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BREACH OF CONTRACT Rod Stewart must pay $3M over canceled show Las Vegas (AP)-A federal judge has ordered singer Rod Stewart to pay a Las Vegas casino more than $3 million for a canceled show in December 2000. U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks ordered the British performer’s lawyers to pay an additional $153,483 in contempt-of-court sanctions and legal costs for failing to turn over information to lawyers for Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. The judge’s ruling stemmed from a federal jury finding last year that Stewart should not have kept an advance he received for the 2000 New Year’s weekend show that he said he was unable to attend because of throat surgery several months earlier. CLASS ACTION Firm’s employees to get $28M for 401(k) losses Detroit (AP)-CMS Energy Corp. has agreed to pay $28 million to employees who lost money when company stock held in their 401(k) plans plummeted amid an energy trading scandal. The Jackson, Mich.-based electricity and natural gas provider admitted in May 2002 that its energy marketing unit had engaged in bogus energy trades that artificially inflated revenues by $5.3 billion in 2000 and 2001. The “round trip” trades gave the impression that CMS revenue was growing faster than it was, and that likely drove up the stock price. CMS shares closed at $31.75 on May 1, 2001; on March 14, 2003, they reached a low of $3.41. The class action settlement would cover people in the plan from Aug. 3, 2000, through Dec. 27, 2004. CMS employees charged in their suit that the company “knew or should have known that new shares of the company stock were inflated in price and were not a prudent investment for the plan.” FRAUD Google pays $90 million over bogus sales referrals San Francisco (AP)-Google Inc. has agreed to pay up to $90 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that the online search engine leader overcharged thousands of advertisers who paid for bogus sales referrals generated through a ruse known as “click fraud.” The proposed settlement would apply to all advertisers in Google’s network during the past four years. The lawsuit was filed by Lane’s Gifts and Collectibles on behalf of all Google advertisers. Mountain View, Calif.-based Google makes virtually all of its money from text-based advertising links that trigger commissions each time they are clicked on. Advertisers’ sales are boosted by an increased traffic from prospective buyers. Click fraud is the practice of repeated clicking of advertising links without buying anything, the net effect of which is that advertisers end up paying for fruitless Web traffic. The lawsuit alleged that Google had conspired with its advertising partners to conceal the magnitude of click fraud to avoid making refunds. HAZARDOUS WASTE Utility to pay $8.6M to clean up civic center Boston (AP)-The Boston Edison Co. has agreed to pay $8.6 million to clean up hazardous materials at the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The complaint, filed 10 years ago, alleged that for 30 years, a waste-removal and salvage company disposed of Boston Edison’s old electronics equipment there, using the land as a junkyard. The trash included polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which were common in electronic equipment until banned in 1977. INTENTIONAL TORTS Ex-manager must pay Leonard Cohen $9.5M Los Angeles (AP)-A California state court has ordered singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen’s former business manager to pay $9.5 million after she had failed to respond to allegations of stealing from his retirement savings. Seventy-one-year-old Cohen claimed that Kelley Lynch siphoned $5 million from his personal accounts and investments. NEGLIGENCE $3.6M for woman hurt in roller coaster accident Ravenna, Ohio (AP)-An Ohio state jury found Six Flags Inc. negligent, and awarded $3.6 million to a Wisconsin woman who was hurt while riding a roller coaster at a northeast Ohio amusement park. Terry Wang suffered a fractured skull and broken nose in July 2000 when she was hit by something while riding the Villain roller coaster at the former Six Flags Worlds of Adventure in Aurora, Ohio. Doctors removed a piece of her skull to relieve pressure on the brain and removed bits of bone from the brain. Testimony at the trial revealed that employees had warned park officials in May and June 2000 that people were throwing rocks at riders. Rocks were on the ground below the Villain near a walkway. The jury award includes $1.1 million for medical and other expenses and $2.5 million in punitive damages. PATENTS BlackBerry battle ends in $612.5M settlement New York (AP)-Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM), the maker of the BlackBerry e-mail device, said that it has settled its long-running patent dispute with NTP Inc., a small Virginia-based firm, averting a possible court-ordered shutdown of the BlackBerry system and a disruption of wireless service for millions of users. RIM has paid NTP $612.5 million in a “full and final settlement of all claims,” the companies said. [ See story, Page 1.] PRICE-FIXING Gas utility to pay back $100M to customers Chicago (AP)-Peoples Energy Corp. is to issue customer refunds totaling $100 million under a settlement approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission. The gas utility was accused of overcharging customers between 2000 and 2004. In addition to the refund, the utility will stop collection activities on $207 million worth of bad debt accumulated between 2000 and 2005. TAXATION Web cigarette vendor must reveal its patrons New York (AP)-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that the city and Virginia-based eSmokes.com have reached a settlement, according to which the reportedly bankrupt company will provide the names and addresses of New York customers who, from 2000 to 2003, bought cigarettes on the Internet from the company without paying taxes. City lawyers say that New York City loses millions of dollars a year from unpaid taxes on Internet cigarette purchases, and they have gone after the online dealers with a series of lawsuits in recent years. The city Department of Finance said that 12,500 customers will receive letters demanding they pay back cigarette taxes, about $3 per pack, which is expected to add up to $33 million. UNFAIR PRACTICES City, cab drivers settle improper suspension suit New York (AP)-New York City has agreed to settle a class action filed on behalf of hundreds of taxi drivers whose licenses were suspended or revoked as part of a crackdown on drivers who would not pick up passengers because of their race. The drivers were penalized as part of an anti-discrimination effort that began in November 1999 after film star Danny Glover, who is black, filed a complaint with New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission because he was passed by several available taxis. Under the settlement, about 500 drivers each will get $121.50 for each day they were suspended. The suspensions averaged 62 days. About 100 drivers whose licenses were revoked after the suspensions will receive an additional $26,000 each and will be allowed to apply for new licenses. The commission will also refund fines it collected from the drivers. The lawsuit, filed in 2000, claimed that the drivers’ licenses were revoked without due process of the law and that the commission’s taxi court was biased and unconstitutional. A judge ruled in 2002 that the suspension policy was unconstitutional. WAGES AND HOURS Store must pay managers $19.1M in overtime pay Matthews, N.C. (AP)-A federal jury in Tuscaloosa, Ala., has awarded damages of about $19.1 million plus legal fees to Family Dollar Stores Inc. managers, finding that the company should have classified a number of its store managers as hourly employees, entitled to overtime pay, rather than as salaried managers. Family Dollar Stores Inc., the nation’s second-largest dollar store, said that it plans to appeal the verdict. WRONGFUL DEATH Housing authority pays $5.75M to settle fire suit Chicago (AP)-The family of a woman and her baby who died in an apartment fire about five years ago have won a $5.75 million settlement from the Chicago Housing Authority and the private agency that managed the building. Shlonzo Burnett and her 1-year-old son were pulled from the 2001 blaze that started in their South Side apartment at the Harold Ickes Homes but later died from carbon monoxide poisoning. The fire started when two of Burnett’s children started playing with matches, and investigators later found that their fifth-floor apartment did not have a smoke detector. An inspector who worked for a Chicago Housing Authority contractor admitted to lying on a report filled out before the fire that said the apartment had a smoke detector. The authority said that its policy states that each unit must be equipped with a working smoke detector.

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