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BREACH OF CONTRACT Firm must pay retirees after halting pension pay BUTTE, MONT. (AP)-A Montana state jury has ordered NorthWestern Corp. to pay $4 million in punitive damages to 15 retired Montana Power Co. executives who sued after the company stopped paying their supplemental pensions in 2004. A day earlier the same jury awarded $17.4 million to the retirees for emotional distress and to cover lost pension payments. Retired Montana Power executives sued NorthWestern for cutting off their supplemental pensions, arguing that the loss caused severe emotional and financial stress. When NorthWestern Corp. of South Dakota bought the transmission assets of the Montana Power Co., it also assumed responsibility for hundreds of contracts, including supplemental pensions. Following bankruptcy reorganization, NorthWestern’s board of directors decided to stop paying the pensions. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Surgery device makers settle dispute for $9.6M IRVINE, CALIF. (AP)-IntraLase Corp., which makes lasers used in eye surgery procedures, said Wednesday that it will pay $9.6 million to Escalon Medical Corp. to settle a dispute over a license agreement and royalties. As part of the settlement, IntraLase will get full ownership of all patents and intellectual property formerly licensed from Escalon, and all IntraLase obligations under their license agreement will end. INTENTIONAL TORTS Couple victimized by police officer get $9.5M CHICAGO (AP)An Illinois federal jury has awarded $9.5 million in damages to a couple who claimed they were the victims of a smear and terror campaign after they accused a police officer of corruption. Diane Klipfel and Michael Casali said that Joseph Miedzianowski, now serving a life sentence, smeared them with misconduct allegations and terrified them with threats after they had accused him of corruption in 1992 while working in the Chicago office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Miedzianowski was convicted in April 2001 for masterminding a Chicago-to-Miami cocaine pipeline and supplying guns and ammunition to the street gangs he was supposed to be investigating. NEGLIGENCE Fire victims’ families reach $6.5M settlement COLUMBUS, OHIO (AP)-Family members of 10 people killed in an apartment fire more than two years ago have reached a $6.5 million settlement with several companies involved with the property.Investigators said the fire was intentionally set, and lawsuits challenged the adequacy of security in the apartment complex, which housed many immigrants. Three fires had been set in an empty apartment and a hallway in the same building six weeks before the September 2004 blaze. Seven Mexican immigrants were among those killed in the fire.

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