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BREACH OF CONTRACT L.A. port to pay $22.2M to Chinese shipping firm Los Angeles (AP)-The Port of Los Angeles will pay $22.2 million in a legal settlement to a Chinese shipping firm because it failed to open a new terminal on time. The port ran afoul of environmental groups and nearby communities because of the amount of diesel and other pollution from ships and port activities. Last year, the port opened the nation’s first “green” terminal, which allows ships to use onshore electricity while docked instead of their engines. China Shipping leases the terminal. It had planned to move in two years earlier, but an appellate court ordered construction halted after groups sued the port for failing to conduct required environmental reviews. Car-seat maker must pay $30M to leather supplier Southfield, Mich. (AP)-A federal jury has rendered a $30 million verdict against car-seat maker Lear Corp. for allegedly breaching a leather purchase agreement. The suit filed in 2002 by leather supplier Seton Co. alleged that Lear had breached an agreement to buy leather from Seton for seats for the life of the General Motors GMT800 program, which includes the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra vehicles. FRAUD Citigroup to pay $208M to settle SEC charges New York (AP)-Citigroup Inc., the nation’s biggest financial services company, has agreed to pay $208 million to settle fraud charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission against two of its units, related to the creation and operation of an affiliated transfer agent that has served the Smith Barney family of mutual funds since 1999. The SEC said that Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and Smith Barney Fund Management LLC, the investment adviser to the mutual funds, misrepresented and omitted facts when recommending to the funds’ boards that the funds change from a previous third-party transfer agent to an agent that was a Citigroup affiliate. Citigroup was ordered to disgorge $128 million and to pay an additional $80 million in penalties. CLASS ACTION Apple offers $50 credit for iPod battery troubles San Francisco (AP)-Consumers who had battery problems with older versions of the popular iPod digital music player will get $50 vouchers and extended service warranties under a tentative settlement of a class action. Eight consumers filed suit in 2003, alleging that the iPod failed to live up to claims that the rechargeable batteries would last the product’s lifetime and play music continuously for up to 10 hours. Thousands of consumers complained that the batteries-which cost $99 to replace-lasted 18 months or less, and that they could only play music for four hours or less before they had to be recharged. According to the terms of the settlement, people who fill out a claim form are entitled to receive $50 redeemable toward the purchase of any Apple products or services except iTunes downloads or iTunes gift certificates. CONSUMER PROTECTION Wyeth may be liable for $200M over diet drug Philadelphia-A Pennsylvania state jury has awarded $200 million in potential damages to two Utah women who claimed that diet drugs once marketed by pharmaceutical manufacturer Wyeth caused their heart valves to leak. The jury’s verdict came at the end of phase one of a two-phase trial. The second phase, to determine whether Wyeth is liable for the damages, has been postponed until July 25. The jury awarded $100 million in potential compensatory damages to each plaintiff. Wyeth, once known as American Home Products, used to market Pondimin and Redux before withdrawing the diet-drug compound from the market in 1997 after medical studies reported that it could cause heart trouble. -alm INVESTOR LAWSUITS Bristol-Myers to settle securities suits for $89M New York (AP)-Drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. has said that it will pay $89 million to settle four lawsuits related to its investment in ImClone Systems Inc. and its Erbitux drug. The suits were brought by plaintiffs who opted out of a class action that was settled in November. Bristol-Myers had previously agreed to pay $150 million to a shareholder fund to settle inventory manipulation charges and $300 million to settle the class action that alleged that the company had lied about its ImClone investment. NEGLIGENCE ConocoPhillips settles chemical-releases suit Lake Charles, La. (AP)-A Louisiana state judge has approved a $64.5 million settlement that will benefit an estimated 20,000 people who said they suffered ill health because of chemical releases from ConocoPhillips’ Westlake, La., refinery. About 700 other plaintiffs opted out of the class and will proceed separately.

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