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BREACH OF CONTRACT Texas fuel supply dispute settles for $50 million Caracas, Venezuela (AP)-Venezuela’s Citgo Petroleum Corp. agreed to pay Lyondell Chemical Co. $50 million in fuel supplies to settle a dispute and proceed with the sale of their jointly owned Texas refinery, the oil minister said in comments published last week. The two companies announced plans earlier this month to sell their 268,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Houston after settling a 4-year-old lawsuit. Lyondell claimed that Citgo’s parent company, state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., or PDVSA, had violated a long-term crude supply contract to the plant. CLASS ACTION Freddie Mac pays $410M to settle securities suits McLean, VA. (AP)-Freddie Mac, the federal mortgage lender, said it has reached an agreement in principle to pay $410 million to settle lawsuits related to a $5 billion restatement of earnings for the years 2000 to 2002. The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., or Freddie Mac, said the settlement would close securities class action and shareholder derivative suits without the company having to admit any wrongdoing. The proposal comes after the company agreed earlier in the week to pay a $3.8 million fine to the Federal Election Commission to settle claims it made illegal campaign contributions. H&R Block to pay $39M to settle refund loan suits Kansas City, MO. (AP)-H&R Block Inc. has agreed to settle a long-standing class action over its refund-anticipation loans for $39 million. The Kansas City-based tax preparer said the settlement would cover 1.7 million class members who bought 2 million loans between April 8, 1994, and Dec. 31, 1996. Beneficial National Bank, which provided the loans through H&R Block, would pay half of the settlement, H&R Block said. Roughly $30 million of the settlement would go to the class members. Through anticipation loans, customers due a tax refund can receive most of the money in two or three business days by paying a fee to file the return electronically and a loan processing fee. Plaintiffs claimed that H&R Block’s marketing of the loans was illegal. J.P. Morgan pays $425M to settle IPO lawsuits New York (AP)-J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., the nation’s third-largest bank, has agreed in principle to pay $425 million to settle lawsuits accusing the institution-and dozens of other Wall Street underwriters-of manipulating the market for initial public offerings of stock. The suits allege that JPMorgan Chase and 54 other underwriters induced customers who received allocations of IPOs to place orders for additional shares in the aftermarket, artificially inflating the share prices. HAZARDOUS ACTIVITY $12M pact reached in suit over lobster deaths Farmingdale, N.Y. (AP)-A group of Long Island Sound lobstermen announced that they have settled a suit claiming that a pesticide used in 1999 to prevent an outbreak of West Nile virus may have contributed to a devastating die-off of the popular crustaceans in the waters that separate Long Island and Connecticut. The die-off shook the industry, sending 75% of full-time lobstermen in Long Island Sound out of the trade. According to the terms of the settlement, Cheminova Inc. USA agreed to pay $12.5 million to the lobstermen, subject to a fairness hearing in federal court. MEDICAL MALPRACTICE $28M award for woman after botched surgery Sanford, Fla. (AP)-A Florida state jury has awarded $28 million to a woman who sued her gynecologist for allegedly botching an operation that left her unable to urinate naturally. Jeanette Davis, 42, had alleged that gynecologist Robert Bowles performed a faulty operation on her urethra that was supposed to fix a minor incontinence she suffered from after giving birth to two children. But after Bowles’ operation in 2001, she was unable to urinate naturally and must now catheterize herself twice a day for the rest of her life. The jury said that Bowles and the medical group Physician Associates of Florida owe Davis $3 million for the pain and suffering she has already experienced, plus $25 million for 40 more years of it. PATENTS Software giants to pay $133M over royalty fees Dallas (AP)-A Texas federal jury returned a $133 million verdict against Microsoft Corp. and Autodesk Inc. for infringing on two software patents owned by a Michigan technology company. The lawsuit, filed in 2004 by z4 Technologies Inc., claimed that Microsoft and Autodesk used two z4 patents in their Office and AutoCad software programs without paying royalty fees. Jurors ordered Microsoft to pay $115 million and San Rafael, Calif.-based Autodesk $18 million. One patent covered a method and apparatus for securing software to reduce unauthorized use, while the other involves a method for securing software to decrease software piracy. REGULATORY ACTION Tyco to pay SEC $50M over securities claims Trenton, N.J. (AP)-Tyco International Ltd. will pay the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a $50 million civil penalty to settle allegations the manufacturing conglomerate’s prior management violated securities laws, cooked the books and overstated financial results by at least $1 billion. Under the proposed settlement, the SEC’s Enforcement Division will decide how to distribute the $50 million to harmed investors.

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