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CONSUMER PROTECTION Cellphone firm to refund Calif. customers $18.5M SAN FRANCISCO (AP) � Cingular Wireless will refund $18.5 million to thousands of former California customers who were penalized for canceling their mobile phone service because they had trouble making and receiving calls. The settlement with the California Public Utilities Commission ends a long battle revolving around Cingular’s treatment of dissatisfied subscribers from January 2000 through April 2002. About 115,000 customers who left Cingular during that time will receive average refund checks of $160 to cover the fees they were charged for prematurely ending their contracts. Regulators said Cingular didn’t give its subscribers an adequate chance to change their minds about a service that was frequently swamped with more calling traffic than it could handle. DEFAMATION P&G awarded $19.25M in Satanism-rumors suit CINCINNATI (AP) � A Utah federal jury has awarded Procter & Gamble Co. $19.25 million in a civil lawsuit filed against four former Amway Corp. distributors accused of spreading false rumors linking the company to Satanism to advance their own business. Cincinnati-based P&G’s suit was one of several the company brought over rumors alleging a link between the company’s logo � a bearded, crescent man-in-moon looking over a field of 13 stars � and Satanism. The company sued under the Lanham Act, which prohibits unfair competition and false advertising. FRAUD $1.58B verdict against Morgan Stanley reversed NEW YORK (AP) � Morgan Stanley Inc. won a reversal of a $1.58 billion verdict handed to billionaire Ron Perelman for misleading him in a deal to sell Coleman Co. to Sunbeam Corp. A Florida intermediate appellate court has ruled that the investment bank was punished unfairly for destroying e-mails involved in the transaction. Perelman, chairman of cosmetics giant Revlon Inc., had accused Morgan Stanley of conspiring with client Sunbeam to mislead him about the company’s financial health. Because of this, he sold camping supplies maker Coleman Co. to Sunbeam in 1998 � months before Sunbeam restated earnings and ahead of its 2001 bankruptcy. The appeals court said that “no legally cognizable damage was shown as a result of the alleged fraud.” Perelman said he would appeal the ruling. Ex-Hollinger boss settles with Sun-Times, SEC CHICAGO (AP) � Three newspaper companies and a top associate of former newspaper publisher Conrad Black agreed to pay more than $63.4 million to the Sun-Times Media Group Inc. to settle legal claims and pay outstanding debt. David Radler, former president of Hollinger International Inc., pleaded guilty in September 2005 to taking part in a scheme to siphon $32 million from Hollinger. He is expected to be a star witness in the racketeering and fraud trial of Black, the former Hollinger chairman. Opening statements were last week. The deal came two days after Radler agreed to pay $28.7 million to settle civil fraud charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The sum consists of a $5 million civil fine and $23.7 million in restitution to shareholders and interest. The SEC charged that, from 1999 through 2003, Black and Radler used a complex series of self-dealing transactions to divert to themselves and others some $85 million of the proceeds from Hollinger’s sales of newspapers. POLLUTION Oil tanker firm settles ocean dumping charges BOSTON (AP) � Twelve whistleblowing crew members were each awarded $437,500 as part of a $37 million settlement involving deliberate ocean pollution from ships. A Massachusetts federal judge agreed to the awards and imposed the sentence in a plea agreement last December between Overseas Shipholding Group Inc., a giant international publicly traded oil tanker company, and federal prosecutors. The company admitted to dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons sludge and waste oil into the ocean and deliberately altering logbooks to conceal the illegal discharge. The violations came to light through the whistleblowers. PRODUCTS LIABILITY Ford gets new trial after $15M award is nixed TULSA, OKLA. (AP) � An Oklahoma federal judge threw out a $15 million jury verdict and ordered a new trial in a lawsuit brought against Ford Motor Co. by a Tulsa couple whose son died in a rollover crash in November 2003. The judge said Ford showed in post-trial motions that “it was prejudiced by plaintiffs’ counsel’s conduct, and the jury’s unprecedented verdict for noneconomic damages supports this conclusion.” Kevin and Veronica Moody’s 18-year-old son, Tyler, died in a 2003 rollover crash. They sued Ford, alleging the Explorer’s roof had “an inadequate roof-crush tolerance,” and that Tyler Moody became trapped in the vehicle with the roof pushing his neck into his chest. A jury found for the Moodys in November 2006 and awarded $15 million. WAGES Restaurant owner settles overtime suit for $7.5M CARLSBAD, CALIF. (AP) � Mexican restaurant operator Rubio’s Restaurants Inc. has said that it will pay $7.5 million to settle a class action related to how the company classified some employees under California state overtime laws.

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