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• CONSUMER PROTECTION Credit-report firm to pay $3M for identity mix-up ORLANDO, FLA. (AP) � A Florida state jury has ordered consumer-credit reporting agency Equifax Inc. to pay nearly $3 million in the case of a woman who said the company ruined her credit in an identity mix-up. Angela P. Williams said she spent more than a decade trying to get the company to fix the error. The jury decided that Atlanta-based Equifax must pay her $219,000 in actual damages and $2.7 million in punitive damages for negligent violation of federal credit reporting laws. Williams claimed Equifax repeatedly confused her with someone who had a similar name but had debt problems. • EMPLOYER LIABILITY Worker awarded $17M in welding fumes case CLEVELAND (AP) � An Ohio federal jury has awarded $17 million to a welder who claimed he got sick from inhaled fumes. This is a rare victory for welders who say companies that made the welding products gave them little warning about the dangers of inhaling the fumes. Welding companies had won 16 of 17 of such cases. Jurors found that Lincoln Electric Holdings Inc. and four other companies showed negligence by not warning Jeff Tamraz of the toxicity of manganese in their products. • PERSONAL INJURY $103M for man shot, rendered quadriplegic MIAMI � A Florida state jury has found Report Investment Corp., a property ownership firm, liable for the medical expenses and lost earnings of Sami Barrak, a waiter aboard a SeaEscape cruise ship, and awarded him $102.7 million. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Report Investment owns the parking lot adjacent to recently sold Tootsie’s Cabaret, a strip club Barrak visited with a friend. While Barrak sat alone in the driver’s seat of his car, an unidentified man approached Barrak, screamed something at him and shot him in the neck while trying to rob him. The assailant escaped and was never caught. Barrak now lives on a ventilator in Tunisia and is a quadriplegic. He sued Report Investments and Tootsie’s, alleging that the firm had negligently maintained an unsafe environment by not keeping the mall’s parking lot safe at night. • REGULATORY ACTION E.U. fines chemical giants $358M for price-fixing BRUSSELS (AP) � European Union (E.U.) regulators slapped five companies � including E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. and Dow Chemical Co. � with $358 million in fines for fixing the price of a type of rubber used to make everything from shoe soles to condoms. The E.U. said the cartel colluded on market shares and set prices for chloroprene rubber. Chloroprene rubber is a synthetic rubber mainly used to make hoses, transmission belts, and as latex used to make diving equipment, condoms and shoe soles. According to the European Commission, the companies held “regular meetings to discuss prices, exchange sensitive commercial information” and to review their “illegal agreements.” • SECURITIES Ex-United Health CEO settles backdating claims MINNEAPOLIS (AP) � Former United Health CEO William McGuire agreed last week to give back hundreds of millions of dollars in stock options tainted in a backdating scandal. McGuire agreed to a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission valued at $468 million, including giving back $320 million in stock options. He had already agreed to reprice some stock options, reducing their value by another $200 million. That and a $7 million civil penalty was enough to get the SEC to settle with him. But the SEC said its probe of the company is continuing, as is a review by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. • SEX ABUSE Iowa diocese reaches $37M deal with victims DES MOINES, IOWA (AP) � The Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport, Iowa, has agreed to pay $37 million to more than 150 sex abuse victims under a settlement that requires the bishop to apologize personally to any accusers or relatives who ask. The deal will address the claims of 156 victims of sex abuse who have come forward. The agreement completes a necessary step for the Davenport diocese, which filed for bankruptcy last year. • WRONGFUL DEATH Trucking firm must pay $36.5M over fatal crash PHOENIX (AP) � An Arizona state jury determined that Swift Transportation Co. must pay $36.5 million to the family of a man killed in an April 2004 traffic accident. Kevin Jones, the driver of a Swift rig, was going 65 mph, drove across three sets of rumble strips designed to warn of an approaching stop sign, ran the stop sign, and crashed into Thomas Steven’s car, killing him. Swift failed to produce driver logs the company was required to keep under federal regulations. The logs may have shed light on whether the Swift driver was fatigued.

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