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ATTORNEY FEES Tyson granted fees after suit by cattlemen tossed Montgomery, Ala. (AP)-A federal judge ordered cattlemen who sued Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. to pay the company $70,000 in attorney fees after a verdict in the cattlemen’s favor was thrown out for a lack of evidence. An attorney for the cattlemen, who have asked a federal appeals court to reinstate the verdict, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. Six cattlemen, claiming to represent thousands more, sued in 1994, arguing that Tyson had used contracts with a select few ranchers to drive down the price of cattle on the open, or cash, market. A federal jury in Montgomery agreed, and in February recommended that Tyson pay the cattlemen $1.28 billion in damages. But U.S. Senior District Judge Lyle Strom overturned the verdict in April, saying the evidence presented at trial did not support the jury’s finding. INTENTIONAL TORTS Jury orders couple to pay woman they abused Santa Monica, Calif. (AP)-A jury has ordered a Sony Corp. executive and his wife to pay more than $825,000 in damages to a woman who said the couple kept her in involuntary servitude at their home. The jury found that James and Elizabeth Jackson were liable for subjecting Nena Ruiz to involuntary servitude and for negligence and fraud. Elizabeth Jackson was also deemed liable for assault and battery. The jury awarded $551,000 in compensatory damages to Ruiz, and on Aug. 27, jurors ordered the couple to pay her $275,000 in punitive damages. Ruiz, 60, claimed in a California Superior Court lawsuit filed last year that she often worked at least 18 hours a day and was forced to do strange household chores such as heating chicken nuggets and cutting up bananas or pears for the couple’s two dogs. She said she was paid $300 for a year’s work at the couple’s Culver City, Calif., condominium. Ruiz also charged that she had to sleep in a dog bed and that Elizabeth Jackson repeatedly slapped her and pulled her hair. POLLUTION Jury awards $21M for carbon air emissions Opelika, Ala. (AP)-A federal jury in Opelika awarded the city of Columbus, Ga., and other plaintiffs $20.7 million in an air pollution lawsuit filed against a Phenix City, Ala., carbon black plant. Attorneys for the plaintiffs contend carbon black air emission from the Continental Carbon plant damaged residential and business property in the Columbus area. According to trial testimony, management at the black carbon plant requested a number of pollution control improvements at the plant, which were rejected by the parent company China Synthetic Rubber Corp. David Byrne, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, said both Continental Carbon and China Synthetic acted in bad faith. “This is a situation where a large company has put product production ahead of local citizens’ property,” Byrne said. The jury awarded $1.9 million in compensatory damages, $1.29 million in attorney fees and expenses and $17.5 million in punitive damages. PRODUCTS LIABILITY Sports nutrition store hit for $4M for ephedra sale Los Angeles (AP)-A jury has ordered a sports nutrition store to pay $4.1 million to a man who purchased a diet supplement containing the now-banned herbal stimulant ephedra and then suffered a debilitating stroke. The case is a rare instance of a retailer being found liable for selling a product containing ephedra. Ephedrine supplements were widely used for weight loss and bodybuilding, but have been linked to more than 150 deaths, including that of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler. The Food and Drug Administration banned all dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids on April 12. Mark Hagen, who lives in Santa Margarita, Calif., suffered a stroke on Feb. 11, 2002, hours after taking the thermogenic weight management pill Dymetadrine Xtreme, which he purchased at Fox Nutrition in Los Angeles. As a result of the stroke, Hagen now needs a wheelchair or a walker to get around, and he has trouble speaking because his vocal chords continually spasm. Fox Nutrition was a defendant in the case as a result of California liability law, which states that everyone along a chain of commerce becomes a defendant in a products liability suit. Pfizer to pay $430M to settle asbestos claims New York (AP)-Pfizer Inc. said last week that it has agreed to pay $430 million to settle all lawsuits against it alleging injury from insulation products made by a subsidiary. Pfizer and its Quigley Co. subsidiary were named, along with several other defendants, in 171,611 lawsuits claiming personal injury caused by exposure to asbestos, silica or mixed dust. Pfizer acquired Quigley Co. in 1968. It sold some products containing asbestos until the early 1970s. Pfizer will establish a trust for the payment of pending claims as well as any future claims. It will contribute $405 million to the trust over 40 years through a note, and about $100 million in insurance. Pfizer will also forgive a $30 million loan to Quigley. Since 1982, Quigley’s main business has been to manage the asbestos lawsuits.

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