Law Firms File Discrimination Lawsuit For More Than 15,000 African American Farmers Who Claim They Were Racially Discriminated Against by the USDA

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Recent Discrimination Suit Filing Brings Total Number of Clients Who Have Filed Suit To More than 18,000 African American Farmers

We will continue to host meetings around the country until every eligible black farmer is represented by our legal team

Six law firms, Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders Pettaway & Campbell (Alabama), McEachin & Gee (Virginia), James Scott Farrin (North Carolina), Pogust, Braslow & Millrood (Pennsylvania and New Jersey), Conlon, Frantz & Phelan (Washington, D.C.), and Phillip L. Fraas (Washington, D.C.), filed a third claim on a lawsuit on Thursday, August 7, 2008, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Case number 1:08-cv-00940).

Brought under the Food and Energy Security Act of 2008, the discrimination lawsuit was filed on behalf of 15,392 African American Farmers seeking a determination on the merits of their "Pigford claims," and damages for unlawful race-based discrimination in the processing of their applications or in their attempts to apply for participation in federal farm credit or benefit programs.

On April 14, 1999, Judge Paul L. Friedman wrote in a Consent Decree as part of the original Pigford litigation concerning government discrimination against African American farmers that black farmers who were victims of discrimination were entitled to compensation. Despite the court's intention, tens of thousands of African American farmers were never able to have their claims reviewed. The new legislation, proposed in part by Senator Barack Obama, effectively reopened the original Pigford v. Glickman case. Eligible black farmers who filed late claims of racial discrimination in the Pigford case, can now proceed with a new case to finally receive a determination on the merits of their individual claims.

"Today's filing is a huge step in the right direction for justice for NBFA members," said John Boyd President and founder of the National Black Farmers Association. "We will continue to host meetings around the country until every eligible black farmer is represented by our legal team," Boyd continued. "It is my personal commitment that no late filer is left behind, and it is vitally important for all black farmers to act swiftly by obtaining counsel now," Boyd concluded.

McEachin & Gee, Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders Pettaway & Campbell, Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, Pogust, Braslow & Millrood, Conlon, Frantz & Phelan, and Phillip L. Fraas are the only firms endorsed by the National Black Farmers' Association. These firms are also working with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, and the law firms collectively represent over 60,000 black farmers.

The firms have set up an informational website, http://www.blackfarmerclaims.com, as well as an information line at 1 (866) 472-7826, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information please contact Eric Sanchez by email at publicrelations@farrin.com.

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