Friday, October 28, 2011

Judge Approves Historic Settlement For Black Farmers



Tens of thousands of American farmers who suffered racial discrimination by the U.S. Agriculture Department in the 1980s and '90s may start getting compensation from a $1.25 billion settlement, a federal judge has ruled.

"I'm very pleased that this has resolved itself," U.S. District judge Paul Friedman said Friday. "It will provide relief to an awful lot of people."

In an opinion filed in the case, Friedman deemed fair a proposed settlement that provides a system of compensation for black farmers who joined a class-action lawsuit claiming that they can prove racial bias in decisions related to Agriculture Department programs and support.
"Historical discrimination cannot be undone," Friedman wrote, citing a basis to establish payments "for the broken promise to those African-American farmers and their descendants."

As many as 68,000 African-American farmers who filed between 1999 and 2008 would apply for one of two forms of relief: "Track A" for a qualified claimant would lead to an uncontested payout of $50,000 after taxes, and "Track B" could yield up to $250,000 for damages that are substantiated by documents and other evidence.

Read more here: Judge Approves Historic Settlement For Black Farmers

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