July 13, 2011
In November 2010, Congress authorized nearly $4.6 billion to fund the settlements in two class-action discrimination lawsuits on behalf of African-American farmers unfairly denied farm credit and Native American tribes whose trust accounts were mismanaged by the Department of Interior.
On July 13, 2011, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives issued an excellent press release summarizing the recent preliminary judicial approval and next steps towards resolution of the black farmer (Pigford II) settlement.
This settlement is only for those persons who were denied the opportunity to participate in the settlement of the original Pigford case because they filed their petition after the original claim deadline of October 12, 1999.
The settlement is currently in the “notice” phase of settlement, during which the court is reaching out to potential claimants to inform them of information about the lawsuit. There is also class-action legal help available to assist potential claimants in obtaining the claims package and filing claims. Find out more about filing at the informational website for the settlement, or call (877) 810-8110.
Judge Paul Friedman, who is presiding over the settlement process, will hold a hearing in his court in Washington, D.C., on September 1, 2011, to hear from anyone who wants to object to or comment on the settlement. Once the judge has issued his final approval of the settlement, expected in September 2011, claimants will have 180 days to file a petition.
According to the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, “It is expected that no funds for successful claimants will be distributed until, perhaps, sometime in late 2012. The reason for the delay in the distribution is that the amount of the awards for successful claimants cannot be determined until it is known how many total claimants are successful.”
To find out more about the history of the Pigford and Pigford II cases, read NSAC’s previous blog posts, or visit the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. You can also download the full settlement in pdf form.
Categories: Beginning and Minority Farmers