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Judge approves agreement between CFS, former employees

Updated:
TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A judge has approved a deal in which former employees of Commercial Financial Services Inc. would get a week's worth of pay for promising not to sue the company for laying them off without enough notice early last year.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dana L. Rasure informed attorneys in the case Thursday that CFS could make the settlement offer to 1,367
employees it laid off between Jan. 8 and Feb. 8, 1999.

In exchange, former employees of the defunct debt-collection company would sign a release promising not to sue over the layoff.

The company is already facing a class-action lawsuit contending the company violated federal law by not giving enough warning
before the layoffs.

"This settlement will make a lot of claims go away," CFS attorney Larry Wolfson said at a May 9 hearing in the case. "We won't know how many until we give them the opportunity."

The class-action lawsuit was filed by attorneys Jed Penney and Mitchell McCune, who in arguments before Rasure, described the CFS
offer as an attempt to circumvent the class-action lawsuit.

But Rasure took note of the lawsuit and said information including the trial date, and the name and phone number of attorneys representing the plaintiffs must be included in the settlement offer.

Settlement letters should begin arriving at the homes of former workers in July, said CFS spokeswoman Sharon Price.

CFS employed more than 3,900 people in Tulsa and Oklahoma City before it ran into money problems. It announced the layoffs Dec.
18, 1998, a week after it filed for bankruptcy.
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