An #appeals #court has upheld the #Native American settlement in the massive Cobell litigation that tied the Bureau of Indian Affairs up in knots for years.
In a 24-page decision Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals turned away the challenge by Kimberly Craven, who called the settlement unfair.
The original case, recall, dates back to 1996, when Eloise Cobell and four other Native Americans filed a class action alleging a breach of fiduciary duties by the Interior Department. After much haggling, the final settlement called for members of the class to be paid out of a $1.5 billion settlement fund. This amounts to $1,000 per individual. An additional $1.9 billion is to to go a land fund.
Note: the winning attorneys were awarded some $99 million.
Ms. Craven challenged the settlement on multiple grounds; among other things, the circuit court reasoned:
"Viewed, then, not in the hypothetical light cast by Craven’s challenge, but in the actual light illuminating the parties’ negotiations, the district court reasonably concluded that the class settlement agreement offered a fair resolution of the plaintiff classes’ claims..."