Law

Judge approves $760M settlement for Keepseagle lawsuit




A federal judge gave final approval to the $760 million settlement in the Keepseagle case.

Indian farmers and ranchers filed the class action in 1999. They said they denied loans and services at the Department of Agriculture.

Following a decade of litigation, the Obama administration agreed to a $760 million settlement -- $680 million in payments to Indian ranchers and farmers and $80 million for a loan forgiveness fund. Judge Emmet Sullivan said the deal was fair and approved $60.8 million in fees for the attorneys.

The settlement creates two tracks. For the first, those who can show they were the victims of discrimination and complained about it are eligible for payments of up to $50,000.

The second track allows payments of up to $250,000. Claimants must provide proof of actual economic losses after suffering discrimination and after complaining about it.

"This settlement would not have been reached without the leadership of Secretary [Tom] Vilsack and Attorney General [Eric] Holder, and I want to thank them both for their hard work on behalf of Native American farmers," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "Today’s approval of the settlement will help strengthen our nation to nation relationship with Indian Country and reinforce the idea that all citizens have a right to be treated fairly by their government."

Get the Story:
Indian Farmers Granted $760 Million from USDA (Indian Country Today 4/29)
Judge Approves $760M Native American Class Action Settlement (The Blog of Legal Times 4/28)
Judge OKs settlement with Indian farmers (AP 4/29)

Relevant Documents:
Plaintiffs Press Release | Settlement | Notice Form A | Notice Form B
Damages Award | Loan Debt Relief
Native American Farmers and Ranchers Council | Named Plaintiffs
President Obama Statement | USDA Press Release

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