A sharp fall in Mellon Bank Corp. shares, down $3.50 to 56.50, apparently helped cast a pall over other bank issues Monday.

A lawsuit begun by Mellon against Primerica Inc. prompted fears of lower earnings. Shares of another Pittsburgh company, PNC Bank Corp., declined in sympathy, dropping $1 to $30.375 in late trading.

Meanwhile, J.P. Morgan & Co. was off 87.5 cents to $78.125, BankAmerica Corp. slipped 62.5 cents to $48.25, Chemical Banking Corp. fell 62.5 cents to $43.375, and Barnett Banks dropped 87.5 cents to $46.

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