On November 7, 2012, the Ombudsman filed with the Court its first report on the good faith implementation of the settlement in the In Re Black Farmers Settlement. More than 30,000 claim packages were submitted to the settlement administrator through September 30th. The report is very (overly) complimentary of class counsel and the settlement administrator. The report concluded that the parties and neutrals acted in good faith implementing the first phase of the settlement.
The 36 page report spends a lot of wasted pages going through the background of the case. As of October 5, 2012, 96,539 claim forms had been sent to potential claimants in this case. Class counsel has conducted 384 group meetings with potential claimants, met with 21,857 individuals in person, and spoken with about 3,644 individuals by phone. Approximately 39,905 claim packages have been submitted to the Claims Administrator and about 33,089 have been determined to be complete.
According to the report, evaluation of the claim forms by the court appointed neutrals are “well underway.” “After the evaluations are complete, claimants will be contacted and eventually payments will be made to claimants.” One would hope that “eventually” payments will be made to class member claimants. The report’s conclusion is simply a cut and paste job of the introduction and the whole report reads like a school project without providing any significantly important information. We’re interested to know how much the ombudsmen are getting paid out of the settlement fund.
We’ll hope for a more definite answer on payment in future posts. In the meantime, check out other news on class action settlements.