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Corporations and securities brief ~ Regulators approve US Air, America West merger

[JURIST] Leading Friday's corporations and securities news, airline regulators have approved America West's merger with bankrupt US Airways. In a joint press release, the airlines announced that the Air Transportation Stabilization Board [official website] (ATSB) approved of the merger unanimously. The companies also said that the ATSB voted to allow the airlines to consolidate their combined $1 billion in debt, but the Executive Director of the ATSB said that the airlines will continue to repay the debt separately [Reuters report]. MarketWatch has more.

In other corporations and securities law news...

  • New York City has sued Sprint, T-Mobile, and Nextel for misleading advertising. The lawsuit seeks fines against the cell phone providers for misleading advertising in defiance of New York law. The suit alleges that the companies would make bold promises in large, prominent type but would include caveats in fine print. The city's Department of Consumer Affairs [official website] issued a press release detailing the suit and saying, "You can't promise a great deal in the headline and hide the true costs in the fine print." The city also said that Cingular and Verizon had settled the city's claims against those companies. Reuters has more.

  • California has won a $700 million decision in punitive damages against French holding company Artémis. Artémis, owned by French billionaire François Pinault [Wikipedia profile], was sued for its role in the 1990s sale of Executive Life, a now-defunct insurance company that California's Insurance Commission [official website] took over following the sale. The jury did not find actual damages for the state, which Artémis' lawyers say precludes the rewarding of any punitive damages. The state's attorneys argue that California law allows punitive damages in place of actual damages where the defendant had received "ill-gotten gains" through its acts. Bloomberg has more.

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