- - Tuesday, October 11, 2011


3rd jury: Firms liable in hepatitis case

LAS VEGAS — A third Nevada jury has found pharmaceutical companies liable and awarded $14 million to a couple in a lawsuit stemming from a Las Vegas hepatitis C outbreak.

The Clark County District Court jury awarded compensatory damages Monday to Michael Washington and his wife, Josephine Washington, in their case against Teva Parenteral Medicines Inc. and Baxter Healthcare Corp. The jury began considering punitive damages Tuesday.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the verdict was announced at the same time another jury awarded $162.5 million in punitive damages to five plaintiffs in a separate lawsuit against Teva, Baxter and McKesson Corp.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers said the size of vials of the powerful anesthetic propofol led to patient infections during outpatient colonoscopies.

Teva and Baxter also were found liable in a similar case last year.


Fewer flights could cost jobs at American Airlines

DALLAS — Fall and winter service reductions at American Airlines could cost some workers their jobs.

American announced late Monday that it will reduce capacity in the current quarter by about 3 percent. It cited the weak economy, high fuel costs, and more pilots retiring.

Analysts said the move, along with similar recent announcements from United and Delta, showed that airlines were serious about controlling costs. Shares of American parent AMR Corp. led a rally in airline stocks on Tuesday. AMR rose 20 cents, or 7.7 percent, to $2.73 in afternoon trading.

“These capacity adjustments could have a significant impact on operations and, unfortunately, could result in employee reductions companywide,” said spokesman Tim Smith.

Mr. Smith said American was studying whether it could limit the number of furloughs by offering voluntary severance.


Local union rejects Ford Co. contract

DETROIT — A local union outside Detroit has rejected a contract agreement between Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers.

Ford and the UAW reached the tentative agreement on a new four-year contract last week, but workers must vote on it before it can take effect.

UAW Local 900, which represents workers at three plants outside Detroit, says 51.1 percent of its workers voted to reject the agreement. A total of 2,582 workers voted.

Local 900 official Bill Johnson said workers are angry that the contract doesn’t give back some of the things they lost in previous agreements, including cost-of-living raises. He said they are also mad about Ford CEO Alan Mulally’s $26.5 million pay package for 2010.

Locals are voting on the contract through next week. Ford has 41,000 UAW workers.


Judge may toss suit against Mattel

SANTA ANA — A federal judge said he may toss MGA Entertainment’s antitrust lawsuit against Mattel Inc. in the latest spat between the toy makers battling for supremacy in the fashion-doll market.

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter issued a tentative ruling Tuesday arguing the suit is based on the same facts as prior litigation.

Judge Carter said he will likely let MGA refile for any alleged anti-competitive conduct that occurred since August 2010.

The judge said, however, he has been known to change his mind on tentative rulings about 20 percent of the time after oral arguments.

The hearing Tuesday was the latest in a lengthy legal dispute between the companies. In April, a jury that determined Mattel stole MGA’s trade secrets awarded $85 million to the company.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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