A high-profile Native American class action in Washington that settled for $3.4 billion after more than a decade of litigation is now over, the plaintiffs' attorneys said this afternoon.
Lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell sued in June 1996 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking a historical accounting of money the government held in trust accountants for Indians. (Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, died last year.)
The government and the plaintiffs' attorneys announced the historic settlement in December 2009. The deal, which potentially compensates hundreds of thousands of class members, required congressional approval. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court have concluded review of the settlement.
"The litigation finally has ended," a lead attorney for Cobell, Dennis Gingold in Washington, said in an e-mail. "Everything that Elouise Cobell spent her life fighting for now has come true. She is a true American hero."