NEW YORK (FinalCall.com)On December 13, a federal appeals court upheld fraud claims against major U.S. banks, insurers and transportation companies who concealed their slave-trading histories from consumers.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago, one of the nation’s most conservative appeals courts, said that fraud claims brought by a New Jersey woman, Deadria Farmer-Paellmann, against Bank of America, Aetna, JP Morgan and others for concealing corporate slave-trading histories should go forward.

“A historic victory,” said Ms. Farmer-Paellmann, the lead plaintiff and executive director of the Restitution Study Group, pioneers of the corporate restitution movement. “This is the first major victory for slavery reparations and will bring a new era in making banks, insurers and transportation companies accountable for their trade in human life.”


Companies that misrepresent their slave-trading history to consumers are “guilty of fraud,” said Judge Richard Posner in a 17-page opinion. Judge Posner compared misrepresentation of a bank’s slave history to a manufacturer who lies about using child labor. Other claims that sought recovery of past profits made from slave trading were dismissed because of the lack of federal jurisdiction, but such claims are still permitted to go forward in the state courts.

New York Life slave policy on life of Robert Moody: New York Life Insurance Company, once called Nautilus Insurance, wrote this policy to insure the life of enslaved African Robert Moody for one year in 1847 while he worked in a Virginia coal pit. Of the first 1,000 policies written by Nautilus Insurance, one-third financed the enslavement of African people.

Ms. Farmer-Paellmann’s lawyers, Carl Mayer and Bruce Afran, celebrated the ruling, noting that the legal environment has now moved against the banks and in favor of slave descendants.

“For the first time in U.S. history, those who traded in slaves will face judgment in an American court,” said Atty. Afran.

“Punitive damages for such corporate fraud nationwide could easily run into billions,” Atty. Mayer said.

In her Dec. 14 victory press statement issued at the United States Court House in lower Manhattan, Ms. Farmer-Paellmann pledged to the financial institutions that were defendants in the case: “You and your shareholders will never be free from the demand for reparations until you pay the debt. The time is now!”

(Deadria Farmer-Paellmann may be reached at (917) 365-3007 or via email at [email protected].)