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A federal judge in Kansas approved a final settlement in a class-action lawsuit between Sprint Corp. and nearly 1,700 former employees who claimed they were laid off because of their age. The two sides reached a $57 million settlement in May, which got its final approval by District Judge John Lungstrum. Roughly $20 million will go to the nearly 20 attorneys who handled the case for the plaintiffs, as well as other court costs, according to John Phillips, a Blackwell Sanders LLP lawyer who served as special master for the case.

Shirley Williams originally filed the discrimination case after she and several other employees were laid off in October 2001. Layoffs occurred again in March 2003.

The plaintiffs accused the company of using a computerized performance management system to determine which employees to let go. The plaintiffs contended that the system unfairly singled out employees older than 40.

A Sprint Nextel Corp. spokesman said at the time of the settlement agreement in May that the company settled the case to move on with business.

A Sprint Nextel representative was not immediately available for comment on Monday.


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