/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/050729.mbx             C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Friday, July 29, 2005, Vol. 7, No. 149


ALANAR INC.: SEC Halts Affinity Fraud Over Offered Bond Funds
AMERICAN AIRLINES: CA Court Decertifies RICO, Antitrust Lawsuit
AMERICAN AIRLINES: Sued For Disclosing Passenger Info in NY, TX
AMERICAN AIRLINES: Faces Consumer Fraud Lawsuits in OK, NY, MA
AMERICAN AIRLINES: Faces Flight Attendant Suit V. April 2003 CBA

AUSTRALIA: Anglican Church Enters Mediation For Sex Abuse Suit
CALIFORNIA: Small Law Firms Break New Ground For Privacy Suits
CALIFORNIA: Welding Rod Workers Launch Tort Lawsuit V. 58 Firms
DE BEERS: Madison County Judge Certifies Diamond Antitrust Suit
FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS: SEC Obtains $18.4M Judgments V. Defendants

FOURSTAR: Recalls 522T Kid's Folding Chairs Due to Injury Hazard
HANOVER AUTOMOTIVE: Agrees To Resolve MA AG Overtime Allegations
IDEA NUOVA: Recalls 1.1M Folding Chairs Due to Injury Hazard
MAJOR AUTOMOTIVE: Faces Consumer Fraud Suit in NY Supreme Court
MASSACHUSETTS: Boston PD For Race Bias Suit Over Hair Drug Test

MCKESSON CORPORATION: CA Judge Denies Approval of Settlement
MECO CORPORATION: Recalls 175T Folding Chairs For Injury Hazard
NAM TAI ELECTRONICS: Provides Update on Rocco Class Action Suit
ONOCHIE CONSTRUCTION: President To Settle Wage, Hour Law Claims
ORTHO MCNEIL: Ten Women Sue For Damages Over Abortifacient Use

PHARMAKON LABS: FL Court Issues Injunction V. Illegal Drugs Sale
PFOA LITIGATION: Study Says C8 Enters Body In Drinking Water
PRE-PAID LEGAL: OK Court Nixes Sales Associates Commissions Suit
QUALITY INSTALLATION: MD AG Release Cease Order Due To Fraud
RJ REYNOLDS: ME AG Supports "Eclipse" Consumer Fraud Lawsuit

ROCKSTAR GAMES: Grandmother Files Suit in NY Over Sex Mini-Games
SIERRA HEALTH: Trial in FL RICO Lawsuit Set For January 2006
U.S. WEST: Litigation Settlement Hearing Set August 30, 2005
VEGAS GRAND: Purchasers' Attorneys Scheduled Meetings in CA, NV
VIOXX LITIGATION: Texas Coroner Deposed in First Civil Trial

WESTERN CASEWORK: Reaches Settlement For EEOC Race Bias Lawsuit

                         Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: LA Court Remands Leblanc Lawsuit to State
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: IL Court Upholds Healy Suit Dismissal
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Pennsylvania Launches Medical Criteria Bill
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Factory Fire Sets Off Health Risk Concerns
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Electrolux AB Reports 985 Asbestos Lawsuits

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Alfa Laval Inc. Faces 22 More Suits in 2Q05
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Claims Against Owens Illinois Reach 33,000
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: PPG Industries' 2Q05 Net Income Rises 24%
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Japan Party to Extend Limit for Application
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Halliburton Confident Liability is Resolved

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NSW Residents to Demonstrate Against Hardie
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: JPN Railway Heads Say Trains Pose No Risks
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Japan's Local Units Unaware of Death Rates
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: 2003 Ministry Report Reveals Community Risk
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Louisiana Mayor Calls for Pipe Safety Study

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Feds Probe High Levels at Northshore Mining
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Senators to Seek Subpoena Power to Get Data
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Crane Settles Liability Claims for US$33Mil
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: RPM 4Q Profit Declines on Asbestos Charges
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: TUC Warns Against Testing at Mobile Clinics

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Queensland Minister Admits Asbestos Slip-up
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Son Sues English Electric for Work Exposure
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Pepco Informs Mirant of More Than 100 Cases
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Crane Co. Deals with 88,563 Pending Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Coroner Cites Work Exposure at Ever Ready

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Bars Questioning Plaintiffs' Lawyers
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: K&F Faces Around 175 Personal Injury Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Junks Ruling to Add Payout in Estate
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Burlington Northern Handles 2,120 Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Engineer Sues IL Railroad Co. for Exposure

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CT School Heads Find High Levels in Trailer
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Lone Star Subsidiaries Named in 47 Lawsuits
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Exelon Corp. Sets $43Mil Reserve for Claims
ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Corning Inc. May Adjust Estimates
ASBESTOS ALERT: Family Seeks GBP300T Damages from Sidney Cubbage

ASBESTOS ALERT: Court Convicts Skip Operator for Illegal Storage
ASBESTOS ALERT: HSE Imposes GBP5T Fine on Craftpride for Breach
ASBESTOS ALERT: British Duke to Confront Possible Legal Battle
ASBESTOS ALERT: Court Fines 2 Firms GBP48T for Exposing Workers
ASBESTOS ALERT: Former Electrician Granted GBP47,000 in Damages

                   New Securities Fraud Cases

DITECH CORPORATION: Cohen Milstein Lodges Securities Suit in CA
GUIDANT CORPORATION: Lasky & Rifkind Files Securities Suit in IN
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS: Goodkind Labaton Expands Class Period
MAJESCO ENTERTAINMENT: Wolf Popper Lodges Securities Suit in NJ
MOLINA HEALTHCARE: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Stock Suit in CA


ALANAR INC.: SEC Halts Affinity Fraud Over Offered Bond Funds
On July 26, the Commission obtained an Order of Permanent
Injunction and Other Relief against Alanar, Inc. (Alanar),
Vaughn A. Reeves, Sr., Vaughn A. Reeves, Jr., J. Christopher
Reeves, Joshua C. Reeves (the Reeves), a group of 37 bond funds
(the Bond Funds), and Guardian Services, LLC, First Financial
Services of Sullivan County, and The Liberty Group, Inc. (the
Paying Agents), enjoining them from violating the anti-fraud
provisions of the federal securities laws.  The Order of
Permanent Injunction also freezes the assets of Alanar, the
Reeves and six companies controlled by the Reeves, pending the
resolution of the appropriate amount of disgorgement and civil
penalties, requires the defendants to give an accounting,
prohibits document destruction, permits expedited discovery,
requires the defendants to comply with certain undertakings and
appoints an independent monitor who will have day-to-day
approval authority over all facets of the defendants'
operations.  The defendants consented to the Order of Permanent
Injunction without admitting or denying the allegations of the
Commission's complaint.

In its complaint, the Commission charged that the Reeves'
investment scheme was an "affinity fraud."  The Commission
alleged that by employing solicitations appealing to the
Christian faith of many investors, the Reeves succeeded in
raising over $120 million from investors in church bonds
(bondholders) and over $50 million from investors in the Bond
Funds (Bond Fund investors). Through their control of Alanar,
the Bond Funds and the Paying Agents, the Reeves allegedly
misused funds that churches paid to the Paying Agents to be held
in trust for the benefit of bondholders, misused Bond Fund
investor proceeds, and misrepresented the rates of return of the
Bond Funds.  For instance, from September 2003 to May 2005, the
Reeves and the Paying Agents allegedly diverted $8 million worth
of church funds held in trust for the repayment of bondholders
into an online brokerage account.  The Reeves allegedly used
those funds to trade stock and equity options, loan money to at
least one church and to make unsecured loans to themselves and
companies they controlled.  Similarly, the Reeves allegedly
caused the Bond Funds to loan investor proceeds to other Bond
Funds, and transferred almost $5 million worth of Bond Fund
investor proceeds to their companies.  The action is styled, SEC
v. Alanar, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 05-cv-1102-JDT-TAB,
USDC S.D. Ind., filed July 26, 2005.

AMERICAN AIRLINES: CA Court Decertifies RICO, Antitrust Lawsuit
The United States District Court for the Central District of
California, Western Division decertified the class in the
lawsuit filed against American Airlines, Inc., styled "Westways
World Travel, Inc. v. AMR Corp., et al."  The suit also names as

     (1) AMR Corporation,

     (2) AMR Eagle Holding Corporation,

     (3) Airlines Reporting Corporation, and

     (4) the Sabre Group Holdings, Inc.

The suit was initially filed on July 26, 1999 and later amended
in November of the same year.  The lawsuit alleges that
requiring travel agencies to pay debit memos to the Company for
violations of the Company's fare rules (by customers of the

     (i) breaches the Agent Reporting Agreement between the
         Company, AMR Eagle and the plaintiffs;

    (ii) constitutes unjust enrichment; and

   (iii) violates the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations Act of 1970 (RICO)

On July 9, 2003, the court certified a class that included all
travel agencies who have been or will be required to pay money
to the Company for debit memos for fare rules violations from
July 26, 1995 to the present.  On February 24, 2005, the court
decertified the class.  The remaining two plaintiffs seek to
enjoin the Company from enforcing the pricing rules in question
and to recover the amounts paid for debit memos, plus treble
damages, attorneys' fees, and costs.

The suit is styled "Westway World Travel v. AMR Corp, et al,
case no. 99-cv-07689-WDK-AIJ," filed in the United States
District Court for the Central District of California, under
Judge William D. Keller.

Representing the defendants are Chad S. Hummel, Manatt Phelps &
Phillips, 11355 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064-1614,
Phone: 310-312-4000; and William A. Wargo, Gibson Dunn &
Crutcher, 333 S Grand Ave, 45th Fl, Los Angeles, CA 90071-3197,
Phone: 213-229-7000.  Representing the plaintiffs are
Linda S. Platisha, Linda S. Platisha Law Offices, 21520 Yorba
Linda Blvd, Ste G-560 Yorba Linda, CA 92887, Phone: 714-694-
1542; and Dean Browning Webb, Dean Browning Webb Law Offices
8002 NE Hwy 99, Ste B Vancouver, WA 98665-8833, Phone: 503-629-
2176, Fax: 503-629-9527.

AMERICAN AIRLINES: Sued For Disclosing Passenger Info in NY, TX
American Airlines, Inc. faces four class actions, arising from
the disclosure of passenger name records by a vendor of the
Company.  The cases are:

     (1) Kimmell v. AMR, et al., filed in the United States
         District Court in Texas,

     (2) Baldwin v. AMR, et al., filed in the United States
         District Court in Texas,

     (3) Rosenberg v. AMR, et al., filed in the United States
         District Court in New York

     (4) Anapolsky v. AMR, et al., filed in the United States
         District Court in New York

The Kimmell suit was filed in April 2004. The Baldwin and
Rosenberg cases were filed in May 2004.  The Anapolsky suit was
filed in September 2004.  The suits allege various causes of
action, including but not limited to, violations of the
Electronic Communications Privacy Act, negligent
misrepresentation, breach of contract and violation of alleged
common law rights of privacy.  In each case plaintiffs seek
statutory damages of $1000 per passenger, plus additional
unspecified monetary damages.  The Court dismissed the cases but
allowed leave to amend, and the Kimmell and Rosenberg cases have
been re-filed.

AMERICAN AIRLINES: Faces Consumer Fraud Lawsuits in OK, NY, MA
American Airlines, Inc. faces three purported class actions,
arising from allegedly improper failure to refund certain
governmental taxes and fees collected by the Company upon the
sale of nonrefundable tickets when such tickets are not used for
travel.  The suits are:

     (1) Coleman v. American Airlines, Inc., No. 101106, filed
         December 31, 2002, pending (on appeal) before the
         Supreme Court of Oklahoma.  The Coleman Plaintiffs seek
         actual damages (not specified) and interest;

     (2) Hayes v. American Airlines, Inc., No. 04-3231, pending
         in the United States District Court for the Eastern
         District of New York, filed July 2, 2004.  The Hayes
         Plaintiffs seek unspecified damages, declaratory
         judgment, costs, attorneys' fees, and interest.

     (3) Harrington v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., et. al., No. 04-
         12558, pending in the United States District Court for
         the District of Massachusetts, filed November 4, 2004.
         The Harrington plaintiffs seek unspecified actual
         damages (trebled), declaratory judgment, injunctive
         relief, costs, and attorneys' fees.

The suits assert various causes of action, including breach of
contract, conversion, and unjust enrichment.

AMERICAN AIRLINES: Faces Flight Attendant Suit V. April 2003 CBA
American Airlines, Inc. continues to face a consolidated class
action filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of New York, styled "Ann M. Marcoux, et al. v. American
Airlines, Inc., et al."  The suit also names as defendant the
Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), the Union
which represents the Company's flight attendants.

The suit seeks on behalf of all of the Company's flight
attendants or various subclasses to set aside, and to obtain
damages allegedly resulting from, the April 2003 Collective
Bargaining Agreement referred to as the Restructuring
Participation Agreement (RPA).  The RPA was one of three labor
agreements the Company successfully reached with its unions in
order to avoid filing for bankruptcy in 2003.

In a related case, styled "Sherry Cooper, et al. v. TWA
Airlines, LLC, et al.," also filed in the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of New York, the court denied a
preliminary injunction against implementation of the RPA on June
30, 2003.  The suit alleges various claims against the Union and
the Company relating to the RPA and the ratification vote on the
RPA by individual Union members, including: violation of the
Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) and the
APFA's Constitution and By-laws, violation by the Union of its
duty of fair representation to its members, violation by the
Company of provisions of the Railway Labor Act through improper
coercion of flight attendants into voting or changing their vote
for ratification, and violations of the Racketeer  Influenced
and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 (RICO).

The suit is styled "Marcoux et al v. American Airlines Inc. et
al, case no. 1:04-cv-01376-NG-KAM," filed in the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of New York, under Judge
Nina Gershon.

Representing the Company are Thomas Edward Reinert, Jr., Melissa
C. Rodriguez, Sam Scott Shaulson of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius,
LLP, 101 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10178, Phone: 212-309-6000,
Fax: 212- 309-6273, E-mail: treinert@morganlewis.com,
mcrodriguez@morganlewis.com, sshaulson@morganlewis.com.
Representing the plaintiffs are:

     (1) Emily Maruja Bass, Law Offices of Emily Bass, 25
         Washington Street, Suite 305 Brooklyn, NY 11201, Phone:
         718-522-9705, Fax: 718-522-9707, E-mail: eb@basslaw.us

     (2) Martin Garbus and Mark J. Rachman, Davis & Gilbert,
         LLP, 1740 Broadway, 21st floor, New York, NY 10019
         Phone: 212-468-4800, Fax: 212-468-4888, E-mail:
         mgarbus@dglaw.com or mrachman@dglaw.com

AUSTRALIA: Anglican Church Enters Mediation For Sex Abuse Suit
South Australia's Anglican Church entered mediation for the
multi-million-dollar sex abuse lawsuit filed against it on
behalf of victims of pedophile church worker Robert Brandenburg,
Yahoo! News reports.

Mr. Brandenburg was chief commissioner of the Church of England
Boys Society from 1965 to 1981 and it is alleged the church knew
of the allegations of sexual abuse against him 33 years ago.
Mr. Brandenburg allegedly committed the abuse at his Anglicare
office, at his home in Adelaide's leafy eastern suburbs, in his
car and while on CEBS camps.  Mr. Brandenburg killed himself in
1999, on the day he was due to face court on child sex charges.

35 of Mr. Brandenburg's victims filed a class action, alleging
that the Anglican Church failed in its duty to protect them, an
earlier Class Action Reporter story (November 20,2003) reports.
Their lawyers say each will seek about $500,000.

In November 2003, the Anglican Diocese of Adelaide blocked the
suit, saying that the victims should not be allowed to group
their cases together.  In a statement, the Synod of Adelaide's
Anglican diocese said it preferred the matters to be dealt with
by the courts.  "The Anglican Church is keen to progress the
matter, however, it is a difficult and complex question," the
statement said.  "The church does not believe it is appropriate
to debate the case in the media.  We believe the court is the
appropriate place for arguments to be made and debated."

The church's move delayed the case.  However, the Church later
agreed to mediate the claims.  The first case entered mediation
this week after it was delayed by the church last month.  The
meeting ended without resolution late this afternoon and has
been adjourned to a later date, Yahoo! News reports.

CALIFORNIA: Small Law Firms Break New Ground For Privacy Suits
While electronic privacy breaches have caught the attention of
big media, the Wall Street Journal recently wrote that the
breaches are generating large class actions, which the major
class action firms for the moment are shying away from, The
Recorder reports.

Since the cases rest on untested laws and often involve victims
with no monetary losses, the big plaintiffs firms are letting
smaller outfits like attorney Matthew Righetti's firm, take the
first steps in a litigation area with equally great risks.

Mr. Righetti, who says that companies, which leak consumer data,
should be forced to pay, but he can't say how much. The San
Francisco plaintiffs' lawyer also expressed his doubts over
whether any court would agree with him.  However, even with such
obstacles, Mr. Righetti's firm along with other small plaintiffs
shops, who are very eager to find new practice areas without
competition from the big firms that dominate consumer and
securities class actions, have been happy to oblige.

Basing their complaints on disclosure notices that companies,
under California law, send to customers whose financial data has
been leaked, a bevy of such small firms are aggressively
pursuing the suits.  While the plaintiffs' lawyers say the
notices fairly reek of liability, the outlook is so uncertain
that small plaintiffs shops feel forced to share the risk of
privacy suits with other firms. According to Mr. Righetti, a
partner at Righetti & Wynne who has three active privacy class
actions in federal court, and is investigating a handful of
others, Collaboration "is a way of the plaintiff bar being
cautious." He adds, "They take a lot of time and a lot of money
and are very risky, so you find more collaborative work."

San Rafael, California-based attorney Ira Rothken, who was part
of a privacy case that generated $1.8 million in attorney fees
in 2001 told The Recorder that smaller firms can explore areas
of the law that don't have well-trod roads to riches. He
explains, "Big firms, from an economic perspective, have to go
where the big money is. Smaller firms -- at least my firm --
have more flexibility."  Between 2001, when Mr. Rothken and
several other lawyers settled a suit with the Internet Company,
Doubleclick for $1.8 million in attorney fees and injunctive
relief and as of last year, few privacy suits were filed.

However, that's changed recently, largely because of a
California law that since 2003 has required companies to
publicize security breaches. That law also created a veritable
complaint mill since February, when companies began notifying
customers nationwide when such a breach happens.

William Reece Hirsch, a partner at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal
who advises companies on security issues told The Recorder that
the California law "became the de facto national standard. It's
a public-relations disaster to send out the notices in
California but not to other customers."

ChoicePoint found that out in February, when identity thieves
accessed information on 145,000 people from the consumer data
provider. After taking heat for only notifying California
customers, ChoicePoint eventually sent notices out nationwide.
Four class actions followed, however. Those cases are now
consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Central District
of California. They involve at least a dozen small plaintiff
firms, including Righetti & Wynne and several other local ones.

Mr. Hirsch told The Recorder that the ChoicePoint cases are
being closely watched by defense lawyers -- in fact, he wrote an
article about them last month for a Washington, D.C.-based
privacy law publication. He also added that he expected the
cases to give a good sense of how the federal courts will view
the privacy litigation.  He added that the is the question of
whether a federal credit-reporting law allows people whose
information has been leaked, but who haven't suffered identity
theft, to collect damages, is a more important question.  Also
at issue in the federal cases is the fact that federal law only
covers "consumer reporting agencies." Defendants often challenge
the definition of that term, making it hard to know which
companies face liability.

In a federal case filed in April against LexisNexis over a
privacy breach, Mr. Righetti bolsters his federal claims with
charges that the company also violated state credit reporting
law. However, the state laws are equally untested.

That could change with a suit Mr. Rothken filed earlier this
month in San Francisco Superior Court. In his case against
CardSystems, he argues that the company's lax security measures
allowed a hacker last month to expose 40 million consumers'
credit data. Mr. Rothken makes his arguments under California's
unfair competition and customer records statutes.

The lack of clarity on which state laws are most applicable
grows partially from how privacy legislation came about. The
various state privacy laws "got added piece by piece," said
Joanne McNabb, chief of the California Office of Privacy
Protection. For this reason, plaintiff lawyers say, the courts
will determine the most appropriate statute.  Ultimately, the
fate of the suits, state or federal, will rest on how the courts
define harm, according to Victor Schachter, a partner at Fenwick
& West who helps companies formulate privacy policies. He also
said, "It's still a story of, 'Where are the damages?'"

Mr. Schachter and Mr. Hirsch agreed that no one knows whether
harm has to come in the form of money, or if it can be something
more nebulous, like emotional insecurity after a breach or time
spent restoring a credit rating.  For his part, Mr. Rothken told
The Recorder that he doesn't expect privacy suits to turn into
the next asbestos, saying, "It's very hard, from an economic
incentive kind of way, to bring these lawsuits."

However, Mr. Righetti points out that there are some cases with
cause for great optimism. Currently, he is co-lead counsel in a
class action against credit reporting agency TransUnion in
Illinois federal court, which is seen as less risky than others,
since the Federal Trade Commission found that TransUnion didn't
adequately protect consumer information. Accordingly, about 25
firms have become involved with the suit, including Milberg
Weiss Bershad & Schulman, one of the country's biggest plaintiff

What is perhaps the best sign for the plaintiffs bar, tech
companies and big defense firms have been beefing up their
privacy departments, indicating a growing concern that privacy
litigation could create expensive liabilities.

Mr. McNabb told The Recorder, "There's definitely a groundswell
among lawyers and consultants on privacy." And, Mr. Hirsch
added, each time he has to advise a company on a privacy breach
disclosure, liability is a prime concern.

Todd Schneider, a partner at the plaintiffs firm Schneider &
Wallace who is involved in the ChoicePoint litigation, told The
Recorder that will continue to be the case, as class action
lawyers learn how best to sue over privacy breaches. He adds,
"Each new case we do, we share information. We share
intelligence. A bar is growing."

CALIFORNIA: Welding Rod Workers Launch Tort Lawsuit V. 58 Firms
Eighteen welding rod workers filed a mass tort lawsuit in Los
Angeles Superior Court against Airco Inc., Caterpillar, Inc.,
General Electric Company and more than 55 other named defendants
claiming that they suffered serious neurological injuries as a
consequence of exposure to welding fumes containing manganese, a
substance medically recognized as toxic to the human central
nervous system. Plaintiffs' complaints for damages allege 15
claims, including negligence, strict products liability, and
fraud/deceit by suppression/concealment, involving welding
products that were manufactured, sold, distributed, and/or
promoted by Defendants. All of the Defendants were, at relevant
times, manufacturers and sellers of welding products, large
industrial consumers of welding rod products, and members of
leading trade organizations, including the American Welding
Society and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

The Plaintiffs are jointly represented by the Santa Monica, CA
law firm of Greene Broillet & Wheeler (Bruce C. Fishelman,
Timothy J. Wheeler, Geoffrey S. Wells), the Los Angeles, CA law
firm of Panish, Shea & Boyle, LLP (Brian J. Panish, Kevin R.
Boyle), the Los Angeles office of Kirk B. Bernard, and the San
Francisco, CA law firm of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein,
LLP (Robert J. Nelson, Eric B. Fastiff). John John vs. A.O.
Smith Corporation, et. al., Case No. BC337178.

The use of welding products and equipment in the welding process
causes emission of fumes, most of which contain manganese. As
noted in the complaint, since 1837, it has been medically
recognized that manganese is toxic to the human central nervous
system and that excessive levels in the human body can cause a
progressive condition called manganism, a form of parkinsonism.
Since then, evidence has accumulated that exposure to manganese
fumes can also cause Parkinson's Disease, as well as other
neuropsychological disorders.

From the 1930s forward, the Defendant manufacturers and their
trade associations amassed critical data acknowledging that
manganese in welding fumes is toxic and can cause neurological
injuries. Yet, instead of making this information public, the
companies allegedly withheld, misrepresented, suppressed and
concealed this information from consumers. It was not until the
late 1990s that the welding industry began to publish specific
warnings about the dangers of exposure to manganese or to
acknowledge that welding fume exposure can cause neurological

The Plaintiffs allege that they were exposed to welding fumes
while using welding products and equipment or by being in close
proximity to other persons using welding products. Their
exposure occurred in an environment, which did not have
precautionary measures in place to protect them against the
health hazards of welding fumes. Plaintiffs claim that the
Defendants suppressed the health and safety information
concerning the hazards of manganese in welding fumes,
established industry-wide specifications for precautionary
product labels that failed to adequately warn workers of the
dangers associated with manganese in welding fumes, opposed
restrictions on the guidelines for manganese exposure levels
established by various authorities, and provided misleading
information concerning the health hazards of manganese welding
rods, specifically with respect to inhalation of manganese in
welding fumes.

"My health has been destroyed," said John John, age 62, from Los
Angeles, CA and one of the plaintiffs who filed suit today and
who became a welder around 1964, "all because the powers that be
in the welding industry didn't tell welders like me about the
potential dangers of welding rod fumes or take any steps to
protect us from toxic welding fumes. What was done to me and my
fellow welders is nothing short of criminal. We can't put all
these companies and trade associations in jail, so all of the
cases being filed today are the only recourse that we have to
see that justice is served."

"The welding industry has known for years of the dangers
associated with welding fume exposure, and many people's lives
have been ruined as a result of their failure to act
responsibly," explained Robert J. Nelson. "Only by filing these
types of lawsuits gives welding fume victims their day in court
so that we can we begin to right such egregious wrongs."

"It is important to recognize that our legal system plays a
powerful role in helping to curb corporate abuse," stated Bruce
C. Fishelman, "and that mass tort and class action lawsuits are
essential to giving large numbers of injured people a voice that
they might never have otherwise. To conspire in any way
whatsoever to keep information hidden that can protect and save
lives in the workplace environment is simply unthinkable. We
will do all that it takes to see to it that our clients have
their day in court."

"Thousands of people's lives have been impacted by the coverups
promulgated by the welding industry," stated Brian J. Panish.
"To turn the tide, a number of top plaintiffs' law firms have
consolidated their efforts to stand up to more than fifty
corporate defendants. We're all up to the task and will not rest
until our clients are fully compensated."

The cases filed in Los Angeles Superior Court will next be
coordinated with other similar cases, which have been filed
throughout California in the next few weeks. The coordinated
cases are being overseen by the Hon. Ronald M. Sabraw,
California Superior Court, County of Alameda and are titled the
"Welding Products Cases", Judicial Council Coordination
Proceeding No. 4368 ("JCCP 4368").

The cases are styled, Welding Products Cases, which is being
overseen by Hon. Ronald M. Sabraw, California Superior Court,
County of Alameda. The Plaintiffs are jointly represented by:
Bruce C. Fishelman, Timothy J. Wheeler, Geoffrey S. Wells of
Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP of Santa Monica, CA, Phone:
310-576-1200, Web site: http://www.greene-broillet.com,Brian J.
Panish, Kevin R. Boyle of Panish, Shea & Boyle, LLP of Los
Angeles, CA, Phone: 310-477-1700, Web site:
http://www.psandb.com,Kirk B. Bernard The Law Offices of Kirk
B. Bernard of Los Angeles, CA, Phone: 310-578-7700, Web site:
http://www.4injured-losangeles.comand Robert J. Nelson, Eric B.
Fastiff of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP of San
Francisco, CA, Phone: 415-956-1000, Web site:
http://www.lieffcabraser.com.Defendants' liaison counsel in the
"Welding Products Cases" include: Steve Blitch of Reed Smith LLP
of Oakland, CA, Phone: 510-466-6703, Web site:
http://www.reedsmith.comand Richard V. Normington of Filice
Brown, LLP of Oakland, CA, Phone: 510-444-3131, Web site:

DE BEERS: Madison County Judge Certifies Diamond Antitrust Suit
In an order entered on July 22, 2005, Madison County Circuit
Judge George Moran, Jr. certified a class action case against
international diamond giant De Beers of Luxembourg, citing that
the defendant failed to appear or respond to the complaint, The
Madison County Record reports.

The class action names DB Investments and De Beers S.A. of
Luxembourg; Consolidated Mines of South Africa; De Beers
Centenary A.G. of Switzerland; and Diamond Trading Company, the
marketing arm of the De Beers Group of the United Kingdom.

Class action plaintiffs' attorneys Stephen Tillery, Donald Flack
and Eugene Barash of Korein Tillery of St. Louis filed the suits
on February 17, the day before President George W. Bush signed
the Class Action Fairness Act into law.

The suit was filed on behalf of Emert and Katie Null of Madison
County, who are claiming that for more than a century the De
Beers "cartel" dominated the market for rough diamonds in the
United States and worldwide controlling as much as 80 percent of
the world diamond supply.

Currently, De Beers controls 50 percent of the world's diamond
supply, and an even greater percentage of the world's supply of
two-carat and larger rough diamonds, according to the suit.

The Nulls claim that in 2003 alone, De Beers sold $5.52 billion
worth of rough diamonds, and used its market dominance to raise
the price of rough diamonds three times during the year,
allegedly creating a 10 percent hike in rough diamond prices.
They go on to states in their complaint, "Over the years
including presently, De Beers has used its monopolistic power to
illegally and artificially restrain trade and increase the price
of diamonds by controlling inventory."

The Nulls also claim that in October of 1999, De Beers chairman
Nicky Oppenheimer, speaking at a gathering of Harvard alumni,
went so far as to boast about De Beers illegal monopolistic
behavior. They claim Mr. Oppenheimer stated in the gathering
that De Beers "likes to think of itself as the world's longest
running monopoly.and seeks to manage the diamond market, to
control supply, to manage prices and to act collusively with our
partners in the business."

The class action is brought on behalf of diamond purchasers to
recover damages for violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud
and Deceptive Business Practice Act and for unjust enrichment.
It also claims, "The Court has jurisdiction over the defendants
as they either maintain their principal place of business within
Illinois, are registered to do business in Illinois, or conduct
substantial business within Illinois. In addition, the acts
giving rise to the causes of action stated occurred in the state
of Illinois." It continues, "Venue is proper in this court
pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-101 as defendants' liability arose, in
part, in this county, and they may be found here."

Additionally, the suit also states that the action is not based
on federal law and the Nulls do not seek and will not accept
recovery in excess of $75,000 exclusive of costs and interest.

Judge Moran stated that in considering a motion for class
certification the court has to accept the factual allegations in
the complaint as true. Thus, he wrote, "Having reviewed the
factual allegations of the complaint and plaintiff's motion for
class certification the court hereby grants the motion for class

The Judge also appointed the Nulls as class representative and
Korein Tillery as class counsel and gave them 14 days to
coordinate with the clerk regarding a hearing date for a plan of
notice to class members and regarding a hearing on damages.

On July 26, Patrick Foppe and Robert Schultz, Jr. of Heyl
Royster in Edwardsville, who represent De Beers Centenary A.G.,
removed the case to federal court where it has been assigned to
Judge Michael J. Reagan.

FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS: SEC Obtains $18.4M Judgments V. Defendants
The Hon. Stephen V. Wilson, United States District Judge for the
Central District of California, entered final judgment against
defendant Christiano Hashimoto, individually and doing business
as Financial Solutions, permanently enjoining Mr. Hashimoto from
violating the antifraud, securities registration and broker-
dealer registration provisions of the federal securities laws
and ordering him to pay $18,442,395.58 in disgorgement and
prejudgment interest and $120,000 in civil penalties.  In so
doing, the court found that Mr. Hashimoto had violated Sections
5 and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Sections 10(b) and
15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5

Also on July 14, 2005, the court entered final judgment against
Ohana International, Inc., the remaining defendant in the
matter, pursuant to Ohana's consent through its court-appointed
receiver, Robb Evans.  The final judgment entered against Ohana
permanently enjoins it from violating the same provisions of the
federal securities laws, and orders Ohana to pay the same amount
of disgorgement and prejudgment interest as does the final
judgment entered against Hashimoto.

On Nov. 3, 2004, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a
complaint against Mr. Hashimoto, Financial Solutions, and Ohana,
alleging that they had raised at least $8 million through an
unregistered offering of 30-day promissory notes paying
purported returns of 10% to 20% per month, and that they had
promoted the offering through some of the African-American
community's largest churches in Los Angeles.  On that same day,
the court issued a temporary restraining order and appointed
Robb Evans as the temporary receiver over Financial Solutions
and Ohana.  On November 16, 2004, Mr. Hashimoto told members of
another group of targeted investors - members of the California
National Guard residing near San Luis Obispo - that he had
concealed assets sufficient to repay them in full from the
Commission and the receiver.  Mr. Hashimoto subsequently
admitted that his statements were false.  On December 7, 2004,
the court issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting all of the
defendants from future violations of the antifraud and
registration provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and appointed Evans as
permanent receiver.  On July 11, 2005, the court granted the
Commission's motion for summary judgment against Mr. Hashimoto.
The action is styled, SEC v. Ohana International, Inc.,
Financial Solutions, and Christiano Hashimoto, Civil Action No.
EDCV 04-01386 SVW, SGLx, C.D. Cal.

FOURSTAR: Recalls 522T Kid's Folding Chairs Due to Injury Hazard
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC), Fourstar Group Inc., of Hopkinton, Massachusetts is
voluntarily recalling about 522,000 units of Kid's Folding

According to the recall, the chair's safety lock can fail,
allowing the chair to collapse or fold unexpectedly. Children's
fingers can become caught or entrapped in the hinge and slot
areas of the chair, posing a pinch or cut hazard. This can cause
severe lacerations and fingertip amputations to children's
fingers. CPSC and Fourstar Group are aware of three incidents
involving children. One resulted in a laceration to the finger
and three finger fractures, the second incident resulted in a
fracture and laceration to the fingers, and the third incident
resulted in a pinched finger.

The recalled kid's folding chairs are made of metal tubing with
a vinyl padded seat and seat back. They were sold in red, blue,
yellow, green, pink, and lavender solid colors. They also come
in pink with "Princess" printed in red on the seat and seat back
along with stars, crowns and hearts, or in blue with pictures of
basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, football helmets, and
rollerblades. The recalled chairs were sold individually or as
part of a set consisting of a table and two chairs. Each chair
is about 22-inches high, 13.5-inches wide, and about 11.5-inches
located underneath the seat of the chairs.

Manufactured in China, the chairs were sold at all discount and
grocery stores nationwide from July 2003 through July 2005 for
about $5 individually or about $25 for a set.

Consumers should stop using the chairs immediately, and contact
Fourstar for instructions on how to receive a free repair kit to
replace the locking pin.

Consumer Contact: Consumers should call Fourstar Group toll-free
at (866) 290-6191 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET Monday through
Friday. Consumers can also visit the firm's Web site:

HANOVER AUTOMOTIVE: Agrees To Resolve MA AG Overtime Allegations
The corporation and president of a Jaguar and Land Rover
dealership in Hanover have agreed to pay $5,500 to resolve
allegations they did not pay overtime to seven employees,
Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly announced in a

Hanover Automotive Group, Inc., d/b/a Jaguar/Land Rover of
Hanover and its President, K. Timothy Porelle, 41, of Kingston,
have entered into a settlement agreement and paid in full the
$5,000 restitution and $500 penalty relating to their
unintentional failure to pay the overtime premium.

Under Massachusetts law, employers are required to pay non
exempt employees at least one and a half times their regular
hourly rate of pay when they work over 40 hours in a week.
Hanover Automotive Group, Inc. failed to pay overtime to seven
service contract writers employed at the dealership from April
2003 through December 2004. The restitution payments to
employees ranged from $152 to $1,474.

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 Beth Stone by Phone: (617) 727-2543 or
contact Mr. Reilly's Fair Labor Business Practices Division's
hotline: (617) 727-3465, or visit the Website:

IDEA NUOVA: Recalls 1.1M Folding Chairs Due to Injury Hazard
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC), Idea Nuova Inc., of New York, NY is voluntarily
recalling about 1.1 million units of Children's Folding Chairs.

According to the recall, the chair's safety lock can fail,
allowing the chair to collapse or fold unexpectedly. Children's
fingers can become caught or entrapped in the hinge and slot
areas of the chair, posing a pinch or cut hazard. This can cause
severe lacerations and fingertip amputations to children's
fingers. CPSC and Idea Nuova are aware of five incidents
involving children. In one incident, there was a fingertip
amputation, the second incident involved a fingertip amputation
and a laceration, and the third incident involved a finger
fracture and a laceration. There were no injuries reported in
the other two incidents.

The recalled children's folding chairs are made of metal tubing
with a vinyl-padded seat and seat back. They were sold with the
following designs: "Monkey Moods" a monkey with stars, "Rock n
Roll" with a monkey playing a guitar, "Princess" with pink
flowers and a crown, "Sport" with a football, basketball and
soccer ball, "Training Camp" with frogs, "Rainbow Angel" with
clouds, rainbows and stars, Spidermanr, and Disneyr Princess.
The recalled chairs were sold as part of a set consisting of a
table and two chairs. Each chair is about 22-inches high, 13
inches wide, and about 11 inches deep. "Idea Nuova Inc." or
"I.N.I." is printed on a label located underneath the seat of
the chairs.

Manufactured in China, the chairs were sold at all discount
department and toy stores nationwide from September 2004 through
June 2005 for between $15 and $25 per set.

Consumers should stop using these chairs immediately, and
contact Idea Nuova for instructions on how to receive a free
repair kit to replace the locking pin.

Consumer Contact: Consumers should call Idea Nuova toll-free at
866-772-1666 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.
Consumers can also e-mail Idea Nuova: repair@ideanuova.com.

MAJOR AUTOMOTIVE: Faces Consumer Fraud Suit in NY Supreme Court
Major Automotive Companies, Inc. faces a summons and complaint
filed in December 2004 in the New York State Supreme Court,
County of the Bronx, styled "Justin Jung et al. v. Major
Automotive Companies, Inc."

The suit alleges the Company sold defective or otherwise
dangerous vehicles. Named plaintiff bases his suit on a single-
vehicle accident.  The action includes provisions for the
possible promulgation of a class action lawsuit regarding the
previous accusations.

MASSACHUSETTS: Boston PD For Race Bias Suit Over Hair Drug Test
The Boston Police Department faces a lawsuit filed by seven
black police officers who were fired after failing a drug test
that relied on hair samples, the Associated Press reports.

Lawyer Reba Rutkowski filed the suit in Suffolk Superior Court
on behalf of the seven officers who were fired between 2002 and
2004, after testing positive in a yearly drug test for the whole
police force.  The suit alleges that the screening method is
racially biased and can be skewed by the texture of black
people's hair, and by certain hair-care products.

"African-American hair is different from white hair because,
among other things, it is coarser and thicker," Ms. Rutkowski
told AP. "In fact, those properties make it far more likely to
yield a false positive on a hair test than white hair."

The seven officers want their jobs back and their names cleared,
Ms. Rutkowski told AP.  "They also want compensation for
everything they have lost, including damages for having lost
their reputations," she said. "They also want this practice to

Police spokesman Michael McCarthy wouldn't comment Wednesday on
the fired officers' claims, saying the department hasn't been
officially notified of the suit, AP reports.

The drug-testing program has been in place since 1999, Mr.
McCarthy told AP.  If officers fail the hair test, they can
agree to enter a rehabilitation program and are then subject to
random urine tests. Several of the plaintiffs refused to
participate in such a program.

The company that conducts the drug tests for the department,
Psychemedics Corporation of Acton, told AP it has had no
complaints from any of its hundreds of clients.

MCKESSON CORPORATION: CA Judge Denies Approval of Settlement
The United States District Court for the Northern District of
California refused to grant preliminary approval to the
settlement of the consolidated securities class action filed
against McKesson Corporation

The suit arises out of a merger between McKesson Corporation
("McKesson") and HBO & Company ("HBOC") resulting in an entity
called McKesson HBOC, Inc. ("McKesson HBOC").  Beginning on June
29, 1999, 53 purported class actions were commenced in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of
California. These actions were subsequently consolidated, and
the plaintiffs proceeded to file a series of amended complaints.
On February 15, 2002, plaintiffs filed their third amended
consolidated complaint, which alleges that Bear Stearns violated
Sections 10(b) and 14(a) of the Exchange Act in connection with
allegedly false and misleading disclosures contained in a joint
proxy statement/prospectus that was issued with respect to the
McKesson/HBOC merger.

Plaintiffs purport to represent a class consisting of all
persons who either acquired publicly traded securities of HBOC
between January 20, 1997 and January 12, 1999, or acquired
publicly traded securities of McKesson or McKesson HBOC between
October 18, 1998 and April 27, 1999, and who held McKesson
securities on November 27, 1998 and January 22, 1999.  Named
defendants include McKesson HBOC, certain present and former
directors and/or officers of McKesson HBOC, McKesson and/or
HBOC, Bear Stearns and Arthur Andersen LLP. Compensatory damages
in an unspecified amount are sought.

On January 12, 2005, McKesson HBOC announced that it had reached
a settlement with the plaintiff class, which settlement must be
approved by the Court.  Bear Stearns's engagement letter with
McKesson in connection with the merger of McKesson and HBOC
provides that McKesson cannot settle any litigation without Bear
Stearns's written consent unless McKesson obtains an
unconditional written release for Bear Stearns and, under
certain circumstances, is required to provide indemnification to
Bear Stearns.

In his order, Judge Ronald M. Whyte denied "without prejudice"
the motion for preliminary approval of the settlement.  The
order expressed the court's objection to two non-monetary
provisions of the settlement.  The Company and the Lead
Plaintiff in the action have submitted a revised settlement
agreement that both sides believe fully addresses the court's

In a related matter, McKesson settled six of the additional
cases not included in the consolidated class action. Based on
the settlements reached and the company's current assessment of
the remaining cases, the company recorded a $52 million net pre-
tax charge in the quarter.

MECO CORPORATION: Recalls 175T Folding Chairs For Injury Hazard
In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC), Meco Corporation, of Greeneville, Tennessee is
voluntarily recalling about 175,000 units of Juvenile Folding

According to the recall, children's fingers can become caught or
entrapped in the hinge and slot areas of the chair, posing a
pinch or cut hazard. In 2004, Meco recalled red-colored
children's folding chairs because paint on the chair contained
excessive lead levels, posing a lead poisoning hazard to young
children. CPSC and Meco are aware of three incidents. Two
resulted in pinched fingers and there was one laceration to a
child's finger.

The recalled children's folding chairs have safety locks under
the seat. The chairs are made of metal tubing with a vinyl-
padded seat and seat back. They were sold in red, blue, yellow
and green colors as a part of a set consisting of a table and
four chairs. Each chair is about 22-inches high, 10-inches wide,
and about 11-inches deep. "Meco" or "Samsonite" is printed on
the label underneath the seat bottom.

Manufactured in China, the chairs were sold at all furniture and
wholesale club stores nationwide from July 2003 through May 2005
for between $25 and $40.

Consumers should immediately stop using the chairs and contact
Meco for instructions on receiving a refund.

Consumer Contact: Consumers should call Meco at (800) 251-7558
between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or e-mail
Meco's customer service at csr@meco.net Consumers can also visit
the company's Web site: http://www.meco.net.

NAM TAI ELECTRONICS: Provides Update on Rocco Class Action Suit
Nam Tai Electronics, Inc. ("Nam Tai" or the "Company") (NYSE
Symbol: NTE) stated that oral argument was heard on July 26,
2005, on Lead Plaintiff Douglas Ward's Motion for Certification
as Class Representative and Appointment of Class Counsel ("the
Motion") in the consolidated action entitled Michael Rocco v.
Nam Tai Electronics, Inc. et al., Civil Action No. 03-CV-1148
("the Rocco Action").

The Motion seeks to certify the Rocco Action as a class action,
naming Lead Plaintiff Douglas Ward class representative, and
appointing the law firm of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman &
Robbins LLP as Lead Class Counsel. The Company opposes the
Motion. The Court reserved judgment on the Motion at the
conclusion of the oral argument, and the Company anticipates a
written ruling from the Court in the months to follow.

The initial complaint in the Rocco Action was filed on February
20, 2003. In July 2003, this initial complaint was consolidated
with another complaint filed in April 2003 captioned A.J. &
Celine Steigler v. Nam Tai Electronics, Inc. et al. The
consolidated complaint was filed in July 2003 on behalf of a
putative class of persons who purchased the common shares of Nam
Tai from July 29, 2002 through February 18, 2003. The
consolidated complaint asserts claims under Sections 10(b) and
20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and alleges that
material misrepresentations and/or omissions were made during
the alleged class period concerning the partial reversal of an
inventory provision and a charge to goodwill related to a
corporate transaction involving Nam Tai.

Nam Tai believes the Rocco Action to be wholly without merit and
intends to defend the case vigorously to protect its name and
the interests of its shareholders.

The suit is styled, Michael Rocco v. Nam Tai Electronics, Inc.
et al., Civil Action No. 03-CV-1148, which is pending in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York. Samuel Howard Rudman and David AVI Rosenfeld of Lerach,
Coughlin, Stoia, Geller, Rudman & Robbins, LLP, 200 Broadhollow
Road, Ste 406, Melville, NY, 11747, USA, Phone: 631-367-7100,
Fax: 631-367-1173 E-mail: Srudman@cauleygeller.com or
Drosenfeld@lerachlaw.com and Laurence D Paskowitz of Goodkind
Labaton Rudoff & Sucharow, LLP, 100 Park Ave., New York, NY,
10017, USA, Phone: 212-907-0881, Fax: 212-883-7081, are
representing the Plaintiffs. Stuart W. Gold of Cravath, Swaine &
Moore, LLP, 825 Eighth Ave., New York, NY, 10019, USA, Phone:
(212) 474-1000, Fax: (212) 474-3700, E-mail: Sgold@cravath.com.

ONOCHIE CONSTRUCTION: President To Settle Wage, Hour Law Claims
The President of a Mattapan construction company has paid more
than $2,500 in wages to his former employees for violating the
state wage and hour laws, Massachusetts Attorney General Tom
Reilly announced in a statement.

Augustine Onochie, 48, of Roxbury, president of Onochie
Construction Company Inc. in Mattapan paid restitution of $2,583
to nine employees and $1,855 in civil penalties for failing to
pay the prevailing wage.  In addition, Mr. Onochie was cited for
failure to keep true and accurate payroll records and failure to
submit certified payroll records.

Mr. Reilly has issued two civil citations charging that from
November 2003 through April 2004, Mr. Onochie failed to pay the
prevailing wage of $25.42 to nine employees deleading asbestos
from the Dartmouth Hotel public works project in Roxbury.
Employees earned between $15 and $22 per hour.

The prevailing wage law states that workers on a public works
project must be paid at a rate set by the Commonwealth for that
project. In addition, the employer must keep true and accurate
payroll records for two years and must submit certified payroll
records upon request.

Assistant Attorney General Marsha Hunter and Inspector Robert
Lamarre 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:

ORTHO MCNEIL: Ten Women Sue For Damages Over Abortifacient Use
Ten women filed a lawsuit against the Ortho Evra manufacturer,
Ortho McNeil, for damages related to use of its abortifacient,
the so-called birth-control patch, The LifeSiteNews.com reports.

According to a CNN report, the women, who all suffered from
strokes or serious blood clots, described the drug as
"unreasonably dangerous," and "defectively designed." Ranging in
age from 18 to 47, the women are from across the U.S. and all
suffer from long-term debilitating effects from the patch.

One of the women, nineteen year-old Amanda Bianchi of Colorado
Springs, Colorado, described suffering two strokes and recurring
migraines after developing a 10-inch blood clot in her brain
after use of the patch in 2004. "It's not fun to have to get up
and not be able to go to school and live the life that you were
living, you know?" she said.

A company statement though claimed, "When used as labeled, Ortho
Evra is a safe and effective birth control choice for many

Previously, LifeSiteNews.com reported that the risk of
developing a fatal or non-fatal blood clot while on the patch is
three times greater than with use of the abortifacient birth-
control pill. An Associated Press report also noted that 23
deaths were attributed to use of the patch since its US Food and
Drug Administration approval in 2001. An FDA spokesman though
assured women that "evidence indicates the product is safe and
effective," according to a statement sent to CNN.

PHARMAKON LABS: FL Court Issues Injunction V. Illegal Drugs Sale
The United States District Court in Florida issued a permanent
injunction shutting down operations at Pharmakon Labs of
Florida.  The Company manufactured and distributed cough and
cold liquids, tablets and caplets, The U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) announced in a statement.

Following inspections by FDA and a trial in U.S. District Court,
Judge Richard A. Lazzara found that drug products sold by
Pharmakon Labs, Inc., its president Abelardo L. Acebo, and its
secretary/treasurer Edward R. Jackson (the defendants) did not
meet current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) standards and
other legal requirements.

Judge Lazzara stated that he was "simply unwilling as a court of
equity to place the health, safety, and welfare of the general
public at risk in order to accommodate the economic well-being
of Defendants." Thus, the defendants were ordered to stop
manufacturing and distributing drugs until they become compliant
with CGMP standards to the satisfaction of FDA and obtain
marketing approvals.

"This action by Judge Lazzara sends a strong signal that FDA
will take action against drugs that fail to meet quality
standards," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Lester M. Crawford. "As
the nation's top enforcer of manufacturing standards, the FDA
will continue to ensure that drugs being sold in this country
meet those crucial requirements."

The defendants have a long history of continued violations of
the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The government's
initial complaint alleged numerous manufacturing violations
documented in four inspections dating back to 2001. FDA later
added charges related to Pharmakon's manufacture and
distribution of unapproved new drugs, as part of the agency's
longstanding policy to seek relief for all legal violations by a
firm at the same time.

The government's request for a permanent injunction was based on
the defendants' demonstrated unwillingness to comply with the

For more details, contact Suzanne Trevi¤o, by Phone:
301-827-6242 (media inquiries) or 888-INFO-FDA (consumer
inquiries) or visit the Website: http://www.fda.gov.

PFOA LITIGATION: Study Says C8 Enters Body In Drinking Water
Residents who depend on water contaminated with a chemical used
to produce Teflon have up to 80 times more of the chemical in
their blood streams than the general population, says a
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine study released
Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.

Chemical giant DuPont, Inc. faces several class actions,
alleging that C8 or perfluorooctanate (PFOA), a chemical used to
produce its popular non-stick products, had the potential to
make people sick.  The suits also alleged that the Company hid
this fact from the public.  In 2001, Ohio and West Virginia
residents sued the Company, alleging the Delaware-based company
intentionally withheld and misrepresented information concerning
the nature and extent of the human health threat posed by C8 in
drinking water.

The study reviewed blood samples taken from 326 randomly
selected Ohio residents who live near DuPont, Inc.'s Washington
Works Plant in West Virginia, which uses C8.  According to the
study, drinking water, rather than air emissions, is the primary
way the chemical ammonium perfluorooctanoate, also known as C8,
enters the body, Dr. Edward Emmett, who conducted the study
using an Environmental Justice Partnership grant from the
National Institute of Environmental Health Studies, told AP.

Study results released Wednesday were not part of the DuPont-
funded health screening and were based on blood samples taken
last year and earlier this year from residents of Little
Hocking, Belpre, Cutler and Vincent, Ohio.  Although West
Virginians also rely on C8-contaminated water, Dr. Emmett told
AP the study focused on the four Ohio communities because the
residents depend on the same water source. Private wells were
not included.

While C8 is persistent in the environment, the average level of
C8 in the general population is about 5 parts per billion, Dr.
Emmett said.  The median level among the residents was: Belpre,
298 ppb; Little Hocking, 327 ppb; Cutler, 328 ppb; and Vincent,
369 ppb. Individual results were sent to study participants.
"Our results show that the median levels recorded in
participants in the study were from 60 to 80 times higher than
general-population levels," Dr. Emmett told AP.  "In addition,
increased levels were found in both sexes and all age groups,
including children and the elderly."

Dr. Emmett declined to release details on possible health issues
found from his sampling, saying such information may be
discussed at a public meeting on August 15 in Vincent, Ohio.
Sampling results have already been given to local health
officials.  "Because of this information, we're able to ...
convert this into some useful public health information on what
should be done in this instance," he told AP.

Just this week, Ohio's Little Hocking Water Association filed a
report with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
saying that C8 concentrations ranging from 112 parts per billion
to more than 1,000 parts per billion were found in two dozen of
their customers tested, an earlier Class Action Reporter story
(July 27,2005) reports.  The water system's general manager
Robert L. Griffin said that he had found the level "very high."

DuPont said it was encouraged by the "scientific approach taken
in one of the first definitive community exposure studies
measuring PFOA."  "The study's findings reinforce actions we
agreed to take as part of the court approved settlement, and we
have placed a high priority on completing the installation of
the water treatment systems," Bill Hopkins, Washington Works
plant manager, told AP.  "As soon as we get the green light from
the water districts, we will move forward quickly to install the
water treatment systems."

PRE-PAID LEGAL: OK Court Nixes Sales Associates Commissions Suit
The remaining claims in the class action filed against Pre-Paid
Legal Services, Inc. in the District Court of Canadian County,
Oklahoma have been dismissed, concluding the litigation.

The suit was filed on June 29, 2001 and later amended in 2002,
the petition was amended to add five additional named plaintiffs
and to add and drop certain claims.  This action was originally
a putative class action brought by Gina Kotwitz, later adding,
George Kotwitz, Rick Coker, Richard Starke, Jeff Turnipseed and
Aaron Bouren, on behalf of the Company's sales associates.

The amended petition seeks injunctive and declaratory relief,
with such other damages as the court deems appropriate, for
alleged violations of the Oklahoma Uniform Consumer Credit Code
in connection with the Company's commission advances, and seeks
injunctive and declaratory relief regarding the enforcement of
certain contract provisions with sales associates, including a
request stated in June 2003 for the imposition of a constructive
trust as to earned commissions applied to the reduction of debit
balances and disgorgement of all earned renewal commissions
applied to the reduction of debit balances.

On September 23, 2003, the court entered an order dismissing the
class action allegations upon the motion of the plaintiffs.  The
order provides that the action will proceed only on an
individual basis, and that the hearing on plaintiffs' motion for
class certification previously set for February 2004 was
cancelled.  On December 17, 2004, the District Court granted the
Company's motion for summary judgment.

On January 27, 2005 three of the five plaintiffs filed a motion
to vacate and/or for new trial (the claims of the other two
plaintiffs had been dismissed with prejudice upon the Company's
waiver of costs).  The motion to vacate and/or for new trial was
denied and during further proceedings the claims of the
remaining three plaintiffs were dismissed with prejudice on June
30, 2005, upon the Company's waiver of costs.

QUALITY INSTALLATION: MD AG Release Cease Order Due To Fraud
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.'s Consumer Protection
Division issued a cease and desist order requiring a home
improvement contractor to pay restitution for taking deposits
from Montgomery County and Prince George's County consumers for
merchandise and home improvement services and failing to provide
the merchandise and home improvement services.  William Gregory
Gerhardt of Spencerville, Maryland, doing business as Quality
Installation, Inc. and Quality Installations, Inc., was also
ordered to pay restitution for unauthorized charges that he made
to consumers' credit card accounts.

The Consumer Protection Division determined that Mr. Gerhardt
violated the Maryland Consumer Protection Act by failing to
provide kitchen remodeling and other goods and services he
promised and failing to refund customers' payments. The Division
also determined that Mr. Gerhardt misrepresented that he
possessed a Maryland home improvement license in violation of
the Maryland Consumer Protection Act. In addition, the Division
determined that Gerhardt, who met with consumers in their homes
to sell the goods and services, violated the Maryland Door-to-
Door Sales Act by failing to advise consumers of their right to
cancel the transactions within three business days of their

"Individuals that sell home improvement services must possess a
Maryland home improvement license and provide the promised
services," said Mr. Curran.

The Division's cease and desist order immediately bars Gerhardt
from offering and selling home improvement services unless he
possesses a valid, Maryland home improvement license and informs
consumers of their cancellation rights. The order also bars
Gerhardt from accepting payments from customers prior to
providing the promised goods or services.

For more details, contact the Consumer Protection Division by
Phone: 410-528-8662 or visit the Website:

RJ REYNOLDS: ME AG Supports "Eclipse" Consumer Fraud Lawsuit
Maine is supporting a Vermont lawsuit filed against R.J.
Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJRT), alleging that the Company's
claims that its "Eclipse" cigarettes cause less cancer and
disease than other cigarettes are false and misleading, state
Attorney General Steven Rowe announced in a statement.

The suit asserts that the scientific evidence simply does not
support the Company's claim that "Eclipse" cigarettes cause less
cancer or other disease in humans.  In fact, the Company's own
data establishes that "Eclipse" cigarettes actually increase the
amount of carbon monoxide delivered to an "Eclipse" smoker.

Mr. Rowe condemns the Company's false statement that "Eclipse"
is the next best choice to quitting.  He said, "This misleading
claim gives smokers a false impression that "Eclipse" is a safe
alternative to quitting."  Mr. Rowe joins Vermont Attorney
General William Sorrell in reminding those who smoke that there
is no second-best choice to quitting.

The Maine Office of Attorney General, through Assistant
Attorneys General Peter LaFond and Linda Conti, has been
participating in a year-long multi-state investigation of the
RJRT claims.  In addition to joining with a number of other
states in supporting the lawsuit filed against RJRT in Vermont,
Maine will, with a group of core states, directly assist Vermont
in litigating against RJRT.

RJRT was a signatory to the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement
among 46 states and the major tobacco manufacturers.  That
agreement expressly prohibits participating manufacturers from
making any material misrepresentations of fact regarding the
health consequences of using any tobacco product.  The Vermont
suit alleges that RJRT has violated that prohibition as well as
state unfair trade practice laws.  The suit seeks an injunction
against further false and misleading advertising by RJRT
concerning "Eclipse" as well as monetary fines against the

For more details, contact Peter LaFond, Assistant Attorney
General by Phone: 207-626-8511 or visit the Website:

ROCKSTAR GAMES: Grandmother Files Suit in NY Over Sex Mini-Games
Rockstar Games is facing a lawsuit that was filed in the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York over
sex mini-games hidden in one of their PC hit, Grand Theft Auto:
San Andreas, The Associated Press reports.

According to the publisher's parent company, Take-Two
Interactive, plaintiff Florence Cohen, 85, claims she was
"damaged" after learning of the sex minigames hidden in San
Andreas, as she had bought what she thought was an M-for-Mature-
rated game for her grandson.

Mrs. Cohen's complaint seeks class action status for purchasers
of San Andreas and relies on four causes of action:

     (1) the complaint accuses Take-Two of committing or
         engaging in "Consumer Deception" (based on New York
         State General Business Law statutes, section 349),

     (2) "False Advertising" (based on New York State General
         Business Law statutes, section 350),

     (3) "Common Law Fraud," and

     (4) "Unjust Enrichment."

In addition, the complaint states that Mrs. Cohen is seeking
damages in excess of $5 million. She is also seeking a jury
trial to determine culpability, it adds.

SIERRA HEALTH: Trial in FL RICO Lawsuit Set For January 2006
Trial in the consolidated class action filed against health
management organizations (HMOs) in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Florida is set for January
2006.  The suit is styled "In Re: Managed Care Litigation: MDL
No. 1334."  Sierra Health Services, Inc. has been named as a co-
conspirator in the class action lawsuit, but was not named as a

Beginning in 1999, a series of class action lawsuits were filed
against most other major entities in the health benefits
business. A multi-district litigation panel has consolidated
most of these cases in the Southern District Court of Florida,
Miami division.

The plaintiffs assert that the defendants improperly paid
providers' claims and "downcoded" their claims by paying lesser
amounts than they submitted.  The complaint alleges, among other
things, multiple violations under the Racketeer Influenced and
Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, as well as various breaches
of contract and violations of regulations governing the
timeliness of claim payments.  The consolidated suits seek
injunctive, compensatory and equitable relief as well as
restitution, costs, fees and interest payments.

Discovery commenced on September 30, 2002.  In November 2002,
the Eleventh Circuit Court granted the industry defendants'
petition to review the class certification order.  That appeal
is pending.

On April 7, 2003, the United States Supreme Court determined
that the RICO claims against certain defendants should be
arbitrated.  On September 15, 2003, the district court granted
in part and denied in part the industry defendants' further
motion to compel arbitration.  Significantly, the court
denied the industry defendants' motion with respect to
plaintiffs' derivative RICO claims.

On September 19, 2003, the industry defendants appealed the
district court's arbitration order to the Eleventh Circuit Court
of Appeals.  The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit also
upheld a district court ruling certifying a plaintiff class in
the "Shane" case.  The district court has recently determined to
bifurcate the case, holding a trial phase limited to liability
issues, and a second, if necessary, regarding damages.  A trial
date has been set for January 2006.

Plaintiffs in the "Shane" proceeding have stated their intention
to introduce evidence at trial concerning the Company and other
parties not named as defendants in the litigation. Two of the
defendants, Aetna Inc. and Cigna Corporation, have entered into
settlement agreements, which have been approved by the district
court. Two of the other defendants, Wellpoint Inc. and Health
Net Inc., have recently entered into settlement agreements whose
approval is currently pending before the district court.
Discovery is ongoing and a trial date has been set for March 14,
2005.  In the meantime, two of the defendants, Aetna Inc. and
Cigna Corporation, have entered into settlement agreements,
which have been approved by the Court.

The suit is styled "In Re Humana Inc. Managed Care Litigation,
MDL 1334," filed in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, under Judge
Federico Moreno.  The suit names as defendants Humana, Inc.,
Aetna, Inc., Aetna-USHC, Inc., Cigna, Health Net, Inc., Human
Health Plan, Inc., Pacificare Health Systems, Inc., Prudential
Insurance Company of America, United Health Group, United Health
Care and Wellpoint Health Networks, Inc.  Cigna and Aetna have
entered settlements with the plaintiffs.  Lead Plaintiffs'
Attorneys are Barry Meadow of Podhurst, Orseck, et al., Harley
Tropin of Kozyak, Tropin & Throckmorton and Archie Lamb.

U.S. WEST: Litigation Settlement Hearing Set August 30, 2005
The District Court, City and County of Denver, Colorado will
hold a fairness hearing for the proposed $50million settlement
in the matter: U.S. West Litigation, Case No. 00-CV-4142, on
behalf of the last U.S. West common stock shareholders of record
before the U.S. West-Qwest Communications merger closed on June
20, 2000.

The hearing will be held on August 30, 2005, at 9:00 a.m.,
before the Honorable John W. Coughlin, 1437 Bannock St., Denver,

The suit is styled, Adele Brody, et al. v. Peter S. Hellman, et
al., part of the U.S. West Litigation. Robert J. Dyer III, Kip
B. Shuman and Jeffrey A. Berens of Dyer & Shuman, LLP, 801 East,
17th Ave., Denver, CO, 80218-1417, Phone: 303-861-3003, Fax:
303-830-6920, represent the Plaintiffs. B. Lawrence Theis of
Musgrave & Thies, LLP, Republic Plaza, Suite 4450, 370
Seventeenth St., Denver Co, 80202, is counsel for the

VEGAS GRAND: Purchasers' Attorneys Scheduled Meetings in CA, NV
Attorneys for the purchasers in the proposed Vegas Grand class
action lawsuit presented a proposed discovery plan and proposed
discovery conference report setting procedural dates for
completion of pretrial discovery, which includes obtaining
documents from the opposing side, and deposing witnesses.
Attorneys for the purchasers in the proposed class action also
served on the attorneys for Vegas Grand a comprehensive demand
for production of documents, including all documents related to
the development, construction, sales and marketing of the Vegas
Grand condominium project.

The attorneys discussed various discovery issues including the
imaging of documents and the establishment of a document

The attorneys for the purchasers in the proposed class action
and the attorneys for Vegas Grand agreed that it would be in the
best interests of their respective clients to schedule an early
voluntary mediation to explore whether it would be possible to
agree upon a settlement. Mediation is a confidential meeting
with a neutral third party who attempts to facilitate settlement
discussions.  The attorneys for the class action plaintiffs and
Vegas Grand agreed on utilizing the services of a retired judge
who will meet with them in Las Vegas, Nevada, on August 11,

To more fully discuss the status of the case, and potential for
settlement, group meetings between the attorneys representing
purchasers in the proposed class action lawsuit and purchasers
who executed Reservation Agreements with Vegas Grand have been
scheduled.  All individuals who executed a Reservation Agreement
to purchase a condominium at Vegas Grand, whether or not they
may have later cancelled the Reservation Agreement, are invited
to attend the group meeting.  If a purchaser has already
retained an attorney to represent him/her in an individual
lawsuit, he/she should not attend the group meeting.  We
anticipate that the meetings will take approximately two hours.
Attorneys will be available to meet with individuals on a one on
one basis after the conclusion of the group meeting.  There is
no cost or obligation to attend the group meeting.  The dates
and locations of the meetings are as follows:

     (1) LOS ANGELES on August 13, 2005, at 10:00 a.m., in the
         Ballroom Level of the Los Angeles Airport Marriott,
         5855 W. Century Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90045,
         PARKING: $9.00/day (Discounted Rate - Hotel Imposed

     (2) LAS VEGAS on August 27, 2005, at 10:00 a.m., in the
         Grand "B" Ballroom of the Marriott Hotel, Resort, and
         Suites, 221 N. Rampart Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV, 89105,
         PARKING: No Charge.

This important meeting will provide an opportunity to more fully
discuss the case with purchasers.  To preserve confidentiality,
the meeting will be open only to purchasers who entered into a
Reservation Agreement to purchase a condominium with Vegas
Grand.  Each purchaser is requested to bring a copy of their
Reservation Agreement to the meeting.

Individuals who entered into Reservation Agreements with Vegas
Grand are advised NOT to cash checks from Vegas Grand or Nevada
Title without first seeking legal advice.

For more details, contact Craig Anderson or Marquis & Aurbach,
10001 Park Run Drive, Las Vegas, NV, 89145, Phone: (702) 382-
0711, Fax: (702) 382-5816, George O. West III of Law Offices of
George O. West III, 6787 West Tropicana Avenue, Suite 263, Las
Vegas, NV, 89103, Phone: (702) 248-1076, Fax: (702) 288-6710,
Richard E. Donahoo of DONAHOO & ASSOCIATES, 505 N. Tustin Ave.,
Suite 160, Santa Ana, CA, 92705, Phone: (714) 953-1010, Fax:
(714) 953-1777, Thomas G. Foley, Jr. of FOLEY & BEZEK, LLP, 15
W. Carrillo St., Santa Barbara, CA, 93101, Phone: (805) 962-
9495, Fax: (805) 962-0722.

VIOXX LITIGATION: Texas Coroner Deposed in First Civil Trial
Lawyers for the parties in the first-ever Vioxx-related civil
trial deposed the coroner who autopsied a man who died of an
irregular heartbeat eight months after beginning a regimen of
Vioxx, the Associated Press reports.

Texas resident Carol Ernst is seeking compensation for the death
of her husband Robert, allegedly of arrhythmia, in 2001.  Mr.
Ernst, a produce manager at a Wal-Mart near Fort Worth who ran
marathons and worked as a personal trainer, took Vioxx for eight
months to alleviate pain in his hands until he died in his
sleep, an earlier Class Action Reporter story (July 27,2005)

Ms. Ernst's lawsuit alleges that Merck & Co. knew of the dangers
of using Vioxx years before it recalled the drug.  However, the
Company allegedly ignored those concerns in favor of aggressive
marketing for a multibillion-dollar seller, an earlier Class
Action Reporter story (July 27,2005) reports.

The Company's lawyers denied the charges, saying that the
company studied whether Vioxx caused arrhythmias in nine
clinical trials before the drug went on the market in May 1999
and found "no clinically meaningful differences" in patients who
took the painkiller compared to those who took sugar pills or
other anti-inflammatory pain relievers, an earlier Class Action
Reporter story (July 28,2005) reports.  The lawyers further
asserted that the Company acted responsibly, disclosed studies
on Vioxx and believed it to be safe until results from the long-
term study last year prompted pulling the drug.

Mr. Lanier contends that a heart attack most likely killed Mr.
Ernst, not arrhythmia, but he died too quickly for his heart to
show damage.  Company lawyers have singled out Mr. Ernst's
autopsy, which attributed his death to arrhythmia, or an
irregular heartbeat, secondary to clogged arteries.  Jonathan
Skidmore, one of Merck's lawyers, said the company's legal team
believes "the autopsy was conducted in a professional manner,
and the reported results are scientifically correct. We are not
worried about the testimony, but rules are rules, and the
identification of expert or fact witnesses are required to be
listed well before trial starts," AP reports.

Mr. Lanier has pointed to Merck's medical manual used by doctors
across the country, which says arrhythmia in some form occurs in
more than 90 percent of heart attack patients.  He had planned
to present Dr. Maria Araneta, the physician who performed the
autopsy, as a surprise witness.  Dr. Araneta, now a pathologist
in the United Arab Emirates, was an assistant coroner in the
Johnson County Medical Examiner's office when Mr. Ernst died in
May 2001.  She would supposedly testify that a heart attack more
than likely killed Mr. Ernst, but he died too quickly for his
heart to show damage.

The Company's legal team managed to block her testimony - at
least temporarily - with state District Judge Ben Hardin's
approval to depose Dr. Araneta before she testifies.  The judge
ruled late Monday that jurors would be released around midday
Tuesday so lawyers could conduct the deposition, which Mr.
Lanier said would be videotaped to show to the jury in case Dr.
Araneta's schedule prevents her from staying at the trial long
enough to testify.  "She'll tell the truth," Mr. Lanier said
late Monday, AP reports. "They said they built (the) case around
her not coming."

The deposition was completed Tuesday afternoon, but Judge Hardin
had yet to decide if Dr. Araneta's testimony would be presented
to the jury.  Mr. Lanier did not have Araneta on a witness list
by the pretrial deadline, and Merck's legal team held him to
that rule against springing such surprises in arguing for the

Before jurors were dismissed Tuesday, Mr. Lanier injected a bit
of theater as he continued questioning Dr. Nancy Santanello,
Merck's top epidemiologist, AP reports.  To illustrate his
contention that Merck buried the Food and Drug Administration
under Vioxx-related documents before the agency approved the
drug in 1999, members of Mr. Lanier's legal team wheeled 157
boxes of papers into court.  Dr. Santanello had already
testified about summaries of Vioxx safety and other issues
submitted to the FDA with all the other information.

Merck lawyer Gerry Lowry had to ask that Mr. Lanier move some of
the boxes because they blocked her view of the jury.  Dr.
Santanello said Merck sent the FDA the documents electronically,
on three DVDs and one CD.  "Yes, there's a lot of data, we do a
lot of studies," she said, according to AP.

WESTERN CASEWORK: Reaches Settlement For EEOC Race Bias Lawsuit
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reached
a $600,000 settlement of a national origin harassment lawsuit
against Western Casework Corporation, a Las Vegas-area
cabinetmaker that supplies cabinetry to businesses and
commercial construction projects.

The lawsuit, filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, alleged that the company's supervisors and other workers
subjected six Hispanic males, who were field workers at the
company, along with a class of similarly situated workers, to
severe, pervasive physical and verbal abuse and humiliation. The
unlawful conduct included physical harm and unwanted physical
contact; and derogatory, hurtful commentary and jokes. The suit
also alleged that the company engaged in a pattern or practice
of such abuses. Eight workers, including the six originally
named, later intervened as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. In part,
the settlement terms require Western Casework to pay $400,000 to
some of the workers and to set aside an additional $200,000 for
potential class members who may come forward in the coming

The company has also agreed to hire a consultant to develop and
implement new policies and procedures for handling complaints of
discrimination and harassment. EEOC's lawsuit was filed in June
2004 in the United States District Court for the District of
Nevada, Case No. CV-S-04-0907-LDG-PAL.

Acting Regional attorney Luis Lucero of the EEOC's Los Angeles
District Office said of the settlement, "This should serve as a
warning to companies out there that the abuse of Latino workers
will not be tolerated. We are pleased, however, that Western
Casework acted cooperatively in achieving a resolution of this
matter and we commend them for it."

The EEOC's Los Angeles District Office investigates complaints
of discrimination from employees working in Nevada. District
Director Olophius E. Perry added, "Employers who have effective
anti-harassment policies in place can avoid the serious problems
encountered by these employees. We want to work proactively with
any employer to help prevent or quickly identify harassment
issues so that the employer can take prompt and appropriate
action to ensure a harassment-free work environment."

For more details, contact Luis Lucero, Jr., Acting Regional
Attorney, by Phone: (213) 894-1083 or contact Olophius E. Perry,
District Director by Phone: (213) 894-1112 or Samantha E. Blake,
Trial Attorney, by Phone: (213) 894-1062, or visit the Website:

                         Asbestos Alert

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: LA Court Remands Leblanc Lawsuit to State
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana on
July 14, 2005 ordered the asbestos exposure case against
numerous manufacturing companies remanded to the state court for
lack of diversity jurisdiction.

Judge Rebecca F. Doherty presided over the case styled, "Jimmie
J. Leblanc, et ux v. Georgia Pacific Corporation, et al," with
Case No. Civ.A. 04-2335.

Jimmie Leblanc initially filed the suit in the Fifteenth
Judicial District Court for the Parish of Lafayette, Louisiana,
claiming that he suffers as a result of exposure to asbestos. It
was later removed on the basis of diversity jurisdiction, with
the defendants arguing that the non-diverse Louisiana defendants
were improperly joined and, therefore, their citizenship should
be ignored in the jurisdictional analysis.

This Court rejected that argument and granted the plaintiffs'
motion to remand after considering and applying the Fifth
Circuit's applicable standards for evaluating improper joinder.
Honeywell International, Inc., the removing defendant, opposed
the motion for reasons substantially similar to those which
prompted this Court to remand this matter once before.

After this matter was remanded, the plaintiffs provided
discovery responses concerning the three Louisiana defendants
whose presence had defeated diversity jurisdiction. Honeywell
argued that discovery reveals a complete absence of evidence
against the non-diverse defendants.

Just as in the earlier removal, Honeywell focused on the
plaintiffs' inability to gather the evidence they need to
sustain claims against the Louisiana defendants. As this Court
noted in its earlier ruling, however, the question of improper
joinder does not turn on evidence but upon legal viability of
the plaintiffs' claims against the Louisiana defendants.

In no way has Honeywell's argument acknowledged that this court
has already ruled that the three earlier-named Louisiana
defendants were not fraudulently joined, nor made any effort to
demonstrate how this Court's earlier ruling was in error or
otherwise must be reconsidered.

In its decision to remand the matter, this Court held that
Honeywell has not demonstrated that diversity jurisdiction

Headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, Honeywell Inc. is a worldwide
manufacturer of control components, software, products and
services for homes and buildings, industry, space and aviation.
The company engages in material operations in foreign countries,
the majority of which are located in Europe.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: IL Court Upholds Healy Suit Dismissal
The First District of the Appellate Court of Illinois on July
15, 2005 affirmed the circuit court's dismissal of the
defendants in the asbestos-related suit filed by Ellen M. Healy,
the widow and administrator of the estate of Francis J. Healy.

Tagged with Case No. 1-03-3054, the suit brought claims against
Owens-Illinois Inc., Commonwealth Edison Co., Union Carbide
Corp., and Union Carbide Polyolefins Development Co., Inc.

Mrs. Healy appealed from the decision of Presiding Judge William
D. Maddux of the Circuit Court of Cook County that dismissed the
case against the defendant companies. The circuit court had held
that the suit was barred by the two-year statute of limitations
for personal injury claims.

According to the complaint, Francis Healy's personal injuries
arose from asbestosis caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. The
circuit court noted that Mr. Healy became aware of his asbestos-
linked injury in January 1999, more than two years before he
filed his claim on June 29, 2001.

Mr. Healy's first exposure to asbestos was from the household he
occupied together with his father and brother, who were both
asbestos workers. He said his father regularly came home from
his asbestos job with dust-covered clothing. Mr. Healy became
employed as an asbestos worker alongside his father in 1952 and
1953. From 1957 to 1998, he worked as a Chicago police officer,
and from 1960 to 1965, he also worked part-time at his uncle's
asbestos company.

As part of a routine general physical examination, Dr. Michael
Ramsey ordered a chest X ray on Mr. Healy. The doctor noted that
the results suggested "the presence of pulmonary fibrosis" and
that the condition of his lungs was "seen in patients with
asbestosis." However, no evidence was offered that Mr. Healy was
shown a copy of the December 1998 reports.

Pulmonologist Dr. J. Peter Szidon examined Mr. Healy on January
5, 1999. Mr. Healy told Dr. Szidon of his father and brother's
work history and his own exposure to asbestos. A CT-scan pointed
to the diagnosis of asbestosis. However, Dr. Szidon stated that
although the diagnosis was supported on clinical and
radiographic criteria, he remained less than fully convinced and
believed that the diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis was
still possible.

In late 2000 and early 2001, Mr. Healy consulted Dr. David
Cugell, who is recognized in the field of asbestos-related
diseases. He determined that Mr. Healy had advanced end-stage

Mr. Healy filed suit on June 29, 2001, and later amended his
complaint to include the current defendants, who moved for
summary judgment. Mr. Healy died on May 17, 2002.

Dr. Szidon stated that as late as September 2001, he was unsure
whether his condition was asbestosis or idiopathic pulmonary
fibrosis. In 2002, Dr. Cugell stated that it was reasonable for
Mr. Healy to believe in January 1999 that he did not have an
asbestos-related injury or condition, and Dr. Szidon agreed with
Dr. Cugell's statement.

Mrs. Healy reasoned that the trial court's grant of summary
judgment should be reversed. She said that her husband was in
excellent physical condition in 1999 and, at that point, no
physician had diagnosed him with asbestosis or told him of such
a diagnosis. She claimed that her husband only knew of his
illness on May 2001.

The Court, presided by Justice Michael J. Gallagher, held that
after Mr. Healy's January 1999 consultations with Dr. Szidon, he
knew of his injury and had two years from that point to file his
lawsuit. The two-year statute of limitations therefore bars his
action against the defendants.

Terrence M. Johnson, Patrick F. Bradley, Richard J. Murphy and
Michael W. Rathsack, of Chicago, IL, represented Mrs. Healy.

Jonathan M. Lively, from Schiff Hardin LLP, of Chicago, IL,
represented Owens Illinois.

Barry Levenstam and Clifton J. Heyda, of Jenner & Block LLP,
from Chicago, IL, represented the Commonwealth Edison Company.

Mark R. Ter Molen and Jennifer Hagan, of Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw
LLP, of Chicago, IL, stood for Union Carbide.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Pennsylvania Launches Medical Criteria Bill
In an attempt to address the surge in asbestos claims filed by
the unimpaired, the Pennsylvania General Assembly launched a
bill setting required medical criteria before legal actions can
proceed, reports The National Law Journal.

The 20-member state legislature said that this amendment allows
the court to give priority to genuinely sick workers.

Legislation similar to Pennsylvania's has become law in Ohio,
Georgia and Florida within the last year. A similar Texas law
takes effect in September.

Delays in the federal legislation seeking to create a US$140
billion compensation fund have led some states to try to make
their own way, said Mark A. Behrens, a partner in Shook, Hardy &
Bacon's Washington office who represents asbestos and silica

Mr. Behrens stated that since 2000, asbestos litigation has been
marked by a majority of claims by people who are not sick. He
emphasized that today's target defendant has a remote connection
to asbestos.

The bill faces opposition from the American Trial Lawyers
Association, who asserted that legislatively mandated medical
criteria would bar court access particularly to the blue-collar
worker. Spokesman Carlton Carl called the states' medical
criteria bills "the equivalent of legislators playing doctor and
also the equivalent of saying someone who had an operation and
got HIV through a blood transfer isn't sick and hasn't been

Daniel J. Mulholland, of Forman Perry Watkins Krutz & Tardy in
Jackson, Miss., who represents asbestos and silica defendants,
called medical criteria legislation "a very positive thing" but
warned that the "devil's always in the details." He said that
defendants and courts will have to be vigilant to make sure
plaintiffs are complying with the medical criteria in place.

In six states, the unimpaired have no cause of action to
litigate asbestos tort claims: Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine,
North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

John C. Lobert, senior vice president, state legislative affairs
at Property Casualty Insurers Association of America of Des
Plaines, Ill., said California and Michigan are in the
organization's sights for medical criteria legislation in the
upcoming legislative season.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Factory Fire Sets Off Health Risk Concerns
Australian authorities sounded an alarm after a factory fire
exposed West Brunswick residents to asbestos fibers, The Age

In securing the site, the Environment Protection Authority and
Worksafe worked with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.

MFB spokesman Commander Bob Undy said the asbestos roof of the
disused factory, on the corner of Albion and Douggan Streets,
was now unstable. It causes considerable concern since the
factory takes up a whole block and one side of it is
residential. He worries that once the damaged roof breaks up,
asbestos fibers could spread easily. Inhalation of asbestos
fibers is known to be hazardous as it causes various respiratory
illnesses, even cancer.

Arson squad detectives said they would continue to investigate
the two separate suspicious fires that broke out at the building
only hours apart.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Electrolux AB Reports 985 Asbestos Lawsuits
As of June 30, 2005, Electrolux AB had a total of 985 cases
pending, representing about 8,800 plaintiffs. A total of 109 new
cases with about 110 plaintiffs were filed and 55 pending cases
with about 2,970 plaintiffs were resolved during the second
quarter of 2005. About 7,520 of the plaintiffs relate to cases
pending in the state of Mississippi.

According to the Group's filing submitted to the Securities and
Exchange Commission, almost all of the cases refer to externally
supplied components used in industrial products manufactured by
discontinued operations prior to the early 1970s. Many of the
cases involve multiple plaintiffs who have made identical
allegations against many other defendants who are not part of
the Group.

More lawsuits may be filed against the Group in the future. It
is not possible to predict either the number of future claims or
the number of plaintiffs any future claims may represent.
Moreover, the outcome of asbestos claims is inherently uncertain
and always difficult to predict. Electrolux cannot provide any
assurances that the resolution of these types of claims will not
have a material adverse effect on its business or on results of
operations in the future.

Electrolux AB is the world's leading producer of appliances and
equipment for kitchen, cleaning and outdoor use.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Alfa Laval Inc. Faces 22 More Suits in 2Q05
Alfa Laval's subsidiary in the United States, Alfa Laval Inc.,
was as of June 30, 2005, named as co-defendant in a total of 162
asbestos-related lawsuits with a total of about 7,000

During the second quarter 2005, Alfa Laval Inc. was named in an
additional 22 lawsuits with a total of 22 plaintiffs. In
addition, 35 lawsuits involving about 4,000 plaintiffs have been

As disclosed in the May 6, 2005 edition of the Class Action
Reporter, the Company faced 175 suits with 11,000 plaintiffs as
of March 31, 2005. In the first quarter of 2005, it received an
additional 29 suits with a total of 36 plaintiffs. The number of
suits resolved in that period reached 29 suits with 2,800

The Richmond, VA-based firm, which manufactures specialized
equipment, believes these claims have no merit and intends to
vigorously contest each lawsuit.

Alfa Laval is organized around its three main product lines:
separation (centrifuges), fluid handling (pumps and valves), and
heat transfer (heat exchangers). The group introduces 25 to 30
new products each year, and its products are sold worldwide.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Claims Against Owens Illinois Reach 33,000
Owens Illinois Inc. (NYSE: OI), maker of glass containers,
revealed in its latest filing to the Securities and Exchange
Commission that as of June 30, 2005, the number of asbestos-
related lawsuits and claims pending against the Company was
about 33,000, down from 35,000 at December 31, 2004.

The Toledo, OH-based Company believes that a significant number
of these pending cases have exposure dates after the Company's
1958 exit from the business, for which the Company takes the
position that it has no liability or are subject to dismissal
because they were filed in improper forums.

Asbestos-related cash payments in the second quarter of 2005
were US$40.8 million compared with US$45.5 million for the
second quarter of 2004, a reduction of US$4.7 million, or 10.4%.
New claim filings in the first half of 2005 were about 5,300,
down about 29% from the first half of 2004.

For the first six months of 2005, the Company reported earnings
from continuing operations of US$203.7 million, or US$1.26 per
share (diluted) compared with US$137.4 million, or US$0.81 per
share, for the first six months of 2004.

Earnings from continuing operations were US$1.00 per share for
the first half of 2005, compared with US$0.67 per share for the
2004 period. Results for the first half of 2005 include the
favorable second quarter depreciation and amortization
adjustments of US$0.04 per share and the additional tax charge
of US$0.05 per share. Also included are favorable adjustments of
US$0.04 per share from a reduction of the Company's accruals for
self-insured risks and US$0.03 per share from a reduction of the
tax provision primarily to recognize changes in deferred taxes
at several international subsidiaries, both recognized in the
first quarter of 2005. Exclusive of these items, the Company
earned US$0.94 per share in the first half of 2005, compared
with US$0.71 per share in the first half of 2004.

The Company anticipates that cash flows from operations and
other sources will be sufficient to meet its asbestos-related
obligations on a short-term and long-term basis.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: PPG Industries' 2Q05 Net Income Rises 24%
PPG Industries' second quarter net income reached US$231
million, or US$1.34 a share, including aftertax charges of US$12
million, or 7 cents a share, for a previously announced debt
refinancing, and US$2 million, or 1 cent a share, to reflect the
net increase in the current value of the company's obligation
under its asbestos settlement agreement reported in May 2002.
Sales were US$2.66 billion, a record for any quarter.

In a press release, the Pittsburgh, PA-based Company said that
these figures compare with second quarter 2004 net income of
US$187 million, or US$1.08 a share, which includes an aftertax
charge of US$6 million, or 3 cents a share, to reflect the net
increase in the value of the company's obligation under the
asbestos settlement agreement. Sales for the second quarter of
2004 were US$2.43 billion.

For the first six months of 2005, PPG recorded net income of
US$326 million, or US$1.89 a share, which includes aftertax
charges of US$91 million, or 52 cents a share, for a
nonrecurring legal settlement; US$12 million, or 7 cents a
share, for debt refinancing; and US$7 million, or 4 cents a
share, to reflect the increase in the value of the company's
obligation under the asbestos settlement agreement. Sales for
the first half of 2005 were US$5.15 billion.

For the first six months of 2004, PPG recorded net income of
US$306 million, or US$1.77 a share, which includes an aftertax
charge of US$9 million, or 5 cents a share, to reflect the
increase in the value of the company's obligation under the
asbestos settlement agreement. Sales for the first half of 2004
were US$4.69 billion.

"We not only generated record sales for any quarter, we also
enjoyed one of our best quarterly earnings performances ever,"
said Charles E. Bunch, chairman and chief executive officer.

"While the global economy shows signs of moderating, we see
continued strength in our coatings and chemicals segments, which
achieved record sales each of the past two quarters. This
measurable proof validates our earnings growth strategies and
positions PPG to continue generating shareholder returns."

Coatings sales increased US$96 million, or 7 percent, as a
result of improved selling prices across all businesses except
automotive, the impact of foreign currencies and higher volumes
in architectural, aerospace and automotive. Operating earnings
were down US$14 million largely because of the impact of
inflation, primarily raw materials, which exceeded the benefits
of higher selling prices, higher volumes, slightly better costs
and the impact of foreign currencies.

Glass sales decreased US$3 million, or 1 percent, as lower
selling prices and lower volumes across all businesses except
automotive replacement glass exceeded the impact of foreign
currencies. Despite improved manufacturing efficiencies,
operating earnings were down US$18 million as a result of
inflation, including higher energy costs; lower selling prices;
and lower other income.

Chemicals sales increased US$134 million, or 27 percent, on
higher selling prices for chlor-alkali products, higher volumes
in optical and the impact of foreign currencies. Operating
earnings were up US$102 million primarily due to higher selling
prices and improved volumes. These increases exceeded the impact
of higher energy and other inflation costs and higher overhead
expenses, related primarily to optical advertising.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Japan Party to Extend Limit for Application
The Democratic Party of Japan is seeking to temporarily
implement a proposal to allow sufferers of asbestos diseases and
their families to apply for workers' compensation after the time
limit has expired.

Currently, the limit on applications is five years for bereaved
family compensation and two years for medical treatment
compensation, compensation for absence from work and funeral

Due to the disease's long latency period and failure of the
government and their employers to spread information on the
dangers of asbestos, it is difficult for patients and their
families to link their health problems to their past employment.
It is believed many have failed to apply for workers'
compensation for such ailments.

The DPJ hopes to include the proposal in a bill to revise the
workers' compensation law that is under deliberation during the
ongoing Diet session. It will ask the other parties to discuss
the matter in the hope of building a consensus among the parties
to agree to pass the bill including the proposal at the session.
The DPJ hopes to have it put into effect on Oct. 1.

The main opposition party's team discussing asbestos-related
problems has also decided to draw up a bill that requires the
disposal of asbestos products and relief of victims, and propose
it at the ordinary Diet session next year. It is also brewing
plans to start a fund to help victims of such diseases.

After major manufacturing companies in Japan revealed asbestos-
related health problems among its employees and residents near
their factories, many people posted inquiries at labor standards
inspection offices and workers support organizations across the

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Halliburton Confident Liability is Resolved
While working to resolve several challenges, Halliburton Co.
outperformed by all expected measures during the second quarter,
said Chief Executive David Lesar.

In a conference call with analysts, Mr. Lesair said that the
Energy Services Group, which is Halliburton's oil-field services
unit, had a particularly strong quarter, setting quarterly
records for revenue and operating income. The company is
"forecasting good market conditions as we look forward" for its
various units, said Mr. Lesar. He emphasized that all of its
business segments are performing well against their competition.

Mr. Lesar also said the company's long-running asbestos
liability is now behind the Company. Kellogg Brown & Root,
Halliburton's contracting and construction unit, has been
thoroughly restructured in both segments of that business and is
performing well.

Halliburton said its earnings increased to US$392 million, or 76
cents a share, from a year-earlier loss of US$667 million, or
US$1.52 a share. The 24 analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call
expected Halliburton to post second-quarter earnings of 56 cents
a share.

Revenue rose 4% to US$5.16 billion from about US$4.96 billion a
year earlier. Analysts' estimate for the quarter was for revenue
of US$4.87 billion.

He said that company still plans to spin off the KBR unit, but
has not yet begun soliciting offers for it because it first
needed to "establish a track record of value demonstrated by
strong earnings and a backlog for a number of quarters."

Mr. Lesar also said KBR is "making progress in resolving
outstanding issues involving government contracts and
investigations," which are related to some of its work in the
Middle East. The Energy Services Group is said to be "showing
strength in every division" as oil prices and international
demand remain strong.

Christopher Gaut, the company's chief financial officer, said
"it was a fundamentally sound quarter" for the company with
revenue up 5% from the first quarter due to more energy
exploration and services demand and better pricing.

The Energy Service Group's revenue was up 13% from the first
quarter "with increases in every region" of the unit, which
includes oil and natural gas exploration and oil field services,
and with strong demand for its services in Latin America and
Brazil. It is also seeing an increase in demand for liquid
natural gas projects, and the company is now pursuing
participation in nine such projects.

The KBR unit's revenue was down 2% from the first quarter, due
to reduced activity on its work in Iraq. Mr. Gaut said the
company expects KBR to post operating margins in the range of 2%
to 4% over the balance of the year. It had an operating margin
of 4.5% in the first quarter. He said the company continues to
expect that capital spending will be about US$675 million in
2005. And he said the company expects to achieve its goal to
reduce the debt-to-capitalization ratio to 30% within the next
12 months. It was 43% at June 30.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: NSW Residents to Demonstrate Against Hardie
After receiving reports that six residents had been diagnosed
with asbestos-related illnesses, the Aboriginal community of
Baryulgil in northern New South Wales initiated plans to stage a
protest in Sydney, ABC News reports.

From a town meeting last week, the community also intended to
consider a possible compensation claim for asbestos-related

Meanwhile, there is concern that a large number of the mining
town's former and current residents could remain undiagnosed for
asbestos related illnesses. Dr. Ray Jones from the Grafton
Aboriginal Medical Service said X-rays did not detect the
problem and that some irregularities only show up on CT scans.
This builds concerns that former residents may wrongly believe
they have been cleared of the disease and would not be vigilant
in monitoring their health.

A total of 250 former and current residents of the town have
been X-rayed, but few have had a CT scan.

But Dr. Anthony Johnson, a consultant at the State Dust Diseases
Board, responded that it is unlikely that the X-rays missed
other health problems. He added that he does not expect there
will be more asbestos-related illnesses discovered at the
indigenous community.

Earlier this year, the Dust Diseases 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 operations of a James Hardie asbestos mine from the 1950s
until 1979. The Board conducted X-ray screenings to check for
the dreaded respiratory illnesses associated with exposure to
the material.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: JPN Railway Heads Say Trains Pose No Risks
After 650 train carriages were found to have asbestos, officials
from Japan Railway (JR) companies immediately denied that the
material poses health risks to any of its passengers, reports
The Asahi Shimbun.

The companies said problems could only arise when such carriages
are dismantled. They admitted that at least five former
officials of Japan National Railways (JNR) whose work involved
scrapping train carriages have died of asbestos-related cancer
mesothelioma while one former official continues to receive
medical treatment. However, they emphasized that the patient and
the five others' families have received payments under the
Workers' Accident Compensation Insurance.

The carriages still in use were all made before the mid-1970s
when the train lines were operated by the state-run JNR. Of the
JR companies created when JNR was privatized in 1987, six still
use asbestos-containing carriages.

East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) has 250 carriages that contain
asbestos, followed by West Japan Railway Co. (JR West) with
about 200. Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu) owns 161 such
carriages, while Hokkaido Railway Co. (JR Hokkaido) has 21,
Shikoku Railway Co. (JR Shikoku) runs 15 and Central Japan
Railway Co. (JR Tokai) operates two.

The total accounts for about two percent of all train carriages
those companies now use, the officials said.

They said fire-resistant asbestos was considered an ideal
insulator for train cars at the time when the use of burnable
materials was banned. However, by the mid-1970s, glass fiber
replaced asbestos as an insulator for train cars.

A JR East official said the company began taking countermeasures
for the asbestos-carrying carriages in 1988. He confirmed a plan
to scrap about 90 of the remaining 250 carriages by the end of
the fiscal year.

JR companies have contracted companies specializing in disposal
work to scrap old carriages since around 1988.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Japan's Local Units Unaware of Death Rates
Despite the central government's move to provide information on
annual mortality rates to their respective local units, only 33
of Japan's 47 prefectures and 13 major cities proved to be aware
of the mesothelioma rates in their area, according to a
nationwide survey conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun.

The newspaper asked the local governments to provide data on the
mesothelioma death rate in their regions between 1995 and 2003.
Only 33 units, including Hokkaido, Tokyo, Aichi and Osaka
prefectures, were able to provide the figures.

As a result, experts criticized the central government for
failing to properly explain the significance of the statistics
to local governments.

Nineteen local governments had partial knowledge of the figures,
while six prefectures and two major cities did not have any.
Seven local governments, including Iwate Prefecture and the city
of Kyoto, said mesothelioma is not listed as a separate cause of
death.  Eight local governments, including Aomori and Akita
prefectures and the cities of Kobe and Fukuoka, initially said
they did not know the figures.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry compiles a Population
Survey Report based on data collected annually on residents'
deaths from municipalities through prefectural governments.  The
ministry added mesothelioma to the list of causes of death for
its 1995 report.

Hirotada Hirose, a professor of Tokyo Woman's Christian
University cites that the health problems caused by asbestos are
now turning into a big environmental issue.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: 2003 Ministry Report Reveals Community Risk
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry reported findings from
2003 that indicated that asbestos affects the health of not only
workers at asbestos-related facilities, but nearby residents as
well, reports The Japan Times.

The ministry found 9.5% or 938 of the residents in or around the
town of Uki, Kumamoto Prefecture, which used to have an asbestos
mine, had developed pleural plaques. A total of 17.1 percent of
the people who lived close to the asbestos mine had pleural
plaques. For those who lived farther away, only 4.3 percent had
the illness. No asbestos-related deaths have been reported yet
in Uki.

The survey conducted on 9,832 local residents between 1988 and
1993 was based on the results from X-rays and CT scans. The
population of Uki, formerly known as Matsubase, was about 23,000
at that time.

Intended to review criteria for claiming workers' compensation
for asbestos-related accidents, the report implied that studies
should not be limited to employees at these facilities. The
report also pointed out the need for more thorough studies on
asbestos exposure.

Pleural plaques rarely make breathing difficult and are seldom
disabling but may lead to a higher risk of developing lung
cancer or mesothelioma.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Louisiana Mayor Calls for Pipe Safety Study
Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach requested McNeese State
University researchers to determine the hazards of asbestos
cement water lines to the public, the American Press reports.

On a recent agenda meeting, District Councilman A.B. Franklin
expressed concern about the city's use of asbestos cement pipe
after three water lines broke in his district.  Although he
approves of the mayor's decision to hire consultants to review
the issue, he still thinks all asbestos pipes should be

Since 1930, asbestos cement pipe has been used in the United
States. City officials found that about 300,000 miles of
asbestos cement pipe are being used nationwide. The pipes were
used in Lake Charles from the 1950s to the 1980s and are in
every city district. Mayor Roach estimated that about 40 percent
of the water mains in the city are asbestos cement pipes.

Mayor Roach added that he isn't aware of any Environmental
Protection Agency guidelines requiring the removal of the
existing asbestos cement pipes.

Dr. Harold Stevenson and Dr. Frank Philips of the university's
environmental science department will report their findings to
the City Council.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Feds Probe High Levels at Northshore Mining
Reopening doubts about mine workers' safety, federal officials
have detected elevated asbestos levels at the Northshore Mining
Co. taconite plant, the Star Tribune reports.

Northshore's owner, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., continues to dispute
the test results and maintains that the particles found are of a
non-fibrous material. It said that worker protection is a top
priority and that it complies with mine safety laws.

Over the past three years, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health
Administration wrote at least two letters to Northshore warning
about the asbestos levels. Northshore crushes millions of tons
of ore each year in a dusty process that makes iron-rich
taconite pellets for the steel industry.

The MSHA has tested Minnesota mines for years, but this is the
first time asbestos from taconite has repeatedly been found in
one of them. The findings raise arguments about whether toxic
asbestos fibers went undetected in the past. The discovery of
elevated asbestos levels in 2001 prompted government inspectors
to step up unannounced air-quality checks at Northshore.
Asbestos hasn't been detected in every sampling since then, and
tests at other mining operations on the Range found no more than
trace levels of asbestos fibers.

In a letter written in January, Duluth-based MSHA District
Manager Steven Richetta said that in March 2004, air samples
collected from four of seven workers' breathing zones found
asbestos above a widely accepted safety level.

The MSHA allows two asbestos fibers per cubic centimeter in air
samples. But the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
sets the limit for other industries 20 times lower, at 0.1
fibers per cubic centimeter.

Mine owner Cleveland-Cliffs did not say whether it plans to make
changes based on the MSHA review. The company said it is working
with regulators to protect its 500 employees and that tests in
April did not detect asbestos at levels that concern MSHA.

Employees are required to wear respirators if asbestos exceeds
MSHA's permitted level in a work area, but readings have never
come close to exceeding that level, the company said. However,
when federal inspectors visited the Silver Bay plant in 2003 and
2004, workers who assisted in the testing did not wear
respirators, according to agency records.

Many Northshore employees were hired after the mine reopened in
1989. Several men who worked at the mine when it was owned by
Reserve Mining have reported asbestos-related lung diseases. Two
died of mesothelioma, according to death records.

Northshore is the last operating mine on the eastern part of the
Range, where pockets of two asbestos minerals are known to
exist. The company said a small deposit of one asbestos-like
mineral ferroactinolite exists in its Peter Mitchell pit near
Babbitt, but "that vein has not been disturbed for more than 30
years and there is no intention to mine it."

The federal agency can't require mines to comply with its
accepted safety standard, but it is planning to toughen its
regulations. For three years, MSHA has been considering matching
the limit set by the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration 11 years ago for other workplaces. If the tougher
standards were in place now, MSHA could take enforcement action,
including the threat of fines, when asbestos levels reach those
detected at Northshore. The maximum fine is US$60,000 per

The mining industry has not opposed toughening the standard.
Some mine companies already comply with the stricter limit,
though Cleveland-Cliffs isn't one of them. What the industry
challenges is how the government now counts asbestos fibers,
arguing that the tests improperly classify short, blocky mineral
fragments as asbestos. The industry says these fibers, which it
calls cleavage fragments, are not the same as the long, thin
asbestos strands that cause disease.

Headquartered in Cleveland, OH, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (NYSE:
CLF) is a producer of iron ore pellets, a key component of

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Senators to Seek Subpoena Power to Get Data
If companies continue to withhold information about how much
they expect to contribute to the asbestos compensation fund, the
top two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee intend to
serve subpoenas to force them to testify before Congress,
Reuters reports.

At a committee meeting, Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter of
Pennsylvania and ranking panel Democrat, Patrick Leahy of
Vermont, said they would seek the authority to issue subpoenas.
Sen. Specter said that they have five weeks to negotiate during
the course of the August recess but that they would prefer to
have a subpoena when they've "had as much trouble as [they]

The proposed asbestos bill, approved by the Judiciary Committee
in May, would halt the lawsuits brought by claimants alleging
injury from exposure to the material. Instead, claims would be
paid from a US$140 billion fund to be financed by companies
facing the suits, and their insurers.

Although the bill has a formula for industry contributions,
based on a company's size and prior asbestos expenditures, many
companies have been hesitant to state how it would affect them
and what they would expect to pay. Some senators held off
support for the measure unless they know more details about
which companies would pay what amounts.

Sen. Specter said he had some information about who would pay,
but felt it was not complete.

Sen. Leahy said he expected the judiciary committee would grant
the subpoena authority because he and Specter would be asking
for it together.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Crane Settles Liability Claims for US$33Mil
Industrial products manufacturer Crane Co. settled its insurance
claims for asbestos and other liabilities with reinsurer,
Equitas Ltd., which agreed to pay Crane US$33 million.

Under the settlement, Lloyd's of London underwriter Equitas will
pay US$1.5 million in the third quarter and will put the balance
in an escrow account for the payment of future asbestos claims.

The funds remaining on Jan. 3, 2007 will be paid to Crane
however, if the federal asbestos legislation is passed before
that date, the fund will be paid to Equitas, subject to an
additional US$1.5 million payment to Crane and a holdback of
some funds in the escrow account for paying asbestos claims
during the year that follows the law's passage.

Headquartered in Stamford, CT, Crane said the settlement
resolves all its claims against pre-1993 policies issued to the
company by certain underwriters at Lloyd's of London and
reinsured by Equitas. Negotiations are ongoing with Crane's
other liability insurers.

Crane Co.'s second-quarter earnings rose 14% amid improving
margins and this settlement agreement. It also projected third-
quarter earnings that bracket Wall Street's estimate and also
tightened its full-year forecast. Crane also boosted its
quarterly dividend 25%.

Crane said second-quarter earnings rose to US$35.7 million, or
59 cents a share, from US$31.2 million, or 52 cents a share, a
year ago. In late April, Crane projected earnings of 53 cents to
63 cents a share.

Second-quarter sales grew 10% to US$525.6 million from US$479.1

Meanwhile, Crane tightened its 2005 earnings estimate to US$2.15
to US$2.25 a share from a prior estimate US$2.10 to US$2.25. The
company cited strengthening market demand, realization of
benefits from continuous productivity improvements and a
generally improving balance between customer price increases and
raw material cost.

Crane also expects sequential margin improvement throughout the
year. It reaffirmed its guidance for 2005 free cash flow of
US$150 million, including capital expenditures of US$25 million,
and expects cash from operating activities of US$115 million to
US$135 million.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: RPM 4Q Profit Declines on Asbestos Charges
Paint and sealant maker RPM International Inc. posted a lower
quarterly profit due to continued asbestos liability costs.

The Medina, OH-based Company said fourth-quarter earnings fell
13 percent and 26 percent for the year. Net income for the
fiscal fourth quarter totaled US$46.2 million, or 37 cents a
share, compared with US$53.0 million, or 43 cents, a year
earlier. Net sales rose to US$754.4 million from US$671 million
a year earlier.

Excluding the asbestos charges the company posted a profit of 46
cents per share.

For the new fiscal year, RPM forecast revenue growth in the
range of 6 percent to 8 percent, and earnings growth before
asbestos costs or acquisition impacts of 8 percent to 10

The company, which evaluates its asbestos liability reserves
each quarter, took an additional US$16.0 million pre-tax
asbestos charge in the fourth quarter of 2005, bringing the
total pre-tax charges to US$78 million for the fiscal year. This
fourth-quarter charge brings RPM balance sheet reserves for
asbestos liability to US$101.2 million at May 31, 2005.

After-tax asbestos-related payments during fiscal 2005 totaled
US$42.8 million versus last year's US$33.7 million; however,
last year had the benefit of the remaining third-party insurance
supplement, amounting to US$9.4 million on a pre-tax basis.
Before taxes and before insurance, total asbestos-related
payments of US$67.4 million this year compared with US$63.4
million last year.

The company believes this level sufficiently supports a
conservatively estimated valuation of existing claims in light
of the company's more aggressive defense strategy, which entails
higher legal costs but has produced ultimately lower resolution

"While our asbestos challenges and costs are far from over, we
believe that the greater public awareness of the abuses of our
legal system and, in some cases, outright fraud surrounding
asbestos litigation are key factors in our outlook of a
flattening cost profile and our belief that these costs will
begin to decline over the long run," said Frank C. Sullivan,
president and CEO.

Mr. Sullivan added that investors should expect "volatility in
future period filings and costs" in light of impending state and
federal reform, changes in court proceedings and a more
aggressive defense strategy.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: TUC Warns Against Testing at Mobile Clinics
The arrival in the United Kingdom of US-style "scan vans" that
screen workers for occupational lung disease is not the best way
to deal with Britain's asbestos disease epidemic, warned the
Trades Union Congress, the voice of over 70 affiliated unions in
the UK.

In the US, the mobile clinics tour shopping malls and community
centers in search of workers to screen, often using CT scans.
The workers found to have a respiratory illness are then
recruited to file asbestos-related lawsuits. However, there is a
growing concern over unnecessary or speculative screening, which
may increase the chances of certain cancers developing.

The Health Protection Agency said the risk of developing a fatal
cancer as a result of a chest CT scan is one in 2,500, compared
with a risk of one in a million from a chest x-ray.

TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said, "These companies play on
people's fears, and are interested not with the health of the
worker, but whether they can make commission on compensation
claims for any illnesses they find."

TUC's Hugh Robertson said that anyone at risk of an occupational
illness should contact a physician, outlining his or her work
history and symptoms.

The Department of Health is investigating one claims company
using scan vans, Freeclaim IDC, based in Northumberland, to
check it is in compliance with the Ionising Radiation (Medical
Exposure) Regulations.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Queensland Minister Admits Asbestos Slip-up
The Liberal Party's calls to replace Education Minister Anna
Bligh were strengthened after the official again admitted
misleading State Parliament over asbestos dust testing results,
The Courier Mail reports.

Earlier this week, Ms. Bligh corrected the Parliamentary record
for the second time, saying another eight schools had been left
off a list of 23 dust-tested schools tabled in Parliament. Two
of these additional schools tested positive for asbestos dust:
Boondall State School, on Brisbane's northside; and Two Mile
State School, at Gympie, north of Brisbane.

Ms. Bligh last month amended her answer to a Question on Notice
by Deputy Liberal Leader Bruce Flegg about dust testing, saying
three schools previously reported as negative for asbestos dust
had in fact been positive.

Dr. Flegg said Ms. Bligh's second correction of the
Parliamentary record "shows the state of disarray the department
is in relation to asbestos control."

Ms. Bligh said she had been supplied with additional advice by
the Public Works Department regarding dust sampling between
March 1 and April 20.

A total of 36 out of 60 tested schools have now proved positive
for asbestos dust over the past four months.

Queensland has yet to adopt a national safety code requiring
clear labeling of asbestos in schools. The National Occupational
Health and Safety Commission in April declared a new code of
practice for the management of asbestos in workplaces, requiring
warning signs.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Son Sues English Electric for Work Exposure
The son of a pipefitter who died from an asbestos-related
disease filed a suit against his father's employer, English
Electric Company, claiming between GBP100,000 to GBP150,000 in
damages for pain and suffering, reports News & Star.

Stuart Kidson, of Cockermouth, filed the legal writ in the High
Court on behalf of his mother, Elizabeth Kidson, under the
provisions of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, the Factories Act
1937 and the Asbestos Industry Regulations Act 1931.

His late father, John Kidson, died in March 2003 at the age of
82 years old, following exposure to asbestos dust while working
as a pipe fitter from 1948 to 1954.

According to the writ, the elder Mr. Kidson was exposed to
substantial asbestos dust while maintaining the HVAC systems in
the company's Preston factories.  On average, he worked about
once a month regularly removing asbestos insulation from boilers
and piping and occasionally cutting off surrounding asbestos
lagging for the duration of his six-year employment.  The writ
added that he developed mesothelioma around September 2002.

Mr. Kidson allegedly worked without the aid of respiratory
protection, protective clothes or dust extraction equipment.
His son claimed that the company failed to keep the factories
and its surroundings free from asbestos debris.

It is unclear if English Electric, now a part of BaE Systems
Plc, will defend the court order.

Headquartered in Hampshire, UK, BAE Systems Plc is engaged in
the development, delivery and support of advanced defense and
aerospace systems. The Company designs, manufactures and
supports military aircraft, surface ships, submarines, fighting
vehicles, radar, avionics, communications, electronics and
guided weapon systems.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Pepco Informs Mirant of More Than 100 Cases
Mirant Mid-Atlantic, LLC, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of
Mirant Corporation, disclosed in its latest filing to the
Securities and Exchange Commission that since the acquisition,
Pepco has notified the Company of more than 100 asbestos cases,
distributed among three Maryland jurisdictions (Prince George's
County, Baltimore City and Baltimore County), as to which it
claims a right of indemnity.

As a part of the Pepco purchase, Mirant Mid-Atlantic agreed to
indemnify Pepco for certain liabilities arising in lawsuits
filed after December 19, 2000, even if they relate to incidents
occurring prior to that date, with certain qualifications.

As previously reported in the May 20, 2005 edition of the Class
Action Reporter, about 85 cases of the 250 remaining asbestos
cases pending against Pepco were filed after December 19, 2000,
and have been tendered to Mirant for defense and indemnification
pursuant to the terms of the asset purchase and sale agreement.

However, based on information and relevant circumstances known
at this time the Company does not believe these suits will have
a material adverse effect on its financial position, results of
operations or cash flows.

Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Mirant Corporation together with
its direct and indirect subsidiaries, generate, sell and deliver
electricity in North America, the Philippines and the Caribbean.
Mirant's customers include utilities, municipal systems,
aggregators, electric-cooperative utilities, producers,
generators, marketers and large industrial customers in the
United States.

Pepco Holdings Inc. distributes electricity to more than 1.8
million customers and natural gas to nearly 120,000 customers
through its utility subsidiaries. The Company also has
international energy interests.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Crane Co. Deals with 88,563 Pending Claims
As of June 30, 2005, Crane Co. was a defendant in 88,563 pending
claims filed in various state and federal courts alleging injury
or death as a result of exposure to asbestos. The Company had
86,923 claims as of March 31, 2005.

Of this number, about 25,000 claims were pending in New York,
about 33,000 claims were pending in Mississippi, and about 4,000
claims were pending in Ohio, jurisdictions in which recent
legislation or judicial orders restrict the types of claims that
can proceed to trial on the merits.

Since the termination of the comprehensive master settlement
agreement on January 24, 2005 the Stamford, CT-based Company has
been resolving claims filed against it in the tort system. The
Company has not reengaged in discussions with representatives of
current or future asbestos claimants with respect to such a
settlement. While the Company believes that federal legislation
to establish a trust fund to compensate asbestos claimants is
the most appropriate solution to the asbestos litigation
problem, there is substantial uncertainty regarding whether this
will occur and, if so, when and on what terms. The Company
remains committed to exploring all feasible alternatives
available to resolve its asbestos liability in a manner
consistent with the best interests of the Company's

The gross settlement and defense costs incurred for the Company
in the six-month periods ended June 30, 2005 and 2004 totaled
US$19.9 million and US$20.9 million, respectively. In contrast
to the recognition of settlement and defense costs that reflect
the current level of activity in the tort system, cash payments
and receipts generally lag the tort system activity by several
months or more.

Cash payments of settlement amounts are not made until all
releases and other required documentation are received by the
Company, and payments of both settlement amounts and defense
costs by insurers are subject to delays due to documentation
requirements and the status of the Company's agreements with its
insurers. In addition, the timing and amount of such
reimbursements will vary because its insurance coverage for
asbestos claims involves multiple insurers, with different
policy terms and certain gaps in coverage. The Company's total
pre-tax cash payments for settlement and defense costs net of
payments from insurers in the six-month periods ended June 30,
2005 and 2004 amounted to US$15.1 million and US$10.0 million,

The amounts shown for settlement and defense costs incurred, and
cash payments, are not necessarily indicative of future period
amounts, which may be higher or lower than those reported.
Cash payments related to asbestos settlement and defense costs,
and certain related fees and expenses, are estimated to be in
the range of US$40 million to US$60 million during 2005, which
will be offset by tax benefits of 35% and insurance recoveries.
This estimate is reduced from the previous estimate of US$50
million to US$70 million, taking into account net cash payments
through the first six months of 2005, but it is not necessarily
indicative of cash requirements for asbestos costs in future

In 2005, the Company does not expect significant reimbursements
from insurers as the Company's cost sharing agreement with
primary insurers has been essentially exhausted. The Company is
negotiating terms of payment under its excess insurance
policies, which provide substantial insurance coverage for
asbestos liabilities.

Crane Co. makes a variety of industrial products, including
fluid handling equipment, aerospace components, engineered
materials, merchandising systems, and controls. Crane Co. serves
the power generation, general aviation, commercial construction,
food and beverage, and chemical industries, among others.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Coroner Cites Work Exposure at Ever Ready
At an inquest, Essex Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray recorded a
verdict of death by industrial disease in the case of a 73-year-
old woman who worked at a battery manufacturer 42 years ago.

June Seaborn, from Goldhanger, died from respiratory failure on
October 2, 2004 at Broomfield Hospital. The inquest heard that
Mrs. Seaborn, who worked at Ever Ready, usually went home
covered in black dust.

A post mortem examination revealed that she suffered from
malignant mesothelioma, a respiratory disease often associated
with exposure to asbestos dust. Her husband John said she had
worked for Ever Ready at its former Heybridge factory for five

The coroner said that on the balance of probabilities Mrs.
Seaborn had been exposed to asbestos dust at the factory leading
to her being afflicted with the lethal cancer mesothelioma.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Bars Questioning Plaintiffs' Lawyers
A Manhattan federal judge ruled that G-I Holdings, a bankrupt
asbestos manufacturer, may not invade the attorney-client
privilege to depose the plaintiffs' lawyers it claims conspired
to swamp it with false claims, reports The New York Law Journal.

G-I Holdings Inc. had sought to depose Joseph Rice of Ness,
Motley, Loadholt, Richardson & Poole and Perry Weitz of Weitz &
Luxenberg on what advice they gave clients about complying with
an April 2004 settlement agreement.

G-I argued that the state's interest in the enforcement of valid
contracts was sufficient but Southern District Judge Robert
Sweet responded that those arguments were not strong enough to
justify piercing the attorney-client privilege.

G-I's predecessor, GAF Corp., a manufacturer of building
materials, filed for bankruptcy in 2001 as a result of about
150,000 claims alleging injury from asbestos exposure. The
company has sought discovery to support allegations of
misconduct against the plaintiffs' lawyers.

As disclosed in last Friday's edition of the Class Action
Reporter, federal prosecutors are already looking into the
claims against three law firms: Baron & Budd of Dallas; Ness,
Motley, Loadholt, Richardson & Poole of Mount Pleasant, S.C.;
and Weitz & Luxenberg of New York. GI had hired Kroll Inc. to
collect evidence in its three-year-old civil suit against these
firms. Kroll was able to show through employee interviews that
potential claimants were coached and that doctors' diagnoses
were influenced.

G-I had claimed the plaintiffs' lawyers may have breached the
April 2004 agreement by failing to advise new clients of
alternative dispute resolution options, as required by the
agreement. It claimed invading the attorney-client privilege was
the only way it would be able to gather evidence of these

In those instances where privilege invasion was allowed, the
judge wrote, "it is the nature of the client's conduct or the
client's relationship to the litigant that justifies invasion."
He said G-I had made no showing that the clients had committed
any act or had any relationship with G-I justifying invading the

Judge Sweet said the problem was foreseeable and G-I should have
taken steps at the time of the agreement to have enforcement
clauses included.

Peter Wang of Friedman, Wang & Bleiberg and Thomas Kavaler of
Cahill Gordon & Reindel, represented G-I Holdings.

Stephen Juris of Morvillo, Abramowitz, Grand, Iason &
Silberberg, represented Weitz & Luxenberg.

Steven Storch of Storch Amini & Munves, represented Ness Motley.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: K&F Faces Around 175 Personal Injury Claims
Since 1993, K&F Industries Holdings, Inc. faced about 175 non-
employee plaintiffs alleging personal injury from asbestos
exposure.  So far, the Company sought and received defense and
indemnity from Goodyear, which produced aircraft braking systems
equipped with asbestos-containing brake linings between 1940 and
1985 at the Akron, Ohio facility now operated by Aircraft
Braking Systems.  Goodyear was named as a defendant in all the

Goodyear defended and resolved the products claims for the
company to date, but Goodyear recently reserved its rights to
dispute whether such defense and indemnification are required in
all cases and also declined to provide a defense and indemnity
with respect to two immaterial cases filed in 2003 and 2004.

Loral Corporation (now part of Lockheed Martin Corp), from whom
the Company bought the aircraft braking system production assets
in 1989, is also named in most of the product liability claims.
To date, the Company incurred only administrative costs in
connection with these claims.

The Company also obtained limited indemnification regarding
these and other issues from the prior stockholders of K&F
Industries in connection with the Acquisition Transactions.

The costs the Company expended to date in connection with
asbestos exposure claims do not have material adverse effect on
its business, financial condition or results of operations.
However, the Company cannot predict the extent to which it may
be involved in any such claims in the future or whether defense
and indemnity for such claims will be available.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Court Junks Ruling to Add Payout in Estate
The Supreme Court of Alaska on July 22, 2005 reversed the
superior court's decision to treat the deceased husband's
settlement proceeds as part of his augmented estate.

Justice Walter L. Carpeneti wrote the court opinion for this
case styled, "Barbara Maldonado, Surviving Spouse, Petitioner v.
Brooks Bailey, Personal Representative of the Estate of Florian
A. Maldonado, Jr., and William Schendel, Esq., Guardian ad Litem
of the Minor Children, Jaden Maldonado and Cherish Maldonado,

The superior court included the wrongful death proceeds in the
augmented estate on the theory that it was property owned by the
surviving spouse at the decedent's death, thereby offsetting the
surviving spouse's elective share.

Florian Maldonado, Jr. died testate on November 28, 1999 due to
mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer caused by exposure to
asbestos. His wife, Barbara Maldonado, and two minor children,
Jaden and Cherish Maldonado, survived him. Mr. Maldonado adopted
Jaden and Cherish before his marriage to Barbara and was the
children's sole legal parent.

On November 22, 1999 Mr. Maldonado executed a will devising to
his wife her elective share, homestead allowance, and family
allowance. He left the remainder of his estate to Jaden and
Cherish, in trust until they reach the age of 25.

Before he died, Mr. Maldonado filed suit in Washington against
numerous asbestos manufacturers and suppliers alleging injury
from asbestosis, and some of these claims were settled before
his death. After he died, the estate's personal representative
added claims against these defendants for wrongful death.
Shortly thereafter, the estate settled these claims for about

The settlement agreements resolved all claims against the
defendants, including wrongful death, "surviving personal
injury" claims, loss of consortium, and other claims. Mrs.
Maldonado and the guardian ad litem (GAL) then agreed to
distribute 40 percent of the net settlement proceeds to her and
30 percent to each of the children.

Mrs. Maldonado sought to collect her elective share of her
husband's augmented estate however GAL argued that her interest
in the wrongful death proceeds should be included in the
augmented estate on the theory that she owned this interest at
the time of Mr. Maldonado's death, and accordingly moved for
partial summary judgment on this issue. She opposed the motion.
Following the recommendation of the probate master, the superior
court agreed with the GAL.

Mrs. Maldonado argued that the superior court erred in
concluding that her interest in a wrongful death recovery is
property that she owned at the time of her husband's death.

Resolution of this question turns on interpretation of Alaska's
elective share statute, which entitles a surviving spouse to
choose to take as provided by the will or to take a statutory
percentage of the augmented estate. Alaska's elective share law
entitles the surviving spouse to take an elective share equal to
one-third of the augmented estate.

The Supreme Court held that since Mr. Maldonado devised to his
wife her elective share under the statute, the share ceased to
be an "election" and is her primary inheritance under the will.

In addition, the Supreme Court ruled that any interest in
wrongful death proceeds is not owned by the surviving spouse at
the time of the death. Accordingly, it reversed the decision of
the superior court. However, because proceeds from survivorship
claims should be classified as probate assets, it remanded to
the superior court to determine what portion, if any, of the
settlement agreement represented payment for the survivorship
claims, and to include that amount within the augmented estate.

Joseph L. Paskvan, Paskvan, Ringstad, Parrish, P.C., Fairbanks,
represented the petitioner, Barbara Maldonado.

Richard W. Hompesch II, Hompesch & Evans, P.C., Fairbanks,
represented the respondent, Brooks Bailey.

William B. Schendel, Winfree Law Office, A.P.C., Fairbanks,
represented the other respondent, the Guardian ad Litem.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Burlington Northern Handles 2,120 Claims
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. (NYSE: BNI) had 2,120
asbestos-related claims pending against the company at June 30,
2005, according to its quarterly report filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Fort Worth, TX-based Company said that employee exposure to
asbestos was due to work conducted in and around the use of
steam locomotive engines that were phased out between the years
of 1950 and 1967. However, other types of exposures, including
exposure from locomotive component parts and building materials,
continued after 1967, until it was substantially eliminated by

The Company said it anticipates that unasserted claims will
continue to be filed through the year 2050. It believes it is
possible that future costs to settle asbestos claims may range
from roughly US$250 million to US$450 million.

As of June 30, 2005, Burlington Northern had accrued obligations
of US$336 million for both asserted and unasserted asbestos
matters. Of that obligation, US$276 million is related to
unasserted claims, while US$60 million is related to asserted
claims. In addition, the company said that US$20 million was
included in current liabilities.

Burlington Northern asserted that it is presently self-insured
for asbestos-related claims.

Through its primary subsidiary, BNSF Railway, the company is the
second-largest railroad in the US, behind Union Pacific. The
Burlington Northern and Santa Fe merger brought with it a
connection between the Pacific Northwest and the major
consumption markets of the Pacific Southwest, creating a rail
corridor between Vancouver, B.C., and San Diego, CA.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Engineer Sues IL Railroad Co. for Exposure
In St. Clair County Circuit Court, a former engineer for
Illinois Central Railroad filed a nine-count Federal Employers'
Liability Act (FELA) and asbestos lawsuit seeking damages in
excess of US$1 million claiming he suffers from an asbestos-
related illness.

Robert Berry, a Paducah, KY resident, claimed that from 1945 to
1983, he was required to work with and in the vicinity of toxic
materials including asbestos and asbestos-containing products
and materials which caused severe and permanent injuries.

According to the complaint, ICR violated FELA by failing to
provide Mr. Berry with a safe place to work, suitable tools and
failed to warn of the hazardous effects of the toxic substances
used at the railroad. ICR also allegedly failed to operate the
locomotive repair facility in a safe and reasonable manner and
test asbestos containing products to determine they were ultra-
hazardous. He also alleges ICR allowed unsafe practices to
become standard practice.

As a result, Mr. Berry continues to suffer from great pain,
extreme nervousness and mental anguish and believes that his
injuries and disability are permanent in nature and that he will
be forced to suffer the same for the remainder of his life.

The complaint also names four co-defendants, American Standard,
Garlock, MetLife, and Owens-Illinois alleging they were also
negligent for his illness.

Mr. Berry claims the co-defendants failed to advise him of the
dangers of their asbestos products, failed to place any warnings
on their products, failed to publish a safety plan and a safe
method of handling their products and did not recommend methods
to improve the work environment. These companies also did not
develop alternative products, continued to use a known cancer-
causing product, and failed to provide information or warning to
consumers in compliance with their continuing duty to warn.

Sarah Berry also is seeking damages for losing the valuable
services of her husband.

John Guerry, III of Motley Rice in South Carolina, Bruce
Halstead of Jones & Granger of Houston, Texas, and William Gavin
of Belleville, are representing the Berrys.

Illinois Central Railroad Company is a wholly owned subsidiary
of Illinois Central Corporation. Illinois Central Corporation is
a subsidiary of Canadian National Railway Company. The company
operates 2,600 miles of main line track between Chicago,
Illinois and Gulf of Mexico. The track is used primarily for
transporting chemicals, coal, paper, grain and milled gain and
intermodal trailers and containers.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: CT School Heads Find High Levels in Trailer
Brookfield school officials reported "high levels" of asbestos
contamination located inside a 40-foot trailer parked in
Whisconier Middle School, reports the News-Times.

The parents of an eight-year-old boy complained when their son
emerged from the trailer dusty prompting Brookfield officials to
close it for immediate testing. Officials claimed it arrived at
Whisconier already with dusty interiors.

Cheshire, CT-based TransWaste Inc. supplied the trailer to the
school to handle debris from an asbestos removal project.  John
Goetz, Brookfield school Superintendent, said he wanted the
trailer moved earlier, but TransWaste was required to hire a
consultant and have state officials sign off on the clean up.

The incident angered Brookfield parents who complained for years
about asbestos handling in town schools. Kerry Swift, a mother
with two children at Whisconier, said officials should have
immediately put a fence around the trailer to keep children

School officials would not say exactly what "high levels" of
asbestos meant.  A state Department of Public Health spokesman
said his department would not disclose information until its
investigation was complete.

Mark Granville, asbestos consultant for Brookfield schools, said
the state simply tested dust samples from the trailer's floor to
determine the presence of asbestos. He added that the term "high
level" was wrong because the air was not tested and only an air
test would yield a numerical measurement.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Lone Star Subsidiaries Named in 47 Lawsuits
During the last six years, Lone Star Steel, one of the principal
operating companies of Lone Star Technologies Inc., has been
named as one of a number of defendants in 47 lawsuits alleging
that certain individuals were exposed to asbestos on the
defendants' premises. The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified

To date several of these lawsuits have been settled for about
US$0.3 million in the aggregate. Of the 47 lawsuits, 19 have
been settled or are pending settlement and 12 have been
dismissed or are pending dismissal. Steel did not manufacture or
distribute any products containing asbestos. Some or all of
these claims may not be covered by the Company's insurance. The
Company has accrued for the estimated exposure to known claims,
but does not know the extent to which future claims may be
filed. Therefore, the Company cannot estimate its exposure, if
any, to unasserted claims.

Beginning in 2003, Lone Star's subsidiary Zinklahoma, Inc.,
inactive since 1989, was named as one of a number of defendants
in seven lawsuits alleging that the plaintiffs had contracted
mesothelioma as the result of exposure to asbestos in products
manufactured by the defendants and John Zink Company. Three of
these lawsuits have been dismissed and one was settled for less
than US$0.1 million.

Lone Star acquired the stock of Zink in 1987 and, in 1989, sold
the assets of the former Zink to Koch Industries, Inc. and
renamed the now-inactive subsidiary "Zinklahoma, Inc."  Lone
Star retained, and agreed to indemnify Koch against, certain
pre-closing liabilities of Zink. It is Lone Star's understanding
that Zink never manufactured asbestos and primarily used it only
to the limited extent included in certain purchased component
parts used in products made by Zink prior to 1984, when Zink
ceased using asbestos-containing products entirely. Koch
continues to operate the business as John Zink Company, LLC

In addition, Zink LLC has been named in six lawsuits in which
the plaintiffs, two of whom have mesothelioma, allege exposure
to asbestos in Zink's products (three of these lawsuits have
been dismissed) and three personal injury lawsuits resulting
from a 2001 explosion and flash fire at a flare stack and crude
unit atmospheric heater. Zink allegedly manufactured the flare
and related components for the flare stack in the early 1970s.
Koch is seeking indemnification from Lone Star with respect to
these six pending lawsuits. The costs of defending and settling
the lawsuits alleging exposure to asbestos in Zink's products
have been borne by Zink's insurance carrier.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Exelon Corp. Sets $43Mil Reserve for Claims
Exelon Corporation's subsidiary, Exelon Generation, is a
defendant in personal injury actions related to asbestos
exposure in certain facilities that are currently owned by
Generation or were previously owned by other subsidiaries ComEd
and PECO.

At June 30, 2005, Exelon has about US$53 million reserved in
total for asbestos-related bodily injury claims. About US$10
million of this amount relates to 135 open claims presented to
Generation as of June 30, 2005, while the remaining US$43
million of the reserve is for estimated future asbestos-related
bodily injury claims anticipated to arise through 2030.

The vast majority of these asbestos-related bodily injury claims
allege a variety of lung-related diseases based on alleged
exposure to asbestos by former third-party contractors involved
in the original construction or maintenance of the facilities.
The construction of these facilities primarily occurred between
1950 and 1975. Generation does not have significant asbestos-
related bodily injury claims occurring after 1980.

As part of the 2001 restructuring in which Generation purchased
ComEd's and PECO's energy producing facilities, it assumed all
current and future benefits and liabilities associated with
these facilities. Based on the receipt of asbestos-related
bodily injury claims during 2002, 2003 and 2004, Generation
engaged independent actuaries to determine if a reasonable
estimate of future losses could be made based on historical
claims data and other available information.

In the second quarter of 2005, Generation recorded an
undiscounted US$43 million pre-tax charge for its estimated
portion of all estimated future asbestos-related personal injury
claims estimated to be presented through 2030. The US$43 million
pre-tax charge reduced net income by US$27 million.
This amount does not include estimated legal costs associated
with handling these matters, which could be material.

Exelon management determined that it was not reasonable to
estimate future asbestos-related personal injury claims past
2030 based on only three years of historical claims data and the
significant amount of judgment required to estimate this
liability. In calculating future losses, management and the
actuaries made various assumptions, including but not limited
to, the overall number of future claims estimated through the
use of actuarial models, Exelon's estimated portion of future
settlements and obligations, the distribution of exposure sites,
the anticipated future mix of diseases that relate to asbestos
exposure and the anticipated levels of awards made to
plaintiffs. Exelon's recent history of successfully defending
itself in court cases for asbestos-related bodily injury claims
was qualitatively considered in determining this estimate.

The amounts recorded by Generation for estimated future
asbestos-related bodily injury claims are based upon known facts
at the time the report was prepared. Projecting future events,
such as the number of new claims to be filed each year and the
average cost of disposing of claims, as well as the numerous
uncertainties surrounding asbestos-related litigation in the
United States, could cause the actual costs to be higher or
lower than projected.

Exelon anticipates obtaining periodic updates of the estimate of
future losses. On a quarterly basis, Exelon will monitor actual
experience against the number of forecasted claims to be
received and expected claim payments.

Operating and maintenance expense increased for the three months
ended June 30, 2005 compared with the same period in 2004. The
slight increase was primarily due to a reserve recorded for
estimated future asbestos-related bodily injury claims, almost
entirely offset by lower severance and pension expense and the
sale of Boston Generating in May 2004.

Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC)
distributes electricity to millions of customers in northern
Illinois and in southeastern Pennsylvania through subsidiaries
Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) and PECO Energy. Subsidiary Exelon
Generation holds the company's power plants, which produce some
28,000 MW of capacity.

ASBESTOS LITIGATION: Corning Inc. May Adjust Estimates
Corning Inc. revealed in its latest filing to the Securities and
Exchange Commission that from time to time, it may need to make
adjustments to estimates used in the determination of prior
years' restructuring and impairment charges, which could result
in a gain or loss during the quarter.

In the third quarter of 2005, Corning said that it would record
a charge or credit for the change in its common stock price as
of September 30, 2005 compared to US$16.62, the common stock
price at June 30, 2005.

Corning's second-quarter results included net special charges
totaling US$141 million after-tax and minority interest, of
which US$137 million was a pretax and after-tax charge to
reflect the increase in market value of Corning common stock to
be contributed to settle the asbestos litigation related to
Pittsburgh Corning Corporation.  In addition, the company
recognized a US$12 million pretax and after-tax loss on the
repurchase of debt, a US$1 million pretax gain (US$3 million
after-tax and minority interest charge) to adjust restructuring
reserves, and the previously discussed US$11 million
nonrecurring gain at Dow Corning.

As part of Corning's asbestos settlement arrangement to be
incorporated into the Pittsburgh Corning Corporation plan of
reorganization, Corning will contribute, if the reorganization
plan becomes effective, 25 million shares of its common stock to
a trust.  This portion of the asbestos liability requires
adjustment based upon movements in Corning's common stock price
prior to contribution of the shares to the trust.

On March 28, 2003, Corning Inc. reached agreement with the
representatives of asbestos claimants for the settlement of all
current and future asbestos claims against it and Pittsburgh
Corning Corporation that might arise from PCC products or
operations. Accordingly, Corning Inc. recorded a charge of
US$298 million in the first quarter of 2003.

As required, the Company recorded a mark-to-market charge of
US$137 million in the second quarter of 2005, reflecting the
increase in Corning's common stock from March 31 to June 30,
2005. Beginning with the first quarter of 2003, it has recorded
total net charges of US$567 million to reflect the initial
settlement and to mark-to-market the value of its common stock.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Family Seeks GBP300T Damages from Sidney Cubbage
The family of an engineer, who died in April 2002 from asbestos-
related cancer mesothelioma, filed a suit to claim GBP300,000 as
compensation from his former employers, Sidney Cubbage
(Engineering Ltd.) and Cubbage Mechanical Services.

Diagnosed nine months before his death, Doug Hobbs, formerly of
Southill, succumbed to the illness just a week before his 57th
birthday at Dorset County Hospital.

Widow Diane Hobbs, aged 57, who still lives in the family home
at Southill, said he was exposed to huge quantities of asbestos
while working as a plumber's mate for Sidney Cubbage
(Engineering) Ltd in High Wycombe during the 1960s.

A writ put before London's High Court alleged that the
companies, their servants, or agents, were negligent with
respect to the health dangers faced by Mr. Hobbs.

Mr. Hobbs was working as a contracts manager for Weymouth-based
HW Smith and Son when he died. He was also a keen camper and a
member of the West Dorset Caravan Club.

Company Profile:
Cubbage Mechanical Services Limited
Thornbury House
Gerrards Cross

Company Profile:
Sidney Cubbage (Engineers) Limited
86 Princess Street
Lu1 5at

ASBESTOS ALERT: Court Convicts Skip Operator for Illegal Storage
Convicted for illegally storing asbestos, a skip operator is
forced to pay a fine of GBP2,400 after pleading guilty to two
charges under the Environmental Protection Act.

High Wycombe Magistrates' Court convicted Nicholas Judge, of
Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire, for illegally storing the waste
asbestos at his Clear Up Skips site in Binders Yard Industrial
Estate, Cryers Hill, High Wycome, without a waste management
license and for failing to produce a waste transfer note.

Investigating officers from the Environment Agency had their
suspicions on June 2, 2004 after visiting a neighboring skip
site. Upon entering Mr. Judge's site, the officers found three
skips containing general household and commercial waste, and
advised Mr. Judge that he would need a waste management license
to continue his operation.

Environment officers returned on August 26, 2004 and found eight
skips of waste at the site, and a smaller skip containing what
looked to be corrugated and sheet asbestos.  A sample was taken
for laboratory analysis, which revealed that the material
contained significant quantities of white asbestos.

When investigating officers questioned Mr. Judge, he said that
he had moved the asbestos from a site six miles away, in
Amersham, by car. He wrongly believed there was a waiting period
at a licensed hazardous waste site, and had failed to notify the
Environment Agency of his intention to move the asbestos and
therefore did not have the necessary paperwork to accompany the

Investigating officer for the Environment Agency, Angie Wills,
said strict controls ensure that hazardous waste are
transported, treated and properly disposed of in a safe and
responsible manner. She said that Mr. Judge violated these
controls, which are in place to safeguard the environment and
public health.

The Court imposed GBP1,200 as fine for each count under the
Environmental Protection Act, with GBP1,430 costs.

ASBESTOS ALERT: HSE Imposes GBP5T Fine on Craftpride for Breach
Under the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002,
Craftpride Ltd. is forced to pay a fine of GBP5,000 for using an
unlicensed contractor to remove asbestos during the conversion
of a shop to a restaurant.

A licensed asbestos contractor had informed Mr. Akhtar, director
of the Warwick-based construction firm, of the presence of
asbestos ceiling tiles. The contractor quoted GBP17,000 for its
removal and other refurbishment work however, within a month,
Mr. G. Kearns, who is unlicensed, had removed the asbestos.

The Health and Safety Executive issued a prohibition notice back
in March 2003, and the agency found asbestos contamination both
inside the building and outside on the pavement.

Regulation 15 of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations
2002 states, "Every employer shall prevent or, where this is not
reasonably practicable, reduce to the lowest level reasonably
practicable, the spread of asbestos from any place where work
under his control is carried out."

ASBESTOS ALERT: British Duke to Confront Possible Legal Battle
The Duke of Westminster braces for a multi-million pound legal
battle for possibly exposing some of Britain's classiest tenants
to deadly asbestos dust after two of his properties were
contaminated, the Mirror reports.

Aristocrats including a duke, an earl, a viscount, a
marchioness, viscountess, around half a dozen lords and four
knights of the realm are likely affected.

Laura Parker Bowles, daughter of Camilla Parker Bowles, lives in
one of the Duke's Grosvenor Estate flats in Victoria, West
London with neighbors including former government ministers,
Royal Family friends, Lords and Ladies and members of high

Camilla Parker Bowles shared a two-bedroom flat with ex-Tory
foreign secretary Lord Carrington's daughter Virginia during the
early 1970s.  Her daughter Laura rents her luxury three-bedroom
flat at a bargain price.

Letters, advising tenants to see a doctor to allay their
worries, are due to be delivered to residents.  However, a memo
to Grosvenor Estate staff presents an alarming tone.

It reads, "High levels of asbestos dust have been found which
has sparked fears that more flats, particularly occupied flats
may also contain the contaminated dusts. This potentially puts
Grosvenor at great risk. Not only due to the harm that this dust
can cause (fatal) but also the damage if this info is leaked."

The 53-year old Duke of Westminster is Britain's richest
property developer with an estimated fortune at about GBP5.6
billion.  He owns commercial and residential properties in
Australia, Asia and America.

ASBESTOS ALERT: Court Fines 2 Firms GBP48T for Exposing Workers
Cambridge Magistrates fined two companies a total of GBP48,000
after exposing workers to asbestos fibers during refurbishment

For failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their
employees, both Huntsman Advanced Materials (UK) Ltd and Patrick
B Doyle Ltd pleaded guilty to breaches of Section 2(1) of the
Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Huntsman Advanced Materials (UK) Ltd, who also pleaded guilty to
breaching regulation 11 of the Construction (Design and
Management) Regulations 1994, was fined GBP25,000 and ordered to
pay GBP8,408 in costs.

Patrick B Doyle Ltd, the building contractor employed by
Huntsman to implement refurbishment work at its premises, was
fined GBP23,000 and ordered to pay GBP8,478 costs. It also
pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 3(1) of the Asbestos
(Licensing) Regulations 1983 for carrying out work with asbestos
without a license.

Health and Safety Executive's investigating inspector Stephen
Manley said that about 25% of the 3,500 deaths from asbestos-
related diseases each year involve those who worked in the
building and maintenance trades. Mr. Manley advised that a
proper assessment must be done before work begins and that
building plans be made available to contractors to avoid this
sort of incident.

Huntsman Advanced Materials is a US-based leading global
manufacturer and marketer of chemicals, materials and adhesives
serving markets that include the aerospace, automotive,
telecommunications, electrical and electronics, recreation, and
appliance industries.

Company Profile:
Patrick B. Doyle Ltd
3 Rous Road, Newmarket
Suffolk CB8 8DH
Phone: 01638660762

ASBESTOS ALERT: Former Electrician Granted GBP47,000 in Damages
Central Electrical Installations, Ltd. awarded retired
electrician and former employee, Michael Deegan, GBP47,000 in
damages after he contracted potentially lethal asbestosis, The
Daily Press reports.

Mr. Deegan, aged 67, initially came in contact with asbestos in
the 1950s while working in several Bristol schools including
Hengrove School and Sir Thomas More School. He regularly worked
in boiler houses, pouring asbestos into containers and mixing
them with water to lag pipes.  He came into contact with
asbestos sheets used in storage heaters while doing in-house
maintenance work.  He also worked as an electrician in petrol

Around 2002, medical experts diagnosed him with asbestosis,
pleural thickening and pleural plaques after he complained of
shortness of breath. They also informed Mr. Deegan that he is at
risk of developing cancer by 10%.

The victim's lawyer, Brigitte Chandler, an industrial disease
specialist at Charles Lucas & Marshall, said the claim reflects
the considerable pain and suffering her client had to endure as
a result of asbestos exposure.  She added, "At no time was Mr.
Deegan given any protective clothing or masks to wear or warned
of the dangers. Unfortunately, asbestosis tends to emerge many
years after exposure to the danger."

A High Court ruling recently found that asbestos workers who
solely developed pleural plaques were not entitled a level of
compensation as those with asbestosis.

Company Profile:
Central Electrical Installations, Ltd.
Unit 9, Dragon Court, Crofts End Road
Bristol, BS5 7XX, UK
Phone: 0117 951 8020
Fax: 0117 951 8060
Email: bristol@central-electrical.com

Central Electrical Installations Ltd. is part of the Bradonstone
Group of Companies. It offers project management, systems
design, engineering, testing, and maintenance services.

                   New Securities Fraud Cases

DITECH CORPORATION: Cohen Milstein Lodges Securities Suit in CA
The law firm of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C. filed
a lawsuit on behalf of its client and on behalf of other
similarly situated purchasers of Ditech Communications
Corporation ("Ditech" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:DITC) common
stock between August 24, 2004 and May 26, 2005, inclusive (the
"Class Period"), in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California.

The Complaint charges Ditech and certain of its current officers
and directors with violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Exchange Act"). The Complaint
alleges that defendants omitted or misrepresented material
adverse facts about the Company's financial condition, business
prospects, and revenue expectations during the Class Period.

The Complaint alleges that defendants issued, or caused to be
issued, false and misleading statements during the Class Period.
Specifically, it is alleged, that the defendants'
representations regarding Ditech were materially false and
misleading when made for the following reasons:

     (1) the highly-touted Voice Quality Assurance ("VQA")
         orders were a huge disappointment because VQA orders
         were not as secured as defendants represented because
         the purported new clients were under no obligation to
         purchase Ditech's services; thus, Ditech's positive
         statements about its VQA success were lacking in any
         reasonable basis when made;

     (2) that the Sprint/Nextel merger would not be a positive
         development for Ditech; and

     (3) that the Sprint/Nextel merger presented a serious
         threat to Ditech's business because it was foreseeable
         that Ditech would experience a shortfall in revenue
         received from Nextel because of the merger.

The Complaint alleges that on November 3, 2004, Ditech issued a
press release announcing poor second quarter results due to a
"delay" in shipping the highly-touted VQA orders from Asia and
weaker domestic demand for wireless products. On November 4,
2004, the price of Ditech stock dropped $5.69 per share, or
25.53 percent, to $16.60 per share, on unusually heavy trading
volume. It is also alleged that on May 26, 2005, Ditech
announced that orders from Nextel declined substantially as a
result of the Nextel/Sprint merger, and would continue to do so.

Following this news, on May 27, 2005, shares of Ditech fell
$4.80 per share or 38.13 percent to close at $7.79 per share on
unusually heavy trading volume.

For more details, contact Steven J. Toll, Esq. or Robert C.
Smits of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C., 1100 New
York Avenue, N.W. West Tower, Suite 500, Washington, D.C.,

GUIDANT CORPORATION: Lasky & Rifkind Files Securities Suit in IN
The law firm of Lasky & Rifkind, Ltd. initiated a lawsuit in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of
Indiana, on behalf of persons who purchased or otherwise
acquired publicly traded securities of Guidant Corporation
("Guidant" or the "Company") (NYSE:GDT) between December 15,
2004 and June 23, 2005, inclusive, (the "Class Period"). The
lawsuit was filed against Guidant and certain officers and

The complaint alleges that Defendants violated the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934. Specifically, on December 15, 2004,
Guidant management entered into a merger with Johnson & Johnson,
valued at $24.5 billion. While Guidant asserted its
defibrillator business was a key component to the value it was
able to exact in the deal for its shares, the Complaint alleges
that Guidant concealed from investors and patients material
product defects and potential liabilities of its defibrillator
product lines, thus inflating its share price. More
specifically, the complaint alleges that Guidant knew but
concealed that serious health issues encountered by patients
were caused by the defective nature of the defibrillators, and
that the disclosure of the product issues could potentially
derail a merger with Johnson & Johnson.

On June 17, 2005, the FDA issued a national recall notice, after
deaths had been linked to the failure of a magnetic switch. In
that notice, the FDA advised the public that the malfunction
could lead to serious life-threatening issues for a patient. In
reaction to this news, Guidant's shares fell $3.36, losing 4.5%
of their value in the two days following the FDA recall. On June
24, 2005, Guidant announced that it would voluntarily advise
physicians about important safety information regarding a number
of its defibrillator products. The Company indicated that as a
precautionary measure, physicians should discontinue implants of
the suspect devices. In reaction to this news, Guidant fell
$4.70 per share, or approximately 6.9% to close at $63.90 per

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

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS: Goodkind Labaton Expands Class Period
The law firm of Goodkind Labaton Rudoff & Sucharow LLP, who
filed the first class action lawsuit on July 8, 2005 in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York, on behalf of persons who purchased or otherwise acquired
publicly traded securities of International Business Machines
Corporation ("IBM" or the "Company") (NYSE:IBM), states that the
class period is being expanded, and now begins on January 19,
2005. The Defendants include IBM, CFO Mark Loughridge, and CEO
Samuel Palmisano.

The complaint alleges that Defendants violated Sections 10(b)
and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5
promulgated thereunder. Specifically, the complaint alleges that
Defendants failed to disclose, despite having a duty to do so,

     (1) IBM made misleading statements when it announced its
         results for year-end 2004, and knew or recklessly
         disregarded the fact that its first quarter 2005
         earnings would fall short of expectations;

     (2) At the time of its analyst conference call on April 5,
         2005, which was purportedly to discuss the impact of
         expensing options under SFAS 123R, the Company was
         experiencing significant operational issues in multiple
         areas of its business. In particular, the Company had
         been unable to close significant transactions late in
         the first quarter,  it was experiencing elongated sales
         cycles, and was having product-transition problems in
         its hardware segment.

     (3) The Company intentionally accelerated the adoption of
         SFAS 123R, despite having an additional two quarters to
         implement it, in order to sufficiently lower analyst
         expectations so that when it later disclosed the
         operational issues and reported earnings from
         continuing operations of $0.85 per share for the first
         quarter 2005, it would have the effect of cushioning
         the blow of the significant earnings miss.

     (4) The Company intentionally misrepresented the impact
         from expensing options, indicating an earnings impact
         of $0.14 per share on April 5, 2005 (versus the actual
         impact of $0.10 per share reported on April 14, 2005),
         in order to disguise a significant and material
         operating miss.

On April 14, 2005, IBM reported first quarter 2005 financial
results. The Company posted net income of $1.4 billion, or $0.84
per share, which represented an additional miss of $0.06 per
share, undisclosed nine days earlier. The Company also revealed
that the miss was significantly attributable to operations,
rather than wholly attributable to SFAS 123R, as the Company had
previously indicated. Shares reacted negatively to the news,
falling from $83.64 per share on April 14, 2005, to $76.70 per
share on April 15, 2005. Before the markets opened on April 18,
2005, the Wall Street Journal published an article
characterizing IBM's April 5, 2005 announcement as "clouding"
IBM's true financial position, and "cushioning the blow" of its
earnings miss. On May 4, 2005, IBM announced that it would be
reducing its workforce by 10,000 to 13,000 employees. On June
27, 2005, the Company announced that the SEC had begun an
informal investigation into the Company's statements regarding
the earnings miss.

For more details, contact Christopher Keller, Esq. of Goodkind
Labaton Rudoff & Sucharow, LLP, Phone: (800) 321-0476, Web site:

MAJESCO ENTERTAINMENT: Wolf Popper Lodges Securities Suit in NJ
The law firm of Wolf Popper LLP initiated a securities fraud
lawsuit against Majesco Entertainment Company ("Majesco")
(NasdaqNM: "COOL") and certain of its officers and directors, on
behalf of all persons who purchased Majesco securities on the
open market during the period December 8, 2004 through July 12,
2005. The action was filed in the United States District Court,
District of New Jersey.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants
caused Majesco to issue numerous press releases and file
quarterly and annual report with the SEC, touting that the
Company's sales for year 2005 expected to bring in $175-185
million in revenue and operating income of $16-18 million, and
repeatedly discussing the introduction of new products such as
popular frontline video games and wireless plug and play
gadgets. However, unbeknownst to the market, Majesco was facing
weaker than expected sales across all product lines, high retail
inventory levels, a steep decline in demand for its products,
and a write-down of receivables as a result of a financially
troubled customer.

On July 12, 2005, Majesco stunned the market when it finally
revealed its true financial condition, informing investors that
it had to lower its previous guidance on fiscal 2005 earnings by
more than 200%, from an operating income of $16-18 million to an
operating loss of $16-19 million.

In immediate reaction to the July 12, 2005 announcement,
Majesco's common stock plummeted 48% to $3.56, on a trading
volume of 19,070,308, from its closing price of $6.89 on July
12, 2005, and a trading volume of 901,051.

For more details, contact James Kelly-Kowlowitz, Esq. or Emily
DeMuro, Investor Relations of Wolf Popper, LLP, 845 Third
Avenue, New York, NY, 10022, Phone: 212-759-4600 or 877-370-7703
or 212-451-9610 Fax: 212-486-2093 or 877-370-7704, E-mail:
Jkelly@wolfpopper.com, edemuro@wolfpopper.com or

MOLINA HEALTHCARE: Schiffrin & Barroway Lodges Stock Suit in CA
The law firm of Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP initiated a class
action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the
Central District of California on behalf of all securities
purchasers of Molina Healthcare, Inc. (NYSE: MOH) ("Molina
Healthcare" or the "Company") between November 3, 2004 and July
20, 2005, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Molina Healthcare, J. Mario Molina, and
John C. Molina 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 as the Company aggressively expanded through
         acquisitions, Molina Healthcare underestimated the
         financial impact of absorbing new members and failed to
         close favorable contracts with providers;

     (2) that as a result of the foregoing the Company
         experienced significant increases in medical costs;

     (3) that the Company failed to identify and mitigate the
         impact of higher-than-expected catastrophic cases and
         increased maternity costs; and

     (4) as such, defendants' positive statements regarding the
         Company's outlook were lacking in any reasonable basis
         when made.

On July 20, 2005, after the market closed, Molina Healthcare
slashed its forecast for 2005, blaming rising medical costs, and
said it expects a loss in the range of 15 to 20 cents per share
for the second quarter. More specifically, Molina Healthcare cut
its earnings forecast to 73 cents to 80 cents per share for the
full year, from a prior $2.40 to $2.45 per share. On news of
this, shares of Molina Healthcare fell $20.00 per share, or
43.48 percent, to close at $26.00 per share on unusually heavy
trading volume.

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


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

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by
Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless Hills,
Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick, Maryland
USA.   Glenn Ruel Senorin, Aurora Fatima Antonio and Lyndsey
Resnick, Editors.

Copyright 2005.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without
prior written permission of the publishers.

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

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

                  * * *  End of Transmission  * * *