In addition, doctors often fail to inform patients about the
relationship between asbestos and mesothelioma.

However, in the advent of increasing public awareness over the
asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma, more families now suspect
that the death of a member may have been caused by exposure to
the material.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: James Hardie Shares Soar to a Record High
Surpassing the previous October 2003 record of $7,81, shares of
building materials firm James Hardie Industries hit a record
high of $7.90, implying that it has recovered ground lost from
its asbestos woes the past couple of years.

The shares fell to a low $4.95 last August amid revelations of a
massive shortfall in compensation to asbestos victims, followed
by boycotts and a union campaign against the company.

Investors are optimistic the situation will be resolved in the
near future. They are now diverting their attention to good
growth prospects for the company's US home cladding products,
said James Spiteri, Head Dealer of Shaw Stockbroking. A final
agreement to compensate asbestos victims is yet to be signed.

James Hardie has established provisions to answer to the
prospects of future claims. In May, it increased the estimates
for asbestos-related claims payments from $1.54 billion to $1.68
billion due to the addition of potential claims from a NSW town
and other minor changes to settlement patterns.

Mr. Spiteri adds the Company, which manufactures fiber cement
home cladding products, benefits from a property boom in the US.

A recent report from Deutsche Bank, which gave a buy
recommendation and an $8.54 12-month price target, also gave the
stock surge a boost. The report said James Hardie had a large
opportunity with its Colorplus fiber cement product in the US,
which will help drive profits for the company.

Barry Robson, President of Asbestos Diseases Foundation of
Australia, said the share price recovery demonstrated the
company is financially strong to meet its responsibilities to
asbestos victims.

"We were never in any doubt," he said. "(But) if they had been a
good corporate citizen in the first place, they would have
reached this record level a long time ago," Mr. Robson told the

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: IN Court Affirms Ruling V. PSI Energy Inc.
The Supreme Court of Indiana on June 28, 2005 affirmed the
judgment of the trial court, which found PSI Energy, Inc. 13% at
fault for the asbestos-related death of an ACandS employee.

Justice Theodore R. Boehm presided over the case styled, "PSI
Energy, Inc. v. William Lee Roberts Jr. and Beverly Roberts,"
with Case No. 49S02-0405-CV-217. PSI appealed the ruling of
Judge Kenneth H. Johnson of the Marion Superior Court.

William Roberts contracted mesothelioma as a result of his work
with asbestos-containing insulation as an employee of Armstrong
Contracting and Supply Company or ACandS. Much of his work over
a 39-year career was at power generation facilities of PSI
Energy, Inc. Mr. Roberts sued PSI and others on both vicarious
liability and premises liability theories. A jury found PSI 13%
at fault without specifying which theory supported that result.

This Court held that PSI is not vicariously liable for the
negligence of its independent contractor ACandS. Although it
believes that in general, the landowner is not liable to an
independent contractor for injuries, there was sufficient
evidence to support the jury's verdict in favor of Mr. Roberts
and his wife under the premises liability theory.

Mr. Roberts started working for ACandS part-time in 1956, and
worked full-time from 1957 through 1986 and from 1989 through
1991. He retired from full-time employment in 1992, but
continued to work part-time until 1997. He worked with
insulation containing asbestos from the time he started working
in 1956 until his employer stopped using it in the early 1980s.

ACandS, the nation's largest insulation contractor over this
period, supplied its insulation services to a variety of
industrial customers and assigned employees, to install and
service insulation at a number of facilities. Mr. Roberts
routinely installed, handled, removed, and otherwise worked
directly with insulation containing asbestos. He knew that he
was working with asbestos insulation and could recognize
asbestos on sight. He estimated that over the course of his
career he spent 15 to 18 years at various generating stations
owned by PSI, the electric utility servicing a large part of

In the late 1960s and into the 1970s, Mr. Roberts often worked
at PSI's Dresser generating station. According to him, the
asbestos insulation at this station was in very poor condition.
He was often exposed to asbestos in performing his own work and
as the result of activities of PSI employees and other PSI
contractors. He and others who worked with him often had no
protective clothing, masks, or respirators. PSI's corporate
representative testified that he frequently saw ACandS's
insulators working with asbestos at PSI plants in the 1960s and
1970s, but never saw them take any precautions to protect
themselves from breathing asbestos dust.

A link between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma was
established as early as the 1940s and 1950s. The evidence
presented at trial indicated that ACandS was or should have been
aware of asbestos-related health problems at least by the early

Court documents revealed that since 1958, Mr. Roberts received
union publications, which discussed asbestos-related health
problems and urged asbestos workers to use safety equipment. He
testified that he did not learn the true dangers of asbestos
until the 1980s and that ACandS did not supply masks for the
employees until the 1970s.

Mr. Roberts was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2001.
In August of that year, he and his wife sued for his injury and
for Mrs. Roberts's loss of consortium. They sought damages from
PSI and 60 other defendants, including both manufacturers of
asbestos and other landowners.

As to the landowners, the complaint asserted both a premises
liability theory and also that the claims fell under exceptions
to the general rule that a principal is not vicariously liable
for the acts of ACandS, its independent contractor. The case was
tried to a jury on both counts. In the course of the trial, most
defendants had settled and the only remaining defendants were
PSI and three other premises owners, Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical
manufacturer, Central Soya, a food processor, and Kroger, a
retail grocery chain.

The jury returned a general verdict, finding compensatory
damages of US$2,800,000 for Mr. Roberts, who died before trial
began, and US$1,000,000 for Mrs. Roberts. The jury rejected the
plaintiffs' claim for punitive damages. The jury allocated fault
13% to PSI, 12% to Mr. Roberts, and none to the other three
defendants. The remaining 75% was allocated to 16 nonparties
including 36% to ACandS. The trial court then entered judgment
against PSI for US$364,000 to Mr. Roberts and US$130,000 to his
wife. PSI appealed and the Court of Appeals held that PSI could
be held liable as a premises defendant, and therefore affirmed
the judgment based on a general judgment.

This Court held that Mr. Roberts has no claim against PSI for
activities of ACandS as PSI's independent contractor because:

(a) The injuries he suffered came from a situation he was
employed to address;

(b) Asbestos is not "inherently dangerous" as that term is
used in the exception to nonliability for acts of independent
contractors; and

(c) The injuries he sustained are common among workers in his
industry and the necessary precautions he identified are the
responsibility of his employer, not PSI.

The record includes evidence that by the 1960s hazards from
asbestos exposure were identified and known to PSI. ACandS
employees were nevertheless unprotected on the site. On this
record, the jury could find that PSI met all of the conditions:
PSI had knowledge of the hazard, knew ACandS employees were
taking no action to protect themselves, and did nothing. These
facts would be sufficient under these instructions to sustain
the jury's verdict.

Robert K. Stanley, Kevin M. Toner, Kathy L. Osborn, Meg A.
Gallmeyer, Indianapolis, Eric M. Cavanaugh, Plainfield, Amicus
Curiae, Indiana Manufacturers Association, Knight S. Anderson,
Keith J. Hays, Indianapolis, Amicus Curiae, O'Malia Food
Markets, Inc., Jason L. Kennedy, Chicago, stood for PSI Energy,

Linda George, W. Russell Sipes, Indianapolis, represented Mr.
and Mrs. Roberts.

One of Indiana's largest utilities, Cinergy subsidiary PSI
Energy transmits and distributes electricity to 700,000
customers. The Plainfield, IN-based utility also owns power
plants, which are operated by Cinergy's merchant energy

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: MD Court Remands Benjamin Case to Baltimore
The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland on May 3, 2005 remanded
the case styled, "Elsie L. Benjamin v. Union Carbide
Corporation, et al.," to the Circuit Court of Baltimore City for
further proceedings.

The plaintiffs, the wife and children of Robert Benjamin, Sr.,
appealed Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Richard T. Rombro's
ruling, which granted summary judgment for the defendants based
on their statute of limitations defense. The beneficiaries had
brought survival and wrongful death claims against the
manufacturers of asbestos-containing products, after Mr.
Benjamin died from mesothelioma, a cancer caused by the
inhalation of asbestos fibers.

On March 20, 2003, Elsie L. Benjamin, as surviving spouse and on
behalf of Robert L. Benjamin II and Carol Jeffers, surviving
children of Robert L. Benjamin, Sr., filed suit in the Circuit
Court for Baltimore City against various defendants, including
Georgia Pacific Corporation and Union Carbide Corporation.

Mrs. Benjamin alleged that her husband died on May 25, 1997, as
a result of contracting mesothelioma caused by exposure to
asbestos containing products manufactured by the defendants. She
asserted that the Benjamin family had no actual knowledge that
the disease was caused by exposure to asbestos until late 2001
or early 2002.

Conversely, the companies asserted they knew enough about the
disease to put them on inquiry notice, no later than the spring
of 1997, how exposure is related to the illness.

In the circuit court's decision to enter summary judgment in
favor of the companies, it concluded that the actions were
barred by limitations but it did not distinguish between the
survival and wrongful death actions.

Mr. Benjamin worked as a laborer and carpenter in the United
States Navy from 1943 to 1945, for the L.H. Benjamin Co. from
1946 to 1961, and for the R.L. Benjamin Lumber Co. from 1961 to
1971. According to him, he was exposed to asbestos containing
products at various times throughout his employment, including
while working for the Benjamin companies, which stocked and sold
several products containing asbestos. He was diagnosed with
mesothelioma in early 1997, and he died on May 25, 1997.

A medical report, dated January 27, 1997, indicated that he was
referred to Dr. M. Jesada because of an abnormal chest x-ray and
CAT scan. He advised the physician that he had a history of
asbestos exposure. Dr. Jesada's impression was possible
mesothelioma, and a biopsy was recommended. An oncology report
dated February 28, 1997, by Dr. Promila Suri, reflects a
diagnosis of probable mesothelioma.

A report dated March 4, 1997, by Dr. Viroon Donavanik, indicated
that he was admitted to the Medical Center of Delaware It
contained a confirmation of a diagnosis of mesothelioma and a
recommendation that Mr. Benjamin be treated with radiation and
chemotherapy. The report again reveals that he disclosed a
history of asbestos exposure while working in a machine shop.

Although Mrs. Benjamin routinely attended medical appointments
with her husband, she claimed that neither was informed of the
causal connection between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma.
She said that she first learned of the connection in 2002, when
her daughter read an advertisement, which referenced the
connection and told her about it.

To strengthen her claim, Mrs. Benjamin filed an affidavit by
John E. Newhagen, Ph.D., an associate professor at the
University of Maryland's College of Journalism. He opined that
it would be unlikely for an average consumer to have actual
knowledge of the relationship between asbestos exposure and
mesothelioma prior to 1997.

The court, in its opinion and order dated June 17, 2004,
reasoned that the fact that a plaintiff volunteers information
to his physicians that he was exposed to asbestos when diagnosed
with mesothelioma is prima facie evidence for plaintiffs to be
on inquiry notice.

Judge James R. Eyler of the Court of Special Appeals held that
the evidence established inquiry notice of cause of injury, as
element of discovery rule for commencing limitations period for
survival action. However, with respect to wrongful death claim,
evidence did not establish inquiry notice of cause of injury.
From these holdings, the Special Appeals Court affirmed the
judgment with respect to the survival action but reversed
judgment with respect to the wrongful death action.

Timothy J. Hogan, Baltimore, represented the Benjamin family.

Laura A. Cellucci and Philip A. Kulinski (Steven J. Parrott,
DeHay & Elliston, L.L.P.; George M. Church, Miler & Stockbridge,
on the brief), Baltimore, stood for the defendant companies.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: High Hopes Go with Survey in South Africa
One of the largest ever community-based surveys to record the
location of asbestos contamination in the Northern Cape and the
North West is under way. Up until now there had been no
quantitative survey to determine the extent of environmental
asbestos contamination in the former mining areas of South

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism awarded the
ZAR959,000 contract to a consortium headed by Conservation
Support Services in Grahamstown. The contract for the survey,
which utilizes global positioning systems receivers, covered the
costs of field workers, laboratory analysis and other

Rob Jones, a US citizen with extensive experience in surveys,
manages the project. He said that the focus of the study, which
started in November last year, is to determine the extent and
the severity of environmental contamination resulting from
asbestos mining operations.

Mr. Jones asserted that his team was not doing a survey of the
asbestos mines, but the extent of the contamination into the
communities living near the mines. The study intends to study
where asbestos is most likely to have the highest impact on the
residents. He cited that Prieska and Heuningsvlei in the North
West Province had mines located in the middle of the

In Kuruman three two-person teams, all members of the local the
Asbestos Interest Group, a local non-governmental organization
led by Stephen Kotoloane, worked with the GPS receivers to
collect samples and record the location of asbestos dust and
fibers. A fourth team has worked in Prieska, and samples will be
taken later this year in Mpumalanga and Limpopo, where asbestos
mining had taken place.

So far, Mr. Jones said over 1,100 soil and building material
samples had been collected in the Northern Cape and North West.
These samples are being catalogued and subjected to laboratory
tests to determine if asbestos fibers were present. At the
conclusion of the survey, about 3,000 samples would have been

Mr. Jones said his consortium was working with the Nelson
Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth to provide
laboratory services.

"We have to target the worst and clean up the areas most likely
to lead to exposure to asbestos dust and fibers. You can't rule
an area is clean just by looking at it because some of the
fibers are microscopically small and they pose the greatest
threat to your health," Mr. Jones said.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Iowa Resident Drops Caterpillar from Suit
An Iowa local, who had filed a claim for having been afflicted
with the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma, dropped his
complaint against construction equipment maker Caterpillar Inc.
on July 8, 2005. This move came two days after the Company
failed in its motion to transfer the Madison County asbestos
suit to Iowa.

James Schadt claimed that 90 companies, including Caterpillar
Inc., damaged his lungs with asbestos. Record shows that some
have settled while some have asked the Court that they be
dismissed as defendants. A few more have moved to transfer and
the rest have not responded.

Caterpillar attorney Kristine Kraft, of Williams Venker &
Sanders in St. Louis had expected to argue the motion on July 6
before Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack, but Mr.
Schadt's attorney, Randy Gori of Goldenberg, Miller, Heller &
Antognoli, failed to appear.

Caterpillar moved on July 5 to dismiss based on forum non
conveniens. The motion stated that there was no evidence that
Mr. Schadt ever lived, worked, sought medical treatment or was
exposed to asbestos in Madison County.

The motion sought transfer to Scott County, Iowa, where Mr.
Schadt lives.

Judge Stack said after the hearing that Mr. Gori thought the
motion would come up July 8. However, the motion did not come up
that day and instead, Mr. Schadt dismissed Caterpillar.

Judge Stack has set the trial for October 3, 2005.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: IN Court Favors Widow in Suit V. Four Firms
The Appellate Court of Indiana, on May 19, 2005, affirmed an
appeal in favor of Shirley Ott for the wrongful death of her
husband, Jerome Ott, from asbestos-induced lung cancer.

Tagged as Case No. 02A04-0409-CV-526, the suit's defendants
include Allied Signal Inc. (now known as Honeywell, Inc.),
Bondex Corporation, Borg-Warner Corporation, and McCord Gasket

Mr. Ott was allegedly exposed to the defendants' asbestos in
1974 for McCord, AlliedSignal, and Borg-Warner and in 1972 for
Bondex. The Otts filed their claims only in 1999 after Mr. Ott
developed lung cancer symptoms and died while the lawsuit was
still in progress.

Mrs. Ott claimed that occupational asbestos exposure caused her
husband's lung cancer and consequent death. The defendants
sought an interlocutory appeal after the court denied them a
motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court reversed and
remanded. Judge Stanley Levine of the Allen County Superior
Court granted summary judgment to manufacturers on grounds that
the products liability statute of repose deterred action.  Mrs.
Ott petitioned for reversal of the ruling.

The Court of Appeals granted Mrs. Ott's petition on several

Judge Vaidik found that the affidavits submitted by Mrs. Ott
from Drs. Arthur Frank, David C. Mares, and Arthur Brody were
relevant and reliable. Even if the physicians did not personally
examine Mr. Ott, their findings were detailed and accurate in
describing the symptoms and development of asbestos-induced lung
cancer. The experts also pointed out that not everyone exposed
to asbestos would develop cancer symptoms within ten years.
Even if testing could be done within the ten-year period and if
tests show cell anomalies, it would not exactly lead to cancer
after the repose period expired.

The court granted Mrs. Ott's appeal on its holding that the
products liability statute of repose did not violate wife's
rights under State Constitution's Equal Privileges and
Immunities Clause. Based on the core of the clause, Mrs. Ott
states, the statutory scheme might be unconstitutional as
applied to the plaintiff if an experienced physician had
diagnosed Mr. Ott with an asbestos-related illness or disease
within the ten-year statute of repose, yet Mr. Ott had no reason
to know of the diagnosable condition until the ten-year period
had expired.

Attorneys for the Appellant are Robert E. Paul of Paul Reich &
Myers, P.C., Philadelphia, PA, and Neal Lewis of Lewis &
Associates, Orland, IN.

Attorneys for Appellee Allied Signal, Inc. are Michael A.
Bergin, Julia Blackwell Gelinas, and Daniel M. Long, of Locke
Reynolds,LLP, Indianapolis, IN.

Douglas B. King and James M. Boyers of Wooden & McLaughlin LLP,
Indianapolis, IN, are the Attorneys for Appellee Bondex
International Inc.

Jennifer Blackwell of Gooden Orzeske & Blackwell, PC,
Indianapolis, IN, is the Attorney for Appellee Borg-Warner Corp.

R. Troy Mulder of Riley Bennett & Egloff, LLP, Indianapolis, IN,
is the Attorney for Appellee McCord Gasket Co.

ASBESTOS ALERT: VA Firms Plead Guilty to Faking Training Records
Two Virginia companies and two individuals pleaded guilty to
purchasing false training certificates for their employees
working in the asbestos, lead abatement, and hazardous waste

The four defendants had fraudulently obtained 8(a) set-aside
contracts for minority-owned companies by submitting false
statements to the Small Business Administration, revealed Kelly
Johnson, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice
Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division and Paul
J. McNulty, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

James Schaubach and Nicanor Lotuaco, who have each agreed to pay
a US$1 million fine, face a maximum penalty of 5 years
imprisonment. Each of the companies, ACS Environmental, Inc. and
Air Power Enterprises, Inc., has agreed to pay a US$500,000

ACS Environmental, Inc., located in Norfolk, and Air Power
Enterprises, Inc., located in Portsmouth, worked in the asbestos
and lead abatement and hazardous waste removal industries as
abatement and removal contractors.

James Schaubach, the president of ACS and vice president of Air
Power, and Nicanor Lotuaco, the president of Air Power, admitted
to conspiring to make false statements in connection with the
certificates and to submitting false statements to the SBA
regarding the ownership of Air Power in order to participate in
the agency's program which enabled them to receive federal
contracts as a minority-owned firm. In fact, Mr. Schaubach, a
non-minority, controlled Air Power and directed that
environmental contracts be sub-contracted to ACS.

From 1999 through 2004, Air Power received US$37 million in
federal contracts under the SBA's 8(a) program for minority
owned businesses.

ACS and Air Power admitted to buying these false certificates
from F&M Environmental Technologies, Inc. a Virginia company,
which pleaded guilty in February 2001 to selling hundreds of
such false training certificates in Virginia, Maryland, and the
District of Columbia. In violation of federal and state law,
these employees did not have the proper training to conduct the
abatement, although the falsified certificates were presented to
state and federal agencies as proof of appropriate training.

These guilty pleas are the result of a new initiative by the
Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice to
identify and single out for prosecution the nation's
environmental and workplace safety violators.

Involved in the investigation of this case were special agents
of the Defense Criminal Investigative Services; the Federal
Bureau of Investigation; the Criminal Investigative Division of
the U.S. EPA; the Small Business Administration; Office of
Inspector General; NASA Office of Inspector General; Army
Criminal Investigations Division; Defense Contract Audit Office;
and the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational

"This should send a strong signal to companies that
intentionally and persistently violate our environmental and
workplace standards that this behavior will not be tolerated,"
stated Ms. Johnson.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 12, 2005.

Company Profile:
Air Power Enterprises Inc
600 Crawford Street
Portsmouth, VA  23704
Phone: 757-485-7900
Fax: 757-484-8820

ACS Environmental Inc.
465 E Indian River Rd
Norfolk, VA
Phone: (757) 558-1114

ASBESTOS ALERT: 14 Sumitomo Ex-Workers Mesothelioma Victims
Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd., a Japanese manufacturer of heavy
electric machinery, said that 14 former employees died of
asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma between 1991 and 2003 while
two more employees were receiving medical treatment.

In recent weeks, about 20 Japanese companies have released
reports of a total of more than 350 deaths possibly linked to
the carcinogenic material. Sumitomo has added its name to a list
of an increasing number of Japanese companies, including Kubota
Corp. and Nichias Corp., which announced the asbestos-linked
deaths of their employees.

According to its statement, the company said the link with
asbestos had not been confirmed, but that the material was used
at four of the company's shipyards in Yokosuka, just southwest
of Tokyo, in the 1970s to insulate plumbing in vessels. It
stated that the Company stopped using asbestos in 1975. However,
the company said it hasn't found people living near the four
shipbuilding plants who have fallen ill. It also hasn't heard of
illnesses from the families of its employees.

Asbestos was widely used in Japan as insulation and in roof
tiles until the 1980s. The government officially banned the
shipment or production of asbestos only last year.

Experts believe the actual number of fatalities from asbestos is
much higher that what has so far been reported.

Company Profile:
Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd.
9-11, Kitashinagawa 5-chome, Shinagawa-ku
Tokyo 141-8686, Japan
Phone: +81-3-5488-8336
Fax: +81-3-5488-8056

Fiscal Year-End   : March
2004 Sales (mil.)   : US$4,569.9
1-Year Sales Growth   : 13.8%
2004 Net Income (mil.)   : US$153.9
1-Year Net Income Growth  : 586.3%
2004 Employees    : 11,318
1-Year Employee Growth   : (3.9%)

In operation since 1888, Sumitomo Heavy Industries manufactures
recycling and power transmission equipment, material handling
systems, lasers, medical equipment, research tools, and moving
sidewalks. It has more than 30 major subsidiaries and affiliates
operating in Japan and other Asian countries, the US, Europe.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Ruling V. American Cyanamid, Tate & Lyle Amended
The Fourth Circuit of the Court of Appeal of Louisiana, on June
8, 2005, modified the charges against American Cyanamid Company
and Tate & Lyle North American Sugars Inc. for the wrongful
death of Kenneth Paul Zimko from mesothelioma.

Composed of Judges Patricia Rivet Murray, James F. McKay, Jr.,
Michael E. Kirby, Max N. Tobias, Jr., and Roland Belsome, the
panel presided over the case styled, "Kenneth Paul Zimko and
Rochelle Lacourrege Zimko V. American Cyanamid, et al.," with
Case No. 2003-CA-0658.

Mr. Zimko and his wife, Rochelle, filed the suit on February 9,
2001. However, he died before trial commenced. The trial court
held American Cyanamid liable for household exposure, which
occurs through a family member who has direct occupational
exposure to a toxic substance.

The court also held Tate & Lyle liable for bystander asbestos
exposure, which occurs when an individual is exposed indirectly
to a toxic substance on the job.

The trial court awarded US$3,500,000 to Mrs. Zimko. The amount
of US$2,500,000 was allocated for the survival action (inclusive
of medical expenses) and US$1,000,000 on the wrongful death
action (inclusive of funeral expenses).

Mrs. Zimko claimed that her husband's father, Paul Zimko,
brought home from his work in American Cyanamid asbestos that
clung to him. She also added that the decedent contracted his
disease from 1977 to 1990 of bystander exposure at the Domino
refinery owned by Tate & Lyle, his employer. Tate & Lyle was
aware of unsafe conditions presented by the asbestos insulation
on the pipes at its refinery, according to records presented by
the plaintiff.

The court found American Cyanamid's negligence based on its
failure to take adequate safety measures to prevent its workers
from carrying asbestos fibers home on their clothing, body, and
personal effects. American Cyanamid emphasizes the only source
of duty cited by Mrs. Zimko is the Walsh-Healy Public Contracts
Act that recognized the concept of household exposure and
mandated employers to take specific steps to prevent such
exposures. Mrs. Zimko contended that asbestos-related injury
from household exposure was foreseeable.

In Mr. Zimko's perpetuation deposition testimony, he merely
described the positions held by his father at American Cyanamid.
Dr. Victor Roggli, a renowned pathologist, admitted that Mr.
Zimko's deposition testimony was the only information he had
regarding Mr. Zimko's father job descriptions. Furthermore, he
admitted that his ultimate conclusion that Mr. Zimko's household
exposure to asbestos brought home by his father from American
Cyanamid was a contributing factor in his mesothelioma was based
on historical information and not on any facts related to the
actual American Cyanamid site or on any facts related to the
father's exposure.

The court reversed the finding of liability as to Tate & Lyle,
affirmed the finding of liability and the damage award for the
survival action as to American Cyanamid, and amended the damage
award for the wrongful death action as to American Cyanamid
based on allocation of fault 50% to Tate & Lyle and 50% to
American Cyanamid.

Mickey P. Landry, Frank J. Swarr, and David R. Cannella
represented the Plaintiffs or Appellees.

John J. Rabalais, Janice B. Unland, Robert T. Lorio, and Paul E.
Harrison, represented the Defendant the Appellant, Tate & Lyle
North American Sugars, Inc.

Henri Wolbrette III, Erin Fury Parkinson, and Margaret Diamond
represented the Defendant or Appellant, American Cyanamid

Company Profile:
American Cyanamid Company
One Cyanamid Plaza
Wayne, New Jersey 07470
Phone: (201) 831-2000

American Cyanamid Company is a research-based life sciences
company that discovers and develops medical and agricultural
products, and manufactures and markets them throughout the
world.  The Company operates 17 research laboratories, and its
divisions and subsidiaries in more than 135 countries sell its

Company Profile:
Tate & Lyle
2200 E. Eldorado St.
Decatur, IL 62525
Phone: 800-526-5728
Fax: 217-421-3167

Tate & Lyle North America is a division of Tate & Lyle PLC, a
global leader in carbohydrate processing. In North America, Tate
& Lyle businesses include A.E. Staley Manufacturing Company, a
corn wet milling company producing sweeteners, starches, ethanol
and animal feeds; Tate & Lyle Citric Acid, a world leader in
citric acid production; and Tate & Lyle North American Sugars
Ltd., a cane sugar refiner in Canada marketing under the Redpath

                  New Securities Fraud Cases

CONAGRA FOODS: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Securities Suit in NE
The law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP initiated a class
action lawsuit in the District Court for the District of
Nebraska on behalf of purchasers of ConAgra Foods, Inc.
("ConAgra" or the "Company") (NYSE: CAG) common stock during the
period between September 18, 2003 and June 7, 2005 (the "Class

The complaint charges ConAgra and Bruce Rohde with violations of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. ConAgra operates as a
packaged food company serving grocery retailers, restaurants,
and other food service establishments, as well as food
processors. The complaint alleges that defendants' Class Period
representations regarding ConAgra were materially false and
misleading for these reasons:

     (1) that the Company's net income figures were overstated
         due to improper accounting for income taxes;

     (2) that as a result of this, the Company's financial
         results were in violation of generally accepted
         accounting principles ("GAAP");

     (3) that the Company lacked adequate internal controls;

     (4) that the Company's financial results were materially
         inflated at all relevant times; and

     (5) that as a result of the above, the Company's
         projections were lacking in any reasonable basis when

On March 24, 2005, the Company announced it would be restating
its financial statements for fiscal 2002 through the first half
of fiscal 2005 due to improper accounting for income taxes.
ConAgra stock fell to around $26 per share on this news. Then,
on June 7, 2005, the Company announced that its fiscal 2005
fourth quarter would be lower than expected primarily due to
continued weak profitability in the packaged meats operations.
On this news, the stock fell further to $24.32 per share.

For more details, contact Marc A. Topaz, Esq. or Darren J.
Check, Esq. Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, 280 King of Prussia Road,
Radnor, PA, 19087 Phone: 1-888-299-7706 or 1-610-667-7706, E-
mail: info@sbclasslaw.com, Web site: http://www.sbclasslaw.com.

GUIDANT CORPORATION: Marc S. Henzel Files Securities Suit in IN
The Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel initiated a class action
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Indiana on behalf of purchasers of Guidant
Corporation (NYSE: GDT) securities during the period between
December 15, 2004 and June 17, 2005, inclusive (the "Class

The Complaint charges Guidant and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. The Company develops, manufacturers, and markets products
that focus on the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, heart
failure, and coronary and peripheral disease, including
implantable defibrillator systems. The implantable defibrillator
systems are used to detect and treat abnormally fast heart
rhythms that could result in sudden cardiac death.

On December 15, 2004, Guidant management entered into a $24.5
billion merger deal with Johnson & Johnson. While the Company
pointed to its defibrillator business as a key component of that
deal, the Complaint alleges, it concealed from investors
significant un-addressed product defect and liability issues of
the Company's implantable defibrillator product lines. Although
life-threatening, defendants knew or consciously disregarded the
fact that these mechanical problems were difficult to
characterize and observe in implanted patients, making unlikely
that any temporary physical disablement in patients would be
attributed to device malfunction.

On June 17, 2005, the FDA issued a nationwide recall
notification, impacting Guidant's implantable defibrillators and
cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillators. Within that
notification, FDA advised the public that the malfunction of
Guidant's devices could lead to a serious, life-threatening
event for a patient. On this news, the Company's shares fell
$3.36, losing 4.5% percent of their value over the two trading
days following the FDA recall, closing at $70.33, on a combined
volume of over 25 million shares. As a result, Guidant investors
lost over $1.09 billion in the value of their shares as a result
of the surprise announcement of the FDA recall. Guidant's stock
price closed today at $63.90 on tremendous volume exceeding 49
million shares on further news and Company warnings concerning
problems with another of Guidant's implantable heart devices.

The Complaint alleges that during the Class Period, Guidant knew
and concealed:

     (1) the serious health issues encountered by patients
         caused by the malfunctioning and defective nature of
         the defective devices;

     (2) the overwhelming threat to the deal Guidant had forged
         with Johnson & Johnson for the sale of the Company,
         including the threat to the ability of insiders to
         profit as a result of stock sales during the Class

     (3) the lack and insufficiency of communications to
         healthcare providers and patients regarding the
         defective nature of the Company's defibrillator
         products, even when adequate communications were
         essential to protect the lives of its implant patients;

     (4) the troubling decision to await overwhelming negative
         media accounts before taking affirmative actions
         regarding the Company's defibrillator products.

For more details, contact the Law Offices of Marc S. Henzel, 273
Montgomery Ave., Suite 202, Bala Cynwyd, PA, 19004, Phone: 610-
660-8000 or 888-643-6735, Fax: 610-660-8080, E-Mail:

HARLEY-DAVIDSON INC.: Spector Roseman Lodges Stock Lawsuit in WA
The law firm of Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P.C. initiated a
securities class action lawsuit in the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, on behalf of
purchasers of the common stock of Harley-Davidson, Inc.
("Harley" or the "Company") (NYSE: HDI) between January 21, 2004
through April 12, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges that defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder, by issuing a series of material
misrepresentations to the market during the Class Period,
thereby artificially inflating the price of Harley securities.
It is specifically alleged that throughout the Class Period, the
Company failed to disclose and misrepresented the following
material adverse facts, which were known to defendants or
recklessly disregarded by them:

     (1) that the much-touted gap between the consumer demand
         for Harley's products and the available supply had

     (2) that the Company, in an effort to mask the decline in
         demand, shipped excess inventory to dealers;

     (3) that the profitability of the Company's Financial
         Services Division was being negatively impacted by
         interest rate fluctuations;

     (4) as a result, the Company's financial results were
         materially inflated at all relevant times; and

     (5) that the Company's projections regarding future growth
         lacked any reasonable basis when made.

On April 13, 2005, Harley announced that they decided to limit
short-term production growth. This action would result in a
negative change to Harley's previous guidance for both shipments
and earnings growth for 2005. News of this shocked the market.
Shares of Harley fell $9.84 per share or 16.74 percent, on April
13, 2005, to close at $48.93 per share.

For more details, contact Robert M. Roseman of Spector, Roseman
& Kodroff, P.C., Phone: +1-888-844-5862, Web site:

STARTEK INC.: Lerach Coughlin Lodges Securities Fraud Suit in CO
The law firm of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins
LLP ("Lerach Coughlin") initiated a class action on behalf of an
institutional investor in the United States District Court for
the District of Colorado on behalf of purchasers of StarTek,
Inc. ("StarTek") (NYSE:SRT) common stock during the period
between February 26, 2003 and May 5, 2005 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges StarTek and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Act of 1933 and the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934. StarTek is a provider of
business process outsourced services, which consist of business
process management and supply chain management services.

The complaint alleges that defendants issued false statements
about strong existing demand for StarTek's outsourced services
from four of the Company's customers that accounted for 90% of
StarTek's revenue, the Company's healthy sales pipeline, and the
completion of a management transition and restructuring plan,
which artificially inflated StarTek's stock price during the
Class Period. Then, on May 6, 2005, StarTek announced that its
first quarter 2005 "earnings per share from continuing
operations decreased...to $0.18 compared to $0.49 for the first
quarter of 2004." The Company also announced that its revenues
declined 14.2% from the same period in 2004. On this news,
StarTek's stock price fell over 18% from a closing price on May
5, 2005 of $15.20 to $12.40 per share on May 6, 2005.

For more details, contact William Lerach or Darren Robbins of
Lerach Coughlin, Phone: 800/449-4900 or 619/231-1058, E-mail:
wsl@lerachlaw.com, Web site:

TREX COMPANY: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Securities Suit in VA
The law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Western District of Virginia on behalf of all securities
purchasers of Trex Company, Inc. (NYSE: TWP) ("Trex" or the
"Company") between October 25, 2004 and June 22, 2005, inclusive
(the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Trex, Robert G. Matheny, and Paul D.
Fletcher with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
More specifically, the Complaint alleges that the Company failed
to disclose and misrepresented the following material adverse
facts, which were known to defendants or recklessly disregarded
by them:

     (1) that the expected re-orders of inventory were not
         materializing, as Trex distributors worked to dispose
         of excess inventory;

     (2) that the expansion of the Company's distribution
         program with The Home Depot materially slowed due to
         delays in rolling out the Company's products;

     (3) that the Company cost cutting initiatives failed to
         limit the impact of higher raw material costs;

     (4) that there were manufacturing issues with the Artisan
         and Brasilia rail lines; and

     (5) that as a consequence of the foregoing, defendants'
         positive statements about the Company's growth and
         progress lacked in any reasonable basis when made.

On June 22, 2005, Trex announced that the Company expected a
substantial loss for the quarter and guided its earnings lower
for the year. The news shocked the market. Shares of Trex fell
$10.59 per share, or 29.66 percent, on June 23, 2005, to close
at $25.11 per share.

For more details, contact Marc A. Topaz, Esq. or Darren J.
Check, Esq. of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP, 280 King of Prussia
Road, Radnor, PA, 19087, Phone: 1-888-299-7706 or
1-610-667-7706, E-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com, Web site:


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


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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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to be reliable, but is not guaranteed.

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

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