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What was the Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation case about?

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Quick Answer

The black farmers discrimination case was a class-action lawsuit that accused the U.S. Department of Agriculture of discriminating against African-American farmers, according to the Black Farmers Claims Administrator. In 1997 and 1998, lawyers filed two class-action discrimination lawsuits, known as Pigford v. Glickman and Brewington v. Glickman, against the USDA. In 1999, these were combined and settled in the largest civil rights case in U.S. history.

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Full Answer

In 2011, Judge Paul Friedman approved a settlement in the case ultimately known as "In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation," which eventually combined a total of 23 lawsuits against the USDA, explains the Black Farmer's Claims Administrator. This settlement culminated several years of court proceedings as well as the congressional and presidential actions required to fund the settlement. The initial settlement required claimants in the original two cases to file their claims by October 1999, and it set September 2000 as the late-filing deadline. Over 58,000 claimants filed late claims but never had their cases reviewed, which led to the passage of a law in the 2008 Farm Bill that allowed these cases to be pursued. In 2011, Judge Friedman ordered the final approval of a settlement agreement in the case and stipulated that all claims must be submitted between November 14, 2011 and May 11, 2012.

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