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SJC rejects attempt to overturn part of $21 million award in tobacco case

Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg


SJC rejects attempt to overturn part of $21m award in tobacco case

The state Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday rejected Philip Morris USA Inc.’s attempt to overturn part of a $21 million jury award against the tobacco company in 2019. The Suffolk Superior Court jury had awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $11 million in punitive damages to Pamela Laramie and the estate of her late husband, Fred Laramie. Pamela had sued Philip Morris, accusing the company of causing the death of her husband in 2016 by marketing dangerous cigarettes to him roughly five decades ago, getting him addicted. The Lynn resident ended up dying at the age of 59 of lung cancer after smoking the company’s cigarettes for most of his life; the habit started when he was handed a sample pack of Marlboro cigarettes by a salesman. Philip Morris fought the $11 million portion of the jury award, saying punitive damages were precluded by a nationwide tobacco settlement in 1998 in which the state attorney general’s office participated. But the SJC on Wednesday drew an important distinction between the two cases: The “wrong” that Pamela Laramie sought to remedy was the loss she and her daughter suffered from Fred’s death, while the “wrong” that the attorney general sought to address was the state’s increased medical expenses caused by the company’s deceptive marketing practices. The SJC also rejected the company’s argument that it was prejudiced against by erroneous or improper statements during the jury trial. — JON CHESTO



Raytheon to require vaccinations of employees

Raytheon Technologies Corp. will require its roughly 130,000 employees in the United States to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 1, the company said Wednesday. The aerospace and defense giant intends to require the shots as a condition of employment, with some exemptions for those with medical conditions or sincerely held religious beliefs. In a statement, Raytheon said the decision was made “to further protect employees and communities from the risks and uncertainty of COVID-19 and its variants.” The decision makes the Waltham-based maker of missiles, jet engines, and commercial airliner gear one of the sector’s first big contractors to impose a vaccination requirement. It comes as the fast-spreading delta variant has fueled a surge in cases, prompting other big companies such as Delta Air Lines, Microsoft, and Facebook to require shots or face penalties. Raytheon’s announcement comes about a week after President Biden said the Department of Labor would develop a workplace safety rule requiring that companies with at least 100 employees either require vaccination or offer weekly testing. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Cabbage Patch Kids, Battleship among nominees to Toy Hall of Fame

Cabbage Patch Kids, the rosy-cheeked dolls that left store shelves picked clean during the first big holiday toy craze, are up for a spot in the National Toy Hall of Fame, part of a finalist group announced Wednesday that also includes garden-variety sand and the toy fire engine. Also among finalists being considered for a November induction are five competitive games: Battleship, Risk, The Settlers of Catan, Mahjong, and billiards, as well as the piñata, American Girl Dolls, Masters of the Universe, and Fisher-Price Corn Popper. The 2021 finalists were pulled from the thousands of nominations the National Toy Hall of Fame receives each year. Anyone can nominate a toy and a panel of experts, along with input from the public, votes in the three to be inducted. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Canadian Pacific Railway wins battle for Kansas City Southern

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. won a months-long takeover battle for Kansas City Southern after Canadian National Railway Co. declined to increase its offer, claiming a prize that would create the first railroad spanning the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Kansas City Southern terminated its $30 billion agreement with Canadian National and agreed to Canadian Pacific’s $27 billion merger proposal, according to a statement Wednesday. With the combination, Canadian Pacific would become the first railroad to operate in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, where Kansas City Southern gets about half its revenue. The Canadian carrier will enlarge its network by 50 percent to 20,000 miles of track from Vancouver to Veracruz, Mexico. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Factory production barely rose in August

Production at US factories rose less than expected in August as Hurricane Ida compounded an ongoing struggle among manufacturers with shortages of materials and labor. The 0.2 percent increase followed an upwardly revised 1.6 percent gain in July, Federal Reserve data showed Wednesday. Total industrial production, which also includes mining and utility output, rose 0.4 percent in August to finally lift the index above its pre-pandemic level. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Walmart, Ford team up to test driverless deliveries in three cities

Walmart is teaming up with Ford and self-driving startup Argo AI to launch a driverless delivery service in three US cities. Testing will begin in three cities later this year — Miami; Austin, Texas; and Washington, Argo said Wednesday in a statement. Ford is providing Escape hybrids outfitted with Argo’s self-driving technology to deliver groceries and other merchandise in what’s billed as Walmart’s first multicity self-driving service. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



ECB president bemoans continuing gender gap at top of large companies

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said efforts to close the gap between men and women at work aren’t going far enough, with women still vastly outnumbered in senior positions across major institutions and large companies. “When I sit at my Governing Council table and I look around, I see 23 men and one woman in addition to me,” the first ECB female leader told “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations” on Bloomberg Television. The 65-year-old often speaks about diversity issues and has been something of a trailblazer herself, entering French politics after a career as a lawyer and eventually becoming finance minister. She became the first female head of the International Monetary Fund before taking the top post in Frankfurt just before the pandemic struck. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Pepsi pledges to cut plastic use

PepsiCo Inc., one of the biggest producers of plastic bottles, said it would drastically cut its use of the material as part of a new round of sustainability goals. So-called virgin plastic will be reduced by 50 percent by 2030, the company said. During the same period, it will also implement regenerative farming practices across its agricultural footprint of about 7 million acres. By 2040, Pepsi plans to achieve net-zero emissions. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Babbel looks to raise nearly $375m in IPO

Online language learning company Babbel and some of its backers are seeking to raise as much as 316 million euros ($374 million) in a Frankfurt initial public offering. The Berlin-based company is marketing 7.3 million new shares at 24 euros to 28 euros apiece, while some of its existing investors are offering 4 million shares, according to a statement Wednesday. The company would be worth 1.27 billion euros if demand pushes the stock to the top end of the IPO price range. The shares are expected to begin trading on Sept. 24. Babbel will use the proceeds to expand the business after the pandemic drove more users to its platform. Sales grew 18 percent to 83 million euros in the first half of the year. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



London rents fall as residents flee the city during pandemic

London property rental values fell at the sharpest annual pace in more than a decade in August, adding to evidence of a shift away from living in urban areas during the pandemic. The 0.4 percent drop in the price of renting a home in August was the sharpest since 2010, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday. Excluding the capital, rents in the rest of the country climbed 2 percent last month. After 18 months of restrictions to control the coronavirus, consumers are bidding more to buy larger houses with outside space and room for an office. They’re anticipating flexibility to work from home more often will remain long after the pandemic is finished. That’s boosted property prices and rents in far-flung areas such as Northern Ireland and Cornwall and cut them in London. — BLOOMBERG NEWS