And if precedent holds, a large number of claimants will scramble to get into the case near the end of the 180 days. Those cases will have to be reviewed by neutral adjudicators.

That means, at the earliest, it will be late 2012 before successful claimants know how much money they will receive from the settlement pot.

At the same time, there are other class-action discrimination cases against the USDA working their way through the courts. Those include cases brought by women (commonly known as the ‘Love’ case), Native Americans (Keepseagle) and Hispanics (Garcia).

Can claimants be part of more than one of the discrimination suits? It is unlikely.

In the Keepseagle case, the government insisted that Native Americans could file a claim only in that settlement. While the Pigford settlement language does not explicitly address the issue, after court review Pigford II attorneys expect the same restrictions.  

While the amount is yet to be decided by the court, Pigford II attorney fees will come out of the $1.25 billion. Attorneys are expected to file a motion later this summer to be paid.