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INTERNET PRIVACY FTC, Calif. firms settle spyware case for $2M WASHINGTON (AP)-The Federal Trade Commission said that it has reached a $2 million settlement with two California companies and individuals associated with them, over violations of federal laws for placing spyware on consumers’ computers without their knowledge. Enternet Media Inc., Conspy & Co. Inc., Lida Rohbani, Nima Hakimi and Baback Hakimi were permanently prohibited from interfering with consumers’ computer use. The settlement requires the defendants to pay back slightly more than $2 million. According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants’ Web sites caused “installation boxes” to pop up on consumers’ computer screens that offered free music files, cellphone ring tones, photographs and song lyrics. In another scheme, the boxes warned that consumers’ Internet browsers were defective, and offered free upgrades. Consumers who downloaded the supposed upgrades had their computers infected with spyware that could track their Internet activity. MEDICAL MALPRACTICE Woman infected during surgery awarded $10M HUNTINGTON, W.VA. (AP)-A West Virginia woman has won a $10 million verdict against Ruby Memorial Hospital for pain and suffering caused by an infection she contracted during a 1995 knee operation. Allison Riggs was 14 when she underwent a knee operation at the Morgantown, W.Va., hospital. She contracted the infection during the operation and had to undergo seven additional surgeries. Riggs claimed that she had suffered a serratia bacterial infection that became trapped inside her knee during the operation. NEGLIGENCE $3.2M verdict against tour operator over crash LAS VEGAS (AP)-A Nevada state jury has awarded $3.2 million in damages to Ikuko Hatano, whose daughter died in a Grand Canyon helicopter crash that killed six others, including the pilot. Makiko Hatano took a helicopter ride with five other tourists and pilot Takashi Mezaki on Sept. 20, 2003. Authorities said that the helicopter’s blade gouged the wall of the canyon, leading the aircraft to smash to the ground and burst into flames. All seven on board were killed. Hatano’s suit alleged that Mezaki had a history of reckless flying, and that Las Vegas-based tour operator Sundance Helicopters Inc. had failed to fire the pilot for the reckless behavior. PRODUCTS LIABILITY $3.6M award in lawsuit over defective vest suit VISTA, CALIF. (AP)-A California state jury has found two companies involved in the manufacture of a protective vest worn by a police officer when he was murdered liable for failing to warn him of defects. The panel awarded the officer’s widow and son $3.6 million in damages, of which the two companies will have to pay about $2.5 million. The killer was responsible for the rest. Second Chance Body Armor Inc. assembled and marketed the vest and Toyobo Co. Ltd. supplied the Zylon synthetic fibers that were designed to stop the bullets Officer Tony Zeppetella was fatally shot during the 2003 traffic stop in Oceanside, Calif., by Adrian Camacho, a prison parolee. Prosecutors said that he killed the officer because he had drugs in his car and wanted to avoid being returned to prison. Camacho is currently on death row in San Quentin State Prison. Zeppetella’s widow contended that the vest her husband wore was defective and allowed one of 13 bullets fired at him to penetrate his chest. REGULATORY ACTION Morgan Stanley fined $2.9M for rule breaches WASHINGTON (AP)-The National Association of Securities Dealers, a private-sector provider of financial regulatory services, has said that it fined Morgan Stanley $2.9 million for “extensive violations” dealing with reporting obligations, short sales and a slew of other NASD and Securities and Exchange Commission rules. Morgan Stanley’s violations date back to 1999, NASD said. SEX ABUSE Milwaukee Archdiocese settles claims for $16M MILWAUKEE (AP)-The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has agreed to pay more than $16 million to settle sexual abuse claims involving 10 victims in California and two priests, one transferred there by the archdiocese. Nine claims were against Siegfried Widera. The other was against Franklyn Becker, who worked in California and has since left the priesthood, the archdiocese said. The Milwaukee Archdiocese had transferred Widera to California in 1981, knowing that the priest had a history of abuse. He was facing 42 counts of child molestation in the two states when he died in 2003 after leaping from a hotel balcony in Mexico. Differences between California and Wisconsin law allowed the victims in California to sue the archdiocese years after the alleged abuse, while the Wisconsin victims could not. WRONGFUL DEATH U.S. to pay $3.1M to kin of man killed by mobster BOSTON (AP)-A Massachusetts federal judge awarded $3.1 million to the family of a man who was killed by fugitive mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. U.S. District Judge Reginald ruled that the federal government is liable for John McIntyre’s death because his identity was leaked to Bulger by a rogue FBI agent. McIntyre’s family had sued the federal government, alleging that Bulger killed him in 1984 after FBI Agent John Connolly Jr. had disclosed that McIntyre had talked to U.S. Customs agents.

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