Angelos to get $150 million for tobacco lawsuit

Attorney Peter G. Angelos will receive $150 million over five years for his work on Maryland’s tobacco lawsuit under a deal with Gov. Parris N. Glendening that will end an unseemly three-year fight between the state’s top Democrats and their party’s biggest financial contributor.While some elements were still being negotiated, the governor said he had reached an “agreement in principle” with Angelos to settle a dispute that could have cost the state much more.AdvertisementAngelos has long claimed he was owed at least $1 billion in the case. In 1996, he signed a contingency fee contract that said his firm would receive 25 percent of Maryland’s proceeds if litigation to recover health-related costs caused by smoking was successful.Maryland is scheduled to receive about $4 billion over the next two decades from a national settlement with tobacco companies.AdvertisementWilliam F. Gately, an attorney for Angelos, confirmed that the two sides had reached agreement on “the heart” of the deal.He said they were still working on other issues, which he declined to identify.A final agreement will release a $123 million escrow account that has been holding some of the state’s tobacco money pending resolution of the dispute.Glendening said he was motivated to settle because lawmakers are planning deep cuts to education and environmental programs.Some of that money could be restored as the General Assembly completes a $22 billion budget for the next fiscal year.”Was that part of my thinking that brought this to fruition? Yes,” Glendening said.The governor said he told Angelos during a telephone conversation Thursday evening, when the bulk of the agreement was reached, that “it would be far better now than two weeks from now.”House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. said he would work with Glendening to restore about $20 million to anti-cancer and smoking-cessation programs backed with tobacco funds and would try to help the governor reach the rest of his goals.Advertisement”I can’t help but focus on the fact that the timing of this is terrific,” Taylor said.Other lawmakers said they were relieved that the dispute was over and thought both sides were getting a good deal.”That’s about where I thought it would end up,” said Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman of Baltimore, chairwoman of the Budget and Taxation Committee.”

Church allowed abuse by priest for years

This is the full, original, first article that was published by The Boston Globe Spotlight Team to expose rampant child sexual abuse by pedophile Catholic priests in Boston, MA, and the massive, decades-long cover-up efforts by the Catholic church to protect them.

Since the mid-1990s, more than 130 people have come forward with horrific childhood tales about how former priest John J. Geoghan allegedly fondled or raped them during a three-decade spree through a half-dozen Greater Boston parishes.

Almost always, his victims were grammar school boys. One was just 4 years old.

Then came last July’s disclosure that Cardinal Bernard F. Law knew about Geoghan’s problems in 1984, Law’s first

Airbags called a threat to short women and children

When Susan Hayes, 29, skidded off the road into a drainage ditch in June, the air bag in her Mazda Miata slammed into her head and broke her neck.

The 5-foot-2-inch Baltimore woman spent six weeks in a coma and eight weeks in intensive care. She says she was wearing a seat belt in the crash.

“Without the air bag, I would have walked away,” she said last week. Her 4-year-old son was belted in the front passenger seat — which did not have an air bag — and did walk away.

While the risk that air bags pose to children has attracted national attention, that danger has overshadowed the fact that bags also can injure and kill adults, particularly short women.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has warned for some time that women, especially those over 70 who may be frail, are among the adults most at risk of being killed by air bags.

But younger adults also face a serious risk of being injured or killed by explosively powerful air bags, a review of federal safety records indicates.

The analysis shows that of 19 adults whose deaths were blamed on air bags, 12 were under age 57. Fifteen of the adults who died were female drivers who sat close to the steering wheel so they could reach the pedals. All were 5 feet 4 inches tall or shorter.

Some men may be at risk, too. Three male drivers between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet tall were killed by bags. One may have died because his overweight frame left him too close to the air bag. A heart attack and a seizure may have caused two others to slump into deploying air bags.

The toll of death and injuries is probably much higher, automakers and safety officials fear.

No one is tracking injuries caused by bags. And deaths of adults from air bags are likely to have been underreported, partly because the NHTSA has focused for more than a year on reducing the deaths of children from air bags.