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FEDERAL JUDGE UPHOLDS JURY VERDICT IN LIGHTNING LUBE CASE

 FEDERAL JUDGE UPHOLDS JURY VERDICT IN LIGHTNING LUBE CASE
 NEWARK, N.J., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- A Federal District Court Judge today upheld the jury's verdict in the Lightning Lube case by denying motions by Witco Corp. (NYSE: WIT) for a new trial.
 In his ruling, Federal Judge William G. Bassler entered judgment in favor of Lightning Lube in the amount of $11.5 million, including pre- judgment interest, in compensatory damages that had been awarded by the jury to Lightning Lube, but eliminated $50 million in punitive damages. Lightning Lube announced that it plans to appeal the dismissal of punitive damages.
 During the three-month trial in Camden, N.J., Blackwood, N.J.-based Lightning Lube charged and the jury found that Witco had deliberately driven Lightning Lube's chain of franchised Laser Lube shops out of business to advance Witco's own plans for entering the fast lube market, and that Witco defrauded Lightning Lube and the motoring public with false representations about the origin of its oil.
 "There is ample evidence from which a jury could infer that Witco employees acted with an improper purpose rather than in a legitimately competitive manner," Judge Bassler commented in his ruling.
 Attorney Steven M. Kramer, New York City, representing Lightning Lube and its principal, Ralph Venuto, said, "We are gratified that the court endorsed the jury's finding that Witco destroyed Venuto's business. This has been a hard-fought battle that has already taken five years. The jury's finding that Witco's actions against Venuto and Lightning Lube were malicious was clearly reasonable and we will appeal the dismissal of the punitive damages."
 He also pointed out that Judge Bassler upheld the jury's finding that Witco defrauded Lightning Lube by misrepresenting its oil as 100 percent Pennsylvania crude, when, it fact, Witco purchased its oil from around the globe.
 "There is sufficient evidence from which a jury could legitimately infer that Witco did in fact misrepresent the source of its oil," Judge Bassler wrote. "In fact, there is a wealth of information from which such an inference may be drawn."
 -0- 9/2/92
 /CONTACT: Steven Kramer of Lightning Lube, 212-586-0707, or Bill Parness or John Helsel of Parness & Associates, 908-290-0121, for Lightning Lube/
 (WIT) CO: Lightning Lube; Witco Corp. ST: New Jersey IN: OIL SU:


AH-LD -- NY062 -- 6077 09/02/92 16:46 EDT
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Date:Sep 2, 1992
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