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AIR POLLUTION Boeing pays $30M to settle cancer allegations El Segundo, Calif. (AP)-Boeing Co. has agreed to pay $30 million to settle a lawsuit by residents who alleged that pollutants from a company lab caused them to get cancer. The settlement, agreed to in September but not immediately disclosed, ends an eight-year dispute with neighbors of Boeing’s Santa Susana Field Laboratory. The plaintiffs said dozens of years of nuclear and rocket engine testing at the 2,668-acre hilltop lab near Simi Valley was responsible for a wide range of cancers, autoimmune disorders and tumors afflicting nearby residents. CLASS ACTION Electric utility, Oregon residents settle tax case Portland, Ore. (AP)-Portland General Electric (PGE) has settled a class action over a tax on Multnomah County residents that will refund $10 million to current and former customers-an average of $14 for each residential customer. Attorneys argued that PGE shouldn’t have charged customers for the tax because only a small amount of more than $7 million collected was paid to Multnomah County. PGE sent its estimated tax payments to bankrupt Enron, which purchased the utility in 1997. Enron used the tax laws to offset PGE’s gains with losses from other ventures. In most of the years Enron owned PGE, it was able to reduce its federal, state and local taxes to zero. In November, PGE agreed to drop the charge, and issue refunds. But the amount remained in dispute. Hospital operator settles lawsuit for $215 million New York (AP)-For-profit hospital operator Tenet Healthcare Corp. has agreed to settle federal securities class actions against the company for $215 million. Tenet said its insurance for directors and officers is expected to cover about $75 million of the settlement. The remaining $140 million will be logged as a charge in the fourth quarter ended on Dec. 31. Two former senior executives will contribute $1.5 million of their personal funds to the settlement. FRAUD AmeriDebt founder, FTC settle hidden-fees suit Greenbelt, MD. (AP)-The founder of the credit counseling firm AmeriDebt Inc. has agreed to pay $35 million to settle suits filed by regulators and former customers over $172 million in allegedly hidden fees the company collected from financially strapped debtors. AmeriDebt promised to help customers lower their monthly payments by consolidating their loans and helping customers get lower interest rates. The Federal Trade Commission alleged that the first payment customers made, often several hundred dollars that they believed would go toward paying down their debt, was instead classified by AmeriDebt as a “contribution” that went to the firm. Customers were also pushed to make monthly contributions to AmeriDebt. REGULATORY ACTION Ex-broker pays $153M to settle mutual fund case Las Vegas (AP)-A former Las Vegas securities broker has agreed to pay $153 million to settle charges alleging that he defrauded mutual fund investors through improper late trading and market timing. Under the terms of the settlement, Daniel G. Calugar will relinquish $103 million in ill-gotten gains and pay a civil penalty of $50 million. The Securities and Exchange Commission complaint accused Calugar and his former trader-broker, Security Brokerage Inc., of using late trading and market timing schemes to bank $175 million from 2001 to 2003. Calugar routinely traded mutual funds one or two hours after market closing without any legitimate reason. The funds were largely managed by New York-based Alliance Capital Management Holding L.P. and Massachusetts Financial Services, a division of Toronto-based Sun Life Financial Inc. SEX ABUSE Diocese, insurers settle federal case for $45M Burlington, Ky. (AP)-A federal suit reducing the total amount paid out to alleged victims of sexual abuse by a Kentucky Roman Catholic diocese has settled. The settlement means alleged victims of abuse would receive a total of up to $85 million, instead of the $120 million first proposed in the state class action. The federal suit was brought by the Covington Diocese against its insurers. The diocese had originally agreed to pay up to $120 million to abuse victims, saying it would pay $40 million and its insurance companies would pay up to $80 million. It was originally believed that 700 to 800 victims would come forward. Since there were only 361 valid claims, the amount paid by the insurers was cut in half. The diocese sued its self-insurance plan to force it to contribute its share to the settlement fund. The federal settlement calls for Catholic Mutual Insurance to pay $40 million and Fireman’s Fund Insurance to pay $5 million.

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