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DISABLED RIGHTS California to adapt 270 state parks for $100M San Francisco (AP)-California will remodel 270 parks to settle a class action charging the state park system with inadequate services for disabled visitors. The changes, to be implemented during the next 11 years, could cost the state more than $100 million. The improvements will ensure disabled access to a state park system that serves roughly 80 million visitors a year. GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS PwC settle overbilling allegations for $41.9M Washington (AP)-PricewaterhouseCoopers has agreed to pay $41.9 million to settle claims that it overbilled the federal government for travel over 11 years. The Big Four accounting firm charged many federal agencies the full cost of travel in connection with government contracts even though it received rebates from airlines, hotels, rental car agencies, credit card companies and other businesses. The practice violated government contract regulations. NEGLIGENCE Power plant damaged by fire wins $32.4M verdict Newark, N.J. (AP)-A New Jersey state jury has awarded $32.4 million to the owners of a power plant damaged by a fire while its overhead sprinkler system was shut for maintenance. The fire, on Christmas Day 1992, killed three plant workers. The plant, which was owned by O’Brien Cogeneration Inc. at the time, had extensive smoke damage from 900 gallons of lubricating oil that burned, and required eight months of repairs before it could resume production. Total losses were about $40 million. O’Brien sued Automatic Sprinkler Corp. of America, claiming that it had failed to design a fire suppression system that could independently extinguish such a fire, which happened underneath a platform that held a turbine. NONPERFORMANCE Japanese firm settles bulletproof vests suit Tokyo (AP)-An Oklahoma state judge has given preliminary approval to a $29 million settlement in an Oklahoma class action against a Japanese company over bullet-resistant vests used by police officers. Tokyo-based Toyobo supplied a fiber called Zylon for the vests and the vests were supplied by Second Chance Body Armor of Central Lake, Mich. Other lawsuits are still pending against both Toyobo and Second Chance. PENSIONS U.S. Labor Department settles suit against Enron Washington (AP)-The U.S. Department of Labor has announced a $356 million settlement for Enron employees whose retirement plans vanished when the energy company collapsed in 2001. The department, which sued Enron in 2003 on behalf of the company’s employees, said that the money will come out of proceeds from the sale of Enron’s assets to cover some of the lost retirement and pension plan benefits. The settlement resolves the lawsuit, which alleged that Enron had mismanaged its retirement and pension plans by relying on its stocks to support them. REGULATORY ACTION Shell settles reserves suit for $90 million London (AP)-The Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Cos. has agreed to pay $90 million to settle a U.S. lawsuit related to a writedown of its oil and gas reserves last year. Shell said about $25 million of the class action settlement, brought by employees participating in some retirement savings plans, will be covered by insurance. The Anglo-Dutch oil company shocked investors when it confessed that its oil and gas reserves were around 25% lower than previously stated. The scandal cost the company almost $150 million in fines imposed by U.S. and British regulators and led to the sacking of three senior executives. SEX ABUSE San Francisco Diocese settles suits for $16M San Francisco (AP)-The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco has agreed to pay more than $16 million to settle a dozen lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by a once-popular priest. Attorneys announced the agreements just days before the first of several planned trials was set to begin with plaintiffs alleging they were abused by the late Rev. Joseph Pritchard. The settlement works out to an average of $1.3 million for each plaintiff, though the amount will vary for each individual. SHAREHOLDER SUIT Judge OKs $474 million Dynegy settlement Houston (AP)-A federal judge has given final approval to a $474 million settlement stemming from a shareholder class action alleging that Dynegy Inc. had misled investors about a natural gas deal wrongly used to boost cash flow. The lawsuit was led by the University of California, which claimed that it had lost about $113 million on its investment in Dynegy shares from Nov. 1, 2000, through May 7, 2002. TORTS Colvilles receive $13.5M in Wells Dam settlement Nespelem, Wash. (AP)-The Colville Confederated Tribes have received a $13.5 million settlement payment from the Douglas County Public Utility District as compensation for lands flooded by the utility’s Wells Dam.

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