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PIGFORD v. VENEMAN

October 29, 2002

TIMOTHY C. PIGFORD, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
V.
ANN M. VENEMAN, SECRETARY, THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, DEFENDANT CECIL BREWINGTON, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS, V. ANN M. VENEMAN, SECRETARY, THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul L. Friedman, District Judge.

ORDER

WHEREAS, the Consent Decree in this case provides that the Monitor may direct the Facilitator, Adjudicator, or Arbitrator to reexamine a claim where the Monitor finds that a clear and manifest error has occurred in the screening, adjudication, or arbitration of a claim and has resulted or is likely to result in a fundamental miscarriage of justice;*fn1 and

WHEREAS the Monitor's appointment is scheduled to expire on March 1, 2005; and,

WHEREAS, the Order of Reference issued by this Court on April 4, 2000, further defines the petition for Monitor review process, but does not set deadlines regarding that process; and

WHEREAS, a Stipulation and Order issued by this Court on July 14, 2000, established a deadline for the filing of Monitor petitions from wholly or partially adverse decisions under Track A or Track B; and

WHEREAS, the Adjudicator and Arbitrator have implemented procedures for giving each claimant notice of the 120-day deadline from their decisions under Track A or Track B; and

WHEREAS, the Consent Decree also permits petitions for Monitor review of decisions made by the Facilitator in the class membership screening process; and

WHEREAS, it is important that all claimants who wish to file petitions for Monitor review from Facilitator decisions complete their filings in a timeframe that will allow resolution of their claim before the expiration of the Monitor's appointment; and,

WHEREAS, the Facilitator reports the following class membership screening activity as of August 6, 2002:

1. Approximately 138,911 individuals made inquiries regarding the claims procedure;
2. Approximately 34,179 individuals requested blank Claim Sheets and Election Forms ("claim packages"), and had the blank claim packages sent to them, but never returned them to the Facilitator;*fn2
3. Approximately 76,654 individuals requested blank claim packages but were never sent them, because the claim filing deadline had passed and the parties agreed that packages should not be sent;*fn3
4. Approximately 3,320 putative class members returned incomplete claim packages to the Facilitator, and, upon notice of the deficiency in the claim package and a chance to cure, successfully cured the deficiency;*fn4
5. Approximately 1,255 putative class members returned incomplete claim packages to the Facilitator, and, upon notice of the deficiency in the claim package and a ...

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