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Honda loses hybrid lawsuit in SoCal small-claims court

Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Honda Motors lost in Los Angeles today to Civic hybrid owner Heather Peters. The MPG-maven was awarded $9,867 for the car company's failure to deliver on stated claims about mileage.

The Civic hybrid owner sued the automaker when she did not receive the fuel economy promised with her 2006 vehicle. On Wednesday, Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner Douglas Carnahan said Honda misled her about the expected mileage, and awarded the Southern California woman a small-claims victory. 

Peters previously opted out of a class-action lawsuit in order to try for a higher payout. A former lawyer, Peters hoped to inspire others, saying if all 200,000 owners of the same '06 car sued Honda and won, it could cost the company $2 billion.


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Mike Kelley, LA artist, found dead in his South Pasadena home in apparent suicide

Exhibition view, Mike Kelley, Educational Complex Onwards: 1995 - 2008, Wiels, Brussels (B), 2008.
Marc Wathieu/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)


Mike Kelley, a contemporary artist based in Los Angeles but internationally renowned, was found dead in his South Pasadena home Tuesday.

South Pasadena Police Sgt. Robert Bartl told the Associated Press it appears Kelley committed suicide Tuesday. A family friend who was concerned about Kelley went to his home and called 911.

"It is totally shocking that someone would decide to do this, someone who has success and renown and options," Helene Winer of New York's Metro Pictures gallery told Blouin ArtInfo.

His work explored the dark side of American Life, according to the New York Times. "He mixed and matched kitschy pop culture with classical philosophical themes," the Times says in an obituary, and he was particularly known for sculptures of dirty stuffed animals, with large mixed media installations that included pop culture figures like Colonel Sanders and Sigmund Freud.


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Distribute suitcases of cash, get investigated: a Coliseum case study in union payments

Photo by ToGa Wanderings via Flickr Creative Commons

Making union payments via suitcases of $100 bills is a practice frowned upon by the U.S. Labor Department, it turns out. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum officials are learning this the hard way, as they have become the target of a criminal investigation in an IATSE wage payment scandal that saw more than $1 million in cash passed to the union without controls on its distribution, explains the L.A. Times. The Coliseum Commission may be responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in back payroll and withholding taxes.


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Feds say tiny radiation leak may have occurred at San Onofre

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station
David McNew/Getty Images

According to federal regulators, a small amount of radiation could have escaped from San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station after a water leak forced operators to shut down the reactor at the power plant.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Victor Dricks says a small amount of radioactive gas "could have" escaped the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station on the northern San Diego Coast.

Gil Alexander, a spokesman for Southern California Edison, told the Associated Press that the amount would have been "extremely small" and possibly not detectable by monitors.

Both the company and federal regulators say the release would not have posed a public safety risk.


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Mark Berndt bail increased to $23 million, more claims against teacher being investigated

Accused teacher Mark Berndt.
L.A. Sheriff's Department

Sheriff's investigators have five more alleged victims in the horrifying case of longtime Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt, who appeared in court, handcuffed behind a caged area, on Wednesday. His arraignment on 23 counts of lewd acts against children has been held over until Feb 23.

Prosecutors were able to increase Berndt's bail today from $2.3-million, to $23 million, based on the alleged crimes. Additional charges may be filed pending verification of the new allegations, notes the L.A. Times.

The 61-year-old allegedly told children they were going to play a "tasting game," blindfoldeding the victims, gagging some with tape, putting cockroaches on others, and spoon-feeding them a white substance that DNA tests revealed to be his semen, according to authorities.

The victims were supposed to say whether the substance was sweet or salty and if they liked the taste, say authorities, who were tipped off by a CVS photo lab tech who reported suspicious photos of bound children to police.


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