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Lawyers for three people infected in Southern Nevada’s hepatitis C outbreak asked a jury Friday to levy $739 million in punitive damages against the drug companies it held liable for the infections.

Robert Eglet and Will Kemp equated the amount to two weeks’ worth of the companies’ net revenue last year.

The amount would be a record in Nevada and exceed the $500 million a jury levied last year after the first outbreak-related civil trial.

After hearing seven weeks of testimony, the jury on Thursday awarded $20.1 million in compensatory damages to the patients and their spouses after finding Teva Parenteral Medicines Inc., Baxter Healthcare Corp. and McKesson Corp. responsible for the infections based on product liability claims.


Phone ban fallout

The new ban on cellphone use while driving is already creating an entirely new hazard on Nevada’s roadways: To avoid violating the law that took effect Oct. 1, some drivers are parking in the breakdown lanes of busy highways so they can talk or text.

The unforeseen behavior is prompting exasperated highway patrol officials to remind motorists that the emergency lanes are for bona fide emergencies only.

Authorities also report that some drivers are unaware that the new law bans cellphone use at stoplights as well.


From ‘Here’ to fame

The Las Vegas tourism slogan that launched a million bad jokes and pale imitations will be added to Madison Avenue’s Advertising Walk of Fame in New York City.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s "What happens here, stays here" campaign, created by R&R Partners, will be added to the walk of fame between 42nd and 50th streets, the advertising industry’s equivalent of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Los Angeles.


First in the West

Nevada Republicans set Jan. 14 for the GOP presidential caucuses here, clearing the way for New Hampshire and Iowa to schedule their traditional first-in-the nation voting dates.

The new Nevada date, which falls on a Saturday, ensures the Silver State will hold the first 2012 vote in the West, after the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and before the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary.

The political calendar moved up after Florida announced it would hold its primary Jan. 31 to gain more attention.

Nevada caucuses had been set for Feb. 18.


Wall Street on Strip

More than 1,000 people marched on the Strip to the chant of "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out," as the weeks-old Occupy Wall Street protest went nationwide.

Protesters marched in a loop between Tropicana Avenue and Flamingo Road from 4 to just after 7 p.m. as word of the event spread largely through Facebook and other social media.

Reaction from tourists was a mix of support, bewilderment and anger.


‘Elaborate’ brutality

A Clark County grand jury indicted Javier Righetti in the sexual assault and slaying of 15-year-old Alyssa Otremba over the Labor Day weekend.

Righetti, 19, also was charged in the March kidnapping and sexual assault of another 15-year-old girl who survived the attack.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Christopher Lalli said in court that Righetti gave an "elaborate" confession in which he admitted stabbing Otremba more than 80 times and carving the initials "LV" on her body.

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