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ANTITRUST Big tobacco, growers, resolve price-fix dispute A class of tobacco growers on Oct. 2 settled an antitrust action charging the nation’s biggest cigarette makers and two tobacco buyers of conspiring to hold down tobacco auction prices. The class members, who grew Burley and Flue cured tobacco, claimed that the manufacturers arranged for the two buyers to bid the same price for the tobacco. The resultant tie forced the tobacco to be allocated to the manufacturers for the same amounts they had received in the past, artificially holding down prices. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco did not participate in the settlement. DeLoach v. Philip Morris Cos. Inc., No. 00-CV-294 (D.N.C.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY: Alan Wiseman, Howrey Simon Arnold & White, Washington. DEFENDANTS’ ATTORNEYS: W. Andrew Copenhaver, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, Winston-Salem, N.C.; William Kearns Davis, Bell Davis & Pitt, Winston-Salem; Douglas W. Kenyon, Hunton & Williams, Raleigh, N.C.; Wade Smith, Tharrington Smith LLC, Raleigh; Douglas Wald, Arnold & Porter, Washington; James T. Williams Jr., Brooks Pierce McLendon Humphrey & Leonard, Greensboro, N.C. FAMILY LAW State of Iowa to pay for foster child’s injuries A minor who is in a vegetative state as a result of brain injuries caused by his foster parents beating him settled with the state of Iowa for $2.2 million on Sept. 4. Kane Williams, a 2-year-old at the time, was slapped and shaken by his foster parents and sustained shaken baby syndrome. Williams, through his conservator, sued the state and its Department of Human Services for negligently entrusting him to the foster parents, and for improperly training and supervising them. The defendants claimed that the battery was a superseding cause. Williams v. State of Iowa, No. LA-CV-124687 (Woodbury Co., Iowa, Dist. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: Timothy Bottaro, Sioux City, Iowa DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Paul Lundberg, Sioux City; Mohummed Sadden, Sioux City INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Infringed patent leads to $22.6M royalties award Using a calculation based on lost royalties, a Delaware federal jury awarded $22.6 million plus interest to the creator of power-saving technology for wireless devices in a Sept. 12 patent infringement ruling. Symbol Technolo-gies Inc. of Holtsville, N.Y., was granted two patents for the technology, which is used in laptops and cellphones. Symbol sued Proxim Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., claiming it installed the technology in its wireless network products. Proxim admitted to installing a similar feature, but argued it was different enough not to be within the patent’s scope. The award is based on a royalty rate of 6% on sales of $363 million. Symbol v. Proxim Inc., No. 01-CV-801 (D. Del.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Eric Lobenfeld, Clifford Chance, New York; Andre Bouchard, Bouchard, Margules & Friedlander, Wilmington, Del. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Richard Horwitz, Potter Anderson & Corroon, Wilmington PRODUCTS LIABILITY GM liable for woman’s paralysis after accident A woman paralyzed from the neck down after an auto accident was awarded $19.5 million by a Nebraska jury on Sept. 26. The jury found General Motors Corp. and the driver jointly and severally liable for the amount. Penny Shipler, 30, was a passenger in a 1996 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer driven by Kenneth Long. Long, who was intoxicated, lost control, drove off the road and rolled the SUV four times. Shipler was paralyzed when the roof of the vehicle caved in on her head. She sued Long for negligence, as well as GM, the maker of the Blazer, claiming that the car was not crashworthy. Long admitted liability. GM argued that Shipler had already sustained her injuries when the roof collapsed. Shipler v. General Motors Corp., No. CI-00-3778 (Lancaster Co., Neb., Dist. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Dan L. McCord, Lincoln, Neb.; Michael J. Piuze, Los Angeles DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Frank J. Nizio, Fred J. Fresard and Andre Laginess, Bowman & Brooke, Detroit; Gail S. Perry, Baylor, Evnen, Curtiss, Grimit & Witt, Lincoln, Neb. TORTS Woman trapped in shed for 63 days wins award A woman who was trapped in a storage shed for 63 days was awarded $100,000 by an Alabama jury on Sept. 29. Wanda Hudson, 42, was in the 30-foot-by-10-foot shed in Mobile, Ala., when a manager of the facility owned by Parkway Storage accidentally locked her in. Hudson spent the next two months subsisting on juice and canned foods. When workers found her, she weighed only 85 pounds, down from 150 pounds. She sued Parkway Storage and the manager. The defendants maintained that Hudson had been evicted from her home weeks earlier and was sleeping in the shed. Hudson sought $10 million in damages for her emotional distress. The defendants were found jointly and severally liable. Hudson v. Parkway Storage, No. 02-2262 (Mobile Co., Ala., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: M. Mallory Mantiply, Fairhope, Ala. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Bert P. Taylor, Taylor & Smith, Birmingham, Ala. More information about these cases, as well as full reports on other verdicts and settlements, can be found in the VerdictSearch National Reporter or at www.VerdictSearch.com. To submit a case, call (212)313-9057, fax (212)313-9145 or use the form at www.VerdictSearch.com/submit. For subscription information or jury verdict research, call (800)832-1900.

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