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BUSINESS LAW Garbage collector wins exclusive franchise claim A trash hauling company was awarded $350,000, all in punitive form, by an Arkansas jury on July 18 on its claim that its franchise agreement was interfered with. Waste Management Inc. had an agreement with the city of Rogers, Ark., to be the exclusive hauler of its waste. The plaintiffs-Waste Management and the city-claimed that Roll Off Services was wrongfully collecting refuse from customers that Waste Management alone had the right to contract with. The plaintiffs alleged that Roll Off containers were spotted on the street and that Roll Off vehicles were seen collecting trash. Roll Off denied the allegations and claimed that it was merely hauling recyclables that were not covered by the franchise agreement. Waste Management Inc. v. Roll Off Services, No. CV02-2122-6 (Washington Co., Ark., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY: John E. Tull III, Quattlebaum, Grooms, Tull & Burrow, Little Rock, Ark. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Peter G. Kumpe, Williams & Anderson, Little Rock CONSUMER PROTECTION Quest settles lawsuit accusing it of ‘cramming’ A large telecommunications company settled a consumer fraud suit with the state of Arizona for $3.75 million on July 11. Customers of Qwest Communications International Inc., Qwest Corp. and Qwest Wireless LLC alleged that they were victims of “cramming,” the practice of charging customers for services that they did not request or authorize. The consumers further alleged that Qwest would not refund them the money they paid for the unwanted services. The state, on behalf of about 1,500 Arizona consumers, sued Qwest for violation of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act. The settlement, which includes no admission of liability, will provide restitution to the individual consumers plus attorney fees. State of Arizona v. Qwest Communications International Inc., No. C20014779 (Pima Co., Ariz., Super. Ct.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY: Noreen R. Matts, Arizona attorney general’s office, Tucson, Ariz. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Edward F. Novak, Quarles & Brady Streich Lang, Phoenix EMPLOYMENT Forced to speak English, Latinos settle with casino Employees at a Colorado casino who claimed that they were discriminated against by being forced to speak English only-even on lunch breaks-settled with the casino for $1.5 million on July 18. In 1998, members of the housekeeping staff at Colorado Central Station Casino in Blackhawk, Colo., claimed that supervisors imposed an English-only rule. The mostly Spanish-speaking staff endured name-calling and shouting by their superiors for speaking Spanish, the suit alleged. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Las Vegas-based parent company Anchor Coin Inc. on behalf of 24 housekeeping workers, for Title VII discrimination based on national origin. Eleven employees then intervened. Anchor Coin asserted that the casino never implemented the English-only rule. EEOC v. Anchor Coin Inc., No. 01-CV-564 (D. Colo.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS: Nelson G. Alston, Ann Fuller and Evangelina Fierro Hernandez, EEOC, Denver; David R. Fine, Kelly, Haglund, Garnsey & Kahn, Denver; Kimberlie K. Ryan, The Ryan Law Firm, Denver; Selena N. Solis, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, San Antonio DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Nancy L. Abell, Elizabeth A. Falcone and Allen Graves, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, Los Angeles; Richard L. Nathan, Robinson Waters & O’Dorisio, Denver Laying off 66-year-old wasn’t age discrimination A company accused of age discrimination after laying off a 66-year-old employee was found not liable by an Ohio jury on July 18. Robert Mead, a design engineer, was the oldest employee of McKee-Addison Tube Forming Inc. of Wilmington, Ohio. In 1998, Mead was stripped of his supervisory authority and given new duties. The company claimed that this was due to costly errors on his part. However, Mead claimed that, on separate occasions, managers had asked him how long he planned to work at the company. In 2000, Mead was discharged, along with dozens of other employees. He claimed that younger and less-senior employees were retained. The company claimed that Mead did not know how to use a widely used design program and was one of the highest-paid employees. Mead v. McKee-Addison Tube Forming Inc., No. CVH 2001 0727 (Clinton Co., Ohio, Ct. C.P.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: David D. Kammer and Paul H. Tobias, Tobias, Kraus & Torchia, Cincinnati DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Thomas F. Hurka and Mark Karasik, Baker & McKenzie, Chicago LAND USE Couple gets $500,000 in condemnation case In a condemnation action brought by the city of Long Branch, N.J., the owners of an oceanfront tract of land were awarded $500,000 by a New Jersey jury on July 15. The city of Long Branch claimed that the 15-acre tract, which included a two-story, 1,400-square-foot residence, was worth $185,000, based on recent sales of Long Branch tracts located from three blocks to a quarter-mile from the ocean. However, Fred and Dorothy Strahlendorf, the owners, valued it at $500,000, based on improvements to the Long Branch beach and prices for oceanfront homes in nearby towns, Long Branch having previously declared its own oceanfront properties blighted in order to drive down prices. City of Long Branch v. Strahlendorf, No. MON-L-3927-02 (Monmouth Co., N.J., Super. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: Paul Fernicola, Bowe & Fernicola, Red Bank, N.J. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: William J. Ward, Carlin & Ward, Florham Park, N.J. MEDICAL MALPRACTICE Bedsores allegedly fatal, estate sues doctor, wins The estate of a man who developed bedsores while recovering from a mishap during lymphoma testing was awarded $2.5 million by an Illinois jury on July 18. Thomas Ferraro Jr., 52, was undergoing a biopsy for possible lymphoma at Lutheran General Hospital when Dr. Richard Messersmith nicked a coronary artery. Ferraro had to remain in the intensive care unit for two weeks, where he developed severe bedsores. Ferraro was subsequently diagnosed with lymphoma, and died six months later. His estate sued Messersmith; the doctor’s employer, Associated Radiologists; and the hospital, claiming that the bedsores contributed to his death. The defendants claimed that the lymphoma was the cause of death. The hospital settled before trial. Ferraro v. Messersmith, No. 98-L-11981 (Cook Co., Ill., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Thomas M. Power and Thomas G. Siracusa, Power, Rogers & Smith, Chicago DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Kimberly A. Craft and Brian C. Fetzer, Johnson & Bell, Chicago; Timothy G. Nickels, Swanson, Martin & Bell, Chicago PRODUCTS LIABILITY Baby’s estate resolves deadly playpen claim The estate of an infant who died in a portable playpen settled its products liability suit for $2.6 million on July 17. Jared Adams, 8 months old, was kept in a Happy Camper Portable Play Yard. The playpen, manufactured by Evenflo Co. of Piqua, Ohio, had collapsible sides with locking joints along the top arms. While Jared was temporarily unattended in the playpen, the arms unlocked and the sides fell inward onto Jared, suffocating him. His estate sued Evenflo and Sears, Roebuck and Co. The playpen was purchased in a Sears store in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The defendants contended that the accident could have been prevented if the arms had been properly locked and the baby not left unattended. The settlement will be paid by Evenflo. Estate of Adams v. Evenflo Co. Inc., No. 98-L-11878 (Cook Co., Ill., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS: Shawn Kasserman and Daniel Kirschner, Corboy & Demetrio, Chicago DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Delbert Brehman, Moore, Maisel & Strickland, Chicago; Charles Risch, Lawrence, Kamin, Saunders & Uhlenhop, Chicago

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