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Bias settlement The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Aug. 13 announced the prelitigation settlement of a race discrimination claim against Supercuts Inc., a nationwide chain of hair salons based in Minneapolis, for $3.5 million and remedial relief. The agreement, obtained through EEOC’s conciliation process, resolves a charge by former regional manager Richard Quick, who claimed that a regional vice president terminated him for refusing to go along with a plan to “balance the platform” by reducing the number of African-Americans in the company. The charge also included claims that Supercuts failed to hire and promote African-Americans and terminated them due to race. The agreement will provide relief to African-Americans meeting certain criteria who applied to, were terminated from or were denied promotions by, Eastern region shops from November 1996 to December 2001. Corporate raid A $5.8 million settlement has been reached in a corporate raid case in U.S. district court in Delaware between two office supply companies. One of the companies allegedly hired away a slew of the others’ employees and received confidential business information. U.S. Office Products Co. claimed the raid began soon after the financially troubled company began looking for a buyer. It claimed that a smaller competitor, Allied Office Supplies Inc., began recruiting its employees en masse and hired away 38 sales representatives and 39 managers and support personnel, who took with them customer information and pricing lists. As a result of these losses in manpower and information, the company said, it had to accept a purchase price that was $75 million less than first agreed on. It claimed that Allied illegally used its confidential information and also misled its customers in an effort to get their business. USOP Liquidating v. Allied Office Supplies Inc., No. 03-CV-306. Self-inflicted injury Death by autoerotic asphyxiation is a self-inflicted injury excluded from coverage under an insurance policy, the 2d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. Upholding a lower court’s ruling in favor of an insurance company, a divided 2d Circuit said of the deceased that the “intentional act of constricting his trachea with the purpose of depriving his brain of oxygen-that is, strangulation-was an intentionally self-inflicted injury.” The deceased in the insurance suit Critchlow v. First Unum Life Insurance Co. of America, No. 02-7585, was David Critchlow, who in 1999 died after placing a noose around his neck to accomplish autoerotic stimulation-the restriction of oxygen to the brain to enhance sexual pleasure. Divorcing jailed spouse In a split opinion, a New York appellate court has ruled that a five-year statute of limitations applies to those seeking divorce from a spouse who is in prison. Under the ruling, the statute of limitations begins to run once the jailed spouse has served three consecutive years. After eight years of consecutive incarceration, then, a free spouse would not be able to divorce a jailed spouse simply because he or she remained in jail. The ruling involves a spouse who has been in jail since 1984. Covington v. Walker, No. 2001-00425.

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