Cresskill, NJ: The USDA celebrates its 150th anniversary on May 15th four days after the May 11th final deadline for Pigford II plaintiffs to file their claims to be eligible for an award under the Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation Settlement, also known as "the Black Farmers Case" or Pigford II.
This landmark class action settlement claimed the USDA systematically practiced racial discrimination against black farmers who applied for farm loans and assistance between 1983 and 1997. No claims will be awarded until all claims have been received and reviewed which means a late 2012 date for settlement payments at the earliest, but likely much later. RD Legal Funding, LLC (“RD Legal”), a post-settlement financing company that provides funding for lawsuits, is offering immediate compensation to qualified plaintiffs to help ease their financial hardship.
President Abraham Lincoln founded the USDA on May 15th, 1862. In January of 1863 he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing four million black slaves, the majority of whom dreamed of owning and farming their own land. In 1910, nearly one million black farmers in the U.S. owned a total of 15 million acres; by 1969 they held only 6 million acres. In 1920, blacks owned 14% of the nation's farms; today, there are only 18,000 black farmers, representing less than 1% of all farms (pbs.org/itvs/homecoming/history.html). According to one estimate, black family farms are disappearing at the rate of 1000 acres per day. (brasschecktv.com/videos/food/black-farmers-in-the-us.html)
A major contributing factor to the end of the African-American farming way of life was the USDA’s failure to equably execute the government’s policy on farming, agriculture and food. A 1982 report issued by the Civil Rights Commission stated that the USDA was "a catalyst in the decline of the black farmer." That year, African-Americans received only 1% of all farm ownership loans, only 2.5% of all farm operating loans, and only 1% of all soil and water conservation loans (pbs.org/itvs/homecoming/history7.html).
While attorneys representing the Pigford II plaintiffs have negotiated a halt to new foreclosure actions while a plaintiff’s claims under the Settlement are pending, nothing can be done about foreclosure actions initiated before the date of the Settlement Agreement. Additionally, Class Counsel cannot forestall any actions short of foreclosure.
Interim settlement funding can help Black farmers and their families and inheritors sustain their traditional way of life. RD Legal provides personalized service and quick turnaround. Once the necessary documentation is received, RD Legal can wire funds within days.
Attorneys representing plaintiffs and plaintiffs themselves should contact RD Legal at 1-800-565-5177 for more information about settlement financing.
Founded in 1997, RD Legal has established itself as one of the nation's leading providers of lawsuit settlement funding to attorneys and plaintiffs. For more information about RD Legal, please visit http://www.legalfunding.com.