STAMFORD, Conn., Jan. 6 -- Pitney Bowes Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary Pitney Bowes Credit Corporation (PBCC) reached a nationwide settlement of the remaining lawsuits concerning a program offered by PBCC to some of its leasing customers to replace equipment if it is lost, stolen or destroyed. Though the company prevailed in several prior, similar litigations concerning this program, it decided to settle in light of the costs, distractions and risk of ongoing litigations. The company continues to deny any liability in the lawsuits that generally allege that the program is mischaracterized in the lease contract and is not properly communicated.
Under the terms of the settlement, members of the class will receive certificates that may be used for purchases from the company's diverse supply operations. The company has also agreed to pay the attorneys' fees for the class of customers and the costs of administering the settlement. The company estimates that it will record a pre-tax charge in the fourth quarter of 2004 of approximately $20 million. The settlement is subject to approval by the state court in the pending Alabama case. The other cases, pending in state courts in California, Texas, and West Virginia, have been or will be dismissed as part of the settlement.
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