University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Cantu v. United States FH-DC-0011
Docket / Court 1:11-cv-00541-RBW-JMF ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
Case Summary
On March 15, 2011, a group of Hispanic farmers and ranchers brought suit against the United States and the U.S. Department of Agriculture ("USDA") in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, were potential claimants in ... read more >
On March 15, 2011, a group of Hispanic farmers and ranchers brought suit against the United States and the U.S. Department of Agriculture ("USDA") in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, were potential claimants in the proposed settlement agreement in Garcia v. Vilsack, an earlier case in which a group of Hispanic farmers and ranchers filed suit against the USDA, claiming that the USDA had systematically denied Hispanics farmers and ranchers loans and loan servicing in the 1990s. In this case, Plaintiffs claimed that Defendants had violated their 5th Amendment equal protection and due process rights by offering a settlement agreement unequal to the settlement agreement offered to African American, Native American, and
On May 11, 2011, the US moved to dismiss the case, stating that Plaintiffs lacked standing, were attempting improper claim splitting, were time barred, and denying unlawful conduct. Plaintiffs moved to certify the class on June 11, 2011, and Defendants moved on June 14 to stay the certification motion pending adjudication of the motion to dismiss. On November 11, 2011, Judge Reggie B. Walton entered an order asking parties to clarify whether Plaintiffs' claims were ripe, given that the settlement agreement in Garcia had not been formally proposed. On December 21, 2011, Judge Walton entered an order denying all extant motions without prejudice, and holding the case in abeyance pending an announcement of the final version of Defendants' ADR program, because this suit would be unripe until the settlement agreement was formally proposed.

On January 20, 2012, Defendants in the Garcia case submitted the proposed framework for the settlement agreement. Based on the proposal, Plaintiffs in this case submitted their first amended complaint on April 13, 2012, and Judge Walton lifted the stay on the case on August 24, 2012. The US then moved the court to dismiss the amended complaint on September 24, 2012. On December 11, 2012, Judge Walton granted the defendants' motion to dismiss, ruling that there was no injury because participation in the administrative claims process was optional, and that the suit lacked redressability because the court had no way of compelling the government to propose a specific settlement agreement. 908 F. Supp. 2d 146.

On February 15, 2013, the plaintiffs entered a notice of appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (case 13-05044). This appeal is currently pending.

On May 14, 2015, the case was administratively reopened. On October 26, 2015, the defendant filed a report regarding the voluntary alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program established for farmers who allege discrimination in making or servicing farm loans based on being Hispanic or female. The Claims Adjudicator approved a total of 3,210 claims in the ADR program. As of October 23, 2015, USDA reported as follows: A total of 2,847 of the approved claims had been paid by the Judgment Fund, and another 126 claims were in process.

Dan Osher - 07/07/2013
Asma Husain - 02/21/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Bank or credit provider
Discrimination-area
Lending
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) United States
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs in Garcia v. Vilsack who are potential claimants in the Defendants' administrative claim process for Hispanic farmers.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing FH-DC-0010 : Garcia v. Vilsack (D.D.C.)
Docket(s)
1:11-cv-00541-RBW (D.D.C.) 10/26/2015
FH-DC-0011-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint for Declaratory, Injunctive, and Other Relief 05/15/2011 (2011 WL 884416)
FH-DC-0011-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 12/21/2011 (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0011-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Class Action Complaint for Declaratory, Injunctive, and Other Relief 06/13/2012
FH-DC-0011-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion 12/11/2012 (2012 WL 6137032) (D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0011-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Status Report [for defendant] 06/08/2015
FH-DC-0011-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Status Report [for defendant] 10/26/2015
FH-DC-0011-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Walton, Reggie B. (FISC, D.D.C.)
FH-DC-0011-0002 | FH-DC-0011-0004 | FH-DC-0011-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Feinberg, Adam P (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0011-0003 | FH-DC-0011-9000
Ferguson, Laura G (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0011-9000
Herman, Andrew Dewald (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0011-9000
Hibey, Richard A (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0011-0003 | FH-DC-0011-9000
Hill, Stephen S (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0011-0001 | FH-DC-0011-9000
Kossak, Jonathan D (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0011-9000
Ruyak, Robert F. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0011-0003 | FH-DC-0011-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cohen, Vincent H. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0011-0005
Mizer, Benjamin C. (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0011-0005 | FH-DC-0011-0006
Olson, Lisa A (District of Columbia)
FH-DC-0011-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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