SUPREME COURT DENIES REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF DISTRICT COURT RULING APPROVING FINAL PLAN FOR DISTRIBUTION OF REMAINING FUNDS — PREVAILING CLAIMANTS TO RECEIVE AN ADDITIONAL PAYMENT
On March 26, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court denied the request by two objectors for review of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruling affirming the district court’s decision approving the plan for distribution of the $380 million remaining in the settlement fund. Pursuant to the original Settlement Agreement, those funds could only be given to non-profit organizations which provide services to current Native American farmers. However, the District Court approved a modification under which the funds would be divided with approximately $76 million used to provide a supplemental payment to prevailing claimants, $38 million being directed immediately to non-profit organizations serving Native American farmers and ranchers, and $266 million being used to fund a Trust. With the Supreme Court’s decision, that ruling is now final. That ruling is described in detail here. The distribution of the $38 million is described in greater detail here here. The supplemental payments of $18,500 to each prevailing claimant, along with $2,775 to the IRS on behalf of each claimant were mailed on May 21, 2018. If you are a prevailing claimant and have an issue with your check, you can reach the Settlement Administrator at 888-233-5506 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plaintiffs have submitted a Final Report to Court on Payments From the Keepseagle Settlement Fund and Motion For Approval of Final Payments Including Supplemental Attorneys’ Fees, which you can view without exhibits here or the full version with exhibits here.
The claim filing deadline for the Keepseagle settlement was December 27, 2011. All determinations on claims have been issued at this time. For important tax information for successful claimants, please click here.
A $760 million Settlement with the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) has been reached in the Keepseagle v. Vilsack class action lawsuit. The lawsuit claimed the USDA discriminated against Native Americans by denying them equal access to credit in the USDA Farm Loan Program.
The lawsuit claims that the USDA denied thousands of Native American farmers and ranchers the same opportunities to get farm loans or loan servicing that were given to white farmers and ranchers. Plaintiffs also claim that the USDA did not do outreach to Native American farmers and ranchers or provide them with the technical assistance they needed to prepare applications for loans and loan servicing.
The Class includes all Native American farmers and ranchers who:
Farmed or ranched or attempted to farm or ranch between January 1, 1981 and November 24, 1999; and
Sought, or attempted to seek, a farm loan from the USDA during that period; and
Complained about discrimination to the USDA orally or in writing on their own or through a representative, such as a tribal government, during the same time period.
Excluded are claims of Class Members who either:
Experienced discrimination only between January 1 and November 23, 1997; or
Complained of discrimination only between July 1 and November 23, 1997.
This website will be updated as more information becomes available. Please check back periodically for important updates regarding the Settlement.