Rice Producers Class Action Against Acceptance Receives Preliminary Approval

May 2, 2000

Acceptance Insurance Companies has reported that the U.S. District Court in Little Rock has entered an order approving a proposed settlement of a class action suit filed in 1999 by rice farmers.

The order directs that a notice describing the proposed settlement be mailed to each of the 6,000 rice producers who applied last year for the company’s supplemental crop insurance. The court set final settlement hearings for June 30.

Under the proposed settlement, rice farmers who applied for and did not receive supplemental crop insurance at 3 cents per pound would share in a settlement fund of $3.7 million. The order appoints Lawrence Dawson, a retired Arkansas Circuit Court judge, as settlement master.

Following final approval of the proposed settlement, Dawson will allocate the settlement fund among members of the proposed settlement class who submit claim forms.

The order was based on a stipulation for settlement approved by all parties. The stipulation acceptance by the court said it was settling the case “solely to avoid further litigation expense and inconvenience, and to remove the distraction of burdensome and protracted litigation.”

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