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DISABLED RIGHTS Judge OKs settlement to expand state services Lexington, Ky. (AP)-A Kentucky federal judge has finalized a settlement that would provide funds for the disabled. The settlement calls for the state to spend $45 million in services over the next two years and to seek another $182 million in state and federal funds to expand services for the mentally disabled. The settlement stems from a 2002 lawsuit brought by Kentucky Protection and Advocacy, a legal rights advocacy bureau, on behalf of about 2,600 mentally retarded adults who were waiting for home health, therapy and adult day care. MEDICAL MALPRACTICE Jury awards $17M in botched delivery case Morgantown, W.Va. (AP)-A West Virginia state jury has awarded $17 million in damages to a 9-year-old girl whose Pennsylvania family said she was severely brain-damaged at birth because of a botched delivery. The jury ruled in favor of Marissa Pochron in a lawsuit filed by her parents, Mark and Lori Pochron, against Monongalia General Hospital and their obstetrician. Jurors awarded $12 million in economic damages and $5 million in noneconomic damages to Pochron. The lawsuit alleged that the defendants were negligent during labor and delivery. Pochron suffered brain damage in the uterus because of oxygen deprivation caused by failure to perform a timely Caesarean section. As a result, Pochron is a spastic quadriplegic with brain damage in the cortex that limits her ability to think. NEGLIGENCE $5.35M for girl attacked by HIV-positive guardian Philadelphia (AP)-A girl who contracted HIV when she was sexually assaulted by a city-approved caregiver will get up to $5.35 million in civil settlements with the city and agencies that placed the girl, then 8, with a convicted bank robber who had previously been charged with sexually assaulting a stepson. The guardian, John Lyles, was the father of the victim’s older half-sister. The two girls had lived with a foster family for several years in a placement arranged when a new home became needed. Lyles had finished serving time for bank robbery and wanted to regain custody of his daughter. Social workers from three defendant agencies met with Lyles to discuss his criminal record. Lyles allegedly told them he had served time for insurance fraud. Court records would have revealed the bank robbery, the child sexual-assault charge, the cocaine use and HIV-positive status. PRICE-FIXING GlaxoSmithKline, AGs settle Paxil dispute Philadelphia (AP)-GlaxoSmithKline Inc., maker of the anti-depressant Paxil, has agreed to pay $14 million to state drug-purchasing programs to settle allegations that it blocked generic versions of the drug from being made, causing the states to pay higher prices. The states had alleged that GlaxoSmithKline used frivolous patent infringement lawsuits against generic drug makers, triggering automatic extensions of the patent for Paxil. That delayed the introduction of generic versions of the drug, resulting in higher prices both for state drug programs and the general public, according to the attorneys general. REGULATORY ACTION Minn., utility settle fight over winter heat cutoffs St. Paul, Minn. (AP)-Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch and CenterPoint Energy reached a $13.5 million settlement in a dispute over low-income customers who lost heat during the winter of 2004-05. The agreement related to the Minnesota Cold Weather Rule potentially covers as many as 2,500 customers. The rule prevents utilities from cutting off heat during the coldest months of the year. SEX ABUSE Judge awards girl $6M over sexual molestation Chapel Hill, N.C. (AP)-A North Carolina state judge has awarded $6 million in damages to a girl who was molested at the Masonic Home for Children in Oxford, N.C., five years ago when she was 12. James McDaniel-Webb, 49, of Fuquay-Varina, N.C., was told to pay $2 million in compensatory damages and $4 million in punitive damages. He has pleaded guilty to state and federal charges of sexual misconduct and is in prison. The lawsuit contended that McDaniel-Webb took the girl on overnight weekend trips away from the orphanage. TAXATION Steve Jobs sells Apple shares to settle tax bill San Jose, Calif. (AP)-Apple Computer Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs used almost half of his 10 million restricted shares that vested this month to pay for applicable taxes, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. In it, Apple said it withheld more than 4.5 million of the top executive’s restricted shares, worth $295.7 million at $64.66 a share, to meet the tax obligations on the 10 million restricted shares the company gave Jobs in March 2003.

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