Friday, February 19, 2010

US Government Settles with Black Farmers

Yesterday the USDA and the Department of Justice announced a settlement in a lawsuit by black farmers who claimed discrimination by the USDA. The government -- contingent on appropriation by Congress -- will pay $1.25 billion to claimants in the class.

This is actually the second settlment in the case, Pigford v. Vilsack (originally Pigford v. Glickman): thousands of claims have been adjudicated under a 1999 consent decree. The government paid out over $1 billion to about 16,000 farmers. USDA Reaches New Settlement With Black Farmers, N.Y. Times, Feb. 18, 2010.

The 1999 consent decress established a monitor to (1) report on the implementation of the Consent Decree; (2) attempt to resolve problems that class members may have with respect to the Consent Decree; (3) decide the merits of Petitions for Monitor Review; and (4) set up a toll-free number to respond to the questions of class members. The monitor's website is here.

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