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Nine years later, Prudential settlement not quite settled

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,People Management

In 1999, Linda Guyden, a former vice president for Prudential Insurance Company in Newark, and 358 other employees received a $10 million settlement for race discrimination and related claims against the company.

In 2000, Guyden filed a separate federal lawsuit based on her complaint. Guyden argued the lawsuit should not be bound by the settlement agreement. In 2007, U.S. District Judge Alfred Lechner Jr. and arbitrator T. Andrew Brown ruled against Guyden.

In her response, Guyden sought release based on new grounds: that the agreement was a product of a fraudulent secret deal between Prudential and the plaintiffs’ law firm, Leeds Morelli & Brown. “Prudential required Leeds & Morelli to violate its duty of loyalty to its clients by making Leeds & Morelli its own agent and paying the firm five million dollars to steer, in a shockingly deceptive manner … Prudential employees into a sham dispute resolution process,” her lawsuit states.

On March 24, U.S. District Judge Katharine Sweeney Hayden revived Guyden’s case, sending it to Prudential for a response.

More than 350 current and former Prudential employees are seeking $6.5 billion in damages in a class-action lawsuit that charges the company with fraud and breach of contract related to its dealings with the law firm. Guyden also has filed a malpractice lawsuit against Leeds & Morelli.

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