Judge Friedman continues his latest barage of orders in the In Re Black Farmers Discrimination case, eliminating side battles and paving the way to final adjudication and distribution of settlement checks.
What’s new today?
On January 29, 2013, Judge Friedman entered two more opinions and orders, essentially denying non-class members’ motions to be made a part of the class.
First, 28 individuals had filed a ”Motion in Support of Objection to Treatment and Petition to the Court for Arbitrator Review”, asking the court to allow them to participate in the settlement claims process despite the fact that they had been denied inclusion in the class by the Settlement Administrator. The individuals admitted that they lacked written documentation showing that they had made a late filing request in Pigford 1, a requirement to be a part of the In Re Black Farmers Discrimination class. However, the individuals requested inclusion in the settlement claims process because they met all the other requirements for class membership. Judge Friedman ruled that the Court only has the power to enforce the settlement and does not have the power to include individuals who do not meet all of the criteria for class membership. Therefore, he denied the individuals’ motion.
Second, an indivudual, Artis Mark, Jr., filed a motion seeking a temporary injunction and/or restraining order. The motion argued that he was wrongfully denied a claim package by the Settlement Administrator. The Court ruled, similar to the previous order, that it lacked the authority to second-guess determination made by the Settlement Administor regarding indivdual class membership determinations under the settlement agreement. The Court further noted that Mr. Mark did not provide any evidence that he had sent a request to participate in Pigford 1, a requirement to be a part of the In Re Black Farmers Discrimination class, so there was no reason to think that the Settlement Administrator had made a mistake in its determination. However, even if a mistake was made, the decision would not be subject to review by the Court. Therefore, the motion was denied.
What does this all mean?
More hurdles to the road to payment have been cleared by not allowing further adjudication review of claims from non-class members. Things seem to be heating up and we wouldn’t be surprised to see a ruling on attorneys’ fees any day now.
Don’t forget to see what other claims you may be eligible for here.