Cases & Projects
- Office of the Ombudsman Hubbard
- McReynolds v. Merrill Lynch
- D.C. Foreclosure Mediation Program
- Pigford and Its Progeny
In Hubbard v. United States Postal Service, deaf or hard of hearing applicants and employees sued the U.S. Postal Service for lack of accommodations. The Anii Group, in partnership with the Ombudsman, Michael K. Lewis, provides ombuds services in which we monitor the Postal Service’s compliance with the injunctive relief provisions stipulated in the settlement agreement.
In the nationwide class action lawsuit McReynolds et al. v. Merrill Lynch, Case No. 05-cv-6583 (N.D. Ill.) African American Financial Advisors and Financial Advisors Trainees employed by Merrill Lynch alleged that they were denied lucrative business opportunities, including client accounts, and teaming opportunities on account of their race, resulting in high and racially disparate rates of attrition and compensation. The parties agreed to a settlement that gave class members the opportunity to select an individualized assessment of their claims for monetary relief. The Anii Group was retained to serve as a Neutral, to hear and assess the claims of class members, in a fair and expeditious Individualized Claims Resolution Process.
The District of Columbia through the Saving DC Homes from Foreclosure Act of 2010 created a foreclosure mediation program designed in response to the housing crisis. The Anii Group, in partnership with the Center for Dispute Settlement (CDS), provides program management and mediation services for the District of Columbia’s Foreclosure Mediation Program (FMP).
The FMP provides homeowners and lenders with an opportunity to meet face to face to discuss alternatives to foreclosure. Foreclosure mediation is an inexpensive, cost effective alternative to help parties resolve disputes with the assistance of a qualified mediator. By working together to explore various options, agreements are often reached that benefit both parties. The parties are required to honestly work toward a resolution in a fair and reasonable manner. The FMP is open to owners of residential properties located in the District of Columbia at a nominal cost.
As Program Manager, we recruit, train and manage a roster of mediators to effectively resolve the District’s foreclosure mediation caseload. We have solicited and procured grant funding. We ensure that the Act and governing regulations are followed to ensure a fair process for the parties.
As Mediator, we contact homeowners and help them prepare and think through ways in which they can meet their objective of mediation. In mediation, we work with national and local mortgage lenders and homeowners to develop workable and sustainable plans for the homeowner to retain their home or an orderly and dignified exit from the property. The Anii Group is responsible for an approximate 80% resolution rate, which means that in the case of resolution, homeowners often times retain their homes and avoid foreclosure.
In the landmark class action case Pigford v. Glickman, a federal case in which a national class of African American farmers sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture for unfair lending practices, the Anii Group worked with the Office of the Arbitrator to process and resolve the remaining claims and wind-down the Office of the Arbitrator. As a result of the Anii Group’s work in Pigford, the Anii Group was identified and selected to provide neutral services in Pigford’s progeny: In Re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation Settlement (Adjudicator) and Keepseagle v. Vilsack (Arbitrator).
In Pigford, claimants could select between two tracks: Track A and Track B. The Anii Group was tasked with managing the Track B claims process, which included preparing for arbitration hearings, reviewing pre-hearing motions and conducting 8-hour mini-trial hearings in conjunction with the Chief Arbitrator. Additionally, we researched and drafted Arbitrator decisions for petitions for which the Monitor directed re-examination. Furthermore, we advised the Chief Arbitrator, assisted with mediation efforts and facilitated the wind-down of the Office of the Arbitrator.
In Keepseagle v. Vilsack and In Re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation Settlement, the Anii Group was retained to arbitrate and adjudicate claims on the merits of Native American and black farmers, respectively, who sued under the same cause of action in Pigford. This adjudication included a review and evaluation of the claims and evidence submitted by claimants to determine whether claimants satisfied the elements of the court-approved test.