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May 16, 4:08 PM EDT

Court OKs plan for $380M in Native American farmer lawsuit



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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- An appeals court has approved a plan for distributing $380 million left over from the U.S. government's loan discrimination settlement with American Indian farmers.

President Barack Obama's administration agreed in 2011 to pay $680 million to settle a lawsuit filed in 1999 by Indian farmers who said they were denied loans because of government discrimination. But only about half of the expected claims materialized.

A judge last year approved a plan for most of the leftover money to go to groups that help Indians, with just some going to farmers who filed claims. A three-judge panel with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit voted 2-1 Tuesday to uphold the ruling.

Plaintiffs' attorney Joseph Sellers applauded it. Appellants' attorney William A. Sherman called it "flawed."

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