Law & Regulation
The Supreme Court on Wednesday slashed the $2.5 billion punitive damages award in the Exxon Valdez disaster to $500 million, a decision that could have broader implications for limiting how much courts can order businesses to pay.
With the economy on the ropes, hundreds of thousands of consumers are turning to "debt settlement" companies like Credit Solutions to escape a crushing pile of bills. State attorneys general are being flooded with complaints about settlement companies and other forms of debt relief.
Sending shockwaves through the Swiss financial industry, banking giant UBS is facing accusations from a former senior banker in US courts of massive fraud and corruption. UBS is alleged to have engaged in routine activities aimed at helping its high net worth clients evade hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes, among other matters.
The Bush administration has argued strongly in favor of the doctrine, which holds that the F.D.A. is the only agency with enough expertise to regulate drug makers and that its decisions should not be second-guessed by courts. The Supreme Court is to rule on a case next term that could make pre-emption a legal standard for drug cases. The court already ruled in February that many suits against the makers of medical devices like pacemakers are pre-empted.
A record $450 million fine for fixing rates at which banks lend to each other has been levied on Barclays bank in the UK, shining a light into how banks set - and manipulate - rates at which $360 trillion in international deposits are loaned out every day.
Shareholders have demanded that the CEO of Soco International be fired after handwritten receipts for $42,250 in alleged bribes to Congolese army officials were published by Global Witness. At the time, the UK company was exploring for oil in Virunga, a United Nations World Heritage site in eastern Congo.
Undersecretary of Defense Stephen A. Cambone ordered an internal study of how funding earmarked in a bill by then-Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) led to contracts for MZM Inc. to do work for the Pentagon's new agency: the Counterintelligence Field Activity.
Anger is mounting over a new bonus scheme at Tesco that will reward chief executive Sir Terry Leahy with a Â£11.5m windfall if the supermarket group's US venture Fresh & Easy succeeds.
Canada has launched a dispute at the World Trade Organisation over the use of "trade-distorting" agricultural subsidies by the US. The dispute singles out payments to American corn farmers but also challenges the total level of US agricultural subsidies.