BIG news in the Black Farmers Discrimination case. Judge Friedman has asked class counsel and the USDA to respond to several requests for reconsideration by denied plaintiffs…
On December 27, 2013, Judge Friedman allowed five requests for reconsideration by denied claimants to be filed on the Court docket. Some of the requests took the form of motions, while others were simply letters to the Court.
On December 30, 2013, Judge Friedman issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order referencing these requests.
The order stated, “Since the issuance by the Claims Administrator of claims decisions in this case, the Court has received hundreds of letters and pro se motions from non-prevailing claimants who seek reconsideration of their claim determinations.” The Judge decided that rather than file all of the requests for reconsideration on the docket, he would allow a representative sample of five requests to be filed and seek responses to those representative requests from class counsel and the USDA.
One of the representative bases for reconsideration include the complaint that a “claim was denied based on a determination that the claimant ‘failed to prove that [he or she] complained of discrimination to an official of the United States Government on or before July 1, 1997, regarding USDA’s treatment of [the claimant] in response to [his or her] application or constructive application.’”
Others complain of denial based on the “Claims Administrator’s determination that he or she “failed to prove that [he or she] applied, or constructively applied, for a specific farm credit transaction at a USDA office between January 1, 1981, and December 31, 1996.”
Still others complain that “they relied on the assistance of class counsel in preparing their claim forms, yet still were denied.”
Despite the Settlement Agreement’s strict “no reconsideration by the court” language, Judge Friedman states, “the Court would be assisted in deciding whether there are any available grounds for obtaining reconsideration of claim determinations by having the views of class counsel and the government” indicating that he might be willing to grant some of the requests for reconsideration.
The Judge ordered class counsel and the USDA to file a response to the five filed requests for reconsideration by January 30, 2014!
If you’ve been denied, you will want to keep checking back to see how things progress.
The full order can be found here: 12-31-13 Order