Monday, October 25, 2010

Pigsford, Keepseagle, and BP Oil Spill

I'm late in commenting on the resolution of the Keepseagle lawsuit (which roughly follows the Pigsford lawsuit, but with Native Americans as the aggrieved party). An agreement was signed last week. 

I haven't followed it in enough detail to know the answers on the issues of class action and funding.
  • if I recall,  for Pigsford, the initial lawsuit didn't pass the threshold to achieve class action status.  If I remember, Congress had to pass legislation allowing the suit to be treated as a class action. Apparently Keepseagle didn't have that problem.
  • also my memory says there was some reason the Pigsford settlements (the first one) had to be funded by Congress instead of using the existing Department of Justice fund. The Keepseagle ageement is using the DOJ fund, which means claimants won't have to depend on Congress to act.
The Post had a piece on the Keepseagle complainants.  No one in my position can talk about discrimination.  I did note, however, one of the complainants couldn't get a farm loan at 4 percent from FSA but was able to get an 8 percent loan from a bank.  This ties to something I may have written before: the original intent of the farm loan program was to help those for whom help wasn't available through normal commercial channels.  That is, if the local banker would make you a loan, then you should go there and not to the government.  Whether or not that theory is still in effect I don't know.  And it's quite possible it might be the policy on paper, but the reality is the well-connected are able to get FSA loans regardless.  And the situation may well vary from county to county and state to state.

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