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LIQUOR LIABILITY Stadium vendor hit over drunken fan’s car crash A New Jersey jury has assessed $105 million in compensatory and punitive damages against Aramark Corp., the nation’s leading arena concessionaire, in the case of a girl paralyzed in a crash with a driver drunk on beer served at a New York Giants football game. A Bergen County jury had already awarded $60 million in compensatory damages to Verni’s paralyzed daughter, Antonia, now 7, and other family members, splitting the liability 50-50 between Aramark and Daniel Lanzaro of Cresskill, N.J., the drunken driver. [NLJ, Jan. 24.] A day later, the jury assessed $75 million in punitive damages against Aramark, bringing the company’s obligations in the case to $105 million, plus about $6 million in prejudgment interest. - ALM NEGLIGENCE PwC pays $87.5M to settle $1B loss claims PricewaterhouseCoopers has paid $87.5 million to settle a negligent misrepresentation claim involving more than $1 billion in loan losses. The banks sued the Big Four firm in 2000, alleging that the accounting giant did not fulfill its responsibility as an auditor, and, as a result, the banks lost millions of dollars on bad loans. The case settled on the eve of trial in October 2004. The syndicate of lenders, led by Toronto Dominion Bank, provided $2.1 billion to Columbia, S.C.-based Laidlaw Environmental Services to fund the takeover of another environmental services firm, Elgin, Ill.-based Safety-Kleen Corp., and to refinance $650 million in senior secured debt from an earlier acquisition. The banks later advanced the newly formed company another $280 million. The banks alleged that the loans wouldn’t have been made if PricewaterhouseCoopers had not provided audit reports indicating that the target company was healthy. The business later filed for bankruptcy protection. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sanctioned several former Safety-Kleen executives, finding that they had “engaged in a massive accounting fraud by materially overstating the company’s revenue.” - ALM PATENTS H-P pays software maker $141M to settle suit Palo Alto, Calif. (AP)-Hewlett-Packard Co. has agreed to pay $141 million to settle patent disputes with the software maker Intergraph Corp. Intergraph, based in Huntsville, Ala., filed suit in 2002, asserting that Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Gateway violated patents related to systems using Intel chips. Related settlements were reached last year with Intel, Dell and Gateway. Last year, in addition to receiving a $225 million from Intel to settle the patent dispute, Intergraph won a $25 million settlement in a case against the chip maker Advanced Micro Devices. In 2003, Texas Instruments agreed to pay Intergraph $18 million to settle a patent battle. PRICE FIXING Utility settles gas market manipulation charges Columbus, Ohio (AP)-American Electric Power Co. (AEP) has said it will pay $81 million to end a lawsuit and investigation by federal regulators who accused the utility’s traders of manipulating prices in the natural gas market. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued the company in 2003, alleging that the traders sent thousands of false or misleading reports to industry publications in 2000-2002. The lawsuit alleged that AEP had profited $63.5 million because of false trading reports, and it sought up to $355 million in penalties. The settlement requires AEP to pay $30 million to the commission, $30 million to the U.S. Department of Justice and $21 million to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. REGULATORY ACTION ImClone pays $75M to settle two Erbitux suits New York (AP)-ImClone Systems Inc. has agreed in principle to settle two suits related to the failed regulatory application for its cancer drug Erbitux. ImClone, which was at the center of a scandal that sent company founder Sam Waksal and his friend Martha Stewart to jail, said it will pay $75 million in cash to settle a class action that alleges that the company violated securities laws by misleading investors on the approval status of Erbitux. Erbitux was rejected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in early 2002, sending ImClone shares plummeting. Waksal, ImClone’s chairman at the time, was sentenced to jail for illegally selling ImClone shares ahead of the FDA rejection. SHAREHOLDER SUIT Texas utility pays $150M to settle class action Dallas (AP)-TXU Corp., Texas’ largest electric utility, said it has agreed to pay $150 million to settle a class action brought on behalf of investors who bought shares of company stock during 2001 and 2002. The lawsuit charged TXU and some of its top officials with giving misleading information about the company’s prospects in deregulated electric markets and hiding the poor performance of TXU’s European operations. STOCK TRANSACTIONS Two brokerages to pay SEC $40 million each Washington (AP)-Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have agreed to pay $40 million each to settle two Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lawsuits alleging that the firms had improperly doled out shares of hot new stocks to certain customers to get them to buy more at inflated prices once trading began. The SEC alleged that the firms induced some IPO stock recipients to purchase additional shares during the new issue’s first few public trading days.

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