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ANTITRUST Firms who overpaid for additive get $49 million in a conspiracy lawsuit against four producers and traders of animal-feed additives, a class of companies that claimed that they paid too much for the additive choline chloride were awarded more than $49 million by a federal jury on June 13. Lead plaintiff Animal Science Products Inc. of Nacogdoches, Texas, sued the additive manufacturer, DuCoa L.P.; DuCoa’s general partner, DCV Inc.; the trading company, Mitsui & Co.; and Mitsui’s American subsidiary, Mitsui & Co. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants engaged in a worldwide conspiracy to deter competition by regulating supply and fixing prices. The defendants denied the allegations. Animal Science Products v. DCV Inc., No. 99-197 (D.D.C.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS: Michael Hausfeld, Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, Washington; William Isaacson, Boies, Schiller & Flexner, Washington; James Southwick, Susman Godfrey, Houston DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Sutton Keany, Pillsbury Winthrop, New York; Kurt Odenwald, Guilfoil Petzall & Shoemake, St. Louis CONSTRUCTION Concert set-up mishap yields $1.3 million award a laborer who fell 30 feet while climbing a lighting tower to help set up spotlights for a Garth Brooks concert was awarded $1.3 million in damages by a Texas jury. Rigel Piper, 19, sustained a fractured pelvis, a collapsed lung, a broken rib and a ruptured spleen in the fall. He sued Bandit Lites Inc., Steve Vernon Rigging a/k/a S.V.R., Garth Brooks, New Rose Inc., Glen Smith Production Services, Pro West Production Services and Brown-United Inc., alleging that they were negligent for failing to provide adequate fall protection, training and instruction. He settled with New Rose, Glen Smith Production, Brown-United and Pro West for a total of $303,000. Garth Brooks was nonsuited. On June 20, the jury found Bandit Lites 35% at fault, Steve Vernon Rigging 35% at fault and Piper himself 30% at fault, reducing his award accordingly. Piper v. Bandit Lites Inc., No. 02CV0039 (Galveston Co., Texas, Dist. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Jason A. Gibson, Russell Endsley and David Minces, Smith & Gibson Law Firm, Houston DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Joseph M. Heard and Bridget Rienstra Brinson, Heard & Medack, Houston; Nicolas E. Zito, Ramey, Chandler, McKinley & Zito, Houston; Teresa A. Carver, Lorance & Thompson, Houston; Steve C. Dollinger, Preston & Cowan, Houston; Mac Gann, Gann & Edwards, Houston; J. Preston Wrotenbery, Oppenheim & Associates, Houston CONSUMER PROTECTION Alleged check bouncer sues Wal-Mart and wins a woman who sued Wal-Mart after it wrongly reported her to a national database as having bounced a check was awarded $130,000 by a federal jury on June 26. Mary Waddle, 48, wrote a check to the Somerset, Ky., Wal-Mart store where she worked, and the store’s bank returned it with the incorrect indication that she had no account. The problem was resolved with the store but, about a year later, Waddle learned that her credit rating was still affected when another store refused to accept her check. Attempts to get Wal-Mart to correct the record were to no avail. She claimed that the resulting emotional distress caused her to leave her job. The defense blamed its bank and the database company, and contested the extent of Waddle’s injuries. Waddle v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., No. 6:02-CV-71-KKC (E.D. Ky.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: Thomas E. Carroll, Carroll Law Offices, Monticello, Ky. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: J.L. Roark, Barret, Haynes, May, Carter & Roark, Hazard, Ky. Weight-loss pill maker resolves false ads claim a company accused of advertising and selling weight-loss products and erectile dysfunction supplements with false claims as to their efficacy and safety settled a suit brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for $175,000 on July 1. USA Pharmacal Sales Inc. of Palm Harbor, Fla., and its co-owners, John Pence and Arthur Sussman, began marketing and selling the weight-loss products, “Meta-Biological,” “Fat-Sponge In a Pill” and “Calotrol/MD,” and the erectile dysfunction supplement, “Virile V.” The FTC’s complaint alleged that advertisements for the products falsely claimed that the weight-loss products cause rapid weight loss without the need to reduce caloric intake, and that the ephedra contained in the products posed no health risks. FTC v. USA Pharmacal Sales Inc., No. 8-03 CIV 1366-P-23-EAJ (M.D. Fla.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Matthew Daynard and Thomas B. Pahl, Federal Trade Commission attorneys’ office, Washington DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Sheldon S. Lustigman, New York EMPLOYMENT Woman wins $700,000 in sex harassment case a woman claimng that a co-worker grabbed her and made sexual comments was awarded $700,000 by a federal jury on July 2. Kathleen Kessel, 35, and Beverly Meador, 44, began working at the Cook County [Ill.] sheriff’s office day reporting center. The women claimed that co-worker Jim Grayes began making crude sexual comments and touching them inappropriately. They sued Cook County, the sheriff’s department, Grayes, Sheriff Michael Sheehan and three other supervisors for sexual harassment, assault and battery and hostile work environment. The three supervisors were later dismissed. Kessel was awarded $700,000, while Meador, who never filed her complaints in writing, got nothing. Kessel v. Cook County, No. 00-CV-3980 (N.D. Ill.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS: Luke Casson and Frank John Andreou, Andreou & Casson, Chicago DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Maureen P. Feerick and Gregory Vaci, Cook County state attorney’s office, Chicago INSURANCE Insurers must pay after refusing to defend state national union fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh and United States Fire Insurance Co. were collectively hit with a $2 million judgment by a Texas judge on June 18 after refusing to defend and indemnify the Texas Department of Transportation for its losses relating to one subcontractor in several lawsuits. The suits arose from deaths that occurred on Interstate Route 35 near Fort Worth, Texas, in 1998. The insurers argued that the insurance policy of the subcontractor allegedly responsible for the accidents, Dustrol Inc., stated that only it was insured as a contractor. The department contended that it was included on the insurance policy and that it was given a certificate of insurance. Gnade v. National Union Fire, No. C-2001-00430 (Johnson County, Texas, Dist. Ct.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS: David Broiles, Fort Worth, Texas; Randy Hill, office of the Texas attorney general, Austin, Texas DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: David A. Furlow, Thompson & Knight, Houston; Scott Whisler, Altoona, Iowa; Harrison H. Yoss, Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons, Dallas PRODUCTS LIABILITY Tobacco firms not liable for woman’s lung cancer a woman failed to convince a Missouri jury on June 17 that any of the three major tobacco companies were liable for her lung cancer. Linda Welch, 49, was diagnosed with cancer and had her right lung removed. She sued the manufacturers of the cigarettes she smoked, Brown & Williamson Tobacco, Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, alleging that her condition was directly caused by smoking, and that the companies’ products were defective and unreasonably dangerous. She claimed, in part, that she was addicted to the defendants’ products and was unable to quit, and that the companies conspired to conceal the risks posed by their products. The defendants claimed Welch was aware of the health risks of smoking. Welch v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco, No. 00-CV-209292 (Jackson Co., Mo., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Kenneth B. McClain, Humphrey, Farrington & McClain, Independence, Mo.; Gregory Leyh, Leyh & Leyh, Kansas City, Mo. DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Jeffrey Furr and Ursula Henninger, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, Winston-Salem, N.C.; John Johnston and Billy Randles, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, Kansas City, Mo.; Mary-Jo Middelhoff and Frank Woodside III, Dinsmore & Shohl, Cincinnati; Bruce Ryder, Thompson Coburn, St. Louis

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