A lawsuit of more than 230 employees alleging that Prudential Life Insurance conspired with a law firm to prevent them from pursuing employment discrimination claims is headed to trial. The suit, originally filed in 2002 in New Jersey, alleges that the law firm representing the employees accepted $5 million from Prudential to steer the employees away from trying their claims and into a confidential alternative dispute resolution process. The former employees claim that as a result of those efforts those claims settled for far less than they would have received had they pursued their claims to trial. Prudential has also asserted claims against the law firm, claiming that if the employees were not adequately compensated for their claims, then it was the fault of the lawyers, and not the fault of Prudential.
The judge handling the case has also put the parties on an expedited discovery schedule, which means that some plaintiffs will have only about two hours for their depositions. The unusual move could be to try and force a settlement among the parties, or it could simply be that, given the length of time the case has been in the court system and the number of parties involved that this kind of schedule is the only practical way to get the matter resolved.
While alternative dispute resolution forums can be a very productive and useful means of resolving conflicts, there does remain a real concern that sometimes expediency comes at the price of fully-realized justice. While the Minneapolis attorneys at Lord & Faris fully endorse alternative dispute resolution, we do so knowing that every party deserves a fair hearing of their claims.
Contact our Minneapolis Injury Attorneys at Lord and Faris to answer any questions you may have.