January 25, 2014

SC business notebook, Jan 25

S.C. high court mulls pollution dispute; Holder: More cases against banks in works; JPMorgan Chase rewards CEO; Coke recovers laptops containing personal data

S.C. high court mulls pollution dispute

The South Carolina Supreme Court is considering whether Myrtle Beach property owners have the right to sue electronics manufacturer AVX Corp. over groundwater pollution. The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News reports that the justices heard arguments Thursday in a case involving pollution near, but not directly under the plaintiffs’ properties. A circuit judge earlier dismissed the claims, refusing to hear evidence that property values have dropped and residents were refused bank loans. Attorney Gene Connell told the justices it is too early to dismiss the claims. But AVX lawyer Evan Slavitt said property owners should not be allowed to sue simply because the stigma of nearby pollution hurt land values. Groundwater nearby has been contaminated with a chemical known as TCE.

Holder: More cases against banks in works

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Friday that no bank is “too big to indict” and that the Justice Department has more cases coming involving “significant financial institutions” as it continues to investigate Wall Street misconduct. “I think people just need to be a little patient,” Holder said, according to a transcript of an interview with MSNBC that was to air Friday. “I know it’s been a while. But we have other things that are in the pipeline.” The Justice Department has been criticized for not filing more cases against Wall Street firms and executives for activities leading up to the subprime housing market crash and the financial crisis.

JPMorgan Chase rewards CEO

JPMorgan Chase almost doubled chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon’s pay for 2013, rewarding the executive for settling probes against the bank. Dimon will receive total compensation of $20 million in 2013, consisting of $18.5 million in stock options and a base salary of $1.5 million, the bank said in a statement Friday. That compares with total compensation of $11.5 million a year earlier, down from $23 million in each of the previous two years. The bank says it took several factors into account when deciding on Dimon’s pay, including the “sustained long-term performance” of the bank, gains in market share and customer satisfaction as well as his handling of the legal issues facing the lender.

Coke recovers laptops containing personal data

Coca-Cola said Friday that laptop computers stolen from its Atlanta headquarters held the personal information of up to 74,000 people. The company has recovered the laptops and spokeswoman Ann Moore said Coca-Cola has no indication that the information on the stolen computers was misused. Moore confirmed that the personal information on the laptops belonged mostly to employees or former employees of Coca-Cola Co.

The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times contributed.

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