Joint motion filed over preliminary approval of Cobell settlement
The plaintiffs in the Indian trust fund lawsuit and the Obama administration filed a joint motion for preliminary approval of the $3.4 billion settlement in the case.

The motion says the settlement is in "the best interest of the class members and the United States." It recounts discussions that began in July 2009, followed by the announcement of the deal on December 8, 2009, and ends with Congressional approval of the settlement this month.

As part of the agreement, the plaintiffs agreed to attorneys' fees between $50 million and $99.9 million. But the plaintiffs, in a separate notice, say they are entitled to recover $223 million.

The final decision will be made by Judge Thomas Hogan. If the amount falls between $50 million and $99.9 million, the plaintiffs and the administration agreed not to pursue an appeal on this issue.

The notice also states that lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell is seeking a $2 million incentive payment. Named plaintiff Louis LaRose will seek $200,000; Thomas Maulson is requesting $150,000; and Penny Cleghorn, the daughter of the late named plaintiff Mildred Cleghorn, is asking for $150,000.

The four named plaintiffs also plan to seek $10.5 million to recover the costs associated with pursuing the lawsuit. Such payments are common in class action lawsuits.

Hogan will hold a preliminary approval hearing on December 21 at 2pm in Courtroom 25A of the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C.

Get the Story:
Plaintiffs' Lawyers: Fee Cap in Cobell Suit Conflicts With Law (The Blog of Legal Times 12/14)

Cobell Settlement Documents:
Agreement | Press Release | Q&A | Audio

Relevant Documents:
Elouise Cobell | President Obama | DOJ/DOI/USDA | Roll Call
NCAI | Sen. Dorgan | Sen. Baucus | Rep. Cole | Rep. Pallone

Related Stories:
Editorial: Long awaited justice over Indian trust fund settlement (12/13)
Jen Bloom: Cobell settlement no victory for Indian beneficiaries (12/13)
Democracy Now: Obama signs bill with Cobell settlement into law (12/9)
President Obama to sign bill with Cobell settlement this afternoon (12/8)
Obama to sign bill with Cobell settlement into law on Wednesday (12/6)
Column: A little justice for Indian land owners in trust settlement (12/6)
Column: Years of hard work end with settlement in Cobell lawsuit (12/6)
Elouise Cobell provides update on status of trust fund settlement (12/3)
Sen. Baucus to hold press conference in Montana for Cobell case (12/2)
Ken Salazar: Settlements fulfilling our promises in Indian Country (12/1)
CNC: Reaction from Elouise Cobell on final passage of settlement (12/1)
Cobell settlement heads to White House after clearing Congress (12/1)
House passes package with Cobell and tribal water settlements (11/30)
David Hayes: Settlements honor our pledges to First Americans (11/30)
Audio for White House conference call on Claims Settlement Act (11/29)
Editorial: House must take action to pass the Cobell settlement (11/29)
Editorial: Small slices of justice for Native American landowners (11/29)
Editorial: Indians in Montana benefit from claims settlement bill (11/29)
Elouise Cobell provides update about action on trust fund lawsuit (11/23)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe chairman opposes Cobell settlement (11/23)
NPR: NCAI president discusses settlement of Indian trust lawsuit (11/23)
Editorial: Overdue justice for Indian landowners with settlement (11/23)
Senate finally approves $3.4B settlement for Indian trust lawsuit (11/22)
Congress heads back to DC with Cobell settlement still in limbo (11/15)
Sen. Tester worried about finding money to pay Cobell settlement (11/05)
Justice Department honors attorneys who work on Cobell case (10/27)
Cobell calls $3.5B settlement 'best we're going to get' in case (10/18)
Judge hopes for 'one last chance' for Congress to support Cobell (10/15)
Opinion: Time to pass Cobell and African-American settlements (10/08)
Elouise Cobell provides update about state of trust settlement (10/4)
Cobell worried about ties to African-American farmers lawsuit (10/4)
Cobell settlement changed to give more money to beneficiaries (10/1)
Elouise Cobell statement on lack of Senate vote for settlement (9/30)
Republican opposition kills vote on Cobell settlement in Senate (9/30)
Cobell probably not included in stopgap appropriations measure (9/28)
Cobell not included in bill for African-American farmer settlement (9/27)
Editorial: Time running out for Senate to act on Cobell settlement (9/24)
Marty Two Bulls: Something stinky about Cobell trust settlement (9/24)
John Boyd: Cobell lawsuit delaying African-American settlement (9/23)
African-American farmers don't want settlement linked to Cobell (9/22)
Shakopee Tribe awards $50K grant for Cobell case documentary (9/20)
White House asks Congress to fund $3.4B Cobell trust settlement (9/16)
Elouise Cobell: Sen. Barrasso needs to work for trust settlement (9/13)
Obama calls trust fund settlement 'priority' at press conference (9/13)

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