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BREACH OF CONTRACT Jury orders retailer to pay bondholders $73.5M DALLAS (AP)-A Texas state jury said that Sears Holdings Corp. had violated contracts with institutional bondholders, including JPMorgan Securities and subsidiaries of American International Group Inc., by redeeming bonds after it sold its credit card business. The jury ordered the retailer to pay bondholders about $73.5 million. Sears said it would appeal the verdict. MEDICAL MALPRACTICE $28M award in suit over death after misdiagnosis PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP)-The family of a Newport, R.I., woman who died eight years ago has won a $ 28 million medical malpractice lawsuit. The award stems from the March 1999 death of 34-year-old Mary O’Sullivan, a mother of three who went to Newport Hospital three times in four days with flulike symptoms and ended up dying of complications from streptococcus pneumonia. The family claimed in the lawsuit that Dr. Charles Stengel and Newport Emergency Physicians, a corporation that contracts with Newport Hospital to provide emergency room doctors, were negligent. PRICE-FIXING Memory-chip maker to pay $90M to settle suit ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)-Samsung Electronics Co., the giant memory chip maker, agreed to pay $90 million to settle a lawsuit charging the company and others with price-fixing, said New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. The suit claimed that South Korea-based Samsung and other companies made secret arrangements to raise the prices of dynamic random access memory, or DRAM, chips. The memory chips are the most commonly used product for storing and retrieving information in computers and electronic devices. REGULATORY ACTION Reinsurer pays $15M to settle civil fraud probe WASHINGTON (AP)-Insurance company RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. has agreed to pay a $15 million fine to settle civil securities fraud charges by federal regulators over what they said was a sham transaction designed to burnish its earnings by smoothing their volatility. Bermuda-based RenaissanceRe is a reinsurance company, which sells insurance to primary insurance companies to spread risk. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said RenaissanceRe devised a phony transaction to defer about $26 million in earnings from 2001 into the next two years, creating a “cookie jar” reserve to hold excess profit from a strong year so it could be used to buttress future leaner ones. TORTS Teachers’ pension fund, Time Warner settle suit SACRAMENTO, CALIF. (AP)-California’s huge teacher pension fund has reached a $105 million settlement with Time Warner Inc. and former AOL executives over claims that inflated prices for AOL stock at the height of the Internet bubble cost the pension fund about $135 million. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System claimed in a lawsuit that former top executives and bankers with AOL artificially boosted the value of its stock around the time the Internet company bought Time Warner in 2000. The deal is the second major settlement within weeks for the pension fund. Officials last week revealed a nearly $47 million deal with Qwest Communications Inc. to settle a lawsuit over claims that Qwest’s former executives committed accounting fraud. Oil drilling firms fined $26M in bribery case DALLAS (AP)-Three oil drilling companies, subsidiaries of London-based Vetco International Ltd., have agreed to pay a $26 million fine for bribing Nigerian officials in order to get preferential customs treatment, the U.S. Department of Justice has announced. During a closed hearing in a Houston federal court, the companies-Vetco Gray UK Ltd., Vetco Gray Controls Inc. and Vetco Gray Controls Ltd.-pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. According to court documents, the four subsidiaries paid Nigerian customs officers $2.1 million from September 2002 to at least April 2005 to speed equipment and employees into the country. At least 378 corrupt payments were made to Nigerian officials, authorities said. WRONGFUL DEATH Novelist who killed wife agrees to pay $25M RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)-A novelist and former mayoral candidate convicted of bludgeoning his wife to death has reached a $25 million settlement in the civil lawsuit brought by his stepdaughter. Caitlin Atwater first brought the wrongful death lawsuit in 2002. Following a lengthy trial a year later, a jury convicted Michael Peterson of first-degree murder in the 2001 death of his wife, Kathleen Peterson. The once-wealthy writer is now serving a life sentence. Peterson, author of A Time of War and A Bitter Peace, filed for bankruptcy protection last year.

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