WASHINGTON, D.C. –– Nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump, of Ben Crump Law, and attorney Diandra “Fu” Debrosse Zimmermann, of DiCello Levitt, who are representing proposed classes of minority farmers, have filed a response in opposition to the U.S. Government’s motion to dismiss their complaint, which alleges that the government evaded debt relief payments it owed to minority farmers—the response can be read here.
Section 1005 of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to pay off specified forms of debt held by socially disadvantaged farmers. The ARPA sought to ensure the farmers could continue operating and contributing to the country’s food supply during the pandemic.
The USDA sent contracts to farmers promising to provide the ARPA debt relief immediately if the farmers agreed to a list of conditions. Even though the farmers agreed and held up their end of the bargain, the U.S. Government never paid.
Instead, it passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which repealed section 1005 of the ARPA. As explained in the response to the motion to dismiss, the U.S. Government’s actions breach the contracts it entered under section 1005 of the ARPA.
The U.S. Government also breached contracts under section 1006 of the ARPA. The U.S. Government passed that section, which provided financial compensation to socially disadvantaged farmers who had suffered past discrimination from the USDA, in order to avoid litigation.
Then, the U.S. Government amended section 1006 of the ARPA to eliminate the funds earmarked for those socially disadvantaged farmers. These actions violated the U.S. Government’s contractual duty to uphold the promises it made in section 1006.
Attorneys released the following statement:
“With our response to the federal government, we hope to make clear how our complaint properly alleges that the U.S. Government is shamefully attempting to evade the financial promise that was made to minority farmers who made significant financial decisions based on the government’s promise. By going back on its word, the government critically damaged these hard-working men and women financially. These are people who have worked tirelessly to put food on our plates and keep America running when we needed it most. They are owed what they were promised and so much more. The government’s attempts to avoid accountability are disgraceful.”
ABOUT BEN CRUMP LAW
Through his work, nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump has spearheaded a legal movement to better protect the rights of marginalized citizens. He has led landscape-changing civil rights cases and represented clients in a wide range of areas including civil rights, personal injury, labor and employment, class actions, and more. Ben Crump Law is dedicated to holding the powerful accountable. For more information, visit bencrump.com.
About DiCello Levitt
At DiCello Levitt, we’re dedicated to achieving justice for our clients through class action, business-to-business, public client, whistleblower, personal injury, civil rights, and mass tort litigation. Our lawyers are highly respected for their ability to litigate and win cases—whether by trial, settlement, or otherwise—for people who have suffered harm, global corporations that have sustained significant economic losses, and public clients seeking to protect their citizens’ rights and interests. Every day, we put our reputations—and our capital—on the line for our clients. For more information, visit our website: dicellolevitt.com