In Love v. Vilsack, Female farmers sued the USDA in a class action lawsuit, claiming discrimination based on gender. Similar claims were made on behalf of Hispanic Farmers in Garcia v. Vilsack based on race. As part of a settlement process, the USDA has implemented an administrative claims process for both female and Hispanic farmers to claim settlements of up to $250,000.
Plaintiffs in the Love case subsequently filed an Amended Complaint with the court, arguing that the USDA’s administrative claims process was confusing and “significantly inferior to the administrative programs offered to African-American and Native American farmers who suffered similar discrimination and filed virtually identical complaints” in the Pigford I, In Re Black Farmers Discrimination, and Keepseagle settlements.
The Court issued an Order granting the government’s motion to dismiss certain counts of the Amended Complaint because it could not legally provide the relief sought by the plaintiffs so there was no standing to allege those counts. The Court also noted that the USDA’s administrative claims process was voluntary, not mandatory.
Female and Hispanic farmers still have until March 25, 2013 to file claims as part of the administrative claims process.