The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled on $380-million that remained in a settlement intended to reimburse Native American farmers and ranchers in a discrimination case against the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This stems from a 2010 settlement dating back to 1999 when a group of Native Americans filed the lawsuit. They stated USDA discriminated against them in efforts to seek loans.
The USDA already paid $760-million in damages and debt relief but that left $380-million that remained.
Joseph M. Sellers of Cohen Milstein, who argued for the appellees stated, "We are pleased that the court has approved the distribution of these funds to serve thousands of Native American farmers and ranchers whose work is an essential part of our nation's economy and traditions. We look forward to putting the money to work to support farming and ranching among America's first farmers. Native American farmers and ranchers who have been fighting for themselves and their families for nearly a decade can finally bring this case to a close."
The decision puts an end to a landmark case and provides for an additional payment of $21,275 to each prevailing claimant; the balance of the funds will be distributed to not-for-profit organizations providing services to Native American farmers and ranchers.