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• CLASS ACTIONS Netflix to pay $7M to settle class action A California appeals court has awarded $2 million in attorney fees to Gutride Safier, a San Francisco class action law firm, for its representation of Netflix subscribers suing the online movie rental company for false advertising. California’s 1st District Court of Appeal also affirmed a settlement agreement that provided more than 697,000 class members with one month of free DVD rentals or service upgrades. The settlement also required Netflix Inc. to change its advertising practices. In granting the fee award, the appeals court determined that the lower court properly calculated the attorney fees, which were about 22% of the settlement, which was valued at $7.3 million. The class action alleged that the company’s advertisements of unlimited DVD rentals and one-day delivery for a flat monthly fee were false. The lawsuit asserted that the more quickly customers watched and returned movies, the more slowly Netflix sent the next ones. Electrical company to pay $35M for fire PHILADELPHIA � During jury deliberations, a $35 million settlement was reached over a fire that demolished a Bridgeport, Pa., business center. The case involved more than 100 claimants and 16 defendants. The final defendant, Universal Electrical Service Company of Souderton, Pa., settled after the jury deliberated for five hours, according to attorneys in the case. Much of the Continental Business Center in Bridgeport was destroyed following a May 15, 2001, fire. A class action was brought by 62 business owners, nearby homeowners, business patrons and employees whose properties were destroyed in the fire. The plaintiffs argued that the fire was caused because of an electrical arc from circuit breakers that hadn’t been repaired following flooding of the business center in 1999. • CONTRACTS Jury finds handwritten contract worth $10M NEWARK, N.J. (AP) � It may be just two handwritten pages, but it’s a valid contract worth $10.5 million, according to a verdict from a federal jury. The decision upheld claims of Internet executive Alfred West, who maintained that he had a valid employment pact with IDT Corp., but that the Newark-based telecommunications company failed to uphold its end of the bargain. The dispute stemmed from a meeting West had at IDT offices on Feb. 3, 2001, with IDT founder and Chairman Howard S. Jonas. West had recently been vice chairman of telecom company Viatel Inc., and had requested the meeting to talk about a new business West was starting, according to West’s attorney. It became a recruiting meeting, however, when Jonas suggested that West develop the business within IDT. • ENVIRONMENTAL LAW Copper company to pay $8M to clean up mines HELENA, MONT. (AP) � Asarco LLC has agreed to pay $8.1 million for environmental damages at the Barker Hughesville mine that straddles Montana’s Cascade and Judith Basin counties. The Tucson, Ariz.-based copper company, which is in the midst of a federal bankruptcy reorganization case, will pay the state Department of Environmental Quality $7.1 million and the Environmental Protection Agency $1 million. The money will help clean up portions of the historic site, which has more than 40 inactive mines and waste rock dumps that have caused severe environmental damage. The estimated cost to clean up the entire site is about $43 million. • INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Jury says Clear Channel misused ad patents DALLAS (AP) � A jury awarded $66 million to a company that accused Clear Channel Communications Inc. of misusing patented technology that helps manage advertising revenue. Dallas-based Grantley Patent Holdings Ltd. sued Clear Channel in 2006 in U.S. district court in Lufkin, Texas, claiming a violation of four patents. The jury reached its verdict on April 22. Clear Channel, based in San Antonio, wasn’t licensed to use a system that helps maximize revenue by managing rapidly changing prices for radio ads, the plaintiff’s attorney, Ron Schutz, said. Because the jury found that Clear Channel’s patent infringement was willful, U.S. District Judge Ron Clark can increase the award by up to three times. • REGULATORY ACTION Ex-Fannie Mae officers to pay $31M to settle WASHINGTON (AP) � Former Fannie Mae chief Franklin Raines and two other top executives have agreed to a $31.4 million settlement with the government for their roles in a 2004 accounting scandal. Raines, former Fannie Chief Financial Officer Timothy Howard and former controller Leanne Spencer were accused in a civil lawsuit in December 2006 with manipulating earnings during a six-year period at the company, the largest U.S. financer and guarantor of home mortgages. Raines is relinquishing company stock options, proceeds from stock sales and other benefits. His part of the settlement is worth $24.7 million.

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