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EMPLOYER LIABILITY Methodists to pay $6.7M over sex abuse claim LONG BEACH, CALIF. (AP)-California United Methodists have agreed to settle for $6.7 million a lawsuit brought by three men who alleged that a former associate pastor sexually abused them at a Long Beach church three decades ago, church officials said. Gary Carson-Hull was a youth pastor at Los Altos United Methodist Church at the time the alleged abuse occurred, said church spokesman Grant Hagiya. “We dismissed him and revoked all ministerial privileges after a parent complained in 1979,” Hagiya said. The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in 2003 after the California Legislature reopened the state’s statute of limitations for such cases. The defendants included the church, the California-Pacific Conference based in Pasadena, Calif.; the Walnut Creek United Methodist Church; and the California-Nevada Conference based in West Sacramento, Calif. HAZARDOUS ACTIVITY California jury awards $10M to asbestos victim SAN FRANCISCO-A superior court jury awarded $10.3 million last week in an asbestos case brought by a 60-year-old man allegedly suffering from mesothelioma. Jeffrey Kaiser of San Francisco plaintiffs’ firm Levin Simes Kaiser & Gornick said he thinks it is one of California’s 10 largest compensatory verdicts for asbestos cases in the last 15 years. Even in the best scenario, however, plaintiff George Barnes won’t collect nearly that much. The jury attributed only 15% of the harm to Thorpe Insulation Co., the lone named defendant at trial. By the time Judge Diane Wick makes a final ruling on Thorpe’s liability, Barnes will probably be entitled to about $2.3 million from it, Kaiser said. - ALM MEDICAID Glaxo to pay $70M to settle suits with states Glaxosmithkline plc has agreed to pay more than $41 million in restitution to end claims by more than 40 states that it inflated the prices of drugs used by cancer patients and others. The settlement announced last week with the U.S. Justice Department, National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer will include more than $1.5 million in restitution to New York state’s Medicaid program for cancer drugs and $940,000 in connection with pricing of an antibiotic, Spitzer said. With some state lawsuits still pending, the British company expects eventually to pay a total of $70 million, said its spokeswoman, Mary Anne Rhyne. They include civil actions by the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Montana, Nevada and New York. “GSK has agreed to settle the cases, without admitting wrongdoing, to put this historical matter behind it,” the company said in a statement. In a separate private class action, the drug company agreed to fund a $40 million restitution fund for the poor and needy who use the Medicaid health care system nationwide and New York’s Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage plan, Spitzer said. That suit was settled in federal court in Boston. - AP MEDICAL MALPRACTICE Ohio State to pay $7.3M to settle malpractice suit COLUMBUS, OHIO (AP)-Ohio State University Medical Center will pay $7.3 million in a settlement with the family of a 24-year-old woman whose brain was damaged while in the hospital’s care. The settlement was approved by a Franklin County probate judge last week, when a malpractice trial was scheduled to begin in the Ohio Court of Claims. The medical center treated Kerri Swain three years ago as she recovered from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disorder in which the immune system attacks nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. Swain’s parents, Steve and Karen Swain of suburban Gahanna, Ohio, accused her doctors of ignoring signs of respiratory arrest, which cut off oxygen to her brain. The family received a $2 million settlement last year from a physician who treated the woman. Under the settlement with the medical center, Ohio State will invest in annuities that will pay for Swain’s 24-hour nursing care and other medical expenses. The family had sought $10 million in its lawsuit against the hospital. PRODUCTS LIABILITY Ford to pay $18M over accident in Explorer GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP)-A state court jury awarded $18 million in a lawsuit against Ford Motor Co., saying that the company had a defective speed-control system in a 1995 Ford Explorer that crashed in December 1999, killing one woman and paralyzing another. Sonya Watson, who was 17 at the time of the crash, got $15 million. The jury awarded $3 million to the estate of Patricia Carter, who was killed in the crash on Interstate 385 in Laurens County, S.C. Watson’s attorneys had argued that the SUV “took off” while she was driving down the interstate. The suits also had claimed Ford and TRW Vehicle Safety Systems had installed defective seat belts. TRADEMARKS Bar owner settles suit brought by Red Bull IOWA CITY, IOWA (AP)-The distributor of the energy drink Red Bull has reached a settlement with an Iowa City bar that allegedly advertised cocktails mixed with the drink but used imitation brands instead. Red Bull North America Inc. sued the Sports Column in May, accusing the sports bar of violating federal trademark protections. The company claimed bartenders mixed cocktails with a similar drink, called Roaring Lion, but led customers to believe Red Bull was used. The agreement prohibits the Sports Column from selling or offering to sell drinks mixed with another manufacturer in response to orders for Red Bull. The lawsuit is similar to others filed by the company in courts across the country in an effort to protect the Red Bull label.

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