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MEDICAL MALPRACTICE Hospital to pay $8.5M to brain-damaged woman New York (AP)-A New York state court jury has awarded $8.5 million to a former postal worker who was left severely brain damaged after surgery. Karine Aquilino, 37, of Lake Peekskill, N.Y., was semi-comatose for nearly a year after the surgery at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital to insert a shunt to drain fluid from her brain, said her lawyer. The woman now has speech, walking and balance problems. Aquilino alleged that Mount Sinai and its neurosurgeon, Dr. Isabelle Germano, failed to monitor her properly after the shunt surgery. After the surgery, the doctors should have done a CT scan, which would have shown that the shunt was draining too much fluid too quickly and causing the bleeding around her brain. NEGLIGENCE $3.7M award for family injured in trucks’ crash Martinez, Calif. (AP)-A California state jury awarded $3.7 million in damages to a family that suffered injuries during a crash involving vehicles owned by Harris Ranch Beef Co. and FedEx Ground Package System Inc. The jury said that Selma, Calif.-based Harris Ranch should pay 80% of the damages, and that Pittsburgh-based FedEx Ground, the trucking division of shipping giant FedEx Corp., should pay 20%. Gerald Vincent, his wife Corey Vincent, and her 11-year-old son sued FedEx Ground and Harris Ranch for negligence after the 2003 accident. The Harris Ranch tractor-trailer rear-ended the FedEx Ground delivery van, which crossed the double yellow line and hit a Toyota Tacoma before slamming into the Vincents’ 1999 Dodge Durango. Corey Vincent, 42, had to be airlifted to a hospital, where she underwent emergency abdominal surgery for severe internal injuries. The damages included $2.5 million for her “physical pain and mental suffering.” PRODUCTS LIABILITY $2M for family of child killed by lawn mower Roanoke, Va. (AP)-A Virginia state jury has awarded $2 million to a couple whose 4-year-old son died after being run over by a riding lawn mower at his day care center. The jury found the mower’s manufacturer, Cleveland-based MTD Products Corp., liable for the April 2004 death of Justin Simmons. The jury held MTD responsible for not designing a mower that automatically stops its blades whenever it rolls backward. Jurors awarded $1 million to Justin’s parents, and $1 million to his 3-year-old brother, Josh. REGULATORY ACTION Technology firm settles SEC charges, pays $20M Washington (AP)-Technology company Scientific-Atlanta Inc. has agreed to return $20 million to resolve federal regulators’ allegations that it helped now-bankrupt Adelphia Communications Corp. to inflate its earnings improperly by some $43 million in 2000. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced the settlement with Scientific-Atlanta, a cable television technology company that was acquired by Cisco Systems Inc. in February for $6.9 billion. The SEC said that Scientific-Atlanta, a maker of boxes that go on top of cable TV sets, entered into a marketing agreement with Adelphia in 2000 that Adelphia misused to inflate its earnings by around $43 million. Adelphia asked Scientific-Atlanta to increase the price of the boxes it sold to the company and give the amount of the price increase back to Adelphia as marketing support payments. Adelphia used the price increase to inflate its earnings artificially. TORTS $28.2M award for family of drunk driving victim San Antonio (AP)-A Texas state jury awarded $28.2 million to the family of a man who was fatally struck outside his home by a drunken driver. Jurors found Monte James Cooper, 58, liable in the 2004 death of Edward Souza. Cooper had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit when his pickup hit Souza and his wife as they were about to get into their car. The 33-year-old victim was pinned between the two vehicles and dragged to his death. His wife, Aleshia, suffered a broken neck and pelvis. Cooper was sentenced to seven years in prison and 10 years probation. WATER POLLUTION Oil company pays $12M to reverse lake damage Buffalo, N.Y. (AP)-Occidental Chemical Corp. has agreed to pay $12 million to help reverse damage to Lake Ontario from its Niagara Falls, N.Y., manufacturing plant. The agreement settles a 1983 lawsuit by New York state over polluting chemical discharges from the facility and frees Occidental from further claims against the operation. The settlement amount, to be paid over four years, is meant to compensate the state’s residents for warnings against eating fish from the polluted lake, state officials said. Occidental has already taken steps to stop pollution from the plant. The settlement is meant to repair lingering environmental damage, said Judith Enck, an environmental specialist in the New York Attorney General’s Office.

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