The Palm Beach Post, FEBRUARY 2001
Fifteen Palm Beach County residents have accused Prudential Insurance of using deceptive sales tactics and are seeking $1 billion in damages.
County Circuit Judge Peter Blanc was to begin hearing pretrial motions in the case in January. Jury selection is set for Feb. 1 and the trial is expected to last at least 10 weeks.
The residents filed their own lawsuit after deciding a national class action would not get them the damages they wanted, said David Sheller, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs.
Prudential settled the national lawsuit in 1997, agreeing to pay customers $2.4 billion, an average of roughly $220 for each of the 10.7 million policies it sold from 1982 through 1995.
Attorneys for the 15 plaintiffs said Prudential agents falsely promised customers that policies they purchased would be paid for in a few years. In reality, contracts required policyholders to make premium payments for life or risk having the policy lapse.
The lawsuit accuses agents of misleading policyholders by persuading them to upgrade to more expensive policies by promising the upgrades wouldn’t cost more.