Federal Judge Thomas Hogan Washington DC has approved the landmark $3.4 billion settlement in the Cobell class action that will compensate hundreds of thousands of Native Americans for mismanaged trust assets by the federal government. Eligible class members will receive a minimum payment of $1,000.
“The judge’s finding that the settlement is fair and reasonable is a major milestone in the Administration’s effort to reach a resolution of litigation that has cast a cloud over the government’s relationship with American Indians,” said Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli.
About a dozen people appeared in court and objected to the settlement, arguing among other things that the plaintiffs’ lawyers fee demand --$224 million—was excessive. There were 92 objections in all. At the end of the hearing, Judge Hogan awarded $99 million in legal fees for the plaintiffs’ lawyers.
“Judge Hogan’s decision is another milestone in empowerment and reconciliation for the American Indians,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. President Obama issued a statement the approval of the settlement. "After fifteen years of litigation, today’s decision marks another important step forward in the relationship between the federal government and Indian Country," the President said. "Resolving this dispute was a priority for my Administration, and we will engage in government-to-government consultations with tribal nations regarding the land consolidation component of the settlement to ensure that this moves ahead at an appropriate pace and in an appropriate manner."
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR COBELL SETTLEMENT PAYMENTS, YOU CAN:
CALL THE SETTLEMENT HELPLINE: 1-800-961-6109
CHECK THE SETTLEMENT WEBSITE: www.indiantrust.com/index
OR SEND A LETTER TO:
INDIAN TRUST SETTLEMENT
PO BOX 9577
DUBLIN, OHIO 43017-4877