NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
New Haven, CT, United States, 2009/09/22 - Mehri & Skalet, PLLC, and Klafter Olsen & Lesser LLP, announce final court approval of $24.4 million class action, Mid-1900's race discrimination settlement with John Hancock.
On August 21, 2009, United States District Court Judge Janet Bond Arterton granted final approval of a $24.4 million race discrimination class action settlement with John Hancock Life Insurance Company. The case, filed in 2004, focused on John Hancock's historical practices prior to 1959 that allegedly denied African Americans the full range of available life insurance policies. In addition, the Plaintiff alleged that John Hancock had a policy of refusing life insurance to African Americans and denying commissions to sales agents for sales to African Americans. No finding of liability was made by the Court.
"We are pleased that the Court granted final approval, and we can focus on providing relief to the Class," said Seth Lesser, co-lead counsel.
The $24.4 Million settlement fund established by John Hancock Life Insurance Company (johnhancocksettlement.com) will be used to pay the claims of class members. Relief will be awarded on a per policy basis. Each class member who submits a valid claim as determined by the Special Master is entitled to up to $1,200 per Class Policy. The Honorable U.W. Clemon, retired U.S. District Court Judge, is serving as the Special Master. The deadline for submitting claims is November 19, 2009.
Any unused settlement funds will be distributed to organizations that benefit African-American communities. Civil rights attorney and law professor, John Brittain, will oversee the distribution of funds to organizations. Guidelines for applying for funds will be announced later this year.
"The settlement is extraordinary," said Cyrus Mehri, co-lead counsel,"It makes fair amends for historic practices by providing relief to those who were sold what we believe were inferior insurance policies and by giving a substantial amount of money back to the African American community."
Individuals seeking more information about the lawsuit, including information about making claims for individual monetary relief should visit the website or call. Individuals who use a TDD/TTY can call 1-866-905-8129. Reporters seeking further information should contact Lee-Ann Foster at lfoster[.]findjustice.com.
Contact: Plaintiff's Lead Counsel
Mehri & Skalet, PLLC
P: (202) 822-5100
Klafter Olsen & Lesser LLP
P: (914) 997-5656