A federal court has awarded $90.8 million to the attorneys who represented African-American farmers in litigation against the U.S. Department of Agriculture alleging discrimination in the loan application process. In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litig., No. 08-0511 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D.D.C., decided July 11, 2013). Additional details about class counsels’ request appear in Issue 405 of this Update.
Explaining the challenges counsel faced, their extensive efforts to secure an award for the class of farmers in excess of $1 billion, the millions they incurred in unreimbursed expenses, as well as the hours devoted to assisting the Claims Administrator during the claims process, the court found an award representing 7.4 percent of the claims fund reasonable. According to the court, “Class counsel have undertaken the immense challenge presented by this action with the utmost professionalism and integrity, exhibiting skill, diligence, and efficiency in all aspects of their duties.”