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February 26. 2013 12:24AM
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Feds to probe Ford vehicles


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it will investigate problems with stalling or surging engines in nearly 725,000 Ford cars and SUVs.


The probe affects Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs and Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans from the 2009 through 2011 model years.


The vehicles can unexpectedly go into “limp home mode” at reduced power, the agency said in documents posted Monday on its website. NHTSA and Ford have received almost 1,500 complaints about the problem. There were three crashes and one injury.


NHTSA began looking into the cars and SUVs after getting a request from the North Carolina Consumers Council last year. Nonprofit safety groups and consumers can petition the agency to investigate vehicle problems.


The cars and SUVs haven’t been recalled, but the investigation could lead to a recall.


125-year-old paper getting new name


The International Herald Tribune, one of the most enduring brands in journalism history, is getting a new name: The International New York Times.


The rebranding of the 125-year-old paper announced Monday comes as The New York Times Co. looks to focus on its flagship brand and expand its presence overseas. The name change will become official later this year.


The newspaper plans to add an unspecified number of columnists and reporters. CEO Mark Thompson said in a statement that a company review led it to believe it had the potential to increase subscribers outside of the U.S.


J&J hit with $3.35 million verdict


A New Jersey jury on Monday awarded $3.35 million to a former nurse who blames Johnson & Johnson’s vaginal mesh implant for years of severe, chronic pain despite 18 unsuccessful repair surgeries.


It’s the first verdict in about 4,000 lawsuits filed against the giant health products maker based in New Brunswick, N.J. At least one plaintiff has won a lawsuit against one of the other 30-plus makers of the once-popular implants, used to lift sagging pelvic organs back into place.


The state Superior Court jury in Atlantic City awarded the compensatory damages to Linda Gross, 47, of Watertown, S.D. Her attorney said pain and other complications caused by the implant forced the former hospital hospice nurse to stop working shortly after her surgery in 2006.


The trial is to begin a second phase today, in which the jury will consider whether to also award punitive damages. Under New Jersey law, punitive damages of up to five times the compensatory damage amount are allowed, according to the woman’s legal team.


Sheri Woodruff, spokeswoman for J&J’s Ethicon Surgical Care subsidiary, noted the jury did not rule against the company on all counts.


The jurors rejected a claim that J&J’s former Prolift vaginal mesh implant was designed defectively. Johnson & Johnson launched Prolift in 2005 and stopped selling it last year amid mounting lawsuits.




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