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BUSINESS IN BRIEF

Waltham company seeks dismissal of slander case

Novell Inc. asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by SCO Group that accuses it of undercutting SCO's business by raising questions over the ownership of the Unix operating system. SCO, which bought licensing rights to Unix from Novell a decade ago, sued for slander of title after Waltham-based Novell disputed SCO's ownership of the rights. Novell argued that it can't be sued for telling the truth. SCO says it owns the copyright to Unix, which it says is included in the Linux operating system. Also, Novell reported a loss of $15.7 million, or 4 cents a share, compared to income of $10.4 million, or 4 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales rose 1.2 percent to $297.1 million in the period. (Bloomberg)

Boston signs electricity deal with Constellation

Constellation Energy Group Inc. has been hired by the city of Boston to supply up to 50 megawatts of electricity for municipal buildings, including power from renewable energy sources equal to all the electricity used by Boston City Hall. Constellation and city officials did not specify a total dollar value for the pact, but aides to Mayor Thomas M. Menino said the city should save at least $900,000 over the next nine months. It is the first time Boston has used a competitive alternative to NStar for power. Electricity bought through Constellation New Energy, at peak periods equal to what 22,000 average homes use, will continue to be delivered by NStar to schools, libraries, street lights, and water and sewer facilities. (Peter J. Howe)

Convention site cleanup case allowed to go forward

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court cleared the way for the state, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority to pursue claims for repayment of cleanup costs incurred during construction of the Convention & Exhibition Center in South Boston on land formerly occupied by a junkyard. Clarifying the state's Chapter 21E law concerning liability for contamination, the court ruled that the three plaintiffs may seek damages from the defendants -- including not only Sak Recycling Corp. but also NStar, which was formerly Boston Edison and was a customer of the junkyard. The case was sent back to Suffolk Superior Court, where it will be determined if NStar is liable. If so, NStar would be responsible for all of the $5 million or more in cleanup costs. (Thomas C. Palmer Jr.)

Suitor pursues Brookstone despite sales agreement

Brookstone Inc., the chain of gadget stores, said a group is showing ''continued interest" in acquiring the company, despite the retailer's $450 million sale agreement with an investment group. The suitor wasn't identified in a Brookstone filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. (Dow Jones/AP)

THE NATION
FBI investigating computer breach at Stanford center

The FBI is investigating a computer security breach at Stanford University that resulted in the theft of personal data -- including letters of recommendation and Social Security numbers -- for nearly 10,000 people. The breach occurred May 11, when someone gained access to the school's network, Stanford general counsel Debra Zumwalt said. The university would not say whether the breach happened as a result of a remote hacker, the physical theft of a laptop, or other means. Stanford began mailing notifications Monday to about 300 recruiters and 9,600 others who visited the school's Career Development Center since 1996. (AP)

Airline, mechanics union at negotiations impasse

Northwest Airlines said its talks with mechanics are at an impasse and has asked for a 30-day cooling-off period, the mechanics' union said. The next step would be arbitration, but if either side refuses, mechanics could strike after the 30-day period ends. Also, Northwest said it plans to recall all 691 laid-off flight attendants because of summer travel demand and possible labor strife, the attendants union said. The Professional Flight Attendants Association expects more than half of the workers to return to the airline, union spokesman Bob Krabbe said. Some of the attendants have been on furlough since October 2001 and may stay in other jobs, he said. (Wire services)

New York preparing civil complaint against AIG

New York regulators have almost finished drafting a civil complaint against American International Group that would be the first lawsuit by regulators against the insurer relating to its accounting errors, a source familiar with the situation said. Sources who asked not to be named said the lawsuit could be finished and filed as early as this week. The complaint will allege AIG improperly burnished its financial results and misled regulators and investors, The Wall Street Journal said. A spokesman for Spitzer's office declined to comment. (Reuters)

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