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ANTITRUST Credit-card issuers settle foreign currency fees suit NEW YORK (AP)-A New York federal judge has granted preliminary approval to a $336 million settlement of lawsuit over fees charged to cardholders for foreign-currency transactions. The settlement covers consumers who had MasterCard, Visa or Diners Club cards from Feb. 1, 1996, to the preliminary approval date. The consolidated lawsuit had alleged that credit-card issuers had violated federal and state antitrust laws in the fees they charged to make transactions denominated in a foreign currency or with a foreign merchant. Under the settlement, the card issuers will pay $336 million to create a settlement fund to pay monetary claims by eligible cardholders and disclose fees, if they are charged, on billing statements. The settlement was reached in July after years of litigation. BANKRUPTCY British bank pays $144M to settle Enron litigation LONDON (AP)-British bank Barclays PLC said that it has agreed with Enron Corp. to settle litigation over the bankruptcy of the former energy trader. Barclays will pay $144 million in cash to Enron to settle all claims the company asserted against it in the litigation. Enron, meanwhile, will allow Barclays’ claims filed in the bankruptcy that total $310 million. The settlement was agreed to in a New York bankruptcy court. Barclays was one of a group of financial institutions accused of helping Enron create financial structures that hid the company’s true financial condition. MEDICAL MALPRACTICE Mother of boy born with cerebral palsy gets $15M ST. PAUL., MINN. (AP)-A Minnesota state jury has awarded more than $15 million to a Las Vegas woman whose son was born in 2001 with cerebral palsy and other health problems. Jurors decided that Dr. Samuel Donegan of the Aspen Medical Group and staff at United Hospital in St. Paul failed to react to signs that Meshell Davis and her baby, Dhevyn, were in distress during the birth. NEGLIGENCE Oil refinery fire to cost parts maker $387M ROMEOVILLE, ILL. (AP)-An Illinois state jury has awarded $387.4 million to Citgo Petroleum Corp. in a lawsuit stemming from a 2001 fire at a Chicago refinery. The fire occurred when a pipe fitting burst in a crude-oil processing unit at a Citgo refinery in Romeoville. Citgo, a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., filed the lawsuit against parts manufacturer Babcock & Wilcox to recover repair costs and lost profits. An investigation showed that the pipe fitting, which was manufactured by Babcock & Wilcox, was made of the wrong kind of metal. REGULATORY ACTION Insurer pays $55M to end nondisclosure probe NEW YORK (AP)-The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that insurer Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. has agreed to pay a $55 million fine to settle charges that it had failed to tell investors that it used mutual fund assets-and not the company’s own money-to pay brokerage commissions to promote and distribute the funds. Hartford agreed to forfeit $40 million of what the SEC called “ill-gotten gains,” and pay a $15 million penalty. The SEC will distribute the $55 million to the affected Hartford funds. Between 2000 and 2003, Hartford arranged to pay 61 brokers for special marketing and distribution benefits, known as “shelf space,” for the company’s mutual funds and variable annuities, the SEC said. Under the arrangements, three Hartford subsidiaries paid brokers about $51 million using mutual fund assets. But Hartford in its mutual fund prospectuses told investors it used company funds to pay for shelf space. SHAREHOLDER SUIT Software maker settles class action for $24.5M NEW YORK (AP)-Transaction Systems Architects Inc., an online payment software firm, said it has agreed to a $24.5 million class action settlement over the restatement of past financial records. The consolidated class action arose from two suits originally filed in late 2002 in which the plaintiffs had made claims under federal securities laws against the company and some of its executives over the restatement of financials. The settlement is subject to court approval following notices to shareholders of the class, which includes everyone who purchased Transaction’s common stock between Jan. 21, 1999, and Nov. 19, 2002. TORTS $15M for man who lost leg in tractor-trailer crash TUCSON, ARIZ. (AP)-An Arizona federal jury has awarded $15 million to Bruce Austin, who lost his right leg after being hit by an 18-wheeler in 2002. A tractor-trailer rig owned by Little Bear Transport of Utah was traveling on Interstate 10 when it struck several vehicles involved in an earlier fatal crash. The rig then hit Austin, the 58-year-old owner of a tow-truck firm who was in the process of loading up one of the disabled vehicles.

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