Cisco Verdict Is Tossed

WILMINGTON, Del. — A federal judge has thrown out nearly all of a $70 million jury verdict against Cisco Systems Inc.

U.S. District Judge Richard Andrews on Nov. 20 tossed damages arising from fraudulent concealment claims brought by XpertUniverse Inc., a tech start-up whose partnership with Cisco soured in the mid-2000s.

XU alleged that Cisco decided in mid-2006 not to include XU’s technology in its program to market third-party services to clients. According to XU, Cisco ­concealed that the company’s bid for inclusion in the program was “denied” until January 2007. The judge found no material difference between Cisco informing XU that it had not been approved, which it did in April 2006, and telling XU it had been denied. The judge left in place XU’s $33,000 in patent infringement damages.

Fine Paid in Bird Deaths

WASHINGTON (AP) — Duke Energy Corp. will pay $1 million for killing 14 golden eagles over the past three years at two Wyoming wind farms. The company announced on Nov. 22 that it ­pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

A study by federal biologists this year found that wind energy facilities in 10 states had killed at least 67 golden and bald eagles since 2008.

The case against Duke Energy the first brought by the Obama administration under the act against a wind company.

Weatherford Settles

WASHINGTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Weatherford International Ltd. has agreed to pay $253 million to settle federal charges it bribed officials in the Middle East and Africa to win business.

Switzerland-based Weatherford will pay more than $250 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission claims that the company falsified books and records to conceal unlawful payments. The company also resolved U.S. Department of Justice allegations.

Regulators said Weatherford hid commercial transactions with Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan.

“The nonexistence of internal controls at Weatherford fostered an environment where employees across the globe engaged in bribery and failed to maintain accurate books and records,” said Andrew Ceresney, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division.

Plaintiffs Want Warning

Plaintiffs suing Ford Motor Co. have asked a judge to force the company to instruct customers about what to do if their cars begin to accelerate on their own.

Plaintiffs on Nov. 18 filed a motion for a preliminary injunction requiring a safety warning for Ford consumers. The motion stems from claims that Ford, despite receiving hundreds of reports of sudden acceleration since 2002, failed to install a brake override system in its North American vehicles.

Three separate nationwide class actions filed by the same plaintiffs attorneys on behalf of millions of consumers in 30 states have been consolidated in the Southern District of West Virginia.

Six Flags Found Liable

ATLANTA — A jury has found Six Flags Over Georgia liable for $35 million for the 2007 gang beating and ­traumatic brain injury of a visitor outside the entrance to the amusement park.

A Cobb County jury on Nov. 20 apportioned 92 percent of the fault, worth $32.2 million, to Six Flags. Four other defendants were each found to be responsible for 2 percent of the fault, or $700,000 each.

Plaintiffs alleged that a gang that included Six Flags employees randomly selected Joshua Martin and his friends to attack as they waited for a bus outside the park. The case was tried before Cobb County State Court Judge Kathryn Tanksley.

Toyo Tires Fined $120M

WASHINGTON — Japan’s Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd will pay a $120 million criminal fine and plead guilty to fixing certain auto parts prices, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Nov. 26.

Prosecutors filed a two-count felony charge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio that alleged a conspiracy to rig bids for, and fix prices of, automotive antivibration rubber parts that were sold to companies that include Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Corp.

Renata Hesse, deputy assistant attorney general for the DOJ Antitrust Division, said the charge was the latest step “to hold automobile part suppliers accountable for their illegal and collusive conduct.”

To date, 22 companies, including Toyo, and 26 executives have been charged in the ongoing Justice Department’s antitrust investigation of the automotive parts industry. Toyo has agreed to cooperate with the probe.