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ANTITRUST E.U. fines seven firms $491M over bleach cartel Brussels (AP)-European Union regulators have fined seven chemical companies, including FMC Corp. of Philadelphia, a total of $491 million for running a bleach cartel in the 1990s. The European Commission said that nine companies broke E.U. antitrust law from 1994 and 2000 by exchanging commercially important and confidential information, limiting production, allocating market shares as well as fixing target prices for hydrogen peroxide. The paper industry is one of the largest customers for hydrogen peroxide, which it uses as a bleach and a disinfectant. CONSUMER PROTECTION Netflix settles ‘throttling’ class action for $8.95M San Francisco (AP)-A California state judge has approved a class action settlement requiring Netflix Inc. to offer a free month of DVDs to 5.5 million current and former subscribers. The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company estimates the total settlement costs at $8.95 million, but that figure assumes it will pay $2.5 million in attorney fees. The case involves allegations that Netflix had been misleading subscribers about how quickly it delivered movies to them. In 2005, Netflix disclosed that it sometimes delays shipments to frequent renters so it can give higher priority to customers who keep their movies longer. The practice, called “throttling” by its critics, helps boost Netflix’s profits because it charges a flat monthly fee and provides postage-paid envelopes for DVD returns. The system means that Netflix makes more money from infrequent renters and risks losing money on customers who return DVDs quickly so they can get the next movie on their online wish lists. HAZARDOUS ACTIVITY Jury awards $10M to wheelchair-bound boy Charlotte, N.C. (AP)-A North Carolina state jury has awarded $10 million to Nicolas Mora, an 11-year-old boy confined to a wheelchair since a 2004 car wreck. The lawsuit alleged that Nicolas’ aunt Gila Miranda Buzzetta-in whose car he was riding in at the time of the crash-and another motorist, Lisa Anne Thomas-Bowers, drove their cars in a careless and negligent manner by failing to keep a proper lookout and failing to keep their vehicles under control, resulting in the crash. NATIVE AMERICAN LAW Crow tribe, U.S. settle mismanagement suit Billings, Mont. (AP)-The Crow Indian tribe has received $10 million from the U.S. Department of Interior to settle trust accounting claims. The settlement stems from a 2002 lawsuit in which the tribe alleged the government had mismanaged its trust fund accounts from 1972 to 1992. The government settled without admitting liability. Other claims by the tribe have yet to be resolved, including water rights, alleged trespass within the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, claims for land created by the movement of the Bighorn River, and the enforcement of the Crow Allotment Act, said Majel Russell, an attorney for the tribe. PATENTS Lilly to pay $65.2M after infringement suit loss Indianapolis (AP)-A federal jury in Massachusetts has ruled in favor of Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. in its patent-infringement lawsuit targeting Eli Lilly and Co.’s Evista osteoporosis drug and Xigris septic shock drug. The jury awarded Ariad and three co-plaintiffs about $65.2 million, based on U.S. sales of Evista and Xigris between June 2002, when the lawsuit was filed, and February 2006. The award includes a 2.3% royalty on future U.S. sales of Evista and Xigris until the patent expires in 2019. Jurors found that Lilly had infringed on Ariad’s patent, which covers methods of treating human disease by regulating cell-signaling activity known as NF-(kappa)B. The lawsuit was brought by Ariad, based in Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Whitehead Institute, the owners of the patent. PRICE-FIXING Microsoft pays $70M to settle gouging claims San Francisco (AP)-Microsoft Corp. will pay $70 million to thousands of California government agencies in the latest legal settlement spurred by price-gouging allegations against the computer software maker. The proposed settlement covers a wide range of taxpayer-backed agencies-from local school districts to regional transportation systems-that bought Microsoft products dating back to 1995. The proposed payments are similar to a $1.1 billion pool that Microsoft set up for California consumers and businesses in 2004 after settling a lawsuit alleging the software maker had abused its power in the computing industry to inflate prices. Government regulators, customers and business rivals have long insisted that the software maker leveraged its Windows operating system to build an unfair market advantage. WAGES AND HOURS Cruise line, crew settle overtime suit for $6.25M Miami (AP)-Carnival Cruise Lines will pay $6.25 million to thousands of current and former crew members who alleged in federal lawsuits that they were not paid enough overtime. The settlement will mean payouts of between $100 and $150 to nine named lawsuit plaintiffs and other amounts to as many as 39,500 people who worked on Carnival ships since November 2001. Carnival workers alleged that the cruise line failed to pay them for work beyond their regular schedules, which are often 70-hour work weeks. Carnival and other cruise lines typically don’t follow U.S. wage and labor laws because their ships sail under foreign flags.

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