March 9, 2013 in Business

Google settles information probe

From Wire Reports
 

SAN FRANCISCO – Google will pay a $7 million penalty to settle a multistate investigation into the Internet search leader’s collection of emails, passwords and other sensitive information sent over wireless networks several years ago in neighborhoods scattered around the world.

The resolution will close a joint investigation by attorneys general in about 30 states, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person asked not to be identified because the settlement isn’t expected to be announced until early next week.

The $7 million will be shared among all the states, the person said. Google’s revenue this year is expected to surpass $61 billion. At that pace, Google brings in an average of $7 million in revenue per hour.

The case dates to 2010 when Google Inc. revealed that company cars taking street-level photos for its online mapping service also had been vacuuming up personal data transmitted over wireless networks that weren’t protected by passwords.

Hip implant suit yields $8.3 million

LOS ANGELES – A jury on Friday awarded $8.3 million to a former prison guard who accused Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics subsidiary of knowingly marketing a faulty hip implant that was later recalled.

Jurors found that the ASR XL implant was defectively designed and caused metal poisoning and other health problems suffered by Loren Kransky after he underwent surgery in 2007.

However, the panel rejected the 65-year-old’s claim that DePuy failed to adequately warn of the risks associated with the implant, and it didn’t find the company acted with malice, prohibiting Kransky from collecting any punitive damages.

The fraud and negligence suit is the first of nearly 11,000 similar cases, all involving an all-metal ball-and-socket hip joint that was pulled from the market two years ago, to reach trial in the United States. Others like Kransky claim the implants have left them with crippling injuries or in need of other replacement surgeries.

Johnson & Johnson has set aside about $1 billion to cover costs of the recall and lawsuits.

Plaintiff’s attorney Doug Saeltzer said the verdict bodes well for the other cases.

AT&T, union have tentative pact

DALLAS – AT&T Mobility has reached a tentative agreement with a union representing more than 20,000 employees across the country.

The company said Friday that the agreement includes general wage increases in each year of the four-year contract and maintains pensions for all employees, plus retirement savings plans, with no changes. Health care and other benefits are bargained separately.

AT&T’s contract with the Communications Workers of America covers employees across much of the country. It will be submitted to the CWA’s membership for a ratification vote in coming days.

Penney lopping off 2,200 positions

NEW YORK – J.C. Penney Co. confirmed Friday that it’s eliminating an additional 2,200 jobs as the struggling department store chain slashes costs after a year of plunging sales and mounting losses.

According to Joey Thomas, a company spokesman, those being axed work in back-office administration in stores and district offices. He noted that the cuts translate to an average elimination of two positions per store.

The cuts come as Penney lost $4.3 billion in revenue for the year as a strategy launched in early 2012 by CEO Ron Johnson to scale back most sales in favor of everyday prices has failed to resonate with shoppers. The pricing strategy is a key element of Johnson’s bigger plan to reinvent Penney’s business that also includes installing shops filled with hip new brands to replace racks of clothing.

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