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Somerville loses court case over eminent domain

Somerville could be on the hook for roughly $28 million after a Superior Court jury ruled against the city in a trial over an eminent domain taking of a property in the Inner Belt area, according to a lawyer for the former landowners.City of Somerville


Somerville loses court case over eminent domain

Somerville could be on the hook for roughly $28 million after a Superior Court jury ruled against the city in a trial over an eminent domain taking of a property in the Inner Belt area, according to a lawyer for the former landowners. The property at issue is a four-acre parcel at 90 Washington St. that the Somerville Redevelopment Authority seized using eminent domain in 2019. More recently, Somerville officials have started seeking a developer that could build a new public safety building for the city as part of a bigger project. The redevelopment authority paid nearly $8.8 million for the property to the parcel owner — Cobble Hill Center LLC, a partnership owned by the Corcoran, Jennison, and Mullins families. But George McLaughlin, a partner at the McLaughlin Brothers law firm, said he successfully argued in a trial in Middlesex Superior Court that the land is worth $35.3 million assuming 200,000 square feet of labs could be built there. The jury, McLaughlin said, ruled in his client’s favor on Monday, agreeing with Cobble Hill’s valuation. The $26.5 million difference between Cobble Hill’s valuation and what the city paid four years ago, plus interest, totals close to $28 million, McLaughlin said. The city has the right to appeal the verdict; a spokeswoman for the city declined to comment on Wednesday. — JON CHESTO



Boston startup gets clearance for retinal monitor

A Boston-based health tech startup has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to market its retinal eye movement monitor. C. Light Technologies’ device, the Retitrack, can now be sold to health care clinics. According to the startup, the device is the first retinal eye movement monitor to be cleared for use in health care for non-invasive clinical assessments. The Retitrack is a tabletop eye movement monitor that records a 10-second retinal video at the photoreceptor level. The data can be used to analyze fixation and eye movements for clinical interpretation. The device will provide clinicians with new insights into an individual’s oculomotor function, compared to existing devices that report on retinal structure alone, CEO and cofounder Christy Sheehy-Bensinger said. “Fixational eye movements have previously eluded clinical quantification, posing a significant challenge to healthcare professionals who are aiming to improve prognostic care,” said Sheehy-Bensinger in a press release. C. Light has raised more than $8 million with funding from Yamaha Motor Ventures and Creative Ventures. The company has also been awarded grants from the National Institute of Health and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. — HANNAH NGUYEN



Holmes to report to prison on May 30

Disgraced Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes will remain free through the Memorial Day weekend before surrendering to authorities on May 30 to begin her more than 11-year prison sentence for defrauding investors in a blood-testing scam. US District Judge Edward Davila set Holmes’ revised prison-reporting date after her lawyers proposed it in a Wednesday filing. It came after a federal appeals court late Tuesday rejected Holmes’ bid to remain out of prison while she attempts to overturn her January 2022 conviction on four felony counts of fraud and conspiracy. The punishment also includes a $452 million restitution bill that Davila ordered Holmes to pay in a separate ruling issued late Tuesday. Holmes’ lawyers asked Davila to approve the May 30 prison reporting time to her two weeks to sort out several issues, including child care for her 1-year-old son William and 3-month-old daughter Invicta. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


The Uber Technologies application on a smartphone arranged in Dobbs Ferry, New York on Feb. 6, 2021.Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg


Uber to start service for teenagers

Uber is expanding its rider base with a new service that lets teenagers hail a trip and ride alone. The teen rides program allows 13- to 17-year-olds to operate their own Uber account after parents add them to a family profile, the company announced on Wednesday. The San Francisco-based company, which has been piloting the program in the United States and Canada for more than a year, will launch the service next week in 14 cities including Atlanta, Dallas, Nashville, New York, and Phoenix. Parents will be able to track their teen’s trips in real time and contact drivers directly. The rides will come with extra safety measures, Uber said, including a PIN verification system and an audio recording option, which can be activated by passengers and drivers. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


In the pink: Barbie cafe opens in NYC

The Malibu Barbie Cafe, a joint partnership between travel itinerary platform Bucket Listers and toy company Mattel Inc., opened Wednesday in New York just as legions of Barbie fans are preparing for Greta Gerwig’s long-awaited movie about the iconic childhood toy, which will hit theaters on July 21. A combination of restaurant, photo backdrop, and playground, the venue, located in lower Manhattan’s seaport neighborhood, features a food menu created by Master Chef semifinalist Becky Brown and such hands-on elements as a real sandbox and a lifeguard chair. The decor is retro beach-themed in homage to Malibu Barbie’s 1971 debut. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


NYT starts audio app

The New York Times has launched a new audio app, betting that a separate home for podcasts like The Daily and other formats will provide a boost to its subscription business. New York Times Audio is only available to subscribers and includes well-known shows and content from companies the Times has acquired in recent years such as Serial Productions, The Athletic, and Audm, which narrates long-form journalism. Since the success of The Daily, which debuted in 2017 and remains a top US podcast, the Times has been exploring how to offer a full news report in audio for consumers who, for instance, are already busy doing the dishes, driving, or walking the dog. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Ricardo Acosta prepares food at a Taco John's restaurant in Denver on May 16, 2023. Taco Bell is asking US regulators to force Wyoming-based Taco John's to abandon its longstanding claim to the "Taco Tuesday" trademark. Thomas Peipert/Associated Press


Who owns ‘Taco Tuesday’?

Declaring a mission to liberate “Taco Tuesday” for all, Taco Bell is asking US regulators to force Wyoming-based Taco John’s to abandon its longstanding claim to the trademark. Too many businesses and others refer to “Taco Tuesday” for Taco John’s to be able to have exclusive rights to the phrase, Taco Bell asserts in a US Patent and Trademark Office filing that is, of course, dated Tuesday. It’s the latest development in a long-running beef over “Taco Tuesday” that even included NBA star LeBron James making an unsuccessful attempt to claim the trademark in 2019. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Barclays beefs up Paris presence, post-Brexit

Barclays expects to increase its headcount in Paris by about two thirds in the next two to three years, as the French capital increasingly becomes the main trading hub in continental Europe for global lenders after Brexit. The London-based bank, which employs roughly 300 staff in Paris, believes it could generate enough business from the office to add about 200 more people by 2025 to 2026, Francesco Ceccato, chief executive for Barclays Europe, said in an interview. Ever since the UK exited the European Union more than two years ago, many global financial giants have been bolstering their presence in continental Europe in a shift away from London. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Montana bans TikTok

Montana became the first state in the United States to enact a complete ban on TikTok on Wednesday when Republican Governor Greg Gianforte signed a measure that’s more sweeping than any other state’s attempts to curtail the social media app, which is owned by a Chinese tech company. The measure, scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024, is expected to be challenged legally and will serve as a testing ground for the TikTok-free America that many national lawmakers have envisioned. Cybersecurity experts say it could be difficult to enforce the ban. “Today, Montana takes the most decisive action of any state to protect Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party,” Gianforte said in a statement. — ASSOCIATED PRESS