Activist Vows to Appeal Dismissed Slavery Lawsuit

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"We will keep up the court battle for restitution from corporations complicit in slavery until justice is served", vows Deadria Farmer-Paellmann, pioneer in the effort for restitution from tainted corporations, and lead plaintiff in a lawsuit recently dismissed.

On July 6, 2005 nine slavery reparations class action lawsuits against corporations being heard in the Northern District Federal Court of Illinois were dismissed by Judge Charles R. Norgle -- In Re: African American Slave Descendants, CV-02-7764(CRN).

The lawsuits, filed between March 2002 and January 2003, targeted 18 corporations for causing injuries plaintiffs suffer from as a result of the enslavement of their ancestors, and for consumer fraud injuries they recently incurred as a result of defendants making false statements about their roles in slavery.

The Court stated, as a key basis for the dismissals, that none of the plaintiffs had any links to the defendants in the actions.

Deadria Farmer-Paellmann, the lead plaintiff in the cases and pioneer of the corporate restitution effort said: "The Court misstates the truth. I have direct links to every defendant in the class action I filed." The defendants in her case are Aetna, FleetBoston (Bank of America), and the railroad company CSX.

Farmer-Paellmann claims that Aetna wrote a life insurance policy on her ancestor Abel who was enslaved in South Carolina. She obtained evidence of the policy from the California Slavery Era Insurance Registry published in 2002 based on a law introduced by California Senator Tom Hayden.

Farmer-Paellmann also claims that she was a consumer of FleetBoston and CSX and lost money as a result of being mislead about their roles in slavery -- recent consumer fraud.

Prior to filing the complaint, the Court allowed Farmer-Paellmann's counselors to withdraw from representing her, the Court refused to allow her to represent herself, and it refused to allow her to withdraw from the litigation.

She was forced to remain in the litigation without any control over her case -- a violation of her Constitutional "due process" right.

Consequently, details about her links to defendants were excluded from a complaint filed by counsel who do not represent her. These facts were included in other court documents, but the Court chose not to recognize them in its decision.

"I cannot let this injustice prevail," said Farmer-Paellmann.

"This corporate restitution effort will only intensify because African Americans want justice for slavery, and we are consumers of these companies," said Farmer-Paellmann. A 2002 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll indicated that 75% of African Americans want restitution from corporations complicit in slavery (24 million of the 40 million African Americans).

Farmer-Paellmann believes that she can still win this case. She is interviewing lawyers to appeal the court decision. She is also pursuing a fundraising effort to finance the appeal in Circuit Court and U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

"I am asking everyone who believes in justice to make a contribution to the litigation fund.

Contributions can be made online or via mail. For information or where to send contributions, please visit the Restitution Study Group's website:

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Deadria Farmer-Paellmann
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