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BANKRUPTCY KPMG to pay Norwegian banks $53.6 million Oslo, Norway (AP)-The Norwegian branch of accounting firm KPMG International has said that it will pay $53.6 million in damages to eight banks over one of Norway’s worst bankruptcies. An Oslo district court in June had found KPMG negligent in its auditing of Finance Credit’s books and ordered it to pay $101 million. Finance Credit, a collection agency that bought unpaid debts and then sought to collect the funds plus fees, went bankrupt in 2003 owing about $200 million to the banks. The court said that Finance Credit had exaggerated its assets, leading creditors to believe the company was an acceptable loan risk, and that KPMG should have seen that the group was insolvent in 2000 in its annual review of the company’s books. CLASS ACTION Doctors settle with HMOs for $167 million Miami (AP)-U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno has signed off on an estimated $167 million settlement of a class action by 950,000 doctors against two managed health care companies, Health Net Inc. and Prudential Financial Services. Under the settlement, Health Net will pay $40 million to active and retired doctors. It will also spend an estimated $80 million to improve its processing of doctors’ bill submissions. Prudential will pay $22.2 million to improve managed care and will ensure that other companies follow through on their settlements. Health Net will pay $20 million, and Prudential $5 million, in doctors’ attorney fees. CONSUMER PROTECTION Pill marketers agree to settle claims for $4.5M Brea, Calif. (AP)-Three defendants agreed to give up $4.5 million in cash and assets to settle allegations that they deceptively marketed CortiSlim and CortiStress as, respectively, weight-loss and disease-prevention pills. Under the settlement, Thomas Cheng of Fullerton, Calif., and his Brea-based Pinnacle Marketing Concepts Inc. will pay the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) $700,000 in cash, a $215,000 boat, a $40,000 Ford truck, $450,000 from real estate and $2 million from a charitable foundation and investment partnership funded by CortiSlim profits. Chemist Shawn Talbott a former University of Utah instructor, will pay the FTC $225,000 in cash; $350,000 from a home in Cape Cod, Mass.; $39,000 from the sale of a timeshare property in Hawaii; and $500,000 from property in Ohio. The FTC had alleged that the defendants made false or unsubstantiated claims about the products. FRAUD Ousted investors to pay $7.8M over failed casino Milwaukee (AP)-Ousted investors in Nii-Jii Entertainment have agreed to pay $7.75 million to fellow investors in the casino-development firm to settle a lawsuit over a failed effort to develop an Indian casino in Kenosha, Wis. Nii-Jii was created to develop a casino for the Menominee tribe at the site of the Dairyland Greyhound Park race track, but the proposal was withdrawn in 2001. In the spring of this year, a jury awarded more than $242 million to Nii-Jii and the group of investors. It found that Morgan Murphy Jr., Morgan Murphy III, Robert D. Boyle and the trio’s Chicago law firm had committed securities fraud, mail fraud, embezzlement and racketeering as they concealed the past business links between Murphy Jr. and two people described as having a “notorious and unsavory reputation” for their involvement in an unrelated kickback scheme. MEDICAL MALPRACTICE $5.7M for paralyzed man in suit against hospital Boise, Idaho (AP)-An Idaho state jury has awarded a man $5.7 million in a malpractice lawsuit against an Idaho hospital. Nathan Ogden, 30, whose lower body had been paralyzed by a 2001 skiing accident, sued the hospital after his neck was broken in a gurney accident in 2003, causing him to lose most of his upper body function. The jury found the hospital negligent in the medical care it provided. Ogden, suffering from pneumonia, was taken to St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center in Meridian, Idaho. Once there, the unconscious man was placed on a gurney and wheeled into an X-ray room. A hospital employee sat Ogden up at an angle and didn’t secure him to the gurney before lowering a side rail. Ogden fell out of the gurney, breaking his neck. As a result, Ogden not only lost upper body mobility, but also bladder, bowel and sexual function. SEXUAL HARASSMENT Utility, supervisor must pay meter reader $5M San Antonio (AP)-A Texas state jury found that a former utility meter reader had been sexually harassed by a supervisor and that the company did little to help her, awarding her nearly $5 million. The jury determined that CPS Energy should pay up to $2 million to Yolanda Olivarri. Her former supervisor, Alex Villafranco, was ordered to pay the remaining $3 million for punitive damages. Olivarri charged that Villafranco made unwelcome sexual advances to her. Despite other employees corroborating her claims, the utility said the allegations were unsubstantiated and did nothing to separate Villafranco from Olivarri.

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