The Buzz On Business

TOLKIEN'S ESTATE SUES STUDIO: The estate of "Lord of the Rings" creator J.R.R. Tolkien is suing the film studio that released the trilogy based on his books, claiming the company hasn't paid it a penny from the estimated $6 billion the films have grossed worldwide. The lawsuit, filed Monday, claims New Line Cinema was required to pay 7.5 percent of gross receipts to Tolkien's estate and other plaintiffs, who contend they received only an upfront payment of $62,500 for the three movies before production began. The writer's estate, a British charity dubbed The Tolkien Trust, and original "Lord of the Rings" publisher HarperCollins filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court. Robert Pini, a New Line spokesman, declined to comment. The plaintiffs seek more than $150 million in compensatory damages, unspecified punitive damages and a court order giving the estate the right to terminate any rights that New Line may have to make films based on other works by Tolkien, including "The Hobbit."

FORD, LINCOLN SUVs RECALLED: Ford Motor Co. said Monday it was recalling more than 180,000 sport utility vehicles and vans in two separate recalls to fix interior door handles and faulty fuel hoses. The larger of the two recalls involves nearly 124,000 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs from the 2007-2008 model years. The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker said the spring system in the inside door handles could break. The problem could prevent the door handles from returning to a closed position, but the latches work properly, said Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood. However, in a side crash, there could be a risk of the door latch opening because of the problems, he said. Dealers will replace the interior handle spring on all side doors, he said. The recall involves 2007-2008 Expedition and Navigator vehicles built from March 3, 2006, through Aug. 9, 2007, Sherwood said. The second recall involves more than 57,000 2006-2007 E-150, E-250 and E-350 vans, and 2007 Expedition and Navigator SUVs with 5.4-liter engines. The automaker said the engine's fuel rail crossover hose, which connects the fuel rails, could crack and leak fuel, potentially leading to a fire. For more information, owners can contact Ford at 800-392-3673.

JUDGES RULE IN SALMON LABELING CASE: The California Supreme Court breathed new life Monday into a consumer campaign to get grocery stores to label farmed salmon that are artificially colored. The justices decided unanimously to overturn two lower court rulings tossing out the legal challenge. The lower courts had sided with grocers, who said such labeling disputes should be resolved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and not through lawsuits. But the Supreme Court ordered the deceptive marketing lawsuit reinstated. It ruled that private citizens can file such challenges because of an identical state law requiring labeling.


Figuratively Speaking

47: If the ultimate makeover were possible, percentage of Americans who would like to be Bill Gates, according to a survey by GBC Document Finishing Group.

25: Percentage who chose Oprah Winfrey as the person they would most like to be.