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Appeals Court Upholds $3.4B Indian Trust Class Action Settlement

By Sarah Pierce


Cobell v. Salazar settlement
UPDATE: Cobell v. Salazar Indian Trust Settlement checks have been mailed! Thousands more Class Members are still eligible to file claims, but must do so by March 1, 2013.
An appeals court this week upheld a $3.4 billion class action lawsuit settlement concerning the mismanagement of government trust funds for hundreds of thousands of Native Americans, ruling that it was fair, reasonable and adequate.

The settlement resolves a 1996 class action lawsuit, Cobell v. Salazar, claiming the U.S. Department of the Interior mismanaged funds held in trust on behalf of Native Americans.

The Cobell v. Salazar class action lawsuit was originally settled in December 2009 and later approved by Congress in November 2010. It was granted final approval a year ago, but was held up by an objection to the settlement by a Class Member.

The Class Member argued the Indian Trust settlement was unfair, citing a conflict among Class Members that violated constitutional due process rights, and saying Class Members did not benefit equally.

The appeals court disagreed, ruling there was no record in the case confirming the existence of a conflict among the Class Members or a violation of due process of rights.

The Indian Trust class action settlement will allow an estimated 500,000 Native Americans who had Individual Indian Money accounts, an interest in trust, or restricted land managed by the Interior Department to receive payments of at least $1,000 each. Parts of the American Indian class action settlement will go toward buying interest in trust lands and a scholarship fund.

If no requests for rehearing are filed in the allotted time period, or if the requests for rehearing are denied, then the Settlement’s Final Approval will become effective and the Settlement Administrator will begin preparing payments for distribution to Class Members.

More information about the Native American Indian Trust Class Action Lawsuit Settlement can be found at

The case is Cobell v. Salazar, Case No. 1:96-cv-01285, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia.



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Updated December 24th, 2012


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  • Anonymous June 30, 2012

    The information at is hardly ever updated. They also do not give information to what state this lawsuit is in, or to what procedures are to happen next.

  • Sabrina Gatewood December 28, 2012

    Well i am trying to call and up date my cobell and iim acount but nothing is happening. And wont to knw what class i am..?

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