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The Fortnight

In court

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Sep 30, 2007 | From the print edition

abestos negligence:Two Oklahoma state officials were found guilty of negligence by a federal court jury on
August 20, 2007. In 2003, the guilty men, Guy R Hylton, Jr, city manager of the Elk City Community Work Center in Oklahoma, and Chick Arthur
Little, a building superintendent, had used inmates of the Elk centre to remove asbestos from an old railroad depot. City officials had also negligently
released asbestos into the air. Hylton will have to pay US $100,000 as fine and serve one year in prison while Arthur Little will have to pay US
$250,000 as fine and serve five years in prison.

diseased beef: A US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the US department of agriculture (USDA) was
correct in deciding in 2004 that Canada is a country of "minimal risk" regarding mad cow disease. USDA had issued the statement at a time when the
US itself faced a ban on beef exports due to fears of mad cow disease. As a precaution, it had banned imports from other affected countries. But
the Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America, who represent about 18,000 cattle growers, challenged calling Canada a
"minimal-risk" country since many incidents of mad cow disease had been reported from the country.

exxon case: In the long-running case against Exxon Mobil Corp, the plaintiffs filed a petition with the US
Supreme Court on August 28 to restore a US $5 billion punitive fine against Exxon. This follows Exxon's petition to the court a week before asking it
to overturn the US $2.5 billion punitive fine to be paid by it under an order of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had halved a US $5 billion fine
imposed in 1994 by an Anchorage federal district court. An Exxon tanker had spilled oil polluting 2,100 km of the coastline in Anchorage in Alaska,
USA.

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