Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Monitor in Pigford Litigation Addresses LL.M. Class

Randi Roth, Court-appointed Monitor in the landmark race discrimination case against the United States Department of Agriculture, Pigford v. Glickman, addressed the LL.M. class in our Food, Farming, & Sustainability course.

In the Pigford case, a class of approximately 22,000 African-American farmers sued the USDA, alleging race discrimination in the administration of federal agricultural credit programs. The settlement provided for individual consideration of each of the discrimination claims of the 22,000+ class members, and at this time over $1 billion has been paid out on behalf of those class members who have prevailed. As Monitor, Randi works as an agent and officer of the court, issuing decisions regarding appeals of claim determinations, helping the class members and the government solve problems regarding implementation of the settlement, overseeing the operations of a toll-free phone line for information about the settlement, and reporting to the court about the good faith implementation of the settlement. Randi is now overseeing the final stages of the settlement. Information about all aspects of the monitor's role and the history of the case can be found on the monitor's website.

Randi spoke to the class in an hour long live video conference. The LL.M. candidates gained a deeper understanding of the Pigford case and the complex role of the monitor in the implementation of the settlement. Appreciation is extended to Randi for an excellent presentation.

Randi now serves as Executive Director Otto Bremer Foundation in St. Paul, Minnesota. She received her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from Northwestern University. She began work as a legal aid attorney on Chicago’s south side at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago and left to join the newly formed Farmers Legal Action Group, Inc. (FLAG) where she served as a staff attorney. She served as FLAG’s executive director from 1993 to 2003.

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