OS ANGELES - A utility that owns a well that leaked massive amounts of natural gas and drove 8,000 families from their Los Angeles-area homes pleaded no contest to a criminal charge Tuesday as part of a $4 million settlement with prosecutors.
The deal requires Southern California Gas Co. to adopt a leak-monitoring system at its Aliso Canyon facility that goes beyond federal and state requirements.
The company pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of failing to immediately report the gas leak to state officials when it was discovered Oct. 23. The utility waited three days.
The well wasn't plugged until February. Many residents experienced headaches, nosebleeds and nausea. Scientists called the event the largest known release of climate-changing methane ever in the U.S.
No apology for going after a 91-year-old
NEW YORK - The state pressed on for more than a decade with civil fraud claims against a 91-year-old former chief executive of insurance company American International Group as a warning to younger executives that wrongdoing won't go unpunished, a state attorney told a judge on Tuesday during the trial's opening statements.
Assistant Attorney General David Ellenhorn said former AIG boss Maurice Greenberg was "not your typical 91-year-old" as he explained the state's persistence.
Greenberg is accused of manipulating AIG's records in 2000 and 2001 to hide hundreds of millions of dollars in losses from investors.
Lawyer accused of professional misconduct
The State Bar of Texas accused a Houston personal injury lawyer of professional misconduct for allegedly settling a motorcycle injury claim for $50,000 but telling the client the settlement was only $30,000.
The bar's Commission for Lawyer Discipline is seeking "reprimand, suspension or disbarment" of Javier Marcos Jr." and restitution for the client, according to a request for discipline that the State Bar of Texas filed in Harris County state district court this month.
Carrie Johnson Phaneuf, a Dallas lawyer representing Marcos, said Marcos will file a response denying the allegations. Marcos could not be reached for comment.
Bill to replace Dodd-Frank Act advances
House Republicans advanced legislation to undo Congress's response to the 2008 financial crisis after Democrats forced quick action on the measure that they decried as toxic.
Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling's bill, which he said will spur economic growth and end bank bailouts, will move to the House floor after a 30-26 vote in an acrimonious committee markup on Tuesday. The Financial Choice Act is the Dallas Republican's plan for replacing the 6-year-old Dodd-Frank Act.
Even with committee approval, the legislation isn't expected to get a vote on the House floor. Many Republicans aren't eager to take a position that can be portrayed as giving support to the financial industry, especially in the weeks before a national election.
U.S. tech giants see EU proposal as protectionism
Google may have to pay publishers for their content. Facebook may, too. WhatsApp could have to follow tougher telecom standards.
A new set of rules, expected to be unveiled by European Union officials on Wednesday, is likely to put new pressure on U.S. tech companies.
Europe calls it consumer protection. Silicon Valley calls it protectionism. In some ways, they are both right.
In a decade of sluggish growth, local lawmakers assert that these proposed changes will bring together the region's national economies into a so-called single digital market.
The proposals would force some of the world's largest tech companies to comply with stringent competition, privacy and copyright rules.
In other news
Mexico's state-owned oil company, Pemex, says it has discovered six new oil deposits in the Gulf of Mexico. The deposits were found in two areas: deep waters off the state of Tamaulipas and shallow waters off Veracruz and Tabasco states.
Bayer is proposing an increased offer as it tries to clinch the acquisition of Monsanto to create the world's biggest maker of seeds and pesticides, according to people familiar with the matter. Bayer is willing to raise its offer to about $129 a share, or $56.5 billion, from $127.50 a share.
Teen clothing retailer Aeropostale won court permission this week to sell its assets to buyers led by Simon Property Group and General Growth Properties after the landlords banded together with liquidators to sav