March 26, 2018

The Justice Department in June, under U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announced a new policy that generally prohibits government attorneys from entering into settlement agreements that require “cy pres” payments. Still, DOJ did not want the Supreme Court to disturb this settlement.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review two separate challenges to a $380 million fund that is designated for third parties in a larger class action settlement between the federal government and Native American farmers and ranchers.

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The $380 million fund is to be distributed to nonprofit groups that work with Native American farmers. The funds were part of a bigger $680 million settlement that the U.S. government reached in 2011 with the plaintiffs in the case in Washington’s federal trial court. The farmers and ranchers had sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture for alleged discrimination in its loan programs from 1981 through 1999.

Joseph Sellers of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, counsel to the class in the underlying case, also had asked the Supreme Court to deny review.

The complete article can be accessed here.