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• CONTRACTS $48M verdict in dispute over laptop sales BURBANK, CALIF. (AP) � A Los Angeles jury has awarded two Taiwanese companies $46.7 million in a lawsuit over a contract to sell laptops to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Plaintiffs BHE Group Inc. and GBM International Inc., two subsidiaries of the Taiwanese athletic footwear manufacturer Pou Chen, won the April 11 verdict, said lawyer Skip Miller. The two companies sued MTS Products and its chairman, Ben Hsia, both of Los Angeles, for breach of contract over a joint venture to import laptops and other electronics to the United States for sale at Wal-Mart stores. Hsia countersued, alleging that Pou Chen was overcharging and dumping outdated products. “The deal went south fast because they sold us inferior products,” said Stephen Bost, an attorney for Hsiu and MTS. When the dispute arose between the American company and the Taiwanese suppliers, Hsia began withholding funds until the sides could come to an agreement, said Bost. The verdict included $28.4 million in actual damages, which Bost said equals the amount that MTS withheld when the deal soured, plus $9.7 million in lost profits and $8.5 million in interest. The jury also awarded Hsia $1.75 million in lost earnings and $9.5 million in lost profits. • CRIMINAL LAW Ex-Newark mayor is convicted of corruption NEWARK, N.J. (AP) � Former Mayor Sharpe James and his ex-mistress were convicted April 16 on corruption charges centered on her cut-rate purchase of city land. The verdicts were a stunning rebuke to James, who was mayor of New Jersey’s largest city for 20 years until 2006 and took credit for redevelopment that included a sports arena that opened in the fall. James was convicted on all five charges he faced, including fraud and conspiracy. His former girlfriend, Tamika Riley, was convicted on those charges and the eight others she faced, including evading taxes and cheating to obtain subsidized housing assistance for herself. Both remain free on bail pending sentencing, which was set for July 29. Their lawyers said they planned appeals. • PERSONAL INJURY Drowned boy’s parents to receive $2M settlement SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. (AP) � The parents of a teenager who suffered an epileptic seizure and drowned in a pool while attending a Santa Barbara-run camp for the disabled are getting $2 million from the city. The City Council approved the settlement April 15 in closed session. The parents of 14-year-old Katie Janeway filed a $200 million wrongful death lawsuit blaming city negligence for the girl’s July 25, 2002, death. A settlement was reached on April 11 and the judge issued a gag order preventing release of any details. Trial was scheduled to begin last week. • POLICE BRUTALITY Jury finds police liable in beating of partygoers BELL GARDENS, CALIF. (AP) � Two men who said they were beaten by police officers at a Halloween party have won a $4.5 million civil verdict against the Bell Gardens Police Department, an attorney for the men said on April 14. On Oct. 30, 2005, police arrived at the costume party after receiving a loud music complaint. As they shut the party down, Gerardo Cazares, 30, and Manuel Moreno, 46, were punched, kicked, beaten with batons and shot with a beanbag round from a shotgun, attorney Glen Jonas said. Both men were arrested and charged with obstructing a police officer; Moreno also was charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer. After they were acquitted of the charges at trial, Moreno and Cazares sued the city’s police department and five of its officers for malicious prosecution and excessive force, as well as other courses of action, Jonas said. In the April 14 verdict, which followed a three-week civil trial, a jury found four of the five officers liable for excessive force and all of them liable for malicious prosecution, Jonas said. • PRODUCTS LIABILITY Ford Explorer rollover settlement is approved SACRAMENTO, CALIF. (AP) � A California judge on April 15 approved the settlement of a class action that will compensate about 800,000 Ford Explorer owners whose vehicles lost value because of a perceived rollover danger. The settlement ends lawsuits against Ford Motor Co. in California, Connecticut, Illinois and Texas. Those lawsuits claimed that Explorers lost about $1,000 in resale value because of publicity stemming from a series of rollover accidents involving the SUV. The class action over the loss in value is separate from the numerous death and personal injury lawsuits involving earlier models of the Explorer that continue across the country. Under the settlement, those who bought Explorers in model years 1991 through 2001 are eligible for $500 vouchers to buy new Explorers or $300 vouchers to buy other Ford or Lincoln Mercury vehicles. Consumer groups and some plaintiffs objected to the settlement, saying that few owners will be able to take advantage of the vouchers.

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