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CONSUMER PROTECTION Ameritech settles claim it hid voice mail charges Phone service subscribers in Chicago who claimed that Ameritech misled them by failing to discuss surcharges in marketing material for voice mail reached a settlement on March 26 that could cost the provider as much as $40 million, depending on how many customers file claims and the length of time they were overcharged. The plaintiff class claimed that Ameritech told its customers they could have voice mail for a flat rate of $5 per month, but that they were later also charged for every message based on the cost of a local call, and were charged 5 cents every time they checked messages. Ameritech claimed that the charges were disclosed in subscription agreements. Erikson v. Ameritech, No. 99CH18873 (Cook Co., Ill., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS: Robert Kelter, Citizens Utility Board, Chicago; Peter S. Lubin, Law Offices of Peter S. Lubin, Oak Brook, Ill. DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Leslie M. Smith, Kirkland & Ellis, Chicago EMPLOYMENT Stanford interfered with ex-employee’s new job A research technician who claimed that her former employer interfered with her work at her new job was awarded more than $1 million by a California jury on April 9. After resigning from Stanford University, Robin King took a job with Santur Corp., which required her to work in a lab at Stanford. King claimed Stanford first barred her from the lab and then set unreasonable conditions for her using it. She claimed this led to her being fired. King sued Stanford for malice, oppression or fraud, and intentional inflection of emotional distress. On the malice, oppression or fraud claims, she was awarded $1.01 million. The jury found for Stanford on the emotional distress claim. King v. Stanford, No. CV804693 (Santa Clara Co., Calif., Super. Ct.). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY: Robert H. Bohn, Bohn & Bohn, San Jose, Calif. DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Roberta Hayashi and Peter Nohle, Pillsbury Winthrop, Palo Alto, Calif. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Micro TV-tuner maker wins infringement action A manufacturer of television tuners was awarded $8.67 million by a federal jury that found that a competitor willfully infringed its patent. Microtune (Texas) L.P.’s award includes $5.6 million in attorney fees and costs. Microtune claimed that its MicroTuner product is smaller, cheaper and simpler than previous tuners, historically one of the more expensive parts of certain electronic devices. A tuner enables a TV to understand television signals and, with a cathode-ray tube, display them as images. Microtune sued Broadcom Corp., alleging that Broadcom’s competing tuner was infringing. Broadcom asserted that the MicroTuner patent was invalid. On Aug. 21, 2003, Judge Paul Brown awarded Microtune about $3 million and, on March 18, added the fees and costs. In a separate lawsuit in the same court, Microtune is alleging that Broadcom’s next-generation tuner infringes the same patent. That case is set for trial next month. Microtune (Texas) L.P. v. Broadcom Corp., No. 4:01-CV-23 (E.D. Texas). PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEYS: Alan D. Albright, John Allcock, Matthew C. Bernstein, John Giust and Barry Shelton, Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich, Austin, Texas, and San Diego; Clyde M. Siebman, Siebman, Reynolds & Burg, Sherman, Texas DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: James J. Elacqua, Wayne M. Harding, Jeannine Y. Sano and Andrew N. Thomases, Dewey Ballantine, Palo Alto, Calif., and Austin; Joseph W. Wolfe, Wolfe, Tidwell & McCoy, Sherman MEDICAL MALPRACTICE Delivery mismanaged, $27.6 million awarded A child who sustained severe retardation and cerebral palsy due to mismanagement of his delivery was found to have sustained $27.6 million in damages by a Kentucky jury on April 16. However, because a settling physician was found 20% at fault, the award was reduced to $22.08 million. Judy Sapp went to Baptist Hospital East in Louisville, Ky. There, labor was induced with Pitocin. When fetal monitoring showed a decline in oxygen, a nurse continued to administer the Pitocin, contrary to hospital policy. A vacuum extraction was performed but the fetus suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. The Sapps sued the hospital and the physician, Maria Schweichler, for negligent administration of Pitocin. The hospital, which was found 80% at fault, argued that the mother and child responded well to the Pitocin, and that the problem was caused by an unforeseeable and unpreventable movement of the fetus that constricted the umbilical cord. It further maintained that Schwei-chler had the proper credentials for performing the delivery. Sapp v. Baptist Healthcare Systems Inc., No. 99-CI-07336 (Jefferson Co., Ky., Cir. Ct.). PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS: Larry B. Franklin and Ryan A. Lother, Franklin and Hance, Louisville, Ky. DEFENSE ATTORNEYS: Beth H. McMasters, O’Bryan, Brown & Toner (formerly), Louisville; W. Kennedy Simpson, Thompson Miller & Simpson, Louisville More information about these cases, as well as full reports on other verdicts and settlements, can be found in the VerdictSearch Publications or at www.VerdictSearch.com. To submit a case, call (800)352-8412, fax (212)313-9145 or use the form at http://www.verdictsearch.com/jv3_submit_a_case. For subscription information or jury verdict research, call (800)832-1900.

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