Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott
Judge Paul L. Friedman in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a civil class action discrimination lawsuit opinion Thursday.
The Class Action Complaint was comprised of at least 400,000 black farmers. In Judge Friedman’s opinion he stated the farmers were “victims of race discrimination whose complaints have gone unanswered for decades. The defendant, the United States Department of Agriculture, supports the motion.”
African-American farmers were denied federal loans and benefits granted to white farmers between 1983 to 1997. The Pigford v. Glickman complaint was brought by farmers in 1997. They complaint to the USDA claimed that they failed to investigate their discrimination allegations. The opinion stated that “many farmers suffered severe financial losses including title to their farms.”
In 2010 the USDA agreed to a $1.25 billion settlement excluding a first settlement that Congress appropriated at $100 million. This final opinion awards the balance of $1.15 billion.
USDA Secretary Glickman as requested by then President Bill Clinton noted that the “USDA’s painful history … depicts the Department as a stubborn bureaucracy that refuses to provide equal opportunity for all as the law requires.”
Congressman Bobby Scott in a press release:
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott issued the following statement on today’s approval by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia of the settlement between the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and plaintiffs in the Pigford II class action lawsuit:
“This is an important final step in a long road to justice for the thousands of Black farmers that were discriminated against by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. I want to commend John Boyd, President of the National Black Farmers Association, for his tenacity in advocating for justice for these farmers and bringing their plight to my attention and the attention of my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus. Without the support of the CBC leading the way in calling for hearings, introducing and fighting for the passage of legislation to correct this injustice, this long overdue settlement would not have been possible. The work of Secretary Vilsack and Attorney General Holder in reaching this settlement and finally having it approved by a federal judge should also be recognized.”
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: National, Politics
Tags: black_history, lawsuit