A federal court in the District of Columbia has issued an order granting preliminary approval of a settlement agreement involving a class of African-American farmers who “submitted late-filing requests under Section 5(g) of the Pigford v. Glickman Consent Decree on or after October 13, 1999, and on or before June 18, 2008,” but had not yet obtained a determination on the merits of their discrimination complaints. In re: Black Farmers Discrimination Litig., No. 08-0511 (D.D.C., filed May 13, 2011). The order certifies the class and sets a “cost cap” of $35 million with payment of up to $3.5 million for class counsel fees and costs. Class members are enjoined from bringing any other claims arising out of section 14012 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. These lawsuits alleged that the U.S. Department of Agriculture systematically discriminated against African-American farmers on the basis of race. The court has scheduled at September 1, 2011, hearing for final settlement approval.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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