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ATTORNEY FEES Lawyer must pay $13M in partnership dispute Oxford, Miss. (AP)-A federal magistrate has ordered attorney Richard Scruggs and associated law firms to pay $13.5 million to an Ocean Springs, Miss., lawyer in a partnership dispute over legal fees stemming from high-profile asbestos lawsuits. The money represents Alwyn Luckey’s portion of a disputed partnership with Scruggs. The judgment brings to an end a 12-year dispute between Luckey and Scruggs. Luckey claimed Scruggs owed him money from his 25% share of Asbestos Group, a firm created in the late 1980s to deal with asbestos medical claims. Luckey contended that the Asbestos Group was absorbed by Scruggs into another law firm, and that that firm used the money to launch tobacco litigation in Mississippi and Texas. DEFAMATION Jury awards ex-Alabama coach $30 million Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP)-An Alabama state jury awarded $30 million to a former University of Alabama assistant football coach in his defamation lawsuit against a former recruiting analyst. The jurors awarded Ronnie Cottrell $6 million in compensatory damages and $24 million in punitive damages. Cottrell’s suit claimed that the analyst, Tom Culpepper, had defamed him by saying that he stole money from the Shaun Alexander Foundation, that he stole videotapes from the University of Alabama after his dismissal and that he abandoned his first wife and family. MEDICAL MALPRACTICE Parents awarded $15M over infant’s death St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP)-A Florida state jury awarded the parents of a 15-month-old boy who died in April 2002 $15 million, after deciding that a medical misdiagnosis had led to the child’s death. Marek and Kaleesa Rusiecki of St. Petersburg each received compensatory damages for their son Andrew’s funeral costs, as well as $7.5 million each for the loss. Andrew Rusiecki died in April 2002 at All Children’s Hospital. The jurors found emergency room doctor Danuta Jackson-Curtis negligent in Andrew’s death. The doctor diagnosed Andrew’s respiratory distress as acute bronchospasm, when it actually was a result of congestive heart failure brought on by a condition called lymphocytic myocarditis. RACKETEERING Billboard firms cheated out of sites win $14M Kansas City, Mo. (AP)-A federal jury in Kansas City has awarded about $14 million to three small billboard companies who claimed that Viacom Outdoor Inc. cheated them out of premium billboard sites. The three operators-Craig Outdoor Advertising Inc. and Midwest Outdoor Media LLC, both based in Kansas City, and Patriot Outdoors LLC of Bolton, Conn.-claimed that Viacom, the world’s largest billboard company, built its own signs on sites that the smaller firms had identified as being potentially successful and should have been leased to them. The jury found Viacom and two of its executives liable for federal racketeering violations, assessing $990,000 in actual damages and $9.4 million in punitive damages. REGULATORY ACTION Sony BMG to stop payola and pay $10 million New York (AP)-Recording industry giant Sony BMG Music Entertainment has agreed to pay $10 million and stop bribing radio stations to play its musicians. The agreement springs from an investigation by New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who called the practice “pervasive” in the industry and suggested other music industry giants could face similar penalties. The $10 million will be distributed to nonprofits and earmarked for music education programs. SHAREHOLDER SUIT Human-tissue supplier settles suit for $23M Kennesaw, Ga. (AP)-Human-tissue supplier CryoLife Inc. said that it has agreed to settle a shareholder lawsuit for more than $23 million that accused the company of not disclosing enough information to investors before a 2002 government tissue recall. CryoLife, the nation’s largest supplier of living human tissue for implantation, was ordered by the government in August 2002 to stop distributing cadaver tissue. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that the company failed to adopt and follow safety procedures to keep fungus and bacteria from contaminating soft tissue. In December 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA began investigating CryoLife after a Colorado teenager contracted a rare strep infection just days after receiving CryoLife tissue during a knee transplant.

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