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March 31, 2000

* A group of 145 New York hospitals, including Manhattan's famous Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, filed a $3.4-billion lawsuit against major tobacco companies to recoup unreimbursed funds spent on sick smokers. The suit alleges the industry concealed its knowledge that using tobacco products is addictive and can lead to serious illness and death.

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* Low-fare carrier Spirit Airlines filed suit against Northwest Airlines, accusing its larger rival of illegally trying to force it out of Detroit or out of business by undercutting fares, blocking Spirit from using passenger gates at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and asking unreasonable or discriminatory prices for use of the gates, the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press reported. Northwest spokeswoman Andrea Fisher-Newman denied any wrongdoing and said Spirit is not being driven out of business.

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