The Black Farmers And Agriculturalists Association, Inc. (“BFAA, Inc.”) will be scheduling several meetings around the country to explain and provide up-dates on two existing lawsuits (see items 1 through 14 below). Additionally, two new lawsuits against USDA, its contractors along with certain law firms will be filed for, among other things, civil rights violations against black farmers in Pigford II (In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation) and in the Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers claims process.
Additionally, these meetings will give BFAA an opportunity to explain to its members what it intends to do with respect to making sure that the Trump Presidency will “continue and complete” the administrative and legal remedies — for racial discrimination at USDA — which were started but unfinished under the Obama administration.
Accordingly, we want to make sure that we have your current e-mail address and telephone number in order for us to keep you informed regarding both the lawsuits as well as BFAA’s lobbying successes with the Trump administration.
All meetings will begin at 10:00 AM, unless otherwise indicated.
Sumter, South Carolina
Sumter County Exhibition Center, 700 W Liberty St, 29150
10:00AM to 2:00PM, and 5:00PM to 8:00PM.
Conference Center (Embassy Suites), 300 Tallopoosa Street, 36104
Los Angeles, California: To be announced.
Houston, Texas: To be announced.
Hattiesburg, Mississippi: To be announced.
Baton Rogue, Louisianna: To be announced.
Petersburg, Virginia: To be announced.
Vicksburg, Mississippi: To be announced.
Tuscaloosa, Alabama: To be announced.
Boyland et al. v. Vilsack, Civil Action No. 1:15-cv-01112 (TSC)(D.D.C.2015)
First, BFAA, Inc. has a pending lawsuit in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia (Judge Tanya S. Chutkan) against USDA and its contractor EPIQ System. EPIQ Systems has been the claims administrator for all of the class action lawsuits against USDA since and including Pigford I (Timothy C. Pigford, et al., v. Dan Glickman, Civil Action Misc. No. 1978 ) which was certified in 1999.
Here, BFAA, Inc. is suing ($1.2 Billion ) the claims administrator (EPIQ Systems) for denying all African American male claimants from participating in the Hispanic and Women farmers and ranchers voluntary claims process (FRAMEWORK) and thus, violating [tooltip layout=”classic” text=”Title VI, 42 U.S.C. § 2000D ET SEQ., WAS ENACTED AS PART OF THE LANDMARK CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964. IT PROHIBITS DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF RACE, COLOR, AND NATIONAL ORIGIN IN PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES RECEIVING FEDERAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE. ” effect=”1″]Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964[/tooltip], as amended.
Title VI makes it unlawful for any agency, person or corporation who is receiving federal dollars to discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, sex, gender or national origin. In the Hispanic lawsuit the claims administrator — who was paid federal dollars by USDA — denied all African American male claimants for no other reason but their race. This is a direct violation of [tooltip layout=”classic” text=”Title VI, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d ET SEQ., WAS ENACTED AS PART OF THE LANDMARK CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964. IT PROHIBITS DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF RACE, COLOR, AND NATIONAL ORIGIN IN PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES RECEIVING FEDERAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE. ” effect=”1″]Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964[/tooltip].
Moreover, congress had extended a right to any socially disadvantaged farmer and/or rancher — who had not filed a meritorious claim of discrimination against USDA to do so — under [tooltip layout=”classic” text=”SEC. 14011. SENSE OF CONGRESS RELATING TO CLAIMS BROUGHT BY SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED FARMERS OR RANCHERS. IT IS THE SENSE OF CONGRESS THAT ALL PENDING CLAIMS AND CLASS ACTIONS BROUGHT AGAINST THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE BY SOCIALLY DISADVANTAGED FARMERS OR RANCHERS (AS DEFINED IN SECTION 335(E) OF THE CONSOLIDATED FARM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT ACT (7 U.S.C. 2003(E)), INCLUDING NATIVE AMERICAN, HISPANIC, AND FEMALE FARMERS OF RANCHERS, BASED ON RACIAL, ETHNIC, OR GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN FARM PROGRAM PARTICIPATION SHOULD BE RESOLVED IN AN EXPEDITIOUS AND JUST MANNER.
” effect=”1″]The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 Farm Bill, Section 14011[/tooltip]. Accordingly, Black males were included in the category of socially disadvantaged farmers that Congress intended to receive an opportunity to participated in “any” process and/or procedure — titles, headings and/or groups, notwithstanding.
BFAA, Inc., v. Morgan & Morgan, Case No. CH-16-0457-3 (JJ) (Chancery Court Of Shelby County Tennessee For The Thirteenth Judicial District At Memphis)
Second, BFAA, Inc. has filed a lawsuit against the Morgan & Morgan law firm of Ft. Meyers, Florida and several of its lawyers in the Chancery Court of Shelby County (Memphis), Tennessee for, among other things, “Tortious Interference with Business Relations (see also [tooltip layout=”classic” text=”IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR ANY PERSON, BY INDUCEMENT, PERSUASION, MISREPRESENTATION, OR OTHER MEANS, TO INDUCE OR PROCURE THE BREACH OR VIOLATION, REFUSAL OR FAILURE TO PERFORM ANY LAWFUL CONTRACT BY ANY PARTY THERETO; AND IN EVERY CASE WHERE A BREACH OR VIOLATION OF SUCH CONTRACT IS SO PROCURED, THE PERSON SO PROCURING OR INDUCING THE SAME SHALL BE LIABLE IN TREBLE THE AMOUNT OF DAMAGES RESULTING FROM OR INCIDENT TO THE BREACH OF THE CONTRACT. THE PARTY INJURED BY SUCH BREACH MAY BRING SUIT FOR THE BREACH AND FOR SUCH DAMAGES.” effect=”1″]Tenn. Code 47-50-109[/tooltip]).” That is to say, the complaint alleges, that Morgan & Morgan knowingly and intentionally encouraged BFAA, Inc. members to discontinue their membership with BFAA. It also instructed its employees (call center) to tell BFAA, Inc. members and prospective members that they did not have to be a member of BFAA, Inc. in order to have their claim processed. As a result, several members discontinued their membership with BFAA, Inc. and then sadly, Morgan & Morgan did not follow up with those individuals and their claims were denied.
Several other states have laws that make it unlawful for individual “C” to knowingly and intentionally interfer with a business relationship between individual “A’ and individual “B.”
BFAA, Inc., v. Vilsack
Third, BFAA, Inc. is preparing to file a law suit against USDA and its contractors (the claims adjudicators and arbitrators) for, among other things, denying approximately 10,000 claimants in the Hispanic and Female farmers and ranchers voluntary claims process for no other reason other than they filed a “purported” fraudulent claim.
USDA offered absolutely no proof or evidence whatsoever to support its “bald-faced” assertions that the claimants filed such a claim. Hundreds of millions of dollars were denied to claimants for years of admitted discrimination in broad daylight — with the courts looking the other way. Only six percent (6%) of the claimants in the Hispanic and Women claims process were approved. That percentage speaks for itself.
Moreover, a governmental oversight group, the OIG (Office Of Inspector General) has reported the following:
Plaintiffs note that the OIG found serious problems with the way the claims process was handled by the USDA.
First, the OIG Report “confirms that the claims of over 10,000 women and Hispanic farmers were denied without an evaluation of those actual claims, but solely because the adjudicator identified a purported ‘fraud concern’ based on ‘patterns,’ and that neither USDA, nor its contracted adjudicator (or anyone else), investigated to determine whether claims were actually fraudulent.” Due to this finding, Plaintiffs renew their request to the Court to grant their pending Request for Information, Discovery, and a Hearing.
Further, the report stated that “USDA’s Office of the General Counsel determined that claims denied based on ‘fraud patterns’ need not be investigated on their actual merits to determine whether fraud occurred.”
The Audit Report further notes that “USDA allowed its contractor to issue blanket denials for nearly half of the timely and complete claims without bothering to determine whether they actually involved no fraud whatsoever.”
BFAA, Inc. maintains that USDA and its contractors violated these farmer’s [tooltip layout=”classic” text=”FAIR TREATMENT THROUGH THE NORMAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM, ESPECIALLY AS A CITIZEN’S ENTITLEMENT.” effect=”1″]Due Process[/tooltip] and [tooltip layout=”classic” text=”THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE PROVIDES THAT NO STATE SHALL DENY TO ANY PERSON WITHIN ITS JURISDICTION “THE EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS.”” effect=”1″]Equal Protection[/tooltip] rights as codified under the United States Constitution and is preparing to file a lawsuit in Federal Court for those violations.
Cy Pres Beneficiaries
Last, BFAA, Inc. was perhaps the only advocacy organization, of the ten or so other black farm advocacy groups, that spoke out against the provision of the settlement agreement in In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation (Pigford II) regarding Cy Pres Beneficiaries.
Q: What is a Cy Pres Beneficiary
A: The term “cy pres” comes from a French term meaning “as near as possible.” Cy pres awards are designated when there are residual funds in class action lawsuits, probate matters, and other proceedings that cannot be distributed to the class members or beneficiaries for a variety of reasons. Courts solve this problem by making cy pres awards to appropriate nonprofit charitable organizations.
However, the problem that BFAA, Inc. is having with this designation is that Congress “specifically” made the $1.2 Billion in the 2008 Farm Bill for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and their heirs — not Cy Pres charitable organizations. These groups or organizations, BFAA, Inc. will argue, could be White, Asian or Jewish organizations who’s ancestors never “chopped” one row of cotton, spent one day on a farm or was discriminated against by USDA — as Black farmers were.
Moreover, BFAA, Inc. will be filing a request (Freedom of Information Act) forcing the lawyers to identify (a) the amount of money in the Cy Pres account and (b) the Cy Pres beneficiaries to whom they intend to give the felt over funds to.
For questions please call 901-522-8880 Monday – Friday, from 9:00 to 4:00 PM (CT). Thank you!
And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.
I Samuel 30:8