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• BREACH OF CONTRACT $10M awarded to man told he would run casino DES MOINES, IOWA (AP) � An Iowa state jury has awarded $10 million to a businessman who claimed the Wild Rose Casino and its owner backed out of an agreement to let him manage the casino. Jurors found in favor of John Pavone and his casino management company, Signature Management Group. Pavone claimed he entered into a contract with Gerald Kirke and Wild Rose Entertainment to manage the Wild Rose Casino. • CONSUMER PROTECTION N.J. high court rejects Vioxx class action TRENTON, N.J. (AP) � The New Jersey Supreme Court has rejected a class action against Merck & Co. over its withdrawn painkiller Vioxx. The lawsuit had been brought by a union health plan on behalf of all insurance plans that paid for prescriptions for the withdrawn painkiller � roughly 80% of all Vioxx sold. The high court said that a nationwide class action is not the best way to handle the cases because while Merck ran a uniform marketing campaign for Vioxx, insurance plans made individual decisions about covering the drug. Also, the court said, unions and other third-party payers have “considerable resources,” and it was unlikely their claims were too small to pursue individually. Insurer to pay $12M to settle wrong fees probe ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) � UnitedHealth Group Inc. has settled complaints about its past claims practices, agreeing to pay $12 million in fines to 36 states and the District of Columbia. A joint investigation by state insurance officials found that the Minnetonka, Minn.-based insurer often applied incorrect fee schedules and deductibles, didn’t promptly pay claims, and was generally unable to correct problems pointed out by regulators. • FRAUD Penny stock promoters plead guilty, return $3M WASHINGTON (AP) � Two Arizona-based stock promoters pleaded guilty to securities fraud charges and agreed to be barred from penny-stock deals under a related settlement of a civil lawsuit under a settlement announced by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Authorities charged that Michael Saquella, 47, and Lawrence Kaplan, 63, dumped millions of shares of penny-stock companies onto investors after artificially inflating the price of the stocks. Altogether, the two men reaped nearly $3 million from the alleged “pump and dump” scheme, which they agreed to return as part of the SEC settlement. • INTENTIONAL TORTS County to pay $7.5M to settle strip search suit MOUNT LAUREL, NJ. (AP) � Camden County, N.J., has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a lawsuit with people illegally strip searched at the county jail between 2003 and 2005. As many as 20,000 people may have been improperly searched and could be eligible for the money. The plaintiffs alleged that it was the policy of the jail for about two years to strip search everyone awaiting trial, even if there was no reason to think the suspects were hiding contraband. County jail officials stopped routine strip searches in 2005. • MEDICAL MALPRACTICE $13.5M award over baby born with cerebral palsy DES MOINES, IOWA (AP) � An Iowa state jury has awarded $13.5 million to a woman whose child was born with cerebral palsy. Debra Gardner sued Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines and two of its doctors, alleging negligence. Her pregnancy was allowed to continue for 42 weeks, two weeks past her due date. Her son Nathaniel was delivered by Caesarean section in 2002; he was born with a severe brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen. Gardner’s attorneys said the injuries could have been prevented had hospital and staff followed established standards of care, including consistent fetal heart monitoring. • PREMISES LIABILITY Hotel settles lawsuit over teen’s drowning for $3.1M SCHILLER PARK, ILL. (AP) � A suburban Chicago mother has reached a $3.1 million settlement with the hotel where her 14-year-old son drowned in 2003. Roseanne Moten alleged that staff at Four Points by Sheraton Chicago O’Hare Airport didn’t keep the pool clean. She claimed the water was so murky that rescuers couldn’t locate her son, Damarco Alexander, once he sank under water. • SEXUAL ASSAULT State agency pays $2.5M to patient raped by nurse OLYMPIA, WASH. (AP) � A $2.5 million settlement has been reached in the case of a patient raped by a nurse at Eastern State Hospital at Medical Lake, Wash. Guy M. Johnston was convicted for the June 2004 rape of the disabled Spokane, Wash., woman, and is in prison. The money will be paid by the state Department of Social and Health Services, which governs Eastern State Hospital through its Mental Health Division. • TORTS Rock band-ignited fire suit settles for $13.5M PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) � Several defendants who were sued by relatives of the 100 people killed in a 2003 nightclub fire have tentatively agreed to a $13.5 million settlement. The lawsuits stem from the Feb. 20, 2003, fire at the Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I. The fire began when pyrotechnics for the rock band Great White ignited flammable sound-absorbing foam around the stage and the club’s walls.

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