Case: Tiegs v. Vilsack

3:21-cv-00147 | U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota

Filed Date: July 6, 2021

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On July 6, 2021, the plaintiffs filed this complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota against the Secretary of Agriculture and the Administrator of the Farm Service Agency ("the defendants"). The plaintiffs, white farmers and/or borrowers on a farm loan, claimed that the defendants violated the Fifth Amendment and the Administrative Procedure Act. Specifically, the plaintiffs argued that under Section 1005 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 ("Section 1005"), they…

On July 6, 2021, the plaintiffs filed this complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota against the Secretary of Agriculture and the Administrator of the Farm Service Agency ("the defendants"). The plaintiffs, white farmers and/or borrowers on a farm loan, claimed that the defendants violated the Fifth Amendment and the Administrative Procedure Act. Specifically, the plaintiffs argued that under Section 1005 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 ("Section 1005"), they were not eligible for assistance on account of their race.

Section 1005, entitled "Farm Loan Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers," appropriates payments to help socially disadvantaged farmers pay off their farm loans. Farmers and ranchers that did not qualify as "socially disadvantaged" on the basis of race or ethnicity, though, were ineligible for farm loan assistance. Such groups included: "American Indians or Alaskan Natives; Asians; Blacks or African Americans; Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders; and Hispanics or Latinos." The plaintiffs argued that but for their race, they would have been eligible for assistance under Section 1005.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs alleged that Section 1005 violated the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause because the law was based on racial classifications. The plaintiffs argued that the law did not pass strict scrutiny because the government failed to show a compelling interest and the law was not narrowly tailored to remedy specific instances of racial discrimination.

Additionally, the plaintiffs alleged that Section 1005 violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) for failing to comply with the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment because the APA prohibited agency actions that were not in accordance with law and those contrary to a constitutional right.

The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief prohibiting the defendants from enforcing either the "socially disadvantaged" provisions in Section 1005 or the section as a whole. The plaintiffs also sought attorneys fees and nominal damages in the amount of $1.00.

On July 21, 2021, the defendants filed a motion to stay all proceedings in this case pending related litigation. On July 1, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas had already certified a class of farmers and ranchers bringing an equal protection challenge to Section 1005 like the one the plaintiffs brought here. The Texas court also issued an injunction in Miller v. Vilsack, 4:21-cv-595 (N.D. Tex. 2021), preventing the Government from disbursing funds under Section 1005 while that litigation proceeded. As such, the defendants asked the North Dakota court to stay this case to avoid the risk of being unnecessarily duplicative and yielding inconsistent results.

Following the plaintiffs' response in opposition to this motion, Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal granted the defendant's motion to stay the case pending the resolution of the Miller case in Texas to conserve judicial resources.

Judge Senechal directed the parties to file a status report every six months from the date of the order entered on September 7, 2021.

This case remains ongoing as the first status report will be due to the court on March 7, 2022, or after the resolution of the Miller case in Texas, whichever occurs first.

Summary Authors

Richa Bijlani (1/31/2022)

Related Cases

Miller v. Vilsack, Northern District of Texas (2021)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/60041898/parties/tiegs-v-vilsack/


Judge(s)

Senechal, Alice R. (North Dakota)

Welte, Peter David None (North Dakota)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Fa, Wencong M (California)

Ortner, Daniel M. (California)

Roper, Glenn Evans (Colorado)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Knapp, Michael Fraser (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Senechal, Alice R. (North Dakota)

Welte, Peter David None (North Dakota)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Fa, Wencong M (California)

Ortner, Daniel M. (California)

Roper, Glenn Evans (Colorado)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Knapp, Michael Fraser (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

3:21-cv-00147

Docket [PACER]

Sept. 7, 2021

Sept. 7, 2021

Docket
1

3:21-cv-00147

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

July 6, 2021

July 6, 2021

Complaint
20

3:21-cv-00147

Order

Sept. 7, 2021

Sept. 7, 2021

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/60041898/tiegs-v-vilsack/

Last updated June 4, 2022, 3:13 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against Zach Ducheneaux, Thomas J. Vilsack (Filing fee $402, receipt number 321000364) filed by James Tiegs, Julie Owen, Abraham Jergenson, B. Chad Ward, Cally Jergenson. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(js) Modified on 7/7/2021 to add additional filer (Julie Owen). NEF regenerated (lf). (Entered: 07/06/2021)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

July 6, 2021

July 6, 2021

Clearinghouse
2

Summons Issued as to Zach Ducheneaux, Thomas J. Vilsack, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (js) (Entered: 07/06/2021)

July 6, 2021

July 6, 2021

RECAP
3

MOTION to Appear Pro Hac Vice Attorney Daniel M. Ortner (Filing fee $150, receipt number: ANDDC-2210787) by Abraham Jergenson, Cally Jergenson, Julie Owen, James Tiegs, B. Chad Ward. (Ortner, Daniel) Modified on 7/7/2021 to add receipt number.(sj). (Entered: 07/07/2021)

July 7, 2021

July 7, 2021

PACER
4

MOTION to Appear Pro Hac Vice Attorney Wencong Fa (Filing fee $150, receipt number ANDDC-2210856) by Abraham Jergenson, Cally Jergenson, Julie Owen, James Tiegs, B. Chad Ward. (Fa, Wencong) Modified on 7/7/2021 to add receipt number (mf) (Entered: 07/07/2021)

July 7, 2021

July 7, 2021

PACER
5

(Text Only) ORDER by Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal granting 3 Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice for Attorney Daniel Ortnerand granting 4 Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice for Attorney Wencong Fa. (sj) (Entered: 07/07/2021)

July 7, 2021

July 7, 2021

PACER
6

SUMMONS Returned Executed as to All Defendants. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Certified Mail Receipts)(Roper, Glenn) (Entered: 07/09/2021)

July 9, 2021

July 9, 2021

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines: Zach Ducheneaux answer due 9/10/2021; Thomas J. Vilsack answer due 9/10/2021. See Summons Returned Executed as to USA filed at 6 . (js)

July 9, 2021

July 9, 2021

PACER
7

NOTICE of Appearance by Michael F Knapp on behalf of All Defendants (Knapp, Michael) (Entered: 07/21/2021)

July 21, 2021

July 21, 2021

PACER
8

MOTION to Stay All Proceedings Pending Related Litigation by Zach Ducheneaux, Thomas J. Vilsack. (Knapp, Michael) (Entered: 07/21/2021)

July 21, 2021

July 21, 2021

PACER
9

MEMORANDUM in Support re 8 MOTION to Stay All Proceedings Pending Related Litigation filed by Zach Ducheneaux, Thomas J. Vilsack. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Miller Order)(Knapp, Michael) (Entered: 07/21/2021)

July 21, 2021

July 21, 2021

RECAP
10

MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply by Abraham Jergenson, Cally Jergenson, Julie Owen, James Tiegs, B. Chad Ward. (Roper, Glenn) (Entered: 07/29/2021)

July 29, 2021

July 29, 2021

PACER
11

(Text Only) ORDER by Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal granting unopposed 10 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response re: 8 MOTION to Stay. Response due by 8/11/2021. (AS) (Entered: 07/30/2021)

July 30, 2021

July 30, 2021

PACER
12

RESPONSE to Motion re 8 MOTION to Stay All Proceedings Pending Related Litigation filed by Abraham Jergenson, Cally Jergenson, Julie Owen, James Tiegs, B. Chad Ward. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - Joint Report)(Roper, Glenn) Modified on 8/12/2021 to remove duplicate exhibit text and added description to exhibit. (jb) (Entered: 08/11/2021)

Aug. 11, 2021

Aug. 11, 2021

PACER

DOCKET CORRECTION re: 12 Response to Motion. Clerk's office removed duplicative 'exhibit' text and added description to exhibit. (jb)

Aug. 12, 2021

Aug. 12, 2021

PACER
13

REPLY to Response to Motion re 8 MOTION to Stay All Proceedings Pending Related Litigation filed by Zach Ducheneaux, Thomas J. Vilsack. (Knapp, Michael) (Entered: 08/18/2021)

Aug. 18, 2021

Aug. 18, 2021

PACER
14

SUPPLEMENT (Exhibit 1 - Carpenter Order) to document: 13 Reply to Response to Motion by Zach Ducheneaux, Thomas J. Vilsack. (Knapp, Michael) (Entered: 08/18/2021)

Aug. 18, 2021

Aug. 18, 2021

PACER
15

NOTICE by Zach Ducheneaux, Thomas J. Vilsack re 8 MOTION to Stay All Proceedings Pending Related Litigation (Supplemental Authority) (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - Joyner v. Vilsack Order)(Knapp, Michael) Modified on 8/20/2021 to remove duplicate 'exhibit' text and added more complete description to exhibit. (jb) (Entered: 08/19/2021)

Aug. 19, 2021

Aug. 19, 2021

PACER

DOCKET CORRECTION re: 15 Notice. Clerk's office removed duplicative 'exhibit' text from docket entry and added a more complete description to exhibit. (jb)

Aug. 20, 2021

Aug. 20, 2021

PACER
16

NOTICE by Zach Ducheneaux, Thomas J. Vilsack re 8 MOTION to Stay All Proceedings Pending Related Litigation (Supplemental Authority) (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - Faust Order Granting Stay)(Knapp, Michael) (Entered: 08/23/2021)

Aug. 23, 2021

Aug. 23, 2021

PACER
17

NOTICE by Zach Ducheneaux, Thomas J. Vilsack re 8 MOTION to Stay All Proceedings Pending Related Litigation (Supplemental Authority) (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - McKinney Order Granting Stay)(Knapp, Michael) (Entered: 08/31/2021)

Aug. 31, 2021

Aug. 31, 2021

PACER
18

MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer (Unopposed) by Zach Ducheneaux, Thomas J. Vilsack. (Knapp, Michael) (Entered: 09/01/2021)

Sept. 1, 2021

Sept. 1, 2021

PACER
19

(Text Only) ORDER by Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal granting unopposed 18 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer. If defendants' pending motion to stay is denied, their answer is due within fourteen days of the order denying that motion. If defendants' pending motion to stay is granted, their answer is due within fourteen days after the stay is lifted. (AS) (Entered: 09/02/2021)

Sept. 2, 2021

Sept. 2, 2021

PACER
20

ORDER by Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal granting 8 Motion to Stay. (KT) (Entered: 09/07/2021)

Sept. 7, 2021

Sept. 7, 2021

RECAP
21

(Text Only) STATUS REPORT ORDER by Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal. Pursuant to the order at Doc. 20, the parties shall file a Status Report by 3/7/2022. (KT) (Entered: 09/07/2021)

Sept. 7, 2021

Sept. 7, 2021

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: North Dakota

Case Type(s):

Public Benefits/Government Services

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 6, 2021

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

White farmers who each hold at least one farm loan for which they would be eligible for assistance under Section 1005 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 but for their race.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Secretary of Agriculture (- United States (national) -), Federal

Farm Service Agency Administrator (- United States (national) -), Federal

Secretary of Agriculture (Washington), Federal

Administrator (Washington), Federal

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens

Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Due Process

Due Process: Substantive Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None yet

Source of Relief:

None yet

Issues

General:

Disparate Treatment

Public assistance grants

Discrimination-area:

Pay / Benefits

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Race:

White

Benefit Source:

American Rescue Plan (ARP)