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AGE DISCRIMINATION Jury awards $2.5M to man denied test pilot job Wichita, Kan. (AP)-A 59-year-old engineer who accused Boeing Co. of age discrimination has won a $2.5 million verdict in a federal lawsuit claiming that he was wrongly denied assignment as a test pilot three years ago. Mario Goico, a veteran pilot who has worked at Chicago-based Boeing’s Wichita plant for more than 20 years, argued that bias against his Cuban heritage also contributed to his being passed over for the higher-paying job. The jury awarded Goico $370,000 for what he would have been paid as a test pilot, $31,000 in back pay and $625,000 for pain and suffering. The verdict includes $1.5 million in punitive damages. CONSUMER PROTECTION Banker settles excessive interest rate claims Oklahoma City (AP)-A Kansas banking company has paid $16 million to resolve claims that it charged excessive fees and inflated interest rates on federally guaranteed agricultural loans. Gold Banc participated in a program in which the federal government guaranteed loans that were to be given to farmers at a reduced interest rate through the Farm Service Agency. Gold Banc allegedly charged a rate that was higher than the rate it should have been charging. MEDICAL MALPRACTICE Judge reinstates $30M botched C-section award Cleveland (AP)-A judge has reinstated a $30 million medical malpractice award three months after a retired judge threw it out. Retired Judge Robert Lawther had called the award excessive and based on passion and prejudice. A jury had ruled in May that Dr. Ronald Jordan and the now-defunct Mount Sinai Medical Center had been negligent in delaying Walter Hollins’ delivery while his mother, Regina Harris, waited two hours for an emergency Caesarean section. Hollins, 17, has cerebral palsy and can’t use his arms or legs. Judge Lillian Greene of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court said that Lawther was wrong to dispense with the jury’s verdict so cavalierly. The case was returned to Greene-the judge originally assigned to the case-after Lawther voluntarily stepped aside. NEGLIGENCE City pays $3.5M to man who tried suicide in jail The city of Philadelphia has agreed to pay $3.5 million to a 27-year-old man who was severely brain-damaged in a failed attempt to commit suicide in a city jail. Attorneys claimed that Christopher Foster’s July 1999 suicide attempt could have been prevented if the city had properly trained police about recognizing and dealing with potentially suicidal detainees. Testimony in the trial showed that Foster told police soon after his arrest that he had attempted suicide before, and that he was initially placed in a Plexiglas cell at a precinct jail where he could be closely monitored. Police records showed that after Foster was transferred to police headquarters, he was placed in a standard cell with open bars. Foster tied his shirt to the open bars of the door and hanged himself while his cellmate slept. By the time he was cut down, Foster’s brain had been deprived of oxygen for so long that he had suffered extensive brain damage. As a result, he can’t move or speak. An economist testified that Foster’s nursing home care over the next 20 years will cost more than $9 million. -ALM WETLANDS County must pay farmer $5.5M for wrong labeling Los Angeles (AP)-Jurors decided that a wetlands designation imposed by Santa Barbara County violated the rights of an Orcutt vegetable grower, so the county must pay it about $5.5 million. The jury assessed actual damages of $5.47 million against the county planning and development department, one of its paid consultants and three current or former employees who helped write a planning blueprint in 1977. Adam Brothers Farming Inc. was notified seven years ago that any farming within 50 feet of the designated protected wetlands required land-use permits from the county. In 1999, the company bulldozed the property without permits and allegedly filled in the wetlands area, planting oats and barley before a stop-work order was issued by the county. WRONGFUL DEATH Jury awards sheriff’s widow $776 million Lawrenceville, Ga. (AP)-A Gwinnett County jury awarded the widow of slain Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown $776 million in damages in the killing of her husband four years ago. Attorneys say there is little chance of Phyllis Brown ever collecting. The defendants, former DeKalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey and his alleged co-conspirators, lack substantial assets. The panel in the civil suit awarded Phyllis Brown $326 million in compensatory damages and $450 million in punitive damages. The suit targeted Dorsey, Paul Skyers and Patrick Cuffy. Dorsey is serving a life sentence for planning the killing while Cuffy and Skyers, who were charged as co-conspirators, testified against Dorsey and two others under an immunity deal.

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