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KEENE REQUESTS REHEARING OF APPEALS COURT DECISION

 NEW YORK, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Keene Corporation (NASDAQ: KEEN) reported that early yesterday evening it received a copy of a decision by a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in its limited fund, mandatory settlement class action. The decision would overturn the injunction entered July 1, 1993 by U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein and dismiss Keene's lawsuit designed to maximize the amount of Keene's remaining assets that can go to sick claimants, minimize the transaction costs that drain the funds available, end all asbestos-related litigation against Keene for all time and avoid yet another asbestos-related bankruptcy filing with its consequent job losses.
 The decision made no mention of the settlement agreement in principle (previously announced on November 19, 1993) reached between Keene and claimants' class counsel in the limited fund action which would achieve all those ends.
 Keene also announced today that it has already filed a motion for reconsideration and rehearing by the entire panel of the appeals court.
 Stuart Rickerson, Keene's General Counsel, said, "To throw out the case on a procedural technicality hurts all interested parties, including the claimants, the court system, Keene's shareholders, and its employees. Such a result would be wrong. Either the panel or the full court should correct such a result."
 In its decision, the panel said there was no "case or controversy" involved in Keene's efforts to fairly allocate its remaining assets among the competing claimants and Keene. The panel reached this conclusion despite more than 100,000 currently pending lawsuits against Keene and despite what a panel of distinguished judges appointed by U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Rehniquist called a litigation "disaster of major proportions" that has swamped the civil justice system and bankrupted over 17 companies over nearly two decades. The Second Circuit panel wrote:
 "...the function of the federal courts is not to conduct trials... because a more efficient mechanism (for resolving vast numbers of claims) can be fashioned by judges."
 Rickerson added, "the limited fund, mandatory class action procedure is recognized by federal law. Keene used it to provide a solution to what has been called the asbestos litigation mess. The settlement would provide such a solution. Lawyers who prefer the status quo of never ending lawsuits to solutions maximizing monies for sick people will be heartened that once again they seem to have forestalled a solution. That's why we've asked the panel (or, failing there, the entire court) to correct the decision."
 -0- 12/2/93
 /CONTACT: Stuart E. Rickerson, vice president-general counsel of Keene, 212-486-3200 ext. 235/
 (KEEN)


CO: Keene Corporation ST: New York IN: MNG SU:

LG -- NY078 -- 9855 12/02/93 13:34 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 2, 1993
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