/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/120316.mbx              C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

             Friday, March 16, 2012, Vol. 14, No. 54


AGNICO-EAGLE MINES: Siskinds Files Securities Class Action
BLUE SKY: Class Action Settlement Gets Preliminary Approval
BRAZILIAN BLOWOUT: Will Stay on Market Following Settlement
BY FAITH: Faces Overtime Class Action in California
COLGATE PALMOLIVE: In Talks to Settle ERISA Consolidated Suit

CROCS INC: Appeal From Securities Suit Dismissal Ruling Pending
DIRECTV: Appeal from Denial of Arbitration Bid Pending in Calif.
EASTERN NEW MEXICO: Bid to Remove Judge in Billing Suit Rejected
EMSA: Dismisses Two Lawsuits v. Area Residents Over Utility Fee
FIDELITY NATIONAL: Awaits Ruling on Bid to Dismiss Suit in Calif.

FORT HOOD: Customers Seek Class Action Status in Overdraft Suit
FRESENIUS MEDICAL: Court Affirms W.R. Grace Confirmation Order
FRESENIUS MEDICAL: Indiana Pension Fund Suit Still Pending
GOV'T OF QUEENSLAND: 2,000 Flood Victims to Join Class Action
GUIDECRAFT INC: Recalls 2,150 Units of Children's Play Theaters

HAMMOND: Plaintiffs' Lawyers in Gun Suit to Appeal Ruling
HYDRO-GEAR LP: Recalls 2,700 Hydrostatic Lawn Tractors
IMPERIAL HOLDINGS: Group of Investors Calls for Board to Resign
IMPERIAL TOBACCO: Responds to Blais & Letourneau Class Actions
KINDER MORGAN: Awaits Ruling on Bid to Enjoin Vote on EP Merger

MEDICAL VISION: Women with PIP Implants Eligible for Medicare
OMEGA FLEX: Settles Insurer Class Action for $4.7 Million
PATRIOT COAL: Class Suit Over Employee Safety Violations Pending
REDBOX AUTOMATED: 7th Circuit Dismisses Class Action
SPIRIT AEROSYSTEMS: Appeal in Discrimination Suit vs. Unit Pending

SPIRIT AEROSYSTEMS: Discovery in 'Harkness' Suit Ongoing
STATE OF IDAHO: Prison Medical Care Report Expected This Week
SUPERMEDIA INC: Consolidated Suit in Texas Still Pending
SUPERMEDIA INC: Suit vs. Company's EBC Still Pending in Texas
SUPERMEDIA INC: Suit vs. Co. Officers and EBC Members Pending

TEXTRON: CRERS Appeal from Suit Dismissal Order Still Pending
TEXTRON: Discovery in ERISA Suit in Rhode Island Ongoing
TNUVA: Faces Class Action Over Diary Market Monopoly
UPMC: May Face Class Action Over Medical Record Costs
WISE MEDIA: Faces Class Action in Calif. Over "Flirting Tips"

* Advocates Call for Improvement in Okla. Foster Care System
* Canadian Gov't Urged to Probe Quebec's Adoption Practices
* Federal Appeals Court Upholds California DNA Law Ruling

                    Asbestos Litigation

ASBESTOS UPDATE: NY Ct. Allows Colgate to Seek Expert Testimony
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Del. Ct. Junks Claims v. Zidell/William Powell
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Pa. Ct. Junks FELA Claim v. CSX Transportation
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Ohio Appeals Ct. Reverses Ruling in Adience Suit
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Pa. Ct. Strikes Out Expert Rebuttal as Untimely

ASBESTOS UPDATE: NY Ct. Junks Fraud Claim v. Property Seller
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Va. Ct. Reverses Award in Seaman Case
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Pa. Ct. Junks Acquittal Bid in Conspiracy Case
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Del. Ct. Dismisses Claim v. Crane Co.
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Registry Sought for Quebec's Contaminated Bldgs

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Aires Consulting Says Chiddix School Safe
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Somerset Sites Affect New Rules on Hazmats
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Shrader & Associates Hope for "Turin" Stateside
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Contaminated Debris Remains Exposed Since October
ASBESTOS UPDATE: 31 Mesothelioma Deaths in Blackpool in 4 Years

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Asbestos PI Trust to Pay Up to $350K/Claimant
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Coulombe Says WHO's Death-Toll Stats A "Fantasy"
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Bad Call at Follansbee Abatement Rectified
ASBESTOS UPDATE: WorkSafeBC Reports 2011 Total Fines of C$4.9MM
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Fibro Compels Unit Five to Shut Down Chiddix High

ASBESTOS UPDATE: DAST Commemorates 120 Mesothelioma Victims
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Hazards Add $600,000 to Music Building Costs
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Dist. Court Reverses $500MM Judgment v. Travelers
ASBESTOS UPDATE: 3 Justices Dissented on SC Ruling vs Rail Workers
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Official Downplays Chiddix Health Risk

ASBESTOS UPDATE: State Agents Find 800 Bags of HazMat Near School
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Contaminants Close Pierrefonds High School
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Seat Aspirant Assures Fairer Change to Madison Ct
ASBESTOS UPDATE: SC Says 1915 Federal Act Preempted Corson's Claim
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Coulombe Expects to Resume Production This Year

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Wiki Leaks Says 2008 Cable Warn Vietnam of Risks
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Corgi Hosiery Found Guilty, Fined GBP25,000
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Justice Swift Ruled Equal Payouts To All Ages
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Abatement of Jan Juc Site to Complete "ASAP"
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Politico Says Balcorp Can't Obtain Financing

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Businessman Faces $500K Fine Plus Jail Time
ASBESTOS UPDATE: "Serial Polluter" Faces Up Amassed Penalties
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Merseyrail Test Results Show "No Hint" of Fibro
ASBESTOS UPDATE: 24 Mesothelioma Deaths in Broxtowe in 4 Years
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Contractor Indicted for Multiple EPA Violations

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Tons of Carcinogens in Gillam, "Safe" Says Mayor
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Editorial Salutes Unit 5 for Appropriate Action
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Superfund Program the Sole Solution, DEC Says
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Auto-Tax Foreclosure Waived on Contaminated Lot
ASBESTOS UPDATE: 19 Mesothelioma Deaths in High Peak in 5 Years

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Accident Afflicted Exposure in Oct. Up For Repair
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Eden, Lowell Citizens Decide on Superfund Program
ASBESTOS UPDATE: Foyle MP Supports Recommendations in APPG Report
ASBESTOS UPDATE: 21 Mesothelioma Deaths in Erewash in 4 Years


AGNICO-EAGLE MINES: Siskinds Files Securities Class Action
Siskinds LLP on March 12 disclosed that it has filed a proposed
class action in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against
Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd., and certain of Agnico-Eagle's senior

The proposed class includes all persons and entities who acquired
securities of Agnico-Eagle from March 26, 2010 to October 19, 2011
(the "Class Period").  The action alleges, among other things,
that the defendants failed to disclose the specific risks
regarding ongoing water inflow at Goldex.

Persons and entities who acquired securities of Agnico-Eagle
during the Class Period are encouraged to register at:
Inquiries should be directed to Nicole Young of Siskinds at (800)
461-6166 (ext. 2380) or at nicole.young@siskinds.com

BLUE SKY: Class Action Settlement Gets Preliminary Approval
Gutride Safier LLP on March 12 disclosed that a federal court in
San Francisco has preliminarily approved a class action settlement
that provides 50% cash refunds on purchases of Blue Sky brand

The settlement applies to purchasers in the United States of Blue
Sky brand beverages between May 16, 2002 and June 30, 2006 (the
"Class").  It excludes purchases by retailers, distributors,
resellers, and the judge handling the case.

Class members can submit a claim for refund of fifty percent of
the price they paid. Refunds are limited to $100 per household (if
Proof of Purchase is submitted) or $6 per household (if no Proof
of Purchase is submitted).  Proof of Purchase means an itemized
retail receipt that shows a purchase of a Blue Sky beverage, and
the date, place and amount of purchase.

To make a claim, class members must download the Claim Form from
the Settlement Web site at http://www.BlueSkySodaClassAction.com
fill it out, sign it in ink and mail it (with Proof of Purchase,
if any) to the address shown on the form.  Claim Forms are due by
June 11, 2012.

The settlement resolves a lawsuit against Monster Beverage
Corporation (formerly known as Hansen Natural Corporation),
Monster Energy Company (formerly known as Hansen Beverage Company)
and Blue Sky Natural Beverage Co. (collectively, "Hansen").

The lawsuit claims that Hansen falsely and deceptively marketed
the Blue Sky brand beverages as originating from Santa Fe, New
Mexico, or being canned under the authority of the Blue Sky
beverage company in that city.  It argues that in fact, the
beverages were canned under the authority of Hansen Beverage
Company in Corona, California.

Hansen denies the claims and denies that it has violated any law
or regulation.  Hansen further contends that any representations
about Santa Fe, New Mexico, were immaterial to purchasers'
decisions and had no effect on pricing or sales. Hansen contends,
therefore, that no purchaser is entitled to relief.

The settlement releases all class members' claims against Hansen
regarding allegations of false, deceptive or improper labeling and
marketing of the Blue Sky brand beverages during the period May
16, 2002 to June 30, 2006, with respect to the place of origin and
name and location of the company exercising canning authority over
the beverages.

Class members who do not want their claims to be released can
exclude themselves by following the instructions on the Settlement
Web site.  Those who exclude themselves cannot file a claim or
object to the settlement.

Class members also have the right to object to the settlement by
filing papers in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco,
California (Chavez v Blue Sky Natural Beverage Co., et al., N.D.
Cal. 06-cv-06609-JSW) and serving those papers on the attorneys
for Plaintiff and Defendants.  Those who object may ask to appear
at the hearing or hire their own attorney to appear.

Request for exclusion and objections are due by April 20, 2012,
and must comply with the instructions on the Settlement Web site.

The Court will hold a hearing on May 11, 2012 to consider whether
to approve the settlement.  If the settlement is approved, the
attorneys for the class will ask the Court to award them up to
$900,000.00 in fees and expenses.  This amount includes a proposed
award of $10,000.00 as an incentive to the customer who started
the lawsuit.  These amounts would be paid by Hansen separately
from and in addition to the amounts paid for class members'

For more information, please visit the Settlement Web site at
http://www.BlueSkySodaClassAction.com or write to the lawyers for
the class at:

          Blue Sky Settlement
          Gutride Safier LLP
          P.O. Box 460823
          San Francisco, CA 94146

BRAZILIAN BLOWOUT: Will Stay on Market Following Settlement
Dan Shapley, writing for The Daily Green, reports that despite
being called out for high formaldehyde content and low safety by
the Food and Drug Administration, the Occupational Health and
Safety Administration (OSHA), several states, a number of
environmental and health organizations and even the cosmetics
industry itself, Brazilian Blowouts will stay on the market
following the settlement of a class-action lawsuit.

Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and may have other harmful
health effects.

The makers of Brazilian Blowout, a hair-straightening treatment,
had already settled with the California Attorney General for
$600,000 by the time the class-action lawsuit from consumers and
salon workers reached the judge.  The settlement will improve the
labeling of the treatment, and offer up to $100 per customer who
claimed harm from using the product, as well as $75 per bottle
sold to salons, a settlement that will cost the company (or, more
accurately, its insurers) $4.5 million, according to the New York

The settlement scandalized some advocates, who have called for the
product to be banned.  "This scandal is the perfect example of how
cosmetic regulations are totally failing to protect public health,
even in the case of obvious and proven dangers," said Stacy
Malkan, of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

In the latest sign that Brazilian Blowouts, and related hair
straightening products are not safe, the Food and Drug
Administration has sent a letter to the makers of the Brazilian
Blowout-brand products warning that the cosmetics are both
"adulterated" and "misbranded."  Why? Because they contain as much
as 10% liquid formaldehyde (methylene glycol), a known carcinogen
and toxic substance, but are labeled "formaldehyde free."

BY FAITH: Faces Overtime Class Action in California
Courthouse News Service reports that By Faith Inc. dba Subway
sandwich shops, stiff workers for overtime and wages due, a class
action claims in Superior Court.

A copy of the Complaint in Vargas, et al. v. By Faith, Inc., et
al., Case No. RIC1203464 (Calif. Super. Ct., Riverside Cty.), is
available at:


The Plaintiffs are represented by:

          Stephen A. Madoni, Esq.
          3700 Newport Boulevard, Suite 206
          Newport Beach, CA 92663
          Telephone: (949) 723-7600
          E-mail: stevemadoni@aol.com

According to the Defendant, consumers voluntarily subscribe to
receive three SMS texts per week, delivered to their cellular
phones, which texts provide "flirting tips," Mr. Humble says.  The
truth is, he alleges, few or no consumers voluntarily subscribed
to any such service, and instead, the Defendant sent unsolicited
texts to consumers, who had no prior relationship with it.  He
contends that as a result of the Defendant's deceptive practices,
including its use of consumers' cell phone numbers to send
unsolicited text messages and to involuntarily enroll consumers in
the Subscription Plan, he and numerous other consumers similarly
situated to him were wrongfully charged subscription fees.

Mr. Andrew is a resident of Millbrae, California.

Wise Media is a Georgia limited liability company based in
Grayson, Georgia.  Wise Media conducts business using the
fictitious business name lovegenietips.com.  The Plaintiff is
ignorant of the true names and capacities of the Doe Defendants.

COLGATE PALMOLIVE: In Talks to Settle ERISA Consolidated Suit
Colgate Palmolive Company and the plaintiffs in the consolidated
class action styled In re Colgate-Palmolive ERISA Litigation are
in mediation to settle the lawsuit, according to the Company's
February 23, 2012, 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011.

In October 2007, a putative class action claiming that certain
aspects of the cash balance portion of the Colgate-Palmolive
Company Employees' Retirement Income Plan (the Plan) do not comply
with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act was filed against
the Plan and the Company in the United States District Court for
the Southern District of New York.  Specifically, Proesel, et al.
v. Colgate-Palmolive Company Employees' Retirement Income Plan, et
al. alleges improper calculation of lump sum distributions, age
discrimination and failure to satisfy minimum accrual
requirements, thereby resulting in the underpayment of benefits to
Plan participants.

Two other putative class actions filed earlier in 2007, Abelman,
et al. v. Colgate-Palmolive Company Employees' Retirement Income
Plan, et al., in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Ohio, and Caufield v. Colgate-Palmolive Company
Employees' Retirement Income Plan, in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Indiana, both alleging improper
calculation of lump sum distributions and, in the case of Abelman,
claims for failure to satisfy minimum accrual requirements, were
transferred to the Southern District of New York and consolidated
with Proesel into one action, In re Colgate-Palmolive ERISA
Litigation.  The complaint in the consolidated action alleges
improper calculation of lump sum distributions and failure to
satisfy minimum accrual requirements, but does not include a claim
for age discrimination.  The relief sought includes recalculation
of benefits in unspecified amounts, pre- and post-judgment
interest, injunctive relief and attorneys' fees. This action has
not been certified as a class action as yet.  The parties are in
discussions via non-binding mediation to determine whether the
action can be settled.  The Company and the Plan intend to contest
this action vigorously should the parties be unable to reach a

CROCS INC: Appeal From Securities Suit Dismissal Ruling Pending
An appeal from a district court order granting Crocs Inc.'s
motion to dismiss an amended consolidated complaint against the
Company is pending, according to the Company's February 23, 2012,
10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for
the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011.

Starting in November 2007, certain stockholders filed several
purported shareholder class actions in the U.S. District Court for
the District of Colorado alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and
20(a) of the Exchange Act based on alleged statements made by the
Company between July 27, 2007 and October 31, 2007.  The Company
and certain of its current and former officers and directors have
been named as defendants in complaints filed by investors in the
United States District Court for the District of Colorado.  The
first complaint was filed in November 2007; several other
complaints were filed shortly thereafter.  These actions were
consolidated and, in September 2008, the Court appointed a lead
plaintiff and counsel.  An amended consolidated complaint was
filed in December 2008.  The amended complaint purports to state
claims under Section 10(b), 20(a), and 20A of the Exchange Act on
behalf of a class of all persons who purchased the Company's stock
between April 2, 2007 and April 14, 2008.  The amended complaint
alleges that, during the Class Period, defendants made false and
misleading public statements about the Company and its business
and prospects and that, as a result, the market price of its stock
was artificially inflated.  The amended complaint also claims that
certain current and former officers and directors traded the
Company's stock on the basis of material non-public information.
The amended complaint seeks compensatory damages on behalf of the
alleged class in an unspecified amount, interest and an award of
attorneys' fees and costs of litigation.  On February 28, 2011,
the District Court granted motions to dismiss filed by the
defendants and dismissed all claims.  While a final judgment was
thereafter entered, the plaintiffs have appealed and are
challenging the court's February 28, 2011 order in the United
States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Due to the inherent uncertainties of litigation and because the
litigation is at a preliminary stage, the Company cannot at this
time accurately predict the ultimate outcome of the matter or
estimate the amount or range of potential loss, if any.  It is
possible that this action could be resolved adversely to the
Company.  Risks associated with legal liability are often
difficult to assess or quantify and their existence and magnitude
can remain unknown for significant periods of time.  While the
Company maintains director and officer insurance, the amount of
insurance coverage may not be sufficient to cover a claim and the
continued availability of this insurance cannot be assured.  The
Company may, in the future, be the target of additional
proceedings and the present or future proceedings may result in
substantial costs and divert management's attention and resources
that are needed to successfully run its business.

DIRECTV: Appeal from Denial of Arbitration Bid Pending in Calif.
The appeal from a court order denying DIRECTV's motion to compel
arbitration with respect to class action lawsuits in California
state court is still pending, according to the Company's February
23, 2012, 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011.

In 2008, a number of plaintiffs filed putative class action
lawsuits in state and federal courts challenging the early
cancellation fees the Company assessed its customers when they do
not fulfill their programming commitments.  Several of these
lawsuits are pending, some in California state court purporting to
represent statewide classes, and some in federal courts purporting
to represent nationwide classes.  The lawsuits seek both monetary
and injunctive relief. While the theories of liability vary, the
lawsuits generally challenge these fees under state consumer
protection laws as both unfair and inadequately disclosed to
customers.  The Company's motions to compel arbitration have been
granted in all of the federal cases, except as to claims seeking
injunctive relief under California statutes.  The denial of the
Company's motion as to those claims is currently on appeal.  The
Company believes that its early cancellation fees are adequately
disclosed, and represent reasonable estimates of the costs it
incurs when customers cancel service before fulfilling their
programming commitments.

EASTERN NEW MEXICO: Bid to Remove Judge in Billing Suit Rejected
The Associated Press reports that the New Mexico Supreme Court has
ruled in favor of a state district judge accused of having a
conflict of interest in a lawsuit over hospital billing practices.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the issue was whether
District Judge Ralph Shamas of Roswell should be removed from the
case because seven family members, including his son and son-in-
law, are among the 8,500 potential plaintiffs in the class-action

The lawsuit contends that Eastern New Mexico Medical Center has
been "turbocharging" uninsured and "self-pay" patients as a way to
maximize its Medicaid funding.

Hospital attorneys argued Judge Shamas shouldn't be in a position
to rule on his family members' claims.

Plaintiff lawyers denied a conflict existed.

The hospital appealed to the Supreme Court after Judge Shamas
decided to stay on the case.

EMSA: Dismisses Two Lawsuits v. Area Residents Over Utility Fee
Ziva Branstetter, writing for Tulsa World, reports that two
lawsuits filed by EMSA against area residents who were paying a
utility fee for ambulance service have been dismissed at the
agency's request, records show.

The actions come in the wake of a Tulsa World investigation into
billing practices of the Emergency Medical Services Authority.

EMSA's law firm, Works & Lentz, cited "clerical error" in a motion
to vacate one of the lawsuits.  In that case, EMSA garnished the
wages of a Jenks woman who was caring for her critically ill
mother even though Jenks residents cannot opt out of the utility

"My mom has cancer," the woman states in a plea Jan. 23 for EMSA
to halt attempts to garnish her paycheck.  "I just got back to
work and have worked only one day thus far.  . . .  I cannot
afford to pay this.  My mom almost died and I needed to be there."

A World investigation has found at least three cases in which
people who were paying a monthly utility fee for ambulance service
were sued by the agency.

EMSA also instituted a clause requiring patients to provide
insurance information within 60 days or they become responsible
for the entire bill.  The clause is not authorized under Tulsa's
city ordinance and was not approved by EMSA's board.

EMSA is a government agency that provides ambulance service to
more than 1 million people in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and surrounding

EMSA spokeswoman Kelli Bruer would not comment directly on whether
the agency is conducting a full-scale review of all accounts.

"Our processes are very thorough and include multiple checks and
balances," she said in an e-mail.  "If a patient has paid in
error, we have ways to catch this in the system and we issue a
refund immediately.  We make every effort to communicate with our
patients and verify the accuracy of their account."

Tulsa District Court records show EMSA sued Robin Kirkover
Streveler in July 2011 and won a default judgment against her in
November of $1,230.  Ms. Streveler, assistant manager of an Arby's
restaurant in Jenks, said she passed out at work two years ago and
was transported by ambulance.

She said that when she received notice of the suit from Works &
Lentz, a law firm under contract with EMSA, she didn't know what
it was for.

"When Works & Lentz sent me a thing that I was being sued, I
thought it was like a hospital bill because it didn't say EMSA
. . . and then they just started garnishing my paycheck," said
Ms. Streveler, 53.

She said she agreed to pay Works & Lentz $50 a month because "they
wouldn't take anything less than that."  When Ms. Streveler had to
make an emergency trip to Florida to care for her ailing mother,
she told the law firm she couldn't make payments for several
months because she was not being paid.

"It was awful," she said. ". . . They kept harassing me on my cell
phone.  I told them I'm on the family leave act and I don't get
paid.  When I got back, they had garnished my wages."

Ms. Streveler said during one pay period, "I had more going out of
my paycheck than coming in."

Representatives for the law firm could not be reached for comment.
In the past, Harry Lentz has said: "If any person from whom we are
attempting to collect an EMSA bill asserts that they had 'water
bill coverage,' our responsibility to EMSA is to immediately cease
our collection efforts until EMSA determines whether or not the
patient was covered under the water bill program."

The firm and EMSA have been named in a lawsuit seeking class-
action status that claims EMSA's billing practices are fraudulent.
EMSA has denied claims that Works & Lentz harasses patients with
past-due accounts and said the firm follows federal law relating
to debt collection.

Ms. Streveler said that when she read the World's story about two
Tulsans who were sued by EMSA even though they paid the utility
fee, she called Works & Lentz and "told them to cease and desist."
Like others interviewed by the World, she said she was not aware
how the utility fee program worked or that it was supposed to
cover out-of-pocket costs for ambulance service.

EMSA has announced it will begin a public education campaign
regarding the utility fee program.

"We understand there are misconceptions about the city utility fee
TotalCare program," Ms. Bruer's e-mail states.  "We care about our
patients and want to alleviate any fears they may have.  We are
looking into new ways to get the facts about the program out to
the public.  But, as always, the best way an individual can get
questions answered about their account is to simply call us."

Ms. Streveler said she never received a return call regarding her
complaint but did receive a letter last week with a $375 check
from Works & Lentz.  The letter says EMSA investigated her claim
and "at the conclusion of EMSA's investigation it was determined
that you were in fact entitled to coverage under the water bill

Records show Works & Lentz filed a motion to vacate the judgment
in Ms. Streveler's case on March 7.

The motion states: "For reason that due to clerical error,
judgment herein was entered in error."  A Tulsa District Court
judge entered an order on March 8 vacating the judgment.

Ms. Streveler said she never received a statement showing how much
she paid Works & Lentz but believes it totaled at least $600.
Records show she was also charged interest on her court judgment.

EMSA has not responded to a World request regarding whether the
agency will repay interest, court fees and other costs associated
with lawsuits it moves to dismiss.

Ms. Streveler said she believes she is entitled to more money and
an explanation about why she was sued when she was paying the
utility fee.

"I was so frustrated and just very, very upset that they would do
that," she said.

Records show EMSA requested dismissal of a second suit last week.
The suit against Christopher and Monica Simmons was filed Feb. 1
in Tulsa County District Court.

Court records contain few details but state the case was dismissed
on March 6 at EMSA's request.

FIDELITY NATIONAL: Awaits Ruling on Bid to Dismiss Suit in Calif.
Fidelity National Financial, Inc. is awaiting a ruling on its
motion to dismiss an amended purported class action lawsuit filed
against its subsidiaries in California, according to the Company's
February 23, 2012, 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011.

On November 24, 2010, plaintiffs filed a purported class action in
the United States District Court, Northern District of California,
Oakland Division titled Vivian Hays, et al. vs. Commonwealth Land
Title Insurance Company and Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation,
which the Company refers to as the Hays action.  Plaintiffs seek
to represent a class of all persons who deposited their exchange
funds with LandAmerica 1031 Exchange Service (LES) and were not
able to use them in their contemplated exchanges due to the
alleged illiquidity of LES caused by the collapse of the auction
rate security market in early 2008.  Plaintiffs allege
Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company and Lawyers Title
Insurance Corporation (which was merged into Fidelity National
Title Insurance Company) knew of the problems at LES and had an
obligation of disclosure to exchangers, but did not disclose and
instead recommended exchangers use LES in order to fund prior
exchangers' transactions with money from new exchangers.

In the initial complaint, plaintiffs sued the Company's
subsidiaries Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company and Lawyers
Title Insurance Corporation for negligence, breach of fiduciary
duty, constructive fraud and aiding and abetting LES.  Plaintiffs
ask for compensatory and punitive damages, prejudgment interest
and reasonable attorney's fees.  The case was transferred on the
Company's motion to a Multi-District Litigation proceeding in
South Carolina and a status conference was held on April 22, 2011.
This case was stayed until a decision was made on motions pending
in a similar class action against an unrelated party.  The court
in that case ruled on June 15, 2011 on the motion to dismiss the
complaint filed by the unrelated party and dismissed the
complaint.  The plaintiffs in the case against Commonwealth Land
Title Insurance Company and Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation
filed an amended complaint on August 15, 2011.  The complaint
added approximately twenty new plaintiffs and two new defendants;
Commonwealth Land Title Company and LandAmerica Charter Title
Company, both of which are affiliates of FNF.  It also expanded
the causes of action.  The new causes of action are aiding and
abetting fraud committed by LES; conspiracy to commit fraud with
LES; aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty by LES; aiding
and abetting conversion of trust funds by LES; enterprise
liability; negligence; breach of fiduciary duty; conversion of
escrow funds and RICO liability.  The Company filed a motion to
dismiss the second amended complaint on September 30, 2011 as it
believes it has strong legal and factual defenses to this action.
The amended complaint did not seek a specified amount of damages
as to each of the plaintiffs but is seeking damages to plaintiffs
and potential class members measured by the loss of their
property, consequential damages and other elements of damages
including punitive and treble damages.  A hearing on the motion to
dismiss was held on January 17, 2012 but no ruling has been
issued.  The Company is uncertain as to the total volume of claims
against LES that remain unsatisfied; however in a related case, on
January 26, 2012 the LES liquidation trust filed a motion to
approve a settlement agreement between the LES liquidation trust,
the LFG liquidation trust and certain underwriters at Lloyd's of
London with the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of
Virginia.  The motion asks the bankruptcy court to approve the
settlement, which would have the effect of exhausting all
insurance coverage for the LandAmerica Financial Group, Inc.
entities, including the entities FNF purchased from LFG that are
named as defendants in the Hays action.  The FNF entities are co-
insureds under the Lloyds policies, had made claims based on the
LES 1031 litigation, and other claims as a result of operations.
Despite having made these claims as co-insureds, and having
requested notice, and an opportunity to negotiate with Lloyds and
the LES liquidation trust to find a mutually acceptable resolution
to all claims, Lloyds and LES excluded the FNF entities from the
settlement negotiation.  On February 17, 2012 the FNF entities
filed an objection to approval of the settlement.  The FNF
entities argued that the self-insured retention amounts and
potential coverage have not been sufficiently disclosed and/or are
incorrectly calculated, as well as that it is inequitable to
exhaust coverage under the policy by settling with the LES
liquidation trust leaving the Company's claims unsatisfied.  The
matter is scheduled for hearing on February 23, 2012.

In the settlement agreement, LES asserts total losses in excess of
$300 million for exchange funds and taxes lost as well as defense
costs of more than $12 million.  According to the settlement
agreement, the LES liquidation trust or the LFG liquidation trust
have already paid more than $200 million of the total losses to
claimants.  If the settlement agreement is approved, $38 million
would be distributed under certain Lloyds insurance coverages
pursuant to the settlement agreement.  Based on the facts of the
settlement agreement, and assuming the Lloyds settlement is
approved, which it may not be, $74 million of losses and
attorney's fees remain unpaid.  In order to make any meaningful
estimate of the Company's potential exposure, if any, under this
case, it must consider multiple variables, including the
following.   First, it is uncertain what, if any, of the causes of
action plead will remain after the court rules on the Company's
motion to dismiss.  Also, at this time, no discovery has been
undertaken or exchanged between the parties.  The potential
population of plaintiffs and/or class members under each cause of
action alleged against the Company has not been determined and
therefore neither has the amount of the potential compensatory
loss for the exchange amount or other interest and tax savings
allegedly lost.  The Company's potential exposure will also be
affected by the approval of the LES settlement agreement as well
as other related cases that are outstanding.  Due to these
factors, among others, and the early stage of this case, it is not
possible to make a meaningful estimate of the amount or range of
loss to the Company, if any, that could result from this case at
this time.  The Company intends to continue to vigorously defend
this action.

FORT HOOD: Customers Seek Class Action Status in Overdraft Suit
Nancy Flake, writing for Your Houston News, reports that while a
South Montgomery County attorney is alleging that several banks --
including one that serves thousands of military members at Fort
Hood -- are defrauding customers through deceptive uses of
overdraft fees, the banks' attorney asserts the banks are
following the law.

Bill Voss, with the Voss Law Center on I-45 South near Sawdust
Road, claims in a lawsuit filed in Harris County in December that
Fort Hood National Bank and First National Texas Bank (also doing
business as First Convenience Bank, FCBI Delaware Inc. and First
Community Bancshares Inc.) are making profits of billions of
dollars "based in large part upon complete and blatant
misrepresentations made consciously and systematically to its
customer base."

That customer base, Mr. Voss asserts, includes many active and
retired military members.

The lawsuit, which has nearly two dozen plaintiffs and which is
gaining more, Mr. Voss said on March 11, asks that a Harris County
court determine it can become a class-action lawsuit.

It claims that the banks did not clearly disclose overdraft
protection programs or refused to allow customers to opt out of
the programs and that they "manipulate and reorder" transactions
so they can increase the number of overdraft fees they impose.
Military members stationed at Fort Hood must use FHNB in order to
use direct deposit for their paychecks, Mr. Voss said.

"They have no control over where they bank," he said.
But while FHNB has several branches on the Killeen base, a
spokeswoman at Fort Hood said, "You can do direct deposits with
any base."

And Bill Helfand, an attorney with the Chamberlain Hrdlicka law
firm in Houston who is representing the banks, also said the Fort
Hood soldiers have a choice in which banks they use.

Fort Hood National Bank has been on the base "for decades," he
said.  "They don't target anyone.  They treasure the relationship
they have with their customers."

Mr. Voss alleges the banks order overdrafts to be paid on a
largest-to-smallest system rather than chronological, resulting in
more overdraft fees -- of about $35 each -- being paid by
customers, often putting them in dire financial straits because of
a "domino effect" that will make it less likely that the account
holder's balance will reach positive territory.

But there is no factual basis to the lawsuit, and the banks comply
with federal law in dealing with overdrafts in the manner with
which the customer consented, Mr. Helfand said.

"Under federal regulations, a bank cannot give overdraft
protection without consent," he said.  "They (the banks) order
(overdraft payments) based on the nature of the transactions.  It
doesn't matter how you order it, the money's not in your account.
"The reason they charge overdraft fees is, they're lending people

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has launched an inquiry
into transaction reordering by banks, according to
http://www.consumerfinance.govand into how clearly overdraft
terms are disclosed to customers.

The average overdraft fee was $30 to $35 in 2011 and has increased
by 17 percent in the past five years, the agency states on its
Web site.

The FHNB and First National Bank Texas -- which has a branch in
Conroe -- are in complete compliance with all laws and
regulations, Mr. Helfand said.

The overdraft agreement between the banks and customers "is
reviewed on a regular basis by the U.S. Comptroller of the
Currency, a branch of the Treasury Department," he said.

The banks treat ACH, debit card and check overdrafts separately,
he said, while most banks treat them the same "from high to low."

An ACH is an automatic bill payment a customer sets up with a
mortgage company or utility, such as a cell phone carrier.

"A bank has almost no control over ACH transactions," Mr. Helfand
said, because the dates of the transactions are determined between
the customer and the company being paid.

Overdraft transaction fees don't affect most bank customers
because "most people only spend the money in their account,"
Mr. Helfand said.  "These folks have asked the bank to cover them.
"Anyone can file a lawsuit."

Mr. Helfand claims that Mr. Voss incorrectly filed the lawsuit
before informing the banks and their legal counsel how much money
the customers have lost through the overdraft fees.

He also alleges that only two of Mr. Voss's current plaintiffs are
actually military members, and both are retired.

Mr. Voss said he doesn't know how much money his clients have
lost, "because we're still in the client sign-up phase."
He also could not say how many of the plaintiffs are active or
retired military members.

"I know we've signed up another two or three," he said.
He would, however, like to see the lawsuit gain attention by
military members at other bases.

"If this lawsuit brings issues to light at other bases," he said,
"we've done a good job."

FRESENIUS MEDICAL: Court Affirms W.R. Grace Confirmation Order
A U.S. district court affirmed a bankruptcy court order confirming
W.R. Grace & Co.'s restructuring plan, allowing Fresenius Medical
Care AG & Co. KGaA to settle the claims of W.R. Grace creditors,
according to the Company's February 23, 2012, 20-F filing with the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the fiscal year ended
December 31, 2011.

Prior to and after the commencement of the Chapter 11 proceedings
of W.R. Grace & Co., class action complaints were filed against it
and Fresenius Medical Care Holdings Inc. by plaintiffs claiming to
be creditors of W.R. Grace & Co.-Conn., and by the asbestos
creditors' committees on behalf of the W.R. Grace & Co. bankruptcy
estate in the proceedings, alleging among other things that the
merger between W.R. Grace & Co. and Fresenius SE was a fraudulent
conveyance, violated the uniform fraudulent transfer act and
constituted a conspiracy.  All such cases have been stayed and
transferred to or are pending before the U.S. District Court as
part of the Grace Chapter 11 Proceedings.

In 2003, the Company reached agreement with the asbestos
creditors' committees on behalf of the W.R. Grace & Co. bankruptcy
estate and W.R. Grace & Co. in the matters pending in the Grace
Chapter 11 Proceedings for the settlement of all fraudulent
conveyance and tax claims against it and other claims related to
the Company that arise out of the bankruptcy of W.R. Grace & Co.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement as amended, fraudulent
conveyance and other claims raised on behalf of asbestos claimants
will be dismissed with prejudice and the Company will receive
protection against existing and potential future W.R. Grace & Co.
related claims, including fraudulent conveyance and asbestos
claims, and indemnification against income tax claims related to
the non-NMC members of the W.R. Grace & Co. consolidated tax group
upon confirmation of a W.R. Grace & Co. bankruptcy reorganization
plan that contains such provisions.  Under the Settlement
Agreement, the Company will pay a total of $115,000 without
interest to the W.R. Grace & Co. bankruptcy estate, or as
otherwise directed by the Court, upon plan confirmation.  No
admission of liability has been or will be made.  The Settlement
Agreement has been approved by the U.S. District Court. In January
and February 2011, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court entered orders
confirming the joint plan of reorganization and the confirmation
orders were affirmed by the U.S. District Court on January 31,

FRESENIUS MEDICAL: Indiana Pension Fund Suit Still Pending
Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGaA continues to defend itself
from a lawsuit filed by an Indiana pension fund, according to the
Company's February 23, 2012, 20-F filing with the U.S. Securities
and Exchange Commission for the fiscal year ended December 31,

Renal Care Group, Inc., which the Company acquired in 2006, is
named as a nominal defendant in a complaint originally filed
September 13, 2006 in the Chancery Court for the State of
Tennessee Twentieth Judicial District at Nashville styled Indiana
State District Council of Laborers and Hod Carriers Pension Fund
v. Gary Brukardt et al.  Following the trial court's dismissal of
the complaint, plaintiff's appeal in part, and reversal in part by
the appellate court, the cause of action purports to be a class
action on behalf of former shareholders of RCG and seeks monetary
damages only against the individual former directors of RCG.  The
individual defendants, however, may have claims for
indemnification and reimbursement of expenses against the Company.
The Company expects to continue as a defendant in the litigation,
which is proceeding toward trial in the Chancery Court, and
believes that defendants will prevail.

GOV'T OF QUEENSLAND: 2,000 Flood Victims to Join Class Action
Petrina Berry, writing for 9News, reports that about 2,000
Queensland flood victims are eager to join a potential billion-
dollar class action against the state government, lawyers say.

Maurice Blackburn lawyers and litigation funder IMF met flood
victims in Ipswich, Fernvale, Chelmer and Wacol on March 10 and
March 11.

They are investigating the potential for a class action against
the state government over claims that the government-owned
Wivenhoe Dam operator mismanaged water releases, exacerbating the

IMF executive director John Walker told AAP on March 11 that more
than 700 home and business owners attended the meetings.

"They are devastated and are looking for an avenue to minimize the
effects of the flood," Mr. Walker said.

About 2,000 Queenslanders have expressed interest in being part of
a class action, Mr. Walker said.

The lawyers are waiting for the flood inquiry's final report into
whether the dam operator was at fault, which is due today,
March 16.

Maurice Blackburn principal Rod Hodgson said the next step was to
scrutinize the inquiry's report.

"We are expecting the contents of the report will go some way in
assisting us in making decisions," Mr. Hodgson said.

"We won't rely solely on what the inquiry determines as we will
conduct some of our own analysis."

Another meeting with flood victims is being planned for March 19
at Goodna, in Ipswich.

GUIDECRAFT INC: Recalls 2,150 Units of Children's Play Theaters
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada, in
cooperation with importer, Guidecraft Inc., of Winthrop,
Minnesota, and manufacturer, Mega Profit Trading Ltd., of China,
announced a voluntary recall of about 1,800 units of 4-in-1
Dramatic Play Theater Toys in the United States of America and 350
units in Canada.  Consumers should stop using recalled products
immediately unless otherwise instructed.  It is illegal to resell
or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

The recalled children's toys can unexpectedly tip over during
play, posing an entrapment hazard to young children.

Guidecraft has received two reports of tip-over incidents,
including one report of a child who suffered minor contusions and

This recall involves all 4-in-1 dramatic play theaters with model
number G51062.  The model number is printed on a sticker affixed
to the bottom of the center crossbar and on the assembly
instructions.  The toy has two interchangeable panels with
different themes on each side: a puppet theater and diner, or a
doctor's office and post office.  An assembled play theater
measures 4-feet high by 3-feet wide and weighs about 46 pounds.
Pictures of the recalled products are available at:


The recalled products were manufactured in China and sold by
various catalogs, Guidecraft.com and other Internet retailers
nationwide from July 2010 through April 2011 for about $180.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled product from
children and contact Guidecraft to receive a refund or a
replacement product.  For additional information, contact
Guidecraft toll-free at (888) 824-1308 between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30
p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's Web
site at http://www.guidecraft.com/

HAMMOND: Plaintiffs' Lawyers in Gun Suit to Appeal Ruling
Steve Zabroski, writing for nwitimes.com, reports that the
Zionsville attorney representing two local residents who sued
Hammond over now-voided gun restrictions said on March 16 he will
appeal a judge's decision to dismiss their suit.

Samuel Dykstra, of Highland, and Michelle Bahus, of Hammond,
sought class-action status for their claim that they were
"adversely affected" by decades-old city ordinances prohibiting
the carrying of firearms inside parks and municipal buildings.

In a ruling for the city last week, Lake Superior Court Judge
Jeffery Dywan said the pair had no claim.  The ordinances were
automatically voided by a new state statute signed into law July
1, and no one has been prosecuted under the old city restrictions
since that time, Mr. Dywan said.

Their attorney, Guy Relford, said Friday he was disappointed in
the ruling, and believes that the new Indiana Firearms Preemption
Act clearly requires the city to officially repeal its old
ordinances to avoid confusion as to what is legal and what is
illegal in the city.

Mr. Relford said he planned to take the issue to the Indiana Court
of Appeals.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. in September directed police to
comply with the new state law and not enforce the superseded

"We felt our position was secure from the beginning,"
Mr. McDermott said.

HYDRO-GEAR LP: Recalls 2,700 Hydrostatic Lawn Tractors
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with
Hydro-Gear Limited Partnership, of Sullivan, Illinois, announced a
voluntary recall of about 2,700 lawn tractors.  Consumers should
stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise
instructed.  It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a
recalled consumer product.

A drive gear in the lawn tractor's hydrostatic transaxle can fail
causing brake failure, posing a crash hazard to consumers.

No incidents or injuries have been reported.

This recall involves Cub Cadet, MTD Gold and Troy-Bilt lawn
tractors sold with Hydro-Gear model 618-0319 and 618-04270B
transaxles.  Cub Cadet and Troy-Bilt tractors included in this
recall have dates of manufacture (DOM) ranging from December 2010
through March 2011.  The DOM can be found on a label on the
underside of the seat.  MTD Gold can be identified by serial
numbers starting with 1L15 or 1L16.  Affected transaxles have
serial numbers with the first four digits ranging between 0333 and
0348.  Transaxle model and serial numbers are printed on a label
on the transaxle.

Cub Cadet lawn tractors with the recalled transaxles are:

                                Hydro-Gear      Transaxle
                     Mower      Transaxle       Serial No.
  Mower Type      Model No.      Part No.     (1st 4 digits)
  ----------     -----------     --------     --------------
  LTX 1045       13WX91AT010     618-0319     0333 thru 0348
  LTX 1045       13WX91AT056     618-0319     0333 thru 0348
  LTX 1046KW     13WG91AT010     618-0319     0333 thru 0348
  LTX 1046M      13WP91AT009     618-0319     0333 thru 0348
  LTX 1050KH     13WQ91AP009     618-0319     0333 thru 0348
  LTX 1050KW     13WF91AP010     618-0319     0333 thru 0348
  LTX 1050KW     13WF91AP056     618-0319     0333 thru 0348
  SLTX 1050      13WQ92AP010     618-04270B   0333 thru 0348
  SLTX 1054      13WK92AK009     618-04270B   0333 thru 0348
  SLTX 1054      13WK92AK010     618-04270B   0333 thru 0348
  SLTX 1054      13WK92AK056     618-04270B   0333 thru 0348

MTD Gold brand tractors with the recalled transaxles are:

                                Hydro-Gear      Transaxle
                     Mower      Transaxle       Serial No.
  Mower Type      Model No.      Part No.     (1st 4 digits)
  ----------     -----------     --------     --------------
  Hydro          13AP925P004     618-04270B   0333 thru 0348

Troy-Bilt brand tractors with the recalled transaxles are:

                                Hydro-Gear      Transaxle
                     Mower      Transaxle       Serial No.
  Mower Type      Model No.      Part No.     (1st 4 digits)
  ----------     -----------     --------     --------------
  TB2450         13WQ92KP066     618-04270B   0333 thru 0348

Pictures of the recalled products are available at:


The recalled products were manufactured in the United States of
America and sold by lawn and garden retailers nationwide from
January 2011 through January 2012 for about between $1,900 and

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled lawn tractors
and contact the firm for instructions on obtaining a repair from
an authorized service provider.  For additional information,
please contact the firm's toll-free at (888) 848-6038 between 8:00
a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Friday, or visit
the firms' Web sites at http://www.cubcadet.com/,
http://www.troybilt.com/or http://www.MTDproducts.com/.
Consumers can also visit Hydro-Gear's Web site at

IMPERIAL HOLDINGS: Group of Investors Calls for Board to Resign
Brian Bandell, writing for South Florida Business Journal, reports
that a group of investors in Imperial Holdings called on some of
its board members to resign, and threatened to launch a proxy
shareholder voting contest if they refused.

The Boca Raton-based company has been under pressure since the FBI
and other federal authorities raided its offices in September as
part of a probe by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of
New Hampshire.  Imperial Holdings is also facing several
shareholder class action securities fraud lawsuits and a
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.

The federal probe is into Imperial Holdings' life insurance
finance business.  It also purchases life insurance settlements
and structured settlements.

On March 8, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Bulldog Investors, wrote a letter
calling for the resignation of at least two of the company's
independent directors so they can be replaced with directors
appointed by significant shareholders.  Bulldog Investors, which
met with the company Feb. 23, owns 1.2 million shares, or 5.7
percent, of Imperial Holdings.  The investment company is managed
by Phillip Goldstein and Andrew Dakos.

"We believe the greatest threat to Imperial is the ongoing cash
drain from massive spending on legal services, despite an absence
of any concrete evidence of wrongdoing," Mr. Goldstein wrote in a
letter made public through an SEC filing.  "The law firms Imperial
has engaged are conflicted in rendering advice about the scope of
their activities, the amount of legal expenditures, and whether
they are in the best interest of shareholders.  Yet, we saw no
indication that the independent directors are committed to
controlling these costs."

Mr. Goldstein continued that he wants a substantive response from
Imperial Holdings by March 9 or he will launch a proxy contest to
achieve a restructuring of the board.

Imperial Holdings officials could not immediately be reached for
comment.  The company's independent directors are David A. Buzen,
president and CFO of CIFG Holding; Michael A. Crow, president and
CEO of Ability Reinsurance; Walter M. Higgins III, former chairman
and CEO of NV Energy; Robert Rosenberg, president and CEO of
Agency Corp.; and consultant A. Penn Hill Wyrough.

Four Imperial Holdings executives are also on its board, although
President and COO Jonathan Neuman has taken a leave of absence
from his executive duties.  He is the only Imperial Holdings
official targeted by the federal probe, the company stated.

Bulldog Investors has itself been the target of regulatory
scrutiny.  In 2007, the Securities Division of Massachusetts filed
a complaint against Bulldog Investors, Goldstein and Dakos over
allegations that they violated law by operating a Web site
containing information about unregistered investments and
distributing information about such investments by e-mail.  They
were given an "obey the law" cease and desist order, and fined
$25,000.  The investors appealed the order and, after losing in
state appeals court, they are trying to get the matter heard
before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In an online video, Bulldog Investors is described as an
"activist" hedge fund.

IMPERIAL TOBACCO: Responds to Blais & Letourneau Class Actions
Imperial Tobacco Canada on March 12 issued a statement on the
first day of the Blais and Letourneau Class Actions in the
Montreal Court House before the Honourable Mr. Justice Riordan.

"Imperial Tobacco Canada welcomes the start of this Class Action

It especially welcomes the opportunity to tell the entire story
behind the development, manufacture, promotion and sale of tobacco
in Canada, including:

How the government of Canada has legalized, heavily regulated and
taxed the tobacco industry in Canada.

How the federal government has been a virtual partner with the
industry in all aspects of the manufacturing and marketing of
tobacco products for decades, directing, mandating and advising on
virtually every critical aspect of these activities.

How the health risks of smoking have been known for decades.

These Class Actions, like the government health care costs
recovery actions taken in other provinces and soon to be taken in
Quebec, and like other actions taken across the country, are
simply an opportunistic cash grab.

Imperial Tobacco Canada is confident that, once it has had an
opportunity to present its defense, and to tell the entire story
behind tobacco in Canada, it will be successful in this case."

KINDER MORGAN: Awaits Ruling on Bid to Enjoin Vote on EP Merger
Kinder Morgan Inc. is awaiting the Delaware Chancery Court's
ruling on a motion to enjoin shareholder vote on its proposed
merger with El Paso Corporation, according to the Company's
February 23, 2012, 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011.

On October 16, 2011, the Company and EP announced a definitive
agreement whereby KMI will acquire all of the outstanding shares
of EP.  Prior to closing, the transaction will require approval of
both KMI and EP shareholders.  The transaction is expected to
close in the second quarter of 2012 and is subject to customary
regulatory approvals.  Beginning on October 17, 2011, the day
after the agreement was announced, and in the days following,
several putative Class Action lawsuits were filed in Harris County
(Houston), Texas and in the Court of Chancery of the State of
Delaware against the Board of Directors of EP alleging that the
director-defendants breached their fiduciary duties to EP
shareholders in connection with their negotiation of and entry
into the merger agreement.  The lawsuits also assert that EP and
KMI "aided and abetted" the alleged breaches by the EP directors.
The actions seek, among other things, to enjoin the proposed
merger, disgorgement of any improper profits received by the
defendants, and attorneys' fees.  Defendants believe that the
lawsuits are meritless and intend to defend them vigorously.

On February 9, 2012, the Delaware Chancery Court heard oral
argument on a motion by plaintiffs to enjoin the EP shareholder
vote on the proposed merger, which is scheduled to occur on March
6, 2012.  The Court took the motion under advisement and stated
that it would issue a ruling on the motion prior to March 6, 2012.

MEDICAL VISION: Women with PIP Implants Eligible for Medicare
Stephanie Peatling, writing for The Sydney Morning Herald, reports
that women with the French PIP breast implants will be eligible
for Medicare rebates for scans to check whether their implants are
faulty, following a government backflip.

But Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said the government would
stand by its decision not to follow France and Germany's lead in
calling for mandatory, government-funded removal of the implants.

"Medical advice from the Chief Medical Officer and expert
committee is that removal of PIP breast implants in the absence of
evidence of rupture is not routinely required," Ms. Plibersek

"We want women to get the best clinical care, including access to
a subsidized MRI scan if they choose."

The Therapeutic Goods Administration estimates that 12,300 PIP
implants were sold in Australia between 1998 and 2010, although
the numbers do not account for women who had the procedure

Up to March 9, the Therapeutic Goods Administration had 171
confirmed reports of rupture of PIP breast implants from surgeons,
patients and the Australian supplier, plus 26 unconfirmed reports.

The TGA recalled implants made by French company Poly Implant
Protheses in April 2010 after French authorities received a number
of reports of ruptured implants containing industrial-grade rather
than medical-grade silicone.

The announcement of the Medicare rebate for screening tests
follows advice from the Medical Services Advisory Committee.

The rebate will be available for one year. Women with ruptured
implants will still need to cover the cost of having them removed
or replaced.

"I know that women who received these implants were shocked when
they heard that the manufacturers of the PIP implants had been
using unauthorized silicone," Ms. Plibersek said.  "We want to
ensure that women have access to . . . the best diagnostic testing

The Australian distributor of the PIP implants, Medical Vision
Australia Holdings, is likely to be the target of a class action
being run by an Adelaide law firm that has already signed up
several hundred women who had PIP implants.

OMEGA FLEX: Settles Insurer Class Action for $4.7 Million
Bill Murphy, writing for Citybizlist, reports that Omega Flex Inc.
has agreed to settle a lawsuit with an unnamed insurer in exchange
for $4.7 million, ending a five-year dispute, according to a
filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Exton-based maker of flexible metal hoses said it released all
claims against the insurer arising out of a class action and
coverage litigation, and would dismiss the coverage litigation
currently pending in court under the agreement.  Also, Omega
agreed to indemnify the insurer against any new claims that may be
brought by the company's former corporate parent, Mestek Inc.

The settlement amount covers the costs incurred by Omega in a 2004
lawsuit and attorneys' fees incurred in the coverage action.
Omega filed the suit against the insurer in 2007.

Omega, known previously as Tofle America Inc., makes flexible
metal hoses primarily in North America and Europe.  Its product
lines include corrugated metal hoses in a range of sizes and
alloys, including three grades of stainless steel, bronze,
Inconel, and Hastelloy.  Omega also makes a range of pressure-
reinforcing braids for its hoses in metallic and synthetic

PATRIOT COAL: Class Suit Over Employee Safety Violations Pending
Patriot Coal Corporation continues to defend itself from a class
action lawsuit over alleged violation of employee safety,
according to the Company's February 23, 2012, 10-K filing with the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the fiscal year ended
December 31, 2011.

In late January 2010, the U.S. Attorney's office and the State of
West Virginia began investigations relating to one or more of the
Company's employees making inaccurate entries in official mine
records at the Company's Federal No. 2 mine.  The Company
terminated one employee and two other employees resigned after
being placed on administrative leave.  The terminated employee
subsequently admitted to falsifying inspection records and has
been cooperating with the U.S. Attorney's office.  In April 2010,
the Company received a federal subpoena requesting methane
detection systems equipment used at the Company's Federal No. 2
mine since July 2008 and the results of tests performed on the
equipment since that date. The Company has provided the equipment
and information as required by the subpoena.  The Company has not
received any additional requests for information in 2011.  In
January 2012, the terminated employee filed a civil lawsuit
against the Company alleging retaliatory discharge and intentional
infliction of emotional distress.  In addition, five employees
filed a purported class action lawsuit against the Company and the
terminated employee seeking compensation for lost wages, emotional
distress, and punitive damages for the alleged intentional
violation of employee safety at the mine. The Company denies the
validity of the allegations and intend to vigorously defend both
civil lawsuits.

REDBOX AUTOMATED: 7th Circuit Dismisses Class Action
Joe Celentino at Courthouse News Service reports that supermarket
movie-rental giant Redbox will not have to face a class action
that it illegally stores and distributes customers' personal
information, after the 7th Circuit dismissed a critical portion of
the complaint.

Movie renters Kevin Sterk and Jiah Chung filed a class action suit
against Redbox under the Video Privacy Protection Act, which is
intended to prevent companies that rent movies from disclosing
personally identifying information about their customers.

"Redbox maintains a veritable digital dossier on millions of
consumers nationwide," the complaint states.  "These records
contain not only consumers' credit card number and billing/contact
information, but also a highly detailed account of the consumer's
video programming viewing history."

The suit claimed that Redbox failed to destroy personally
identifiable information "as soon as practicable, but no later
than one year from the date the information is no longer necessary
for the purpose for which it was collected."

Because Redbox does not refund charges more than 90 days old, the
class claimed personally identifiable information should have been
destroyed after that period.

The complaint sought $2,500 per violation of the act, as outlined
under the statute, as well as attorneys' fees and interest.

Though interim appeals are usually "frowned upon," Judge Richard
Posner says that Redbox brought one successfully because it sought
to resolve an issue that would "materially advance the ultimate
termination of the litigation."

Redbox had challenged a federal judge's finding that a damages
suit under one section of the Video Privacy Act cannot enforce
another of the law's subsections.

"The statute is not well drafted," Judge Posner wrote.  "If [the
section authorizing civil actions] appeared after all the
prohibitions, the natural inference would be that any violator of
any of the prohibitions could be sued for damages."

Siding with Redbox, the three-judge panel said the lawsuit was
impossible because the section of the act providing for a civil
action to enforce its terms was placed before the "destruction of
old records" section in question.

"This placement could be an accident, but we agree with the only
reported appellate case to address the issue [the 6th Circuit]
that it is not; that the more plausible interpretation is that it
is limited to enforcing the prohibition is that it is limited to
enforcing the prohibition of disclosure," he wrote.

A copy of the decision in Sterk, et al. v. Redbox Automated
Retail, LLC, No. 12-8002 (7th Cir.), is available at:


SPIRIT AEROSYSTEMS: Appeal in Discrimination Suit vs. Unit Pending
An appeal in a discrimination lawsuit filed against subsidiary of
Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc. is pending, according to the
Company's February 23, 2012, 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities
and Exchange Commission for the fiscal year ended December 31,

In December 2005, a lawsuit was filed against Spirit AeroSystems
Inc., Onex Corporation, and The Boeing Company alleging age
discrimination in the hiring of employees by Spirit when Boeing
sold its Wichita commercial division to Onex.  The complaint was
filed in U.S. District Court in Wichita, Kansas and seeks class-
action status, an unspecified amount of compensatory damages and
more than $1.5 billion in punitive damages.  The asset purchase
agreement from the Boeing Acquisition requires Spirit to indemnify
Boeing for damages resulting from the employment decisions that
were made by the Company with respect to former employees of
Boeing Wichita, which relate or allegedly relate to the
involvement of, or consultation with, employees of Boeing in such
employment decisions.

On June 30, 2010, the U.S. District Court granted defendants'
dispositive motions, finding that the case should not be allowed
to proceed as a class action.  The matter is now on appeal to the
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which could reverse the District
Court's June 30, 2010 ruling.  The Company intends to continue to
vigorously defend itself in this matter. Management believes the
resolution of this matter will not materially affect the Company's
financial position, results of operations or liquidity.

SPIRIT AEROSYSTEMS: Discovery in 'Harkness' Suit Ongoing
Discovery is currently ongoing in a class action lawsuit filed by
former employees of The Boeing Company against Spirit AeroSystems
Holdings Inc., according to the Company's February 23, 2012, 10-K
filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the
fiscal year ended December 31, 2011.

On February 16, 2007, an action entitled Harkness et al. v. The
Boeing Company et al. was filed in the U.S. District Court for the
District of Kansas.  The defendants were served in early July
2007.  The defendants include Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc.,
Spirit AeroSystems, Inc., the Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc.
Retirement Plan for the International Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers (IBEW), Wichita Engineering Unit (SPEEA WEU) and Wichita
Technical and Professional Unit (SPEEA WTPU) Employees, and the
Spirit AeroSystems Retirement Plan for International Association
of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Employees, along with
Boeing and Boeing retirement and health plan entities.  The named
plaintiffs are twelve former Boeing employees, eight of whom were
or are employees of Spirit.  The plaintiffs assert several claims
under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and general
contract law and brought the case as a class action on behalf of
similarly situated individuals.  The putative class consists of
approximately 2,500 current or former employees of Spirit.  The
parties agreed to class certification and are currently in the
discovery process.  The sub-class members who have asserted claims
against the Spirit entities are those individuals who, as of June
2005, were employed by Boeing in Wichita, Kansas, were
participants in the Boeing pension plan, had at least 10 years of
vesting service in the Boeing plan, were in jobs represented by a
union, were between the ages of 49 and 55, and who went to work
for Spirit on or about June 17, 2005.

Although there are many claims in the suit, the plaintiffs' claims
against the Spirit entities, asserted under various theories, are
(1) that the Spirit plans wrongfully failed to determine that
certain plaintiffs are entitled to early retirement "bridging
rights" to pension and retiree medical benefits that were
allegedly triggered by their separation from employment by Boeing
and (2) that the plaintiffs' pension benefits were unlawfully
transferred from Boeing to Spirit in that their claimed early
retirement "bridging rights" are not being afforded these
individuals as a result of their separation from Boeing, thereby
decreasing their benefits.  The plaintiffs seek a declaration that
they are entitled to the early retirement pension benefits and
retiree medical benefits, an injunction ordering that the
defendants provide the benefits, damages pursuant to breach of
contract claims and attorney fees.  Boeing has notified Spirit
that it believes it is entitled to indemnification from Spirit for
any "indemnifiable damages" it may incur in the Harkness
litigation, under the terms of the asset purchase agreement from
the Boeing Acquisition between Boeing and Spirit. Spirit disputes
Boeing's position on indemnity.  Management believes the
resolution of this matter will not materially affect the Company's
financial position, results of operations or liquidity.

STATE OF IDAHO: Prison Medical Care Report Expected This Week
George Prentice, writing for Boise Weekly, reports that in spite
of attempts by the State of Idaho to keep the report sealed, U.S.
District Judge B. Lynn Winmill is expected this week to reveal an
expert's analysis of medical care, or the lack thereof, for
inmates inside the systems of the Idaho Department of Corrections.

In the 1980s, a series of lawsuits surrounding prison inmate
treatment began to fill dockets at the U.S. Courthouse and
eventually a class-action suit gained steam, alleging violence,
overcrowding and basic care behind Idaho's prison gates, and, in
particular, the Idaho State Correctional Institute.

SUPERMEDIA INC: Consolidated Suit in Texas Still Pending
Supermedia Inc. continues to defend a consolidated class action
filed against its current and former officers, according to the
Company's February 23, 2012, 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities
and Exchange Commission for the fiscal year ended December 31,

On April 30, 2009, May 21, 2009, and June 5, 2009, three separate
putative class action securities lawsuits were filed in the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas
Division, against certain of the Company's current and former
officers (but not against the Company or its subsidiaries).  The
suits were filed by Jan Buettgen, John Heffner, and Alan Goldberg
as three separate named plaintiffs on behalf of purchasers of the
Company's common stock between August 10, 2007 and March 31, 2009,
inclusive.  On May 22, 2009, a putative class action securities
lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of Arkansas against two of the Company's current officers
(but not against the Company or its subsidiaries).  The suit was
filed by Wade L. Jones on behalf of purchasers of the Company's
bonds between March 27, 2008 and March 30, 2009, inclusive.  On
August 18, 2009, the Wade Jones case from Arkansas federal
district court was transferred to be consolidated with the cases
filed in Texas.  The complaints are virtually identical and
generally allege that the defendants violated federal securities
laws by issuing false and misleading statements regarding the
Company's financial performance and condition.  Specifically, the
complaints allege violations by the defendants of Section 10(b) of
the Exchange Act, Rule 10b-5 under the Exchange Act and Section 20
of the Exchange Act.  The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified
compensatory damages and reimbursement for litigation expenses.
Since the filing of the complaints, all four cases have been
consolidated into one court in the Northern District of Texas and
a lead plaintiff and lead plaintiffs' attorney have been selected.
On April 12, 2010, the Company filed a motion to dismiss the
entire Buettgen complaint.  On August 11, 2010, in a one line
order without an opinion, the Court denied the Company's motion to
dismiss.  On May 19, 2011, the Court granted the plaintiffs'
motion certifying a class.  Subsequently, the Fifth Circuit Court
of Appeals denied the Company's petition for an interlocutory
appeal of the class certification order.  Discovery has commenced.
The Company plans to honor its indemnification obligations and
vigorously defend the lawsuit on the defendants' behalf.

SUPERMEDIA INC: Suit vs. Company's EBC Still Pending in Texas
Supermedia Inc. continues to defend a class action lawsuit filed
against the Company's employee benefits committee, according to
the Company's February 23, 2012, 10-K filing with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission for the fiscal year ended
December 31, 2011.

On November 25, 2009, three former Bell retirees brought a
putative class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, against both the
Verizon employee benefits committee and pension plans and the
Company employee benefits committee and pension plans.  All three
named plaintiffs are receiving the single life monthly annuity
pension benefits.  All complain that Verizon transferred them
against their will from the Verizon pension plans to the Company
pension plans at or near the Company's spin-off from Verizon.  The
complaint alleges that both the Verizon and Company defendants
failed to provide requested plan documents, which would entitle
the plaintiffs to statutory penalties under the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act; that both the Verizon and Company
defendants breached their fiduciary duty for refusal to disclose
pension plan information; and other class action counts aimed
solely at the Verizon defendants.  The plaintiffs seek class
action status, statutory penalties, damages and a reversal of the
employee transfers.  The Company defendants filed their motion to
dismiss the entire complaint on March 10, 2010.  On October 18,
2010, the Court ruled on the pending motion dismissing all the
claims against the Company pension plans and all of the claims
against the Company's EBC relating to the production of documents
and statutory penalties for failure to produce same.  The only
claims remaining against the Company are procedural ERISA claims
against the Company's EBC.  On November 1, 2010, the Company's EBC
filed its answer to the complaint.  On November 4, 2010, the
Company's EBC filed a motion to dismiss one of the two remaining
procedural ERISA claims against the EBC.  Pursuant to an agreed
order, the plaintiffs have obtained class certification against
the Verizon defendants and discovery has commenced.  After
obtaining permission from the Court, the Plaintiffs filed another
amendment to the complaint, alleging a new count against the
Company's EBC.  The Company's EBC filed another motion to dismiss
the amended complaint and have filed a summary judgment motion
before the deadline set by the scheduling order.  The Company
plans to honor its indemnification obligations and vigorously
defend the lawsuit on the defendants' behalf.

SUPERMEDIA INC: Suit vs. Co. Officers and EBC Members Pending
A class action lawsuit filed against Supermedia Inc.'s current and
former officers and members of the employee benefits committee is
still pending, according to the Company's February 23, 2012, 10-K
filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the
fiscal year ended December 31, 2011.

On December 10, 2009, a former employee with a history of
litigation against the Company filed a putative class action
lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
Texas, Dallas Division, against certain of the Company's current
and former officers, directors and members of the Company's EBC.
The complaint attempts to recover alleged losses to the various
savings plans that were allegedly caused by the breach of
fiduciary duties in violation of ERISA by the defendants in
administrating the plans from November 17, 2006 to March 31, 2009.
The complaint alleges that: (i) the defendants wrongfully allowed
all the plans to invest in Idearc common stock, (ii) the
defendants made material misrepresentations regarding the
Company's financial performance and condition, (iii) the
defendants had divided loyalties, (iv) the defendants mismanaged
the plan assets, and (v) certain defendants breached their duty to
monitor and inform the EBC of required disclosures.  The
plaintiffs are seeking unspecified compensatory damages and
reimbursement for litigation expenses.  At this time, a class has
not been certified.  The plaintiffs have filed a consolidated
complaint.  The Company filed a motion to dismiss the entire
complaint on June 22, 2010.  On March 16, 2011, the Court granted
the Company defendants' motion to dismiss the entire complaint;
however, the plaintiffs have repleaded their complaint.  The
Company defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the new
complaint.  The briefing on the motion is complete and the Company
awaits the order of the court.  The Company plans to honor its
indemnification obligations and vigorously defend the lawsuit on
the defendants' behalf.

TEXTRON: CRERS Appeal from Suit Dismissal Order Still Pending
The appeal from a district court order granting Textron Inc.'s
motion to dismiss the City of Roseville Employees' Retirement
System's class action lawsuit is still pending, according to the
Company's February 23, 2012, 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities
and Exchange Commission for the fiscal year ended December 31,

On August 13, 2009, a purported shareholder class action lawsuit
was filed in the United States District Court in Rhode Island
against Textron, its then Chairman and former Chief Executive
Officer and its former Chief Financial Officer.  The suit, filed
by the City of Roseville Employees' Retirement System, alleged
that the defendants violated the federal securities laws by making
material misrepresentations or omissions related to Cessna and
Textron Financial Corporation (TFC).  The complaint sought
unspecified compensatory damages.  In December 2009, the
Automotive Industries Pension Trust Fund was appointed lead
plaintiff in the case.  On February 8, 2010, an amended class
action complaint was filed with the Court.  The amended complaint
named as additional defendants TFC and three of its present and
former officers.  On April 6, 2010, the court entered a
stipulation agreed to by the parties in which plaintiffs
voluntarily dismissed, without prejudice, certain causes of action
in the amended complaint.  On April 9, 2010, all defendants moved
to dismiss the remaining counts of the amended complaint, and on
August 24, 2011, the Court granted the motion to dismiss on behalf
of all defendants without leave to amend and entered judgment in
favor of all defendants. On September 23, 2011, plaintiffs filed a
notice of appeal of the dismissal with the First Circuit Court of
Appeals, which is currently pending.  Oral argument on the appeal
has been scheduled for March 7, 2012.

TEXTRON: Discovery in ERISA Suit in Rhode Island Ongoing
Discovery is currently ongoing in an amended class action
complaint filed against Textron Inc. in Rhode Island, according to
the Company's February 23, 2012, 10-K filing with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission for the fiscal year ended
December 31, 2011.

On August 21, 2009, a purported class action lawsuit was filed in
the United States District Court in Rhode Island by Dianne Leach,
an alleged participant in the Textron Savings Plan. Six additional
substantially similar class action lawsuits were subsequently
filed by other individuals.  The complaints varyingly name Textron
and certain present and former employees, officers and directors
as defendants.  These lawsuits allege that the defendants violated
the United States Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
by imprudently permitting participants in the Textron Savings Plan
to invest in Textron common stock.  The complaints seek equitable
relief and unspecified compensatory damages.  On February 2, 2010,
an amended class action complaint was filed consolidating the
seven previous lawsuits into a single complaint. On March 19,
2010, all defendants moved to dismiss the consolidated amended
complaint, and on September 6, 2011, the Court granted the motion
to dismiss in part and denied the motion in part.  Specifically,
the Court ruled that plaintiffs failed to plead sufficient
allegations to support any claim that defendants made material
misrepresentations that would be actionable under ERISA, but
permitted the remainder of the Amended Complaint to survive the
pleadings stage.  On September 20, 2011, all defendants moved for
partial reconsideration of the Court's decision not to dismiss the
Amended Complaint.  On December 5, 2011, the Court denied the
motion for partial reconsideration without rendering a decision on
the merits of the issues raised therein, and the parties are
currently engaged in discovery.

TNUVA: Faces Class Action Over Diary Market Monopoly
Ora Coren, writing for Haaretz, reports that major Israeli dairy
company Tnuva took in over NIS50 million in monopoly profits,
according to two senior economic figures submitting their opinion
as part of a class action law suit against the company.

Tnuva took advantage of its monopoly status in the dairy market to
rake in NIS103 million in excess profits in 2009 and 2010, two
senior economic figures told the court as part of a class action
suit against the company.

Prof. Avia Spivak and Dr. Meir Amir submitted their opinion as
part of a NIS125 million class action filed against Tnuva six
months ago.  The suit argues that Tnuva abused its position to
raise cottage cheese prices by more than 40% between 2006 and

Tnuva sparked last year's cost of living protest movement, which
began with a boycott of the company's cottage cheese over its high

Mr. Spivak, now an economics professor at Ben-Gurion University of
the Negev, used to be the Bank of Israel's deputy governor.
Mr. Amir, also an economics professor, used to be a senior Finance
Ministry official.

The company, controlled by Apax Partners since 2008, took in at
least NIS50 million in monopoly profits, stated the professors.

They came to this conclusion based on a calculation that took into
account the cost of producing cottage cheese, which decreased over
that period.

Had Tnuva passed its savings on to consumers, which would have
happened had prices been government-controlled, the public would
have saved NIS103 million, they noted.

However, in a free market, not all savings are passed on to
consumers.  Thus, Tnuva took in NIS50 million more than it would
have had it merely allowed itself to profit from the lower
production costs, they found.

"What happened in 2009 and 2010, when the price of cottage cheese
increased 12% while its production cost decreased 4%, leaves no
room for doubt: Tnuva took advantage of its status in the cottage
cheese market and repeatedly raised prices," they wrote.

"These moves had nothing to do with costs and all to do with
raising its profitability in a market it controlled completely,
when it was clear that the other two producers, Strauss and Tara,
would follow in its footsteps.

"This behavior, of decreasing production costs while raising
prices to consumers, cannot happen in a competitive market," they

This process was unreasonable, not to mention immoral, and could
be carried out only by a monopoly, they stated.

Their calculations presume that retailers did not change their
profit margins, they noted.

Tnuva is currently under investigation by the Antitrust Authority
over alleged abuse of monopoly power.

As part of its defense in the class action, Tnuva submitted a
report by Menachem Perlman, a former Antitrust Authority
economist, who stated that retailers increased their profit
margins.  Messrs. Spivak and Amir said they disagreed with
Mr. Perlman's conclusion, and said the issue could be settled if
Tnuva would agree to release its wholesale sales figures.

Mivtach Shamir, which owns the minority share in Tnuva, recently
published an opinion stating that Tnuva's market cap had shrunk,
which would suit the company's interest if it intends to buy
control from Apax.  Apax, for its part, denied that the company
had lost value.

Messrs. Spivak and Meir noted that based on the company's
valuation, its gross profit increased from 24% to 29% between 2006
and 2010.  During that period, the company raised prices for some
of its products, even though production costs generally did not
increase, they noted.

When Apax bought Tnuva in 2008, it was worth an estimated NIS4
billion.  Three years later, it was estimated as being worth
nearly NIS10 million -- a 150% increase -- even though the global
economy was in crisis over that period, they stated.

Tnuva increased its value through careful management of the
company and its real estate, and aggressive pricing, they said.

UPMC: May Face Class Action Over Medical Record Costs
Amaris Elliott-Engel, writing for The Legal Intelligencer, reports
that the state Supreme Court is going to consider if health care
providers -- including UPMC -- and their records-reproducing
proxies must disclose their "actual and reasonable" costs of
producing charts and records.

Petitioners Wayne M. Chiurazzi Law Inc., doing business as
Chiurazzi & Mengine, and David A. Neely want to bring a class-
action lawsuit against the UPMC health system, alleging that UPMC
and the private company that handles medical records requests for
UPMC -- MRO Corp. -- charge more than the actual costs of
obtaining medical records.

The petitioners had asked the court to consider if the Medical
Records Act requires "medical records reproducers to disclose
their estimated actual and reasonable expenses of reproducing the
charts or records, and to limit their copying charges to these
amounts or the statutory ceiling rates, whichever is less."

In August, a divided state Superior Court panel ruled that health
care providers or their records-reproducing proxies can base their
charges for providing hard copies of medical records on the
maximum charges spelled out under state law.

James M. Pietz, of Pietz Law Office in Pittsburgh, and Paul A.
Lagnese and David M. Paul, of Berger & Lagnese in Pittsburgh, are
representing the petitioners.

There are several other class-action lawsuits in which plaintiffs
want to allege that health care providers and their medical
records reproduction agents violate the Medical Records Act by
failing to disclose and charge their estimated actual and
reasonable costs of copying patient-requested medical records.

The Superior Court majority of Judges Jack A. Panella and
Jacqueline O. Shogan held that the calculation of estimated actual
and reasonable expenses for paper copies is not required by the
statute, and that the statutory schedule creates safe harbor rates
for the estimated actual and reasonable expenses of producing such
paper copies.

Senior Judge Robert E. Colville said in dissent the plain language
of the statute sets a cap on the amounts that patients can be

Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr.
had denied MRO's preliminary objections to the class-action

MRO Corp.'s lawyer, Carl A. Solano of Schnader Harrison Segal &
Lewis in Philadelphia, said that if the Medical Records Act in
fact required that the charged costs be limited to out-of-pocket
expenses, his client would go out of business.

Mr. Solano said it will be good for the state Supreme Court to
clarify what the statute means.

The act originally allowed a health care provider to charge up to
$15 for searching for records; $1 per page for the first 20 pages
of hard copies; 75 cents per page for hard copies of 21 through 60
pages; 25 cents per page for hard copies of more than 60 pages;
$1.50 per page for copies from microfilm; and the actual cost of
postage, shipping or delivery.

The law allows the amounts that may be charged to be adjusted
annually based on the consumer price index, so the amounts charged
have since changed.

WISE MEDIA: Faces Class Action in Calif. Over "Flirting Tips"
Andrew Humble, an individual, individually and on behalf of a
class of similarly situated persons v. Wise Media, LLC, a Georgia
Limited Liability Company, and Does 1-10, inclusive, Case No.
3:12-cv-01203 (N.D. Calif., March 9, 2012) concerns a scheme by
Wise Media to enroll consumers -- without their knowledge or
consent -- in a short message service text subscription plan.

The federal class action claims the Atlanta-based spammer bilks
wireless customers for $10 a month for "flirting tips" unless they
immediately reject a "tip" they never asked for, consented to, or
even received.

Mr. Humble sued Wise Media claiming he discovered a $9.99 charge
from the company on his January wireless bill.

According to Mr. Humble's complaint, Wise Media claims that
wireless customers voluntarily subscribe to receive three
"flirting tips" text messages per week by enrolling in a short
message service (SMS) subscription plan on the company Web site.
The customer is then billed $9.99 per month, on his or her cell
phone bill.

"However," Mr. Humble says, "the vast majority -- if not all -- of
the subscription plan members did not become members voluntarily.

"Through unknown means, Wise Media obtained the mobile phone
numbers of consumers without their knowledge or consent.
Defendant obtained these numbers even though consumers had never
visited the website, had never expressed interest in defendant or
the subscription plan, and had no relationship with the defendant.

"Without any action or solicitation by the consumers,
defendant sent SMS texts to the mobile phone numbers that it had

"On information and belief, defendant sent these SMS texts using
equipment that had the capacity to store or produce telephone
numbers to be called, using a random sequential number generator."

Mr. Humble says he received a text message from an unknown sender
in January 2012.  The message stated: "Lovegenietips Flirting
Tips; 3msg/week for $9.99/m T&Cs: lovegenietips.com Msg&data rates
may apply. Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel. PIN 5WY6."

Because he did not recognize the number, Mr. Humble ignored the
text, according to his complaint.

Two minutes later, Mr. Humble says he received this text:
"Lovegenietips: You joined $9.99/m for 3msg/wk bill to cell. Reply
HELP for help, STOP to cancel Msg&Data rates may apply. T&Cs:

Again, Mr. Humble says, he did not respond to the text because he
didn't recognize the number.

"Humble had no intention of enrolling in the subscription plan,"
his complaint states.  "In support of this lack of any intention
to enroll in the subscription plan, Humble relied on the fact that
he did not have a relationship with defendant, had not solicited
any goods or services from defendant, and had not responded to any
of defendant's texts."

In February, Mr. Humble says, he received a third text message
from Wise Media.  This message stated: "LoveGenieTips: Subsc
renewed 1mo. 3msg/wk for $9.99/mo billed to cell. Msg&Data rates
may apply. Reply Help for help. Reply Stop to cancel.

Mr. Humble says he became suspicious and decided to check his bank
account and cell phone bill for unauthorized charges.  On the last
page of his cell phone bill, he noticed a monthly subscription
charge, on Jan. 6, for LoveGenieTips in the amount of $9.99.  His
bill provided the information "Wise Media For assistance contact:

"Humble never authorized this charge for LoveGenieTips Alerts,
which was charged to his cell phone bill the same day and
presumably minutes after he received the first SMS text message,"
his complaint states.

Mr. Humble adds: "Defendant's conduct is particularly egregious
because not only did defendant involuntarily enroll consumers in a
fee-based service, defendant also failed to provide the services
it claimed that it was charging consumers for -- i.e. the
consumers never received the weekly flirting tips."

Mr. Humble says the defendant violates the Telephone Consumer
Protection Act, and uses fraudulent and unfair business practices.
He claims Wise Media also violated the equitable doctrine of money
had and received, and committed conversion.

He seeks class damages of whichever is larger: actual monetary
loss or $500 for each Telephone Consumer Protection Act violation,
plus restitution, damages, and treble damages.

A copy of the Complaint in Humble v. Wise Media, LLC, et al., Case
No. 12-cv-01203 (N.D. Calif.), is available at:


The Plaintiff is represented by:

          Karl S. Kronenberger, Esq.
          Jeffrey M. Rosenfeld, Esq.
          Virginia A. Sanderson, Esq.
          150 Post Street, Suite 520
          San Francisco, CA 94108
          Telephone: (415) 955-1155
          E-mail: karl@krinternetlaw.com

* Advocates Call for Improvement in Okla. Foster Care System
Ginnie Graham, writing for Tulsa World, reports that years before
a New York nonprofit filed a lawsuit against the Oklahoma
Department of Human Services, local advocates had been approaching
out-of-state groups for help in reforming the child-welfare

Tulsa attorneys Ann Sublett and Barbara Sears had attended an
American Bar Association conference in 2007 and spent days asking
about national groups with experience challenging statewide
foster-care programs.

"We were so angry at what we saw happening to children that we
were actually out there shopping for somebody who had the
expertise and resources required to begin this type of lawsuit,"
Ms. Sublett said.  "It is by far a misperception that an outside
group came in and hijacked the process. We were looking for that."

The frustration grew from seeing overworked and poorly trained
caseworkers, a lack of foster-care homes, unprepared and
underserved foster families, overcrowded shelters, children moved
too frequently among placements and harm coming to children in

The attorneys say there had been countless task forces, studies,
committees, reports and recommendations made about the system, but
changes never occurred.

"We had gone through trying to work with groups to make changes
legislatively, but it was like people were not focusing on the
right things," Ms. Sears said.  "A lot of groups in Oklahoma do
advocacy for children, but it wasn't coordinated enough to make
the changes that need to happen . . . When we would talk to people
about the methods and vehicles for getting something done, we had
come to the conclusion that nothing would be done without a court
order and that meant a lawsuit."

Buddy Faye Foster, a longtime Oklahoma City volunteer for Court
Appointed Special Advocates and a guardian ad litem in many cases,
helped attract the attention of Children's Rights, a nonprofit
known for reforming state systems through federal class-action
lawsuits, said her colleague, Gail Strickland.

"They did not solicit the case," said Ms. Strickland, an Oklahoma
City attorney.  "Given the state's statistics on child abuse as
among the worst in the nation, there was good reason to bring them
in.  Buddy saw that significant changes were not occurring. Buddy
was concerned for the children in custody as well as the foster

Children's Rights filed a lawsuit in February 2008 filled with
descriptions of abuse suffered by nine children while in foster
care including skull fractures, burns and beatings with switches.
All had multiple moves, some as high as 20 placements.  The
attorneys say there are stacks of cases with similar stories.

Six Oklahoma attorneys and advocates who had been representing the
children in court were named in the complaint as "next friend."
Each had decades of experience handling deprived-child cases in
state courts, usually volunteering their time and services.

These were the people who, in part, helped Children's Rights
decide to pursue a class-action lawsuit to reform the child-
welfare system.

"Oklahoma had a group of advocates who knew the system well and
were educated, experienced and able to take an individual case and
extrapolate it to systemic issues," said executive director Marcia

"You could not have more engaged local counsel and the next
friends (legal advocates), each of whom are passionate about this
and have been so informative and engaged.  They are just
marvelous.  They are the furthest thing from being figureheads.
They are people who have lived these cases."

Tulsa attorney Paul Naylor said his confidence in Children's
Rights grew when he found the nonprofit did not seek damages
against states.  He said the group had experience and resources
that Oklahoma firms did not have.

"They were seeking DHS to comply with the law as well as help
caseworkers," Mr. Naylor said.  "The caseworkers I worked with
were overburdened.  You can't expect a caseworker with 30 to 40
files -- and a file is one family -- to be able to really keep
track of and watch out for the interest of kids.

"(Children's Rights) are people who speak from the heart and are
servants to helping children.  What we see day in and day out as
attorneys is horrifying.  It's a shame we had to have an
organization come into the state to make improvements, and we've
seen how successful they've been.  They are not blowing smoke.  It
is real what is going on."

The lawsuit was expanded into a class action in May 2009 and had
been set for trial in February.

In January, DHS and the nonprofit came to an agreement for
settlement, which was approved Feb. 29 by U.S. District Judge
Gregory Frizzell.

DHS spent about $7 million defending the suit with another $2
million approved for expenditures toward the case.  The amount the
state will spend on attorney costs and fees to Children's Rights
has not been determined.  In other states, the nonprofit has
received between $6 million and $11 million.

DHS officials said the agency needed to avoid a judicial consent
decree and did so by hiring private attorneys with experience to
handle this type of case.  Officials argued a court order would
have been more costly and burdensome to the state.

Ms. Sublett said she was upset at the many motions and appeals
made by the state and lateness in coming to the negotiation table,
which included the children's legal representatives.

"I thought the lawyers for the state of Oklahoma went completely
overboard with millions of dollars thrown at covering up a poorly
run system and defending the indefensible," Ms. Sublett said.  "If
the people who ran the agency had been looking out for kids rather
than looking out for their own reputations, this would have been
settled years ago.

"We the taxpayers have paid millions of dollars on this when it
could have been placed back into the welfare of children and
families and not to lawyers.  It was ridiculous."

Even though critical of the process, Ms. Sublett and the others
are highly complimentary of the end result.

The settlement creates an independent three-person panel to
oversee progress in an improvement plan developed by DHS
officials.  The monitors have power to seek court orders if

"I think it's brilliant," Ms. Sublett said.  "It is the first of
its kind in the nation, it's never been done before.  It puts the
state in the posture of having real skin in the game.  It's DHS'
plan.  It's the plan of the people of Oklahoma.  This is our plan
to improve the system rather than having the state and agency
continuing to be in a reactive posture."

Since the lawsuit was filed, DHS has reduced the number of
children in care from about 11,000 to about 8,000 and instituted
policies to encourage communication between foster and biological

The composition of the nine-member oversight commission has
shifted with five new members -- two appointed since September,
including a new chairman.  House Speaker Kris Steele named a House
work group to examine the agency and a foster-care task force
recently announced recommendations for reform.

DHS officials started working on the improvement plan immediately
after the agreement was approved by the commission in January.
The plan is due to the monitors by March 30.

"I think the work has just now begun," Ms. Strickland said.
"We've the got the litigation over, but now the important work on
getting the system changed has just begun.  I have to be
optimistic.  This is where the rubber meets the road."

After the settlement was approved, many noted the absence of
Foster, who died in May 2010.

"Finally, her spirit can rest," Ms. Strickland said.

The original complaint in February 2008 named nine children who
had been harmed while in DHS custody.  They are:

5-month-old boy: In four placements since birth.  He suffered a
fractured skull after a DHS worker dropped him while she was also
holding two other babies in an emergency shelter.

11-month-old girl: Had 17 placements since her time in custody
since birth.  She was hospitalized with a fractured skull due to
physical abuse at a foster home, hospitalized a second time for
dehydration and seizures due to neglect at a group home and
suffered for months with an untreated respiratory infection while
at an unmonitored foster home.

16-month-old boy: Was placed in four different settings since he
was two days old, including a trial reunification with the mother
where he was neglected and a month-long stay at a shelter, where
he suffered first- and second-degree burns due to poor

4-year-old girl: Was placed in four settings in 18 months,
including the home of a relative with a history of child abuse who
sexually abused the girl.  She also had an unsafe trial
reunification with her biological father.

5-year-old boy: Went through nine placements in 12 months,
including four stays in overcrowded shelters in four counties.

7-year-old boy: Was physically abused for nearly a year while in a
poorly monitored foster home.  While in state custody for 18
months, he had eight placements.

12-year-old boy: Had been in and out of foster care for eight
years, placed in more than 20 homes and facilities.  The
placements included a poorly supervised home where he was
regularly beaten with switches, six stays at overcrowded shelters
and a trial reunification with the mother, who neglected him.

13-year-old girl: Had more than 15 placements throughout the state
in four years. She was sexually assaulted in an institutional
facility and physically beaten at an unsupervised foster home.

16-year-old girl: Had been placed in more than 20 different
settings in a decade.  Throughout the moves, she has not received
the appropriate services and treatment for her developmental

What happened to the children?

Five have been adopted

One was reunited with her father

One is in permanent guardianship with her aunt

One aged out of the system

One remains in state custody living in a group home

Source: Children's Rights and the original court lawsuit

* Canadian Gov't Urged to Probe Quebec's Adoption Practices
Kathryn Blaze Carlson, writing for National Post, reports that a
woman is urging the Premier of Prince Edward Island to launch a
public inquiry into that province's historic adoption practices,
which she said resulted in the "coercive and systematic removal"
of children from their unmarried mothers from the 1950s to the

The call comes ahead of an expected series of class-action
lawsuits against provinces from Quebec westward, accusing the
governments of kidnapping, fraud and coercion, according to Tony
Merchant, the prominent lawyer heading the pending actions.

"There is evidence that unethical and improper procedures were
widespread," Mary MacDonald, who was adopted in 1958, wrote in a
March 5 letter to P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz.  "The activities and
involvement of religious agencies in co-ordination with government
and judicial agents is a collective shame that rivals the scandal
of the residential school system."

Ms. MacDonald said her adoption records show a government-
certified adoption agency, which she said was run by Protestants,
took her from the hospital before her mother signed a surrender
document.  She said the document was later signed but was neither
witnessed nor notarized, and that the lawyer handling the adoption
was simultaneously sitting as chairman of an orphanage.

Ms. MacDonald said the Premier has not yet responded to her
letter, which came on the heels of an explosive February report by
the Australian Parliament calling on the Australian government to
apologize to the "many parents whose children were forcibly
removed" from their care.  Mr. Ghiz's spokesperson did not respond
to an interview request on March 11.

The P.E.I. woman is among the growing movement of mothers and
adoptees calling on the federal and provincial governments to
probe this country's adoption practices, during a time when
abortion was illegal and unmarried mothers were stigmatized as
feeble-minded and unfit to parent.

On March 10, the National Post told the stories of several women
who said they were coerced or forced into putting their babies up
for adoption between the 1950s and the 1980s -- whether by social
workers who threatened women with police action unless they
consented, by matrons at church-run maternity homes who said
unmarried women could not live there unless they agreed to an
adoption, and by medical staff who denied women the right to hold
their babies and reportedly gave them lactation-suppressants
without their knowledge.

Over the weekend, more than a dozen other mothers contacted the
newspaper with similar accounts of systematic coercion, and at
least three said they are seriously considering joining any future
class-action lawsuit against the Ontario government.

"As far as I'm concerned, young women were wronged, and choices
were taken away from them," said Betty Meredith, who was sent to
an Ottawa maternity home for unmarried mothers when she was 18 in
1964.  "To this point, no one's paid too much attention to the
suffering of these mothers."

Ms. Meredith said she signed adoption papers before her daughter
was born -- before she was tied down to the birthing table,
covered with a sheet so she could not see the baby being born and
then unknowingly given drugs to dry up her breast-milk.

"This has nothing to do with money," said Jani Francis, who also
plans to join the Ontario class-action suit after her experience
as an unwed pregnant teenager in Toronto in 1969.  "What happened
was cruel and inhumane.  I want someone to be held responsible."

Ms. Francis said she signed a temporary wardship putting her son
in government care for three months so she could buy herself some
time to find a place to live.  Her parents flew her home to
Thunder Bay for the Christmas holidays, but they refused to pay
for her ticket back to Toronto.  Knowing she could not afford to
get back to her son, she said she reluctantly signed the adoption
papers.  Right after, Ms. Francis said the social worker revealed
the child could have easily been transferred to Thunder Bay, where
Ms. Francis said she had a friend who would have been willing to
house her and her baby.

An Ontario woman named Suzanne, who asked to conceal her identity
because her family does not know she put a child up for adoption
in the 1980s, is also considering joining the suit.

Suzanne said she tried to revoke her consent within the 21-day
period, but said she was stonewalled by her social worker, who
refused to meet with her, and by the children's aid society, which
bounced her back to the social worker and ultimately said there
was nothing they could do.

Valerie Andrews, the executive director of Origins Canada
supporting people separated by adoption, said over the weekend two
more women added their names to a list of mothers registering for
a future federal inquiry. More than 100 have so far signed up, she

When asked whether the government would consider such a probe, a
spokesperson for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said adoption is a
provincial matter.

* Federal Appeals Court Upholds California DNA Law Ruling
Christian Science Monitor reports that a federal appeals court in
San Francisco ruled that a California law requiring the taking of
a DNA sample from every adult arrested for a felony does not
violate the Constitution's prohibition on unreasonable searches.
The panel of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to
uphold the law, which permits the collected samples to be stored
in a nationwide database for potential use in future
investigations.  Challengers had argued in a class-action lawsuit
that the DNA law -- passed in 2004 as Proposition 69 -- would
facilitate the use of their DNA samples in future investigations
without the government first obtaining a warrant or reasonable
suspicion.  They said such actions violate Fourth Amendment
privacy protections.   "We conclude that the government's
compelling interests far outweigh arrestees' privacy concerns,"
wrote Judge Milan Smith in a 33-page decision joined by Senior
District Judge James Dale Todd.

                        Asbestos Litigation

ASBESTOS UPDATE: NY Ct. Allows Colgate to Seek Expert Testimony
Defendant Colgate-Palmolive Company moves by order to show cause
for an order directing the issuance of open commissions permitting
the defendant to seek testimony and documentation from non-party
witnesses Dr. Jian-Jun Wei and Norma Cuffe, both out of state
residents.  Plaintiffs Lawrence Bernard and Marilyn Bernard oppose
the OSC.

Justice Martin Shulman of the Supreme Court in New York County
granted Colgate's motion in a Feb. 23, 2012 decision and order.
Justice Shulman held that Dr. Wei's testimony is material and
necessary to Colgate's defense and noted that there is no
indication that Colgate can obtain the information it seeks on the
"potentially dispositive issue" of Shelley Bernard's competing
diagnoses from another source.

On Ms. Cuffe, Justice Shulman said Colgate has demonstrated that
Ms. Cuffe possesses relevant information on the issue of alternate
causation.  Colgate contended that it will present evidence from
other sources establishing that emissions from the Zonolite/W.R.
Grace plant in Dearborn, Michigan, contained asbestos and that
Karen Tedrick lived close enough to the plant to have been
exposed, thus establishing a possible link to Ms. Tedrick.

The case is LAWRENCE BERNARD and MARILYN BERNARD as co-executors
of the estate of SHELLEY BERNARD, Plaintiffs, v. BROOKFIELD
and RICHARD KONOPKA, as executors of the estate of KAREN TEDRICK,
Plaintiffs, v. COLGATE-PALMOLIVE COMPANY, Defendant, Case Nos.
107211-08, 190078/08 (N.Y.).  A copy of Justice Shulman's Decision
is available at http://is.gd/1pQvYIfrom Leagle.com.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Del. Ct. Junks Claims v. Zidell/William Powell
Ralph Curtis Wolfe worked at Zidell Industries in Portland,
Oregon, from 1970-1973.  Zidell disassembled World War II navy
ships and reconditioned parts including valves.  Mr. Wolfe alleges
asbestos exposure from Zidell's valves.

In a lawsuit commenced by Mr. Wolfe, Zidell seeks summary judgment
on "product nexus" grounds and asserts the "bare metal defense" as
grounds for not owing a duty to the Plaintiff for asbestos-
containing parts added to their products after market.

In a Feb. 28, 2012 memorandum opinion, Judge John A. Parkins, Jr.,
of the Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle County, granted
summary judgment in favor of Zidell holding that Mr. Wolfe has not
made a prima facie case for product nexus and Zidell is not liable
for the asbestos-containing component parts added to its products
after sale under Oregon law.

The case is RALPH CURTIS WOLFE and JANICE WOLFE, Limited to: The
William Powell Co., C.A. No. N10C-08-258 ASB (Del.).  A copy of
Judge Parkins' Decision is available at http://is.gd/4QYKJQfrom

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Pa. Ct. Junks FELA Claim v. CSX Transportation
In a Feb. 29, 2012 order, Judge Eduardo C. Robreno of the U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted
CSX Transportation, Inc.'s motion for summary judgment for lack of
evidence of injury or causation after finding that Robert C. Ellis
does not have any competent medical or causation evidence to
support his Federal Employers Liability Act claim.  The case is
marked "closed" for statistical purposes.

Consolidated Under MDL Docket No. 875, E.D. PA Civil Action No.
09-74484, Transferor Court: GA-S 04-00079 (E.D. Pa.).  A ccopy of
Judge Robreno's Decision is available at http://is.gd/TmSYkzfrom

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Ohio Appeals Ct. Reverses Ruling in Adience Suit
Silvano Tiburzi, as administrator of the estate of Marlene Tiburzi
and in his own right, appeals from a trial court's order granting
the motion of Adience, Inc., f.k.a. BMI, et al., to strike a
physician's report and motion to administratively dismiss the Mr.
Tiburzi's action.

Mr. Tiburzi claims that the Asbestos Reform Act does not empower a
defendant to depose a competent medical authority for the purpose
of challenging a plaintiff's prima facie showing that asbestos
exposure was a substantial contributing factor to cancer.  He
complains that the striking of the physician's report and the
administrative dismissal were inappropriate remedies after the
doctor who authored the report failed to appear for a deposition.

In a March 1, 2012 opinion, a three-judge panel composed of Judge
Melody J. Stewart, Judge Mary F. Boyle and Judge Frank D.
Celebrezze, Jr., of the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District,
Cuyahoga County, reversed the trial court's order and remanded the
case to the trial court for disposition according to the Appellate
Court's judgment.

The Appellate Court noted that the record in the case reflects
that, although Adience subpoenaed Dr. Mehrota, it did not petition
the court for an order compelling his appearance to be deposed.
The Appellate Court found that the trial court abused its
discretion in granting the defendant's motion to strike the
physician's report.

The Appellate Court further noted that the record also reflects
that Adience did not challenge the adequacy of Tiburzi's prima
facie evidence by motion.  The Appellate Court related that the
statutory language of applicable laws is unequivocal in its
requirement that a challenge to the adequacy of proferred prima
facie evidence must occur "upon the defendant's motion."

The case is SILVANO TIBURZI, as administrator of the Estate of
MARLENE TIBURZI, ETC., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. ADIENCE, INC.,
F.K.A. BMI, ET AL., Defendants-Appellees, No. 96591 (Ohio).  A
copy of the March 1 Opinion is available at http://is.gd/PSiruu
from Leagle.com.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Pa. Ct. Strikes Out Expert Rebuttal as Untimely
In a Feb. 28, 2012 order, Judge Eduardo C. Robreno of the U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted
CSX Transportation, Inc.'s motion to strike the rebuttal expert
report of Dr. James Milette after finding that the expert report
fails to directly rebut the Defendant's experts and Benjamin Hill
Carter, Jr., as plaintiff, has presented no justification for a
delayed expert report.  The Plaintiff filed the Federal Employers
Liability Act asbestos actions alleging negligence against
employer railroad based on exposure to asbestos during their

al., Consolidated Under MDL Docket No. 875, Civil Action No.
09-cv-74351 (E.D. Pa.).  A copy of Judge Robreno's Decision is
available at http://is.gd/x3i3cofrom Leagle.com.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: NY Ct. Junks Fraud Claim v. Property Seller
Justice David Elliot of the Supreme Court, Queens County,
partially denied a motion for summary judgment filed by the
plaintiff in the case, TIMOTHY GOULD, et ano., Plaintiffs, v. WRG
ACQUISITION II, LLC, et ano., Defendants, No. 6128/2011, Motion
Seq. No. 1 (N.Y.), holding that the mere silence on the part of
the seller is insufficient to rise to the level of active
concealment, concluding that the plaintiff's claim with respect to
the alleged asbestos condition is insufficient to state a claim
for fraud.

The summary judgment motion arises from the plaintiff's lawsuit
against WRG, as seller of a one-family home.  The plaintiff
alleged, among other things, that WRG concealed conditions of the
property, including violations issued with respect to removal of
asbestos present in the premises, and failed to remedy them.

A copy of the February 22, 2012 memorandum and order is available
at http://is.gd/ytxHIYfrom Leagle.com.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Va. Ct. Reverses Award in Seaman Case
101909 (Va.), the Supreme Court of Virginia, in an Opinion dated
March 2, 2012, reversed a ruling by the Circuit Court of the City
of Newport News holding that the trial court erred by allowing a
jury to award non-pecuniary damages for the wrongful death of a

The Supreme Court held that (1) JCI waived part of its second
assignment of error by failing to include any "argument" or
"authorities relating to" the admissibility of the evidence
presented by Mrs. Hardick regarding asbestos exposure from gasket
removal, in violation of Rule 5:27; and (2) the trial court did
not abuse its discretion when it excluded the testimony of JCI's
"Navy expert," Wesley Hewitt.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in
part the judgment of the trial court.  The Supreme Court vacated
the $2 million award for Hardick's pain and suffering and the
$1.15 million award for Mrs. Hardick's loss of society and
remanded the case to the trial court for entry of an order
consistent with the opinion.

A copy of the March 2, 2012 Opinion is available at
http://is.gd/lCwXWwfrom Leagle.com.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Pa. Ct. Junks Acquittal Bid in Conspiracy Case
Defendants Donald Fillers, David Wood, James Mathis, and Watkins
Street Project, LLC, filed motions for judgment of acquittal
pursuant to Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
The Defendants were all charged with conspiracy to defraud the
United States and violate the Clean Air Act, as well as with
various violations of the CAA's asbestos work-practice standards.
Defendants Fillers and Wood were additionally charged with making
false statements, and Defendants Fillers and the Watkins Street
Project were charged with obstruction of justice.

In a March 1, 2012 memorandum, Judge Curtis L. Collier of the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Tennessee, Chattanooga, denied the Defendants' motions holding
that the Defendants have not met their heavy burden of showing no
rational juror, when construing all reasonable inferences in favor
of the government, could find them guilty beyond reasonable doubt
in each of the charges.

Case 1:09-cr-00144 (E.D. Pa.)  A copy of Judge Collier's Decision
is available at http://is.gd/6PByPAfrom Leagle.com.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Del. Ct. Dismisses Claim v. Crane Co.
Judge John A. Parkins, Jr., of the Superior Court of Delaware, New
Castle County, in a March 2, 2012 memorandum opinion granted
summary judgment in favor of Crane Co. after finding that
plaintiff Frederick Parente has not made a prima facie case for
product nexus and Crane Co. is not liable for the asbestos-
containing component parts added to its products after sale under
Connecticut law.

Crane Co., C.A. No. N10C-11-140 ASB (Del.).  A copy of Judge
Parkins' Decision is available at http://is.gd/OOrUHCfrom

Plaintiffs are represented by:

         A. Dale Bowers, Esq.
         P.O. Box 6047
         Newport, DE

Crane Co. is represented by:

         Francis C. Gondek, Esq.
         300 Delaware Ave., Suite 1410
         Wilmington, DE
         Tel: (302) 656-5935
         Fax: (302) 656-1434
         E-mail: fgondek@swartzcampbell.com

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Registry Sought for Quebec's Contaminated Bldgs
CBC News reports that a Saskatchewan man with a rare form of
cancer linked to asbestos is demanding the federal government to
establish a national registry of buildings that contain the
hazardous fiber.

Howard Willems, 59, who lives in Saskatoon, contracted
mesothelioma while inspecting a number of older food plants in

Willems began lobbying for a registry in his home province, which
he hopes will eventually spread across the country, shortly after
being diagnosed.  He argues that "everyone has a right to know
when they go into a workplace or when they're going into a
building, it is safe."

Only a short time ago, Willems was fit enough to hike the Grand
Canyon with his wife.  Today, he needs a cane to walk.  Though he
remains upbeat, Willems had one lung removed in 2011 and his other
lung is continually monitored.  Research shows that 98% of people
with mesothelioma die within three years.

Willems has been a federal food plant inspector for more than 30
years.  He says he now realizes he was exposed to asbestos when he
inspected plants while they were being renovated, especially
during the removal of pipes with asbestos insulation.  "When the
light hit the right way you could see the fibers in the air."

He says no one seemed to be concerned at the time about the
dangers of breathing in the fibers, and that a registry would help
workers to be better informed.  "Something as simple as knowing
and putting on a mask going into those scenarios could have
prevented all of that," he says, referring to his lung cancer.

           Quebec asbestos registry kept from public

Willems is not the only one to have lobbied for an asbestos
registry.  In the last two years, the Canadian Cancer Society has
asked both the prime minister and the finance minister to create a

In Quebec, environmental activist Daniel Green has been a vocal
proponent of a registry.  He says Quebec has a list of 1,550
buildings containing asbestos, but won't allow the public to see
it.  "When we asked the government to give us the list [of
addresses] they refused. . . . the government is telling us, 'We
will not tell you of the asbestos in buildings you own as
taxpayers,'" says Green.

Green, who is trying to compile his own inventory list, says
through his own research he has identified 300 schools, hospitals,
and public offices in the province that contain asbestos.

Although the asbestos in many of the buildings may be contained
and could be considered safe, Green points out that "in a lot of
these places, asbestos fibers are escaping because of wear and
tear and degradation and because of work like masonry replastering
and replacing walls."

Many buildings constructed before 1980 contain asbestos, which was
used starting in the 1930s to insulate plumbing and in rubber

The federal government keeps track of asbestos in some of the
buildings it owns and is removing asbestos from the Parliament
Buildings In Ottawa; so far, over 1,000 tons have been trucked

Some asbestos was also removed from the top of a hot water tank at
24 Sussex Drive, the prime minister's residence, in 2008.

Public Works provided CBC with a list of the buildings it owns
across Canada that contain asbestos.  The list was compiled Jan.

Although politicians and civil servants have a registry of their
buildings, Green and Willems argue that all Canadians should know
whether the buildings they work in contain asbestos.

At least two other countries, France and Australia, have a
registry of buildings that contain asbestos.

"People have to say enough is enough.  We need to know," says

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Aires Consulting Says Chiddix School Safe
Phyllis Coulter at the Pantagraph.com reports that parents of
about 650 Chiddix Junior High School students received a letter on
Feb. 28, notifying them that a small amount of asbestos-containing
material was discovered at the Normal school and that McLean
County Unit 5 school district is taking steps to correct it.
There is no plan to relocate students.

The issue came to light on Nov. 9 when a teacher asked a licensed
asbestos inspector doing the routine, six-month inspection to
check white-powdery debris in the classroom.  The debris had a
small amount of asbestos, but the ceiling did not, said
Superintendent Gary Niehaus.

Since then, the district has monitored the school, and found no
further issues.  It hired Aires Consulting Group of Batavia to
investigate, find the cause, and suggest solutions.  "It is safe
for students and staff," said Geoff Bacci of Aires.

In February, Aires discovered the source was an area of the old
ceiling near the windows in about 60% of the building, only in the
section that is 50 years old.  A second test found no asbestos and
a third was taken on Feb. 27 with results expected within the next
two or three days, Niehaus said.

Ten air quality samples also have been collected; all were found
to be well below the level at which a building can be safely
occupied by students and teachers, Niehaus said.

Students also were notified Feb. 28 and staff, earlier.  The
timing was chosen to notify the parent and public so the district
had some answers to the cause and the correction, Niehaus said.

"We feel very comfortable and confident that we have identified
the source," he said.

Unit 5 also notified Illinois Department of Public Health, and is
waiting for a report and has developed a plan in case students
need to be relocated.  But Niehaus said there is no indication
that will happen.

"I am a Chiddix parent.  My daughter has a heart condition.  If I
felt any concern, I would pull her out (of school)," said Unit 5
board member Mike Trask, who is a member of the district's
facilities committee and was aware of the testing right from the

Mark Pritchett, also a committee member, was a Chiddix student in
1984, the year asbestos was initially removed from the school.  He
also feels confident on how the district is handling the
situation, he said.

The immediate fix involves spraying a protectant into the gap
between the ceilings and walls that can be completed over a

In the meantime, the district continues to use a specialized
vacuum to clean the window areas where the debris was found.  It
has completed a major cleaning of the seventh and eighth grade
classroom areas in the section of the building affected.  The
sixth grade wing, added in 1999 has no asbestos issues.

Long term, Unit 5 plans a major renovation of Chiddix this summer
at a cost of $600,000.  The work include corrections for asbestos,
new carpeting, painting the ceilings, and new lighting similar to
the projects done at eight other schools as part of the 2008 tax

The summer projects will take about 30 days and are part of about
$1 million in safety projects the district has planned for the
summer, Niehaus said.

The district has arranged for personnel to answer questions
parents may have.  They can call 309-557-4200.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Somerset Sites Affect New Rules on Hazmats
Aboutmyarea.co.uk reports that new rules requiring all asbestos to
be double wrapped and sealed for disposal are being introduced at
Somerset recycling sites from Thursday, March 1.

Cement bonded or sheet asbestos is accepted at seven Somerset
recycling sites: Bridgwater (Saltlands), Frome, Highbridge,
Minehead, Street, Taunton (Priorswood) and Yeovil. For other forms
of asbestos, residents should seek professional advice.

Residents need to call the recycling site in advance and bring
household asbestos double wrapped and sealed in heavy duty
plastic, such as rubble bags closed with gaffer or duct tape.
Large sheets should not be broken up but double wrapped as they
are, using heavy duty plastic.

If residents are unable to take asbestos or items containing
asbestos to one of the designated recycling sites, they can
arrange for an asbestos collection for a fee with Somerset County
Council customer services on 0845 3459188 or

Storage heaters, which can contain asbestos, should not be broken
up but disposed of through an asbestos collection or taken
complete and double wrapped to one of the seven recycling sites
that accept asbestos, after calling the site.

Asbestos is a toxic material that was once used for insulation and
fireproofing in construction. Because some forms have been linked
to lung diseases, asbestos is no longer used in new homes.
However, older buildings may still contain asbestos, which is a
hazardous waste.

SWP Managing Director Steve Read said: "Somerset is raising the
standards to ensure everyone's safety, whether it is residents
disposing of asbestos or other recycling site users and staff."

SWP's website lists its requirements: "Double wrap all asbestos in
strong bags prior to taking to a recycling site for disposal.

"Use gloves and masks when handling asbestos and, where possible,
do not break, drill, scrub or saw the asbestos.

"Damp down the working area with water to limit airborne particles
and remaining fibers should be cleared up with a damp cloth, which
should be included with the asbestos for disposal."

Residents are required to telephone the recycling site in advance
to ensure there is space for the asbestos and must alert staff as
they arrive to be directed to the correct container.

The SWP website adds: "Staff at the site are not able to assist
with unloading of this material.  Place the asbestos (complete
with bags, wrapping and cleaning cloths) in the container."

The maximum limit that can be taken equates to 16 sheets 6ft x 2ft
(2.5m x 0.6m).

Commercial or trade asbestos cannot be collected or accepted at
any recycling site; businesses must make arrangements with a
commercial waste management company.

The Asbestos Removal Contractors Association can suggest firms,
while a list of approved service providers can be obtained from
the Health and Safety Executive.

Signs and leaflets about the risks and rules of asbestos are
available at the seven recycling sites that take it for disposal.

More advice and details of the seven recycling sites accepting
asbestos is available from SWP:


And from the Health and Safety Executive:


Nine take plasterboard: Chard and Crewkerne recycling sites are
now able to take plasterboard for recycling, in addition to
Bridgwater, Frome, Highbridge, Street, Taunton, Williton and

About Somerset Waste Partnership: Somerset Waste Partnership
manages waste and recycling services on behalf of Mendip,
Sedgemoor, South Somerset and West Somerset District Councils,
Taunton Deane Borough Council and Somerset County Council.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Shrader & Associates Hope for "Turin" Stateside
Two European asbestos cement executives were each given 16 years
of jail time for involuntary manslaughter, after failing to
implement safety measures at four Italian plants, according to a
Feb. 13 Reuters article.  Shrader & Associates, LLP hopes the
prison sentences and over $50 million in owed in damages resonate
with similar corporations in the States, who "ought to take notice
and make an effort to improve their safety practices," said
attorney Robert Shuttlesworth.

According to Reuters, the two men sentenced to jail time are
Stephan Schmidheiny and Jean Louis Marie Ghislain de Cartier de
Marchienne, former owner and former executive of Eternit,
respectively.  The Swiss corporation produced fiber cement, and
its Italian plants were found to be an unsafe work environment.
Asbestos-related cancers killed 2,000, and many more workers and
members of the surrounding communities have developed tumors and
other illnesses from exposure, prosecution said.

"While news of these deaths is upsetting, this is unfortunately
not an atypical example of the illness and pain asbestos can
cause," Shuttlesworth said.  "Myself and the rest of the asbestos
lawyers at Shrader are encouraged to learn of the justice that was
served to two executives.  They're guilty of valuing financial
gain above the health of thousands."

About 6,000 people sought damages in the case, and collected an
average of $40,000 each, reported Reuters.  Schmidheiny and de
Cartier de Marchienne plan to appeal the decision.

For many involved in the trial, the sentence was historic, and
believed to have worldwide implications about safety in the
workplace, Shuttlesworth said.  Although production of asbestos
has been seriously reduced in the United States, the fiber is
still common in older buildings.  Additionally, the rate of new
diagnoses of mesothelioma continues to increase due to its latent
nature -- people exposed to asbestos may take decades to show
symptoms of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos.
Asbestosis and tumor development can also be consequences.
Patients who developed these conditions after living or working in
the vicinity of airborne asbestos fibers deserve compensation for
their medical expenses and for the deterioration of their health.

Shrader & Associates offers a complimentary legal consultation to
patients and families interested in learning about their legal
rights.  To arrange a consultation, or for other information, call
(888) 637-6236 or go to http://www.shraderlaw.com/

Shrader & Associates is a leading national law firm that
specializes in representing individuals harmed by dangerous
products and toxic chemicals.  These dedicated professionals have
extensive experience handling personal injury and product
liability lawsuits.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Contaminated Debris Remains Exposed Since October
Steve Rice at The Advertiser reports that debris from a house
explosion in Holden Hill more than four months ago is yet to be
removed, leaving residents fearing exposure to asbestos.

Tea Tree Gully Council has been unable to clear the remains of the
house because it says the sole responsibility lies with the

The house, on the intersection of Tarton Rd. and Falcon St., was
instantly reduced to rubble when it exploded in the early hours of
Sunday, October 23.  Bricks, glass and building materials were
scattered on to roofs and into backyards of houses up to 80m away.

At the time, police said the explosion was caused by a
deliberately lit fire in which accelerant was used.  The
whereabouts of the homeowner cannot be confirmed.

Tea Tree Gully Council mayor Miriam Smith said the council was in
discussions with the property owner about clearing the debris.

Ms. Smith said she was concerned the site remained untouched, but
the council was unable to do anything about it.  "We covered and
fenced the site for public safety at the time, but currently our
legal powers are limited," she said.

"In the meantime we will continue to seek a resolution from the
owners, while we continue to assist residents with any queries or
ongoing concerns."

Safework SA says inhalation of asbestos fibers has a serious long-
term health risk and can lead to asbestosis and other lung

SA Asbestos Diseases Society president Ian Sheppard said the site
needed to be cleaned up immediately and warned that people with
short-term exposure to asbestos fibers were equally at risk as
those who were exposed over a longer period of time.  "It's very
concerning.  They need to bury it and bury it deep," he said.

Holden Hill resident Peter Gaskin said he was concerned because no
one wanted to take charge of the clean-up.  "It (the debris) is
just sitting there blowing about in the wind," he said.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: 31 Mesothelioma Deaths in Blackpool in 4 Years
blackpoolgazette.co.uk reports that the families of two men who
died from an industrial disease have backed calls for a "last
resort" fund.

It comes as statistics published revealed more people have died of
asbestos related cancer in Blackpool than in most other parts of
the country.

The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, show
31 residents died from mesothelioma -- a terminal cancer of the
lung wall -- between 2006 to the end of 2010.  That is an
equivalent of 2.7 deaths in 100,000 people, 0.2 above the national
average of 2.5 for the same period.

The statistics have led to calls for the creation of a fund for
victims who cannot trace insurers -- a "last resort" fund promised
by the Government two years ago.

David Jones, owner of The Henson Hotel on Clifton Drive,
Blackpool, lost his dad, Albert, to mesothelioma last year.

He said; "I am surprised to hear Blackpool is above the national
average, my dad was exposed to the substance as a barrel maker at
the ICI in Salford and later in Scotland.

"But it shows how many people are affected and why it is so
important any funding to help victims and their families should be
made available, it can be difficult to trace employers."

Maureen Butterworth, of Hall Park Drive, Lytham, lost her husband
Michael to the disease in 2010 -- four years after he was
diagnosed.  The former head of economics at Arnold School was
exposed to asbestos during his time in the Royal Navy.

Maureen said: "We were told there was no way we could claim
because the Crown is exempt from prosecution prior to 1987.

"The coroner told us she expected to see an increase in cases over
the next few years as it can take up to 50 years to manifest.

"There is obviously a need for support and I hope the Government
sets up a fund while the victims are alive."

David Bott, president of the Association of Personal Injury
Lawyers, said: "More people die of mesothelioma in Blackpool per
head of the population than in other areas.

"This will peak in the next five years and what people don't
realize is hundreds of sufferers cannot get compensation.  The
Government must bring forward proposals for a fund of last resort
which would act as a safety net for injured workers who are
otherwise unable to pursue the justice they deserve.

"It was proposed prior to the general election, but 18 months
later we haven't heard about it since."

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Asbestos PI Trust to Pay Up to $350K/Claimant
An article at MesotheliomaHelp.net relates Mesothelioma, a cancer
caused by exposure to asbestos, affects nearly 3,000 Americans
each year.  However, over one-third of the victims are military
veterans.  Due to the extended latency period of the disease some
veterans exposed to asbestos between the 1950s and 1970s are just
now exhibiting symptoms, and are dealing with their mounting
medical bills.  Financial relief will soon be available for some
of these veterans through the formation of a fund designated for
compensation to Navy veterans who were harmed by asbestos disease.

Under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan, Leslie
Controls, Inc., a manufacturer that supplied asbestos-containing
gaskets and valves to the U.S. Navy from the 1940s until the
1980s, has established an "Asbestos PI Trust" available to Navy

According to the plan, Leslie's parent company, CIRCOR, made a
contribution of $74 million to the trust on behalf of itself and
other CIRCOR-related parties.  Leslie contributed $1 million with
a yearly 5% interest payment.

The plan includes a pay level based on the medical issue affecting
the claimant.  Currently, a "powerhouse and below-deck Naval
station claim" of mesothelioma will be awarded $100,000 with a
maximum value of $350,000.  Any "construction and maintenance
claims" for mesothelioma will receive $25,000 with a maximum value
of $125,000.  Amounts are also established for lung cancer and

Asbestos was used as insulation around steam pipes and valves and
led to the exposure of hundreds of thousands of Navy veterans to
the cancer-causing mineral fibers over the decades.  Asbestos is a
known carcinogen that has been linked to respiratory diseases,
including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.  The symptoms
of mesothelioma can be managed through chemotherapy and radiation.
There is no cure for the disease.

Claims may be filed with the trust starting in March 2012.  All
claims are subject to review and approval by the trust committee.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Coulombe Says WHO's Death-Toll Stats A "Fantasy"
The Canadian Press reports that the Canadian asbestos sector wants
Ottawa's help to challenge a death-toll estimate from the World
Health Organization that says asbestos-related diseases kill more
than 100,000 people every year.

The figure is a major irritant for the industry, one often cited
by critics who want to block future asbestos development over
health concerns.

A leading industry player says the estimate by the WHO, the United
Nations health authority, is an exaggeration based on unfounded

"Where are those deaths? And name at least 10 of those deaths,"
Bernard Coulombe told The Canadian Press in an interview from the
Quebec town of Asbestos.  "It's absolutely a fantasy."

Coulombe noted that the WHO has not responded to his repeated
requests for the evidence.  The organization only deals with the
governments of member states -- not industry figures.

To get answers, he said he will ask the Canadian government to
step in and urge the Geneva-based organization to provide
scientific proof behind the statistic.

"This bad publicity hurts us enormously as a corporation," said
Coulombe, who was forced to halt production at his mine a few
months ago due to financial problems.

He is the president of Jeffrey Mine, which was one of the last two
remaining asbestos mines in Canada when it suspended production
last year.  The other mine has since closed, but some proponents
hope it will reopen as well.

For months, Coulombe has been trying to line up investors so he
can secure a $58-million bank-loan guarantee from the Quebec
government to revive the Jeffrey operation.

Physicians and activists from around the world have campaigned to
shut down the Canadian sector -- and its exports -- for good.

They say the health risks of Canadian asbestos are being shipped
to poorer countries, where safety standards are limited.

                    WHO stands by estimate

A senior official for the WHO said the organization stands by its
estimate that asbestos-related diseases, such as certain forms of
lung cancer, kill more than 107,000 people around the world each
year.  The figure relates specifically to people exposed to
asbestos fibers at work.

Ivan Ivanov, a team leader in the WHO's department of public
health and environment, said the estimate is based on data from
published scientific research.  He said the numbers are calculated
as a proportion of all reported lung-cancer deaths, based on
certain epidemiological parameters.

Ivanov could not immediately provide further details on the figure
because he was awaiting a detailed explanation from a WHO
epidemiologist.  He stressed that the figure is a scientific
estimate, not an exact count.  "This is not (from a list of)
107,000 names that disappeared last year," Ivanov said in a phone
interview from Geneva.

He said exposure to all forms of asbestos -- even at very low
levels -- can cause cancer.

The WHO's goal, Ivanov added, is to see countries stop the use of
all types of asbestos, including the Canadian form known as

The Canadian sector insists that chrysotile is not as dangerous as
other types of asbestos and that safety conditions for workers
have vastly improved.

Ivanov isn't swayed by the argument.  "In the industry, they use
any kind of arguments, basically, to refute data that they don't
like," he said.  "Whatever numbers WHO publishes -- some people
like them, some people don't."

He said if the Canadian government, which has been a supporter of
the industry, requests an official reply on this estimate, the WHO
will provide it.

The federal government did not immediately respond to a request
for comment on whether it would contact the WHO on behalf of the

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Bad Call at Follansbee Abatement Rectified
Natalie Herbick of NEWS9, Follansbee, W.Va., reports that classes
were back in session March 1 at Follansbee Middle School after
school officials corrected an asbestos problem.

Brooke County Schools Assistant Superintendent Marty Bartz said
the school system is in the process of installing smart boards in
every classroom.  But before the company came in to drill into the
walls, the school maintenance supervisor tested for asbestos.

"He (Mark Wetzel) ran 40 samples, sent them to be tested.  They
all came back negative except for Room 205 and another room," said

Taking these results into consideration, school officials sent
emails to the company asking that no drilling take place at any of
the schools without the proper permission because of the potential
of exposing that asbestos.

Despite those warnings, Bartz said the crew that went in n Feb. 29
accidentally started drilling in one of the rooms in question.
Bartz said they immediately canceled classes that day as a
precaution and started taking steps to correct the problem.

"I closed the door and sealed it with duct tape so no one else
could enter until we would take care of the problem," said Wetzel.

The school sent samples to be tested by AGX out of Wexford, Pa.,
and the samples for Room 205 came back positive for asbestos.

"Our assessment was obviously a very minor exchange of debris
coming from a positive tested wall.  (It was) very minor in
nature, so we knew we could rectify the situation in a big hurry,"
said AGX Environmental inspection technician Scott May.

In the meantime, the school brought in Liberty Environmental
Services for the cleanup.

Aside from 12 air changes, Mike Beagle said he did extensive
cleaning.  "We wet-wiped all of the walls, floors, ceiling,
tables, projectors, anything that was in here," he said.

Bartz said additional tests from AGX showed that the building is
safe to reoccupy.  He said parents will receive a letter
explaining the steps the school took to correct the problem, and
credited school officials and the different agencies that stepped
in to ensure student safety.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: WorkSafeBC Reports 2011 Total Fines of C$4.9MM
Jeff Nagel at Surrey North Delta Leader News reports that asbestos
or hazardous material violations accounted for 15% of the fines
levied last year by WorkSafeBC against employers who contravened
workplace safety rules.

In most of those 54 incidents, the companies were performing
residential demolitions and asbestos cleanup.

Among the violators was Surrey-based Arthur Moore, who was fined
five times for a total of C$32,500 in 2011 for failing to comply
with WorkSafeBC orders or regulations at multiple job sites across
the Lower Mainland.

Moore was also sentenced in January to 60 days in jail for
contempt of court after he continued to expose young, vulnerable
workers to asbestos without adequate protection, contravening
previous orders.

A network of shoddy, dangerous contractors and consultants
continue to unsafely remove asbestos and put workers at risk,
according to WorkSafeBC.

The agency estimates 300 homes are demolished each month in the
Lower Mainland and many built prior to the mid-1990s contain

Those violators remain a major priority because disease from
asbestos exposure has become a major source of workplace
fatalities.  A team of eight prevention officers continues to
target the sector.

WorkSafeBC issued its 2011 enforcement report Feb. 28, listing 352
penalties totaling C$4.9 million.

Fines were imposed in 15 incidents last year where workers were
killed, often in horrific circumstances.

Actton Transport Ltd. in Surrey was fined C$87,000 after a worker
repairing the hydraulic and pneumatic system on a waste collection
truck was fatally crushed.

Seaspan Ferries was fined nearly C$70,000 after a tragic incident
in Delta where a ferry boarding ramp collapsed into the Fraser
River and a worker drowned.  The company failed to adequately
inspect, test, repair and maintain the ramp, which collapsed due
to mechanical deterioration.

Another fatality happened in Agassiz in December, when a young
worker's clothes were caught in a rotating drill.  Rimex Supply
Ltd. was fined C$71,000 for failing to adequately safeguard
equipment and train workers.

In White Rock, a worker was electrocuted when the section of
gutter he was carrying touched an overhead power line.  The firm
was fined C$3,600.

Another company was fined more than C$21,000 for an incident in
Langley, where a worker operating a 600-tonne hydraulic swaging
press was struck by part of the machinery.

The two largest fines issued in Metro Vancouver were handed out to
roofing companies even though no injuries or fatalities resulted.

Penfolds Roofing was fined C$140,000 because two of its workers in
New Westminster were six meters above ground with no fall
protection. The stiff fine was imposed because Penfolds has a
record of similar violations within the past three years.

Natt Roofing was fined C$87,000 -- also for a repeat violation of
fall protection rules.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Fibro Compels Unit Five to Shut Down Chiddix High
The Associated Press reports asbestos contamination has forced a
junior high school in Normal to close for the rest of the school

WGLT radio reports that Unit Five School District will close
Chiddix Junior High School.  The Illinois Department of Public
Health has recommended sealing ten classrooms and extensive air
tests.  Superintendent Gary Niehaus says it's best to close
because that could spread asbestos around the building.

Niehaus says incomplete ceiling removal likely caused the asbestos

More than 600 students will be off of school until March 6.
Students will restart classwork in spare classrooms at another
location.  Instructional materials and other items will be

ASBESTOS UPDATE: DAST Commemorates 120 Mesothelioma Victims
BBC News Derby reports that the names of more than 120 people who
died after being exposed to asbestos have been projected on to
Derby Cathedral.

The event, organized by Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team (DAST),
aims to raise awareness of asbestos dangers.

The victims all died of mesothelioma, a cancer which is usually
caused by exposure to the fibrous material.  They all lived in
Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire or

William Hunt, who lived in Ripley and was exposed to asbestos
while working as maintenance engineer in Derby, was one of the
victims.  His daughter Margaret Bailey, who also lives in Ripley,
said: "He had a really horrible death and it was caused by
mesothelioma.  It was dreadful.

"I do feel very angry that other people who go to work have to die
because of something they have been exposed to at work."

Mr. Hunt died in November 2003 at the age of 93.

"It takes about 20 or 30 years before it actually comes out," said
Mrs. Bailey.

"We've spoken to some of his colleagues who are more our age and
they said it was rife in the air.  They feel it is like a ticking
time-bomb inside them."

Mrs. Bailey's husband, George, was also exposed to asbestos while
working in a laboratory.  "Asbestos is awful and it's still
around.  Any properties built before 2000 could have it in them,"
she said.

Derby was chosen to host the event because of its industrial
history.  Over the past year DAST has supported 82 people
suffering from asbestos-related diseases in Derbyshire and a total
of 257 families across the East Midlands.

Workers in heavy engineering and the construction trades, as well
as power station staff, were among those exposed.

The ceremony included a minute silence to remember all those who
have died from mesothelioma.

The cathedral will be illuminated from dusk until 22:00 GMT each
day until March 6.

The Health and Safety Executive estimates there are about 4,000
deaths each year as a result of historical exposure to asbestos.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Hazards Add $600,000 to Music Building Costs
Sam Attal, editor-in-chief at Accent Advocate, reports that
renovation of the Music Building has fallen out of tune as the
retrofit project's completion will be delayed until mid-August
after hazardous fire retardant was found.

Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said that after
contractors began tearing apart walls of the closed building in
July 2011 they found asbestos fibers, which were installed when
the building was constructed in 1962.

The project was scheduled for completion in June 2012, but since
contractors found the safety risks, the finish date has been
pushed back two months.  Asbestos is classified as a carcinogen by
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services because its
fibers can lead to lung cancer or mesothelioma through inhalation.

"Once they started poking holes, they found asbestos everywhere,"
Academic Senate President and music professor Wayne Organ said.

Along with the priority of safe asbestos removal, the building
must also undergo minor seismic retrofitting for not meeting
structural support standards of the California Geological Society.
It must approve any construction projects that lie on or near
fault lines.  CCC sits on the Hayward Fault, a major and active
fault in the Bay Area.

The project was estimated to cost $3 million before the problems
were discovered.  After S W Allen Construction Inc. offered to do
the construction for $2 million, the district allocated the
project's remaining $1 million "cushion money" to fund other
projects at CCC, King said.

But since the amount of asbestos found kept increasing,
contractors at S W Allen required an extra $600,000 to remove it,
forcing the district to take money out of the 2006 Measure A Bond
contingency reserve fund.

The extra costs may spike up to another $200,000, King said.

CCC Capital Projects Manager Burl Toler said the district is
unsure of the exact cost of the retrofit.

"We planned to go in and (remove only) selective hazardous
material.  We're still reviewing the contractor's request for the
changes so we don't have succinct numbers," Toler said. "We'll
have firm numbers a month from now."

Since the summer 2011 semester, music practice classes have been
held in the Humanities Building, which is not soundproofed for
instruments or vocal choirs, causing sound to pour into the
hallway and other classrooms.

Music department Chairperson Stephanie Austin said using the H
Building has proved difficult.

"It's been a challenge because the facility is not really designed
for music," Austin said.  "There's a whole lot of sound bleeding
from the practice rooms coming into (other) classrooms."  Austin
said the department has adapted and is used to the distractions

"We've been able to keep everything going and overcome the
challenges for the short time that we're here," she said.

Organ, who served as the music department chairperson until summer
2011, said the discovery of asbestos has made the project better
for the college.  He said since the building was torn down to
planks, it gave the college and district a chance to make more
dramatic changes to upgrade the whole interior.

"If you walk around there, all you see is two-by-fours," Organ
said.  "We will have a brand new building (inside)."

Before the safety concerns arose, the building was to receive
upgraded classrooms in the same spaces with minor changes.  The
asbestos removal allowed for the department to input suggestions
for how the building could better suit music students.

When the building opens, students will be welcomed by better-
insulated rooms for practice.

All the rooms will be interconnected via cabling, meaning the
whole building could be used to record audio, Organ said.

The middle atrium will see an overhaul as well, with benches and a
tree to provide shade for music students mingling outside, Austin

"We'll have a lovely building when it's done," she said.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Dist. Court Reverses $500MM Judgment v. Travelers
District Judge John G. Koeltl reversed a final judgment of the
United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New
York (Lifland, J.), dated Jan. 20, 2011, requiring Travelers
Indemnity Company and Travelers Casualty and Surety Company to pay
more than $500 million to certain asbestos plaintiffs that had
filed direct actions against Travelers related to The Johns-
Manville Corporation bankruptcy case.  The Judgment sought to
enforce three settlement agreements that were executed by the
parties in 2004.  Because a condition precedent in the settlement
agreements was not satisfied, it was error to require Travelers to
make the settlement payments.  To that extent, therefore, the
judgment must be reversed, Judge Koeltl said.

"There is nothing unfair about not requiring Travelers to make the
payments under the settlement agreements if it is not
contractually bound to do so," Judge Koeltl said.

1312 (JGK), 11 Civ. 1329 (JGK) (S.D.N.Y.).  A copy of the Court's
Feb. 29, 2012 Opinion and Order is available at
http://is.gd/3efAf4from Leagle.com.

Andrew Tyler Frankel, Esq., and Barry Robert Ostrager, Esq. --
afrankel@stblaw.com and bostrager@stblaw.com -- at Simpson Thacher
& Bartlett LLP (NY), represent The Travelers Indemnity Company and
Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, formerly known as Aetna
Casualty and Surety Company.

The Statutory and Hawaii Direct Action Settlement Counsel is
represented by Kent Andrew Bronson, Esq., and Matthew Gluck, Esq.
-- kbronson@milberg.com and mgluck@milberg.com -- at Milberg LLP

Danielle Wildern Juhle, Esq., and Ronald Barliant,
Esq. -- danielle.juhle@goldbergkohn.com and
ronald.barliant@goldbergkohn.com -- at Goldberg, Kohn, Bell,
Black, Rosenbloom & Moritz, Ltd., represent the Common Law
Settlement Counsel.

The Asbestos Personal Injury Plaintiffs are represented by Peter
Carmine D'Apice, Esq. -- d'apice@sbep-law.com -- at Stutzman,
Bromberg, Esserman & Plifka, P.C.

                      About Johns-Manville

Johns-Manville Corp. was, by most sources, the largest
manufacturer of asbestos-containing products and the largest
supplier of raw asbestos in the United States from the 1920s until
the 1970s.  Manville sold raw asbestos to manufacturers of
asbestos-based products in 58 countries and distributed its own
asbestos-based products "across the entire spectrum of industries
and employment categories subject to asbestos exposure."

As a result of studies linking asbestos with respiratory disease,
Manville became the target of a growing number of products
liability lawsuits in the 1960s and 1970s.  Buckling under the
weight of its asbestos liability, Manville filed for Chapter 11
protection on August 26, 1982, before Judge Lifland.

To avoid the uncertainty of insurance litigation and to fund its
plan of reorganization, Manville sought to settle its insurance
claims.  Manville obtained in excess of $850,000,000 from
settlements with its insurers.  The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the
Southern District of New York entered an order confirming the
Debtors' Second Amended and Restated Plan of Reorganization on
Dec. 22, 1986.

                   Review on Chubb V. Travelers

Alison Frankel of Thomson Reuters writes that if it weren't for
the $500 million that won't go to asbestos victims as a result of
the enmity between Chubb Insurance and Travelers Insurance, this
story would be a funny O. Henry-esque lesson in the ironies of
litigation.  But there's nothing funny about plaintiffs losing out
on $500 million they've been counting on since 2004, especially
because they had absolutely nothing to do with the loss.  What we
have here is a cautionary tale of the unintended consequences that
abound in long-running complex litigation.

On March 1, as Jon Stempel reported for Reuters, U.S. District
Judge John Koeltl of Manhattan federal court ruled that a 2004
settlement between Travelers and asbestos victims who long ago
brought suits against the insurer was unenforceable.  In a 32-page
opinion that makes a valiant effort to streamline one of the most
complicated records you'll ever see, Koeltl concluded that the
preconditions of the settlement were not satisfied because
Travelers hadn't been released from all the claims the deal was
supposed to resolve.

To understand why, we have to back up to 2004.  That's when
Travelers decided it was cheaper, in the long run, to buy peace
with people asserting asbestos claims deriving from Travelers'
coverage of Johns Manville than to continue insisting the
insurance company was absolved from liability through an $80
million contribution to the Manville Trust in 1986.  Travelers
agreed to put up a total of $445 million to settle with three
groups of plaintiffs.  As a condition of the settlement, Travelers
insisted on a final court order releasing it from any asbestos-
related claims.

That's when Chubb entered the story.  Chubb was concerned that its
potential contribution and indemnity claims against Travelers
would be barred by the 2004 settlement.  Its lawyers at Cozen
O'Connor filed an objection to the deal in Manhattan federal
bankruptcy court, arguing that the court didn't have subject-
matter jurisdiction to enjoin future claims against Travelers and
that it hadn't received constitutionally sufficient notice of the
previous 1986 deal.

It took another five years for the case to work its way through
the district court, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, and,
amazingly, the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2009, the Supreme Court
waded into the jurisdictional and historical mire of the suit. Its
June 2009 opinion was a near-complete victory for Travelers and
its lead lawyer, Barry Ostrager -- bostrager@stblaw.com -- of
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.  The high court ruled that the direct
suits against Travelers were barred by the court orders issued
back in 1986, just as Travelers had always argued.  The justices
also said that the bankruptcy court had jurisdiction to
"interpret" the 1986 orders in a way that permitted the 2004
settlements to be approved.

The one snag in the Supreme Court's opinion, according to Koeltl's
ruling, was that the justices didn't decide whether any particular
claimant was bound by the 1986 orders.  The court remanded Chubb's
due process claim to the 2nd Circuit, which -- lo and behold --
concluded in a March 2010 decision that Chubb was not subject to
the bar on suits against Travelers because it hadn't been notified
of the 1986 court orders.

The 2nd Circuit seemed to entertain the hope that the 2004
settlements would nonetheless remain in place, but the appeals
court wasn't counting on Simpson Thacher's knack for grabbing
victory from the jaws of defeat.  Ostrager, along with Simpson
partner Andrew Frankel -- afrankel@stblaw.com --, reasoned that
the appellate ruling invalidated the 2004 deal because the
settlements depended on Travelers receiving a final release from
all claimants.  Travelers refused to fund the settlements, and the
claimants went to bankruptcy court to compel the insurer to pony

Manhattan federal bankruptcy judge Burton Lifland ruled that
Travelers was still required to abide by the settlement.  He also
tacked on about $65 million in interest, bringing the total value
of the deal up to $500 million.

The district court, however, found that Lifland was wrong.  The
2nd Circuit's ruling on Chubb meant that the deal was no longer on
the terms Travelers had agreed to, Koeltl wrote.  "[The appellate
decision] exposed Travelers to contribution and indemnity claims
from Chubb and potentially other insurers," the judge concluded."
This is less protection than that for which Travelers bargained
and for which it was willing to pay nearly $500 million."  Lifland
had been concerned about fairness to the asbestos claimants, but
Koeltl said that concern was misplaced: "New York law is clear
that subjective notions of fairness or equity are not a
permissible basis for a court to rewrite a contract or to excuse
compliance with conditions precedent."

And besides, Koeltl said, it would "skew the equities" to require
Travelers to pay $500 million "for relief to which it was already
entitled under the 1986 orders and for which it had already paid
in 1986.  While Travelers was willing to pay the additional $500
million to obtain complete peace through a clarification that any
and all claims against it related to its handling of asbestos
claims were enjoined, including contribution and indemnity claims
by all potential insurers, this is not the relief Travelers
obtained following (the 2nd Circuit ruling)."

Ironic, right? Especially because in the 25 years since the 1986
order, Chubb hasn't brought asbestos indemnity claims against
Travelers.  Chubb's theoretical due process protection comes at a
very steep price for asbestos victims.  (I'm sure, however, that
we haven't seen the last of this case.  Who knows what the 2nd
Circuit will do when it gets another crack at things.)

I called lawyers for the claimants, who are represented by
Milberg; Goldberg Kohn; and Stutzman, Bromberg, Esserman & Plifka.
None got back to me.  I also reached out to Chubb's lawyers at
Cozen O'Connor but didn't get a substantive response.  Travelers
counsel Ostrager declined comment.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: 3 Justices Dissented on SC Ruling vs Rail Workers
Brent Kendall of Dow Jones Newswires reports that the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled on Feb. 29 that railroad maintenance workers can't
bring state-law personal injury lawsuits against locomotive
equipment manufacturers for alleged asbestos-related injuries.

The court, in an opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas, said such
lawsuits are preempted by a federal rail-safety law, the
Locomotive Inspection Act.

The ruling barred a Pennsylvania lawsuit by the family of a
railroad worker allegedly exposed to asbestos while working with
locomotive brake shoes and insulation.  The employee, George
Corson, died after the lawsuit was filed.

The Corson family originally sued several defendants, though many
were no longer a part of the case.  Two remaining defendants were
Railroad Friction Products Corp., a subsidiary of Westinghouse Air
Brake Technologies Corp., and Viad Corp. (VVI).

Lawyers for the Corson family had argued a ruling for the
companies could leave injured rail workers without legal remedies
against equipment manufacturers.  The Obama administration had
filed a legal brief supporting rail workers' right to sue, at
least in some circumstances.

General Electric Co. (GE), a leading manufacturer of diesel-
electric locomotives, and the National Association of
Manufacturers were among several trade groups and companies that
filed court briefs supporting the company defendants.

Three justices dissented in part to the court's ruling.  The
dissenters would have allowed some of the plaintiffs' claims to

The case is Kurns v. Railroad Friction Products Corp., 10-879.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Official Downplays Chiddix Health Risk
Paul Swiech at Pantragraph.com reports that health risks to
children, parents and staff members at Chiddix Junior High School
are believed to be minimal because exposure to asbestos at the
school was limited, according to a public health official and a
doctor who has treated patients who became ill after working with

"You need a large exposure to asbestos for it to be dangerous,"
said Dr. David Koh, a pulmonologist with Illinois Heart & Lung
Associates, Normal, a part of Advocate Medical Group.

"For the little bit of exposure that the kids had, it's probably a
nonissue," Koh said March 1.

"(Health) risk is a product of exposure," said Ken McCann, acting
chief of the Illinois Department of Public Health's Division of
Environmental Health.

Based on the amount of asbestos fibers found at Chiddix, where
they were located and sample results, "we believe the exposure was
limited and intermittent, so that would translate to limited long-
term health risks," McCann said.

Asbestos is a cancer-causing material "so we take these situations
seriously," McCann said.  That's why, when small amounts of
asbestos were confirmed in 10 Chiddix classrooms, Public Health
recommended that the area be evacuated and isolated, the asbestos
removed and then the area cleaned, said Public Health spokeswoman
Melaney Arnold.

McLean County Unit 5 went a step further Wednesday (Feb. 29)
afternoon and closed the entire building for the rest of the
school year.

"The bottom line is it's difficult for us to assess the long-term
health impacts because we don't know the level of exposure,"
Arnold said.

Public Health doesn't know how long asbestos fibers were being
released before samples were taken in November.  "But, based on
what we know, the amount of material we're talking about and the
level of exposure has been limited in these classrooms," McCann

Anyone with concerns may visit their doctor, he said.  But damage
to lung tissue doesn't happen until 10 to 20 years following
exposure to asbestos, and that has been among people who have
worked with asbestos-containing products, he said.

Koh said patients have been treated at Illinois Heart & Lung for
mesothelioma -- a cancer that affects the membrane that covers the
lungs, heart and other internal organs.  The cancer is commonly
caused by exposure to asbestos fibers.

But Koh said those patients worked for years making asbestos-
containing products, such as insulation.  They went home with the
fibers on their clothes, which were laundered and worn again.
Fifteen to 20 years later, some of them became ill with pulmonary
fibrosis (scarring of the lungs), he said.

But even staff at Chiddix would not have had that level of
exposure, Koh said.  Of course, removing asbestos does have its
risks, which is why asbestos removers wear hazardous materials
suits, he said.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: State Agents Find 800 Bags of HazMat Near School
Steve Scauzillo at sgvtribune.com reports that State environmental
agencies have secured between 600 and 800 bags of hazardous waste
labeled as containing asbestos from an illegal waste transport
facility located next door to Mountain View High School, agencies
announced March 1.

Both the state Department of Toxic Substances Control and the
South Coast Air Quality Management District are investigating
numerous violations at Titan Environmental Inc., 12432 Valley
Blvd.  The facility is located directly northwest of the school's
running track and football field and has been operating since
September, state officials said.

State law prohibits any hazardous waste facility within 500 feet
of a school.  Penalties include a $25,000 fine for each day of
operation, according to the DTSC.

"They were not supposed to be storing waste there.  They were
operating as a hazardous waste transporter and they did not have
the proper permits," said Jeanne Garcia, spokesperson for the
state DTSC, which regulates hazardous waste disposal and

Fifteen air samples were taken by the AQMD in and around the waste
facility for five days last month.  No asbestos fibers were found
in any of the samples, said Sam Atwood, AQMD spokesperson.  In a
written statement, the agencies said that no asbestos is being
released, and the site "does not currently pose a hazard to the

School officials have met with DTSC and AQMD officials.  The
school district is preparing to inform parents about the situation
via a recorded phone message, school officials said on March 1.

There have been no complaints or reports of any students or staff
at the school feeling ill, said Nick Salerno, superintendent of
the El Monte Union High School District.

"We are counting on them to do a good job. It sounded like they
did," Salerno said of the two state regulatory agencies.

The DTSC received an anonymous complaint on Feb. 8 about Titan
Environmental. After confirming the tip, inspectors from DTSC and
AQMD performed an unannounced inspection of the facility Feb.11,
Garcia said.

Some of the materials found contained asbestos, Atwood said.

"There were 600 to 800 bags of waste labeled as containing
asbestos," he said, along with a truck and numerous roll-off bins
filled with waste and other containers.

Asbestos is found in the natural environment.  Large amounts were
used in ceiling tiles and in homes because of its heat-resistant
properties.  It is not considered a health hazard unless it is
crumbled and the fibers are released into the air.  It is
classified as a cancer-causing material by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, and as a toxic air contaminant by the
California Air Resources Board.  Asbestos fibers inhaled into the
lungs cause asbestosis, a serious lung disease; and lung cancer.

The waste hauling operation was shut down by the two agencies.
Inspectors also secured the bags of waste by tying them tight and
placing them inside the warehouse, Garcia said.  They also covered
the dirt with tarp so no materials would become airborne during
wind or rainstorms, Garcia said.

No more waste has been brought into the facility or out of the
facility since mid-February, Atwood and Garcia said.

Titan Environmental Inc. is owned by Stephany Enloe, according to
the AQMD.  It must now develop a plan on how to properly dispose
of the waste and present the plan to both agencies for approval.

"We are still in the throes of an investigation," Garcia said.
Safe removal of toxic waste may take several weeks, she added.

Atwood said AQMD officials responded to a complaint at a Titan
Environmental Inc. facility in July 2011 in Industry, but
inspectors found the gates locked and could not enter.  That
facility was at 14826 Nelson Street.  No air quality violations
were issued.

The company could not be reached for comment.  A phone call was
made to a listed number, but it was no longer in service.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Contaminants Close Pierrefonds High School
CTV News Montreal reports that Riverdale High School in
Pierrefonds will be closed for the rest of the week due to
concerns of asbestos contamination.

Officials from the Lester B. Pearson School Board have confirmed
that contractors working on the school's fire detector system
disturbed ceiling panels in an area that contained enclosed

However tests have concluded that there are no particles in the

The closure is being called "precautionary," as asbestos has been
labeled as a carcinogen and the World Health Organization believes
that it can lead to lung cancer.

La Presse reported on March 1 that more than 1,500 public
buildings in the province continue to use asbestos.  The Charest
government promises to release a list of those buildings by year's

Parents of students at Riverdale have told CTV News that they are
concerned about the closure and the lack of information from the
school board.

On March 1, no one was at the school, including any workers.

Dr. Louise Deguire said that asbestos in itself is not dangerous,
"It's only dangerous if you inhale the fibers," she said.

Carol Heffernan of the Lester B. Pearson School Board said that
the school was closed in case that particles were dangling in the

"We decided to do testing to the school and recommended that we
close the building while the tests were being done," she said.
Premier Jean Charest is promising to release a list of all public
buildings containing asbestos, however his government is also
offering financial aid to keep Quebec's last remaining asbestos
mine open.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Seat Aspirant Assures Fairer Change to Madison Ct
Ann Maher of The Madison / St. Clair Record reports that a former
circuit judge says the Madison County asbestos docket suffers from
a unique problem.

Local asbestos rules effectively deprive defendants of the right
to show comparative fault as outlined in the Illinois Joint
Tortfeasors Contribution Act, according to Don Weber.

"I have spoken to many civil trial attorneys," Weber said.  "All
of them, plaintiff and defendant alike, agree that it is common
practice for a non-settling defendant to know the set-offs prior
to trial.  That common practice encourages settlement in all those
other cases and I see no reason why asbestos settlements are

Weber is seeking the Republican nomination for state
representative in the newly redrawn 108th House District that
includes part of the Metro-East.  He served as circuit judge, by
appointment, from November 2005 through the end of 2006, after
Circuit Judge George Moran, Jr., resigned.  Weber ran for the
circuit seat in 2006, but lost the election to Dave Hylla.

He said that local rules deferring the customary practice of
making third party claims against other defendants, "until the
plaintiff has all his money effectively deprives a defendant from
showing comparative fault."

Madison County is host to the busiest asbestos docket in the
country.  Cases from all over the country are processed here,
often referred by national intake firms that spend big on
advertising.  In each of these suits, dozens, if not more than 100
defendants are named.

If elected, Weber said he would propose legislation that would
make the asbestos docket in Madison County "fairer and would
enhance the integrity and reputation of such litigation."

"My legislation would make it explicit that, regardless of local
rules or interpretations, a defendant has the right to show
comparative fault," he said.

An asbestos defendant recently raised the issue with Associate
Judge Clarence Harrison by seeking to appeal an order entered by
Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder that denied it
settlement and set-off information from other parties named in a
2009 lawsuit.

James Craney -- jcraney@bjpc.com -- attorney for Milwaukee-based
L&S Insulation, filed a motion asking leave to file an
interlocutory appeal and to certify questions for the Fifth
District Appellate Court over that decision Crowder entered on
Oct. 28.

Crowder formerly headed the asbestos docket, but was removed from
the position in December after having accepted $30,000 in campaign
contributions from asbestos lawyers, days after she made a
favorable ruling for them.  She has denied any connection between
her decision and the donations, which were later returned to
lawyers at the Simmons, Goldenberg and Gori firms.

Craney argues that his client was entitled to a set-off for any
settlement proceeds paid to the plaintiffs, Paul and Judith
Napierala, by any other defendants, prior to trial, per the
Illinois Joint Tortfeasor Contributions Act.

The Napieralas are represented by the Gori and Julian firm in

"In tort cases, a payment by one tortfeasor will diminish a
plaintiff's claim against all other tortfeasors found to be
responsible for the same harm, in order to ensure that the
plaintiff receives only one satisfaction for any one injury,"
Craney wrote in an August 2011 motion that sought, among other
things, disclosure of settlements and set-offs from other
defendants in the case.

He stated that of the 94 defendants sued by the Napierala, 41
defendants remained at the time.  He wrote that two defendants
filed motions for good faith settlement findings, but that 51
defendants were no longer named in the suit.  Whether they were
released from the litigation in exchange for consideration was
unknown, Craney wrote.

He stated that it did not appear that the court had approved any
settlements leading up to the trial -- set for Nov. 11, 2011 -- a
date, he noted, in which Gori and Julian had at least 18 cases
pending on the same trial docket.

"Pursuant to the Illinois Joint Tortfeasors Contribution Act,
Defendant is entitled to a setoff against the jury's verdict for
any settlement proceeds paid to Plaintiffs by other defendants,"
Craney wrote.

"In tort cases, a payment by one tortfeasor will diminish a
plaintiff's claim against all other tortfeasors found to be
responsible for the same harm, in order to ensure that the
plaintiff receives only one satisfaction for any one injury."

Crowder denied the motion after hearing it on Sept. 13, 2011.

"The court rejects outright this defendant's argument that it is
entitled to know settlement amounts for the purpose of determining
how much it wants to offer to compromise a plaintiff's claim
against L&S Insulation, Inc. or any theory that it needs to know
how much others settled for in order to determine its own defense
strategy," Crowder wrote.

She wrote that whether a party is entitled to know a dollar amount
of another party's settlement prior to trial "appears to be a case
of first impression."

She wrote that in Cordeck Sales v. Construction Systems, a
discovery request trumped a confidentiality agreement because it
was relevant to a claim for constructive fraud in a case involving
a settlement agreement between a contractor and sub-contractor.

"That is not the issue here," she wrote.

"Defendant is well able to put on defense of liability evidence if
it alleges another entity is the sole proximate cause of
plaintiffs' injuries without knowing how much any settling
defendant has paid."

In the order, Crowder expressed concern for confidentiality

"This court is concerned with the public policy considerations of
encouraging settlements and the public policy requiring equitable
apportionment of damages among tortfeasors," she wrote.  "Exposing
all confidential settlements would lessen the likelihood of
settlements.  Equitable apportionment of damages among tortfeasors
can be accompanied by set-offs following verdicts; knowing the
dollar amount another settled for does not aid an individual
defendant in preparing its own defense at trial."

Craney noted in his motion seeking relief from Crowder's order
that he was only recently made aware of the Oct. 28 ruling.

"On Feb. 21, 2012, counsel for L&S was contacted by Plaintiff's
counsel and informed that Judge Crowder issued a ruling on the
pending motion on Oct. 28, 2011," Craney noted.  "A copy of this
ruling and Order was seen for the first time by counsel when
Plaintiff's counsel sent a .pdf file containing the Order via
email on Feb. 21, 2012.  Based upon information and belief, a copy
of the Order in question was not sent to the counsel of record in
this case..."

On March 26, Harrison will hear requests for changes to a
preliminary order Crowder entered establishing 500 trial dates for
the 2013 asbestos docket.

The three firms that provided the campaign contributions to
Crowder in December -- Simmons, Goldenberg and Gori -- received
82% of those trial slots.

Harrison said that lawyers who wish to file objections, exceptions
and related motions along with proposed alternatives, including
proposed orders, must do so by March 10.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: SC Says 1915 Federal Act Preempted Corson's Claim
Tim Povtak of The Mesothelioma Center reports railroad workers
filing liability claims over illnesses and injuries sustained from
asbestos exposure may have a more difficult time after a surprise
ruling by the United States Supreme Court.

In a decision authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, the Court ruled
by a 6-3 vote that a federal Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA)
dating back to 1915 preempted the state law tort claim that was
filed in Pennsylvania.

The Supreme Court ruling attempts to narrow the territory under
which victims of asbestos exposure in the railroad industry can
bring legal action under state laws.

The ruling stemmed from a case originally brought by George
Corson, who spent 30 years in the railroad industry as a welder
and machinist.  Working for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul &
Pacific Railroad, he installed brake shoes and stripped insulation
from locomotives.

After retirement, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, the cancer
caused almost exclusively by asbestos exposure.  In 2007, he and
his wife filed a claim in state court against 59 defendants,
including Railroad Friction Products Corporation and Viad Corp,
which made and sold the brake shoes and engine valves,
respectively, containing asbestos with which Corson worked.

Corson died from the cancer shortly after the case was filed,
leaving family members to pursue it.

Like many asbestos claims, his was based on defective design of
the products and a failure to provide the proper warnings, based
on the knowledge that the asbestos product was toxic.

The Court's ruling was based on a preemption principle, which
determined there was a federal statute by virtue of the railroad's
operation, that permitted the use of asbestos, which effectively
barred the typical state-law claims.

The case came from the United States Court of Appeals for the
Third Circuit, which had affirmed an earlier decision that the LIA
preempted any state-law claims.

Although the Supreme Court ruling applied only to the railroad
industry, and cited a previous case from 1926, there is some
concern by victims advocacy groups that those in the asbestos
industry now will push to expand the ruling to cover other
asbestos products in other industries.

Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, was used extensively by
industrial companies throughout the United States for much of the
20th century, coveted for its heat resistance and versatility.
The use declined dramatically in recent decades when its toxic
nature became more well known.

Critics of the Court ruling contend that state regulations are
meant to protect workers from injuries caused on the job, and that
the original federal LIA in 1915 was meant only protect to them
from accidental injury in the operation of the trains.

Despite the ruling, liability claims directly against the railroad
companies which are guilty of negligence remain viable under the
Federal Employees Liability Act.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Coulombe Expects to Resume Production This Year
The Canadian Press reports that the quest to revive one of
Canada's last asbestos mines, and possibly save the embattled
industry, is destined for failure, says a Quebec politician who
hopes the sector will be shuttered for good.

Opposition politician Amir Khadir said on March 2 that a credible
source has told him that financial institutions refused to provide
a critical loan to the company trying to relaunch Quebec's Jeffrey

The Quebec government has offered to give the mine a controversial
$58-million bank-loan guarantee if Balcorp Ltd. can meet certain
criteria, including raising $25 million from investors.

"We consulted a former vice-president of a big financial
institution, and according to him, on its face the business plan
did not correspond to any logical market criteria," Khadir told a
news conference in Quebec City.

Khadir, a member of the small left-wing Quebec solidaire party,
said it's time for the province to pull the plug on the loan-
guarantee offer, which has been on the table for more than a year.

The mine, located in the town of Asbestos, suspended production of
the fibrous substance last year due to financial problems.  The
industry's attempt to kickstart production has been pummelled by
an international anti-asbestos campaign led by physicians,
activists and asbestos victims.

Khadir is one among a chorus of critics who say the mine is
responsible for exporting the hazardous mineral, and its health
risks" to poorer countries where safety conditions are suspect.
He disputes the notion that the once-thriving industry must stay
alive, for the sake of the regional economy.

"At a time when we send satellites to planet Mars . . . , at a
time when we spend billions of dollars on all sorts of projects,
why are we not capable in Quebec of offering the Asbestos region a
way develop its economy without producing and exporting death?"
Khadir asked.

Jean Charest's government downplayed Khadir's claims on March 2.

A spokesman for Economic Development Minister Sam Hamad noted that
Balcorp must also show the government, via independent
inspections, that the product is being used safely by clients.
This is on top of the $25-million investment, Harold Fortin said.

"It's still being analyzed on our end," Fortin said.  "If we
haven't announced what we're doing yet, it's because we still
haven't checked certain things.

"I don't consider the project dead until the two criteria are 100%
impossible to satisfy."

Publicly, the asbestos sector has been optimistic about its

Balcorp president Baljit Chadha indicated last fall that he was
close to securing the necessary funding from an international
consortium of investors.

Jeffrey Mine president Bernard Coulombe has said some preparatory
construction work has already been completed in anticipation that
the deal will come through.  In recent days, he's said he expects
production to resume before the end of the year.

Industry proponents insist the substance can be handled safely,
even in developing countries where the bulk of Canadian asbestos
exports are shipped.  They also contend the type of asbestos mined
in Quebec, called chrysotile, is not as dangerous as other forms
of the mineral.

But the public-relations battle has been devastating for the
industry, Coulombe admitted in a recent interview with The
Canadian Press.

As a result, he said finding money has been difficult.

"We are so criticized, so misunderstood, so tarnished," Coulombe

"We're waiting with hope that it will be positive."

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Wiki Leaks Says 2008 Cable Warn Vietnam of Risks
Gil Shochat CBC News Canada reports that many workers in Vietnam
will "suffer debilitating diseases" over the coming decades from
handling asbestos -- some of which is imported from Canada -- a
U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks says.

The January 2008 cable calls asbestos "a carcinogen in humans."
It was sent from the American embassy in Hanoi to the State
Department in Washington, D.C. and to several American embassies,
including the one in Ottawa.

Canada is cited as one of the major exporters of asbestos -- along
with Russia and China -- to Vietnam, which has increasingly turned
to the material for use in low-cost roofing material, the cable
says.  Vietnam is described as having one of the world's highest
per-capita consumption rates of asbestos.

"Existing safety and health standards [in Vietnamese factories]
are inadequate to protect worker health and few companies follow
even these minimal standards. . . .  Vietnamese attempts to limit
the health effects of asbestos seem doomed to fail due to lack of
manufacturing and technical capacity, weak political will, and
limited funding and investment," the cable says.

It also states that because more than half of Vietnamese men over
15 years old smoke, the combined health effects of smoking and
exposure to asbestos over time will probably be severe.  Illnesses
could include lung cancer, malignant mesothelioma, and asbestosis.

The coordinator of the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat,
Laurie Kazan-Allen, told CBC that "in places in Asia that are
prone to natural disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes, it's
absolutely nuts to put this stuff into the infrastructure."

The cable notes that in 2005, the most recent year for which data
is available, Vietnam imported over 74,000 ton of asbestos.

In June 2011, Vietnam voted with Canada to block the inclusion of
asbestos on the hazardous materials list for a United Nations
treaty known as the Rotterdam Convention.

Industry Minister Christian Paradis said that the uses for
asbestos in the past were not necessarily good but that today "we
are talking about safe use and there are memorandums from the
industry with customers and they have to use it safely."

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Corgi Hosiery Found Guilty, Fined GBP25,000
BBC News Wales reports that a company in Carmarthenshire has been
fined GBP25,000 after being found guilty of failing to protect its
employees from asbestos.

Corgi Hosiery Ltd., which makes socks for Prince Charles, hired
unqualified contractors to carry out work on the roof of its
Ammanford factory.

Samples were taken in 2008 from material removed from the factory
and all 14 samples contained asbestos.

Merthyr Crown Court heard the incident had cost the company

At the same sentencing hearing, Stuart Phillips, 26, a manager at
Dragon Cladding which carried out the work, was fined a total of
GBP4,000 for breaches of duty.

Simon Parrington, prosecuting, told the court that in June 2008
the directors of Corgi Hosiery decided work was required on the
factory roof.

When quotes were being made, contractors took a sample of the
roof, found it contained asbestos and informed Corgi Hosiery.

A quote from Dragon Cladding for the work was accepted and it
began at the end of September 2008.

Mr. Parrington said Phillips, of Llangadog, was in charge of the
removal of asbestos sheeting and their replacement.

As work proceeded, two of Dragon's men noticed a purlin, or roof
support, with material on it.

Mr. Parrington said Phillips had told the men to clear the roof
supports, which they did, taking about a week to do so.

The Dragon workers knew they would be required to handle asbestos
roof sheeting but they were not told what the material on the roof
supports was, he said.

Mr. Parrington added that one Corgi employee was required to work
in the part of the factory where work was taking place and others
had to cross it to washing facilities and a clocking in point.

He added that the asbestos was not confined to the factory.

The court heard an anonymous complaint was made to a health and
safety officer and a visit was made where a skip full of asbestos
was found lying in the yard.

Decontamination took two and a half months and involved eight men.

Mr. Parrington said an asbestos supervisor had said: "In all my
years working with asbestos I have never seen anything so bad."

Dragon Cladding had never had an asbestos licence, he said, and
had been struck off by Companies House for non-compliance.  The
court also heard that Dragon Cladding had since gone into

Matthew Paul, defending Corgi Hosiery Ltd, said the company had
paid for the cleanup.  He said the incident had cost the company
GBP800,000 meaning it had to remortgage the factory and borrow

Carl Harrison, defending Phillips, said his client was remorseful.

He added that Phillips had not been there on a daily basis and
said he had told Corgi Hosiery that employees should not have
access to the area while work was being carried out.

Passing sentence, Judge Richard Twomlow said it was clear the
material on the purlins should have been investigated.

However, he said he was satisfied that neither Corgi Hosiery nor
Phillips believed it was asbestos.  The prosecution had applied
for costs of GBP63,00 from Corgi Hosiery but the judge said he was
ordering a contribution of GBP15,000.  Phillips was ordered to pay
costs of GBP1,000.

Health and Safety Executive inspector Anne Marie Orrells said
after the hearing: "Had Mr. Phillips adequately assessed the risks
prior to the start of the work, it would have been apparent that
the work should have been carried out by an asbestos-licensed
contractor, under controlled conditions.

"Corgi Hosiery Limited should have ensured measures were taken to
exclude employees and visitors from the area while the roof work
was being carried out overhead.

"As a result of these failings, both workers and visitors to their
premises were exposed to potentially deadly asbestos-containing

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Justice Swift Ruled Equal Payouts To All Ages
Jerome Taylor of The Independent reports that elderly victims of
fatal, asbestos-related lung cancer should not be awarded smaller
compensation packages simply because they have enjoyed longer
lives than younger sufferers, a judge has ruled in a landmark

Dennis Ball, a 92-year-old with incurable lung cancer from
Nottinghamshire, sued the Government after he contracted
mesothelioma from his time working as an employee for the now-
defunct British Coal.

He brought his case against the Department of Energy and Climate
Change, which argued that he should receive less money for "pain
and suffering" because he was already in his nineties.  However,
Mrs. Justice Swift disagreed in a ruling that paves the way for
elderly sufferers to receive compensation packages similar to
those given to younger victims.

The Government initially argued that Mr. Ball was entitled to only
GBP20,000 compensation, significantly below the amount recommended
by the Judicial Studies Board, which recommends payments of
GBP50,000 to GBP85,000.  By the time they came to court they had
upped their offer to GBP35,000.

Mrs. Justice Swift awarded GBP50,000 for pain and suffering plus
GBP13,000 extra in care costs and lost income.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Abatement of Jan Juc Site to Complete "ASAP"
Tom Bennett of the Geelong Advertiser reports that the RACV has
vowed to clean up asbestos contaminated parts of Jan Juc Creek
Reserve as a matter of urgency following soil tests.

The organization's site manager Bruce Van Every said the work
would be carried out "as quickly as possible".

"The tests show that the vast majority of the reserve, where civil
work was done, is clear of contamination," he said.

The discovery of asbestos, linked to the RACV's development of
Torquay Golf Club, has caused a large tract of parkland to be
cordoned off.  Core samples were taken from the site and analyzed
by an independent body.

Mr. Van Every said a remediation plan will be implemented in
conjunction with the Surf Coast Shire and State Government

"As quickly as possible? I will believe that when I see it.  The
RACV have a big credibility problem.  They were supposed the
return the public parkland to its original state.  All they did
was use contaminated fill and allow weeds to grow.  Meanwhile
pristine turf was laid on their side of the fence.  The RACV have
treated the local community with absolute contempt from the very
start of this project."

"This plan sets out what has to be done, including where and how
material can be disposed," Mr. Van Every said.

He said the areas requiring cleaning are along the trench line and
limited adjoining areas, where the surface material needs to be

"The RACV will engage a specialist removal company to ensure there
is no risk during the clean-up," he said.

"Safety is paramount and as this work progresses over the
following days, access to the site will remain restricted."

The alarm was first raised in December when a Jan Juc resident
noticed low quality backfill material had been used to cover a
pipeline and trench installed by a drainage contractor.

The pipeline was constructed to bring storm water from Jan Juc
Creek for use on the fairways of the golf club resort being
upgraded by the RACV. EPA tests confirmed the presence of asbestos
in the backfill and a fence was erected around the site.

Last week WorkSafe said the contaminated soil had been sourced to
a farm near Waurn Ponds where a house and other buildings had been
recently demolished.

The backfill taken from the property contained chunks of concrete,
broken bricks, glass and some asbestos.

"We are appalled by the use of material which was clearly
unacceptable and completely outside of the requirements of the
contracted work," Mr. Van Every said.

Residents' spokesman Kevin Mercer said the RACV's statement asks
more questions than it answers.

"The community needs to know how the asbestos contamination was
allowed to happen in the first place," he said.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Politico Says Balcorp Can't Obtain Financing
The Canadian Press reports that a Quebec politician says the quest
to revive one of Canada's last asbestos mines is destined for

Opposition politician Amir Khadir says a credible source has told
him the company trying to relaunch Jeffrey Mine cannot obtain the
financing needed to extend the life of the controversial

The Quebec government has offered to give the mine a $58-million
bank-loan guarantee if Balcorp Ltd. can meet certain criteria --
including raising $25 million from investors.

The mine suspended production of the fibrous substance last year
due to financial problems.  The industry's attempt to kickstart
production has been pummeled by an international anti-asbestos
campaign that aims to shutter the Canadian sector for good.

Khadir says it's now time to pull the plug on the loan-guarantee
offer -- which has been on the table for more than a year.

Critics say the mine is responsible for exporting the hazardous
mineral -- and its health risks -- to poorer countries where
safety conditions are suspect.

Balcorp president Baljit Chadha indicated last fall that he was
close to securing the necessary funding from an international
consortium of investors.  Chadha insists the substance can be
handled safely, even in developing countries where the bulk of
Canadian asbestos exports are shipped.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Businessman Faces $500K Fine Plus Jail Time
Cindy Leise of the Chronicle-Telegram reports that a federal grand
jury has indicted Elyria developer and businessman Lorne J. Elbert
Jr., and Elbert Building Co., Inc., on charges alleging that
asbestos was illegally removed from the former Builders Square
building in Lorain, according to U.S. Attorney Steven M.

Elbert, 74, the president of Elbert Building Co., a construction
and demolition company, said on March 2 that he had not been
served with the indictment.

He said he was aware of the investigation and has hired attorney
David Leneghan of Broadview Heights to defend him.

"They're after everybody," Elbert said of the Environmental
Protection Agency.  "It's winter time, and there's no flies to
kill, so they're out trying to kill business."

The indictment accuses Elbert of hiring an unlicensed individual
to remove about 800 square feet of asbestos insulation from the
boiler room of the Builders Square building, which was torn down
to make way for a day care.

On or about June 20, 2007, a licensed asbestos abatement company
provided Elbert Building Co. a $4,900 quote for removal of the
material, according to the indictment.

The court documents stated that on July 19, 2007, Elbert sent a
notice to the Ohio EPA stating that a licensed asbestos contractor
would remove the asbestos from the building prior to demolition.
But, the indictment alleges, on Aug. 7, 2007, an unlicensed
individual was paid $35 to remove the asbestos and that person was
not supervised by a properly trained manager, according to the

During an inspection on Aug. 14 and Aug. 15, 2007, an inspector
from the Ohio EPA found four drums containing dry asbestos and he
also found pieces of dry asbestos on the floor of the boiler room
and in the parking lot, according to the indictment.

"Our office is committed to making sure rules designed to ensure
the public's health and safety are followed by all companies,"
Dettelbach said.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney
Brad Beeson and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. Collyer after
an investigation by the U.S. EPA Criminal Investigation Division,
the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation and
the Ohio EPA, all members of the Northeast Ohio Environmental
Crimes Task Force.

Randall K. Ashe, special agent in charge for the U.S. EPA in Ohio,
said, "Companies must be truthful in their dealings with Ohio EPA
and follow the rules intended to protect human health and the

If convicted, Elbert could be sentenced up to five years in
prison, according to Mr. Collyer.

Elbert and his business also could be fined up to $250,000 on each
of the two charges.

The sentence would be determined by the court after it reviews his
case, including the defendant's prior criminal record, if any, the
defendant's role in the offense and the characteristics of the
violation, according to a news release.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: "Serial Polluter" Faces Up Amassed Penalties
Josh Mrozinski of The Scranton Times Tribune reports that for
years, fires and dumping at the site of a former lampshade factory
in Old Forge has worried residents.  Borough residents and others
could realize some peace of mind in the coming weeks.

Walter Stocki, Jr., owner of the property at 500 Hillcrest Drive,
said he has secured an asbestos-removal contractor as required by
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Within weeks, he said,
the material will be removed from the former Hillcrest Lamp and
Shade Co.

Meanwhile, Mr. Stocki said he has met the requirements of a Feb. 1
Lackawanna County Court order that gave him 30 days to clean up
the property and another location on Connell Street.

The ruling stemmed from the borough citing Mr. Stocki in 2009 for
violating the borough's dangerous building ordinance and state
safety regulations.  County Judge Michael Barrasse in January
sentenced Mr. Stocki to six months in Lackawanna County Prison for
contempt, according to court documents.  He was released early, on
Feb. 1.

The borough had fined Mr. Stocki $5,000, said borough zoning
officer Stephen Bieryla.  He said Mr. Stocki, who has secured a
contractor, has "pretty much cleaned out up there" by removing the
buildings and putting up fencing, among other steps.

In November 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency cited Mr.
Stocki for improperly handling asbestos in a building he was
demolishing.  The building was knocked down, but in November 2011,
EPA noted asbestos remained on the property, including a concrete
slab where the former building had been and in an adjacent
basement area.

The EPA in January and February conducted testing at the site for
asbestos, Mr. Stocki and Mr. Bieryla said.  "Their recommendation
was that nothing could be removed until he secured another
asbestos company to be here when he removes it," Mr. Bieryla said.

Donna Heron, EPA spokeswoman, said the agency does not comment on
ongoing enforcement actions.

Elsewhere, Mr. Stocki said he has cleaned the Connell Street
property, but still must negotiate with James and Victoria Popple
to buy it.  The Popples are suing Mr. Stocki to stop him from
using the property for equipment storage and activities related to
salvage and crushing operations.  The lawsuit also requests Mr.
Stocki remediate the property as required by the state Department
of Environmental Protection.  The DEP cited Mr. Stocki for 10
violations, including unlawful dumping and failure to control
runoff or emissions from waste.

Efforts to reach the Popples and their attorney, Boyd Hughes, were

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Merseyrail Test Results Show "No Hint" of Fibro
Neil Hodgson of the Liverpool Echo reports that heaters on most of
Merseyrail's trains were turned off last week while the operator
waited for the results of tests for asbestos.

Concerns were raised by a trade union safety official on March 7.
But the company said test results came back all clear and the
heaters are now working normally again.

Heaters in all Merseyrail's trains, some of which are 34-years-
old, contain white asbestos.  Merseyrail and the RMT union said
there is no danger to passengers during normal running of the

But Merseyrail spokesman Rudi Boersma revealed that a trade union
safety representative brought an asbestos-related issue to their
attention during the week.

He said heaters on a number of trains operating "bellows-type"
heating units were switched off and experts were brought in
immediately to take test samples.

He said: "The results came back within 48 hours and there was no
hint of asbestos."

He added: "We would never expose any of our staff or passengers to
any danger.

"We are zero tolerant to any risks and after we got the all clear
the heating is back on and operating as normal."

Mr. Boersma could not confirm how many trains were affected but an
insider told the ECHO that up to two thirds of its 55-strong fleet
were tested.

The RMT played down the incident, but the union did raise concerns
a year ago about the potential danger of asbestos to its fitters
during major overhauls of the ageing heating units.

Shortly after Merseyrail introduced safety procedures at its
Birkenhead North depot to protect maintenance crews while working
on the heating units.

An RMT official said: "As with everything containing asbestos they
are perfectly safe when in service but care needs to be taken when
units are being stripped down during maintenance."

Breathing in asbestos fibers can lead to lung cancer but white
asbestos is not considered to be as dangerous as the banned blue
and brown varieties.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: 24 Mesothelioma Deaths in Broxtowe in 4 Years
Nottingham Post reports that the borough of Broxtowe has a higher
than average rate of people dying from asbestos-related cancer,
according to new figures.

From 2006 to the end of 2010, mesothelioma, a terminal cancer of
the lung wall, was recorded as the underlying cause of 24 deaths
in the area.

It is the equivalent to 2.8 deaths in 100,000 people. The average
for England and Wales during the same period was 2.5.

The figures have been obtained from the Office for National
Statistics, under the Freedom of Information act by not-for-profit
campaign group the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

APIL president David Bott said: "More people die of mesothelioma
in Broxtowe borough per head of the population than in most other
parts of the country.

"This is bad enough, but the number of men dying from this disease
is expected to peak during the next five years and what many
people don't realize is that hundreds of sufferers across the UK
cannot get the compensation they need to help them through the
last days of their life.

"What is needed is for the Government to bring forward proposals
for a fund of last resort which would act as a safety net for
injured workers who are otherwise unable to pursue the justice
they deserve."

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Contractor Indicted for Multiple EPA Violations
Jerry DeMarco of the Cliffview Pilot reports an Elmwood Park man
is charged in a federal indictment with ignoring EPA safety
standards when he removed asbestos from piping at the former
Garden State Paper Mill in Garfield.

Vele Bozinoski was hired to do the work by an unnamed company
without a state permit, the seven-count indictment alleges.  "He,
in turn, hired and supervised multiple workers" for the River Road
project, it says.

All involved knew that they were violating the federal Clean Air
Act, intended to make sure that asbestos is property removed and
handled, the government alleges.

Bozinoski, 60, had an initial appearance Friday before U.S.
District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden federal court.

The government says he ignored Clean Air Act regulations, "which
required him to thoroughly inspect the facility for the presence
of asbestos before removing insulation and to notify the
Environmental Protection Agency of his intention to do so.  He
also failed to wet material containing asbestos before stripping
it off pipes and other facility components, and to seal asbestos-
containing debris in leak-tight containers until it was collected
for disposal, as required by law."

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman credited special agents of the FBI
and special agents of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for
the investigation leading to the indictment.  The case is being
tried by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen P. O'Leary of the U.S.
Attorney's Office Health Care and Government Fraud Unit in Newark.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Tons of Carcinogens in Gillam, "Safe" Says Mayor
James Turner at The Toronto Sun reports that residents in the
northern Manitoba town of Gillam are demanding answers after tons
of debris from Northern Ontario containing asbestos arrived to be
buried in their town dump.

The sizable bags of waste -- some which appear ripped or torn --
have tags warning the material contains asbestos and is dangerous
due to the cancer and lung disease hazard it could pose.

"Nobody I know knew about it, that it was coming," said a worried
Diana Korkola, one of a number of locals expressing concerns on
Sunday, March 4 about the unexplained arrival.

Many in the community are completely in the dark and are demanding
an immediate meeting with local politicians, she said.

"Why are there so many? Why are we getting more?," she asked.

"Why would they be putting that here? There are so many
questions," she said.  "What are the health risks?"

Gillam Mayor Jim Goymer dubbed the debris "perfectly safe" and
said it will be buried by Tuesday, Feb. 6.

The asbestos contained in it is "non-friable," he said.  That
means it's less likely to release harmful asbestos fibers as long
as it's undamaged.

Goymer added the asbestos-related material is mainly discarded
wallboard now sealed in air-tight bags to guard against potential
contamination.  Also among the debris is some "non-hazardous"
contaminated soil and other scrap from a site in Northern Ontario
currently being remediated, Goymer said.

The only vehicle access to the site is by winter road terminating
in Gillam and town officials have been working with a Montreal
company on a disposal arrangement since late last year, Goymer

"I think our biggest error may have been we didn't tell the
citizens of Gillam (that) the stuff was coming in and it's been
kind of a feeding frenzy on Facebook," he said.

"We may have to have public hearing saying to them what it is," he

The town council posted a notice on the town's website stating the
waste isn't a hazard.

"It was all approved by Manitoba Conservation," Goymer affirmed.

Still, some -- like Julie Crawford -- say they can't understand
why Manitoba would allow the waste to cross the border.

"What the hell makes us Ontario's dumping ground?," Crawford
asked, adding she's also worried about potential health effects
the material could have on wildlife as well as the roughly the
1,200 people living there.

"They're turning us into the Chernobyl of the north -- home of the
two-headed baby," Crawford said.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Editorial Salutes Unit 5 for Appropriate Action
The Pantagraph Editorial Board relates that because of the deadly
diseases associated with exposure to asbestos, extreme caution is
called for -- especially when children are involved.

However, that caution should be tempered by a realistic evaluation
of the risks involved.

Based on reports from not one, but two, inspections that found no
dangerous levels of asbestos in the air at Chiddix Junior High
School, it appears McLean County Unit 5 school district acted
appropriately -- even though neither parents nor public health
officials were notified after asbestos residue was initially
identified in one classroom during a routine inspection in

The source of the asbestos residue was not immediately discovered,
leading to some of the confusion.  Eventually, it was determined
the asbestos came from a gap between windows and the old ceiling
above the current dropped ceiling.

Airborne asbestos fibers were found in only one of 10 air samples
taken at Chiddix.  The amount of asbestos in that air sample was
well below what is considered dangerous.

Based on those reports, Unit 5 officials were under no obligation
to notify the Illinois Department of Public Health, but did so as
a precautionary measure to obtain further feedback.

State public health officials recommended -- but did not order --
closing 10 rooms where asbestos was detected.  These state
officials would not give the district an all-clear without more
aggressive testing.  These tests could stir up asbestos and cause
further contamination, complicating remediation efforts.

Rather than close the 10 classrooms until cleanup and renovation
could take place in those areas this summer, Unit 5 officials
decided to close the school, begin the work immediately and send
children together with their teachers to other available

Once state officials raised a red flag -- or at least a yellow
caution banner -- Unit 5 made the right choice to begin work
immediately and put together a plan that should cause the least
amount of disruption, under the circumstances.

Notifying parents sooner, in the interest of openness and
accountability, would have avoided the appearance that Unit 5 was
trying to cover up a problem.  However, there was nothing in
November to indicate a health problem existed that needed
immediate action.

By keeping students together with their classmates and teachers
through the end of the school year, Unit 5 is doing the right

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Superfund Program the Sole Solution, DEC Says
Candace Page at burlingtonfreepress.com reports that Gov. Peter
Shumlin expressed doubts Friday afternoon (March 2) about the
wisdom of embarking on a major clean-up of asbestos waste at the
former Vermont Asbestos Group mine in Eden and Lowell.

Shumlin was asked about the mine during a two-minute conversation
as he walked down the Church Street Marketplace in Burlington to
endorse Democrat Miro Weinberger in the Burlington mayor's race.

"That asbestos has been there a long time," he said, when he was
asked why he has left the question of whether the state should
seek Superfund rehabilitation of the site up to a vote of the two
towns March 6.

Shumlin indicated the waste piles aren't posing a threat that
would require action and added, "It's better to let sleeping dogs

Shumlin's Department of Environmental Conservation has spent the
past year describing the piles as containing hazardous waste and
telling the two towns only the federal Superfund program has the
tens of millions of dollars needed to address permanently the
site's potential health and environmental risks.

Told of the governor's comment, DEC Commissioner David Mears said
he believes Shumlin was reflecting the opposition to Superfund he
has perceived in the two communities.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Auto-Tax Foreclosure Waived on Contaminated Lot
David Robinson of The Morning Sentinel reports that selectmen have
taken steps to keep the town from foreclosing on a contaminated
demolition site, highlighting a struggle many municipalities face
to avoid taking ownership of undesirable property.

Voters will be asked at a special Town Meeting to waive the
automatic tax foreclosure on the Depot Street property, where a
complex of vacant manufacturing buildings contains asbestos.

The owner has stopped making payments on unpaid property tax
bills, and selectmen don't want the town to acquire the parcel
because of the expense to remove the harmful building material,
according to Town Manager Rhonda Irish.  The vote will take place
in the town office.

Meanwhile, a federal agency is seeking payment of $154,200 in
fines for numerous workplace safety violations cited against
Downeast Construction Corporation, the company that was handling
the demolition at the site.

And the Maine Department of Environmental Protection also plans to
fine the company that owns the property, Downeast Construction and
Wilton Recycling LLC, because the state agency says they broke
asbestos removal laws at the site.

Without voter approval of the tax foreclosure waiver, the town
would automatically take ownership of the property unless the
unpaid taxes and interest are paid by a March 20 deadline, Irish

Wilton Recycling LLC, which is managed from Portland by Adam Mack,
owes the town about $4,000 in taxes and interest tied to unpaid
property taxes from 2009, Irish said.

The company would still owe the same amount if voters approve the
waiver, which basically protects the town from having to attempt
to sell the property at auction to recoup the taxes, she said.

Mack, who is a former Republican state representative for
Standish, did not return three calls seeking comment.

Most municipal governments do not want to be in the property
ownership game, even if they don't have to deal with contamination
issues, according to Eric Conrad, spokesman for Maine Municipal

In most cases, officials in towns and cities would rather keep
pursuing tax lien action against a property instead of foreclosing
on it, Conrad wrote in an email.

Towns and cities attempt to sell a tax foreclosure property at
auction to recover unpaid taxes.  The municipal association, which
advises community leaders statewide, does not keep statistics on
how often tax foreclosures are waived, but Conrad says the
practice is fairly common.

The city of Waterville has waived numerous property tax
foreclosures over the years, seeking to avoid costly burdens tied
to taking ownership of everything from dilapidated mobile homes to
contaminated industrial sites, City Manager Michael Roy said.

"You really don't want to assume that responsibility of taking
ownership because you have to pay for all the associated costs to
fix the property,'" he said.

There are cases, however, where the city foreclosed on a property
because it seemed to be the only way to get a contaminated site
cleaned even though there is limited money for it, Roy said.

For example, city officials for years refused to foreclose on a
property containing several lagoons on West River Road, which had
been contaminated by chemicals from the former Wyandotte woolen
mill, Roy said.

The woolen mill closed more than 15 years and the ownership was
able to successfully dispute that the lagoons did not belong to
them after a lengthy legal battle with the Finance Authority of
Maine over the issue, Roy said.

When the city foreclosed on the lagoons' property in 2008, it did
so under continued uncertainty about ownership rights, Roy said,
adding state law exempts the city from being forced to pay for the
contamination cleanup.

Roy said the city reluctantly used the tax foreclosure as a tool
to get a job done.

"If it were still out there in ownership limbo, it was much less
likely the site would have ever been cleaned up," he said.

City officials have since been seeking federal environmental
grants to pay for the lagoon cleanup.  Roy said the contamination
does not pose a public health risk and would cost at least
$500,000 to clean up.

Roy added that city officials do not intend to tap into the city's
budget to pay for the project.

"Unless we're able to secure any outside funding, or federal tax
dollars, I don't see this site getting cleaned up for some time,"
he said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued
$154,200 in fines against Downeast Construction in connection with
workplace safety violations cited at the demolition site in
Wilton, according to William Coffin, the federal labor agency's
area director in Maine.

The alleged violations happened before the agency reported last
July that construction workers and emergency responders may have
been exposed to dangerously high levels of asbestos at the site.

Eleven firefighters and at least one police officer from Wilton
responded to a small fire on the property the day before the
agency reported its findings, which led to the construction
company voluntarily pulling its workers from the site.

The construction company is accused of 39 serious violations that
range from a lack of training for workers to mishandling dangerous
substances, Coffin said.

He said the violations go "way beyond asbestos problems."

Coffin said the construction company did not respond by the 15-day
deadline to contest the violations issued on Dec. 15.  The
national office of the federal agency is overseeing the collection
of the unpaid fines, Coffin said.

During past interviews, Mack said Downeast Construction is owned
by Ryan Byther, who has not responded to attempts to contact him
by phone and email.

A state-licensed cleanup effort last fall removed the asbestos
from piles of debris scattered among the partially demolished
buildings at the site, which was the former home of Forster
Manufacturing Co.

But the cleanup effort, paid for by Wilton Recycling LLC, stalled
before it removed most of the asbestos from inside the buildings.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection plans to impose
fines for state asbestos removal law violations tied to the
demolition project, according to Samantha Depoy-Warren,
spokeswoman for the agency.

State environmental officials investigated and found that
construction workers had been removing asbestos without the
required protective gear and equipment, according to environmental
protection department notices of violation sent to the companies.

Investigators said the companies also didn't have required
asbestos inspections done before starting demolition work at the
site, as well as failing to meet other state guidelines for
removing asbestos from a contaminated site, the notices state.

The state agency has delayed issuing a financial penalty for the
violations because its first priority is ensuring the site is
cleaned up, she stated in an email.

Depoy-Warren noted the site owner has told the agency that he is
attempting to secure money to pay for the cleanup.  She added that
if the cleanup project does not start up again soon the
enforcement process will move forward.

"It is not a matter here of if there will be an enforcement
penalty issued, but when," she wrote.

ASBESTOS UPDATE: 19 Mesothelioma Deaths in High Peak in 5 Years
The Buxton Advertiser relates that 19 people in the High Peak died
from the asbestos related cancer mesothelioma over a five-year
period, new figures show.

The statistics, obtained by the not-for-profit campaign group the
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) under the Freedom of
Information Act, show that from 2006 to the end of 2010,
mesothelioma was recorded as the underlying cause of 19 deaths in
the area.  This is the equivalent of 2.8 deaths in 100,000 people,
compared to the average for England and Wales during the same
period of 2.5.

APIL president David Bott said: "More people die of mesothelioma
in High Peak per head of the population than in most other parts
of the country.

"This is bad enough, but the number of men dying from this disease
is expected to peak during the next five years and what many
people don't realize is that hundreds of sufferers across the UK
cannot get the compensation they need to help them through the
last days of their life.

"What is needed is for the Government to bring forward proposals
for a fund of last resort which would act as a safety net for
injured workers who are otherwise unable to pursue the justice
they deserve.  The Government proposed to set up a fund of last
resort shortly before the general election, but 18 months has now
passed and nothing has been heard about it since."

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer usually caused by exposure to

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Accident Afflicted Exposure in Oct. Up For Repair
Phil Hill of This is The West Country News reports that a woman
with breathing difficulties claims she has been living with
exposed asbestos for four months after a workman went through her
shed roof.  But the end of the matter is in sight after Helen Acar
contacted the County Gazette.

Mrs. Acar said a window fitter working next door to her council
house in Brooke Road, Taunton, accidentally put his foot through
the roof at the end of October.

She claims she has unsuccessfully tried to get someone to remove
the asbestos and fix the roof ever since.

"I'm not afraid of it and told the council I'd get rid of it
myself, but they said that was too dangerous," said Mrs. Acar.

"I've got breathing problems and my husband, Huseyn, has poor
circulation, so it's not good living with the asbestos like that.

"I've had lots of people come out to have a look, but no-one has
been able to tell me when it's getting moved.

"It doesn't seem right that we're stuck with a problem we didn't

A Taunton Deane Council spokeswoman said the authority had
arranged for a licensed asbestos handler to deal with the damaged
panel "along with a number of other asbestos-related disposals".

She added: "Because a shed roof was involved rather than an
inhabited room, it was not considered a top priority.

"Adding the job to a list of other orders was seen as a pragmatic
and cost-effective way of dealing with the issue.

"However, due to the delay, the council is now prepared to have
the panel dealt with separately.

"The cost will be recharged to the window company."

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Eden, Lowell Citizens Decide on Superfund Program
Candace Page at burlingtonfreepress.com reports that at a town
meeting on Tuesday, March 6, voters in Eden and Lowell appear all
but certain to reject the state's proposal to seek a federal
Superfund clean-up of 30 million tons of waste at the former
Vermont Asbestos Group mine on Belvidere Mountain.

"Reject" seems almost too moderate a word.

"They are going to shoot it down like a bullet," is how Eden
landowner Leonard Prive of Burlington put it last week.

Alden Warner, a Lowell Selectboard member who supports Superfund
listing, said he nevertheless is "100 percent convinced" the
proposal will fail.

If rhetoric at recent meetings and in email exchanges is any
indication, some residents of the two communities are ready to
ride the state and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency out of
town on a rail, metaphorically speaking, tar and feathers

"All you're going to do is destroy the property values that exist
if we do anything.  I would suggest that the government get the
hell out of our business.  Just take the EPA and go home," Peter
Wright, a retired police officer who lives in Eden, told state
environmental officials at a meeting in February.

Environmental Conservation Commissioner David Mears says there's
no way the state has the money to do all the needed work on its

Meanwhile, up on the mountain, piles of asbestos-laced crushed
rock tower over derelict mine buildings.  Erosion has cut deep
canyons in the waste.  On the Eden side, a lava-like flow (now
halted) of rock and asbestos fibers filled in wetlands a mile
downstream on Hutchins Brook.

When that damage was discovered, the EPA took emergency steps that
greatly reduced, but did not eliminate, erosion and runoff at all
the piles on the site.

Even residents strongly opposed to EPA intervention acknowledge
that some long-term remediation is needed.

Those facts, and Tuesday's likely defeat, raises questions: What
went wrong? Why are Mears' arguments in favor of Superfund status
greeted with such disbelief in towns where the scars on Mount
Belvidere are a visible part of daily life?

In the beginning, asbestos was a source of local jobs, local
prosperity, local pride.

For most of the 20th century, rock was quarried from open pits on
the mountain.  The rock was crushed to extract chrysotile
asbestos, a long-fibered form of the fire-retarding mineral.  Eden
asbestos was a valuable commodity used in insulation, roofing
shingles and floor tiles.

After scientists identified airborne asbestos fibers as a cause of
cancer and other lung diseases, the market dried up.  The mine
closed for good in 1993.

Left behind were mountainous piles of tailings, about 5 million
tons in what's known as the Eden pile, another 25 million tons or
so on the Lowell side of the mountain.

The piles are steep-sided and prone to erosion.  Water washed away
so much of the Eden pile that pieces of it were carried down
Hutchins Brook to once-pristine wetlands owned by Leonard Prive.

A foot-thick layer of asbestos gravel paves the ground around
Prive's vacation cabin.  Asbestos polluted Hutchins Brook with
arsenic and heavy metals.  Because asbestos fibers are considered
dangerous when airborne, health officials warned him to stay away
from the cabin area if he wanted to avoid any health risk.

After environmental officials discovered the damaged wetlands, the
EPA spent nearly a year and $1.4 million dollars to try to stop
the worst contamination.  Runoff on the mountain was redirected
around the Eden pile.  A series of berms was constructed to reduce
migration of gravel and asbestos from the Lowell pile.

Nevertheless, water that falls on the piles still runs off,
carrying contaminants.  Stretches of Hutchins Brook and Burgess
Branch fail to meet state water-quality standards.

The EPA's work was intended to be a stop-gap, until complete
remediation -- with a potential price tag of up to $250 million --
could occur.  Various solutions include moving some of the
tailings back to the quarries they came from, flattening the
slopes of the piles, and stabilizing the piles by covering them
with dirt where vegetation would grow.

"What has been done has helped tremendously, but there is still an
ongoing discharge," said John Schmeltzer, the analyst from the
state's Sites Management Section who has led the state's work at
the asbestos mine.  "You could potentially see more asbestos
material going downstream.  That is my biggest concern."

Residents of Eden (pop. 1,323) and Lowell (pop. 879) have lived
with asbestos for a long time.  Many worked at the mine or had
friends and relatives who did.

"The word asbestos creates so much hysteria it blinds people to a
rational solution," Donald Peterson, a remodeling contractor in
Lowell, said last week.  The active mine may have posed a danger
to its workers, but the mineral in the waste piles isn't going to
kill people, he said.

"Anybody who was going to die of asbestosis is already dead," he

That attitude is part of the background of the current debate in
Eden and Lowell.  Other local worries include concern about how
the words "Superfund site" will affect property values; tales of
mistakes, huge costs and disruption at other Superfund sites; and
a belief that Superfund status for the mine could lead to trouble
for the many residents who used asbestos tailings in the old days
to lay their driveways.

But the deep anger and distrust of state government felt by many
Eden and Lowell residents has a different origin.

In November 2008, the Health Department and the Agency of Natural
Resources issued a news release (still available Friday on the
Health Department website) in which the agencies announced that a
health study "found statistically significant associations between
illness -- asbestosis and lung cancer -- and residence in towns
within a 10-mile radius of the mine."  Thirteen towns lay within
the 10-mile radius.

The department hedged the statement and the study report with
caveats about its limited scope and its inability to say how
people contracted the illnesses.

'I understand why people are angry'

Nevertheless, to the people of Eden, Lowell and nearby towns, the
message was clear: The state had declared that living near the
mine could be dangerous to their health.

Within weeks, the Department of Health retracted its lung-cancer
finding, saying researchers had erroneously included data from
outside the 10-mile radius.

Residents were angry about that, and suspicious of the report's
conclusions about the second disease, asbestosis.  Eden resident
Leslie White went out and researched 10 years of death records in
13 towns.  She discovered that all five asbestos-related deaths
were of men with occupational exposure to asbestos.

After White's work, and on orders from the Legislature, the
department overhauled the rest of its study's conclusions.  The
new report found that all the asbestosis deaths and most likely
the asbestosis hospitalizations involved men exposed to asbestos
in their jobs at the mine or elsewhere.

"This study does not indicate that asbestosis hospitalizations or
deaths were caused by living near the mine," the study concluded.

A biomass bribe?

The damage had been done.

Residents of Eden and Lowell felt they had been unjustifiably
frightened and their towns falsely labeled as unsafe places to

"They tried to scare us into voting for Superfund," said Peterson,
the Lowell contractor.

"They were incorrect," Wright, of Eden, said last week, referring
to state government.  "Normally I would say they told a damned lie
-- so why should I put any credence is what they are saying

Wright's anger is echoed through the community, and has led to
personal attacks on the credibility of Schmeltzer, the lead
analyst on the asbestos cleanup.  Mears, the Environmental
Conservation commissioner, said criticisms of Schmeltzer are
unjustified.  Mears recently pleaded for greater civility in the

But the distrust first sown by the Health Department study shows
no sign of abating.

"People were outraged," said Lynn Noah of Eden, who added that he
does not advocate for or against the Superfund proposal.  "It has
led to a real distrust of what the state has said or might do.
That is a fact of life as we figure out what to do with the mine."

One example he and others point to is a state feasibility study of
locating a biomass plant at the mine after a clean-up.  That is
seen by some community members as a genteel bribe to support
Superfund listing.

Mears denies that is the case.  In its current condition, no
economic use can be made of the site.  The study is intended to
see what future potential there might be, he said.

The community remains unconvinced, Noah wrote in an email to Mears
last month.

"Some have felt there is a case being made (for a biomass plant)
without realistic factual evidence in order to influence the
Superfund vote," Noah wrote.

What next?

If the Superfund listing question fails as expected, what would
happen next?

The preventative actions taken by the EPA are being maintained by
the Vermont Asbestos Group, but some Superfund opponents agree
with the state that additional remediation will be needed.  The
mountainous piles still loom.

"The site can't be left alone.  I absolutely appreciate that,"
Lowell resident Peterson said.  "I just think Superfund is the
most inefficient way to clean it up."

But leaving the site alone is just what Gov. Peter Shumlin thinks
should happen.  He said he believes it is better to "let sleeping
dogs lie."

The extent of any future human health risks from the asbestos
trapped in the tailings piles is unknown.

Air sampling at the perimeter of the property suggests that
"airborne transport of asbestos fibers is not significant,"
Schmeltzer said.  On the other hand, when researchers simulated
activities known to have taken place at the mine in the past --
ATV riding around the tailings pile, sweeping and raking near the
caretaker's home -- asbestos was found in the air, and some
samples were above EPA risk-based concentrations for residential
exposure. (For this reason, public access to the mine site is

One advantage of Superfund listing, commissioner Mears said, is
that it begins with a thorough assessment of risks.

Ecological threats posed by the tailings piles seem somewhat
clearer, although they, too, would require further assessment.
The inundation of the Prive wetlands has demonstrated what can
happen if the piles shuck tons of crushed rock.

Were the site to join the national Superfund list, state
government would be responsible for 10% of the clean-up cost, a
sum that would reach into the millions over the decade or more it
could take to rehabilitate the site.

Lowell and Eden residents suggest that if the state is willing to
make that financial commitment to Superfund, it should be willing
to spend a similar amount on developing and carrying out one of
the less expensive solutions they believe exist -- such as simply
insuring the preventative berms and water diversions already put
in place by the EPA are maintained in perpetuity.

Mears said the state acknowledges its responsibility to protect
public health and the environment from asbestos pollution,
regardless of whether federal help is available, but "it's a
matter of capacity.  There are lots of threats across the state
where we must respond."

"If the communities most affected choose not to support listing,
we won't turn our backs on the site," he said, "but we will have
fewer tools to address it."

ASBESTOS UPDATE: Foyle MP Supports Recommendations in APPG Report
The London Derry Sentinel reports that Foyle MP Mark Durkan has
written to Education Minister John O'Dowd requesting information
on the number of Londonderry schools containing asbestos after a
new report revealed the toxic fire retardant is present in 75% of
UK schools and 100 people die every year as a direct result of
exposure while at school.

Mr. Durkan has written to the Education Minister John O'Dowd
calling for the Executive to set a program for the phased removal
of asbestos from all schools in Northern Ireland.

He made the comments in the wake of a new report by the 'All-Party
Parliamentary Group on Occupational Health and Safety - Asbestos
in schools: The need for action,' which revealed the extent of the

Mr. Durkan said: "Every year over 4,000 people die in the UK as a
result of their past exposure to asbestos. However, these deaths
are not only confined to those employed in industrial settings.

"More than 75% of state schools in Britain contain asbestos.  Much
of that is poorly maintained, meaning that some children, teachers
and other staff are in danger of being exposed to asbestos.

"Indeed, recent evidence shows that more than 100 people die from
mesothelioma every year in the UK as a direct result of their
exposure whilst they were at school."

The local MP said he has written to Mr. O'Dowd recording his
support for the recommendations contained in the report.

"It is vital that these recommendations are factored into future
plans here in the North.

"I have also requested additional clarification as to the extent
of this problem in schools in Derry.

"We must do all we can to prioritize this issue and prevent any
more children and staff being exposed to this killer fiber," he

ASBESTOS UPDATE: 21 Mesothelioma Deaths in Erewash in 4 Years
The Ilkeston Advertiser reports that more people die from
asbestos-related cancer in Erewash than most other parts of the
UK, according to new statistics.

Figures from not-for-profit Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
(APIL) reveal that from 2006 to 2010 mesothelioma -- a terminal
cancer of the lung wall -- killed 21 people in the borough.

It is the equivalent to 2.9 deaths in 100,000 people compared to
the England and Wales average of 2.5.

APIL president David Bott said: "This is bad enough, but the
number of men dying from this disease is expected to peak during
the next five years."

He called on the Government to create a fund to act as a safety
net for injured workers to help them pursue justice.


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

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