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BREACH OF CONTRACT Author inflated sales to secure film adaptation LOS ANGELES (AP) � A California state jury has determined that adventure author Clive Cussler, 75, breached his contract and ordered him to pay $5 million to the production company that turned his novel Sahara into a box-office flop. Jurors decided Cussler had breached an “implied covenant of good faith” and inflated book sales when dealing with Crusader Entertainment. However, jurors left it to the judge to decide if Crusader, since renamed Bristol Bay Productions, should pay Cussler about $8 million for the screen rights to a second book. Cussler sued Bristol Bay in 2004, claiming the company had reneged on a contract that gave him approval rights over the film’s screenplay. Crusader countersued, accusing Cussler of duping it into adapting his book into a film based on an inflated number of novels sold. NATIVE AMERICAN LAW Tribes, shellfish growers settle harvest dispute BREMERTON, WASH. (AP) � Commercial shellfish growers won’t have to share their harvest with Puget Sound American Indian tribes under a $33 million treaty rights settlement approved by the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. The federal and state money will be split among 17 tribes who won a 1995 federal court ruling entitling them to a share of shellfish grown on some Washington tidelands. Under the buyout, tribes will give up their harvest rights on certain state and private commercial shellfish beds. The tribes could resume harvesting, however, if the beds are taken out of commercial production. PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY Insurers awarded $39.5M over warehouse fire DAVENPORT, IOWA (AP) � An Illinois state jury has awarded $39.5 million to two insurance companies providing coverage for agriculture machinery maker Deere & Co., in a case stemming from a Caterpillar plant warehouse fire six years ago in Mount Joy, Iowa. Royal Indemnity Co. and Federal Insurance Co. had filed a negligence suit against FM Global, a loss-prevention engineering firm that evaluated the massive warehouse for Deere before it moved in. REGULATORY ACTION Pa., insurer settle charges over deceptive practices WASHINGTON (AP) � Property and casualty insurance company Ace Ltd. said it has reached a $9 million settlement with the state of Pennsylvania for what the state called deceptive business practices. “Ace participated in a scheme with various insurance brokers to falsify quotes in order to easily steer business to preferred insurers, in exchange for the same thing in return,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett said. SHAREHOLDER SUIT Tyco settles accounting fraud suit for $3 billion CONCORD, N.H. (AP) � Tyco International Ltd. has reached a $3 billion agreement to settle shareholder lawsuits in a massive corporate fraud case. Tyco said that it had agreed to set up a $2.975 billion cash fund to pay claims filed by shareholders against the company arising from actions by ex-Chief Executive L. Dennis Kozlowski and other top officers who in 2005 were convicted for grand larceny, conspiracy and securities fraud. The shareholders alleged that the company had misrepresented the value of Tyco, causing losses estimated at $1 billion to $2 billion. Lawyers for the shareholders said the settlement would top $3 billion with interest. WHISTLEBLOWER LAW Firms must pay $102M over bid rigging in Egypt BIRMINGHAM, ALA. (AP)A Washington federal jury has found five Birmingham-based firms liable for bid rigging in a federal construction project in Egypt about 15 years ago. Damages in the whistleblower case are set at $102 million. The companies found guilty were Bill Harbert International Construction Inc.; Harbert Construction Services; Bilhar International Establishment; Harbert Corp.; and Harbert International. The firms were accused of rigging bids for water and sewer systems in Egypt in the late 1980s and 1990s under a U.S. Agency for International Development project stemming from the 1978 Camp David peace accords. The civil suit was filed in 1995 by whistleblower Richard Miller but was kept under seal until a U.S. Department of Justice investigation led to criminal prosecutions. The damages judgment was for $34 million but was tripled under the whistleblower law. WRONGFUL DEATH Accused wife-killer loses $50M suit by default MOUNT CLEMENS, MICH. (AP)A Michigan state judge has granted $50 million to the estate of Tara Grant, whose husband is charged with killing and dismembering her. The judge issued a default judgment in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Tara Grant’s sister, Alicia Standerfer of Chillicothe, Ohio. The suit was never answered by Stephen Grant, who awaits a June 4 preliminary examination on charges of murder and mutilation of a corpse.

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