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Case Name Joyner v. Vilsack PB-TN-0010
Docket / Court 1:21-cv-1089 ( W.D. Tenn. )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Challenges to minority benefits in Biden Administration American Rescue Plan
Case Summary
This case is one of several brought challenging the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) classification of “socially disadvantaged groups.”

A farmer filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee Eastern Division ( ... read more >
This case is one of several brought challenging the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) classification of “socially disadvantaged groups.”

A farmer filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee Eastern Division (Jackson) on June 15, 2021. The sole defendant was the Secretary of Agriculture who leads the USDA. Plaintiff challenged Section 1005 of the ARP which provided loan forgiveness to farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic only if they qualified as “socially disadvantaged.” The USDA defined “socially disadvantaged” as a farmer or rancher who was from one or more of the following ethnic groups: African Americans, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Asians, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders. Plaintiff alleged this debt relief program discriminated on the basis of race in violation of equal protection. Relief sought included declaratory and injunctive relief and attorney's fees. Plaintiff was represented by the Liberty Justice Center, a non-profit that seeks to protect those claiming their “constitutional rights have been violated.” Chief Judge S. Thomas Anderson was assigned.

The government moved to stay all proceedings pending the resolution of the class action challenges to Section 1005 in Miller v. Vilsack (PB-TX-0017) on July 16, 2021. In Miller, the district court had both preliminarily enjoined the enforcement of Section 1005 and certified two classes of farmers bringing similar claims of discrimination.

Judge Anderson granted the defendants' motion for a stay on September 13, 2021. As of October 2021, the case remains stayed while Miller is pending.

Eric Gripp - 08/09/2021
Jonah Hudson-Erdman - 10/31/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
American Rescue Plan (ARP)
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-area
Lending
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Funding
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
White
Causes of Action Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Agriculture
Plaintiff Description A white farmer from Gibson County, Tennessee
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 06/15/2021
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
W.D. Tenn.
09/13/2021
1:21-cv-01089-STA-jay
PB-TN-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
W.D. Tenn.
06/15/2021
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PB-TN-0010-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Tenn.
07/16/2021
Defendant's Motion to Stay Proceedings Pending Resolution of Related Class Action [ECF# 12]
PB-TN-0010-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Tenn.
08/19/2021
Order Granting Defendants' Motion to Stay [ECF# 21] (2021 WL 3699869)
PB-TN-0010-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Anderson, Stanley Thomas (W.D. Tenn.) show/hide docs
PB-TN-0010-0003
York, Jon A. Court not on record show/hide docs
PB-TN-0010-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Jennings, Jeffrey D (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-TN-0010-0001 | PB-TN-0010-9000
Kelsey, Brian K (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-TN-0010-0001 | PB-TN-0010-9000
Stephens, Reilly (Illinois) show/hide docs
PB-TN-0010-0001 | PB-TN-0010-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Boynton, Brian M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-TN-0010-0002
Calkins, Audrey M (Tennessee) show/hide docs
PB-TN-0010-0002 | PB-TN-0010-9000
Farby, Lesley (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-TN-0010-0002
Feldon, Gary Daniel (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-TN-0010-0002
Knapp, Michael Fraser (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-TN-0010-0002
Murphy, Joseph C (Tennessee) show/hide docs
PB-TN-0010-0002
Newton, Emily Sue (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-TN-0010-0002
Snow, Kyla (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-TN-0010-0002 | PB-TN-0010-9000

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