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Lovell Stewart Halebian LLP Announces Class Action Lawsuit Against Avista Corp.

Business Editors & Legal Writers

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 3, 2002

The law firm of Lovell Stewart Halebian LLP ((212) 608-1900 or www.lshllp.com) filed a class action lawsuit on September 27, 2002 on behalf of all persons who purchased, converted, exchanged or otherwise acquired the common stock of Avista Corp. (NYSE:AVA) between November 23, 1999 and August 13, 2002, inclusive.

The lawsuit asserts claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated by the SEC thereunder and seeks to recover damages. Any member of the class may move the Court to be named lead plaintiff. If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than December 2, 2002.

The action, Wambolt v. Avista Corp., et al., is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington (West 920 Riverside Avenue, Spokane, Washington), Docket No. CS-02-0328-FVS, and has been assigned to the Hon. Fred L. Van Sickle, U.S. District Judge. According to the complaint, defendants made misstatements of material facts and omitted to state material facts in their public statements and elsewhere, including failing to disclose that Avista was engaged in highly risky energy trading activities with Enron and PG&E involving so-called "Ricochet" or "megawatt laundering" trades in which Avista acted as a middleman between Enron and PG&E so that Enron could evade California's caps on electric power prices and charge California artificially high prices for electricity, that Avista routinely acted as a middleman between affiliates such as Enron and PG&E in order to facilitate transactions to proceed which would have been prohibited under federal rules if the affiliates had engaged in them without an intermediary, and that Avista was and is exposed to substantial contingent legal liabilities as a result of the foregoing, including the threatened revocation of its license to trade electric power on the wholesale markets, or market-based rate authority, by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The complaint alleges that on August 14, 2002, after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced that it may take formal enforcement action on charges that Avista helped manipulate California power prices during 2000, Avista stock tumbled 11.85 percent, and on September 17, 2002 Avista stock traded at as low as $11.10 per share, down from its class period high of $67.55.

Christopher Lovell, the senior partner at Lovell Stewart Halebian, has been appointed lead counsel or co-lead counsel in numerous significant class actions, including actions involving reportedly the largest class action recoveries in history under three separate federal statutes (the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Commodity Exchange Act, and the Investment Company Act of 1940). These record-breaking recoveries for class plaintiffs included the $1.027 billion recovery in In re: NASDAQ Market-Makers Antitrust Litigation and a $145.35 million recovery in 1999 in In re: Sumitomo Copper Litigation, a class action against various parties who conspired to manipulate the worldwide copper and copper futures markets for their own profit.

Investors who acquired the common stock of Avista between November 23, 1999 and August 13, 2002 may contact Lovell Stewart Halebian LLP at the telephone number, address or E-mail address below for more information regarding the class action lawsuit. Investors can also visit Lovell Stewart Halebian's website at www.lshllp.com to view a copy of the complaint.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 3, 2002
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