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ATLANTIS FAILS IN TRY TO DISMISS $47 MILLION LAWSUIT BY AMERIWOOD

 ATLANTIS FAILS IN TRY TO DISMISS $47 MILLION LAWSUIT BY AMERIWOOD
 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- A motion by Miami-based Atlantis Group Inc. (AMEX: AGH) to dismiss nine of 11 counts of a $47 million lawsuit filed against it by Ameriwood Industries International Corporation (formerly Rospatch Corporation) (NASDAQ: RPCH) has been rejected by Magistrate Judge Timothy P. Greeley of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, who recommended that the defendants' motion to dismiss be denied.
 Grand Rapids-based Ameriwood is one of the country's largest producers of ready-to-assemble furniture and one of the leading suppliers of stereo speaker cabinets to original equipment manufacturers of consumer electronics. It has plants in Dowagiac, Mich., and Tiffin, Ohio.
 The suit, filed last July by Ameriwood, charged Atlantis, which owns 19.86 percent of its stock, with multiple counts involving fraud, violations of antitrust laws, and breaches of contract, confidentiality agreements, and fiduciary duties.
 In its suit, Ameriwood is seeking some $47 million in damages for the losses suffered by the company and its shareholders.
 Also charged were Earl W. Powell, Atlantis' chairman and chief executive officer, on fraud and breach of contract counts, and William L. Rogers, senior vice president of Trivest Group, Inc., a private investment firm related to Atlantis, on a breach of fiduciary duties count.
 Both Powell and Rogers served on the Ameriwood board. They resigned Dec. 9, 1991, the day before the company's annual meeting, at which the shareholders voted overwhelmingly to oust them from the board.
 In its lawsuit, Ameriwood accuses Atlantis of reneging on a 1989 agreement to purchase Ameriwood at $23.50 per share, of driving off potential buyers of Ameriwood, and of using confidential company information to benefit Atlantis at the expense of Ameriwood, its employees and its shareholders.
 Ameriwood charges that Atlantis has filed six suits and threatened other buyers with lawsuits in order to drive down the price of Ameriwood's stock and acquire control of the company at a depressed price or to harass the company into turning over control or submitting to greenmail.
 Ameriwood Chairman Neil L. Diver said that while Ameriwood posted record earnings in 1990, and its 1991 operating income is expected to top the previous year's, Atlantis' actions have cost Ameriwood and its shareholders millions of dollars, and Atlantis' campaign of ongoing lawsuits is placing a heavy burden on the company's earnings.
 In other developments in the battle between the two companies, Atlantis has asked the court to withdraw a suit filed by Atlantis against Ameriwood and its other major shareholders in which Atlantis claimed these shareholders had formed a group and, by that action, had triggered a poison pill measure passed by Ameriwood. Atlantis' attempt to drop its litigation follows an opinion by Senior Judge Douglas W. Hillman denying Atlantis' attempt to enjoin Ameriwood's 1991 annual meeting in which Judge Hillman expressed reservations about Atlantis' likelihood of success on the claims it asserted.
 Ameriwood and the other defendants have asked the court to award them costs and expenses totaling more than $500,000 to defend against the suit Atlantis now wants to withdraw.
 "This is another example of Atlantis filing groundless litigation in an attempt to bring Ameriwood to its knees, and then trying to walk away when that has failed," Diver said.
 Recent attempts to resolve the litigation with Atlantis by purchasing its Ameriwood shares were not successful, and negotiations have been terminated.
 "Atlantis was told the company would purchase its Ameriwood shares at a fair price, but we would not pay greenmail," Diver said. "It does not appear at this time that the various lawsuits can be settled before trial."
 -0- 1/23/92
 /CONTACT: Joseph J. Miglore, 616-530-6300, or Neil L. Diver, 818-449-2323, both of Ameriwood Industries; or Gabriel Werba or Michael Carmichael of Werba & Associates, 313-259-4947, for Ameriwood Industries/
 (RPCH AGH) CO: Ameriwood Industries International Corporation; Atlantis Group Inc. ST: Michigan, Florida IN: SU:


SM -- DE018 -- 2926 01/23/92 15:09 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 23, 1992
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