Business Briefs – March 22, 2016

J&J Expands Project That Aims To Predict, Prevent Diseases

WASHINGTON (AP) – Johnson & Johnson has ramped up its ambitious project to learn how to predict who will develop particular diseases and find therapies to prevent or stop it early, when it’s most treatable.

Since the health care giant announced its groundbreaking project in February 2015, it’s expanded to include two dozen research programs with partners — in government, universities, patient advocacy groups and other drug and diagnostic test companies. Their expertise and resources should speed discoveries and allow Johnson & Johnson to spread its funding across more ventures.

Justices Uphold $5.8 Million Award Against Tyson Foods

WASHINGTON (AP) – In a setback to business, the Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a $5.8 million judgment against Tyson Foods Inc. in a pay dispute with more than 3,000 workers at an Iowa meat-processing plant.

The court’s 6–2 ruling rejected new limits Tyson asked the high court to impose on the ability of workers to band together to challenge pay and workplace issues. It was the second time this year the court has ruled against business interests in class-action cases. The justices decided three other cases Tuesday, including one by its first 4-4 tie vote since Justice Antonin Scalia’s death last month.

U.S. Urges Final Approval Of $20 Billion BP Oil Spill Pact

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A $20 billion oil spill settlement involving BP, the federal government and the five Gulf Coast states is moving closer to final approval.

Federal lawyers on Tuesday formally asked a judge to accept the agreement, which was announced last July and aims to resolve years of legal fighting over damage from the 2010 Gulf oil spill. A judge had found BP “grossly negligent” in the offshore rig explosion that killed 11 workers and caused the 134 million gallon spill.

The settlement included $5.5 billion in civil penalties and billions more to cover environmental damage and other claims by the states and local governments.

Germany’s Ifo Confidence Index Up After 3 Monthly Falls

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Germany’s Ifo Institute says its index of business confidence, a closely watched gauge of economic activity in Europe’s largest economy, has risen after three months of declines.

Munich-based Ifo said Tuesday that its main index rose to 106.7 points from 105.7 points the month before. Market expectations were for a more modest rise to 106.0 points.

The improvement comes as fears about global trade and financial market turmoil seem to be easing after a shaky start to the year.