The Pigford v. Glickman class action lawsuit claimed that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had discriminated against African-American farmers in awarding disaster relief, support loans and other government funding, according to Snopes.com. The initial lawsuit was filed by Timothy Pigford in 1997, and it eventually resulted in settlements for over 15,000 claimants.
In 1999, a U.S. District Court approved a settlement for thousands of African-American farmers who filed discrimination claims against the U.S. Department of Agriculture between 1983 and 1997, says FactCheck. The decision provided two ways for claimants to seek damages. Farmers could ask for $50,000, a tax break and loan forgiveness, or they could calculate the specific amount of damages caused by the discriminatory practices of the Department of Agriculture.
The judgement in Pigford v. Glickman specified October 12, 1999, as the deadline for filing a claim, but thousands of claimants filed late, and the court subsequently denied them, explains FactCheck. This led to congressional hearings and further lawsuits that were ultimately consolidated into a legal case called "In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation." Congressional bills in 2006 and 2007 sought to offer farmers with late claims an opportunity to have their cases decided on merit, but these were defeated. In 2008, Congress passed a farm appropriations bill that included $100 million and gave courts permission to rule on late claims.