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Breach of contract Energy company, utility settle dispute for $520M Atlanta (AP)-An Atlanta-based energy firm, Mirant Corp., has agreed to settle legal disputes over a distribution contract with Potomac Electric and Power Co. Under the proposed settlement Mirant would pay Potomac $520 million in cash and stock. Mirant, which emerged earlier this year after filing for bankruptcy protection in 2003, said it will pay up to 18 million shares of stock to Pepco Holdings Inc., Potomac’s parent company. The settlement would resolve a number of disputes, including a long-term arrangement requiring Mirant to buy electric power from Pepco through 2021. Woman awarded $5M in suit against gynecologist Chicago (AP)-An Illinois state jury has awarded a woman $5 million in a medical malpractice suit she filed against her gynecologist. Dr. Taek Kim was to perform a hysterectomy on the 57-year-old woman, who has requested anonymity. He also said he would do a procedure to treat her for frequent urination at the time of the surgery, according to the woman’s lawyer. But the woman never was tested for the condition for which she was treated and a botched procedure left his client with internal infections and the inability to have sex with her husband. Freedom of speech Victims of retaliation, state troopers get $2M Dover, Del. (AP)-A Delaware federal jury has awarded almost $2 million to three troopers who claimed that they had been subjected to retaliation for speaking out about problems at the now-closed state police firing range in Smyrna, Del. The jury found that the current and former superintendents of the Delaware State Police had violated the constitutional rights of corporals Kurt Price and Wayne Warren and Sergeant Christopher Foraker. Negligence City, landlord settle suit over fire that killed seven Rocky Mount, N.C. (AP)-The city of Rocky Mount and a landlord have reached a $3.25 million settlement with the survivors of seven people who died in a house fire in November 2000. The city will pay $3 million, and landlord Farouk Hamad will pay $250,000. Hamad also agreed to turn over seven pieces of property in Rocky Mount to the families. Six children, aged 4 months to 14 years, and a 49-year-old died in the fire on Nov. 11, 2000. The lawsuit claimed that the house had no working smoke detectors. Also, though the city had ordered Hamad to make repairs to the house to bring it up to code, there was no documentation by city inspectors whether the house was equipped with smoke detectors after the repairs. Regulatory action Media firm, SEC settle false-circulation claims Washington (AP)-Chicago-based media group Tribune Co. has reached a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over charges that it had falsified circulation figures for two of its newspapers in New York. Nine former employees and contractors of the two papers have pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to the alleged scheme. Tribune has set aside $90 million to reimburse advertisers who were overcharged on the basis of the alleged inflated circulation figures. The SEC had accused Tribune of failing to uncover inflated circulation figures at Newsday and Hoy from January 2002 to March 2004 because it lacked adequate internal financial controls. SEC fines 15 brokerages for manipulating auctions New York (AP)-The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has fined Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co. and 13 other Wall Street firms a total of more than $13 million for manipulating auctions of municipal and corporate bonds from January 2003 to June 2004. The SEC said some of the alleged violations in auction-rate securities favored certain customers over others, and some tilted the auctions in favor of issuers over customers. And investors may not have been aware of liquidity and credit risks associated with some securities purchases. Torts Insurer that underpaid claims must pay $13M Tulsa, Okla. (AP)-An Oklahoma state jury has awarded a couple nearly $13 million in a class action after finding that State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. intentionally underpaid claims from families whose homes were damaged by tornadoes seven years ago. The jury awarded Donald and Bridget Watkins $9.9 million in punitive damages and $3 million in actual damages. The couple were among 71 policyholders who sued the insurance company. The lawsuit alleged that the insurance company “engaged in a wrongful scheme to delay, deny or underpay claims…by…engaging the services of Haag Engineering Co. to inspect brick and other structural damage to policyholders’ homes.” State Farm knew that Haag was “predetermined” to dispute losses claimed by policyholders, the lawsuit argued.

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