RD Legal Funding to Finance Attorneys and Plaintiffs in Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation Settlement

date: 12/07/2011

CRESSKILL, NJ: Tens of thousands of black farmers who claimed they were wrongfully denied farm loans and other benefits by federal agricultural officials between 1981 and 1996 finally have access to settlement funds, as per an October 27, 2011 judge's order. The Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation Settlement provides $1.25 billion in total funding, which can be accessed by plaintiffs and their attorneys immediately by contacting RD Legal Funding, LLC ("RD Legal Funding").

Two original class action lawsuits: Pigford v. Glickman and Brewington v. Glickman, asserted that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had systematically discriminated against African-American farmers on the basis of race. The cases were consolidated then settled in 1999. The USDA agreed to pay $50,000 to each black farmer who participated in the lawsuit, representing the largest civil rights settlement in history.

However, as many as 85 percent of those qualifying did not learn of the settlement until it was too late to participate and never had their cases heard. The battle to win the bypassed claimants the right to participate in the so-called "Pigford case" has been a long one:

  • The 2008 Farm Bill passed by Congress provided Pigford participants whose petitions were filed late with a new right to sue, but provided only $100 million in funding for valid claims.
     
  • In February 2010, after two years of further litigation, attorneys representing tens of thousands of farmers entered into a settlement agreement with the USDA requiring Congress to fund an additional $1.15 billion for successful claimants.
     
  • That funding was signed into law (the Claims Resolution Act of 2010) by the president in December 2010.
     
  • The October 2011 order by Judge Paul L. Friedman of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted final approval of the Settlement.

RD Legal Funding is in the process of funding attorneys associated with the Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation Settlement and will begin funding plaintiffs once settlement amounts are finalized.

"We feel they've waited long enough," said Joseph Genovesi, Senior Vice President of New Business Development at RD Legal Funding. "While we now have an approved settlement with sufficient funding, it may still be many months before the courts deliver actual awards to plaintiffs and their attorneys receive the fees they have earned. RD Legal Funding is ready to provide attorneys and plaintiffs with the funds they are due without delay."

Founded in 1997, RD Legal Funding has established itself as one of the nation's leading providers of lawsuit settlement funding to attorneys. The firm recently expanded its business model to include post-settlement funding to plaintiffs.

Attorneys representing plaintiffs in the Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation, as well as plaintiffs themselves, should contact RD Legal Funding at 1-800-565-5177 for more information about settlement financing. For more information about RD Legal Funding, please visit www.legalfunding.com.


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