Law | National

Judge approves expedited payments for Keepseagle settlement

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., approved expedited payments in the $760 million Keepseagle settlement over discrimination at the Department of Agriculture.

The settlement created two tracks. Indian farmers and ranchers whose claims were approved under Track A will receive a check of up to $50,000 sooner than expected.

"We want to applaud the USDA for joining the plaintiffs in asking the Court to allow the early release of funds to many of the Native American farmers and ranchers eligible to receive settlement payments. Given the hardship many face from the severe and ongoing drought, earlier distribution of these funds is particularly important," lead counsel Joseph Sellers said in a press release.

Sellers said determinations for Track A claimants will be mailed out no later than August 29. This track required farmers and ranchers to show they were the victims of discrimination and complained about it to the USDA.

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

Sellers said Track B determinations will be sent by the end of October 2012.

The settlement includes $680 million in payments for Track A and Track B. It also includes $80 million for loan forgiveness.

Sellers said information about debt relief will also be sent out by the end of October 2012.

Get the Story:
Press Release: Drought Prompts Federal Court to Expedite Paying Native American USDA Discrimination Settlement Claims (Cohen Milstein Sellers and Toll 8/1)

Related Stories:
Council for Native American Farming and Ranching picks named (5/25)
At least 5,100 claims filed for share of Keepseagle settlement (01/12)
Deadline approaches for claims in Keepseagle settlement (12/13)
Native Sun News: Keepseagle litigation settled after 11 years (10/13)
Tom Vilsack: Making the Agriculture Department open to all (05/20)
Claims for $760M Keepseagle settlement due December 24 (05/11)

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