Plaintiffs’ counsel seek to add even more individuals as eligible claimants.
On May 24, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Further Modification of Final Order and Judgment…
Judge Friedman has already signed two orders modifying the Final Judgment in this case on September 14, 2012 and February 14, 2013 to allow otherwise ineligible claimants to have a claim determination made by the Claims Administrator.
Now plaintiffs seek a court order allowing 384 previously “denied as incomplete” claims to be reviewed by the court appointed Neutrals due to the unfair circumstances of the “incomplete” determination. USDA has indicated that it opposes the motion.
According to plaintiffs, a portion of the 384 ”denied as incomplete” claimants received a “Your Claim is Not Complete Form.” Following receipt of such a letter, under the Settlement Agreement, “denied as incomplete” claimants have 30 days to remedy the incomplete forms. However, those claimants, following receipt of the “Your Claim is Not Complete Form”, received from the Claims Administrator a “Courtesy Claim” Letter or an “Acknowledgement” Letter which advised the Claimants that “[t]h[e] letter does not require any action on your part” or that the Claims Administrator “will contact you if additional information is needed to evaluate your claim.”
Plaintiffs claims that these statements, sent after the “Your Claim is Not Complete Form”, potentially confused ”denied as incomplete” claimants into thinking that they did not have to take steps within 30 days to remedy their incomplete claim forms as required by the Settlement Agreement. These claimants were therefore denied unfairly. The plaintiffs request the Court to allow these claimants to have their claims re-evaluated by the Neutrals as long as they submitted a completed claim form by April 15, 2013.
Further, a portion of the 384 ”denied as incomplete” claimants received a “Your Claim is Not Complete Form” because certain spaces on the claim form which were required to be filled out were left blank. These claimants did not remedy their claim forms within 30 and were therefore denied. However, in looking at the claim forms as a whole, the required information requested in the blank spaces was included in the claim form in other areas. The plaintiffs request the Court to order the Neutrals to re-evaluate these claim forms and make a determination on the merits.
Will these requests delay payment of settlement checks? It’s unclear at this point but may require the Neutrals to spend more time looking at up to 384 claim form packages. We will update you when the judge rules on the motion.