Other items: U.S. seeks to deport man linked to Nazis; Comic creator loses suit, seeks bankruptcy; 20 homes evacuated when sinkhole opens.

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Davenport, Iowa


Internet provider wins anti-spam judgment

A federal judge has awarded an Internet service provider more than $1 billion in what is believed to be the largest judgment ever against spammers.

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Robert Kramer, whose company provides e-mail service for about 5,000 subscribers in eastern Iowa, filed suit against 300 spammers after his inbound mail servers received up to 10 million spam e-mails a day in 2000, according to court documents.

AMP Dollar Savings of Mesa, Ariz., was ordered to pay $720 million, and Cash Link Systems of Miami was ordered to pay $360 million. The third company, Florida-based TEI Marketing Group, was ordered to pay $140,000.

“It’s definitely a victory for all of us that open up our e-mail and find lewd and malicious and fraudulent e-mail in our boxes every day,” Kramer said after the ruling.

His attorney, Kelly Wallace, said Kramer is unlikely to collect the judgment, made possible by an Iowa law that allows plaintiffs to claim damages of $10 per spam message. The judgments then were tripled under the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).


Washington


U.S. seeks to deport man linked to Nazis

The Justice Department asked an immigration judge Friday to deport an Ohio man the government says was a guard at Nazi concentration camps.

John Demjanjuk, 84, of Seven Hills, Ohio, is a retired auto worker who the government says served during World War II as an armed guard at Nazi extermination and concentration camps.

In April, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed a lower-court decision revoking Demjanjuk’s U.S. citizenship on several grounds, including his “willing” service in an SS-run unit “dedicated to exploiting and exterminating” Jewish civilians in Nazi-occupied Poland. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in these camps.

Demjanjuk, whose health is failing, has lived in seclusion since his return from Israel in 1993, routinely turning aside interview requests. His son-in-law and family spokesman, Ed Nishnic, said early yesterday that the government’s move would be challenged.


Phoenix


Comic creator loses suit, seeks bankruptcy

A $15 million jury award against “Spawn” creator Todd McFarlane has pushed his comic-book business into bankruptcy court.

Todd McFarlane Productions of suburban Tempe filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

A jury in St. Louis awarded former National Hockey League player Tony Twist $15 million after concluding that McFarlane and his company profited by using Twist’s name without permission and that Twist’s publicity rights were infringed.

McFarlane gave the name Antonio “Tony Twist” Twistelli to a New York mob-boss character in his “Spawn” comic books in the early 1990s.


Deltona, Fla.


20 homes evacuated when sinkhole opens

A sinkhole opened beneath a road in central Florida yesterday, swallowing four lanes of pavement and forcing the evacuation of 20 homes, one of which was in imminent danger of falling into the hole.

Officials had been watching the hole since Monday after noticing collapsed asphalt on a street. Workers were pumping a cement mixture under the damaged road when the hole formed, destroying all four lanes.

The hole grew to 50 feet deep and at least 150 feet wide.


Birmingham, Ala.


Judge upholds search in probe of Rudolph

A federal judge has ruled that investigators properly seized evidence from bombing suspect Eric Rudolph’s trailer and shed in North Carolina, making it admissible at trial.

Rudolph’s attorneys had argued that federal agents improperly seized items that were not within the scope of the search warrants.

But prosecutors said Rudolph had abandoned his property to go into hiding in the North Carolina wilderness after he was linked to a 1998 abortion-clinic bombing that killed an off-duty police officer and injured a nurse.

Rudolph, who is being held without bail, also is accused in the deadly bombing at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and two blasts in Atlanta in 1997.