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• INVASION OF PRIVACY Marine’s father awarded $11M for disrupted funeral BALTIMORE (AP) � A Baltimore federal jury has awarded nearly $11 million to the father of a marine killed in Iraq. Jurors found that leaders of a fundamentalist church had invaded the family’s privacy and inflicted emotional distress when they picketed the marine’s funeral. The jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. Later, it awarded $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress to the father, Albert Snyder of York, Pa. Snyder sued the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., after its members demonstrated in March at the funeral of his son, Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder. Church members assert that American deaths in Iraq are punishment for tolerating homosexuality. • PERSONAL INJURY $50M award for family injured by drunken driver LAKELAND, FLA. (AP) � A Florida state jury has awarded $50 million to the family of a boy who suffered severe brain damage after a drunken driver hit the family car. The 2004 accident shattered the skull of Mario Ladler II, then 4. Pieces of bone were lodged into his brain, so doctors were forced to remove some of his frontal lobe. Mario has since been institutionalized at the Florida Institute for Neurologic Rehabilitation because he requires constant care and attention. His father, Mario Ladler, suffered head trauma, as well as a ruptured spleen and diaphragm. He has been unable to return to work. The driver of the pickup truck, Michael Yow, has been sentenced to five years in prison. • POLLUTION Okla., mining firm reach Superfund settlement OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) � The state of Oklahoma has reached a tentative settlement with mining company Asarco LLC that would provide nearly $65 million to agencies involved in restoration efforts at the Tar Creek Superfund site. The site was polluted during decades of lead and zinc mining. The area has been plagued by mine collapses, open mine shafts, acid mine water that stains Tar Creek orange and mountains of lead-contaminated waste. • SHAREHOLDER SUIT Pasta maker to settle class action for $25M KANSAS CITY, MO. (AP) � American Italian Pasta Co. has agreed to pay $25 million to settle a class action accusing it of violating securities laws. Several shareholders sued the Kansas City-based pasta maker after it announced in August 2005 that it was beginning an internal investigation into accounting problems. • TORTS Two firms pay to settle R.I. nightclub fire claims PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) � The Home Depot Inc. and insulation maker Polar Industries Inc. of Connecticut have tentatively agreed to pay $5 million to settle claims arising out of The Station nightclub fire in February 2003. The agreement brings to $18.5 million the total settlement money offered so far to the more than 300 people who are suing. The fire began when a rock band’s pyrotechnics ignited flammable soundproofing foam on the club’s walls. Polar Industries was accused of manufacturing insulation that was installed in the drummer’s alcove in the club. Home Depot sold it to a prior club owner. • WORKPLACE SAFETY Uniform supplier fined $3M for plant violations MOBILE, ALA. (AP) � Proposed job-safety fines against uniform supplier Cintas Corp. exceeded $3 million after federal regulators cited the Ohio company with 15 alleged violations at its Mobile plant similar to those at other sites. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration called for $196,000 in fines, in addition to the proposed $2.78 million in penalties against Cintas following the death of a Tulsa, Okla., worker who fell into an industrial dryer. Eleazar Torres Gomez fell into an operating industrial dryer and died while clearing a jam of wet laundry on a conveyor that carries the laundry from the washer into the dryer. • WRONGFUL TERMINATION Engineer wins $5.6M for retaliatory firing SAN FRANCISCO (AP) � A California federal jury has awarded $5.57 million to a former Chevron Corp. engineer from India who alleged she was fired in retaliation for complaining about the racist conduct of a supervisor who is now the oil company’s chief compliance officer. Chevron fired Kiran Pande in 2003.Pande sued Chevron, maintaining that her dismissal was tied to a harassment and discrimination complaint she filed in 2002 against Rex Mitchell. Pande, a U.S. citizen born in India, had alleged that Mitchell made racist remarks about her heritage. The company claimed Pande was unable to find another job in the company’s San Ramon, Calif., headquarters after her previous position was transferred to Houston.

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