Black Male Farmers File a 1.8 Billion Dollar Lawsuit Against the Claims Administrator (EPIQ) and USDA

unnamedOn Monday, July 13, 2015, Attorneys for BFAA, Inc. filed a Class Action lawsuit [1] against the Claims Administrator (EPIQ Systems Corp. of Portland, Oregon)  and USDA for the benefit of all Black male submitters and or claimants who were attempting to file a claim in the Hispanic and Female Farmers and Ranchers Voluntary Claims Process.   See, Estate of Earnest Lee Boyland et al v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE et al, Case Number: 1:15-cv-01112. The Claims Administrator (a contractor for USDA) has been sending letters to all Black male claimants since 2013, stating, among other things, the following:

Thank you for your interest in the Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Claims Resolution Process.  To participate in this Process, you must be either Hispanic/Latino or female.  On your Claim Form, you indicated that you are an African American male.  As a result, you are not eligible to participate in this Claims Resolution Process, and your claim has been DENIED.

Moreover, this lawsuit was filed against EPIQ for violating Black male farmers’ rights as guaranteed under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI, as amended.  Title VI makes it unlawful for any recipient who is otherwise receiving government funds to discriminate against anyone on the basic of their race, sex or gender, as follows:

Title VI, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d — prohibition against exclusion from participation in, denial of benefits of, and discrimination under federally assisted programs on the ground of race, color, or national origin states:

     No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participating in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Defendant and contractor, EPIQ is — for its services – being paid out of the Judgment fund, 31 U.S.C. Section 1304 et seq.  and/or from government funds allotted and/or appropriated to the Defendant, USDA from — the U.S. Treasury Department. [2]

“Simple justice requires that public funds, to which all taxpayers of all races [colors, and national origins] contributes, not be spent in any fashion which encourages, entrenches, subsidizes or results in racial [color or national origin] discrimination.”

President, John F. Kennedy

BFAA, Inc.’s President, Thomas Burrell has forwarded a copy of the lawsuit (Complaint) to both the Chairman of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee(s) on the Judiciary  as well as to the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.  This letter will ask these bodies to consider holding hearings regarding the constitutionality of this glaring and blatant denial of justice to African American male farmers and ranchers. [1] See F. R. Civ. Proc. 23 (a),(b)(1), (b)(2) & (b)(3).

FRAMEWORK FOR HISPANIC OR FEMALE FARMERS’  CLAIMS PROCESS (January 13, 2012)

I. PURPOSE   (E. Sources of Funding):
Cash awards and tax relief will be paid from the Judgment Fund. USDA will pay all other costs, including debt relief, costs associated with outreach and the provision of notice, and the administration and adjudication of claims. USDA will implement debt relief to successful claimants, and cover any related administrative costs associated with debt cancellation. 
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