Bouder v. Prudential Financial, Inc. Settlement

www.PFIclassactionsettlement.com


Frequently Asked Questions

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1. Why did I receive a Class Notice?

You received the Class Notice because according to Prudential’s records, you are a Covered Agent who worked for Prudential in one or more Settling States during one or more relevant Settlement Class Periods, or, because you are an Opt-In Plaintiff, or both.

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2. What is this litigation about?

This settlement involves two separate lawsuits, which were consolidated by the Court, one originally filed in New Jersey (Jeffrey Bouder, et al. vs. Prudential Financial Inc., and Prudential Insurance Co. of America, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey); the other originally filed in the Southern District of California and subsequently transferred to the District of New Jersey (Jim Wang et al. vs. Prudential Financial, Inc., and Prudential Insurance Co. of America). The consolidated lawsuits share the same docket number, Civil Action No. 06-04359 (CCC) (MF).

In general, these two lawsuits (the “Settled Lawsuits”) allege that Prudential improperly denied Covered Agents overtime pay in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq. (“FLSA”) and applicable state law. In addition, the Settled Lawsuits allege that Prudential took unlawful deductions from the wages of Covered Agents, including recapture of certain commissions, and/or required some Covered Agents to bear certain necessary business-related expenses. Prudential has vigorously denied all wrongdoing, and maintains that all Covered Agents have been properly compensated at all times. Capitalized terms shall have the same meaning as set forth in the Settlement Agreement and Class Notice.

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3. Why is there a settlement?

This Settlement is the result of good-faith, arms-length negotiations between Plaintiffs and Prudential, through their respective attorneys. Both sides agree that in light of the risks and expenses associated with continued litigation, this Settlement is fair and appropriate under the circumstances, and that it is in the best interests of the Covered Agents. The parties in the Settled Lawsuits disagree as to the probable outcome of the Settled Lawsuits, in the event they had not settled. While Plaintiffs were prepared to proceed with litigating the Settled Lawsuits, they recognize that litigation is a risky proposition and that they may not prevail on any or all of their claims. Likewise, while Prudential was confident that it had strong legal and factual arguments that would resolve Plaintiffs’ claims in Prudential’s favor, it recognizes the risks, distractions, and costs involved with continued litigation. Accordingly, the parties to the Settled Lawsuits agreed to participate in two separate mediation sessions in New York, New York before a well-respected mediator. Following the second mediation session, the parties finalized the Settlement Agreement.

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4. How do I know if I am eligible to participate in this Settlement?

You are eligible to participate in this Settlement if you work or worked for Prudential in the position of Statutory Agent, Prudential Representative, Financial Services Associate, Financial Professional Associate or any predecessor, successor or related positions, which are referred to as Covered Agents.

Covered Agents who work or worked for Prudential in the following states (“Settling States”) at any time during the periods beginning on the dates listed below (“Settlement Class Periods”) through the August 1, 2017, are eligible to participate in this Settlement:

  1. Covered Agents who work or worked in California, starting on or after March 20, 2004;
  2. Covered Agents who work or worked in Hawaii, starting on or after December 15, 2002;
  3. Covered Agents who work or worked in Illinois, starting on or after December 15, 2003;
  4. Covered Agents who work or worked in Michigan, starting on or after December 15, 2002;
  5. Covered Agents who work or worked in Missouri, starting on or after December 15, 2006;
  6. Covered Agents who work or worked in Montana, starting on or after December 15, 2003;
  7. Covered Agents who work or worked in New Jersey, starting on or after December 15, 2002;
  8. Covered Agents who work or worked in New York, starting on or after December 15, 2002;
  9. Covered Agents who work or worked in Ohio, starting on or after December 15, 2006;
  10. Covered Agents who work or worked in Oregon, starting on or after December 15, 2002;
  11. Covered Agents who work or worked in Pennsylvania, starting on or after September 15, 2003; and
  12. Covered Agents who work or worked in Washington, starting on or after December 15, 2005.

In addition, Covered Agents who work or worked for Prudential in states other than the Settling States who are Opt-In Plaintiffs are also eligible to participate in this Settlement.

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5. Who is included in the Deductions Class?

The “Deductions Class” includes (i) all Covered Agents in Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon or Washington in the Settlement Class Periods; (ii) Persons who hold or held the positions of Financial Services Associate, Financial Professional Associate or any predecessor, successor or related positions in Pennsylvania in the Settlement Class Periods; and (iii) Persons hold or held the position of Statutory Agent, or any predecessor, successor or related positions in California or New York in the Settlement Class Periods.

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6. Who is included in the Certified Deductions Class?

The “Certified Deductions Class” includes (i) all Persons who hold or held the positions of Prudential Representative, Financial Services Associate, Financial Professional Associate or any predecessor, successor or related positions in California and New York in the Settlement Class Periods; and (ii) all Persons who hold or held the position of Prudential Representative or any predecessor, successor or related positions in the Pennsylvania in the Settlement Class Periods.

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7. Who is a Non-Deduction Wage Claimant?

“Non-Deduction Wage Claimants” includes all Covered Agents who work or worked in Missouri, Montana, or Ohio in the Settlement Class Periods.

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8. Who is an Opt-In Plaintiff?

“Opt-In Plaintiffs” includes all Covered Agents who are alleging claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq. (“FLSA”), and who have already consented to participate in the collective action in this Action as a party plaintiff by timely filing an Opt-In Consent Form and who have not subsequently withdrawn such consent or opted out of the FLSA collective action prior to the preliminary approval of the Settlement.

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9. What if I’m still not sure if I am included in the Settlement Class?

If after reading the Notice and the information on this website you have any questions about which Settlement Class Category applies to you, please contact the Claims Administrator at (844) 402-8562 or info@PFIclassactionsettlement.com. Please note that the deadline to submit a claim form was October 30, 2017. Claim Forms must have been postmarked or filed online by this date. The Claims Administrator is no longer able to accept Claim Forms.

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10. What are the Terms of the Settlement?

Prudential is paying $12,500,000.00 (the “Gross Settlement Amount”) in full and final settlement of the Settled Lawsuits. Payment of the Gross Settlement Amount will be used to pay: (a) the claims presented by Covered Agents who submit a timely and valid Qualifying Claim Form; (b) Class Counsel’s fees and litigation costs; (c) Enhancement Payments to the plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit (the “Named Plaintiffs”); (d) Incentive Awards to Opt-In Plaintiffs who become Participating Claimants and to Named Plaintiffs who timely opted into the FLSA collective action as a party plaintiff and did not subsequently opt-out; and (e) the costs of administering the Settlement.

After deducting from the Gross Settlement Amount amounts for attorneys’ fees, litigation costs, Enhancement Payments, Incentive Awards, and the costs of administering the Settlement, the remaining amount (the “Net Settlement Amount”) will be used to make settlement payments to Participating Claimants. The amount of payments will be determined according to a formula that is based on the number of workweeks of each Participating Claimant, as follows:

(a) The dollar amount payable to each Participating Claimant, not including Enhancement Payments and/or Incentive Awards, will be calculated by taking the “Net Settlement Amount” divided by the “Total Adjusted Work Weeks” (defined below) then multiplied by the number of Adjusted Work Weeks (defined below) applicable to each Participating Claimant, taking into consideration the factors set forth below.

(b) “Adjusted Work Weeks” for purposes of this calculation means the total number of workweeks in which a Participating Claimant was a Covered Agent in a Settling State during the applicable Settlement Class Periods (“Work Weeks”), multiplied by the appropriate factor for such Participating Claimants’ Settlement Class Category (Non-Wage Deduction Claimant, Opt-In Plaintiffs, Deductions Class, or Certified Deductions Class). “Total Adjusted Work Weeks” means the total number of Adjusted Work Weeks of all Participating Claimants. Your Adjusted Work Week Total is printed in Section III of your Claim Form.

(c) Non-Deduction Wage Claimants and Opt-In Plaintiffs will receive a pro rata share of the Net Settlement Amount that represents one times their Work Weeks.

(d) Members of the Deductions Class will receive a pro rata share of the Net Settlement Amount that represents three times their Work Weeks.

(e) Members of the Certified Deductions Class will receive a pro rata share of the Net Settlement Amount that represents four times their Work Weeks.

(f) In no event may any Participating Claimant receive a pro rata share of the Net Settlement Amount that represents more than four times their Work Weeks. A Participating Claimant whose Work Weeks in one Settlement Class Category overlaps with their Work Weeks in another Settlement Category, will receive a pay out under the Settlement in accordance with the Settlement Class Category with the greatest payout as set forth in the Settlement Formula above.

(g) For purposes of this Settlement, the term “Work Week” or “Adjusted Work Week” means any calendar week in which a Participating Claimant held a Covered Position for 1 or more days. A Participating Claimant will be deemed to have worked only in the state in which his or her parent office or detached office was located according to Prudential’s personnel records, and in no event may a Participating Claimant be deemed to have worked in more than one state during a single calendar week. In the event that a Participating Claimant worked in more than one state during a single calendar week he or she will be credited with working in the state with the highest pro rata share allocation. With respect to Participating Claimants who worked in more than one of the Settling States, the Class Period applicable to work in each such state shall determine the extent to which the work was performed in that state for purposes of this Agreement.

The actual payment amounts to Participating Claimants will depend upon the total number of Participating Claimants who submit Qualifying Claim Forms to participate in the Settlement, as well as the amounts of attorneys’ fees, litigation expenses, Enhancement Payments, Incentive Awards, and costs of Settlement administration that are awarded by the Court. Thus, the amount that each Participating Claimant will receive cannot be determined until all valid Qualifying Claim Forms have been received and the amount of the Net Settlement Sum and the Total Adjusted Work Weeks are known.

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11. What can I get from the Settlement?

The actual payment amounts to Participating Claimants depended on the total number of Participating Claimants who submitted Qualifying Claim Forms to participate in the Settlement, as well as the amounts of attorneys’ fees, litigation expenses, Enhancement Payments, Incentive Awards, and costs of Settlement administration that were awarded by the Court. Thus, the amount that each Participating Claimant received could not be determined until all valid Qualifying Claim Forms were received and the amount of the Net Settlement Sum and the Total Adjusted Work Weeks were known. The Settlement has a minimum payout of $10.00 to each Participating Claimant. This means that any Participating Claimant who is entitled to payment of less than $10.00 under the Settlement formula above received a payment of $10.00. Any Participating Claimant who was entitled to a payment of $10.00 or more under the Settlement formula, received the amount to which he or she was entitled under the Settlement formula.

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12. How can I get a payment?

The only way to receive a Settlement payment was to complete and submit a Claim Form. The claim form submission deadline was October 30, 2017. Claim Forms must have been postmarked or filed online by this date. The Claims Administrator is no longer able to accept Claim Forms.

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13. What if I disagree with the work history shown in Section II of my Claim Form?

The deadline to file a claim and complete section IV (four) of the Claim Form was October 30, 2017. Failure to include written documentation will result in the information on the Claim Form being controlling. Prudential’s records are presumed correct unless you provide otherwise.

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14. When will I receive a payment?

On April 20, 2018, the Claims Administrator issued check payments via the US Postal Service to class members who submitted eligible claims. Please allow at least two weeks before writing the Claims Administrator to request a status update. Requests to reissue checks must be made in writing to info@PFIclassactionsettlement.com or to the address provided on the Contact Us page of this website.

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15. What if I do not want to be in the Settlement Class? How do I get out of the Settlement?

The deadline to exclude yourself passed on October 30, 2017. If you are a member of the Deductions Class or the Certified Deduction Class, and you do not want to participate in the Settlement and wish to retain your right to pursue your own independent action, you may exclude yourself, or “opt out”, of the Settlement by writing to the Claims Administrator at the address below, stating:

“I want to be excluded from the Prudential Settlement described in the Notice of Settlement in Civil Action No. 06-04359 (U.S.D.C., D.N.J.).”

Prudential Claims Administration Bouder v. Prudential Financial Inc. c/o GCG PO Box 10462 Dublin, OH 43017-4062

Your request to be excluded from the Settlement should include your full name and former name(s), if any, your home street address, city, state and zip code, your home telephone number, your mobile telephone number, your email address and the last four digits of your Social Security Number. You must sign and date this form.

By submitting this statement, it will be presumed that you have carefully reviewed the Class Notice and that you understand that excluding yourself from the Settlement means that you will not receive any money under the Settlement.

Your request to be excluded from the Settlement must be postmarked no later than October 30, 2017. If you submit a request to be excluded from the Settlement after that date, it will be rejected and you will be bound by the release of claims described above and all other Settlement terms.

If you are a Non-Deduction Wage Claimant or an Opt-In Plaintiff and you do NOT file a claim form, you will not have participated in the Settlement. You will not receive a settlement payment and you will not be bound by the release provisions in the Settlement Agreement.

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16. If I exclude myself, can I get money from the settlement?

No. If you properly submit a request to be excluded from the Settlement, you will not be eligible to receive a payment under the Settlement.

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17. If I exclude myself, can I sue Prudential for the same thing later?

If you are a member of the Deductions Class or Certified Deductions Class and you properly submit a request to be excluded from the Settlement, you will retain whatever legal rights you may have individually against Prudential with regard to the Released State Law Claims as those terms are defined in the Class Notice. You will be prohibited from initiating as a Named Plaintiff any other collective, class or aggregate action against the Releasees as a Named Plaintiff that concerns the claims asserted in the settled Action within the relevant Settlement Class Periods. You will not be precluded, to the extent you otherwise meet the class definition and the requirements of Rule 23, from being included solely as a Rule 23 class member in any other class action that has been or that may be filed against Prudential in the future so long as you do not institute any such class action or become a named plaintiff in any class action against Prudential.

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18. How do I tell the Court I do not like the Settlement? How do I object to the Settlement?

The deadline to submit an objection passed on October 30, 2017. If you are a member of the Deductions Class or Certified Deductions Class and do not opt out of the Settlement but believe that the proposed Settlement is unfair or inadequate in any respect, you may object to the Settlement, either personally or through an attorney at your own expense, by filing a written objection with the Court and mailing a copy of your written objection to Class Counsel, Counsel for Prudential, and the Claims Administrator at the following addresses:

Lead Class Counsel Counsel for Prudential Claims Administrator
LOVELL STEWART HALEBIAN JACOBSON LLP John Halebian 420 Lexington Avenue, Suite 2400 New York, New York 10170 SEYFARTH SHAW LLP David B. Ross Lorie Almon Gena Usenheimer 620 Eighth Avenue New York, New York 10018 Bouder v. Prudential Financial, Inc. c/o GCG PO Box 10462 Dublin, OH 43017-4062

Your objection must be postmarked no later than October 30, 2017.

All objections must be signed and set forth: (1) your full name; (2) address; (3) telephone number; (4) dates of employment or association with Prudential; (5) the last four digits of your social security number and contract number; (6) the basis of your objection; (7) whether you intend to appear at the Fairness Hearing; (8) specific reasons for your objection; (9) any and all evidence and supporting papers (including, briefs, written evidence, declarations, e.g.,), and (10) the name and case number of the Settled Lawsuits: Jeffrey Bouder, et al. vs. Prudential Financial Inc. and The Prudential Insurance Company of America, et al. and Jim Wang. vs. Prudential Financial, Inc. and The Prudential Insurance Company of America, et al., United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, Case No. 06-cv-04359 (CCC) (MF).

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19. What’s the difference between objecting and excluding?

Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you do not exclude yourself from the Settlement. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement. If you exclude yourself, you cannot object to the Settlement because the case no longer affects you.

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20. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

The attorneys for the Class and Collective Action in the Settled Lawsuits (“Class Counsel”) are:

LOVELL STEWART HALEBIAN JACOBSON LLP John Halebian Adam C. Mayes 420 Lexington Avenue, Suite 2400 New York, New York 10170 Telephone: (212) 500-5010 JERRY K. CIMMET Attorney at Law 177 Bovet Road, Suite 600 San Mateo, California 94402 Telephone: (650) 866-4700 WINNE, BANTA, BASRALIAN & KAHN, P.C. Kenneth Kaufmann Lehn Court Plaza South – East Wing, Suite 101 21 Main Street P.O. Box 647 Hackensack, New Jersey 07602 Telephone: (201) 487-3800
KESSLER TOPAZ MELTZER & CHECK, LLP Peter Muhic Monique Myatt Galloway 280 King of Prussia Road Radnor, Pennsylvania 19087 Telephone: (610) 667-7706 LAW OFFICES OF JOHN M. KELSON John M. Kelson 483 Ninth Street, Suite 200 Oakland, California 94607 Telephone: (510) 465-1326

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21. How will the lawyers be paid?

At the Fairness Hearing on December 11, 2017, the Court awarded Class Counsel attorneys’ fees in the amount of $4,166,666.67 (i.e., one-third of the Gross Settlement Amount), plus costs and expenses incurred in prosecuting the Settled Lawsuits on behalf of the Classes, in the amount of $178,923.16. Class Counsel were reimbursed for their services out of the Settlement Fund. You will not be personally responsible for any litigation costs or fees associated with this Settlement.

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22. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?

The Court held a Fairness Hearing on the fairness and adequacy of the proposed Settlement, the allocation and distribution of the Net Settlement Amount among Participating Claimants, Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees and costs, the administrative costs, Enhancement Payments, and Incentive Awards on December 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm in Courtroom MLK 5B of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, located at Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse, 50 Walnut Street, Newark, NJ 07101. The Settlement was approved by the Court.

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23. Do I need to come to the Fairness Hearing?

You were not required to appear to the hearing to participate in, or to opt out of, the Settlement.

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24. What happens if I do nothing?

If you are a member of the Deductions Class or Certified Deductions Class, and you do nothing in response to this Notice, you will not receive any payment under the Settlement, but you will be deemed to have released all of the Released State Law Claims against Prudential as set forth in the Class Notice.

If you are a Non-Deduction Wage Claimant or an Opt-In Plaintiff and you do nothing in response to the Class Notice, you will not be eligible to receive any of the payments under the Settlement. You will, however, retain whatever legal rights you may have against Prudential with regard to the Released State Law Claims and Released Federal Law Claims as those terms are defined in the Class Notice.

Opt-In Plaintiffs and Non-Deduction Wage Claimants who do not file a Qualifying Claim Form and who do not participate in this Settlement, shall be prohibited from initiating as a Named Plaintiff any other collective, class or aggregate action against the Releasees that concerns the claims asserted in the settled Action within the relevant Settlement Class Periods. You will not be precluded, to the extent you otherwise meet the class definition and the requirements of Rule 23, from being included solely as a Rule 23 class member in any other class action that has been or that may be filed against Prudential in the future so long as you do not institute any such class action or become a named plaintiff in any class action against Prudential.

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25. How can I change my name or address?

If, for future reference and mailings from the Court or Claims Administrator, you wish to change the name or address listed on the envelope in which the Class Notice was first mailed to you, you may change your name or address by writing to the Claims Administrator at the address listed on the Contact Us page of this website stating:

“I wish to change my name or address in connection with the Prudential Settlement described in the Notice of Settlement in a Civil Action No. 06-04359 (U.S.D.C., D.N.J.).”

Your request to change your name or address should include your former and current: full name, home street address, city, state and zip code, home telephone number, mobile telephone number, your email address and the last four digits of your social security number. For verification purposes, you will also be required to provide the month and year in which you first became affiliated with Prudential. You must sign and date this form.

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26. How can I request reissue of my check?

Check reissue requests must be submitted in writing to the Claims Administrator by email to info@PFIClassActionSettlement.com or by postal mail to the address provided on the Contact Us page of this website.

Your reissue request should include your former and current: full name, home street address, city, state and zip code, home telephone number, mobile telephone number, your email address and the last four digits of your social security number. For verification purposes, you must also provide the month and year in which you first became affiliated with Prudential.

If your request is complete your check will be reissued as soon as possible.

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27. How do I get more information?

You can get a complete copy of the Settlement Agreement by going to the Documents tab on this website. This website also has answers to common questions about the Settlement and other information to help you determine whether you are eligible for a payment. If after reading this information you still have questions, you may call the Claims Administrator at 1-844-402-8562 or send the Claims Administrator an email to info@PFIClassActionSettlement.com.

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