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HAZARDOUS ACTIVITY Firms agree to pay $15M over nursing home blast Flint, Mich. (AP)-A number of companies agreed to pay more than $15 million to settle a lawsuit stemming from a deadly 1999 explosion and fire at a nursing home that left five people dead. Plaintiffs’ experts had concluded that the Nov. 10, 1999, explosion at Clara Barton Terrace Convalescent Center was caused by the collapse of supports in the nursing home’s basement, which led to the rupture of a gas main. Goyette Mechanical Co. Inc., Continuum of Flint and Beecher Manor Inc. agreed to pay a total of nearly $1 million each, and Ventas, which owned the building and grounds, will pay about $5 million. Goyette had worked on the boilers before the explosion and Continuum was the nursing home operator. NEGLIGENCE Jury finds bus operator liable for deadly crash Dallas (AP)-A state jury delivered a nearly $71 million verdict against a bus operator, finding him negligent in a 2002 crash that killed four members of a church youth group and the driver. The case was brought by attorneys for 17 injured youths and three parents whose children were injured when the bus slammed into a concrete pillar on Interstate Route 20. The operator was held responsible because he knowingly put an unqualified driver behind the wheel. State troopers concluded that the sleepy, inattentive driver, Ernest Carter Jr., had taken cocaine and sedatives. PATENTS $82M verdict against Sony for infringement A California jury has awarded $82 million to a San Jose company, finding that Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. had infringed two patents. Immersion Corp. sells hardware and software technology that allows users to interact with digital devices, such as computer joysticks and medical-procedure simulators. In February 2002, the company sued Sony and Microsoft Corp., alleging that the companies had improperly used company technology in their popular PlayStation 2 and Xbox gaming consoles. The federal jury found that Sony had not willfully infringed the patents, which would have allowed treble damages. - American Lawyer Media SECURITIES FRAUD Software maker pays out to avoid prosecution New York (AP)-Computer Associates International Inc. has agreed to pay more than $200 million to avoid criminal prosecution in a massive accounting scandal. In addition, the company’s former general counsel, Steven Woghin, is expected to plead guilty in Brooklyn, N.Y., federal court to securities fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. In April, the company—the country’s fourth-largest software maker—restated its financial results from 2000 and 2001 to reflect $2.2 billion in revenue that was improperly booked. Also that month, three former Computer Associates executives admitted that they had fraudulently recorded hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contracts in a broad conspiracy to inflate the software company’s quarterly earnings. The executives entered guilty pleas under cooperation agreements that prosecutors called an important move toward indicting other high-ranking company executives. STOCK TRANSACTIONS Investor settles for $15M in breach of contract suit Hartford, Conn. (AP)-An investment firm found in breach of contract in a lawsuit involving the state’s pension fund has settled with the state for $15 million. The state sued Forstmann Little & Co. and several principals or former principals over the loss of $125 million. The state claimed that Forstmann Little had improperly invested state money in two communications companies that it did not control. Connecticut was seeking $120 million, which was the return of its share of the losses. A Vernon Superior Court jury in July had found Forstmann Little in breach of contract, but did not award damages to the state. Superior Court Judge Samuel Sferrazza had dismissed some of the state’s allegations, ruling that lawyers for the state had not established that the New York firm had deceived pension executives in making and losing $2.5 billion of investments from 1999 to 2001. The Connecticut pension funds have received more than $51.3 million from Forstmann Little. The state will continue working with the firm because it is contractually bound to investments it makes. WATER POLLUTION Contaminating company will have to pay $16.9M Chicago (AP)-A company accused of contaminating groundwater around a metal fabricating plant in Lisle, Ill., with a toxic solvent, has agreed to pay affected residents $16.9 million. Since the 2000 discovery of groundwater trichloroethylene pollution affecting hundreds of residents, Lockformer Co. has paid millions of dollars in settlements. The latest was approved by U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber. Lockformer also agreed to pay to connect homes to the municipal water supply in Lisle. Though Lockformer filed for bankruptcy in 2003, this does not shield it from cleanup responsibilities.

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