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HAZARDOUS ACTIVITY Jury tells Chicago to pay $17.5M over fatal crash Chicago (AP)-An Illinois state jury ordered the city of Chicago to pay $17.5 million to the husband of a pregnant woman killed when she was struck by a car being pursued by police. The jury awarded $12.5 million to Yong Huang for the 2003 death of his 25-year-old wife, Qing Chang. The jury awarded him $5 million for the death of his unborn child. Huang had filed a suit against the Chicago Police Department. Chang, a software engineer, was crossing a downtown street on Jan. 2, 2003, when a car being chased by police ran a red light and collided with another vehicle before hitting and killing Chang. The chase had begun about five minutes earlier after police received a call that a wallet had been stolen from a woman at a restaurant. An investigation showed that a police sergeant disregarded an order to stop the chase. MALPRACTICE Neb. law firm must pay $1.6M for malpractice Omaha, Neb. (AP)-One of Nebraska’s largest law firms has been slammed with a $1.6 million judgment for legal malpractice. A Nebraska state jury ordered Omaha’s McGrath North Mullin & Kratz to pay $1.6 million to Richard T. Bellino, a La Vista keno operator. The jury ruled that attorneys James D. Wegner, William F. Hargens and the firm did not fulfill their duties properly to advise Bellino about how to separate from his business partner before opening another business. John R. Douglas, an attorney hired to defend the firm, said he will ask the judge to set aside the verdict. He said his clients are very good lawyers who did not commit malpractice. Bellino’s attorney, David Domina of Omaha, said McGrath North should have advised Bellino to make a clean break with a partner before he bid on a keno contract. Bellino partnered with Robert Anderson in 1989 in La Vista Lottery but later wanted to sever their partnership and open his own business. The attorneys at McGrath North advised him to maintain 50% of his share with La Vista Lottery and open the competing La Vista Keno at the same time. Anderson sued Bellino after La Vista Keno won a contract over La Vista Lottery to provide keno to La Vista. NEGLIGENCE WorldCom bankers pay $651M to insurers, funds New York (AP)-A group of state and local retirement funds and insurance companies recovered $651 million from WorldCom Inc.’s investment banks, auditors and company officers in a settlement disclosed last week. The plaintiffs did not join the class action by thousands of other investors in hopes of gaining a better deal. Last month, a federal judge approved a $6.1 billion settlement, to be paid to approximately 830,000 institutions and individual investors. The $651 million recovery is up to 83% higher than what the funds and insurers would have received if they had remained part of the class action. REGULATORY ACTION Grocery chain settles pharmacy drug case Denver (AP)-The Kroger Co. has said that it will pay $7 million to settle claims that inadequate security and inventory procedures allowed some employees to steal prescription drugs, including narcotics, from its King Soopers grocery store pharmacies in Colorado. Cincinnati-based Kroger, one of the nation’s largest grocery chains, also will implement programs at its pharmacies nationwide to ensure employees are trained in compliance with federal drug-control laws. The federal investigation began after someone was arrested for illegal possession of prescription drugs that were traced to a King Soopers pharmacy. The Drug Enforcement Administration then audited seven King Soopers pharmacies in April, turning up record-keeping and security problems. The stores were primarily in metropolitan Denver. The audits concluded that there were widespread weaknesses in theft-prevention and inventory-control systems used at pharmacies operated by King Soopers and City Market, also owned by Kroger, but no evidence of violations at Kroger stores outside Colorado. Among the missing drugs were narcotics such as OxyContin and morphine derivatives. WRONGFUL DEATH Heinz Kerry settled suits over air crash for $15M Philadelphia (AP)-A lawsuit filed by Teresa Heinz Kerry after her first husband died in a midair collision in 1991 was settled for $15 million, according to newly unsealed court records. Heinz Kerry sued the owners of the airplane on which her husband was traveling, as well as the owners of the helicopter involved in the crash. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, errors in judgment by pilots of both aircraft caused the crash that killed U.S. Senator John H. Heinz, R.-Pa., and six others, including two first-graders on the ground. The lawsuit alleged that the owner of the helicopter, Sun Co. Inc. of Philadelphia; and Lycoming Air Services Inc., the plane’s owner, had failed to train their flight crews properly. The 1997 settlement states that $3 million would go to Heinz Kerry as co-executor of the Heinz estate. The remaining $12 million of the settlement was to be paid to Heinz Kerry and the couple’s three sons.

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