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ANTITRUST South Korean agency fines Microsoft $32M Gwacheon, South Korea (AP)-The Korea Fair Trade Commission, South Korea’s antitrust watchdog, fined Microsoft Corp. $32 million for alleged unfair business practices and ordered it to take corrective measures such as separating certain software from Windows and selling the software of competitors along with it. The commission ordered Microsoft to offer two versions of Windows in South Korea within 180 days. One version must be stripped of the Windows Media Player and Instant Messenger software, while the other version must come with links to Web pages that allow consumers to download competing versions of such software, the commission said. The corrective measures will remain effective for 10 years. BAD FAITH Insurance fraud acquittal results in $8M award Kansas City, Mo. (AP)-State Farm Automobile Insurance Co. has been ordered to pay more than $8 million to a tow truck driver and his sister-in-law who were acquitted of insurance fraud after being accused of faking the theft of a vehicle. A Missouri state judge said that he would award $4.5 million to Jennie Hampton of Olathe, Kan., owner of the Toyota 4Runner reported stolen in 1997, and $4.2 million to Marvin Vail, 33, of Edgerton, Kan. Hampton and Vail sued State Farm Insurance and the National Insurance Crime Bureau, an organization that investigates insurance fraud. After Hampton’s vehicle was found burned in rural Miami County, Kan., in December 1997, State Farm refused to pay her claim, accusing her of lying in claiming that the Toyota’s engine was in “excellent” condition before the reported theft. BANKRUPTCY Kmart to pay workers, retirees $11.75M to settle Troy, Mich. (AP)-As many as 150,000 employees and retirees of the former Kmart Corp. would share $11.75 million in a proposed settlement of a lawsuit against ex-company officials over the investment of pension funds in Kmart’s now worthless stock. The agreement involves those who participated in Kmart pensions from March 15, 1999, to March 6, 2003. Court documents say that the people involved lost between $28 million and $300 million. The suit said the company officials invested Kmart pension money in Kmart stock after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Jan. 22, 2002. It said the officials failed to exercise proper care for the pension money. The settlement would be paid from proceeds of a $25 million insurance policy from National Union Fire Insurance Co. LEGAL PROFESSION Torys, Hollinger settle conflict-of-interest claims New York (AP)-Newspaper publisher Hollinger International Inc. has said that it will receive $30.25 million from Toronto-based law firm Torys to settle potential claims. Chicago-based Hollinger, once controlled by former media mogul Conrad Black, is now under the control of new management. The company’s downward spiral began when shareholders raised allegations of improper dealings by executives, which were later investigated by a special committee. Hollinger said that Torys had cooperated with the special committee in its investigations to date, and the settlement agreement calls for the law firm to continue cooperating in ongoing probes and litigation. While Hollinger did not spell out the allegations, a newspaper report last week said that the company alleged that Torys failed to inform the publisher that it was also advising Black’s companies, Ravelston Corp. and holding company Hollinger Inc., during the $3.2 billion sale of Canadian newspapers to CanWest Global Communications Corp. MEDICAL MALPRACTICE Hospital found liable for infant’s early discharge Belleville, Ill. (AP)-An Illinois state jury awarded the family of a disabled boy more than $7 million in its suit against Belleville Memorial Hospital alleging negligent care after his birth at the St. Louis-area hospital. Attorneys for Brandon Bauer’s family said that the boy has cerebral palsy and brain damage. The lawyers say the hospital erred when it discharged Brandon two days after he was born even though his temperature was low and he wasn’t eating well. The $7.1 million award includes damages for pain and suffering and lost earnings and medical expenses. Army reaches settlement over soldier’s injured son Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP)-The U.S. Army has agreed to pay $3.25 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a soldier who said that a son born at an Army hospital suffered severe developmental problems. Danna Braswell gave birth to Corey at Evans Army Community Hospital at Fort Carson, Colo., in September 2002. She said Corey’s umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, cutting off oxygen. In a lawsuit filed last year, she alleged that negligence led to her son’s brain damage and other problems. Braswell said that her son has limited vision and cannot talk, crawl, walk or eat solid foods. REGULATORY ACTION Trio that bought policies from beneficiaries settle Washington (AP)-Three men who formerly oversaw a Florida-based company that bought life insurance policies from beneficiaries have agreed to pay $25 million to settle charges that they cheated about 31,000 investors through the fraudulent sale of $1 billion in viatical settlements from 1994 through 2004. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement with brothers Joel and Leslie Steinger and their friend Peter Lombardi, who controlled Mutual Benefits Corp. Viatical settlements allow terminally ill people to sell their life insurance policies for an immediate payment. The purchaser of the policy becomes the beneficiary of the policy and makes premium payments, receiving the full life insurance benefit when the person dies. The SEC found that the Steingers deceived investors by failing to disclose that purported returns were based upon life-expectancy estimates that were manipulated by Joel Steinger rather than determined independently by doctors. TAXATION Airline to pay Denver $21.6M in back taxes Denver (AP)-Denver city officials said that United Airlines has agreed to pay $21.6 million in back taxes as the airline works to emerge from bankruptcy protection. The settlement with United’s parent, UAL Corp., covers city tax claims from July 2000 to June 2004 and includes applicable penalties and interest. UAL, based in Elk Grove, Ill., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2002. TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE Retailer must pay $20M to instrument maker Dallas (AP)-A Massachusetts federal jury ruled in favor of First Act Inc., a maker of bargain-priced musical instruments, in its lawsuit against retailer Brook Mays Music Co. claiming that its products had been falsely disparaged. The jury awarded First Act $20.7 million. Boston-based First Act sued Brook Mays after the retailer sent a flier to band directors and consumers claiming that First Act and other imported instruments were of poor quality and that repair parts might not be available. First Act called the flier “a calculated smear campaign.” The company said it had a nationwide network of repair technicians. First Act sells instruments through mass retailers. TORTS Sheriff’s office ordered to pay injured man $31M Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP)-A state jury has ordered the Broward County Sheriff’s Office to pay nearly $31 million to a man who suffered massive brain damage after a car crash with a deputy. The jury said Deputy Christopher Thieman was responsible for crashing his patrol car into a vehicle driven by Eric Brody, now 25, the night of March 3, 1998. The crash has left Brody’s motor functions severely impaired and his family must provide him with constant care. WHISTLEBLOWER SUIT Hospital settles Medicare fraud case for $72 million New York (AP)-The Beth Israel Medical Center will pay $72 million to resolve civil charges that it defrauded the government so it could receive more money from the Medicare program. Prosecutors had accused the hospital of forcing the government to pay too much by fraudulently inflating the amount of money it was owed for some of its costs. In a civil complaint filed in a New York federal court, the government had accused the hospital of obtaining inflated reimbursements from Medicare from 1995 through 1999. The allegations first came to the attention of the government when a whistleblower filed a complaint, New York U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia, said in a release. WRONGFUL DEATH 1969 race-riot killing suit settles for $2 million York, PA. (AP)-The children and sisters of a black woman who was killed during race riots in this southern Pennsylvania city 36 years ago will share in a $2 million settlement. The deal settles the suit that Lillie Belle Allen’s family filed against the city and five former police officers, one of whom was more recently the city’s mayor. The wrongful death lawsuit accused former York Mayor Charlie Robertson, who was a police officer at the time of the shooting, and the city of inciting violence and covering up evidence and identities of those involved.

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