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Case Name In re Black Farmers' Discrimination Litigation FH-DC-0007
Docket / Court 08-mc-0511 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Public Benefits / Government Services
Attorney Organization Relman, Dane & Colfax
Case Summary
On April 14, 1999, a consent decree was approved in Pigford v. Glickman (FH-DC-0006 in this Clearinghouse; see "related cases", below), involving a class of thousands of African American farmers who had sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture over racially discriminatory farm loan denials. 1 ... read more >
On April 14, 1999, a consent decree was approved in Pigford v. Glickman (FH-DC-0006 in this Clearinghouse; see "related cases", below), involving a class of thousands of African American farmers who had sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture over racially discriminatory farm loan denials. 185 F.R.D. 82 (D.D.C. 1999). In the settlement, two "claim tracks" were created: Track A, which had a lower standard of proof of discrimination (paying up to $50,000 for credit claims and $3,000 for non-credit claims), and Track B, which required a preponderance of the evidence (paying up to $250,000). The deadline for claims under this settlement was October 12, 1999. The Consent Decree allowed claimants who could show "extraordinary circumstances" for missing the October 12 deadline could file at a later date, until the final deadline of September 15, 2000. 61,000 claims were brought late, but fewer than 3,000 were adjudicated based on the merits.

On May 22, 2008, the Food, Conservation and Energy Act (a/k/a "2008 Farm Bill") was enacted, providing claimants a right to pursue discrimination claims if they had petitioned to participate but did not get their petitions considered on the merits because they were filed late. Pub. L. 110-234, 122 Stat. 923. Section 14012 of the bill created a completely new cause of action for these "late-filers," which could be brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. This provision appropriated only $100 million for claims rewards. Subsequently, a large amount of suits were filed under this new cause of action.

On August 8, 2008, Judge Paul L. Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia consolidated 17 cases resulting from Section 14012 that were currently pending in the district court: Agee v. Schafer (C.A.. No. 08-0882); Kimbrough v. Schafer (08-0901); Adams v. Schafer (08-0919); National Black Farmers Association v. Schafer (08-0940); Bennet v. Schafer (08-0962); McKinney v. Schafer (08-1062); Bolton v. Schafer (08-1070); Copland v. Vilsack (08-1188); Hampton v. Schafer (08-1381); Robinson v. Schafer (08-1513); James v. Schafer (08-2220); Beckley v. Vilsack (09-1019); Sanders v. Vilsack (09-1318); Russell v. Vilsack (09-1323); Bridgeforth v. Vilsack (09-1401); Allen v. Vilsack (09-1422); and Anderson v. Vilsack (09-1507). All together, these matters were captioned In re Black Farmers' Litigation, and given the docket number 08-mc-0511.

On November 14, 2008, Plaintiffs filed their amended complaint, including a putative class of "All individuals: (1) who submitted late-filing requests under section 5(g) of the Pigford v. Glickman Consent Decree on or after October 13, 1999, and on or before June 18, 2008; but (2) who have not obtained a determination on the merits of their discrimination complaints, as defined by Section 1(h) of the Consent Decree."

On February 18, 2010, the parties came to a settlement agreement, which was submitted to the court. The settlement agreement created a class with the description language from the amended complaint (see above). This settlement maintained the two tracks of claims, established "neutrals" who were assigned to adjudicate the settlement claims, and created an ombudsman position, which was to act as the liaison between the claimants and the court. In return for the re-evaluation of late-filing claims, Plaintiffs agreed to move for dismissal of all pending consolidated cases, with prejudice, to be effective upon the court's final approval. After the execution of the initial form of the Settlement Agreement, six additional complaints were filed and consolidated with this case: Edwards v. Vilsack (10-0456); Latham v. Vilsack (10-0737); Andrews v. Vilsack (10-0801); Sanders v. Vilsack (10-1053); Johnson v. Vilsack (10-0839); and Abney v. Vilsack (10-1026).

On December 8, 2010, Congress passed the "Claims Resolution Act," which appropriate $1.15 billion to fund this settlement agreement. Pub. L. No. 111-291, §201, 124 Stat. 3064, 3070 (2010). On February 11, 2011, Judge Friedman approved this settlement agreement. The order fixed the claim period between November 14, 2011, and May 11, 2012.

On March 30, 2011, Plaintiffs filed an unopposed motion for certification of the settlement class, described above. Judge Friedman approved certified the settlement class on May 13, 2011. On October 27, 2011, Judge Friedman approved the final proposed class settlement. 820 F. Supp. 2d 78 (D.D.C. 2011).

On November 15, 2011, one of the Plaintiffs in the consolidated case, the Black Farmers and Agriculturalist Association (BFAA), moved for reconsideration of the settlement approval. The BFAA argued that the settlement should not have been approved because it unfairly prevented Plaintiffs the ability to pursue substantive relief under the Section 741 of the 1999 Farm Bill. This motion was denied on January 13, 2012, by Judge Friedman. 2012 WL 8007271 (D.D.C. 2012). The BFAA and another class member, Charlie Latham, appealed this denial to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. On July 25, 2012, the Court of Appeals, in a per curiam order, denied the reconsideration appeal for the BFAA because the BFAA is not an "individual" under the class settlement, therefore is not a part of the settlement. In the same order, the Court of Appeals also denied Latham's appeal because he had already received a determination on his Pigford claim. On February 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States denied BFAA and Latham's petition for a writ of certiorari.

On February 6, 2012, Stephen Carpenter was appointed the independent ombudsman per the settlement agreement. 842 F. Supp. 2d 190 (D.D.C. 2012).

On May 11, 2012, the claim process ended. The parties in this case moved on August 17, 2012 to alter the settlement to provide relief for claimants who missed the deadline for certain circumstances. On September 14, 2012, Judge Friedman approved this alteration of the settlement, which allowed claimants who made a claim before the May 11th deadline and made a prima facie showing of class membership but was not sent a claim form before May 1, 2012 to have their claim considered "timely" if resubmitted within 30 days of the approved alteration.

Dan Osher - 06/19/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Discrimination-area
Lending
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action None on record
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Agriculture
Plaintiff Description All individuals: (1) who submitted late-filing requests under section 5(g) of the Pigford v. Glickman Consent Decree on or after October 13, 1999, and on or before June 18, 2008; but (2) who have not obtained a determination on the merits of their discrimination complaints, as defined by Section 1(h) of the Consent Decree.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Relman, Dane & Colfax
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2011 - 2012
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing FH-DC-0006 : Pigford v. Glickman (D.D.C.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies The Pigford Cases: USDA Settlement of Discrimination Suits by Black Farmers
Written: Aug. 15, 2012
By: Tadlock Cowen & Jody Feder (Congressional Research Service)
Citation: (Congressional Research Service, Aug. 15, 2012)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:08-mc-511 (D.D.C.) 03/01/2016
FH-DC-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion and Order [Denying Certain Plaintiffs' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order] 02/11/2001 (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0007-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Consolidating Cases for All Purposes] 08/08/2008 (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order 11/07/2008 (587 F.Supp.2d 23) (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0007-0015.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Second Amended Complaint for Determination on the Merits and Damages Pursuant to § 14012 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 11/10/2008
FH-DC-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Defendant's Motion for Relief] 11/12/2009 (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0007-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
In re Black Farmers' Discrimination Litigation - Motion for Preliminary Approval of Settlement, Certification of a Rule 23(b)(1)(B) Settlement Class, and for other purposes [Settlement Attached] 03/30/2011
FH-DC-0007-0017.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Class Action Complaint to Determine Merits and Damages Pursuant to § 14012 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, as Amended 04/01/2011
FH-DC-0007-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
In re Black Farmers' Discrimination Litigation - Notice of Amendment of Exhibits to Motion for Prelminary Approval of Settlement, Certification of a Rule 23(b)(1)(B) Settlement Class, and for Other Purposes 05/13/2011
FH-DC-0007-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Preliminary Approval of Settlement Agreement, Certifying a Rule 23(b)(1)(B) Settlement Class, and for Other Purposes 05/13/2011 (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0007-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation - Settlement Agreement 05/13/2011
FH-DC-0007-0018.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order Regarding Fairness Hearing 08/26/2011 (806 F.Supp.2d 138) (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0007-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Opinon 10/27/2011 (820 F.Supp.2d 78) (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0007-0016.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion 10/27/2011 (856 F.Supp.2d 1) (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0007-0023.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Unopposed Second Motion for Approval of Certain Interim Settlement Implementation Costs and Disbursal of Funds for the Payment of Such Costs and Points and Authorities in Support Thereof and Proposed Order 11/11/2011 (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0007-0024.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order 01/13/2012 (2012 WL 8007271) (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0007-0020.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Reference: Appointment of Ombudsman 02/06/2012 (842 F.Supp.2d 190) (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0007-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum Opinion and Order [Denying BFAA's Motion for Reconsideration] 02/10/2012 (2012 WL 440719) (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0007-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum Opinion and Order [Denying Motion to Intervene] 07/11/2012 (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0007-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [USCA Order Granting Motion to Dismiss Consolidated Appeals] 07/25/2012 (2012 WL 10236550)
FH-DC-0007-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Order 09/14/2012 (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0007-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Class Counsel's Updated Motion For Award Of Attorneys’ Fees And Expenses 09/24/2012
FH-DC-0007-0021.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Friedman, Paul L. (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0007-0001 | FH-DC-0007-0003 | FH-DC-0007-0007 | FH-DC-0007-0008 | FH-DC-0007-0009 | FH-DC-0007-0011 | FH-DC-0007-0013 | FH-DC-0007-0014 | FH-DC-0007-0015 | FH-DC-0007-0016 | FH-DC-0007-0020 | FH-DC-0007-0023 | FH-DC-0007-0024 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Garland, Merrick B. (D.C. Circuit)
FH-DC-0007-0010
Kollar-Kotelly, Colleen (FISC, D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0007-0004
Rogers, Judith Ann Wilson (D.C. Circuit)
FH-DC-0007-0010
Tatel, David S. (D.C. Circuit)
FH-DC-0007-0010
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bell, David E. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Boutwell, Marc (Mississippi)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018
Bross, William L IV (Alabama)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017
Calton, Jimmy S Sr. (Alabama)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017
Calton, Walter B. (Alabama)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018
Calton, Jimmy Spurlock Jr. (Alabama)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018
Chew, Benjamin G (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Colfax, Reed N. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Cross, Othello C. (Arkansas)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018
Douglas, Gayle L (Alabama)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017
Edwards, Charles (Mississippi)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017
England-Albright, April A. (Alabama)
FH-DC-0007-9000
Espy, Mike (Mississippi)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Farrin, James Scott (North Carolina)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018
Fraas, Philip L (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Francis, Gregario (Florida)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018 | FH-DC-0007-0021 | FH-DC-0007-0024 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Garrison, William Lewis (Alabama)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018
Gleason, Don O (Mississippi)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018
Gowan, Stephen (Mississippi)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018
Haase, Eric P (North Carolina)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-0017
Hilliard, Robert C (Texas)
FH-DC-0007-9000
Kearney, Jesse L (Arkansas)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017
Kearney, Jude (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017
Klar, Jennifer I. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Lewis, Timothy K. (Pennsylvania)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018
Lieberman, Michael Wyld (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0006 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0024 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Malson, Laurel Pyke (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0006 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Mason, Gary E. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-9000
McEachin, Aston Donald (Virginia)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018
McHenry, Michael (Mississippi)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017
Merenstein, Bruce P (Pennsylvania)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017
Meyer, J. Andrew (Florida)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Millrood, Tobias L (Pennsylvania)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017
Pacella, Mario A (South Carolina)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017
Phelan, Brian P (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Pogust, Harris L (Pennsylvania)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Quillet, Ramona (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017
Relman, John Peter (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Riveira, Ashley R (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0002
Rutland, Michael A (Alabama)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018
Sanders, Rose Mary (Alabama)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Sanders, Harry (Alabama)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Sanders, Henry (Alabama)
FH-DC-0007-0018 | FH-DC-0007-0021
Sanders, Kindaka J (Alabama)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018 | FH-DC-0007-0024 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Sellers, Bakari (South Carolina)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017
Silver, David C (Florida)
FH-DC-0007-9000
Strom, Joseph P (South Carolina)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Varma, Anurag (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Wellington, Ralph G (Pennsylvania)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017
Wilkey, Robert N (Pennsylvania)
FH-DC-0007-0017
Defendant's Lawyers Coles-Huff, Doris Denise (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0018 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Contreras, Rudolph (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0018 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Crowley, Megan Anne (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-9000
Hines, Rachel J (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-9000
Moore, Tamra (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0018 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Phillips, Channing D (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0018
Sitcov, Michael (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0018 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Ulrich, Tamara Lynn (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0018 | FH-DC-0007-9000
West, Tony (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0018
Other Lawyers Brittenum, Dedrick Jr. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-9000
Frantz, David Joseph (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018 | FH-DC-0007-9000 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Gaiser, Ronald Otto Jr. (Alabama)
FH-DC-0007-9000
Marks, Andrew H (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-0002 | FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0006 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-0018 | FH-DC-0007-0021 | FH-DC-0007-0024 | FH-DC-0007-9000 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Martin, Precious Tyrone (Mississippi)
FH-DC-0007-9000
Pires, Alexander John Jr. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-9000
Robinson, Paul A Jr. (Tennessee)
FH-DC-0007-9000
Schulman, Adam (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0007-9000
Strauss, Jesse (New York)
FH-DC-0007-9000
Toure, Faya Rose (Alabama)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-9000 | FH-DC-0007-9000 | FH-DC-0007-9000
Weinstein, Scott William (Florida)
FH-DC-0007-0005 | FH-DC-0007-0017 | FH-DC-0007-9000 | FH-DC-0007-9000

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