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AUTO INSURANCE State Farm Mutual to pay $40M in settlement Albany, N.Y. (AP)-Thousands of automobile owners nationwide will share in a $40 million settlement with State Farm Mutual Insurance Co. over the company’s handling of titles to vehicles totaled in accidents. About 30,000 consumers may be eligible for payments ranging from $400 to $10,000, depending on the value of their vehicle. The settlement includes Connecticut, 48 other states and the District of Columbia. Only Indiana opted out of the settlement because State Farm had an agreement there more than a year ago. The case began after State Farm approached the states and indicated that, after an internal review, it couldn’t confirm that it had properly titled vehicles it had assumed after damage or theft. CONSUMER PROTECTION $150M to be distributed in Lupron settlement Boston (AP)-Consumers, insurers and health benefit plans are expected to share $150 million in compensation to settle lawsuits alleging that drug companies fraudulently promoted the prescription medication Lupron, a drug used to treat prostate cancer in men, and endometriosis and uterine fibroids in women. The settlement would cover parties who paid for Lupron from Jan. 1, 1985, through March 31 of this year. The class includes consumers who paid for any portion of the drug’s cost, as well as insurers, employee welfare benefit plans and governmental employer plans. The proposed $150 million payment would settle litigation against TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc., Abbott Laboratories Inc. and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. Lawsuits alleged fraud involving the marketing, sale and distribution of Lupron that caused consumers and other parties to overpay. CONTRACTS Settlement reached in Miller Park roof suit Milwaukee (AP)-The Miller Park stadium district and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of America have reached a settlement over the costly repairs to the ballpark’s retractable roof. The agreement calls for the stadium district to receive nearly $33 million, $4 million of which would come from Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi would receive $22 million, $6 million of which would come from the district. The district already had set aside money to settle Mitsubishi’s claim and will need no additional tax money. Residents in five southeastern Wisconsin counties are paying a 0.1% sales tax until 2014 for the stadium. The stadium’s roof has had problems since the ballpark opened in 2001, including loud noises, leaks and faulty mechanical systems. ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ConocoPhillips settles leak suit for $64.5M Lake Charles, La. (AP)-ConocoPhillips has agreed to pay $64.5 million to settle a class action over a 2003 chemical release at the company’s Westlake plant. The suit stemmed from a release of 64 tons of sulfur dioxide at the plant following a power outage on Jan. 18, 2003. The settlement also covers a release of 40 tons of sulfur dioxide on May 14, 2003, and a 2002 incident that did not result in any releases off the plant site. Between 18,000 and 20,000 people have submitted claims related to the incidents. SHAREHOLDER SUIT Enron directors reach $168 million settlement San Francisco (AP)-Eighteen former directors of scandalized Enron Corp. have reached a $168 million settlement, including a $13 million payout out of some of their own pockets, with shareholders burned by the financial irregularities that culminated in the company’s collapse. The agreement requires 10 of the former Enron directors to contribute a combined $13 million from the profits that they reaped from selling company stock before Enron revealed that it had been grossly exaggerating its sales and profits. It represents the fourth major settlement negotiated by attorneys who filed a class action on behalf of Enron’s shareholders nearly three years ago. TAXATION $8 million award for brokerage service firm A group of Philadelphia attorneys has secured a National Association Securities Dealers (NASD) arbitration award of more than $8 million on behalf of a brokerage services provider that claimed a brokerage firm it had previously contracted with did not offer full compensation when their business relationship concluded. Fiserv Securities provides bookkeeping and tax reporting services for brokerage firms. When WM Financial Services Inc. chose to go with another back-office broker in the fall of 2003, it argued it did not have to pay $30 per-account fees for terminating Fiserv’s handling of 250,000-plus WM IRA accounts. Fiserv contended it was entitled to such fees under the parties’ original agreement and that, under the agreement, it would need to perform tax reporting for the WM IRA accounts even after work on those accounts was handed to WM’s new back-office broker. -ALM

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