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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) A federal judge on May 15 ordered Dow Chemical Co. to pay $1.21 billion in damages after it lost a class action that accused it of conspiring to fix prices.
A jury verdict in February called for Dow to pay $400 million in damages. The jury decided that Dow had participated in a price-fixing conspiracy involving the chemical urethane, which is used in a wide variety of products.
Following the verdict, Dow had asked U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum in Kansas for a new trial and that he require the plaintiffs to try their cases individually. Lungstrum had denied both requests. In his final order on May 15, Lungstrum included a tripling of the jury verdict, as called for by U.S. antitrust law.
DALLAS (AP) American Airlines has agreed to pay $24.9 million to settle $162 million in potential fines that were proposed by U.S. safety regulators.
American called the payment "a reasonable resolution" to the Federal Aviation Administration's claims that it had violated safety regulations involving electrical wiring on planes and other issues. The airline's parent company, AMR Corp., disclosed the settlement on May 9 in a filing with the federal bankruptcy court in New York.
American, its American Eagle regional affiliate and two other AMR subsidiaries denied wrongdoing. But, they said, the outcome of litigation with the FAA can be uncertain and the settlement was good business judgment.
PHILADELPHIA A state trial judge, in upholding a $78.4 million medical malpractice verdict, has ruled that attorney fees must be based on the present value of the jury's future damages award, not the cost of an annuity used to cover future medical costs.
As a result of the ruling by Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Mark Bernstein, law firm Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock & Dodig is entitled to $9.9 million in counsel fees. The case involved a child born with cerebral palsy. Some $65 million of the award went for future damages.
The defendant hospital had argued that a $12.5 million annuity could be purchased to cover the future damages award, and that attorney fees should be based on the price of the annuity.
A state trial jury in Las Vegas on May 14 awarded Hong Kong businessman Richard Suen a $70 million verdict in his lawsuit against casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Suen claimed that he played a critical role in helping Sands win permission to operate casinos in Macau by arranging meetings for Sands chairman and chief executive officer Sheldon Adelson with Chinese government officials. For his assistance, Suen said, he was promised $5 million and two percent of the net profits of any casinos the company established in the Chinese territory.
Adelson, who owns roughly half of Sands' shares and whose wealth is estimated at more than $25 billion, testified that Suen's contribution to Sands' success in Macau had been "zero" and gave credit to his own previous experience and business acumen.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) A federal jury on May 15 convicted the founder of a Kansas City company and four associates of cheating investors by selling them millions of dollars of worthless stock and spending the money on themselves.
Petro America Corp. founder Isreal Owen Hawkins and his associates were accused of illegally selling $7.2 million in unregistered stock in the company they said had $284 billion in assets. They allegedly targeted poor investors who weren't qualified to purchase shares.
Hawkins was convicted of conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud and other charges, and faces up to 20 years in prison. His co-defendants were convicted of fraud conspiracy, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) A federal judge approved a $40 million class action settlement on May 13 between Skechers USA Inc. and consumers who bought toning shoes after advertisements made unfounded claims that the footwear would help people lose weight and strengthen muscles.
U.S. District Senior Judge Thomas Russell approved the deal, which covers more than 520,000 claims. About 1,000 people eligible for coverage by the settlement opted not to take part. Those with approved claims could get a maximum repayment for their purchase up to $80 per pair of Shape-Ups; $84 per pair of Resistance Runner shoes; up to $54 per pair of Podded Sole Shoes; and $40 per pair of Tone-Ups.
Russell awarded $5 million for the attorneys in the case to split. He ordered that the money could come from the $40 million settlement fund set aside for consumers.
LOS ANGELES (AP) Ticketmaster Entertainment LLC has agreed to settle claims for up to $23 million over a lawsuit affecting people who, after buying a ticket online, were enrolled in a rewards program that cost $9 a month but never gave them any benefits.
U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer in Los Angeles approved the settlement.
More than 1 million people are eligible to file a claim, which could result in a reimbursement of up to $30. They signed up for the rewards program after buying a ticket at Ticketmaster.com between September 2004 and June 2009. The plaintiffs argued that they didn't know about the fees, which were charged to the credit or debit card used to buy the ticket.
PHILADELPHIA Ranbaxy USA Inc. pleaded guilty on May 13 and agreed to pay $500 million in a case involving manufacture and distribution of adulterated drugs made in India.
The company, the U.S. subsidiary of Indian generic pharmaceutical manufacturer Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., agreed in federal district court in Maryland to pay a criminal penalty of $150 million in addition to another $350 million to resolve civil claims under the False Claims Act and other Maryland laws.
Prosecutors alleged that from 2003 through 2010, Ranbaxy knowingly manufactured, distributed and sold drugs that were of different strengths and purity, and therefore did not meet federal standards. One of the drugs at issue was used to treat epilepsy and nerve pain, and another was an acne treatment. A third was an antibiotic.
NEW YORK A federal judge in New York on May 15 denied class certification to copyright owners from around the world, including American music publishers and a U.K. soccer league, that sued YouTube and its parent Google Inc. in 2007.
U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton ruled that the copyright claims were far too individualized to be resolved on a class-wide basis. Noting that YouTube's site traffic now exceeds 1 billion daily views, Stanton wrote that "[t]he suggestion that a class action of these dimensions can be managed with judicial resourcefulness is flattering, but unrealistic."
NEW YORK A state trial judge has dismissed a lawsuit against DataTreasury Corp. brought by an investor who claimed an ownership stake in the company, ruling that all the allegations brought by the plaintiff, real estate developer Ted Doukas, were time-barred.
New York County, N.Y., Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Emerson acted on May 10. DataTreasury is a nonpracticing patent entity that has netted more than $350 million in licensing fees from banks for its check-processing technology.
Doukas alleged that he gave the company's founder and partners $1 million to develop the technology back in 1995, in exchange for a 50 percent ownership stake in DataTreasury's patents.