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Handyman awarded $2 million in asbestos case

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A69-year-old former handyman from Springfield, Ill., was awarded $2 million by a jury that found Bondex International liable for an asbestos-related injury, according to the State Journal-Register. Two other defendants, CertainTeed and Georgia-Pacific, were not held liable, however.

The plaintiff, William Willis, now lives in Arkansas and suffers from pleural mesothelioma, an incurable cancer of the lung lining. Willis worked the night shift for the U.S. Postal Service but worked part time in home construction and repair during the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. He retired in 1992.

Willis testified that he used asbestos-containing pipe manufactured by CertainTeed and asbestos-containing joint compound made by Bondex and Georgia-Pacific, among others. Asbestos was phased out of these products in 1977.

Attorneys for the defendants argued that Willis had used their products decades ago and could not determine exactly which products he had used, according to the newspaper report. The amount of asbestos in the products, their toxicity and the cause for Willis’ mesothelioma were also disputed.

Other defendants in the lawsuit either settled with Willis or were dismissed from the case prior to the verdict.

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Shoplifter of the Week: Store manager charged

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A former Lowe’s general manager in Prescott, Ariz. appeared in Yavapai County Superior Court on Aug. 17 to face nine felony charges connected to merchandise he allegedly stole from his own store. According to an article in the Prescott Daily Courier, Willie Jefferson Stogner, age 29, was arrested in January on charges of stealing more than $130,000 in cash and merchandise from Lowe’s.

Loss prevention staff told local detectives they suspected Stogner of using the same purchase order as a previous paying customer to order and install granite countertops in his home. Stogner may have used several other fraudulent methods to obtain Lowe’s merchandise, detectives said.

The investigation began when store employees called police to report suspicious activity, the newspaper said.

Stogner has been charged with nine counts of fraud, one count of theft, one count of computer tampering, five counts of forgery and one count of tampering with physical evidence.

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Deere’s Q3 earnings down

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Deere & Co. has reported net income of $420.0 million for its third quarter ended July 31. This is down 27% from $575.2 million for the same period last year.

Net sales and revenues declined 24% to $5.885 billion for the third quarter from $7.739 billion in the year-ago period.

Net sales of the equipment operations were $5.283 billion for the quarter and $16.030 billion for the first nine months, compared with $7.070 billion and $19.070 billion last year.

For the first nine months of the year, net income was $1.096 billion, down 36% from $1.708 billion last year. Net sales and revenues were down 15% to $17.778 billion for the first nine months compared with a year ago.

“We have seen continued benefit from strength in the U.S. market for large farm machinery and from our efforts to keep a tight rein on costs and inventories,” said Samuel Allen, president and CEO. “Deere’s construction and forestry business, as an example, is successfully executing carefully designed plans to adjust expenses and asset levels in response to the severe decline in its markets.”

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