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BUSINESS TORTS Ex-GC to pay $3M over stock-options backdating Washington (AP)-William F. Sorin, the former general counsel of Comverse Technology Inc., who had pleaded guilty to a scheme to pocket millions by backdating stock options, has agreed to pay some $3 million in fines and restitution to settle civil fraud charges filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC and federal prosecutors charged Sorin and two other former top executives of voice mail software maker Comverse with making stock options more lucrative by backdating their exercise price to a low point in the stock’s value and conspiring to falsify dates on which the company granted the options. In addition, Comverse was said to have awarded thousands of stock options to fictional employees, then transferred the awards to a secret slush fund. NEGLIGENCE Deadly crash at fly-in yields $10.5M verdict Everett, wash. (AP)-A Washington state jury held that Experimental Aircraft Association failed to make adequate emergency provisions at an air show and awarded $10.5 million to the estate of a pilot who was killed when his small plane crashed. Donald Corbitt, a software consultant, died in 1999 when his experimental airplane crashed at Arlington Airport, northeast of Everett, during an annual fly-in. He survived the impact, but was pinned inside the burning wreckage. The jury found that the Northwest Experimental Aircraft Association and the Experimental Aircraft Association of Oshkosh, Wis., sponsors of the annual Arlington Fly-in, hadn’t provided sufficient emergency response and fire protection. PATENTS Genetic analysis firms settle infringement suit Salt Lake City (AP)-Cepheid and Idaho Technology Inc. said that they have settled a dispute over intellectual property covering several rapid polymerase chain reaction methods and instrumentation used in genetic analysis. Under the deal, Cepheid, maker of genetic analysis systems, paid Idaho Technology nearly $3.4 million. The settlement resolves claims by Idaho Technology that Cepheid infringed three of its patents dealing with genetic analysis. SEX ABUSE Diocese to pay $48M to settle molestation claims Spokane, Wash. (AP)-The Spokane Roman Catholic Diocese has agreed to pay at least $48 million to people molested by priests as a part of a deal to emerge from bankruptcy, a federal mediator has announced. SHAREHOLDER SUIT Utility to pay $200M to settle misstatement suits Jackson, Mich. (AP)-Electric and natural gas utility CMS Energy Corp. said that it has reached a preliminary agreement to pay $200 million to settle shareholder class actions related to energy trading at a former Texas unit. The lawsuits claimed that CMS Energy made false and misleading statements about its business and financial conditions by including in its financial statements results from round-trip energy trades carried out by the former unit between 2000 and 2002. CMS Energy has restated financial reports for 2000 and 2001 to cut out all revenue and expenses from the trades, sold the majority of its Texas office trading business, phased out most of its remaining operations and closed the subsidiary’s Texas office. TORTS Insurer’s refusal to pay yields $2.5M jury award Gulfport, Miss. (AP)-A Mississippi federal jury has awarded $2.5 million in punitive damages to a couple who sued State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. for denying their claim after Hurricane Katrina. U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. had ruled that State Farm is liable for $223,292 in damage caused by Hurricane Katrina to the Broussards’ home. He left it to the jury to decide whether to award punitive damages. State Farm and other insurers say that their homeowner policies cover damage from wind but not from water, and that the policies exclude damage that could have been caused by a combination of both, even if hurricane-force winds preceded a storm’s rising water. WHISTLEBLOWER LAW Medical group pays $3M to end overbilling probe Knoxville, Tenn. (AP)-A medical group has agreed to pay $3 million in penalties for overbilling more than 11,000 patients, federal Medicare and state TennCare programs since the 1990s, federal prosecutors have announced. Two former billing employees blew the whistle on East Tennessee Heart Consultants, a group of 42 cardiologists with 20 offices and clinics in the greater Knoxville area, in a sealed lawsuit filed in 2003. Kristi Moore and Valerie Byrd’s allegations prompted the federal probe. Under the settlement, the company must pay $1.7 million in civil penalties and refund $1.2 million to 11,220 patients and to other insurance providers.

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