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ANTITRUST American to pay $3M to resolve fares dispute Washington (AP)-American Airlines will pay a $3 million civil penalty to resolve U.S. Department of Justice concerns that it had violated the terms of a 1994 consent decree intended to promote air fare competition. The penalty was part of a settlement filed on Aug. 6 in U.S. district court in Washington. The Justice Department had claimed that American violated the terms of the 1994 decree by publishing certain fares with increased advance purchase requirements only for future travel dates, rather than current travel. This effectively reduced American’s risk of losing passengers to other airlines. The settlement prohibits American from using these travel dates when initiating or matching fare increases. CIVIL RIGHTS City hit for reluctance to build Alzheimer’s home Los Angeles (AP)-A federal jury awarded $22.5 million to a woman and her son who sued the city of Long Beach, Calif., for refusing to let them to build homes for Alzheimer’s patients over a decade ago. After more than four months of deliberations, jurors found that the city, two former city council members and a former planning director had “an irrational prejudice against persons with Alzheimer’s disease,” and that they had violated the Fair Housing Act and the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs. Shirley McClure tried in 1990 to convert six homes into residential homes for Alzheimer’s patients, but neighbors complained that it was an illegal commercial venture. Much of the remodeling work also lacked permits. The city halted the work and filed criminal charges against McClure for city code violations. The charges later were dropped. McClure eventually abandoned the project and declared bankruptcy. She sued in 1992. “The city wasn’t consistent,” jury forewoman Jeanette Sunder said. “They didn’t prosecute anybody else.” Shirley McClure was awarded $20 million and her son, Jason, was awarded $2.5 million. ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Tanker firm fined $4.2M for dumping oil at sea Newark, N.J. (AP)-A Connecticut-based shipping company was fined $4.2 million and placed on three years’ probation for illegally concealing the dumping of thousands of gallons of waste oil and sludge at sea. U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden ordered OMI Corp. of Stamford to pay the fine, awarding $2.1 million of it to a former OMI crew member who reported the dumping to the government. The award is the largest ever under the federal Act to Prevent Pollution From Ships law, which allows the court to grant up to one-half of the criminal fine to those providing information leading to a conviction. In its guilty plea, the company admitted that it had deliberately discharged waste oil, sludge and oil-water mixtures without using the required pollution prevention equipment. The ship’s captain, Ashok Kumar, and chief engineer, Elangovan Mani, pleaded guilty in May 2002 and are awaiting sentencing. Both are from India and face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. PATENTS Google and Yahoo! settle suit with $300M in stock San Francisco (AP)-Online search engine leader Google Inc. will surrender more than $300 million of its stock to Yahoo! Inc. in a settlement that removes a legal threat hanging over its initial public offering. The agreement, announced last week, gives Yahoo an additional 2.7 million shares of Google stock in exchange for its dropping a patent lawsuit involving a crucial piece of online advertising technology. Google makes most of its money by auctioning off the right to have text-based ads placed next to specific search words. The concept was pioneered by Overture Services Inc., which sued Google for patent infringement in 2002, claiming that Google was violating its intellectual property rights. Yahoo took over the suit last year when it bought Overture. With the settlement, Google will license a patent held by Yahoo, the companies said. The settlement also resolves a dispute over how much Yahoo is owed under an old partnership between the two. The settlement is worth about $328 million, based on the midpoint in the $108 to $135 per-share range that Google has established for its highly touted IPO. WASTE DISPOSAL Nebraska to pay $141M for blocking waste dump Lincoln, Neb. (AP)-Nebraska has agreed to pay $141 million for blocking efforts to build a regional low-level radioactive waste dump within its borders. The other members of the Central Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact-Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana-voted, 3-1, last week to accept settlement of their case against Nebraska. U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf had originally ordered Nebraska to pay $151 million. Under the settlement, Nebraska agreed to drop its appeal of that decision. The compact had sought $207 million from Nebraska. In addition, it insisted that Nebraska was still obligated to host a nuclear waste dump. Under the settlement, Nebraska will not be obligated to allow a dump in the state. Nebraska has the option of making four annual payments of $38.5 million starting next year. With interest, that would bring the total amount paid to $154 million. The Nebraska dump was to have been built in the northeast part of the state to take waste from the compact. Nebraska officials argued that they didn’t license the dump because of concerns about possible pollution and a high water table at the proposed site. In 1980, Congress ordered states to build their own dumps or join regional groups to dispose of the waste. Nebraska joined the central interstate compact, which voted in 1987 to put its waste in Nebraska. The fight began soon after. No compact has yet built a dump.

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