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ANTITRUST De Beers pays $10M fine to settle price-fixing case Columbus, Ohio (AP)-De Beers pleaded guilty in a 10-year-old price-fixing case and agreed to pay a $10 million fine, clearing the way for the diamond giant to resume selling diamonds directly in the U.S. market. The company admitted to conspiring to fix prices in the $500 million industrial diamond market in 1991 and 1992. De Beers has sold diamonds in the United States only through intermediaries since shortly after World War II, when it was first charged with price fixing. U.S. District Judge George Smith did not order any restitution, saying a $26 million settlement of a civil case had resolved that issue. DAMAGES Judge adds $10 million to traffic accident award Miami (AP)-In an unusual move, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jennifer D. Bailey decided that a jury’s $23.5 million award in an auto negligence case in April was insufficient. She added $10 million in pain and suffering damages after the plaintiffs filed a post-trial motion asking her to increase the award. On June 23, Judge Bailey granted a post-trial additur motion on the ground that the awards for pain and suffering to Edwin Mejia and his 6-year-old daughter, Nelly, were inadequate given their extreme loss of quality of life. In December 2000, Mejia’s vehicle was rear-ended on I-95 by a U.S. Navy-owned refrigerator truck. His wife was killed and he suffered a severe brain injury and requires round-the-clock care. His daughter, Nelly, was uninjured. The defendants were the truck driver and Nashville, Tenn.-based Manheim Auctions Government Services and Daytona Auto Dealers Exchange, both owned by Atlanta-based Manheim Auctions Inc. EMPLOYMENT Morgan Stanley settles sex discrimination suit New York (AP)-Brokerage Morgan Stanley has agreed to pay $54 million to settle allegations of rampant sex discrimination. Last week’s settlement headed off a federal trial that promised ugly publicity for Morgan Stanley, with testimony from former employees about groping, lewd comments and strip club outings for clients. Under the settlement, $40 million will be earmarked for claims filed by women at the firm’s institutional-equities division who say they had been discriminated against since 1995. Separately, lead plaintiff Allison Schieffelin, a former Morgan Stanley bond seller who claimed she was denied promotions at the firm because she is a woman, will be paid $12 million. Morgan Stanley will also set aside $2 million to pay for diversity training and anti-discrimination programs. Schieffelin, 42, who made $1.35 million in 1998, was fired in 2000 after claiming she was passed over for a promotion to managing director. District Judge Richard M. Berman stressed that he was not ruling on the merits of the case by approving the settlement. MISAPPROPRIATION Former NHL player wins $15M from comic creator St. Louis (AP)-Tony Twist, a former National Hockey League enforcer known more for his fighting than his skating, has been awarded $15 million by a jury that found that a comic strip creator had infringed on Twist’s publicity rights, by profiting from his name without permission. Comic-book artist Todd McFarlane is the former principal artist and writer of Spiderman comics. He gave the name Antonio “Tony Twist” Twistelli to a violent New York mobster character in McFarlane’s Spawn comics in the early 1990s. Twist sued and, in 2000, a St. Louis jury awarded him more than $24.5 million. However, the judge overruled that decision. A Missouri appellate court ruled in McFarlane’s favor in 2002, citing First Amendment protections, but, in July 2003, the Missouri Supreme Court ordered a new trial. McFarlane appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in December 2003, arguing that Spawn characters “are purely fictional fantasies.” The high court rejected the appeal without comment in January. UTILITIES Energy company settles West Coast crisis claims Charlotte, N.C. (AP)-Duke Energy Corp. will pay $207.5 million in cash and credits to settle claims that it overcharged for wholesale electricity during the California energy crisis of 2000-01, the company said last week. To cover the settlement, the Charlotte, N.C.-based energy company will take a $104.9 million pretax charge to its second-quarter results. The balance of the settlement will come from the $102.6 million in previously announced reserve and associated offsets. The settlement involved federal regulators, the states of Washington and Oregon and California’s three largest investor-owned utilities, Duke said. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said about $172 million of the settlement will go to California ratepayers, resolving claims that Duke overcharged for wholesale electricity. The settlement must be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Under terms of the settlement, Lockyer is to end civil enforcement actions against Duke, the attorney general said.

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