SLAVERY REPARATIONS LAWSUIT
Farmer-Paellmann v. FleetBoston – On March 26, 2002, the first of a series of cases were filed by descendants of enslaved Africans against corporations complicit in antebelum slavery. Claims included human rights and consumer fraud allegations. It was dismissed with prejudice in United States District Court on July 6, 2005, but reversed on appeal by the United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, on December 13, 2006.
Consumer Fraud arguments were permitted to move forward as the Court held that:
“plaintiffs are charging the defendants with misrepresenting their activities in relation to slavery. A seller who learns that some class of buyers would not buy his product if they knew it contained some component that he would normally have no duty to disclose, but fearing to lose those buyers falsely represents that the product does not contain the component, is guilty of fraud.”
The Consumer Fraud claims made in the case were recognized as viable alternatives to human rights arguments in:
Harvard Civil Rights – Civil Liberties Law Review: Vol. 42, No. 2, Summer 2007: Judicial Recognition of the Harms of Slavery: Consumer Fraud as an Alternative to Reparations. http://harvardcrcl.org/volumes-40-through-present/
Unfortunately, resources for pursuing a consumer fraud trial were not available.
On May 22, 2007, the Supreme Court of the United States docketed a petition filed by Deadria Farmer-Paellmann asking the Court to hear a case against the defendants. At issue was whether statues of limitations should be tolled to permit slave descendants to bring the human rights actions. The Court did not grant a petition for certiori.
Plaintiffs at oral argument for appeal of reparations cases in Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals — In Re African American Slave Descendants, C-SPAN video/oral argument.
GENOCIDE COMPENSATION LAWSUIT
Plaintiffs filing genocide compensation lawsuit based on UN Genocide Convention codified in the United States as the Proxmire Act using African Ancestry DNA test results and TransAtlantic Slave Trade Database research. Case was subsequently withdrawn for future filing.