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• CLASS ACTION Railroad to pay $7M to settle derailment claims MINOT, N.D. (AP) � A federal judge has given final approval to a $7 million settlement in a class action arising from a January 2002 derailment and chemical spill on the edge of Minot. The settlement is expected to provide money for thousands of people affected by the Canadian Pacific Railway wreck, which sent a deadly cloud of anhydrous ammonia over the area. One man died trying to escape the fumes. • EMPLOYEE BENEFITS Steel company settles suit over retiree benefits CINCINNATI (AP) � AK Steel Holding Corp. and a group of retirees at the company’s Middletown Works plant have settled a lawsuit over a plan to have retirees contribute to health care premiums, the parties said last week. The pact calls for AK Steel to transfer health care obligations for about 4,600 retirees from its largest mill to a Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association trust, to be managed by the retirees. AK Steel is to fund the trust with a contribution of $468 million, and with three subsequent annual contributions of $65 million each for a total of $663 million. AK Steel said last year that it would start charging retirees a monthly premium for a portion of health care insurance costs. • ENVIRONMENT Power company to pay $4.6B in huge smog suit WASHINGTON (AP) � A big power company accused of spreading smog and acid rain across a dozen states agreed last week to pay at least $4.6 billion to cut chemical emissions in what the government called the nation’s largest environmental settlement. The agreement with American Electric Power Co. ends an eight-year legal battle over reducing smokestack pollution that drifted across Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, chewing away at mountain ranges, bays and national landmarks. AEP, based in Columbus, Ohio, maintains it never violated Clean Air Act rules to curb emissions and had already spent or planned to pay $5.1 billion on equipment to reduce pollution. • PATENTS Vonage to pay Sprint $80M in patent suit NEW YORK (AP) � Internet phone company Vonage Holdings Corp. took a step back from the brink last week, saying it has settled for $80 million a patent suit filed by Sprint Nextel Corp. On Sept. 25, a jury in the U.S. district court in Kansas City, Kan., found that Vonage infringed on six Sprint patents and ordered Vonage to pay $69.5 million in damages. Vonage had earlier said it would appeal. Sprint agreed to license Vonage its portfolio of more than 100 patents on connecting calls between a regular telephone network and a packet-switched network such as the Internet. The $80 million Vonage agreed to pay consists of $35 million for past use of the patents, $40 million for a fully paid future license and $5 million in prepayment for services. Litigation in a separate case continues against Verizon Communications, which has also won a patent suit against Vonage. • PRODUCTS LIABILITY Wyeth hit with $134M verdict in drug lawsuit RENO, NEV. (AP) � A jury levied a $134.5 million judgment against Wyeth in a lawsuit filed by three Nevada women who claimed the company’s hormone replacement drugs caused their breast cancer. It was the largest award to date against the Madison, N.J.-based pharmaceutical company, which faces about 5,300 similar lawsuits across the country in state and federal courts. The panel announced its verdict on Oct. 10 in favor of Jeraldine Scofield, 75, of Fallon; Arlene Rowatt, 67, of Incline Village; and Pamela Forrester, 64, of Yerington. The jury said the company concealed a material fact about the safety of the product, and acted with “malice or fraud.” Jurors were scheduled to return to decide whether Wyeth should pay punitive damages. • SEX DISCRIMINATION Morgan Stanley gender bias settlement gets nod WASHINGTON (AP) � A federal judge last week approved a $46 million settlement of a class action filed by a group of women alleging gender discrimination by their employer, Morgan Stanley. The settlement was reached in April and received preliminary approval from U.S. District Court Judge Richard Roberts in July. Roberts will formally approve the settlement Oct. 24 after individual members of the lawsuit have been notified, said James Wiggins, a spokesman for Morgan Stanley. Six women sued the securities firm last year, alleging that female financial advisers and trainees were discriminated against in compensation, promotion, work assignments and other areas. The suit was expanded to cover a class of approximately 3,000 women who worked at Morgan Stanley between Aug. 5, 2003, and June 30, 2007. The $46 million will be split among parties to the lawsuit and to pay attorney fees. Morgan Stanley also will spend about $7.5 million on training and other diversity programs.

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