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December 2, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera and David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - Inc. and other online retailers suffered a legal setback on Cyber Monday as the Supreme Court turned away their challenge to a New York law that requires Internet companies to collect sales taxes. Delivered on one of the year's busiest online shopping days, the court's decision is expected to accelerate the move by states to try to capture the taxes due on online purchases made by their residents. The court's refusal to take up the issue also increases pressure on Congress to settle the long-standing dispute between online and conventional bricks-and-mortar retailers and to enact legislation standardizing online sales tax collection.
November 12, 2013 | By Monte Morin
Severe depression doesn't just affect the mind, it may also attack the body on a cellular level by speeding up the aging process, according to a new study. In a paper published Tuesday in the journal Molecular Psychology, researchers in California and the Netherlands said they found an association between major depressive disorder, or MDD, and accelerated cellular aging.   Specifically, study authors said that after examining the white blood cells of more than 2,400 Dutch study participants, they found that people with clinical depression had shorter telomeres than their healthy peers.
November 5, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- The service sector, a crucial driver of the U.S. economy, expanded more than forecast last month as business activity surged in a sign the partial government shutdown was not a drag on sales, a widely watched index indicates. The Institute of Supply Management said Tuesday that its purchasing managers' index for the service sector rose to 55.4 in October from 54.4 the previous month. Economists had projected just a slight increase to 54.5. Index readings above 50 indicate the sector is growing.
October 25, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
To a big company like Toyota, a $3-million product liability verdict looks like chump change. But you can tell how seriously the automaker takes it by the speed with which it paid off the victorious plaintiff. Jean Bookout of Yukon, Oklahoma, won her verdict on Thursday, and before sunrise Friday the company had settled with her out of court. Why? Because the issue in the state court case was Toyota's thorniest problem, the unexplained acceleration has injured scores of motorists since at least 2002 (according to claims filed in various courts)
October 25, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
Facing the potential of paying millions of dollars in punitive damages after losing an Oklahoma sudden acceleration lawsuit, Toyota Motor Corp. quickly reached a settlement with the plaintiffs. On Thursday, an Oklahoma City jury found that faulty electronic systems in a Camry sedan caused it to accelerate out of control and crash, killing one woman and injuring another. The jury ordered Toyota to pay $1.5 million in compensatory damages to the driver of the vehicle, Jean Bookout, and an additional $1.5 million to the family of Barbara Schwarz, who was killed in the crash.
October 25, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch and Ken Bensinger
Toyota Motor Corp.'s first loss in a sudden acceleration case, in an Oklahoma courtroom this week, could embolden attorneys nationwide who are looking to bring hundreds of similar cases. Worse for the Japanese automaker, the verdict centered on the company's electronics, which have been a focus for plaintiffs seeking to prove safety defects in the company's cars. Toyota on Friday confirmed that it had reached a confidential settlement in the lawsuit, which involved the fatal 2007 crash of a Camry.
October 24, 2013 | Ken Bensinger and Jerry Hirsch
An Oklahoma City jury has found that electronic defects in a Toyota Motor Corp. vehicle caused it to accelerate out of control and crash into a wall, killing a passenger and seriously injuring the driver. The verdict, handed down late Thursday, requires Toyota to pay a total of $3 million in compensatory damages to Jean Bookout and the family of the deceased passenger, Barbara Schwarz. They were the sole occupants of a 2005 Camry that crashed in Eufaula, Okla., in September 2007.
October 2, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
Attorneys wrapped up arguments Wednesday in a $20-million lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corp. that arose from a 2009 wreck that killed an Upland woman. The Los Angeles County Superior Court jury is to decide whether Toyota was negligent by not including a particular safety device on Noriko Uno's 2006 Camry, or whether the crash resulted from her poor driving. Uno's car accelerated unexpectedly, heading the wrong way down a street before hitting a telephone pole and a tree. In the trial, Garo Mardirossian, the attorney for Uno's heirs, contended that design flaws including lack of a brake override system in the Camry led to Uno's death.  However, Vincent Galvin Jr., an auto product liability attorney representing Toyota, argued that an override system would not have prevented the crash that killed Uno. He said the wreck was most likely caused by Uno mistaking the gas pedal for the car's brakes.
September 8, 2013 | By Howard Blume
A fissure has emerged in widespread support for legislation that would speed up the overhaul of the state standardized testing system: L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy has withdrawn his support. Deasy was initially included in pronouncements about the deal as a key backer and as evidence that the plan enjoyed endorsement across the ideological spectrum. The superintendent, for example, has often been at odds with teachers unions, but not on this issue. The legislation would drop the standardized exams used since 1999 and replace them with a computerized system next spring.
September 5, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- The service sector, a backbone of the U.S. economy, unexpectedly expanded last month at its fastest pace in more than five years, the Institute for Supply Management said Thursday. The group's purchasing manager's index jumped to 58.6 in August, up from 56 the previous month. It was the highest reading since ISM began tracking growth in nonmanufacturing industries in January 2008. Economists had projected the index would drop to 55 last month. A reading above 50 indicates the sector is growing.
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