Pru To Litigants: Here's A Billion, Please Go Away

But Prudential's deal with clients it victimized may not fly

It's a court date Prudential Insurance Co. of America is eagerly awaiting. Next month, the besieged company has a chance to strike a virtually global settlement with several million life-insurance customers who were fed misleading sales pitches from 1982 to 1995. The setting will be in a federal courtroom in the Pru's hometown of Newark, N.J., where Judge Alfred M. Wolin will consider whether to approve a deal that would cut off the claims of nearly 99% of the victimized policyholders. By approving it, he would go a long way toward ending a public-relations nightmare that has prevented the company from rebuilding its tattered reputation.

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