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ANTITRUST Microsoft pays out over rival operating system Washington (AP)-Software giant Microsoft Corp. opened its wallet again to clear more of its courtroom problems, paying $536 million to rival Novell Inc. and an undisclosed smaller amount to a trade group that had backed antitrust complaints by the U.S. government and the European Union. Novell said that the $536 million agreement resolves antitrust claims involving the Netware operating system for connecting computers across networks, which competes with Microsoft’s dominant Windows software. Novell, a bitter, decades-long rival of Microsoft, said that despite the huge payoff it intends to file an antitrust suit against Microsoft over damage a decade ago to its WordPerfect software. The payments were, however, enough to persuade both Novell and the Washington-based Computer and Communications Industry Association to pull out of the legal case against Microsoft in the European Union, which has determined that Microsoft abused its industry dominance and fined it $600 million. BREACH OF CONTRACT Georgia arms dealer gets $3.6M in Boeing suit Lawrenceville, Ga. (AP)-A jury has awarded an international arms dealer $3.6 million in damages after he accused Boeing Co. of reneging on a deal to buy two Russian-made missile launchers and ruining his reputation among other potential customers. The Gwinnett County Superior Court judgment gave Milton Blane, owner of Cumming, Ga.-based Blane International Group Inc., $3.5 million in punitive damages and $100,000 in compensation for the missile launchers Boeing had allegedly intended to resell to the U.S. Navy. In 1999, Blane approached the Chicago-based military contractor and offered to broker a deal with Russia for air-to-surface missiles. Boeing was interested, but first asked Blane to arrange the purchase of two Russian-made missile launchers. The company backed out of its agreement to pay $80,000 for the missile launchers, then proceeded to discredit Blane after he filed the lawsuit in 2002. Blane claimed the smear campaign cost him at least $27 million in lost business. CONSUMER PROTECTION West Virginia, Oxycontin manufacturer settle suit Charleston, W.Va. (AP)-The maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma L.P., has agreed to pay $10 million to West Virginia to settle a lawsuit that accused the company of dishonestly marketing the painkiller. Purdue Pharma will make four annual payments of $2.5 million to the attorney general’s consumer education fund. Attorney General Darrell McGraw filed the lawsuit in 2001, about five years after the Stamford, Conn.-based company began shipping OxyContin to West Virginia pharmacies. The lawsuit sought to recoup money state agencies have paid because of people’s addiction to the painkiller. State health care agencies spent about $30.5 million on OxyContin between 1996 and 2003. The lawsuit claimed that Purdue Pharma did not tell doctors, pharmacists and patients about the morphinelike drug’s addictive qualities because it wanted to sell more pills MALICIOUS PROSECUTION Princess Diana fund pays out $25M to settle suit Los Angeles (AP)-A memorial fund for Princess Diana has agreed to pay $25 million for charitable causes to settle a lawsuit brought by the Franklin Mint just days before the case was to go to trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund said that the money would be spent on mutually agreed projects of humanitarian work in honor of the late princess, such as HIV/AIDS and land mine removal. The Franklin Center, Pa.-based maker of collectables and models alleged that the fund and the executors of Princess Diana’s estate, including her sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale, had acted “maliciously, wantonly” by initiating a trademark action against Franklin Mint in 1998. The 1998 action had attempted to stop Franklin Mint from producing a “Limited Edition Commemorative Plate” bearing the image of the princess. The suit was ultimately dismissed. NEGLIGENCE Philadelphia jury awards $5M in pothole-tripping Philadelphia (AP)-A woman who tripped over a pothole, aggravating an existing back problem, was awarded more than $5 million by a jury in her lawsuit against a state agency, but the award will be reduced to $250,000 under state law. Barbara Riley-Wolff, 46, of Blue Bell, Pa., sued the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for negligence for failing to repair the 9-inch long, 3-inch deep pothole, which she tripped over in downtown Philadelphia in May 2002. Though the verdict was for $5.07 million, the agency will only be required to pay $250,000 under the state’s sovereign immunity statute, which caps damages. TORTS Marching band member wins $1.8M in hazing suit Tallahassee, Fla. (AP)-A former Florida A&M University marching band member who was badly beaten during a 2001 hazing incident won a $1.8 million state court verdict in a civil battery case. Marcus Parker, now 21, was beaten so badly with a paddling board during a Marching 100 initiation that one of his kidneys temporarily shut down. He has been through four surgeries, and will likely require a kidney transplant. After a two-day trial, jurors found five men liable for damages. An attorney will collect the award by garnishing the defendants’ wages and going after their assets. Hazing is illegal under Florida law, and the university maintains a “zero tolerance” policy toward hazing.

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