February 11, 2019- Kohn, Swift & Graf, P.C. has been granted preliminary approval of a class action settlement in the Estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos Human Rights Litigation.
History of Litigation
In 1986, Kohn, Swift & Graf, P.C. began litigation on behalf of a class of 9,539 Philippine citizens (and their heirs) who has been tortured, summarily executed, or disappeared during the Marcos Rule between September 1972 and February 1986. Upon his death in 1989, The estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos was substituted as a defendant. Following the early 1990’s trials, the Hawaii Federal Court entered a judgment in favor of the Class in the amount of US $1, 964,000,000. Kohn, Swift & Graf, P.C. actively pursued collection of this judgment, but was hindered when the Marcos estate attempted to conceal it’s assets.
Litigation continued into November 2012 in New York. The District Attorney of New York County unsealed an indictment against Vilma Bautista, who was a formal assistant to Imelda Marcos. It was revealed that Vilma Bautista sold a valuable painting owned by Imelda Marcos, without her permission. Within ten days, Kohn, Swift & Graf, P.C. filed a lawsuit against Bautista and the painting’s purchaser to recover the proceeds of the sale. In June 2013, the owner agreed to pay US $ 10,000,000., which was distributed to eligible class members in 2014.
Class counsel have concluded that it would be in the best interests of the Class to settle its entitlement to certain Marcos artwork. After many years of intensive litigation, Class Counsel engaged in arm’s length settlement negotiations with counsel for Bautista, the Republic of the Philippines and other parties. Following settlement negotiations conducted by a federal judge in New York, Class Counsel agreed to a settlement pursuant to which US$14,000,000 will be deposited into the Class’ Settlement Fund in the Hawaii Federal Court (the “Fund”). In exchange for this payment, the Class and the other parties will mutually release their claims to the property at issue.
Settlement Benefits and Important Dates
Not all of the original Class Members are eligible to receive payment. The Hawaii Federal Court required Class Members in both 1993 and 1999 to submit Claim Forms. Only those Class Members who submitted complete Claim Forms in each of those years will be eligible to receive payment. It is too late to submit or supplement a Claim Form.
The Hawaii Federal Court has not yet decided distribution issues, so you should not assume you will receive any specific amount or when distribution will be made. However, Class Counsel will request the Court to make a distribution of US $1,500 to eligible Class members from the Settlement proceeds in 2019.
If you do not wish to receive benefits from the suit, please review the requirements found in the Class Notice.
The Case is styled In Re: ESTATE OF FERDINAND E. MARCOS HUMAN RIGHTS LITIGATION In the United States District Court District of Hawaii.