Volume 4, Number 16 August 3, 2001
"Snakes" to the Rescue
by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu’min Muhammad
According to a Law.com article entitled "A Tough Row", "A lawyer came to the aid of black farmers in a landmark civil rights suit. Now, he’s the one in need of rescue." The June 12th article goes on to quote Judge Paul Friedman, the judge presiding over the Pigford vs. Glickman class action law suit as saying: "Counsel’s negligent handling of the final stages of this case...runs the risk of jeopardizing counsel’s prior accomplishments."
This article continues: "When he endorsed the consent decree, Judge Friedman excoriated the federal government for breaking its historical promises to its black citizens. But in an April 27 order, he blasted Pires for failing to meet court deadlines for processing farmers’ claims. The lawyer’s ‘negligent handling of the case,’ Friedman wrote, ‘borders on legal malpractice.’"
"Friedman said he would fine Pires for every day after May 15 that Pires’ work remains unfinished. The fines are being assessed at $1,000 a day until June 15."
The judge asked Robert Weiner, a former D.C. Bar president, to issue an emergency call to the city’s major law firms to "pick up the slack by pursuing a significant number of the claims on a pro bono basis."
In January according to this article, Judge Friedman ruled favorably on Pires’ request for $31 million in fees. Pires has asked his snake, I mean lawyer friends, to take from him the much more complicated and burdensome claims known under the consent decree as "Track B" cases.
I personally know about some of these "Track B" cases because I was asked to be an expert witness on a number of them as an agricultural economist. My job was to determine the amount of economic damages that these farmers suffered because of discrimination by the USDA. I had to sign a form (gag order) that I would not talk about any specific case, however in general the problem stems from the fact that I have proven too much damages to these farmers and the government does not want to pay. So now they are taking these cases away from the Black law firms that Al Pires got to front for him and giving these cases to some of his snake, I mean lawyer friends, to sell these farmers out.
I think that I will end on this note and let the reader think about what has happened and what is in store for "Reparations" as long as Al Pires and his friends are on board.
(For archived articles click The Farmer Newsletter)
(For history of the lawsuit click Perfect Crime)