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HMO THAT DENIED CARE TOLD TO PAY $120.5 MILLION

A jury has ordered Aetna U.S. Health Care of California to pay $120.5 million in damages to a woman whose husband fought until his death for coverage of experimental cancer treatment.

Teresa Goodrich of Yucaipa was awarded $116 million Wednesday in punitive damages and $4.5 million for medical expenses and loss of companionship in the 1995 death of her husband, David, 44.

A federal law governing employee benefits bars most Americans with employer-based insurance from recovering damages from health maintenance organizations beyond the costs of a treatment improperly denied. But it exempts government and church employees, and Goodrich was a former San Bernardino County deputy district attorney.

Michael Bidart, Mrs. Goodrich's attorney, argued that, for 2 1/2 years, Aetna had delayed and denied approval for treatment of Goodrich's rare form of stomach cancer. When Goodrich finally did receive treatment, Aetna refused to pay for it, Bidart said.

Muslims say Denny's fed them pork intentionally

HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- A Denny's restaurant might have deliberately might have slipped bacon and ham into the meals of two Muslims who had requested no-pork dishes, an investigator with the Montana Human Rights Bureau says.

"The fact that the ingredients for these meals are packaged separately and do not contain any pork products . . . implies that these products were placed in the food intentionally," according to the investigator's report.

The Muslims are seeking an apology and $1 million each as compensation.

U.S. defense employment called averse to Hispanics

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hispanics in the uniformed military and the civilian defense work force are disproportionately represented in the lowest pay grades, with the fewest responsibilities and opportunities, an advocacy group says.

While the U.S. military enjoys the reputation as one of the most hospitable work forces for minorities in government, the situation is not as bright for Hispanics, said Raul Yzaguirre, president of the National Council of La Raza. "I'm very concerned that when the president launched his race initiative, he applauded the nation's armed forces as having gotten it right. But it might not have gotten it when it comes to our community," he said.

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